Tag Archives: Palestine

Here’s why this #Israeli arms firm was forced to close UK #weapons factory

[Image: Palestine Action.]

Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Ferranti has been forced to shut down and sell a weapons factory in Oldham, here in the UK, after nearly 18 months of occupation, blockade and other action by campaigners.

According to activists at Palestine Action, drones built at the factory were sold to the Israeli Ministry of Defence and used to attack people in Palestine.

For example, the group says the Hermes 450 drone is “one of the most used drones in the world. The company markets the drone as ‘combat proven’, having battle-tested it on Palestinian people.

“It was used to bomb targets, including people, in the 2014 assault on Gaza – Operation Protective Edge – which killed 2,202 Palestinians.

“During the attack on Gaza, four young children, all aged between 10 and 11, were murdered when they were targeted by Israeli drones. They were playing on the beach when a Hermes 450 captured footage of them. An Israeli air force commander then ordered the operators of a second drone to fire, killing one of the boys. After firing the first missile, the operators of the second drone pursued the rest of the boys. They did not receive orders to shoot again, but fired anyway, killing the other three.”

That is what this arms dealer was making in the UK, in order to kill people in the Middle East.

The members of Palestine Action object to these remote-control killers being built in Britain, and launched a sustained campaign against the Oldham factory in August 2020. On Monday (January 10), they celebrated victory.

According to the group’s press release, “After 18 months of sustained direct action taken at the Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham, Greater Manchester, with 36 people arrested, Elbit have now sold Ferranti technologies, with its continued operation in Oldham appearing unfeasible.

“Activists have occupied, blockaded, smashed, disrupted, and protested regularly at the site, ultimately succeeding in ending the factory’s production of specialist military technologies for Israel’s fleet of combat drones.”

Let’s be perfectly clear: This Site does not condone the employment of illegal methods to achieve a goal. But while 36 activists have been arrested at various times during the campaign, none have been successfully prosecuted for crimes of occupation, disruption and/or protest.

On the other hand, Elbit’s drones have been used to kill thousands of Palestinians. Who would you say occupies the moral high ground?

Former Labour MP, now leading light in the Resist movement, Chris Williamson is clear on the subject:

So is Asa Winstanley of The Electronic Intifada:

And so is This Writer.

Let’s hope Elbit’s other UK factories suffer similar misfortunes in the near future and these death-mongers are forced out of the UK for good.

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Why was I reported to #Twitter over #EmmaWatson’s support for #Palestine?

Emma Watson: she’s the United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, so it must be hugely embarrassing for that organisation that any nation’s ambassador to it has accused her of anti-Semitism, especially on such specious grounds as Danny Danon has.

I had a curious email from Twitter yesterday.

Twitter is required by German law to provide notice to users who are reported by people from Germany via the Network Enforcement Act reporting flow.

We have received a complaint regarding your account, @MidWalesMike, for the following content:

@xxxxxxxxxxxx @xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx @EmmaWatson Right-wing apartheid-supporting Israelis. While there’s nothing wrong with your description, it’s Israel & it’s Zionism that’s the problem so better to put pressure there.

We have investigated the reported content and have found that it is not subject to removal under the Twitter Rules (https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311) or German law.

Interesting, isn’t it?

I had been responding to a tweet by Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, attacking actress, UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador and international treasure Emma Watson for daring to show support for the people of Palestine:

(Some might argue that “solidarity” isn’t a verb but the intention behind the statement is clearly about the act of showing solidarity with a cause, or a people who are oppressed. I’m happy to clear that up here and now.)

Danon’s attempt at wit backfired massively, provoking outrage in the wider community. Here’s just one example.

This Writer was among those who responded with support for the actress and goodwill ambassador: “Let’s have some #solidarity with @EmmaWatson who is NOT an anti-Semite for supporting the people of Palestine in their struggle to survive persecution by a hostile invading state,” I tweeted.

One fellow Twitter user then responded: “I’ve reported him to twitter, we all should! I’m so fed up with these right wing apartheid supporting Jews who think they can get away with anything and never look at their own behaviour!”

While I agreed with the sentiment fueling the decision to report Danon, I felt it necessary to point out that the comment was open to misinterpretation by the people and groups that have been making false accusations of anti-Semitism for the past six years or more. So I wrote the tweet forming the basis of the apparent complaint to Twitter.

I then received a comment from a user in Germany, which I can’t reproduce here because it has mysteriously disappeared!

If I recall correctly, it expressed discomfort with my observation that Israel and Zionism were harmful to Palestinians.

Next thing I knew, I received the email from Twitter.

You may be wondering why I am writing about any of this.

I’ll tell you.

It seems to me that, with 28 million followers on Twitter, Emma Watson isn’t going to be particularly bothered by some lame denunciation from a has-been politico. And this multi-millionaire movie star certainly has the cash to see off any legal challenge to her comments.

So it seems to me that this attempt to attack me was, for the anti-Semitism scammers (see #ItWasAScam on Twitter), the next-best thing: attack her supporters and have them silenced.

Didn’t work though, did it?

But now I wonder how many other people were treated a similar way.

And how does Emma Watson feel about anyone being attacked, just for supporting her?

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Here’s some of the anti-Palestinian racism and terrorism that Keir Starmer’s Labour loves

Keir Starmer: like Priti Patel, he seems to support terrorism rather than condemn it.

It didn’t take long, after Priti Patel announced that the UK was to proscribe the political organisation that forms the government of Palestine, for the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn to start landing.

Here’s some ‘Mercan called Jackson Wolf Pincus demonstrating the kind of ignorance we have come to expect from people of – shall we say – a certain persuasion:

Rather than shut up, though, Jackson doubled down – prompting a well-deserved put-down as follows:

Yes indeed, it does seem the case that Jeremy Corbyn’s pacifist, anti-terror stance appeals both to supporters of Palestinian self-determination and to non-racist Jews (and you should bear in mind that many people are both).

The Hamas story also led to debate about whether Patel’s decision was justified, or if other organisations or governments might deserve similar treatment.

The government of Israel, perhaps?

It’s an accurate criticism. There’s a very clear paper trail that leads from MPs – on all sides of Parliament – to the Israeli Embassy and that nation’s government. Many of our MPs appear to be in that government’s pocket.

Among them is Keir Starmer, the Labour Party leader who persecutes both Muslims and left-wing Jews, sparing his sympathy only for those who echo his wholehearted support for apartheid Israel and its violence to the Palestinians it holds captive.

So it should be no surprise that Starmer has whipped Labour MPs to support Patel’s proscription of Hamas. He wants to make sure Palestinians know that the UK supports Israel against them, no matter which party is in power, never mind the fact that Labour is supposed to support self-determination for both Israel and Palestine, and never mind the fact that Labour’s sovereign decision-maker – the party conference – voted to condemn Israel in September.

Many people, it seems, believe Starmer is right to support Israeli atrocities. Perhaps they don’t understand what is really going on.

If you know such people, show them this:

Let’s focus down onto Palestinian children. Many of us have kids, right?

How would we feel if our children were treated in the same way as those in the thread below – bearing in mind that Keir Starmer supports, to the hilt, everything that has happened to them?

It’s a catalogue of terror – and one that is incomplete because I am sure there are many murders that are hushed up by the Israeli authorities.

Keir Starmer supports this terror, and so does Priti Patel. Remember that she was forced to resign from Theresa May’s cabinet after trying to run her own policy on Israel, using public money, during and after a visit to that country to meet top politicians there, while claiming to be on holiday.

Nobody should excuse deaths and other harm that Hamas or other Palestinians have caused. Blame for the Israel-Palestine conflict lies on both sides.

But when one starts bandying around words like “terrorist”, one should apply it fairly.

Looking at the way Israel forces Palestinian people to live, and the disproportionate number of deaths and injuries suffered by Palestinians in comparison to Israeli, it is clear that Palestine is not the only country run by terrorists.

What does that say about its supporters like Starmer and Patel – and all those UK politicians who have taken money in return for their support?

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Will Starmer attack Young Labour (again) over conference motion on Palestine?

Keir Starmer is probably seething about this.

But he has already shot his bolt with attempts to shut down Young Labour’s conference (the group shifted its events to The World Transformed instead) and to intimidate YL chair Jess Barnard.

All because the group wanted to host speakers who support the cause of Palestinians who face continuing persecution from the Israeli government.

Now YL has announced it is bringing a pro-Palestine motion to the conference that will require Starmer and his cronies to support Palestinian liberation – or face questions on their reasons not to:

The motion states: “Conference condemns the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarised attack on Al Aqsa mosque, the ethnic cleansing of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and the deadly bombardment of Gaza.

“Through the dispossession of Palestinian land, labour and property, the accelerating illegal settlements, and economic exploitation, Israel is working to undermine the viability of Palestinian statehood on anything other than a neo-colonial ‘bantustan’ basis.

“Conference notes the TUC 2020 Congress motion calling this ‘another significant step’ towards the UN Crime of Apartheid. The recent work of B’Tselem and the report by Human Rights Watch, ‘A Threshold Crossed’, details how Palestinians are ‘born unequal’. This is demonstrated by the recent exclusion of Palestinians from Israel’s vaccination programme.

“Conference recognises the settle-colonial character of the oppression of the Palestinian people, condemns any attempts to obfuscate this reality, and that with Israel being the world-leading exporter of weapons per capita, Palestinian liberation is the cause of all oppressed people.

“Conference resolves to be led by and support Palestinian civil society and the trade union movement in their campaign for the boycott, divestment and sanctioning of Israel, and defends the right of the Palestinian people to struggle for liberation from colonial domination under UN resolution 37/43.

“Conference resolves to support the right of the Palestinian people under international law to return to their homes in a free, equal and democratic state.

“Conference resolves that the Labour Party must stand on the right side of history and abide by these resolutions in its policy, communications and political strategy.”

It is a direct challenge to some of Starmer’s most repressive (yet perhaps unwritten) policies.

Being such a great pal of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which is itself an arm of the Israeli Embassy, he’ll be strongly against the BDS movement in particular.

His attitude appears to be that Israel does not harm Palestinians in any way and only ever responds in self-defence to violence initiated by Palestinians.

So factual evidence that Israelis are inflicting harm on Palestinians habitually is likely to drive him up the wall. Here’s some:

It seems Starmer wants us to think these things aren’t happening.

But you’ve just seen that they are.

This Writer is curious to see whether – and how – Starmer will try to sabotage this motion and ostracise the people responsible for it.

We already know that Jess Barnard has been subjected to terrible stress.

What next?

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Young Labour joins ‘Trots Jamboree’ after Starmer’s general secretary cancels their conference

Keir Starmer (left) and his right-wing ACTING general secretary David Evans: they’re doormats to any right-wing organisation that wants to attack Labour, but have no problem attacking left-wing young people.

A new event has been added to the programme of The World Transformed – the left-wing political festival running alongside the Labour Party Conference this year.

Youth Rising for Palestine will take place on September 28, between 3-4.30pm, sponsored by Young Labour and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in what can only be a bitter humiliation for Keir Starmer and his unelected general secretary David Evans, who – it seems clear – tried to prevent the event from taking place at all.

The event’s blurb states: “May 2021 saw thousands of Palestinians killed by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza strip, in the wake of a wave of protests against violent evictions in Sheikh Jarrar and across occupied Palestine. In response to these attacks, millions mobilised across the world in solidarity with the people of Palestine, including the largest ever UK solidarity demonstration in London attended by overwhelmingly young people. But it is not enough to protest in the streets when thousands of Palestinian lives are lost. As the Israeli state ramps up its regime of apartheid and occupation, while the British political establishment seeks to suppress Palestinian voices and those acting in solidarity with them, how can we build on the explosion of youth-led organising we’ve seen this year to build a long-lasting and cross-generational UK solidarity movement?”

You can see how this would upset Starmer, who has aligned Labour firmly with apartheid Israel through his fawning subservience to the Board of Deputies of British Jews – which has itself just admitted its own strong ties to the Israeli Embassy; apparently it is not a UK organisation but an arm of the Israeli government that is being used to influence UK politics.*

I’m not the only person to see it this way. Consider:

How was Young Labour forced to take its event outside the Labour Conference? It’s quite complicated, but I’ll try to take you through it painlessly.

Events had been unfolding for many months but we only found out about them yesterday (August 31) after Young Labour co-chair Jess Barnard finally gave up trying to reason with Starmer (who never responded anyway) and Evans – who, it seems, was more interested in exercising powers he doesn’t actually have:

Right – so Young Labour were told they would not be allowed to hold their annual event this year, even though the Labour Party is required by its own rules to host it. Already, Evans was breaking party rules.

If he had provided a reason – even one as flimsy as Covid-19 (it wouldn’t work because then he wouldn’t be holding a full conference) – it wouldn’t have been as bad, but he simply didn’t bother.

Okay, so Evans at least promised to provide more resources for a Young Labour presence in the main event. Did he?

No:

You read that right. YL provided all its required information months ago and was ignored until yesterday – August 31 – when Ms Barnard was given the excuse that the party had “no capacity for due diligence checks” until September 20.

To me, it looks like Evans (and Starmer?) found a reason to want YL’s events cancelled – quietly and without any nasty publicity. Why would they want that? Read on…

Is the picture clearer now? YL wanted to host an event with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Evans (and Starmer?) wanted to put a stop to it. But they didn’t want to be seen to be stopping that particular event, so they created an excuse about “due diligence” checks.*

Ms Barnard, at least, is still willing to work with the Labour leadership…

… but I fear any hopes she has are forlorn.

One reason for this feeling is the arrival of a journalist named Oliver Kamm (I had never heard of him either). After Ms Barnard tweeted her thread, he responded with the comment below – claiming that Young Labour is anti-Semitic and wants to see a second Holocaust.

There is, to This Writer’s knowledge, absolutely no evidence to support such a wild claim, so Ms Barnard’s response is entirely understandable.

And take a look at Alex Tiffin’s comment.

Where are Starmer and Rayner (and, for that matter, Evans)? Nowhere to be seen. Now, why on Earth would they not want to defend their elected Labour Party representative? And isn’t it a dereliction of duty that they have said nothing about this?

Fortunately a few other people have chimed in to have their informed say. Personally, I have no knowledge of this Kamm person so must rely on their information:

Fortunately, given all of the above, it seems certain that the following tweet will prove inaccurate:

So that is the reason Young Labour will be co-sponsoring an event at so-called “Trots’ Jamboree” The World Transformed – alongside the PSC. I wonder if Jeremy Corbyn will attend.

This Writer has no doubt that it will be a much more worthwhile use of your time than whatever vapid puff of hot air will be put up by Starmer’s mob at that time. When’s his leader speech?

Meanwhile, I can only agree with the following two tweets…

… and endorse James Foster’s words of encouragement to Young Labour members who will be attending the conference:

*Or so it seems to This Writer.

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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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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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