... Edwards was one of 60,000 enlisted men enrolled in a once-secret [World War II US] government program — formally declassified in 1993 — to test mustard gas and other chemical agents on American troops. But there was a specific reason he was chosen: Edwards is African-American. "They said we were being tested to see what effect these gases would have on black skins," Edwards says. An NPR investigation has found evidence that Edwards' experience was not unique. While the Pentagon admitted decades ago that it used American troops as test subjects in experiments with mustard gas, until now, officials have never spoken about the tests that grouped subjects by race ... And it wasn't just African-Americans.
... The Chinese claim truly is astonishingly brazen. The "nine-dash line," an official map published by the Beijing government in 1949, claims practically ALL the uninhabited reefs and tiny islands in the shallow sea as Chinese territory, even ones that are 700 km from the Chinese coast and 150 km from the Philippines or Vietnam ... So now the rhetoric steps up to actual warning of a Chinese-U.S. war. The Global Times is right, whether its writers know it or not. If China keeps acting as if its claims were universally accepted and unilaterally expanding the reefs to create large bases with airstrips and ports, and the U.S. and local powers go on challenging China's claims, then there really could be a war. Later, not now, and not necessarily ever, but it could happen.
President Barack Obama says the history of slavery and segregation is "still part of our DNA" in the United States, even if racial epithets no longer show up in polite conversation. He uttered the N-word in making his point. In an interview, Obama talked about the debates over race and guns that have erupted after the arrest of a white man in the racially motivated shooting deaths of nine black church members in Charleston, South Carolina. "Racism, we are not cured of it," Obama said. "And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior."
... The trial touches on one of the most sensitive questions in the Middle East today: Is Israel cooperating with the Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights in the war against Assad? And if so, how? Why? And with what groups? Much of what the indictment calls “secret Israeli army activity” is blacked-out in the document, and al-Makt’s lawyer declined to comment. But Yamin Zidan, his former attorney, who wasn’t allowed to represent him at the trial because he lacked security clearance, believes the full indictment, if disclosed, would reveal what Israel is really up to in Syria. “The conversations,” he says, “show the level of cooperation between Israel and the rebels against Assad.”
Israel has boycotted a daylong debate on a report on the 2014 Gaza conflict, calling it biased and flawed. The report, commissioned by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, finds both Israel and armed Palestinian groups may have committed war crimes in Gaza. The report documents serious violations of international law and human rights abuses committed during Gaza’s seven-week war last summer. More than 2,200 people were killed, most of them Gazans. In her presentation to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Chair of the Commission of Inquiry, Mary McGowan Davis, detailed indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by the Israeli Defense Forces.
... These philosophical musings came to me in the wake of the recent UN report on the last Gaza war. The investigation committee bent over backwards to be “balanced”, and accused both the Israeli army and Hamas in almost equal terms. That, in itself, is problematic. This was not a war between equals. On one side, the State of Israel, with one of the mightiest armies in the world. On the other side, a stateless population of 1.8 million people, led by a guerrilla organization devoid of any modern arms. Any equating of such two entities is by definition contrived. Even if both sides committed grievous war crimes, they are not the same. Each must be judged on its own (de)merits.
Israeli Immigration and Absorption called on all Jews of France to “come home’’ after a new Islamist terrorist attack took place Friday near Lyon. “To all the Jews of France I say: Come home!”, Zeev Elkin said ... In 2015, aliyah, immigration, from France was up 25 percent compared to the same period in 2014 ... After an Islamist terrorist attacked a kosher supermarket in January, [Israel prime minister] Netanyahu had called on French Jews to immigrate to Israel. French President Francois Hollande rebuffed the Israeli call however, insisting France was safe for its Jewish population, which numbers close to half a million souls.
At the end of 1979 a row broke out in Britain over the fairly innocent and respectable magazine History Today ... There were complaints to the publishers, letters to newspapers, even attempts to remove the magazine from some newsagents' shelves ... What caused the furore was an article entitled "A Nazi travels to Palestine", by Jacob Boas. Or rather, it was the publicity for the article ... This brought howls of outrage from Zionist student spokespersons and others convinced it was their duty to protect Zionism from any suggestion that its leaders ever collaborated with Nazis, and to denounce History Today's supposed motives as well as an article they had not yet read. For some this subject remains taboo ...
... The U.S. Department of Defense has been named the largest employer in the world, with 3.2 million employees on its payroll, according to the World Economic Forum. The second largest is China’s People’s Liberation Army with 2.3 million on its staff roster, and third biggest is Wal-Mart Stores with 2.1 million employees. McDonald’s Corp. came in fourth with 1.9 million workers but the World Economic Forum noted the fast-food chain would be eliminated from the list if employees at its franchise restaurants weren't counted.
How do you measure a military footprint? In people? Dollars? Space? This website is an ongoing attempt to map one aspect of that question -- by visualizing the location of United States military installations. This site shows the vast global sweep of the many US military bases around the world. The data comes primarily from the 2013 Base Structure Report, with a couple of lesser-known sites unearthed by journalists and geographers mixed in as well.
... What are the causes of American decline? Hubris, ideology, bellicosity and stupidity all played parts ... It was in the Middle East that the most costly blunders were committed. Believing liberal democracy to be the wave of the future, that all peoples, given the chance, would embrace it, we invaded Iraq, occupied Afghanistan and overthrew the dictator of Libya. So doing, we unleashed the demons of Islamic fanaticism, tribalism, and a Sunni-Shiite sectarian war now raging from North Africa to the Near East ... Our present commitments are unsustainable. Retrenchment is an imperative.
Fast growth in Asia and strong market performance drove much of the wealth growth in 2014 ... Wealth in North America grew 5.6% to $50.8 trillion, making it the wealthiest region, but Asia-Pacific, not including Japan, grew at 29.4% to $47.3 trillion ... In fact, Asia-Pacific is expected to surpass North America as the wealthiest region in 2016, with China (at 25% growth) and India (at 44% growth) being the main catalysts. It is also expected to drive half of the global wealth growth until 2019 ... Of the 2.1 million new millionaire households in 2014, 62% were in Asia-Pacific. However, the U.S. remains the country with the highest number of millionaires and ultra high-net worth households (6.9 million), with almost double the number China has (3.6 million).
A new map shows just how massive the United States’ $17 trillion economy truly is.
The graphic, made by Business Insider, shows how the economies of each of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., compare to other countries around the world. For example, Texas’ $1.65 trillion GDP (the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a certain period of time) is just ahead of Saudi Arabia’s $1.62 trillion economy, and comparable to the 15th largest economy in the world. Texas accounts for about ten percent of the total U.S. GDP. California’s economy is the seventh largest in the world, with a GDP of $2.3 trillion in 2014, making it comparable to the United Kingdom, the world’s sixth-largest economy.
The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was the largest military clash ever fought in the Nordic Countries. It was part of the Finnish-Soviet “Continuation War” of World War II. The battle (June 25 to July 9, 1944) was fought between Finnish forces -- using war material provided by Germany -- and Soviet forces. The battle was one of attrition, with the Finns suffering proportionally more casualties than the Soviet forces. It marked a point in the Soviet offensive when the Finnish forces first prevented the Soviets from making any significant gains. It was deemed a Finnish defensive victory.
Rare color footage of occupied, devastated Berlin in July 1945, a few weeks after the end of the Second World War in Europe. This sharp, vivid footage shows refugees, Allied occupation soldiers, and civilians trying to rebuild their city, and their lives. Also shows some of the vast destruction of the German capital from Allied bombing and the Battle of Berlin, including the damaged Reichstag building, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Berlin Cathedral. Produced and presented by Konstantin von zur Mühlen. Runtime: 7:05 mins.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Israel dropped by almost 50 percent last year in comparison to the year before as the country continues to feel the effects of last summer's Gaza conflict, a new UN report has revealed ... Dr Ronny Manos, one of the report's authors and a researcher in the department of Management and Economics at the Open University of Israel, said that the decline was primarily caused by the fallout from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) “Operation Protective Edge” and international boycotts against the country for alleged violations of international law ... International pressure on companies to refrain from investing in the Israeli economy has heightened with the rise of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
... BDS. They denote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a worldwide campaign to boycott Israel because of its 48 year-old subjugation of the Palestinian people. Ah, here we have a real threat, worse than the Bomb. A second Holocaust is looming. Brave little Israel facing the entire evil, anti-Semitic world ... BDS is not a highly organized worldwide organization. It is more of a trade mark. Groups of students, artists and others spring up spontaneously and join the struggle for Palestinian liberation ... Netanyahu is happy. He calls upon world Jewry to take up the fight against this anti-Semitic outrage. The owner of Netanyahu, multi-billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has convened a war council of rich Jews in Las Vegas. His counterpart, pro-Labor multi-billionaire Haim Saban has joined him.
... If the whole truth about the Lenin and Stalin eras comes to light, educated opinion in the West will be forced to reassess some of its most deeply cherished views ... More important, there will have to be a reevaluation of what it meant for the British and American governments to have befriended Soviet Russia in the Second World War and heaped fulsome praise on its leader. That war will inevitably lose some of its glory as the pristinely pure crusade led by the larger-than-life heroes Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Inevitably, too, comparisons with what is commonly known as the Holocaust will emerge.
Decades after its dramatic demise, the Third Reich continues to fascinate millions and provoke heated discussion … Consistent with the author's strong plea for a more thoughtful and objective look at the phenomenon of Hitler and National Socialism, Nolte presents his often highly unorthodox views without polemics, indeed with a certain reserve and tentativeness. Unlike those who incessantly insist that "we" must "never forget" the "lessons of the Holocaust," Nolte calls for an evaluation of the Hitler era as free as possible of strident, emotion-laden polemics and self-serving purposes.
... Liberals, Zionists, and "responsible" conservatives now occupy a rhetorically Hitlercentric universe, in which Nazism is the measure of all evil and Roosevelt is redeemed by his determination to crush Germany. The stain of guilt for Nazism constantly spreads – to ordinary Germans, allies of Germany, neutrals, isolationists, Swiss bankers, and Pius XII himself ... Everyone and everything is measured on a single scale, which might be called the Hitler Continuum. But there is not corresponding Stalin Continuum. Those who aided and defended and celebrated Stalin at the height of his crimes incur no guilt or obloquy. To have dreamed the Communist dream is evidence of idealism, not guilt or even irresponsibility.
Mexico now deports more Central American migrants than the United States, a dramatic shift since the U.S. asked Mexico for help a year ago with a spike in illegal migration, especially among unaccompanied minors. Between October and April, Mexico apprehended 92,889 Central Americans. In the same time period, the United States detained 70,226 "other than Mexican" migrants, the vast majority from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. That was a huge reversal from the same period a year earlier ... “Mexico is doing the dirty work, the very dirty work, for the United States," said Tomas Gonzalez, a Franciscan friar who runs the "72" shelter for migrants in Tenosique, a town in the southern Mexico state of Tabasco.
The Vatican on Friday signed its first ever treaty with what it calls the state of Palestine, further cementing formal ties that have angered Israel. The accord, which has been negotiated for years, outlines the parameters of the Roman Catholic Church's activities in the West Bank. The document also supports the two-state solution to the Palestinians' decades-old conflict with Israel, based on the 1967 borders. The Vatican formally recognized a Palestinian state in 2013, joining 135 countries who have also done so. The United States is not among them. Israel is opposed to such recognition, saying the only way to end the conflict is through negotiations, which have not progressed in years.
... But the battle flag is not so much a symbol of hatred as it is an object of hatred, a target of hatred. It evokes a hatred of the visceral sort that we see manifest in Jenkins' equating of the South of Washington, Jefferson, John Calhoun, Andrew Jackson and Lee with Hitler's Third Reich ... What the flag symbolizes for the millions who revere, cherish or love it, however, is the heroism of those who fought and died under it ... Vilification of that battle flag and the Confederacy is part of the cultural revolution in America that flowered half a century ago. Among its goals was the demoralization of the American people by demonizing their past and poisoning their belief in their own history ... And how is the Republican Party standing up to this cultural lynch mob? Retreating and running as fast as possible.
The mighty ships of the German High Seas Fleet were scuttled by their own sailors in Scapa Flow in Orkney on 21 June 1919. A newly discovered letter paints an extraordinary picture. It was the single greatest loss of warships in history, and the sailors killed that day were the last fatalities of World War One ... The German commander, Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, believed that his ships were about to be seized as spoils of war, and divided up between the victorious Allies. He felt duty-bound not to let that happen ... There's evidence, including in David's letter and a subsequent one he wrote a few days later to his Uncle Walter, to suggest some British sailors went further, firing on Germans who were trying to escape from their sinking ships.
The Queen has made her first visit to a World War Two concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, in northern Germany. The camp, where teenage diarist Anne Frank was among thousands to die, was liberated by British soldiers in 1945. The UK monarch, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, laid a wreath at a memorial there on the final day of her four-day state visit to Germany. She met British veterans who liberated the camp, and heard stories of the "horrific" scenes that greeted them.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he rejects what he called “International Diktats” or the forcing of peace plans on Israel. His remarks came as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived promoting an initiative to relaunch the Israeli Palestinian peace process which collapsed in 2014 ... Fabius who is on a two-day trip to the Middle East is pushing for a UN Security Council resolution that would lay out a time table for talks. He also wants to establish a support group comprising of Arab states, the European Union and UN Security Council members. Netanyahu insists he will flatly reject any proposals, “which have no true consideration for the security and needs of Israelis or other national interests of ours”.
Farms in West Bank settlements are using Palestinian children as workers in contravention of international law, Human Rights Watch wrote in a new report. In its 74-page report, “Ripe for Abuse: Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank,” Human Rights Watch asserted that Palestinians as young as eleven labor on the farms in unsafe conditions, including working in high temperatures, carrying heavy loads and being exposed to pesticides. The children also are paid less than minimum wage and are either dropping out of school or are tired while in school, according to the report. They are hired under unwritten agreements through Palestinian middlemen, according to Human Rights Watch.
Tin shacks with inadequate water and electricity infrastructure make up the village of upper Fasayal in the Jordan Valley north of Jericho. Grinding poverty and unemployment has forced many children to leave school and to seek employment, often at the behest of their parents, on Israeli settlements ... Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently released a 74-page report entitled “Ripe for Abuse – Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank.” .... “Children as young as eleven work on some settlement farms, often in high temperatures. The children carry heavy loads, are exposed to hazardous pesticides, and in some cases have to pay themselves for medical treatment for work-related injuries or illness."
The Committee on the Rights of Children, a body of independent legal experts charged by the UN with the task of monitoring the protection of children’s rights in signatory states, has urged Israel to honour its responsibility to prevent the torture and ill-treatment of children. “The Committee expresses its deepest concern about the reported practice of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested, prosecuted and detained by the military and the police, and about the State party’s failure to end these practices in spite of repeated concerns expressed by treaty bodies,” the investigative body stated in its periodic review of Israel’s child rights record ...
... But what gets little attention is that Hillary Clinton’s greatest billionaire backer has been Haim Saban, a dual United States-Israel citizen and hardline supporter of Israel, who has openly commented, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” With a net worth estimated at $3 billion, Saban is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 143rd richest person in the United States. When asked last July how much he would give to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he responded, “As much as is needed.” ... Saban’s foremost purpose is to aid Israel by increasing American support for the Jewish state. He has publicly described his method to achieve this goal by stating that the “three ways to be influential in American politics” are to make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets. Saban has used all those ways.
... Today, South Africa’s economy is stagnant, with growth running at an annual rate of just 1.3 per cent. That matters a great deal because the economy needs to expand by at least five per cent every year if poverty and unemployment are both to fall. Instead, the number of people out of work has risen by 1.6 million since Mr Zuma won the presidency in 2009. Unemployment -- even at the narrowest definition -- now stands at 26 per cent ... Those numbers go a long way towards explaining why South Africa suffers so terribly from violent crime and why shanty towns still surround every city ... The electricity blackouts which have become routine in Johannesburg, the commercial capital.
It’s a dangerous equation in the Syrian war that the further you are from Damascus, the more Bashar al-Assad’s regime seems doomed. And the more you drive around the vast area still held by government forces – and I’ve just completed around 1,100 miles of mountains, desert and battle fronts – the more you realise that the war will go on. And on. And that the Syrian army, outgunned and at times frighteningly outnumbered by its Islamist enemies, is not about to collapse. But here are a few grim facts. Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra are now attacking the Syrian military in rows of suicide trucks, and along fronts so wide that the army often doesn’t have the manpower to withstand them.
Issues of race and ethnicity can be complicated in the United States, and nowhere is that more evident than in the U.S. Census. The census, which counts every resident in the United States every ten years, has classified black Americans as a separate race since 1820. But the way the census has referred to Africans Americans has changed repeatedly over the decades. The evolving category names often reflected the current public attitudes of the time. For example, the term “colored” became “black” and then “Negro,” with “African American” added later. The term “mulatto” appeared in every census until 1920. The definition varied over the decades, but generally referred to a person who is black and at least one other race.
A United Nations inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war has accused Israeli and Palestinian factions of multiple potential violations of international law including suspected war crimes. Calling on Israel to “break with its lamentable track record” and hold wrongdoers responsible, the hard-hitting report commissioned by the UN human rights council lays most of the blame for Israel’s suspected violations at the feet of the country’s political and military leadership. The commission – chaired by a former New York supreme court judge, Mary McGowan Davis – says leaders should have been aware as the war progressed that their failure to change course was leading to mounting civilian casualties.
There can be no surprise that the UN Human Rights Council’s independent investigation of Israel’s assault on Gaza last summer found evidence of massive and systematic war crimes. Its report, published Monday in Geneva, says investigators were “able to gather substantial information pointing to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Israel and by Palestinian armed groups.” ... Despite the “balanced” language that is now the habitual refuge of international officials hoping to avoid false accusations of anti-Israel bias, the evidence shows that the scale and impact of Israeli violence dwarfs anything allegedly done by Palestinians. Israel systematically targeted Palestinian residential buildings and infrastructure without any apparent military justification.
The Obama administration said it opposes any Security Council consideration of a United Nations report on last summer’s Israel-Hamas war. “We challenge the very mechanism which created it,” John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said Tuesday, a day after the report’s publication ... The U.N. Human Rights Council, a body that Israel and the United States say is biased and targets Israel more than any other country, commissioned the report on the 50 days of fighting in Gaza last July and August. While the report accused both Israel and Palestinian factions of possible war crimes, its findings focused more on what it considers Israeli wrongdoing in its operation known as Protective Edge.
... While the mainstream media is analyzing in microscopic detail Jeb's stumbling over his Iraq war response, it naturally ignores that third rail in contemporary American politics, the power of the Israel lobby ... It is not simply Jeb Bush but all Republican candidates who are paying obeisance not simply to Israel but also to Netanyahu’s policies ... The actions of Jeb Bush would seem to confirm Lobe’s view that support for Israel has more to do with the pro-Zionist mega-donors than the Christian evangelicals. For Bush simply does not kowtow to the Christian evangelicals to the same degree that he does to the Israel lobby magnates.
... Greece should never have been allowed to join the euro in the first place, but the Greek government concealed the scale of its debts and the European Union turned a blind eye to them ... The Greeks have suffered a great deal of hardship already to stay in the euro, and they seem prepared to suffer some more. The European Union is prepared to cut them enough slack to keep them from defaulting, because its members fear the future of the euro itself if it becomes clear that countries can actually leave. However, the EU will not make enough concessions to put Greece on the road to recovery. So this unbearable status quo will continue for a while — and eventually the Greeks will say "enough." But it will still be five minutes to midnight for some months, and quite possibly even into next year.
Another strong showing by the right in northern Europe: the Danish People’s Party (DPP) is celebrating its victorious result in legislative elections, with 21 percent of the votes. This makes the anti-immigration group Denmark’s second-largest political party, and the leading partner in the right wing bloc — dislodging the left from government. Described by detractors as populist or even far right, the DPP confirms an anti-immigration trend in the Nordic countries. Over the last year and a half the right in Denmark, Sweden and Finland have all enjoyed growing strength. In Swedish elections last September, the right wing Sweden Democrats became the third-largest party.
... There are, of course, political stirrings in Europe. The political center, and the area just to the left and just to the right of it, seem dead, one reason for the rise of leftist parties like Syriza in Greece, rightist parties like the National Front in France, anti-immigrant nationalists from Sweden to the Netherlands, and big protest movements against the political establishment (of any stripe) like Podemos in Spain. At the heart of all this, it seems, is a sense that something fundamental is amiss in the economies of Western societies ... Politics is not dead, but it’s dormant, and Berlin remains a useful reminder of how virulent political ideology can be in a climate of social unrest.
In the past half century, some of the most prominent minds in international affairs have predicted the end of meaningful global divisions based on ideology. Daniel Bell published his "End of Ideology" in 1960; Francis Fukuyama published his “End of History and the Last Man" in 1992; and Thomas Friedman his "The World Is Flat" in 2005. Especially in Bell's and Fukuyama's cases, the message was fairly clear: All this energy put into ideology was pretty much posturing. You cannot say that now. The forward march of democracy has been halted, and decisively ... What’s left for liberal democracy? It’s not precisely an endangered species, but in places that are new to it — in parts of Central Europe, Africa and Asia — it’s still fragile. And more to the point, it’s weakening in the two areas which have been its engines: North America and Europe.
Fourteen watercolours and drawings by Adolf Hitler have fetched a total of 391,000 euros [$438,000] at a controversial auction in Nuremberg. A view of Bavaria’s famous fairytale castle Neuschwanstein brought the highest price of 100,000 euros [$112,000] at the auction on Saturday, while a still life of a bunch of carnations fetched 73,000 euros. The other works, all painted or drawn between 1904 and 1922, and most of which are signed “A Hitler”, included views of various buildings in Vienna, an image of Prague in the fog, and a female nude. According to the Weidler auction house, the bidders were investors in China, France, Brazil, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
President says theme park is part of Russia’s ‘military-patriotic work with young people’, and announces 40 new intercontinental missiles / Lunch consists of army rations, shopping is mainly for Vladimir Putin accessories, and instead of riding rollercoasters children can play with grenade launchers and clamber over heavy weaponry. Welcome to Patriot Park: fun for all the family, with a militaristic twist. This vast military theme park at Kubinka, an hour’s drive from Moscow, was officially opened by Putin on Tuesday at a time of heightened patriotism and military rhetoric in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year and subsequent confrontation with the west.
Georg Konrad Morgen was the first man to prosecute commandants of the Nazi concentration camps, but he wasn’t an officer of war-crimes tribunals. He was himself a German SS officer, and he prosecuted his fellow SS officers in SS courts during the Second World War. Morgen charged them not with crimes against humanity but with ordinary crimes of corruption and murder. While investigating those crimes, he came upon the machinery of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau and, recoiling in horror, he asked himself what he could do about it ... He drew up charges of murder against the commandant of Buchenwald, Karl Otto Koch ... Buchenwald commandant Koch was convicted, but only on a charge of corruption, though he was indeed executed in 1945, shortly before the end of the war.
... The past proves to be as inflammatory as the present ... Society appears to be in the midst of some sort of tectonic shift, from a culture that identified certain bedrock facts -- the historical canon -- to one rooted in evidence, which is to say those renderings of the past that support an argument, be it religious, ideological, scholarly, or nationalistic ... In such a scheme, historians and students become not merely scholars but litigants, and history the stuff of advocacy in which point of view and identity-- racial, ethnic, nationalistic, gender, or sexual orientation -- are all equal partners. History becomes more personalized, more tribal, but less communal. What matters is the presentation ... For now, the narratives of nationalism, political correctness, self-interest, all converge upon the past, claiming it as their own. It is destined to be contested ground.
Two recent reports suggest that Israel could face catastrophic consequences if it fails to end the mistreatment of Palestinians under its rule, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel itself. The Rand Corporation’s research shows that Israel could lose $250 billion over the next decade if it fails to make peace with the Palestinians and violence escalates. Ending the occupation, on the other hand, could bring a dividend of more than $120 billion to the nation’s coffers. Meanwhile, the Israeli finance ministry predicts an even more dismal future unless Israel reinvents itself. It is likely to be bankrupt within a few decades, the finance ministry report says, because of the rapid growth of two groups who are not productive.
... A few years ago Shauli read "Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War" ... From out of the sea of details, a coherent thesis emerges: Stalin dragged Hitler into war to force Europe into chaos and facilitate a communist revolution on the continent. According to Shauli, there is [additional] evidence to back up this theory, including a speech by Stalin himself as well as a report obtained by the U.S. Consulate in Prague ... The document is in his possession, and now the history of World War II may have to be rewritten: It was Stalin's fault.
Important evidence has come to light in recent decades that shatters the official, endlessly repeated view that Hitler, bent on world conquest, launched a treacherous surprise attack against a peaceful Soviet Union. In 1941 Soviet dictator Stalin deployed an enormous strike force on the western Soviet frontier in readiness for a massive attack against Germany that would roll on to overwhelm central and western Europe. Hitler’s “Barbarossa” attack, say a growing number of historians in Russia, Germany and other countries, was actually a preventive war to forestall an imminent Soviet strike.
On the morning of June 22, 1941, the world is astonished by the news that Germany, together with Finland and Romania, had struck against the Soviet Union. German minister Goebbels broadcasts to the world Hitler’s proclamation announcing the beginning of the “Barbarossa” campaign, the largest military attack in world history. And then Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop addresses a large gathering of German and foreign journalists, and reads Germany’s note to the Soviet government giving its reasons for the attack. This film clip is a portion of the German weekly newsreel, “Die Deutsche Wochenschau” of June 25, 1941. With English subtitles. Runtime: 14 mins.
... Even as the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made Americans less confident about the ways we use our military power, the struggle with the Axis remains the classic example of American might deployed for virtuous ends ... Even today, World War II helps underwrite our claim to that moral difference ... After all, the present is always lived in ambiguity. To those who fought World War II, it was plain enough that Allied bombs were killing huge numbers of German civilians, that Churchill was fighting to preserve imperialism as well as democracy, and that the bulk of the dying in Europe was being done by the Red Army at the service of Stalin.
NASA's leadership in space exploration is what makes it one of the most inspiring and beloved agencies, but some feel that NASA has gotten stuck. It's budget isn't declining, but it’s not growing either. And if we're not careful, other space programs are going to step up and fill the role of space exploration leader. One up-and-coming contender is China. China's space program is showing the same kind of explosive growth as its economy, said Chris Impey, an astronomy professor at the University of Arizona ... That means it has grown roughly ten percent a year for the past decade. While that amount is slipping a little and will likely slow down in the next few years, the bottom line is that China's space program is expanding, and NASA's is starting to flounder.
The dramatic seaborne rescue of 328,000 Allied troops from Dunkirk in June, 1940 is well known. But the tragic effort of almost 300,000 French troops to break out of encirclement in eastern France along the Maginot Line is almost totally unknown ... By 17 June, the renowned German cavalry general, Heinz Guderian, had raced his panzer army south down the Meuse to Belfort near the Swiss border, trapping nearly 300,000 French troops in a giant pocket between the Meuse and the Maginot Line. All of these units and the retreating Maginot troops eventually surrendered 21-25 June. A few Maginot forts held out until repeatedly ordered to surrender by the French High Command. The Germans chivalrously allowed their garrisons to leave their forts with banners flying and under arms.
Riyadh’s war in Yemen marks a dramatic escalation in its efforts to roll back Iran’s rising influence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia portrays its Yemen campaign simply as a battle of “good” Arabs and Sunnis supporting Yemen’s legitimate government against “evil” Iranians trying to overthrow it via local Shi’a “proxies” — reiterating a generalized Saudi (and Israeli) narrative about Iran’s use of proxy allies to consolidate regional “hegemony.” ... Since the 1979 revolution that ended monarchical rule in Iran and created the Islamic Republic, Iranian strategy has been fundamentally defensive. Unlike other Middle Eastern powers — or the United States, for that matter — the Islamic Republic has never attacked another state or even threatened to do so ... Even the U.S. Defense Department acknowledges the defensive character of Iranian strategy ...
The framework agreement that the U.S. and its international partners reached with Iran that blocks Tehran's pathways to building a nuclear bomb is barely a week old, yet the usual suspects have already denounced it as a "bad deal." Former George W. Bush administration official John Bolton called the agreement "a surrender of classic proportions," and for Bolton, war is the only answer ... What do Bolton, Netanyahu, Graham and a whole host of others in Washington opposing this deal have in common? They were passionate supporters of the Iraq war and continue to hold that view today. ... Why should we listen to these people again? The reality is that there is no better Iran deal, and those calling for one never offer a viable plan on how to get there. In fact, the real alternative is war, which will come at tremendous cost.
... The neocons, the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, and his underlings Doug Feith, Richard Perle crafted Bush's every stance on the war with their “Clean-break” document, conceiving of the invasion and terming it constructive destruction. The neocons went into Iraq with every intention of deconstructing the state, 80 years in the making, including the army and other security forces, the government - except for the ministry of oil - and the intent to break up the country ... The US mainstream media, which had claimed the mantle of credibility for more than a century, willingly went along, all the while knowing that the evidence was flimsy at best.
It is painfully clear that there is no U.S. military solution to the deepening crisis in Iraq. Deploying 450 more American servicemembers — in addition to the 3,000 already there — will not bring peace to Iraq nor heal the bitter sectarian divide fueling the conflict. America has spent the past 25 years trying to bomb our way to peace and security in Iraq, but we have only managed to achieve the opposite ... More American soldiers will not change that fundamental reality. It is only likely to make things worse. It is time to admit that the solutions to Iraq's instability will not be found through American bombs or boots on the ground. Failing to do so will put yet more Americans at risk while pouring fuel on a fire that the U.S. military cannot put out.
The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said. The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.
I have gone on two trips to Iran, in spring of 2014 and 2015 ... Little of what we saw is what we are normally exposed to through American news ... Few of us had a sense for what Tehran looked like — the quality of roads, the quantity of traffic but of newer cars, how most signs are also in English, how couples and families in parks show open displays of affection. We were deeply impressed by the quality of the infrastructure, the talent, and educational skill (especially engineering) of the youth. We were treated with great warmth and respect as Americans in both meetings and random encounters ... Iran is a surprisingly wired country. Nearly 65 percent of homes have broadband access.
... If the next president embraces amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, that will mean the end to America as the Western nation we have been, and the beginning of America's life as what Ann calls, unapologetically, a "Third World hellhole." ... What problem do we Americans confront that will be more easily solved with millions more immigrants? Between 80 and 90 percent of those coming are from Third World nations. On average, they have higher illegitimacy rates than native-born Americans, higher drug use rates, higher rates of obesity, spousal abuse and child abuse, higher rates of disease, lower test scores and higher dropout rates, and higher crime and incarceration rates.
I'm a philosophy professor specializing in ethics and political philosophy, and like many of my fellow academics, I'm a political progressive ... I also want to reduce immigration into the United States. If this combination strikes you as odd, you aren't alone ... Such examples suggest that we Americans cannot meet our important environmental challenges without stabilizing our population. So I've argued that American environmentalists should support significant reductions in immigration ... We need to face limits realistically, consider the trade-offs involved in different policy choices, and ask which ones will best serve the common good over the long term. Current immigration policies are ill suited to create an economically just, ecologically sustainable society.
If you look at the track record of the interventionists you might think they would pause before taking on more projects. Each of their past projects has ended in disaster yet still they press on. Last week the website Zero Hedge posted a report about hacked emails between billionaire George Soros and Ukrainian President Poroshenko. Soros is very close to the Ukrainian president, who was put in power after a US-backed coup deposed the elected leader of Ukraine last year ... Despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States ... So George Soros will use his influence in the US government to put the American people on the hook for a bankrupt Ukraine -- forcing us to pay for weapons, more military training, and Ukraine’s crippling debt.
A month ago, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) issued a call for a Herem (excommunication, Hebrew) against the remarkable activist and writer Alison Weir ... The publication of the call led to a massive surge of resentment towards JVP within the dissident movement. JVP was compelled to explain their move. The call for Herem is deeply rooted in Jewish culture ... Instead of presenting an exemplary case of humanist universal virtues devoted to pluralism and diversity, they responded with a spectacularly gruesome manifestation of Jewish bad behaviour ... The crimes that are committed by the Jewish State in the name of the Jewish people and with the support of the Jewish Lobby all over the world may have something to do with the Jews, their culture and their Identity politics.
... The list of Napoleon’s achievements is, indeed, profound. He overthrew the hated Directory, established a modern school system, delivered a new legal code, financed the arts and theaters, and formalized the bestowal private property onto the rural people of France Profonde ... Far from defending the Jews and liberating the colonized, as Roberts implies, the legacy of Bonapartism would have a hand in the growth of anti-Semitic reaction, and its development in the birth of fascism ... The legacy of Bonapartism never actually left France, but has only retrenched itself more deeply since his departure.
... So exactly what kind of aggressor Putin is matters quite a lot. Here's a clue: Putin was first elected president of Russia in 1999, and for his first 15 years in power he didn't attack anybody. (He responded very toughly to the cretinous Georgian attack on Russian peacekeeping troops in South Ossetia in 2008, but he didn't start that war.) On the whole, would-be world conquerors don't wait 15 years before making their first move. They get started as soon as possible, because it's a big job ... But he is not setting out down the path of world conquest. He is not even planning to take over Ukraine. "Standing up to Putin" is an invigorating moral exercise, but it is not strictly speaking necessary.
... Part of the problem with America’s shifting perception of the price to be paid when one goes to war is that it has been shaped by Hollywood and video games, so much so that it has become divorced from the horrible reality of what happens when countries and peoples do their best to kill each other. Protected by two oceans, the continental United States has been largely immune from being on the receiving end of war ... All of which means that war, unlike for the rest of the world, is itself pretty much an abstraction for the vast majority of Americans who have not themselves been in the military since the draft ended in 1973 ... Far too many Americans see war as an endless series of patriotic bumper stickers with the United States invariably wearing the white hat and emerging victorious.
A fire ripped through one of the most famous Catholic churches in the Holy Land on Thursday, damaging the roof and burning prayer books in what authorities believe is an attack by Jewish extremists. The fire broke out at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in the middle of the night, causing extensive damage to the inside and outside of the building, said Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld ... In recent years, mosques and churches have been targeted by vandals in similar attacks. They are often attributed to extremist Jews from West Bank settlements ... Last year, a group of mostly Jewish youth attacked the Church of the Multiplication's outdoor prayer area along the Sea of Galilee, pelting worshippers with stones, destroying a cross and throwing benches into the lake, Karl said.
An overnight arson attack damaged a revered shrine in northern Israel where Christians believe Jesus performed a miracle, and police briefly detained 16 young Jewish settlers over the incident Thursday. The Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, is where many Christians believe Jesus fed the 5,000 in the miracle of the five loaves and two fish ... A church adviser blamed Jewish extremists for the incident and police later said they had detained 16 youths from settlements in the occupied West Bank for questioning ... Hebrew graffiti was found on another building within the complex, reading "Idols will be cast out" or destroyed, an AFP correspondent reported. The text is part of a common Jewish prayer.
Israel is working on an "ethnically targeted" biological weapon that would kill or harm Arabs but not Jews, according to Israeli military and western intelligence sources cited in a front-page report in the London Sunday Times, Nov. 15, 1998 ... In developing this "ethno-bomb," the British paper went on, Israeli scientists are trying to exploit medical advances by identifying distinctive genes carried by some Arabs, and then create a genetically modified bacterium or virus ... The secret Israel program is based at the Institute for Biological Research in Nes Tsiona, a small town southeast of Tel Aviv, the main research facility for Israel's clandestine arsenal of chemical and biological weapons.
Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki says the Palestinian Authority is planning to file two war crimes complaints against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Al-Maliki said Tuesday that the two files, which are over Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and its latest devastating attack on the besieged Gaza Strip, will be submitted to the Hague-based court on June 25 ... In addition to its repeated aggression against the besieged coastal enclave, Israel continues to press ahead with its illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories despite a global outcry. The United Nations and most countries regard Israeli settlements as illegal since the territories were captured by the regime in a 1967 war and are thus subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
In the wake of the mass shooting in South Carolina, the image of the Confederate flag started trending online - driven by liberals who blame it for stoking racism in America ... Another term became a top US trend on Twitter: "Confederate". It's a reference to the red and blue Confederate battle flag ... The debate sometimes - but not always - breaks down along racial lines ... In a matter of hours after the attack, more than 30,000 tweets were sent including the word "confederate" - the vast majority referring to events in South Carolina. On Twitter some liberals and civil rights activists went so far as to link the flag and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican who supports the flying of the banner, to the attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Two German policemen have been carpeted and could face the sack for playing one of the most infamous of Nazi speeches given by wartime propaganda maestro Joseph Goebbels over their radios as they guarded world leaders at last weekend's G7 summit. Bonn police admitted that disciplinary proceedings have been launched against the two officers who played Goebbels' 'Total War' speech which he made in 1943 following the crushing German military defeat at Stalingrad. 'We are shocked and disappointed,' said Robert Scholten, spokesman at Bonn police headquarters, confirming a report in the Der Spiegel magazine about the incident.
Dr. Goebbels’ addresses a mass rally in Berlin on Feb. 18, 1943, just a few weeks after the catastrophic defeat of German and allied forces in the Battle of Stalingrad. The Reich Minister frankly explains the mortal danger that threatens all of Europe. Germany could lose the war, he solemnly warns. To counter the formidable Soviet threat from the East, he goes on, the nation must adopt stern and radical “total war” measures. With English narration and subtitles. Runtime: 2:41 minutes.
If sanity ruled U.S. foreign policy, American diplomats would be pushing frantically for serious power-sharing negotiations between Syria’s secular government and whatever rational people remain in the opposition – and then hope that the combination could turn back the military advances of the Islamic State and/or Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. But sanity doesn’t rule. Instead, the ever-influential neocons and their liberal-hawk allies can’t get beyond the idea of a U.S. military campaign to destroy President Bashar al-Assad’s army and force “regime change” – even if the almost certain outcome would be the black flag of Islamic nihilism flying over Damascus ... This problem is made worse by a mainstream U.S. news media that marches in lockstep with neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” sidekicks ...
In this video, Irish lawmaker Richard Boyd Barrett reads out some of the more shocking, violent and racist statements recently made by Israeli ministers and military officials. Boyd Barrett was speaking in Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the parliament of the Republic of Ireland, yesterday (June 10) during questions to Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny ... Later in the debate, Boyd Barrett slams the “double standards” which lead to Israeli leaders being treated “as if they were a normal government.” This is, Boyd Barrett adds, despite the fact that “Benjamin Netanyahu and his government are guilty of premeditated killing of Palestinians on the same scale and with the same vile ideology running behind it as we see from Islamic State.”
From the 1920s on into the 1990s, the Zionists controlled the storyline in the West on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This meant that their version of history was the only version as far as most of the people in the West were concerned. Consequentially, they had an uncontested media field to label the Palestinians and their supporters as “terrorists” – the charge of anti-Semitism was not yet widely used. Also, as a consequence of their monopoly, the Zionists did not bother to engage in public debate. Then, over the last twenty years the Zionists slowly lost their monopoly ... Besides the public outcry over anti-Semitism, the Zionists are working behind closed doors – the closed doors of American state and federal legislatures and university board rooms – where they do not have to face serious debate.
“As a close friend of yours, it is important for the Czech Republic to say that if the situation does not change it will be hard to maintain our pro-Israel position,” Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said as he is visiting Israel. Zaoralek said that Israel risks suffering international isolation if it doesn’t change its policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and if it fails to take viable steps toward establishing a Palestinian state. “We want to avoid initiatives against Israel, but it is getting more difficult with the current government and with the opposition to the two-state solution,” he said. “What is the alternative, to deteriorate towards apartheid?”
More than 2,000 Israeli artists have signed a petition warning against what they call anti-democratic measures being taken by the government against freedom of expression. The petition, which includes the signatures of prominent figures from film, theatre, cinema, dance, literature and music, claims artists are being silenced for views that do not fall in line with those espoused by the new government’s ministers. “We, the signatories below, are the voices you are trying to silence. We hope that Israel will not deteriorate into a country in which artists that express their views are put on a ‘black list’.” The petition was launched after the newly installed minister of culture and sport, Miri Regev, announced she would re-examine the criteria for state funding of the arts.
... The Israeli prime minister has proved himself a master of mining the rich seam of fear that dominates Israeli political discourse. It is the source of his power, as he illustrated during the election campaign when he warned voters the country’s Arab citizens were “coming out in droves”. A poll of schoolchildren last week showed how deeply entrenched such chauvinist sentiments have become. It found that only a quarter of Jewish youngsters believe it is more important for Israel to be democratic than Jewish ... Education is almost completely segregated, as is residency ... A majority of Jewish children are taught in religious schools that consciously eschew modern education in favour of a Biblical tribalism ... In this world of perpetual fear, Arabs and Iranians are viewed only as distant and dangerous objects, not people.
Most of the score of one of the 20th Century's most popular film tunes, Moon River, was never written down, but a painstaking restoration is about to make its debut in London. Moon River was made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, in which she played the part of New York socialite Holly Golightly. But Hepburn was not a trained singer and initially Paramount film-makers thought they would need to dub somebody else's voice. But the composer Henry Mancini persevered in composing something she could manage.
Mexican teenagers have sparked controversy with a video showing them flaunting Nazi symbols during a dance contest in this western metropolis [Guadalajara]. The three-minute clip was shot by a dance enthusiast during the Cheerdance ACMX competition held May 31 in Guadalajara, but was only posted this week on the multimedia platform Liveleak. In the choreography, young men and women appear wearing military uniforms and waving red flags. The dance simulates a battle that peaks with the unfurling of a red-and-black swastika flag carried by two youths giving a Nazi salute. Both Liveleak and local media Web sites have screened the event, while viewers have posted comments for and against.
French comedian Dieudonne was fined 130,000 Euros ($146,000) for a parody song of a Jewish singer and Holocaust survivor. An appeal court upheld the ruling by the French Supreme Court in January and tacked on an additional daily fine for his not removing the parody from online venues. Dieudonne, who has been convicted seven times for inciting racial hatred against Jews, changed the song by the late Barbara from “The Black Eagle” to “The Black Rat.” He reportedly called the singer “crazy.”
... The Magna Carta (“Great Charter”), which turns 800 years old on Monday, is often invoked in the U.K., the U.S., and around the world as a font of freedom, the touchstone for today’s constitutional democracy. But its specifics are largely forgotten. And what you realize in combing through the document, which was originally written in Latin and runs to about 4,500 words in English, is this: Those specifics are incredibly specific, which makes the charter’s widespread and enduring appeal all the more surprising.
Things were coming to a head when the Magna Carta was signed by King John 800 years ago on June 15, 1215, in Runnymede near Windsor ... Jewish history gained another footnote. It was a time when Jewish moneylenders could be wealthier than the king of England ... Among the 3,500 Latin words written and signed upon calfskin that day were two “clauses” (a system of 63 sections was devised in 1759) that directly dealt with England’s Jews ... In 1274, Edward I codified the “Statute of Jewry,” which stated, “Each Jew, after he is seven years old, shall wear a distinguishing mark on his outer garment ...” ... A wildly popular Edict of Expulsion was written in 1290, and the Jewish community was banished from England.
If there is one thing our elites enjoy it is giving each other a big pat on the back and the extravagant celebrations planned for the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta will give them lots of opportunities to do just that ... Why have clauses 10 and 11 been airbrushed from history? These were the ones inserted in the original charter to protect widows and underage heirs specifically from Jewish moneylenders by restricting the recovery of debt out of the deceased debtor’s estate. But they are nowhere to be found in the official Magna Carta Trust website nor the US National Archive website which instead features the text of the later — and much shorter — 1297 version ... The Jews of medieval England were occupied entirely as moneylenders and enjoyed great privileges and the special protection of the King.
After last week's G7 summit, political and business leaders are due to meet again. The new venue is a hotel in Tyrol, Austria, but everything else remains a secret. The event [June 11-14] is called the Bilderberg conference ... Bilderberg attendees subject themselves to specific rules of participation. The most important one ... obliges every conference attendee to observe absolute confidentiality with respect to conversation content and speakers' statements. Unsurprisingly, this meeting point of the power wielders draws criticism year after year ... due to its lack of transparency ... That was perfect fodder for the critics, who have always placed Bilderbergers under general suspicion, because of the alleged links between politics and business.
A leading academic group voted Saturday to censure the University of Illinois’ flagship campus over its decision not to hire a professor following his anti-Israel Twitter messages, a vote the university's chancellor said will have repercussions and is being taken seriously. In a voice vote, the membership of the American Association of University Professors affirmed the censure at the group's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The decision came in reaction to the university rescinding Steven Salaita's job offer following his posts on Twitter concerning Israel and the West Bank. The vote hinged on the principle of academic freedom, said Anita Levy, an association staff member involved with the group's investigation of the matter.
In a decision that may have long-lasting repercussions for the university's reputation, a leading university group on Saturday voted to censure the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for firing Professor Steven Salaita after he made comments critical of Israel's attack on Gaza last summer. The university rescinded Salaita's tenured faculty appointment at school's the American Indian studies program after he issued a series of Tweets condemning those who defended Israel's military actions against Palestinians in Gaza ... The school board's dismissal of Salaita received widespread condemnation by groups accusing the university of having a pro-Israel bias.
Spain’s parliament on Thursday passed a law allowing descendants of Sephardic Jews to gain nationality, more than five centuries after their ancestors were expelled from the country. The law could potentially allow an estimated 3.5 million Sephardic Jews whose families settled in Israel, the United States, Argentina, France and elsewhere to apply for citizenship. They would not have to give up their current nationality to do so.
With results likely to upset hawkish leaders of the organized Jewish community, a new nationwide poll of 1,000 self-identified U.S. Jews has found stronger backing for President Obama’s efforts to forge a nuclear deal with Iran than exists in the public at large. Nearly six in ten Jewish respondents (59%) said that they supported any final agreement with Iran that would cap its nuclear program and provide for enhanced inspection of its nuclear facilities in exchange for easing economic sanctions. That was a higher percentage than the 53 percent of adult respondents from the general public who responded positively when CNN pollsters posed the same question in April. When respondents were given some additional details about the impending deal, support increased ...
... The ritualistically repeated notion that Iran is wreaking instability all over the region is a badly mistaken myth. There are important respects in which Iranian policies and actions do offend U.S. interests, but protection of those interests is not helped by perpetuating myths. Perpetuation of this particular myth has several deleterious effects. The most immediate and obvious one is to corrupt debate over the nuclear deal. Another is to foster broader misunderstanding about Iranian behavior and intentions that threatens to corrupt debate over other issues as well ... Every state competes for influence. Such efforts to compete are called foreign policy. It would be in our own interests for other states to wage that competition through peaceful and legitimate means.
The Duke of Windsor, who is widely regarded as a Nazi sympathiser, once argued that bombing England could bring peace by ending WWII, it has emerged. Correspondence kept in the Royal Archives between the British royal family and their German relatives in the run up to WWII remains confidential. However, information pieced together from open archives across 30 countries, including Germany, Spain and Russia, has revealed the close relationship some members of the European aristocracy had with the Nazis ... The Duke of Windsor told Don Javier Bermejillo, his old friend and Spanish diplomat, that the British royal blamed “the Jews, the Reds and the Foreign Office for the war”. Writing for The Conversation, Dr Urbach explained how Windsor told Bermejillo on 25 June 1940 that “if one bombed England effectively this could bring peace.
King Edward VIII was forced to abdicate in 1936, and soon took the title of the Duke of Windsor. He has always been known for his pro-Nazi sympathies ... Intelligence reports and German, Spanish and Russian documents show members of the British royal family were indeed far closer to Nazi Germany than has previously been recognised ... In June 1940 Don Javier Bermejillo, a Spanish diplomat and old friend of Windsor – he had known him since the 1920s – reported a conversation he had had with the Duke to his superiors. Bermejillo reported that the Duke of Windsor blamed “the Jews, the Reds and the Foreign Office for the war”. Windsor added that he would like to put Anthony Eden and other British politicians “up against a wall”.
Israel’s ambassador to Switzerland has been instructed by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to try to cancel an exhibition by the NGO group ‘Breaking the Silence,’ scheduled to open in Zurich ... She added that she would ensure that “the Foreign Ministry continues its extensive activities against anybody working against Israel, from within and from abroad.” On Thursday, Breaking the Silence, which presents anonymous testimonies by IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers about alleged IDF misdeeds, is scheduled to open an exhibit in Zurich. According to watchdog group NGO Monitor, the exhibition is sponsored by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, the Zurich Municipality and several church groups.
... Christa is one of 30,000 children thought to have been fathered by Allied soldiers in Austria in the decade after World War Two. Meanwhile it is estimated that about 400,000 children in Germany were fathered by the occupying soldiers, who came from United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Germany and Austria were occupied by troops from the US, Britain, France and the Soviet Union after WW2. In German, these children were often described as "Besatzungskinder" - or "Children of the Occupation". They were born as the result of love affairs, short flings, "survival prostitution" and rape, says historian Barbara Stelzl-Marx, the author and editor of a new book Besatzungskinder: The children of Allied Soldiers in Austria and Germany. Many of the children - and their mothers - faced discrimination and social exclusion.
Seventy years after the end of World War II, the government of Luxembourg has issued a formal apology for the country's involvement in persecuting the Jews during the Nazi period, daily Luxemburger Wort reported. The following resolution was unanimously supported by the 60-member Chamber of Deputies of the tiny EU country: “The chamber apologises to the Jewish community for the failings of the Luxembourg administration during the Nazi occupation.’’
... Your musical likes and dislikes may say more about you than you think, according to UBC [University of British Columbia] research. Even in 2015, social class continues to inform our cultural attitudes and the way we listen to music, according to the study, which was recently published in the Canadian Review of Sociology. " ... Poorer, less-educated people tended to like country, disco, easy listening, golden oldies, heavy metal and rap. Meanwhile, their wealthier and better-educated counterparts preferred genres such as classical, blues, jazz, opera, choral, pop, reggae, rock, world and musical theatre ... The least-educated people in the study were over eight times more likely to dislike classical music compared to the best-educated respondents.
One of Barack Obama's most senior advisers has told how the president said to him: 'I'm the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office.' David Axelrod, one of the key figures in Obama's rise to the presidency and his first term in office, revealed the claim at the same time as the president tried to reduce tensions with Israel over an impending nuclear deal with Iran. Axelrod made the assertion during an interview with Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan of Channel 2 news, according to news site JPUpdates.com. `You know, I think I am the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office,' the president said, according to Axelrod's account. 'For people to say that I am anti-Israel, or, even worse, anti-Semitic, it hurts.'
Governor [Chris] Christie and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez were honored Thursday night as “champions” of Israel at a gala hosted by Republican donor Sheldon Adelson and the World Values Network, a group of Jewish leaders founded by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of Englewood. Also honored were Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley and Anne Frank’s childhood friend Jacqueline Van Maarsen ... The New York City gala had political overtones for the Republican governor and Democratic senator, with Christie edging closer to announcing a presidential run and Menendez under fire from federal prosecutors accusing him of corruption.
In boardrooms and campuses, on social media and in celebrity circles, momentum seems to be growing for a global pressure campaign on Israel. The atmosphere recalls the boycotts that helped demolish apartheid South Africa a quarter century ago. Israel and its partisans can be expected to mount a ferocious defense, but their public relations Achilles’ heel may be the Jewish settlements in the West Bank ... Increasingly prominent is the so-called “BDS” (boycott-disinvestment-sanctions) movement, run by Palestinians and leftist activists from around the world.
Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban on Saturday rejected as a “blatant lie” the claim by French telecom giant Orange that it was not pulling out of Israel for political reasons, and vowed to fight back so robustly against Orange that any other company thinking of boycotting Israel would reconsider. “We do have an anti-Semitic tsunami that’s coming at us,” said Saban of the international effort to boycott and demonize Israel. Saban was speaking in a joint Israeli television interview with Jewish American billionaire Sheldon Adelson from Las Vegas, where Adelson this weekend hosted representatives of some 50 Jewish and pro-Israel organizations to coordinate a strategy for battling anti-Israel boycott efforts.
US billionaires Sheldon Adelson, a GOP supporter, and Haim Saban, who funds Democratic candidates, told an Israeli television station that “when it comes to Israel, we are absolutely on the same page.” Adelson hosted representatives of some 50 Jewish and pro-Israel organizations at his Venetian casino hotel in Las Vegas to create a strategy for countering anti-Israel boycott efforts. The other hosts for the weekend meeting were Saban, Israeli-born real estate developer Adam Milstein and Canadian businesswoman Heather Reisman ... Saban told Channel 2 that no matter what Israeli government policy is or isn’t, “One thing is for sure: We do have an anti-Semitic tsunami that’s coming at us.”
"De-legitimization of Israel must be fought, and you are on the front lines," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told attendees in a letter read aloud at a BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] emergency summit organized by Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas on Saturday night. ... Concurrently Netanyahu held talks with several officials over the weekend regarding the possible plans of action to combat BDS ... The talks included issues of funding and resources for battling the boycott campaign. Netanyahu and Erdan agreed that his office will receive at least NIS 100 million [Israeli shekels], most of which will go to fighting BDS.
Stephane Richard, the CEO of the French telecommunnications company Orange embroiled himself in an international incident on Wednesday during a visit to Cairo, when he said that his company would withdraw its logo from the Israeli market “tomorrow” if he could. The reason is that the Israeli firm Partner, to which Orange licensed its brand name, has built 100 telecommucations antennas on confiscated Palestinian land ... In short, Richard’s comment has nothing to do with “boycotting the Israeli state,” contrary to what Netanyahu maintained. It is about the squatter settlements and their illegality. It is about profiting from an epochal crime.
Pension funds across the US could soon be forced to withdraw money from companies perceived to have boycotted Israel if a legislative initiative under way in the state of Illinois gains traction. Last month, Illinois became the first US state to pass a bill banning the state’s five pension funds from investing in companies that boycott Israel. The bill is widely considered an attempt to undermine the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for investors to pull money from companies it believes are complicit in violating Palestinian rights.
A 2010 State Department document provides the U.S. government’s only official definition of anti-Semitism. It is a detailed document that adds elements of anti-Israeli bias to the traditional definition of Jew hatred. This definition — developed to help the State Department monitor anti-Semitic trends in foreign countries — is now at the center of a debate raging about its use at the University of California ... Behind the debate over the language used to describe modern anti-Semitism stands a decade-long discussion on the boundaries of legitimate criticism of Israel — and whether and when it can be construed as Jew hatred. The debate has taken on added urgency with the widespread emergence, especially on college campuses, of campaigns to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — or BDS — by activists opposed to the state or its policies.
... In truth the attack on the USS Liberty by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967, has almost faded from memory, with a younger generation completely unaware that a United States naval vessel was once deliberately attacked and nearly sunk by America’s “greatest friend and ally” Israel. The attack was followed by a cover-up that demonstrated clearly that at least one president of the United States [Lyndon Johnson] even back nearly fifty years ago valued his relationship with the state of Israel above his loyalty to his own country ... The facility with which the Israel Lobby manipulates our political system, up to the level of a highly corrupt President like LBJ, on behalf of a tiny state with values that most Americans would find abhorrent, never ceases to amaze.
Zimbabweans will start exchanging "quadrillions" of local dollars for a few U.S. dollars next week as President Robert Mugabe's government discards its virtually worthless national currency, the central bank said Thursday. The southern African country started using foreign currencies like the U.S. dollar and South African rand in 2009 after the Zimbabwean dollar was ruined by hyperinflation, which hit 500 billion percent in 2008. At the height of Zimbabwe's economic crisis in 2008, Zimbabweans had to carry plastic bags bulging with bank notes to buy basic goods like bread and milk. Prices were rising at least twice a day.
The Bilderberg meeting, an annual gathering of some of the most powerful and influential figures in the world, starts on Thursday. But who's on this year's guest list? Critics call it a sinister conspiracy, reinforcing without accountability the dominance of a transatlantic capitalist cabal. Those involved say it's merely an informal way to understand better the way the world works and to share their expertise to improve it. Whatever one's view, an invitation to the four-day Bilderberg meeting is a sign that someone has arrived as a politician, business leader, administrator or opinion-influencer.
A select group of global elite will gather in Telfs-Buchen, Austria, on Thursday for a super secret annual conference where they can discuss politics, foreign policy, and economics freely. The Bilderberg Conference has been running since 1954 and according to its barebone website was "designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America." Attendees hold "informal discussions to help create a better understanding of the complex forces and major trends affecting Western nations."
Pope Francis raised eyebrows on Friday by supporting the candidacy for sainthood of a French priest whose dossier was put on hold in 2005 because of his alleged anti-Semitic views. Leon Dehon (1843-1925), founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart order, had been declared venerable in 1997 by pope John Paul II but his beatification -- the next step on the path to sainthood -- ran into difficulties ... In his 1898 "Social Catechism", Dehon wrote that Jews "have maintained their hatred of Christ and... willingly favor all the enemies of the Church." According to French newspaper reports from 2005, he described the Talmud as the "manual of the bandit, corruptor, social destroyer" and anti-Semitism as a "sign of hope".
The persistent myth of the Vatican's indifference to the fate of Europe's Jews during the Second World War had its origin in the 1960s ... Responding to these accusations, Pope Paul VI opened the wartime records in the Vatican archives to study by four Jesuit historians, permitting them to select documents for publication. The American among them, Robert A. Graham, sorted out a great number that were eventually published in a series of volumes. These weighty documents clearly show that well before the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, Secretary of State Pacelli, the future Pope, was deeply involved in promoting the welfare of Europe's Jews.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said at a campaign rally that “Jewish capital” was behind The New York Times. Erdogan made his remarks a day before Turks voted on Sunday ... On Saturday, Erdogan told a rally in the eastern province of Ardahan that The New York Times has taken a consistent stand against Turkey’s leaders since the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. “It’s clear who their patrons are. There is Jewish capital behind it, unfortunately,” Erdogan said, the French news agency AFP reported.
... The Times editors and writers see “blacks being victimized by white racist cops” as a representative truth about America 2015 that we all must address. But what is the larger reality? First, the vast majority of black males killed violently are killed by black males, and interracial crime in America is overwhelmingly black-on-white, not the reverse. While not the media truth, that is the statistical truth. This is reality. Indeed, if the ugliest expressions of racism are interracial assaults, rapes and murders, the heaviest concentrations of racism in America are in the black communities themselves. But the preferred story of the Times and mainstream media, of most cable channels and social media, is white cops victimizing black folks.
In the alternate reality that emerged from some ultra-Orthodox news reports in recent months (with a little help from Photoshop) there are no female ministers in the new government ... The various Haredi [Jewish orthodox] papers at the heart of these incidents – which garnered both international and local media coverage — have defended the editorial decisions to wipe out the women’s faces, citing the modesty considerations and religious sensitivities of their readership. Critics have charged that the practice is part of a systematic elimination of women from the public sphere and the incidents have largely been framed as a worrying marker of a new kind of radicalism in the ultra-Orthodox community, prompting some dire predictions.
Only a few weeks into Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government, the intense strain of trying to square its members’ zealotry with Israel’s need to improve its international standing is already starkly evident ... The graver danger for Mr Netanyahu is that, stuck with a cabinet of the like-minded – of ultranationalists, settlers and religious extremists – he lacks a solitary fig leaf to soften his image with the international community ... Shortly before announcing his bus segregation plan, [Defence minister Moshe] Yaalon suggested that Israel, in dealing with Iran, might ultimately follow the example set at the end of the Second World War by the US, as it dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yaalon’s deputy, Eli Ben Dahan, a leading settler rabbi, refers to Palestinians as “sub-human”.
... Peace will hold only if all sides profit from it. Peace will not hold if one major side is left out. At the moment of victory, the victor believes that his power is eternal. He can impose his terms and humiliate the enemy. But history shows that power changes, the strong of today may be the weak of tomorrow. The weak may become strong and take revenge. That is the lesson Israel should absorb. Today we are strong, and the Arab world is in shambles. It will not always be so ... History shows that it is neither strong armies nor an abundance of weapons that guarantees peace. It is the goodwill of all sides, based on self-interest. And the wisdom of politicians – a rare ingredient, indeed.
These days, prominent experts and politicians seem determined to keep the American people in a perpetual state of trembling fear ... The main reason so many people stay afraid is that fear is good for the people who purvey it, and so they work hard to instill fear in the rest of us. Fear is what keeps the United States spending more on defense than the next dozen states combined. Fear is what gets politicians elected, fear is what justifies preventive wars, excessive government secrecy, covert surveillance, and targeted killings ... This enduring exaggeration of external dangers can blind us to real problems. In fact, if you look at the past 25 years or so, it is abundantly clear that external enemies have done far less damage to the United States than we have done to ourselves.
The United States will be the most powerful state on the planet for the next few decades. Since many Americans believe that their country is "the indispensable nation" -- to use former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's well-known phrase -- they will continue to support an activist foreign policy that seeks to shape the world in accordance with U.S. interests and values. Because American leaders sometimes make tragic mistakes -- as they did in Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan -- understanding how the United States makes key foreign policy decisions is essential. No book explains this process better than Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest. First published in 1972 and dealing primarily with Vietnam, Halberstam's brilliant description of the American foreign policy establishment remains highly relevant today.
On June 8, 1967, 34 American servicemen were killed and 174 were wounded during an Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. According to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer, “Those men were then betrayed and left to die by our own government.” The survivors are still awaiting justice ... Israel claimed the attack was “a case of mistaken identity”; that they didn’t know it was an American ship ... The Navy’s chief attorney to the original 1967 military Court of Inquiry has issued a statement that orders to cover-up the incident were issued by President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
... Geis was shocked by what he heard next." President Lyndon Johnson came on with a comment that he didn't care if the ship sunk, he would not embarrass his allies." Geis told Lieutenant Commander David Lewis, head of the NSA group on the Liberty, about the comment but asked him to keep it secret until after Geis died. It was a promise that Lewis kept ... Despite the overwhelming evidence that Israel had attacked the ship and killed the American servicemen deliberately, the Johnson administration and Congress covered up the entire incident. Johnson was planning to run for president the following year and needed the support of pro-Israel voters.
Nikola Tesla is finally beginning to attract real attention and encourage serious debate more than 70 years after his death. Was he for real? A crackpot? Part of an early experiment in corporate-government control? ... Besides his persecution by corporate – government interests (which is practically a certification of authenticity), there is at least one solid indication of Nikola Tesla's integrity -- he tore up a contract with Westinghouse that was worth billions in order to save the company from paying him his huge royalty payments. But, let's take a look at what Nikola Tesla – a man who died broke and alone -- has actually given to the world. For better or worse, with credit or without, he changed the face of the planet in ways that perhaps no man ever has.
Deep inside a four-story marble building in St. Petersburg, hundreds of workers tap away at computers on the front lines of an information war, say those who have been inside. Known as "Kremlin trolls," the men and women work twelve-hour shifts around the clock, flooding the Internet with propaganda aimed at stamping President Vladimir Putin's world vision on Russia, and the world. The Kremlin has always dabbled in propaganda, but in the past year its troll campaign has gone into overdrive, adding hundreds of online operatives to help counter Western pressure over its role in the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine. The program ... is targeting Germany, the United States and other Western powers.
What can you tell about a person from their name? Quite a lot, it turns out. The results aren't always 100 percent correct, of course, but there are probably some surprising connections between your name and how you live your life. Here are five things data scientists have figured out how to estimate about a person from their name ...
Who rises if Assad falls? ... For the war is going badly for Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled Syria since Richard Nixon was president. Assad's situation seems more imperiled than at any time in this four-year civil-sectarian war that has cost the lives of some 220,000 soldiers, rebels and civilians, and made refugees of millions more ... A collapse of Assad's army could give ISIS control of Syria. Our "friends" don't mind this happening because it would be a defeat for Iran and the Shiite Crescent, their enemies, even if it meant a victory for ISIS and al-Qaida, our enemies. It is time we stopped letting other nations pick the enemies for us to fight. And as our "friends" are looking out for themselves first, last, and always, let us Americans begin to do the same.
The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions ... That doesn’t mean the US created Isis, of course, though some of its Gulf allies certainly played a role in it – as the US vice-president, Joe Biden, acknowledged last year. But there was no al-Qaida in Iraq until the US and Britain invaded. And the US has certainly exploited the existence of Isis against other forces in the region as part of a wider drive to maintain western control ... Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus.
... [Consider] ... the United States’ Anti-Terrorism Act (the “ATA”), and the uses made of it by what one might call the Jewish Ethnocentric Network (“JEN”). The ATA may have had commendable, albeit limited, purposes at its creation, but over the last decade it has undergone a radical transformation, to the point that it is now a potent weapon to advance JEN causes at the expense of larger American interests ... The Israeli government, unsurprisingly, views US litigation under the ATA as “an indispensable element” of its national security campaigns.
The great D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944, was a high point of World War II and of the US role in defeating Hitler's Germany. The anniversary of this greatest amphibious assault in history is a good opportunity to take a sober look at some comfortable falsehoods and myths about the "good war." The familiar American portrayal of World War II, and the "good war" mythology of the US role in it, is not just bad history. It has helped greatly to support and justify a series of arrogant US foreign policy adventures, with harmful consequences for both America and the world. Runtime: 49:17 mins.
... As dramatic as D-Day was, on any measure of scale, it does not rank among the ten biggest battles of World War II. (All of the top ten were fought on the eastern front.) Yet it has to be regarded as among the very most decisive battles of the war -- and certainly one of the most stupendous accomplishment of American arms in particular ... Hastings points out that, except for artillery, Allied equipment was consistently inferior to its German counterpart: Despite the huge Allied investment in technology, the Germans produced better rifles, better grenades, better machineguns, better antitank weapons, better tanks, and better aircraft. Most serious of all: the Germans consistently outmaneuvered and outfought the Allies in Normandy, especially the British.
The UK’s National Union of Students passed a motion Tuesday to join worldwide efforts to boycott Israel over what it called Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. The motion explicitly aligns the union with the Palestinian-instigated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] campaign. The NUC’s Executive Council passed motion 518, dubbed “Justice for Palestine,” with 19 members voting in favor, 12 against, and three abstaining. The motion also called on the British Parliament to stop arms sales to Israel. The NUC is the UK’s umbrella student organization for some 600 higher education institutions representing seven million students. The motion “condemns Israeli military presence in the West Bank and Gaza,” and calls on students to “co-ordinate a nationwide student day of action to commemorate UN Palestine Solidarity Day ...
Leading Jewish mega-donors have summoned pro-Israel activists for a closed-door meeting in Las Vegas to establish, and fund, successful strategies for countering the wave of anti-Israel activity on college campuses. The meeting, taking place this weekend, will be hosted by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and was organized by several other top Jewish funders, including Hollywood entertainment mogul Haim Saban, Israeli-born real-estate developer Adam Milstein and Canadian businesswoman Heather Reisman ... According to several prospective participants, Jewish groups planning to attend the meeting include Hillel, StandWithUs, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federations of North America.
Tony Blair is to become the chairman of an organisation that combats anti-semitism and racism in Europe. The former UK prime minister will join the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), which has campaigned for tougher laws on extremism. Mr Blair is standing down this month as the Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU ... It [the ECTR] has called on European countries to bring in legislation creating clearer definitions of racism and anti-Semitism, boost educational programmes and make Holocaust denial a criminal offence. The organisation also wants governments to provide security at synagogues and Jewish schools.
The Israeli military cautiously welcomed on Thursday the expected international deal which would curb Iran's nuclear program, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lobbied for tougher terms to be imposed on Tehran. In remarks carried by several Israeli media outlets, an unnamed senior military officer said that if agreed by its June 30 deadline, the deal would provide clarity on the direction of Iran's nuclear program ... The officer said that for now, measures sought by world powers such as stepped-up international inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities and scaling back of its uranium enrichment "allow for the supposition that, in the coming period of years, this is a threat in decline". An Israeli military source authenticated the quotes to Reuters, confirming that they reflected thinking at the highest levels of the armed forces.
The culture war against Christianity is picking up speed ... But if the founder of Christianity is the Son of God, then Christianity is a superior religion. What Ryan and those faculty and staff seem to be ashamed of, uncomfortable with, or unable to defend, is the truth for which Saint Louis University was supposed to stand. But simply because they are cowardly, or politically correct, why should that statue be going into the SLU art museum? Why should not they themselves depart for another institution where their sensitivities will not be assaulted by artistic expressions of religious truths? ... What all these arguments are at bottom all about, however, is a deep divide among us over the question: Was the European Christian conquest of America, given its flaws and failings, on balance, a great and good thing. Or not?
... The [Rockland County school district] board has drastically increased the funding going to [Jewish] yeshivas, but it has cut public school classes and extracurricular activities, attempting to sell public school assets at below market prices to private yeshivas, and more. These ethically and at times legally dubious actions have been documented by everyone ... Frustrated by the school board’s intransigence, local students, parents, teachers, religious leaders and activists appealed to the state for help ... As Orthodox Jews grow in number, the question of how to flex our political muscle becomes more critical ... This is not the way to use Jewish power in America. Instead, we need to find a way to both advance our interests and needs while taking the needs of our fellow citizens into account ...
Carly Fiorina promises to make Israel her first phone call as president. Mike Huckabee is “just nuts” about Israel. Jeb Bush calls settlements “apartments.” Ben Carson wants to transfer the Palestinians to Egypt. Marco Rubio has taken to dining with top-donor Sheldon Adelson. Ted Cruz is making the rounds with Fire Island’s pro-Israel community. And, Lindsey Graham who has not announced his bid, said if he is president he will have the first “all-Jewish” cabinet. As it shapes up, the Republican field is looking to be one of the most fiercely pro-Israel in memory. Yet some of the runners have little to no foreign policy experience. Many say their views are underpinned by their Christian faith, and have not offered any proposal for U.S. engagement in the Middle East — other than affection for Israel.
Want to get elected, especially to a national office? It seems that all you have to do is to “out-Israel” your opponent. Sell out the Palestinians. Never try to be neutral or talk about the facts on the ground. Forget being fair and ignore such things as murder, torture and terrorizing innocent kids. It will not be enough to refrain from criticizing Israel, you have to be pro-Israel, no matter what Israel does, even if Israel’s actions put Americans at risk or gets them killed, you have to “out-Israel” all your opponents ... There is no limit to how “Israel” you can be ... Just declare Israel a democracy with whom we share moral and pious values. Such is the approved program for the day, and our politicians have caught on.
US President Barack Obama said that he cannot see the current Israeli and Palestinian leaderships reaching even a framework deal on peace, and warned that there is a danger of Israel losing even more credibility in an international community that doesn’t believe that Israel is serious on a two-state solution. Obama made the comments during an in depth interview with Channel 2 reporter Ilana Dayan at the White House that was broadcast on Israeli television Tuesday. “I don’t see the likelihood of a framework agreement,” he said when asked about the chances for peace talks during his remaining year and a half in office. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said, had not done enough to explore the “politics of hope.” He warned that this could make it more difficult for the US to defend Israel on the international stage.
Since January, I have been ploughing a lonely furrow in this column by covering what is certainly one of the most under-reported stories in the world right now: Israeli involvement in the war in Syria. Almost unnoticed by the mainstream media, Israel's occupation forces in the Golan Heights have been in alliance with the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's official franchise in Syria. This alliance certainly includes logistical support and may even extend as far as arming al-Qaeda rebels in south-western Syria ... All reports confirm that the Israelis are treating only the "rebel" side, including the al-Qaeda militants that lead the armed opposition in that area of Syria (as indeed they do in much of the country).
... Now the United States unequivocally provides a security backstop for Israel and the Gulf States against Iran. These nations are afraid that the U.S. defense commitment may waiver or attenuate if the United States has a broader thawing of relations with Iran ... The United States caters too much to Israel and the Gulf States. In Israel’s case, America does so less for security reasons in a post-Cold War world and more as a response to pressure groups inside the U.S. political system ... The United States shouldn’t love the autocratic Iranian regime either, but the U.S. government needs to look out for American interests, not bribe arrogant, wealthy allies – which just want “more, more, more” – to accept something that is clearly in their best interest ...
... The negative perception of Washington-driven democracy promotion around the world has been in part shaped by the actual record on interventions since 2001, which has not been positive. Each exercise of the military option has wound up creating new problems, like the mistaken policies in Libya, Iraq and Syria, all of which have produced instability and a surge in terrorism ... The handling of Russia, China and Iran all exemplify the essential dysfunction in American foreign policy ... If the past fifteen years have taught us anything it is that the “Washington as the international arbiter model” is not working.
... Before the United States replicates the epochal blunder Bush II and the neocons committed, we should look hard at the realities of Iraq and the region, as we failed to do before we invaded. The relevant realities are these ... Considering the millions of dead, wounded, uprooted, homeless, sick and suffering, American-born and native-born, have our wars and bombings in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen been, on balance, more a blessing than a curse to the people we went to help? Before we plunge back into these Middle East wars from which, at long last, we have begun to extricate ourselves, we ought to recall the words of that anonymous U.S. officer in Vietnam: "We had to destroy the village — in order to save it."
A bestselling author, whose memoir on survival during the Holocaust was discovered to be a hoax, was ordered by a Massachusetts court last week to pay back her publishers $22.5 million. Seventy-six year old Misha Defonseca had written an awe-inspiring story recapturing her experiences as a young Jewish girl on the run during World War II. Her memoir, published in 1997 under the title Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, told of an encounter with a Nazi rapist, a search spanning 1,900 miles for her parents, and life among a pack of wolves. But several years later, during a 1998 court case involving the Mount Ivy Press publishing company, which put out her book, and her publisher Jane Daniel, Defonseca’s work began raising suspicions as it was found to be packed with inconsistencies.
... Many journalists and political experts say the Abe government is trying to engineer a fundamental shift in the balance of power between his administration and the news media, using tactics to silence criticism that go beyond anything his predecessors tried and that have frustrated many journalists ... Mr. [prime minister] Abe's efforts have had a chilling effect on coverage at a time when he is pushing ahead with a conservative agenda to dismantle the nation's postwar pacifist consensus and put forth more positive portrayals of Japan's World War II-era behavior. Experts warn that muzzling the press makes it easier for the government to make big changes that might not enjoy broad popular support, such as rewriting the pacifist Constitution ...
... Each year Congress drops a cool $3 billion on Israel. Even in chambers ruled by fiscal tightwads the only real debate is whether this lavish dispensation, which accounts for more than half of all U.S. military aid worldwide, is enough to satiate Israel’s thirst for new weaponry. Even as Israel repeatedly sabotages U.S. policy across the region, Obama has described the U.S. aid package as “sacrosanct.” In this light, the annual subornment of Israel, which totals about a third of the nation’s arms budget, by the U.S. begins to look less like a subsidy to a client state than protection money paid to a gangster organization ... The vaunted Israel Lobby scarcely even needs a lobbyist anymore. These days the new members of congress arrived pre-conditioned to demonstrate their devotion to the Israeli cause.
... In the 2014 election cycle, pro-Israel funders spent $11.6 million on politicians - including $8.6 million from individuals and $2.9 million from PACs [Political Action Committees]. It followed a longstanding Democrat bias for pro-Israel funding, with 56 percent destined for Democrats and 44 percent to Republicans ... In the 2014 cycle, the largest PAC was J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that spent $1.8 million almost exclusively on Democrat candidates ... At the same time, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a more hawkish pro-Israel group which, despite its name, is not a PAC, spent $3.1 million lobbying the government ...
A quick look at the list of top political donors for 2014 reveals a striking fact: At least a third of the most generous 50 mega-givers were Jewish. In fact, contributions from Jewish billionaires and multi-millionaires dominated the top ten spots on the list.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says allowing the United Nations to decide the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a "mistake." The South Carolina senator is a Republican foreign policy hawk and critic of President Barack Obama's handling of the Middle East. He was visiting Israel on Wednesday ahead of an expected announcement on a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination ... Visits to Israel are common for U.S. presidential hopefuls.
Republican presidential aspirant and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio gave a major foreign– policy speech recently ... Regarding strength, Rubio wants you to believe that America’s ability and eagerness to project global power prevents war, while “weakness” promotes it ... If government can’t manage health care (as Rubio believes), how can it manage regime changes in foreign societies? Why don’t conservatives ever ask themselves this? ... The Republican wants even more confrontation -- with Russia, China, Cuba, and North Korea. What he calls strength is just recklessness. Rubio’s speech demonstrates his unfitness for office ... Rubio seeks to “restore America’s status as a nation that shapes global events rather than one that is shaped by them.” We can’t afford another ruler with such hubris.
The principle of academic freedom at our universities is under attack by those seeking to shield Israel from criticism by silencing dissent, shutting down discussion and imposing a stifling atmosphere of intimidation at the University of California, in particular ... Having lost the actual arguments, Israel's defenders have now declared war on argument itself. What we witness in campus debates over Israel and the Palestinians is an increasingly lopsided affair. While one side draws on historical evidence, international law and United Nations documentation, the other complains that all this makes them feel "threatened" and "uncomfortable."
A new website is publicizing the identities of pro-Palestinian student activists to prevent them from getting jobs after they graduate from college. But the website is keeping its own backers’ identity a secret. “It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees,” a female narrator intones in a slick video posted to the website’s YouTube account. Called Canary Mission, the site has posted profiles of dozens of students and recent graduates, alongside those of well-known activists like Omar Barghouti, founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Some of the students are active in Students for Justice in Palestine; others were involved in recent pro-BDS resolutions at campuses in California.
A recent suggestion by the Israeli minister of military affairs that Tel Aviv might drop a nuclear bomb on Iran exposes the regime’s possession of nuclear weapons, says the Iranian ambassador to the UN. "These remarks amount to the [Israeli] regime's unwitting admission of possessing nukes," said Gholam-Ali Khoshrou in a letter ... The letter, the Iranian envoy condemned Moshe Ya'alon’s comments against Iran as offensive and threatening. Speaking at a conference earlier this month, Ya'alon, in response to a question about Iran, said that Israel might take certain steps in certain cases like what the US did in “Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end the fatalities of 200,000.”