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Month: February, 2016

BDS in the US: Boycott Israel movement gains support – Al Jazeera English

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The United Methodist church joins BDS movement amid growing global campaign from activists to boycott Israel

New York, United States – Since January, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for the economic and cultural isolation of Israel until it complies with international law on Palestinian rights, has seen a lot of action.

In January, the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) announced its decision to divest from five Israeli banks it said failed to meet its 2015 investment criteria based on human rights and excessive sustainability risks.

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Saudi Arabia versus Lebanon

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Only Separation Can Lead to a Two-State Solution – Isaac Herzog/The New York Times

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Israel and Palestine, in Posters

Jerusalem — The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its post-1967 incarnation has been raging for nearly 49 years, with no solution in sight. Several Israeli prime ministers, including Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, made great efforts to reach a permanent agreement, only for the Palestinians to decline, while Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was met not by peace and quiet, but by rockets and terror tunnels. The terror wave of recent months, in which Israeli civilians have been victims of stabbings, shootings and car attacks, has further eroded the faith of Israeli moderates in the prospects of attaining peace.

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The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the “dumbing down” of America – Ray Williams/SignOfTheTimes.com

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There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.

Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason, says in an article in theWashington Post, “Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans’ rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism.”

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Donald Trump flip-flopping on KKK endoresement – Video Editorial/Plato’s Guns

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The Republican frontrunner clearly and repeatedly declined to renounce the support of white supremacists—reinforcing questions about his rhetoric.

The Atlantic further says:

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Hillary Clinton 2016 election parody song

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Erdogan, Genocide, and ISIS: The Sultan is Doomed – Michael Collins/The Vineyard of the Saker

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Turkish President Recep Teyyip Erdogan’s attempts to demonize the Syrian Kurd’s YPG army and threaten and bully the United States are having the net effect of creating a powerful movement for his removal based on a rationale that will encourage the public in the United States and Europe to forget the real culprits in the tragic attack on Syria and focus on charges of genocide leveled against ISIS. The genocide charge will be tied to Erdogan as a result of his documented support for ISIS and ultimately doom his increasingly dictatorial rule of Turkey. Rather than divert the attention of Turks from his crimes and massive negligence as a means to preserve his power, Erdogan’s castigation of the Kurds and, more significantly, his public blackmail of the U.S. will spell his doom in the near future.

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Canada jumps on the anti-BDS bandwagon – Antonia Zerbisias/Al Jazeera English

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The motion to condemn BDS can pass constitutional muster, but Canadians will be intimidated into total silence now.

Last week, Canada jumped on the anti-BDS bandwagon, joining France, the United Kingdom and, as recent congressional rumbles become a roar, the United States.

The irony is, the motion to “reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement” was not passed under the former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dubbed “a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people”.

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Testing Out Repression in Israel – Dennis J Bernstein/Consortiumnews

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Jeff Halper, co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, sees the brutal practice of destroying Palestinian homes and similar tactics as part of an experiment in social repression that can have broader implications as income inequality spreads across the globe, as he told Dennis J Bernstein.

Israeli author and human rights activist Jeff Halper who has challenged the Israeli practice of destroying Palestinian homes (usually for simply building after being denied a permit) attempts to answer the question why the world continues to accept such repeated brutalities perpetrated by the Israelis against a million-plus locked-down, very poor Palestinians.

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Hilary Clinton’s South Carolina Victory Speech – February 27th, 2016

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Donald Trump’s Rise is a Scarey Moment in America

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This new poll is utterly devastating for Marco Rubio – Andrew Prokop/Vox

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Donald trump_2_election_thumbnail_240x240

A lot can go wrong for Republican elites in the next few weeks of the primary. But the absolute worst-case scenario for them is if Donald Trump racks up a winning streak that culminates with him beating Marco Rubio in Florida.

Well, that’s exactly what’s on track to happen, according to a newly released poll by Quinnipiac — and it’s not even close.

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Former Mexican President to Trump: ‘I’m not going to pay for that fucking wall’

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Israel is on the Brink of a Tyranny of the Majority – Jonathan cook/InformationClearingHouse

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By discrediting and disenfranchising Palestinian parliament members, Israel’s democracy is being exposed as a facade.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Tel Aviv is drafting legislation that ought to resolve in observers’ minds the question of whether Israel is the democracy it proudly claims to be. The bill empowers a three-quarters majority of the Israeli parliament to oust a sitting MP.

It breathes new life into the phrase “tyranny of the majority”. But in this case, the majority will be Jewish MPs oppressing their Palestinian colleagues.

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Republican Presidential Debate – February 25th, 2016

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A Plea for Reason on Israel – Alon Ben-Meir/Consortiumnews

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Alon Ben-Meir, born to an Iraqi Jewish family and a longtime negotiator between Israelis and Arabs, has faced accusations of over-optimism on the possibilities of peace but has now reluctantly concluded that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has no interest in reconciliation, prompting this open letter called “a plea for reason.”

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

I write this letter to you with a heavy heart as it pains me deeply to see the beautiful dream of a strong and proud Israel, the country that was expected to embrace what is virtuous, moral, and just, now losing its reason for being — as a free and secure Jewish state living in peace and harmony with its neighbors.

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War, What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing. – Tom Engelhardt/The Unz Review

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And No Kidding, That’s the Literal Truth When It Comes to War, American-Style

It may be hard to believe now, but in 1970 the protest song “War,” sung by Edwin Starr, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That was at the height of the Vietnam antiwar movement and the song, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, became something of a sensation. Even so many years later, who could forget its famed chorus? “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” Not me. And yet heartfelt as the song was then — “War, it ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker. War, it’s got one friend, that’s the undertaker…” — it has little resonance in America today.

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Rubio hits Trump on Israel – Eliza Collins/POLITICO

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In a rare frontal assault on Donald Trump, Marco Rubio on Wednesday attacked the GOP front-runner by name for his statements on Israel.

“The front-runner in this race, Donald Trump, has said he’s not going to take sides on Israel versus the Palestinians because he wants to be an honest broker,” the Florida senator said during a rally in Houston. “Well, there is no such thing as an honest broker in that. Because the Palestinian Authority, which has strong links to terror, they teach little kids that it’s a glorious thing to kill Jews.”

Rubio also questioned Trump’s lack of fluency on foreign policy in general.

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Where do the candidates stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? – Ali Harb/The Arab American News

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Arab American voters may disagree on many issues, but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one area where almost all Arabs would call for a more balanced U.S. approach. The 68-year-old war is at the center of geopolitical and sectarian feuds in the Middle East.

But most major candidates seem to be competing over who will be more supportive of the Zionist state.

All candidates say they favor the two-state solution. But they have barely addressed the ongoing Zionist colonization of the West Bank — the land on which the Palestinian state would be established.

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Activist Interrupts Clinton at Private Function

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Youth activist Ashley Williams demanded that the Democratic presidential candidate account for inconsistencies in her record on race, specifically around comments she made about crime in 1996.  Williams (and a colleague) had contributed some $500 to attend the Clinton event, held at a private residence with some 100 guests were attending.

Week twenty of the Russian military intervention in Syria: a ceasefire and yet another huge victory for Russia – The Vineyard of the Saker

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The recent agreement between the USA and Russia really solves nothing, it does not even end the war, and both sides are expressing a great deal of caution about its future implementation.  And yet, this is a huge victory for Russia.  While it is too early to say that “the Russian won in Syria”, I think that it is now fair to say that the Russian position on Syria has won.  Here is why:

First: nobody is suggesting anymore that Assad will be ousted or Damascus taken.  That, in turn, means that everybody has now recognized that Syrian Arab Republic, backed by Russia, has successfully repelled the aggression of the huge coalition the AngloZionists built to overthrow Assad.

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How a Generation Lost Its Common Culture – Patrick Deneen/MindingTheCampus.org

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TITANIC WESTERN WORLD

My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture.

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1914 and Aleppo – Paul Pillar/The National Interest

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The centenary in 2014 of the outbreak of World War I elicited comparisons between the circumstances of the European crisis that touched off that horrendous conflict and conditions that surround current international conflicts. Many such comparisons focused on how confrontations involving an increasingly assertive China might spin out of control. Graham Allison, for example, wrote of how a possible confrontation in the East China Sea involving Japan could carry such a danger. A rising China throwing its increasing weight around the Far East does indeed offer some of the most plausible scenarios for escalation of local crises into much bigger war. But so does the multifaceted civil war in Syria, as underscored by some of the most recent developments in the northwest of that country.

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On the front line with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards battling outside Aleppo – Robert Fisk/The Independent

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We knew who they were the moment they approached us on the front line outside Aleppo. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards – no longer merely advisers but fighting troops alongside the Syrian army – emerged on the roadside in their grey-patterned camouflage fatigues, speaking good though not perfect Arabic but chatting happily in Persian when they knew we could understand them.

Why, they asked politely – they were courteous, but very suspicious in the first few minutes – were we filming this part of their line? A mortar exploded in a field to our right – sent over either by Isis or by Jabhat al-Nusra – and we had filmed its cloud of brown smoke as it drifted eastwards.

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Noam Chomsky: We Owe the Rise of Trump to Fear and the ‘Breakdown of Society’ – Aaron Williams/Alternet

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Noam Chomsky, 87, is without a doubt the most significant academic figure to cast a highly critical eye on U.S. foreign policies. The 2016 U.S. presidential primaries are in motion and with democratic socialist Bernie Sanders challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, it may be prudent for valued thinkers like Chomsky to turn that eye in on American soil and the inner gears of its political machine.

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Iran offers financial reward for families of potential Palestinian ‘intifada martyrs’ – Maayan Croisman/Jerusalem Post

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The Islamic Republic of Iran announced on Wednesday its support for the “Jerusalem intifada” that Israel has been witnessing for the past five months, declaring that it would give financial rewards to families of Palestinian terrorists.

Speaking at a press conference in Beirut on Wednesday, with the participation of several leaders of Palestinian factions, Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Fathali, said: “Continuing Iran’s support for the oppressed Palestinian people, Iran announces the provision of financial aid to families of Palestinian martyrs who were killed in the “Jerusalem intifada.”

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Yes, I Said “National Liberation” – Robin D.G. Kelley/CounterPunch

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“You can’t trust a big grip and a smile
And I slang rocks Palestinian style”

– “The Shipment,” Steal This Album by The Coup

For the past thirty-five years, “Free Palestine” has been etched into my political vocabulary. In the movement circles that nurtured and trained me, “Free Palestine” rolled off the tongue as easily as “Free South Africa,” “Free the Land,” “A Luta Continua,” “Power to the People,” and the ubiquitous “El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido!” I was a sophomore in college when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, in order to drive out the exiled Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Two years later, as a first-year graduate student and chair of UCLA’s African Activists Association, I invited representatives of the PLO to participate in our fifth annual conference on imperialism. We received hate mail and death threats from the Jewish Defense League, and the university administration leaned on us to withdraw the invitation. But we prevailed. Read the rest of this entry »

‘The Debateful Eight’: The Simpsons mock the 2016 Election

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Vladimir Putin: Special Statement on Cessation of Hostilites in Syria

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10 Most Intelligent People Alive Today – AnonymousNews

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Call them geeks, nerds or super sharp intellectuals – these 10 smart geniuses have the brightest minds in the world…

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