Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Garrow: Rising Star pt.5

September 22, 2017



Obama’s star was rising. People were paying attention. His wife was now onside, agreeing to his candidacy.There was grassroots excitement. He was beginning to get rock star crowds. There was a palpable movement and buzz for something new. Hilary Clinton represented the too long at the trough mood of many in the country.This could be an inspirational time—much like Trudeaumania in Canada.

New York Magazine political writer John Heilemann observed, “for all his promise Obama is basically an empty vessel.The candidate had never used his megaphone to advance a bold initiative or champion a controversial issue. This caveat rang true. The more you wonder what is behind the hype. No original incredible accomplishments for others,only for himself.No one could fill the expectations that have been built up for him.


Open letter to fellow Jews: Wise up

September 21, 2017

Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman edited “Kingdom of Olives and Ash,” a new anthology of essays about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank by writers including Dave Eggers, Geraldine Brooks, Colm Toibin  and Madeleine Thien

Chabon is an American novelist, short story writer, and Pulitzer Prize winner. Chabon’s first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, was published when he was 25. He followed it with Wonder Boys, and two short-story collections.

Waldman is an Israeli-American novelist and essayist. She has written seven mystery novels in the series The Mommy-Track Mysteries and four other novels. She has also written autobiographical essays about motherhood. Waldman spent three years working as a federal public defender and her fiction draws on her experience as a lawyer



To our fellow Jews, in the United States, in Israel, and around the world:

We know that, up to now, some of you have made an effort to reserve judgment on the question of whether or not President Donald Trump is an anti-Semite, and to give him the benefit of the doubt. Some of you voted for him last November. Some of you have found employment in his service, or have involved yourself with him in private business deals, or in diplomatic ties.


You have counted carefully as each appointment to his administration of a white supremacist, anti-Semite, neo-Nazi or crypto-fascist appeared to be counterbalanced by the appointment of a fellow Jew, and reassured yourself that the most troubling of those hires would be cumulatively outweighed by the presence, in his own family and circle of closest advisors, of a Jewish son-in-law and daughter.


You have given your support to the President’s long and appalling record of racist statements, at worst assenting to them, at best dismissing them as the empty blandishments of a huckster at work, and have chosen to see the warm reception that his rhetoric found among the hood-wearers, weekend stormtroopers, and militias of hate as proof of the gullibility of a bunch of patsies, however distasteful.




You have viewed him as a potential friend to Israel, or a reliable enemy of Israel’s enemies.

You have tried to allay or dismiss your fears with the knowledge that most of the President’s hateful words and actions, along with those of his appointees, have targeted other people — immigrants, Black people, and Muslims — taking hollow consolation in how open and shameless his hate has been, as if that openness and shamelessness guaranteed the absence, in his heart and in his administration, of any hidden hatred for us.

The President has no filter, no self-control, you have told yourself. If he were an anti-Semite — a Nazi sympathizer, a friend of the Jew-hating Klan — we would know about it, by now. By now, he would surely have told us.


Yesterday, in a long and ragged off-the-cuff address to the press corps, President Trump told us. During a moment that white supremacist godfather Steve Bannon has apparently described as a “defining” one for this Administration, the President expressed admiration and sympathy for a group of white supremacist demonstrators who marched through the streets of Charlottesville, flaunting Swastikas and openly chanting, along with vile racist slogans, “Jews will not replace us!” Among those demonstrators, according to Trump, were “a lot” of “innocent” and “very fine people.”

So, now you know. First he went after immigrants, the poor, Muslims, trans people and people of color, and you did nothing. You contributed to his campaign, you voted for him. You accepted positions on his staff and his councils. You entered into negotiations, cut deals, made contracts with him and his government.


Now he’s coming after you. The question is: what are you going to do about it? If you don’t feel, or can’t show, any concern, pain or understanding for the persecution and demonization of others, at least show a little self-interest. At least show a little sechel. At the very least, show a little self-respect.


To Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and our other fellow Jews currently serving under this odious regime: We call upon you to resign; and to the President’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen: Fire your client.


To Sheldon Adelson and our other fellow Jews still engaged in making the repugnant calculation that a hater of Arabs must be a lover of Jews, or that money trumps hate, or that a million dollars’ worth of access can protect you from one boot heel at the door: Wise up.

To the government of Israel, and our fellow Jews living there: Wise up.


To Jared Kushner: You have one minute to do whatever it takes to keep the history of your people from looking back on you as among its greatest traitors, and greatest fools; that minute is nearly past. To Ivanka Trump: Allow us to teach you an ancient and venerable phrase, long employed by Jewish parents and children to one another at such moments of family crisis: I’ll sit shiva for you. Try it out on your father; see how it goes.


Among all the bleak and violent truths that found confirmation or came slouching into view amid the torchlight of Charlottesville is this: Any Jew, anywhere, who does not act to oppose President Donald Trump and his administration acts in favor of anti-Semitism; any Jew who does not condemn the President, directly and by name, for his racism, white supremacism, intolerance and Jew hatred, condones all of those things.

To our fellow Jews, in North America, in Israel, and around the world: What side are you on?

Michael Chabon and  Ayelet Waldman

Berkeley, California, 8/16/17

Rising Star pt 4

September 19, 2017


As Obama entered Harvard law students of all races were unhappy with the institution’s culture.
One alumnus described it as “a miserable experience.”Myriad complaints surfaced about the well the growing culture of individualism and greed seemed to be having its way.
One wrote in a memoir that 70% of his classmates arrived with an expressed interest in public interest law yet only 6 actually accepted legal services jobs.
In the mid 80s a young sociologist Robert Granfield questioned score of students about “the complex ideological process that systematically channels students away from socially oriented work.”

Elite positions and resources seemed to be the way to social progress.


Grads deluded themselves into thinking that they survived with their altruism intact while actually having been co-opted into joining large corporate law firms..the institution was tremendously co-optive.


Michelle Robinson,Obamas wife-to-be was critical of the Harvard culture but in the end joined a corporate firm underlining the problem of paying for the high cost of a Harvard education.


This too was Granfield’s conclusion student debt too often caused students to “provide service to the corporate elite.”

Rising Star: Garrow pt 3

September 18, 2017


Barack was going off to law school. Many going away parties were organized in his last week in Chicago pre Harvard.
At one party Obama was asked what he would be doing: writing a book and then “I’m going to be the mayor of Chicago.”

While he was out of town a dinner was announced to honour Frank Lumpkin for his extraordinary work in winning recompense for the Wisconsin Steelworkers tossed out of work beginning in 1980.
Lumpkin was a dedicated communist and the proceeds would benefit the Communist Party USA newspaper The People’s Daily World.
This never stopped or inhibited radical priest Monsignor Leo Mahon from writing in the banquet’s program: “best wishes to a man who fights for justice.”


Garrow writes,”Maybe Foster Millhouse and the other right-wing zealots had been right all along,that social justice Catholicism and grassroots communism were indeed one and the same.”

A Voice of Sanity in Israel

September 17, 2017

One of the most prophetic voices in israel lies outside the realm of religion. I refer to the columnist Gideon Levy whose weekly sorties holds a mirror up to the ugly face of Israel apartheid. Levy situates himself outside of the Jewish religion.I call him a Jewish Jew, the real deal, a truth teller in one of the most brainwashwed countries in the world—Israel— and they are Levy’s words.


There are few rabbis who distinguish themselves here. One writer even longed for the equivalent of Pope Francis to appear in religious guise in Israel.


But I digress.Haaretz  daily offers a platform to exluded voices particularly palestinian ones. It is a joy to read.I happily subscribe.



Most Israelis get their news from a fishwrap called israel Hayom, a free paper courtesy of American billionaire sheldon Adelson, a virtual idolator of Netanyahu. Over 40% of Israelis read tho pathetic excuse for a newspaper.Then there is Haaretz, a sterling examole of what anewspaper should be.This appeared today

A Letter From Amos Schocken, Publisher of Haaretz


Celebrating 20 years of Haaretz English Edition, we are proud to be one of the few critical voices in Israel speaking out against injustice. Your continued support is vital

On September 1, 1997, Haaretz English Edition was published for the first time, as part of a joint venture with the International Herald Tribune
On the front page of the inaugural edition were two reports which encapsulated the very reasons that we, the publishers of Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, decided to venture into English-language publishing.

In the first article, the paper’s diplomatic correspondent reported that the United States was pressing Israel to accept a formula by which settlement expansion would be limited to existing communities. The second article reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been seeking a private donation to help him pay an outstanding debt to the lawyer who had represented him in court.

Two decades later, despite the best efforts of many courageous people and organizations, and notwithstanding spectacular advances in many fields, Israel is no nearer a solution to many of its most pressing problems.

One of the charges most often levelled against the voices of opposition in Israel is that they “air the country’s dirty laundry” in public – and in English. They are told that to do so is treasonous and feeds the monster of anti-Semitism.

Haaretz is proud to be one of the few critical voices in Israel – and in English – speaking out against injustice. We believe that we are serving the best interests of our country, which we love, and that our reporting, our analysis and our commentary enrich the discussion and deepen our readers’ understanding of hugely complex issues. Our writers – in English and Hebrew – are Israel’s most thought-provoking and original and our digital platforms are updated around the clock by two news desks.

In today’s climate, the voice of Haaretz is more important than ever before, both here in Israel and in the United States, where recent events are of grave concern to Jews in both countries. That is why it is just as important for Haaretz’s voice to be heard in English.

With your continued support, we will continue to produce the kind of journalism that is vital in these perilous times. We will continue to create cutting-edge multimedia content on all our platforms and we will continue to invest in making our apps and websites even better.

Yours faithfully,
Amos Schocken
Publisher, Haaretz
*** Celebrate 20 years of with a special offer: 3 months for just $20
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Israel’s drumbeat of lies

September 15, 2017


SUT JHALLY professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts produced he Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States.

We focus on the public relations campaign in the United States to essentially confuse the American public about what was going on, so there will be no pressure coming from the public on this. And in that sense, you know—and we say this in the film—the occupation of Palestine also depends upon an occupation of American public opinion, that unless the American government is aboard with this and acts as a protector of Israel, then that occupation is not possible.

Israel can saturate the media with its spokespeople, but there’s still the problem of massive Palestinian casualties showing up on television screens. You can’t make those images go away. An Israeli official actually said, “In the war of pictures, we lose. So you need to correct, explain or balance it in other ways.”


Dr Frank Luntz,was commissioned in 2009 to write The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.  The Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary, was leaked to Newsweek Online.


Luntz deals with sound bites repeated over and over and picked up by clueless talking heads who read the news on US outlets. Most people are easily persuaded by this drumbeat of lies.



Now the Israeli liars have their work cut out trying to explain the massive disproportionate killing in this “conflict” (read one-sided turkey shoot). Most of the Palestinian victims are civilians while so few Israelis (less than 5) are killed by the Hamas “fireworks.”


Even with this tsunami of BS, young American Jews raised in a climate of human rights began to desert Israel.


One of this Report’s favourite advice to Israelis :always express empathy for the innocent victims..

Here are a few of the stomach-turning examples of crocodile tears

DAN GILLERMAN: Unfortunately, innocents do get hurt. And we—we really grieve that.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: We’re sad for every civilian casualty.

MICHAEL OREN: The entire situation is tragic.

SUT JHALLY: Once you’ve done that, Luntz says, you also have to get people to empathize with Israelis, by describing what life is like for them living in constant fear of Hamas rocket attacks. So, again and again, we hear the focus-tested phrase that the rockets are raining down on Israel.


More on the rockets next time.



The Occupation of the American Mind

September 14, 2017



Legendary British musician Roger Waters, founding member of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd. Waters is the narrator of a recent documentary titled “The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States.”

Democracy NOW interviewed Sut Jhally, professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts Twho produced he Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States.”
WATERS opened the documentary with these words:


Over the course of 51 days, the Israeli military dropped nearly 20,000 tons of explosive on Gaza, a densely populated area the size of Philadelphia, killing over 2,000 Palestinians and wounding tens of thousands more. The overwhelming majority of these casualties were civilians.The sheer scale of the attacks sparked outrage and condemnation around the world.

This mass murder of 2014 was the last straw for progressive Jews whose youth abandoned Israel in droves when the truth could not be hidden.
Sadly as waters says, “But in the United States, the story was different. Polls show the American people holding firm in their support for Israel.These numbers were striking, but they weren’t new. Over the course of a conflict in which Palestinian casualties have far outnumbered Israeli casualties, the American people have consistently shown far more sympathy for Israelis than for Palestinians.

PSUT JHALLY: Well, it started, actually, quite a while ago, and the reason for it is that American public opinion is so far outside the bounds of world opinion when it comes to Israel. The moment you start to talk about this, there’s an attempt to silence you. So you’re actually not allowed to talk about it. And then, actually, once you do talk about it, you realize that Americans have a very warped sense of the conflict. I learned this from my own students, as well as from public opinion polls, that most Americans think that, in fact, it’s the Palestinians who are illegally occupying someone else’s land in the Middle East.

Well, it’s such a clear kind of instance of colonization. We’ve just had 50 years of occupation, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and, until recently, of Gaza. And that’s actually very, very clear, because there’s also this instant—Americans think it’s so complicated. That’s actually—when I talk to my students, they always say it’s too complicated. And I just actually explain to them, you know, in a few sentences, that this actually is a very, very simple conflict. And what—and when the conflict is that simple, what you have to do is you have to make it more complicated. And that’s the function of public relations.


In Israel this is called hasbara. We call it bull shit or lies.

Jhally: And so, that’s what we focus on. We focus on the public relations campaign in the United States to essentially confuse the American public about what was going on, so there will be no pressure coming from the public on this. And in that sense, you know—and we say this in the film—the occupation of Palestine also depends upon an occupation of American public opinion, that unless the American government is aboard with this and acts as a protector of Israel, then that occupation is not possible

Rising Star David Garrow pt.2

September 11, 2017


By 1987 Barack Obama was growing restless. the idea of a law degree bubbled up inside of him and he had finally come to the conclusion that community organizing without a social analysis was a bandaid on a cancer. he set his sites on Harvard as his absentee father from Kenya had gone there .The elder Obama turned out to be a sad sack alcoholic who only met his son for a brief moment when he was 10 yet Obama was fascinated by this ghost as the book recalls and his first book details.


Smart as a whip, Obama realized that he had to move beyond local amelioration. He needed to know how the economy worked to marginalize people. He then had to find out how the legal structure affected the economy.


The community organizer had seen first hand how unemployment and lack of education was harming the black community. Community organizing while necessary for the fight back, never would get to the root structural causes.


While at a conference at Harvard in 1987 a Philadelphia congressman and clergyman William H Gray summed up what Obama was seeing:


“For black Americans education was an essential. No education, no advancement. The leading cause of death among black males is black on black crime.That’s us. Superfly selling drugs and coke in our community is not someone else,It’s us.Those who are mugging us, raping us and robbing us are not coming from somewhere else. It’s us.The teenage pregnancy is not the white man’s problem, it’s our problem…You cannot escape poverty with children having children.”

Obama realized that decisions were made downtown in City Hall or at the state level.

Now he was off to Harvard.

Canadian Zionists gear up to attack Roger Waters

September 10, 2017

Peter Larson one of the most informed Canadian writers on the Middle East promotes “a fair and balanced public policy towards Israelis and Palestinians which respects and protects the human rights of all people.”As we all know Canada for too long has been mired in a hopeless pro-Israel stance utterly terrified about offending the deep pockets of Canadian Jewish voters. Justin Trudeau it turns out is just as bad as Stephen Harper was.


Harper IS

Larson has had a long and distinguished career in public policy. a graduate in Economics from the University of Western Ontario in 1968.with Ph.D. in Political Economy from Université de Grenoble, France. Larson has led many trips to the Middle East and is a reliable repoter.


He sends this along.



English rock star Roger Waters starts a 6 city Canadian tour in Toronto on October 2nd. But the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is trying to develop opposition to the tour because of Waters’ very vocal criticism of Israel over the issue of human rights for Palestinians.
Israel’s largest lobby group in Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has just launched an aggressive campaign called “Tell Rogers: Leave Israel alone”. It is aimed at rock star Roger Waters who is about to begin a 6 city Canadian tour of his highly acclaimed world wide “US + Them” show.

The campaign includes a video and a petition which CIJA proposes to send to Waters. In the campaign video, CIJA claims that BDS has failed and invites readers to tell Waters that his “failed, hypocritical BDS campaign is hate“.

The petition appeals to viewers to “ADD YOUR NAME to send Roger Waters a clear message: “antisemitism, bigotry, and hatred are not welcome in Canada.”
A strange irony
CIJA does not see the irony in the fact that Waters and the BDS movement already agree with this message. He and the BDS leadership have stated on many occasions that BDS does not support anti-semitism, bigotry or racial hatred. It is not directed against Jews or even against Israelis. It is aimed at the State of Israel. It demands 3 fundamental democratic human rights for Palestinians, which so far Israel denies.
Waters, who was one of the original founders of the group Pink Floyd, has associated himself over the years with a number of progressive causes, including environmental projects like the Live Earth Concert, and the Millennium Promise, a non-profit organisation that helps fight extreme poverty and malaria.
Support for BDS – the movement to boycott Israel
Waters has visited and performed in Israel several times at the invitation of the Israeli government. But he earned the ire of the Zionist establishment in the USA and Canada when he started to speak out about human rights for Palestinians. In June 2009 he criticized Israel’s wall which cuts off the West Bank. Later that year, pledged his support for the Gaza Freedom March.  But the Zionist opposition to him crystallized in 2011 when he announced that he had joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Waters has consistently maintained “I hate apartheid, not Israel”, as he did in an interview in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz with well known Israeli journalist Gideon Levy
CIJA claims that Waters and BDS have been unsuccessful, though the expensive campaign would indicate that perhaps they are not confident that this is the case. There is no doubt that the campaign against Waters has had an effect however. He has suffered significant financial losses because of it, including losing several major sponsorships.
But Waters remains undeterred. In a short interview in Montreal last year with Radio-Canada’s wildly popular Quebec television program “Tout le monde en parle”,
Waters makes it clear he is more interested in principle than profit. He gets a standing ovation from the audience.

If you want to attend, here are dates and locations for Roger Waters’ Canadian tour
10/02 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
10/03 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
10/06 Quebec City, QC – Videotron Centre
10/10 Ottawa, ON – Canadian Tire Centre
10/16 Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
10/24 Edmonton, AB – Rogers Place
10/28 Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena

Israel, gun runner to juntas

September 7, 2017

On Sept.6 John Brown a Haaetz blogger wrote about Israel’s arming of Myanmar’s Junta Abridged for soace.

The violence directed at Myanmar’s Rohingya minority by the country’s regime has intensified. United Nations data show that about 60,000 members of the minority group have recently fled Myanmar’s Rahine state, driven out by the increasing violence and the burning of their villages, information that has been confirmed by satellite images. But none of this has led to a change in the policy of the Israeli Defense Ministry, which is refusing to halt weapons sales to the regime in Myanmar, the southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.

Since Burma received its independence from Britain in 1948, civil war has been waged continuously in various parts of the country. In November 2015, democratic elections were held in the country that were won by Nobel Prize-winning human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi. But her government doesn’t exert real control over the country’s security forces, since private militias are beholden to the junta that controlled Myanmar prior to the election.

Militia members continue to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of human rights around the country, particularly against minority groups that are not even accorded citizenship.

Advanced Israeli weapons

Despite what is known at this point from the report of the United Nations envoy to the country and a report by Harvard University researchers that said the commission of crimes of this kind is continuing, the Israeli government persists in supplying weapons to the regime there.



One of the heads of the junta, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, visited Israel in September 2015 on a “shopping trip” of Israeli military manufacturers. His delegation met with President Reuven Rivlin as well as military officials including the army’s chief of staff. It visited military bases and defense contractors Elbit Systems and Elta Systems.

The head of the Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate — better known by its Hebrew acronym, SIBAT — is Michel Ben-Baruch, who went to Myanmar in the summer of 2015. In the course of the visit, which attracted little media coverage, the heads of the junta disclosed that they purchased Super Dvora patrol boats from Israel, and there was talk of additional purchases.

In August 2016, images were posted on the website of TAR Ideal Concepts, an Israeli company that specializes in providing military training and equipment, showing training with Israeli-made Corner Shot rifles, along with the statement that Myanmar had begun operational use of the weapons. The website said the company was headed by former Israel Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki. Currently the site makes no specific reference to Myanmar, referring only more generally to Asia.

Who will supervise the supervisors?

Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to hear, in late September, a petition from human rights activists against the continued arms sales to Myanmar.

The United States and the European Union have imposed an arms embargo on Myanmar. It’s unclear whether the cause was ignorance, and Lieberman is not fully informed about Israel’s arms exports (even though he must approve them), or an attempt at whitewashing.

Israel has long armed the juntas of Guatemala, El Salvador and worked closely with the apartheid regime in South Africa. As well it armed the Serbian forces committing massacres in Bosnia despite a United Nations embargo.

On Dec.16 ,2015 Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin an adjunct lecturer at Tel Aviv university wrote:

Israel’s embrace of unsavory allies is nothing new. In earlier decades, during the Arab boycott, the Cold War and its own wars, Israel cultivated willing friends regardless of regime type; realpolitik trumped idealism, in international relations parlance. Thus Israel was close with Nicolae Ceaucescu’s Romania and Idi Amin’s Uganda, and counted apartheid South Africa as an ally too.

Gili Cohen in Haaretz reported also that In May of this year a group of 54 israelis petitioned the High Court of Justice seeking a criminal investigation into Israelis exporting arms to South Sudan on possible charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.


They never stop.