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Lawsuit seeks federal investigation into US groups funding settlements

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A federal lawsuit filed last week alleges that U.S.-based tax-exempt entities who raise money for Israeli settlements are engaged in money-laundering and other crimes, and seeks a Treasury Department investigation into those activities.

The suit, filed by the firm Martin McMahon and Associates on behalf of plaintiffs like Palestinian-American writer Susan Abulhawa, details a host of violations they say tax-exempt organizations commit. The suit alleges that the estimated 100 organizations are violating laws on money laundering that prohibit the transfer of money to assist illegal activities. In addition, the lawsuit says the organizations violate other U.S. laws that prohibit mail fraud, war crimes and the financing of terrorism.

Unlike past lawsuits on this issue, this one does not directly take aim at the entities themselves, though the suit is harshly critical of them and alleges they are engaged in the funding of crimes. Instead, it is asking a court to direct the Treasury Department to investigate whether the organizations, which include groups like the Hebron Fund and American Friends of Ariel, have violated federal regulations on the conduct of 501(c)(3)’s. They say that the Treasury Department could recoup up to a $1 trillion dollars for American taxpayers whose money has gone to the settlements. (The entities get tax breaks for sending donations to settlements, and those tax breaks come from the federal government.) The lawsuit states that instead of charitable activities, the money raised by tax-exempt groups goes towards paramilitary activities and land theft.

The lawsuit could bring attention to the widespread practice of Americans getting tax-deductions for donations that fund illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The hundreds of millions that have flowed into the settlements have helped maintain settlement infrastructure, finance the legal defense of Israelis accused of terrorism and evict Palestinians.

In the lawsuit, Abulhawa said that she wants a court “to hold accountable those who have financed my pain of dispossession and exile; to hold accountable the financiers of Israel’s wholesale theft of another people’s historic, material, spiritual, and emotional presence in the world.”

This lawsuit estimates that $1 billion goes to settlements every year, but unlike other investigations by journalists, which have largely focused on explicitly pro-settlement groups, the lawsuit includes entities like the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, which fund the army. The lawyers argue that the FIDF, though, is engaged in war crimes and the protection of settlements. The FIDF is a prolific fundraiser, sending tens of millions to the IDF every year.

Past attempts at asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate these entities has not elicited any strong action. In response to a query from Martin McMahon and Associates about American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, the Internal Revenue Service told the lawyers in August that they have an “ongoing examination program to ensure that exempt organizations comply with the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.” The letter assured the lawyers that the information they submitted about the group, which assists Israeli Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, would be included in their review. That response has also been sent to other groups who have asked for action against tax-exempt groups funding settlements.

“If the agency is not willing to investigate matters that are in their jurisdiction, and they have the law enforcement tools to do so, the only thing left is to go into court and say, ‘we need an order,’” said Martin McMahon, one of the lawyers who worked on the suit.

There have been other attempts to get government action against specific organizations who raise money for right-wing Israeli causes. In August, T’ruah, a left-leaning rabbinical group, filed a complaint with the New York State Attorney General against Honenu, an Israeli group that provides funds and legal assistance to Jews accused or convicted of terrorism against Palestinians. The fiscal sponsor of Honenu is the Central Fund of Israel, a New York-based group that funnels millions to West Bank settlements.

Honenu, and the Central Fund of Israel’s financing, have been highlighted by the Israeli investigative journalist Uri Blau, who recently published a series in Haaretz on the U.S. tax dollars going to Israeli settlements. Blau reported that from 2009-2013, private U.S. donors gave $220 million to West Bank settlements, and profiled the Central Fund of Israel. Mondoweiss has also done extensive reporting on the Central Fund, which operates out of a fabric store in New York.

While some liberal Zionist groups like J Street have not taken a strong stand on the issue, other establishment voices have. Last year, Marc Ginsberg, a former U.S. ambassador and advisor to President Carter, wrote in the Huffington Post that it was time for the Obama administration to to “put an end to this charade,” arguing that the tax-exempt groups fund “legally questionable commodities” like “guard housing as well as guard dogs, bulletproof vests, rifle scopes and vehicles to secure outposts deep in occupied areas.”

The lawsuit filed by McMahon and his partners was the result of months of research. The idea for it, McMahon said, was sparked by a conversation he had with a Palestinian friend, who urged him to get creative in taking action against the settlement project. And he said that as a person of Irish descent, he knows the experience of occupation.

“What’s going over there is wholesale violence, ethnic cleansing, theft of private property, murder and maiming of innocent civilians,” said McMahon. “This is not what 501c3s should be doing.”

He anticipates more Americans joining his lawsuit as it progresses. The Treasury Department has sixty days to respond. They are likely to ask for a dismissal of the lawsuit.

Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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48 Responses

  1. annie on December 21, 2015, 12:49 pm

    best news i’ve heard this holiday season.

  2. MaxNarr on December 21, 2015, 1:25 pm

    I welcome this lawsuit. This will finally put to rest the issue. All countries who have signed the UN Charter, specifically article 80 are bound by the codified doctrine of estoppel to support massive Jewish settlement over the entire of Palestine.

    Lawfare: Bring it on. We will win.

    • Mooser on December 21, 2015, 2:26 pm

      “are bound by the codified doctrine of estoppel “

      There’s the laugh I needed this morning! A nice dose of the best medicine.

      • talknic on December 21, 2015, 10:59 pm

        “are bound by the codified doctrine of estoppel “

        I can’t find the doctrine of estoppel codified in International Law …. HELP me Max!

      • Mooser on December 22, 2015, 12:18 pm

        “I can’t find the doctrine of estoppel codified in International Law”

        “talknic” you can buy something to estoppel your cough over-the-counter, all over the world. If you want your estoppel codified, you have to get a prescription. That’s the doctrine here, anyway.

        Do you think “MaxNarr” is swigging the stuff right out of the bottle?

    • talknic on December 21, 2015, 2:47 pm

      @ MaxNarr ” All countries who have signed the UN Charter, specifically article 80 are bound by the codified doctrine of estoppel to support massive Jewish settlement over the entire of Palestine”

      Bullsh*t Max. The UN Charter is binding on all states in its entirety, there is no ‘specifically’ applicable to any article

      Article 80
      1 Except as may be agreed upon in individual trusteeship agreements, made under Articles 77. 79. and 81. placing each territory under the trusteeship system, and until such agreements have been concluded, nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.

      2 Paragraph 1 of this Article shall not be interpreted as giving grounds for delay or postponement of the negotiation and conclusion of agreements for placing mandated and other territories under the trusteeship system as provided for in Article 77.

      Now read Articles 77, 79 & 81

      77. Article 77
      1 The trusteeship system shall apply to such territories in the following categories as may be placed thereunder by means of trusteeship agreements:
      a. territories now held under mandate;
      b. territories which may be detached from enemy states as a result of the Second World War; and
      c. territories voluntarily placed under the system by states responsible for their administration.
      2 It will be a matter for subsequent agreement as to which territories in the foregoing categories will be brought under the trusteeship system and upon what terms.

      Palestine was under the League of Nations Mandate for PALESTINE (Read Article 7. Jewish folk could get PALESTINIAN citizenship under PALESTINIAN NATIONALITY. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp#art7 Nationality law was adopted in 1925)

      Article 79

      The terms of trusteeship for each territory to be placed under the trusteeship system, including any alteration or amendment, shall be agreed upon by the states directly concerned, including the mandatory power in the case of territories held under mandate by a Member of the United Nations, and shall be approved as provided for in Articles 83 and 85.

      The British had the Mandate under the LoN Mandate for PALESTINE (Article 7 inclusive)

      The LoN Mandate “terminated” at midnight May 14th 1948 according to the Israeli Govt http://pages.citebite.com/d2w2m2n6a3mad

      Thereafter there was no trusteeship. None-self Governing territories such as the remainder of Palestine after Israel proclaimed its borders, then fell under Chapt XI

      Article 73

      Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:

      a. to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;

      b. to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement; etc etc http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-xi/index.html

    • eljay on December 21, 2015, 2:55 pm

      || MaxNarr: … All countries who have signed the UN Charter, specifically article 80 are bound by the codified doctrine of estoppel to support massive Jewish settlement over the entire of Palestine. … ||

      What makes sense is supporting the settlement of:
      – Israelis (including refugees from Partition-borders Israel) in Israel; and
      – Palestinians (including refugees from Partition-borders Palestine) in Palestine.

      What makes no sense is supporting the settlement anywhere in (Mandate) Palestine of any person in the world who happens to be Jewish.

      Please link to the section in Article 80 which states that “all countries that have signed the UN Charter must support massive Jewish settlement over the entire of Palestine”.

    • talknic on December 21, 2015, 3:00 pm

      @ MaxNarr

      “Lawfare: Bring it on. We will win.”

      Hey Max, catch up on yourself. You haven’t been right about anything yet. You can’t even produce a quote to support your false accusations

      • eljay on December 21, 2015, 3:14 pm

        || MaxNarr: … Lawfare: Bring it on. We will win. ||

        If by “win” you mean “lose, and then complain that everything and the law is anti-Semitic”, yes, you will win.

      • Mooser on December 21, 2015, 3:19 pm

        “talknic”, you know what they say! “You can’t fight the codified doctrine of estoppel!”

    • John O on December 21, 2015, 3:06 pm

      Mr Dershowitz! How nice of you to join us!

    • truthurts on December 21, 2015, 3:38 pm

      great report great news!

      • Marnie on December 22, 2015, 12:13 am

        “What’s going over there is wholesale violence, ethnic cleansing, theft of private property, murder and maiming of innocent civilians,” said McMahon. “This is not what 501c3s should be doing.”

        This makes my day!

    • Kris on December 21, 2015, 3:40 pm

      @MaxNarr: “codified doctrine of estoppel.”

      A thief cannot pass good title to stolen property on to the buyer, which is why you don’t get to keep stolen goods.

      Maybe estoppel could work in favor of the Israeli Jewish “settlers” by giving them a claim for huge damages against the government of Israel, for falsely telling them they could “settle” on stolen property which they will actually have to return to the rightful owners, the Palestinians.

      A good explanation of estoppel is here:

      http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/estoppel

      • zaid on December 22, 2015, 12:18 pm

        Max

        Dont you just love the ICC choice of words.

        Calling East Jerusalem and the West bank ” Occupied Palestinians territories”

        Calling Israel “Occupying power”

        And of Course my favorite:

        ” the Court finds that those settlements have been established in breach of international law”

        Next question please

    • oldgeezer on December 21, 2015, 5:47 pm

      @Max

      Nowhere in the UN Charter or any other international agreement is there anything which encourages Jewish people to settle on stolen property.

      • MaxNarr on December 21, 2015, 7:47 pm

        I will again submit the readers to go over UN Charter Article 80 very carefully. If you have any direct questions, please ask! In the meantime we will massively settle the entire of Palestine in accordance with international law.

      • zaid on December 21, 2015, 10:05 pm

        Max

        The international criminal court already settled the question of legality of settlements and deemed it illegal, which affirmed an already world wide consensus of every single country in the world (including the US) except of Israel, not to mention several SC and GA resolutions.

        “The Court finds that the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian
        Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law; it states
        the legal consequences arising from that illegality”

        “The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law”;”

        ” Recalling that the Security Council described Israel’s policy of establishing settlements in that territory as a “flagrant violation” of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Court finds that those settlements have been established in breach of international law.”

        http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6

        “massively settle the entire of Palestine” MAx

        Palestine…..I agree that is the right name.

      • MaxNarr on December 21, 2015, 11:01 pm

        Hi Zaid, I have to firmly tell you that you are wrong about the criminal court. The question to the court had nothing to do with settlements., it has to do with the anti terror fence.

        Please also understand this court has no authority to overturn UN Charter Article 80 which is a binding instrument of international law.

        Thank you, and next question please.

      • mig on December 21, 2015, 11:07 pm

        MaxNarr “”In the meantime we will massively settle the entire of Palestine in accordance with international law.”” And what international law that might be??

      • talknic on December 22, 2015, 7:13 am

        Max demonstrates a complete moron who will say anything, absolutely anything, no matter how meaningless or wrong.

        @ MaxNarr “The question to the court had nothing to do with settlements., it has to do with the anti terror fence”

        WOW Max, I wonder if the court knew? Here it is again in the link given:

        … the route of the wall as fixed by the Israeli Government includes within the Closed Area (between the wall and the Green Line ) some 80 percent of the settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Recalling that the Security Council described Israel’s policy of establishing settlements in that territory as a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Court finds that those settlements have been established in breach of international law.

        “Please also understand this court has no authority to overturn UN Charter Article 80 which is a binding instrument of international law”

        Indeed. And it hasn’t. Article 80 itself tells us that Article 80 is reliant on other articles e.g.,

        Article 77
        1 The trusteeship system shall apply to such territories in the following categories as may be placed thereunder by means of trusteeship agreements:
        a. territories now held under mandate;
        b. territories which may be detached from enemy states as a result of the Second World War; and
        c. territories voluntarily placed under the system by states responsible for their administration.
        2 It will be a matter for subsequent agreement as to which territories in the foregoing categories will be brought under the trusteeship system and upon what terms.

        PALESTINE was under the League of Nations Mandate for PALESTINE (Read Article 7. Jewish folk could get PALESTINIAN citizenship under PALESTINIAN NATIONALITY. link to avalon.law.yale.edu Nationality law was adopted in 1925)

        IOW Max, you’re spouting bullsh*t!

        “Thank you, and next question please.”

        I have a question: Why are apologists for Israel so mind numbingly, knuckle dragging stupid?

      • Mooser on December 22, 2015, 10:49 am
    • talknic on December 21, 2015, 11:23 pm

      @ MaxNarr ” All countries who have signed the UN Charter, specifically article 80 are bound by the codified doctrine of estoppel…”

      OK Max have it your way. Let’s say the ‘doctrine of estoppel’ is applicable.

      ” the concepts of estoppel and equity have been employed in the adjudication of international disputes. For example, a state that has, by its conduct, encouraged another state to believe in the existence of a certain legal or factual situation, and to rely upon that belief, may be estopped from asserting a contrary situation in its dealings” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sources_of_international_law#General_principles_of_law

      The State of Israel proclaimed it’s sovereign extent May 15th 1948 by which the State of Israel was recognized. Israel now claims it didn’t proclaim any borders

      The State of Israel obliged itself to adhere to the UN Charter, International Law and the Geneva Conventions it has ratified. Numerous UNSC resolutions tell us Israel has ignored the UN Charter, Laws and GC’s those resolutions re-affirm and/or emphasize

      The State of Israel signed Armistice Agreements, agreements that forbade their own civilians entering zones under military occupation. Israel encourages illegal settlement in those areas

      The same Armistice Agreements tell us that the Armistice Demarcation Lines were not to be construed as political or territorial boundaries. Israel has illegally instituted Israeli Civil Law in non-Israeli territories it holds under military occupation

    • Bumblebye on December 22, 2015, 7:48 am

      “MaxNarr”

      the same self proclaimed “legal expert” as former commenter “maximalistNarrative”, long since dumped from this site.

      • Mooser on December 22, 2015, 10:53 pm

        “I welcome…”

        …”Hostage” to comment on this! Hello! Thanks.

    • Hostage on December 22, 2015, 4:59 pm

      I welcome this lawsuit. This will finally put to rest the issue.

      No, this lawsuit is simply a request for a court order directing the Attorney General to perform his duty.

      FYI, Palestinian victims of organized crime could also file civil lawsuits under the RICO statute, which provides for treble damages.

      If the US government continues to take action to “legitimize” these patently illegal settlements or simply proves “unwilling or unable” to conduct its own investigations or prosecutions of crimes committed by its own citizens against Palestinians on the territory of Palestine, that would actually trigger the jurisdiction of the ICC and various foreign courts.

      All countries who have signed the UN Charter, specifically article 80 are bound by the codified doctrine of estoppel to support massive Jewish settlement over the entire of Palestine.

      In fact, all of the principal organs of the UN Organization have long-since declared the general necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations and the Israeli occupation and settlement of Palestine in particular – in line with the aims announced at the Yalta Conference after WWII to replace the LoN System of Mandates with a new, improved UN system of international supervision.

      The now sensecent terms of Article 80 contained very qualified language which merely stated that nothing in Chapter 12 of the Charter can be construed to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments”. FYI, that provision does NOT apply to the resolution of conflicts between the terms of any other Chapter of the UN Charter and those same existing international instruments.

      For example, the Union of South Africa relied upon the same defective line of argumentation you’ve just employed in an attempt to justify its own plans to annex and/or occupy and colonize the territory of South West Africa/Namibia in accordance with the terms of a terminated LoN mandate.

      When the government of South Africa asked the ICJ for leave to present arguments that its policy of separate development (including the establishment of white-only settlements or enclaves) were permitted and did not violate the terms of the LoN mandate, the Court advised that it wasn’t necessary, since the policy violated South Africa’s inherent obligations under the terms of Chapter 1 of the UN Charter to “respect the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”. The Court reminded South Africa that it had accepted the supremacy clause contained in Article 103, Chapter 16 of the UN Charter which had always stipulated that, in the event of any conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement (like the LoN mandate instrument, the San Remo resolution, or Balfour Declaration) their obligations under the Charter shall prevail.

      South Africa had also accepted the terms of Article 2 of the UN Charter, which obligated Members to render the UN Organization “every assistance” in fulfilling all of its functions and purposes, like those contained in Chapter 11, Declaration Regarding Non-Self Governing Territories. They had likewise granted the General Assembly the necessary legal competence to adopt “decisions” on any important question in accordance with Article 18, Chapter 4 and Article 104, Chapter 16 – plus the authority to establish subsidiary organs “as it deems necessary” for the performance of its functions related to any decisions taken regarding decolonization in accordance with Article 22, Chapter 4.

      The doctrine of estoppel has never been “codified” in any international criminal statute. On the contrary, the UN Organization opened its own “Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity,” including the crimes of “eviction by armed attack or occupation and inhuman acts resulting from the policy of apartheid, and the crime of genocide”.

      • Jackdaw on January 1, 2016, 11:19 am

        Mr. Hostage,

        If the United States government began prosecuting American settlers, what’s to stop the settlers from renouncing their American citizenship (thereby creating a nullity)?

      • Mooser on January 1, 2016, 12:45 pm

        “If the United States government began prosecuting American settlers, what’s to stop the settlers from renouncing their American citizenship”

        I wish they would, I f—kin wish they would.

        But it’s funny, aren’t there literally thousands of American citizens in the illegal settlements? Why hasn’t a single one renounced his or her US citizenship?

        Renounce their ticket out if it goes sideways? Nope, not Americans!

        And wow “Jackdaw”, that one was a LOL!

      • Jackdaw on January 2, 2016, 4:18 am

        @Mooser

        “But it’s funny, aren’t there literally thousands of American citizens in the illegal settlements? Why hasn’t a single one renounced his or her US citizenship?”

        How many ‘thousands’ of American settlers are above the age of majority, and how many of them have assets in the United States, or Israel, than can be attached with liens or garnishment?
        Some (not so sophisticated) changes in title or incorporation, and after a long amount of due process and conviction, the US government has a lot of nothing (for all it’s efforts).
        This is real world, Mooser. Grow into it.

        As regards your ‘go sideways’ fantasy, these settlers already chose to migrate from the relative safety of America, to dangerous Israel, and have further chosen to live in Harm’s Way in Judea and Samaria.

        Again. More puerile thinking on your part.

  3. amigo on December 21, 2015, 5:18 pm

    This coming Easter, we in Ireland will be remembering The Easter Rising of 1916 in which the Leaders of the uprising were executed , (murdered) by the British forces of occupation.Initially , the rising did not have wide support as many Irish men, were through economic necessity members of the British army and their income was the only means to feed and clothe their family.As the executions continued for several days , the people began to change their allegiance and this was the turning point .It would be another 5 years before the British finally gave up .

    Some day in the future , Palestinians too , will celebrate their independence .I will not be around but if I were , I would be celebrating the “Zionists Nakba”. That will be the day the world can celebrate the death of one of the most vile movements in history.,

  4. pabelmont on December 21, 2015, 6:13 pm

    I love the idea of this lawsuit. I believe that taxpayer-brought suits for mandamus (suits to force government to do its duty) have zero-likelihood of success. Sadly, here as elsewhere.

    It would seem that there is no whistle-blower statute (or other citizen-prosecution statute) to allow citizens to call judicial attention to anti-government fraud (here fraud by self-described 501(c)(3)’s) and let a court decide (rather than letting political organs decide) what the fraud is and what it’s worth (the whistleblower getting all or a cut of the court’s judgment against the malefactors).

    Wish it were otherwise. But guess the USA’s statutes protect the insiders in the political process.

  5. Rodneywatts on December 21, 2015, 7:06 pm

    Great News, even if @ pabelmont is correct in his pesimism. I see that a move has been made in Congress to condemn our EU guidelines issued in Nov. regarding labelling goods from illegal settlements http://ejpress.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54912&catid=17 . Nevertheless, there is a gradual but increasing awareness and actual action through various measures, to bring the illigitimate actions of Israel into the spotlight.

    • just on December 21, 2015, 8:37 pm

      Wow. All the usual suspects on the wrong side of history~ again. Thanks,
      Rodneywatts.

      Yay EU!

      Interesting article, imho:

      Uri Misgav:

      “Israel, on the Road to a Theocracy

      We are facing a major assault on Israel’s democratic-secular identity, with an unholy alliance between nationalism and religion at its core.

      A longtime friend told me this week about a call he made to the principal of his young son’s elementary school. He asked how it was possible that at an institution that defines itself as science- and technology-oriented, the boy was coming home laden with homework on Torah rather than math.

      Of course, this matter can’t end with the principal or in second grade. The comprehensive Haaretz investigation on changes being made by Education Minister Naftali Bennett to the educational system and curriculum are surreptitiously passing us by. And then there’s the new coalition deal between Bennett’s party, Habayit Hayehudi, and the two ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism.

      The Education Ministry will be transferring one billion shekels (about $257 million) to ultra-Orthodox educational institutions, in return for an allocation of hundreds of millions to the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization and local authorities in West Bank settlements.

      We are facing a major assault on Israel’s democratic-secular identity. The attack on secularism is by necessity an attack on democracy. The ultimate source of authority is no longer the state and its institutions. The sources of inspiration are not liberal humanism, human rights, the enlightenment movement and science. They are supplanted by a higher power, holy men, the metaphysics of an Eternal Israel, holy scriptures, rituals and prayer. As part of road safety lessons, children of Israel are learning the Traveler’s Prayer.

      This assault has a clear political context, of course. At its core is an alliance between nationalism and religion. Its goal is to ensure a vision of a Greater Land of Israel and the perpetuation of ignorance – on the road to a theocracy.

      Everything is connected, including the string of appointments to top positions. The sole nominee for attorney general, Avichai Mendelblit, was not initially religious but became observant. The incoming chief of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, was a student of Rabbi Haim Druckman’s at the Or Etzion yeshiva. Yoram Cohen, the head of the Shin Bet security service, is religious and a graduate of a yeshiva educational institution. His former deputy, Roni Alsheich – the new Israel Police chief – was a student at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva …

      They might all be worthy appointments, and heaven forbid that we disqualify anyone from public office due to private beliefs. But the problem in Israel is that religion is not separate from government, and over the years it has also become less and less separate from right-wing West Bank settler politics.

      Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg, a settler who wears a skullcap, determined that counterterrorism laws should not apply to Jewish terrorists in the territories, since there is no need to deter that particular group. That’s no longer a legal-security concept, but rather a theory of the chosen people.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has surrounded himself with officeholders from religious Zionism, is a man who does not believe in God. Netanyahu is motivated solely by utilitarian considerations. In the assault on secularism, he is joined by innocents, those professing innocence and useful idiots. Some have cynical interests, while others have good intentions.

      Beginning with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid – who dons a prayer shawl and has his wife conduct the ritual involving setting aside a portion of the Shabbat challah – it includes an endless number of public projects and campaigns involving dialogue and returning to our sources and bringing us together. But the effort to bring us closer is only ever in one direction.

      Nearly 20 years have passed since Sefi Rachlevsky revealed the concept of “the Messiah’s donkey” to the broader secular public. The subject has recently been revived in the Makor Rishon newspaper by Rabbi Moshe Ratt, from the Karnei Shomron settlement: “The role of secularism was necessary at the stage in which religious Jewry could not run the country and the army. Today, it can be said that secularism has concluded its historical role,” he wrote. It turns out that a donkey, even when it’s older, is still a donkey.”

      read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.693098?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

  6. Kay24 on December 21, 2015, 10:49 pm

    Good news. This should have been done a long time ago. It is good to know that there are people out there, just as outraged as some of us here, who think this unwavering support for world condemned illegal settlements, is unacceptable. Those building illegal settlements are doing so arrogantly, knowing it is TOTALLY AGAINST international laws. The US does not recognized any of those squatter sheds, so why are any American citizen aiding and abetting the theft of lands and erecting of those sheds? They should be stopped. Those squatter communities also house terrorists, who burn Mosques, firebombs families in cars, and kill babies at night.

  7. Jackdaw on December 22, 2015, 12:06 am

    First questions, first.
    Does Susan Abulhawa, and the other plaintiff’s, have ‘standing’. Have plaintiffs sustained
    direct injury or harm and that is that harm, or injury, redressable?

    Good luck!

    • talknic on December 22, 2015, 7:37 am

      Jackdaws are rather intelligent birds. On the other hand Jackdaw, along with the likes of MaxNarr et al, seem determined to show readers that utter stupidity is a prerequisite for Israel’s apologists…

      @ Jackdaw ” Does Susan Abulhawa, and the other plaintiff’s, have ‘standing’. Have plaintiffs sustained direct injury or harm and that is that harm, or injury, redressable?”

      They aren’t seeking personal redress.

    • Jackdaw on December 22, 2015, 9:53 am

      @talk

      “They aren’t seeking personal redress ”

      Well. Who are the named plaintiffs, and what relief to the seek?

      @Ossinev

      ” Sounds as if you have a lump of Hasbara stuck in your throat ”

      No. I have 13 years experience as a trial lawyer in my throat.
      What’s down your throat?

      • talknic on December 22, 2015, 10:31 am

        @ Jackdaw

        “Well. Who are the named plaintiffs, and what relief to the seek?”

        You’re here arguing without knowing what you’re arguing about? WOW! That’s amazing?

        Apart from not bothering to read the article, how do you do it? Through natural idiocy or is someone standing over your shoulder forcing you to make yourself look ridiculous?

        “I have 13 years experience as a trial lawyer in my throat”

        Yet you can’t read a simple article to find out who the plaintiffs are or what they seek. AMAZING! Who explains you your briefs?

        Next you’ll be telling us Israel has legal right to non-Israeli territory because possession is 9/10ths of the law

      • Mooser on December 22, 2015, 11:51 am

        “No. I have 13 years experience as a trial lawyer in my throat. “

        Ah, there’s that good dose of the best medicine! Hey Jackdaw, IN WHAT COURT do you practice as a trial lawyer? Wanna tell us that?

        “talknic”, in “Jacdaw’s” court there are no “briefs” to read. And they have all the evidence and arguments memorized.

      • Jackdaw on December 22, 2015, 3:05 pm

        @talknic

        I did argue anything. I said, ‘Do they have standing?’ That is a question, not an argument.

        @Mooser

        Tell me where you live and I’ll tell you which venue I practice in.

      • talknic on December 22, 2015, 8:17 pm

        @ Jackdaw “I did argue anything. I said, ‘Do they have standing?’ That is a question, not an argument”

        The specific questions you asked were clearly leading to the implication that seeking personal redress would fail. Unless of course your questions were entirely meaningless, in which case why’d you bother asking them?

      • Mooser on December 22, 2015, 10:50 pm

        “Tell me where you live and…”

        Washington State, USA. in a small town near Seattle.

      • Jackdaw on December 23, 2015, 1:22 am

        @ Talknic

        The problem is that Alex’s article doesn’t cite to a caption in this lawsuit.
        Alex uses the term ‘plaintiffs’, but it sounds to me like, from the relief that is being sought after, that the moving party, should be a ‘Petitioner’.

        @Mooser

        I am licensed to practice in New York State. The most frequent venue being in Kings County.

  8. a blah chick on December 22, 2015, 8:43 am

    We need to focus more on the money that is fueling settler terrorism.

    And if we ever get that Senate hearing on the American-settler terror network I hope the participants bring plenty of pictures of the Dawbabshe family. I can dream.

  9. Ossinev on December 22, 2015, 9:13 am

    @Jackdaw
    “First questions, first. Does Susan Abulhawa, and the other plaintiff’s, have ‘standing’. Have plaintiffs sustained direct injury or harm and that is that harm, or injury, redressable?”

    Sounds as if you have a lump of Hasbara stuck in your throat.

  10. xanadou on December 22, 2015, 2:02 pm

    I’m not sufficiently delusional to expect this to go anywhere, but just the fact that it equates Israel with: mail fraud, war crimes and the financing of terrorism, inter alia, makes for a good read worth sharing far and wide.

    A trillon dollars, huh?
    That should make for one helluva reason to review and revise the US tax codes. That is a lot of money that we need to house our homeless, feed the hungry, treat the sick, provide free education to all, start work on the crumbling infrastructure and invest in R&D. For starters.

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