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Obama's Second Inauguration: Big Money but No Big Lines

 

By Dave Lindorff


There were no memorable lines in President Obama’s second inaugural address. Certainly nothing like Franklin Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” which was in his first inaugural, or like John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.”


But there was plenty he said that was troubling. 


The problem mostly wasn’t what he said. It was how he said it, and what he left unsaid.

Israelis Vote

 

Israelis Vote

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Twenty-four hours and counting. On Tuesday, January 22, Israelis vote. They're as mindless and out of touch as Americans.

 

Odds favor hardline extremism. Netanyahu will remain prime minister. Knesset members and cabinet officials will reflect the worst of right-wing government.

 

Israel Criminalizes Throwing Snowballs

 

Israel Criminalizes Throwing Snowballs

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Police states operate that way. Israel is one of the worst. It spurns rule of law principles. It turns democratic values on their head. It targets Palestinians for praying to the wrong God.

 

Israel Complicit in Global State Terrorism

 

Israel Complicit in Global State Terrorism

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel threatens world peace and security. It's a global menace. The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAZN) is unequivocal.

 

Israeli Apologist Benny Morris

 

Israeli Apologist Benny Morris

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On January 8, Morris headlined his Haaretz op-ed "The day after Iran's tomorrow," saying:

 

Obama v. Netanyahu Round Two

 

Obama v. Netanyahu Round Two

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

They've gone at each other before. Neither one likes the other. 

 

A previous article said Netanyahu repeatedly puts both feet in his mouth and risks swallowing them. 

 

Israelis Want Out

 

Israelis Want Out

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On December 15, Haaretz said "almost 40 percent of Israelis are thinking of emigrating." Recent poling said they'd leave if financially able.

 

Who are they? Why do they want out? What can be done to keep them?

Israeli Elections

 

Israeli Elections

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

They fast approach. They're sham elections. Except for more contesting parties, they replicate America's illegitimate process. 

 

Voters get little choice. Ideological extremists run Israel. Rhetoric alone separates candidates. Policies are hardline. Hypocrisy substitutes for democracy.

 

Netanyahu: The Face of Israeli Fascism

 

Netanyahu: The Face of Israeli Fascism

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel under Netanyahu reflects Arundhadi Roy's view. Her book titled "Field Notes on Democracy" explained. 

 

Washington Post Supports Israeli Settlements

 

Washington Post Supports Israeli Settlements

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Post editors are contemptuous of fundamental human rights. They spurn democratic values. They consider rule of law principles quaint and out-of-date. Wealth, power, privilege, and dominance alone matter. 

 

When America goes to war or plans one, they march supportively in lockstep. They ignore the worst of imperial crimes. They endorse Israeli occupation harshness. 

Netanyahu: Unfit to Serve

 

Netanyahu: Unfit to Serve

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It shouldn't surprise. He's a world class thug. He deplores democratic principles. He spurns peace. He menaces the region. He prioritizes racist persecution. He stresses neoliberal harshness.

 

He's an embarrassment to legitimate governance. Polls suggest he'll remain prime minister after January 22 elections. Israelis have themselves to blame. 

Hardening Israeli Fascism

 

Hardening Israeli Fascism

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel's war on Palestine and Israeli Arab citizens reflects it. So does extreme hardline governance. Pre-election polls show Netanyahu's Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu coalition favored to win.

 

They'll partner with likeminded extremists. Most Israelis remain shockingly indifferent. Many are ideologically supportive. Haaretz sounded the alarm.

Netanyahu's Warning

 

Netanyahu's Warning

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Netanyahu represents lawless rogue leadership. He belongs in prison, not high office. Pre-election polls suggest he'll retain power. 

 

Israelis aren't smart enough to spurn him. Palestinian suffering will continue. The new year began like 2012 ended. More on that below.

 

The Gatekeepers: Exposing Israel's Dark Side

 

The Gatekeepers: Exposing Israel's Dark Side

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Dror Moreh is one of Israel's leading cinematographers. Last October, his documentary featuring candid dialogues with former Shin Bet heads debuted in New York. 

 

In early 2013, other Western venues will show it. Over the weekend, it premiered at Tel Aviv's Cinematheque.

 

Rare Israeli Justice

 

Rare Israeli Justice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Instances indeed are rare. An important one deserves mention. In mid-July 2010, Knesset members stripped MK Hanin Zuabi of key parliamentary rights and privileges. 

 

They did so for participating in the May 2010 Freedom Flotilla. She joined others trying to bring vital humanitarian aid to Gaza. Lunatic fringe MK's targeted her. They oppose doing the right thing.  

Israel's Long Arm

 

Israel's Long Arm

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Right wing extremism defines it. So does institutionalized  persecution. More on both below.

 

On December 27, Netanyahu addressed an air force pilot graduation ceremony. He threatened Iran and Syria. 

 

Avigdor Lieberman Faces New Charges

 

Avigdor Lieberman Faces New Charges

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He's Netanyahu's main coalition partner. He represents the lunatic fringe of Israeli governance. He's a serial felon. He's ideologically anti-democratic and hardcore racist.

 

Weeks ahead of general elections, he resigned. In January, he plans running for reelection anyway. At least so far. Information discussed below may preclude him.

Conscientious objector Natan Blanc sentenced to prison for the third time for his refusal to join the Israeli Army

Natan Blanc, 19 years old from Haifa, arrived, Sunday, 22.12.12 , to the Induction Base in Tal-hashomer, where he again declared his refusal to serve in the Israeli Army. he was sentenced to 14 days of imprisonment for his refusal, in the military prison No. 6 near Atlit.

In his refusal declaration Natan Blanc wrote:

Netanyahu/Lieberman Coalition

 

Netanyahu/Lieberman Coalition

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On January 22, Israeli parliamentary elections will be held. Netanyahu/Lieberman's Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) looks likely to win.

 

Both men are world class thugs. They represent the worst of ideological extremism. They're hardcore racists. They want unchallenged regional dominance. They believe Israel has a divine right to terrorize Palestinians with impunity.

Human Rights Get Short Shrift in Israel

 

Human Rights Get Short Shrift in Israel

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) assesses human rights in Israel annually. It's 2012 report is "bleak." 

 

Odd Man Out

 

Odd Man Out

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's America's accustomed role. It's longstanding. It lets Israel get away with murder and much more.

 

Washington's support permits Israel to commit repeated crimes of war, against humanity, slow-motion genocide, and countless other human and civil rights abuses too grave to ignore.

 

BDS Breakthrough

 

BDS Breakthrough

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The Global BDS (Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions) movement is one of the most important initiatives challenging Israeli lawlessness, occupation harshness, apartheid, and viciousness.

 

In July 2005, a coalition of 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations created it to continue until Israel complies with international law and universal human rights principles.

Palestinian Hunger Striking Steadfastness

 

Palestinian Hunger Striking Steadfastness

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestinians are denied justice. Thousands are lawlessly arrested. They're brutalized in Israel's gulag. Prisoners committed no crimes. 

 

Israel persecutes them for not being Jews. Praying to the wrong God is criminalized. Hunger strikers defy Israeli lawlessness. Abstinence is their only weapon.

Netanyahu's Rage to Judaize Palestine

 

Netanyahu's Rage to Judaize Palestine

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He's defiant. He deplores democratic values. He's a serial lawbreaker. 

 

International law is clear and unambiguous. Israeli settlements are illegal. Fourth Geneva's Article 49 states: 

 

Tortured in Israel, Imprisoned in Israel

 

Tortured in Sinai, Imprisoned in Israel

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A new Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) report is titled "Tortured in Sinai, Jailed in Israel." More on it below.

 

Premeditated Israeli Violence

 

Premeditated Israeli Violence

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Merriam-Webster calls a police state "a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures."

 

How to Criticize the Israeli Government

The other day I tweeted an article that reported on a rather horrible story.  It seems that the Israeli government gives African women drugs that keep them from reproducing. 

I think if this story had been about Canada, Korea, France, or Brazil people would have read it.  The conversation would not have immediately shifted to my alleged hatred of all Canadians. 

Since it was about Israel, some people chose to announce that I hated Jews.  Such a response is not only baseless and nonsensical, but it shifts attention to me and away from the story, which in the end isn't seen. 

Now, I don't know any more about that story than what I've read at that website (the website of a Jewish organization, as it happens).  The report may be accurate or not.  Israeli newspapers seem to report it as fully established, neither doubted nor challenged.  The story at least seems to merit investigation.  The point is that nobody told me it was inaccurate (news that would have delighted me).  Instead, they told me that I was anti-Semitic. 

This happens with the United States too, of course.  If I criticize the U.S. government a few thousand times, and if the president is a Republican, I'll hear from some disturbed individual who wants to recommend that I leave the country since I hate it so much.  Why one would try so hard to reform the government of a country he hated is never really explained. 

With Israel, such nonsense is triggered much more swiftly.  I haven't made a career of trying to reform Israel's government.  All I had to do was tweet a link to an article.  Those who have gone to greater lengths to criticize the crimes of the government of Israel have, in some cases, seen themselves censored, vilified, and their careers derailed.  Many persevere despite this climate.

There is, however, a way to speak openly and honestly about Israel.  Not everyone can do it.  The trick is to be a veteran of the Israeli military.  This approach helps people whose "service" was years ago.  And it helps those whose memories of what they did "for their country" are very fresh.  Not only does such status shield one from a great deal of criticism, but it provides a substantive advantage in being able to report first-hand on what the Israeli military has been doing.  Just as Veterans For Peace are able to speak with some legitimate authority in the United States against the use of war (see Winter Soldier now if you haven't), members of the Israeli military, and those who recently were Israeli soldiers, command attention.

A new book called "Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories 2000-2010," collects the accounts of numerous Israeli soldiers, although withholding their names.  Videos of some of the soldiers telling their stories can be seen online.  The online database sorts the stories into categories: › AbuseAssassinationsBriberyCheckpointsConfirmation of killingCurfews/closuresDeathsDestruction of propertyHuman shieldsHumiliationLootingLoss of livelihoodRoutineRules of engagementSettlementsSettler violence.

"Supporting the troops" is usually understood to exclude listening to the troops.  But these troops should be listened to.  Their experiences are very similar to those of the U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq.  But their war has lasted much, much longer, and with no end in sight.  Their testimonies make clear that their tactics do not serve the supposed purpose of reducing violence, and are in fact not intended to do any such thing.  The bizarre ordeals imposed on the soldiers outdo Kafka and pale in comparison to the nightmares imposed on Palestinians.  The driving forces are quite clearly racism, sadism, imperialism, and excessive obedience.

A very few of the many samples I was tempted to provide:

"They  called us to some location, they found [rockets] in the minaret of a mosque.  What do you do?  You look for someone to go up to the mosque and take down the [rockets] because it's dangerous for us.  So they knocked on doors in the area.  There's always someone with us who speaks Arabic. . . .  So they knocked on the doors and found someone.  He was retarded.  They said, 'Go up to the mosque.  There are pipes in the minaret.  Bring them down.'  They didn't even tell him it was explosives."

"There was an operation in the company next to mine where they told me that a woman was blown up by [an explosive used to break through doors], her limbs were smeared on the wall, but it wasn't on purpose.  They knocked and knocked on the door and there was no answer, so they decided to open it [with live ammunition] . . . .  and just at that moment the woman decided to open the door.  And then her kids came over and saw her. . . . someone said it was funny, and everyone cracked up, that the kids saw their mother smeared on the wall."

"[T]he brigade commander . . . briefs us, 'Any kid you see with a stone, you can shoot at him.' Like, shoot to kill. A stone!"

"[I]t's unbelievable how in the end the report on the radio was, 'In an operation in Tul Karem the IDF captured,' like, you know, 'twenty suspects, ten weapons, and fertilizer suspected for use in manufacturing [explosives], a ton and a half of fertilizer.'  So it's a success, because you hear it on the radio, and you say, 'Hey, look, like we went there, this is what we got, we did what we were supposed to do.'  And what we did was just the opposite.  Because what did we do?  We committed crimes.  We destroyed homes.  No house that we went into was the same when we left."

"There was this house we captured in Hebron . . . we took this house.  You know the procedure: the family moves down a floor.  Now, what did we do?  We were . . . on the third floor, the guys set up a pipe, a pipe to pee, so they could pee outside.  They put the pipe, we put the pipe exactly so that all the piss would flow into the courtyard of the house below us.  There were a few chicken coops just there, it all poured out there.  That was the joke every day, waiting for the father or one of the kids to go to the coop, and then everyone stands and pisses." 

"Apparently, that captain had gone to Takua, which is a pretty hostile village -- they were throwing stones at the jeep.  So, he just stopped a Palestinian guy who was passing, forty-something years old, and tied him to the hood of the jeep, a guy just lying on the hood, and they drove into the village."

"The Palestinians didn't know there were soldiers behind them, and the soldiers would just spray their legs. . . . His one goal was to lure Palestinian children, just to cut off their legs."

"We had a commander in the unit who would just say in these words, . . . 'I want bodies.  That's what I want.'"

"You're not ranked by arrests -- you're ranked by the number of people you kill."

"[The company commander] taught us about rubber bullets, and they showed us how it comes in what's called a 'tampon,' which is a kind of plastic bag that contains the bullets.  So they said, 'You need to separate them, meaning you tear open the package and put them in one by one so you cause damage.'  And they actually explained it to us, in this really pornographic way, 'Aim for the eyes so you take out an eye, or at the stomach so it goes into the stomach.'"

"Try to imagine it: I see my officers with their backs to me, laughing, falling about, and below I see the Border Police beating people up, guys being choked, one guy bleeding.  And I think, 'This is just like the books I read.' . . . Whenever people get shot, I have this image in my head, I must've seen it in a movie, of Nazis shooting Jews in pits, and officers standing at the side, laughing."

Israel's Lieberman Resigns

 

Israel's Lieberman Resigns

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Lieberman and Netanyahu represent the worst of extremist governance. They're hardcore racists. They're ideologically anti-democratic. 

 

They believe Israel has a divine right to persecute, torture, commit naked aggression, and dominate the region unchallenged.

 

Holding Israel Accountable

 

Holding Israel Accountable

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

For decades, world leaders let Israel get away with murder. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said enough is enough. It wants Israeli officials held accountable.

 

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