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  • Israel’s dirty arms deals with Myanmar - Haaretz Editorial - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/israel-s-dirty-arms-deals-with-myanmar-1.6429524

    Official Israel does not allow the publication of reports on the arming of Myanmar. In a hearing on petitions to the High Court of Justice filed in the last year and a half by human rights activists and attorney Eitay Mack against Israel’s weapons sales to Myanmar, the Defense Ministry argued that the court had no authority to rule on defense exports. Israeli spokesmen justified the supplying of weapons with the claim that “both sides committed war crimes,” claims that were rejected in the UN report. The court’s ruling on the petition is classified, but according to testimony from Myanmar the weapons sales are continuing, even in the midst of the crimes.

    Israel has a long history of arming dark regimes, from Latin America through the Balkans and Africa, to Asia. The findings of the UN panel’s report require an examination of this method, whose economic benefits cannot serve as a counterweight to the atrocities. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit must order an investigation to determine whether the individuals who approved the arms sales to Myanmar were complicit in genocide in accordance with Israel’s 1950 Law for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In addition, he must see to it that the findings are made public.

  • Israel election results: Ayman Odeh with Shin Bet bodyguards? - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-ayman-odeh-with-shin-bet-bodyguards-1.7861973

    Shortly after the exit poll results were released on Tuesday night, talk began of Ayman Odeh heading the opposition in the next Knesset. Then the whispers started: Odeh with Shin Bet security service bodyguards? Odeh in an official state car, an armored one even? Odeh in official meetings with foreign heads of state?

    You must be joking.

    Even worse: Odeh provided with sensitive intelligence from defense briefings. Israel’s next existential crisis. But commentators did not take long to put us at ease: There are ways to get around the law, they said, the Knesset can choose a different opposition leader, he doesn’t need to hear everything, the Shin Bet will find a way, no need to worry, have faith in Israeli democracy.

    The votes were still being counted in the only democracy in the Middle East, and racism and ultranationalism already reared their ugly heads. No, of course, not the vulgar racism of Benzi Gopstein and Michael Ben Ari, who actually took a severe blow in the election, and not that of Benjamin Netanyahu, who stirs up anti-Arab fear. No, this is the hidden kind, which goes down easy, dressed in excuses about security, and is immeasurably more dangerous because it’s nicer and more commonplace. Barely an eyebrow will be raised.

    Political correctness in Israel permits treating all Arabs like a suspicious object, even the head of the Knesset’s third-largest party. It’s chilling to think just how politically correct this discussion is: Odeh was portrayed from the start as a traitor, who cannot be trusted with state secrets because it’s obvious he’ll betray his country and pass them on to the enemy. This line of talk lacks all legitimacy, yet it is not only the remit of seasoned Arab-haters. Serious people bring it up for serious debate.
    Knesset member Ayman Odeh at a protest against the failure of police to protect Arab citizens.
    Knesset member Ayman Odeh at a protest in Shfaram against the failure of police to protect Arab citizens, May 20, 2019. Gil Eliahu

    That’s the illusion of Israeli elections: They create the false impression that the state’s Palestinian citizens are part of the game. It’s the same with the Israeli propagandist’s hollow response to the accusation of apartheid: We have Arab legislators, in contrast to the blacks in apartheid South Africa, ergo we don’t have apartheid. But when the Arabs succeed and they become the third-largest faction in the Knesset, as they did (again) in this election, then the masks come off, and the game is over.
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    Their representatives can chair the decorating committee, submit parliamentary questions and even represent the Knesset in parliamentary delegations, but they cannot be privy to state secrets because the state, after all, is not truly their state.

    The subtext of this discussion is despicable. If Odeh cannot head the opposition, then wouldn’t it be better to bar Arabs from serving in the Knesset altogether? If they will always be suspected of treason, then they don’t belong in the legislature. What will we do then with our show of egalitarian democracy?

    Thin is the cloak of democracy, and its fragility became painfully obvious as soon as the polls closed. As it turns out, the opposition leader must in effect belong to the coalition: the coalition, that is, of accepted convention, of Zionism, of the Jews. Otherwise he has no place in this undemocratic democracy. First, we reject the possibility of the Arab parties joining the governing coalition a priori, now they’re not even fit for the opposition.

    Israel wants only good Arabs in the Knesset, if at all, and it wants an opposition-free opposition, one that isn’t bothersome, that doesn’t resist, that is not different – her majesty’s opposition. Behind all this hides the national identity of Odeh and his colleagues in the Joint List. Israel isn’t ready to see a Palestinian Israeli in a senior official position. The security excuse is groundless, of course. Odeh and his colleagues are much more loyal to Israel than it is to them; anyone who has been elected in accordance with the law has the right to know everything.

    A unity government is bad news, but every cloud has a silver lining: It could challenge Israel. Let’s welcome opposition chairman Ayman Odeh. He will speak immediately after the prime minister at every important debate in the Knesset. He will have a security detail, he’ll be driven in an official state car — and let Israeli Jews explode with anger.

  • Jewish Israelis should cast a solidarity vote for the Arab Joint List - Opinion
    Gideon Levy | Sep 15, 2019 3:45 AM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-jewish-israelis-should-cast-a-solidarity-vote-for-the-arab-joint-l

    Reminder No. 1: There are such things as solidarity and identification, even if it’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything about them. Reminder No. 2: Israel’s Arab citizens are a constant target for attack, exclusion and humiliation, especially in this campaign season.

    Reminder No. 3: In the end, in the privacy of the voting booth, after all the strategy and tactics are stripped away, voters face their conscience and choose the party nearest their heart. Voting is a very personal act of free expression, of self-determination, emotion, intelligence, morality and identity. This prologue leads of course to an attempt to persuade people to vote for the Joint List on Tuesday.

    Very few Israeli Jews can imagine what it means to be an Arab in Israel. To speak Arabic on the bus, to wear a hijab on the train, to face insults from the media and on the street, to try to rent out an apartment in Tel Aviv, to see your brothers trampled under the brutal boot of your state. No Jew in the world lives under such conditions today. Your language is anathema, your identity is erased, your past doesn’t exist, your catastrophe didn’t happen, your existence here is conditional and you’re always suspect; your brother is your enemy and you’re a fifth column.

    The current campaign season has brought the incitement to a new nadir. To the right, one-fifth of the population is a vote-getting punching bag — nothing today is more popular, more unifying, than sowing anti-Arab hatred. The political center takes part in the revelry of incitement as well. It too says it won’t join a coalition that includes the Arabs. In Israel, the Kahanists and the neo-Nazis have more political legitimacy than the Arabs do.

    The battle is over excluding them from parliamentary life, over delegitimization to the point of making them illegal. A Jewish Knesset isn’t only a Judgment Day nightmare, it’s a vision that’s approaching. Another term or two and we’re there. Even now the Knesset has only 110 lawmakers de facto. No one counts the 10 Arab MKs. The questions asked about them, such as whether they’re permitted to serve on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, would be disallowed in any legislature around the world if they were asked about Jews, for example.

    The possibility of joining the government that Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh raised was roundly dismissed by the main parties. Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, the great hope of the left, wasn’t expelled from the Knesset chamber in disgrace when he refused to sit next to a Joint List MK. Imagine what would happen to a European or an American legislator who refused to sit next to a Jew. Israel’s prime minister and public security minister call the elected representatives of the country’s Arab citizens “terror supporters” and “terrorists.”

    One can be ashamed by this behavior and not lift a finger, and one can do the only thing that has a chance of ending it, or at least send a signal to Israel’s Arab citizens that they are not alone. The size of the Joint List’s Knesset representation won’t change the country’s fortunes; it will be the third-largest — and the least important. What’s important is that as many Jews as possible vote for it. That will be a genuine protest vote against the right and against racism, a concrete demonstration of solidarity with the oppressed.

    Israel’s Arabs deserve and need this. They deserve to know that not everyone is Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. The Arab doctor in the hospital, the nurse, the pharmacist in the drugstore, the waiter, the construction worker who’s building the country, they all deserve to know that they’re not alone in their country and in their state. To know that Israel will never expel them, as many would like to do. Tens of thousands of Jewish votes for their representatives are the way to send the message. The war against apartheid begins with this small step.

    It’s permissible for deep and justified feelings of shame to be a factor in an election. It’s permissible to show solidarity with the weak and set aside all the other considerations — the desire to create a powerful party, a powerful bloc — whose importance can’t be calculated accurately. It’s permissible and necessary to show the Arab cities of Sakhnin and Nazareth, as well as the nearby Jewish cities of Afula and Nof Hagalil (formerly Upper Nazareth) that there is a different Israel, one that won’t continue to remain silent and do nothing.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/801471
    #Palestine #Élections #Liste_unifiée

    • Israeli politicians all lie, but only one of them has a vision - Opinion - Israel News
      Shlomo Sand Sep 13, 2019 | Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-they-all-lie-but-only-one-of-them-has-a-vision-1.7837570

      Everyone knows the joke that goes: How can you tell when a politician is lying? The standard answer is, When he s moving his lips. Nowadays one could also say, Whenever he writes something on Twitter. In an election period, the lies are even more noticeable and frequent because the politicians are making more public statements than usual.

      The fools among us believe the promises, and the smarter ones know that in every liberal democracy, lying is built into the political battle for power. This doesn’t mean that everyone lies to the same extent, and it certainly isn’t to say that because of all the lies, one should boycott the election. The world can’t be changed through an election, but at the very least it can help to halt a perilous slide and sometimes even to avert a disaster.

      Israeli politicians have worked hard this year. With two successive election campaigns, they had to lie more than ever. A few days from now, they’ll be able to rest and lie a little bit less. The winners will secretly laugh at their voters; the losers will secretly curse their stupidity.

      But nearly all Israeli politicians are aware that the current election propaganda is not addressing – directly or indirectly – the elephant in the room: the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations. Of course the Joint List and Yamina are expressing clear positions on these relations, but all the other parties know full well that the historic argument about peace with the Palestinians has long been tabled from the national agenda, and so they intentionally remain vague and elusive on the subject.

      Many people think this might be true of the other parties, but not of the Democratic Union, where many still believe in making peace and its No. 10 candidate, despite his relatively low spot on the list, has “been permitted” to publicly express his position on the matter. According to the speeches and articles written by Ehud Barak, including in this newspaper, the Democratic Union’s peace platform seeks to outline a border between Israel and “Palestine” with or without a regional agreement. But where is the Palestinian leader who will agree to sign such a territorial peace agreement? Hasn’t he learned anything from the past?

      The present election will not decide the future of relations between Israelis and Palestinians, so the Democratic Union’s positions on this topic are not relevant. This election is about ridding the country of a corrupt, populist leader whose alliance with the nationalist right is accelerating the moral rot of governance in Israel. While one source of this rot is the ongoing apartheid situation, it is also a consequence of the worldwide crisis of values that has put people like Trump, Erdogan, Modi, Putin, Orban, Boris Johnson and others in power.

      In Israeli political culture, a government based on nationalist populism is particularly dangerous because of the strong racial components of the country’s national identity. So electoral puritanism is not the answer. Any attempt to block a victory for the Netanyahu-Ayelet Shaked-Betzalel Smotrich alliance should be welcomed by anyone who cares about the country’s immediate future, no matter which opposition party he chooses.

      And anyone thinking more about the long run should vote for the Joint List. Despite its ideological drawbacks, it is the only party that features no former defense ministers, each of whom had their turn at bolstering and perpetuating the occupation and the settlements. It is also the only one that offers a vision, even if it’s not practical at the moment, of a fair and historic compromise between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people.

      Shlomo Sand is a professor emeritus of history.

  • Writing not to them, and not-writing to them
    Amira Hass | Jul. 23, 2019 | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-writing-not-to-them-and-not-writing-to-them-1.7564183

    When I don t write, for whom don t I write? Just as writing entails an expectation that someone will take an interest and read, the same is true of not writing: It also sees before it a target audience of non-readers.

    When I skip over another detail, and another one and another 30, in the story of our foreign, hostile rule over the Palestinians, and don’t report them, it’s not only because there are so many details, and there is need for a large staff of reporters to process all of them into orderly news stories. It’s not only because there aren’t enough editors to edit the stories and enough pages in the newspaper to contain them, or enough slots allocated to news from Mars on the home page of the website.

    When I don’t write, I’m thinking about those who don’t read in order not to know, because they know that knowledge is the path to awareness, and awareness is the key to essential action.

    These words are being written on Monday morning, just at the time a gigantic force of policemen and soldiers is providing backup for preparations for the demolition of 13 buildings in the Wadi Hummus neighborhood, which is a part of the village of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem.

    Activists, including quite a number of Jews from the American group All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective, who have been at the site for several days, have been sending photographs and videos in real time, since 3 A.M. The first, at about 4 A.M., when it was still dark, showed a crane with its arm extended toward an unoccupied eight-story building. The soldiers removed boxes from it and scattered them among the floors. Explosive devices, concluded the activists. Shortly after 8 A.M. they sent a photo with the smoke and dust rising from the explosion.

    My non-readers are not the residents of the ever-expanding settlements and outposts – all of them illegal, all of them aggressive predators – that I pass by every day. The non-readers are not their representatives in the steadily strengthening, transfer-minded, right-wing parties.

    Nor is the not-writing aimed at the soldiers and policemen whose job is to safeguard the illegal enterprise: They are too young, too gung-ho, to understand what is left unwritten and what is written. Let’s hope that some of them will join Breaking the Silence some day.

    Nor are the non-readers the Supreme Court justices, who will be asked today, Monday, by the government to approve another method of forced removal of West Bank Palestinian communities and the demolition of their homes. (My apologies to my friends attorneys Tawfik Jabarin and Neta Amar Schiff, who filed the petitions against the order to destroy the communities of Jabal al-Baba east of Jerusalem and Ein al-Hilweh and Umm Jamal in the northern Jordan Valley: I won’t be able to attend the court proceedings because I have to go to the ghost town of Hebron). The justices, as non-readers in the past, have already proven that they are groupies of former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, even before Ayelet Shaked and her war against the justice system were invented.

    I saw you, my non-readers, during a rare visit to Tel Aviv a few days ago, between Dizengoff and Allenby Streets. How pleasant and welcoming this city is, what an atmosphere of freedom and serenity it radiates. Even the summer humidity doesn’t spoil it. You, my designated non-readers, represent many others and definitely not only in Tel Aviv, whose life experiences and education enable them to understand that denying liberty to the “other” is wrong. And also a two-edged sword.

    Ethiopian Israelis, feminists, LGBTQ people, Arab Jews, second- and third-generation descendants of Holocaust survivors, cottage-cheese warriors, students and teachers of history and philosophy. I once expected them and others to make their voices heard, to oppose the evil. Not to be blinded by the gains yielded by evil, but to join the few who do dare to resist and thereby increase their numbers and power. And because I have given up, I am writing not to them, and not-writing to them.

  • Cyprus Rape Case: Israel’s boys struck at dawn
    Gideon Levy Jul 21, 2019 12:02 PM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-cyprus-rape-case-israel-s-boys-struck-at-dawn-1.7544222

    Our forces went into action as night fell. There were 12 of them, each the salt of the earth, hailing from the Haifa area, from the eternal capital Jerusalem and from the capital of racism, Afula. Some of them, amazingly, were even about to join elite army units.

    Your heart cries out to them. Just let them return home in peace. They’re now under arrest, in the hands of Gentiles, and who knows what they’re going through there. There are reports that they’re shackled, that they’re being beaten. There’s a rumor going around that they’ve been transferred to the Turkish side on the Midnight Express.

    What, after all, did they do? They’re only good kids who wanted a bit too much. They’re allowed to have their fun, and how, before being drafted. They deserve to let go a bit. Let them have some fun. What’s the problem? The nation stands with them. Even their mothers say they’re good kids.

    The usual Israeli narrative is clear in most of the reports from Ayia Napa in Cyprus: The whole world is against us. We (again) are the victims. If they weren’t Israelis no one would have arrested them. Twelve Jewish kids under arrest in the Diaspora – do you realize what that means? They’re children, obviously. If they were Palestinians, they’d be called young men.

    The rape victim is a young woman, not a child, even though she’s the same age as the perpetrators. But with us Israelis, people between 16 and 19 are children. Only we love our children, which is why they’re the children of us all. Just wait and see the reception they get when they return, assuming they return anytime soon. The heroes will return home, appearing with the mayor in the city’s main square.

    Reports of Cypriot anti-Semitism are on the way. And who can trust the Cypriot justice system anyway? It’s cruel and primitive, unlike ours, the most progressive and humane one in the world. How dare they, those Cypriots, arrest 12 Jewish kids before their induction into elite army units?

    The parents who told the media, as a mitigating circumstance, that their boys were about to join these units were oblivious to the irony: Some of them were about to serve in an army whose main mission is abuse, just like what happened that night in Ayia Napa. Maybe that night was a prelude to basic training?

    The victim is obviously making it up, the suspects are victims, the entire Israeli story encompassed in one night in room 723. If they were suspected of raping an Israeli-Jewish woman, your heart wouldn’t reach out to them the same way. But they’re suspected of raping a female goy, a shiksa, a little whore, and that’s an entirely different story. This isn’t stated explicitly, obviously, but it’s planted deep within the subtext of the reports, enveloped in a thin veneer of decency and correctness under which the true emotions seethe and bubble.

    If one could only say aloud what many Israelis feel inside about that night: a mixture of male chauvinism and ultra-nationalist supremacy. These kids remain the salt of the earth. They screwed a shiksa and now they’re the victims.

    Ostensibly, this is heart-warming national solidarity. Actually, it’s dark and benighted tribalism and nationalism, blind and reflexive, revolting. Our children are always just – we’re the chosen people, always the victims.

    It’s the same solidarity shown with Elor Azaria, the soldier who shot an assailant who was already motionless on the ground, and with soldiers aiming for the head of a 10-year-old in the West Bank village of Qaddum, or with the ones who shot a 15-year-old climbing the separation fence near Bethlehem. The soldiers who shoot are perceived by most Israelis as victims, as are the suspects in the rape in Ayia Napa, not as scum. They hurt non-Jews, who only want our destruction. That’s why what they did is good, both in Qaddum and in Ayia Napa.

    Very little has been said in the Israeli media about the victim, that poor British woman, or about the Palestinian victims of another horrific mass rape, one that’s been going on for years, the rape of the occupation. That might generate some sympathy for the true victim, or at lease raise some moral doubts among the perpetrators. The ones perpetrating these acts, in both cases, in Ayia Napa and in Qaddum, are our children, the purest and most innocent of all children. Just dare think otherwise.

  • Barak Ravid sur Twitter : “WATCH: U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman takes a 10 pounds hammer and breaks open a tunnel which runs under the Palestinian village of #Silwan to the old city of #Jerusalem. This happens at a settlers organisation event with Sara Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson at his side” / Twitter
    https://twitter.com/BarakRavid/status/1145362268022067200

    https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1145362068507430912/pu/vid/640x360/A_akO0XpJxkZ-Rl-.mp4?tag=10

    Des officiels américains à un évènement lié aux colons israéliens à Jérusalem-Est - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1176973/des-officiels-americains-a-un-evenement-lie-aux-colons-israeliens-a-j

    Deux responsables américains ont assisté dimanche à l’inauguration à Jérusalem-Est d’un site archéologique organisée par une association ultranationaliste israélienne, une présence qui rompt une nouvelle fois avec la pratique diplomatique s’agissant de la colonisation et du secteur palestinien de la ville occupé par Israël.

    Jason Greenblatt, conseiller du président américain Donald Trump, et David Friedman, ambassadeur en Israël, ont assisté en compagnie de responsables israéliens à une cérémonie dévoilant le résultat de travaux archéologiques à Silwan, quartier palestinien de Jérusalem-Est. Silwan, situé en contrebas des murailles de la Vieille ville, est le théâtre de tensions permanentes entre les résidents palestiniens et des colons juifs de plus en plus nombreux.

    Les travaux archéologiques, portant sur une route souterraine utilisée il y a environ 2.000 ans pour le pèlerinage vers le Second Temple juif, ont été entrepris par l’association Elad, dont le but avoué est de renforcer la présence juive à Jérusalem-Est.

    [...]

    Les Palestiniens accusent Israël et la fondation Elad de chercher à les chasser de Jérusalem.

    [...]

    L’ONG israélienne Emek Shaveh, qui lutte contre l’usage de l’archéologie au service de la colonisation, a également critiqué la présence d’officiels américains à la cérémonie. Elle dénonce un « acte politique qui se rapproche le plus d’une reconnaissance américaine de la souveraineté israélienne » sur toute la Vieille ville de Jérusalem.

    Israël considère Jérusalem comme sa capitale « unifiée et indivisible ». Mais la communauté internationale ne reconnaît pas l’annexion en 1967 de la partie orientale occupée de la ville, dont les Palestiniens veulent faire la capitale de l’Etat auquel ils aspirent.

    Le président Donald Trump a rompu en décembre 2017 avec des décennies de consensus diplomatique en reconnaissant Jérusalem comme la capitale d’Israël, poussant les Palestiniens à couper tout contact formel avec Washington.

    L’ambassadeur américain en Israël David Friedman est un fervent soutien des colonies israéliennes dans les Territoires palestiniens, considérées comme illégales par la communauté internationale.

    #sionisme #etats-unis

    • Editorial Settlers From the White House
      Haaretz Editorial
      Jun 30, 2019 11:20 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/settlers-from-the-white-house-1.7424748

      The event held Sunday in a tunnel under the main street of the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, just outside the Old City walls, would have been impossible only a few years ago. Two of the U.S. administration’s most senior diplomats, Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, were there alongside Israeli ministers at the inauguration of the Path of the Pilgrims – a tunnel excavated by the right-wing Elad organization with generous help from the state.

      The tunnel, which according to Elad exposed a street from the Second Temple period that brought pilgrims from the Shiloah pool to the Temple Mount, is a central project in the organization’s efforts to Judaize Silwan and its environs by way of archaeology and tourism. When the tunnel opens to the public, presumably in a few months, it will become a major tourist attraction.

      The participation of American diplomats at an event sponsored by a right-wing group in East Jerusalem constitutes de facto recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem’s historic basin. If anyone had any doubts about that, Friedman made clear in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that, “The City of David is an essential component of the national heritage of the State of Israel.” Giving it up, even in the context of a peace agreement, he said, “would be akin to America returning the Statue of Liberty.”

      This recognition doesn’t just put the American administration on the extreme right of the Israeli political map – thus undercutting the claim that American can be an unbiased broker between Israel and the Palestinians – but it also ignores the complicated reality in Silwan, East Jerusalem and the entire region. The tunnel, which was excavated using controversial methods from a scientific standpoint, harnesses archaeology to politics while ignoring the nuances of Jerusalem’s ancient past.

      But the main problem is that excavating under the street blatantly ignores what’s happening at street level. In Silwan alone there are 20,000 Palestinians without citizenship or civil rights, who justifiably feel that this archaeological project is aimed at forcing them out of their neighborhood. Surrounding Silwan are another 300,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, also without rights.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfbMcYhJY6Q


      Anyone having even a passing familiarity with the Palestinian people knows that there’s no chance of arriving at any kind of agreement that will end the occupation so long as Israel continues to control East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Thus, by mere words and an event dripping with sweetness and smiles, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has sentenced Israelis to a life of constant conflict, or to an apartheid state in which there are two types of residents, those with rights and those without them.

  • Apartheid under the cover of a Jewish state -

    | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-apartheid-under-the-cover-of-a-jewish-state-1.7402080

    The smell of shampoo wafted through the bathroom. Steam covered the mirror and blurred the image of the person standing in front of it. The guy who had just gotten out of the shower hadn’t even dried himself off before reaching for his phone. Before getting into the shower he had angrily debated right-winger Bezalel Smotrich about whether Israel should draft ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army.

    “Bezalel, damn it, look at the facts,” he had tweeted before getting into the shower. It’s no coincidence they wrote in the newspaper that Yair Lapid, the No. 2 in Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, is the only person in the party with a killer instinct.

    >> Read more: The next big bang of Israeli politics | Analysis ■ Democracy for every Israeli and Palestinian. It’s not hard | Opinion

    The shower didn’t take his mind off the argument. “And another thing, Smotrich. Israel has to be a state of all its citizens.”

    Boom. Smotrich quickly replied: “Thank you, Yair, for finally putting it out there.” And Abba Eban’s protégé, new Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, hastened to join in: “A seriously outrageous anti-Semitic remark … the slogan of the enemy.” Help.

    Now the candidate for prime minister had to dry himself off and do some damage control. “Somebody really misunderstood what he was reading,” Lapid tweeted. “I’ve been totally against a state of all its citizens all my life. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state, and that’s how it will remain. What I wrote referred to LGBT rights.”

    What he followed up with was characteristic Lapid: “The following are two facts about a state of all its citizens: 1. I’m against it. 2. I’m not going to tweet from the shower anymore before drying off.” So now the reader understands the message correctly: Israel has to be, yet doesn’t have to be, a state of all its citizens.

    Drying off or not, this is something that actually took place on Twitter the other day, and it might have been funny. But it’s not. Once the steam lifted the picture was clear: racism in all its ugliness. Lapid meant Jewish members of the LGBT community, to whom the state also belongs. But it’s not a state of all its citizens. That’s what happens when you live a lie: You get confused in the shower.

    If Israel is a democracy, it’s a state of all its citizens. There is no democracy that isn’t a state of all its citizens. From America to Germany, all are states of all their citizens. If they weren’t, to whom would they belong? Only to their privileged citizens. There’s no such thing as a democracy that belongs only to the privileged of one nationality.

    The state belongs to everyone. A regime that segregates and discriminates is called apartheid. There is no other name. The fact that Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel amid suspicions he supplied information to Hezbollah, was the first to draw attention to this obvious truth doesn’t detract from it one iota. A state of all its citizens isn’t “the slogan of the enemy,” as the new foreign minister put it. It’s the heart and soul of democracy.

    But the center-left feels exactly the same as the right and doesn’t recognize this simple truth. From their standpoint Israel is a democracy for its Jews and a guesthouse for its Arabs. Let’s thank Lapid’s towel for returning things to their proper place. One moment he was in favor of a state of all its citizens and the next he was against. He has been against it all his life, like almost all Israeli democrats.

    How can a democrat be against a state of all its citizens? Only in Israel. In no other democracy is there room for such a question. The state belongs to everyone. Equally.

    The right’s annexation plan will soon raise questions about the citizenship of millions of Palestinians. But in present-day Israel, right, left and center are talking apartheid – under the cover of the slogan a Jewish state. That’s the real slogan of the enemy, the enemy of democracy. This combination doesn’t work. It’s an oxymoron. Either Israel is a state of all its citizens and it’s a democracy, or it’s a Jewish state and it’s apartheid.

    It’s good that the steam from Lapid’s shower lifted quickly and he could return to the truth he shares with Smotrich. Zionism’s eternal truth. It’s an undemocratic truth. Smotrich at least admits to it, Lapid tries to hide behind a towel.

  • Le Parlement allemand juge « antisémite » le mouvement anti-israélien #BDS - Europe - RFI
    http://www.rfi.fr/europe/20190517-parlement-allemand-bundestag-juge-antisemite-bds-israel

    Mais une centaine de députés qui ont voté ce texte ont en même temps émis des réserves. Ils jugent par exemple nécessaire de distinguer des positions antisémites d’une légitime critique à l’égard d’Israël. Le parti d’#extrême_droite AfD souhaitait l’interdiction pure et simple du mouvement BDS et s’est abstenu. Le parti de gauche Die Linke a rejeté le texte.

  • Why I don’t give lectures in Israel about the occupation -
    Gideon Levy
    Opinion -
    Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-why-i-don-t-give-lectures-in-israel-about-the-occupation-1.7170563

    What will the tiny handful of Israelis for whom fighting the occupation is paramount do now? What will they do, the people who will not consent to living in an apartheid state? The election results left no room for doubt: Israel lacks a critical mass of opponents to the occupation. The pro-annexation camp beat the camp that’s in favor of perpetuating the occupation. That’s the story, in a nutshell.

    Some of the people who voted for Kahol Lavan or other parties would like to be rid of the albatross around their necks, but it’s not their No. 1 priority. Loathing for Benjamin Netanyahu, the corruption in government and the Eurovision Song Contest are much higher up on their agenda. And what do these people think could possibly end the occupation anyway? Nothing. It’s no biggie.

    The minority that refuses to give up on opposing the occupation can throw in the towel now when it comes to trying to win over Israelis. There’s no one to talk to, and nothing to talk about. There is no partner in Israel, no buyers. Only a handful of warriors remain, the few and the brave.

    One can wait for a miracle — or a disaster — or one can shift to the only arena where hope is still possible: overseas.

    That’s where the fate of the regime in South Africa was decided, at the end of the day, and that’s where the fate of the regime in Israel-Palestine might possibly be decided one day. For now, it’s the only option.

    The argument that this is an undemocratic action aimed at bypassing the will of the people obviously sets a new standard of chutzpah. It’s akin to the claim that the international sanctions against South Africa constituted interference in the country’s domestic affairs.

    There, too, there were democratic elections, for whites only, and a majority of the whites had their say and supported apartheid. So what? Did that have anything to do with democracy? Could the international community sit by idly?

    The occupation is not an internal Israeli matter, and it has nothing to do with democracy. Israeli Jews who control Palestinians using brutal military force are an international matter.

    This is exactly why international institutions were established and why foreign policy exists, and this is exactly why there are judges in The Hague. For 52 years, millions of Palestinians were never asked for their opinion, and for that reason there are few issues that require the intervention of the international community more urgently. It is not only a legitimate sphere of action, it is mandatory — including for Israelis.

    Contradictory messages are emanating from this arena. There are signs of loss of interest and fatigue over a conflict that refuses to be resolved. Ultranationalism, xenophobia and Islamophobia bolster support for Israeli colonialism.

    But at the same time, there are reinforcements in the form of new, almost revolutionary voices, that will not accept this. In Europe and in the United States there arose a generation that did not know the Holocaust and was unwilling to accept the occupation.
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    There is today no greater source of hope than the astonishing changes in the U.S. Democratic Party and the U.K. Labour Party. The rise of these parties to power could herald a new international language toward Israel. There are countries where people are only waiting for the signal to join in.

    The fall of the occupation is likely to be dramatic, not gradual, and the house of cards that seems today to be at the height of its powers, with greater international support than ever before, could collapse in an instant. That’s what happened in South Africa.

    The formula is a simple one: the dissolution of the existing formula, according to which it benefits Israel and the Israelis to continue the occupation. As long as it exists — and it does exist — there is no possibility of change. The moment one of the components is removed, the Israelis will begin asking themselves, for the first time in their history, whether it’s all worth it and whether they are willing to pay the price.

    The answer is clear. There are few Israelis who will be willing to sacrifice their quality of life for the settlement of Ofra, which they have never been to and will never go to.

    It’s necessary to take action in the international arena without any guilt feelings, because it is the only hope. It needs additional Israeli voices. I am occasionally asked, “Snob, have you ever given a lecture in Israel?” but in Israel no one cares about the occupation. Occasionally the word “treason” is mentioned, too. It’s the silent ones who are the real traitors, in Israel and, even more so, abroad.
    Gideon Levy

    Gideon Levy
    Haaretz Correspondent

  • In a Jewish state, the Zionist left can offer the Arabs nothing but empty words - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-how-pleasant-when-brothers-sit-together-1.7164824

    It didn’t work once again for the Zionist left. Like the song says: They promised a dove, an olive branch, they promised peace, spring and blossoms … And once again they got Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The Zionist leftists tried everything. They promised peace and security, settlements and two states, Mizrahim and Ashkenazim, and nothing worked. Only one choice remained, the doomsday weapon, the wildest wild card of all: to join with the Arabs. Only thus could they return to power, wrote the pundits. Why didn’t they think of that before? How good and pleasant it is when brothers sit together, center-left with “Israeli Arabs,” as they are popularly called, in denial of them being Palestinians.

    It’s good that this recognition has finally sunk in; it’s too bad that it’s hollow and hypocritical, like most ideas of the center-left. Even when the Zionist left reaches the right understanding, they aren’t ready to pay the price for it. As usual, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

    A Jewish-Arab partnership as well as a Jewish state. It’s doomed to failure. Dear Zionist leftists, don’t count on the Arab vote. You’re not worthy of it.

    First of all – now you come to us? After all the years of military administration and after the riots of October 2000, the discrimination, exclusion and dispossession (just go to Taibeh or Hura), suddenly you remember that we exist? Oh well, better late than never. But what exactly does the center-left have to offer the Arabs in the state of the Jews? Empty words. What equality, without which there can be no genuine partnership, can exist in a Jewish-democratic state? What brotherhood can prevail in a country whose Law of Return fundamentally discriminates against Arabs? What is there waiting for them in a country whose discourse is all Jewish and only Jewish? Where nearly all of the land is designated for Jews and many public workplaces are closed to them? And that’s before we’ve even said a word about the nation-state law.

    There is only one way that Jews and Arabs can really go together: in a democratic, egalitarian state of all its citizens. Is this what anyone on the Zionist left who proposed joining together meant? If so, he cannot be a Zionist. This built-in contradiction must be exposed: Zionism and egalitarianism cannot go hand in hand.

    From the depths of its failures, the center-left suddenly discovered the potential of the Arab vote. It tried the religious and sought out the Mizrahim and ultimately was stuck with the Arabs, the last bastion of non-rightist votes. But the Zionist left has nothing to offer them aside from a few budgetary crumbs. It has no intention of paying the real price that has to be paid for going together, which would spur Israel’s Arabs to vote Kahol Lavan, Labor or Meretz.

    They will only do so en masse in a country that shakes off its Zionist scaffolding, which may have been necessary once, but is no longer so. They will do so in a state in which an Arab prime minister or defense minister or health minister is a matter of routine, as it should be in any multinational democracy. They will do so when the Arabic language will be the language of the country just as Hebrew is, and when they stop being called a “minority.” What minority? An equal number of Jews and Palestinians now live under Israeli control between the Jordan River and the sea. This moment of numerical equality, which many not last very long, ought to have been celebrated with a declaration of intent to establish an egalitarian democracy. Instead, nearly 5 million Palestinians live under occupation and another nearly 2 million live under the nation-state law.

    This is not what the advocates of joining together mean. They just want keffiyehs at party conventions and votes at the ballot box. The right has been winning for 40 years, and the left still doesn’t get that it has nothing more to offer. For 40 years now, it has lost its way.

    The solution is admittedly revolutionary and not an easy one to accept, but it is the only one: Detach the Zionist label from the leftist label and switch to what every liberal left in the world is dedicated to. Offer the obvious: Democracy for all.

  • Cent des cent vingt députés élus mardi en Israël seront les partisans de l’apartheid. Une tribune de Gideon Levy

    Israel is voting apartheid - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-is-voting-apartheid-1.7089338

    There will be one certain result from Tuesday’s election: Around 100 members of the next Knesset will be supporters of apartheid. This has no precedent in any democracy. A hundred out of 120 legislators, an absolute of absolute majorities, one that supports maintaining the current situation, which is apartheid.

    With such a majority, it will be possible in the next Knesset to officially declare Israel an apartheid state. With such support for apartheid and considering the durability of the occupation, no propaganda will be able to refute the simple truth: Nearly all Israelis want the apartheid to continue. In the height of chutzpah, they call this democracy, even though more than 4 million people who live alongside them and under their control have no right to vote in the election.

    Of course, no one is talking about this, but in no other regime around the world is there one community next to another where the residents of one, referred to as a West Bank settlement, have the right to vote, while the residents of the other, a Palestinian village, don’t. This is apartheid in all its splendor, whose existence nearly all the country’s Jewish citizens want to continue.

    >> Even for the wild West Bank, this is a shocking story

    A hundred Knesset members will be elected from slates referred to as either right-wing, left-wing or centrist, but what they have in common surpasses any difference: None intend to end the occupation. The right wing proudly says so, while the center-left resorts to futile illusions to obscure the picture, listing proposals for a “regional conference” or “secure separation.” The difference between the two groupings is negligible. In unison, the right and left are singing “say yes to apartheid.”

    As a result, this election is so unimportant, so far from crucial. So let’s cut the hysteria and the pathos over the outcome. Neither civil war nor even a rift is in the offing. The people are more united than ever, casting their vote for apartheid. Whatever Tuesday’s results may be, the country of the occupier will remain the country of the occupier. Nothing defines it better than all the other marginal issues, including the Zehut party’s campaign to legalize marijuana.

    So there’s no reason to hold our breath over Tuesday’s results. The election is lost in advance. For the country’s Jews, it will shape the tone, the level of democracy, the rule of law, the corruption in which they live, but it won’t do a thing to change Israel’s basic essence as a colonialist country.
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    The far right wants the annexation of the West Bank, a step that would make permanent in law a situation that has long been permanent in practice. Such a step would present a tempting advantage. It would finally rip off Israel’s mask of democracy and might finally generate opposition both in the country and abroad.

    But no person of conscience can vote for the fascist right wing, which includes people who advocate the expulsion of the Palestinians or the construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount, the destruction of the mosques there, or who even dream about extermination. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegedly more moderate Likud party wishes only to maintain the current situation, meaning undeclared apartheid.

    The center-left seeks to engage in deception, with not a word about an end to the occupation from either Kahol Lavan or Labor, or even about lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Benny Gantz’s party has ambitious plans for a regional conference, making history, and “deepening the process of separation from the Palestinians along with uncompromisingly maintaining … the Israeli army’s freedom of action everywhere.”

    It has been a long time since such a document whitewashing the occupation has been written in all its disgrace. And the Labor Party isn’t lagging behind. The most daring step it’s proposing is a referendum on the refugee camps around Jerusalem in which only Israel’s would vote, of course.

    And that comes on top of well-worn declarations about settlement blocs, Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and a halt to settlement construction outside the blocs, meaning continuing settlement construction with full force. “Paths toward separation,” this party, the self-righteous founder of the settlement enterprise, calls it. Paths toward deception.

    Peace? Withdrawal? Dismantling settlements? Don’t make the Zionist left laugh. Not much is left, two and a half tickets, the fringe: Meretz and Hadash-Ta’al, which support a two-state solution — that faltering train that has already left the station — and Balad-United Arab List, which is closest to advocating a one-state solution, the only solution left.

    Vote apartheid.

  • Even to the most enlightened Zionist leftists, the Palestinians are invisible
    Gideon Levy | Mar 31, 2019
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-even-to-the-most-enlightened-zionist-leftists-the-palestinians-are

    FILE Photo: Oshrat Kotler during a conference on education in Jerusalem, April 1, 2014. Olivier Fitoussi

    Oshrat Kotler is an editor and anchor of the Channel 13 news magazine. She is considered principled, assertive and courageous. She comes by this description honestly, especially in comparison to most of her colleagues on television. On Thursday, she participated in a panel on the silencing of free speech at the Haaretz Democracy Conference.

    What happened on stage was like a Hollywood movie. As she praised her editors and bosses for their strong position against silencing free speech, it was reported that she had been put on extended leave. Kotler squirmed and tried to deny it, but by the time she left the stage it turned out the report was true. We may assume that there was a direct connection between her leave and her remark: “We send the kids to the army, to the territories, and we get back ‘animals.’ This is the result of the occupation.”

    Kotler has drawn the boundaries of Zionist leftist protest in Israel. They are despairingly narrow and selfish. The bad old expression “we shoot and weep” has turned into the even worse “We shoot and weep only for ourselves.” Even protest that exacts the type of heavy personal price that Kotler is paying has always remained in the comfort zone and is no less ultranationalist and racist than the right’s positions. Even to the most enlightened, the Palestinians are invisible, they don’t exist, they are subhuman. The fact that even this protest is silenced only shows what is left of freedom of expression, scraps of liberty, on television as in the state itself.

    Kotler was shocked by the video of soldiers in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion abusing two Palestinian detainees, father and son. The first feeling it should have evoked was empathy for the pain of these ill-fated people. But not in Kotler, nor in the vast majority of Israelis. Kotler said she ached for the soldiers’ parents, who did not raise them for this; and she saw the soldiers’ eyes, which were blurred on TV, and her heart went out to them.

    There was just one thing Kotler didn’t see: the real victims. Soldiers abuse a man and his son who are blindfolded and in restraints, and the opinionated anchor, the voice of courageous protest, is shocked. At what? At the fate of the abusers. Their parents, their eyes. We send children and we get animals back. How unfortunate we are. We’ll never forgive the Palestinians for forcing us to abuse their fathers and sons. Once again, the abuser as victim, his parents as a pedagogic poem that was destroyed. Who else was in the jeep? No one.

    We’ll say it: Ziad and Mahmoud Shalaldeh were on the floor of the jeep. They are the only victims in this story. The father is a garbage collector, the son is a shepherd, 13 people living in a tent. Anjud, 17, lives on the floor of the tent. She has cerebral palsy. Ziad and Mahmoud ran into a man from their village who is wanted for murder, and are suspected of hiding him. They will spend years in prison. The solders beat them in revenge and forced the son to watch his father being kicked and punched. Both were hospitalized in serious condition. They couldn’t stand, they couldn’t speak. The father suffers from internal bleeding. Their family is prohibited from visiting them and knows very little about their condition.

    And after all that, the soldiers’ doleful eyes are what we cherish most. The only thing. Their parents are the ones who touch us. Only they. And Kotler is still the best of the best. She at least cares about someone. She isn’t an automaton and hasn’t become inured like almost all of them. On YouTube her clips appear, titled: “Oshrat Kotler Weeps,” Oshrat Kotler Shouts,” “Oshrat Kotler Goes Crazy,” Oshrat Kotler Apologizes.”

    At the Haaretz conference she choked back tears over her dying father. He is a Likudnik, an Israel Air Force veteran who weeps whenever IAF planes fly overhead. Thanks to him, she said, she is a journalist. Because of him she’s brave. In his honor she came to the Haaretz conference and didn’t heed her loved ones who told her not to come and to “keep quiet for a change.” And once again she spoke of the soldiers and their parents. And the real victim? He is once again an orphan, mute, cast into darkness on the floor of the jeep, helpless, bleeding, without arousing any compassion, any human feeling. He is a Palestinian.

    #agresseurvictimisé #victimeinvibilisée

  • Israel’s leftist media pushing for war with Gaza -

    This is journalism that betrays its mission, fully and voluntarily co-opted over the most important issue of all
    Gideon Levy
    Mar 27, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-s-leftist-media-pushing-for-war-with-gaza-1.7063744

    If there’s another war with Gaza, God forbid, it will be largely due to the incitement of the leftist media. If war is avoided, it will be largely thanks to the restraint of that media’s bête noire, the rightist Benjamin Netanyahu. Left and right, baying for blood in near-unison, clamoring for action. This periodic psychosis, journalism that pushes for war while still being considered leftist, has become the norm. This is our warrior journalism, fighting for war.

    It works like this: First, for years they systematically and deliberately ignore the motives and justifications for Palestinian violence. They conceal the oppression and the occupation. It’s all terror, they’re all terrorists. Then they inflate the scope of the damage. Finally, they demand unimaginable vengeance. A primitive rocket that destroys a home in a farm community takes on the dimensions of an apocalypse. A few people were injured: near-genocide.

    >> A war now will strengthen Hamas | Opinion ■ Choose calm, not punishment | Editorial

    The headline, “A miracle: Tony the dog took some shrapnel and saved Grandma Susan,” is a parody of journalism. There were a flood of stories about Grandpa, Grandma, the children and the shrapnel. It’s emotional and familiar and it incites, and to hell with proportionality and professionalism.
    Haaretz Weekly Episode 20Haaretz

    Tens of thousands of Gazans who never had a swing in their yard as in Mishmeret are still homeless from the last war, but no one hears about them. In Mishmeret they are promising that the house will be rebuilt by Independence Day, but in Gaza there’s no Independence Day and no one to rebuild. Not a word is written about life under siege, dying cancer patients, hunger, unemployment and the fear of airstrikes in a land without bomb shelters. The press conceals this, derelict in its duties. Soldiers hit a blind man in his bed and kill a man in his car, for nothing; there are almost daily killings in the West Bank, and not a word. Only the destruction of the home in Mishmeret. The inescapable conclusion is that Israel mustn’t hold back.

    A diplomatic reporter, a former military reporter, coldly asks the prime minister next to his plane in Washington, “How is it that there are no reports yet of fatalities in Gaza?” Indeed, how come you haven’t killed anyone yet, Benjamin Netanyahu? We’re all waiting. Army Radio puts on a Gaza man who describes a little of the suffering there, together with a man from Sderot, and social media erupts in screams: How dare they compare a Gazan to a Sderot resident, an animal to a human being? Army Radio, turning cowardly and insensitive, will no longer interview Gazans. Only in Sderot is there suffering, only one side of the fence are there human beings. Only in Mishmeret are there children. The headlines call out, “Enough,” “Exact a price.” Time is of the essence, there must be killing. It’s not enough to destroy a hundred homes. It should be a thousand, and with blood.

    The experts in the broadcast studios: Hit them. Deterrence. The usual ridiculous clichés: “We can’t let this go.” Why not, in fact? “We can’t show restraint.” Why not? “We cannot remain silent.” Perhaps that’s preferable? And no one would even dream of lifting the blockade: That’s insane.
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    Bombing a helpless land: That’s logical. Generals argue over who was the hero who assassinated Ahmed Jabari, and no one calls it what it was: murder. All this is in the leftist media, many of whose journalists will vote for Benny Gantz or for Meretz, but that’s a trivial detail. What’s important is that they’re responsible for Israelis receiving tendentious, brainwashed information, a dialogue between the right and the extreme right. This is journalism that betrays its mission, fully and voluntarily co-opted over the most important issue of all.

    The picture that it paints is that Palestinians were born to kill. They are beasts, we are human beings. They impose war on the most peace-loving country, a war that it so does not want. But the war that is never enough is now our dream. If Netanyahu doesn’t get that, then we, the leftist journalists, will explain it to him. It could end in the Gazan city of Rafah and in blood. If not this time, then the next. Thank you, Yedioth Ahronoth; see you around, Israel Hayom; good-bye to the television channels and the radio stations, we’ll meet at six, after the next war.

  • The Golan Heights first

    Trump gave Syria and its allies a renewed pretext for possible military action
    Haaretz Editorial
    Mar 24, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/the-golan-heights-first-1.7046251

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement that “it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights” received an enthusiastic welcome in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who got a shot in the arm from Trump at a low point in his election campaign, welcomed this “Purim miracle.” His rival Benny Gantz, whose party’s leading lights helped push for American recognition of the Golan’s annexation, said in a statement that Trump was cementing his place in history as a true friend of Israel.

    That Netanyahu and Gantz were both delighted is no surprise; the annexation of the Golan and the settlements established there enjoy widespread support in Israel. Since the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Syria has refrained from any attempt to recover the Golan by force, preferring to maintain the quiet and conduct peace talks that achieved nothing. The Druze residents of the northern Golan have also accepted Israeli rule without rebelling.

    The settlements on the Golan were established by the Labor Party, rather than the messianic Gush Emunim movement that settled the West Bank, and the Israelis who live there are termed “residents” rather than “settlers.” The beautiful vistas, the empty spaces and the snow on Mount Hermon are especially beloved by Israeli tourists.

    >> Read more: Trump’s Golan tweet brings U.S. to Syria through the back door | Analysis ■ Trump’s declaration: What does it mean and what happens now | Explained ■ How Secret Netanyahu-Assad backchannel gave way to Israeli demand for recognition of Golan sovereignty

    Nevertheless, despite the quiet and the internal consensus that sees the Golan as an inseparable part of Israel, this is occupied territory that Israel retains in violation of both international law and the principle at the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 — that the acquisition of territory by war is unacceptable. Israel accepted this principle, and six prime ministers, including Netanyahu, have held talks with the Syrians on returning the Golan in exchange for peace.

    The most recent talks were cut short by the outbreak of Syria’s civil war eight years ago, and the implosion on the other side of the border spurred appetites here for perpetuating the occupation with U.S. backing. During President Barack Obama’s tenure, that idea seemed hopeless. But Trump, no great fan of international laws and agreements, acceded happily to the Israeli request.

    Trump’s announcement and the applause that greeted it in Jerusalem send the troubling message that Israel is no longer interested in a peace agreement. It’s true that Syria, having fallen apart, is now weak and will settle for diplomatic censure, and in any case the chance of resuming negotiations in the north is near zero. But Trump gave Syria and its allies a renewed pretext for possible military action.
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    In the near term, the U.S. green light to annexing the Golan will deepen the Israeli delusion that U.S. approval is sufficient to revise the world map and contribute to erasing the 1967 lines as the relevant reference points for solving the Israeli-Arab conflict. The U.S. recognition will inevitably increase pressure from the right to annex Area C of the West Bank (which is under full Israeli control), intensifying the occupation and the bloody conflict with the Palestinians.

  • A young, daring Palestinian hoped to smug his ‘masters’. He erred - Amira Hass | Mar 19, 2019 1:59 PM | Haaretz.com
    The Israeli Army and Shin Bet were quick to hunt down the Palestinian who killed Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger and Staff Sgt. Gal Keidan and declare his guilt. Not so for Israeli killers of Palestinians
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-courage-to-challenge-the-smug-masters-1.7039169

    The Palestinian man who carried out the stabbing and shooting attack in the West Bank on Sunday was very daring. It would behoove Israelis to understand where this came from, rather than making do with labeling him a “terrorist.”

    His gutsiness fills many Palestinians with wonder, with pride. It somewhat mitigates those many moments of humiliation they all suffer, if only because they are all dependent on permits from the Israeli military for even the most basic human activities. Even though the overwhelming majority of them won’t emulate him, Palestinians identify with what his act expressed: A deep loathing of Israeli soldiers and civilians, the masters and rapists of their land, who have settled in their midst. And yet the question, from their perspective, has to be whether this courage will, or could, lead to any concrete accomplishment in their struggle for freedom.

    He couldn’t have guessed that the soldiers at the bus stop would not know how to react to his daring. From his perspective, the most likely scenario was to be shot dead or to be seriously wounded by a soldier, not to jump into a rental car that a frightened tourist abandoned. He couldn’t have known that Gal Keidan, the soldier he stabbed with a knife, was more comfortable with musical instruments than with a loaded rifle. He wasn’t interested in the personal backgrounds of the Israeli civilians — settlers or otherwise — whom he shot at because they were at the junction, in a part of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control. They wandered around, as they wander around there every day, like lords of the estate. That’s what he saw. That’s the view that stings the eyes of every Palestinian, every day.

    His disappearance also testifies to his daring and resourcefulness. Unlike those who opted for suicide attacks, or the Gazan youth who approach the border fence expecting to be shot and killed by soldiers, his escape suggests he wasn’t dead-set on dying.

    The Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces revealed his supposed identity within hours. We should recall that 50 days have passed since an Israeli civilian killed Hamdi Na’asan in the West Bank Palestinian village of Al-Mughayyir, and we haven’t heard anything from the IDF, the Shin Bet or the police about the suspect’s identity or place of residence. We haven’t heard that he was arrested and that soldiers from the Engineering Corps were sent to survey his family’s home to prepare for its demolition. As a deterrent.

    As usual, the Shin Bet and the IDF have already convicted the man they’ve decided carried out the attack. In their wake, Israeli journalists and media outlets don’t use the word “suspect” when speaking about a Palestinian, a second- or third-generation survivor of the arrogant, violent Israeli military occupation. Journalistic ethics go out the window; reporters don’t even keep up the pretense of not convicting someone before his trial. Their obedient keyboards call him a terrorist, whose full name and place of residence must be published immediately as additional proof of the efficiency of the Shin Bet and the IDF.

    Even before he’s been captured, the bulldozer blades are being sharpened so they can take revenge on his family and destroy his home. As a deterrent. The Shin Bet and the IDF and their commanders don’t ask whether their collective vengefulness is what draws in additional young Palestinians “without a record” who “have no ties to any organization.”

    Young Israeli soldiers are sent to risk life and limb to protect the lordly normality of Jewish settlers on stolen land. This abhorrent normality forces upon the local Palestinians a life without a trace of normality, from cradle to grave.

    So a young Palestinian man hoped to stir the masters from their smug satisfaction. He erred. Now the masters, with the covert or overt funding of government ministries and local councils, will establish more unauthorized settlement outposts, whose purpose is to further expand the armed normality of a Land of Israel for Jews only.

    • Israeli settler succumbs to injuries from Salfit attack
      March 18, 2019 10:52 A.M. (Updated: March 19, 2019 2:42 P.M.)
      http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=782899

      SALFIT (Ma’an) — An Israeli settler succumbed to injuries, on Monday, that he had sustained after an alleged shooting attack at the Gitai Junction, north of Salfit City, in the northern occupied West Bank.

      Hebrew-language news outlets confirmed that Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, 47, who was critically injured in an attack on Sunday, succumbed to his injuries.

      Sources said that the Palestinian suspected of carrying out the attack, in which an Israeli soldier was killed, was identified as Omar Abu Leila, 19, from Salfit City, in the northern West Bank.

      Israeli forces are conducting wide-scale searches for Abu Leila.

  • If Palestinians have 22 states, Israeli Jews have 200

    The notion that the Palestinians have 22 states to go to is a blend of malice and ignorance: The Palestinians are the stepchildren of the Arab world, no country wants them and no Arab country hasn’t betrayed them
    Gideon Levy
    Mar 16, 2019 1

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-if-palestinians-have-22-states-israeli-jews-have-200-1.7023647

    Here we go again: The Palestinians have 22 states and, poor us, we have only one. Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t the first to use this warped argument; it has been a cornerstone of Zionist propaganda that we’ve imbibed with our mothers’ milk. But he returned to it last week. “The Arab citizens have 22 states. They don’t need another one,” he said on Likud TV.

    If the Arab citizens of Israel have 22 countries, the state’s Jewish citizens have almost 200. If the prime minister meant that Arab citizens could move to Arab countries, it’s obvious that Jews are invited to return to their country of origin: Palestinians to Saudi Arabia and Jews to Germany.

    Netanyahu belongs in the United States much more than Ayman Odeh belongs in Yemen. Naftali Bennett will also find his feet in San Francisco much more easily than Ahmad Tibi in Mogadishu. Avigdor Lieberman belongs in Russia much more than Jamal Zahalka belongs in Libya. Aida Touma-Sliman is no more connected to Iraq than Ayelet Shaked, whose father was born there. David Bitan belongs to Morocco, his birthplace, much more than Mohammad Barakeh does.

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    The notion that the Palestinians have 22 states to go to is a blend of malice and ignorance. Underlying it are the right wing’s claims that there is no Palestinian people, that the Palestinians aren’t attached to their land and that all Arabs are alike. There are no greater lies than these. The simple truth is that the Jews have a state and the Palestinians don’t.

    The Palestinians are the stepchildren of the Arab world. No country wants them and no Arab country hasn’t betrayed them. Try being a Palestinian in Egypt or Lebanon. An Israeli settler from Itamar is more welcome in Morocco than a Palestinian from Nablus.

    There are Arab states where Israeli Arabs, the Palestinians of 1948, are considered bigger traitors than their own Jews. A common language, religion and a few cultural commonalities don’t constitute a common national identity. When a Palestinian meets a Berber they switch to English, and even then they have very little in common.
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    The suggestion that Israel’s Arab citizens move to those 22 states is despicable and mean, well beyond its reference to a common language. It portrays them as temporary guests here, casting doubt on the depth of their attachment to their land, “inviting” them to get out. The amazing thing is that the ones making such proposals are immigrants and sons of immigrants whose roots in this country still need to withstand the test of time.

    Palestinians are attached to this country no less than Jews are, possibly more so. It’s doubtful whether the hysterical clamoring for foreign passports would seize the Arab community as it did the Jewish one; everybody was suddenly of Portuguese descent. We can assume that there are more people in Tel Aviv dreaming of foreign lands than there are in Jenin. Los Angeles certainly has more Israelis than Palestinians.

    Hundreds of years of living here have consolidated a Palestinian love of the land, with traditions and a heritage – no settler can match this. Palestinians have za’atar (hyssop) and we have schnitzel. In any case, you don’t have to downplay the intensity of the Jewish connection to this country to recognize the depth of the Palestinian attachment to it.

    They have nowhere to go to and they don’t want to leave, which is more than can be said for some of the Jews living here. If, despite all their woes, defeats and humiliations they haven’t left, they never will. Too bad you can’t say the same thing about the country’s Jews. The Palestinians won’t leave unless they’re forcibly removed. Is this what the prime minister was alluding to?

    When American journalist Helen Thomas suggested that Jews return to Poland she was forced to resign. When Israel’s prime minister proposes the same thing for Arabs, he’s reflecting the opinion of the majority.

    From its inception, the Zionist movement dreamed of expelling the Palestinians from this country. At times it fought to achieve this. The people who survived the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the expulsions of 1967, the occupation and the devil’s work in general have remained here and won’t go anywhere. Not to the 22 states and not to any one of them. Only a Nakba II will get them out of here.

  • Israel Racist Knesset candidates borrow ideology from Labor’s occupation pioneers

    When Israeli governments in the 1960s and 1970s worked hard to steal Palestinian land while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for parties promoting Jewish supremacy
    Amira Hass
    Mar 11, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-racist-knesset-candidates-borrow-ideology-from-labor-s-occupation-

    A twisted but single line stretches between Israel Galili and Bezalel Smotrich, between Yigal Allon and Levi Eshkol and Moshe Feiglin, and between Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin and Ayelet Shaked.

    We, the Arabs and the leftists, were right when we warned during the 1960s and 1970s that the settlement enterprise was a disaster. We erred in believing that the world would intervene in time and preempt the Lebensraum impulses, the urge to create “living space.” We thought that in the end, the heads of the Labor movement would learn from the expansionist impulses of other nations. After all, they were the sons and brothers of the victims of Lebensraum. But we were wrong. So now we’ll have Feiglin, the latest hot name in the gallery of those preaching to expel the Palestinians, sitting in the next Knesset.

    >> Read more: How Palestinian land goes from the Israeli army to the settlers ■ Israel forces Palestinian to raze his and his daughter’s homes with his own hands

    Racism is an ideology that evolves in order to justify and protect the excessive material and social rights that a certain group of people has acquired, due to years of historical circumstances. Like men, conquering nations find it hard to give up their accumulated spoils and profits and will do anything to hold onto them.

    Immediately after June 1967, the Labor Alignment government cynically manipulated international law, ravaged the occupied Palestinian lands to Judaize them, and developed bureaucratic methods to reduce the number of Palestinians living in the country. One can trace the cynicism and the line that stretches from Galili to settler-leader-turned-minister Uri Ariel in a new study by the Kerem Navot organization, titled “Seize the Moral High Ground,” which researches the history of orders to seize land for “temporary military purposes.” Seizing Palestinian land for military purposes and then transferring it to the settlements was not invented by Likud, but by the Alignment. The Alignment holds the copyright on steadily gnawing at Palestinian land while abusing its owners to give an established settlement another road, another water pipe, another security buffer zone.

    When the Labor governments worked hard to steal land on the grounds of security while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for the hundreds of thousands of Jews who are now going to vote for parties promoting the ideology of a superior Jewish race – and these are many and varied, praise God. Eshkol allowed the destruction of the Mughrabi Quarter and dispersed its Palestinian residents to the winds to make way for the Western Wall Plaza, and Allon was the first minister to move to Jerusalem’s Old City.

    The occupation bureaucracy they developed prevented the return home of tens of thousands of Palestinians who found themselves outside the West Bank in the summer of 1967, and restricted Palestinian construction in Jerusalem with the help of planning laws. These governments laid the attitudinal foundations for the Third Temple, whose construction is being planned by some people with the utmost seriousness. The spirit of the mass expulsions of 1948, the desire to empty the land of Arabs, infused them.

    The racist-messianic justifications have persuaded an increasing number of Jewish Israelis, because the spoils acquired have grown tremendously over the years. It’s hard to give them up, and they want more. That’s why Benjamin Netanyahu hastened to explain that the State of Israel is not a state of all its citizens. He fears that votes might go from him to Feiglin and Kahanist candidate Itamar Ben-Gvir.

    When the world proved it could not block either the Alignment or Likud governments, the land gluttons proceeded to gorge themselves with redoubled enthusiasm. The armed, aggressive, murderous racism of the settlement messiahs and their servants is intensifying, because the inferior nation is not inferior. It is resisting. It is educated, eloquent and refuses to disappear. It is rooted in its land.

    Emboldened, the Feiglins and the Smotriches will try to expel masses of Palestinians. They will fail only if all the descendents of the Alignment – not just Ta’ayush activists and a handful of anarchists – prevent it with their bodies.

    Why is it hard for me to imagine the leaders of Kahol Lavan halting the trucks?

  • Israeli Arab slate, far-left candidate banned from election hours after Kahanist leader allowed to run
    Jonathan Lis and Jack Khoury Mar 07, 2019 7:07 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-far-left-lawmaker-banned-from-israeli-election-for-supporting-terr

    Arab political sources say the move is evidence of racism and the delegitimization of Arab society in Israel, accusing Netanyahu’s Likud party of anti-Arab incitement

    The Central Election Committee disqualified the Arab joint slate Balad-United Arab List and Ofer Cassif, a member of politicial alliance Hadash-Ta’al, from running in the election on Wednesday, opposing the opinion of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.

    Michael Ben Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir from the Kahanist, far-right Otzma Yehudit party had petitioned against both lists. The committee approved Ben Air to run in the election earlier Wednesday.

    The decisions will be referred to the Supreme Court on Sunday for approval. A ban against a party slate may be appealed in the Supreme Court, which holds a special “election appeals” process, while a ban on an individual candidate automatically requires approval by the Supreme Court if it is to take effect.

    Arab political sources described the disqualification of the Balad-United Arab List slate as evidence of racism and the delegitimization of Arab society in Israel and accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party of anti-Arab incitement.

    MK David Bitan petitioned on behalf of Likud against Balad-United Arab List, and Yisrael Beitenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman petitioned against Cassif. Petitioners claimed both lists and Cassif supported terror and ruled out Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and Democratic state. Mendelblit said he opposed all the petitions.

    Ben-Gvir presented the committee with findings he claimed should disqualify the Hadash-Ta’al slate. He mentioned a call from Ta’al chairman Ahmed Tibi to annul the Declaration of Independence, and quoted a Facebook post by Ayman Odeh, the head of Hadash.

    In the post, written following a meeting with Fatah member Marwan Barghouti at an Israeli prison, Odeh compared Barghouti to Nelson Mandela. “The meeting was moving, as well as speaking to a leader who shares my political stances.” Ben-Gvir noted Odeh defined Ahed Tamimi as an “excellent girl,” and said she showed “legitimate resistance.” Tamimi, a Palestinian teenage girl, served time in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier in 2018.

    Cassif was accused of equating Israel and the Israel Defense Forces with the Nazi regime, and it was noted that he called to fight “Judeo-Nazism,” expressed support for changing the anthem, and called Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked “Neo-Nazi scum.” He did not attend the session, but was called after committee chairman Justice Hanan Melcer insisted on his presence.

    “I come from an academic background, and my area of expertise is among other things the subject of Fascism, Nazis and nationalism in general,” said Cassif, explaining his comments. “When I speak to a friend or write a post as a private person, I use metaphors. When I used the aforementioned terms – they were metaphors.”

    In an interview last month, Cassif said Israel conducts a “creeping genocide” against the Palestinian people.

    The top candidate on the slate, Mansour Abbas, said he had expected that most of the representatives of the Zionist parties on the election committee would support the move to disqualify the slate, but added: “We are a democratic Arab list that is seeking to represent Arab society with dignity and responsibility.”

    Commenting on Benny Gantz, the leader of Kahol Lavan, which is ahead of Likud in recent polls, Abbas said: “There’s no difference between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benjamin Gantz.”

    Mtanes Shehadeh, who is No. 2 on the Balad-United Arab list slate said the decision to disqualify his slate was expected because he said the Central Election Committee has a right-wing majority and “is also controlled by a fascist, right-wing ideology.”

    His Balad faction, Shehadeh said, “presents a challenge to democracy in Israel” and challenges what he called “the right-wing regime that is controlling the country.”

    Sources from the Balad-United Arab list slate said there is in an urgent need to strip the Central Election Committee of the authority to disqualify candidates and parties from running in elections. The considerations that go into the decision are purely political, the sources said.

    Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka said the decision to disqualify the slate sends a “hostile message to the Arab public” in the country. “We will petition the High Court of Justice against the decision and in any event, we will not change our position, even if we are disqualified.”

    Earlier Wednesday, the Central Elections Committee approved Ben Ari, the chairman of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, to run for the Knesset.

    Meretz, Stav Shaffir (Labor) and the Reform Movement, who filed the petition to the Central Elections Committee to ban Ben Ari from running for Knesset, all said they would file a petition with the High Court of Justice against the committee’s decision.

    Prior to deliberations, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit submitted his opinion to the comittee, stating he was in favor of disqualifying Ben Ari from running for Knesset on the grounds of incitement to racism.

    In November 2017, for instance, at an annual memorial for Rabbi Meir Kahane, Ben Ari gave a speech in which he said of Israeli Arabs, “Let’s give them another 100,000 dunams [of land] and affirmative action, maybe they’ll love us. In the end, yes, they’ll love us when we’re slaughtered.”

    In May 2018, Ben Ari gave another speech in which he said, “The Arabs of Haifa aren’t different in any way from the Arabs of Gaza. How are they different? In that they’re here, enemies from within. They’re waging war against us here, within the state. And this is called – it has a name – it’s called a fifth column. We need to call the dog by its name. They’re our enemies. They want to destroy us. Of course there are loyal Arabs, but you can count them – one percent or less than one percent.”

    #Hadash

    • Outlaw Israel’s Arabs
      They are already regarded as illegitimate citizens. Why not just say so and anchor it in law?
      Gideon Levy | Mar 10, 2019 3:15 AM
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-outlaw-israel-s-arabs-1.7003010

      The time has come to put an end to the stammering and going around in circles: Outlaw the Arabs, all of them. Make them all illegal dwellers in their land and have the Border Police hunt them down like animals, as they know how to do. They are already regarded as illegitimate citizens. It’s time to say so and to anchor it in law.

      Discerning the differences among them is artificial: What’s the difference between the United Arab List–Balad ticket and between the Hadash–Ta’al ticket (acronyms for the Arab political parties)? Why is only the first one on this list being disqualified? And what is the difference between the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens and those living under occupation?

      Why does one group have rights while the others don’t? The time has come to rectify the situation: Ta’al should be treated like Balad; citizens of the state should be treated like those under occupation. Anything less is like paying lip service to the guardians of political correctness, to a supposed semblance of fairness, to a deceptive image of democracy. Outlawing all the Arabs is the way to ensure you have a Jewish state. Who’s against that?

      Whoever thinks what I’ve written is wrong or an exaggeration isn’t reading reality. Disqualifying the Arabs is the issue that has the broadest consensus of the current election campaign. “I’ll put it simply,” Yair Lapid, the democrat, said. “We won’t form a blocking majority with the Arabs. Period.”

      Now I, will humbly put it simply, too: This is a revolting display of racism. Period. More than the torture of the residents of Gaza and the West Bank under the guise of security concerns, in this we see a broader Israeli racism in all its glory: Pure, unadulterated and acceptable racism. It’s not Balad, but the Arabs who are being disqualified. It’s not Ofer Kassif but the left that’s being disqualified. It’s a step-by-step slide down the slope and we can no longer shut our eyes to it.

      If this discourse delegitimizing our Arab citizens isn’t driving Israeli democrats mad – then there is no democracy. We don’t need any studies or institutes: A regime that disqualifies voters and elected officials because of their blood and nationality is not a democracy.

      You don’t need to cite the occupation to expose the lie of democracy – now it’s also apparent at home, within. From Benny Gantz to Bezalel Smotrich – all of them are Ben-Zion Gopsteins. The laws against racism and all the rest are only lip service. The Israeli Knesset has 107 lawmakers; thirteen of them, most of them among the best there are, are outside the game, they have less say than the ushers.

      Now we must try to imagine what they’re going through. They hear everyone trying to distance themselves from them, as though they’re a contagious disease, and they’re silent. They hear nobody seeking to get near them as though their bodies stink, and they avoid comment. The Knesset is like a bus that has segregated its Jewish and Arab passengers, an arena of political apartheid, not yet officially so, which declares from the outset that the Arabs are disqualified.

      Why even bother participating in this game that’s already been decided? The response should have been to boycott the elections. If you don’t want us, we don’t want you. The fig leaf is torn and has long been full of holes. But this is exactly what Israel wants: A country only for Jews. Therefore Arab citizens must not play this game and must head in their masses to the polling stations, just like the prime minister said, to poke Israeli racism painfully in the eye.

      For avowed racists, it’s all very clear. They say what they think: The Jews are a supreme race, the recipients of a divine promise, they have rights to this land, the Arabs are, at best, fleeting guests.

      The problem is with the racists in masquerade like Gantz and Lapid. I have a question for them: Why are Hadash and Ta’al not eligible to be part of a bloc? Why can’t you rely on their votes and why shouldn’t their representatives belong to the government? Would Ayman Odeh be any worse a culture minister than Miri Regev? Would Ahmad Tibi be any less skillful a health minister than Yaakov Litzman? The truth is this: The center-left is as racist as the right.

      Let’s hope no Gantz-Lapid government can be formed, just because of the Arab votes that it fails to have. That would be the sweetest revenge for racism.

    • La Cour suprême israélienne invalide la candidature d’un leader d’extrême droite
      La justice a interdit la candidature du chef d’Otzma Yehudit. Elle a approuvé la liste arabe, les présences d’un candidat juif d’extrême gauche et de Ben Gvir d’Otzma Yehudit
      Par Times of Israel Staff 18 mars 2019,
      https://fr.timesofisrael.com/la-cour-supreme-israelienne-invalide-la-candidature-dun-leader-dex

      (...) Les juges ont en revanche fait savoir que Itamar Ben Gvir, qui appartient également à la formation d’extrême-droite, est autorisé à se présenter.

      Ils ont aussi donné le feu vert à une participation au scrutin du 9 avril à Ofer Kassif ainsi qu’aux factions de Balad-Raam. Kassif est le seul candidat juif à figurer que la liste Hadash-Taal et il avait été disqualifié par la commission centrale électorale en raison de déclarations controversées faites dans le passé, notamment une dans laquelle il avait qualifié la ministre de la Justice Ayelet Shaked de « racaille néo-nazie ». (...)

      #Ofer_Kassif

  • Keep it up, Ilhan Omar - Opinion

    Neither Hamas nor a black day, but a glimmer of hope on Capitol Hill
    Gideon Levy
    Mar 07, 2019

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-keep-it-up-ilhan-omar-1.6999623

    Maybe Mogadishu will turn out to be the source of hope. This war-torn city was the birthplace of the most promising U.S. congresswoman today.

    Ilhan Omar is not only one of the first two female Muslim members of the House of Representatives, she may herald a dramatic change in that body. “Hamas has entered the House,” Roseanne Barr was quick to cry out; “A black day for Israel,” tweeted Donald Trump. Neither Hamas nor a black day, but a glimmer of hope on Capitol Hill.

    Maybe, for the first time in history, someone will dare tell the truth to the American people, absorbing scathing accusations of anti-Semitism, without bowing her head. The chances of this happening aren’t great; the savage engine of the Jewish lobby and of Israel’s “friends” is already doing everything it can to trample her.

    The president mentioned removing her from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congress was set to pass a resolution, the second in one month, against uttering “anti-Semitic expressions,” specifically aimed at Omar’s statements.

    >> We support you, Ilhan the heroine | Opinion

    When will Americans and Europeans stop running scared every time someone screams “anti-Semitism”? Until when will Israel and the Jewish establishment succeed in exploiting (the existing) anti-Semitism as a shield against criticism? When will the world dare to distinguish between legitimate criticism of an illegitimate reality and anti-Semitism?

    The gap between these two is great. There is anti-Semitism one must fight, and there is criticism of Israel and the Jewish establishment it is imperative to support. Manipulations exercised by the Israeli propaganda machine and the Jewish establishment have managed to make the two issues identical.

    This is the greatest success of the Israeli government’s hasbara: Say one critical word about Israel and you’re labeled an anti-Semite. And labeled an anti-Semite, your fate is obvious. Omar has to break this cursed cycle. Is the young representative from Minnesota up for it? Can she withstand the power centers that have already mobilized against her in full force?

    Maybe it’s important that she knows there are people in Israel crossing fingers for her?

    Her success and that of her congressional colleagues, Rashida Tlaib from Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, could be the first swallows that herald the coming of spring. This is the spring of freely expressing opinions about Israel in America. Cortez already asked this week why isn’t bigotry aimed at other groups condemned just like statements against Israel are.

    >> As an American-Israeli, I am thrilled for the Palestinians and for Rashida Tlaib | Opinion

    What, after all, has Omar said? That pro-Israel activists demand “allegiance to a foreign country”; that U.S. politicians support Israel because of money they receive from the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, and that “Israel hypnotized the world.” What is incorrect in these statements? Why is describing reality considered anti-Semitic?

    Jews have immense power in the U.S., far beyond the relative size of their community, and the blind support given by their establishment to Israel raises legitimate questions regarding dual loyalty. Their power derives from their economic success, their organizational skills and the political pressure they exert. Omar dared to speak about this.
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    Just imagine what Israelis and Jews would feel if Muslim Americans had the same political, economic and cultural power Jews have. Such power, above all the intoxication with power that has seized hold of the Jewish establishment, comes with a price. Omar and her colleagues are trying to collect on it.

    Due to the Israel lobby, the U.S. does not know the truth about what is happening here. Congress members, senators and shapers of public opinion who are flown here ad nauseam see only Israeli victimhood and Palestinian terror, which apparently emerged out of nowhere. Islamists, Qassam rockets and incendiary balloons – not a word about occupation, expropriation, refugees and military tyranny. Questions such as where the money goes and whether it serves American interests are considered heresy. When talking about Israel one must not ask questions or raise doubts.

    This cycle has to be broken as well. It’s not right and it’s not good for the Jews. Omar is now trying to introduce a new discourse to Congress and to public opinion. Thanks to her and her colleagues there is a chance for a change in America. From Israel we send her our wishes for success.

    When will the world dare to distinguish between legitimate criticism of an illegitimate Israeli reality and anti-Semitism?

    • We Support You, Ilhan the Heroine

      Congresswoman Ilhan Omar thought she was living in a democratic country, and that she could report to the public about what she sees: how naive!
      Odeh Bisharat Feb 18, 2019 5:12 AM
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-we-support-you-ilhan-the-heroine-1.6941386

      Why attack Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who said that Congressional support for Israel has been bought by money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, at a time when someone who is very familiar with the lobby attests to its tremendous power. On the online news publication The Intercept, journalist Mehdi Hassan describes a meeting between Steven Rosen, a former president of AIPAC, and journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in 2005. “You see this napkin?” asked Rosen. “In 24 hours, we could have the signatures of 70 senators on this napkin.”

      That’s corrupting power, which should cause any decent Jew to lose sleep. After all, we’re not talking about a poor country, to which policy can be dictated, whether by force or with money. We’re talking about the world’s biggest superpower. We’re also talking about 70 senators out of 100 – 70 percent of the Senate is in AIPAC’s pocket.

      So what would happen if the situation were reversed, and neo-Nazism, which according to U.S. President Donald Trump also includes good people, were to assume senior positions? Would the Jews then be blamed for all the ills of the United States?

      At the moment I feel for Congresswoman Ilhan, who thought she was living in a democratic country, and that she could report to the public about what she sees. We can assume that a few years ago Omar was able to observe Republican candidates knocking on the door of far-right mogul Sheldon Adelson, asking for his support – his monetary support, of course.

      I assume that Omar also noticed the strange phenomenon which, with the exception of Gideon Levy, almost nobody in Israel noticed: that all the senior members of the White House Middle East team are Jews, and not leftist, Peace Now Jews, God forbid, but right-wing, Habayit Hayehudi Jews. The poor Palestinians were unable to comment on that for fear of AIPAC, which is responsible for putting “anti-Semite” stickers on anyone who dares criticize Israel.

      Now President Trump is angry at Omar. “I think she should be ashamed of herself. I think it was a terrible statement,” he said. But Trump has apparently forgotten that on the eve of his election in 2015 he told the participants at a convention of the Republican Jewish Coalition: “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”

      Trump’s statement included the two most benighted elements that anti-Semites have attributed to Jews for hundreds of years: money and control. That statement, about which Chemi Shalev wrote at the time: “As though the Jews are incapable of supporting a candidate whom they can’t buy,” was met here by almost total silence. How do they say it in Arabic: “The blows of the beloved are like raisins.”

      Now Omar, after the witch hunt surrounding her, has retreated from her tweet. She will have to work hard to prove that she’s not anti-Semitic, and that what she sees is actually an illusion. The truth must be told: Her retreat is a mark of Cain on the forehead of reasonable Jews, both in Israel and the United States. After all, cleaning the stables of the ills of the Israeli right is mainly the job of reasonable Jews.

      Why impose that job on Omar? Why outsource the dirty work to the gentiles, instead of buckling down and taking action. And starting, for example, by sending tens of thousands of signatures on postcards saying: We support you, Ilhan the heroine.

      And if not, Ilhan will yet say to herself: Why do I need another headache? And retreat to her home. Whereas you, Jewish democrats, will continue to obey the orders of the insane alliance of the Israeli and American right, and continue to send your sons on terrible missions in the occupied territories. And if TV news anchor Oshrat Kotler says that it’s because of the occupation – you’ll stone her, instead of stoning the occupation. Only the occupation could produce such genius.

  • Kahanists make it easy to ignore everyone else’s racism
    Gideon Levy - Feb 28, 2019 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-kahanists-make-it-easy-to-ignore-everyone-else-s-racism-1.6978802

    Kahanism is bad for racism. It gives racism a bad name, which it doesn’t have in Israel. It shakes Israeli racism out of its tranquility and correctness, exposes it and generates opposition to it. On the other hand, this opposition is good for respectable racists, allowing people who aren’t all that less racist to be portrayed as moderate and moral — downright champions of human rights.

    The influence of the Kahanists on public debate should not be underestimated. Because of them, one can live comfortably in the settlement of Shilo and dare to talk about principles; to be Naftali Bennett and Bezalel Smotrich and still be portrayed as moderates; to be in the Labor Party and believe that you are enlightened, and to vote for Kahol Lavan and think you’re a liberal. After all, you’re against Itamar Ben Gvir. It’s the undeclared racists versus the professed ones. Just as the “illegal” outposts have legitimized the “legal” settlements, Kahanism legitimizes this other racism.

    Kahanism allows the rest of the racists to feel good; we are not like them, we’re not Ben Gvir; we even walk out of a panel he is on, in protest. What courage, what a role model, what morality. Let us fight Kahanism and our camp will be pure. We will condemn Benzi Gopstein, turn our backs on Michael Ben Ari, and be ethical.

    The Kahanists are the cleaners of the national conscience. They cleanse the conscience of the settlers, who, as we know, are determined opponents of apartheid and of granting rights to Jews only; they cleanse the conscience of the Labor Party, the founding father of the occupation, which continues to be a partner to the shameful silence about the siege on the Gaza Strip. They even cleanse the conscience of AIPAC, the ultranationalist organization that forgives Israel everything, but was shocked by the deal with Otzma Yehudit.

    These Israeli neo-Nazis are genuinely repulsive and despicable. There aren’t enough words to describe the disgust they evoke. Anyone who says, “If there were an Arab waiter here, he wouldn’t be serving food but looking for the nearest hospital” is scum. These are violent racists of the lowest kind, rednecks, the white trash of Israel, and they must be ostracized.

    But contaminating the debate isn’t the worst damage they wreak. They conceal the other racism, institutionalized and accepted racism, which causes more harm to its victims. To live in a country that imprisons 2 million people and to be shocked by Ben Ari is outrageous. To be part of a society that abuses an additional 2 million people while clicking one’s tongue over a threat to an Arab waiter is arrogance.

    Most of the Zionist parties are full partners in the Israeli race project; some even have founding shares. They are partners to the crime — from the ethnic cleansing in 1948, through the military government in the Little Triangle and the Galilee, to the days of military tyranny in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They have no moral right to condemn the Kahanists, because sometimes the Kahanists are only saying what the others are thinking.

    When Likud, Kahol-Lavan and Labor compete over who can distance themselves from the leprous Arab parties more, how dare they condemn other racists? When these parties liken Otzma Yehudit to the Arab party Balad, even though the difference between them is vast, with one preaching violence and expulsion and the other equality, they have no right to be portrayed as fighting racism.

    Of course there are degrees of evil and of racism. Ben Gvir is preferable to Gopstein; perhaps Smotrich is preferable to both. But is this meaningful? Does it render any of them kosher? When Europe boycotts its extreme right — which is, by the way, more moderate than Israel’s non-extreme right — it’s relatively enlightened leaders who are doing so. Here, it’s respectable racists boycotting disreputable racists.

    Are Moshe Ya’alon and Benny Gantz, the warriors of Operation Protective Edge, more moderate and humane than Ben Gvir and Gopstein? They are no less brutal and have a lot more blood on their hands, although their language is much more pleasant. But they would never speak that way about an Arab waiter; after all, Gantz eats in Kafr Qasem. So just avoid Ben Gvir the Terrible.