Why is Israel part of the Eurovision song contest?
by Mariam Barghouti
21 Mar 2019
see article here
There will be one certain result from Tuesday’s election: Around 100 members of the next Knesset will be supporters of apartheid. This has no precedent in any democracy. A hundred out of 120 legislators, an absolute of absolute majorities, one that supports maintaining the current situation, which is apartheid.
With such a majority, it will be possible in the next Knesset to officially declare Israel an apartheid state. With such support for apartheid and considering the durability of the occupation, no propaganda will be able to refute the simple truth: Nearly all Israelis want the apartheid to continue. In the height of chutzpah, they call this democracy, even though more than 4 million people who live alongside them and under their control have no right to vote in the election.
Of course, no one is talking about this, but in no other regime around the world is there one community next to another where the residents of one, referred to as a West Bank settlement, have the right to vote, while the residents of the other, a Palestinian village, don’t. This is apartheid in all its splendor, whose existence nearly all the country’s Jewish citizens want to continue.
click on vimeo link
Director: Rona Sela
Script: Rona Sela
Main Editors: Ran Slavin, Lev Goltser
Additional Editors: Thalia Hoffman, Iris Refaeli
Original Music: Ran Slavin
Sound Mix: Itzik Cohen – Jungle Studio, Yuri Primenko
Participants: Khadijeh Habashneh, Sabri Jiryis, Former IDF Soldier, Rona Sela
Narration: Sheikha Helawy, Shadi Khalilian, Ran Slavin, Dalia Tsahor
Graphic Design: Yanek Iontef
Translation: Ilona Merber
The film was made possible through the generous support of Sally Stein in memory of Allan Sekula, and additional foundations
© Rona Sela, 2017
On April 21 in the town of Shefamru we have begun the preparatory meeting for launching the one democratic state initiative.The idea is to bring together under one roof all the movements and individuals who believe in this solution in and outside Palestine and to try and create together a movement of change. The challenge is enormous. The representative bodies of the Palestinian national movement (in Israel and in the PLO) still adhere to the two states solution as do some genuine friends of the Palestinians such as Jeremy Corbyn. The early discussion revealed on the one hand significant questions that still have be discussed from secularism, the future of the West Bank settlements, and the right or the absence of it for collective rights. and more importantly how can such movement be representative and democratic in the present reality. Nothing resolved yet.
On the other hand there was a total agreement on the right of return, the abolition of Zionist institutions and equality (although i think we have to talk about the future economic system as well).
We hope to launch the initiative in September and would love to hear suggestions and responses. The two states solution is dead, even if we were not invited to the funeral, and who know the developments in the region are not all favourable to Israel and make it a great time to push forward this old new idea once more.
The meeting was in Arabic and mainly with Palestinians as we believe that this should be first and foremost a Palestinian project but we will have a separate meeting with anti-Zionist Jewish activists to get more feedback and listen to their suggestions and concerns. Meetings are planned for Gaza, the West Bank and the Naqab.
It is been a while that a meeting made feel optimistic, but i know the people who were there and i feel empowered and hopeful!
|Gideon Levy جدعون ليفي גדעון לוי|
Just before Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi slapped one of the soldiers who’d invaded her yard, she learned that her 15-year-old cousin Mohammed had been shot in the head at close range
Mohammed Tamimi. Credit Alex Levac
Half a head.
The left side of his face is twisted, swollen, fragmented, scarred; there’s congealed blood by his nose, stitches in his face; one eye is shut, a seam line stretches across his whole scalp. A boy’s face turned scar-face. Some of his skull bones were removed in surgery and won’t be returned to their place for another six months.
Mohammed Tamimi, just 15, and he is already a disabled shooting victim and a released prisoner.
That’s life under the occupation in Nabi Saleh, where people are occupied with the struggle. About an hour after Mohammed was shot in the head at short range by an Israel Defense Forces soldier (or a Border Policeman), his now-better-known cousin, Ahed Tamimi, went to the yard of her house and tried to forcibly expel the two soldiers who had invaded her turf, while the camera rolled. It’s a reasonable assumption that she tried to vent her wrath on the soldiers in part because of the shooting of her cousin an hour earlier.
Mohammed Tamimi, Ahed Tamimi’s 15-year-old cousin who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier.
Only a few dozen meters separate the place where the soldiers shot Mohammed and Ahed’s home; only an hour separated the two events. People in her family relate that Ahed, 16, burst into tears when she heard that her cousin had been shot and was in serious condition. From the window of her home at the edge of Nabi Saleh, a small village near Ramallah, you can see the stone wall that surrounds the luxurious building, under construction, that Mohammed climbed in order to get a view of the soldiers who were still inside. At that point he was shot in the head with one bullet from a distance of a few meters, and fell bleeding to the ground from a height of three meters (nearly 10 feet).
Now Ahed is in detention and Mohammed is recovering from his shattering head wound. This week, Mohammed still didn’t know about the arrest of his cousin, who has become an icon. In view of his condition, his family hasn’t told him.
We meet him in his uncle’s house, which is adjacent to his own home. He speaks softly, occasionally runs his hand across the scars on his head, lies down from time to time on the sofa to rest. He’s in the 10th grade in the village’s coeducational school, where Ahed is a student one year ahead of him. His father, Fadel, is a taxi driver; his mother, Imtisal, a homemaker. Last year, he spent three months in an Israeli prison.
At 2 A.M. on April 24, 2017, soldiers broke into their home by force, entered the children’s room, snatched Mohammed from his bed, handcuffed him and took him into detention. He wanted to get dressed before being taken to prison; the soldiers initially refused but then consented, he says now. Tamimi was suspected of throwing stones at an army jeep that had broken down next to the gas station at the village’s entrance a few days earlier. He was taken to the Etzion police facility for interrogation, which took place without the presence of a lawyer, as the law stipulates. After all, what does the law have to do with the interrogation of a 14-year-old (as he was then) Palestinian boy? Nor did anyone tell him that he had the right to remain silent. At some point, the interrogators also wanted to get him to sign a form written in Hebrew. Since he does not speak the language, he refused. He says that he wasn’t afraid during the questioning.
After three months of interrogations and hearings, Mohammed was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and a fine of 3,000 shekels (about $860) – the prosecution had asked for a jail term of a year and a fine of 15,000 shekels. Tamimi was released two days later, as by then he had already been incarcerated for three months. Throughout the period, his parents weren’t allowed to visit their son even once. They only saw him in the courtroom, from a distance, but weren’t allowed to speak with him, or even ask how he was feeling. Routine procedure.
Mohammed was released on July 19. What did you find hardest in jail, we ask. The hardest thing for him, he says, was not being able to fall asleep at night for worrying about his family. IDF and Border Police troops raid Nabi Saleh almost every day and night, and Tamimi was concerned about his parents and his brother. Sharef, his 24-year-old brother, and their father, too, have been arrested quite often and also injured. In 2015, for example, a few people who introduced themselves as employees of the Electric Corporation arrived at their home. It was during the day. They turned out to be mista’arvim, undercover soldiers. They locked everyone in the house in one room. Mohammed managed to escape to his uncle’s house next door, and to report that strangers had invaded the house. His cousin, who is also named Mohammed Tamimi – there are apparently about 100 people in Nabi Saleh with that name – says that at first they, too, didn’t know who the interlopers were. They’d come to arrest Sharef, who wasn’t home. The soldiers waited for him. Sharef was sentenced to two months in prison. This situation of the kidnapping of his brother is also part of Mohammed’s childhood memories. Now he wants to lie down to rest a little again.
Mohammed Tamimi with his father, Fadel. Credit Alex Levac
After Mohammed was released, he went back to taking part in the village’s regular demonstrations – “because they took our lands,” he explains now. Most of the land of Nabi Saleh either was plundered in order to build the settlement of Halamish, on the other side of the road, or simply cannot be accessed because of the presence of the settlement.
In the past three months, the hand of the Israeli security forces has become even heavier in the village. According to Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, the IDF and the Border Police have raided Nabi Saleh 70 or 80 times in the past three months. Sometimes the soldiers shut the yellow iron gate to the village, so that residents are unable to reach the main road. They do this most frequently in the early morning hours, when the workers head for their jobs, the patients for treatment and the students for school. The village attributes this policy to the new army commander in the region, whom they know simply as “Eyal.”
Friday, December 15, was another unquiet day in Nabi Saleh. It was a week after U.S. President Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem. As on every Friday, a protest march was set to take place. Tamimi relates that he went that morning with a group of his peers to see whether there were soldiers lurking in ambush, ahead of the march, which always makes its way toward the IDF’s fortified watchtower at the village’s entrance. There were five or six youths. A short time later, they saw about a dozen soldiers who’d come from the south and were trying to take cover in an ambush position. Mohammed and a friend shouted to them: We see you! The soldiers hurled tear-gas grenades at them. In the meantime, the marchers were drawing closer.
The military force positioned itself in the “villa,” a splendid but not yet finished wall-enclosed stone structure at the edge of Nabi Saleh, built by an affluent Palestinian exile who lives in Spain. It’s meant to be an alternative-health clinic, but its opening has been delayed because of the situation. Dozens of villagers surrounded the “villa,” knowing there were soldiers within.
Mohammed Tamimi approached the wall of the building, then climbed it. He wanted to see whether there were still soldiers inside, in the wake of a rumor that they had left. But the instant he appeared above the wall, he was shot in the head with a rubber-coated metal bullet from a distance of a few meters. Tamimi managed to see the soldier aim his rifle at him, he recalls, but that’s all he remembers. He fell to the ground and the other youngsters rushed over to him.
Tamimi was unconscious when he was carried to a private car and driven to the clinic in the village of Beit Rima. His cousin Mohammed Tamimi, a student in his 20s, was with him. The cousin relates that his namesake received first aid at the clinic, where the staff suggested that he be taken to the clinic in the town of Salfit. The cousin refused, thinking that because of the severity of the wound, the clinic would not be able to treat him properly. The driver of the Palestinian ambulance warned that if they encountered an IDF checkpoint, the soldiers were liable to arrest the wounded teen.
The soldiers at the checkpoint at the exit from Nabi Saleh ordered the ambulance to stop. Tamimi the cousin recalls that they were aggressive and extremely edgy, and aimed their weapons at him. They saw the boy’s condition; the cousin told them, “You have 30 seconds to decide: Either you take him to an Israeli hospital, or you let us pass.”
Tamimi relates that a military ambulance was parked next to the checkpoint. One of the soldiers consulted with someone via his radio, and then ordered the ambulance to head for Ramallah, declining to allow its patient to enter Israel for medical treatment. “Get going,” the soldier snapped, when Tamimi tried to persuade him to allow his cousin to be transferred to a hospital in Israel.
The ambulance sped toward Istishari Hospital, a new private institution in Ramallah. Mohammed’s parents, who had in the meantime gone to the Nabi Saleh checkpoint in a panic, were turned back by the soldiers at gunpoint, even after trying to explain that their son had been seriously wounded. They had to take an indirect route to the hospital.
Tamimi’s condition looked serious; he was suffering from intracranial bleeding. Both his cousin and his father say now that they were certain he wouldn’t survive. Specialists were summoned, and they decided to operate. No one knew then how much brain damage he had sustained. A Facebook request for blood donations brought many people to the hospital. The surgery lasted six hours, through the night. Photographs of the boy lying unconscious in the hospital, hooked up to tubes, were disseminated on the social networks the next day. About 24 hours later, Tamimi began to regain consciousness and could soon identify those around him. Now everyone is calling it a miracle.
Mohammed Tamimi was discharged to his home about a week later. As far as is known, he suffered no motor or cognitive damage.
The IDF Spokesman’s Unit this week told Haaretz: “On Friday, December 15, disturbances erupted, involving some 200 Palestinians who set tires alight and threw stones at IDF forces near the village of Nabi Saleh. The troops used crowd-dispersal methods to break up the gathering. We are aware of the claim by the District Coordination and Liaison Office that a Palestinian was injured and evacuated for medical care in the village.”
Tamimi is cuddling next to his father, who’s come back from work and is fawning over his son. The boy soon drifts off. The neighboring house on the hill, the home of Ahed Tamimi, is deserted. Ahed and her mother, Nariman, are in detention. The father, Bassem, is with them in court, to boost their spirits when the serious indictment against them is read out.
By Whitney Webb
Following Facebook’s censorship controversy over a world famous photograph of the Vietnam War, Facebook has agreed to “work together” with Israel’s government to censor content Israeli officials deem to be improper. Facebook officially announced the “cooperative” arrangement after a meeting took place between Israeli government ministers and top Facebook officials on September 11th. The Israeli government’s frenzied push to monitor and censor Facebook content it deems inappropriate follows the viral success of BDS, or Boycott, Divest, Sanctions, a global non-violent movement that works to expose Israeli human rights violations.
The success of BDS has struck a nerve with Israel, leading its government to pass legislation allowing it to spy on and deport foreign activists operating within Israel and Palestine. Israel has also threatened the lives of BDS supporters and has lobbied for legislative measures against BDS around the world. They are now seeking to curtail any further BDS success by directly controlling the content of Facebook users.
However, Facebook’s formal acknowledgement of its relationship with Israel’s government is only the latest step in an accord that has been in the works for months. In June of this year, Facebook’s Israel office hired Jordana Cutler as head of policy and communications. Cutler is a longtime adviser to Netanyahu and, before her recent hire at Facebook, was Chief of Staff at the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC. Facebook may have been intimidated into the arrangement by Gilad Erdan, Israeli Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Information, who threatened to enact legislation, in Israel and abroad, that would place responsibility on Facebook for attacks “incited” by its social media content. Erdan has previously said that Facebook “has a responsibility to monitor is platform and remove content.”
In addition, as the Intercept reported in June, Israel actively reviews the content of Palestinian Facebook posts and has even arrested some Palestinians for posts on the social media site. They then forward the requests for censorship to Facebook, who accepts the requests 95% of the time.
An Israeli Soldier with “Revenge” written across his chest took to Facebook to incite retaliation against Palestinians after 3 Israeli teenagers were killed. His post was not censored by Facebook and was praised by the Times of Israel.
In what is an obvious and troubling disparity, Facebook posts inciting violence against Palestinians are surprisingly common and Facebook rarely censors these posts. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Glenn Greenwald, this disparity underscores “the severe dangers of having our public discourse overtaken, regulated, and controlled by a tiny number of unaccountable teach giants.”
With Facebook arguably functioning as the most dominant force in journalism, its control over the flow of information is significant. The fact that a private company with such enormous influence has partnered with a government to censor its opponents is an undeniable step towards social media fascism. Though social media was once heralded as a revolutionary opportunity to allow regular people to share information globally and to politically organize for grassroots change, allowing governments to censor their opposition threatens to transform it into something else entirely.
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Top Image Credit – http://www.wb7.hk
by Jonathan Cook
Analysts fear Trump’s rubber-stamping of the right’s political goals will further radicalise both sides of the divide.
Jerusalem – Trump’s recognition this week of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, overturning seven decades of US policy in the region and effectively ending hopes of a two-state solution, has provoked dire warnings.
But the focus by commentators on Palestinian reactions, rather than the effect on the Israeli public and leadership, might have underestimated the longer-term fallout from Trump’s move, analysts say.
Predictions have included the threat of renewed violence – even an uprising – from Palestinians; the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians’ government-in-waiting, and its diplomatic strategy for two states; and the demise of Washington’s claim to be serving as a credible peacemaker.
But according to analysts, more far-reaching – and disruptive – undercurrents will likely be set in motion by Trump’s decision.
Few have factored in the likely effect of Trump’s new Jerusalem policy on the Israeli public, which has been shifting steadily to the right for most of the past two decades. The city and its contested holy sites have gained an increasingly powerful religious and national symbolism for many Israeli Jews.
The fear is that Trump’s effective rubber-stamping of the right’s political goals in Jerusalem will further radicalise both sides of the divide – and accelerate processes that have been turning a long-standing national conflict into a more openly religious one.
“We may remember this date as the tipping point, as the moment when a new consensus emerged in Israel behind the idea of total Jewish supremacy,” journalist David Sheen, an expert on Israel’s far-right movements, told Al Jazeera.
Similar concerns were expressed by Yousef Jabareen, a Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament.
“We can expect to see a move rightwards across Israeli society,” he told Al Jazeera. “The centre-left parties were already tacking much closer to the right. They will now want to align themselves with Trump’s position. Meanwhile, the right will be encouraged to move to the extreme right.”
Both noted that Avi Gabbay – the recently elected leader of the Zionist Union, the official opposition and the party that was once the backbone of the Israeli peace camp – had begun espousing positions little different from those of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Last week, Gabbay backed Trump’s announcement, saying that recognition of Jerusalem was more important than a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Sheen said that traditionally, the centre-left had been restrained in its political positions by concerns about alienating the United States: “Netanyahu has shown that he can bring the US round to his way of thinking by staying the course. In many Israelis’ eyes, he has now been proved right. The centrists may decide it is time to come onboard. Allying with the Republican right and the Christian evangelicals in the US may now look like a much safer bet.”
The possible effects of Trump’s announcement on Israelis have been largely overlooked, even though previous turning points in the conflict have consistently resulted in dramatic lurches rightwards by the Israeli public.
Given Israel’s power over the Palestinians, these changes have played a decisive role in leading to the current impasse between Israel and the Palestinians, analysts note.
Most obviously, Israel’s seemingly “miraculous” victory in the 1967 war, defeating the armies of neighbouring Arab states in six days, unleashed a wave of Messianic Judaism that spawned the settler movement.
A new religious nationalism swept parts of the Israeli public, driving them into the occupied Palestinian territories to claim a supposed Biblical birthright.
Other major events have had a decisive effect too. Unexpectedly, the Oslo peace process, launched in the mid-1990s, persuaded many non-religious Israeli Jews to move into settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, doubling the numbers there in a few years.
Alan Baker, a legal adviser to the Israeli foreign ministry in that period, explained Israelis’ peculiar reading of the Oslo Accords. In their view, Oslo meant Israel was “present in the territories with their [the Palestinians’] consent and subject to the outcome of negotiations”.
In other words, many Israelis believed that the Oslo process had conferred an international legitimacy on the settlements.
Later, in 2000, after the Camp David summit collapsed without the sides agreeing to a two-state solution, Ehud Barak, Israel’s then-prime minister, blamed Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians. He said they were “no partner” for peace.
As a result, Israelis deserted the peace camp and drifted into the arms of the right and far-right. Netanyahu has reaped the benefits, leading a series of ultra-nationalist governments since 2009.
Now Trump’s decision on Jerusalem effectively gives Washington’s blessing to Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and five decades of creating facts on the ground there, said Jabareen.
“Trump has legitimised the far-right’s argument that Israel can control all of Jerusalem by sheer force, by denying Palestinians their rights and by creating facts on the ground,” he said.
With their policy of aggressive unilateralism now paying dividends in the US, the settlers and the ultra-nationalists were unlikely to be satisfied with that success alone, he added. “The danger is that the religious right’s narrative will now seem persuasive at other sites in the occupied territories they demand, such as Hebron and Nablus.”
Since Trump’s election a year ago, Naftali Bennett, the Israeli education minister and the leader of the main settler party, has begun calling for Israel to seize the opportunity to annex West Bank settlements.
Pressure is likely now to mount rapidly on Netanyahu to shift even further to the right.
On the 972 website, Noam Sheizaf, an Israeli analyst, observed that Trump’s declaration had boosted the settlers’ position that “in the long run ‘facts on the ground’ are more important than diplomacy and politics, and that Israel will eventually win legitimacy for its actions”.
The most immediate effects, according to Ir Amim, an IsraeIi human rights organisation, will be felt in Jerusalem itself. Government ministers have already drafted legislation to bring large West Bank settlements under Jerusalem’s municipal authority, as a way covertly to annex them.
There are also plans to strip large numbers of Palestinians of their Israeli-issued Jerusalem residency papers because they live outside the separation wall Israel built through the city more than a decade ago. That would cement a new, unassailable right-wing Jewish majority in Jerusalem.
Last week, Ir Amim warned in a statement that Trump’s move would be certain to “embolden” such actions by the Israeli right and provide a “tailwind” to those determined to pre-empt a two-state solution.
Assad Ghanem, a politics professor at Haifa University, told Al Jazeera: “Trump has given a legitimacy to the right’s Messianic agenda. He has adopted the language of the extreme right on Jerusalem – that it is Israel’s eternal, united capital. The far-right will declare this a victory.”
In parallel, Trump’s seal of approval for Israel’s takeover of Jerusalem is likely to intensify the city’s religious symbolism for Jews – and the importance of Israeli sovereignty over al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Ghanem noted.
In recent years, a growing number of rabbis have been overturning a centuries-old consensus that al-Aqsa compound is off-limits to Jews because it was not known where the ruins of an earlier Jewish temple lay. In Jewish tradition, it is forbidden to walk over an inner sanctum, known as the Holy of Holies.
Today, Jews regularly enter the compound and some even pray there. Settler rabbis and far-right government ministers have called for dividing the compound between Israelis and Palestinians, creating huge tensions with Palestinians.
Meanwhile, a once-fringe movement of Jewish supporters who wish to destroy the mosque to rebuild the ancient Jewish temple in its place, are gradually moving into the mainstream. Trump’s move will be a shot in the arm to their ambitions and their credibility, said Sheen, who has studied the temple movements.
He pointed out that immediately after Trump’s declaration, these groups had uploaded a cartoon of Trump standing in al-Aqsa compound, in front of the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, imagining the Jewish temple in its place. Trump is shown saying in Hebrew: “This is the perfect spot!”
Sheen said: “This will be treated as a call to arms by these groups.”
Will the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital have similarly dramatic long-term effect on Palestinians’ public opinion? Analysts believe it will. The lack of an outpouring of significant anger – even after Palestinian leaders called for three days of rage last week – could be deceptive.
Israeli analysts have suggested that there is often what they term an “incubation period” – a delay between a major change in Israel’s favour and a popular reaction from Palestinians. That was true of the second Intifada, which came months after the collapse of the Camp David summit.
An expectation of knee-jerk anger to Trump’s decision may be misplaced, say analysts. The decision may result in a slower and much deeper process of adjustment to the new reality.
“Palestinians will now have to abandon the old tools of national struggle, because they have been shown to be ineffective. We need new tools of resistance, and that will require a grassroots struggle. We need a return to mass protests,” Jabareen said.
Ghanem noted the danger that, with the likely growth of a Jewish religious extremism in Israel and among the settlers, some Palestinians might drift towards violence.
But he expected that a more significant trend would be Palestinians reassessing the end goal of their struggle and opting for mass civil disobedience.
“The two-state solution is obviously now finished, and that is likely to mobilise a new generation to struggle for a single state,” he said. “Activists and the leadership will need to rebuild Palestinian nationalism.”
Oct 26, 2017 6:46 AM By Rapaport News