Archive | June 9th, 2020

Nazi regime must release all Palestinian child detainees amid COVID-19 pandemic

Israel must release all Palestinian child detainees amid COVID-19 pandemic

Demand that Israeli authorities take immediate action to release all Palestinian child detainees in Israeli prisons and detention centers due to the increasing vulnerability created due to the rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus and to safeguard their right to life, survival, development, and health in accordance with international law.

Palestinian children imprisoned by Israeli authorities live in close proximity to each other, often in compromised sanitary conditions, with limited access to resources to maintain minimum hygiene routines, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

COVID-19’s impact is exacerbated by these living conditions making Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and detention centers increasingly vulnerable.

There is no way Israeli prison authorities can ensure the health and well-being of Palestinian child detainees as long as they continue to be in a custodial detention setting.

In a headcount at the end of January 2020, 183 Palestinian children were detained in Israeli prisons, according to the latest figures released by the Israel Prison Service.

While international law demands that children only be detained as a measure of last resort, custodial pre-trial detention is the norm for Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank.

COVID-19 in Israeli prisons and detention facilities 

Four Palestinian prisoners detained at Israel’s Megiddo prison, located inside Israel northwest of the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, were placed in isolation after they were in contact with a COVID-19 positive Israeli officer, according to Ha’aretz.

Megiddo prison is one of several detention facilities located inside Israel where Palestinian child “security prisoners” are held. 

In April 2020, two Palestinian child detainees were suspected of being infected with COVID-19 at Israel’s Ofer prison, located in the occupied West Bank between Jerusalem and Ramallah, where many Palestinian child detainees are held. The two boys were examined and after testing negative for COVID-19 they were sent back to their prison room three days later.

One Palestinian adult detainee in Ofer prison tested positive for coronavirus in the adult section closest to the juvenile block where over 50 Palestinian child detainees are held, according to information collected by DCIP.

While IPS staff reportedly clean and disinfect the shared prison yard on a daily basis, prison cells and rooms are not being disinfected. Detainees at Ofer prison, including child detainees, are not provided with hygiene products, according to information collected by DCIP.

As of April 13, 11,235 people in Israel had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and 110 have lost their lives, according to Ha’aretz

In the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip there were 272 confirmed cases of persons infected with COVID-19 as of April 13. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh declared a state of emergency across the Occupied Palestinian Territory on March 5 in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. On April 3, it was extended for an additional 30-day period.

As of April 12, worldwide there are 1,696,588 cases of COVID-19, and 74,237 fatalities, according to the World Health Organization

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

Nazi Gastapo Spying on US, Perfecting 24/7 Surveillance Tech

CONTACT@IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG 

Israeli Spying on US, Perfecting 24/7 Surveillance Tech
Israel has long spied on the US, sometimes using backdoors into telecommunications hardware… Its high-tech sector is assisted by US policies that virtually guarantee US technical innovations will be stolen and re-exported by Israeli high-tech companies…
Vulture capitalist Zionist billionaire Paul Singer has recently been accused of steering highly paid U.S. tech sector jobs to Israel, jobs that are lost to the American economy forever…
Now Israel is taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to surveil everyone in Israel… and trying to export this to the US…

By Philip Giraldi, reposted from CNI

Israel’s external spy organization Mossad and its internal espionage equivalent Shin Bet have reputations that are much larger than their actual successes, but the one area where they have excelled is electronic intelligence gathering.

Recent electronic spying around the White House and other federal buildings in Washington carried out by the Israeli Embassy demonstrates that Israel does not differentiate much between friends and enemies when it conducts espionage.

In fact, spying targeting the U.S. is probably its number one priority due to the fact that the Jewish state is so heavily dependent on American support that it feels compelled to learn what discussions relating to it are taking place behind closed doors.

Israeli penetration of U.S. telecommunications

Israeli penetration of U.S. telecommunications began in the 1990s, when American companies like AT&T and Verizon, the chief conduits of the National Security Agency (NSA) for communications surveillance, began to use Israeli-produced hardware, particularly for law enforcement-related surveillance and clandestine recording.

The devices had a so-called back door, which meant that everything they did was shared with Israel. Israeli cyber-specialists even broke into classified networks with the NSA and FBI aware of what was going on but unwilling to confront “America’s best ally.” President Bill Clinton once quipped to Monica Lewinski that they should avoid using the Oval Office phone because someone might be listening in. He was referring to Israel.

To be sure, the Jewish state’s high-tech sector has been much assisted in its effort by “own goals” provided by the United States, which allows Israel to bid on government contracts relating to national security, virtually guaranteeing that any technical innovations will be stolen and re-exported by Israeli high-tech companies.

Major technology innovators like Intel, which works with the NSA, have set up shop in Israel and have publicly stated, “We think of ourselves as an Israeli company as much as a U.S. company.” Vulture capitalist Zionist billionaire Paul Singer has recently been accused of steering highly paid U.S. tech sector jobs to Israel, jobs that are lost to the American economy forever.

So, Israel is a leader in using electronic resources to carry out espionage and collect information on various targets of interest. Israel is also an innovator, and its close relationship with the U.S. intelligence community (IC), most particularly the NSA, means that technologies and procedures developed by the Jewish state will inevitably show up in America.

Governments using coronavirus excuse to surveil their citizens

The U.S. is in any event working hard on its own tools for managing the public, spurred by Covid-19 hysteria. Special ID cards could help track the health status of individuals. This status would be recorded and updated on a chip readable by government scanners that, by some accounts, might be either carried or even permanently embedded in everyone’s body.

Another plan being promoted in a joint venture by Apple and Google that appears to have White House support involves “add[ing] technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with Covid-19.

People must opt into the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population” with monitoring done by central computers. Once the legal principle is established that phones can be manipulated to do what is now an “illegal search,” there are no technical or practical limits to what other tasks could also be performed.

With those steps being taken to control the movements of possibly infected citizens in mind, some recent developments in Israel are, to put it mildly, ominous.

The Jewish state is currently achieving multi-level 24/7 surveillance of everyone residing in the country conducted in real time. Investigative reporter and peace activist Richard Silverstein describes in some detail why it is happening now, what it means, and how it works.

Per Silverstein, Israel, like every other authoritarian state, is currently taking advantage of the distraction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tool

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose political fortunes seemed to be on the wane due to three hung elections, exploited the fear of the virus to assume emergency powers and obtain Knesset approval to use a highly classified national database “compiled by the Shin Bet and comprising private personal data on every Israeli citizen, both Jewish and Palestinian. In the aftermath of 9/11, Israel’s Knesset secretly assigned its domestic intelligence agency the task of creating the database, which was ostensibly meant as a counterterrorism measure.”

The database, nicknamed “The Tool,” includes names, addresses, phone numbers, employment, and educational information but it goes well beyond that in using phone tracking data to record every phone call made by the individual to include names and numbers of those called and the geo-location of where the call was made from.

Phone tracking also enabled Shin Bet to create a log of where the caller traveled in Israel and the occupied territories. Internet use, if active on the phone, was also recorded. It is as complete and total surveillance of an individual as is possible to obtain and it does not involve any human participation at all, every bit of it being done by computer.

Netanyahu publicly proclaimed his intention to use the database, stating that it would be employed to combat the coronavirus, which he described as a threat to national survival. As a result of the claimed crisis, he and his principal opponent, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, were able to come to terms on April 20 to form a “national emergency unity government” with Netanyahu as prime minister yet again.

The exploitation of the fear of the virus plus that revelation about Israel’s powerful technical tool to thwart it produced a victory for Netanyahu, who effectively portrayed himself as a strong and indispensable leader, erasing the stigma resulting from his pending trial on charges of massive corruption while in office.

One of the first steps Netanyahu will reportedly take is to replace the attorney general and state prosecutor who were seeking to send him to prison, effectively taking away the threat that he might go to prison.

The exposure of the existence of the database inevitably led to charges that Netanyahu had, for personal gain, revealed Israel’s most powerful counterterrorism weapon. There were also concerns about the significance of the huge body of personal information collected by Shin Bet, to include suggestions that it constituted a gross violation of civil liberties. But carefully stoked fear of the virus combined with some political deals and maneuvers meant that use of the data was eventually approved by the Knesset security committee at the end of March.

Israel, which has closed its borders, and which still has a relatively low level of coronavirus infections and deaths, has already started using the Shin Bet database while also turning the attempts to deal with the disease as something like an intelligence war. The information obtained from “The Tool” enables the police and military to determine if someone were standing near someone else for more than a few minutes. If the contact included someone already infected, all parties are placed under quarantine.

Prison term for evading  quarantine

Any attempt to evade controls leads to arrest and punishment of a six-month prison term plus a $1,500 fine. Armed soldiers patrolling the streets are empowered to question anyone who is out and about.

Mossad is also involved in fighting the virus, boasting of having “stolen” 100,000 face masks and also respirators from a neighboring country presumed to be the United Arab Emirates. Silverstein observes that “Israel’s far-right government has militarized the contagion. Just as a hammer never met a nail it didn’t want to pound, it is only natural for a national security state like Israel to see Covid-19 as a security threat just as much or more than a health threat.”

And when it comes to bioweapons, Israel is no parvenu. Ironically, the hidden story behind the “war on the coronavirus” is that Israel is itself one of the most advanced states in developing and testing biological weapons at its lab at Nes Tziona.

Returning to the emergence of “The Tool,” hardline Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has also suggested monetizing the product by selling a “civilian version of it,” to include its operating system, analytic capabilities, and setup details to foreign countries, including the United States.

Pegasus

Israel has already successfully marketed to security agencies and governments a similar product called Pegasus, which has been described as the most sophisticated malware on the market.

Like The Tool, Pegasus does data mining and real-time analysis of individuals based on a range of collection techniques. The Israeli cyber company NSO Group that markets Pegasus was recently involved in an attempt to hack Facebook-owned secure communications system Whats-App, targeting journalists and political activists, on behalf of an unknown client.

Ironically, it is believed that Facebook had earlier used NSO Group’s somewhat shadowy services. Perhaps more notoriously, Pegasus was also used to monitor contacts and establish physical location in the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by Saudi intelligence agents in Istanbul.

So, Americans should beware when confronted by the new cyber-security software being promoted by Israel because the Jewish state is also exporting its own vision of a centrally controlled militarized state where all rights are potentially sacrificed for security.

As whistleblower Edward Snowden has already revealed, the NSA has the capability to collect vast amounts of information on citizens. If the United States government falls for the bait and moves in the Israeli direction, using that data to enable the surveillance and manage all the people all the time, the temptation will be great to employ the new capability even if its use is not strictly speaking warranted.

And there will be no one there to say nay to the new powers, not in Congress, on the Supreme Court or in the White House. And the media will be on board, too, arguing that security against external and internal threats requires some infringements of individual rights.

It is one of the ironies of history that the United States of America, with its vast resources, large population and legacy of individual freedom, has been becoming more like its tiny militarized client state Israel. It is a tendency that must be resisted at all costs by every American who cares about fundamental liberties.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, C.I.A0 Comments

Senate Committee slips through $38 billion package to the Nazi regime

Senate Committee slips through $38 billion package to Israel

By: ALISON WEIR  

Senate Committee slips through $38 billion package to Israel

Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting, May 21, 2020. (Screenshot from video of the meeting taken on an iphone by a staffer after Committee Chair Risch refused to permit a livestream of the meeting.)

The Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill on May 21st to give Israel a minimum of $38 billion over the next ten years, despite ongoing devastation to the US economy. The bill was passed in a meeting closed to Senate live-streaming in a voice vote on a group of 15 items. There was no discussion or debate of the bill – the largest such package in US history – and its title was never said… Now the bill will go to the full Senate. If it passes there, it will likely soon be signed into law, since the House has already passed a similar version…

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee secretively passed a bill yesterday to give Israel a minimum of $38 billion over the next ten years despite the ongoing devastation to the US economy by coronavirus policies.

The bill – S.3176 –  will now go before the full Senate. Since the legislation has already been passed by the House of Representatives, if the Senate passes the bill, it will then go to the president to be signed into law.

UPDATE: For a detailed analysis of what the bill contains, see below.

To contact Congress about the bill, go here

The bill was passed by the committee under two unusual circumstances and with almost no public awareness.

First, Senate Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) refused to allow a livestream of the meeting,despite the fact that the Senate Rules panel had recommended that extra efforts be taken to ensure public transparency while the Capitol is closed to the public and the presence of reporters is severely limited. The Senate’s Press Gallery Standing Committee of Correspondents had objected strongly to Risch’s decision.

Second, the bill was passed without being named, debated, or even discussed, even though it would set into law the largest such aid package in U.S. history. There has been no US mention of the bill by US mainstream media.

The massive package is particularly noteworthy in light of the current devastation to the American taxpayers who will be footing the bill – over $10 million per day. In recent months approximately 30 million Americans have lost jobs, 100,000 small businesses have already closed forever, and over seven million are at risk of doing so.

The bill was voted on as part of a package of 15 bills that were voted on “en bloc” (all together).

After Senator Kaine said he didn’t know what the list contained, Risch responded: “I’m not trying to pull anything here… this was circulated among the staff.”

Risch then rapidly listed the numbers, but did not give the titles. There was then a voice vote and the motion passed unanimously. (See video below.)

Democratic members of the committee had voiced strong objections to blocking a livestream of the meeting because of a different agenda item. After the meeting, Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) released a video of the meeting.

None, however, voiced any concern to giving a massive aid package to a country widely documented as a major violator of human rights.

Neither did any Democrats on the committee object to requiring American taxpayers to give Israel over $7,000 per minute when many Americans are suffering catastrophic financial difficulties.

Democratic committee members MenendezBen CardinCory Booker, and Chris Coons, like many of the Republican members, are particularly known for being under the influence of AIPAC and the Israel lobby and receiving pro-Israel campaign donations. Many of the members are co-sponsors of the bill.

The bill, entitled “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020,” expands and sets into law a memorandum of understanding agreement signed by the Obama administration with Israel in 2016. This agreement is nonbinding and not required by law. It also set the $38 billion as a ceiling.

The legislation just passed by the committee would make this disbursal legally required, and, in addition, it would make the $38 billion a floor rather than a ceiling. In other words, the amount of money could legally go even higher.

Given the power of the pro-Israel lobby, combined with the fact that U.S. media are not informing Americans of this use of their tax money, the likelihood is that US money to Israel will go up in the future – possibly even this year.)

Most Americans say they feel the US is giving Israel too much money. Israel has received more US tax money than any other country – on average, about 7,000 times more per capita than others around the world.

The Council for the National Interest has posted a petition against this year’s installment, $3.8 billion. So far, it has been signed by close to 2,000 people.

The portion of the meeting that passed the bill:

The aid harms Americans

Israel and its advocates often claim that Israel is America’s “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East. However, it is actually American soldiers who have fought and died for Israel through the years.

Aid to Israel is also problematic for other reasons. Israel has a long record of human rights violations, as documented by Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross, Christian Aid, Amnesty International, Oxfam, and numerous other humanitarian agencies.

Israel has also used U.S. aid in ways that violate U.S. laws.

For these reasons, providing Israel with massive amounts of money and weaponry is antithetical to most Americans’ moral and ethical principles.

In addition, such aid creates dangerous hostility to the U.S. Bin Laden, for example, listed U.S. support for Israeli crimes as one of the major reasons for his opposition to the United States.

Israel is not an ally

Israel has a history of spying on the U.S, stealing American technology, and involving Americans in wars on its behalf.

Former CIA and military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi spoke of this in a speech at the National Press Club in 2014, but CNN, Fox News, PBS, NBC, etc. didn’t show it to Americans. (Video here.)

Similarly, former top CIA analyst Raymond McGovern  described Israel’s involvement in pushing the U.S. into tragic and unnecessary wars. (Video here.) Again, this information did not make it into mainstream American media coverage. (McGovern was an extremely high level official. He served as a CIA analyst for 27 years, from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. His duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s five most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985. He received the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement.)

Israel attacked USS Liberty

In addition, Israel tried to sink a U.S. Navy ship in an action that four-star Admiral Thomas Moorer called “an act of war against the United States.”

Admiral Moorer reported on his commission’s investigation into the attack in a public briefing on Capitol Hill in 2003, but almost no U.S. media reported the findings, among them:

That there is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew; evidence of such intent is supported by statements from Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Undersecretary of State George Ball, former CIA director Richard Helms, former NSA directors Lieutenant General William Odom, USA (Ret.), Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, USN (Ret.), and Marshal Carter; former NSA deputy directors Oliver Kirby and Major General John Morrison, USAF (Ret.); and former Ambassador Dwight Porter, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon in 1967

NASA

The bill also requires NASA to work with the Israel Space Agency, despite accusations of Israeli espionage. In 2015 a Caltech scientist revealed that the Chair of Israel’s National Committee for Space Research had illegally acquired classified information. The alleged espionage and theft largely took place at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a top NASA research and development center.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel. (An Addendum with more information about the aid was added to the original article, and another addendum with a detailed description by Lara Friedman of what the bill contains.)


WHAT DOES THE BILL DO?

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Amends/Passes S.3176, Israel Wish-List Bill

By Lara Friedman, reposted from Foundation for Middle East Peace

On 5/21, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a “business meeting.” On the agenda were 21 pieces of legislation (most with amendments to be considered by the committee) – including the nomination of Michael Pack to be the CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Among the bills on the agenda was S. 3176 – the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020. And like many bills on the agenda, S. 3176 was to be considered with a managers’ amendment.

Last year, when the House version of this legislation was brought up first in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and then on the House floor, the measure — which authorizes not only $3.8 billion in funding for Israel for the life of the current MOU, but also millions in new funding for various programs, plus other goodies — was adopted with zero discussion/debate. Yesterday, the SFRC followed suit, adopting S. 3176 without even bothering with a pretense of public discussion/consideration. This lack of transparency is especially egregious because the managers’ amendment to S. 3176 was an amendment in the nature of a substitute (as in, the amendment that deleted the entire text of the original bill and replaced it with new text), and even more egregious because that amendment **WAS NOT MADE PUBLIC UNTIL LONG AFTER THE HEARING ENDED.**

So how did it go down? Literally the entire SFRC business meeting was consumed by contentious consideration of Pack’s nomination — at the conclusion of which, the Chairman noted that time was running out and moved 15 bills “that have been agreed to” – including S. 3176 and its amendment – en bloc. Following some expressions of unhappiness by Menendez (D-NJ) over bills not included in the bloc, the Committee adopted the en bloc bills (with their amendments) by Voice Vote (video of this charade of committee oversight is here).

What happens next?

This week’s actions paves the way for pro-Israel S. 3176 to be brought to the Senate floor, where it will almost certainly be adopted without debate (except perhaps an effort to amend it to add more goodies for Israel). The Senate can then either send S. 3176 to the House or, more likely, it can take up the House-passed version HR 1837 (which the House sent to the Senate back on 7/24/19), amend it to replace the House text with S. 3176, and send it back to the House for action.

Either way, the House and Senate versions of the bill are different enough that further action is required before this legislations goes to the President.

What are the key things to know about S. 3176, the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020?

Some key points before getting into the details of the bill:

  • Codifying into law annual US aid to Israel – both the amount and the manner in which it is disbursed – in a manner to prevent any future Administration or Congress from having the ability to use that aid as leverage, and to make clear that the only changes in US aid to Israel that Congress will contemplate are changes that increase aid beyond the level negotiate in the current MOU [Memorandum of Understanding].
  • Increasing U.S. military support for and cooperation with Israel, and facilitating additional, new military aid support.
  • Establishing and authorizing funding for programs designed to make enhanced/expanded US-Israel cooperation part of the DNA of more and more U.S. government agencies.
  • Establishing programs that in effect recruit U.S. agencies/funding to the cause of expanding Israel’s relations and influence in the region (i.e., open normalization by Arab states) and around the world.

Third, as noted in last week’s Round-Up, the timing of this bill – coming up now – is significant. This legislation represents a veritable “everything Israel could ask for” gift from Congress. Assuming it goes ahead (which is a near certainty), it will be yet another signal from Congress that not only will there be no consequences for annexation (or, indeed, anything Israel does in any conceivable context), but that Congress will continue to seek every opportunity to find new way to reward Israel.

What – specifically – is in pro-Israel S. 3176?

Below is a detailed look at the provisions of S. 3176 (as amended in committee).

Title I – Security Assistance to Israel

Section 103: Amends U.S. law by legislating annual security assistance for Israel under the MOU. Also makes explicit that the aid amount stipulated under the MOU is a floor, not a ceiling (changes “equal to” to “not less than”). Also legislates early disbursal of full amount. (Similar to Section 205 of the House bill)

Section 104: Extends authority for the War Reserves Stockpile through 2025, and authorizes annual increases of up to $200 million for 2021-2025, for a total increase of $1 billion.

Section 105: Extends existing loan guarantees to Israel through 2025.

Section 106: Authorizes transfer to Israel of precision guided munitions from U.S. reserve stocks “in such quantities as necessary for legitimate self-defense of Israel and is otherwise consistent with the purposes and conditions for such transfers under the Arms Export Control Act.” For such transfers, requires a certification to Congress — “Except in the case of an emergency as determined by the President” — that such transfer doesn’t undermine U.S. military readiness, is “necessary for Israel to counter the threat of rockets in a timely fashion,” and “is in the national security interest of the United States.” (Similar to Section 207 of the House bill)

Section 107: Expressing Sense of Congress that the President “should (1) prescribe procedures for the rapid acquisition and deployment of precision guided munitions for United States counterterrorism missions, or(2) to assist an ally of the United States, including Israel, that is subject to direct missile threat.” (Similar to Section 208 of the House bill)

Section 108Pushes for Israel to be included “in the list of countries eligible for the strategic trade authorization exception under section 740.20 (c) (1) of title 15, Code of Federal Regulations section…” [which pertains to “exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) in which the only applicable reason(s) for control is (are) national security (NS); chemical or biological weapons (CB); nuclear nonproliferation (NP); regional stability (RS); crime control (CC), and/or significant items (SI) are authorized for destinations in or nationals of Country Group A:5]“] (Similar to Section 210 of the House bill)

Title II – Enhanced United States-Israel Cooperation

Section 201: Authorizes the Secretary of State Department to enter into an MOU with Israel for the purposes of ensuring US-Israel cooperation to advance common goals in third countries and in various sectors, (including energy, agriculture and food security, democracy, human rights, governance, economic growth, trade, education, environment, global health, water and sanitation). (Similar to Section 106 of the House bill)

Section 202: Authorizes $2 million each year from 2020-2024 ($10 million total) “to finance cooperative projects among the United States, Israel, and developing countries that identify and support local solutions to address sustainability challenges relating to water resources, agriculture, and energy storage…”(Similar to Section 107 of the House bill)

Section 203: Authorizes the Secretary of State to establish a program to “help foster cooperation in the Middle East region by financing and, as appropriate, cooperating in, projects related to innovation and advanced technologies” with the goal of such projects – which each must involve an Israeli partner – being to “contribute to the development and the quality of life in the Middle East region through the application of research and advanced technology” and to “contribute to Arab-Israeli cooperation by establishing strong working relationships that last beyond the life of such projects.” [This would be, in effect, a USAID program incentivize/coerce Arab countries into open normalization with Israel] (Similar to Section 108 of the House bill)

Section 204: Expressing the Sense of Congress regarding the value of US-Israel economic cooperation, including on science and technology innovations, and stating that the President should “regularize and expand existing forums of economic dialogue with Israel and foster both public and private sector participation.” (Similar to Section 110 of the House bill)

Section 205Authorizes US-Israel cooperation on directed energy capabilities; authorizes financial support for specified activities under such cooperation; mandates additional reporting to Congress. (Similar to Section 102 of the House bill)

Section 206Requires the President to establish and update, as appropriate, contingency plans to provide Israel with defense articles and services that are determined by the Secretary of Defense to be necessary for the defense of Israel and to brief Congress on these plans. (Similar to Section 203 of the House bill)

Sec 207: Grab bag of other goodies building Israel-related programs into a range of US agencies and on a range of issues. (Similar to Section 110 of the House bill)

  • HHS: Authorizes $4 million a year from 2021-2023 ($12 million total) to the Department of Health and Human Services for “a bilateral cooperative program with the Government of Israel that awards grants for the development of health technologies…” [House version authorizes $2 million annually for 2020-2022 ($6 million total)] NOTE: This is, in effect, the Cruz (R-TX)/Coons (D-DE) legislation introduce 5/13 –S. 3722; Cruz tweet crowing about getting the bill included in S. 3176 is here]
  • DOS/science & technology: Authorizes the President to designate a State Department official to act as “Coordinator of United States-Israel Research and Development” to oversee civilian science and technology programs “on a joint basis with Israel”
  • FDA: Expresses sense of Congress that the Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration “should explore collaboration with Israel through the Office of Global Policy & Strategy” and requires a report to Congress from that office “describing the benefits to the United States and to Israel of opening an office in Israel for the Office of Global Policy and Strategy…” 
  • DOE: Authorizes $4 million a year for 2021-2023 ($12 million total) to the Department of Energy “to carry out the activities of the United States-Israel Energy Center established pursuant to section 917(d) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”;
  • BIRD: Expresses sense of Congress that “grants to promote covered energy projects conducted by or in conjunction with the United States-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation should continue to be funded at not less than $2,000,000 annually…
  • DHS: Authorizes $2 million a year for 2021-2023 ($6 million total) for U.S.-Israel cooperation on energy, water, homeland security, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS is not mentioned in the bill, but the section of law amended by this provision deals with DHS programs).].
  • DOT: Calls for an annual US-Israel dialogue “to implement the 2016 Memorandum of Cooperation signed by the Secretary of Transportation and the Israeli Minister of Transportation”
  • NASA: States that the NASA Administrator “shall” continue work with the Israel Space Agency “to identify and cooperatively pursue peaceful space exploration and science initiatives in areas of mutual interest, taking all appropriate measures to protect sensitive information, intellectual property, trade secrets, and economic interests of the United States”
  • OSTP: Requires a report to Congress from the White House’s Office of Science Technology Policy on “research and development cooperation with international partners, such as the State of Israel, in the area of desalination technology…”
  • VA: Expresses sense of Congress that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should “explore collaboration between the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers of Excellence and Israeli institutions with expertise in researching and treating post-traumatic stress disorder.”

RELATED:

Israel may ask for double its usual $3.8 billion from the U.S this year

Despite coronavirus-caused cutbacks, Israel expects to get full $3.8 billion

The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans

Human rights reports on Israel-Palestine

Air attacks: Gazan rockets and Israeli airstrikes

Leahy Law would cut aid to Israel, but no one wants to enforce it

Lawsuit Warns $234 Billion In Aid To Israel Violates US Law Against Supporting Secret Nuclear States

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

China tells US to stop wasting time in coronavirus battle

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks to reporters via video link at a news conference held on the sidelines of NPC in Beijing. Picture: Reuters

By Yew Lun Tian  

Beijing – The United States should stop wasting time in its fight against the coronavirus and work with China to combat it, rather than spreading lies and attacking the country, the Chinese government’s top diplomat Wang Yi said on Sunday.

Sino-U.S. ties have nosedived since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, with the administrations of President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping repeatedly trading barbs over issues related to the pandemic, especially U.S. accusations of cover-ups and lack of transparency.

The two top economies have also clashed over Hong Kong, human rights, trade and U.S. support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

State Councillor Wang, speaking at his annual news conference on the sidelines of China’s parliament, expressed his deep sympathies to the United States for the pandemic, where the death toll is expected to surpass 100,000 in the coming days, the highest number of any country.

“Regretfully, in addition to the raging coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the United States. This political virus is using every opportunity to attack and smear China,” said Wang, who is also China’s foreign minister.

“Some politicians have ignored the most basic facts and concocted too many lies about China and plotted too many conspiracies,” he added.

“I want to say here: Don’t waste precious time any longer, and don’t ignore lives,” Wang said.

“What China and the United States need to do the most is to first learn from each other and share their experience in fighting against the epidemic, and help each country fight it.”

China and the United States also need to start coordinating macro policies for their respective economies as well as the world economy, he added.

China remains prepared to work with the United States in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, Wang said, when asked if Sino-U.S. relations would further worsen.

“China has always advocated that, as the world’s largest developing country and the largest developed country, both of us bear a major responsibility for world peace and development,” he said. “China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation, and lose from confrontation.”

‘INDISCRIMINATE LITIGATION’

Last month, Missouri became the first U.S. state to sue the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus, saying China’s response to the outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan brought devastating economic losses to the state.

Wang said such lawsuits lacked any legal basis.

“The China of today is not the China of a century ago, and nor is the world,” he added.

“If you want to infringe upon China’s sovereignty and dignity with indiscriminate litigation, and extort the fruits of the hard work of the Chinese people, I am afraid this is a daydream and you’ll only humiliate yourself.”

Wang also offered his strong support for the World Health Organization (WHO) and its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, frequent targets of U.S criticism.

“To support the WHO is to support saving lives. This is the choice any country with a conscience should make,” he said.

Trump, who has accused the agency of being “China centric”, has threatened to permanently halt funding to the WHO and to reconsider his country’s membership of the agency. 

Posted in USA, China, Health0 Comments

Naziyahu, saying he’s ‘standing tall’, goes on trial on corruption charges

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a mask, stands inside the courtroom as his corruption trial opens at the Jerusalem District Court. Picture: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

 

Zionist Naziyahu professed his innocence at the start of his corruption trial on Sunday, saying he was being framed but “standing tall” in the first criminal prosecution of a serving Nazi prime minister.

Flanked by a clutch of cabinet ministers from his right-wing Likud party, and speaking forcefully, Naziyahu appealed to public opinion as he addressed television cameras in the courthouse hallway before appearing in front of a three-judge panel.

“These investigations were tainted and stitched-up from the first moment,” Naziyahu said about charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud at the centre of three graft cases against him.

He dubbed prosecutors and police the “Just Not Bibi Gang”, a reference, using his own nickname, to what he has called a witch-hunt, abetted by the “left-wing media” and political opponents to end his record tenure as Nazi prime minister.

“I am appearing here today, as your prime minister, standing tall and with head high,” Naziyahu told reporters, vowing to beat the charges and continue to lead Israel in his current firth term.

Naziyahu, 70, was required to appear for the session in Jerusalem District Court, a week after his new unity government was sworn in. Its inauguration ended more than a year of political deadlock in the wake of three inconclusive elections.

He was indicted in November in cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for allegedly seeking regulatory favours for media tycoons in return for favourable coverage.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

4 US cops fired after video shows one kneeling on neck of black man who later died

Protesters gather near the site of the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody on Monday night in Minneapolis. Picture: Jim Mone/AP

By Timothy Bella, Brittany Shammas, Katie Mettler

Four Minneapolis police officers were fired on Tuesday, authorities said, amid protests and outrage after a viral video showed one of them kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed black man who cried that he could not breathe and later died.

A bystander recorded George Floyd telling the officers “I cannot breathe” as he is pinned to the ground, and as an increasingly distraught crowd of onlookers pleads with the officer to move his knee.

The officers involved in the incident have not been identified. But Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, announced Tuesday afternoon that their employment had been terminated.

“It is the right decision for our city; the right decision for our community; it is the right decision for the Minneapolis Police Department,” Frey said at a news conference with Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. “We’ve stated our values, and ultimately we need to live by them.”

The Minneapolis Police Department originally said Floyd, who was stopped Monday night on a report of a forgery, had “physically resisted officers.” In a Tuesday interview with North News on Facebook, Frey said that as additional information was revealed, “it became clear that the original statement was not accurate.”

The quick dismissals of the officers contrast with several previous high-profile incidents, including the 2014 death of Eric Garner in New York. After other deadly encounters between civilians and police that have prompted protests, officers involved have often retained their jobs for a time – including the New York police officer recorded with his arm around Garner’s neck, who was fired five years later.

Arradondo said during the news conference that he had decided to ask the FBI to investigate after receiving “additional information” about the incident from a community source. He declined to elaborate further.

Calling in the FBI was “the very clear and obvious choice when you watch the footage provided in the civilian video,” Frey said.

Four officers fired after death of unarmed black man

Four Minneapolis police officers were fired on Tuesday, a day after a bystander’s cell phone video captured one of them kneeling on the neck of an unarmed black man who later died in a hospital, the city’s mayor said. Gavino Garay has more.

“For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee into the neck of a black man who was helpless,” the mayor said. “For five whole minutes. This was not a matter of a split-second poor decision.”

Minneapolis-area law enforcement has faced criticism in recent years over its use of force. In a 2016 incident that drew widespread condemnation, an officer with the suburban St. Anthony Police Department shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop, the aftermath of which was streamed live on Facebook.

And in 2017, a Minneapolis police officer fatally shot 40-year-old Justine Damond after she called 911 to report a possible assault near her house. Damond’s death followed the acquittal of the officer who killed Castile, exacerbating the already tense relations between law enforcement and the community.

Floyd’s death came amid a national conversation about the rush to judgment of unarmed black men, both by police and members of the public. Earlier this month, authorities in Georgia arrested two white men after one in February shot and killed a black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, telling police they believed he was involved in local burglaries. Authorities initially had said the actions of the men, father and son Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, were in accordance with the law.

And on Monday, social media was largely consumed with the story of a white woman, Amy Cooper, who called 911 on a black birdwatcher who told her to leash her dog in New York’s Central Park, telling a dispatcher that he had threatened her life.

Darnella Frazier, who filmed the police encounter with Floyd, was on her way to see friends when she saw the incident unfolding outside a Cup Foods grocery store on the south side of Minneapolis. She quickly began recording the encounter in a 10-minute video later shared to Facebook.

“When I walked up, he was already on the ground,” Frazier said in a different Facebook video. “The cops … they was pinning him down by his neck and he was crying…They wasn’t trying to take him serious.”

As more people gathered around the encounter outside the grocery store, the man said his whole body was in pain. Frazier recalled that his face was being pressed so hard against the ground that his nose was bleeding.

Witnesses begged the white officer to take his knee off the man’s neck.

“You’re going to just sit there with your knee on his neck?” one bystander said on the video.

Minutes later, the man appeared to be motionless on the ground, his eyes closed and head lying against the road.

“Bro, he’s not even f—— moving!” one bystander pleaded to police. “Get off of his neck!”

Another asked, “Did you kill him?”

Later, the unconscious man was loaded onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. Bystanders who remained in front of Cup Foods pointed at the two officers and said the incident would haunt them “for the rest of your life.”

“The police killed him, bro, right in front of everybody,” Frazier said on Facebook. “…He was crying, telling them like, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and everything…They killed this man.”

The case will be separately investigated by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which, according to the Star Tribune, investigates most in-custody deaths.

The agency said in a statement that it would present its findings to the county prosecutor’s office for review.

As it circulated late into the day Tuesday, the video continued to draw denunciations. In neighboring St. Paul, Mayor Melvin Carter, a Democrat, said on Twitter that it was “one of the most vile and heartbreaking images I’ve ever seen,” adding, “This must stop now.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., described the incident as “yet another horrifying and gut-wrenching instance of an African American man dying.” She called for “immediate action,” including a thorough outside investigation and accountability for those involved.

“Justice must be served for this man and his family, justice must be served for our community, and justice must be served for our country,” she said in a statement shared on Twitter.

Protesters gather calling for justice for George Floyd on Tuesday in Minneapolis. Picture: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP

Floyd was a father and a security guard who worked at Conga Latin Bistro and had previously lived in Texas, said Jovanni Thunstrom, the restaurant’s owner. He described Floyd as the kind of employee who would go out of his way to help a customer, offering a safe ride home to those who had too much to drink and once helping a woman who locked her keys in her car.

“When I heard the news, I saw the video, I couldn’t believe it was him,” Thunstrom told The Washington Post, calling Floyd a “brother” and a friend. “He was a great person, a great worker. I’m going to miss him.”

Thunstrom said he could not understand the officers’ treatment of Floyd.

“They are supposed to serve and protect, but Floyd didn’t get either,” he said. “He didn’t get served or protected. He got choked.”

Protesters gathered Tuesday afternoon at the intersection where the encounter unfolded. Earlier in the day, the mayor urged demonstrators to practice social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic but said he understood the desire to protest.

“If you’re sad, I get it,” Frey said. “If you’re angry, that makes complete sense. If you feel the need to protest, of course we want to make sure that people are able to express themselves.”

Posted in USA, Human Rights0 Comments

Nazi court extends detention of two Palestinians from Ya’bad town

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Qasem Abu Bakr

Nazi occupied JENIN: Nazi’s Salem military court on Monday extended the detention of 17-year-old Qasem Abu Bakr, from Ya’bad town in Jenin, for the seventh consecutive time.

The kid’s mother said the Nazi occupation authority extended the detention of her son for two weeks.

She added that Abu Bakr, who was arrested on April 17, was transferred from al-Jalamah Nazi Gastapo interrogation center to Megiddo Nazi Camp.

The same court also extended the detention of another prisoner called Ahmed Abu Bakr, from Ya’bad town, for the third time running. He has been in the Petah Tikva interrogation facility for about 25 days.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

‘Israel’s’ Annexation of Jordan Valley

JUAN COLE, PAUL R. PILLAR

Israeli soldiers take aim as Palestinian demonstrators take part in a protest against the annexation of the Jordan Valley, in the village of Tammun, east of the West Bank village of Tubas, near the Jordan Valley, on Feb. 29, 2020. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June/July 2020, pp. 8-11

Two Views

Top Five Ways Netanyahu’s Annexation of 30 Percent of Palestinian West Bank will Devastate Israel

By Juan Cole

THE ISRAELI SUPREME COURT has ruled that, despite being indicted for corruption and press manipulation, Binyamin Netanyahu can take office as prime minister in a government of national unity that has him rotating the office with rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White coalition after 18 months.

Netanyahu’s first order of business is to annex vast swathes of Palestinian territory, including much of the Jordan Valley. Arab48.com summarizes the argument of the Hebrew University’s Professor Elie Podeh for why Netanyahu’s Likud Party thinks they can get away with this move if they take it soon. First, the gaze of the world’s countries has turned inward over the coronavirus issue, so there isn’t as much focus on Israel and the Palestinians. Second, Trump is in the White House and supports unilateral actions by allies, and is unbothered by a lack of international consensus. (The European Union and China have both warned Netanyahu against annexation). Third, the Arab world is also focused on internal problems and is paralyzed by the pandemic.

It is an astute analysis and, in the world of political Realism, Netanyahu’s calculation is correct. He can get away with it in the short to medium term without suffering any immediate undue harm. Egypt is not going to turn hostile; Syria and Iraq are basket cases; Jordan and Lebanon are tiny and weak. Turkey has never ceased trading with Israel, including the arms trade, despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pro-Palestinian stance. Iran’s economy has been devastated by the Trump administration’s financial and economic blockade and now by the coronavirus. Europe has no will or means to get involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the shadow of the Holocaust prohibits most of its major countries from condemning Israel or taking any practical steps to punish it.

Here are some longer-term downsides, though.

1. The Israelis had been hoping for a new wave of normalizations, this time with the conservative Gulf monarchies, most of which are wary of Iran. The common enemy was driving Saudi Arabia and some others toward some form, de facto or de jure, of peace treaty with Israel. Oman hosted Netanyahu to this end, and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman seems enthusiastic for this step. However, the momentum toward it will grind to a halt if Israel gobbles up a third of the Palestinian West Bank. The publics in most Gulf countries are substantially more committed to the Palestinian cause than the governments, and the latter are at least a little afraid of the former.

2. For Israel, to annex the Jordan Valley allows it completely to encircle the Palestinians living in the West Bank, who will no longer have a border with Jordan. But this step also puts them in the center of Greater Israel, rather as though they had been swallowed. Netanyahu intends to keep them as an internal colony, but annexation will make this apartheid, Jim Crow strategy, which already exists, glaringly obvious and difficult for the world community to ignore. I was at an event in DC years ago with David Makovsky, and he tried to schmooze me with the line that the Israeli settlers had only settled on 5 percent of the West Bank, so things were not so dire for a two-state solution. But that sort of kick-the-ball-down-the-road argument fails, even more obviously, if Israel has taken 30 percent of the West Bank. There is no more fig leaf.

3. Pressure on Israel over the coming decades to redress the statelessness of the Palestinians will grow and, since Netanyahu has forestalled a two-state solution by annexing all the land where a Palestinian state might exist, there are now only two futures for Palestinians: a) Apartheid and permanent statelessness or b) Israeli citizenship (a third of Palestinians already say that they would welcome it). For Israel, to grant citizenship to the Palestinians will make it a binational state like Belgium. Netanyahu and his far-right cronies seem to believe that, at some point, they will be able simply to expel the Palestinians to Jordan or that they can keep apartheid going virtually forever. Neither of those hopes is very realistic and both bring, in their train, dire dangers.

4. The international movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) will be given enormous new energy. Netanyahu established a cabinet position to fight this movement, going so far as to attempt to abolish the U.S. First Amendment to ensure Americans can be sanctioned for adopting it. It is already the case in 28 states that state contracts are denied to people who boycott Israel or to people who refuse to pledge to the state that they won’t boycott Israel. At the moment, BDS advocates, who are professors or journalists, who speak on the campus of a public university in states like Georgia, cannot be paid an honorarium. It is just that bad. But the courts are striking down these provisions whenever they are challenged, and this sort of state legislation is a stop gap measure doomed to fail. BDS is a plank in the growing Democratic Socialists of America, which is becoming an important component of the Democratic Party.

5. And that brings me to the fifth danger, which is that Israel will become, in the terms of U.S. politics, a project solely of the Republican right wing. The Democratic Party faithful are done with Netanyahu.

I mean, we live in a country where progressive people increasingly start their events by honoring America’s original inhabitants on whose land we stand. Anagha Srikanth, at The Hill, wrote of this year’s Oscars:

“‘The academy would like to acknowledge that tonight we have gathered on the ancestral lands of the Tongva, the Tataviam and the Chumash. We acknowledge them as the first peoples of this land on which the motion picture community lives and works,’ New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi said before introducing the winners of the academy’s honorary prizes.”

For people who go out of their way to remember the displacement and the land grabs inflicted on American Indians (that’s what most of them prefer to be called), turning around and saying nice things about an Israeli government that is, at this very moment, plotting a Trail of Tears for the Palestinians is a pretty big piece of cognitive dissonance. I mean, any pro-Israel meeting would have to begin, “We would like to acknowledge that we are supporting a state that has incorporated into itself lands of the Palestinians of the Jordan Valley.”

Since the right wing of the Republican Party is actually a small minority, they can’t depend on being in power all the time (they were reduced to having a few states in the Deep South in 2008) and, if they are the only ones firmly supporting Israel, then U.S. government backing for the latter could become pretty feeble at some point in the near future.

So, Netanyahu is plotting out the eating of a very rich cornucopia. Whether Israel will be able to digest it in the coming two decades is the big question.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

If ‘Israel’ Proceeds with Annexation, Its “Special Relationship” May Come to an End

ALLAN C. BROWNFELD

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sept. 3, 2019. (PHOTO CREDIT SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June/July 2020, pp. 13-14

Israel and Judaism

By Allan C. Brownfeld

IN THE RECENT ISRAELI ELECTION, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu campaigned aggressively on annexing portions of the occupied West Bank while his opponent, Benny Gantz, opposed unilateral annexation. Now, with a “unity” government and Netanyahu remaining prime minister, to be followed by Gantz, the agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz says that annexation should proceed in a way that does not harm Israel’s interests.

The Economist notes that, “Mr. Netanyahu will probably have the final say…Annexation of territory that the Palestinians regard as part of their future state would probably kill any hope of a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict and could ignite violence. Mr. Netanyahu will obviously want to avoid that, but he may feel he needs to move before November, when his chum Mr. Trump may be voted out of office.”

In an historic reversal of U.S. policy, the Trump administration announced in November 2019 that it does not view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. The policy change was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He declared, “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.” Netanyahu hailed the change in U.S. policy, saying, “this policy reflects an historical truth—that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in Judaea and Samaria. In fact, we are exiled Jews because we are the people of Judaea.”

The dramatic change in U.S. policy was challenged by 106 House Democrats in a letter to Pompeo, organized by Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), who is Jewish. They called upon him to “immediately” reverse his position. The letter was signed by 12 committee chairs, including veteran Reps. John Lewis (D-GA) and Maxine Waters (D-CA).

If Israel proceeds with annexation, it may bring an end to its “special relationship” with the U.S. and with the American Jewish community. It would also challenge the idea that Israel has bipartisan support and confine its embrace to right-wing Republicans.

For Israel’s right-wing, annexation has long been a key part of its agenda. This has been the case since the area was captured and occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. East Jerusalem was the first part of the West Bank to be annexed following the 1980 Jerusalem Law. Israeli law has been applied to Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank leading to a system of “enclave law” and claims of “creeping annexation.” Netanyahu first announced that the Jordan Valley was “off the table” for negotiation with the Palestinians in November 2013. Israel also began to apply their Labor Laws in Area C that same year.

In 2009, Netanyahu endorsed the two-state solution. But, ahead of the April 2019 election, he stated his intention of unilaterally annexing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Failing to form a government, Netanyahu called for snap Knesset elections to be held in September. Annexation of the Jordan Valley, first proposed in the 1967 Allon Plan, was announced by Netanyahu in September 2019 as his own plan. Targeted to win over support, on Sept. 16, 2019, in an interview with Israeli Army Radio, Netanyahu said, “I intend to extend sovereignty on all the settlements and the settlement blocs including sites that have security importance or are important to Israel’s heritage.” He said he had received a green light from the Trump administration. The area Netanyahu outlined to be annexed is roughly 22 percent of the West Bank.

The next day there was international condemnation of the proposal from Palestinians, the Arab League, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Kingdom, among others. The U.N. declared that any Israeli move to impose its administration over the Palestinian territory would “be illegal under international law.” The EU said there would be a “strong response” if annexation proceeds.

Liberal Zionists emphasized the damage to Israel’s international reputation if annexation takes place. Americans for Peace Now warned that Israel will become a “pariah” and J Street’s Dylan Williams said, “U.S. leaders should make clear that it’d be nearly impossible to maintain the same special relationship with an Israel that abandons a commitment to democracy.” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) condemned the annexation plan as the “death-knell of the two-state solution,” and an aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-VT) called annexation “recklessness that goes against U.S. interest in peace.”

According to the New Israel Fund, “Annexation would be an existential threat to—and perhaps even a death-knell for Israeli democracy.” Yair Lapid, the opposition leader in the Knesset, said that if annexation takes place, “…the peace agreement with Jordan will be canceled. There will be irreversible damage to the relationship with the Democratic National Committee and Jewish communities in the U.S.”

Yael Patir of J Street said that Lapid’s warning that annexation will damage Israel’s relationship to the Democratic Party and American Jewry “is not a notion that is understood in Israel.” She and Jeremy Ben-Ami, who leads J Street, called for a campaign to convince Israelis that annexation will threaten these most valuable assets. J Street is “publicly and privately” urging Joe Biden, whom it has endorsed for president, to “reiterate” and “repackage” his opposition to annexation and to make it clear that he won’t accept annexation as president. Biden has said, “Israel, I think, has to stop the threats of annexation and settlement activity” because they will undermine “support for Israel in the U.S., especially among young people of both political parties.”

Ben-Ami also called on right-wing elements of the pro-Israel lobby to speak out against annexation. In a Zoom briefing, he addressed the question of AIPAC’s stance on this question. “For anyone who is watching us, who belongs to AIPAC or supports AIPAC, I ask you to ask them. It is notable, the silence of AIPAC and many other right-of-center organizations, on the question of annexation—when they have tried to say through the years that they support two states.” He said it is time to end a policy of “Israel, right or wrong.”

In Ben-Ami’s view, Democrats might be able to convince Israelis by threatening to rule out any U.S. aid for annexation. He said, “We do not think that the U.S. should foot the bill for anything that has to do with annexation” and suggested Israel might lose the “diplomatic immunity” the U.S. provides for its human rights violations at the U.N. and elsewhere if annexation goes through.

Israel promotes itself as a “democracy,” but by Western standards this is hardly the case. Palestinians in the occupied territories have almost no legal rights and Palestinians within Israel are second-class citizens. Israel does not believe in genuine religious freedom, even for Jews. There is an official state religion and government-paid chief rabbis are ultra-Orthodox. Reform Rabbis cannot perform weddings, conduct funerals, or preside over conversions. There is more religious freedom for Jews in any Western country than in Israel. In the view of some observers, annexation would simply make clear to the world that Israel is not the kind of democratic society it proclaims itself to be, and which many Americans of all religions think it is.

Professor Ian Lustick of the University of Pennsylvania, in his new book Paradigm Lost, calls for policymakers to give up the “false belief” in the two-state solution and acknowledge the struggle for equal rights in a one-state reality. In his view, annexation would create a single state, which already exists on the ground. The effort of those who believe in democracy would then properly turn to calling for equal rights for all of the state’s inhabitants. The alternative would be apartheid.

In his talk at the Middle East Institute in December 2019, Lustick explained that he was “an avid and early supporter” of the Zionist state for nearly 50 years. But, in the last decade, he came to believe that he and other two-state advocates were being misled as Israel took over the West Bank and Jerusalem, “territories no Israeli government will ever withdraw from…Netanyahu has used liberal Zionists to proclaim that a two-state solution is possible, when it is a delusion. Entertaining that possibility is actually playing a sucker’s game into what the right wants, which is a constant feeling of that carrot, that maybe we get two states, and meanwhile you send the whole thing into decades and decades and decades of apartheid.”

You send the whole thing into decades and decades and decades of apartheid.

“What I want in Palestine,” Lustick said, “is something that Jews and Arabs can live with and that honors the principles of democracy and equality…The demographic argument is ‘racism’ that goes to the heart of Zionism. Guess what folks, there are more Arabs than Jews west of the Jordan…Where a state dominates Arabs for the sake of Jews, you are going to subsidize the domination of the country by the clerical right.”

Some have argued for years that Israeli plans for annexation merely publicize the fact that there is only one state in Israel and Palestine, with vastly different rights for Jews and Palestinians, and it’s been that way for 50 years. The struggle should be for the equal rights of all the inhabitants of a single state, according to this view. As former White House aid Dennis Ross declared on Twitter, “It’s one state. Democracy and equal rights for all—or apartheid.”

Many Israelis, concerned about their country’s direction and treatment of Palestinians, lament its departure from Jewish moral and ethical values. Prof. David Shulman of the Hebrew University, notes that, “No matter how you look at it, unless our minds have been poisoned by the ideologies of the religious right, the occupation is a crime. It is, first of all, based on the permanent disenfranchisement of a huge population…In the end, it is the ongoing moral failure of the country as a whole that is most consequential, most dangerous, most unacceptable. The failure weighs heavily…on our humanity. We are, so we claim, the children of the prophets. Once, they say, we were slaves in Egypt. We know all that can be known about slavery, suffering, prejudice, ghettos, hate, expulsion, exile. I find it astonishing that we, of all people, have reinvented apartheid in the West Bank.”

Within the American Jewish community, Israel and Zionism have become increasingly divisive issues. In his book, Trouble In The Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel, Prof. Dov Waxman of Northeastern University, writes, “A historic change has been taking place in the American Jewish relationship with Israel…Israel is fast becoming a source of division rather than unity for American Jewry…A new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity…This echoes earlier debates about Zionism that occurred before 1948. Then, as now, there were fierce disagreements…Classical Zionism has never had much relevance or appeal to American Jewry. Indeed, the vast majority of American Jews reject the basic elements of classical Zionism—that Diaspora Jews live in exile, that Jewish life in Israel is superior to life in the Diaspora…American Jews do not think that they live in exile and they do not regard Israel as their homeland..Zionism has never succeeded in winning over the majority of American Jews.”

Since 1948, Israel has been the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, now topping $3.8 billion annually in military aid. By annexing portions of the West Bank, not only would Israel be asking American taxpayers to subsidize an action which is clearly in violation of international law but it is unlikely to be supported by very many American Jews. It could well bring its “special relationship” with both the U.S. government and with American Jews to an end.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Facebook Ignored Internal Warnings Its Algorithms Were Intensifying Divisiveness

“Facebook knows what it’s doing, intentionally continues to cause harm to increase engagement and profit, and will never fix these problems themselves.”  

by: Eoin Higgins,

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, attends the Viva Tech start-up and technology gathering at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, attends the Viva Tech start-up and technology gathering at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)

Despite internal research that Facebook’s platform was exploiting and exacerbating divisiveness among its users, top executives ignored the findings that the algorithms were doing the exact opposite of the company’s stated public mission to bring people together.

That’s according to new reporting Tuesday from the Wall Street Journal which in a comprehensive dive into the company’s treatment of its platform’s capabilities to divide users found that executives knew in 2018 what the site was doing to users but declined to take action. 

“The most persistent myth about Facebook is that it naively bumbles its way into trouble,” tweeted New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose. “It has always known what it is, and what it’s doing to society.”

Deepa Seetharaman@dseetharaman

New from @JeffHorwitz & me: Facebook spent years studying the its role in polarization, according to sources and internal documents. One internal slide laid out the issue like so. ”Our algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-knows-it-encourages-division-top-executives-nixed-solutions-11590507499?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1 …

Facebook Executives Shut Down Efforts to Make the Site Less Divisive

“Our algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” a presentation to the company’s leaders in 2018 declared. The research further warned that if the problem was “left unchecked,” the platform’s system would feed users “more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform.”

Jordan Weissmann@JHWeissmann

Facebook’s engineers confirmed it was polarizing users, and algorithms were nudging users into extremist content.

But hard-right groups were more likely to spread propaganda than hard-left ones.

Guess what happened next. https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-knows-it-encourages-division-top-executives-nixed-solutions-11590507499 …

View image on Twitter

1,6338:43 PM – May 26, 2020

As the Daily Beast explained:

The social-media giant, which boasts its mission is to “connect the world,” reportedly launched a research project in 2017 led by Facebook’s former Chief Product Officer Chris Cox to study how its algorithms aggravate divisive and harmful content. The task force named “Common Ground” assigned employees into “Integrity Teams” throughout the company. The team reportedly found that while some groups united people from various backgrounds, others only accelerated conflict and misinformation. 

Despite the evidence laid out in Cox’s team’s presentation, however, the company’s board—particularly vice president of global public policy Joel Kaplan—rejected taking action to change the platform’s algorithm and incentives. 

According to the Journal, Kaplan has outsized power at Facebook when it comes to determining the direction of the company:

A former deputy chief of staff to George W. Bush, Mr. Kaplan became more involved in content-ranking decisions after 2016 allegations Facebook had suppressed trending news stories from conservative outlets. An internal review didn’t substantiate the claims of bias, Facebook’s then-general counsel Colin Stretch told Congress, but the damage to Facebook’s reputation among conservatives had been done.

[…]

Disapproval from Mr. Kaplan’s team or Facebook’s communications department could scuttle a project, said people familiar with the effort. Negative policy-team reviews killed efforts to build a classification system for hyperpolarized content.

Journalists took to Twitter to note the timeline of the meeting and their requests for information on the platform’s incentives. 

Ben Collins@oneunderscore__

And the people who’ve been reporting on this for years are met with complete derision and sometimes outright lies by those at Facebook when we bring it up. https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/1265335550246092800 …zeynep tufekci@zeynepFacebook’s own researchers found that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools” and that “our recommendation systems grow the problem.” Facebook VP for policy Joel Kaplan (known for throwing a party for Kavanaugh after confirmation) nixed any action. https://twitter.com/dseetharaman/status/1265312209602674688 …

“I visited Facebook HQ around this time to ask about the growing instances of mass violence linked the platform,” tweeted New York Times reporter Max Fisher. “One executive after another looked me in the eye and said they had no reason to believe the platform itself drove bad behavior.”

The reporting, said tech accountability advocacy group Freedom From Google and Facebook, “proves what we’ve been saying all along: Facebook knows what it’s doing, intentionally continues to cause harm to increase engagement and profit, and will never fix these problems themselves.”  

“Until Congress, state attorneys general, the FTC, or DOJ breaks up Facebook’s monopoly and further regulates them,” the group added, “nothing is going to change.”

Posted in USA, Media0 Comments

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING