Netanyahu Derailed: Blames Palestinians for the Holocaust (Video)

Netanyahu is off the rails, blaming the Palestinians for Hitler’s Shoah, which lead to the death of six million Jews and five million others.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Netanyahu said in a speech to the Zionist Congress on Tuesday night that “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,” according to a transcript provided by his office. The prime minister said that the mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, protested to Hitler that “they’ll all come here,” referring to Palestine.

“ ‘So what should I do with them?’ ” Mr. Netanyahu quoted Hitler as asking Mr. Husseini. “He said, ‘Burn them.’ ”

Prof. Meir Litvak, a historian at Tel Aviv University, called the speech “a lie” and “a disgrace.” Prof. Moshe Zimmermann, a specialist of German history at Hebrew University, said, “With this, Netanyahu joins a long line of people that we would call Holocaust deniers.”

Phyllis Bennis: Violating International Law in Gaza

water systems damaged in Gaza
Numerous water systems and wells have been badly damaged in the airstrikes, limiting the water supply to the people of Gaza. (Photo: flickr / cc / Mohammed Al Baba/Oxfam)

As Israel’s assault claims the lives of hundreds of Palestinian children, there’s no doubt that it’s a form of collective punishment.

As Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip rages on, ceasefires come and go. Most last just long enough for Palestinians to dig out the dead from beneath their collapsed houses, get the injured to overcrowded and under-resourced hospitals, and seek enough food and water to last through the next round of airstrikes.

“There is nothing left but stones,” Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer quoted an old woman saying as she searched desperately through the rubble of what had been her home.

Casualties are soaring. By late July, Israel had killed more than 1,200 Palestinians, at least 73 percent of them civilians including hundreds of children. Fifty-six Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have died too.

July 28 poll shows 86.5 percent of Israelis oppose a ceasefire. Yet we continue to hear that Israelis want peace.

It’s true that at least some of them do. An Israeli protest in Tel Aviv brought 5,000 people into the street. That’s good — though a far cry from the 400,000 who poured into the streets to protest Israel’s invasion of Lebanon back in 1982.

And when a young Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and tortured to death — burned alive — in Jerusalem after the bodies of the three kidnapped young Israeli settlers were found, many Israelis tried to distance themselves from the horrific crime. “In our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed.

But in fact, there is a place for those who call for murder — at the highest political and military levels of Israeli society.

Meet Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Knesset — Israel’s parliament. She belongs to Israel Home, a far-right party in Netanyahu’s governing coalition. She issued on Facebook what amounts to a call to commit genocide, by deliberately killing Palestinians, including women, children, and old people.

“The entire Palestinian people is the enemy,” Shaked posted. “In wars, the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

The Knesset member went on to say that the mothers of Palestinians killed should follow their dead sons to Hell: “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Her language reminds me of a chapter in our own history — the genocidal Indian Wars. U.S. military leaders had called on their troops to wipe out all the Native Americans andCol. John Chivington was asked on the eve of the Sand Creek Massacre about killing Cheyenne children. “Kill and scalp all, big and little, nits make lice,” he replied.

Shaked’s comments also echo the words of an Israeli colonel who testified under oath at the wrongful death trial of Rachel Corrie, a young U.S. peace activist killed by an Israeli soldier driving an armored bulldozer in Gaza. “In a war zone there are no civilians,” said the military officer — who was responsible for training Israeli soldiers to serve in the occupied territories.

There’s no question that Hamas’ primitive rockets violate international law. They can’t be accurately aimed at military targets. But that doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of its own obligations under international law as the occupying power in Gaza.

Israel has the region’s strongest military, the only nuclear weapons arsenal in the Middle East, and the unconditional backing of the United States. Its assault on Gaza violates the Geneva Conventions. Israel is imposing collective punishment against all Gazans, attacking hospitals, and using disproportionate force.

Israeli officials know full well that the best way to protect their citizens is to implement a real ceasefire — a breakthrough that would require opening Gaza’s borders. Some of them also know the best way to keep their citizens safe long term is by ending the occupation altogether. Problem is, not enough of them will admit it.

U.S. taxpayers also have a stake in this conflict because Washington keeps sending Israel billions of our tax dollars and refuses to push Tel Aviv to stop violating international law.

For real peace, both of those things must change.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.  Her books include Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A PrimerUnderstanding the U.S.-Iran Crisis: A PrimerEnding the Iraq War: A Primer, and most recently Ending the Us War in Afghanistan: A Primer. If you want to receive her talking points and articles on a regular basis, click here and choose "New Internationalism." You can find her on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/PhyllisBennis

Video: President Obama Torpedoes a Loaded FOXNews Question

From our friends at Occupy Democrats:

BRET HENRY: President Obama, as you grappled here with all these national security challenges, I have two questions. One, back home we’ve learned that 40 military veterans died while they were waiting for health care, a very tragic situation. I know you don’t run the Phoenix Office of Veterans Affairs, but as Commander-in-Chief, what specifically will you pledge to fix that?

And, secondly, more broadly — big picture — as you end this trip, I don’t think I have to remind you there have been a lot of unflattering portraits of your foreign policy right now. And rather than get into all the details or red lines, et cetera, I’d like to give you a chance to lay out what your vision is more than five years into office, what you think the Obama doctrine is in terms of what your guiding principle is on all of these crises and how you answer those critics who say they think the doctrine is weakness.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Ed, I doubt that I’m going to have time to lay out my entire foreign policy doctrine. And there are actually some complimentary pieces as well about my foreign policy, but I’m not sure you ran them.

Here’s I think the general takeaway from this trip. Our alliances in the Asia Pacific have never been stronger; I can say that unequivocally. Our relationship with ASEAN countries in Southeast Asia have never been stronger. I don’t think that’s subject to dispute. As recently as a decade ago, there were great tensions between us and Malaysia, for example. And I think you just witnessed the incredible warmth and strength of the relationship between those two countries.

We’re here in the Philippines signing a defense agreement. Ten years ago, fifteen years ago there was enormous tensions around our defense relationship with the Philippines. And so it’s hard to square whatever it is that the critics are saying with facts on the ground, events on the ground here in the Asia Pacific region. Typically, criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force. And the question I think I would have is, why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget? And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?

My job as Commander-in-Chief is to deploy military force as a last resort, and to deploy it wisely. And, frankly, most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.

So if you look at Syria, for example, our interest is in helping the Syrian people, but nobody suggests that us being involved in a land war in Syria would necessarily accomplish this goal. And I would note that those who criticize our foreign policy with respect to Syria, they themselves say, no, no, no, we don’t mean sending in troops. Well, what do you mean? Well, you should be assisting the opposition — well, we’re assisting the opposition. What else do you mean? Well, perhaps you should have taken a strike in Syria to get chemical weapons out of Syria. Well, it turns out we’re getting chemical weapons out of Syria without having initiated a strike. So what else are you talking about? And at that point it kind of trails off.

In Ukraine, what we’ve done is mobilize the international community. Russia has never been more isolated. A country that used to be clearly in its orbit now is looking much more towards Europe and the West, because they’ve seen that the arrangements that have existed for the last 20 years weren’t working for them. And Russia is having to engage in activities that have been rejected uniformly around the world. And we’ve been able to mobilize the international community to not only put diplomatic pressure on Russia, but also we’ve been able to organize European countries who many were skeptical would do anything to work with us in applying sanctions to Russia. Well, what else should we be doing? Well, we shouldn’t be putting troops in, the critics will say. That’s not what we mean. Well, okay, what are you saying? Well, we should be arming the Ukrainians more. Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army? Or are we more likely to deter them by applying the sort of international pressure, diplomatic pressure and economic pressure that we’re applying?

The point is that for some reason many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again. Why? I don’t know. But my job as Commander-in-Chief is to look at what is it that is going to advance our security interests over the long term, to keep our military in reserve for where we absolutely need it. There are going to be times where there are disasters and difficulties and challenges all around the world, and not all of those are going to be immediately solvable by us.

But we can continue to speak out clearly about what we believe. Where we can make a difference using all the tools we’ve got in the toolkit, well, we should do so. And if there are occasions where targeted, clear actions can be taken that would make a difference, then we should take them. We don’t do them because somebody sitting in an office in Washington or New York think it would look strong. That’s not how we make foreign policy. And if you look at the results of what we’ve done over the last five years, it is fair to say that our alliances are stronger, our partnerships are stronger, and in the Asia Pacific region, just to take one example, we are much better positioned to work with the peoples here on a whole range of issues of mutual interest.

And that may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention, and it doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows. But it avoids errors. You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run. But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.

A full, complete, thoughtful, reasoned response.

Video: Republicans in Congress are Blocking Immigration Reform

Immigration reform. Another GOP lie?

From Democrats.org:

While the majority of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform, Republicans continue to stand in its way. They have had more than enough time to get this done but continue to hide behind excuses.

And the worst part is that they could make a choice to pass immigration reform tomorrow. There’s a bipartisan bill that has been in the House for nearly 5 months, which already has enough support to pass — all we need is a vote but Speaker Boehner refuses.

If we want to move forward with immigration reform and the rest of President Obama’s agenda, we need to elect a new Democratic majority. Watch this video on immigration, then donate so we have the resources it takes to make John Boehner an ex-speaker come 2014.

Palestine: A Land Forgotten; Isreal: The One Forgetting

Peace in Palestine!

Palestine.

How much thought have you given Palestine recently?

We live in a country (USA! USA!) where celebrity news trumps news of the suffering in the world. News of the starving in the world. News of those still facing genocide. Still facing abuse. Still lacking basic human rights.

And we thrive to news of celebrity arrests, as if they matter one damn.

At all.

Had lunch with a now old friend, my friend is very young (comparable to my scalp line), but very, very wise.

And very empathetic.

My friend just returned from a half-month trip to Israel and Palestine (notice I’m naming them separately, as the two separate states the are, should be, shall be, Insha’Allah.

God willing, that is.

I will share with you in this space some of the amazing, alarming, and jaw-dropping things I learned from my friend today.

Israel, the state (not all Israelis, not all Jews), but Israel is persecuting the Palestinians.

And this must be stopped.

Did you know, for example, that Israel controls all water and electricity into Palestinian regions?

And, did you know, that Israel frequentlly cuts off all water and electricity if one Palestinian “misbehaves?”

Did you know that it is illegal for an Israeli to enter Palestine? Did you know that, on average, Israel demolishes four Palestinian home a day?

Did you know that Israel will not do trash pick-up in any region inhabited by Muslims, whether in the Old City, or Palestine?

Did you know that the Israeli government then uses that reality to refer to the Palestinians as filthy, dirty animals?

In short, did you know that Israel, to put it mildly, discriminates against the Palestinians, that the officials of the Israeli state refer to all Palestinians as “terrorists.”

Did you know that, at the Dome of the Rock, Israeli soldiers guard the entrance, allowing only a certain number of Muslims to enter each day to pray?

And did you know that Palestinians just want to live?

To own property?

To build homes (which is illegal now)?

To be human?

Thank you to my friend.

More to follow.

Insha’Allah.

Romney Palestine Flub Making Waves In The Arab World (Video/More)

Will the next protest involve the name Romney?

From Al Jazeera:

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said that Palestinians "have no interest whatsoever" in peace with Israel, seemingly dismissing the two-state solution, in hidden camera video from May that only now has become public.

The footage, which was posted online on Tuesday, shows Romney responding to a question about the "Palestinian problem" that was posed to him at a reportedly lavish $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Florida, on May 17.

"The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and … the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish," Romney said.

Very Distressing: Charles Taylor, Liberian Ex-president, Had CIA Ties

Charles Taylor
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, currently on trial.

When I think of Charles Taylor, I think of “blood diamonds.”

And I am relieved that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is currently President of Liberia, a country still recovering from the slave trade.

Still recovering from the devastation wreaked by Europe and the Americas.

So I was distressed to learn this week that Charles Taylor, currently on trial for Crimes Against Humanity, was at one point employed by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency.

From Al Jazeera:

Liberia’s Charles Taylor, the first African head of state to be prosecuted for war crimes by an international tribunal, used to work with the CIA, according to a report in the Boston Globe from this week.

The report, based on information uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act request made six years ago, said that Taylor had a relationship with the US spy agency for years, although the details of what he actually did were unclear.

“The Pentagon’s response to the Globe states that the details of Taylor’s role on behalf of the spy agencies are contained in dozens of secret reports – at least 48 separate documents – covering several decades,” the US newspaper said.

“However, the exact duration and scope of the relationship remains hidden.”

A spokesperson for the ICC told the Globe that the Taylor-CIA relationship was unrelated to his charges at the court.

The Globe report backed up long-standing rumours of Taylor’s work with the CIA, which confirmed a relationship with Taylor beginning in the early 1980s.

Even though this happened during the Reagan administration, this still gives me no pride.

Charles Taylor?

Think “blood diamonds.”

And mass executions.

Taylor  is accused of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity on claims that he armed Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in exchange for illegally mined, so-called blood diamonds.

Obama Has Ethics: Pakistani Troops Linked to Abuses Will Lose U.S. Aid

From the New York Times:

The Obama administration plans to refuse to train or equip about a half-dozen Pakistani Army units that are believed to have killed unarmed prisoners and civilians during recent offensives against the Taliban, according to senior administration and Congressional officials.

The cutoff of funds is an unusual rebuke to a wartime ally, and it illustrates the growing tensions with a country that is seen as a pivotal partner, and sometimes impediment, in a campaign to root out Al Qaedaand other militant groups.

The White House has not told Pakistan of the decision, even though senior Pakistani military and civilian leaders are here for a series of meetings, according to officials from both countries.

It has privately briefed a few senior members of Congress, but it has not given them details about which Pakistani units will be affected by the suspension. One senior administration official said there was “a lot of concern about not embarrassing” the Pakistani military, especially during a week in which officials are here for the third “Strategic Dialogue” in a year.

Well, I guess Pakistan knows now. Let’s hope they hear about this from Turning Left!

Have You Met The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Behind Bars?

From The Economist:

THE Nobel peace prize committee’s announcement on October 8th that they are giving the award to an imprisoned Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, will infuriate Chinese leaders. It may well give extra ammunition to hardliners in China who argue that the West is bent on undermining Communist Party rule. This is the same faction that argues the party should take advantage of the West’s economic malaise to assert its own interests more robustly.

China reacted with outrage in 1989 when the Nobel peace prize was awarded to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile, to all appearances as a rebuke to the government for having crushed the Tiananmen Square protests earlier that year. Though China regards Tibet as an integral part of the nation, Mr Liu stands apart as an ethnic Han Chinese who has devoted himself to addressing the politics of China proper.

Mr Liu is precisely the kind of dissident that the party regards as most threatening. He is a seasoned campaigner, a veteran of the Tiananmen protests who has shown no sign of succumbing to the party’s intimidation in spite of three periods of incarceration over the past two decades (more than five years in total). He is a mildly spoken literary critic who has created the sort of consensus that is unusual to forge among China’s infighting intellectuals. Mr Liu’s Charter 08, a document that calls for democracy, was signed initially by more than 300 liberal thinkers (and then by thousands of others online). It struck a reasoned tone to which radicals and moderates alike could subscribe. The debate over “universal values” that it helped to fuel still rages within the party today.

More here.