Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Zionism is the problem

April 18, 2015

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Judaism is Torah, ethics, an exaltation of the spirit. If Judaism is truly Torah, then it cannot be reduced to the confines of any particular territory, for as scripture said of Torah, it’s measure is greater than the Earth.

Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamarat 1929

At one time the Jewish community had fierce proponents of justice in their pulpits. Then a strange thing happened.The date usually given is June 1967, the 6 Day War when Israel easily defeated the Egyptian army. Of course the Israeli government as it usually did  and continues to do  prepped the people and the docile public that this would be a fight to the finish, little Israel (always David, not Goliath) was fighting for its survival.It was never the case and was best explained by Mordecai Benton a Knessert member on April 14,1971 “The entire story of the extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posterior to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”
General Matti Peled who was the chief of Logistical Command during the war agreed: the thesis according to which Israel was fighting for her survival was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war…. Israel was never in real danger and there was no evidence that Egypt had any intention of attacking Israel”

Well Jewish pride exploded all over the world.The bigger story however was the steady erosion of Judaism in favour of rabid Zionist national values.This was also the beginning of the so-called religious Zionism, a movement which arrived just in time as political Zionism was beginning to lose its lustre and its moral steam—because the world began to finally understand that the dark underbelly was the oppression of another people,the Palestinians whose lands were stolen and were living in misery in refugee camps.

Then voila—the miracle, a gift from heaven, a divine intervention! Against all odds the little David had defeated Goliath the mighty Arab forces. having taken most of the Palestinian home in 1948, Israel began the move to colonize the West Bank, steal the rest of the land, albeit slowly, dunam by dunam, mule by mule as the saying went. An incremental genocide was on its way Now the Zionist dream seemingly was under a religious canopy. The messianic redemption was on its way and it would be the indigenous people who would pay.

All this was blessed by the influential rabbis in particular the Kooks pere et fils. Avraham Yitzhak Kook (d 1935) saw secular zionism as paving the way for redemption.his son Zvi Yehuda Kook fleshed out his father’s unique religio-political Zionism which birthed the Gush Emunim, the infamous settlers who tell the world that God gave us this land.For the next thirty years it would be these fanatics which would control both Labour and Likud and help drag Israel into a pariah status and worse, co-opt Torah Judaism.It must be God’s will. the redemption of the land is finally begun. blessing oppression, depopulation and ignoring the united Nations,religious zionism began to cut the heart of Judaism.

it was a great Toronto rabbi Reuben Slonim who saw the terrible effect that the so-called miracle was having on Jewish ethics. For him he rise of the “tough Jew” had severely compromised Jewish ethics. By opting for power too many Jews were unable to see that the price paid—the displacement, then the cruel oppression and ghettoization of the Palestinian people–had wreaked havoc with the deepest values of Torah. The universal lessons of the Holocaust had not been internalized to include the suffering of others. “The Six Day War plunged Toronto’s Jews into an orgy of chauvinism from which they never recovered.”

Reuben Slonim paid a ferocious price for his principled defense of Judaism’s universal values. he lost his pulpit and became a pariah in the community.Before him Toronto had strong justice rabbis Maurice Eisendrath at Holy Blossom temple (1929 -1943) was thoroughly engaged in the issues of the time as was his successor Avraham Feinberg(1943-1961).The former took the Torah into the streets and marched with Dr.King) and the latter was a leader in anti-racism, nuclear disarmament and actually met with Ho Chi Minh, so disgusted was he as a rabbi emeritus in 1966 that he led marches up Yonge  Street against the war.

But now? Silence from the synagogue even after the last butchery in Gaza when over 500 children were murdered with seldom as peep. The war in Lebanon (2006) and the other Gaza turkey shoots against a defenseless people. More silence. And signs in front of shuls: time to stand up for Israel but none reading stand up for Torah.

Allan Brownfield writing in the American Council for Judaism”, Spring 1997 summed up this sad development in these words
The corruption of Judaism, as a religion of universal values, through its politicization by Zionism and by the replacement of dedication to Israel for dedication to God and the moral law, is what has alienated so many young Americans who, searching for spiritual meaning in life, have found little in the organized Jewish community.”
Having witnessed the war on Lebanon (2006) and three punishing assaults on the civilians of Gaza Brownfeld wrote in 2014,”What we are witnessing today, synagogues flying Israeli flags, programs urging American Jews to immigrate to Israel, their real homeland, is a form of idolatry, making the sovereign state of Israel the object of worship, rather than God.
These are challenging times for the synagogue when so many liberal rabbis consider themselves muzzled by congregants more Zionist than Jewish. However, the very same dynamic exists in Catholic churches today. Colonized by decades of turbocapitalism, silenced by consumer comforts and led by an episcopate more in love with charity than justice we too fit the description of Irish priest Diarmuid Omurchu:
We have come a long way from the fiery prophetic figure
Jesus of Nazareth who shocked and disturbed the conventions of his day in the name of justice and liberation. Our respectability has taken a terrible toll on the authentic calling of Christian life.

We have lost sight of the deeper vision and lost heart
for the passion and enthusiasm of God’s New Reign.
The following of Jesus is not a respectable religion.

Israel: the brainwashed country Gideon Levy in Washington

April 14, 2015

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On April 10 renowned Israeli journalist Gideon Levy spoke at the National Press Club in Washington and stunned the crowd into silence with his shocking common sense which few Americans would dare replicate.At first the Haaretz columnist thought that the invitation was from the powerful lobby group AIPAC. Levy’s response was:

I said, That’s the chance of my life. I am going to come there to Washington and tell them, with friends like you, Israel does not need enemies.

Levy reiterated the remarks he made in Toronto on March 24 that hope was in the diaspora the USA in particular. Israel is a lost cause. We don’t want to know and most of all do not care.

“Change will have to come here. In Israel– is a lost case, forget about it. Israeli society has surrounded itself with shields, with walls, not just physical walls but also mental walls.”

There are 3 principles which Israel lives by:

1. We deeply believe we are the chosen people.Then we have the right to do what we want.”

2. Never in history has the occupier presented himself as the victim. And not only the victim– but the only victim around

3. Israelis have undertaken the “systematic dehumanization of the Palestinians.” And this allows Israelis to live with everything. Because the occupation does not involve questions of human rights.

“And if you scratch under the skin of almost every Israeli, you will find there, almost no one will treat the Palestinians as equal human beings like us.”

Israelis have undertaken the “systematic dehumanization of the Palestinians.” And this allows Israelis to live with everything. Because the occupation does not involve questions of human rights.

This set of three beliefs has allowed Israelis to live in peace with those ongoing crimes, for many years.

Levy went on to speak about his own experience. Unlike most Israelis and North American tribalists, he had never tasted the sour grapes of oppression until he travelled into the occupied territories. There he experienced, and still does “a criminal project just half an hour away from Israeli homes.”

We have to face reality, and reality is that there is no chance for a change from within the Israeli society. No way…  The only hope is for an international intervention, and the only hope is from this place, from Washington, from the United States, from the EU. Only from there.

Because Israeli society is today by far too brainwashed. Life in Israel is by far too good. Israel is, let’s face, it a society which lives in denial, totally disconnected from reality. Would it be a private person, I would recommend either medication or hospitalization. Because people who lose connection to reality might be very dangerous either to themselves or to society. And the Israeli society lost connection with reality, it lost connection with the reality in its backyard, it totally lost connection with the international environment.

Really to believe that 5 million Jews know better than 6 billion people of the world? Really believe that 5 million Jews will be able to continue to live on their sword forever? Is the one example in history in which any country lived on its sword forever? Empires! Really believing that in the 21st century it is acceptable to ignore the international law in such a way, to ignore the international institutions and to rely only on the United States — and Micronesia.

Levy touched on a sore spot: what has happened to Jewish values?

I must be frank with you, I don’t know what are Jewish values. I know what are universal values. There are very clear universal values. And very very clear international law. International law is very important– except for Israel. Israel is a special case.

One answer might be: Zionism has trumped Judaism. The sad reality of  a secular colonial, nationalistic movement which  trampled the human rights of the indigenous population replaced the deep humanist values of prophetic Judaism.

Amos Gvirtz, Defender of the Bedouin

April 12, 2015

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Amos Gvirtz came to Toronto on April 7 to speak on behalf of the rights of the indigenous Bedouin Israelis in the Negev. “Being Bedouin in a Jewish state: dispossessing Palestinian- Israeli citizens inside Israel”

Growing up on a kibbutz north of Tel Aviv Gvirtz always heard the lame excuse of many Germans that they did not know what was transpiring in Nazi Germany. He has made it his mission to tell his fellow Israelis and indeed the world, what is happening to the most vulnerable citizens of Israel, the Bedouin, a people who are seeing their land stolen from under them.

These citizens have been in the Negev since Abraham was a baby (about 4,000 years) and they are now called “trespassers on State land” .Their travail is hidden from North Americans who are knee jerk supporters of Israel come what may but their treatment reflects just how low Zionism has sunk and why many North American Jews are getting off this failed movement whose policy is well expressed by historian Ilan Pappé as “incremental genocide.”

Amos is one of those great israeli Jews of Conscience who simply can not live with the largely hidden war on the real indigenous people of Palestine, the Bedouins.He has become one of their ardent defenders.

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IDF destroying Al Araqib

We met him in Al Araqib in November, a Bedouin village which had been destroyed 77 times in four years. Amos became our translator for his good friend Sheikh Sayah Al-Turi. before the sheikh addressed us as per usual among Palestinians, no matter how poor they are, hospitality comes first. And so it was on this day. The Sheikh barely needed a translator as he laid out the outrageous treatment of these Israeli citizens.

Approximately every two or three weeks, soldiers arrive with bulldozers and raze their living quarters.  After each demolition, the families are forced to sleep in cars or on the ground until they can rebuild their makeshift dwellings with tarps. On October 14, 2014, the soldiers took away the women and children, confiscated the cars and arrested the Sheikh. On top of the destruction, the government is demanding 2,000,000 shekels to cover the costs of destruction. Now  that’s chutzpah.The Sheikh has a number of highly regarded lawyers working on behalf of the village and has had to sell off all of their animals to raise funds. He said that these demolitions are more dangerous than the occupation because they are destroying their culture and their history.

According to a report published by Dukium, the Negev Coexistence for Civil Equality “it is part of the government’s broader policy designed to compel Bedouin citizens to abdicate ownership over their ancestral lands and move to recently recognized villages or townships. Though over 70,000 people reside in unrecognized villages in Israel, the state denies their existence.” As further explained in the report, the villages are not indicated on governmental maps or road signs, and are deprived of public services – electricity, water, health, education and transportation infrastructure and services. Israel destroys about 1,000 of their homes each year to force them into two towns with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Israel.

And get this earlier this month on Wednesday April 8 policemen and Israeli soldiers escorted employees of the Israeli Civil Administration (the governing body of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank) to Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village located a few kilometers from occupied East Jerusalem. There, they dismantled 11 solar panels, most of which had just been donated and installed by the Palestinian NGO Future for Palestine to give this village a few hours of electricity a day.

This staggers the imagination that the powerful state who always does what it wants to the weak and oppressed will go to these lengths to hound a poor community struggling to cope with the loss of grazing land for flocks. This is a shocking denial of the duties of the Occupying Power spelled out primarily in the 1907 Hague Regulations (arts 42-56) and the Fourth Geneva Convention (GC IV, art. 27-34 and 47-78).

A regular power source means they can have a fridge in which to store dairy products that can then be sold at market. Electricity also means they can run a laptop and have access to lawyers.

This is what you are dealing with in “the only democracy in the Middle East!

According to numerous analysts, local NGOs and UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Israel is looking to expel the last Palestinian residents of Khan al-Ahmar in order to connect the Israeli settlement Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem.

Israel destroys about 1,000 of their homes each year to force them into two towns with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Israel.

It is these poor communities that Amos Gvirtz defends.

Weekly Amos connects with  an international audience with his “Don’t Say We Did Not Know” information about unpublicized events affecting the Palestinian and Bedouin communities. Gvirtz’ new book (only in Hebrew now) of the same title examines the problems resulting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Below are samples of his regular truth flares.
On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, Israeli army forces entered an area belonging to a Palestinian of the village of Tyassir near Tubas (northern West Bank) and uprooted 9 dunams of olive trees, claiming they had been planted in a nature reserve.
————— ————-
On Thursday, February 19, 2015, government agents escorted by police had a demolition day in Bedouin localities in the Negev. They destroyed a structure in Rahat and proceeded to demolish Al Arakib yet again.

Don’t say we didn’t know #444
On Thursday, 26th February, 2015, residents of the Palestinian village ‘Izbet Tabib (east of Qalqilia) together with some of their Israeli supporters demonstrated near the access road to their village, near Highway No. 55. They did not block the road. Suddenly soldiers arrived and without any warning started shooting tear gas grenades at the demonstrators.
—————– ——————–
On Sunday, 22nd February, 2015, government representatives escorted by police arrived at the Bedouin village Sa’wa, east of Hura, and demolished four homes.
On Thursday, 26th February, 2015, they arrived in the Bedouin village Tel ’Arad and demolished two structures.
On Wednesday, 18th March, 2015, representatives of the Civil Administration, with a military escort, came to lands belonging to Palestinians from Dahariyya, west of Yatta, and cut down five year old, or older, olive trees, claiming that it was state-owned land. The Palestinians claim ownership.
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On Sunday, 15th March, 2015, Government representatives accompanied by the police went to the Bedouin village Sawawin, near Segev Shalom, to demolish a sheepfold. On Thursday, 19th March, 2015, Government representatives demolished a home in Bir Hadaj, near Kibbutz Revivim. That same day, the Israeli government demolished a home between Bir El-Hammam and Khirbet El-Wattan, near Nevatim. They also demolished a structure in Rahat.

Netanyahu the ultimate cynic

March 22, 2015

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Netanyahu’s cynical ploy on election day, when he warned in a personal message on his Facebook page of “droves of Arabs” descending on the polls was beyond the pale. He is justifiably being mocked by far and wideKatie Halper “translated” Netanyahu’s racist emergency election appeal to get out the vote. Titled “An American Translation of Benjamin Netanyahu’s own words.
You’ll feel you are in Mississippi in 1960.
The only changes we are replacing:
“Arab” with “Black”
“right wing” with “Republican”
“Likud” with “Republican”
“Labor” with “Democrats”
“Israel” with “United States”
The alarmingly racist appeal has been cited as being responsible for a surge in the polls for Likud. Let’s watch the video:
The Republican leadership is in danger.
Black voters are coming out in droves to the polls
Left wing organizations are busing them out.
Get out to vote, bring your friends and family, vote Republican in order to close the gap between us and the Democrats.
With your help and the help of God,
We will build a nationalist government that will protect the United States of America.

This is astonishing from a Prime minister in “the only democracy in the Middle Est.’Even the Tea Party would not utter some thinly coated racism.

Israel’s leadership for 20 years or more has been simply catastrophic.Its great ability in the use of hasbara (propaganda) would put Stephen Harper to shame.Netanyahu ranks as the most cynical leader you will ever meet but the hasbara to the shame of diaspora Jews has been enough for them to support this colonial,racist state.

Many knew Netanyahu was lying after OSLO.he has always been a “maximalist” of stealing more Palestinian land.This was no secret to people who follow Israeli politics.This man has never been committed to 2 state, an impossibility with 350,000 Jews living in the West bank.

Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator nailed it when he said

The Israeli elections show the success of a campaign platform based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people. Such a result would not have been possible had the international community held Israel to account for its systematic violations of international law

But you won’t find Erekat’s quote anywhere but here.

Catholic Teachers Justice Winners “kettled” at AGM

March 16, 2015

Guest editorial

by Giuseppe Spadafora

Toronto Putz

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Table 15 “kettled” Gary Connoly, Ted Schmidt, Bill Heffernan, Dwyer Sullivan

(picture David Szollosy)

In a shocking move reporters called “kettling” honored social justice award winners of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association were literally” kettled” at separate table 15 at the organization’s AGM banquet on Sunday March 15
This was vigorously denied by outgoing president Shlomo Ryan.
“No truth to the rumour that we wanted to keep you apart from the young membership,” Ryan averred.
He was challenged by Gary Connoly, last year’s winner of the highest OECTA Award the Marion Tyrrel Award who pointed out that former OECTA president Kevin O’Dwyer was placed next to Schmidt at the table. A former student of Schmidt a 1991 Tyrrel Award recipient, O’Dwyer became notorious for resisting ecclesial pressure and allowing Catholic schools to call gay lesbian clubs by whatever name they wished.
2006 Tyrrel Award winner Dwyer Sullivan challenged Shlomo Ryan.
“Come on,Ryan. You know you took the “kettling” playbook from the Israeli Defense Force who has trained several US police forces in the art of penning people up under surveillance. We saw this just recently in Feguson, Missouri. Your strategy was obvious to all of us.”
Billy Heffernan the Fintan Kilbride Award for social justice in 2014 added “The shocking to us kettlers was to see most of the award winners were not classroom teachers and that nobody was nominated this year for the Kilbride Award. Are there no teachers challenging the system anymore?”
The final proof that the social justice winners were segregated was that 2013 Kilbride Award winner David Szollosy rushed over to take this picture.
Finally Ryan vigorously denied that the Cardinal raced from the banquet when Jeff Heximer a retired OECTA negotiator mentioned Ted and Don Schmidt in his remarks.
Overall the “kettling” incident was a step backward for the Catholic teachers of Ontario.

Diane Nash refuses to march if Bush is in the parade

March 13, 2015

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Diane Nash marching in Nashville as 21 year old student

One notable civil rights activist who did not take part in this weekend’s commemorative march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma was Diane Nash, who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). What a formidable,brave woman. As a college student she was on the front lines against segregation.There she was 50 years later all set to commemorate the historic march.and then she saw him,George W Bush in the march.That was it for Nash

She refused to march because George Bush marched,“I think the Selma movement was about non-violence and peace and democracy. And George Bush stands for just the opposite: For violence and war and stolen elections, and his administration … had people tortured. I’m also concerned that the legacy of the Selma movement, which stands for non-violence, will be confused. And so I did not wish to be a part of something that included him,” she added.

The understatement of the year from the classy Nash:

The veteran justice campaigner also gave some excellent advice:

“It is a huge mistake for Americans to leave the future of this country in the hands of elected officials. … Suppose we had waited for elected officials to desegregate lunch counters, buses, and to get the right to vote. I think 50 years later we would still be waiting.”

Amen—that’s why Jesus never waited for the Sanhedrin’s permission either.Justice always begins close to the ground where people feel the pain.
So I thought that this was not an appropriate event for him,” she added.

Nice photo op for Bush. Thankfully somebody had the guts to call him on his unwanted and unmerited presence.

Dual loyalties Israel and US

March 12, 2015

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American Jews have always been sensitive about “dual loyalties”. They want to be be seen as loyal to the US but many go overboard and support Israel no matter what. Jews used to ask the fundamental question: is this good for Jews. The question should be what country are you a citizen of.

American Jews increasingly are asking is this good for America’s place in the world. The answer of course is no. Because of the unblinkered support for Israel America is despised in the Arab world. Many sensitive American Jews get this and latterly have become aware of the issue of “dual loyalties.” They realized that the price of citizenship is exclusive allegiance. Now what about the terrible influence AIPAC has on US foreign policy.Is AIPAC working on behalf of a foreign government? I believe so, Many in the US government have had very close ties with Israel and they exert their influence in this direction.
Remember the shocking case of the racist dual citizen Meir Kahane, who founded theJewish Defense League in the U.S. in the 1960s. He then emigrated to Israel where, eventually, he was elected to the Knesset. Until he was shot and killed in 1990, the Brooklyn-born rabbi shuttled between Tel Aviv and New York, where he recruited militant American Jews for his activities in Israel against Palestinians. He claimed to be a “dual citizen” of America and Israel.
Now it has come to light that More than 90 percent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection funds have come from the United States

Of the total contributions of nearly $259,000 — slightly over 1 million shekels — about $237,000 came from American donors, according to records made public by Israel’s State Comptroller.

Three wealthy families donated about half the amount from the Americans.

Israeli politicians may accept a maximum donation of about $11,500. The three families are the Falics of Florida, owners of the Duty Free Americas stores found in airports; the Books of New Jersey, owners of Jet Support Services, Inc.; and the Schottensteins of Ohio, owners of the American Eagle clothing chain.

Others who donated the maximum amount included Shlomo Reichnitz of Los Angeles, Richard Heideman of Bethesda, Maryland, David Simon of Indiana and John Kruger of New Jersey, according to the comptroller’s records.Most of the donations came in the last two months of 2014.

University caves when it comes to Israel

March 9, 2015

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Even after Charlie Hebdo in the city of light Paris cowardice rears its ugly head—and in a putative university!

The president of a progressive Parisian school, University Paris 8, decided at the last minute to ban a conference, titled Israel apartheid is real, featuring Max Blumenthal and Bilal Afandi, set for March 9. Even as the school features We Are Charlie posters in solidarity with Islamophobic magazine victimized by terror attack.

As for Max Blumenthal a blogger called Kathleen posted this description of this fearless Jew of Conscience:

Max is a very aware, powerful and fact based journalist and speaker about the conflict, occupation, apartheid Stuns and terrifies people with the facts. Watched the faces of people here in Boulder attending Max’s talk at the Quaker center when Max came to speak about his latest book. Those objecting could not argue with his documented facts. .Lots of difficult swallowing going on while he speaks the truth.

I have heard Blumenthal speak and few are able to rebut him with any intelligence. The brother has been there and calls it truthfully.
This statement was released by academics after the announcement.
We have just learned that, once again, the presidency of the University Paris 8/Saint-Denis decided, at the last moment, to ban a conference, this one entitled Israel apartheid is real [featuring Max Blumenthal and Bilal Afandi]. The conference intended to shed light on Israel’s apartheid policy toward the Palestinian people, a policy that AURDIP itself has constantly condemned. As a collective of academics, we are outraged by this attack on academic freedom, the freedom of expression, and the freedom of open debate. As defenders of human rights and the respect of international law, we wish to express our deep dismay at the complicit silence that the administration of the University Paris 8 aims to force upon its students and faculty. We demand that the president of this university reverse a decision that can only exacerbate tensions while pretending to calm them. –

Netanyahu speaks, money talks

March 7, 2015

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This article is too good not to share.Moyers is a prime example of the Christian engaged citizen who consistently  defends the common good.As Leonard Cohen so rightly put it—America the cradle of the best and the worst.

Netanyahu Speaks, Money Talks
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

Everything you need to know about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress Tuesday was the presence in the visitor’s gallery of one man – Sheldon Adelson

The gambling tycoon is the Godfather of the Republican Right. The party’s presidential hopefuls line up to kiss his assets, scraping and bowing for his blessing, which when granted is bestowed with his signed checks. Data from both the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and the Center for Public Integrity show that in the 2012 election cycle, Adelson and his wife Miriam (whose purse achieved metaphoric glory Tuesday when it fell from the gallery and hit a Democratic congressman) contributed $150 million to the GOP and its friends, including $93 million to such plutocracy-friendly super PACs as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund, Winning Our Future (the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC) and Restore Our Future (the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC).
Yet there’s no knowing for sure about all of the “dark money” contributed by the Adelsons – so called because it doesn’t have to be reported. Like those high-rise, multi-million dollar apartments in New York City purchased by oligarchs whose identity is hidden within perfectly legal shell organizations, dark money lets our politicians conveniently erase fingerprints left by their ink-stained (from signing all those checks) billionaire benefactors.
But Sheldon Adelson was not only sitting in the House gallery on Tuesday because of the strings he pulls here in the United States. He is also the Daddy Warbucks of Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu is yet another of his beneficiaries – not to mention an ideological soulmate. Although campaign finance reform laws are much more strict in Israel than here in the United States, Adelson’s wealth has bought him what the historian and journalist Gershom Gorenberg calls “uniquely pernicious” influence.

Adelson owns the daily Israel Hayom, a leading newspaper, as well as Makor Roshon, the daily newspaper of Israel’s Zionist religious right and NRG, a news website. He gives Israel Hayom away for free in order to promote his hardline views – the headline in the paper the day after Obama’s re-election was “The US Voted [for] Socialism.”

More important, he uses the paper to bang the drum incessantly for Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud Party, under the reign of which Israel has edged closer and closer to theocracy. As Hebrew University economist Momi Dahan put it: “De facto, the existence of a newspaper like Israel Hayom egregiously violates the law, because [Adelson] actually is providing a candidate with nearly unlimited resources.”
Sheldon, meet Rupert.
In fact, as Israel’s March 17 election approaches, Adelson has increased the press run of Israel Hayom’s weekend edition by 70 percent. The paper says it’s to increase circulation and advertising, but rival newspaper Ha’aretz reports, “Political sources are convinced the extra copies are less part of a business plan and more one to help Netanyahu’s re-election bid.” Just like the timing of Netanyahu’s “State of the Union” address to Congress this week was merely a coincidence, right? “I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political,” Netanyahu told Congress. “That was never my intention.” Of course.
In Gershom Gorenberg’s words, the prime minister “enjoys the advantage of having a major newspaper in his camp that portrays the world as seen from his office: a world in which Israel is surrounded by enemies, including the president of the United States; in which peace negotiations are aimed at destroying Israel; in which Israel’s left is aligned with all the hostile forces, and even rightists who oppose Netanyahu want to carry out a coup through the instrument of elections.”

So Netanyahu gets the best of both of Adelson’s worlds – his powerful propaganda machine in Israel and his campaign cash here in the United States. Combined, they allow Netanyahu to usurp American foreign policy as he manipulates an obliging US Congress enamored of Adelson’s millions, pushing it further to the right on Israel and the Middle East.

There you have it: Not only is this casino mogul the unofficial head of the Republican Party in America (“he with the gold rules”), he is the uncrowned King of Israel — David with a printing press and checkbook instead of a slingshot and a stone. All of this came to the fore in Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday: the US cannot determine its own policy in the Middle East and the majority in Congress are under the thumb of a foreign power.

Like a King Midas colossus, Sheldon Adelson bestrides the cause of war and peace in the most volatile region of the world. And this is the man who — at Yeshiva University in New York in 2013 — denounced President Obama’s diplomatic efforts with Iran and proposed instead that the United States drop an atomic bomb in the Iranian desert and then declare: “See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.

Everything you need to know about Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress Tuesday was the presence in the visitor’s gallery of that man. We are hostage to his fortune.

Netanyahu and the sad state of US democracy

March 6, 2015

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Uri Avnery is 90, a former Knesset member nailed Netanyahu’s speech” to “a bunch of nincompoops” in the US Congress. The whole pathetic event showed you the parlous state of US democracy—especially the Republicans, an amen corner for Israel.A bunch of bought and paid for illiterates who know nothing of Palestinian life as it is lived today,bloated millionaires with little knowledge of history or the history of Netanyahu, a lifelong expansionist and hater of Arabs.
And who had box seats in the arena?

Sheldon Adelson the billionaire casino magnet who like the Koch brothers funds far right politicians who genuflect to oil and Israel.
And there was the pathetic Elie Wiesel,”the moral impostor” as Avnery labels him who has never managed to universalize the message of the nazi holocaust—never again to anybody!
Avnery writes:
Suddenly it reminded me of something.
 
I was watching The Speech by Binyamin Netanyahu before the Congress of the United States. Row upon row of men in suits (and the occasional woman), jumping up and down, up and down, applauding wildly, shouting approval.
 
It was the shouting that did it. Where had I heard that before?
 
And then it came back to me. It was another parliament in the mid-1930s. The Leader was speaking. Rows upon rows of Reichstag members were listening raptly. Every few minutes they jumped up and shouted their approval.
 
Of course, the Congress of the United States of America is no Reichstag. Members wear dark suits, not brown shirts. They do not shout “Heil” but something unintelligible. Yet the sound of the shouting  had the same effect. Rather shocking.
 
But then I returned to the present. The sight was not frightening, but ridiculous. Here were the members of the most powerful parliament in the world behaving like a bunch of nincompoops.
 
Nothing like this could have happened in the Knesset. I do not have a very high opinion of our parliament, despite having been a member, but compared to this assembly, the Knesset is the fulfillment of Plato’s dream.
This whole charade was beyond the pale.
Avnery summed it up:

What did the speech not contain? 
 
Not a word about Palestine and the Palestinians. Not a word about peace, the two-state solution, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem. Not a word about apartheid, the occupation, the settlements. Not a word about Israel’s own nuclear capabilities.
 
Not a word, of course, about the idea of a nuclear-weapon–free region, with mutual inspection.

 

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