Another sign of the shifting political zeitgeist

Yesterday, the US senate passed its first bill S.1 of the new congress by a margin of 77-23. It was an impressive display of bipartisanship in a body that has been described as being in gridlock. So what was in this bill that it was elevated to symbolic importance by being the first to be considered and garnered such support? It should come as no surprise that it was a bill strongly promoted by the Israel lobby led by AIPAC that seeks encourage economic punishments on those who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
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The Israel lobby is seeking loyalty oaths in America

I have written before about how the Israel lobby, alarmed by the rapid rise in support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and the declining support for Israel especially among young people and Democrats, has moved to pressure state legislatures to pass laws that punish people for any involvement in such speech and activities. Glenn Greenwald describes the case of Bahia Amawi, a children’s speech pathologist, who was denied employment in a public school district in Texas because a law in that state now contains a loyalty oath – not to the US but to Israel – that prevents the employment of anyone who takes any action that inflicts economic harm on Israel, such as supporting a boycott or even merely making a decision, as a private consumer, to not buy products made by companies in the Occupied Territories. She refused to sign the loyalty oath.
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Cracks appear in Israel’s wall of support in the US Congress

The US congress has a good claim to being the most loyal supporters in the US, if not the world, of whatever the Israeli government does. For the longest time the Israel lobby in the US, led by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), was able to command the support of Congress for even the most right-wing Israeli government policies, however cruel and unjust towards the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories and Gaza. It managed this by contributing to congressional campaigns and working hard to defeat any congressperson who voiced even the mildest criticisms of Israeli policies.
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The death that must not be mentioned in mainstream US discourse

One of the goals of the Israel lobby in the US is to make sure that the ‘two-state’ solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict remain the only option that is discussed, even though the expansionist settler policies of successive Israeli governments has made that option dead. The only possibility now is a single state and the debate really should be about what form that state should take, whether it be a democratic state in which Israelis and Palestinians everywhere in Israel and the Occupied Territories and Gaze have equal rights, or a formalized theocratic Apartheid state to replace the informal Apartheid state that currently exists.
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Great moments in Israeli law

The New Zealand singer Lorde had scheduled a concert in Israel but later canceled it when Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, two young women in New Zealand, one Jewish and the other Palestinian, started a petition that asked her to not go because of Israel’s apartheid-like policies against Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied Territories.

So what happened? Three young Israelis filed a legal case against Sachs and Abu-Shanab, claiming that “their “artistic welfare” was damaged because of the cancellation and that they suffered “damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews”.

No, really!

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab

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The menace of killer drones

You may recall the horrific killing by Israel in 2014 of four young children playing on a beach in Gaza. Robert Mackey writes that a confidential report reveals that these children were murdered using drones operated remotely.

Testimony from the officers involved in the attack, which has been concealed from the public until now, confirms for the first time that the children — four cousins ages 10 and 11 — were pursued and killed by drone operators who somehow mistook them, in broad daylight, for Hamas militants.

The testimony raises new questions about whether the attack, which unfolded in front of dozens of journalists and triggered global outrage, was carried out with reckless disregard for civilian life and without proper authorization. After killing the first boy, the drone operators told investigators, they had sought clarification from their superiors as to how far along the beach, used by civilians, they could pursue the fleeing survivors. Less than a minute later, as the boys ran for their lives, the drone operators decided to launch a second missile, killing three more children, despite never getting an answer to their question.
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The British Jewish establishment’s attacks on Jeremy Corbyn

I have been writing about how the Israel lobby in the US is attempting to stifle criticism of Israel for its atrocious treatment of Palestinians, the latest move being to pass a law declaring the country as a Jewish state, placing into law what had been in practice already. One effort to stifle critics in the west is to formalize the definition of anti-Semitism, while at the same time expanding its definition to include legitimate criticisms of Israeli government policies. In the US, the lobby is going so far as to advance legislation to punish advocacy for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement that seeks to apply to Israel actions similar to those that led to the collapse of apartheid in South Africa. The reason for the lobby’s actions is the concern that an increasing number of Jews and non-Jews alike see the actions of the Israeli government as indefensible and are referring to its policies as apartheid.
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Israel guns down medic and seeks to criminalize reporting on atrocities

The deadly violence in Gaza continues with snipers of the Israeli Defense Forces shooting at protestors. The latest outrage was the killing of a 21-year old volunteer medic Razan al-Najjar and the shooting of three other medics, even though she was wearing the white coat that identified her as a medic. Here is a photograph of al-Najjar and one in which she was treating an injured demonstrator.

You can see scenes from her funeral that thousands attended here. Israel has said that it would investigate the death of al-Najjar but you can be sure that they will find no wrongdoing because in their eyes, the IDF can do no wrong.

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On Israel, satire in The Onion gets closer to the truth than the news media

Israelis and their supporters in the US celebrated the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem even as the Israeli armed forces killed dozens of unarmed protestors in Gaza. Jeremy Scahill writes about what happened and Norman Finkelstein’s new book about the harrowing conditions in Gaza.

ISRAEL HAS ONCE again conducted a premeditated, full-scale massacre in broad daylight, in front of the cameras of the world. Once again, it took place in Gaza.

On May 14, Israeli snipers and other forces gunned down more than 60 Palestinians, and wounded thousands of others, including civilians, journalists, and paramedics. “You try nonlethal means and they don’t work,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “So you’re left with bad choices. It’s a bad deal. You know, you try and you go for below the knee, and sometimes it doesn’t work, and unfortunately these things are avoidable.”

It appears that the only way not to be killed, according to Netanyahu, is to meekly accept imprisonment inside the prison of Gaza. Among those killed by Israeli forces was an 8-month-old infant. Her name was Laila al-Ghandour. They also killed at least seven other children and a man in a wheelchair, and that man had lost his legs after they had to be amputated following an earlier Israeli attack.

Israel has made it clear that it believes that it has the right to systematically murder Palestinians for the crime of continuing to exist. There is no defense for what Israel has done. None.

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