Tag Archives: Palestine and Israel

Benny Gantz betrayed his voters — and killed off the two-state solution

Michael Richard Pompeo is becoming almost as hypnotic as Donald Trump. What he lacks in lunacy, he makes up for in wilful ignorance or just good old plain hypocrisy.

You might blame Trump for mental incapacity when he hands over the Middle East to his dumbo son-in-law; Pompeo, however, knows what he’s doing. So there he was again this week, suggesting the Iranians were breaking a solemn UN resolution by launching a ballistic missile — while himself ignoring a far more historic but equally solemn UN resolution which calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied Palestinian territory. Watching his dry-as-dust performance as chancer-in-chief, you knew Pompeo would get away with it.

Not a single journalist gave the slightest indication that there might be a little double standard in the US secretary of state’s sudden concern for adherence to UN rules within hours of blithely declaring that it’s “an Israeli decision” if it wants to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank. Besides, UN Resolution 2231, calling upon Iran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons, is only five years old. UN resolution 242, passed immediately after the 1967 Middle East war – in which Israel captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai peninsula – is well over half a century old. Dust. Cobwebs.

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Posted by on April 23, 2020 in Middle East


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Joe Biden says he ‘doesn’t have enough information’ about Iran to have a view. How odd

So, while we continue to be mesmerised by Covid-19, here are a few Middle East tales that should be going viral this week.

Let’s start with a little divestment story. Microsoft has said it’s going to sell its stake in AnyVision, an Israeli facial recognition startup, after civil liberties groups in the US complained that the technology could, in police hands, lead to arbitrary arrests and limit freedom of expression. NBC news – praise where praise is due – broke the original story of Microsoft’s funding for the Israeli company last October, pointing out that it used facial recognition to observe Palestinians throughout the occupied West Bank, in spite of Microsoft’s promise to avoid using the technology if it encroached on democratic freedoms.

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Posted by on April 2, 2020 in Middle East


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Trump and Netanyahu have made Mideast peace an even more distant prospect

THE MIDEAST peace plan that President Trump unveiled at the White House Tuesday amounts, as a practical matter, to another one-sided gift to the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Trump promised U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and all of the settlements Israel has constructed in the West Bank — a radical shift in a half-century-old American policy.

Mr. Netanyahu, who gleefully pledged to immediately “apply Israeli law to all areas the plan recognizes,” reciprocated by calling Mr. Trump “the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House.” Mr. Trump can be expected to flog that endorsement as he seeks reelection this year. Mr. Netanyahu, in turn, will present himself to Israeli voters in a March election as the leader who extracted once-unimaginable concessions from Washington. Both leaders can hope to distract from ongoing scandals: Mr. Trump from his impeachment trial and Mr. Netanyahu from his indictment Tuesday on corruption charges.

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Posted by on February 4, 2020 in Middle East, North America


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Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ is so absurd it’s impossible to take it seriously

When the two old political fraudsters emerged at the White House this week with the most deranged, farcical tragi-comedy in Middle East history, it was difficult to know whether to laugh or cry.

The 80-page “peace” plan from the White House contained 56 references to “Vision” in its first 60 pages – and yes, with a capital V on each occasion to suggest, I guess, that this “deal of the century” was a supernatural revelation. It was not, though it might have been written by a super-Israeli.

It said goodbye to Palestinian refugees – the famous/infamous “right of return” and all who now rot in the camps of the Middle East; farewell to the old city of Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital; adieu to UNRWA, the UN relief agency. But it welcomed a permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the total annexation of almost every Jewish colony built there against all international law.

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Posted by on January 31, 2020 in Middle East, North America


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Yes, Anti-Semitism Is Alive and Well-But Where?

A strange thing happened to me over these past few days. On Friday, December 20 the website of Spectator USA published my comment on the thin line between Zionism and anti-Semitism. A couple of hours after the comment appeared on the web, it mysteriously disappeared. (It was still announced on the main page, but when one clicked on my text there, it was unavailable). I was told that this was just a matter of a technical glitch and that the text would re-appear very soon, which it did in late afternoon of December 21. However, it was now available in a shortened form, with two central passages missing, and I was told that the editor just decided to “tidy up” my text.

All this happened shortly after the furious reactions to my comment published on the website of Independent, to which I was not allowed to reply. (Russia Today reported on this incident). Since my text for Spectator deals with a similar topic, I cannot but suspect that I am again a victim of censorship. Let the readers decide! Here is my full text as it first appeared on Spectator’s website, and the main two passages that disappeared in its reappearance are between ((( and ))). I wasn’t consulted about this change, and readers should note, especially, the disappearance of the last paragraph which brings in Palestinians. This is where we stand today in our “permissive” liberal societies: it looks like I am now considered problematic in the last two digital (not printed, I was excluded from print media years ago) news outlets in the English-speaking part of the world that have been still open to me.

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Posted by on December 27, 2019 in Europe, Middle East


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There is no conflict between the struggle against antisemitism and the struggle against Israeli occupation

Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that, if you are attacked for the same text by both sides in a political conflict, this is one of the few reliable signs that you are on the right path. In the last decades, I have been attacked by a number of very different political actors (often on account of the same text!) for antisemitism, up to advocating a new Holocaust, and for perfidious Zionist propaganda (see the last issue of the antisemitic Occidental Observer). So I think I’ve earned the right to comment on the recent accusations against the Labour Party regarding its alleged tolerance of antisemitism.

I, of course, indisputably reject antisemitism in all its forms, including the idea that one can sometimes ”understand” it, as in: “considering what Israel is doing on the West Bank, one shouldn’t be surprised if this gives birth to antisemitic reactions”. More precisely, I reject the two symmetrical versions of this last argument: “we should understand occasional Palestinian antisemitism since they suffer a lot” as well as “we should understand aggressive Zionism in view of the Holocaust.” One should, of course, also reject the compromise version: “both sides have a point, so let’s find a middle way…”.

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Posted by on December 12, 2019 in Middle East



Bernie Sanders Says Denying Aid Because of Hamas Is “Part of an Effort to Dehumanize Palestinians”

On Monday, the only Jewish candidate in the Democratic presidential race stood in front of an audience of Jews in Washington, D.C., and suggested cutting U.S. aid to Israel.

And they applauded him.

“I would use the leverage, $3.8 billion is a lot of money, and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government or for that matter to any government at all,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said at the annual convention of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group.

It isn’t the first time Sanders has discussed deploying foreign aid as “leverage” over the Jewish state. Back in the fall of 2017, in an interview with me for The Intercept, the Vermont senator described the United States as “complicit” in the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and said he would consider voting to reduce U.S. aid to Israel.

At J Street, however, he went much further. “What is going on in Gaza right now is absolutely inhumane, it is unacceptable, it is unsustainable,” the Democratic presidential candidate told his interviewers, Pod Save the World hosts — and former Obama aides — Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes. “My solution is to say to Israel: You get $3.8 billion every year. If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza.”

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Posted by on November 4, 2019 in Middle East, North America


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The drone attack on the Saudi refinery is no game-changer. But is there a new ‘axis of evil’ in the Middle East?

When, a couple of days ago, Saudi Aramco’s crude-oil processing facilities were attacked with drones – it is thought by the Houthis in Yemen – our media repeatedly characterised this event as a “game-changer”. But was it really this? In some sense yes, since it perturbed the global oil supply and made a large armed conflict in the Middle East much more probable. However, one should be careful not to miss the cruel irony of this claim.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have been in an open war with Saudi Arabia for years, with Saudi armed forces (and the US and the UK supplying arms) practically destroying the entire country, indiscriminately bombing civilian objects. The Saudi intervention has led to one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of the century with tens of thousands of children dead. As it was in the cases of Libya and Syria, destroying an entire country is obviously not a game-changer – just part and parcel of a very normal geopolitical game.

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Posted by on September 17, 2019 in Middle East


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The Gaza Ghetto uprising

The cruelty and temerity of the people in Gaza once more reached new heights Saturday: dozens of rockets on Israel before the week of its Independence Day, just after its Holocaust Remembrance Day, and worst of all, two weeks before its Eurovision. How dare you Gaza, how dare you. Israel still hasn’t recovered from the Holocaust, is preening itself for its Independence Day, the musicians are starting to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport, and you’re firing Qassam rockets. How will we be able to celebrate? News reports give the impression that Israel is under siege; Gaza is threatening to destroy it. Twitter has already suggested “Eva’s Story on the Gaza Border” – a play on the social media campaign about the Holocaust. Pundits explain that it’s all because of Hamas’ greed. Ramadan is beginning and “they’re under crazy pressure for cash.” Or, “It’s all because of the weak security policy that has gotten the terror groups used to Israel; we only strike buildings.” And so they shoot, those villains. Hamas wants money, Israel’s too soft on them, they are terror, we are peace; they were born to kill. On Friday the army killed four protesters by the Gaza border fence, but who’s counting. In Israel a teenage boy tripped while running for a shelter. “When a lack of policy and continuity yields to blackmail,” a voice of wisdom mumbled, and nobody could figure out what he was proposing. Benny Gantz, the alternative. This is what we have an opposition for.

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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Middle East



Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel

Israel’s legislative elections on 9 April were a tribute to Binyamin Netanyahu’s transformation of the political landscape. At no point were they discussed in terms of which candidates might be persuaded by (non-existent) American pressure, or the ‘international community’, to end the occupation. This time the question was which party leader could be trusted by Israeli Jews – Palestinian citizens of Israel are now officially second-class – to manage the occupation, and to expedite the various tasks the Jewish state has mastered: killing Gazans, bulldozing homes, combating the scourge of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), and conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. With his promise to annex the West Bank, Netanyahu had won even before the election was held. It wasn’t simply Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that sped the incumbent on his way; it was the nature of the conversation – and the fact that the leader of the opposition was Benny Gantz, the IDF commander who presided over the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, in which more than two thousand Gazans were killed.

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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Middle East, North America


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