Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘myths

Is lacking a National identity such a big deal?

Can a national calamity restitute the fundamental spirit for a union among the sectarian communities?

If almost all national identities everywhere were invariably built and sustained on myths, fabricated historical falsehood, faked stories and adventurer wars decided by the elite “old money”, the oligarch and feudal warlords, the religious clerics and dogmatic hubris…. Do we need to unite under such an identity?

What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil rights, human rights, sustainable environment, equitable and fair election laws and durable regulations,…

What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil marriage, linked to fast communication technologies, access to social platformsfreedom of expression, laws not discriminating among genders, race, color…, versatile opportunities to jobs and to applying our expertise, affordable education system, national health system…

What we need is to be unified under the banners of caring for our elderly, hospice facilities, decent retirement packages…

What we need is to unify against any State invading our borders, bombing our infrastructure, humiliating us, destabilizing our society and economy, and blocking our daily trade and communication with neighboring countries.

What we need is to unify against any political current that has proven to work against democratic representations, imposing racial demagoguery on the Silent Majority, and disseminating sectarian political ideology.

What identity are we claiming?  

Can you recall any current sustainable Nation that has gained a forced “identity”, without a strong army, multiple defeats, and suffered millions of soldiers fallen in battlefields, and million of peasants witnessing their home and crops burned, for fictitious claims?

Youth and the poorer classes were sacrificed to institute a Nation and were never taken seriously. Why? Because they are viewed as just meat for the canon and a burden to a stable political system

Even a “unified” language in any claimed “nation” was Not feasible, barely a century ago, before the State invested heavily for a main official language.

Restricted communities feel comfortable within their customs, tradition and slang, and only the adventurous soul step out of the boundaries to transfer to urban metropolis and try to mingle with diverse life-styles and working habit.

There is no way that the administration and control of individual status be relegated to the religious sects. A unified Nation cannot be sustainable if the religious sects are given the privilege to administer the citizens individual status, from birth, marriage and death.

Note: Only a statewide program budget to spread economic opportunities to all the communities and districts can the people envision a prospect for a sustained nation.

Without the economic fundamentals, even any effort to adopt a public education and public health system everywhere in the nation will be hard to apply and let the people feel they belong to a worth it Nation.

 

When is the next holocaust?

As if these kinds genocide didn’t take place several times since WW2

The Horrors in this century: atomic bombs, chemical weapons used in Korea, China, Viet Nam, Iraq.

Illegal cluster bombs and missiles, depleted Uranium, phosphorous bombs, biological weapons…

Mass transfer of people, in Myanmar, the Palestinians, Iraq, Syria, former Yugoslavia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Congo, Rwanda, Tibet… And in China from 1950 to 1980 and still being applied occasionally to the millions of Chinese

Shameful refugee camps strewn everywhere, and refugees converging from everywhere for food, water and makeshift shelter… Converging from remote countries in desert lands, jungles, seas… Crossing unwelcomed closed borders…

Sea refugees, drowning in seas, refused access to ports…

Note: Re-edit of “Otherwise, the next holocaust is imminent.  April 9, 2010

Otherwise, the next holocaust is imminent; (Apr. 9, 2010)

A month ago, I saw an old Japanese movie “The seven samurais”.

You have this village of rice growers experiencing yearly raids by a gang of 40 robbers as the crop is harvested and stored.

The village leaders decided this year to hire a few samurais to defend the village on the expected date of the raid. The leader suggested hiring 4 samurais, to be fed expensive rice though he knew perfectly well that the village needs at least seven samurais: the leader wanted to lure the village into accepting this proposition to circumvent their miserly attitude.

The first hired samurai was to select the other six samurais but he found only five willing to die for just food and lodging, just to defend “despicable” land growers.

The village idiot let the secret to the samurais that the village has hidden plenty of food and expensive condiment and they are just acting poor and starving.

The samurais trained and disciplined the villagers to take arms and defend the village; the samurais were the squad leaders at the major entrances of the village.

As the samurais arrived to the village all young girls were rounded up and hidden out of sight. Males believed that girls will instantly fall in love with samurais and then flee the village at the first occasion.

The main excuse of the village males was that customs of class distinctions forbade land growers into marrying with noble men.

Finally, the samurais successfully defended the village and 5 of them died in that endeavor.

The next day, the villagers were back growing rice and harvesting fields as a routine way of life.  The leader of the surviving samurai said to the young samurai in training: “We lost again. Peasants won.”

Elite classes claim their privileges as emanating from a God who divided mankind into two major groups: the governing and the slave classes.

In aristocratic Europe of the last century elite classes resented many religious sects, especially those living separated from the society or in ghettos.

(It is true today and for good reasons: they behave as cults, or the “preferred elite” to their God)

the Jews proclaimed to be the select race in face of the European elite classes who considered themselves the select class.

Pogroms after pogroms and the Jews refused to learn and relent on their myths on the ground that it was this myth that kept them united over the years.

Then pogrom was elevated to holocaust:  Now it was a whole nation claiming to be the select and purest race.

Nazi propaganda convinced most Germans that they are the purest race of all and must dominate.

There is no doubt in my mind that most Germans implicitly knew of the holocaust of Jews and other lower “races” and that genocide was at work: they opted to play it dumb as long as they were winning battles after battles.

I also believe that Nazi Germany didn’t care for the Jews in the “Arabic world”: they didn’t exhibit any threat to the purity of their race; it was the Jews in Europe, citizens in European States, which were to be exterminated.

Either the myth or the de facto power was to win in this race among select races!

The Jews still refused to learn and relent after this first terrible holocaust.

After the war, the US and European States decided that the best way to stop the resumption of pogroms in their elitist culture was to ship the Jews to Palestine and create a State for them.

The European elite classes knew that pogroms will recur since they staunchly clanged to the ideology of being the crème of the crème.  Europe aristocrats and elite classes sent the Jews packing to Palestine with plenty of financing, arms. and political support in the UN.

For over 60 years, Israel has been emulating the western mentality of being “the select people much better of the neighboring masses.”

The Palestinians, consistently labeled “Arabs” by the Zionist propaganda, have been humiliated as fit only for labor work.

Millions of Palestinians have been massacred and their descendants want revenge.

Millions of Palestinians have been chased out of their villages and towns to live in ghettos of camps and they want revenge and that the UN applies the right of return voted on in 1948.

Ironically, Israel is still pursuing “transfer” policies with the tacit agreement of the US and many European States.

After 60 years of establishing this implanted colonial State of Israel, now the “orthodox” Jews want Israel to be of pure Jews.

Mosques and churches have to be demolished and the Pharisee laws applied over the land.

The Western States are tired of their monster Frankenstein creation.

The Moslem/Arab World is running out of patience.

Secular Jews in Israel have got to get organized and united and win the next election!

Otherwise, the next holocaust is imminent.

Part 10. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

House demolition is not a new phenomenon in Palestine. As with many of the more barbaric methods of collective punishment used by Israel since 1948, it was first conceived and exercised by the British Mandatory government during the Great Arab Revolt of 1936–39.

This was the first Palestinian uprising against the pro-Zionist policy of the British Mandate, and it took the British army three years to quell it. In the process, they demolished around two thousand houses during the various collective punishments meted out to the local population.

Israel demolished houses from almost the first day of its military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The army blew up hundreds of homes every year in response to various acts undertaken by individual family members.

From minor violations of military rule to participation in violent acts against the occupation, the Israelis were quick to send in their bulldozers to wipe out not only a physical building but also a focus of life and existence. In the greater Jerusalem area (as inside Israel) demolition was also a punishment for the unlicensed extension of an existing house or the failure to pay bills.

Another form of collective punishment that has recently returned to the Israeli repertoire is that ofblocking up houses. Imagine that all the doors and windows in your house are blocked by cement, mortar, and stones, so you can’t get back in or retrieve anything you failed to take out in time. I have looked hard in my history books to find another example, but found no evidence of such a callous measure being practiced elsewhere.

Crushing Palestinian Resistance Is Not Democratic

Finally, under the “enlightened occupation,” settlers have been allowed to form vigilante gangs to harass people and destroy their property. These gangs have changed their approach over the years.

During the 1980s, they used actual terror — from wounding Palestinian leaders (one of them lost his legs in such an attack), to contemplating blowing up the mosques on Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.

In this century, they have engaged in the daily harassment of Palestinians: uprooting their trees, destroying their yields, and shooting randomly at their homes and vehicles. Since 2000, there have been at least one hundred such attacks reported per month in some areas such as Hebron, where the five hundred settlers, with the silent collaboration of the Israeli army, harassed the locals living nearby in an even more brutal way.

From the very beginning of the occupation then, the Palestinians were given two options: accept the reality of permanent incarceration in a mega-prison for a very long time, or risk the might of the strongest army in the Middle East. When the Palestinians did resist — as they did in 1987, 2000, 2006, 2012, 2014, and 2016 — they were targeted as soldiers and units of a conventional army. Thus, villages and towns were bombed as if they were military bases and the unarmed civilian population was shot at as if it was an army on the battlefield.

Today we know too much about life under occupation, before and after Oslo, to take seriously the claim that nonresistance will ensure less oppression. The arrests without trial, as experienced by so many over the years; the demolition of thousands of houses; the killing and wounding of the innocent; the drainage of water wells — these are all testimony to one of the harshest contemporary regimes of our times.

Amnesty International annually documents in a very comprehensive way the nature of the occupation. The following is from their 2015 report:

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli forces committed unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians, including children, and detained thousands of Palestinians who protested against or otherwise opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention. Torture and other ill-treatment remained rife and were committed with impunity.

The authorities continued to promote illegal settlements in the West Bank, and severely restricted Palestinians’ freedom of movement, further tightening restrictions amid an escalation of violence from October, which included attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinians and apparent extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces. Israeli settlers in the West Bank attacked Palestinians and their property with virtual impunity. The Gaza Strip remained under an Israeli military blockade that imposed collective punishment on its inhabitants. The authorities continued to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank and inside Israel, particularly in Bedouin villages in the Negev/Naqab region, forcibly evicting their residents.

Let’s take this in stages. Firstly, assassinations — what Amnesty’s report calls “unlawful killings”: about fifteen thousand Palestinians have been killed “unlawfully” by Israel since 1967. Among them were two thousand children.

 

Imprisoning Palestinians Without Trial Is Not Democratic

Another feature of the “enlightened occupation” is imprisonment without trial. Every fifth Palestinian in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has undergone such an experience.

It is interesting to compare this Israeli practice with similar American policies in the past and the present, as critics of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement claim that US practices are far worse. In fact, the worst American example was the imprisonment without trial of one hundred thousand Japanese citizens during World War II, with thirty thousand later detained under the so-called “war on terror.”

Neither of these numbers comes even close to the number of Palestinians who have experienced such a process: including the very young, the old, as well as the long-term incarcerated.

Arrest without trial is a traumatic experience. Not knowing the charges against you, having no contact with a lawyer and hardly any contact with your family are only some of the concerns that will affect you as a prisoner. More brutally, many of these arrests are used as means to pressure people into collaboration. Spreading rumors or shaming people for their alleged or real sexual orientation are also frequently used as methods for leveraging complicity.

As for torture, the reliable website Middle East Monitor published a harrowing article describing the two hundred methods used by the Israelis to torture Palestinians. The list is based on a UN report and a report from the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Among other methods it includes beatings, chaining prisoners to doors or chairs for hours, pouring cold and hot water on them, pulling fingers apart, and twisting testicles.

Israel Is Not a Democracy

What we must challenge here, therefore, is not only Israel’s claim to be maintaining an enlightened occupation but also its pretense to being a democracy. Such behavior towards millions of people under its rule gives the lie to such political chicanery.

However, although large sections of civil societies throughout the world deny Israel its pretense to democracy, their political elites, for a variety of reasons, still treat it as a member of the exclusive club of democratic states. In many ways, the popularity of the BDS movement reflects the frustrations of those societies with their governments’ policies towards Israel.

For most Israelis these counterarguments are irrelevant at best and malicious at worst. The Israeli state clings to the view that it is a benevolent occupier. The argument for “enlightened occupation” proposes that, according to the average Jewish citizen in Israel, the Palestinians are much better off under occupation and they have no reason in the world to resist it, let alone by force. If you are a noncritical supporter of Israel abroad, you accept these assumptions as well.

There are, however, sections of Israeli society that do recognize the validity of some of the claims made here. In the 1990s, with various degrees of conviction, a significant number of Jewish academics, journalists, and artists voiced their doubts about the definition of Israel as a democracy.

It takes some courage to challenge the foundational myths of one’s own society and state. This is why quite a few of them later retreated from this brave position and returned to toeing the general line.

Nevertheless, for a while during the last decade of the last century, they produced works that challenged the assumption of a democratic Israel. They portrayed Israel as belonging to a different community: that of the nondemocratic nations. One of them, the geographer Oren Yiftachel from Ben-Gurion University, depicted Israel as an ethnocracy, a regime governing a mixed ethnic state with a legal and formal preference for one ethnic group over all the others. Others went further, labeling Israel an apartheid state or a settler-colonial state.

In short, whatever description these critical scholars offered, “democracy” was not among them.

Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and socialist activist. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter, director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. Most recently, he is the author of Ten Myths About Israel.

This article was originally published by “Jacobin 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Richard Boyd Barrett | Israeli slaughter of Palestinian protestors was cold-blooded murder

300 prominent global figures accuse Israel of committing ‘war crimes’

Join the Discussion

Part 10. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is Not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Israel Is Not a Democracy

What we must challenge here, therefore, is not only Israel’s claim to be maintaining an enlightened occupation but also its pretense to being a democracy.

Such behavior towards millions of people under its rule gives the lie to such political chicanery.

Although large sections of civil societies throughout the world deny Israel its pretense to democracy, their political elites, for a variety of reasons, still treat it as a member of the exclusive club of democratic states.

In many ways, the popularity of the BDS movement reflects the frustrations of those societies with their governments’ policies towards Israel.

(BDS movement for sanctioning Israel settlement economy on occupied land and divesting in Israeli activities that promote apartheid policies and programs)

For most Israelis these counterarguments are irrelevant at best and malicious at worst. The Israeli state clings to the view that it is a benevolent occupier.

The argument for “enlightened occupation” proposes that, according to the average Jewish citizen in Israel, the Palestinians are much better off under occupation and they have no reason in the world to resist it, let alone by force.

(That’s the same propaganda that mandated powers of France, England, USA disseminated during their occupation of lands)

If you are a noncritical supporter of Israel abroad, you accept these assumptions as well.

There are, however, sections of Israeli society that do recognize the validity of some of the claims made here. In the 1990s, with various degrees of conviction, a significant number of Jewish academics, journalists, and artists voiced their doubts about the definition of Israel as a democracy.

It takes some courage to challenge the foundational myths of one’s own society and state. This is why quite a few of them later retreated from this brave position and returned to toeing the general line.

Nevertheless, for a while during the last decade of the last century, they produced works that challenged the assumption of a democratic Israel.

They portrayed Israel as belonging to a different community: that of the nondemocratic nations. One of them, the geographer Oren Yiftachel from Ben-Gurion University, depicted Israel as an ethnocracy, a regime governing a mixed ethnic state with a legal and formal preference for one ethnic group over all the others. Others went further, labeling Israel an apartheid state or a settler-colonial state.

(I go even further to state that Israel is an existential enemy to the Middle-East people because it was created to block daily trade and connections among the neighboring countries: This the purpose of the Sykes-Picot strategic dismemberment of the region)

In short, whatever description these critical scholars offered, “democracy” was not among them.

Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and socialist activist. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter, director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. Most recently, he is the author of Ten Myths About Israel.

This article was originally published by “Jacobin 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

======

Richard Boyd Barrett | Israeli slaughter of Palestinian protestors was cold-blooded murder

300 prominent global figures accuse Israel of committing ‘war crimes’

Myths of profiles of the gun-toting students in USA

3363211kinke_20001012_11960.jpg

Getty Images  /  Getty Images

Students often communicate their plans before attacks.
Kip Kinkel wrote in his journal, “Hate drives me. … I am so full of rage. … Everyone is against me. … As soon as my hope is gone, people die.”
After he was expelled for bringing a gun to school in Springfield, Ore., the 15-year-old killed his parents, then two students in the school cafeteria, on May 21, 1998.

By Bill Dedman. Investigative reporter. msnbc.com. updated 10/10/2007 3:44:58 PM ET

    The profile of the gun-toting student in a trench coat is just one of the myths about the rare but murderous attacks in the nation’s schools.

    Here are 10 myths about school shootings, compiled by MSNBC.com from a 2002 study by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education.

    The researchers studied case files and other primary sources for 37 attacks by current or former students, and also interviewed 10 of the perpetrators.

    Myth No. 1. “He didn’t fit the profile.”

    In fact, there is no profile. “There is no accurate or useful ‘profile’ of students who engaged in targeted school violence,” the researchers found.

    The stereotypes of teens in Goth makeup or other types of dress are not useful in preventing attacks. Just as in other areas of security — workplace violence, airplane hijacking, even presidential assassination — too many innocent students will fit any profile you can come up with, and too many attackers will not.

    “The demographic, personality, school history, and social characteristics of the attackers varied substantially,” the report said.

    Attackers were of all races and family situations, with academic achievement ranging from failing to excellent.

    Most, but not all, have been male, though that fact alone doesn’t help an adult rule in or out someone as dangerous.

    Myth No. 2. “He just snapped.”

    Rarely were incidents of school violence sudden, impulsive acts.

    Attackers do not “just snap,” but progress from forming an idea, to planning an attack, to gathering weapons. This process can happen quickly, but sometimes the planning or gathering weapons are discoverable.

    Although the researchers point out that there is no “type of student” who is likely to commit such violence, there are “types of behaviors” that are common to planning or carrying out the attacks. This pattern, they say, gives some hope of intervening before an attack.

    Myth No. 3. “No one knew.”

    Before most of the attacks, someone else knew about the idea or the plan.

    “In most cases, those who knew were other kids: friends, schoolmates, siblings and others. However, this information rarely made its way to an adult.”

    Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused concern or indicated a need for help.

    Myth No. 4. “He hadn’t threatened anyone.”

    Too much emphasis is placed on threats. Most attackers did not threaten anyone explicitly (“I’m going to kill the principal”), and most threateners don’t ever attack anyone.

    But less explicit words can reveal an intention, the researchers say. A child who talks of bringing a gun to school, or being angry at teachers or classmates, can pose a threat, whether or not an explicit threat is made.

    Myth No. 5. “He was a loner.”

    In many cases, students were considered in the mainstream of the student population and were active in sports, school clubs or other activities.

    Only one-quarter of the students hung out with a group of students considered to be part of a “fringe group.”

    Myth No. 6. “He was crazy.”

    Only one-third of the attackers had ever been seen by a mental health professional, and only one-fifth had been diagnosed with a mental disorder.

    Substance abuse problems were also not prevalent.

    “However, most attackers showed some history of suicidal attempts or thoughts, or a history of feeling extreme depression or desperation.”

    Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures.

    (Students in Japan have much higher incidents of Not coping with feeling of failure, but they don’t go around and shoot  people: they just commit suicide. Weapons are Not for sale)

    Myth No. 7. “If only we’d had a SWAT team or metal detectors.”

    Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were over well before a SWAT team could have arrived.  Metal detectors have not deterred students who were committed to killing themselves and others.

    Myth No. 8. “He’d never touched a gun.”

    Most attackers had access to weapons, and had used them prior to the attack. Most of the attackers acquired their guns from home. (One of their parents or close relatives initiated them to shoot)

    Myth No. 9. “We did everything we could to help him.”

    “Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others prior to the attack,” and said they had tried without success to get someone to intervene. Administrators and teachers were targeted in more than half the incidents. (Responses were mostly lukewarm?)

    Myth No. 10. “School violence is rampant.”

    It may seem so, with media attention focused on a spate of school shootings. In fact, school shootings are extremely rare.

    Even including the more common violence that is gang-related or dispute-related, only 12 to 20 homicides a year occur in the 100,000 schools in the U.S.

    In general, school assaults and other violence have dropped by nearly half in the past decade. (Because many more are dropping out of school?

    Part 3. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

    No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

    Israeli Land Policy Is Not Democratic

    By lan Pappe

    From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

    June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

    In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

    Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

    Israeli Land Policy Is Not Democratic

    The claim to being a democracy is also questionable when one examines the budgetary policy surrounding the land question.

    Since 1948, Palestinian local councils and municipalities have received far less funding than their Jewish counterparts. The shortage of land, coupled with the scarcity of employment opportunities, creates an abnormal socioeconomic reality.

    For example, the most affluent Palestinian community, the village of Me’ilya in the upper Galilee, is still worse off than the poorest Jewish development town in the Negev.

    In 2011, the Jerusalem Post reported that “average Jewish income was 40 percent to 60% higher than average “Arab” (meaning Palestinian) income between the years 1997 to 2009.”

    Today more than 90% of the land is owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

    Landowners are not allowed to engage in transactions with non-Jewish citizens, and public land is prioritized for the use of national projects, which means that new Jewish settlements are being built while there are hardly any new Palestinian settlements.

    Thus, the biggest Palestinian city, Nazareth, despite the tripling of its population since 1948, has not expanded one square kilometer, whereas the development town built above it, Upper Nazareth, has tripled in size, on land expropriated from Palestinian landowners.

    Further examples of this policy can be found in Palestinian villages throughout Galilee, revealing the same story: how they have been downsized by 40%, sometimes even 60 percent, since 1948, and how new Jewish settlements have been built on expropriated land.

    Elsewhere this has initiated full-blown attempts at “Judaization.

    After 1967, the Israeli government became concerned about the lack of Jews living in the north and south of the state and so planned to increase the population in those areas. Such a demographic change necessitated the confiscation of Palestinian land for the building of Jewish settlements.

    Worse was the exclusion of Palestinian citizens from these settlements.

    This blunt violation of a citizen’s right to live wherever he or she wishes continues today, and all efforts by human rights NGOs in Israel to challenge this apartheid have so far ended in total failure.

    The Supreme Court in Israel has only been able to question the legality of this policy in a few individual cases, but not in principle.

    Imagine if in the United Kingdom or the United States, Jewish citizens, or Catholics for that matter, were barred by law from living in certain villages, neighborhoods, or maybe whole towns? How can such a situation be reconciled with the notion of democracy?

    Note: Israel has been committed to incremental genocide against Palestinians, as USA did with their Indians. It turned out that Palestinians are the toughest of all people.

    Lately, after Trump pronouncement on Jerusalem, every Friday, thousands march to the borders in Gaza demanding their right to return Home

    Part 1. Ten Myths on Israel: First, Not a Democratic State (by Ian Pappe)

    No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

    By lan Pappe

    From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

    June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

    In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

    Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

    In this view, the war corrupted an honest and hardworking society by offering easy money in the occupied territories, allowing messianic groups to enter Israeli politics, and above all else, turning Israel into an occupying and oppressive entity in the new territories.

    The myth that a democratic Israel ran into trouble in 1967 but still remained a democracy is propagated even by some notable Palestinian and pro-Palestinian scholars — but it has no historical foundation.

    Israel Before 1967 Was Not a Democracy

    Before 1967, Israel definitely could not have been depicted as a democracy.

    As we have seen in previous chapters, the state subjected one-fifth of its citizenship to military rule based on draconian British Mandatory emergency regulations that denied the Palestinians any basic human or civil rights. (Administrative detention: 60% of Palestinian youths experienced these detentions to quell their dignity)

    Local military governors were the absolute rulers of the lives of these citizens: they could devise special laws for them, destroy their houses and livelihoods, and send them to jail whenever they felt like it.

    Only in the late 1950’s did a strong Jewish opposition to these abuses emerge, which eventually eased the pressure on the Palestinian citizens.

    For the Palestinians who lived in prewar Israel and those who lived in the post-1967 West Bank and the Gaza Strip, this regime allowed even the lowest-ranking soldier in the IDF to rule, and ruin, their lives.

    The Palestinians were helpless if such a solider, or his unit or commander, decided to demolish their homes, or hold them for hours at a checkpoint, or incarcerate them without trial. There was nothing they could do.

    At every moment from 1948 until today, there had been some group of Palestinians undergoing such an experience.

    The first group to suffer under such a yoke was the Palestinian minority inside Israel.

    It began in the first two years of statehood when they were pushed into ghettos, such as the Haifa Palestinian community living on the Carmel mountain, or expelled from the towns they had inhabited for decades, such as Safad.

    In the case of Isdud, the whole population was expelled to the Gaza Strip. (2/3 rd of Palestinians in Gaza are transferred Palestinians)

    In the countryside, the situation was even worse.

    The various Kibbutz movements coveted Palestinian villages on fertile land. This included the socialist Kibbutzim, Hashomer Ha-Zair, which was allegedly committed to binational solidarity.

    Long after the fighting of 1948 had subsided, villagers in Ghabsiyyeh, Iqrit, Birim, Qaidta, Zaytun, and many others, were tricked into leaving their homes for a period of two weeks, the army claiming it needed their lands for training, only to find out on their return that their villages had been wiped out or handed to someone else.

    This state of military terror is exemplified by the Kafr Qasim massacre of October 1956, when, on the eve of the Sinai operation, 49 Palestinian citizens were killed by the Israeli army. The authorities alleged that they were late returning home from work in the fields when a curfew had been imposed on the village. This was not the real reason, however. (Britain PM told Israel to trod on the Palestinians on their advance to Suez Canal)

    Later proofs show that Israel had seriously considered the expulsion of Palestinians from the whole area called the Wadi Ara and the Triangle in which the village sat.

    These two areas — the first a valley connecting Afula in the east and Hadera on the Mediterranean coast; the second expanding the eastern hinterland of Jerusalem — were annexed to Israel under the terms of the 1949 armistice agreement with Jordan.

    As we have seen, additional territory was always welcomed by Israel, but an increase in the Palestinian population was not.

    Thus, at every juncture, when the state of Israel expanded, it looked for ways to restrict the Palestinian population in the recently annexed areas.

    Operation “Hafarfert” (“mole”) was the code name of a set of proposals for the expulsion of Palestinians when a new war broke out with the Arab world. Many scholars today now think that the 1956 massacre was a practice run to see if the people in the area could be intimidated to leave. (But they already did practice runs in 1948 in Deir Yassin)

    The perpetrators of the massacre were brought to trial thanks to the diligence and tenacity of two members of the Knesset: Tawaq Tubi from the Communist Party and Latif Dori of the Left Zionist party Mapam.

    However, the commanders responsible for the area, and the unit itself that committed the crime, were let off very lightly, receiving merely small fines. This was further proof that the army was allowed to get away with murder in the occupied territories.

    Systematic cruelty does not only show its face in a major event like a massacre. The worst atrocities can also be found in the regime’s daily, mundane presence.

    Palestinians in Israel still do not talk much about that pre-1967 period, and the documents of that time do not reveal the full picture. Surprisingly, it is in poetry that we find an indication of what it was like to live under military rule.

    Natan Alterman was one of the most famous and important poets of his generation. He had a weekly column, called “The Seventh Column,” in which he commented on events he had read or heard about.

    Sometimes he would omit details about the date or even the location of the event, but would give the reader just enough information to understand what he was referring to. He often expressed his attacks in poetic form:

    “The news appeared briefly for two days, and disappeared. And no one seems to care, and no one seems to know. In the far away village of Um al-Fahem,

    Children — should I say citizens of the state — played in the mud

    And one of them seemed suspicious to one of our brave soldiers who shouted at him: Stop!
    An order is an order
    An order is an order, but the foolish boy did not stand, He ran away

    So our brave soldier shot, no wonder

    And hit and killed the boy.
    And no one talked about it.”

    On one occasion he wrote a poem about two Palestinian citizens who were shot in Wadi Ara.

    In another instance, he told the story of a very ill Palestinian woman who was expelled with her two children, aged three and six, with no explanation, and sent across the River Jordan. When she tried to return, she and her children were arrested and put into a Nazareth jail.

    Alterman hoped that his poem about the mother would move hearts and minds, or at least elicit some official response. However, he wrote a week later:

    “And this writer assumed wrongly
    That either the story would be denied or explained But nothing, not a word.”

    There is further evidence that Israel was not a democracy prior to 1967. The state pursued a shoot-to-kill policy towards refugees trying to retrieve their land, crops, and husbandry, and staged a colonial war to topple Nasser’s regime in Egypt.

    Its security forces were also trigger happy, killing more than fifty Palestinian citizens during the period from 1948–1967.

    Shattering the myths of Lebanese elections

    The results of this supposed democratic election go beyond confirming Hezbollah’s hegemony over the Lebanese state.
    Sunday 13/05/2018

    Following a 9-year electoral hiatus, (the deputies extended their tenure 5 more years) many Lebanese should have been extremely keen to cast votes in the May 6 parliamentary elections — it just seemed so. (At best 40% turnout)

    Much of the fuss over this supposedly routine activity was because of a new proportional election law, which, theoretically, offered voters a chance to either dislodge Lebanon’s political elite or challenge their hegemony.

    The anticipated excitement never made it as far as Election Day.

    Voter turnout was about 45% nationwide (officially), including a measly 34% in Beirut. The results, given revisions to the law and the gerrymandering that went into it, were hardly unexpected.

    Most of the traditional political parties retained their share of seats, (particularly the main civil war militia/mafia leaders) although some factions gained seats in districts the previous majoritarian electoral law had barred them from representing.

    The main casualty of the election was Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who saw his Future Movement bloc reduced from 33 to 21 seats, as the distinctly underwhelming Sunni turnout allowed Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian Sunni allies to win five seats in Beirut, a traditional Hariri stronghold. (Actually, without major fraud in district of Beirut#2, the Al Moustakbal would have witnessed less seats)

    More important, Hezbollah, with its Shia ally the Amal Movement, secured most of the Shia seats in parliament and helped its allies challenge the hegemony of the Future Movement in the Sunni community.

    Hariri’s electoral debacle served as a painful reminder of the bargain he struck with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and the consequent abandonment of his father’s legacy he demonstrated by turning his back on traditional allies Samir Geagea and Walid Jumblatt.

    (Apparently, many Lebanese authors have Alzheimer syndrome: Samir Geagea was in prison and was Not released by Parliamentary vote until Rafic Hariri assassination. In any case, Rafic never alienated the Syrian regime that brought him to power)

    Above all, Hariri and his Future Movement failed to address key grievances of their constituency, which had sent alarming messages in the latest municipal elections by essentially boycotting the vote.

    (It seems this is a wide-spread propaganda that “intellectuals” or Talking Heads love to repeat. They want to forget that at least 400,000 Lebanese immigrants in the Gulf failed to show up for voting: sort no one cared to pay for their flying ticket))

    In addition to Hezbollah, the other two victorious parties were the Free Patriotic Movement led by Aoun’s son-in-law and Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and the Lebanese Forces.

    (Jubran Bassil, head of the Al Tayyar Al Watani secured a block of 29 deputies (as large as Hezbollah and Nabih Berry combined). The Lebanese Forces surpassed expectations with 15 seats, one of which is deep in the heart of Hezbollah-controlled area in eastern Lebanon.

    Yet the results of this supposed democratic election go beyond confirming Hezbollah’s hegemony over the Lebanese state. They lay to rest some myths and misconceptions about reforming the archaic Lebanese political system.

    Contrary to the expectations of the political factions, which approved this diabolical electoral law, the proportional electoral system was not well received by most of the Lebanese. (Well received after its application?)

    For evidence, there is the appalling turnout. Realistically, Lebanese feel uneasy voting for a locked list with one preferential voting option, something that would entail them publicly endorsing one faction over the other. (Sort they prefer to select themselves their candidates and allow more headaches for voters and distribution of alternative lists that are Not official as in “Majority takes All seats”?)

    Interestingly, there is something very non-Lebanese about this “proportional new Law”, at least from the perspective of the voters. Most Lebanese who are not affiliated to political factions, either by choice or by tradition, prefer to divide their votes between opposing candidates, allowing them to petition either side for favours as circumstances dictate. Such locked lists require that the parties running present a clear and realistic political and economic platform, something that none of those running May 6 managed to do. (Except Hezbollah who was very clear on the objectives of this campaign: fail the USA/Saudi Kingdom schemes and fighting corruption and spoilage of public fund)

    Even if such a political programme existed, it is highly unlikely the Lebanese would even consider it, as they would rather continue voting for their traditional sectarian and tribal leadership, something that the election results confirmed.

    Despite the government’s campaign instructing voters how the system worked, 38,909 void ballots — a large number for an election in Lebanon — were cast, suggesting the system was too complex for ordinary electors.

    (It was far less complex for voting than the laws since independence, though the selection of winners is, and it is none of the concern for the voters)

    Perhaps one of the most important myths that the election shattered was one campaigned on by many independent political activists: that electoral reform was key for political reform.

    In reality, the Lebanese electorate chose not to endorse the so-called civil society candidates, who assumed that their active social media profiles were sufficient to get them to parliament, and voted for the status quo instead. (Wrong. The many reforms that the law required was thrown out by the militia leaders in power)

    Perhaps it is permissible to spend hours analyzing and looking for reasons to justify the election results. However, what cannot be disputed is that, while they are entitled to celebrate their democratic achievement, the Lebanese have a long way to go before they can call themselves a democracy.

    Note: I personally side with the opinion that this law is far advanced than the traditional law and we can built on it.

     

    Top Ten Myths about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    Myth #1 – Jews and Arabs have always been in conflict in the region.

    Although Palestinians “Arabs” were the vast majority in Palestine prior to the creation of the state of Israel, there had always been a minority Jewish population, as well. For the most part, Jewish Palestinians got along with their Palestinian Arabs (Moslem and Christians) neighbors.

    This began to change with the onset of the Zionist movement, because the Zionists rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and wanted Palestine for their own, to create a “Jewish State” in a region where Arabs were the majority and owned most of the land.

    For instance, after a series of riots in Jaffa in 1921 resulting in the deaths of 47 Jews and 48 Arabs, the occupying British held a commission of inquiry, which reported their finding that “there is no inherent anti-Semitism in the country, racial or religious.” Rather, Arab attacks on Jewish communities were the result of Arab fears about the stated goal of the Zionists to take over the land. (But we are all Semite in this region according to western c=invented terms)

    After major violence again erupted in 1929, the British Shaw Commission report noted that “In less than 10 years three serious attacks have been made by Arabs on Jews. For 80 years before the first of these attacks there is no recorded instance of any similar incidents.”

    Representatives from all sides of the emerging conflict testified to the commission that prior to the First World War, “the Jews and Arabs lived side by side if not in amity, at least with tolerance, a quality which today is almost unknown in Palestine.”

    The problem was that “The Arab people of Palestine are today united in their demand for representative government”, but were being denied that right by the Zionists and their British benefactors. (Britain refused to even hold municipal elections during its mandate on the ground that the Jews were minority)

    The British Hope-Simpson report of 1930 similarly noted that Jewish residents of non-Zionist communities in Palestine enjoyed friendship with their Arab neighbors. “It is quite a common sight to see an Arab sitting in the verandah of a Jewish house”, the report noted. “The position is entirely different in the Zionist colonies.” (The problem was Zionism plans to take hold of Palestine through building colonies and settlements)

    Myth #2 – The United Nations created Israel.

    The U.N. became involved when the British sought to wash its hands of the volatile situation its policies had helped to create, and to extricate itself from Palestine. To that end, they requested that the U.N. take up the matter.

    As a result, a U.N. Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created to examine the issue and offer its recommendation on how to resolve the conflict.

    UNSCOP contained no representatives from any Arab country and in the end issued a report that explicitly rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. Rejecting the democratic solution to the conflict, UNSCOP instead proposed that Palestine be partitioned into two states: one Arab and one Jewish.

    The U.N. General Assembly endorsed UNSCOP’s in its Resolution 181. It is often claimed that this resolution “partitioned” Palestine, or that it provided Zionist leaders with a legal mandate for their subsequent declaration of the existence of the state of Israel, or some other similar variation on the theme. All such claims are absolutely false.

    Resolution 181 merely endorsed UNSCOP’s report and conclusions as a recommendation.

    Needless to say, for Palestine to have been officially partitioned, this recommendation would have had to have been accepted by both Jews and Arabs, which it was not.

    Moreover, General Assembly resolutions are not considered legally binding (only Security Council resolutions are). And, furthermore, the U.N. would have had no authority to take land from one people and hand it over to another, and any such resolution seeking to so partition Palestine would have been null and void, anyway. (The recommended partition gave the Zionists 56% of the land while the jews represented 40% of the population)

    Myth #3 – The Arabs missed an opportunity to have their own state in 1947.

    The U.N. recommendation to partition Palestine was rejected by the Arabs. Many commentators today point to this rejection as constituting a missed “opportunity” for the Arabs to have had their own state. But characterizing this as an “opportunity” for the Arabs is patently ridiculous. The Partition plan was in no way, shape, or form an “opportunity” for the Arabs.

    First of all, as already noted, Arabs were a large majority in Palestine at the time, with Jews making up about a third of the population by then, due to massive immigration of Jews from Europe (in 1922, by contrast, a British census showed that Jews represented only about 11 percent of the population).

    Additionally, land ownership statistics from 1945 showed that Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district of Palestine, including Jaffa, where Arabs owned 47 percent of the land while Jews owned 39 percent – and Jaffa boasted the highest percentage of Jewish-owned land of any district. In other districts, Arabs owned an even larger portion of the land.

    At the extreme other end, for instance, in Ramallah, Arabs owned 99 percent of the land. In the whole of Palestine, Arabs owned 85 percent of the land, while Jews owned less than 7 percent, which remained the case up until the time of Israel’s creation.

    Yet, despite these facts, the U.N. partition recommendation had called for more than half of the land of Palestine to be given to the Zionists for their “Jewish State”.

    The truth is that no Arab could be reasonably expected to accept such an unjust proposal. For political commentators today to describe the Arabs’ refusal to accept a recommendation that their land be taken away from them, premised upon the explicit rejection of their right to self-determination, as a “missed opportunity” represents either an astounding ignorance of the roots of the conflict or an unwillingness to look honestly at its history.

    It should also be noted that the partition plan was also rejected by many Zionist leaders.

    Among those who supported the idea, which included David Ben-Gurion, their reasoning was that this would be a pragmatic step towards their goal of acquiring the whole of Palestine for a “Jewish State” – something which could be finally accomplished later through force of arms.

    When the idea of partition was first raised years earlier, for instance, Ben-Gurion had written that “after we become a strong force, as the result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine”.

    Partition should be accepted, he argued, “to prepare the ground for our expansion into the whole of Palestine”. The Jewish State would then “have to preserve order”, if the Arabs would not acquiesce, “by machine guns, if necessary.”

    Myth #4 – Israel has a “right to exist”.

    The fact that this term is used exclusively with regard to Israel is instructive as to its legitimacy, as is the fact that the demand is placed upon Palestinians to recognize Israel’s “right to exist”, while no similar demand is placed upon Israelis to recognize the “right to exist” of a Palestinian state.

    Nations don’t have rights, people do. The proper framework for discussion is within that of the right of all peoples to self-determination.

    Seen in this, the proper framework, it is an elementary observation that it is not the Arabs which have denied Jews that right, but the Jews which have denied that right to the Arabs. The terminology of Israel’s “right to exist” is constantly employed to obfuscate that fact.

    As already noted, Israel was not created by the U.N., but came into being on May 14, 1948, when the Zionist leadership unilaterally, and with no legal authority, declared Israel’s existence, with no specification as to the extent of the new state’s borders.

    In a moment, the Zionists had declared that Arabs no longer the owners of their land – it now belonged to the Jews. In an instant, the Zionists had declared that the majority Arabs of Palestine were now second-class citizens in the new “Jewish State”.

    The Arabs, needless to say, did not passively accept this development, and neighboring Arab countries declared war on the Zionist regime in order to prevent such a grave injustice against the majority inhabitants of Palestine.

    It must be emphasized that the Zionists had no right to most of the land they declared as part of Israel, while the Arabs did.

    This war, therefore, was not, as is commonly asserted in mainstream commentary, an act of aggression by the Arab states against Israel. Rather, the Arabs were acting in defense of their rights, to prevent the Zionists from illegally and unjustly taking over Arab lands and otherwise disenfranchising the Arab population.

    The act of aggression was the Zionist leadership’s unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel, and the Zionists’ use of violence to enforce their aims both prior to and subsequent to that declaration.

    In the course of the war that ensued, Israel implemented a policy of ethnic cleansing. 700,000 Arab Palestinians were either forced from their homes or fled out of fear of further massacres, such as had occurred in the village of Deir Yassin shortly before the Zionist declaration.

    These Palestinians have never been allowed to return to their homes and land, despite it being internationally recognized and encoded in international law that such refugees have an inherent “right of return”.

    Palestinians will never agree to the demand made of them by Israel and its main benefactor, the U.S., to recognize Israel’s “right to exist”. To do so is effectively to claim that Israel had a “right” to take Arab land, while Arabs had no right to their own land.

    It is effectively to claim that Israel had a “right” to ethnically cleanse Palestine, while Arabs had no right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in their own homes, on their own land.

    The constant use of the term “right to exist” in discourse today serves one specific purpose: It is designed to obfuscate the reality that it is the Jews that have denied the Arab right to self-determination, and not vice versa, and to otherwise attempt to legitimize Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, both historical and contemporary.

    Myth #5 – The Arab nations threatened Israel with annihilation in 1967 and 1973

    The fact of the matter is that it was Israel that fired the first shot of the “Six Day War”.

    Early on the morning of June 5, Israel launched fighters in a surprise attack on Egypt (then the United Arab Republic), and successfully decimated the Egyptian air force while most of its planes were still on the ground.

    It is virtually obligatory for this attack to be described by commentators today as “preemptive”. But to have been “preemptive”, by definition, there must have been an imminent threat of Egyptian aggression against Israel. Yet there was none.

    It is commonly claimed that President Nasser’s bellicose rhetoric, blockade of the Straits of Tiran, movement of troops into the Sinai Peninsula, and expulsion of U.N. peacekeeping forces from its side of the border collectively constituted such an imminent threat.

    Yet, both U.S. and Israeli intelligence assessed at the time that the likelihood Nasser would actually attack was low. The CIA assessed that Israel had overwhelming superiority in force of arms, and would, in the event of a war, defeat the Arab forces within two weeks; within a week if Israel attacked first, which is what actually occurred.

    It must be kept in mind that Egypt had been the victim of aggression by the British, French, and Israelis in the 1956 “Suez Crisis”, following Egypt’s nationalization of the Suez Canal.

    In that war, the three aggressor nations conspired to wage war upon Egypt, which resulted in an Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula. Under U.S. pressure, Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1957, but Egypt had not forgotten the Israeli aggression.

    Moreover, Egypt had formed a loose alliance with Syria and Jordan, with each pledging to come to the aid of the others in the event of a war with Israel. Jordan had criticized Nasser for not living up to that pledge after the Israeli attack on West Bank village of Samu the year before, and his rhetoric was a transparent attempt to regain face in the Arab world.

    That Nasser’s positioning was defensive, rather than projecting an intention to wage an offensive against Israel, was well recognized among prominent Israelis. As Avraham Sela of the Shalem Center has observed, “The Egyptian buildup in Sinai lacked a clear offensive plan, and Nasser’s defensive instructions explicitly assumed an Israeli first strike.”

    Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledged that “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

    Yitzhak Rabin, who would also later become Prime Minister of Israel, admitted in 1968 that “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.”

    Israelis have also acknowledged that their own rhetoric at the time about the “threat” of “annihilation” from the Arab states was pure propaganda.

    General Chaim Herzog, commanding general and first military governor of the occupied West Bank following the war, admitted that “There was no danger of annihilation. Israeli headquarters never believed in this danger.”

    General Ezer Weizman similarly said, “There was never a danger of extermination. This hypothesis had never been considered in any serious meeting.”

    Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev acknowledged, “We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the Six-Day War, and we had never thought of such possibility.”

    Israeli Minister of Housing Mordechai Bentov has also acknowledged that “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail, and exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”

    In 1973, in what Israelis call the “Yom Kippur War”, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise offensive to retake the Sinai and the Golan Heights, respectively. This joint action is popularly described in contemporaneous accounts as an “invasion” of or act of “aggression” against Israel.

    Yet, as already noted, following the June ’67 war, the U.N. Security Council passed resolution 242 calling upon Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. Israel, needless to say, refused to do so and has remained in perpetual violation of international law ever since.

    During the 1973 war, Egypt and Syria thus “invaded” their own territory, then under illegal occupation by Israel.

    The corollary of the description of this war as an act of Arab aggression implicitly assumes that the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza Strip were Israeli territory. This is, needless to say, a grossly false assumption that demonstrates the absolutely prejudicial and biased nature of mainstream commentary when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

    This false narrative fits in with the larger overall narrative, equally fallacious, of Israeli as the “victim” of Arab intransigence and aggression. This narrative, largely unquestioned in the West, flips reality on its head.

    Myth #6 – U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 called only for a partial Israeli withdrawal.

    Resolution 242 was passed in the wake of the June ’67 war and called for the “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” While the above argument enjoys widespread popularity, it has no merit whatsoever.

    The central thesis of this argument is that the absence of the word “the” before “occupied territories” in that clause means not “all of the occupied territories” were intended. Essentially, this argument rests upon the ridiculous logic that because the word “the” was omitted from the clause, we may therefore understand this to mean that “some of the occupied territories” was the intended meaning.

    Grammatically, the absence of the word “the” has no effect on the meaning of this clause, which refers to “territories”, plural.

    A simple litmus test question is: Is it territory that was occupied by Israel in the ’67 war? If yes, then, under international law and Resolution 242, Israel is required to withdraw from that territory. Such territories include the Syrian Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

    The French version of the resolution, equally authentic as the English, contains the definite article, and a majority of the members of the Security Council made clear during deliberations that their understanding of the resolution was that it would require Israel to fully withdraw from all occupied territories.

    Additionally, it is impossible to reconcile with the principle of international law cited in the preamble to the resolution, of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”. To say that the U.N. intended that Israel could retain some of the territory it occupied during the war would fly in the face of this cited principle.

    One could go on to address various other logical fallacies associated with this frivolous argument, but as it is absurd on its face, it would be superfluous to do so.

    Myth #7 – Israeli military action against its neighbors is only taken to defend itself against terrorism.

    The facts tell another story. Take, for instance, the devastating 1982 Israeli war on Lebanon. As political analyst Noam Chomsky extensively documents in his epic analysis “The Fateful Triangle”, this military offensive was carried out with barely even the thinnest veil of a pretext.

    While one may read contemporary accounts insisting this war was fought in response to a constant shelling of northern Israeli by the PLO, then based in Lebanon, the truth is that, despite continuous Israeli provocations, the PLO had with only a few exceptions abided by a cease-fire that had been in place. Moreover, in each of those instances, it was Israel that had first violated the cease-fire.

    Among the Israeli provocations, throughout early 1982, it attacked and sank Lebanese fishing boats and otherwise committed hundreds of violations of Lebanese territorial waters. It committed thousands of violations of Lebanese airspace, yet never did manage to provoke the PLO response it sought to serve as the casus belli for the planned invasion of Lebanon.

    On May 9, Israel bombed Lebanon, an act that was finally met with a PLO response when it launched rocket and artillery fire into Israel.

    Then a terrorist group headed by Abu Nidal attempted to assassinate Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argov in London. Although the PLO itself had been at war with Abu Nidal, who had been condemned to death by a Fatah military tribunal in 1973, and despite the fact that Abu Nidal was not based in Lebanon, Israel cited this event as a pretext to bomb the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, killing 200 Palestinians.

    The PLO responded by shelling settlements in northern Israel. Yet Israel did not manage to provoke the kind of larger-scale response it was looking to use as a casus belli for its planned invasion.

    As Israeli scholar Yehoshua Porath has suggested, Israel’s decision to invade Lebanon, far from being a response to PLO attacks, rather “flowed from the very fact that the cease-fire had been observed”.

    Writing in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Porath assessed that “The government’s hope is that the stricken PLO, lacking a logistic and territorial base, will return to its earlier terrorism…. In this way, the PLO will lose part of the political legitimacy that it has gained … undercutting the danger that elements will develop among the Palestinians that might become a legitimate negotiating partner for future political accommodations.”

    As another example, take Israel’s Operation Cast Lead from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009.

    Prior to Israel’s assault on the besieged and defenseless population of the Gaza Strip, Israel had entered into a cease-fire agreement with the governing authority there, Hamas. Contrary to popular myth, it was Israel, not Hamas, who ended the cease-fire.

    The pretext for Operation Cast Lead is obligatorily described in Western media accounts as being the “thousands” of rockets that Hamas had been firing into Israel prior to the offensive, in violation of the cease-fire.

    The truth is that from the start of the cease-fire in June until November 4, Hamas fired no rockets, despite numerous provocations from Israel, including stepped-up operations in the West Bank and Israeli soldiers taking pop-shots at Gazans across the border, resulting in several injuries and at least one death.

    On November 4, it was again Israel who violated the cease-fire, with airstrikes and a ground invasion of Gaza that resulted in further deaths. Hamas finally responded with rocket fire, and from that point on the cease-fire was effectively over, with daily tit-for-tat attacks from both sides.

    Despite Israel’s lack of good faith, Hamas offered to renew the cease-fire from the time it was set to officially expire in December. Israel rejected the offer, preferring instead to inflict violent collective punishment on the people of Gaza.

    As the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center noted, the truce “brought relative quiet to the western Negev population”, with 329 rocket and mortar attacks, “most of them during the month and a half after November 4″, when Israel had violated and effectively ended the truce. This stands in remarkable contrast to the 2,278 rocket and mortar attacks in the six months prior to the truce. Until November 4, the center also observed, “Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.”

    If Israel had desired to continue to mitigate the threat of Palestinian militant rocket attacks, it would have simply not ended the cease-fire, which was very highly effective in reducing the number of such attacks, including eliminating all such attacks by Hamas. It would not have instead resorted to violence, predictably resulting in a greatly escalated threat of retaliatory rocket and mortar attacks from Palestinian militant groups.

    Even if Israel could claim that peaceful means had been exhausted and that a resort military force to act in self-defense to defend its civilian population was necessary, that is demonstrably not what occurred. Instead, Israel deliberately targeted the civilian population of Gaza with systematic and deliberate disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on residential areas, hospitals, schools, and other locations with protected civilian status under international law.

    As the respected international jurist who headed up the United Nations investigation into the assault, Richard Goldstone, has observed, the means by which Israel carried out Operation Cast Lead were not consistent with its stated aims, but was rather more indicative of a deliberate act of collective punishment of the civilian population.

    Myth #8 – God gave the land to the Jews, so the Arabs are the occupiers.

    No amount of discussion of the facts on the ground will ever convince many Jews and Christians that Israel could ever do wrong, because they view its actions as having the hand of God behind it, and that its policies are in fact the will of God. They believe that God gave the land of Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to the Jewish people, and therefore Israel has a “right” to take it by force from the Palestinians, who, in this view, are the wrongful occupiers of the land.

    But one may simply turn to the pages of their own holy books to demonstrate the fallaciousness of this or similar beliefs. Christian Zionists are fond of quoting passages from the Bible such as the following to support their Zionist beliefs:

    “And Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)

    “Then Yahweh appeared to him and said: ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in the land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.” (Genesis 26: 1-3)

    “And behold, Yahweh stood above it and said: ‘I am Yahweh, God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.” (Genesis 28:13)

    Yet Christian Zionists conveniently disregard other passages providing further context for understanding this covenant, such as the following:

    “You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out.” (Leviticus 20:22)

    “But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments … but break My covenant … I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste … You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.” (Leviticus 26: 14, 15, 32-33, 28)

    “Therefore Yahweh was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone…. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.” (2 Kings 17:18, 23)

    “And I said, after [Israel] had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.” (Jeremiah 3: 7-8)

    Yes, in the Bible, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, told the Hebrews that the land could be theirs – if they would obey his commandments. Yet, as the Bible tells the story, the Hebrews were rebellious against Yahweh in all their generations.

    What Jewish and Christian Zionists omit from their Biblical arguments in favor of continued Israel occupation is that Yahweh also told the Hebrews, including the tribe of Judah (from whom the “Jews” are descended), that he would remove them from the land if they broke the covenant by rebelling against his commandments, which is precisely what occurs in the Bible.

    Thus, the theological argument for Zionism is not only bunk from a secular point of view, but is also a wholesale fabrication from a scriptural perspective, representing a continued rebelliousness against Yahweh and his Torah, and the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) in the New Testament. (I refrained from any comment on this myth because religious verses are all crap and don’t deal with, except in historical context of religions)

    Myth #9 – Palestinians reject the two-state solution because they want to destroy Israel.

    In an enormous concession to Israel, Palestinians have long accepted the two-state solution.

    The elected representatives of the Palestinian people in Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had since the 70s recognized the state of Israel and accepted the two-state solution to the conflict.

    Despite this, Western media continued through the 90s to report that the PLO rejected this solution and instead wanted to wipe Israel off the map.

    The pattern has been repeated since Hamas was voted into power in the 2006 Palestinian elections.

    Although Hamas has for years accepted the reality of the state of Israel and demonstrated a willingness to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel, it is virtually obligatory for Western mainstream media, even today, to report that Hamas rejects the two-state solution, that it instead seeks “to destroy Israel”.

    In fact, in early 2004, shortly before he was assassinated by Israel, Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin said that Hamas could accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Hamas has since repeatedly reiterated its willingness to accept a two-state solution. (Actually, evry Palestinian leader who recognized Israel was assassinated by Israel)

    In early 2005, Hamas issued a document stating its goal of seeking a Palestinian state alongside Israel and recognizing the 1967 borders.

    The exiled head of the political bureau of Hamas, Khalid Mish’al, wrote in the LondonGuardian in January 2006 that Hamas was “ready to make a just peace”.  He wrote that “We shall never recognize the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights…. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms.”

    During the campaigning for the 2006 elections, the top Hamas official in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar said that Hamas was ready to “accept to establish our independent state on the area occupied [in] ’67″, a tacit recognition of the state of Israel.

    The elected prime minister from Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said in February 2006 that Hamas accepted “the establishment of a Palestinian state” within the “1967 borders”.

    In April 2008, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas officials and afterward stated that Hamas “would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders” and would “accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace”. It was Hamas’ “ultimate goal to see Israel living in their allocated borders, the 1967 borders, and a contiguous, vital Palestinian state alongside.”

    That same month Hamas leader Meshal said, “We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition.”

    In 2009, Meshal said that Hamas “has accepted a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders”.

    Hamas’ shift in policy away from total rejection of the existence of the state of Israel towards acceptance of the international consensus on a two-state solution to the conflict is in no small part a reflection of the will of the Palestinian public.

    A public opinion survey from April of last year, for instance, found that three out of four Palestinians were willing to accept a two-state solution.

    Myth #10 – The U.S. is an honest broker and has sought to bring about peace in the Middle East.

    Rhetoric aside, the U.S. supports Israel’s policies, including its illegal occupation and other violations of international humanitarian law. It supports Israel’s criminal policies financially, militarily, and diplomatically.

    The Obama administration, for example, stated publically that it was opposed to Israel’s settlement policy and ostensibly “pressured” Israel to freeze colonization activities.

    Yet very early on, the administration announced that it would not cut back financial or military aid to Israel, even if it defied international law and continued settlement construction. That message was perfectly well understood by the Netanyahu government in Israel, which continued its colonization policies.

    To cite another straightforward example, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed resolutions openly declaring support for Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, despite a constant stream of reports evidencing Israeli war crimes.

    On the day the U.S. Senate passed its resolution “reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas” (January 8, 2009), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a statement demanding that Israel allow it to assist victims of the conflict because the Israeli military had blocked access to wounded Palestinians – a war crime under international law.

    That same day, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement condemning Israel for firing on a U.N. aid convoy delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza and for the killing of two U.N. staff members – both further war crimes.

    On the day that the House passed its own version of the resolution, the U.N. announced that it had had to stop humanitarian work in Gaza because of numerous incidents in which its staff, convoys, and installations, including clinics and schools, had come under Israeli attack.

    U.S. financial support for Israel surpasses $3 billion annually. When Israel waged a war to punish the defenseless civilian population of Gaza, its pilots flew U.S.-made F-16 fighter-bombers and Apache helicopter gunships, dropping U.S.-made bombs, including the use of white phosphorus munitions in violation of international law.

    U.S. diplomatic support for Israeli crimes includes its use of the veto power in the U.N. Security Council. When Israel was waging a devastating war against the civilian population and infrastructure of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the U.S. vetoed a cease-fire resolution.

    As Israel was waging Operation Cast Lead, the U.S. delayed the passage of a resolution calling for an end to the violence, and then abstained rather than criticize Israel once it finally allowed the resolution to be put to a vote.

    When the U.N. Human Rights Council officially adopted the findings and recommendations of its investigation into war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, headed up by Richard Goldstone, the U.S. responded by announcing its intention to block any effort to have the Security Council similarly adopt its conclusions and recommendations. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution rejecting the Goldstone report because it found that Israel had committed war crimes.

    Through its virtually unconditional support for Israel, the U.S. has effectively blocked any steps to implement the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    The so-called “peace process” has for many decades consisted of U.S. and Israeli rejection Palestinian self-determination and blocking of any viable Palestinian state.

    About the Author

    Jeremy R. Hammond

    HomepageFacebookTwitterLinkedInYouTubeGoogle+Jeremy R. Hammond
    Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent political analyst and a recipient of the Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. He is the founding editor of Foreign Policy Journal and the author of Ron Paul vs. Paul Krugman: Austrian vs. Keynesian economics in the financial crisis and The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict. His forthcoming book is on the contemporary U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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    No, the USA don’t lose in any trade deal

    The United States does not have a trade agreement with China, Not yet.

    April 8, 2016 

    Expanded trade with China over the past 15 years has cost the United States at least 2 million jobs.

    Cracking down on trade with China, by taxing the cheap consumer goods shipped to our store shelves, could cost millions of additional jobs. That both of these things can be true is the conundrum of trade, the breakout issue of the 2016 presidential election.

    Democrats have long debated globalization and its consequences in their primary campaigns, particularly in the Rust Belt, a tradition Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are continuing.

    But Republicans, led by Donald Trump, are suddenly bashing trade, too.

    On both sides, the issue has become a leading scapegoat for lost jobs and stagnating working-class wages, and rejiggering “bad” deals has become a common promise to restore middle-class prosperity. Many of the campaign promises, though, rest on myths. Here are the most egregious of them.

    1. America is “losing” in bad trade deals, particularly with China.

    “When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal?” Trump asked in his campaign launch last summer, using a line he repeats in some form in nearly every public appearance. “They kill us.”

    Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan wrote this year that “to understand why Detroit [looks] as it does, while the desolate Shanghai Richard Nixon visited in ’72 is the great and gleaming metropolis of 2016, look to our trade deficits.”

    The United States has increased trade with China over the past two decades, and that increase has cost more than 2 million U.S. jobs, according to calculations by a team of economists led by MIT’s David Autor.

    There is a lot of evidence that the Chinese have manipulated their currency over much of that period, effectively making it easier for Americans to buy their products and harder for Chinese consumers to buy American products, thus artificially inflating the U.S. trade deficit.

    (It’s worth noting that in the past year, China has allowed its currency to rise in value against the dollar.)

    Still: The United States does not have a trade agreement with China, neither a bilateral or a multilateral deal — much less a good one or a bad one.

    The two countries trade on baseline terms set by the World Trade Organization;

    Trump has long criticized America’s decision under President Bill Clinton to agree to China’s entry to the WTO. If the next president wants to change those terms, he or she would need to enact change at the WTO (nearly impossible, in the short term), negotiate an agreement directly with the Chinese (not remotely on the table) or pressure China through other means, such as officially declaring it a currency manipulator (theoretically possible and relatively simple procedurally).

    But when Trump says he would “immediately start renegotiating” America’s trade deal with China, he’s talking about something that doesn’t exist.

    2. America is “losing” in auto trade with Japan.

    In a Michael Crichton-esque throwback to the 1980s, Trump loves to toss Japan into his triad of great trade villains, along with China and Mexico — especially in terms of automobiles. “You look at Japan,” Trump told The Washington Post. “They send their cars in here by the hundreds of thousands. You go to Los Angeles, you look at those docks, and these cars get driven off those boats at 40 miles an hour. You’ve never seen anything like it. They just come pouring into our country.”

    That’s a widely held view in former auto-manufacturing strongholds such as Michigan, where Japanese cars are still hard to find.

    Such places have suffered “from car buyers’ turn away from patriotic consumerism,” author Edward McClelland argued in The Post last year.

    But while it’s true that Japan exports cars to the United States, it doesn’t do that nearly as much as it used to, even though Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans dot the list of best-selling automobiles.

    Today, many Japanese brands build vehicles in the United Statesmore than twice as many autos as those shipped from Japan into U.S. ports.

    In the mid-’80s, America imported 3.5 million cars from Japanese factories every year. By 2013, those imports were down by 50 percent.

    3. Getting tougher on trade would supercharge the U.S. economy.

    Trump’s economic plan boils down to cutting taxes and renegotiating trade deals, including the nonexistent China agreement.

    He told The Post he could generate revenue to pay off $19 trillion in federal debt within eight years without raising taxes.

    “The power is trade,” Trump said. “Our deals are so bad.” Sanders suggests the same thing in calling for his own protectionist policies: “We should have a trade policy which represents the working families of this country, that rebuilds our manufacturing base.”

    As leverage to cut better deals, Trump has threatened tariffs on China and Mexico. Sanders has also raised the threat of tariffs.

    Economic models don’t generally predict that such ideas would rev up the U.S. economy, though — quite the opposite.

    A model by Moody’s Analytics, prepared at the request of The Post, predicts that Trump-style tariffs would push our economy into recession and throw millions of Americans out of work. A more optimistic model, from economist J.W. Mason of the Roosevelt Institute, estimates that tariffs would probably reduce America’s gross domestic product by about 1 percent — not a huge effect but also not the growth boom that opponents of free trade predict.

    4. Better deals would bring back lost factory jobs.

    This is an explicit Trump promise that blue-collar workers would love to come true.

    He’s not the only candidate who believes this: “I’m going to stand up for fair trade,” Sen. Ted Cruz said in an ad he aired before the Wisconsin primary this past week, “and bring our jobs back from China.”

    But that argument rests on two dicey assumptions:

    1. that companies would move production back to the United States in the event of a trade war and

    2. that the “re-shored” production would create as many new jobs as were lost to begin with.

    Many economists doubt that companies would move much factory work back from China. They wouldn’t be certain how long tariffs might last, for example, and wouldn’t want to be stuck with higher U.S. production costs if trade flows picked up again under a future president. They’re more likely, Moody’s economist Mark Zandi says, to move factories to Vietnam, Cambodia or other developing nations, unless America is set to restrict trade with all those countries, too.

    And in any country, the trend in manufacturing is toward automation of production: Factory output has risen much faster in this recovery than employment has.

    5. There’s no way this debate ends well for the American worker.

    That’s the conclusion you might draw as economists and business leaders continue to insist that some lost jobs are an acceptable price to pay for the faster economic growth and cheaper consumer goods that trade brings to the country. “If we are not engaged in the global economy, we will lose more jobs,” Julie Granger, the senior vice president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, told McClatchy.“There’s no going back.”

    But that’s myopic, too. An emerging consensus among trade-focused economists is that the United States needs to do a lot more to compensate the workers displaced by increased trade, through much more aggressive retraining or direct government subsidies to affected workers.

    What those workers really need are new, good-paying jobs. Oddly enough, expanded trade of a different sort could help foster the creation of those jobs.

    As the liberal economist Dean Baker frequently argues, large swaths of U.S. workers remain mostly shielded from foreign competition, thanks to various licensing requirements to work in their fields here. Those include many high-paid professionals, such as doctors and pharmaceutical executives.

    Allowing more foreign-born professionals to compete with native-born Americans in those fields, Baker contends, would push salaries down for some of our highest-paid workers, and prices would fall for consumers.

    Income inequality would shrink, the average worker would have more money to spend and the economy might run more efficiently. And perhaps more middle-class jobs really would rush into the economy — at Trump’s 40 miles per hour or otherwise.

    Jim Tankersley covers economic policy for The Post. He’s from Oregon, and he misses it.

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