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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Former Biden nominee says US creating Israel ‘litmus test’ after rescinding human rights post | Middle East Eye

Posted by M. C. on February 22, 2023

Human rights lawyer James Cavallaro warns Biden administration’s decision is contributing to pattern of censoring speech critical of Israel

Remember when congress invited Netanyahu take Obama to task in a speech before congress? It makes you wonder who is pulling the strings.

After having his nomination to an independent international human rights post rescinded by the Biden administration, US academic James Cavallaro has warned that the Biden administration is contributing to a pattern of cracking down on speech critical of Israel.

“I’m used to being attacked for doing human rights work. I would say it’s at a minimum disconcerting to feel that I’m being attacked by my own government for defending human rights, but unfortunately, I’ve hit a raw nerve,” Cavallaro said in an interview with Middle East Eye on Tuesday.

“Now you have a litmus test – think about this – you have a litmus test on Israel-Palestine for independent experts in human rights bodies in the western hemisphere.”

Cavallaro is a human rights lawyer who has taught at top American law schools, including Harvard and Stanford, and he currently teaches at Yale and UCLA. He was originally nominated by the State Department on 10 February for a position on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), referring to both north and south America.

It was not a guarantee that he would be selected, since a seat on the commission requires a vote from all members of the Organization of American States (OAS), but the State Department told Cavallaro they wanted him to be the US nominee.

‘Criticise Israel, you can be cancelled’: Outrage after former HRW chief denied Harvard fellowship

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The position appeared to be a natural fit for Cavallaro, given his extensive experience and work on human rights in Latin America over the past several decades. He opened a Human Rights Watch office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and previously worked in groups opposing rights abuses by the government of former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet.

He had also already served on IACHR, serving as president from 2016 to 2017, under the Barack Obama administration. 

“When they nominated me in 2013, what the folks inside State told me is one of the reasons we’re nominating you is because you’re very distant from US government,” he told MEE.

But just several days after his nomination was announced this month, Cavallaro said he received a message from Algemeiner, a New York-based news website, asking him to comment on past social media posts.

The news site had found a number of tweets Cavallaro wrote, in which he called Israel an apartheid state and also said that Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader, was “bought” and “controlled” by the Israeli lobby.

See the rest here

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Israel helps Ukraine whitewash its Nazis

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2022

It’s OK with US (government). It (you) is paying to support them.

Asa Winstanley and Ali Abunimah

A man in military uniform overlooks a desert
Wearing the “Wollfsangel” symbol used by Hitler’s fighters in World War II, Ukrainian Azov fighter Illia Samoilenko vists the Masada archelogical site in Israel. (AzovstalFam/Twitter)

Representatives of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion have been touring Israel to drum up support for the unit’s imprisoned fighters. They have been meeting with Israeli politicians and soldiers.

Azov intelligence officer Illia Samoilenko was released in a prisoner exchange with Russia in September.

He had been one of the hundreds of Azov fighters who surrendered in May at the end of the long Russian siege of the eastern city of Mariupol.

“Israel values freedom, values strength, Israel values honor. It’s the same things that we also value,” he told Israeli newspaper Haaretz this week.

Samoilenko also told The Times of Israel that “he sees Israel and Ukraine on the same side, the civilized battling the uncivilized in a struggle for the future of humanity,” the outlet summarized.

“We have prosperity, beautiful, prosperous, beautiful civilization, and they have medieval cavemen,” he said. It seems the “they” in this case are the Palestinians and the Russians, who Samoilenko regards as “uncivilized.”

Along for the Israeli tour with Samoilenko is Yulia Fedosiuk, the wife of an imprisoned Azov fighter and a far-right activist in her own right.

Both were on a charm offensive this week, as part of a wider push to whitewash Azov’s image in the West.

Three people in suits pose for a photo
Azov members Illia Samoilenko and Yulia Fedosiuk met with Naama Lazimi of Israel’s Labor Party. (AzovstalFam/Twitter)

Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, it was widely acknowledged that the Azov Battalion promoted Nazi ideology.

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Israel Murders Palestinian-American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Posted by M. C. on May 12, 2022

by Kyle Anzalone

Twitter/ @assaf_khuloud

Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed by Israeli forces outside of Jenin. A second reporter Ali Samoodi was shot and wounded. 

Samoodi, who was near Abu Akleh when she was murdered, reported they came under fire from Israeli occupation forces without warning. “They didn’t ask us to leave and they didn’t ask us to stop (filming). They fired at us. One bullet hit me and another hit Shireen. They killed her in cold blood,” he said. 

In videos showing the moments after Abu Akleh was shot, both Abu Akleh and a second journalist are wearing internationally recognized bulletproof vests marked “PRESS.” The video also shows the gunmen continuing to fire on the journalists after Akleh was shot. 

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TGIF: Congress Again Rewards Israel’s Misdeeds

Posted by M. C. on March 18, 2022

The Abraham Accords just happen to be one Trump accomplishment that most Democrats, including Joe Biden, love. In January the House and Senate both created bipartisan Abraham Accords Caucuses “to build on the success of the historic” agreements. According to the House news release:

For decades, Congress [back pat] has played a key role in promoting peace between Israel and its neighbors. The Caucus will provide an opportunity to strengthen the Abraham Accords by encouraging and [sic] partnerships among the existing Abraham Accords countries and expanding the agreement to include countries that do not currently have diplomatic relations with Israel.

I can hear the cha-ching already.

by Sheldon Richman

To judge by what Congress is up to these days, one would think that it wants to reward Israel for its relentless confiscation of Palestinian land and continued ethnic cleansing.

Congress — which is not only interested in “the Benjamins,” that is, Israel Lobby contributions — is surely operating in what Yakov Hirsch calls “hasbara culture,” according to which anyone who objects to any action of the state of Israel, especially where the Palestinians are concerned, is without question an anti-Semite. In this view, the presence of anti-Semitism is a certainty; the only question is how it manifests itself in any given situation. (The resemblance to critical race theory is striking.)

How do hasbara culturalists know that Israel’s critics are anti-Semites?

They know because, by unexamined yet indefeasible assumption, no other explanation is conceivable. If you offer an alternative, good-faith explanation for the objection, then you too must be an anti-Semite. After all, again by indefeasible assumption, if Israel is the paragon of virtue, if its military is the most moral military on earth, how could any objection be made in good faith? It certainly can’t be that Zionists, whether acting individually or through the Jewish State, could have done anything wrong. That would be blaming the victim, which is (in this case only) is strictly forbidden. (I say Zionist because not all Jews are Zionists — far from it — and not all Zionists are Jews, even if most are. And yet even that term is unsatisfactory because some self-identified “liberal Zionists” also condemn Israeli apartheid.)

Of course, the flip side of hasbara culture is the dehumanization of Palestinians, who are always to blame — even when they appear to be victims. (Readers can sort out that horrifying irony for themselves.) One must never regard the Palestinians as bonafide rights-bearing individuals and members of an ethnic group who could have real century-old grievances against the Zionist movement, the group of European Jews who settler-colonized Arab-majority Palestine and created a Jewish State (in an ethnic, not religious, sense). Rather, the Palestinians are merely the latest rightless embodiments of a permanent and evil, almost nonmaterial, historical force — anti-Semitism — that has taken different physical forms throughout history. By that assumption, Palestinian anger at the self-proclaimed Jewish State can be nothing but anti-Semitism, full stop.

The Viennese social critic Karl Kraus (1874-1936) once said that you can identify a madman by how agitated he becomes when locked up in a madhouse. By the same token, you can identify an anti-Semite by how agitated he becomes when dispossessed by a Zionist settler. Only an anti-Semite would fuss about that rigged game.

Anyway, though the year is still young, members of the House and Senate have been busy finding ways to help Israel. Understanding hasbara culture helps us make sense of it.

Just a few days ago the House and Senate passed the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021 (H.R. 2748). Writing at, the invaluable watchdog site for Israel’s apartheid oppression of Palestinians, Nadya Tannous and Cat Knarr point out that the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights has dubbed the bill  “the Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act.”

The bill would accomplish several things. For example, Tannous and Knarr write, it

expands the Abraham Accords, Trump-era weapons and business deals between apartheid Israel and other authoritarian regimes. These deals bribe Arab countries in the region to both ignore Israel’s settler colonialism and constant human rights violations and, indeed, to regionally align with the US and Israeli policy and aspirations for the region in exchange for large weapons packages.

You’ll recall that when Donald Trump and his underachiever son-in-law, Jared Kushner, failed to broker the “real estate deal of the century” between the Israelis and Palestinians — because it ignored Palestinians’ rights — Team Trump tried something else: so-called peace deals between Israel and (so far) these Arab states: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. These are the Abraham Accords, which entail allegedly breakthrough mutual diplomatic recognition. Saudi Arabia already has a close working relationship with Israel.

How did Trump do it? As Tannous and Knarr note, by offering arms and business deals to the participants. The Trump administration, in other words, bought the cynical Arab regimes, which have always been ready to sell out the Palestinians for the right price. And what did Israel get? Further Arab acquiescence in its intolerable treatment of the Palestinians.

See the rest here

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Israel is overrun with Covid. The vaccines have failed. The experiment must stop.

Posted by M. C. on January 29, 2022

Alex Berenson

Israel has always been the most important country to judge the mRNA Covid vaccines.


It has nearly total adult vaccine coverage. Efforts to blame “the unvaccinated” for whatever is happening won’t hold. Israel has good data – far more complete and up-to-date than American figures. And it vaccinates quickly, so whatever impact the vaccines are having rolls through the population (and the data) quickly.

But most of all, Israel matters because Israel was first. It mass vaccinated with Pfizer’s mRNA first and it boosted first. And human biology is the same everywhere.

So what happens in Israel happens in all the other mRNA countries eventually. As the chief scientific officer of Pfizer said in September, Israel is a “sort of laboratory” for the vaccines.

Here’s how the Israeli experiment is going.

This chart tracks serious Covid cases (basically intensive care hospitalizations) in Israel from early 2020, the beginning of the epidemic:

(The United States has 36 times as many people as Israel, so 1,000 ICU patients translates into 36,000. Israel also has a relatively young population, meaning Covid will be less severe overall than in the US.)

See the rest here

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AN URGENT WARNING – by Alex Berenson – Unreported Truths

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2022

Incredibly high Covid vaccination rates, mostly with the mRNA vaccines.

mRNA Covid vaccinations and boosters need to stop worldwide while we figure out what is happening. Not next week. Not tomorrow.


Something is rotten in Denmark.

And Australia.

And Israel.

Where nearly 1 percent of the entire population just tested positive for Covid.

Not in a month. Or a week. In one day.

You read that right.

On Saturday, Israel had 84,000 new infections, the equivalent of almost 3 million in the United States. Infections in Israel have risen unthinkably fast since late December. They’re are up 100-fold in one month, driven by the collapse of booster protection and the arrival of the Omicron variant.

Israel is not alone. Denmark reported 42,000 cases yesterday, equal to almost 2.5 million in the United States. France, the second-largest country in Europe, reported the American equivalent of about 12 million new infections in the last week. Australia had a tremendous surge in cases earlier this month, though it seems to be subsiding for now.

Daily new infections in Israel:

These countries have very different population demographics and previous exposure to Covid. They even have very different weather; it is summer in Australia.

What do they share, then?

See the rest here

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Narrative Collapse! From England To Israel, Governments Race To Abandon Vaccine Passports!

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2022

Facing a fight for his political life, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced an abrupt end to England’s vaccine passport, mask mandates including in schools, and work-from-home orders as the Omicron “scare” fizzles. In Israel, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman is demanding an end to that country’s vax pass. The bricks are falling from this Berlin Wall. Also today: New footage of Ashli Babbitt will NOT please the Jan 6th Committee and a new study out of Brazil will not please Fauci.

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Israel Confirms Vaccine Fail Against Omicron: All Vaccine Mandates Must End Now – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2022

We also ask that all Covid passports schemes be revoked. Covid health passes do not serve any legitimate purpose since the vaccinated are not protected against infection, and, in fact, the data show that they are getting infected more readily than their unvaccinated counterparts. For some reason, Omicron seems to target the vaccinated especially.

By Vasko Kohlmayer

“The bottom line is that the vaccine is excellent against the Alpha and Delta [variants], for Omicron it’s not good enough” said Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay who led an Israeli experiment of assessing the effectives of the vaccine against corona’s latest variant.

Do you realize what this implies?

Given the fact that the vaccines do not work against Omicron and that Omicron is now the globally dominant Covid strain, it makes no logical or medical sense to continue with vaccinating and boostering at this time.

After all, why would anyone in their right mind needlessly inject people with failed protections that carry a risk of severe adverse reactions.

At this point we are out of vaccine options. No vaccine that is currently at our disposal can protect people from contracting and transmitting Omicron infection or reduce the severity of its symptoms.

We have seen that the opposite is actually the case: the vaccinated and the boostered are contracting omicron at higher rates than the unvaccinated.

This means that there is nothing we can do by way of vaccinal intervention with the shots that are available to us at the moment.

Here is the reality of our situation: We have come – at least for now – to the end of the vaccine road as far as Covid-19 is concerned. At this time, we simply possess no effective vaccine with which to tackle this disease.

This may change in the future, but for now this is the reality of our situation, and it is imperative that we clearly grasp and accept it so that we do not inflict any unnecessary injury or death.

Since the vaccines are ineffective against the prevailing variant, all Covid injectioneering has to stop. To give out any more shots of these vaccines – which we know do not work – is senseless and medically irresponsible.

Continuing vaccination under current circumstances can bring no benefit and will only result in needless harm. To pointlessly expose healthy people to potential injury would constitute medical malfeasance.

We, therefore, call upon health authorities, politicians, employers and schools to follow science and common sense.

The science and common sense clearly show that all vaccine and booster mandates need to be suspended.

We ask that this be done immediately and without delay.

We also ask that all Covid passports schemes be revoked. Covid health passes do not serve any legitimate purpose since the vaccinated are not protected against infection, and, in fact, the data show that they are getting infected more readily than their unvaccinated counterparts. For some reason, Omicron seems to target the vaccinated especially.

All throughout this pandemic we have been told by our politicians and health officials to follow the science. It is time for them to finally live up to their own teaching.

We ask them to do what is right in this situation: End all vaccine mandates and health pass schemes.

In the wake of the vaccinal failure, doing anything other would be medically negligent and scientifically unjustifiable.

Vasko Kohlmayer (email) was born and grew up in former communist Czechoslovakia. You can follow his writings by subscribing to his Substack newsletter ’Notes from the Twilight Zone’. He is the author of The West in Crisis: Civilizations and Their Death Drives.

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Biden’s efforts to appease Israel on Iran have failed on all fronts – Responsible Statecraft

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2021

It’s not the nuclear deal that’s the problem for Tel Aviv, but the very idea that Washington and Tehran would reach any detente at all.

What Israel doesn’t want they won’t get.

Written by
Trita Parsi

The New York Times Friday published an important analysis of ongoing U.S.-Israeli tensions over Washington’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which had succeeded in curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. As helpful as it is in understanding where things stand between Washington and Tel Aviv, however, the article misses a more fundamental takeaway from recent developments: Biden’s immense efforts to appease Israel in hopes of tempering the latter’s opposition to the JCPOA have not only failed but were likely based on faulty assumptions and were thus a mistake from the outset. 

Diverging Israeli and American views on the JCPOA is nothing new. But senior officials on the Biden team thought President Obama could have handled the Israelis better by coordinating more closely with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and actually heeding some of his hawkish advice. This belief, however, is unfounded.

The fundamental question is this: Are Israel and America’s views on a negotiated settlement with Iran ultimately reconcilable or not? Was there— and is there now — a way to clinch a lasting deal with Iran on its nuclear program that also satisfies Israel? 

The answer lies in understanding that the details of the deal are not the real problem. It’s rather the very idea of Washington and Tehran reaching any agreement that not only prevents Iran from developing a bomb, but also reduces U.S.-Iran tensions and lifts sanctions that have prevented Iran from enhancing its regional power. 

Many of Washington’s partners in the Middle East worry more about a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement and its geopolitical implications — a likely tilt in the regional balance of power in Iran’s favor, especially given the widespread perception the United States is eager to extricate itself from the neighborhood — than Iran’s nuclear advances. “So long as the United States works to contain Iran’s political influence and undermine its economy,” I wrote in Foreign Affairs in February, “the balance of the region will artificially tilt in favor of these states — a tilt that their own power cannot sustain.” 

Indeed, Obama’s fruitless efforts to persuade Washington’s regional partners and their allies in Washington to go along with the JCPOA had demonstrated that no amount of deference or consultation could change their categorical opposition to a deal with Iran. To the great frustration of some former Obama officials who had gone through this experience, the Biden team thought they could square this circle.

In December 2020, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes publicly implored Biden not to repeat this mistake: “I plead with [Biden],” he said on the PodSaveAmerica podcast. “Do not think there is any ounce of good faith that will be coming your way from Bibi Netanyahu, from MBS, and from the Tom Cottons of this world. These people have no interest in a deal. They’ve never had an interest in a deal,” he declared. “How many times do we have to go through this play? This is in the hands of the Biden people to say: ‘We don’t need to listen to these people.’”

But Biden chose to listen to them. Instead of returning to the JCPOA in the first days and weeks of his administration, critical time and effort were spent trying to persuade Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to get onboard with diplomacy. 

See the rest here

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You will NEVER be “fully vaccinated” – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2021

It’s time everyone realised they are chasing an intentionally impossible goal that will be pushed back over the horizon, forever.

Kit Knightly

Yesterday, in a statement to Parliament on the UK’s planned “vaccine passport”, Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted the NHS Pass would require three shots for you to be considered “fully vaccinated”.

“Once all adults have had a reasonable chance to get their booster jab, we intend to change this exemption to require a booster dose,”

While many of us predicted this would be the case, it is the first time any British politician has actually said it out loud, and in front of parliament too.

This incredibly cynical “evolving definition” of “fully vaccinated” is not a new phenomenon, and is not isolated to the UK either.

Israel changed their definition of “fully vaccinated” to include the booster months ago. New Zealand’s ministry of health is “considering” doing the same, as is Australia.

The EU isn’t far behind either, with proposals in place to make travel dependent on having a third dose.

The US hasn’t formally adopted a new definition yet, but you’d have to be blind not to see the signs. Just yesterday the LA Times headlined:

Should the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ be changed to include a booster shot?

An article on Kaiser Health News asks the same thing.

Tony Fauci is quoted in the Independent as saying it’s only a matter of time before the definition is updated:

“It’s going to be a matter of when, not if” getting a booster shot will be considered being “fully vaccinated,” Dr Fauci said.

Opinion pieces are already appearing asking is it safe to hangout with the unboosted”?

(This headline was so unpopular, the Atlantic changed it only a couple of hours after it was published, and even the archived version appears to have been scrubbed).

All in all it seems pretty clear that, by the time 2022 rolls around, most of the Western world will require three shots in order to qualify as “fully vaccinated”.

It’s also clear that this won’t stop at three. Already, just last week, Pfizer were claiming they may need to “move up the timeline” for a fourth vaccine dose.

This change is being blamed on Omicron, with articles warning the “new variant” can “hit” the vaccinated. Fortune reports:

Omicron is making scientists redefine what it means to be ‘fully vaccinated’ against COVID

So, the third (and maybe fourth) doses are (allegedly) for Omicron…but that model can extend to perpetuity. In order to go to five, six or seven they’ll only need to “discover” more “new variants”.

It will just keep going and going.

But there is good news in all this, every time the powers-that-shouldn’t-be change the rules in the middle of the game, it’s a chance to knock people out of their media-induced hypnosis.

There are promising signs that millions of already-vaccinated will reject the booster. We can build on that.

So tell your single and double jabbed friends, try to open their eyes to the path they are starting down.

They may consider themselves “fully vaccinated”, but the government doesn’t, and never will.

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