Edward Snowden ‘Person of the Year’ of Israeli publication


This video from the USA is called I Agree With Glenn Greenwald! Edward Snowden Should Be Time Magazine‘s Man Of The Year.

After the Guardian in Britain named Edward Snowden its ‘Person of the Year‘; after Slate in the USA did likewise; after The Daily Beast in the USA did likewise; and after TIME magazine in the USA put Snowden at #2, being too coward to put him on #1 …

From Tikkun Daily Blog:

Top Israeli Online Magazine Names Edward Snowden “Person of the Year”

by: David Harris-Gershon on December 28th, 2013

One of Israel’s best online publications – +972 Magazine – has for the first time chosen someone unconnected to Israeli/Palestinian issues as its “Person of the Year.”

That person is Edward Snowden.

The unusual move by this progressive, politically searing outlet in Israel is testament to just how strongly Snowden’s leaks have reverberated across political spectra. And as +972 Magazine revealed, it is also testament to just how critical Snowden’s leaks are when considering the very nature of the Internet itself, and what it may become.

I found this selection from its editors to be quite compelling:

As journalists, we are experiencing firsthand how the Internet has altered our profession, putting some of us out of work while creating new opportunities for others, ones that we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. A project like 972 Magazine could not have existed without the platforms provided by WordPress and Google, Facebook and Twitter.

But as much as we are aware of the significance of these massive changes, the small amount of attention we pay to the battle over the Internet is astonishing. Until we are faced with a specific problem – a website crashing, a webpage removed, a Facebook account hacked – we tend to take it all for granted.

Rather, we used to tend to take things for granted. That is, until a soft-spoken, geeky-looking computer specialist showed us how fragile the new freedoms provided by technology are and the degree to which the virtual universe is exposed to manipulation and abuse. He showed us how underdeveloped our thinking is on privacy and political participation in this virtual space. He showed us just how exposed we are in the face of power in this virtual world – more than we could have ever imagined, let alone agreed to, in our more physical existence.

This is the context in which Edward Snowden’s act needs to be understood. One had to have been especially naïve to think that the U.S. government was not spying on the German chancellor or the Israeli prime minister, as Snowden’s documents revealed. The more tech-savvy among us knew well that digital communications are traceable, though few ever imagined the scope of the NSA’s surveillance programs. But the story is not just your email, or the records of your phone calls stored on NSA servers and maybe shared with your own government. The issue at hand is the Internet, and what it will become: a force of freedom or the perfect machine for surveillance and control.

A force for freedom or the perfect machine for surveillance and control. These are the stakes, brilliantly articulated. Kudos to +972 Magazine for recognizing Snowden’s impact as a global one, and a critical one.

For all of the world’s citizens.

African refugees protest in Israel


This video says about itself:

14 Oct 2012

Sudanese refugees protest in front of the government’s offices in center Tel Aviv, against the plan to imprison refugees, October 14, 2012.

Israel is building a new facility that could house thousands of additional asylum seekers in the Negev Desert.

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

African migrants take to the streets to demand Israel consider asylum requests

Human rights groups assert open detention center no different from jail. ‘I didn’t come for $3,500,” says one refugee about government exit grant.

By Ilan Lior | Dec. 22, 2013 | 12:20 PM

An estimated 1,000 Sudanese and Eritrean migrants, along with Israeli human rights activists, marched through the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night to urge the government to consider the asylum requests of migrants from Africa and release the approximately 3,000 held in Israeli custody.

“I looked into the eyes of the people here with me – everyone has had enough,” said Najmaldin, a Sudanese migrant who took part in the rally and did not want to give his last name. “People want their asylum requests looked into. If someone’s a refugee he should stay here; if someone’s not a refugee he should go back to Africa.”

“We demand a solution from the Israeli government for the people who are currently in prison and for us,” he said. “The people who are in Saharonim and in south Tel Aviv – it’s the same story, the same problems.”

Human rights groups say an estimated 3,000 of the 50,000 asylum seekers in Israel are locked up in the Saharonim detention center in the Negev. The government moved 480 of them to Holot, a nearby open detention facility, after the Knesset approved a legal amendment earlier this month authorizing the open center, where migrants are locked in only at night.

Though they are technically free to leave the premises during the day, they have to be present for roll call three times a day, a restriction meant to prevent them from finding jobs outside the facility. Last week hundreds of migrants marched out of the open center in protest, but were ultimately taken back into custody.

On Saturday, demonstrators marched from Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv, where many migrants live, to Independence Hall on swanky Rothschild Boulevard. In an unplanned continuation of the protest, the demonstrators kept marching through Tel Aviv and blocked off some of the city’s roads, waving signs reading “Liberty” and “Not another jail.”

Human rights groups have said there is no real difference between the open detention center and a jail. Several of the groups have filed a High Court petition against the law that authorizes the Holot center, as well as allowing the state to hold migrants for up to a year without trial, down from three years.

Police detained two migrants for questioning Saturday on suspicion of attacking a police officer and disturbing the peace, and used pepper spray in an effort to disperse the rally.

Million, an Eritrean migrant who took part in the rally, said race was a major factor in the Israeli government’s treatment of the asylum seekers.

“The Israelis are white, the Africans are black,” he said. “The blood is the same blood. But the government of Israel, a democratic state, is not acting in a democratic manner and is putting the blacks in jail.”

Nazer said Israeli efforts to sway migrants like him to go back to Sudan or to neighboring Eritrea, by offering grants to those who leave the country, would not succeed. The cabinet recently agreed to more than double the amount offered, bringing the grant to $3,500.

“I didn’t come here for $3,500,” said Nazer. “I came here because I’m a refugee. The State of Israel wants to send us back to Sudan and Eritrea. How can we go back? There’s a war there.”

Sometimes it’s kind of scary how Israel treats asylum seekers. From jailing them with no trial to brutal arrests and now, referring to them as numbers. It’s as if they don’t think they’re human beings, with names: here.

Many refugees in Israel are from South Sudan; where there is horrible violence now.

Washington issues warning as South Sudan slides toward civil war: here.

Thousands of Africans, Israelis march in Tel Aviv to demand freedom for asylum seekers: here.

A penal colony for Africans in the heart of Israel: here.

Support Israeli actresses refusing to perform at West Bank settlement: here.

Arafat was murdered, Israeli former MP says


This video says about itself:

6 Nov 2013

Al Jazeera Exclusive

Studies by Swiss scientists have discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than normal in Yasser Arafat‘s ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his remains.

They say their data is compatible with the theory that the Palestinian leader was poisoned with the radioactive element at a level up to 83 per cent.

A leading forensic scientist now say it’s almost certain he was murdered.

An Al Jazeera investigation triggered the Palestinian leader’s exhumation in November last year.

Al Jazeera’s Clayton Swisher reports from Paris.

www.aljazeera.com/killlingarafat

By Uri Avnery (former Member of Parliament in Israel):

The Assassination

16/11/13

FROM THE first moment, I did not have the slightest doubt that Yasser Arafat was assassinated.

It was a matter of simple logic.

On the way back from the funeral, I happened upon Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Knesset for the nationalist Arab Balad party, who is a highly qualified doctoral pharmacist. We exchanged views and came to the same conclusion.

The findings of the Swiss experts last week only confirmed my conviction.

FIRST OF all, a simple fact: people don’t just die for no reason.

I visited Arafat a few weeks before it happened. He seemed in reasonably good health. Upon leaving, I remarked to Rachel, my wife, that he seemed more sharp and alert than during our last visit.

When he suddenly became very ill, there was no obvious cause. The doctors at the French military hospital, to which he was transferred at the insistence of Suha, his wife, and where he died, conducted a thorough examination of his body. They found no explanation for his condition. Nothing.

That by itself was very strange. Arafat was the leader of his people, the de facto head of a state, and one can be sure that the French doctors left no stone unturned to diagnose the case.

That left only radiation or poison. Why was no poison detected at the autopsy? The answer is simple: in order to detect a poison, one must know what one is looking for. The list of poisons it almost unlimited, and the routine search is restricted to a small number.

Arafat’s body was not examined for radioactive polonium.

WHO HAD the opportunity to administer the poison?

Well, practically anybody.

During my many visits with him, I always wondered at the lax security precautions.

At our first meeting, in besieged Beirut, I wondered at the trust he put in me. It was known at the time that dozens of Mossad agents and Phalangist spies were combing the city for him. He could not be sure that I was not a Mossad agent myself, or that I was not followed, or that I was not unwittingly carrying some locating device.

Later, in Tunis, the security search of his visitors was perfunctory. The security precautions of the Israeli Prime Minister were immeasurably more stringent.

In the Ramallah Mukata’a (“compound”), no security measures were added. I had meals with him several times, and wondered again at his openness. American and other foreign guests, who were (or seemed to be) pro-Palestinian activists were invited by him freely, sat next to him and could easily have slipped poison into his food. Arafat would joke with his guests and feed them choice tidbits with his hand.

Certain poisons do not need food. Slight physical contact is enough.

YET THIS man was one of the most threatened persons in the world. He had many deadly enemies, half a dozen secret services were bent on his destruction. How could he be so lax?

When I remonstrated with him, he told me that he believed in divine protection.

Once, when he was flying in a private jet from Chad to Libya, the pilot announced that the fuel had run out. He was going to crash land in the middle of the desert. Arafat’s bodyguards covered him with cushions and formed a ring around him. They were killed, but he survived almost without a scratch.

Since then he became even more fatalistic. He was a devout – though unostentatious – Muslim. He believed that Allah had entrusted him with the task of liberating the Palestinian people.

SO WHO carried out the assassination?

For me, there cannot be any real doubt.

Though many had a motive, only one person had both the means and a profound and lasting hatred for him – Ariel Sharon.

Sharon was furious when Arafat slipped through his fingers in Beirut. Here was his quarry, so near yet so far. The Arab-American diplomat Philip Habib managed to make an arrangement which allowed the PLO fighters, including Arafat, to withdraw with honor from the city, with their arms. I was lying on the roof of a warehouse in Beirut Harbor when the PLO troops, flags flying, were driving by to the ships.

I did not see Arafat. His men were hiding him in their midst.

Since then, Sharon made no secret of his determination to kill him. And when Sharon was resolved to do something, he never, but never, gave up. Even in much smaller matters, if he was thwarted, he would return to his effort again and again and again, until he succeeded.

I knew Sharon well. I knew of his determination. Twice, when I felt that Sharon was nearing his goal, I went with Rachel and some colleagues to the Mukata’a to serve as a human shield. Later we had the satisfaction of reading an interview with Sharon, in which he complained that he had not been able to carry out the planned assassination because “some Israelis were staying there”.

THIS WAS much more than a personal vendetta. He – and not only he – saw it as a national aim.

For Israelis, Arafat was the embodiment of the Palestinian people, an object of abysmal hatred. He was hated more than any other human being after Adolf Hitler and Adolf Eichmann. The generations-old conflict with the Palestinian people was personified by this man.

It was Arafat who had resurrected the modern Palestinian national movement, whose supreme aim was to thwart the Zionist dream of taking possession of all the country between the sea and the Jordan. It was he who had led the armed struggle (a.k.a. terrorism). And when he turned towards a peaceful settlement, recognized the State of Israel and signed the Oslo Accords, he was even more hated. Peace was bound to give back a lot of territories to the Arabs, and what could be worse?

The hatred of Arafat had long since ceased to be rational. For many, it was a total, physical rejection, a deadly brew of hate, aversion, enmity, mistrust. In the forty or so years after he appeared on the stage, millions upon millions of words had been written about him in Israel, but I truly believe that I have never seen a single positive word about him.

For all those years, an entire army of paid propaganda hacks conducted a relentless demonization campaign against his person. Every conceivable accusation was thrown at him. The assertion that he had AIDS, which is now so prominent in the Israeli covert propaganda effort, was invented then in order to mobilize homophobic prejudices. Needless to say, no evidence of homosexuality was ever presented. And the French doctors found no trace of AIDS.

IS THE Israeli government capable of deciding to carry out such a deed? It is an established fact that it is.

In September 1997, an Israeli hit squad was sent to Amman to assassinate Khalid Mishal, the Hamas leader. The chosen instrument was levofentanyl, a deadly poison that leaves no traces and produces effects like a heart attack. It was administered by a slight physical touch.

The act was bungled. The killers were detected by passers-by and fled into the Israeli embassy, where they were besieged. King Hussein, generally an Israeli collaborator, was furious. He threatened to hang the perpetrators unless a life-saving antidote was provided at once. The then Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, caved in and sent the Chief of the Mossad to Amman with the required medicine. Mishal was saved.

Later, in 2010, another squad was sent to assassinate another Hamas operative, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel. They bungled the job, too – though they succeeded in killing their prey by paralyzing and then suffocating him, they were filmed by the hotel cameras and their identity disclosed.

God knows how many un-bungled murders have been carried out this way.

Israel, of course, is not alone in this field. Before, a Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, was ill-advised enough to displease Vladimir Putin. He was killed by the same radioactive polonium as Arafat, but before he died an alert doctor detected the poison. Even before, a Bulgarian dissident was poisoned by a tiny pellet fired from an umbrella,. One must assume that every self-respecting secret service has suchlike means of murder.

WHY DIDN’T Sharon kill Arafat before? After all, the Palestinian leader was besieged for a very long time in his Ramallah compound. I myself saw Israeli soldiers a few meters away from his office.

The answer is political. The US was afraid that if Israel was seen killing the PLO chief, a hero to tens of millions around the Arab world, the region would explode against the US. George Bush the son forbade it. The answer was to do it in a way that could not be traced to Israel.

This, by the way, was quite usual for Sharon. A few weeks before his 1982 invasion of Lebanon, he told the US Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, about his plan. Haig forbade it – unless there was a credible provocation. Lo and behold, a dastardly attempt was made on the life of the Israeli ambassador in London, the provocation was duly deemed to be intolerable and the war started.

For the same reason, the Netanyahu government now strenuously denies Israeli involvement in the assassination of Arafat. Instead of bragging about the successful operation, our powerful propaganda machine asserts that the Swiss experts are incompetent or lying (probably they are also anti-Semites), and that the conclusions are wrong. A respected Israeli professor is trotted out to declare that it is all nonsense. Even the good old story about AIDS is called out of retirement.

Sharon himself, in his endless coma, cannot react. But his old assistants, all of them seasoned liars, repeat their mendacious stories.

TO MY mind, the assassination of Arafat was a crime against Israel.

Arafat was the man who was ready to make peace and who was able to get the Palestinian people to accept it. He also laid down the terms: a Palestinian state with borders based on the Green Line, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

This is exactly what his assassins aimed to prevent.

See also here.

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