The Party and the Deep State

The Party and the Deep State

If we compare our current situation politically and culturally in this country, to the many films Hollywood produces that depict a dystopian authoritarian society, we would be relived to feel we are far from such a reality. Much has been said about a “deep state” that exists within our own United States government. A system of shadow covert decision makers with power that influence decisions which impact us daily. As the father of public relations once wrote in the first paragraph of his well-known book titled “Propaganda”, “Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” 

From the perspective of an average citizen, our country is far from what is depicted in film. However, if we see it from the perspective of those who wield actual power, it’s advantageous for them to never get to the level seen in Hollywood films. In fact, films portraying horrible dystopian societies act as a sub conscious anchor, that permanently reinforce our current situation as bearable, relative to the movies, all the while our civil liberties and “democracy” diminish each year. Regardless of what you may feel towards President Trump, if you respect the democratic system of the United States, it is very difficult to argue that there is not a deep state attempt to unseat this duly elected President. But before we delve into that, let’s first analyze the people who attack the President day after day. 

Criticizing a President is not a new phenomenon, and this President certainly warrants criticism, notably his support for the Saudi led slaughter of Yemeni civilians. However, it’s perhaps his best qualities that are repeatedly scrutinized by the same people who just years ago would have agreed with him. The effects of mainstream media can be seen greatly, as every single day since before he was inaugurated, the media has attacked his Presidency. After much time and repetition, it seems as though people don’t understand why they even dislike the President. Instead, they’ve been programmed to believe any and all actions he takes are evil. The first of these actions being his insistence on puling U.S troops out of the Middle East. 

Trump’s firing of war hawk National Security Advisor John Bolton was one of his best decisions. Eliminating a cabinet voice that insists on war and conflict should be great news. But not for everyone. The Democratic Party, which once belonged to the likes of President Kennedy, is a shell of itself. What happened to the Party that had a disdain for covert and secret organizations like the CIA, which Kennedy famously, and maybe fatally, dared to question? Or the party of Democratic President Harry Truman, who said once “those fellows in the CIA don’t just report on wars and the like, they go out and make their own, and there’s nobody to keep track of what they’re up to”. Has the media convinced the once anti-war left that unelected covert organizations are the pinnacle of democracy? Looking at today’s affairs it seems so. 

As I write this, President Trump has agreed to pullback troops from Syria, and the uproar is deafening. One would think the Democrats who braved a strong nationalist force post 9/11 to publicly protest the Iraq War, would cheer troop withdrawals from a region that has seen upwards of $8 trillion spent of taxpayer money. Yet instead, left leaning media insists on welcoming members of the “intelligence community” to throw softball questions onto as they pitch the public the necessity for ongoing war. I’m old enough to remember when Democrats once challenged the advice of our unelected “intelligence community” as they pushed us into nearly two-decade long wars based on now proven lies. Yet today’s Democrats are the quickest to attack a President for merely suggesting that this community might have ulterior motives and can be wrong. 

Between the Russian collusion story, a Ukrainian phone call, and a litany of other obstacles thrown at the President, it is clear there are powerful people who want the President out because he does not follow their agenda. Remarkably, the average citizens might actually believe the reasons given by powerful elites for their dislike or challenging of President Trump. Former CIA Director John Brennan, a well-known critic of the President, often calls for his removal. Even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham will challenge the President as soon as there is a hint of deescalating conflict anywhere in the world. Today the Senator suggested a troop withdrawal from Syria would be disastrous for our friends, the Kurds. It’s actually quite mind boggling to think people believe Lindsey Graham genuinely cares about the Kurds. Or that John Brennan is concerned about Trump’s integrity. Nobody seemed to care about the Kurds when the U.S and these same actors in government and the intelligence community, were supplying Iraq with chemical weapons to kill them. Has nobody questioned whether perhaps war hawks want troops to remain not because of any Kurdish empathy, but because their defense stock profits might take a hit from peace? Yet it seems today’s Democratic Party has been convinced that their passions and goals are aligned with the same people they once knew were self-seeking liars. 

We live in a complex time where the old Democratic Party is looking more like the Bush era Republicans, and today’s Republican Party led by Trump, looks like yesterday’s anti-war Democrats. War hawks remain embedded in both, but for the most part something has changed. And that is that President Trump has directly or indirectly exposed a deep state that exists with its own goals independent of democratic led civilian aspirations. 

Dual-Loyalty and Israel

Dual-Loyalty and Israel

American democracy and free speech end where criticism of Israel begins. Or so it seems, given the nature of continuing criticism towards Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), for her alleged “anti-Semitic” comments. Last month the Freshman congresswoman drew fierce criticism from leaders on both sides when she dared to question the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After being forced to retract and clarify her statements, Omar refused to be silenced when it came to challenging Israeli policy and attitudes, leading this week to further criticism for new comments on the matter.

The Congresswoman put a spotlight on a key component of American politics, the question of “dual loyalty” with regards to supporting Israel. Standing tall, and seemingly alone, against criticism from fellow congressional leaders, the congresswoman refused to back down, stating, “Our democracy is built on debate…I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee”. The mention of her committee status comes from recent action by groups and leaders calling on her to be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee which she currently serves on.

The question of dual loyalty, especially with regards to Israel, is a topic that many have pondered over yet been to afraid to speak openly about according to the Congresswoman who said, “I am told every day that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks”. The irony of this whole situation comes from those who insist on attacking Omar for her opinion regarding Israel. It seems as though the more she is punished in the media for her criticism of Israel, the more her statements become validated. Take for example Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA), who took to Twitter to condemn Congresswoman Omar’s comments. In his attempt to prove her wrong, he openly makes the case for her statements being correct, when in a sure to be soon deleted tweet he writes “…questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable”.

Those who argue against the notion that there may exist a dual loyalty between American citizens and Israel, often cite examples of those with dual citizenship. Except the matter with Israel goes beyond this. A dual citizen from the United States and Mexico, is different than one from the U.S and Israel. For one, Mexico is not a religiously established state such as the “Jewish State” of Israel. The religious component differentiates it from other countries. An easy to way to uncover dual loyalty between the U.S and Israel would be to note the allegiance of those individuals should the U.S and Israel ever be at odds with one another. However, this will not happen considering the U.S’ unconditional support for Israel that has existed over the years. Ilhan Omar’s suggestion that pro-Israel advocates are pushing “allegiance to a foreign country” is beyond a suggestion and borders obvious truth. Pro-Israel advocates work tirelessly to ensure the satisfaction of Israel and its needs, including the annual U.S tax payer dollars sent to Israel, while the U.S continues to bury itself in debt. For those who champion democracy and free speech, they seem to be enraged when someone disagrees with or criticizes Israel. Anger that is nowhere to be seen with regards to any other country. Including when the U.S delegation abruptly walked out of a United Nations assembly when the Palestinian delegation spoke.

The Congresswoman pointing out the unconditional and dangerous loyalty to Israel is not controversial, it is in fact an obvious truth that too many people have been afraid to utter. Every election, the American people are given topics to consider when evaluating their candidates. These include education, healthcare, economy, and sandwiched between all of them, the U.S policy on Israel. Candidates compete to see who can appease and compliment Israel the strongest. I have never in my decades of U.S elections seen the U.S policy towards say Chile, or Haiti, be the center of a national party platform. Year after year pro Israel advocates make sure the next leader of the United States pledges allegiance to their nation, yet we as American citizens are required to condemn Ilhan Omar for pointing out what everyone sees clearly.

It will be interesting to see moving forward how the United States balances its unconditional support for Israel, and the imminent problems it faces. As nations such as China seem to be growing at incredible rates to test U.S hegemony, the United States, rather than making this its primary concern, instead is more concerned with that which concerns Israel’s needs. The United States’ insistence on harassing Iran and provoking a response that will justify a war and satisfy the war hawks, is an excellent example of the question of dual loyalty to Israel. Americans are far too tired and outright debt ridden to be supportive of another ongoing war. Their voices are loud and clear regarding this matter. The criticism of Israel by Congresswoman Omar is music to ears of the same people who accuse her of anti-Semitism. Outwardly, they depict themselves as outraged and disappointed, however this is exactly the type of rhetoric they need to push legislation that bans criticism towards Israel. Resolutions are now being drafted and sent to the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, requiring the law to condemn anyone that speaks ill of Israel. Regardless of your political affiliation, if you are unsure of whether or not Israel has large influence on U.S policy, ask yourself one simple question. What other country do you know pushes its supporters to pass government legislation barring criticism of it?

Who Dares Criticize Israel?

Who Dares Criticize Israel?

Over the last few weeks, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) found herself in a whirlwind of accusations of anti-Semitism. But none more than this week when she dared to say what many have been afraid to mention for decades. The fact that Israel holds tremendous influence on politics in the United States, and that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a powerful force of such influence.

Not surprisingly, the attacks and accusations of anti-Semitism from all corners of American media began to come in. It all began when the Congresswoman replied to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald, in which he pointed out how quickly U.S political leaders spring to defend Israel. Omar replied, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby”, and when another journalist asked who Omar thinks is funding the support for Israel, she replied “AIPAC!”. The media, war hawks, pundits, and all other pro-Israel groups lost their minds.

One of the first to take a shot at the Congresswoman, was fellow Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who for anyone that looks into his policies, might as well be representing Israel in congress over his own constituents. Zeldin has called for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to strip Omar of her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Yet between the commotion was the Congressman’s promotion of his very own sponsored bill in congress, House Resolution 72, a bill that requires congress to reject any and all “anti-Israel hatred”. The double standard and irony of Zeldin’s comments towards Omar cannot be missed. Time after time on a regular basis, Zeldin calls Palestinians terrorists, lobbies for aid to be cut for Palestinians, and criticized another congresswoman for bringing a Palestinian flag to her swearing in ceremony. He has the audacity to lecture someone holding another flag about loyalty to the United States, when his entire career seemingly consists of catering to anything Israel wants.

Perhaps one of the most failed attempts at smearing Congresswoman Omar, came when she was compared to White nationalist David Duke, who also happened to ask why the United States puts Israel’s interests ahead of its own. Although Omar, an African American Muslim, and David Duke, could not be more different, collective guilt isn’t anything new to staunch pro-Israel advocates. One shouldn’t expect more from a nation that demolishes homes of Palestinians accused of crimes without trial or due process.

Despite the backlash from many over the Congresswoman’s comments, there is much to be gained from it all. For one, the conversation regarding Israel’s influence in politics has been thrust into the mainstream. Pundits correctly pointed out one of the many absurd double standards in the media pertaining to Israel. One journalist posted a Twitter thread detailing countless examples of media pieces that charge Saudi Arabia with using money to influence U.S politics. A claim Omar herself has made about Saudi Arabia, yet nobody assumed she was anti Muslim for expressing that opinion. It’s only when anyone sheds light on Israel’s powerful influence that they’re immediately labeled an “anti-Semite”. Based on the outrage against those who dare question Israel, it seems evident there is no way to critically challenge any Israeli policy in a way that doesn’t warrant the accusation of anti-Semitism. It’s but impossible to think of any other nation that is immune from social criticism without recourse. For years now, many have known about the power that AIPAC holds towards the U.S government. There is a misconception that only non-Jews are critical of Israeli policy, however a vast number of Jews have shed light on the treatment of Palestinians as well as the powerful lobbying force of Israeli policies. Even these Jews are called anti-Semitic at times for speaking out. As much as the Zionist elite want to paint Israeli criticism as a religious issue, it simply is not. In their great work The Israel Lobby, John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt, breakdown just how influential Israel is when it comes to politics. Their arguments are not rooted in religion as the media might have one believe, but based on facts.

Throughout this entire ordeal, one thing has become very clear. The comment that Israel has substantial influence on U.S politics has been validated by the response to the comment itself. This congresswoman made a claim about how Israel practically dictates U.S policy, and in return has been vilified by the institutions she said would do such things. Daily and for decades, U.S politicians challenge and criticize not only Palestinian, but other people and nations as well. This goes unnoticed and has become normal in our political culture. Israel remains as the only nation with the privilege of immunity from criticism by those in power, further validating the claims made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and many more.

Anti-Semite: Anyone Who Challenges Zionism

Anti-Semite: Anyone Who Challenges Zionism

The new year for many typically brings with it a new outlook or appreciation. Perhaps a change in old ways of thinking and newer approaches to some of our most common dilemmas. Yet not even a week into 2019, and the allegations of anti-Semitism have picked up right where they left off in 2018, by those who cannot bear to hear anyone criticize Israel.

Earlier this week the 116th congress made its debut, ushering in the most diverse group of incoming freshman in U.S history. The social media outrage at the swearing in of the first female Palestinian congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib (MI), was louder than ever. On Twitter, Israeli cheerleader Ben Shapiro, and his co cheerleader Seth Mandel, were out in full force in typical fashion. Anytime the topic of Israel and Palestine are mentioned in the media, those who consistently lobby for victimhood of Israel make contradictory statements which change based on the context which would push their agenda the most at that given moment. Let’s begin by dissecting Mandel’s annoyance of the thought of a Palestinian congresswoman. The first Somali-American Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar (MN), tweeted highlights about the diversity of which the 116th Congress consists. One of the highlights mentioned the “1st Palestinian-American” in reference to Tlaib. Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, whose father is Christian Palestinian replied “My father is Palestinian..” Besides the dynamics of the exchange, the more interesting aspect was the replies to it. Mandel, an open Zionist, came rushing to defend Amash and his Palestinian status, tweeting, “Look at the first response, classic. Amash is Palestinian…” It’s remarkable how when given the opportunity to belittle Palestinians, those who unconditionally support Israel in opposition to Palestinians, become temporary defenders of the Palestinian people.

It would take quite some time to count the number of pro-Israel politicians who have served in the United States congress, but less than a handful to count the number of Palestinians who have. Yet those fraction of a handful Palestinians who now serve in Congress are enough for Mandel to conclude that it’s an all out assault on the Jewish people apparently. Tweeting again about a new Palestinian in congress, Mandel said, “…the swearing-in of elected anti-semites today was a warning to America’s Jews to pipe down and keep a bag packed.” This is where we are in America today. When a substantial part of U.S politicians include Zionists, who not only openly, but confidently demean Palestinians, we must accept the outcomes of democracy. Yet when one, yes one, Palestinian is elected to congress, Zionists like Mandel and others fear monger and portray the election as an apocalyptic event for Jews, many of whom support Congresswoman Tlaib. Of course all the mainstream Palestinians in the media, like Tapper and Blitzer, will now call for the expulsion of Jews from America, correct?

Compared to Shapiro, Mandel is quite mild in his disdain for Palestinians. Looking back at Shapiro tweets from several years ago, when he wasn’t as recognized, we see his opinion of Palestinians on full display. Shapiro and other Zionists, repeatedly deny or recognize a Palestinian authority. When the UN even suggests giving Palestinians representation, they fume. However, when it’s convenient for them to associate something negative to a Palestinian authority, that authority magically exists when it fits their agenda. Decades of Zionist propaganda have created an impression among some, that Palestinians are refugees who are somehow taking what belongs to Israel. The reality however, is that Palestinians are not the occupying force, but instead it’s the Israelis who have evicted Palestinians from their home, land, and more. Shapiro once tweeted sarcastically, “I love the Palestinian authority, whose literal strategy is “hand over land or we kidnap and murder your children.” Again we see a classical Zionist move, which is to portray Palestinians of having any kind of authority, let alone one that would allow them to kidnap children. This helps to create the impression that somewhere the Palestinian authority even has the means to detain anyone even if they wanted to. In the propaganda world, you are wise to accuse others of that which you are guilty of, and that is what is done here.

In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pandered to Zionists before his election, promising that there will never be a Palestinian state. This promise helped to secure his victory, in which the next day he returned to politics, backtracking his words and talking again about a  “peace process.” If the mainstream media would have covered this story and his campaign promise, it would be evident to anyone that Israeli Zionists have no intention of making peace. But in order for the entire charade to go on, it must be perceived that Netanyahu is entertaining the chance of Palestinian rights. Shapiro brilliantly illustrates this hypocrisy from tweets in 2015. On March 20, 2015 Shapiro tweeted  “Everyone in the media who told you that Bibi forbade possibility of a Palestinian state lied or was mistaken.” Five days later he tweeted, “Netanyahu says the DAY BEFORE AN ELECTION that there won’t be a Palestinian state bc [sic] Palestinians are pro-terror…”

The election of a single Palestinian female in congress has created an eruption of outrage and fear throughout the Zionist community. The conflict between Israeli Zionists and Palestinians is no longer just physical, but has manifested itself into a public relations battle on social media. Prominent Zionists, as has been illustrated, pounce at the opportunity to depict Israel as a victim however and whenever they can. When it suits them to label it a sponsor of terrorism, Palestine is a sovereign state, otherwise it’s an illegitimate authority. The notion that a single Palestinian congresswoman is any threat to Israel’s occupation, is simply a distraction from the fact Israel and its lobby have influence over our government more than people may understand. The beauty of all this is that it’s not Palestinians that point out these dynamics. Whether it’s intellectuals such as John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, or the Libertarian Institute’s own Sheldon Richman, the point is that non-Palestinians and even many Jews point of the obvious. Even the late great Holocaust survivor Dr. Hajo Meyer said “An anti-Semite used to be a person who disliked Jews,” adding, “Now it is a person who (Zionist) Jews dislike.”

Pointing out fictional Zionist fantasies resulting from a Palestinian coming into power in congress, only acts as a fear tactic and distraction from the reality that it’s not those who challenge Israel that have the power, but rather the power rests with those who unconditionally support Israel and refuse to accept that reality.

2019, The Palestinian Reality Check

2019, The Palestinian Reality Check

In recent weeks there has been a plethora of news surrounding of all things, the Trump administration and its policies. Between the talking points, much of the news has found one way or another, a comparison to the Palestinians and Israelis. For example, this week Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer met in the Oval Office with President Trump to discuss funding for the border wall. Democrats have been vocally opposed to funding Trump’s border wall, yet on Fox News later that night, Tucker Carlson made an interesting point. Carlson pointed out that Democratic leadership’s reasoning for not funding Trump’s wall, is their claim of its immorality. Yet these same Democratic leaders, Pelosi and Schumer, unconditionally supported Israel’s apartheid wall.

Comparisons to Israel’s border wall have been discussed plenty online, with many pro-Israel supporters claiming that their wall has decreased “illegal immigration” by 99%. The comparison between Israel’s wall and Trump’s proposed wall is great news for Israel. It helps to blur the obvious distinction between the two and make it more difficult for people to see the apartheid nature of not only Israel’s wall, but their policies towards non-Jews. It does this by creating the assumption that Palestinians are “illegal” let alone immigrants to their own land. However a true comparison of walls would be if Trump invaded Mexico, occupied the vast majority of it, pushed every Mexican into a densely populated region, and built a wall to keep them from leaving it to enter their country. Because that’s precisely what Israel has done and continues to do. If anyone is an illegal immigrant, it’s the influx of immigrants into Israel who kicked Palestinians from their land. Their “passport” and justification being that God “chose” Palestine for them. Imagine for a moment if the people at our Southern border entered into the United States backed by the British, expelled you from your home, and said God had chosen them. That is what happened to Palestinians.

Israel has continued to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land, violating all UN resolutions as usually is done. From a classical realist perspective, what Israel is doing is the right thing. While they break international laws and expand their vision of a greater Israel, Palestinians wait for bread crumbs from the international community in the form of any support. It’s time for Palestinians to become unapologetic, waking up to realize the international community has never been there for them. Condemnations of Israel’s actions are nothing but slaps on the wrist, and an attempt to stall Palestinian action until it’s too late. Meanwhile, while all of this is happening, Israel continues to play the victim on the international stage. The asymmetrical grievances between Israeli’s and Palestinians are some which most people will never know of.

The only way to fully illustrate the apartheid way of life Palestinians must endure at the hands of Israel, is for one to put themselves in the shoes of a Palestinian. The Israeli military is notorious for forcing school children to take long ways to and from school, having to go through military checkpoints. More harmful however, is their treatment of Palestinians in Gaza. Well known and documented is Israel’s “diet” they impose on the Palestinians, created to ensure Palestinians have just enough food to avoid malnutrition. Israel determines how much food and medical supplies are allowed to enter the open air concentration camp known as Gaza. Any reasonable person can imagine the worldwide holocaust level of outrage if Palestinians dictated the amount of food Israeli’s could eat. Israel’s treatment towards the younger generation of Palestinians is well documented. According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights, Israeli has detained over 200 minors, some under 14 years old. No worldwide outrage. Again, the outcry if the Palestinian authority dared to detain an Israeli citizen let alone a minor. The psychological implications of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is what goes the most unnoticed in the world media. Israel will remind the world endlessly when a Palestinian uses a knife as a least means of defense. They will portray the event as the cause, when the reality is this is the effect of generational psychological abuse. When you have been punishing a people with apartheid since 1948, robbing them not only of their property and country, but human dignity, they will lash out.

2019 is a decisive year for the Palestinian people. They need to wake up and realize their counterparts, the Zionist Israelis are not in the business of peace. They continue to expand their illegal settlements, deprive Palestinians of human rights, all the while portraying themselves as the victims in the mainstream media. They must realize the United States has no plans on helping the Palestinian people, regardless of the political party in power. Just this week Senator Rand Paul, the inconsistently libertarian conservative from Kentucky, threatened to cut funding for the Palestinians. This was again done using the mainstream news as of late regarding the budget deficit. He and many politicians know that the budget and saving money are on the minds of many Americans, therefore they used the opportunity to label the Palestinians as a financial burden. All the while not mentioning Israel is the largest recipient of U.S foreign aid. The Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, whose loyalties via religion are stronger with Israel than the U.S, tweeted that Israelis were wounded by Palestinians. This prompted the grand standing by Paul to label Palestinians as terrorists. School kids, journalists, minors, and everyone who isn’t Jewish living in Israel must deal with the death and apartheid Israel inflicts upon them, and at the same time be called terrorists by their supposed peace broker. Paul and other politicians have the audacity to condemn Saudi Arabia for killing children in Yemen, while turning a blind eye to Israel’s acts.

If you’re a Palestinian in 2019, it’s you against the world. You cannot afford to depend on the world to help your cause, while your kids are being killed and your homes destroyed. The idea of peace is nonexistent, as many Zionist leaders such as Netanyahu have understood decades ago while appearing to value it. An occupying force stripping you of your land, and calling you the illegal immigrants, is not the force that is looking for peace. This is not a call for aggression, on the contrary many Jews have sided with Palestinians against Zionist occupation. Rather this is a wakeup call to reality. The late well known Israeli intellectual Yeshayahu Leibowitz once warned that Israeli soldiers who harass and occupy Palestinian territories risk becoming “Judeo Nazis”.

American’s must decide if they want to be on the right side of history, or support a murderous occupying military in Israel. The threat of being labeled “anti-Semitic” for speaking the truth is a risk all must disregard if they want to be on the just side of the Palestinian Israeli issue. U.S politicians have and will always be at the mercy of the Israeli lobby. What other nation has world leaders who are expected to travel to a wall, and pray, displaying their allegiance to Israel? And you expect these leaders to have Palestinian peace in mind? May next year, 2019, be the year of the unapologetic Palestinians.

One Man’s Home Is Another Man’s Settlement

One Man’s Home Is Another Man’s Settlement

As the Woolsey Fire continues to devastate the Los Angeles region, firefighters are working tirelessly to save many of the homes in the direct path of the wildfire. One such home belongs to Hollywood celebrity Gerard Butler, who just last week posted an Instagram photo standing in front of what appears to be the remains of his home, which was engulfed and destroyed by the fire. Butler is one of many celebrities to have their homes taken by the fire. It brings no happiness to see anyone lose their home, a thought one would think celebrities and people would understand. Yet earlier last week, Butler, along with other prominent celebrities, attended the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) annual gala, where they raised $60 million for the Israeli armed forces. The same armed forces that have time and again, against multiple Security Council resolutions, purposefully destroyed not just a few homes but entire villages belonging to Palestinians.

It’s no surprise that Israel continues to violate UN Security Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2334 which aims at “ Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967” by Israel. This resolution is most notable as last month Israel postponed its demolition of the Palestinian village Khan al-Ahmar. The aim of the demolition of homes is not only to displace Palestinians, but to build illegal Israeli settlements, also of which are illegal under security council resolutions. The resolution states it condemns Israel from “the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians”. The problem with Israel’s disregard for international law is the manner in which the media presents its actions. For example, stating that Israel “violated” a resolution or international law leaves room for the impression that Israel may have inadvertently made a mistake. Yet after multiple violations, it’s clear to anyone that these are not simply violations. These are a blatant disregard for the rule of international law and the integrity of the United Nations. It’s quite interesting to see some in the media who are pro-Israel, look to the numerous condemnations by the UN towards Israel as proof of Israel being a victim. Yet never question the usually illegal acts which not only were carried out regardless, but warranted the condemnations in the first place. In fact, the United States has over 40 times vetoed anything that would remotely hold Israel accountable for its actions.

This double standard is nothing new, yet when celebrities were raising money last week for the Israeli Defense Force, a new double standard emerged. Can you imagine not only the perceptive but also the legal consequences if any individual in the United States raised money for a foreign military like occurred last week? Imagine for a moment if a group of people raised money for the Russian, Iranian, Lebanese, or other military. But of course when it’s Israel, this is championed as great charity and humanitarian action. Actions such as this by celebrities are openly demonstrated every year, while U.S veterans of war search for jobs and decent healthcare, wishing to have a fraction of what is given to Israeli soldiers annually. Celebrities are not the only ones giving to Israel however. Unknown to most tax paying Americans, many among them use fine-tuned tax loopholes to write off taxes by contributing to the building of illegal Israeli settlements. This has been ongoing for years, and occurs when tax payers make contributions to nonprofit organizations as donations, which are then used to subsidize illegal Israeli settlements. While hard working Americans pay taxes thinking they are bettering the neighborhoods or country in which they live, some of their neighbors avoid taxes by improving the status of a country on the other side of the world. For more information on the practice of tax loopholes for Israeli settlements, a quick Google search will yield plenty of instances.

It’s quite common for Israeli Americans to send money to better the status of Israel, yet many Palestinians fear sending loved ones in need of money for basic necessities funds, as it can be erroneously tied to funding “terror” if the U.S or Israel dislikes the action. Yet another of the endless double standards.

The centennial anniversary of the end of World War 1 has just occurred and while this happened, our American celebrities celebrated by raising money for soldiers whose country didn’t exist until 30 years after the end of the war. And as unfortunate as their home destructions are by the Woolsey Fire, these very celebrities either are ignorant to the fact, or completely disregard that their charitable actions to Israel only help to add more destruction of homes to people abroad now in their same situation.

The Unfortunate Capitalizing of Tragedy

The Unfortunate Capitalizing of Tragedy

It’s an unfortunate yet true reality that after a tragedy takes place, there are those who look to capitalize on the events to further their political agendas. Last week in Pittsburgh, a gunman opened fire in a synagogue, killing 11 people. Rightfully so, many in the Jewish community condemned this atrocious act, and called for unity in a time of healing. However, for those who have been following events in the Middle East, specifically the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it was only a matter of time shortly after that the inevitable politicization would take place as it did.

For some time now Israel has slowly been attempting to equate any criticism of its actions with anti-Semitism, in an attempt to silence anyone from challenging their occupation in Palestine. For in depth reading on this subject, see Sheldon Richman’s article on “Defining Anti-Semitism”. Looking on social media after the events in Pittsburgh, one could right away see the pro-Israel war hawks jumping on every opportunity to use the tragedy as a political win for Israel. For some, it was attacking the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, calling it anti-Semitic for its boycott of Israeli goods. Ironic however that a state which claims to be the bastion of free speech in the Middle East is seemingly hell bent on silencing any dissent towards it. Just last month American student Lara Alqasem was detained in an Israeli airport for a week, for of all things, boycotting Israeli owned Sabra hummus as part of her involvement with Students for Justice in Palestine. One Twitter user went so far as to tweet “The entire purpose of BDS is to wipe Israel from the map”. Comical, considering the plethora of boycotts in the United States domestically by groups who use it as a means of protest, with no intention of wiping any country off any map.

Although Twitter users equating tragedy with protecting Israel’s interests may not seem effective or making a difference, prominent Zionist voices in the media have pounced on the opportunity to protect Israel’s image at all costs using the tragedy as a tool. Immediately after the massacre in Pittsburgh, using anger to squash opposing views, the terms “Zionist” “neo conservative”, and even questioning George Soros were equated with being anti-Semitic, and therefore speaking ill of any of these concepts made you a supporter of not only white nationalism, but more effectively, the killing of Jews. Talk show host Dave Rubin tweeted “The Left has a Jew-hatred problem which they poorly disguise as an anti-Israel stance”. Covering all their bases, pro-Israel Zionists seem to be working overtime in all but assuring nobody dares speak any ill of Israel.

Even with all the outpouring of support that not only comes Israel’s way daily when there isn’t a tragedy, but especially now that a Jewish community has been affected, the Zionist war hawks make sure to remain the victims in all of this. One would think those advocating for reflection during a tragedy would wait before politicizing murder, but the time was too ripe to pass up the opportunity. There is this notion from both left and right leaning Zionists, who ultimately have the same agenda, that President Trump and in effect the United States doesn’t care for Israel or Jews. Anyone with an elementary level education can understand the erroneous nature of this victimization seeking. Besides the fact that the Israeli lobby practically finances U.S politics, President Trump repeatedly gave his condolences to the Jewish community. Something which never crossed his mind to do when six Muslims were killed in a mosque attack in Canada. Canada isn’t the President’s problem to be addressing you might say? Well condolences by all American presidents seem to be given to Israel, when a Palestinian who most likely witnessed their home being demolished lashes out from hysteria.

In the wake of tragedy there are two types of people. Those who genuinely grieve at the event and look to unite in the name of good. It’s an unfortunate reality that there also exists those who keep one eye open during prayer, waiting for the time to use tragedy to further political agendas. 11 people killed in Pittsburgh while worshipping is a heinous act. But we cannot allow those who kill more than 11 people regularly educate us on the ethics and decency of humanity.

The Unspoken Double Standard Emerges Yet Again In The Middle East

The Unspoken Double Standard Emerges Yet Again In The Middle East

There is something to be said about the fact that when something is done in plane sight, it gains significantly less attention than a similar act shrouded in secrecy. With news of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, a worldwide concern has erupted. He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Jamal Khashoggi was one of a few voices in Saudi Arabia who dared to criticize the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, as well as the continued Saudi led bombardment of Yemen which has left millions of Yemenis in one of the worst humanitarian crises. Ironically the same people critical of the prince are the same ones supplying Saudi Arabia with the weapons it uses on civilians.

The worldwide condemnation has escalated to beyond the political realm, with figures ranging from business to Hollywood electing to boycott appearances in Saudi Arabia until the investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance is complete. Although the criticism of Saudi Arabia and its policies over the last several years are warranted, one cannot help but wonder where this same anger and criticism is when Israel openly commits the same acts. Already, war hawks in the United States are itching to enter into a new conflict with Saudi Arabia, pretending to all of a sudden care about the disappearance of an Arab journalist. Just this week, CNN contributor and Council on Foreign Relations fellow Max Boot tweeted that “If the Saudis killed him, there must be hell to pay”. Where was this outrage however when Israel for the last several months has been shooting down journalists in plain sight along the border with Gaza, in addition to hundreds of women and children? The double standard is no surprise to anyone that has seen the silence on the part of the international community when it comes to Israel. Nobody dares to defend the lives of the civilians killed for fear of being labeled “anti Semitic”.

Criticism of Israel is not a defense of Saudi actions. Certainly the Saudi Arabian government has done its fair share of evil, most notably by funding ISIS fighters and its war on Yemen with the help of U.S sold weapons. Yet what drives anyone involved in current affairs to scratch their head is the lack of accountability Israel receives for the same acts that others are threatened for committing. The international community is prepared to sanction Saudi Arabia for possibly killing a journalist without video evidence. Yet Israel’s military openly kills people in broad daylight in front of video cameras. What is the “punishment” for Israel? A U.S senate signed bill that gives Israel $38 Billion of tax payer money as American’s teeter on the brink of a recession. Where are the Max Boot’s of the world to threaten Israel with “hell to pay” for the victims they have killed?

This double standard is evident of one recurring theme throughout history that Arab leaders have seemed to not understand. That the U.S constantly acts as a friend to Arab world leaders. Whether it’s Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Bashar Al Assad, and more. Once they’ve gotten what they want out of them, they become useless enemies, and all the handshakes, bows and other kind gestures become meaningless. It all but seems that Saudi Arabia’s time as the U.S darling in the Middle East is beginning to shift. Throughout all of this however one thing remains. The unconditional loyalty to Israel by both political parties in the U.S as well as Western powers. Perhaps he was right when the now deceased former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said “Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial”. His words remain true as the world watches Israel commit daily what it chastises others for allegedly committing.

J.K. Rowling Rolls Out Tired Anti-Semitism Trope

J.K. Rowling Rolls Out Tired Anti-Semitism Trope

I wasn’t entirely sure how to begin writing the following words. I felt that I was walking on egg shells, and had to be careful to not say anything that might be interpreted in a way I did not mean. Then it hit me. This was the very problem I am attempting to address. You see, I came across a Haaretz article recently about anti Semitism. J.K Rowling, the well known author of the popular “Harry Potter” book series, had written a new novel where the villain is critical of Israel, thus being labeled an anti Semite. Immediately I realized the absurdity and danger of this characterization. For a while now there has been an attempt to paint anyone critical of Israel as an anti Semite, but this is a new level, now making its way into children’s literature. Rowling’s justification for the characterization is due to what she believes to be rising anti Semitism in Europe. Replying to a comment that states Arabs cannot be anti Semitic because Arabs are Semites too, Rowling shared a dictionary definition of anti-Semitism that states it’s “hostility to or prejudice against Jews.” I wonder, when did we shift definitions to fit our narrative? Then I realized this is a type of Orwellian newspeak, wherein the very people who call themselves peacemakers that drone strike civilians, change labels to suit themselves.

Time and again we see those who are even slightly critical of Israel and Zionist occupation being labeled “anti-Semitic”, including Jews themselves. By the dictionary definition J.K Rowling proudly shared as her defense, wouldn’t pro Israel supporters be anti-Semites then? Surely they’re showing hostility against the opinions of Jews who condemn Israel’s illegal occupation. The reason this label, anti-Semitism, is so powerful and can literally ruin anyone who is critical of Israel, is because a similar definition doesn’t exist for the alternate viewpoint. There is no harmful label associated with those who are critical of Palestinian rights. This double standard is part of the frustration many feel when pointing out Israeli war crimes and aggression. When U.N ambassador Nicki Haley abruptly walks out of the U.N while Palestine is speaking, she would be labeled this missing word. When the U.S, who is supposed to be a neutral peace broker between Israeli’s and Palestinians, expels Palestinian diplomats from Washington, they would be labeled this word. Along with countless other examples. Israel has had the luxury of a media provided bulletproof vest when it comes to criticism.

In 2015, Rowling was critical of the BDS movement which aims at boycotting Israeli goods, companies, and more, in hopes of raising awareness of Israeli human rights violations. Besides the fact that those who are critical of this also hypocritically claim to support freedom of choice and capitalism, Rowling’s defense for her stance was just as weak. For Rowling, “Israelis will be right to ask why cultural boycotts are not also being proposed against…North Korea,”. This attempt to make a strong point is immediately disproven, as there already exist boycotts on North Korea. Not in the form of college students boycotting Israeli goods, but on the scale of the entire U.S and world super powers placing sanctions on the North Korean people as a whole.

It is dangerous to equate anti Zionism to anti-Semitism. This enables Israel to continue its human rights violations towards the Palestinian people, while ensuring nobody stands in its way. All the while simultaneously playing victim. Public figures such as Rowling and others are doing a disservice to the values they claim to believe in when they shield Israel from any criticism of its illegal occupation. As the great philosopher Will Durant once wrote, “to get a doctrine accepted or rejected it is only necessary to have it praised or ridiculed in a popular play”. This is precisely what Rowling, and the media for that matter, do when they incorporate pro Israeli propaganda into mainstream forms of entertainment such as children’s books.

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