Monday, 22 May 2017

Palestinians Hold General Strike ahead of Trump’s Visit

hunger strike hungry until freedom
Palestinians are holding a general strike in the West Bank and the Gaza strip in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners in Israeli jails ahead of President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to the occupied Palestinian territories.
Hundreds of protesters blocked roads in cities and towns of the West Bank to observe a “Day of Rage” as the hunger strike entered its 36th day Monday. A Palestinian advocacy group says several of the hundreds of hunger striking prisoners were hospitalized. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities continue to prevent access to the hunger strikers and keep them isolated from other prisoners.
Stores and government offices closed down, public transportation ground to a halt and main thoroughfares in Palestinian cities were empty of people and cars.
The Palestinian prisoners’ affairs committee called for a “day of rage” on Tuesday, when Trump visits Bethlehem, for “the voice of the prisoners to be heard by the president.”
Palestinian factions also released a statement, calling for “unity and assimilation with our brave prisoners,” as they threw their weight behind Monday’s general strike.
They slammed Washington’s support for the Israeli occupation and called on the Palestinian public to join the action in a bid to reject a possible resumption of talks with Israel under the US sponsorship.
Source: Websites
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Being In Time: Gilad Atzmon’s journey through post-modern crises

By Adam Garrie, theduran.com/
In Being In Time, author and musician Gilad Atzmon explores the historical and psychological basis for the many crises gripping the western world.
Many of the same people lament the state of a broad, however amorphous western society that has succumbed to the trends of hyper-identity politics, political and economic sectarianism, brutal financial capitalism and the death of industry and censorship in societies that still preach the self-righteous yet vague cause of ‘freedom’.
In Being In Time, author Gilad Atzmon offers a philosophical explanation for how these divergent trends are actually systematic outgrowths of societies simultaneously bewitched and confused by the abject failures of the three domineering ideologies of the 20th century: communism, fascism and liberalism.
Atzmon approaches how an uneasy calm in mid-20th century western states has given way to a world where the dams of free speech, prosperity and political predictability have been burst open leading to a flood of insecurity, third world style poverty and perhaps most importantly for Atzmon, the poverty of ideas.
Atzmon who has previously written about his personal struggles with and opposition to Jewish identity politics in The Wandering Who, takes his dialectical approach further, subjecting many contemporary and post-modern trends to the same scrutiny.
Such trends include, post-modernism, Cultural Marxism, post-Freudian social theory, the sexual identity agenda, post-modern attitudes to race and religion and the so-called populist political phenomena of Brexit and Donald Trump.
Atzmon calls his book a post-political manifesto, but it could equally be called a post-dogma manifesto. Atzmon laments a western world that has forsaken the Socratic method of embracing wisdom based on a combination of logic and ethics. Instead, Atzmon sees a western society obsessed with legal minutiae that he traces to strict Talmudic jurisprudence.
The book is very much in the tradition of the great secular conservative leaning sceptics and metaphysicists of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who have read Nietzsche or Spengler will recognise familiar diagnosis to modern problems combined with Atzmon’s unique world view shaped by the rejection of the Zionist creeds of his Israeli place of birth.
One might be so bold as to say that a great deal of geo-political philosophical commentary in the 21st century is largely shaped by people trying to either debunk or revise the manifestly ludicrous hypothesis of Francis Fukuyama.
At the dawn of the 1990s, Fukuyama in The End of History and the Last Man stated that history had ceased to move forward and was comfortably numbed to the neo-liberal realities that everyone had accepted.
The problem is that not everyone accepted them and even those who did, have largely been failed by them both materially and spiritually.
Atzmon doesn’t merely lacerate the post-Fukuyama developments in the metaphysical crisis currently gripping an increasingly hysterical liberal western establishment, but instead explains the root of these problems from the perspective of an historic prism illuminated through a combination of late-modern cultural analysis and Atzmon’s own unique trials and tribulations with the crises inherent in intra-Zionist Jewish identity.
The book can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com
The book is now available here

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Homs City fully under government control for the first since 2011


Homs, Al-Waer
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:10 A.M.) – The departure of the remaining militants and their families from the Al-Wa’er District of Homs, Sunday, has left the provincial capital fully under the government’s control for the first time since 2011.
Over the course of two months, the militants and their families holed-up in Al-Wa’er were transported in twelve batches from the district to the northern Aleppo city of Jarabulus on the Turkish border.
Initially, the last batch of militants was scheduled to be transported from Al-Wa’er on May 12th; however, many of the civilians that chose to leave the district had requested to return from Jarabulus.
While many civilians have since returned to the district from the Turkish border, Al-Wa’er has been declared militant-free by Governor Talal Barazi of Homs, which means the government will reopen the area to the public.
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“WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? THE WESTERN LEFT’S OBSESSION WITH EMPIRE”–DANNY HAIPHONG

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(Meme by Eva Bartlett.
“From 50:24 in this video, Ambassador al-Ja’afari: “…too many ambassadors of the United Nations, they come to me and they say, “You know, Bashar, you are right. Your government is right. We know the truth, but we cannot say it. You can God bless you but we cannot say it.” )
Apr 18, 2017, Black Agenda Report
-by Danny Haiphong
“The anti-war left’s attachment to the anti-Assad narrative is based in a colonial mentality which presumes that Westerners have the right to determine the destinies of peoples residing in what was formerly known as the Third World.”
The Trump Administration’s decision to conduct tomahawk missile strikes on a Syrian Arab Army airfield prompted activists in the US to hit the streets in protest. Protesters marched and spoke out against the airstrikes, which killed over a dozen Syrian soldiers on April 6th. The strikes come amidst intense pressure on the Trump Administration to abandon his campaign promises to ease relations with Russia and end regime change policy in the Middle East. In the days prior to the strike, Trump removed Steve Bannon as a formal leader in the National Security Council. Then, an alleged chemical weapons attack hit Idlib province, prompting President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to reverse their position that the future of the Syrian government rested in the hands of the Syrian people. Once again, the anti-war movement was put to the test.
The Western left struggles with the question of war because its ideology is rooted in the social relations of imperialism. In the US in particular, the social relations produced by over two centuries of white supremacist war on Black and indigenous peoples has cemented the notion that all who fall outside of the flexible spectrum of whiteness can be made expendable at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, war has historically advanced the level of development in the US. While World War II destroyed much of Europe, the US came out of the rubble with the most prosperous capitalist economy on the planet. This only intensified the thirst for war among the ruling elites. The US military took advantage of capitalist prosperity by turning its guns toward former European and Japanese colonies in East Asia, beginning with the carpet-bombing of Korea from 1950-1953.
Now fast forward to 2017. The US is hotly involved in a war to destabilize the Syrian government. Since 2011, there has been a wall-to-wall corporate media attack on Syria that paints the Syrian government as a murderous dictatorship led by President Bashar Al-Assad. Assad has been accused of “killing his own people” with the most ruthless of methods. In 2013, the Obama Administration accused President Assad of using sarin gas on civilians in Ghouta. Journalist Seymour Hersh eventually corroborated what US intelligence likely warned Obama at the time: that the gas attack was the work of “rebels” (terrorists) who were supplied by an intricate rat line network involving Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The world was destined for another US military confrontation that year when Russia stepped in to diffuse the situation.
Anti-war activists find themselves in a very similar predicament almost four years later. Throughout the duration of the war on Syria, strong lines have been drawn on the question of the Syrian government’s future. A small segment of the anti-war left has defended Syria’s right to self-determination. Others have done extensive work, such as Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, traveling to Syria and documenting concrete evidence that contradicts the corporate media narrative of the conflict. Indeed, much evidence suggests that the so-called “rebels” are merely jihadist mercenary groups sponsored by the Empire’s many players. Washington and its corporate masters have been foaming at the mouth to bring Syria to heel since at least 2001, when the secular government was placed on a list with six other countries targeted for destabilization.
However, rather than defend Syria’s self-determination, many in the West have bought into the imperialist narrative. This includes a large section of what passes for the left in the Western world. Jacobin, for example, calls itself a leading voice on the American Left but has historically aligned with US imperialism. After April 7th’s US airstrikes, Jacobin posted a statement about why opposing Assad matters too. The statement falsely compares Palestine’s struggle against Israeli occupation with the mythical struggle of the Syrian people against President Bashar Al-Assad.
Of course, Jacobin fails to provide any proof that the Syrian people are in fact waging a struggle to overthrow Bashar Al-Assad. No mention of the Syrian government’s decades-long solidarity with Palestinian resistance is cited.
Jacobin repeats the imperialist line that Assad is murdering “his own people” and causing hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee the country. Yet the statement omits the fact that Assad was reelected with nearly ninety percent of the vote in 2014. Also left out are the reputable opinion polls that prove President Assad is more popular than any other force operating in Syria at the moment. Jacobin instead throws its weight behind the jihadists waging holy war in Syria on behalf of US imperialism and its junior partners.
Since the fall of Libya, tens of thousands of jihadists have flooded into Syria to overthrow the Syrian government. The jihadists have been given both air and media cover from the US-led coalition operating in Syria. In September of 2016, the US coalition bombed an airport in Deir ez-Zor, killing around 100 Syrian soldiers. The airstrikes gave ISIS cover to lay siege to the area and claim additional territory. And for over five years, sources such as Amnesty International and the US-UK-French funded White Helmets have peddled the narrative that the Syrian Arab Army has been massacring Syrians even as evidence suggests that NGOS such as the White Helmets are completely embedded in the membership of Al-Qaeda affiliated, head chopping organizations.
That Jacobin condemns Washington’s failure to transfer anti-aircraft weaponry to the jihadists yet ignores all of the evidence against Washington’s official narrative on Syria should make clear where the “leading voice” of the left stands. History completely contradicts their narrative. Washington and its allies have never come to the aid of the oppressed in their struggles for liberation. Rather, it has acted as the primary dictator of imperialism’s rabid exploitation of the sovereign nations. What Jacobin essentially demands is a brand of “internationalism” that arms and funds head-chopping, imperialist-backed mercenaries at the expense of the Syrian people.
Such a distortion of internationalism is in keeping with the infantile state of the anti-war left in the US. The anti-war left’s attachment to the anti-Assad narrative is based in a colonial mentality which presumes that Westerners have the right to determine the destinies of peoples residing in what was formerly known as the Third World. It is the same mentality that drives the criminalization of Black America, reducing mass incarceration and police murder to products of the innate criminality of Black people. The white supremacist, colonialist worldview is the most useful tool in the imperialist toolbox. When wielded properly, the vast majority of so-called progressives can be herded to disseminate pro-war propaganda without the added labor cost associated with direct infiltration by the state.
Many questions arise from the behavior of those individuals and organizations caught in the ideological web of US imperialism. Is Jacobin’s support for the overthrow of the Syrian government at all beneficial to workers and oppressed people in the US and West? Do their conclusions about Syria stem from verified study of the objective conditions in the region and its relevant historical context? Can anti-imperialists really occupy neutral space between the dialectic of imperialist war and self-determination for the oppressed? Or is such an attempt merely a cleverly disguised project meant to legitimize the very imperialist system that the left claims to oppose? The answer to these questions will depend on the recipient, but the fact they must be asked indicates that the US anti-war movement needs serious reconstruction.
There may not be time for such an overhaul barring a significant change in the objective situation in the US and West. Recent developments over the course of five years suggest that at any given moment, the world struggle against imperialism could transform into a global military confrontation between the big powers. The threat of US military escalation in Syria cannot be isolated within a national context. Russia and Iran’s presence in Syria ensures that any US move to overthrow Bashar Al-Assad by direct military means will have an impact far beyond Syria’s borders. Solidarity with Syria against US-sponsored war is thus of utmost importance for the future of humanity. However, don’t expect the Western, white dominated left to drop its chauvinistic worldview anytime soon. The task of ending imperialism will have to rest on the shoulders of a new anti-war movement, one based on the respect of self-determination for all oppressed peoples and an internationalist worldview that connects exploitation within US borders to the ceaseless war imperialism wages from without.
Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at wakeupriseup1990@gmail.com
Danny Haiphong’s blog
RELATED LINKS:
Statement of Palestinian groups and individuals in the occupied homeland, refugee camps and the diaspora about the global war on Syria (with over 1100 Palestinian signatories, including prominent Palestinians such as His Eminence Theodosios (Atallah) Hanna, Archbishop, Greek Orthodox Diocese of Sebastia, Jerusalem and Palestinian Popular Forum, Yarmouk, Syria)
Syrians Flock to Vote in Lebanon, by Eva Bartlett, May 30, 2014
The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn’t, by Stephen Gowans, Oct 22, 2016
Why Syrians Support Bashar al Assad, by Prof. Tim Anderson, Sep 30, 2014

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The War on Syria: Exposing Media Distortions

Book review: Washington’s Long War on Syria, by Stephen Gowans

Global Research, May 21, 2017

The war in Syria, mainstream media tell us, is a simple story, with a brutal dictator on one side and freedom-loving rebels on the other. Into this mix, the Islamic State has inserted itself, while the benevolent United States must intervene to rescue the Syrian people. U.S. involvement in Syria, motivated by altruism, the story goes, arose in direct response to events in 2011.
This view is as fanciful as it is notable for its myopic self-regard.
In Washington’s Long War on SyriaStephen Gowans dismantles the official story, myth by myth, and provides the context without which it would be impossible to understand events.
Gowans relates the history of armed Islamist opposition to the secular government, reaching back decades. U.S. meddling in Syrian affairs also has a long history, as the author thoroughly covers.
Gowans quotes U.S. government documents that reveal a growing consensus on the desire to topple the Syrian government, which officials regarded as an impediment “to the achievement of U.S. goals in the region,” which included the spread of free market economies. The George W. Bush administration imposed a series of sanctions on Syria, which crippled the economy and wrought widespread suffering. “Sanctions of mass destruction” were visited on Syria “with grim humanitarian consequences,” Gowans writes.
By 2006, the U.S. began meeting with and providing support to Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood-led National Salvation Front. Islamic extremists received funding to establish a satellite television station to broadcast anti-government programs into Syria. Millions of dollars were funneled to Islamist anti-government forces. Direct action was also mulled, and Bush Administration officials seriously considered the option of invading Syria.
The 2011 uprising in Syria is portrayed in mainstream media as entirely peaceful and dedicated to democratic ideals. Quoting from Western sources, Gowans shows that opposition groups in Daraa attacked police and burned down government buildings. In the weeks following the violence in Daraa, demonstrations throughout Syria typically numbered in the hundreds, far below levels seen elsewhere in the Arab world at that time. Contrary to Washington’s claims, protests in Syria tended to be led by the Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition quickly took up arms, and in a matter of months, had progressed from burning down buildings to waging armed guerrilla warfare.
Sensing opportunity in the armed uprising, Washington painted a very different picture of events so as to win public support for intervention. “When it became evident that the most prominent of the armed rebel groups were dyed-in-the-wool, head-chopping jihadists…U.S. propagandists created the concept of the ‘moderate’ rebel to assuage concerns that Washington was backing al-Qaeda and its clones,” Gowans reports.
Until its collapse, the opposition Syrian National Council was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and received $40 million a month from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Gowans observes: “Weren’t all these states presided over by princes, emirs, and kings, who preferred to govern by decree, eschewing any form of democratic input? What a curious set of allies for a so-called pro-democracy movement.”
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), much touted in the West, is hardly the moderate force of popular imagination, and Gowans thoroughly debunks such claims, showing how the FSA collaborates so closely with Al-Nusra that the two organizations share arms and ammunition and often fight side-by-side, in coordination with each other. CIA arms sent to the FSA can be expected to find their way to Al-Nusra.
In one of the book’s many examples demonstrating the ideology of the Free Syrian Army, the words of an FSA commander are referenced. “Those whose intentions are not for God had better stay home, whereas if your intention is for God, then you go for jihad and you gain an afterlife and heaven.” Gowans drily comments: “This was hardly the exhortation of a secularist.”
And who are the moderates of whom we hear so much? Gowans refers to the words of former director of national intelligence James Clapper: “Moderate these days is increasingly becoming anyone who’s not affiliated with Islamic State.” Gowans points out that “as far as Washington is concerned, every non-Islamic State armed group was moderate, including Al-Nusra, even though the al-Qaeda affiliate had been designated a terrorist organization by the United States itself.” In page after page, and with devastating logic, Gowans thoroughly demonstrates the absurdity of Washington’s claims to be aiding moderate forces.
Gowans demolishes the U.S. argument that its intervention in Syria is motivated by humanitarian concerns by contrasting it with U.S. silence on Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Bahrain to violently crush opposition. While Washington’s aid to Islamist rebels in Syria approached $1 billion a year, military and political support to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia continued unabated. Nor has Saudi intervention in Yemen proven an impediment to U.S. largesse. Recently, the Trump administration signed an agreement to provide Saudi Arabia with a staggering $110 billion in arms. The deal also called for as much as $350 billion to be added over the next decade.
“The Arab Spring had two components: its reality and its rhetoric,” Gowans explains.
“The Arab Gulf monarchies embraced the discourse of the Arab Spring in Libya and Syria, but crushed its reality at home. The monarchs’ patrons, officials of the United States, and the broader Western world, did the same.”
Washington’s Long War on Syria is a well-researched and deeply considered analysis of the tragedy that has befallen Syria. Stephen Gowans reveals the political and economic interests that are motivating Washington’s intervention in Syria. No praise is too high for this much-needed corrective to Western propaganda. This fascinating book is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the war in Syria.
To order:
 
Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute.
He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language.
He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific.
His website is https://gregoryelich.org
Follow him on Twitter at @GregoryElich
  
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Preparing for War on Hizbullah

The US and its Arab allies are drawing up plans to suffocate the movement financially as a prelude to eventual militarily action



By Abdel Bari Atwan


atwan-ok15-400x264 May 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –   The US-led war on the Islamic Sate group under the banner of fighting terrorism may be viewed by many, especially by Arab members of the coalition that is waging it, as legitimate. But in our view it increasingly looks like a cover or smokescreen aimed at paving the way, or bestowing legitimacy on, a different war: one aimed at eliminating resistance to Israel in the region, and specifically the Lebanese Hizbullah movement.

The US war for Kuwait in 1991 was fought for the same purpose. A trap was set, after careful planning and precise distribution of roles, for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Its aim was to drag him into Kuwait to provide a pretext for destroying Iraq, aborting its scientific progress and military ascendancy and undermining its regional role. It is no exaggeration to say that the proxy war on Syria war has a similar objective– not only to destroy and fragment Syria as an adversary of Israel, but to lure a reluctant Hizbullah into the conflict and thus diminish its enormous popularity and the place it gained in hearts of tens or hundreds of millions of Arabs after its two great victories against Israel: First, when it succeeded in liberating southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000 after years of persistent resistance, and again in July 2006 when it also fought valiantly and stood fast in epic resistance to an Israeli onslaught that sought to annihilate it.

Most of the regional moves currently being made by the US — including Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Riyadh and the Eager Lion military exercises in Jordan – have one ultimate objective: to declare all-out war on Hizbullah. This includes drying up its financial resources and criminalizing the organization, in the same way Saddam Hussein was criminalized and the Palestinian resistance movement prior to that: first during the days of the PLO and its factions, and then with the rise of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups that continue to fight Israel.

The West has a variety of problems with Iran, and the country’s nuclear ambitions are one of the most prominent. But it is possible to live with, and even contain, these ambitions by various means. However, Iran’s unforgivable sin in the West’s eyes was to support Hizbullah in Lebanon and transform it into a formidable military force that poses a real deterrent and threat to Israel at a time when the Arab states were surrendering to it. Many have stopped referring to it as the enemy and instead begun building bridges of cooperation and normalization with it and treating it as a strategic regional ally.

Hizbullah crossed all American and Israeli red lines by developing a vast missile capability (100,000 missiles according to some estimates) along with fighting skills that most of the region’s armies — including the Israeli army — lack, combining attributes of conventional armies with expertise in guerrilla warfare. Moreover, four years of fighting in Syria has further strengthened, developed, and modernized these skills.

There have been reports in recent days of an unpublicized closed-door meeting in Washington involving a number of Gulf and Arab states aimed at agreeing a strategy for confronting Hizbullah in the coming period. Participants included Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE. This was intended to prepare for the two multilateral summits (with Arab/Muslim leaders and Gulf rulers respectively) that Trump will attend in Riyadh.

Reports from this meeting indicate that the joint Western-Arab plan for confronting Hizbullah include imposing financial sanctions on the organization’s members, supporters and sympathizers around the world, especially Lebanese expatriates in Africa and Europe who provide financial support for the party or institutions affiliated or close to it. This will involve measures to monitor money transfers and dry up all the party’s external funding sources in order to create difficulties for its leadership in financing its political and military structures and its extensive social institutions and activities.

The war on the hardline jihadi groups such as the Nusra Front and IS is drawing towards a close. Nusra is besieged in Idlib, rural Damascus and a few enclaves in rural Aleppo. The recent Astana agreement delegated the task of liquidating it to the so-called moderate Syrian opposition factions backed by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. As for IS, it has lost most of Mosul, and the war to liberate al-Raqqa by the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is now imminent, and will begin as soon as sufficient supplies of American tanks, armoured vehicles and missiles have been delivered to these forces.

In other words, the destruction of the ‘Islamist’ groups that are internationally designated as terrorist organizations will open the door wide to the more important war on Hizbullah, not only in Syria but in Lebanon too. It is to begin with an economic war and culminate in a military offensive — as, indeed, the wars on Iraq did.

Could this scenario which is being implemented in stages against Hizbullah (and by extension Iran) achieve the same success it did against Iraq – and prior to that against the Palestinian presence in Lebanon, which was ended with the 1982 Israeli invasion? It is hard to give a categorical answer to this hypothetical question. What can be said, however, is that circumstances have changed, and Israel has changed as well. Hizbullah is the pivot of a regional and confessional structure, and has the open and total support of Iran, and of Iraq to a lesser degree. Any war against it will not be easy. If the 1991 scenario succeeded in Iraq, that was due above all to Arab collusion and betrayal, as well as the demise of the Soviet Union which left the US as the world’s unchallenged hegemon.

The wars currently unfolding in the region and the conspiracies being hatched are all for the sake of enhancing Israel’s security and stability and maintaining its military power and supremacy. It is ironic that this is happening around the time of the centenary of the infamous Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot agreements. For the task now being undertaken is aimed at consolidating the Zionist presence in Palestine and the region envisaged in that Declaration, while dismembering the states that emerged from the womb of those agreements.

This article was first published by http://www.raialyoum.com

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Tulsi Gabbard and the Litmus Test



By Richard Edmondson
Tulsi Gabbard, the US congresswoman from Hawaii who introduced the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” earlier this year, has been winning a lot of accolades (including on this blog) for her opposition to the war in Syria and US efforts to overthrow the country’s president, Bashar Assad. But of course in America, the real measuring stick of any politician, the litmus test if you will, is where they stand on Israel.
Last month I put up a post entitled Blessed Are the Peacemakers that included a video of a Gabbard town hall meeting in her home state as well as a commentary on the situation in Syria. The writer of the commentary, Yvonne Lorenzo, praised Gabbard for publicly condemning Trump’s April 6 missile attack on Syria, an attack which killed at least 14 people. But in response to the article, one of our readers, Robert Stiver, posted a comment about Gabbard’s position, or perhaps more precisely lack of a position, on the ongoing crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
Robert lives in Hawaii and says he has contacted Gabbard’s office on a number of occasions–partly to express his support for the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, but also to discuss the Palestine-Israel conflict. With regard to his concerns over the latter, however, the congresswoman has failed to respond in any kind of meaningful manner, he says.
His comment led me to consider reaching out to Gabbard myself. And so I did. Here is the email I sent. You can click on the image to expand it.
I sent the above email to Gabbard on April 20–just over a month ago. I have yet to receive a response.
Ending US aid to Israel might not completely solve the problem in Occupied Palestine, but it would go a long way. There are presently more than 120 Israeli settlements (and countless other “outposts”) on occupied Palestinian land. No logical justification can be mounted for maintaining a program of sending billions of US tax dollars a year to support the Zionist state while these settlements continue to exist. They are all illegal. They have actually been formally declared illegal by the UN Security Council–in a resolution that was adopted in December of last year and that was not vetoed by the Obama administration.
So the justification for ending US aid is there–morally and now, with the passage of the Security Council resolution, even legally–and Gabbard should grab it. But she isn’t. In fact, she is doing almost exactly the opposite.
Not long after Robert posted his comment, another one of our readers, Rene, also posted a comment on Gabbard. In Rene’s view, the House member from Hawaii is not a “peacemaker,” but rather “just another ‘controlled opposition’ member” whose job is to confuse an already confused public. To support this thesis, Rene included a number of links, including to the video below in which Gabbard can be seen speaking at a 2016 event sponsored by the World Values Network. The mission of the World Values Network, according to its website, is “to disseminate universal Jewish values in politics, culture, and media, making the Jewish people a light unto the nations.”
In her comments, Gabbard talks about wanting to “stand strong with our ally and partner, Israel,” and then in the same sentence goes on to say she opposes “oppression, persecution, and genocide.” Voicing support for Israel while claiming to have humanitarian concerns of this nature is a shameful and disgraceful display of hypocrisy. As I have pointed out in previous posts, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians probably meets the legal definition of genocide.
On January 5 of this year, the US House of Representatives, by way of response to the Security Council’s declaration of the settlements as illegal, passed House Res. 11 condemning the vote and accusing the UN of being “one-sided and anti-Israel.” Gabbard voted against that measure. However, she has supported an alternate bill, House Res. 23, and even signed on to it as a co-sponsor.
H.R. 23–you can go here to read the text of it–lauds the US-Israel “special relationship” and asserts that the US “remains unwavering” in its commitment to stand by the Zionist state as it meets its “myriad challenges.” These include terrorism as well as “civil conflict in neighboring states and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.” The measure also talks about “shared values of democracy and the rule of law” that supposedly are enjoyed by peoples of the two countries forming the “special relationship,” which leads us to ask: what exactly are these Washington politicians talking about? What commitment to “democracy and the rule of law” can Israel be said to be pursuing when it imposes a blockade/occupation upon some 4.5 million people–people who have no right to vote in Israeli elections? The blockade of Gaza has been going on for 10 years and the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem enters its 50th year this year. With no end in sight. And this is what they refer to as “democracy and the rule of law”?
When Gabbard and the other Congress members who support H.R. 23 talk about “shared values,” are they trying to imply that Americans support apartheid? That we condone bulldozing people’s homes as a form of punishment? H.R. 23 also criticizes the “delegitimization” of Israel. Are these people living on another planet? The answer to that in a way may be yes. For that in a sense is what life in Israeli-occupied Washington is: it’s like living on another planet–in which all the lies of the mainstream media are believed, those who try to tell the truth are labeled as purveyors of fake news, and where boycotting Israel is “anti-Semitic.” Whenever you set foot on this planet you mind becomes automatically enslaved. Gabbard doesn’t seem to be immune from this process.
You can also go here to read about Gabbard’s alleged ties to Bharatiya Janata, or the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party of India. I don’t know enough about the politics of the BJP to comment one way or the other on it, but the article is at least worth reading, and it does discuss Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a BJP member, who has long been said to be intent on forging a closer bond with Israel (maybe he’s jealous of the “special relationship”). The writer also discusses the Hawaii congresswoman’s reputed ties to casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson–something that is also mentioned as well in a second article here. About all I can say to any of this is to repeat what my mother told me when I was growing up: you are known by the company you keep.
A bit more about the World Values Network (WVN) in closing. Each year the group sponsors a “Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala.” The video above shows Gabbard speaking at last year’s event. An article about that event can be found here. The article is written by Shmuley Boteach, the so-called “America’s rabbi” who has authored numerous books and is a familiar face on American television. Boteach seems to be affiliated with the WVN in some manner, at least he is featured prominently on the group’s website. At any rate, his article is devoted to giving a full report on last year’s awards gala, offering a summation of remarks made by the different speakers, including Gabbard’s. The congresswoman is spoken of highly, including her service in the US military. Interestingly, it seems Sheldon Adelson was also present at the event. Boteach refers to it overall as an “unforgettable evening” attended by “a who’s who of Jewish philanthropists and defenders of Israel.”
That was last year–the “4th Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala.” This year’s event–the 5th Annual Gala–is scheduled to take place tonight, May 21, in New York. I could not ascertain whether Gabbard is returning as a speaker this year, but perhaps not surprisingly Boteach has a new article up. The piece, posted Friday at The Hill, seems to have a two-fold purpose: plugging the event and demonizing Syrian President Bashar Assad at the same time (perhaps the author is hoping to achieve a synergistic effect). At any rate, Boteach seems fixated upon the latest propaganda stew over a “crematorium” supposedly being operated by the Syrian government.
“If the phrase ‘Never again’ is to have any meaning, the United States, Israel, or some other power that stands for morality and against the evils of genocide, must immediately bomb the Syrian crematoria,” he writes.
This is quite ironic given that it seems to be at cross purposes with everything Gabbard was trying to accomplish with her “Stop Arming Terrorists” bill.  Which kind of brings us in a roundabout way back to the subject of the litmus test. How is the congresswoman stacking up? The answer seems to be not too well.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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