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  • Demonstrate with the Arabs - Haaretz Editorial -
    The place of Livni and the other opposition leaders is in Rabin Square, alongside the Arab community. Their struggle is the struggle of all Israelis, Jews and Arabs alike

    Haaretz Editorial
    Aug 10, 2018 1:32 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/demonstrate-with-the-arabs-1.6364336

    The demonstration called for Saturday night in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which represents Israel’s Arab community, is the most important of all the protests that have taken place against the nation-state law. It’s also one of the most important demonstrations in Israel in the past several years.
    No minority in Israel suffers as much discrimination as the Arab minority, which is also Israel’s largest minority. It is frequently the target of normalized, institutionalized racism. 
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    The nation-state law, which has sparked civic protests throughout Israeli society, was engineered precisely in order to strip the Arabs of their rights and subordinate them to rule by the Jews, the lords of the land, even at the price of sacrificing civic equality. This worldview has characterized despicable racist regimes throughout history, and its implementation in Israel is a black stain not only on the history of the state, but also on that of the Jewish people.
    The nation-state law is an especially ugly milestone in the right’s delegitimization campaign against the Arabs. It’s meant to mark them as enemies, as a fifth column; to cause strife between them and Jews; and to remove them from civil society. Given this, it’s regrettable that the leaders of the opposition, who warmly embraced the Druze community’s justified protest against the law, have decided not to attend this demonstration.
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    >> In Show of Renewed Activism, Arab Israelis to Protest Nation-state Law on Saturday
    Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who came to the Druze demonstration last Saturday night, announced that she won’t attend the upcoming one because some Knesset members from the predominantly Arab Joint List “don’t share my view that Israel is the nation-state of the Jews.” In the same breath, she declared her belief in “equal rights for all.” She thereby proved that even the left has adopted the right’s propaganda. If, as she says, Livni believes in equality for all and opposes the nation-state law — the issues of the demonstration — why is it even relevant what Joint List MKs think Israel’s character should be?
    Livni must meet the challenge that was posed to Israeli society by President Reuven Rivlin in his “four tribes” speech, in which he argued that Israel’s future depends on abandoning a worldview based on majority and minority in favor of one that is based on a partnership with the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs, who don’t define themselves as Zionist. The place of Livni and the other opposition leaders Saturday night is in Rabin Square, alongside the Arab community. Their struggle is the struggle of all Israelis, Jews and Arabs alike.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/714422 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel
    Jews and Arabs: Unite, the Nation-state law poses an existential threat

    This won’t be an alliance of love. It won’t even be an encounter between friends. But this is the only way to survive as a citizen of Israel and not become a political prisoner in a theocracy

    Ravit Hecht SendSend me email alerts
    Aug 03, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-jews-and-arabs-unite-the-nation-state-law-poses-existential-threat

    The abominable nation-state law was admittedly passed at this particular moment for contemptible political reasons: Elections are only a Knesset session away, and in the background are the investigations of the prime minister, a despair-inducing front devoid of achievement in the south and a terrifying front in the north.
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    But these circumstances, while genuine and rational, don’t hide what comes next. And what comes next is clear. Israel, with the support of a substantial portion of its Jewish population, is en route to apartheid, both de facto and de jure, which will evict the Arabs from civil society. Next in line for the chopping block: leftists, who are going with the flow to various degrees, and ultimately, anyone defined as disloyal to the government (that is, “the state”).
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    This is not a cataclysmic lamentation or a stylized prophecy of destruction. It’s reality, plain and simple. The moment you begin fiddling with democracy – that is, creating differences in the level of equality to which citizens are entitled and conditioning it on various conditions – the road is clear.
    The attempts to bribe the Druze, whose pain, unlike that of the other Arabs, evokes empathy from Jewish Israelis, only makes the picture clearer: The government is creating castes among minorities and citizens in general based on the degree of sympathy the government has for them and the whims of the masses.
    What can one do in light of this reality but rend one’s garments, weep bitter tears and protest at demonstrations whose importance is beyond price, but whose contribution to changing the course of reality will be limited to the point of nonexistence?
    Israel’s Jewish and democratic camp has only one partner for building a front against the settler right, with its hallmarks of fascism, which is currently making historic changes to the country’s character. That partner is the Arabs.

    And when we speak of making such a partnership, we aren’t talking about a Jewish and democratic camp that includes only people like opposition MKs Tamar Zandberg and Tzipi Livni, but also former senior defense officials like Gabi Ashkenazi, Tamir Pardo and Moshe Ya’alon, who still aren’t willing to be portrayed, heaven forbid, as leftists, but whom the modern right is already rejecting like a transplant, because such security establishment figures’ consciences bar them from submerging themselves in today’s right wing and joining in the destruction of democracy.
    >> Planted by Netanyahu and Co., nation-state law is a time bomb exploding in Israel’s face | Analysis >>
    Nevertheless, it’s not only the Jews on whom the burden of effecting a change in consciousness falls. The Arabs will also have to make what they see as painful concessions.
    As long as MKs Ahmad Tibi, Jamal Zahalka and Aida Touma-Sliman keep talking about two states – a state of all its citizens on one side and the nation-state of the Palestinian people on the other – they’ll remain within the bounds of their own narrow community, plus a few thousand Jewish voters following their conscience or a fad. They’ll have no chance of taking power, no ability to have a major impact, no access to the resources that could save the voters from the bitter fate written on the wall.
    Therefore, they’ll have to swallow hard and accept the Law of Return and the fact that Israel within the 1967 borders is the national home of the Jewish people worldwide, in order to enable the establishment of a Palestinian state and save themselves and us from the nightmare of occupation and apartheid.
    This won’t be an alliance of love. It won’t even be an encounter between friends. But this is the only way to survive as a citizen of Israel and not become a political prisoner in a Bezalel Smotrich-like theocracy.
    The battle for life requires passing through the deep wadis of painful compromise and getting scratched by the thorns of upsetting concessions. It requires changing our methods and our worldviews, because there’s no choice. Because we want to live. And just for your information, we are in a fight for our lives.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/712809 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The right’s security service at Ben-Gurion Airport - Haaretz Editorial -

    At first it was the automatic and indiscriminate delay of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, then it degenerated into blacklists of BDS supporters, now Israelis are also being questioned because of their political views

    Haaretz Editorial SendSend me email alerts
    Aug 02, 2018 12:26 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/the-right-s-security-service-at-ben-gurion-airport-1.6338498

    The Shin Bet security service stopped an author and left-wing activist at the airport, questioned him about his opinions and political connections and warned him about the “slippery slope” that could lead him to dangerous places and confrontations with the authorities. There were times when such instances would be linked to undemocratic countries like China, Russia, Iran and Egypt, which see freedom of expression and the right of protest as threats to the regime. Now it’s happening in Israel, which calls itself as the only democracy in the Middle East.
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    The details related this week by Moriel Rothman-Zecher about his detention at Ben-Gurion Airport ought to disturb everyone, even those who object to the activities of protest groups like Breaking the Silence. From his report it emerges that he, an Israeli citizen who lives in the United States, was not suspected of any illegal activity; he was asked about his links to perfectly legal organizations and was essentially warned that his activities make him a legitimate target for the Shin Bet (“Israeli author questioned by Shin Bet at Ben-Gurion Airport over involvement in leftist groups,” July 30). His interrogator also asked for the names of “the main activists” in All That’s Left, which he refused to provide.
    This is not a singular case; there have been a series of reports indicating that the Shin Bet and the border guards are turning Israel’s entry points into a filter designed to remove those whose opinions are suspicious or problematic in the eyes of the government. Last week a U.S. citizen, a senior member of the Jewish community who supports and donates to Israel, was reportedly detained at the airport when a pamphlet from Bethlehem with the word “Palestine” on the cover was found in his suitcase. One word is now sufficient to make someone a suspect, worthy of a humiliating delay and harassing questions.
    If there is a “slippery slope,” it’s the state, its elected officials, its employees and the defenders of its borders that are walking on it. It began with the automatic and indiscriminate delay of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, degenerated into blacklists of BDS supporters whose entry was banned and is now slipping into Israelis being questioned because of their political views.
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    This is not a local initiative, but a faithful expression of government and coalition policy: to label protest organizations in general and those who work against the occupation in particular as hostile to Israel and ascribe to them an intent to harm and betray it. The questioning of Rothman-Zecher is a warning shot aimed at like-minded people in the hope they’ll take note and be deterred.
    According to the Shin Bet, the investigators acted “to fulfill the mission” of the security service. It seems that the questioning of Israelis about their political opinions is being conducted with permission and authority. But what happens in the airport doesn’t stay there; if policemen and investigators are not restrained, it won’t be long before citizens with opinions the government disapproves of will be woken by knocks on the door in the middle of the night, as in the most benighted of countries.
    The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/712337 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Keep it up, Ahed Tamimi
    Now it must be said to her, days before her scheduled release after eight months in prison: It was worth it. Keep up the resistance to the Israeli occupation
    Gideon Levy - Jul 25, 2018 10:19 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-keep-it-up-ahed-tamimi-1.6314846
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.5896353.1532538974!/image/2297281808.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2297281808.jpg

    On Sunday you’re supposed to get out of prison, finally, together with your mother. But maybe it’s better not to open one’s mouth to the devil; the Shin Bet might issue an administrative arrest order against you. After all, only a few weeks ago the Shin Bet determined that you are still “potentially dangerous” – but we can hope that in three days you and your mother will once again be free at home.

    We can also hope that the potential danger you presented did not abate during your months in prison, since winter; that you’re still dangerous to the occupation, that you won’t stop resisting in your way. As far as I know your family, whom Israeli propaganda calls a “family of terror,” and a “family of murderers,” I know that there’s no chance of that happening. Your spirit will not falter. Your “danger” will not dissipate.

    You and your mother were in prison for eight months, although you had done nothing wrong except exhibit natural, justified resistance to the occupation, which invaded your yard. You struck an armed and body-armored soldier with your bare hands, as much as a 16-year-old girl can strike an armed, body-armored soldier, and your mother filmed it. That was your crime. In the occupation, only soldiers are allowed to strike. You did what any brave person living under occupation would do – you slapped him. The occupation has more than that coming to it.

    This happened after soldiers shot your 15-year-old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, in the head, up the street from your house, leaving him with only half a skull. You should know that they arrested him again since then, despite his disability, and released him. Your brother was also arrested since then, and released.

    Nabi Saleh is waiting for its daughters. Bassem is waiting for Nariman and Ahed. There are also Israelis waiting for their release. Last week another case was uncovered of resistance to the occupation forces: Young men threw stones at the Border Police and injured a policewoman, who was taken to the hospital.

    A stone can kill and there’s a new, harsher policy against stone-throwers. Three young men were arrested, but they were released in a flash. They are settlers from Yitzhar. Ahed injured no one, and spent eight months in prison. No, there’s no apartheid in the territories.

    Ahed will be released on Sunday to a new reality. She has become an icon. While she was in jail, Gaza rose up and paid with the lives of 160 of its inhabitants, shot to death by Israeli snipers. Dozens of others remain disabled, some because Israel denied them proper medical care.

    While Ahed was in prison, the West Bank sank into its summer torpor, busy with internal rifts and disputes. The West Bank needs Ahed. The resistance needs Ahed. Not that one girl can change the world, but Ahed’s generation needs to be the next generation of the resistance. Its predecessor is lost; its children killed, wounded, arrested, in despair, tired, exiled or joined the bourgeoisie.

    Yes, one can be an Israeli and support the Palestinians who resist the occupation, like Ahed Tamimi, and wish them success. In fact, one must do so. With her bare hands and impressive appearance, Ahed is the hope for the future, the inspiration to others. The Shin Bet opposed her early release, saying: “Her statements show her extreme ideology and, given the security situation shows the potential danger of her early release.” Months have gone by, and it is hoped that the Shin Bet believes Ahed has changed her ideology thanks to her additional months in jail. Otherwise she won’t be released.

    But the Shin Bet also knows that except for the sake of abuse, revenge, satisfying Israeli public opinion and a desperate attempt at suppression by force, there is no justification for the continued imprisonment of this poster girl from Nabi Saleh. The Shin Bet knows that her “extreme” ideology is the ideology of everyone living under the occupation.

    Now it must be said to Ahed: It was worth it. Keep it up, Ahed. Keep up the resistance to the occupation. Keep up the protests every Friday of your courageous village. Keep on “inciting” – decrying the occupation and documenting its crimes. Keep on slapping him, if he invades your yard again, or shoots your young cousin in the head.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/710770 via Loutre


  • The world isn’t flat - Opinion
    The dangerous nation-state law declares the intention of its authors: To teach generations of Israeli Jews that the world is flat and entrust them with the mission of expelling and wiping out a nation

    Amira Hass
    Jul 24, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-world-isn-t-flat-1.6310944

    From a balcony in Ramallah, surrounded by friends and acquaintances, the nation-state law shrinks to its proper ludicrous proportions. The creationists erased a nation from the written text.
    And yet, nine indisputable representatives of that nation sat and joked, turned serious, reminisced, traded political gossip about senior Palestinian Authority officials, voiced fears and concerns, made predictions and retracted them. What a privilege it was for me to sit among them and enjoy what is so natural to them that they don’t even categorize it — a rootedness and a belonging that don’t need verbal trappings; a zest for life; unimaginable strength and courage.
    They were born in a village that was destroyed; in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip; in Damascus, Jaffa, Nablus, Ramallah, Nazareth, Acre. They’re the first, second and third generations of the 1948 refugees. Some are third-class citizens — fifth-class, now — of the state that robbed them of their homeland. Some returned to their homeland after the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 and settled down in the West Bank, subject to Israeli military orders.
    >> Planted by Netanyahu and co., nation-state law is a time bomb exploding in Israel’s face | Analysis ■ By degrading Arabic, Israel has degraded Arabs | Opinion ■ Israel’s contentious nation-state law: Everything you need to know >>
    All are members of the same nation, regardless of what is written on their identity cards. They escaped Israeli bombings in Beirut and in Gaza; they lived under Israeli-imposed curfew, siege and house arrest; they were jailed in Israeli prisons for political activity; they were interrogated by Israel’s Shin Bet security service; they raised themselves from poverty; they wandered, studied, worked in left-wing organizations.

    All of them have lost relatives and close friends, killed by Israel or in civil wars in the Arab countries where they used to live. All of them treasure the silent, pained gazes of their parents, who told them about the home that was lost 70 years ago.
    Some of them also became bourgeois. Which doesn’t spare them the checkpoints; the Israeli expressions of racism and arrogance; the forced separations from relatives who cannot go (from the Gaza Strip) or come (from Syria); the fears for the future.

    Not far, yet very far from there — under a lean-to in Khan al-Ahmar — women sit on thin mattresses placed on the ground and talk about the attack by police officers two weeks ago and a wedding party that is scheduled for this week. The strength and courage of these women from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe are equally evident. There, in those heartbreaking shelters, Israel’s greedy racism is also an immediate issue, broadcast by the spacious houses of the settlement of Kfar Adumim.
    How do they live like this, with nonstop threats and aggression from bureaucrats, soldiers, policemen and settlers who covet the little that remains to them? Where do they get the strength to live in crowded conditions that are hard to get used to, without electricity or running water — which are the minimum conditions for community life — with shrinking pasturage and shrinking income, and yet not give in to the expellers’ orders? Their strength comes from that same rootedness and natural sense of belonging, which the deniers of evolution, the drafters of the nation-state law, are incapable of understanding.
    For over a month, this community, which is threatened with a new expulsion, has been hosting mass public events — press conferences, rallies, speeches, delegations. There’s an element of exploitation and ostentation here on the Palestinian Authority’s part. Yet at the same time, another process is taking place, one that is very political: Palestinians from both urban and rural communities are liberating themselves from the alienation they used to feel toward the Bedouin.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/710248 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • 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

    Gideon Levy
    Jul 22, 2018

    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-s-lgbt-strike-of-the-pampered-1.6293904

    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.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/709721 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • 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

    Amira Hass
    Jul 17, 2018 6:59 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-how-a-west-bank-highway-s-roadsign-captures-the-israeli-psyche-1.6

    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.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/708835 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • 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

    Nitzan Horowitz
    Jul 09, 2018 4:32 AM
    | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-pm-s-dark-deal-with-e-europe-condones-anti-semitism-and-occupation

    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.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707386 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel’s stupid, ignorant and amoral betrayal of the truth on Polish involvement in the Holocaust

    We accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and swallowed it. And we legitimized the government’s campaign to harass, fine and impoverish Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who expose Poles’ involvement in the crimes of the Holocaust

    Yehuda BauerSendSend me email alerts
    Jul 04, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-okay-so-the-poles-didn-t-murder-jews-1.6242474

    The Polish and Israeli governments have reached an agreement on an amendment to the Polish law that states that claiming that Poland as a country, or the Polish people, were responsible for crimes committed by the Nazis is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison. According to the agreement, this criminal aspect was removed.
    The Polish government passed the law to begin with to defend its good name against accusations that many Poles took part in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. And who will decide on the historical facts? According to the Poles, it will be the Institute of National Remembrance, which is run by the politicians controlling the country today.
    And so according to the law – even after the agreement with Israel – the government will determine what happened in the past via historians in its service, and this narrative cannot be critiqued by historians, independent researchers or others. Is this acceptable to the Israeli government?
    >> With Nationalists in Power, Can Jews Ever Feel at Home in Poland? | Opinion ■ The Polish were once victims of historical whitewashing. Now they are doing the same | Analysis >> 
    The joint announcement by Israel and Poland also states that many segments of Polish society helped Jews. This position diminishes the heroism of Poland’s Righteous Among the Nations because the noble-spirited Polish rescuers had to hide not only from the Germans, but also, and perhaps mainly, from their Polish neighbors.
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    Yad Vashem has recognized some 6,750 Polish Righteous Among the Nations. They are a small and courageous minority. Unfortunately, the social norm that was accepted in occupied Poland was completely different: The usual conduct was not to help Jews, but to harm them, and many Poles were involved in the persecution of Jews. Europeans’ cooperation with the Nazi death machine was widespread, of course, not only in Poland. But in other countries, scholars who uncover this can’t be penalized.
    As for the abrogation of the criminal aspect of the law, let’s not forget that this also means eliminating the exception of historians and literary figures whose profession is to write about this subject. From now on they too, and of course also journalists, educators, politicians and others, can be sued for revealing historical truths. Eliminating the criminal aspect lifts the threat of imprisonment and fines in criminal proceedings, but not punishment in civil proceedings.
    In fact, the revamped law encourages civil suits against Poles who claim that a good many Poles were involved in persecuting Jews. Naturally, this claim is correct. There were Poles who gave Jews up to the Polish police, who in turn gave them to the Germans. There were those who turned Jews in directly to the Germans, and there were those who murdered Jews themselves.

    The clauses of the law that still stand can, apparently, be imposed via civil proceedings against anyone claiming that the main motives for persecuting Jews were the anti-Semitism of a good many Poles and the greed of Poles who on a huge scale throughout Poland stole the possessions of those who were deported and murdered.
    The Law and Justice party now rules Poland, with a decisive majority in parliament. In fact, the government is in the hands of the party chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who in this is imitating Stalin, who controlled the Soviet Union from his position as head of the Bolshevik party. Kaczynski and his party are of course anti-Communist, so their rule can be defined as Bolshevik anti-Communism.
    >> Opinion: Neither Poland nor Israel can afford their fixation with the past >> 
    Kaczynski announced a few days ago that preparations are already being made in civil courts to sue offenders. These people could be required to pay high fines.
    Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who want to expose the acts of harassment by Poles against Jews during the Holocaust could risk impoverishment and loss of livelihood. It may be assumed that their research funding will be reduced or eliminated, and honest people will be removed from their jobs. Poland will quickly become an illiberal democracy, the term favored by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who supports this nationalist-populist revolt and will receive a royal welcome by the Israeli government on his upcoming visit here.
    The declaration by Warsaw and Jerusalem legitimizes this betrayal by the Israeli government of the historical truth, the memory of the Holocaust and the marvelous people in Poland who investigated the facts on which we base our criticism. And for what did the Israeli government sacrifice truth and justice? For its current economic, security and political interests, which are more important than some Holocaust that happened 70 or 80 years ago.
    We accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and swallowed it. If we come now to the Americans or the Europeans with complaints against what this generates in Poland, they’ll answer us, and rightfully, that the Israeli government accepted the Polish facts. I don’t know what was going on here – ignorance, stupidity or the clear amoral victory of transient interests that will remain with us as an eternal disgrace. And perhaps it was simply betrayal.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/706690 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Holocaust survivor and Palestinians’ rights lawyer Felicia Langer dies in exile at 87
    Felicia Langer fought, first in Israel and then from Germany, for the enforcement of international law from which Israel excepted itself
    Haaretz.com - Gideon Levy - Jun 24, 2018 2:42 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-death-of-an-exiled-conscience-1.6200232
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.6200253.1529796913!/image/2021773195.JPG_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/2021773195.JPG

    I never met her, only called her two or three times in her place of exile, but I well remember what she was for me and most of my generation in our brainwashed youth: a symbol of hatred for Israel, a public enemy, a reviled, outcast traitor. That’s how we were taught to regard her and a few other early dissidents, and we neither questioned nor cared why.

    Now, at 87, she has died in exile; her image glows brightly in my eyes through the distance of time and space. Felicia Langer, who died in Germany Thursday, was a hero, a pioneer and a woman of conscience. She and a few of her allies never got the recognition here that they deserved; it’s not clear they ever will.

    In a place where “alumni” of a murderous Jewish terror organization are welcomed — one a newspaper editor, another an expert on religious law — and where self-declared racists are accepted as legitimate participants in the arena of public debate as they are nowhere else, there is no room for courageous justice warriors who paid a high personal price for trying to lead a camp that never followed.

    Langer was a Holocaust survivor from Poland who studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After the occupation, was the first to open a law office dedicated to defending its Palestinian victims. In this, she followed an illustrious tradition of Jews who fought injustice in South Africa, Latin America, Europe and the United States.

    Here, her sense of justice brought her into conflict with her state. Occasionally she even succeeded: In 1979, in the wake of her petition, the High Court of Justice blocked an expulsion order against Nablus Mayor Bassam Shakaa. A year later, the Jewish underground attached a bomb to his car that destroyed his legs, and Israeli justice came to light.

    Langer was a pioneer among Israeli lawyers of conscience who came out for the defense of the rights of the occupied population, but she was also the first to throw in the towel, closing her law office in 1990 and going into exile. In a 2012 interview with documentary filmmaker Eran Torbiner, she explained: “I left Israel because I could no longer help the Palestinian victims with the existing legal system and the disregard for international law that was supposed to protect the people whom I was defending. I couldn’t act. I was facing a hopeless situation.” She told The Washington Post she “couldn’t be a fig leaf for this system anymore.”

    She said she didn’t switch battlefronts, only her place on the front, but the front is currently at its lowest point. The occupation is entrenched as never before and nearly all of its crimes have been legitimized.

    Langer came to the conclusion that things were hopeless. Apparently she was right. The fight in the military courts was doomed to failure. It has no prospect of success because the military courts are only subject to the laws of the occupation and not to the laws of justice. The proceedings involve nothing more than hollow and false legal ritual.

    Even the civil legal system, headed by the vaunted High Court of Justice, has never come down on the side of the victims and against the crimes of the occupation. Here and there restraining orders have been issued, here and there actions have been delayed. But in the annals of the occupation, Israel’s Supreme Court will be remembered as the primary legitimizer of the occupation and as an abject collaborator with the military. In such a state of affairs, perhaps there really was nothing for Langer to do here. That is a singularly depressing conclusion.

    What did this brave and courageous woman fight against? Against torture by the Shin Bet security service at a time when we didn’t believe that such torture existed, yet it was at the peak of its cruelty. She fought against the expulsion of political activists, against false arrests, against home demolitions. Above all, she fought for the enforcement of international law from which Israel decided to except itself on unbelievable grounds. That’s what she fought and that is why she was considered a public enemy.

    In her old age, her grandson told her that ultimately the Palestinians will win and will get a state of their own. “You won’t see it, but I will,” he promised his grandmother. In the end, the grandson will be disappointed, just as his distinguished grandmother was.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/704180 via Loutre


  • Israel, a state unencumbered by democracy

    The Knesset presidium has excised the principle of equality from the definition of democracy. Instead of dealing with the Balad party’s vision, they have chosen to kill the messenger.

    Haneen Zoabi member of the Parliament
    Jun 18, 2018 1:01 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-a-state-unencumbered-by-democracy-1.6180257

    In a rare move, the Knesset presidium last week refused Balad’s request to bring the party’s proposal for a Basic Law: Israel as a State of All Its Citizens before the Knesset for discussion and a vote in the plenum. The proposal reflects the party’s values, vision and platform. In a democratic country, the vision of “a state of all its citizens” should have been an existing reality that is taken for granted because it is one of the core principles of a democracy.
    A democracy does not exist without equality among its citizens and if there does exist a certain deviation from this, then the principle of equality should be what directs it. That is, any deviation from equality should be done for purposes of “compensating” some weakened group (and not to grant privileges to the strong group), the aim of which is to enable that weakened group to achieve fundamental equality with the others.
    A selective democracy is not a democracy. The granting of privileges to a strong group does not accord at all with the democratic principle. An egalitarian state is supposed to grant its citizens rights at the individual and collective levels in an equal way and therefore it cannot be identified with a specific national group.
    However, the Knesset presidium believed otherwise. It excised the principle of equality from the fundamental definition of democracy and reduced it to the individual plane only. (What else is left?) However, when the state expropriates lands from us, the Palestinians, to benefit the Jews, or when it damages our national rights – does this not damage us as “individuals”? Is it possible for an individual to exist when cut off from his historical affiliation, identity or culture?
    The difficulty with dealing with Balad’s vision has always been a key characteristic of the relations between the party and most of the elements in the political arena. The repeated attempts to prevent the party from participating in elections and the campaign to delegitimize its Knesset members reflect the difficulty the state and its political elite have in dealing with its messages. Instead, they have chosen to kill the messenger.
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    Second shoe drops
    And if the stupidity of denying a discussion of the proposal for the law were not enough – it has been barred from public discourse because of the excess of democracy inherent in it – less than two weeks after its rejection came the draft law on party funding proposed by Likud MK Yoav Kish. This bill limits the number of parties that can receive funding in a union of parties such as the Joint List. The aim of the law, as explicitly stated, is to eject Balad, which has been defined as its most “extreme” element, from the Joint List.
    If we are “extreme” from a nationalist perspective, go ahead and rein us in by means of the vision of equal citizenship we proposed to you two weeks ago. But no, it turns out that accusing us of “extremism” is only an excuse. The truth is that we are “extreme” because we are not even granted any partial, distorted or demagogic definition of democracy, and because of our insistence on realizing a democratic vision, even when it collides head-on with the privileged status of the dominant group.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702659 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Killing a child is ’not right’, but not wrong enough for an indictment -

    Israeli prosecutors concluded that the two soldiers acted properly when they shot and killed an unarmed teenager 10 meters away as he ran away from them

    Gideon LevySendSend me email alerts
    Jun 14, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-killing-a-child-is-not-right-but-not-wrong-enough-for-an-indictmen

    A.G. and A.D. presumably celebrated. Maybe they raised a toast with their lawyers at some fashionable pub, or perhaps they just basked in the good news with their families. It was the relief of their lives. The poor souls’ nightmare is over. How they harassed them when the teenager was killed, but all’s well that ends well: The central district prosecution decided last week to withdraw the indictment against them, two-and-a-half years after it was filed.
    True, it was sickeningly ridiculous that they were charged with “an act of haste and negligence” for shooting an unarmed, already wounded teenager in the back as he was running or his life. Still, it was an indictment, which itself was only filed after the deceased’s family and B’Tselem petitioned the High Court of Justice.
    For a moment it seemed as if the two would be given a suspended sentence of maybe a day, or even a one-penny fine for killing a boy who had not yet turned 16, even though he didn’t pose any danger or threat to them. But even this faint hope for a remnant of delayed and symbolic justice – for even the faintest likeness of justice – was dashed, and what could be more predictable than that?
    The indictment was withdrawn. A.G. and A.D. acted properly when they shot an unarmed teenager from a range of 10 meters as he ran from them. They violated nothing. Their act of killing wasn’t even hasty or negligent. They are good soldiers, excellent ones, even though the day after the killing a senior officer said, “Something that wasn’t right happened there.” Not right, but apparently not wrong enough. So go ahead, dear soldiers; continue to kill Palestinian teenagers who don’t endanger you. You can even kill them as they run away, because no harm will come to you.
    A.G. and A.D. were a platoon commander and a soldier from the 71st Battalion of the Armored Corps. They shot from behind and killed Samir Awad, who tried to cross the fence that constricts his village, as he ran from an ambush the soldiers had set up in the prickly-pear bushes. They shot him in the back and will never be punished for their act. They shot him in the leg first, and after he fell wounded and got back on his feet they managed to grab him by the arm, but he got away from them. Then they shot him twice from behind, a bullet to the back of his neck and a bullet in his back, killing him. So now they can calmly fly off to India or Costa Rica for their post-army trip – perhaps they’ve already done so – and forget everything. But the home of the boy they killed in Budrus will never be the same again.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/702464 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Silwan, a model for oppression - Haaretz Editorial
    `
    The state and a right-wing group are shamefully fighting to evict Palestinians from a Jerusalem neighborhood, citing technical grounds

    Haaretz EditorialSendSend me email alerts
    Jun 11, 2018 4:42 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/silwan-a-model-for-oppression-1.6163339

    Even given the corruption and legal chicanery typical of the settlement enterprise, the case of the Silwan neighborhood’s Batan al-Hawa section stands out. In this case, the state, through the Justice Ministry’s administrator general, transferred an entire neighborhood of 700 people to right-wing group Ateret Cohanim without bothering to inform the Palestinians living in this part of Jerusalem.
    To be more precise, in 2002 the administrator general released the land in the center of Silwan to a trust established way back in 1899. A year earlier, with the administrator’s approval, three Ateret Cohanim activists were appointed trustees. Since then, the organization has invested considerable efforts to get rid of the Palestinian families; to date a number of families have been evicted and dozens are conducting legal battles to fight eviction.
    On Sunday, around 100 Silwan residents came to the Supreme Court building for a hearing on their petition to the High Court of Justice against the original decision to release the land to the trust. The petition addresses the question of whether the original trust was for the land or for the buildings on it, all but one of which was demolished in the 1940s.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701275 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • After killing Razan al-Najjar, IDF assassinates her character Haaretz.com - Gideon Levy | Jun. 10, 2018 | 12:47 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-israeli-army-doesn-t-believe-in-its-own-cause-1.6158727
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.6138422.1528576646!/image/4024653077.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/4024653077.jpg

    A few short words – “Razan al-Najjar isn’t an angel of mercy” – sum up the depths of Israeli propaganda. Avichay Edraee, the Israeli army’s Arabic-language spokesman, who also speaks in my name, is a representative of an army of mercy that has also now appointed itself the judge of the measure of mercy in a medic treating Palestinian wounded on Gaza’s border with Israel, and who Israeli army soldiers mercilessly killed. After killing her, it was also necessary to assassinate her character.

    Propaganda is a tool that serves many countries. The less just their policies are, the more they expand their propaganda efforts. Sweden doesn’t need propaganda. North Korea does. In Israel, it’s called hasbara – public diplomacy – because why would it need propaganda? Recently its propaganda has sunk to such despicable lows that nothing can better prove that its justifications have run out, its excuses gone, that truth is the enemy and that all that’s left are lies and slander.

    It is directed mostly for domestic consumption. Around the world, few gaza people would buy it in any event. But as part of the desperate effort to persist in the psychological repression and denial, in the failure to tell ourselves the truth and the evasion of any responsibility – everything is acceptable when it comes to these efforts.

    A medic in a nursing uniform has been shot to death by Israeli army snipers – as have journalists with press vests and an amputee in a wheelchair. If we rely on Israeli army snipers to know what they are doing, counting on them to be the most accurate in the world, then these people have been shot deliberately. Surely if the army had believed in the justice of the military campaign that it is waging in Gaza, it would have taken responsibility for these killings, apologizing, expressing regret and offering compensation.

    But when the earth is burning under our feet, when we know the truth and understand that shooting at demonstrators and killing more than 120 of them and rendering hundreds of others disabled is more akin to a massacre, one cannot apologize or express regret. And then the army spokesman’s aggressive, clumsy, embarrassing and shameful propaganda machine springs into action – a thunderous voice from the Defense Ministry that only compounds what has been done.

    Maj. Edraee released a video on Thursday in which a nurse, perhaps Najjar, is seen from the back, flinging away a smoke grenade that soldiers had thrown at her. Edraee would have done the same himself, but when it comes to desperate propaganda, it’s a smoking gun: Najjar is a terrorist. She had also said that she was a human shield. Certainly a medic is a human defender.

    An Israeli army investigation, based only on the testimony of the soldiers of course, showed that she had not been deliberately shot. Clearly. The propaganda machine went further and hinted that she may have been killed by Palestinian weapons fire, which has rarely been used over the past two months.

    Maybe she shot herself? Anything is possible. And do we remember any Israeli army investigation showing otherwise? Israel’s ambassador in London, Mark Regev, who is another top, polished propagandist, was quick to tweet about the “medical volunteer” in quotation marks, as if a Palestinian could be a medical volunteer. Instead, he wrote, her death is “yet another reminder of Hamas’ brutality.”

    The Israeli army kills a medic in a white uniform, in an outrageous violation of international law, which provides protection for medical personnel in combat zones. And that’s despite the fact that the Gaza border does not constitute a combat zone. But it’s Hamas that is the brutal one.

    Kill me, Mr. Ambassador, but who could possibly follow this twisted, sick logic? And who would buy such cheap propaganda other than some of the members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews — the largest representative organization of U.K. Jewry – along with Merav Ben Ari, the Knesset member who was quick to take advantage of the opportunity and state: “It turns out that the medic, yes that one, wasn’t just a medic, as you see.” Yes, that one. As you see.

    Israel should have been shocked by the killing of the medic. Najjar’s innocent face should have touched every Israeli’s heart. Medical organizations should have spoken out. Israelis should have hidden their faces in embarrassment. But that only could have happened if Israel had believed in the justice of its cause. When fairness is gone, all that is left is propaganda. And from that standpoint, maybe this new low is a herald of good news.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/701063 via Loutre


  • Anonymous snipers and a lethal verdict

    We may never know the name of the soldier who killed Razan al-Najjar. But we do know the names of those who gave the order enabling him to kill her

    Amira Hass Jun 05, 2018

    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-anonymous-snipers-and-a-lethal-verdict-1.6151967

    We know her name: Razan al-Najjar. But what’s his? What’s the name of the soldier who killed her, with direct fire to the chest last Friday? We don’t know, and we probably won’t ever know.
    In contrast to the Palestinians suspected of killing Israelis, the Israeli who killed Najjar is protected from exposure to the cameras and an in-depth breakdown of his family history, including his relatives’ participation in routine attacks on Palestinians as part of their military service or their political affiliation.
    Demanding Israeli microphones will not be pushed into his face with probing questions: Didn’t you see she was wearing a paramedic’s white robe when you aimed at her chest?
    Didn’t you see her hair covered with a head scarf? Do your rules of engagement require you to shoot at paramedics, men and women as well, and at a distance of about 100 meters (some 330 feet) from the border fence? Did you shoot at her legs (why?) and miss because you’re useless? Are you sorry? Do you sleep well at night? Did you tell your girlfriend it was you who killed a young woman the same age as her? Was Najjar your first?
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    The anonymity of our soldiers picking off and killing Palestinians is an inseparable part of the culture of Israeli impunity. We are above it all. Immune from everything. Allowing an anonymous soldier to kill a young paramedic with a bullet that hit her in the chest, exiting from her back, and continuing on with our lives.
    >> ’We die anyway, so let it be in front of the cameras’: Conversations with Gazans
    There are lots of pictures of Najjar on the internet: She stood out as one of the few women among the first aid teams operating at the “March of Return” protest sites since March 30.
    After two years’ training, she volunteered for the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. She happily gave interviews, including to The New York Times’ correspondent in Gaza, speaking about the ability of women to act under difficult conditions no less so than men – and even better than them. She knew how dangerous her job was. A paramedic was killed by Israel Defense Forces fire on May 14, dozens of others were injured and suffocated as they ran to rescue the wounded.
    Najjar, 21 at the time of her death, was from the village of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis. In interviews, she was not asked about the wars and Israeli military attacks during her childhood and later. It is hard to find their scars in her pleasant face seen on screen. In every interview, she is seen wrapped in a head scarf of a different color – and each time it is wrapped around her head stylishly, meticulously, showing an investment of time and thought. The color reveals a love for life, despite all she had gone through.
    We do not know the name of the soldier, but we do know who is in the chain of command that ordered and enabled him to kill a 21-year-old paramedic: Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, both of whom approved the wording of the rules of engagement, as the High Court justices were told before they denied petitions against the shooting at protesters along the border fence.
    Despite all the testimony about civilian fatalities and horrifying injuries, the justices chose to believe what they were told in the name of the military by Avi Milikovsky, a lawyer from the State Prosecutor’s Office: The use of potentially lethal force is taken only as a last resort, in a proportionate manner and to the minimal extent required.
    Please explain how this tallies with the death of Najjar, who was treating a man injured directly by a tear-gas canister. An eyewitness told The New York Times that while the injured man was being taken to an ambulance, her colleagues were treating her because she was suffering the effects of the tear gas. Then shots were heard and Najjar fell.
    High Court Justices Esther Hayut, Hanan Melcer and Neal Hendel presented the army with an exemption from investigation and an exemption from criticism on a silver platter. In doing so, they joined the chain of command that ordered our anonymous soldier to fire at the chest of the paramedic and kill her.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/699991 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel uses Diaspora Jews as human shields

    Israel is happy to exploit the world’s Jews, but doesn’t care that its actions put them at risk

    Yossi Klein May 31, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-uses-diaspora-jews-as-human-shields-1.6135014

    Israel is a danger to the world’s Jews. It calls itself their protector, but doesn’t care about the consequences for them of its actions. Jews abroad pay the price of hostility to Israel, yet the state insists on wrapping them around it like a suicide vest. You want to hurt me? Okay, but be aware that they’ll blow up first.
    The effects on overseas Jews aren’t part of Israel’s military calculations. It will do what it does even if it hurts them. But that won’t keep it from claiming to represent them, to speak in their name and to use them as hostages. They are the human shield. Your loyalty to your Judaism, it says, comes before your loyalty to your homeland.
    The Judaism in whose name the state speaks is not that of most Diaspora Jews. Israel limits or excludes their Judaism. Israel’s Judaism is that of a minority that took over the country, and in the United States it is more attentive to evangelical Christians than it is to Reform or Conservative Jews. The state fights them, yet uses them.
    Israeli governments always used Diaspora Jews. Israeliness hid behind Judaism. The dangers to which Israel exposed Diaspora Jews never deterred it. In 1956 it used Egyptian Jews to sabotage their state. It sent Jonathan Pollard to spy against his own country. It imposes itself on the world’s Jews, forcing them to debate their loyalties while insisting on equating criticism of Israel with an assault on Judaism and all Jews — that is, anti-Semitism. We have plenty of that kind of anti-Semitism right here. By this formula, half of Israel is anti-Semitic because it can’t stand the government. But the efficacy of accusing the world of anti-Semitism is waning. Overuse has worn out the shame mechanism and moved up its expiry date. Gone are the days we could justify a strike on Gaza with what was done to us in Auschwitz.
    Israel won’t admit this, but from its perspective there’s an upside to anti-Semitism: It “proves” foreign countries’ failure to protect their Jews. Their negligence underscores our excellence. The head of state, who is also the head of the world’s Jews, is proud of the security he gives his Jews. Three years ago, after terror attacks against French Jews, he called on the community to come to Israel because their country can’t protect them. (Some 5,000 Jews have died in terror attacks in Israel.)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/699708 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The bill to protect Elor Azaria - Haaretz Editorial

    Israel is set to consider a proposal banning any photographing of soldiers if carried out with the intention of ’undermining the morale of Israel’s soldiers and residents’

    Haaretz Editorial May 27, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/the-bill-to-protect-elor-azaria-1.6117404

    With Elor Azaria’s release from prison this month, Israel seems to have drawn the wrong conclusions from a serious incident. Today the Ministerial Committee for Legislation is set to consider a dangerous proposal banning any photographing, recording or filming of soldiers in the course of their duties, if it is carried out with the intention of “undermining the morale of Israel’s soldiers and residents.” The bill also bans the publication of photos or videos in the media or on social networks with similar intentions. Anyone who breaks the law is subject to five years in prison.
    The message is clear: B’Tselem, not Azaria, is the real criminal and Israeli democracy must protect itself from the human rights organization’s future crimes. The bill’s aim was made clearer in its explanatory notes and that is to silence criticism of the army, and in particular to prevent human rights organizations from documenting the Israeli army’s actions in the territories.
    It might be noted that any footage of soldiers on such missions can be presented as an attempt “to undermine the morale of Israel’s soldiers and residents.” The bill in fact seeks to almost entirely prevent the photographing of soldiers, even if it is to verify that they are upholding the law of war and the army’s orders. The immediate result of such a prohibition is serious harm to the possibility of protecting human rights and overseeing the army’s activity.
    A democratic country cannot base criminal offenses on such a vague foundation, certainly not when it comes to an offense relating to freedom of expression. The bill does serious harm to freedom of the press and the public’s right to know. The public has a right to know what the reality is and especially what the “people’s army” is doing in its name and on its behalf. That is why censorship can only be exercised in cases of serious danger to state security and not in an effort to head off criticism of the army.
    The message such legislation would convey, if passed, is that Israel has a great deal to hide regarding the IDF’s activities. Such a message, beyond its profound damage to Israel’s status as a democracy, also has harsh legal repercussions. The main protection against indicting Israeli soldiers and commanders in international tribunals for violating the law of war is the assumption that Israel investigates complaints against its soldiers itself, and deals with them fairly. The more Israel acts to cover up its soldiers’ actions, the more the opposite assumption is substantiated — laying the ground for the indictment of Israeli soldiers and commanders in such criminal proceedings.
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    As “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” so too camouflage and concealment are the most effective contaminators. A country and army that have nothing to hide, that act to seek out and punish those who violate their code of combat, don’t need legislation in this spirit and must oppose it.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/697376 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Still too ‘tough on Arabs’ - Haaretz Editorial - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    Police violence against the Arab community in Israel appears part of a racist policy led by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government

    Haaretz Editorial May 21, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/still-too-tough-on-arabs-1.6098764

    Over the weekend there was a demonstration in Haifa protesting the killings along the Gaza border fence. The violent suppression of this protest and the detention of 21 demonstrators, including Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Center that advocates for Israeli Arabs’ rights, are a further sign of the growing restrictions on the democratic space available to this community.
    The harsh events in Gaza should have brought multitudes out onto the streets, particularly in light of the complexities plaguing relations between Arab citizens and the state. In practice, the protest in Arab society was minor and measured: a partial strike lasting only a day and local protest gatherings. Despite this, the police failed to contain the demonstrations.
    True, the protest in Haifa on Friday evening had no permit, but these are precisely the times when the police must use their discretion and show restraint. They should have used the presence of Farah, a veteran activist who once headed the Arab student union and who for years has been a partner to civic initiatives for Arab civil rights and against racism. A wise police force would have seen his presence as a channel for dialogue and an opportunity for calming tensions. Instead, the police used him to quell the protest.
    In footage taken at the demonstration one sees that the police did not suffice with arresting him but marched him handcuffed through Haifa’s streets as a warning to others. Even though Farah was seen walking, he was hospitalized the next day; relatives said one of his knees had been broken in detention.
    The Arab community is calling for an investigation into the police’s conduct in the demonstration, and the police are expected to carry out an internal probe into the Farah case. But this doesn’t suffice; the violence by the police against Arab protesters appears not random but intentional, part of an inflammatory and racist policy against the Arab community in Israel that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is leading.
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    Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich talk a lot about the importance of making police services more accessible to the Arab community, using every public platform to announce the opening of new police stations and the recruitment of Arab police officers. But the conduct in Haifa shows yet again that the police showed unwarranted “resolve” while ignoring the ramifications on the Arab community’s faith in law enforcement.
    The Public Security Ministry and police brass must understand that the delegitimization of elected Arab officials and prominent Arab activists, as well as the suppression of any political protest by brutal arrests, won’t contribute to a sense of trust. On the contrary, police violence against Arab citizens widens the circle of mutual suspicion and deepens this community’s alienation.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/695809 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Dear occupiers, sorry if we hurt your feelings - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    Not one Israeli statesman today intends to apologize for the Nakba – not for the ethnic cleansing, nor for the exiling. But Abbas had no choice but to apologize for his Holocaust remark

    Gideon Levy May 06, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-dear-occupiers-sorry-if-we-hurt-your-feelings-1.6055095

    It’s hard to imagine a more unfounded, bizarre and insane scenario than this: The leader of the Palestinian people is forced to apologize to the Jewish people. The one who was robbed apologizes to the robbers, the victim apologizes to the rapist, the dead to the killer.
    After all, the occupiers are so sensitive – and their feelings, and only theirs, must be taken into account. A nation that hasn’t stopped occupying, destroying and killing, and has never considered apologizing for anything – anything – gets its victims to apologize for one measly sentence by their leader. The rest is known: “apology not accepted.” What did you think would happen? That it would be “accepted”?
    You don’t have to be an admirer of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to understand the depths of the absurd. You don’t have to be an Israel hater to understand the extent of the chutzpah.
    Israel holds a magic card, the lottery of the century: the horror of anti-Semitism. The value of this card is on a dizzying rise, especially now as the Holocaust recedes and anti-Semitism is being replaced in many countries by criticism of Israel. Playing this lucky card covers everything. Its holders not only can do anything they please, they can be insulted and put on the squeeze.
    The world became agitated over Abbas like it never was over any Israeli incitement – the chorus of the European Union, the UN envoy and of course, the ambassador of the settlers, David Friedman, who never denounces Israel for anything, only the Palestinians. Even The New York Times took on an amazingly sharp tone: “Let Abbas’ vile words be his last as Palestinian leader.”
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    It’s hard to imagine that the newspaper the Jewish right has marked as an Israel hater, baselessly of course, would use similar language against an Israeli prime minister; the one responsible, for example, for the massacre of unarmed protesters.

    There’s a double standard in Israel as well: It will never attack the anti-Semitic right in Europe as it attacks Abbas, who is certainly much less anti-Semitic, if at all, than Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
    Abbas said something that should not have been said. A day later he apologized. He regretted and retracted what he said, condemned the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, and reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution. It wouldn’t have taken much more for him to bend his knee to Israel’s hobnail boots and ask forgiveness for continuing to live under them.
    But Israel won’t let any apology stop its nefarious gloating. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quick to damn the other side, as usual: “despicable Holocaust denier apology not accepted.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/692150 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Putin’s gambit could backfire

    For the first time since the beginning of the Russian intervention in Syria, Putin may find himself in direct confrontation with Israel

    Moshe Arens May 01, 2018

    Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-putin-s-gambit-could-backfire-1.6045735

    Vladimir Putin has shown himself to be quite astute in establishing a Russian presence in Syria. After waiting for the Americans to make it clear that they did not intend to get involved in the fighting there, he moved into the vacuum quickly and massively. He has established Russian naval and air bases and has provided military support to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Having saved Assad from defeat, Putin became Assad’s patron.
    Now Assad is indebted to Putin and relies on him for further military support, which includes Russian aircraft and missiles. The use of Russian mercenaries for fighting on the ground allows Putin to claim that no Russian ground forces are involved in the fighting and that the Russian military presence on the ground is limited to the Russian naval and air bases. The use of mercenaries is a ruse that was already used to cover the Russian involvement in Ukraine. Although quite transparent, it seems to be working. It has become part of the inventory of methods used to spread Russian influence beyond Russia’s borders. The world seems to be getting used to it.
    Whether to his satisfaction or not, Putin has become an ally of the Iranians, who are also supporting Assad through Hezbollah as well as with Iranian forces on the ground. They have all well situated themselves in Syria.
    On more than one occasion, Israel has made clear to Putin that it opposes the supplying of weapons to Hezbollah via Syria and that it is determined to keep Iranian forces from approaching Israel’s borders. Various arrangements have been made between Russia and Israel that are supposed to ensure the avoidance of conflict between Israeli aircraft operating over Syria and Russian aircraft. This seems to have worked so far.
    Now Putin is now considering supplying S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Assad, which would provide the Syrian president with the ability to engage Israeli aircraft attacking targets in Syria. This could bring about a dramatic change in the situation in Syria, and is liable to increase the prospect of a direct conflict between Russia and Israel. From Putin’s standpoint, this is a gamble whose outcome is hard to predict.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/690983 via Nouvelles d’Orient