Campaign against anti-Semitism, or else

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

israelproject.GlobalDictionery

A petition telling Amnesty International to focus on “anti-Semitism” is pushed by The Israel Project, which published a 116 page propaganda manual to cover up Israeli crimes…

Stuart Littlewood, Shoa.org.uk –

Here’s a petition that just landed in my Inbox:

Amnesty International’s annual conference has rejected a motion to fight the rise of violent anti-Semitism in Britain. Studies show violent anti-Semitic attacks rose 48 percent in Britain in 2014. The resolution was the only one defeated during the entire conference.

According to its mission statement, Amnesty is a “worldwide movement of people campaigning to protect human rights… Around the world we protect people and communities who come under attack.” What about the human rights of Jews? What about the Jews who have been the victim of attacks across Europe?

Sign your name to tell Amnesty: Jews have human rights, too.

Amnesty was founded by the late Peter Benenson — a Jewish man who saved German children during the Holocaust when he was only 16 years old. What would Peter Benenson say about Amnesty today?

The conference resolution urged Amnesty to “campaign against anti-Semitism in the UK and lobby the government to tackle the rise in attacks.” It seems Amnesty UK’s Board supported the resolution but the majority of members didn’t.

Jews probably enjoy more rights here than they would in their very own Jewish state. There are already enough organisations fighting anti-semitism and the UK government is pouring £millions of our tax money into the effort. If Amnesty doesn’t want to join the fight and perhaps feels there are other issues it should concentrate on, who’s to quarrel with that?

Besides, across large swathes of the country anti-semitism, violent or otherwise, is unheard-of. I sense that the British people are becoming weary of the incessant bleating about anti-semitism, the way it is continually used to silence debate, and how the government indulges a section of the public whose tribal brethren commit endless atrocities in the Holy Land and cruelly deny our Palestinian friends their rights.

It’s The Israel Project, again

The petition against Amnesty has been got up by TIP – The Israel Project – which describes itself as “a non-partisan American educational organization dedicated to informing the media and public conversation about Israel and the Middle East. TIP does not lobby and is not connected to any government. TIP informs, providing facts, access to experts and keen analysis.”

Oh really? Not long ago TIP produced a training manual to help the worldwide Zionist movement win its propaganda war, keep their ill-gotten territorial gains in the Holy Land and persuade international audiences to accept that their crimes are necessary and actually conform to “shared values” between Israel and the civilised West.

The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionery

The manual teaches how to justify the slaughter, the ethnic cleansing, the land-grabbing and the blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and makes it all smell sweet with a liberal squirt of persuasive language. It is designed to hoodwink us ignorant and gullible Americans and Europeans into believing that we actually share values with the racist regime in Israel and that its abominable behaviour is deserving of our support.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this manual still serves as a media communications primer for the army of cyber-scribblers that Israel’s Ministry of Dirty Tricks has recruited to spread Zionism’s poison across the internet.

Its first words set the tone: “Remember, it’s not what you say that counts. It’s what people hear.”

The manual’s numerous teachings, a small handful of which are reproduced here, are aimed at the mass of “persuadables” primarily American but also British. There is great emphasis from the start on isolating and demonising democratically-elected Hamas.

 “Peace can only be made with adversaries who want to make peace with you. Terrorist organizations like Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad are, by definition, opposed to peaceful co-existence, and determined to prevent reconciliation. I ask you, how do you negotiate with those who want you dead?”

Hamas and Hezbollah are organisations created out of necessity to resist Israeli aggression and only regarded as terrorists by the Washington-Tel Aviv axis and by US-Israeli stooges in London and some other capitals.

Bush used this definition: “The term “terrorism” means an activity that —
(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and

(ii) appears to be intended —

(A) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(B) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(C) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.”

The joke is that it describes the antics of Israel perfectly.

“There is NEVER, EVER, any justification for the deliberate slaughter of innocent women and children. NEVER…. there is one fundamental principle that all peoples from all parts of the globe will agree on: civilized people do not target innocent women and children for death.”

Indeed. Civilised people don’t. Defence for Children International Palestine and UN agencies agree that around 548 children were slaughtered and well over 3,000 injured in the Jewish state’s assault on Gaza last summer. What, I wonder, would Peter Benenson have made of that? I imagine he’d be rescuing Palestinian children and urging British Jews to intervene firmly with their kin in Israel. There have been many warnings from Jews themselves that resentment of Israel’s atrocities would be felt by Jewish communities around the world, so the rise in anti-semitism is no surprise.

“Humanize Rockets: Paint a vivid picture”

The manual pumps out trashy advice galore:

“Successful communications is about pointing out a few core principles of shared values — such as democracy and freedom — and repeating them over and over again…. You need to start with empathy for both sides, remind your audience that Israel wants peace and then repeat the messages of democracy, freedom, and peace over and over again…. we need to repeat the message, on average, ten times to be effective.”

Is democracy a shared value? Hardly. Israel is an ethnocracy. Is freedom a shared value? The world is still waiting for Israel to allow the Palestinians their freedom. Israel wants peace? Israel has never met its peace agreement obligations. Every action is directed at keeping the conflict going until the Israelis have stolen enough land and established enough ‘facts on the ground’ – Jews-only settlements, highways, disconnected Palestinian bantustans – to enable them to redraw the map and make the occupation PERMANENT.

“When talking about a Palestinian partner, it is essential to distinguish between Hamas and everyone else. Only the most anti-Israel, pro- Palestinian American expects Israel to negotiate with Hamas, so you have to be clear that you are seeking a ‘moderate Palestinian partner’.”

Where are the moderate Israeli partners?

“The fight is over IDEOLOGY – not land; terror, not territory. Thus, you must avoid using Israel’s religious claims to land as a reason why Israel should not give up land. Such claims only make Israel look extremist to people who are not religious Christians or Jews.”

If the fight isn’t about land, why did Israel steal it at gunpoint? And why won’t they give it back when told to by the UN?

“Many on the left see an “Israel v. Palestinian” crisis where Israel is Goliath and the Palestinians are David. It is critical that they understand that this is an Arab-Israeli crisis and that the force undermining peace is Iran and their proxies Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. You must not call Hamas just Hamas. Call them what they are: Iran-backed Hamas. Indeed, when they know that Iran is behind Hamas and Hezbollah, they are much more supportive of Israel.”

By the same token we must call the racist regime what it is: US-backed Israel.

“The situation in the Middle East may be complicated, but all parties should adopt a simple approach: peace first, political boundaries second.”

The correct approach is for the international community to first insist that Israel complies with international law and the many UN resolutions it has contemptuously ignored. The boundaries are already defined. Whatever issues remain to be decided, Palestinians should not have to negotiate under occupation and with a gun to their heads.

The manual gives a long glossary of terms. Here’s a sample….

  •  “Deliberately firing rockets into civilian communities”: Combine terrorist motive with civilian visuals and you have the perfect illustration of what Israel faced in Gaza and Lebanon. Especially with regard to rocket attacks but useful for any kind of terrorist attack, deliberate is the right word to use to call out the intent behind the attacks. This is far more powerful than describing the attacks as “random.”

Israelis know all about deliberately bombarding civilian targets. And they are careful not to mention that Sderot, until recently the only Israeli township within range of Gazan rockets, is built on the ruins of an ethnically cleansed Palestinian village whose inhabitants were forced from their homes by Jewish terrorists.

  • “Humanize Rockets”: Paint a vivid picture of what life is like in Israeli communities that are vulnerable to attack. Yes, cite the number of rocket attacks that have occurred. But immediately follow that up with what it is like to make the nightly trek to the bomb shelter.

Would Israel (or TIP) care to tell the world how many bombs, rockets and shells (including the illegal and prohibited variety) its F-15s, tanks, armed drones, helicopter gunships and navy gunboats have poured into the densely-packed humanity that is Gaza? And how many Palestinian homes they have destroyed?

The TIP’s propaganda manual, which runs to 116 pages, is a squalid piece of work which recycles many of the discredited techniques used by the advertising industry before standards of honesty, decency and truthfulness were brought in to protect the public.

It seeks to undermine with clever words and disinformation the inalienable rights pledged by the UN and the world’s civilized nations to all peoples, including the Palestinians. Amnesty has no need to hear lectures or accept petitions on human rights from TIP.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Campaign against anti-Semitism, or else

The Use and Abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Act on behalf of I$raHell

NOVANEWS
 Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr
Schumer.aipac

Numerous pro-Israel organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, filed amicus briefs supporting the expansive reading of the ATA…… one searches in vain for a single instance in which Israel has been held accountable for its wrongs—for its illegal settlements,[18] its reprisal destruction of Palestinian homes, its use of excessive force, its killing of Rachel Corrie, an unarmed peace activist (by a bulldozer paid for by American funds),[19] its shelling of a United Nations compound,[20] and many others. This disparity should offend anyone with a sense of right and wrong…

By Kyle J. Bristow

It is a formidable challenge to criticize anti-terrorism measures without seeming callous, naive, or cynical. On the one hand, the use of indiscriminate violence to achieve political or religious aims should be condemned and the victims of such acts treated with compassion. On the other hand, we must live in the real world. In that world, there are persons and groups whose professed sympathy for victims of terrorism is imbued with, one might even say masks, a large dose of narrow self-interest—a self-interest that, put in action, dangerously skews the enactment, interpretation, and enforcement of such laws.

Take, for example, the United States’ Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. 2333 (henceforth abbreviated as ATA), and the uses made of it by what one might call the Jewish Ethnocentric Network (JEN).[1] The ATA may have had commendable, albeit limited, purposes at its creation, but over the last decade it has undergone a radical transformation, to the point that it is now a potent weapon to advance the JEN causes at the expense of larger American interests.

The ATA is one of many American federal laws aimed at deterring “terrorism.”[2] The impetus behind its enactment stemmed from two terrorist act incidents in the 1980s:the hijacking and murder committed by members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization on the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985, which included the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly Jewish man in a wheelchair who was thrown into the sea; and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 270 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 270. The victims of these terrorist acts, bringing suit against the persons and organizations that perpetrated, or allegedly perpetrated, them, encountered jurisdictional and procedural hurdles. They therefore lobbied Congress, and against this background Senator Charles Grassley reintroduced the ATA in 1992.[3] The Act, now codified at 18 U.S.C. 2333, provides:

 Any national of the United States injured in his or her person, property, or business by reason of an act of international terrorism . . . may sue therefor in any appropriate district court of the United States and shall recover threefold the damages he or she sustains . . .

“International terrorism” is defined in 18 U.S.C. 2331 as activities that:

(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.

 A notable aspect of this statute is that, on its face at least, it provides only for primary liability, i.e., liability for the person who committed the terrorist act, but not for secondary liability, i.e., liability for those who aided, abetted, or otherwise provided support for the primary actor. This aspect is critical, for few terrorists have the resources to pay substantial judgments. Accordingly, it is not surprising that Senator Grassley and others among the ATA’s initial proponents regarded it as having limited scope and as largely symbolic.[4]

As one would expect given its limited reach, the ATA was rarely invoked in the first decade after its passage; indeed, not a single published opinion prior to 2002 even mentioned it. This changed radically, however, as a result of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinions (there are three of them) in the Boim v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, et al. case.

In 1996, David Boim, a Jewish teenager living in Israel who was both an Israeli and an American citizen, was shot to death by two men at a bus stop near Jerusalem. His parents filed suit in federal court in the United States in 2000, alleging that the killers had been members of Hamas. The suit named as defendants, among others, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the American Muslim Society, and the Quranic Literacy Institute. Boim’s parents argued that, although these defendants had not committed the killing, they were nonetheless liable under the ATA because they allegedly had contributed funds to Hamas—in other words, that they were secondarily liable.

The Seventh Circuit panel (Judge Rovner wrote the majority opinion) was sympathetic to the Boims but struggled to find legal grounds on which to support the secondary liability the Boims sought. In the first appeal, 291 F.3d 1000 (7th Cir. 2002) (an interlocutory appeal prior to trial taken by the defendants from the trial court’s denial of their motion to dismiss), the Seventh Circuit concluded, in a lengthy opinion, that the defendants could be held liable on an aiding and abetting theory borrowed from traditional tort law. The case then resumed in the trial court, which granted summary judgment on liability to the Boims as to three of the defendants and sent issues regarding both liability and damages as to one defendant to a jury. The jury rendered a verdict of $52 million against all defendants, which was trebled, in accordance with the statute, to $156 million.

The defendants appealed again. Several Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), filed amicus curiae briefs in support of the Boims and a broad reading of the ATA. In this appeal (511 F.3d 707 [7th Cir. 2007]), Judge Rovner again writing for the majority upheld the holding of secondary liability based on an aiding and abetting theory that the court had set forth in the earlier appeal. Defendants then requested a hearing en banc (of all the judges in the Seventh Circuit), which was granted. Again, numerous Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, filed amicus briefs supporting the Boims and an expansive reading of the ATA.In this third appellate decision (549 F.3d 685 [7th Cir. 2008]), Judge Posner for the en banc majority rejected the earlier panels’ reliance on an aiding and abetting theory for secondary liability, finding no support for it in the text or legislative history of the statute, but approved a different secondary liability theory: that Section 18 U.S.C. 2333 (the ATA section) incorporated by reference two criminal statutes, namely Sections 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B.

The en banc court’s holding that Section 2333 incorporates Sections 2339A and 2339B is odd in many respects, not least the timing of the enactment of these various laws.Section 2339A, enacted in 1994, provides criminal penalties for those who provide “material support or resources” with the knowledge or intention that the support is to be used “in preparation for, or in carrying out” any of over two dozen violent crimes.[5] Section 2339B, enacted in 1996 shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing, provides criminal penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment plus substantial fines for whoever “knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization,” as “terrorist organization” is defined under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Neither Section 2339A nor Section 2339B makes any reference to Section 2333. Of more relevance to the Seventh Circuit’s incorporation by reference theory, nothing in the text or legislative history of Section 2333 suggests that in 1992, when the ATA was enacted, Congress intended to incorporate by reference statutes, such as Sections 2339A and 2339B, that did not then exist and would not be enacted until years later. The Seventh Circuit reached this logic-challenged result only by a contorted interpretation of the term “international terrorism” as it is used in the ATA.

The Seventh Circuit’s approval of secondary liability under the ATA—first on an aiding and abetting theory and then on an incorporation by reference of the criminal material support statutes theory—opened the floodgates for the use of the ATA in civil litigation. Since the first Boim decision in 2002, there have been well over a hundred published decisions involving the ATA, and the number promises to get even larger. The following lists several general traits of this wave of ATA cases.

First, most of the cases, like Boim itself, involve Jewish plaintiffs (often Israeli as well as Jewish). A review of the published decisions annotated to Section 2333 in the United States Code Annotated shows that approximately 70 percent of the annotated cases involved Jewish plaintiffs. Examples include Rothstein v. UBS AG, 798 F.3d 82 (2d Cir. 2013); Licci v. Lebanese Canadian Bank, SAL, 673 F.3d 50 (2d Cir. 2012); Kaplan v. Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 2014 WL 3610784 (D.D.C. July 23, 2014); Wultz v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 864 F.Supp.2d 24 (D.D.C. 2012); Abecassis v. Wyatt, 785 F.Supp.2d 614 (S.D. Tex. 2011); Gill v. Arab Bank, PLC, 893 F.Supp2d 474 (E.D.N.Y. 2012); and Weiss v. National Westminster Bank PLC, 936 F.Supp.2d 100 (E.D.N.Y. 2013). Cases such as In re Chiquita Brands International, Inc., 690 F.Supp.2d 1296 (S.D.Fla. 2010), which involve neither Jewish plaintiffs nor defendants that are avowed enemies of Israel, seem almost anomalous in this context.

Second, the interpretation of the ATA to encompass secondary liability, particularly on a “material support” theory, has brought within the statute’s scope a wide array of defendants, including banks, e.g., Rothstein v. UBS AG and Gill v. Arab Bank, charities and educational organizations, e.g., Boim, businesses such as oil and gas companies, e.g., Abecassis, and media, e.g., Kaplan v. Al Jazeera, 2011 WL 2314783 (S.D.N.Y June 7, 2011). Many of these entities were attractive as defendants because of their deep pockets. The ATA lawsuits also, however, served the purpose of discouraging banks, businesses, donors, media, and others from having transactions with the alleged terrorist organizations, even though the banks, businesses, donors, et alia, may have had only tenuous connections to any alleged terrorist aims or actions—as, for example, where banks engaged only in purely commercial, arms’ length transactions or donors earmarked their donations exclusively for humanitarian purposes.[6],[7]

Third, if an ATA claim survives the initial motion to dismiss, discovery—i.e., the pretrial phase in civil litigation in which a party can obtain evidence from the opposing party by means of discovery devices such as requests for production of documents, requests for answers to interrogatories, and depositions—often gives the plaintiffs an enormous tactical advantage. Many ATA defendants, especially banks and charities, have extraordinary confidentiality concerns that can easily be compromised or violated by the invasive discovery devices available in civil litigation. In the Linde v. Arab Bank case, for example, the bank was caught on the horns of a dilemma: on the one hand, the district court supported the plaintiffs’ demands that the bank turn over its banking records to the plaintiffs in discovery; on the other hand, three foreign banking authorities threatened the bank with legal action for violating national bank secrecy laws if the banks did so. When the bank refused to produce the documents, the district court sanctioned the bank by permitting the jury to infer from the nondisclosure that the bank had knowingly provided services to a designated foreign terrorist organization.[8]

Fourth, if an ATA claim survives all pretrial motions and goes to a jury, the risks of a huge plaintiffs’ verdict are very great, particularly in light of the ATA’s treble damages provision. To put it mildly, juries do not like terrorists, or persons they have been convinced are terrorists, and they are generally not well-disposed toward foreign banks or Islamic charities. As mentioned, the plaintiffs in the Boim case received an award of $156 million after trebling. The plaintiffs in Ungar v. Palestinian Liberation Organization received a damages award of approximately $116 million. The plaintiffs in Calderon-Cardona v. Bank of New York Mellon, HSBC, 770 F.3d 993 (2d Cir. 2014), received compensatory damages of $78 million and punitive damages of $300 million. Other examples of outsized awards could be provided.

Finally, even as defendants’ exposure under ATA claims widens, their defenses are being narrowed. Many nations have heretofore been able to invoke absolute immunity from ATA (and other) claims in accordance with the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, but that will change if Senator Charles Schumer succeeds in convincing Congress to pass his Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). JASTA, indeed, would not only remove sovereign immunity as a defense to ATA claims, but would expressly incorporate secondary liability into the ATA, just in case some courts decline to follow the Boim decision as a matter of precedent. Moreover, JASTA seems designed to weaken the requirement, which many courts have read into the statute, of a substantial causal link between the plaintiff’s injuries and the defendant’s alleged actions. The act broadly states that its purpose is to provide civil litigants with the fullest possible basis, consistent with the Constitution, to seek relief against persons, entities and foreign states, wherever acting and wherever they may be found, which have provided material support or resources, directly or indirectly, to foreign organizations that engage in terrorist activities.

Impelled by Senator Schumer’s aggressive sponsorship, JASTA passed the Senate in December 2014 and now awaits passage in the House. Schumer has fulsomely proclaimed that his motives for sponsoring this act are sympathy for victims of terrorism and revulsion of those who support the terrorists, and he can be found posing ostentatiously in many photographs with victims of the 9/11 attacks in support of the act. Given, however, that Schumer believes he is on a mission from God to be Israel’s guardian in the Senate[9] and, it seems, has never publicly criticized Israel,[10] one can be forgiven the suspicion that he is fully aware that JASTA, if it passes, will disproportionately benefit Jewish victims of allegedly terrorist acts.

Connecting the dots above, a diagram emerges of the ATA as a powerful weapon in the arsenal of the JEN’s pro-Israel and anti-terrorism campaigns. The realpolitik import of the diagram, indeed, is so self-evident that even elements within the JEN in moments of candor acknowledge it. An August 2014 article in Reuters by Alison Frankel, which describes Israel’s “sudden about-face”—one could also say “double-cross”—in its support of the ATA claims brought by the parents of Daniel Wultz, an American-Israeli teenager killed by a jihadist bombing in Tel Aviv in 2007, provides an instructive example.[11] The lawsuit alleges that Hamas was using Bank of China accounts to launder money and names the Bank of China as a defendant. Initially, the Israeli government supported the lawsuit; indeed, according to the plaintiffs, the Israeli government supplied the specific information about Bank of China transactions that is the backbone of their case. Later, however, Israel’s economic ties to China became an issue, particularly in light of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned state visit to Beijing. The Israeli government then refused to cooperate with the plaintiffs, who felt betrayed. Frankel writes:

The victims’ lawyers claim that the suits against Bank of China would never have been filed had Israel not promised to support the litigation—that, in fact, Israel considered U.S. litigation under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act an indispensable element of its national security campaign to choke off terror financing. . . .

Filings in the litigation . . . amplify the record on Israel’s initial support for the Bank of China litigation and its more recent decision to handicap the cases. The filings detail Israel’s novel tactic of using U.S. litigation to advance its national security objectives: After Israeli diplomacy couldn’t convince the Chinese to shut down suspicious accounts, Israeli operatives, according to the plaintiffs’ briefs, fed hard-won intelligence about alleged Bank of China terrorist accounts to private lawyers, with the express intention of prompting American victims to sue the bank. High-ranking Israeli officials personally assured some of the victims’ families that private U.S. litigation was in Israel’s national security interest. Yet when the country’s strategy changed, Israel walked away from the litigation.

Frankel further notes how a “U.S. congresswoman hand-delivered [a letter from the plaintiffs] to [Netanyahu],” trying, unsuccessfully, to persuade the Israeli government to keep its initial commitment.

These conclusions are corroborated by a verdict rendered February 23, 2015 by a jury in Manhattan, in the Sokolow, et al. v. Palestinian Authority, et al. case, that found the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority liable under the ATA for supporting terrorist attacks in Israel 2002 and 2004 that left a number of Jewish persons dead or wounded.[12] The jury’s $218.5 million award was trebled, in accordance with the ATA’s provisions, to $655.5 million, threatening the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, which was already suffering because Israel has withheld $100 million in tax revenues from it as punishment for the Authority’s decision to join the International Criminal Court.[13]

This situation undercuts any claim the JEN might make that they are seeking to avert violence by channeling conflicts into courtrooms instead of battlefields. On the one hand, the JEN bring lawsuits under the ATA in the United States, a favorable venue for Jewish plaintiffs.[14] On the other hand, they take extreme measures, including freezing tax revenues intended to support the Palestinian civilian population, to punish the Palestinians for trying to use international judicial processes, such as the International Criminal Court, over which the JEN has less control than over ATA actions in the United States.[15]  

Indeed, there is an active and apparently well-funded organization in Israel, Shurat HaDin, that operates on this premise: to instigate and support litigation in support of Israel’s interests where it can do so, including United States courts, while attempting to block Palestinians’ use of judicial processes; its self-described mission is to use the “court systems around the world to go on the legal offensive against Israel’s enemies.”[16] This Clausewitzean use of legal systems to conduct war by other means is sometimes called “lawfare.”

Conclusion

This article validates several conclusions. First, the Israeli government, unsurprisingly, views U.S. litigation under the ATA as “an indispensable element” of its national security campaigns. Obviously, the Israeli government’s involvement includes supporting ATA claims by American or Israeli Jews; but it is a fair inference that this involvement goes well beyond mere support—that the Israeli government actively instigates and promotes such lawsuits, unless it concludes that its national security objectives counsel otherwise.

Second, the Israeli government, despite its Schumer-like protestations of sympathy for victims of terror attacks, will turn against such victims if the government considers other objectives, such as good economic relations with China, more important. If Israel will withdraw its support even for Jewish victims, one can easily imagine how little weight Israel gives to non-Jewish interests, such as those of the American people who have opened their judicial processes to them, with regard to ATA claims.

Finally, it is readily apparent that the uses the JEN makes of ATA suits encompass a multifocal approach, involving not only the American judicial system but Congress, which enacts anti-terrorism laws and whose individual congresspersons advocate on behalf of Jewish ATA plaintiffs, and the Executive Branch, which enforces these laws and also promulgates politicized lists of countries and organizations that sponsor or engage in terrorism.[17]

So why should we care?

We should care if, as American citizens, we object to a foreign country, such as Israel, using our judicial resources as a tool in that country’s national security arsenal. ATA lawsuits are often complex; even if the cases are resolved pretrial, much judicial time and effort must be expended addressing them, especially if appeals are involved. The Boim case, for example, went up on appeal three times. Moreover, ATA claims that survive pretrial motions invariably involve trials that last weeks or even months. Further, if the plaintiffs receive a favorable judgment, American judicial resources must be deployed to address the difficult issues that arise in enforcement of the judgment. These burdens on our judicial system arise in the context of present heavy caseloads and tight budgets for our courts, particularly the federal courts.

We should care if we believe that our foreign policy should be conducted, at least primarily, by our Executive Branch, as our Constitution requires, and not by private parties bringing lawsuits under the ATA. ATA claims, if successful, can result in huge judgments against the defendants. If those judgments are against a country—and if Schumer is able to get JASTA passed, countries will lose their sovereign immunity defense in ATA cases—those judgments could well impede the Executive Branch’s ability to give aid, negotiate treaties, or otherwise develop relationships and resolve differences with the country. And many, if not most, of the countries which have found or will find themselves defendants in ATA actions are, not coincidentally, enemies of Israel.

We should care if we believe there are many innocent victims of violence and oppression in the Middle East, who deserve food, education, and a chance to live in peace. Cutting off humanitarian aid to such persons simply because the aid is provided by an organization that has been designated by our government as a terrorist organization, which has been a general effect of ATA litigation (see note 7 above), is objectionable on several levels, including: the objectivity and fairness of our government’s designation of organizations as terrorist is subject to legitimate criticism; punishing persons for accepting humanitarian aid from a “terrorist organization” when the persons are not even members or supporters of that organization savors of reprisal punishment, a violation of the Geneva Convention; and cutting off humanitarian aid in this way fails to address that poverty, ignorance, and despair can create conditions favorable to the recruitment of persons to terrorist organizations.

We should also care if we believe that the depiction of the “sinned by/sinned against” ratio between Israel and its enemies is badly skewed in Israel’s favor by critical elements of our society, including our Congress, much of our news media, powerful activist organizations like the ADL, and the moguls who dominate our entertainment industries. ATA litigation, as it has developed in the last decade or so, replicates that imbalance in the judicial realm. Reading the ATA cases, one learns much of the wrongs done to Jewish persons such as David Boim or David Wultz, and one finds several such cases in which large judgments have been rendered against the perpetrators. But one searches in vain for a single instance in ATA or similar cases in which Israel has been held accountable for its wrongs—for its illegal settlements,[18] its reprisal destruction of Palestinian homes, its use of excessive force, its killing of Rachel Corrie, an unarmed peace activist (by a bulldozer paid for by American funds),[19] its shelling of a United Nations compound,[20] and many others. This disparity should offend anyone with a sense of right and wrong, a patriotic love of the nobler aspects of the American character, and a concern that America, having allowed the JEN to sow the wind for its self-serving purposes, will reap the whirlwind of hatred and retribution.


Kyle J. Bristow is an attorney licensed to practice law in Michigan and Ohio. His website can be viewed at www.KyleBristow.com.


PHOTO: Charles Schumer speaking at the AIPAC conference in 2014.

 

[1] This acronym, admittedly, is awkward, but one needs a term broad enough to encompass Jewish special pl

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Use and Abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Act on behalf of I$raHell

Watering I$raHell Image: NY Times obscures I$raHell water & resource theft

NOVANEWS
 Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr
BoyDrinkingWater
The New York Times hailed Israel’s ingenuity in addressing its water needs, but played down how Israel exploits its military domination to divert water away from Palestinians and to Israelis, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Paul Pilar, ConsortiumNews, June 5,2015 –  Israel is the object of widespread admiration for its economic and technical accomplishments and the ingenuity that went into them — for being a nation that made the desert bloom. Much of the admiration is quite warranted, with Israeli talent and resourcefulness having not only produced blooms on kibbutzes but also a leading high-tech sector today.

The comparisons involved, however, usually leave unstated how much of the accomplishment rests on the prerogatives Israel has wrested for itself as an occupying power (not to mention the many billions of dollars through the years of U.S. assistance to Israel, which effectively has shifted burdens from Israeli to U.S. taxpayers).

A section of the barrier -- erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians -- with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy's famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, "Ich bin ein Berliner." (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

Three years ago, presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a speech in Jerusalem that illustrated the kind of incompletely based comparisons that are typical. Referring to the disparity (which he actually understated) between the per capita gross domestic product of Israel and that of areas assigned to the Palestinian Authority, Romney’s explanation was: “Culture makes all the difference” — by which he meant that something akin to the Protestant work ethic drove Israeli enterprise but was missing from Arab culture.

He made no mention of the numerous physical, legal and resource impediments, within a few miles of where he was standing, to Palestinian economic activity that were part of the Israeli occupation, ranging from denial of building permits to prohibitions on Arab use of transportation networks. Of course, Romney’s motivation for saying what he did undoubtedly had something to do with the audience and pocketbooks to which he was appealing (he was speaking at a fundraiser attended by prominent Jewish-American backers).

Moreover, Romney is a very wealthy man who repeatedly demonstrated in other ways during the campaign his difficulty in comprehending the circumstances of those less well off. But his remarks suggested a view of Israel and the Palestinians that was both sincerely held and shared by many other Americans.

Even more to the point in understanding better the underpinnings of Israeli success are respects in which that success has benefited not only comparatively but absolutely from having conquered, and continuing to control, territory on which other people live. Israel has exploited resources in the Palestinian territories because it has the military strength to do so, with land being the most obvious and fundamental resource.

With control of the land, Israel enforces differential use of man-made as well as natural resources, to the benefit of Israelis and the detriment of Palestinians. The reserving of the best highways in the West Bank for use only by Israelis, for example, bestows an obvious benefit on Israelis in enabling them to conduct their business more efficiently, without being slowed down by any annoying Palestinian vehicles.

Think of this arrangement as HOT lanes in which who gets to use them is determined not by willingness to form a car pool or to pay a toll but instead by an occupying army that admits onto the entrance ramps only members of the favored ethnic group.

Among natural resources, water is vitally important and also involves Israelis benefiting absolutely as well as comparatively from their being an occupying power. That is why it is especially discouraging to read Isabel Kershner’s article in the New York Times about management by Israel of water resources. [The Times also fails to notes that Kershner is an Israeli citizen.]

Firmly in the blooming-desert tradition, the article is a laudatory piece about how through technology and shrewd regulation Israel has beaten a drought and taught the sort of lessons from which thirsty Californians could benefit. Half of the above-the-fold space on the Times front page is occupied by a picture of a sparkling blue hotel swimming pool against a backdrop of the barren Negev desert.

SwimmingPool

The article barely mentions how water has been a factor in conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and even that brief mention may leave only the impression that Israel is living up to its water-related obligations in the Oslo accords and that Palestinians are whining about the price they have to pay for water. The caption of the main picture (of an aqueduct in the West Bank) accompanying the after-the-jump portion of the article says that “Israel shares a mountain aquifer with the West Bank, and provides water to the Palestinians.”

What the article does not say is that a major factor in Israel’s ability to beat droughts and to fulfill demand from its own citizens for water is that it uses its control over the Palestinian territories to consume, heavily and disproportionately, water resources from those territories — and in so doing, to deny those same resources to the Palestinians. This involves principally, though not exclusively, aquifers in the West Bank.

Of water currently being drawn from West Bank aquifers, Palestinian residents of the West Bank use only 17 percent. Jewish settlers in the West Bank use 10 percent, and the remaining 73 percent goes to Israel proper. The water problems of West Bank Palestinians are exacerbated by Israeli restrictions on drilling new wells and repairing old pipes. The Israeli-built wall in the West Bank, which lies east of some of the most exploitable parts of the mountain aquifer, eases settler and Israeli use of the nearby wells and separates many Palestinians from their traditional water supplies.

SwimmingPool2

A similar pattern of use prevails with Jordan River water. As Kershner’s article notes, Israel extracts much of the water from the Jordan River system by moving it from Lake Tiberias to drier parts of Israel.Even though only a very small percentage of the Jordan River itself abuts Israeli territory and most of the river forms the boundary between the occupied West Bank and the kingdom of Jordan, Israel denies Palestinians any access to the river water.

The situation for residents of the Gaza Strip is even worse, and not only because of the damage to water infrastructure from Israel’s military assaults and blockade. Gaza depends for water on a coaster aquifer that straddles the boundary with Israel and in which the underwater flow is from east to west.

Israel has significantly reduced the amount of water that reaches the Gaza Strip by constructing a heavy concentration of deep wells on its side of the border. That Israeli upstream exploitation and the Palestinian drawing of what remains of the aquifer in the Gaza Strip have lowered both the level of the water table and water quality for Gazans, with much encroachment of saline sea water.

That swimming pool pictured on the front page of the Times is kept full not only because of Israeli ingenuity, although that is part of what is involved. It is full also because Israel uses its power over Palestinian resources to exploit them for the benefit of Israelis without regard for the deleterious effect on the Palestinians themselves.

The passionate American attachment to Israel has several roots, including well-founded admiration for Israeli accomplishments. But a further root is ignorance of many of the ways in which what may be admirable in what Israel has accomplished is based in part on policies and practices that are not. Management of water resources is but one example.

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Results of World Zionist Congress election in the U.S.

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

Rabbi-Rick-Jacobs

Forward – The Association of Reform Zionists of America has scored a massive victory in the World Zionist Congress election in the United States. ARZA secured 56 seats out of a possible 145, winning nearly 40 percent of the votes cast – more than the next two slates combined.

Results of the election, voting for which continued from January through April, were released in New York on Friday. The World Zionist Congress will meet this fall for the first time since 2010.

The 500-person representative body of the Jewish people wields substantial control over three asset-rich institutions: the Jewish National Fund (which controls about 13 percent of Israel’s land), the Jewish Agency with a $475 million annual budget, and the World Zionist Organization. The congress determines how agencies within Israel allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for religious services and civil society projects.

The 190 Israeli representatives at the congress are allocated according to Knesset representation, while 165 delegates will represent the rest of the Jewish world.

“This overwhelming victory testifies to the power of the Reform Movement to mobilize as active partners in Israel’s present and future,” said Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. “As the largest and fastest-growing constituency of Jews in North America, Reform Jews recognize and value the importance of our voice in world Jewish affairs. We are mindful that our success in these elections comes at a critical moment for Israel, and we will use our influence to affect change through the vital work of the World Zionist Congress.”

“The sweeping victory for Progressive Judaism is a clear reflection of our love and commitment to the people and the State of Israel,” said ARZA President. “It demonstrates our desire to strengthen the fundamental democratic principles of the State of Israel and work toward a more religiously pluralistic and just society.

“Together with the Reconstructionist Movement, we campaigned on important issues such asreligious freedom, gender equality and support for a two-state solution. Now we can proudly say that our delegation – the largest of the U.S. by far – will come together in October in Jerusalem to express our passion and involvement as well as our concern for the future.”

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Betty McCollum calls for human rights for Palestinian children

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr
McCollumLetterPalestinianChildren

Congressional Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minn) is calling on her colleagues to join her “in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Department of State to make the human rights of Palestinian children a priority in our bilateral relationship with Israel.”

Over the past decade, at least 7,000 Palestinian children living in the Occupied West Bank have been subject to ill-treatment by Israeli occupation authorities.   They are arrested and detained in a military system that denies them their human rights. This was the subject of a detailed analysis by UNICEF in 2013. For more information on this issue, see:   Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child.

In her letter, McCollum also included three news reports about Israeli violence against Palestinian children, including an American citizen beaten severely by an Israeli officer and a seven-year-old boy arrested by Israeli forces.

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Sheldon Adelson To Host Secret Anti-BDS Summit for Jewish Donors

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

AdelsonMilstein

Organized by several other top Jewish funders, including Hollywood entertainment mogul Haim Saban, Israeli-born real-estate developer Adam Milstein and Canadian businesswoman Heather Reisman….. attendees will be ADL, Hillel, Jewish Federations, and StandWithUs.

Nathan Guttman, Forward –  Leading Jewish mega-donors have summoned pro-Israel activists for a closed-door meeting in Las Vegas to establish, and fund, successful strategies for countering the wave of anti-Israel activity on college campuses.

The meeting, taking place this weekend, will be hosted by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and wasorganized by several other top Jewish funders, including Hollywood entertainment mogul Haim Saban, Israeli-born real-estate developer Adam Milstein and Canadian businesswoman Heather Reisman.

Organizers have sought to keep the gathering secret and have declined to respond to inquiries from the Forward that would confirm the upcoming meeting with two separate informed sources.

The planned Vegas summit marks a shift in approach on the issue of anti-Israel activity on college campuses, whose growth in recent years has captured a top spot on the Jewish communal agenda, The initiative, in this case, did not come from students on the ground, nor did it emerge from work of the many organizations involved in pro-Israel activism on campus. Instead, it is an idea coming from wealthy Jewish philanthropists who have decided to take action. Their communiqués to Jewish groups invite them to come and brainstorm with them during a weekend gathering at the Venetian, Adelson’s luxury hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

Saban, a Los Angeles billionaire who is also a major Democratic donor with close ties to the Clintons, has been discussing the idea for more than a year, one source with firsthand information of the initiative said. Saban has spoken to Israeli officials, including the former ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and top officials in the Israeli foreign ministry, about setting up a special task force to deal with increased calls on campuses to adopt measures of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, measures commonly referred to as BDS.

According to an official in the Jewish community, it was another California philanthropist of Israeli background, Milstein, who put together the initiative. He got mega-donor Adelson and Reisman, who in recent years has been increasingly involved in initiatives to support Israel, on board.

The donors’ invitation came as somewhat of a surprise to at least some of the invitees. An official with one major group said leaders of the organizations were not aware of the initiative before receiving the last-minute invite and had not been consulted as it was crystallized. The official added that leaders of these groups were not quite certain what the goal of the Vegas summit is. Another Jewish organization official made clear that while his group intends to participate, it will not dispatch a top-level leader to the event.

All Jewish organizations contacted by the Forward declined to speak on record, citing the request of organizers to keep the gathering away from the public eye.

According to several prospective participants, Jewish groups planning to attend the meeting include Hillel, StandWithUs, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federations of North America. The Israel Action Network, a communal body created specifically to counter BDS and delegitimization of Israel, will not attend, although it will be represented by one of its parent organizations, JFNA.

J Street U, which is the student arm of the dovish Israel lobby, has a presence on most campuses and opposes BDS, was not invited.

The purpose, an official with one of the groups invited said, was to “find the best strategies” for countering campus anti-Israel campaigns and to “make sure there is funding” for those programs. However, groups were not asked to prepare a pitch to present to the panel of Jewish mega-donors.

Another official explained that the request for secrecy was “reasonable” because “it makes sense not to have the public in the room when you sit with funders to set priorities.”

Campus activity has been among the fastest-growing fields in Jewish organizations. Most major groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the ADL and the American Jewish Committee, have set up operations geared at students,alongside groups whose main focus has always been campus activity, such as Hillel and ICC. Yet despite the growth in pro-Israel activism, pro-Palestinian-driven protests and resolutions have been on the rise. The past year has seen a record number of 15 universities adopt resolutions demanding divestiture of college funds from Israel.

#

RELATED ARTICLE: Investigative report by Abraham Greenhousein Electronic Intifada:

Israeli-American real estate mogul Adam Milstein  is known for soliciting funds on behalf of two student senate candidates at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) who espouse strong anti-Palestinian views…

…..emails revealed a close working relationship between Milstein and UCLA Hillel…

….. The uproar over Milstein’s UCLA donations, which had not been disclosed by the candidates, nearlyderailed the appointment of Oved to the more influential post of student regent and raised questions about the propriety of outside donors attempting to covertly influence student politics.

….. Milstein’s foundation also provides generous funding for the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange program in California, which offers free, guided trips to Israel for student leaders, part of alarger, international program that also targets university administrators, police chiefs, politicians, journalists, and other influencers.

[In 2009 Milstein was convicted of tax evasion and served three months in prison.]

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Democratic moneyman Monte Friedkin says he’ll only support Hillary if she promises support for I$raHell

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

monte-friedkin

“A phone call ain’t going to be good enough,” Friedkin said. “She has to look me straight in the face.”

PalmBeachPost – As Hillary Clinton makes her first 2016 presidential fundraising swing through Florida this week, don’t look for former Palm Beach County Democratic Party Chairman and longtime Democratic moneyman Monte Friedkin at any of her events.

Friedkin gave $5,000 to the Ready For Hillary PAC in 2013, but he says he’s not ready to help Clinton’s presidential campaign unless he gets personal reassurance from Clinton on her support for Israel.

“My concern is that she was secretary of state under Obama and I don’t think under the Obama Administration they’ve been so wonderful to Israel…Where do we have a better democratic friend in the Middle East than Israel, and we treat Israel like a third-class citizen,” said Friedkin, a Democratic National Committee finance chairman in the early 1990s and former vice president of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. He headed the Palm Beach County Democratic Party from 1998 to 2002.

Friedkin lives in Broward County now and has been less visible in politics — though he contributed more than $200,000 to Democrats in the 2014 election cycle.

Hillary Clinton

Friedkin, who said he has personally known Hillary and Bill Clinton for 25 years, said he’s not ready to support her for president until they talk in person about Israel.

“A phone call ain’t going to be good enough,” Friedkin said. “She has to look me straight in the face.”

Republicans — particularly in South Florida — have tried to chip away at Jewish voters’ overwhelming support for Democrats by questioning the pro-Israel credentials of Obama and other leading Dems.

But Friedkin, while expressing reservations about Clinton’s stance on Israel, said there’s no way he’ll back a Republican in 2016.

“I don’t have to play” in the 2016 presidential race, Friedkin said.  “I’m happy to stay the hell out of it.”

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I$raHell Seeks $4.5 billion annual aid

NOVANEWS
 Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
V22 Osprey

This would be on top of $1.2 billion worth of US war stocks in Israel, and nearly $500 million in annual funding for cooperative anti-rocket and missile defense programs in recent years…

Defense News, TEL AVIV, Israel (May 24, 2015) — Israel is seeking a hefty surge in annual security assistance from Washington and has begun preliminary talks with the US administration on a long-term package that would provide up to $45 billion in grant aid through 2028.

In recent months, working-level bilateral groups have begun to assess Israel’s projected security needs in the context of a new 10-year foreign military financing (FMF) deal that will kick in once the current agreement expires in 2017.

Under the existing, $30 billion agreement signed in 2007, annual FMF grant aid to Israel grew from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion minus, in recent years, rescissions of some $155 million due to a government mandated sequester.

Under the follow-on package, endorsed in principle by US President Barack Obama during a March 2013 visit to Tel Aviv, Israel wants “$4.2 billion to $4.5 billion” in annual FMF aid, a security source here said.

That’s on top of steadily increasing amounts of US war stocks prepositioned here and available for Israel’s emergency use, and nearly $500 million in annual funding for cooperative anti-rocket and missile defense programs in recent years.

US materiel prepositioned in Israel is valued at $1.2 billion. And just last week, the House Appropriations’ Defense subcommittee’s draft of the 2016 defense appropriations bill included $487.5 million in funding for various US-Israel active defense programs.

Meanwhile, the 2016 defense authorization bill approved by the House on May 19 calls for cooperation to develop an anti-tunneling defense system to deal with the subterranean threat.

In interviews, US and Israeli experts insisted that embryonic talks toward a new 10-year FMF deal are separate from any prospective compensation package the Obama administration may offer Israel in the event that the US and other world powers sign a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.

Similarly, the FMF package through 2028 would not be connected to any potential security enhancements Washington may be prepared to offer in the event that Israel would agree to a two-state peace deal with the Palestinian Authority.

Last week, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that the two sides have begun “preliminary, unofficial contacts regarding special American military aid” to compensate for threats from Iran or potential erosion of its qualitative military edge due to major new arms sales planned for Gulf Cooperation Council members.

“We are always in constant relations with the United States,” retired Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, director of political-military affairs at the Israeli Defense Ministry, told i24 cable news network last week.

But ongoing talks, he said, “are not vis-a-vis the coming agreement” with Iran, about which “our position is well known.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his opposition to the emerging agreement with Iran in a May 20 meeting with Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

“If we want to know what will happen with Iran as a result of this deal, just look at what happened with North Korea as a result of that deal. Despite the inspections and despite the commitments, North Korea became a nuclear power. … I think the international community is about to make the same mistake,” Netanyahu said.

AIPAC claims this is a “Cost-Effective Investment”

With Washington investing billions each year in troops and treasure to preserve its interests in the Middle East, Israelis and their US supporters on Capitol Hill argue that Israel is the bedrock of democratic, pro-American stability in a region roiling from unprecedented turmoil.

But given the multiplicity of increasingly sophisticated threats at its borders and beyond, Howard Kohr, chief executive officer of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), estimates that Israel may have to spend $160 billion on defense in the decade to come.

That would represent a significant increase from recent years for a budget-constrained nation that is already spending more as a percentage of gross domestic product — some 6 percent — than any other nation in the industrialized world, he said.

“Israel has always fought its own battles and has never asked American troops to fight on its behalf. Instead, it has requested US assistance to supplement the tremendous resources Israel already invests in its defense budget,” said Kohr in testimony last month before the House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations.

Kohr noted that Israeli defense spending coincides with “accelerated military investment fueled by the oil revenues of Israel’s Arab neighbors,” while Iran’s military spending has almost doubled over the past decade, despite economic sanctions.

“The military hardware, including American-built advanced fighter aircraft, vertical takeoff aircraft, naval vessels and armored troop carriers, that Israel must acquire over the next decade to maintain its [legislatively mandated qualitative military edge] is far more sophisticated and expensive than previous Israeli purchases from the United States,” he said.

Whereas F-16Is purchased under the existing FMF agreement cost some $45 million each, additional F-35s that Israel hopes to purchase later in the decade will cost more than three times that amount, the head of the premier pro-Israel lobby group said.

In parallel, Kohr said, “new realities of the rapidly changing Middle East have also led to many unexpected costs for Israel, including the need to build a $360 million barrier along Israel’s southern border with Egypt and a similar, more modern one at its northern border with Syria.”

Finally, Kohr emphasized that all but 26 percent of every dollar invested in Israeli FMF is spent in the United States on US-made defense goods and services that support the US economy.

“AIPAC strongly believes that the broader US foreign aid budget, which includes security assistance to Israel — nearly 75 percent of which comes right back to the United States through the purchase of US-made aircraft and other equipment — is an essential component of America’s national security strategy.”

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Hawkish Hillary Clinton and Her Israel-First Political Sugar Daddy Haim Saban

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

Saban.Hillary

 Hillary Clinton’s greatest billionaire backer has been Haim Saban, a dual United States-Israel citizen and hardline supporter of Israel, who has openly commented, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel… Saban is her “major financial backer: one could go so far as to say that he and his donor circle constitute her ‘base’ or at least a significant part of it… Opposition to Hillary is going to be depicted as misogynistic, like opposition to Obama has been depicted as racist…

By Stephen J. Sniegoski

Considerable attention has been devoted to the millions of dollars Bill and Hillary Clinton have received from wealthy individuals and corporations for their foundation and for themselves. Like many other things they have done, the Clintons were skirting on the fringes of illegality. And given the fact that Hillary was not just an ex-government official, like many who have benefited from their positions after they left the federal government, but someone who intended to return to the federal government in the very topmost spot, she and husband Bill were engaging in something quite unseemly. For it would not be beyond the realm of possibility that those who handed over tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clinton Foundation (some of which took place while Hillary was Secretary of State) or to the couple themselves for speaker fees expected favors in return. Now all of this has been bandied about in the mainstream media, but what gets little attention is that Hillary Clinton’s greatest billionaire backer has been Haim Saban, a dual United States-Israel citizen and hardline supporter of Israel, who has openly commented, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”[1]

With a net worth estimated at $3 billion, Saban is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 143rd richest person in the United States.   When asked last July how much he would give to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he responded, “As much as is needed.”[2]

Saban’s support for the Clintons goes back to Bill Clinton’s presidency when Saban and his wife slept in the Lincoln bedroom on a number of occasions, a privilege reserved for only the largest donors to the Democratic Party. Saban has supported Hillary in her senatorial and 2008 presidential campaigns and he, along with his Saban Family Foundation, donated from $10 million to $25 million to the Clinton Foundation.[3] The paleoconservative commentator Scott McConnell writes that in Hillary’s current run for the presidency, Haim Saban is her “major financial backer: one could go so far as to say that he and his donor circle constitute her ‘base’ or at least a significant part of it.”[4]

Saban was born in Egypt to a family that emigrated to Israel in 1956 with most of the Egyptian Jewish population after the Suez War, in which Israel, along with Britain and France, attacked Egypt. Although he has lived in the United States for over thirty years, Saban maintains a strong loyalty to Israel. For example, between 2008 and 2013, Saban gave $7.43 million to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a recognized tax exempt charitable group in the US that provides support for the well-being of members of the Israeli military, and he has headed campaigns that raised millions more for that organization.[5]

Saban’s foremost purpose is to aid Israel by increasing American support for the Jewish state. He has publicly described his method to achieve this goal by stating that the “three ways to be influential in American politics” are to make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.[6] Saban has used all those ways. In line with that thinking, he funds the American Israel Education Foundation, which is essentially a branch of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)—located in the same building—and specializes in taking members of Congress on all-expenses-paid tours of Israel where they receive huge doses of pro-Zionist propaganda.[7]

In 2002, Saban contributed $7 million dollars toward the cost of a new building for the Democratic National Committee, which was one of the largest known donations ever made to an American political party. In 2012, Saban gave $1 million to Unity 2012, a joint fund-raising Super Pac that divided its funds between Priorities USA Action, a PAC supporting President Obama’s candidacy, and two other PACs backing House and Senate Democrats.[8]

In 2002, he founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy (which in 2014 dropped the name Saban, though maintaining the connection with him) at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.[9] Brookings has been considered liberal or liberal/centrist in its orientation and is highly regarded in the mainstream. The purpose of the Saban Center appears to have been to bring aboard some scholars with the aforementioned liberal-centrist orientation who also take pro-Israel, neocon-like positions, and mixing them with scholars without those pro-Israel, neoconnish inclinations—a factor that protects the Center’s reputation for objectivity in line with the overall Brookings Institution. However, with the establishment of the Saban Center, pro-Israel neoconnish individuals have spread to other parts of the Brookings Institution.

While the Center could have only come into existence as a result of Saban’s money, it seems to have been largely the brainchild of Martin Indyk, a former deputy director of research at AIPAC, who wanted to create a foreign policy think tank with something of a pro-Israel tilt, but without an obvious pro-Israel bias, so that it could gain acceptance in mainstream circles. Indyk would become the founding director of the Saban Center and is currently executive vice president of the Brookings Institution. [10] In Hillary’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2008, Indyk served as an advisor on foreign policy.[11]

A few more examples of Brookings’ pro-Israel neocon orientation are as follows. Michael O’Hanlon, who was in the Saban Center and is now Co-Director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, supported the US war on Iraq in 2003, backed troop surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, signed letters and policy statements of the neocon Project for the New American Century, and advocated the use of American ground troops in Syria to oust the Assad regime.[12] In 2008, O’Hanlon supported John McCain for president, though he had been listed as an advisor to Hillary Clinton before she lost the nomination to Obama.[13]

Also, at the Saban Center, and remaining there after the Saban name was dropped, is Kenneth M. Pollack, who supported the invasion of Iraq, being the author of the influential 2002 book, The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq. Pollack was described by Philip Weiss, a critic of US and Israeli Middle East policies on the website Mondoweiss, as “the expert who did more than anyone else to promote the Iraq war among liberals, in New York Times editorials and a book saying that invading Iraq would remake the US image in the Arab world and get their minds off Palestine!”[14] Pollack also backed the 2007 surge in Iraq. In the Lawrence Franklin espionage trial, Pollack was mentioned as also having provided classified information to AIPAC employees in 2000 during the Clinton Administration when he was a Middle East analyst in the National Security Council.[15] Although Pollack was not charged with a crime, his apparent involvement would illustrate that he is recognized as a supporter of Israel by AIPAC. Much more recently, on March 24, 2015, Pollack testified before a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John McCain, that Iran was far more dangerous than ISIS or al Qaeda, stating that “It has a greater ability to control the region and sustain that control if allowed to do so.”[16] Note that Israel perceives Iran as the greater danger. Pollack also was one of Hillary Clinton’s chief foreign policy advisors while she was in the Senate and supported her candidacy for president in 2008.[17]

The most significant war hawk who happens to be, or at least has been, a bona fide neocon in the Brookings Institution is Robert Kagan of the seemingly omnipresent Kagan clan—father Donald, brother Frederick, sister-in-law Kimberly and wife Victoria Nuland (who, as a leading figure in the US State Department, played a major role in fomenting the Russia-Ukraine crisis). Among his neocon credentials, Robert Kagan was a contributing editor of The Weekly Standard, the original director of the notorious (in anti-war circles) Project for a New American Century, and with Bill Kristol, the cofounder of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a neocon organization considered to be the successor to the Project for a New American Century. He was also the foreign policy advisor to John McCain in 2008.

In recent years, however, Kagan, who joined Brookings in 2010, has tried to distance himself from his neocon past, describing himself as a “liberal interventionist” and actually taking some positions at odds with the neocons and the Israeli Right.[18] Instead of 100 percent neoconism, he now espouses something that could be described as neocon-lite. His new persona has opened for him the halls of power in the mainstream and enabled him to become close to Hillary Clinton, something that the old Robert Kagan, with his harder-line neocon baggage, probably could not have achieved.

While Saban did not bring Kagan over to Brookings, the huge funds that he has provided to the Institution likely were a factor. As Washington insider Steve Clemons wrote at the time: “Kagan’s move is important for Brookings as the institution has been working hard to get Haim Saban to give another large infusion of resources to his namesake unit, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, at Brookings. Securing Kagan is one way that Brookings may have sweetened the pot for Saban who is according to one Brookings source ‘painfully flamboyant’ about using his money to try and influence the DC establishment through think tanks and other vehicles to secure Israel-first, Israel-defending policies out of Washington.” [19]

Kagan helped establish a bipartisan civilian advisory board for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.[20] In 2014, Kagan implied that he might support Hillary Clinton for President. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” he remarked. “If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue, it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.”[21] And while it would be very unlikely that Kagan would receive a Cabinet post in a Clinton administration, it is quite conceivable that he would be given some type of advisory position with considerable influence on foreign policy.

While there is no proof that Kagan’s new, more moderate stance is simply a strategic pose, the fact that his position could be used as Hillary Clinton’s counterpoise to the hardline neocon-Israel lobby position of the Republicans would serve to keep debate on US Middle East policy within even more narrow limits than has been the case during the Obama administration. Since the neocons would likely squawk that Clinton’s position was insufficiently protective of Israel and the United States, the actual similarity of the two positions would likely be obfuscated rather than clarified by the mainstream media.

Saban’s monetary contribution to Hillary Clinton’s campaign is not the only way that he can advance her candidacy. He is the executive chairman of Univision Communications, which owns and operates the Univision television network, the largest Spanish-language television network in the United States, and the fifth largest television network overall in the country, reaching more than 93.8 million households. The Hispanic vote has become a significant part of the overall presidential vote and, since the great majority of Hispanics are Democrats, is especially important in the Democratic primaries. “You have to go to Univision to get to Latino voters,” commented Gabriela Domenzain, who was Obama’s Hispanic media director in the 2012 election.[22]

Even before the 2016 election campaign began, Clinton was able to rely upon Univision to generate favorable publicity for herself. In early 2014, she joined with Univision in a multi-year initiative to present mainstream expert information on the television network intended to aid Hispanic parents in helping their pre-school-age children develop language skills. In regard to this program, Hillary Clinton has been featured widely on Univision’s network and website[23] As an article in the Washington Post observed when the program was announced, “For Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, the partnership with Univision provides a valuable platform to promote her causes with the country’s fast-growing and politically influential Hispanic community.”[24]

Since Clinton is taking a very favorable position toward currently illegal immigrants, stating that as President she would go beyond Obama in providing them legal status and citizenship, publicity from Univision should help her to capture the Hispanic vote in the Democratic primary elections by at least the same proportions as she did in 2008, when she defeated Obama by a two to one margin. The Hispanic vote is expected to be much larger in 2016, and it should be pointed out that in regard to total votes in the Democratic primaries in 2008, Clinton actually received slightly more votes than Obama,[25] which indicates that she was then about as popular as Obama among Democrats.[26] Where Hillary Clinton was hurt in 2008 was in those states that had caucuses rather than primaries in which activists of a more anti-war leftist orientation tended to be disproportionately represented. Clinton and her close advisors had taken for granted that she would be the Democratic nominee and failed to organize effectively in caucus states, being focused instead on the general election. Her campaign is not likely to be overconfident this time. [27]

Much is being made in the mainstream media about Hillary Clinton’s alleged floundering in recent polls. Although there is some truth here since her negative ratings in the polls are rising, she is still far ahead of any of her rivals, having substantially more than 50 percent of the vote in the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.[28] With the expanded Hispanic vote, a divided opposition and the lack of a potential opponent with anything like Obama’s appeal (especially in regard to the black vote) in 2008,[29] and by organizing for the caucuses, it is hard to see how Clinton would fail to be the Democratic nominee, barring some momentous event, such as ill health or a major scandal. And though the general election is far more difficult to predict, she should be seen as the likely winner based upon demographic changes in the US voting population.[30]

In many areas, Hillary’s hawkishness does not need Saban’s prompting, though since self-aggrandizement looms very large in her political career, it is likely that placating the powerful has always played a significant role in shaping her political positions. In April 2014, an article in the New York Times, which dealt with her positions as Obama’s Secretary of State, related that “in recent interviews, two dozen current and former administration officials, foreign diplomats, friends and outside analysts described Mrs. Clinton as almost always the advocate of the most aggressive actions considered by Mr. Obama’s national security team — and not just in well-documented cases, like the debate over how many additional American troops to send to Afghanistan or the NATO airstrikes in Libya.

“Mrs. Clinton’s advocates — a swelling number in Washington, where people are already looking to the next administration — are quick to cite other cases in which she took more hawkish positions than the White House: arguing for funneling weapons to Syrian rebels and for leaving more troops behind in postwar Iraq, and criticizing the results of a 2011 parliamentary election in Russia.”[31]

Numerous commentators have pointed out that Hillary is not only hawkish but is attracting support from neocons and neoconnish Democrats. Veteran establishment liberal commentator Leslie Gelb sees this as part of “[s]omething pivotal [that] is germinating in the politics of American foreign policy. It is a shift rightward toward a tougher line, notably among powerful Democrats. It is dislodging the leftward thrust that was triggered in the mid-2000s, when George W. Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq became widely seen as disasters.”[32] In 2014, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Glen Greenwald, an anti-war leftist, commented bluntly about Hillary Clinton: “She’s a f***ing hawk and like a neocon, practically. She’s surrounded by all these sleazy money types who are just corrupting everything everywhere. But she’s going to be the first female president, and women in America are going to be completely invested in her candidacy. Opposition to her is going to be depicted as misogynistic, like opposition to Obama has been depicted as racist. It’s going to be this completely symbolic messaging that’s going to overshadow the fact that she’ll do nothing but continue everything in pursuit of her own power.”[33]

Given the possible threat of Democratic anti-war leftists fielding a third party that could threaten to siphon off a few percentage points from Clinton’s vote in the general election—or at least the possibility that a substantial number of liberal party regulars would be too disenchanted to actively campaign for her—she might, out of political expediency, moderate her hawkishness in her campaigning, including that which pertains to Israel. Such a political tactic would seem to be acceptable to Saban. As Saban mentioned in an interview on Israel Channel One television in regard to Clinton’s true position on Obama’s Iran deal: “I can’t reveal to you things that were said behind closed doors. She has an opinion, a very well-defined opinion. And in any case, everything that she thinks and everything she has done and will do will always be for the good of Israel. We don’t need to worry about this.”[34] And as a self-made billionaire, it would seem apparent that Saban has not often been wrong in his expectations.

Moreover, in the unlikely event that Clinton were defeated by the Republican nominee—unless that Republican were Rand Paul, whose nomination is an ultra-longshot—then Saban, who admits that Israel is his only issue, would have little to complain about since the new Republican President would pursue policies much more in line with the positions of the Israeli Right than had the Obama administration, which itself was hardly anti-Israel. In short, no matter who wins the upcoming presidential election, Israel and its supporters will emerge victorious.


Dr. Stephen Sniegoski is the author of The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel

Related article: Jeb Bush, James Baker, and the Pro-Israel Mega-Donors: The Making of the Republicans’ Middle East Policy

 

[1] Andrew Ross Sorokin, “Schlepping to Moguldom,” New York Times, September 5, 2004, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/05/business/yourmoney/05sab.html?_r=0.

[2] Hadas Gold and Marc Caputo, “Inside the Univision-Clinton network,” Politico, May 12, 2015,   http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/univision-hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-117851.html.

[3] Eddie Scarry, “Univision owner: ‘When Hillary Clinton is president…’,” Washington Examiner, April 17, 2015, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/univision-owner-when-hillary-clinton-is-president…/article/2563246.

[4] Scott McConnell, “Hillary’s Sheldon Adelson,” The American Conservative, November 12. 2014, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/hillarys-sheldon-adelson/.

[5] Eli Clifton, “Where Does Hillary Stand on the Iran Agreement?,” LobeLog, April 19, 2015, http://www.lobelog.com/where-does-hillary-stand-on-the-iran-agreement/; Malina Saval, “Haim Saban’s Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Gala Raises Record $33 Million,” Variety, November 7, 2014, http://variety.com/2014/scene/news/haim-sabans-friends-of-the-israel-defense-forces-gala-raises-record-33-million-1201350950/; “AIPAC Congressional Lobbying Junkets to Israel Illegal Charges IRS and DOJ Filing – Irmep,” http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aipac-congressional-lobbying-junkets-to-israel-illegal-charges-irs-and-doj-filing—irmep-129535868.html.

[6] Connie Bruck, “The Influencer: An entertainment mogul sets his sights on foreign policy,”

The New Yorker, May 10, 2010. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/05/10/the-influencer.

[7] Amanda Becker and Rachael Bade, “Members Flock to Israel With Travel Loophole,” Roll Call, September 12, 2011, http://www.rollcall.com/issues/57_26/House_Members_Flock_to_Israel_With_Travel_Loophole_AIPAC-208599-1.html.

[8] Ted Johnson, “Zionist tycoon vows to contribute ‘as much as needed’ to a Hillary Clinton campaign,” Council for the National Interest (CNI), July 28 2014, http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/new/zionist-tycoon-vows-full-might-for-hillary-clinton/#.VWus-89Viko.

[9]Connie Bruck, “The Influencer: An entertainment mogul sets his sights on foreign policy,” The New Yorker, May 10, 2010, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/05/10/the-influencer;

“Brookings Saban Center is No Longer,” Think Tank Watch, July 22, 2014, http://www.thinktankwatch.com/2014/07/brookings-saban-center-is-no-longer.html; The continuing Saban Forum is a significant part of the Center. According to the Brookings Website: “The Saban Forum is an annual dialogue between American and Israeli leaders from across the political and social spectrum, organized by the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.” Brookings, Center for Middle East Policy, http://www.brookings.edu/about/centers/middle-east-policy/saban-forums

[10] Grant F. Smith, “Why AIPAC Took Over Brookings,” Dissident Voice. November 21, 2007 http://dissidentvoice.org/2007/11/why-aipac-took-over-brookings/; Martin S. Indyk, Brookings, http://www.brookings.edu/experts/indykm; Philip Weiss, “How fair is Martin Indyk, who says he was motivated by ‘my… connection to Israel’?,” Mondoweiss, July 22, 2013, http://mondoweiss.net/2013/07/how-fair-is-martin-indyk-who-says-he-was-motivated-by-my-connection-to-israel.

[11]“The War Over the Wonks,” Washington Post, October 2, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/documents/the-war-over-the-wonks.html.

[12] Philip Weiss, “O’Hanlon of Brookings Sorts Out the Wrong Neocons From the Right Ones,”Mondoweiss, July 24, 2008, http://mondoweiss.net/2008/07/ohanlon-of-brookings-sorts-out-the-wrong-neocons-from-the-right-ones;

Michael O’Hanlon, Right Web, May 9, 2013, http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/OHanlon_Michael.

[13] “The War Over the Wonks,” Washington Post, October 2, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/documents/the-war-over-the-wonks.html; Michael O’Hanlon, “Michael O’Hanlon: American boots needed in Syria,” USA Today, May 21, 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/05/19/ramadi-delta-raid-isil-iraq-syria-column/27601129/.

[14] Philip Weiss, “‘NPR’ airs Ken Pollack’s Iran war games and leaves out his last war,” Mondoweiss, September 28,2012, http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/npr-airs-ken-pollacks-iran-war-games-and-leaves-out-his-last-war.

[15] Ron Kampeas, “Guilty plea in AIPAC case,” Jewish Telegraph Agency, October 6, 2005,

http://www.jta.org/2005/10/06/life-religion/features/guilty-plea-in-aipac-case.

[16] James Warren, “Iran is more dangerous to Iraq than ISIS, terror experts tell U.S. Senate panel,”New York Daily News, March 24, 2015, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/iran-dangerous-iraq-isis-u-s-terror-experts-article-1.2160637.

[17] Dmfox, “Kenneth Pollack: surge working, turn Iraq into Switzerland,”Daily Kos, December 28, 2007, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/28/427276/-Kenneth-Pollack-surge-working-turn-Iraq-into-Switzerland

[18] Jim Lobe, “Robert Kagan: Neocon Renegade?,” LobeLog, April 11, 2015, http://www.lobelog.com/robert-kagan-neocon-renegade/

[19] Steve Clemons, “Brookings Loses Bid on Orszag but Takes Kagan From Carnegie,” The Blog, Huffington Post, July 10, 2010, Updated: May 25, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/brookings-loses-bid-on-or_b_641830.html.

[20] “Robert Kagan,” Right Web, http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/kagan_robert.

[21] Jason Horowitz, “Events in Iraq Open Door for Interventionist Revival, Historian Says,” New York Times, June 15, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/16/us/politics/historians-critique-of-obama-foreign-policy-is-brought-alive-by-events-in-iraq.html?_r=0

[22] Hadas Gold and Marc Caputo, “Inside the Univision-Clinton network,” Politico, May 12, 2015,   http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/univision-hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-117851.html.

[23] Hadas Gold and Marc Caputo, “Inside the Univision-Clinton network,” Politico, May 12, 2015,   http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/univision-hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-117851.html.

[24] Philip Rucker, “Hillary Clinton partners with Univision for early childhood development,”Washington Post, February 4, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/02/04/hillary-clinton-partners-with-univision-for-early-childhood-development/.

[25] The Green Papers, 2008 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses, and Conventions, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P08/D.phtml.

[26] Obama was not in the Michigan primary, so it perhaps cannot be said that she would have won more votes had he been a candidate there, but, nonetheless, their vote totals were about the same.

[27] Philip Rucker, “Hillary Clinton supporters get a head start organizing for 2016 Iowa caucuses,”Washington Post, January 26, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clinton-supporters-get-a-head-start-organizing-for-2016-iowa-caucuses/2014/01/26/2cfa3cb0-86a8-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html; Eleanor Clift, “Hillary’s Plan to Win Big Everywhere,”Daily Beast, May 7, 2015, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/07/hillary-s-plan-to-win-big-everywhere.html.

[28] “Democratic Presidential Primary 2016,” Public Policy Polling, June 4, 2015, http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/democratic-presidential-primary-2016/.

[29] S.A. Miller, “Hillary Clinton alone at top even as Democrats re-examine their 2016 options,”Washington Times, June 7, 2015, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/7/hillary-clinton-alone-at-top-even-as-democrats-re-/?page=all.

[30] Jonathan Chait, “Why Hillary Clinton Is Probably Going to Win the 2016 Election,” Daily Intelligencer, April 12, 2015, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/04/why-hillary-clinton-is-probably-going-to-win.html

[31] Mark Landler and Amy Chozick, “Hillary Clinton Struggles to Define a Legacy in Progress,” New York Times, April 16, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/17/us/politics/unfinished-business-complicates-clintons-diplomatic-legacy.html; Bob and Barbara Dreyfuss, “The Left Ought to Worry About Hillary Clinton, Hawk and Militarist, in 2016,” Nation, May 27, 2014, http://www.thenation.com/blog/180020/left-ought-worry-about-hillary-clinton-hawk-and-militarist-2016.

[32]Leslie H. Gelb, Countering the Neocon Comeback, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Winter 2015, http://www.democracyjournal.org/35/countering-the-neocon-comeback.php?page=all.

[33] Quoted in Matt Wilstein, “Greenwald Bashes ‘Neocon’ Hillary Clinton: ‘She’s a F*cking Hawk’,”Mediaite, May 12, 2014, http://www.mediaite.com/online/greenwald-bashes-neocon-hillary-clinton-shes-a-fcking-hawk/.

[34] Philip Weiss, “‘Everything Hillary Clinton will do will always be for Israel’ — Saban warns the Republicans,” Mondoweiss, April 18, 2015, http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/everything-clinton-republicans.

Posted in USA0 Comments

Death on the USS Liberty: Questions Remain After 35 Years

NOVANEWS
 Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr
USS Liberty Attack

By William Triplett.

The VVA Veteran – Arlington National Cemetery is far from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, but on a beautiful Saturday morning last spring one small patch of the nation’s most hallowed burial ground seemed very close to that long-troubled body of water. On a gentle hillside in Section 34 with sunshine pouring through broken clouds, about a hundred people gathered for a ceremony commemorating the 34 crewmen who were killed when Israeli air and naval forces attacked the USS Liberty off the coast of Gaza on June 8, 1967.

Behind a granite headstone that marks a mass grave for those who died in the attack rose a small platform with a dais in the center.  Rick Aimetti, a former president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association, told the somber audience: “It doesn’t get any easier after 35 years.” Indeed, no one among the crowd looked particularly pleased to be there. But it was clear that for everybody the occasion was important – not to be missed, in fact. Some came every year.

As at many other military memorial ceremonies, various speakers reminisced – often emotionally – about the dead and the sacrifices they made for their country. But theLiberty ceremony was different. It always has been – and not simply because the annual reading aloud the names of the 34 dead is a ritual that makes the service movingly specific. The story of the Liberty is complicated, evidenced perhaps most graphically by the fact that while the granite headstone is designated as a group memorial, only six names are inscribed on it. It’s doubtful, moreover, that those six men are even buried there.

“Those men aren’t in that hole,” says Joseph Lentini, a Liberty survivor who was wounded in the attack. “What’s in that hole is a body bag that has all the parts they couldn’t identify.”

The mass grave isn’t the kind of mass grave the federal government would like you to think it is. Rather, it’s a perversely appropriate emblem of the decades of pain and humiliation that have been heaped on the Liberty’s dead and living. But the ceremony is a testament to the survivors’ struggle to maintain dignity and honor in the face of gross indignity and dishonor – not to mention unconscionable governmental denial and indifference.

It’s a struggle Vietnam veterans have known all too well.  But while Vietnam veterans have won some of their long-overdue recognition, Liberty veterans and the families of her dead don’t yet know what that feels like.

ISRAEL’S SURPRISE ATTACK

The few undisputed facts of Israel’s attack on the Liberty are essentially these.  When the Arab-Israeli Six Day War broke out, the administration of President Lyndon Johnson sent the Liberty spy ship into the eastern Mediterranean to determine whether Russians or Egyptians were piloting six Cairo-based Soviet bombers flying missions against Israel.  The ship carried sophisticated electronic eavesdropping equipment; her crew of roughly 300 men consisted of communications specialists from the National Security Agency along with U.S. Navy officers and sailors.

As the Liberty neared Gaza in broad daylight, Israeli reconnaissance aircraft overflew her at least twice. A short while later, unmarked Israeli warplanes streaked in, strafing, bombing, and rocketing the lightly armed ship in international waters. When the aircraft withdrew, Israeli torpedo boats appeared, firing at least one torpedo that struck the Liberty dead center. After the assault finally ended, 34 Americans were dead and 171 were wounded. At least three of the wounded were not expected to live.

Israel claimed – and still does – that the incident was a tragic case of mistaken identity. Israeli Defense Force commanders and pilots said they thought they were attacking an Egyptian freighter. In Washington, the Johnson administration instantly accepted Israel’s claim, and this has been the government’s official position on the matter ever since. The Liberty‘s survivors and their supporters, however, have argued for decades that Israel was fully aware it was attacking an American vessel. They have both hard and circumstantial – though not conclusive – evidence to back their case.  The debate over these opposing claims still rages.

What cannot be debated, though, is that almost immediately following the assault the U.S. government acted as if it had something to hide. The Liberty‘s survivors were quickly transferred to disparate and distant assignments and were threatened with jail if they ever discussed the attack with anyone, including family members. They were watched and monitored. Meanwhile, the government and the upper echelons of the Navy portrayed the attack and its aftermath as a non-event.

For example, according to John E. Borne’s 1995 book, The USS Liberty: Dissenting History vs. Official History, the Johnson administration refused to send the standard letter of condolence to the families of the men killed because it typically identified the hostile forces.  Not wishing to characterize the Israelis or their actions as hostile (and therefore possibly deliberate), the letter that was sent said that the men who died had “contributed to the cause of peace.”

The government also initially decided not to award the Liberty survivors “hostile fire pay.” At the time, the Pentagon recognized only Vietnam as a hostile-fire zone. To designate the Liberty attack as having occurred in such a zone further risked characterizing Israel as an aggressor. Eventually the Pentagon decided to give the extra pay to the 171 wounded men. However, the rest of the crewmen – who’d fought for their ship and their lives, many of them covered in the blood of their comrades – got nothing.

That the crew fought bravely from beginning to end was obvious enough that President Johnson gave the Liberty crew a Presidential Unit Citation. However, the citation was not presented to the crew – who knew nothing about it – until many years later. Worse, like the sanitized condolence letter, the citation acknowledged only that the ship had been attacked by “foreign aircraft and motor torpedo boats” – as if the attackers’ identity were unknown.

When the group headstone was first installed in Arlington Cemetery, its inscription declared that the men had “died in the eastern Mediterranean.”  As Borne points out, survivors said that “anyone seeing the stone would think that the men had died in a Middle Eastern whorehouse or were run over by a taxi in Constantinople.”

At the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, there is a wall engraved with the names of Naval officers killed in combat. Two officers were killed on the Liberty. The Navy did not put their names on the wall.

Perhaps the ultimate insult occurred when the government awarded the nation’s highest military recognition, the Medal of Honor, to Capt. William McGonagle, theLiberty‘s skipper, for repeatedly braving lethal fire to protect his men and his ship. Normally the President presents this medal to the recipient in a ceremony held at the White House. But Johnson handed down the task to his Secretary of the Navy, and the ceremony took place at the Washington Navy Yard with little media attention.

Many motives have been offered as to why the Johnson administration acted as if it wanted to bury the Liberty affair.  Most have to do with not wanting to embarrass and possibly alienate its only Middle Eastern ally. Similarly, many theories have gained prominence about why Israel would deliberately attack an ally’s spy ship – the fear, for instance, that the United States might learn of Israel’s then-developing plans to seize Arab territory, plans the United States might have objected to.

Whatever the truth or intent on either side, the result was unequivocally clear as far as it concerned the Liberty survivors: For all practical purposes, their government was denying what had happened to them.

As is the case in any sort of trauma, says Herman Barretto, a Post-traumatic Stress Disorder counselor at the Fresno Vet Center, if people even act as if they don’t believe something happened, “it re-victimizes the victim.  The first step in safeguarding against the onset of PTSD is to affirm the intensity of the moment.” This validates the experience for the victim.  Also, Barretto says it’s important for multiple victims of the same trauma to come together as much as possible to talk about it. “Social support and talking are necessary to healing.  All the factors that would’ve helped [Liberty survivors] to safeguard against PTSD were not there.”

While the specifics differ in each case, the lingering ordeals of the Liberty survivors and the families of the men killed have been more or less the same.

SLAUGHTER AND DESTRUCTION

Though completely out of action, the Liberty did not sink. Because of its design and purpose, the ship’s midsection was the one place it could be hit by a torpedo and probably not go down. Ernie Gallo, a communications technician, says that the comm center, below deck and in the middle of the ship, had its own heavy vault doors for extra security. After the torpedo hit, the doors were sealed off, keeping the ship afloat.

Under escort – and trailed by a Russian destroyer hoping to find anything interesting that might float out through the blast hole in the Liberty‘s hull – the ship limped to Malta. The crew, minus the dead and wounded, who had been evacuated, thought they could now get off. “But they ordered us to go back into the ship where the torpedo hit, and they wanted us to clean out all the classified material,” Gallo says.  Several men had been in the comm center when the torpedo hit, furiously signaling for help. Most were killed, and, as Gallo notes, “Their body parts happened to still be inside.”

“They had to go down in there and bag up those pieces,” says Lentini, who lost almost a full inch from one of his legs to a rocket and was evacuated with the other wounded. “No damn wonder those guys have been messed up.”

The Navy launched an internal inquiry even before the Liberty reached Malta. Whether the point of the inquiry was to uncover or cover up what happened is open to question. “The Navy investigators were interested in how we fought for the ship, how Navy training had paid off in the saving of lives and the ship,” Lentini says. “They didn’t want to know about the Israelis. Anytime somebody talked about napalm being dropped or being chased down by the aircraft or the life rafts being shot up, they were squelched.” Israel denies its forces tried to kill men in the water or sink the life rafts, which are war crimes, according to international law.

Lentini is the only surviving crewman who was inside the comm center when it exploded. “I’m the only living person who saw those guys in there and what they were doing prior to the torpedo hit,” he says. “The fact is, they were doing their job.  They were trying to get communications and in a damn orderly way, given what was going on.  Nobody from the Navy has ever asked me about that. To this day.”

Larry Weaver, a 21-year-old bosun’s mate on the Liberty, was one of the three wounded not expected to live. “I had been hit by rocket and cannon fire and it blew about two-and-a-half feet of my colon out,” he says. “I had 101 shrapnel wounds. My right leg was useless – I could look down through it and see out the other side, and look down further and see my kneecap. My skin was on fire and I had to put it out with my own blood. I was too scared to pass out because I thought I might never wake up. It took a long time for us to be evacuated” – not until the day after the attack – “and I couldn’t understand why. We just sat there, and there’s a lot of guys who died because of that.”

Weaver and the rest of the wounded eventually were airlifted to the USS America, where he immediately underwent the first of 26 major surgeries. He was subsequently flown to American hospitals in Crete, Italy, and Germany, and then sent to Philadelphia Naval Hospital for recovery.

“I was four days in intensive care in a wheelchair in Philadelphia, and I was told an admiral wanted to talk to me,” Weaver recalls. “I went to meet him in a room and he closed the door and deadbolted it, which kind of scared me. He then took his stars off, saying,  I’m not an admiral now.  Tell me what you know.’ ” Weaver told him, emphasizing, among other points, that throughout most of the attack, because of his position on the ship, he had had a clear view of the Stars and Stripes flying off the ship’s bow, clearly identifying the Liberty as American. The Israelis claim the spy ship was flying no flag.

“The admiral then said, ‘ Okay,’ and he put his stars back on and he pointed at me. And he said,  Larry, if you repeat this or talk to anyone about this you’ll be put into prison and we’ll throw away the key.’ ”

The Rear Admiral similarly visited and threatened almost all of the other Libertysurvivors. “In Malta we got orders every day not to talk to nobody, no interviews, nothing,” says former crewman John Hrankowski. “As soon as we got back to the States, they started taking us selectively, one by one by one, and shipping us out all over. I went to an oiler, was there alone. We were spread out all over.”

Isolated from each other, threatened with prison should they ever speak about the attack – in short, treated as if they had done something wrong – the men of theLiberty obeyed their orders, which effectively forced them to pretend that the most traumatic event in their lives had never occurred.

SILENCE AND RAGE

The government’s fast and efficient silencing of the Liberty incident was no easier for the widows and families of the dead to bear. In 1967, Pat Blue Roushakes, then 22, had barely been married two years to Allen Blue, a National Security Agency linguist who was specially assigned to the Liberty for this particular cruise. June 8 was a work day, and while at lunch Roushakes overheard a radio report about an American ship having been attacked in the Mediterranean. “My heart just sank,” she said. “I can’t tell you how, but I just knew.”

When she got back to her office in downtown Washington, D.C., she called the NSA, which is based in nearby Maryland. “They said, ‘ Yes, we’ve been looking for you. We’ll be there in 45 minutes to pick you up.’  They didn’t tell me any more than that, but I didn’t need to hear any more.”

NSA personnel essentially moved into her house with her for the next six weeks.  The press started calling Roushakes the first night, however, and “the NSA took over as far as the telephone was concerned. And no one was allowed to answer the front door. They were there to lend assistance – and they did; they were wonderful – but it was also clear they were there to intercept calls and people at the door.” This was standard procedure, given the highly classified nature of the NSA.

As a government agency, the NSA had no choice – publicly, at least – but to accept the Johnson administration’s proclamation that the attack had been a case of mistaken identity. “Privately, though, the NSA people were furious,” says Roushakes. “They weren’t buying the official story at all.”

Neither was Roushakes, but having been devastated at such a young age by the loss of her husband, she couldn’t do much about it. She took some time off from work, traveled, thought she felt better, and returned to her job. Some years later she remarried and had two children. For the most part during this period she says she felt all right – except for sudden eruptions of deep, overwhelming anger. “It was the worst emotion I’d ever had to deal with,” she says. “Sometimes absolute rage. I had no experience with it, and I’d act it out in inappropriate ways.”

She says she couldn’t believe the claim of mistaken identity when it was known that Israeli reconnaissance aircraft had repeatedly overflown the Liberty prior to the attack. The very idea that her own government would accept this claim made her furious. The NSA had made it clear to her that she was never to discuss the subject. “I always had this feeling that I would somehow dishonor Allen’s memory if I talked about what had happened,” she says. “People at NSA take their oath of secrecy seriously, and spouses are supposed to, too.  So I didn’t talk, but at tremendous personal cost.”

In 1979, James M. Ennes Jr., a former Liberty officer who’d survived the attack,published Assault on the Liberty: The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American Intelligence Ship. In it he presented evidence that Israeli forces were fully aware of the Liberty‘s identity before the attack.  He also documented the great doubts that U.S. government officials privately had about Israel’s claim of mistaken identity from the very beginning, despite their public acceptance of the claim.

Roushakes bought the book. “I’d read a little, but then I’d get so angry again, I had to put it down,” she says. “I just wanted to scream. I could never read all of the book.”

She started waking up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, heart racing and in a dreadful panic. “I was absolutely terrified,” she says. “Something was terribly wrong, and I didn’t know what it was. At first it was just now and then that this would happen, then it was every night.” Doctors didn’t know what was wrong.  Eventually she saw a psychiatrist, who told her she was suffering classic symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

THE DAMAGE DONE

John Hrankowski’s troubles started when he left the Navy not long after the attack. Painfully self-conscious of the scars he bore from shrapnel hits and fuel oil burns, he feared intimacy, burying himself in excessive work, holding down several jobs at a time. “I was never home and mainly a loner,” he says, “and this went on for years, burning myself out. I never understood what was happening to me because nobody talked about it back then.”

Hrankowski sought help from the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, only to be turned away, he says. “They didn’t want anything to do with us because [the attack on the Liberty] was not a war to them. They said we hadn’t done anything fantastic or special.”

It wasn’t until Ennes’s book was published that Hrankowski felt any release from the pressure building inside him. “It was the first time somebody spoke publicly about it, and it was a real cathartic thing.  Because we’d been told we can’t talk about it, no way. I was able to start talking about things.”

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to talk about it enough until 1995, when he finally started PTSD counseling. But by then the damage had been done. Overwork and stress had weakened his arteries, and he underwent bypass and bowel surgery in 1997.  It saved his life, but he is 100 percent disabled as a result.

Carved up by 26 surgeries – which still left some 60 pieces of shrapnel inside him – Larry Weaver felt physically repulsive. His marriage fell apart. In 1971, he left the Navy to join the Naval Reserve. When he reported for duty, his commander took one look at him and told him there was no way, in his condition, that he could fulfill his responsibilities.  He didn’t serve a single day.

“I was told by several authorities that because of the wounds I sustained in combat, I should’ve received disability retirement from the beginning,” Weaver says. “But they didn’t give it to me. I was very naive and they played on that. I got a regular separation as if my time had just expired on my enlistment.”

All of Weaver’s documentation from the Navy reads as if nothing unusual had happened to him during his service. His discharge papers fail to mention his time on the Liberty. Nor do they mention the Purple Heart he received for his combat wounds. “All they have on them is my service medal and my duty stations and my time on one ship, an oiler, and then they say I’m a patient on the USS America.

Weaver has had nightmares ever since the attack. “The dreams vary,” he says. “Most of them are a feeling of being trapped. I’m caught physically somewhere, having to fight a battle but having nothing to fight with. And feeling I’m completely alone, fighting and yet my country isn’t coming to help me.”

Lentini says he has had periodic problems with concentration since the attack, less so now than before, but his anger at the way the government treated the attack and the crew has never subsided. “I would’ve stayed in the Navy after the attack,” he says, “but I got out because I was absolutely fed up with what was going on.” Gallo quit, too – when he learned that Capt. McGonagle’s Medal of Honor would not be awarded by the President at the White House.

“I did not go to the ceremony because of that,” Gallo says. “I’ve regretted it ever since, but I was so upset at the time and said, ‘ No, I’m not being a part of this crap. I’m getting out of the Navy as fast as I can.’ I was a reservist and had to do two years. I got out and went to the CIA and had a 30-year career with them.”

Others were not so lucky. “There was a skinny kid named O’Connor, who had to be in a wheelchair after the attack,” says Lentini. “He gained tremendous weight and ultimately died. He didn’t die from his wounds, but as a result of them.  Another guy had shrapnel in his brain and it migrated and he dropped dead. So a lot more than 34 died that day. They just died later.”

With the publication of Ennes’s book and later the formation of the USS LibertyVeterans Association, survivors began to meet and talk to each other again after years of separation and silence. They also have been speaking about their experiences. This, along with the PTSD counseling that some have received, has helped survivors enormously. But none of it has come from the government.

Though the names of the Liberty‘s officers who were killed have finally been etched on the wall at the Naval Academy, and the headstone in Arlington Cemetery now reads that the dead were “killed on the Liberty,” the survivors have had to find whatever solace they’ve managed to find on their own.

Full recognition of the struggles and sacrifices made by the men who served – 34 of them for the last time – on the Liberty won’t come, survivors and their supporters say, until there is a congressional investigation of the attack and its aftermath.  They maintain that this is the only such incident in American history that never received a congressional investigation.

Only with the facts finally and completely on public record, they say, will no one be able to deny or ignore what happened to them.  Perhaps then, their healing can begin.

The survivors created a Web site, http://www.ussliberty.org, to tell their story.

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