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Two Kinds of Countries: Israel's Dangerous Path

There are two kinds of countries or societies or places to live. In the first kind, decent, fair, kind, and respectful treatment of every person takes precedent over anyone's preferences for how a culture changes or how much effort is expended trying to slow the change of a culture, or which cultures mix with each other, or which groups intermarry. In this first type of society — admittedly a nonexistent ideal — people identify with humanity and welcome any member of humanity into their group of associates, their neighborhood, and their family.  Desire to keep some corner of the globe inhabited by people with a particular skin color or language isn't just slightly outweighed by diligent observance of individuals' rights.  Instead, such sectarian  or tribal desire doesn't exist. And its absence leaves room for concern over war, environmental destruction, hunger, poor healthcare, illiteracy, and all sorts of problems not involving the exclusion of some people from a group.

In the second kind of society, importance is placed on creating or maintaining a population that is exclusively or predominantly of a particular appearance or background, religion or ethnicity.  Such a society strays, mildly or moderately or extremely, from democracy, as its demographic project conflicts with people's rights to immigrate, marry, practice or abandon religion, and speak and behave as they choose. Valuing some types of people over others leads toward anti-democratic positions and leaves a society open to easy manipulation through fear and prejudice, distracting energy away from real problems that might appear harder to solve. In extreme cases, this type of society becomes fascist. Hatred and violence become admirable. Lynchings and apartheid and Jim Crow and mass incarceration and sadistic punishment follow.

The nation of Israel claims to be both a democracy and a Jewish state. It can't be. Similarly, the United States cannot be a Christian nation or a white nation and a democracy.  A poll in Israel in 2012 asked, "Israel is defined as both a Jewish and democratic state. Which is more important to you?" 34% said Jewish, while 22% said democratic, but 42% said that both were equally important.  People in that 42% misunderstand the necessity to choose, as they no doubt do choose every day.  The same poll asked, "Speakers should be prohibited from harshly criticizing the State of Israel in public ... ," and 20% agreed, while another 29% strongly agreed.  Hmmm, is that the democracy or the Jewish state talking?

Max Blumenthal's new book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, is 400 pages of fascistic horrors, a dystopian vision of where the United States or most any other country could go and where Israel has gone.  Of course, Israel uses World War II to justify its outrages, just as the United States uses World War II to justify its military presence in 177 other nations.  The United States arms Israel and protects it from legal consequences for crimes.  U.S. companies and individuals and universities and churches fund and take part in Israel's brutality. U.S. Congress members listen to Israeli war propaganda as attentively as do Knesset members. So, there are perhaps extra reasons for those of us in the U.S. to pay particular attention to Israel's fascistic tendencies.

And what do these consist of? Well, permanent war, permanent crisis, fear-mongering, racism, legal and popularly imposed segregation and harassment. False beliefs about past and current crimes of the Israeli military are so openly willful that Israel has a contest show on television for amateur propagandists. Crimes by soldiers or civilians go unpunished or lightly punished when the victims are non-Jews.  These crimes include lynchings, assaults, torture, harassment, humiliation, eviction, home destruction, job discrimination, and constant traumatization. Soldiers always nearby.  Drones always buzzing overhead. Artificial sewage called Skunk sprayed through open windows of homes.  The star of David painted on homes and businesses destroyed to intimidate non-Jews. Crowds gathered on a hill to watch and cheer for the bombing of Gaza like Washingtonians picnicking in Manassas to watch a civil war slaughter. Israeli soldiers openly describing themselves as fascists. Trials with pre-determined outcomes. Incarceration of masses of people in concentration camps.

Blumenthal's portrait of Israel is a partial one to be sure, but a terrifying one nonetheless.  He contrasts the relentless hatred and abuse he documents with brief moments of imagining something else.  At a restaurant in Haifa, writes Blumenthal, "seated at a long table in Fatoush's outdoor garden, listening to a mélange of English, Arabic, and Hebrew amid a crowd of Palestinians, Jews, and internationals, it is sometimes possible to imagine the kind of place Israel could be if it ever managed to shed its settler-colonial armor."

That place is not a Jewish democracy or a white democracy or a European democracy. That place is a democracy, and a democracy is a place where you're happy for your son or daughter to get married because they're in love, not because of the ethnicity of their beloved.

Netanyahu Thinks You're an Idiot and a Coward

Israeli Claim of Iranian ICBM Exploits Biased U.S. Intel

By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 2013 (IPS- In an effort to provoke any possible opposition in U.S. political circles to a nuclear deal with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has returned to exploiting an old claim that Iran is building intercontinental ballistic missiles that could hit the United States.

The Netanyahu claim takes advantage of the extreme position that has been taken on the issue by Pentagon and Air Force intelligence organisations but goes even further.

In an Oct. 1 interview with Bob Schieffer of CBS News, Netanyahu said Iranians are “building ICBMs to reach…the American mainland within a few years”. And in an interview with Charlie Rose a week later, he said the Iranians “are developing ICBMs – not for us, but for you.”

Netanyahu added, “The American intelligence agency knows as well as we do that Iran is developing ICBMs.”

Independent specialists on the issue say, however, that no evidence supports Netanyahu’s claim.

Michael Elleman of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the author of an authoritative study on Iran’s missile programme, told IPS, “I’ve seen no evidence of Iranian ICBM development, let alone a capability.”

Elleman said Iran would need to test a missile at least a half dozen — and more likely a dozen times — before it would have an operational capability for an ICBM.

Thus far, however, Iran has not even displayed, much less tested, a larger version of its existing space launch vehicle that would be a necessary step toward an ICBM, according to David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Programme at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Iran has only tested a space launch vehicle that can put a very small satellite into orbit, Wright told IPS.

“The fact that it’s not happening suggests something is holding them back,” said Wright. “Clearly we’re not seeing them moving very fast in that direction.”

The highly politicised nature of U.S. intelligence assessments on the Iranian ballistic missile programme has given Netanyahu the opportunity to make the claims of an incipient Iranian ICBM without fear of being called out.

Pentagon and industry interests pushing the idea of an Iranian ICBM threat to get support for spending on a missile defence system have long had a deep impact on intelligence assessments of the issue.

Netanyahu actually began warning of Iranian ICBMs targeting the United States 15 years ago, after a commission on foreign ballistic missile threats led by Donald Rumsfeld had warned in mid-1998 that Iran and North Korea “could” threaten the United States with ICBMs within five years.

The Rumsfeld Commission, which was organised to pressure the Bill Clinton administration to approve a national missile defence system, arrived at its five-year timeline by inviting the four major military contractors to suggest how Iran might conceivably succeed in testing an ICBM.

It also rejected the normal practice in threat assessment of distinguishing between what was theoretically possible and what was likely.

Since 2001, the U.S. intelligence community has been saying that Iran “could” have the capability to test an ICBM by sometime between 2012 and 2015, if it was given enough foreign – meaning Russian – assistance.

But it was generally recognised that the Russian government was unlikely to assist Iran in building an ICBM. And as the report on the issue published by the National Intelligence Council in December 2001 explained, “We judge that countries are much less likely to test as early as the hypothetical ‘could’ dates than they are by our projected ‘likely’ dates.”

In other words, “could” actually meant “is unlikely to”. But that fact was never covered in news articles, so it remained unknown except among a few policy wonks.

By 2009, it had become obvious to most of the intelligence community that the 2015 date could no longer be defended, even with the misleading “could” formulation. A National Intelligence Estimate that year, which was never made public, reportedly said Iran couldn’t achieve such a capability until sometime between 2015 and 2020.

Intelligence organisations connected with the Pentagon and the Air Force, however, never gave up the 2015 date. The Air Force’s National Air and Space intelligence Centre and the Defence Intelligence Agency published a paper that repeated the mantra: “With sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States by 2015.”

In April 2010, the Pentagon quoted that statement word for word in a report to Congress.

When Netanyahu wanted to turn the heat up on the Iran nuclear issue in February 2012, his close allies cited that military estimate in support of an even more extreme claim. Strategic affairs minister Moshe Yaalon said Iran was developing a missile with a 6,000-mile range, which would allow it to reach the east coast of the United States.

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz went even further. “We estimate,” he said, “that in two or three years they will have the first ICBMs that can reach the east coast of America.”

Steinitz said the Israeli assessment was in line with the assessment of the Pentagon. But even the military estimate doesn’t say that Iran would have such an ICBM. It said only that Iran could test an ICBM, which would still leave Iran several years away from having an operational ICBM.

In July 2013, the Air Force National Air and Space intelligence Centre, DIA and Office of Naval Intelligence issued a new report on “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat” that states flatly, “Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015.”

That language omitted any reference to foreign assistance, which had always been a key element in the formula that had been adopted to satisfy missile defence interests.

But those interests were obviously pressing for even stronger language. Missile defence advocates have been pressing Congress to approve a missile defence site on the East Coast, making an Iranian ICBM threat even more important politically.

Iran, meanwhile, has said it is not interested in ICBMs at all. Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in April 2010 that Iran “has no plans to build such a missile”.

And Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has guided Iran’s missile programme for decades, said in 2011 that Iran had no intention of producing missile with ranges beyond 2,000 km.

Iran was only interested in missiles that targeted U.S. bases in the region, Hajizadeh said.

Iran had a good strategic reason for its disinterest in an ICBM, according to a team of U.S. and Russian specialists who analysed the Iranian missile programme in May 2009. Iran would have to use rocket motor clusters, the U.S.-Russian team observed, and longer-range missiles based on that technology would have to be launched from above ground.

It would take days to prepare for launch and hours to fuel – all of which would be clearly visible to spy satellites, according to the team.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Israel, Palestine and Iran It's Time To Feed the Hungry Peace Wolves

By John Grant

 


All we are saying is give peace a chance
        - John Lennon
 

Whether war or cooperation is the more dominant trait of humanity is one of the oldest questions in human discourse. There are no satisfying answers for either side exclusively, which seems to suggest the answer is in the eternal nature of the debate itself.

Netanyahu Rushes to U.S. to Try to Prevent Outbreak of Peace

From The Independent:

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will tomorrow try to foil Iran’s moves towards rehabilitation in the international community during a speech at the UN General Assembly aimed at reversing the diplomatic and public opinion gains made by the new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

In remarks late on Saturday before departing for the United States, where he will meet US President Barack Obama later today, Mr Netanyahu signalled that as far as Israel is concerned, nothing has changed but the rhetoric from the years of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denied the Holocaust and spoke of Israel’s removal. Above all, Mr Netanyahu will stress that Iran is still intent on attaining a nuclear bomb, something Israel views as an existential threat.

Obama, Palestine and the United Nations – September 24, 2013

Today, President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations. Much of his talk concerned the current situation in Syria, but he also touched on the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Yet even Mr. Obama’s pretty words and soaring oratory were unable to camouflage his extreme pro-Israel bias, as he spouted nonsense that he and his predecessors have all said before. A look at just a few of his statements is informative.

  • “I’ve made it clear that the United States will never compromise our commitment to Israel’s security, nor our support for its existence as a Jewish state.”

This apparently means that, unlike Syria, which isn’t allowed by the U.S. to use chemical weapons, the U.S.’s commitment to Israel is unconditional: Israel can commit the most shocking and brutal human rights violations, and the U.S. will still continue to give it billions of dollars every year.

Israel's Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Weapons Threaten World Peace

 

Israel's Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Weapons Threaten World Peace

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Syria threatens no one. It hasn't used chemical weapons against insurgents or its own civilians. Claims otherwise are fabricated.

 

In contrast, Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous. It maintains large chemical and biological weapons arsenals. More on that below. 

 

Testimonies Prove Israel Tortures Palestinian Children

 

Testimonies Prove Israel Tortures Palestinian Children

 

by Stephen Lendman 

 

On August 22, B'Tselem headlined "Abuse and torture in interrogations of dozens of Palestinian minors in the Israel Police Etzion Facility."

 

Nobel Laureate president defends unprovoked war against Syria: Obama Offers No Evidence Assad Ordered Syria Poison Gas Attack

By Dave Lindorff


In what NPR called “perhaps President Obama’s last best chance” to make his case for launching a war against Syria, the president tellingly didn’t make a single effort to present hard, compelling evidence to prove that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad had been behind the alleged Sarin Aug. 21 attack on residents of a suburb of Damascus.


Not one piece of evidence.

The Big Dog and Its Tail: Who’s Hiding Behing the ‘Making Assad Accountable’ Mask?

By John Grant


Responses to wrongdoing must not exacerbate problems.
            - Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute
 
 
Watching news coverage of the debate over bombing Syria, one realizes there’s more going on than Barack Obama or John Kerry are telling Congress and the American people. Kerry may have sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- but that doesn’t mean he has to tell the whole story.

Harsh Criticism of Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks

 

Harsh Criticism of Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) position paper offered straight talk on what's ongoing. It did so responsibly.

 

Israel Attacks Palestinians During Peace Talks

 

Israel Attacks Palestinians During Peace Talks

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Doing so exposes the sham process. So do many other similar incidents. Daily violence persists. Dozens of weekly incursions terrorize Palestinian communities.

 

Violence and arrests follow. So do detentions, interrogations and torture. Israel's no peace partner. Palestinians don't have one. They never did. For sure they don't now.

 

The Bellicose Obama Regime: Once Again, the Answer Is Bombing

By John Grant


Here we go again.

Polls suggest the American people are fed up after two full-bore wars and the killing of an ambassador in Benghazi following our escapade in Libya. Yet, the Obama administration seems poised to launch another war in Syria.

“We can’t do a third war in 12 years!"

Duplicitous Peace Talks Resume

 

Duplicitous Peace Talks Resume

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Global activists oppose them. They do so for good reason. They're dead on arrival. They're fake like all previous times. 

 

They're ongoing secretly. Doing so conceals manipulated injustice. It diverts attention from what's important.

 

Israel Behind Egypt's Coup?

 

Israel Behind Egypt's Coup?

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Israel for ousting Morsi. It wouldn't surprise. He claims he has proof. More on that below.

 

He's the last one to point fingers. He rules repressively. He's more despot than democrat. 

 

The Illusion of Israeli/Palestinian Peaceful Conflict Resolution

 

The Illusion of Israeli/Palestinian Peaceful Conflict Resolution

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Peace talks are more pretense than real. They've been that way for decades. Initiatives were always stillborn. They reflect the greatest diplomatic scam of all time.

 

It's no different now. Peaceful conflict resolution's a convenient illusion. It's guaranteed. Chances for success are ZERO. Smart money knows but won't say.

 

Dispossessing East Jerusalem Palestinian Residents

 

Dispossessing East Jerusalem Palestinian Residents

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel plans Judaizing Jerusalem entirely. It wants it exclusively Jewish. It's an international city. It's under a UN trusteeship. It doesn't matter.

 

Ethnic cleansing is official Israeli policy. Palestinian owned land is seized. Homes are demolished. Dispossessions follow.

 

Sham Peace Talks Continue

 

Sham Peace Talks Resume

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Why bother. Talks are doomed to fail. So did multiple previous rounds. Israel wants things its way. Demands masquerade as give and take.

 

According to one PLO official, "Israel will dodge, evade and propose unachievable demands to promote a conclusion that negotiations are futile, and so Israel will continue to steal lands as they are doing now."

 

Spinning the Israeli/Palestinian Peace Process

 

Spinning the Israeli/Palestinian Peace Process

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

New York Times editors, correspondents and contributors do it as well as anyone. They deceive regular readers in the process.

 

Illusions substitute for facts. Pro-Israeli bias reflects longstanding Times policy. The worst of occupation harshness goes unreported. Settler violence is ignored. Palestinians are blamed for Israeli crimes.

 

Israeli Occupation Harshness Prevents Peace

 

Israeli Occupation Harshness Prevents Peace

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is perhaps the longest one in modern times. It's festered for decades. Resolution's nowhere in sight. 

 

Multiple peace talk rounds don't work. They never did. They were orchestrated to fail. They're pretense. They're fake. Nothing's different this time.

 

Israeli Business As Usual

 

Israeli Business As Usual

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Hardline extremists run Israel. Netanyahu's the worst. He's lawless. He's unprincipled. He's duplicitous. 

 

So are other coalition partner members. They say one thing. They do another. Same old, same old is policy.

 

Israeli Democracy: A Convenient Illusion

 

Israeli Democracy: A Convenient Illusion

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel's more hypocrisy than democracy. Rhetoric belies longstanding policy. Nothing ahead suggests change.

 

Democracy exists in name only. Arundhati Roy calls India a "limbless, headless, soulless torso left bleeding under the butcher's cleaver with a flag driven deep into her mutilated heart."

 

Palestinian Prisoners: Petitioning to Block Their Release

 

Palestinian Prisoners: Petitioning to Block Their Release

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israel's gulag. Netanyahu got cabinet approval to release 104. They've been held longterm. They've been denied justice.

 

Release is meaningless. It's shameless. It's contemptuous of Palestinian rights. It falls short of freedom. They'll be ruthlessly harassed. They're denied a moment's peace.

 

Decades of Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks Failure: 50 Reasons Why

 

Decades of Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks Failure: 50 Reasons Why

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Paul Simon's 1975 "Still Crazy After All These Years" album featured the hit song "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." 

 

Subverting peace perhaps is simpler. Four decades of futile Israeli/Palestinian talks prove it. There never was a peace process. There's none now. 

 

Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks: Rebooting Failure

 

Israeli/Palestinian Peace Talks: Rebooting Failure

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The so-called peace process is fake. It was stillborn at birth. Fools and liars pretend otherwise. Honest observers understand reality. 

 

According to the Molad Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy:

Israeli Referendum Measure Blocks Land for Peace

 

Israeli Referendum Measure Blocks Land for Peace

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Netanyahu heads Israel's worst government in history. It's hardline. It's extremist. It's fascist. It spurns Palestinian rights. It deplores peace. It enforces occupation harshness.

 

On August 1, Haaretz headlined "Bill requiring referendum on ceding land passes first Knesset reading."

Profile of a Rigged Peace Process

 

Profile of a Rigged Peace Process

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Count the ways. Tzipi Livni is Israel's chief negotiator. She's hardline. She supports occupation harshness. She deplores Palestinian sovereignty. 

 

She's a wolf in sheep's clothing. She's an unindicted war criminal. She favors Pax Israeliana. She does so in the worst sense. She doesn't negotiate. She demands.

 

Israeli/Palestinian Peace Terms: Unconditional Surrender

 

Israeli/Washington Peace Terms: Unconditional Surrender

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The charade began Monday night. It did so over a traditional Iftar dinner. It's the Ramadan period evening meal. It breaks the daily fast.

 

It was more like the last supper. According to Christian scripture, Christ shared his last meal with his Apostles. He did so before crucifixion. 

 

The Illusion of Israeli/Palestinian Peace for Our Time

 

The Illusion of Israeli/Palestinian Peace for Our Time

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Talks take place in Washington. Doing so alone assures betrayal and failure. It's certain. America one-sidedly favors Israel. It's duplicitous. It's no honest broker. It never was. It's not now. 

 

No legitimate Palestinian leader would permit Washington's involvement. Collaborators betray their people by doing so.

 

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