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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
This uprising is about more than knivesBudour Youssef Hassan--When the “intifada of the knives” set off in October last year, Western reporters flooded in to Jerusalem to cover the new “escalation,” interview people from “both sides of the conflict” and raise several variations of the old question: “Is this the beginning of a third intifada?” dn31/1/2016
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Cultural Zionism good, political Zionism badRoland Nikles--Back in 2012 Peter Beinart wrote a book, The Crisis of Zionism, suggesting that Zionism has lost its way from the path promised in Israel’s declaration of independence. That promise was to develop the country for all its inhabitants based on precepts of liberty and justice; the promise was to achieve social and political equality for all its citizens. Beinart argued that Zionism breached this promise and has become illiberal. Beinart argued that liberal Zionism must be restored. dn31/1/2016
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A new mini documentary on Israel’s last election tells us something important about IsraelZack Beauchamp--Last March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a reelection fight that the polls had all said he`d lose. How did Netanyahu do it? That`s the subject of a new mini-documentary from Israel`s Channel 2 news station, which tells the behind-the-scenes story of Netanyahu`s come-from-behind victory. The documentary emphasizes a quiet but immense voter outreach campaign that capitalized on deep fissures in Israeli society, including a naked appeal to anti-Arab prejudice. It`s a revealing look at what makes Israeli politics tick today. dn 30/1/2016
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Fear them not: `1984` shall passSami Michael - Ynet - The culture minister did not hide her intention to ensure that Israel`s writers and artists eventually have to think, write and create in the exact same way and with the same obedience as soldiers in military uniform. There were also unforgettable rehearsals, such as when the actress Orna Banai was fired because she questioned the justness of Operation Protective Edge. The outcry over the al-Midan theater and the new Civics textbook were additional rehearsals. [bz]30/1/2016
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Don`t be fooled: Bibi and Im Tirzu are one and the sameMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 "The latest campaign of incitement in Israel is so extreme even the Right has condemned it. The irony? Its message is entirely in line with that of the government." ca29/1/2016
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Palestine: Still key to stability in the Middle EastIbrahim Fraihat - Al-Jazeera "Sooner or later, the war in Syria will end, but the people of the Middle East, whether Arab or Persian, Sunni or Shia Muslim, secular or Islamist, will still desire justice for Palestine. ISIL may be degraded or defeated, but the extremism that has destabilised the Middle East will continue to feed on the issue of Palestine." ca29/1/2016
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The Limits of Israeli Liberalism: The Case of Ezra Nawi : A pro-Palestinian Iraqi Jewish homosexual activist exposes the limits of leftist solidarityJoshua Tartakovsky - Global Independent Analytics - However, it was from the Israeli liberals who are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause that the most bizarre response came. In an article titled “Human rights groups smeared over actions of one man”, pro-Palestinian Israeli writer Edo Konrad distanced himself from Nawi and bemoaned “Nawi’s indefensible actions” while complaining that Israeli leaders used this exposure “to attack and smear the entire spectrum of left-leaning and human rights organizations.” Nawi’s “unjustifiable” statements do not represent a majority of NGOs which should care for human life, he explained.-rh27/1/2016
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Israel`s Top General Praises Iran Deal as `Strategic Turning Point` in Slap at BibiJ.J.Goldberg - Forward - emember the nuclear agreement between Iran and the West? You know — the one that Benjamin Netanyahu insisted was the biggest danger to Israel and the Jews since time immemorial? Well, Israel’s military chief of staff told a prestigious defense conference last week that far from being a mortal threat, the deal has actually removed the most serious danger to Israel’s existence for the foreseeable future, and greatly reduced the threat over the longer term.-rh 27/1/2016
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Netanyahu has taken Israel’s crackdown on Jewish dissent to a new low Mairav Zonszein - The Guardian - Not only were Shapiro’s comments condemned by Binyamin Netanyahu as “unacceptable and wrong”, but a former spokesman for the prime minister called Shapiro a “Jew boy” on an Israeli talk show – a derogatory term that essentially accuses him of being a self-hating Jew, a sellout, a traitor. Shapiro was personally and publicly attacked for uttering not his opinion, but a basic description of the reality on the ground.-rh27/1/2016
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When homophobia becomes a tool for political persecutionNatasha Roth - +972 - The campaign against the Left in Israel reaches a new low: a planned protest at the wedding of an anti-occupation group’s director and her wife-to-be. It shows that when dissent is characterized as treason, there is no area of one’s life that is off-limits.-rh27/1/2016
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Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu accuses UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of `encouraging terror`Henry Austin - Independent - "Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process," he said. "As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism."-rh27/1/2016
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The Fading Two-State Solution (Editorial)New York Times - With increasingly critical speeches by Ambassador Danie Shapiro`s and earlier by Secretary of State John Kerry it may already be too late for the one formula that has the best chance of establishing a durable peace: two independent states, side by side. [bz]25/1/2016
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It`s open season on anyone opposing the occupationNoam Sheizaf--There is a campaign being carried out against anyone actively opposing the occupation in Israel, and it doesn’t matter if you’re an activist in the field, a human rights attorney or a former soldier talking about what you were ordered to do. dn24/1/2016
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In the Jewish state, equality for Arabs is impossible by definitionUmar al-Ghubari (translated by Richard Flantz)--In the Jewish state, equality for Arabs is impossible by definition Isn’t it time to finally ask why every single attempt to achieve full equality for Palestinian citizens has failed? dn 24/1/2016
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Extreme, extremer, extremistUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - Israel still calls itself a "Jewish and democratic state". The population in "Greater Israel" is by now half Jewish and half Arab, with the Arabs gaining. Israel proper is still more or less democratic. In the occupied Palestinian territories, a dictatorial "military government" is in charge, with hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers trying to push out the Palestinian Arab population by all means available, including fraudulent acquisition of land and terrorism (called "retaliation"). gm23/1/2016
Apartheid by consentYacov Ben Efrat - Challenge - The paradox is that since the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Israeli Right has strengthened. Palestinians, because of their loss of confidence in the peace process and the ongoing expansion of the settlements, have been radicalized, especially since the Israeli Left lost power. Since the Netanyahu regime is not likely to end the Occupation any time soon, many Israeli leftists have declared that we live in one country composed of two regimes: full apartheid in the West Bank and apartheid “light” in parts of Israel (not to mention Gaza, where Israel controls the air, the sea, and all that goes out and comes in). The comparison with South Africa fails, however, because the Israeli Right refrains from annexing the West Bank (by imposing Israeli law there) and because Abbas assures the world that the PA is here to stay. [bz]23/1/2016
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The Israeli Occupation Will End Suddenly Michael Sfard--One day the occupation will end. It will probably happen in one fell swoop. And when it happens, it will suddenly emerge that everyone was against it. That the politicians had actually worked to end it, that the journalists strove indefatigably to expose its injustices, that the cultural institutions condemned it courageously and that Israeli academia was a center of persistent resistance, from which the struggle drew ideological and moral backing. In short, everyone was part of the Resistance. One day the occupation will end, because regimes of this kind are not viable. They are bound to fall, because regimes of suppression, almost by definition, are unstable. dn 23/1/2016
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`I`m breaking the silence because I`m Zionist, Israeli and a patriot`Yehuda Shohat--[Although I am not Zionist, nor believe it is commendable, what Avner Gvaryahu says apart from being Zionist is very important, and perhaps even more so because he does consider himself Zionist. If all Zionists thought the way he does about the acts committed, there would be no need for Zionism. dn]23/1/2016
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The Israeli Occupation Will End Suddenly Michael Sfard - Haaretz - It’s precisely now that we must recognize that the brutal onslaught shows that the right wing apparently knows something that we do not know. That they have cause for worry from us. We need to internalize one thing: The strength of both the organizations that are working to end the occupation and of their supporters is greater than we think. The defeatist sarcasm we often hear among members of the anti-occupation camp is unjustified. The tremendous baleful and violent force that is being unleashed against us shows something good about us. [bz]23/1/2016
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Only International Pressure Will End Israeli Apartheid Amos Schocken - [Publisher of] Haaretz - Zionism, which was always prepared to divide the land of Israel with its Arab inhabitants, was replaced by the godly promise of the Land of Israel for the Jewish people. This promise is being fulfilled by constant, methodical settlement in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) along with the pushing of Palestinians into defined enclaves and small, crowded population areas. This is the reason for the abuse of Palestinians, for the expulsion, exclusion, construction bans, lack of freedom of movement and prevention of development in Area C, which makes up roughly 60% of the West Bank. This settlers` ideology drives the state, and it is also the ideology of the prime minister (either that or, sadly, he realized he had to commit himself to it to get reelected). [bz]23/1/2016
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How the Israeli government funds right-wing groupsMazal Mualem - Al-Monitor "Something good finally came out of the government’s persecution of leftist associations,” Knesset member Tamar Zandberg of Meretz told Al-Monitor. “It made us wake up, stop being passive; it drove us to search where the right-wing NGOs’ budgets, amounting to millions of shekels, actually come from. We were surprised to discover that some of this money came out of the taxpayers’ pockets and was hidden [in the state budget] under the generic heading of `participation.`” ca 22/1/2016
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Israel: Economic reality trumps racist ideologyYacov Ben Efrat - Challenge - "The same government that works overtime to stress the Jewish character of the state at the expense of democracy suddenly reverses the entire historical trend, favoring equality over its pro-Jewish tendency." - id20/1/2016
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Why it`s scarier this time aroundMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 - There is nothing new about the multi-pronged attack on human rights and anti-occupation activists in Israel, but there’s something different this time. Something scarier [ry]18/1/2016
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Netanyahu at War, Stuck in the Dominant ParadigmAlice Rothchild--The recent two hour PBS Frontline episode on Netanyahu at War is both an eye opening look into the machinations of Israeli and US leaders and a sad commentary on what is wrong with coverage by mainstream media. This two hour documentary highlights Obama’s stormy attempts at putting daylight into the “special relationship” between Israel and the US and Netanyahu’s righteous and calculated rage. The documentary falls short when it comes to stepping outside the traditional paradigm and exploring Israel/Palestine with a clear headed analysis, respect for international law, and the brutal historical realities that are so often overlooked in US discourse. dn 16/1/2016
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Israel’s imperial need to build walls and ban booksDavid Palumbo-Liu--For the Netanyahu government, restricting ideas is as important as seizing territory. dn16/1/2016
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Palestine-Israel: Europe Drowning in America’s FailuresSam Bahour, Mousa Jiryis - Al-Shabaka - America supports occupation. Europe inadvertently subsidizes occupation. This regrettable logic is an accurate description of current reality. The US continues to advocate a hands-off, “it’s up to the two parties to decide” approach. As a result, Israel, which has all the power, has little incentive to concede, while the Palestinians, who have no power, are left to their despair. [bz]16/1/2016
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Arrest of Palestinian journalist reflection of ‘political chaos’ Daoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor "Palestinian journalist Salim Sweidan, owner of Nablus TV, was released Jan. 12 after having spent four days in jail. Sweidan, a member of the board of the Maan News Network, the leading independent satellite station and news website, was released on a bail of 1,000 Jordanian dinars ($1,400) after publishing an online apology... Members of the Palestinian Preventive Security Forces in Nablus had summoned Sweidan to their offices, where he was subsequently held. The name of one of the officers was listed in a controversial posting on the website that explained why the security force took the unusual step of arresting a well-known veteran journalist." ca 15/1/2016
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Palestinian citizens in Israel: A fast-shrinking civic spaceNadim Nashif and Raya Naamneh. - Ma`an News Agency "Israel still portrays itself as a Jewish and democratic state. Yet in practice, as its Palestinian citizens can attest, it functions as a Jewish ethnocracy, leaving small margins of freedom for its Palestinian citizens that have been steadily shrinking in the past few years. Now the Israeli state has come under the complete control of the far right wing, which sees no need even for such limited margins of freedom. This is evident in the wave of discriminatory legislation and the use of the Emergency Regulations against established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) an movements such as the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel." ca15/1/2016
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Israel Needs Another Kind of Left, One That Won`t Commit Moral SuicideAri Shavit - Haaretz  "A moral left is supposed to say that the work done by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, Machsom Watch and countless other organizations acting for justice is sacred work. But a man who informs on Palestinians to the Palestinian Authority so it can lock them up or kill them is a villain. A villain who is one of us. " ca15/1/2016
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Senior IDF Officers Visit Palestinian Terrorists in Jail in Effort to Understand Their Motives Amos Harel - Haaretz "Palestinian terrorists held in Israel after being captured while carrying out attacks or attempting to do so during the present wave of violence have received surprise visits in their prison cells over the past month: The commanders of the Israel Defense Forces’ regional brigades in the West Bank have come to meet with them at the orders of the army’s Central Command. The goal is to understand the background behind the actions of the young people, who are described as “lone terrorists” and do not belong to any terrorist organization." ca15/1/2016
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Jewish-Israeli Passengers Hijack Airline’s IntegrityVacy Vlazna - Countercurrents - Two passengers, on Sunday 3rd January, who in good faith had paid their fares, had passed security checks, boarded the Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Tel Aviv unexpectedly found themselves at the centre of a racist onslaught by belligerent Jewish-Israeli passengers accusing the two passengers of being ‘terrorists’ and demanding their removal from the plane. The victims were attacked for one reason only- they are Palestinians.-rh 13/1/2016
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Ta`ayush - a persistent thorn in the side of the settlement enterprise - targeted by a leading TV investigative news showAmira Hass - Haaretz - The segment on Ad Kan was not true investigative journalism (...). It was a puff piece for a privatized, mini-Shin Bet. (...) If it had been investigative journalism, the correspondent would have probed and discovered whether the Palestinian Authority really did – as Nawi bragged, in a crude way that reflects only his stupid side – execute the land dealers he allegedly handed over to it. [bz] 12/1/2016
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Israel’s NGO Law Inspired by Non-democratic Regimes, Certainly Not by the U.S. Frances Raday - Haaretz "the Israeli proposal is not a pale imitation of any U.S. law. Rather it fits well into the developing restraints imposed on NGO activities by a series of non-democratic or non-OECD countries, whom Minister Shaked did not cite. Middle East and North African countries have been introducing requirements for prior approval of foreign contributions. Russia and the Ukraine have opted for stigmatization of international funding for NGOs by labelling them foreign agents and in Russia donations will not be tax exempt unless the NGO is on a list approved by the government. Other countries impose burdensome registration or reporting requirements. There are no new ideas in the plethora of restrictive measures which the current Israeli government has considered or is considering. But they do not come from North America or Western Europe which is where the government claims Israel should be counted as a fully democratic modern state." ca 17/1/2016
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20 YEARS AFTER RABIN`S ASSASSINATION, THOSE WHO DEMONIZED HIM ARE RUNNING ISRAELAllan Brownfield--The assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel on Nov. 4, 1995 by an ultra-Orthodox religious zealot, Yigal Amir, brought the unknown and unreported world of Israel`s religious extremists under public scrutiny. The assassin was not a lone psychotic gunman but, instead, was a young man nurtured within Israel`s far-right religious institutions. After the murder, he was hailed as a hero by many, not only in Israel, but among kindred spirits in the U.S. Now, 20 years later, those who demonized Rabin and created the atmosphere in which the assassination became a reality are running Israel.dn 17/1/2016
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Welcome to the Israeli Arab Ghetto Sayed Kashua--The most basic definition of a state, as I understood it from Max Weber, is a body that has a monopoly on the use of violence. What monopoly of violence exists in the country’s Arab locales? There is only violence, and it’s owned by no one. Violence that has no choice but to overflow the boundaries of the ghetto, and then it can be construed by the mother state as national, religious, a mentality and a culture – anything to avoid taking responsibility. dn17/1/2016
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Human rights groups smeared over actions of one manEdo Konrad - +972 - While strongly condemning any action, especially by a human rights defender, that intentionally leads to another human being’s torture or death, it is important to note that there is no evidence anybody was actually harmed as a result of the incidents portrayed in the Uvda report. That is not a defense of Nawi’s reported actions, however, which are unjustifiable. [bz]9/1/2016
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Does the state care when its Arab citizens are murdered?Abed Abu Shehada - +972 "As long as Arabs are the ones being murdered, the State of Israel has no problem with illegally-owned weapons. Only when Jews are harmed does this become a national issue. And then they wonder why we aren’t loyal." ca8/1/2016
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And then there were noneNo mention- The Economist "Most victims of war and terrorism in the Middle East are Muslims, since they are by far the majority of the population. But the tiny Christian minority often feels singled out. Their numbers are declining where the fighting is worst (see chart). Overall, the proportion of Middle Easterners who are Christian has dropped from 14% in 1910 to 4% today. Church leaders and pundits have begun to ask whether Christianity will vanish from the Middle East, its cradle, after 2,000 years." ca6/1/2016
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51 years after its founding, where is Fatah heading? Shlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor "The signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993, internecine Palestinian struggles (Hamas-Fatah) and the diplomatic confrontation with Israel generated a large crisis in Fatah, causing the movement to lose the great support it once had garnered on the Palestinian street. Most of the youths in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have given up on it, in light of their disappointment at Arafat`s and Abbas` regimes. They claim that the national Palestinian movement is tainted with corruption and cares only for its higher-up top brass, not its citizens." ca 6/1/2016
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PA says Netanyahu `plotting` against it after he warns of its collapseMa`an News Agency - "... the PA foreign ministry said in a statement that his comments were an attempt to "mislead" the international community, and part of an ongoing "campaign of lies and incitement (he) has been systematically conducting against the Palestinian people, their rights and achievements." The ministry condemned Netanyahu`s government for weakening the PA while simultaneously "shed(ding) crocodile tears and claim(ing) they are concerned about the PA and its continuity." ca 6/1/2016
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Views on torture split along ethnic lines, Israeli poll findsMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 "The issue of torture has been in the news in recent weeks because attorneys for a handful of Jewish extremists accused of committed acts of terrorism against Palestinians say the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal secret police, used methods amounting to torture in order to extract confessions from them." ca6/1/2016
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Netanyahu`s strategy of hopelessnessMazal Mualem - Al-Monitor "Netanyahu’s comments were not intended to strengthen and unite the public in these difficult times of confusion and fear. He preferred to secure his standing among the Jewish population by maligning all of the country’s Arab citizens. With his words, he portrayed an entire sector as a group infatuated with illegal weapons, as a ticking time bomb. Though the prime minister did not blame the Arab sector for the attack — even praising those leaders who condemned it — his comments focused on how the law is not enforced in the Arab sector. His rhetoric was, in fact, rather sophisticated. Concerned and confused citizens who read between the lines would come to blame the violence on the current situation in the Arab sector." ca 6/1/2016
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Who receives more foreign funds: The Left or the Occupation?Dror Etkes - +972 - The schizophrenic Israeli moral compass makes a distinction between international involvement that Israel is interested in, and that which it isn’t interested in. The Israeli government, and its justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, who sponsored the “NGO Law,” actually are very interested in international involvement to help fulfill its obligations toward the basic welfare of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories. [bz]5/1/2016
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Israeli Arabs fear terrorists tooAyman Sikseck - Ynet - The automatic request that I condemn the attack stems from the assumption that if I fail to do so in public, it means I support him. It`s a request which ignores the fact that I am an Israeli citizen and dismisses the life-threatening situation which I, like you, face in every such incident. Every Nashat Melhem, every Samir Kuntar, is a terrorist who also acting against me. I walk on Tel Aviv`s Dizengoff Street too. My friends could have been there on the day of the attack too. I also fear for my life and for their life. [bz]10/1/2016
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A Flagship of Israeli Journalism Joins the Ranks of False PropagandaGideon Levy - Haaretz - That is how to conduct delegitimization. Presenting the human rights organizations as dangerous groups, and penetrating them, is compared to penetrating ISIS. The McCarthyists are glorified, depicted as heroes of Israel who excelled in battles in Gaza. All these are well-known ploys. And against this background, all that is left is to record Nawi boasting, to catch him uttering the taboo words, to present him as a “senior” activist, to ignore the entire context — the crimes of the occupation and the expulsion form the Southern Hebron Hills, which you never heard about on Uvda. Just ignore the holy work done by left-wing activists in this battered region, spice it with a few lies such as “execution” by the Palestinian Authority, add a few generalizations, suspicions and slander – and the dish is ready. [bz]10/1/2016
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Israeli Police Falsely Allege Murder Conspiracy by Human Rights NGOs, ActivistsRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - After a shady astroturf outfit, Ad Kan, infiltrated two spies into Ta’ayush, a South Hebron Hills support group for local Palestinian farmers, they created a hoax land deal which claimed (falsely) to sell the family land of a B’Tselem Palestinian activist, Nasser Nawaja’ah.-rh20/1/2016
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The black flag over Israel`s democracyAkiva Eldar - Al Monitor - "Israelis are relinquishing their democracy through their silence and actions." - id 20/1/2016
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Poll: 46% of Israeli Jews don`t think Arabs should have equal rightsMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 - "Did the good folks at Israel’s Army Radio station not think to ask Arab citizens themselves whether they think they deserve full and equal rights?" - id 20/1/2016
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