Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Shimon Peres

September 29, 2016

Marc Ellis, Jewish American theologian

Peres played a key role in Israel’s development of nuclear weapons and encouraged and augmented Israel’s settlement project in Jerusalem and the West Bank. As important was Peres’s role in portraying Israel as a Jewish and democratic state around the world. From the beginning, Palestinians knew a different Israel and, with time, more and more Jews do, too. Though Peres will be widely celebrated in the upper echelons of American and European power in the coming days, Peres will be remembered for enabling a narrative of Jewish innocence and redemption that was, also, something much more sinister from the beginning. 

 

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Obama: Bad for Israel

September 18, 2016

As usual Gideon Levy today  tells some diaspora Jews what they do not want to hear.

This continual support for an oppressive state which eats up one quarter of  the USA’s foreign aid is a scandal

Imagine indeed what 38 billion could do for Africa.

The cowardice of politicos like Obama, Governor Cuomo, NY mayor Di Blasio is shameful.

Barack Obama is a bad president for Israel. If the military aid he approved for the coming decade is the largest ever, then as a president he is the worst ever for Israel. The last thing Israel needs is more arms, which will push it toward more acts of violence. But Obama is president in a country in which each home has a small tin container — like the blue and white Jewish National Fund boxes over here — into which every U.S. citizen must place a few coins as assistance and charity for poor, needy Israel, weak as a frail leaf.
Three hundred dollars for each U.S. taxpayer for the next 10 years. Not toward America’s considerable social needs, not to assist truly needy countries – imagine what $38 billion would do for Africa – but to provide weapons for an army that is one of the most powerfully armed in the world, one of whose main enemies are girls brandishing scissors; to finance an army that is not fighting any other serious army now; the army of a country that few others can match in sheer recalcitrance, one which methodically defies the United States and the international community. And worst of all, this country will receive another free gift, without having to give anything in return. The money will go only toward arming it, which will push it toward more acts of aggression. That’s the deal and there has been no serious debate over it, neither in Israel nor in the United States.

 

Starving the War Machine

September 15, 2016

Chris Hedges in his latest missive writes:

The multibillion-dollar extravaganza of our electoral Circus Maximus is part of the smokescreen that covers the ongoing devastation of globalization, deindustrialization, trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, endless war, climate change and the intrusion into every corner of our lives by the security and surveillance state. Our democracy is dead. Clinton and Donald Trump do not have the power or the interest to revive it. They kneel before the war machine, which consumes trillions of dollars to wage futile wars and bankroll a bloated military. To defy the fortress state is political suicide. Politicians are courtiers to Wall Street. The candidates mouth the clichés of justice, improvements in income equality and democratic choice, but it is a cynical game. Once it is over, the victors will go to Washington to work with the lobbyists and financial elites to carry out the real business of ruling.

 

A good example of the above is the latest propping up of Israel apartheid. One is hard pressed to understand foreign aid sent to a wealthy country. Think of all the desperately poor countries who could use this money.

 

Out of luck. they are just poor and “Christian” America needs “strategic”allies like Israel a US surrogate, the country which has advanced the science and technology of penning people up and monitoring their every movement.
The United States will be giving Israel $38 billion in military aid to Israel.

Hilary Trump

Under the new agreement, Israel will be receiving $38 billion in military equipment from the United States, amounting to $3.8 billion per year over a ten-year period from 2019 to 2029, according to Haaretz. The current US/Israel military aid package, which is due to expire in 2018, originally allotted roughly $3.1 billion per year in subsidies to Israel’s military. Congress recently voted to increase that aid by $500 million annually. $5 billion of the new $38 billion deal is expected to be spent on missile defense systems.

 

Budgets as we know are moral document and the amount of money spent on the US empire with its bases all over the world continues to be a mortal sin given the domestic needs of not only its own people but other poor countries. Why underwrite an advanced country like Israel? Why spend so much money on war preparation?

 

Bernie Sanders quixotic presidential run was too idealistic for the bought and paid for US Congress— free college education, raise the minimum wage to $15, expand Social Security and address the widening income and wealth gap and the criminal justice system. Dream on Bernie. Spending on these things would starve the war machine.

where-to-invade-next-poster
Michael Moore’s lovely film Where to Invade Next reminded Americans that many of these “unrealistic” and “socialist” ideals become a reality in many European countries. This will hardly dent the thick heads of Trump supporters who still believe America is the land of opportunity, the exceptional nation.

 
The military boondoggle and the outrageous gifts to Israel is obscene. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and National Priorities Project, 53.71 percent, or $598 billion, of the discretionary spending in 2015 was on the military, more than the combined spending on education, medical care and health, housing and community, energy and environment, transportation, science, food and agriculture, veterans’ benefits and government.

 

It is to weep.

Letters on BDS

August 28, 2016

On Saturday August 27 the Star published several letters about columnist Linda McQuaigs’ shining the light on Elizabeth May’s cowardice in running away from the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement, the nonviolent attempt to use global persuasion instead of violence in bringing Israel to its senses over its 50 year illegal occupation.

MAY^^

Ms.May is a fine woman and should not be singled out among all the other leaders of Canada’s political parties. They are all craven in their refusal to confront Israel over its decades of barbaric behaviour.

Israel of course is the third rail for craven politicians, terrified of offending some Jewish voters. The public is now waking up that many jews like the rest of the public who has studied this issue are horrified at the brutal treatment of the Palestinian people.

Today with the advance of computer technologies and hand held devices Israel can no longer hide its state violence.

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In particular read the final letter of david Bronfman printed here. It is the ultimate in outrageous commentary. To say that BDS is an attempt to delegitimize Israel is a hoary lie. Israel is here to stay. No one wishes it to disappear. But most of us want the apartheid state resembling pre-Mandala South Africa to come to its senses and live up to its many broken promises to the UN and its abject failure to live up  to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights which Israel signed onto at the time of partition.

This sadly is the best that our media can do—allow intelligent citizens to print what its editorial department is unwilling to write. All it would take would be to send one reporter for one month to either Gaza or the West Bank.It would lay bare what no Canadian, Jewish or otherwise, would ever tolerate. So far that journalistic courage has not shown itself.
Re: May shouldn’t run away from boycott, Opinion Aug. 22 
Thank you very much for your publishing Linda McQuaig’s powerful piece. As a Jewish-Canadian, I am deeply concerned about our collective failure to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes, human rights violations and ongoing military occupation of Palestine. Support for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is not only growing among campuses, church and union groups, it is also increasing in our Jewish communities.
Why have we been silent? Why have we not understood that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel. It is, in fact, pro-human rights and taking the collective wisdom of our peoples’ histories of being persecuted. Tragically, we know the impact of global silence in the face of state terror.
Those of use who care deeply about Palestinian human rights were thrilled to see the Green Party take a courageous stand in support of BDS. I am very hopeful that Elizabeth May will support this position. This is not a radical position. It is simply taking a very obvious, peaceful stance against violence.
Unfortunately, people who publicly criticize Israel (including journalists and Jewish people) are subject to violent threats and accusations of anti-Semitism.
Much gratitude to Linda McQuaig for her excellent commentary and her courage to speak out about such an important issue. And thanks to the Star for printing this. Although you will likely receive pushback from pro-Israel folks, please know you that you are giving voice to a position supported by many of us.
Alisa Gayle, Toronto

The problem with Ms McQuaig and her fellow travelers’ support of BDS is that it singles out Israel, not just in the region but amongst the nations of the world, and does nothing to move along the peace process. To say that the solution to the 100-year conflict lies solely on one side can only be rationalized by someone wearing blinders.
Ms May’s thoughtful rejection of supporting this movement should be praised. Ms McQuaig is the one to be admonished for her stance.
Morris Sosnovitch, Toronto

I agree with writer Linda McQuaig. The leader of the Green Party should not only stay but work as hard as ever that her party does not become the hijacked home base of the anti-Israel bashing club that singularly focuses on Israel and excludes all others.
The solidarity with Palestine is all well and fine except that there is only silence for the people of Sudan and Syria who we see slaughtered daily on a scale that is horrific and cruel.
The military occupation over Palestinian lands will end when there is trust and a true commitment in place to build peace based on a two-state solution by both sides. Peace will never flow by punishing and demonizing one side in a complicated two-sided conflict.
Elizabeth May needs to stay to fight for the soul of her party. She needs to ensure that the Green Party remains committed to real principles and not false narratives.
Martin Gladstone, Toronto 

Linda McQuaig’s article presents several incorrect statements and a false narrative. BDS is not a “peaceful way to protest” Israel’s perceived misteps – it is an odious attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel. Palestinians live under Israeli occupation because Jordan refused to stay out of the Six Day War, forcing Israel’s hand to take the West Bank from Jordanian occupation. And the author fails to state that West Bank Palestinian Arabs enjoy far more rights than anywhere else in the Middle East.

David E. Bronfman, Toronto

Desperate Florida Anti BSD

August 25, 2016

dwight_bullard

One would have to be historically challenged not to understand a natural alignment of thought and understanding between American and Canadian blacks

Read on brothers and sisters as the Jewish Thought Police, Florida division, come down on Senator Dwight Bullard

Black Lives Matter and so Palestinian Lives under  occupation.

 

Bullard told The Electronic Intifada that he went on the trip to “develop an understanding” of the Palestinian side that is often missing from the mainstream narrative. He added that he is willing to go on a trip hosted by a pro-Israel group as well, though he is unhappy with the reaction he has received from such groups since his return.
“Had I gone on an AIPAC trip or toured with the [Anti-Defamation League] there would be no outrage or Palestine group protesting outside my office,” argued Bullard, referring to two of the major national pro-Israel lobby groups. “It’s only a news story if you pick the wrong side.”
American lawmakers routinely travel to Israel on delegations hosted by Israel lobbying groups like AIPAC – it’s practically a requirement for politicians at the national level.
Bullard was especially frustrated by the demands from Israel’s supporters that he shut out constituents based on their political views.
“As a public servant I’ve meet with a number of groups that I fundamentally disagree with on 85 percent of issues but I still meet with them. I’m a strong pro-choice advocate but I meet with all the pro-life folks,” he said. “And we go all through it on why I can’t support their issues. I won’t close the door on them.”
The smear campaign against Bullard is just the latest fault line between pro-Israel groups and African American activists and leaders affiliated with the Movement for Black Lives.
Early this month, pro-Israel groups attempted to discipline MBL for expressing solidarity with Palestinians in its platform.

 

dream_defenders_in_jerusalem

The Dream Defenders, which endorsed the MBL platform and whose members helped draft it, strongly denounced the reaction from Zionist groups.
After meeting with Palestinians who support BDS and seeing the repressive conditions they live under, Bullard has come to understand the boycott as part of their struggle for their civil rights.
“I think what people need to do is recognize why an African American would feel a sense of alignment with oppressed people,” said Bullard.
“It’s not just hearing about injustices happening to the Palestinian people. When you see it first hand, that’s a game changer,” he added.

 
“The fact that it was so in your face, you realize your own privilege even in circumstances related to race. We talk about driving while Black [in the US]. The idea that [in Palestine] you have to be carrying a particular ID in order to move freely within spaces in a place that you call home, that stuck with me,” he said.
Bullard was so disturbed by what he witnessed, he felt compelled to wear a kuffiyeh – a Palestinian checkered headscarf – at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last month, “to show solidarity with Palestine,” he said.

 
A Jewish Telegraph Agency reporter noticed Bullard’s scarf and snapped a photo of him that was published with a story on Bullard’s trip to Palestine.
“There’s segregation and injustice going on over there,” said Bullard, “and in the words of Dr. King, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

OK we are a pariah state..what next?

August 18, 2016

On August 7 of this year Israel ‘s Strategic Affairs Ministry Director Sima Vaknin told the Knesset that Israel is is perceived a “pariah state” in the international community,  adding that the ministry intends to reverse this stance in the next decade.

 

This is only news to those who bury their heads in the sand.These  are the National Post and the Toronto Sun who represent the tribe, never the universal ethical values of Judaism. All these are foreign to them.I t’s those damn Palestinians. Israel is always the aggrieved, the victim, never the propagator of egregious crimes. You cannot get to these people. They  would personally never tolerate a day under the incessant Palestinian  occupation.  If course, they have never visited the West Bank or Gaza on the brink of starvation, they are tribalists. They do not have to see. They know.

As a longtime friend of the Jewish community, as indeed as one once honoured by Bnai Brith for my pioneering work in Canada for teaching the Nazi holocaust, I am pained to see Israel descend to such depths. I take no pleasure at all in this. I want Israel to succeed. nobody wins as long as occupation stands

In the last 25 years we have seen the curtain pulled back on the unremitting and callous humiliation of the Palestinian people. With the advent of the internet, cell phones, Facebook et al ,Israel’s cruel brutalization of an indigenous people has become manifest to all people of conscience. For me who grew up in the bosom of the Jewish community it has taken me decades to unravel the mystery of thow he victims of the Nazi genocide could subject the Palestinian people to war criminal policies of mass deportations,, transfer and ethnic cleansing.

POWER

It is heart warming to see so many Jews of conscience speaking against occupation.

it is staggering to see the harassment of teachers like Nadia Shoufani pilloried for appearing in public and virtually parroting Canada’s opposition to Israel’s increasing theft of Palestinian territory.

CRIT

It is embarrassing to see Jewish organizations attempting to shut down the civil rights of a citizen.To B’nai Brith and the Wiesenthal Centre I say Shonda. Shame on you for your disgusting harrassment of a canadian citizen.You need to get in touch with the beautiful deep wells of universal Judaism insteId of a worn out Zionism. You need  to remember the Exodus message (22:21) of not oppressing a foreigner as you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Your support for the present day  apartheid-like policies of Israel is a form of idolatry with Israel replacing God and Judaism’s universal moral and ethical values.

Call off your crude witch hunts. You are on the wrong side of history. Do everything you can to bring Israel to its senses. Right now you and organizations like AIPAC are doing immense damage to Israel.Nobody wishes to delegitimize Israel. it simply wants the state to live up to its 1948 promise:

It will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”

That idealist vision is betrayed daily in Israel. such hollow, hypocritical words.

Nadia Shoufani and Christians like her are merely responding to the call  not only  of Jews of Conscience but the entire Christian leadershp in Palestine who wrote in 2009 (the Kairos document).

KY

Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace.”

We proclaim our word based on our Christian faith and our sense of Palestinian belonging – a word of faith, hope and love.
We declare that the military occupation of Palestinian land constitutes a sin against God and humanity. Any theology that legitimizes the occupation and justifies crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people lies far from Christian teachings.

A pariah state can only be redeemed by ending this cruel occupation not by attacking and scapegoating Canadian citizens who are defending international law and the right to resist oppression.

T

Palestinians: Do Not resist

August 11, 2016

It is to shake your head to see how desperate the out of touch Canadian Jewish organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and Bnai Brith are when it comes to anybody expressing solidarity with justice for Palestinians under occupation.

 

On August 7 in Israel Strategic Affairs Ministry Director General Sima Vaknin told lawmakers that Israel is perceived a “pariah state” in the international community and the ministry intends to reverse this stance in the next decade. You can read this in Israel but you will never see it reported here in our major dailies.

 

But for organizations like the Wiesenthal Centre and Bnai Brith the problem is those damn Palestinians who refuse to shut up and accept what Jewish writer ben Ehrenreich calls “the humiliation machine”.

We know that the Israeli ministry will do what it always has—more PR, more greenwashing and pinkwashing and never the obvious: It’s the occupation stupid!

 

The latest desperate move by the above organizations is the pathetic attempt to shut down the civil rights of Catholic elementary teacher Nadia Shoufani who had the actual gall to appear at a rally defending Palestine’s right to resist the illegal occupation of its land.

nadia-shoufani

Now this will be ultimately laughed out as Ms Shoufani was engaged in legitimate activity outside school hours.
But the Catholic board Dufferin-Peel and the the teachers union OECTA are less than bold in their own justice making activity. OECTA particularly has been embarrassingly mum in responding to Kairos Palestine (2009) which is shockingly seven years in the past.

 

We are a Christian Palestinian movement,
born out of the Kairos Document, which advocates for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict.
http://www.kairospalestine.ps

Based on Kairos South Africa, the clarion call 31 years ago (1985) by all the Christian churches for support in ending apartheid.

It is absolutely stunning to see a Catholic trade union of educated people mum on this issue, a document put forth by all, yes all, the Christian churches of Palestine.

Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace.”

We proclaim our word based on our Christian faith and our sense of Palestinian belonging – a word of faith, hope and love.

We declare that the military occupation of Palestinian land constitutes a sin against God and humanity. Any theology that legitimizes the occupation and justifies crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people lies far from Christian teachings.

 

Does an body at OECTA which constantly parrots its commitment to “human rights” even know about the Kairos document?

Don’t ask.

Indepoendent Jewish Voices and the Greens

August 10, 2016

Independent Jewish Voices is the voice of sanity and social justice for progressive Jews in Canada.

IJV-logo-CDN-+-couleur

 

Like any progressive party, the membership and conventions decide party policy.

At their last conclave the Greens voted to support the BDS movement.

This sent leader Elizabeth May into a convulsive state.

All leaders of Canadian parties when it comes to Israel  are totally out of touch with the brutal reality of occupation in Israel/Palestine but for many reasons are terrified of being accused of being anti-Semitic, a worn out canard if there ever was one.

 

Today with the advent of the internet, cell phones, Facebook and exposure tours Israel’s crimes and flaunting of international law as well as its massive disproportionate slaughters in Gaza have been laid to bare.
Today there is a massive disconnect between institutional Jewish leaders from rabbis to NGOS and millenials who have cut through the decades of propaganda.
Congrats to the Green membership says IJV in their latest press release
We congratulate the Green Party of Canada on the passage of its historic Palestinian rights resolutions

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“The Green Party of Canada has passed two resolutions of historic importance that can only have a positive impact on the pursuit of justice and peace in the Middle East, as well as on Canadian democracy,” said Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) spokesperson Tyler Levitan.
On Sunday, the Greens passed a resolution endorsing the non-violent tactic of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). The BDS movement began in 2005 when a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations called on international activists, governments, and institutions to apply pressure on the Israeli government to comply with international law and respect Palestinians’ rights.
Levitan explained that,“This is the first time a Canadian political party with representation in the House of Commons has taken a strong and positive position in solidarity with the grassroots Palestinian movement for freedom, justice and equality.”
In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the route of Israel’s segregation wall and its use of Jewish-only settlements to displace and dispossess Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were illegal. “I read [that] decision,” said Lisa Barrett, the Green Party’s Shadow Cabinet Critic for International Affairs. “The decision was made by highly qualified jurists and we as a Party have to support social justice. We’ve seen BDS tactics work against the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and if we hadn’t pursued it vigorously then, Nelson Mandela would have died in jail. Our resolution is very explicit that we are targeting those Israeli companies that profit from the Occupation of Palestine,” Barrett said.
“One day the Palestinian people will have a just peace. Those who fail to stand for Palestinian rights will be judged harshly. Let us not be judged harshly.” – Dimitri Lascaris, Green Party Justice Critic (who submitted BDS resolution)
At the convention, the Greens also passed an historic resolution in support of revoking the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada (JNF Canada), an organization whose flagship project, “Canada Park”, is situated over the ruins of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages within the occupied West Bank.

 
While the original resolution referred specifically to the JNF Canada, the resolution that passed held to the original resolution’s intent, but broadened its scope to include all charities that are in violation of Canadian or international human rights law. Elizabeth May stated that “I want to be clear about this: the Jewish National Fund has been complicit and involved in human rights violations in building Canada Park on top of land that was dispossessed from Palestinians who are living there in 1967.”

Netanyahu’s Hypocrisy

August 4, 2016

Racist

 

In July Israel’s  Prime Minister on Facebook but not in the Knesset apologized to Palestinians for his racist remark that “Arabs were rushing to the polls to vote.”Designed for international consumption—he would have been tarred and feathered if he dared to do this in Israel’s parliament, the pseudo-apology  has fallen flat everywhere for obvious reasons.. Asking Palestinians to work together? Not on their watch.The  great newspaper Haaretz asked  Mohammed Bakri to respond:

Minister Netanyahu, I Don’t Believe You
What is this equality you suddenly speak of? Your empty speech has no basis in reality. For the sake of both the peoples living here: resign.

 

To Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister.
I saw you speak, and I thought how happy I’d be had I believed even one word that came out of your mouth. Much water has flowed to the sea since you warned Israeli Jews, in a live broadcast a few hours before the polls closed, from the flood of Arabs heading out to vote. The lie was soon found out, and now too the lie in your words is clear.
I am a citizen of Israel, and I am proud of my artistic and personal accomplishments. I achieved them not thanks to you, but thanks to my work and my talent and my insistence on sticking to my principles. For the latter, I have paid, and still pay, a heavy price. I am boycotted and ostracized solely because I dared to come out against the occupation and the moral crimes committed during Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank in 2002.
The Israeli government did everything in its power to persuade the nation that my film “Jenin, Jenin” was a web of lies and manipulations — and it succeeded. You turned me into a traitor and a hater of Israel; you placed the mark of Cain on my brow. (People in the street ask me, “Where did you disappear to? Why don’t we see you on the screen anymore?” And I’m usually ashamed to tell them the truth).
So what is this equality, this democracy, you speak of? How can someone like me, who believed his whole life (and who still believes) in the right of both peoples, Israeli and Palestinian, to live side by side in love and respect and equality, be a full partner and work shoulder to shoulder with my Jewish Israeli brothers when you’ve stripped me of the right to open my mouth and the ability to provide food for my children?
How can I believe your statements when on the ground the occupation continues to flourish, and plans for building thousands of apartments for Israeli Jews in the West Bank are published day after day? How can I believe them when in reality, you’ve demolished houses in Ramle’s Dahamesh neighborhood again and again, persecuted its young men and women and beaten them with batons?
Unlike you, I genuinely dream of a future for our children — one without an army, without wars, without despair, without the Islamic State, without crazy fanatics. I dream of a shared life, without hatred, without oppression of the other — a life of genuine, mutual love and respect.
Your empty speech has no basis in reality. You’ve proven with your deeds that not a word of it will come true as long as you are in power. For the sake of both the peoples living here: Resign.

Mohammad Bakri
Haaretz Contributor

The Parallel Universe of Benjamin Netanyahu part 1

August 3, 2016

Duncan

Yes Israeli PM Neatanyahu took to Facebook on July 25 to apologize for his notorious racist comment last year that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves” – a reference to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian.

This had Palestinians shaking their heads—and Jews of conscience. He actually said that he was proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”. This craven attempt to curry favour of course was not set in the Knesset where the jackals would have eaten him alive.

All this is reminiscent of Saturday Night’s Bill Murray who after some mind boggling act of hypocrisy used to say “I have to laugh.”

Everybody knows that this sudden act of contrition is meant for foreign governments and Jewish Americans who really believe Israel is a democracy.

Jonathan Cook in his always prescient BLOG from Nazareth pointed out the following:

COOK
Pointedly, Ayman Odeh, head of the Palestinian-dominated Joint List party, noted that 100,000 Bedouin citizens could not watch the video because Israel denies their communities electricity, internet connections and all other services.

Swiftly and predictably, the reality of life for Israel’s 1.7 million Palestinians upstaged Mr Netanyahu’s fine words. In a radio interview, Moti Dotan, the head of the Lower Galilee regional council, sent a message to his Palestinian neighbours: “I don’t want them at my [swimming] pools.” Sounding like a mayor in the southern United States during the Jim Crow-era, he added: “Their culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours. Why is that racist?”

Dotan was no extremist, observed the liberal newspaper Haaretz. He represents the Israeli mainstream. Notably, Mr Netanyahu did not distance himself from Mr Dotan’s remarks.

At the same time, Samar Qupty, star of a new film on Palestinians in Israel called Junction 48, was questioned for two hours and then strip searched at Ben Gurion airport and denied her hand luggage before being allowed to fly to an international film festival.

Stories of state-sponsored humiliation at the airport are routine for Israel’s Palestinian academics, journalists, actors and community leaders – in fact, for any Palestinian active in the public sphere.

The list of restrictions on Palestinian citizens is long and growing. A database by the legal group Adalah shows that some 60 Israeli laws explicitly discriminate against non-Jews, with another 18 in the pipeline.
Two laws passed last month intensify the repression of dissent. An Expulsion Law is designed to empower Israeli MPs to oust Palestinian lawmakers whose views offend them, while a Transparency Law stigmatises human rights groups working to protect Palestinian rights.

Recently leaked protocols reveal that the police have secretly awarded themselves powers to use live fire against Palestinian protesters in Israel, even if they pose no danger. Yet another law threatens jail for any Palestinian citizen who tries to dissuade another from volunteering in the Israeli army.

Growing numbers of Palestinian citizens, including poets and writers, are being jailed or put under house arrest for posts on social media the Israeli authorities disapprove of.

Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman recently compared the work of the Palestinians’ national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Darwish is banned from school curriculums.

 

The culture minister, Miri Regev, meanwhile, has tied state funding for theatre and dance companies to their readiness to perform in Jewish settlements, illegally located in the occupied territories in the West Bank.
In his video, Mr Netanyahu said: “Jews and Arabs should reach out to each other, get to know each other’s families. Listen to each other.”

 

And yet his officials have just halved funding for the training of Palestinian student teachers, though not Jewish ones, to deter the former from pursuing teaching careers. Jewish schools face severe staff shortages, but Israel’s educational segregation is so complete that Palestinian citizens cannot be allowed to teach Jewish children.

 

Mr Netanyahu also extolled his government for a promise to increase funding for Israel’s near-bankrupt Palestinian local authorities. He forgot to mention, however, that he had conditioned the money on the same councils demolishing thousands of homes in their jurisdiction. For decades Palestinians in Israel have been routinely denied building permits.

 

Racist

Israel’s Palestinian citizens were not fooled by Mr Netanyahu’s video. But as their leaders noted, they were not the intended audience. The video was a cynical PR exercise aimed firmly at the Europeans, who have been discomfited by Israel’s increasingly repressive climate and the government’s regular incitement against its Palestinian minority.