The State of Israel is reported to have "100 to 300" nuclear warheads and has a power similar to that of Britain. Tel Aviv was the sixth nation to acquire nuclear weapons already in the 50s. This according to experts of Jane's Defense Weekly, which deals with military information. Israel’s nuclear arm-power always been surrounded by the greatest secrecy. Yesterday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his trip to Washington for fear of having to answer questions related to nuclear weapons possessed by Israel and because his state is one of the few that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
... Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” one of the most fearless and honest books ever written about Israel. Blumenthal burrows deep into the dark heart of Israel ... The racist narrative, once the domain of the far right and now the domain of the Israeli government and the mainstream, demonizes Palestinians and Arabs, as well as all non-Jews. Non-Jews, according to this propaganda, will forever seek the annihilation of the Jewish people. The Holocaust, in which Israeli victimhood is sanctified, is seamlessly conflated with Palestinian and Arab resistance to occupation.
... Mention of the Israel lobby’s outsized influence remains single greatest taboo in American political life ... But just as it gradually became permissible to claim the earth moved around the sun, the dangers to one’s professional life from talking about the Israel lobby’s influence are gradually but inexorably ebbing ... The next six months will be a test of the Israel lobby’s power such as we have never seen.
... We are now in the middle of the fight, and it is still too early to predict the outcome. The Jewish pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, supported by other Jewish and Evangelical organizations, is marshalling its forces on Capitol Hill. It’s an impressive show ... The senators and representatives are no fools (not all of them, in any case). They have a clear purpose: to be re-elected. They know on which side their bread is buttered. AIPAC has demonstrated, in several test cases, that it can unseat any senator or congressman who does not toe the straight Israeli line. One sentence of implied criticism of Israeli policies suffices to doom a candidate.
A factual, reasoned 16-minute talk on the immense power and influence of the “Jewish lobby” in the US, and its harmful role, especially in directing US Middle East policy. As long as this power remains entrenched, says Weber, there will be no end to the Jewish-Zionist domination of American political life and the mass media, Zionist oppression of Palestinians, the Israeli threat to peace, and the bloody conflict between Jews and non-Jews in the Middle East
Nothing more vividly underscores the Jewish-Zionist grip on US political life than the stormy, fervent approval given by American politicians to Israeli premier Netanyahu as he addressed a joint session of the US Congress. For every American who cares about our long term welfare as a country, as well as basic justice, the performance of these politicians was a shameful spectacle. Their behavior highlights the entrenched corruption and lack of principle of the American political system. It’s an expression of a society, and of a political system, that has become terminally craven and unprincipled.
In its May 29, 2000, issue Insight magazine published an in-depth report headlined "FBI Probes Espionage at Clinton White House” ... the result of a one-year investigation by editors J. Michael Waller and Paul M. Rodriguez into reports that the FBI was probing allegations that the government of Israel had penetrated four White House telephone lines and was able to relay real-time conversations on those lines from a remote site outside the White House directly to Israel for listening and recording. The article also charged that the FBI was investigating whether similar penetrations had been made into State Department lines, possibly Pentagon lines and, most interesting, into unlisted, secret lines used by the FBI in its counterintelligence work ...
... I was not the only one. According to the Department of Defense's Military Sexual Assault Report for 2012, an estimated 26,000 members of the United States military, both men and women, were sexually assaulted in that year. The Pentagon survey almost certainly underreports the scale of the issue. Of those sexual assaults, 53 percent (approximately 14,000 in 2012) were attacks on men ...
Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny", urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff. The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy ... In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the "idolatry of money" and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare". He also called on rich people to share their wealth.
The Pope has told Church leaders from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt that the Vatican "will not resign itself to a Middle East without Christians". He has been meeting Middle Eastern patriarchs in Rome, to discuss the dangers faced by the dwindling Christian communities in the region. In recent years millions of Christians have been displaced in the region. They have fled attacks by Islamist extremists and growing tensions since the Arab spring.
... In addition to deliberate attempts to kill every man, woman, and child in Germany by the Allied air forces with their terror bombing and “targets of opportunity” campaign (red crosses on hospital roofs were especial targets), a similar slaughter was taking place below as the invading hordes of the Soviet Union raped and/or murdered virtually every German that fell into their hands ... One of the most heartless and deadly crimes committed against helpless Germans was the forced removal from their homes. Orderly and Humane —The Expulsion of the Germans After the Second World War, by R. M. Douglas, seeks to shed light on this little known aspect of World War II history.
... The events in Yugoslavia were precisely documented by the Danube Swabian Cultural Foundation in Munich. On the basis of eyewitness accounts, the names of most of the victims and some of the perpetrators could be established. In that bloody autumn and winter until February 1945, a total of 9,500 Germans were killed – about as many as in Kosovo in 1998-99. In eight rail shipments an additional 8,000 men and 4,000 women were deported to the Soviet Union, of whom one in every six died. The remaining 167,000 ethnic Germans who had been spared were concentrated in camps ... Between November 1944 and March 1948, 48,447 Yugoslavian Germans died of hunger, cold, maltreatment and typhus.
The Czech town of Vratislavice nad Nisou is removing signs commemorating native son Ferdinand Porsche, following protests over the car designer’s Nazi affiliation during World War II. The town of about 6,500 people will erase references that it’s Porsche’s birthplace from its welcome signs, Mayor Ales Preisler said in a phone interview today. A local exhibition of memorabilia was changed a month ago to include information about Porsche’s membership in the elite Nazi SS defense corps, according to Preisler. “We have met opposition from the regional Jewish community and from residents who unfortunately lost their relatives in concentration and labor camps,” he said from the town ...
Today's kids can't keep up with their parents. An analysis of studies on millions of children around the world finds they don't run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young. On average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Heart-related fitness has declined five percent per decade since 1975 for children ages 9 to 17. The American Heart Association, whose conference featured the research on Tuesday, says it's the first to show that children's fitness has declined worldwide over the last three decades.
Americans back a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by a two-to-one margin and are very wary of the United States resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort falls through, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday ... According to the survey, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva last weekend, and 22 percent oppose it. While indicating little trust among Americans toward Iranian intentions, the survey also underscored a strong desire to avoid new U.S. military entanglements after long, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The most powerful pro-Israel advocacy group in the U.S., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is bucking the Obama administration by urging Congress to press forward with legislation that could impose new nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. In the wake of Iran's agreement over the weekend to a six-month deal that would place strictures on that country's nuclear program in exchange for relief from some international sanctions, top aides to President Barack Obama urged Congress to hold off any action on new sanctions that they say could upset the pact. But a policy memo issued by AIPAC Monday encourages U.S. lawmakers to keep up the pressure on Tehran.
Stories about Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan's alleged double life have been circulating for years. Now, the Israeli businessman behind hits like "Pretty Woman," ''Fight Club" and "L.A. Confidential" has finally come forth with a stunning admission — for years he served as an Israeli spy, buying arms on its behalf and boosting its alleged nuclear program. In a far-reaching interview aired Monday with Israel's Channel 2 TV's flagship investigative program "Uvda," Milchan detailed a series of clandestine affairs in which he was involved and particularly how he helped purchase technologies Israel allegedly needed to operate nuclear bombs. "I did it for my country and I'm proud of it," said Milchan ...
Iran's leaders hailed the interim nuclear deal struck with world powers on Sunday as recognition of its "right" to enrich uranium and the start of an end to punishing sanctions. Backed by top decision-maker Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani said the agreement with world powers at talks in Geneva signalled acceptance of the principle of uranium enrichment in Iran .. Iran's supreme leader Khamenei paid tribute to the "achievement" of the Iranian negotiating team in clinching the long-elusive nuclear deal with world powers. "The nuclear negotiating team should be thanked and appreciated for this achievement.
... Khamenei is Iran’s head of state, commander in chief, and top ideologue. His views are what will ultimately shape Iranian policy, and so it is worth exploring them in detail ... Khamenei has praised Leo Tolstoy and likes Honoré de Balzac, but he considers Victor Hugo supreme. Khamenei has always been critical of liberal democracy and thinks that capitalism and the West are in inevitable long-term decline. Moreover, he sees Washington as inherently Islamophobic.
… Most Americans -- whether they call themselves conservative or liberal -- like to regard World War II as "the good war," a morally unambiguous conflict between Good and Evil … The hubris of Clinton's portrayal of history is not merely an affront against historical truth, it is dangerous because it sanctions potentially even more calamitous military adventures in the future. After all, if the United States was as righteous and as successful as the President says it was in "saving the world" in two world wars, why would anyone oppose similar world-saving crusades in the future?
The principal benefit of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations on November 23 is that Iran and the United States were able to down to talk and reach an agreement on something. Given 33 years of estrangement and non-communication, this is an extraordinarily important development ... Iranians have been both sincere and clever in the negotiations. They played up to the insubstantial straw-man accusations promulgated by the U.S. and its partners, making them seem weightier than they were in reality. By yielding to the P5+1 demands, in essence Iran has allowed itself to be persuaded to stop temporarily doing what it never intended to do -- make a nuclear weapon.
More than ever, Israel is isolated from world opinion and the squishy entity known as “the international community.” The Israeli government keeps condemning the Iran nuclear deal, by any rational standard a positive step away from the threat of catastrophic war. In the short run, the belligerent responses from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are bound to play badly in most of the U.S. media. But Netanyahu and the forces he represents have only begun to fight. They want war on Iran, and they are determined to exercise their political muscle that has long extended through most of the Washington establishment.
... Israel has talked itself into this obsession with Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons project – Israeli sources have been warning that Iran is two years away from a bomb at regular intervals for the past twenty years – but the constant talk about it has also served to draw attention away from Israel’s settlement policy in the Palestinian territories. Israel’s basic position is that the Iranian regime is entirely composed of evil terrorist fanatics ... But the game is not over yet. Israel’s influence in the US Congress is still immense, and its Congressional allies are already talking about heaping more sanctions on Iran (in order to kill the deal, though they don’t admit that).
Republican and Democratic U.S. senators on Sunday voiced skepticism about a nuclear deal reached with Iran but Congress looked likely to give President Barack Obama room to see if the agreement works. The deal does not need to be ratified by Congress and Obama is using his executive power to temporarily suspend some existing U.S. sanctions on Iran ... Pro-Israel lobbying organizations - among the most effective interest groups in Washington - have failed so far to persuade lawmakers to tighten the sanctions screw on Iran ... A few lawmakers believed the Israeli lobbying push to halt the emerging Iran deal may have gone too far this time.
Ukraine, a fertile provider of food, almost died 80 years ago – of starvation. In the village of Targan, 120 kilometres south of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, half the people died from hunger in 1932-1933. Oleksandra Ovdiyuk, 92 today, survived what Ukrainians call the “Hunger-extermination” – not insufficient food, but deliberate policy imposed by the Soviet dictator Stalin. She said: “The Bolsheviks had special brigades of seven men that would sweep through the villages in wagons and confiscate any hidden beans, grain or other food from the farmers’ homes.”
A French court imposed limitations on the publication of five books, citing anti-Semitic content. The court in Bobigny near Paris last week handed down a blanket ban on the publication and dissemination of one book, “The Anthology of Quotes against Jews, Judaism and Zionism” by Paul-Eric Blanrue. All copies of the book must be withdrawn within one month, the Nov. 13 ruling said. The court fined Kontre Kulture $10,795 for publishing the book, edited by Alain Soral, a French extreme-right activist who has made anti-Semitic statements in the past. The court ordered the removal of passages from the remaining four books, which were also edited by Soral, including Henry Ford’s “The International Jew.”
Money worries and the distractions of social media mean people are having sex less frequently, researchers say. A once-a-decade poll of 15,000 Britons found those aged 16-44 were having sex fewer than five times a month. The figure compared with more than six times a month on the last two occasions when the official National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles was carried out, in 1990-91 and 1999-2001. The study's authors say modern life may be having an impact on libidos.
A right-wing extremist has been elected regional governor of Banska Bystrica in central Slovakia. Marian Kotleba won 55.5% of the vote in the run-off against Vladimir Manka from the Smer-Social Democrat party. Mr Kotleba is a former leader of a banned far-right organisation who now leads the ultra-nationalist Our Slovakia party. He has previously organised marches against Slovakia's Roma minority. The now-banned neo-Nazi party which Mr Kotleba formerly led had expressed sympathy for the Nazi puppet state which ruled Slovakia during World War II. The former teacher has called for Slovakia to withdraw from Nato, which his party brands a "terrorist" organisation.
A French veteran made more than 10,000 euros on Friday selling four photo albums he took from Adolf Hitler's mountain retreat as "a souvenir" in the final days of World War II. The albums, which contain pictures and messages of admiration, were presented to Hitler by supporters in the 1930s and early 1940s. Two of them are bound in red leather with the Reich eagle engraved on the cover. The books were sold at auction in La Roche-sur-Yon in France's western Loire region.
... Finally, Kennedy had enough, and in a personal letter dated May 18, 1963, the president warned that unless American inspectors were allowed into Dimona (meaning the end of any military activities), Israel would find itself totally isolated. Rather than answering, Ben-Gurion abruptly resigned ... Similarly, in 1969, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger made one more effort to force Israel to relinquish the deterrent option, and when Golda Meir refused, the US and Israel agreed to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise that has served both countries well for more than 40 years.
In this secret internal memo of July 19, 1969, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger explains to President Richard Nixon the "dangers" of Israel's nuclear weapons program. Kissinger notes that Israel had broken its pledge to the US not to "introduce" nuclear weapons in the region. He also notes that if the US tries to force Israel to live up to its commitment by withholding delivery of US warplanes, "enormous political pressure will be mounted on us." This memo, declassified in 2007 after being "sanitized," lays out US policy regarding the Zionist state's nuclear arsenal: "While we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact."
... "The Israelis, who are one of the few peoples whose survival is genuinely threatened, are probably more likely than almost any other country to actually use their nuclear weapons," Henry A. Kissinger, the national security adviser, warned Mr. Nixon in a memorandum dated July 19, 1969 ... "This is one program on which the Israelis have persistently deceived us,” Mr. Kissinger said, “and may even have stolen from us.” ... “On the other hand, if we withhold the Phantoms and they make this fact public in the United States, enormous political pressure will be mounted on us,” Mr. Kissinger went on.
The monthly Polish edition of Forbes magazine apologized for three articles accusing Jewish community leaders of corruption practices in the restitution and management of Jewish property in Poland. The apology to the Society of Jews in Poland for the articles was published Monday on the magazine’s website ... In his article “Jewish accusation”, the Deputy Editor in Chief of Forbes Polska, Eryk Stankunowicz said that “journalistic investigations have proved that properties belonging to the pre-war Jewish communities, worth hundreds of millions of Polish zlotys, were controlled by a few clever people who benefited from it”
A secret court order that authorised a massive trawl by the National Security Agency of Americans' email and internet data was published for the first time on Monday night, among a trove of documents that also revealed a judge's concern that the NSA "continuously" and "systematically" violated the limits placed on the program. The order by the Fisa court, almost certainly its first ruling on the controversial program and published only in heavily redacted form, shows that it granted permission for the trawl in part because of the type of devices used for the surveillance ... Another later court order found that what it called "systemic overcollection" had taken place.
... No one, friend or foe, can any longer believe that there is some rational process that guides United States national security initiatives. It is like an unthinking predatory beast that has been unchained, and now lashing out in all directions with little discrimination or sense of proportion. If important nations like Germany, France, and Brazil recalibrate their relationships with Washington, it can only damage America’s ability to exercise any foreign policy leadership in a situation where it actually matters.
Forty years ago – October 6, 1973 – Egyptian forces stormed the supposedly “impregnable” Israeli Bar Lev fortifications along the Suez Canal. Syrian forces advanced onto the Israel-occupied Golan Heights. In spite of scores of warnings, Israel was taken by surprise ... A massive US military airlift was under way to resupply the Israelis who were critically low on missiles, bombs, spare parts and other war gear. President Richard Nixon authorized the air bridge that saved Israel on the eleventh hour. Ironic since he was reputed to be an anti-Semite. Nixon and his foreign policy chief Henry Kissinger worried that failure to resupply Israel could cause the Republican Party to lose votes and funding.
... Just as [the US] State [Department] warns Americans about dangerous places to travel, so too do foreign ministries in other countries — and some countries warn their citizens to avoid heading to certain cities in the U.S. France, in particular, warns travelers to be careful in a large number of specific cities. Here’s what other countries, mostly France, say about American cities: New York: Be wary in Times Square and at the Statue of Liberty, and don’t go to Harlem, the Bronx or Central Park at night ; ... Baltimore: “Considered a dangerous city except downtown.” ...
... Never have I seen Israel and America’s core Arab allies working more in concert to stymie a major foreign policy initiative of a sitting U.S. president, and never have I seen more lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — more willing to take Israel’s side against their own president’s. I’m certain this comes less from any careful consideration of the facts and more from a growing tendency by many American lawmakers to do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do in order to garner Jewish votes and campaign donations.
It's been clear to me for about ten years that the primary problem the United States faces in crafting Middle East policy is not so much the Arabs or the Israelis. It is the Israel lobby ... Only Israel gets what it wants, no strings attached. All this is obvious. The problem is that virtually few media figures or politicians have the nerve to say it. Politicians depend on the lobby for campaign cash while media figures are rightly afraid that talking about the lobby will lead to advertiser and front office complaints and ultimately to the loss of their jobs. ... Friedman is saying what everyone knows but no one (of his stature) has had the nerve to say.
For the past several decades the centerpiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? The thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the 'Israel Lobby'.
Whether we Americans like it or not, there is a profound struggle for control over our nation’s foreign policy in the Middle East ... Today, there is no commonly accepted vision of America’s national interests as money has poured into our political process, serving the interests of the rich few — leaving most of the rest of the country behind ... These factors have combined to produce an unprecedented crisis in the history of our Republic: are we a country that can pursue policies that are good for the country or for a select few? The jury is out.
... With the exception of Israel’s ultra-conservative government, which is trying to torpedo the rapprochement, other U.S. allies do not want to be the last to jump on the peace bandwagon. And above all, they do not want to let juicy trade deals with a country of 80 million consumers escape. So everything indicates that the current thaw will intensify. Objectively, Iran and the United States have an interest in making peace ... There will be no shortage of obstacles on either side. The adversaries of an accord are not few, and they have power. To sign any deal, Washington, for example, needs approval from Congress, where Israel has many friends.
The term "Powerful Jewish Lobby" is a pejorative term that goes back hundreds of years ... During her Fox News commentary about the negotiations with Iran this Sunday, Liz Trotta resorted to the derogatory phrase: ... “The powerful Jewish lobby in Washington was alerted. Secretary of state Kerry wore himself out insisting Iran was acting in good faith.” ... Whether or not Ms Trotta meant to use the term in its classic anti-Semitic sense is irrelevant. Her use of the term can be used to feed the flames of hatred toward Jews, as it has for centuries.
… In the early 1980s it became clear to me that the pro-Israel lobby was trying to steer the United States into conflict with the Arab world. I saw nothing in the American interest in that; and my own two sons were approaching the draft age. Until then, I had been strongly pro-Israel myself; but sacrificing my boys for Israel was a higher price than I wanted to pay. Nor did I want other Americans to pay it. But as soon as I began arguing publicly that the U.S.-Israel alliance was not only costly but dangerous to the United States, I became the target of Zionist vituperation and worse. Some, like Podhoretz, tried to ruin my career. And I’ve seen others get the same treatment.
Iran, not Israel, faces an existential threat, according to a top US analyst who is considered one of the world’s leading scholars on the Iranian nuclear issue. In a research paper published last week, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said that, in preparation for a nuclear Iran, Israel has been working in recent years to extend the range of its missiles, and that it now poses a real threat to all of the Islamic Republic’s major population centers. “Israel now poses a more serious existential threat to Iran than Iran can pose to Israel in the near term,” he wrote.
Claims from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran has enough low enriched uranium to make up to five nuclear weapons in a matter of weeks are not plausible, according to experts ... Netanyahu’s estimate is a “chalkboard equation that does not match up with the realities of what it would actually take for Iran to breakout,” Daryll Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, said in an interview. “It is designed to create a sense of alarmism,” about the ongoing negotiations ... Iran’s enrichment facilities are inspected “every 1-2 weeks, and in some cases more often,” by the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.
In historian Robert Dallek's living room, a bronze bust of John F Kennedy stands in a place of pride ... He tells me why he thinks JFK has become an iconic figure. "It's the fact that people have been so disappointed in subsequent presidents," he said. "Lyndon Johnson, the failure in Vietnam. Richard Nixon having to resign over the scandal about Watergate ... ,” he added. “People want a better life in this country. They want to think their children are going to do better. And they associate this with Kennedy's youth, his promise, possibility. He died at the age of 46 - he's a blank slate."
Had there been no Dallas, there would been no Camelot ... Along with the unsleeping labors of an idolatrous press and the propagandists who control America’s popular culture, those four days created and sustained the Kennedy Myth ... The mythologizing of JFK and demonization of Nixon tell us less about respective accomplishments than the moral character of an establishment, which, though it had lost America by 1972, still controlled the culture, media, bureaucracy, and Congress. And as they brought down Nixon with Watergate, they would seek to bring down Reagan with Iran-Contra. But that coup failed.
In late July and early August 1945, just weeks after the end of the war in Europe, the 28-year-old John F. Kennedy visited war-devastated Germany … These diary entries show the youthful Kennedy's wide-ranging curiosity and eye for telling detail … Kennedy wrote a remarkable commentary in his diary, dated August 1, 1945, about Hitler and his place in history: "After visiting these places, you can easily understand how that within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived…”
A majority of Americans support an interim deal with Iran that would ease some economic sanctions on that country in exchange for concessions on Iran's nuclear program, according to a new national poll. A CNN/ ORC International survey released Thursday indicates that 56% of the public would favor an international agreement that would impose major restrictions on Iran's nuclear program but not end it completely, with 39% opposed to such an agreement.
A just-out Washington Post/ ABC poll finds that 64 percent of Americans support a nuclear deal with Iran, while 30 percent disapprove of one. That's potentially very significant, as it could help sway Congress toward backing the deal, which it has tended to oppose ... The reason this latest poll merits special attention is that it asked Americans whether they would support the deal currently under discussion between Iran and the major world powers at Geneva.
The breach in U.S.-German relations seemed likely to widen Friday after a joint German newspaper and television investigation titled “Secret War” reported that American intelligence and military use this nation for “tapping, code cracking, recruiting informants, observing suspects, kidnapping and abducting foreign enemies.” ... The reports come at a time when German-U.S. relations have been taking a beating. In June, documents released by former National Security Agency consultant Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has spied on the electronic communications of tens of millions of Germans.
Tapping Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone would seem like an outrageous breach of trust — except that there have been so many other, deadlier and lesser-known, breaches of trust wrought by the U.S. in Germany in recent years. Where to begin? There’s the worldwide secret drone war — a massive break with international law. Then there’s the large and growing shadow army of private spies. And, finally, the asylum seekers, whose knowledge is unwittingly used to drop bombs in their home countries. The worst part? Germany doesn’t even seem to mind.
The National Security Agency is authorized to spy on the citizens of America’s closest allies, including Britain, even though those English-speaking countries have long had an official non-spying pact, according to a newly disclosed memorandum. The classified N.S.A. document, which appears to be a draft and is dated January 2005, states that under specific circumstances, the American intelligence agency may spy on citizens of Britain without that country’s consent or knowledge.
People who regularly eat nuts appear to live longer, according to the largest study of its kind. The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggested the greatest benefit was in those munching on a daily portion. The US team said nut eaters were likely to also have healthy lifestyles, but the nuts themselves were also contributing to their longer lifespan ... The more regularly people consumed nuts, the less likely they were to die during the study. People eating nuts once a week were eleven percent less likely to have died during the study than those who never ate nuts.
... At the DFAS offices that handle accounting for the Army, Navy, Air Force and other defense agencies, fudging the accounts with false entries is standard operating procedure, Reuters has found ... Plugs also are symptomatic of one very large problem: the Pentagon's chronic failure to keep track of its money - how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is wasted or stolen ... In its investigation, Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn't need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors ...
Washington is playing the lead role in delaying the publication of the long-awaited report into how Britain went to war with Iraq, The Independent has learnt. Although the Cabinet Office has been under fire for stalling the progress of the four-year Iraq Inquiry by Sir John Chilcot, senior diplomatic sources in the US and Whitehall indicated that it is officials in the White House and the US Department of State who have refused to sanction any declassification of critical pre- and post-war communications between George W Bush and Tony Blair ... The protected documents relating to the Bush-Blair exchanges are said to provide crucial evidence for already-written passages that are highly critical of the covert way in which Mr Blair committed British troops to the US-led invasion.
On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered what he considered to be “a few appropriate remarks” at the dedication of a cemetery at the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania to a crowd of about 15,000 people ... In his annual message to Congress, Lincoln recommended a constitutional amendment ... The amendment proposed gradual emancipation that would not be completed for another thirty-seven years, taking slavery in the United States into the twentieth century; compensation, not for the enslaved, but for the slaveholder; and the expulsion, supposedly voluntary but essentially a new Trail of Tears, of formerly enslaved Africans to the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa.
Abraham Lincoln is honored as “The Great Emancipator,” as a champion of equal rights for all, regardless of race, and as the president who waged war to “free the slaves.” In fact, he sought to make the US an all-white republic that would be “an outlet for free white people everywhere, the world over.” He supported ambitious efforts to resettle or “colonize” blacks in Africa or central America. A common mistake in trying to learn from the past is to evaluate the behavior and motives of people in history on the basis of attitudes and values that prevail in the present.
When the US and other Western powers appeared to be on the verge of a major diplomatic breakthrough over Iran's nuclear program, the Sunday chat shows turned their attention to the issue – which wasn't good news ... Iran is not known to have such a [nuclear weapons] program; treating this claim as a fact is a problem ... Again, such unsubstantiated rhetoric about Iranian weapons should be challenged by journalists. But more often than not, such talk comes from the journalists themselves ... That's the state of corporate media discussions of Iran, where the preferred debate is basically no debate at all.
The State Department rejected on Wednesday Israel's assessment that the deal offered to Iran by the world powers in Geneva could be worth up to $40 billion to Tehran. Iran and the P5+1 - the United States, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and China – edged close to a preliminary accord on Iran's nuclear program during negotiations last week ... When asked about Steinitz's estimate, State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki criticized Israel and said that Steinitz's "number, I can assure you, is inaccurate, exaggerated, and not based on reality." Psaki did not offer an American assessment, but did say it was considerably lower than that of Israel.
Jewish leaders in Australia are bracing for a potential showdown with the new Liberal government over its pre-election pledge to repeal sections of the nation’s race hate laws, which make Holocaust denial and the promotion of anti-Semitism unlawful. Tony Abbott’s government, which entered federal parliament for its first sitting Tuesday following its landslide victory in September, is preparing to scrap sections of the Racial Discrimination Act that have been successfully used by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry to litigate against Holocaust deniers, anti-Semites, far-right groups and religious extremists.
A Holocaust survivor’s family has to hand over a precious 3,000-year-old gold tablet to the German museum that is its rightful owner, the state’s highest court ruled Thursday. The Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision, rejected a “spoils of war” defense and ended a lengthy legal battle between Berlin’s Vorderasiatisches Museum and the family of the late Riven Flamenbaum. Flamenbaum, an Auschwitz survivor who lived in Great Neck, L.I., and ran a Manhattan liquor store for decades, brought the Assyrian relic to the U.S. after World War II.
... If one accepts that sanctions can't end Iran's nuclear program, and one rules out diplomacy, there are only two other options: regime change in Tehran or war. Einhorn's basic point is that a perfect deal is unobtainable. So can an agreement that falls short of ideal still be a "good" deal, one that is preferable to other options, even if it allows Iran to retain a limited enrichment program? ... With Rouhani's election, a window of opportunity exists, and it would be foolish to waste it. The doubters in Congress shouldn't make the perfect the enemy of the good.
Nearly two-thirds of Israeli Jews oppose a deal being reached between world powers and Iran on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, the results of a survey published on Friday said ... The survey also showed 52.4 percent supported an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities in the event of a “bad deal” and if Tehran pursued its nuclear ambitions. But 26.8 percent said they would oppose such an attack. A strong majority of 68.8 percent said they believed the Israeli military was capable of going it alone in a strike on Iran, however.
... A historic shift is under way in US strategy towards the Middle East. After decades of isolating or overthrowing regimes that profess independence, Washington has decided that its long-term interests are better served by stability than subversion ... Israeli hardliners have spent decades building up their claims of an Iranian military threat, which they fear, but which also has the effect of drawing attention away from what is still the biggest source of the area's tension: Israel's old rejection of an equitable deal with the Palestinians ... Israeli hardliners' attempts to push US policy in this direction are an outrage. Their latest victim may yet be the best chance for decades of an end to the unnecessary US rift with Iran.
... Every modern nation that has risen to world power has done so through economic nationalism: Britain under the Acts of Navigation; the United States under protectionist Republicans from 1860-1914; Bismarck's Germany; postwar Japan, which rose from the ashes of 1945 to become the world's second economy; and China from 1980 to today. Trade surpluses, run at the expense of rival powers, have been the hallmark of great nations in their rise to preeminence.
As the sun began to set over Copenhagen, Peter Madsen realized he would not be able to serve the dozens of people still waiting in his shop for a free swastika tattoo. “We had to stop taking in people after the 54th client,” Madsen, artistic designer at the Meatshop tattoo parlor, told JTA on Tuesday — the day that more than 120 similar businesses worldwide offered free tattoos of the ancient Indian symbol as part of campaign titled “Learn to Love the Swastika.” ... The idea, Madsen said, is “to reclaim this symbol, which the Nazis abused, and restore it to its original meaning in India, where is has served for thousands of years as a sign of peace and goodness.”
Much of what we're told about the how World War II began is misleading, distorted or just plain untrue. It's often claimed, for example, that after taking power Hitler moved quickly to build a large army and air force to conquer Europe. In fact, and as reputable scholars have quietly acknowledged, Third Reich rearmament in the years before the outbreak of war in 1939 was remarkably modest. Hitler neither wanted nor planned for a major war. The British and French declarations of war against Germany, which were secretly encouraged by US President Roosevelt, transformed the limited German-Polish conflict into a major, European-wide war.
A concentration camp uniform for sale on eBay is almost certainly a fake. Forensic tests commissioned by this newspaper found thread used to sew on buttons and a name tag contained a dye not invented until after the Second World War. The findings have added to the distress of the family of the man it was claimed wore the striped uniform, who were furious when it was put up for sale at 11,000 pounds. The report caused worldwide outrage and led to an apology from the online trading site, which removed 30 items from sale – including the uniform.
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg — who is 63 with a long, graying beard — recently sat down with me to explain what he described as a “child-rape assembly line” among sects of fundamentalist Jews. He cleared his throat. “I’m going to be graphic,” he said ... The child sex abuse crisis in ultra-Orthodox Judaism, like that in the Catholic Church, has produced its share of shocking headlines in recent years. In New York, and in the prominent Orthodox communities of Israel and London, allegations of child molestation and rape have been rampant. The alleged abusers are schoolteachers, rabbis, fathers, uncles — figures of male authority. The victims, like those of Catholic priests, are mostly boys.
The lead spokesman for Buenos Aires' mayor faces criminal charges after saying Adolf Hitler "was a spectacular guy," a court source told AFP Tuesday. Ecuadoran-born Jaime Duran Barba has been charged by federal prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan with voicing approval of a criminal act, the source said. Barba is a top aide to Mauricio Macri -- the mayor who is also a possible 2015 presidential hopeful. Argentina is home to the largest Jewish community in the Americas outside the United States, with some 300,000 people.
Germany will never be neutral when it comes to Israel, Chancellor Angela Merkel told a Jewish newspaper. “The heinous crime committed by Germany against the Jews, the betrayal of all civilized values that was the Shoah, will always be present and we can shape the future of the resulting special relationship between Germany and Israel in awareness of that,” Merkel said in an interview published in the most recent issue of Jewish Voice from Germany. “That means that we’ll never be neutral and that Israel can be sure of our support when it comes to ensuring its security,” she said. “That’s why I also said that Germany’s support for Israel’s security is part of our national ethos, our raison d’être.”
Twenty-eight years ago, more than 1,000 people gathered at a Catholic church in Orange to mourn Alex Odeh, a Palestinian American civil rights leader who was killed when a pipe bomb ripped apart his Santa Ana offices ... About one year into the investigation, an FBI official told a congressional subcommittee that Jewish extremists were suspected in the bombing ... But no charges were ever filed. Over the years, law enforcement sources have said the investigation focused on onetime members of the militant Jewish Defense League. One potential suspect is now serving life in prison in California for another bomb slaying. Others live in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
George F. Kennan holds an iconic standing among twentieth century American thinkers on international relations. The diplomat turned public intellectual played a key role in crafting policy during the pivotal early years of the Cold War by articulating the threat posed by the Soviet Union and framing the policy of containment as a response ... Alongside the realist observer of international politics stands a romantic itching to preach a jeremiad about his own country’s departure from virtue and discipline.
George F. Kennan, an outstanding twentieth-century American diplomat and scholar, played an important role in implementing and shaping US foreign policy, and earned well-deserved praise as a historian. He was a consistent advocate of a "realist" US foreign policy -- laid down by Washington, Jefferson, and other founders -- based on a prudent regard for US interests, and especially the long-term interests of the American people. In 1947-48, Kennan joined with State Department chief George C. Marshall and other high-ranking US officials in opposing US support for the Zionist takeover of Palestine.
The German public television station ARD broadcasted last week a documentary film about modern anti-Semitism at the heart of German society. Close observers of contemporary anti-Semitism showered praise on the film for not shying away from showing anti-Semitism in all walks of life in Germany ... The film appeared to break new ground, largely because it showed that hatred of Israel – the modern form of anti-Semitism – unifies many diverse groups in German society, including Islamists, mainstream Germans, left-wing Germans and rightwing extremists. Previous German documentaries focused on anti-Semitism from right-wing extremists.
On the occasion of its centennial, the latest Anti-Defamation League (ADL) survey of the American people found that twelve percent of Americans harbor deeply entrenched antisemitic attitudes ... The ADL poll measured antisemitic propensities using an eleven-question index developed by ADL .. In the new survey a significant number of Americans agreed with sharply worded criticisms of Jews ... Fourteen percent agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power in the U.S. today” (unchanged from 2011). ; Thirty percent of Americans continue to say that American Jews are “more loyal to Israel” than to their own country, America (unchanged from 2011 and 1964).
It seems that fewer and fewer people in general are getting married these days, and even fewer men seem interested. Men no longer see marriage as being as important as they did even 15 years ago ... It turns out that the problem isn't that men are immature, or lazy. Instead, they're responding rationally to the incentives in today's society. Here are some of the answers I found ...
... The US is built on the theology of exceptionalism, of being Chosen. It is the country of Old Testament. This is the deeper reason for the US and Israel’s special relationship. Europe is going through a stage of apostasy and rejection of Christ, while Russia remains deeply Christian. Its churches are full, they bless one other with Christmas and Easter blessings, instead of neutral “seasons”. Russia is a New Testament country. And rejection of exceptionalism, of chosenness is the underlying tenet of Christianity ... As US hegemony declines, we look to an uncertain future. The behemoth might of the US military can still wreck havoc; a wounded beast is the most dangerous one.
... The US is not just changing, it is still becoming. Although calling Obama a "socialist" sounds daft to our ears (he's a pretty right wing social democrat), it is exactly how many [American] conservatives see him. The two parties have a very different vision of what America means, and what it should be. In most democratic systems, that would make for a very fractious, very angry opposition. But here it's another thing, perhaps the main factor, in America's apparent dysfunction.
... Today, the Asia-Pacific region hosts 386 billionaires, 20 more than all of Europe and Russia combined. ... Next in line after the United States, with its 442 billionaires today? China, with 122 billionaires (up from zero billionaires in 1995), and third place goes to Russia with 110 ... Germany is fourth on the list with 58 billionaires, followed by India (55), Brazil (46), Turkey (43), Hong Kong (39), and the United Kingdom (38). Yes, Turkey has more billionaires than any other country in Europe save Germany. Moving beyond these top nine countries, Taiwan has more billionaires than France ... This surging list of billionaires is tribute to the growing inequality in almost all nations on earth.
A major factor in America's ever more obvious decline, says Weber in this insightful, informed and vigorously presented talk, is that the guiding ideologies and operative historical narratives of both conservatives and liberals are fundamentally defective. The often-repeated boast of American "exceptionalism," he says, is not just ignorant and arrogant, it's dangerous.
... English developed on these shores, before spreading around the world in countries like America, India, and Australia, and was then taken up in other parts of the globe where it is not a first language. Some time in the last decade, the number of people speaking English as a second language is thought to have overtaken those who speak it as a first language ... “What began as the language of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes on a small island has become a global property. It is owned and shaped by almost two billion English speakers across the Earth. Through an extraordinary combination of accidents, conquests and technological advances, English is now the language of the world.”
A 91-year-old New York man identified as an alleged former Nazi death camp guard says demonstrations outside his home no longer faze him. "I'm starting to get used to it," said Jakiw Palij after 130 people, organized by local Jewish community leaders, demonstrated Sunday outside his Jackson Heights home in Queens. Palij has been the target of demonstrations for a decade, since the U.S. Department of Justice identified him as a guard in a Nazi camp in Poland ...
Ninety-one-year-old Jakiw Palij, a former Nazi guard, is still living in his New York City home despite years of protests outside his front door, and after efforts to deport him. Palij, who immigrated to the U.S. from Poland, told the New York Post that he is starting to get used to the protests outside his Jackson Heights, Queens home. Dov Hikind, a New York state assemblyman from Brooklyn, spoke at a rally outside of Palij's home on Sunday ... Palij claims he was forced into the German army as a young man, but that he never wore a S.S. uniform, and never worked inside a labor camp.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind from Brooklyn is furious that there are still Nazi war criminals living legally and illegally in the United States and he's doing something about it ... Hikind is launching a campaign to bring the remaining Nazi war criminals in America to justice. "People have the nerve to say, They are old now-why bother?” he said. “But what of the hundreds and thousands of innocent victims that were personally tortured and murdered by these criminals? Do we have no obligation to their memories?"
... Progressives and others who dismiss the power of the Israel Lobby are wrong, as any congressman who is willing to be candid can surely attest. Israel is the sine qua non for the rush to war and its allies in the US have been the enablers of a long running conflict that has used 9/11 as an excuse and which now embraces the entire Muslim world, creating new terrorists every time a drone strikes. Without the well organized and funded push provided by the Israel Lobby and its friends in congress and in the media there would be no drive to disarm Iran, no serious plan to intervene in Syria, and, in all likelihood, there would have been no invasion of Iraq.
While American public support for Israel is at its highest in recent years, attitudes toward US involvement in Middle East affairs are mixed, according to a survey released by the Anti-Defamation League Tuesday. More than 75 percent of respondents said Israel is a strong ally of the US ... Half of those surveyed said they support US military intervention, if necessary, to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, while 41% oppose it. Only 46% said they believed sanctions against the Islamic Republic should remain in place until it dismantles its nuclear program, as opposed to 42% who did not. Meanwhile, 40% favored US support for an Israeli strike on Iran.
... Adolf Hitler believed it was Providence that led him safely through the Great War, in which he fought for four years as a common soldier. He had plenty of close shaves, but one incident stuck with him. He was wounded; a British soldier had him in his sights - close enough to make eye contact. But the British soldier lowered his gun. Hitler nodded in gratitude and crawled to safety. Hitler became convinced the man who spared him was Henry Tandey ... Modern research indicates it's almost impossible that Tandey was actually the man that spared Hitler's life ... Hitler clearly did have this experience, of being spared by a generous enemy. But it seems he sent his thanks to the wrong man.
... In July 1937, four years after it came to power, the Nazi party put on two art exhibitions in Munich. The Great German Art Exhibition was designed to show works that Hitler approved of - depicting statuesque blonde nudes along with idealised soldiers and landscapes. The second exhibition, just down the road, showed the other side of German art - modern, abstract, non-representational - or as the Nazis saw it, "degenerate". The Degenerate Art Exhibition included works by some of the great international names ...
When “Swastika” was shown at the 1973 Cannes film festival, scuffles broke out and someone threw a chair at the screen ... The reason for the furious reaction was that Mora’s documentary appeared to humanize Adolf Hitler. Using never-seen-before home movies of the Nazi leader relaxing at his mountain retreat at Obersalzburg, shot mostly by Hitler’s girlfriend Eva Braun, "Swastika" shattered the accepted portrayal of Hitler as inhuman. Audiences got to see the personification of evil cuddling his dog, playing with children and discussing “Gone with the Wind.” They didn’t like it and the film was effectively blackballed in Germany.
At a packed conference in Ramallah today, the retired general Tawfik Tirawi, once head of the Palestinian Authority's feared West Bank intelligence, squarely pointed the finger at Israel for the assassination of Yasser Arafat. There are lots of reasons to suspect Israeli responsibility ... But there are many other possibilities that Tirawi prefers to ignore ... At a very minimum, his closest aides and bodyguards failed to prevent someone from introducing polonium into Arafat's system, whether by ingestion, injection, or inhalation. Could one of his aides have delivered the dose, with Israeli technical support?
... Israel denies the murder, though some of its leaders have openly stated their desire to “liquidate” Arafat. Israel is the only Mideast nation that can produce polonium-210 in its reactors ... A close Palestinian aide must have secreted the poison in Arafat’s food. Other senior Palestinians were also likely involved in the plot – par for the course in the Mideast. But a big finger of suspicion still points directly at the US and Israel.
The differences preventing Western countries reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme are now "narrow", William Hague has said. The UK foreign secretary added that, although talks at the weekend had not resulted in agreement, some "gaps" had been "bridged altogether". Iran and the UK have announced that diplomatic visits between the countries will take place later this month. Sanctions would remain in place until a firm deal was in place, Mr Hague said ... Mr Hague also said: "We are determined to reach a diplomatic settlement to the Iran nuclear crisis." Iran and the UK agreed to renew direct diplomatic links during talks over the state's nuclear ambitions last month.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has signed an agreement with Iran which opens the way for its inspectors to visit two more nuclear sites. The joint statement, said Ali Akber Salehi who is the head of Iran’s atomic energy organisation is a road map that specifies bilateral action. Inspectors will have access to the Arak heavy water site and the Gachin uranium mine in the south of the country – the first of a series of steps which are to be implemented within three months.
If Bibi Netanyahu succeeds in closing down Obama’s diplomatic path to Iran, only the road to war remains open. Which is exactly what Bibi wants. For what terrifies Tel Aviv, and rattles Riyadh, is not a U.S. war with Iran, but the awful specter of American rapprochement with Iran, a détente ... If the Netanyahu cabal succeeds in sabotaging U.S. negotiations with Iran, it is hard to see how we avoid another war that could set the Persian Gulf region ablaze and sink the global economy ... Bibi intends to use the explosive issue of imperiled Jewish survival to break Obama and Kerry and force them to abandon their Iranian initiative.
Those dedicated to maintaining perpetual hostility toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, and thus to sabotaging any negotiated agreement ... The chief motive is not to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon; it is to keep Iran in a hated, pressured, isolated status, and maybe even eventually to wage a war against it. The current Israeli government is unmistakably the ultimate protagonist in sustaining the hostility toward Iran, in order to prevent Iran from being an independent and accepted player in the region, to avoid giving the United States more diplomatic and political options in the Middle East than it has now, and to continue to divert attention from Israel's clinging to, and colonization of, occupied territory ...
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did his utmost to rally North American Jewry behind his uncompromising stand on Iran, calling on them Sunday night to stand with him in opposition to the deal under discussion in the Geneva forum. It is a "bad and dangerous deal" that threatens Israel’s survival and “on matters of Jewish survival, I will not be silenced,” Netanyahu said. In an address to the annual General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America, being held this year in Jerusalem, Netanyahu made a direct appeal for Jews worldwide to join him in speaking out against the deal.
Last week saw commemorations of the 75th anniversary of Germany’s Kristallnacht and the 80th anniversary of the Ukrainian Holodomor. Judging from Western news coverage, Kristallnacht wins by a landslide ... Estimates for the death tolls of the Holocaust and Holodomor range all over the place ... but a rough consensus is that the number of victims was roughly the same ... The Russians won World War II — and, despite what Hollywood tells you, so did the Jews — and the winners always reserve the right to declare themselves the good guys rather than the more naked truth, which is that they were obviously the better killers.
President Barack Obama's approval rating is at its lowest level since he entered the White House in 2009, with a majority saying for the first time in a Quinnipiac University poll that the president is not honest and trustworthy. The survey of 2,545 voters conducted Nov. 6-11 found that only 39 percent of respondents approved of Obama's job performance, compared with 54 percent who didn't. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points ... For the first time in the Quinnipiac survey, 52 percent of voters said they thought Obama was not honest and trustworthy.
The President of the far-right Hungarian party said that “Islam is the last hope for humanity in the darkness of globalism and liberalism.” During the recent Hungarian parliamentary elections, the Jobbik movement, a far-right Hungarian party, earned 16.67 percent of the overall vote, securing 47 seats in the National Assembly. For many, this score was unexpected and unprecedented, especially for a European far-right party.
New study provides definitive evidence that heritability plays a significant role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the time period or population sampled. / ... A new international study shows that our genes can explain up to 60 percent of our political actions: our political commitment, who we vote for and what ideology we support. The findings come from a gigantic study of 12,000 pairs of twins. The study turns upside down the prevalent scientific understanding of what influences our voting behaviour, according to one of the Danish researchers behind the study.
The release of the White House “Government Assessment” on August 30, providing the purported evidence to support a bombing attack on Syria, defused a conflict with the intelligence community that had threatened to become public through the mass resignation of a significant number of analysts. ... Many analysts who felt that the evidence for a Syrian government role was subject to interpretation and possibly even fabricated.
Americans' approval of the way Congress is handling its job has dropped to nine percent, the lowest in Gallup's 39-year history of asking the question. The previous low point was ten percent, registered twice in 2012. These results are from a Gallup poll conducted Nov. 7-10. Congress approval fell to eleven percent in October, during the U.S. government shutdown. Although the shutdown is now history, Americans' views of Congress have not recovered, but instead have edged lower.
American influence in culture, science and education around the world took a high-profile blow Friday when the U.S. automatically lost voting rights at UNESCO by missing a deadline to repay its debt to the world's cultural agency. The U.S. hasn't paid its dues to the Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in three years in protest to the decision by world governments to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011. Israel suspended its dues at the same time in support of the U.S. and also lost voting rights on Friday.
... What poses the biggest threat to collective identities today is the system “that kills the peoples,” that is to say, the imposition of an across the board system of global homogenization that eliminates all human diversity, diversity of the peoples, of languages and cultures. ... The greatest danger is the rise of indistinction, the erasure of differences, the destruction of popular cultures and lifestyles in a globalized world in which the only recognized values are those expressed by the price tags, that is to say by big money ... Like many Europeans, I am amazed that American conservatives defend almost unanimously the capitalist system whose expansion methodically keeps destroying everything they want to conserve.
... The federal government is in effect levying a new tax on college students in a program that already raises an obscene amount of money for the Treasury and is jeopardizing the financial future of a whole generation of young Americans ... The federal government currently lends money to big banks through the Federal Reserve discount window at 0.75 percent but charges graduate students 5.4 percent ... The country’s student-loan experiment is coming to a bad end — all the numbers are getting too big. Congress created a system with no checks; the only incentive for the industry and for schools has been to do more. More students means more profit.
America’s Iran policy is at a crossroads. Washington can abandon its counterproductive insistence on Middle Eastern hegemony, negotiate a nuclear deal grounded in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and get serious about working with Tehran to broker a settlement to the Syrian conflict. In the process, the United States would greatly improve its ability to shape important outcomes there. Alternatively, America can continue on its present path, leading ultimately to strategic irrelevance in one of the world’s most vital regions — with negative implications for its standing in Asia as well.
Nothing has been more effective in establishing the authenticity of the Holocaust story in the minds of Americans than the terrible scenes US troops discovered when they entered German concentration camps at the close of World War II. At Dachau, Buchenwald, Dora, Mauthausen, and other work and detention camps, horrified US infantrymen encountered heaps of dead and dying inmates, emaciated and diseased … But it is known today that, very soon after the liberation of the camps, American authorities were aware that the real story of the camps was quite different from the one in which they were coaching military public information officers, government spokesmen, politicians, journalists, and other mouthpieces.
In some countries, computer programming might be seen as the realm of the nerd. But not in Estonia, where it is seen as fun, simple and cool. This northernmost of the three Baltic states, a small corner of the Soviet Union until 1991, is now one of the most internet-dependent countries in the world. And Estonian schools are teaching children as young as seven how to programme computers. Estonia's e-revolution began in the 1990s, not long after independence ... With the help of a government-backed technology investment body, called the Tiger Leap Foundation, all Estonian schools were online by the late 1990s.
Surely war is the opposite of civilisation? But a study in the Proceedings of the [American] National Academy of Sciences makes a powerful case that war has also been the driving force behind the emergence of civilised societies - roughly speaking, those organised enough to have social relationships run on an impersonal basis, with bureaucracies and networks of mutual trust that allow you to deal with a stranger in the reasonable confidence that you won't be killed ... The idea that warfare between groups led to the development of desirable human moral characteristics and in particular to unselfishness, is very clear in Darwin's work ... This is something that really ought to worry the left.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that Israel will not abide by any future agreement with Iran and will do what must be done to protect itself and the security of its citizens. Netanyahu told reporters right before his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday that he can imagine Iran's satisfaction with the deal, describing how "they [the Iranians] should be happy right now because they got everything in return for nothing." ... He also stressed again that "Israel refuses to abide by any potential agreement with Iran and will do everything to protect itself and the citizens of Israel."
The key event in this whole story was, of course, the [Nov. 1938] “Crystal Night” (“Kristallnacht”) ... Here the Goebbels diary must be treated with the utmost caution ... The orders were that the Aktion (operation) was to be carried out by SA men in plain clothes, and the police were not to intervene. There was to be no bloodshed and no harm done to anyone unless, of course, Jews offered armed resistance ... “There is to be no looting,” stormtroopers in Kiel were told. “Nobody is to be roughed up. Foreign Jews are not to be touched. Meet any resistance with firearms. The Aktion is to be carried out in plain clothes and must be finished by five a.m.” The result was the Night of Broken Glass, one of Germany’s darkest nights.
... The very next day, in fact, on November 11, 1938, both Hitler and German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels appeared at a press conference for foreign correspondents in Munich — an event chronicled, in color ... Goebbels characterized the Kristallnacht pogrom as an understandable, “spontaneous” eruption of Teutonic anger against Jews: “It is an intolerable state of affairs that within our borders and for all these years hundreds of thousands of Jews still control whole streets of shops, populate our recreation spots and, as foreign apartment owners, pocket the money of German tenants, while their racial comrades abroad agitate for war against Germany and gun down German officials.”
Manfred Rommel, the longtime mayor of Stuttgart and only son of Germany's most famous World War II military commander, has died. He was 84. The City of Stuttgart said Rommel, who served as mayor from 1975 to 1996, died Thursday of unspecified causes. Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday she considered him a "remarkable" politician and notable member of her party. Rommel was born in 1928 to Lucie-Maria Rommel and Erwin Rommel, who eventually rose to Field Marshall rank and was widely known as the "Desert Fox" for his deft command of Nazi Germany's troops in North Africa.
Saudi Arabia is angry with Washington. In Riyadh’s view, the U.S. government isn’t doing enough to support tyranny and war in the Middle East. The Obama administration should tell America’s foreign “friends” that Washington acts in the interests of the American people, not corrupt dictators ... Alliances should be a means to an end, a tool to advance U.S. security. Alas, in recent years America’s alliances have become ends in themselves, a measure of international popularity a bit like accumulating “friends” on Facebook.
Israel's Givot Olam oil company says it's exploring an oil field that could contain 3.53 billion barrels of crude, which along with the rich natural gas fields the Jewish state's found under the Mediterranean Sea seems set to make it a regional energy power. There's only one problem: Most of the Meged field, where Givot Olam started drilling in 2011, appears to lie in Palestinian West Bank, which Israel has occupied since June1967.
American news agencies (AP, Reuters, any major news organization or outlet) in reference to Israeli settlements (which could more accurately be termed “colonies”), routinely comment that these settlements are “considered illegal by most nations.” This is dishonest, as it creates the impression that the legality of settlement activity is murky and subject to debate. When I encounter this phrase I often ask the source to identify which nations consider settlement building on occupied territory legal. I neither receive or expect a reply because, of course, no nation besides Israel itself would argue their legality.
Swiss scientists have found evidence suggesting that Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned, adding new fuel to long-standing allegations about the Palestinian leader’s death, a TV station reported Wednesday. Al-Jazeera published what it said was a long-awaited 108-page report by a team of Swiss experts who tested Arafat’s remains. The scientists wrote that "the results moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210," according to the pan-Arab satellite channel. Senior Palestinian officials repeatedly have alleged that Arafat was poisoned by Israel. The Israelis denied the allegations.
A former administrator at the New York nonprofit that distributes German reparations to Holocaust survivors was sentenced to eight years behind bars on Monday for running a $57 million fraud that used Russian immigrants to pose as victims of the Nazis. Semen Domnitser, 55, of Brooklyn, was also sentenced by Manhattan federal Judge Thomas Griesa to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $59,230 and pay $57.3 million in restitution. A Manhattan jury in May convicted Domnitser and two accomplices of conspiracy and mail fraud for swindling the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
... A new poll by German public television (ARD) indicates that only 35 percent of Germans still see the United States as a good partner. That figure has fallen 14 points since just this past July when about half of all Germans saw American as a partner they could trust. The new poll, done Thursday, also indicates that 61 percent of Germans now see the United States as an untrustworthy partner ... President Barack Obama’s star appears to have morphed into a red dwarf here. In April 2010, a whooping 88 percent said they liked his politics. This week, that number had been cut in half, down to 43 percent.
The labor market is stratified, if not calcified, by race, with whites seeing higher wages and lower unemployment, while blacks and Hispanics cluster in lower-paying jobs. / ... Black unemployment is higher than Hispanic unemployment, which itself is higher than white unemployment. This hasn't just been true for the last year, or the last decade. It's been true for the last four decades and beyond ... Whites, on the other hand, make up more than 80 percent of the country's workers. But they account for nearly all farm managers and ranchers (96 percent) construction managers (92 percent), carpenters (91 percent), and CEOs (90 percent).
... The [1970s] Church Committee revealed Washington’s role in the assassinations of foreign leaders, CIA collaboration with the Mafia, wide scale subversion around the globe, mail and phone intercepts, spying on Americans by the US Army and intelligence services, collusion with right-wing terrorist groups like Gladio, and much, much more. Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA malfeasance have done much the same thing today ... It seems that data on US citizens hoovered up by NSA is also routinely passed to Israel’s intelligence services, a double violation of US law. Israel has long tapped into the US communications networks and even, it is alleged, the White House phone system – installed by an Israeli electronic firm.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his anger as negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme are expected to reach a breakthrough. World powers, the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany (P5+1) and Iran, have been meeting in Geneva ... Netanyahu said a deal would be a mistake and Israel would not be bound by it ... “So Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal, this is a very bad deal. Israel utterly rejects it."
Thousands of Russian nationalists rallied across the country on National Unity Day on Monday, in a sign of the growing strength of far-right political forces galvanized by an anti-immigrant agenda. Hard-line nationalists have adopted the holiday, which commemorates the liberation of Moscow from Polish invaders in 1612, as an occasion to hold annual “Russian Marches”. This year’s rallies were larger and more numerous than in previous years, in a headache for Russian authorities who worry that rising ethnic tensions pose a threat to public order. At the largest rally, around 8,000 people assembled in an working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Moscow, police said.
In Tehran's largest anti-U.S. rally in years, tens of thousands of demonstrators joined Monday [Nov. 4] in chants of "death to America" as hard-liners directed a major show of resolve against President Hassan Rouhani's outreach to Washington more than a generation after crowds on the same streets stormed and occupied the U.S. Embassy. Such American-bashing protests occur every year outside the former embassy compound to mark the anniversary of the 1979 takeover following the Islamic Revolution.
One of the major parameters which shape individual success, and macroeconomic growth in the aggregate, is time preference. Time preference basically measures an individual’s future-time orientation. Would you for example take $1,000 in the present, or wait 30 days and accept $1,500 dollars? ... The third of the children who were most impulsive at four years of age scored an average of 524 verbal and 528 math. The impulse controlled students scored 610 verbal and 652 math! This astounding 210 point total score difference on the SAT was predicted on the basis of a single observation at four years of age! ... There is a correlation between higher IQ and low time preference (consuming less in the present to have a potential for more consumption in the future) ...
Which country has the largest stock of brilliant people? ... If you looked only at average scores, you’d find the U.S. is only ranked 24th, near the middle of the pack. But if you then take into account the high-scoring right tail and population, the U.S. is not doing so bad ... If Shanghai were included on its own, it would rank third on this list. If the scores in China as a whole were even near the international average, the country as a whole would rank first, given the sheer size of the population ... Below are the countries with the most brain power, noting the average percentage getting the top score on PISA tests, and the estimated number of brilliant people. Number One: The United States ...
Where was it best to live in 2012? The ten best places in the world to live, according to the Mercer Quality of Life Survey: Vienna, Zurich, Auckland, Munich, Vancouver, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen, Bern.
... The militarist leaders in Tel Aviv have unleashed their political assets (ZPC) [`Zionist power configuration’] throughout the US to work to destroy Iran – the last formidable adversary to Israel supremacy in the Middle East ... Over past decades Israel’s agents have bought the loyalties of the vast majority of Congress people, training them to recognize and obey the whistles, signals and script from the war mongers in Tel Aviv ... The gross corruption and widely recognized bankruptcy of the US legislative system is due to its slavish submission to a foreign power. What remains in Washington is a debased vassal state despised by its own citizens.
... The [Israel] government-linked Reut Institute has designated BDS [the anti-Israel “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” campaign] as a key national security threat and produced a blueprint for sabotaging Palestine solidarity networks around the world. While paranoia mounts inside Israeli policy circles about the rising tide of nonviolent global resistance, Netanyahu has grown obsessed with Israel’s withering image in the West ... Whether they like it or not, every Jewish Israeli citizen is a potential recruit for the national hasbara brigade.
American wariness of foreign military involvement is making it seem “weak and retreating,” warned the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman. “Make no mistake about it. If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy, it will be bad for the Jews,” said Foxman, the ADL’s national director, at a conference Thursday marking the group’s 100th anniversary. “The combination of America’s unsatisfactory involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, together with the financial crisis at home, have generated a broader opposition to American military involvement overseas,” he said.
... Israel is reliably thought to have warheads ready to deploy a sizable arsenal of nuclear weapons on a moment's notice. Yet, alone among nuclear powers, Israel refuses to acknowledge even that it has nuclear weapons. When Israel has been called on its nuclear program, the United States has stepped in to protect it. The United States will not state publicly that Israel has nuclear weapons ... Netanyahu accuses Iran of duplicity for claiming that its nuclear program is for peaceful nuclear power only. His own lack of candor about Israel’s nuclear weaponry undermines his credibility.
... These two scientific histories therefore share a common theme – Europe's wasted atomic dreams – and show, in different ways, how Germany, and then Britain, lost their way as potential nuclear leaders. Europe dominated atomic physics research in the 30s. In less than a decade, America was the master, joined later by Russia. In fact, the books complement each other neatly. Farmelo's account of Churchill's atomic dreams perfectly captures the essence of the man and of the science of the day. Ball is more concerned with the morality displayed – or not displayed – by scientists during Hitler's rise.
A key part of President Hassan Rouhani’s charm offensive in New York was his acknowledgement of the truth of the Holocaust ... But what does the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, think about this issue? His official website helpfully preserves an archives of his speeches ... When you read them, you find that Ayatollah Khamenei agrees with Ahmadinejad: he also thinks the Holocaust is a “myth”. One of his frequent criticisms of the West is that its supposed dedication to freedom of expression is really a sham because, in his view, Holocaust denial is universally banned. (It isn’t, but never mind).
A superb Roman eagle in near pristine condition, serpent prey wriggling in its beak, has been found by archaeologists in the City of London. A symbol of immortality and power, it was carefully preserved when the aristocratic tomb it decorated was smashed up more than 1,800 years ago – and is regarded as one of the best pieces of Romano-British art ever found ... Martin Henig, an internationally renowned expert on Roman art, said: "The sculpture is of exceptional quality, the finest sculpture by a Romano-British artist ever found in London, and amongst the very best statues surviving from Roman Britain ...”
... The US diplomatic mission in the German capital has not merely been promoting German-American friendship. On the contrary, it is a nest of espionage. From the roof of the embassy, a special unit of the CIA and NSA can apparently monitor a large part of cellphone communication in the government quarter ... The SCS teams predominantly work undercover in shielded areas of the American Embassy and Consulate, where they are officially accredited as diplomats and as such enjoy special privileges ... Wiretapping from an embassy is illegal in nearly every country. But that is precisely the task of the SCS, as is evidenced by another secret document.
Many of the predictions made by George Orwell in his book 1984 in relation to "Big Brother" surveillance, corruption of language and control of history have already come about to a great extent in Communist countries and to some extent in the West. The powers of security police in Western countries to intercept mail and tap phones have often been extended, police agencies keep numerous files on law-abiding citizens, and more and more public officials have the right to enter private homes without a warrant ... Control of the past, the central issue of Orwell's 1984, remains pervasive, especially with regard to World War II history ...
The head of the Roman Catholic church in the Holy Land protested Tuesday against Israel's demolition of a church-owned property in annexed east Jerusalem, saying it eroded chances for peace. "This act is against the law, against justice and against humanity, against any ideology upon which peace can be built and increases segregation and hate," Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Tawwal told journalists at the site of the demolition. Israeli security forces and bulldozers arrived at the house at 5:00 am on Monday with a previously unseen demolition order, claiming it had been built without a permit ...
The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has endorsed a $488 million increase in military aid to Israel, which would pay for Israel's procurement and development of additional rocket and missile interception systems. The committee last week approved the defense authorization bill proposal submitted by its chairman, California Republican Howard McKeon.
... Why does Saudi Arabia insist that the United States fight its battles? The Saudis are strongly opposed to the governments in Syria and Iran so they expect the US to attack. It is their neighborhood, why don’t they fight their own wars? Israel shares the same position in the region as Saudi Arabia: it has been fighting to overthrow Assad in Syria for years, and Israeli leadership constantly pushes the US toward war on Iran. They are both working on the same side of these issues but why do they keep trying to draw us in? ... When the US becomes so involved, we are the real losers — especially the American taxpayers, who are forced to finance this global military empire.
Israel is fuming with the White House for confirming that it was the Israeli Air Force that struck a military base near the Syrian port city of Latakia on Wednesday [Oct. 30], hitting weaponry that was set to be transferred to Hezbollah. Israel has not acknowledged carrying out the strike, one of half a dozen such attacks widely ascribed to Israel in recent months ... Israel’s Channel 10 TV on Friday night quoted Israeli officials branding the American leak as “scandalous.” For Israel’s ally to be acting in this way was “unthinkable,” the officials were quoted as saying ... Daniel noted that by keeping silent on whether it carried out such attacks, Israel was maintaining plausible deniability, so that Syria’s President Bashar Assad did not feel pressured to respond to the attacks.
Far-right and anti-fascist demonstrators staged rival rallies Sunday outside a Budapest church where a bust of a Hungarian wartime leader was unveiled, the latest tribute to a man who was a close ally of Adolf Hitler. Around 500 protesters wearing yellow stars - a reference to the Stars of David Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis -- chanted "Nazi mob!" across a police line at supporters of Miklos Horthy. Meanwhile, several hundred of the ex-leader's supporters, gathered around the bust, shouted: "Long live Horthy!" An autocrat who ruled Hungary from 1920 to 1944, Horthy passed anti-Jewish laws and oversaw the first wave of deportations of Hungarian Jews in 1944.
A spokesman for eBay said Sunday that the company has removed items described as Holocaust memorabilia from its online auction site. The removal comes after an investigation by Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, which reported that a uniform and a pair of shoes purportedly belonging to concentration camp victims and yellow Star of David armbands were among items offered on the site. "We are very sorry that these items have been listed on eBay and we are removing them," eBay spokesman Steve Heywood said.
A court in Austria has found seven men guilty of neo-Nazi activities and jailed them for to up to six years. The members of the so-called Objekt 21 group were convicted of "re-engagement with National Socialism" - a crime in Austria since 1947.
More than $3.6 billion was spent on congressional campaigns during the 2012 national election. Much of those funds came from outside contributors -- from individuals, corporations and political action committees -- to help candidates win election and influence their policies afterward ... Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the Hoover Institution ... author of the new book, “Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets,” calls these donations "protection money," much like the money that some businesses pay the Mob so they can stay in business ... Schweizer says congressional members mimic not only the practices of mobsters but also professional wrestlers.
... What kind of camaraderie, cooperation or friendship can endure in an environment where constant snooping on one’s closest friends is accepted practice? ... Relationships were altered, some poisoned for a lifetime. Why should we not expect a similar reaction among foreign friends who discover their personal and political secrets have been daily scooped up and filed by their American friends, and found their way into the president’s daily intelligence brief? ... At the Cold War’s end, the late Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick talked hopefully of America becoming again “a normal country in a normal time.” Seems as though the normal times are never coming back.
I had a teacher once who called his students "idiots" when they screwed up. He was our orchestra conductor, a fierce Ukrainian immigrant named Jerry Kupchynsky ... Comparing Mr. K's methods with the latest findings in fields from music to math to medicine leads to a single, startling conclusion: It's time to revive old-fashioned education. Not just traditional but old-fashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands. Because here's the thing: It works ... The conventional wisdom is wrong. And the following eight principles — a manifesto if you will, a battle cry inspired by my old teacher and buttressed by new research — explain why.
... While Obama has yet to stake out a promising unequivocal position, if he does, the obstacles would remain formidable. The two biggest are the U.S. Congress and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu. ... All this comes against an incongruous background: U.S. and Israeli intelligence says Iran has no plans to build nuclear weapons. (Its leadership has issued a fatwa against weapons of mass destruction.) Moreover, even if it did build one, Iran would be deterred from offensive action by America’s and Israel’s overwhelming nuclear arsenals. Obama must stand up to Netanyahu and the war party.
... Targeting Iran for special treatment as a rogue nation seems a bit hard to explain beyond the bromides as it has not attacked a neighbor since the seventeenth century and is itself threatened nearly daily by Washington and Tel Aviv. And even the CIA and Mossad agree that it is not developing a nuclear weapon. Beyond that, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which grants it the right to enrich uranium. Tehran permits United Nations inspections of its facilities, while Israel is not a signatory and has a secret program that has produced more than two hundred nuclear weapons. Iran is more sinned against than sinner if one considers the terrorism that has been directed against it, to include the assassinations of its scientists.
... Iranian Jews have little influence on decision-making and are not allowed to hold senior posts in the army or bureaucracy. But they enjoy many freedoms. They have an elected representative in parliament, they practice their religion openly in synagogues, their charities are funded by the Jewish diaspora, and they can travel freely, including to Israel. In Tehran there are six kosher butchers and about 30 synagogues. Ahmadinejad's office recently made a donation to a Jewish hospital in Tehran.
Congress honored Winston Churchill with a bust and a performance by another famous Briton, The Who's Roger Daltrey. Senate and House leaders, as well as Secretary of State John Kerry, gathered Wednesday to dedicate the Churchill bust, which will now stand in the Capitol as a testament to the strength of the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom ... Boehner did not show much emotion during the musical performance. But he appeared to tear up as he talked about Churchill, "the best friend the United States ever had." "He saw in America the very exceptionalism we see today," Boehner said.
... The former British Prime Minister was the star of the show at the Capitol's National Statuary Hall, where a bust dedicated to him was unveiled before worshipful legislators, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid ... Churchill has become the statesman that American politicians routinely invoke. George W. Bush stuck his bust in the White House ... Neoconservatives routinely use his name to invoke a new Munich — whenever and wherever possible ... In Washington, Churchill has become a vital strut in the belief that American is an exceptional nation, destined to bring democracy abroad ... At a moment of polarization, he is the one thing its politicians seem able to agree on. He has literally become an idol.
Winston Churchill, Britain’s premier during World War II, is honored for his stubborn “bull dog” hostility toward Hitler and Nazism, and his important role in ultimately destroying Third Reich Germany. In fact, his policies brought death and destruction on a mass scale, Soviet domination of central and eastern Europe, a shattered British empire, and Britain itself exhausted and bankrupt. The well-polished image of Churchill as a courageous and principled defender of freedom is based on a deceitful and ultimately dangerous narrative of history.
... In February, 1945, US President Franklin Roosevelt, Britain’s Winston Churchill, and Soviet ruler Josef Stalin met to decide postwar Europe’s future. In modern history’s greatest betrayal, the Allied war leaders handed half of Europe to Soviet rule, betraying tens of millions of its people to the gulag, dictatorship, and confiscation of all their property … The Soviet Union had done the lion’s share of fighting in Europe, destroying 75% of all German land and air forces, and naturally expected the lion’s share of the spoils.
... Although the Obama administration promised unprecedented transparency, it has emasculated the public's ability to give informed consent on a wide range of key foreign policy issues. A review of ten particularly toxic U.S. secrets about Israel suggests stakeholders should start assuming the worst but most logical explanation ... According to documents released by Edward Snowden, the transfer of raw NSA intercepts on American citizens to Israel was authorized under a secret doctrine that "the survival of the state of Israel is a paramount goal of US Middle East policy." This "prime directive" was probably a secret because it is a blank check obligating American blood and treasure to a cause American citizens never approved via advise and consent.
Israel announced plans Wednesday to build more than 1,500 homes in Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, dealing a setback to newly relaunched peace efforts hours after it had freed a group of long-serving Palestinian prisoners. The construction plans drew angry condemnations from Palestinian officials, who accused Israel of undermining the U.S.-led talks by expanding settlements on the lands where they hope to establish an independent state. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon also condemned the Israeli decision ... The Palestinians, along with virtually all of the international community, consider the settlements to be illegal or illegitimate.
Is Israel an apartheid state? This question is not going away. It raises its head every few months. The term “apartheid” is often used purely for propaganda purposes. Apartheid, like racism and fascism, is a rhetorical term one uses to denigrate one’s opponent ... Will a boycott of Israel have the same effect? I doubt it. Jews are used to being isolated. “The whole world against us” is, for them, a natural situation. Indeed, I sometimes have the feeling that many Jews feel uncomfortable when the situation is different.
... Many Jews are deeply convinced that the Jewish intellect is superior to that of any other people. Theories about this abound ... I believe that it is a basic human right to be proud of one’s society, one’s country. People belong to nations. Even in today’s global village, most people need the sense of belonging to a certain place, a certain people ... Jewish Israelis are already a minority in the country ruled by Israel, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. The majority of subjects deprived of all rights is growing by the year. Oppression will necessarily grow. The image of Israel throughout the world will get worse. Pride in Israel will fade.
It was a terrible revelation that sparked outrage and soul-searching across Poland when it emerged a full fifty years after the atrocity was committed. The massacre of hundreds of Jews in a Polish village in World War Two had not in fact been carried out by the Nazis – but by their very own people who lived among them. Now a controversial new film examining the treachery in Jedwabne threatens to re-open those barely healed wounds ... “Aftermath,” which premiers in the United States on Friday ... On July 10, 1941, a crowd of Christian Poles hunted down 300 to 400 of their Jewish neighbours, closed them in a barn and set it alight, burning them alive.
The current bad weather in the south of the UK prompted a discussion about moments in history shaped by storms. Historian Dan Snow recalls five of the most significant ... Four: Britain has been saved from invasion by the weather so often that people used to insist that "God is an Englishman". ... Five . In October 1941 Hitler unleashed a giant attack on Moscow. Capture of Stalin's capital might have won the war for Germany. Atrocious weather mired the Germans first in impassable mud and then in horrific, record-breaking low temperatures and snow storms.
... Bugging the leaders of America’s closest European and Latin American allies was an incredibly stupid act. Nothing thereby learned could have been worth the damage caused. US Elint (electronic spying) has humiliated European and Latin leaders and made them and NATO look like American vassals to be dismissed or disdained ... Europe’s leaders are under mounting pressure to demonstrate their independence of Uncle Sam by taking some stern retaliatory action against US interests ... Obama may be remembered as having gotten the world even angrier at the US than predecessor George W. Bush – quite an accomplishment.
... The seemingly boring U.S. Embassy in central Berlin would be among the must-see items ... The latest issue of the German magazine Der Spiegel has a cover photo with a creepy Cold War feel to it of what’s atop the embassy, under the headline “Das Nest.” The magazine analyzes the top floor of the building. It focuses on the gray box-like rooms on the top that appear to have stone-colored windows. The magazine found experts and journalists who postulated that such an appearance is likely hiding highly sensitive spy equipment. They note that documents indicate the embassy’s top floors are home to a joint National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency spy program.
Top-secret document shows how intelligence being shared with Israel would not be filtered in advance by NSA analysts to remove US communications
... The evidence around this cyber attack may cast the net of suspicion wider than just the US. One of the leaked documents is a classified briefing note, prepared in April this year for NSA officials ... Le Monde, which published the note, has interpreted it as an ironic, heavy-handed hint that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was the most likely culprit ... For all the bluster and rhetorical grandstanding in France and Germany over the NSA leaks, it is highly unlikely that there will be any major shift in either country's relationship with the US. Quite simply, they need to co-operate with the US on intelligence and political matters and cannot afford to lose the alliance.
While Israel has remained tight-lipped over an alleged strike in Syria, an Obama administration official confirmed to CNN on Thursday that Israeli warplanes had in fact attacked an airbase in Latakia on Wednesday. The target was “missiles and related equipment the Israelis felt might be transferred to Hezbollah,” the report said. Earlier Thursday, on the heels of reports that the airbase had contained advanced, Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles, Al-Arabiya reported that Israel had attacked not one, but two targets in the civil war-torn country.
The Federation of Dutch Jews is instigating legal action against an Amsterdam shop for selling copies of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. The Totalitarian Art Gallery has three copies of the book for sale. In the Netherlands. It is not illegal to own the book, but it has been illegal to sell it since 1974. Gallery owner Michiel van Eyck told the NRC [newspaper] he is not surprised by the legal action ... The shop also sells other memorabilia from the Nazi era, as well as relics of Stalin’s rule in Russia and China under Mao. The Jewish federation wants the public prosecution department to confiscate the books and prosecute Van Eyck.
Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller, the most senior Nazi whose fate has until now remained unknown, died in Berlin in 1945 and, in a chilling twist for an organizer of the Holocaust, lies in a Jewish cemetery, a German historian says. Mueller, who ran the Gestapo secret police before and during World War Two, was last spotted in Adolf Hitler's bunker in Berlin the day after the Nazi leader committed suicide in 1945 ... Professor Johannes Tuchel says he has found proof that Mueller did indeed die in Berlin in 1945, was first buried in a provisional grave in a garden in Luftwaffe headquarters and then consigned to a mass grave in a Jewish cemetery in the city.
Yoo-hoo! Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, Larry David! No matter how unreligious you comics may be, American Jews seem proud to claim you ... A sweeping new survey from the Pew Research Center, "Portrait of Jewish Americans," finds humor is one of the main qualities that four in ten of the nation's 5.3 million religious and cultural Jews say is essential to their Jewish identity ... “I’m Jew-y,” Sarah Silverman once told Piers Morgan. "It oozes out of my pores uncontrollably. Personally, I have no religion but ... I am Jew-ish. I'm culturally beyond my control."
They may not be Jewish, but they certainly feel "Jew-ish. Despite having no direct familial or religious ties to Judaism, about 1.2 million Americans feel they have a "Jewish affinity," with many reporting an attachment to Israel and a strong draw to Judaism's cultural practices, according to new research. A survey of American Jews, conducted by the Pew Research Center, also analyzed the nearly 0.5 percent of the US population that consider themselves to be Jewish in some way, even though they belong to a religion other than Judaism and most have no Jewish ancestors or family members.