Thursday, 31 July 2014

Israel Lobby Galvanizes Support for Gaza War

Pro-Israel activists assembled a huge crowd and a long list of congressional leaders and diplomats to declare their unconditional support for Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip on Monday, largely downplaying tensions between Jerusalem and Washington.
Key congressional figures from both the Republican and Democratic Parties echoed similar views: that Israel was exercising its inherent right of self-defense, that the entire blame for the hostilities lies with Hamas, and reminding the audience, in a thinly veiled message to U.S. President Barack Obama, that Hamas is backed by Iran.
Obama was represented at the event here, dubbed the National Leadership Assembly for Israel, by his national security adviser, Susan Rice.
Her address was interrupted by a protester, Tighe Berry, who shouted “End the siege on Gaza,” and held up a sign with the same words. Berry was joined by a handful of protesters outside the building from the pro-peace activist group, Code Pink.
After the protester was removed by force, Rice delivered the White House view that a ceasefire was of the utmost urgency in Gaza and Israel.
“The United States supports an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire,” Rice said. “That humanitarian ceasefire should lead to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the agreement of November 2012.”
That statement was distinct from the Israeli stance and that of almost all of the speakers at this event. Although Israel accepted an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire several weeks ago along similar lines, it is now insisting on first eliminating any tunnels in Gaza which lead into Israel and taking steps to disarm Hamas before halting its operations.
Robert Sugarman, the chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, which spearheaded this gathering, set the tone with his opening remarks to the overflow crowd.
“We must continue to support the decisions of the government [of Israel], whatever our personal views may be,” Sugarman said. “And we must continue to urge our government to support [the decisions of the Israeli government] as well.”
While most of the speakers did not state any direct opposition to the Obama administration’s policy, virtually all of them stressed the view that Hamas must be disarmed and that the Netanyahu government must have unqualified US support.
John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and one of President Obama’s leading political opponents, came closest to squarely criticizing the president, by tying the crisis in Gaza to Iran.
“We will continue to push this administration to address root cause of conflict in the Middle East,” Boehner said. “What we’re seeing in Gaza is a direct result of Iran sponsored terrorism in the region. This is part of Iran’s long history of providing weapons to Gaza-based terror organizations, which must come to an end. Israel’s enemies are our enemies. As long as I’m Speaker, this will be our cause.”
Many of the speakers brought up Iranian sponsorship of Hamas, despite the fact that the relationship between them splintered after Hamas declared its support for the rebels in Syria, fighting against Iran’s key ally in the region, Bashar al-Assad.
Nonetheless, for many of the speakers, the connection provided a bridge to connect the fighting in Gaza to Congress’ skepticism about diplomacy with Iran over the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.
But ongoing tensions between the Obama administration and the government of Israel inevitably made their way into the room.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Dermer tried to balance a conciliatory tone with Israel’s determination to continue its operations in Gaza despite calls from the United States and most of the international community for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.
“Israel has uncovered dozens of tunnels whose sole purpose is to facilitate attacks on Israeli civilians. Israel will continue to destroy these tunnels and I’m sure the Obama administration understands this,” Dermer said.
“Everyone understands that leaving these tunnels is like seizing 10,000 missiles and handing them back to Hamas. That is not going to happen. We will not stop until that job is done. Israel believes that a sustainable solution is one where Gaza is demilitarized, rockets are removed, and the tunnels destroyed so Hamas cannot rearm in another year or two. We appreciate that all US leaders have supported us.”
But Dermer also delivered a message of moderate conciliation in the wake of very harsh criticism in Israel of US Secretary of State John Kerry after the alleged text of a ceasefire proposal from Kerry was leaked to the Israeli media.
“I am speaking now for my prime minister,” Dermer said. “The criticism of Secretary Kerry for his good faith efforts to advance a ceasefire is unwarranted. We look forward to working with the United States to advance goal of a ceasefire that is durable.”
Rice also addressed the criticism of Kerry. “We’ve been dismayed by some press reports in Israel mischaracterizing [Secretary Kerry’s] efforts. We know these misleading reports have raised concerns here at home as well.
“The reality is that John Kerry, on behalf of the United States, has been working with Israel every step of the way to support our shared interests. Both in public and private, we have strongly supported Israel’s right to defend itself. We will continue to do so and continue to set the record straight when anyone distorts facts.”

Both the White House and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office flatly denied the reports.
“[It is] shocking and disappointing [that] someone would sink to misrepresenting a private conversation between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister in fabrications to the Israeli press,” said an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Twitter account.
Identical language was employed by the United States National Security Council over their own Twitter account. “The…report is totally false,” added White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.
Mitchell Plitnick can be contacted at
Inter Press Service

Russia fears Kiev trying to destroy implicating MH17 evidence

Kiev authorities may be seeking to “destroy evidence” which implicates their role in the crash of the Malaysian jet, Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said, expressing concerns over the ongoing military operation in E. Ukraine in breach of UN resolution.
According to Churkin, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko promised a cease-fire in the disaster area,“but this promise was immediately broken, while Ukrainian officials have publicly announced a new task – to cleanse of the militias and take control of this territory," Churkin said in New York.
Such actions directly violate UN Security Council resolution 2166, which calls for a ceasefire and for thorough and impartial investigation into the Boeing tragedy under the ICAO umbrella, Churkin added.
“We fear that Kiev authorities are moved by the intention to destroy evidence, implicating their role in the Malaysian airliner catastrophe,” Churkin said.
In order to ensure compliance with the ceasefire resolution and reinforce it, on Monday the Russian delegation to the UN proposed to adopt“a simple and unambiguous statement to the press.”
However, [Russia’s proposal] was unceremoniously blocked by some members of the Security Council, clearly not interested in strict compliance with resolution 2166,” Churkin explained.
Once again urging for a ceasefire in Ukraine, Churkin reminded the Council that the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia have mobilized “considerable resources” to investigate the crash.
A woman walks past wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 26, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)
Russia in the meantime handed over its surveillance data of the disaster area of the Boeing 777 crash.
"We have passed the objective observation data of the disaster area to the international organizations, including the UN and the OSCE. We expect that others will also act concretely and constructively, instead of spreading unsubstantiated accusations and insinuations," said the Russian diplomat.
The Ambassador said that Russia is “offering all kinds of assistance to the investigation," highlighting that Russian Civil Aviation Authorities “promptly formulated questions that need to be clarified to reveal the full picture of the tragedy."
At the same time, Churkin pointed out that despite the willingness of anti-Kiev forces to cooperate with the efforts of the investigators, as noted by Australia's MH17 special envoy and former Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the investigative team is still having trouble reaching the crash site.
“One of the key provisions of the resolution, which was included at the insistence of the Russian delegation, is the requirement to immediately, in the area adjacent to the site of the disaster, cease all military action in order to allow for safety and security during the international investigation.”

‘Vicious circle of violence’

Churkin reminded that the world hoped that the Berlin Declaration of July 2 would be able to break the“vicious circle of violence,” but Kiev has shown no mercy since then.
“However, in practice the cruelty of Kiev authorities in fighting is going through the roof. Donetsk, Lugansk, Gorlovka and many other localities have undergone massive bombardments, including indiscriminate Grad fire and aerial assaults,” Churkin said, pointing out that residential buildings, hospitals and transportation hubs are deliberately being bombed.
A woman walks out of a damaged multi-storey block of flats carrying her belongings following what locals say was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces in central Donetsk, July 29, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)
In most cases, Churkin pointed out, anti-Kiev forces were nowhere near those objects. He also raised questions about the reported use of ballistic missiles by the Ukrainian military, which is another clear sign of a “rampant military escalation.” Russia qualifies Kiev's actions as “a punitive operation against its own people,” the envoy said.
Russia is on the receiving end of the conflict, as hundreds of thousands refugees crossing into the Russian territory, more than 150,000 of whom already officially filed for temporary asylum and Russian citizenship, Churkin said. In the meantime Ukraine continues to shell Russian territory near the border, Churkin reminded.
The priority now, the diplomat said, should be to end the hostilities and to establish a peaceful negotiation process on the basis of the Geneva Declaration of April 17 and the Berlin Declaration of July 2.

‘Exclusionary’ diplomacy fails Palestinians

Touching on other issues, Churkin switched over to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, blaming the US for its approach to mediating the violent crisis.
“As the practice shows, crises in Israeli-Palestinian relations often arise as a result of failure of US unilateral efforts to reconcile the warring parties. We have repeatedly pointed out that the 'exclusionary' method has exhausted itself,” he said, adding that a new mechanism of crisis resolution is needed to deal with this urgent matter.

Back to Black and Back to the Stone Age

Back to Black and Back to the Stone Age

Dan Sanchez, 

You know how sometimes a cop will turn off his dash cam (often “mistakenly,” or it “malfunctions”) right before he brutalizes or executes a victim? That’s what Israel did yesterday, when it knocked out Gaza’s only power plant, killing the power for most of the population. This, besides its economic/humanitarian impacts, will make it much harder for Gazans to convey their plight to the rest of the world.  As smartphone and computer batteries run out, powerful, sympathy-inducing voices from Gaza, like that of the 16-year old Twitter-user Farah Baker (@Farah_Gazan), and the 10-year-old girl in this viral video, will be silenced. And as camera batteries die, we may see fewer devastating images of the carnage and wreckage that Israel is inflicting upon civilians, especially children.
Israeli government officials and their cheerleaders will be most pleased at such a development, as one of their chief complaints in interviews has been the “unfair” impact that such images of, in Netanyahu’s words “telegenically dead Palestinians,” have had on world opinion. Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US, recently fretted that, “the pictures look terrible on the TV, and that immediately translates into diplomatic pressure on Israel to accept a far-less advantageous ceasefire.” Oren was particularly worried that the outrage over the images would lead to Israel having its (blood-soaked) “hands tied” by the UN Security Council. After all, imagine if these pesky personal recording and communication devices had been around in 1947. If its massacres had been broadcast in real time, the Naqba might never have even gotten off the ground!
Surely, Netanyahu and Oren hope that the electricity black-out will result in an atrocity black-out. And with the “telegenically” dead conveniently made invisiblydead, the massacre might become “out of sight, out of mind” enough to much of world opinion, that Israel can secure a Carthaginian peace, with their precious starvation blockade of Gaza fully intact.
Leaving Gaza with no electricity, and therefore no running water or sewage treatment, also furthers another Israeli aim. Netanyahu has stressed the war objective of stripping Hamas of its rocket-firing ability. Since the Qassam rockets they use consist of little more than piping and fertilizer, the only way that could be accomplished would be by completely obliterating any remnants of technology and the division of labor left in Gaza: by bombing the Palestinians “back to the Stone Age” and destroying their infrastructure. A chilling expression of such a desire was given by Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the Jerusalem Post in 2012:
“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
“There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”
Gilad is getting exactly what he wanted, from the knocked-out electricity to the flattened neighborhoods, like this one:
Indeed, a Netanyahu-allied editor called earlier this month for “returning Gaza to the Stone Age and for removing the snake’s teeth by destroying Hamas’s arsenal… We should return the Hamas people to a situation in which they can only throw stones at us just as things were during the first intifada.”
Further destroying Gaza’s division of labor is also surely an unspoken goal in Israel’s much ballyhooed ongoing destruction of Gaza’s “terror tunnels,” which, as Jason Ditz has pointed out, are actually chiefly “economic survival” tunnels. Most of the personal electronics used by Gazans to post, record, and tweet their suffering and loss were probably smuggled in through these tunnels, making their destruction, like that of the power plant, another twofer for Israel: helping to both economically cripple and silence their victims.
And of course, after “civilized” Israel thus further barbarizes (de-civilizes, disintegrates the division of labor of, etc) the people of Gaza, Hasbarists on social media will continue to use that very imposed desperate barbarism (or “savagery”) to justify even more barbarization. This is a very old imperial ploy, as Murray Rothbard indicated in his critique of Ayn Rand’s support of the “civilized men” of Israel against the Palestinian “savages”. In 1973, he wrote in The Libertarian Forum:
Perhaps the Palestinian Arabs are “savages” because they live miserable lives in hovels on the desert; but they do so because—one and a half million of them—they were driven out of their homes and properties by the Zionists, and they remain in dire poverty as refugees. Miss Rand’s strictures are chillingly reminiscent of the English who drove the Irish out of their farms and lands by force, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and then looked down their noses at the “wild, savage” Irishmen who unaccountably spent their lives wandering around the forests.”
Of course it is the imperial militarism of Israel that is the greatest barbarism in this matter, how ever many coffee shops and internet start-ups there may be in Tel Aviv. The Imperial Roman spectators, both patrician and pleb, who gazed and cheered at gladiatorial bloodshed before visiting a public bath, were more barbaric than the tribal, war-captive gladiators themselves. Similarly, the greater barbarians today are not the impoverished and desperate Gazans being aerial-bombed, but, in addition to the politicians and soldiers doing the bombing, the Israeli hill-top spectators whosipped espresso and dreamed of genocide while viewing the 2008-2009 assault, and who cheered each death-dealing bomb blast from lawn chairs during the present one. The jingoistic pride many Americans feel as they watch 4th of July fireworks shows evoking “bombs bursting in air” is bad enough. But to treat an actual bombing as just the same sort of patriotic outdoor entertainment reveals a deep sickness of the soul.
And yet when a CNN reporter, on Twitter, referred to a group of such spectators as “scum,” after witnessing their macabre rounds of applause and being threatened by them with violence, it was the reporter who was denounced and fired. That is the extent to which the media establishment is oblivious to concerns of basic human decency and civilization, especially when they impede imperial designs.
As Herbert Spencer wrote:
“Whatever fosters militarism makes for barbarism; whatever fosters peace makes for civilization.” 

US Tapped 'Emergency' Stockpile to Keep Israeli Shells Falling

US Sending Israel More Offensive Weapons to Continue Gaza Attacks

US Tapped 'Emergency' Stockpile to Keep Israeli Shells Falling

by Jason Ditz, 
Though in public the Obama Administration is emphasizing efforts to try to end the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, privately they have not only backed the invasion, but are providing Israel with the grenades and mortar shells falling on the strip.
It’s not been widely publicized, but the US military keeps munitions depot operating in Israel year-round, just so that when Israel gets into new wars they can step up with more ammo for their attacks.
Reports say that Israel never made an “emergency request,” but that the US tapped to stockpile anyhow for convenience’s sake in keeping Israel stocked with ammunition, and has been letting Israel access the munitions from the stockpile for at least 10 days now.
The Pentagon is shrugging it off as routine, but with the US trying to publicly be the face of negotiations, their bankrolling of Israeli aggression clearly looks bad, particularly as they try to criticize some of the more egregious attacks on civilians in Gaza, while those attacks are being carried out with US munitions.

As World Pushes for Ukraine Ceasefire, US Looks to Escalate War

Most of the world is struggling mightily to get the Ukrainian military and the separatist eastern rebels to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations aimed at settling their ongoing conflict. The US is taking another approach.
Led by Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D – MI), a number of hawks are now pushing for the US to begin shipments of “lethal aid”to the Ukrainian military to wipe out the rebels as well as to confront the Russian military.
Sen. Levin, who has been predicting an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine for months now, insisted the US needs to send massive amounts of lethal aid to set the Ukrainian military up for a “guerrilla-type effort against the Russians,” after they finish off the mostly ethnic Russian rebels.
Senate Republicans blasted the Obama Administration for not rush shipping every weapon Ukraine’s military asked for, saying it was “shameful” not to be preparing them for a war with Russia.

Israel Right or Wrong But What's In It For Americans?

By Philip Giraldi

 It is a familiar scenario. Israeli is killing hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, and the Zionist propaganda machine is working overtime. The President of the United States reaffirms America’s solemn pledge to protect Israel at all costs and justifies the carnage by stating that Israel has a right to defend itself. Secretary of State John Kerry repeats the message and the US House and Senate pass unanimously American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) drafted resolutions affirming the same.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lies repeatedly and the US media gives him a bully pulpit to spread his disinformation about what is occurring, including the propaganda cartoon depicted above explaining why he had to use artillery and bombs to level a residential district, killing nearly 100 civilians in what was described as a “heinous massacre.”
The mainstream media obligingly toes the line, depicting something like a battle between equals pitting the Israeli Army (IDF) against Hamas militants, obfuscating the essential asymmetry of a conflict that has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians civilians. A very large percentage of the commentators on television and radio as well the authors of mainstream print media opinion are American and Israeli Jews, to include a piece by Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the US and current CNN “expert,” entitled “Israel Must be Permitted to Crush Hamas” as well as the featured appearances by Prime Minister Netanyahu on national television.

Oren’s call to crush Hamas is particularly ironic as it runs directly contrary to American interests. The US intelligence communitybelieves that the group would likely be succeeded by something far more radical. The media, Congress, and Netanyahu all also connive to ignore the deliberate targeting of civilians to include hospitals, schools and private homes by the IDF, producing massive infrastructure damage and increasing the numbers of dead and wounded. The US media did not report how Israelis watching the bombing from their lawn chairs on a hill near Sderot were photographed cheering and applauding each time a target in Gaza exploded. They were also sharing popcorn and one described the event as “just good fun.”

Also missing in the discussion is the damage that the conflict does to the United States, which is seen throughout the world as Israel’s puppet, manifested most recently when Washington alone opposed and will presumably veto any United Nations inquiry into possible war crimes connected to the Gaza conflict.

America diplomats are supposed to support American interests while the Founding Fathers created an army and navy to defend the United States, not Israel, a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of many in the White House, Congress and in the media. In reality, Washington has no obligation to protect the Netanyahu government in international fora nor is there any treaty obligation to defend Israel or anyone else outside the NATO alliance. Israel is neither an ally nor is its self-defined security a compelling US national interest if one excludes the drumbeat of the domestic lobby that protects it no matter how badly it behaves.

The sequence of events leading up to the current slaughter is clear, though Israel’s friends pretend that it all started when the first homemade rocket landed inside Israel, justifying any subsequent steps necessary for “defense.” But the Israel-Palestine problem truly began in 1948, when armed Jews deliberately terrorized and then drove more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. It was exacerbated when in 1967 the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began, leading to the creation and expansion of illegal settlements on Arab land.

The current cycle of violence, rooted in the denial of viable statehood for the Palestinian people, began in April when Israel deliberately torpedoed US brokered peace talks by accelerating settlement building and failing to comply with an agreement to release prisoners. On May 15 th Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinian teenagers, an event that was videoed. They were among the 26Palestinians killed by Israelis since January, with no one being held accountable. Four weeks later three Israeli teenagers from Hebron were kidnapped and later discovered dead. Netanyahu, who knew that the three young men were already dead and that the abduction had not been carried out by Hamas cynically used the kidnapping as a pretext to attack Hamas on the West Bank, blaming the group for the crime without producing one shred of evidence. An Arab teenager was subsequently burned to death by Jewish extremists and the boy’s American citizen cousin was badly beaten by police when he joined a demonstration.

Netanyahu may or may not have cared who was killing or kidnapping whom on a micro level, but he knew a good opportunity when he saw one. He took advantage of the situation to launch a plan to destroy Hamas and pari passu the Palestinian unity government. Hundreds of arrests were made, again without any evidence linking those detained with the kidnapping, and homes of suspects were demolished. When Hamas in Gaza eventually struck back with its homemade rockets, killing or injuring no one, Israel unleashed its modern army and air force on the largely unarmed and defenseless Palestinians.

Israel also has found allies in the usual places in the US media and political circles to help explain the ensuing massacre. Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed and reported the killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach was ordered by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately, presumably because he had strayed from the acceptable message, which is that the deaths of Palestinians is somehow their own fault. CNN also “reassigned” reporter Diana Magnay who tweeted regarding an Israeli mob that threatened her when she filmed their celebration of missile strikes in Gaza. She called her attackers “scum” and was quickly removed.

The far fewer deaths of Israelis in the conflict are, however, rather more celebrated than the mass high tech execution of Palestinians. American volunteers in the IDF are depicted as somehow doing their patriotic duty, albeit in a foreign army. The Washington Postdescribed how the “Death of two Americans in Israel brings conflict home.” Both men identified in the article though born in the US had chosen to live in Israel, producing some pushback in the blog comments. One noted that bearing arms for a foreign country that is not in NATO is illegal (and used to lead to automatic loss of citizenship) while another comment observed that if you are by choice fighting in a foreign army you are no longer really American. I might add that directly supporting Israel’s militarized colonization of Palestinian lands is against stated US government policy and does actual damage to American interests.

The Gazans are, to be sure, an easy target, crowded into a narrow strip of land with no place to go as they are controlled on all sides by Egypt and Israel. Fleeing inhabitants cannot even turn to the sea which is controlled by the Israeli navy. A comprehensive ten year truce offer by Hamas has been rebuffed by Israel and the slaughter will presumably continue until Netanyahu decides to stop. The United Nations has suggested that what Israel is doing might fit the definition of a war crime, just as was the case back in 2009 forOperation Cast Lead, when more than 1,400 Gazans were killed and schools run by the UN were deliberately targeted, as has been the case also currently.
That the US is so tied to a rogue nation like Israel would be incomprehensible but for the action of what has been described as the Israel Lobby. As Harvard Professor Stephen Walt puts it, “AIPAC is the only explanation for America’s morally bankrupt Israel policy.” Israel is in reality a place that most Americans would find unsympathetic. It is a corrupt theocracy that denies equal rights to Christians and Muslims, a fact that is conveniently overlooked by Congress and the media. There is also a strong dose of racism and ethnocentrism in is political matrix, with broad popular support for either disenfranchising or expelling all non-Jews. Or even killing them, with crowds in Tel Aviv routinely chanting “Death to Arabs.”

An Israeli member of parliament Ayelet Shaked of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party has called all Palestinians terrorists, saying women should be especially targeted for killing during the ongoing Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip because they give birth to “little snakes.” She explained “They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists,” adding “They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands. This also applies to the mothers of the dead terrorists.” A prominent Rabbi has also endorsed complete destruction of Gaza and genocide, as a “deterrent measure to exterminate the enemy.”

Perhaps most discouraging is the visceral hatred directed at American critics of Israeli policies that surfaces occasionally among that nation’s most zealous supporters. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, former Michael Jackson spiritual adviser and self-designated “America’s Rabbi,” has penned a piece entitled, “By Condemning Israel, Presbyterians Condemn Themselves.” He writes regarding the Presbyterian decision to divest from companies supporting the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, stating that “The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church suffered another nail in the coffin with its general convention vote on Friday to divest from companies doing business with Israel.”
Boteach, who has also become close to a number of prominent politicians, received no mainstream censure for this comments attacking a major Christian denomination in the vilest terms. His article also plays fast and loose with the facts. He observes “In the wake of the Oslo Accords, in which Israel granted the PLO political autonomy in the West Bank, about 60,000 Americans were murdered in Israel.” Since Oslo in 1993 the actual figure for dead Americans, many of whom were Israeli dual nationals, is 53.

That the United States has provided political support for a monster like Benjamin Netanyahu is criminal but it is a tribute to the grip that Israel’s lobby has on America’s political class and media. For starters, one might reasonably suggest that people like Boteach and the American volunteers including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel who go to fight for Israel while eschewing any service in the US Army should perhaps move permanently to the country that they love most. The charge of dual loyalty which surfaces regularly regarding Israel’s most passionate Jewish supporters misses the point. Boteach and his friends, most certainly to include the likes of multi billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas, have no dual loyalty at all. Their only concern is for Israel and they stay in the United States to cash in and to make sure that the rest of the American people are coerced and propagandized sufficiently so as to guarantee that the US will remain Israel’s patsy. But more and more Americans are waking up to the fraud and the ongoing slaughter of another thousand or so Palestinians in Gaza virtually guarantees that there will be more questions about the relationship with Israel than answers. Eventually the truth will out.

Is Killing Civilians Part Of Israel’s Plan?

By Jonathan Cook

 Another day, another UN school hit by Israeli shelling in Gaza. Israel’s attack this morning killed at least 16 civilians sheltering at the school and wounded dozens. The casualties figures are expected to rise.

Israel and even most of its critics tell us that the civilian casualties are accidental, caused by Israel’s need to wage its war against Hamas in heavily built-up areas of Gaza. Israel is accused of “disproportionality”, or of recklessness, or of inflicting unfortunate collateral damage.

But here’s another possibility: that the people of Gaza, not just Hamas, are the target. That Israel’s generals don’t see much difference between the two.

Israel’s army is “degrading” – or “mowing the lawn”, in even worse military parlance – Gaza’s ability’s to resist. Not Hamas’ abilities, but Gaza’s. Because the problem lies not with Hamas. Hamas is simply a symptom, of the people of Gaza’s determination to liberate themselves from Israel’s siege.

That is why the power plant was destroyed yesterday. That is why Israel has been starving Gaza for years through its siege, limiting the entry of basic foods and counting the minimum calories people need for bare survival - putting them on a diet, as one senior adviser jokingly termed it. That is why Gaza’s infrastructure is being trashed - the notorious Dahiya doctrine, devised by Israeli generals in 2006 as way to force hostile populations back into the Stone Age, keeping them preoccupied with the essentials of life rather than demanding, or fighting, for their rights.

Israel knows it cannot destroy Hamas’ will to resist without destroying Gaza’s will to resist too. And that is what it looks like we are seeing played out here day-in, day-out. Civilians, it seems, must die to teach Gaza a lesson: you will submit.

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism - See more at:

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism

Israel and the US Have Dropped Bombs on 8 Muslim Countries This Year

Chris Ernesto, 

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today, with 49 countries having a predominantly Muslim population. Of these countries, 4 have been bombed by Israel, and 4 have been bombed by the US this year alone.
Here are the four countries bombed by Israel in 2014
1. Sudan (35.4 million people96.7% Muslim)
On July 21, Israel dropped bombs on a suspected weapon warehouse in Sudan. Israel alleged that the site stored weapons that were bound for Hamas in Gaza.
Israel has carried out other bombing attacks inside Sudan in recent years. In 2009,Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy of trucks in Sudan that was believed to be carrying arms to be smuggled into Gaza. And in 2012 eight Israeli planes struck a giant military factory outside of the capital, Khartoum.
2. Palestine (Gaza: 1.8 million people, 98% Muslim)
Israel is currently in the midst of an aerial onslaught and ground invasion in Gaza in what it calls “Operation Protective Edge.”
Previous bombing attacks carried out by Israel in Gaza include the 2012 “Pillar of Defense” assault, and the 2008-2009 “Operation Cast Lead” in which 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including some 300 children.
3. Syria (17.9 million people, 87% Muslim)
On June 23, a series of Israeli airstrikes killed four and wounded nine in Syria in what the Syrian government said was a “flagrant violation” of its sovereignty.
Israeli tanks struck a Syrian artillery launcher in 2012, and in 2013 Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes on at least three different occasions.
4. Lebanon (5.9 million people, 54% Muslim)
On February 25, Israeli warplanes hit a convoy inside Lebanon that it claims was carrying missiles.
Israel also attacked Lebanon in 2006 when it launched a 33-day war, and in 2013 when an air strike targeted an alleged armed group south of Beirut.
And here are the four countries bombed by the US in 2014
The most recent occurrence of a US aerial attack in Yemen was on April 19 when aUS drone strike killed at least 21 people, including a number of civilian bystanders.
The US has been waging a covert drone war in Yemen since 2009 in what it claims to be a counter-terrorism effort to disrupt al-Qaeda.
Drone attacks have become so prevalent that Yemen had to set up a counseling center to help children deal with the psychological trauma of US aerial bombardments.
The most recent attack in Pakistan occurred on July 19 when a US drone fired several missiles killing eleven people.
In total, the US has carried out more than 300 aerial strikes in Pakistan, 90% of which have occurred during the Obama presidency. At least 168 children are believed to have been killed in these strikes, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
The most recent aerial assault in Afghanistan occurred on July 19 during which four people were killed.
The US dropped 17,500 bombs during its invasion in Afghanistan in 2001 and has carried out at least 38,100 airstrikes since.
Most recently, the US military carried out a missile strike in Somalia in January targeting a suspected militant leader with ties to al-Qaeda and al-Shabab.
Renditions, an underground prison and a new CIA base are elements of anintensifying US war in Somalia, according to Jeremy Scahill.
Ten Muslim countries bombed by US & Israel in recent years
Prior to 2014, the Obama administration carried out bombing campaigns in Libyaand Iraq, bringing the total number of countries attacked by the US and Israel in recent years to 10. In each case, the country attacked has a predominantly Muslim population.
Chris Ernesto is co-founder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages and