Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ury Avnery fragt "Wer wird Israel retten?" (Englisch)

 Uri Avnery's Column  


THE BATTLE is over. The dust has settled. A new government – partly ridiculous, partly terrifying – has been installed.

It is time to take stock.
The net result is that Israel has given up all pretense of desiring peace and that Israeli democracy has suffered a blow from which it may never recover.
ISRAELI GOVERNMENTS – with the possible exception of Yitzhak Rabin's – have never really desired peace. The peace that is possible.
Peace, of course, means accepting fixed borders. In the founding declaration of the state, which was read out by David Ben-Gurion on May 14, 1948 in Tel Aviv, any mention of borders was deliberately omitted. Ben Gurion was not ready to accept the borders fixed by the UN partition resolution, because they provided only for a tiny Jewish state. Ben-Gurion foresaw that the Arabs would start a war, and he was determined to use this for enlarging the territory of the state.
This indeed happened. When the war ended in early 1949 with armistice agreements based on the final battle lines, Ben-Gurion could have accepted them as final borders. He refused. Israel has remained a state without borders that it recognizes itself – perhaps the only one in the world.
This is one of the reasons for the fact that Israel has no peace agreement with the Palestinian nation. It did sign official peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, based on the internationally recognized borders between the former British government of Palestine and its neighbors. No such borders are accepted by the Israeli government between Israel and the undefined Palestinian entity. All Israeli governments have always refused even to indicate where such borders should run. The much-praised Oslo agreement was no exception. Rabin, too, refused to draw a final line.
This refusal remains government policy. On the eve of the recent elections, Binyamin Netanyahu unequivocally declared that during his term of office – which for him means until his demise – no Palestinian state would come into being. Thus, the occupied territories would remain under Israeli rule.
No peace agreement will ever be signed by this government.
NO PEACE means attempting to keep the territorial status quo frozen forever, except that settlements will continue to grow and multiply.
This is not the situation concerning democracy. It is not frozen.
Israel is famously "the Only Democracy in the Middle East". That is practically its second official name.
It is debatable how a state that dominates another people, depriving it of all human rights, not to mention citizenship, can be called a democracy. But Jewish Israelis have been used to this for 48 years, and just ignore this fact.
Now the situation inside Israel proper is about to change drastically.
Two facts attest to this.
First of all, Ayelet Shaked has been appointed Minister of Justice. One of the most extreme right-wing Israelis, she has not made a secret of the fact that she wants to destroy the independence of the Supreme Court, the last bastion of human rights.
This court has managed, throughout the years, to become a major force in Israeli life. Since Israel has no written constitution, the Supreme Court has succeeded, under strong and determined leadership, in assuming the role of the guardian of human and civil rights, even annulling democratically adopted Knesset laws that contradict the imagined constitution.
Shaked has announced that she would put an end to this impertinence.
The court has survived many onslaughts because its composition cannot be easily changed. Contrary to the practice in the US, which looks scandalous to us, judges are appointed by a committee, in which politicians are held in check by incumbent judges. Shaked wants to change this practice, stuffing the committee with politicians loyal to the government.
The court is already cowed. Lately it has made a number of ignoble decisions, such as outlawing calls for boycotting the settlements. But this is still heaven compared to what is bound to happen in the near future.
PERHAPS WORSE is Netanyahu's decision to retain for himself the Ministry of Communication.
This ministry has always been disdained as a low-level office, reserved for political lightweights. Netanyahu's dogged insistence on retaining it for himself is ominous.
The communication Ministry controls all TV stations, and indirectly newspapers and other media. Since all Israeli media are in very bad shape financially, this control may become deadly.
Netanyahu's patron – some say owner – Sheldon Adelson, the would-be dictator of the US Republican party, already publishes a give-away newspaper in Israel, which has only one sole aim: to support Netanyahu personally against all enemies, including his competitors in his own Likud party. The paper – "Israel Hayom" (Israel Today) – is already Israel's widest-circulation newspaper, with the American casino king pouring into it untold millions.
Netanyahu is determined to break all opposition in the electronic and written media. Opposition commentators are well advised to look for jobs elsewhere. Channel 10, considered slightly more critical of Netanyahu than its two competitors, is due to be closed at the end of this month.
One cannot avoid an odious analogy. One of the key terms in the Nazi lexicon was the atrocious German word Gleichschaltung – meaning connecting all media to the same energy source. All newspapers and radio stations (TV did not yet exist) were staffed with Nazis. Every morning, a Propaganda Ministry official by the name of Dr. Dietrich convened the editors and told them what tomorrow's headlines, editorials etc. were to be.
Netanyahu has already dismissed the chief of the TV department. We don't yet know the name of our own Dr. Dietrich.
As a humorous counterpoint, Miri Regev has been appointment Minister of Culture. Regev is a loud-mouthed woman, whose vulgar style has become a national symbol. No one can even guess how she had become the army spokesperson. Her style, such as concluding every public utterance with the call "Applause!", has become a joke.
THE MOST efficient instrument of de-democratization is the education ministry (which is not efficient in anything else.)
Israel has several education systems, all of them financed – and hence controlled – by the Education Ministry.
Two systems belong to the government outright: the general "state" system and the autonomous "religious state" system.
Then there are two orthodox systems, one Ashkenazi and one Oriental. In some of these, only religious subjects are taught – no languages, no mathematics, no non-Jewish history. This makes alumni unfit for any employment. They remain dependent on their religious community's handouts forever.
Before the state came into being, there was also a leftist system with socialist values, especially in the kibbutzim. This was abolished by David Ben-Gurion in the name of "statism".
The last government tried in a timid way to compel the orthodox to introduce "core studies" into their schools, such as arithmetic and English. This has been abandoned now, since the orthodox have become members of the government coalition.
The real battle, which is starting now, is about the "general" state schools, which have been free to some extent. My late wife, Rachel, was a teacher in such a school for almost 30 years, and did what she wanted, trying to instill in her pupils' minds humanist and liberal values.
Not any more. Israel's most extreme nationalist-religious leader, Naftali Bennett, has now been installed as Minister of Education. He has already announced that his main objective is to imbue the young with a nationalist-Zionist spirit, raising a generation of real Israeli patriots. No mention of humanism, liberalism, human rights, social values or any other such nonsense.
Netanyahu has also retained the Foreign Ministry in his own hands. Many of its functions have been dispersed between six other ministries. The pretext is that Netanyahu is keeping the prestigious ministry open for Labor Party leader Yitzhak Herzog, who he is pretending to invite into the government. Herzog has already loudly refused. (I suppose that the real owner of the government, Sheldon Adelson, would not allow him in anyway.)
Netanyahu's real aim is to prevent any potential competitor from gaining international and national prestige in this position. He does conduct foreign policy alone anyhow.
ALTOGETHER, A deeply troubling picture for anyone who loves Israel.
It is not so much that the balance of power in Israel has changed (it has not) but that the worst elements of the Right have taken over, pushing out almost all right-wing moderates. Until now, these extreme elements had been subdued, talking loudly but carrying a small stick. This has now changed. The extreme right has found its self-assurance, and is determined to use its power.
The Israeli Left (timidly calling itself "center-left") has lost its spirit. Its only hope is "foreign pressure". Especially from the White House. Barack Obama hates Netanyahu. Any time now, American pressure will be applied and save Israel from itself.
That's a comfortable thought. We don't have to do anything. Salvation will come from the outside, deus ex machina. Halleluja.
Unfortunately, I am a non-believer. What I see is the US increasing its support of the Netanyahu regime, offering huge new arms deliveries as "compensation" for the budding Iran nuclear deal. John Kerry, humiliated by Netanyahu and treated with open contempt, is groveling somewhere at our feet. Obama boasts that he has done more for "Israel" (meaning the Israeli Right) than any other president.
Salvation will not come from that direction. God will remain in the machine.
THERE IS only one kind of salvation: the one we carry inside us.
Some hope for a catastrophe that will cause people to open their eyes. I don’t wish for catastrophes.
I don't want Israel to become a replica of al-Sisi's Egypt, Erdogan's Turkey or Putin's Russia.
I believe we can save Israel - but only if we get up from the couch and play our part.

America Admittedly Behind ISIS "Surge"

By Tony Cartalucci 

Taking advantage of a Syrian military stretched thin to protect everywhere at the same time, high concentrations of well-coordinated Al Qaeda forces, based in NATO-member Turkey as well as in US-allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia, have attacked across several fronts. The tactical and strategic gains are minimal compared to the initial stages of the West's proxy war against Syria beginning in 2011, but the Western media is intentionally fanning the flames of hysteria specifically to break both support for Syria from abroad, and fracture resistance from within.

This latest attempt to overwhelm the Syrian people, its government, and its armed forces comes with several shocking revelations. Previously, veteran award-winning journalists foretold the coming conflict in Syria, warning how the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel were openly planning to use Al Qaeda as a proxy force to overthrow Syria first, then Iran and how it would unfold into a cataclysmic sectarian war. There were also signed and dated policy papers advocating the use of terrorism and the provocation of war to directly target Iran after Syria and Hezbollah had been sufficiently weakened.

However, now, there is a US Department of Defense (DoD) document confirming without doubt that the so-called "Syrian opposition" is Al Qaeda, including the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS), and that the opposition's supporters - the West, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar - specifically sought to establish safe havens in Iraq and eastern Syria, precisely where ISIS is now based.

America is Behind ISIS 

Looking at maps recently produced by the Western media and Western policy think tanks, it can be seen clearly that Al Qaeda/ISIS is streaming out of NATO and US ally territory, forming up in these two safe havens, and aimed both at the Syrian government and Iran.

Despite the Western narrative of "moderate rebels," the West itself has been increasingly admitting that such "rebels" do not exist. They also admit that to establish "stability," they must begin openly working with "questionable actors."

Michael O'Hanlon, a signatory of the Brookings Institution's "Which Path to Persia?" policy paper calling for terrorism and intentional provocations to overthrow the government of Iran, stated in a USA Today op-ed titled, "Michael O'Hanlon: American boots needed in Syria," that:
In the short term, this strategy requires an acceleration of our train and equip program for Syrian opposition fighters — including perhaps a bit less puritanical approach in who we are willing to work with. Most Syrian moderates are tired of waiting for us, or already dead given our delays in helping them. So we may have to tolerate working with some questionable actors to get things started.

"Working with some questionable actors," is O'Hanlon and US policymakers' way of saying they intend to provide open material support to terrorists, including Al Qaeda, as they've been covertly doing all along, and as was warned against as early as 2007 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his article, "The Redirection: Is the Administration's new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?" which explicitly stated (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coƶperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
If  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists predicting verbatim the Syrian conflict and Western support for Al Qaeda terrorists years before these events unfolded, and US policymakers are now openly admitting they are willing to work with Al Qaeda isn't convincing enough, perhaps a signed and dated Department of Defense document admitting as much is.

DoD Document Admits Plot to Carve Out Safe Haven for ISIS 

Judicial Watch, a US-based foundation seeking "transparency" in government, released a 7 page document dated 2012, detailing the background and status of the Syrian conflict. It admits that the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda form the basis of the "opposition." It then admits that (emphasis added):

Development of the current events into proxy war: with support from Russia, China, and Iran, the regime is controlling the areas of influence along coastal territories (Tartus and Latakia), and is fiercely defending Homs, which is considered the primary transportation route in Syria. On the other hand, opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey are supporting these efforts.   

It also admits that terrorists are entering Syria from Iraq, hardly what one could call a "civil war," and clearly instead an invasion.

The document also admits that (emphasis added):

The opposition forces will try to use the Iraqi territory as a safe haven for its forces taking advantage of the sympathy of the Iraqi border population, meanwhile trying to recruit fighters and train them on the Iraqi side, in addition to harboring refugees (Syria).         

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia Expansion (Iraq and Iran).
That "Salafist principality" mentioned by the DoD in 2012 is of course now known as the "Islamic State." The DoD at the time openly admitted that the opposition's foreign sponsors supported the creation of such a principality, and clearly ISIS must have had such support to maintain its hold on vast expanses of territory in both Syria and Iraq, while propping up a military machine capable of fighting the combined forces of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Indeed, the DoD's admissions in this document explain precisely how ISIS has been able to perpetuate its activities throughout the region - with "Western countries, the Gulf States, and Turkey" supporting these efforts.

Narratives of a US "war on the Islamic State" are meant clearly to obscure this admitted and documented conspiracy, and serve as a means for US troops to directly violate Syrian airspace and territory incrementally until US forces are able to openly begin dismantling the Syrian military and government directly.

Appeasement and Accommodation are not Options  

The Syrian war is not a localized conflict with limited goals. It is one leg of a much larger agenda to destroy Iran next, then move on to Russia and China. Combined with the Syrian campaign, the West has attempted to create arcs of destabilization across Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and completely encircling China in Southeast Asia.

What this constitutes is a World War executed through the use of 4th generation warfare. At the same time, the West attempts to seek temporary appeasement and accommodation  for itself so that it can more effortlessly advance its plans. Attempts to portray itself as interested in "negotiations" with Iran while it wages a proxy war on its doorstep is a prime example of this.

The corporate-financier special interests that have hijacked the United States and Europe have essentially declared war on all lands beyond their grasp, as well as on any and all among their own ranks who oppose their hegemonic aspirations.

The vile conspiracy now openly unfolding in Syria, seeing to its destruction at the hands of terrorists the US is openly backing after claiming for over a decade to be "fighting" is a harbinger of the destruction that complacency and failure to resist will bring all other nations caught in the path of these special interests. Nations not immediately caught in the grip of chaos created by this conspiracy must use their time wisely, preparing the appropriate measures to resist. They must study carefully what has been done in Syria and learn from both the mistakes and accomplishments of the Syrian government and armed forces in fighting back.

More important than backing other powers to serve as a counterweight to the West's global aggression, is to identify the consumerist foundation these special interests are built upon and perpetually depend on. By creating alternatives nationally and locally, the swamps from which this global pestilence is emitted can be slowly but permanently drained.

Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://space4peace.blogspot.com  (blog)

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. - Henry David Thoreau

Kiev Celebrates its Fascist Collaborators

Ukraine Makes Amnesia the Law of the Land
 Poroshenko wants his nation to forget its role in Nazi atrocities 
Few Western observers took notice when Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko signed a package of laws last Friday. They should have. The laws, which were rushed through parliament without public debate, strive to provide the country with a “correct” and binding historical memory. Those holding alternative views of Ukraine’s past risk prison terms of up to ten years. Vedomosti, a liberal Russian newspaper generally sympathetic to Ukrainian reformers, lamented the passage of the laws: “The attempt…to turn history into a handmaiden of ideology is removing Ukraine from democratic values, bringing it troublingly close to contemporary Russia.”
Vedomosti understates the problem. Existing laws in Russia criminalize historical views that “relativize Nazism” and question the narrative of Soviet victory in World War II. The new laws in Ukraine go further. Their aim is to impose a sharp break between present-day Ukraine and its entire Soviet past, now deemed criminal. As they foreground a questionable story of ethnic Ukrainians who throughout their history fought Russian domination, these initiatives also whitewash dark areas of the country's past.
One of the laws condemns “the Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and bans propaganda of their symbols.” For the most part, however, the law focuses on the Soviet era. All that it has to say about Nazism is that its racial theories drove certain groups out of their professions. It makes no mention of the mass murder of Jews, let alone the participation of Ukrainians in these atrocities.
The omission is strategic: This is made clear by another law, which hails soldiers and partisans who fought in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as national freedom fighters. During World War II, the UPA collaborated with the German Wehrmacht against the Soviet Red Army. As the Germans withdrew from Ukraine in 1943, scores of Ukrainian policemen who had served with the occupiers, killing communists and Jews, joined the ranks of the UPA. During its prolonged fight for independent statehood the insurgent army committed numerous atrocities against ethnic minorities. Roman Shukhevich, the army’s commander, was a notorious anti-Semite. The new law glorifying the UPA was drafted by Yuri Shukhevich, Roman Shukhevich’s son.
In an open letter to President Poroshenko this April, a group of scholars and Ukraine experts lamented that the law would make it “a crime to question the legitimacy of an organization (UPA) that slaughtered tens of thousands of Poles in one of the most heinous acts of ethnic cleansing in the history of Ukraine.”
Earlier this month, for the first time in Ukrainian history, veterans of the UPA were invited onto a national stage. At a ceremony in Kiev marking the seventieth anniversary of VE-Day, they occupied the front row of an honorary stand and were cheered by spectators. Next to them, separated by a corridor, sat a contingent of Red Army veterans. The rows behind the veterans were reserved for young Ukrainian soldiers who had been recalled from the front in Eastern Ukraine. The image conveyed the passing of the torch from the generation of the grandfathers, who had supposedly all fought for Ukraine during World War II, to their grandsons, who are continuing the same fight today.
As I observed the ceremony, I spoke with Volodymyr Viatrovych, the 38-year-old director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. A native from Lviv in Western Ukraine, the historic center of Ukrainian nationalism, Viatrovych has been instrumental in applying an ethnic understanding of Ukrainian history to the country as a whole. His institute had also prepared the choreography of the national commemorations surrounding VE-Day. As the UPA veterans entered the stage, Viatrovych excitedly pointed to one of them, explaining that the man had served as Roman Shukhevich’s aide-de-camp.
The evening culminated with Poroshenko’s address to the soldiers. The president invoked the spirit of May 8, a new national holiday that was introduced to directly precede Victory Day, the traditional Soviet-style holiday that falls on May 9. He spoke of the need to commemorate the end of the war in a non-Soviet, “European” manner. He went on to evoke the valiant efforts of Ukrainians during WWII and their valiant fight today. Poroshenko detailed the sufferings of millions of Ukrainians, as well as those of the Crimean Tartars who had been deported wholesale by Stalin for ostensibly collaborating with Nazi Germany. It was a pointed reference to what might be in store for the Crimean Tartars today, now that they have fallen under Russian rule.
Poroshenko said nothing about Ukraine’s Jews. His silence felt eerie on this European holiday, and all the more so because the event took place a few miles from Babi Yar, one of the greatest killing sites of the Second World War.
Towering over the president, and making for jarring symbolism, were illuminated flags of Ukraine and the European Union. Following Poroshenko’s speech a choir sang Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the anthem of the European Union. The frigid evening concluded with the crowd boisterously singing the Ukrainian national anthem.
My friends in Kiev—all of them professional historians—seem to understand my concern. But they keep saying that Ukraine is under siege, and that a critical discussion of the country’s past has to wait until after the war. I disagree. Nationalistic narratives of suffering and struggle against external enemies have great mobilizing power, particularly in times of war. Left unchecked, they will only intensify and perpetuate the war.
The new laws that criminalize the Soviet past and glorify the UPA “freedom fighters” are certain to alienate countless Ukrainians. Already in December 2013—this was before the fall of Viktor Yanukovych’s regime—political scientist Andreas Umland warned that the imposition of a narrow ethnic-national vision of Ukraine’s past would estrange the populations of the Crimea and the Donbass where UPA rhymes with fascist. Looking back, the fact that one of these two regions now is part of Russia, and the other yearns to become absorbed by Russia, seems far from accidental. Ukraine needs to embrace a history that excludes no one and recognizes the country’s complex past.
Europeans should not watch passively as core European values are being silenced or denied in Ukraine’s hybrid war against Russia. What unites Europe today is the memory of the Holocaust as a singular crime and a starting point for a new era. This memory is shared not only by French and Germans, Poles and Greeks; it also extends to a Russia that affirms the central role played by the Red Army in liberating Europe from fascism. Indeed, Soviet soldiers—Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, soldiers from the Caucasus and Central Asia—stopped Hitler’s forces at Stalingrad and proceeded to liberate scores of death camps in Poland and the Baltic states. On the seventieth anniversary of VE-Day, it is worth reflecting on the way Europe was rebuilt on the ashes of Auschwitz. As we envision a new Europe after the current war, it is clear that both Ukraine and Russia must have a place in it.