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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We Must Support Theatre 80 and Lorcan Otway!

 By Gilad Atzmon
Before the publication of my recent book, Being in Time, I visited the USA for a brief coast-to-coast tour. The literary/music expedition was met with significant opposition in New York City at Theatre 80. Theatre 80 is a great historical institution with a history of providing an intelligent platform for musicians including John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk, theatre, movies and speakers, including me.
We planned a night of open discussion on different issues to do with my new book, critiquing ID politics and the post political condition. We wanted a truly open dialogue and we personally invited each of my NYC and American detractors to share the podium. Apparently,  not one had the courage to engage in a public dialogue with me.   This is understandable I guess, I’ve bought myself a reputation of being outspoken on issues to do with Jewish power and controlled opposition.
The program evolved into a diverse panel featuring: Stanley Cohen, Prof. Norton Mezvinsky, Michael Lesher and yours truly.  It didn’t take long before the Jewish Forward together with family incest enthusiast Donna Minkowitz ran a hit piece on myself, the event and Theatre 80. This attack was followed by one Jewish ethnic activist Bill Weinberg. Soon after the rabid ultra Zionist Times of Israel joined in.
However, defying what Zionist have come to expect, Theatre 80’s owner Lorcan Otway made his position very clear. Otway is a Quaker and a staunch supporter of freedom of speech and an authentic defender of the 1st amendment, Otway wrote ”I Will Not Bend To Calls For Censorship at Theatre 80…..several people are upset that Gilad Atzmon is renting my theatre. Others, may be offended by other shows. I invite speech to be answered by speech.”
Despite the relentless and at times threatening pressure to cancel the event, the panel was a great success. The room was full, the Q&A was fascinating and brought to light the ideological divisions that split American society. The discussion was the antithesis of the kosher echo-chamber my detractors are desperate to impose on the West and the USA in particular.
But here is where you are called into action. Theatre 80 struggles. HOFOPRO, a nonprofit organisation that supports great theatre at Theatre 80 has gotten no contributions this year. Otway writes, “we get large numbers of people every day supporting the theater, the museum, the tavern, but the city is just too expensive to support small business. Without HOFOPRO making it possible for underfunded theater companies to afford to play here, we will have to call it an end to Theater 80.”
Lorcan has given his life to this theatre, probably the last bastion of freedom in NYC.
“I would be happy to live out the end of my days without weekends, no vacations… but you all seem to be saying to me that we are not worth preserving. Is that what I am hearing these days?”
Let’s prove to Lorcan that he is wrong. We do care about his theatre, we do care about freedom, we do care about Lorcan Otway, this precious human being who adheres to the principles that made the USA into the promised land for so many people around the world. We must prove to Lorcan and the world that Athens is possible.
Please open your heart, put your hand in your pocket and show Lorcan how much you appreciate his principled attitude toward tolerance and freedom.
To donate towards the survival of Theatre 80 –

The shocking treatment of Palestinian children

By Peter Beinart, Forward
June 21, 2017
When it comes to Palestinians, the American Jewish establishment is in the ignorance business. The average American synagogue has never hosted a Palestinian speaker. The average “pro-Israel” activist has never read a book by a Palestinian author. The American Jewish philanthropists who fund Birthright send thousands of young American Jews to Israel each year, on a programme that systematically excludes the voices of 50% of the people who live under Israeli control.
But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that for major American Jewish organizations, ignorance is an export. It is not enough that American Jewish leaders never hear from Palestinians themselves — they do their best to ensure that American politicians don’t, either.
Consider the sequence of events that began on June 8. On that day, an advocacy group called No Way To Treat a Child hosted a panel discussion on Capitol Hill. That’s not unusual. Advocacy organizations hold panel discussions on Capitol Hill all the time; the location makes it easier for congressional staff to attend. What made this one unusual was its subject: the Palestinian experience under Israeli control.
You can watch the panel online. The first speaker was Omar Shakir, the Israel-Palestine director of Human Rights Watch. In dry, rather clinical, terms, Shakir discussed some of the consequences of the fact that West Bank Palestinians are subjects, not citizens, of Israel. He noted, for instance, that in Area C, which encompasses roughly 60% of the West Bank, it is “nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain a permit to build a home.” When Palestinians build without a permit, the Israeli government often demolishes their homes.
The video of the panel discussion. Listen here or  on Facebook, 1 hour, 35 mins.
Following him was Brad Parker, a staff attorney at Defence for Children Palestine. Observing that, according to the most recent statistics, Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians between the ages of 12 and 17 in its jails, often for stone throwing, Parker explained that the Israeli military frequently arrests Palestinian children at night. They are often bound, blindfolded and transported to a military installation, where they wait until morning before being interrogated without a lawyer and without their parents knowing where they are. They “essentially disappear for 24, 48, 96 hours.” Then they are generally prosecuted in military courts where the conviction rate approaches 100%.
Following Parker was Yazan Meqbil, a young West Bank Palestinian attending college in the United States, who talked about growing up in a house repeatedly slated for demolition. “Every single day,” he said, “I used to wake up hoping my house will not be demolished.” Meqbil ended his remarks by saying: “Palestinians, we all have a dream, to be free, to live like normal human beings. To not be afraid whenever we leave our homes.”
The final speaker was Nadia Ben-Youssef, who works for Adalah–-The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. She stressed the links between Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinian citizens inside Israel proper. Israel’s Palestinian citizens, she noted, lived under military law until 1966. And even today, she argued, inside the Green Line, Israel privileges Jews over non-Jews in important ways.
I offer this summation to illustrate the shamelessness of the attack that followed. In a video posted June 12, The Israel Project, which is led by former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block, called the event an “anti-Israel hatefest” filled with “hate speech.” Notice the Orwellian turn.
According to The Israel Project, it is not hateful to hold millions of West Bank Palestinians for 50 years as non-citizens, without due process, free movement or the right to vote for the government that controls their lives. It is hateful to criticize Israel for doing so. By that standard, the 2012 documentary “The Gatekeepers,” which featured former heads of the Shin Bet calling Israel’s occupation of the West Bank “brutal,” “colonial” and “unbearable,” was an “anti-Israel hatefest,” too.
Then came the inevitable insinuation of antisemitism. As menacing music played in the background, the video declares that while the panel pretended to be “about human rights,” the speakers “couldn’t stop talking about Jews.” Actually, the panel was entirely about human rights. But, as if uncovering a terrible offence, the video noted that panelists had 17 times used the phrases “Jewish,” “Jewish state,” “Jewish people,” “Jewish citizens” or “Jews.” How sinister! I’m sure Josh Block never uses such despicable phrases when speaking about Israel.
In fact, two of Shakir’s uses of the word “Jewish” came from quotations. He quoted the State Department as calling settlement growth “inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state,” and President Obama as saying that settlement growth undermines “Israel as both Jewish and a democracy.” Then again, everyone knows that Obama and the State Department are antisemitic, too.
Most of the references to Jews came from Nadia Ben-Youssef. The video quoted her as saying that “Israel was established as a Jewish state to privilege the rights of Jewish people,” and referring to “this Jewish state that is premised on the basis that you must have greater rights, so that means more Jewish people than anyone else in that land.” The video never explained what’s incorrect or odious about those statements. Their hatefulness is presumably self-evident.
But both statements are true. Yes, Israel’s Declaration of Independence speaks about ensuring “complete equality of social and political rights… irrespective of religion, race or sex.” And yes, Palestinians inside Israel proper (as opposed to Palestinians in the West Bank) enjoy citizenship and the right to vote. But Israel was also explicitly founded to represent and safeguard the Jewish people, and that inevitably privileges Jews over non-Jews.
Jews who immigrate to Israel, for instance, gain citizenship on day one. For non-Jews who wish to immigrate to Israel, by contrast, including Palestinian refugees born inside Israel’s borders, gaining citizenship is virtually impossible. Israel’s flag contains a Jewish star; its national anthem speaks of “the Jewish soul.” In these symbolic ways, too, Israel privileges Jews over non-Jews. As for Israel’s effort to maintain a Jewish majority so that Jews can control the destiny of the state, that’s hardly a secret. It’s a goal that the Israeli government and mainstream American Jewish organizations proudly endorse.
Israel is not the only country on earth to face a tension between its desire to protect and nurture one ethno-religious community and its commitment to provide equality under the law. Many European democracies have immigration policies that favour a dominant ethnic group. Many have crosses on their flags. The 2003 Palestinian Constitution states that “the Palestinian people are part of the Arab nation” and that “the principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation.” So if a Palestinian state is ever created, it will likely wrestle with the tension between ethnic nationalism and democracy, too.
I believe that in a post-Holocaust world, it’s important to have one country on earth that assumes a special obligation to protect Jewish life. The goal, therefore, should be to minimize the tension between Jewish statehood and liberal democracy as much as possible, while acknowledging that you can never erase it entirely. The challenge, as Martin Buber once put it, is to “do no more injustice to others than we are forced to do in order to exist.”
Zionist thinkers like Chaim Gans and Alexander Yakobson and Amnon Rubinstein have sought to meet that challenge. But doing so honestly requires acknowledging that all forms of Jewish statehood entail some moral costs, and that some are more morally defensible than others.
These are the kinds of debates that the American Jewish establishment fears. It fears them because such debates give Palestinians a voice. Given the influence that American Jewish groups wield in Washington, it’s far easier to simply deny Palestinians a platform. That’s why The Israel Project ends its video by urging people to call Rep. Mark Pocan, who authorized No Way To Treat a Child to use a room on Capitol Hill, and “demand that he condemn the event.” The goal is to scare members of Congress so they don’t facilitate such discussions again.
When it comes to Israel, the organized American Jewish community would rather bully than think.
The deep, dark secret of the American Jewish establishment is that its leaders are not equipped to respond to smart Palestinian critics of Israel. They’re not familiar enough with the realities of Palestinian life under Israeli control. So having built itself a cocoon that shuts out Palestinian voices, the American Jewish establishment insists that Congress live inside that cocoon too. Because if the cocoon cracks, American politicians, and the American public, will realize how intellectually weak the American Jewish establishment actually is.
When it comes to Israel, the organized American Jewish community would rather bully than think. That’s what happens when power corrupts. It doesn’t only make you immoral. It makes you dumb.
Peter Beinart is a Forward senior columnist and contributing editor. Listen to “Fault Lines,” his podcast with Daniel Gordis here or on iTunes.

Syrian Army secures major advance in jihadist stronghold

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) resumed their offensive operations in the jihadist stronghold of ‘Ayn Tarma, Wednesday, following the rejection of reconciliation terms from the Faylaq Al-Rahman militants in east Damascus.
Led by their elite 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard, the Syrian Arab Army scored a major advance in ‘Ayn Tarma, today, when they captured at least 18 points near the Sunbul Fuel Station.
According to an Al-Masdar field correspondent, the Syrian Arab Army seized the points around the Sunbul Fuel Station, while also advancing near the ‘Ayn Tarma Garage.
Currently, the Syrian Arab Army is attempting to cutoff the most important supply route to ‘Ayn Tarma from the Jobar District; this path is located at southern part of the town.
Meanwhile, in the Jobar District, the Syrian Arab Army captured several points in the Taybah District near the Great Mosque, inflicting heavy damage on the jihadist defenses in the process.
A source told Al-Masdar News on Wednesday that the Syrian Arab Army will not halt their field operations in Jobar until the entire district is cleared.

Drone footage of the Syrian Army’s offensive in east Damascus

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:15 P.M.) – Drone footage showed smoke billowing over the Ain Tarma area in east Damascus as Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops carried out strikes against al-Qaeda-linked Liberation of the Levant Committee [Hayat Tahrir al-Sham] and allied militants, Tuesday.

 Recently, the Syrian Arab Army has intensified their attacks in the key town of Ain Tarma, following failed negotiations with the militants in the area.
The Syrian Arab Army has once again issued a warning to the jihadist rebels in Ain Tarma, advising them to surrender in exchange for possible amnesty or safe passage from the town.

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SYRIAN GOVERNMENT: We have never used chemical weapons (unlike the USA)

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | June 27, 2017
Syria responds to false allegations from the United States that American actors cite as the pretext for an attack on Syria.
Syrian Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar has confirmed what much of the world already knows to be true, that Syria has never used chemical weapons.
He stated,
“Damascus has never used and will never use such weapons”.
He described the most recent US threats against Syria which imply that Syria is readying a chemical attack as part of a “diplomatic battle” against Syria at the United Nations.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has confirmed as recently as 2016 that the Syrian Arab Republic does not possess any chemical weapons

الأتراك في جزيرة العرب بعد مئة عام.. ها قد عدنا يا شريف حسين

على خلفية الأزمة بين قطر والسعودية والإمارات، فعل سريعا البرلمان التركي  قرارا يسمح بنشر قوات تركية في قطر كجزء من اتفاقية بين البلدين خاصة بإنشاء قاعدة عسكرية تركية في قطر، حصل هذا في الأيام الأولى للأزمة كما هو معروف.

وكما هو مجرب أيضا فإن القوات التركية لا تدخل  أرضا خارج حدودها وتخرج منها ، وأمامنا تجربة العراقيين مع القوات التركية في معسكر بعشيقة قضاء الموصل.

هناك تحول هذا الوجود إلى أزمة بين البلدين، رفضت تركيا الخروج تحت أي ظرف، بل خرج خطاب تركي من دفاتر التاريخ يتحدث عن الوضع التاريخي للموصل  كإحدى ولايات الدولة العثمانية حتى نهاية الحرب العالمية الأولى.

ذاك خطاب التاريخ الذي أيقظه حزب العدالة والتنمية منذ حكم تركيا وازادت وتيرته ووضوحه، مع اندلاع الأحداث الدامية في عالمنا العربي، خاصة في سوريا، التي دخل إلى شمالها الجيش التركي قبل عام مباشرة، بعد أن اعتمد أنقرة  لسنوات على مجموعات مسلحة تابعة لها هناك، وذات خطاب التاريخ عن الموصل سمعناه عن حلب، لا أحد يستطيع أن يقدر الآن متى وكيف ستخرج القوات التركية من شمال سوريا.

أما الوضع في جزيرة العرب ومع قطر تحديدا فهو مختلف . صحيح أن القوات التركية دخلت الدول العربية الثلاث إثر أزمات، الا ان في حالة قطر فالقوات التركية تدخلها ضمن اتفاق بين دولتين. الأمر قد يبدو اعتياديا في حالة دولتين متحالفتين تشعر إحداهما بالخطر.

بيد  أن الخطاب السياسي والإعلامي القطري وكذلك التركي شن حملات ضد سوريا على خلفية استعانتها بقوات إيرانية حليفة، وهي كانت امام  خطر وجودي كان خلفه دول بينها تركيا وقطر، والآن ذات الإعلام الذي عاب ماقام به الرئيس الأسد، يعتبر قرار الأمير تميم قرارا سياديا.

في نهاية المطاف جاءت القوات التركية إلى جزيرة العرب بعد مئة عام على رحيلها.

الأمر الذي يدفعنا للربط بين العثمانيين المحتلين للأرض العربية في الزمن الغابر  وبين القوات التركية المتسللة اليوم إلى ذات البقاع ، هو فكر وخطاب حزب العدالة والتنمية الحاكم في تركيا ورئيس البلاد رجب طيب أردوغان اليوم، وهم يتحدثون عن العثمانية الجديدة وأحياء السلطنة العثمانية، ويعملون في الداخل والخارج ضمن هذه المرجعية التاريخية.

قبل ما يقرب المئة عام قاد الشريف “حسين بن علي”  الثورة العربية الكبرى لطرد العثمانيين من جزيرة العرب ، ورغم كل ما مرت به المنطقة العربية من كوارث بعدها ، إلا أن الأتراك لم يدخلوها من ذاك التاريخ.

واليوم يسجل التاريخ وصول القوات التركية على خلفية الأزمة بين دول الخليج، وربما لن يخرجوا منها سواء كان الأمير تميم حاكما لقطر أو أيا كان، وسواء كانت السعودية دولة أو مجموعة دول.  لأن هذا الهزال والوهن والهوان والعبث العربي لن يفضي إلا إلى هذه النتيجة. وهذا الطريق الذي يسلكه هؤلاء القادة العرب جميعهم وليس فقط قادة الخليج لن يورث المنطقة إلا  العودة الاحتلال والتبعية المباشرة، والوصاية ممن هم أكثر نضجا وإدراكا لمصالحهم ومصالح شعوبهم.

يقول المؤرخون عندما احتل الفرنسيون دمشق عام 1920، توجه الجنرال الفرنسي “غورو” قائد القوات الغازية إلى قبر صلاح الدين الأيوبي، وضربه بقدمه قائلا “هاقد عدنا يا صلاح الدين”.

فهل سيقولها الأتراك قريبا فوق ضريح الشريف” حسين بن علي” الذي طرد العثمانيين من جزيرة العرب، “هاقد عدنا يا “حسين بن علي”.

كاتب واعلامي فلسطيني

رأي اليوم

Happy Birthday Enzo Apicella

Enzo Apicella is 95 today. 
Enzo Apicella is 95 today.
Together with Carlos Latuff, Enzo Apicella is the most advance political cartoonist in the whole world. I had an incredible time compiling A to Zion-The Definitive Israeli Lexicon with Enzo three  years ago. Enzo we wish you many more productive and happy years.

Time for Another False Flag Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

By Paul Larudee | Dissident Voice | June 27, 2017
The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.
— Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, June 26, 2017
Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.
— George  Bush, Sept. 17, 2002
The White House statement raises a number of questions. Who has identified the “potential preparations”? No reference is given, not even a source agency.  Does the information come from intelligence sources? Apparently the Pentagon had not even been informed. What is “potential information” and how does it compare with real information?
Of course, the White House has its own direct sources.  The Syrian opposition groups who met with John Kerry, Michael Ratney and Jon Finer at the UN in September, 2016 are tight with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups, and would be happy to provide a pretext for another US strike on Syria. No real evidence is required, but they would be happy to fabricate it nonetheless.
Can anyone cite a case of the use, or even the alleged use, of chemical weapons in Syria that has been to the strategic advantage of the Syrian government or its forces? The fact is that every incident has been to their disadvantage, and invariably a pretext for US intervention.  Why then, would they use it, especially when they hadn’t done so before Obama drew his famous “red line”?
To the contrary, when British intelligence analyzed traces of the gas, they found it to be inconsistent with samples of Syrian government stocks. Furthermore, Turkish sources have reported the delivery of chemical weapons to opposition fighters. Distinguished MIT researchers Lloyd and Postol demonstrated definitively that the 2013 CW attack in Ghouta could not have come from Syrian government forces.
Similarly, Postol demonstrated multiple inconsistencies in the reports of the April 4, 2017 Khan Sheikhoun attack.  More recently, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh uncovered the inside story on that attack, to the effect that US Defense Department sources knew that there were no chemical weapons used in the Syrian Air Force bombing attack on Khan Sheikhoun, and that to the extent that toxic gases caused casualties in that attack, it was the result of what the al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham fighters had stored at the site or had deployed as a false flag event, for the purpose of precipitating US intervention.
Postol warned at the time that without proper corroboration of Syrian government culpability, a US attack would motivate the terrorist constructors of the false flag to replicate more such incidents.  In this context, the White House statement, based solely on vague allegations, can be interpreted as the start to a manipulation of public perception, so that an upcoming false flag event can appear to be a corroboration of the initial suspicions.
Such are the workings of what military and security forces call “securocratic wars” and specifically “security-based framing”.  This is jargon for what used to be called propaganda, but which is now an integrated part of military and security planning for the control of public perception.1
There is plenty of reason for the White House to welcome such a pretext to attack Syria again.  The approval ratings for the Trump Administration have never been higher, nor the press more approving, than when US warships fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shu’ayrat Air Field two days after the Khan Sheikhoun attack.  Given the unpopularity and failure of Trump’s domestic initiatives, it is easy to see how he might be tempted to employ similar death and destruction to boost his image again.
Of course, such actions risk a dangerous confrontation with Russia on the Syrian battlefield.  Russia has already threatened to target US aircraft and has suspended coordination of flights over the shooting down of a Syrian jet fighter. But Trump is not averse to risk.  We should therefore not be surprised to see another false flag killing of innocents blamed on the Syrian military in order to embroil the US further in an illegal war where we don’t belong.
  1. Halper, War Against the People, chapter 3. [↩]
Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement. Read other articles by Paul.

US-Led coalition’s massacre of civilians in Syria: This time in Deir Ezzur


The US-led coalition fighter jets killed 40 civilians in an air raid claimed to be targeting an ISIS-controlled prison in Deir Ezzur.
(FNA) — According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights -based in London-, the US-led coalition warplanes targeted one of ISIS jails in al-Mayadeen city in Eastern Deir Ezzur on Monday, killing at least 42 civilian inmates and detainees.
Also, 15 ISIS terrorists, including the guards and a number of imprisoned members, were killed in the attack.
Reports said that the number of the civilian victims will most likely rise due to the critical conditions of several wounded civilians.
The prison accomodated 100 inmates, including civilians and a number of ISIS members.
Also on Monday, local sources reported that over 20 civilians were killed or injured in the US-led coalition air raids on in Raqqa province.
The sources reported that the US-led coalition warplanes carried out several combat flights over different neighborhoods of Raqqa city to back up the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), killing a child and injuring 12 others mostly women and children.
In the meantime, 8 civilians were killed and several more were wounded in another air raid of the fighter jets in Raqqa.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that almost 500 civilians were killed in the US-led collation air raids in Syria last month.
It reported that 472 civilians, including 137 children lost their lives in the US-led coalition warplanes’ attacks in Syria form May 23 till June 23.
Relevant reports said last Tuesday that over a dozen other Syrian civilians were killed in another US-led coalition air raid in areas near the border with Iraq.
“At least 12 civilians have reportedly been killed after US coalition fighter jets struck a number of targets in a village next to the Syrian-Iraqi border,” eyewitnesses disclosed.
According to the report, the US-led anti-ISIS coalition warplanes have launched a series of air raids in Hasaka province. In one of the strikes, the bombers struck Tel Hayr village near the Syrian-Iraqi border, killing 12 people, all belonging to one family.
Meantime, the United Nations war crimes investigators reported that the US-led coalition’s aerial back up for the SDF to take control of Raqqa from ISIS have thus far killed hundreds of civilians and displaced tens of thousands more.
The UN investigators said that intensified US-led coalition air raids on ISIS’s strongholds in Raqqa are causing a “staggering loss of civilian life”.