The Jenin Jenin Amendment: Israel from Ethnocracy to Fascism

Last Monday, on the 6th of May, Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided to approve the “Jenin Jenin Amendment” in a paramilitary hearing. The amendment [Hebrew] is an addition to the Israeli Defamation Law [Hebrew], stating that army personnel and the state can sue individuals, who expose army violence, for libel, without proving damages. The amendment comes as a reaction to Israel’s Supreme Court rejecting soldiers’ class action suit of defamation against actor/director Mohammad Bakri, for his documentary Jenin Jenin (watch it in full here), in which Palestinian testimonies describe their experiences of the 2002 massacre perpetrated by Israel’s army in the besieged refugee camp.

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Bernard-Henri Lévy, a friend to Israel

The following is an excerpt from the brilliant new take-down of famed French “philosopher” Bernard Henri-Lévy by Jade Lindgaard and Xavier de la Porte. Titled The Impostor: BHL in Wonderland, the book is part of the recently inaugurated Verso Counterblasts series. The excerpt was published at Al Jazeera.

On June 5, 2011, nearly three months into the war against the Gaddafi regime, the Libyan rebel forces issued a corrective communiqué referring to Bernard-Henri Lévy. It said that the National Transitional Council (NTC), the political body representing the insurgents fighting the Tripoli regime, “vehemently rejects what has been reported in some media as Mr Bernard Lévy’s comments on the future relationship between Libya and the Israelis”. The communiqué continued: “The NTC is surprised by Mr Lévy’s comments,” and – an intriguing detail – “Mr Lévy was received as a special envoy from the president of France, and relations with Israel were never discussed.”

What was going on? The event had passed unnoticed at first, but three days earlier, Agence France Presse (AFP) had come up with a considerable scoop if turned out to be authentic. A real breakthrough in the history of relations between Israel and the Arab countries: the NTC was apparently prepared to recognise the state of Israel and maintain “normal relations” with it. That was the “verbal message” that Bernard-Henri Lévy had come to deliver to the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, on behalf of the Libyan Council.

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Who’s Afraid of Women’s Song?

At 4:02, as the women sing, a male protester yells: “Who’s afraid of women’s song?”

The following is a testimony of one of the women, out of the 23 activists, who were arrested in this week’s Nabi Saleh demonstration (above video). This demonstration was the first after Mustafa Tamimi’s murder. It was extremely brutal, which is a relative term, considering the continuous repression that the demonstrations against the apartheid wall face, and the village of Nabi Saleh in particular.

Out of the 23 activists, many were physically assaulted while handcuffed behind their backs, as Mohammed Khatib, one of the leaders of the Bil’in popular committee, describes in his own testimony. Mustafa Tamimi’s sister, Ola, who was prevented from being with her brother as he took his last breaths, was pepper sprayed in the eyes, from a few centimeters away. And another handcuffed woman was slapped with the back of the hand of a passing male settler, when she expressed objection to him assaulting Khatib and taking pictures. These are just a few of the testimonies that were published and taped, we still don’t have a complete story of this particular demonstration, and many other stories will be lost in the clouds of gas.

Testimony of Sahar M. Vardi

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Protesters shot dead for shouting: Nakba Remembrance Day 2011

by Brenda Heard

The 15th of May is a day of remembrance. Around the world, we remember the systematic displacement and massacre of the Palestinian people. In their honour, we take note of the necessity of safeguarding the sliver of impoverished land that has been left to the survivors. We pay tribute to those who have refused to be stomped into oblivion.

Yet the Israeli newspaper Haaretz bemoans self-righteously the ‘Palestinian protests for the annual Nakba Day, which mourns the creation of the State of Israel’. At this phraseology we can only shake our heads and say, ‘no, it is not about you; it is about the injustice done to the Palestinian people; it is this injustice that is the catastrophe’.

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Don’t Forget Bassem Abu Rahmeh

Today is the first year’s anniversary of Bassem Abu Rahmeh’s Death. I didn’t know Bassem, but I watched him die. It was only a few months after the Gaza massacre. Nobody cared for a dead Palestinian. Two weeks later I started going to Bil’in. I’ve been going every week ever since. I’ve met people I’ve come to care about. I’ve met Bassem’s friends, who welcome me in their home with a smile and embrace. His family, who have been shot and jailed. His fiance- a beautiful Israeli activist- whom I’ve come to love like a sister. I care about their life and I see them hurt.

Burying Bassem Abu Rahmeh
A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon an article in the Ha’aretz website, that unsurprisingly never showed up in the English version (I’ve written before about Ha’aretz double standards, when it comes to its international audience). It was titled “The Military Attorney Won’t Investigate the Death of a Demonstrator of IDF Fire in Bil’in a Year Ago”.

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The BDS Movement Wishes to Thank the Following Zionists

There are many people, from many different countries busting their ass in order to move the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement forward. These people are human rights activists, concerned citizens, people of conscious.

Sometimes, however, the propellers of the BDS movement are not what you’d expect. They are hard-core fascist, self-righteous Zionists, so unable to see beyond their own ideology that they actually hurt themselves. I’d like to take a moment to thank them all.

The BDS Movement Wishes to Thank the Israeli Mainstream Media

In the past 3 months, the Israeli media went from irresponsibly ignoring the BDS movement, to at least 6 articles a day, among the online media, focusing on the fear of Israel’s deteriorating image, in the world. Though articles about actual news (like the Dexia Bank disinvestment) are missing from the mainstream media, we can witness the fear and loathing in the Zionist state, all over the main three media outlets:

Left warns of global boycott over Ariel U. [Yediot Acharonot/Ynet]

World isn’t buying Israel’s explanations anymore [Ha’aretz]

[Israel’s] image is at an all time low. International pressure is mounting, and the calls for ostracism and boycotts are multiplying. All this was fueled by the Goldstone report, which was in itself fueled by Israeli sources. The funding for these sources is provided by, amongst others, the NIF. The question is whether the New Israeli Fund is indeed for Israel… Israel is bleeding, IDF officers are closed up in the Kiriya, leaders are canceling visitations abroad, Israeli produce is taken of the shelves and this is just the beginning. [Ma’ariv/nrg, limited by my translation]

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The Real Road Map: Violent Reactions to the Struggle for Equal Rights

Photo by Eric Gaillard/Reuters

by Yaniv Reich

You possess the world’s fourth most powerful military according to your own estimates, yet find yourself delegitimized in the international arena, unable to impose control over either your perceived enemies, or your internal settler-anarchist “brothers”.  You are desperately arresting nonviolent leaders that resist your military occupation while also fearing for the travel plans of your leaders implicated in war crimes.  It would seem current events are spiraling out of your grasp.  How do you reverse this worrying order of events? 

A hint was provided Saturday morning when a joint Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Shin Bet raid killed three alleged members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, one of two groups that claimed responsibility for the recent murder of a settler near Nablus in the occupied West Bank.  According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem,  two of the three shooting deaths by the IDF were carried out like executions, and eyewitness testimony alleges the two victims were executed from close range once identified, despite putting up no resistance.  A senior IDF official lent support to these testimonies when he told Israel Radio that the militants had not fired on the IDF troops and that two of the dead were known to have been unarmed at the time.  However, he explained that they were assassinated because they were believed to be responsible for the settler’s death.  In response B’Tselem called for an army investigation into the allegations of extrajudicial execution.

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