May 2012 Archives

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The following highlights are courtesy of Father Roy:

Christians hold Mass to mark Nakba Day

 

Palestinians attend a Mass near BeitJala to mark Nakba day May 11, 2012
(MaanImages/Jenny Baboun)

By Jenny Baboun

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian Christians held a mass Friday on the lands of the Cremisan monastery near Bethlehem, which is threatened by construction of Israel’s separation barrier.

Rev. Ibrahim Shomali, the Roman Catholic parish priest of Beit Jala led the mass which was held to mark Nakba day and honor the hundreds of prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

Bishop Munib Younan, the president of the Lutheran World Federation and a Fatah leader, and Mahmoud al-Aloul, the Chilean consul, also joined along with the ambassadors of Chile and Brazil.

Al-Aloul said long-term hunger-strikers Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diab entered their 75th day without food, which he called “something beyond the human realm of comprehension.”

Diab, 27, and Halahla, 33, are being held in a prison clinic because Israeli authorities refused to allow the prisoners society’s lawyer to visit them. An Israeli Prison Service spokeswoman says the detainees are being treated and will be hospitalized “if it is necessary.”

Younan said the hunger strikers were suffering but humans endure pain to regain their dignity.

He added that “Our weapons are not less than Israel’s weapons, as our weapon is to call for peace and to cling to the land, which breaks the occupation’s strategy.”

Bishop Younan said “no Palestinian house was unaffected by the Nakba,” referring to the exodus of some 750,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled during Israel’s establishment.

He added that the Palestinian cause is not only a political issue, but a spiritual pursuit.

“We have to pray when someone denies the other their rights,” Younan said.

Original Post: www.maannews.net…

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We are familiar with the nasty spectacle of anti-Semitism and must do all we can to combat it, but it certainly doesn’t help when openly racist literature targeting Arabs is distributed on the streets of Jerusalem! Such literature is not representative of the feelings of the majority of Jews but it inevitably fans the flames of racism from both sides of the divide! Dave

www.imemc.org…

Wednesday May 09, 2012

Ads Warn Jewish Parents – Keep Daughters Away from Arabs

Ari Gallahar of Ynetnews (Jewish  R) reports today that advertisements made to look like imaginary wedding invitations have been distributed throughout Jerusalem’s streets in a bid to demonstrate what would happen if Jewish parents fail to keep watch over their daughters

Lehava, the extremist Jewish organization for the prevention of assimilation in the Holy Land, has come up with a new gimmick that is creating a stormy debate on the issue of mixed marriages between Jews and Arabs.

In an ad made to look like an imaginary wedding invitation between Michal and her chosen groom, Mohammad, distributed throughout Jerusalem’s streets, the organization is seeking to demonstrate what would happen if parents fail to keep watch over their daughters.

The “invitation” asks you to join Michal and Mohammad as they celebrate their marriage on a Friday night at the Shahid (martyr) events hall in Ramallah. Next to the invitation the ad reads: “If you don’t want your daughter’s wedding invitation to look like this then…Don’t let her work with Arabs or do national service with non-Jews, don’t let her work in a place that employs enemies and don’t bring home migrant workers…”

Secular people who saw the “invitations” expressed their anger over what they say is the racist wording of the ad: “They are staining an entire nation and turning us into racists against our will. We are not all primitives as might be understood from the ad,” said one Jerusalemite after reading it.

The Lehava organization’s goal is to “save the daughters of Israel who have been tempted into a romantic relationship with a non-Jew.”

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Brief and to the point – Ron Paul addresses Congress as a voice crying in the wilderness.  Paul is surely correct; more killing power to Israel will not ultimately help Israel, it won’t forward the cause of peace in the Middle East, and it certainly won’t help the US!

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It Will Lead To War
By Ron Paul

May 9, 2012

Statement on H.R.4133 – United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012

Mr. Speaker: I rise in opposition to HR 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, which unfortunately is another piece of one-sided and counter-productive foreign policy legislation. This bill’s real intent seems to be more saber-rattling against Iran and Syria, and it undermines US diplomatic efforts by making clear that the US is not an honest broker seeking peace for the Middle East.

The bill calls for the United States to significantly increase our provision of sophisticated weaponry to Israel, and states that it is to be US policy to “help Israel preserve its qualitative military edge” in the region.

While I absolutely believe that Israel – and any other nation — should be free to determine for itself what is necessary for its national security, I do not believe that those decisions should be underwritten by US taxpayers and backed up by the US military.

This bill states that it is the policy of the United States to “reaffirm the enduring commitment of the United States to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.” However, according to our Constitution the policy of the United States government should be to protect the security of the United States, not to guarantee the religious, ethnic, or cultural composition of a foreign country. In fact, our own Constitution prohibits the establishment of any particular religion in the US.

More than 20 years after the reason for NATO’s existence – the Warsaw Pact – has disappeared, this legislation seeks to find a new mission for that anachronistic alliance: the defense of Israel. Calling for “an expanded role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises,” it reads like a dream for interventionists and the military industrial complex. As I have said many times, NATO should be disbanded not expanded.

This bill will not help the United States, it will not help Israel, and it will not help the Middle East. It will implicitly authorize much more US interventionism in the region at a time when we cannot afford the foreign commitments we already have. It more likely will lead to war against Syria, Iran, or both. I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill.

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Adam Keller writes:  “A lie does not become a truth, even if repeated forty-five times.”  The highlights in Gush’s PRESS RELEASE are mine.  To learn more about the teachings of “The Other Israel”, click:  www.gush-shalom.org….   Peace, Roy

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Press Release May 19. 2012   

Gush Shalom calls for abolition of “Jerusalem Day”. This is a holiday only to settlers and racists, who get a license to provoke and harass Palestinians. The real ‘Jerusalem Day’ – when Jerusalem becomes the capital of two states living in peace.

A lie does not become a truth, even if repeated forty-five times. Jerusalem is a not a united city, and has never been a united city in the forty-five years since 1967. East Jerusalem is a Palestinian area under occupation rule. Just so is it treated by the  governmental and municipal authorities of the State of Israel, and by the settlers who are dispossessing the Palestinian inhabitants, with the funding and backing of these authorities – as recently happened again in  the Beit Hanina Neighborhood.

“Jerusalem Day” is not a holiday to Israel’s citizens or to residents of Jerusalem. It is a holiday only for the young settlers, who are given by the Jerusalem Police a free hand to hold a provocative “Flag Dance” throughout East Jerusalem – even though in previous years this “dance” developed into an ongoing chain of racist harassment and violence against Palestinian inhabitants.

It is time to end the lie and erase this ugly stain from the calendar of the State of Israel. The real Jerusalem Day will be the day when the occupation ends and Jerusalem becomes the capital of two states – West Jerusalem the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine. Only then can Jerusalem truly be a united city, by the free will of all its inhabitants – Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson 054-2340749

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The author,  Philip Giraldi is a former CIA station chief and counter-terrorism expert and current executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

Giraldi notes, “If historians 100 years from now seek to explain how a great power committed seemingly intentional national suicide, they will have to look no further than the voting record of the U.S. Congress.”

House Stealthily Passes Extreme Pro-Israel Legislation

By Philip Giraldi

Posted by the Council for the National Interest

21 May 2012

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Go to Google and type in “H.R. 4133.” You will discover that, apart from a handful of blogs and alternative news sites, not a single mainstream medium has reported the story of a congressional bill that might well have major impact on the conduct of United States foreign policy.

H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, was introduced into the House of Representatives of the 112th Congress on March 5 “to express the sense of Congress regarding the United States-Israel strategic relationship, to direct the president to submit to Congress reports on United States actions to enhance this relationship and to assist in the defense of Israel, and for other purposes.” The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) reportedly helped draft the bill, and its co-sponsors include Republicans Eric Cantor and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrats Howard Berman and Steny Hoyer. Hoyer is the Democratic whip in the House of Representatives, where Cantor is majority leader. Ros-Lehtinen heads the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The House bill basically provides Israel with a blank check drawn on the U.S. taxpayer to maintain its “qualitative military edge” over all of its neighbors combined. It requires the White House to prepare an annual report on how that superiority is being maintained. The resolution passed on May 9 by a vote of 411–2 on a “suspension of the rules,” which is intended for non-controversial legislation requiring little debate and a quick vote.

A number of congressmen spoke on the bill, affirming their undying dedication to the cause of Israel. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was the only one who spoke out against it, describing it as “one-sided and counterproductive foreign policy legislation. This bill’s real intent seems to be more saber-rattling against Iran and Syria.” Paul also observed that “this bill states that it is the policy of the United States to ‘reaffirm the enduring commitment of the United States to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.’ However, according to our Constitution, the policy of the United States government should be to protect the security of the United States, not to guarantee the religious, ethnic, or cultural composition of a foreign country.” Paul voted “no” and was joined by only one other representative, John Dingell of Michigan, who represents a large Muslim constituency.

It is interesting to note what exactly the bill pledges the American people to do on behalf of Israel. It obligates the United States to veto resolutions critical of Israel, to provide such military support “as is necessary,” to pay for the building of an anti-missile system, to provide advanced “defense” equipment (including refueling tankers, which are offensive), to give Israel special munitions (i.e., bunker-busters, which are also offensive), to forward deploy more U.S. military equipment to Israel, to offer the Israeli air force more training and facilities in the U.S., to increase security- and advanced-technology-program cooperation, and to extend loan guarantees and expand intelligence-sharing (including highly sensitive satellite imagery). Actually, there’s even more included, and I may have missed the kitchen sink. But the objective is to provide Israel with the resources to attack Iran, if it chooses to do so, while tying the U.S. and Israel so closely together that whatever Benjamin Netanyahu does, the U.S. “will always be there,” as our president has so aptly put it.

But the scariest bit of the bill is its call for “an expanded role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises.” If Israel becomes part of NATO, which is clearly Congress’s intent, the U.S. and other members will be obligated to come to the aid of a nation that is expanding its borders and is currently engaged in hostilities with three of its neighbors. Israel has also initiated a series of regional wars. Whether NATO membership for Israel would benefit anyone is questionable, but it is something the neocons have been seeking for years, to turn Israel’s wars into a new crusade against the Muslim world.

And then there is the congressional propensity to conceal additional spending in legislation that is normally passed without a great deal of debate. It is perhaps no coincidence that on May 7 the Republican spokesman, the redoubtable Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, released his party’s proposal for increased defense spending (yes, increased) for 2013. McKeon, who has never served in the military and who was holds a bachelor of science degree in animal husbandry from Brigham Young University, is an uber-hawk who relies heavily on campaign contributions from the defense industry. Perhaps “Buck” should consider changing his sobriquet to “Warbucks,” but as he probably lacks a sense of humor, it would be wasted on him.

Included in the proposed defense bill is a cool $1 billion for Israel to upgrade its missile defenses. Money for Israel inserted in the U.S. defense budget suggests that Congress believes that defense of the U.S. and defense of Israel are pretty much conjoined at the hip. That’s on top of the $3 billion Tel Aviv already receives and the numerous defense co-production programs that it benefits from, which will clearly be expanded if 4133 is any indication. The media predictably underreported the largesse for Israel with a couple of lines hidden away in a story in The Washington Post about overall defense spending.

Many who follow the issue have known for some time that Congress, generally speaking, will unhesitatingly do anything to benefit Israel and its supporters, be damned the consequences for the rest of us. That they do it without any public scrutiny is unforgivable and is as much the fault of the media as it is of the devious ways of America’s legislature. If Congress wants to give Israel the type of guarantees that would require Washington to support Tel Aviv’s foreign and security policy, there should be a free and open debate with the American people understanding clearly what such a commitment means in terms of costs and consequences, not a “suspension of rules” stealth legislative package. If Buck McKeon and his friends on the House Armed Services Committee want to give Israel a billion dollars and actually believe it serves the U.S. national interest, why do they hide it in a procurement bill for the defense of the United States? If historians 100 years from now seek to explain how a great power committed seemingly intentional national suicide, they will have to look no further than the voting record of the U.S. Congress.