Archive for June 2018

This man is a cabinet minister!

June 29, 2018

Can you imagine such a man as a cabinet minister in Canada? Read on and see how far Israel has fallen.

 

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Evet Lieberman was a nightclub bouncer from Moldova who came to Israel when he was 20 as part of the Russian exodus to Israel, most with a tenuous connection to Judaism .Like most Russians who arrived with little experience of democracy,Lieberman joined the Likud party and sensing the lay of the land, adopted the more Hebraic sounding name Avigdor. This was the standard practice of Russian leaders all of whom changed their names so they would appear indigenous to the Middle East.Peres,(Perski) Shamir,(Yezernitzky) Netanyahu,(Milikovsky) Rabin(Rubitzov)—all Russians or Eastern European.

 

In 1999 Israel in his view was not sufficiently anti-Arab so he founded Yisrael Beitenu (Our Home is Israel). Using his extreme rightwing Russian base,Lieberman shockingly
served as Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to 2012, and again from 2013 to 2015. Presently he is the Defense Minister

 

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This appointment should have stunned real democrats but today most of the Knesset 75 0f 110 seats were far right ideologues, driving Israel into an anti-democratic abyss, veering on fascism.

 

Tel Aviv University‘s world renowned psychologist’ Akiva Eldar’s description of Jewish Israeli attitudes perfectly fit the racist Lieberman

 

Their consciounsess is characterized by by a sense of victimization a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering.

 

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David Grossman Israel’s premier novelist called him “a political pyromaniac” and as Max Blumenthal wrote most of the Ashkenazi elite saw him as a proto-fascist thug.

Welcome to Israel today..

When Lieberman was named Defense Minister, Gideon Levy wrote:

The offer has no legitimacy because Lieberman has no legitimacy, even if he was elected democratically. For the first time in Israeli history, fascism is a clear and possibly present danger…

Do we need reminders about who this is? His proposal to blow up the Aswan Dam. His saying that Egypt’s then-President Hosni Mubarak could “go to hell.” His inflammatory theory that Palestinian terror is part of global jihad. The man who called members of Breaking the Silence “mercenaries who sold their soul to Satan.” Who called activists in Yesh Gvul “kapos” and said Arab MKs should be tried as in Nuremberg. Need we mention his incitement? Then there is his recent declaration that Elor Azaria, who shot dead an incapicated Palestinian assailant, is a hero. Need we mention that his party is corrupt to the core,

 

If Lieberman will be Lieberman, we will miss Benjamin Netanyahu. If Lieberman will be Lieberman, the territories will burn like they’ve never burned before.

 

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Jewish state, Jewish values, Jewish shame

June 27, 2018

At Passover Seder celebrating Jewish liberation, I felt shame – shame to be a Jew – at the latest massacre of Palestinians by Israeli troops. This unspeakable, unlawful outrage – young Jewish snipers deliberately shooting down unarmed Gazans gathered in protest at the border fence that helps keep them confined in the largest open-air prison in the world, killing 18 and wounding more than 1,400 — was committed pursuant to shoot-to-kill orders from senior Israeli military and political leaders, who put them there precisely to intimidate Palestinians who dared engage in non-violent protest, and to collectively punish, again, the civilian Palestinian population.

 

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Shooting unarmed Palestinian demonstrators pursuant to an open-fire policy is not new, either in Gaza or the West Bank. In December 2017 alone, Israeli soldiers shot and killed eight demonstrators. In the same month, live fire wounded an additional 291 Palestinians in Gaza and 117 in the West Bank. But the Passover killings at the Gaza fence reached a new high, or low, in Israel’s and the Jewish people’s descent into madness.

 

I do not know which is worse, the shamelessness of those perpetrating these atrocities, or the indifference and silence of both Israeli and American Jews – rabbinate and laity – at the routine Jewish large-scale killing and maiming of Palestinian protesters. Israeli military, political and judicial leaders make sure virtually no killers of Palestinians are held accountable, and none suffer serious punishment.  About Friday’s massacre, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman assured Israelis that there would be no investigation, saying, “all our soldiers deserve a medal.”

 
Oh yes, the Jewish kids who killed the young man rolling a tire away from the border, the man praying with others, and the young man watching the protests and puffing a cigarette, they all deserve medals? Watch the videos, but be warned, if they don’t make you physically sick, they will make you heartsick at what passes for Jewish values these days.

 

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Before we had a Jewish state, we had Jewish books. Five books. A Mishnah. A Talmud. We discussed, debated, argued about and perfected Jewish moral, ethical and religious values. We knew what they were, and when they were violated. And we knew what it was like to be victimized by others who did not share those values. When we felt the lash of oppression, it stung so bad it really had meaning. We were against it. It was something that the goyim did to us, and to others. It was not for us. So we were for equality, dignity, fraternity, rule of law. We were against racism. We were for taking in the stranger, the immigrant, treating him or her like our own. We were proud to serve in the war against the fascists. We celebrated resisters and their resistance to oppression in Europe, and criticized collective punishment of European civilian populations after such acts of resistance. Even after Israel was born, we marched, here in America, against war and militarism, against white supremacy, against Apartheid in South Africa, and for civil rights of people of color.

 

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But now we have a Jewish state. Now, instead of a book and values, we have power. And it turns out that we are every bit as good at abusing that power, as the goyim. In fact, we may be better at it. A 2008 delegation of ANC leaders visiting the West Bank said our apartheid is worse than the South African variety they experienced and helped overcome.

 

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And our propaganda, our hasbara, is certainly more potent and effective than that of most oppressors around the world, past and present. After all, who else could propagate and maintain for decades the myth of Israeli democracy for American Jews while running a white Jewish supremacist regime for five million Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza as comprehensive and relentless as this one – plain as day when one is there — that accords Palestinians no civil rights, steals their land and water, demolishes their homes, and has no reservations about killing and wounding them in large numbers?

 

But now, the Palestinians are ramping up non-violent protest as the resistance modality of choice, and the Israelis are ratcheting up the violence to meet it. The truth is coming out — that Israeli leaders never feared violence or “terrorism” as much as non-violent resistance. The mask of benign democracy is starting to fall away, and the true face of our Jewish oppression is showing, for all American Jews (and Christians) to see — we Americans who support and facilitate this oppression, and without whose support it would shortly cease to exist.

 

I am ashamed. I am a Jew ashamed of this Jewish state that perpetrates all this, purportedly in my name and in the name of the entire Jewish people. I am ashamed that I did not speak out publicly until my 67th year in 2014, after the massacre that was the Israeli “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza in 2014. I am ashamed that, at Passover Seder, many of my friends and family are still silent.

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I am ashamed that, in temples and synagogues and Jewish institutions across this land, one hears expressions of support for right-wing Israeli leaders and their crimes while Trumpers are piously excoriated for similar crimes, policies, and pronouncements here at home. I am ashamed that, on Friday, when I first heard about the killings at the Gaza fence, I could not find one TV station reporting on it. Nor can I find, with very limited exceptions, American newspapers who will tell it like it is. That includes you, Sulzbergers, running a paper I’ve been reading since the sixth grade, which proclaims that it publishes “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

 

I am ashamed at the American Jewish rabbinate, our supposed religious leaders, who have been to Israel and know how brutal, systemic and relentless the oppression of Palestinians is there, but who remain silent for fear of losing their jobs or dividing their congregations, when what is really at risk is their Jewish souls, our Jewish values, and the essence of what Judaism has to offer the world. And it is not this.

 

There is no reason that a country with hundreds of nuclear weapons, the most sophisticated conventional military hardware, and the most powerful security and intelligence capability in the world, has to kill, maim, intimidate and collectively punish its Palestinian inhabitants. The Israeli leaders who perpetrate these crimes against humanity – and their citizens who are indifferent to it — may be Jews, but they are not Jewish.

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It is time to acknowledge all this to ourselves, and to be silent no more.

Robert Herbst is a civil rights lawyer. He was chapter coordinator for Westchester Jewish Voice for Peace from 2014-2017,

University academics sign open letter urging Trudeau to condemn Israeli violence against Gazans

June 26, 2018

 

About 300 university academics from around the country have signed an open letter calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep his word and ensure there is an independent investigation into the Israeli army’s use of force against Palestinians in Gaza.

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Two Liberal MPs – Robert-Falcon Ouellette and Marwan Tabbara – hand-delivered the letter to Trudeau on Wednesday. It bears a multitude of signatures from Canadian university professors and denounces the violence at the border between Israel and Gaza.
The letter says that since protests began at the border on March 30, Israeli snipers have killed 119 people and wounded thousands more.

 

“How many Palestinians need to die or be maimed for life before we wake up and take action against what is now being condemned by a number of international aid and human rights organizations as blatant violations of international law constituting war crimes?” the letter asks.

 


The signatories urge the prime minister to stand by statements he made in May, when he called for an independent investigation to examine what happened at the border, including any incitement, violence and excessive use of force.

 

On May 14, a Canadian doctor tending to wounded Palestinians at the border was shot by an Israeli sniper – an incident Trudeau called appalling.

 
“We are appalled that Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded – along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children,” read Trudeau’s statement on May 16.
“We are doing everything we can to assist Dr. Loubani and his family,” Trudeau’s statement continued, “and to determine how a Canadian citizen came to be injured. We are engaging with Israeli officials to get to the bottom of these events.”
The open letter to Trudeau was written by Hani Faris, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia, as well as Atif Kubursi, an economics professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.

 
“In your statement of May 16,” the letter concludes, “Mr. Prime Minister, you described the ‘use of excessive force and live ammunition as inexcusable’ and called for ‘an immediate independent investigation.’ We urge you, Mr. Prime Minister, to stand by your statement.”
THE CANADIAN PRESS
PUBLISHED JUNE 21, 2018

Fleeing US generated terror in Central America

June 25, 2018

First in 1823 we had the Monroe Doctrine, the arrogant policy of President James Monroe which told Europe to get the get away from of American lake—Central and South America bounded by 2 oceans. Then we had FDR’s 1935 response to the the dictadura Somoza 1 in Nicaragua.The State Dept told him he was a son of a bitch, “Yes, but he’s ours” said the liberal FDR.

 

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Then the Truman Doctrine, of 1948 telling the commies to stay away from the western hemisphere or you will pay a price.The price then was paid in 1954 in Guatemala when the CIA deposed the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz and installed the military dictatorship of Carlos Castillo Armas. The USA was just getting started imposing authoritarian rulers in Central America. It is a sordid history.

 

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Then the gloves were off under the simpleton Reagan in 1980s. He funded the Contras convinced that they were “freedom fighters” who would bring down “communist” insurrections in Central America. His point man running this destabilization from Honduras was the US ambassador John Negroponte who later became the US rep at the UN, a pliant servant of the empire.

 

The salient fact was Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua were tired of the US supporting thugs who would keep the populace down, break unions and allow cheap goods to flow north to the USA.They had a legitimate reason to revolt.

 
Finally 2 scribes who read history brought this home last wekend in the Star,the first being Rick Salutin
What’s particularly poignant is that the kids and their parents aren’t just fleeing to the U.S., they’re fleeing from the results of U.S. policies in violence-drenched countries like Guatemala (where U.S. complicity extends to a CIA-backed coup in 1954); El Salvador, where the U.S. was behind a gory civil war in the 1980s; and Honduras currently, where the U.S. supported a 2009 military coup against a democratic election, and has meddled forever. At the same time neo-liberal U.S. policies at home have created a constituency ready to blame Latino immigrants for the lives and jobs they’ve lost.

On Saturday Tony Burman made the same point:

 

Trump would emphasize that there certainly is a crisis of violence within Central America — fostered by dishonest governments and police forces. But much of that culture of corruption, he would concede, has received the tacit approval of the U.S. government and military, and flows from the legacy of America’s sordid history in the region.

 

Of course, most Americans are amnesiac about their history and easily fall prey to the BS emanating from the liar in the White House.

 

 

Young Jews confront myths about Israel

June 22, 2018

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Young Jews raised in the synagogue with universal Torah values have broken with the silence of their elders  and the timidity of their rabbis to confront the decades of lies
they endured.

 

With rapid post war advance of capitalism, serious deformations occurred in the dominant North American Abrahamic faiths, Christianity and Judaism. Catholics ended up voting twice for Reagan and now for Trump. Rabbi Dr. David Goldberg, the much published rabbi emeritus of the London Liberal Synagogue, wrote this about contemporary Judaism

 

With the erosion of belief, God has been replaced by Israel as the credo of the Jewish people to the benefit of neither. Excessive reference to the Holocaust and dark allegations about resurgent anti- Semitism are two of the diversionary tactics used in the diaspora by the Israel lobby to deflect growing criticism of Israel.

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Computer technology, cell phones and other modes of instant communications shattered Israel’s control of the dishonest narrative they had been peddling for decades. Smart idealistic young Jews have seen through it and discovered another perspective.IfNOT Now is but one such group https://ifnotnowmovement.org. This is their clarion call on their website:

THE TIME HAS COME TO END OUR COMMUNITY’S SUPPORT FOR THE OCCUPATION.
WE WILL BE THE GENERATION TO DO IT.
THE OCCUPATION IS A DAILY NIGHTMARE FOR THOSE WHO LIVE UNDER IT AND A MORAL DISASTER FOR THOSE WHO SUPPORT AND ADMINISTER IT.
IFNOTNOW IS WORKING TO TRANSFORM THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY’S SUPPORT FOR OCCUPATION INTO A CALL FOR FREEDOM AND DIGNITY FOR ALL.

‘You never told me’: Confronting American Jewish myths about Israel

A group of young American Jews are challenging the the institutionalized myths they were taught about the Jewish state in classrooms, youth group trips, and summer camps.  Emma Goldberg of IFNot Now

 

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U.S. anti-occupation movement IfNotNow released its “Liberation Syllabus” last week. Crowd-sourced from teachers, students, journalists, and rabbis, the syllabus offers a collection of resources — from picture books to nonfiction, cookbooks to podcasts — that Jewish institutions can integrate into their curricula to offer more balanced and just lessons about the occupation.

 

The syllabus is part of IfNotNow’s “You Never Told Me” campaign, in which alumni of Jewish summer camps, day schools, and youth groups are calling on their institutions to change their Israel education to include honest understandings of the occupation and Palestinian narratives. Some of the resources in IfNotNow’s syllabus, for example, include Rashid Khalidi’s Palestinian Identity and Edward Said’s The Question of Palestine.

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IfNotNow’s campaign is a critical call to action. For American Jews distressed by the intransigence and violence of the Netanyahu government — enabled and encouraged by the Trump administration — distance does not permit inaction. Meaningful responses to current conditions on the ground in Israel-Palestine can start in the U.S., with critical examination of the way American Jewish institutions teach and talk about the occupation. Most importantly, this examination must begin early in the pipeline, engaging the narratives that Jewish youth consume about Israel and the history of the conflict.

 

For a compelling example of the lasting effects of poor Israel education, we need look no further than Jared Kushner. Just last month, Kushner and Ivanka Trump celebrated at the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem, smiling blithely for selfies and paparazzi, while just miles away more than 60 Palestinian protesters were being killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border. Kushner, a strong supporter of the decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, praised Israel’s human rights record during the embassy opening. He also briefly addressed the violence at the border by saying the protestors were “part of the problem and not part of the solution,” a comment that was absent from advance excerpts of his remarks delivered to the press.

 

Considering the narratives with which Kushner was raised, his tone-deaf engagement with Israel-Palestine shouldn’t be at all surprising. From a New York Times profile last year, we know that Kushner was taught in classrooms where eight year olds were asked to draw the map of Israel from memory and were taught to refer to the West Bank by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria: “In his classes, Palestinians were regarded at a distance, in part as security threats who committed acts of terrorism.”

 

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Kushner received precisely the sort of education that IfNotNow’s campaign is targeting: an education that whitewashes, pinkwashes, and greenwashes Israel’s human rights abuses, that stubbornly insists on conflating an appreciation for Israel’s culture and history with support for its current government. Kushner’s callousness shows the long-term costs the Jewish community pays for institutions that fail to intervene and teach the inconvenient truths. For Palestinians on the receiving end of Israel’s abuses, the price is far higher.

By +972 Blog |Published June 19, 2018

Jake returns to Israel

June 20, 2018

Jake Javenshir left Israel for Canada 48 years ago (1970), after serving in the army and working for a few years. Israel according to him had not yet developed the brutality it evidences today. Most thought that the Occupied Territories would be returned. Nobody saw the advent of radical settlers.

 

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While living in Canada and reading in depth he realized he had been fed massive doses of Kool aid which Israelis still swallow.

 

He writes:
Instead of rational discussion, a few slogans are always thrown at any one who is not a supporter. Holocaust, anti- semitism, Jew haters,  self hating Jews etc. The most ironic one that often thrown at me and others is: You idiot, learn something before you open your mouth, you know nothing.

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As an example of my family, almost all are Zionists with the exception of one brother. It’s due to propaganda, cover ups, not knowing much about the truth, being selfish as life is good for them, the ideology that it’s us against the world and it’s generally much easier to go along than against.

 

Jake references Ilan Pappé s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine as a key book in his understanding of what happened in Palestine in 1947 and 1948. Sadly Pappé left Israel due to threats to him and his family. He now teaches in Exeter University in UK.

In June of this year Jake returned to Israel for 10 days,
and this is his report:

My sister and two brothers kept asking for me. They with their children and grand children live in the central area of Israel, in a few thriving towns and cities, where 50 to a 100 years ago either were not there or were simple villages.

 

As one lands in the huge and modern airport and drives out, one can feel and see the riches overall—from roads, boulevards,  villas, high rise buildings, shops and malls, (including country clubs).Many villas and condos are priced over a million dollars.
An extreme example, units in a new high rise building in Tel-Aviv are priced for the equivalent of between seven to twenty million Canadian dollars. Of course this is not the same in all areas of the country, but it is reflective of the overall situation and how prosperous the country is.

 

Needless to say that this is not the same in the Israeli Palestinian towns, I visited Acre and the Palestinian part of Nazareth, where neglect is visible.

 

The general atmosphere among the Jewish Israelis, is one of living the high life. The dominant “occupation” is: which country next to travel to, which new foods and restaurants to eat and visit. These are talked and discussed among the people, in newspapers and T.V. more than any where else that I know. As far as I know, Israelis are the highest travelers per capita in the world.

 

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All the above is the result of hundreds of billions of dollars given in time by the world, including  all the support of the economy in hundreds of ways. These in time resulted in building and development and establishing a robust economy, especially in High tech, agriculture and weapons manufacturing.

 

Not to forget that the occupation also adds billions to the general economy. This is done by exploiting the resources and agricultural products of the Golan Heights and the West Bank by supplying the Palestinians in West Bank most of their daily needs at inflated prices. also by developing new weapons and experimenting their effectiveness on the Palestinians and than selling to countries all over the world. (Something else to keep in mind that if Israel stopped the occupation and did peace with the Palestinians, most likely there will be a decrease in the billions which pour in, since “national security and imminent danger”, won’t be one the top fund raisers. A few reasons why Israel has no incentive to do peace).

 

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In regard to West Bank and Gaza, (as the veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy says), Israelis do not know what’s going on and really don’t care. The atmosphere is one of living the high life, while by propaganda and brain washing, they feel being victimized. Basically what most Israelis know about the past and what’s happening, is very limited. The new generations know next to nothing about the past.

 

I noticed that much of what’s happening in the occupied territories is just not reported to the public and what is reported, in most cases is distorted or outright lies. One night on T.V. a reporter near Gaza was reporting on the situation. He repeatedly mentioned Hamas and said that thousands were damaging the fence and throwing bombs on Israel all the while the picture on the background showed Gazans in a field just standing around.

 

In discussion with my sister and brother I mentioned a few recent laws or atrocities or house demolitions, which they knew very little about. Another comment: Which army in the world is acting so humanly as the Israeli army.? This was in regard to Ahed Tamimi).

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I noticed that coverage and explanations of the situation are totally distorted. Very noticeable is “Nationalism”, it is everywhere. Flags everywhere. Talks re pride is everywhere.

 

Groups of young Jews from around the world are everywhere. (coming for 2 weeks, all paid for. Part of brain washing).

 

Also religion is on the rise steadily, more seculars are being born again. Entitlement is rampant. Extremism is rampant. Nationalism is rampant.

 

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Jake can often be seen in front of Chapters reminding passers by that the owners Schwartz and Reisman fund the Heseg program in israel. any foreigner who signs up with the Israeli Defense Force will be supported by the powrr couple.

 

A letter from Gaza to Justin Trudeau

June 18, 2018

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Dear Mr Prime Minister, why do you support Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza?
by Basem Naim

Dear Prime Minister,

We hope this letter finds you and the Canadian people well.

We have watched with great interest your political career since you assumed office in 2015. We have witnessed how your commitment to freedom and diversity were reflected in the composition of your government. We have also followed with enthusiasm many of your activities, especially those that reflect your humanity, openness, support for civil rights and the struggle against racism.

 

We have seen you engage with different communities – with Arabs, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and others – during their holidays. We have also deeply appreciated Canada’s generous support for the Palestinian people, in particular, Palestinian refugees, through institutions such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

 

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However, it was with pain and sorrow that we found out that Canada voted against a resolution of the World Health Organization’s General Assembly seeking to send a team of investigators to Gaza and the West Bank to document the “health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory”.

 

Our disappointment grew even more when we saw several of your personal tweets, in which you lent support to Israel’s assaults on Gaza.

 

You are perhaps unaware of the tragic circumstances in which the people of Gaza have been trapped in. Already in 2003, distinguished Hebrew University professor Baruch Kimmerling described Gaza as “the largest concentration camp ever to exist”.

 

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In 2006, a brutal blockade was imposed on Gaza after the Palestinian people, in elections that former US president Jimmy Carter praised as “completely honest, completely fair,” elected Hamas into power.

 

The consensus among humanitarian and human rights organisations is that Israel’s blockade constitutes a form of collective punishment and therefore is a flagrant violation of international law.

 

I see this extraordinarily inhuman and unjust process of strangling gradually two million civilians in Gaza that really pose a threat to nobody,” UN humanitarian coordinator for Gaza, Robert Piper, observed last year. Echoing him, UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein recently deplored the fact that Gazans have been “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death.”

 

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Did you know, Mr Trudeau, that 95 percent of the water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption and 97 percent of the sea water is polluted? Did you know that Gazans get only four hours of electricity a day? Did you know that 50 percent of essential medicines are unavailable and most of our patients in need of urgent medical care are barred from travelling out of Gaza? Did you know that 70 percent of our population are refugees and half are children?

 

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On March 30, we started the Great March of Return as part of our peaceful struggle for freedom, a decent life and the right to have our land back. Israel has killed more than 120 Palestinians and injured more than 14,000 (many of them permanently) in what Amnesty International has called a “murderous assault”.

 

And this deadly and unwarranted violence was unleashed on us even though the protesters were overwhelmingly nonviolent and posed “no imminent threat” to Israeli snipers, as human rights organisations have observed.

 

The people of Gaza applaud your courageous statement, in which you declaredthat “Canada deplores and is gravely concerned by the violence in the Gaza strip that has led to a tragic loss of life and injured countless people. We are appalled that Dr Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded – along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children.”

 

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We Palestinians will never forget this Canadian physician, who risked his life to save Palestinian lives in Gaza.

 

We are a people, Mr Prime Minister, who love life, stability and prosperity. We do not desire death or foment war. We are not attacking anyone. We are not violating the borders of anyone. On the contrary, we are banging on the gates of a giant prison, demanding our freedom and a decent life.

 

Mr Prime Minister, we hope and trust that your love for freedom, justice, equality and decency will prompt you to reconsider some of your harsh statements and take a position that is consistent with the values you uphold.

 

On behalf of the two million Palestinians living in Gaza, I would like to invite you to visit us and to see with your own eyes the dire conditions we are living in after 12 years of Israeli siege. We are also confident that you will carry away with you warm memories of our kind and gentle people.

Best regards

Basem Naim
Basem Naim is head of the Council on International Relations in Gaza and former Palestinian minister of health.

Arnon Soffer, the Arab Counter

June 16, 2018

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Let us meet “the Arab Counter” the Haifa University demographer who became infamous in a Jerusalem Post article in 2004. Soffer had no patience with the idea that the policy of “hafrada”, that dirty word to democrats  of “segregation” would be enough to ensure Israel’s future.

 

Hafrada is what we see in American cities—the blacks generally shoved into a less developed part of the city. his would be “apartheid” the Afrikaans word or “separate.” Instead of calling them bantustans, we call them ghettoes. Those people are different, not like us.They can easily be demonized, almost like “the “untermenschen’ (subhuman) of of Nazi ideology.This a racist doctrine and it is virulent in Israel where Palestinians are really “the Other.”

 

More and more people can not get their heads around the recent callous massacre of nonviolent protesters the Palestinian Gazans called the Great March of Return…116 people shot dead,143,000 wounded, 332  with life threatening injuries. Just another day at the races for Israel.

 

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The message was simple: get it out of your head that you will ever get your stolen land back or that you will ever return. Every few years Israel “mows the lawn”,pulverizing innocent people in an orgy of mass murder.Ye t the Palestinians refuse to be cowed. They insist with international law on their side that they We have a right to go home.This is non-negotiable. Israel says, backed by the autistic USA, think again.

 

Enter the Arab counter, Mr Soffer.

 

In his 2006 book One Country Ali Abunimah  described Soffer’s vision

Then deputy prime minister Ehud] Olmert called the unilateral solution Israel’s “great hope,” but Arnon Soffer … offered a less optimistic prognosis. “Unilateral separation doesn’t guarantee ‘peace,’” he warned, “it guarantees a Jewish-Zionist state with an overwhelming majority of Jews.” What will be the price of this achievement? The “day after unilateral separation,” Soffer said, “the Palestinians will bombard us with artillery fire – and we will have to retaliate.
But at least the war will be at the fence – not in the kindergartens of Tel Aviv and Haifa.” Soffer was unambiguous about Israel’s response: “We will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire ten in response. And women and children will be killed and houses will be destroyed.” Further down the line, “when 2.5 million people live in a closed off Gaza,” Soffer predicted, “it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will be even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”

 

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There you have it…the incremental genocide which Ilan Pappé insists is Israel’ plan

Don Francks Laneway: a Hidden Message

June 14, 2018

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June 13, 2018 Steve Hunter photo Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevc  unveils  the tribute to the life of Don Francks.

Behind my alma mater St.Michael’s College, on a small street called Tichester the city named a laneway after the nature mystic Don Francks. What struck me in retrospect is that inside of those academic walls, nobody knew or cared about the bare-footed Buddha who daily walked bare footed past the school. Here was a man had so much to teach about the Great Spirit, the felt mastery which David Abrams tells us underlies all our doctrines.

 

This brought home to me the huge gap between the autism of church institutions and the lived experience of all pilgrims struggling with how we access the the Great Spirit which animates and sustains all of us. Not only that, but what should be our response to this ultimate mystery which Christians believed was embodied in the prophetic subversive life of the Palestinian Jew who was murdered attempting to lead us beyond domination, control, segregation  and patriarchy.

The following are my remarks just before City Councillor Mihevc  and Lili Francks unveiled the sign

 

The  naming of a lane way reminds fellow citizens that  a flesh and blood person  walked these streets and added a unique presence, something valuable, a gift to our community.Don Francks was such a person. Let me attempt a brief portrait of my friend whom I call an urban mystic

I take you back to George’s Spaghetti House January 30, 1980

 

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.Welcome to George’s Spaghetti House. I am here representing the birds, the fish, the winged one and the finned ones. They couldn’t be here but if they were, boy would they be pissed off.

 

Don Francks was way more.than a gifted singer, actor and raconteur, he was a nature mystic, light years ahead of all us in understanding that this extraordinary gift handed to us, creation, was being torn apart. Wonderworld was becoming waste world. He channeled the cry of the earth, simply described himself as an earthling who shared the cosmos with the winged ones and the finned ones.

 

I was astounded as a theology teacher that this troubadour was way ahead of the churches in naming the greatest moral crisis in history—we were burning the planet down. In 2015 Pope Francis told Catholics we needed an ecological conversion. I heard it from Don Francks in a jazz club in 1980. He was a man of the humus, the Latin word for earth, the root of the word humility. The brother had been grounded.

 

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Don the secular earthling had been baptized early by Mother Nature in the wild and beautiful hills above Burnaby, BC. He was confirmed by his  years on the Red Pheasant reserve  in Saskatchewan. Here he breathed in the long suppressed wisdom of the indigenous peoples of the world. There he felt the mystery that underlies all our doctrines. He never lost his connection with the ecological commonwealth. Don as you know often walked barefoot. The reason was simple. He was tethered to his Mother.He knew that when we lost this connection we would lose the Holy wisdom of the Great Spirit.

 

In 1979 Don was among the first to join Greenpeace in alerting the world to environmental degradation. His jazz singing and nightclub performances would never be the same. The dominant thread in our multi-talented troubadour was his radical concern for the planet. His vocation was to proclaim the oneness of creation as a fellow “earthling.” He had found his “faith.” His pulpit was the performing arts. It was his way to illuminate the questions of the late twentieth century. As a performer he simply refused to pursue a “career”while he perceived the planet was in jeopardy.. He become an eloquent pursuer of social justice. As a singer, jazz and commitment to the planet were fused.

 

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Notice the bare feet, at my retirement 1996

We were depressed by the nuclear sabre rattling of the Reagan 80s.I would bring Catholic teachers to Georges to hear brother Don preach in words and music

 

One night in 1982 as the Cruise Missile was being tested in Canada I approached him at George’s with some obscene statistics. His opening line to the assembled music fans was, “My friend Ted Schmidt just told me the US is now spending $1 million a minute on the arms race.” Don took a deep breath and said, “there’s only one thing to say about that and he paused and the F word came flying out.

 

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Then half way thru the set he aid, ”Please synchronize your watches. It is 9:42. At exactly 10 PM a cruise missile will be coming thru the front door. But don’t anybody get upset. It will leave by the back door.”

 

“All I have tried to do”, he told me in an interview for the Catholic New Times in 1991 “was to get to something beyond argument-a glass of water, a leaf growing in the wind. Get back to basics, universal truths. All of the world’s children should be able to meet and say: No pollution. Clean it up. Salvation for the animals and all living things. Have no more war—that’s another pollution. And no hunger.”

 

Outside of his brilliant pianist Steve Hunter  and wife Lili I guess i saw Donny perform more than anybody in these parts. He was always consistent, a holy wayfarer, gifted with radical amazement that he was here, sharing life with all of creation. He was pained at what we were doing with this planet and did his best in word, song and presence to alert us to the deep harm we were doing to the only home we have.

 

I never heard the voice of a celebrity, but of a gracious companion for the journey, a Dreamspeaker whose one song was : we belong intimately to the earth and there, not in some far off heaven, was our salvation.

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Don Francks Laneway is thus a fitting tribute to the man of many talents, the man the cree nation named Iron Buffalo, Don Francks

 

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Knesset Foils Efforts to End Israeli Apartheid

June 13, 2018

One of the most insightful commentators in Israel is Jonathan Cook, the voice from Nazareth, the very city that Jesus the man from Nazareth came from and whose promotion of the “malkuta” (Jesus spoke Aramaic) heralded the end of occupation and oppression.

This is as good an analysis that you will find…and never in our major dailies still fearful of Zionist backlash.

 

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For most of the seven decades after its establishment, Israel went to extraordinary lengths to craft an image of itself as a “light unto the nations”.

 

It claimed to have “made the desert bloom” by planting forests over the razed houses of 750,000 Palestinians it exiled in 1948. Soldiers in the “most moral army in the world” reputedly cried as they were compelled to shoot Palestinian “infiltrators” trying to return home. And all this occurred in what Israelis claimed was the Middle East’s “only democracy”.

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An industry known as hasbara – a euphemism for propaganda – recruited Jews in Israel and abroad to a campaign to persuade the world that the Palestinians’ dispossession was for the good of mankind. Israel’s achievements in science, agriculture and medicine were extolled.

 

But in a more interconnected world, that propaganda campaign is swiftly unravelling. Phone cameras now record “moral” soldiers executing unarmed Palestinians in Gaza or beating up children in Hebron.

 

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The backlash, including a growing international boycott movement, has driven Israel’s right wing into even greater defiance and self-righteousness. It no longer conceals its goal to aggressively realise a longed-for “Greater Israel”.

 
A parallel process is overtaking Israel’s traditional left but has been far less noticed. It too is stubbornly committed to its ideological legacy – the creation of a supposed “Jewish and democratic state” after 1948.

 

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Israel includes a large minority of 1.8 million Palestinian citizens, the remnants of those who survived the expulsions required for its creation. Although Palestinian citizens have the vote, it was an easy generosity after Israel gerrymandered the electoral constituency in 1948 to ensure Palestinians remained a permanent and decisive minority.

 

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In a system of residential apartheid, Palestinian citizens have been confined to ghettos on a tiny fraction of land while Israel has “nationalised” 93 per cent of its territory for Jews around the world.

 

But after decades of repression, including an initial 20 years living under military rule, the Palestinian minority has gradually grown more confident in highlighting Israel’s political deficiencies. In recent days, Palestinian legislators have submitted three legislative measures before parliament to explode the illusion that Israel is a western-style liberal democracy.

 

None stood the faintest chance of being passed in a system rigged to keep Palestinian lawmakers out of any of Israel’s complex but entirely Zionist coalition governments.

 

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The first measure sought to revoke the quasi-governmental status of major international Zionist organisations like the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Jewish Agency.

 

Although they are treated like state bodies, these organisations are obligated through their charters to discriminate in allocating state resources and rights to Jews around the world rather than to Israelis. The aim is to exclude Palestinian citizens from major state benefits. The JNF bans access for non-Jews to most land in Israel and develops new communities exclusively for Jews, while the Jewish Agency restricts immigration and associated perks to Jews alone. The bill – designed to end decades of explicit discrimination against one fifth of Israel’s citizenry – was defeated when all the Jewish parties voted against it. ..

 

The third measure was a bill demanding that Israel be reformed from a Jewish state into a state of all its citizens, representing all equally. In a highly irregular move, a committee dominated by Jewish legislators voted to disqualify the bill last week from even being tabled, denying it any chance of a hearing on the parliament floor.

 

The parliament’s legal adviser, Eyal Yinon, warned that the measure would alter Israel’s character by giving Jewish and Palestinian citizens “equal status”. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein called the bill “preposterous”. “Any intelligent individual can see it must be blocked immediately,” he said.

 

Law professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, meanwhile, conceded that the bill exposed Israeli democracy as “fundamentally flawed”.

 

These three bills from Palestinian legislators might have redressed some of the inequities contained in nearly 70 Israeli laws that, according to Adalah, a legal rights group, explicitly discriminate based on ethnicity…

 

Today, Israelis are hunkering down. Boycott activists from abroad are denied entry. Unarmed Palestinian demonstrators have been gunned down in Gaza. And critics inside Israel are silenced or beaten up.

 
All these responses have the same end in mind: to block anything that might burst the bubble of illusions and threaten Israelis’ sense of moral superiority.