Testing, testing, testing…

The horror of 298 innocents, oblivious to the warfare 33,000 feet below them, blown out of the sky by criminally negligent fanatics supported by Russian Vladimir Putin, forebodes greater catastrophes.

The incident is a part of a worldwide scene wherein Pres. Barack Hussein Obama’s strategy of withdrawal from what he — and a large part of the apolitical war-weary American people – sees as overreaching worldwide projection of U.S. power.

But Obama’s clumsy retreat has led to a continuing welter of probes by opponents – and even allies — of Pax Americana. Whatever the merit of arguments about a declining U.S., its power and influence on the rest of the contemporary world remains enormous. Obama’s withdrawal creates an international and regional power vacuum, setting up the kind of ambiguities that throughout history has led to misperceptions, and, often, major wars.

The classic example, often cited if by simplistic interpretation of a very complex episode, is Dean Acheson’s speech to the National Press Club on January 12, 1950. In what was considered a seminal statement, the secretary of state did not include the KoreanPeninsula in a statement of the all-important United States “defense perimeter”. Its omission was widely interpreted as a signal that Washington would not defend South Korea, a product of the division of the Peninsular at the 38th parallel at the end of a 50-year-Japanese Occupation on Tokyo’s World War II surrender.

With concentration on the postwar Soviet takeover of Eastern and Central Europe, the U.S. had absent-mindedly occupied the Peninsular with only a vague understanding of its potential threat to highly industrialized if decimated Japan. Into that vacuum, the Soviet Union’s Josef Stalin, riding the full thrust of the developing Cold War, instigated his puppets, the well disciplined army led by Kim Il Sung, a former Soviet officer, to attack the South with the intention of reunifying the country as another Moscow satellite. The U.S. responded, if lamely in the beginning, but in force, and initially was victorious in threatening a complete reversal of the two superpowers’ goals.

But Mao Tse-tung, frightened by the prospect of a reunited Korea, an American ally on Communist China’s most important northeastern land frontier, hurled tens of thousands of former surrendered Nationalist troops as cannon fodder into the combat. Pres. Harry Truman, engaged on other European and Middle Eastern “fronts”, denied Gen. Douglas Macarthur his “all-out” strategy for a military victory even were it to bring on possible direct and perhaps nuclear conflict with Beijing, and the war ended in stalemate. “The Forgotten War” cost five million lives – including almost 40,000 U.S. soldiers — devastated the Peninsular, and left a festering international problem.

Today, looking around the world, there are too many places where just such complex unsolved geopolitical nodules present the same sort of potential.

French minister slams ‘anti-Semitic’ Gaza protests

France’s interior minister slams “intolerable” acts of anti-Semitism after a rally against Israel’s Gaza offensive descended into violence, pitting an angry pro-Palestinian crowd against local Jewish businesses.

“When you head for the synagogue, when you burn a corner shop because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing an anti-Semitic act,” Bernard Cazeneuve tells reporters outside the Sarcelles synagogue.
Protesters clash with riot police in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014, during a demonstration to denounce Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and show their support for the Palestinian people. (photo credit: AFP/Omar Bouyacoub)

Protesters clash with riot police in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014, during a demonstration to denounce Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and show their support for the Palestinian people. (photo credit: AFP/Omar Bouyacoub)

In the Paris suburb sometimes nicknamed “little Jerusalem” for its large community of Sephardic Jews, the rally on Sunday descended into chaos when dozens of youth — some masked — set fire to bins and lit firecrackers and smoke bombs.

Eighteen people were arrested after looters wrecked shops, including a kosher foodstore and a funeral home as protesters shouted: “Fuck Israel!”

“We have never seen such an outpouring of hatred and violence in Sarcelles,” says the mayor Francois Pupponi. “This morning people are stunned, and the Jewish community is afraid.”

Large Rocket Barrage Fired at Southern, Central Israel
Israel suffers casualties as IDF thwarts tunnel attacks, killing at least 10 infiltrators from Gaza; army names seventh soldier slain Sunday; over 20 Palestinians said to die overnight strikes; UN calls for ceasefire
The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Monday, the 14th day of Operation Protective Edge. The UN Security Council called for an immediate truce in Gaza Monday morning after an emergency meeting held at the request of Jordan. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Israel’s actions in the Hamas stronghold of Shejaiya were “atrocious.” The IDF announced Sunday evening that 13 Golani Brigade soldiers died overnight in fighting in Gaza, raising the Israeli army death toll to 18. The soldiers were killed in heavy combat in Shejaiya, which also left over 70 Palestinians dead, Gaza Health Ministry officials said. Israel said the neighborhood is a Hamas stronghold, and that the army had warned residents to evacuate it.
Iron Dome downs 4 rockets over Tel Aviv, Ashdod

The Iron Dome intercepts two missiles over Tel Aviv, and two over Ashdod.
Sirens in Beit Shemesh, Lod
Sirens in Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Shfela region
Sirens in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Yavne
Fighting resumes in Shejaiya

The Israel Air Force and Golani unit strike targets in Shejaiya, as heavy combat continues, the Walla news website reports.
Watch: IDF thwarts tunnel attack

The IDF releases footage of one of two attempted infiltrations earlier today that were successfully foiled by Israeli forces.

A Wheelchair-Bound Community In the Negev Under Fire: Deborah Kaminn

At ALEH Negev in Ofakim, residents have severe disabilities and most cannot walk. When the sirens sound, it’s up to their staff to keep them safe

In Ofakim, a sand-choked, barren community minutes from the Gaza border, residents have just 30 seconds when they hear a red-alert siren to run and find cover. For able-bodied members of this impoverished community, that’s precious little time.

But what about those who can’t run?

At ALEH Negev, a state-of-the-art rehabilitative village for Israeli citizens with severe disabilities, it’s a serious question. Most of the residents at ALEH Negev, which gleams like a spaceship in the middle of Ofakim’s brown desert, are wheelchair-bound and cannot walk on their own. Many cannot speak, use their limbs or practice motor functions without assistance.

ALEH Negev is the largest of Israel’s four ALEH campuses, all of which serve the special-needs. There are 133 residents living here, ranging from young adults to 50-year-olds, with round-the-clock care provided by 150 trained staff members. Over the past week, as rocket fire from Gaza pounded Israel from north to south and border cities like Ofakim observed the brunt of the nonstop fire, daily routines here like physical therapy and arts and crafts were shattered by sirens and stress. When a red-alert siren rings in a place like ALEH, its threat has special fangs.

“The residents here really react to the staff,” says Masada Sekely, the village’s director. “If the staff is calm and knows how to handle the situation, then the residents are too. They work on feedback, and all their emotions come from the staff that works with them. We are actually more focused on keeping our staff strong than the residents.”

ALEH Negev’s full name is ALEH Negev-Nachalat Eran, and chaired by Maj. Gen. (res) Doron Almog, one of the most celebrated figures in the history of the Israel Defense Forces. In 1976, Almog helped lead the famed Israeli hostage rescue at Entebbe and for years after, as head of the IDF’s Southern Command, foiled countless attempts to launch terror attacks in Israel.

Almog bears a difficult and definitive family legacy, having lost his brother Eran, a tank commander, during the Yom Kippur War, as well as his son, also named Eran, to Castleman’s disease.

IDF General: Israel is Destroying Hamas’ Underground Terror Network: Uzi Barach

With deep angst, Hamas is watching their rocket-launching platforms, weapons caches, and terror tunnels fall ‘one after another,’ IDF spokesman says.

The IDF has discovered an “underground city” in Gaza filled with explosives, IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Moti Almoz said Sunday.

He spoke to Channel 10 following the discovery of at least 36 terror tunnels in Gaza. Many of the tunnels were filled with rockets, explosives and other weapons.

“Hamas planned these tunnels for years, and planned to use them to kidnap soldiers. [Now] they see the tunnels collapsing one after the other,” Almoz declared.

Hamas “built an underground city full of bombs, meant to evade the IDF and to use in serious terrorist attacks,” he added.

Almoz said that the IDF has reached “significant achievements” in Operation Protective Edge, the defensive operation that began after Hamas launched amajor rocket assault on Israeli cities.

The operation expanded on Saturday night, he said. “We are continuing to work deep in the territory, with the goal of destroying Hamas’ capabilities,” he stated.

While the operation has been successful to date, “it’s impossible to hit 100% of the tunnels and to prevent 100% of the rocket fire,” he warned.

The rocket assault from Gaza has grown significantly weaker since the operation began, he noted. However, he called to “not talk about the bottom line yet.”

“We need to wait a few days to see if this is a trend. Only when the operation is over can we confirm success in destroying tunnels and frustrating Hamas – two strategic goals that we are making major progress on,” Almoz concluded.

The Holocaust and Man’s Indifference — on The Glazov Gang

Dr. Ari Babaknia discusses his new book, “Humanity, NOT” — and when silence is not an option.

This Week’s Glazov Gang was joined by Dr. Ari Babaknia, an Iranian-born doctor who wrote and published a 4-volume book in Farsi “The Holocaust” (which in English is “Humanity, NOT”). He came on the show to discuss “Humanity, NOT,” which takes an in-depth look, in words and images, at the captured emotions of the victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and survivors of the Holocaust, told in their own words.

Dr. Babaknia focuses on the evil of genocide and when silence is not an option:

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA): An Agenda for Conflict – Dr. Rephael Ben-Ari

This is a revised version of an article that first appeared in Palestinian Manipulation of the International Community1
• The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is today one of the largest UN programs. It remains the only UN agency whose area of operation is not global but regional, and that deals with a single group of people. The vast, quasi-governmental machinery into which UNRWA has evolved has made itself susceptible to political manipulation, in particular by extremist groups, in a way that might overshadow its humanitarian accomplishments. The Agency has become an active agent in reaching out to international actors and audiences, and a powerful tool within the anti-Israel propaganda campaign.
• The educational services provided by UNRWA, particularly in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, propagate a non-peaceful point of view, upholding a political vision of a continued struggle against a delegitimized Israel. The Agency’s significant influence on Palestinian educational activities, as well as the fact that more than half of its general budget is dedicated to education, highlight UNRWA’s problematic educational role in the Middle East conflict.
• The acceptance by UNRWA’s leadership of the mission to enhance the political rights of Palestinians has become a key trend characterizing the Agency’s activity. UNRWA’s so-called “protection mandate” has allowed the Agency to become a fierce advocate for Palestinians in its dealings with Israel, although it remains nearly silent when Arab governments in host countries violate or restrict Palestinian civil rights.
• UNRWA is regularly involved in political speeches and public pronouncements. The unfettered freedom of speech enjoyed by UNRWA’s leadership defies the fundamental norms of objectivity and neutrality to which UN officials are obliged as international civil servants. In large part, this is the outcome of the fact that UNRWA lacks outside controls over its chief executive, who receives hardly any political guidance from any of the relevant international bodies that are in a position to provide direction.
• UNRWA has entrenched the idea of “return,” as well as its misconception as a legal right. Also, it has generated an exponential increase in the number of Palestinian refugees. As was stated recently in a report presented to the US Senate Appropriations Committee, UNWRA’s practice in this regard is artificial and misleading, and undermines any possibility of resolving the refugee issue in future peace negotiations.
• In July 2014, some 20 rockets were found in a school in Gaza, operated by UNRWA.
• Within the last few years there has been a growing awareness within international political, diplomatic, and academic circles regarding UNRWA’s policies. It testifies to the fact that UNRWA’s position as a stabilizing, “peace servicing” factor in the region and as a guardian of refugee interests is no longer taken for granted. It also reflects the growing quest for accountability and an acknowledgement of the responsibility of donor countries to scrutinize UNRWA’s policies to ensure the strict application of their tax-payers’ money toward relief and humanitarian causes.


If you live somewhere other than Israel, I know what you’re thinking. I get it. I’ve seen the TV reports that you’ve seen, and I’ve read the slanted coverage that you’ve surely read by now, painting Israel as the aggressor. I understand why you think Israel is overreacting. So let me make it personal for you:

What is the first thing you do when you step off the bus in a new city? Pull out a map to get a sense of your surroundings? Perhaps ask a fellow passenger where you might find a nice place to have lunch? When you get off the bus in Sderot, Israel, the first thing you do is locate the nearest bomb shelter. When a rocket is fired at Sderot from Gaza, just over a half-mile away, the siren sounds, as it has thousands of times in the past decade, at which point you have 15 seconds, at most, to find cover. I say fifteen seconds at most because after speaking to several Sderot residents during Monday’s visit, I learned that many times the missile lands before the siren goes off, or as little as seven seconds thereafter. Seven seconds to run for your life. Accompanying the sound of the blaring siren is the terrifying sound of the rocket launching, a loud, explosive, hissing that always seems as if it’s heading directly towards you. Imagine, for a moment, what your life might be like if you lived in Sderot.

What would wear if you lived in Sderot? Sandals in the summer, or running shoes, which might spell the difference between reaching shelter before the rocket hit or not? How would you sleep at night? Would you ever know the relief of resting your head on a cool pillow, burrowing under the covers, and falling into a deep, peaceful slumber after a long day at work? If you had young kids, would you ever have intercourse with your spouse? All married couples are entitled…right? Not if you live in Sderot. The time you would spend getting dressed if the siren went off would cost you the time you needed to grab your kids from their rooms and take them to the bomb shelter.


Daniel Greenfield:It’s Another “Death to the Jews” Weekend

From Berkeley to Boston and from Paris to Sydney, the season is upon us again. Hipsters twirl Keffiyahs from some Shanghai factory around their necks, don army surplus jackets and Decembrist t-shirts and head to the nearest Israeli embassy to scream about a new Holocaust.

Shiites and Sunnis temporarily put aside their blood feuds and entire families of Syrian Alawites and
Turkish Sunnis stand in London or Berlin screaming “Death to the Jews”.

Joining them are elderly Trotskyists and aging Stalinists, normally as mutually hostile as Shiites and Sunnis, who put aside their differences to feebly wave cardboard signs about the Zionist war machine.

Fake blood is everywhere. Aspiring art students who can’t draw try to figure out new ways of intersecting a Swastika and a Star of David. Latuff cartoons are printed out along with bloody photos of dead people from Syria, Hollywood horror movies and on the rare occasion, Gaza, and shoved in everyone’s faces.

The organizers take a break from submitting angry Truth Dig articles about Brazilian cocoa exploitation and dive headfirst into a rally that, unlike all their other rallies, the media will actually cover. They prowl the police barriers like hungry hyenas looking for a reporter.

Any reporter.

On the last few struggling Pacifica affiliates, Amy Goodman invites Noam Chomsky to talk about the war. Chris Hedges phones in to promote his new book, which is only 90 percent plagiarized from a Hemingway novel he thought he once read. Max Blumenthal shows up to lead a Students for Justice in Palestine protest while shouting about colonialism. Then he tags himself on Instagram.

At the Israeli embassy, the hipsters imagine that they’re guerrilla fighters. They scream themselves hoarse about oppression, duck into a Starbucks, come out with a few cinnamon lattes and then begin screaming again. Recruiters for the International Socialist Organization, the World Revolutionary Front, the International Workers Fourth Front Uprising and the always popular Brotherhood of Revolutionary Workers and Peasants push smeared pamphlets into their pockets hoping for a bite.