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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Imagine if this were a synagogue

Just imagine if this were a synagogue in say Iran (which has the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel).  Dozens of security forces invade the place of worship, fire tear gas and stun grenades, injure a number of worshippers and cause much destruction.

What would be the reaction?  Many people would undoubtedly start drawing an analogy with Krystalnacht, the Nazi pogrom in Germany in November 1938.  People would undoubtedly cry 'anti-Semitism' and quite rightly so.  We would have Obama, Cameron and other hypocrites decrying this attack on the right to worship of peaceful Jews.  Yet what is the reaction to what Israel has done?  Nothing, except silence.

Of course none of this excuses the murderous Saudi regime, busy slaughtering fellow Muslims in Yemen and causing an utter human rights catastrophe there.  They are supposed to be the protectors of Muslim places of worship but in practice their only concern is how best to loot Arab oil wealth and keep their own population and migrant workers under the thumb.

Tony Greenstein

Israeli forces, right-wingers storm Aqsa Mosque compound

July 26, 2015 10:04 A.M. (Updated: July 27, 2015 5:42 P.M.) 


JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Sunday morning firing stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Muslim worshipers as they cleared way for right-wing Jews who were visiting the compound to mark a Jewish fast day, witnesses said.
Uri Ariel MK from Jewish Home was allegedly one of the invaders
Dozens of Palestinian worshipers were reportedly hit with rubber-coated bullets and suffered excessive tear gas inhalation, while Israeli police officers were reported to have attacked worshipers with pepper spray, rods and rifle butts.
At least three Palestinians were reportedly detained.

The officers entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate, Chain Gate and Hutta Gate and clashed with worshipers, witnesses said, before Israeli soldiers then shut down the compound’s gates with chains.

Israeli soldiers also reportedly stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque itself and fired rubber-coated bullets inside the holy site. The compound's Palestinian security guards were assaulted and prevented from moving, witnesses said.

Israeli police claimed that they entered the mosque after "masked rioters" threw stones at them, "with the aim of preventing further injury to police."

Israeli media reported that four police officers were injured, with two moved to hospital for treatment.

As the clashes subsided, right-wing Jews began to make their way into the compound in groups via the Moroccan gate.

Israel's minister of agriculture, Uri Ariel, was reportedly among the right-wingers to tour the compound under heavy police escort. Ariel is a member of Naftali Bennett's ultra-right Jewish Home party.

(Islamic Endowment)


Israeli police said that a young Jewish man on Sunday attempted to enter while wearing phylacteries -- small leather boxes containing sacred texts worn by Orthodox men at prayer.

When told to remove them, the man resisted and grabbed hold of railings, biting a policeman who tried to remove him before he was arrested.

Sunday marked Tisha B'Av, an annual Jewish fast day that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Jewish Temples. The fast day is considered the saddest day in the Jewish calendar.

Earlier in the morning, Israeli forces imposed strict restrictions on entry of Palestinians Muslim worshipers into the compound.

Witnesses said that at dawn, Israeli officers allowed only women and men over the age of 50 to enter the compound. After 6:30 a.m. all Palestinians were reportedly denied entry.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has seen rising tensions in recent days, with Jewish organizations calling for the compound to be open to Jews for the week after Tisha B'Av and others seeking to celebrate unconfirmed reports that Israel is negotiating the reopening of the compound to non-Muslim worship.

At the end of June, International Crisis Group reported discussions between Israel and the Islamic Endowment that controls the mosque compound on allowing non-Muslim worship at the site, although the move has not yet been confirmed.

The third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

Following Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained an agreement with the Islamic Endowment not to allow non-Muslim prayer in the area.

Jewish prayer is allowed at the neighboring Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Second Temple.

However, Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to Al-Aqsa, leading to anger among Muslim worshipers.

The last time Israeli police entered the mosque itself, in November last year, Jordan -- one of the very few Arab states with diplomatic relations with Israel -- recalled its ambassador.

AFP contributed to this report.

A Picture of Apartheid - One Picture, Two Images

The Difference in Treatment Between Palestinian and Israeli Youth 

This picture from Jerusalem made yesterday “shows a dual system that discriminates” against Palestinians. Dalia Hatuqa’s twitter feed

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man during clashes after Israeli authorities limited access for Muslim worshipers to the flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem on July 26, 2015. Israeli police entered the compound, one of Islam’s holiest places, to tackle suspected Palestinian rioters, police said. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Genocide in Gaza – Remembering the Slaughter of the Innocents

Operation Protective Edge was Operation Deliberate Murder

This Saturday, on the anniversary of Israel’s unprovoked attack on Gaza and the murder of over 2,200 people, including 521 children, Brighton PSC commemorated those who died.  Included in the commemoration were the paintings by Brighton artist, Kerry Beal, of the children she met and who died in Gaza.

In Kerry’s own words, #BeyondWordsGaza is an art project to paint the lives that have been lost in Palestine, and then donate the portraits to the families

Friday, 24 July 2015

Differential Justice for Arabs and Israeli Jews

Imprisoned for racial incitement on Facebook? Only if you're an Arab

Omar Shalabi, the secretary general of Fatah’s Jerusalem branch to nine months in prison for using his personal Facebook account to incite violence and support terrorism against Israeli civilians.
One of the most popular slogans of Israeli propaganda is the claim that ‘Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East’.  As the following article demonstrates, it is in fact an ethnocracy, where one
group dominates another.  There is a right to vote but it means nothing in terms of the right to equality of treatment of Israeli Arabs

One of the most fundamental aspects of any society that claims to be a democracy is equality in law.  Of course in all capitalist societies the rich obtain an immunity that the poor don’t have.  In England if you are on social security and work at the same time you will be prosecuted and possibly be sent to prison whereas if you are a banker and stole millions you are more likely to be knighted.
There is also discrimination in terms of the law between Black and \White.  Black people are more likely to be stopped by the Police and to be prosecuted in court and to receive heavier sentences.  Nonetheless the system itself recognises this and there have been concerted efforts to redress the injustices that Black people face, from the Scarman to the MacPherson Inquiry.  Even Home Secretary Theresa May, who is no liberal, recognises this.

Likewise working-class people face similar injustices as the Hillsborough Inquiry has recently found. 
However in Israel there is absolutely no recognition even of the problem of discrimination against Israeli Arabs.  On the contrary there is a determination, by all of the Zionist parties (bar Meretz) to continue the injustices and increase them.  This is because Israel is a Jewish settler colonial state.
Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the following article.  If you are an Arab and, even remotely, advocate violence against Israeli Jews you will be prosecuted and spend time in gaol.  On the other hand if you are Jewish you will receive absolute immunity.  In other words despite the same laws for example incitement to racial hatred applying equally to Arab and Jew it is implemented only against infractions by members of one community.

That is why Israel is an Apartheid society and why BDS is so vital.

Tony Greenstein

Racist and inciting Facebook statuses by Israeli Jews have become commonplace on the Internet. Yet not a single Israeli has ever been sent to prison for publishing a status on social media.

By John Brown* and Noam Rotem -

Right-wing nationalists attacking left-wing activists during a protest in central Tel Aviv against the Israeli attack on Gaza, July 12, 2014. The protest ended with the nationalists attacking a small group of left-wing activists, with little police interference. Three activists were injured and one right-wing person was arrested. (Oren Ziv/
We do not live in a state where people are equal before the law. This is a fact that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Internet, on the other hand, has maintained a kind of facade where freedom and equality are set in stone. But no more. This week, 23-year-old Uday Biyumi from Jerusalem was sentenced to 17 months in prison for publishing Facebook posts “systematically and widely.”

The sentence is not something out of the ordinary. Sami Da’is received eight months for his posts on social media; Omar Shalbi was sentenced to nine months; and many others are still being held until the end of legal proceedings, waiting for a decision on their case. All of them for publishing statuses on Facebook.

Perhaps you have noticed that there is not a single Jewish person among those arrested—this isn’t a coincidence. The following article will compare some of these remarks to those made by Jews, who were never forced to spend seven months in jail. Not a single Jewish citizen of Israel has ever been sent to prison for publishing a status on social media.

These social media users are usually accused of the following clauses in Israeli law: “incitement to racism,” “incitement to violence or terrorism,” and sometimes “support for a terrorist organization.” The first clause is simple: anyone who publishes remarks “for the purpose of inciting to racism,” regardless of the probability that the remarks will lead to violence—is guilty. According to the second clause, incitement to violence or terrorism—or praising an act of violence or terror—is forbidden only if the content of the remarks and the circumstances in which they were published include a a real possibility to lead to an act of violence or terrorism. This requires finding out whether anyone who read the status was inspired to commit an act of terrorism or violence. As for the third clause, anyone who expresses support for a terrorist organization is guilty.

Eight months for 14 ‘likes’
The court takes into account how much exposure these statuses receive when determining the defendant’s sentence. Sometimes they have over 200 likes, other times they are far less popular. Such is the case of Sami Da’is, who received five likes for one of the status mentioned in his indictment, and nine likes in another. He was sentenced to eight months in prison.

After Facebook user Arkadi Yakobov wrote, “there is no shame in burning an Arab, it is a great mitzvah to burn Arabs,” armed men did not barge into his house and detain him for several months. When Galit Elmaliach agreed and added “may all the Muhammads burn, amen,” and when Hovav Yossi Mattuf swore that “the next time they kidnap, I hope he is not unconscious and is burned alive and made to run around burning” no one raised an eyebrow. Their lives went on without any interference by the Israeli justice system.

Click here to view the original statuses in Hebrew
When Ibrahim Abadin changed his profile photo to that of Mutaz Hijazi, the Palestinian who attempted to assassinate far-right Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick in October of last year, it was enough to be considered a crime.
Right-wing activist Yehuda Glick holding a book depicting the Jewish Temple while standing in front of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, May 21, 2009. (Photo by Oren Ziv/
When Jews such as Mor Hajaj look forward to the day that the Knesset passes a law to allow the massacre of “infiltrators,” or when Avi Swissa and Etzion Shchori expressed support for ISIS—no one broke down their doors in an overnight raid. When Naor Elmaliach and Leroy Kaufman expressed support for the Nazi regime, while lamenting the fact that Adolf Hitler didn’t massacre more of their own people—no one in the State Attorney’s Office or the police even considered serving them with an indictment.

Sami Da’is, on the other hand, published the logo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 2014—a political party that was elected in the last Palestinian elections—as a status on his Facebook feed, adding the words “The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” This received six likes, and was mentioned in his indictment.

Mahmoud Asila, who presents himself as a Palestinian comedian, wrote “I opened a tourist agency for cars that run people over, meaning that every day a driver or two comes to me before a vehicular attack and then come back.” He also wrote: “Leave us and Al-Aqsa alone, and we will stop the vehicular attacks… we have a solution for the concrete blocks you have erected: we will stop using cars and start using motorcycles.” The honorable Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman read out the translation of his remarks, and agreed with the state that he could not be left under house arrest because of the danger he posed. Instead he would have to remain in prison until the end of his legal proceedings.
Right-wing protesters shouting slogans at Palestinians during riots that erupted following the finding of the bodies of three teenaged settlers near Halhul, West Jerusalem, July 1st, 2014. (Tali Mayer/
Screenshot of Mahmoud Asila's Facebook page, with writing in Arab calling to ‘Run over people for the sake of Jerusalem.’ (photo credit:screenshot)
Shlomi Avraham, the leader of the “Al-Yahud Gang,” which sent an incited mob to attack people simply because they are not Jewish, was sentenced to house arrest and did not have to wait months in jail for a decision on his case.

It is impossible to describe how far this kind of incitement reaches. But those who are interested can find support for military operations, such as the racist celebration following the killing of four boys on the Gaza beach last summer, or a worker in the Finance Ministry who calls for the murder of Arabs. Other users did not refrain from expressing support for the Nazi regime when replying to a Holocaust survivor who criticized Israel during Operation Protective Edge. Even soldiers didn’t refrain from taking part in the incitement to murder Arabs. Neither did police officers.

Incitement from above
One may claim that because these are private individuals, there is a small chance that their incitement will be translated into violence. But the discrimination doesn’t end with them. At 10 a.m. on July 1, 2014, while gangs of racist, right-wingers roamed the streets of Jerusalem looking to attack Arabs, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, then an MK, published a call to murder Palestinians, specifically Arab mothers, because:

“They need to go the way of their sons. There is nothing more true than that. They must go, same as the house in which they raised the snake. Otherwise they will raise other little snakes there.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. (Photo by
The post received over 4,900 likes and more than 1,200 shares, as well as many racist, murderous replies. Eighteen hours later, Muhammad Abu-Khdeir was kidnapped from his neighborhood in East Jerusalem and burned alive. Shaked quickly removed the status. She was never interrogated for her blatant and extreme incitement, and less than a year later she was appointed as Israel’s justice minister.

On the same day, the secretary-general of World Bnei Akiva (the largest religious Zionist youth movement in the world) called for the murder of at least 300 Palestinians, as well as to cut off their “Philistine foreskins.” A few hours earlier, Jerusalem City Council member Aryeh King openly called to commit an “act of Pinchass,” a religious code word for murder.

On July 10, 2014 Shaked once again used her Facebook page for incitement, and lied about who was behind a fire that erupted at a Jewish cemetery. Like the previous post, she received a great deal of racist, blood-thirsty replies.

This post was also later erased. Neither Shaked nor any those who replied to her were even interrogated. Neither was King or the secretary-general of Bnei Akiva. No one was indicted, convicted or jailed.

Not only on social media
The problem goes far beyond social media outlets. On July 23, 2012, MKs Miri Regev (Israel’s current minister of culture and sport), Danny Danon, and Yariv Levin incited against asylum seekers during a protest in south Tel Aviv. Standing in front of the crowd, Regev called asylum seekers a “cancer in our body.” She later lied and claimed that she meant that the phenomenon of asylum seekers is akin to cancer. Minutes after the rally ended, a mob set out to attack asylum seekers and their property. Neither of the three members of Knesset were taken in for questioning. On the other hand, the court had no problem sending Sheikh Raed Salah to prison for incitement during one of his sermons.

I write this not out of support for any of the things that were published. I can find hundreds of additional examples of inciting, racist and disgraceful statuses written by Jews. I can also quote more indictments of Palestinians for their statuses. But there is no point; we do not live in a state where citizens are equal before the law.

*John Brown is the pseudonym of an Israeli academic and blogger. Noam Rotem is an Israeli activist, high-tech executive and author of the blog, subtitled “Godwin doesn’t live here any more.”  This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Israelis on Facebook wish death for Holocaust survivors against 'Protective Edge'

I came across this article, written  on the Israeli magazine website 972mag at the time of Protective Edge.  300 survivors of the holocaust had taken an advertisement out in the New York Times to say that they dissociated themselves from Protective Edge, the bombing and attack on Gaza and the mass killing inflicted on a largely civilian population by state-of-the-art Israeli planes.

The reaction of a section and not a small section of the Right in Israel was to take to social media to wish death upon those who wrote and not merely death, but a desire that Hitler had finished the work and killed them too in the gas chambers.

How you might ask has it come to it that a state that calls itself Jewish is the harbinger of those who wish to see a holocaust perpetrated against their Jewish enemies?  If someone who was non-Jewish in Britain and most other European countries told someone who is Jewish that they wish they had also died in the holocaust they would be liable to prosecution for hate crimes, incitement to racial hatred etc.  In Israel such comments are made with impunity.

I have previously covered instances of the use of ‘Hitler was right’ directed against the Israeli left before  in relation to protests at the eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, but this article by Ami Kaufman demonstrates that such individual reactions are commonplace on the right in Israel.

Why is this so?  On one level an increasing number of Israelis, mainly from the religious Zionist and nationalist sectors identify the Nazis as strong, like Israelis, and the Palestinians as being the counterpart of the Nazis’ victims, the weak European Jews.  The traditional attitude of Israeli Jews to the holocaust survivors when they came to Israel in the post-war period was to despise them.  They were termed ‘sapon’ (soap) after the widespread myth that the bodies of Jews had been turned into soap. [see Tom Segev’s The 7th Million]

This attitude was downplayed post 1967 as the Holocaust began to be increasingly used as an ideological weapon in the war against the Palestinians and anti-Zionism. 
But the Left in Israel, because it is seen as being ‘weak’ just like the Jews of the diaspora therefore brings upon itself a new holocaust.  Indeed according to this warped thinking they actually deserve to have been killed in the Holocaust.  This is the logical culmination of the Zionist nationalism.   It identifies with the Jews’ historical enemies because they were, at least, strong.

Tony Greenstein

Asher Solomon: It’s a shame Hitler didn’t finish the job.’

 By Ami Kaufman August 25, 2014

Nope, it’s not The Onion.

A few days ago some 300 Holocaust survivors placed an ad in the New York Times condemning the massacre in Gaza. My colleague from Local Call, John Brown, has selected a few of the responses on Facebook that Israelis posted in response to the ad.

I’ve translated a few from John’s selection:

David Cohen: Those aren’t Holocaust survivors those are probably collaborators with the Nazis.

Shmulik Halphon: He’s invited to go back to Auschwitz.

Itzik Levy: These are survivors who were Kapos. Leftist traitors. That’s why they live abroad and not in the Jewish State.

Vitali Guttman: Enough, they should die already. They survived the Holocaust only to do another Holocaust to Israel in global public opinion?

Meir Dahan: No wonder Hitler murdered 6 million Jews because of people like you you’re not even Jews you’re disgusting people a disgrace to humanity and so are your offspring you are trash.

Asher Solomon: It’s a shame Hitler didn’t finish the job.

Katy Morali: Holocaust survivors who think like this are invited to go die in the gas chambers.

Yafa Ashraf: Shitty Ashkenazis you are the Nazis.

Israelis lash out against holocaust survivors who oppose ‘Protective Edge’

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Worst Political Interview of the Year/Decade

Thick, Deaf and Rude - Congratulations Kay Burley of Sky/Fox TV

Sky News/Fox TV’s presenter Kay Burley not only showed how awful she is but she seems to be suffering from a hearing problem in her interview with the amazingly patient Dawn Butler MP.   Repeatedly she asked the same question, despite having received quite clear answers.

I won’t spoil your enjoyment but she was rude, deaf and it would appear, just about the thickest of interviewers I have seen.

Well done Kate, you obviously have a good career ahead of you with Sky's American counterpart, Fox TV!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Another Act of Betrayal by Syriza as Greece Cosies Up to Israel

Words are barely necessary to describe this visit to Israel by the Greek Defence Minister and what is clearly an attack on the US-Iranian Accord.  Kammenos is the leader of the Independent Greeks ANEL party in coalition with Syriza, but he couldn’t have signed an agreement with Israel without the agreement of Tsipras.

According to the Times of Israel Greece is planning joint military exercises with Israel, Cyprus and Egypt.

Ironically Kammenos has been accused of anti-Semitism [see Ha'aretz article below] for saying that Greek Jews pay less tax than their non-Jewish counterparts.  

Tony Greenstein

Israeli navy missile ship
 Bedfellows? Israel, Greece sign status of forces agreement

By YAAKOV LAPPIN  07/19/2015

Israel and Greece signed a status of forces accord in Tel Aviv on Sunday that offers legal defense to both militaries while training in the other’s country
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos visited his Israeli counterpart Moshe Ya’alon at the Defense Ministry, where the accord was signed. Israel has only ever signed a similar accord with the US.

During their meeting, Kammenos and Ya’alon discussed continued bilateral defense ties, and the latest regional situation.

“We very much appreciate your visit here during a difficult period for Greece. This underlines the importance of relations between the countries,” Ya’alon said. “We wish the Greek people and Greece itself success in its effort to overcome the economic challenge. We pray for that since we believe Greece is a very important country, with a history and a contribution to the history of humanity.”

Ya’alon paid tribute to joint training between the IDF and Greek military within Greece, adding that both countries have shared interests, and both are dealing with the impact of the agreement between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.

“We perceive Iran as a generator and central catalyst to regional insecurity through its support to terrorist elements in the Middle East, particularly Shi’ite terrorism, though not only Shi’ite. And of course, the Iranian ambition for regional hegemony leads the regime in Tehran to undermine the stability of [other] regimes, which creates a challenge for all of us,” Ya’alon said.

Global terrorism is “also developing in our area, and is influencing the security situation in Europe as well. Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. Today it is directed against someone else, and tomorrow it reaches you,” he added.

Kammenos said the “Greek people are very close to the people in Israel,” adding that military bilateral relations are good, and that both countries will continue to build on them through joint training. Terror - ism and jihad, he added, are not just in the Middle East, but are also present in the Balkans and Europe.

Greece is within range of Iranian missiles, he added. “If one Iranian missile makes its way to the Mediterranean, this could be the end of states in this region,” the Greek defense minister said. 

Politician who said Jews don't pay tax appointed as Greece's defense chief

As defense minister, Panos Kammenos will oversee the military ties with Israel that have become much closer in recent years.

| Jan. 29, 2015
New Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos signs a protocol after a swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Jan. 27, 2015. Photo by AP
Panos Kammenos, a right-wing politician who said Jews don’t pay taxes, was appointed the defense minister of Greece.

Kammenos, who heads the ultranationalist Independent Greeks, was appointed to the post in the new government on Tuesday after joining the coalition of the newly elected far-left Syriza party, which won handily in Sunday’s national elections.

While the parties are far apart on most issues, they are united by a common rejection of the harsh terms imposed on Greece in the financial bailout.

Kammenos drew condemnation from Greece’s Jewish community in December after he said on television that Greek Jews don’t pay taxes — a remark denied publicly by a government official, who called it “conspiracy theories, lies and slander” that had become a part of “the dark side of the Internet.”

As defense minister, Kammenos will oversee the military ties with Israel that have become much closer in recent years. Even considering the taxes statement, he is still likely to be more pro-Israel than the Syriza lawmakers, who have taken part in protests against Israel, with some even participating in the flotillas to Gaza.

Conspiracy theories are rife in Kammenos’ ultranationalist party, which frequently blames outsiders for the economic woes befalling Greece.

A recent Anti-Defamation League poll found that anti-Semitic stereotypes are widespread iin Greece and that the country had the highest percentage of anti-Semitic views in Europe.