Israel’s LGBT strike of the pampered -
The community has come by its power honestly – and become powerful, well-connected and fashionable. Not the Arab community, though
Jul 22, 2018
Israel should be striking Sunday, supported by Super-Sol, McCann and Cellcom, against the nation-state law, in sympathy with the Arabs of this country, into whose faces the Knesset has spat, telling them officially and legally: You are second-class citizens.
What a healing and hopeful effect such a strike would have as a sign of identification with the Arab towns of Sakhnin and Nazareth. What brotherhood would be in the air, what fruit would be borne for all society from such a show of solidarity. But for this a measure of courage and a clear moral compass is needed – two products that the leading companies don’t have in stock and the entire society needs.
No one expects for Israel to come out anymore in mass protest against the occupation, the closure of Gaza or the settlements; it’s too brainwashed and anxiety-filled.
But the nation-state law, which was passed only hours after the surrogacy bill was in play, is critical. It’s much more discriminatory and excluding than the surrogacy legislation. It doesn’t make it hard to be a parent. It makes it hard to belong to this country. For some Israelis it shows the way out. It shows all Israelis that from now on they’re living in a de jure apartheid state, not just a de facto one.
And the trajectory is also different: The LGBT community is on its way to success: One more protest, one more vote, and surrogacy, a problematic way to parenthood, sometimes more despised than prostitution, will be approved for men as well. The legislation against the Arabs is going the other way: The nation-state law is just a promo. The slope is slippery and clear. Mass protest Sunday against this law could have marked a change.
But Israel will march Sunday in another one of its protests of the pampered. The streets will be festooned with colorful flags, the sense of satisfaction will grow. Only the “tskers” – as my Haaretz colleague Nitzan Horowitz calls them – will smile bitterly. We thank the community, we thank the banks and we thank the advertising and high-tech firms. We have a vibrant and protesting society. The truly oppressed can wait.
Israël : « Une réduction de l’espace démocratique »
La loi définissant Israël comme « foyer national du peuple juif » suscite la polémique. Une juriste éclaire les enjeux.Sharon Abraham-Weiss, avocate de …
Planted by Netanyahu and Co., nation-state law is a time bomb exploding in Israel’s face
Even die-hard American Jews were forced to admit this week that something is rotten in their favorite Jewish state
Chemi ShalevSendSend me email alerts
Jul 21, 2018
Israel’s new nation-state law is loathsome, damaging, divisive and mainly superfluous, but its passage won’t make Israelis’ blood boil. Some agree with the law and others are apathetic, while its staunch opponents quickly recognized that the campaign to fight discrimination against gay men, sparked by the concurrent passage of a new Knesset bill on surrogacy, has a greater potential of sparking mass protests. The nation-state law injects poison into the country’s relations with its non-Jewish minorities, but in the final analysis, after the removal of some of its more controversial clauses, it won’t make much of a difference in the day-to-day lives of most Israelis.
Nonetheless, as far as Israel’s standing and image are concerned, the new law is a mega-attack, a thermo-nuclear onslaught, a landmark that will henceforth divide before and after. Benjamin Netanyahu was right, therefore, to describe it as a “defining moment.” Scores of Breaking the Silence activists, hundreds of B’Tselem reports on the occupation and thousands of BDS proponents, all of which the government cynically holds responsible for its bad name, could never have inflicted such profound, comprehensive and long-lasting damage as Netanyahu and his coalition did by passing the new bill. In Donald Trump’s America, they might have been accused of treason.
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The damage won’t be expressed in the few formal protests issued by foreign governments, especially European. The international community has other, more existential concerns right now, emanating from the growing awareness that the world’s greatest superpower is headed by a president who is unintelligible, at best, unstable, at worst and possibly beholden to a foreign government. In any case, the only protest that Netanyahu and most Israelis care about would have to come from the White House: Barack Obama personally blocked passage of the nation-state law, but Trump probably hasn’t heard about it, and if he has, is clueless as to what it all means, and even if he understands, then he doesn’t give a hoot. This is the glory of what Netanyahu describes as the greatest era of relations between the two countries: Israel can cut its wrists to its heart’s content, and America won’t lift a finger.
But a dearth of diplomatic démarches won’t mitigate the inherent destructiveness of the nation-state law. It comes with a built-in time-release mechanism that ensures that it will taint Israel’s good name for many years to come. The law, in fact, marks the ground zero of a new Israel. Its first clause grants the Jewish people exclusive rights to self-determination, and Netanyahu’s coalition was quick to self-determine, in essence, that Israel is arrogant, belligerent and ethnocentric. This is the country’s new reflection in the mirror, and even if most Israelis prefer to look the other way, the whole world is watching, and reaching its own conclusions.
Egypt’s new media laws: Rearranging legislative building blocks to maximize control | MadaMasr
Amid backlash from various stakeholders, Parliament passed three highly contested laws regulating Egypt’s media landscape by a two-thirds majority on Monday.
The laws, which took a convoluted and chaotic path through the legislature, set forth an array of regulations governing state and private media in Egypt that, when signed into law by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will effectively disband and reformulate three key media regulatory bodies which have operated in a murky legal environment since they were first created in 2016. The most powerful of these bodies, a the Supreme Media Regulatory Council, has been granted far-reaching powers that, combined with draconian rules governing media practices contained within the law, will allow authorities to further censor the press and restrict journalists’ work.
The new laws — parts of which have been criticized as unconstitutional — come in the context of a wider crackdown on the press in recent years with Egyptian authorities harassing and imprisoning journalists, blocking access to hundreds of websites, silencing oppositional voices and taking direct ownership of private media outlets.
The evolution of the controversial laws over the past two and a half years sheds some light on how authorities have worked to grant themselves greater jurisdiction to assert control over the media and to clamp down on overall freedom of expression in Egypt.
Russia. Winning in Syria and the Middle East - By David W. Lesch and Kamal Alam - Syria Comment
Winning in Syria and the Middle East
By David W. Lesch and Kamal Alam
For Syria Comment – July 16, 2018
The common perception today is that Russia has won in Syria, having supported the government of Bashar al-Assad, which is now steadily reasserting its control over previously lost territory. As a result, Russia has inserted itself as the power broker in Syria, if not the entire Middle East. The summit between Presidents Trump and Putin on Monday in Helsinki, where the subject of Syria was high on the agenda, seems to have consecrated Russia’s victory. Countries tend to gravitate toward winners, not losers.
The United States, on the other hand, directly and indirectly intervened in multiple conflicts in the Middle East since 9/11, first in Afghanistan, then Iraq, followed by involvement in a series of upheavals brought on by the Arab Spring: Libya and Syria most notably. No one would say the US has won in any of these cases—far from it.
On the surface, this is difficult to comprehend. After all, the US has by far the most powerful military on earth. The image of Russia’s only aircraft carrier limping toward, breaking down, and being towed in the eastern Mediterranean in support of Assad’s forces was a stark reminder of this reality. So how did Russia win—and why did the US fail over and over again?
There is one outstanding difference in the Russian versus American military interventions in internal national conflicts in the Middle East: in Syria, the Kremlin supported the entrenched state. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, the US supported opposition forces seeking the overthrow of the entrenched state.
For the sake of argument, let’s say the US and NATO reversed their policy and actually wanted Libyan President Muammar Gadafi to remain in power against the opposition forces unleashed by the Arab spring. Is there any doubt that with US military support he would still be in power today? Perhaps he too would be mopping up pockets of resistance much as Assad is doing today in Syria. However illogical or immoral it may have seemed at the time to most in the West, let’s say Washington wanted Assad to stay in power seven years ago when the Arab spring hit Syria. Would not the US be the one crowning its success there, not Russia? Ironically, the US supported the Iraqi state against ISIS—and won. But the US is not going to get much credit for solving a problem it largely created when it dissolved the state via the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its chaotic aftermath.
Combien de Français servent dans l’armée israélienne ?
Libération - Par Fabien Leboucq 19 juillet 2018
(...) Il y a deux mois, quand nous commencions à traiter ce sujet, un connaisseur français de l’armée israélienne nous prévenait : « Vous aurez du mal à obtenir des infos, c’est hautement tabou des deux côtés. » Prédiction confirmée par le Ministère des affaires étrangères français, qui nous explique quelques jours plus tard « ne pas disposer d’informations sur le nombre de Français au sein de l’armée israélienne. » Les ambassades française en Israël, israélienne en France ainsi que le Quai d’Orsay, assurant ne pas avoir de chiffres, nous ont unanimement renvoyés vers Tsahal.
2% au moins du total de l’armée
À force de relances, nous avons obtenu réponse du porte-parolat des forces armées israéliennes : « 4185 soldats en service régulier ont la citoyenneté française. » Le nombre est peut-être minoré, car l’armée ne compte que les personnes qui ont déclaré leur nationalité française.
La nationalité française est la deuxième nationalité étrangère la plus représentée dans les rangs de Tsahal, après la nationalité américaine. Les citoyens français ou franco-israéliens engagés dans les forces armées israéliennes représentent entre 1,7% et 3,5% des effectifs totaux.
En 2011 ce total était estimé à 176 500 soldats, selon l’Institut national des études de sécurité, rattaché à l’université de Tel-Aviv. Un chiffre « inférieur à la réalité », assure la grande muette israélienne sans en dire plus.
Ces Français volontaires dans l’armée israélienne
Droit international et occupation
Orient XXI > Marc Cher-Leparrain > 18 mars 2014
Israel passes controversial nation-state law defining country as Jewish national homeland
62 lawmakers vote in favor of the bill after a stormy debate ■ Arab lawmakers tossed out after they tear bill in protest, call it ’apartheid law’
Jonathan Lis and Noa Landau Jul 19, 2018
The Knesset passed early Thursday a controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” with 62 lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation and 55 opposing it.
The nation-stae law also includes clauses stating that a “united Jerusalem” is the capital of Israel and that Hebrew is the country’s official language. Another says that “the state sees the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
It passed after a long and stormy debate that began in the afternoon, with lawmakers voting on hundreds of clauses presented by the opposition that objected to differents parts of the bill.
>> Nation-state bill heralds the end of Israel as a Jewish, democratic State | Analysis ■ As an Arab, I support Israel’s Jewish nation-state bill | Opinion ■ Israel’s nation-state bill betrays insecurity about its right to the land
Immediately after the law passed, Arab lawmakers tore copies in protest, and were subsequently removed from the Knesset plenum hall. Lawmaker Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, released a statement saying that Israel “declared it does not want us here” and that it had “passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citiziens.”
Speaking moments after the bill passed into law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a defining moment – long live the State of Israel.”
Arab lawmakers tear the nation-state bill in protest after it passes in the Knesset.
Netanyahu further said that “122 years after Herzl made his vision known, with this law we determined the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens.”
The prime minister also said that "in the Middle East, only Israel respects [rights]. This is our country, the Jewish state. In recent years there have been those who have tried to undermine that and question the principles of our existence. Today we made it into law: This is the country, the language, the anthem and flag.
As they left the Knesset plenum, Arab MKs from the Joint List party confronted Netanyahu. MK Ahmed Tibi and MK Ayeda Touma-Souliman yelled at Netanyahu: “You passed an apartheid law, a racist law.”
MK Tibi lashed at Netanyahu: “Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?” The premier retorted by saying: “How dare you talk this way about the only democracy in the Middle East?”
Opposition head Isaac Herzog also spoke up at the plenum, saying that “it’s a little sad to me that the last speech I make will be against this kind of backdrop. The question is whether the law will harm or benefit Israel. History will determine. I really hope that we won’t find the fine balance between a Jewish and democratic state to be hurt.”
The sponsor of the bill, MK Avi Dichter, said during debates that took place prior to the vote that “unlike the disinformation and fake news that were tossed around [regarding the bill], this basic law doesn’t hurt the culture of minorities living in Israel, doesn’t hurt their sabbaticals and holidays and certainly doesn’t hurt the Arabic language, which remains a mother tongue for 1.5 million of Israel’s citizens.”
The draft bill the Knesset voted on is fundamentally different form the version the coalition had sought to advance in the past decade. Its main clauses were moderated following pressure within the coalition ranks and beyond.
Initially, the bill was intended to significantly limit the discretion of Supreme Court justices’ decisions, requiring them to set the state’s Jewish character above its democratic character in rulings where the two clashed. This clause was removed from the bill already in May.
The most controversial clause, which appeared to pave the way for the creation of communities segregated by nationality or religion, was removed from the legislation earlier this week.
The nation-state law establishes as a basic law, or quasi-constitutional law, a set of values, some of which already appear in existing laws. The law stipulates that Israel is the Jewish nation’s historic homeland and that this nation has the singular right to national self-determination in it. The law anchors the flag, menorah, Hatikva anthem, Hebrew calendar, Independence Day and Jewish holidays as national symbols.
The law states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is the state’s capital, which appears today in Basic Law: Jerusalem. The nation-state law further grants the status of an official language only to Hebrew.
Another controversial clause stipulates that the state will invest resources in preserving Israel’s affiliation to world Jewry, but not in Israel. This wording was demanded by the ultra-Orthodox parties to prevent the state from linking up with the Reform and Conservative communities in Israel.
As part of the protest against the law, Peace Now activists waved a black flag in the Knesset balcony during the debate, until security guards made them leave the room. Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh also raised a black flag during the debate against the legislation.
“As [the 1956 massacre] in Kafr Qassem was a blatantly illegal order, with a black flag over it, so is a black flag hoisted over this evil law,” he said.
J Street’s president and founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami, harshly criticized the nation-state bill and Netanyahu’s government: “It was born in sin, its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens. Two months ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, where it was written that the State of Israel ’will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender.’ Today Netanyahu’s government is trying to ignore those words and the values that they represent.”
On Monday, Netanyahu said the bill was “very important to guarantee the foundations of our existence, which is Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people” – though critics say he is mainly keen to drum up support before the next Knesset election, due by November next year.
In West Bank, 99.7% of Public Land Grants by Israel Go to Settlers - The New York Times
Peace Now based its calculations on data obtained from the Civil Administration, the Israeli authority that carries out civilian policy in the West Bank, including land administration, under the command of the military.
The Civil Administration gave the numbers to Peace Now in mid-June, more than two years after the group submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act, together with the Israeli Movement for Freedom of Information.
Israël : « La démocratie n’existe que pour les citoyens juifs »
Le Point - Propos recueillis par Armin Arefi - Publié le 18/07/2018
(...) Pourtant, le gouvernement israélien ne cesse de répéter que ses 20 % d’Arabes jouissent des mêmes droits que ses 75 % de Juifs.
Youssef Jabareen : Malheureusement, la communauté internationale n’est pas au courant de la situation des citoyens arabes palestiniens d’Israël. Nous sommes considérés comme des citoyens inférieurs, de seconde zone, pas simplement dans la pratique mais également selon la loi. Ces jours-ci, alors que je suis à Paris pour tenter de sensibiliser les responsables français sur cette réalité, je suis très préoccupé par ce qui se passe chez moi. Le gouvernement est en train de promouvoir un nouveau projet de loi intitulé « loi de l’État nation », qui stipule qu’Israël est l’État nation du peuple juif. Or, ce projet de loi perpétue le caractère inférieur de notre communauté en garantissant des droits exclusifs à ses citoyens juifs. Parmi eux figure la construction de nouveaux quartiers basés sur la religion et la nationalité, c’est-à-dire en réalité exclusivement juifs. Il y a également une autre disposition qui vise à dégrader le statut de la langue arabe, de langue officielle à langue avec un statut particulier. À travers ces exemples, on peut dire qu’il existe aujourd’hui une volonté de dégrader le statut de notre communauté.
Hamas delegation in Cairo: More media show for ‘century deal’ than substance | MadaMasr
While ‘a way out’ of the US economic deal was among the delegation’s aims, the refusal of key Hamas political figures to attend makes outcomes of the talks ‘meaningless.’
A Hamas delegation left Cairo on Friday night after spending four days in the Egyptian capital, pushing for a temporary resolution to the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip and a way out of the United States’s “deal of the century” with the “least amount of damage” possible, according to a source close to the Palestinian movement’s Gaza-based leadership.
Despite the seeming stakes of the Cairo agenda, a second high-ranking Hamas source minimized the significance of the talks between Egyptian General Intelligence Director Abbas Kamal and the Gaza delegation that is headed by Saleh Arouri and composed of Hamas political bureau members Moussa Abu Marzouk, Ezzat al-Risheq, Khalil al-Hayya, Hossam Badran, and Rawhi Mushtaha.
The second source, who is close to representatives of the Hamas leadership abroad, tells Mada Masr that Cairo extended an invitation to Hamas senior political leader Ismail Haniyeh and the movement’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar. However, neither accepted the invitation, with Haniya calling the visit “worthless,” according to the source.
For the second Hamas source, the visit’s objectives were twofold: “probing” and “staging a media show to suggest to the Americans that the key to Gaza remains singularly in Hamas’s pocket.”
Laïcité à l’école : sortir du déclinisme et de la falsification
Le Cercle des enseignant.e.s laïques réagit à un hors-série de Charlie Hebdo qui donne une vision tronquée et biaisée de la façon dont le principe de laïcité se vit à l’école aujourd’hui. Source : Politis
Opium or coffee? Islam and its relevance in hard times | MadaMasr
Karl Marx hated organized and institutionalized religion. Of all his economic and political thoughts, his words equating religion with opium are some of the most notorious: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” He believed that religion has certain practical uses, much like a recreational, mind-numbing substance; that it has the potential to reduce the immediate suffering of those who are sick or injured, providing them with more pleasant illusions. But he also observed that it reduces their energy and willingness to confront the oppressive, heartless and soulless reality that capitalism forces people into.
It feels like everyone in Egypt has been put through a social and psychological grinder ever since the Egyptian government began to enact the IMF’s loan policies. Catastrophic inflation rates reached as high as 30 percent in July 2017, another wave of price hikes in electricity, fuel, gas and water are affecting nearly all other services, and there was a recent 300 percent increase in metro ticket prices. More than a quarter of Egyptians barely hover above the poverty line, and another quarter is quickly sinking into destitution. Given this, what role does and can religion play in people’s lives?
In a country with a conservative religious culture, and for a people who call themselves “naturally religious,” religion cannot be the mind-numbing narcotic that Marx imagined. It is too entwined in the social fabric and the historic national identity to have any such effect. If religion were indeed a drug, Egyptians would have developed a tolerance to its mechanism of action a long time ago. Neither can it be an agent for anchoring self-blame and personal salvation, or purely restricted to charity. After all, people can’t survive on prayer alone. It also cannot be used as a tool to blame the masses for these dire conditions, much to the dismay of the ruling elite.
Surely, it would take a much stronger concoction of narcotics than religion alone to deny the impact of the IMF’s infamous prescription and our state’s economic policies?
How a West Bank highway’s roadsign captures the Israeli psyche - Opinion
There’s nothing more political than a company paving roads beyond the state’s borders to enable Jewish Israelis to violate international law, completely oblivious of Palestinian residents
Jul 17, 2018 6:59 PM
If you want a tour of the Israeli subconscious, follow Route 60 through the West Bank to the junction of the villages of Beitin, Dir Dibwan and Burqa, then turn left. You’re not familiar with that intersection? Here’s a hint: Netivei Israel, the National Transport Infrastructure Company, is upgrading the junction and has even posted signs there with the following wording: “Very dangerous site. Drive carefully.” The warnings are written inside a circle with a needle pointing to a red stripe, for emphasis.
Underneath the circle, it says, “Givat Assaf Junction. Widening the intersection and making safety upgrades. Working to fix a dangerous intersection. Date of completion: January 2019.” The notice is signed by the Transportation Ministry and the roads company.
A Hebrew only sign at Givat Assaf Junction in the West BankAmira Hass
In mid-March, I asked spokespeople at Netivei Israel why it chose that name for the intersection, given that Givat Assaf is, as I put it, “An unauthorized and illegal outpost built on privately owned land belonging to residents of the Palestinian village of Beitin. Moreover, this land was taken over by means of forged documents.” The outpost was built in 2001 by exploiting the severe restrictions the army had imposed on Palestinian movement at that time, which enabled settler gangs of robbers to take over more land.
I added that I’d been informed the outpost hadn’t been legalized. In other words, that Israeli authorities couldn’t find any cunning legal wizardry with which to whitewash this blatant forgery, which included the “sale” of the land in 2002 or 2003 by a Beitin resident who died in 1995. “Isn’t the choice of this name a form of encouragement for real estate crime?” I asked the company.
Here is the answer I received: “Netivei Israel is the national transportation infrastructure company and doesn’t get involved in political issues at all, but only in the core issues it is responsible for – planning, building and maintaining a network of roads.”
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It doesn’t get involved in political issues? There’s nothing more political than a state-owned company that built a major road on lands belonging to the Palestinian villages of Beitin, Burqa and Dir Dibwan, without even giving them direct access to the road and the intersection. There’s nothing more political than a company paving roads beyond the state’s borders to enable Jewish Israelis to violate international law, which forbids transferring members of an occupying population into occupied territory.
But all this is still within the bounds of the Israeli conscious. Israel doesn’t hide its goal: formal, complete seizure of over 60 percent of the West Bank. Israel doesn’t hide its position that every bit of land on which a Jew lays his hand is sanctified to him and belongs to Israel.
The Jewish defection is key, of course. Jews have a privileged position in the global discourse of Israel, and the Jewish monolith is crumbling. The young Jews of IfNotNow are conducting a full-scale assault on the Jewish establishment. “Israel doesn’t have a public relations crisis; it has a moral crisis,” IfNotNow says (quoting Avrum Burg), while a Jewish leader howls to a synagogue full of older Jews: “Where did we go wrong in our homes and our schools!?”
Rebecca Vilkomerson of the burgeoning group Jewish Voice for Peace observes that everyone from her daughter’s New York public high school to Bette Midler are openly critical of the massacre, even as Israelis endorse it overwhelmingly, and when the New York Times said dozens of Palestinians “died” in protests in Gaza, Judd Apatow had enough.
“Have died.” Shame on you. This is like calling Trump’s lies “factual innacuracies.” Please tell me an intern is running your twitter feed.
The Democratic political establishment is even beginning to steer clear of this mess. Vilkomerson (to the Real News):
I think with the exception of [Chuck] Schumer, no Democrats have been defending Israel’s actions. In fact, quite a number, in fact over a dozen, have spoken out against what Israel has done over the course of the last six weeks. And you contrast that with 2014 [when Israel killed over 2200 in Gaza, including 500 children], when I think it was something like 78 senators signed a statement supporting the Gaza war. So there has been a shift. in terms of Congress and who’s willing to speak out and being able to speak out. And that there’s enough backing from their own constituents to speak out that they’re not going to be punished by AIPAC or other organizations…
This puts the Israeli government in a new position. It is just another rightwing authoritarian country with a story to tell about why change isn’t necessary but force is that talking heads in the U.S. are going to ignore or make fun of.
Ireland approves bill boycotting Israeli settlement goods - Israel News - Haaretz.com
Ireland’s Senate approved on Wednesday a bill to boycott products from West Bank settlements.
The bill passed with 25 lawmakers voting in its favor, 20 against it and 14 abstaining. The legislation prohibits “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.”
Earlier this year, a vote on the bill was delayed at the Irish government’s request. The government, at Israel’s urging, then sought to soften the language, but was unable to reach a compromise.
The bill has passed thanks to votes from opposition legislators and independents. Senator Frances Black, the independent who sponsored the bill, recently posted a video urging the Irish to pressure their representatives to support it.
The Maps of Israeli Settlements That Shocked Barack Obama | The New Yorker
One afternoon in the spring of 2015, a senior State Department official named Frank Lowenstein paged through a government briefing book and noticed a map that he had never seen before. Lowenstein was the Obama Administration’s special envoy on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, a position that exposed him to hundreds of maps of the West Bank. (One adorned his State Department office.)
Typically, those maps made Jewish settlements and outposts look tiny compared to the areas where the Palestinians lived. The new map in the briefing book was different. It showed large swaths of territory that were off limits to Palestinian development and filled in space between the settlements and the outposts. At that moment, Lowenstein told me, he saw “the forest for the trees”—not only were Palestinian population centers cut off from one another but there was virtually no way to squeeze a viable Palestinian state into the areas that remained. Lowenstein’s team did the math. When the settlement zones, the illegal outposts, and the other areas off limits to Palestinian development were consolidated, they covered almost sixty per cent of the West Bank.
Lowenstein showed the small map to Secretary of State John Kerry and said, “Look what’s really going on here.” Kerry brought the map to his next meeting with President Obama. The map was too small for everyone in the Situation Room to see, so Lowenstein had a series of larger maps made. The information was then verified by U.S. intelligence agencies. Obama’s Presidency was winding down, but Lowenstein figured that he could use the time left to raise awareness about what the Israelis were doing. “One day, everyone’s going to wake up and go, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve got to stop this to at least have the possibility of a two-state solution,’ ” Lowenstein said.
The State Department presentation, which was prepared in 2015 and updated in 2016, showed examples of what the State Department identified as “Palestinian incitement” and maps depicting Israel’s settlement growth in the West Bank. One of the maps was titled “What a One State Reality Looks Like,” and included a bullet point that read, “In the combined areas of Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Jews no longer represent the majority.” (Israeli officials have said that the number of Jews and Arabs is at or near parity.)
Calling Israel racist isn’t anti-Semitic, rules UK Labour | The Electronic Intifada
Palestine solidarity campaigners have welcomed new rules on anti-Semitism passed by the British Labour Party’s ruling executive this week.
Left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour gave the new rules a cautious welcome, saying in a statement that the code of conduct “offers a constructive framework for moving forward in this difficult area.”
But Israel lobby groups were furious on Wednesday, as details of the new rules emerged.
The new Labour code of conduct on anti-Semitism strips out several of the most damaging clauses of the controversial “working definition” on anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The new rules still endorse parts of the definition within the IHRA document. Yet they reject or rewrite some “examples” cited in that document of what allegedly constitutes anti-Semitism.
Netanyahu’s dark deal with Europe’s radical right -
Netanyahu likes to boast about the foreign relations he has nurtured in Eastern Europe because these ties help him block EU decisions against the occupation, but there are no free lunches in politics
Jul 09, 2018 4:32 AM
Netanyahu’s Polish romance, much like his Hungarian romance, is part of a much bigger story. For years, Netanyahu has been promoting all sorts of ties with the radical right in Europe. He has some passionate fans there: A long list of anti-democratic movements and governments that consider Bibi’s Israel an optimal partner. The Israeli government has no problem with these entities, because they are essentially quite similar. The basis of the connection derives from overlapping interests and ideological closeness.
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Immigration is a prominent example. The right’s anti-immigration efforts (there and here) became fused with the Israeli-Arab conflict and made Israel an ally in the fight against Islam. “The Jews are our brothers in arms in the war against Islam,” Filip Dewinter, leader of a far right Flemish party in Belgium, explained a decade ago. In that same interview with this newspaper, DeWinter also argued that there was no need for laws against Holocaust denial.
The far-right political movements, some of which are the descendants of Holocaust-era political parties and regimes, understood years ago that they had to change their image if they wanted to grow stronger. And that one way to do this was to enlist Jewish communities in Israel and around the world as a source of political legitimacy and seal of approval. Many far-right parties in Europe have chosen to distance themselves from anti-Semitism, in their public declarations at least. The open anti-Semitism has been replaced with crude Islamophobia. But the Jewish communities still aren’t buying it. Just scratch the surface and the real character of these groups is revealed.
Last year, when tension was rising in the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen showed the face she’d been trying to hide. She asserted that France bore no responsibility for the persecution of French Jews, defying a two-decades-long national effort to acknowledge the terrible responsibility borne by French fascism and the Vichy regime for the murders of tens of thousands of Jews.
Netanyahu likes to boast about the foreign relations he has nurtured, especially in Eastern Europe. These ties help him to block EU decisions against the occupation and the settlements. But there are no free lunches in politics. These relations come with a price, and Israel is paying it: refraining from criticizing these countries over anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-democratic legislation, even when Jews worldwide are appalled, as happened in the George Soros affair. This is a two-way deal: Forgive me my anti-Semitism and I’ll forgive your occupation.
>> Yad Vashem vs. Bibi: When there’s nothing to celebrate, Netanyahu runs from the cameras || Analysis >>
But diplomatic interests are just part of the picture. The Israeli government isn’t reluctantly being forced to swallow the various anti-democratic political trends in return for diplomatic gain – because it basically agrees with these trends. Essentially, Israel’s current government has no fundamental moral dispute with this dark trend in Europe.
The profound political shift in Israel over the last generation is moving it from the side that upholds universal human and civil rights to the side that upholds a nationalist, ethnocentric view opposed to social welfare policy. This is where the far right can always be found, and where the Israeli right can increasingly be found now. This is a Putinist-Trumpist worldview characterized by social ruthlessness, racism and unabashed scorn for liberal democracy, all expressed by aversion to international institutions, nostalgia for the greatness of an imagined past, adulation of power, derision of the media and hatred of minorities.
And it’s totally reciprocal: Many in Europe’s far right talk about “shared values” with Israel and view it as a nationalist role model. Thus we see more and more right-wing Israeli figures unashamedly pursuing ties with the European fascists, and the latter touting their friends in Israel. Now, for the most part, it is only the memory of the Holocaust combined with strong resistance from the world’s Jewish communities that prevents Israel from plunging deeper into this European morass.
« Bella Ciao » : Les militants de Gaza utilisent le célèbre chant antifasciste pour célébrer la Grande Marche du Retour
8 07 2018
“La résistance est féminine” : des femmes de Gaza manifestent pour leur droit au retour
Maha Hussaini – 3 juillet 2018 | Source : Middle East Eye | Traduction : SM pour l’Agence Média Palestinettp ://www.agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2018/07/06/la-resistance-est-feminine-des-femmes-de-gaza-manifestent-pour-leur-droit-au-retour/
Lors d’une conférence de presse tenue à Gaza lundi [2 juillet], le Haut Comité national pour la Grande Marche du Retour et pour briser le siège a demandé aux femmes palestiniennes de « participer massivement à la manifestation » et d’exiger leur droit au retour.
« Cet événement contribue à soutenir les Palestiniennes qui tiennent bon malgré le siège. Le message en est clair : personne ne peut nous priver de nos droits, en particulier le droit au retour et l’exigence de mettre fin au siège », a déclaré Iktimal Hamad, présidente de la commission Femmes du Comité.
Les mères, épouses, filles ou sœurs de personnes tuées ou blessées lors des manifestations de la Grande Marche du Retour, ainsi que des femmes journalistes ou étudiantes à l’université, brandissaient des drapeaux palestiniens ou des panneaux demandant le droit au retour et affirmaient leur volonté de poursuivre les manifestations.
« Qui a dit que les femmes ne pouvaient pas se battre aussi efficacement que les hommes ? » s’est exclamée Suheir Khader, 39 ans, dont les proches et les amies sont venues manifester avec elle.
« En grandissant, nous avons appris que la résistance était féminine. Nos grands-mères étaient aux côtés de nos grands-pères et ont lutté comme eux pendant la Nakba (la Catastrophe) et la première intifada.
Why the Egyptian military will relinquish power | MadaMasr
In 2013, I wrote that the military would not be able to maintain popular support if they abandon the democratic process, and that neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the military would be able to re-impose authoritarianism. Egypt cannot be stable without democratic governance. The only remaining question, as I wrote in the German Die Zeit and privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, is whether this democratic governance would “soon emerge, or we should embark on a new round of conflict before everyone realizes the need for true democracy?”
We got the answer rather quickly. The new regime not only abandoned democratic transition, but also closed the limited pluralist space that former President Hosni Mubarak had maintained for 30 years, and became increasingly comparable to the Nasserite regime, both in terms of its despotism and the dominance of the military. As a result, many gave up on the possibility of democracy in Egypt and accepted the claim that the military will not abandon its hold over the country in the foreseeable future, perhaps ever.
I contend that this is too hasty a conclusion; sooner or later the Egyptian military will give up control over governance. While they will almost certainly maintain their independence and a strong voice in the country’s strategic decisions, they will have no viable option other than to withdraw from the public sphere, opening the way for a genuine democratic transition.
A Strip apart ? Gaza grapples with politics of expanded Egyptian administration in Trump’s ‘century deal’ | MadaMasr
An economic delegation from the Gaza Strip arrived in Cairo on Tuesday night to discuss the United States’ proposal concerning the humanitarian and economic state of the besieged Palestinian territory, as Washington continues to push talks concerning the “deal of the century.”
Deputy Finance Minister Youssef al-Kayali headed up the Gaza delegation, which, according to a Palestinian political source who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, was in Cairo “to listen to what the Egyptian side proposes without a preconceived position and without violating known Palestinian principles.”
To this point, indications of Gaza’s appetite for the deal have been absent from the unfolding diplomatic discussions. The US diplomatic envoy headed by Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, and Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, was primarily focused on informing regional leaders of the defining features of Trump’s initiative to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but, notably, did not meet with Palestinian actors during last week’s regional tour, which included stops in Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The framework of the US’s “century deal” involves the construction of a joint port on the Mediterranean between the Egyptian and Palestinian cities of Rafah, according to US and European diplomatic sources that spoke to Mada Masr ahead of the US delegation’s visit last week. The joint port would act as a prelude to extensive economic activity, for which North Sinai would serve as a hub, and would include five principal projects that would be funded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with a labor force that would be two-thirds Palestinian from the Gaza Strip and one-third Egyptian.
Palestinian Teen Dies From Serious Wounds He Suffered On May 14
IMEMC News - July 5, 2018 3:02 AM
The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported, on Wednesday evening, that a teen died from serious wounds he suffered on May 14th, after Israeli soldiers shot him during the Great Return March in Gaza.
The Ministry said the teen, Mahmoud Majed Gharabli , 16, was shot by an Israeli army sniper east of Gaza city.
The teen was shot in the head and remained in a serious condition until he succumbed to his wounds on July 4th.
Importante déclaration de l’Internationale socialiste sur BDS – Pour la Palestine
Publié le 3 juillet 2018
Le Conseil de l’Internationale Socialiste, réuni aux Nations Unies à Genève les 26 et 27 juin 2018, a adopté une déclaration sur la question palestinienne, dans laquelle il “appelle tous les gouvernements et organisations de la société civile au lancement d’une opération de boycott, désinvestissement et sanctions (BDS) contre l’occupation israélienne, l’ensemble des institutions d’occupation et les colonies israéliennes illégales, y compris un embargo total sur toute forme de commerce et de coopération militaire avec Israël tant que se poursuivent les politiques d’occupation et d’apartheid contre les Palestiniens”.
Réunion du Conseil de l’Internationale Socialiste
Nations Unies, Genève, 26 et 27 juin 2018
DÉCLARATION SUR LA QUESTION PALESTINIENNE
L’internationale Socialiste reconnaît BDS comme une tactique légitime contre l’occupation israélienne
/ 8 juillet 2016