The differences between America and other nations have long been a subject of fascination and study for social scientists, dating back to Alexis de Tocqueville, the early 19th century French political thinker who described the United States as “exceptional.” Nearly 200 years later, Americans’ emphasis on individualism and work ethic stands out in surveys of people around the world ... Americans also stand out for their religiosity and optimism, especially when compared with other relatively wealthy countries ... Americans are more likely than their counterparts in economically advanced nations to deem religion very important ... Americans are also more upbeat than people in other wealthy nations when asked how their day is going.
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. ... So thoroughly did liberals come to dominate the discourse about European security during the first decade of this century that even as the alliance adopted an open-door policy of growth, NATO expansion faced little realist opposition. The liberal worldview is now accepted dogma among U.S. officials ... There is a solution to the crisis in Ukraine, however -- although it would require the West to think about the country in a fundamentally new way.
... The sad truth is that the present leaders of the mainstream Jewish community in the U.S. have long favored the Likud leadership in Israel. Some of these Jewish leaders believe that tough-minded Likudniks are the best hedge against the “inevitable” next Holocaust, while others will back whoever is in charge because they are ideologically fixated on Israel as their cause celebre. Thus, all of them are no doubt pleased with Netanyahu’s return to power ... Undermining peace, promoting oppression, assuring poverty, fostering racism, playing on people’s fears and interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries – none of this can be good for the rest of us. Clearly, Benjamin Netanyahu is bad news for the world at large.
... Mr. Mosier, one of the more entertainingly contrarian military historians writing today, convincingly dashes these myths - and more - in an important and groundbreaking book [Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin: The Eastern Front, 1941–1945] ... The Red army suffered casualties at the rate of 5-to-1 over the Germans ... As the war wound down in the spring of 1945, Russian losses continued to be so heavy that the Red army desperately conscripted all men between the ages of 14 and 60 and prepared to form all-female combat units. As Sir Winston Churchill wryly commented about Stalin’s penchant for lying, “The Bolsheviks have discovered that truth does not matter as long as there is reiteration ...”
Viktor Suvorov, a Russian historian and former Soviet military intelligence officer, explains why Stalin should be considered the “chief culprit” of World War II. In this lecture, based on research for several books including The Chief Culprit, he presents evidence to show that the German attack against the Soviet Union in June 1941 was a preventive strike to counter an imminent Soviet assault against Germany and Europe. This two-hour talk was given at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, Feb. 3, 2009. Suvorov also responds to questions from the audience.
Though the youngest Americans seem to be the most tech-savvy generation in history, their skill sets might not match up to the par set by their international peers. Researchers at the Princeton-based Educational Testing Service administered test, sponsored by the OECD, designed to measure the job skills of adults born after 1980, aged 16 to 65, in 23 different countries. When they analyzed the results by age group and nationality, the results were shockingly bad for young Americans. According to the study, despite the fact that American millennials are now the most educated generation ever, they scored far below their international peers in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments (PS-TRE).
Bad news ahead for the American workforce: Its Millennial generation is flunking the basics. Americans born after 1980 are lagging their peers in countries ranging from Australia to Estonia, according to a new report from researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) ... It hints that students may be falling behind not only in their early educational years but at the college level ... In Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees, the report said. "A decade ago, the skill level of American adults was judged 'mediocre’,” the report said. "Now it is below even that ...”
The United States is losing its edge. It is surrendering the research and development advantage that has fueled its economy for six decades. China now performs more R&D than the United States, and South Korea and Germany have greater annual growth in R&D expenditures. Industrialized nations competing in the world economy understand what's needed -- except for ours. For all of Silicon Valley's wealth and ability to innovate, it can't maintain its technological edge unless the United States renews its once-strong commitment to funding basic scientific research.
... Desperate to win reelection, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stripped off Israel’s mask and exposed the ugliness that has deformed his country over the past several decades. He abandoned the subterfuge of a two-state solution, exposed the crass racism that underlies Israeli politics, and revealed Israel’s blatant control of the U.S. Congress. For years, these realities were known to many Americans, but – if they spoke up – they were condemned as anti-Semites, so most stayed silent to protect their careers and reputations ... Rational Americans are confronted with a difficult moral choice. Either continue supporting Netanyahu in brutalizing the Palestinians and in his looming war against Iran (using the U.S. military to carry it out) or insist that the U.S. government reassess its relationship with Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has scored a dramatic victory, far outpacing the pre-election and exit polls. The consequences for Israelis, Palestinians, and the rest of the world could be very grave ... If things looked hopeless before for any kind of diplomacy [regarding Palestine], they’re absolutely dismal now ... The only, very thin, hope is that the United States and Europe are finally so fed up with Netanyahu and the Israeli right’s adamant refusal of peace that they’ll finally exert significant pressure. Although it seems likely that the United States and European Union will do something, it’s far less likely that they’ll do anywhere near enough for either the Israeli government to feel the pressure or for the Israeli populace to grow concerned enough to take action.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough called for the end of Israel’s “50-year occupation” and doubled down on the Obama administration’s critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a warmly received speech to the lobbying group J Street in Washington Monday. Speaking to the dovish group’s national conference, McDonough became the latest in a series of Washington officials to highlight the administration’s displeasure with Netanyahu, while also talking up the permanence of US-Israel ties, repeating Washington’s commitment to continued military, security and intelligence cooperation. “No matter who leads Israel, America’s commitment to Israel’s security will never waiver,” McDonough said.
It would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago for the White House to consider furling up the diplomatic umbrella it had used for decades to shield Israel at the UN ... While the administration insists it has made no changes to US policy yet, officials say that President Barack Obama strongly is considering backing Palestinian moves at the United Nations Security Council ... Israel is already in violation of nearly 100 Security Council resolutions, most of them calling for a withdrawal from occupied territory, so another resolution could easily be added to the list and filed away by Jerusalem. While there are many other countries that ignore Security Council resolutions (most of them US allies), Israel holds the record, a 2002 study found.
... In the aftermath of World War II, President Harry Truman was faced with two competing camps at loggerheads over how to deal with the question of Palestine ... One camp favored the Jewish Agency’s desire to create Israel, a Jewish state ... The other camp, represented by [Secretary of State George] Marshall, sided with the British proposal to cede Palestine to U.N. trusteeship, or administration ... The [Pentagon] Joint Chiefs of Staff had issued numerous reports on Palestine, some of which concluded that a Jewish state would present a headache for future American policy ... Another JCS report published on March 31,1948, warned that a fledgling Israeli state would involve the United States "in a continuously widening and deepening series of operations intended to secure maximum Jewish objectives."
... An "insider's account" of the discussions leading up to these [1947-1948] decisions has been published by former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, one of the few living parties to the discussions leading to partition ... Clifford's story once again disproves the assertion that American diplomatic or military personnel ever viewed Israel as a " strategic asset." The foreign policy establishment, 43 years ago as today, saw Israel as a geopolitical liability that owes its US support to the extraordinary clout of its apologists within the American Jewish community and the American political system.
Twelve years ago last week, the US launched its invasion of Iraq, an act the late General William Odom predicted would turn out to be “the greatest strategic disaster in US history.” Before the attack I was accused of exaggerating the potential costs of the war when I warned that it could end up costing as much as $100 billion. One trillion dollars later, with not one but two “mission accomplished” moments, we are still not done intervening in Iraq ... We recently gained even more evidence that the initial war was sold on lies and fabrications ... It is hard to believe that in a society supposedly governed by the rule of law, US leaders can escape any penalty for using blatantly false information – that they had to know at the time was false – to launch a pre-emptive attack on a country that posed no threat to the United States.
... What about the war crime known as a “war of aggression”? That’s a type of war where one nation initiates an unprovoked attack on another nation. A war of aggression was declared a war crime at Nuremberg. Did the principles that were set forth a Nuremberg apply only to Germany, or were they universal? I think most people would respond that the Nuremberg principles are universal ... It is an undisputed fact that Iraq never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. It is also undisputed that the president failed to secure the congressional declaration of war against Iraq that the Constitution mandates.
A highly classified British memo, leaked in the midst of Britain's just-concluded election campaign, indicates that President Bush decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by summer 2002 and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy. The document, which summarizes a July 23, 2002, meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair with his top security advisers, reports on a visit to Washington by the head of Britain's MI-6 intelligence service. The visit took place while the Bush administration was still declaring to the American public that no decision had been made to go to war ... “Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD," weapons of mass destruction. The memo said "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
It’s hardly controversial to suggest that the mainstream media's performance in the lead-up to the Iraq War was a disaster. In retrospect, many journalists and pundits wish they had been more skeptical of the White House's claims about Iraq, particularly its allegations about weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, though, media apologists suggest that the press could not have done much better, since "everyone" was in agreement on the intelligence regarding Iraq's weapons threat. This was never the case. Critical journalists and analysts raised serious questions at the time about what the White House was saying. Often, however, their warnings were ignored by the bulk of the corporate press. This timeline is an attempt to recall some of the worst moments in journalism, from the fall of 2002 and into the early weeks of the Iraq War.
President Bashar Assad sharply criticizes the western media for what he regards as its systematically distorted portrayal of the conflict in his country and of the origins and role of the “Islamic State.” In this English-language interview, the Syrian leader is articulate and self-possessed. This 26-minute interview with a Portuguese television journalist was conducted on March 4, 2015.
... Americans have regularly supported legislation against hateful speech, although the contexts of the regulation have shifted dramatically over the course of the twentieth century ... The censorship of motion pictures, constitutional until 1952, often included bans on racial ridicule in the early twentieth century. Pennsylvania’s State Board of Censors of Motion Pictures, founded in 1913, banned racial ridicule for several years, as did state censorship boards in Kansas and Maryland. ... The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), established in 1909, spearheaded the prohibition of racial ridicule in motion pictures.
... Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory, unexpected and unequivocal, will usher in another coalition of right wing zealots, nationalists, and the religious ... The two-state solution is clinically dead. It’s time to think about the alternative. Does anyone know of an alternative to the two-state idea other than one state? Does anyone really believe that Israel will be able to go on with the status quo, which has never been a real status quo, for another fifty years? Another fifty years of cruel, brutal, illegal occupation, without counterpart anywhere in the world ... Another fifty years of Jewish settlements and Palestinian disinheritance?
... There is, however, one clear advantage to the election results: clarity. At least now there will be no liberal Zionist façade, camouflaging Israel’s unwillingness to dismantle its colonial project. The Israeli refrain that a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians cannot be achieved because the Palestinians lack leadership will ring even more hollow. Finally, the claim that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East will be exposed for what it is: a half truth. While Israel is a democracy for Jews it is a repressive regime for Palestinians.
... Israel’s claim is not only incredible on its face. It is also squarely contradicted by top secret NSA documents, which state that Israel targets the U.S. government for invasive electronic surveillance, and does so more aggressively and threateningly than almost any other country in the world. Indeed, so concerted and aggressive are Israeli efforts against the U.S. that some key U.S. Government documents – including the top secret 2013 intelligence budget – list Israel among the U.S.’s most threatening cyber-adversaries and as a “hostile” foreign intelligence service ... Other NSA documents voice the grievance that Israel gets far more out of the intelligence-sharing relationship than the U.S. does.
America has been at war in Afghanistan for more than 13 years, as long as the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and Korean War combined. U.S. troop levels peaked at 140,000 in 2010. More than 2200 Americans died in a conflict reflecting little more than purposeless inertia ... The administration should live up to its promise to depart Afghanistan ... Equally important, Washington should abandon its attempts at global social engineering. As the U.S. discovered in Iraq, the Balkans, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, as well as Afghanistan, droning, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations rarely delivers peace or stability ... Only Afghans can decide Afghanistan’s destiny.
... Why has the demonization of Hitler — and of anybody one wants to demonize through comparisons to Hitler — become such a massively overused, utterly shopworn cliché? In Western culture, Hitler is everybody’s favorite villain ... Scholars who study the creation of myths, legends and folktales can easily see the distortions in mainstream Western accounts of World War II, “the Good War,” enshrined in the collective imagination as a struggle of pure goodness against diabolical evil ... Whatever the merits or demerits of holocaust revisionism, it is clear that we need something much larger in scale: We need an epic wave of World War II revisionism to sweep away the whole self-congratulatory feel-good myth written by the victors, and reveal the horrific truth.
"We better stand up and kick these guys in the ass," movie mogul Harvey Weinstein said about present-day anti-Semites as he accepted the Humanitarian Award at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's National Tribute Dinner on Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton. "We're gonna have to get as organized as the mafia," he continued. "We just can't take it anymore [from] these crazy bastards." ... Waltz pointed out that the honoree [Weinstein] has handled the distribution of a great number of films connected to Jews, Nazis and/ or the Holocaust — not just [Inglorious] Basterds, but also The Truce, Life Is Beautiful, The Reader, Sarah's Key, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The Imitation Game and the upcoming Woman in Gold.
… The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews … As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you'd be flipping between "The 700 Club" and "Davey and Goliath" on TV all day … I don't care if Americans think we're running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.
Since its founding in 1977, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has grown to become one of the most important and influential Jewish organizations in the world … The Wiesenthal Center has a long record of reckless propaganda for war. Long before the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, it had been pressing for an American attack against the Middle East nation, backing its effort with alarmist “Big Lie” claims about the supposed danger posed by the Baghdad regime.
A motley crew of representatives of fringe right-wing political organizations in Europe and the United States used a conference here on Sunday to denounce what they called the degradation of white, Christian traditions in the West. Their hosts used the conference to advance Russia’s effort to lure political allies of any stripe ... Organizers said the one-day conference, officially billed as the International Russian Conservative Forum, was just the first such outreach effort ... The United States, as the main adversary, attracted the most hostility, but a couple of American speakers received warm applause by painting Washington as an aggressor trying to export its misguided new values.
The Israelis spied on international talks with Iran aimed at securing an overreaching deal on its nuclear programme, media reports claimed on Tuesday. According to unnamed US officials quoted in the Washington Post, Israel began eavesdropping and acquiring information about confidential US briefings, through informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe as early as last year. While the White House soon learnt of the infiltration, it was not necessarily angered by the moves until it emerged that the Israelis had used this information to lobby US lawmakers in a bid to discredit the negotiations and build up opposition to the talks that have been a cornerstone of US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.
Anti-Americanism, always strong on the German left, is growing on the right / Their name sounds like a parody, but it is not meant to be. On January 24th about 1,000 Pegada, or "patriotic Europeans against the Americanisation of the Occident," took to the streets of Erfurt. In chants and on banners, they warned against a break with Russia and of a third world war, blaming the "terror power" of America. The spread of anti-Americanism in Germany worries John Emerson, America's ambassador ... In West Germany in the cold war, it was found mainly on the left. The right saw America as a protector against communism and a post-war mentor in democracy. Yet even conservative West Germans combined love for things cowboy with disdain for an American way of life they saw as uncultured.
High-ranking members of some of Europe's most controversial parties descended on St. Petersburg on Sunday to participate in the first International Russian Conservative Forum, an ultranationalist convention glorifying Russia as a refuge for the world's most marginalized far-right political forces ... Ties between Europe's far-right and Russia became a little more concrete on Sunday, when radical right-wing party Rodina ("Motherland"), the organizer of the forum, adopted a resolution on the creation of a permanent committee to coordinate Russia's and Europe's conservative political forces.
... “King Bibi’s” re-election makes Israel virtually unassailable and master of all its surveys ... Is Obama going to force Israel and its 650,000 armed settlers out of the West Bank? Not so long as Israel and its American advocates control both the Congress, the Republican and Democratic parties – and Hillary Clinton ... Israelis have shown they don’t want to be part of the neighboring Arab world, any more than many white South Africans wanted to join black Africa. They want to stand alone behind their high walls, their restive Arab populations locked away in tribal reservations. Israel has the land, the water and now the energy, and intends to keep them all.
Not exactly known for truthfulness, U.S. neocons have been trying to reassure the American people that sinking a negotiated deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program would be a painless proposition, but at least one prominent neocon, Joshua Muravchik, acknowledges that the alternative will be war – and he likes the idea. On Sunday [March 15], the neocon Washington Post allowed Muravchik to use its opinion section to advocate for an aggressive war against Iran ... Muravchik foresees no problem with his endless bombing war against Iran, including the possibility that Iran, which Western intelligence agencies agree is not working on a bomb, might reverse its course if it faced repeated bombing assaults from the United States ... For the neocons, their true guiding star is to enlist the U.S. military as the enforcers of Netanyahu’s strategic vision.
The annual “Status of Global Christianity” survey published by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research is a cornucopia of numbers ... In the last quarter of the twentieth century Catholicism was displaced by Islam as the world’s largest religious community, as the global Muslim population grew from 571 million in 1970 to today’s 1.7 billion. The most extraordinary Christian growth over the past century has come in Africa: home to 8.7 million Christians in 1900, 542 million today, and perhaps 1.2 billion by 2050, when there will be as many African Christians as Latin American and European Christians combined.
... A new display in the terminal at the [Albuquerque] airport has caused some double-takes for its ties to Nazi Germany ... In one of those displays, among some German aircraft models and old patches, something caught a traveler’s eye. “This in particular was a patch from a flight suit from a German glider pilot that came through here in the late 30’s,” Jiron, a Sunport official said. “It had a swastika on it.” The swastika is now the infamous icon of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. “The intent was never to offend anyone.” Jiron said it was part of a showcase to share Albuquerque’s aviation history ... So the patch will be coming down.
... What about Israel’s bomb? Why isn’t that also part of the discussion? In the flood of news stories about Iran’s nuclear intentions, I have yet to see mention of Israel’s nuclear arsenal (if I missed some mentions, they must have been rare). Yet Israel’s bomb is obviously relevant to the controversy. The facts are deliberately murky, but Israel has had nuclear weapons for at least forty years, though it has never officially acknowledged their existence ... The existence of Israel’s nuclear superiority is clearly a pivotal fact of life in the chaotic conflicts and occasional wars of the Middle East. It should not be left out ... According to Wikipedia’s account, largely based on scholarly sources, Israel has seventy-five to 400 bombs (others say it is more like 100 to 200).
Right-wing media outlet Israel National News published an opinion piece Tuesday calling on Israel to launch nuclear bombs at Iran and Germany ... The author claims that only through nuclear annihilation of Iran and Germany, with 20 or 30 nuclear bombs each, can Israelis prevent the state’s destruction. “If Israel does not walk in the ways of God’s Bible,” author Chen Ben-Eliyahu wrote in Hebrew, “it will receive a heavy punishment of near complete destruction and doom and only a few will be saved.” ... He also called on the Jewish people to remember its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis and exact revenge on Germany, now a staunch ally of Israel.
Here are 25 maps and charts that explain how English got started and evolved into the differently accented languages spoken today.
... And us, the Jews? An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name "Genrikh Yagoda," the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU's deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin's collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least ten million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system ... Many Jews sold their soul to the devil of the Communist revolution and have blood on their hands for eternity. We'll mention just one more: Leonid Reichman, head of the NKVD's special department and the organization's chief interrogator, who was a particularly cruel sadist. In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin.
… What of World War II? Surely, it was necessary to declare war to stop Adolf Hitler from conquering the world and conducting the Holocaust. Yet consider … The Holocaust was not a cause of the war, but a consequence of the war. No war, no Holocaust. Britain went to war with Germany to save Poland. She did not save Poland. She did lose the empire. And Josef Stalin, whose victims outnumbered those of Hitler 1,000 to one as of September 1939, and who joined Hitler in the rape of Poland, wound up with all of Poland, and all the Christian nations from the Urals to the Elbe.
A look at how German authorities treated Jews in Belgium during the years of wartime occupation is revealing because it is difficult to reconcile their policies with a German program systematically to exterminate Europe's Jews ... As in the case of other countries, supposedly authoritative estimates of Jewish wartime deaths for Belgium vary greatly ... Historians Hilberg, Bauer and Reitlinger thus agree that far more Belgian Jews survived than perished ...
A museum showcasing Soviet leader Josef Stalin's political and military bravado, while disregarding the mass political repression he orchestrated, will open in the Tver region in May, the Meduza news site reported Tuesday. The authorities of Khoroshevo, a village located some 230 kilometers northwest of Moscow, approved the Russian Military-Historical Society's request to open the facility, according to Meduza. The Russian Military-Historical Society, established on the order of President Vladimir Putin in December 2012, is headed by Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky ... The museum's opening is set to coincide with Russia's 70th-anniversary celebration of the Soviet Union's victory in World War II this May.
A prison museum dedicated to victims of Soviet-era political repression may reopen as a memorial to the gulag system, but all references to crimes committed by dictator Josef Stalin will be removed, rights activists have said. Perm-36 museum director Viktor Shmyrov said the "memorial won't disappear, but the museum has been taken over by other people appointed by the new authorities, who have totally changed the content," BBC Russian Service reported Wednesday. "Now it's a museum about the camp system, but not about political prisoners. They don't talk about the repressions or about Stalin," he was quoted as saying ... The takeover of Perm-36, which is located in the Perm region, comes as an increasing number of Russians express favorable views of Stalin and amid the government's glorification of its Soviet past.
Israel has opened its borders with Syria in order to provide medical treatment to Nusra Front and al-Qaida fighters wounded in the ongoing civil war, according to The Wall Street Journal. The prominent American newspaper reported that Nusra Front, the Sunni Muslim al-Qaida offshoot which is currently fighting the Iranian-backed axis of Bashar Assad and Hezbollah, "hasn't bothered Israel since seizing the border area last summer" along the Golan Heights. While Israel views al-Qaida and its allies as enemies, it is far more disturbed by what it views as an even bigger menace – Iran and its proxies.
... Then came the triumphant visit to Congress by Israel’s rightwing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Congress put on a truly revolting display of sycophancy, servility and brown-nosing for Bibi that included 23 rapturous standing ovations. This for a foreign leader who had come to insult and humiliate America’s president and drive the US into war with Iran ... Like the Roman senators, members of the US Congress were motivated by fear and greed. They know that basic truth of US politics: failure to follow instructions of the mighty Israel lobby means certain loss of your next election, attacks by the media, and the end of your political career. Former Rep. Paul Findley’s book, “They Dare To Speak Out” is a textbook for what happens to politicians and journalists who put America’s interests first.
A BBC Breakfast interview with ninety-five-year-old Dresden firebombing survivor Victor Gregg aired last month in the UK on the 70 th anniversary of the attacks. This ten-minute video should be required viewing for all ... Gregg was a twenty-five-year-old British POW held in the Saxon capital when the bombs fell on the night of February 13, 1945. Delivered from a bright red studio sofa in front of a projected backdrop of images of the Dresden wreckage, Gregg offered his harrowing, disbelieving testimony to a nation still mostly unready to hear his message.
The destruction of the virtually undefended German city of Dresden by bombers of the Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Force, in mid-February 1945, remains one of the most controversial episodes of the Second World War ... British military historian, Alexander McKee, has produced a new account of the Dresden bombing, based in part upon an examination of official records recently declassified, as well as interviews from survivors of the attack and Allied airmen who flew in the raids. McKee had doubts about the efficacy of area bombing when, as a soldier with the 1st Canadian Army, he witnessed the results of the Allied bombing of "friendly" French towns.
... Why, then, would the Republican Party, with a chance to sweep it all in 2016, want to return us to the nightmare days of George W., which caused America to rise up and throw the party out in 2006 and 2008? Do Republicans really believe that America wants a return to the Cold War with Moscow and new and larger hot wars in the Middle East? ... For the U.S. House to invite a foreign leader to come into its chambers and see that leader, on national television, mocking U.S. foreign policy to wild cheering was something few of us expected to see in our lifetimes ... If there is no deal and Iran returns to enriching uranium to 20 percent, we are on the road to war. Is this what America has to look forward to if it votes GOP?
... Iran hawks such as [Wisconsin Sen. Ron] Johnson support preventive war against Iran because they are excessively afraid that Iran will eventually acquire nuclear weapons. Because of that fear, they have an entirely unreasonable expectation that those weapons will pose such an intolerable threat to the U.S. and/or Israel that it has to be eliminated by force in advance ... In short, Iran hawks probably won’t admit the illegality of an attack on Iran, but if they are forced to admit it they will dismiss it as irrelevant. International law matters to these hawks only insofar as it can be used to justify U.S. actions against other states, and when it gets in the way of this they will ignore it and run roughshod over it. We know this because this is how they have treated international law in every debate over military action over the last two decades.
... The premise of the article was to conduct a war game-style exercise to examine the feasibility and effects of an American preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. The upshot of the exercise was that such a strike could not possibly "work." Set aside questions of whether a bombing raid would be "necessary" or "just." From a strictly military point of view, according to the defense-world authorities who took part in our war game, the strike would almost certainly be a counterproductive failure. It could not put more than a temporary damper on Iran's capacities and ambitions ...
Facebook said Monday it won’t allow the social network to be used to promote terrorism or hate speech as it unveiled a wide-ranging update of its “community standards.” The new guidelines give more clarity on acceptable posts relating to violence, hate speech, nudity and other contentious topics. The new document said Facebook will not allow a presence from groups advocating “terrorist activity, organized criminal activity or promoting hate.”
... We are today headed for a collision with Israel as serious as Suez '56, and we are about to see what Barack Obama is made of. The days of self-delusion are over. For was there ever a doubt where Bibi stood? ... That's the real Bibi. We have clarity now. What should Obama do? Drop the petulance, call and congratulate Bibi on his election and tell him we are proceeding with the Iran deal — if we conclude it accords with our interests. And if he attempts to sabotage or scuttle the deal, he should expect political and economic retaliation. Bibi is looking out for Israel first. America needs a president like Ike who will start looking out for America first.
... Netanyahu deserves the Israeli people and they deserve him. The results are indicative of the direction the country is headed: A significant proportion of Israelis has finally grown detached from reality. This is the result of years' worth of brainwashing and incitement. These Israelis voted for the man who will lead the United States to adopt harsh measures against Israel, for the man whom the world long ago grew sick of ... On Tuesday the foundations were laid for the apartheid state that is to come. If Netanyahu succeeds in forming the next government in his spirit and image, then the two-state solution will finally be buried and the struggle over the character of a binational state will begin. If Netanyahu is the next prime minister, then Israel has not only divorced the peace process, but also the world.
... Having won the Israeli elections -- in part by declaring that he will never permit a two state-solution between Israelis and Palestinians — it means Netanyahu will be the father of the one-state solution. And the one-state solution means that Israel will become, in time, either a non-Jewish democracy or Jewish non-democracy ... Warning: Real trouble ahead ... If there is only one state, Israel cannot be Jewish and permit West Bank Palestinians to exercise any voting rights alongside Israeli Arabs. But if Israel is one state and wants to be democratic, how does it continue depriving West Bankers of the vote — when you can be sure they will make it their No. 1 demand.
The U.S. media have been sadly incurious about the origins of yesterday’s unprecedented Open Letter of 47 Republicans to the Iranian leadership seeking to block the president’s likely deal with Iran. The press has portrayed the letter as the work of Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, a 37-year-old freshman senator ... [Bill] Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel gave Tom Cotton nearly $1 million in his race for the Senate just five months ago, Eli Clifton reported. “Cotton received $960,250 in supportive campaign advertising in the last month.” Cotton also got $165,000 from Elliott Management Paul Singer’s hedge fund. Singer is the billionaire who is trying to stop Obama’s Iran talks (Clifton’s reporting again). He funds the Israel Project too – Josh Block’s efforts.
It's hard to believe freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) caused such a stir in the Senate with his letter to Iran even before his maiden floor speech ... Cotton -- now famous for orchestrating the controversial letter to Iran with the signatures of 46 of his GOP colleagues -- finally got the chance to do just that on Monday evening. Cotton began, as one does, with Adolf Hitler.
Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Senate Republicans really just want to go to war with Iran. “It's true of Benjamin Netanyahu and it's true of them, they want war. This notion of 'Hey we don't like this deal, we want a better deal.' Well how are you going to get one?" Frank said Tuesday in an interview on HuffPost Live. “First of all, they make it harder for the president to get a deal." ... “To say that the president isn't really in control and we are, it's totally hypocritical," Frank said. "Under Ronald Reagan and both Bushes, the Republicans used to emphasize the importance of the executive [office]. This totally betrays anything people like John McCain have ever said about how to conduct foreign policy."
Part of the reason why opponents to a nuclear deal with Iran are so bewildered by President Barack Obama's diplomacy is because [of] their belief that Iran can be forced to capitulate. They adhere to a George W. Bush administration-era argument: If the U.S. only were to ramp up pressure, it can dictate the terms of the deal instead of having to agree to a compromise. Nothing could be further from the truth. This argument is as reckless as it is disproven ... What the hawks miscalculate is Iran's ability to resist -- and hit back. When Washington imposed on Iran the most comprehensive sanctions regime in history, Tehran did not capitulate. Rather, it responded to pressure with pressure.
Weber reviews the little-known story of misery and death imposed by the victors on defeated Germany in the aftermath of World War II. The Allied powers imposed an “unknown holocaust” of destruction, looting, starvation, rape, “ethnic cleansing,” and mass killing. More than 14 million Germans were expelled or forced to flee from eastern and central Europe. Some three million Germans died needlessly -- about two million civilians, mostly women, children and elderly, and one million prisoners of war. Weber also highlights the Allied double standard in putting German leaders to death for policies that the Allies themselves were carrying out, sometimes on a far greater scale.
The Holocaust that killed millions of Jews in World War II would not have been possible without police in uniform. Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor wants her officers to know that part of history well, and it's why TPD is the first law enforcement agency in the state to get a new kind of training. A half dozen officers took a guided tour of the St. Petersburg Holocaust Museum on Tuesday ... Castor was so moved by her tour of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. she wanted her officers to get the same historical perspective ... After the tour, the officers reflect, talk and hear from a representative of the Anti-Defamation League ... This type of Holocaust awareness training program is mandatory for FBI and other federal law enforcement agents in Washington D.C., and has been for about a decade.
A French comedian was found guilty on Wednesday of condoning terrorism for a joke posted on his Facebook account after Islamist attacks in Paris that killed 17 people in January, but escaped a possible jail sentence. The Paris court sentenced Dieudonne M'bala M'bala to a suspended sentence of two months in jail. He had risked up to seven years in prison and a potential 100,000 euro ($106,000) fine. Dieudonne - who has repeatedly been fined by the courts for hate speech - wrote just days after the attacks on Facebook that he felt "Charlie Coulibaly." That was a play on the ubiquitous "I am Charlie" slogan of solidarity following the attacks against cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo weekly, using the last name of one of the Paris attackers.
Lawyers and human rights groups have raised concerns over the French government’s crackdown on speech that glorifies terrorism after a series of cases rushed through the courts resulted in heavy prison sentences, including for people who had drunkenly insulted police officers. The debate intensified this week after it emerged that an eight–year–old boy was questioned by police for saying at school “I am with the terrorists,” later admitting he didn’t know what terrorism meant. The French justice ministry said that, between 7 and 29 January, there had been 486 legal cases linked to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Of these, 257 were cases of people accused of condoning or provoking terrorism. Around 41 of those cases had been instantly rushed through the courts, and 18 people had been given prison sentences.
... No regime made greater "progress" in biological warfare than did the Soviet Union. From a unique insider's perspective, a former high-level scientist in the Soviet biological warfare program tells the story in Biohazard: The Chilling Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World ... The revolutionary Soviet government early on put a high priority on diseases as a method of warfare. In 1928 it issued a secret decree ordering the development of typhus as a battlefield weapon. In the decades that followed, the USSR built and maintained a wide-ranging biological warfare program ... While he was a graduate student at the Tomsk Medical Institute, Alibek studied Soviet wartime medical records that strongly suggested that the Red Army had used tularemia as a weapon against German troops outside Stalingrad in 1942.
... While Netanyahu has long been a darling of Capitol Hill (he’ll be only the second foreign leader after Winston Churchill to have addressed a joint session of Congress on three separate occasions), this popularity has never extended across Pennsylvania Ave. While all Israeli leaders have clashed with their American counterparts, Netanyahu’s confrontations have been especially frequent and often gone beyond mere policy disputes. “It’s more than just political differences” one former U.S. diplomat with extensive experience managing the U.S.-Israeli relationship told me ... It was Bibi’s overzealous rhetoric that alienated many in the George H. W. Bush administration. This was the start of a trend that has continued to this day. In fact, one former senior U.S. official told me that it was like “some of pathology” ...
Though Israel is a famously fractious society, Israelis tend to agree on one thing: Their strongest supporters are an inherently dupable people ... But it’s not just American tourists whom many Israelis see as guileless. American foreign policy is held up to similar scrutiny here, even as Israel receives billions of dollars in foreign aid from the United States each year. “Americans are perceived to be naive, especially when it comes to the Middle East,” said Uri Dromi, who served as a spokesman for the Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres governments ... The naivete Israelis perceive in Americans is not just something they believe only Israel’s adversaries exploit; Israelis believe they can do so, too — and do.
A recently released tape revealing Binyamin Netanyahu's contempt for both the Palestinian and US administrations has caused far less of a diplomatic storm than his opponents hoped it might. For all that Netanyahu's innate arrogance and self-aggrandisement was laid bare by the contents of the nine-year-old recording, the collective shrugging of shoulders implies that few expected anything else ... Secretly taped during a 2001 meeting with terror victims in the settlement of Ofra, Netanyahu's words display a hostility and venom towards Israel's peace partners entirely consistent with his approach to negotiations with the Palestinians over the years. "America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get their way", he said ...
The “open letter” from Senator Tom Cotton and 46 other Republican Senators to the leadership of Iran, which even Republicans themselves admit was aimed at encouraging Iranian opponents of the nuclear negotiations to argue that the United States cannot be counted on to keep the bargain, has created a new political firestorm ... What Cotton and his Republican colleagues were doing was not negotiating with a foreign government but trying to influence the outcome of negotiations in the interest of a foreign government ... The views that Cotton and the other Republicans have espoused on Iran were the product of assiduous lobbying by Israeli agents of influence using the inducement of promises of election funding and the threat of support for the members’ opponents in future elections.
Leading Republicans say that President Obama is not a real friend of Israel, and that his policies are harming the Jewish state. They criticize Obama for his view that Israel should halt Jewish settlement expansion in occupied Palestinian territory, and that the pre-1967 borders should be the basis of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians … But in key points, Obama’s Middle East policy is similar to that of President Ronald Reagan, whom most Republicans regard as their party’s greatest leader in living memory … If the Republican critics of Obama’s Middle East policy are honest and consistent, they must reject President Reagan’s policy as similarly dangerous, “naïve” and harmful to Israel.
A diplomatic divide between the United States and Germany over the extent of Russian military involvement in Ukraine and how to respond to it threatens to hinder hopes of providing greater support to the beleaguered nation ... German officials, including some in Merkel’s office, have recently referred to U.S. statements of Russian involvement in the Ukraine fighting as “dangerous propaganda,” and the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel went so far as to ask: “Do the Americans want to sabotage the European mediation attempts in Ukraine led by Chancellor Merkel?”
... The USSR, which Nato was founded to fight, expired in August 1991. So what is Nato’s purpose now? Why does it even still exist? ... Even if Russia wanted to reconquer its lost empire, as some believe (a belief for which there is no serious evidence), it is too weak and too poor to do this ... Instead we have a noisy pseudo-moral crusade, which would not withstand five minutes of serious consideration ... If Putin disgusts us so much, then why are we and the USA happy to do business with Erdogan, and also to fawn upon Saudi Arabia and China? ... The test of any action by your own side is to ask what you would think of it if the other side did it.
A quarter of a century after the end of the cold war, the “Russian threat” is unmistakably back ... Putin has now become a cartoon villain and Russia the target of almost uniformly belligerent propaganda across the western media ... It’s certainly grist to the mill of those pushing military confrontation with Russia. Hundreds of US troops are arriving in Ukraine this week to bolster the Kiev regime’s war with Russian-backed rebels in the east ... Putin’s authoritarian conservatism may offer little for Russia’s future, but this anti-Russian incitement is dangerous folly ... There is certainly no military solution. Instead of escalating the war and fuelling nationalist extremism, western powers should be using their leverage to wind it down.
... To address this issue properly we must begin with the most important reason for the Indians’ catastrophic decline — namely, the spread of highly contagious diseases to which they had no immunity ... The violent collision between whites and America’s native population was probably unavoidable ... In the end, the sad fate of America’s Indians represents not a crime but a tragedy, involving an irreconcilable collision of cultures and values. Despite the efforts of well-meaning people in both camps, there existed no good solution to this clash ... The consequence was a conflict in which there were few heroes, but which was far from a simple tale of hapless victims and merciless aggressors.
On March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an impassioned plea to Congress to protect Israel by opposing diplomacy with Iran ... He reiterated the claim that Israel acted in the 1967 Six-Day War “to defend itself.” ... Israel relies on that narrative to continue occupying those Palestinian lands ... But declassified high-level documents from Britain, France, Russia and the United States reveal that Egypt, Syria, and Jordan were not going to attack Israel and Israel knew it. In fact, they did not attack Israel. Instead, Israel mounted the first attack in order to decimate the Egyptian army and take the West Bank.
In the feverish eight years of world history immediately preceding the entry of the United states into World War II, there streaked across the American political firmament a rather noisy meteor officially called Das Amerikadeutscher Bund, more generally referred to as the German-American Bund or simply as the Bund. In its brief lifetime, the Bund was the object of much hostility, suspicion and fear. It had an almost universally "bad press" and wild exaggerations concerning its aims, its size and its resources were uttered with patent self-interest and arrières pensées by a number of politicians, journalists and assorted public figures. Yet post-war historians usually dismiss the Bund in a sentence or two when writing general histories of the American thirties.
... Speaking with reference to his forthcoming book, “Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-49” — which is due to be published in September and will seek to demonstrate the surprising lack of inevitability in the events that culminated in the Holocaust — [Prof. David] Cesarani said that while “Auschwitz is tremendously important, it has created the sense that the Holocaust started in 1933 and inevitably led to Auschwitz.” Rather, he said, “anti-Jewish policy evolved haphazardly between 1933 and 1937, when organizations and individuals competed with each other to deal with the Jews.” ... At the start of the Second World War, the Nazi regime had no clear policy for dealing with “the Jewish question” ...
In the debate over the diplomatic agreement taking shape with Iran over its nuclear program, opponents led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are deploying their ultimate rhetorical weapon – the Holocaust. Netanyahu and his allies compare Iran to Nazi Germany and those who want to reach an agreement with Iran to control and contain its nuclear activities to appeasers who tried to buy off Adolf Hitler with concession after concession ... In one 2006 speech, Netanyahu was even sharper. “It is 1938,” he said. “Iran is Germany, and it is about to arm itself with nuclear weapons.” ... Netanyahu is hardly the first Israeli leader to invoke the Holocaust.
... Their emblem might be a lavish new movie of F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Two of the main characters, as Fitzgerald wrote, "smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess." The "mess" left by George Bush and Tony Blair in Iraq is a sectarian war, the bombs of 7/7 and now a man waving a bloody meat cleaver in Woolwich. Bush has retreated back into his Mickey Mouse "presidential library and museum," and Tony Blair into his jackdaw travels and his money. Their "mess" is a crime of epic proportions, wrote Von Sponeck ...
What is Zionism? The ideological question, rooted in the 19th century, has gained surprising urgency in an Israeli election campaign that seems more open than had been expected. Seeking to take votes from the nationalistic right of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the relatively liberal opposition has rebranded itself as the Zionist Union — sparking a debate about a concept that some considered resolved when the Jewish state was declared and widely recognized in 1948 ... The debate over who best reflects the ideals of Zionism — and who can most credibly lay claim to its successes — has lent an oddly philosophical hue to a campaign that had been dominated by more prosaic issues such as budget scandals in the management of the prime minister's residence.
... Not only does the conventional wisdom in US media blame the bloody exploits of IS [the `Islamic State’] on the region itself, as if the US and western interventionism are not, in any way, factors, at least worth pondering. (In fact, for them US intervention is a force of good, rarely self-seeking and exploitative.) ... Since the first Iraq war (1990-91) until this day, America’s mainstream intellectuals and journalists refuse to accept the most prevalent truth about the roots of the current crisis; that military intervention is not a virtue, that war begets chaos and violence, that military invasion is not a harbingers of a stable democracy, but invite a desperately violent polices predicated on winning, regardless of the cost.
... So what terrorism actually consists of very much depends on one’s perspective, rendering the word itself largely meaningless. But those who are listed as terrorists experience real consequences even accepting that the designation is both selectively applied and politicized. The United States and Israel in particular use the terrorism label to demonize opponents, drum up fear, and generate popular support for security policies that might otherwise be unpalatable. They also justify their own behavior by asserting that they occupy the moral high ground in the defense of the world against terror, a claim that certainly should be regarded with considerable skepticism.
It’s worse than the economy, unemployment and even terrorism. Americans identify their government as the number one problem in the country, according to an open-ended Gallup poll. The state of government was named by 18 percent, or nearly one in five people. Taken together, 14 percent of Americans said terrorism, national security or ISIS were the top issue. Some issues have improved, though. The number of people who named the economy as the number one issue decreased by more than one-third, from 16 percent in February to 11 percent in March.
Americans' confidence in all three branches of government is at or near record lows, according to a major survey that has measured attitudes on the subject for 40 years. The 2014 General Social Survey finds only 23 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court, eleven percent in the executive branch and five percent in Congress. By contrast, half have a great deal of confidence in the military ... Confidence [in the media] has decreased since the 1970s, when about a quarter of Americans expressed a great deal of confidence in the press. Now, a record low of seven percent have a lot of confidence, while 44 percent have hardly any confidence at all.
There exists, in many Jews individually, and in the Jewish community as a whole, an internal struggle, a civil war of sorts, between two very basic and fundamental Jewish instincts: the impulse to be civil libertarians, and the desire for self-preservation. In law, in government, in the media, Jews have always been a loud and unapologetic voice for basic human rights such as free speech (arguably, in my opinion, the most fundamental human right). But when Jews feel threatened, and where the law allows (as in Canada and most of Europe), there has been a tendency to demand governmental protection in the form of laws that punish “hate speech.” Free speech versus “protection.” ... The time has come to lay this shopworn debate to rest.
A sensitive leak investigation of a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has stalled amid concerns that a prosecution in federal court could force the government to confirm a joint U.S.-Israeli covert operation targeting Iran, according to current and former U.S. officials. Federal investigators suspect that retired Marine Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright leaked to a New York Times reporter details about a highly classified operation to hobble Iran’s nuclear enrichment capability through cyber-sabotage — an effort not acknowledged by Israel or the United States. Prosecutors will have to overcome significant national security and diplomatic concerns if they want to move forward, including pitting the Obama administration against Israel if that ally were opposed to any information about the cyber-operation being revealed in court.
... Part of the problem is undoubtedly an ignorant [American] public. Foreign news coverage is superficial and tends to follow a preordained groupthink that is set by the engaged punditry in Washington and New York City. Putin is always evil and the Iranians are always perfidious. Americans remain ignorant because they are fed a steady diet of untruths and are rarely allowed to hear or read alternative viewpoints. The journalists who write the lies for the leading newspapers and who interview Senator John McCain repeatedly on Sunday mornings are far worse than Brian Williams, who only embellished his stories ... The media has a responsibility to challenge such dishonesty but it rarely does so.
... The choice of Jackson for that popular bill has long been a source of controversy ... Jackson's place of honor became a big topic once again this week after a nonprofit group called Women on 20's suggested that it was time to retire the Jackson $20 and replace it with a bill featuring one of several prominent women from American history ... But Feller, the "Papers of Andrew Jackson" editor, said it's not surprising that the Treasury Department of 1928 would see Jackson as someone worthy of the honor. "It's actually astonishing how completely the generalized public image has changed and how rapidly it changed," the historian said of Jackson's legacy. From the late 19th century through the 1960s, Feller said, Jackson was seen by most Americans as a "champion of the common man, a symbol of democracy” ...
Those on the left who support Israel live in a “cognitive dissonance,” which Netanyahu’s speech made even more evident. It was just an exercise to paint a straw man and knock it down. The partisan divide emerging over Israel can make it easier for Democrats to express dissenting views. Activists have been watching events unfold with hope that the latest flap will help win over some of the struggling liberals and convince them to take a more critical stance on Israel. For progressive activists outside the beltway, the issue of Israel may be harder to resolve. Reconciling support for Israel and a liberal worldview has become increasingly difficult in the grassroots progressive environment.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s strident and continual harping on the alleged dangers of Iran to Israel’s security has become like an old song. Netanyahu has raised this issue repeatedly over the past 20 years, often predicting that Iran was as little as a year away from having a nuclear warhead. Decades later, it does not, and Israel is still there ... Extensive and years-long investigations of Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program by the International Atomic Energy Agency have never revealed any evidence that Iran has a parallel nuclear weapons program. Only a couple of years ago, the Israeli defense minister was publicly admitting that Iran had no made a decision to weaponize its nuclear program ... What Netanyahu wants is continued Israeli hegemony, which Iran’s nuclear enrichment program threatens symbolically.
... As Mein Kampf comes out of copyright – meaning that, in theory, anyone could publish their own editions in Germany – a new programme on BBC Radio 4 explores what authorities can do about one of the world’s most notorious books. According to the producer of Publish or Burn ... it remains a dangerous text ... At the end of World War Two, when the US Army seized the Nazis’ publisher Eher Verlag, rights for Mein Kampf passed to the Bavarian authorities. They ensured the book was only reprinted in Germany under special circumstances – but the expiration of its copyright in December 2015 has prompted fierce debate on how to curb a publishing free-for-all ... The book has become popular in India with politicians who have Hindu nationalist leanings. “It is considered to be a very significant self-help book,” ...
White Christian men have long been the primary movers and shakers in American politics and culture. All 43 U.S. presidents, with the exception of Barack Obama – who was born to a white mother and a black father – were white Christians. However, the American landscape is changing. White Christians, once the majority virtually everywhere in the United States, are now a minority in 19 states, according to the Public Religion Research Institute ... Those ethnic shifts include the rising number of non-white Catholics; American Catholicism is becoming increasingly Hispanic, and evangelicals are seeing more non-white churchgoers.
... Israel’s influence over Washington policies frequently means war. American officials extremely close to the Israeli government were behind the rush to war with Iraq. If Washington goes to war with Iran in the near future it will not be because Tehran actually threatens America, it will be because Israel and its powerful lobby in the U.S. have succeeded in creating an essentially false case to mandate such action ... How does all this happen? Because of money which enables the Israel firsters to control the media and buy the politicians, but unfortunately no one is allowed to say that lest Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League accuse one of propagating a stereotype that is an “anti-Semitic myth.” American media corporations and national politics are in fact totally corrupted by money ...
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity dropped in the United States in the aftermath of his controversial speech before Congress last week, a poll published by Gallup on Wednesday indicated. The Israeli leader’s favorability dropped seven points to 38 percent, and his unfavorability rose by five points, to 29%, a survey of 1,025 American adults between March 5-8 found. Those figures were compared to a comparable poll conducted a month prior. Among Republican respondents, Netanyahu’s rating went up just two points post-speech. Among Democrat supporters, Netanyahu saw a plunge of 15% in approval and a 14 point rise in disapproval.
... The flap over Netanyahu’s speech is exposing what has long been obvious but is usually denied by politicians: U.S. and Israeli interests overlap on some issues but they are not identical. It might be in Israel’s interest for the United States to insist on zero Iranian enrichment and for the United States to go to war to secure that goal, but such an attack is definitely not in America’s interest. Instead, America’s strategic position would be enhanced if it could get a diplomatic deal that kept Iran from going nuclear and opened the door to a more constructive relationship ... But the problem goes deeper. For years now, nearly every politician and ambitious foreign-policy wonk in the United States has had to toe the AIPAC line, because your career would suffer if you didn’t ...
There has been an outcry in Israel after the foreign minister said that disloyal Israeli Arabs should have their heads chopped off. Avigdor Lieberman was speaking at a pre-election conference on Sunday. The leader of the right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, an outspoken critic of Israel’s Arab population, was responding to a question from an Arab Israeli about Lieberman’s policies. “I would like to say – whoever’s with us should get everything, as they wish, but those who are against us, there’s nothing to be done – we need to pick up an axe and cut off their heads. Otherwise we won’t survive here,” the foreign minister replied, to applause from the audience.
... Raul Hilberg, the father of Holocaust history, chose a 1988 PBS documentary .. to make a declaration so startling that PBS edited it out of the broadcast. And, in fact, he may have implicated himself as a perjurer ... We know from Hilberg’s censored PBS comments that as early as 1976 he was very aware of the lack of any direct evidence implicating Hitler, yet on the stand in Toronto in 1985 he didn’t mention what he told the West German prosecutors in ’76 — his fear that he “went into print with something that isn’t entirely accurate” regarding Hitler’s role ... Hilberg’s comment was an admission that, even by the late ’80s, there were still large gaps in our knowledge of the Holocaust.
Raul Hilberg, the most prestigious of the authors who defend the thesis of the physical extermination of Jews by the Germans during the Second World War, began his investigation of this subject in 1948 ... In this  work, he presents "the destruction of the European Jews" as a vast undertaking personally supervised by Hitler who, he says, gave two orders to this effect ... Hilberg [in Feb. 1983] summarized his new thesis before an audience of nearly 2,700 at Avery Fischer Hall in New York City: the entire German policy for the physical destruction of the Jews was to be explained by mind reading! No document attesting to this criminal policy could be found, because no such document existed. For several years, the entire German bureaucratic machinery operated through a kind of telepathy.
In The Giant with Feet of Clay, the able and productive revisionist researcher and polemicist Jürgen Graf has undertaken to examine the standard scholarly treatment of the Holocaust, Professor Raul Hilberg's Destruction of the European Jews, in exacting detail ... Graf is sharp on tracking Hilberg's unexplained turnabout on the existence of the Hitler extermination order. He notes that Hilberg had claimed two successive Hitler orders in the original (1961) edition of Destruction, then points out that the historian has omitted all mention of any such order by Hitler in his "definitive" 1985 edition.
The majority of Americans favor a potential nuclear deal with Iran, according to a new survey by Shibley Telhami and Steven Kull in the Program for Public Consultation and the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. More than 60 percent of respondents support a deal that would limit Iran’s enrichment capacity and impose inspections in exchange for lifting some sanctions. The poll was conducted Feb. 19-25, 2015, with a sample of 710 adults ... While majorities found arguments for both options at least somewhat convincing, when asked to make their final recommendation, a clear majority of 61% recommended making a deal with Iran that would include a limited enrichment capacity for Iran. This included 61% of Republicans, 66% of Democrats and 54% of independents.
The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has reacted to Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress by saying that the world and the American people are too intelligent to take advice from “an aggressive and occupier regime” that has itself developed an arsenal of nuclear weapons. “The world is happy with the progress in the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1,” Rouhani said in a cabinet meeting ... “Only one aggressive and occupier regime [Israel] is angry with the talks because it sees its existence tied with war and occupation.” Rouhani said: “People of the world and America are too smart to take advice from such a war-mongering regime … which has pursued, produced and stockpiled a large number of atomic bombs in violation of international laws and away from the eyes of international inspectors.”
... We do not know exactly what is in the Kerry deal, but what has been revealed thus far is no cause for panic or hysteria. Though Israel has 200 atomic bombs, Iran has not produced a single ounce of uranium enriched to bomb-grade 90 percent. Since talks began, Iran has diluted all of its 20-percent enriched uranium and halted production. Tehran is willing to cut her operating centrifuges by a third. Inspectors and cameras are now in all of Iran's nuclear facilities ... Another question, too rarely raised, is this: Why would Iran test and build a nuclear bomb, when this would set off a nuclear arms race across the Middle East and put Iran in mortal peril of being smashed by the United States, or by Israel with a preemptive strike?
... There's no need to negotiate arms control agreements with your friends. The Soviet Union, like Iran, was an inveterate foe — and a far more dangerous one. That didn't stop Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan from forging accords designed to make us safer while providing some beneficial inducements to the other side. ... He [Netanyahu] claims the world can force capitulation with sanctions: "Iran's nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil." As if. The regime has weathered far worse conditions than these. It survived the 1980s in spite of a collapse in the price of oil, U.S. economic sanctions, and a devastating eight-year war with Iraq.
... In her perceptive and thorough new book, What Soldiers Do, the historian Mary Louise Roberts of the University of Wisconsin has confronted that myth head-on, offering an alternate view of the Liberation as arresting as it is necessary ... What Soldiers Do is thus an long overdue account of what Roberts calls the “tsunami of male lust” that crashed on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944 and its role in fostering French subservience to American power, personally and politically ... If the US military was happy to turn a blind eye to such behaviour, the same could not be said for rape accusations against American GIs by French women, which did much to “undermine the myth of the American mission embodied in the manly GI.”
... By the late summer of 1944, large numbers of women in Normandy were complaining about rapes by US soldiers. Fear spread among the population ... With the landing on Omaha Beach, "a veritable tsunami of male lust" washed over France, writes Mary Louise Roberts, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin, in her new book ... In it, Roberts scrapes away at the idealized picture of war heroes. ... The citizens of Le Havre wrote letters of protest to their mayor, and not just regarding prostitution. We are "attacked, robbed, run over both on the street and in our houses," wrote one citizen in October 1945. "This is a regime of terror, imposed by bandits in uniform." There were similar accounts from all over the country, with police reports listing holdups, theft and rapes.
... A new book has revealed the dark side of Europe's liberation after the Second World War. Professor Mary Louise Roberts, from the University of Wisconsin, said within months of D-Day ordinary French women came to fear their American 'liberators'. She tells how, by the summer of 1944, large numbers of women in Normandy filed complaints about rapes by US soldiers. And their arrival prompted a wave of crime all over France, with American soldiers caught committing robberies and petty thefts ... The locals of Le Havre were shocked by the soldiers' behaviour and wrote letters of protest to their mayor.
The torchlight parade held by right-wing ultranationalists last week in the Estonian capital of Tallinn reminded the Russian journalists covering the event of similar spectacles in Nazi Germany ... Tuesday's march, which was sponsored by the Sinine Aratus (Blue Awakening) youth movement, closely affiliated with the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), was a good example of at least one of the major problems we increasingly encounter in post-Communist Eastern Europe, and especially in the Baltics. I am referring to the rise of ethnocentric sentiment, a euphemism for racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia. Thus the march was publicised under the slogan of 'Estonia for Estonians,' ...
Hungarian Jewish leaders are criticizing a new Holocaust museum under construction in Budapest for omitting the culpability of Hungarians in the attempted genocide of the Jews. The museum in Budapest, called House of Fates, is nearly complete, but the planned exhibition focuses only on the last period of the Holocaust in Hungary, starting in 1944, when the ghettoization and deportation of over 500,000 Hungarian Jews was already complete. It fails to deal with the earlier persecution against Hungarian Jews, starting with the passage of anti-Jewish laws in the 1920s, local Jewish community leaders and historians complained.
China produces and consumes about 60 percent of the world’s cement — the Three Gorges Dam alone required 16 million tonnes of it. To put China’s massive 21st century construction splurge and concrete consumption into perspective, Bill Gates made a mind- blowing comparison. According to his blog, between 2011 and 2013, China consumed 6.6 gigatons of concrete – that’s more than the U.S. used in the entire 20th century. Look at what the U.S. built between 1901 and 2000: all those skyscrapers, the Interstate, the Hoover Dam, the list goes on and on but all that concrete only amounted to 4.5 gigatons.
... No wonder Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s House Leader, saw Netanyahu’s speech to Congress as an “insult to the intelligence of the United States.” Netanyahu’s “profound obligation” to speak of the Iranian threat to the Jewish people proved to be a glib opportunity for fear-mongering and evasion above all. Netanyahu’s credibility is low ... For more than a decade now, he has said Iran was on the brink of a bomb and threatened Israeli military action ... One word did not appear in Netanyahu’s speech: Palestine. The statelessness of the Palestinians is the real long-term threat to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Iran has often been a cleverly manipulated distraction from this fact.
... The truth is that the actions and motives Netanyahu assigns to the Islamic Republic are factually wrong. Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, has not carried on weapons research of this nature in over a decade, and is willing to commit itself to an inspections regime that will keep track of its good intentions in this regard. This stance is attested to by nearly every Western intelligence agency, and the Israeli intelligence organizations as well. Indeed, Iran is much less aggressive than is Israel. Iran has not launched an offensive war in 240 years! However, Israel is in a state of constant aggressive expansion ... Netanyahu’s repeated war mongering against Iran is a real embarrassment for anyone who is familiar with the facts.
... The sight was not frightening, but ridiculous. Here were the members of the most powerful parliament in the world behaving like a bunch of nincompoops. Nothing like this could have happened in the Knesset [Israel’s parliament] ... What did it contain? The Holocaust, of course, with that moral impostor, Elie Wiesel, sitting in the gallery ... The Speech, like all speeches by Netanyahu, contained much about the suffering of the Jews throughout the ages, and the intentions of the evil Iranians, the New Nazis, to annihilate us ... What did the speech not contain? Not a word about Palestine and the Palestinians ... Not a word about Israel's own nuclear capabilities ... Indeed, there was no concrete proposal at all. After denouncing the bad deal in the making, and hinting that Barack Obama and John Kerry are dupes and idiots, he offered no alternative.
A venue that cancelled a gig by controversial jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon has been criticised for giving in to bullying. Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music denied scrapping the concert by the Israeli-born star was "political", and said it was for safety reasons. A petition by the North West Friends of Israel called for the gig to be pulled, claiming Atzmon is anti-Semitic. He said he was targeted for opposing Holocaust denial legislation in Israel ... A counter-petition by Atzmon's supporters called on the venue to reschedule the concert and not to succumb to "pressure and bullying from external forces.”
Jonas Tarm had won the kind of opportunity most young composers can only dream of: the New York Youth Symphony had commissioned a piece from him and planned to play it this Sunday at Carnegie Hall. But the youth symphony pulled his piece this week after learning that it includes a musical quotation from the “Horst Wessel” song, the Nazi anthem. Mr. Tarm, a 21-year-old junior at the New England Conservatory of Music, said that his nine-minute piece, which is about conflict, totalitarianism and nationalism, also incorporated the anthem of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, with each one quoted for about 45 seconds. In a telephone interview he said that he was stunned by the symphony’s decision to pull the piece, which he described as an act of censorship.
A debut at Carnegie Hall meant to showcase a young composer was abruptly canceled after management realized it featured a snippet of a Nazi German anthem. The New York Youth Symphony was set to premiere the orchestral work on Sunday at the prestigious concert hall but the orchestra's management removed it, saying that such an explosive musical reference required a longer conversation. No one has suggested any Nazi sympathy by composer Jonas Tarm, a 21-year-old Estonian American, who intended for the work to deplore war including recent bloodshed in Ukraine. But the controversy raised a broader question -- how explicitly do artists need to state that allusions to history's darkest chapters are meant to condemn rather than condone?
UC Irvine student leaders on Saturday vetoed a resolution that banned the American flag from being displayed in the lobby of the student government offices, according to a post on the school’s website. The post said the “misguided legislation” passed by undergraduate members of the legislative council earlier this week was not endorsed by campus leadership or by the University of California ... Students [had] voted to ban the American flag because it is a symbol of "colonialism and imperialism." The ASUCI Legislative Council voted six to four, with two abstentions, to pass the resolution to remove all flags in order to create a "more inclusive" environment.
A decision by the student body government of the University of California at Irvine to ban the display of all flags – including the United States flag – has been vetoed ... Yet the move, short-lived though it was, speaks to more than an only-in-California spasm of 20-something intellectual angst. More broadly, it points to a generational shift in the notion of what patriotism is ... By a host of indicators, Millennials are less "patriotic" than any other generation of Americans – at least by the traditional gauges of patriotism ... In other words, with every passing year, America's definition of what it means to be patriotic will likely evolve.
No one can predict with any certainty what the fallout from Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress will be ... Neither the speech nor the ugliness surrounding it will immediately alter the fundamental relationship between the United States and Israel. That is because it is a relationship buttressed not merely by emotional or strategic considerations but, more significantly, by the power of the lobby. That power — manifested in the belief among US politicians that deviating from Israel’s position on any issue could result in a loss of campaign contributions or their diversion to an opponent — makes challenging the “special relationship” a very dangerous proposition for politicians at every level.
As a secular Jew, I don’t do much praying. But this week, as the powerful pro-Israeli government lobby AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) holds its annual policy meeting in Washington DC, I’m praying that this year marks the beginning of the end of the lobby’s grip on US foreign policy ... AIPAC promotes Israeli settlements in direct opposition to international law ... The bottom line is that AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has influence on US policy out of all proportion to the number of Americans who support its policies. When a small group like this has disproportionate power, it hurts everyone — including Israelis and American Jews ... An essential starting point is breaking AIPAC’s grip on U.S. policy.
… In the early 1980s it became clear to me that the pro-Israel lobby was trying to steer the United States into conflict with the Arab world. I saw nothing in the American interest in that; and my own two sons were approaching the draft age. Until then, I had been strongly pro-Israel myself; but sacrificing my boys for Israel was a higher price than I wanted to pay. Nor did I want other Americans to pay it. But as soon as I began arguing publicly that the U.S.-Israel alliance was not only costly but dangerous to the United States, I became the target of Zionist vituperation and worse. Some, like Podhoretz, tried to ruin my career. And I’ve seen others get the same treatment.
... Israel receives more of America’s foreign aid budget than any other nation. The US has, in fact, given more aid to Israel than it has to all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean combined — which have a total population of over a billion people ... According to the Congressional Research Service, the amount of official US aid to Israel since its founding in 1948 tops $121 billion (adjusting for inflation, $233.7 billion as of March 2013), and in the past few decades it has been on the order of $3.1 billion per year. (In 2014, for example, this amounted to $8.5 million every single day.)
... Although Republicans would criticize all of this incompetence as the Obama administration being "too soft" on terrorism, the opposite is true and has been true of the US government response since 9/11. So despite the hyperactive US government policy toward Islamist radicalism of attacking or invading seven Muslim countries, issuing repeated public warnings of impending terrorist attacks, making air travel a nightmare, and holding high profile conferences to deal with the problem, all of this only makes the problem worse. A plausible argument might be made that the smartest thing the government should do about terrorists would probably be nothing ... In reality, if the government is fighting terrorists using bold public actions, military and otherwise, it is creating more terrorists than it is killing.
... How many Americans are dying each week at the hands of ISIS? Make no mistake. These terrorists can bring down an airliner, shoot up malls, blow up buildings and kill a number of us. And they will behead any American who falls into their hands. But they cannot run a country. And they cannot defeat the United States. Let us put this peril in perspective. Each year, 33,000 American die in auto accidents and tens of thousands die of the flu ... How many American deaths did ISIS cause? As the Shiites are already engaged against ISIS, we should inform our Sunni friends — the Turks, Egyptians, Saudis, Gulf Arabs: As you are the most threatened here, you are the first responders to this blaze.
... There was always something fantastical about the US and its Western allies teaming up with the theocratic Sunni absolute monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf to spread democracy and enhance human rights in Syria, Iraq, and Libya ... It was the US, Europe, and their regional allies in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates that created the conditions for the rise of ISIS [the `Islamic State’]. They kept the war going in Syria, though it was obvious from 2012 that Assad would not fall. He never controlled less than thirteen out of fourteen Syrian provincial capitals and was backed by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. Nevertheless, the only peace terms he was offered at the Geneva II peace talks in January 2014 was to leave power. He was not about to go, and ideal conditions were created for ISIS to prosper.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress on March 3 was unprecedented in many ways ... Most strikingly, Netanyahu is the only foreign leader to have been invited to address a joint session of Congress with the express purpose of undermining U.S. foreign policy: in this case, the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, currently entering their sensitive final stages ... The vast majority of international opinion appears to be in support of the ongoing negotiations ... If one were to believe Netanyahu and his Congressional allies, the international community is naively appeasing the Iranians, with only him and the U.S. Congressional leadership possessing the wisdom and understanding to recognize the supposed Iranian threat.
Reading the lead stories on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress about Iran in five prominent US papers – the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today – what was most striking was what was left out of these articles. None of them mentioned, for example, that Israel possesses nuclear weapons ... Entirely absent from these articles was the fact that not only does Iran deny wanting to make a nuclear bomb, the intelligence agencies of the United States and Israel also doubt that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program.
In the address on Tuesday to the United States Congress by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, we witnessed a new peak in the long-running hype over Iran’s nuclear energy program. Yet all his predictions about how close Iran was to acquiring a nuclear bomb have proved baseless. Despite that, alarmist rhetoric on the theme has been a staple of Mr. Netanyahu’s career ... The paradox of the situation is that a government that has built a stockpile of nuclear weapons, rejected calls to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, made military incursions into neighboring states and flouted international law by keeping the lands of other nations under occupation, now makes such a big fuss over a country, Iran, that has not invaded another country since America became a sovereign nation.
A former German attorney with well-known links to the far right has been convicted of Holocaust denial and sentenced to 20 months in prison. Munich state court spokeswoman Andrea Titz said 51-year-old Sylvia Stolz was convicted of inciting racial hatred for denying the Holocaust in a 2012 speech. She argued during her trial that she was exercising her right to free speech. Stolz already served time for Holocaust denial after a 2008 conviction related to her defense of notorious Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, who was convicted himself of the crime in Mannheim in 2007. Zundel's initial Mannheim trial collapsed after Stolz was banned from the proceedings on grounds she was trying to sabotage them.
In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced an excruciatingly delicate task. Although he had promised — and campaigned on — a policy of American neutrality in World War II the year before, Roosevelt ached to help the Allies ... How, exactly, could he about-face and sell the war to his people? In October of that year, he masterfully managed the feat. In his nationally-broadcast Navy Day address, Roosevelt made an extraordinary claim ... The map — presented as clear evidence of the Nazis' hostile aspirations in what was (under the century old Monroe doctrine) still considered "America’s backyard" — had its intended effect. Although the Germans vehemently denied the map’s existence, the American people largely rallied behind what could now be pitched as a preemptive war of self-defense.
On Oct. 27, 1941, FDR, locked in mortal combat with an America First Committee that was resisting his drive to war, played his trump. On Navy Day, at the Mayflower Hotel, FDR declared: "I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler's Government -- by planners of the New World Order. ... It is a map of South America ... as Hitler proposes to reorganize it ... This map makes clear the Nazi design, not only against South America but against the United States as well." ... The Nazi plans for eradicating Christianity were never found. And the map? A forgery by British agent Ivar Bryce, who worked under Churchill's man William Stephenson, who had been given his mission: provoke America to go to war with Germany.
… Roosevelt was not the first or the last American president to lie to the people. But rarely has a major American political figure given a speech as loaded with brazen falsehood as Franklin Roosevelt did in his Navy Day address of October 27, 1941 … Roosevelt went on to reveal that he also had in his possession "another document made in Germany by Hitler's government. It is a detailed plan to abolish all existing religions -- Catholic, Protestant, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish alike" which Germany will impose "on a dominated world, if Hitler wins."
The newly constructed building stands on Königsplatz, a historical part of the city where the "Brown House" - Nazi party headquarters - once stood, and where now a white cube rises. In the immediate vicinity is the so-called "Führerbau," where Hitler had his office. So the Document Centre rises from the culprit's cradle, said the center's Director Winfried Nerdinger. The Nazi movement was founded in Munich and from its base spread across the rest of Germany. "Munich and National Socialism" is the title of the permanent exhibition, which covers approximately 1000 square meters ... Presented in both German and English, the center expects around 250,000 national and international guests each year.
... The real story of Netanyahu’s speech is that he is continuing a long tradition in Israeli politics of demonising Iran to advance domestic and foreign policy interests. The history of that practice, in which Netanyahu has played a central role going back nearly two decades, shows that it has been based on a conscious strategy of vastly exaggerating the threat from Iran ... The demonisation of Iran has also served Netanyahu’s political interest in manipulating the policy of the US government and other world powers. By portraying Iran as bent on the genocide of the Israeli Jews, Netanyahu has sought to get the Americans to threaten war against Iran, hoping for a real military confrontation that would lead to actual war with Iran that would reduce that country’s power.
... In his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism, Netanyahu once again asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in “three to five years,” apparently forgetting about the expiration of his old deadline ... Over the course of more than 20 years, Benjamin Netanyahu has made false claims about nuclear weapons programs in both Iran and Iraq, inventing imaginary timelines for their development, and making public statements that contradicted the analysis of his own intelligence advisers. Despite this, he continues to be treated by lawmakers and media figures as a credible voice on this issue.
... Not only has virtually every bombing, invasion, occupation and other interference made problems worse. Almost every new intervention is an attempt to redress problems created by previous U.S. actions. And every new military step is likely, indeed, almost guaranteed, to create even bigger new problems ... No responsible policymaker would want to suggest that even one foreign problem was not America's responsibility. Washington's elite might disagree about details, but believes with absolute certainty that Americans should do everything: Fight every war, remake every society, enter every conflict, pay every debt, defeat every adversary, solve every problem, and ignore every criticism. Over the last two decades this approach has proved an abysmal disaster.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington this week to prepare the American people for war against Iran. Backed by American neoconservatives, the Israel lobby, and assorted other war hawks, Netanyahu insists that Iran intends to build a nuclear weapon and thus is an “existential threat” to Israel ... Thus the prime minister’s objective is nothing less than to wreck the current negotiations and push America into a regime-changing war against Iran. Netanyahu’s narrative is a fabric of lies and omissions ... So why is Netanyahu pushing war? Among several reasons, demonizing Iran reduces pressure on Israel to negotiate seriously with the Palestinians. Many Israelis prefer building Jewish settlements on Palestinians’ land instead.
... Politicians from the right, among others, who claim that every time the moment of truth comes, PA [Palestinian Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas rejects peace agreements. But in at least one instance, that preconception proved unfounded, even false. Less than four years ago, it wasn’t Abbas who ran away from the table, but rather [Israel] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who declined to advance talks between Abbas and then-president Shimon Peres. Although Abbas came to far-reaching understandings with Peres on a framework deal, or principles according to which talks would be restarted, at the last minute Netanyahu changed his mind about the agreement.
Dutch police have launched an investigation into a northern Dutch trader who claims to be selling soap made by the Nazis that is made from the remains of Jews killed in the Holocaust, according to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. The soap, known as "RIF soap" or popularly as Jew soap, was reportedly made during World War II by the Nazis from human remains, and was being sold online for 199 Euros. Historian Arthur Graaf, who spoke to De Telegraaf, said the seller was offering other products from the Holocaust era such as dentures, toothbrushes and glasses, which he took from the vicinity of the Westerbork concentration camp.
One of the most lurid and slanderous Holocaust claims is the story that the Germans manufactured soap from the bodies of their victims. Although a similar charge during the First World War was exposed as a hoax almost immediately afterwards, it was nevertheless revived and widely believed during the Second. More important, this accusation was "proved" at the main Nuremberg trial of 1945-1946, and has been authoritatively endorsed by numerous historians in the decades since. In recent years, though, as part of a broad retreat from the most obviously untenable aspects of the "orthodox" extermination story, Holocaust historians have grudgingly conceded that the human soap tale is a wartime propaganda lie.
Condemnation poured in Friday of the Islamic State [IS] group's bulldozing of the ancient city of Nimrud, the jihadists' latest attack on Iraqi cultural treasures that the UN termed a "war crime". After rampaging through Mosul's museum with sledgehammers and torching its library last month, IS "bulldozed" the nearby ruins of Nimrud Thursday, the tourism and antiquities ministry said ... Nimrud was the latest victim of what appears to be a systematic campaign by the jihadists to obliterate Iraq's rich heritage ... Nimrud was founded in the 13th century BC and was considered the jewel of the Assyrian era. Its stunning reliefs and colossal statues of winged bulls with human heads guarding palace gates filled the world's museums in the 19th century.
For approximately two-and-a-half centuries, the Assyrian empire exerted tremendous influence upon developments in what biblical accounts called the "land of Canaan." At the height of its power, Assyria absorbed the kingdoms of Syria, Israel, Judah, and Egypt as far as Thebes ... Over the centuries, the Assyrians have suffered from a "bad press." True, they pursued policies of often ruthless conquest, made possible in part by their army, noted for its ferocity and fighting efficiency.
I have the honor to discuss an historical event in which I played a personal role, the notorious Sedition Trial of 1944 ... Some of what I have to tell is merely personal recollection while some is indisputable fact. Historians must make these distinctions. I write here as a witness to history ... I have no regrets about the Sedition Trial ... For the sake of the historical record I would still like to see the U.S. Congress acknowledge that an injustice was done against 30 American citizens in the Sedition Case. Not one of us ever received a penny in compensation for our mistreatment and expenses, much less any official acknowledgment that our government made a serious mistake.
... Benjamin Netanyahu rocked the Capitol. His political stagecraft was unbelievable. He had them cheering, whooping and hollering. And that was before he'd said a word. He knew every button to press ... It is hard to think of any other national assembly - including Israel - where Mr Netanyahu would be given such adulation. For a moment, I tried to imagine Bibi in the Westminster Parliament, or the Assemblee Nationale in Paris or the Bundestag in Berlin. He wouldn't have got anything like that reception. But here in Washington his script lines, his delivery and his message had US congressmen and women leaping up from their seats like jack-in-the-boxes.
US congresspeople got quite the workout on the morning of March 3, 2015. ‘Twas on this fateful day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, addressed US Congress, in what one might refer to as an historic occasion ... If there is one word to describe Congress’ response to the affair, it would be “ecstatic” ... To say it was just well received would be to commit the callous crime of understatement. In Netanyahu’s pep rally, rather speech before the US legislative branch, Congress interrupted to applaud 39 times. 23 of these were standing ovations. 10:55 of the 40:30 of Netanyahu’s exhortation consisted of applause. In other words, 27% was Congress applauding and doing standing ovations. I repeat: Over one-fourth of Netanyahu’s speech consisted of Congress applauding and doing standing ovations.
... I don't think there was ever anything like it. The prime minister of a small vassal country, dependent on the US for practically everything, comes to the capital of the US to openly challenge its President, in effect branding him a cheat and a liar. His host is the opposition party ... AIPAC and other Jewish organizations have worked for generations to secure the support of both American parties and practically all senators and congress(wo)men. For years now, no politician on Capitol Hill dared to criticize Israel. It was tantamount to political suicide. The few who tried were cast into the wilderness. And here comes Netanyahu and destroys all of this edifice for one election spectacle.
... Congressmen of both parties have grovelled and fainted and shrieked their support for Bibi (Netanyahu) and his predecessors with more enthusiasm than the Roman hordes in the Colosseum. Last time Bibi turned up in the Congress, he received literally dozens of standing ovations from the sheep-like representatives of the American people, whose uncritical adoration of the Israeli state – and their abject fear of uttering the most faint-hearted criticism lest they be called anti-Semites – suggest that Bibi would be a far more popular US president than Barack ... His aim – to earn votes for himself and to destroy the one foreign policy achievement within Obama’s grasp – will have absolutely no effect at all on Israeli-US relations.
Nothing more vividly underscores the Jewish-Zionist grip on US political life than the stormy, fervent approval given by American politicians to Israeli premier Netanyahu as he addressed a joint session of the US Congress. For every American who cares about our long term welfare as a country, as well as basic justice, the performance of these politicians was a shameful spectacle. Their behavior highlights the entrenched corruption and lack of principle of the American political system. It’s an expression of a society, and of a political system, that has become terminally craven and unprincipled.
The entire spectrum of Jewish politicians from Left to Right expends vast amounts of energy attempting to conceal problematic Jewish cultural and ideological symptoms. Benjamin Netanyahu is different; he is the total manifestation of all such symptoms. He brings to light everything despicable in Israel and in Jewish politics. He is the epitome of everything we reject in Jewish ID politics, Zionism as well as ‘anti’. Bibi publicly imposes himself on America, its people, the American Congress and the Obama administration. Bibi blatantly interferes in American strategic and national security interests. And he gets away with it.
New research suggests that liberals, as well as conservatives, can be biased against science that doesn't align with their political views. The study found that people from both the left and right expressed less trust in science when they were presented with facts that challenged specific politicized issues. For conservatives, climate change and evolution were the issues that led them to lose some trust in science. For liberals, it was hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and nuclear power. The results challenge recent books and articles that claim conservatives alone have difficulty dealing with scientific fact.
The authors and publishers of a book of Adolf Hitler's Speeches, from Brno's guidemedia publishing house, seek more than 7.4 million crowns in compensation for court proceedings in this case and damages, the firm's defence lawyer Tomas Pecina told CTK Monday. He said his clients had turned to the Justice Ministry with the compensation claim. The publishing house's owners, Pavel Kamas and Lukas Novak, and the book's author Lukas Beer were suspected of approving of genocide, but courts acquitted them of charges. Now they demand that the state cover their defence costs of 430,000 crowns and pay further seven million in compensation for other than proprietary damage ... The book containing Hitler's 18 speeches was published in 10,000 copies in 2012. It was sold out in 2014, and guidemedia reprinted it.
Coca-Cola Company pulled a German television ad for the orange soft drink Fanta following complaints that the commercial referred to the 1940s, when the beverage was invented following an international trade embargo on the Nazi regime, as the “good old times.” The ad celebrates Fanta’s 75th anniversary, but conveniently makes no mention of the role Nazi Germany played in the bubbly drink’s initial creation. According to the ad, German bottling plants were forced to create new formulas during the 1940s since ingredients needed to make regular Coke were scarce at the time. But the real, omitted reason Coke ingredients were unavailable during that period was due to sanctions instated by the Allies on Germany ...
Yet another BBC correspondent has come under fire for offending Jewish sensitivities after he accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using the Nazi Holocaust to elicit sympathy during his address to Congress on Tuesday. Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor tweeted, “#NetanyahuSpeech He acknowledges [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel in audience. Once again Netanyahu plays the holocaust card. don’t repeat mistakes of the past.” In response, Alex Brummer, a well-known journalist himself and vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, condemned Bowen’s statement saying it was “beneath contempt” ...
CRIF, the umbrella representative group of the French Jewish community has called on its “American friends” to fight against the dissemination of Jew-hatred on the internet, in an appeal published in the New York Times. “For French Jews this battle is vital. We can neither fight nor win it without you,’’ CRIF’s president Roger Cukierman wrote. ‘’On the Internet anti-Semitic ravings, rooted in centuries-old myths (the Rich Jew, the Powerful Jew, etc.) go unchecked ...” Cukierman noted that all these Internet service providers, search engines, video-hosting services are American. “They are subject to American laws. We need the United States; we need you to convince them to set a limit to this swarm of hate.”
Whatever Benjamin Netanyahu says when he addresses Congress will likely be overshadowed by the controversy his speech has already generated ... “The [pro-Israel] lobby is a night flower. It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun,” AIPAC’s former research director Steve Rosen wrote in a memo to a new employee in 1982. Rosen recognized that the more Israel’s influence on Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch was acknowledged, the more vulnerable it would be to challenge ... It is dawning on Americans that Iran is perhaps the only state in the Mideast both willing and able to fight ISIS. The American military certainly understands this. Finally, Netanyahu probably fails to realize that Israel itself is simply not as popular as it once was. The decades of occupation have taken a toll.
If the sadists of ISIS are seeking — with their mass executions, child rapes, immolations, and beheadings of Christians — to stampede us into a new war in the Middle East, they are succeeding. Repeatedly snapping the blood-red cape of terrorist atrocities in our faces has the Yankee bull snorting, pawing the ground, ready to charge again ... And eradicating ISIS is but the first of the wars Republicans have in mind. ... Listen for long to GOP foreign policy voices, and you can hear calls for war on ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, the Houthi rebels, the Assad regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran, to name but a few. Are we to fight them all? How many U.S. troops will be needed? How long will all these wars take? What will the Middle East look like after we crush them all? Who will fill the vacuum if we go? Or must we stay forever?
In the midst of controversy over the Israeli prime minister's plans to address Congress next month, a researcher has won the release of a decades-old Defense Department report detailing the U.S. government's extensive help to Israel in that nation's development of a nuclear bomb. "I am struck by the degree of cooperation on specialized war making devices between Israel and the US," said Roger Mattson, a former member of the Atomic Energy Commission technical staff. The 1987 report, "Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations," compares the key Israeli facilities developing nuclear weapons to Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the principal U.S. laboratories that developed the bomb for the United States.
Back in 1987, according to a tightly-held report produced for the Pentagon, the Israelis were "developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level." Such research was taking place in Israeli facilities similar to the major US nuclear weapons development sites ... The report, produced by the Institute for Defense Analysis for the Department of Defense was to provide an assessment of NATO and Israel’s weapons development initiatives ... The 1987 report’s confirmation of Israel’s advanced nuclear weapons program should have immediately triggered a cutoff in all U.S. aid to Israel under the Symington and Glenn Amendments to the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
Conceding to a federal lawsuit, the US government agreed to release a 1987 Defense Department report detailing US assistance to Israel in its development of a hydrogen bomb, which skirted international standards. The 386-page report, “Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations," likens top Israeli nuclear facilities to the Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories that were key in the development of US nuclear weaponry ... “It's our basic position that in 1987 the Department of Defense discovered that Israel had a nuclear weapons program, detailed it and then has covered it up for 25 years in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments, costing taxpayers $86 billion,” Smith said ...
A Munich court on Wednesday sentenced a previously convicted Holocaust denier and ex-lawyer to a second jail term, after she publicly declared that there had been no organized genocide of the Jews under Adolf Hitler. Sylvia Stolz, 51, was sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment for telling an anti-censorship congress in Switzerland in 2012 that the "so-called Holocaust" under Adolf Hitler's National-Socialist (Nazi) Party had never been legally defined or proven, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. In an almost 100-minute address, video footage of which was used as evidence in her trial, Stolz stated before a crowd of 2,000 people there was no hard evidence of either Nazi plans or orders "to partially or wholly destroy Jewry".
A teacher has been fined after he admitted posting a picture Hitler on Facebook with the words 'you were right'. Mahmudul Choudhury, 35, from Tower Hamlets, east London, was reported to police for sharing the image by a Jewish student who he had previously added on the social networking site. He pleaded guilty to the racially aggravated offence at an earlier hearing and was told he could face losing his job, as he is still employed as a teacher ... Choudhury wore a suit and tie when he appeared at Bromley Magistrates Court yesterday, where he was fined 465 pounds.
Younger Americans are struggling to keep up with steadily-rising student debt loads, a burden that is limiting their ability to buy homes. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday that the percentage of student loans 90 days or more overdue rose to 11.3 percent in the final three months of last year, up from 11.1 percent in the previous quarter. That's the highest in a year. Total student borrowing now stands at $1.16 trillion, the most on record and 7.1 percent higher than twelve months earlier. Previous research by the New York Fed has found that younger Americans with student loans are less likely to take out mortgages than those without student debt. That's a reversal from the pre-recession pattern.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress on Tuesday that an emerging agreement between Iran and the United States would all but guarantee that Tehran gets nuclear weapons and would be a very bad deal, drawing an extraordinarily blunt rebuttal from President Barack Obama ... Obama saw it differently, and said so from the White House. He said that the Israeli leader offered no "viable alternatives" to the nuclear negotiations with Iran and that the prospect of an agreement had already resulted in a freeze and rolling back of Iran's program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to offer an alternative in his speech to the U.S. Congress on the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, a senior U.S. administration official said on Tuesday. “Simply demanding that Iran completely capitulate is not a plan, nor would any country support us in that position. The prime minister offered no concrete action plan,” the official said, speaking on background ... The official said Netanyahu contradicted himself by arguing that the Iranian government is both "powerful and unchanging" and "weak and vulnerable" and insisting that it needed to change as a condition for a nuclear deal. "The logic of the prime minister’s speech is regime change, not a nuclear speech," the official said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Tuesday that it was negotiating a bad deal with Iran that paved the way to a "nuclear nightmare," drawing a rebuke from President Barack Obama and exposing the depth of a U.S.-Israeli rift ... Obama responded in the Oval Office, declaring in a frustrated tone that Netanyahu offered "nothing new." ... Underscoring the partisan divide over Netanyahu’s address, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said afterwards that as a friend of Israel, she was near tears during his speech. She called the speech "an insult to the intelligence of the United States" and said she was "saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran.” As many as 60 of the 232 Democratic members of Congress sat out the address.
The differences between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were on display Monday when the two offered dramatically divergent takes on a nuclear deal with Iran ... Obama told Reuters that a deal with Iran to freeze its nuclear activity for at least ten years, with verification measures, would be "far more effective in controlling their nuclear program than any military action we could take, any military action Israel could take and far more effective than sanctions will be." He also said Netanyahu has been wrong before -- pointing to the 2013 interim deal with Iran. "Netanyahu made all sorts of claims. This was going to be a terrible deal. This was going to result in Iran getting $50 billion worth of relief. Iran would not abide by the agreement. None of that has come true," Obama said.
In 2001, Bibi Netanyahu paid a condolence call on a group of Israeli settlers in the village of Ofra, widows whose husbands had been killed in the Intifada: the videotaped conversation has just been leaked, and broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10, and it is a blockbuster ... What’s interesting – and embarrassing – about this leak isn’t the “revelation” that Israel’s amen corner in America exerts a decisive influence on US policymakers: who didn’t know that? The Israel lobby constantly boasts of it, while critics of US subservience to Tel Aviv consistently decry it. What we didn’t know, however, is how much the Israelis disdain us for it ...
In an unprecedented move, 200 veterans of the Israeli security services accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday of being a “danger” to Israel. The new group, called Commanders for Israel’s Security, warned that Netanyahu was doing irreparable harm to the country’s relationship with Washington, just two days before he is due to address the US Congress ... Half a dozen former generals spoke out at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday, urging Netanyahu to cancel the speech before ties with the US deteriorate even further ... It is the first time he has faced a large-scale backlash from members of Israel’s security establishment – and is likely to be more damaging to Netanyahu’s popular image as a strong leader on security matters.
Say what you will, the latest intelligence leak to hit the world headlines couldn’t have come at a worse time for Benjamin Netanyahu. Just a week before the Israeli prime minister’s congressional address on the Iranian nuclear threat, a document from his own spy agency turns up and shows that his dark warnings about Iran don’t always match the facts known to Israeli intelligence. The document in question is a 2012 memo from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, updating its South African counterpart on the status of Iran’s nuclear project ... Yet it contradicted the Israeli leader’s U.N. speech on several critical points of fact, including how far away Iran was from bomb-making capacity and whether it even had the ability to produce weapons-grade uranium.
... The Jewish state has now largely alienated its former friends and supporters in Europe. Its all-important American patron and protector suffers from budgetary bloat, political constipation, diplomatic enervation, and strategic myopia ... Israel is now known around the world for the Kafkaesque tyranny of its checkpoint army in the Occupied Territories, its periodic maiming and slaughter of Lebanese and Gazan civilians, its blatant racial and religious bigotry, the zealotry and scofflaw behavior of its settlers, its theology of ethnic cleansing, and its exclusionary religious dogmatism ... Official America's passionate attachment to Israel has become a very salient part of U.S. political pathology.
... The Israel Lobby has also grown enormously in support of only one objective, which is binding Israel to the United States in such a fashion as to make Americans the enablers and uncritical supporters of Tel Aviv’s foreign and security policies ... Indeed, many supporters of Israel do not seem at all ashamed of openly putting Israel ahead of the United States, which is where I have a problem because, apart from enabling the skewing of America’s foreign policy, it raises the issue of where one has basic loyalty. Loyalty to a nation might well be passé in this day and age but it can have significant consequences when groups that are powerful promote detrimental policies that impact on everyone.