Greece | Korea | Ukraine | Thailand | Israel

Yanis Varoufakis: No Time for Games in Europe (New York Times, also via Google News)

The great difference between this government and previous Greek governments is twofold: We are determined to clash with mighty vested interests in order to reboot Greece and gain our partners’ trust. We are also determined not to be treated as a debt colony that should suffer what it must. The principle of the greatest austerity for the most depressed economy would be quaint if it did not cause so much unnecessary suffering.
I am often asked: What if the only way you can secure funding is to cross your red lines and accept measures that you consider to be part of the problem, rather than of its solution? Faithful to the principle that I have no right to bluff, my answer is: The lines that we have presented as red will not be crossed. Otherwise, they would not be truly red, but merely a bluff…
We shall desist, whatever the consequences, from deals that are wrong for Greece and wrong for Europe. The “extend and pretend” game that began after Greece’s public debt became unserviceable in 2010 will end. No more loans — not until we have a credible plan for growing the economy in order to repay those loans, help the middle class get back on its feet and address the hideous humanitarian crisis. No more “reform” programs that target poor pensioners and family-owned pharmacies while leaving large-scale corruption untouched.

Helena Smith: Tsipras favours Greek jobless over creditors in defiant policy speech (Guardian)

The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has announced his anti-austerity government programme in a defiant address that prioritised the jobless and destitute over international creditors who have lent the country more than $300bn (£200bn).

Paul Mason: Germany v Greece is a fight to the death, a cultural and economic clash of wills (Guardian)

Germany’s unwillingness to lead Europe is the old problem. The new problem is Germany’s demonstrable willingness to break up Europe. Pleas for the continent’s largest economy to expand state spending are met with the schwarze null policy: 0% budget deficits, imposed by law. Brazen acts of proxy warfare by the Kremlin are met with diplomatic dithering. The sight, on top of that, of large anti-Muslim demonstrations in this, the richest and most politically stable country in Europe, is now reviving hostility towards Germany way beyond Greece.

Jennifer Rankin, Larry Elliott: Greece bailout talks break down after Athens rejects ‘unacceptable’ eurozone demands (Guardian)

Talks between Greece and its eurozone creditors collapsed in disarray on Monday night, heightening concerns that the country is edging closer to a disruptive exit from the single currency…
Effectively presenting Greece with an ultimatum, the eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers said Athens had until Friday to agree to maintain the current bailout under the auspices of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – something that Greece has said is unacceptable.

Would Park be President, had the election not been rigged? (Hankyoreh)

An appeals court’s ruling about election interference by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) provides judicial confirmation that there is a major problem with Park Geun-hye legitimacy as president of South Korea. This makes it clear that the 2012 presidential election was a rigged game and that Park was the greatest beneficiary…
Any politician – not to mention the leader of a country – must take responsibility for his or her words. Park should begin by apologizing for remarks she has made, such as when she belittled the case as a plot by the political opposition and denied that she had received any help from the NIS.
But Park’s remarks are not the only mistake that she made. The current administration pulled out all the stops to cover up the NIS’s assault on the constitution and to block all attempts to investigate that assault.

Kim Seon-sik: Former NIS director sentenced to prison for 2012 political interference (Hankyoreh)

Former National Intelligence Service director Won Sei-hoon, 64, was taken into court custody after an appeals ruling found him guilty of violating the Public Official Election Act by ordering agents from the psychological warfare division to carry out organized interference in the 2012 presidential election.
The court’s decision, which acknowledges Won’s enlistment of the NIS to influence the election results, is expected to have major political repercussions.

Michael Hudson: Ukraine Denouement (CounterPunch)

The fate of Ukraine is now shifting from the military battlefield back to the arena that counts most: that of international finance. Kiev is broke, having depleted its foreign reserves on waging war that has destroyed its industrial export and coal mining capacity in the Donbass (especially vis-à-vis Russia, which normally has bought 38 percent of Ukraine’s exports). Deeply in debt (with €3 billion falling due on December 20 to Russia), Ukraine faces insolvency if the IMF and Europe do not release new loans next month to pay for new imports as well as Russian and foreign bondholders.
Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko announced on Friday that she hopes to see the money begin to flow in by early March. But Ukraine must meet conditions that seem almost impossible: It must implement an honest budget and start reforming its corrupt oligarchs (who dominate in the Rada and control the bureaucracy), implement more austerity, abolish its environmental protection, and make its industry “attractive” to foreign investors to buy Ukraine’s land, natural resources, monopolies and other assets, presumably at distress prices in view of the country’s recent devastation.

Matthew Weaver, Alec Luhn: Ukraine ceasefire deal agreed at Minsk talks (Guardian)

Russian president Vladimir Putin was the first to announce the deal, saying: “We have agreed on a ceasefire from midnight 15 February.”
Putin added: “There is also the political settlement. The first thing is constitutional reform that should take into consideration the legitimate rights of people who live in Donbass. There are also border issues. Finally there are a whole range of economic and humanitarian issues.”

Simon Tisdall: Ukraine peace deal looks fragile in the extreme (Guardian)

Poroshenko insisted the accord did not grant autonomy to the rebel-held areas. The vexed questions of the extent of a demilitarised zone around the current and September frontlines, and the withdrawal of foreign (ie Russian) forces, were also apparently still up in the air. Nor did the Ukraine leader confirm Putin’s claim that Kiev had agreed to end its economic blockade of the Donbas region…
Perhaps not coincidentally, the Minsk announcements coincided with news that the IMF has agreed to help bail out almost bankrupt Ukraine to the tune of $17.5bn, part of an even bigger $40bn, four-year rescue package. Christine Lagarde, IMF chief, said the idea was to try and stabilise Kiev’s finances after nearly a year of war.

Freudian slip? CNN says Obama considers arming pro-US troops…in Ukraine (RT)

Social media is abuzz after CNN labeled Ukrainian forces involved in Kiev’s deadly military operation in the country’s southeast as “pro-US troops.” Online comments are calling it a Freudian slip, claiming it unmasks the true agenda behind the conflict.

Reuters: Thailand’s students defy military junta and call for return to democracy (Guardian)

Thai student protesters billing themselves as the “last group standing” in seeking to end military rule say they will openly defy what one leader called a tyrannical regime nine months after the army seized power.
Members of the Thai Student Centre for Democracy (TSCD), who come from different political and socio-economic backgrounds, present a quandary for the junta, which has branded public protests illegal but wants to maintain its core support, including from Bangkok’s middle class and business elite.
Some of the students support the “red shirt” grassroots movement of ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, but others sympathise with the establishment that makes up the bulk of the junta’s support.

Student group condemns junta for trying student activist in military court (Prachatai)
AP: Thailand’s military junta forces cancellation of press freedom conference (Guardian)

The Zionist Union is the poor man’s Likud (Haaretz)

Anyone wishing to replace this government must first of all take a strong stand against the transformation of Israel into an apartheid state.
The election campaign waged by the Zionist Union belies the declarations of its leaders, Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni, who state their wish to replace the current government. The slogan “It’s us or him” was recently changed to “Only a sucker would vote for Netanyahu,” but the essential message remains unchanged: the problem with the Likud government lies in Benjamin Netanyahu’s personality, not in his destructive policies.
Livni and Herzog are marketing themselves as people who will do a better job than Netanyahu in carrying out the foreign and defense policies of the Likud, covered in a patina of empty promises such as “we’ll return money to the public” or “free land for an apartment of your own.”

Israel’s ban of Arab lawmaker from election is unjust / ההבדל בין זועבי למרזל (Haaretz, Hebrew version also via Google News)

Zoabi’s disqualification lacks all foundation. An Arab MK has fallen victim to a clause permitting the banning of a candidate or party expressing support for an enemy state or a terror group’s armed struggle. Actually, the clause was inserted to persecute Arab elected officials who express support for the Palestinian struggle against the occupation.
It’s no coincidence that the clause does not permit the disqualification of someone who has expressed support for other types of violence; for example, terror against Arabs. Regarding Zoabi’s infuriating remarks, even in the interview in which she refused to call the kidnappers of three Jewish teens terrorists, Zoabi noted that she did not support their actions. And she has expanded on her position many times since.

Gideon Levy: The most heinous crime in Israel is anti-Zionism / פשע ושמו אנטי־ציונות (Haaretz; Hebrew version also via Google News)

In today’s Israel, in which “leftist” is among the worst things to call someone, “non-Zionist” is entirely beyond the pale. Not that anyone knows what Zionism is today, but to say non-Zionist is to say treason. A land-stealing, field-burning settler is a Zionist, no question; one of the best. Even if he commits one of the most serious sins and calls for draft-dodging, he is still a Zionist.
Knesset member Haneen Zoabi (Balad) is a traitor, because she does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. (The rightists who don’t recognize Israel as a democratic state are, of course, Zionist and therefore legitimate.) Israelis who are not willing to be part of that Zionism and are courageous enough to call themselves anti-Zionists are considered heretics, with everything that implies. They have horns. It as if saying no to that Zionism – to think that it constitutes ultranationalism and even racism; that it plunders, conquers and is hurtling toward apartheid – is an immoral, intolerable position to take.
The brainwashing has reached the point that anyone with the disease is thought not only to oppose the very existence of the state, but even to be calling for its destruction.

Blake Alcott: Why Jonathan Freedland Isn’t Fit to be the New Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian (CounterPunch)

Greece | Inequality | Israel/Syria | France | Australia | Torture | Nicaragua | Ukraine

Tariq Ali: Greece’s Fight Against European Austerity (CounterPunch) / Ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ να αντιμετωπίσει τους Έλληνες ολιγάρχες, την μαφία των εφοπλιστών και την Εκκλησία (Νόστιμον ήμαρ)

If SYRIZA wins it will mark the beginnings of a fightback against austerity and neo-liberalism in Europe. Two concurrent processes will be in motion from the beginning of the victory. There will be a strong attempt by the EU elite led by Germany to try and tame SYRIZA via a combination of threats and concessions. The aim of this operation is simple. To try and split SYRIZA at a very early stage.

Welcome, Sýriza! / Willkommen Syriza (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Sýriza will very soon be faced with a choice: either they turn into a prized reseller of some prettified austerity and transmogrify with lightning speed into a new Pasók – that would be the choice of the European social-democrats. Or they leave the Greeks in no doubt and prepare the people for a violent clash with the EU oligarchy, a clash with an undecided outcome.

Sebastian Budgen, Stathis Kouvelakis: Greece: Phase One (Jacobin)

Syriza was set up by several different organizations in 2004, as an electoral alliance. Its biggest component was Alexis Tsipras’s party Synaspismos — initially the Coalition of the Left and Progress, and eventually renamed the Coalition of the Left and of the Movements — which had existed as a distinct party since 1991. It emerged from a series of splits in the Communist movement.
On the other hand, Syriza also comprises much smaller formations. Some of these came out of the old Greek far left. In particular, the Communist Organization of Greece (KOE), one the country’s main Maoist groups. This organization had three members of parliament (MPs) elected in May 2012. That’s also true of the Internationalist Workers’ Left (DEA), which is from a Trotskyist tradition, as well as other groups mostly of a Communist background. For example, the Renewing Communist Ecological Left (AKOA), which came out of the old Communist Party (Interior).

Paul Krugman: Ending Greece’s Nightmare (New York Times)

To understand the political earthquake in Greece, it helps to look at Greece’s May 2010 “standby arrangement” with the International Monetary Fund, under which the so-called troika — the I.M.F., the European Central Bank and the European Commission — extended loans to the country in return for a combination of austerity and reform. It’s a remarkable document, in the worst way. The troika, while pretending to be hardheaded and realistic, was peddling an economic fantasy. And the Greek people have been paying the price for those elite delusions…
If anything, the problem with Syriza’s plans may be that they’re not radical enough. Debt relief and an easing of austerity would reduce the economic pain, but it’s doubtful whether they are sufficient to produce a strong recovery. On the other hand, it’s not clear what more any Greek government can do unless it’s prepared to abandon the euro, and the Greek public isn’t ready for that.
… Mr. Tsipras is being far more realistic than officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves. The rest of Europe should give him a chance to end his country’s nightmare.

Larry Elliott, Ed Pilkington: New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1% (Guardian)

Billionaires and politicians gathering in Switzerland this week will come under pressure to tackle rising inequality after a study found that – on current trends – by next year, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%…
Oxfam said the wealth of the richest 80 doubled in cash terms between 2009 and 2014, and that there was an increasing tendency for wealth to be inherited and to be used as a lobbying tool by the rich to further their own interests. It noted that more than a third of the 1,645 billionaires listed by Forbes inherited some or all of their riches, while 20% have interests in the financial and insurance sectors, a group which saw their cash wealth increase by 11% in the 12 months to March 2014.
These sectors spent $550m lobbying policymakers in Washington and Brussels during 2013. During the 2012 US election cycle alone, the financial sector provided $571m in campaign contributions.

Hayden Cooper: Israeli airstrike kills six Hezbollah fighters in Syria’s Golan Heights, including son of former commander (ABC)

An Israeli airstrike inside Syria has killed six members of the Hezbollah military force, including the son of assassinated senior commander Imad Mughniyeh.
The deaths were announced after an Israeli helicopter conducted a strike near Quneitra, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Israel Joins Forces With ISIS? Tel Aviv Bombs Syria for Sixth Time in 18 months (21st Century Wire)

Under direct pressure from the US, UN Security Council members do not appear to be willing to suggest sanctions, or hold Israel responsible in any way for any its repeated attacks against its neighbors, for fear of what misfortunes and diplomatic difficulties might befall them. As a result, Israel has been acting with impunity in the region. Since 2006, Israel has conducted several air strikes on Syria. Below is a description of those attacks:
Al Quneitra (18 January 2015) – Missile attack near the Golan Heights, killing 6 Hezbollah and Iranian anti-ISIS soldiers, including one al Quds commander.
Damascus and Dimas attack (7 December 2014) – Alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria against a warehouse of advanced S-300 missiles, which were en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Missile Strike at Golan Heights (23 September 2014) – IDF Patriot Missile battery shot down a Syrian MIG21, allegedly because it violated Israeli airspace.
Beqaa Valley airstrike (24 February 2014) – Two airstrikes against an alleged Hezbollah missile base in Lebanon near the border with Syria.
2nd Latakia attack (26 January 2014) – Alleged Israeli airstrike against a Syrian warehouse of S-300 missiles.
Snawbar airstrike (30 October 2013) – Alleged Israeli airstrike at an air defense site in Snawbar.
Latakia explosion (5 July 2013) – Alleged Israeli airstrike on a Syrian depot containing Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles.
Airstrikes on Syria (3-5 May 2013) – Airstrikes on Syria against alleged long-ranged weapons sent from Iran to Hezbollah.
Jamraya airstrike (30 January 2013) – Alleged Israeli airstrike on a Syrian convoy allegedly transporting weapons to Hezbollah. Other sources stated the targeted site was a military research center in Jamraya responsible for developing biological and chemical weapons.
Operation Orchard (6 September 2007) Israeli airstrike on a ‘suspected’ nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. The Israeli and U.S. governments imposed virtually total news blackouts immediately after the raid that held for seven months.
Ain es Saheb airstrike (5 October 2003) – Israeli Air Force operation against an alleged Palestinian militant training camp in Ain es Saheb, Syria.

Israel’s pre-election aerial bombing (Haaretz)

The examples are many, and they cut across party lines: the escalation in retaliatory actions prior to the 1955 Knesset election; the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981; Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon in 1996; Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008; Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in 2012; and on Sunday the helicopter attack in Syria “attributed to Israel” was added to the list. All of these operations require advanced preparations. There will always be the explanation that the enemy was the one to start it and that Israel was only responding to a provocation or heading off a greater danger. In any event, however, it is difficult not to get the impression that politicians tend to take risks and approve military action with greater ease when some of the polls paint a gloomy picture over their standing with the voters.

Tal Niv: The Israeli general who spoke the truth about the Syria strike’s timing (Haaretz)

Thank you very much, Yoav Galant, for one thing: that you spoke the truth. Thanks for saying that it’s possible that the timing of Sunday’s assassination of six Hezbollah militants, including Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the slain Hezbollah military leader Imad Mughniyeh, could be connected with the current Israeli election campaign (or as you put it, “not unconnected”).

Nathan Thrall: Rage in Jerusalem (London Review of Books)

What the government of Israel calls its eternal, undivided capital is among the most precarious, divided cities in the world. When it conquered the eastern part of Jerusalem and the West Bank – both administered by Jordan – in 1967, Israel expanded the city’s municipal boundaries threefold. As a result, approximately 37 per cent of Jerusalem’s current residents are Palestinian. They have separate buses, schools, health facilities, commercial centres, and speak a different language…
All Jerusalemites pay taxes, but the proportion of the municipal budget allocated to the roughly 300,000 Palestinian residents of a city with a population of 815,000 doesn’t exceed 10 per cent… More than three-quarters of the city’s Palestinians live below the poverty line…
Restrictive zoning prevents Palestinians from building legally. Israel has designated 52 per cent of land in East Jerusalem as unavailable for development and 35 per cent for Jewish settlements, leaving the Palestinian population with only 13 per cent, most of which is already built on. Those with growing families are forced to choose between building illegally and leaving the city. Roughly a third of them decide to build, meaning that 93,000 residents are under constant threat of their homes being demolished.

Ben Doherty: Manus Island detention centre at risk of another riot as 500 join hunger strike (Guardian)

Manus Island detention centre is on the verge of another riot, with more than 500 men now joining a mass hunger strike and at least two men having stitched their lips together.
Water pumps at the centre have broken, meaning there is no access to running water for showers.
The 1,000 men in detention and staff have been given bottles of water to shower with, and staff have been told they cannot shower, flush toilets, or wash their clothes. It could be weeks until water is restored.

Glenn Greenwald: France arrests a comedian for his Facebook comments, showing the sham of the west’s “free speech” celebration (Intercept)

Forty-eight hours after hosting a massive march under the banner of free expression, France opened a criminal investigation of a controversial French comedian for a Facebook post he wrote about the Charlie Hebdo attack, and then this morning, arrested him for that post on charges of “defending terrorism.” …
The arrest, so soon after the epic Paris free speech march, underscores the selectivity and fraud of this week’s “free speech” parade. It also shows why those who want to criminalize the ideas they like are at least as dangerous and tyrannical as the ideas they targeted.

Zack Whittaker: Europe’s answer to France terror ‘attack on free speech’ is greater Internet censorship (ZDnet)
Ruadhán Mac Cormaic: France arrests 54 for anti-Semitism and backing terror (Irish Times)

In a message sent to all prosecutors and judges, the justice ministry laid out the legal basis for arresting those who defend the attacks that killed 17 people in three incidents in Paris last week. The circular also covers those responsible for racist or anti-Semitic words or acts…
The ministry said it was issuing the order to protect freedom of expression from comments that could incite violence or hatred. It said no one should be allowed to use their religion to justify hate speech…
[T]he government [is planning] its response to the attacks, which is expected to include broader laws on phone tapping and other intelligence gathering…

Stéphane Kovacs: Attentats : 54 interpellations pour apologie du terrorisme (Le Figaro)

Les premières condamnations, lundi, ne les ont pas dissuadées. La garde à vue de Dieudonné, ce mercredi, non plus. Depuis l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo il y a une semaine, pas moins de 54 personnes sont visées par une procédure pour apologie du terrorisme ou menaces verbales d’actions terroristes. Trente-sept procédures, précise le ministère de la Justice, concernent l’apologie du terrorisme et 17 des menaces.

Ann Telnaes: France’s free speech double standard (Washington Post)

The French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala was arrested for posting a Facebook comment appearing to condone terrorism. He wrote “I’m feeling Charlie Coulibaly”, in a reference to gunman Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four hostages in a Kosher supermarket in Paris on January 9th.

Kim Sengupta: Locking up Muslims for extreme views turns prisons into recruitment pools (Independent)

Muslims make up 70 per cent of France’s prison inmates despite being only eight per cent of the population.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi: Guantánamo Diary (Guardian)
Oh Canada …
Murtaza Hussain: Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Former Child Gitmo Detainee Going Blind (Intercept)

Nearly 13 years after he was first captured as a child soldier in Afghanistan, Omar Khadr remains behind bars in a Canadian prison where he is losing his remaining eyesight, according to his lawyer.

Jonathan Watts: Land of opportunity – and fear – along route of Nicaragua’s giant new canal (Guardian)

In an era of breathtaking engineering feats, there is unease about what this mega project will mean for people and their homes, wildlife and ecosystems. Will it bring wealth and growth or confusion and destruction?

Reuters: North Korean defector changes story after seeing father in video (Guardian)
AFP: UN dismisses North Korea’s claim that damning human rights report is invalid (Guardian)

Shaun Walker: Kiev ‘punishes’ civilians in Donetsk with travel permits and drugs blockade (Guardian)

Turkey | Russia | Venezuela | Israel

Patrick Cockburn: Whose side is Turkey on? (London Review of Books)

In September, Isis turned its attention to the two and a half million Syrian Kurds who had gained de facto autonomy in three cantons just south of the Turkish border. One of these cantons, centred on the town of Kobani, became the target of a determined assault. By 6 October, Isis fighters had fought their way into the centre of the town. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan predicted that its fall was imminent; John Kerry spoke of the ‘tragedy’ of Kobani, but claimed – implausibly – that its capture wouldn’t be of great significance…
But the inevitable Isis victory at Kobani didn’t happen. On 19 October, in a reversal of previous policy, US aircraft dropped arms, ammunition and medicine to the town’s defenders. Under American pressure, Turkey announced on the same day that it would allow Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga safe passage from northern Iraq to Kobani; Kurdish fighters have now recaptured part of the town.

Elke Dangeleit: Kurden erklären Gleichberechtigung der Frauen (Telepolis)

Die kurdischen Kämpferinnen der YPJ und PKK spielen eine Vorreiterrolle in der Frauenemanzipation im Nahen Osten.

Vasily Koltashov, Boris Kagarlitsky: Will Putin abandon eastern Ukraine’s rebels? (Links) / Кто понесет голову Путина (cassad.net)

It seems that Russian authorities have found a way towards accommodation with the West. Liberals have become more powerful and are leading the talks. They are ready to make concessions and see no problem in the sacrifice of Novorossiya, and, if necessary, even Russia’s own interests. There’s just one remaining question: who will remove the Russian president’s head and present it on a platter to the USA? …
In the autumn world oil prices sank unexpectedly sharply. In mid-October the price of a barrel of “black gold” fell to US$85. Russia’s economic situation worsened swiftly, but no one in the government intends changing course. Although, in effect, precisely that course — long before the economic sanctions pushed Russia to its own economic sanctions — is the fundamental reason for the current difficulties…
Sanctions imposed by the USA, EU and other governments have proven to be effective. But it was not this that undermined the economy, but because they scared the elites. They showed Russia’s governing class its financial vulnerability…
However much we are told of “Russian imperialism”, contemporary Russia is above all a dependent, peripheral country, whose ruling class does not wish to carry out a transformation that would permit genuine independence and influence in the world — because these transformations would inevitably hurt the interests of the contemporary elite. At least, the interests of an important part of it.
The Russian authorities have already made clear to the USA and the EU that they reject any possibility of the uprising being victorious throughout the whole of Ukraine. They have blockaded it on the territories occupied by the militias…
Sacrificing Novorossiya, relying on European ruling circles and appeasing the USA—such is the current plan of the domestic elites in order to end the conflict.

Василий Колташов: Кому в России жить хорошо? (Russia.ru)
Ulrich Heyden: Ist Putin wirklich so stark wie immer behauptet? (Telepolis)

Edgardo Lander: Venezuela: terminal crisis of the rentier petro-state? (Transnational Institute)

Venezuela’s failure to develop an effective strategy to reduce its economy’s dependence on gas and oil threatens the social successes and future viability of the Bolivarian project.

Leandros Fischer: The German Left’s Palestine Problem (Jacobin)

Die Linke’s position on Palestine has isolated it from the global solidarity movement and strengthened the party’s worst elements…
That a German party, even a left-wing one, should be somewhat cautious in criticizing Israel, in a country where the definitions of Judaism, Israel, and Zionism have been consciously conflated for half a century, should not come as a surprise. But that parts of its top brass should actively work with the media to smear two internationally known Jewish anti-Zionists as “antisemites” is truly alarming and casts serious doubts on the party’s ability to relate to the global Palestine solidarity movement.

Open Letter to German Left Party (ZNet) / Widerspruch gegen linkes Lavieren (Neues Deutschland)

Barak Ravid: Israel denies Colombian foreign minister entry to Ramallah (Haaretz)

Israel this week denied a request by Colombian Foreign Minister The Maria Angela Holguin to visit Ramallah.
According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry in Bogota, Israel would only permit Holguin to visit Ramallah if she agreed to visit Jerusalem on the same visit to the region. A senior official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed the matter, stating that the directive was ordered by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
It is highly unusual for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to give such a directive, and it appears that the move was made in an effort to harden its policy with regards to visits by foreign ministers to the Palestinian Authority, which are normally carried out without any difficulty.

John Bellamy Foster and Michael D. Yates: Piketty and the Crisis of Neoclassical Economics (Monthly Review)

Not since the Great Depression of the 1930s has it been so apparent that the core capitalist economies are experiencing secular stagnation, characterized by slow growth, rising unemployment and underemployment, and idle productive capacity. Consequently, mainstream economics is finally beginning to recognize the economic stagnation tendency that has long been a focus in these pages, although it has yet to develop a coherent analysis of the phenomenon. Accompanying the long-term decline in the growth trend has been an extraordinary increase in economic inequality, which one of us labeled “The Great Inequality,” and which has recently been dramatized by the publication of French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Taken together, these two realities of deepening stagnation and growing inequality have created a severe crisis for orthodox (or neoclassical) economics.

Ed Vulliamy, Helena Smith: Athens 1944: Britain’s dirty secret (Guardian)

Chile | Kurdistan | Ukraine | Israel

Penelope sent this link:
Evgeny Morozov: The Planning Machine (The New Yorker)

In June, 1972, Ángel Parra, Chile’s leading folksinger, wrote a song titled “Litany for a Computer and a Baby About to Be Born.” Computers are like children, he sang, and Chilean bureaucrats must not abandon them. The song was prompted by a visit to Santiago from a British consultant who, with his ample beard and burly physique, reminded Parra of Santa Claus—a Santa bearing a “hidden gift, cybernetics.”
The consultant, Stafford Beer, had been brought in by Chile’s top planners to help guide the country down what Salvador Allende, its democratically elected Marxist leader, was calling “the Chilean road to socialism.” Beer was a leading theorist of cybernetics—a discipline born of midcentury efforts to understand the role of communication in controlling social, biological, and technical systems. Chile’s government had a lot to control: Allende, who took office in November of 1970, had swiftly nationalized the country’s key industries, and he promised “worker participation” in the planning process. Beer’s mission was to deliver a hypermodern information system that would make this possible, and so bring socialism into the computer age. The system he devised had a gleaming, sci-fi name: Project Cybersyn…
When Beer was a steel-industry executive, he would assemble experts—anthropologists, biologists, logicians—and dispatch them to extract such tacit knowledge from the shop floor. The goal was to produce a list of relevant indicators (like total gasoline reserves or delivery delays) that could be monitored so that managers would be able to head off problems early. In Chile, Beer intended to replicate the modelling process: officials would draw up the list of key production indicators after consulting with workers and managers. “The on-line control computer ought to be sensorily coupled to events in real time,” Beer argued in a 1964 lecture that presaged the arrival of smart, net-connected devices—the so-called Internet of Things. Given early notice, the workers could probably solve most of their own problems. Everyone would gain from computers: workers would enjoy more autonomy while managers would find the time for long-term planning. For Allende, this was good socialism. For Beer, this was good cybernetics.

Stupid wars (RT; Video)

What is Washington’s strategy against the Islamic State? Is the Islamic State a creation of the United States? Is the war on terror really a war on Islam? Will the US make amends with Iran in order to defeat the jihadist militants? What is Washington’s endgame? CrossTalking with Ken O’Keefe, Majid Rafizadeh, and Peter van Buren.

Rafael Taylor: The new PKK: unleashing a social revolution in Kurdistan (Roar)

As the prospect of Kurdish independence becomes ever more imminent, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party transforms itself into a force for radical democracy.

Sergei Kirichuk: Path into darkness (Ліва) / Путь во тьму (Боротьба)

The negotiations in Milan in a sense completed a diplomatic cycle begun by the Minsk Agreement, heralding a still weak hope for de-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. It became clear that Russian gas will be supplied to Ukraine this winter and the Poroshenko administration will be able to provide heating to the population without resorting to exotic options like South African coal or Norwegian gas via Slovakia.

Victor Shapinov: Left in fascist Ukraine (Боротьба)

The election results are clear. The bloc of oligarchs and nationalists, who longed for power at the Maidan, have consolidated their power. In this the junta became more homogeneous – the purely oligarchic parties have adopted Nazi rhetoric (Yatsenyuk first and foremost), and among the nationalists Lyashko came to the fore, more clearly elitist than the uncouth fans of SS runes, and not so embarrassing for Europe. Actually the logic of the political process was understandable in the days of the Maidan — the strongest momentum was to the right. And it passes through the strengthening of the neo-Nazi fringe, and the Nazification of moderate “pro-European” politicians.

Tunisie: le discours policé des islamistes d’Ennahda après un bilan controversé (Assawra [at̠-T̠awra])

Les islamistes tunisiens d’Ennahda, arrivés deuxièmes aux législatives, n’ont eu de cesse de polir pendant la campagne leur image éreintée par deux ans au pouvoir et d’insister, bons perdants, sur leur attachement à la démocratie.
Répété à l’envi, “consensus” fut le maître mot des interventions de ses chefs dans les médias comme sur le terrain.
Et une fois les premières estimations publiées, les responsables du parti ont reconnu être arrivés derrière la formation anti-islamiste Nidaa Tounès sans attendre les résultats officiels, qui n’avaient toujours pas été proclamés mercredi matin.

The Two Most Important Things About Malala Yousafzai That Everyone Seems to Ignore… (Political Blind Spot)

In the wake of Malala Yousafzai’s snubbing by the Nobel Committee some have raised important questions like did Malala lose the award because the committed was afraid to confront radical Islam?
Perhaps, but an even more fundamental question is why is no one talking about Malala Yousafzai’s religion or politics?
The Jewish Forward poignantly notes that “As touching as Stewart’s interview with her was, and it was touching, it did overlook a big part of what makes Malala Malala, and that is her religion. Yousafzai is a Muslim, and sees the potential for reform within the context of Islam, and not, like other prominent feminists from Muslim countries, outside of it.”
In all the Western media craze over Malala, there is another key point ignored about her: she is not only a Muslim feminist, she is a socialist with Marxist tendencies. In her own words: “I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”

Jill Treanor: Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth, says report (Guardian)

The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth, according to a report published on Tuesday which warned growing inequality could be a trigger for recession.
According to the Credit Suisse global wealth report (pdf), a person needs just $3,650 – including the value of equity in their home – to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. However, more than $77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and $798,000 to belong to the top 1%.
“Taken together, the bottom half of the global population own less than 1% of total wealth. In sharp contrast, the richest decile hold 87% of the world’s wealth, and the top percentile alone account for 48.2% of global assets,” said the annual report, now in its fifth year.

Eric Lichtblau: In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis (New York Times)

In the decades after World War II, the C.I.A. and other United States agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as Cold War spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government’s ties to some still living in America, newly disclosed records and interviews show.

Asher Schechter: Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn’t there (Haaretz)

Earlier this week, Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) released its annual statement for Rosh Hashanah. Filled with tidbits about Israel’s population, such as the official number of Israeli citizens (8,904,373) and how many births occurred during the outgoing Jewish year (176,230), a main attraction in PIBA’s annual publication is the list of most-popular baby names.
The year 5774 saw a stunning upset when it came to girls: Tamar dethroned Noa. Regarding boys, the most popular names stayed Yosef, Daniel and Uri.
But Yosef wasn’t actually the most popular baby name in Israel. That, as reported by Haaretz’s Ilan Lior last week, was in fact Mohammad.

Samir Amin: Contra Hart and Negri (Monthly Review) / Au sujet des thèses de Michael Hardt et d’Antonio Negri. Multitude ou prolétarisation ? (Mémoire des luttes)

The term multitude was first used in Europe, it seems, by the Dutch philosopher Spinoza, to whom Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri explicitly refer. It then designated the “common people” who were a majority in the cities of the Ancien Régime and deprived of participation in political power (reserved for the monarch and the aristocracy), economic power (reserved for property owners of feudal ancestry or for the nascent financial bourgeoisie, both urban and rural—including the rich peasants), and social power (reserved for the Church and its clerics). The status of the common people varied. In the city, they were artisans, small merchants, pieceworkers, paupers, and beggars; in the country, they were landless. The common people in the cities were restless and frequently exploded into violent insurrections. They were often mobilized by others—particularly the nascent bourgeoisie, the active component of the Third Estate in France—in their conflicts with the aristocracy…
We are, then, quite far from a step backward towards a diversification of statuses similar to that which characterized the multitude in the past. In fact, we are in the exact opposite situation. Before Hardt and Negri, Touraine had confused the new segmentation with the “end of the proletariat,” and in that vein, substituted the struggle of “social movements” (in the plural) specific to each of these segments in the new social reality for the struggle of the proletariat (in the singular).

Islamic State | New Cold War | War Propaganda | Palestine | Cuba | Bahrain

Patrick Cockburn: Isis consolidates (London Review of Books)

As the attention of the world focused on Ukraine and Gaza, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) captured a third of Syria in addition to the quarter of Iraq it had seized in June. The frontiers of the new Caliphate declared by Isis on 29 June are expanding by the day and now cover an area larger than Great Britain and inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark, Finland or Ireland. In a few weeks of fighting in Syria Isis has established itself as the dominant force in the Syrian opposition, routing the official al-Qaida affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, in the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor and executing its local commander as he tried to flee. In northern Syria some five thousand Isis fighters are using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army in Mosul to besiege half a million Kurds in their enclave at Kobani on the Turkish border. In central Syria, near Palmyra, Isis fought the Syrian army as it overran the al-Shaer gasfield, one of the largest in the country, in a surprise assault that left an estimated three hundred soldiers and civilians dead. Repeated government counter-attacks finally retook the gasfield but Isis still controls most of Syria’s oil and gas production. The Caliphate may be poor and isolated but its oil wells and control of crucial roads provide a steady income in addition to the plunder of war.

Tariq Ali, Patrick Cockburn: The Rise of ISIS and the Origins of the New Middle East War (CounterPunch)

The unity between the Sunni and Shia resistance to the Americans was always tentative, although taken very seriously by the Americans. I mean, the memoirs of American generals at the time said they were really worried that these two groups would unite in resisting the occupation. And it’s perhaps one of the many disasters to have happened to Iraq that they didn’t unite, that they remained sectarian, in fact remained more sectarian, on the Sunni side.

Peter Harling: IS back in business (Monde diplomatique)

The so-called Islamic State (IS) — the jihadist movement also known as ISIL or ISIS and by the derogatory acronym Da’ish in Arabic — now controls much of northeast Syria and northwest Iraq (1). In a region beset with so much confusion, it appears uniquely determined and self-assured. Despite its name, it is in no sense a new state, since it rejects the concept of borders and largely does without institutions. Yet IS tells us much about the Middle East — and especially about its genuine states — as well as about western foreign policy.

Robert Fisk: Bingo! Here’s another force of evil to be ‘vanquished’ (Independent)

Resurrection, reinvention and linguistics. Barack Obama did the lot. And now he’s taking America to war in Syria as well as Iraq. Oh yes, and he’s going to defeat Isis, its “barbarism”, “genocide”, its “warped ideology” – until the bad guys are “vanquished from the earth”. What happened to George W Bush?

Robert Fisk: Assad lures President Obama into his web (Independent)
Robert Fisk: Isis isn’t the first group to use the butcher’s knife as an instrument of policy. Nor will it be the last (Independent)

Serge Halimi: The new cold war / Nouvelle guerre froide (Monde diplmatique)

In 1980 Ronald Reagan expressed his idea of relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in one short sentence: “We win, they lose.” Twelve years later, his immediate successor at the White House, George H W Bush, was satisfied that the task had been accomplished: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognises one, sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America.” The cold war was officially at an end.
That period too is now over. Its death knell sounded on the day Russia had had enough of “losing” and realised that its ritual humiliation would never come to an end, with one neighbouring country after another being persuaded — or bribed — into joining an economic and military alliance against it.

Tom Parfitt, Gleb Pavlovsky: Putin’s World Outlook (New Left Review)

[This] interview…, conducted in January 2012 by Tom Parfitt, then working for the Guardian in Moscow, has never before been published. It is a remarkable document—arguably the most revealing single account of Putin’s vision of rule, and its roots, to have emerged so far. From late 1999 to 2011, Pavlovsky was a key adviser to Putin in the management of Russian opinion—one of the regime’s two leading ‘political technologists’, along with Vladislav Surkov.

Lee Fang: Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits? (Nation)

If you read enough news and watch enough cable television about the threat of the Islamic State, the radical Sunni Muslim militia group better known simply as IS, you will inevitably encounter a parade of retired generals demanding an increased US military presence in the region. They will say that our government should deploy, as retired General Anthony Zinni demanded, up to 10,000 American boots on the ground to battle IS. Or as in retired General Jack Keane’s case, they will make more vague demands, such as for “offensive” air strikes and the deployment of more military advisers to the region.
But what you won’t learn from media coverage of IS is that many of these former Pentagon officials have skin in the game as paid directors and advisers to some of the largest military contractors in the world. Ramping up America’s military presence in Iraq and directly entering the war in Syria, along with greater military spending more broadly, is a debatable solution to a complex political and sectarian conflict. But those goals do unquestionably benefit one player in this saga: America’s defense industry.

Nermeen Shaikh, Amy Goodman, Lee Fang: Conflicts of Interest Exposed for TV Guests Backing Military Action (Democracy Now)
AP: Anti-Islamic ads to appear on NYC transit (Haaretz)

Anti-Islamic ads will begin appearing on 100 New York City buses and two subway entrances next week, but transit officials have rejected an ad from the same group that includes the phrase “Killing Jews.” …
The agency says it rejected an ad with the quote “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah” because it could incite violence.

Robert Fisk: Israel’s ‘land for lives’ is theft. Pure and simple (Independent)

So a bit more of Palestine has slidden down the plughole. A thousand more acres of Palestinian land stolen by the Israeli government – for “appropriation” is theft, is it not? – and the world has made the usual excuses. The Americans found it “counter-productive” to peace, which is probably a bit less forceful than its reaction would be if Mexico were to bite off a 1,000-acre chunk of Texas and decided to build homes there for its illegal immigrants in the US. But this is “Palestine” (inverted commas more necessary than ever) and Israel has been getting away with theft, albeit not on quite this scale – it is the biggest land heist in 30 years – ever since it signed up to the Oslo agreement in 1993.

Gideon Levy: War? What war? Gaza gets forgotten in a hurry (Haaretz)

Even if we put aside the moral blindness in Israel, which wasn’t shocked by a single event during the fighting, it’s impossible to comprehend the complacency afterwards…
Gaza hasn’t forgotten. There’s a whole list of people who can never forget: the 1,500 orphaned children; the 3,000 wounded children; the 1,000 crippled children; the 110,000 residents still crowded in UNRWA shelters in inhumane conditions; the tenants of the 18,000 buildings destroyed or badly damaged, leaving 2.5 million tons of debris nobody knows what to do with; the 450,000 people without water and the 360,000 who, according to the World Health Organization, are suffering from PTSD after our bombardments. None of these people can be expected to forgive, and this isn’t the first time this has happened.

Michel Réal: The forgotten alliance (Monde diplomatique)

The USSR was central to the adoption of the UN plan to partition Palestine on 29 November 1947. Besides its own vote, it also delivered those of its satellites, with the (still unexplained) exception of Yugoslavia. It also provided Israel with the resources it needed most — people and arms…
Moscow also supported Israel in another aspect of its demographic battle: the homogenisation of its population, which led to the departure — mainly through expulsion — of over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs. The USSR absolved Israel of responsibility and blamed the British. In 1948 the Soviet Union voted against UN resolution 194 on the possible return of Palestinian refugees…
In this first phase, from 1941 to 1951, Israel received support from the USSR that went beyond its expectations — without having to sacrifice the backing of western nations, especially the US.
However, subsequent episodes caused discord and led to Russo-Israeli diplomatic relations being severed in February 1953…
Stalin’s death on 5 March 1953 ended the tensions between the countries and halted the campaign against Soviet Jews. Diplomatic relations were restored in July, but there was no return to the golden age of 1947-49, and the war of June 1967, in which Russia supported Egypt and its Arab allies, led to a second break in diplomatic relations. They were only restored in 1991, just a few months before the demise of the USSR.

Igor Delanoë: Unexpected allies (Monde diplomatique)

About 15% of Israel’s population have direct Russian roots, and the pragmatic alliance between the countries in trade and diplomacy is changing the balance of power in the region.

Zeev Sternhell: It’s the colonialism they hate, not Jews (Haaretz)

Most Europeans do not doubt the Jews’ right to an independent state, but they vehemently object to a reality in which we are keeping masses of people under occupation and consciously trampling their basic rights.

Emily Morris: Unexpected Cuba (New Left Review)

What is the verdict on Cuba’s economy, nearly a quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet bloc? The story generally told is a simple one, with a clear message. It describes a cyclical alternation of government policy between moments of pragmatic capitulation to market forces, which account for any progress, and periods of ideological rigidity and re-assertion of state control, which account for all economic difficulties.

Robert Fisk: Briton at the heart of Bahrain’s brutality rule (Independent)

IAN Stewart MacWalter Henderson has torturers on his staff. In the embattled state of Bahrain, he is the most feared of all secret policemen, the General Director of Security and head of the State Investigation Department, a 67-year-old ex-British police superintendent whose officers routinely beat prisoners, both in the basements of the SIS offices and in the al- Qalaa jail. Leaders of the Bahraini opposition believe he is the power behind the throne of Sheikh Issa bin Salman al-Khalifa, and they may well be right.

Rob Crawford: The CIA, the President, and the Senate’s Torture Report (CounterPunch)

Scotland | Ukraine | Palestine

George Monbiot: How the media shafted the people of Scotland (Guardian)

Perhaps the most arresting fact about the Scottish referendum is this: that there is no newspaper – local, regional or national, English or Scottish – that supports independence except the Sunday Herald. The Scots who will vote yes have been almost without representation in the media.
There is nothing unusual about this. Change in any direction, except further over the brink of market fundamentalism and planetary destruction, requires the defiance of almost the entire battery of salaried opinion. What distinguishes the independence campaign is that it has continued to prosper despite this assault.

Heiko Khoo: Scottish independence: an imperial implosion? (China.org.cn)

when the welfare state consensus collapsed at the end of the 1970s, and the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher declared war on the rights of the working class, public industries and public property were sold off and regional disparities came to mirror historical, cultural and national differences. A north-south economic and political divide became entrenched, the north voted Labour, the south, Conservative. This division was even stronger in Scotland. Under Tony Blair’s Labour government Scotland was granted considerable autonomy, which the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) used to good effect by maintaining free education and free medicine. This took place at a time when the rest of the U.K. saw these rights taken away and the Labour Party adopting political and economic policies to the right of the SNP. In this way, the national question became anchored in fundamental material differences in social politics. The present Conservative led coalition seeks to sweep away the public provision of social, welfare and health provision. Therefore, to many Scottish voters, it appears as if a vote for the independence of Scotland can build on, and advance, this more progressive political and social agenda.

Antonio Rondón García: La cara oculta del informe del desastre aéreo ucraniano (Granma)

El informe del Consejo de Seguridad holandés (OVV) sobre el desastre en Ucrania del Boeing-777-200 de Malysian Airlines, aparece limitado en sus conclusiones y con una cara oculta sobre las causas reales de ese hecho

Ali Abunimah: Palestinians in Gaza are still waiting for the siege to end (Electronic Intifada)

Israel’s assault – which it dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” – left at least 2,133 Palestinians dead and more than eleven thousand injured. More than 100,000 are permanently homeless as some 13 percent of Gaza’s housing stock – 44,300 housing units – was affected by the attack, with five percent rendered completely uninhabitable.

Is the PA stalling Gaza war crimes probe? (AlJazeera)
Fatou Bensouda: The truth about the ICC and Gaza (Guardian)

Under the laws of the Hague court, my office can only investigate alleged war crimes in Palestine if it grants us jurisdiction in its territory. It has not done so.

Asa Winstanley: Palestinian Authority foils new Gaza war crimes probe (Electronic Intifada)

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority last month blocked efforts to bring Israeli war crimes in Gaza before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Al Jazeera’s investigative unit has discovered.
The TV channel revealed yesterday the existence of a letter from the office of top ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (…) in which she recounts a private 5 August meeting with Riad Malki, the PA foreign minister.
It is difficult to read her account of the meeting as anything other than Malki obstructing the process of investigating Israeli war crimes in Gaza…
Since its inception in the early 1990s, the Palestinian Authority has been little more than a subcontractor for the Israeli occupation…
In May, Abbas notoriously declared that this relationship with Israel is “sacred” and would continue indefinitely, regardless of any move to accommodate Hamas in any PA unity government.

Rania Khalek: Israeli officer admits ordering lethal strike on own soldier during Gaza massacre (Electronic Intifada)

The civilian population in Gaza is “a partner of terror” that “gets what they choose,” the top commander of the Israeli army’s Givati Brigade told the Israeli press recently, after orchestrating some of the deadliest episodes of butchery visited upon the Gaza Strip this summer.
Colonel Ofer Winter also admitted to ordering the mass-bombardment of an area where an Israeli soldier was known to be in order to prevent his capture alive by Palestinian resistance fighters — an army policy known as the Hannibal Directive.

Palestine/Israel

42 NGOs urge world leaders to stop Israeli plans for ethnic cleansing in the West Bank (Middle East Monitor)

The joint statement is a response to Israeli government plans to “move Palestinian Bedouins out of their communities around Jericho, Ramallah, and Jerusalem”, including in so-called “E1”, an area that is a long-standing target for illegal settlement expansion.

Gili Cohen: Reservists from elite IDF intel unit refuse to serve over Palestinian ‘persecution’ (Haaretz)
Gideon Levy: Mutiny in the Israeli Stasi: exposing the occupation’s worst filth (Haaretz)

In contrast to the East German intelligence service, its Israeli successor targets not citizens of the state, but rather the Palestinians who are subject to its occupation. Anything may be done to them, using means the Stasi would have envied. Like the Stasi, it involves not only intelligence gathering and espionage, but also mechanisms to control, extort and exploit an entire nation. This is based on erecting an enormous army of collaborators and informers, recruited through the vicious exploitation of their weaknesses, needs, illnesses and sexual orientations.
Thanks to Unit 8200, an entire nation exists without the right to privacy. The great contribution of the new objectors is that they have told us about this. In their Arabic studies, they were taught all the forms of the Arabic word for “homosexual” – because they need it. They were required to find out about the sexual orientation, health and financial problems of tens of thousands of individuals. Perhaps there’s a nephew on Israel’s list of wanted terrorists, perhaps a cousin who’s wanted for questioning, offering an opportunity for extortion. Perhaps they’ll agree to talk about the next-door neighbor in exchange for a chemotherapy treatment; a report in return for surgery; snitching in exchange for an income boost; a bit of information in return for a night in Tel Aviv.

‘Any Palestinian is exposed to monitoring by the Israeli Big Brother’ (Guardian)

Testimonies from people who worked in the Israeli Intelligence Corps tell of a system where there were no boundaries

Amira Hass: Israel, a state of armed robbery (Haaretz)

The surprising thing is that some people are still making noises of surprise upon hearing of another successful act of armed robbery, known in bureaucratic terms as declaring a parcel of land to be state-owned. They seem astonished that the Defense Ministry has been made a priority when it comes to the state budget, and that education has suffered the largest government cutback.
Our regime has three foundations: grabbing land and driving out those who live upon it; nurturing the apparatus of bodyguards — the army, in the local argot — who secure the plunder; and crushing the welfare state while wiping out the principle of mutual civic responsibility.
If it did not have these three fundamental principles, it would not be our regime. But dealing with the details, the ad hoc amazement, the one-off surprise, makes us forget the big picture. It makes us forget that this is the regime.

Gideon Levy, Alex Levac: Carjackers in Israeli army uniform (Haaretz)

Of the private cars the IDF confiscated in the West Bank during the search for the three kidnapped yeshiva students this summer, only some have been returned – after payment of hefty sums.
In those days almost everything was allowed in that lawless land: During Operation Brother’s Keeper in June, the prelude to (and in large measure the cause of) Operation Protective Edge, the Israel Defense Forces ran amok in the West Bank.
Soldiers raided thousands of homes in the middle of the night and arrested nearly 500 Hamas activists, most of them political figures who had no connection to the kidnap and murder of the three Israeli yeshiva students. The soldiers also confiscated property. Often they took computers, sometimes cash, and now it emerges that they also took private cars as part of their war against terrorism.

Chaim Levinson: Peace Now: Land grab means to link Israel with West Bank, not just expand settlements (Haaretz)

Of the five villages whose land has been declared state land in the takeover, 1,155 dunams (289 acres) — more than a quarter of the land appropriated — belongs to Wadi Fukin. The expropriated land is east of the village, turning it into an enclave that could be surrounded by settlements. Since 1967, around three-quarters of the village’s land has been seized for settlement construction.

William James: U.K., France, Egypt denounce Israeli appropriation of West Bank land (AP/Haaretz)
Chaim Levinson: The forgery at the heart of West Bank land transactions (Haaretz)
Gideon Levy: It’s time for a diagnosis: Israel’s settlement disease is terminal (Haaretz)
AP: Israel committed war crimes in Gaza, Human Rights Watch investigation claims (Haaretz)
Roy (Chicky) Arad: The new Israeli left sounds pretty right-wing (Haaretz)
Gideon Levy: What type of right do you want? (Haaretz)

Between most of the political parties in Israel there is only one party line, and it is a line of conservatism and pretending.

U.K.’s Ken Loach calls for boycott of Israel-backed culture, sport, academia (Haaretz)

The British filmmaker Ken Loach has called for a boycott of all cultural and sporting events that Israel supports, saying Israel must become a pariah state. He also criticized anew the U.S. and the U.K. for supporting Israel, media reports say.

Call for arms embargo on Israel (Guardian/CPA)
64 public figures, 7 Nobel laureates, call for arms embargo on Israel (Haaretz)

Among the signators were Nobel peace laureates Desmond Tutu, Betty Williams, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Jody Williams, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Mairead Maguire and Rigoberto Menchu.
Also signing were academics Noam Chomsky and Rashid Khalidi, filmmakers Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, musicians Roger Waters and Brian Eno, writers Alice Walker and Caryl Churchill, and journalists John Pilger and Chris Hedges. Two Israelis, academics Ilan Pappe and Nurit Peled, signed the letter as well.

Amir Hetsroni: Israeli universities’ response to Gaza war may justify an academic boycott (Haaretz; via Google)

Attempts by Israeli universities to punish students and faculty who protested against the Gaza war were a profound challenge to those, like me, who had opposed the boycott of Israeli academia…
Hadassah College in Jerusalem and Western Galilee College in Acre suspended students or their scholarships who wrote that Israel’s activities in the Gaza Strip are war crimes. Hadassah College added a NIS 6,000 fine to the outright punishment. Presidents of Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University urged their students and faculty to show restraint in what they say. Ariel University [an Israeli establishment in the occupied West Bank, originally an outpost of Bar-Ilan University, chaired by Moshe Arens, former minister of defense and foreign affairs] – as one might have expected of an institute identified publicly as an academic outpost of the right-wing – warned students and faculty that any statement contradicting Zionist tenets violates the university’s disciplinary code and would be treated accordingly… A college that prohibits students from taking part in political protest is not an academic institute. A university that vetoes its faculty’s right to publish non-Zionist (not to say anti-Zionist) scholarship is not a university. In such cases an academic boycott might be an acceptable response – not because the institutes are placed in politically disputed land but since they show a lack of respect to the basic principles of science and democracy.

The reaction to this article was swift:
Yarden Skop: Dismissed Israeli professor claims political views behind Ariel University decision (Haaretz)
Yarden Skop: Ariel University professor given formal dismissal notice in contravention of regulations (Haaretz)

Prof. Amir Hetsroni insists that he is being dismissed for criticizing the lack of freedom of expression within Ariel University and other academic institutions

.

Daniel Lazare: Timothy Snyder’s Lies (Jacobin)

When is a bad book important? When it tackles an important topic, for one thing, something meaty and emotional such as, say, Nazism and the Holocaust. Another is when its arguments resonate, when they capture the imagination of a segment of the reading public and shape thinking in some significant way…
In Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, Hitler and Stalin are one and the same. And the partisans — Jewish fighters included — only encouraged German crimes.

Palestine | Iraq | Ukraine | Nuclear Era | Korea | USA

Yoav Bar: Lessons from the Gaza War (Free Haifa)

The Israelis say they could conquer Gaza, but they didn’t do it. In fact, they already did it twice, in 1956 and in 1967. When they withdrew from Gaza in 2005 it was without agreement, after they paid a heavy price in two Palestinian intifadas. The fact that Gaza was not occupied again is the combine result of the expected resistance to the act of occupation and the memories of the resistance over 38 years of continued occupation. Any way you count it, the resistance is what keeps Gaza free of direct occupation.

More articles on Palestine:
Serge Halimi: Unfair and unbalanced (Monde diplomatique)

For decades, we have been told that Israel is “responding” or “retaliating”. The story is always that of a peaceful little state, poorly protected, without a single powerful ally, which manages to win through, sometimes without a scratch. And the confrontation always starts at the precise moment when Israel appears as the victim, shocked by misfortune — an abduction, an attack, an act of aggression, an assassination. A commentator will express indignation that rockets are being fired at civilians; then another will argue that the Israeli “response” was much more murderous. Score, one all, ball still in play.
And everything else, everything that matters, is forgotten: the military occupation of the West Bank, the economic blockade of Gaza, the colonisation of the land (1). News channels never take the time to go into details… How many people know, for instance, that between the Six Day war and the Iraq war, between 1967 and 2003, Israel failed to comply with more than a third of all UN Security Council resolutions issued, many of them concerning the colonisation of Palestinian land? A simple ceasefire in Gaza would therefore mean perpetuating a recognised breach of international law.

Alain Gresh: Gaza: Palestine first and last (Monde diplomatique)

More than a thousand Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, against some 40 Israelis, and the numbers are rising. But Gaza, the birthplace of Palestinian nationalism, has a long history of resistance.

Slavoj Žižek: Rolling in underground tunnels (Mondoweiss)

Today in Gaza, the Israeli military is fighting not only in underground tunnels, but also against the natives of the land. They are fighting not only against Hamas, but also against Palestine itself. They –alongside the West– are fighting against a nation that they have tried to expel from the land for almost 70 years now. They are fighting not only because of these tunnels, but also and precisely to conquer the land within which the tunnels were dug. The refugee camps in Gaza are living evidence of this enormous land robbery…

Special Focus: Gaza under Attack (Institute for Palestine Studies; a collection of recent articles)
Yitzhak Laor: The eternal cycle: Death and destruction in Gaza (Haaretz)

Immediately after the occupation of the territories, Israeli political and intelligence officials began to debate the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Gaza Strip, on the assumption that it would remain under Israeli control: to El-Arish in Sinai, to Iraq, to Morocco…
The Gaza Strip was a thorn in the Zionist imaginaire. No one knew what to do with it…
Eshkol said: “I want them all to go, even if they go to the moon.” …
Occupation engenders resistance. Cruel occupation engenders fierce resistance, and terrorism as well…
Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured in shelling and bombardments since 2004 in Operation Rainbow (May), Operation Days of Penitence (September-October), Operation Summer Rains (June-November 2006) and Operation Hot Winter (February-March 2008). Those with a short memory, who live only the last war, remember at least the atrocity the Olmert government brought to a peak in Operation Cast Lead (winter of 2008-09). There was never any real link between the events and the “responses” of the Israel Defense Forces. They were always opportunities for rampages…
The crueler the oppression became, the more extreme the resistance that followed.

Evo Morales endorses BDS, calls Israel a terrorist state (BDS Movement) / Más de 500 personalidades del mundo condenan ofensiva de Israel (Jornada)
Yitzhak Laor: Eliminating the Palestinians as a political entity (Haaretz)

The [Israeli] government is intent on destroying every political entity in the West Bank and turning the Palestinians into a marginalized, fragmented people.

Holocaust survivors condemn Israel for ‘Gaza massacre,’ call for boycott (Haaretz)

In response to Elie Wiesel advertisement comparing Hamas to Nazis, 327 Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants publish New York Times ad accusing Israel of ‘ongoing massacre of the Palestinian people.’ …
“We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

Gideon Levy, Alex Levac: Behind the IDF shooting of a 10-year-old boy (Haaretz)

It’s not clear why an Israeli soldier shot Khalil Anati in the Al-Fawar refugee camp. What is clear is that the shooter didn’t stay around long enough to offer assistance, or to watch the boy die…
Khalil Anati was 10 years and eight months old and came from the Al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the West Bank, when he was killed. An Israeli soldier had opened the door of his armored jeep, picked up his rifle, aimed it at the upper body of the boy, who was running with his back to the soldier, and cut him down with one bullet, fired from a distance of a few dozen meters.

Stephanie Nebehay, Allyn Fisher-Ilan: Palestinian children tortured, used as shields by Israel: U.N. (Reuters)

Palestinian children in the Gaza and the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, are routinely denied registration of their birth and access to health care, decent schools and clean water, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said.
“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report.

Palestinian teen: I was used as a human shield in Gaza (+972)
Gideon Levy: The difference between children / ישראל מתחבאת מאחורי דניאל (Haaretz)

After the first child, nobody batted an eye; after the 50th not even a slight tremor was felt in a plane’s wing; after the 100th, they stopped counting; after the 200th, they blamed Hamas. After the 300th child they blamed the parents. After the 400th child, they invented excuses; after (the first) 478 children nobody cares.
Then came our first child and Israel went into shock…
An iron wall of denial and inhumanness protects the Israelis from the shameful work of their hands in Gaza…
We must admit the truth: Palestinian children in Israel are considered like insects. This is a horrific statement, but there is no other way to describe the mood in Israel in the summer of 2014.

John Jackson: What if Hamas fired rockets at Britain? (+972)

When Israeli spokesmen defend the IDF’s actions in Gaza by asking what you would do if rockets rained down on your home, the example of Northern Ireland can serve as one response.

PFLP salutes the Black struggle in the US: The empire will fall from within (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine)

Comrade Khaled Barakat said in an interview with the PFLP media outlets that “Police brutality, oppression and murder against Black people in the U.S., and against Latinos, Arabs and Muslims, people of color and poor people, has never been merely ‘mistakes’ or ‘violations of individual rights’ but rather are part and parcel of an integral and systematic racism that reflects the nature of the political system in the U.S.”
“Every time a crime is committed against Black people, it is explained away as an ‘isolated incident’ but when you see the massive number of ‘isolated incidents’ the reality cannot be hidden – this is an ongoing policy that remains virulently racist and oppressive. The U.S. empire was built on the backs of Black slavery and the genocide of Black people – and upon settler colonialism and the genocide of indigenous people,” said Barakat. “The people of Ferguson are resisting, in a long tradition of Black resistance, and we support their legitimate resistance to racist oppression.”

Amid fierce debate, members of German think tank take a stand on Gaza (MondoWeiss) / Erklärung einiger RLS-Stipendiat_innen, Ehemaliger, Vertrauensdozent_innen und Mitarbeiter_innen der Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung zum Gaza-Krieg (Inamo)

Justin Raimondo: ISIS: Made in Washington, Riyadh – and Tel Aviv (Information Clearing House)

ISIS didn’t just arise out of the earth like some Islamist variation on the fabled Myrmidons: they needed money, weapons, logistics, propaganda facilities, and international connections to reach the relatively high level of organization and lethality they seem to have achieved in such a short period of time. Where did they get these assets?
None of this is any secret: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the rest of the oil-rich Gulf states have been backing them all the way. Prince Bandar al-Sultan, until recently the head of the Kingdom’s intelligence agency – and still the chief of its National Security Council – has been among their biggest backers. Qatar and the Gulf states have also been generous in their support for the Syrian jihadists who were too radical for the US to openly back. Although pressure from Washington – only recently exerted – has reportedly forced them to cut off the aid, ISIS is now an accomplished fact – and how can anyone say that support has entirely evaporated instead of merely going underground?

Volodymyr Ishchenko: Ukraine’s Fractures (New Left Review)

I wouldn’t claim that Ukraine is more of a democracy than the other countries—better to say it’s a more competitive authoritarian regime. The political system that emerged in Ukraine was from the outset more pluralistic than those of, say, Russia, Kazakhstan or Belarus. One of the main reasons for this was the country’s cultural diversity: there were very significant regional differences between the east and the west, and these were reflected in electoral outcomes from the 1990s onwards. Any candidate who won the presidential elections would not be seen as legitimate by almost half the population, who would immediately voice strong opposition to him. The strength of regional identities also tended to politicize socio-economic questions very quickly. This was one reason why the neoliberal reforms were not carried out as rapidly as in Russia, for example—the political forces behind them were unable to build up the same kind of momentum. The difference is also apparent in Ukraine’s constitutional system, which was much less presidential than those of the other post-Soviet states. In Russia, 1993 was clearly a crucial moment, when Yeltsin imposed his will on parliament by force, sending the army into Moscow. Nothing like this happened in Ukraine.

Noam Chomsky: How Many Minutes to Midnight? On the Nuclear Era and Armageddon (Asia-Pacific Journal) / 「午前0時まで、あと何分?」~核時代とアルマゲドン (原子力発電 原爆の子)

If some extraterrestrial species were compiling a history of homo sapiens, they might well break their calendar into two eras: BNW (before nuclear weapons) and NEW, the nuclear weapons era. The latter era of course opened on August 6 1945, the first day of the countdown to what may be the inglorious end of this strange species, which attained the intelligence to discover effective means to destroy itself, but, so the evidence suggests, not the moral and intellectual capacity to control their worst instincts.

“His latest book, Masters of Mankind, will be published soon by Haymarket Books,” they say. Actually, the German translation came out in March already: Die Herren der Welt. Vienna: Promedia, 2014.

Mel Gurtov: Time for the U.S. to Engage North Korea (Asia-Pacific Journal)

Sticks and carrots won’t get North Korea to give up its nukes. But a willingness to negotiate a peace treaty and provide security guarantees might.

Jordan Sargent: Cop Pens Touching Op-Ed: Do Everything I Say and I Won’t Kill You (Gawker)

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.

Palestine/Israel | Ukraine | USA

Amira Hass: How many Palestinian civilians is a single militant worth? (Haaretz)

As of Thursday, 76.8 percent of the 2,090 fatalities documented by Mizan have been civilians. The UN team’s preliminary examination showed Wednesday that 71 percent of the fatalities — 1,434 out of 1,999 — are civilians.

Death Foretold: The inevitable outcome of bombing homes and inhabited areas in Gaza (B’Tselem)

From 8 July 2014, when the recent bout of fighting in Gaza began, through 10 August 2014, at least 1,767 residents of the Gaza Strips were killed. This according to initial figures B’Tselem collected in the course of the fighting. This number includes 431 individuals under the age of 18 (including one of whom it is known that he took part in the hostilities); 200 women under the age of 60; and 85men and women over 60.
To the best of B’Tselem’s knowledge, at least 70 residential buildings were bombed or shelled, with three or more relatives from a single family killed in each case. A total of 542 persons, mostly minors and women, were killed in these 70 homes: 242 minors; 126 women under the age of 60; and 25 men and women over 60.
Airstrikes on homes formed a major part of the policy implemented by the Israeli military from the start of this bout of fighting in Gaza…
As part of that policy, homes were bombed every day, more and more civilians were killed and entire families were obliterated. Even compared to previous bouts of fighting in Gaza, the number and frequency of incidents this time around was unusually high, with many people killed each time, mostly civilians who did not take part in the hostilities…
The grave consequences lend a hollow ring to Israel’s repeated claims that it has no intention of harming civilians. The massive bombardments of civilian locations were the rule rather than the exception in the last operation, routinely killing dozens of people a day. Whoever authorized the strikes must have known that they would result in many civilian fatalities, yet the bombardments continued day after day and even intensified. Authorizing attacks from the air, sea and artillery fire at heavily populated civilian areas and specific homes, constitutes willfully ignoring the inevitable killing of civilians – men, women and children – who did not take part on in the hostilities.

AP: UN: Gaza reconstruction 3 times more dire than after 2009 war (Haaretz)

Serry said approximately 16,800 housing units have been destroyed or severely damaged, affecting some 100,000 Palestinians. In addition, he said an estimated 108 installations belonging to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees were damaged along with the Gaza branch of his own office.

Amira Hass: Israel bars Amnesty, Human Rights Watch workers from Gaza (Haaretz)
Nir Hasson, Yaniv Kubovich: Israel Police’s war against Arab protesters (Haaretz)

Some 1,500 [anti-war] protesters were arrested between July 2 and August 6. Over 650 criminal records were opened and more than 350 people were charged … none are Jewish. Arabs are charged, Jews aren’t.

Jeff Halper: Globalizing Gaza (CounterPunch)

Operation Protective Edge was not merely a military assault on a primarily civilian population. As in its previous “operations” (Cast Lead in 2008-9 and Pillar of Defense in 2012), it was also part of an ongoing assault on international humanitarian law (IHL) by a highly coordinated team of Israeli lawyers, military officers, PR people and politicians, led by (no less) a philosopher of ethics. It is an effort not only to get Israel off the hook for massive violations of human rights and international law, but to help other governments overcome similar constraints when they embark as well on “asymmetrical warfare,” “counterinsurgency” and “counter-terrorism” against peoples resisting domination. It is a campaign that Israel calls “lawfare” and had better be taken seriously by us all.

Gidi Weitz: Signs of fascism in Israel reached new peak during Gaza op, says renowned scholar (Haaretz)

Israel Prize laureate and renowned scholar fears the collapse of Israeli democracy, and compares the current atmosphere with that of 1940s’ France. The time we have left to reverse this frightening trend is running out, he warns…
“What we’ve seen here in the past few weeks is absolute conformism on the part of most of Israel’s intellectuals. They’ve just followed the herd. By intellectuals I mean professors and journalists. The intellectual bankruptcy of the mass media in this war is total. It’s not easy to go against the herd, you can easily be trampled. But the role of the intellectual and the journalist is not to applaud the government. Democracy crumbles when the intellectuals, the educated classes, toe the line of the thugs or look at them with a smile. People here say, ‘It’s not so terrible, it’s nothing like fascism – we have free elections and parties and a parliament.’ Yet, we reached a crisis in this war, in which, without anyone asking them to do so, all kinds of university bodies are suddenly demanding that the entire academic community roll back its criticism.”

Noam Sheizaf: בואו לא נשתמש במלים “פאשיזם” ו”דמוקרטיה” יותר לעולם (Shicha Mekomit) / Let’s stop using the terms ‘fascism’ and ‘democracy’ from now on (972mag)
Ilan Lior: Demonstrators face off outside Jewish-Arab wedding (Haaretz)

Earlier in the day, the court refused to prohibit the protest outside the wedding hall where the mixed Muslim-Jewish celebrated their recent marriage, and ordered protesters to remain at least 200 meters from the venue … The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s court issued the ruling after the couple applied for an injunction to stop the demonstration…
The protesters shouted racist and threatening slogans such as “Death to leftists,” and waved Israeli flags and blew the shofar. They carried signs saying such things as “Daughter of Israel to the people of Israel,” and “Assimilation is a Holocaust.”

Patrick Cockburn: The secret report that helps Israel hide facts (Independent)

Chris Marsden: Still no evidence of Russia’s alleged military incursion into Ukraine (World Socialist Web Site)

If reports from the Guardian and the Telegraph are to be believed, experienced journalists stood by and watched Russian military vehicles enter Ukraine without taking a photograph to record the event.

Niles Williamson: Why have the media and Obama administration gone silent on MH17? (World Socialist Web Site)

The deafening silence of the US media and government about the investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 one month ago reeks of a cover-up.

Speculation on flight MH17 picked up by Malaysian media:
Peter Haisenko: Shocking Analysis of the ‘Shooting Down’ of Malaysian MH17 (Anderwelt)
Robert Parry: Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts (Consortium News)
Haris Hussain: US analysts conclude MH17 downed by aircraft (New Straits Times)

Intelligence analysts in the United States had already concluded that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by an air-to-air missile, and that the Ukrainian government had had something to do with it.
This corroborates an emerging theory postulated by local investigators that the Boeing 777-200 was crippled by an air-to-air missile and finished off with cannon fire from a fighter that had been shadowing it as it plummeted to earth.

‘MH17 unlikely shot by fighter jet’ (Star)

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is having none of the allegation that Flight MH17 was shot down by a fighter jet.
“In my personal capacity as Defence Minister and from what I have seen, I believe it’s impossible that an air-to-air missile was used to shoot down the plane,” he said yesterday.

Jesse Jackson: There is a Ferguson Near You (CounterPunch)

Ferguson is a suburb of St Louis that is two-thirds African American. Its 53-person police force has only three African Americans. Its mayor and five of six of its city council members are white. Its seven member all-white school board has just closed the school that Michael Brown graduated from.

Glenn Greenwald: The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson (Intercept)
Heather Digby Parton: Warrior cops on steroids: How post-9/11 hysteria created a policing monster (Salon)
Rania Khalek: Israel-trained police “occupy” Missouri after killing of black youth (Electronic Intifada)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race (Time)

Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it’s about class warfare and how America’s poor are held back…

Palestine | Libya | Ukraine | Thailand

Harriet Sherwoo,d Hazem Balousha: The world stands disgraced’ – Israeli shelling of school kills at least 15 (Guardian)
Yousef Al-Helou: World watches idly as Israel bombs Gaza school and market (Electronic Intifada)
Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Pedro Almodovar denounce Israel’s ‘genocide’ in Gaza (Haaretz)

Dozens of stars from Spain’s cultural scene have added their names to an open letter blasting Israel’s Gaza operation, and denouncing Israel’s actions as “genocide.”
In the letter, which was published on Monday, Oscar-winners Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, and the feted Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, were joined by a long list of names, in calling for the European Union to condemn “the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

Bardem und Cruz werfen Israel “Völkermord” vor (Spiegel)
Malte Daniljuk: Internationale Künstler fordern Handeln gegen “Völkermord” in Gaza (amerika21)
Here’s the predictable reaction:
Shmuley Boeteach: Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are anti-Semites (Jerusalem Post)

Attempts to stifle internal dissent:
Lahav Harkov: Ethics Committee bans Zoabi from Knesset for six months (Jerusalem Post)

[A] Knesset Channel poll found that 89 percent of Jewish Israelis think Zoabi’s citizenship should be revoked, while 10% oppose such a move.

Lahav Harkov: Gal-On slams Zoabi suspension from Knesset as ‘draconian’ (Jerusalem Post)

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said the Ethics Committee was behaving outrageously.
“Should a committee that is supposed to guard the rights of the minority be allowed to suspend someone for half a year? Is that not draconian? Are you crazy? That is silencing the opposition,” she complained.

MK Liberman: Zoabi Should Be Kicked Out of Israel (Arutz Sheva)

Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, responded on his Facebook page to the announcement that MK Hanin Zoabi was suspended from the Knesset for the next six months.
“It is not enough to distance Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset for half a year; she should be deported from Israel to Qatar, and join the ranks of the other traitor from her party, Azzami Bashara, who already fled to the region.”

Aeyal Gross: With Zoabi’s suspension, Knesset moves toward fascism (Haaretz)

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided not to open criminal proceedings against MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) for saying that the kidnappers of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel weren’t terrorists. Weinstein noted that in that same interview she voiced her objection to the kidnapping, creating a “real doubt” about whether her statement broke the law; moreover, he said, indictments that restrict speech should be rare. But he added that his decision dealt only with the criminal aspects, and not the administrative or ethical ones…
Knesset members believe there’s only one permissible view of what constitutes the good of the state, and not only does the majority determine what it is, but it also tries to prevent anyone with a different view from expressing it…
One can disagree with Zoabi’s statement, but it was legal. Since she didn’t voice support for the abduction, she wasn’t supporting terror. Nor did another statement cited by the committee, one in favor of “popular resistance,” constitute a call for violence; as Zoabi has stressed repeatedly, it’s a call for nonviolent resistance…
The last Knesset also stripped Zoabi of some of her parliamentary privileges, including her diplomatic passport…
The committee was used to delegitimize certain views, while not imposing sanctions on other MKs who made offensive statements – like Avigdor Lieberman, who called for boycotting Arab businesses, or Miri Regev, who called asylum seekers a “cancer.” The severity of the punishment also bolsters this contention. When former MK Menachem Porush termed Justice Mishael Cheshin “a pig,” the committee made do with a reprimand, and when former MK Aryeh Eldad said that anyone who cedes territory deserves death, he was suspended for just one day.

Or Kashti: Israeli university rebukes professor who expressed sympathy for both Israeli, Gazan victims (Haaretz)

Bar Ilan University students, faculty and administrators are up in arms over a law professor’s email to his students that opened with an expression of sympathy for all victims of the Israel-Gaza war, implicitly reminding them that the overwhelming majority of those victims are Gazans.
Prof. Hanoch Sheinman’s email was sent to reassure his second-year law students that because the security situation had disrupted many students’ routines, there would be an additional date scheduled for his course’s final exam. Sheinman opened the email, however, by saying that he hoped the message “finds you in a safe place, and that you, your families and those dear to you are not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or were forced to leave their homes during, or as a direct result of, the violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip and its environs.”

Bar-Ilan University’s McCarthyist values (Haaretz)

The McCarthyism spreading in Israel over the past few weeks is now starting to eat away at the country’s academic institutions. A brief preface to a technical announcement sent to students by a law professor at Bar-Ilan University set off a public storm, a demand for an apology and a condemnation by the university.

Aron Dónzis: Academic rebuked for expressing sympathy for Gaza victims (Times of Israel)
Pierre Heumann: Die Angst der Intellektuellen (Handelsblatt)
More articles:
Blog post advocating ‘Gaza genocide’ removed from Times of Israel website (Haaretz)

The Times of Israel and the 5 Towns Jewish Times removed a blog post from their websites calling for the consideration of genocide as an option in the Gaza conflict. The Times of Israel also dropped the blogger.
In his blog post, titled “When genocide is permissible,” Yochanan Gordon called for a consideration of the argument that Israel would never obtain quiet until it had committed genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Rania Khalek: Israel uses Palestinians as human shields but US lawmakers condemn Hamas (Electronic Intifada)
Stephanie Westbrook: Warplane delivery makes Italy complicit in Israeli crimes (Electronic Intifada)
Ali M. Latifi: Germany remains silent on massacre of its citizens in Gaza (Electronic Intifada)
Philip Weiss: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis (Mondoweiss)

Nabila Ramdani: Gaddafi has gone but Libya is more dangerous than ever, thanks to the west (Guardian)

Манифест Народного Фронта Освобождения Украины, Новороссии и Прикарпатской Руси (Радиостанция «Эхо Москвы»)
Man­i­fest der Volks­be­freiungs­front der Ukraine, Neu­rus­s­lands und der rus­sis­chen Karpaten (Linke Zeitung)

Andrew MacGregor Marshall: Thailand’s Military Government Thinks John Oliver Is a Threat to Its Monarchy (Vice News)

[T]he junta that seized power in May is paranoid about Oliver’s activities after he mocked the government and made fun of Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn during the June 22 episode of his HBO show…
While discussing Thailand’s draconian lèse majestè law, which punishes anyone mocking the royal family with three to 15 years in jail, Oliver showed a brief clip from leaked footage of a birthday party beside a swimming pool featuring the crown prince and his wife, who is shown topless. In the footage, the royal couple blow out candles on the birthday cake with their pet poodle Foo Foo, who holds the rank of air chief marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force. The crown prince’s wife is later seen lying on the floor at her husband’s feet, posing with a piece of cake.
“And you’re telling me they’re not supposed to make fun of that?” Oliver asked. “That’s entrapment!”