Archive for January, 2022

News and Analysis 1/30/22

Sunday, January 30th, 2022

With public opinion turning against apartheid and settler-colonialism, Israel has a new plan to secretly fund foreign organizations to “spread Israeli propaganda in the countries in which they operate”:

As Israel continues it wholesale eviction of people from and destruction of their homes, “one family, the Salhiyehs, is taking the Israeli authorities to the International Criminal Court”:

The documentary winning the Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Vérité Filmmaking is “a surprising story of female self-determination in the face of militaristic oppression, directed with a rigor that demonstrates the resilience of both the filmmaker and her subjects”:

“Israel, wary of angering Americans by abetting the efforts of other countries to spy on the United States, had required NSO to program Pegasus so it was incapable of targeting U.S. numbers.” That has changed:

The purpose of the unprovoked attack launched at night upon empty street that destroyed 1,000 seedlings on a rooftop farm and damaged a children’s playground is unknown:

News and Analysis 1/26/22

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

“He spent 11 days locked up before a local court granted him bail. Instead of freeing Gul, authorities charged him in a new case under the stringent Public Safety Act, which allows officials to imprison anyone for up to two years without trial”:

“The ruling has wide implications for free speech across Germany, where people face regular repression and smears from officials over their support for Palestinian rights”:

“On reproductive and sexual health, [Islamic jurisprudence] offers a wide range of rulings:

Nevada’s claim that scented prayer oils pose a compelling security risk was absurd:

“The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Nephew … had advocated a tougher posture in the current negotiations,” while “[d]iplomats and analysts say the longer Iran remains outside the deal, the more nuclear expertise it will gain”; …

… Biden wants direct talks, but Iran will only engage directly if within striking distance of a “good deal”:

Upper and middle class Britons are more prejudiced against Muslims than working class Britons. Muslims aren’t the only persecuted group in Briton, but discrimination against other groups is not socially accepted:

As Johnson faces pressure for attending drunken parties during the Covid crisis, questions are raised as to whether his Transportation Minister was fired for belonging to a tee-totaling religion:

Both sides in the Yemen conflict are accused of targeting civilians:

News and Analysis 1/23/22

Sunday, January 23rd, 2022

“Ten civilians, including seven children, were killed in the attack, which the Pentagon initially touted as a successful strike against ISIS car bomb. The driver was actually a humanitarian worker who was transporting jugs of water”:

After the Supreme Court agreed to hear cases regarding the groups’ “open call of genocide of Indian Muslims” two of them have responded by demanding the victims “be arrested for … hate speeches instead”:

“[T]he last bastion of free space in the Valley is gone”— Nazir Masoodi, New Delhi Television:

“Iran is expected to regain its vote in the UN General Assembly” despite impediments caused by U.S. sanctions:

Criticized for language insulting settlers, Golan asks, ““Is the problem the expression that I used or is the problem those same people who go up to Burqa, smash graves, damage property and assault innocent Palestinians?”:

The photographers wants his “photographic archive to not just inform us about the violations but function as a collective counter-memory against the falsified political history”:

Having failed to convince the diplomatic community that six human rights organizations are just fronts for terrorists, Israel produces “secret” Shin Bet document that contains unsubstantiated claims and no actual evidence …

… while what had been an controversy among historians as to whether or not Israelis massacred villagers at Tantura has become a visceral sandal as combat soldiers from the IDF brigade responsible break their seven decade silence:

The latest man arrested for harassing Muslim women on Clubhouse is an 18-year old who reportedly created the group:

News and Analysis 1/20/22

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

Rather than draw attention to the injustice of Aafia Siddiqi’s conviction, a mentally disturbed man who took innocents hostage at a synagogue has provided the government and media an opportunity to once again smear the imprisoned neuroscientist:

If approved as a U.S. judge in the Eastern District of New York by “the deeply polarized Senate,” the Illinois ACLU legal director would be only the second Muslim ever to serve on the federal bench:

“For the past few months, Karnataka has witnessed a rise in violence by Hindutva organisations who target minorities, including Muslims and Christians”

A law firm has “submitted extensive evidence … documenting how Indian forces headed by Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane and Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah were responsible for the torture, kidnapping and killing of activists, journalists and civilians”:

Human Rights say the jailing of “dozens of teachers’ rights activists ‘on manufactured charges that reflect the criminalization in Iran of dissent, peaceful protests and assembly, and independent labor activism”:

“[T]he two regional powers have managed to compartmentalize their relations by handling geopolitical and economic issues in isolation from each other”:

“Such drones have made it possible to conduct small, targeted assaults that slip through multibillion-dollar defense systems designed to deter more advanced weapons”:

Raffaello Pantucci, a Central Asia expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore calls the retired autocrat’s statement “a declaration of fealty to try to heal over the rifts that have been exposed”:

News and Analysis 1/17/22

Monday, January 17th, 2022

“Despite the fact that many of the Bedouins are living on the ancestral homelands, while others were internally displaced after 1940, Israel views them as ‘trespassers’ on their land and does not recognize their ownership'”:

“[A]n American military presence in Iraq and Syria is not required for our safety nor for the protection of our vital national interests” — Dan Caldwell, vice president of foreign policy at Stand Together and a Marine veteran of the Iraq War:

“The future of press freedom in Indian-administered Kashmir has been thrown into question after pro-government journalists and police officers forcibly took over its independent press club, which the authorities later shut down” …

… and by the use of the PSA (that allows up to 6 months detention without trial) against a journalist who had been granted bail:

“A 75-year-old Palestinian activist and community leader succumbed on Monday to wounds sustained in a deliberate run-over accident by Israeli forces earlier this month” when he was “deliberately run over by an Israeli police vehicle”:

Differences remain as to what sanctions relate to the nuclear deal, guarantees that the US will not withdraw again, verification of U.S. compliance, and what might be done about technical knowledge acquired by Iran during the period of noncompliance:

“Semi-official Iranian media reported on Monday that the {unnamed] diplomats… had landed in the city where the 57-member organisation is based to restart operations six years after the office was closed following a diplomatic rift”:

The Two State Solution Is Dead: What Next?

Friday, January 14th, 2022

[On January 13, 2022, Jonathan Kuttab moderated a Nonviolence International discussion of what comes next in Israel/Palestine now that the two-state solution is dead. Discussants were Jeff Halper, author of Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism, and the Case for One Democratic State, and Noura Erakat. author of Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine. This is my summary of highlights of the program.]

Jeff Halper opened the discussion by asserting that the two-state solution is premised on a fallacy.  It is an attempt at conflict resolution (or at least conflict management) to an issue with two sides, each of which has some legitimacy.  To the contrary, he denies that Zionism has any legitimacy. He does not deny that Jews have a genuine affiliation with the land, but rather rejects the premise of Zionism that ONLY Jews have any rights in the land. His position is that as a colonial settler state Israel cannot accept granting any part of the land to which they make an exclusive claim to another party. Palestinians may leave, be eliminated, or even stay (as long as they know their place), but no claim of theirs to legitimacy to the land, or to any part of it,  may ever be recognized.  One attendee noted how this parallels Canadian (and also U.S.) attitudes towards the indigenous people, to which I replied that that is precisely the meaning of “The land without a people for the people without a land.”

Noura Erakat noted that Zionist colonization from the beginning viewed itself as part of a European project that rejects everything indigenous to the land, to the point that even the indigenous Jews were required to reject their Arab language and heritage. It is not about an indigenous resurgence, but about colonization. It was the weak position of Palestinians that led them into the Oslo trap. But Oslo was an autonomy plan, not a two-state solution, as has become clear. What is the pathway to de-Zionization? We need Jewish Israelis to reject Zionism. This is a spiritual transformation, not just a political one. It requires a rejection of the notion that Zionism is exceptional and unlike other settler-colonial movements. She called for a rejection of privatization of land in favor of making it a Palestinian commons, which, as I objected in the chat, is effectively calling for the Palestinian movement to turn into a mirror image of the Zionist project.

In response to the question of what would a solution offer Israeli Jews, Halper said he envisions a democracy with equal rights, both individual and collective, for everyone. An open question is would it be a binational state or a unitary state. Many Palestinians reject bi-nationalism as a Zionist idea. A book How Do Settlers Become Natives? puts its finger on the problem: Once Israeli Jews abandon colonialism they become “sufficiently nativized” that they can go on with their lives, which is what everyone wants. Halper does not believe that an anti-Zionist movement among Israeli Jews will happen.  The ANC never tried to get the Whites in South Africa to overthrow apartheid.  The FLN in Algeria also knew they would never get the French settlers to reject their status. Halper says we’ll try to bring in as many Israeli Jews as we can, but it will always be a fraction of a percent of the population and Palestinians must go to the international community which is their most powerful ally. Then the Israeli Jews will, like the Whites of South Africa, see that they have no choice.

Erakat asked why would the privileged ever give up their privileges? They need an incentive. We must offer a situation to which Israeli Jews can feel they belong and in which they can feel safe. Zionism never combatted White supremacy, but internalized a racial hierarchy that was used against them and turned it against the Palestinians. Anti-racism is an entry point for a joint movement that, unlike Zionism, can effectively fight anti-Semitism. Our battle against White supremacy in the United States in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement is part of that effort. The ANC never collaborated with the apartheid government, but the PLO has. The PLO hasn’t even endorsed the BDS movement beyond the West Bank and Gaza.

In response to an objection that the speakers offered no practical roadmap, Erakat argued that freedom movements offer visions, not roadmaps. Attendee Gerald Serotta expressed the view (with which I agree) that Jonathan Kuttab’s book Beyond the Two State Solution is very practical.

Another attendee suggested that churches need to do a better job of refuting Christian Zionism. He noted that on a global basis the churches delegitimized South African apartheid making mobilization against it much easier. Halper agreed that Christian Zionism has an impact well beyond the Evangelical movement. He felt churches need to begin to think more politically.

A member of an Israeli group seeking a federal solution the problem, asked if stressing commonality between the peoples might not be a more promising route. Erakat responded that the common ground is opposition to oppression.

One attendee asked how you deal with Israeli Jewish fears of living in a Muslim-majority state. Mary Neznek (a regular participant in the “Friends of Palestine” Zoom meetings hosted by the Minaret of Freedom Institute) argued that given America’s role as enabler, American politics is essential and asked what U.S. citizens can do.

Erakat emphasized that Palestinians do not object to Jewish presence in the land. Most Palestinians are secular and the religious ones respect Jews as “People of the Book.” Jews are welcome as neighbors, but not as conquerors. Her hope for change in the U.S. is in the effect of a transnational movement.

Halper argued that hard work and organization and “a hard-headed strategy” is what is required. There is already one state here; it is Israel. We don’t need to make one state, we need to end settler-colonialism. Why do people only ask about Israeli security and not Palestinian security, when it is the Palestinians who are the least secure? The colonized can never accept their oppressed status and will always resist. As South Africa showed, once you reach a just resolution with equal rights for everyone the security issue goes away. Those who want a detailed program will find one at onestatecampaign.org. As for a common goal, Halper noted that neither the Palestinian nor Israeli soccer teams have ever made it to the World Cup.  A single team with the best of players from both those teams would be something for which both Israelis and Palestinians could cheer. Bi-nationalism perpetuates borders between us that he would like to see fall.

Kuttab said that what is ultimately important is to address the needs, wants, and concerns of ordinary people. States exist to serve and have no right to exist on their own. He emphasized the necessity of nonviolent tools to bring about a desirable solution.

Mubarak Awad closed the meeting with the observation that people hunger for justice and the purpose of such programs is to motivate people to work to help Palestinians and Israelis by speaking out without fear for human rights and against oppression, discrimination, and war. Noting the recent death of a great advocate of freedom and human rights, he called “for more of us to take the place of Desmond Tutu.”

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
ww.minaret.org

News and Analysis 1/15/22

Friday, January 14th, 2022

The disgraceful prison at Guantanamo still holds 18 prisoners whose release has been ordered, more continue to be held without charge …

… and now that the war under which they were taken prisoner has ended even the few accused of crimes should be given a fair trial, not a military show trial …

… instead of threatening the whistleblowers with the death penalty …

… Biden should shut it down:

Why is Ted Cruz surprised that oppressive policies designed to persecute those he despises are turned against those he loves?

“The J&K administration has been averse to allow civil society bodies’ polls in Kashmir after August 5, 2019. It has already denied permission to the Kashmir Bar Council and the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries on different pretexts”:

“Dozens of Palestinian Bedouins have been wounded in a crackdown by Israeli forces on a protest against continuing Israeli forestation work on land residents say they privately own near the southern city of Beer al-Sabe”:

Exemptions meant to advance “the U.S. interest in ensuring Iranians maintain access to the global Internet … do not include tools for business communications,” thus unintentionally advancing Iran’s Internet censortship:

In contravention of International law Israel holds a 17-year-old at grave risk due to his medical condition is held without due process on secret charges:

The “Sadrist Movement, together with a Sunni parliament alliance and Western-leaning Kurds, re-elected a parliamentary speaker opposed by the Iran-aligned camp with a solid majority”:

Palestine Action claims “a major victory against British complicity in Israel’s war crimes: permanently shutting down an Elbit Systems weapons factory in Oldham”:

Despite his optimism, the EU foreign policy chief echoed the French FM’s caution that progress is dangerously sow, warning that “if Iran becomes a nuclear power then we will not have achieved anything. We need to bring the U.S. back into the agreement”:

News and Analysis 1/13/22

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

The U.S. Department of State is calling for an investigation into the death of a man witnesses say “was stopped by Israeli forces while driving home, then dragged out of the car, gagged and handcuffed, and left to die”:

The whistleblower came to feel that Steven Emerson disrespected the Muslim faith and that he “was working for a [pro-Israel] lobbying organization and not against terrorism”:

The White House finally concedes “that former President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the agreement is what has led to an Iran on the verge of an atom bomb,” but will they implement the obvious remedy and lift sanctions?:

“Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism Inc. donated more to special interest groups CAIR identified as Islamophobic than other charities did by a significant margin— … close to $20 million annually between 2017 and 2019”:

The U.N. Charter requires members far enough behind to “lose their voting rights. But it also gives the General Assembly the authority to decide ‘that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member,'” which is certainly the case for Iran:

“She is one of at least a dozen western nationals believed to be held in Iran who activists say are being held as hostages at the behest of the elite Revolutionary Guards to extract concessions from the west”:

News and Analysis 1/11/22

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

“One attendee from the resistance side said the atmosphere at the talks, held Saturday and Sunday, indicated ‘flexibility’ on the part of Taliban officials” …

… “but Iran is still ‘not at the point of officially recognising Taliban'”:

The delegate wrote of the incident that “sparked a student walkout from county schools in solidarity with” the female victim of a male assault that the police conclusion “that no racial comments were made” flies in the face of ” multiple witnesses who can attest to racist and Islamophobic comments and overtures”:

The man suspected of creating the original app aimed at degrading female Muslim ” journalists, activists, artists [and] researchers” was arrested just days after a second knock-off app was launched; …

… when the perpetrators decided “that they cannot do anything to stop the downfall of Hinduism,” they, like cowardly macho men throughout history, turned their aggression against innocent women:

France says the “mysterious explosion in a support vehicle carrying six members of the Sodicars Racing team”  was terrorism, the Saudis claim there is no evidence of criminal intent, and the Sodicars chairman says, “I saw everything. It was a deliberate act; there’s no doubt about it”:

  • Saudi diplomacy needs flesh on its skeleton of sports and religion Middle East Soccer)

“The death of the writer and poet Baktash Abtin in custody is emblematic of the dire situation Iranian authorities have created for imprisoned critics of the government” — according to Human Rights Watch:

Despite confessing having ” actively and passively internalized anti-Muslim racism [her] entire life,”  this researcher has been dismissed from UC San Diego’s Critical Gender Studies program for being selective about to whom she revealed her father’s position in India’s external intelligence agency:

“[F]ar from being a remote region with little importance for Islamic thought and practice, the Arctic instead raises profound questions of religious evolution and legal authority that resonate through the entirety of the Islamic world and beyond”:

“After thousands of arrests under draconian laws such as the Unlawful Activities and Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Public Security Act over the last three years, the government” has only exacerbated the feelings of “alienation and a simmering militancy”:

“China became a lifeline for Iran’s economy after the United States withdrew in 2018 from a nuclear agreement agreed between major powers and Tehran”:

News and Analysis 1/8/22

Saturday, January 8th, 2022

“I’ve observed trial proceedings in person at Guantánamo. The chipper ‘secrecy’ imposed by the military is insulting, anti-democratic, and cowardly” — Michael Bronner, producer of the 2021 film The Mauritanian:

“Radicalised groups openly calling for genocide of Muslims are roaming free [in India] while Kashmiri journalists shining a light on state-sponsored human rights violations are jailed” — PDP president Mehbooba Muft:

Iran admitted responsibility for the accident three days after it occurred and “Iranians inside and outside the country have been commemorating the victims.” The government now “says it is ready to hold talks with counties whose citizens were killed when IRGC shot down civilian plane”:

“Administrative detainees are arrested on ‘secret evidence’, unaware of the accusations against them, and are not allowed to defend themselves in court,” but in the case this father of five’s hunger strike, “Israel pledged to release him on February 26”:

Turnabout is fair play:

he “20-year-old man [police] suspect created an online app that shared pictures of Muslim women for a virtual ‘auction’” is one of three arrested so far, the youngest of whom, a 19-year-ols woman, says “that her actions were based on Hindu right-wing ideology, which she had picked up on social media platforms”:

With the Biden administration’s abandonment of the Palestinians and the falling “legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness of the Palestinian leadership in the eyes of the people,” the PA thinks t has no choice but to concede to every Israeli demand …

… while the diplomatic campaign “to bolster Israel’s image as a liberal democracy that plays nice” is undermined by a long list of disgraceful policies promoting illegal settlements and warring against free speech, human rights, and even against transparency by other governments:

Hindus prosecuting a Muslim for “insulting” their community by “defaming a demigod” is reminiscent of Muslims prosecuting non-Muslims  who defame a prophet: