Category Archives: Israel

Why is James Cleverly refusing to talk about UK weapons being used against Palestinians?

James Cleverly: He was once described as “the Tories’ go-to eejit when they need someone to tweet absolute nonsense or defend the indefensible”. Now it seems he’s not even bothering to say anything at all.

Here’s another story that should be all over the BBC’s prime-time news but, for some reason, seems to have been missed by the mostly-Tory news team there.

The information comes from Declassified UK, an independent investigative site run by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis. This Writer follows Kennard on Twitter and I am impressed by the information he provides and the opinions he puts forward. Therefore I think his site is trustworthy.

Here’s what it says:

Middle East Minister James Cleverly may be breaking the Ministerial Code by failing to answer questions put to him in the House of Commons. The Code demands that ministers have a duty to “be as open as possible with parliament” and to “give accurate and truthful information”.

The questions were about whether military equipment from the UK was used in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in May – which killed 66 Palestinian children.

The best response anybody appears to have received – to 14 questions that Declassified has identified – is that the UK “takes its export control responsibilities very seriously”. That is not an adequate answer.

There is an obvious conclusion to be drawn from this – and I’m sure you don’t need me to spell it out for you.

But Cleverly certainly won’t spell out the facts for all of us unless he is forced to do so.

And, given the huge prominence the Israel-Palestine conflict received in the news during May, the absence of such pressure from mainstream media outlets like the BBC is deeply disturbing.

Britain’s Middle East minister James Cleverly is regularly refusing to provide answers to written questions posed to him by members of parliament, especially on UK arms exports to Israel, contravening House of Commons rules.

Source: Foreign minister James Cleverly accused of breaking UK…

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Do Israeli airstrikes in Gaza indicate that the new boss is the same as the old boss?

Rain of terror: Israeli bombs land in Gaza.

Was it a forlorn hope, to believe that a new government in Israel might herald a new relationship with Palestine?

Well, let’s not be fooled by appearances.

Contrary to the BBC’s report, Israeli forces aren’t bombing Gaza again because Palestinian terrorists unilaterally launched incendiary balloons.

It seems those balloons went up because far-right extremists were permitted to march through Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, shouting, “Death to Arabs!”

(The BBC does mention the march – close to the end of its story, and right after admitting that the Hamas-launched balloons caused fires in fields and appear not to have harmed anybody at all.)

The operative question, then, is whether the new Naftali Bennett government approved the demonstration. I have a doubt about that.

It takes a bit of time to get permission to hold a big demonstration – or at least, it does here in the UK. My understanding is that permission must be sought days – sometimes weeks – in advance.

Was this one approved by the Netanyahu government as a last act of spite against Palestine? I wonder…

Hamas had threatened action if the march went ahead, but the fact that it wasn’t a rocket attack and seems not to have harmed anybody suggests that it was more an expression of protest than a declaration of war.

But this downplaying of causes and effects can only go so far – and Israel’s decision to blow up even more of Gaza with airstrikes is surely going too far.

Did the new government think failing to respond with violence would be seen as a sign of weakness? This seems highly likely.

But now, looking to the future, we need to ask whether this incident will crystallise attitudes in the minds of Israelis and Palestinians.

Also: a little misdirection can cause a lot of harm. Is the mischaracterisation of the cause of the airstrike an attempt by the news media to stoke animosity that may otherwise have died down?

Source: Israel strikes in Gaza after arson attacks – BBC News

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Netanyahu is not in power in Israel any more. Will his long-delayed court case happen at last?

Benjamin Netanyahu: he’s out – but is he gone for good?

And just like that, he was gone.

Clearly any attempts by Benjamin Netanyahu to break up the alliance against him – if he made them – have failed.

It’s fairly easy to see why.

New Prime Minister Naftali Bennett knows the alliance put together by Yair Lapid to oust Netanyahu includes people with wildly opposing views – so he has promised that his government will not discuss the contentious stuff:

Mr Bennett has indicated his government would focus on areas where agreement was possible, like economic issues or the coronavirus pandemic, while avoiding more contentious matters.

“Nobody will have to give up their ideology,” he recently said, “but all will have to postpone the realisation of some of their dreams… We’ll focus on what can be achieved, rather than arguing about what cannot.”

It’s a reasonable position – some might even call it enlightened.

Whether it lasts has yet to be seen.

And Netanyahu is now leader of the Opposition. He’ll be trying to cause as much trouble between these allies as he can.

Meanwhile, though, we can look forward to Netanyahu’s long-awaited court case for fraud and bribery.

I hope the courts get their act together and try it as soon as possible. The longer they delay, the more likely the new government will fall apart.

For us, the question is whether the situation between Israel and Palestine will improve.

My instinct is that it may. If the new government is going to step back from contentious issues, then this suggests a reprieve from hostilities. Dare we hope that even the offensive settlement programme will be put on hold?

If Netanyahu gets back in, even the slightest let-up is over.

If the courts find him guilty, then there is the potential for further improvement.

Historically, huge disasters are caused by small groups of people. We’ve seen the human tragedy that Netanyahu has caused; let’s see what can happen now he has been removed.

Source: Netanyahu out as new Israeli government approved – BBC News

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Bye bye Bibi? Coalition formed to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from Israeli premiership

Benjamin Netanyahu: on his way out.

As predicted by This Site, eight Israeli political parties have formed a coalition to take power from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and end his reign as prime minister.

The groups have little in common other than their opposition to Netanyahu, so he is likely to spend the days between now and a planned parliamentary vote to approve the new coalition trying to destabilise them.

But the agreement is historic in that it brings together the far-right Yamina Party, centrists Yesh Atid… and an Arab-Israeli party, Raam.

This will be the first time in decades that an Israeli Arab party has joined a ruling coalition.

But the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen has provided some wise words of caution:

No rational political enemy of Benjamin Netanyahu can underestimate his tenacity, ruthlessness and absolute determination to hold on to office. Until a new government with a new prime minister is sworn in, he will do all he can to stop it.

If he found himself leader of the opposition, he would do all he could to destabilise a coalition with a wafer-thin majority that would be trying to span the entire Israeli spectrum, from the nationalist right to the liberal left.

All that unites them is their desire to remove him from office.

No-one should expect big, new initiatives from a new government. Just surviving the onslaught Mr Netanyahu is undoubtedly planning will be a full-time job. His opponents will be hoping that his fall will continue in the Jerusalem courthouse where he is already on trial on serious corruption charges.

That last point is the most telling.

Netanyahu has been facing trial for fraud and bribery for a considerable period of time, but has apparently been using his position as prime minister to delay and frustrate proceedings.

If he loses prime ministerial power, he will find it much harder to do this and may actually be made to face justice.

He’ll do everything he can to prevent that.

And so, it seems, will his supporters:

It’s true that what Israel is getting won’t be an improvement on what it already has.

But the removal of Netanyahu will be a genuine step forward:

In the short-term, This Writer expects to see a lot more anti-Semitism accusations flying around. Pro-Netanyahu types like to use it as a false flag under which to attack their political opponents.

Israel is about to enter a new stage of its troubled history. It isn’t the start of a new Golden Age – but it could lead to something better.

Source: Israel opposition parties agree to form new unity government – BBC News

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Will Palestine benefit if Netanyahu is removed as Israeli PM? Probably not

Benjamin Netanyahu: in this image he’s wearing a smile very similar to Boris Johnson’s ‘duper’s delight’. Who had he just fooled? The Israeli electorate?

Israel’s hardline, far-right prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be out of a job and heading towards prison by tomorrow (June 2).

But it’s unlikely to mean any loosening of the (metaphorical) noose that his government is tightening around the necks of every Palestinian, as it involves a coalition between the equally hardline Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party. Both have previously worked with Netanyahu.

But it could signal the end of Netanyahu’s 12-year rule of Israel – and if so, it wouldn’t happen a day too soon.

The Associated Press – apparently still bruised from the bombing of its Gaza office – explains:

Netanyahu has become a polarizing figure since he was indicted on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in late 2019. Each of the past four elections was seen as a referendum on Netanyahu’s fitness to rule, and each ended in deadlock.

Netanyahu is desperate to stay in power while he is on trial. He has used his office as a stage to rally his base and lash out against police, prosecutors and the media.

It says much about the state of Israeli politics that

Netanyahu even attempted to court a small Islamist Arab party but was thwarted by a small ultranationalist party with a racist anti-Arab agenda.

What hypocrisy! Netanyahu’s anti-Arab position is evident in his policy towards Palestine, and never mind all his efforts to court favour with neighbours like Saudi Arabia.

It seems clear that – for him – retaining power is everything. Boris Johnson may well be a keen student of his politics.

If he is ejected from the premiership, he may devote his time as Opposition leader to undermining the new government by exploiting the deep ideological differences among the parties forming the coalition.

But his ability to disrupt his own trial will be hugely diminished.

It would be ironic if the first major blow against the corruption that is sweeping the political world was landed by a hard-right-winger, against someone with equally extreme views.

Source: Netanyahu could lose PM job as rivals attempt to join forces

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Maureen Lipman quits actors’ union Equity to support apartheid Israel

Maureen Lipman: this is an old image from 2018 because she honestly doesn’t rate the time it would take me to get a new one.

Once upon a time, Maureen Lipman was best-known as a legend among her fellow actors. Oh, and as Beattie from the British Telecom ads.

Now she’s best known for quitting the Labour Party – multiple times, apparently – and today for quitting actors’ union Equity.

Here’s Metro:

Coronation Street actress Dame Maureen Lipman has resigned from Equity, the actors’ union, after the organisation urged members to join a pro-Palestine march, it has been claimed.

‘I’m going to resign and I’m also going to ask for my £1000 a year membership fees to be given back to me, and I’m going to send it a charity for the victims on both sides,’ she told [The Telegraph].

‘I didn’t join a political union. I joined a union to protect its members. You don’t dictate to artists what they believe in, and don’t incite them to join a mob.’

This Writer is sure that the 200,000 people who took part in the “mostly peaceful” event in London last weekend will be nonplussed to learn that Lipman has branded them a “mob”.

And while some may say she is right to ask, “Where is [Equity president] Maureen Beattie on the Uyghurs, Rohingyas, the Sudanese, the Yemenites?” some of us applaud the decision to take a stand on a topical issue.

And when there’s a major demo for Yemenites and the others, I for one will look forward to seeing Equity representatives standing alongside everybody else.

A few misguided souls have supported Lipman’s stand:

I wonder whether she feels validated by the support of a former journalist who, as editor of The Sun, falsely accused Liverpool supporters of responsibility for the Hillsborough disaster?

And, as she is falsely accusing Equity of drumming up support for a “mob”, I can only surmise that she does.

Perhaps she prefers the statement by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which falsely claimed that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza happened because that overwhelmingly better-armed nation, supported as it is by the weaponsmiths of the UK and the USA, needed to defend itself against some home-made fireworks that mostly rebounded from the so-called Iron Wall.

Before reading this, let’s remember that the violence happened because Israeli soldiers had been attacking residents of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, turfing them out of their homes in what’s known as ethnic cleansing, and had invaded the Al Aqsa Mosque, hitting worshippers there with rubber bullets and stun grenades:

Strangely enough, accusing Jews in the UK of being more loyal to the people they know in Israel, has been described to us all as an anti-Semitic trope. Draw your own conclusions on what this says about the Board of Deputies.

Would you appreciate some more rational responses?

Some have reminded us that Lipman spent the last few years threatening to quit Labour over the false claims that the party had become a hotbed of anti-Semitism:

In fact it seems this isn’t the usual time of year for Lipman to quit Labour – that’s October or November, as far as I can tell.

Others have pointed out that Lipman’s stand is a contradiction: by opposing Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, she supported anti-Semite Boris Johnson’s racist Conservative Party back into power…

(If you don’t think Johnson is an anti-Semite, you need to read his novel 72 Virgins – or at least those parts of it that he stuffed with anti-Semitic tropes.)

… and by supporting apartheid Israel, she supported – well, read it for yourself:

Others have been more generalised in their criticisms:

But the message that people have taken from her announcement is all too clear:

Perhaps the most cutting comment is the one on which I’m going to end:

How the mighty have fallen. Lipman has brought a once-glittering career down to end in ashes.

Postscript: There is some good news:

Source: Coronation Street’s Maureen Lipman ‘quits’ union’ over pro-Palestine march urge | Metro News

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Israel violates ceasefire with Palestinians, hours after it started

What did I say?

“This Writer expects the Israel government to resume hostilities as soon as it is expedient to do so…”

Well:

Well, in answer to the David Osland tweet, it has been reported that Netanyahu is the big political winner of the conflict – meaning, I gather, that his premiership in Israel is now more secure than it was two weeks ago.

As for whether it’s about domination, hasn’t it always been about that? Israel’s Likud government is all about wiping Palestine from the maps, forever. It is entirely unconcerned about the lives of any Palestinians that might be extinguished in that process.

At least now we are seeing who is siding with the bad guys…

… and who are siding with the victims:

It had to be South Africa, didn’t it? The previous home of apartheid.

And what about you?

Who will you stand with?

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Ceasefire in Israel/Palestine slaughter – but for how long and to whose advantage?

Israeli bombs have been pounding Gaza back into the Stone Age (again). The attacks were expected to continue right up to the moment the ceasefire begins – and This Writer expects them to resume as soon as Israel’s government can find an excuse – and any excuse will do.

Did you greet this announcement with joy?

If you did, why?

Let’s discuss the deal. Here‘s Sky News (although I think they got it from Reuters):

Israel and Hamas have agreed a ceasefire after 11 days of fighting that have left more than 200 dead – the vast majority of them Palestinians.

At least 230 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, according to Gaza health officials, while 12 in Israel have died.

The Israeli cabinet announcement said the Egypt-brokered ceasefire had been agreed unanimously and that the campaign had made “great achievements” – some of them “unprecedented”.

It also appeared to leave the door open for a resumption of fighting if the ceasefire is not honoured.

Hamas’s Osama Hamdan said the group had obtained guarantees from the mediators that the attacks on Gaza would stop.

It also claimed to have “obtained guarantees” over the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque – the issues largely blamed for starting the fighting.

Gaza has suffered heavy damage and TV pictures have captured the destruction of several high-rise towers which Israel said housed military targets.

The fierce aerial bombardment means Palestinians now have limited or no access to water, according to the UN and aid agencies.

Officials said electricity was down to around three to four hours per day, with 16,800 housing units damaged.

So Palestinian losses were 19 times those of Israel, whose “great achievements” also include denying Gaza access to water and limiting its electricity to less than four hours per day, rendering 16,800 homes unsafe, and destroying the region’s defence against Covid-19 (a fact that, curiously, wasn’t mentioned in the report).

And what are the guarantees about Sheikh Jarrah and the Al Aqsa Mosque really worth? It was the Israeli government’s refusal to stop turfing Palestinians out of their homes, and invasion of the third most holy place in Islam that started the conflict in the first place.

Note that fighting could resume if the ceasefire is not honoured. Considering the Israeli government’s failure to accede to reasonable Palestinian demands for an end to the forced removal of people from their homes, who do you think is most likely to betray its terms?

Here are a few more pertinent comments, from the social media:

Judging by its recent record, This Writer expects the Israel government to resume hostilities as soon as it is expedient to do so – coupled with an unverifiable claim that it was Palestinians who reneged on the ceasefire.

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Israel’s CULL in Palestine: a campaign of lies?

The Israel-Palestine conflict is not about Jewish survival: many Jews actively protest against the persecution of Palestinians by the extremist government of a nation state that claims to represent all Jews, whether they support it or not.

This observation from the social media about the Israel-Palestine conflict rings true:

As I write, Israel is most likely raining dozens – or hundreds – of bombs onto carefully-targeted (we’ll come back to this) sites in Palestinian territory, while Palestinians can only respond (you can hardly call it retaliation) by firing a few fireworks back.

Don’t get me wrong – fireworks can be deadly. But the resulting casualties have been equivalent to one of the more damaging Bonfire Nights of the 1960s or 70s, when people were less observant of the Fireworks Code. Palestinian deaths and injuries number in their thousands.

The scale of the imbalance makes the US media claim ridiculous: It is not a war; it is a cull.

The following tweet provides a few figures supporting this assertion. The number of deaths is not enough to support claims of genocide. But those numbers do speak for themselves:

The exact numbers in the current situation are debatable – as always in an ongoing situation:

A war on children?

Let’s consider who the Israeli Defence Force has been targeting:

The evidence seems clear: Israeli forces have clearly and positively targeted Palestinian families – civilians – for murder. Consider the response if the shoe was on the other foot and an overwhelmingly strong Palestine was treating Israeli Jews in the same way:

But there’s more: Israeli forces aren’t just targeting civilians and children.

You’ll have read in the tweets above that a clinic run by Medicins Sans Frontieres, an independent, humanitarian medical organisation, has also been struck. It’s not the only medical facility to have been hit; its staff are not the only medical staff to be harmed:

Does that seem an extreme judgement? “They want to kill most of them and let Covid do the rest”?

But then, why target a Covid-19 testing lab at all, if not for that purpose?

The Israeli government has been swift to counter the evidence with its usual claim – that Palestinian terrorists are hiding behind children.

This has been debunked as a racist lie:

One of the sites where the Israeli government claimed Hamas had been hiding was an office building housing news broadcasters Al-Jazeera and AP News – the Associated Press. The latter is one of the most well-established and -respected news agencies in the world, and its comment on the bombing is damning:

The last line refers, in This Writer’s opinion, to the intention of this particular airstrike: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what tranpired today.”

Isn’t that exactly what the Israeli government would want, as it targets civilians including children for murder?

Al-Jazeera has also commented – that Israel had still provided no evidence of any Hamas presence in the building, two days after the strike:

As a journalist of more than a quarter of a century’s experience, I find it interesting that Benjamin Netanyahu’s people feel the need to attack news reporters; to hide what they’re doing.

News media around the world have already given Israel the easiest ride possible during what can only be seen as an infamous, scandalous slaughter:

See what I mean?

There is now evidence showing that attempts to promote balanced reporting of the situation are being suppressed by supporters of the Israeli government.

For example, Canadian journalists are currently being pursued for signing an open letter calling for balanced reporting of the situation.

The letter criticises the “lack of nuanced” coverage.  “Some groups believe the attacks amount to an ‘ethnic cleansing.’ It should be covered as such,” it says.

“It’s time for Canadian newsrooms to carry out the necessary due diligence and report on this region with nuance and context.”

Pro-Israel organisations have been quick to attack the letter – and any journalist signing it, leading to the ridiculous situation of reporters being forced to defend something that it is our duty to provide: fair, balanced reporting:

See, being told your lack of objectivity means you can’t cover a story, when the grounds for saying you lack objectivity include your demand for objectivity, is perverse.

Below, we see the US pro-Jewish newspaper Algemeiner demanding that Canadian journalists who signed the letter should not be allowed to report on the “Arab-Israeli” conflict (the wording in quotation marks indicates this organisation’s own bias) because they have anti-Israeli bias. Isn’t it more accurate to say that Algemeiner fears balanced reporting that might present Israel in a less-than-glowing light of positivity?

This is the same organisation that gave UK daytime TV parlour game-player and repeat libel litigant Rachel Riley a “Warrior for Truth” award, the value of which I think we may all now question.

The Israeli government itself appears to run an organisations dedicated to disinformation – and to discrediting those who try to publish fair and accurate reports on the Israel-Palestine question:

I remember discovering adverts by this organisation on Google Adsense. If I recall corrrectly, readers of This Site had discovered that Act.Il had bought space here so that this organisation could make false claims about it.

I blocked it from advertising here. There’s no point in doing anything else like taking court action – it’s an organisation based in a foreign country, with a lot of that country’s money behind it (as I understand it), and I don’t have the means to deliver upon it the justice it deserves.

I can certainly sympathise with the sentiment in this tweet, though:

And it seems reporters aren’t the only ones being attacked:

And still, in the UK, many of our MPs are refusing to condemn Israel. Read the letter Labour’s Lisa Nandy sent to Dominic Raab and you’ll see it is disproportionate – it blames Palestinians equally with Israelis for a situation that has been forced on them.

Robert Jenrick has been roundly criticised for a mealy-mouthed propaganda routine in which he said anti-Zionism was anti-Semitism. Zionism is a racist ideology which the Israeli government uses to force Palestinians off the geographical area it defines as Israel (as opposed to the land given for the purposes of providing Jewish people with a nation of their own in the 1940s).

There are many anti-Zionist Jews. None of them are self-hating; none are anti-Semites. So Jenrick deserved the following critiques:

There are a few honourable MPs, though…

And of course they can’t do anything about grassroots protest:

It is hugely encouraging that so many people are arguing against the Israeli government’s web of lies.

But still the killings continue. Still civilians are targeted in their homes – including children – by an Israeli government and military that does not care what we think and will counter our facts with falsehoods that it can rely on the international media to parrot.

So who do you believe?

Do you believe a group of well-spoken suit-wearing dissemblers?

Or do you believe the person who wrote the following?

The answer should be so obvious it isn’t even a choice.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Why were these pro-Palestine protesters hit by driver?

Two sides of the same coin? The hit-and-harm attack on pro-Palestine protesters happened around the same time the occupants of these cars were (allegedly) spreading anti-Semitic propaganda around a predominantly Jewish London neighbourhood.

At first, I was going to say this was the flipside of the anti-Semitic behaviour we’ve seen in the UK since Israel started its latest military purge of the population of Palestine.

But that would be simplifying matters.

The incident, resulting in the arrest of one man who apparently drove his car through a crowd of pro-Palestine protesters in Nottingham, could have other causes.

Perhaps the alleged perpetrator had a grudge against the victim(s) and merely used the pro-Palestine protest as cover.

Perhaps the injured person wasn’t the intended target at all.

It will be educational to find out, if a trial results from this arrest.

My bet is on it being the work of a pro-Israel nutcase, though. Occam’s Razor – the most obvious alternative is probably right.

Source: Man arrested after car hits pro-Palestinian protesters in Nottingham | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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