Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism. Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—are subject to constant state surveillance, arbitrary arrests and government-run smear campaigns. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military. And the greed and corruption of its venal political and economic elite have created vast income disparities, a mirror of the decay within America’s democracy.
And yet, the hard truths about Israel remain largely unspoken. Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. They wring their hands over the tragic necessity of airstrikes on Gaza or Lebanon or the demolition of Palestinian homes. They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them. This reality implodes the myth of the Jewish state. It exposes the cynicism of a state whose real goal is, and always has been, the transfer, forced immigration or utter subjugation and impoverishment of Palestinians inside Israel and the occupied territories. Reality shatters the fiction of a peace process. Reality lays bare the fact that Israel routinely has used deadly force against unarmed civilians, including children, to steal half the land on the West Bank and crowd forcibly displaced Palestinians into squalid, militarized ghettos while turning their land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Reality exposes the new racial laws adopted by Israel as those once advocated by the fanatic racist Meir Kahane. Reality unveils the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, the largest detention center in the world. Reality mocks the lie of open, democratic debate, including in the country’s parliament, the Knesset, where racist diatribes and physical threats, often enshrined into law, are used to silence and criminalize the few who attempt to promote a civil society. Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel, however, desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.
There is one picture of Palestinian children studying around a small table by the dim light of gas lamps in the Beach Camp in Gaza, and another of children peeking over a sandy dune, with rows of small, uniform shacks of a desolate refugee camp in the background. In a third, a family walks across the Allenby Bridge, the father carrying two bulging suitcases, a young son clutching a white ball, heading east over the Jordan River.
These are a few of the black and white images, many of them powerful and haunting, that will eventually constitute a digital archive compiled by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the first part of which was unveiled Thursday at a gallery in the Old City here. Together, they capture the Palestinian refugee experience from the 1948 war onward, giving form to a seminal chapter in Palestinian history, identity and collective memory.
For decades, about half a million negatives, prints, slides and various forms of film footage have been hidden away in the archive of UNRWA, the organization that assists Palestinian refugees. Stored in buildings in Gaza and Amman, Jordan, the materials had begun to grow moldy.
So officials started a preservation mission, digitizing the archive, which also documents the work of the agency. The exhibit that opened Thursday, called “The Long Journey,” will soon go on tour to large cities in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and possibly Syria, and will also be shown at cultural and political centers in Europe and North America. The images will also be made accessible to the general public on a special website.
- Kerry warns Israel of ‘third intifada’
- Israeli Commander: 100,000 Palestinians ‘Have a Score to Settle’ With Israel
- Palestinian villages subject to Israeli mock raids not told they are exercises
- Netanyahu Vows ‘Thousands More Homes’ in Settlements
- UN begins distributing fuel to combat Gaza crisis
- West Bank Palestinians lose water and land
- First planned Palestinian city is rising in the West Bank
- 125-year-old Palestinian man tells memories from peaceful days
- “5 Broken Cameras” wins Palestine’s first Emmy
- Israel to stop issuing birth certificates to babies born to foreigners
- Israeli poll from 2010: 75 percent favour deporting fellow citizens; Netanyahu favours birth control
While Israeli detention of children so young is infrequent, it is not unprecendented.
Last year, in the village of Kufr Qaddoum Israeli occupation forces attempted to arrest Mo’men Shtayeh who was two-and-a-half years old.
More often, occupation forces target children who are just a little bit older. A harrowing video of Israeli occupation forces arresting several boys in Hebron earlier this year gave a glimpse into the everyday violence faced by Palestinian children living under Israeli military rule.
And Muslim Odeh, profiled by The Electronic Intifada last year, had been arrested 10 times and physically abused by Israeli occupation forces.
His age? Twelve.
Human rights organizations, including B’Tselem, report that Palestinian children are routinely tortured and habitually threatened with rape by their Israeli captors, among other horrifying abuses.
Arnon Milchan, the Israeli producer of such smash hits as “Fight Club,” “Pretty Woman,” and hundreds of other films, is opening up for the first time ever about his involvement in clandestine deals to acquire arms for Israel and his work to promote the country’s alleged nuclear program.
The film tycoon sat down with Israeli investigative journalist Ilana Dayan for the season premiere of her current affairs show “Uvda” (“Fact”), in which he discusses his efforts to engage Hollywood colleagues in his work for Israel’s Defense Ministry. Keshet’s show is scheduled to air Monday, November 25, on Israel’s Channel 2.
This isn’t the first time Milchan’s role in Israeli arms dealings and intelligence has surfaced: Just two years ago authors Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman published a book titled “Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan” – which alleged that Milchan was an operative for Israel’s Bureau of Scientific Relations. The bureau, headed by spy-masters Benjamin Blumberg and Rafi Eitan, gathered information for secret defense-related programs, including Israel’s alleged nuclear program. The bureau was closed after Jonathan Pollard was arrested for spying on behalf of Israel in 1986.
The “Uvda” report does, however, contain some shocking new details about Milchan’s work, including claims that other Hollywood bigwigs like the legendary, late director Sydney Pollack and at least one other Academy Award-winning actor, both figured into his work for Israel.
John Kerry hailed a “dramatic” step to “roll back” Iran’s nuclear ambitions on Sunday when America and Tehran overcame decades of confrontation to achieve their first formal agreement for 34 years.
The US secretary of state said this deal “impedes the progress in a very dramatic way of Iran’s principal enrichment facilities and key parts of its programme”.
The “first step” agreement, lasting for an interim period of six months, “rolls back the nuclear programme from where it is today”, said Mr Kerry.
In return, America will ease sanctions, releasing about $7 billion for Iran.
But Mr Kerry’s interpretation of the deal differed from that of Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister. The two men addressed consecutive press conferences between 4.30 and 5.30am in Geneva, at the end of almost five days of marathon negotiations.
- The full text of Iran, P5+1 nuclear deal document
- Iran, P5+1 Reach Deal on Nuclear Program
- Netanyahu says Iran nuclear deal is ‘historic mistake’
- Netanyahu: Iran nuclear deal endangers Israel, we will defend ourselves
- FM Lieberman slams deal with Iran: ‘We’re entering new era’
- Deputy Secretary of State William Burns led secret US back channel to Iran
- This Low-Profile British Diplomat Helped Salvage the Iran Nuclear Deal
- Republicans Attack Iran Deal Before It’s Announced
- Senate Leaders Promise New Iran Sanctions After Recess
- UK presses Senate to delay Iran sanctions
- The Red Herring in Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Arak
- State Department Reaffirms Iran Status As State Sponsor Of Terrorism During Nuclear Talks
- White House: Israel’s all-or-nothing proposal on Iran would lead to war
- Ex-defense minister: Israel can’t eliminate Iran threat
- Netanyahu’s estimate for Iran nuclear breakout “Sheer Nonsense”
- Netenyahu: Iran already has enough material for five bombs
- Military option against Iran still active, US envoy says
- Iranian dissidents say Iran has built secret new nuclear site
- Corporate Media’s Deceitful News on Iran and Nuclear Power Issues
The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported [in April 2008] that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.
“We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”
Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.
[...] We now know that, in addition to at least one phone call from Netanyahu, according to a report in Israel’s Channel 2 on Sunday, Fabius also was called by Meyer Habib, a Jewish member of the French Parliament representing French citizens living in southern Europe, including in Israel, and threatened a Netanyahu attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Habib, who is also deputy of the Jewish umbrella organization in France, is known as a longtime Likud Party activist and friend of Netanyahu who has been considered the Israeli prime minister’s personal representative in Paris,according to Haaretz.
“If you don’t toughen your positions, Netanyahu will attack Iran,” the report quoted Habib as telling the French foreign minister. “I know this. I know him.”
The foreign minister of an independent state normally would bristle at such open diplomatic extortion by threat of force. But the French government has had the most pro-Israel and anti-Iran policy of any European state ever since Nicolas Sarkozy replaced Jacques Chirac as president in 2007. Despite the shift from the Center-Right Union for a Popular Movement government of Sarkozy to the Socialist government of Francois Hollande in 2012, that policy has not shifted at all.
Unlike the United States, where the pro-Israeli influence is exerted through campaign contributions coordinated by AIPAC, in France the presidency has nearly complete control over foreign policy. A small group of officials has shaped policy toward Iran and Israel for the past six years. The people who are now advising Fabius on Iran are, in fact, the same ones who advised Sarkozy’s foreign ministers Bernard Kouchner and Alain Juppe. “There is, in the ministry of foreign affairs, a tightly knit team of advisers on strategic affairs and non-proliferation which has played a major role in shaping the French position on Iran over the years,” a knowledgeable French source told Truthout. The direction the group has taken French policy generally has coincided with that of the neoconservatives in the United States, according to close observers of that policy.
At the center of that tight-knit group is the former French ambassador to the United States during the George W. Bush administration, Jean-David Levitte. He was appointed diplomatic adviser to Sarkozy in 2007. Levitte, who has been called by some the “real foreign minister” of France, has family ties to Israel and Zionism. His uncle, Simon Levitt, was co-founder of the Zionist Youth Movement in France.
This was not the first time that France has played a spoiler role in international negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue. Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recalls in his memoirs how the French delegation came to the October 2009 meeting with Iran in Vienna on a “fuel swap” proposal armed with “scores of amendments to our prepared draft agreement.” In that case as well, it appeared that the French role was to ensure that there would not be any agreement.
- Robert Harneis: ’US, France playing good cop-bad cop in Iran talks’
- ‘Israel will attack Iran if you sign the deal, French MP told Fabius’
- Netanyahu urges France not to weaken on Iran talks
- How France Scuttled the Iran Deal at the Last Minute
- Iranian MP: France derails N-talks for Saudi arms deal
- After Reportedly Being Offered Saudi Weapons Sales, France Tries to Blow Up Iran Deal
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has given a thinly-veiled warning that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could be targeted for assassination.
Mr Sharon told Israeli newspapers that both Mr Arafat and the leader of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah should not “feel immune”.
“Anyone who kills a Jew or harms an Israeli citizen, or sends people to kill Jews, is a marked man,” he said.
The security cabinet decided last year in principle to “remove” Mr Arafat.
The US has not paid its dues to UNESCO due to the decision by world governments to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011. Israel suspended its dues at the same time and also lost voting rights on Friday.
Under UNESCO rules, the US had until Friday morning to resume funding or explain itself, or it automatically loses its vote. A UNESCO official, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the issue, said nothing was received from either the US or Israel.
Iran’s top negotiator said on Tuesday that a framework deal with world powers on its nuclear program was “possible this week”, although it would not be a disaster if there were a further delay.
Iran resumes negotiations in Geneva on Thursday with six world powers known as the “P5+1″ – the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany. The talks are aimed at ending a standoff over the nuclear program, which Western powers suspect may be aimed at developing nuclear weapons, despite Iran’s denials.
“I believe there is a lot of work to be done. We have made some progress, but there is a great deal of mistrust in Iran concerning the attitude, behavior and approach of some members of the P5+1,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told France 24 television during a visit to Paris.
“If we don’t make a breakthrough at this round, it’s not a disaster.”
- U.S.-Iran Poised for Breakthrough on Hostage Crisis Anniversary (IPS)
- Iranian hardliners mark 1979 hostage crisis anniversary with huge protests (Guardian)
- Diplomats: Iran, Israel attended Middle East nuclear meeting (Reuters)
- UN’s atomic agency mulls Tehran invitation (Al Jazeera)
- ‘West may offer Iran cash for halting nuclear program’ (Times of Israel)
- Potential nuclear deal would allow Iran to keep some nuclear facilities (Al Jazeera)
- Iran Supreme Leader Warns Hardliners: Don’t Undermine Nuclear Talks (Antiwar)
- US promises to consult with Israel on any Iran deal (Times of Israel)
- Obama paying ‘lip service’ on Iran strike option, says top MK (Times of Israel)
- AIPAC: No Pause in Lobbying for Iran Sanctions (Antiwar)
- House to Senate: Get moving on Iran sanctions (The Hill)
- Panetta: US may have to use military force against Iran (Jerusalem Post)
- Iranian Kurd leader says West shouldn’t be fooled by Rouhani (Reuters)
Israel is not only a U.S. ally, and as such it shares intimate access to American intelligence, but also a target for U.S. spying, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
The report, citing papers leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, describes the close ties between the NSA and Israel’s Military Intelligence Unit 8200.
Israel’s signals intelligence-gathering unit, it said, is provided with raw eavesdropping data and offers its ally the same in return.
But sharing information with Israel did not exempt it from being spied on by the United States. According to the New York Times, the documents say the NSA was tracking “high priority Israeli military targets,” such as Israeli drones. Another Israeli military target specified in the files is the Black Sparrow missile system – a target missile simulating a ballistic missile at high altitude. The system was recently used by Israel during an anti-missile defense exercise, while the U.S. was preparing for possible military action against Syria.
A Washington Post report based on Snowden’s documents revealed in August that U.S. intelligence agencies showed an active interest both in America’s friends and foes. The confidential files stated that the U.S. counterintelligence operations “are strategically focused against priority targets of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Israel.”
The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has endorsed a $488 million increase in military aid to Israel, which would pay for Israel’s procurement and development of additional rocket and missile interception systems.
The committee last week approved the defense authorization bill proposal submitted by its chairman, California Republican Howard McKeon. According to the wording of the proposal, the U.S. will allocate another $268 million to Israel in 2014 for the development of two interception systems: the Arrow 3, which intercepts long-range missiles, and the Magic Wand, which intercepts medium-range missiles.
This is a larger investment than initially planned. The bill also states that a further $220 million will be allocated in 2014 to finance the purchase of extra batteries for the Iron Dome missile defense system. The proposal must now be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. It will be submitted to the Senate at a later stage.
Israel currently has five Iron Dome batteries. The plan will give Israel another five batteries by the end of next year.
The U.S. also gives Israel $3.1 billion in military aid annually. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel promised that this would not be reduced even while significant cuts are being made to the U.S. defense budget.
Despite frequent disputes with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regarding the peace process with the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear threat, U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration continues to be extraordinarily generous when it comes to granting military aid. Israeli defense officials see last week’s decision as further evidence of the strength of the relationship between the two countries.
Israel is fuming with the White House for confirming that it was the Israeli Air Force that struck a military base near the Syrian port city of Latakia on Wednesday, hitting weaponry that was set to be transferred to Hezbollah.
Israel has not acknowledged carrying out the strike, one of half a dozen such attacks widely ascribed to Israel in recent months, but an Obama administration official told CNN on Thursday that Israeli warplanes had indeed attacked the Syrian base, and that the target was “missiles and related equipment” set for delivery to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel’s Channel 10 TV on Friday night quoted Israeli officials branding the American leak as “scandalous.” For Israel’s ally to be acting in this way was “unthinkable,” the officials were quoted as saying.
A second TV report, on Israel’s Channel 2, said the leak “came directly from the White House,” and noted that “this is not the first time” that the administration has compromised Israel by leaking information on such Israeli Air Force raids on Syrian targets.
[...] Before the Islamic Revolution, thousands of Israelis, mostly diplomats and businessmen, sought and found their fortunes in Iran. A gripping documentary, by Dan Shadur and Barak Heyman, tells this “untold story of the Israeli paradise in Iran.”
“Before the Revolution” reminds viewers that there used to be daily El Al flights connecting Tehran with Tel Aviv; that there was an Israeli school in the Iranian capital — one of only two outside Israel; and that some Israelis made so much money in Iran in a few years that upon their return they could afford to buy large houses in fancy Tel Aviv suburbs without mortgages. Over 8mm video footage from the 1970s, the 54-minute film quotes Israelis saying their years in Iran were “the happiest times in our lives.” They recall Purim parties in Tehran that “felt like Tel Aviv.” Former kibbutzniks talk of suddenly having maids to cook and clean for them.
“Before the Revolution” — which is now being screened at film festivals, was shown on Israel’s YES satellite TV, and will hit international television screens later this year — does not ignore the more dubious aspects of Israel’s close ties with the dictatorial regime.The film contains some chilling quotes of Israelis who say they were aware of the regime’s human rights abuses (including torture of dissidents) but couldn’t be bothered with that, as they were busy making money and partying in the shah’s splendid palaces. It details the massive arms deals (Yaacov Nimrodi sold the Iranians advanced missile systems and 50,000 Uzi submachine guns). And it depicts a controversial framework of military and intelligence cooperation that likely included helping set up what became Tehran’s rogue nuclear program.
While Israel has remained tight-lipped over an alleged strike in Syria, an Obama administration official confirmed to CNN on Thursday that Israeli warplanes had in fact attacked an airbase in Latakia on Wednesday. The target was “missiles and related equipment” the Israeli government assessed might be transferred to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the report said.
Earlier Thursday, on the heels of reports that the airbase had contained advanced, Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles, Al-Arabiya reported that Israel had attacked not one, but two targets in the civil war-torn country.
Al-Arabiya’s report said two targets had been hit in Syria on Wednesday night – not just the Latakia air defense base, but a target in Damascus as well. Both targets were said to have contained shipments of Russian SA-8 anti-aircraft missiles meant for Hezbollah, which were reportedly completely destroyed.
A map of the Latakia airbase posted online shows three batteries of the Russian-made surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile at the base, outside Snobar Jableh in the country’s coastal Latakia region.
Earlier Thursday, Al-Arabiya quoted opposition forces as saying the base held S-125 missiles.
Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said during a debate in the British parliament that “unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the U.S. are used to control American policy in the Middle East.
The comments reportedly were made last week during the Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum in the British House of Commons.
Former Israeli Knesset Member Einat Wilf was in attendance at the debate and posted Straw’s comments on her Facebook page.
The US has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone since 2002, according to a report in Der Spiegel magazine.
The German publication claims to have seen secret documents from the National Security Agency which show Mrs Merkel’s number on a list dating from 2002 – before she became chancellor.
Another report says Mr Obama was told in 2010 about the surveillance.
Meanwhile Washington has seen a protest against the NSA’s spying programme.
Several thousand protesters marched to the US Capitol to demand a limit to the surveillance. Some of them held banners in support of the fugitive former contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed the extent of the NSA’s activities.
- Media reports suggest Obama knew NSA spied on Merkel (DW)
- Top German spy chiefs to go to Washington for talks (BBC)
- Israel, Not US, Likely Behind Attempt to Hack French President (Antiwar)
- Germany and France warn NSA spying fallout jeopardises fight against terror (Guardian)
- NSA spying scandal threatens to hamper US foreign policy (AP)
- Mexican ex-minister: Spied-on leaders should see intercepted material (AFP)
- Italian PM says spying by allies unacceptable (Reuters)
A former Israeli official demanded that Turkey be expelled from NATO following media reports which accused the Turkish intelligence service of leaking the names of 10 Iranian agents who worked for Israel’s intelligence (Mossad) to the Iranian authorities.
Israel’s former deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, in remarks to Yisrael Hayoum newspaper, called for a formal request to be submitted before NATO to cancel Ankara’s membership of the Alliance. Ayalon who caused the “low chair” crisis between Ankara and Tel Aviv three years ago demanded that Israel and the United States re-evaluate their relations with Turkey.
Israel’s prime minister said Wednesday that the world should not accept what he called a “partial deal” to curb Iran’s nuclear program – just as it is not allowing the Syrian government to keep any of its chemical weapons stockpile.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told America’s chief diplomat that ongoing negotiations with Iran should insist that Tehran end all enrichment on uranium, get rid of any fissile material and close water plants and underground bunkers that he said are only necessary to build a nuclear bomb.
“I think a partial deal that leaves Iran with these capabilities is a bad deal,” Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the start of what was expected to be a daylong private meeting in Rome.
“You wisely insisted there wouldn’t be a partial deal with Syria,” Netanyahu said. “You were right. If (Syrian President Bashar) Assad had said, ‘I’d like to keep 20 percent, 50 percent, or 80 percent of my chemical weapons capability,’ you would have refused – and correctly so.”
Still, Netanyahu predicted that “we’re very close” to striking a deal with Iran. “And I agree with you that the goal is to get it peacefully,” he said.
- Iran must prove nuclear program peaceful, Kerry says (Times of Israel)
- Livni: Israel, Saudis speaking same language on Iran (Reuters)
- Israeli Intel Minister: Keep the Boot on Iran’s Neck (Foreign Policy)
- Would Israel ‘Go It Alone’ & Bomb Iran Amid Warmed Relations With US? (Antiwar)
- Signs of Rift Between Israel and US Over Iran (AP)
- Netanyahu’s mission: to head off Iran sanctions relief (Reuters)
- Iran FM: Israel seeks to undermine nuclear talks (AP)
- Israeli Intel Minister: Iran Serious About Nuclear Deal (Al Monitor)
- Israel’s calls for a tough stance on Iran are falling on near deaf ears (Haaretz)
- Iran: Israel source of threat to world security (Press TV)
- Netanyahu makes a case for a preemptive strike (Times of Israel)
A bipartisan group of 50 senators have warned US President Barack Obama that they will not ratify the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty signed last month by Secretary of State John Kerry. The lawmakers, who comprise half of the Senate, signed on to a letter this week that expressed concern that ratifying the treaty could limit America’s ability to provide military aid to Israel.
Fifty senators, including all 45 Senate Republicans and Democrats Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Pryor (D-AR), listed a number of reasons for their opposition to the treaty, including that “the State Department has acknowledged that the treaty includes language that could hinder the United States from fulfilling its strategic, legal and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.”
The treaty prohibits a state from trading arms if “it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a party.”
States are also required to assess whether recipients are likely to “commit or facilitate a serious violation” of international humanitarian or human rights law and whether the arms deal could “contribute to or undermine peace or security.” Those clauses – and the range of interpretations that they afford – are at the heart of the critique.
In their letter, the senators said they “urge” Obama “to notify the treaty depository that the US does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations.”
The senators complained that the treaty failed to achieve consensus, and was adopted instead by majority vote in the UN General Assembly. According to the senators, this “violates the red line drawn by the Obama Administration.”
In a major new report, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations details a global crackdown on peaceful protests through excessive police force and the criminalization of dissent. The report, “Take Back The Streets: Repression and Criminalization of Protest Around the World,” warns of a growing tendency to perceive individuals exercising a fundamental democratic right — the right to protest — as a threat requiring a forceful government response. The case studies detailed in this report show how governments have reacted to peaceful protests in the United States, Israel, Canada, Argentina, Egypt, Hungary, Kenya, South Africa and Britain. The report’s name comes from a police report filed in June 2010 when hundreds of thousands of Canadians took to the streets of Toronto to nonviolently protest the G20 Summit. A senior Toronto Police Commander responded to the protests by issuing an order to “take back the streets.” Within a span of 36 hours, more than 1,000 people — peaceful protesters, journalists, human rights monitors and downtown residents — were arrested and placed in detention. We are joined by three guests: the report’s co-editor, Abby Deskman, a lawyer and program director with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union; and Hossam Bahgat, an Egyptian human rights activist and the founder and executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. (Democracy NOW!)
An Israeli high court decision on 16 September striking down legislation authorizing the indefinite incarceration of asylum-seekers from Africa brought hundreds of residents of Tel Aviv into the streets in protest the following day.
Blocking the intersection at the entrance to the Hatikvah market in south Tel Aviv to traffic for an hour and a half, Jewish Israelis decried the court ruling, which mandates that the 2,000 Africans jailed in Israel on the basis of the invalidated law must be released within ninety days.
In the last several years, south Tel Aviv has become home to approximately 30,000 non-Jewish African nationals, most of whom entered the country by walking across Israel’s desert border with Egypt.
Israelis opposed to their presence accuse them of migrating to Israel solely to earn more money than they could hope to in their home countries, while advocates for the Africans claim that most of them have fled dictatorial regimes and ethnic cleansing campaigns.
‘To shoot oneself in the foot (idiomatic): To unintentionally act against one’s own interests. To be the author of one’s own doom.
Some people suffer from what you might call “Unintentional Self-Destruction Syndrome.” It isn’t that they hate themselves: they just seem to constantly say the wrong thing, overreact to some inconsequential remark, get into a fight with a bartender the day before an important job interview. That sort of thing.
Countries can also behave self-destructively. And Israel’s losing battle against Iran’s recent charm offensive is a textbook example of acute USDS. Sometimes it seems as if Israel isn’t just shooting itself in the foot, it’s using a machine gun. Here are the top five times it seems to have done that very thing.’
The United States did not get any indication of a possible deployment of Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal during the Yom Kippur War, and had such a signal been received in Washington, the Nixon Administration “would have been very opposed to it,” then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has told an Israeli documentary series.
Kissinger granted a rare interview to “The Avoidable War,” a four-part TV series, alongside other former Nixon officials, such as Deputy National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and White House Counsel Leonard Garment, who passed away recently.
Kissinger and Scowcroft made what is likely their first-ever public reference to rumors – which have never been confirmed – that some Israeli government and military officials were mulling a nuclear strike, or at least a show of force, as desperation ran high in the early stages of the war. The two officials have essentially dispelled the long-held myth whereby Israel raised the alert of its surface-to-surface missiles – those that according to this version would be armed with unconventional warheads – so that it would be captured by U.S. satellites, reported to Moscow and from there to Cairo and Damascus, in the hope that they would order their armies to halt their advance.
Over the past 40 years, this tantalizing thesis was put forward by many publications, some of which drew on the testimonies of participants on the margins of military and political decision-making forums. However, Kissinger and Scowcroft, virtually the most authoritative members of Nixon’s national security team, debunk it outright. Whatever happened in Israel, they said, had had no impact on them, and thus on nobody else down the chain.
Israel has held a series of meetings with prominent figures from a number of Gulf and other Arab states in recent weeks in an attempt to muster a new alliance capable of blocking Iran’s drive toward nuclear weapons, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Wednesday.
According to the report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been supervising a series of “intensive meetings” with representatives of these other countries. One “high ranking official” even came on a secret visit to Israel, the report said.
The report came a day after Netanyahu, in an overlooked passage of his UN speech, noted that shared concerns over Iran’s nuclear program “have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize… that Israel is not their enemy” and created an opportunity to “build new relationships.”
The Arab and Gulf states involved in the new talks have no diplomatic ties with Jerusalem, the report noted. What they share with Israel, it said, is the concern that President Hasan Rouhani’s new diplomatic outreach will fool the US and lead to a US-Iran diplomatic agreement which provides for “less than the dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program.”
- US Faces Pressure From Israel, Saudi Arabia to Rebuff Iran Overtures (Antiwar)
- Israel no longer certain Obama would ever use force against Iran, Likud MK indicates (Times of Israel)
- Israeli PM relieved with Obama assurances US won’t cave to Iran (The Hill)
- Avigdor Lieberman: Israel Should Attack Iran Alone (Gilad Atzmon)
- Israel’s President Peres: All Options Open On Iran (AP)
The Iranian commander of the Cyber War Headquarters has been assassinated by two unidentified assailants on motorbikes, in a mysterious killing that bears the hallmarks of previous assassinations of Iranian officials that most experts suspect Israel of carrying out.
Mojtaba Ahmadi, who served as commander of the Cyber War Headquarters, was found dead in a wooded area near the town of Karaj, north-west of the capital, Tehran. Five Iranian nuclear scientists and the head of the country’s ballistic missile programme have been killed since 2007. The regime has accused Israel’s external intelligence agency, the Mossad, of carrying out these assassinations.
The last assassination occurred in January of last year, when one of Iran’s top chemists “who worked in the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz” was blown up with an explosive device attached to his car. The incident was met with rising criticism and suspicion of both Israel and the United States. Some even accused the U.S. of being complicit in the killings, which is presumably what prompted U.S. officials to anonymously disclose to NBC News that Israel’s Mossad ordered the assassinations to be carried out by a proxy group, the Iranian dissident group MEK.
Alternatively, CBS reporter Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman, a former intelligence correspondent for Haaretz, write in their book “Spies Against Armageddon” that Mossad agents themselves are the ones carrying out the assassinations.
OTHER IRAN/ISRAEL NEWS:
- Iranian FM: Israel can’t kill all our scientists (Ynet)
- Netanyahu: Iranian President Just Like All the Rest (Antiwar)
- Rouhani: Israel ‘Angry’ With New Iran-West Logic (AFP)
- ‘Netanyahu to tell Obama Iran has enough uranium for a bomb’ (Times of Israel)
- Netanyahu vows to rebut Iran’s ‘sweet talk’ (RT)
- Iran top diplomat calls Israel’s Netanyahu a liar (AP)
- Israel was informed of Obama-Rohani call in advance, briefed after (Haaretz)
- Iranian foreign minister: The Holocaust is no myth (Haaretz)
- Iran rejects Israel spy arrest as ‘repetitive scenario’ (AFP)