Gaza

Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).

Israel’s Genocide in Gaza Goes Uninterrupted, But Is Europe Finally Taking Notice?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/12/2020 - 2:16am in

A report published by the United Nations in 2018 stated that by the year 2020 the Gaza Strip would be uninhabitable. It said specifically that, “the United Nations has stated that Gaza may well be unlivable by 2020.” The report emphasized also that “Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, drew attention to Israel’s persistent non-cooperation with the Special Rapporteur’s mandate. As with his two predecessors, Israel has not granted him entry to visit the country, nor the Occupied Palestinian territory.” Anyone who thinks that the Gaza Strip was liveable prior to 2020 is out of their mind.

The Gaza Strip has been a humanitarian disaster since it was artificially created in the aftermath of the 1948 Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing. It was created primarily as a holding place for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians driven off of their lands by Zionist terrorists in southern Palestine. Impoverished and homeless, these refugees were forced to survive on handouts, and today they make up more than half of the Gaza Strip’s 2.2 million inhabitants. Considering the high standard of living Jewish citizens of Israel in that part of the country enjoy, living as they do on the very lands from which the Palestinians were exiled, the “Strip” was never “liveable.”

Now 2020 has come and gone, the United Nations report is shelved, and not a thing has changed. Over two million people remain imprisoned by Israel in the Gaza Strip. They suffer from a lack of the most basic needs like drinkable water, electricity, medicine, and nutrition. Israel also denies them basic human rights while Israeli Jews living minutes away enjoy a standard of living that is, by any measure, enviable with full access to the finest health care, nutrition, and clean water.

 

A European delegation comes to visit

A delegation of European representatives recently visited Gaza, yet Europeans have not used their influence, political or otherwise, to end Israeli violations of human rights and international law.

It would not have taken much for EU representatives to see the devastation, poverty, and severe shortages experienced by the people of Gaza. All one needs to do is drive through the Gaza Strip to see the evidence, and yet no change seems to be forthcoming from the Europeans.

Gaza Europe

A family prepares tea in a slum on the outskirts of Khan Younis Refugee Camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 25, 2020. Khalil Hamra | AP

In fact, according to the Israeli press, Germany just announced that in order to provide Israel with a European made vaccine for Covid-19, “Germany used its influence in the EU to bend the rule that a European-produced vaccination would be given to European countries first. Germany justified the decision in part through its “historical commitment to supporting Israel.” Knowing full well that millions of Palestinians are denied health care and that the spread of Covid-19 among Palestinians is alarming, no such commitment was made to assist the Palestinians in their fight against the deadly disease..

 

Complicity

The comfort that Europeans display as they cooperate with the State of Israel, even as they claim to be champions of human rights, amounts to complicity. According to the Geneva Convention, particularly the Rome Statute, European cooperation with Israel constitutes complicity in genocide. When one looks at the definition of genocide and compares it with the actions of Israel in Gaza, it is quite clear that the Zionist State is engaged in genocide.

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Article II

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    1. Killing members of the group;
    2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group;

Three of the five examples given here are constantly committed by Israel in Gaza. Furthermore, Article II of the Genocide Convention “contains a narrow definition of the crime of genocide, which includes two main elements,” one of which is the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” Israeli attacks on Gaza for over seven decades  clearly demonstrate that they are part of a larger strategy and that there is clear intent to bring about the destruction of a people.

According to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the issue of complicity with genocide is quite clear. “Prior jurisprudence has defined the term complicity as aiding and abetting, instigating, and procuring […] Complicity to commit genocide in Article 2(3)(e) refers to all acts of assistance or encouragement that have substantially contributed to, or have had a substantial effect on, the completion of the crime of genocide.”

The report defined the following as elements of complicity in genocide:

  • “complicity by procuring means, such as weapons, instruments or any other means, used to commit genocide, with the accomplice knowing that such means would be used for such a purpose;
  • complicity by knowingly aiding or abetting a perpetrator of a genocide in the planning or enabling acts thereof;

According to that definition, both the EU states and the United States are complicit in the crime of genocide.

Human Rights Watch maintains that Israel has, “entrenched discriminatory systems that treat Palestinians unequally.”  It “involves systematic rights abuses, including collective punishment, routine use of excessive lethal force against protesters, and prolonged administrative detention without charge or trial for hundreds.”

It continues to state that Israel, “builds and supports illegal settlements […]expropriating Palestinian land and imposing burdens on Palestinians but not on settlers, restricting their access to basic services and making it nearly impossible for them to build.”

Regarding the Gaza Strip, HRW writes that “Israel’s more than decade-long closure of Gaza severely restricts the movement of people and goods, with devastating humanitarian impact.”

 

What constitutes aid?

The first order of business needs to be the immediate and unconditional lifting of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007. A no-fly zone monitored by UN or European naval forces must be imposed on all Israeli aircraft. In addition to these measures, humanitarian relief must be made available to the people of Gaza without delay.

Israel must be sanctioned and all military and economic cooperation with Israel must be stopped until such time that it complies with international law and ends all its violations of human rights. This should be followed by setting a date for free and fair one person, one vote elections in all of historic Palestine. Then processes must be put in place for the repatriation of Palestinian refugees, and funding must be set aside for payment of reparations and restitution.


A girl walks next to a donkey carte loaded with rocks on the outskirts of Khan Younis Refugee Camp, in the southern Gaza, Nov. 25, 2020. Khalil Hamra |AP

Israel must also be held accountable for its violations of international law since 1948 and Israeli politicians, as well as military commanders, must be investigated and charged with war crimes.

European countries are fully aware of the reality that exists in Gaza. A long and cruel siege, constant Israeli attacks resulting in the killing of countless civilians, destruction of homes and infrastructure, extreme poverty, and trauma are the daily bread of Palestinians in Gaza.

The reality in Gaza is no secret and Israeli violations of international law are well known. However, European governments are in the habit of seeing colonized and formerly colonized people as needing aid and doing little to provide the aid. The aid they provide is sometimes monetary and sometimes humanitarian in the form of food items, but rarely is it sufficient. In the case of the Gaza Strip, real political action is called for, but it is not clear if and when the EU will be willing to act.

Feature photo | Palestinians look on from their house in a slum on the outskirts of Khan Younis Refugee Camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Nov. 25, 2020. Khalil Hamra | AP

Miko Peled is an author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. He is the author of “The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post Israel’s Genocide in Gaza Goes Uninterrupted, But Is Europe Finally Taking Notice? appeared first on MintPress News.

Who Decided ‘Jewish Community’ Meant ‘United Synagogue’

Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension was lifted yesterday and he was readmitted to the Labour party. So there was, unsurprisingly, a mass outcry by the usual troublemakers, liars and smear merchants. Starmer responded by fudging the issue and refused Corbyn the Labour whip. This is, as Mike has pointed out, gross political interference of the type which the EHRC report into anti-Semitism in the Labour party condemned in the first place. He has also broken any number of Labour party internal regulations, as the Skwawkbox has clearly demonstrated. He’s done absolutely no good, except to annoy people with an unacceptable compromise. Unacceptable, because Corbyn’s supporters are still outraged by his unjust treatment of the Labour leader, while the smear merchants won’t be satisfied by anything less than his expulsion and the complete prostration of the Labour party to their own ultra-Zionist views.

Margaret Hodge

Among those crawling out from under the rocks to attack Corbyn were Margaret Hodge, Jessica Elgot, Rachel Riley, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Community Security Trust, none of whom are unbiased by any means. Hodge is the stupid, lazy and arrogant Labour MP who got herself suspended for calling Corbyn a ‘f**king anti-Semite’ in parliament. She then got herself readmitted after she started bleating about how terrifying her suspension was, and that it must have been like the terror experienced by German Jews under the Third Reich when they were waiting for a knock from Gestapo.

Her treatment was nothing like that horror, and she insulted the victims and families of those, who really had been imprisoned in the concentration camps. Her suspension was extremely lenient, no doubt helped by the fact that the media was very definitely on her side. Others would have received far harsher punishment. And her stupid, facile comments prompted an outrage response from Jews and gentiles, whose relatives had been victims of the Nazis.

But we shouldn’t be quite so surprised at her tactlessness. This is a woman who signally failed to do anything about real Nazism and anti-Semitism in her constituency. So much so that when the BNP had seven members elected to the local council in Tower Hamlets, their leader, Derek Beacon, sent her a bouquet of flowers in appreciation. She was also responsible for suppressing a report into child abuse in the council, then tried to blame its suppression on Corbyn. Apparently she was threatening to the leave the party if Corbyn was readmitted. If she did, it would be no loss to anyone, but unfortunately she hasn’t.

Jessica Elgot, Israel Lobbyist

Jessica Elgot is another Blairite, and if memory serves me right, she used to work for one of the Israel advocacy organisations. Which should immediately tell you that she isn’t concerned about genuine anti-Semitism, but simply protecting Israel.

Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, Gaza and Islamophobia

The same applies to the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and its odious boss, Gerald Falter. Falter founded it in 2014 or thereabouts because he was shocked at the way British public opinion had turned against Israel because of the bombing of Gaza. His wretched organisation is tinged with Islamophobia. On its website it declares that most anti-Semites are Muslims, and one of its patrons is a Hindu bigot who hates Islam, Christianity and those at the very bottom of the Hindu caste system. This character founded Operation Dharmic Vote to mobilise right-wing Hindu voters partly because he was outraged that high-caste Hindu doctors had to treat the people previously described as ‘the Untouchables’.

Community Security Trust and Violence Against Protesters

Then we come to the Community Security Trust, a volunteer police force set up to protect Jews and their property from attack. This would be all well and good, if that was all it did. But its members are supposedly trained in self-defence by the Israeli security forces and have been responsible for instances of violence themselves against protesters demonstrating against Israel. In one case Jewish and Muslim demonstrators were forcibly separated. Others were struck and beaten, including women, the elderly and a rabbi.

There’s also more than a little racial favouritism being shown in the establishment of the CST. I don’t know of any other ethnic group, which is allowed to have its own volunteer police trained by a foreign country. It can be argued that other ethnic groups deserve such a force more, as this is relatively little anti-Semitism compared with the prejudice against Blacks, Asians and Muslims. Can you imagine the reaction of our absolutely unbiased right-wing press if, say, Britain’s Black community had their own police force organised and trained by the Jamaicans or Nigerians? Or the Hindus trained by the Indian army? Or British Muslims with Saudi Arabia, Iran or Pakistan? They’d have a screaming fit and yell that we were being taken over by foreigners. But the CST is allowed to continue with the full cooperation of the British state and police.

Rachel Riley

As for Rachel Riley, this is a woman, who seems to have a visceral, personal hatred for the Labour leader and his supporters. She was on Talk Radio yesterday telling the world how terrible the Labour leader was, because he laid a wreath on the grave of the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the murder of the Israeli Olympic team in 1974 when he was attending some kind of gathering in Tunisia. This would have been extremely difficult, as Zelo Street has pointed out, because those monsters are buried in Libya.

Corbyn’s critics have been presented as representative of the British Jewish community as a whole. They aren’t. They are representative only of the right-wing, ultra-Zionist British Jewish establishment. Corbyn had many friends and supporters in the Jewish community, as have others, who have been smeared as anti-Semites, like Ken Livingstone. Corbyn was particularly respected by the Haredi community for his help in preserving their historic burial ground from redevelopment. He was also supported by Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas, with whom he spent a Passover Seder. Which enraged the Board of Deputies, who claimed it was a snub to the ‘Jewish community?’

Jonathan Sacks, Sectarianism and the March of the Flags

What Jewish community? As many Jewish left-wing bloggers have pointed out, there is no monolithic Jewish community, and the Board of Deputies only seems to represent the United Synagogue. And many of Corbyn’s other critics seem to be members, such as the former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. Sacks died last week, and obituaries appeared praising him and his work. I’ve no doubt he was an excellent fellow in many respects, but he was also a sectarian bigot with a fanatical devotion to Israel. He caused outrage a few years ago when he, an Orthodox Jew, declared that Reform Jews were ‘enemies of the faith’. This is the language of religious hatred, uttered by bigots before launching terrible attacks on their victims. Christian anti-Semites no doubt have said the same when persecuting Jews. Sacks was also an opponent of homosexuality, before opportunistically changing his mind and declaring that people had to be more open and accepting. He also led a group of British Jews on the annual March of the Flags in Jerusalem. This is the Israeli equivalent of the various Orange marches in Northern Ireland, when the Protestants of the Orange Order march through Roman Catholic areas. In the case of the March of the Flags, it’s when Israeli boot-boys march through the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem to provoke and intimidate them. During these marches, Palestinians are insulted and abused, and their property vandalised. Liberal Jewish organisations asked Sacks not to go, but he refused. But what I also found interesting was that he seemed to be another member of the United Synagogue. The obituaries mentioned that he belonged to the Union of Hebrew Congregations, which looks to my inexpert eye as the United Synagogue by any other name.

The United Synagogue and the Corbyn Smears

Some of the Jewish journos, who took it upon themselves to write pieces smearing Corbyn as an anti-Semite are also members of the United Synagogue. The I published several of these pieces, noting at the bottom of the article the writer’s membership of the denomination. Which raises a few questions.

Are all, or the majority of those smearing Corbyn as an anti-Semites members of the United Synagogue? And if they are, who decided that the United Synagogue and its members spoke for all of Britain’s Jews? After all, it’s as if someone decided that only Tory Anglicans represent British Christianity. And when they produce stats claiming that Israel is important to the identity of 77 per cent of British Jews, is this really representative of all of the British Jewish Community? Or is it once again just confined to the United Synagogue?

All of Britain’s Jewish community deserve to be heard on the issue of Corbyn and Israel, not just Tory-voting ultra-Zionists and the United Synagogue.

Are Israeli Politicos Afraid of Personal Prosecution for War Crimes?

I found this fascinating little snippet in William Blum’s America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, which I think may explain some of the sheer panic and personal vindictiveness of the Israel lobby. Israel’s ministers and politicians responsible for the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians may be afraid that if a genuinely pro-Palestinian government ever takes power in Europe, they personally are up before the beak facing charges of war crimes.

Just before the publication of Blum’s book in 2014, the Spanish announced they were launching a war crimes investigation into seven high-ranking Israeli officials over the assassination of a Hamas commander in 2002. Blum writes

Lastly, Spain’s High Court recently announced it would launch a war crimes investigation into an Israeli ex-defense minister and six other top security officials for their role in a 2002 attack that killed a Hamas commander and fourteen civilians in Gaza. Spain has for some time been the world’s leading practitioner of ‘universal jurisdiction’ for human-rights violations, such as their indictment of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet a decade ago. The Israeli case involved the dropping of a bomb on the home of the Hamas leader; most of those killed were children. (p. 118)).

I remember the arrest and attempted extradition of General Pinochet. I don’t know if the laws are still in force, but the Spanish granted their investigating magistrates wide and extraordinary powers to prosecute human rights abusers around the world. They wanted Pinochet because for his government’s arrest and murder of a young Spanish man. The old brute was over here at the time visiting his friend Maggie Thatcher. Blair responded positively to the Spanish warrant for his arrest and extradition by placing him under house arrest, and there was much talk about packing him off to Spain for trial. Obviously it was a much controversy at the time, with Thatcher crying publicly how awful it was that such a friend of Britain should be treated so terribly. Well, yes, Pinochet had given us aid against Argentina during the Falklands War. But his regime was also responsible for the arrest of a number of British citizens, including women, who were carted off to be tortured in horrific ways I cannot decently describe. The use of electrodes on the eyes and genitals by these thugs is just the start.

I don’t know what happened to that case. It may have collapsed, because of procedural errors by the Blair administration. Talking about the affair on The News Quiz, the comedian and lawyer Clive Anderson said that before governments can order the arrest of prominent foreign citizens, they need to issue statements that the alleged criminal would not be welcome in their country and would face arrest if they did so. Blair didn’t, hence Anderson believed that the case would fall through.

I haven’t heard any more of the attempted prosecution of the Israeli officials. In fact I only know about it from reading Blum’s book. It’s possible that case could have been dropped too. But it does suggest that some of the Israeli politicos funding and aiding the attacks on the country’s critics and opponents may be motivated by personal desperation for avoid their own prosecution. The Spanish investigation was launched, I’d guess, c. 2012. That was when groups like the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism were set up. This vile outfit of inveterate liars and smear-merchants was founded, I believe, by Gerald Falter, who was frightened by the way the British public had become critical of Israel over its bombing of Gaza. Or so I believe. I don’t doubt that Falter and his fellows were frightened at the prospect of the former defence minister and his accomplices facing prosecution in a Spanish court.

It also partly explains the sheer venom behind the Israel lobby’s smears of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as anti-Semites. Blissex, one of the great commenters on this blog, has repeatedly pointed out that Corbyn isn’t anti-Israel. Just as he very definitely is no, absolutely no kind of anti-Semite. But he is genuinely keen for the Palestinians to receive justice and equality. Hence a Labour government with him at the head would do what it could to stop more Israeli atrocities against the country’s indigenous Arabs. And like Blair’s attempt to arrest and extradite Pinochet, that could lead to senior Israeli officials and ministers getting the same treatment over here.

I also wonder about Starmer’s motivations as well. A few days ago he suspended Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour party simply for stating, quite correctly, that the incidence of anti-Semitism in the Labour was extremely low. He didn’t deny it was a problem, or claim that it didn’t exist. He just stated the factual truth that it was low. This was too much for Starmer, who claimed that he had to suspend the former Labour leader because of the hurt his comments had cause the Jewish community. He’s now trying to stop ordinary Labour members discussing this massively unjust decision. Starmer’s a Blairite, and it looks like he’s using allegations of anti-Semitism to purge the party not just of Corbyn, but also of his left-wing supporters.

Starmer is also a former director of public prosecutions, and while he was in that post met senior members of the American judiciary and Republican politicians. There have therefore been questions about just what he discussed with them. I wonder if Starmer’s also worried from a professional viewpoint as a senior government lawyer that if Corbyn, or someone like him gets in, Israel’s Likud politicos and their allies would face prosecution for crimes against humanity.

Before anybody says anything, I don’t doubt that Hamas is an Islamist party that wants the destruction of Israel. But that doesn’t justify the killing of civilians or the institutional racist brutalisation of the entire Palestinian people. I think the Spanish High Court was quite right to wish to investigate the Israeli minister and officials for war crimes. I wish all of the Israeli politicos responsible for the atrocities against the Palestinians were in the dock being prosecuted in the International Court of Human Rights in the Hague or wherever. Along with all the other murderous butchers around the world, like the Chinese criminals responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Uighurs.

And I’d like those, who use allegations of anti-Semitism to try and defend the regime, to be similarly exposed as their aiders and abettors.

How Genuine Are the Feelings of Hurt Claimed by the ‘Jewish Community’ over Labour Antisemitism?

I know this is a provocative question, but it needs to be asked. Yesterday Mike put up an excellent piece about the hypocrisy and moral cowardice of the Labour leadership. Angela Rayner had admitted that Jeremy Corbyn was right when he said that the amount of anti-Semitism in the Labour party was exaggerated. Nevertheless, it was right to suspend him because of the hurt they caused. Mike points out in his article that Rayner has effectively admitted what the victims of the anti-Semitism smear campaign have known for years – that Labour will expel people who tell the truth about it. He also says

“Hurt” and “distress” are irrelevant if they are not based on facts. And how do we know that the people saying they were “hurt” and “distressed” actually were? There are a lot of liars out there.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/11/01/labour-expels-members-for-quoting-facts-about-anti-semitism-deputy-leader-admits/

Quite. As the old saying goes, ‘truth hurts’. And it seems from this that the self-proclaimed ‘Jewish community’ that claims to be so hurt, simply can’t or won’t handle the truth. But then, they don’t represent the Jewish community, and they aren’t really hurt by anti-Semitism.

Organisations behind Anti-Semitism Smears Unrepresentative of Britain’s Jews

How dare I say these terrible things, which I dare say some people could twist to sound anti-Semitic. Easily, because the facts are on my side. The people behind the accusations and smears that Jeremy Corbyn and the party he led were anti-Semitic most certainly don’t represent all of the Jewish community, but Zionist sectarians. Tony Grenstein and other great, self-respecting Jewish anti-racists and critics of Zionism have pointed out again and yet again that these accusations come from Zionist organisation. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism was founded in 2012 or thereabout specifically to combat the rising hostility to Israel provoked by the bombing of Gaza. Labour Against Anti-Semitism are pretty much the same type of people in the Labour party. The Jewish Labour Movement used to be Paole Zion, Workers of Zion, and is the sister party to the Zionist Israeli Labour Party. In my view, both of these groups are deceptively and deliberately misnamed. The Campaign Against Zionism should be renamed the Campaign For Anti-Semitism, as it exists solely to manufacture accusations of Jew-hatred. As for the Jewish Labour Movement, it’s been shown that you don’t have to be Jewish or a member of the Labour party to join. It’s really a Zionist infiltration group, but obviously ain’t going to describe itself as such. And they will probably accuse you of spreading the anti-Semitic trope of Jewish conspiracies if you do. Nevertheless, it’s the truth. And the truth ain’t racist or anti-Semitic. It just is.

Chief Rabbis Sacks and Mirvis Ultra-Zionists

As for Chief rabbis Jonathan Sacks and Ephraim Mirvis, or ‘Mirv the Perv’ as I think he should be known, both of these gentlemen are, in my opinion, racist ultra-Zionists. Yes, I realise that over here they talk the language of anti-racism and interfaith dialogue. But Mirv spent years learning the Torah in one the hardline Israeli settlements. The settlers, or at least a very large majority of them, believe that all of Eretz Israel should belong to the state of Israel, and the Palestinians expelled and their lands colonised by Jews. Sacks and Mirvis also took contingents of British Jews to the March of the Flags in Jerusalem, despite pleas from British Jewish organisations not to do so. What’s the March of the Flags? It’s the day when the Israeli equivalent of Fascist boot-boys march through the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem waving the Israeli flag and vandalising Palestinian property. Palestinian kids are told not to go out on that day for fear of assault by these thugs. I see no difference between it and the Orange Marches through Roman Catholic areas in Northern Ireland. Or indeed through the attempted marches of Oswald Moseley and the British Union of Fascists through the East End of London and other Jewish areas in the 1930s.

Board of Deputies Zionist and Sectarian

Then there’s the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which sounds like it should represent the whole Jewish community. It don’t. It doesn’t represent secular Jews, who comprise a third of all British Jews. They also don’t represent the Orthodox, who have their own, separate organisation. And they really don’t represent Haredi Jews, who reject Israel because it’s a secular state. For the Haredi and Jews like them, Israel can only be restored by the Almighty through the Messiah. Until that time, the Children of Israel are required to remain in galut – exile – and pray for the health of the city, just as their ancestors did in exile in Babylon. Haredi Jews are viciously persecuted by the Israeli state because they refuse to recognise it. From what I gather, they are due to overtake the United Synagogue as the main Jewish sect in Britain in a few decades. And they have particular respect for Jeremy Corbyn for the efforts he and Diane Abbott have made on behalf of their community.

Tony Greenstein and others have pointed out that the Board of Deputies is, by its constitution, a Zionist organisation. So it obviously doesn’t represent non- or anti-Zionist Jews. These range from religious Jews, like the Haredi, to politically liberal and secular Jews, who object to the Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Whether religious or secular, these Jews believe that by doing so, Israel is violating the central tenets of traditional Jewish morality. As someone once said, ‘To be a Jew is always to side with the oppressed, never the oppressors’. In fact, the Board really only represents the United Synagogue. And probably not all of them, as some have sitting representatives where there hasn’t been an election for years. Other synagogues won’t allow women to vote. And the fact that it is the United Synagogue driving these smears is shown very clearly in many of the articles the I has published smearing Labour as anti-Semitic. Alongside the name of the author of so many of these hit pieces was the statement that they were a member of the United Synagogue. The Board is therefore a sectarian organisation, that no more speaks for the whole of the Jewish community than the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks for all British Christians, who are also divided into a number of different sects and denominations.

Corbyn Not Anti-Semitic

As for the hurt these mamzers claim to have felt, it’s a peculiarly selective kind of hurt. The South African Jewish politico, Andrew Feinstein posted a video this weekend showing very clearly that Corbyn wasn’t an anti-Semite. This includes footage of the former Labour leader denouncing it and all other forms of racism in a fiery speech in 2002 and of him meeting and being warmly greeted by members of the Jewish community, including a rabbi. Feinstein showed stats from a 2015 survey showing that Labour had the second-lowest incidence of anti-Semitism in British political parties. Two years later, another survey showed that Labour was the joint lowest.

Feinstein’s arguments should carry particular weight, as he has personal, family experience of real, murderous anti-Semitism. His mother’s family is a holocaust survivor, who lost 39 members of her family in Auschwitz. Feinstein has not only been to Auschwitz, but has also lectured there. I believe he was also subjected to anti-Semitic abuse by a real Fascist, which is where the vast majority of real anti-Semitism lies.

Hypocrites Behind Smears Not Concerned with Greater Anti-Semitism in Tories and Fascism

I believe the same stats showed that there was more anti-Semitism in the Tory party. And certainly the internet fan groups for BoJob and Jacob Rees Mogg the blogger Jacobs Mates dug up includes among their vicious racists and Islamophobes anti-Semites, who believe that non-White immigration is an evil plot by the Jews to exterminate the White race. Labour was placed under immense pressure to adopt the I.H.R.A. definition of anti-Semitism in full, complete with examples. But no such pressure was placed on the Tories, who haven’t. It’s a peculiar kind of hurt, that has no objection to anti-Semitism in the Tories, but like Violet Elizabeth Bott in the Just William books ‘thcweems and thcweems’ until it’s sick at its much lower incidence in Labour.

Anti-Semitism Smears Weapon to Defend Israel against Criticism

Of course the Jewish organisations accusing Labour of anti-Semitism aren’t doing it because of real anti-Semitism. They’re doing it because they want to defend Israel. Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinians is indefensible on rational, factual grounds, so all they can do is smear critics as anti-Semites. As Norman Finkelstein, another leading Jewish critic of Israel has said, the Israel lobby is a machine for manufacturing anti-Semites.

And Jews like Andrew Feinstein are horrified and sickened by the cynical, political use of such accusations, not least because it cheapens the deaths of the six million, who were murdered by the Nazis.

Jewish Critics of Israel Victims of Anti-Semitic Ultra-Zionist Smears

But this is precisely what the people behind the anti-Semitism smears are doing. And many of the people they smear are self-respecting Jews, who as critics of Israel can, like Shraga Stern, a Heredi supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, justly claim to have been victims of sectarian anti-Semitic abuse and vilification.

Conclusion

The Jewish organisations claiming to have been hurt by Labour anti-Semitism are liars, both about the incidence of anti-Semitism in the Labour party and their motives for denouncing it. They were protected and supported by a lying Labour party bureaucracy, and are now by a lying Labour leadership. And these smears were spread by a lying British political and media establishment terrified of a revived Labour party that would actually do something for working people. Who of course include Jews. Always have done, always will do, ever since it was founded.

‘Hurt’ nonsense! This is a nasty pack of lies that smears decent people, cheapens real victims of anti-Semitism and desensitizes people to the real anti-Semites in the Fascist fringe. How utterly, utterly contemptible!

Life Under Seige: The Blockade on Gaza Turns Fourteen and Is Still as Illegal as Ever

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/09/2020 - 5:22am in

As the coronavirus pandemic has dominated the headlines for the past few months, it could be easy to miss the news that the Gaza Strip has quietly entered its fourteenth year under an Israeli blockade. The humanitarian ramifications of that blockade cannot be understated, with Israel controlling Gazans from the high seas, the air, and the ground. Even underground and underwater.

With no foreseeable end in sight, the blockade has been on the radar of the United Nations and human rights groups for over a decade. Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine, Pierre Krahenbuhl, stated that the blockade of Gaza is the “longest in history.” He made those comments seven years ago, and the length of the siege has since doubled with no end in sight.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) declared the blockade a clear violation of international humanitarian law ten years ago, and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) called on Israel to lift the embargo in 2008.

Other globally respected groups have described it as a “violation of the rules of war (2009)”; “collective punishment (2008),” “unacceptable suffering (2010),” and “possible crime against humanity (2009).”

Yet, despite worldwide pressure – and despite the coronavirus – Israel’s brutal blockade continues – made possible in part with collaboration from the United States.

In the years before the Trump administration, UNRWA, which cares for the 1.4 million Palestinian refugees residing in Gaza, was heavily funded by the U.S. Trump ended that funding in 2018. The U.S. also provides over $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel and consistently vetoes any UN Security Council resolutions that would condemn Israel and potentially curb human rights abuses and violations on international law in Gaza.

Fourteen years of deprivation from the most basic necessities for human survival is a long time. That reality is especially acute for the children of Gaza, who, born under siege, know no other life.

 

A young Gazan rapper tells it like it is

Abdel Rahman al Shanti, 11-year-old Gazan rapping sensation, wants the outside world to know, “we are children, supposed to be like the other children.” The lyrics of his songs, “Peace” and “Gaza Messenger,” recount his young life under blockade and war:

I was born in Gaza City and the first thing I heard was a gunshot. In my first breath, I tasted gunpowder…”

I am here to tell you our lives are hard. We got broken streets and bombs in the yard.”

Other children add their stories to Abdel Rahman’s.

 

In sickness

Israel granted 7,000 medical travel permits for minors in 2018 – but less than 2,000 for parents. The math is not hard to do: more children travel without parents than with them.

Physicians for Human Rights reports that, in some cases, Israel blackmails parents, demanding they become informants in exchange for permission to cross the border.

Miral, age ten, for example, got permission to travel to Nablus in the West Bank for chemotherapy – but her parents were denied. Miral died without them.

Gaza Blockade

A man and his 18-month-old daughter, who suffers from cancer, await permission to cross Israel’s Erez checkpoint from Jebaliya, Gaza. Tsafrir Abayov | AP

Five-year-old Aisha had a brain tumor. Due to Israel’s restrictions, her parents could not even apply to accompany her to Jerusalem for treatment; it would take three weeks for Israel to do a background check on Aisha’s grandmother. She went with a stranger. She died alone.

Louay is three. His mother was permitted to accompany him to Nablus for cancer treatment only after dozens of newspapers carried his story and pressured Israel.

Ill children who stay in Gaza have parents by their side, but often second-rate medical care: due to Israel’s protracted blockade, medical facilities in the enclave are severely lacking in medicine and supplies; equipment is in disrepair, and electricity is intermittent.

Israel itself may be responsible for some cases of childhood cancer, as it used experimental weapons against Gaza’s civilian population in 2008-2009. Cancer among Gazan children has increased by 41 percent since that time.

 

Snipers

Wisal was fourteen when she went to the Gaza border with Israel on May 14, 2018. She participated in the nonviolent protest against the United States embassy move to Jerusalem – a move that angered and disappointed every Palestinian. Opposite the demonstrators were Israeli sharpshooters.

She was among the sixty Gazans killed that day, ten of which were children. A total of forty-six children (and several hundred adults) were killed by Israeli sniper fire during twenty months of nonviolent protests in Gaza, 2018-2019. The weekly demonstrations called attention to Israel’s blockade and refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Many of the over 8,800 children and more than 27,000 adults injured during the protests were shot with expanding bullets that “pulverize the bone,” a war crime.

 

Childhood canceled

Gazan children living under the Israeli blockade lack much that others take for granted. Israel has banned the import of many basic items to the enclave. The list of prohibited items changes occasionally, but not by much.

Rights groups report that Gazan children have had to do without toys, crayons, blankets, candy, and cookies. Also blocked have been meat, pasta, spices, and heaters, as well as wood, cement, and plaster to repair thousands of homes damaged or destroyed during the three military incursions by Israel.

Gazan children have battled malnutrition for years; suicide among the young is becoming an epidemic.

 

Why the blockade?

Israel’s official reason for enforcing the crushing blockade on Gaza: Hamas rockets. Israel repeats this mantra year after year but adds neither context nor detail.

In fact, Hamas is Gaza’s duly elected political party – a self-declared party of resistance to occupation, in contrast with Fatah, which Gazans consider complicit with Israel.

Gazan resistance groups began firing rockets in 2001 in response to Israeli invasions that killed scores of Palestinian civilians. Thousands more Palestinians have been killed since.

Gazan rockets, in contrast, have killed a total of approximately 40 Israelis in almost twenty years.

The people of the Palestinian territories have a recognized right under international law to resist their occupier – including armed resistance.

Many Gazan adults feel an obligation to resist Israel for the sake of their children. They are hoping against hope.

Feature photo | A young boy waits for customers at a grocery store in the Shati refugee camp, in Gaza City, Aug. 27, 2020. Adel Hana | AP

Kathryn Shihadah writes for MintPress News and If Americans Knew. She speaks regularly about the injustice and demonization Palestinians face at the hands of Israel with complicity from the United States, especially to Christian audiences. Kathryn has lived in the Middle East for ten years and has traveled extensively. She blogs at PalestineHome.org.

The post Life Under Seige: The Blockade on Gaza Turns Fourteen and Is Still as Illegal as Ever appeared first on MintPress News.

Israeli Human Rights Group Highlights How Israel Makes Fishing in Gaza Deadly

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/09/2020 - 4:51am in

The Gaza Strip, just six miles wide, boasts a twenty-five-mile coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. Fishing is a natural industry in such a location and as recently as 2000, was a lucrative business for ten thousand Gazans. Today, only about 3,700 remain in the fishing trade – and about ninety-five percent of these live below the poverty line, with little hope of improvement.

On September 9, Israeli human rights watchdog B’Tselem released a report on the fishing industry in Gaza. It describes the plight-within-a-plight of Palestinians trying to eke out a living during a pandemic and under a hostile Israeli blockade. The report includes testimony given to B’Tselem field researcher Olfat al-Kurd by the wives and mothers of Gazan fishermen, including the story of Ahmad, whose twelve-hour workdays bring in under $150 a month.

As is the reality with most elements of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation, the greatest challenge in Gaza’s fishing industry is not the whether, or fluctuations in the market – it’s simply living to fish another day.

 

How far is too far?

At this moment, Gazan fishermen are permitted by Israel to venture fifteen nautical miles off of Gaza’s coast to ply their trade. But the situation is “fluid,” and can change without warning – as it did on August 12 when Israeli military officials issued a directive that “immediately” reduced the fishing zone from fifteen miles to eight, the official reason given were the so-called incendiary balloons launched from Gaza into Israel. Four days later, the sea was completely off-limits to Gazans and remained that way for over two weeks.

Palestinian police officers sit in a small boat as they pass near an Israeli naval vessel

Palestinian police pass an Israeli naval vessel as they search for the body of a fisherman killed by the Israeli Navy near Rafah.

One organization cataloged twenty changes in the fishing boundaries in 2019 alone – four of those were complete closures. At times, fishermen don’t know where the boundaries are until Israeli soldiers start shooting at them.

The Oslo Accords, an agreement signed by both Israel and the Palestinian leadership in 1993, places Gaza’s fishing perimeter at twenty miles offshore, only 10 percent of what some experts believe Palestine could claim as its Exclusive Economic Zone.

In the twenty-seven years since Oslo was signed, Israel has rarely allowed fishing beyond twelve nautical miles.

 

Tyranny at sea

As the Israeli Navy patrols the sea surrounding Gaza, it is in daily breach of multiple international laws.

B’Tselem recounts an interview with Nura, whose family has had three fishing boats confiscated; ‘Ula’s family has lost two boats and four motors. The women disclosed that Israel frequently holds the boats for years; motors are often never seen again – a practice that violates international law. Over the years, hundreds of boats have been impounded.

The Israeli military also detains and imprisons fishermen for allegedly sailing outside of the boundaries they impose, as was the case in 2017 with Intesar’s son, Khader disappeared after embarking on a fishing trip. Ten days later, his family discovered that he’d been arrested and sentenced to sixteen months in an Israeli prison for fishing outside of the acceptable range “several times.” Last year, Khader would disappear again – this time he’d been shot in the head, and was located in an Israeli hospital.

Gaza Fisherman

Mourners carry the body of fisherman Tawfiq Abu Riala, 32, shot and killed by Israeli naval forces off the coast of Gaza. Khalil Hamra | AP

Live fire in the absence of an immediate threat to human life is standard operating procedure for the Israeli military and is a breach of international law. Israeli human rights organization Gisha reported nearly one thousand such live-fire incidents at sea between 2010 and 2017, resulting in five deaths.

Zakaria Bakr, head of the Fishermen’s Union in Gaza, explains another Israeli policy that adds insult to injury: Israel’s blockade, now in its thirteenth year, “bans almost everything we need to maintain our boats,” including engines, spare parts, fiberglass, and rope. Fishing boats that escape confiscation and gunfire are still vulnerable, and half of Gaza’s registered fishermen are unable to go out because their boats are in disrepair.

The very presence of the Israeli military, controlling Palestinians, amounts to de facto occupation. While the Israeli government insists that it “disengaged” when Israel left Gaza, in reality, it is fully “engaged” – only now from outside the borders. Israel controls Gaza’s land boundaries and all exits, its airspace, and the sea, and administers all importing and exporting of goods.

Perhaps the most flagrant offense of all lies in Israel’s motive for harassing and disrupting fishermen. As Israeli leaders have made clear time and time again, the expanding and contracting fishing boundaries are an attempt to punish all of Gaza for the “transgression” of the few who dare to stand in defiance of Israeli oppression. In reality, international law recognizes the right of an occupied population to resist its occupier, including via armed resistance.

When, for example, militants release incendiary balloons or rockets, or when Palestinians in the West Bank “act out,” fishermen in Gaza (and their families and clients) pay for it. This is a form of collective punishment, a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

 

Compounding hardships

The life of a fishing family, like most lives in Gaza, if often fixated on making ends meet. Nura Nu’man, a mother of two from a-Shati’ Refugee Camp whose husband Muamen is a fisherman, lamented to B’Tselem, “My life revolves around loans and debts.” The vast majority of fishermen live on less than $4.60 a day, forcing them to make tough choices, like whether to risk going out to sea during a sea closure or asking their children to drop out of school.

Even when there is a good catch, Gazans can’t afford to buy fish like they used to – especially during the coronavirus. If fish are left at the end of the day, constant power outages due to Israel’s blockade on the fuel needed to power generators make it impossible to keep them refrigerated for sale the next morning.

Gaza Fisherman

Fishermen display fish for sale after a night long fishing trip, in Gaza, Jan. 17, 2020. Hatem Moussa | AP

Then there is the emotional toll. Intesar, a mother of six from a-Shati’ Refugee Camp, described her young grandchildren’s make-believe fishing trip in which they warned each other to “watch out for gunfire”; ‘Ula’s children suffer from anxiety. No one wants the next generation to take up their fathers’ trade, but options are limited in the closed economy.

 

Collusion

Israel has been censured by countless human rights groups and hundreds of United Nations reprimands over its human rights abuses of  Palestinians in Gaza. One troubling UN report warned that unless Israel changes its policies, Gaza would become “unlivable” by 2020. B’Tselem pointed out that “rather than change its policies…Israel has made them stricter and the situation has deteriorated,” adding that “Israel could change this stifling reality right now. Instead, it chooses to force Gaza residents to live in a state of poverty, stagnation, and hopelessness.”

The United States for its part continues to fund the Israeli government to the tune of $10 million a day in military aid and both houses of Congress remain obsessed with supporting and bankrolling Israel at every opportunity – although Americans as a whole are strongly in favor of conditioning such aid. The House has even managed to ignore a bill to protect Palestinian children from being tortured on the dime of American taxpayers.

There is, however, evidence of a changing tide in support for Israel, especially among Democrats. But Israel-firsters are pushing back hard and until the voices for justice are louder than voices for unconditional support for Israel, the United States will be complicit in the slow death of Palestinians.

When Gaza’s allies cry, “They have no fish,” Americans are responding, “let them eat cake.”

Feature photo | A Palestinian fisherman fixes a fishing net after a night fishing trip, in the Gaza Seaport, Sept. 3, 2020. Khalil Hamra | AP

Kathryn Shihadah writes for MintPress News and If Americans Knew. She speaks regularly about the injustice and demonization Palestinians face at the hands of Israel with complicity from the United States, especially to Christian audiences. Kathryn has lived in the Middle East for ten years and has traveled extensively. She blogs at PalestineHome.org.

The post Israeli Human Rights Group Highlights How Israel Makes Fishing in Gaza Deadly appeared first on MintPress News.