Archive for the ‘AMERICA AND ISRAEL’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP’S BIZARRE NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER ABOUT ISRAEL AND “ANTI-SEMITISM” AND DEFINING A RACE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ERIC STRIKER IN UNZ REVIEW

 

“Why Trump’s New Executive Order Matters

“Trump’s executive order is reported to do two things: first, reclassify criticism of Israel and Zionism as anti-Semitism, and two, categorize Jews as a non-white race. This will effectively turn expressing negative sentiments towards Israel on college campuses into a hate crime.”

 

https://www.unz.com/estriker/why-trumps-new-executive-order-matters/

 

The only good thing you can say about such a measure is that it reveals the weakness of the cause it is supposed to defend.

This shows no respect for the rights of others and the rule of law, just as is the case with other Israeli-inspired measures against free speech and peaceful boycott.

Of course, that is in keeping with Israel’s daily treatment of millions of Palestinians.

A strong and vital and fair society wants no such props.

An unfair one applauds them.

And, my God, defining “a race”? Who were the last folks to do that?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON TURKEY AND THE KURDS AND SYRIA AND THE UNITED STATES – SERVED UP WITH A BIG SIDE ORDER OF HYPOCRISY   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS

 

“Turkey’s pledge to ‘take custody’ of ISIS prisoner camps called precarious by experts

“About 30 Canadian men, women and children are thought to be held in these camps”

 

This is just one more bit of peripheral noise about what’s going on in northeast Syria. No one, on any side, gives a damn about the mercenaries of ISIS.

What really concerns Washington is the failure of its plan to support the hiving off of the area as a Kurdish rump state, which is what the American troops there have been doing, training and supplying Syrian Kurds to fight against Syria’s government. The effort represented Israel’s consolation prize for the loss of the American-run proxy war intended to topple Syria.

Fighting ISIS has been the consistent cover story for this operation which involves American troops illegally in Syria doing things like building bases and supplying Syrian Kurds with weapons.

Not only was the effort a very nasty piece of business to be doing in someone else’s country, but a rather foolish one, considering the well-known attitude of Turkey’s Erdogan about having any Kurdish-run entities on Turkey’s border.

It represents just one more embarrassing mishap in the running of the American empire, whose affairs often are handled with the aplomb and dignity of the Keystone Cops.

 

AFTER WORD:

The real interests at work in northeastern Syria project are easily understood from various comments following Trump’s initial moving of some American troops, effectively allowing Turkey’s Erdogan to invade the region.

We had the Congress’s most vigilant defender of all the interests of Israel, Senator Lindsey Graham, blowing huge clouds of steam almost immediately, but of course speaking in disguised terms about concerns for “allied” Kurds.

Other members of Congress quickly chimed in, also with concerns for the Kurds and various suggested punitive measures to be brought against Turkey.

Trump did one of his typical clownish flip-flops by starting to talk about the need for maybe something stronger than sanctions against Turkey.

And this morning, Netanyahu, who of course should have nothing to say about what happens in northeastern Syria, made threats about Israel maybe assisting the “valiant Kurds.” Oh, sure, Israel as defender of valiant Kurds.

Then, we have stories like the one above, from CBC, suggesting concern for the Kurds’ ISIS prisoners coming under Turkey’s charge. About thirty are thought to be Canadians. The irony is almost overwhelming since Canada has only recently spoken against repatriating Canadian members of ISIS.

Something from Russia brings things together nicely.

There are two notorious Russian pranksters, Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, very clever fellows who have a number of times pulled off the stunt of calling someone famous while pretending to be someone else famous and getting the person they call to answer sensitive and embarrassing questions, recording the answers.

I suspect they are with Russian security services, given all the special knowledge required to place such calls, and their efforts often provide real insight along with some laughs.

They called Lindsey Graham twice, pretending to be the Turkish Defense Minister, and they recorded him saying: “I told President Trump that Obama made a huge mistake in relying on the YPG Kurds. Everything I worried about has come true, and now we have to make sure Turkey is protected from this threat in Syria. I’m sympathetic to the YPG problem, and so is the president, quite frankly.”

Talk about hypocrisy, the man says the very opposite in confidence to his public words.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TRUMP’S DECISION ON AMERICAN TROOPS IN SYRIA – WHY SOME IN WASHINGTON VEHEMENTLY OPPOSE IT – WHERE EVENTS MIGHT GO – BACKGROUND ON AMERICA’S MIDEAST WARS AND PARTICULARLY THE ONE IN SYRIA – WHAT ARE THEY REALLY ABOUT? – WHO BENEFITS? – THE USE OF PROXY AND HYBRID FIGHTING   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE IN CBC NEWS

 

“Trump defends decision to pull U.S. troops back from Syrian-Turkish border

“Democratic and Republican lawmakers condemn decision, fear a Turkish offensive”

 

The only people who ever seriously fought the Jihadists in Syria are the Syrian Army, their Iranian allies, and their Russian allies.

America has many times used the excuse of Jihadists to stay somewhere in Syria where it doesn’t belong. It is not an ally of Syria and has never been given permission even to be there, let alone create military bases, train rebellious people, distribute weapons and supplies to them, and generally to encourage mayhem.

What it has really been doing in the Northeast is to assist the Syrian Kurds in opposing Syria’s government and encouraging the notion of a Syrian Kurd rump state. Anything to weaken Syria.

The amount of misinformation on the topic of Syria and its nasty war, a war deliberately created by outside interventions, is monumental, and with good reason since those responsible don’t want the world really to understand what has been going on. That is the way hybrid and proxy wars work.

The Syrian War was always about toppling a legitimate government by using proxy fighters. The proxies get plenty of publicity as “Jihadists” but they really are for the most part plain old recruited mercenaries playing theater parts. And of course, as with any army, the ordinary soldiers receive very little information about what it is all about. All of their pay and supplies has come from the informal coalition of Saudi Arabia and America and Israel and Britain and France and a Gulf State or two.

Every time an arms cache has been discovered by advancing Syrian forces, it contains weapons made in America or Israel or Bulgaria, a country from which the CIA often buys volume-discount weapons to send to interventions and coups.

The people in Washington who are upset by Trump’s move are using terms like “betrayal of allies.”

It’s ridiculous language if you know any history of the region, but most of the people using the words are themselves being dishonest, not telling people why they really want to assist the Kurds.

First, the Kurds are not allies. They do not even represent an organized state, although they always dream of creating one. They are scattered as a minority in many places of the region, almost like a large population of gypsies. Their fierce hope for a state makes it easy for someone like the United States to exploit them for undeclared purposes, as it has been doing now and has done previously.

Some people tried warning the Syrian Kurds about depending on the United States for help, but they wouldn’t listen. The region borders on Turkey, which has its own substantial and rebellious Kurdish population, and is simply never going to tolerate a Kurdish-run rump state on its border. It regards the idea as a serious security threat, given the aspirations of its own Kurds. So American notions have been at direct odds with Turkey’s interests from the start.

The United States has toyed with this notion about the Kurds in northeastern Syria as a kind of consolation prize for having lost the main war in Syria, the war using proxy forces to destroy the Syrian government. Hiving off an important segment of Syria, a place with crude oil reserves, would clearly hurt the country. Trying to reclaim it, even if eventually successful, would keep poor Syria in turmoil for years to come. Israel, unhappy about the main proxy war having been lost, was keen on the concept.

You do have to put the Syrian War into its proper context. It is part of the long series of Neocon Wars in the Middle East designed, more or less, to pave over everything anywhere near Israel. That’s what the meaningless term, “War on Terror,” going back to George Bush really was about. You cannot have a war on a method, clearly, but the term just managed to jumble things up enough for the public and to feature that witch-like incantation term, “terror,” so that America’s government would never have to account for what it was actually doing.

America had done a full-fledged traditional invasion of Iraq, complete with one pathetic ally to share the shame. It was a terribly bloody and destructive enterprise, and so for the other names on its list of countries in the Middle East to be paved over, it settled for proxy and hybrid efforts.

The invasion of Iraq was not only extremely costly, it produced waves of bad publicity and condemnation, something to be avoided when your public relations efforts focus on words like “democracy” and “freedom.” Proxy and hybrid hostilities allow you to put up smokescreens so that no one quite knows what you are doing. You can even blame other people.

Out of the immense destruction American bombing in half a dozen lands caused in a “War on Terror,” we did see, here and there, some few people seek reprisal and revenge against the very powerful who were abusing their power. Those few instances of “International Terror” served, almost like public relations stunts, to reinforce the government’s explanation of what all the killing was about.

The United States has betrayed the region’s Kurds before, going back to the days of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. American plotting got Iraq’s Kurds to rebel against Saddam, and they ended in a mass slaughter. Suggestions of American support vaporized.

Well, here we go again. Unless new steps are taken to avert it, Turkey is going to do the Syrian Kurds serious damage. This United States move serves also as an important gesture to Turkey about America respecting its interests. After all, America and Turkey have had a number of noisy, public disagreements recently.

No matter how difficult the United States sometimes finds accommodating Turkey’s Erdogan, in the end, it very much wants Turkey to remain in NATO. Its geographical location makes it almost a kind of capstone in NATO’s edifice.

It’s not clear how this will all turn out, but Israel, so immensely influential in Washington, is not happy with anything that could end in any degree of Syrian reunification.

The apocalyptic tone about Trump’s move used by Senator Lindsey Graham – one of the most tireless defenders in Washington of Israel’s narrow interests, so much so he frequently makes himself ridiculous – tells us all we need to know about Israel’s view. Israel does like, whenever possible, not to be heard commenting directly on American military decisions, so it uses proxies like Sen. Graham.

The Kurds, armed by America to fight against Syria, may be able to approach the Syrian government and invite them to take back the region, protecting them against the Turks. It is notable that Russian engineers just completed in record time a new military-style bridge crossing the Euphrates into NE Syria, one capable of supporting armored vehicles.

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICAN COUNTERINTELLIGENCE SAYS ISRAEL HAS BEEN EAVESDROPPING ON THE WHITE HOUSE – ISRAEL DENIES IT BUT ISRAEL’S RECORD FOR TELLING THE TRUTH IS DEPLORABLE AND IT HAS A HISTORY OF RELENTLESS SPYING ON AMERICA   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN HIDEOUT NOW

 

“US counterintelligence officials reportedly say Israel probably planted surveillance devices near the White House; Israeli government issues strong denial”

 

Israel is well-known by American security agencies for the most aggressive spying that they face.

In the past I’ve read some almost laughable stories about their activities.

Such as one about an Israeli spy crawling through ductwork in a Washington office building to arrive at a point over someone’s desk where he could photograph documents.

So, I think it’s extremely likely Israel planted surveillance devices near the White House, as charged.

Denials from that country literally mean nothing.

Netanyahu is a pathological liar. We know that on the highest authority, from an open-mic incident between Presidents Sarkozy and Obama some years back. They agreed you could trust nothing the man said.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AMERICAN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS AND ISRAEL – WHAT ALWAYS WAS SOMETHING OF AN UNNATURAL RELATIONSHIP SHOWS SOME SIGNS OF DETERIORATING – WHY THIS IS ONLY TO BE EXPECTED AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PREJUDICE – A NOTE ON THE EVANGELICALS AND TRUMP   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

“Antisemitic beliefs spreading among evangelical Christians in America

“Why do we have pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ values, and we do not have more freedom to protect our faith?”

 

Evangelicals, despite Old Testament story connections, were not traditionally overly friendly towards Jews and Jewish interests.

Jews were not “saved,” and for a true Evangelical, that is the make-or-break criterion in judging all relationships.

Over and above that, there is the plain fact that American Jews in general were never particularly fond of Evangelicals, some Jews even being rather contemptuous.

I am aware of these things because I grew up in a neighborhood that had a substantial Jewish population. It had also a significant Evangelical population, especially people of Swedish origin, plus a very large Catholic population, people of Irish and Eastern European origins.

Recent connections between Evangelicals and Jews concerning Israel I think are not built with lasting bonds. However, that does not mean that changes in attitude may be accurately characterized as “anti-Semitic,” as your headline does.

We’ve lost all capacity for subtlety and nuance in contemporary society, and just not caring for someone or some interests in fact does not automatically connote hate or anti-anything, it only means a preference for those resembling yourself and sharing common interests.

That ipso-facto way of looking at things such as personal likes and preferences and describing them as hate is now regularly pushed at us in popular media and politics, but that fact alone certainly doesn’t make the claims accurate.

Recent past connections between Evangelicals and Jews at least in part reflect certain American Evangelical leaders and their personal relationships with Israel’s leadership and America’s Israel lobby. An Israeli leader like Netanyahu has actually sought out some these guys in the past to cultivate, and that clearly represents a pragmatic political connection having little to do with fundamental views or values.

Those Evangelical leaders, more ambitious political leaders and empire builders than truly religious leaders, I’m pretty sure never reflected what’s really in the average Evangelical’s heart on the matter.

And those leaders are getting old and some of them have died off, so over time you might expect a change in attitudes. I’m referring to men like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

Also, such leadership is subject to abrupt change, as we saw in the case of Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggart. The preaching business is a fairly volatile one.

You can find, for example, Evangelical businessmen who do not like to do business with the “unsaved” of any description. And it’s the same for bonds of friendship. Parts of the American Jewish community, especially the orthodox, display the same kind of preferences.

In Israel, it is actually illegal to proselytize Jews for conversion, a law indicating a very deep separation in values between Evangelicals and Israelis. And it is well known that many parts of the American Jewish community, again especially conservatives, frown on marriage with non-Jews, a view that has often been expressed publicly.

Another factor at work here is that long enough exposure to the harsh realities of modern Israel might be enough to convince even some fervent believers that any relationship between it and the Israel of the Bible is pretty much wishful thinking. Certainly, we know there are American Jews who feel that very way.

I think the existing alliance with Israel’s interest has some parallels with the current alliance of some Evangelical leaders and Donald Trump. It is political in nature and largely synthetic. In some respects, almost unnatural.

Trump represents absolutely no fundamental Evangelical value. He is often foul-mouthed, dishonest, unfaithful, and he is, most certainly, “unsaved.” I am sure many ordinary Evangelicals are uncomfortable with a political relationship some of their politically ambitious leaders promote.

Any strength in the bond comes only from the sloshing overflow of American Patriotism into American Evangelism plus some attitudes like racism and xenophobia, both not impossible to find anywhere in America, including in American fundamentalism. But when so many other factors are wrong, I think the bond cannot not strong or enduring.

There is also the simple fact of a gradual decline in the number of traditional American fundamentalists. Evangelism is fading.

 

Posted August 24, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: DEMOCRACY AND THE TYRANNY OF A MAJORITY – ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS – USING UGLY NAME-CALLING TO SILENCE LEGITIMATE CRITICISM OF UNFAIRNESS   5 comments

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN MIDDLE EAST MONITOR

 

“Jews are being used as human shields in the war of words over anti-Semitism”

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190726-jews-are-being-used-as-human-shields-in-the-war-of-words-over-anti-semitism/

 

In the photo at the top of this article, a woman holds a sign saying, “Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism.”

That should not even need saying. It is simply a truism. A platitude. Not much different in its analytical content than saying the sun will rise tomorrow.

But it does need saying. Very much so.

Why?

Because we have a vigorous and well-financed group claiming otherwise, and doing so incessantly.

The group has its own reasons for saying so, but those reasons have absolutely nothing to do with human rights or prejudice or fairness or even decency.

It is a well understood principle that when you make enough noise about anything, it has an effect.

It is accepted in advertising and in political propaganda, a branch of the same persuasive art as advertising, that “if you throw enough crap at the wall, some of it will stick.”

That unpleasant reality is just part of our human condition. Fanatical or unscrupulous people will always seek to exploit it. Always.

There is a close-to-exact historical parallel for this controversy of labelling people as anti-Semitic because they criticize Israel, one which I think clarifies things considerably.

Was criticizing the old Soviet Union evidence of hatred for Russians, what has today become known as Russophobia?

Of course, it was not.

There was a great deal to criticize about the Soviet Union, about the way it treated people, its own and others, about its readiness to use brute force to reinforce its position, about its respect for human rights and freedom.

And exactly the same is true today of Israel. Almost down to the last detail, just all on a smaller scale of millions rather than tens of millions.

Israel is a state, not a religion or an ethnicity, not a museum exhibit about events from another continent three-quarters of a century ago. It is a place where millions of people try to live their lives, try to have families, try to become educated, try to get ahead, try to build hopes for the future.

More than one kind of people. Millions of another kind of people.

And those millions are absolutely blunted in their basic human drives.

All states are capable of wrongdoing, of abusing others, of misuse of force, of ignoring human rights and even humanity. Such is the nature of states if viewed as tools for a purpose, as they frequently are.

Democracy or claims of democracy are no defense because a majority of people determined to be unfair can, in fact, prevail indefinitely.

Efforts are made in many democratic states to prevent an ill-intentioned “tyranny of a majority” with Bills or Charters of Rights, documents which define basic rights for all and with legal force to redress injustice through the courts.

But Israel has no such minority-protecting document, nor can it ever expect to have one, given the unusual nature of its founding principles.

If a majority of the residents in a state want to be unfair in some way, the state gives them the machinery to enforce the unfairness in perpetuity. This is precisely what we see in Israel.

It is nothing new. We’ve seen it in many historical examples, from the Soviet Union to Nationalist South Africa and to the old American Confederacy.

Those just happen to be examples of what contemporary Israel represents. I’m sure it is not comfortable to be told so, but who ever claimed that truth is always comfortable? Indeed, we know to a certainty that it often is not.

And right-minded people, people who love human liberty and justice, people who uphold classical Western liberal principles, must speak up in such situations, even though it automatically condemns them to be called names and insulted.

 

 

 

 

Posted July 26, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PALESTINE’S HANAN ASHRAWI OFFERS THE PERFECT RESPONSE TO THE TRUMP-KUSHNER “PEACE PLAN” – KUSHNER’S ATTITUDES EPITOMIZE 19TH CENTURY COLONIALISM – BUT OF COURSE ISRAEL IS INDEED AN AMERICAN COLONY – OBSERVATIONS IN RESPONSE TO A COMMENT ABOUT JARED KUSHNER AND HIS WIFE IVANKA   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 

“Jared Kushner’s Palestine ‘Peace’ Plan Is the Lie of the Century”

 

Hanan Ashrawi’s comment about the “peace plan” has it right.

In summary form, she said: Lift the siege, quit stealing our resources, allow Palestinians freedom of movement and control of their borders and airspace and waters, and then watch them build a vibrant, prosperous economy as a free people.

And never to be forgotten are Kushner’s earlier words about Palestinians not being ready to govern themselves.

He displayed a totally colonial attitude, resembling something from the heyday of 19th century imperialism. Arrogant and patronizing.

But, in a sense, Kushner’s ugly words were fitting, too, because, in so many ways, Israel is a colony of the United States, a very special one with extraordinary privileges, but still a colony.

Floated by huge subsidies to serve as America’s pied-a-terre in the Middle East.

And the locals are not really welcome, except when serving as low-cost household help.

_____________________________

Response to a comment about how creepy Kushner looks:

Jared Kushner is indeed a rather creepy type, cold, generally unsmiling.

And definitely effete-looking. Almost elfin in some photos.

But what other kind of person could be married to Ivanka?

She’s a character right out of Dostoevsky, a madwoman who has no sense of her own madness, and she just keeps imposing it on others as though it were the most natural thing in the world.

A woman with the abilities and attitudes of a small store clerk who believes she should be listened to by some of the world’s leading intellectual and political figures and frequently butts-in on their deliberations just to tell them so.

And someone who looks in a mirror every few minutes because there is no one else she so admires.

That last being a quality very much shared with her disturbed and disturbing father.