Archive | May 31st, 2016

The US and the EU Support a Savage Dictator

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On May 6 a court in Istanbul, acting on the orders of Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan, sentenced the editor of the Cumhuriyet newspaper to five years and ten months in prison for publishing a report about illegal provision of weapons to Islamist terrorists in Syria by Turkey’s secret service. His bureau chief got five years.

Two weeks later Istanbul was host to the World Humanitarian Summit, which was held «to stand up for our common humanity and take action to prevent and reduce human suffering». Attendance included 65 heads of state. It was the usual total waste of time (Oxfam called it «an expensive talking shop» and those who refused to be there included President Putin and the global medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières), but the point is that a humanitarian conference should never have been held in Turkey, which is being transformed into a dictatorship by a president who is well-described by Professor Alan Sked of the London School of Economics as «a volatile, unstable, highly authoritarian personality».

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The professor went on to observe that Erdogan «has pursued a civil war in his own country and has clamped down on the opposition and social media at will. Thousands have been imprisoned for merely criticising him. He has ordered the shooting down of a Russian warplane, and his country has been accused by Russia of trafficking secretly in oil with Isis. He cannot be trusted…»

Erdogan is a bigoted thug, yet the international community rushed to his country to hold a humanitarian conference and foreign heads of state flock to press his hand in friendship. He is treated with deference around the world and there can be no public criticism of him in the many countries that have laws prohibiting disparagement of heads of state and holding defamation and insult of their leaders to be a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment.

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In January over 1,100 Turkish academics signed a letter asking Erdogan to cease his merciless blitz on Kurdish centres in the south east of the country. Thousands of Kurds had been (and continue to be) killed and crippled by ground and air assaults of merciless savagery. Erdogan’s response to the petition was to declare that these compassionate scholars «spit out hatred of our nation’s values and history on every occasion. The petition has made this clearer… In a state of law like Turkey, so-called academics who target the unity of our nation have no right to commit crimes. They don’t have immunity for this».

Some thirty of the humanitarian signatories were arrested and fifteen were dismissed from their university posts. They live under constant threat, as do all who attempt to disagree with the imperial president.

Yet Erdogan’s Turkey is strongly supported by the United States and by the European Union, albeit for very different reasons.

The US backs him because he supports Washington’s efforts to destroy President Assad of Syria and is a strident and aggressive opponent of Russia, while the EU is behind him because if he chose he could control the influx of Syrian refugees to Europe. So Erdogan can persecute and jail as many journalists and academics as he likes, while continuing to slaughter Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, and although there may be a few murmurs of disapproval in Brussels and Washington there will be no action whatever taken by either the US or the EU to stop the President of Turkey wielding absolute power over his people.

In March, while Erdogan was attending the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington (yet another total waste of time and money, except for the travel industry) he met separately with the US president and vice-president, neither of whom had the moral courage to take him to task for his blatant oppression of those of his citizens who dare to have ideas and opinions contrary to his own.

As the Voice of America reported on March 31, «President Barack Obama assured his Turkish counterpart of American commitment to the security of Turkey, a critical ally in the fight against the Islamic State group», while the White House “readout” of the Erdogan-Biden meeting recorded that «the Vice President reiterated the United States’ unwavering commitment to Turkey’s national security as a NATO Ally». They discussed «ways to further deepen our military cooperation» which was no doubt heartening to a bellicose thug whose aim is to persecute and preferably kill Kurds wherever they may be.

In spite of all the evidence, the United States refuses to acknowledge that Erdogan’s Turkey has sent massive quantities of weaponry to Islamic terrorist groups who are prepared to kill Kurds. It does not appear to matter to Washington that «Not only has Erdoğan done almost everything he can to cripple the forces actually fighting ISIS; there is considerable evidence that his government has been at least tacitly aiding ISIS itself».

The countries of the European Union, in similar blinkered mode, ignore Erdogan’s transformation of Turkey from democracy to dictatorship because they are prepared to make almost any sacrifice to reduce the flood of refugees now threatening their countries. Their leaders are terrified that behaving in a humanitarian manner will damage their domestic electoral chances and have set up an extraordinary deal with Erdogan who has agreed to «do more to prevent refugees from traveling to Europe via its territory and take back all migrants and refugees who manage to cross into Europe from Turkey … In return, the European Union has doubled the financial aid it promised Turkey from 3 billion to 6 billion euros, has agreed to take in more Syrian refugees from Turkey, and will move to provide visa-free travel to Turks and reopen EU accession talks».

Little wonder that Erdogan is on the crest of a wave and can persecute dissenters and slaughter Kurds with hardly a word of international criticism. In March, when he took over Turkey’s largest newspaper, the independent Zaman, and replaced the entire staff with his supporters, US State Department spokesman John Kirby called the seizure «troubling». And it was reported on 25 May that, «the EU wants Ankara to narrow its definition of terror to stop prosecuting academics and journalists for publishing ‘terror propaganda’, but Turkey has refused to do so».

Unless the US and the EU bring pressure to bear on Erdogan to restore democracy in his country, he will continue to suppress and persecute his critics and continue his killing spree. But he is too valuable to them for that to happen. All they will do is hold more humanitarian conferences.

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Zionist NY Times Plays the Nazi Army’s Game

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The NY Times Plays the Israeli Army’s Game: Hyping Threats, Shielding Criminals
By Barbara Erickson 

The New York Times reports today that Israel faces “monumental security challenges” and is now caught in a debate over just how tough the military should be with those who threaten to harm its soldiers and civilians.

The story, by Isabel Kershner, is framed around “months of Palestinian attacks” that have left some 30 Israelis dead. She makes no mention anywhere of the more than 200 Palestinians killed by security forces over the same time period, nor does she say anything about the brutal conditions of the occupation that provide the impetus for Palestinian assaults.

Kershner briefly notes that Palestinian and human rights groups have accused the Israeli military of “excessive force,” but she fails to say that the charges go beyond this vague reference: In fact, numerous groups have accused Israel of carrying out “street executions” of Palestinians who posed no real threat to soldiers or civilians.

The mostly youthful Palestinian attackers over the past eight months have been armed with nothing more than knives, vehicles and even scissors, but they have carried out their assaults (some alleged, some substantiated) against an army equipped with submachine guns, drones, tanks, surveillance equipment, nuclear warheads, fighter jets, attack helicopters and naval gunboats.

In spite of this immense disparity, Kershner is able to claim that Israel faces “monumental” security challenges. It never seems to occur to her that Palestinians face immense security concerns of their own.

Moreover, she presents the Israeli Defense Force as an army operating under humane policies, which are now under attack by politicians and a vocal segment of the public. “The military chiefs have urged restraint and a strict adherence to open-fire regulations, saying a soldier should shoot to neutralize a threat, but not beyond that,” she writes.

When army officials have promoted these guidelines, she says, they have been “attacked by rightist politicians who advocate a policy based on the Talmudic lesson ‘Whoever comes to slay you, slay him first.’”

Kershner thus gives voice to army leaders who have criticized the trigger-happy responses of security forces, but she fails to quote from those human rights groups who have frequently raised the alarm over the killings of Palestinians who posed no real threat.

Readers are left with the impression that the army has been operating with restraint, following a set of humane policies, but is now being challenged by rightists who urge even tougher measures against would be attackers.

Missing from her story is the fact that army and police have operated with impunity over many years, even when cases of abuse and criminal behavior are well documented. Two recent statements by Israeli rights groups, Yesh Din and B’Tselem, bear this out.

Yesh Din, which works for structural changes in the occupied territories, reported last month that 5,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces over the past 15 years, yet not one Israeli soldier has been charged for murdering a Palestinian.

Just last week the monitoring group B’Tselem announced that after more than 25 years of cooperating with the military, sharing information on cases that merited action, it has now suspended all of these efforts because of this record of impunity.

When Israel claims to investigate charges against the military, B’Tselem said, “not only does the state manage to uphold the perception of a decent, moral law enforcement system, but also maintains the military’s image as an ethical military that takes action against [ostensibly prohibited] acts.” In fact, the organization stated, the system is nothing more than “an outward pretense,” and an effort to whitewash criminal activity.

The rights group concluded that it would “no longer play a part in the pretense posed by the military law enforcement system and will no longer refer complaints to it.” After 25 years of consistent effort, the group concluded that “there is no longer any point in pursuing justice and defending human rights by working with a system whose real function is measured by its ability to continue to successfully cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators.”

This is far from the impression we get from Kershner’s story. She quotes military officials who insist on the moral standards of the Israeli army without a hint of irony or any effort to challenge their claims.

The Times is a willing partner in the whitewash of Israel’s military. Its editors accepted Kershner’s characterization of the army without asking for any follow up. They were aware of the B’Tselem announcement, however, running two wire service accounts of the move online but failing to assign any reporter to the story. The newspaper made no mention of the Yesh Din findings.

Kershner’s story plays perfectly into the scenario described by B’Tselem. It provides the impression of a functioning military justice system, an army run on moral principles but under attack by “terrorists”. It is all part of the narrative of Israeli victimhood, even though its chief threat comes from teenagers armed with kitchen knives.

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Rumblings of mounting discontent among Israelis and Palestinians

Palestinian protester wielding a knife

By James M. Dorsey*

When Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, returned to Jerusalem earlier this month, he was asked by colleagues what story he would be covering. The story seemed evident to Jeremy. It was of course the ongoing violence perpetrated by individual Palestinians against Israelis and the hard handed response by Israeli security forces. To his colleagues, that story had lost its news value, it was something that had already been going on for some eight months and had become part of the fabric of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

That may indeed be true and yet it is that very fabric that is becoming toxic on more than one level and that is changing in the wake of the popular Arab revolts of five years ago. For sure, the violence reflects the hardening of Israeli and Palestinian sentiments against one another. It is a hardening that takes place among reduced, if not the absence, of contact with one another, given travel restrictions on Palestinians going to Israel and Israelis who would want to visit the West Bank outside of the Jewish settlements.

Yet, the violence has more than at any other time since the wave of suicide bombings in the early 2000s spread fear among Israeli Jews who no longer feel safe when they take public transport, are increasingly suspicious of people they see on the street, and avoid areas in Jerusalem or around Umm el-Fahm in the Galilee that they no longer feel are secure.

All-pervasive Israeli racism

It is a fabric in which significant segments of Israeli and Palestinian society no longer see peace as a realistic option. For Palestinians, the response is resistance that can consist of individual acts rather than an organised struggle. For Israeli Jews, it is the long proven false belief that hard-handed responses to violent acts and repression will keep Palestinian anger and frustration in check. It’s also, for Israelis, an increasingly blatant and racist attitude among a majority that believes that only the Israeli right led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu can ensure Israel’s security.

The degree to which racism pervades Israeli society was evident in a recent report presented to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that concluded that three quarters of youth in Israel, Jewish and Palestinian, had experienced discrimination at the hands of the police or in the classroom on the basis of their origin or physical appearance. Eighty per cent of those surveyed often turned to alcohol for solace. Ironically, opposition to an Israeli right whose attitudes towards Palestinians threaten to spin out of control is strongest among the Israeli military’s senior officer corps.

Maysam Abu Alqian, an aspiring psychology student who works at a supermarket opposite the Tel Aviv municipality to earn money for his education, was assaulted this month by three border guards as he was throwing out rubbish. The guards kicked him in the face and body, forcing him to seek medical help at a hospital. Had someone not filmed the incident on his smartphone, it would never have become public. Tag Meier Forum, an umbrella for some 50 groups that fight racism in Israel, asserts that verbal attacks and physical abuse against Palestinians are becoming common.

Tag Meier Chairman Gadi Gvaryahu says his group has documented 30 cases in which men who spoke Arabic in public had been attacked and had sustained injuries ranging from slight to life-long disability. The Forum says only 20 per cent of reported hate crimes make it to court. The group recorded 1,562 reports of such crimes committed by Israeli Jews between 2013 and 2015, of which only 287 resulted in indictments. The majority of cases were closed due to “lack of public interest” or because the perpetrators were not found.

Netanyahu appeared to reinforce tolerance of racism when he this month appointed ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman as his defence minister. Recently, Lieberman publicly praised Sergeant El-Or Azarya, an Israeli soldier, for fatally shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head as he was lying on the ground awaiting medical attention and subsequently attended Azarya’s trial in a gesture of solidarity.

Azarya, a medic, was caught on video shooting a Palestinian who together with another Palestinian had lightly wounded an Israeli soldier in a knife attack.

Racist supporters of notorious soccer club Beitar Jerusalem, the bad boy of Israeli football and the only club that refuses to hire Palestinian players, this month verbally assaulted Nadwa Jaber, a Palestinian teacher at a bilingual school in the mixed Israeli Jewish-Israeli Palestinian community of Neve Shalom. Writing on Facebook, Rotem Yadlin, a mother of one of Jaber’s Jewish students, wrote:

Nadwa educates kids to a life of equality and fraternity, coexistence, peace, faith in mankind. You may be real heroes who know how to spit at a six-year-old girl. We, on the other hand, will keep dreaming together and making this country a better place – for the sake of Amit [Yadlin’s daughter], Jaber’s daughter, (6-year-old Intisar), for ourselves, for Nadwa.

Mutual fear among Palestinians and Jews in Israel

Neve Shalom’s effort to prove that Israeli Jews and Palestinians can live together, is the exception. By and large, fear of one another, coupled with the erosion of hope for an equitable solution and the fallout of the Arab revolts, is rupturing the fabric of society – Israeli Jewish society, Israeli Palestinian society and Palestinian society on the West Bank.

Palestinians, irrespective of whether they carry Israeli passports or live under occupation, have no expectations from an Israeli government and society they see as racist. Similarly, Israelis doubt the Palestine Authority’s sincerity in seeking peace and believe that Palestinians, whether with Israeli passports or without, simply hate Jews. Youth on both sides of the divide share the experience of the second Intifada, the disappointment of the Oslo peace process, and the subsequent expansion of Israeli settlements and security barriers. Many endorse a two-state solution but don’t believe it is a realistic one.

It is a stalemate constructed on mirror images of one another that is sparking changing attitudes among Israeli Jewish, Israeli Palestinian and Palestinian youth. It is also a reflection of a paradigm shift as a result of the popular revolts and of a global phenomenon in which many have lost confidence in whatever system they live under and whoever leads them. A picture published at the beginning of the most recent cycle of violence highlighted the paradigm shift. It showed a girl in jeans and a kaffiyeh passing rocks to a masked boy sporting a Hamas headband.

Despairing Palestinian youths in Israel

What I want to do today is focus on Palestinian youth for whom the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a constant in their lives but who are equally and more immediately concerned with social and economic issues that affect their daily lives. In doing so, the long-term effects of the popular Arab revolts are evident in their willingness to openly and publicly confront their parents, elders, communal and other leaders. Like swaths of youth across the globe, they believe that political systems and leaders have marginalised and failed them.

Abed Abu Shehade is a 22-year-old student and activist from Jaffa for the Balad Party, one of three Israeli Palestinian parties that formed a common list to make it into the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. As far as Abed and his friends are concerned, getting the party into parliament is proving to have been a wasted effort.

If Palestinian youth expect to be humiliated by Israeli Jews, it’s the humiliation by their own that really hits home.

The party has no impact on Israeli policy and, like much of the Palestinian establishment, is unwilling to acknowledge social changes that are occurring in Palestinian society as a result of a youth that feels it has either no or only limited social and economic prospects, is viewed with prejudice not only by Israeli Jews but also by Palestinians, and whose social mores are changing.

Abu Shehade’s is a generation of Palestinians that wears distressed denim, is active on social media, listens to Western music, and watches Hollywood movies. None of this says anything about their religiosity.

If Israeli Jews fear Palestinian youth when they see them on a street, uncertain whether they may wield a knife against them, Palestinians are not sure whether youth they encounter on the street are common criminals or not. Crime as a result of lack of opportunity and un- or under employment among Palestinian youths is but one major concern that Palestinian society is unwilling to openly discuss.

If Palestinian youth expect to be humiliated by Israeli Jews, it’s the humiliation by their own that really hits home. Standing with a friend in line at kiosk in Jaffa several years ago, Abed noted in front of them a middle-aged Palestinian woman, a local politician, clutch her handbag, afraid that they intended to rob her. “I never felt so humiliated in my life,” Abed said. Had they been initially willing to do anything the woman might have asked of them, Abed and his friends’ response to her assumption that they were common thieves was to intimidate her even more.

Abed and his friend’s response is reflective of a Palestinian youth that not only feels it has no prospects but also that the issues that concern it most are hushed up. Stigmatisation by both Israelis and Palestinians and fear of the police and criminal gangs is but one of the problems. Palestinian youths are being pulled in multiple directions: the religious charge they are not religious enough while secularists charge they are too religious. Their concerns unrecognised, political apathy reigns as a result of which Palestinian youth in Israel and the West Bank often stand accused of not being engaged. They feel damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Israeli Palestinian youth hold a racist Israeli society responsible for their plight but feel a Palestinian society that refuses to acknowledge their plight is equally guilty. Abed recalls a childhood friend being released from prison. A social worker came to visit and advised him how to best reintegrate into society. The friend described to her dropping out of school to help his family make ends meet. His brother forced him to sell drugs while his mother helplessly watched her sons go off on a wrong track. That’s when I needed help, he told the social worker: “Where were you then?” A few weeks, later the activist found his friend’s body on a street riddled with bullets.

Crime, say youth activists, is one of the foremost issues, certainly among Israeli Palestinian youth. Drugs is another. So is the fact that pre-marital relationships have become more common, yet cannot be openly discussed. In what seems anti-cyclical, the picture of a Middle East turning more conservative is not immediately evident on the streets of Israeli Palestinian towns like Sakhnin, Arrabe or Deir Hassan in the Galilee, where uncovered, fashionable dressed youth, male and female, is as common as ones who uphold more conservative dress codes.

Changing social attitudes in the West Bank

Social attitudes also appear to be changing on the West Bank. Five years ago members of the Palestinian national women’s soccer team described battles within their families about their right to play. At times their matches had to be played in empty stadiums and guarded by police to protect them from attack by conservative religious forces. Today, the player’s team speak about their family’s support and that they are proud of the fact that they represent Palestine and project it favourably internationally. Stadiums host a growing number of fans whenever they play.

Ironically, Palestinian Authority-governed territory, and particularly Ramallah, is attracting Israeli Palestinian youth who feel they have a greater opportunity to be themselves in an urban environment as opposed to the smaller towns they hail from in Israel. Ramallah is, however, no solution for a problem that threatens to further fracture the fabric of Israeli society, both Jewish and Palestinian.

Similarly, Israeli Palestinian soccer players who play key roles in Israeli clubs increasingly opt to play for West Bank teams and the Palestinian national team rather than its Israeli counterpart.

The Shebab Hebron football club recently won for the first time in 30 years the West Bank’s championship, thanks to five new players, all Israeli Palestinians. Six Israeli Palestinians currently play for Palestine instead of Israel. In Palestine they don’t encounter the kind of racism that often greets them in Israeli stadiums.

“Professionalism in Israel is better. But it is developing here and I’m sure that in a few years it will be completely professional,” said Abu Obeideh Rabie, one of the players who moved to Hebron. The moves have not been without problems. Palestinian club Al-Dharia recently ha sanctions imposed on it after several of the club’s players were barred entry into Lebanon because they carried Israeli identity documents. Israeli citizens are barred from travelling to Lebanon.

A powder keg

Influential New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who is widely viewed as sympathetic to Israel, warned in a recent column that Israel’s travails were in part due to its “desire to destroy itself”. Friedman suggested that Netanyahu would soon become the prime minister of the “State of Israel-Palestine” as a result of his refusal to come to peace terms with the Palestinians. The implication was that demographics, against the backdrop of continued control of West Bank Palestinians, would force Israel, if it wants to retain its Jewish character, to continue discriminating Palestinians and would risk becoming the equivalent of an apartheid state.

There is little doubt that in theory the building blocks for a popular uprising in Palestinian lands are in place.

All of this points to a powder keg. Israel’s national intelligence estimate warned this year that violence would escalate in the absence of a credible peace process. Social and economic issues are not always what persuades West Bank Palestinians to randomly stab an Israeli. It often is a sense of humiliation as well as lack of security and freedom as a result of occupation, societal attitudes, and failed political leadership that prompts reasonably successful men and women to attempt to take someone else’s life and waste their own.

The fact of the matter is that no one knows if the powder keg will erupt and, if so, how it will erupt. Escalation of the violence of the past eight months is one possibility. Mass protests as occurred last year as the violence initially erupted is another. There is little doubt that in theory the building blocks for a popular uprising in Palestinian lands are in place.

Palestinian protests are frequently directed as much against the Israelis as they are against the Palestinian leadership. Protests like the second Intifadaare often preceded by calls for reform that went unheeded. Palestinian youth and civic society groups have made clear, through numerous initiatives and protests, that they want a say in determining their future, one that puts an end to Israeli occupation and domination and that accords them greater freedom in their own society. Their demands for an end to the occupation, the lifting of the yoke of the Israeli security forces, reform of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, national unity, and social justice are similar to what fuelled the Arab revolts. Yet, like in many cases in the Middle East and elsewhere, it remains impossible to predict if and under what circumstances a revolt may occur.

The stabbings have in common with the popular Arab revolts that they emanate from an amorphous, leaderless whole. They fit the pattern of the unusual suspects who drove the Arab revolts. Yet, unlike the revolts they remain the spontaneous acts of individuals and at least until now have not jelled into something organised.

The stabbings tell us that discontent is boiling at the surface. These uncoordinated violent outbursts of anger are one form of resistance alongside the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and local peaceful protest. They are also an expression of frustration with the lack of impact of attempts by the Palestinian Authority to pursue Palestinian rights through the United Nations. The fact that the Palestine Football Association (PFA) last year had to withdraw its proposed resolution for the suspension of Israel from FIFA despite wide support highlighted the Palestinian Authority’s failure.

Alienation in the West Bank and Gaza

More than half of youth in the West Bank and Gaza have not registered to vote and have no intention of doing so, according to a recent survey. The stabbings also reflect a widespread refusal by youth to participate in protests organised by either Fatah or Hamas. That was evident in the wave of protests that erupted in the autumn of last year, even if few seem to believe that protests will actually effect change in Israeli or Palestinian policies.

Much like in the first Intifada, the Palestinian leadership at best pays lip service to expressing an understanding of what is driving protest and the youth. It seems singularly unwilling to draw political conclusions from that in an environment in which the history of the resistance, the failure of the peace process and dominance of autocracy in the region has undermined institutions and strengthened self-serving political parties. What were once resistance groups have become bureaucracies bent on ensuring their own survival.

What the stabbings do tell us is that the fabric of Israeli and Palestinian society is being eroded by a conflict to which a solution seems ever more distant, if not impossible, and by societies and leaderships incapable and unwilling to listen to a Palestinian youth whose prospects are dim at best and whose anger is directed as much at Israeli racism as it is against Palestinian indifference, prejudice and refusal to acknowledge changing realities.

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Fake “Humanitarians” and Fake “Leftists” taking Canada down the wrong path


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Special Envoy of the UNHCR addresses the Security Council meeting on the continuing conflict in Syria. Credit: UN Photo/ Mark Garten/ flickr
By Mark Taliano 

There’s really no excuse for supporting the NATO/terror position. We’ve seen the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, now Syria, all built on lies, all beneath the guise of “humanitarian interventions”. Since people with any sense of historical memory can not legitimately plead ignorance, supporters of the terrorist invasion of Syria fall into the category of “fake humanitarians”. They aren’t “progressive” or “left” when they support the criminal violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Canadian peace activist Ken Stone, recently returned from Syria, expresses similar sentiments in his newly released book, Defiant Syria|dispatches from the Second Tour of Peace to Syria.  He explains,

“The point for me is to ask why otherwise intelligent people can fall for such shit (referring to a 2015 New Internationalist magazine article: “The forgotten revolution of Syria”), and not once but repeatedly.  It’s not as if Syria is the very first government targeted for regime change by the USA. It’s not that people are unaware of the fact that the first casualty of war is the truth … there is never a shortage of “leftists” in the West who can be either bought or convinced through incredible naivété, warped political outlook, or Eurocentric arrogance, that the motives of Empire are good.”

People such as Ken, who have visited Syria and have seen with their own eyes the devastation wrought by Western-supported terrorists against civilization, have less tolerance for the lies, the propaganda and the “fake humanitarians” who enable it all.

Stone doesn’t mince words when he describes some of his on-the-ground observations of Homs, Syria; observations fortified by his historical memory of NATO’s imperial destruction elsewhere:

 “Judging from the many corpses found buried around the city, some of which were missing eyes and various internal organs, many have speculated that the mercenaries ran a lucrative trade in human organs, besides their human trafficking in Syrian women, boys, and children, and their other rackets such as rapine and pillage … The terrorist organizations were working in accordance with a well-rehearsed imperial script here in Homs. The KLA, NATO’s foot soldiers in Kosovo (formerly part of Yugoslavia) also ran an organ smuggling operation out of a house in Pristina in 1999.”

To their detriment, the fake “humanitarians” and pseudo “leftists” are shielded from such on-the-ground realities.

In a later chapter, “Palmyra: Bride Of The Desert”, Stone also bemoans the self-proclaimed “leftists” who cast the Russians as “imperialists” and as guilty as the West in the war against Syria – conveniently forgetting that Russia is legally in Syria, while NATO is not:

“It’s true,” he writes, “that Russia is unfortunately no longer a socialist country. However, it doesn’t act like an imperialist country either. Mr. Putin consistently respects the sovereignty of other countries, such as Syria, and speaks up at the United Nations for the observance of international law, which the USA, priding itself as “the exceptional country” and the “sole indispensable country”, tramples on almost every day.”

This resonates with the author’s earlier piece, Western Hegemony vs Russian Sanity, and the “Saker’s” observations of the differences between the “Anglo-Zionist Unipolar Imperial Model” and the “Russian Multi-polar Model”.

Sustainable evidence demonstrates, for example, that the current Russian multi-polar model respects the rule of international law, ideological and cultural pluralism, and the use of military force as a last resort.

The illegal Western war of aggression against Syria, on the other hand, is consistent with the “Anglo-Zionist Unipolar Imperial Model” which defies the rule of international law, negates ideological and cultural pluralism, and uses military violence as a first resort.

The West’s invasion contradicts the rule of international law: Russia is in Syria legally, whereas the West is not; it negates Syria’s ideological and cultural pluralism and seeks to replace it with a Wahhabist stooge government or an assortment of stooge governments in balkanized states; and it demonstrates the West’s propensity to use military violence as a first resort – the invasion, after all, was planned well in advance.

Given the fact of the West’s criminality, consistent with the “Anglo-Zionist Unipolar Imperialist Model”, and the concurrent failures of the “fake humanitarians” and the fake “left” to reconcile themselves to evidence-based findings and historical memory, Stone reiterates some concrete steps that should be taken by those of us who support foreign policy trajectories consistent with peace and the rule of international law, rather than the current reality of war and barbarism.

Important steps would include normalizing diplomatic relations with Syria, ending illegal sanctions, withdrawing from all criminal military interventions against Syria, and withdrawing from NATO.

Canada needs to assert an independent foreign policy, and it needs to reject the current barbarity implicit in its status as a vassal appendage of the Anglo-Zionist Unipolar Imperial Model.  This is what Real Change would look like.

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US Accuses Russia of Militarizing Space While Doing the Same for Years

2% Economic Growth

Washington is set to start deterring Russia in space. President Barack Obama in a letter notified Congress that in “accordance with section 1613 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016” he had submitted a classified report on deterring “adversaries in space.”

The US brought up the idea of deterrence in space last year, citing Russia and China among the possible rivals. According to the Pentagon, Moscow and China are building up their presence in space while the US is lagging behind.

US Deputy Defense Secretary Frank Kendall urged to boost spending on space in a bid to catch up to Russia and China.

Recently, Barack Obama recalled the “Russian threat in space” in the light of fierce debates on the 2017 defense budget. According to draft bill, US defense spending for the next fiscal year estimates at $582 billion. Debates over the budget once again showed contradictions between the Republicans and the Democrats. The Republicans have insisted on boosting defense spending, including costly modernization programs, particularly in rocket technologies and nuclear arms.

Space technologies are the hottest topic of the debates. Recently, the House Armed Services Committee discussed the purchase of 18 Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines. They are required for the Atlas-5 space program, including delivering military satellites into orbit. The Russian engines are also part of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV).

American analysts suggest that the OTV reusable suborbital surveillance aircraft designed in cooperation with NASA will be used to practice destroying satellites, reported.

After Washington imposed sanctions against Russia a group of US congressmen called for the cancellation of the RD-180 deliveries. However, the Pentagon opposed, saying that the US would not be capable to develop its own analogue to until 2021. Probably, the classified report would include measures to cut reliance on the Russian-made engines.

It is also possible that the US would further develop its traditional space technologies.

“Military space technologies can be divided into two segments – offensive and information. The US is not developing offensive space weapons because such programs are too expensive. Washington is interested in information technologies, particularly space intelligence,” Ivan Moiseyev, head of the Institute of Space Politics, told the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad.

Currently, 40 percent of the satellites orbiting Earth are American satellites. In addition to financial benefits, the use of satellites is crucial for defense needs. The Outer Space Treaty bars states from placing weapons of mass destruction in orbit. But the treaty does not prohibit the use of conventional weapons in space.

As a result, the US wants to secure its satellites via military dominance in space.

In 2008, the Russian and Chinese governments proposed an international agreement to prevent the deployment of weapons in outer space but the US government under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama consistently rejected launching negotiations to conclude such a treaty.

The US is likely to further block the initiative, the article read. It is possible that in the near future Washington would include information systems into the military segment.

“What the US is seriously developing is missile defense. And missile defense system can be used to hit satellites. China also has such a program. In turn, Russia is not developing such plans,” Moiseyev said.

For example, back in 2008, the malfunctioning USA-193 reconnaissance military satellite was intentionally destroyed by a SM-3 missile fired from the USS Lake Erie, at an altitude of 246 km.

According to the analyst, the fire was aimed at demonstrating the US capabilities in the field.

However, the US has accused Russia of using anti-satellite missiles. This refers to the launch of a Nudol missile from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The launch was allegedly detected by a US satellite. However, neither Moscow nor Washington officially confirmed the launch.

Probably, the missile may have been the A-235 Nudol missile defense system which is expected to replace A-135 Amur missile defenses deployed around Moscow. However, the A-235 is incapable of destroying satellites in orbit while the US ship-based SM-3 can do this.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on US Accuses Russia of Militarizing Space While Doing the Same for Years

HISTORY: Jewish Slavetrade Documentary


Image result for Jewish Slave Trade PHOTO

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Donetsk Blog, May 30: Heavy Artillery Along Entire Front – Ukrainian Offensive – OSCE Under Sniper Fire


Ukraine’s civil war is still very much ongoing.  Both sides are exchanging fire. Civilians and soldiers continue to die on both sides.

DONi was recently founded by a Finnish journalist and Russian businessman whom we know, and we have every reason to believe that their reporting can be relied on as truthful.  More information about the agency follows below this report.

Due to its slow, simmering nature, events in Novorossiya rarely make headlines, so people forget there is a real war going on.

Donetsk, Friday, May 30, 16.30 pm. Exclusive to Russia Insider

(Attn readers: this is frequent feature – if you would like to have clarification of facts mentioned here, additional information, more explanation of why certain events are happening, please ask us in the comments section, or email the author at:   This will help us provide you with information you want to have.)

By the end of the week, the situation on the frontline sharply deteriorated. On the nights of May 27 to 28, Kiev shelled with the heavy artillery the western and northern outskirts of Donetsk as well as Dokuchaevsk in the southern direction. According to the DPR Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian side launched at least 10 152mm projectiles at the western outskirts of the DPR capital, and over a dozen explosions were reported on the northern outskirts.

Residents of Donetsk wrote that night in the social networks of fire engines rushing towards the shelled districts. On Saturday morning the local authorities confirmed the fact of fires in residential areas. According to their data, during the shelling two civilians were injured and 21 buildings damaged, including a kindergarten where new windows had just been installed.

The same night, Kiev shelled with artillery and mortars Dokuchaevsk in the southern, Mariupol direction. There the target of the Ukrainian side was apparently the dolomite plant, which caught fire after the direct hit by a mortar shell. The local authorities of the town reported that the Ukrainian military had fired over 40 rounds from 120 mm mortars.

The following night, from May 28 to 29, the work of Ukrainian heavy artillery was clearly audible, even in the central districts of Donetsk. Severe explosions were reported in social networks not only by residents of Donetsk but also by those of Gorlovka in the north; in Yasinovataya, one of the hottest points located between Gorlovka and Donetsk; as well as by inhabitants of several cities in the south.

Soldiers of the DPR Army reported a battle in which artillery and armoured vehicles were used on the northern outskirts of Donetsk as well as another attack in the area of Avdeevka. The Ukrainian assault group was repelled to their initial positions with one soldier killed and two wounded.

The day before, following the first heavy bombardments, Ukrainian volunteers wrote on social networks of a Ukrainian army offensive on certain sectors of the front, and even of Ukrainian military units occupying some DPR army positions. At the same time, they pointed out that the senior military authorities of the country were well aware of actions of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) forces, but had no intention of officially confirming them.

The ATO headquarters did deny the information of volunteers about the Ukrainian offensive, as well as earlier reports of volunteers stating that senior military authorities had issued an order not to open fire even in response. On Friday May 27, the ATO headquarters spokesperson reported of eight DPR bombardments of a Ukrainian position, after which, he said, the Ukrainian side returned fire.

By way of comparison, on the same day the DPR Defense Ministry reported of 266 bombardments of the DPR territory by Kiev, including 11 rounds from 152mm artillery and 12 from 122mm artillery.

Over the past week, according to the DPR Defense Ministry, Kiev carried out about 2,000 bombardments of DPR territory, including over 1,000 rounds from heavy weapons. The most intense attacks were in the Donetsk and Mariupol directions, which resulted in six DPR soldiers being killed and another four wounded, three civilians injured and 45 buildings damaged, including two kindergartens, a church, a dental clinic and a gas pipeline.

According to DPR soldiers on the ground, over the past two days the Ukrainian artillery aimed more at the residential areas of Donetsk and other cities than at the positions of the DPR army. In that time, eight residences, a kindergarten, a printing house and a base of the Emergency Ministry were damaged in Donetsk, and another five houses were damaged in Dokuchaevsk.

The particularly harsh attacks from Kiev led to the fact that for the first time in a very long time, according to DPR soldiers, they were authorised to open return fire without limiting themselves to small arms. As a result, the ATO headquarters reported of five dead and four wounded Ukrainian soldiers, while the DPR soldiers in positions near Avdeevka informed that the Ukrainian army had lost six men dead there alone.

At the same time, DPR intelligence reports, Kiev continues to deliver increasingly heavier weapons to the front line in all three directions of central Donetsk, northern Gorlovka and southern Mariupol, including heavy mortars, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery systems, and motorized cannons, howitzers and anti-tank cannons, and “Grad” MLRS’s (see below pictures of weapons mentioned). The heaviest weapons, including 203mm “Peon” motorised cannons, were delivered in the Mariupol direction, while to the Gorlovka direction up to 200 radicals from the nationalist “Azov” and “Right Sector” battalions, together with about 30 mercenaries from a PMC, arrived.

International observers of the OSCE mission also documented the presence on the Ukrainian side of the front line of four “Strela” anti-air missile systems.

In addition, on Friday May 27, the OSCE and JCCC representatives, when they visited the site where the Ukrainian military had attempted a breakthrough near Avdeevka, they came under sniper fire from the Ukrainian side.

At the time of this writing, the sounds of heavy artillery can be clearly heard in the very centre of Donetsk. The sound of two explosions has just been heard

Information on weapons mentioned in this article

A mortar is a tube-like cannon which fires a projectile which explodes upon impact. They have ranges of up to 3 miles

An infantry fighting vehicle

A tank T-72

An armoured personnel carrier

A 152mm motorised artillery system “Akatsia”

A 120mm motorised artillery cannon “Nona”

A 122mm cannon D-30

An 100mm anti-tank cannon “Rapira”

A 203mm motorised cannon “Peon”

A MLRS “Grad”

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How culpable were Dutch Jews in the slave trade?

Amsterdam musicians dressing up as Black Pete, the slave of the Dutch Santa Claus, Sinterklaas. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

Amsterdam musicians dressing up as Black Pete, the slave of the Dutch Santa Claus, Sinterklaas. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

On a busy street near the Dutch Parliament, three white musicians in blackface regale passersby with holiday tunes about the Dutch Santa Claus, Sinterklaas, and his slave, Black Pete.

Many native Dutchmen view dressing up as Black Pete in December as a venerable tradition, but others consider it a racist affront to victims of slavery. With Holland marking the 150th anniversary of abolition this year, the controversy over Black Pete has reached new heights. Hundreds demonstrated against the custom in Amsterdam last month, and more than 2 million signed a petition supporting it.

Through it all, Dutch Jews — some of whom celebrate their own version of the Black Pete custom, called “Hanukklaas” — have largely remained silent.

But that changed in October, when Lody van de Kamp, an unconventional Orthodox rabbi, wrote a scathing critique about it on Republiek Allochtonie, a Dutch news-and-opinion website. “The portrayal of ‘Peter the slave’ dates back to a period when we as citizens did not meet the social criteria that bind us today,” Van de Kamp wrote.

Speaking out against Black Pete is part of what van de Kamp calls his social mission, an effort that extends to reminding Dutch Jews of their ancestors’ deep involvement in the slave trade. In April, he is set to publish a book about Dutch Jewish complicity in the slave trade, an effort he hopes will sensitize Jews to slavery in general and to the Black Pete issue in particular.

“I wrote the book and I got involved in the Black Pete debate because of what I learned from my Dutch predecessors on what it means to be a rabbi — namely, to speak about social issues, not only give instructions on how to cook on Shabbat,” van de Kamp told JTA.

“Money was earned by Jewish communities in South America, partly through slavery, and went to Holland, where Jewish bankers handled it,” he said. “Non-Jews were also complicit, but so were we. I feel partly complicit.”

Though he holds no official position in the Dutch Jewish community, van de Kamp, 65, is among the best-known Orthodox rabbis in the Netherlands, a status earned through his several books on Dutch Jewry and frequent media appearances.

His forthcoming book, a historical novel entitled “The Jewish Slave,” follows an 18th-century Jewish merchant and his black slave as they investigate Dutch-owned plantations north of Brazil in the hope of persuading Jews to divest from the slave trade. In researching the book, van de Kamp discovered data that shocked him.

Rabbi Lody van de Kamp

Rabbi Lody van de Kamp

In one area of what used to be Dutch Guyana, 40 Jewish-owned plantations were home to a total population of at least 5,000 slaves, he says. Known as the Jodensavanne, or Jewish Savannah, the area had a Jewish community of several hundred before its destruction in a slave uprising in 1832. Nearly all of them immigrated to Holland, bringing their accumulated wealth with them.

Some of that wealth was on display last year in the cellar of Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue, part of an exhibition celebrating the riches of the synagogue’s immigrant founders. Van de Kamp says the exhibition sparked his interest in the Dutch Jewish role in slavery, which was robust.

On the Caribbean island of Curacao, Dutch Jews may have accounted for the resale of at least 15,000 slaves landed by Dutch transatlantic traders, according to Seymour Drescher, a historian at the University of Pittsburgh. At one point, Jews controlled about 17 percent of the Caribbean trade in Dutch colonies, Drescher said.

Jews were so influential in those colonies that slave auctions scheduled to take place on Jewish holidays often were postponed, according to Marc Lee Raphael, a professor of Judaic studies at the College of William & Mary.

In the United States, the Jewish role in the slave trade has been a matter of scholarly debate for nearly two decades, prompted in part by efforts to refute the Nation of Islam’s claim that Jews dominated the Atlantic slave trade. But in Holland, the issue of Jewish complicity is rarely discussed.

“This is because we in the Netherlands only profited from slavery but have not seen it in our own eyes,” van de Kamp said. “The American experience is different.”

The slavery issue is not van de Kamp’s first foray into controversial territory. In Jewish circles, he has a reputation as a contrarian with a penchant for voicing anti-establishment views.

That image was reinforced last year when he spoke out against a compromise the Dutch Jewish community had reached with the government over kosher slaughter. Designed to avert a total ban, the compromise placed some restrictions on kosher slaughter that Holland’s chief rabbis said did not violate Jewish law. Van de Kamp denounced the deal as an unacceptable infringement on religious freedom.

More recently, he angered Dutch activists by suggesting that vilifying Dutch Muslims helped generate anti-Semitism. He also advocated dialogue with professed Muslim anti-Semites at a time when Jewish groups were calling for their prosecution.

But his reputation as a maverick rabbi in a consensus–oriented community has also endeared van de Kamp to some supporters.

“He is in a league of his own,” says Bart Wallet, an Amsterdam University historian and expert on Jewish history. “From the sideline, he is free to criticize and does not have to conform to anything.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, LiteratureComments Off on How culpable were Dutch Jews in the slave trade?

A World-Wide French Connection

Finian Cunningham
ision this week by French workers at the country’s nuclear power stations to join in nationwide industrial strikes is a welcome blow for democracy. Not just in France, but across the world.

This is no ordinary industrial impasse. What is at stake is the very meaning of democracy and a worldwide struggle against the bankrupt, warmongering economic system known as “capitalism”.

French workers and the wider French public should be lauded for their defiant fight-back against this vile system, which not only impoverishes the vast majority but which is also concurrently rail-roading the world towards another war, in the form of US-led NATO aggression against Russia and China.France depends on nuclear power for about 75 per cent of its national electricity supply. That these workers are mobilizing to turn out the lights is heightening a sense of crisis gripping the country, which has seen weeks of nationwide protests against deeply unpopular labour “reforms” being pushed through by the government of President Francois Hollande.

Industrial stoppages have already hit sea ports, airports, fuel refineries and petrol stations, with reports of French transport being brought to a standstill.

The immediate issue of resentment are changes to France’s labour code. The Hollande government – avowedly a “socialist” administration, and what a misnomer that is! – wants to amend decades-old legal protections for French workers.

Hollande and his overbearing “tough-guy” prime minister Manuel Valls claim that making it easier for businesses to “hire and fire” workers will reduce the country’s unemployment problem and thereby give a boost to a flagging national economy.

The French government is premising its arguments entirely on the viewpoint of capitalist enterprise, which makes the pursuit of financial profit the sole, sacrosanct criterion for everything. What about the rights of workers, their families and the public at large?Why should workers be forced to toil longer hours for less pay? Why should elderly workers be obliged to forego pensions, retirement and spend more of their lives in a factory?

These are basic rights that workers have struggled to gain over centuries of protest against greedy bosses and their rapacious profit-making. If French workers have relatively more of such rights compared with other industrial countries then that should be celebrated, not gutted.

Workers should not give up any of these rights. Instead, they should be consolidated and extended to all countries, not rolled back. Rolling back labour protections is “a race to the bottom” whereby workers around the world are pitted against one another to erode all rights.

Take some of the most oppressive economies in Asia and North America. So-called “in-work poverty” has reached epidemic proportions as wages and other basic rights such as weekend rest periods and paid holidays become erased.

French labour rights are something therefore that should be staunchly defended in the interests of all workers around the world. What is happening in France has crucial significance internationally. The so-called “reforms” that Hollande’s government is forcing through are being egged on by international capital and its cheerleaders in Wall Street, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. If the Paris vassals-in-office succeed, it will be henceforth open season on all workers across Europe and elsewhere.

This is why the French government is using draconian state emergency powers – under the guise of anti-terrorism measures – to send in riot-police squads to break up strikes. The right to strike is supposedly a legal right under the French constitution, yet the reactionary Hollande and his charlatan “socialists” are ripping up the constitution with a sinister gusto.

Polls show that the vast majority of French citizens are vehemently opposed to the new “hire and fire” laws that Hollande is pushing through without even a vote in the French parliament.

Notwithstanding this authoritarian, anti-democratic assault on workers and their families, Hollande and his thunder-faced premier Valls have the brass neck to claim that the country is being dictated to by workers, students, pensioners and the wider public.

This is an audacious, fundamental attack on the meaning of democracy. If citizens are opposed to dictates from a government and its faceless foreign allies among global banks, then that is the people’s prerogative. That is democracy. But Hollande and his ruling cronies turn reality on its head, by claiming that this democratic principle is null and void.The protests in France are about much more than technical “reforms” to the labour code. It’s about the very existence of democracy.

The people of France are incensed by years of economic austerity forced down their throats since the global collapse of capitalism that ensued from the international financial crisis in 2008. Not just in France, but across Europe, North America and beyond.

Essential public services and entitlements have been relentlessly slashed and poverty has exploded while a tiny elite become ever-more obscenely rich.

Not satisfied with record levels of inequality, the global elite and their politician-puppets in governments are pushing for even deeper cuts against workers and the greater public.

The strikes, demonstrations and protests erupting across France are a harbinger that people have at last reached a critical mass for revolt against the anti-democratic dictate of a bankrupt economic system. A system that not only is destroying societies, but which is also driving countries towards fascist despotism and war.

It is no coincidence that in the socially imploding Western countries led by the United States and its European NATO partners there is also an insane march by the elites towards war with Russia and China.

Historically, when capitalism goes into its recurring systemic seizures from chronic poverty and inequality it always seeks to break out of its impasse through war. We saw this before in the death throes towards the First and Second World Wars. We are seeing the same systemic failure again driving a US-led war with Russia and China.It really is contemptible when incompetent, fatuous politicians like France’s Hollande and Valls tell their people that they must accept attacks on their rights and inevitably more poverty, while at the same time these same Washington-minions endorse more militarism and aggression towards Russia.

However, the defiance of French workers along with steadfast public support is having a notable effect. Hollande and Valls appear now to be partially backing down in their assault on labour rights. Valls this week suddenly come out to say that the putative “reforms” may be softened.

Football fan Valls is no doubt alarmed by reports that the 2016 Euro Soccer Championship due to kick off in two weeks in France could be jeopardized by the nationwide strikes. Last year, the French prime minister was embroiled in an embarrassing scandal when he used a private jet in order to make a hurried attendance at a soccer final in Paris.

French workers should not stop their defense of democratic rights by being fobbed off with token “softening” by Valls. They should push all the way to give Valls, Hollande and their rotten government the red card.

In doing so, all workers across Europe and the world should cheer on their French comrades. And likewise take up this new international fight back for democracy.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do notnecessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.


All French Aviation Unions to Strike June 3-5 Against Labor Reform
France on Fire: Transit Workers Riot Over EU-Backed Labor Reforms
French Unions Announce Strikes Against Labor Reform in May, June
Up to 400,000 Took Part in Labor Reform Rallies Across France on Thursday
trade union, nuclear power plants, labor reform, strike, protest, European Union, Francois Hollande, Europe, France


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Jewish Involvement In Black Slave Trade To The Americas



By Rabbi Marc Lee Raphael

Image result for Black Slave Trade PHOTO

The following passages are from Dr. Raphael’s book Jews and Judaism in the United States: A Documentary History (New York: Behrman House, Inc., Pub, 1983), pp. 14, 23-25.
“Jews also took an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados and Jamaica in the eighteenth century, Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated.
“This was no less true on the North American mainland, where during the eighteenth century Jews participated in the ‘triangular trade’ that brought slaves from Africa to the West Indies and there exchanged them for molasses, which in turn was taken to New England and converted into rum for sale in Africa. Isaac Da Costa of Charleston in the 1750’s, David Franks of Philadelphia in the 1760’s, and Aaron Lopez of Newport in the late 1760’s and early 1770’s dominated Jewish slave trading on the American continent.”
Dr. Raphael discusses the central role of the Jews in the New World commerce and the African slave trade (pp. 23-25):
During the sixteenth century, exiled from their Spanish homeland and hard-pressed to escape the clutches of the Inquisition, Spanish and Portuguese Jews fled to the Netherlands; the Dutch enthusiastically welcomed these talented, skilled husinessmen.
While thriving in Amsterdam – where they became the hub of a unique urban Jewish universe and attained status that anticipated Jewish emancipation in the West by over a century – they began in the 1500’s and 1600’s to establish themselves in the Dutch and English colonies in the New World. These included Curacao, Surinam, Recife, and New Amsterdam (Dutch) as well as Barbados, Jamaica, Newport, and Savannah (English).
In these European outposts the Jews, with their years of mercantile experience and networks of friends and family providing market reports of great use, played a significant role in the merchant capitalism, commercial revolution, and territorial expansion that developed the New World and established the colonial economies. The Jewish-Caribbean nexus provided Jews with the opportunity to claim a disproportionate influence in seventeenth and eighteenth century New World commerce, and enabled West Indian Jewry-far outnumbering its coreligionists further north-to enjoy a centrality which North American Jewry would not achieve for a long time to come.
Groups of Jews began to arrive in Surinam in the middle of the seven-teenth century, after the Portuguese regained control of northern Brazil. By 1694, twenty-seven years after the British had surrendered Surinam to the Dutch, there were about 100 Jewish families and fifty single Jews there, or about 570 persons. They possessed more than forty estates and 9,000 slaves, contributed 25,905 pounds of sugar as a gift for the building of a hospital, and carried on an active trade with Newport and other colonial ports. By 1730, Jews owned 115 plantations and were a large part of a sugar export business which sent out 21,680,000 pounds of sugar to European and New World markets in 1730 alone.
Slave trading was a major feature of Jewish economic life in Surinam which as a major stopping-off point in the triangular trade. Both North American and Caribbean Jews played a key role in this commerce: records of a slave sale in 1707 reveal that the ten largest Jewish purchasers (10,400 guilders) spent more than 25 percent of the total funds (38,605 guilders) exchanged.
Jewish economic life in the Dutch West Indies, as in the North American colonies, consisted primarily of mercantile communities, with large inequities in the distribution of wealth. Most Jews were shopkeepers, middlemen, or petty merchants who received encouragement and support from Dutch authorities. In Curacao, for example, Jewish communal life began after the Portuguese victory in 1654.
In 1656, the community founded a congregation, and in the early 1670’s brought its first rabbi to the island. Curacao, with its large natural harbor, was the steppng-stone to the other Caribbean islands and thus ideally suited geographically for commerce.
The Jews were the recipients of favorable charters containing generous economic privileges granted by the Dutch West Indies Company in Amsterdam. The economic life of the Jewish community of Curacao revolved around ownership of sugar plantations and marketing of sugar, the importing of manufactured goods, and a heavy involvement in the slave trade, within a decade of their arrival, Jews owned 80 percent of the Curacao plantations. The strength of the Jewish trade lay in connections in Western Europe as well as ownership of the ships used in commerce. While Jews carried on an active trade with French and English colonies in the Caribbean, their principal market was the Spanish Main (today Venezuela and Colombia).
Extant tax lists give us a glimpse of their dominance. Of the eighteen wealthiest Jews in the 1702 and 1707 tax lists, nine either owned a ship or had at least a share in a vessel. By 1721 a letter to the Amsterdam Jewish community claimed that “nearly all the navigation…was in the hands of the Jews.”‘ Yet another indication of the economic success of Curacao’s Jews is the fact that in 1707 the island’s 377 residents were assessed by the Governor and his Council a total of 4,002 pesos; 104 Jews, or 27.6 percent of the taxpayers, contributed 1,380 pesos, or 34.5 percent of the entire amount assessed.
In the British West Indies, two 1680 tax lists survive, both from Barbados; they, too, provide useful information about Jewish economic life. In Bridgetown itself, out of a total of 404 households, 54 households or 300 persons were Jewish, 240 of them living in “ye Towne of S. Michael ye Bridge Town.” Contrary to most impressions, “many, indeed, most of them, were very poor.” There were only a few planters, and most Jews were not naturalized or endenizened (and thus could not import goods or pursue debtors in court). But for merchants holding letters of endenization, opportunities were not lacking. Barbados sugar-and its by-products rum and molasses-were in great demand, and in addition to playing a role in its export, Jewish merchants were active in the import trade.
Forty-five Jewish households were taxed in Barbados in 1680, and more than half of them contributed only 11.7 percent of the total sum raised. While the richest five gave almost half the Jewish total, they were but 11.1 percent of the taxable population. The tax list of 1679-80 shows a similar picture; of fifty-one householders, nineteen (37.2 percent) gave less than one-tenth of the total, while the four richest merchants gave almost one-third of the total.
An interesting record of interisland trade involving a Jewish merchant and the islands of Barbados and Curacao comes from correspondence of 1656. It reminds us that sometimes the commercial trips were not well planned and that Jewish captains – who frequently acted as commercial agents as well – would decide where to sell their cargo, at what price, and what goods to bring back on the return trip.
(End of excerpt)
Tony Martin is African studies professor at Wellesley College and has taught at Wellesley College, Massachusetts since 1973. He was tenured in 1975 and has been a full professor of African Studies since 1979. Prior to coming to Wellesley he taught at the University of Michigan-Flint, the Cipriani Labour College (Trinidad) and St. Mary’s College (Trinidad). He has been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, Brown University and The Colorado College. He also spent a year as an honorary research fellow at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad.
Professor Martin has authored or compiled or edited eleven books, including Literary Garveyism: Garvey, Black Arts and the Harlem Renaissance, and the classic study of the Garvey Movement, Race First: the Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association.. His most recent book is The Jewish Onslaught: Despatches from the Wellesley Battlefront. Martin qualified as a barrister-at-law at the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn (London) in 1965, did a B. Sc. honours degree in economics at the University of Hull (England) and the M.A. and Ph.D. in history at Michigan State University.
Martin’s articles and reviews have appeared in the Journal of Negro History, American Historical Review, African Studies Review, Washington Post Book World, Journal of Caribbean History, Journal of American History, Black Books Bulletin, Science and Society, Jamaica Journal and many other places. His work is to be found in several anthologies and encyclopedias. He has received a number of academic and community awards.
Martin is well known as a lecturer in many countries. He has spoken to university and general audiences all over the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and England, and also in Africa, Australia, Bermuda and South America. In 1990 he delivered the annual DuBois/Padmore/Nkrumah lectures in Ghana.
Professor Martin is currently working on biographies of three Caribbean women – Amy Ashwood Garvey, Audrey Jeffers and Trinidad’s Kathleen Davis (“Auntie Kay”). He is also nearing completion of a study of European Jewish immigration into Trinidad in the 1930s.
The Jewish Onslaught
Despatches From The Wellesley Battlefront
By Tony Martin
“…a polemic of the highest order… the best example of an African answering critics since David Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World.” – Molefi Asante, Journal Of Black Studies
“Professor Martin at long last deals with the Henry Gates/Cornel West attacks on Afrocentricity…. Martin provides a solid analysis of the historical use of Blacks by whites to discredit original Black thought deemed unacceptable by non-Blacks….
“I compare The Jewish Onslaught to the classic third chapter of DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk entitled ‘Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others….’ Martin has written a book that years from now will be considered a classic…. It is simply a must reading on a controversial subject that needs greater airing than some of the more timid political attempts of recent years.” – Raymond Winbush, The Voice Of Black Studies
” Tony Martin has been forced to delve into the relationship between the Jews and Blacks and in the process, he has distilled a work that is informative, fascinating and one which will heighten the consciousness of Black people everywhere.” – Carl Wint, The Sunday Gleaner
#1 Bestseller
(Your Black Books Guide)
Best Book Of The Year
(Black Literary Awards, 1994)
1993. vii+137pp. ISBN 0-912469-30-7.
Subject: Who owned the slaving ships?
Name Of Slave Ships And Their Owners:
The ‘Abigail-Caracoa’ – Aaron Lopez, Moses Levy, Jacob Crown
Isaac Levy and Nathan Simpson
The’Nassau’ – Moses Levy
The ‘Four Sisters’ – Moses Levy
The ‘Anne’ & The ‘Eliza’ – Justus Bosch and John Abrams
The ‘Prudent Betty’ – Henry Cruger and Jacob Phoenix
The ‘Hester’ – Mordecai and David Gomez
The ‘Elizabeth’ – Mordecai and David Gomez
The ‘Antigua’ – Nathan Marston and Abram Lyell
The ‘Betsy’ – Wm. De Woolf
The ‘Polly’ – James De Woolf
The ‘White Horse’ – Jan de Sweevts
The ‘Expedition’ – John and Jacob Roosevelt
The ‘Charlotte’ – Moses and Sam Levy and Jacob Franks
The ‘Franks’ – Moses and Sam Levy
A video, “The Jewish Role in the Black Slave Trade,” a speech by Prof. Tony Martin with an introduction by Hoffman, remains online at Google, as of this writing. Viewers who wish to see it before it, too is censored by Google, can access it here:


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