• Has the Jewish state forgotten to fight the anti-Semitic far right? - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    When Israel’s government and major Jewish groups cosy up to the global far right, it is a fundamental betrayal of Jewish history, Zionism and the Jewish values we believe in
    Hannah Rose and Benjamin Guttmann Feb 28, 2019


    We, Jewish student leaders in the UK and Austria, were raised in and by the Jewish community, which embedded in us a fierce set of values. We were taught that every individual is deserving of equal respect and rights, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality or gender.

    These are not values we take lightly; these are the very foundations of our Jewish identity. The injunction to “treat the stranger justly” appears 36 times in the Torah, more often than any other commandment. Those qualities of justice and solidarity distinguished Abraham, who cared for the strangers who visited his tent, from the people of Sodom, who attacked them, and faced divine punishment.

    The Shoah survivor, author and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel famously declared: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the centre of the universe.”

    It is therefore not only with shock, but with great disappointment, that we see the current government of our Jewish state, and some of our Jewish institutions, giving succour to those who discriminate against other vulnerable communities.

    In Europe, it is a fearful reality that the far-right is gaining power and popularity and that the survival of liberal democracy is no longer self-evident. Jewish experience teaches us that political intolerance usually ends with blame falling on Jews.

    Yet Israel, the place to which we, as Zionists, are deeply connected, has a government which not only tolerates these views, but invites their most prominent representatives to summits, not least the Visegrad Group, whose aspiration is a Europe of “illiberal democracies.”

    As a sign of the moral jeopardy this opens up, the formal summit was scuppered (despite bilateral meetings going ahead) not because of a principled move by courageous Israeli leaders, but because the Polish government took WWII historical revisionism more seriously than its relationship with Israel.
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    Israel’s prime minister lauded the election of Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro who, among many other comments exposing his weak allegiance to democratic values, and endorsement of torture and racism repeatedly told a congresswoman: “I wouldn’t rape you because you don’t deserve it.”

    On Holocaust Memorial Day, the World Jewish Congress, one of the major Jewish organisations posted a video of Jair Bolsonaro claiming to support Holocaust remembrance. It is a struggle to believe that the same person who said he would be “incapable of loving a gay son” and they’d prefer his child to die in a car crash rathe than come out as gay, would respectfully and sincerely commemorate the WWII persecution of LGBT+ people in their thousands.
    Netanyahu and Bolsonaro in Brazil.
    Netanyahu and Bolsonaro in Brazil.Leo Correa/אי־פי

    Meaningful Holocaust remembrance looks at the lessons we can learn, and how we can take action to stamp out analogous hateful ideologies. If we take these responsibilities seriously, we can never embrace someone fundamentally opposed to the values behind Holocaust remembrance out of timidity and short-term political gain.

    The recent co-option of the racist Arab-baiting Kahanist political tradition into the Knesset is nothing less than an endorsement of the subjugation of the rights of others to the rights of Jewish people. Having struggled for thousands of years against those seeking to remove our rights, getting into bed with the far right in our own state is nothing short of an insult to our history and our Zionism as well as hypocrisy of the highest level.

    We understand states seek to protect their interests through realpolitik and pragmatism. But support for, or tolerance of the far-right, is alarmingly short-sighted. Not only is it strategically ill-advised for Israel to align itself with the global far right, it endangers local Jewish communities.

    Morally speaking, this is inexcusable. Sacrificing the rights of other vulnerable groups because the far-right are supposedly “good for Israel” is an outrageous contravention of everything Judaism teaches.
    Anti-Semitic tags reading “Dirty Jew, get out” and a swastika graffitied on a door on Rue d’Alesia in Paris’ 14th arrondissement. February 21, 2019.
    Anti-Semitic tags reading “Dirty Jew, get out” and a swastika graffitied on a door on Rue d’Alesia in Paris’ 14th arrondissement. February 21, 2019.AFP

    Israel thus becomes partner to the legitimization of the far right’s whitewashing of their hateful ideology, not least their anti-Semitism, through a façade of skin-deep support for Israel.

    Human rights are Jewish rights and Jewish rights are human rights. We must be robust and we must be outspoken; any homophobe, any misogynist or any Islamophobe is no friend of the Jewish community.

    If there is any chance of eliminating discrimination against Jews and non-Jews alike, we must first look at ourselves. As Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin eloquently articulated: “You cannot say ‘we admire Israel and want relations with your country, but we are neo-fascists. Neo-fascism is incompatible with the principles and values on which the State of Israel was founded.”

    This is a cross-party political issue; no matter one’s views on border control or economic systems, as a people who have faced antisemitism for thousands of years, we must all be able to acknowledge that no individual should be discriminated against simply because of who they are.

    As Jews, we should know better than that.

    Benjamin (Bini) Guttmann is President of the Austrian Union of Jewish Students (JöH. Twitter: @bin_gut and @joehwien

    Hannah Rose is President of the UK Union of Jewish Students. Twitter: @hannah1_rose and @UJS_PRES

    https://seenthis.net/messages/763795 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • L’antisionisme est une opinion, pas un crime - Libération

    Tribune. Monsieur le Président, vous avez récemment déclaré votre intention de criminaliser l’antisionisme. Vous avez fait cette déclaration après en avoir discuté au téléphone avec Benyamin Nétanyahou, juste avant de vous rendre au dîner du Crif.
    inRead invented by Teads

    Monsieur le Président, vous n’êtes pas sans savoir que la Constitution de la République énonce en son article 4 que « la loi garantit les expressions pluralistes des opinions. » Or, l’antisionisme est une opinion, un courant de pensée né parmi les juifs européens au moment où le nationalisme juif prenait son essor. Il s’oppose à l’idéologie sioniste qui préconisait (et préconise toujours) l’installation des juifs du monde en Palestine, aujourd’hui Israël.

    L’argument essentiel de l’antisionisme était (et est toujours) que la Palestine n’a jamais été une terre vide d’habitants qu’un « peuple sans terre » serait libre de coloniser du fait de la promesse divine qui lui en aurait été donnée, mais un pays peuplé par des habitants bien réels pour lesquels le sionisme allait bientôt être synonyme d’exode, de spoliation et de négation de tous leurs droits. Les antisionistes étaient, et sont toujours, des anticolonialistes. Leur interdire de s’exprimer en prenant prétexte du fait que des racistes se servent de cette appellation pour camoufler leur antisémitisme, est absurde.

    Monsieur le Président, nous tenons à ce que les Français juifs puissent rester en France, qu’ils s’y sentent en sécurité, et que leur liberté d’expression et de pensée y soit respectée dans sa pluralité. L’ignominie des actes antisémites qui se multiplient ravive le traumatisme et l’effroi de la violence inouïe dont leurs parents ont eu à souffrir de la part d’un Etat français et d’une société française qui ont largement collaboré avec leurs bourreaux. Nous attendons donc de vous que vous déployiez d’importants moyens d’éducation, et que les auteurs de ces actes soient sévèrement punis. Mais nous ne voulons certainement pas que vous livriez les juifs de France et leur mémoire à l’extrême droite israélienne, comme vous le faites en affichant ostensiblement votre proximité avec le sinistre « Bibi » et ses amis français.

    C’est pourquoi nous tenons à vous faire savoir que nous sommes antisionistes, ou que certains de nos meilleurs amis se déclarent comme tels. Nous éprouvons du respect et de l’admiration pour ces militants des droits humains et du droit international qui, en France, en Israël et partout dans le monde, luttent courageusement et dénoncent les exactions intolérables que les sionistes les plus acharnés font subir aux Palestiniens. Beaucoup de ces militants se disent antisionistes car le sionisme a prouvé que lorsque sa logique colonisatrice est poussée à l’extrême, comme c’est le cas aujourd’hui, il n’est bon ni pour les juifs du monde, ni pour les Israéliens, ni pour les Palestiniens.

    Monsieur le Président, nous sommes des citoyens français respectueux des lois de la République, mais si vous faites adopter une loi contre l’antisionisme, ou si vous adoptez officiellement une définition erronée de l’antisionisme qui permettrait de légiférer contre lui, sachez que nous enfreindrons cette loi inique par nos propos, par nos écrits, par nos œuvres artistiques et par nos actes de solidarité. Et si vous tenez à nous poursuivre, à nous faire taire, ou même à nous embastiller pour cela, eh bien, vous pourrez venir nous chercher.

    Premiers signataires : Gilbert Achcar universitaire Gil Anidjar professeur Ariella Azoulay universitaire Taysir Batniji artiste plasticien Sophie Bessis historienne Jean-Jacques Birgé compositeur Simone Bitton cinéaste Laurent Bloch informaticien Rony Brauman médecin François Burgat politologue Jean-Louis Comolli cinéaste Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun sociologue Ivar Ekeland universitaire Mireille Fanon-Mendès France ex-experte ONU Naomi Fink professeure agrégée d’hébreu Jean-Michel Frodon critique et enseignant Jean-Luc Godard cinéaste Alain Gresh journaliste Eric Hazan éditeur Christiane Hessel militante et veuve de Stéphane Hessel Nancy Huston écrivaine Abdellatif Laâbi écrivain Farouk Mardam-Bey éditeur Gustave Massiah économiste Anne-Marie Miéville cinéaste Marie- José Mondzain philosophe Ernest Pignon-Ernest artiste plasticien Elias Sanbar écrivain, diplomate Michèle Sibony enseignante retraitée Eyal Sivan cinéaste Elia Suleiman cinéaste Françoise Vergès politologue.

    Liste complète des signataires disponible sur : https://bit.ly/2BTE43k

    https://seenthis.net/messages/763787 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Guerre du renseignement à Gaza
    Ahmad Abu Amer - 22 février 2019 – Al-Monitor – Traduction : Chronique de Palestine

    GAZA City – Bande de Gaza –
    Les répercussions de l’opération bâclée du renseignement israélien à l’est de Khan Yunis dans le sud de Gaza le 13 novembre 2018 continuent de se manifester.

    Les forces de sécurité affiliées au Hamas dans la bande de Gaza ont saisi le 16 février des puces de pistage électroniques dissimulées dans des bottes militaires qui entraient à Gaza par le point de passage commercial de Kerem Abu Salem.

    Les forces de sécurité palestiniennes à Gaza esont persuadées qu’Israël est derrière la tentative de contrebande de « puces électroniques de suivi » dans la bande de Gaza, sur la base des aveux d’un suspect impliqué dans la fourniture d’un soutien logistique à Israël.

    Le suspect, identifié uniquement par ses initiales, M. Sh. a été arrêté par les forces de sécurité du Hamas à la suite de l’opération ratée de Khan Yunis. Dans ses aveux rendus publics le 11 février, M. Sh. a déclaré que le 2 octobre 2018, un officier des services de renseignements israéliens lui avait demandé de se rendre au poste-frontière de Kerem Abu Salem et de recevoir deux systèmes GPS qui se trouvaient à l’intérieur de conteneurs de marchandises entrant par Israël dans la bande de Gaza.

    Il a affirmé qu’un employé de l’Autorité palestinienne au passage facilitait l’entrée et la sortie sans effectuer d’inspections.

    Abu Mohammad, porte-parole des médias pour les Brigades des martyrs d’Al-Aqsa, branche armée du Fatah à Gaza, a déclaré à Al-Monitor qu’un de ses combattants avait acheté des bottes militaires bon marché à un magasin à Gaza début février pour 50 shekels israéliens (14 dollars) au lieu du prix initial de 160 à 180 shekels (environ 44 à 50 $). Rendu méfiant, le combattant a inspecté les bottes et a trouvé dans une semelle une puce de suivi électronique. (...)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/763763 via Loutre

  • La réponse d’Israël aux manifestations à Gaza, un « crime contre l’humanité »  ?
    Publié le 28/02/2019 - AFP

    Une commission de l’ONU indique que « plus de 6 000 manifestants non armés ont été touchés par des tireurs d’élite militaires » durant les manifestations de la « Marche du retour » à Gaza.

    La réponse d’Israël aux manifestations à Gaza en 2018 « peut constituer des crimes de guerre ou des crimes contre l’humanité », affirme ce jeudi une commission de l’ONU. Les enquêteurs soulignent que des snipers ont visé des civils, dont des enfants.

    « Les soldats israéliens ont commis des violations du droit international humanitaire et des droits humains. Certaines de ces violations […] doivent immédiatement faire l’objet d’une enquête par Israël », a déclaré le président de la Commission, Santiago Canton.
    Des enfants et des journalistes pris pour cible

    Selon la commission de l’ONU, « plus de 6 000 manifestants non armés ont été touchés par des tireurs d’élite militaires, semaine après semaine lors des manifestations ».

    Les enquêteurs ont indiqué avoir « trouvé des motifs raisonnables de croire que des tireurs d’élite israéliens ont tiré sur des journalistes, du personnel de santé, des enfants et des personnes handicapées, sachant qu’ils étaient clairement reconnaissables comme tels ».

    La commission a été mise sur pied en mai 2018 par le Conseil des droits de l’Homme de l’ONU pour « enquêter sur les violations et mauvais traitements présumés […] dans le contexte des assauts militaires menés lors des grandes manifestations civiles qui ont commencé le 30 mars 2018 » à Gaza. (...)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/763701 via Loutre

  • Decathlon et le hijab : la France est-elle devenue folle ? | Ilyes Ramdani

    Ce mardi 26 février, une polémique nourrie par des responsables politiques de La République en marche et du parti Les Républicains ont amené Decathlon à renoncer à commercialiser un « hijab de running ». Loin d’être anecdotique, cet événement en dit long sur la névrose d’une frange de la société française autour de l’islam et du voile. Source : Bondy Blog

    https://seenthis.net/messages/763461 via Rezo

  • Egypt. Judicial officials: Constitutional amendments final battleground in struggle for judicial independence | MadaMasr

    In a meeting with Middle Eastern and North African general prosecutors in Cairo on Wednesday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi once again stressed the importance of judicial independence, asserting that “no one can interfere with the work of the judiciary.”

    Yet critics say a set of constitutional amendments making its way through Egypt’s Parliament does precisely that.

    Last week, Parliament voted overwhelmingly to advance the amendments, the primary focus of which have been changes that would allow Sisi to extend his term in office until 2034. But the proposed amendments also include a number of other controversial changes, not least of which are revisions to articles that could further undermine judicial independence and erode the separation of powers by giving the president tighter control over the judiciary.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/763503 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Decathlon drops French sports hijab after politicians threaten boycott | World news | The Guardian

    The retailer’s plain, lightweight running headscarf, which covers the hair but not the face, is already on sale in Morocco and was to be extended to France and worldwide. But after a social media storm and outrage from some politicians against Muslim head coverings, the company backtracked and said the garment would not go on sale “at the present time” in France.

    Agnès Buzyn, the health minister in Macron’s government, said of the garment: “It’s a vision of women that I don’t share. I would prefer if a French brand did not promote the headscarf.”

    C’était elle, ce mot dégueulasse. Réfléchis, Buzyn : les femmes qui veulent porter le hijab n’arrêteront pas de le porter parce que tu n’aimes pas ça, c’est pas tes gosses, tes bonnes ou tes chiennes. Elles vont simplement être privées d’un moyen de faire du sport. Et c’est pas ton boulot, de dire ce que les femmes doivent porter ou non ni de les empêcher d’être actives.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/763313 via aude_v

  • Israeli TV journalist reacts to outcry after saying occupation turns soldiers into ’animals’

    Oshrat Kotler, who received death threats for her comment, says she can’t ignore ’heavy price that we are paying through our children for ruling over another people’
    Itay Stern
    Feb 24, 2019


    TV journalist Oshrat Kotler on Saturday responded to the uproar she caused last week, when she said Israeli soldiers become “human animals” during their army service in the West Bank.

    “They send children to the army, to the territories, and get them back human animals. That’s the result of the occupation,” Kotler said last week following a piece on the five Israeli soldiers who were indicted for beating two detained Palestinians, which aired on her Channel 13 show, “Magazine.”

    On Saturday night she spoke again toward the end of the program to clarify her comments, choking with tears as she spoke.

    “Last week we broadcast here a very complex and painful report about the soldiers of the ‘Netzah Yehuda’ [battalion] who were involved in a series of harsh acts of violence,” she said. “For two weeks we investigated, filmed and edited, reporter Arik Weiss and myself, this report with the greatest caution because both of us understood that the matter was very charged and very hard to absorb.”

    Thousands of complaints were filed against Kotler, as well as death threats, after which Channel 13 decided to provide her with a security guard. Many politicians rushed to condemn her comments, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, both demanding she apologize.

    Kotler criticized politicians in the midst of an election campaign for making “cynical” use of her comments and portraying them out of the story’s context. “What I said here was directed only at the soldiers who violated the law and not toward IDF soldiers in general. They were spoken with great pain,” said Kotler. Channel 13 News came to her defense, saying she was allowed to express her opinion, even if it does not reflect the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

    “The purpose of the story, as was the purpose of my comments that followed it too, was to make us as a society to take personal responsibility for the actions of the soldiers of Netzah Yehuda, because it is impossible to accuse them of crossing moral and legal boundaries when we are the ones who put them in an impossible situation day after day,” she added. “The public criticism should not be directed at the soldiers, and it would be proper for the court to consider that and be lenient in their sentencing."

    https://seenthis.net/messages/762645 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • France to deliver 6 boats to the Libyan Coast Guard in June

    France’s Defense Minister, Florence Parly, announced on Saturday that her country will provide the Libyan Coast Guard with six equipped boats, which will arrive in June.

    The announcement came during Parly’s meeting with Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, in the margins of the Munich Security Conference.

    The French minister also approved a program for training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard, which Parly praised its successes in the face of the problems of illegal immigration.

    At the end of the meeting, Al-Sarraj invited the French minister to Libya in the context of consolidating relations between the two countries.

    #Libye #externalisation #France #gardes-côtes_libyens #asile #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers

    https://seenthis.net/messages/760908 via CDB_77

  • For six months, these Palestinian villages had running water. Israel put a stop to it
    For six months, Palestinian villagers living on West Bank land that Israel deems a closed firing range saw their dream of running water come true. Then the Civil Administration put an end to it

    Amira Hass Feb 22, 2019 3:25 PM


    The dream that came true, in the form of a two-inch water line, was too good to be true. For about six months, 12 Palestinian West Bank villages in the South Hebron Hills enjoyed clean running water. That was until February 13, when staff from the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by soldiers and Border Police and a couple of bulldozers, arrived.

    The troops dug up the pipes, cut and sawed them apart and watched the jets of water that spurted out. About 350 cubic meters of water were wasted. Of a 20 kilometer long (12 mile) network, the Civil Administration confiscated remnants and sections of a total of about 6 kilometers of piping. They loaded them on four garbage trucks emblazoned with the name of the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on them.

    The demolition work lasted six and a half hours. Construction of the water line network had taken about four months. It had been a clear act of civil rebellion in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King against one of the most brutal bans that Israel imposes on Palestinian communities in Area C, the portion of the West Bank under full Israeli control. It bars Palestinians from hooking into existing water infrastructure.

    The residential caves in the Masafer Yatta village region south of Hebron and the ancient cisterns used for collecting rainwater confirm the local residents’ claim that their villages have existed for decades, long before the founding of the State of Israel. In the 1970s, Israel declared some 30,000 dunams (7,500 acres) in the area Firing Range 918.

    In 1999, under the auspices of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the army expelled the residents of the villages and demolished their structures and water cisterns. The government claimed that the residents were trespassing on the firing range, even though these were their lands and they have lived in the area long before the West Bank was captured by Israel.

    When the matter was brought to the High Court of Justice, the court approved a partial return to the villages but did not allow construction or hookups to utility infrastructure. Mediation attempts failed, because the state was demanding that the residents leave their villages and live in the West Bank town of Yatta and come to graze their flocks and work their land only on a few specific days per year.

    But the residents continued to live in their homes, risking military raids and demolition action — including the demolition of public facilities such as schools, medical clinics and even toilets. They give up a lot to maintain their way of life as shepherds, but could not forgo water.

    “The rainy season has grown much shorter in recent years, to only about 45 days a year,” explained Nidal Younes, the chairman of the Masafer Yatta council of villages. “In the past, we didn’t immediately fill the cisterns with rainwater, allowing them to be washed and cleaned first. Since the amount of rain has decreased, people stored water right away. It turns out the dirty water harmed the sheep and the people.”

    Because the number of residents has increased, even in years with abundant rain, at a certain stage the cisterns ran dry and the shepherds would bring in water by tractor. They would haul a 4 cubic meter (140 square foot) tank along the area’s narrow, poor roads — which Israel does not permit to have widened and paved. “The water has become every family’s largest expense,” Younes said.

    In the village of Halawa, he pointed out Abu Ziyad, a man of about 60. “I always see him on a tractor, bringing in water or setting out to bring back water.”

    Sometimes the tractors overturn and drivers are injured. Tires quickly wear out and precious work days go to waste. “We are drowning in debt to pay for the transportation of water,” Abu Ziyad said.

    In 2017, the Civil Administration and the Israeli army closed and demolished the roads to the villages, which the council had earlier managed to widen and rebuild. That had been done to make it easier to haul water in particular, but also more generally to give the villages better access.

    The right-wing Regavim non-profit group “exposed” the great crime committed in upgrading the roads and pressured the Civil Administration and the army to rip them up. “The residents’ suffering increased,” Younes remarked. “We asked ourselves how to solve the water problem.”

    The not very surprising solution was installing pipes to carry the water from the main water line in the village of Al-Tuwani, through privately owned lands of the other villages. “I checked it out, looking to see if there was any ban on laying water lines on private land and couldn’t find one,” Younes said.

    Work done by volunteers

    The plumbing work was done by volunteers, mostly at night and without heavy machinery, almost with their bare hands. Ali Debabseh, 77, of the village of Khalet al-Daba, recalled the moment when he opened the spigot installed near his home and washed his face with running water. “I wanted to jump for joy. I was as happy as a groom before his wedding.”

    Umm Fadi of the village of Halawa also resorted to the word “joy” in describing the six months when she had a faucet near the small shack in which she lives. “The water was clean, not brown from rust or dust. I didn’t need to go as far as the cistern to draw water, didn’t need to measure every drop.”

    Now it’s more difficult to again get used to being dependent on water dispensed from tanks.

    The piping and connections and water meters were bought with a 100,000 euro ($113,000) European donation. Instead of paying 40 shekels ($11) per cubic meter for water brought in with water tanks, the residents paid only about 6 shekels for the same amount of running water. Suddenly they not only saved money, but also had more precious time.

    The water lines also could have saved European taxpayers money. A European project to help the residents remain in their homes had been up and running since 2011, providing annual funding of 120,000 euros to cover the cost of buying and transporting drinking water during the three summer months for the residents (but not their livestock).

    The cost was based on a calculation involving consumption of 750 liters per person a month, far below the World Health Organization’s recommended quantity. There are between 1,500 and 2,000 residents. The project made things much easier for such a poor community, which continued to pay out of its own pocket for the water for some 40,000 sheep and for the residents’ drinking water during the remainder of the year. Now that the Civil Administration has demolished the water lines, the European donor countries may be forced to once again pay for the high price of transporting water during the summer months, at seven times the cost.

    For its part, the Civil Administration issued a statement noting that the area is a closed military zone. “On February 13,” the statement said, “enforcement action was taken against water infrastructure that was connected to illegal structures in this area and that were built without the required permits.”

    Ismail Bahis should have been sorry that the pipes were laid last year. He and his brothers, residents of Yatta, own water tankers and were the main water suppliers to the Masafer Yatta villages. Through a system of coupons purchased with the European donation, they received 800 shekels for every shipment of 20 cubic meters of water. But Bahis said he was happy he had lost out on the work.

    “The roads to the villages of Masafer Yatta are rough and dangerous, particularly after the army closed them,” he said. “Every trip of a few kilometers took at least three and a half hours. Once I tipped over with the tanker. Another time the army confiscated my brother’s truck, claiming it was a closed military zone. We got the truck released three weeks later in return for 5,000 shekels. We always had other additional expenses replacing tires and other repairs for the truck.

    Nidal Younes recounted that the council signed a contract with another water carrier to meet the demand. But that supplier quit after three weeks. He wouldn’t agree to drive on the poor and dangerous roads.

    On February 13, Younes heard the large group of forces sent by the Civil Administration beginning to demolish the water lines near the village of Al-Fakhit. He rushed to the scene and began arguing with the soldiers and Civil Administration staff.

    Border Police arrests

    Border Police officers arrested him, handcuffed him and put him in a jeep. His colleague, the head of the Al-Tuwani council, Mohammed al-Raba’i, also approached those carrying out the demolition work to protest. “But they arrested me after I said two words. At least Nidal managed to say a lot,” he said with a smile that concealed sadness.

    Two teams carried out the demolition work, one proceeding toward the village of Jinbah, to the southeast, the second advanced in the direction of Al-Tuwani, to the northwest. They also demolished the access road leading to the village of Sha’ab al-Butum, so that even if Bahis wanted to transport water again, he would have had to make a large detour to do so.

    Younes was shocked to spot a man named Marco among the team carrying out the demolition. “I remembered him from when I was a child, from the 1980s when he was an inspector for the Civil Administration. In 1985, he supervised the demolition of houses in our village, Jinbah — twice, during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr [marking the end of the Ramadan holy month],” he said.

    “They knew him very well in all the villages in the area because he attended all the demolitions. The name Marco was a synonym for an evil spirit. Our parents who saw him demolish their homes, have died. He disappeared, and suddenly he has reappeared,” Younes remarked.

    Marco is Marco Ben-Shabbat, who has lead the Civil Administration’s supervision unit for the past 10 years. Speaking to a reporter from the Israel Hayom daily who accompanied the forces carrying out the demolition work, Ben-Shabbat said: “The [water line] project was not carried out by the individual village. The Palestinian Authority definitely put a project manager here and invested a lot of money.”

    More precisely, it was European governments that did so.

    From all of the villages where the Civil Administration destroyed water lines, the Jewish outposts of Mitzpeh Yair and Avigayil can be seen on the hilltops. Although they are unauthorized and illegal even according to lenient Israeli settlement laws, the outposts were connected almost immediately to water and electricity grids and paved roads lead to them.

    “I asked why they demolished the water lines,” Nidal Younes recalled. He said one of the Border Police officers answered him, in English, telling him it was done “to replace Arabs with Jews.”


    https://seenthis.net/messages/762571 via Loutre

  • Poll: 75% of Americans Oppose Outlawing Boycotts of Israel

    Americans in general do not like anti-BDS laws nearly as much as Congress does: just 22.5% of American adults polled favor anti-boycott measure. But Washington and many state legislatures are pushing through legislation that would criminalize boycott of Israel.


    https://seenthis.net/messages/762491 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Antisémitisme et antisionisme : une assimilation absurde dans le monde arabe - Caroline HAYEK et Anthony SAMRANI - L’Orient-Le Jour

    Au Proche-Orient, c’est le sionisme et plus largement la politique israélienne qui ont fait le lit de l’antisémitisme.
    Caroline HAYEK et Anthony SAMRANI | OLJ

    C’est un débat qui se joue en France mais qui est suivi avec attention de l’autre côté de la Méditerranée. Emmanuel Macron a annoncé mercredi vouloir intégrer l’antisionisme – dans le sens de la négation du droit d’Israël à exister – à la définition juridique de l’antisémitisme. Le président français considère que « l’antisionisme est une des formes modernes de l’antisémitisme », alors que les actes antisémites en France étaient en hausse de 74 % en 2018 par rapport à l’année précédente.

    Plusieurs voix critiques ont fait remarquer que cela pouvait conduire à des incohérences – la plus absurde étant d’être amené à considérer certains juifs antisionistes comme des antisémites – et à créer une confusion entre une idéologie politique et une identité religieuse. Cela revient aussi à faire le jeu du Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, pour qui les deux termes sont indissociables, et à donner l’impression qu’il n’est pas permis en France de critiquer la politique israélienne, même si ce n’est pas du tout le sens de l’initiative présidentielle.

    Vue du monde arabe, l’assimilation entre ces deux termes apparaît pour le moins inadaptée. Si l’antisionisme peut parfois, comme en Europe, cacher des relents d’antisémitisme, c’est bien le sionisme qui apparaît comme la cause première de la montée de l’antisémitisme, et non l’inverse. L’antisémitisme est un terme inventé au XIXe siècle pour évoquer la discrimination à l’égard des populations juives au sein des sociétés européennes. Outre l’argument un peu simpliste que les Arabes sont eux-mêmes un peuple sémite, la notion n’a pas vraiment de sens dans le contexte arabe. Malgré un statut particulier les empêchant, à l’instar des chrétiens, d’accéder aux hautes fonctions politiques et administratives, les juifs étaient bien intégrés au sein des sociétés arabes et n’ont pas subi de persécutions comparables à ce qu’ont pu être les pogroms en Europe.

    « La communauté juive a connu un moment de gloire et de puissance à l’époque ottomane, notamment lors de l’arrivée massive des juifs chassés d’Espagne », note Henry Laurens, professeur au Collège de France et titulaire de la chaire d’histoire contemporaine du monde arabe, interrogé par L’Orient-Le Jour. « Avant la déclaration Balfour et tout ce qu’elle entraînera par la suite, les juifs sont une communauté parmi d’autres dans le monde arabe, qui, depuis l’ère ottomane en particulier, a été organisée sur une base communautaire », confirme à L’OLJ Gilbert Achcar, professeur à la School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London), auteur d’un ouvrage sur Les Arabes et la Shoah : la guerre israélo-arabe des récits (2013).

    Dégradation continue

    La diffusion des thèses sionistes développées par l’intellectuel autrichien Theodor Herzl va peu à peu changer la donne jusqu’au tournant de la création d’Israël en 1948, véritable choc pour les populations arabes. Au début du XXe siècle, les populations locales ne font pas nécessairement la distinction entre juifs et sionistes, le second terme n’étant pas encore véritablement assimilé. « Les habitants de la Palestine historique avaient l’habitude de désigner les juifs comme juifs. Certains étaient sionistes, mais beaucoup ne l’étaient pas. Ils étaient pour la plupart des juifs religieux et asionistes ou antisionistes », décrit à L’OLJ Tarek Mitri, ancien ministre et directeur de l’institut d’études politiques Issam Farès de l’AUB.

    « Les Arabes ont d’abord connu le sionisme de façon indirecte, en lisant la presse européenne. En Palestine, les premières réactions ne sont pas nécessairement négatives, mais les choses changent à partir de la déclaration Balfour, et le sionisme est progressivement considéré comme un danger pour les Palestiniens d’une part, et pour les Arabes du Proche-Orient d’autre part. Cela conduit à une dégradation continue de la situation des communautés juives du Proche-Orient à partir des années 1930 », dit Henry Laurens.

    Les relations se compliquent à mesure que l’immigration juive s’accélère en raison de la répression dont ils sont victimes en Europe.

    « Dans les discours, il y avait une distinction entre les juifs et les mouvements sionistes. Dans la pratique, ce qui inquiétait particulièrement les Arabes, c’est le fait de voir une communauté parmi d’autres se doter d’un territoire, de passer de la communauté à la nation », note Henry Laurens.Dans les années 1930 et 1940, c’est l’histoire européenne qui rencontre frontalement celle du Proche-Orient, de façon encore plus brutale après l’Holocauste et jusqu’à la création de l’État hébreu. Durant cette période, le grand mufti de Jérusalem Hajj Amine al-Husseini – qui n’était toutefois pas représentatif des Palestiniens – va collaborer avec l’Allemagne hitlérienne, au départ pour contrecarrer les projets anglais d’établissement d’un foyer juif, jusqu’à approuver sa politique génocidaire contre les juifs. Cet épisode va être largement instrumentalisé par la propagande israélienne pour démontrer un soi-disant antisémitisme arabe, au point que Benjamin Netanyahu va même aller jusqu’à présenter le mufti comme l’inspirateur de la solution finale.

    Complotisme et négationnisme

    La création de l’État hébreu va profondément changer les rapports entre les juifs et les autres communautés dans le monde arabe. Si, pour les sionistes, l’aboutissement du projet étatique est avant tout le fruit d’une volonté collective de plusieurs décennies, il apparaît aux yeux des Arabes comme une injustice liée à un génocide dont ils ne sont en aucun cas responsables. Les juifs du monde arabe n’accueillent pas forcément avec enthousiasme la naissance d’Israël. « Les communautés juives du monde arabe, surtout d’Égypte et d’Irak, n’étaient pas vraiment tentées au début par la migration vers la Palestine. Mais il y a eu deux facteurs qui ont encouragé ce mouvement. D’une part, la politique israélienne qui a tout fait pour les attirer, au point que le Mossad a organisé des attentats contre des synagogues pour leur faire peur. D’autre part, il y a une méfiance arabe qui s’est installée et qui faisait que les juifs pouvaient être perçus comme une sorte de 5e colonne », explique Tarek Mitri.

    Après la proclamation de l’indépendance d’Israël par David Ben Gourion, l’antisionisme va devenir dominant dans le monde arabe. Le sionisme apparaît comme un projet colonial avalisé par les puissances occidentales visant à déposséder les Arabes de leurs terres. La distinction devient très nette dans les discours entre juifs et sionistes. « Dans leurs discours, Nasser ou Arafat ne font pas d’amalgame entre sioniste et juif, bien au contraire. Au début de son combat, le projet politique de Arafat était d’instaurer un débat laïc et démocratique en Palestine où juifs, chrétiens et musulmans coexisteraient », explique Tarek Mitri.

    Le double sentiment d’injustice et d’humiliation que les Arabes ont vis-à-vis de l’État hébreu va toutefois être le moteur d’un antisémitisme qui va avoir un certain écho au sein des classes populaires arabes – où le terme juif est parfois utilisé comme une insulte – et va être largement relayé par les mouvements islamistes. Cela va être particulièrement visible à travers la propagation de deux phénomènes intimement liés : le complotisme et le négationnisme.

    « Les théories du complot qui sont dans le discours antisémite occidental ont pu facilement trouver un public dans le monde arabe, parce que, de fait, c’est une région qui a connu de vrais complots, à commencer par les fameux accords secrets Sykes-Picot », constate Gilbert Achcar. L’idée complotiste des protocoles des sages de Sion, qui attribuent aux juifs des plans de domination du monde, est largement répandue au sein du monde arabe. « Chez les islamistes, il y a eu un moment où on a ressuscité une vieille littérature parareligieuse qui ridiculise et avilie les juifs. Ils puisent dans les textes sacrés ce qui est de nature à susciter la méfiance ou même la haine à l’égard des juifs », note Tarek Mitri.

    Le négationnisme concernant l’Holocauste trouve aussi ses adeptes, même s’ils restent minoritaires. Dans un article publié en 1998 dans le Monde diplomatique, le grand intellectuel palestino-américain Edward Saïd s’indignait que « la thèse selon laquelle l’Holocauste ne serait qu’une fabrication des sionistes circule ici et là. Pourquoi attendons-nous du monde entier qu’il prenne conscience de nos souffrances en tant qu’Arabes si nous ne sommes pas en mesure de prendre conscience de celles des autres, quand bien même il s’agit de nos oppresseurs ? » ajoutait-il non sans une certaine verve. « La plupart des gens qui ont un peu de culture savent que la Shoah n’est pas une invention, mais un certain négationniste a pu trouver un écho favorable chez les gens étroits d’esprit, qu’ils soient ultranationalistes ou intégristes », dit Gilbert Achcar.

    Ce dernier insiste toutefois sur le fait qu’il n’y a pas d’antisémitisme propre au monde arabe, mais que la diffusion des thèses antisémites dans cette région n’est pas comparable à ce qui se passe en Occident. « Toute l’équation entre le monde occidental et le monde arabe est complètement faussée par le fait que les juifs étaient opprimés pendant des siècles en Europe, tandis que dans le monde arabe, ce qu’on peut qualifier de haine envers les juifs est surtout le produit d’une histoire moderne marquée par la présence d’un État oppresseur, qui insiste lui-même à se faire appeler État juif », résume Gilbert Achcar. Et Tarek Mitri de conclure, pour insister sur la nécessité de distinguer les deux termes dans le monde arabe : « Il y avait une résolution de l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU en 1975 qui disait que le sionisme était une forme de racisme et de discrimination. Elle a été révoquée en 1991, mais elle avait suscité un grand enthousiasme dans le monde arabe. »

    https://seenthis.net/messages/762373 via gonzo

  • The Israel lobby is built on the biggest guilt trip in the world – Mondoweiss


    I’ve been reading Amos Oz’s books since his death, and one of the feelings he leaves me with is: Self-contempt. Many of Oz’s characters look on American Jews with disdain. “To be without power is, in my eyes, both a sin and a catastrophe. It’s the sin of exile, and Diaspora,” says one. Another says that Diaspora Jews “shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of… life.”

    The message is clear. Jews in the west are half-made because they never had to fight. They haven’t served in the Israeli army, at the front line of reborn Jewish sovereignty. But those exiled Jews derive pride and strength from the armed Jewish nation; Israel has given them international prestige. Because once Jews went like sheep to slaughter, we formed lines to get on the cattle cars. Now we are a proud nation.

    But those exiled Jews have no skin in the game. They are living comfortable idle existences. Getting up like me this morning and going to my desk.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/761635 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • https://christinedelphy.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/antisemitisme-islamophobie-negrophobie

    On ne peut pas continuer à appeler à faire barrage au Rassemblement National en pratiquant la grille de lecture de l’extrême droite, tenir des propos qui légitiment le racisme que l’on prétend combattre, banaliser la parole islamophobe, critiquer Salvini en refusant de faire accoster l’Aquarius et en organisant la chasse à l’homme noir à nos frontières, déformer la laïcité à des fins d’exclusion, instrumentaliser l’antisémitisme pour stigmatiser les gilets jaunes et faire taire la protestation, accuser d’antisémitisme ceux qui critiquent la politique israélienne à l’encontre les palestiniens, dévoyer les revendications sociales sur le terrain identitaire, être sur le terrain du racisme en essentialisant les roms, les arabes, les musulmans, les noirs, les asiatiques, discourir sur l’égalité républicaine en ignorant les contrôles au faciès, les discriminations racistes à l’emploi et au logement, s’indigner de façon sélective en ignorant que ces dernières semaines et ces derniers mois des tags ont aussi appelé à tuer les arabes, à mettre dehors les nègres, les bicots, les arabes, les bougnoules à mettre l’islam dehors.

    J’ai découvert Christine Delphy il y a un mois lors de toute une série d’émissions d’ A Voix nue sur France Culture ( https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/a-voix-nue/christine-delphy-15-se-dire-feministe ) et franchement j’étais impressionné par la brillance de son intelligence. A propos du débat en cours, je verse sa tribune du côté de l’intelligence.

    Edit, 20 février, cette tribune est de Fabienne Haloui, ce qui est indiqué mais ne m’avait pas sauté aux yeux apparemment. Merci à @aude_v pour la correction.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/761399 via Philippe De Jonckheere

  • Israeli right up in arms over news anchor who said occupation turns soldiers into ’animals’ - Haaretz.com

    Oshrat Kotler was responding to a report on the five Israeli soldiers who were recently indicted for beating Palestinian detainees in revenge for the death of their comrades
    Itay Stern
    Feb 17, 2019


    Israeli right-wing politicians harshly criticized Channel 13 TV anchorwoman Oshrat Kotler for saying soldiers become “human animals” during their army service in the West Bank during a broadcast on Saturday night.

    Kotler was responding to a report on five Israeli soldiers who were recently indicted for beating Palestinian detainees in revenge for the death of two soldiers from their battalion.

    “They send children to the army, to the territories, and get them back human animals. That’s the result of the occupation,” she said.

    >> Israeli army officer indicted for allowing soldiers to beat detained Palestinians ■ Palestinian father and son abused by Israeli soldiers: ’They beat us up, then started dancing’

    The statement sparked the ire of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who tweeted: “Proud of IDF soldiers and love them very much. Oshrat Kotler’s words should be roundly condemned.”

    Netanyahu addressed the remarks again at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, saying “Yesterday I thought I did not hear correctly when I turned on the television. I heard an infuriating statement against IDF soldiers by a senior journalist, a news anchor. I would like to say that this statement is inappropriate and must be condemned - in a firm and comprehensive manner.”

    “I am proud of IDF soldiers. They are protecting us and we are carrying out the supreme humanitarian and moral mission of defending our people and protecting our country against those who want to slaughter us. The journalist’s words deserve all condemnation,” he said.
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    Education Minister Naftali Bennett wrote: “Oshrat, you’re confused. IDF soldiers give their lives so you can sleep peacefully. Human animals are the terrorists who murder children in their beds, a young girl on a walk or a whole family driving on the road. IDF soldiers are our strength. Our children. Apologize.”

    Bennett’s new party, Hayamin Hehadash, tweeted it would file an official request to the attorney general that he prosecute Kotler for defamation, “following her affronting comments which slander IDF soldiers.”

    Kotler, who realized during the broadcast that her statement sparked a storm, said later in the show: “I would like to stress: my children, and their friends, they’re all combat soldiers in the territories. My criticism was directed only at those soldiers led by our control over the Palestinians to hurt innocent people. Those who really listened and didn’t run to rail against me on the web understood that I’m in fact in favor of leniency toward the indicted soldiers, because we sent them into this impossible situation.”

    Meretz chairwoman MK Tamar Zandberg came to Kotler’s defense, writing: “How miserable and predictable is the attack on Kotler’s just statements. We don’t want a reality of occupation and violence? It must be changed. Closing our eyes and then scolding the messenger, that’s no solution.”

    Peace Now also voiced its support for Kotler, tweeting: “It’s permissible and desirable to look in the mirror sometimes and honestly admit the mistakes of the occupation. So when the right wing falsifies and incites and when MKs rush to join the crowd, Oshrat Kotler’s courageous words should be given a platform.”

    Channel 13 news issued a response saying “Oshrat Kotler is a journalist with strong opinions and she expresses them from time to time, like other journalists on our staff who hold other opinions. Oshrat expressed her personal opinion only.”

    The parents of the indicted soldiers called the statement “unfortunate and ugly," saying there is “no place in Israeli discourse and certainly not by a new anchorwoman who is meant to represent the facts and not her distorted worldview. Our boys went into the army with a feeling of mission and Zionism. They chose a hard road, they wanted to be combat soldiers in the IDF, they wanted no special conditions; they carry out a complex mission in one of the most difficult sectors. These are the best of the sons of the State of Israel, who although only a month ago they lost two comrades in arms, held their heads high, walked tall and carried out any mission they were assigned, without fault.”

    They further criticized Kotler for not enquiring into the identity of the soldiers, “what they went through when they enlisted, what huge difficulties they experienced.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/760988 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Churchill Was More Villain Than Hero in Britain’s Colonies - Bloomberg

    The recent flap over Winston Churchill — with Labour politician John McDonnell calling Britain’s most revered prime minister a “villain” and prompting a rebuke from the latter’s grandson — will astonish many Indians. That’s not because the label itself is a misnomer, but because McDonnell was exercised by the death of one Welsh miner in 1910. In fact, Churchill has the blood of millions on his hands whom the British prefer to forget.

    “History,” Churchill himself said, “will judge me kindly, because I intend to write it myself.” He did, penning a multi-volume history of World War Two, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his self-serving fictions. As the Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies remarked of the man many Britons credit with winning the war, "His real tyrant is the glittering phrase, so attractive to his mind that awkward facts have to give way.”

    Awkward facts, alas, there are aplenty. As McDonnell correctly noted, Churchill as Home Secretary in 1910 sent battalions of police from London and ordered them to attack striking miners in Tonypandy in South Wales; one was killed and nearly 600 strikers and policemen were injured. It’s unlikely this troubled his conscience much. He later assumed operational command of the police during a siege of armed Latvian anarchists in Stepney, where he decided to allow them to be burned to death in a house where they were trapped.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/760993 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • The Knesset candidate who says Zionism encourages anti-Semitism and calls Netanyahu ’arch-murderer’ - Israel Election 2019 - Haaretz.com

    Few Israelis have heard of Dr. Ofer Cassif, the Jewish representative on the far-leftist Hadash party’s Knesset slate. On April 9, that will change
    By Ravit Hecht Feb 16, 2019

    Ofer Cassif is fire and brimstone. Not even the flu he’s suffering from today can contain his bursting energy. His words are blazing, and he bounds through his modest apartment, searching frenetically for books by Karl Marx and Primo Levi in order to find quotations to back up his ideas. Only occasional sips from a cup of maté bring his impassioned delivery to a momentary halt. The South American drink is meant to help fight his illness, he explains.

    Cassif is third on the slate of Knesset candidates in Hadash (the Hebrew acronym for the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), the successor to Israel’s Communist Party. He holds the party’s “Jewish slot,” replacing MK Dov Khenin. Cassif is likely to draw fire from opponents and be a conspicuous figure in the next Knesset, following the April 9 election.

    Indeed, the assault on him began as soon as he was selected by the party’s convention. The media pursued him; a columnist in the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Ben-Dror Yemini, called for him to be disqualified from running for the Knesset. It would be naive to say that this was unexpected. Cassif, who was one of the first Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in the territories, in 1987, gained fame thanks to a number of provocative statements. The best known is his branding of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked as “neo-Nazi scum.” On another occasion, he characterized Jews who visit the Temple Mount as “cancer with metastases that have to be eradicated.”

    On his alternate Facebook page, launched after repeated blockages of his original account by a blitz of posts from right-wing activists, he asserted that Culture Minister Miri Regev is “repulsive gutter contamination,” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “arch-murderer” and that the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, is a “war criminal.”

    Do you regret making those remarks?

    Cassif: “‘Regret’ is a word of emotion. Those statements were made against a background of particular events: the fence in Gaza, horrible legislation, and the wild antics of Im Tirtzu [an ultranationalist organization] on campus. That’s what I had to say at the time. I didn’t count on being in the Knesset. That wasn’t part of my plan. But it’s clear to me that as a public personality, I would not have made those comments.”

    Is Netanyahu an arch-murderer?

    “Yes. I wrote it in the specific context of a particular day in the Gaza Strip. A massacre of innocent people was perpetrated there, and no one’s going to persuade me that those people were endangering anyone. It’s a concentration camp. Not a ‘concentration camp’ in the sense of Bergen-Belsen; I am absolutely not comparing the Holocaust to what’s happening.”

    You term what Israel is doing to the Palestinians “genocide.”

    “I call it ‘creeping genocide.’ Genocide is not only a matter of taking people to gas chambers. When Yeshayahu Leibowitz used the term ‘Judeo-Nazis,’ people asked him, ‘How can you say that? Are we about to build gas chambers?’ To that, he had two things to say. First, if the whole difference between us and the Nazis boils down to the fact that we’re not building gas chambers, we’re already in trouble. And second, maybe we won’t use gas chambers, but the mentality that exists today in Israel – and he said this 40 years ago – would allow it. I’m afraid that today, after four years of such an extreme government, it possesses even greater legitimacy.

    “But you know what, put aside ‘genocide’ – ethnic cleansing is taking place there. And that ethnic cleansing is also being carried out by means of killing, although mainly by way of humiliation and of making life intolerable. The trampling of human dignity. It reminds me of Primo Levi’s ‘If This Is a Man.’”

    You say you’re not comparing, but you repeatedly come back to Holocaust references. On Facebook, you also uploaded the scene from “Schindler’s List” in which the SS commander Amon Goeth picks off Jews with his rifle from the balcony of his quarters in the camp. You compared that to what was taking place along the border fence in the Gaza Strip.

    “Today, I would find different comparisons. In the past I wrote an article titled, ‘On Holocaust and on Other Crimes.’ It’s online [in Hebrew]. I wrote there that anyone who compares Israel to the Holocaust is cheapening the Holocaust. My comparison between here and what happened in the early 1930s [in Germany] is a very different matter.”

    Clarity vs. crudity

    Given Cassif’s style, not everyone in Hadash was happy with his election, particularly when it comes to the Jewish members of the predominantly Arab party. Dov Khenin, for example, declined to be interviewed and say what he thinks of his parliamentary successor. According to a veteran party figure, “From the conversations I had, it turns out that almost none of the Jewish delegates – who make up about 100 of the party’s 940 delegates – supported his candidacy.

    “He is perceived, and rightly so,” the party veteran continues, “as someone who closes doors to Hadash activity within Israeli society. Each of the other Jewish candidates presented a record of action and of struggles they spearheaded. What does he do? Curses right-wing politicians on Facebook. Why did the party leadership throw the full force of its weight behind him? In a continuation of the [trend exemplified by] its becoming part of the Joint List, Ofer’s election reflects insularity and an ongoing retreat from the historical goal of implementing change in Israeli society.”

    At the same time, as his selection by a 60 percent majority shows, many in the party believe that it’s time to change course. “Israeli society is moving rightward, and what’s perceived as Dov’s [Khenin] more gentle style didn’t generate any great breakthrough on the Jewish street,” a senior source in Hadash notes.

    “It’s not a question of the tension between extremism and moderation, but of how to signpost an alternative that will develop over time. Clarity, which is sometimes called crudity, never interfered with cooperation between Arabs and Jews. On the contrary. Ofer says things that we all agreed with but didn’t so much say, and of course that’s going to rile the right wing. And a good thing, too.”

    Hadash chairman MK Ayman Odeh also says he’s pleased with the choice, though sources in the party claim that Odeh is apprehensive about Cassif’s style and that he actually supported a different candidate. “Dov went for the widest possible alliances in order to wield influence,” says Odeh. “Ofer will go for very sharp positions at the expense of the breadth of the alliance. But his sharp statements could have a large impact.”

    Khenin was deeply esteemed by everyone. When he ran for mayor of Tel Aviv in 2008, some 35 percent of the electorate voted for him, because he was able to touch people who weren’t only from his political milieu.

    Odeh: “No one has a higher regard for Dov than I do. But just to remind you, we are not a regular opposition, we are beyond the pale. And there are all kinds of styles. Influence can be wielded through comments that are vexatious the first time but which people get used to the second time. When an Arab speaks about the Nakba and about the massacre in Kafr Kassem [an Israeli Arab village, in 1956], it will be taken in a particular way, but when uttered by a Jew it takes on special importance.”

    He will be the cause of many attacks on the party.

    “Ahlan wa sahlan – welcome.”

    Cassif will be the first to tell you that, with all due respect for the approach pursued by Khenin and by his predecessor in the Jewish slot, Tamar Gozansky, he will be something completely different. “I totally admire what Tamar and Dov did – nothing less than that,” he says, while adding, “But my agenda will be different. The three immediate dangers to Israeli society are the occupation, racism and the diminishment of the democratic space to the point of liquidation. That’s the agenda that has to be the hub of the struggle, as long as Israel rules over millions of people who have no rights, enters [people’s houses] in the middle of the night, arrests minors on a daily basis and shoots people in the back.

    "Israel commits murder on a daily basis. When you murder one Palestinian, you’re called Elor Azaria [the IDF soldier convicted and jailed for killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant]; when you murder and oppress thousands of Palestinians, you’re called the State of Israel.”

    So you plan to be the provocateur in the next Knesset?

    “It’s not my intention to be a provocateur, to stand there and scream and revile people. Even on Facebook I was compelled to stop that. But I definitely intend to challenge the dialogue in terms of the content, and mainly with a type of sarcasm.”

    ’Bags of blood’

    Cassif, 54, who holds a doctorate in political philosophy from the London School of Economics, teaches political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Sapir Academic College in Sderot and at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. He lives in Rehovot, is married and is the father of a 19-year-old son. He’s been active in Hadash for three decades and has held a number of posts in the party.

    As a lecturer, he stands out for his boldness and fierce rhetoric, which draws students of all stripes. He even hangs out with some of his Haredi students, one of whom wrote a post on the eve of the Hadash primary urging the delegates to choose him. After his election, a student from a settlement in the territories wrote to him, “You are a determined and industrious person, and for that I hold you in high regard. Hoping we will meet on the field of action and growth for the success of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state (I felt obliged to add a small touch of irony in conclusion).”

    Cassif grew up in a home that supported Mapai, forerunner of Labor, in Rishon Letzion. He was an only child; his father was an accountant, his mother held a variety of jobs. He was a news hound from an early age, and at 12 ran for the student council in school. He veered sharply to the left in his teens, becoming a keen follower of Marx and socialism.

    Following military service in the IDF’s Nahal brigade and a period in the airborne Nahal, Cassif entered the Hebrew University. There his political career moved one step forward, and there he also forsook the Zionist left permanently. His first position was as a parliamentary aide to the secretary general of the Communist Party, Meir Wilner.

    “At first I was closer to Mapam [the United Workers Party, which was Zionist], and then I refused to serve in the territories. I was the first refusenik in the first intifada to be jailed. I didn’t get support from Mapam, I got support from the people of Hadash, and I drew close to them. I was later jailed three more times for refusing to serve in the territories.”

    His rivals in the student organizations at the Hebrew University remember him as the epitome of the extreme left.

    “Even in the Arab-Jewish student association, Cassif was considered off-the-wall,” says Motti Ohana, who was chairman of Likud’s student association and active in the Student Union at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. “One time I got into a brawl with him. It was during the first intifada, when he brought two bags of blood, emptied them out in the university’s corridors and declared, ‘There is no difference between Jewish and Arab blood,’ likening Israeli soldiers to terrorists. The custom on campus was that we would quarrel, left-right, Arabs-Jews, and after that we would sit together, have a coffee and talk. But not Cassif.”

    According to Ohana, today a member of the Likud central committee, the right-wing activists knew that, “You could count on Ofer to fall into every trap. There was one event at the Hebrew University that was a kind of political Hyde Park. The right wanted to boot the left out of there, so we hung up the flag. It was obvious that Ofer would react, and in fact he tore the flag, and in the wake of the ruckus that developed, political activity was stopped for good.”

    Replacing the anthem

    Cassif voices clearly and cogently positions that challenge the public discourse in Israel, and does so with ardor and charisma. Four candidates vied for Hadash’s Jewish slot, and they all delivered speeches at the convention. The three candidates who lost to him – Efraim Davidi, Yaela Raanan and the head of the party’s Tel Aviv branch, Noa Levy – described their activity and their guiding principles. When they spoke, there was the regular buzz of an audience that’s waiting for lunch. But when Cassif took the stage, the effect was magnetic.

    “Peace will not be established without a correction of the crimes of the Nakba and [recognition of] the right of return,” he shouted, and the crowd cheered him. As one senior party figure put it, “Efraim talked about workers’ rights, Yaela about the Negev, Noa about activity in Tel Aviv – and Ofer was Ofer.”

    What do you mean by “right of return”?

    Cassif: “The first thing is the actual recognition of the Nakba and of the wrong done by Israel. Compare it to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa, if you like, or with the commissions in Chile after Pinochet. Israel must recognize the wrong it committed. Now, recognition of the wrong also includes recognition of the right of return. The question is how it’s implemented. It has to be done by agreement. I can’t say that tomorrow Tel Aviv University has to be dismantled and that Sheikh Munis [the Arab village on whose ruins the university stands] has to be rebuilt there. The possibility can be examined of giving compensation in place of return, for example.”

    But what is the just solution, in your opinion?

    “For the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.”

    That means there will be Jews who will have to leave their home.

    “In some places, unequivocally, yes. People will have to be told: ‘You must evacuate your places.’ The classic example is Ikrit and Biram [Christian-Arab villages in Galilee whose residents were promised – untruly – by the Israeli authorities in 1948 that they would be able to return, and whose lands were turned over to Jewish communities]. But there are places where there is certainly greater difficulty. You don’t right one wrong with another.”

    What about the public space in Israel? What should it look like?

    “The public space has to change, to belong to all the state’s residents. I dispute the conception of ‘Jewish publicness.’”

    How should that be realized?

    “For example, by changing the national symbols, changing the national anthem. [Former Hadash MK] Mohammed Barakeh once suggested ‘I Believe’ [‘Sahki, Sahki’] by [Shaul] Tchernichovsky – a poem that is not exactly an expression of Palestinian nationalism. He chose it because of the line, ‘For in mankind I’ll believe.’ What does it mean to believe in mankind? It’s not a Jew, or a Palestinian, or a Frenchman, or I don’t know what.”

    What’s the difference between you and the [Arab] Balad party? Both parties overall want two states – a state “of all its citizens” and a Palestinian state.

    “In the big picture, yes. But Balad puts identity first on the agenda. We are not nationalists. We do not espouse nationalism as a supreme value. For us, self-determination is a means. We are engaged in class politics. By the way, Balad [the National Democratic Assembly] and Ta’al [MK Ahmad Tibi’s Arab Movement for Renewal] took the idea of a state of all its citizens from us, from Hadash. We’ve been talking about it for ages.”

    If you were a Palestinian, what would you do today?

    “In Israel, what my Palestinian friends are doing, and I with them – [wage] a parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggle.”

    And what about the Palestinians in the territories?

    “We have always been against harming innocent civilians. Always. In all our demonstrations, one of our leading slogans was: ‘In Gaza and in Sderot, children want to live.’ With all my criticism of the settlers, to enter a house and slaughter children, as in the case of the Fogel family [who were murdered in their beds in the settlement of Itamar in 2011], is intolerable. You have to be a human being and reject that.”

    And attacks on soldiers?

    “An attack on soldiers is not terrorism. Even Netanyahu, in his book about terrorism, explicitly categorizes attacks on soldiers or on the security forces as guerrilla warfare. It’s perfectly legitimate, according to every moral criterion – and, by the way, in international law. At the same time, I am not saying it’s something wonderful, joyful or desirable. The party’s Haifa office is on Ben-Gurion Street, and suddenly, after years, I noticed a memorial plaque there for a fighter in Lehi [pre-state underground militia, also known as the Stern Gang] who assassinated a British officer. Wherever there has been a struggle for liberation from oppression, there are national heroes, who in 90 percent of the cases carried out some operations that were unlawful. Nelson Mandela is today considered a hero, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but according to the conventional definition, he was a terrorist. Most of the victims of the ANC [African National Congress] were civilians.”

    In other words, today’s Hamas commanders who are carrying out attacks on soldiers will be heroes of the future Palestinian state?

    “Of course.”

    Anti-Zionist identity

    Cassif terms himself an explicit anti-Zionist. “There are three reasons for that,” he says. “To begin with, Zionism is a colonialist movement, and as a socialist, I am against colonialism. Second, as far as I am concerned, Zionism is racist in ideology and in practice. I am not referring to the definition of race theory – even though there are also some who impute that to the Zionist movement – but to what I call Jewish supremacy. No socialist can accept that. My supreme value is equality, and I can’t abide any supremacy – Jewish or Arab. The third thing is that Zionism, like other ethno-nationalistic movements, splits the working class and all weakened groups. Instead of uniting them in a struggle for social justice, for equality, for democracy, it divides the exploited classes and the enfeebled groups, and by that means strengthens the rule of capital.”

    He continues, “Zionism also sustains anti-Semitism. I don’t say it does so deliberately – even though I have no doubt that there are some who do it deliberately, like Netanyahu, who is connected to people like the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and the leader of the far right in Austria, Hans Christian Strache.”

    Did Mapai-style Zionism also encourage anti-Semitism?

    “The phenomenon was very striking in Mapai. Think about it for a minute, not only historically, but logically. If the goal of political and practical Zionism is really the establishment of a Jewish state containing a Jewish majority, and for Diaspora Jewry to settle there, nothing serves them better than anti-Semitism.”

    What in their actions encouraged anti-Semitism?

    “The very appeal to Jews throughout the world – the very fact of treating them as belonging to the same nation, when they were living among other nations. The whole old ‘dual loyalty’ story – Zionism actually encouraged that. Therefore, I maintain that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same thing, but are precisely opposites. That doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites. Most of the BDS people are of course anti-Zionists, but they are in no way anti-Semites. But there are anti-Semites there, too.”

    Do you support BDS?

    “It’s too complex a subject for a yes or no answer; there are aspects I don’t support.”

    Do you think that the Jews deserve a national home in the Land of Israel?

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘national home.’ It’s very amorphous. We in Hadash say explicitly that Israel has a right to exist as a sovereign state. Our struggle is not against the state’s existence, but over its character.”

    But that state is the product of the actions of the Zionist movement, which you say has been colonialist and criminal from day one.

    “That’s true, but the circumstances have changed. That’s the reason that the majority of the members of the Communist Party accepted the [1947] partition agreement at the time. They recognized that the circumstances had changed. I think that one of the traits that sets communist thought apart, and makes it more apt, is the understanding and the attempt to strike the proper balance between what should be, and reality. So it’s true that Zionism started as colonialism, but what do you do with the people who were already born here? What do you tell them? Because your grandparents committed a crime, you have to leave? The question is how you transform the situation that’s been created into one that’s just, democratic and equal.”

    So, a person who survived a death camp and came here is a criminal?

    “The individual person, of course not. I’m in favor of taking in refugees in distress, no matter who or what they are. I am against Zionism’s cynical use of Jews in distress, including the refugees from the Holocaust. I have a problem with the fact that the natives whose homeland this is cannot return, while people for whom it’s not their homeland, can, because they supposedly have some sort of blood tie and an ‘imaginary friend’ promised them the land.”

    I understand that you are in favor of the annulment of the Law of Return?

    “Yes. Definitely.”

    But you are in favor of the Palestinian right of return.

    “There’s no comparison. There’s no symmetry here at all. Jerry Seinfeld was by chance born to a Jewish family. What’s his connection to this place? Why should he have preference over a refugee from Sabra or Chatila, or Edward Said, who did well in the United States? They are the true refugees. This is their homeland. Not Seinfeld’s.”

    Are you critical of the Arabs, too?

    “Certainly. One criticism is of their cooperation with imperialism – take the case of today’s Saudi Arabia, Qatar and so on. Another, from the past, relates to the reactionary forces that did not accept that the Jews have a right to live here.”

    Hadash refrained from criticizing the Assad regime even as it was massacring civilians in Syria. The party even torpedoed a condemnation of Assad after the chemical attack. Do you identify with that approach?

    “Hadash was critical of the Assad regime – father and son – for years, so we can’t be accused in any way of supporting Assad or Hezbollah. We are not Ba’ath, we are not Islamists. We are communists. But as I said earlier, the struggle, unfortunately, is generally not between the ideal and what exists in practice, but many times between two evils. And then you have to ask yourself which is the lesser evil. The Syrian constellation is extremely complicated. On the one hand, there is the United States, which is intervening, and despite all the pretense of being against ISIS, supported ISIS and made it possible for ISIS to sprout.

    "I remind you that ISIS started from the occupation of Iraq. And ideologically and practically, ISIS is definitely a thousand times worse than the Assad regime, which is at base also a secular regime. Our position was and is against the countries that pose the greatest danger to regional peace, which above all are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and the United States, which supports them. That doesn’t mean that we support Assad.”

    Wrong language

    Cassif’s economic views are almost as far from the consensus as his political ideas. He lives modestly in an apartment that’s furnished like a young couple’s first home. You won’t find an espresso maker or unnecessary products of convenience in his place. To his credit, it can be said that he extracts the maximum from Elite instant coffee.

    What is your utopian vision – to nationalize Israel’s conglomerates, such as Cellcom, the telecommunications company, or Osem, the food manufacturer and distributor?

    “The bottom line is yes. How exactly will it be done? That’s an excellent question, which I can’t answer. Perhaps by transferring ownership to the state or to the workers, with democratic tools. And there are other alternatives. But certainly, I would like it if a large part of the resources were not in private hands, as was the case before the big privatizations. It’s true that it won’t be socialism, because, again, there can be no such thing as Zionist socialism, but there won’t be privatization like we have today. What is the result of capitalism in Israel? The collapse of the health system, the absence of a social-welfare system, a high cost of living and of housing, the elderly and the disabled in a terrible situation.”

    Does any private sector have the right to exist?

    “Look, the question is what you mean by ‘private sector.’ If we’re talking about huge concerns that the owners of capital control completely through their wealth, then no.”

    What growth was there in the communist countries? How can anyone support communism, in light of the grim experience wherever it was tried?

    “It’s true, we know that in the absolute majority of societies where an attempt was made to implement socialism, there was no growth or prosperity, and we need to ask ourselves why, and how to avoid that. When I talk about communism, I’m not talking about Stalin and all the crimes that were committed in the name of the communist idea. Communism is not North Korea and it is not Pol Pot in Cambodia. Heaven forbid.”

    And what about Venezuela?

    “Venezuela is not communism. In fact, they didn’t go far enough in the direction of socialism.”

    Chavez was not enough of a socialist?

    “Chavez, but in particular Maduro. The Communist Party is critical of the regime. They support it because the main enemy is truly American imperialism and its handmaidens. Let’s look at what the U.S. did over the years. At how many times it invaded and employed bullying, fascist forces. Not only in Latin America, its backyard, but everywhere.”

    Venezuela is falling apart, people there don’t have anything to eat, there’s no medicine, everyone who can flees – and it’s the fault of the United States?

    “You can’t deny that the regime has made mistakes. It’s not ideal. But basically, it is the result of American imperialism and its lackeys. After all, the masses voted for Chavez and for Maduro not because things were good for them. But because American corporations stole the country’s resources and filled their own pockets. I wouldn’t make Chavez into an icon, but he did some excellent things.”

    Then how do you generate individual wealth within the method you’re proposing? I understand that I am now talking to you capitalistically, but the reality is that people see the accumulation of assets as an expression of progress in life.

    “Your question is indeed framed in capitalist language, which simply departs from what I believe in. Because you are actually asking me how the distribution of resources is supposed to occur within the capitalist framework. And I say no, I am not talking about resource distribution within a capitalist framework.”

    Gantz vs. Netanyahu

    Cassif was chosen as the polls showed Meretz and Labor, the representatives of the Zionist left, barely scraping through into the next Knesset and in fact facing a serious possibility of electoral extinction. The critique of both parties from the radical left is sometimes more acerbic than from the right.

    Would you like to see the Labor Party disappear?

    “No. I think that what’s happening at the moment with Labor and with Meretz is extremely dangerous. I speak about them as collectives, because they contain individuals with whom I see no possibility of engaging in a dialogue. But I think that they absolutely must be in the Knesset.”

    Is a left-winger who defines himself as a Zionist your partner in any way?

    “Yes. We need partners. We can’t be picky. Certainly we will cooperate with liberals and Zionists on such issues as combating violence against women or the battle to rescue the health system. Maybe even in putting an end to the occupation.”

    I’ll put a scenario to you: Benny Gantz does really well in the election and somehow overcomes Netanyahu. Do you support the person who led Operation Protective Edge in Gaza when he was chief of staff?

    “Heaven forbid. But we don’t reject people, we reject policy. I remind you that it was [then-defense minister] Yitzhak Rabin who led the most violent tendency in the first intifada, with his ‘Break their bones.’ But when he came to the Oslo Accords, it was Hadash and the Arab parties that gave him, from outside the coalition, an insurmountable bloc. I can’t speak for the party, but if there is ever a government whose policy is one that we agree with – eliminating the occupation, combating racism, abolishing the nation-state law – I believe we will give our support in one way or another.”

    And if Gantz doesn’t declare his intention to eliminate the occupation, he isn’t preferable to Netanyahu in any case?

    “If so, why should we recommend him [to the president to form the next government]? After the clips he posted boasting about how many people he killed and how he hurled Gaza back into the Stone Age, I’m far from certain that he’s better.”


    https://seenthis.net/messages/760979 via Loutre

  • La Réaction qui vient (2) | Blog | Le Club de Mediapart

    Les attentats terroristes de janvier et novembre 2015 ont révélé ceci : l’épuisement de toute politique progressiste défendue par le chef de l’Etat, le gouvernement et le Parti socialiste. Nous sommes les témoins non d’un « compromis historique », que certains appelaient de leurs vœux, mais d’une compromission désormais généralisée et assumée avec les forces de la réaction.

  • A Jérusalem, des Palestiniens expulsés de chez eux au profit de colons israéliens AFP - 17 Février 2019 - RTBF

    Une famille palestinienne a été expulsée dimanche de sa maison dans la Vieille ville de Jérusalem au profit de colons israéliens, a constaté un photographe de l’AFP.

    Des affrontements ont éclaté entre les habitants du quartier, situé dans la partie palestinienne de Jérusalem, et la police peu après qu’une dizaine de colons israéliens ont investi la bâtisse, protégés par les forces de l’ordre.

    La maison était habitée par sept membres de la famille Abou Assab qui avait reçu un ordre d’éviction lui laissant jusqu’au 12 février pour quitter les lieux, selon l’ONG israélienne Ir Amim. Les Abou Assab y vivaient depuis les années 1960, d’après l’ONG.

    Le bâtiment appartenait à une famille juive avant la guerre de 1948, date de la création d’Israël, selon l’ONG israélienne La Paix Maintenant, qui lutte contre la colonisation par Israël des Territoires palestiniens.

    Expulsée de leur maison dans un autre quartier de Jérusalem en 1948, la famille Abou Assab s’était alors installée dans cette maison dont les habitants juifs avaient fui, a indiqué l’ONG dans un communiqué.

    Des policiers israéliens arrêtent un membre de la famille palestinienne Abou Assab, qui proteste contre son éviction de leur maison dans la Vieille ville de Jérusalem-est, le 17 février 2019 - © AHMAD GHARABLI

    Retour des Juifs
    Grâce à une loi israélienne permettant le retour des Juifs dans leurs propriétés à Jérusalem-Est, partie palestinienne de la ville occupée et annexée par Israël, des colons israéliens ont pu s’installer après un recours en justice au nom de la famille juive propriétaire avant 1948, selon l’ONG.

    L’annexion de Jérusalem-Est n’a jamais été reconnue par la communauté internationale. D’après la loi israélienne, les Palestiniens ne peuvent pas réclamer les propriétés qu’ils ont abandonnées ou dont ils ont été chassés en 1948.

    « On habite là. C’est ma maison, c’est toute ma vie », s’est écriée devant les journalistes Rania Abou Assab, tandis que les colons, surplombant la foule, hissaient déjà des drapeaux israéliens tout autour de la terrasse.

    « Ils ont tout pris », a-t-elle ajouté avant de s’effondrer en pleurs, ses effets personnels se trouvant toujours dans le domicile auquel elle ne peut plus accéder.

    Mme Abou Assab a indiqué que son fils de 15 ans et son mari avaient été arrêtés après leur éviction. La police israélienne a confirmé l’arrestation de deux personnes pour « avoir perturbé les activités de la police », ne précisant pas si elles avaient été libérées depuis.

    A Jérusalem-Est, « presque toutes les propriétés qui appartenaient à des Juifs avant 1948 sont menacées » de voir leurs occupants palestiniens expulsés, a indiqué Hagit Ofran de La Paix Maintenant, assurant que des dizaines de maisons dans la Vieille ville avaient fini par aboutir depuis les années 1980 aux mains de colons israéliens.

    A Jérusalem-Est, environ 70 familles palestiniennes dans le quartier de Sheikh Jarrah et quelque 700 personnes dans le quartier de Silwan sont menacées d’expulsion car leurs propriétés appartenaient à des Juifs avant 1948,selon Mme Ofran.

    #palestine #jérusalem #Jérusalem-Est #israël #colonisation #israel #colonisation #apartheid

    https://seenthis.net/messages/760802 via BCE 106,6 Mhz

  • Opinion | My Father Faces the Death Penalty. This Is Justice in Saudi Arabia. - The New York Times

    The kingdom’s judiciary is being pushed far from any semblance of the rule of law and due process.

    By Abdullah Alaoudh

    Mr. Alaoudh is a legal scholar at Georgetown University.


    Despite the claims of Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his enablers, Saudi Arabia is not rolling back the hard-line religious establishment. Instead, the kingdom is curtailing the voices of moderation that have historically combated extremism. Numerous Saudi activists, scholars and thinkers who have sought reform and opposed the forces of extremism and patriarchy have been arrested. Many of them face the death penalty.

    Salman Alodah, my father, is a 61-year-old scholar of Islamic law in Saudi Arabia, a reformist who argued for greater respect for human rights within Shariah, the legal code of Islam based on the Quran. His voice was heard widely, partly owing to his popularity as a public figure with 14 million followers on Twitter.
    The author’s father, Salman Alodah, has been held in solitary confinement since 2017.CreditFamily photograph
    The author’s father, Salman Alodah, has been held in solitary confinement since 2017.CreditFamily photograph

    On Sept. 10, 2017, my father, who was disturbed by regional tensions after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt imposed a blockade on Qatar, spoke obliquely about the conflict and expressed his desire for reconciliation. “May Allah mend their hearts for the best of their peoples,” he tweeted.

    A few hours after his tweet, a team from the Saudi security services came to our house in Riyadh, searched the house, confiscated some laptops and took my father away.


    The Saudi government was apparently angered and considered his tweet a criminal violation. His interrogators told my father that his assuming a neutral position on the Saudi-Qatar crisis and failing to stand with the Saudi government was a crime.

    He is being held in solitary confinement in Dhahban prison in Jidda. He was chained and handcuffed for months inside his cell, deprived of sleep and medical help and repeatedly interrogated throughout the day and night. His deteriorating health — high blood pressure and cholesterol that he developed in prison — was ignored until he had to be hospitalized. Until the trial, about a year after his arrest, he was denied access to lawyers.

    On Sept. 4, a specialized criminal court in Riyadh convened off-camera to consider the numerous charges against my father: stirring public discord and inciting people against the ruler, calling for change in government and supporting Arab revolutions by focusing on arbitrary detention and freedom of speech, possessing banned books and describing the Saudi government as a tyranny. The kingdom’s attorney general sought the death penalty for him.

    Saudi Arabia has exploited the general indifference of the West toward its internal politics and presented the crackdown against reformist figures like my father as a move against the conservative religious establishment. The reality is far from their claims.

    My father is loved by the Saudi people because his authority and legitimacy as an independent Muslim scholar set him apart from the state-appointed scholars. Using Islamic principles to support his arguments, he championed civil liberties, participatory politics, the separation of powers and judicial independence.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/760128 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Sudan. A desperate Bashir | MadaMasr

    It has been eight weeks since anti-government protests began in Sudan, and the government is running out of money. And so Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is not spending his time addressing rallies and strategizing with his inner circle on how to quell or placate the most serious protests in his government’s 30 year history. He is on a plane, criss-crossing the Middle East and North Africa, visiting heads of states in the hope that he can extract some support to bridge his regime for another few months, to fill petrol pumps with fuel and ATMs with cash. These financial boosts have, in the past, come in many forms, ranging from vanilla aid to development schemes, where land or strategic ports are sold off to foreign sovereign leaders and billionaires. During Osama bin Laden’s years in Sudan, it was rumored that, at one point, the government had sold him over half of the agricultural land under its control. When he was expelled from Sudan, his losses were estimated to have reached US$300 million.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/759993 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Histoire. #M’hamed_Issiakhem, la #peinture comme un volcan | L’Humanité

    En décembre dernier, à Milan, une exposition de la fondation Galli, « Main coupée, imaginaire en feu », rendait hommage au peintre, l’un des pionniers de la modernité picturale algérienne.

    Il y a dans le regard au loin de ses autoportraits le reflet d’un vertige, et dans sa peinture l’écho d’une ancienne déflagration. M’hamed Issiakhem se figura trois fois, la dernière au seuil de la mort. Gravés en noir sous ses traits émaciés, sur cette ultime toile, ces mots : « D’où vous viennent / la force de survivre / et celle de ne faiblir / parmi vous Barbares ? » Énigmatique adresse aux survivants de ce peintre algérien qui brûla par les deux bouts une vie vécue en rescapé.


    https://seenthis.net/messages/759944 via Reka

  • Ilhan Omar has sparked panic in AIPAC

    Rep. Ilhan Omar has apologized for her inexcusably insensitive tweet. But the core issue behind her comment - whether the U.S. should continue to reflexively embrace the views of the Israeli government - won’t go away
    David Rothkopf
    Feb 13, 2019 2:37 PM


    U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has apologized for her offensive tweet that suggested Israeli influence in the U.S. Congress was “all about the Benjamins.” But that does not mean that the core issue underlying the controversy surrounding the tweet, Representative Ilhan and new voices critical of Israel in U.S. politics, is likely to fade away.

    I’m not going to defend Omar.Her own apology was unequivocal and the tweet itself was, at best, inexcusably insensitive. But it is vitally important we distinguish between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism. And, as importantly, we also must recognize the massive response against Rep. Omar for what it is - a spasm of fear about our changing times.

    >> Aaron David Miller: No, Israel and America Aren’t Breaking Up. Don’t Believe the Hype

    The entire infrastructure that has been built over the years to advance the interests of Israel in the U.S. is quaking in its boots - not because of the badly developed arguments of a rookie Congresswoman - but because of the coming generational change in U.S. views of Israel and because support for the Israeli government has been damaged among Democrats by the choice of the Netanyahu administration to so closely tie itself to Donald Trump and the Republican right wing in America.
    Supporters of US President Donald Trump cheer during a rally in El Paso, Texas on February 11, 2019
    Supporters of US President Donald Trump cheer during a rally in El Paso, Texas on February 11, 2019.AFP

    Rep. Omar damaged her own credibility by embracing an old anti-Semitic trope. There is no place for that in American politics. But even as she should be condemned, her views of Israel need to be heard. There is no reason all American views on a foreign government should be in lockstep.

    Quite the contrary, Americans who seek to protect and advance our interests should no more reflexively embrace the views of the Israeli government than they do those of a pro-Brexit UK government or an anti-refugee Italian government.

    Israel’s defenders would like the relationship to be deemed so important that it must not be criticized. This echoes the position, say, of the Saudis in the wake of the Khashoggi murder. And it is just as indefensible.

    A growing number of Americans realize that. Further, a growing number of American Jews feel the positions of the Netanyahu government are contrary to both U.S. interests and the values of Judaism, and thus the rationale for a Jewish state. In other words, they see Netanyahu’s actions as undermining the reasons Israel might have a special claim on their support.

    Indeed, no one, in fact, has done more to damage the standing of Israel than a Netanyahu government that has actively waged war on the Palestinian people, denied them their rights, responded disproportionately to threats and refused to acknowledge its own wrong-doing.

    Anti-Semites, with their stale and discredited attacks, can never do the kind of damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship that rampant Israeli wrong-doing can (especially when the Israeli government weakens the arguments against anti-Semites by embracing them, as in the case of Victor Orban in Hungary, or hugging those like Donald Trump who promote anti-Semites and anti-Semitic ideas about “globalists” or George Soros.)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban share a light moment during the reception ceremony in front of the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, July 18, 2017.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in front of the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, July 18, 2017Balazs Mohai/AP

    None of this is to diminish the real and ever-present threat of anti-Semitism. Which is why, of course, it is essential that we are careful to distinguish between it and legitimate criticism of the government of Israel.

    In fact, if we in the U.S. stand for what is best about America and hope for the best for Israel, then we must welcome those who would criticize Israel’s government not as our enemies but as the true defenders of the idea of Israel, and of America’s deep investment in the promise of that country.

    With that in mind, we must be careful that we do not allow the justifiable aspects of the critique against Rep. Omar to lead to a reflexive position where we silence active criticism of the Israeli government, or the worst actions of the State of Israel.

    Judging from comments in the media about her that pre-dated these statements, and comments about Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and comments about the “left” becoming anti-Israel, in my view we are in the midst of a pre-emptive push to combat the coming rethinking of the U.S.- Israel relationship.
    Feb. 5, 2019, photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, joined at right by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listens to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington
    Feb. 5, 2019, photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, joined at right by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listens to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite,AP

    It will seize upon the fact that some elements who offer the critique of Israel are in fact anti-Semitic or tap into anti-Semitic rhetoric and traditions, in order to tar with the same brush those who legitimately disapprove of the behavior of the Israeli government.

    That would be a mistake. Because it would not only silence a debate we need to and deserve to have, but it would undermine the ability of the U.S. to be a force for positive change in Israeli policies - change that is necessary to the future of Israel and to U.S. interests in that region.

    We must combat anti-Semitism. But we should also combat those who have no tolerance for democratic processes, or who would seek a political purity test for politicians based on narrowly-defined, traditionalist, outdated guidelines.

    The future of the U.S.- Israel relationship - and the future of Israel, the Palestinian people and peace in the region - depends on our willingness to look past biases of all sorts to the facts on the ground, to the justice that is required and to our interests going forward.

    David Rothkopf is a foreign policy expert and author, host of the Deep State Radio podcast and CEO of The Rothkopf Group, LLC a media and advisory firm. His next book, on the national security threat posed by the Trump administration, is due out later this year. Twitter: @djrothkopf

    https://seenthis.net/messages/759998 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Accord Qatar-Union Européenne : ciel ouvert en perspective


    Il aura fallu huit ans pour que l’Union Européenne et l’Emirat du Qatar arrivent à conclure ce qui apparaît comme un accord historique pour le transport aérien. Historique, car qualifié de global par les négociateurs de cet accord qui permettra aux 27 membres de l’Union ainsi qu’au Qatar d’avoir un accès illimité et sans restriction à leur territoire respectif. Son entrée en vigueur est attendue d’ici la fin de l’année 2019, l’accord devant être ratifié par chaque pays membre avant de prendre effet probablement au dernier trimestre.

    Comment se traduit-il pour les voyageurs ? Probablement par plus de choix à terme. L’accord élimine de fait les barrières qui, jusqu’à présent , faussaient en partie la concurrence, par exemple la restriction de travailler pour les compagnies aériennes européennes avec un agent de vente général au Qatar. L’accord garantit une concurrence loyale, le respect de l’environnement, la protection des consommateurs. Autant d’aspects sociaux et durables qui régulent de plus en plus le transport aérien. En outre, l’accord se penche également sur les questions de sécurité et de gestion de l’espace aérien.

    Selon Akbar al-Baker, PDG de Qatar Airways, “l’accord offrira aux compagnies aériennes d’Europe et du Qatar une plate-forme commune leur permettant de mieux se comprendre et de créer de nouvelles opportunités de collaboration et de coopération. Le principe de concurrence loyale est à notre sens très simple : accès équitable aux marchés, concurrence pour des parts de marché basées sur les produits et services, sur ce que le client souhaite et est prêt à acheter.”

    Le Qatar et l’Union Européenne sont déjà intimement liés. La compagnie Qatar Airways dessert 33 aéroports de l’Union Européenne – 26 si le Royaume-Uni sortait de l’Union –, Malte devenant la prochaine destination européenne du transporteur qatari. A l’inverse, seul le transporteur British Airways dessert Doha.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/758740 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Un documentaire réalisé par Rachel Leah Jones et Philippe Bellaïche sur l’avocate israélienne Lea Tsemel a été présenté au festival de Sundance le mois dernier :

    Larry Gleeson, Hollywood Glee, le 1er février 2019


    #Palestine #Lea_Tsemel #Avocate #Justice #Injustice #documentaire

    https://seenthis.net/messages/758607 via Dror@sinehebdo