Re: Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine | 'We will remain in Jerusalem, defending our religious sites and endowments. We reject the policies of the occupation. We will not surrender'...

Re:  Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine

Re: Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine

Re: Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine

Re: Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine

Re: Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine

Re: Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine
Re: Hanna: Christians must defend Palestine
  • By: middleeastmonitor.com
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The Palestinian Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna, has spoken out against the Israeli occupation and stressed his support for the Palestinian people and cause, urging Christians around the world to do the same.

Speaking exclusively to MEMO at the “First Global Conference on Israeli Apartheid”, which took place in Istanbul last week, Hanna said: “The city of Jerusalem is the city of the three Abrahamic religions…Christian and Muslim Palestinians living in Jerusalem suffer from the occupation, suffer from repression, tyranny and oppression.”

He emphasised the increasing policies enforcing apartheid in the holy city and in the rest of Palestine, stating:

The occupation in Jerusalem is treating us as if we are guests and foreigners in our own city. This is the embodiment of apartheid policies and practices against our people in Jerusalem specifically and in Palestine more generally.

Hanna was firm in his commitment that the apartheid system enforced by the Israeli government – which separates Palestinians from Jewish Israelis and treats them as second-class citizens who do not have equal rights such as access to certain areas, jobs, livelihood and resources – will not drive the Christians from the city and from defending the Palestinian cause and justice.

“We will remain in Jerusalem, defending our religious sites and endowments. We reject the policies of the occupation. We will not surrender. Our motto will always be: freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people. Our religious sites will remain ours. Jerusalem will remain ours.”

He also touched on the US support for Israel and it  not holding the Jewish state to account over its violations of human rights and international law, adding: “We reject America’s unjust decisions which come in support of Israeli policies and the occupation of Jerusalem.”

Archbishop Hanna also had a strong message for Christians throughout the world, reminding them that “In a few days, Christians will be celebrating Christmas all over the world. The streets and town squares will be decorated with lights, adornments and Christmas trees in Europe and the world. I would like to remind all Christians all around the world: there is no point in celebrating Christmas if you do not pay attention to what is happening in Palestine as it is the birthplace of Christ and where Christianity originated and spread its message throughout the world. The nativity grotto is in Bethlehem. The true light of Christmas emanated from Bethlehem.”

Hanna stressed that Christianity’s roots in Jerusalem and in the land of Palestine means that oppression in the very land that Jesus was born must be opposed and fought, rather than the pro-Israel and Zionist stance with which many Christians in the West are perceived to associate with. The continued Israeli occupation and the apartheid system which it enforces prompted the Archbishop to “call upon all the churches of the world, in the west and east, to urgently defend Palestine, the children of Palestine, and the Palestinian cause. Let our message this Christmas be to free Palestine and the Palestinian people.”

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Re:  It’s not just Muslims threatened by Israeli groups churning far-right hatred

Re: It’s not just Muslims threatened by Israeli groups churning far-right hatred

Last week, a investigation traced a network of Facebook accounts fuelling far-right Islamophobic pages around the world to Israel. Journalists at the UK daily uncovered a plot to take over some of Facebook’s largest far-right pages in an attempt to foment hatred towards Islam and Muslims while fostering support for Israel, in a report titled

As many as 21 of the of the biggest far-right Facebook pages churning out hatred of Muslims at an industrial scale were tracked to “a mysterious Israeli-based group.” Thousands of coordinated fake news posts per week were being produced and circulated to millions of followers around the world.

Major concerns over foreign interference were highlighted in the report published as part of the “transparency project.” It found that messages that were being spread as part of a covert plot included those linked to right-wing terror groups.

Posts from the pro-Israel group stoked what the authors described as “deep hatred of Islam across the western world and influence politics in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US.” Israeli groups were found to be “amplifying far-right parties such as Australia’s One Nation and vilifying Muslim politicians such as the London mayor Sadiq Khan, and the US congresswoman Ilhan Omar”. The latter, like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has been the target of a merciless smear campaign to label the Minnesota representative as an anti-Semite.

Details that should raise questions over the anti-Semitism row gripping the British public since Corbyn became leader in 2015 include the fact that attacks on left-wing politicians were timed at critical points in national election campaigns. False stories claiming that Corbyn had said Jews were “the source of global terrorism” were spread to millions of Facebook followers.

While the investigation shed light on this worrying development that threatens to undermine the democratic process, it failed to adequately address the reasons for the rise of such networks within Israel. The authors suggested that these groups peddling anti-Muslim hate and spreading pro-Israel propaganda were motivated in “milking the traffic for profit” and seeking to “create a commercial enterprise that harvests Islamophobic hate for profit.”

Their suggestion, though, ignores a plethora of data indicating that the industrial scale production of hatred towards Muslims and the circulation of fake news by pro-Israel groups is more than just the commercialisation of hate.

It should be noted that one of the top priorities of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in 2015 was to deal with the global rise in pro-Palestine activism. His solution was to adopt a more aggressive response to, for example, the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Netanyahu appointed his Ministry of Strategic Affairs to marshal pro-Israel sympathisers and create covert, anonymous groups to target pro-Palestine activists, often with the help of professional political consultants.

Since the ministry’s launch, Israel has put together a million dollar troll army of more than 15,000 to “influence foreign publics” and “battle” BDS. At times the recruitment drive is rather shameless. In May, for instance, Israel embarked on a massive recruitment drive for its online propaganda campaign through an initiative unveiled by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Details of the tendering process for recruiting pro-Israeli activists were published in the British newspaper . The right-wing community paper has led a vicious campaign against Corbyn with several sensational headlines including a warning to the British public that Jews would flee the UK if Labour were to win this month’s general election. The Israeli government offered $1.6 million to successful candidates for creating online campaigns designed to combat BDS and to offer support to anti-Palestinian groups hosting pro-Israel events across the world.

In the same month Israel launched a recruitment drive in the , its firms were uncovered by Facebook for meddling in the elections of several African, Asian and Latin American countries. The social media giant traced the accounts to Archimedes Group, a private company based near Tel Aviv which had engineered the campaign.

While Israeli firms have developed a reputation as the go-to places for anyone wishing to manipulate election results, these arsenals of propaganda have been deployed most successfully in efforts to vilify pro-Palestinian groups and critics of Israel. Earlier this year an investigation found fake online accounts being used to fuel the anti-Semitism row within the Labour Party. Several Twitter accounts posed as Corbyn supporters while issuing virulent anti-Semitic posts.

Similar tactics uncovered in the investigation appear to have been used in the campaign against Labour. There were reasons to suspect that the accounts, seemingly supporting Corbyn while spreading anti-Semitism, belonged to the same person or group. Six of the 10 fake profiles were ostensibly Muslims that posted some of the most disturbing anti-Semitic posts, including direct calls for violence against Jews. In one instance the fake Twitter accounts responded to the targeting of the official Twitter accounts of Corbyn and his deputy, John McDonnell, by threating “Jihad” against “Jews” alongside a bloody graphic of a knife.

In the US, a Jewish daily newspaper, uncovered practices of pro-Israel groups that resembled tactics that maybe best described as guerrilla warfare on social media. A series of articles were published by the paper exposing the source of funding for many of the hyper-aggressive and shadowy groups believed to be spearheading a coordinated hate campaign against critics of Israel.

Community heads and prominent Jewish organisations with a carefully-crafted and respectable public profile were found donating millions to fund projects targeting students and lecturers. On a number of occasions, their blind support for Israel has seen them bankroll far-right and anti-Muslim hate groups. A series of exposés revealed that one of the many foundations controlled by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, a major Jewish charity with an annual budget of over $100 million, had donated to groups whose work has drawn comparisons to a McCarthyite blacklist.

For those that have been following the rise of hate groups and fake news, the investigation on far-right Islamophobic sites being spread around the world by networks located in Israel will not have come as a shock. With Israel increasingly seen by racists and far-rights extremists as an ideal political model to fulfil the aspirations of ethno-religious nationalists, this worrying pattern of the vilification of Muslims is set to continue. While at this moment Islam and Muslims may be their target, the ultimate goal is to accelerate the retreat of a multi-national system founded on the ideals of a rules based international order, respect for human rights and minorities.

If this sounds hyperbolic, consider the statement of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who last month reduced Palestine to an extra-legal matter by urging us to dispose of the legal framework for determining right from wrong on the question of illegal Israeli settlements. The trend has been set and many an autocrat and dictator are sure to follow.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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Re:  Netanyahu condenses Israel’s history into one sentence

Re: Netanyahu condenses Israel’s history into one sentence

A few days ago, Benjamin Netanyahu condensed the history of the Zionist state of Israel into one sentence: “These European countries should be ashamed of themselves. Have they learned nothing from history? … They are enabling a fanatic terrorist state to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, thereby bringing disaster to themselves and upon everyone else.”

The Israeli Prime Minister, of course, wasn’t referring to his own nuclear-armed state, but to Iran. His criticism was aimed at six more European countries which joined “Britain, France and Germany last weekend in backing the new, so-called Instex financial barter mechanism,which is intended to help Iran circumvent US sanctions.” Netanyahu was, apparently, “furious”.

Clearly, Netnayhau himself has either not understood history, or is deliberately ignoring the fact that Israel is a “fanatic terrorist state” which has been allowed “to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles” and has, ever since its creation on stolen Palestinian land in 1948, brought “disaster” to itself “and everyone else” in the Middle East and beyond. It was deliberately intended by the author of to be an “outpost of civilisation against barbarism” and was always resented by the indigenous population and surrounding countries. Violence was inevitable from the day that early Jewish settlers destroyed the Zionist myth that Palestine was “a land without a people for a people without a land” by pointing out that, in fact, it did indeed have a thriving population, and was not the empty land that Zionist propaganda claimed.

Israel was built upon the terrorism of groups such as the Irgun and Stern Gang. In December 1947, alone, for example, the terrorists of Irgun killed at least 80 people – 78 Palestinians and two British policemen – in bombings and shootings across Palestine. Hundreds more were killed in the following few months in the run-up to Israel’s “declaration of independence” in mid-May 1948.

Terror attacks continued thereafter as more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their land, their homes and farms were destroyed and settlers took their place in the nascent state. At least 530 Palestinian villages have been wiped off the face of the earth by Israel since then. Its destruction of Palestinian property continues apace, with homes, villages and businesses demolished either as collective punishment – a war crime – or because the owners have been unable to obtain the necessary building licence. Palestinians are rarely, if ever, given permission by the so-called Israeli civil administration – there’s nothing civil about it, in any sense of the word; it is run by the military – to build in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli control over the Palestinians living under its brutal military occupation is imposed by the sort of infrastructure – real or imagined – that democracies condemn as they demonise countries like North Korea, China and, yes, Iran. Israel’s undercover security officials, kangaroo courts, travel restrictions, indefinite detention without trial – indeed, without even the formality of charges – and summary executions are all part of everyday life for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Those in the Gaza Strip, which is still occupied by Israel according to international law, are under a 13-year siege and face frequent military incursions. Hundreds of Palestinians protesting against this injustice have been shot and killed by Israeli army snipers on the nominal border between the coastal enclave and Israel; thousands more have been wounded, many with life-changing injuries.

In short, Israel is a rogue state – a terrorist state – by any stretch of the imagination, and it has been allowed by its Western sponsors, including the countries Netanyahu has railed against in his latest outburst, not only to act with impunity in its violations of international laws and conventions, but also to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Like its main sponsor, the US, Israel refuses to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to see its nuclear installations.

Netanyahu’s succinct sentence has, therefore, exposed his own, and the West’s, hypocrisy as he sought again to divert attention from his own legal and political problems. Facing corruption and fraud indictments at home, and unable to get support to form a new government, he is trying desperately to convince the Israeli electorate that he is the only “strong man” capable of taking on and defeating the “threat” from Iran. His previous efforts have included, to nobody’s great surprise, more murderous violence against the Palestinians. The provocative murder of a senior Palestinian official last month had the desired result of rockets being fired from Gaza in response, to which the so-called “Israel Defence Forces” – which grew out of the aforementioned terrorist groups – could then “respond” with devastating effect, killing and maiming yet more Palestinian civilians.

Shamefully, the West allows Netanyahu and Israel to get away with this because politicians across Europe and the US have swallowed the Zionist narrative hook, line and campaign dollar. As long as votes can be depended upon in domestic elections, then Israel can do what it wants. Its well-funded lobby groups in capitals around the world do the rest.

The beleaguered Israeli Prime Minister may well have done us all a service by condensing the back story of the Zionist state into one sentence, no matter how unintentionally. It makes it even easier to point out how much of a rogue state Israel really is, despite the efforts of its propagandists to convince us otherwise. I never thought that I would ever write this, but thank you Mr Netanyahu. For once, you have been surprisingly honest.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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Re:  MCB: BBC fail to report on Islamophobia in the Tory Party

Re: MCB: BBC fail to report on Islamophobia in the Tory Party

One of Britain’s largest Muslim representative bodies has accused the of “failing to sufficiently report” on Islamophobia within the ranks of the Conservative Party.

The , which has been one of the most vocal critics of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over his alleged failure to address anti-Semitism amongst party members, was accused of failing to give equal importance to the racism experienced by Muslims.

The complaint was addressed to the Director General Tony Hall in a letter by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), this morning. The MCB reminded Hall of the ’s responsibility as a public broadcaster to be impartial and not to create a hierarchy of racism through its biased coverage.

“Racism against Muslims should be given equal importance to racism against others” said the MCB.

The MCB, which has been documenting the rise of Islamophobia in the UK, asserted that anti-Muslim racism had become “institutional and widespread” within the Conservative Party.

It also charged the party under Boris Johnson’s leadership of having “consistently failed to address its problem with Islamophobia, with individuals at every level within the party.”

It was alleged that anti-Muslim hate had taken root at the top, with the Prime Minister himself showing no regret over comments widely regarded to be Islamophobic.

A list of information was highlighted in the letter concerning the alarming rise of Islamophobia. “Religious hate crime in England and Wales rose by 40 per cent to its highest level in 2017-18, with more than half of all religiously-motivated attacks being directed at Muslims,” said the MCB.

“Islamophobia in our country’s governing party, therefore, is of huge concern to British Muslims, and the failure of the to report on this extensively during this election is deeply disappointing and neglects to represent an issue of great importance to society at large.”

While insisting that the had failed to provide balanced coverage and to highlight the full extent of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, the MCB suggested that the broadcaster was guilty of peddling anti-Muslim bigotry itself by giving a platform to far-right Islamophobic hate figures like Melanie Phillips. The pro-Israel commentator wrote a highly controversial article last week in which she claimed that deception is a mainstream Muslim belief.

Worrying details emerged recently over the extent to which anti-Muslim racism is being spread across the world. In the latest of such cases, a investigation traced a network of Facebook accounts fuelling far-right Islamophobic pages around the world to Israel.

Journalists at the UK daily uncovered a plot to take over some of Facebook’s largest far-right pages in an attempt to foment hatred towards Islam and Muslims while fostering support for Israel, in a report titled Inside the hate factory.

As many as 21 of the of the biggest far-right Facebook pages churning out hatred of Muslims at an industrial scale were tracked to “a mysterious Israeli-based group.” Thousands of coordinated fake news posts per week were being produced and circulated to millions of followers around the world.

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