How Israel Silences Dissent


From the New York Times op ed section.

On July 12, four days after the latest war in Gaza began, hundreds of Israelis gathered in central Tel Aviv to protest the killing of civilians on both sides and call for an end to the siege of Gaza and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. They chanted, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”

Hamas had warned that it would fire a barrage of rockets at central Israel after 9 p.m., and it did.

But the injuries suffered in Tel Aviv that night stemmed not from rocket fire but from a premeditated assault by a group of extremist Israeli Jews. Chanting “Death to Arabs” and “Death to leftists,” they attacked protesters with clubs. Although several demonstrators were beaten and required medical attention, the police made no arrests.

The same thing happened at another antiwar protest in Haifa a week later; this time, the victims included the city’s deputy mayor, Suhail Assad, and his son. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no statement condemning the violence, even though he had previously stated his primary concern was the safety of Israeli citizens.

The vilification of the few Israelis who don’t subscribe to right-wing doctrine is not new. Similar acts of incitement occurred before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. But now they have multiplied, escalated and spread.

In July, the veteran Israeli actress Gila Almagor performed at Tel Aviv’s Habima Theater even though she had received threats that she would be murdered on stage. In an interview in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot a few days earlier, she had expressed feeling ashamed after a 16-year old Palestinian, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped and burned alive by Jewish extremists.

In an interview during the Gaza war, the popular comedian Orna Banai said she felt terrible that Palestinian women and children were being killed — she was subsequently fired from her position as spokeswoman for an Israeli cruise ship operator. And Haaretz hired bodyguards for its columnist Gideon Levy after he wrote an article criticizing Israeli Air Force pilots.

The aggressive silencing of anyone who voices disapproval of Israeli policies or expresses empathy with Palestinians is the latest manifestation of an us-versus-them mentality that has been simmering for decades. It is based on the narrative that Palestinians are enemies who threaten Jewish sovereignty and are solely to blame for the failure to achieve peace. The Israeli peace camp — which remains obsessively focused on stopping settlement expansion and pursuing the ever-elusive two-state solution while ignoring Israel’s failure to separate religion and state and guarantee equal rights for Arab citizens — has been incapable of challenging this mentality.

Israeli society has been unable and unwilling to overcome an exclusivist ethno-religious nationalism that privileges Jewish citizens and is represented politically by the religious settler movement and the increasingly conservative secular right. Israel’s liberal, progressive forces remain weak in the face of a robust economy that profits from occupation while international inaction reinforces the status quo. In their attempt to juggle being both Jewish and democratic, most Israelis are choosing the former at the expense of the latter.

Israel has never, for example, genuinely addressed the fact that non-Jewish Arabs who generally identify as Palestinian account for about 20 percent of the population (this excludes the approximately three million Palestinians living under Israel’s control in East Jerusalem and the West Bank). Israel has also never clearly defined its borders, preferring to keep them vague and porous. Nor has it defined what it means to be “Israeli,” as distinct from being “Jewish,” leaving a vacuum that has been filled by nationalist and religious ideologues.

This has allowed the us-versus-them mentality to bleed into Israeli Jewish society. “Us” no longer refers to any Jewish citizen, and “them” to any Palestinian. Now, “us” means all those who defend the status quo of occupation and settlement expansion, including many Christian evangelicals and Republicans in America. And “them” means anyone who tries to challenge that status quo, whether a rabbi, a dissenting Israeli soldier or the president of the United States.

Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a shock. For most of Israel’s existence, the majority of Israelis have allowed the state, in the name of Jewish sovereignty and security, to violate Palestinians’ basic human rights — including access to water and the freedom of movement and assembly. The state has killed unarmed protesters and then failed to carry out investigations; it has allowed settlers and soldiers to act with impunity; and it has systematically discriminated against non-Jewish citizens. After so many years of repressing those who stand in the way, the transition to targeting “one of your own” isn’t so difficult. Now it is the few Jewish Israelis who speak the language of human rights who are branded as enemies.

Zeev Sternhell, a political scientist and an expert on fascism, believes that “radical nationalism” and the “erosion of Enlightenment values” have reached new heights in Israel. “To grieve for the loss of life on both sides is already a subversive act, treason,” he told Haaretz. Mr. Sternhell has experienced Jewish extremist violence firsthand; in 2008, a settler planted a bomb in his home that wounded him.

Israelis increasingly seem unwilling to listen to criticism, even when it comes from within their own family. Not only are they not willing to listen, they are trying to silence it before it can even be voiced. With a family like that, I would rather be considered one of “them.”

Does this Youtube video threaten the national security of the UAE?


 

Someone there thinks so!

The Global Peace Index


israeli_flagThe Global Peace Index offers some interesting insight into what is considered a peaceful country and what isn’t.  The top ten peaceful countries are in order, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland, Slovenia.  Denmark and Norway have been the scene of some pretty violent opposition to Muslim immigration to their countries, but evidently the citizens have managed to coexist peacefully with one another.  The Netherlands another country that has seen stiff opposition to immigrants is the 22nd most peaceful country and France is ranked number 30.  America is ranked 83 which surprised me considering we invaded three countries and are the only country at war with other countries, or forces in other countries.  The ten most violent countries in the world are Zimbabwe, Russia, Pakistan, Chad, The Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Israel, Somalia, Afghanistan and finally Iraq, the most violent country of the 144 countries considered.  With the exception of Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, all of the other worst offenders are fighting their own populations and not foreigners invading their territory. (Guess who that invader is in two of the cases.)  Only one of the 10 worst countries is an ally of America, while the others have cold to almost no relations with the United States and face some sort of condemnation from America as a result of their human rights violations against their own.   Israel meanwhile continues to enjoy copious amounts of US aid,  materiel and support for its apartheid like policies towards its Arab citizens and neighbors.  Noteworthy too is the fact that Israel has been in the bottom 5 consistently for the last three years. It is definitely time for CHANGE.

Interesting insight into the Israeli national mentality


No matter what they say about nuclear weapons possessed by Iran or hostile Arab neighbors who want to drive the Jews into the sea, it’s the least of Israeli worries, just as  Saddam Hussein’s WMDs were no threat to Israel or anyone else for that matter, because they simply didn’t exist. What is interesting is reading what Israel thinks are their problems and why and the list is far more revealing than any I’ve seen to date.  Here they are in the order mentioned in this article Seven Existential Threats.

1.The Loss of Jerusalem; partly due to the absence of Zionists living in the city.

2.The Arab Demographic Threat; Israel must be 70% Zionist in order to be legitimate and Arabs are having too many children

3. Delegitimization; Israel’s sins are receiving world wide attention which is bad for it’s reputation.

4.Terrorism; we’ve heard it all before.

5. A Nuclear-Armed Iran; we’ve heard this all before too.

6.The Hemorrhaging of Sovereignty; Israel doesn’t exert its control over people under its authority.

7.Corruption;The breakdown of public morality especially among it’s leaders.

The blog, War In Context,  does a decent job dismantling some of the above notions but looking at Oren’s list, the originator of the 7 deadly threats to Israel, it appears his biggest complaint and remedy for it is the absence of Zionism and the need for more Zionism.  Not much mention of Judaism as a religion, but rather Zionism as a political movement.  One other line in his piece that brought about a chuckle was this assertion:

Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent. Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. If it remains officially Jewish, then the state will face an unprecedented level of international isolation, including sanctions, that might prove fatal.

Is he saying democracy is a threat to and not consistent with Israeli interests?  Ohh, America, are you listening?

The steady encroachment of the American state on people’s rights


This is the second part of the previous article that was on the use of the immigration courts to essentially re-try immigrants  for a charge they might have been previously found innocent.  For such victims of American “justice” the penalty is deportation, but what happens to  Muslim American citizens?  Take a look

“Malik,” an American citizen, engineer, and Houston area community leader dedicates his spare time as an organizer for a major political party and participates in roundtable discussions with senior U.S. government officials on outreach to Muslim Americans. During a return trip home from Canada, (he was)  taken to a small, private room by an armed, federal border agent and repeatedly asked such questions as, “What is your religion?” and “What mosque do you attend?” as well as questions about the membership in (his) mosque. While (he was) answering question after question, (his) laptop and flash drives containing (his)  tax returns and other personal information, (were) searched. Business cards with Muslim names (were) removed from sight and presumably copied.

“Munir,” a well-respected Arab-American community leader from the Detroit area driving home from Connecticut with his wife and two young daughters when he passed through Canada to re-enter the U.S. at the Port Huron land crossing 40 miles north of Detroit.  He  and his wife were forcefully dragged from and thrown against their car, handcuffed, and separated from each other and their children and detained for over four hours while being aggressively interrogated. They asked to call their lawyer, but the federal agent  guarding them denied their request for counsel. Munir’s wife was  separated from their daughters for nearly 40 minutes. Although they possessed no weapons, to their colleagues, agents described Munir  as “armed and dangerous”.

Zakariya Reed, a Toledo, OH firefighter, Gulf War veteran and 20-year
veteran of the National Guard has endured extensive interrogations on over 10
occasions since 2006 after visiting family members in Ontario, Canada. CBP
agents at the Detroit Ambassador Bridge have searched him both physically
and electronically; asked questions about his political views, his financial
transactions, and his personal associations; and even challenged the basis for
his religious beliefs.

Fairuz Abdullah, a San Francisco Bay Area lawyer and civic leader was
interrogated by CBP agents upon arriving at Miami International Airport in
June 2007 after returning from vacation travel in Peru. Agents questioned Ms.
Abdullah, about her prior travels, the identities and locations of her family
members around the world, her marriage, her profession and educational
history. Agents at times challenged her responses and initially prevented her from re-entering the country. Federal agents denied her legal counsel, detained and moved her to immigration processing where she was aggressively approached repeatedly by federal agents, who not only addressed her in Spanish but continued to do so even after she had repeatedly identified
herself as a native English speaker.

Yasir Qadhi, a graduate student at Yale University, who has been consulted
by federal counterterrorism and State Department officials for his expertise on
extremist religious movements and ideology, has faced aggressive and
intrusive border scrutiny on several occasions since 2005 at Newark
International Airport, Houston Intercontinental Airport and the Niagara Falls
(NY) border crossing. He faces recurring questions from armed federal agents
about his religious beliefs. Agents have also copied data from his cell phone,
and interrogated him about his associates and acquaintances, the contents of
his lectures, and even the mosques in which he has prayed.

These are just some of the examples where Muslims had their right disregarded and trounced on by officials for no reason other than their religious identity. This type of racism is not uncommon in America; ours is a history replete with examples like this directed towards every group that has settled on the shores of this country. What’s sad is enlightenment, information, time and a knowledge of history have not prevented us from making the same mistakes today and that means organizations like Muslim Advocates are being formed to inform us of government’s delinquent behavior as well as help those who need help with keeping big government from its inherent brutality of individuals.   As far as Muslims and Islam in the west are concerned it doesn’t take much to arouse the suspicions of a government in the throes of Islamophobia and treacherous congressmen and women.  The latter group using the old misdirection play to keep people diligent about a non existing threat while stealing state secrets and government coffers blind.

Hussam Ayoush has compiled a pretty good list of those things Muslim should not do to avoid government scrutiny and even prosecution.  Joining the NRA and hunting are some of those all American activities that are off limits to Muslims, unless they like living under a blaring spotlight that gets switched off when the same past times are indulged by those who get the likes of George Bush and Dick Cheney elected to office.

One thing I hope these trials and tribulations do for the Muslims in America and ostensibly all of North America is make them more aware, attune and commited to combating government oppression when government strikes the next group seen as easy pickings in the high stakes game of pitting one group against the next, keeping its citizens off balance and in fear and suspicion of their neighbors while continues its blitzkreig towards power and control.  I hope Muslim Americans will come away with a greater appreciation of the struggles of their fellow Americans who preceded them and will be better in joining the fight.

The next time someone rebukes you for saying Jews control Hollywood and the media


tell them there are some Jews who are proud of that fact, or at least this one is.

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish).

*snip*

The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you’d be flipping between “The 700 Club” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV all day.

Perhaps now is the time to talk seriously about throwing out your television if in the absence of Jewish influence on entertainment the only choices one has are “The 700 Club” or “Davey and Goliath”.   How do these “facts” expounded on by Mr. Stein translate into images and perceptions of people and cultures that are distasteful to studio executives? Stein doesn’t go there, needless to say, some movie bias found its way into popular culture and we have those Jewish entertainment executives to thank for that.