Is this the first time a soldier has executed a Palestinian in cold blood, or did the fact that it was caught on film make the difference?
Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avidgor Lieberman is right when he says the “onslaught” directed at the Kfir Brigade solider who executed Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron last Thursday after Sharif had already been subdued is hypocrisy. In other words, that the Israel Defense Forces spokesman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others who condemned the soldier’s action are hypocrites.
It’s clear, after all, that it is only because a camera documented a soldier shooting a “neutralized” Palestinian in the head that the people at the top rushed to disassociate themselves from the act. “That’s not how the IDF operates,” they said, meaning that the IDF is usually not so negligent as to allow the actions of its soldiers to be filmed so we know that it indeed is how armed Israelis conduct themselves – executing Palestinians suspected of carrying out stabbings when they no longer pose a danger.
Here are the contours of this hypocrisy:
* On September 25, 2015, soldiers in Hebron killed Hadeel al-Hashlamoun. She hadn’t stabbed anyone but had only gone through a checkpoint with a knife. Three bullets hit her lower body and seven her upper body while she was already lying “neutralized.” There was a foreign activist there who took still pictures that were sufficient to prove that Hashlamoun was not a threat to the soldiers. A storm of controversy ensued. An investigation was carried out and findings were released about a month after the beginning of the “stabbing wave.” The commanders found that the soldiers could have arrested Hashlamoun without killing her, but decided that they should not be punished. On November 4, I wrote: “Punishing them would have required punishing other soldiers who ‘felt that their lives were in danger’ and easily took a life.” I should have written “felt and will feel.”
* With the typical egoism of an occupier, the current violent escalation is marked by Israelis as beginning on October 1, when a husband and wife, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin, were murdered near the settlement of Itamar. But for Palestinians and particularly the Hebronites among them, the starting point is the date on which Hadeel al-Hashlamoun was executed in cold blood. And there are also those who mark it beginning from July 31, when the members of the Dawabsheh family were murdered in the West Bank village of Duma.
* In an analysis on Friday in Haaretz, Amos Harel defines the shooting execution in cold blood and writes: “The ... soldier [a combat paramedic] shoots the prone terrorist in the head at very close range. No one standing around [soldiers and settlers] seemed particularly alarmed by what they had just seen.” There are several possible reasons for that: 1) That is the spirit of the IDF in their view; 2) They had already been present or participated in very similar incidents or knew that that’s what everyone does, only without a camera and 3) Despite remarks by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, the army is not acting to instill the message among soldiers that killings should not happen when life is not endangered.
* Most of those who have carried out the approximately 105 incidents of stabbing, attempted stabbing or knife-wielding since October 3 have been killed by soldiers, policemen and security guards. In all the cases that were not filmed by Palestinians, did the soldiers, police and security guards really act appropriately and had no choice but to kill? In other words, that the hand of God has decided that only what runs counter to the spirit of the IDF is what will be filmed?
* Cameras actually did document the killing on October 29 of 24-year-old Mahdi al-Muhtaseb. He had fled from a soldier he stabbed, was apparently shot in the leg while on the other side of a checkpoint in Hebron and fell to the ground. While on the ground, a border policeman shot him several times until he stopped moving. Palestinians were shocked and alarmed, but the Israelis reacted as if it was the most normal conduct.
* A security official told Haaretz at the time that when Muhtaseb showed signs that he was going to get up, the border policeman shot again. “That is what is expected of a soldier, because who knows? Maybe the terrorist would blow himself up or take out a gun and shoot,” he said. Blow himself up? In the middle of a Palestinian neighborhood? But that’s precisely the line of defense being put forward by the family of the paramedic who executed Sharif in cold blood.
* A smartphone was used on October 4 to film the execution in cold blood of Fadi Alun from Jerusalem, a stabbing suspect who was already lying on the sidewalk after being shot. Palestinians were shocked and alarmed, but the Israelis reacted as if it was the most normal conduct.
* Imad Abu-Shamsiyeh of Hebron, a former volunteer with the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, was the person who filmed the paramedic executing Sharif. He told Haaretz that the solider had demanded that he move away, but he went onto a roof and took the video footage. He is active in the Hebron-based group Human Rights Defenders, but knew nevertheless that he had to turn the video footage over to B’Tselem so the Israelis could not dismiss the filmed evidence as some kind of Palestinian nonsense.
* On Thursday, senior officials expressed shock that army paramedics had not administered medical care to the injured Palestinian. But many reports from the scene of stabbings or knife-wieldings in recent months have contained repeated accounts of the army failing to care for injured Palestinians who lay bleeding until they died. IDF spokespersons dismissed the claims as a common Palestinian fabrication.
One may conclude that the only time there was a failure to provide medical care to Palestinians is when B’Tselem has had filmed evidence. When B’Tselem does not have such evidence, the soldiers are the Righteous Among the Nations.
Al-Awda, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition and the ANSWER Coalition are co-sponsoring the National March to Support Palestine and Protest AIPAC. We are expecting hundreds of organizations and individual leaders to endorse this activity and join the effort!
12 Noon: Assemble at the White House
1pm-5pm: March to the Washington, D.C. Convention Center
On March 20, 2016 we aren't just protesting AIPAC but we are being direct about supporting Palestine hence the theme! We are asking people from all over The United States of America to come support justice for Palestine by standing against AIPAC which will be convening in DC on this day! We cannot continue to let AIPAC (which advocates for an illegal foreign entity not on US soil) dicatate our American foreign policy.
SUPPORT PALESTINE! PROTEST AIPAC! #SupportPalestineInDC2016
Please support our work in making this national rally the great success it deserves! Thank you! Please click on this link to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/resistance48
1-min. video - AIPAC has long been pushing for the US to attack Iran. One more reason to go to the March 20 protest in Washington DC!http://iakn.us/1Q8y83w
The death of Abu Ras Kasem on Wednesday didn't dominate the evening news, and he wasn't the subject of emotional Facebook eulogies. Kasem, 34, from the village of Ilut, fell into an elevator shaft while working on the renovation of Haifa's Horev Center mall. He was yet another construction worker to be killed at work, the fifth this year. His death indicates that another bloody year lies in store for construction workers.
A day after Kasem's death, work resumed at the site as though nothing had happened.
Last week's stormy weather should have made any responsible contractor halt work and not abandon his workers on the scaffolding – especially since another construction worker, Ashraf Taha, was killed 10 days earlier due to strong winds.
But the developers are pushing to hit deadlines at any cost, and construction workers, including crane operators, report that they are threatened with dismissal unless they continue working – contrary to the Economy Ministry's instructions. The ministry currently has no minister at its helm, and a meager number of inspectors in charge of such a huge area of responsibility cannot do much about the situation. Aside from the fatalities, Israel is paying for the tiny saving in inspectors' wages with the added loss of construction workers who are injured or disabled for life.
Real estate may as well be the Wild West as far as employment and safety are concerned. No contractor or safety inspector has ever spent a single day in jail because of a worker falling to his death. At best, the fines for loss of life are a few thousand shekels – so when it comes to the profit line, real estate developers may consider it worthwhile to gamble with their workers' lives.
More than 30 construction workers, on average, are killed in Israel every year. Most of them are Arabs, but some are foreign workers and Jews. This isn't an act of fate – the odds on a construction worker dying at work in Israel are seven times higher than in Britain. It's hard to believe the Israeli public would accept this so calmly if it knew 300 Jews were going to die for nothing in the next 10 years.
A bill sponsored by MKs Shelly Yacimovich and Orli Levi-Abekasis – both daughters of construction workers – calls to place memorial plaques in buildings for the workers who died while constructing them. This is one bright spot and at least tries to raise awareness about the fate of the construction workers, which is so easily repressed.
However, this is merely symbolic legislation. The state must force employers to report every type of accident and increase the safety laws' enforcement on construction sites by beefing up the inspectors' numbers and equipping them with the right tools. The state must also toughen the penalty against employers who fail to uphold the safety laws, especially when workers are injured and killed.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.700451
Just weeks after the arrest of alleged Jewish terrorist, Yaakov Teitel, a West Bank rabbi on Monday released a book giving Jews permission to kill Gentiles who threaten Israel.
Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement, wrote in his book "The King's Torah" that even babies and children can be killed if they pose a threat to the nation.
Shapiro based the majority of his teachings on passages quoted from the Bible, to which he adds his opinions and beliefs.
"It is permissable to kill the Righteous among Nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation," he wrote, adding: "If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments - because we care about the commandments - there is nothing wrong with the murder."
Several prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Yithak Ginzburg and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, have recommended the book to their students and followers.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/2.209/west-bank-rabbi-jews-can-kill-gentiles-who-threaten-israel-1.4496
The Nightmare Scenario That Has Worried Israel for Months Sunday’s attack by a Palestinian Authority
A powerful Israeli leader with a charismatic message that resonates deeply with tens or hundreds of thousands of Israelis writes: "Christmas has no place in this our holy land. Evangelicals must not gain a footing here. Expel the vampires from our land before they once again suck our blood." Accused of murdering a Palestinian couple, he has never been charged...
Tikun Olam– December 22, 2015 By Richard Silverstein
Fox News and other far-right media sites and politicians have railed for years about the "War on Christmas" supposedly waged by atheists, liberals and other enemies of the Judeo-Christian tradition. But there is a far more virulent enemy of Christmas and Christianity in our midst. No, you won't find him in a Muslim country, the demon du jour of Donald Trump and the far-right.
Instead, you will find him in the Holy Land, Israel, the birthplace of Christianity. He is Bentzi Gopstein, leader of a Jewish fascist group, Lehava. In his past, he's been accused of murdering an Arab couple a week after the assassination of his mentor, Meir Kahane. No charges were ever brought against him for that crime. Like white supremacists and Kahane himself, Gopstein has adopted fighting Jewish-Arab miscegenation as his political mantra.
Lehava administers a hostel supported with $120,000 in government funding for "wayward women" who've supposedly left relationships with Arab men. In Knesset hearings, Gopstein and his political supporters have cried rivers of tears about impressionable Jewish women being lured into lives of sexual slavery by Arab men who tempt them. They offer reams of claims about the severity of the problem, but never any firm statistics. Nor does anyone ever offer a skeptical view on the matterIn the past year, Gopstein has expanded his attack to include Christianity as well. All of it. He called for the banning of Christianity and the burning down of churches and...lo and behold, a week later the Church of Loaves and Fishes was nearly burned to the ground. Though arrests were made, no one has been charged for the crime, a standard outcome in Israeli police investigations unless massive political pressure is mounted to lay charges and prosecution. Jewish terror even co-opts the security apparatus.
This week, just in time for Christmas, Gopstein let loose his latest barrage against the Church. It's a memorable screed called Defeating the Vampire, combining overwrought rhetoric with a largely-fictional account of Jewish history:
In recent days, I've walked through this land [of Israel] feeling a sense of real disquiet. I'm not talking about the lack of personal security that derives from a government that is impotent against the Arab enemy...but rather a lack of spiritual security, a destruction of the fortress, a disintegration of the Jewish people's line of defense against our most deadly enemy of the past hundreds of years: the Church.
He proceeds to outline the ways in which Christianity has allegedly attempted to exterminate the Jewish people:
Against this [the Church's] unimaginable power stood the Jewish people like a poor sheep surrounded by seventy wolves; like easy prey before all those bloodthirsty animals. The history of the Jews of Europe...is written in the blood of millions–from the cruel Crusades in which entire [Jewish] communities were wiped out, to pogroms throughout the continent [sic], to countless blood libels, mass expulsions from England, France, Spain and Portugal–all of them were only stations along a cruel journey which our people suffered in Christian Europe. A journey which reached its end in the smokestacks of Auschwitz, a moment over which the Vatican rubbed its hands with glee [sic].
Despite all this, the Jewish people survived...The Eternal Jew stood tall. And when the ashes of Auschwitz piled high and the blood soaked into the fetid soil of Europe–when the the desecration of God's name [the extermination] had reached its peak...God could no longer stand it and raised up out of the smoking embers the State of Israel–a most resounding slap in the face the Church had ever endured.
What was the secret of the Eternal Jew enabling him to survive all these horrors of the Church [sic]? Without doubt, it was the burning faith in the justness of our path, the deep loathing of Christianity which every Jewish baby sucks from his mother's milk...The children of those Jews who were burned like sacrificial sheep, founded the State of Israel, whose very being negated the Church.
...Because we maintain one of the strongest armies in the world the Church has no chance of destroying our bodies...But they place their last hope in the blood-sucking vampire: the missionaries. If they cannot kill Jews, they can still try to convert them...Stores devoted to selling evangelical literature offer their wares to all on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road. Entire settlements are crawling with missionaries. Many businesses are run by them and serve the evangelicals, in many cases camouflaging their intent and without the knowledge of their [Jewish] employees.
That same disgust Jews felt toward Christianity, which was the only thing which saved us during our dark days in Europe, that same disgust has faded in the midst of the good life of the era of democracy. The Christian is no longer perceived as a threatening vampire, but rather as a nice tourist, friendly and a partner in the prevailing western culture we both share.
...In a few days, this cursed religion will celebrate Christmas throughout this land. To our sorrow we can feel this everywhere. You see fir trees in stores. On billboards, you can see flyers inviting the wider public to study about Christianity–right in the heart of Jerusalem.
...How could even the Orthodox and Haredi communities not have raised their voices against this? Could they too have lost the basic Jewish instinct which was the inheritance of our people for hundreds of years? Have they too become trapped in the net of democracy, free speech and the politically-correct brotherhood of man?
Christmas has no place in this our holy land. Evangelicals must not gain a footing here. Expel the vampires from our land before they once again suck our blood. We've already fed them enough.
For those of you who heard echoes of Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda in Gopstein's tropes, you heard well. The notion of the Eternal Jew is of course directly appropriated from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But the most striking phrase was the notion that Christians are blood sucker-vampires. This is precisely the complaint that echoed in the pages of Der Shtumer: the Jews as leeches sucking the vitality from Europe. In the case of the Nazis, they were more obsessed with money and high finance, claiming Jews controlled world capital. Gopstein sees Christians sucking the blood from the millions of Jews murdered, supposedly by direct command of the Church.
Of course, much of his argument is false and fabricated. I've added [sic] after the ones that are the most farcical.
There will be those who argue that Gopstein is an outlier. He has nothing to do with the real Israel. Everyone sees him as a madman, etc., etc. But that is patently false.
Not only is Gopstein an accused murderer, his followers burned down a Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem. Other disciples (either direct or indirect) burned the Church of Loaves and Fishes to the ground only a week after he issued a call to undertake such acts. These are not the acts of the sort of lone gunmen who've perpetrated acts of terror lately in the U.S. This is a powerful leader with a charismatic message that resonates deeply with tens or hundreds of thousands of Israelis. It is a message the Israeli political and security echelons have no interest in combatting. Despite calls from the Pope himself and Israeli human rights NGOs for his arrest, he remains free.
It's also ironic that Israel's increasingly authoritarian government considers legislative proposals that would force NGOs receiving foreign funding from wearing a sort of "Jewish star" like ones forced on us by the Nazis, whenever they entered the Knesset. The ironic truth is that rightist NGOs like Lehava, Honenu, Im Tirzu, NGO Monitor, and many others, probably receive far more foreign funding than left-wing NGOs. The major difference is that the latter receive donations from governments and large foundations, while the rightists receive mostly individual gifts. You may be certain that if these bills pass you will not see Ronen Shoval (Im Tirzu) or Gerald Steinberg (NGO Monitor) shuffling through the halls of the Knesset with any scarlet letter on their chests. That fate will be reserved for B'Tselem, Peace Now, New Israel Fund, and their like.
It is truly extraordinary that foreign funders embrace the hate spewed by Gopstein. He's very cagey about where his funding comes from. One source we know for sure is the Israeli government itself. Its social welfare ministry funds projects sponsored by an NGO called Hemla. One of them is the hostel for "wayward girls" mentioned above. Gopstein is the public affairs representative for Hemla and earns a salary from it.
He's told the media that individual donors are directed to give through the Fund for Saving the Jewish People (FSJP). One of these is the Falic family based in Hollywood, FL. This extended family owns Duty Free America, a company which owns duty-free shops around the world.
A Falic-affiliated fund donated $60,000 to FSJP. They donated more than half the funds that Bibi Netanyahu raised for his campaign in the last Likud primaries. They also donate millions to a raft of mostly GOP pro-Israel candidates.
As you can see, the Falics are not outliers. They find the doors of power open in Tel Aviv and Washington DC. They've also endowed Bentzi Gopstein with a seal of approval through their giving to his cause. Instead of six moves of separation from Gopstein to Netanyahu, there is now only one. He is close to the beating heart of Israeli political power.
The Falics offered this deceptive defense of their giving to journalist, Uri Blau:
I am committed to giving tzedakah to causes which I care about deeply, such as the well-being and continuity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. I believe that it is important for Jews to be connected to our roots, our history and our homeland, and to take care of one another.
I believe in diversity, co-existence and integration, as opposed to "anti-assimilation," but I recognize that this can occur only when each person holds strongly to his or her own ideals, ideologies, religion and convictions. As Tevye succinctly put it in Fiddler on the Roof, "As the Good Book says, 'Each shall seek his own kind.' In other words, a bird may love a fish, but where would they build a home together?" In summary, staying true to one's beliefs can not only give meaning to one's own life, but can influence the conscience of others to make more sound choices and better judgments, including living together in peace and harmony.
Though it's touching to see Mr. Falic quote the words of Fiddler on the Roof, I note he's compared Israeli Jews to birds of prey and Palestinians to fish, their prey. That does seem just about right, though I'm certain the speaker didn't catch the irony. And how Palestinians are supposed to understand from this rhetoric or from Gopstein's Nazi-like speeches that their "consciences should make better judgements...and live together [with Jews] in peace and harmony" is beyond me.
Donald Trump, Islamophobia, and Ethnic Cleansing
I recently posted about Donald Trump's increasingly xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric and the tropes it shares with fascist themes. The call for closing our doors to Muslims, even those who are citizens, is extraordinary. Even more extraordinary is that such rampant racism gains him supporters, rather than destroying his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.
Though it appears in the latest polls that even Bernie Sanders could beat Trump in a one-on-one matchup, and many Democrats relish the prospect of running against him–we should recognize Trump as a watershed candidate. Before him, those whose campaigns were largely based on themes of hate and racism were thoroughly rejected even in their party nomination contest, let alone the general election. George Wallace, while popular, was largely a fringe candidate. Barry Goldwater was trounced by Lyndon Johnson.
Trump is a different animal. He exudes hate, yet his supporters feed off it. It only makes him stronger. The rest of the country waits for a day of reckoning which never comes. His comeuppance never comes. Instead he glides through the campaign season with the cocky air of Rocky, a heavyweight boxing champ. Nothing can touch him.
Bentzi Gopstein's call for ethnic cleansing of Christians and Palestinians from Israel mirror those of Trump here in America. Israel itself is lurching farther and farther toward fascism and outright religious hatred, if not war. Israeli extremists like him thrive on this confrontation. They know the more Jews and Arabs die the closer they are to that final battle between the forces of Light and Dark, between demons (Muslims) and angels (Jews). They know in their hearts that the Jews will win. That they will vanquish their enemies and trample them underfoot. That is the day devoutly and fervently awaited.
Gopstein and Trump represent two poles which attract. They offer the same solutions (though Trump offers them with considerably more salesmanship and panache). The outcomes of their winning their contests will be similar for America and Israel: a disaster of monumental proportions.
I have enough faith in America that it will not make this choice. About Israel, I have far less faith and hope. It is embracing Gopstein's vision with a frightful passion. Whatever ideas of his are not yet mainstream, they will be in a month or a year. This is the same path followed by his rebbe, Meir Kahane. In the 1970s they thought him a ranting maniac. Now the maniac’s ideas trip lightly off the tongues of Israeli cabinet ministers and generals. Fascism no longer lurks in Israel’s shadows. It preens and prances through the halls of power.
If Donald Trump becomes the next president of the U.S. it would be a complete disaster,' Eva Schloss writes in Newsweek essay marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Syrian refugees are suffering in ways similar to Jews in the 1930s and 1940s and U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump is "acting like another Hitler", according to a Newsweek essay by Eva Schloss, the stepsister of Anne Frank.
The essay, commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, accused Trump of "inciting racism", citing his calls to reject all Muslim migrants to the U.S. based on their religious affiliation as well as his determination to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
"If Donald Trump becomes the next president of the U.S. it would be a complete disaster," wrote Schloss.
Schloss knew Anne Frank before the onset of WWII and the Holocaust and moved to Belgium in 1938 to escape the Nazi regime.
"We were treated as if we had come from the moon," she wrote in Newsweek, comparing her experience to that of today's refugees who she said have a greater difference of culture with Europeans that she did and therefore struggle even more to assimilate.
"I am very upset that today again so many countries are closing their borders," she wrote. "Fewer people would have died in the Holocaust if the world had accepted more Jewish refugees."
Schloss went on to praise Germany for its well-organized response to the current refugee crisis, and pointed a finger squarely at Britain and the U.S., countries which, according to her, are not doing enough to solve the problem.
"This is not just a European problem, it's a global problem," she stressed. "If countries as big as the U.S. and Canada would take in more people, then we would get much closer to a solution."
Schloss expressed a sense of despair regarding the current state of affairs saying that "the situation today is worse than it was under Hitler because at that time all the allies - the U.S., Russia and Britain - worked together to combat the terrible threat of Nazism. If we don't work together, the world will never be able to resolve the threats it faces today.
"We haven't really learnt anything - I'm depressed by the current situation."
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.700126
By Gilad Atzmon
The Jewish Chronicle reported today that David Cameron has marked holocaust Memorial Day by announcing that a new national shoah memorial will be built next to the Parliament.
For a second, I was delighted. I thought that at last our PM had decided to commemorate some of the holocausts the Empire inflicted on millions of innocent people around the globe. The Brits, I thought, should remember the Balfour Declaration and the disaster it forced on the Palestinian people. The holocaust memorial could allocate some space to commemorate the suffering of Indians whose country was divided by the late Empire with tragic consequences. Such a memorial could also serve as a sincere apology for the criminal war we launched against Iraq: this war with no end in sight that has cost the lives of many millions of innocent civilians. And what about the indiscriminate murder of hundreds of thousands of German civilians in an orchestrated air raid campaign to wipe out German cities? Shouldn't Britain commemorate this holocaust once and for all?
Of course, I was totally wrong. Cameron had no intention of commemorating British wrongdoing. Instead, once again, it was the primacy of Jewish suffering to which our PM subscribed. The PM told the Commons during Prime Minister's Questions: "I know the whole House will want to join me in marking holocaust Memorial Day... It is right our whole country should stand together to remember the darkest hour of humanity."
But what is it about the Jewish holocaust that excites our PM's soul?
Forgetfulness. The more we feel for the Jews and their suffering, the less we look in the mirror.
History is thought of as the attempt to narrate the past, but often it is used as an institutional means to conceal our collective shame. The holocaust is the perfect candidate for such a task. The more shameful our past is, the more we cling to Jewish suffering so we can convey a fake image of empathy. The Americans pepper their metropolises with holocaust memorials to conceal their own problematic past; the slaughter of Native Americans, slavery, nuking two cities and wiping out many others with fire bombs. The holocaust memorials help the Americans to forgive themselves. For America, the holocaust is an institutional amnesia apparatus.
Britain is no different. In the last decade the Brits saw the Imperial War Museum reduced into a Holocaust memorial site in spite of the fact that the shoah per-se has little to do with Britain or the empire. Amusingly, the only relevant historical facts that make Britain partially responsible for the destruction of European Jewry are completely omitted from the permanent exhibit. Visitors to the Imperial War/ Jewish Holocaust Museum won't find any evidence that on the eve of World War II, Britain closed its gates to European Jewish refugees and also blocked Jewish attempts to seek refuge in Palestine.
Interestingly enough, Cameron, who vowed to erect a holocaust memorial today is the same British PM who closed Britain's gates to refuges from a criminal immoral interventionist war that was launched by one of his predecessors. Rather than true empathy and genuine ethical thinking, the holocaust memorials are there to promote forgetfulness - a duplicitous image of conscience. PM Cameron, is unfortunately, an exemplary case of the above cynical mode of wrong behaviour.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has blasted Israel over plans to construct new illegal settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories, calling for an end to the unlawful activity.
“Progress towards peace requires a freeze of Israel’s settlement enterprise,” Ban said in an address to the UN Security Council's periodic Middle East debate at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday.
Ban also described the Tel Aviv regime’s continued settlement activities "an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community."
The UN chief also expressed concern over plans by the Israeli regime to build over 150 new illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and to confiscate 380 acres (154 hectares) of agricultural land in the Jordan Valley near the West Bank city of Jericho.
“These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead,” he added.
Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jeruslaem).
The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settler units as illegal.
"When we see Jews leaving Europe... and attacks on Jewish centers from Mumbai to Kansas; when we see swastikas appear on college campuses, we must not stay silent.
"When any Jew anywhere is targeted, we must all respond as if we are all Jewish... we must all do what we can... we have a responsibility, and as president I will make sure the U.S. is leading the fight against anti-Semitism," the president says.
The event honored four people, including Americans from Indiana and Tennessee, for risking their lives to protect Jews during the Holocaust, and is the first time such an event took place in the U.S.
Opening with a quote from the Talmud, Obama said "Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world," and praised the "courageous" stories of bravery told before he took the stage. The president further noted his personal experience at Yad Vashem and with survivors, which he said moved him deeply.
"Would we have the courage to act like them?" Obama asked, praising a U.S. soldier who said he was "just doing his job" when he told Nazis soldiers that "we are all Jews."
In face of rising hatred, Obama said that "any attack on any faith is an attack on all our faiths," adding that "we are all indeed Jews."
Obama said the soldier had stayed true to his faith, citing the role his Christianity played in standing up for what was right.
Obama joined Jewish leaders and Yad Vashem officials at a ceremony where the Righteous Among the Nations medals were be presented posthumously. It's the first time the ceremony is being held in the United States. Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., said Obama's participation "was a worthy tribute to the worthiest among us."
The United Nations has designated Wednesday as International Holocaust Remembrance Day to commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945.
Americans Roddie Edmonds of Knoxville, Tennessee; Lois Gunden of Goshen, Indiana; and Polish citizens Walery and Maryla Zbijewski of Warsaw are being recognized by Yad Vashem for protecting Jews from harm during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem, based in Jerusalem, is the world's Holocaust education and research center.
Righteous Among the Nations is an official title awarded by Yad Vashem on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
Master Sgt. Edmonds participated in the landing of U.S. forces in Europe and was taken prisoner by the Germans. When the Germans ordered all Jewish prisoners of war to report, Edmonds defied the order by figuring out how to keep the Jewish POWs from being singled out for persecution.
Gunden, a French teacher, established a children's home in southern France that became a safe haven for children, including Jewish children she helped smuggle out of a nearby internment camp. She protected the children when French police showed up at the home.
The Zbijewskis hid a Jewish child in their Warsaw home until the girl's mother could take her back.
Six million Jews were killed by Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust.
Last year, Obama said the international anniversary was an opportunity to reflect on progress "confronting this terrible chapter in human history" and on continued efforts to end genocide.
"Honoring the victims and survivors begins with our renewed recognition of the value and dignity of each person," Obama said in a written statement last January. "It demands from us the courage to protect the persecuted and speak out against bigotry and hatred."
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.699839
Culture Minister Regev paradoxical logic proves she doesn’t truly understand what justice, culture and democracy really mean.
Within the framework of the freedom of expression still permitted to journalists, particularly those whose writing is not funded by the public under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, let’s imagine an imaginary yet plausible scenario: A repertoire theater, partly funded by the public, produces an original play with a plot that takes place in Israel. In it, one of the protagonists claims that Israel is no longer a democracy, since he or she was denied a stipend for claiming – in a drama staged at a supported repertoire theater – that Israel was no longer a democracy.
If Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev succeeds in passing her “cultural loyalty” bill, which aims at giving her and her ministry the authority to fine (i.e. revoke the support of) a cultural institution for a host of reasons, including “the denial of Israel’s democratic nature,” she will be able to punish the creators and stagers of this play. Thus, apparently, she will prove to the world that Israel is a democratic country, since it is preventing a state-funded theater from staging a play that casts doubt on its democratic character.
Before we amuse ourselves with paradoxes provided by a reality which is becoming less amusing with each passing day, let’s get back to the basics. Anyone with some knowledge of art, culture and their history knows that the staging of plays, which requires a location, production resources, a cast of actors and a performance in front of an audience, comes with a price tag. One can obtain the monies for that price from ticket sales, but this makes the creators dependent on audience judgement and tastes. A lot of viewers can bring in a lot of cash, but this requires producers to yield to audience preferences and to a common denominator in public tastes.
Rulers and kings understood this a long time ago, leading them to support ensembles that entertained them and annoyed their rivals. Under these circumstances, artists were dependent on the taste of their ruler, who wielded the purse strings.
With the transition from tyrannical or monarchic regimes to democracies, democratic states, among which Israel considers itself (with its culture minister trying to uphold such an image), took over the role of supporting the arts using public funds. The understanding was that production costs were being defrayed by the public in order to allow artists not to kowtow the vox populi. In many countries, mechanism were set up to create an “arm’s-length” separation between the state and its cultural institutions, to ensure that through public funding artists will have complete artistic freedom to pursue their imagination.
The basis of such a relationship was the understanding that art deals in the imaginary and that events on stage do not necessarily reflect reality. They create an illusion of “what could have been.” No one really dies on stage, blood is only paint, a flag is a prop and the play is not an opinion – even if one character or another expresses an extreme view – but an experience with which viewers contend by proxy. The nature of art is that it examines the limits of what its audience will tolerate.
Cultural institutions need budgetary independence from the taste of their audience so that they can confront viewers with extreme situations, trying thereby to prevent these from materializing. Only someone who doesn’t understand this simple fact can speak of the need for artistic works to concord with the state’s laws.
Ruling circles, whether totalitarian or democratic, have always tended to limit artists through censorship, bans and prohibitions, or by controlling the allocation of budgets. There have always been attempts to limit what was staged in Israel’s theaters. Up to the mid-1990s there was a 1928 law governing public performances, according to which everything was prohibited except plays that were approved by a committee at the Interior Ministry.
Ever since the rescinding of that law, a legacy of the British Mandate, the allocation of budgets by the Culture Ministry has been through an egalitarian and transparent set of criteria, with no interference in content. This way, the state is not a “cash machine,” as claimed by Minister Regev, but a dispenser of the small budget it allocates to supporting culture (less than a thousandth of the state budget, with the target, as in the rest of the world, of striving for one percent) according to criteria that only a well-versed accountant could figure out.
Minister Regev, as well as Naftali Bennett at the Education Ministry, is tirelessly striving to take over the means of production, using them to bend creative freedom to the dictates of the rulers. These are formulated by intimidation and by drumming demagogic cries for compensation and revenge of the Mizrahi periphery on Ashkenazi elites, which purportedly wronged the former. If in the past there was systemic injustice in the cultural sphere, perpetrated by one sector toward another – and this is a loaded, complex subject – its restoration cannot be achieved by revenge, by “doing to them what was done to us,” but by a slow and cautious process of rebalancing.
Regev speaks of “cultural justice” without truly understanding what justice, democracy or culture mean. The new bill proposed by the culture minister is in itself a blatant denial of Israel’s democratic character.
In an act of entrapment, members of a right-wing NGO recorded a left-wing activist making inflammatory comments about a made-up sale of Palestinian land to Israeli settlers.
Israeli anti-occupation activist in court: 'This is a political arrest'
SEATTLE (01/25/2016) — Earlier this month, MintPress News reported on the sleazy tactics of Israel’s premier news magazine, “Uvdah,” which aired a segment smearing a leading Jewish human rights NGO that protects the rights of Palestinian farmers.
Two spies from Ad Kan (“No More”), an astroturf settler group created largely for the purpose of mounting this “sting,” infiltrated Ta’ayush. One of the spies, according to an Israeli who is familiar with the infiltrator’s personal circumstances, has a history of mental instability.
They created a hoax land deal for the purpose of ensnaring Ezra Nawi, a prominent Jewish activist. Nawi reported the land deal to the Palestinian Authority, even conceding on camera that the bogus land dealer might be tortured and executed.
Foreign donors to the Palestinian Authority should not be misled by a "procedural ruse" enabling the continuation of massive funding to terrorists and their families, Israel's deputy foreign minister said on Sunday.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Tzipi Hotovely wrote that due to embarrassment caused by a budgetary report compiled by Israel's Foreign Ministry in June 2014 – revealing that the PA's annual payments to terrorists amounted to $75 million, which was 16% of the yearly sum received by foreign donors – the PA altered the way it was doling out the cash to the killers of Israelis.
That same year, according to Hotovely, "The Palestinian Authority passed the task of paying stipends to terrorists and their families to a fund managed by the Palestine Liberation Organization."
This fund, wrote Hotovely, was actually handled by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and the shift was "purely cosmetic in nature."
Indeed, said Hotovely, a mere four months ago in September, the PA prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, assured that the PA would continue to "provide the 'necessary assistance' to ensure these terror stipends."
As it happens, it was in September that the current surge in Palestinian terrorism, which Israelis have come to call the "knife intifada," began.
Nevertheless, asserted Hotovely, "This procedural ruse apparently calmed the consciences of donor governments that continue to transfer aid. It is difficult to think of another case in which such a forgiving attitude would be taken regarding foreign aid to an entity that sponsors terror."
Hotevely concluded: "Donors to the Palestinians who support peace would do well to rethink the way they extend assistance. Money should go to economic and civic empowerment, not to perpetuate a false sense of victimhood and unconditional entitlement. It should foster values of tolerance and nonviolence, not the glorification and financing of terrorism."