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Month: October, 2015

Hamilton vs. J.K. Rowling, Round Two – Omar Robert Hamilton/CounterPunch

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On Monday, CounterPunch ran an article by Omar Robert Hamilton that responded to JK Rowling’s joint letter to defend Israel. This was one amongst many responses to her letter. JK Rowling responded, and Omar responded to her. We run both below.

JK Rowling Responds:

I’ve had a number of readers asking for more information about why I am not joining a cultural boycott of Israel, so here it is:

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Walmart taking heat over Israeli soldier costume for Halloween – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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Walmart is facing a backlash over an Israeli soldier costume on sale for Halloween.

The costume, which resembles a uniform worn by Israeli soldiers in elite combat units, is available on the discount department store chain’s website for $27.44, reduced from $57.62.

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How the Middle East Conflict Is Warping Judaism – Jeremy Kalmanofsky/Forward.com

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Sunday will be the 12th of Cheshvan, a grim anniversary: 20 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. He was shot on a Saturday night after the world’s synagogues read the Torah portion Lech Lecha, the first night of the week looking toward the next reading, VaYera, the “binding of Isaac.”

But in real life, unlike in the biblical story of human sacrifice, no angel narrowly averted the disaster.

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This is Netanyahu’s horror: “An open unleashing of raw racism that has always been a part of Israeli society” – Cecilie Surasky/Salon.com

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Last month, I wandered the former ghettos of Warsaw and Bialystok and visited the haunting memorials of Treblinka, all places where my family members lived their last moments. I clutched in my hands copies of one of the desperate letters from my great grandmother, hand-redacted and stamped with swastikas; lists of the dead; and smiling photos of my dad’s aunts, uncles and cousins, on a busy downtown street, blissfully unaware of the tidal wave of destruction coming their way.

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Sheldon Adelson: Profile of an Israel-Firster Billionaire – Institute for Policy Studies

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Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and one of the wealthiest men in the world, is an important financier of hawkish “pro-Israel” groups, as well as a prominent supporter of rightwing politicians in both the United States and Israel. Among the organizations he has backed are the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Zionist Organization of America, Freedom’s Watch, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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Saudi Arabia’s Royal Drug Problem – Siobhán O’Grady/Foreign Policy

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A Saudi prince and four others were reportedly arrested in Lebanon Monday after authorities found more than two tons of illegal drugs, including cocaine and the amphetamine Captagon, in crates loaded onto a Saudi-bound jet.

But if history is any indication of his fate, the unidentified member of the royal family may be let off the hook if he can find his way home, where other members of his sprawling family tree have previously avoided international accusations of drug smuggling under protection in Riyadh.

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Speech code backers at UC, including its president, want tough criticism of Israel labeled ‘anti-Semitism’ – Sarah Kaplan/The Washington Post

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As clashes between Israelis and Palestinians heat up overseas, a war over the words used to talk about the conflict is unfolding at the University of California.

The debate, which took over a school forum in Los Angeles Monday, is as much about campus culture as it is about Israel, and it touches on all the topics that have made colleges the target of discussion and derision in recent months: diversity, tolerance, censorship, the increasingly unstable distinction between words that are unwelcome and speech that is truly threatening.

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The Dreaded ‘A’ Word

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Neocons Launch 2016 Manifesto – Jim Lobe/LobeLog

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American Neocon

A mostly neoconservative group of national-security analysts have published perhaps the first comprehensive outline of what they believe a Republican foreign policy should look like as of Inauguration Day 2017. It’s titled “Choosing to Lead: American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World.” Although it concedes that “there are limitations on American power,” according to the book’s “Forward” by former George W. Bush speechwriter, Peter Wehner, all of the contributors

…understand, too, that with the right leadership and policies in place, the United States can once again be a guarantor of global order and peace, a champion of human rights, and a beacon of economic growth and human flourishing. There is no reason the 21st century cannot be the next American Century. …Choosing to Lead offers perspectives and recommendations on how to make the next American Century happen. In doing so, we believe it will serve the world as well as the United States of America.[Emphasis added.]

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343 UK academics boycott universities in Israel to fight for Palestinians’ rights – Peter Walker, Ian Black/The Guardian

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British and Israeli governments condemn pledge by 343 professors and lecturers who criticise what they call ‘Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land’

More than 300 academics from dozens of British universities have pledged to boycott Israeli academic institutions in protest at what they call intolerable human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

The declaration, by 343 professors and lecturers, is printed in a full-page advertisement carried in Tuesday’s Guardian, with the title: “A commitment by UK scholars to the rights of Palestinians.”
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What’s the appeal of a Caliphate? – History/BBC Magazine

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Abd-ar-Rahman III (889- 961). Emir and Caliph of Al-Andalus  Abd-ar-Rahman III (889- 961) – Emir and Caliph of Al-Andalus

In June the leader of Islamic State declared the creation of a caliphate stretching across parts of Syria and Iraq – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi named himself the caliph or leader. Edward Stourton examines the historical parallels and asks what is a caliphate, and what is its appeal?

When Islamic State (IS) declared itself a caliphate in June this year, and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claimed the title of caliph, it seemed confirmation of the group’s reputation for megalomania and atavistic fantasy. Al-Baghdadi insisted that pledging allegiance to this caliphate was a religious obligation on all Muslims – an appeal which was immediately greeted by a chorus of condemnation across the Middle East.

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The Neocon Hunger for Universal Empire by — Dan Sanchez/Antiwar.com

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Embracing the Dark Side for their Galactic Ambitions

When Bill Kristol watches Star Wars movies, he roots for the Galactic Empire. The leading neocon recently caused a social media disturbance in the Force when he tweeted this predilection for the Dark Side following the debut of the final trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Kristol sees the Empire as basically a galaxy-wide extrapolation of what he has long wanted the US to have over the Earth: what he has termed “benevolent global hegemony.”

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MSNBC Opts To Apologize After Airing Map Of Disappearing Palestine – Kit O’Connell/MintPress

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Before MSNBC’s apology, pro-Palestinian activists praised the segment as a rare instance of mainstream media honesty about Israeli occupation.

NEW YORK — Earlier this month, MSNBC aired a well-known, but controversial graphic that illustrates how Israel has taken over Palestine as the occupation of the region has grown over time.

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FRONTLINE – Lunch With Pro-Assad Militia Commander

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s Latest Rejection Of A Palestinian State – Jessica Schulberg/HuffPo

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WASHINGTON — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed on Monday that he does not envision a two-state solution for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories any time soon.

During a parliamentary committee meeting, Netanyahu told members of the Knesset that he has no current plans to surrender control of the occupied West Bank to the Palestinians as part of a peace agreement. “At this time, we need to control all of the territory for the foreseeable future,” he told lawmakers, reported Haaretz.

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Russian Warships Shut Down Israeli Air Force Access to Syria – ELI/SOFREP.COM

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russian air defense in syria

The Israeli air force has an impressive reputation. As a son of an IAF veteran, I grew up hearing stories and watching runways.

I was told tales of daring dogfights against the Egyptian spitfires in the early days, or the overwhelming casualties the IAF caused to the Egyptian air force during the Six-Day War in 1967 — a total of 452 Arab aircraft were destroyed, 49 of which were aerial victories.

Over the years, the IAF has become more technologically advanced and is now an important part of our national security.

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Trump: World Better with Hussein and Gaddafi in Power

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Top ‘most-read’ articles at Washington Post site are harshly critical of Israel – Philip Weiss/Mondoweiss.net

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The leftwing movement of criticism of Israel is getting more and more mainstream by the second. Everyone is walking the path; they’re just getting there a little later. The Washington Post, a hotbed of neoconservative ideas for the last 15 years, has another article harshly critical of Israel today, written by an Israeli. And guess what: that article along with yesterday’s article by the two prestige Jewish academics calling for boycott of Israel are the two “most-read” articles on the Post list this morning!
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J. K. Rowling and the Prisoners of Israel – Omar Robert Hamilton/CounterPunch

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“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic” –  J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2007.

How disappointing to see JK Rowling and Hilary Mantel signing this nefarious letter calling for the need for ‘cultural bridges’ with Israel.

The letter, assembled by a new organisation calling itself Culture for Co-Existence, is a litany of the tired tropes and doublespeak employed by Israel and her apologists.

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Construction of a New World Order for the 21st Century Has Begun

by Taxi

Now that Russian military operations against ISIS in Syria are well underway, with much success already scored and final victory is but certain, Russia launches forth into an impeccably timed diplomatic offensive that seeks to establish a foundation for a new world order for the 21st century.

As current events fast unfold, we are observing Putin’s masterful use of both hard power and soft power to achieve this highly complex and dangerous restructuring.

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America is changing its mind on Israel: How Netanyahu is alienating his most essential ally – David Palumbo-Liu/Salon.com

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The most recent flare-up in the Middle East reveals America’s shifting political fault lines

The current violence in Israel-Palestine—immediately following the debate about the Iran arms deal, which revealed growing fissures in American support of Israel–has brought the conflict into the foreground of U.S. political discourse. The absence of any serious mention of Israel-Palestine during the first Democratic presidential debate thus speaks volumes. It tells us that even as polls show more and more of the Democratic base shifting its support away from Israel, the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination are reluctant to talk about Israel. It will be interesting to see if they shift their stances at all in the next few months, given the stakes that are emerging. Recent polls have shown that Latinos, a critical constituency, are lending their sympathy to the Palestinians. They join the young, progressives, Blacks, and Asian Americans. This is not only the perception of supporters of Palestinian rights, this point of view is shared by advocates of Israel as well.

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Pro-Israel Article by French Philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy Disappears From Facebook – Algemeiner.com

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  Egoist!

Amid a flurry of criticism directed at social networking giant Facebook over its policing, or lack thereof, of anti-Israel and antisemitic hate, a staunchly pro-Israel article by a renowned personality has mysteriously been wiped from the network’s pages.

The article, entitled Things We Need to Stop Hearing About the ‘Stabbing Intifada,’ was penned by famed French philosopher and activist Bernard-Henri Lévy and published exclusively by The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
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Israel’s Irresponsible Arabs – Shmuel Rosner/The New York Times

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TEL AVIV — The northern Israeli city of Nazareth witnessed an incredible confrontation on Oct. 11. Two Muslim men, both leaders in the Arab Israeli community, had a verbal duel in the public square. And the stakes for their community could not be higher.

Knesset member Ayman Odeh, the head of the third-largest party in Israel’s Parliament, the United Arab Party, was there for a TV interview. He was standing on the sidewalk, adjusting his earphone, when a white car suddenly stopped beside him. From that car, to Mr. Odeh’s visible astonishment, the mayor of Nazareth, Ali Salam, began raging at him: “Go away … get out of here … you’ve ruined this city … what are you doing to us … you’ve burned the whole world.”

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Controversial Detroit Billboard Upsets the ADL

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Israel’s Chance to Forge a Two-State Peace Amid Terrorism – Ronald S. Lauder/HuffPo

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After weeks of horrific violence in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas separately last week.

It is about time for the Obama administration to re-engage in the Middle East peace process. But the onus for getting back to talks does not lie at the feet of the United States. The parties themselves must come back to the negotiating table without delay and without preconditions.

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The Lost Cause of Israeli Justice – Lawrence davidson/Consortiumnews

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dove stuck in star of david fence 0831LETTERS-master675

When Israel was founded, there was hope among progressive Jews that the new country could rely on the best traditions of Judaism and teach the world how to navigate the shoals of bigotry and injustice, a vision that remains unfulfilled, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

An ideologue is someone who sees the world in the limiting terms of a doctrine or dogma. It is limiting because the human world does not operate or evolve according to any one dogma. Therefore ideologues must wear blinders that result in tunnel vision – a tunnel which, like a Procrustean bed, tries to force the world to fit their chosen ideology.

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′Every dark skin in Israel is now a target′ – Dana Regev/DW.COM

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The recent escalation in violence between Israelis and Palestinians has conjured up an old demon from Israel’s past: racism and discrimination against Jews, by Jews.

The recent wave of violence between Palestinians and Israeli Jews has already left at least 49 Palestinians dead, including the alleged attackers. Eight other Israelis have been killed in the attacks, but two additional casualties generated extreme reactions among the Israeli public.

One of them was an Eritrean asylum seeker, who was killed after being mistaken for an assailant. He was shot by an Israeli security guard while crawling on the floor, after an Arab gunman opened fire in a central bus station, killing an Israeli soldier and wounding nine others.

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Caught Between Protesters and Israel, Palestinian Security Forces Shift Tactics – Diaa Hadid, Rami Nazzal/The New York Times

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OCCUPIED EL-BIREH, West Bank — The Palestinian security officers in civilian clothes were nearly indiscernible amid the chaos of young protesters rushing to hurl rocks at Israeli soldiers and scrambling from the gunshots and tear gas they received in return.

One officer chatted with two paramedics. Another watched from his car as young women assembled firebombs. Two others mingled with onlookers sitting on a rocky rise nearby, watching the demonstration below.

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Noam Chomsky blasts modern GOP as extremists whose only policy is ‘don’t do anything or bomb’

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Veto under fire as United Nations turns 70 – Carole Landry/AFP

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https://i0.wp.com/cdn.munplanet.com/storage/uploads/52209627db7c13603b000001/image/data/55589fd9db7c1311bc0001b1/large_k.jpg?resize=500%2C330

United Nations (United States) – More than 100 countries on Friday challenged Security Council powers to restrict their use of the veto as the United Nations turned 70, with a joint pledge not to oppose resolutions on mass atrocities.

The initiative is aimed at avoiding the kind of gridlock that has paralyzed the Security Council on Syria, with Russia and China vetoing any attempt to sanction the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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