"UK Minister of Justice Michael Gove opposes a welcome to refugees fleeing war and seeking sanctuary here and he fights against Palestinian refugees who do not want to come to Europe but desire to return to Palestine from which they were ethnically cleansed."

2banners in oneThe Zionist programme of occupation, colonisation, Apartheid and dispossession of the Palestinian people continues. Periodic massacres of scores, hundreds and sometimes thousands of Palestinians has been Israeli policy towards Palestinians in the territories conquered and occupied by Israel in 1967 and earlier in 1948.

The commitment of political Zionism to removing Jews from Europe creates common ground between Zionists and the worst anti-Semites. Zionism’s founder, Herzl, believed “The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies." Zionism incorporated many of the anti-Semites’ racist views of European Jews. This working alliance with anti-Semites included Balfour, Churchill, extreme xenophobes in Europe today.

The self-proclaimed Jewish State of Israel is based on past successes, ongoing campaigns, and plans for future ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.  This state is based on Jewish privilege over Palestinians from birth to death in legal, political, economic, residential, and employment fields. Opposition to a racist state is a duty, as is solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for their freedom against that racist state.

Most people are horrified by the cruelty and violence of Israel’s programme to eliminate as many Palestinians as possible and replace them with Jewish immigrants from around the world. Scottish Minister Humza Yousaf joined the Scottish Government’s voice to many around the world in condemning “the depth of inhumanity” of Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in 2014.

We reject the idea of collective guilt and distinguish on principle between the crimes of the Apartheid State of Israel, and the citizens of that State (as we hope others make the same distinction for UK citizens). Jewish communities in Scotland or elsewhere are not responsible for Israel’s crimes against humanity.

Under bombs, bulldozers, mass imprisonment for resistance, Palestinian civil society issued a call in 2005 for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) to force Israel to concede Palestinian human rights. Worldwide support for that call is seriously worrying the regime in Israel and its supporters around the world, whose considered strategy is to attack BDS as anti-semitic. This idea is being pushed ever more shrilly by pro-Israel elements around the world, usually the same groups who support every Israeli crime against the Palestinian people. Tony Blair for example, Chair of the so-called European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), is one of those who agrees with Cameron on the need to criminalise those who answer the Palestinian call for practical solidarity, i.e. BDS.

At a conference in Berlin this week, Michael Gove, UK Minister of Justice has attacked those who answer the Palestinian call for BDS as anti-Jewish and called for “solidarity with the Jewish people - and in solidarity with their right to national self-determination."

Addressing the same conference Bundestag President Norbert Lammert smeared arriving refugees as anti-semitic and declared that their integration will involve “accepting Israel’s right to exist.” It is Gove and Lammert who are being racist and anti-semitic in claiming that Jews form a separate nation from the people they live amongst, that all the Jews of the world have a right to “national self-determination”.

Gove and Lammert demand that refugees – and all of us – accept the right of Israel to continue to dispossess and massacre Palestinians. They both oppose the rights of Palestinians to freedom from occupation, for an end to siege and massacre, second class citizenship inside Israel. They demand we accept a state based on Jewish supremacy and the denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees to return.

UK Minister of Justice Michael Gove opposes a welcome to refugees fleeing war and seeking sanctuary here and he fights against Palestinian refugees who do not want to come to Europe but desire to return to Palestine from which they were ethnically cleansed.

The racists are those who support and arm a sectarian state based on the denial of the human rights of Palestinians, and who talk of Jewish citizens of Scotland being a separate nation, not those who argue for universal human rights and political equality in a state where religion is no business of the government.
Racism – including anti-Semitism – is a crime. Anti-Zionism is a duty.

Mick Napier
18 March 2016
West Calder

"Walter Russell Mead, who warned Israel not to embrace Trump too strongly lest it is irrevocably stained in the eyes of American public opinion. Former U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk was bleaker by far: For the first time in my life, he said, I am concerned about the future of the Jewish people, in America and in Israel. The Jewish people, he explained, have prospered and thrived within the established Western order that has existed since the end of World War II. Trump is coming to the White House just as that order is under threat, for a variety of reasons, and he may bring the entire structure crashing down."

Analysis: Israel’s Enthusiastic Embrace of President Trump - and Why It Might Be Dangerous
Chemi Shalev

Haaretz 26 Jan 2017

...American Jewish acquaintances at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv this week...were astonished by the intensity of support for Donald Trump they encountered, in random conversations and in meetings with high officials. Israelis love Trump, they said, way more than Americans...

trumpIsraelis are more accustomed than other people to politicians whose limited vocabulary stands in inverse proportion to the intensity of the insults they hurl at rivals, which is par for the course on Israeli talk shows on television and in debates in Knesset committees. Trump’s obsession with the media, his hysterical gripes about not getting respect and his insane sensitivity to what he perceives as personal slights are all terra cognita for anyone who has lived with Netanyahu as prime minister for so long. The same is true of Trump’s incomprehensible combination of a l’état c’est moi, only-I-can-save-you attitude and his pathetic sense of eternal victimhood. The same mix was on vivid display in Netanyahu’s extraordinary speech in the Knesset this week about his own problems with the police, in which he said he did nothing wrong and that everyone, from the opposition through the media to the legal authorities, was conspiring against him.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked...identifies him with a defined worldview that got him elected, will accompany his presidency and will serve Israel’s best interests.

Israel, Shaked said, should be part of the global trend that includes Trump’s election, Britain’s Brexit, the rise of right-wing parties in Europe, the increasing restrictions on movement of refugees and more. “One of the common threads connecting these events is the return of nations to the roots of their national identity in contrast to elites that champion globalization and multiculturalism,” Shaked noted, admiringly. It’s but a natural reaction, she said, to Islamic terror and mass migration. “The nations of the world are choosing to defend themselves, their identity and their nationalism. We should do the same,” she asserted.

In an article in Foreign Policy, Harvard professor Stephen Walt, the renowned international relations neo-realist, had a much harder time piecing together a coherent worldview that can be ascribed to Trump: “America’s New President is not a Rational Player,” was its title:

“Trump and some of his advisors (most notably Stephen Bannon) may be operating from a broad, Huntingtonian 'clash of civilizations' framework that informs both their aversion to multiculturalism at home and their identification of friends and foes abroad. In this essentially cultural, borderline racialist worldview, the (mostly white) Judeo-Christian world is under siege from various 'other' forces, especially Muslims. From this perspective, the ideal allies are not liberals who prize tolerance, diversity, and an open society, but rather hard-core blood-and-soil nationalists who like walls, borders, strong leaders, the suppression or marginalization of anyone who’s different and the promotion of a narrow and fairly traditional set of cultural values.”

Shaked, her party Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home) and most of Israel's right wing ruling coalition could easily feel at home...It might not be long; after all, before Trump decides to rescind the citizenship of Muslims in America either, on the pretext that they entered the country fraudulently.

My American Jewish friends, however, were less concerned with the fate of Israeli Arabs than that of American Jews. They were dumbfounded, they said, by the complete lack of response in Israel to the manifestations of anti-Semitism that increased dramatically after Trump announced his intention to run for the presidency in June 2015...[and] noted that Shaked’s sentence about “return to the roots of national identity in contrast to elites that support globalization and multiculturalism” sounds like the kind of drivel one might find in most anti-Semitic publications. They also noted that in praising the rise of right-wing parties in Europe, Shaked didn’t seem bothered by the fact that while some of them might like Israel, most of them hate Jews, brazenly or latently.

trump2...Israelis seem unmoved by, if not completely ignorant of, Trump’s erratic and problematic behavior. In the U.S., concerns about his emotional handicaps and incompetence to handle the presidency have not abated since his inauguration, but on the contrary. Trump’s first extensive interview with ABC News, broadcast on Wednesday night, did nothing to allay the suspicion that the American Commander in Chief lives in his own La La Land: He insisted on maintaining that his inauguration crowd was bigger, he repeated his absurd claim about millions of illegal votes, all of which, rather miraculously, were cast for Hillary Clinton. He compared Chicago to Afghanistan, insisted that Mexico pay for his wall – an issue that’s rapidly developing into a full blown bilateral crisis – and refused to retract his insane statement that the U.S. erred in not seizing Iraqi oil during the Iraq War, but may still get a second chance. In his first interview, Vanity Fair noted, the president “rejected reality.”

...Trump isn’t releasing any tax returns, although he promised, hasn’t resolved conflict of interest, although he pledged, and is under a heavy cloud of suspicion because of his ties and perhaps allegiance to the Kremlin. Barack Obama’s birth certificate wasn’t forged, Ted Cruz’s father wasn’t a part of JFK’s assassination, global warming is not a Chinese conspiracy and Trump does not head the greatest political movement in history. What difference does it make at this point, to quote someone else, when he’s the one sitting in the Oval Office and calling the shots?

You’re playing with fire, my frustrated interlocutors warned, clearly despondent by now. The same message was conveyed inside the INSS conference auditorium by noted political scientist and brilliant thinker Walter Russell Mead, who warned Israel not to embrace Trump too strongly lest it is irrevocably stained in the eyes of American public opinion. Former U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk was bleaker by far: For the first time in my life, he said, I am concerned about the future of the Jewish people, in America and in Israel. The Jewish people, he explained, have prospered and thrived within the established Western order that has existed since the end of World War II. Trump is coming to the White House just as that order is under threat, for a variety of reasons, and he may bring the entire structure crashing down. But who cares if the Jewish people survive or don’t survive, I thought to myself, as long as Trump allows us to build a few more apartments in Beit El?

Full article by Chemi Shalev in Haaretz 26 Jan 2017

UK decision to refuse Gaza medical experts from joining Kingston University conference condemned by campaigners
Jonathan Owen
Independent 10 Nov 2015

A decision by Britain to refuse a group of Palestinian medical experts from Gaza permission to participate in an international conference at Kingston University on trauma in war zones has been condemned by campaigners.

Three doctors and a nurse who work for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, and were due to give presentations at the conference taking place this weekend, have had their visa requests refused by British authorities.

In addition to the four mental health specialists refused entry, Dr Nahida Al-Arja, a psychologist from Bethlehem University, has had her visa application rejected.

A letter by the UK Palestine Mental Health Network, co-organisers of the conference, published in the Independent, says: “It is beyond our comprehension how such an interference with intellectual and clinical discussion on such an important topic could be justified. This is a measure that further isolates clinicians from Gaza, already struggling under the impact of military assaults and siege,”

...And Dr Mohamed Altawil, director, Palestine Trauma Centre (PTC), and one of the conference’s co-organisers, said: “This refusal is completely unjustified and a direct abuse of basic human rights. Neither will it help peace and conflict resolution in the area.”

He added: “The people from Gaza were being sponsored by the World Health Organization to come to the UK. The British consulate in Amman refused them because they thought if they arrived in London, they might not go back to Gaza. Another reason, they said that they do not have sufficient finances. They mentioned in the refusal that they do not have right to appeal.”

...David Harrold, chair of the PTC’s board of trustees, commented: “This is an international conference that has speakers from the UK, the US, Italy, Finland - and from Israel. The British authorities, by making this decision to exclude Palestinian psychologists from attending, are showing a prejudice and discrimination that the conference organisers have clearly avoided. They should reverse this shameful refusal of visas immediately.”

Full article here

This move is disgusting! Commit to building effective solidarity with the victims of Israel and the UK Government - the tortured people of Palestine.
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Arms deals to Israel worth £4million were approved by Britain immediately after last summer’s bombardment of Gaza. The sales won official approval despite evidence suggesting British-made arms and components were used in the bombing of the Strip when more than 2000 people were killed. A new report reveals the ­Government sanctioned licences for surface-to-surface missiles, combat helicopters and military communications equipment after the onslaught. The first licence was granted only five days after the bombing stopped.

Billy Briggs
Sunday Mail
12 July 2015

The joint report – called Arming Apartheid – has been published by War on Want, Palestine Solidarity
Campaign and Campaign Against Arms Trade and states the licences cover military equipment that is likely to be used by Israel if violence resumes.

The three organisations want an end to Britain’s military links with Israel and the Scottish Government have called for arms sales to be suspended. Last August, there were protests in
Scotland after we revealed that an arms firm in Fife called Raytheon made laser-guidance systems for Israeli smart bombs dropped on Gaza.

Andrew Smith, of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, said: “UK weapons have been used against Gaza time and again with disastrous consequences.The Government may talk about human rights but they have shown they are more interested in working h and in glove with companies like Raytheon who have a history of selling weapons to Israel.  Last summer’s bombardment killed more than 2000 people and created a humanitarian catastrophe and arms firms were complicit in it.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We continue to call for an arms embargo to Israel until an investigation determines whether UK arms were used in violations of international law during last summer’s conflict. Continued arms sales to Israel will not help the parties make meaningful progress towards a lasting peace.”

Mick Napier, of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “Israel uses US and British, including Scottish, weaponry to periodically massacre the Palestinians it has dispossessed and driven into the packed, open-air prison of Gaza. This profitable trade in the means of death should be stopped because it is inhuman and shameful.”

During the conflict, the ­Government were accused of reneging on a promise to suspend 12 arms export licences to Israel held by UK firms.

Former business secretary Vince Cable said during a ceasefire that licences would be withdrawn if “significant hostilities” resumed. But when fighting erupted again, he refused to revoke the licences, prompting fierce criticism.

In response to the new report, a Government spokesperson said: “The UK maintains a rigorous and transparent arms export control system. All export licence applications for Israel are assessed on a case-by-case basis using robust criteria. We will only approve equipment which is for Israel’s legitimate self-defence and where we are satisfied it would be consistent with our human rights commitments and other international obligations.”

The Israeli Embassy in London declined to comment.

Those killed during the operation in Gaza included 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians...

Original article by Billy Briggs in the Sunday Mail 12 Jluy 2015

Big Brother is watching: Glasgow City Council partners with Israeli surveillance company to monitor ‘unusual behaviour’ among citizens

City council spokesperson calls campaigners critical of the system “anti-Jewish”

GLASGOW City Council is monitoring its citizens with the use of a powerful surveillance system developed by a company linked to the Israeli military.
Liam O’Hare

Common Space
17 Feb 2015

It is planned that the system, a product of a multi-million pound surveillance software deal with Israeli multinational security company NICE Systems, will be able to digitally detect “unusual behaviour” among Glaswegians and send an alert to emergency services.

The use of the system has been criticised by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, as well pro-Palestine campaigners and activists for civil liberties. Green Party co-convener Harvie told CommonSpace that there is a lack of “transparency and democratic oversight” surrounding the NICE Systems programme which creates “very real threats to our freedom”.

When CommonSpace first asked Glasgow City Council for comment, a press spokesperson claimed that campaigners questioning the contract with NICE were “anti-Jewish”. The council press team failed to provide any evidence to support this accusation.

According to its website, NICE uses data from “multiple sources, including telephones, CCTV video feed, emergency services radio communications, emails, chat, social media, and more”.

NICE systems provide facial recognition and ‘suspect search’ technology to clients. Suspect Search is a high-tech human-tracking software that can identify and track people based on their textures, colours or characteristics.

Upon the award of the contract, Chris Wooten, executive vice president of NICE Security Group said that the company was “very pleased to be a key player in safeguarding the city’s facilities”.

Wooten said: “Glasgow is the first city in the UK to earn a ‘Safe City’ status, fully utilising the capabilities that NICE Situator can provide.”

Glasgow City Council has denied that the city will be using NICE’s facial recognition tools in the software but refused to respond to concerns that it is employing the ‘Suspect Search’ technology.

The council did admit plans to introduce technology to detect “unusual behaviour”.

“The technology which can detect unusual behaviour is not yet in place,” a council spokeswoman told CommonSpace. “The planned system could be programmed to detect movement where it would not normally be expected and send an alert to CCTV operators. This could be if, for example, someone entered the doorway of an empty school during the summer holidays.”

The spokeswoman continued: “Obviously, this movement could be innocent or it could be vandals. The CCTV operator who received the alarm would check it out by zooming in on the location to determine if it was a concern or not. If they saw anything of concern they would alert the police.”

Patrick Harvie MSP warned that the plans were a challenge to civil liberties.

“Glaswegians are already under far more surveillance than most of us are aware of, and this is a serious challenge to our privacy and civil liberties,” he said.

“It’s a vital principle that we are all innocent until proved guilty, but in the age of mass surveillance we’re all treated as suspects every day of our lives.

“I call on Glasgow City Council to disclose the nature of all surveillance systems they use now or are planning to use, and to consult the public on how they will operate and what democratic controls are in place to limit the power of those currently watching our every step.”

NICE Systems was established by seven ex-Israeli military intelligence officers who served in Unit 8200, a controversial top secret intelligence-gathering section of the Israeli army.

In 2014, 43 veterans, many still reservists, of Unit 8200 signed a letter refusing to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories over what they said was the surveillance unit’s abusive gathering of Palestinians’ private information.

According to the veterans, Unit 8200 would gather information on subjects’ sexual preferences or health problems so that it “might be used to extort people into becoming informants”.

Mick Napier, from the SPSC said: “We don’t want this to spread across Scotland. It’s been brought in by the back door. This technology emerges from a military occupation that stands accused by Amnesty International and others of crimes against humanity. It can’t be used for benign purposes in Glasgow city centre.”

Civil liberties campaigners have also raised concerns about the high-tech surveillance system.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “It was only a matter of time before we saw military hardware re-designed to be used in civilian environments when there is no clear pressing reason to do so, other than the profits of the companies involved.

“Surveillance is an important tool in modern policing but it is not a substitute for policing. In too many cities across the country every corner has a camera but only a few ever see a police officer. Despite millions of cameras, Britain’s crime rate is not significantly lower than comparable countries that do not have such a vast surveillance state.

“By introducing the system, the council appears to be wilfully ignoring all the evidence about how ineffective CCTV is at stopping crime and the serious civil liberties questions about how the technology could be abused.”

When asked, Glasgow City Council said it has “no plans to review this contract”.

Original report at Common Space 17 Feb 2-15

Go to coordin8 website and send a letter quickly and easily to all your Councillors opposing NICE technology in Glasgow and other Scottish cities.

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Israel and Settler Society by Lorenzo Veracini

The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.