The US/China/France/UK/Israel “Scramble for Africa” vie for “Humanitarian” Honors in Nigeria

[IRecent years have seen the insertion of imperialist forces and inter-imperialist hegemonic claims into every corner of the world, under the guise of "humanitarianism" or "disaster capitalism."  The US has been most prominently displayed in this practice, having honed the method as a public doctrine after failing the "winning hearts and minds" test in the Vietnam war, and then doing medical rescues in the period of recovering from the so-called "Vietnam Syndrome" (ie, reversing the functional anger and opposition to imperialist wars).  In recent years, as the world imperialist system has become more crisis-ridden and internally contentious, other imperial powers have entered the "humanitarian imperialist" contest as well.  Today, the new "scramble for Africa" is focused on the struggle to rescue the Nigerian girls abducted by the diabolical and malevolent "Boko Haram" gang which grew in the vacuum of elite corruption and sectarian power, and mass poverty in Nigeria, which are the fruits of colonialism and neo-colonialism, and of a regime that cannot or will not keep Nigerian people out of harms way.  The US has drones from its nearby drone base in Niger, and some troops and "advisors" from AFRICOM; France has some forces on the ground, a legacy from the French colonial (and more recent neo-colonial) wars in neighboring countries; Britain has some surveillance planes; Israel has sent Special Forces commandos/shock troops, at Goodluck Jonathon's invitation; and China, not one to be left out or to forget their massive recent Nigerian investments, has sent a PLA frigate, and given a new satellite to Nigeria to run their media and tele-communications and surveillance ops.  See the 4 articles below for more self-determination-breaking-news on these opportunist/imperialist relief efforts from the US, China, Israel.  --  Frontlines ed.]

Israel’s Colonial Conquest at Mexican Book Fair Draws Protests

Protest Israel’s honoured status at FIL!

Published on 12 November 2013
Written by Connie Hackbarth, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

 Israel was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mxIsrael was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mx

Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), slated for 30 November – 8 December, selected Israel as its guest of honour for this year’s event. A hasbara dream for Israel, the fair’s guest of honour “brings to the city its publishing industry and literary presence, as well as the best of its culture, including the performing and visual arts, music, cinema, gastronomy and folklore.” “Each night,” the Fair’s website notes “the Guest of Honour offers a performance at FIL’s Foro as well as several performing venues throughout the city that host events in an effort to display and achieve a transforming experience for the public.”

Prominent intellectuals in Mexico publicly condemned the selection of Israel as guest of honour, writing in the Mexican press that the creation of Israel “caused the tragedy of the Palestinian people, condemned to exile, oppression and dispossession…Coexistence was replaced by a state founded on ethnic and cultural exclusion which has denied the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a state and a territory.”

Signatories of the statement include Néstor Braunstein, an Argentine exile in Mexico and one of Latin America’s most prominent psychoanalysts, and Margit Frenk, the daughter of Jewish German refugees in Mexico and world expert in Spanish literature and Miguel Cervantes. 

Israel understands the importance of this honoured position, which according to fair organisers has over the years “consolidated the Book Fair’s international and multicultural character.” Israeli President Shimon Peres himself will be present to open the Israeli pavilion.

Statement signatories requested that a “pluralistic and representative roundtable on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” be conducted during this year’s fair, and that Palestine be invited as the honoured guest in 2015. It is unclear at this stage if the fair organisers have responded positively to this public request.

Continue reading

The Zionist Threat to “Take Alice Walker Out”

“Alice Walker’s New Book Makes Her the Zionists’ Target”Smearing Alice Walker
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT, in CounterPunch, June 26, 2013
Alice Walker

Alice Walker

In the comments section of a recent online article in the right wing New York Jewish publication, Algemeiner, not to be confused with the Frankfurter Allgemeine but conceivably with Der Sturmer, there was an argument over whether or not the “Mossad should deal with” Alice Walker as punishment for the critical comments directed towards Israel and American Jewish supporters of Israel in her latest book, “The Cushion in the Road” which, we can assume, none of those commenting had read.

All it took to set off the threat and a stream of racist venom against the 69 year African-American author was an inflammatory headline in Algemeiner’s June 19th edition:“ADL Blasts Anti-Israel Author Walker: ‘She is ‘unabashedly infected with Anti-Semitism’” followed by an article in the same vein.

As could be anticipated from the headline, the story featured a statement by Anti-Defamation League director, Abe Foxman:

“Alice Walker has sunk to new lows with essays that remove the gloss of her anti-Israel activism to reveal someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism.

“She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before.  Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions that Israel is committing the greatest atrocity in the history of the world.”

According to an ADL press release, Walker’s book “devotes 80 pages to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, often making comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, denigrating Judaism and Jews, and suggesting that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state.”

To make the point, the ADL includes four examples. Let’s look at one of them:

“Walker analogizes the Palestinians’ situation with the civil rights era and discrimination against Blacks in the American South.  She writes: ‘It is because I recognize the brutality with which my own multibranched ancestors have been treated that I can identify the despicable, lawless, cruel, and sadistic behavior that has characterized Israel’s attempts to erase a people, the Palestinians, from their own land.’”

In case the inner racists of its readers hadn’t been stirred up enough by Foxman’s rant, the Algemeiner reporter added that “Walker has a history of making extreme anti-Israel statements. In June 2012 she refused to allow an Israeli company to publish a Hebrew edition of her novel, ‘The Color Purple.’ Most recently, Walker wrote a letter calling on the singer-songwriter Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming July 4th concert appearance in Tel Aviv.”

“In her book,” the article concludes, “Walker accuses Israel of ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘cruelty and diabolical torture.’” In so doing, it should be noted, she is simply observing the same phenomena that a number of dissident Israelis have previously noted. Continue reading

US / Israel: Behind the Mask of “Human Rights” — Spies for Repression

ADL Spies
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT

“[T]he Anti-Defamation League for many years has maintained a very important, confidential investigative coverage of Arab activities and propaganda….Our information, in addition to being essential for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both the United States State Department and the Israeli government. All data have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to each that we were the source.”

–  Letter from Benjamin R. Epstein, National Director, Anti-Defamation League to Saul Joftes, Executive Secretary, B’nai B’rith, July 7, 1961.

Those were the days when snooping usually meant digging through garbage cans, checking other people’s mailboxes, and primitive phone tapping. How the Anti-Defamation League is doing it today one can only imagine.

Over the last three days of April, the ADL celebrated its 100th anniversary in Washington DC in high style with Vice President Joe Biden the featured speaker at its Centennial Gala dinner on April 30 and Attorney General Eric Holder doing the obligatory genuflecting the day before.

Standing next to the ADL’s ubiquitous current national director, Abe Foxman, Biden told the one thousand paying guests, “You have become the conscience of this country, no matter what the issue. You have been a pillar of the Jewish community, but you reach out and you have reached out your embrace for all communities.”

For hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals the ADL’s embrace has been too close for comfort and “unconscionable” would be a term more befitting the organization’s activities. What is definitely in order is a reminder that this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the exposure of a nation-wide spying operation run by the ADL that went back at least five decades. Continue reading

“Israel leads global drone exports” (and marketing hype for war crime conspiracies) “as demand rises”

[For the other side of the Israeli/repressive munitions story, which AP will never disclose, see http://israelglobalrepression.wordpress.com/ where you can download the important booklet, "Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression" in English or Spanish.  And for more information on UAV/drone warfare, see http://www.livingunderdrones.org, http://droneswatch.org/, "People & Power - Attack of the Drones: Al Jazeera Documentary" (http://youtu.be/SdQvF5xmKL4), and the recent Frontlines posting  (http://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/india-uav-proves-ineffective-in-anti-maoist-operations/).  All this runs counter to the official US government story: "The US publicly describes its drone program in terms of its unprecedented ability to 'distinguish … effectively between an al Qaeda terrorist and innocent civilians,' and touts its missile-armed drones as capable of conducting strikes with 'astonishing' and 'surgical' precision." --  Frontlines ed.]

BEN-GURION AIRPORT, Israel – The Associated Press, 7 June 2013

Israel’s long record of using drones in its region of conflict has turned it into a dominant force in the industry, as the worldwide demand for the morally criticized systems has been soaring”

Drones are seen in a hangar at Israel Aerospace Industries.

Israel has emerged as the world’s leading exporter of the aircraft, putting it in a key position. Global spending on the technology is expected to jump from an estimated $6.6 billion this year to $11.4 billion in 2022, according to the Teal Group. AP photo

In an expansive hangar in central Israel, workers toil on one of the world’s most contentious aircraft, fitting dozens of drones with advanced sensors, cameras and lasers before they are shipped to militaries worldwide to perform highly sensitive tasks.Whereas drones are often criticized elsewhere for being morally and legally objectionable, in Israel they are a source of pride. Israel – a pioneer of drone technology – has emerged as the world’s leading exporter of the aircraft and its accessories, putting it in a strong position as the industry continues to grow.

A report produced by U.S. consulting firm Frost & Sullivan determined earlier this year that Israel is now the largest exporter of unmanned aerial systems, surmounting aerospace giants in the U.S. The report said that from 2005 to 2012, Israel exported some $4.6 billion worth of systems, including aircraft, payloads, operating systems and command and control caravans. U.S. overseas sales for the same time period were between $2 and $3 billion, the report said. Continue reading

Cruelty of Israel’s Cast Lead assault captured by new documentary

Daryl Meador, The Electronic Intifada, 6 June 2013

WBoy leans against fence with destroyed homes in backgroundhere Should the Birds Fly, the new documentary directed and narrated by Fida Qishta, begins with chilling footage of Israeli bulldozers destroying houses in Rafah in 2004. Qishta, a native of Rafah, the city in the south of the Gaza Strip, watched her parents’ house of 30 years crumble under the bulldozers. As it was destroyed, her father told her and her family to leave and keep walking. “He feared if our eyes took in the sight, our hearts would be filled with hate,” Qishta says.

The young woman channeled the intense anger and frustration felt from this episode, and many others caused by the Israeli blockade, to create a touching film that reveals many of the daily injustices in Gaza.

Qishta began her career as a wedding videographer. After becoming comfortable with the camera, she began to film her surroundings and eventually accompanied human rights observers to document their work.

Much of the first half of the film features scenes of everyday life for Palestinians in Gaza. Qishta left the Gaza Strip in 2006 to visit Europe; when she returned she was forced to wait for three weeks at the border. She filmed the time she spent waiting to re-enter her home.

Shots of the border crossing terminal show tired men, women and children as they waited indefinitely without being offered beds or food.

Targeted by snipers

The documentary visits the farming village of Khozaa, which lies in the Israeli-designated “buffer zone,” land near the boundary with Israel that Palestinians are forbidden from entering. The land, once fertile farmland, is frequently targeted by Israeli sniper fire when farmers attempt to tend it.

The documentary follows farmers as they are accompanied by international activists and try to work the land. Included in this scene is footage of International Solidarity Movement volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni, who dedicated much of his life to working in Gaza and was murdered there in 2011.

Arrigoni stands up against the faraway Israeli soldiers who are shooting at the farmers and yells into a bullhorn, “Stop shooting. We are unarmed.” The shooting continues. Continue reading

French railroad merges racial profiling and islamophobia during welcome of Israeli president

Black workers ‘banned from Gare du Nord during Israeli president visit’

French President Francois Hollande receives President of Israel Shimon Peres at Elysee Palace. It was on this trip that black and African rail workers were banned for the arrival of Mr Peres at Gare du Nord station in Paris because they might have been mistaken for Muslims

Black and African rail workers were banned when President of Israel Shimon Peres arrived at Gare du Nord train station in Paris “because they might have been mistaken for Muslims.”

Black and North African railway workers were banned from working at Paris’s Gare du Nord when the President of Israel visited France over fears they might be Muslim, it has emerged.

By Nabila Ramdani, Paris
Telegraph 5:39PM BST 14 Apr 2013
The alleged discrimination took place as Shimon Peres arrived at the station, the hub for high-speed trains, on March 8, to discuss the Middle East peace process.
It is now the subject of an official complaint by the SUD-Rail transport union which says everything was done to ensure there were “no Muslim employees to welcome the Head of the State of Israel”.
Mr Peres and a delegation of other senior Israelis arrived on a morning train from Belgium, and were greeted by staff from SNCF, France’s national railway, and their baggage-handling subsidiary, ITIREMIA.
The previous day however, a site manager told all workers at the station about the ban on black staff, and those of North African descent, because they might be Muslim.
Secular France does not officially recognise anybody’s religion, but it was assumed by management that anyone from a “black or Arab” background might be Muslim – an assumption “based on the appearance of the workers”, according to a SUD-Rail statement. Continue reading

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners launch hunger strike protesting death of prisoner

4,500 Prisoners Refuse Food, Launch 3-Day Hunger Strike in Israeli Jails

On Wednesday 3rd April, around 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails sent back their food this morning as part of a protest launched following the death of their fellow prisoner, Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, who suffered from cancer.

Palestinian prisoners also launched a three-day hunger strike following the death of 64-year-old Abu Hamdiyeh, who was serving a life term in Israeli prison.

An autopsy of Abu Hamdiyeh’s body was scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir in Tel Aviv in the presence of a Palestinian observer. The body will then be transferred to the Palestinian Authority for burial.

Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral was scheduled to take place Thursday in his hometown of Hebron.

Palestinian protesters hold up photos of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a prisoner who died of cancer while in an Israeli jail.

Palestinian protesters hold up photos of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a prisoner who died of cancer while in an Israeli jail.

Protests immediately erupted in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and in Israeli prisons on Tuesday over his death. More protests are expected to break out at his funeral in Hebron on Thursday.

Protestors and the Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed on Israel for medical negligence and bare Israeli authorities the full responsibility for Abu Hamdiyeh’s death. Abu Hamdiyeh was claimed a hero and a martyr. 

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Jail death sparks Palestinian protests

Jerusalem (CNN), April 3rd, 2013— A well-known Palestinian prisoner died of cancer in Israeli custody on Tuesday, sparking outrage among Palestinian groups who accuse Israel of denying him treatment.

Maysara Abu Hamdiya, 64, a retired Palestinian general, had been in Israeli prisons since 2002 and was serving a life sentence for alleged involvement in an attempt to bomb a Jerusalem cafe. He died Tuesday morning in an Israeli hospital after being admitted last week because of his deteriorating health, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Government Media Center. Continue reading

Film review: 5 broken cameras

Hot Docs Trailers 2012: 5 BROKEN CAMERAS

 

4 March 2013. A World to Win News Service. 5 Broken Cameras, the first Palestinian documentary nominated for an Oscar, gives an overwhelming depiction of the injustice and brutality on a massive scale against the residents of a village called Bilin in the West Bank. Israeli settlers exude entitlement as they move into new apartments on the hilltops surrounding Bilin, settlements on land stolen from Belin farmers. Not only are Belin’s inhabitants viciously assaulted and oppressed but even the olive trees that are supposedly left to them are burned by brazen settlers or uprooted by the army using armoured construction machinery.

Starting in 2005 and filming over a period of five years with a succession of five cameras destroyed one after another by Israeli soldiers or settlers, Emad Burnat, a farmer turned amateur filmmaker, documented the protests against the land seizures by the Israeli government and the wall under construction that occupies and will separate them from their farmland. Despite great personal risk, he continued filming from a sense of moral obligation to his people and the desire to make the world aware of the struggle to save their land. In 2009 Burnat enlisted the aid of Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi to help make the film.

The film won many prizes worldwide, in Europe and in the U.S. at the Sundance Film Festival. That this documentary did not win an Oscar is not surprising in a climate where the reactionary feature film Argo received the award for the best picture of the year. Despite having an official invitation to attend the Academy Awards ceremony, when Emad Burnat, his wife and youngest son Gibreel landed in Los Angeles, they were detained and almost deported by U.S. immigration officials until filmmaker Michael Moore intervened and called in Academy lawyers. Continue reading

Obama Urged to Heed Warnings of ‘Palestine on Fire’

[President Obama, who has carefully clung to his Zionist-loyalist agenda (while his meaningless rhetorical differences with Israeli settlement policies have been exaggerated by his 'liberal' spin-doctors), is being warned by a comprador-trained Palestine Authority official that things may get uncontrollable if he does not make a dramatic show of concern for Palestinian prisoners.  If Obama decides to heed this warning,   his upcoming trip to Israel may test his rhetorical and theatrical skills.  Those who think Obama will launch a meaningful change in US-Zionist relations should, however, sober up. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Palestinian officials warn of possible third intifada in wake of Arafat Jaradat’s death

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer, Common Dreams

In the wake of the death of detained Palestinian Arafat Jaradat, officials with the Palestinian Authority have issued a warning to President Obama that Palestine could be “on fire” during his upcoming visit to the region if he does not exert pressure on longtime ally Israel regarding the ongoing treatment of prisoners.

Wrapped in the Palestinian flag, Arafat Jaradat received a ‘hero’s burial’ on Monday in the West Bank village of Saeer. (Photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters) On Monday, over 10,000 Palestinians took part in a funeral procession for Jaradat, the thirty year old Palestinian man who died Saturday after being in Israeli custody for less than one week. An autopsy showed that he had many broken bones, and the PA attributed his death to “extreme torture” inflicted by his captors.

“If President Obama wants to visit the region peacefully, he should exert pressure on Israel to release the prisoners—especially the ones who are on hunger strike—or else he will visit while Palestine is on fire,” said Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe, speaking at a news conference in Ramallah.

Obama’s trip to Israel in March will be his first since becoming US president. Continue reading

How Israel Legitimizes Torturing Palestinians To Death

By Charlotte Silver

26 February, 2013
Al-Jazeera

Six days after Arafat Jaradat was arrested by the Israeli army and the Shin Bet, he was dead. Between the date of his arrest – February 18 – and the day of his death – February 23 – his lawyer Kamil Sabbagh met with Arafat only once: in front of a military judge at the Shin Bet’s Kishon interrogation facility.

Sabbagh reported that when he saw Jaradat, the man was terrified. Arafat told his lawyer that he was in acute pain from being beaten and forced to sit in stress positions with his hands bound behind his back.

30 years old, Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat was tortured and beaten to death in Israeli prison

30 years old, Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat was tortured and beaten to death in Israeli prison

When it announced his death, Israeli Prison Service claimed Arafat – who leaves a pregnant widow and two children – died from cardiac arrest. However, the subsequent autopsy found no blood clot in his heart. In fact, the autopsy concluded that Arafat, who turned 30 this year, was in fine cardiovascular health.

What the final autopsy did find, however, was that Jaradat had been pummelled by repeated blows to his chest and body and had sustained a total of six broken bones in his spine, arms and legs; his lips lacerated; his face badly bruised.

The ordeal that Arafat suffered before he died at the hands of Israel’s Shin Bet is common to many Palestinians that pass through Israel’s prisons. According to the prisoners’ rights organisation Addameer, since 1967, a total of 72 Palestinians have been killed as a result of torture and 53 due to medical neglect. Less than a month before Jaradat was killed, Ashraf Abu Dhra died while in Israeli custody in a case that Addameer argues was a direct result of medical neglect. Continue reading

ex-Israeli Ambassador to S. Africa counters ‘democratic Israel’ claim: ‘yes, we are apartheid…’

The Times of Israel

As long as there is no Palestinian state and Israel rules over the West Bank, Israel is a de facto apartheid state, a former top Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday, using a highly contentious term usually employed only by radical anti-Israel activists.

Alon Liel, a former Foreign Ministry director-general and ex-ambassador to South Africa, also called on President Barack Obama to stay home if he didn’t intend to warn Israelis about the dangers of an approaching “apartheid cliff.”

“In the situation that exists today, until a Palestinian state is created, we are actually one state. This joint state — in the hope that the status quo is temporary — is an apartheid state,” Liel said at a Jerusalem conference about whether Israel is or could become an apartheid state. Continue reading

West Bank protesters rally for release of deteriorating prisoners

19 February, 2013

Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes that broke out after a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron to show solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails February 18, 2013. (Reuters / Ammar Awad)

[Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes that broke out after a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron to show solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails February 18, 2013. (Reuters / Ammar Awad)]

Thousands demonstrated in Palestine’s two largest cities in support of hunger strikers in Israeli jails. Protesters called on the EU to take action to demand better treatment of the weakening prisoners and back their release.

­More than 1,000 people rioted in the West Bank’s two largest cities on Monday to collectively demonstrate their support for the four long-term hunger strikers imprisoned in Israel’s jails. Public anger has heightened over the uncertainty of the prisoners’ fates, and people took to the streets to both show their support and demand that the international community step in.

The protests flared in both Nablus in the north and Hebron in the south, prompting clashes with the army. Over 1,000 people gathered in Nablus, with a further 1,500 demonstrating in central Hebron. Palestinian youths also blocked the entrance to the UN offices in Ramallah, 10km north of Jerusalem. However, Palestinian police prevented them from entering the building, according to AFP correspondents. Continue reading

India: Academics Condemn Israeli-Indian Partnership

[The international boycott of Israeli academics is growing, as the following statement from India indicates.  And it challenges the abstract claims of "academic freedom" and "objectivity" by describing the actual function of academic work--for instance, regarding studies of water management, it points out that "Israel’s R&D in water .... has in effect stolen water from the the West Bank aquifers to provide water to illegal Israeli settlements, while depriving Palestinians of their own water." -- Frontlines ed.]

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InCACBI Condemns the Growing Partnership between the State of Gujarat and the State of Israel

Statement by the Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI)

No partnership with Apartheid Israel!

New Delhi – 2 Feb. 2013

We, a group of academics, activists and artists in India, came together in 2010 to campaign against yet another apartheid regime by extending support to the international campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. (Visit our website www.incacbi.in for more information.)

The Israeli state consistently and ruthlessly tramples on the academic freedom and cultural life of the Palestinian people; and a continued association with the instruments of such a state is unconscionable to any freedom loving person.

This is why we condemn recent efforts to strengthen an already reprehensible partnership between the State of Gujarat and the State of Israel. On January 30th, 2013, the Israeli ambassador to India, Alon Ushpiz, and the Israeli Consul General in Mumbai, Orna Sagiv, met Chief Minister Narendra Modi at his residence to discuss furthering Research and Development (R&D) ties between Gujarat and Israel. Continue reading