How the I$raHell lobby is courting US Latinos

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This special report for The Electronic Intifada is the first of two on the Israel lobby’s aggressive outreach campaign in the growing Latino American community.

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The top issues for Latino voters in the United States are immigration, the economy, health care and education. Rarely do issues pertaining to the Middle East register a blip in the polling of Latino voters, except for when it comes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So why are pro-Israel groups spending more and more resources courting Latino elected officials, community leaders and students?

In the US, a Latino, often equated with Hispanic, refers to a person who can trace his or her origin to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central or South America. Mexican-Americans are the largest Latino group in the US and sometimes refer to themselves as Chicanos.

As the Latino population and electorate continue to grow, along with this population’s impact on national elections, an aggressive lobby is working to ensure that Latinos view and adopt a clearly pro-Israel stance on the question of Palestine despite strong grassroots sympathy with the plight of Palestinians.

Neutralizing the brown electorate

Speaking to Washington Jewish Week last year, Stuart Eizenstat, the former US ambassador to the European Union, warned that people of color in the United States might see the oppression of Palestinians as similar to their own.

“The problem is, and this is for Hispanic and Asian Americans and African Americans, they see themselves as minorities,” said Eizenstat (Courting majority minority,” 24 July 2013).

To combat this natural alliance, Eizenstat implored pro-Israel groups to “make it clear” that the struggle for justice in Palestine “is not a civil rights issue. It’s rather a very different conflict in which violence is being used and Israel’s right to be a state is questioned.”

Eizenstat’s sentiments came on the heels of more than a decade of questionable research accusing Latinos of exhibiting an alarming hostility toward Jews, prompted by the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) 2002 annual survey.

The survey measured “anti-Semitism” based on how strongly respondents agreed with statements like “Jews stick together more than other Americans” and “Jews are more loyal to Israel than America,” which are hardly precise measures, and are open to broad interpretation.

“Negative attitudes toward Israel and concerns that American Jews have too much influence over US Middle East policy are emerging as factors responsible for fostering anti-Semitic beliefs,” warned the ADL, which blamed “lower levels of education among African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans in comparison to white Americans in particular,” for the alleged high rates of anti-Semitism in those communities.

Not supportive enough of Israel

And the accusations have not subsided.

A 2011 survey conducted by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding found that almost half of American Latinos feel US foreign policy is too supportive of Israel (Latinos believe US too supportive of Israel,” 28 March 2011 [PDF]).

Equating lackluster support for Israel with anti-Semitism, the foundation’s president Rabbi Marc Schneier told Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “We need to understand how real anti-Semitism is within the Latino community and how we can counter it … to bolster Latino empathy for the Jewish state” (Poll: Nearly 50% of Hispanic Americans believe US too supportive of Israel,” 28 March 2011).

Fringe elements in the pro-Israel community have responded by lashing out at immigrants. Stephen Steinlight, senior political analyst at the anti-immigrant and white nationalist linked Center for Immigration Studies distilled this sentiment, warning that Muslim and Latino immigration “will erode Jewish political clout.” (“Activist blasts Jewish groups on immigration,” New Jersey Jewish News, 28 March 2011).

Meanwhile, mainstream Zionist organizations have adopted Schneier’s recommendations by creating avenues for Israel advocacy specifically designed for the Latino community under the guise of Jewish-Latino coalition building.

Project Interchange

In 2005, the American Jewish Committee launched the Latino and Latin American Institute.

Working in collaboration with the AJC’s Project Interchange, which organizes “educational” trips to Israel for influential leaders from around the world, the institute has helped coordinate over 20 delegations made up of American Latino leaders, including journalists,corporate and media executiveselected officials anprominent Latinas.

“The purpose of these trips, like all Project Interchange seminars, is to provide an opportunity to learn about Israel through first-hand experience,” the organization’s spokesperson Myra Clark-Siegel told The Electronic Intifada in an email.

Asked whether participants meet with Palestinians, Clark-Siegel replied, “Project Interchange participants meet with leaders across the social and political spectrum, and yes, they of course meet with Israeli Arabs as well as Palestinian leaders,” ranging from “the Palestinian Prime Minister to senior officials of the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization].”

One “Israeli Arab” who speaks regularly at Project Interchange seminars is Khaled Abu Toameh, a journalist with the right-wing Jerusalem Post and senior fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.

The Gatestone Institute is an offshoot of the Washington-based neoconservative Hudson Institute — founded by Sears Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, a hardcore Zionist who has funneled millions to Islamophobes on the far right to increase support for Israel.

As the Arab darling of US neoconservatives, Toameh rejects the characterization of Israel as an apartheid state, arguing that Israel treats Arabs and Palestinians better than any other country in the Middle East.

Toameh’s views are fringe, rather than representative, among Palestinians who directly experience life under Israeli rule, and his positions are flatly contradicted by mountains of evidence from Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights and equality-monitoring organizations.

Touring settlements

Clark-Siegel, the Project Interchange spokesperson (who is married to the Israeli consul-general in Los Angeles) added that delegations usually visit an Israeli settlement as well. “[W]e see great value in learning, seeing, and understanding these complex issues through first-hand experience and conversations with the leaders themselves, rather than from a distance,” she explained.

In her reply to a follow-up email asking if participants are informed of the illegality of settlements under international law, Clark-Siegel refused to elaborate, saying, “I answered your questions through my response yesterday.”

But a blog post written by Duke University student Sabrina Rubakovic in The Chronicle, an independent student newspaper, about her 2010 Project Interchange experience visiting Efrat, an illegal Israeli colony in the West Bank, demonstrates that touring settlements serves to legitimize Israel’s settlement enterprise (Project Interchange Israel- Day 5,” 11 January 2010).

“I was sitting in the home of Bob Lang, the head of the religious council of Efrat, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank,” wrote Rubakovic.

“Out the window and across the street I had a clear view of a nearby Arab town. And there it was, laid out before me: an age-old territorial dispute between Israel and Palestine over Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”

While it is unclear whether Rubakovic was given an opportunity to speak with Palestinians about the devastating impact of Israeli home demolitionsland confiscationssettler-only roads and other abuses against Palestinian daily life, she left believing that Project Interchange had exposed her to both sides of the conflict.

“Congratulations, you’ve been invited to go to Israel”

20140227-adl-deleg.png

A 2013 ADL delegation of New England Latino leaders.

 (Anti-Defamation League)

The Anti-Defamation League has led several free trips to Israel for Latino leaders as well, again ranging from Latino media executives and journalists, to elected officials.

We contacted several people who participated in the ADL’s December 2013 junket, comprised of Latino leaders from the Boston area, but only one responded.

Dario Collado, a 34-year-old Dominican-American who works as a corporate development officer at Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, traveled to Israel with the ADL knowing very little about the region or the conflict.

Collado, who was still running Harvard’s Latino Leadership Initiative at the time, was approached by Jerry Villacres, co-chair of the ADL’s Latino-Jewish Roundtable, asking if he could provide names of Latino leaders to nominate for the ADL’s upcoming trip.

“Two or three weeks later, I get a big envelope in the mail saying, ‘Congratulations, you’ve been invited to go to Israel,’” explained Collado. Thrilled at the opportunity to visit another country for free, he did not hesitate.

“I faxed back that form in seconds before they changed their minds,” he said.

Collado was impressed with the ADL’s apparent neutrality on the conflict.

“I think the ADL did a great job showing both sides of the story,” he remarked. “It was really an opportunity to form your own independent viewpoint on the entire region.”

But judging by Collado’s understanding of the realities since returning, it’s clear that the the ADL was anything but unbiased.

For a start, Alan Dershowitz, who recently ended his half-century long career as a Harvard law professor to propagandize for Israel full time, was presented as a man of peace.

It’s complicated”

When asked if participants were informed of the rounding up and imprisonment without charge of non-Jewish African asylum seekers in Israel, Collado responded, “We had a frank conversation with Alan Dershowitz,” who he described as “the leading figure trying to bring peace accords for a two-state solution. It’s complicated.”

Collado came away believing that the conflict is rooted in “religion and centuries of mistrust between both sides.”

This is a typical line in pro-Israel propaganda that erases almost seven decades of Israel’s forced dispossession and displacement of Palestinians.

As for a solution, Collado blamed Palestinian aggression for stalled progress.

“Unfortunately, what happens is that when progress is made there’s a suicide bomb,” said Collado. “Time is of the essence because after [Palestinian Authority leader] Mahmoud Abbas passes away or retires, Hamas could come in and take over Palestine.”

Collado’s favorite part of the trip was visiting the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, where the children of undocumented immigrants — or as Israeli leaders call them, “infiltrators” — learn alongside Israeli children. Collado was especially delighted to meet a Dominican-Israeli seventh grader.

Bialik-Rogozin certainly is an unusual school considering that it is located in a country where segregation is often state policy and where the children of non-Jewish migrants cannot become citizens or receive asylum status simply because they are the wrong ethnicity.

Of course, the participants don’t seem to have been informed of this or of the fact that Israel’s very own education ministry has denounced Bialik-Rogozin for its integration, arguing that it “harms” Israeli children (“Integration of migrants’ children into schools harms Israeli students, state saysHaaretz, 23 August 2012).

Israel “en Español”

After Latino voters propelled President Barack Obama to re-election victory in 2012, Michael Freund, the former deputy communications director for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took to the pages of The Jerusalem Post to demand that Israel “launch a comprehensive and coordinated hasbara, or public diplomacy, campaign that makes Israel’s case to Hispanics directly and ‘en Espanol’” (Fundamentally Freund: Time for Hispanic ‘hasbara,’” 14 November 2012).

Citing America’s rapidly growing Latino electorate, Freund explained rather candidly, “the face of America is rapidly changing, and so too should Israel’s hasbara.” Israel, he said, must follow the example of Project Interchange.

Unbeknownst to Freund, Israel was already on it.

The best public relations”

As Israeli bombs pulverized Gaza’s defenseless population in November 2012, a group of Latino journalists were touring Israel at the invitation of the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, which is tasked with deploying hasbara, or propaganda, abroad to counter the country’s increasingly negative image as a violent colonizer that subjects Palestinians to shocking levels of brutality.

While Gaza’s besieged and immiserated population was dodging ruthless Israeli weaponry, a writer in Israel Hayom, one of Israel’s most popular newspapers, openly celebrated rocket blowback as an opportunity to propagandize the journalists.

“An air-raid siren that sounded in Jerusalem this week startled … a group of Hispanic journalists from the United States,” the article stated with delight (“The blog is mightier than the sword,” 23 November 2012).

“Fear, terror and helplessness washed over the group. But some good came of the incident, at least from the Israeli perspective. The foreign journalists got a taste of the war situation in Israel and felt the rocket threat firsthand.

“Back at the hotel that evening, they translated their experience into articles, radio broadcasts and blog posts that were seen and heard all over the world.”

Yuli Edelstein, the minister of public diplomacy at the time, remarked that such incidents are “the best public relations for the State of Israel.”

Hispanic Evangelicals

Reverend Luis Cortés — president of Esperanza, a Philadelphia-based Hispanic evangelical network — is launching Esperanza Para Israel, an initiative supported by the Israeli government and the Jewish National Fund dedicated to promoting Israel to America’s 15 million Hispanic evangelicals.

Its advocacy efforts will include producing pro-Israel television programs to air on the Spanish-language Christian TV network, Enlace, and coordinating trips to Israel.

“The Israeli government has been courting him for some time,” Burt Siegel, former director of Philadelphia’s Jewish Community Relations Council and a close friend to Cortés, toldJewish Exponent. (“Philadelphia Pastor Brings Hope to Hispanic-Israeli Ties,” 24 December 2013).

Cortés , who in 2005 was hailed by TIME as one of the 25 most influential evangelical leaders in America, is a staunch advocate for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the US, making his pro-Israel stance all the more jarring given that country’s horrific abuse of African asylum seekers as well as Palestinians.

Cortés insists his love for Israel is based purely in theology, but he’s long been involved in the national political scene as an organizer of the yearly National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, an event attended by the nation’s top power players including President Obama.

Pushing back

Almost every pro-Israel organization today, from the most powerful Israel lobby groupAIPAC to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs — JINSA — is involved iefforts to court Latinos, including at the collegiate level.

Despite this aggressive campaign, some activists and leaders are pushing back.

In our next article, we explore the reactions of activists to the overtures of the pro-Israel groups along with some of the work that is being done by Latinos to increase awareness of the Palestinian struggle.

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Kerry says US not behind Venezuela unrest

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liar

US Secretary of State denies that Washington is behind recent protests, adding that tensions with Caracas should end.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has denied that Washington is behind the recent protests in Venezuela, adding that tensions between the two countries have lasted too long.Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro convened a peace conference on Wednesday night with social and political actors in an attempt to end three weeks of sometimes deadly anti-government protests in the deeply divided country.“Regrettably, President Maduro keeps choosing to blame the United States for things we are not doing or for things that they are unhappy about in their own economy and in their own society,” Kerry said on Wednesday, reported the AFP news agency.

Maduro has pushed for a renewal of ties between the two countries, which have not had full ambassadors since 2010, reflecting the bad blood between the trade partners since late president Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999.

“We’re prepared to have a change in this relationship, this tension between our countries has gone on for too long,” Kerry said. “But we are not going to sit around and be blamed for things we have never done.”

In Caracas, Maduro welcomed Kerry’s reference to better ties.

“I welcome the response by Secretary of State John Kerry (on) improving ties to Venezuela,” Maduro said at crisis talks largely spurned by the opposition.

End the violence

Among the latest world figures to speak out about the unrest, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Pope Francis called on Wednesday for an end to violence that has killed at least 13 people and urged politicians to take the lead in calming the nation’s worst unrest in a decade.

Students and other opponents of President Maduro are demanding that he quit over grievances including high inflation, shocking levels of violent crime, shortages of basic food, and what they say is his repression of political rivals.

The protests are the biggest challenge to Maduro’s 10-month-old administration, although there is no sign they could topple him or affect the OPEC nation’s oil shipments.

Pope Francis told tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square he was “particularly concerned” by recent events, reported the Reuters news agency.

“I sincerely hope the violence and hostility ends as soon as possible, and that the Venezuelan people, beginning with the responsible politicians and institutions, act to foster national reconciliation through mutual forgiveness and sincere dialogue,” Francis said during his weekly address.

UN head Ban Ki-Moon called for “concrete gestures by all parties to reduce polarisation”, engage in dialogue and “seek common ground,” a statement to Reuters said.

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US preparing road map for Damascus attack

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Jordanian and US special forces demonstrate their skills at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Centre during their "Eager Lion" military exercise in Amman May 27, 2012.
Jordanian and US special forces demonstrate their skills at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Centre during their “Eager Lion” military exercise in Amman May 27, 2012.
The United States along with several of its Arab allies are preparing for a major attack against Syria from the Jordan-Syria border, helping their supported militants open a way toward the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday that the attack will originate in Jordan and the US, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are planning the way it will be launched.

According to media reports, the US is constructing runways for military aircraft near the border between Jordan and Syria and has been arming the foreign-backed insurgents with heavy weaponry which Saudi Arabia has flown to bases in Jordan.

While no US troops will be involved in the fighting on the ground, the reports say, the US President is to somehow address Saudis’ criticism of his administration after his offensive missile campaign against Syria failed last summer. Barack Obama is determined to do so before his planned trip to Saudi Arabia next month.

Obama pushed for military strikes against Syria last summer following reports of a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on the Syrian government. However, he put on hold his planned military strike against the Arab country after Russia helped broker a deal under which Damascus agreed to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal.

Several reports over the past weeks have shown that the US is considering a wide range of military options against Syria.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington is now reconsidering “military, diplomatic and intelligence options” which were abandoned in favor of talks between representatives of the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition in Geneva.

Meanwhile, some congressional officials have said that even the idea of using CIA-run drones is gaining currency both within the White House and Congress.

The latest news about a Jordan-based attack into Syria comes less than two weeks after the US President, who had hosted King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Sunnylands retreat in Palm Springs, California, said on February 14 that he and his royal guest had decided they should take steps “to apply more pressure to” the Syrian government.

 

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The Lethal Legacy of US Interventions

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Cluster-Bomb Imperialism

 

by SHELDON RICHMAN

Americans seem to believe that once the U.S. military exits a foreign country, its moral accountability ends. But the deadly consequences — and culpability — continue long after the last soldier leaves.

Take Iraq, which the U.S. military left at the end of 2011 (though not before President Obama pleaded with the Iraqi government to let some American forces remain). Violence is flaring in Iraq, as Sunni Muslims, fed up with the oppressive, corrupt, U.S.-installed and Iran-leaning Shi’a government, have mounted new resistance.

Not our responsibility, most Americans would think. The U.S. troops are long gone, so “our hands” are clean. Not so fast, says University of San Francisco Middle East scholar Stephen Zunes.

“The tragic upsurge of violence in Iraq in recent months, including the temporary takeover of sections of two major Iraqi cities by al-Qaida affiliates,” Zunes writes, “is a direct consequence of the repression of peaceful dissent by the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad and, ultimately, of the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation.”

He goes on,

The U.S.-backed Iraqi regime is dominated by sectarian Shia Muslim parties which have discriminated against the Sunni Muslim minority. The combination of government repression and armed insurgency resulted in the deaths of nearly 8,000 civilians last year alone.

But can the United State really be responsible? Wasn’t Iraq a terrible place before the 2003 U.S. invasion, devastation, and occupation? Iraq was certainly ruled by a bad man, Saddam Hussein, who repressed the majority Shi’a, but also mistreated Sunnis. Yet Iraq was not plagued by sectarian violence before the U.S. military arrived. “Until the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation, Iraq had maintained a longstanding history of secularism and a strong national identity among its Arab population despite sectarian differences,” Zunes writes.

Not only did the U.S. invasion and occupation fail to bring a functional democracy to Iraq, neither U.S. forces nor the successive U.S.-backed Iraqi governments have been able to provide the Iraqi people with basic security. This has led many ordinary citizens to turn to armed sectarian militia[s] for protection.

Zunes notes that “much of Iraq’s current divisions can be traced to the decision of U.S. occupation authorities immediately following the conquest to abolish the Iraqi army and purge the government bureaucracy — both bastions of secularism and national identity — thereby creating a vacuum that was soon filled by sectarian parties and militias.”

So, once again, arrogant American policymakers lumbered into a foreign country thinking they could remake it in their image — apparently without knowing anything about the cultural or social context. This is hardly the first time, which is why Eugene Burdick and William Lederer’s 1958 novel, The Ugly American, still packs so much power.

Horrific as the Iraq story is, consider what’s happening today in Laos, in southeast Asia. The U.S. military bombed Laos from 1964 to 1973, during its war on Vietnam, to disrupt the Ho Chi Minh trail, the route for military personnel and equipment from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, which ran through Laos and Cambodia. According to the website Legacies of War, “the U.S. dropped over 2 million tons of ordnance over Laos in 580,000 bombing missions, the equivalent of one planeload every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 9 years.”

That would have been bad enough, but the U.S. government dropped cluster bombs, which are made up of many so-called bomblets, about 30 percent of which did not explode immediately:

At least 270 million cluster bomblets were dropped as part of the bombing campaign; approximately 80 million failed to detonate.

Data from a survey completed in Laos in 2009 indicate that UXO [unexploded ordnance], including cluster bombs, have killed or maimed as many as 50,000 civilians in Laos since 1964 (and 20,000 since 1973, after the war ended). Over the past two years there have been over one hundred new casualties each year. About 60% of accidents result in death, and 40% of the victims are children. Boys are particularly at risk. [Emphasis added.]

Thus, 40 years after America’s war of aggression against the people of Southeast Asia, American munitions continue to kill people.

Remember this the next time you hear antiwar advocates smeared as isolationists and American foreign intervention lauded as a blessing to mankind.

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U.S: Russian military action in Ukraine would be ‘grave mistake’

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An ethnic Russian Ukrainian man holds the Crimea flag on top of an old Soviet tank during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

An  ethnic  Russian  Ukrainian  man  holds the Crimea flag on top of an old Soviet tank during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014.

(Reuters) – The United States warned Russia on Wednesday it would be a “grave mistake” to intervene militarily in Ukraine and said it was considering $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees and additional funding to help Kiev.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued the warning after Russian President Vladimir Putin put 150,000 combat troops on high alert for war games near Ukraine, Moscow’s boldest gesture since the ouster of ally Viktor Yanukovich as president in Kiev.

“For a country that has spoken out so frequently … against foreign intervention in Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere, it would be important for them to heed those warnings as they think about options in the sovereign nation of Ukraine,” Kerry told a small group of reporters at the U.S. State Department.

“I don’t think there should be any doubt whatsoever that any kind of military intervention that would violate the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine would be a huge – a grave mistake,” he added.

“If there were any kind of decision like that, I do not think that’s a cheap decision. I think it’s a very expensive decision.”

Kerry said Washington was considering $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees for Ukraine, as well as possible budget support for the former Soviet republic, but said no decisions had been made. He said Europe was also mulling roughly $1.5 billion in assistance to Ukraine.

“We are formulating initially a $1 billion loan guarantee with some other pieces, but we are also looking at the possibility of additional assistance,” Kerry said. The Obama administration was discussing the matter internally, he said.

APPLAUSE NOT ENOUGH

“I don’t think it’s enough to be heralding the advent of democracy and applaud the courage and conviction of the people who brought about this transition and then just not do anything. I think that is unconscionable,” he added.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki later said the United States was prepared to take immediate steps to help Ukraine’s economy after a new government was formed and in coordination with a lending program from the International Monetary Fund, the global financial institution.

Ukraine fell into political crisis last year when Yanukovich spurned a broad trade deal with the European Union and accepted a $15 billion Russian bailout that is now in question.

After weeks of popular protests and clashes between security forces and demonstrators, Yanukovich fled his Kiev office and Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove him from power on Friday.

With Kiev desperate for cash as it charts a new future, U.S. officials have emphasized that any U.S. funding  would complement an IMF program, which would offer oversight of economic reforms and ensure money is being spent properly.

IMF officials told Reuters this week that one option under review to help prop up Ukraine’s ailing economy was a bailout that would include IMF money as well as bilateral loans and guarantees from the U.S. and other governments.

The United States is the IMF’s largest and most influential member country. But as the IMF prepares to send a technical mission to Ukraine to assess the state of the economy, IMF insiders say it is important that the institution be seen as an independent broker in Ukraine.

ECHOES OF COLD WAR

U.S. officials from the White House on down said Russia must respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity as Moscow put combat troops on high alert for war games near its Western neighbor.

Earlier this month, a Kremlin aide warned that Moscow could intervene and accused Washington of breaching their 1994 treaty under which Russia removed Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine.

It is unlikely the United States and its allies in NATO would risk an outright military confrontation with Russia but such Russian rhetoric, ringing with echoes of the Cold War, underlines the high stakes in Ukraine, whose 46 million people and sprawling territory are caught in a geopolitical tug-of-war.

Kerry said Russia should respect the Ukrainian people’s desire for change and that they should not have to choose between relations with Europe and the United States on one hand and Russia on the other.

“This is not Rocky IV,” he said in a reference to a 1985 film pitting U.S. boxer Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallone against a Soviet portrayed by Dolph Lundgren.

“It is not a zero-sum game. We do not view it through the lens of East-West, Russia-U.S. or anything else,” Kerry added.

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U.S. anti-Semitism envoy to meet European Jewish leaders

NOVANEWS

Ira Forman will visit the U.K.and the Netherlands next week to discuss efforts to combat anti-Semitism, State Department says.

Haaretz

Ira Forman, who in 2013 was named Secretary of State John Kerry’s envoy to combat anti-Semitism, will travel to the U.K. and the Netherlands next week, the State Department said on Friday.

According to the statement, Forman will “discuss efforts to combat anti-Semitism, including tracking and reporting hate-crimes, as well as interfaith engagement and promoting tolerance through sports,” in meetings with Jewish and other religious leaders, as well as government officials and non-governmental organizations.

Forman, a longtime director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, led President Obama 2012 campaign effort to push back against Republican and conservative depictions of Obama as hostile or indifferent to Israel. He was especially active in Florida.

Forman replaced Hannah Rosenthal, who was appointed by Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and who left in 2012 to direct Milwaukee’s Jewish Federation.

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Jewish Democratic donors urge Congress: Back off Iran sanctions

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catfight

Fragile negotiations must be allowed to continue without threats that could derail them,says letter sent to top Democrats.

Haaretz

Major Democratic donors, many of them Jewish, wrote to party congressional leaders urging them not to advance new Iran sanctions legislation.

“Although success in achieving a final agreement is far from guaranteed, Congress should allow these fragile negotiations to proceed without making threats that could derail them or tying the hands of the negotiators by imposing unrealistic terms for a final agreement,” said the letter sent Feb. 27 to top Democrats in both chambers and reported the same day by National Journal.

The negotiations the letter refers are talks underway between Iran and the major powers aimed at keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Eighty-two donors, many of them Jewish and identified with Democratic and liberal Jewish groups, signed the letter.

These included Morton Halperin, a close associate to George Soros and an adviser to J Street; Alan Solomont, a former ambassador to Spain who also helped found the Israel Policy Forum, a liberal group; and Marc Stanley, who has held leadership positions with the National Jewish Democratic Council.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a number of Democrats and Republicans in Congress back the sanctions, saying they would strengthen the U.S. hand in talks.

President Obama has said he would veto the sanctions, saying they could scuttle the talks with Iran. Democratic leaders in Congress are deferring to his concerns and will not advance the sanctions.

AIPAC has stepped back for now from pressing for the sanctions, and is waiting for a veto-proof majority of members of both parties to endorse the sanctions until it presses for another vote.

Republicans in the Senate on Thursday attempted to attach new sanctions to a veterans benefits law; the Democratic majority quashed the bid, citing among other reasons AIPAC’s opposition to a vote until the sanctions had solid bipartisan backing.

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ADL’s Foxman: ‘Son of God’ Should Be Antidote to ‘Passion of Christ’

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: The Ugly Truth

Ed note–Remember that by the very definition of his being a Jew that Foxman & co ABSOLUTELY DESPISE Jesus Christ. There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever for him or anyone else within organized Jewry to be taking even a middle of the road position with regards to a movie dealing favorably with JC, let alone praising it.

Given that there is now this thing known as the internet whereby Christians can now see youtube clips featuring Jews getting together and singing songs such as ‘Jesus was a bastard’, comedy skits featuring the Virgin Mary as a prostitute and Sarah Silverman yukking it up with ‘I’d kill Christ again, I’d f****** do it again’, clearly what is at work here is yet another maneuver on the part of Jewish interests these days in putting Christians back to sleep regarding the absolute organic hatred that Judaism and organized Jewry maintain not only for JC, but for His followers worldwide. 

Newsmax

The Bible saga “Son of God” will be “the antidote to the poison that ‘Passion of the Christ’ became,” Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said Tuesday.

“It’s almost a disservice to ‘Son of God’ to compare the two,” he said. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s pared-down version of the History channel miniseries “The Bible” opens nationwide Friday on roughly 3,000 screens Friday.

It’s been 10 years to the day since the Mel Gibson-directed “Passion of the Christ” debuted, and it’s still the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever. But it’s remembered as much for the charges of anti-Semitism, excessive violence and pre-release controversy as it is for its $370 million box-office haul.

“Gibson bloodied the Jews by portraying them as such villains,” said Foxman, who was among the Jewish leaders who a decade ago spoke out bitterly against Gibson’s brutal recounting of Christ’s crucifixion, saying its depiction of sadistic Pharisees and stereotypical characters fanned the flames of hatred against Jews.

But he has no problem with “Son of God.”

“The story of the crucifixion and the way it has been used through the centuries has never been good for the Jews,” he said.

“Having said that, ‘Son of God’ is the most sensitive, caring depiction of the story of Jesus that I have ever seen. The producers have done everything possible to put the events into historical, political and psychological context.”

Foxman said that he thought “Son of God” could replace “Passion of the Christ” as the go-to movie for films about the life and death of Christ.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s done with the proper sensitivity and perspective and I would hope that for future generations, ‘Son of God’ will be the vehicle used to teach that part of history,” he said.

Foxman said that his organization met with Downey and Burnett and provided each other with “mutual guidance.”

“After ‘The Bible’ came out, we reached out and talked through the issues that could be hurtful or painful,” said Foxman. “We didn’t agree on everything, but it was clear there was respect on both sides.”

The ADL is even sponsoring a dinner honoring Burnett and Downey on May 8.

Foxman said that while it felt funny for him to endorse a film about the crucifixion, “in this context I said yes, absolutely.”

The love fest between the “Son of God” producers and the ADL is in stark contrast to the approach Gibson took with the “Passion,” which was controversial for months before its release. The director failed to reach out to Jewish leaders when the film was coming together, and Gibson came under blistering fire while he was taking a renegade approach to getting it into theaters.

When no studio stepped up to finance the project — an explicitly brutal retelling of Christ’s final 12 hours told in ancient Aramaic and Latin with no big-name stars — Gibson bankrolled the $30 million production budget himself.

He directed and co-wrote “The Passion,” which was filmed in Italy with Jim Cavaziel playing Christ. Fox, which had a deal with Gibson’s Icon Productions at the time, passed on distributing the film because of the complaints about its perceived anti-Semitism and excessive violence. So Gibson released it himself on Ash Wednesday, 2004.

The critics focused more on the brutality. Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars, but called it the most violent film he’d ever seen. Slate’s David Edelstein called it a “two-hour snuff film” and “the Jesus Chainsaw Massacre.”

But with conservative Christian leaders across the nation urging their flocks to turn out, “The Passion of the Christ” brought in $83 million in its first weekend, despite the criticism and protests at theaters.

The film went on to take in more than $611 million worldwide.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Doral businessman Jayssam Mokded detained in Venezuela

NOVANEWS

mekpic

President of two companies based in Doral is accused of plotting terrorist attacks

Author: Andrea Torres
DORAL, Fla. -Amid political unrest, Venezuelan authorities detained a Doral businessman Monday morning after accusing him of plotting terrorist acts.About 4 a.m., Venezuelan police arrested Jayssam Mokded Mokded in Maracay, Venezuelan politician Tareck El Aissami, tweeted Monday. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro referred to Mokded as a “mercenary.”The announcement comes after Venezuelan officials announced about 529 people were arrested, 150 injured and 13 have died  since protests demanding that Hugo Chavez’s protégé resign began Feb. 12.

El Aissami said Mokded was detained along with two others who had military experience and were traveling in an armored Toyota Model FJ. There was “conclusive evidence” that Mokded was assisting in organizing “terrorist acts,” the governor of the state of Aragua tweeted.

According to the politician Mokded had been staying in Maracay since Feb. 9. In the hotel room where Mokded was allegedly staying, police found communication equipment and documents linking him to a companies in Miami.

Florida records show Mokded is president of CJ International Services, 10580 NW 27th St., in Doral.  He is also the president of Soloblackberry.net.inc with offices in Doral and Porlamar, Venezuela.

According to El Aissami, also in his possession was an explosive artifact, gun powder, logistics for a shelter used during protests, vinegar, food and documents that showed “hundreds of thousands of dollars had been transferred to the U.S. and other destinations.”

On Saturday,  thousands met at J.C. Bermudez Park in Doral to show solidarity to protesters in Venezuela. Miami’s Doral area is known as “Doralzuela” for its anti-Chavez Venezuelan migrant population.

Maduro assumed the presidency after Chavez died March 5, 2013. Elections are not set until 2018.

Some of Venezuelan politician Tareck El Aissami’s tweets Monday:

- We found the bedroom where Jayssam Mokded was staying and found several communication equipments and logistics (food and vinager)

- Jayssam Mokded was detained in Maracay at 4 a.m. in company of two more people, who had military experience

- Within the material seized Jayssam Mokded there were documents that linked him to a company in Miami

- The vehicle seized from Jayssam Mokded is a Toyota Model FJ (armored). He had an explosive artifact,  gun powder, and logistics for “guarimbas”

Note: A guarimba in Venezuela is a shelter used during protests.

- There were also seized documents from Jayssam Mokded that showed hundreds of thousands of dollars transferred to several destinations in the U.S.

-Jayssam Mokded also had an armored vehicle, 13 electronic equipments and communications meant for the U.S. and Colombia.

- Jayssam Mokded was found in a hotel north of Maracay since Feb. 9. His banking accounts  are impressive.

-  We have detained in Maracay a citizen named Jayssam Mokded Mokded with conclusive evidence to perpetrate terrorist acts.

Posted in Venezuela0 Comments

Zionist John McCain to Vladimir Putin: Don’t meddle in Ukraine

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has a message for Russian President Vladimir Putin: let Ukrainians choose their own future.

McCain appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” in the wake of a tumultuous few days in Ukraine during which President Viktor Yanukovych fled to a more Russian-aligned city in the east and protestors assumed control of the capital and the Parliament.

The country is deeply divided between regions that are aligned with Russia, and western parts of the country that rebelled against Yanukovych after he rejected a trade deal that would have brought Ukraine closer to the European Union. With the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia drawing to a close, Putin is expected to devote more attention to the crisis.McCain, who traveled to the country last year to support the protestors, said that the message to Putin should be that a partition of the country “would not be acceptable.”

“The Ukrainian people will determine their own future. They want to be Western…they do not want to be Eastern,” he added, saying that if he were Putin, he would be “nervous” about the revolution that was underway in Ukraine, a former Soviet Republic and Russian ally.

The Arizona senator said the opposition politicians who have taken over are “overjoyed” but also concerned about the “sobering reality” of Ukraine’s economic situation, which is so dire that “the economy is on the verge of collapse,” McCain said. He added that they will need help immediately.

McCain was also highly critical of National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning that the notion she misled the American public in the wake of an attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi in September 2012 “is patently false and I think that that’s been amply demonstrated.”

After laughing for a minute at a clip of Rice’s words, McCain said he was “almost speechless.”

“The information was totally misleading, totally false and for Susan Rice to say such a thing, I think it’s a little embarrassing, to tell you the truth,” he said.

Face The Nation

Posted in Russia, Ukraine, USA0 Comments

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