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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
Commentary

TitleDescriptionDate
A Strained Alliance: Obama-Netanyahu Rift Grew Over YearsPETER BAKER and JODI RUDOREN - NYT - It reflects fundamentally different world views between the leaders of two longtime allies: an American president eager for a historic rapprochement with Iran and an Israeli premier nursing an existential fear of a nuclear-armed enemy. [bz]31/1/2015
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Hezbollah, Israel and the old deterrence equationJohn Bell--Neither side wants war, the cost will be too high for both - but such logic may not prevail. dn31/1/2015
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How the joint Arab slate challenges Israel`s discriminatory politicsAmjad Iraqi - +972 "...the joint Arab slate represents the only multi-party bloc that is unequivocally committed to full equality, the end of the occupation and a just peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These are expressions of the landmark Future Vision Documents (including the Democratic Constitution), which were authored and endorsed by Palestinian citizen politicians, intellectuals, community representatives and civil society members. The slate’s candidates further attest to the bloc’s democratic vision and diverse representation, which includes Arabs and Jews, men and women, Marxists and nationalists, religious and secular, and others." ca30/1/2015
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How Obama Can Stop Netanyahu’s Iran WarSCOTT MCCONNELL - The American Conservative - Obama could stress that as president he will no longer stand for American policies being subject to manipulation by a foreign power. In speaking in terms of American national interest, he will find reservoirs of support Democrats haven’t touched in many years. As Merry makes clear, the pushback would be fierce. But a president who explained his decisions in terms of refusing to concede the country’s sovereign command over decisions of war and peace to a minor foreign power would be victorious.-rh 29/1/2015
The Truth About The Fight Against `Anti-Semitism`Ludwig Watzal - Countercurrents - The Israeli movie maker Yoav Shamir documents in the film "Defamation" the fight of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) against "anti-Semitism". This "fight" has little to do with "anti-Semitism" but much with muzzling Israel critic. "Anti-Semitism" serves as a pretext to immunize the State of Israel against criticism. The Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery said about the fight of ADL. "None of them fights anti-Semitism. They fight criticism of Israel".-rh 28/1/2015
Living in Israel is not the solution to antisemitismAntony Loewenstein - Mondoweiss - Israel has framed itself since its inception as a ¡§light unto the nations¡¨. ¡§There is no demographic or practical existence for the Jewish people without a Jewish state¡¨, Netanyahu proclaimed in 2010. But the vast bulk of global Jewry feels secure in their own multicultural country with full rights and responsibilities, a transformation from 100 years ago when Jews were often ghettoised.-rh 28/1/2015
Drones have forever changed usNeve Gordon - Aljazeera - drones change our conception of war because it becomes, in Chamayou`s words, a priori impossible to die as one kills. One air force officer formulated this basic benefit in the following manner: "The real advantage of unmanned aerial systems is that they allow you to protect power without projecting vulnerability."-rh28/1/2015
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Israel army confirms 2 soldiers killed in Hezbollah attackMa`an News Agency - The Israeli military on Wednesday confirmed that two of its soldiers had been killed in a Hezbollah attack on its forces in the occupied Shebaa Farms near the Lebanese border.-rh28/1/2015
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Netanyahu ‘Spat In Our Face,’ White House Officials SaidTimes of Israel staff - Information Clearing House - The White House’s outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to speak before Congress in March — a move he failed to coordinate with the administration — began to seep through the diplomatic cracks on Friday, with officials telling Haaretz the Israeli leader had “spat” in President Barack Obama’s face.-rh 28/1/2015
The Death of Reason: American bias when it comes to JusticeJafar M. Ramini - The Arab Daily News - "The very idea that anybody would dare to question Israel is sacrilege." - id 28/1/2015
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About buried phosphorus and thuggish diplomacyAdam Keller - Crazy Country - "One unnamed “Israeli military source” apologetically told Reuters that Israel did not know about the presence of an Iranian general in the convoy. Another unnamed source contradicted this a few hours later and reiterated the version that Israel “does not accept any responsibility” for the attack in Syria." - id 28/1/2015
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Galant`s Gallant Act Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - “To suggest that our leaders could order a military action to increase their chances in an election borders on treason. Yet it has happened before. Indeed, it happened in many of our 19 election campaigns till now. […] And then the silence was broken from a totally unexpected quarter. General Galant gave an interview in which he squarely accused the government of warming up the northern border for election purposes. Galant? Incredible!” [ry]26/1/2015
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About buried phosphorus and thuggish diplomacyAdam Keller - Crazy Country - “An immediate Hezbollah revenge could have ensured the victory of Netanyahu in the March general elections: a missile barrage from Lebanon on Israeli cities, which would have required a powerful response by the Israeli Air Force and initiated an open-ended military operation (‘Operation Protective Stiff Cloud’?) which would have continued to escalate until shortly before the election date - and during all that time, opposition leaders Herzog and Livni would have been constrained to express patriotic support for the government and avoid all criticism and propaganda. Alas, up to this moment Hezbollah did not deliver the goods” [ry]26/1/2015
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Just how antisemitic is Britain?David Conn--Alarmist suggestions that Jewish experience in Britain today echoes the 1930s seem unreal dn25/1/2015
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Red Rag column: religious fanaticism in Paris and elsewhereGideon Spiro - The government of Israel has jumped onto the bandwagon of struggle against terror, but that is a pretence. The State of Israel is a terror state. The 47 years of the Occupation have been 47 years of cruel terror. Terror is the official policy of the government of Israel. The Israeli army of Occupation, the Israel Security Agency and the ideological nucleus of fascist settlers are producers of the terror among the fruits of which is the counter-terror of the occupied, which itself is often horrific.24/1/2015
Another election: expect no peace breakthroughShmuel Amir - Hagada Hasmalit - Among all the contending parties is there one party – just one – that truly aspires the peace which is possible, that overtly demands withdrawal to the borders of 1967? In Israel that is typical of all the parties that are “pro-peace”: they are in favour of negotiations (if possible to the end of time). 24/1/2015
Israel and the ICCNicola Perugini and Neve Gordon--The decision by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, to open ‘a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine’ could have a concrete political impact in Israel/Palestine, but not because the ICC will end up charging officials for carrying out war crimes. dn24/1/2015
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Arabs of Israel, suspects until proven otherwise?Haaretz Editorial--The deaths of two residents of the Bedouin town of Rahat – Sami al-Ja’ar last week and Sami Ziadna on Sunday – demand a thorough investigation of police conduct. This is essential not only for the sake of the Arab minority’s faith in law enforcement, but also to prevent similar deaths in the future. Sami al-Ja’ar, 20, was shot by police last Wednesday during the arrest of drug-trafficking suspects in Rahat. According to the Ja’ar family, Sami was not suspected of any crimes. dn24/1/2015
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Turmoil and restraintHassan Al-Qashawi - Al-Ahram Weekly "Suicide bombers ended months of calm in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city, on Saturday when two men wearing explosive vests blew themselves up in a cafe in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Jebel Moshin. Nine people were killed and dozens injured...Yet instead of fanning the flames of factional mistrust, Lebanon took the news in stride. The past few months of strife in the country have not been wasted on the country’s political forces, which, while bracing themselves for the worst, have been reluctant to provoke or escalate violence." ca23/1/2015
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Obama, Kerry freeze out Bibi over impromptu Hill visitLaura Rozen - Al-Monitor "Neither President Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry will see Netanyahu on his Washington visit in March, the White House and State Department said Jan. 22, ostensibly because it is just two weeks before Israel’s elections. But US officials left little doubt the cold shoulder was also because they were incensed that Netanyahu was plotting to come to Washington to lobby against Obama’s sensitive diplomatic efforts with Iran...Pardo, in his rare statement, appeared to concede the Israeli-backed push for new congressional Iran sanctions was designed to try to collapse the current Iran nuclear negotiations, because Israel considers the deal being negotiated too weak." ca 23/1/2015
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The Strategy Behind Israel’s Attack on Iran and HizballahJonathan Cook - ICH "Iran has invested heavily in arming Hizballah with rockets and missiles to provide a deterrent against Israel launching a strike on Iran. Using that arsenal now, as one Israeli analyst surmised, would be “wasting [it] on border skirmishes that have no strategic significance for Iran”.Hizballah, meanwhile, will be reluctant to fire rockets for fear of weakening its domestic political position. It has no popular mandate – explicit or implicit – to drag Lebanon into another devastating confrontation with Israel, like the one in 2006, in retaliation for military losses it sustained on Syrian rather than Lebanese soil." ca23/1/2015
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Assimilating French MuslimsJoseph Massad - Electronic Intifada "This France is the France that accuses its Muslim population of refusing to assimilate to its ways, but never questions why it thinks it should not assimilate to their ways — since French Muslims too are as much part of France and its culture as French Catholics are and since France is no longer the exclusive property of French Catholics to do with as they please. Perhaps French Catholics (should we just call them Gaulois?) could learn some tolerance from French Muslims...After all, it is French Muslims who have endured and continue to the best of their abilities to tolerate the decades-long racism and intolerance of French Catholics." ca23/1/2015
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Let’s stop pretending Israel isn’t a partisan issuePaul Waldman - Washington Post "But maybe this skirmish over diplomatic protocol is a good thing for everyone. Maybe we can stop pretending that Americans and Israelis are nothing more than loving and committed allies offering unwavering support to one another, when the truth is that parties in both countries are active participants in each other’s partisan politics." ca23/1/2015
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Netanyahu makes ICC decision campaign issueAkiva Eldar - While Europeans are suspending their criticisms until after the Israeli elections in fear of providing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with political ammunition, the ICC decision to open an investigation is being used by the Israeli right to present the Europeans as enemies.-rh 21/1/2015
Netanyahu blames Abbas for Tel Aviv stabbing attackOren Ziv, Yotam Ronen - +972 - A Palestinian man from Tulkarm stabbed at least 10 people on a public bus in Tel Aviv Wednesday morning. Three of them were in serious wounded, four moderately. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed blame for the attack on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that it “is the direct result of the poisonous incitement being disseminated by the Palestinian Authority against the Jews and their state.”-rh21/1/2015
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Palestine at the ICC: Of course Israel hates it : Israel`s reaction to Palestine`s ICC appeal is no surpriseRachel Shabi - Aljazeera - Israel`s announcement that it is going to lobby ICC member states to cut funding for the tribunal is bordering on hysterical - these are, after all, nations that campaigned to set up this international body in the first place.-rh 21/1/2015
How Fragile the Belief of an Islamist Must BeSlavoj Zizek - New Statesman - If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe they have found their way to Truth, why should they feel threatened by non-believers, why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued, fascinated, by the sinful life of the non-believers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation.-rh21/1/2015
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Nasrallah`s revenge will come when he`s readyYaron Friedman - Ynet - "Analysis: Hezbollah will respond to the deaths of six fighters and six Iranians in a strike in Syria; meanwhile, Israel has apparently sent a clear message." - id 21/1/2015
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Netanyahu and Europe’s Far Right Find Common GroundJONATHAN COOK - Counterpunch - "While Europeans are mired in debates about free speech and the role of Islam in secular societies, Israelis generally – and their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular – view the attacks as confirming Israel’s place as the only safe haven for Jews around the world." - id 21/1/2015
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Israel anticipates Hezbollah`s reactionBen Caspit - Al-Monitor - "Just imagine a Hollywood screenplay depicting an Israeli airstrike against a convoy of vehicles in the Syrian Golan.........." - id 21/1/2015
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The Paris effect that wasn’tBeate Zilversmidt - Crazy Country - "...if this is proof of an undercurrent coming more and more to the surface, then we may really look forward to a change in the political balance of power." - id 21/1/2015
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Analysis / ICC inquiry is a game changer for IsraelAeyal Gross - Haaretz - Even if charges are filed against Israelis, they could not actually be tried unless they were extradited to the court, the chances of which are extremely small. However, there is no doubt that the rules of the game have changed. Israelis and Palestinians alike are coming, for the first time, under the jurisdiction of an international criminal tribunal. [bz]20/1/2015
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Jihadists believe in paradise. And hell is hereYitzhak Laor - Haaretz - [From] the Parisian shakeup ... since the 17th century to (...) the African-French psychiatrist Frantz Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth”... Look at trains to Charles de Gaulle: businesspeople and tourists, and African cleaning women who won’t be flying anywhere. [bz]20/1/2015
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`Israeli army increasing use of live fire at West Bank protests`Ryan Rodrick Beiler & Oren Ziv/Activestills.org - +972 - Why the Israeli military uses a silenced rifle as a crowd control weapon is puzzling and counter-intuitive. But as eyewitness to several incidents of their use on the streets of Bethlehem, I can testify that there is absolutely no audible gunshot. As one advertiser of such weapons accurately boasts, from the perspective of the shooter, “the only noise you will hear is the firing pin hitting and then, the ‘smack’ on the target.” [bz]20/1/2015
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My IsraelRalph Benmergui--The first video of a 4-part series of My Israel, in which Ralph Benmergui sets out to find answers to questions he asks about Israel. Each video is about 5 minutes. The links to the remaining videos are on the right side of the screen. All are worth viewing. dn18/1/2015
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Netanyahu accused of putting US-Israeli relationship at riskBen Lynfield--Low point comes as Israel is hoping for US support to fight off Palestinian efforts to prosecute Israelis for alleged war crimes. dn25/1/2015
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Zionism is over, Israel at critical juncture`Ariella Ringel-Hoffman--Avraham Burg, once speaker of the Knesset and deputy president, is voting for the communist Hadash party in the next elections; in 20 years, he says, Israel will be in a confederation with Palestine or a fundamentalist religious republic.dn18/1/2015
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Legacy of Strength: Saying Goodbye to Palestinian Feminist, Maha Abu-Dayyeh By Zahira Kamal--‘With Maha, you didn’t just say it. You did it,’ remembers Zahira Kamal, Palestinian Women’s Affairs Minister, of her friend who died this month dn18/1/2015
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Paris attacks: in this debate fear is the factor that dare not speak its nameJonathan Freedland--Whether it’s blaming foreign policy, the cartoonists or invoking free speech, we’re all searching for ways to cope with our terror dn18/1/2015
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Where Do I Apply for `Terrorism Expert`Amer Zahr--Terrorism. Islamic terrorism. Islamism. Jihadism. ISIS. Al-Qaeda. AQAP. Muhammad. Or just Islam. It is the top story in the news. In order to fully inform us, CNN, Fox News and the like feed us a long line of “terrorism experts.” Sometimes they even present three or four of them at once, creating an “expert roundtable.” There’s one problem, though. These “experts” are getting it wrong. They’re misstating the facts, they’re wrongly predicting things, and sometimes they are just simply lying. This is not “expert” behavior, if you ask me. dn 18/1/2015
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Don’t Limit Speech in FranceKenan Malik--On Tuesday, the French police arrested the controversial French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. He had written on Facebook “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” — a mashup of Charlie Hebdo and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed four Jewish hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris, in an attack linked to the Charlie Hebdo killers. Mr. M’bala M’bala, the police say, is being investigated for “defending terrorism.” dn18/1/2015
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Waving in the first RowUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - To conduct an effective fight, one has to put oneself first into the shoes of the fanatics and try to understand the dynamic that pushes young local-born Muslims to commit such acts. Who are they? What do they think? What are their feelings? In what circumstances did they grow up? What can be done to change them? After decades of neglect, that is hard work. It takes time and effort, with results uncertain. Much easier for politicians to march in the street in front of the cameras. [bz]17/1/2015
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How Palestinians Could Use Israel`s Own Legal Analysis Before The ICCSamantha Lachman - Huffington Pot - “It`s one thing to argue that the settlements are a violation of international law, which is how most of the world already sees them. It`s quite another to show that the Israeli government knew they were illegal before they began building them. Since 1967, successive Israeli governments have attempted various legal defenses of the settlements, but the Meron report shows that the Israeli government was advised of their illegality at the outset." [bz]17/1/2015
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Netanyahu Sells French Jews ShortBERNARD AVISHAI--JERUSALEM — At the turn of the last century, Nachman Syrkin, a young democratic socialist drawn to the “political Zionism” of Theodor Herzl, was a student in Berlin, a member of a discussion group of émigrés from the Russian Pale of Settlement. One day, the speaker was a left-wing intellectual eager to prove that an emancipated Europe would be a home to all Jews — that separatist nationalisms were a mark of obsolete despair.dn17/1/2015
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Al-Qaida proves: Still a bigger threat than ISISAmos Harel - Haaretz "AQAP hasn’t hid its intentions; they are evident in the pages of its English-language magazine Inspire. The suspects in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack famously made use, allegedly, of a 2010 article titled, “Making a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” Charlie Hebdo editor and cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, who was killed in last week’s attack, was on a “Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam” list that appeared in Inspire two years ago. The December 2014 issue contained further instructions for attacking the West, including how to make bombs that will pass airport security. A French passport can be seen in the corner of an image used to illustrate the article." ca16/1/2015
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Denying our right to return is an offense against justiceNael Bitarie - The Electronic Intifada "Folke Bernadotte, the first UN Security Council mediator in Palestine, understood fully why refugees must be allowed to return to their homes. In a report published one day after he was assassinated in Jerusalem in September 1948, the Swedish diplomat wrote that it would be “an offense against principles of elemental justice” if Palestinians uprooted by Zionist forces were denied the right of return.More than 66 years later, that right is still being denied. Arab governments and the West do not appear to care." ca16/1/2015
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France must not push Muslims into the arms of extremistsYossi Dahan - +972 - The terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket were well-trained, spoke French and knew their actions would play into the hands of France’s Islamophobic right. Let’s not give them what they’re after.-rh 14/1/2015
Secret Israeli Report Sees Rift With Europe GrowingJ.J. Goldberg - The Jewish Daily Forward - A classified Israeli foreign ministry document, leaked to the daily Yediot Ahronot, warns that 2015 will see Israel’s standing on the world stage steadily deteriorating. It predicts “worsening drift in Europe toward Palestinian positions, more parliaments recognizing the State of Palestine, fear of sanctions and labeling merchandise [to separate settlement products from tariff-free Israel-proper products] and no certainty that the United States will continue after Israel’s March elections to protect Israel with its veto.”-rh 14/1/2015
How Bibi Tried To Make Paris All About HimLisa Goldman - The Jewish Daily Forward - For those who haven’t been following the story, Netanyahu crashed the national solidarity event despite President Hollande’s explicit request that he stay at home. Then, after the VIP reception at the Elysee Palace, cameras for a local media outlet caught him elbowing aside a female French minister as he tried to jump the queue for the bus that would transport the group to the starting point of the march. Finding himself relegated to the second row at the march itself, he shoved aside the president of Mali and inserted himself in the front row, one down from Hollande himself and within eyesight of Angela Merkel.-rh 14/1/2015
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Mourning the Parisian Journalists Yet Noticing the HypocrisyRabbi Michael Lerner - Huffington Post - I had to wonder about the way the massacre in Paris is being depicted and framed by the Western media as a horrendous threat to Western civilization, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, I wondered about the over-heated nature of this description. It didn`t take me long to understand how problematic that framing really is.-rh14/1/2015
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Charlie Hebdo: Paris attack brothers` campaign of terror can be traced back to Algeria in 1954Robert Fisk - The Independent - But there’s an important context that somehow got left out of the story this week, the “history corner” that many Frenchmen as well as Algerians prefer to ignore: the bloody 1954-62 struggle of an entire people for freedom against a brutal imperial regime, a prolonged war which remains the foundational quarrel of Arabs and French to this day.-rh14/1/2015
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Why Israel`s PA tax freeze will backfireAkiva Eldar - Al-Monitor - Israeli politicians cling to the assumption that punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority will create deterrence and prevent its leadership from diplomatic moves, not realizing that such an approach causes Israel strategic damage. 14/1/2015
Why Charlie Hebdo Must Be Free to Offend All — Even UsThe Jewish Daily Forward - Editorial - This is how democratic societies settle their differences: not by silencing offense, but by civilly confronting it. There should be no other way.-rh 14/1/2015
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These traumas in France and Ukraine could lead to a European reawakeningNatalie Nougayrede - Guardian - "The continent has faced existential crisis twice during the past year. But something positive may yet emerge from it." - id 14/1/2015
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Israeli right campaigns on Paris terror attackAkiva Eldar - Al Monitor - "When calling on Europe to stand by Israel and when calling French Jews to immigrate to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is harnessing the Paris terror attacks for his electoral needs." - id 14/1/2015
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U.S. Duplicity In Punishing Palestine for Joining the ICCAlexandra Halaby - IMEMC - While the State Dept. spokesperson, Jen Psaki, was condemning the [Israeli] tax freeze on Monday, U.S. legislators were filing documents to cut funding to Palestine. [bz] 13/1/2015
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War Begets War: It’s Not about Islam; It Never Was Ramzy Baroud--Is it not possible that Muslims are angered by something much more subtle and profound than Charlie Hebdo’s tasteless art? dn11/1/2015
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Jo Roberts on Jewish trauma, the Nakba, and the olive treePhilip Weiss interviews Jo Roberts--One of the most fascinating books I’ve read about the conflict in the last year was Contested Land, Contested Memory: Israel’s Jews and Arabs and the Ghosts of Catastrophe, an exploration of Israel and its Jewish and Palestinian citizens by the English-Canadian writer Jo Roberts, in which she deploys her training as an anthropologist to explore collective memories in the to communities. “Palestinian citizens of Israel find themselves torn between the past and present, trying at different times to remember or to deny the history that continues to mould their world,” she writes. “The Nakba lives on in them: in their conflicted political ideology, in their second-class citizenship, in their awkward place as a minority in an ethnically conceived state, and in all the ways these play out in their daily lives.” The book shows equal respect for Jewish collective memory, and placed second for the 2014 nonfiction Dayton Literary Peace Prize. I recently sent Roberts a list of questions that she answered by email. dn11/1/2015
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Unmournable Bodies , selective grief ?Teju Cole--literate but not a member of the literary élite, held a number of unconventional theological beliefs. He believed that the soul died with the body, that the world was created out of a chaotic substance, not ex nihilo, and that it was more important to love one’s neighbor than to love God. He found eccentric justification for these beliefs in the few books he read, among them the Decameron, the Bible, the Koran, and “The Travels of Sir John Mandeville,” all in translation. For his pains, Menocchio was dragged before the Inquisition several times, tortured, and, in 1599, burned at the stake. He was one of thousands who met such a fate. dn11/1/2015
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Palestine’s ICC bid is part of Abbas’ long walk to freedomJoseph Dana - The National - Mr Abbas’s new strategy at the ICC appears to borrow a page from the boycott playbook by forcing an exaggerated Israeli backlash against the Palestinians that will ultimately cast Israel as an international pariah and thus dry up internal support for the occupation. It is a long game inspired by African National Congress efforts against the apartheid regime in South Africa. [bz]10/1/2015
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Palestinians breaking from US orbitEditorial Saudi Gazette - The Palestinians have good reason to be putting more faith in the path of statehood by way of international recognition than in the US-brokered peace process. The focus on US-brokered talks has simply allowed Israel the time and cover to continue eating away at Palestinian lands through settlement expansion. [bz]10/1/2015
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Half of ShasUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - If Deri`s Shas survives the election in March with 5-7 seats in the next Knesset, his party may be a possible candidate for a center-left coalition – if the numbers add up. This could be crucial. gm10/1/2015
The Delegitimization of IsraelANDREW LEVINE--Congress is still in Netanyahu’s pocket and the White House still quivers. But now they do it for the money; the public is no longer jumping up and down behind them. dn10/1/2015
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Could congressional sanctions on Palestinians backfire for Israel?Josh Ruebner--In their unstinting zeal to safeguard Israel`s stranglehold over the Palestinians, members of Congress may have inadvertently set the stage for the materialization of Israel`s nightmare scenario: the collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA). As the new 114th Congress gets underway, here`s how the law of unintended consequences could unfold over the next few years. dn10/1/2015
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It Sadly Unclear Whether This Article Will Put Lives At RiskThe Onion - "“Today’s horrific events only reinforce the idea that we cannot and will not let extremist zealots dictate what we can and cannot say,” is a comment that we will quote, but one that we do with a legitimate sense of uncertainty over whether it could incite an attack against the speaker or their loved ones, a sense of uncertainty that feels awful, grotesque, and wholly unnecessary in this day and age." ca9/1/2015
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Why Israel`s PA tax freeze will backfireAkiva Eldar - Al-Monitor "There’s nothing that a proud Israeli such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for example, hates more than being a sucker. The prime minister even knows how to say in Farsi, “We are not suckers.” An Israeli who stands tall like Netanyahu does not ignore an attempt by the cheeky neighbors to turn the West Bank and East Jerusalem — or rather, Judea and Samaria and united Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital — into an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders. A “strong leader” such as Netanyahu does not just move on after the Palestinian Authority (PA) dares request to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). He’s not some sort of defeatist who gives thanks for rain whenever someone spits at him. All he needs now is Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett to produce a clip portraying him as a leftist who apologizes to non-Jews." ca 9/1/2015
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Is Islam to Blame for the Shooting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris?Nicholas Kristof - NYT "Terror incidents lead many Westerners to perceive Islam as inherently extremist, but I think that is too glib and simple-minded. Small numbers of terrorists make headlines, but they aren’t representative of a complex and diverse religion of 1.6 billion adherents. My Twitter feed Wednesday brimmed with Muslims denouncing the attack — and noting that fanatical Muslims damage the image of Muhammad far more than the most vituperative cartoonist." ca9/1/2015
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Orphaned war crimes, coming back to haunt usGideon Levy - Haaretz "To ask a politician if he smoked grass if fine,but to ask if he bore any responsibility for a massacre is forbidden...That’s the way it is with orphaned war crimes, those for which no one was ever punished or at least took responsibility; they keep on pursuing us like ghosts. And that’s the way it is with politicians who brag, “I’ve killed a lot of Arabs and there’s no problem with that,” (Naftali Bennett)." ca 9/1/2015
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Charlie Hebdo cartoon: I knew I had to express defiance because I wanted to be true to the spirit of the magazineDave Brown - The Independent "I wanted my response to be true to the spirit of Charlie Hebdo. I knew they’d want the magazine to carry on, so it had to be a gesture of defiance. So I thought: I`ve literally got to draw a gesture. Hence the hand rising out of the newspaper. Originally I drew it for my usual slot on page three, but then it became the front page of today’s Independent, and I think that really made it stand out." ca9/1/2015
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When will Palestinians learn? Turning to international law isn`t the answer — just ask America and IsraelROBERT FISK - The Independent - Now just imagine if Israel and America wanted the Palestinians to sign the Rome document. Conjure the thought – for a split-second only – that Israel and America insisted that the Palestinians must abide by an international treaty and become members of the International Criminal Court to qualify for statehood. Abbas’s refusal to do so would be further proof of his “terrorist” intentions. Yet when Abbas does sign the Rome document, when the Palestinians want to abide by an international treaty, they must be punished – surely a “first” in modern history.-rh7/1/2015
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I Love Israel - And I Apologize : Apologizing would not solve anything or atone for anything, but it could signal a genuine intention to turn a new leaf.Gideon Levy - Information Clearing House - As a rule, in Israel people don’t apologize for anything, not in the occupation nor on the road. Here only nerds apologize. Guilt feelings are an embarrassment, and apologizing is for those with no backbone. That’s why Bennett’s election slogan: “Stop Apologizing. Be Proud” will become so catchy and popular: the “apologizers” vs. “the proud,” the “objective ones” vs. “lovers of the country.” I’m proud to belong to the former group.-rh 7/1/2015
State Dep’t threatens aid to Palestinians over ICC, but holds out no consequences for Israel’s settlementsPhil Weiss and Annie Robbins - Mondoweiss - Yesterday we saw two glaring double standards in the American official discourse when it comes to Israel and other countries.-rh 7/1/2015
Time To Move Out: The Problem With Mahmoud Abbas And His Authority Ramzy Baroud - Countercurrents - But he also survived because he used billions of dollars funneled by international donors to construct a welfare system, creating a class of Palestinian Nouveau riche, whose wealth was a result of the occupation, not despite it. While the new rich basked in their underserved wealth, the fate of millions of Palestinians were tied to pay checks, which were not the outcome of a productive economy but international handouts.-rh 7/1/2015
Palestine in the International Criminal Court: A game changer?+972 - The only threat to Israeli soldiers and officials abroad, Atty. Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man explains, is the lack of proper war crimes investigations back home. When it comes to settlements, however, there is little defense to be had.-rh 7/1/2015
As Iraqis cope with past injustices, so should IsraelisAkiva Eldar - Al Monitor - "Iraqis are looking courageously into their past, examining the attacks against the Jewish community in the 1950s that forced it to flee the country, and Israelis should do the same by acknowledging the Palestinians` suffering." - id 7/1/2015
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From Nigeria, via New York, to the checkpointAdam Keller - Crazy Country - "Once gaining access to the International Court, the Palestinians could well draw indictments against settler leaders, building contractors who erect settlements as well as Israeli government ministers and officials engaged in the settlement project." - id7/1/2015
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The German Left’s Palestine ProblemLeandros Fischer - Jacobin - he history of the German left’s attitude to Israel/Palestine is truly complex and for the uninitiated foreign leftist, perplexing and occasionally shocking. In the 1950`s Israel was seen as a progressive Socialist society. In the 1960`s and 1970`s, conversely, left-wing German students, like their peers elsewhere, felt strong solidarity with the Palestinians. Later, however, came the so-called "anti-German" intellectual and political current whose opposition to and rejection of German Nationalism took the perverse form of uncritical support for Israel and Israeli policies. The influence of such "anti-German" activists is perceptible in the present controversy convulsing Gregor Gysi`s Die Linke, the main political expression of the German Left. [ak] 6/1/2015
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Israel and Palestine need a one-state solutionMusa al-Gharbi - Al-Jazeera - In the resolution rejected by the UN Security Council a coalition of Arab states and the Palestinian Authority called for “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from all territories seized after 1967 and full Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza by Dec. 31, 2017. But even if the resolution would have passed, it had no enforcement mechanism: It was not taken under Chapter 6 or 7 of the U.N. Charter, which authorizes economic sanctions, diplomatic coercion or military intervention. Israel would not have faced consequences for noncompliance, which, given Israel’s history of defying U.N. conventions, was a certainty. [bz]6/1/2015
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Stop giving Israelis a pass: What Dennis Ross could have saidMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 - Former U.S. ambassador and Mideast peace process envoy Dennis Ross penned a ‘New York Times’ op-ed titled, ‘Stop Giving Palestinians a Pass.’ In it, he calls out European diplomats for supporting international efforts to end the occupation while not demanding more of the Palestinians. Below is a duplication of Ross’s op-ed, almost word for word, but this time calling out former American diplomats for disparaging international efforts at ending the occupation while not demanding more of the Israelis. [bz] 6/1/2015
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Palestine`s ICC bid is only as threatening as Israel makes itEmily Schaeffer Omer-Man--Instead of reviling Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court as an effort to delegitimize and isolate it, Israel would be better off focusing inward. dn4/1/2015
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The One-State RealityDavid Remnick--Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, the new President of Israel, is ardently opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state. He is instead a proponent of Greater Israel, one Jewish state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. He professes to be mystified that anyone should object to the continued construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank: “It can’t be ‘occupied territory’ if the land is your own.” dn4/1/2015
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Israel’s upcoming elections and the false nostalgia of Liberal ZionismDr. Reem Khamis-Dakwar--A common thread through these articles, and others like them, is the allusion to an utterly false belief that left-center-wing Israeli governments represent an agenda of peace, positive change, and liberalism. That false association is a red herring and its unexamined pursuit will continue to make peace elusive.dn4/1/2015
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How I know BDS will win, and I will loseRaphael Magarik--BDS is compelling because it offers a concrete solution. If Jews want to prevent the boycott movement from gaining ground, we must offer an alternative plan to end the occupation. This month, the union of graduate students at the University of California voted to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. This marked the first time that the membership of a major American union voted to endorse BDS. I am a member of the union, which represents about 13,000 student-workers, and I fought the resolution, writing in opposition. But as I campaigned, I also came to realize a bitter truth: BDS will only gain strength, unless U.S. Jews provide another path to end Israel`s occupation of Palestinian territories. dn 4/1/2015
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The Rock of Our ExistenceUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - From the beginning of the effort to this very day, not a single piece of evidence of the ancient history was found. Not a single indication that the exodus from Egypt, the basis of Jewish history, ever happened. Nor of the 40 years of wandering in the desert. No evidence of the conquest of Canaan, as described at length in the Book of Joshua. The mighty King David, whose kingdom extended - according to the Bible - from the Sinai peninsula to the north of Syria, did not leave a trace. (Lately an inscription with the name David was discovered, but with no indication that this David was a king.) gm 3/1/2015
Netanyahu set to lead a strikingly hardline LikudDAVID HOROVITZ - The Times of Israel "it is a safe bet even before the vote that the politicians on the Likud slate of 2015 — the first two dozen of whom have a reasonable expectation of sitting in the next Knesset — will be strikingly hawkish on the issue of peacemaking with the Palestinians, and that the list will feature fewer politicians with a track record for firmly upholding democratic principles than it did just two years ago." ca 3/1/2015
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Rafeef Zeadah Originates the phrase below "We Teach Life, Sir" Rafeef Zeadah--video about 10 minutes, dn3/1/2015
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UN rejection sends harsh wake-up call to AbbasAmira Hass - Haaretz - Even if the Palestinian-Jordanian proposal had passed, no one deluded themselves that Israel would adhere to it and withdraw. European countries and the United States would not punish Israel the way they do other countries in breach of Security Council resolutions. From that perspective, the potential of nine council-member votes in favor was largely symbolic. But this symbolism would have helped Abbas continue to once again postpone the signing of the Rome Statute. (...) As a Palestinian activist involved for years in preparing the application to the International Criminal Court in The Hague told Haaretz, senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad senior members have said they are prepared to risk being tried in this court themselves, if that is the price for a Palestinian request to investigate suspicions of war crimes by Israelis and Israel. [bz]3/1/2015
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Why Israelis should welcome Palestine`s ICC bidDr. Ishai Menuchin - +972 "All Israeli citizens who hold human rights and democratic values dear should not only support Palestine’s bid to join the International Criminal Court, they should be disheartened by their own government’s response." ca2/1/2015
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Challenges ahead for FatahDaoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - Fatah will have a number of other challenges to deal with. The problems with former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan and his supporters will certainly leave its mark. Gaza and how to deal with the challenges of rebuilding and reconciliation will also loom large in all sessions of the congress. The delay in joining the International Criminal Court in The Hague will be addressed many times and the absence of an effective communications strategy will be discussed in various forums.-rh 1/1/2015
Where have Israeli intellectuals gone?Yuval Avivi - Al-Monitor - While Amir does aspire for greater influence by intellectuals over the Israeli public opinion, many young people in Israel feel differently. They do not understand the critical importance of the dynamics that are so essential to the public, where an intellectual elite provokes a critical debate that challenges a whole society. The role of these eloquent speakers has been taken over by people from the entertainment industry, who are of much greater interest to the public than professors.-rh 1/1/2015
Security Council`s election message to Israelis: Keep ignoring the occupationNoam Sheizaf - +972 - As long as the diplomatic process – or any form of engagement – must pass through Washington, nothing will change. Instead of calling for more American involvement, maybe what the peace camp should hope for is American disengagement. With that in mind, the only encouraging aspect of the UNSC vote and the negotiations that led to it, is the active role taken by France (which supported the Jordanian-Palestinian motion), suggesting again that the EU might be better qualified than Washington to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian issue.-rh1/1/2015
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American Historical Association Taking Up 2 Resolutions Critical of Israel Rick Shenkman - History News Network - Both petitions are critical of Israel. One criticizes Israel for allegedly violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "by refusing to allow students from Gaza to travel in order to pursue higher education abroad, and even at West Bank universities." The other petition claims "Israel arbitrarily limits the entry of foreign nationals who seek to lecture, teach and attend conferences at Palestinian universities."-rh 1/1/2015
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