... By many measures the U.S. may remain the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the planet, but in recent years its ability to accomplish anything, no less achieve national or imperial success, has shrunk drastically. The power centers remain, but in some still-hard-to-grasp way, the power to accomplish anything seems to be draining from a country that was once the great can-do nation on the planet. On this, the record is both dismal and clear ... In all of this, in the rise of poverty and a minimum-wage economy, in a loss -- particularly for minorities ... What can be seen is the untracked rise of a Third World country inside a First World one, a powerless America inside the putative global superpower ...
America loves to dream an impossible dream when it comes to education. We see our public schools as the bedrock of the equal-opportunity society we wish to be, the land where a poor boy in a log cabin — or a bungalow in Honolulu — can grow up to be president. And teachers are the angel-magicians who make it all happen. But throughout the history of American public education, this dream has bumped up against some harsh realities. Teachers are, by and large, poorly trained and ill equipped to flatten social, racial and economic barriers ... Almost every idea for reforming education over the past 25 years has been tried before — and failed to make a meaningful difference.
What better confirmation of the manifest failure of the philosophy of foreign interventionism than the renewed U.S. bombing of Iraq? Just think: All those hundreds of thousands of dead, maimed, detained, and tortured Iraqis, along with those who lost their homes, businesses, and savings. They were all bombed and shot by U.S. troops for nothing. All those Iraqis suffered and died for nothing. The same holds true, of course, for U.S. soldiers who died or came back maimed or all screwed up in the head. The ones who lost their lives died for nothing ... How can anyone still be an interventionist after what has happened in Iraq? ... How can an unlawful and unconstitutional war of aggression, a type of war condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg not be considered evil?
Sen. Rand Paul raises an interesting question: When has Hillary Clinton ever been right on foreign policy? ... Consider the rest of Hillary's record. Her most crucial decision as Senator came in 2002 when she voted to invade Iraq. She now concedes it was the greatest mistake of her Senate career. She voted against the surge in 2006, but confided to Defense Secretary Bob Gates that she did so to maintain her political viability for 2008. This is statesmanship? Not voting your convictions about what is best for your country at war, so as not to antagonize the liberals in the Iowa caucuses? ... Where, then, has Hillary exhibited the acumen to suggest she would be a wise and savvy steward of U.S. foreign policy in a disintegrating world?
... But power is rarely static. The real question that is often overlooked is what happens in a future world in which the balance of power has shifted sharply against Taiwan and the United States, in which China controls much more relative power than it does today, and in which China is in roughly the same economic and military league as the United States. In essence: a world in which China is much less constrained than it is today ... An increasingly powerful China is also likely to attempt to push the United States out of Asia, much the way the United States pushed the European great powers out of the Western Hemisphere in the nineteenth century. We should expect China to come up with its own version of the Monroe Doctrine, as Japan did in the 1930s.
The wondrous way that flocks of starlings continually change and re-form themselves while in flight has entranced people for ages. But just how the birds so fluidly shift while in the air has long puzzled ornithologists. Now, as Jim Drury reports here, a team of researchers with the University of Warwick in England has come up with an explanation -- one that they say could have major implications in the field of drone robotics.
... It’s hard to think of any American project in the Middle East that is not now at or near a dead end. This includes our policies toward Israel and Palestine, democracy promotion, Egypt, Islamist terrorism, stability in the Fertile Crescent and the Levant, Iran, and the Gulf ... Our counterterrorism programs are everywhere nurturing a passion for revenge against the United States. We gave a big boost to the spread of Islamist terrorism when we invaded Iraq ... It’s time to recognize that the United States can’t solve the Israel-Palestine issue, can no longer protect Israel from the international legal and political consequences of its morally deviant behavior, and has nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by continuing to be identified with that behavior.
… In all the buckets of media gabble about the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, not once have I heard any journalist ask any expert the simple question, "Why did the terrorists attack us?" … The blunt and quite ugly truth is that the United States has been at war for years — that it started the war in the name of "spreading democracy," "building nations," "waging peace," "stopping aggression," "enforcing human rights," and all the other pious lies that warmongers always invoke to mask the truth, and that it continued the war simply to save a crook from political ruin. What is new is merely that this week, for the first time, the war we started came home — and all of a sudden, Americans don't seem to care for it so much.
The last Nazi commander in charge of Paris famously claimed he saved the City of Light from an insane Hitler who wanted it flattened. A French historian, however, told The Local that version of events is pure fantasy from the self-aggrandizing former general ... The city was largely spared due to its early surrender and the lesser strategic importance it was accorded by Allied commanders, but General Dietrich von Choltitz, the Nazi general in charge of Paris when it was retaken, also fostered his own explanation ... On the eve of the capital's liberation, Hitler, so the story goes, was still demanding to know: "Is Paris burning?" ... For many who know the story of the uprising well, this account is absolute self-serving fantasy.
... Apart from Israel's ability to defend itself, there never was – and probably will never be – a more important strategic asset to the country than its relationship with the United States ... The United States has not only vetoed more than 50 anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nation's Security Council, it has also provided military aid totaling more than $140 billion, as well as access to American weapon systems and advanced ammunition. But the US has also garnered a reputation as an almost-automatic defender of Israel – its layer of protection from international isolation ... The strategic asset in this equation is the US for Israel, not the other way around.
... If Israel defines itself as the Jewish State, we should accept its own definition ... America is not the first or second super power to be brought down by Jewish power. It is just the latest in a long line ... I think that a ‘goyim defense league’ is a necessary development. I have come to believe that resistance to Jewish politics and power is the only thing that can save world peace as well as the Jews. The suppression of anti-Jewish feelings by means of ‘political correctness’ has led, on the one hand, to Jewish impunity, and, on the other, to explosive and violent resentment toward Jews. The natural opposition toward Jewish politics and supremacist attitudes should never have been suppressed.
... Trotsky and Stalin were just two of a number of men who lived in central Vienna in 1913 and whose lives were destined to mould, indeed to shatter, much of the 20th century. It was a disparate group. The two revolutionaries, Stalin and Trotsky, were on the run. Sigmund Freud was already well established ... The young Josip Broz, later to find fame as Yugoslavia's leader Marshal Tito, worked at the Daimler automobile factory in Wiener Neustadt, a town south of Vienna ... Then there was the 24-year-old from the north-west of Austria whose dreams of studying painting at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts had been twice dashed and who now lodged in a doss-house in Meldemannstrasse near the Danube, one Adolf Hitler.
Quick, make a guess: Are Liam's parents Obama voters, or did they pull for John McCain? How about Kurt's mom and dad? If your gut suggested that Kurt's parents might swing conservative while Liam's are liberal, congratulations. A new study of baby names does, indeed, show that parents in liberal neighborhoods are more likely to choose softer, more feminine sounds, such as "L," for their babies' names, while conservative parents go for macho-sounding K's, B's and D's. The same research finds that liberal, well-educated parents are more likely to pick obscure names for their children, while conservative, well-educated parents take a more conventional naming path.
Their exit from San Juan La Laguna, on the banks of Lake Atitlan and 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital Guatemala City, follows a meeting Wednesday in which Jewish and indigenous representatives failed to reach an agreement ... Most members of the small Jewish community are from the United States, Israel, Britain and Russia, and around 40 are Guatemalan ... Since October, the local indigenous population has accused the Orthodox Jews of discriminating against them and of violating Mayan customs ... “We act in self-defense and to respect our rights as indigenous people. The (Guatemalan) constitution protects us because we need to conserve and preserve our culture," council spokesman Miguel Vasquez told AFP.
... Lebanon’s army, Syria’s army, Hezbollah and Iran have been fighting ISIS with Russian assistance. Vladimir Putin himself warned us of the absurdity of our attacking Assad last year, arguing that we would be allying ourselves with the same terrorists who brought down the twin towers. Was Putin not right? ... George H. W. Bush made an ally of Hafez al-Assad in Desert Storm. Why not make an ally of his son against ISIS? We should next tell the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis that any more aid to ISIS and they are on their own.
... The extent of any terrorist threat to the United States does not depend on killing any one organization. It will depend partly on those political processes in countries such as Iraq and Syria. It also will depend on how well the United States, in going after any one monster, does not create other ones. In that regard we cannot remind ourselves often enough — especially because this fact seems to have been forgotten amid the current discussion of ISIS — that ISIS itself was born as a direct result of the United States going after a different monster in Iraq.
Polish and Ukrainian scientists have unearthed a mass grave containing up to 1,000 victims of Stalinist terror in a castle once used as a secret police prison. Among the victims in the grave were Polish soldiers. The Polish press has already called the find a “new Katyn” in reference to a massacre of thousands of Poles by Stalin in 1940, which still clouds Polish-Russian relations. The grave was found in the grounds of the Kazimierz the Great castle in the town of Volodymyr-Volynsky in western Ukraine, close to the Polish border ... Following the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland in 1939, Stalin instigated a reign of terror, murdering thousands of Poles considered a threat to Moscow’s rule ..
A billionaire Wall Street commodities investor has been drawn into a court fight against one of the nation’s most influential anti-Iran advocacy groups, a case in which the Obama administration has introduced a sense of intrigue by its recent claim that, somehow, the group possesses important government secrets ... The lawsuit has taken on larger importance as it threatens to reveal government secrets. It also could make public the inner workings of United Against Nuclear Iran, which is run by former United States government officials, has lobbied for tough sanctions against Iran and has helped write legislation on Capitol Hill.
There is a group of Jewish American billionaires who are apparently doing their best to make sure than negotiations with Iran go nowhere in the mistaken belief that they are doing what is best for Israel. And they would also appear to be assisted in their efforts by the White House, which is at the same time claiming that it wants the talks to be successful. The odd relationship is currently playing out in a Manhattan courtroom where the Justice Department is seeking to squash a lawsuit that it fears might expose the extent to which the government has hypocritically played fast and loose with classified information while simultaneously sending journalists and whistleblowers to jail over allegations that they have done the same.
In 1982, when a Japanese man claiming to be a former wartime labour administrator admitted he had helped kidnap hundreds of Korean women during the Second World War, forcing them into military brothels, the Asahi newspaper leapt on the story. The liberal daily offered its more than seven million readers the earliest and most credulous accounts of the man, Seiji Yoshida, and the sadistic mission he would later detail in a memoir ... But now the Asahi is causing another stir, by acknowledging for the first time what researchers have believed for years: that Yoshida’s story was almost certainly made up.
Mohammed is now the most common name for men in Norway's capital city Oslo, it appears. "It is very exciting," Jorgen Ouren of Statistics Norway tells The Local news website. A recent count of the city's population showed more than 4,800 men and boys in the city are called Mohammed, beating out other popular names like Jan and Per. Although Mohammed - with various spellings - has been the favourite name for baby boys in Oslo for the past four years, this is the first time it has also topped the men's list. And it's not only in Norway that the name is gaining ground. The UK's Office for National Statistics says Mohammed was the most common name parents gave to baby boys in England and Wales in 2013.
... We westerners have a charming and quaint belief that killing people from the air by using bombs, rockets, shells, napalm and cluster munitions – or even nuclear weapons – is somehow not really as bad as ramming a bayonet into an enemy, blowing him to pieces with heavy artillery, or slashing his throat the way sheep are killed. Air warfare is clean ... On the same day Foley was allegedly being decapitated, 19 people in Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, were publicly beheaded for various crimes. One of the men was executed for witchcraft. There was no outcry at all over this medieval horror ... Look at the horrifying pictures of victims from Gaza: babies with heads blow open and bodies torn into pieces by heavy 155mm shells. What’s the difference between this and a decapitation?
According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression ... But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West ... Elites in the United States and Europe have been blindsided by events only because they subscribe to a flawed view of international politics. They tend to believe that the logic of realism holds little relevance in the twenty-first century, and that Europe can be kept whole and free on the basis of such liberal principles as the rule of law, economic interdependence, and democracy.
... At the deepest level, the U.S. government wants global dominance. It wants its system and institutions to be replicated throughout the world ... The U.S. leadership is by and large imbued with a set of beliefs, perceptions and drives that were born and nurtured over a long historical period in which the nation expanded geographically and then began to have pretensions of worldwide leadership. The associated ideas are now deeply entrenched in the minds of American leaders, and this is reflected in the resulting policies ... As part of this ambition, the U.S. wants other countries to be clones of itself. America’s leaders want other nations to adopt domestic policies like its own.
... Japanese commanders could have husbanded resources, narrowing the force mismatch between the warring sides. They could have made the conflict more costly, painful, and prolonged for America, undercutting its resolve. Or, alternatively, they could have avoided rousing American fury to wage total war in the first place. By foregoing a strike at Hawaii, they could have enfeebled the opponent's resolve or, perhaps, sidelined the opponent entirely. Bottom line, no likely masterstroke -- no single stratagem or killing blow -- would have defeated the United States. Rather, Japanese commanders should have thought and acted less tactically and more strategically. In so doing they would have improved Japan's chances.
The anthropologist Franz Boas is remembered for moving the social sciences away from genetic determinism and toward environmental determinism. In reality, he felt that genes do contribute substantially to mental and behavioral differences … and not just between individuals / ... Something critical seems to have happened in the late 1930s ... As a Jewish American seeing the rise of Nazi Germany, he may have felt that the fight against anti-Semitism would require a united front against all forms of “racism” — a word just starting to enter common use and initially a synonym for Nazism ... Boasian anthropology was conscripted to fight not only the Axis but also racism in any form. Today, three-quarters of a century later, we’re still fighting that war.
... This is one reason why the war on racism did not end in 1945. Other reasons included a fear that extreme nationalism would lead to a second Hitler and a Third World War ... The West thus redefined itself in universal terms and became just as committed as the Eastern bloc to converting the world to its way of life. Finally, the rhetoric of postwar reconstruction reached into all areas of life, even in countries like the U.S. that had emerged unscathed from the conflict. This cultural reconstruction was a logical outcome of the Second World War, which had discredited not just Nazism but also nationalism in general, thereby leaving only right-wing globalism or left-wing globalism.
Two of the major superstitions of our time are the notion that man is merely a blank slate whose behavior is merely the product of the social environment and its sister, that race doesn’t exist. Yet one by one, the pseudo-scientific sources of these myths are being discredited by serious scientists, and last week, one of the biggest sources of all took a nose dive. Franz Boas, often called the grandfather of modern anthropology and a pioneer pusher of the idea that race is not a very meaningful concept, merely a “social construct” not found in nature, probably ranks with Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud as one of the most influential thinkers of the modern age.
If you want to know why the Status Quo is unsustainable, just look at interest and debt ... Debt is skyrocketing while real growth is stagnant. Put another way -- we have to create a ton of debt to get a pound of growth ... The Status Quo has only survived this crushing expansion of debt by dropping interest rates to historic lows ... Dropping the interest rates has enabled a broad-based expansion of debt across the entire economy ... Now that rates are at historic lows, there is no more room to lower rates further to enable more debt. That gambit has run its course ... Even if the economy were growing at a faster pace, it wouldn't come close to offsetting the interest payments on our ever-expanding debt.
Are you a liberal imperialist? Liberal imperialists are like kinder, gentler neoconservatives: Like neocons, they believe it's America's responsibility to right political and humanitarian wrongs around the world, and they're comfortable with the idea of the United States deciding who will run countries such as Libya, Syria, or Afghanistan. Unlike neocons, liberal imperialists embrace and support international institutions (like the United Nations), and they are driven more by concern for human rights than they are by blind nationalism or protecting the U.S.-Israel special relationship. Still, like the neocons, liberal imperialists are eager proponents for using American hard power, even in situations where it might easily do more harm than good.
Armed humanitarianism 2.0. That’s our new western version of old-fashioned 19th century imperialism, now feminized by President Barack Obama’s lady advisors, painted pink and accompanied by the kind of soft piano music you hear in ads for women’s products ... Now, the biggest dolts in the US Republican Party like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and my hometown’s own Peter King, claim the US homeland is threatened by pipsqueak ISIS while they try to provoke a real war with Russia over Ukraine ... US elections are on the horizon and Hillary Clinton is out there blasting Obama for having left Iraq in the first place. Hillary has just fully aligned herself with Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu ...
The fighting is barely over in the latest Gaza war, with a five-day cease-fire taking hold on Thursday, but attention has already shifted to the legal battlefield as Israel gears up to defend itself against international allegations of possible war crimes in the month-long conflict. Israel has excoriated the United Nations Human Rights Council over the appointment of Prof. William Schabas, a Canadian expert in international law, to head the council’s commission of inquiry for Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip. The broader struggle will be over what some experts describe as Israel’s “creative” interpretation of international law for dealing with asymmetric warfare in an urban environment.
The international criminal court has persistently avoided opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza as a result of US and other western pressure, former court officials and lawyers claim. In recent days, a potential ICC investigation into the actions of both the Israel Defence Forces and Hamas in Gaza has become a fraught political battlefield ... An ICC investigation could have a far-reaching impact. It would not just examine alleged war crimes by the Israeli military, Hamas and other Islamist militants in the course of recent fighting in Gaza ... It could also address the issue of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, for which the Israeli leadership would be responsible.
... America and other Western countries are pressuring the Palestinian Authority (PA) not to carry out its threat of suing Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for "war crimes." PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki last Saturday threatened "we will go to the ICC, and put our signature on it. Very soon we will be a (sovereign) state. That is enough for the court to start an investigation." However, citing inside sources in the ICC and among the PA's lawyers, The Guardian reports strong US and Israeli pressure on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas not to take such actions, or else risk cutting his own purse-strings.
The 1998 Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court’s founding charter, states that one of the critical ICC’s tasks is that “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished.” However, under pressure from the US and the European Community, the ICC has avoided opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza. By doing so, the ICC is not living up to its mandate. ... It is conceivable that Israel, to a certain extent Hamas and even the US could be tried under the Rome Statute. In the case of Israel, because it carried out actions that amount to war crimes, and in the case of the United States by lending Israel financial and military support.
The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year , involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields and the targeting of medics and hospitals. A month-long investigation also obtained evidence of civilians being hit by fire from unmanned drone aircraft said to be so accurate that their operators can tell the colour of the clothes worn by a target. The testimonies form the basis of three Guardian films which add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry ...
United Nations officials and human rights organisations have characterised Israeli attacks on civilian targets during the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] war on Gaza as violations of the laws of war ... But the Barack Obama administration’s public posture during the war signaled to Israel that it would not be held accountable for such violations. A review of the transcripts of daily press briefings by the State Department during the Israeli attack shows that the Obama administration refused to condemn Israeli attacks on civilian targets in the first three weeks of the war. U.S. officials were well aware of Israel’s history of rejecting any distinction between military and civilian targets in previous wars in Lebanon and Gaza.
America's image today of Benito Mussolini and his Italian Fascist regime is, to a considerable extent, a product of Second World War propaganda. The wartime image of the Duce (leader) as a clownish bully remains largely intact to this day. But this was not always so. During the 1920s and early 1930s, Mussolini and Fascist Italy were generally well regarded in the United States.
... The Zionist movement is, if you will, circling their wagons and no longer finds liberal complaints tolerable, even in private. They want everyone out there saluting the Israeli flag ... In truth the term “liberal Zionist” has never made much sense ... You simply cannot adhere to the principle of universal civil and political rights and, at the same time, support a Zionist state. To do so is to involve oneself in a contradiction. The liberals are being forced to face this fact. And, as this happens, they will have to make a real choice: cease being Zionist or cease adhering to the liberal ideal.
... The war against Gaza was so lopsided and obviously contrived that even in the United States pro-Israel sentiment began to soften ... That Israel is engaged in perception management on a large scale has more-or-less been admitted by the Israeli government, and some of its mechanisms have been identified ... The American public in particular should be aware of the extraordinary efforts that Israel and its supporters make to present a crafted and coordinated image through the media, particularly by way of the Internet. There are certainly many reasons why the United States uniquely views Israel favorably, but the skillful use of information manipulation and perception management certainly contributes to the process.
After every bloody episode of violence perpetrated by Israel, media spin doctors are deployed with one grand mission: Absolve Israel of any responsibility in its acts of carnage. These apologists not only demonize Palestinians, but also anyone who dares to take a stand on their behalf. The main staple of this Israeli strategy is blaming the victim. There is nothing new in this tactic - this is how the so-called "Arab-Israeli conflict" has been presented in Western media ... The time for clever words and no action is long gone, and those who remain "soft" on Israel, for whatever reason, have no place in what is becoming a global movement with uncompromising demands ...
A critical look at Zionism as an ideology and as a social-political movement. The IHR director reviews its origins and history, including the little-known story of Zionist collaboration with Third Reich Germany during the 1930s. Citing statements by Jewish and Israeli leaders, Weber notes that the essence of Zionism is its view of Jews as a distinct people or nationality, with interests separate from those of non-Jews. Zionists, he explains, insist that Jews everywhere owe a primary loyalty to Israel and the world Jewish community.
... France is about to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris ... Of course, French resistance under Vichy never quite fit the morally pure image — a country united in opposition to German occupation — that was superimposed on history after the Liberation by a tacit agreement between Gaullists and Communists, the two main French forces who had fought the Nazis. Indeed, in July 1940 the National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to establish the Vichy government in what would become unoccupied southern France ... The putative heirs to the Resistance, who have run the country for 70 years now whether as socialists or conservatives, have proved unable to halt this disintegration.
Enthusiastic crowds welcome Head of State Pétain during his visit to the city of Nancy on May 26, 1944 – just eleven days before the D-Day landing of British and American troops at Normandy. Newsreel narration in French. Runtime: 3:02 mins. Philippe Petain, who was a revered military commander during the First World War, was named Head of State in 1940 by overwhelming vote of the National Assembly.
Color photos by French photographer André Zucca show daily life in Paris during the years of the World War II German occupation, 1940-1944.
Remarkable footage of Parisians venting anger against Allied prisoners of war. Shortly after the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944, British and American soldiers who had been captured by German forces are marched through Paris, under German guard, apparently for transfer to a railroad station. Large crowds gather to watch. While most look on silently, some women and men jeer, harass, assault and even spit at the prisoners. German soldiers and French police keep Parisians from even more violent abuse of the PoWs. Silent footage. Runtime: 2:18 mins.
... In a chronicle of the 1911 ratings, the Association of American Universities actually asked the government to devise them. Kendric Charles Babcock, the top higher-education official in the U.S. Bureau of Education, itself a division of the Interior Department, undertook the task ... So how did your college stack up more than a century ago?
... We’re exceptional, all right, but not in the way we think. Here’s eight ways we’re exceptional – exceptionally bad: Among the Most Expensive, Least Effective Health Care in the Developed World ... We have the most expensive system in the developed world, not the most effective ... ; Highest Income Disparity: The US has the largest gap between rich and poor of any developed nation ... ; Least Mobility Between Generations ... ; Least Vacation Days ... ; Biggest discrepancy between CEO pay and their workers ... ; Biggest Defense Budget: The US spends six times as much on Defense as the next nation, China, and nearly as much as the rest of the world combined. We have troops stationed in over 150 nations around the world ...
When I was growing up in a Jewish community in New York in the late fifties, there was a predictable collective response to news events that expressed itself in one question: “Is it good for the Jews?” ... So whatever Israel is “winning,” the Jewish People are losing ... The rest of the world is judging us. Jews have to judge as well ... Among the other more immediate crimes against Palestinians, international law and history, Israel gives Jews a bad name.
This photo of a weeping woman giving a “Nazi salute has been widely reproduced, including in many textbooks. She is portrayed as a victim of “Hitlerism” who is crying because she’s been made to pretend to welcome the takeover of her community by German troops. In fact, this photo is routinely presented in a deliberately deceitful and misleading way. This woman is actually weeping tears of joy because she and nearly everyone else in her city of Eger in the Sudetenland region are happily welcoming their liberation from years of alien rule. In the aftermath of the First World War more than three million ethnic Germans in this region were forcibly put under Czech rule, in crass violation of the principle of self-determination that had been so loudly pledged by US President Wilson and other Allied leaders.
In 1945, two and a half million ethnic Germans were driven from their homes in Czechoslovakia ... This is a story about Germans as victims of World War II. It has been suppressed for half a century, ever since Czechoslovakia expelled its three million strong German minority - the Sudeten Germans - at the end of the war ... What cannot be disputed is the brutality of the expulsions, especially during the chaotic transition from war to approximate peace.
Edvard Benes, President of Czechoslovakia and an important figure of the World War Two Allied coalition, calls on May 16, 1945, for the "liquidation" of Germans and Hungarians in post-war Czechoslovakia. From the Czech documentary "Zabijeni po cesku" or "Killings Czech style," 2010. Runtime: 1:27 mins.
Sudeten Germans deported and slaughtered on the basis of the `Benes Decrees’ in Czechoslovakia were commemorated in the Church of Homecoming on 27 June  ... The millions of Sudeten Germans deported from Czechoslovakia, as well as the exiled victims, were commemorated in a Sunday service in the Church of Homecoming in Budapest. Representatives of the Sudeten German deportees also took part. Retired bishop Lóránt Hegedűs stressed that after World War II many millions of innocent Germans had to leave their homes ... Following the service the congregation laid a wreath at a memorial plaque commemorating the 1944-45 terror against Hungarians, the victims of the 1947 Paris peace-dictate, and Germans deported and exiled from their homeland, 1944-48.
... As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi - into the front of the battle. The Azov battalion has the most chilling reputation of all ... The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner, and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites ... Azov’s extremist profile and slick English–language pages on social media have even attracted foreign fighters. Mr Biletsky says he has men from Ireland, Italy, Greece and Scandinavia.
Israeli officials reacted with concern to a decision taken by the European Commission to ban Israeli dairy and poultry products from areas beyond the pre-1967 borders. The Commission announced that because it does not recognise Israel Agriculture Ministry activity beyond the pre-1967 borders (West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem), food from these areas is considered unregulated. From 1 September, the European Commission will ban the entry into the EU of all animal products, including eggs, poultry and dairy, from areas beyond the pre-1967 borders ...
The pro-government Milat daily targeted Turkish nationals from the Jewish community who also hold Israeli passports by arguing in its Thursday issue that since Israeli citizens are required to serve in the national army, they have blood on their hands, and are responsible for the killings of civilians in Gaza during an Israeli offensive that has led to over 2,000 deaths since July of this year. Milat, a staunch pro-government paper that uses political Islamist rhetoric, used English in its headline, stating “Go home killer” in reference to Turkish Jews who allegedly serve in the Israeli army.
... President Obama should think long and hard about launching a new air war in Iraq or Syria. For Iraq War III holds the promise of becoming another Middle East debacle, and perhaps the worst yet. America would be entering this war utterly divided. We are not even agreed on who the enemies are ... Other arguments shout out against a new American war. How could we win such a war without the U.S. ground troops Obama pledged never to send, and the American people do not want sent? ... The questions Congress needs to answer are obvious and numerous. Who exactly is our enemy? ISIS only, or Assad, Hezbollah and Iran as well? Will our involvement be restricted to air power ...?
All colonial settler states are based on the violent dispossession of the native peoples – and as a result, their fundamental and overriding aim has always been to keep those native peoples as weak as possible. Israel’s aim for the Palestinians is no different. Palestinian statehood is clearly an obstacle to this goal ... For all its delaying tactics, the Israelis cannot postpone forever Palestinian citizenship in some form or other – and if the Israelis make the creation of a separate Palestinian state impossible, they should not be surprised if demands shift instead to citizenship in a single state comprising the entirety of historic Palestine.
When Dr. John Hope Franklin died recently, he left a valuable legacy to us all. An imminent historian of Duke University fame, Dr. Franklin had many years earlier delved into a subject area that numerous of his colleagues considered taboo: Free blacks owning slaves ... College professors who know about black-on-black slavery consider the subject verboten, because that is the politically correct policy, albeit unwritten, of their institutions ... Another Negro slave magnate in Louisiana, with more than 100 slaves, was Antoine Dubuclet ... In 1860, black slave owners numbered 69 in North Carolina. In South Carolina, a former slave turned businessman and slave owner, William Ellison, was counted among the top ten-percent of wealthy men in the state.
In France and Germany, synagogues and Jewish community centres have been firebombed. In Britain, a rabbi was attacked near a Jewish boarding school. And in Australia, a bus carrying Jewish schoolchildren was targeted by teenagers shouting "Heil Hitler" and threatening to slit the children's throats. As a result, newspapers have reported a “rising tide of anti-Semitism in Britain,” that Europe is facing the “worst times since the Nazis,” and that we're witnessing a “dramatic rise in global anti-Semitism.” But while anti-Semitism is clearly a problem, is it correct to say that it is increasing?
... Kevin MacDonald, a professor of psychology at California State University at Long Beach, has published a remarkable volume [Separation and its Discontents] that tackles head-on what may be the most diligently suppressed question of our time: Why do people hate Jews? In contrast to the generally available treatments of this issue, MacDonald has produced a study of rare, even shocking forthrightness and scope ... MacDonald's brilliant, well-referenced study, with its bounty of eye-opening facts and insights, is the most important work on the perpetually troubling "Jewish question" to appear in many years ... Without an understanding of the real Jewish role in history, we remain dangerously ignorant of how the world actually works.
Like many other news websites, Common Dreams has been plagued by inflammatory anti-Semitic comments following its stories. But on Common Dreams these posts have been so frequent and intense they have driven away donors from a nonprofit dependent on reader generosity. A Common Dreams investigation has discovered that more than a thousand of these damaging comments over the past two years were written with a deceptive purpose by a Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated by the website's discussion of issues involving Israel.
... A Jewish group has sounded the alarm after a well-known Quebec media personality used his newspaper column and an appearance on a Montreal radio show to spout such anti-Semitic opinions. Gilles Proulx was invited onto Montreal’s Radio X last Friday after writing a column in the Journal de Montréal on the Israel-Hamas conflict. “No need to be an expert to say that Israel could make Washington, Paris or Ottawa bend, knowing in advance that its diaspora, well established, will make any government submit!” he wrote in the Journal. Speaking to Radio X, he elaborated on his thinking, suggesting Jews historically provoke hate and persecution.
The targeting of supermarkets over the sale of kosher [Jewish ritual] foods risks importing Middle Eastern violence to the UK, leaders of Britain’s Jewish communities warned last night ... Their joint intervention came after anti-Israel protesters caused ugly scenes at a branch of Tesco over the weekend, while Sainsbury’s pre-emptively removed kosher foods from a central London store amid fears demonstrators would ransack the shop ... An upsurge of anti-Semitic incidents have been recorded in Britain and other parts of Europe since the outbreak of fighting in Gaza earlier this summer. Sainsbury’s in particular was accused of tacit anti-Semitism for apparently bowing to intimidation.
The U.S. has regained the 8.7 million jobs lost in the recession, but the average wage has dropped 23 percent, according to a U.S. Conference of Mayors study released today. The report, “U.S. Metro Economies: Income and Wage Gaps Across the U.S.,” also found a widening income gap between the rich and poor, with the highest- earning 20 percent of households gaining the most ... “While the economy is picking up steam, income inequality and wage gaps are an alarming trend,” said Kevin Johnson, conference president and mayor of Sacramento, Calif. The organization expects the trend to continue.
All governments lie ... But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert into our stories — required under the rules of American journalism —although we know they are untrue ... There is a perverted logic to Israel’s repeated use of the Big Lie — Große Lüge ... The Big Lie destroys any possibility of history and therefore any hope for a dialogue between antagonistic parties that can be grounded in truth and reality.
... The Islamic State is "an existential threat" to our homeland, Graham added, asking, "do we really want to let America be attacked?" ... This semi-hysterical talk of an “existential threat” to the “homeland,” and the dread specter of “an American city in flames” is vintage war party, designed to panic us into launching a new war ... King, McCain and Graham want Obama to play imperial president and launch a preemptive war that their own Congress has not authorized. What kind of constitutionalists, what kind of conservatives are these? Is Graham right that an “existential threat” is at hand? Is our very existence as a nation in peril?
... The unthinkable may now be rapidly unfolding in Ukraine: not just the new Cold War already under way but an actual war between US-led NATO and Russia ... All of this is unfolding in the context of Washington’s misleading narrative, amplified by the mainstream media, that the Ukrainian crisis has been caused entirely by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “aggression.” In reality, his role has been mostly reactive: ... If the hawks on both sides prevail, it might well mean full-scale war. Has there been any other occasion in the modern history of American democracy when such a dire possibility loomed without any public protest at high levels or debate in the establishment media?
... If Israel is given the chance to permanently annex parts of the West Bank and push the ever-growing Palestinian population into cantons, then it can expect a much more desperate, perhaps violent, Palestinian response ... So why didn’t Netanyahu and the Israelis simply say “yes” to such a complimentary deal? The answer, according to the American negotiators, can be found in Israel’s desire to expand settlements. Israel approved plans for nearly 14,000 new settler homes during the nine months it was involved in peace talks with the Palestinians. The entire military occupation, including all settlements, covers about 40 percent of the West Bank. Evidently, Israel’s broader ambition includes the permanent seizure of the land that it currently occupies.
By 1943, Germany had developed and produced the first practical guided missile. One of its first major successes was the sinking of HMT (His Majesty's Troopship) Rohna, a transport carrying about 2,000 American troops. Of the estimated 1,180 dead, some 1,050 were U.S. soldiers. Although it was the worst loss of U.S. troops at sea during the war, few are aware of it. The incident was immediately classified and remained hidden from the public, and is still officially unacknowledged. Development of the Henschel Hs 293 guided missile began in Germany in 1940 and it was deployed in August of 1943. The Hs 293 was a radio-controlled glide bomb attached to a rocket engine. It was carried by German bombers, like the Heinkel He 177, to be used against Allied shipping.
It is nearly impossible to dig into any chapter of Jewish history without uncovering lessons for our own age. Spain during the 15th and 16th centuries is a particularly striking example. Even today, our view of this period, and particularly of the Spanish Inquisition, colors our attitudes regarding relations between Jews and non-Jews. The Inquisition is considered one of Jewish history's darkest chapters -- and one of Christian history's most shameful.
Much of the sinister reputation of the Spanish Inquisition, promoted even in major motion pictures, is undeserved. Oxford University lecturer Reginald Trevor Davies, a specialist of Spanish history, confirms this in an article published in the 1957 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica ... Edward Peters, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Pennsylvania, has detailed the development and impact of the Inquisition as historical myth.
Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man ... But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.
... America's transportation infrastructure, once an engine of mobility and productivity, has fallen into such disrepair that it's become an economic albatross ... Age is a key factor. Most of the major highways were built decades ago. America's transportation structures look all the more frayed next to those in advanced economies in Europe and Japan, or in China, which has been busily constructing high-speed rail and new airports ... Roads with "acceptable ride quality" fell from 87% in 1995 to 82% in 2010 ... A quarter of the country's 147,870 bridges are deficient or obsolete ...
We have been at war with Iraq for 24 years, starting with Operations Desert Shield and Storm in 1990. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year, the propaganda machine began agitating for a US attack on Iraq ... What have we accomplished? Where are we now, 24 years later? We are back where we started, at war in Iraq! ... President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress is completely silent. No declaration, no authorization, not even a debate. After 24 years we are back where we started. Isn’t it about time to re-think this failed interventionist policy? Isn’t it time to stop trusting the government and its war propaganda? Isn’t it time to leave Iraq alone?
White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel's military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval. Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and that both sides know it.
... How did it all start? Depends where you want to begin. Like everywhere else, every event in Gaza is a reaction to another event. You do something because the other side did something. Which they did because you did something. One can unravel this until the beginning of history ... Any reasonable person could have foreseen what was going to happen ... There can be no real solution for Gaza without a real solution for Palestine. The blockade must end, with serious security concerns of both sides properly addressed.
The turmoil gripping the Middle East is a direct result of the provision of cash, weapons and surveillance to Israel by the US, the latest Snowden leak illustrates. Obama’s “helpless detachment” is just for show, the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald writes. In a bold examination, the former Guardian journalist reveals the amazing contrast between what the United States says publicly, and what it does behind the curtain ... Greenwald has published his analysis of the latest leaked Edward Snowden document of April 12, 2013, wherein it’s explained just how false the notion that the US is a bystander to the Middle Eastern crisis really is.
... What we are witnessing in Ferguson today, and nationally, is not only a collision of reported facts, but also a clash of visions about America. In Sharpton's vision, America is a country where white racist cops harass, assault and gun down young black males, and Brown's execution is the latest outrage. Many media echo his indictment and accent the facts that support this preconceived narrative ... Then there is the rival vision of America rooted in a separate reality. It is that in America today, police, like Darren Wilson, are the first responders and last line of defense, willing to risk their lives battling the criminal elements that threaten us and our free society.
... As author Jared Taylor graphically relates in [Paved With Good Intentions] this meticulously documented, closely argued and powerfully written review of the lamentable state of race relations in America, a system of “prevailing taboos” has been allowed to evolve, a dangerous consequence of which is that honest and intelligent discussion of race and related issues has largely been proscribed ... In any case, Taylor argues, only by confronting the true dimensions of a failed policy can we hope to resolve the many daunting problems that are its consequence.
… Since early colonial times, and until just a few decades ago, virtually all Whites believed race was a fundamental aspect of individual and group identity. They believed people of different races had different temperaments and abilities, and built markedly different societies. They believed that only people of European stock could maintain a society in which they would wish to live, and they strongly opposed miscegenation. For more than 300 years, therefore, American policy reflected a consensus on race that was the very opposite of what prevails today.
... Frighteningly, today, there are senior officials in Washington and Moscow who are actually considering a head on clash in Ukraine between Russian forces and NATO – which is an extension of US military power ... So any military clash in Ukraine would initially be limited in scope and intensity. But a confrontation could quickly escalate into a dangerous crisis. The Cold War taught that nuclear–armed powers must never fight directly, only through proxies. Nothing is worth the risk of nuclear war, even a limited one. Let the Ukrainians sort out their differences by referendum. On the 100th anniversary of World War I, we again see our leaders playing with matches.
Russia lost three million people in World War I. But it also provided examples of explosive military strength and economic resilience that would make any nation proud. And yet, though the 100th anniversary of the war — which Russia joined on Aug. 1, 1914 — has revived some interest in the event, Russians generally do not often speak of World War I ... World War I's marginal position in Russian lore owes to the fact that it fell between the cracks of history, or — more specifically — between the Tsarist and Bolshevik regimes, Russian scholars said. In destroying the tsars, the Bolshevik revolutionaries denounced the Great War as imperialist, thus robbing it of its potential for a popular legacy.
Hundreds of thousands of rare records and images from World War One have been put online by the German government, ahead of Monday's 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict. More than 700,000 records relating to WWI, as well as photos, films and audio recordings were made accessible on a new portal on the Federal Archive’s website. The collection includes private material as well as files of military and civilian authorities, records left by politicians and military officers, documentaries and propaganda films. Access to the complete archive is free.
... Seventy years ago, the city of Warsaw was liberated by actual boys and girls — many of them teenagers and children armed with makeshift guns and molotov cocktails — who helped take back the Polish capital from its Nazi occupiers on Aug. 1, 1944, and held it for 63 bloody, courageous days ... The Western betrayal of Poland was complete. After the war, the heroic sacrifice of the Polish Home Army was largely forgotten. In Poland, leaders of the uprising were arrested and sent to Moscow for show trials. In the West, few cared to remember the Allies’ shameful abandonment of Poland. The Warsaw Poles were not even allowed to march in victory parades after the war, because the Allies had recognized the communist government installed by Stalin.
When Ukraine resisted Soviet attempts at collectivization in the 1920s and '30s, the Soviet Union under Stalin used labor camps, executions, and starvation (Holodomor) to kill millions of Ukrainians ... While there is disagreement over how many lives the genocide claimed, Gradenigo's figures have turned out to be rather accurate. In Harvest of Sorrow, historian Robert Conquest, considered by many the leading authority on the famine, put the toll at 14.5 million. About half of these deaths represent the liquidation of the kulaks, via execution and slow death in gulags, while the famine itself claimed the lives of approximately seven million, including three million children.
Our "present" has to a large degree been shaped by the events of 1939-45. The outcome of the contest between Stalin and Hitler, as "relevant" to so many of our contemporaries as those earlier struggles between Persia and Greece or Carthage and Rome, does cast its shadow over our lives ... Stalin was haunted by the fear that the Communist state was essentially a house of cards that could easily collapse. His overriding concern was to shore up the position of the regime, largely through a policy of terrorizing the various peoples who inhabited the USSR.
We’re relentlessly told that we must “never forget” the “Six Million.” But we hear far less about the vastly greater number of victims of Lenin and Stalin, and the grim legacy of Soviet Communism. Some 20 million people perished as victims of the Soviet regime, historians acknowledge. Jews played a decisive role in founding and promoting the egalitarian-universalist ideology of Marxism, in developing the worldwide Marxist political movement, and in brutally imposing Bolshevik rule in Russia. With the notable exception of Lenin, who was one-quarter Jewish, most of the leading Marxists who took control of Russia in 1917-20 were Jews, including Trotsky, Sverdlov, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Radek.
By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, scientists are tackling -- and beginning to answer -- longstanding questions about how the brain works. The researchers found that brain regions that contribute to optimal social functioning also are vital to general intelligence and to emotional intelligence. This finding bolsters the view that general intelligence emerges from the emotional and social context of one's life.
Fury and frustration still mount over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and justly so ... It’s worth looking back at another doomed passenger plane — Iran Air Flight 655 — shot down on July 3, 1988, not by some scruffy rebel on contested soil but by a U.S. Navy captain in command of an Aegis-class cruiser called the Vincennes. A quarter-century later, the Vincennes is almost completely forgotten ... After the 1988 incident, American officials told various lies and blamed the Iranian pilot. Not until eight years later did the U.S. government compensate the victims’ families, and even then expressed “deep regret,” not an apology.
At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously wrote that our world may be at the “end of history” where “Western liberal democracy” becomes “the final form of human government.” A quarter century on, such optimism seems naive. Consider the United States, the paragon of liberal democracy ... Seventy-one percent believe America is headed in the wrong direction. Nor is this the exceptional crisis of a particular presidency ... The day of the democratist and transnational elite appears to be passing ... And from those recent polls, Americans seem to look on the prospect of an even more racially and culturally diverse America of tomorrow, not with anticipation, but with a measure of dread.
Americans' dismal evaluations of Congress continue, with 13 percent approving and 83 percent disapproving of the job it is doing. That approval rating is just four percentage points above the all-time low of nine percent measured last November. This month, Gallup followed up its standard congressional job approval question by asking Americans whether they hold that opinion strongly or only moderately. A majority, 55%, say they strongly disapprove of Congress, while two percent strongly approve.
On the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation, only a narrow majority of Americans still think Watergate was a very serious matter and nearly half think the scandal was "just politics." According to a new national poll by CNN/ ORC International, just 51 percent of Americans consider the events of Watergate and Nixon's resignation to be a "serious matter," while 46 percent consider it to be "just politics" ... The data show that there is also something of a generational divide ... Even though nearly half of Americans say Watergate was "just politics," the poll also indicates that trust in government has been on a steady decline since the scandal and is now at an all-time low.
It seems that the prolific and effusive America-apologist Dinesh D’Souza has succeeded big-time with a movie about America, which was taken from a book that proclaims the same theme ... Both these masterpieces convey the exhilarating message of American “greatness.” ... I’ve never learned anything of value from reading Dinesh; and I doubt that I ever will. The guy’s done too well as a noisemaker to change his calling. For once in my life I find myself in agreement with Huffington Post, when it points out the silliness and lies in Dinesh’s latest movie, which we are told is intended to redeem us from our leftist culture.
Scotland Yard was given the names of British agents who allegedly murdered the Nazi Rudolf Hess in the infamous Spandau Prison but was advised by prosecutors not to pursue its investigations, according to a newly-released police report. Written two years after Hess’s death in 1987, the classified document outlines a highly-sensitive inquiry into the claims of a British surgeon who had once treated Adolf Hitler’s deputy that, rather than taking his own life, the elderly Nazi was killed on British orders to preserve wartime secrets.
When my father flew to Scotland on May 10, 1941, I was three-and-a-half years old. As a result, I have only very few personal memories of him in freedom. One of them is a memory of him pulling me out of the garden pond ... I am convinced that history and justice will absolve my father. His courage in risking his life for peace, the long injustice he endured, and his martyrdom, will not be forgotten. He will be vindicated, and his final words at the Nuremberg trial, "I regret nothing!," will stand forever.
... It is high time that now, at last, a real understanding should be reached among the nations. This must be an understanding based on mutual respect for one another, because only such an understanding can endure ... Again and again Adolf Hitler has asserted that Germany demands equality of rights in all spheres, including that of armament. Once such an understanding as I have been speaking of is arrived at between Germany and her neighbors, Germany can easily be content with the minimum amount of armament necessary for her own internal security and the guaranteeing of peace.
Fifty years ago, on August 10, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed what is known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. It is a day that should live in infamy. On that day, the President gave himself the power “to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed forces,” to fight the spread of communism in Southeast Asia and assist our ally in South Vietnam “in defense of its freedom.” ... History has shown that the resolution was built on a foundation of misinformation, fabrication, and willful evasion of the truth. Contrary to what the President claimed, there was no unprovoked “act of aggression” against the American destroyers that were patrolling the Tonkin Gulf ... But the Johnson administration was looking for a pretext to escalate the war.
The possibility of a war crimes investigation into the conduct of Israeli forces in Gaza, until recently unthinkable, has grown after the Palestinians said this week they wanted to become a party to the International Criminal Court. The world's permanent war crimes court in The Hague .. Fresh allegations of war crimes have flowed in recent weeks from fighting in Gaza, where Israel responded to a surge in rocket attacks by Hamas militants with air strikes and a ground incursion. The Palestinians this week unexpectedly said they are just one procedural step away from ICC membership.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked US lawmakers Wednesday to help fend off Palestinian claims that his country engaged in “war crimes” while defending itself against attacks from Gaza, one top lawmaker told The Post ... Netanyahu met with a group of US legislators, including Rep. Steve Israel (D-LI,) to discuss the country’s tense security situation and some fissures in US-Israel relations. Netanyahu asked the delegation to help Israel stay out of the International Criminal Court, where its attacks on Gaza could come under scrutiny ...
Eighty-one congressmen, or about 20 percent of the US House of Representatives, will visit Israel over the next three weeks during Congress’s summer recess, with the first group of 26 Democrats scheduled to arrive on Monday. The Democratic delegation will be followed by two Republican ones, bringing a total of 55 Republicans. Most of the representatives are freshmen congressmen, with 47 – or fully half of the freshmen Republicans voted into office in 2010 – making the trip ... The week-long trips are sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which brings large delegations of congressmen here every other August.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top state legislators are heading to Israel this week for a two-day visit as a "demonstration of solidarity" with that country in the conflict in Gaza, the Democratic governor announced Sunday. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein will travel to Israel on Tuesday. Cuomo said the delegation would meet with Israeli leaders and visit residents affected by the fighting ... Others accompanying the delegation include Cuomo's brother-in-law, designer Kenneth Cole, and publisher Mort Zuckerman. New York has 1.7 million Jews, the largest concentration outside of Israel, a fact Cuomo noted in announcing the bipartisan trip.
... While clearly other players share in this blame, including the soldiers on the ground and the politicians lacking the courage to compromise, the principal culprits in the bloodshed of the past dozen years have been the neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” allies who can’t seem to stop stirring up trouble in the name of “democracy” and “human rights.” Rather than work out reasonable – albeit imperfect – compromises with various foreign leaders, the neocons and their liberal allies insist on ratcheting up demands to such unrealistic levels that conflict becomes inevitable and the outcomes are almost always catastrophic.
Flying the Dixie flag in Brazil, a small community of descendants of U.S. Civil War Confederates proudly keeps alive their Southern traditions.
For years, librarians at a small central Illinois library gossiped that a tattered book lying on one of its shelves justifying racism may have been in the hands of none other than Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator. On Tuesday, state historians confirmed that theory by announcing Lincoln's handwriting had been found inside the cover of the 700-page text, at the same time taking great pains to offer reassurance that the former president who ended slavery didn't subscribe to the theories at hand ... “Types of Mankind" makes a case that different races were formed at different times and places and thus can't be equals.
The Department of Homeland Security allocated to Jewish institutions $12 million, or 94 percent, of $13 million in funds for securing nonprofits. The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office director, William Daroff, said Tuesday that the allocation made sense particularly in light of an intensification of threats on Jewish community targets in the United States and overseas ... The $13 million disbursed last week brings to $151 million the amount disbursed since the program started in 2005, most of it to Jewish institutions. Leading the lobbying for the program have been the Jewish Federations of North America, the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America.
Israelis frequently accuse Palestinians of using human shields. That claim is highly questionable. However, in 2005, the Israeli high court found that Israeli soldiers had used Palestinian civilians as human shields 1,200 times in the past five years ... The Nation noted last month: “... Israeli soldiers have systematically used Palestinians as human shields. Since Israel’s incursion into the West Bank in 2002, it has used Palestinians as human shields by tying young Palestinians onto the hoods of their cars or forcing them to go into a home where a potential militant may be hiding.”
The U.S. government has long lavished overwhelming aid on Israel, providing cash, weapons and surveillance technology that play a crucial role in Israel’s attacks on its neighbors. But top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults – such as the one on Gaza ... The new documents underscore the indispensable, direct involvement of the U.S. government and its key allies in Israeli aggression against its neighbors. That covert support is squarely at odds with the posture of helpless detachment typically adopted by Obama officials and their supporters.
... When a guerrilla organization with at most 10,000 fighters achieves a draw with one of the mightiest armies in the world, equipped with the most ultra-modern weapons, that is by itself a kind of victory. Hamas has not only shown a lot of courage during the fighting, but also surprising ingenuity in preparing for this campaign. It is still standing upright ... The awful pictures of devastation and death coming out of Gaza have made a profound impression abroad. They cannot be simply erased. Anti-Israeli sentiment will remain, some of it tinged with outright anti-Semitism. Israel's (false) claim of being "the nation-state of the Jewish people" and the almost total identification of Diaspora Jews with Israel will inevitably lead to blaming all Jews for Israel's misdeeds.
Tens of thousands of people have taken part in a rally for Gaza in London. The demonstration came amid renewed violence between Israel and Palestinian militants after a three-day ceasefire ended on Friday ... The demonstration in London was part of a worldwide "day of rage" against Israeli military action in Gaza. In other demonstrations on Saturday: At least 50,000 people gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, organisers of the protest said; Thousands marched through central Paris, in defiance of a ban imposed by French authorities; ... Other demonstrations were held in Spain, Greece, Jordan and Yemen on Friday.
Angel Davilla-Rivas, a Spaniard who came to east Ukraine to fight alongside pro- Russian rebels, proudly shows off two big monochrome portraits of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, tattooed on the right and left side of his torso ... Davilla-Rivas, sporting a cap with the Soviet red star pinned to it. That star and a ribbon around Munez's wrist hint at the Spaniards' motivation for joining a war thousands of miles from home. The ribbon's red, yellow and purple are the colours of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, a conflict in the 1930s ... Angel said he wanted to return the favour after the Soviet Union, under Stalin, supported the Republican side in Spain.
Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public. When asked to rate each group on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100 – where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating – all three groups receive an average rating of 60 or higher (63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics and 61 for evangelical Christians). And 44% of the public rates all three groups in the warmest part of the scale (67 or higher). Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons receive neutral ratings on average, ranging from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. The public views atheists and Muslims more coldly ...
Fresh posters urging Rome residents to boycott Jewish-owned businesses have appeared in Italy's capital, two weeks after anti-Semitic graffiti and flyers defaced shops and walls in the Jewish San Giovanni neighbourhood. The flyers, signed by extreme-right group Vita Est Militia, said that "boycotting any type of Jewish product of business is fundamental to stop the massacre in Palestine" and claimed that "every shop, factory and business under Jewish ownership sends a percentage of its profits to Israel". They listed by name 50 clothing stores, butcher shops, restaurants and bars and hotels allegedly owned by Jews.
Prominent Jewish group the Simon Wiesenthal Center has sent a letter to France’s interior minister to demand that a tiny hamlet south of Paris called “Death to Jews” be renamed ... However, the deputy mayor of the village of Courtemaux — population 289 — which has jurisdiction over the hamlet located around 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Paris, dismissed the concerns ... In May, residents of a village in Spain with a similarly unfortunate name, Castrillo Matajudios (“Castrillo Kill Jews”), voted to change the name. In a tight referendum, the citizens opted for the less offensive, older name for the town, Mota de Judios, or “Hill of the Jews.
... The bigger, more decisive problem is the broader moral context in which the killing is taking place — and the lies that the Israeli government and its American defenders have been telling to obscure that context ... American friends of Israel and supporters of the Zionist project — I have always been both — need to stop believing and repeating lies conjured up to justify unjustifiable policies. The endless occupation and slow-motion expropriation of Palestinian land, punctuated by the periodic infliction of punishment by military assault when the prisoners resist their captivity, is taking Israel in a deeply disturbing direction.
... Clearly, Europe’s antipathy towards Israel is more than just loud protest. Many Israelis think they can no longer count on public opinion in Europe — and, to a much lesser extent, America — and that where popular sentiment leads, democratic politicians will sooner or later follow. They see the rising number and vehemence of demonstrations against Israel’s wars, and as a result fear “delegitimisation”: the turning of Israel into a pariah state, outside polite international society. A global poll in and about several countries, conducted for the BBC long before the latest strife in Gaza, reported that negative views of Israel’s influence in the world outweighed positive ones by more than two to one.
The National Union of Students has voted to boycott Israel. At a special meeting on Monday, the NUS national executive committee adopted a policy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Under the policy, which passed with 23 votes for, 18 against and one abstention, student unions around the country could impose sanctions on Israel and support campaigns to boycott Israeli products on their university campuses. The Union of Jewish Students was quick to condemn the move.
... Seen through Arab eyes, things look somewhat different. Hamas is a patriotic group, fighting with incredible courage against immense odds. They are not a foreign force oblivious to the suffering of the population, they are the sons of this very population ... It is their mothers and siblings who huddle now in UN shelters, without water and electricity, deprived of everything but the clothes on their back ... Let's admit that our present enemy is fighting with great courage and inventiveness. That almost miraculously, their civilian and military command structure is still functioning well. That the civilian population is supporting them in spite of immense suffering. That after almost four weeks of fighting against one of the strongest armies in the world, they are still standing upright.
... The Palestinians have achieved far more than merely ‘surviving.’ They brought Israel to its knees. Palestinians performed heroically on the ground and displayed total unity, two things Israel did not anticipate. They have also delivered a clear message to the Israeli people, to world Jewry and even to the miniature Jewish ‘anti Zionist’ clan – this battle is not about ‘occupation,’ 1967 or the ‘two state solution.’ It is about human dignity - the right to exist ... The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] may be able to destroy a few tunnels, murder elders, women and children and turn streets into piles of debris, but it can’t even scratch the Palestinians’ will.
.... There is no question that the Holocaust plays a direct role in Israel’s emphasis on self-defense and self-reliance. The Holocaust is a regular reminder of the evil acts carried out against European Jewry, and that no nation and no group of leaders can be counted on to help or to challenge such evil ... The Israelis have conflated the German threat to European Jews into the challenge from their Arab neighbors, including the stateless Palestinians ... There are other elements of Israel’s sanctimony that permit Israeli leaders to pursue military actions that can only be described as immoral and unconscionable ... Israelis also believe that continued anti-Semitism in Europe and even the United States justifies the extreme measures that they take against the Palestinians.
Jewish community leaders welcomed the Australian government’s decision to scrap plans to repeal parts of the nation’s race-hate laws. Prime Minister Tony Abbott had pledged to dilute sections of the Racial Discrimination Act in a bid to safeguard freedom of speech, but when the government asked for community consultation, it received a chorus of condemnation, led by the Jewish community. On Tuesday, Abbott announced the government’s plans are “off the table.” ... Jewish leaders have previously used section 18c of the law to litigate successfully against Holocaust deniers, anti-Semites and religious extremists, and lobbied heavily against the government’s proposed changes.
... Rand Paul’s foreign policy viewpoint is characterized by his persistent pandering to Israel in an apparent attempt to win the crucial evangelical votes that he will need for his presidential bid ... In reality he lacks experience and has avoided any exposure to alternative viewpoints that he considers to be politically toxic, to include any expression of sympathy for the Palestinians. When it comes to foreign policy he in reality differs little from a John McCain or a Mitt Romney and therein lies the tragedy.
The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept ... The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place entire “categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists.
The federal government has concluded there's a new leaker exposing national security documents in the aftermath of surveillance disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, U.S. officials tell CNN. Proof of the newest leak comes from national security documents that formed the basis of a news story published Tuesday by the Intercept, the news site launched by Glenn Greenwald, who also published Snowden's leaks.
... The rise in Israeli racism and extremism against Palestinians would not have happened without the unconditional support that Israel receives from its allies, most significantly the United States. Israel cannot continue to be the exception to the rule of international law and human rights. The international community must hold it accountable for its rhetoric and its actions, and begin to treat it like all other countries. It should not be allowed to continue to enjoy its state of exceptionalism and to use this to wreak destruction on the Palestinian people.
... Israel’s propaganda machine, however, insists that these Palestinians wanted to die (“culture of martyrdom”), staged their own death (“telegenically dead”) or were the tragic victims of Hamas’s use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes (“human shielding”). In all instances, the military power is blaming the victims for their own deaths, accusing them of devaluing life and attributing this disregard to cultural bankruptcy ... Below I address five of Israel’s recurring talking points.
... But as the occupation of Palestinian territory has dragged on, sympathy has seeped away. In a poll published in June, before the destruction of Gaza, the citizens of 23 countries put the balance of those who think Israel is a good or bad influence on the world at minus 26%, ranking it below Russia and above only North Korea, Pakistan and Iran ... Time is not on Israel’s side. Palestinians may already outnumber Israelis in the lands they share. Without two states, Israelis and Palestinians will be left with one that contains them both. The risk for Israel is of either a permanent, non-democratic occupation that disenfranchises Palestinians, or a democracy in which Jews are in a minority.
... Americans are used to having Israel and the issue of the Palestinians framed by two heretofore closely intertwined narratives: that of the Holocaust and that of the founding of the state of Israel ... International support for Israel is ebbing because the Holocaust narrative can no longer offer an omnipotent shield against a critique of the second narrative regarding the founding of the state of Israel ... More and more younger Americans, growing up well past the postwar era, find the Holocaust narrative to be less than absolutely and unquestionably a good reason to support the horrible killings in Gaza. And as they learn more, their support will wane further.
If the results of a recent focus group and polls are any indication, the gap is growing between the US Congress and young Americans when it comes to support for Israel ... Support for Israel is weaker among younger Americans and Democrats than among Americans generally. Add to that the results of a recent focus group culled from twelve congressional staffers — a small but very influential cohort — and pro-Israel activists are worried about the long-term sustainability of broad US support for Israel in Congress. Last Friday, a select group of Jewish institutions was sent a confidential summary of the staffers discussing the recent Gaza conflict. The tone of the summary, which was obtained by JTA, was one of alarm.
... From a 2,200-strong rally in Colorado to Manhattan’s mega event, politicians of all stripes and religious persuasions are speaking in defense of Israel alongside Jewish community representatives. However, there is another narrative being voiced as well. A recent Pew poll highlights an age group that is less than “supportive.” Instead of standing with Israel, the poll finds that a third of all young Americans aged 18-29 (Jews and non) in fact blame Israel for the Gaza conflict ... So, The Times of Israel wonders: is this a watershed moment of pro-Israel support for the US Jewish communities — or just another notch in the belt of an ever-encroaching anti-Semitism?
Support for Israel is weakening among evangelical Christians, prompting a new struggle for the hearts and minds of younger members of America’s largest pro-Israel demographic group. While hard numbers are not available, evangelical leaders on both sides of the divide on Israel agree that members of the millennial generation do not share their parents’ passion for the Jewish state; many are seeking some form of evenhandedness when approaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ... The grip of Christian Zionists over young evangelicals has been loosening for several years, according to observers within the community.
The fundamentalist and evangelical Protestant Christians in the US who fervently embrace Israel are the single most important block of non-Jewish American supporters of the Zionist state and its policies. But few of these “Christian Zionists” realize just what an odd minority they are among the world’s Christians, and how out of step their views are with traditional Christian principles. Christian Zionists reject the ethical values of Jesus as laid out in the Gospels, and betray fellow Christians in Palestine who are victims of Israeli dispossession and oppression.
... Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist who produced a confidential booklet in 2009, promptly leaked, advising Israeli spokesmen how best to manipulate American and European public opinion. “Don’t confuse messages with facts,” Dr Luntz advises the spokesmen as he explains how facts should be selected and best presented to make Israel’s case ... For all the good advice of Dr Luntz there are signs of Israeli leaders getting rattled. Mr Netanyahu complained on CNN that Hamas wants “to pile up as many civilian dead as they can” and “to use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause.” Even the best propaganda machine cannot explain away massacres of civilians as happened in Lebanon at Sabra and Shatila in 1982 and at Qana in 1996 and 2006.
More than a third of all adults in the United States find themselves dealing with collections agencies as a result of falling seriously behind on their debts. It is estimated that 35 percent of Americans nationwide are in collections, according to Delinquent Debt in America, a new report from the Urban Institute. Debts in collection can include medical bills and traffic fines, as well as consumer credit accounts ... Looking at the numbers of what people owe, it isn’t a shock to learn that so many Americans are so far behind on paying their credit cards, mortgages and other debts.
College graduates who carry a high amount of student debt appear to face long-term challenges that stretch beyond just their finances. A new analysis of Americans who graduated college between 1990 and 2014 shows that graduates who took on the highest amounts of student debt, $50,000 or more, are less likely than their fellow graduates who did not borrow for college to be thriving in four of five elements of well-being: purpose, financial, community, and physical.
A newspaper has been forced to apologise for publishing a cartoon that showed a Jewish man watching the bombing of Gaza from his armchair to accompany a column about the Middle East crisis. The [Australia] Sydney Morning Herald was slammed by the Attorney-General and the Jewish community for using the drawing of an old man seated in an armchair emblazoned with the Star of David, watching comfortably from a hill as bombs dropped on Gaza. ... The Sydney Morning Herald said the cartoon was based on real life photographs that showed men seated in chairs 'observing the shelling of Gaza from the hills of Sderot'. The column's writer Mike Carlton tweeted examples of such photographs on Monday.
When Ahmed Owedat returned to his home 18 days after Israeli soldiers took it over in the middle of the night, he was greeted with an overpowering stench. He picked through the wreckage of his possessions thrown from upstairs windows to find that the departing troops had left a number of messages. One came from piles of faeces on his tiled floors and in wastepaper baskets, and a plastic bottle filled with urine ... Half an hour's drive north, a similar picture was found at Beit Hanoun girls' school, taken over by the IDF following the ground operation ... Here too ... soldiers had defecated in bins and cardboard boxes, and urinated in water bottles. "You will be fucked here" and "Don't forget it's time for you to die" were chalked in English on blackboards.
On July 10 I entered the Hebrew word for "Arabs", Aravim, into Twitter and searched for uses of the word over the previous few hours. What I found was young Israelis proclaiming their desire for all Arabs to die and in some cases be tortured to death. Some of these calls for genocide were from young men, but a majority of them seemed to be authored by young women. I began to tweet out translations into English of their words, including their Twitter profile pictures and links to their original tweets.
... In reality what is taking place in Gaza is a totally outmatched and outranked Hamas fighting a country with one of the world’s most formidable and sophisticated military machines, whose state-of-the-art equipment is provided gratis – under so-called “Foreign Military Financing (FMF)” – by the United States ... The billions of dollars in sophisticated U.S. weapons purchased by Israel are under non-repayable FMF grants, according to defence analysts. Israel is currently the recipient of a ten-year, 30-billion-dollar U.S. military aid package, 2009 through 2018.
... US weaponry supplied to Israel is by law only supposed to be used for defensive purposes. Tank and mortar fire is conceivably defensive when a dug in position is being attacked, but that is not the case in Gaza. Tanks and mortars are instead being used offensively to bombard Palestinian buildings, to include the UN schools and also hospitals where civilians have taken refuge ... This makes the United States, which likes to think of itself as a moral nation, complicit in the carrying out of a horrific war crime ... The United States is apt to moralize about what it does and does not do, but in practice it is not at all guided neither by ethical considerations nor by national interests. It rather responds to pressure groups and lobbies.
... There is no humane or legal justification for how the Israeli Defence Force is conducting this war, pulverising with bombs, missiles and artillery large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools and hospitals, displacing families and killing Palestinian non-combatants. Much of Gaza has lost its access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe. There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes ... Ultimately, however, lasting peace depends on the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.
... What is going on in Palestine today is not really about Hamas. It is not about rockets. It is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. That is what Netanyahu is really saying, and that is what he now admits he has “always” talked about. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty. What Israel is doing in Gaza now is collective punishment.
President Vladimir Putin's approval rating has reached a record high of 87 percent, according to the results of a survey published Wednesday by the independent Levada Center pollster. In May, Putin enjoyed an approval rating of 83 percent, its highest since 2008, according to major U.S. pollster Gallup. Putin's popularity at home has skyrocketed against a backdrop of increased diplomatic isolation connected with the crisis in Ukraine ... Sixty-six percent of respondents also said they believe Russia is "moving in the right direction."
... Much of the piping that carries drinking water in the country dates to the first half of the 20th century, with some installed before Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House. Age inevitably takes a toll. There are 240,000 breaks a year, according to the National Association of Water Companies, a problem compounded by stress from an increasing population and budget crunches that slow the pace of replacement. Which is why the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. water infrastructure a D grade last year, and the EPA says we need a $384 billion upgrade.
... It’s a feature of much mainstream journalism in the US, not just an issue of coverage during the last three weeks of the Gaza crisis, that while one set of questions gets asked all the time, the other is heard hardly at all. In years of reporting from and about Israel, I’ve followed the frequently robust debate in its press ... So it has been all the more striking to discover a far narrower discourse in Washington and the notoriously pro-Israel mainstream media in the US at a time when difficult questions are more important than ever.
... There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project ... These are highly illuminating about the gap between what Israeli officials and politicians really believe, and what they say, the latter shaped in minute detail by polling to determine what Americans want to hear.
Following its reporting of the latest events in the Gaza Strip on Friday, including available details about an IDF [Israel armed forces] soldier captured by Hamas soldiers early in the day, the New York Times was contacted by Israel’s military censor and told that future reporting related to the capture would need to be run through its office before publication ... Israel’s policy of placing ‘gag rules’ over foreign correspondents is well known to reporters who have worked in the country, but rarely acknowledged by U.S. outlets.
... Having recently experienced a Face the Nation that featured Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin, I have my own little list of “society’s offenders” that I never want to see on television or in print again ... My somewhat light hearted attempt to identify some of the scoundrels who have plagued us for the past thirteen years conceals a darker truth. Washington pundits and pols pursuing their own agendas have done more damage to the United States and its people than 9/11 ever did, and it might even be non-hyperbolic to suggest that someone like Josef Stalin pales in comparison. Their ideological baggage has steered America down the wrong road and wrecked its economy to such an extent that there may be no way back.
A look at lies and deceit in the two world wars. Fantastic stories about German atrocities in World War I were promoted to mobilize public opinion in the US, Britain and France. In World War II, the disastrous British evacuation of Dunkirk was portrayed as a great success. Another durable propaganda myth is the story of “merciless” German bombing of Coventry. Actually, it was the British who first began indiscriminate bombing of civilians. As historian Phillip Knightley points out, German news reports about the war were generally more accurate and reliable than those of the Allies.
... This is a cautionary tale, one that has been buried for decades, on the official censorship — by the Truman White House — of a major Hollywood film on the bombing of Hiroshima. And the tale goes beyond censorship: it involves the outright falsification of major historical facts. The MGM drama, The Beginning or the End emerged in 1947, after many revisions, as a Hollywood version of America’s official nuclear narrative: The bomb was clearly necessary to end the war with Japan and save American lives — and we needed to build new and bigger weapons to protect us from the Soviets ... Facts were suppressed, and events were completely fabricated ...
On 6 August 1945, an American B-29 bomber dropped the world's first deployed atomic bomb over the southern Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion immediately wiped out around 90% of the city and killed around 80,000 people. Tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure, and the devastating power of what Japanese emperor Hirohito described as a "new and most cruel bomb" was unleashed. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.
... Since the last “good war,” a debate has ensued over the moral legitimacy of the use of nuclear weapons, particularly against civilians. The critics hold that it is a crime to incinerate civilians en masse; defenders commonly claim that the bombing was necessary to bring the war to a close, thereby saving countless American lives. Most of those who make this claim do so in earnest. The problem is that this defense is both historically false, and taken to its logical conclusion, extremely dangerous ... The U.S. War Department and related agencies that specialized in producing hate propaganda and lies developed specifically racialist attacks on the Japanese.
The most spectacular episode of Truman’s presidency will never be forgotten, but will be forever linked to his name: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later. Probably around two hundred thousand persons were killed in the attacks and through radiation poisoning; the vast majority were civilians … By early summer 1945, the Japanese fully realized that they were beaten. Why did they nonetheless fight on? As Anscombe wrote: "It was the insistence on unconditional surrender that was the root of all evil." That mad formula was coined by Roosevelt at the Casablanca conference, and, with Churchill’s enthusiastic concurrence, it became the Allied shibboleth.
... The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a criminal act on an epic scale. It was premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. For this reason its apologists have sought refuge in the mythology of the ultimate "good war", whose "ethical bath", as Richard Drayton called it, has allowed the west not only to expiate its bloody imperial past but to promote 60 years of rapacious war, always beneath the shadow of The Bomb. The most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and save lives.
Israel was singled out in 2007 as a top espionage threat against the U.S. government, including its intelligence services, in a newly published National Security Agency (NSA) document obtained by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden, according to a news report Monday. The document also identified Israel, along with North Korea, Cuba and India, as a “leading threat” to the infrastructure of U.S. financial and banking institutions ... In this new document, Israel was identified by the NSA as a security threat in several areas ...
A selection of 18 photographs from the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, including photos from the aftermath of this first-ever nuclear weapons assault. The blast and subsequent fire devastated an area of five square miles (13 square kilometres). More than 60% of the city's buildings were completely destroyed. An estimated 80,000 people died immediately, but injuries and radiation took the final death toll to around 140,000 from Hiroshima's population of 350,000.
... Those two sets of events -- Hoover in 1945 and National Review in 1968-69 -- were not anomalies in early post-Hiroshima U.S. conservatism. In fact, many noted American conservatives -- journalists, former diplomats and retired and occasionally on-duty military officers, and some right-wing historians and political scientists -- criticized the atomic bombing. They frequently contended it was unnecessary, and often maintained it was immoral and that softer surrender terms could have ended the war without such mass killing.
America's leaders understood Japan's desperate position: the Japanese were willing to end the war on any terms, as long as the Emperor was not molested. If the US leadership had not insisted on unconditional surrender -- that is, if they had made clear a willingness to permit the Emperor to remain in place -- the Japanese very likely would have surrendered immediately, thus saving many thousands of lives … General Curtis LeMay, who had pioneered precision bombing of Germany and Japan (and who later headed the Strategic Air Command and served as Air Force chief of staff), put it most succinctly: "The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war."
Today [August 6] is the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Though most Americans are unaware of the fact, increasing numbers of historians now recognize the United States did not need to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan in 1945. Moreover, this essential judgment was expressed by the vast majority of top American military leaders in all three services in the years after the war ended: Army, Navy and Army Air Force. Nor was this the judgment of “liberals,” as is sometimes thought today. In fact, leading conservatives were far more outspoken in challenging the decision as unjustified and immoral than American liberals in the years following World War II.
Lights across Britain were switched off for an hour on Monday in a tribute to the dead of the First World War, inspired by the prophetic observation of then-Foreign Minister Lord Grey on the eve of war 100 years ago. "The lamps are going out all over Europe," Grey said in 1914. "We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." British landmarks like Trafalgar Square were dark from 10 p.m. local time, and Prime Minister David Cameron asked all Britons to switch off all but a single light in their homes for an hour. The "war to end all wars" spread carnage across Europe, especially northern France and Belgium, killing 17 million soldiers and civilians in 1914-18. One million of the dead were soldiers from Britain and its then empire, including 60,000 Canadians.
With a dimming of the lights and ceremonies across this country and in Belgium, monarchs, princes, presidents and citizens commemorated on Monday the day 100 years ago when Britain entered World War I at the start of four years of carnage once called the war to end all wars. Some took the moment to recall more modern crises in the Middle East and Europe that are rooted in the fighting between 1914 and 1918 that toppled empires and redrew the world map. Some dwelled on a vision of reconciliation among former foes ... Many in Britain and elsewhere [in 1914] expected a quick end to the hostilities. But the war soon bogged down in trench warfare that consumed the energies and resources of nations at the cost of millions of lives.
When Britain declared war on Germany on August 4th 1914, it was committing not only its own men, but those of its empire. The five “dominions” — Australia, Canada, Newfoundland (which joined with Canada in 1949), New Zealand and South Africa — were self-governing but had no power over foreign policy ... As the war dragged on and their young men died in droves, they pressed for more say in its conduct and, after it ended, more control over their destinies. The men who came home often found that fighting for Britain had, paradoxically, made them feel more distant from it. A century later, many historians see the first world war as the former dominions’ “war of independence” ... The first world war gave the dominions not only a push to independence, but also founding myths.
... President Bush opted instead for a policy that the United States alone among nations could have conceivably undertaken: global military action not only against al-Qaeda but against any regime in the world that supported international terrorism ... And by identifying the target as generic "terrorism," rather than as al-Qaeda or any other group or list of groups, the administration licensed military operations anywhere in the world ... A policy of unchallengeable military domination over the earth, accompanied by a unilateral right to overthrow other governments by military force, is an imperial, an Augustan policy. It marks a decisive choice of force and coercion over cooperation and consent as the mainstay of the American response to the disorders of the time
If you want to lose weight, be sure to get enough sleep. Most people know they should cut calories and exercise more to trim down, but there's now significant scientific evidence that another critical component to weight control is avoiding sleep deprivation, sleep scientists say. "There is no doubt that insufficient sleep promotes hunger and appetite, which can cause excessive food intake resulting in weight gain," says Eve Van Cauter, director of the Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center at the University of Chicago. She has spent 15 years studying the topic.
... Israel, as an occupying power, is in direct violation of Article III of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. This convention lays out the minimum standards for the protection of civilians in a conflict that is not international in scope ... Israel has not only violated the tenets of Article III but has amply fulfilled the conditions of an aggressor state as defined by Article 51. But for Israel, as for the United States, international law holds little importance ... The unanimous U.S. Senate vote in support of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the media’s slavish parroting of Israeli propaganda and the Obama administration’s mindless repetition of pro-Israeli clichés have turned us into cheerleaders for Israeli war crimes.
... The British and American air forces bombed the German cities [during World War II] and destroyed them completely. A stone did not remain on a stone, glorious palaces were flattened, cultural treasures were obliterated. "Uninvolved civilians" were blown to smithereens, burned to death or just disappeared. Dresden, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, was totally destroyed within a few hours in a "fire storm". The official aim was to destroy the German war industry, but this was not achieved. The real aim was to terrorize the civilian population, in order to induce them to remove their leaders and capitulate ... Millions of tons of bombs did not suffice. They only strengthened the morale of the population and its loyalty to the Führer. And so to Gaza.
The British government has long denied that wartime air raids on German cities were intended to kill as many civilians as possible. In fact, the raids, led by Arthur Harris, were motivated largely by a desire to hit back and destroy indiscriminately / … “The aim of [Britain’s] Bomber Command should be unambiguously and publicly stated," he [Harris] wrote in 1943. "That aim is the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany." He wanted the government to declare its commitment to "the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale", and he expressed his contempt of the official eagerness "to downplay the obliteration of German cities and their inhabitants".
The situation facing European Jewry is “simply intolerable, unacceptable and inexcusable,” Israeli Jewish Congress president Vladimir Sloutsker told MKs and foreign diplomats at a special session of the Knesset Immigration Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday. Calling the rise in anti-Semitic incidents accompanying Israel’s invasion of Gaza an “SOS situation,” Sloutsker warned that if left unchecked, such behavior could lead to another European genocide. “Never before since the Holocaust, have we seen such a situation as today,” he said ... “We are potentially looking at the beginning of another Holocaust now. These events will only grow in scale across Europe.”
... Israel has seen a huge wave of new immigrants since the beginning of its offensive in Gaza ... And the main reason for European migrants making the journey, according to the man charged with bringing more Jews to Israel, is anti-Semitism. "In this three weeks of war, we have had 2,600 new immigrants arrive ...,” Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the country's former deputy prime minister ... firmly believes that European Jewry's day are numbered, and that more and more will head for Israel. "The way things are developing in Europe, Jews will increasingly start to feel there is no future there. The number of French Jews leaving is very symbolic," he said.
Do people make a rational choice to be liberal or conservative? Do their mothers raise them that way? Is it a matter of genetics? Two political scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a colleague from Rice University say that neither conscious decision-making nor parental upbringing fully explain why some people lean left while others lean right. A growing body of evidence shows that physiological responses and deep-seated psychology are at the core of political differences, the researchers say in the latest issue of the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences. "Politics might not be in our souls, but it probably is in our DNA," says the article ...
Most Russians have been following the news about Ukraine and Crimea over the past few months ... While the U.S. government maintains that Russia has "repeatedly put out misinformation and propaganda throughout this conflict in Ukraine," Russians who have been following the news consider their state media the most reliable source for information about the situation. Just five percent say Western media are reliable ... The high percentage who say state media are reliable more likely reflects Russians' current record-high faith in the state and their record-low trust in the West. Russians' belief that media in their country have enough freedom is also at a record high of 55 percent ...
President Vladimir Putin's popularity in Russia is now at its highest level in years, likely propelled by a groundswell of national pride with the annexation of Crimea in March on the heels of the Sochi Olympic Games in February. The 83% of Russians saying they approve of Putin's leadership in late April/early June ties his previous high rating in 2008 when he left office the first time. The 29-percentage-point increase in Putin's job approval between 2013 and 2014 suggests he has solidified his previously shaky support base ... A record-high 65% of Russians are satisfied with their freedom. Some of this may be attributable to improving economic perceptions.
... The glass is empty, the world sees that it is empty, but the Russian media proclaims: "The glass is completely full." ... I worked for Soviet newspapers during the terms of four Soviet leaders, from Leonid Brezhnev to Mikhail Gorbachev, and this is the first time the authorities have lied so brazenly and shamelessly. They have truly reached a new low ... All of those versions of events were deliberate lies, and all of the reporters and commentators who authored and discussed them knew they were telling lies. And yet they still did it ... For Russia's state media journalists, it was not enough to simply twist the facts to their own purposes: They felt compelled to tell bold-faced lies.
Apart from Hitler himself, perhaps the most fascinating figure of Third Reich Germany is the regime’s chief publicist and spokesman, Joseph Goebbels. He is widely portrayed as a master of lies and deceitful propaganda. But this familiar image, which is particularly entrenched in the United States, is itself a propaganda falsehood.
The umbrella body of the Jewish community in Sydney threatened to take action against a major newspaper for publishing a cartoon about Gaza that “racially vilifies” Jews. Yair Miller, president of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, wrote to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday claiming that the cartoon by Glen Le Lievre in the July 26 edition was in breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act ... The cartoon, published alongside a virulently anti-Israel article by columnist Mike Carlton, showed a yarmulke-wearing, hooked nose Jew sitting in an armchair etched with a Star of David, using a remote control to detonate a collection of buildings, presumably in Gaza.
Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too. The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.
The United States exported to Israel a substantial amount of the same types of weapons Israel is using to kill Gazans, a new analysis of US Census Bureau export data reveals. For example, in 2013, the United States sent Israel at least $196 million in parts for military airplanes and helicopters, a category that includes F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, both of which Israel is currently using to attack Gazan homes, offices and farmland ... The United States also sent Israel parts for armored fighting vehicles and ammunition cartridges ... Even as the US government claims to want to broker a ceasefire, it continues facilitating weapons exports to Israel.
A deadly attack on a school in the city of Rafah in the south of Gaza has been denounced as a "moral outrage" and "criminal act" by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. At least ten people were killed and dozens more wounded after a projectile struck a street outside the school gates on Sunday morning. The school was sheltering more than 3,000 people displaced by fighting in the area ... In a statement, Ban called on those responsible for the "gross violation of international humanitarian law" to be held accountable. He said the "Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites."
It is a familiar scenario. Israeli is killing hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, and the Zionist propaganda machine is working overtime ... Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lies repeatedly, and the US media gives him a bully pulpit to spread his disinformation ... A very large percentage of the commentators on television and radio as well the authors of mainstream print media opinion are American and Israeli Jews ... But the Israel-Palestine problem truly began in 1948, when armed Jews deliberately terrorized and then drove more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. It was exacerbated when in 1967 the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began, leading to the creation and expansion of illegal settlements on Arab land.
Pro-Israel activists assembled a huge crowd and a long list of congressional leaders and diplomats to declare their unconditional support for Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip on Monday, largely downplaying tensions between Jerusalem and Washington. Key congressional figures from both the Republican and Democratic Parties echoed similar views: that Israel was exercising its inherent right of self-defense, that the entire blame for the hostilities lies with Hamas, and reminding the audience, in a thinly veiled message to U.S. President Barack Obama, that Hamas is backed by Iran.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that Israel and at least one other intelligence agency were listening in on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's unsecured phone calls last year when he was holding nearly daily negotiations for peace with various leaders in the Middle East ... “A large number of these conversations, which went via satellite, were listened to by at least two intelligence agencies, including the Israelis," the magazine wrote. "It is probable that the Russians and Chinese were also listening in." The magazine said that Israel thus often knew precisely what Kerry was talking to the other sides about.
Jackie Mason, who spent three years as an ordained rabbi before launching his six-decade career as a comedian, will claim during a radio show to air Sunday that Hollywood is run by Jews but is nevertheless "anti-Semitic," "ignorant" and "stupid" when it comes to issues involving Israel ... Klein in Israel asks the 83-year-old entertainer from his home in New York to comment on "Hollywood geniuses" like Selena Gomez, Penelope Cruz and Rihanna, who have criticized Israel for its response to Hamas in an ongoing conflict in Gaza. "They come from these kinds of anti-Semitic, low-class backgrounds where a Jew is the most disgusting thing in the world to them," Mason answers ...
... Even many of those who readily acknowledge the tremendous influence of American film and television seem not to fully comprehend the formidable scope of the power behind Hollywood, or the outlook and agenda of those who wield that power ... Hollywood, together with the rest of the Jewish-Zionist dominated US media, sensationalizes and distorts current events, systematically falsifies history, promotes debased "entertainment" and perverse cultural standards, and makes possible the Jewish-Zionist hold on American political life ...
Latin America's leaders are among the most vehement in condemning Israel's Gaza offensive -- labelling the Jewish state "terrorist", recalling ambassadors, and offering near-unanimous, unwavering support to Palestinians ... Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro denounced "a war of extermination that has lasted nearly a century" against the Palestinian people ... Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and El Salvador have also recalled their ambassadors for consultations ... The region has universally condemned the violence from Israeli military operations, urged a ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations between the two sides.
... Who is responsible for this tragic treatment of Palestinians? If you ponder that question, bear in mind that Israel could not possibly commit this criminal behavior without automatic, unqualified, U.S. government support year after year. Pro-Israel lobby pressure controls all major news media. Congress behaves like a committee of the Israeli parliament. No president since Dwight Eisenhower has had the courage to stand up to Israeli wrongdoing. Those who know the truth are afraid to speak out for fear of paying a heavy price – maybe loss of employment. All citizens of the United States must face the truth: Our government is complicit in in Israeli crimes against humanity.
... The U.S. has been deeply involved with this war from the beginning, because the U.S. is underwriting it ... I have seen no comparable attempt, though, to remove the much more substantial assistance that the U.S. gives to Israel: more than $3 billion a year, almost all of it for military purposes — about a fourth of Jerusalem's military budget ... You can read a detailed breakdown of where that aid goes in the Congressional Research Service's April report on the subject.
A detailed 30-page report, issued in April 2014 by the research service of the US Congress. From the one-page Summary: “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $121 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to any other countries ...”
... As it has on several prior occasions, Israel is using weapons provided by U.S. taxpayers to bombard the captive and impoverished Palestinians in Gaza ... This Orwellian situation is eloquent testimony to the continued political clout of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the other hardline elements of the Israel lobby. There is no other plausible explanation for the supine behavior of the U.S. Congress -- including some of its most "progressive" members -- or the shallow hypocrisy of the Obama administration ... The explanation for America's impotent and morally bankrupt policy is the political clout of the Israel lobby.
... Americans really have little choice when it comes to Congress and Israel as anyone who refuses to cooperate with AIPAC is unlikely to find himself in the running ... Perhaps there should be some discussion of what that is likely to mean and the promoters of such policies should be held accountable when they produce a bad result, as they did in Iraq and are promising to do vis-a-vis Iran. It is one thing to be all for Israel due to cultural or familial affinity or even as an abstraction but it is quite another to persist in that view when it does genuine harm to the United States, regarding which a case certainly can and has already been made.
… Jews wield immense power and influence in the United States. The "Jewish lobby" is a decisive factor in US support for Israel. Jewish-Zionist interests are not identical to American interests. In fact, they often conflict. As long as the "very powerful" Jewish lobby remains entrenched, there will be no end to the systematic Jewish distortion of current affairs and history, the Jewish-Zionist domination of the U.S. political system, Zionist oppression of Palestinians, the bloody conflict between Jews and non-Jews in the Middle East, and the Israeli threat to peace.
The short version: Japan's actions from 1852 to 1945 were motivated by a deep desire to avoid the fate of 19 th -century China and to become a great power ... The Imperial Japanese Navy got its way, but it had to deal the fact that the South Pacific had already been colonized. Hence the simultaneous attacks on Pearl Harbor, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Malaya: The Japanese didn't want the Americans or the British to resist the Japanese scramble for rubber and oil. This turned out to be suicidal and a complete misreading of how the Americans would react to Pearl Harbor, but it was about 90 years in the making.
... Most important, the U.S. government engaged in a series of increasingly stringent economic warfare measures that pushed the Japanese into a predicament that U.S. authorities well understood would probably provoke them to attack U.S. territories and forces in the Pacific region in a quest to secure essential raw materials that the Americans, British, and Dutch (government in exile) had embargoed ... So effective has been the pro-Roosevelt, pro-American, pro-World War II faction that in this country it has utterly dominated teaching and popular writing about U.S. engagement in the "Good War."
A study of 1,890 identical twins has found that strong early reading skill might positively affect later intelligence. The twins, who are part of an ongoing longitudinal study in the United Kingdom, share all their genes as well as a home environment. Differences shown in intellectual ability came from experiences they didn't share. The twin with stronger early reading skills was found to have higher overall intellectual ability by age 7.
... But if aiding rebels in overthrowing their government is "aggression," is that not exactly what we are doing in Syria? Hopefully, those who prodded the U.S. to send surface-to-air missiles to the Syrian rebels are having second thoughts today. But before we sink the Russian economy and send weapons to Ukraine, perhaps we should consider the potential consequences ... Sanctions on Russia can cripple her economy. But Russia can also cripple the economies of Ukraine and Europe ... That "moral and strategic clarity" exists only in uncomplicated minds.
... In recent days I've been debating supporters of Israel's latest assault on Gaza on radio and on Twitter and I've been astonished not just by the sheer number of fact-free claims made by those supporters, but also by their confidence, slickness and sheer message discipline. According to the pro-Israel, pro-IDF crowd, Hamas is to blame for everything. This, of course, is utter nonsense ... Here are fact-filled, evidence-based rebuttals to the eleven main myths, half-truths and self-serving 'talking points' that are repeatedly pushed by various Israeli spokespersons, both on the airwaves and on social media ...
... In American media discourse, when Palestinians overwhelmingly kill soldiers (95% of the Israeli death toll) who are part of an army that is blockading, occupying, invading, and indiscriminately bombing them and killing their children by the hundreds, that is “terrorism”; when Israelis use massive, brutal force against a trapped civilian population, overwhelmingly killing innocent men, women and children (at least 75% of the Palestinian death toll), with clear intentions to kill civilians, that is noble “self-defense.” That demonstrates how skewed U.S. discourse is in favor of Israel, as well as the purely manipulative, propagandistic nature of the term “terrorists.”
Exactly 800 years ago on Sunday, in a field next to what is now the airport of Lille, a battle was fought which determined the history of England. Today few people in the UK have heard of Bouvines ... But the battle of July 27, 1214, was just as significant as England's later victories over the French ... King John was not at the battle. He was still in the south. But his dreams of reconquest were dashed. He returned to England, humiliated and impoverished. Less than a year later - his barons increasingly belligerent and the French now revealing their own designs on the English crown - he was forced to sign the Magna Carta, which limited his power and formed the basis of English democracy.
The Times of Israel published, and then deleted, a piece Friday by a blogger suggesting that genocide was a "permissible" way to solve the conflict in the Middle East. Yochanan Gordon's opinion piece, entitled "When Genocide is Permissible," wonders if the mass obliteration of a people would be justified if used as a means for Israeli military to "achieve its goal of sustaining quiet." “Hamas has stated forthrightly that it idealizes death as much as Israel celebrates life,” Gordon wrote. “What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?”
Without prior warning, an Israeli missile hit the house of the Ayyad family last Saturday. The Ayyads, who are Christian, were the first family among the tiny minority in Gaza to be targeted since the offensive began three weeks ago ... A memorial service was held on Sunday for Ayyad at Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church on Sunday. The church has become a haven not just for Christian but also hundreds of Muslim families seeking shelter there as the offensive drags on. ... In something that surprised local journalists, Jalila’s body was carried by both Muslims and Christians to the grave. It seems the shared wounds, mourning and rage are bridging past divides in war-ravaged Gaza.
It’s no surprise that so many ordinary Americans think the rest of the world can go hang itself. What did they lose so many sons and daughters for in Iraq exactly? Or indeed in Afghanistan. As for Israel, it uses US tax dollars to obliterate Gaza and then turns around and accuses Washington of being unfriendly towards it ... The failure of the US to use its apparent leverage points to an uncomfortable new diplomatic front: the US has neither the political will to turn off the tap from Washington to Israel, nor the strength to call its supposed ally’s bullish government back from further aggression in Gaza. For the moment, it is, as the Yanks might say, a “lose-lose”.
In October 1998 in a bid to gain the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli team led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to blackmail President Bill Clinton with tapes of Clinton and then-intern Monica Lewinsky. When Clinton brought Israel’s request for Pollard’s release to CIA Director George Tenet, Tenet threatened to resign on the spot should Clinton cave and release Pollard. Clinton ultimately declined the Israeli request, though he would consider it once again before the end of his term. This bombshell claim comes from Daniel Halper’s new book on the Clintons’ rise back to power, “Clinton, Inc.” ...
A Jewish doctor who was ordered to leave a New York-bound JetBlue flight “ranted” at a Palestinian fellow passenger that she was a “murderer” who might blow up the flight, according to internal reports quoted on an airline security blog. Lisa Rosenberg, an obstetrician with an office in Queens, was ousted because she “made a racial slur at the (Palestinian) customer,” and that “customers seated in the immediate area expressed concern for their safety because of Dr. Rosenberg,” a flight attendant told investigators ... The official accounts conflict dramatically with Rosenberg’s version of the July 7 incident .. She asserted she was targeted for expulsion because of her Jewish faith and called the move an “anti-Semitic hate crime.”
Two more infants in New York City have tested positive for herpes following a controversial circumcision rite. Both babies are believed to have contracted the disease following metzitzah b’peh, a ritual in which the circumciser places his lips on the infant’s penis to suction blood from the circumcision wound. New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sent a health alert to doctors July 22 warning of the suspected cases ... Since 2000, 16 infants in New York City are suspected of contracting herpes following MBP. Two of those babies died and at least two others suffered brain damage.
The Pentagon on Wednesday announced its recent approval for unlocking a massive stockpile of ammunition for use by the Israeli Defense Forces who continue to pummel the civilian population living inside the Gaza Strip where the death toll now nears 1,400 people — a majority of whom are civilians, including close to 300 children. Worldwide condemnation over Israel’s attack on Gaza has reached previously unseen levels, but the U.S. government has stated that its commitment to Israel will not waver and that providing weaponry remains standard policy ...
Members of Congress are falling over one another to show their support for Israel. While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a cease-fire, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations. Many even have criticized the administration's effort to stop the violence that has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 50 Israeli soldiers and three civilians this month.
... Neither side has a strategy other than terrorizing the civilian population of the other side ... The Israeli army is bombing the Gaza Strip population and destroying entire neighborhoods, hoping that the inhabitants (those who survive) will shake off the Hamas leadership. Both hopes are, of course, stupid. History has shown time and again that terrorizing a population causes it to unite behind its leaders and hate the enemy even more. That is happening now on both sides ... Millions around the world have seen day after day the terrible pictures of devastation and death in the Gaza Strip. These will not be eradicated from their minds by a cease-fire. Israel's already precarious standing in the world will sink even lower.
The Obama administration has gone to court to protect the files of an influential anti-Iran advocacy group, saying they likely contain information the government does not want disclosed. The highly unusual move by the Justice Department raises questions about the connections between the American government and the group, United Against Nuclear Iran, a hard-line voice seeking to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The group has a roster of prominent former government officials and a reputation for uncovering information about companies that sometimes do business with Iran, in violation of international sanctions.
A letter accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza was endorsed by 100 Spanish celebrities, including Academy Award winners Pedro Almodovar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. On Monday the actors, writers and directors endorsed a letter that Bardem published last week in the Barcelona-based El Periodico de Catalunya, the daily reported. “This is a war of occupation and extermination against a whole people without means, confined to a miniscule territory without water and where hospitals, ambulances, and children are targeted and presumed to be terrorists,” Bardem, himself an Academy Award-winning actor, wrote.
A letter accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza was endorsed by 100 Spanish celebrities, including Academy Award winners Pedro Almodovar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. On Monday the actors, writers and directors endorsed a letter that Bardem published last week in the Barcelona-based El Periodico de Catalunya, the daily reported. “This is a war of occupation and extermination against a whole people without means, confined to a miniscule territory without water and where hospitals, ambulances, and children are targeted and presumed to be terrorists,” Bardem, himself an Academy Award-winning actor, wrote.
While the world waits for Israel and Palestine to find some semblance of peace, the war has seen international celebrities firmly staking a claim on each side of the border ... Oscar winner Penelope Cruz and her husband, fellow Academy Award winner and prominent activist Javier Bardem, outspoken author Naomi Wolf and satirical TV host Jon Stewart have all been pro-Palestine, while comedian Joan Rivers, radio shock jock Howard Stern and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ignored a no-fly warning to travel to Israel to show his support, are three high-profile people to come out in defence of Israel’s attack on Gaza.
Bolivia's leftist president has declared Israel a "terrorist state" because of its offensive in the Gaza Strip, and his government will now require Israeli citizens to obtain a visa to visit the Andean nation. President Evo Morales already broke off diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in 2009, calling Israel's treatment of Palestinians "a genocide." The action announced Wednesday will especially hit young Israelis, who often travel for extended periods, with South America a popular destination. Other South American countries, including Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, have recalled their ambassadors from Israel in protest over the fighting in Gaza.
Almost two thirds of the British public (62%) believe that the Israeli government is committing war crimes, a new YouGov poll has revealed. The survey, conducted 27-28 July, comes days after a separate poll carried out on behalf of The Sunday Times showed that 52% of the British public sees Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip as “unjustified” ... Meanwhile, a survey of UK Christians commissioned by charity Embrace the Middle East has revealed that 35.4% sympathise more with the Palestinians, while 16.9% sympathise more with Israel.
... In many European cities, what began as peaceful protests turned into outpourings of anti-Jewish sentiments and violence against counter-demonstrators ... Many Germans see things the same way. In a recent survey by the "Stern" magazine, more than half of respondents place the blame for the conflict on both Israel and Hamas - and 86 percent believe that Germany should not publically stand on the Israeli side.