Archive | July 14th, 2020

Nazi Troops Abduct Several Palestinians in the West Bank

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The Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) stated, on Tuesday, that Nazi troops abducted ten Palestinian residents from the occupied West Bank, late Monday, early Tuesday.

In a statement, issued Tuesday, the PPS added that among those abducted were five youths in the central West Bank city of East Jerusalem, identified as Abd al-Rahman, Hatim al-Bashiti, Amir al-Maliki, Mustafa Abu Sneina and Suhaib Abu Saleh.

The PPS also noted that Israeli soldiers abducted Hamada Hassan al-Khatib, 30 and his brother Omar, 24, from Hizma town in the Jerusalem district.

In the central West Bank district of Bethlehem, Nazi forces abducted Anas Awni Abu Balha, 25, from Aida refugee camp. From Burqin village, Abdullah Hassan Subuh was detained in front of a military roadblock, in addition to Dhafer Sami Zaqzouq of the Al-Jadida village.

According to Alray, the home of Anas Abu Balha was invaded and ransacked by Nazi forces, as was the homes of Hamada and Omar al-Khatib.

The Palestinian Information Center reported that Nazi soldiers ransacked a bakery in the Old City of Jerusalem, and abducted another young man, identified as Jihad Abu Subaih.

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34-Year Old Palestinian Woman Dies of Wounds Sustained In 2014 Nazi Holocaust

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

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Aseel Mahmoud Hamad Dheir, 34, died on Monday in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, from wounds she suffered at the hands of the Nazi army during their invasion of Gaza in the summer of 2014.

Dheir was severely injured in Nazi airstrike on her home in southern Gaza, and became hemaplegic (paralyzed on one side of her body) as a result of her injuries.

According to medical sources, she had suffered tremendously from her egregious wounds over the last six years, and finally succumbed to them on Monday July 13th, 2020.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, some 2,147 Palestinians were killed during the 51-day of Nazi offensive on Gaza in 2014, including 72 who later succumbed to their wounds.

UN records state that and estimated 84 per cent of Palestinians that were killed were civilians, not engaged in armed resistance to the Nazi invasion of their land.

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Nazi Soldiers Demolish A Home In Jerusalem

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Nazi soldiers demolished, on Wednesday morning, an under-construction Palestinian home in Jabal al-Mokabber village, south of occupied East Jerusalem.

Eyewitnesses said dozens of Nazi soldiers, and police officers, accompanied bulldozers and personnel of the City Council in the occupied city into the village, after surrounding it.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Enter in Silwan (Silwanic) said the Nazi soldiers surrounded the property, owned by Ghassan Shqeirat, and demolished it.

The Nazi army claims that the property is being built without a permit from the City Council.

While the Nazi regime continues to build and expand its illegal colonies, in direct violation of International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, it continues to largely deny construction permits for the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, as well as Area C (%60) of the occupied West Bank. Approximately %1 of construction permit applications are approved by the Nazi regime.

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Nazi Soldiers Injure Many Detainees In Ofer Nazi Camp

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Nazi soldiers injured, late on Tuesday at night, many Palestinian political prisoners in Ofer Nazi Camp, which is built on Palestinian lands west of the illegally Nazi occupied city of Ramallah, in addition to forcing one detainee in solitary confinement.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that dozens of Nazi soldiers invaded the rooms of the detainees, and completely closed several sections in the prison, while mainly focusing their offensive in sections 21 and 22.

The PPS added that the soldiers caused many detainees to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to forcing one in solitary confinement.

The attack comes just one day after the Nazi soldiers, including K9 units invaded the detainee’s rooms in Section 16 of the prison, and assaulted many detainees, in addition to searching them.

The Nazi soldiers also transferred one detainee, identified as Rami Fasayel, to another detention facility.

The detainees have been demanding the army to remove many political prisoners from solitary confinement and send them back to their rooms. However, their demands were met with rejection and violence by the Nazi soldiers.

The PPS warned that the Israeli army is escalating its violations against the detainees, and constantly targets their basic rights, it also added that the conditions in Nazi Camps are seriously troubling as they are compounded now by the threats of Covid19, especially after a detainee, identified as Kamal Abu Wa’ar, tested positive for the virus.

It also said that the Nazi Prison Service has recently announced that many Nazi soldiers and officers are infected with the virus, and dozens have been placed in quarantine.

The PPS called on the International Community to intervene and secure the release of all imprisoned children, women, the elderly, and those who are sick, including cancer patients as well as all those who have other serious health conditions.

It is worth mentioning that more than 1000 Palestinians, including many children, are imprisoned in Ofer.

On June 30, 2020, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society has reported that the number of Palestinian detainees currently held by the Nazi regime is 4700, including 41 women and 160 children. This number includes about 365 Palestinians held under the arbitrary Administrative Detention orders without charges or trial.

Since the beginning of this year until June 30th, Israel soldiers abducted 2020 Palestinians, including 304 children and 70 women, while Nazi military courts issued 656 administrative detention orders.

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Zionist puppet YouTube censors video about daily life for Palestinians – Take action!

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

YouTube censors video about daily life for Palestinians – Take action!

YouTube does not want American high school students to know the truth about the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

YouTube is censoring an eight-minute video entitled “Daily Life in Occupied Palestine.” The video, produced by If Americans Knew, contains video clips of Israeli actions against Palestinian men, women, and children, both Muslim and Christian. It also provides statistical and historical information about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The US gives Israel over $10 million per day.

[Go below to sign petition]

YouTube first removed the video claiming that it “violates YouTube guidelines.” When this claim was appealed, reviewers at the company admitted that it “does not violate YouTube guidelines.”

YouTube's response to our appeal
YouTube reports poor performance after censoring our video

YouTube restored the video, but is prohibiting high school students from viewing it, and discouraging adults from watching it.

When people click on the video, they see a black screen with the unusually dire warning: “The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.”

This has caused a significant reduction of views.

If Americans Knew has appealed these actions, writing to YouTube that the video—

“hasn’t been identified by ‘the YouTube Community’ as offensive; the information it contains has been labeled offensive by Israel partisans – that’s very different.

“We went to great lengths to censor all scenes of blood and gore, and even profane language. The purpose of this video is to educate the public about the ongoing situation in Israel-Palestine.”

In point of fact, the video is entirely within the range of footage shown on nightly TV. The only viewers for whom this is “offensive” are the Israel apologists whose lobby enables the violence it contains.

High school students study U.S. History, World History, and Government. They will soon be voters. Many are politically active and volunteer in diverse political campaigns. They regularly see movies filled with violence. There are laws in at least 12 states mandating that schools teach about the Nazi holocaust, an extremely violent episode in European history.

It is deeply inappropriate for YouTube to prevent American students from viewing a factual video about one of the most urgent issues in today’s world, and about a country that receives more US tax money than any other.

It is similarly inappropriate for YouTube to work to discourage adults from viewing the video and thus learning about what our money to Israel funds.

While YouTube, a Google subsidiary, is a private company, its dominance of the video hosting market confers certain responsibilities of fairness on it.

We ask that people who oppose censorship and believe that Americans need to learn facts about this urgent issue tell YouTube to remove its prohibition against students viewing the video, and remove its damaging warning screen.

Please sign this petition and share it widely.

Please also share our blog post of the video and our Facebook post of it as widely as possible.

Twitter Users

Please use the form below to tweet at YouTube, demanding they stop the #censorship!

YouTube: Stop censoring video on Palestine!

CENSORED Video: Daily Life in Occupied Palestine

The US gives Israel over $10 million per day of Americans’ tax money. It is essential that Americans know what our money is funding. 

Recently, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization If Americans Knew released a video about daily life for Palestinian families, both Muslim and Christian.

YouTube admits that the video does not violate its guidelines. 

Despite that, it has placed the video behind an unusually dire warning screen claiming (inaccurately): “The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.”?

Worse still, it is prohibiting American high school students from viewing it. 

This is deeply inappropriate and has significantly decreased the number of views.. 

The purpose of this video is to educate the public about the ongoing situation in Israel-Palestine. It is not the illusory “YouTube community” that finds it “offensive,” it is the Israel partisans who wish the information to be suppressed. 

In point of fact, the video is entirely within the range of footage shown on nightly TV. 

High school students study U.S. History, World History, and Government. They will soon be voters. Many are politically active and volunteer in diverse political campaigns. They regularly see movies filled with violence. There are laws in at least 12 states mandating that schools teach about the Nazi holocaust, an extremely violent episode in European history.

It is deeply wrong for YouTube to prevent American students from viewing a factual video about one of the most urgent issues in today’s world, and about a country that receives more U.S. tax money than any other.

It is similarly inappropriate for YouTube to actively discourage adults from viewing the video and thus learning about what our money to Israel funds. 

While YouTube, a Google subsidiary, is a private company, its dominance of the video hosting market confers certain responsibilities of fairness on it.

We ask that YouTube immediately remove its inappropriate warning screen that prevents many people from viewing the video, and that YouTube stop prohibiting high school students from viewing it.

Israel-Palestine is one of the most significant issues in the world today. On average, Israel receives 7,000 times more U.S. tax money per capita than other countries around the globe. It is essential that Americans be fully informed on the topic. YouTube, please stop working to prevent this. 

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“Cancel culture” letter is about stifling free speech, not protecting it

Cancel culture
Jonathan Cook writes:

An open letter published by Harper’s magazine, and signed by 150 prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new “cancel culture”.

The letter brings together an unlikely alliance of genuine leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and Matt Karp, centrists such as J K Rowling and Ian Buruma, and neoconservatives such as David Frum and Bari Weiss, all speaking out in defence of free speech.

Although the letter doesn’t explicitly use the term “cancel culture”, it is clearly what is meant in the complaint about a “stifling” cultural climate that is imposing “ideological conformity” and weakening “norms of open debate and toleration of differences”.

It is easy to agree with the letter’s generalised argument for tolerance and free and fair debate. But the reality is that many of those who signed are utter hypocrites, who have shown precisely zero commitment to free speech, either in their words or in their deeds.

Further, the intent of many them in signing the letter is the very reverse of their professed goal: they want to stifle free speech, not protect it.

To understand what is really going on with this letter, we first need to scrutinise the motives, rather than the substance, of the letter.

A new “illiberalism”

“Cancel culture” started as the shaming, often on social media, of people who were seen to have said offensive things. But of late, cancel culture has on occasion become more tangible, as the letter notes, with individuals fired or denied the chance to speak at a public venue or to publish their work.

The letter denounces this supposedly new type of “illiberalism”:

“We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. …

“Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; … The result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.”

Tricky identity politics

The array of signatories is actually more troubling than reassuring. If we lived in a more just world, some of those signing – like Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former US State Department official – would be facing a reckoning before a Hague war crimes tribunal for their roles in promoting “interventions” in Iraq and Libya respectively, not being held up as champions of free speech.

That is one clue that these various individuals have signed the letter for very different reasons.

Chomsky signed because he has been a lifelong and consistent defender of the right to free speech, even for those with appalling opinions such as Holocaust denial.

Frum, who coined the term “axis of evil” that rationalised the invasion of Iraq, and Weiss, a New York Times columnist, signed because they have found their lives getting tougher. True, it is easy for them to dominate platforms in the corporate media while advocating for criminal wars abroad, and they have paid no career price when their analyses and predictions have turned out to be so much dangerous hokum. But they are now feeling the backlash on university campuses and social media.

Meanwhile, centrists like Buruma and Rowling have discovered that it is getting ever harder to navigate the tricky terrain of identity politics without tripping up. The reputational damage can have serious consequences.

Buruma famously lost his job as editor of the New York Review of Books two years ago after after he published and defended an article that violated the new spirit of the #MeToo movement. And Rowling made the mistake of thinking her followers would be as fascinated by her traditional views on transgender issues as they are by her Harry Potter books.

“Fake news, Russian trolls”

But the fact that all of these writers and intellectuals agree that there is a price to be paid in the new, more culturally sensitive climate does not mean that they are all equally interested in protecting the right to be controversial or outspoken.

Chomsky, importantly, is defending free speech for all, because he correctly understands that the powerful are only too keen to find justifications to silence those who challenge their power. Elites protect free speech only in so far as it serves their interests in dominating the public space.

If those on the progressive left do not defend the speech rights of everyone, even their political opponents, then any restrictions will soon be turned against them. The establishment will always tolerate the hate speech of a Trump or a Bolsonaro over the justice speech of a Sanders or a Corbyn.

By contrast, most of the rest of those who signed – the rightwingers and the centrists – are interested in free speech for themselves and those like them. They care about protecting free speech only in so far as it allows them to continue dominating the public space with their views – something they were only too used to until a few years ago, before social media started to level the playing field a little.

The centre and the right have been fighting back ever since with claims that anyone who seriously challenges the neoliberal status quo at home and the neoconservative one abroad is promoting “fake news” or is a “Russian troll”. This updating of the charge of being “un-American” embodies cancel culture at its very worst.

Social media accountability

In other words, apart from in the case of a few progressives, the letter is simply special pleading – for a return to the status quo. And for that reason, as we shall see, Chomsky might have been better advised not to have added his name, however much he agrees with the letter’s vague, ostensibly pro-free speech sentiments.

What is striking about a significant proportion of those who signed is their self-identification as ardent supporters of Israel. And as Israel’s critics know only too well, advocates for Israel have been at the forefront of the cancel culture – from long before the term was even coined.

For decades, pro-Israel activists have sought to silence anyone seen to be seriously critiquing this small, highly militarised state, sponsored by the colonial powers, that was implanted in a region rich with a natural resource, oil, needed to lubricate the global economy, and at a terrible cost to its native, Palestinian population.

Nothing should encourage us to believe that zealous defenders of Israel among those signing the letter have now seen the error of their ways. Their newfound concern for free speech is simply evidence that they have begun to suffer from the very same cancel culture they have always promoted in relation to Israel.

They have lost control of the “cancel culture” because of two recent developments: a rapid growth in identity politics among liberals and leftists, and a new popular demand for “accountability” spawned by the rise of social media.

Cancelling Israel’s critics

In fact, despite their professions of concern, the evidence suggests that some of those signing the letter have been intensifying their own contribution to cancel culture in relation to Israel, rather than contesting it.

That is hardly surprising. The need to counter criticism of Israel has grown more pressing as Israel has more obviously become a pariah state. Israel has refused to countenance peace talks with the Palestinians and it has intensified its efforts to realise long-harboured plans to annex swaths of the West Bank in violation of international law.

Rather than allow “robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters” on Israel, Israel’s supporters have preferred the tactics of those identified in the letter as enemies of free speech: “swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought”.

Just ask Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour party who was reviled, along with his supporters, as an antisemite – one of the worst smears imaginable – by several people on the Harper’s list, including Rowling and Weiss. Such claims were promoted even though his critics could produce no actual evidence of an antisemitism problem in the Labour party.

Similarly, think of the treatment of Palestinian solidarity activists who support a boycott of Israel (BDS), modelled on the one that helped push South Africa’s leaders into renouncing apartheid. BDS activists too have been smeared as antisemites – and Weiss again has been a prime offender.

The incidents highlighted in the Harper’s letter in which individuals have supposedly been cancelled is trivial compared to the cancelling of a major political party and of a movement that stands in solidarity with a people who have been oppressed for decades.

And yet how many of these free speech warriors have come forward to denounce the fact that leftists – including many Jewish anti-Zionists – have been pilloried as antisemites to prevent them from engaging in debates about Israel’s behaviour and its abuses of Palestinian rights?

How many of them have decried the imposition of a new definition of antisemitism, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, that has been rapidly gaining ground in western countries?

That definition is designed to silence a large section of the left by prioritising the safety of Israel from being criticised before the safety of Jews from being vilified and attacked – something that even the lawyer who authored the definition has come to regret.

Why has none of this “cancel culture” provoked an open letter to Harper’s from these champions of free speech?

Double-edge sword

The truth is that many of those who signed the letter are defending not free speech but their right to continue dominating the public square – and their right to do so without being held accountable.

Bari Weiss, before she landed a job at the Wall Street Journal and then the New York Times, spent her student years trying to get Muslim professors fired from her university – cancelling them – because of their criticism of Israel. And she explicitly did so under the banner of “academic freedom”, claiming pro-Israel students felt intimidated in the classroom.

The New York Civil Liberties Union concluded that it was Weiss, not the professors, who was the real threat to academic freedom. This was not some youthful indiscretion. In a book last year Weiss cited her efforts to rid Columbia university of these professors as a formative experience on which she still draws.

Weiss and many of the others listed under the letter are angry that the rhetorical tools they used for so long to stifle the free speech of others have now been turned against them. Those who lived for so long by the sword of identity politics – on Israel, for example – are worried that their reputations may die by that very same sword – on issues of race, sex and gender.

Narcissistic concern

To understand how the cancel culture is central to the worldview of many of these writers and intellectuals, and how blind they are to their own complicity in that culture, consider the case of Jonathan Freedland, a columnist with the supposedly liberal-left British newspaper the Guardian. Although Freedland is not among those signing the letter, he is very much aligned with the centrists among them and, of course, supported the letter in an article published in the Guardian.

Freedland, we should note, led the “cancel culture” campaign against the Labour party referenced above. He was one of the key figures in Britain’s Jewish community who breathed life into the antisemitism smears against Corbyn and his supporters.

But note the brief clip below. In it, Freedland’s voice can be heard cracking as he explains how he has been a victim of the cancel culture himself: he confesses that he has suffered verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of Israel’s most extreme apologists – those who are even more unapologetically pro-Israel than he is.

He reports that he has been called a “kapo”, the term for Jewish collaborators in the Nazi concentration camps, and a “sonderkommando”, the Jews who disposed of the bodies of fellow Jews killed in the gas chambers. He admits such abuse “burrows under your skin” and “hurts tremendously”.

And yet, despite the personal pain he has experienced of being unfairly accused, of being cancelled by a section of his own community, Freedland has been at the forefront of the campaign to tar critics of Israel, including anti-Zionist Jews, as antisemites on the flimsiest of evidence.

He is entirely oblivious to the ugly nature of the cancel culture –unless it applies to himself. His concern is purely narcissistic. And so it is with the majority of those who signed the letter.

Conducting a monologue

The letter’s main conceit is the pretence that “illiberalism” is a new phenomenon, that free speech is under threat, and that the cancel culture only arrived at the moment it was given a name.

That is simply nonsense. Anyone over the age of 35 can easily remember a time when newspapers and websites did not have a talkback section, when blogs were few in number and rarely read, and when there was no social media on which to challenge or hold to account “the great and the good”.

Writers and columnists like those who signed the letter were then able to conduct a monologue in which they revealed their opinions to the rest of us as if they were Moses bringing down the tablets from the mountaintop.

In those days, no one noticed the cancel culture – or was allowed to remark on it. And that was because only those who held approved opinions were ever given a media platform from which to present those opinions.

Before the digital revolution, if you dissented from the narrow consensus imposed by the billionaire owners of the corporate media, all you could do was print your own primitive newsletter and send it by post to the handful of people who had heard of you.

That was the real cancel culture. And the proof is in the fact that many of those formerly obscure writers quickly found they could amass tens of thousands of followers – with no help from the traditional corporate media – when they had access to blogs and social media.

Silencing the left

Which brings us to the most troubling aspect of the open letter in Harper’s. Under cover of calls for tolerance, given credibility by Chomsky’s name, a proportion of those signing actually want to restrict the free speech of one section of the population – the part influenced by Chomsky.

They are not against the big cancel culture from which they have benefited for so long. They are against the small cancel culture – the new more chaotic, and more democratic, media environment we currently enjoy – in which they are for the first time being held to account for their views, on a range of issues including Israel.

Just as Weiss tried to get professors fired under the claim of academic freedom, many of these writers and public figures are using the banner of free speech to discredit speech they don’t like, speech that exposes the hollowness of their own positions.

Their criticisms of “cancel culture” are really about prioritising “responsible” speech, defined as speech shared by centrists and the right that shores up the status quo. They want a return to a time when the progressive left – those who seek to disrupt a manufactured consensus, who challenge the presumed verities of neoliberal and neoconservative orthodoxy – had no real voice.

The new attacks on “cancel culture” echo the attacks on Bernie Sanders’ supporters, who were framed as “Bernie Bros” – the evidence-free allegation that he attracted a rabble of aggressive, women-hating men who tried to bully others into silence on social media.

Just as this claim was used to discredit Sanders’ policies, so the centre and the right now want to discredit the left more generally by implying that, without curbs, they too will bully everyone else into silence and submission through their “cancel culture”.

If this conclusion sounds unconvincing, consider that President Donald Trump could easily have added his name to the letter alongside Chomsky’s. Trump used his recent Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore to make similar points to the Harper’s letter. He at least was explicit in equating “cancel culture” with what he called “far-left fascism”:

“One of [the left’s] political weapons is ‘Cancel Culture’ – driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism … This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly.”

Trump, in all his vulgarity, makes plain what the Harper’s letter, in all its cultural finery, obscures. That attacks on the new “cancel culture” are simply another front – alongside supposed concerns about “fake news” and “Russian trolls” – in the establishment’s efforts to limit speech by the left.

Attention redirected

This is not to deny that there is fake news on social media or that there are trolls, some of them even Russian. Rather, it is to point out that our attention is being redirected, and our concerns manipulated by a political agenda.

Despite the way it has been presented in the corporate media, fake news on social media has been mostly a problem of the right. And the worst examples of fake news – and the most influential – are found not on social media at all, but on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

What genuinely fake news on Facebook has ever rivalled the lies justifying the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that were knowingly peddled by a political elite and their stenographers in the corporate media. Those lies led directly to more than a million Iraqi deaths, turned millions more into refugees, destroyed an entire country, and fuelled a new type of nihilistic Islamic extremism whose effects we are still feeling.

Most of the worst lies from the current period – those that have obscured or justified US interference in Syria and Venezuela, or rationalised war crimes against Iran, or approved the continuing imprisonment of Julian Assange for exposing war crimes – can only be understood by turning our backs on the corporate media and looking to experts who can rarely find a platform outside of social media.

Algorithms changed

I say this as someone who has concerns about the fashionable focus on identity politics rather than class politics. I say it also as someone who rejects all forms of cancel culture – whether it is the old-style, “liberal” cancel culture that imposes on us a narrow “consensus” politics (the Overton window), or the new “leftwing” cancel culture that too often prefers to focus on easy cultural targets like Rowling than the structural corruption of western political systems.

But those who are impressed by the letter simply because Chomsky’s name is attached should beware. Just as “fake news” has provided the pretext for Google and social media platforms to change their algorithms to vanish leftwingers from searches and threads, just as “antisemitism” has been redefined to demonise the left, so too the supposed threat of “cancel culture” will be exploited to silence the left.

Protecting Bari Weiss and J K Rowling from a baying leftwing “mob” – a mob that that claims a right to challenge their views on Israel or trans issues – will become the new rallying cry from the establishment for action against “irresponsible” or “intimidating” speech.

Progressive leftists who join these calls out of irritation with the current focus on identity politics, or because they fear being labelled an antisemite, or because they mistakenly assume that the issue really is about free speech, will quickly find that they are the main targets.

In defending free speech, they will end up being the very ones who are silenced.


You don’t criticise Chomsky however tangentially and respectfully – at least not from a left perspective – without expecting a whirlwind of opposition. But one issue that keeps being raised on my social media feeds in his defence is just plain wrong-headed, so I want to quickly address it. Here’s one my followers expressing the point succinctly:

“The sentiments in the letter stand or fall on their own merits, not on the characters or histories of some of the signatories, nor their future plans.”

The problem, as I’m sure Chomsky would explain in any other context, is that this letter fails not just because of the other people who signed it but on its merit too. And that’s because, as I explain above, it ignores the most oppressive and most established forms of cancel culture, as Chomsky should have been the first to notice.

Highlighting the small cancel culture, while ignoring the much larger, establishment-backed cancel culture, distorts our understanding of what is at stake and who wields power.

Chomsky unwittingly just helped a group of mostly establishment stooges skew our perceptions of free speech problems so that we side with them against ourselves. There is no way that can be a good thing.

Update 2:

There are still people holding out against the idea that it harmed the left to have Chomsky sign this letter. And rather than address their points individually, let me try another way of explaining my argument:

Why has Chomsky not signed a letter backing the furore over “fake news”, even though there is some fake news on social media? Why has he not endorsed the “Bernie Bros” narrative, even though doubtless there are some bullying Sanders supporters on social media? Why has he not supported the campaign claiming the Labour party has an antisemitism problem, even though there are some antisemites in the Labour party (as there are everywhere)?

He hasn’t joined any of those campaigns for a very obvious reason – because he understands how power works, and that on the left you hit up, not down. You certainly don’t cheerlead those who are up as they hit down.

Chomsky understands this principle only too well because here he is setting it out in relation to Iran:

“Suppose I criticise Iran. What impact does that have? The only impact it has is in fortifying those who want to carry out policies I don’t agree with, like bombing.”

For exactly the same reason he has not joined those pillorying Iran – because his support would be used for nefarious ends – he shouldn’t have joined this campaign. He made a mistake. He’s fallible.

Also, this isn’t about the left eating itself. Really, Chomsky shouldn’t be the issue. The issue should be that a bunch of centrists and right-wingers used this letter to try to reinforce a narrative designed to harm the left, and lay the groundwork for further curbs on its access to social media. But because Chomsky signed the letter, many more leftists are now buying into that narrative – a narrative intended to harm them. That’s why Chomsky’s role cannot be ignored, nor his mistake glossed over.

Update 3:

I had not anticipated how many ways people on the left might find to justify this letter.

Here’s the latest reasoning. Apparently, the letter sets an important benchmark that can in future be used to protect free speech by the left when we are threatened with being “cancelled” – as, for example, with the antisemitism smears that were used against anti-Zionist Jews and other critics of Israel in the British Labour party.

I should hardly need to point out how naive this argument is. It completely ignores how power works in our societies: who gets to decide what words mean and how principles are applied. This letter won’t help the left because “cancel culture” is being framed – by this letter, by Trump, by the media – as a “loony left” problem. It is a new iteration of the “politically correct gone mad” discourse, and it will be used in exactly the same way.

It won’t help Steven Salaita, sacked from a university job because he criticised Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza, or Chris Williamson, the Labour MP expelled because he defended the party’s record on being anti-racist.

Steven Salaita@stevesalaitaIf you support (or signed) the Harper’s letter, don’t invoke me as an example of somebody who was “cancelled.” My academic career was systematically destroyed by the same institutional forces the vast majority of signatories uphold (and from which they benefit).6:37 PM · Jul 9, 2020

The “cancel culture” furore isn’t interested in the fact that they were “cancelled”. Worse still, this moral panic turns the whole idea of cancelling on its head: it is Salaita and Williamson who are accused – and found guilty – of doing the cancelling, of cancelling Israel and Jews.

Israel’s supporters will continue to win this battle by claiming that criticism of Israel “cancels” that country (“wipes it off the map”), “cancels” Israel’s Jewish population (“drives them into the sea”), and “cancels” Jews more generally (“denies a central component of modern Jewish identity”).

Greater awareness of “cancel culture” would not have saved Corbyn from the antisemitism smears because the kind of cancel culture that smeared Corbyn is never going to be defined as “cancelling”.

For anyone who wishes to see how this works in practice, watch Guardian columnist Owen Jones cave in – as he has done so often – to the power dynamics of the “cancel culture” discourse in this interview with Sky News. I actually agree with almost everything Jones says in this clip, apart from his joining yet again in the witch-hunt against Labour’s anti-Zionists. He doesn’t see that witch-hunt as “cancel culture”, and neither will anyone else with a large platform like his to protect:

Israeli soldier points gun at child

Southampton University’s conflict with UK Zionists

In “British stooges”

World academics support Southampton University’s right to hold conference on Israel and international law

Attempts by Britain’s Zionist lobby to bully the University of Southampton into cancelling a ground-breaking conference on Israel and international law has backfired, with over 250 academics from the world over signing a petition expressing their support for the university’s right to hold the conference. Professors, lecturers and researchers from.

In “QuickPress”

Misuse of anti-Semitism

A Zionist attack on free speech

In “American stooges”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on “Cancel culture” letter is about stifling free speech, not protecting it

The Chinese embassy responds to Schenker’s “accusations” regarding the relationship with Lebanon

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The Chinese Embassy in Lebanon considered that “Assistant US Secretary of State David Schenker has made false accusations against China on a range of issues related to China, including cooperation between China and Lebanon and other countries.”

The embassy issued the following statement:

We have noticed that US Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker recently made false accusations against China on a range of issues related to China, including cooperation between China, Lebanon and other countries, during his interview with the Lebanese media. The Chinese Embassy in Lebanon, as follows:

The Chinese side has long been actively promoting practical cooperation between China and Lebanon on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. And successive Lebanese governments have taken positive positions towards cooperation with China. The Chinese and Lebanese governments signed the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in building the “Belt and Road”. The Chinese side encourages Chinese companies with potentials and good reputation to discuss the possibility of cooperation with the Lebanese side in various fields, including infrastructure.

China is the largest developing country in the world, and Chinese foreign aid is a mutual assistance among developing countries. In recent years, the Chinese side has provided all its assistance to the Lebanese side through bilateral and multilateral channels, including in-kind and humanitarian assistance and implementation of aid projects in cooperation with UNICEF, the United Nations World Food Program and other international organizations. The new Lebanese National Higher Institute for Music project funded by the Chinese government is an integrated and huge project, benefiting from the Chinese gift.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic in Lebanon, the Chinese side has provided batches of medical assistance to the Lebanese side, including more than one million twenty thousand medical masks, 20,000 medical protective suits, 3000 units of the BCR examination, 3000 pairs of protective looks and more than 10 A device for measuring temperature, etc. China has also provided $ 50 million to the World Health Organization this year in support of global efforts to combat Covid-19 disease. China has pledged $ 2 billion in aid over the next two years to support countries affected by the epidemic, especially developing countries, to combat disease and economic and social recovery.

– As for the alleged “Chinese debt”, the Chinese side is committed in its financial cooperation with other developing countries to respecting the sovereignty of all countries, abides by international rules and is keen to enhance international cooperation to combat corruption. The Chinese side has not put any political condition on its loans. The Chinese side attaches great importance to the debt sustainability of the countries benefiting from the aid. The Chinese side takes into consideration the governments ’desires for these countries and directs the investment to the infrastructure fields and other areas that are in urgent need of development and financing. As a result, Chinese assistance has been warmly welcomed by the government and people of the beneficiary countries. With regard to Chinese debt on the regions or projects that the American side repeatedly raises, the accumulated debt in cooperation projects with China is only a very small part of the total debt. For example, Chinese loans make up only about 10% of Sri Lanka’s external debt. No country has fallen into the alleged “debt traps” because of its cooperation with China. President Xi Jinping announced during the extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity to Combat New Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19) that the Chinese side will cancel the debts of the concerned African countries in the form of government loans that are exempt from interest due to be paid by the end of 2020 within the framework of the Chinese Cooperation Forum African.

The claim that “China places millions of Chinese Muslims in detention camps” is just a slander. The Chinese government protects the freedom of religious belief of citizens in accordance with the law, and the Chinese people of different nationalities enjoy the freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law. The number of Muslims in China is more than 20 million, and every 530 Muslims have a mosque. A handful of American politicians cannot change these facts, even though they are lying again and again. Meanwhile, as a country ruled by law, China will not allow criminal activities under religious cover.

The 5G technology is a common innovation for the international community. Their use and development have implications for global economic growth, the interests of all countries of the world, and the progress of human civilization. In the recent period, the American side popularized the concept of national security and used the state authority to suppress Chinese companies without providing any proof or good reason. This behavior is shameful and immoral. Everyone knows who carried out the largest operation of eavesdropping, surveillance, espionage, and penetration against other countries, extending and maintaining their influence by any means, according to the information disclosed in recent years.

The Covid-19 epidemic situation remains serious in the United States. We feel sad for the American people, hoping it will overcome the difficulties as soon as possible. We sincerely hope that American officials take care of the welfare of the American people and strive to find solutions to the chronic problems of American society, put the safety and health of the American people in mind and take care of their own affairs instead of interfering in the affairs of other countries, evading responsibility and diverting attention. ”

Posted in China, LebanonComments Off on The Chinese embassy responds to Schenker’s “accusations” regarding the relationship with Lebanon

Confessions Kinda Sermons: Here’s what I did for 300,000 Lebanese Liras

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

“Al-Manar” channel sources confirmed that “the arrested Zionist puppet kinda al-Khatib admitted during her interrogation by the General Security that she“ communicated with an Israeli journalist through social media, and the journalist asked her to photograph Jewish churches in Lebanon, but she refused and informed the head of the Public Relations Division of the Internal Security Forces Colonel Joseph Muslim about this. ”

The sources pointed out that “Al-Khatib did not break the relationship with the journalist who sent his number to communicate with him, so Al-Khatib informed him that she wishes for peace between Israel and Lebanon,” noting that “Al-Khatib admitted to providing the journalist with information about the demonstrations in Lebanon, especially in Beirut and Tripoli, and provided the Israelis with information Security for some Lebanese individuals related to the resistance, and then visited Jordan and entered the occupied Israeli entity through the fifteenth crossing, but pointed out that it claimed that to show off only. “

The sources stressed that “Al-Khatib admitted that lawyer Nabil Al-Halabi commissioned her to prepare and transport 15 demonstrators to the center of Beirut, specifically on the 14th of February, with the aim of launching insults against former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and carrying out riots, and obtained from Al-Halabi the amount of 300,000 pounds for this task.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, LebanonComments Off on Confessions Kinda Sermons: Here’s what I did for 300,000 Lebanese Liras

The Law, and Origin Story of Istanbul’s Iconic Hagia Sophia

A landmark ruling has reversed a previous decision preventing worship in the Hagia Sophia after its conversion into a museum in 1934.

By Adam Bensaid

On Friday July 10, Turkey’s highest court has repealed a previous decision that saw the 1934 conversion of the Hagia Sophia from a mosque into a museum, and put restrictions on prayers being performed at the site.

A week earlier, Turkey’s Council of State received arguments by lawyers pressing for an annulment of a 1934 decision by its Council of Ministers which turned the historic monument into a museum.

In the case, lawyers appealed to the foundation charter of the Hagia Sophia itself, personal property of Sultan Mehmet II, which forbids changes of any sort to the endowment, its lands, and use.

“At the heart of this controversial case is a bid to restore religious freedoms,” says Mark Jefferson, an analyst for Omran Strategic Studies Institute.

“Early modern Turkey cracked down on the practice of faith, wearing of religious garb and expression of religion, and one of the policies they enacted was to deny its religious Muslim community a place that served as a deeply symbolic place of prayer for nearly five centuries,” he says.

“It is worth recalling the ‘Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Independence and Sovereignty’, adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 2131 on 21 December 1965, which saw a unanimous ratification,” notes Hassan Imran, an international lawyer who spoke to TRT World prior to the court’s ruling.

“Whether the court ruling is in favour or against annulment, respect for the rule of law is essential. To that end, the judiciary should uphold their independence, free of any political consideration,” he adds.

Freedom of worship preserved

Authorities have consistently communicated that the features of Hagia Sophia, a significant historical and cultural heritage site dating back to the sixth century AD, will continue to be preserved and protected, and will remain open to the public in the same manner the Blue Mosque is open to visitors and tourists of all denominations and faiths.

Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also maintained that allowing prayers in Hagia Sophia would not deprive it of its identity.

“Turkey will still preserve the Christian icons there, just like our ancestors preserved all Christian values”, said Kalin.

“Hagia Sophia’s status is not an international matter but a matter of national sovereignty for Turkey,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier Thursday.

“Hagia Sophia, like all cultural assets on our lands, is the property of Turkey,” adds Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy.

With its multifaceted and rich past, questions arise surrounding Hagia Sophia’s significance and meaning to Turkey. For some, it was founded as a church. For others, Mehmet Fatih II’s conquest of Constantinople in 1453, and his subsequent preservation and restoration of the ancient cathedral, has made it a keystone of national culture and modern Turkish heritage.

A painting of Hagia Sophia by Gaspare Fossati in 1852.

A painting of Hagia Sophia by Gaspare Fossati in 1852. (Gaspare Fossati / )

While some criticism has been leveled against the annulment of restriction on prayers in the monument, Khalid Yacine, anthropologist of antiquities at the University of Setif says there’s nothing unusual about it all.

“The Hagia Sophia is a part of Turkey’s origin story. Without it there would be no Turkey, and no Istanbul,” he says in an interview with TRT World.

“It’s ties to multiple faiths will likely give rise to sensitivities, but if worshippers and visitors are allowed as they have been before, then this is more than was done by others.”

When asked what he means, he chuckles and resumes.

“Most people don’t know that St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican itself, is built over several Roman temples. When Spain expelled Muslims in the inquisition, it changed the Grand Mosque of Cordoba into a cathedral, where Muslims are forbidden to pray to this day,” he elaborates.

“Many mosques were outright destroyed or converted into Churches. By the same token, when the Spanish went to the New World, they also changed places of worship into churches. The Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral is built on the ruins of an Aztec temple,” he adds.

But the list goes on.

“The Church of Prophet Elija in Thessaloniki, Greece was a former mosque. In Bulgaria, the Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church of Sofia was converted from a Mosque into a church. In Croatia too, three Ottoman mosques were converted into churches. Vietnam saw the French destroy Buddist and Taoist places of worship to build the St. Joseph Cathedral.”

“Turkey has ruled to allow people to carry out prayers in Hagia Sophia. That hardly compares to getting arrested in the Grand Mosque of Cordoba for saying something in Arabic or converting it into a cathedral. If anything, the Hagia Sophia stands today because of Turkey’s efforts to restore it,” he points out.

Istanbul’s birth

Written on a 66-meter length of carefully preserved gazelle skin, Fatih Sultan Mehmed Foundation, Sultan Mehmet II, writes:

“All the things I have explained and designated here have been set down in written form in the foundation charter in the manner appointed; the conditions may not be altered; the laws may not be amended; they may not be diverted from their original purpose; the appointed rules and principles may not be diminished; interference of any sort in the foundation is interdicted… May the curse of Allah, the angels and all human beings be upon anyone who changes even one of the conditions governing this foundation.”

Caption: The Sultan’s charter is carefully preserved, and treated multiple times a year to ensure its longevity.

The Sultan’s charter is carefully preserved, and treated multiple times a year to ensure its longevity. (AA)

Shortly after his conquest of Constantinople and renaming of the city to Istanbul, the Sultan performed his first Friday prayers there. Apocrypha tells a story of a young Sultan who is said to have fallen to his knees in prayers of gratitude upon entering the ancient cathedral.

Shortly after, he established an endowment to care for and govern the new ‘Great Mosque’, with an annual income of 14,000 gold pieces per year to restore, expand and preserve the civilizational monument. The endowment’s charge was significant not only as an edict, but spiritually as well.

Islamic jurisprudence forbids the alteration of an endowment or foundation’s charter or purpose without consultation and approval of the owner, a principle that has since become ubiquitous in modern law.

Out of respect to the multi-faithed citizens of the city and his empire, Sultan Mehmet II ordered new decorations that did not destroy the previous interior detailing within Hagia Sophia.

At the time, the Hagia Sophia was already 900 years old, and had suffered at least two fires and three earthquakes, one of which caused the entire dome to collapse. It had also been ransacked and desecrated during the Fourth Crusade by Crusaders.

Buried History

With Istanbul’s conquest, Hagia Sophia quickly became a cultural icon, bearing deep heritage to Turkey today. Named a ‘Great Mosque’, every effort was made to preserve it and improve upon a structurally flawed design caused by a heavy central dome perched on a long basilica.

Buttresses were added to the Hagia Sophia’s sides to prevent it from collapse during the reign of Murad III by the historical architect Sinan who would be inspired by the ancient edifice, and fusing its style with Islamic art and aesthetics in a series of Grand Mosques.

A series of additions were made including a school, and fountain during Sultan Mahmud I’s rule, and a clock room during Sultan Abdulmejid’s time, which also saw the most thorough restoration of the ancient structure carried out by Swiss architects from 1847-1849.

At the time, Russian historian Peter Ouspensky, commented ironically.

“The Turks showed more understanding for the city’s monuments than the Crusader armies that occupied Istanbul in 1204.”

Hagia Sophia would also become home to the largest calligraphy collection in the empire, with countless gold inscriptions, tiles, artistic reflections of Turkey’s civilizational heritage.

In the words of Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, a Turkish poet,

“The Hagia Sophia is neither stone, nor line, nor color, nor matter, nor a symphony of substance; it is pure spiritual meaning, meaning alone.”

But Hagia Sophia is also more than just a monument to the grandeur of human achievement and artistic expression. It also serves as the final resting place for five sultans and their families, giving it a venerated historical status befitting its age and history.

With the ruling opening the way for permitting worshippers to pray in the Hagia Sophia, there is no doubt that the ancient site will remain respected by adherents of many faiths around the world, and one of Turkey’s most revered sites of heritage.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on The Law, and Origin Story of Istanbul’s Iconic Hagia Sophia

Syria: Hope Is Gone, Evil Has Taken Over, We Are at War with the Western Leaders

A letter from Father Daniel

By Father Daniel

Dear Friends,

A deep disappointment and a fatigue together with the regular and unanimous will to deal with this increasingly difficult situation continue to help each other, that is, as far as I can tell it, the predominantly sense of life of the Syrian people. However, this asks people nothing but to let the people live in peace in their own country with the wide possibilities that are rightfully theirs.

The war is already going on for more than nine years. This, what they call a war, had nothing to do with a “spontaneous popular uprising ”or a“ civil war ” because, there have not been any of this . We have seen how it started here in Syria. The superpowers wanted the oil, build the gas for themselves, built the “American” pipeline and especially break the independence of a sovereign Syria.

The people, the army and the government however, held on to their sovereignty and their country. Therefore, the “International community” an overwhelming military coalition kill the people and destroy their land. They Western Coalition tried to kill and destroy Syria, but didn’t succeed, the people, army and government remained united and upright, also because of the loyal allies, like Russia and Hezbollah. The Western powers justified these crimes to the public opinion worldwide, they use the media “monsters” and spread lies over a president (president Assad) who allegedly tortures his own people, starves them and kills. This remains the pretext of the Western politics and media to this day.

An unrelenting flow of gruesome headhunters recruited by the Western powers and thanks to international aid which supplied them, they killed without any effort, paid and armed, in Syria, by the West. But the Syrian people are not yet on their knees for these criminal rulers. Embargoes and sanctions were imposed to suffocate life and a free fall was planned for the Syrian lira (of SL 60 for the war to SL 1000 during the war now to SL 2500 for one dollar!). The pinnacle now is the draconian Caesar law which is heavily punishing anyone who in any way supports the Syrian people. Instead of supporting the people against the terrorists, or with the reconstruction and the fight against the corona virus, the international community is starving the Syrian people in the most inhumane way.

We are also in rebellion against Western politics and their leaders.Syria: The Western Rogue States Must Confess Their Crimes Against Humanity and be Held Accountable

We revolt against the sanctions imposed on 17 million Syrians who live in the area controlled by the government. We revolt against the illegal occupation of 30% of our country, which is approved among the 50 founders of the UN. We revolt against the illegal occupation by the Turkish and US military and the occupation of oil wells, while the country itself is in dire need of oil. We revolt against the unlimited Turkish and Western support and support from international NGOs to the fanatical terrorists who occupy Idlib province ”!

Our Belgian, Dutch, most EU politicians and media again provide a striking illustration of support for this hypocritical and criminal policy.

Last Tuesday, Germany and Belgium, proposed in front of the UN Security Council to launch “humanitarian aid” for Syria Turkey and Jordan, out of Syria’s control, for an extension of one year . The pretext is to help refugees in Northern Syria (Idlib). The the reality is to continue to support for the terrorists in the areas which are controlled by Turkey and America. Already, these illegal occupiers, prevented Syrians who want to flee to government territory, instead they are making an so-called independent Kurdistan.

Obviously, Russia and China voted against this UN proposal. Russia has now put forward a proposal to bring humanitarian aid to Syria, meaning the sovereign state controlled by the government. Of course, this was voted down (7 against, 4 for, 4 abstentions). Our EU politicians and journalists (bought by the EU) are the real cause of suffering and injustice in Syria. They know by now the real situation and are therefore the unscrupulous accomplices of a satanic work. The Syrian people are exhausted but remain determined to revolt against this international organized criminal network.

Father Daniel, Qara, Syria

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria: Hope Is Gone, Evil Has Taken Over, We Are at War with the Western Leaders

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