Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Israeli occupation state targets Omar Barghouti

"Israeli media have reported that Barghouti, who lives in the coastal city of Akka in present-day Israel, is suspected of tax evasion. The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee accused the Israeli government of “fabricating a case” against him. Barghouti and his wife were detained for 16 hours on Sunday and Barghouti was being interrogated for the fourth consecutive day, the committee said on Wednesday. The committee said the investigation of Barghouti was part of Israel’s “systematic efforts to criminalize the BDS movement, intimidate activists and stop free speech.” Barghouti “has for years been subjected to intense threats, intimidation and repression by various arms of the far-right Israeli government, particularly after it considered the movement a ‘strategic threat’ to its entire system of injustice against Palestinians,” the committee added. Last year the Tel Aviv newspaper Haartez reported that Israel had established a “dirty tricks” or “tarnishing” unit which would target BDS groups. The committee said that the case against Barghouti was an attempt to “tarnish his image and intimidate him.”"

Arabness and citizenship in the US

"This Article examines the legal origins of Arab-American identity during the racially restrictive Naturalization Era (1790 through 1952), when whiteness was a prerequisite for American citizenship. Ten of the 53 naturalization hearings during this era involved a petitioner from the Arab World. Judges during the Naturalization Era viewed “Arab” as synonymous with “Muslim” identity. Because Muslims were presumed to be non-white, and Arabs were presumed to be Muslims, Arabs were presumptively ineligible for citizenship. But this presumption could be rebutted. Arab Christians could – and did – invoke the fact of their Christianity to argue that they were white. These arguments sometimes secured citizenship for Christian petitioners, but did not always rebut the presumption that every immigrant from the Arab World was Muslim. "

National Security--my potato

""The official said no American carriers are impacted by the ban, which is expected to be unveiled on Tuesday by the Homeland Security Department.""( thanks Suheil)

Israel's never-ending war crimes

"Beyond the less-than-subtle endorsement of war crimes, there’s another major problem with Bennett’s reasoning - which is that Israel has never been overly preoccupied with civilian-military distinctions in the first place. For one thing, all of the items on his list of “legitimate targets” were already bombed in 2006." "In 2006, most of the estimated 1,200 killed in Lebanon were civilians, including the children slaughtered at close range by Israeli helicopter while attempting to evacuate their villages under explicit Israeli orders. Also obviously qualifying as civilians were the more than 100 refugees wiped out by Israel in 1996 while sheltering at a United Nations compound in the south Lebanese town of Qana."

US-made famine in Yemen

"Meanwhile, US weapons makers, including General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, profit massively from weapon sales to Saudi Arabia. In December, 2017, Medea Benjamin wrote: “Despite the repressive nature of the Saudi regime, U.S. governments have not only supported the Saudis on the diplomatic front, but militarily. Under the Obama administration, this has translated into massive weapons sales of $115 billion.” At this critical juncture, all member states of the UN must call for an end to the blockade and airstrikes, a silencing of all guns, and a negotiated settlement to the war in Yemen. The worst malefactors, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, must abandon cynical maneuvering against rivals like Iran, in the face of such an unspeakable human cost as Yemen is being made to pay. U.S. people bear responsibility to demand a radical departure from U.S. policy which exacerbates the deadly tragedy faced by people living in Yemen." (thanks Amir)

Existential angst of American youth--according to the Nation magazine

""Those kids in Cancún were raised on what is in effect a giant pirate ship masquerading as a country, the children of unending war, taught to believe that their jurisdiction is universal, their writ is global, even as their resentment—a feeling that they live in a nation under siege—is exceptional. Build that wall. ""

What did Khamenei actually say about gender equality?

Look. I am no fan of Khamenei but it seems to me that the headline and the opening line does not correspond with the text.  He said: "“Making women a commodity and an object of gratification in the Western world is most likely among Zionist plots aiming to destroy the society,” he said, according to a translation on the Shia Muslim leader’s official website."  How does that become "Iran’s Supreme Leader claims gender equality is 'Zionist plot' aiming to corrupt role of women in society", according to the Independent headline.  Here is what he said about gender equality--as terrible as it is: "“Today, Western thinkers and those who pursue issues such as gender equality regret the corruption which it has brought about.”"  This is about accuracy in reporting and in headlining and it seems to me that Western media exercise different standards towards governments not aligned with Western governments.

God and oil in Saudi Arabia: it seems that Muhammad bin Salman is God's gift to humanity

"Prince Mohammad bin Salman may well be God’s chosen to help lead Saudi Arabia through the political, economic, and social challenges it faces." (thanks Jamal)

PS It is fitting that a website linked to the Israeli lobby would publish this.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Israel and ISIS

From a reader:  Israeli commandos save Islamic militants from Syria | Daily Mail

Israel acknowledges it is helping Syrian rebel fighters | Times of Israel
UN Reveals Israeli Links With Syrian Rebels | Haaretz

Exclusive: Israel Is Tending to Wounded Syrian Rebels | Foreign Policy
Israel Helps ISIS Recruit Militants In Syria | Middle East Press
Israel Key Link in Exporting ISIS Oil | The Real News Network

US-fueled war has benefited al-Qaeda

"Well over 10,000 airstrikes later, at least one-third of which have hit civilian areas, more than 10,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed — and the relentless bombing continues." "Meanwhile, the group that has benefited the most from the destructive US-fueled war has been al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the most violent branch of the global extremist group."

Canadian police says threat to shoot Muslims not motivated by hate

"A 24-year-old London man has been arrested for uttering threats after police say he threatened to shoot worshipers at the London Muslim Mosque. But in a release issued Monday, police say the incident was not motivated by hate." (thanks Amir)

Look how Ben Hubbard of the New York Times peddles fake Israeli news

Ben Hubbard (@NYTBen)
Israel's army chief says Hezbollah killed its own leader in Syria because of internal rifts. Truth or PSYOP?

Look regardless whether he said "Truth or PSYOP", by posting it he ensured its circulation.  Anyone who knows something about the party knows it is a flat out lie (and the party which rarely issued denials issued a denial on this one but Hubbard did not notice).  Do you think that Hubbard would dare post lies and fabrications by Hamas and Hizbullah?

A New York Times correspondent writes a most pathetically fawning tribute to a billionaire

"In later years, I sometimes traded letters with D.R." Why do I feel that you wrote him weekly and he never replied.

Idiotic Homeland Security

How dumb is this new ban when travelers from Middle East airports can simply change flights in Europe?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Can you imagine an Arab potentate carrying a soldier on his back? I can't.

On all flights from Middle East countries

This just in: Homeland Security has ordered that men flying on all fights coming to US from Middle East countries won't be allowed to wear pants.

Whenever you read that this Republican nominee will "face tough questioning from Democrats in Congress" know that this Republican will have the easiest confirmation process ever imagined.

Schools in Damascus

Schools in Damascus were closed today because "moderate rebels" were shelling indiscriminately.  Find the story in US media or even DN.

Some "Fake News" are acceptable to mainstream media

In all my years in the US (since 1983) I don't recall ever when US media and think tank were more hospitable to Gulf regime propaganda as they are these days.

No one excels in the production of "fake news" more than Washington Post and New York Times--no one

The father of Bassel Al-A`raj offers a military salute to the body of his son

My interview in Morocco

This is my interview with Hespress in Morocco about Moroccan political developments.  

How appointments are made at the American University of Beirut: the role of institutions and transparency

From a message by the AUB president about his appointment of a new provost: "As noted in my email of January 18, 2017, we conducted extensive consultations sessions with various constituents".

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Angela Merkel

I hate how American liberals forget that Angela Merkel is a right-winger.

Meet Western human rights organizations: "Documents Reveal How Israel Made Amnesty International's Local Branch a Front for the Foreign Ministry in the 70s"

"... What the minister reported to the Knesset was that for a number of years, Israel had tried to influence the Amnesty’s activity from within. Documents collected by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research and revealed here for the first time show that some of the people who headed Amnesty Israel from the end of the 1960s to the mid-1970s reported on their activity directly and in real time to the Foreign Ministry, consulted with its officials and requested instructions on how to proceed...." (thanks Eyal)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Look at this guy: he is bragging that he shook Merkel's hands (twice). Only a human rights poseur

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
I felt privileged when I (twice) got to shake Merkel's hand. Trump's disdain for her is embarrassing. He's the lesser leader.…

Rima Khalaf and ESCWA

My position: why did she resign? Why did she say in her letter that she had to respond to his wish? Why not stay in the job to force the secretary-general to fire her? Why did she praise his stance on the Palestinians when he was the one who protested the report? Had he been good on Palestine, would the US and Israel approved him for the powerless job?  Also, the Jordanian regime does not refer to Israeli apartheid as Israeli apartheid.  

Unfailingly, the New York Times find the racism of Zionists to be rather endearing and amusing: Norman Podhoretz

"His own early writing, including a widely read 1963 essay called “My Negro Problem — And Ours,” which disparaged integration but encouraged miscegenation, offered “something to offend everyone,” he said. No matter: It staked out a point of view, and it got attention."

Jordanian King responds to the US-Israeli pressures on ESCWA about the report which refers to Israeli apartheid

Some child welfare agency should take this innocent child away from her abusive parents who are using her (for a fee) as a propaganda prop

This is quite disgusting exploitation of a little child and it should stop.  Shame on all the Western and Arab media which participated and contributed to the awful exploitation of this child.    If a Palestinian group was doing that with a little child, there would be international outrage around the world, and UN agencies would have intervened.  Western media and Arab Gulf media have no shame in their propaganda work on Syria.
"EXCLUSIVE‘Donald Trump…We Are Not Terrorists’: A Syrian Girl’s Tearful Message to President Trump"

Friday, March 17, 2017

UN report and Israeli apartheid

Predictable. But this is what is funny: US and Israel think that if they just exert enough international pressure to muzzle freedom of expression at UN and in all countries, then the word Apartheid would not be used about Israeli....apartheid.  

Please judge the credibility of North Korean defectors

Watch here.

Such a frank admission: how the US views the role of the Department of State

"Many veteran diplomats said that injecting money into the Defense Department while slashing the State Department made little sense, since the functions of the two go hand in hand."

There is a real wave of anti-Semitism sweeping the country

This anti-Semitic wave across the lands is real, and is not fictitious.  It is, however, not surprising.  The campaign which unleashed unprecedented level of bigotry, and which featured the bigoted likes of Franklin Graham or Jerry Falwell, Jr. should have alerted Jewish organizations to the danger.  Instead, Zionist organizations were too happy with the pro-Israel stance of Trump, and ignored the ominous signs of bigotry and intolerance which his campaign unleashed.  It is illusory to think that those Christians who harbor and express blatant anti-Muslim sentiments and hatred would not extend their hatred to other non-Christian groups.  I maintain that the Christian evangelical groups in the US--and which have been aligned with Israel for decades--still pose the greatest danger to tolerance in the country, and they would become--at a moment's notice--an instrument of anti-Semitic campaigns.  Is it not high time for people to demand that those bigots like Franklin Graham be ostracized and condemned for their hatred?  Historically, the church was the natural home of anti-Semitism and there is no reason to believe that it won't become again.

Muhammad bin Salman

Did you see his statement yesterday? That he trust US leadership of the world under Trump? Did you also notice that in his remarks in the Pentagon, it took him a sentence before he railed at Iran?

Remember when Atlantic Council celebrated the Al-Qa`idah takeover of Idlib?

Read this report.

I did not know until yesterday that Western supporters of Syrian rebels care about Syrian civilians

Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister)
#pt: US strikes that hit mosques & kill 10s of civilians give AlQaeda even more of an advantage. Makes this worse:

Notice that US bombing in Iraq or elsewhere never bothered this and other Western correspondents in Beirut

Liz Sly (@LizSly)
Syrians: US warplanes struck a packed mosque during prayertime & killed and injured dozens of people; death toll currently put at 35-50. 2/2

So Trump's message to Gulf potentates

He basically made it clear: that they will be close allies of his administration but at a price--financial price (whether in investments in the US or in purchases of arms or in forming Muslim armies to fight US wars).  

Moroccan academics

I visited Morocco for the second time in a span of 20 years. I have to say that I am so impressed with the quality and knowledge of Moroccan academics and doctoral students in the first conference of Middle East and North Africa studies in Marrakech.  This is an example that national universities can achieve excellence in the Arab world without having Western names and without being private universities.  Those Moroccan universities need so much state support and they also need to find jobs for new graduates.  Moroccan college students now all are fluent in English, French, and Arabic and combine Western and Arabic cultural background.  

Putin targeting critical journalists?

Without presenting any evidence, US media has been saying for years that any Russian journalists who die must have been poisoned by Putin. Of course, some may have been, as I don't exonerate Putin. But notice that those same Western journalists never bothered to protest when George W. Bush (otherwise known as the cute and affable painter these days) ordered that US fighter jets target the AlJazeera offices in Baghdad in 2003.  I guess for US media killing by poison is a terrible murder while killing with bombs is a mere war tactic.

Western correspondents in Beirut acted as if this was the first time US has bombed a mosque

"The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said that at least 42 people, mostly civilians, were killed in a strike that “targeted a mosque in al-Jinah village” in the western countryside of Aleppo on March 16th. “The death toll is expected to rise,” said the monitor."

Western correspondents in Beirut

Western correspondents in Beirut yesterday noticed for the first time that US has been bombing Syria. For the first time, Western correspondents in Beirut were wearing because they just discovered that US bombs can kill civilians and they do.  The reason why they were so upset yesterday is that Al-Qa`idah in Syria (or what Western correspondents in Beirut has been referring to as "moderate Syrian rebels") were the targets of US bombs although--typically--civilians were also killed. 

Syrian regime corruption and repression

You would think that with all that is going on that the Syrian regime would take a break from repression and corruption but it does not.  The correspondent of Al-Mayadin was banned from working because he exposed corruption (theft) in areas taken over by Syrian troops.  And a Syrian regime reporter took a selfie with dead corpses behind him.  

The UN report (or reports)

It is hilarious that anyone would refer to the UN as "independent" in any of its findings or missions.  This is a tool of the US/Israeli alliance, despite some setbacks to the alliance here and there.  But the US quickly exerts financial pressures and quickly nullifies whatever bothers US and Israel.  It is also hilarious for anyone to to cite the Jordanian Prince, Zayd bin Ra`d as an authority on human rights or on anything: this is like citing Marwan Muahser (a former minister and ambassador for the Jordanian potentate) on issues of Arab change.  The UN reports which labeled Israel as apartheid had no chance, and I said so immediately when I saw some Arabs celebrating.  Those who wish to fight battles in the UN on behalf of just causes, should shift their struggles elsewhere.  US is a successful blackmailer at the US, and has a very long history in that regard.  It is so blatant that it is not subtle diplomacy as it used to be.