Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1151 (since 2009-07-31 00:51:39)

Eva Smagacz

White Knight from Britain.

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  • Nadler says his vote against Iraq war caused some to question his 'commitment to Israel'
  • ‘The strategic implications of these demolitions are clear’: UN slams Israeli home demolitions and settlement expansion
    • Hi Rashers, what is tragic, is that I can't make up my mind if you are being sarcastic or if Danny really wrote that....

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • Idea that Zionism is racism is, of course, not new. From ideas of "new Hebrew" to "Jewish pioneers" as a better kind of Jew to ideas that Zionist Jews have a right of return to the lands their ancestors left 2000 years ago, (while Palestinians have no right of return to the lands they and their ancestors left 67 years ago) they are all ideas of Jews having superior rights to the lesser mortals.

      What complicates the issue is imbedded in the Zionism idea of safe haven for Jews.

      And I must say, that I agree completely with the premise that such safe haven should exist. I am acutely aware that Nazis did not mean to finish the extermination of unwanted humans on Jewish population; there is plenty of data that they wanted to rid the globe of Slavs as well, and the only reason that my kin and family are alive is that the war ended as soon as it did.

      I am just not sold on the concept that Israel as and where it is now, or even how it was created by British and UN as a safe haven for Jews is just and fair to Jews and non-Jews equally.

      My sympathising with idea of safe haven for Jews does not, in any shape or form condones that the Jewish safety should be done at the expense of Palestinians and their right to their safety.

      But this conflation of ideas in one "Zionism" word: nationalism based on yearning for safety AND ethnocentric superiority combined make it a shape-shifter concept that means whatever is needed to win the argument (just as "Jew" is a shape-shifter concept which can mean religion, race or culture -depending on requirements of an argument).

    • I am really grateful for being directed to that post by Tree. Such clarity.

    • I am finding the whole Alison Weir (just like I found whole Greta Berlin) thing incomprehensible and frankly, it is making me mad.

      Either antisemitism is racism directed against Jews, or it is not.

      If it is racism, then lets apply the same criteria in recognising it as you would to racism against any other racial group.

      But this is not what is going on here at all.

      This is splitting and re-splitting hair about in what way Jewish sensibilities have been hurt , and frankly, for all my above average education, the whole sorry spectacle is going totally over my head.

      I feel like a scientist made to sit at the lecture about post-modernism, where words are not just words, definitions are not just definitions, and the meaning of words is whatever the most convoluted argument of the most boring participants can wear down listeners to accept.

      Not being Jewish or having Jewish contacts, colleagues, friends or co-workers, my only exposure to things Jewish is from this blog, remnants of Jewish culture in Poland, and actions of Israel I have absolutely no more idea of racism against Jews as I have of racism against Black/Coloured people or, more recently, against Muslims. Why the f@@k am I made to feel like I need to walk on eggshells when discussing Jews the way I do not feel when I discuss Muslims or Black people?

      We are talking racism, don't we ?

      "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race"
      and
      "racial prejudice [an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics] or discrimination"

      If we are talking racism, then I need much more evidence of "Irrational attitude of hostility against Jew or Jews" or "discrimination against Jews" or "belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities" or "belief that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race e.i. superiority of non-Jewish race(s)" against Alison Weir.

      If we are NOT talking racism, then I need to know why anti-semitism is not just racism, what are additional components of anti-semitism over and above garden variety racism against lesser mortals?

      What I DO know, and this is part that makes me mad like hell, is that the whole sorry business of anti-semitism and "self-hating" is making Jews and non-Jews really, really careful in getting engaged in issues relating to Israel Lobby, Zionism and Occupation of Palestine.

      The nebulous edges of what already is and not yet is anti-semitism form an effective and damaging form of censorship that Kafka would revel in.

      If Mrs. Weir is a racist then by all means do condemn her. So far, I have not seen one jota of evidence that this is a case.

      But surely she, and I and all people who misspeak and miswrite and read research written by haram researchers or shock! horror! briefly occupy the same space as certified racists are allowed benefit of the doubt that a single stroke of pen when judged against the lifetime of opinions and actions does not make someone a racist just like life lived in beautifully laundered clothing marred by a single spot on a tie does not make someone slovenly by nature.

      So far, all I can see is the pilpul to the nth degree and incomprehensible amount of venom and virtually no clear, defensible arguments.

      Anyone who thinks that this sorry spectacle of character assassination is just or fair needs to be brought to explain themselves, and their particular understanding of the word

      "anti-semitism".

    • If it is OK for pro-palestinian Anti-Zionists to appear on Jewish supremacist media carrying message that everybody deserves equal human rights - in this case Palestinians,
      then
      it is OK for pro-palestinian Anti-Zionist to appear on White supremacist media carrying message that everybody deserves equal human rights - in this case Palestinians.

      It appears to me that many supporters of Palestinian rights are deeply forgiving about the attitudes that, when applied to Jews instead of Palestinians would be considered deeply anti-semitic.

      I call it tribal blindness - belief that our tribe is better, more ethical, "doesn't really mean what it seems it means", while, of course non-tribal members of the discourse are likely un-ethical (unless proved, repeatedly, otherwise) and they OF COURSE mean what the worse possible interpretation of their meaning can mean.

      Double standard. I believe it to be subconscious - it would be anti-semitic to think it is deliberate.

  • Israeli Banks flipping out over looming European boycott
  • Israel's 'blame the hand' excuse for settler violence
  • Deconstructing Netanyahu's response to the Iran deal
    • Lets not forget that the money Iran will "get", will be their own money - previously frozen by western banks. While the money Israel gets and will get are American taxpayer money.

      Also, when Netanyahu says that Iran threatens Israel, he refers to links with Hamas and Hezbollah - two organisations that are defending (sometimes more effectively, sometimes less) native people of Palestine and Lebanon from Israel's past and ongoing aggression.

  • You won't find a mix like ours anywhere else in the media!
    • Just donated $100,-

      I have a bad memory about the "Megaphone"

      This in 2006 from Jerusalem Post:

      As Al-Jazeera station takes to the air in English and with other new Arab English-language media initiatives such as the Ramallah-based Palestine Times fresh off the press, Israel has begun effectively using a new weapon in its public diplomacy arsenal to fight the media war on the Web - a locally-developed computer software tool called the "Internet Megaphone." The Foreign Ministry itself is now pushing the idea, urging supporters of Israel everywhere to become cyberspace soldiers "in the new battleground for Israel's image." The Megaphone, which was first reported on in The Jerusalem Post when it made its debut in July during the Lebanon war, alerts activists about polls and articles about Israel on the Internet and enables them to express their support or opposition by e-mail. After just four months, it has been downloaded by more than 25,000 people from the Web site called GIYUS (Mobilization) which stands for Give Israel Your Support. Amir Gissin, who heads the Public Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry, has been working behind the scenes to promote the idea. "During the war an initiative began, and we had the opportunity to do some very nice things with the Megaphone community," Gissin recently told the David Bar-Illan media conference in Ariel. "An Israeli company developed a type of software that functions like a beeper from one central place. They send alerts and anyone who downloads the software gets a pop-up with links to an activity. It can be to vote for Israel in a CNN survey or react to an especially nasty article. We still have a long way to go, but this is our future." Among the accomplishments of the Megaphone community during the war, Gissin said, was its role in obtaining an admission from the Reuters news agency that a photograph of damage done to Beirut in an Israeli air strike had been doctored by a Lebanese photographer. The extra smoke in the picture was first noticed by American blogger Charles Johnson who then alerted others, and later won an award for promoting Israel's case. Stewart Purvis, a journalism professor at London's City University who also attended the Bar-Illan conference, wrote in The Guardian last week that following Gissin's speech, he decided to check out the power of the Megaphone by logging onto the Giyus site. "It did not take long for an alert to come through," he said. "A Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, had issued a press statement condemning that day's Palestinian rocket attack which killed an elderly Israeli and wounded other civilians. GIYUS wanted site users to 'show your appreciation of the UK's response.'" One click took him to a prepared e-mail addressed to Howells and a slot to send a personal comment, Purvis said. He went ahead and did, later confirming with the Foreign Office in London that it had received the e-mails. "In the e-mails, there would be no indication of the involvement of GIYUS, although Howells may have been suspicious that so many people around the world had read the same Yahoo story about him and decided to e-mail him," Purvis concluded. He also noted that GIYUS supporters had claimed success in "balancing" an opinion poll on a pro-Arab Web Site by turning a vote condemning Israel's war in Lebanon into an endorsement. When GIYUS noticed a poll on albawaba asking whether the violence in Lebanon had been an Israeli provocation, it sent a message with a link to the poll to its members and soon the results jumped from an overwhelming yes to a resounding no. The Megaphone was introduced by the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) during this summer's war with the aim of getting the pro-Israel community to respond in real time to developments on the Web. To attract users from around the world, Giyus.org translates polls into English, French, Hebrew and Spanish. Yonit Farago in The Times reported that "Israel's government has thrown its weight behind efforts by supporters to counter what it believes to be negative bias and a tide of pro-Arab propaganda. "The Foreign Ministry has ordered trainee diplomats to track Web sites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages." WUJS's Jonny Cline said that Jewish students and youth were ideally placed to present Israel's side of the Middle East story. "We're saying to these people that if Israel is being bashed, don't ignore it, change it," Cline said. "A poll like CNN's takes just a few seconds to vote in, but if thousands take part the outcome will be changed. What's vital is that the international face of the conflict is balanced." Gissin has gone as far as sending a letter (posted on the Israel advocacy Web site, http://www.standwithus.com) that urges supporters of Israel to use the Megaphone. "Dear friends," he writes, "Many of us recognize the importance of the Internet as the new battleground for Israel's image. It's time to do it better, and coordinate our on-line efforts on behalf of Israel. "Please go to http://www.Giyus.org, download the Megaphone, and you will receive daily updates with instant links to important Internet polls, problematic articles that require a talkback, etc. "We need 100,000 Megaphone users to make a difference. So, please distribute this mail to all Israel's supporters. "Do it now. For Israel."

  • New online digital mapping tool shows inside story of Israeli assault on Gaza
    • There is nothing to stop Israel to create similar platform to show their losses in the same conflict. I think it would be educational.
      As to your comment that Amnesty International does not show positions of Hamas fighting posts - again - Israel can lead the way by showing Israeli fighting posts around Sderot and in and around kibbutzes in Gaza vicinity.
      And you say that Amnesty International does not show where Hamas fighters lived. Israel can show on its interactive platform where Israeli soldiers were living during the attack on Gaza. We already know that many groups are offered accommodation in kibbutzes, but it would be nice to have better insight.

  • Theodor Herzl wasn't Jewish, according to Israeli minister
    • Tsk, tsk, tsk Mooser,
      You are sailing close to the wind with your Gilad Atzmonesque conspiracy theories.

  • 'A traumatized society is dangerous'
    • The legislation allowing for forceful feeding of the prisoners is now going through Knesset.

  • What I learned crossing the Qalandia Checkpoint
    • Funny, I had another loud, rough, aggressive and guttural sounding language altogether in my mind's eye, when I was reading your post.....
      But hey, I had numerous relatives perish in Auschwitz, so maybe it's just me

  • Israel's race to economic (and moral) bankruptcy
    • BDS will speed this process, the imported service providers ( who are not allowed to interbreed with locals) will slow this down.
      The middle class is already hollowing out, the rate of geniuses and Nobel price production spluttering to a standstill with Russia and Western educated intellectuals retireing.
      The 30 odd "families" that own most of Israel industries and real estate all have several passports each, I expect.
      One day, Dimona will rust through, and USA will stop spare parts for sophisticated weapons.

      Not sure if it all come to pass before or after massacre of Palestinians.

  • Netanyahu under siege, in 'the most embattled democracy on earth'
    • Landie C

      Can people on IDF recruitment list leave the country to seek asylum anywhere else?

  • A banner day for BDS -- though you'd have to read the Jewish press to know it
    • Really momentous story about Orange Telecom - this from The Guardian:

      "The French telecoms giant Orange has indicated that it intends to terminate its relationship with the Israeli company that licenses its brand in the country – and would end the relationship “tomorrow” if it could.

      The comments – made by the company’s CEO, Stephane Richard – have emerged amid a sharp push back by the Israeli government against growing calls for an international boycott of Israel over its continuing occupation of Palestinian territories.

      They were angrily condemned by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who called on the French government to “distance itself publicly from the miserable statement and the miserable action of a company that is partially owned by the government of France.”

      Although Orange only licenses its name to the Israeli company Partner, the threat – if carried through – will be seen as a major success for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which has been campaigning on the issue in both France and Egypt.

      Orange, in which the French government has a quarter stake, has been under pressure in France as well as in Egypt to terminate its relationship with Partner over its supply of services to Israeli settlements regarded as illegal under international law.
      (.....)

      In a report published in May the group claimed that Partner had built more than 100 telecommunication antennas on confiscated Palestinian land, as well as operating four shops in Israeli settlements.

      Speaking at a news conference in Cairo to lay out plans for the years ahead in Egypt, Richard said that his company intended to withdraw the Orange brand from Israel as soon as possible, but that the move would take time.

      “I am ready to abandon this tomorrow morning but the point is that I want to secure the legal risk for the company. I want to terminate this, once again, but I don’t want to expose Orange to a level of risk and of penalties that could be really sizeable for the company,” he said.

  • Dutch government issues travel warning about 'violent Jewish colonists'
  • Israeli propaganda dominates front page of 'New York Times' today
    • Desalinisation plants require very substantial input of electricity and results in large quantities of salty "brine" that is really, really polluting.
      Gaza would need to have electricity generating capability and means of disposal of effluent from the plant.

      Israel keeps the water from reaching Gaza aquifer - without that little trick there would be no shortage of freshwater in Gaza.

    • With shortage of water in areas of America, the NYTimes front page "infomercial" is designed to promote the Israel's "miracle" of defeating the drought. Just like Israel's weapons and crowd control equipment are "battle tested" so a case is being made that Israel's prowess in water management is "drought" tested.

      I expect lots of contracts for Israeli companies. But I wonder if there is a (very) small print in a contract that says

      You must have access to your neighbour's fresh water aquifers (from which water can be extracted at no cost and with no penalties) to achieve results stipulated in this contract. As a party to this contract, this [Israeli] company cannot guarantee the miraculous results unless the above condition is fulfilled.

  • The totalitarian reign of Sheldon Adelson
    • Shingo, you ask "Why Israel means everything to these individuals?"

      I believe that this is totally a matter of early conditioning. If you are born in a family where certain "truths" are unquestionable, then it is ingrained so deeply in you limbic (emotional) brain, that no amount of processing in your neocortex (logical brain) from facts, data, information can overcome this.

      The imprinting in limbic brain has a social dimension - "it is a truth universally acknowledged" in your community.

      The more isolated your community, the more difficult it is to make inroads to you "truths" in your limbic brain, because those inroads are so conditioned on social connections.

      The way to change the conditioning is to access limbic brain with emotion.

      Hence "love bombing" used by cults, creating irrational boundaries by religious prohibitions that rely on mixture of fears of rejection from co-religionists and God(s): "can't show face to strangers" "can't share meals because its not halal/kosher" "Roman catholic must marry roman catholic" and my favourite: "wife must submit to husband"

      There are windows of opportunity to change limbic brain held believes, and they are at times of great emotional upheavals: when you fall in love, when you have children, when you see horrors brought upon some people close up, when you are shamed or rejected publicly, when you come face to face with death.

      Limbic brain changes, just like limbic brain imprints, have social dimension: the change is facilitated by social interaction, interdependence, closeness and cohesion.

      It goes without saying that there is similarity between religious and political beliefs - hence use of fear and loathing as a favourite weapon to manipulate electorate ("They hate us for our freedoms" and "The Welfare Queen driving a pink Cadillac to cash her welfare checks at the liquor store" "Arabs vote in droves")

  • US and Israeli pressure on Nigeria to sell out Palestine at U.N. amounted to 'national security threat'
    • "Present you evidence, Eva"

      Evidence of what? I was merely marvelling at the fact how serendipitous was the fact that of all windows of opportunity that FBI had in the last 20 years of investigating corruption in FIFA, they chose to strike two days before very FIFA Congress where suspension of Israel was to be voted on.

      To look at it as more than mere coincidence would be to imply that US might be looking out for Israel's interests and that would be just plain silly of me, wouldn't it?

    • I am sure that FBI raid on FIFA was not meant to put fear in the hearts of all and every one of national FAs representatives (guilty and innocent alike) ahead of vote to suspend Israel.

      I am sure that the timing of arrests was a mere coincidence.

      /sarcasm off

  • Turning Lebanon into Gaza -- Israel's hole card against Iran deal?
    • I remember this image:

      link to socialistviewpoint.org

      Somehow I knew, at that point, that the Iraq will be invaded, and that those Iraqis already know it.

      What they wanted the world to see is that weapons inspections were just a pretext and their country ill be invaded no matter what they'll do or say.

      Guess Poland felt like that in August 1939.

  • 'NYT' again acts as Netanyahu's mouthpiece -- wrongly suggesting he wants talks with Palestinians
    • I agree - I don't believe UN had right to create Israel without explicit agreement of native population.

  • West Bank Palestinians stuck in three-hour traffic jam due to Israeli settler bike race
  • The final straw: The real reason why Palestine wants Israel out of FIFA
    • And of course 5 million Palestinian lingering in refugee camps cannot represent Palestine as they also have no right to travel and no chance in hell of returning g to their villages that Israel is deliberately turned to ruin and now grows water thirsty European trees to try and camouflage their ethnic cleansing.

  • Understanding the 'S' in BDS: It's time to demand sanctions on Israel
    • Ongoing Nakba has to be fully understood in the context of Zionist "Iron Walling " - Arabfrei Lebensraum which results in permanent "warehousing" (read concentrating in camps) of deliberately displaced and unwanted Palestinian population into Gaza and refugee camps throughout the region, NOW IN THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION.

  • MSM's platform for Pamela Geller is equivalent to normalizing David Duke and Nazis
  • Two videos to challenge my liberal Zionist friends
  • Avi Shlaim on liberal Zionism, the 'dead' two-state solution, and colonial pizza
    • For me the most chilling part of this debate was the last remark of Shlomo Ben-Ami. He acknowledged that the end construct of Zionist project In Palestine is creating several Gazas.

  • Forgiving the anti-Semites
    • Yeh, nice try..

      " So the idea was if they were broken during the delivery process, they were returnable."

      Therefore, according to the story, the records were not returned because they didn't sell, they were supposedly "damaged in transit" and one can argue, "not fit for their purpose", so subject to "return privilege".

  • Using the dead: the 'NYT' works with Israel to justify military service
    • Are you calling Tzvia Thier bitter and angry and a total hater?

      If you do, I disagree with you. I can see and resonate with her anger - which I believe is justified. But why do you call her bitter? or a total hater? I did not detect anything in her writing that would justify that.

      I want to develop that "bitter" moniker ( using Betty Phillips):

      Just think of a bitter drink and you’ll have sensations of distaste, revulsion and rejection. A bitter person inspires such emotions. Let’s look at some descriptors: unhappy/depressed, angry, hostile, resentful, dwelling on past wrongs, stubborn, wounded, moody, lashing out at others, ranting about wrongs, carrying emotional baggage, stuck in a rut, blaming others, stereotyping and scapegoating, agitated, negative and critical, defensive, holding grudges, raging, malicious.

      Really? is Tzvia Thier coming across as someone showing characteristics as laid out above, or is she showing healthy grief, long term sadness and justifiable anger at people who used her brother, and now use his memory for their political ends?

  • Three asylum-seekers who left Israel were killed by ISIS in Libya
    • "Good to see Jewish culture is flourishing in Israel"

      I find it difficult to come to terms with, how the things are coming full circle:

      Jews are traumatised and embittered that not enough has been done to save them from Holocaust.

      It is a taboo subject that the very segregation that allowed them to maintain their customs , religion and practices for thousands of years, could had a profound negative effect on the amount of courageous generosity and selfless support they could expect from their European neighbours in their hour of need.

      And today the very same segregation that allowed and allows them to maintain their customs , religion and practices for thousands of years, continues to have a profound negative effect on the amount of courageous generosity and selfless support they extend to their Arab and African neighbours in their hour of need.

      Someone asked Phil Weiss, probably more than once: But will your gentile family hide you when they will come for you?

      I want to ask a question: where are those traumatised and embittered Jews when gentiles need to be given sanctuary in a Jewish home?

    • "The passengers on the St. Louis were killed by Germans, not Americans"

      Thank you, lysias.

      Every time I hear about the horrendous treatment of asylum seekers in Israel I remember the Evian Conference, and Hitler's words:

      "I can only hope and expect that the other world, which has such deep sympathy for these criminals, will at least be generous enough to convert this sympathy into practical aid. We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, even on luxury ships."

      So there you have it: asylum seekers then and now, treated as criminals, by two regimes wishing for them to be gone.

  • Graham and Rubio are dependent on pro-Israel money in bid for White House
    • Just to clarify, that there is no European Union's working definition on anti-Semitism.

      This organisation is trying to give impression that this officially affiliated with European Union. This cannot be further from the truth.

      It is a sort of Hasbara meme, similar to that of " Arafat died of AIDS ", that is a repeated over and over again on the Internet.

  • Israeli racism takes center stage at Manhattan JCC
    • “What I would want [in a two-state agreement] is maximal territory with minimal Arab citizens of that territory.”

      Clear echoes of "Lebensraum" and "Judenrein". The only question is how far are likes of Batya Kahana-Dror and Ethan Bronner willing to go to achieve that.

  • Kristol frets that he walked into Obama's 'trap,' and Rubio says he'll demand Iran recognize 'Israel's right to exist'
    • Walid, I think he said Thirty Year War. And to be fair, a somewhat similar argument has been made by Ray McGovern, if I recall correctly.

  • Who cares what Jeffrey Goldberg and Netanyahu don't like about the Iran deal?
  • Hurt by the Israel lobby, Obama kisses it goodbye
  • 'Walls divide and segregate' -- New Marine video might apply to Israel
    • On the other hand, it has a quality of video game, so it may be reference to game i'm not familiar with. If it will be removed quickly, after a howl of protests, we will know it had dissident undercurrent

    • The sound of goat decidedly makes it Middle East.

      For me the crux of the image is the desolate area in the compound (?) ghetto (?) and green and pleasant land on the other side? Water apartheid, anyone?

  • 'NYT' describes Congress as Netanyahu's wind-up toy
  • American Jews are taking back their power from Israel
    • I don't see paean to exceptionalism, I see statement of deeply unpleasant fact.

      By permitting subversion of democracy with money and nepotism/tribalism, we give licence to "a segment of official Jewish community" to control politicians and newspapers.

      We let them become "mighty white". There isn't folk alive on this planet that wouldn't take such a power if it was there for the taking.

      Consider reading how America is no longer a democracy 2014 paper by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page

      link to journals.cambridge.org

  • Netanyahu's victory ‐ what is the cost?
    • I always felt that Obama is playing it long with Israel and american Zionist supporters. His strategy to concentrate on settlements and bring them to the attention of the world as "illegitimate" was, and is, a great strategy.

      He gave Netanyahu and his ilk all the rope they needed to hung themselves - and in this case - to expose Zionist Lobby and its poisonous interference with American foreign policy and to expose the impossibility of Israel being Jewish AND democratic.

      Who would have thought in the lull after Cairo lecture, that so much will change in the Middle East....

  • Palestinian leaders respond to Netanyahu's Congress speech
  • Hanin Zoabi disqualified from Israeli elections over a mistranslation gone too far
    • I admire Hanin Zoabi enormously.

      She is able to carry on regardless of wall of racism and hate encircling her constantly in her work as a politician. Lesser people would have folded long ago in face of so much hostility day in and day out.

      She must be a real horn in the side of Zionist Israelis: she is female, independent, feisty, self assured, articulate and non-religious.

      All the propaganda about Islam being "male-female apartheid" falls apart when confronted with her image.

      Real role model for women everywhere.

  • AIPAC behind new US/EU trade legislation designed to thwart BDS
    • So, the trade agreement that, according to usual suspects, has no downside for either party, may be derailed by Israel Lobby.

      This will go well with business people, who are already fed up to the gills with restrictions of trade with Iran and Russia.

      But looking at the free trade agreement from another point of view, it is distructive to the extreme to the European way of life and a triumph for the neocons.

      Here is the beef or the matter, as laid out by George Monbiot from Guardian:

      The purpose of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to remove the regulatory differences between the US and European nations. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. But I left out the most important issue :

      the remarkable ability it would grant big business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections . Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.

      The mechanism through which this is achieved is known as investor-state dispute settlement. It's already being used in many parts of the world to kill regulations protecting people and the living planet.

      The Australian government, after massive debates in and out of parliament, decided that cigarettes should be sold in plain packets, marked only with shocking health warnings. The decision was validated by the Australian supreme court. But, using a trade agreement Australia struck with Hong Kong, the tobacco company Philip Morris has asked an offshore tribunal to award it a vast sum in compensation for the loss of what it calls its intellectual property.

      During its financial crisis, and in response to public anger over rocketing charges, Argentina imposed a freeze on people's energy and water bills (does this sound familiar?). It was sued by the international utility companies whose vast bills had prompted the government to act. For this and other such crimes, it has been forced to pay out over a billion dollars in compensation. In El Salvador, local communities managed at great cost (three campaigners were murdered) to persuade the government to refuse permission for a vast gold mine which threatened to contaminate their water supplies. A victory for democracy? Not for long, perhaps. The Canadian company which sought to dig the mine is now suing El Salvador for $315m – for the loss of its anticipated future profits.

      In Canada, the courts revoked two patents owned by the American drugs firm Eli Lilly, on the grounds that the company had not produced enough evidence that they had the beneficial effects it claimed. Eli Lilly is now suing the Canadian government for $500m, and demanding that Canada's patent laws are changed.

      These companies (along with hundreds of others) are using the investor-state dispute rules embedded in trade treaties signed by the countries they are suing. The rules are enforced by panels which have none of the safeguards we expect in our own courts. The hearings are held in secret. The judges are corporate lawyers, many of whom work for companies of the kind whose cases they hear. Citizens and communities affected by their decisions have no legal standing. There is no right of appeal on the merits of the case. Yet they can overthrow the sovereignty of parliaments and the rulings of supreme courts.

      You don't believe it? Here's what one of the judges on these tribunals says about his work. "When I wake up at night and think about arbitration, it never ceases to amaze me that sovereign states have agreed to investment arbitration at all ... Three private individuals are entrusted with the power to review, without any restriction or appeal procedure, all actions of the government, all decisions of the courts, and all laws and regulations emanating from parliament."

      There are no corresponding rights for citizens. We can't use these tribunals to demand better protections from corporate greed. As the Democracy Centre says, this is "a privatised justice system for global corporations"

  • New leftwing anti-semitism is when Jews feel 'attacked' over Israel's conduct
  • Chair of Democratic National Committee opposes Jewish intermarriage and MSNBC showing Gaza carnage
  • Zero (0) Palestinians quoted in 'NYT' piece on rift between US and Israel
    • MRW, check out the gallery of pictures called "Israel-Gaza Conflict" that accompanies the article

      link to huffingtonpost.com.

      This is the greatest bullshit of a propaganda that I saw in a long time. You could almost cry for poor Israelis. No wonder some Americans feel sorry for Netanyahu's and their ilk.

      I especially liked the picture of fruit " they are not starving, silly" market in Gaza.

      The collection like that cannot be random. This is deliberate falsification of reality. Someone in Huffington Post sat down, and deliberately chose these pictures and withheld pictures coming from Gaza. Those pitifully few pictures from Gaza that ARE chosen, are deliberately inane.

      I am so mad.

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