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Most Foreign Envoys Absent as Israel, US Launch Embassy Festivities


Business  (tags: US news-media-world, Jerusalem, Muslim worshippers, Old City, world, international law, occupation of Palestine, landgrabs, zionism-colonialism, ethnic cleansing, holy sites, Damascus Gate, Al Aqsa mosque compoun, embassy, USA, Trump administration )

Fly
- 158 days ago - middleeastmonitor.com
Attending the Foreign Ministry gathering were representatives from Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, but none from western European Union states, suggesting a rift within the bloc over Trumps Jerusalem move



   

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fly bird (26)
Sunday May 13, 2018, 10:24 pm
Israel launched celebrations on Sunday for the US Embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem, a move whose break with world consensus was underscored by the absence of most envoys to the country from a reception hosted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Reuters reports.

Monday’s slated opening of the new embassy follows US President Donald Trump’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a decision he said fulfilled decades of policy pledges in Washington and formalised realities on the ground.

The Palestinians, who want their own future state with its capital in east Jerusalem, have been outraged by Trump’s shift from previous administrations’ preference for keeping the US Embassy in Tel Aviv pending progress in peace efforts.

Those talks have been frozen since 2014. Other major powers worry that the US move could inflame Palestinian unrest in the occupied West Bank and on the Gaza Strip border, where Israel reinforced troops in anticipation of the embassy opening.

Most countries say Jerusalem’s status should be determined in a final peace settlement, and say moving their embassies now would prejudge any such deal.

Addressing dignitaries at the Foreign Ministry, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the president’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the Israeli prime minister urged others to follow Washington’s lead.

“Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it’s the right thing to do,” Netanyahu said. “Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it advances peace, and that’s because you can’t base peace on a foundation of lies.”

Netanyahu said that “under any peace agreement you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital”.

Jerusalem, which is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, was decorated with roadside flowerbeds in the design of the US flag and posters reading “Trump make Israel great again”.

“Tragically, the US administration has chosen to side with Israel’s exclusivist claims over a city that has for centuries been sacred to all faiths,” the general delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to the United States said.

The US Embassy move “gives life to a religious conflict instead of a dignified peace,” it said in a statement.

Israel said all 86 countries with diplomatic missions in Israel were invited to the event, and 33 confirmed attendance. Among those present were delegates from Guatemala and Paraguay, which will open their own Jerusalem embassies later this month.

Read: US rapper vows never visit ‘racist’ Israel

Attending the Foreign Ministry gathering were representatives from Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, but none from western European Union states – suggesting a rift within the bloc over Trump’s Jerusalem move.

No-show nations withheld comment on Sunday.

The EU mission in Israel tweeted on Friday that the bloc would “respect the international consensus on Jerusalem … including on the location of their diplomatic representations until the final status of Jerusalem is resolved”.

Outside Jerusalem’s ancient Damascus Gate, Israelis danced in another celebration on Sunday, marking the capture of the Old City from Arab forces in the 1967 Middle East War.

Hundreds of Israeli rightists entered Al Aqsa mosque compound, an icon of Palestinian nationalism and a vestige of ancient Jewish temples. Witnesses said some prostrated themselves in Jewish prayer, violating religious restrictions at the site and sparking scuffles with Muslim worshippers.

Israeli police said several people were forcibly removed and questioned.

The US Treasury secretary called the embassy relocation “a sign of the enduring friendship and partnership between our two countries” and also referred to the US withdrawal last week from the Iran nuclear deal, a move welcomed by Israel and some US Arab allies in the Gulf but lamented by other world powers.

The Palestinians plan to demonstrate against Monday’s inauguration from Arab districts abutting the Jerusalem site.

On the border with Gaza, Palestinians have also held protests as Israel prepares to mark 70 years since its creation, an event Palestinians call the Nakba, or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of them were displaced from their homes.

More than 40 Palestinians have been killed in the latest violence.

In a recorded speech released on Sunday, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri criticized Trump’s decision on the embassy, as well as the leaders of Muslim countries he said had sold out the Palestinians. He also said Israel’s Tel Aviv was Muslim land.

The Trump administration has sought to keep the door open to Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy by saying the embassy move did not aim to prejudge Jerusalem’s final borders. The US consulate in the city, tasked with handling Palestinian ties, will remain.

Washington has not asked Israel to initiate peace moves in exchange for the embassy relocation, US Ambassador David Friedman told reporters on Friday: “There was no give and take with Israel with regard to this decision.”
 

Evelyn B (61)
Sunday May 13, 2018, 11:58 pm
32 countries join the celebrations ... that means that more than 150 countries are NOT joining in!
With reason.
 

fly bird (26)
Monday May 14, 2018, 3:40 pm
Jerusalem under lockdown as US moves its Israeli mission (VIDEOS)
May 14, 2018

As Israel gears up for the official inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, the city has been subjected to road closures and heavy police presence in anticipation of Palestinian protests.

The ceremony, beginning at 4 pm on Monday, was to be hosted by the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

According to Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld, up to 1,000 Israeli police officers will be posted around the embassy’s new location in the southwest neighborhood of Arnona and surrounding areas.

US President Donald Trump addressed the ceremony via video link from Washington.

The closures spread to occupied East Jerusalem, where access to the Old City has been curtailed from areas extending to it such as al-Tur, Mount of Olives, Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.

Protests have spread across the occupied Palestinian territories.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/jerusalem-under-lockdown-as-us-moves-its-israeli-mission-videos/
 

Trish K (29)
Monday May 14, 2018, 6:38 pm
The celebration is like rubbing salt into the wound it is all very upsetting. Peace to your hearts and minds.
 

Colleen L (3)
Monday May 14, 2018, 8:00 pm
tRump likes creating more anger between countries. He's the one who decided and made the change, yet he sends his daughter and her husband there. I too Pray for Peace. Thanks Fly
 

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 10:00 am
Erdogan slams international community’s apathy for Palestine.

Palestine is the centre issue in the world, Erdogan said.
May 09 2018

International community's indifference over the sufferings of Palestinians caused by Israeli attacks shows that no society has a safe future, the Turkish president said on Monday.

Speaking at the International Mount of Olives Peace Awards at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "Palestinians are the symbol of all oppressed people in the world because of the persecution, massacres and injustices they have been subjected to."

Erdogan said the Palestine cause was not an exclusive issue of a nation or a city, adding that the future of humanity would be determined according to its stance against the Palestine and Jerusalem cause.

“If the reverse happens, a dark future will be awaiting us, one in which all rights, freedoms, and moral and conscientious measures are absent or eliminated and in which tyranny prevails.”

Erdogan said what was happening in Palestine was the legitimization of tyranny, highlighting Israel’s mounting persecution against Palestinians whose sole guilt was trying to defend their own land.

"The indifference of the international community towards the Palestinians, who have had tens of martyrs and thousands of injured people during these [Israeli] attacks, is the sign of a future in which no society and individual will be safe," Erdogan said.

Erdogan accused the international institutions responsible for ensuring peace and security in Palestine, calling them “hypocrites.”

He also stressed that when it came to delivering aid, great economic powers fiercely competing with each other whenever an economic, political or military interest was at stake had fallen behind Turkey.

“And that is because humanitarian aid, totally an issue of conscience and morality, does not bring money, oil, gold, or political power," he said, adding that Turkey so far had spent $31 billion for the Syrians staying in Turkey.

http://daysofpalestine.com/post/11122/erdogan-slams-international-community’s-apathy-for-palestine
 

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 11:42 pm
UN Observer Calls for Probe into Israeli Crimes in Gaza as US Blocks UNSC Statement
May 15, 2018

Permanent observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, Tuesday, called for a transparent and independent investigation into the deadly violence in the Gaza Strip, and said that Palestinians will endorse the results of the investigation in advance.

He told the 15 members of the Security Council that Israel is the main source of violence in the region and any attempt to forge this fact is not consistent with reality.

“We ask those who have different accounts; why are you obstructing a transparent and independent investigation? We accept in advance the results of this investigation called for by 14 members of the Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.”

He affirmed, according to WAFA, that Palestinians accept the results in advance and asked if the countries blocking the investigation are ready to accept it along with its consequences.

The United Nations Security Council met on Tuesday, to discuss violence along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, following the deadliest day during which dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli armed forces.

Nikolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator addressed the council members and said the killing acts in Gaza don’t serve the peace process. He strongly condemned the events in the Gaza Strip and held Israel responsible for the use of lethal force, which led to the high death toll.

He said that Palestinians in Gaza are protesting because of poverty and for living in a large prison with no future. Palestinians in Gaza are frustrated and angry. If their voices are not heard, more destruction will happen, he explained.

Kuwait called for the session after 60 Palestinians were killed and thousands wounded by Israeli gunfire amid mass protests, on Monday, against opening the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Mansour Al-Otaibi, Kuwait’s ambassador to UN condemned the killing of over 60 Palestinians and said that Israel’s violation of International law would not have continued if it wasn’t for the lack of action by the Security Council.

He added that moving embassies to the city of Jerusalem is a violation of all decisions adopted by the Security Council and affirmed his country’s support of any Palestinian move on the national and the international level to solidify its sovereignty in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Al-Otaibi said he would circulate a draft resolution to the 15-member council on Wednesday calling for the provision of international protection for the Palestinian people.

Sacha Sergio, the representative of Bolivia to the Security Council said “We must demand that the UN Security Council implement its commitments, as it will not achieve anything for the Palestinians.”

He added that the international community and the UN Security Council have completely failed the Palestinians and the world must work to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and stop the illegal occupation of Palestine.

Sergio condemned the transfer of the US Embassy to occupied Jerusalem, “because this is a violation of the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, and the United States, which supports the occupation has become an obstacle to peace and part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

He called for an independent investigation into what happened in the Gaza Strip and to work to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders in line with UN resolutions and the UN Security Council.

PNN further reports that the Trump administration, on Monday, blocked a statement by the UN Security Councilthat was intended to call for an investigation of the events on the Israel-Gaza border.

The statement, circulated by Kuwait, included an expression of rage and sorrow on behalf of the Security Council over Israel killing more than 50 Palestinians on Monday. However, the US blocked the statement from being adopted and published.

The Kuwaiti statement also included a call for the creation of an “independent and transparent investigation” into Israel’s actions on the border.

It wasn’t the first time that the U.S. has blocked an action at the Security Council related to Israel’s actions in Gaza, but was notable in light of the high death toll yesterday in Gaza – the highest since the end of the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

http://imemc.org/article/un-observer-calls-for-probe-into-israeli-crimes-in-gaza-as-us-blocks-unsc-statement/
 

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 3:20 am
U.S. Media Whitewashes Gaza Massacre
May 14, 2018

As Israel killed more than 50 Palestinians in cold blood protesting the American embassy move on Monday, U.S. corporate media failed to accurately report what happened in Gaza, once again meekly protecting the government line, argues Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria Special to Consortium News

Typical of the mindset of corporate media reporting on what happened in Gaza on Monday as Israeli soldiers killed more than 50 protesting Palestinians, is this tweet from CNN. It says: “Death toll rises to at least 52 people during clashes along the border fence between Israel and Gaza, Palestinian officials say. More than 2,400 people have been injured.” CNN’s new slogan is “#FactsFirst.”

Adam Johnson, who writes for the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, responded to CNN with a tweet of his own:

“This one’s got it all:
•‘death toll rises’ — no one was killed and no one specific party did the killing, the death toll just mysteriously ‘rises’
•‘clashes’ — launders all power asymmetry
•‘2,400 people have been injured’ — all 2,400 are Palestinian but lets go with ‘people’.”

Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, said on his blog that he did a Google News search for the word “massacre” and found not one reference to Gaza.

A New York Times headline on Monday said: “Dozens of Palestinians have died in protests as the U.S. prepares to open its Jerusalem Embassy.” Journalist Glenn Greenwald responded: “Most western media outlets have become quite skilled – through years of practice – at writing headlines and describing Israeli massacres using the passive tense so as to hide the culprit. But the all-time champion has long been, and remains, the New York Times.#HaveDied.”

[Perhaps because of pressure from Greenwald and others, the Times on Monday night changed its headline to “Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem.”]

Yet another CNN headline simply read: “Dozens die in Gaza.” Journalist Max Blumenthal responded: “Maybe they were old. Perhaps they were very sick. They just up and died! Who will solve the mystery behind these deaths?”

Blumenthal later offered a possible solution to the mystery: “According to the White House, Khhamas launched 41 protesters into unsuspecting Israeli bullets.”

Projecting

Deflecting blame from Israel is one thing. But projecting it onto the victim is quite another. Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon on Monday called for the U.N. Security Council to, “Condemn Hamas for their war crimes,” because “every casualty on the border is a direct victim of Hamas.”

He said in a statement released by Israel’s U.N. mission:

“Condemn Hamas for the war crimes they commit. Not only does Hamas incite tens of thousands of Palestinians to breach the border and hurt Israeli civilians, but Hamas also deliberately endangers Palestinian civilians. The murder of Israeli civilians or deaths of the people of Gaza – each one of them is a desirable outcome for Hamas. Every casualty on the border is a victim of Hamas’ war crimes, every death is a result of Hamas’ terror activity, and these casualties are solely Hamas’ responsibility.”

That’s one way to wash the Israeli government’s (blood-soaked) hands of the matter. Especially if you fear Israel will be accused of war crimes itself for its actions on Monday. Danon mentioned “breaching the border.” But it is virtually impossible to get in or out of Gaza without Israeli permission. Burning kites lofted over the barrier that pens in nearly two million Gazans subject to an internationally unrecognized economic blockade, supposedly constitutes “breaching,” in Danon’s mind.

He would do well to consider the words of Moshe Dayan, one of the Israel’s Founding Fathers, who said in 1956:

“What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.” He went on: “We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house. . . . Let us not be afraid to see the hatred that accompanies and consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit all around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood.”

So on the day, 61 years later, when the United States declared Jerusalem/Al Quds as the capital of Israel by moving its embassy there, rather than leaving its status to negotiation, people still trapped in Gaza protested at the gate fencing them in while Israeli military snipers picked off more than 50 of them and wounded thousands more for protesting their entrapment.

U.S. Parrots Israel, Media Parrots U.S.

Danon’s position was callously promoted by the White House on Monday. Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah was asked several times to condemn Israel’s military response. “We believe Hamas is responsible for these tragic deaths,” he said. “Their rather cynical exploitation of the situation is what’s leading to these deaths and we want it stopped.” He later blamed Hamas for a “gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt.”

Unsurprisingly, Congress also lined up behind the Jewish State, mostly ignoring what went on in Gaza.

At the ceremony opening the embassy, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called Monday “a monumental day in United States-Israel relations.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who was among four senators and 10 members of the House of Representatives present, incredulously said moving the embassy “furthers the chances of peace in the Middle East by demonstrating that America’s support for Israel is unconditional and will not be bullied by global media opinion.”

Back in Washington, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, proclaimed: “Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”

Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party vice presidential candidate in 2016, tweeted: “Where are the democrats condemning the slaughter in Gaza? If this was Assad they would be joining the republicans calling for military action pretending like they cared for Arab life.”

Handful of Democrats Speak Out

Bernie Sanders of Vermont mildly criticized Israel’s murderous response. “Hamas violence does not justify Israel firing on unarmed protesters,” he said. “The United States must play an aggressive role in bringing Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the international community together to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and stop this escalating violence.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, was more critical: “It’s just heartbreaking. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is desperate. Instead of cutting aid, the Trump administration must restore our leadership role and do what it can to alleviate the Palestinians’ suffering. The location of the embassy is a final-status issue that should have been resolved as part of peace negotiations where both sides benefit, not just one side. Israel will only know true security when it is at peace with its neighbors.”

Representative Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, tweeted: “Today’s @USEmbassyIsrael opening in Jerusalem & killing of dozens of Gaza protesters advances @netanyahu agenda of occupation & oppression of Palestinians. @realDonaldTrump policies are fueling conflict, abandoning diplomatic efforts to achieve peace.”

Pressure to support Israel on The Hill is infamously intense. But what is the media’s excuse for being afraid to simply report facts, such as that Israeli soldiers “killed” Palestinians on Monday. They didn’t just simply die.

Just because U.S. government figures are apologists for Israel, does not mean the media must be too. But that would require the U.S. having an independent mainstream media.

When control of powerful mainstream communications breeds self-aggrandizement and adherence to a line pushed for so long because it got you where you are in the pecking order of media culture, it seems virtually impossible to shift gears and take another look at what you are reporting.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/05/14/u-s-media-whitewashes-gaza-massacre/
 

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 11:58 am
No More U.S. Weapons to Israel.

Sign this petition to the U.S. government:

End the provision of free weapons to the government of Israel.

https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=13358
 

Janet B (0)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 7:15 pm
Thanks
 

fly bird (26)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 9:05 am
Why Do So Many Denounce Authoritarianism From Trump and Putin — but Not Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu?

We hear a great deal from liberals in the West these days about the rise of authoritarian and illiberal governments across the world: from Putin’s Russia to Orbán’s Hungary; from Trump’s America to Erdogan’s Turkey; from Modi’s India to Duterte’s Philippines.

We don’t hear so much about Netanyahu’s Israel — despite the fact that the country, as former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami has conceded, “is succumbing to its deepest ethnocentric impulses” and is “now well on its way to joining the growing club of illiberal democracies, and it has Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to thank.”

Some might say “on its way” is an understatement. According to Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, the Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, the Jewish state could be considered a founding member of that particular club because it has enjoyed a “significant head start” on the rest. For example, the practice of “describing the opposition and specifically human rights organizations as traitors, and then also calling for their criminal investigation … may sound familiar to listeners from various countries … in which authoritarian governments are on the rise,” he tells me on the latest episode of Deconstructed, “but, hey, Israel has been there way before.”

Consider the array of “anti-democratic” laws that have been passed by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, over the past decade; laws which have had a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression. In 2011, there was the “Boycott Law,” which made any Israeli individual or organization that calls for a boycott against Israel liable to be sued for damages. There was also the “Nakba Law,” which authorized the Israeli finance ministry to cut state funding from institutions that reject Israel’s character as a “Jewish” state or mark the country’s Independence Day as a “day of mourning.” In 2015, there was the “NGO Law,” which targets foreign-funded human rights organizations inside Israel and was described by Meretz politician Mossi Raz as a “semi-fascistic law that harms democracy and silences dissent in a way that is reminiscent of Putin’s Russia.” (Of 27 organizations threatened by this law, 25 of them are left-wing or human rights groups.)

Then there is Israeli public opinion, in which the shift to the authoritarian and racist right has been remarkable in recent decades. According to polling by Pew, nearly half (48 percent) of Israeli Jews now support expelling Arabs from Israel, while the vast majority of them (79 percent) believe that they are entitled to deserve “preferential treatment” over non-Jewish minorities in Israel.

On Deconstructed, I also spoke to Avner Gvaryahu, a former paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces who now serves as executive director of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO that is “particularly reviled among right-wing Israelis” because it collects anonymous testimonies from Israeli army veterans about abuses they either committed or witnessed during their service in the Occupied Territories. According to Gvaryahu, the Israeli right has created “a toxic environment that I think will backlash in the future, but at this point, it’s pretty much destroying what’s left of the liberal values in our country.”

For making such provocative claims and exposing possible war crimes perpetrated by the IDF in the Occupied Territories, Gvaryahu, El-Ad, and their fellow human rights activists in Israel have not only been targeted by anti-democratic laws, but they have also been subjected to verbal abuse, harassment, and death threats. Senior members of the Israeli government have piled in, too. You think Donald Trump calling CNN “fake news” is bad? Netanyahu has attacked Breaking the Silence for spreading “lies and slanders [against] our soldiers around the world.” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused members of B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence of being “complete traitors” who are funded by “those same foundations that fund Hamas.”

I asked Gvaryahu how he reacts to such vicious and personal attacks from the most senior officials in his country. “We sort of joke about this … amongst the members of Breaking the Silence: At what point did we become traitors? Was it … the first time we read a left-wing blogger as soldiers? Was it when we read … some book when we were guarding [Palestinian prisoners] that this idea popped into our head, and we started questioning what we’re doing — were we traitors then as well? When we shared our experiences coming back home, speaking to some of our family members — were we traitors then? Or did we only become traitors once we … [began] breaking our silence publicly?”

In recent weeks, IDF snipers have come under heavy criticism for shooting and killing dozens of unarmed Palestinian protesters, including children and journalists, at the border with Gaza. For Gvaryahu, “the truth of the matter is that there are soldiers who are probably on the border now who will be part of Breaking the Silence in the future. Are they already traitorous at this point?”

El-Ad says he is isn’t surprised by the hostile rhetoric. “For 50 years, we’ve been defining any Palestinian opposition to the occupation as incitement. Then why wouldn’t we start defining Israeli opposition to the occupation as incitement and gradually closing the gap between the two sides of the Green Line — but in the wrong direction?”

With El-Ad, Gvaryahu, and their organizations under constant attack from right-wing Israeli officials and news outlets, isn’t it shameful that leading liberals in the West aren’t speaking out in loud support of them? That they are so keen to denounce the illiberal and authoritarian behaviors of Trump or Vladimir Putin, but so willing to give Netanyahu a pass?

This current Israeli government — the most right-wing, anti-peace government in living memory — is bent on demonizing and delegitimizing its domestic critics, especially human rights activists and civil society groups. Freedom of speech and expression be damned!

Why? Because Jewish criticism of the Jewish state has always been harder to dismiss or ignore. Whether it was Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt in the 1940s … or Natalie Portman earlier this month. The Israeli-American actress provoked uproar in Israel after refusing to attend an awards ceremony in Tel Aviv because she said she “did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu” and objected to the “mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities” in Israel. And what was the response from the Israeli government? Cabinet Minister Yuval Steinitz claimed Portman’s boycott “bordered on anti-Semitism.”

Anyone who speaks out against the Israeli government’s repressive behavior, both inside and across the Green Line, must be silenced. That is now the authoritarian and ultranationalistic mentality that dominates not just inside the Netanyahu cabinet, but in the Knesset, too. Earlier this year, Israeli legislators gave initial approval to an amendment allowing the education ministry to ban organizations critical of the IDF from entering schools. Members of the Knesset explicitly singled out Breaking the Silence while debating the amendment.

Gvaryahu believes such a sweeping and draconian measure would be difficult to defend in the courts. “But more interestingly,” he tells me, “is even though this has been in discussion and there is pushback on schools that invite us, we’re still invited. We had this pretty amazing experience a few months ago where high school students invited us, and their principals were actually scared from the pushback. And they decided to cancel.”

Nevertheless, the Breaking the Silence boss continues, “the students themselves said, ‘You know what? We’re going to meet them in our own time, in our own home’ — 17-, 18-year-olds! Like, how do you motivate 17-, 18-year-olds in this time and age to do anything? And they, on their own time, out of school, said, ‘We’ll invite you.’”

Gvaryahu, therefore, says he is an optimist and has no plans to give up his campaign against Israel’s illegal occupation or human rights abuses anytime soon — no matter how much pressure is applied from above, and no matter how little support he gets from liberals in the West. The former soldier believes that he and his fellow activists can continue “breaking the silence” in front of more and more Israelis, especially younger ones. “They’re closing a door,” he tells me, “we’re going in through the window.”

Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan

The Killing Fields of Gaza.

Israeli activists speak out on the occupation of Gaza.

https://theintercept.com/2018/04/30/israel-palestine-netanyahu-idf-gaza/
 
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