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Supporters of Israels War Crimes Give Human Rights Prize to EU Official

Business  (tags: Rights and Accountability, occupied West Bank, Syria-Golan Heights, European Union, European Parliament, Israeli settlements, BDS movement for Palestinian rights, Gaza, racism, Omar Barghouti, US news-media-world, Katharina von Schnurbein, americans )

- 387 days ago -
Bnai Brith is a pro-occupation, pro-apartheid, anti-Palestinian organization that forcefully rejects even the EUs most minimal and ineffective efforts to oppose Israels settlements on occupied Palestinian land


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fly bird (26)
Thursday April 26, 2018, 8:31 pm
Supporters of Israel’s war crimes give “Human Rights Prize” to EU official .

While Israel was slaughtering 11 children a day in Gaza in summer of 2014, B’nai B’rith Europe sent a “solidarity mission” to the soldiers doing the killing. The Israel lobby group is now giving a “Human Rights Prize” to a high-profile EU official. (via Facebook)

A high-profile European Union official says she is “deeply honored” to receive an award from a group that supports Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and war crimes in Gaza.

Katharina von Schnurbein is receiving the “Human Rights Prize” from the European branch of B’nai B’rith, an international Jewish communal organization.

Far from supporting human rights, however, B’nai B’rith expends much of its efforts attacking people who defend Palestinian rights against Israel’s abuses and war crimes, and promoting the Israeli government’s positions.

Von Schnurbein is the “European coordinator on combating anti-Semitism.”

Smearing human rights defenders

It’s no surprise that B’nai B’rith would honor von Schnurbein – though that likely has little to do with any genuine effort to fight bigotry.

The German official has used her EU perch in a tireless campaign to smear defenders of Palestinian human rights.

She has pushed for the wide adoption of an official definition of anti-Semitism supported by Israel lobby groups that falsely equates criticism of Israel and its discriminatory state ideology Zionism with anti-Jewish bigotry.

EU anti-Semitism czar Katharina von Schnurbein with Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador in London. (via Twitter)

She has smeared the nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights by claiming without offering a shred of evidence “that anti-Semitic incidents rise after BDS activities on campuses.”

Those falsehoods were recycled by von Schnurbein’s boss, EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova, who has herself enthusiastically joined hands with Israel to ostracize and censor European citizens who advocate justice and equality for Palestinians.

Both Jourova and von Schnurbein attended B’nai B’rith’s “annual leadership forum” in Prague last year to discuss such topics as “anti-Semitism in Europe” and “Israel on the global stage.”

This March von Schnurbein joined in with an Israel lobby smear campaign against Ana Gomes, a prominent member of the European Parliament from Portugal.

Gomes has demanded an investigation of von Schnurbein’s role in the campaign to denounce her as anti-Semitic after Gomes publicly criticized Israel lobby groups for attempting to block her from hosting Palestinian human rights campaigner Omar Barghouti at the European Parliament.

Denying occupation

Fighting anti-Semitism – which can be simply defined as bigotry against Jews as Jews – is a given for anyone involved in a principled anti-racist struggle such as the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.

But B’nai B’rith, like Israel and its other lobby groups, uses concern about anti-Semitism as a cover for supporting Israel’s most extreme positions.

For example, when the EU in 2015 announced that it would require accurate origin labels on goods exported from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights, B’nai B’rith condemned the measure as “discriminatory” and claimed that it “encourages and reinforces the Palestinian narrative at a dire time when anti-Semitic incitement is thriving.”

But viewing settlements as illegal and distinguishing them from “Israel” is not just a “Palestinian narrative.” It is international law and EU policy – albeit one the EU admits it cannot enforce.

Does von Schnurbein agree with B’nai B’rith’s not so subtle implication that the EU was encouraging anti-Semitism by requiring accurate labels for settlement goods?

But this is by no means the most extreme of B’nai B’rith’s positions and activities. “Israel advocacy” takes up a large part of the organization’s website.

There one can read about how B’nai B’rith has taken delegations on junkets to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Among the Israelis one delegation met with in 2013 was Moshe Feiglin, an extremist who the following year as deputy speaker of Israel’s parliament would call for Israel to “concentrate” and “exterminate” Palestinians in Gaza.

Another delegation took members of the European Parliament to visit “a plastics factory in the West Bank.”

B’nai B’rith denies that there is an Israeli military occupation in the West Bank in the first place.

Its leaders have repeatedly issued statements denouncing anyone who uses the word occupation to accurately describe the legal and brutal physical reality of Israel’s decades-long military rule over millions of Palestinians who are denied their most fundamental rights.

And when Israel was slaughtering 11 children per day in the occupied Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014, B’nai B’rith Europe sent a “solidarity mission” to support the soldiers who were doing the killing.

In short, B’nai B’rith is a pro-occupation, pro-apartheid, anti-Palestinian organization that forcefully rejects even the EU’s most minimal and ineffective efforts to oppose Israel’s settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Any EU official who purports to support human rights and combat hatred and anti-Semitism would consider it no honor to receive an award from B’nai B’rith.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Friday April 27, 2018, 2:19 am
Noted and shared news article over social media to raise and spread awareness.

fly bird (26)
Friday April 27, 2018, 5:01 pm
Israel injures dozens, including journalists, in fifth week of Gaza protests.
April 27, 2018

At least 50 Palestinians have been injured, including at least four journalists, as thousands protested on the Gaza border as part of the fifth week of the Great March of Return.

Some 42 Palestinians have been killed, including at least four children, and some 4,733 others have been injured by Israeli forces over the past month, as tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees come out to demand their collective right of return to their homeland.

The Gazan Ministry of Health and the Palestinian Red Crescent have deployed medical teams across the length of border, some of which has been targeted by Israeli occupation forces with reports of gas canisters fired at tents to the east of Al-Bureij. Gaza health authorities have accused the occupation of deliberately targeting medics, with some 44 wounded over the past month and 19 ambulances attacked.

Journalists Abdul-Rahman Al-Kahulot, Iyad Abu Ghaza, Hassan Yousef and Lana Shaheen are believed to be among those injured today, after being targeted with sniper fire and gas canisters. Israel’s continued targeting of reporters comes just days after the death of Ahmad Abu Hussein, the second journalist to be killed while covering the march after Yaser Murtaja succumbed to his wounds three weeks ago. Both Abu Hussein and Murtaja were wearing vests clearly marked with the word “PRESS”. Some 66 other journalists have been wounded since the march began.

Concerns have also been raised over the type of wounds being caused by Israeli forces; over 1,700 people have been injured as a result of live fire, resulting in injuries of such severity that Gaza doctors say they have not seen Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.

Read: Palestinian teen footballer loses leg after being shot by Israel sniper

The global NGO Doctors Without Borders said last week that its medical teams were dealing “with devastating injuries of an unusual severity, which are extremely complex to treat. The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities.”

Yesterday Israeli human rights group B’Tselem published a letter which they sent to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urging intervention to stop Israeli forces’ use of lethal force against Palestinian protesters in the occupied Gaza Strip.

“These orders are unlawful under both international law and Israeli law. Responsibility for these fatal outcomes rests with the policy makers and – above all – with Israel’s prime minister, defence minister and chief of staff,” it continued.

Israel’s violent response to protests last week, particularly the death of 14-year-old Mohammad Ayoub, who was shot in the head despite being some 150 metres away from the border, caused UN Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov to take to Twitter, angrily demanding Israel “stop shooting at children”.

The planned six-week protest, which began on 30 March marking Palestinian Land Day, is set to end on 15 May – the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), in which more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced by Israeli forces in 1948.

Read: Haniyeh: Great Return March to continue after 15 May.

April 26, 2018

Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh stressed yesterday that the Great Return March will continue after 15 May and will become part of Palestinian resistance against the occupation, Quds Press reported.

During the annual speech for preachers in Gaza, organised by the ministry of endowment and religious affairs prior to the holy month of Ramadan, Haniyeh said: “The Great Return March to be transferred to the West Bank and abroad.”

He added: “This is a step [that has been] decided by the High Committee for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege,” noting that the demonstrations will peak on 15 May.

Read: Second Palestinian journalist dies covering Gaza marches

“Get ready for the human typhoon along all the borders of Palestine, inside and outside occupied Palestine,” he said, adding: “I am calling for all free people around the world to stand beside our people.”

He continued: “Palestinians in Gaza are [demonstrating] on the borders to undermine the deals aimed to harm Jerusalem and the refugees. Despite starvation, poverty and punitive measures, tens of thousands turned out.”

The top Hamas leader said that the Great Return March returned the Palestinian issue back to the top of the international agenda, shed light on the Gaza siege and revived the right of return.

fly bird (26)
Friday April 27, 2018, 5:08 pm
Ahmad Abu Hussein: second Palestinian journalist slain in the Great March of Return.

27 April 2018

Palestinian journalist Ahmad Abu Hussein died in Ramallah on 25 April, killed by the injuries inflicted upon him on 13 April by Israeli occupation forces during the Great March of Return in Gaza. He was shot with live ammunition in the stomach by Israeli occupation snipers as he photographed the march near Jabaliya, wearing a visible “Press” vest. Abu Hussein, 25, worked for Sawt al-Shaab (Voice of the People) radio station. He is the second Palestinian journalist to have been killed by Israeli occupation forces while covering the Great Return March; Yaser Murtaja of Ain Media was killed by occupation forces on 7 April. The journalists are two of a total of 42 Palestinians who have been shot dead by occupation forces as they march in thousands for their right to return and to break the siege on Gaza.

After he was shot, he was forced to wait for two days to be transferred from Gaza to Ramallah for treatment, finally receiving permission on 15 April. Once he arrived, his condition was so critical that he was transferred again to Tel Hashomer hospital four days later. Ashraf al-Qidra of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said that the Israeli “security” delay prohibiting Abu Hussein’s immediate transfer ensured his death, while Osama al-Najjar of the Health Ministry in Ramallah said that he “needed a miracle to save his life” after his arrival. He was accompanied by his mother Rajaa, who refused to leave his bedside; his younger brother Diyaa, 16 was denied permission to join them due to “security” pretexts; he also has a 20-year-old sister, Luna.

Abu Hussein and his family are Palestinian refugees; he lived in the Jabaliya refugee camp. They are among 70 percent of the Palestinian population in Gaza who are refugees denied their right to return to their homes and villages in Palestine ’48 for 70 years by the Israeli occupation. The Great March of Return, in which tens of thousands of Palestinians have participated, demands the implementation of their right to return home and an end to the siege on Gaza. The Israeli occupation has hit these mass, popular protests with intense violence, live ammunition and the death of dozens, the amputation of hundreds of limbs and the wounding of thousands.

Rami al-Sharafi, general secretary of the Democratic Press Association, said in an interview with Middle East Eye that “Ahmad was wearing a blue vest marked as press in fluorescent color…They have committed a crime against Yaser Murtaja, and today Ahmad Abu Hussein. This says that every journalist documenting the truth along the borderline is an Israeli target.”

In addition to working as a journalist with Sawt al-Shaab radio for the past five years, Abu Hussein was an activist with the Progressive Student Labor Front and a member of the Democratic Press Association. Thousands of Palestinians marched in a mass funeral when his body was returned, only hours before thousands would again take the streets in Jabalya to mourn Dr. Fadi al-Batsh, the Palestinian electrical engineer assassinated in Malaysia on 20 April by the Israeli Mossad, according to evidence collected by the Malaysian police.

The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate also held a symbolic funeral for Abu Hussein in Ramallah in Manara Square, denouncing the ongoing Israeli targeting of Palestinian journalists, noting that this is a “clear attempt to conceal the truth and prevent the media from covering and exposing the ongoing crimes against our people, including the use of internationally prohibited weapons against journalists and demonstrators.” The syndicate called for occupation officials to be held accountable and for the files on the assassination of journalists, including Abu Hussein and Murtaja, to be brought to the International Criminal Court.

The Democratic Press Association issued a statement urging international organizations, human rights groups and the International Federation of Journalists to take action against the ongoing, deliberate targeting of Palestinian journalists. “This continuous targeting is inseparable from the crimes of the occupation against our people. The Palestinian media is in the forefront of uncovering and documenting the crimes of the occupation for decades, and this targeting is a systematic and deliberate crime to stop this role in struggle.”

The International Federation of Journalists issued a statement joining the condemnation and call to action of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.

“The PJS stresses that the occupation authorities and their leader bear full responsibility for these ongoing crimes and reiterates its emphasis on intensifying its efforts to go after the occupation leaders for their crimes against journalists, especially the deliberate and documented killings of journalists Ahmad Abu Hussein and Yassir Murtaja, and it vows not to rest until the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said the union in a statement.

“It is clear that after Israeli soldiers murdered a journalist the authorities are more interested in spouting propaganda and engaging in a cover-up than in carrying out a thorough and transparent investigation and bringing Hussein and Yasser’s killers to justice,” said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces the killing of Palestinian journalists Ahmad Abu Hussein and Yaser Murtaja and notes that these killings take place as part of a systematic attack on Palestinian journalists that includes targeting them for death, injury and imprisonment. Israeli occupation forces have repeatedly targeted journalists, and Palestinian journalists are routinely subjected to imprisonment, frequently administrative detention without charge or trial. The cases of Mohamed al-Qeeq, Omar Nazzal and Bushra al-Tawil are three among dozens that underline this policy, alongside historic assassinations of Palestinian writers like that of groundbreaking novelist, writer and revolutionary Ghassan Kanafani in 1972. The work, the images and the words of Palestinian journalists are critical in sharing the Palestinian experience, narrative and struggle with the Palestinian people, the Arab world and international audiences. Palestinian journalists must receive international solidarity and Israeli occupation forces must be held accountable, including through global sanctions and an arms embargo, for their targeting of Palestinians who document the stories of their people. Ahmad Abu Hussein lives on!

The following 42 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli occupation forces while participating in the mass popular demonstrations, the Great March of Return, which began in Gaza on 30 March – Land Day – and will continue through 15 May – Nakba Day:

1. Abdel-Qader Marda al-Khawari
2. Naji Abu Hajir
3. Amin Mansour Abu Ma’amar
4. Mahmoud Sa’adi Rahmi
5. Wahid Nasrallah Abu Samur
6. Mohammed Na’im Abu Amro
7. Ahmad Ibrahim Ashour Odeh
8. Jihad Ahmad Farina
9. Mohammed Kamal al-Najjar
10. Sari Walid Abu Odeh
11. Abdel-Fattah Abdel-Nabi
12. Ibrahim Salah Abu Sha’ar
13. Bader Fayek al-Zubair
14. Hamdan Ismail Abu Amsha
15. Jihad Zaher Abu Jamous
16. Omar Wahid Samour
17. Faris al-Rukab
18. Ahmad Omar Arfa
19. Shadi Hamdan al-Kashef
20. Marwan al-Khadari
21. Thaer Mohammed Rabea
22. Hussein Madi
23. Ala al-Din al-Zamali
24. Majdi Shueibat
25. Hamza Abdel-Aal
26. Mohammed Saleh
27. Sidqi Abu Attawi
28. Ibrahim al-‘Ar
29. Yaser Murtaja
30. Osama Qadih
31. Marwan Qadih
32. Abdel-Sheikh al-Shahri
33. Islam Shadi Herzallah
34. Atamna Ahmad Rashed
35. Mohammed Ibrahim Ayoub
36. Saad Abu Taha
37. Ahmed Nabil Abu Aqel
38. Nayef Thaer al-Zu’ri
39. Abdullah Mohammed Jibril Shamali
40. Mohammed Nimer al-Muqadma
41. Tahrir Wahbe
42. Ahmed Abu Hussein

fly bird (26)
Friday April 27, 2018, 9:43 pm
Amnesty demands arms embargo to end Israel’s “murderous assault”. (Video)

27 April 2018

Past Member (0)
Saturday April 28, 2018, 12:08 pm

Janis K (129)
Tuesday May 1, 2018, 8:31 pm
Thanks for sharing.

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 10:32 am
Today’s lead ‘NY Times’ article on the Gaza massacre is a model of dishonesty.
May 15, 2018

Today’s main New York Times article on Israel’s massacre of Gazan demonstrators — the lead front-page story in the print edition — is a masterpiece of deceit. The article, by David Halbfinger, employs the time tested tools of distortion, including classic Orientalism, dueling narratives, one-sided use of sources, and hiding the perpetrators behind passive sentences, topped off by outright dishonesty.

The distortion starts in the first sentence. “Across the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, loudspeakers on minarets urged Palestinians to rush the fence bordering Israel. . .” An Orientalist gem, insinuating that Gazan protesters are motivated by religious primitivism, instead of Israel’s crushing blockade and regular armed attacks.

“. . where they [the Gazans] were met by army snipers.” “Met” is hardly the appropriate word here, especially after another Times correspondent, Declan Walsh, has already described how far off Israeli snipers shot a woman in the stomach right in front of him on Sunday night.

“At least 58 were killed and thousands injured. . .” Passive voice; conceal the killers.

In paragraph 4, Halbfinger turns explicitly to dueling narratives. “For generations, both sides of the conflict have been locked in competing mutually negating narratives. . .” The implicit question: Who knows which side is right? This is post-modernism gone lethal, a view favored by Western liberals who sense something is terribly wrong but who are too cowardly to criticize Israel. Sometimes, one side of a dueling narrative is fundamentally true, and the other is a pack of lies.

Lower in the article are 4 short paragraphs reported from the standpoint of the Gazan demonstrators themselves.

But then immediately, a reverent respect for the Israeli military’s point of view. For 7 paragraphs, Halbfinger took dictation from the army’s mouthpiece, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, who asserted that the Gazans were: “planting or hurling explosives”; flying flaming kites into Israel; trying to slip armed fighters into Israel to “wreak havoc”; launching an armed attack on the border fence; and firing “numerous shots” at Israeli soldiers — all of which amounted to an “unprecedented level of violence.”

Next, stenographer Halbfinger writes that “Israel responded with gunfire and tear gas, and Israeli jets struck five targets in a Hamas military training facility. . .” This is Orwellian. Lt. Col. Conricus makes up or grossly exaggerates Gazan actions, and Halbfinger then calls Israel’s vicious attacks a ‘response’ to things that never happened.

Conricus also alleges that “one Israeli soldier was wounded by shrapnel from what was believed to be an explosive device.” Halbfinger fails to report that if true, this would be the very first injury to any Israeli whatsoever, whether soldier or civilian, in nearly 7 weeks of protest during which Israel has killed 107 Palestinians and injured another 13,000.

You have to pause to see what is happening here. Israel has just committed the biggest single massacre since its 2014 invasion of Gaza. The Times has 3 correspondents in Gaza, including the aforementioned Walsh, Iyad Abuheweila and Ibrahim El-Mughrabi — all of them doubtless risking their lives to report from amid the mass killing, and their shorter secondary article in today’s Times is helpful. But the paper’s main report gives them 4 puny paragraphs and devotes twice as much space to unsubstantiated claims from the proven liars of the Israeli military. This is truly taking “dueling narratives” to ugly ends.

Halbfinger does not quote a single human rights group, not even the respected Israeli organization B’Tselem, which has implored Israel’s soldiers not to fire at the Gazan demonstrators. Palestinians are dying by the dozens and being grievously wounded by the hundreds — Medicines Sans Frontieres said sniper bullets are leaving exit wounds the size of a fist — but Halbfinger did not let the Palestinians speak.

David Halbfinger is a skilled reporter and he must know exactly how he is distorting what is really happening in Gaza. We suspect he is under tremendous pressure — from the Israeli government, from his editors, from some of his readers. Until the pressure to tell the truth increases, he (and his colleagues) will continue to whitewash.
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