Israel called to account

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A group of youngsters sit on an abandoned building in Gaza.  (photo: UN / Shareef Sarhan)
A new report by Human Rights Watch slams Israel as an apartheid state. What now?

By Sam Bahour | Le Monde diplomatique | Apr 27, 2021

‘The finding is based on an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.’
— Human Rights Watch report

One of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW), today issued a 213-page report entitled ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution’. The report examines Israel’s treatment of all Palestinians, regardless of where they may reside between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and beyond.

For such a mainstream organization, it minces no words. The report starts by noting that ‘Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.’ In a press release announcing the report, HRW said, ‘The finding is based on an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.’

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This is apartheid: Jewish supremacy from the River to the Sea

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Apartheid Israel: the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is organized under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.
A report from B’tselem, the respected Israeli Human Rights NGO, calls Israel an apartheid state.

By Israel-Palestine News | Jan 13, 2021

The geographic space, which is contiguous for Jews, is a fragmented mosaic for Palestinians

B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories believes that the accumulation of policies and laws in Israel are devised to entrench control over Palestinians, and together define Israel as an apartheid regime:

  • Israel’s efforts to Judaize the entire region (land as a resource chiefly meant to benefit the Jewish population)
  • Jews living anywhere in the world are entitled to Israeli citizenship (while Palestinians are removed by any means possible)
  • Israeli citizens enjoy freedom of movement throughout the region – except for the Gaza Strip (Palestinian movement is severely limited)
  • Jewish political participation is ubiquitous, while Palestinians are either sidelined or disenfranchised

Read the full article here →

Campaign to 0ppose Israeli military recruitment in Canada receives boost

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The Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv hosted a party with Canadian “lone soldiers” in the Israel Defense Forces on January 16, 2020. (photo: Embassy of Canada to Israel / Twitter)
A parliamentary petition calling for an investigation into IDF recruitment has quickly surpassed the number of signatures required to be presented in the House of Commons.

By Yves Engler  | Palestine Chronicle | Apr 23, 2021

“in my view no one who is a Canadian should be able to enlist in some other country’s military and keep his Canadian citizenship.”
—  Jack Granatstein, military historian

The campaign to oppose illegal Israeli military recruitment in Canada has received a significant boost. A parliamentary petition calling for an investigation into IDF recruitment has quickly surpassed the number of signatures required to be presented in the House of Commons.

Submitted by Rabbi David Mivasair and sponsored by NDP MP Matthew Green, the petition “calls upon the Minister of Justice to undertake a thorough investigation of those who have recruited or facilitated recruiting for the Israel Defense Forces, and if warranted lay charges against those involved in recruiting and encouraging recruiting for the IDF.”

In 48 hours over 1,000 individuals have signed the petition, which is twice what’s required for it to be read in Parliament. The government then has to respond.

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What ties the U.S. and Israel together? Our arrogant, doomed mythology of exceptionalism

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah in Jerusalem, Nov. 19, 2020. (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO)
Our two nations are headed for doom, driven by the power of the Zionist right and a conviction we can do no wrong.

By Doug Neiss | Salon |  Apr 17, 2021

American exceptionalism and Israeli exceptionalism go hand in hand. One hand washes the other.

As bad as Republican bloc voting is on domestic issues, what may be even worse are the near-unanimous bipartisan votes on military spending and unconditional support for Israel. It goes without saying that does not reflect the diversity of opinion among American Jews, Israeli Jews or the American public at large, although the pretense that unqualified support for Israel is the dominant view among Jewish Americans — and among Americans in general — is strictly maintained.

This cannot be justified by straightforward concern for Israel’s survival — Israel has long since assured its own survival with nuclear weapons, an open secret for decades — nor by the supposedly all-powerful Israel lobby. Invoking the “power of the Israel lobby” protects the myth of American innocence at the risk of perpetuating the myth of Jewish evil: Innocent, trusting America, no match for those crafty, scheming Jews!

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US firms said using Israeli tech for controversial facial recognition

Israeli startup AnyVision uses artificial intelligence to recognize faces, bodies and objects for security and other purposes. (photo: YouTube screenshot)
AnyVision system touted as improving security and preventing crime, but social rights activists say practice infringes on privacy, could hurt marginalized groups

By TOI staff | Times of Israel | Apr 21, 2021

“Private use of facial recognition by corporations, institutions and even individuals poses just as much of a threat to marginalized communities as government use,”
 open letter from 25 social justice groups calling on governments to ban corporate use of facial recognition.

An Israeli company that makes facial recognition technology has gained several big-name clients in the US, even as rights groups increasingly raise concerns over the use of such surveillance methods, Reuters reported Wednesday.

AnyVision, a Holon-based startup founded in 2015 by Neil Robertson and Eylon Ethstein, uses artificial intelligence technology to recognize faces, bodies and objects for security, medical and business purposes, among others.

Facial recognition technology as a whole has come under fire by civil liberties activists who say the tools are biased against people of color and infringe upon citizens’ privacy.

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Donors who agreed with me on every other issue cut me off when I called for investigation of Rachel Corrie’s killing — former Rep. Brian Baird

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Former Congressmen Brian Baird, center, and Keith Ellison, right, in Gaza in 2009.  (photo: screenshot from Israel Lobby Conference, April 17, 2021)
Former Congressman Baird said the Israel lobby is able to exert such control because of money, mythology and millenarian Christian beliefs.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Apr 19, 2021

“It is generally assumed that members of Congress must all support Israel without question and take what they are told at face value and accept that version of the facts and vote as we are told, or asked.”
— Brian Baird, former US Representative, Washington State

On Saturday former congressman Brian Baird described the ways that the Israel lobby exercises control over foreign policy in the Middle East, at the conference organized by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Baird’s main points:

–More Congresspeople go to the AIPAC conference than any other event besides the State of the Union address because they need money for their campaigns.

–When a congressperson dares to challenge Israeli claims, Israeli officials express condescension and disdain for the United States and say the U.S. did worse with its indigenous population so no one in the U.S. has a right to question Israeli actions even as Israel gets billions in aid.

Continue reading “Donors who agreed with me on every other issue cut me off when I called for investigation of Rachel Corrie’s killing — former Rep. Brian Baird”

Abbas to address J Street confab as group seeks to top DC’s Israel lobby scene

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wears a mask upon his arriving to head the Palestinian leadership meeting at his headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, May 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, Pool)
PA president expected to thank Biden for restoring aid while urging further steps, and to express continued support for two-state solution while castigating Israel over settlements.

By Jacob Magid | The Times of Israel | Apr 16, 2021

“We’re pleased to host President Abbas at our conference this year, as the Palestinians seek to move on from the nadir of the Trump era and repair the bilateral relationship with the United States under President Biden,”
— Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address J Street’s national conference on Sunday as the once marginal left-wing, pro-Israel group seeks to position itself as the leading lobby on Middle East policy in the post-Trump era.

Abbas’s remarks will be pre-recorded and played for the more than 4,000 registered attendees at the virtual confab’s first day.

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Support Rep. McCollum’s Bill, H.R.2590, to protect Palestinians

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Rep. McCollum’s bill will ensure that U.S. tax dollars are not used by Israel to detain Palestinian children, destroy Palestinian homes, or steal Palestinian land.

By Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) | Apr 16, 2021

The U.S. budget is immoral. It gives exorbitant amounts of money for militarism, while underfunding needed programs in our communities.

Support Rep. McCollum’s Bill, H.R.2590, to Protect Palestinians.

Rep. McCollum’s bill will ensure that U.S. tax dollars are not used by Israel to detain Palestinian children, destroy Palestinian homes, or steal Palestinian land. Israel imprisons around 700 Palestinian children a year; it routinely destroys Palestinian homes in the West Bank, especially East Jerusalem, leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless; and it illegally annexes more and more Palestinian land and water. All of this is being funded by our taxes!

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The illusion of a Palestinian kingmaker in Israel

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MARCH 3: Head of the Joint List Ayman Odeh (2nd L), the members Heba Yazbak (R), Mansour Abbas (L), Mtanes Shehadeh (3rd L), Aida Touma (4th R), Ahmed Tibi (4th L) and Ofer Cassif (2nd R) attend a program in Israel’s northern city of Shefa-Amr on March 2, 2020, after polls officially closed in Israeli general elections. (photo: Mostafa Alkharouf. Anadolu Agency)
As we look forward, we shall see yet another Israeli government dedicated to destroying Palestine and its people led once again by Benjamin Netanyahu.

By Miko Peled | Politics Today | Apr 14, 2021

One of the strangest misconceptions that has risen immediately after the results of the elections were announced is that Mansour Abbas, who leads the Islamic United Arab Party will somehow become “kingmaker.”

There are two things that are certain after Israel’s fourth election in two years: the first is that Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to be Israel’s Prime Minister. The second, that no Arab party will have any part in Netanyahu’s continued reign as PM. These elections had given an undeniable victory to Benjamin Netanyahu. In a strategy that can be seen as divide and rule, Netanyahu has been very successful at dividing his opposition and now he may rule over them as they come begging him for a piece of the pie.

One of the strangest misconceptions that has risen immediately after the results of the elections were announced is that Mansour Abbas, who leads the Islamic United Arab Party will somehow become “kingmaker.” They claim that his vote in the Knesset will tip the scales and that the next Israeli prime minister will be in his debt. This claim stems from a lack of appreciation for the racist Zionist ideology and how, like a thread, it runs through all of Israel’s Zionist political parties, left, right and center.

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In Conversation with Peter Beinart

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Join Jewish Currents Editor at Large Peter Beinart in a conversation with Kenneth Stern, Prof. Susan Neiman, and Prof. Saree Makdisi about how to define anti-semitism.
Date: Friday, April 16, 2021
Time: 9:00 am (PDT) / 12:00 pm (EST)
Location: On-line
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, must register
Event Details

Jewish Currents Editor at Large Peter Beinart will be joined by several panelists to talk about how to define anti-semitism.

The first guest is Kenneth Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, who drafted the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-semitism, but has criticized its misuse. The second guest will be Professor Susan Neiman, Director of the Einstein Forum, one of the signers of the new Jerusalem Declaration on anti-semitism. The third guest will be UCLA Professor of English Saree Makdisi.

More information here →