It has been a normal couple of weeks for reporting on what is going on in Israel, which is to say that the bad things it has been doing have been carefully suppressed by the US government and the media.
The Israelis continue their program to isolate, humiliate and terrify the Palestinians by destroying their civil and human rights organizations while also limiting foreigner access to the remaining Arab inhabited areas on the West Bank.
Israeli Jews now routinely refer to all Palestinians as “terrorists” to justify the harsh measures used to steal their land and homes while also destroying their livelihoods.
The so-called Israel Defense Forces, whose Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim approves of his soldiers raping ‘attracting Gentile women’ as a way to keep up morale, are also continuing to kill Palestinians at an unprecedented rate and have covered-up the murder four months ago of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, admitting only that the woman was apparently killed by a soldier who claimed that he thought her to be an armed Arab rioter.
No further action will be taken. A US State Department briefer accepted the verdict saying that the action “underscore[s] the importance of accountability in this case, such as policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”
Actually, the Israeli statement does no such thing as it lacks any accountability.
The White House should have blocked the $3.3 billion gift that Israel gets every year from the US Treasury for starters.
And the shoot-first policies by Israeli soldiers will continue, a position emphasized by Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who firmly rejected proposals to change the Army’s current rules of engagement which led to the Akleh killing, saying that he would not allow outsiders to “dictate our open-fire policies.”
When it comes to the exercise of Jewish power in the United States, the word “hypocrisy” should immediately come to mind.
A recent report on extremism in America has been compiled by the indefatigable Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which has a “Center on Extremism” that has examined “more than 38,000 names on leaked Oath Keepers membership lists and identified more than 370 people it believes currently work in law enforcement agencies — including as police chiefs and sheriffs — and more than 100 people who are currently members of the military.
— 🇩🇿Algeria ⭐️⭐️الجزائر🇵🇸 (@DZNet) September 27, 2022
It also identified more than 80 people who were running for or served in public office as of early August… The data raises fresh concerns about the presence of extremists in law enforcement and the military who are tasked with enforcing laws and protecting the US.”
It is not hard to guess what the ADL didn’t look for: radical armed “extremist” Jewish groups fundraising and operating cooperatively in the US and Israel.
Nor did it look at black radical groups like Black Lives Matter and the other organizations that were spawned in the wake of the George Floyd death that have produced chaos in a number of American cities.
Only white conservatives need apply under the standards of “extremism” set by the ADL, which should surprise no one.
The issue of Jewish and Israeli invisibility when they are doing something horrific struck me recently when I attended a peace rally that included a number of speakers over the course of about five hours.
The theme of the gathering was resistance to the warmongering policies that have driven the US government to the verge of nuclear war.
When the event was concluded I observed that Israel or the Jewish/Israeli Lobby had not even been mentioned once, even when describing situations in the Middle East that begged for a comment regarding Israeli complicity and its dominance over US policy in the region.
One particularly delusional speaker, who would benefit from a basic course in Middle Eastern history, actually claimed that the current hostility between Washington and Tehran is the result of the CIA overthrow of Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1954.
That constitutes a cute evasion of reality but the fact is that US-Iran policy is driven not by lingering concerns over Mossadegh, but rather by Israel and its lobby.
To illustrate the level of Israeli control, President Joe Biden bowed to Israeli pressure and has placed “off the table” any consideration of a new nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran, even though it would be in America’s interest.
There are no other significant American national interests as Iran does not actually threaten the United States or its economy.
The reality is that the US military is in Syria and Iraq for the same reason, i.e. to provide protection and support for Israel, while it also heavily bribes Israel’s neighbors in Egypt and Jordan to keep the peace with the Jewish state.
It is all a world turned upside down with Israel controlling Washington, as former prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu have boasted, and part of the control mechanism is to manage the narrative so the American public never really sees what is going on.
But what is really interesting is how so-called peace activists, like at the gathering I attended, toe the line and are terrified of offending Israel or the powerful domestic Jewish groups that use their money and political access to promote the wars in the Middle East as well as against Russia in Ukraine.
Some of them clearly are fearful of being labeled anti-Semites, which is the weapon most frequently used by groups like ADL to ward off criticism of the Jewish state.
Interestingly, one of the speakers at the meeting I attended demonstrated how it is possible to make a point about Israel and the Jewish power behind it without using either the “I” or “J” word.
He observed that the foreign and national security policies of both major US political parties are largely driven by the personal interests of their donors, whom he described as “billionaire oligarchs, some of whom are not even Americans.”
The allusion was pretty clear to most members of the audience.
It sure sounded like arch globalist George Soros, who has used his money to corrupt local and state governments, and, more to the point, Israeli citizens Haim Saban and the recently deceased Sheldon Adelson.
Hollywood denizen Saban, the top single contributor to the Democrats, has said that he is a “one issue guy” and that issue is Israel.
Adelson, who is buried in Israel, contributed $100 million to the Republicans and was the man who in return got President Donald Trump to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, recognize the incorporation of the Golan Heights into the Israeli state, and have a free hand to suppress the Palestinians.
The good news is, however, that pushback is developing, and it is in part coming from some Jews.
The Jewish peace group Tikkun has recently published a devastating article by Jeffrey Sachs on the Jews who have been activists for Israel who have been agitating for the post 9/11 wars.
It is entitled “Ukraine Is the Latest Neocon Disaster” and describes how “The war in Ukraine is the culmination of a 30-year project of the American neoconservative movement.
The Biden Administration is packed with the same neocons who championed the US wars of choice in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Syria (2011), Libya (2011), and who did so much to provoke Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The neocon track record is one of unmitigated disaster, yet Biden has staffed his team with neocons.
As a result, Biden is steering Ukraine, the US, and the European Union towards yet another geopolitical debacle…”
It is actually worse than that as a global nuclear confrontation threatens.
It is time for those in America and Europe who genuinely want peace to begin to be honest about who is pushing for the wars and why.
Euphemisms and evasions to avoid offending the culprits help no one and just empower those who believe themselves “chosen” and would seek to establish the supremacy of one particular ethno-religious state even if it brings disaster to everyone else.
An Israeli military sharpshooter intentionally shot and killed Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh and injured her colleague while they were clearly identifiable as journalists, according to a new investigation.
The findings of the investigation, which includes previously unseen Al Jazeera footage, were published by the UK-based research group Forensic Architecture and Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq on Tuesday. Abu Akleh’s family submitted a complaint to the International Criminal Court over her death that same day.
Forensic Architecture and Al-Haq’s decisive conclusions contradict Israel’s claim, echoed by the Biden administration in Washington, that Abu Akleh was not killed intentionally. Last week the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that Abu Akleh’s death was “the tragic result of a gunfight in the context of an Israeli raid in the West Bank.”
“Shireen and her colleagues were explicitly targeted, despite being identifiable as members of the press,” according to the investigation.
Abu Akleh, 51, was among a group of journalists covering an Israeli raid in Jenin in the northern West Bank in the early morning of 11 May.
A spatial analysis undertaken as part of the investigation shows that the journalists, who wore helmets and vests identifying them as press, were fully identifiable as such from the vantage point of a convoy of Israeli armored vehicles some 200 meters away.
As the group slowly approached the Israeli position, and without prior warning, “the first burst of six bullets was fired at the journalists through a sniper hole in the front military vehicle,” according to Al-Haq.
“Journalist Ali Samoudi, who was leading the way, turned around and screamed ‘bullets being fired’ and started running back when he was struck by one of the bullets in his left shoulder,” the rights group added.
Moments later, a second burst of seven shots was fired at the journalists, hitting Abu Akleh in the head as she attempted to take cover by standing against a wall.
A third round of fire came from the Israeli position two minutes later, as a civilian named Sharif Azab attempted to come to Abu Akleh’s aid.
“Intended to kill”
Forensic Architecture and Al-Haq “undertook an extensive drone survey to reconstruct a precise 3D photogrammetry scan of the scene.” They also located all cameras that captured footage of the shooting within the model and “located the precise positions of the journalists at important points throughout the incident.”
The investigators also “identified and reconstructed the precise position of the Israeli forces” and “identified the armored vehicle from which Shireen was shot” by a marksman using an optical scope mounted on an assault rifle.
Researchers “simulated how Shireen and the other journalists would appear from the marksman’s position 190 meters away.” The model shows that “the journalists’ press vests would have been clearly visible.”
“The journalists were clearly identifiable as such,” researchers found. Abu Akleh was shot with “her press vest in full view” of the sharpshooter.
“The proximity of the shots,” including four that hit a tree shielding some of Abu Akleh’s colleagues, “confirms a professional marksman repeatedly and explicitly targeted the journalists.”
All of the shots “were aimed above the shoulders and intended to kill,” according to the investigation.
Footage analyzed by investigators shows that no other persons were between the journalists and the convoy of Israeli armored vehicles and there were no armed persons near Abu Akleh and her colleagues.
Sound analysis confirms that the only shot fired in the three minutes before the shooting of Abu Akleh came from the Israeli position.
“No other shots in any of the footage analyzed came from the vicinity of the journalists,” investigators found. “The slow movement of the journalists” towards the Israeli position before the latter opened fire “supports the assessment that there were no other fighters nor was there any crossfire at the time of the incident.”
The investigation is the most thorough yet after several independent probes similarly found that Abu Akleh was more than likely killed by an Israeli soldier, with CNN indicating that she was deliberately targeted.
Al-Haq states that the shooting of Abu Akleh amounts to an extrajudicial and willful killing, “a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, giving rise to individual criminal responsibility.”
Israel determined ahead of the conclusion of its military’s self-investigation that no soldier would face criminal charges for Abu Akleh’s death.
The family of Abu Akleh, who was a US citizen, has pressed Washington to open an investigation into the journalist’s killing.
The Biden administration insists on deferring to the Israeli military’s self-investigation mechanisms, long discredited by human rights advocates as whitewashing operations aimed at deflecting international scrutiny rather than securing justice for Palestinian victims.
Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson, said last week that “we’ve always been very clear that we’re not looking for criminal accountability” in Abu Akleh’s case.
The US has pressed Israel on reviewing its rules of engagement, only to be rebuffed by Tel Aviv, with Prime Minister Yair Lapid insisting that “no one will dictate open fire regulations to us when we are fighting for our lives.”
EU drops call for independent investigation
Like the US, the European Union is apparently satisfied with Israel’s superficial self-investigation into Abu Akleh’s death.
“EU countries are planning to drop calls for an ‘independent’ inquiry into the shocking killing” of the journalist during a meeting with Lapid next month, EUobserver reported on Monday.
The EU foreign service had proposed to say in a declaration accompanying the high-level EU-Israel Association Council meeting that the body “reiterates its call for a thorough and independent investigation that clarifies all the circumstances of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, and that brings those responsible for her killing to justice.”
Instead, it now plans on delivering a watered down version in which “the EU reiterates its call for a thorough investigation … and that those responsible are brought to justice.”
On Tuesday, the International Federation of Journalists, International Center of Justice for Palestinians and Palestinian Journalists Syndicate delivered a new complaint to the International Criminal Court on behalf of Abu Akleh’s family and her producer Ali Samoudi, who was moderately injured.
Lawmakers in Washington continue to press the Biden administration to launch an independent probe, with senior Democratic senators introducing an amendment including “unprecedented language calling on the US to see ‘whether section 620M of the [Foreign Assistance Act] applies’ to Abu Akleh’s case within 180 days,” as the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported.
The amendment refers to the 1997 Leahy Law that prohibits the US from providing military assistance to units of foreign militaries when there is credible information that those units violated human rights with impunity.
However, as Haaretz notes, it is not clear “how the Leahy Law would operate in practice given how foreign military financing to Israel is legally stipulated” by US Congress at a floor of $3.8 billion per year.
Senator Chris Murphy, who cosponsored the amendment, told MSNBC news personality Mehdi Hassan that while he doesn’t currently support the conditioning of US aid to Israel, “all of us are watching the behavior of the Israeli government very carefully.”
Israel kills with impunity
Abu Akleh’s case is an exception to the nearly blanket impunity with which Israel kills Palestinians.
Around 90 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and settlers so far this year. It is the deadliest year in the territory since 2015, when around 100 Palestinians were fatally injured.
Around a third of those fatalities this year were in the Jenin area, which has been subjected to daily raids like the one in which Abu Akleh was killed after a wave of attacks in Israel beginning in late March.
Dozens more Palestinians were killed during Israel’s nearly three-day unprovoked bombardment of Gaza last month.
Only a handful of Israeli soldiers have faced criminal charges over the death of a Palestinian in recent years.
In one of those rare examples, Border Police officer Ben Dery was sentenced to nine months in prison in 2018, four years after shooting and killing Nadim Siam Nuwara, 17.
Dery was initially charged with manslaughter but ultimately convicted of a lesser crime of “negligence and causing severe bodily harm” after taking a plea deal.
Like in the case of Abu Akleh, Forensic Architecture was tapped by Defense for Children International-Palestine to conduct a spatial and video analysis to determine the soldier who shot and killed the teen.
And like Al-Haq, Forensic Architecture’s partner in the investigation of Abu Akleh’s killing, Defense for Children International-Palestine was designated as a “terrorist group” by the Israeli government late last year, along with four other prominent Palestinian nongovernmental organizations.
Israeli forces raided and sealed the offices of those organizations in the area of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, during August.
Last week, Forensic Architecture and Al-Haq published an analysis of CCTV and other footage available showing the raid on the latter’s office, which included breaking into an Episcopal church located on the floor below.
The footage shows that during the raid, which lasted more than an hour, soldiers rummaged through files, broke into the IT and server room and the office of Shawan Jabarin, Al-Haq’s general director, and other departmental offices.
Soldiers are also shown in the footage socializing and taking trophy photos and posing for selfies.
“With knowledge of the CCTV cameras, these actions deliver a message of humiliation and dominance over the premises,” Forensic Architecture and Al-Haq state.
Soldiers cut off power in the building some 40 minutes into the raid, shutting off the indoor CCTV cameras, before welding a metal plate to the door and posting a closure order.
Jabarin told media that he suspects that soldiers installed spyware onto Al-Haq’s computers. Pegasus surveillance software was found on the personal devices of Al-Haq staff members last year.
Al-Haq staff have been subjected to harassment campaigns including death threats over their work pursuing accountability at the International Criminal Court.
Al-Haq and Defense for Children International-Palestine, along with Addameer, another group proscribed by Israel last year, have provided evidence to The Hague court’s probe in Palestine, which was launched in March last year.
The US opposes the ICC investigation in Palestine.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated that the Biden administration does not believe that the ICC is “an appropriate venue” for an investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing. Yet during the same press briefing, he said the White House welcomed The Hague court’s investigation of war crimes in Ukraine.
During his visit to Israel and the West Bank in July, Biden pledged that Washington would work with Tel Aviv to “combat all efforts to boycott or de-legitimize Israel, to deny its right to self-defense, or to unfairly single it out in any forum, including at the United Nations or the International Criminal Court.”
Ex-government minister’s recent warning to Palestinian flag-wavers of another forced expulsion exposes the lie at the heart of Israel’s founding
Here is a puzzle. What did Israel Katz, an Israeli legislator and until recently a senior government minister, mean when he threatened Palestinian students last month with another “Nakba” if they continued to wave the Palestinian flag?
He urged them to “remember 1948” and speak to their “grandfathers and grandmothers”.
“If you don’t calm down,” he told the Israeli parliament, “we’ll teach you a lesson that won’t be forgotten.”
Nakba denial was the Israeli state’s default position
And similarly, what was in the mind of Uzi Dayan, a former army general who is also a member of the Israeli parliament, when he warned Palestinians two months earlier “to be careful”?
They would face “a situation you know, which is Nakba”, if they refused to passively submit to Israel’s dictates.
Both threats – and similar ones from senior Israeli politicians over the years – fly in the face of long-held claims by successive Israeli governments that the Palestinian narrative of the Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe”, constitutes a vile distortion of the region’s history.
According to Israeli officials, Palestinian accusations that they were violently and willfully expelled from their homeland in 1948 are a slur against Israel’s character and its army, supposedly “the most moral in the world”. It is even suggested that commemorating the Nakba equates to antisemitism.
And yet paradoxically, Israeli politicians seem only too ready to echo these supposed calumnies against the founding of the self-declared “Jewish state”. In 2017, Tzachi Hanegbi, while serving as a senior cabinet minister, warned Palestinians that they faced a “third Nakba” – after the mass expulsions of 1948 and 1967 – if they resisted the occupation.
“You’ve already paid that crazy price twice for your leaders,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Don’t try us again, because the result won’t be any different. You have been warned!”
According to Palestinians and a growing number of scholars researching Israel’s archives, Zionist leaders and their militias waged a violent, premeditated campaign of ethnic cleansing in 1948 in which four-fifths of all Palestinians were driven off their lands and into exile. As a consequence, the Zionist movement was able to declare a Jewish state on most of their homeland.
Today, many millions of Palestinian refugees are dispersed across the Middle East and much of the rest of the world, unable to return. Israeli officials have been so adamant that this narrative is a lie to demonise Israel that back in 2011 the government of Benjamin Netanyahu passed a law to erase from the public space any commemoration of the Nakba.
The so-called Nakba Law threatens to strip Israeli institutions – including schools, universities, libraries and municipalities – of state funding if they allow any such commemoration.
In its original form, the law would have led to a three-year jail term for anyone taking part in such an event.
But even before the legislation, Nakba denial was the Israeli state’s default position.
In contrast to the Palestinian narrative, Israel denies any premeditation or malicious violence by its leaders and soldiers, and instead blames the Palestinian exodus in 1948 on other factors.
It claims that most Palestinians left on the orders of Arab leaders, rather than that they were ethnically cleansed by the new Israeli state’s army.
Officials argue too that the Israeli army attacked Palestinian communities largely in response to violence from Palestinian fighters and units of Arab soldiers from neighbouring countries that came to their aid.
Noted Israeli historians like Benny Morris continue to argue that “at no stage of the 1948 war was there a decision by the leadership of the Yishuv [pre-state Jewish community] or the state to ‘expel the Arabs’.”
On this official view, most Palestinians either chose to leave or were responsible for provoking the violence that led to them being forced out.
Israel’s hands are supposedly clean.
But if Israelis really believe this to be the case, why are veteran politicians such as Katz, Dayan and Hanegbi using the Palestinian terminology of Nakba themselves – and threatening that Israel will carry out a second or third time what officials insist never happened in the first place?
Israel’s narrative is so dominant that until recently most Israeli Jews believed that their state’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, urged the Palestinian population fleeing the large port city of Haifa to return in 1948.
Palestinians supposedly preferred to wait out the fighting until the Zionist forces were defeated.
According to this account, Ben-Gurion sent Golda Meir, later prime minister herself, on a mission to reassure fleeing Palestinians.
In her autobiography, Meir recounts: “I sat on the beach there [in Haifa] and begged them to return home… I pleaded with them until I was exhausted but it didn’t work.”
But a letter written in early June 1948 by Ben-Gurion came to light seven years ago that undermines Israel’s propaganda.
In it, he responded angrily to reports that the British consul was “working to return the Arabs to Haifa”.
Ben-Gurion demanded that Haifa’s Jewish leaders actively stymie these British efforts.
In fact, an Israeli scholar who was handed an archive file in error disclosed nearly a decade ago that the story of Arab leaders insisting Palestinians flee their homeland in 1948 was a nonsense. It was concocted by Israeli officials as a way to end US pressure on Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return.
Beginning in the 1980s, a new generation of Israeli historians started trawling through Israel’s archives as sections of it were briefly opened. They unearthed documentary evidence of an entirely different set of events that accorded with the Palestinian narrative.
Military operations had suggestive titles like “Operation Broom” and commanders received orders to “clean” areas. Many hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed as soon as their populations had been driven out by Zionist soldiers, with the clear intent never to let them return.
Reign of terror
And despite Israel’s best efforts to keep it under wraps, archival evidence has kept emerging of Israeli massacres of Palestinian civilians, making explicit why the vast majority of Palestinians fled in 1948.
In one of the worst, around 170 unarmed men, women and children were executed by the Israeli army near Hebron, and hundreds more wounded, even as they offered no resistance.
A letter from the time by Shabtai Kaplan, a soldier and journalist who witnessed the Dawayimah massacre, was found in 2016. He observed that the killings were part of “a system of expulsion and destruction”.
The rationale, he wrote, was: “The fewer Arabs who remain, the better.”
Another long-denied massacre of Palestinians – at Tantura, on the coast south of Haifa – was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year after a new Israeli film included testimonies from former soldiers in which they admitted committing the massacre.
Katz, Dayan and Hanegbi understand what the word Nakba means for Palestinians and are aware too that the Palestinian narrative of the events of 1948 has been confirmed by the archives.
Nakba – for them, as for Palestinians – means a reign of military terror to drive out the Palestinian population in areas Israel wishes to further colonize with Jews, or “Judaise” as official Israeli terminology puts it.
It means yet another wave of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, both those under occupation and the minority living with highly degraded citizenship inside Israel.
In threatening a second Nakba, Katz and Dayan are simply confirming that Israeli leaders, despite their protestations, have always known what the Nakba was – and have always approved of the goal of ethnic cleansing Palestinians.
The irony is that, while Israel denounces Palestinians and their supporters as liars for speaking of the Nakba, its own officials publicly cite the Nakba as a real event that can be repeated if Palestinians do not submit completely.
That should not surprise us.
After all, the goal of expulsion did not end with the events of 1948 – the reason Palestinians speak of an “ongoing Nakba”.
Israeli officials regularly employ genocidal-type rhetoric.
As head of Israel’s military, Moshe Yaalon compared the threat posed by Palestinians to “cancer” that had “to be severed and fought to the bitter end”.
Ayelet Shaked, currently Israel’s interior minister, has characterised all Palestinians as “enemy combatants” – a term suggesting they are legitimate military targets.
She has referred to any Palestinians that fights Israel’s decades of belligerent occupation as “snakes” and indicated that their entire families can be eliminated, including their mothers, otherwise “more little snakes will be raised there”.
Leading rabbis in Israel are even more explicit.
Two wrote a notorious handbook, The King’s Torah, arguing that it is permitted to kill Palestinians, even babies, pre-emptively because “it is clear that they will grow to harm us”. Neither faced prosecution.
‘Finish the job’
These types of menacing comments are not just directed at Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Notably, the recent Nakba threats were chiefly aimed at Israel’s 1.8 million Palestinian citizens, who, Israel falsely maintains, enjoy equal status with Israel’s Jewish citizens.
Palestinian citizens are the descendants of the small numbers of Palestinians who managed to avoid expulsion in 1948 – due largely to oversights and international pressure.
Exemplifying Israelis’ cognitive dissonance on this issue, historian Benny Morris has cited the existence of a Palestinian minority in Israel as proof that the Nakba is a lie and that Israel never intended to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.
He has done so even as he lamented the fact that Ben-Gurion “got cold feet during the  war” and “faltered” in failing to expel every last Palestinian.
In this, he shares the sentiments of far-right politicians like Bezalel Smotrich, another former government minister.
Last year, Smotrich addressed legislators representing the Palestinian minority, saying: “It’s a mistake that Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job and didn’t throw you out in 1948.”
On another occasion, Smotrich made a barely veiled threat of expulsion: “Arabs are citizens of Israel – for now, at least.”
Caught in a trap
Israel’s security forces carried out an early massacre of Palestinian citizens, almost certainly to incentivise them to leave. Israel has also conducted at least one secret military exercise to prepare for a scenario in which there is a mass expulsion of Israel’s Palestinian minority.
Israel’s most senior politicians have proposed opaque plans to strip much of the Palestinian minority of its Israeli citizenship and their right to live in the state of Israel.
And in addition to comments by Katz and Dayan, Israeli politicians – even former prime ministers such as Netanyahu – have incited against Palestinian citizens as freely as they have Palestinians under occupation, suggesting they are terrorists and murderers.
And all of this takes place as the jurisdiction of Israel’s settlements continues to expand relentlessly in the occupied territories, and Palestinians in the West Bank face ever more pressure and violence to leave their homes and their homeland.
While Palestinians are effectively banned from publicly referring to the Nakba and may soon be barred even from waving a Palestinian flag in public spaces, Israelis can march through Palestinian communities calling out: “Death to the Arabs!” and “May your village burn!”
The reality, as hinted at by Katz and Dayan’s latest statements, is that Palestinians are caught in a trap.
If they assert their national identity, or even their most basic rights such as by waving a Palestinian flag, they risk providing Israel with the pretext to forcibly expel them, to carry out another Nakba.
But if they stay silent, as Katz and Dayan demand, the process of incremental ethnic cleansing, a second Nakba, takes place anyway – if a little more quietly.
Palestinians pay the price either way – while Israel’s policy of Nakba continues unabated.
Former U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, contradicted President Biden’s tout that opening airspace over Saudi Arabia to allow for flights to and from Israel is a “big deal,” contrarily remarking that he had flown over Saudi territory many times.
Friedman also told “Fox & Friends Weekend” Sunday that Biden’s Middle East trip was a “huge missed opportunity.”
AMB. DAVID FRIEDMAN: It’s not significant because I’ve flown over Saudi Arabia lots of times already on the way to Abu Dhabi, on the way to Bahrain, on the way to Dubai.
I think most significantly, I don’t think the Saudis themselves view this as significant.
I mean, they’ve made it clear that this has nothing to do with any normalization or reconciliation with Israel.
They’ve walked it back already.
You know, by the time the president was on Air Force One, this was being walked back.
So, no, it’s not significant then… I think we would expect much more in the future with that relationship.
Bigots were Zionism’s avid fans—it was the anti-Semites who championed the Zionists.
Our topic is of course the so-called “conflict” in Israel-Palestine, a tragedy that has dragged on for so long that it feels static, indeed almost normalized.
But unlike other deadly conflicts, this one is wholly in our power to stop—“our” meaning the United States and Europe.
It is in our power to stop it, because we are the ones empowering it.
We are now approaching the centennial of the British Original Sin in this tragedy, the Balfour Declaration.
The British role in Palestine was a case of ‘hit & run’: The Balfour Declaration, in which the British gave away other people’s land, was the hit; and thirty years later, Resolution 181—Partition—was the run, leaving the Palestinians abandoned in a ditch.
Zionism was of course among the incarnations of racial-nationalism that evolved in the late nineteenth century.
Bigots were Zionism’s avid fans—it was the anti-Semites who championed the Zionists.
Gertrude Bell, the famous English writer, traveler, archaeologist, and spy, reported, based on her personal experience, that those who supported Zionism did so because it provided a way to get rid of Jews.
The London Standard’s correspondent to the first Zionist Conference in 1897 I think described Zionism perfectly. He reported that
…the degeneration which calls itself Anti-Semitism [bear in mind that ‘anti-Semitism’ was then a very new term] has begotten the degeneration which adorns itself with the name of Zionism.
Indeed, most Jews and Jewish leaders dismissed Zionism as the latest anti-Semitic cult.
They had fought for equality, and resented being told that they should now make a new ghetto—and worse yet, to do so on other people’s land.
They resented being cast as a separate race of people as Zionism demanded.
They had had quite enough of that from non-Jewish bigots.
For others, the idea of going to a place where one could act out racial superiority was seductive.
As the political theorist Eduard Bernstein put it at about the time the Balfour Declaration was being finessed, Zionism is “a kind of intoxication which acts like an epidemic”.
By the time the Balfour Declaration was finalised, thirty-plus years of Zionist settlement had made clear that the Zionists intended to ethnically cleanse the land for a settler state based on racial superiority; and it was the behind-the-scenes demands of the principal Zionist leaders, notably Chaim Weizmann and Baron Rothschild.
US flies supersonic bomber over Middle East in show of force to Iran https://t.co/Cqdepae1Cd #Security via @AlMashareqENThis is an important to signal the Iranians; they should not overplay their hand or think we are not prepared to use force if need be.Deterrence can be restored
— Dennis Ross (@AmbDennisRoss) November 3, 2021
It could have been written by Israel’s propaganda apparatus.
The Times whitewashes Israel’s efforts to sabotage the agreement, including by sponsoring murderous attacks inside Iran.
The paper quotes two “experts” without disclosing their pro-Israel bias, while ignoring others who could have told its readers the truth.
Additional slants further distort what is actually happening.
The danger here is far greater than misinformed Times readers.
For years, Israel has been trying to lure the U.S. into attacking Iran, supposedly to damage its nuclear program, a dangerous provocation that sober military experts, including Israelis, say would be ineffective but could lead to another war in the Mideast.
The word “Israel” appears only once in today’s 33-paragraph Times report, and then only in passing.
There’s zero mention of the most recent assassination of an Iranian official inside the country, last month.
Israel is suspected of long carrying out or sponsoring a campaign of sabotage, including the November 2020 killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of Iran’s atomic energy program.
Here’s a friendly suggestion to the U.S. State Department: If you are in the middle of delicate negotiations with an adversary, it’s probably not a good idea to allow your ally to murder their citizens and to sabotage their economy.
In today’s article, the Times’s selection of outside experts to quote is comical.
First, Mark Dubowitz, who heads the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which the paper identifies merely as “a think tank that takes a hard line against Iran’s government.”
In fact, the FDD is a front for Israel. By citing it, the Times promotes Israel’s views, while keeping the actual connection hidden. The paper gave Dubowitz a couple of paragraphs to opine.
The paper also handed 3 paragraphs to Dennis Ross, “a Middle East negotiator who has worked for several presidents.”
Veteran Mideast watchers will laugh out loud.
Ross is widely known as the most pro-Israel of all the professional peace processors, and is sometimes called “Israel’s lawyer,” even though he was supposedly employed by the United States.
Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of genuine experts with alternative views about the Iran deal negotiations, including distinguished Iranian-Americans like Trita Parsi and Sina Toossi.
They aren’t hiding, but somehow the Times reporters couldn’t find their phone numbers. (The website for the organization Responsible Statecraft regularly includes valuable comment from them and others.)
There’s more distortion.
The Times does blame Donald Trump for withdrawing from the nuclear deal, but then adds, “After Mr. Trump quit the deal and reimposed sanctions, Iran began violating its terms.”
The words “after” and “began” are doing a lot of extra work there.
Trump pulled the U.S. out in May 2018. Iran continued observing the agreement’s provisions for more than another year, until July 2019.
Then it waited another year, until May 2020, to start enriching uranium beyond what the deal permitted.
Again, more is at stake here than merely a misled New York Times readership.
Powerful elements within Israel, a country that is ostensibly America’s ally, are trying to trick us into conflict with Iran, a fight that is in no way in our national interest.
If it breaks out, readers of the most influential newspaper in the country will have no idea why.
“My friends and I will establish a nationalistic government led by Likud. A government that will take care of you, all of Israel’s citizens without exception, a government that will lower taxes, lower prices, lead to great accomplishments. And more than anything, a government that will bring back the national pride so that you can walk the streets with your head held high.”
At the end of the day, Netanyahu is the master of political survival. He managed to serve as the Prime Minister in Israel’s chaotic multi-party system for the longest time. It was followed by the ongoing, ten-month long hiatus. But it seems that Netanyahu is going to come back, after all.
— Yaffa Hechler (@HechlerYaffa) June 21, 2022
What we’re seeing in Israeli politics and have seen since 2000, when the last Labor government ruled Israel, is the rise of a permanent far-right majority.
Not a majority within the populace, but a ruling majority cobbled together from various right and farther right strands of Israeli nationalist discourse.
If we’re honest we realize that there is no electoral left or even center in Israeli politics.
There is only right and farther right.
The Israeli nationalists have so dominated the discourse with their national security mantra that no alternative can develop until there is a peace treaty.
That is one of the reasons, whether consciously or unconsciously, the Israeli right can never allow peace.
It would sound the death knell to their political hegemony.
JUNE 10TH, 2022
Nothing should better qualify me to write about world affairs at the moment – and Western meddling in Ukraine – than the fact that I have intimately followed the twists and turns of Israeli politics for two decades.
We will turn to the wider picture in a moment. But before that, let us consider developments in Israel, as its “historic,” year-old government – which included for the very first time a party representing a section of Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens – teeters on the brink of collapse.
Crisis struck, as everyone knew it would sooner or later, because the Israeli parliament had to vote on a major issue relating to the occupation: renewing a temporary law that for decades has regularly extended Israel’s legal system outside its territory, applying it to Jewish settlers living on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.
That law lies at the heart of an Israeli political system that the world’s leading human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad, now belatedly admit has always constituted apartheid.
The law ensures that Jewish settlers living in the West Bank in violation of international law receive rights different from, and far superior to, those of the Palestinians that are ruled over by Israel’s occupying military authorities.
The law enshrines the principle of Jim Crow-style inequality, creating two different systems of law in the West Bank: one for Jewish settlers and another for Palestinians. But it does more.
Those superior rights, and their enforcement by Israel’s army, have for decades allowed Jewish settlers to rampage against Palestinian rural communities with absolute impunity and steal their land – to the point that Palestinians are now confined to tiny, choked slivers of their own homeland.
In international law, that process is called “forcible transfer,” or what we would think of as ethnic cleansing.
It’s a major reason that the settlements are a war crime – a fact that the International Criminal Court in the Hague is finding it very hard to ignore.
Israel’s leading politicians and generals would all be tried for war crimes if we lived in a fair, and sane, world.
So what happened when this law came before the parliament for a vote on its renewal?
The “historic” government, supposedly a rainbow coalition of leftwing and rightwing Jewish parties joined by a religiously conservative Palestinian party, split on entirely predictable ethnic lines.
Members of the Palestinian party either voted against the law or absented themselves from the vote.
All the Jewish parties in the government voted for it.
The law failed – and the government is now in trouble – because the rightwing Likud Party of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the Palestinian parties in voting against the law, in the hope of bringing the government down, even though his legislators are completely committed to the apartheid system it upholds.
What is most significant about the vote is that it has revealed something far uglier about Israel’s Jewish tribalism than most Westerners appreciate.
It shows that all of Israel’s Jewish parties – even the “nice ones” that are termed leftwing or liberal – are in essence racist.
Most Westerners understand Zionism to be split into two broad camps: the right, including the far-right, and the liberal-left camp.
Today this so-called liberal-left camp is tiny and represented by the Israeli Labour and Meretz parties.
Israel’s Labour Party is considered so respectable that Britain’s Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, publicly celebrated the recent restoration of ties after the Israeli party severed connections during the term of Starmer’s predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.
But note this. Not only have the Labour and Meretz parties been sitting for a year in a government led by Naftali Bennett, whose party represents the illegal settlements, they have just voted for the very apartheid law that ensures the settlers get superior rights over Palestinians, including the right to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land.
In the case of the Israeli Labour Party, that is hardly surprising.
Labour founded the first settlements and, apart from a brief period in the late 1990s when it paid lip service to a peace process, always backed to the hilt the apartheid system that enabled the settlements to expand.
None of that ever troubled Britain’s Labour Party, apart from when it was led by Corbyn, a genuinely dedicated anti-racist.
But by contrast to Labour, Meretz is an avowedly anti-occupation party.
That was the very reason it was founded in the early 1990s. Opposition to the occupation and the settlements is supposedly hardwired into its DNA.
So how did it vote for the very apartheid law underpinning the settlements?
The naïve, or mischievous, will tell you Meretz had no choice because the alternative was Bennett’s government losing the vote – which in fact happened anyway – and reviving the chances of Netanyahu returning to power. Meretz’s hands were supposedly tied.
This argument – of pragmatic necessity – is one we often hear when groups professing to believe one thing act in ways that damage the very thing they say they hold dear.
But Israeli commentator Gideon Levy makes a very telling point that applies far beyond this particular Israeli case.
He notes that Meretz would never have been seen to vote for the apartheid law – whatever the consequences – if the issue had been about transgressing the rights of Israel’s LGBTQ community rather than transgressing Palestinian rights.
Meretz, whose leader is gay, has LGBTQ rights at the top of its agenda.
Levy writes: “Two justice systems in the same territory, one for straight people and another for gay people?
Is there any circumstance in which this would happen? A single political constellation that could bring it about?”
The same could be said of Labour, even if we believe, as Starmer apparently does, that it is a leftwing party.
Its leader, Merav Michaeli, is an ardent feminist.
Would Labour, Levy writes, “ever raise its hand for apartheid laws against [Israeli] women in the West Bank?
Two separate legal systems, one for men and another for women? Never. Absolutely not.”
Levy’s point is that even for the so-called Zionist left, Palestinians are inherently inferior by virtue of the fact that they are Palestinian.
The Palestinian gay community and Palestinian women are just as affected by the Israel’s apartheid law favoring Jewish settlers as Palestinian men are.
So in voting for it, Meretz and Labour showed that they do not care about the rights of Palestinian women or members of the Palestinian LGBTQ community.
Their support for women and the gay community is dependent on the ethnicity of those belonging to these groups.
It should not need highlighting how close such a distinction on racial grounds is to the views espoused by the traditional supporters of Jim Crow in the U.S. or apartheid’s supporters in South Africa.
So what makes Meretz and Labour legislators capable of not just utter hypocrisy but such flagrant racism? The answer is Zionism.
Zionism is a form of ideological tribalism that prioritizes Jewish privilege in the legal, military and political realms.
However leftwing you consider yourself, if you subscribe to Zionism you regard your ethnic tribalism as supremely important – and for that reason alone, you are racist.
You may not be conscious of your racism, you may not wish to be racist, but by default you are.
Ultimately, when push comes to shove, when you perceive your own Jewish tribalism to be under threat from another tribalism, you will revert to type.
Your racism will come to fore, just as surely as Meretz’s just did.
But of course, there is nothing exceptional about most Israeli Jews or Israel’s Zionist supporters abroad, whether Jewish or not.
Tribalism is endemic to the way most of us view the world, and rapidly comes to the surface whenever we perceive our tribe to be in danger.
Most of us can quickly become extreme tribalists.
When tribalism relates to more trivial matters, such as supporting a sports team, it mostly manifests in less dangerous forms, such as boorish or aggressive behavior.
But if it relates to an ethnic or national group, it encourages a host of more dangerous behaviors: jingoism, racism, discrimination, segregation and warmongering.
As sensitive as Meretz is to its own tribal identities, whether the Jewish one or a solidarity with the LGBTQ community, its sensitivity to the tribal concerns of others can quickly dissolve when that other identity is presented as threatening.
Which is why Meretz, in prioritizing its Jewish identity, lacks any meaningful solidarity with Palestinians or even the Palestinian LGBTQ community.
Instead, Meretz’s opposition to the occupation and the settlements often appears more rooted in the sentiment that they are bad for Israel and its relations with the West than that they are a crime against Palestinians.
This inconsistency means we can easily be fooled about who our real allies are.
Just because we share a commitment to one thing, such as ending the occupation, it doesn’t necessarily mean we do so for the same reasons – or we attach the same importance to our commitment.
It is easy, for example, for less experienced Palestinian solidarity activists to assume when they hear Meretz politicians that the party will help advance the Palestinian cause.
But failing to understand Meretz’s tribal priorities is a recipe for constant disappointment – and futile activism on behalf of Palestinians.
The Oslo “peace” process remained credible in the West for so long only because Westerners misunderstood how it fitted with the tribal priorities of Israelis.
Most were ready to back peace in the abstract so long as it did not entail any practical loss of their tribal privileges.
Yitzhak Rabin, the West’s Israeli partner in the Oslo process, showed what such tribalism entailed in the wake of a gun rampage by a settler, Baruch Goldstein, in 1994 that killed and wounded more than 100 Palestinians at worship in the Palestinian city of Hebron.
Rather than using the murder spree as the justification to implement his commitment to remove the small colonies of extreme settlers from Hebron, Rabin put Hebron’s Palestinians under curfew for many months.
Those restrictions have never been fully lifted for many of Hebron’s Palestinians and have allowed Jewish settlers to expand their colonies ever since.
Radical Zionist zealots like Anthony Blinken, Linda Thomas Greenfield, Victoria Nuland, and now Richard Nephew, have absolutely hijacked the Biden Administration’s key foreign policy posts. This was to be anticipated. Now it has happened.
Antony Blinken had called for ‘independent’ investigation, but State Department says US position has not changed.
“There has been no change in our approach,” a State Department spokesperson told Al Jazeera in a statement on Thursday, a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for an “independent” probe of Abu Akleh’s killing.
“We continue to call for a thorough, credible investigation that culminates in accountability.”
Israeli forces fatally shot the veteran Al Jazeera journalist on May 11 while she was reporting in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.
Calls for justice for Abu Akleh have grown louder as the one-month anniversary of the killing approaches – and as investigations by the Palestinian Authority, media outlets and rights groups have concluded that she was targeted by the Israeli military.
Washington has called for accountability while insisting that Israel should lead the investigation into the incident.
This week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was confronted by journalist Abby Martin over the Biden administration’s continued support for Israel and Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi and Shireen Abu Akleh.
Abby Martin: “Why is there no accountability for Israel or Saudi Arabia for murdering journalists? It is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist in Palestine.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “I deplore the loss of Shireen. She was a remarkable journalist, an American citizen, as you well know. And there, too, we are determined to follow the facts and get to the truth of what happened.”
Abby Martin: “The facts have been found, Secretary Blinken, with all due respect.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “No, they have not yet been” —
Abby Martin: “With all due respect, it is conclusive.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “No, I’m sorry, with respect, they have not yet been established. We’re looking for” —
If there is one thing completely missing from the public agenda in Israel, it is the long-term view.
Israel does not look ahead, not even by half a generation.
Children are important in Israel, and the time and energy devoted to them may substantially exceed what is typical in most other societies, yet no one talks about what lies ahead for them or for their own future children.
There is not a single Israeli, not one, who knows where his country is headed.
Ask any ordinary Israeli or any politician, any journalist or scientist, from the political centre or the right or the left: where are you going?
How will your country look in another 20 years? Or 50?
They can’t even describe what 10 years from now might be like.
Few Israelis could even say where they would like their country to be going, apart from empty slogans about peace and security and prosperity.
Also very instructive is the one question that does arise about the long term: will Israel still exist in another 20 or 50 years?
That is all you will hear queried in Israel about the future.
And meanwhile a different question – Will there ever be peace? – which a generation or two ago was omnipresent, is no longer on the agenda and almost never asked.
There are very few places where people ask whether or not their country will exist a few decades hence.
People don’t ask that in Germany or Albania, or in Togo or in Chad.
This question may not be pertinent for Israel either – a powerfully armed regional power, impressively well-connected, with such technological prowess and such prosperity, the darling of the West.
Note the incredible efforts Israelis expend to obtain a second passport for themselves and their children – any passport
Yet consider the fact that so many Israelis continue to ask this question, more often lately than ever.
Note the incredible efforts Israelis expend to obtain a second passport for themselves and their children – any passport!
Let it be Portuguese or Lithuanian, the main thing is to have some option beyond an Israeli passport, as if an Israeli passport is some kind of temporary permit nearing its expiration date, as if it weren’t possible to go on renewing it forever.
All of that suggests that the Israeli habit of burying their heads in the sand about the future of their country disguises a deep-seated, and possibly very realistic, fear about what the future may hold.
Israelis are afraid of the future of their country.
They brag about their country’s power and ability, a righteous nation, a chosen people, a light unto the nations; they are exceedingly boastful about their army, about their skills, while at the same time a primordial fear gnaws at their innards.
The future of their country is hidden from them, shrouded in mist.
They like to talk in religious terms about eternity, “a united Jerusalem for eternity” and “God’s eternal promise to Israel”, while deep down they have no clue what will be happening to their country tomorrow or, at the latest, the day after that.
Self-delusion provides no answer
The name of the game is repression, denial, self-delusion, on a scale unknown in any other society that comes to mind.
Just as for most Israelis there is no occupation, and definitely no apartheid, despite the mountains of evidence towering higher all the time – so, for most Israelis, tomorrow is not a thing.
Tomorrow is not a thing in terms of the environment or climate change in Israel; tomorrow is not a thing in terms of relations with the other nation living alongside us with our knee on its throat.
Just try asking Israelis what it is going to be like here one day with a Palestinian majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and in the best case you’ll get nothing but a shrug. Where is it all headed?
Their expression will tell you that they’ve never heard such a strange question.
In any event, there will be no answer. Israelis have no answer.
This situation is very unhealthy, of course.
A society cannot go far with its head buried in the sand, and will certainly be unable to cope with the real challenges confronting it.
The occupation, which more than anything else is what defines Israel today, presents more than a few challenges – with which Israel refuses to grapple.
What will happen with the occupation? Where will it take the two societies, occupier and occupied, Israeli and Palestinian? Can the occupation go on forever?
Until recently, I was convinced that the occupation cannot last forever.
History has taught us that a people fighting to be free generally wins and that rotten regimes, like the military occupation of the Palestinian people by Israel, collapse of their own accord, crumbling internally from the decay that always pervades them.
But as the Israeli occupation drags on and its end continually recedes, doubts have riven my once-solid conviction that something will surely happen soon to bring down the occupation, like a tree that looks robust but has rotted from within.
The most frightening case in point is that of America and the Native Americans, a story of a conquest that became permanent, with the conquered herded onto reservations where they have independence and self-determination only in theory and their national rights are ignored.
In other words, there are indeed occupations that go on indefinitely, defying the odds and all the predictions, persisting and persisting until a conquered people stops being a nation and becomes an anthropological curiosity living in its cage on a reservation.
This happens when the occupation is particularly powerful and the conquered are especially weak and the world loses interest in their fate.
A future like that now looms over the Palestinians. They are at their most perilous hour since the Nakba in 1948.
Divided, isolated, lacking strong leadership, bleeding at the side of the road and slowly losing their most precious asset in terms of the solidarity they aroused all over the world, especially in the global south.
Yasser Arafat was a global icon; there was nowhere on earth that did not know his name.
No Palestinian leader today even comes close.
Worse yet, their cause is gradually disappearing from the world’s agenda as it pivots to pressing issues like migration, the environment and the war in Ukraine.
The world is tired of the Palestinians, the Arab world tired of them long ago and the Israelis were never interested in them. That could still change, but the current trends are deeply disheartening.
Part of the world has simply lost interest, and the rest clings to the formula of a two-state solution as if it were sanctified by religious edict
Another Nakba on the 1948 model would not seem a realistic option for Israel at the present time; the second Nakba is an ongoing one that creeps along insidiously all the time, but without drama.
There are certainly those in Israel who toy with the idea that under the cloak of some future war, Israel could “finish the job” only partially completed in 1948.
Threatening voices in that key have sounded louder lately but they remain a minority in Israeli discourse.
Continue with the settlements? Why not. Most Israelis just do not care.
They have never been to the settlements, will never go there and couldn’t care less whether Evyatar is evacuated or not.
The struggle has long since moved to the international front.
The crucial shift will come only from there, as happened in South Africa.
But part of the world has simply lost interest, and the rest clings to the formula of a two-state solution as if it were sanctified by religious edict.
Yet, most decision-makers already know that the two-state solution is long dead, if in fact it ever lived and breathed.
Equality is the path
The only exit from this depressing impasse is by creating a new discourse, a discourse of rights and equality.
People must stop singing the songs of yesteryear and embrace a new vision.
For the international community, this should be obvious; for the Israelis and to a lesser extent the Palestinians, the idea is revolutionary, threatening, and exceedingly painful.
Equality. Equal rights from the river to the sea. One person, one vote.
So basic and yet so revolutionary.
This path requires a parting of the ways with Zionism and the rejection of Jewish supremacy, and letting go of the entire self-definition of both peoples – but it represents the only ray of hope.
In Israel until just a few years ago this idea was viewed as subversive, treasonous and illegitimate.
It is still viewed that way but with somewhat less force.
It has become mentionable.
It now remains for civil societies in the West and then the politicians to embrace the change.
Most of them already know that this is the only solution left, but are afraid to admit it lest they lose the magic formula for a continued Israeli occupation provided by the now dead two-state solution.
The present is deeply discouraging, the future no less so.
And yet to persist in thinking that something can still be hoped for, some action can still be taken, is of the utmost importance.
The worst thing that could happen in this part of the world would be for everyone to lose interest in what happens here and resign themselves to the current reality.
That must not be.
American Jews are actually being trained since childhood to interact with non-Jews in a deceitful and arrogant manner, in coordination with each other, to emotionally destroy non-Jews and Israel critics in addition to wrecking their careers and interfering with their social relationships. This is actually deliberate, wicked, planned behavior motivated by a narcissistic self-righteous fury. …
CNN Report: The number of strike marks on the tree where Shireen was standing proves this wasn’t a random shot, she was targeted”
Recent events offer two interconnected mysteries.
How could so many people decide Israeli soldiers murdered the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, when the Palestinian Authority sabotaged the autopsy, leaving it unclear whose bullet actually killed her?
Jew-hatred is highly adaptable
We know that Jew-hatred is the most plastic hatred, forever form-fitted to fit the obsessions of the moment, but this is ridiculous!
Welcome to the ongoing, ever-evolving, Jew-haters’ jamboree.
Here, facts and logic don’t count.
Here, Zionists lurk behind every disaster and evil thought, spreading racism, supremacy, even disease, from COVID-19 to George Floyd’s murder, from Russian invasions to Buffalo massacres.
Still, pity the poor Jew-haters – they know not joy, complexity, subtlety.
These all-or-nothing know-nothing know-it-alls live in a world where, by exaggerating Israel’s evil, they exaggerate Jews’ power, too.
When you deem Zionism Satanic yet Israel keeps thriving, it must be hell on your nerves. [It does but it’s just a matter of time]
Ask the Palestinians how well this Jew-hatred has worked for them.
It’s kept them stateless, powerless, languishing.
All it has gotten them is Hamas oppressors and PA thugs propping up their dictatorships with Jew-hatred, demonizing Israel to justify squelching Palestinian thought, freedom, prosperity and independence.
Who would want to join this bigot’s banquet?
I prefer living in my blue-and-white world, struggling with occasional grays, to living in their bleak black-and-white world, forever calling for my blood and that of my people.
Exploiting trend after trend and any communal or universal setbacks, they blame everything on the Jews, making Israel the world’s Muck Magnet.
It’s Sisyphean. Zionophobes cook up new recipes – accusations – and then bite into them, only to taste the same stale, bitter Jew-hatred, which poisons their souls, not ours.
Obviously, people can criticize any country, including Israel.
But these obnoxious obsessions and assaults on truth mock history, sociology and political science, sending us passed psychology into psychopathology.
Zionophobia is riddled with what therapists call “cognitive distortions.”
Psychology of bigotry
Psychologists have long shown how perverse perceptions imprison people in misanthropic misconceptions.
CBT – cognitive behavioral therapy – helps patients reframe their understandings of reality.
Beware mental filters, therapists warn, brain fritzes blocking or shrinking the good, the generous, the comforting, while locking in and overinflating the bad, the negative, the unnerving.
Such reframing, such brain fixes, reprogram what people see to be more accurate and constructive.
Instead, regarding Israel, many prefer de-framing – reframing reality to defame.
Popular anti-Zionist perversions include:
Stretching: Anti-Zionists love “kitchen-sinking,” throwing everything at Israel, including the kitchen sink.
As bogeymen rise and fall, fanatics try hogtying Israel to the big crime of the moment or the latest, trendiest ideological sin, like the Great Replacement theory, just as Israel is forever accused of racist, imperialist, colonialist crimes other powers committed, not Israel.
Indicting: Any mistake any Israeli makes, or any crime any Israeli commits, supposedly justifies Israel’s permanent place in the dockets of the UN, the International Criminal Court, and much of the human rights community.
Somehow, mini-Israel looms super-large in the craziest worst-case scenarios of the far Left and the far Right.
Catastrophizing: It’s all black-and-white, totally bleak, regarding Israel.
Too many conversations about Israel become no-nuance and complexity-free zones.
Anything Israel does ends up integrated into some systematic conspiracy against the always blameless Palestinians.
A journalist can die accidentally in a firefight, yet anti-Israel congresswomen declare that Israeli snipers targeted her, as though these 20-year-old soldiers fighting for their lives knew who she was – or cared.
Calcifying: For anti-Zionists making up twistory, time stands still, nothing ever changes, progress must be ignored.
It’s too much fun to keep shrieking about “Deir Yasin” and the supposed “Nakba,” as though it’s still 1948.
And it’s too tempting to ignore Israel’s many attempts to make peace with Palestinians, its breakthroughs with Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Morocco, and the Sudan, let alone countries like Saudi Arabia, which informally cooperate with the “Zionists.”
Spearheading all this Stretching, Indicting, Catastrophizing, and Calcifying, Palestinian extremists try “Siccing” the world on Israel.
For centuries, crying “Sic ’em” unleashed attack dogs, because owners bark orders in short, punchy ways dogs can hear to “seek” particular targets.
Fittingly, “sic” also highlights when someone erred – making SICC the right acronym for this perverse but increasingly respectable pastime which blindly exploits tragic incidents from Jenin to Buffalo.
The solution: Zionist behavioral therapy
IF CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, cures individuals caught in this perceptual cyclone of negativity, perhaps ZBT – Zionist behavioral therapy – can cure anti-Zionist SICos sucked into this vortex of lies.
Reframing begins with understanding the Zionist trinity: that (one) Jews are a people, with (two) a 3,500-year-old love affair with one piece of land, and (three) the right to establish a state on that homeland.
ZBT emphasizes studying, not stretching or straining; investigating, not indicting; and accepting complexity while viewing everything in proportion, without exaggerating or oversimplifying.
Going beyond perception into matters of tone and tactics, ZBT also involves talking, not yelling; listening generously, not judging harshly; leaning in, not cutting out.
These approaches are best mastered up close in Israel.
That’s why the tourists crowding Jerusalem’s streets for the first time in two years are so welcome.
But you can reframe with ZBT anywhere, anytime, by opening your mind and maybe even a book, rather than being closed-minded, coldhearted, and so thickheaded and soul-shriveled you see the complex, ultimately redemptive, 3,500-year-old Jewish journey as a one-way march to Zionist villainy.
In the blink of an eye, the Adwan family watched their home get destroyed by Israeli air strikes in May 2021. A year on, Israeli restrictions have stopped them from rebuilding
Mon, 2022-05-16 01:28 RAFAH, GAZA STRIP: Abu Ahmed Adwan was five when his family was forcibly displaced during the Nakba in 1948.
They sought refuge in a camp in the city of Rafah, adjacent to the Palestinian-Egyptian border in the far south of the Gaza Strip.
Adwan grew up in the alleys of the Barbara camp, which got its name from the original village that was abandoned by the Adwan family and other families that settled together.
“We were neighbors in Barbara before the Nakba, and here we are in the camp until the return,” Adwan, now in his late 70s, told Arab News.
Today he is the mayor of his village (the chief of the refugee families from the village of Barbara), and despite spending his life as a refugee, he still believes in the right of return.
“We will return one day, and if we pass away, our children and grandchildren will return and rebuild the country.”
Estimates by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees show that the number of refugees in the Rafah camp grew from 41,000 in 1948 to more than 125,000 today.
Residents in one of the largest camps in the Gaza Strip live in overcrowded houses in narrow streets.
In Gaza, refugees represent more than 70 percent of the population of almost two million people.
Displacement has driven the modern history of the Gaza Strip, a 360-square-kilometer territory on the eastern Mediterranean. The Strip was part of Mandate Palestine’s Gaza subdistrict but became an administrative and political unit after 1948. The Nakba not only established the Gaza Strip’s contemporary borders but also initiated its modern history as the site of continual Israeli displacement policies, which began in the late 1940s and continue to this day.
Adwan uses a large map of the village of Barbara, which tops one of the walls of his meeting hall in his home, to describe the village he visited for the last time about 35 years ago.
He classifies his constant talk of Barbara, and the refugee stories linked to the memory of the Nakba, as a “kind of resistance” in order to keep the memories of past generations alive and encourage the restoration of stolen rights.
He said: “Today’s generation is more aware than their parents and grandfathers than the generation of the Nakba, and the experience of the Nakba in 1948 cannot be repeated again.”
Mohammed Adwan, born in 1970, is a freed prisoner of an Israeli jail.
He said: “The camp is the storehouse of the revolution since the Nakba, and the fathers and grandfathers are its fuel by constantly talking about Palestine with all this nostalgia.”
He added: “We will return sooner or later.” Adwan said that refugee camps play a role in “resisting the occupation, forming the awareness of successive generations and preserving the national memory.”
He added: “It was important to preserve the names of our original towns and villages, by calling them to the refugee camps, as this is a resistance to the factors of time, and the occupation’s efforts to falsify reality and distort Palestinian geography.”
74 years of oppression and perpetration of massacres against us in #Palestine , the year 1948 is not the only year when Nakba happened, but in fact is the beginning of the Nakba, the last Nakba against us a few days ago in #SaveMasaferYatta against +1000s of us https://t.co/Em2dSAELaL
— Ali Awad #SaveMasaferYatta (@Ali_awad1998) May 15, 2022
The growing population in the camp led to mixing with city neighborhoods.
Simple houses built from brick and roofed with asbestos have largely disappeared, replaced by concrete houses.
A researcher in refugee affairs, Nader Abu Sharekh, said that stories told in the homes of the camps, generation after generation, have made the Palestinian cause “alive and growing.”
The families of each village and city destroyed in the Nakba gathered in neighborhoods inside the new camps to draft names.
They used original names from their homeland, out of love for the land and adherence to the right of return, and to keep the names and meanings present in memory.
In each camp there are streets bearing the names of original homes.
“In the camp, the events of the Nakba are present, and the right of return is an absolute belief,” Abu Sharekh said.
“In wedding parties, they sing historic songs from before the Nakba like Ataba, Mijna, Dabke and Dahia.
“These traditions remained in circulation, so that the homeland remains a title to joy, and the right of return remains in the refugees’ diaries.”
In the camp, old women still wear traditional dress rich in color.
People have allotted part of their yards to plant something that reminds them of their lost orchards and farms.
Sometimes the space is used to construct a hut or tent.
Some of the refugees still bake using traditional clay ovens modeled on the kind lost in their destroyed towns and villages.
Main category: Middle-EastTags: 74th anniversary of NakbaNakbaPalestiniansBarbara Palestinians commemorate 74th anniversary of Nakba amid outcry over funeral attackPalestinians reminisce about Ramadan before the Nakba