Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries. What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003
A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.
"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.
After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.
As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. 'It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked: ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.
There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”
"The practices under which Jesus was raised in Galilee were anathema to Judaic orthodoxy. One might discern the seedbed of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus within “Galilee of the Gentiles” and why his teachings were regarded with outrage by the Pharisaic priesthood. One can also discern why there has been such a hatred of Christianity and Jesus in the rabbinical teachings of the Talmud and elsewhere.
The phenomenon of such an oddity as “Christian Zionism” is for Zionists and the Orthodox rabbinate (which should not be confounded with Reform Judaism) nothing more than the equivalent of a “shabbez goy,” a Gentile hired by Orthodox Jews to undertake menial tasks on the Sabbath. “Judaeo-Christianity” only exists in the minds of craven Gentiles who embrace delusional creeds, or who wish to further their careers by making the correct noises to the right people.
(Kerry R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, May 29, 2018)
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
US Vice President Mike Pence accused Iran on Friday of anti-Semitism...
"We have the regime in Tehran that's breathing out murderous threats, with the same vile anti-Semitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe," Pence told reporters on Air Force Two before landing in Munich.
He said that being in Auschwitz had made him reflect to "strengthen the resolve of the free world to oppose that kind of vile hatred and to confront authoritarian threats of our time."
His comments at the former Nazi concentration camp came a day after he said Iran was the “greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East” at a conference on the region taking place in Warsaw. Pence accused Washington's European allies of trying to break US sanctions against Tehran and called on them to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
"Sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative. In fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions," Pence said.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that historical and cultural records prove how Jews have been treated respectfully in Iran, dismissing the anti-Tehran accusations of US Vice President Mike Pence as absurd and grudge-driven.
"Exercise patience, study and learn that history is full of facts that no power will ever be able to erase or change," Qassemi said on Saturday in reaction to Pence's accusations.
Qassemi said Iran's historical and cultural record of coexistence and respect for divine religions, particularly Judaism, was recorded in reliable historical documents of various nations. He added that Iran's ancient history and civilization clearly proved the Iranian people's respect for other cultures and followers of different divine religions.
he Iranian spokesperson emphasized that the underlying principle of the Islamic Republic's foreign policy was based on opposing the "aggressive and occupying nature of the fake and illegitimate Zionist regime" of Israel, which is a "killing machine against Palestinian people."
The Tel Aviv regime is the reason behind discord and division among regional countries and the root cause of costly crises and tensions in the Middle East, he pointed out....
The 16th and 17th century English author and diplomat Henry Wotton described an ambassador as someone "sent abroad to lie for his country". Nowadays, the principle of "lying abroad" enables Israel to hammer home its message and drown out that of the Palestinians throughout Western media.
It is not surprising that nations use propaganda to cover up their sins. What is surprising is that so-called intelligent, informed journalists report Israel's fabricated stories time and again, and rarely dig deeper.
Even worse, when the truth becomes known weeks, months or years later, it is buried in NGO reports or academic papers and rarely gets reported at all.
It may seem naive to complain about this - surely no government tells the truth?
Well, there is a difference between not telling the whole truth and telling blatant lies.
Blatant "black is white" lies by a British or US spokesperson would be quickly revealed for what they are by a free and assiduous press... There is an all-pervasive willingness to accept Israel's own excuses for even the most criminal and inhuman acts.
Every justification Israel has given for its successive wars on Gaza, widely repeated in the Western media, has later turned out to be fabricated to appear as if Hamas triggered them.
By taking at face value anything said by Israeli politicians or spokespeople without independent corroboration, the press is presenting Israel in the best possible light, a stated aim of Israel and Zionism.
Yitzhak Shamir, the seventh prime minister of Israel famously said: "It is permissible to lie for the sake of the Land of Israel."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Irrespective of whether you're right or not, you must always present your side as right." British journalists are among the best and most sceptical in the world. Why then, with a few honourable exceptions, do they fail to be sceptical when it comes to Israel?
With accusations of antisemitism hitting the headlines on a regular basis involving high-profile figures such as Ken Livingstone or Britain’s former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who can be unaware that a passionate battle is being waged? What, though, is the reality behind the headlines? Karl Sabbagh’s clinical analysis of the facts is perfectly timed. Slurs and accusations against people campaigning for Palestinian rights have, of course, been going on for decades, but the past two years have seen a massive increase in the scope and intensity of the attacks, especially against those on the Left, including Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
As the possibility of a Labour victory looms ever closer, organisations like the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), Labour against Anti-Semitism (LAAS), the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Campaign against Anti-Semitism (CAA) and others have stepped up the campaign. This book is therefore both an account of past activities and a warning of worse to come.
The shameful role played by the media is a recurring theme in Sabbagh’s book.
The fact that the CAA’s “polls” on Jewish opinion have been exposed as wildly inaccurate, by Jewish leaders and commentators among others, has not stopped many in the mainstream media from citing them as a serious information source.
Unsubstantiated claims that, for example, one third of British Jews are contemplating emigrating are simply quoted as fact. The absurd, near hysterical reaction of Rabbi Sacks to a perfectly anodyne comment by Jeremy Corbyn is a case in point.
Not a single mainstream media outlet seriously questioned his extraordinary comparison with Enoch Powell’s notorious “rivers of blood” speech.
Sabbagh’s assessment of the mainstream media in this respect is confirmed by the recent report by the Media Reform Coalition (outlined in the Appendix). It shows that widespread, repeated inaccuracies have tended to promote the notion that the Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic.
At the heart of the book is the controversy surrounding the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism since that has emerged as the weapon of choice of the pro-Israel lobby.
The definition itself is uncontroversial, but some of the purportedly “helpful” examples relating to Israel – that the lobby has fought tooth and nail to have included – are highly suspect. The openly declared aim is to conflate any criticism of Israel with antisemitism...
The Polish government demanded Tuesday that Israel formally apologize for statements by the Israeli foreign minister it deemed “racist”, amid a worsening diplomatic row between the two countries.
On Tuesday, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, Szymon Szynkowski, said Israel must “distance itself from their foreign minister’s statement and apologize for it,” the Polish Press Agency reported.
An aide of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned that if an apology was not forthcoming, relations between Israel and Poland would suffer.
“Because we can’t allow for being slandered on the international arena,” Marek Suski, a Polish lawmaker and aide of Morawiecki said.
On Sunday, Poland pulled out of the planned Visegrad Group (V4) summit in Jerusalem in protest of comments by newly-appointed Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) regarding an ongoing diplomatic row with Poland over the country’s Holocaust censorship law.
"Israeli Premier Binyamin Netanyahu expressed himself clearly...” Katz told Yisrael Hayom. “The memory of the Holocaust is something we cannot compromise about, it is something clear and we won’t forget or forgive. Poles collaborated with the Nazis, and as Yitzhak Shamir, whose father was murdered by Poles, said, ‘they suckle anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk’.”
Katz’s comments quickly drew condemnation from Poland, which labelled the comments “racist”.
Poland had earlier criticized Netanyahu for publicly defying the country’s Holocaust censorship law during his visit last week to Warsaw.. Poles collaborated with the Nazis,” said Netanyahu in Warsaw. “See, I’m saying it. It is a fact. And I don’t know a single person who was ever sued because of it.”
Under a Polish law passed last year, it is illegal to discuss Polish collaboration with the Nazis...
“An anti-Semite used to mean a man who hated Jews.
Now it means a man who is hated by Jews.”– Joe Sobran
In his novel 1984 George Orwell invented the expression “newspeak” to describe the ambiguous or deliberately misleading use of language to make political propaganda and narrow the “thought options” of those who are on the receiving end.
In the context of today’s political discourse, or what passes for the same, it would be interesting to know what George would think of the saturation use of “anti-Semitism” as something like a tactical discussion stopper...
The Israelis and, to be sure, many diaspora Jews know exactly how the expression has been weaponized. Former Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni explained how it is done “Anti-Semitic”…”its a trick, we always use it.”
If one were to read the U.S. mainstream media one would think that there has been a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism worldwide, but that claim is incorrect.
What has been taking place is not hatred of Jews but rather a confluence of two factors.
- First is the undeniable fact that Israel has been behaving particularly badly, even by its admittedly low standards. (Its slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza..; its support of terrorists in Syria...; pushing for an attack on Iran..).
That all means that the perception of Israel, which boasts that it is the exclusively Jewish state, inevitably raises questions about the international Jewish community that provides much of its support.
- Second, the alleged increase in anti-Semitic incidents is largely fueled by how those incidents are defined.
Israel and its friends have worked hard to broaden the parameters of the discussion, making any criticism of Israel or its activities either a hate crime or ipso facto an anti-Semitic incident.
The U.S. State Department’s working definition of anti-Semitism includes “…the targeting of the state of Israel” and it warns that anti-Semitism is a criminal offense. Legitimate criticism of Israel thereby becomes both anti-Semitism and criminal, increasing the count of so-called anti-Semitic incidents.
All of the media exposure of so-called anti-Semitism has a political objective, whether intended or not, which is to insulate Israel itself from any criticism and to create for all Jews the status of perpetual victimhood which permits many in the diaspora to unflinchingly support a foreign country against the interests of the nations where they were born, raised and made their fortunes.
That is called dual loyalty and, in spite of frequent denials from Israel-apologists, it clearly exists for many American Jews who are passionate about the Jewish state, including members of the Trump Administration Jason Greenblatt, David Friedman and Jared Kushner.
Carlos Latuff: "My focus is Israel as a political entity, as a government.."
There is a massive, generously funded effort to corrupt America’s government in favor of Israel.
It is euphemistically called the Israel Lobby even though it is overwhelmingly Jewish and it boasts fairly openly of its power when talking with its closest friends about how its money influences the decisions made on Capitol Hill and in the White House...
The Israel Lobby would have all Americans believe that any criticism of Israel is motivated by historic hatred of Jews and is therefore anti-Semitism. Don’t believe it. When the AIPAC crowd screams that linking Jews and money is a classic anti-Semitic trope, respond by pointing out that Jews and money are very much in play in the corruption of congress and the media over Israel. Terrible things are being done in the Middle East in the name of Jews and of Israel and it all comes down to those Benjamins and the silence they buy by accusing all critics of anti-Semitism. Just recall what the Israeli minister admitted, “It’s a trick, we always use it.”
French President Emmanuel Macron told a Jewish-French group that Paris will define anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism, France 24 reported on Wednesday.
The move would practically outlaw anti-Zionism in France, where anti-Semitism is already illegal.
Macron's comments come a day after French lawmakers introduced a bill equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Macron's pledge on Wednesday.
"French President Macron told Prime Minister Netanyahu that he would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition which determines that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation," Netanyahu's office said on Twitter on Wednesday.
IHRA's definition of anti-Semitism does not mention Zionism. However, it lists "denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination" and calling Israel a "racist endeavour" as examples of anti-Semitism.
Critics of criminalising anti-Zionism say that it violates free speech by restricting legitimate criticism of Israel.
While Judaism is a religion, Zionism was pioneered by Eastern European writer Theodor Herzl in the late 1800s, calling for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Many Jews around the world do not identify as Zionists, though some Christian groups consider themselves Christian Zionists, as they support Israel in order to fulfil biblical prophecies.
If France begins treating anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism, questioning Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state may become a crime.
Some advocates of Palestinian human rights pursue a single state with equal rights for all citizens in Israel and the Palestinian territories, arguing that the two-state solution is no longer possible, because of Israeli policies of illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday met with visiting Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
No matter how the international and regional situation changes, China's resolve to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership with Iran will remain unchanged, Xi said during the meeting, hailing that China and Iran have a long history of friendship and share long-tested mutual trust and friendship.
Under the new situation, China and Iran should further deepen strategic mutual trust and continue to extend mutual understanding and support on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns, said Xi.
The Chinese president called on both sides to step up communication and coordination, meet each other halfway to properly advance their pragmatic cooperation, and strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such areas as security, countering terrorism and culture.
Xi called for closer collaboration and coordination within multilateral frameworks, so as to jointly promote the building of a new type of international relations and foster a community with a shared future for humanity.
Exchanges between legislative bodies of the two countries are an important part of the comprehensive strategic partnership, Xi said....
China always concerns itself with regional peace and advocates cooperation among international and regional parties to put Middle East on the road of stability and development at an early date, Xi said. "We support Iran in playing a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability and are willing to closely communicate and coordinate with Iran on regional issues," he added.
Larijani said Iran views and develops relations with China from a strategic and long-term perspective. Strengthening bilateral friendly cooperation is not only in the fundamental interests of the two countries but also important for peace, stability and development in Asia and the world.
Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad, has suggested that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been seeking to bring the Muslim Brotherhood* into the government in Syria.
"What Erdogan is still trying to do and wanted to do before the beginning of this war against Syria is the recognition of the Muslim Brotherhood and making it a part of Syrian authorities …
Today, Erdogan, acting through the so-called opposition, the majority of which is, of course, loyal to him, is seeking to determine the name which would ensure that the Muslim Brotherhood has a voice in the Syrian government", Shaaban said in an interview with the broadcaster Al Mayadeen.
Shaaban continued by noting that religious parties are not allowed in the Syria as it is a secular pluralist state.
The adviser noted that the Turkish president had been trying to implement the same scheme, including bringing members of the Muslim Brotherhood members into the government, in some other states, too.
The statement comes after Assad said in an address on 17 February that Erdogan was a "little slave of the United States" and hinted at the Turkish president's affiliation with the Islamist organisation.
The decision to blacklist al-Nusra [al-Qaeda in Syria] has triggered criticism from the powerful Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
A senior Brotherhood official said it was wrong and hasty. "They are seen as (a group that) can be relied on to defend the country and the civilians against the regular army and Assad's gangs," Brotherhood deputy leader Farouq Tayfour told Reuters on Tuesday.
Alkhatib said it was "no shame" if Syrian rebels were driven by religious motives to topple Assad... "The fact that the military movement is Islamic in its colour is generally positive. Jihad in the path of God has long been a fundamental motivator for human rights."
The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria understands the international plot being orchestrated and carried out against the Syrian people and its future generations... Facing up to revelations of this international conspiracy to impose a Russian – Iranian military on our people, the group announces the following:
* 1. The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria will not be a conduit for the crime of terminating the revolution, nor a bridge through which evil plots of the Russians and the Iranians and their accomplices are passed.
* 2. The group declares it will always endeavor to make the positions of these institutions harmonious with the goals of the revolution...
* 3. Despite the siege imposed on it, in many forms, by various international and regional powers, the group will continue to put all its resources in the service of Syria and the revolution...
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday formed an electoral coalition with the extremist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) Party, thus giving followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane a bigger role in Israel politics. Kahane, a major violent hate group leader, founded the Jewish Defense League, seen by the FBI as the most active and dangerous terrorist group in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.
He also founded the party Kach, which has many affiliates, including Kahane Chai, which was listed as a terrorist group by the US government.
Kahanists are alleged to have been behind the murder by pipe bomb of Arab-American activist Alex Odeh in 1985.
In 1994, Kach member Baruch Goldstein shot and killed 29 Palestinians at the Cave of the Patriarchs at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Thereafter the party and its affiliates were banned in Israel and parties that had racism as their basis were not allowed in Parliament.
Netanyahu, leader of the far right Likud Party, faces a challenge from the coalition of a center-right general, Benny Gantz, and a center-right politician, Yair Lapid.
In order to fend off this challenge, he sought a coalition with the far right Jewish Home Party. But to seek yet another alliance, with a Kahanist group, is widely seen in Israel as a dangerous step, and even Jewish Home politicians are threatening to pull out rather than ally with Kahanists.
Kahanists are not only racists toward Palestinian-Israelis and Arabs in general, and have not only advocated violence toward those groups, but have spoken of assassinating Israeli prime ministers and so are seen as extremists even by some on the Israeli far right.
With its most recent Gaza war the country has turned a page, exposing Americans and the world to a new and far more fascist Israel than was evident in past decades.
One could compile a lengthy list of indicators, few of which have been much explored in the American press but which are fairly widely reported in Israel and on the Internet.
The Israeli peace camp has nearly disappeared...
Of equal significance is that it no longer safe in Israel to oppose government policy by peaceful demonstration...
All societies have their hate groups and extremists, but nowhere in the democratic world are they nearer to the center of power than Israel.
In the 1980s Meir Kahane had a small following in Israel, but his pro-ethnic cleansing party was made illegal. Now Kahanists are in the center of the country’s ruling ideology.
Israel Resilience leader Benny Gantz and Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid appeared for the first time together Thursday evening to unveil their new joint Blue and White alliance, vowing to replace the ruling Likud after the April 9 elections.
“Today we are changing the face of Israel,” Gantz said in a speech carried live on national television. "We each have an agenda. But when we saw the country that is so dear to us being torn apart, we put our egos aside…none of us are above the people or above the country..."
"We want unity. Instead of extremism, we want dignity. Instead of fraction, we propose national reconciliation.”
Lapid said: "Netanyahu chose [racist rabbi Meir] Kahane’s people as his partners. We choose each other, and more than that, we choose the citizens of Israel."
Ya’alon, a former IDF chief and ex-defense minister under Netanyahu, praised the new alliance...
Ya’alon lashed Netanyahu for his push to get racist Kahanists into the Knesset: “I was ashamed yesterday when I found out about the special effort Netanyahu was making to bring Kahanists into the Knesset,” he said. The new alliance drew criticism from the right: “It’s not clear what they are,” said New Right party co-chair Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. “For a Palestinian state or against? For the nation-state law or against?”
There is barely a politician in Washington seeking election who has not at some point declared an “unbreakable bond” between the United States and Israel, or claimed the two uphold “shared values”.
Few, it seems, have any idea what values Israel really represents.
There are many grounds for criticizing Israel, including its brutal oppression of Palestinians under occupation and its system of institutionalized segregation and discrimination against the fifth of its population who are not Jewish – its Palestinian minority.
But largely ignored by critics have been Israel’s increasing theocratic tendencies...
chabad: "in the beginning there was the hebrew bible"
Despite Israel’s founding fathers being avowedly secular, the separation between church and state in Israel has always been flimsy at best – and it is now breaking down at an ever-accelerating rate.
After Israel’s establishment, David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, decided to subordinate important areas of life for Israeli Jews to the jurisdiction of an Orthodox rabbinate, representing the strictest, most traditional and conservative stream of Judaism.
Other, more liberal streams have no official standing in Israel to this day.
Ben Gurion’s decision in part reflected a desire to ensure his new state embraced two differing conceptions of Jewishness:
both those who identified as Jews in a secular ethnic or cultural sense, and those who maintained the religious traditions of Judaism. He hoped to fuse the two into a new notion of a Jewish “nationality”.
For that reason, the Orthodox rabbis were given exclusive control over important parts of the public sphere – personal status matters, such as conversions, births, deaths and marriages.
Bolstering the rabbis’ power was the urgent need of Israel’s secular leaders to obscure the state’s settler-colonial origins. This could be achieved by using education to emphasize Biblical justifications for the usurpation by Jews of the lands of the native Palestinian population.
As the late peace activist Uri Avnery observed, the Zionist claim was “based on the Biblical history of the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon … Israeli schools teach the Bible as real history.”
Such indoctrination, combined with a much higher birth rate among religious Jews, has contributed to an explosion in the numbers identifying as religious. They now comprise half the population.
Today, about a quarter of Israeli Jews belong to the Orthodox stream, which reads the Torah literally, and one in seven belong to the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim, the most fundamentalist of the Jewish religious streams...
After decades of concessions to the rabbis, Israel’s school system is already heavily skewed towards religion. A survey in 2016 showed 51 percent of Jewish pupils attended sex-segregated religious schools, which emphasize Biblical dogma – up from 33 percent only 15 years earlier.
This may explain why a recent poll found that 51 percent believe Jews have a divine right to the land of Israel, and slightly more – 56 percent – believe that Jews are a “chosen people”.
Those results are likely to get even worse in the coming years...
Science and math are increasingly downplayed in the education system, and entirely absent from schools for the ultra-Orthodox. Evolution, for example, has been mostly erased from the syllabus, even in secular schools...
Meanwhile, the rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox population has been encouraged by the government to move into West Bank settlements purpose-built for them, such as Modi’in Illit and Beitar Illit. That, in turn, is gradually fueling the emergence of an aggressive nationalism among their youth.
Once the Haredim were openly hostile, or at best ambivalent, towards Israeli state institutions, believing that a Jewish state was sacrilegious until the Messiah arrived to rule over Jews.
Now, for the first time, young Haredim are serving in the Israeli army, adding to the pressure on the military command to accommodate their religious fundamentalist ideology...
A 2015 Likud campaign video depicted Naftali Bennett as a child playing with tanks and Netanyahu as a kindergarten teacher attempting to keep rder.
The greater emphasis in Israel on a religious definition of Jewishness means that Palestinians now face not only the cold structural violence designed by Israel’s secular founders, but additionally a hot-tempered, Biblically sanctioned hostility from religious extremists...
The biggest potential flashpoint is in occupied East Jerusalem, where the growing symbolic and political power of Messianic rabbis risks exploding at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Yair Lapid, of the newly formed Blue and White alliance that seeks to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming national elections, lambasted the premier on Saturday following a rare condemnation by two mainstream US Jewish organizations - AIPAC and American Jewish Committee (AJC) - on the recent merger deal between the Jewish Home party with the extremist Otzma Yehudit party.
The deal was facilitated by Netanyahu in a bid to strengthen a Likud-led coalition in the April 9th vote.
Lapid on Saturday took to Twitter to blast the prime minister, accusing him of “putting politics before [the State of] Israel.” “Netanyahu has caused great harm to Israel’s image in the world and is prepared to endanger our democracy,” Lapid added...
Netanyahu warned this week that if the Blue and White alliance came to power, Israel’s very existence would quickly be threatened by the independent Palestinian state he claimed they plan to establish.
Netanyahu declared that the choice for the electorate was now “clearer than ever.”
Either Israel could be led by a “weak, new left-wing party,” supported by Arab Knesset members who he said seek to destroy Israel, or the electorate could choose “a strong, right-wing government under my leadership.”
The Jewish Home central committee voted overwhelmingly Wednesday evening to approve a merger with Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”) — which is led by former National Union MK Michael Ben Ari... Party head Ben Ari has called Kahane his rabbi and his teacher.
Other leaders include former Kahane aide Marzel, a resident of Hebron who holds a party every year at the grave of Baruch Goldstein, the American-born doctor who in 1994 massacred 29 Palestinians at the Tomb of the Patriarchs..
Established in 2012 as Otzma Leyisrael by Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad, many of the views espoused by the party are akin to those backed by some of the Knesset’s most hardline MKs — annexation of the entire West Bank and unrestricted settlement construction; opposition to a Palestinian state and punitive military operations in response to terror attacks; further emphasis on Israel’s Jewish character in the education, social, and judicial systems.
However, the ultra-nationalist party adds to those positions a host of more overtly racist ones...
Blue and White in Judaism
In 1864, the Jewish poet Ludwig August Frankl named blue and white "the colours of Judah" in a poem not so surprisingly called "Judah's Colours."
An excerpt: "When sublime feelings his heart fill, he is mantled in the colors of his country ... Blue and white are the colours of Judah; white is the radiance of the priesthood, and blue, the splendors of the firmament."
Blue and white come with universal associations, too. White suggests purity, peace, and light. Blue is associated with the sky, faith, wisdom, and truth.
From ancient times, blue has been considered a lucky color among the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa. Not unlike their Arab neighbors, Jews of this region have painted their doorposts, heads, and other parts of their bodies with blue dyes; have ornamented their children with blue ribbons and markings; and have used this color in protective amulets.. (Amanda Green, 2018)
The new Blue and White alliance of Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience party and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid faction would become the largest party in the Knesset if new elections were held today, a new poll shows – but the right-wing – religious bloc would retain a narrow majority.
According to the poll, conducted by Maagar Mohot and published by i24NEWS and Israel Hayom Sunday evening, if new elections were held today, the Blue and White party of Gantz and Lapid would win 36 mandates.
The Likud, by contrast, would gain a single mandate over its 2015 performance, winning a total of 31 seats.
But the right-wing and haredi parties would retain the rightist majority in the Knesset, though by a razor-thin margin, with 62 seats to 58...
The New Right, led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, would become the third largest party with nine seats, following by Labor with eight.
Tied with Labor for fourth place is the Jewish Home-National Union-Otzma Yehudit alliance with eight seats.
Both of the haredi factions, United Torah Judaism and Shas, would win seven seats each, as would the far-left Meretz party.
The leaders of United Torah Judaism vowed on Sunday not to enter a coalition with Yair Lapid, thereby ruling out entering a government with the Blue and White list of Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience and Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and senior UTJ MK Moshe Gafni both underlined the fact that they would not enter a coalition with Lapid during the opening of UTJ’s election campaign in Bnei Brak. If the haredi parties stick by this pledge it will be extremely difficult for Blue and White to form a government based on current polling figures.
“I will not join any government in which Lapid sits, plain and simple” said Litzman. “There are ‘anti’ [haredi] parties who united against us,” continued Litzman.. Gafni said briefly that UTJ was “going with Netanyahu, and said that journalists should “stop asking us these questions.”
Israel has approved some 4,000 new settlement units as part of a massive settlement project spanning across occupied East Jerusalem and into West Jerusalem, Israeli media reported.
Jerusalem’s planning and construction committee approved the project earlier this week, paving the way for 4,416 housing new units in the city.
“This is happy news...,” Jerusalem’s mayor Moshe Lion said. "This is the beginning, and soon Jerusalem’s sky will be filled with cranes.”
The settlement project will also reportedly see the expansion of the occupied West Bank industrial zone of Atarot, located in the central district of Ramallah.
The news comes just two weeks after reports that dozens of Israeli ministers and senior lawmakers from Netanyahu’s Likud and other right-wing parties signed a petition to promote a settlement plan that would settle 2 million Jews in the occupied West Bank.
The Nahala movement declaration reads: “I hereby commit to be loyal to the land of Israel, not to cede one inch of our inheritance from our forefathers.
I hereby commit to act to realize the settlement plan for the settlement of 2 million Jews in Judea and Samaria…as well as to encourage and lead the redemption of all the lands throughout Judea and Samaria.
I commit to act to cancel the declaration of two states for two peoples and replace it with the stately declaration: ‘The land of Israel: One country for one people.’ ”
Saudi Arabia's King Salman praised European efforts to defend the Palestinian cause and stressed his own country’s support for the stateless nation. The Palestinian issue is the “first concern” for Arab countries, the Saudi monarch said on Sunday at the opening of the first EU-Arab summit at the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh.
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“We reaffirm our firm position towards the restoration of all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he told the meeting, which is aimed at increasing Arab-European co-operation on trade, security and migration.
“The resolution of the Palestinian issue is important not only for the stability of the Middle East but to the stability of the world and Europe in particular, and in this regard we appreciate the European efforts to find a just solution to this issue,” King Salmam said. Kuwait's Emir Sabah Al Ahmad told leaders at the summit that neglecting the Palestinian issue would cause more tension in the Middle East.
"What we see today as hotbeds of tension in our region is due to this issue being overlooked and not achieving a just and comprehensive solution that the brotherly Palestinian people and the entire Arab people look forward to," the Kuwaiti ruler said.
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He praised the European community's "progressive role" in the Palestinian cause, but said the Arab world was looking for "greater engagement and initiatives with this central issue and to make it a top priority for the international community”.
President Bashar al-Assad met on Monday Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei in Tehran.
During the meeting, the two sides reviewed relations of strong fraternity which gather the two countries and peoples, affirming that these relations were the main factor in the steadfastness of Syria and Iran against the plots of hostile states which seek to weaken the two countries and destabilize them... President al-Assad pointed out that to realize the interests of the peoples in the region, this requires their governments to stop yielding to the will of some western states, on top, America...
Later, President al-Assad met President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani...
President Rouhani affirmed that the support of the Iranian people to Syria was stemmed from a principled stance to support the legitimacy that resists terrorism.
The talks also dealt with the efforts exerted in the framework of Astana to end the war on Syria.
Influential US Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio has tweeted a blatant death threat and incitement of violence against Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro. As of this writing the post has 13 thousand shares and counting.
The tweet consists of a “before” and “after” photo of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who in 2011 was mutilated to death in the streets following a US-led NATO intervention in Libya which was launched on false humanitarian pretexts.
The first photo depicts Gaddafi alive and confident with a smile on his face, the second depicts him covered in blood following his capture by a militia group minutes before his death.
Senator Rubio has been Capitol Hill’s single most virulent advocate of US interventionism in Venezuela, and has been tweeting about it constantly... He does not give a shit about the Venezuelan people. Like all Capitol Hill war whores, he only cares about advancing the hegemony of the US-centralized empire. Rubio endorsed the overthrow of both Gaddafi and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in 2011; now half a million are dead in Syria and the “humanitarian intervention” in Libya created a humanitarian catastrophe...
“I was just in Venezuela where I heard many people voice fears that the US wants to turn their country into another Libya,” journalist Aaron Maté reported in response to Rubio’s tweet. “I’d say their concerns are well-founded.”
Juan Cole, 2-2-2016: "Marco Rubio wants to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad as soon as possible. Rubio wants to exclude Syrian refugees from the US, except for Christians, orphans and the elderly.
Rubio’s major backer is corrupt Likudnik casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who also gave us Bibi Netanyahu, so he would further crush and immiserate the Palestinians."
Zaid Jilani, The Intercept, Feb. 29, 2016: "In his quest to take up George W. Bush’s mantle, Rubio has arrayed a fleet of neoconservative funders, ranging from pro-Israel billionaire Paul Singer to Norman Braman, a billionaire auto dealer who funds Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
His list of advisers is like a rolodex of Iraq War backers, ranging from Bush administration alumni Elliot Abrams and Stephen Hadley, to Kagan and Bill Kristol. Kristol sits on the board of the Emergency Committee for Israel. The group started airing an ad this weekend against Trump portraying him as an ally to Arab leaders like Bashar Assad, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Qaddafi — mostly because he argued that military invasions of Libya and Iraq left those countries worse off... "
The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed ben Salman, travelled to China on an official visit. The purpose: to contribute his support to China’s anti-terrorism policy.
The Crown Prince’s trip is taking place just as Turkey issues a declaration denouncing the repression that China is applying, according to Ankara, against the Uigur people, a people of Turkish language and Muslim religion.
At the same time, China has just started a biometric censure in the region of Xinjiang, where the majority of the Uigur live.
During his stay, the heir to the Saudi throne has taken the opportunity to sign a number of cooperation agreements with Peking. Riyadh is trying to diversify its suppliers, so that it can shake off its dependence on the United States and so that it can organize its oil exports.
New Right chair Naftali Bennett launched a direct assault on Donald Trump Wednesday morning, accusing the US president of “planning a Palestinian state right over our heads,” and calling on him to release his closely guarded Middle East peace plan before Israel’s April elections.
”We all know the ‘deal of the century’ will be launched right after the Israeli elections, but we, the Israelis, are in the dark about the plan itself,” Bennett said in English-language comments during an address at a conference for local government in Tel Aviv.
While calling Trump “a true friend to Israel,” Bennett added that “friends do not keep secrets one from another.”
The comment could be seen as a thinly veiled swipe at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has held talks with administration officials regarding Trump’s proposal, and whose Likud party is vying for the same voters Bennett’s New Right is aiming to win.
“It seems that everybody is in the loop, planning the Palestinian state right over our heads: the Americans, the Saudi prince, the Palestinians, the Jordanian king — even Erdogan of Turkey, blatant anti-Semite! Even he’s in the loop!” Bennett charged. “Everybody’s in the picture. Everybody but us, the people of Israel.”
A spokesperson for the education minister said the remarks were a “direct request to President Trump” to reveal the plans immediately.
A senior Israeli-Arab lawmaker suggested his party could back former IDF Chief and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz for prime minister, in the hopes of removing the Israeli Right from power.
Speaking at the Muni-Expo 2019 conference on local government, MK Ahmed Tibi, the chairman of the Ta’al faction and a former adviser to Yasser Arafat, laid down conditions for recommending Gantz receive a mandate to form the next government.
“We want to topple the Right, we say it openly,” Tibi said, adding that he would only offer support to Gantz if the Blue and White party vowed to pursue “equal rights” for Israeli-Arabs, something Tibi suggested was not currently present in Israel.
“But I still haven’t heard the words ‘equal rights for Arab citizens’ from Benny Gantz. I haven’t heard it.”
Tibi noted that Gantz’s partner in the Blue and White party, Yair Lapid, had declared that he would not bring the Arab parties into a future coalition government. “I’ve also heard Yair Lapid say ‘we won’t sit with the Arabs’.
Imagine in Belgium or France, Belgian or French politicians saying ‘We won’t sit with the Jews’. What would happen to him?
I can understand him saying ‘We won’t sit with the Hadash [party] or Ta’al or the United Arab List and Balad, but to say ‘the Arabs’, that’s just awful. I call on Jewish politicians to think twice before they speak.”
When asked why he, a former aide to Yasser Arafat, should be permitted to serve in the Knesset, yet at the same time argue that Baruch Marzel, the parliamentary aide to Rabbi Meir Kahane, should not get that right, Tibi called the comparison “outrageous” and accused Marzel and other members of the Otzma Yehudit party of believing in “Jewish racial supremacy”.
“What an outrageous comparison. I don’t believe in racialism, and I think that a Jew who defends a racist who talks about Jewish racial supremacy should be ashamed of himself..."
On February 20 president Emmanuel Macron declared that he was considering pushing forward legislation that would designate anti-Zionism as "one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism."
Ever since his election in 2017, President Macron has been insisting on lumping the two together. "We will not give in to anti-Zionism because it is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism," he declared a mere two months after getting sworn into office.
But the government and the fear-mongering class of intellectuals and writers that support it fail to understand, deliberately or not, the very dangerous implications of passing such a law. Anti-Zionism constitutes an expression of a political opinion - a denunciation of a political ideology - while anti-Semitism is a form of racism.
The first one is a political opinion and hence should be defended under France's widely celebrated high standards of freedom of expression; the second can express itself in the form of detestable crimes and should therefore be criminalised (as it already is). Undoubtedly, all forms of racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and discrimination should be condemned.
That said, what has been going on in France for years is merely selective denunciation reserved only for incidents involving French Jewish citizens or symbols; in such cases, the state, political parties, intellectuals and the media are all immediately mobilised to condemn and express their solidarity.
No such gestures are made when the victims are Muslim or Afro-French citizens....
President Donald Trump ordered a top-secret security clearance be granted to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, last May despite objections raised by intelligence and White House officials, four people familiar with the matter told The New York Times.
The Thursday report contradicts previous statements Trump made claiming he had no role in giving Kushner his clearance. Ivanka Trump, Kushner’s wife and a senior adviser to her father, reiterated that claim earlier this month. Kushner lost his initial security clearance, which gave him access to some of the country’s most closely guarded secrets, last February, after reports that he and others were operating with the clearance even though their background checks were not finished. It was restored to Kushner last May when the president overruled a decision by then-White House Counsel Don McGahn, the Times reported. John Kelly, who was White House chief of staff at the time, was so infuriated by Trump’s demand that he wrote an internal memo stating he had been “ordered” to give Kushner the clearance, according to the Times’ sources.
It’s unclear what factors led to recommendations that Kushner not receive the top-secret clearance, but many have noted his own family’s foreign real estate dealings and unreported contacts he has made with foreign agents.
In response to the news, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House oversight committee, said the panel had launched a wide-ranging investigation into the White House’s security clearances on Jan. 23, which included a look into Kushner’s documents and interviews.
Cummings said in a statement that the White House has not “produced a single document” or interview in response to the committee’s request. The chairman threatened to obtain the documents in other ways if the Trump administration did not comply.
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Other Democrats lambasted Trump’s alleged decision to grant his son-in-law the security clearance despite resistance from intelligence officials.
In a joint statement, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said his panel was working with the oversight committee as it investigates the White House’s security clearance. “It’s called clearance by nepotism and a serious abuse that endangers our security,” Schiff tweeted.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called the news “jaw-dropping” and accused Trump of lying to “the American people.”
“If the intelligence community doesn’t want to grant someone a security clearance ― it’s for a reason,” Blumenthal tweeted Thursday. “This jaw-dropping news must spark unanimous outrage & action amongst my colleagues.”
Palestinian officials still “have no idea” about the proposed peace plan the US says it will roll out in the coming months with the aim of resolving the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the country’s foreign minister told The National on Friday.
“I don’t know anything about it, I have no idea, no-one has said anything about it to me,” Riad Al Maliki told The National on the sidelines of the 46th Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation conference in Abu Dhabi.
US President Donald Trump promised to strike “the ultimate deal” to end the bitter and protracted struggle over land, but details of the plan worked on over the past two years have yet to be made public.
“I’m not really interested to hear about their deal,” Mr Al Maliki said. He then took aim at Mr Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who this week embarked on a regional tour that included the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to build support for Washington’s plan.
Mr Al Maliki, in a swipe at the US official, said he is unaware of who he is. “Who is Jared Kushner? I don’t know him, I have never heard of him,” he said. “This is a name that I don’t care about”.
The Palestinians have refused to talk to the Trump administration since Mr Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017 and relocated the American embassy to the city five months later — a move in direct violation of UN law and the 1967 borders Arab states consider the bare minimum when discussing Palestinian statehood. It drew condemnation across the Arab world and internationally.
The Trump administration has since dealt a series of blows to the Palestinian Authority, including cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and funding for hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem that serve sick Palestinians.
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