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Ms. Clinton Says Iran Headed For "Military Dictatorship"

MS. CLINTON SAYS IRAN HEADED FOR “MILITARY DICTATORSHIP”
By Sherwood Ross

Well may Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warn students in Qatar that “Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship.” She is, after all, an authority on the subject, representing a country where the Pentagon has long been ascendant. Her comment was followed up by Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s press secretary, who, at a February 16th news conference refused to deny the possibility of the U.S. taking military action against Iran, stating, “I wouldn’t rule out anything.” As anti-war activist David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet points out, this is “a public threat to engage in aggressive war...” The Charter of the United Nations forbids such threats, of course.

Writing for “Truthout,” Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, of Washington, D.C., believes Ms. Clinton’s intent “is to promote conflict and to convince Americans that Iran is an actual threat to their security.” This has long been Clinton’s policy. During her presidential bid in 2008 she said she would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran if that country launched a nuclear attack on Israel.

Ms. Clinton finds it convenient to ring the fire bell warning that Iran is developing its first nuclear device when the U.S. is sitting on a stockpile of 12,000 such bombs, and ally Israel----which has rejected international monitoring and controls of its atomic arsenal---has an estimated 200 nukes. Former President Jimmy Carter writes “the United States has become the prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation”---yet, incredibly, Ms. Clinton is threatening Iran on this very issue.

Does Ms. Clinton expect gullible Americans to believe Iran might commit national suicide if it actually did make a nuclear weapon (Iran claims the development is for peaceful purposes) and then launched it in a war against Israel? Not only does Israel’s military power dwarf Iran, which has a military budget is $18 billion, but USA with an annual warfare budget of $700 billion, arms, equips, and stands right behind Israel.

Questioning Our Special Relationship with Israel

Questioning Our Special Relationship with Israel
By Stephanie Westbrook

A "regional economic power." That's how ANIMA, the Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies encompassing 70 governmental agencies and international networks, described Israel in its January 2010 Mediterranean Investment Map. The report analyzed the economies of the 27 European Union countries as well as 9 "partner countries."

And who can argue. Touting an annual GDP growth rate around 5% for the years 2004 to 2008, Israel was also ranked 27 out of 132 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report last fall. It ranked 9th for innovative capacity.

In the 2008 World Competitiveness Yearbook by IMD, Israel comes in 2nd for the number of scientists and engineers in the workforce. No other country in the world spends more on research and development as a percentage of GDP than Israel. Since the year 2000 it has hovered around 4.5%, or twice the average of OECD member countries.

I am not an economist, but I have to wonder why US taxpayers are doling out $3 billion a year in direct military aid to a "regional economic power." In August 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel was signed committing the US to give, not loan, $30 billion to Israel over 10 years. US taxpayers are directly funding close to 20% of Israel's annual defense budget. No wonder Israel is able to invest in R&D!

To help put these figures into perspective, a new web site was launched last week that illustrates how your state is contributing to the Israeli defense budget, and what could have instead been done with the money. At Aid to Israel I learned that my home state of Texas will give more than $2.5 billion over the ten year period. For the same amount, over 2 million people could have been provided with primary health care.

Human Rights Group Slams Israel's Probe Of Gaza Conflict

Human rights group slams Israel's probe of Gaza conflict | CNN

An international human rights organization on Sunday faulted Israel's investigation into alleged war crimes last year in Gaza.

Israel has not demonstrated that it will conduct thorough and objective investigations, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

"An independent investigation is crucial to understand why so many civilians died and to bring justice for the victims of unlawful attacks," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director for the New York-based organization. Read more.

"Breaking the Silence": Women Soldiers Speak Out

"Breaking the Silence": Women Soldiers Speak Out
By Stephen Lendman

"Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers that collects anonymous testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifada." They recount experiences that deeply affected them, including abusing Palestinians, looting, destroying property, and other practices "excused as military necessities, or explained as extreme and unique cases."

They disagree in describing "the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military" to which its society and most Western observers turn a blind eye. Since 2004, "Breaking the Silence" collected over 650 testimonies, including from combat veterans. Most remain anonymous to avoid recriminations, but feel compelled to go public - to "demand accountability regarding Israel's military actions in the Occupied Territories perpetrated by us in our name."

Last year, a collection of 54 damning testimonies from 30 Israeli soldiers was published. On January 31, a new publication was released titled, "Breaking the Silence: Women Soldiers' Testimonies," a collection of 96 stories from dozens of women who served in the Territories since 2000.

On January 29, Israel's ynetnews.com reported that "Female soldiers break their silence," revealing accounts of "systematic humiliation of Palestinians, reckless and cruel violence, theft, killing of innocent people and cover-up."

On July 15, 2009, Reuters reported that participating IDF soldiers in the recent Gaza conflict said "they were urged by commanders to shoot first and worry later about sorting out civilians from combatants. Accordingly, they (said, they) went into Gaza with guns blazing," with comments like the following typical of others:

  • "If you're not sure, kill;"
  • "Better hit an innocent than hesitate to target an enemy;"
  • "In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy; no innocents;" and
  • "They kept repeating to us that this is war and in war opening fire is not restricted....There was a clear feeling, and this was repeated whenever others spoke to us, that no humanitarian consideration played any role in the army at present."

Artist David Dees Work Chronicles American-Financed Israeli War Crimes Against Palestine's Gazans

Click "Read more" below to view larger image.

From David Dees:

This art is free to use for "non-profit" individual purposes, blogs, and websites. I encourage you to openly distribute to others with the hope it will educate, enlighten, deprogram, and at least, entertain. For "profit" magazine, book, or websites use please inquire at davodees@hotmail.com.

All material Copyright©2006-2009, David Dees

Artist David Dees' message: In my art, you will occasionally see a 'Z' symbol over a star of David. This simply represents the political movement called Zionism which has co-opted Judaism and uses it as a shield to hide behind. Both myself and Rense.com are PRO-Jewish, but extremely ANTI-Zionist. Those who attempt to smear my art as 'anti-semitic' are fools and frauds. The unspeakable, hideous genocidal acts of Zionism and the geopolitical social and economic deception and deceit it uses to con and dupe the masses shall be exposed. I also support organizations like Jews Against Zionism as you can see in my archives. If you have any sincere questions about Zionism and related issues, by all means read the material at any Jews Against Zionism internet site and the archives at Rense.com. Truth Does Not Fear Investigation. - David Dees

Gaza in Plain Language

As a matter of routine and common decency, I'll warn you that this contains GRAPHIC FOOTAGE. You may close your eyes to the horrors shown, but don't close your ears, as the audio is well-worth hearing.

Human Rights Abuses in Israel and Occupied Palestine

Human Rights Abuses in Israel and Occupied Palestine
By Stephen Lendman

Founded in 1972, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is its leading human and civil rights organization through activities involving litigation, legal advocacy, education, and public outreach. Each year it publishes an annual report covering flagrant violations, positive trends, if any, and "significant human rights-related processes" affecting Israelis and Palestinians.

Its latest December 2009 one is examined below, discussing "a disturbing (government-sponsored) trend that has (gained) currency in Israel over the past year - both in public discourse and sometimes in practice - to make human rights conditional: on fulfilling some obligation, having financial means, or belonging (or not belonging) to certain groups."

For example, free expression is targeted, and Israeli Arabs threatened, denied equality, education, employment, and their citizenship without "declaring loyalty" to Israel - in other words, on condition they abandon their national identity, culture, language, and historic heritage that's the equivalent of asking Jews to renounce Judaism.

Financial means involves regarding social rights, including healthcare and education, as commodities, accessible to those who can pay. And for Occupied Palestinians, Gaza was devastated by war, remains under siege, and sustains near daily assaults, killings, and targeted assassinations.

In the West Bank, security forces enforce land seizures, home demolitions, displacement, segregation, isolation, closures, movement and travel restrictions, the Separation Wall's construction, daily home invasions, arrests, attacks on peaceful protestors, imprisonments, and torture of detainees under a rigid "matrix of control" involving checkpoints, bypass roads, roadblocks, curfews, electric fences, and various other harassments to cow all Palestinians into submission or make them give up and leave.

Since 1948, Israel denied its Arab citizens fundamental human and civil rights and increasingly fewer of them to many Jews. In the Territories, it's far worse under military occupation and Israeli laws affording no protections to Palestinians. Nor has the Supreme Court upheld the law that should be sacrosanct in a legitimate democracy. When it's compromised, no one is immune from abuse and neglect as greater numbers in Israel are learning, including Jews.

Prof. Francis Boyle: Israel Is Committing Genocide

Prof. Francis Boyle: Israel Is Committing Genocide
By Michele Steinberg | Scoop

According to Boyle, the question of the Gaza opening must be immediately taken up by the Obama Administration. ``We need all the openings to Gaza, the crossings from Egypt and Israel, opened immediately. {Massive} provision of humanitarian assistance, medical supplies to Gaza--exactly what Obama's doing today, with respect to Haiti--I support that! But why aren't they doing it to Gaza? You have 1.5 million people over there.

``Unless this step is undertaken, certainly on Gaza, relieving the people of Gaza with massive humanitarian relief supplies, I really think we're going to see a dog-and-pony show,'' being run by the Obama White House, and the sending of Sen. George Mitchell to the region.

So far, what the U.S. has done is, ``once again, provid[ed] diplomatic cover for Israel to stall and delay its objectives, and meanwhile, they continue to steal Palestinian lands, destroy their orchards, destroy their olive fields, and build more settlements. This has been going on, right from the beginning of the Middle East peace negotiations in 1991, when I was legal advisor to the Palestinians and the Syrians at that time.''

"What we're seeing in Gaza now, is pretty much slow-motion genocide against the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in Gaza.... If you read the 1948 Genocide Convention, it clearly says that one instance of genocide is the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part,'' stated Francis A. Boyle, professor of International Law at the University of Illinois in Champaign. ``And that's exactly what has been done to Gaza, since the imposition of the blockade by Israel; then the massacre of 1,400 Palestinians, two-thirds of whom were civilians, in Operation Cast Lead. And that also raises the element in the Genocide Convention, of murder, torture, and things of that nature."

Boyle spoke to {EIR} on Jan. 15, 2010, giving his assessment of Gaza, one year after the Israeli attacks. He stressed that he was speaking only for himself. Read more.

Female Soldiers Break Their Silence

Female soldiers break their silence
By Amir Shilo | YNetNews
Six years after first collection of Breaking the Silence testimonies, organization releases booklet of testimonies from female soldiers who served in territories. Stories include systematic humiliation of Palestinians, reckless and cruel violence, theft, killing of innocent people and cover-up. Here are only some of testimonies

"A female combat soldier needs to prove more…a female soldier who beats up others is a serious fighter…when I arrived there was another female there with me, she was there before me…everyone spoke of how impressive she is because she humiliates Arabs without any problem. That was the indicator. You have to see her, the way she humiliates, the way she slaps them, wow, she really slapped that guy."

The Breaking the Silence organization on Friday released a booklet of testimonies by female soldiers recounting various abuse cases involving Palestinians in the West Bank.

In recent years, females have been increasingly involved in combat and field operations in the IDF and Border Guard. Among other things, these female soldiers engage in daily contact with the Palestinian population – at roadblocks and in Palestinian communities.

According to the latest testimonies, many of these young women have trouble coping with the violent reality they are exposed to and find themselves facing situations that contradict their values. Some of them end up engaging in acts, or turning a blind eye to acts, that will burden them years later. Like their male counterparts, some of these females have a need to speak about what they saw. Read more.

Arresting Gandhi: "Violent Clashes" and the Arrest of Abdullah Abu Rahma

Arresting Gandhi
“Violent Clashes” and the Arrest of Abdullah Abu Rahma
By David Rovics | David Rovics.com

He's a Palestinian man, and he has one of those very Muslim-sounding names with “Abu” in it (it means “father of”). Any time his name is mentioned in the media it tends to be quickly lined up with phrases like “violent clashes.” If the article is more than one paragraph long then somehow or other the topic of suicide bombing will make its way into the discussion. And the Israelis have charged him with weapons possession and have arrested him (the weapons are an assortment of used bullets and tear gas canisters that have been fired at Abdullah and his family, but no matter). Many readers will by then have decided by then that it's all pretty scary and complicated and they'd best move on.

The Israeli military's “tougher line” on “West Bank protests” made its way into the New York Times last Friday and mention was made of some of those arrested, injured and killed by the Israelis in the course of the weekly Friday protests that are now happening in a number of villages – villages like Bil'in, where Israel's massive new wall is being constructed just outside the town, cutting the village off from its farmland, its water and the livelihood of its residents. As part of their “tougher line” the IDF been arresting protest organizers, or in many cases killing them, always claiming the killings are accidental. Basem Abu Rahma, for example, was recently killed by a high-velocity tear gas canister shot directly at his chest, the same type of weapon that nearly killed American activist Tristan Anderson months before.

And now Abdullah is in jail. The overwhelming majority of the world community doesn't know, and why should they? After all, the Palestinians have yet to find “their Gandhi” – Bono said so, among others. And the IDF spokesman quoted by the Times says of the weekly protests, “these are violent, illegal, dangerous riots.” Therefore there is justification for the hundreds of Palestinian children killed by the IDF over recent years – sometimes they were throwing rocks. Let's stay with the logic here a moment. Take their land and build walls around it, arrest their parents for organizing nonviolent protests, kill their children for throwing rocks (while arresting their parents), call all that “violent, illegal, dangerous riots” and do it all again the next day.

In The West Bank's Stony Hills, Palestine Is Slowly Dying

In the West Bank's stony hills, Palestine is slowly dying
In the richest of the Occupied lands, Israeli bureaucracy is driving Palestinians out of their homes.
By Robert Fisk | The Independent

Area C doesn't sound very ominous. A land of stone-sprinkled grey hills and soft green valleys, it's part of the wreckage of the equally wrecked Oslo Agreement, accounting for 60 per cent of the Israeli-occupied West Bank that was eventually supposed to be handed over to its Palestinian inhabitants.

But look at the statistics and leaf through the pile of demolition orders lying on the table in front of Abed Kasab, head of the village council in Jiftlik, and it all looks like ethnic cleansing via bureaucracy. Perverse might be the word for the paperwork involved. Obscene appear to be the results.

Palestinian houses that cannot be permitted to stand, roofs that must be taken down, wells closed, sewage systems demolished; in one village, I even saw a primitive electricity system in which Palestinians must sink their electrical poles cemented into concrete blocks standing on the surface of the dirt road. To place the poles in the earth would ensure their destruction – no Palestinian can dig a hole more than 40cm below the ground. Read more.

Obama Gets Asked an Unapproved Question

Obama says Palestinians must renounce violence and recognize Israel, but Israel must recognize Palestinians (with no mention of renouncing violence).

Focus on Israel: Harvesting Haitian Organs

Focus on Israel: Harvesting Haitian Organs
By Stephen Lendman

On January 15, Haaretz reported that:

"The Israel Defense Forces' aid mission to Haiti left Israel overnight (January 14) with equipment for setting up an emergency field hospital. Around 220 soldiers and officers (were) in the delegation, including 120 medical staff (to) operate the hospital in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince."

According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it includes "40 doctors, 25 nurses, paramedics, a pharmacy, a children's ward, a radiology department, an intensive care unit, an internal department and a maternity ward (able to) treat approximately 500 patients each day," including in two surgery rooms.

On January 20, Lebanon's Al-Manar TV reported on the mission, citing a damning You Tube video posted by an American named T. West from a group called AfriSynergy Productions.

"The video presents something to think about while exploiting the horrible tragedy that has befallen Haiti where Israeli occupation soldiers are engaged in organ trafficking."

Aid Workers ‘Being Pushed Out’ of Palestinian Areas

Aid workers ‘being pushed out’ of Palestinian areas
By James Hider | Times Online

Israel has stopped issuing work permits to foreign aid workers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, sparking fears about the future of relief operations in the Palestinian territories.

The Israeli Interior Ministry has issued only tourist visas to aid groups such as Oxfam, Médecins sans Frontières and Save the Children since before Christmas. They say that their legal situation is now precarious and that some staff have been denied entry by Israeli border officials who also control all entry to the West Bank.

The move came amid pressure from right-wing Israeli groups to crack down on non-governmental organisations, which are often seen as having a political, anti-Israeli bias. Early last year an Israeli group, NGO monitor, forced the New York-based Human Rights Watch to suspend a weapons specialist who had written a scathing report on Israel’s use of white phosphorus during its Gaza offensive. The group tracked down anonymous comments that the researcher had made on online discussions for collectors of Nazi memorabilia.

Some left-wing Israeli groups have accused Israel of “declaring war” on foreign groups such as Human Rights Watch and Oxfam, which have been critical of Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Aid groups are now worried that the decision by the Interior Ministry could inhibit their work to provide medical support, welfare and basic supplies to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Read more.

Gaza Blockade Threatens Health of 1.4 Million, Aid Agencies Warn

Gaza blockade threatens health of 1.4 million, aid agencies warn
Israeli and Egyptian blockade means nearly one-fifth of requests to leave for treatment are refused or delayed, report says
By James Sturcke | Guardian.co.UK

The health of 1.4 million people is being put at risk by the ongoing Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza, a report by more than 80 humanitarian organisations warned today.

The aid groups, including the World Health Organisation and UN agencies, said more than one-fifth of sick Palestinians who needed to leave the territory for treatment in Israel had either been refused or had their applications delayed. The groups called on Israel and Egypt to open the border crossings with Gaza.

Max Gaylard, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for the Palestinian territories, said the blockade undermined the local healthcare system and put lives at risk.

"It is causing ongoing deterioration in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health," he said.

"It is hampering the provision of medical supplies and the training of health staff, and it is preventing patients with serious medical conditions from getting timely specialised treatment."

The agencies highlighted the case of a student, Fidaa Hijji, who died of cancer while waiting for Israeli permission to go to hospital for a bone marrow operation. Read more.

Israel Crushes Local Dissent, Attacks Global Criticism

Israel Crushes Local Dissent, Attacks Global Criticism
By Mel Frykberg | IPS

"The United States handles the settlements unfairly? We'll point an unloaded gun at the American ambassador's head and pull the trigger, just to scare him. We're not murderers. We're just trying to frighten, which, as is well known, creates respect. Just ask the Godfather," was Barel’s scathing comment.

RAMALLAH, Jan 20 (IPS) - Israel is lashing out at international criticism and attempting to crush local dissent in what appears to be growing sensitivity to reproach of its policies.
Several recent incidents have dominated media headlines, including the arrest of a Jewish-American journalist on the grounds of security, threats by an Israeli minister against international diplomats and the arrest of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists.

The raid on a foreign activist’s home in Ramallah, supposedly under full Palestinian control, by a large Israel Defence Forces (IDF) contingent allegedly for a visa infringement, and her subsequent arrest at gunpoint and deportation has also raised eyebrows.

"We will not allow a situation where every country will kick us. If there will be an attack on Israel, we will leave all options open, including the expulsion of ambassadors," Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon said on Saturday.

"We do not want to argue with anyone, but we will not sit idly by," he added. Ayalon’s outburst followed, amongst other incidents, a much publicised political confrontation with Turkey over a Turkish TV programme critical of Israel.

This outburst led Israeli analyst and journalist Zvi Barel to comment acerbically in the Israeli daily Haaretz, "Britain wants to boycott Israeli goods? We'll summon the British ambassador and have him sit on a bed of nails’’. Read more.

The Lessons of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)


The Lessons of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
By Stephen Lendman

These initiatives along with a committed, grassroots global BDS movement is crucial to ending decades of subjugation under an oppressive occupier that won't quit until forced by committed pressure. BDS is the tool to do it.

Established in 1989, the MA'AN Development Center is "an independent Palestinian development and training institution....work(ing) towards sustainable human development in Palestine" through its various programs. On October 31, it released a publication on the Palestinian BDS campaign titled, "Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions: Lessons learned in effective solidarity."

It's another of the many BDS initiatives multiplying to support Palestine. In July 2005, a coalition of 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations created the global movement for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights" for Occupied Palestine, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian diaspora refugees.

MA'AN covers BDS history and outlines current efforts and challenges to be overcome. Past Palestinian boycotts showed they work. The 1936 six-month strike against the British Mandate demanded a representative government in Palestine, prohibition of land sales to Jews, a cessation of Jewish immigration, and immediate elections. The strike brought the economy to a halt and got the Peel Royal Commission to recommend limited Jewish immigration and plans for eventual partition.

Gaza In The Eyes Of Israelis

Gaza In The Eyes Of Israelis - WARNING: This video contains graphic footage.

Israel Pays $10.5 Million to UN for Gaza War

Israel pays $10.5 million to UN for Gaza war | AFP | Google News

UNITED NATIONS — Israel has paid the United Nations some 10.5 million dollars in damages after its assault on the Gaza Strip last year, UN officials said Friday.

"The government of Israel has made a payment of 10.5 million US dollars to the United Nations, in respect to the losses sustained," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.

"With this payment, the United Nations has agreed that the financial issues ... are concluded."

Just after the December 2008 to January 2009 conflict, UN chief Ban Ki-moon indicated the world body was claiming some 11 million dollars in compensation for the damage to its buildings, warehouses, schools and vehicles.

Israel has always denied deliberately firing on UN property during the three-week conflict, launched after relentless militant Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza on the Jewish state.

Some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the conflict, according to UN figures.

The Middle East peace process has stalled since the conflict, and the Gaza Strip, run by Hamas militants, remains under a crippling Israeli blockade.

US Security Company Offers to Perform "High Threat Terminations" and to Confront "Worker Unrest" in Haiti

Monday 18 January 2010
by: Jeremy Scahill | Rebel Reports

We saw this type of Iraq-style disaster profiteering in New Orleans and you can expect to see a lot more of this in Haiti over the coming days, weeks and months. Private security companies are seeing big dollar signs in Haiti thanks in no small part to the media hype about “looters.” After Katrina, the number of private security companies registered (and unregistered) multiplied overnight. Banks, wealthy individuals, the US government all hired private security. I even encountered Israeli mercenaries operating an armed check-point outside of an elite gated community in New Orleans. They worked for a company called Instinctive Shooting International. (That is not a joke).

These Are The People Israel Is Trying to Destroy

These Are The People Israel Is Trying to Destroy

The people living in Gaza are barely surviving after the blitzkrieg of a year ago….. but whatever they have they are willing to share with the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

Palestinians in Gaza set off for the Red Cross headquarters on Monday to offer donations and financial support for the victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake on Tuesday.

Relatives of Palestinian prisoners also participated in the drive, with many offering financial donations and goods including blankets and covers, as well as food and milk for children....

The Red Cross director was only able to accept financial donations as transferring goods out of the Strip is near impossible, Al-Khudary added. Read more.

Martin Luther King's Legacy and Israel's Future

Tom writes: If these last years tell us anything, it’s that money follows fear. By 2006, for instance, the Department of Homeland Security, that second Defense Department, a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy created from the terror of terror, already had a mini-homeland-security-industrial complex growing up around it; and that, in turn, was part of a global security business aimed at “thwarting terrorists” then worth an estimated $59 billion. (If we had news media worth their salt and DHS was a real beat, we would undoubtedly have more recent, far more striking figures for this.)...

All of this might be dismissed as a joke, if American life weren’t filled with phantasmagoric terrors that are also money machines. Everywhere that fear rules, from the U.S. to Israel, there are people exploiting and making money off it -- and it’s in the nature of the beast for them to want the gift-that-never-stops-giving to go on forever. On this Martin Luther King Day, TomDispatch regular Ira Chernus takes a deep, dark look into what fear does to Americans and Israelis alike and the ways in which it drives us all. Tom

Martin Luther King's Legacy and Israel's Future
Stepping Beyond Fear
By Ira Chernus

Every year, apologists for Israel’s occupation of Palestine eagerly await Martin Luther King Day. Then they trot out these words, spoken by Dr. King shortly before his death: “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews; you are talking anti-Semitism."

King, who repeated the themes that really mattered to him -- justice, freedom, human dignity, nonviolence -- over and over again, mentioned anti-Semitism only once, in an informal question-and-answer session. Nobody asked him what he meant, and he never explained. (A lengthy letter of “his” expounding on the theme has been proven a hoax.) Yet, year after year, Israel’s apologists rush to use those once-spoken words as the capstone for a line of reasoning which goes something like this:

Israel uses violence in the “disputed territories” to protect its own security. If you criticize that violence, you don’t care about Israel’s security; so you don’t care if Israel ceases to exist; so you are against Zionism. And Martin Luther King himself said that that’s anti-Semitism. In other words, only anti-Semites oppose Israel’s occupation policies.

Of course it’s perverse. It’s hard to imagine King ever endorsing such an illogical justification -- or any justification -- for the violent abrogation of a whole people’s freedom and dignity. Read more.

Israel and Egypt Continue to Squeeze the Lifeblood Out of the People of Gaza

Israel and Egypt continue to Squeeze the Lifeblood out of the People of Gaza -
Israeli Airstrikes and Tank Shelling and Egyptian Underground Walls and Maritime Blockade
By Ann Wright

Two weeks ago, almost 2,000 internationals came to Egypt and Gaza in a massive show of civil society support for the people of Gaza. 1,362 persons representing 44 countries in the Gaza Freedom March and over 500 persons with the Viva Palestina Convoy let the people of Gaza know of their concern for the tragic consequences of the actions of their governments in support of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade.

Yet, two weeks later, with the apparent approval of governments (United States, European Community and Canada) who support the quarantine, blockade and siege of Gaza, Israel and Egypt have tightened the squeeze to wring the lifeblood out of the people of Gaza.

U.S. Military Make Underground Wall Construction Visit

IOF Open Rainwater Dam Towards Gaza Strip

IOF open rainwater dam towards Gaza Strip | Palestine Press Agency

The Israeli Occupation Forces opened today evening a dam used for harvesting rainwater towards Gaza Strip in Gaza Valley, Mughraga and Nussayrat areas.

Our correspondent said that residents of these areas were surprised by floods of water sweeping their homes from the Israeli side, adding that residents appealed for their saving.

Israel: Global NATO's 29th Member

Israel: Global NATO's 29th Member
By Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

"Whereas Israel's geopolitical location could offer an 'external base' for the defence of the West, NATO's military and economic status could provide added security and economic benefits for the host state.

"In a rapidly changing strategic environment, Israeli policy makers are recognising definite advantages, especially in security affairs, in developing closer ties with NATO. The present Israeli government's enthusiasm for this project can be seen in an ambitious set of proposals submitted to the Alliance," which included "joint military training [and] future joint development of weapons systems." [11]

As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is pressuring its 28 member states and dozens of partnership affiliates on five continents to contribute more troops for the war in Afghanistan, the Jerusalem Post reported on January 13 that "Israel is launching a diplomatic initiative in an effort to influence the outcome of NATO's new Strategic Concept which is currently under review by a team of experts led by former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright." [1]

NATO is crafting its updated Strategic Concept to replace that last formulated in 1999, the year of the military bloc's expansion into Eastern Europe and its first full-fledged war, the 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

Madeleine Albright, arguably the individual most publicly identified with orchestrating both NATO's absorption of three former Warsaw Pact members, including her native Czech Republic, and in launching Operation Allied Force, co-chairs NATO's Group of Experts with Jeroen van der Veer, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell until June of 2009.

Why They Hate Us? It's Not A Secret

Why they hate us? It's not a secret
By Ron Smith | Baltimore Sun

You'll remember that shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush said the motivation of the hijackers was that they hated freedom. Hating freedom seemed then and now to be a pretty weak reason to give up one's own life to inflict death and destruction on others. People who had been paying attention knew what the real reasons for the Islamist radicals' actions were -- Osama bin Laden himself had laid them out in detail. They included America's support of Israel in its subordination of the Palestinians and its attacks on Lebanon; the propping up of pro-American kleptocracies in Muslim lands; and the presence of U.S. forces on the "sacred soil" of Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War.

In an audiotape released on Sept. 13, a voice attributed to bin Laden said President Obama is no different than his predecessor and warned that anti-American attacks will not cease unless the United States ends its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to The New York Times of Sept. 15, the message, which appeared on an Arabic-language Web site, was reported and translated by two groups in the U.S. that monitor jihadist Web sites. The message offered reasons for al-Qaeda's attacks on New York and the Pentagon, and offered advice on how the conflict between it and the United States could come to a close: "The time has come for you," said the purported voice of Mr. bin Laden, "to liberate yourself from fear and the ideological terrorism of neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby; the reason for our dispute with you is your support for your ally, Israel, occupying our land in Palestine." Read more.

Israeli Democracy or Hypocrisy

Israeli Democracy or Hypocrisy
By Stephen Lendman


An October 2007 Haaretz editorial titled "Democracy or hypocrisy" contrasted the "occupying Land of Israel to the democratic Israel" in calling for a "debate about Israel's control over the lives of Palestinians deprived of civil rights," saying its democracy is flawed and not addressing it is hypocrisy.

Throughout history, regimes rhetorically embraced democracy as cover for more despotic policies, no different today throughout the world in countries like India, Pakistan, America and Israel practicing what Michael Parenti calls "democracy for the few," (the) "shadier sides of US political life (in which) proponents of the existing social order have tried to transform practically every deficiency into a strength."

He asked, "Who gets what, when, how and why?" Why do so few benefit at the expense of the many? Why are peace, social justice, and real democracy illusions in a nation embracing the opposite of what they represent? Why instead do poverty, racism, sexism, exploitation, rapacious capitalism, and imperialism, in fact, define how America and Israel are governed?

Indian writer Arundhati Roy says her country's model is "designed to uphold the consensus of the elite for market growth (and has) metastasized into something dangerous" in her book titled, "Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers." She admits to being "hysterical" about where India is heading, sabotaged by religious nationalism and political expediency, "genocide" in the bloody 2002 Gujarat riots, "ecocide" for greater profits, and corruption at the highest levels. She compares Hindu right wing persecution of Muslims to Hitler's persecution of Jews and asks:

"What kind of India do they want? A limbless, headless, soulless torso left bleeding under the butcher's clever with a flag driven deep into her mutilated heart?"

Is it less true for America or in how Israel treats Muslims, many its own citizens yet denied virtually all rights afforded Jews, and in Palestine none under military occupation.

Israeli Prohibitions Against Free Expression and "Enemy Alien" Contacts

Israeli Prohibitions Against Free Expression and "Enemy Alien" Contacts
By Stephen Lendman

Adalah is the legal center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel advocating on their behalf in a nation affording rights only to Jews. In September 2009, its report titled "Prohibited Protest" exposed how Israel's law enforcement authorities restricted free expression protests against Operation Cast Lead.

It shows how police, the State Prosecutor's Office, General Security Services (GSS or Shabak), the courts, and even academic institutions used or supported arrests and imprisonments to stop Israeli Arabs and supportive Jews from protesting against the war.

Researchers collected data from the police spokesman, political and social activist testimonies, Adalah legal complaints during and after the war, an analysis of court decisions on detainee arrests, and general information reported by the media and various other Israeli human rights organizations.

Israel's law enforcement apparatus acted repressively, "far beyond any reasonable criterion." For example, on December 30, 2008, after 200 Arab demonstrator arrests, the commanding officer of the Northern District of the Police, Maj. Gen. Shimon Koren, declared that while protests could take place, police would show zero tolerance for law breakers.

Yet wherever peaceful ones occurred, authorities reacted harshly with violence and arrests to keep nonviolent resistance from spreading. This time against war. Earlier against both Intifadas, and always on Nakba Day, Land Day, against the Separation Wall and home demolitions, and other legitimate demonstrations of dissent.

Speaking Events

2015

May 30 NYC here and here and here

August 27, Chicago

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