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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Yad Vashem – Israel’s Holocaust Propaganda Museum Refuses to Speak Out Against Deportation Threat to Refugees


Yad Vashem’s Loud Silence Amid Israel's Deportations of Asylum Seekers

Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum was established by law in 1953. From the start it was intended to be integral to Israel’s propagandistic use of the Holocaust in its war against the Palestinians and as justification for the State’s existence. Even the title ‘Martyrs' and Heroes Remembrance (Yad Vashem) Law’ is evidence of a determination to rewrite the history of the Holocaust from a Zionist perspective. The Holocaust became Israel’s foundational myth.
John Vorster, Prime Minister of Apartheid South Africa, who was interned for Nazi sympathies in war, lays wreath to the Holocaust dead in Yad Vashem

Those who died were victims of fascism and genocidal racism. They were neither heroes nor martyrs and they would not have seen themselves as such. They were innocents who were murdered as a consequence of an ideology that became a material force of its own, a state that was based on racial supremacy and a murderous eugenics.  To portray those who died as martyrs and heroes in the battle for the Israeli state, which is what this law says, is to co-opt the Holocaust dead posthumously into the Zionist movement.  Given that Zionism was a minority movement in every Jewish community in Europe, this is to show contempt and disdain for those whose memories are being harnessed to a state which is based on the very same principles that led to their murder.
If anyone is doubtful as to the above then they need only look at section 1.8 of the law which stipulates that Yad Vashem should commemorate ‘the unceasing efforts of the besieged to reach Eretz Israel in spite of all obstacles, and the devotion and heroism of their brothers who went forth to liberate and rescue the survivors.’  This is called rewriting Holocaust history and it is no different from those who deny the Holocaust outright. It is Zionism's foundational Holocaust myth.  It uses the Holocaust as a weapon in the Zionist armoury.
Michael Kaminski of Poland's Law & Justice Party is in Yad Vashem's Hall of Names - Kaminski was also a founder of the Committee to Establish the Good Name of Jedwabne, a village in Eastern Poland where 1600 Jews were herded into a barn by fellow Poles, which was then set alight
Those who tried to escape from the Nazis tried to escape to any destination which would have them.  Palestine was neither the first nor the only destination.  Some 60,000 Jews out of a total of 446,000 Jews who escaped from the Reich territories between May 1933 and December 31 1939 went to Palestine, i.e. less than one in seven. [American Jewish Yearbook 1940-1] What the YV Law doesn’t say is that the Zionist movement did all in its power, including lobbying the Gestapo, in order to ensure that Jewish refugees only went to Palestine. [see for example Francis Nicosia, Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, p. 168]
In the words of Israeli historian and journalist Tom Segev, Yad Vashem is a ‘bizarre cult of memory, death and kitsch’. [Segev, The Seventh Million, p.11] a ‘macabre worship of death.’ [Amos Elon, The Israelis – Founders and Sons, p. 208]
As Professor Idith Zertal of the Hebrew and Bael Universities wrote in Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood (p.100):
‘The transference of the Holocaust situation on to the Middle East reality… not only created a false sense of the imminent danger of mass destruction. It also immensely distorted the image of the Holocaust, dwarfed the magnitude of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, trivializing the unique agony of the victims and the survivors, and utterly demonizing the Arabs and their leaders.’
You might therefore think that the first organisation in Israel to speak out against Netanyahu’s attempt to deport 40,000 Black Africa refugees to death and torture would be Yad Vashem.  After all what is the point of Holocaust memorial museum unless it seeks to draw conclusions about what happened during the Holocaust for humanity's behaviour today? Perhaps the most obvious of all lessons of the Holocaust was that if the Western countries, in particular the United States, had open their doors, far fewer Jews would have died.
The Kindertransport - 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia arrive in London - the Zionists opposed their entry
Even as devoted an Israel apologist like Alan Dershowitz in comments to ILTV Daily agreed that “The whiff of racism can’t be avoided when you have a situation where 40,000 people of color are the ones who are being deported en masse, without being individualized and every single case considered on its merits,”
Yet Yad Vashem has remained silent.  It has refused to openly oppose Netanyahu’s racist plans.  It has issued a few meal mouthed platitudes whilst reminding people that the Holocaust must not be compared with anything, in other words it has no lessons to draw from the genocide of the Jews.
Yad Vashem is on the itinerary of all foreign dignitaries to Israel, including fascists and neo-Nazis. In April 1976 Yad Vashem welcomed John Vorster, Prime Minister of South Africa, who was interned during the war for Nazi sympathies. It has played host to a variety of far-Right and anti-Semitic politicians, from Heinz Strache of Austria to Michal Kaminsky of Poland’s Law & Justice Party and Robert Ziles of Latvia’s LNNK. Israel Shahak, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and Belsen-Bergen concentration camp wrote, 
Of the Yad Vashem… theatre, I do not wish to speak, at all. It, and its vile exploiting, such as honouring South Africa collaborators with the Nazis are truly beneath contempt.[Kol Hair, 19 May 1998, Jerusalem].
The real purpose of Holocaust awareness ‘is not at an understanding of the past, but a manipulation of the future’. [Boaz Evron, (1983) “Holocaust: The Uses of Disaster’, Radical America 17, No. 4]. No other group is allowed to claim a share of the “credit”. At the centre of this manipulation stands Yad Vashem.
Holocaust awareness and ‘the culture of victimization’ allowed a Jewish victim identity to become dominant at the same time as anti-Semitism was disappearing. [The Holocaust in American Life, Peter Novick, Houghton Mifflin, 1999, New York, p.190. See Review: Deconstructing Holocaust Consciousness, Joseph Massad, JPS, Vol. 32 No. 1 p.82].  In its place the ‘new anti-Semitism’ i.e. anti-Zionism emerged as a substitute.
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Even though Yad Vashem has rejected any comparison between the distress of the refugees in Israel and persecuted Jews in Europe during the Holocaust, they also found it appropriate to make a limp statement about asylum seekers here

Alon Harel, Uriel Procaccia , Ha’aretz
FILE PHOTO: Asylum seekers protest against deportation in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 24, 2018.Meged Gozani
On June 26, 1941, the German army entered Vilnius, accompanied by Reinhard Heydrich’s Einsatzkommando killing squads, elite units of sorts that were in charge of exterminating Jews, Roma Gypsies, homosexuals and Communists.

The broad range of those destined for extermination symbolized the Nazis’ commitment to Aryan racial purity, in their readiness to rid themselves not only of the lower strata of the human race but also of leftists and of those whose sexual orientation didn’t find favor among high-ranking officials of the regime.
Miron Abeliovich, the grandfather of one of this piece’s two authors, Uriel, was among those murdered, eliminated along with all of the other members of his household in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Many members of Alon’s family lived in the Free City of Danzig, whose conquest by the Nazis served as a springboard for the Hitler regime’s goal of cleansing the city of Catholic believers and more generally to subjugate the Slavic peoples to the superior race. The murder of Alon’s family following the occupation of Danzig, with the outbreak of World War II, was no more than a footnote in the larger Nazi plan for the city.
Between 1939 and 1945, the United States gave asylum on its territory to only about 250,000 Jewish refugees, roughly a thousandth of the American population at the time. Other Western countries were not more forthcoming. So, for example, when the details regarding the anti-Semitic wave of destruction on Kristallnacht in November 1938 became known, a plan was developed to allow for the settlement of 15,000 persecuted Jews in Australia over the course of three years, but the gates of the country remained closed to any additional Jewish refugees. Those refused admission to all of those countries remained in or returned to the European inferno, and many of them were killed in the Holocaust.
The above paragraphs describe episodes of Holocaust history that are seemingly unrelated to each other, but there is a common thread that runs through them. The first few paragraphs demonstrate the obvious, that human evil can be directed not only against our own people but against anyone whom the regime wishes to deprive of their rights. The fifth paragraph, regarding restrictions on immigration at the time, show that the evil and cruelty of passive actors sometimes are no better than those of active players.
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, the central institution entrusted with the sacred memory of the Holocaust and the lessons that should be forever drawn from it, acknowledges some of these lessons on its website.
In its section on the Righteous Among the Nations, non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust, Yad Vashem quotes the moving remarks of Elie Wiesel, who wrote, “Let us remember: What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander. Let us not forget, after all, there is always a moment when moral choice is made. And so we must remember these good people who helped Jews during the Holocaust.”
And yet, when we face a similar reality of asylum seekers in Israel who are begging for their lives and, who, based on most accounts, can expect torture, theft, rape and even death in the countries where they are due to be sent, Yad Vashem issued a statement declaring that it is inappropriate and dangerous to compare the situation of the Jews during the Holocaust with Israel’s policy regarding those seeking residency status in the country now.
Indeed, how can they be compared? During the Holocaust, those being persecuted were our own people, whereas at the present time, they are only those of African background “seeking residency.”
FILE PHOTO: World leaders gather in the Hall of Names in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, March 16, 2005.AP
During the Holocaust, the gates of Switzerland, Britain and other countries were shut, while now it is the gates of our own country. But despite the fact that the leaders of Yad Vashem have rejected any comparison between the distress of the refugees in Israel and persecuted Jews in Europe during the Holocaust, they also found it appropriate to make a limp statement about asylum seekers here, saying that their situation involves a “national and international challenge that requires empathy, compassion and mercy.”
“The experience of the Jewish people over generations heightens this obligation,” the statement continued. “The authorities in Israel must make every effort so that there is no person who arrived in Israel with a sword over his neck that did not receive refugee status.”
More than a month ago, while the controversy was seething, we approached the administration of Yad Vashem and asked for an interpretation and clarification regarding the call for “compassion.”
We asked what the leaders of the institution believed was or was not possible to do in the concrete case of asylum seekers at the present time.
We also asked what Yad Vashem’s position was regarding the masses of asylum seekers, which is nearly all of them, who have not received refugee status.
Does Yad Vashem believe that they should be given such status? Is it prepared not to be “a bystander” in the face of the government’s policy not to grant refugee status to almost any of these large numbers of persecuted people?
We have implored Yad Vashem to fulfill its moral and historic mission and to raise a hue and cry that the honorable interior minister would have difficulty ignoring. It is in fact easy for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to ignore demands for justice from those whom it deems “Jew haters,” and it probably even derives sweet pleasure from that as well.
On the other hand, ignoring a strong demand by an institution that is a symbol of the catastrophe that befell our people and that also has, it must be admitted, material value in our relations with the nations of the world, is much more difficult.
We have warned the good people at Yad Vashem, who drag every dignitary to visit the institution, who rub shoulders with them and curry their sympathies. And we have explained that if Yad Vashem refrains from dealing with this urgent issue, it could, in one fell swoop, lose its legitimacy as a universal moral beacon and instead be perceived in the eyes of the world as an ethnocentric faction whose only interest is the Jewish people and its ability to engender feelings of guilt among non-Jews.
To date, we have not managed to obtain a response to our inquiry.
Alon Harel is a professor of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Uriel Procaccia a professor of law at Tel Aviv University.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Israeli Democracy in Action - Israeli Police Thugs Attack Haifa anti-war demonstration


21 Israeli Palestinians arrested as Police break the leg of Jafar Farah, a Human Rights Worker

In the words of Ahmed Tibi, a member of Ta’al and the Joint List in the Knesset, Israel is a democratic state for Jews but a Jewish state for Arabs.  Perhaps this should be corrected to acknowledge that for Jewish opponents of Zionism Israel is also becoming less democratic.


Last Friday 18th May, in response to Israel’s premeditated murder of over 60 Palestinians in Gaza, Israeli Palestinians held a small demonstration in the city of Haifa.
Instead of protecting the demonstration from the usual right-wing thugs, Israeli police launched a savage attack on it and the democratic rights of Arab citizens of Israel, thus demonstrating that equality between Jew and Arab in Israel is purely theoretical.
The Times of Israel report Activists say police broke knee of Arab-Israeli arrested at protest in Haifa quotes Ayman Odeh condemning not only the “brutal dispersal” of the demonstration but the police conduct during a demonstration of some 200 people on Monday against the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A number of MKs from the Joint List took part, including Odeh. 
“The wild attack on us by police in Jerusalem and the attack and arrest of the demonstrators in Haifa, over claims that raising the Palestinian flag constitutes incitement, is untrue and also illegal.” 
According to reports in the Hebrew-language media, Odeh confronted police officers on Saturday outside the Bnai Zion Medical Center where Farah was being treated, calling one of them a “zero.”

Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli also condemned the Friday incident, calling Farah “a partner in the struggle for equality and peace.” In a tweet, the opposition lawmaker said his treatment at the hands of police was “frightening,” and vowed she would demand an explanation from Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan next week.
19 demonstrators were arrested and one, Jafah Farah, had his knee broken by the Police in custody. There can be no doubt about this since he was filmed walking when being arrested. Jafah is the CEO of the Mossawa Advocacy Center For Arab Citizens In Israel.
The UN Human Rights Council last Friday also called for an Inquiry into the shootings, which Israel rejected calling the Council biased etc.  No doubt they were also anti-Semitic.  The EU also made a mild call for an investigation into the arrests in Haifa, a call instantly rejected by Gilad Erdan, the Public Security Minister and an arch hawk.  Erdan it was who described Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan , a maths teacher who was murdered in January 2017 by Police, in the Bedouin village of Umm al Hiran in the Negev, as a ‘terrorist’.  Police had been protecting bulldozers which had been sent in to demolish the village to make way for a new Jewish town when they opened fire on his car, which then rolled into the police line killing one member. Even the subsequent Shin Bet inquiry couldn’t substantiate the false claim of Erdan and the Police.
Jafar Farah being led away under arrest - he had no difficulty walking whilst under arrest
The EU also called on Israel to cancel the deportation order on the Director of Human Rights Watch in Israel, Omar Shakir.  His ‘crime’ was having supported BDS as a student. Only in the ‘democratic’ State of Israel do people get deported because of their ideological views. As representative of HRW stated“Compiling dossiers on and deporting human rights defenders is a page out of the Russian or Egyptian security services’ playbook.”
None of this stopped Israel’s fascist Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beteinu, from attacking the head of the Joint List in the Knesset, the third largest bloc, which represents Israeli Arabs.  Every day that Ayman Odeh is not in prison is a failure of law enforcement,”  Apparently Odeh, who the Police fired a rubber bullet at during the demolition of Umm al-Hiran in January 2017, had cursed the Police watching over Jafar in the hospital.  In the minds of this racist thug (only in Israel can someone found guilty of assaulting a child – a Jewish child no less in the settlements - become a senior government minister) beating someone up and breaking their leg in custody is far less serious than cursing the police who carried out this act.
The greater significance of what happened in Haifa is that it shows that Israeli ‘democracy’ for its Arab citizens is non-existent. Israel is a security state and when military actions are undertaken against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, there is a consensus from the Zionist right to left, Likud to Yesh Atid and the Israeli Labour Party that you don’t query the Israeli military. Anyone who disturbs that consensus can expect to be violently dealt with. Gilad Erdan proclaimed, of course that Israel was ‘"the only democracy in the Middle East (and) does not need moralistic warning calls from a biased and obsessive body like the EU."
In a democracy of course the Police do not violently attack demonstrations, beating up the participants and then breaking their legs, to say nothing of keeping those detained in handcuffs over night.  However Israel is a democracy of a special kind.
Tony Greenstein

21 Israeli Arabs Arrested During Haifa Protest Against Gaza Killings

Dozens participated in the protest, in which many were carrying Palestinian flags; head of NGO advocating for Arab citizens' rights claims police attacked him while detained
Police gather for an attack
Noa Shpigel and Jack Khoury, May 19, 2018 7:42 PM
Twenty-one Israeli Arabs protesting the killing of Gazans were arrested Friday in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Dozens participated in a demonstration in the city's lower commercial area. Police said those arrested were suspected of public disorder offenses. Protesters held up Palestinian flags, according to reports.
The organizers of the demonstration, a group of young activists, decided to hold it without a permit. The call to protest was spread across social networks, and its exact location was given two hours before it started. Some activists were warned prior to the protest not to participate in it, according to the organizers. One of the activists was interrogated last week after a similar protest and was sent home for a three-day house arrest.
Police said it will let the demonstration "continue and allow the public to fulfill the right to protest and free speech, in accordance to the caveats and instructions of the law, but will prevent any attempt to disrupt the public order and endanger the safety and security of the public."
One of the activists who was detained during the protest is the CEO of the Mossawa Advocacy Center For Arab Citizens In Israel, Jafar Farah. Farah's relatives and Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, accused the police Saturday of breaking his leg while he was under arrest. The police said they cannot provide details about his medical condition, but that the case will be looked into.
In a video from the scene, Farah can be seen being escorted away from the protest by policemen. On Saturday, he was hospitalized in Haifa. Police said that "one of the detainees was taken to a checkup at the hospital after he claimed he was injured in his leg," and the Bnei Zion hospital in the city confirmed that Jafar was hospitalized but said that due to medical immunity, more details regarding his condition could not be disclosed.
Chairman of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, who met the detainees at the police station said
"police forces brutally oppressed the protest without any explanation. Netanyahu's government wants to silence any voice of resistance and dissent coming from here, to silence any voice that embarrasses it and its actions. I am full of appreciation for the protesters tonight and the immense sacrifice of the detainees. No police brutality will succeed in silencing us."
MK Aida Touma-Suleiman (a member of Hadash, one of the parties making up the Joint List) also spoke up against the arrests of participants in Friday's demonstration, saying that "the attempts to scare and silence people will fail again!"
"The violence exerted on protesters was unchecked. Interrogators continued to beat up the detainees after they were arrested without any explanation or justification. As a result, some of them were injured. Jafar Farah's leg was broken. All this happened while they postponed the detainees' meeting with a lawyer and withheld medical care from them, all in order to prevent the documentation of the recklessness with which the police behaved," she said.
MK Touma-Suleiman also called for the opening of an investigative committee that would look into the police's conduct in those arrests.
Jafar Farah getting arrested at a Haifa protestHaaretz/ YouTube
In a statement released in response to the arrests, Adalah said the police dealt with the demonstration “like a war.” Adalah accused the police of closing in on the demonstrators, beating and arresting those who attempted to escape, and denying detainees from meeting with lawyers for over an hour after their arrest.
“All the detainees were handcuffed for the entire night and kept sitting on the police station floor. Many of them experienced serious bruising to their wrists. Adalah considers these arrests to be illegal, as the police violence in Haifa was unprecedented and unprovoked,” the group wrote, calling for the release of the detainees.
Around 1,000 Gazans gathered Friday around the Israel-Gaza border for the eighth weekly protest in the "March of Return." Dozens got close to the fence, burning tires and threw rocks. Israel Defense Forces responded with tear gas and occasional gunfire. 56 were wounded in the protest, 25 of which by live gunfire, the Gaza Health Ministry reported.
The UN Human Rights Council on Friday called for an international inquiry into the state of human rights in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Jerusalem blasted the decision and the council as being biased against Israel.

Israeli Minister Blasts 'Biased and Obsessive EU Over Calls to investigate Police Brutality

European Union calls on Israel to investigate violence against Arab activist, urges Jerusalem to revoke deportation of local Human Rights Watch representative

Noa Landau
  May 22, 2018 12:49 PM
The European Union condemned the Israeli police's crackdown on Israeli Arab protesters in Haifa after they demonstrated against the high death toll at the border with Gaza on the day of the dedication of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. The demand prompted the anger of Israel's police minister.
As many as 21 activists were detained by police following the march in Haifa, including the head of the Mossawa Advocacy Center Jafar Farah, who was allegedly injured after being arrested by police.
In the statement, the EU also said it was important Israel conducts "a swift investigation into circumstances surrounding events last week in Haifa which appeared to result in serious injury of Jafar Farah, Director of the NGO Mossawa, the Advocacy Centre for Arab Citizens in Israel".
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan responded to the EU's demand, saying that "Israel, as the only democracy in the Middle East, does not need moralistic warning calls from a biased and obsessive body like the EU."
Erdan also called out what he called the "hypocritical campaign of persecution against Israel and the attempt to stain its good name. I suggest the EU not get involved in Israel's internal matters."
In the meantime, the police have questioned under caution the police officer involved in the arrest.
"The European Union continues to stand for an open and conducive environment for civil society, within Europe, in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory and around the world," the statement said.
The EU called on Israel to reverse its decision to revoke the work visa of Mr Omar Shakir, the local director of Human Rights Watch who was accused of anti-Israel activities and involvement in the BDS movement.
In a mildly worded statement issued on Tuesday, the EU says it "expects the Israeli authorities to reverse their decision, as otherwise Israel would join a very short list of countries which have barred entry to, or expelled, Human Rights Watch staff".
Omar Shakir, a U.S. citizen who previously worked for the New York-based rights group in Egypt and Syria, was given two weeks to leave the country when he was notified of the revocation of his visa on May 7. Fifteen Israeli human rights organizations immediately condemned the move at the time.
Criticizing the decision of Israel's Interior Ministry, Human Rights Watch quoted a representative of the organization as saying that “Compiling dossiers on and deporting human rights defenders is a page out of the Russian or Egyptian security services’ playbook.”
Interior Minister Arye Dery said the decision was based on a recommendation from the Strategic Affairs Ministry, which had collected information about Omar Shakir.
In March 2017, Israel passed an amendment to its Entry into Israel law, empowering the authorities to refuse entrance to those they claim to be activists in the BDS movement. Shakir, however, would be the first one to be deported rather than being denied entry to the country on the backdrop of the law.

Every Day That Lieberman Is Defense Minister

With their anti-Arab incitement, Avigdor Lieberman and his cabinet colleagues are helping to march Israel confidently into a Judeo-nationalist future

Haaretz Editorial   May 22, 2018 1:18 AM
 “Every day that Ayman Odeh is not in prison is a failure of law enforcement,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said of the chairman of the Joint List, the third largest bloc in the Knesset. Interior Minister Gilad Erdan — who lost no haste in pronouncing Yakub Abu al-Kian, who was shot dead by police in Umm al-Hiran, a terrorist — quickly joined in. He announced that he would ask the attorney general to launch a criminal investigation against Odeh, who cursed out a police officer at the hospital where Jafar Farah, the director of Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, was being treated while under arrest in connection to a protest in Haifa.
Lieberman — whose ongoing public career is the real failure of law enforcement — and Erdan — whose right-wing street cred has suffered as a result of what has been seen as his inadequate support for Benjamin Netanyahu during the investigations of the prime minister — illustrate just how grave the situation has become in Israel, which is marching confidently into a Judeo-nationalist future. These cynical politicians know that in today’s Israel, the easiest and safest way to drum up public support is through racist incitement, which has no place in a democratic country. That is how they chose to respond to a small demonstration of Arab citizens protesting the killing at the border of the Gaza Strip.
Erdan and Lieberman simply learned a lesson in dangerous cynicism from their leader. One of Netanyahu’s great successes is in persuading the majority of Israeli Jews that the country’s Arab citizens — who account for around 20 percent of the population — are a fifth column that must not under any circumstances express solidarity with their Palestinian brethren or criticize the government.
The frequent assertions according to which the Joint List’s lawmakers should limit themselves to civil matters, such as “infrastructure and education,” constitute political suppression and outright racism couched as rationalist argument. Citizens in a democratic state may and should engage with their national identity and are permitted to criticize the government and to demonstrate against it. Israel has a duty to find ways to contain the complex relationship of Israel’s Arab citizens to the state and it must demonstrate sensitivity, particularly during moments of escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The claims regarding the behavior of Odeh, who was prevented from visiting Farah, who was injured at the demonstration, fall into that category of racism and distortion of the truth. Given the brutal suppression by police of a demonstration by minority members, focusing on Odeh’s curses creates a false symmetry in the equation of violence. Odeh and the Arabs are the victims of the state, not the other way around.
Any citizen who seeks to live in a democracy should be disturbed by the wanton, racist incitement by Israel’s leadership against the Arabs.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Israel/Palestine is already one state –the only people who talk of 2 States are Zionists

The Death of the 2 State Illusion

Those Who Support 2 States

Support an Apartheid Solution

Another brilliant article from Israel’s premier journalist, Gideon Levy.  It can only be a matter of time, perhaps when Netanyahu has finally silenced the few remaining NGO’s and human rights organisations that attention will be turned to Levy and Amira Hass and the other journalists who aren’t prepared to play ball with Zionism.
There are some gullible fools and political cowards unfortunately in the Palestine solidarity movement, who still call for a 2 State solution  These naive souls, amongst which one must count the Executive of the Palestine Solidarity  Campaign, who sincerely believe that the Israeli government is going to agree to a separate Palestinian state.
It is difficult to know whether these people actually believe this, because it is always hard to get inside someone’s head.  The fact that Netanyahu stated at the last election that there would be no  2 state solution, the fact that there is no member of his ruling coalition who calls for a Palestinian state is irrelevant.  When Tzipi Hotoveli, Israel’s religious nut of a Deputy Foreign Minister and a member of Likud states that “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country,” she said. “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that.” what part of that I wonder do these people not understand?
The Israeli Labour Party also doesn’t believe in a 2 state solution.  Sure they pay lip service to it but the position as outlined by their leader Avi Gabbay is opposition to the dismantlement of the settlements.  The settlements have been so constructed as to prevent a 2 state solution and without their being dismantled any Palestinian state would have more holes in it than a Swiss cheese.
The Times of Israel of 2nd November 2017 summed up the situation perfectly: After pro-settlement comments, Gabbay reiterates support for two-state solution
Of course I would be less than honest if I didn’t confess to opposing 2 states on principle.  The root cause of the problem in Palestine is not two peoples fighting over one piece of land as liberal Zionists pretend but a settler colonial movement which displaced an indigenous population and erected a racial supremacists state as in South Africa.  A 2 state solution, even were it feasible, would be a monstrosity.  Israel would be even more racist and aggressive.  The Palestinian state, which would be a Bantustan in practice, would be a horrific police state whose main job was to police its own subjects in order to keep Israel satisfied, because there would be a massive power imbalance between them.  Indeed the Palestinian ‘state’ would be something like the quisling entity that the Palestinian Authority operates at the moment.
That is why I opposed, in 1993, the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO.  At the time I resigned from PSC over the issue when, at an emergency conference, two-thirds of the meeting agreed to support them. My views on them are best represented in a debate with Julia Bard of the Jewish Socialists Group in the pages of National Labour Briefing, A Mess of Potage in October 1993.
In the article I said that:
The Accord divides the Palestinian nation in two. It excludes not only _ those Palestinians living inside pre-1967 Israel, but the two million Palestinians who were exiled in 1948 and 1967. It explicitly rules out the right of return. Israel continues to control the Allenby bridge to Jordan.

Under the Accord Israel will retain control over land, water and resources. The Palestinians will collect their own garbage, control education and health and police themselves. In effect, the prison guards will be removed from inside to outside the prison walls.
Zionism was not founded in order to establish a state in half the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael).  It claims the whole land.  Indeed the biblical Land of Israel extends up to the Litani river in Lebanon and down to the Nile in Egypt and across to the Euphrates in Iraq, so there is quite a way to go.  The idea of stopping half way and handing over 22% of the territory of Mandate Palestine is absurd.
Of course there are some people who talk about 2 states who know full well that it will never be achieved.  Firstly Zionist organisations in this country, in particular Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement but also the Board of Deputies of British Jews support 2 states.  However these same organisations support all Israel’s repressive actions in the Territories.  They all support the Occupation wholeheartedly.  Yet unless there is sufficient opposition to the military occupation, there is no chance that Israel will unilaterally hand over part of the West Bank for a state. 
We saw that last week when the Board of Deputies and Labour Friends of Israel rushed to support the Israeli army's gunning down of 60 unarmed Palestinian demonstrators whilst blaming the violence, not on those who did the shooting but on the victims (for which Hamas is the all-purpose address).
It should therefore clear that these organisations are hypocritical liars.  They know that there will never be a 2 state solution as does the pro-Zionist Alliance for Workers Liberty, an allegedly Trotskyist organisation.  So why do they support 2 states?  Because that is the best way to undermine calls for the only possible solution to Israeli Apartheid, a democratic, secular state in the whole of Palestine.  Support for 2 States is also a way of opposing the call for equal rights for all those under Israeli rule, i.e. an end to the present Apartheid situation.
There are of course a second group, such as Jeremy Corbyn, who have no analysis worthy of the name and simply oppose Israeli repression and call for a 2 State Solution because they fondly imagine that the ‘international community’ will put pressure on Israel to conform.  However it should be obvious even to these people that the United States, which is in essence the ‘international community’ has no intention whatsoever of pressurising Israel to agree to a 2 state solution.

Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary also calls for 2 States.  I have no doubt whatsoever that she does not believe it is possible.  She is an ardent Zionist and a member of Labour Friends of Israel.  As such her posturing on the issue is entirely cynical.  She is above all a supporter of the Atlantic Alliance and the special relationship with the USA.  Israel is integral to that.
The reality today is that there is already one state.  As Gideon Levy says, there is no border between pre-1967 Israel and today’s Greater Israel.  The only question therefore is whether or not all those living under Israeli rule should be granted equal rights.  Those who oppose this are supporters of the present Apartheid situation.  Of course this will mean that there will no longer be a Jewish State.   That is not such a loss.  What is a Jewish state?  Does a state pray to god or put on tefillin (phylacteries)?  A Jewish state simply means a state where Jews have more rights than non-Jews.  It is a Jewish supremacist state and no one who calls themselves a socialist should have anything to do with such a concept.
Tony Greenstein 
A debate on the Oslo Accords in Labour Briefing in October 1993 with the Jewish Socialist's Julia Bard
Calling Israel a democracy when less than half its subjects live in freedom is a propaganda trick that has worked better than one would have thought
Gideon Levy   Apr 15, 2018 
FILE PHOTO: Arrests at the Gaza border, 2007AP
With the approach this week of celebrations marking Israel’s 70th birthday, 12 million people live in the country. Some of them are citizens, some are residents, some are detainees, and all are subjects. Everyone’s fate has been determined by the country’s governing institutions.

On this Independence Day, we have to acknowledge that the country’s genuine borders are the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Jordan River to the east, including not only the West Bank but also the Gaza Strip. Israel controls all this territory and everyone who lives there through various and sundry means, even if from a legal standpoint there’s no mention of this.

Forget the law. Israel long ago abandoned it. In practice it rules Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the case of Gaza, it suffices with control from the outside, which is more convenient. On Israel’s 70th birthday, the time has come to recognize that the occupation of the territories in 1967 is not temporary. It was never meant to be and never will be. The 1967 border has been erased. The distinction between 1948 and 1967 doesn’t exist.
It was only in the state’s first 19 years, a blink of an eye from a historical perspective, that the country existed without the territories. For the balance of its history, the occupation has been an inseparable part of it, its character, its government, its essence, its DNA. What existed here for a brief time and is gone will not be coming back.

It’s critical that we rip the cover off the alleged transience of the occupation, which for some Israelis has been a sweet delusion and for others a dangerous threat. There is an abyss dividing a temporary occupation and a permanent one.

In its early years, Israel was small in area and population, but its youth, like everyone’s youth, quickly passed. For most of its existence, Israel hasn’t resembled the girl we remember. Its days as a small country with a Jewish majority have passed and the clock can’t be turned back. It’s no longer the small woman of our dreams. It’s the big woman of our nightmares.

On Israel’s 70th birthday, the time has come to recognize that Israel is a binational state under whose control two peoples live, equal in size. It maintains separate governing systems for them: a democratic one for Jews, discrimination for Israeli Arabs, and dictatorship for Palestinians. It’s not an equal democracy for all its subjects, meaning, of course, that it’s not a democracy.

There’s no such democracy where what’s allowed for one people isn’t for another. Therefore, on its 70th anniversary, Israel being called a democracy when fewer than half its subjects live in freedom is nothing but a propaganda trick that has worked to a greater extent than one would have thought.

It’s not only Israelis who deny and repress this reality. It’s more convenient for the Western world, too, to look at Israel’s more enlightened side, to ignore its dark side and continue to call it a democracy. After all, in the West, what country hasn’t also had such a colonialist back yard? And who could really confront Israel, a country that rose from the ashes?

Israel is therefore the darling of the West, despite the hollow lip service to the Palestinians, and so the West too has embraced the excuse of the occupation’s temporary nature: “Just wait, wait a little longer for the ‘peace process’ and the Israelis will be pulling out of the territories.” So it’s important that the lie of the transience of the occupation be exposed.

If the occupation isn’t temporary, it would be clear that Israel isn’t a democracy but rather an apartheid state par excellence. Two peoples and two systems of rights. That’s was apartheid looks like, even if it hides behind excuses ranging from temporariness to security grounds, from the right to the land to the concept of the chosen people, including the divine promise and messianic redemption.

These excuses don’t change the picture. In South Africa, no doubt an apartheid state, the regime invoked similar excuses to justify its existence. No one bought them. But with Israel there actually are buyers. One difference between South Africa and Israel is that Israel is stronger, more sophisticated and better connected to the world. And it has done a better job obscuring its apartheid.

It’s big, strong and nondemocratic. Israel oppresses the Palestinians through various means with one result: There isn’t a single free Palestinian in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Their fate is determined by the Israeli government in Jerusalem and the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, and they have no rights at either one. Is this not apartheid? Is it democracy?

And now on to the showy and proud Independence Day ceremonies planned by Culture Minister Miri Regev. Let’s not rain on her parade.