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  • Pourquoi Israël (et le lobby pro-Israël aux Etats-Unis) défend MBS

    Why we should go easy on the Saudi crown prince

    For 50 years we’ve prayed for a key Arab leader who agrees to sign a significant pact with Israel. Such a leader has finally arrived

    Tzvia Greenfield
    Oct 22, 2018 1:48 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-why-we-should-go-easy-on-the-saudi-crown-prince-1.6576593

    Turkey, a human rights champion under Erdogan, is accusing Saudi Arabia, another human rights champion, of the abhorrent murder of a Saudi journalist who entered the lion’s den in Istanbul and, as befits horror stories typical of places like Syria China, Iran, Russia and North Korea, disappeared from sight. Now we have recordings and videotapes, allegedly from the Saudi consulate, suggesting that his body was chopped into pieces.
    The underlying reason for this gruesome act, that evokes something conjured up by the Coen brothers, is not completely clear. One shouldn’t treat any death lightly, particularly not a murder committed by an evil government. However, because of the political ramifications involved, it’s worth contemplating this episode a bit more.
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    It’s possible that just like Putin, the Saudi royal house cannot tolerate any criticism, which is why it decided to eliminate the rogue journalist in an acid bath (a no less likely possibility that has not yet been suggested by the authorities in Ankara). It’s possible that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is gnashing his teeth over Saudi Arabia’s bolstered global status, particularly vis-à-vis U.S. President Donald Trump, and over the central role played by Mohammed bin Salman in a regional coalition meant to block Iranian influence in the Middle East — which is why Erdogan is bent on deflating the Crown Prince’s image.
    Erdogan may want to humiliate the Saudis, but his main goal is foiling the plan apparently devised by Trump and Mohammed to forge a regional alliance under the aegis of the United States, an alliance that includes Israel, the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt (and possibly Iraq). These countries will jointly try to block Iran, which endangers all of them. Turkey, which is struggling to find an as-yet-undetermined place within the Arab Muslim world, does not strive merely to lead the Sunni world. It also wants to depict Israel as a foreign colonialist implant in the Middle East. Any legitimization afforded Israel thanks to an alliance with Arab states has negative implications for Erdogan.
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    >> Why are some pro-Israel voices speaking out against Jamal Khashoggi? | Explained ■ Saudi Arabia, reeling from Khashoggi scandal, battles a new front: Arab media | Analysis
    But fate obviously has a sense of humor. It has embroiled the Turkish rivalry with Saudi Arabia in the U.S. midterm elections. Since Mohammed is currently Trump’s most important international ally, mainly for economic reasons, the campaign advocating a “liberal order,” espoused by international media assailing the Saudi leader, is buzzing with excitement. Its main objective is not the brushing aside of Saudi Arabia, but the delivery of a humiliating knockout blow to Trump and his economic plans.

    According to Time magazine, the level of public support for Trump remains stable at 43 percent, similar to that of Obama, Clinton and Reagan at comparative phases in their terms. It’s no wonder that after the failed attacks on Trump, who immerged unscathed from the intimidation of migrant children, the Stormy Daniels saga and the attempt to prevent the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the left is eager to pounce on the Saudi murder case as if it has found a treasure trove.
    However, this time it’s necessary to treat the suspect with kid gloves. Trump’s peace initiative, if it is ever put on the table, is apparently the direct result of pressure by Mohammed bin Salman, who wishes to legitimize Israel before embarking on open cooperation with it. For 50 years we’ve prayed for a key Arab leader who agrees to sign a significant pact with Israel. Such a leader has finally arrived, and calls to depose him, such as those by former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro in an op-ed in Haaretz (October 21) are destructive and in keeping with the best Obama tradition. Anyone waiting for a world of the purely just will have to struggle all his life with the purely evil.

    Tzvia Greenfield

    https://seenthis.net/messages/730678 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • What’s so bad about assimilation? -

    Lucy Aharish and Tzachi Halevy may actually spawn a much more moral and civilized race than the one that has arisen here so far

    Gideon Levy
    Oct 13, 2018 1

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-what-s-so-bad-about-assimilation-1.6552472

    The fear of assimilation is something we’ve all imbibed with our mothers’ milk. Annihilation, destruction, Auschwitz, something like that. Even as proud Israelis with our own country and army, many among us were afraid to enter a church. Long before the latest wave of religious coercion while we were still fearfully kissing bibles that had fallen on the floor, we the children of the false secularism of Tel Aviv would sometimes play with fire: We’d cross ourselves, sort of as a joke. It was a test of courage and test of fate, no less than jumping from a roof or touching the flame of a burning candle.
    On Jaffa’s Yefet Street there’s a threatening school, and we were told it belonged to the “Missionaries.” Missionaries then sounded like the Gestapo. Whenever we’d walk pass it, even when we were already a little older, we would fearfully ponder what was going on within its walls. There was a rumor that a child from our school went there and was never heard from again. We never forgave. We suspected his parents of being Christians. It really frightened us.
    That’s how we grew up, the first generation of the rebirth of the Jewish state – that’s how they brainwashed us with fear. We were never taught a single word of the New Testament. Impurity. “The Narrow Path: The Man from Nazareth” by Aaron Abraham Kabak was the only sliver of information we got about Jesus in the secular, liberal, official school curriculum, long before the advent of Naftali Bennett. We of course heard nothing at all about Islam or the Koran. When Arela (Rela), the daughter of a close friend of my mother’s and a cousin of Benjamin Netanyahu’s, married Donny in San Francisco, we said, it’s not so bad, Donny is nice despite his being a gentile. That’s the way we were.

    >> ’She seduced a Jew’: Lawmaker bemoans wedding of Fauda star to Israeli Arab TV anchor
    We’ve grown up since then and gotten more powerful. Israeliness took root in the country, the world went global, and weddings with gentiles become more common and less threatening at least among a substantial minority of liberals. But the national narrative stayed the same: Mixed marriages are an existential threat, assimilation means destruction. We don’t need an excoriating Oren Hazan to understand how deeply rooted this narrative remains in the Jewish Israeli experience. Ask almost any parent, including most of those who regard themselves as enlightened and secular, and they’ll reply that they’d “prefer” that their son marry a Jewish woman. Why, for God’s sake?
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    The opposition to assimilation is racist and purely nationalistic. Again it’s the superior and pure Jewish blood that mustn’t be mixed, heaven forbid, with any Christian, Muslim or other impurity. After a long history living as a minority under threat, the people can’t shake that survival instinct. But let’s advance on step and ask: What for?
    The state of Israel is the embodiment of Judaism and its values. Here the Jews are a majority, they’re the sovereign, there’s nothing to stop them from achieving their wishes.
    If Israel were a model society or moral country, we could understand the need for the struggle against assimilation for the sake of preserving lofty values. But look at the disaster: Gentile Canada has in the past year absorbed some 3,000 Eritrean asylum seekers fleeing Israel where they were shamefully rejected. Netta Ahituv recently described with what humanity the unchosen country has treated them, and what memories they have of the Chosen Land (Haaretz, September 21). That’s just one example.
    Is the struggle against assimilation a struggle to preserve Jewish values as they’ve been realized in Israel? If so, then it would be best to abandon that battle. The gefilte fish and hreime (spicy sauce), the bible, religion and heritage, can be preserved in mixed marriages as well. While Western countries are becoming multi-cultural and mixed marriages routine, here we fight against any mixing. We view it as an existential threat, with one of the ministers even threatening the children of mixed unions.
    The Jewish state has already crystallized an identity, which can only be enriched by assimilation, which is a normal, healthy process. Lucy Aharish and Tzachi Halevy may actually spawn a much more moral and civilized race than the one that has arisen here so far.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/728899 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • A rational Hamas

    Hamas leader’s interview with Israeli paper caused an uproar. It wasn’t always like that

    Amira Hass

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-hamas-leader-s-interview-with-israeli-paper-caused-an-uproar-it-wa

    The interview with Yahya Sinwar, Hamas chief in Gaza, which was conducted by Italian journalist Francesca Borri and published in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth,” set off a major internet storm in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian diaspora. What? Sinwar spoke knowingly to an Israeli newspaper? It wasn’t the content that caused the uproar (“A new war is not in anyone’s interest, certainly not our interest”) – only the host.
    >> Israel is incomparably stronger than Hamas – but it will never win: Interview with Hamas leader in Gaza
    Sinwar’s bureau hastened to publish a clarification: The request was for an interview with an Italian newspaper and a British newspaper; the Western media department in the Hamas movement ascertained that the journalist was neither Jewish nor Israeli, and that she has never worked with the Israeli press. There was no face-to-face interview with the above-mentioned journalist, but rather a written response to her questions. The journalist met with Sinwar only for the purpose of a joint photo.

    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar greets militants in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, after his release from Israeli prison, October 20, 2011Adel Hana / ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Borri, 38, is a freelance journalist who began writing only about six years ago, mainly from Syria. “I think that Sinwar agreed to let me interview him because he knew that I’m a war correspondent and that I would understand when he told me that he isn’t interested in another war,” she told me over the phone from Italy on Friday.
    Her articles have been published in many languages – including in Hebrew in Yedioth Ahronoth. In June, Borri visited Gaza and published an article that was “tough on Hamas,” as she put it. She was haunted by the sight of little children begging, and in her opinion the Islamic resistance movement is also responsible for the terrible deterioration in the Strip. That article was also translated and published in Yedioth.
    And then Borri received a text message from one of Sinwar’s advisers, she told me. Why are you so hard on the Palestinians, he complained. They exchanged several text messages, until she asked if she could interview Sinwar. In late August she came to the Gaza Strip again, to interview him.

    Yahya Sinwar holds his son Ibrahim while he listens to Khaled Mashaal, the outgoing Hamas leader in exile, during his news conference in Doha, Qatar, on Monday, May 1, 2017Adel Hana,AP
    I asked her whether Hamas really didn’t know that the article would be published in Yedioth. “As a freelancer, transparency is important to me,” she said. “It was clear to everyone that the interview would be translated into other languages, including Hebrew. Everyone in Sinwar’s bureau knew that my articles have been published in Yedioth Ahronoth.”

    What caused the outrage was that the wording of the article seemed to indicate that Borri was sent by the Israeli newspaper, and that that’s how the situation was presented to Sinwar. Here is the wording of her first question: “This is the first time ever that you’re agreeing to speak to the Western media – and to an Israeli newspaper yet.” According to Borri, the words “and to an Israeli newspaper yet” didn’t appear in her original question to Sinwar.
    >> ’We can’t prevail against a nuclear power’: Hamas’ Gaza chief says he doesn’t want war with Israel
    On the other hand, she confirmed that Sinwar’s final remark in the article, “and they translate you regularly into Hebrew too,” really was said. “Sinwar spoke to me, and through me to the world. I had the impression that he’s interested in talking through me to the Israelis too,” she said.
    And was the interview really conducted face-to-face and during joint trips with Sinwar and his aides over the course of five days, or in writing, as Hamas claimed. Borri explains: “I never record. I feel that people’s answers change when they see a recording device.” She didn’t travel with him in his car, but she says she did join a convoy of cars with Sinwar through the Strip, yet preferred not to say where.
    On Thursday, in other words before the publication of the full article in Yedioth on Friday, the Al Jazeera website in Arabic already published the text of the written questions and answers that were exchanged, according to Hamas, between Sinwar’s bureau and Borri. A comparison of the written version with the article in Yedioth reveals great similarity between the two texts, with a few differences – mainly a change in the order of the questions and their answers, sentences, declarations and facts that were deleted from the Hebrew version, and a few sentences that were added to it.
    >> Israeli military strikes Gazans who launched incendiary balloons
    The questions and answers in the Arabic version flow, and there is a connection between the replies and the following questions; in other words, a conversation is taking place. According to Al Jazeera, the written questions and replies were exchanged several times between the parties. There is even mention of how during the interview, Sinwar pointed to one of his advisers and said that his son was killed by Israeli fire.
    Borri confirmed in a conversation with me that she combined the replies received in writing, over a period of time, with answers she received orally. Due to the great similarity between the two versions, my impression is that many replies were sent to her in writing. A Gaza resident told me that he was convinced that most of the answers were given in writing because of “the polished wording, the level-headed replies and the rational explanations.”
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    He believes that an entire team thought things through and wrote the answers, not Sinwar alone. He also said that the message in the interview is addressed to the Palestinians in Gaza “who are sick and tired of Hamas rule,” no less than to readers in the West, whom Borri enables to see a senior Hamas official as a leader who cares about his people, rather than as a caricature of a bloodthirsty fanatic.
    And I was left longing for the period when senior Hamas officials gave interviews to the Israeli press and to a Jewish Israeli like me – including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Ismail Haniyeh and many others. And I was left with the following conclusion: When Israel doesn’t allow Israeli journalists to enter Gaza, it makes life easy for Hamas.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/727533 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • It’s even allowed to hate Israel

    If cabinet Minister Erdan, scourge of left-wing dissidents, visited Sweden, he certainly did not love the liberalism and equality there, yet Swedish airport officials wouldn’t have asked him about it

    Gideon Levy
    Oct 07, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-it-s-even-allowed-to-hate-israel-1.6532475

    News flash for the minister in charge of combating hatred, Gilad Erdan: One is allowed to hate Israel. Sometimes one must even hate its policies. A democratic country doesn’t ask new arrivals whether they love it. It’s none of their business. The gates of democracy are open to everyone, as long as they don’t endanger its security. That is the test.
    Erdan may also have visited a country whose policies he despised; he certainly did not love the liberalism and equality in Sweden, or Germany’s willingness to take in asylum-seekers – and nobody asked him what he thought. His colleague, Culture Minister Miri Regev, a sworn Arab-hater, intends to fly to Abu Dhabi soon. Will they deport her because of her hatred? If only. Maybe that way Erdan would learn.
    >>Ex-Shin Bet chief on questioning of foreigners at Israel’s borders: Shin Bet becoming a problem
    The world that Gilad McCarthy is building for us now, together with the Shin Bet security service that has long been in charge of this, is motivated by the darkness of a different worldview. Erdan described it well on Friday.
    “Everyone understands,” he wrote, “that these are hypocritical organizations uninterested in human rights. They will never act to help the citizens of Syria or Iran. It’s not human rights that motivate them, but hatred of Israel.” Erdan tried to excuse banning the entry to Israel of the student Lara Alqasem and in so doing revealed his worldview once again.
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    “Everyone understands,” Erdan? Well, almost everyone. Even the minister of strategic affairs can’t yet speak for everyone in Israel. Maybe he will be able to do so soon.
    Meanwhile, there are also some people who don’t understand. Not everyone here has been brainwashed by the propagandistic lies. The “hypocritical organizations” are more interested in human rights than anything else. They are people of conscience. Some are veterans of long-standing work against the Vietnam War and apartheid in South Africa, some are young people who should be a source of pride. At a time when most Israelis their age are not interested in anything that doesn’t involve them directly, they are fighting for something. They are certainly immeasurably more moral than any settler in the territories.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/727333 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The Germans will ignore Israeli apartheid again

    Each day that has passed since May 1999, Europe in general and Germany in particular have crossed another red line in the normalization of the status quo

    Amira Hass SendSend me email alerts
    Oct 02, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-germans-will-ignore-israeli-apartheid-again-1.6515798

    Angela Merkel is the answer to two questions: 1. Will Israel, “having no alternative,” attack the Gaza Strip before Friday, that being “the only possible response” to the multiplying demonstrations at the border fence? And 2. Now that the Monday-evening deadline given to the residents of the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar to dismantle their simple structures has passed, will Israel’s Civil Administration raze the entire community Tuesday?
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    It probably won’t happen this week, so as not to embarrass Merkel. The German chancellor and her cabinet are scheduled to arrive Wednesday for meetings with their Israeli colleagues, the seventh such intergovernmental consultations since the tradition began in 2008. In between, the German delegation will visit an exhibition on technological innovation sponsored by the Foreign Ministry, at which six Israeli companies will present their wares.

    Officially, Germany — like all European Union member states — opposes the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and the forced eviction of its residents, actions that violate international law and Israel’s obligations as an occupying power. Officially, Germany is concerned by the military escalation and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. Therefore, like all European states, it hopes for a nonviolent resolution of the military tension.
    But the consulting cabinet ministers aren’t supposed to delve into the bottomless expectation gap between the parties on the future of the Palestinian territories that were captured in 1967. The Germans are still talking about a two-state solution, even as Israel is realizing the eight-state vision (of defeated, disconnected Palestinian enclaves scattered throughout the expanse of Jewish sovereignty).
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    In any event, the joint consultations address the real issues of mature countries. The parties will discuss their excellent technological, military and intelligence ties, their common place in the advanced industrial world, their cultural and scientific ties — not to mention, of course, the Holocaust and Germany’s eternal obligations to Israel.
    >> Read more: Israel Gives Residents of West Bank Bedouin Village Week to Evacuate
    We can infer, from the slogans inserted in the joint statement after the 2016 consultations, that some German minister will blurt out something about human rights, and the response will be that Israel is the only democracy in the region. An open expression of Israeli military and bureaucratic superiority during the visit wouldn’t go over well with the foreign guests.
    And so, the bulldozers and the deadly armed drones, the pride of Israeli technology, along with our female combat soldiers who operate them remotely, the pride of Israeli feminism, will be forced to wait patiently. Not this week.
    On the other hand, why should they wait patiently? Why shouldn’t it happen this week? The German ministers already ignore that an important part of Israeli technological, military and intelligence development is linked to maintaining the occupation and keeping the permanent conflict on a low flame that occasionally flares up. They must ignore this, mentally and emotionally, to continue cultivating partnerships with Israel. They can also ignore Israel’s use of its military capabilities during their visit.
    Each day that has passed since May 1999 (when the final-status agreement with the Palestinians was to go into effect), Israel has crossed another red line in shaping its unique regime of separation (apartheid, in Afrikaans). None of these crossings or violations of international resolutions led European countries to put genuine political pressure on Israel.
    Each day that has passed since May 1999, Europe in general and Germany in particular have crossed another red line in the normalization of Israeli apartheid. They make a complete separation between their partner in technological, scientific and intellectual progress and the Israel that plans to erase in the near future the small village and other communities, and that for 10 years has imprisoned 2 million people in the biggest concentration facility in the world.
    And the umbrella of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust is used to excuse and explain this intolerable ability to repress and compartmentalize.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/726143 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The strong earn respect - Haaretz Editorial

    Palestinian diplomacy is perceived as weakness whereas violent struggle is treated with reverence

    Haaretz Editorial

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/the-strong-earn-respect-1.6466404

    The demonstrations along the Gaza border have resumed amid a lack of progress in negotiations on easing the Gaza blockade and achieving calm on the border for the long term. Along with the protests has come a resumption of the violence and killing that are only expected to intensify now that the United States is ceasing funding for the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
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    The latest reports have all the ingredients of a recipe for escalation: the navy fired at a protest flotilla, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated along the coast with the army shooting at them, Palestinians tried to breach the border fence and were arrested by the military, an Israeli plane fired at a squad launching incendiary balloons and fires broke out on the Israeli side of the border, dozens have been wounded and three young people have been killed, including one shown on video waving his arms before being shot dead.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/721424 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel is too strong
    If Israel were weaker, it would work harder to be accepted in the region. If it were less strong, Israel would have had to put an end to the curse of the occupation
    Gideon Levy | Sep 08, 2018 11:36 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-is-too-strong-1.6464641
    https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.6464648.1536437744!/image/611577387.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_1200x630/611577387.jpg

    In the end, after deducting all the other ills, we find that the worst of them all, the mother of all disasters, is that Israel is too strong. If it weren’t so strong – too strong – it would be more just. If it couldn’t do whatever it felt like doing, its conduct would be more moral and more considerate. A good part of its crimes and whims comes from its power drunkenness. A good part of what it does stems from the fact that it simply can. It can thumb its nose at the whole world; ignore international law; control another people by force for generations; infringe on the sovereignty of its neighbors; act like it’s the be-all and the end-all, only because it has the power to do so.

    Like any other country, Israel needs to be strong. Weakness might indeed lead to its destruction, as Israelis are told constantly from the day they are born. But too much power has ruined it and caused it damage of a different kind. It’s not its weakness, as it describes itself – surrounded by enemies that seek only to destroy it, little David facing Goliath – that molded its character. It’s the overabundance of power that it has accumulated that has molded it more than anything else. If Israel were weaker, it would work harder to be accepted in the region. If it were less strong, Israel would have had to put an end to the curse of the occupation.

    Even if it was born in sin, Israel is not a country of particularly bad people. Even the arrogance Israelis show the whole world is not an inborn trait. Israel probably did not intend to become what it is: a regional power, which largely dictates to the most powerful country, the United States, how it should conduct itself; a country that many others court and even fear and at the same time is considered an outcast by anyone with a conscience. Israel has become this way because it is brimming with power. It accumulated it gradually, and today it has reached its zenith.

    Israel has never been stronger. It is not by chance that now its image is at the lowest point in its history. That’s the price of too much power.

    Israel is walloping the whole world. Not only with the occupation, which it continues undisturbed despite the opposition of most of the world; not only in the horrific siege on Gaza and its cruel attacks on it, which include war crimes that Israel is never punished for; not only with the settlements, whose legitimacy most of the world also doesn’t recognize – the entirety of its foreign policy says hubris.

    The daily bombings in Syria and other countries and regular flyovers of Lebanon as if there were no border and no tomorrow; arrogant, criminal, unrestrained international assassinations; leading the world to fight the Iranian nuclear program; the shocking international criminalization campaign against the BDS movement; the fact that it refrains from signing international treaties to which all democratic countries are signatories; that it endlessly disregards resolutions by international bodies; attempts to interfere in the domestic matters of its neighbors, becomes involved in wars that have nothing to do with it and even attempts to stir things up in the European Union and lead to disunity there; takes subversive action against the (former) president of the United States and closes its embassy in Paraguay only because the latter took a step that Israel didn’t like – doing all of these things like it’s a superpower.

    It’s hard to think of another country that is not the United States, Russia or China that would dare to act like this. Israel can.

    Ostensibly, this is a dizzying success of the Zionist enterprise. Who would have dreamed that we’d become like this? In fact, this is the greatest threat to its justness. Except for a few mishaps, like in 1973, this power drunkenness has so far continued without Israel having to pay any significant price, except in terms of its image, which it has also learned to disregard.

    On the eve of the new year, Israel is not facing challenges that endanger its belligerent super-powerful status. It seems that it can probably go on doing what it is doing – in the occupied territories, the Middle East and the whole world.

    Only history itself insists on reminding us from time to time that such shows of unbridled power drunkenness usually end badly. Very badly.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/720664 via Loutre


  • BDS success stories - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-bds-success-stories-1.6455621

    More than the achievements of the economic, academic and cultural boycott, BDS has succeeded in undermining the greatest asset of Israeli public diplomacy: Israel’s liberal and democratic image in the world.

    Gideon Levy SendSend me email alerts
    Sep 05, 2018

    Gilad Erdan is a great success story of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, as is the Strategic Affairs Ministry that he heads. So is the anti-boycott law. Every human rights activist who is expelled from Israel or questioned at Ben-Gurion International Airport is a BDS success story. The European Broadcasting Union’s letter is another success of the global movement to boycott Israel.
    More than Lana Del Rey canceling her visit, more than SodaStream moving its factory from the West Bank to the Negev and more than the achievements of the economic, academic and cultural boycott, BDS has succeeded in a different area, effortlessly and perhaps unintentionally. It has undermined the greatest asset of Israeli public diplomacy: Israel’s liberal and democratic image in the world. It was the European Broadcasting Union, of all things, a nonpolitical organization, very far from BDS, that best described the extent of the damage to Israel: The organization compared Israel to Ukraine and Azerbaijan in the conditions it set for these countries to host the Eurovision Song Contest.
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    Ukraine and Azerbaijan, which no one seriously considers to be democracies, in the same breath as Israel. This is how the Eurovision organizers see Israel.
    The song contest was held in Jerusalem twice before, and no one thought to set conditions to guarantee the civil liberties of participants. Now it is necessary to guarantee, in advance and in writing, what is self-evident in a democracy: freedom of entry and freedom of movement to everyone who comes for the competition.
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    In Israel, as in Ukraine and Azerbaijan, this is no longer self-evident. In the 13 years since it was founded, the BDS movement couldn’t have dreamed of a greater triumph.
    The main credit, of course, goes to the Israeli government, which in declaring war on BDS and made a great contributions to the movement. With a commander like Erdan, who is outraged over the interference with the “laws of a democratic state” and doesn’t understand how grotesque his words are, and with a ministry that is nothing but an international thought police, the government is telling the world: Israel isn’t what you thought. Did you think for years that Israel was a liberal democracy? Did you close your eyes to the goings-on in its backyard? Did you think the occupation was separate from the state, that it could be maintained in a democracy, that it was surely temporary and would be over momentarily? That at least sovereign Israel is part of the West? Well, you were wrong.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/720326 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Eurovision’s demands should serve as wake-up call for Israel - Haaretz Editorial - Israel News | Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/eurovision-s-demands-should-serve-as-wake-up-call-for-israel-1.6450815

    In a different time, the demands of the European Broadcasting Union, the organizer of the Eurovision Song Contest, would have been received in Israel with a shrug, as self-evident.
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    According to a report by the Israel Television News Corporation, the broadcasting union is asking for an Israeli authority, preferably the prime minister, to promise that Israel will grant entry visas for the event regardless of applicants’ political opinions; that visitors be able to tour the country regardless of their political opinions, religion or sexual orientation; that there be freedom of the press and complete freedom of expression for all participants; that there be no religious restrictions on rehearsals on Saturday; and that Israel’s public broadcasting company, Kan, be given complete independence in editing the broadcasts.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/719812 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Israel Violence from God -

    Amira Hass

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-violence-from-god-1.6427708

    The IDF spokesman did not miss the target and proved what we have known for a long time. In other words, his employer, the army, is a willing captive of the settlement enterprise and the settlers.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    In a response after the attack on six activists from Ta’ayush by about a dozen or more Israelis, (Jews), at the Mitzpeh Yair settlement outpost on the holy Sabbath of the 14th of the Jewish month of Elul, 5778, the IDF spokesman lied twice: “Friction” – that’s what he called the brutal attack, after which four of the victims required treatment in the hospital. He also claimed that the soldiers declared a closed military zone. If they did, the activists didn’t hear it.

    Soldiers evacuating an injured activist after the attack in South Hebron Hills, August 25, 2018.B’Tselem
    There is no group of Israeli Jewish activists that has been and is being exposed to physical attacks by the settlers more than Ta’ayush. For almost 20 years the activists of this left-wing group have been going out to the battlefields: the pastures, fields and orchards that the settlers have their eyes on.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/717822 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • 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. 
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    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.
    To really understand Israel and the Palestinians - subscribe to Haaretz
    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.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    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