Thursday, March 31, 2011

Libya: The Pittsburgh Connection Counterpunch

March 31, 2011
Neo-Liberal Interventionism
America's Libyans


Libya was not fated for an Arab Spring. As Aijaz Ahmad once put it, “every country gets the fascism it deserves.” In that spirit, every country gets the rebellion it deserves. Libya did not deliver the uplifting spactacles of Tunisia or Egypt. Its rebellion had a history that stretches back a hundred years, and one that was not so easy to shake off. That east-west divide smothered any attempt by the working-class in the western cities to rise to their full potential. Zintan was lost to Qaddafi briefly, but he took it back easily and then crushed the rebellion.

The upsurge from below enthused the lower orders of Qaddafi’s army in the east. They defected to the Benghazi rebels. Popular councils emerged in the cities and towns of the east. The east had sent a disproportionate number of its young to fight in Iraq. They did not go solely for the purposes of jihad, or only because they had admiration for al-Qaeda. A U. S. embassy official reported in 2008 (thank you Wikileaks) that the young men who went to Iraq did so in part because they could not effectively protest against Qaddafi.. The official went to Derna. Upon his return to Tripoli, he filed this memorandum for his superiors (08TRIPOLI120),

The Benghazi council chose as its leader the colorless former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil. Jalil’s brain is Mahmoud Jibril, a former head of the National Economic Development Board (NEDB). A U. S. embassy cable from May 11, 2009 (09TRIPOLI386) describes Jibril as keen on a close relationship with the U. S. and eager “to create a strategic partnership between private companies and the government.” Jibril’s NEBD had collaborated with Ernst & Young and the Oxford Group to make the Libyan state more “efficient.” Jibril told the ambassador that “American companies and universities are welcome to join him” in the creation of new sectors outside hydrocarbons and that “we should take him up on his offer.” His Ph. D. in strategic planning from the University of Pittsburg is useful in this context.

With Jalil and Jibril are the February 17 movement’s men. They take their name from an uprising in Benghazi on February 17, 2006 that was crushed by Qaddafi. These men (Fathi Boukhris, Farj Charrani, Mustafa Gheriani and All Ounes Mansouri) are all entrepreneurs. Gheriani told Jon Lee Anderson that they are “Western-educated intellectuals” who would lead the new state, not the “confused mobs or religious extremists.”

In December 23, 2010, before the Tunisian uprising, Boukhris, Charrani and Mansouri went to Paris to meet with Qaddafi’s old aide-de-camp, Nuri Mesmari, who had defected to the Concorde-Lafayette hotel. Mesmari was singing to the DGSE and Sarkozy about the weaknesses in the Libyan state. His man in Benghazi was Colonel Abdallah Gehani of the air defense corps. But Gehani would not be the chosen military leader. The CIA already had its man in mind. He would soon be in place.

By March 14, the military wing of the Benghazi rebellion had been turned over to an ex-Colonel of the Libyan army, Khalifa Heftir and to the former interior minister, General Abdel Fateh Younis. Heftir made his name in Qaddafi’s war against Chad in the 1980s. At some point in that conflict, Heftir turned against Qaddafi, joined the Libyan National Salvation Front, and operated his resistance out of Chad. When the US-supported government of Chad, led by Hisséne Habré fell in 1990, Heftir fled Chad for the United States. It is interesting that an ex-Colonel of the Libyan army was able to so easily gain entry into the United States. Also of interest is the fact that Heftir took up residence in Vienna, Virginia, less than seven miles away from Langley, Virginia, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. In Vienna, Heftir formed the Libyan National Army. In 1996, Heftir’s Army attempted an armed rebellion against Qaddafi in the eastern part of Libya. It failed. But that did not stop his plans. History called him back fifteen years later. In March 2011, Heftir flew into Benghazi to take command of the defected troops, joining Younis whose troops had been routed from Ras Lanouf on March 12. They faced the advance of Qaddafi’s forces toward Benghazi. It was in this context, with the uprising now firmly usurped by a neo-liberal political leadership and a CIA-backed military leadership, that talk of a no-fly zone emerged (Resolution 1973 went through the Council on March 19, and the bombing began immediately). The U. S. and France provided crucial air support for the rebels.

With the hands on the political and military tiller firmly in the U. S. camp, it is no surprise that the armed response has escalated. UN Resolution 1973 (March 19) created a no-fly zone to protect civilians. Within hours it was clear that the no-fly zone was used to provide air support for the rebel army. The U. S. and France said that no ground forces would be used. Technology has rendered the idea of “ground forces” redundant. The U. S. brought its AC130 gunships and A10s into operation over the skies of Libya. These are not designed to help patrol the sky, but are capable of hovering in the sky and firing at ground troops and at heavy machinery with its cannons (including a 40mm Bofors cannon) and machine guns. The AC130 is essentially “boots in the air,” and its presence shows that the U. S. arsenal (even under NATO command) is no longer patrolling the skies, but is actively engaged against the Qaddafi forces on the ground. In addition, the U. S. inserted a phrase in Resolution 1973 that opened the door to eventual arms provision to the rebels (the phrase is notwithstanding paragraph 9 of 1970, which essentially means that Resolution 1973 will allow member states to “take all necessary measures” including arms delivery, notwithstanding the arms embargo of Resolution 1970).

On March 26, White House spokesperson Jay Carney told the press that the resolution provided the U. S. with “flexibility within that to take that action [supply military equipment] if we thought that were the right way to go.” In other words, the arms embargo is flexible. On March 27, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told NBC’s David Gregory that on the question of arms supply, “No decision has been made about that at this point.” Escalation is on the horizon.

The troops of Qaddafi and of the rebels swing back and forth between Ras Lanuf and Ajtabia like a pendulum. U. S. and French air strikes have degraded the forces of the regime, but they have not yet destroyed them. The civil war continues. If the U. S. and France start to supply the rebels, it is likely that in the long haul Qaddafi’s troops will dissolve into an insurgency. In which case, Libya is likely to enter a protracted period of deep instability. The figures in place in Benghazi from the political and military side would hope to ride into Tripoli on their own tanks, but under NATO air cover. They have many to whom they owe much. People like Mahmoud Jibril and Khalifa Heftir will be more accountable to their patrons in Paris and Washington than to the people of Libya, whose blood is being spilled on both sides for an outcome that is unlikely to benefit them.

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT His most recent book, The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, won the Muzaffar Ahmad Book Prize for 2009. The Swedish and French editions are just out. He can be reached at:

"Hire Mercenaries to fight the Mercenaries" - Mar 31 2011

jesusgod, this man is the ETHICS professor at US Naval Academy.
"well, never mind whether we should be involved in a civil war; we're in it."
Yea, that's what the burglar told the cop when he caught him robbing the diamond vault: "Heh, it's wrong to break into the vault, but I'm here now . . ."

No worries, tho; hiring mercenaries will ensure that NO AMERICAN MILITARY are harmed in the process of robbing the bank:

we also have a responsibility not to unduly risk the lives of U.S. military personnel in a war that really has little to do with U.S. national interests.

Of course, mercenaries, the "ultimate volunteers" (apparently they're going to work for nothing, which belies the 'mercenary' root in 'mercenary,' but hell, we've thrown over every other pretense at civilized society, what's one more detail?

Oh yes -- that one more detail: the mercenaries will, of course, behave according to the principles of jus bello. Just because an entire nation led the world to flaunt the demands of casus belli, which would have required that all options be exhausted before intervening with violent force, by relying on a relatively new concept, "duty to protect," (however selectively applied) -- no moral swamp here for mercenaries to get lost in, and anyway, Baker assures that "there will be mechanisms in place" to oversee the activities of the mercenaries.

Couldn't this guy have waited a few days, until April Fool's Day, to pen this paean to America's moral descent into hell?

March 29, 2011|By Deane-Peter Baker

In Libya, fight mercenaries with mercenaries
March 29, 2011|By Deane-Peter Baker

It is time to state the glaringly obvious. Without at least some boots on the ground in support of the rebels, the conflict in Libya will in all likelihood settle into a grinding stalemate. The air cover provided by the United States and a slowly growing coalition has pegged back Col. Moammar Gadhafi's forces, but it will take more than air cover to ensure a rebel victory. The rebels have displayed laudable courage and enthusiasm. But they lack the basic military organization necessary to effectively tackle the weak, but better equipped and organized, government forces.

The United States, however, is rightly chary about getting sucked into another ground war, and the other contributors to the no-fly zone are even less enthusiastic. But the alternative of sustaining an expensive air campaign over an indefinite period is also unappealing.

There is a third option that seems not to have been considered but which offers real possibilities. Outsource the problem. Provide the necessary funding for the rebels to secure the services of one or more of the private companies that could supply the necessary expertise and logistical support to turn the rebel rabble into a genuine fighting force.

Of course this suggestion will be met in many circles with horror. Mr. Gadhafi, the bad guy, is allegedly using mercenaries. We're the good guys, and we would never stoop so low.

Really? Does anyone remember the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company, a private concern that played a crucial role in resisting Japanese aggression in China prior to U.S. entry into World War II? We remember them more readily by the name "The Flying Tigers," and there's little doubt that those "mercenaries" (I prefer the morally neutral term "contracted combatants") were among the true heroes of that war.

**Whereas, according to John Dower, the US and Allies were the true villains of that war.

We don't need to go that far back to find examples of private contractors turning the tide, for the good, in conflicts not dissimilar to the one currently underway in Libya. In Angola in the early 1990's, when UNITA rebels refused to accept the outcome of the national elections and reignited the long and bloody civil war in that country, the hard pressed Angolan government turned to the now defunct South African company Executive Outcomes (EO). The small group of EO contractors that deployed to Angola successfully trained and aided Angolan forces in pushing back UNITA's battle-hardened and relatively well equipped troops.

And this was no fluke. In 1995 the Sierra Leone government, facing collapse in the face of a brutal criminal insurgency by the Revolutionary United Front, also turned to EO, which provided the key capabilities necessary to turn the situation around.

The knee-jerk reasons that are usually given for thinking contracted combatants to be morally problematic simply don't stand up under scrutiny. The fact is that they are, morally speaking, more like traditional soldiers than we give them credit for. What defines whether or not they are "just warriors" depends on a range of factors, essentially the same factors that apply to uniformed military personnel. Contracted combatants supporting the Libyan rebels would need to adhere to jus in bello (justice in war) moral constraints. But there is no reason in principle why appropriate oversight mechanisms could not be put in place to ensure that happens.

Whether or not the U.S. should have become involved in Libya's civil war is a moot point. We are involved, and we now bear some of the responsibility for how this all unfolds. At the same time, we also have a responsibility not to unduly risk the lives of U.S. military personnel in a war that really has little to do with U.S. national interests. Contractors, the ultimate volunteers, offer us a way to honorably fulfill both responsibilities.

Deane-Peter Baker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of "Just Warriors Inc.: The Ethics of Privatized Force" and co-editor of "South Africa and Contemporary Counterinsurgency: Roots, Practices, Prospects." His e-mail is The opinions expressed here are the author's alone and do not represent the official position of the United States Naval Academy.

Heaven help us. Baker teaches Leadership and Ethics at West Point.
Mandelbaum, who does not have an experiential sense of democracy, teaches political science at CSIS.
Roman Catholic graduate of Duquesne University Gen Mike Hayden drinks war koolaid for fun and profit.

from Haaretz: Syria Webcasts Feltman-Saudi Plan to Destabilize Syria Mar 31 2011

Why did website linked to Syria regime publish U.S.-Saudi plan to oust Assad?

A regime-linked Syrian website reports on a U.S.-Saudi plan to foment unrest and oust Bashar Assad through killings, mass demonstrations and arson, not unlike what is happening now.
By Zvi Bar'el * Published 03:31 30.03.11 * Latest update 03:31 30.03.11

The heavy blackout imposed by Syria on coverage of the deadly demonstrations there, including the number of casualties and the extent of the serious damage caused to Ba'ath Party offices in a number of cities, is not hindering another kind of reporting.

The media there are seeking out details of involvement of "foreign elements" they say are trying to foment a revolution in Syria. These reports impart information about kinds of vehicles these "elements" have used, the weapons in their possession and the means by which they have recruited demonstrators.
Mourners Daraa - Reuters

The Syrian media have never been as open as they are now in describing the subversives. The sunshine reached new levels with a recent expose by the Champress Internet site, which has close ties to the regime, on a secret Saudi-American plan to topple the government of President Bashar Assad, presented in full.

According to the report, the plan, which was first broadcast on the Iranian Arabic-language television station Al-Alam, was formulated in 2008 by the Saudi national security advisor, Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Jeffrey Feltman, a veteran U.S. diplomat in the Middle East who was formerly ambassador to Lebanon and is currently the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs.

The plan as reported divides Syria into large cities, towns and villages. It proposes establishing five recruitment networks: The "fuel" made up of educated and unemployed youths; the "thugs" comprised of criminals, "preferably non-Syrians"; the "ethnic-sectarian" network of young people from ethnic groups who are no older than 22; the "media" network, which will be joined by journalists or activists in civil organizations funded by European countries but not by the United States; and a "capital" network of businesspeople from the large cities.

Each network would be provided with slogans suited to the type of its activity and will go through training aimed at preparing them for street actions and violence.

Thus, for example, the thugs would be trained in sniper fire, arson and "murdering in cold blood." The members of the ethnic network would act to advance interests of their communities, show proof of ethnic discrimination and incite against the regime.

The journalists would operate the network by means of satellite telephones that can't be monitored, would be depicted as human rights activists who are demanding not the regime's fall, but civil society in Syria and they will receive additional training in operating social networks as a means for recruitment.

As for the businesspeople, the plan reportedly proposes "Holding luxurious parties to be attended by businessmen and during which exclusively Arab Gulf deals and investments are to be made and threatening them with certain sexual relations that are filmed for later blackmailing them."

After the recruitment and training phases, which would be funded by Saudi Arabia for about $2 billion, they would be given suitable communications equipment and when about 5,000 activists had been recruited in the large cities, 1,500 in the towns and 500 in the villages, they would begin to act in public.

The plan also offers answers to revolt-refusers. For example, "If someone says there is a change, the response must be: 'There is no change at all. This is all a lie.' If he says change is coming, then the response must be: 'We have heard this for more than 40 years.'"

Activists would have to come to central places to create a suitable backdrop for TV and cell phone cameras.

The "shouters" would have to prepare for two situations. If the security forces start dispersing the assembled demonstrators, their helpers who have hidden in the surroundings must gather quickly and tell the security forces to leave them alone, and if the security forces do not show up then the helpers must create a provocations as though it is they who are dispersing the demonstrators.

If the security forces start beating up the shouters or any of their supporters, it would have to be filmed for full exploitation.

It is necessary to prevent any attempt by the regime to reach a compromise by burning the Ba'ath Party offices and damaging symbols of the regime like smashing statues and destroying pictures of Hafez and Bashar Assad.

The plan also suggests igniting ethnic tensions between groups around the country to stir unrest.

The formulators of the plan assume President Assad will immediately have to deal with calming the inter-ethnic confrontations and will send senior representatives to the cities and towns, thereby emptying Damascus itself of leadership. Then it will become the capital's turn to boil over and foment ethnic demonstrations while the "businesspeople" network will have to convince the military leadership to disassociate itself from Assad and establish a new regime.

The hoped-for outcome is the establishment of a supreme national council that will run the country and terminate Syria's relations with Iran and Hezbolah.

Al-Alam names the Dot and Com company headquartered in Jordan as the element behind the recruitment of the demonstrators against the regime and claims this is a company managed by Saudi intelligence, which is subordinate to Bandar bin Sultan. It is perfectly clear why the Iranians took the initiative to publish this detailed plan, as there is nothing like the situation in Syria to provoke a rift between Syria and Saudi Arabia and/or expose American-Saudi collaboration against the backdrop of Saudi military involvement in Bahrain.

However, why did a semi-official Syrian media outlet decide to publish the plan? Does Damascus fear Saudi involvement in Syria or has someone dropped the ball?

Comments: (numbers are Agree Disagree) There seems to be overwhelming Agreement that US Saudi IS likely involved, and the involvement is not in the best interests of the Syrian people.
34 0
American Hypocrisy, and support for Arab Democracy
Marcus 30.03.11 05:03
It's quite apparent that the Americans are rather selective in what Arab states they foment revolution in the name of democracy, maybe if it was based on human rights abuse then Saudi Arabia would be top of the list. But it's not, the American agenda is all about opportunism - gaining control of non-aligned oil producing states is the main objective, but the chance to destabilize regimes potentially hostle to Israel is a bonus - the Americans are all too transparent.

27 6
All wars and conflicts in the World are cause by US/israel.
Tony Silver - Kopenhagen. 30.03.11 16:26
So,they are the true axis of evil.

26 6
A regime-linked Syrian website reports on a U.S.-Saudi plan to foment unrest and oust Bashar Assad through killings, mass demonstrations and arson, not unlike what is happening now.
Moshe - Haifa, Israel 30.03.11 15:30
Much like the Americans have done in Libya. The rebels are no more than a group of thugs paid by the CIA and the American government, to create more tension and death in an attempt to oust Gadhafi. From past experience we have come to know what America is all about and what it stands for. This is not something new that America has not done before in other countries around the world. America is no more than a killing machine set out to place puppet governments to serve their interests and turn other countries to being America's slaves.

23 11
Axis U.S./Saudi/Israel versus axis Iran/Syria/Hezbollah/Hamas....but where are the good guys....????
Swiss-Dino 30.03.11 10:10
????????????????????????? Honestly, I can see them on neither side.....

19 2
Saudi Puppet?
Mark Lincoln 30.03.11 04:36
It is true that the US wages wars that Saudi finds useful. The reported scheme has all the earmarks of a Bush era pipe dream. Obama was not President in 2008. Nor does this convenient scheme resemble anything Bush actually did.

17 1
Well, it is obvious
Froy 30.03.11 06:03
Isn't it obvious why a regime-linked website has published it? Wether true or not, these claims will portrait the protests as a "foreign plot", and will detract sympathizers from the opposition and the protesters. Nobody likes to be seen as an agent serving foreign interests. Maybe it's the typical disinformation that all other Arab dictators have tried when faced with unrest this year... or maybe it's true. I wouldn't be surprised of either.

16 6
why am I not suprised?
Jane 30.03.11 07:52
this just proves how fake these demonstrators are and who are pushing for it.

11 0
Seems to me that it might be an attempt to limit the spread of support for the demonstrations beyond its current extent...
CacaDeVaca 30.03.11 06:53
Whether he really suspects anyone or not...

9 35
Swiss-Dino finally shows it's true face
Jk 30.03.11 14:46
WOW if you see no difference between US/Saudi/Israel and Iran/Syria/Hezbollah/Hamas then you truly are an evil person -- worse yet, you are an amoral person who couldn't see the difference between light and dark if it blinded you in the eyes. Even leaving aside the blind stupidity of comparing Us and Israel to Iran/Syria/Hezbollah/Hamas, I will say that even I who thinks Saudi Arabia is a totally intolerant and repressive regime would choose Saudi over the best of Iran/Syria/Hezbollah/Hama any day.

9 29
Everyone should read Swiss Dionsours comment here
jk 30.03.11 15:17
Poor Swiss-Dino always wonders why we don't believe that he at heart loves Israel but just opposes the policies of its government. Well anybody who could compare the US and Israel to the avowed genocidal policies of Iran/Hezbolla and the brutal dictatorship of Assad has lost all credibility and then some. The best of thing about anti-Semites is that they are SO DUMB. Even when they try to hide their extremist and hateful thoughts so as to appear to be "balanced", they just can't resist saying something that reveals their true beliefs. It's time like these that make me believe God exists, because truly nobody could be so dumb and counterproductive to their "cause" without Divine help

9 8
His father did the exact same thing when times got touch. But he never realized that it was him that made times touch. When will they ever learn that attempting to BS the people will only make it toucher.
Alon 30.03.11 18:50

8 13
The regime sound desperate to blame this on someone other than themselves
Satrap 30.03.11 08:09
"I ask you, we ruled the nation with an Iron fist for 40 years! We oppressed the people, allowed corruption to flourish, and terrified them with the secret police." "And then, they turn on you for no reason at all!"

7 4
Sounds Good
TOM 30.03.11 04:59
What goes around comes around, i can't wait to the day when this harsh regime collapsed. Israel is the only country beside the U.S protecting this regime, because the evil we know is better than we don't know. Politics is a dirty business , i always sorry about innocent life

4 7
And someyimes when you read such machiavelli plots it is just that
sabra 30.03.11 13:45
A fancy piece of fiction put together by Assads team of disinformationiosts to cover their own tracks and make teh protesters seem less valid. Typical ploy from the Assads and others just like them. Blame it on others, blame teh protesters deceive the general public they are stupid enough to buy it. Heck Assad is fighting for his life right now. Its his neck going to be in a noose. After 40 years, the protesters will not let him just go into exile, they will want his head and this is how he escapes teh noose

3 10
U.S. - Saudi Plan
jjr153 30.03.11 08:06
More muslim disinformation

2 9
Right. The syrian people are all dupes who are supposed to believe that all the people out in the streeta are foreigners. Are you kidding?
Alon 30.03.11 18:47

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bahrain's Neda March 2011

Economics of Israeli Occupation Part VII BDS

Transcript (video in Realplayer file)

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay. We’re in Jerusalem. We’re joined again by Shir Hever. He’s an economist at the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem and is the author of the book Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation, which is not out yet, but it will be soon, and when it does, you’ll be able to get it on our website. Thanks for joining us.


JAY: So one of the things that’s happening internationally is the boycott movement in North America, in many other parts of the world—it probably has a little more steam going in Europe. Talk a bit about how much effect is this having on the Israeli economy.

HEVER: The boycott movement is a call that started with the Palestinians struggling for freedom and against the occupation, and for equality and justice under Israeli control. The idea is that rather than go through a process of military struggle and violent struggle, by putting economic pressure on Israel the issue of equality can be raised, the issue of democracy can be raised, and people can be educated about it through their activity in the boycott movement. Basically, the argument is that if you buy from Israel, if you support Israel economically by trading with Israel through various ways, you’re actually enabling Israel more resources to use against the Palestinians and to strengthen its violations of international law. The boycott movement is growing very fast. It’s growing not only in Europe and in North America, but also in Latin America and in many other countries, and Australia. And basically it’s a movement that comes from people who support it not because they love Palestinians, it’s not because they feel a special affinity with the Palestinian people in particular, although that also exists, of course, but mostly because these people feel that there is a connection between what happens in Palestine, what happens in the Middle East, and their own lives, because—we spoke before about the Republican Party in the United States or the extreme right in Europe. Israel is a kind of factory for repression and mechanisms of repression that are being sold to other countries in the world. And mechanisms that are used against Palestinians are often replicated and used against citizens of other countries by their governments because they’ve already been tested on Palestinians as kind of guinea pigs, if you want. And so the boycott movement is also a way for people to voice their dissatisfaction with their governments. Why are their governments enabling Israel, allowing Israel to continue to violate international law, to develop and create weapons of mass destruction illegally, to deny Palestinians citizenship and democracy, and to incarcerate 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip in conditions of utter poverty, where their only means of sustenance is aid from the international community? Why should the international community allow this? Other countries that [inaudible]

JAY: So far, the boycott movement, what effect is it having on the Israeli economy?

HEVER: The effect is hidden by the Israeli various bureaus of statistics and the Manufacturers Association, for example. There was one survey that showed 21 percent of Israeli exporters reported on average 10 percent loss of income because of the boycott, which was related specifically to the attack on Gaza in 2008-2009. But this report was censored. This report was removed from—was never published, it was only leaked to the media once, and it’s impossible to get it, because the Manufacturers Association know that if that information reaches people who support the boycott movement, that will empower them and give them more confidence to continue their efforts.

JAY: There was a tribunal recently, the Bertrand Russell tribunal we did a report on. And the EU should be, if they follow their own guidelines—for example, not allowing products made in the West Bank and then stamped “Made in Israel”—they shouldn’t be allowed into the EU, if I have it correctly. Do I?

HEVER: Yes, of course. The European Commission violates its own laws,—

JAY: [inaudible] own laws, yeah.

HEVER: —which would be unthinkable where it was any other country.

JAY: Is the boycott movement asking for people to boycott products? Or anything to do with Israel? ‘Cause I know there’s been a big debate whether, for example, to boycott Israeli academic exchanges and things like this.

HEVER: We at the Alternative Information Center published a report about Israeli academic institutions, and our argument is basically that the big universities in Israel—actually, all of universities in Israel, with the exclusion of the Open University, have been actively participating in acts of repression against Palestinians, discriminating against Palestinian students or not accepting Palestinian students, and not allowing freedom of protest, not allowing professors to research certain topics that are considered inappropriate or not loyal enough, providing benefits to the Israeli army or to officers, and developing weapons. So we have a list in this publication, which you can download from our website, of every Israeli academic institutions and what kind of crimes they’re involved in, and you can make your own decision whether you want to boycott these institutions are not. And the same goes for a lot of other kinds of businesses in Israel—not necessarily businesses that have their factories in the occupied Palestinian territory (of course, those are clear examples of colonialism), but also factories that don’t offer equal employment opportunities for Palestinian citizens, factories that embrace the army and gives discounts to soldiers, factories that contribute to the army. And so you see that the vast majority of the Israeli economy is very strongly intertwined with the project of Judaification and Zionism. So there is a very strong argument for boycotting every Israeli product, or at the very least for boycotting every Israeli product until Israel is able to differentiate and to give accurate and fair information about its exports—which exports come from the occupied Palestinian territories, which aren’t; which companies offer equal opportunities, which aren’t. And it’s not just about economic boycott, it’s also cultural boycott, because we don’t want to give the impression that Israel is a normal country, that you can just have it as part of a tour of performances of various famous artists. So we’re asking famous artists not to come and perform in Israel. That would be legitimizing the Israeli apartheid.

JAY: Now, one of the critiques of the boycott movement is that all of this Israeli policy is enabled by the United States, but nobody’s talking about boycotting the United States.

HEVER: There is the moral issue, and there is also a practical issue, of course. I think the United States is committing many crimes as well, and in many cases more serious crimes (that’s definitely true) and acting as an imperial power. We cannot effectively boycott the United States economy, because it is the world economy. But what we can do is make a statement through boycotting the Israeli economy and through ending the injustice in the Middle East, or at least in Palestine, as the first stage in a global struggle for a better world for everyone. So that’s why I am not surprised that there are people in Venezuela or in Chile that are also calling to boycott Israel, that are also struggling in solidarity with Palestinian struggle. Even if they don’t know much about the Palestinian people, necessarily, or they don’t have a lot of a lot of ties with them, they know that this is one of the places where victory is achievable. And that would be a very important victory also against the neoliberal policies, the global neoliberal policies, and United States imperialism.

JAY: Thanks for joining us.

HEVER: Thank you very much.

JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End of Transcript


Shir Hever is an economic researcher in the Alternative Information Center, a Palestinian-Israeli organization active in Jerusalem and Beit-Sahour. Researching the economic aspect of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, some of his research topics include international aid to the Palestinians and Israel, the effects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories on the Israeli economy, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of the economy of the Israeli occupation.

Economics of Israeli Occupation Part VI

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Transcript not available at this time (Mar 30 2011)

Economics of the Israeli Occupation Part V

Shir Hever: The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation – Part V

15 July 2010

IOA Editor: This is a very important series, confirming Amira Hass’s assertions, made regularly, that Israel knows that peace just doesn’t pay.

By The Real News Network – 15 July 2010

A seven-part series on the political economy of the Israeli Occupation

Paul Jay of The Real News Network interviews Shir Hever, an Israeli economist and expert in the political economy of the Occupation whose forthcoming book is The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation.

Part V: One State or Two, There Should Be Economic Justice – The Only State Now is Israel, It Has Obligations


Shir Hever is an economic researcher in the Alternative Information Center, a Palestinian-Israeli organization active in Jerusalem and Beit-Sahour. Researching the economic aspect of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, some of his research topics include international aid to the Palestinians and Israel, the effects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories on the Israeli economy, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of the economy of the Israeli occupation.


PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay. We’re in Jerusalem. We’re joined again now by Shir Hever. He’s an economist with the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem. He’s the author of the book The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation. So talk about the economics of the two-state solution. Is there any real desire within the Israeli elite, and then you can say the population, to have a two-state solution? Or is this all just a stalling operation?

SHIR HEVER, ECONOMIST, ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER: What we have now is one state. There is one government, a sovereign government, who controls the entire area of Israel, the West Bank, Golan Heights, and also the Gaza Strip—completely under the Israeli control in terms of the economics. So when you have one economic unity already, those who speak about two-state solution have to, of course, clarify, first of all, what they mean in terms of how the economic situation will be in this two-state solution. Palestinians often—those who support the two-state solution among Palestinians call for a viable Palestinian state. That means creating sources of local income and employment for the Palestinian state to try to catch up with 43 years of arrested development, of de-development, by the Israeli occupation forces. So this is a project of epic scale. And even if you assume—and it is correct to assume—that Israel is responsible for making that investment, it’s Israel’s responsibility to compensate the Palestinians for 43 years of military occupation, then the question arises: is that even possible?

JAY: Well, let’s assume Israel, whether it should or shouldn’t, won’t do that. But there’s certainly plenty of wealth in the Arab world, especially in the Emirates and the oil-rich countries, and there’s plenty of money in the Arab world to help facilitate economic development in an independent Palestine, if there was to be such a thing.

HEVER: But why should they? Why should they pay for the crimes of another country?

JAY: ‘Cause they claim to care about the Palestinians.

HEVER: Well, they claim to. In reality, the actual assistance, especially political assistance, that these countries give to the Palestinians is very limited, and it comes mostly in the form of charity. And I’m not saying that this charity is not important. Palestinians live in conditions where they need food aid to survive, to sustain themselves. So I’m not diminishing from that in any way.

JAY: But wouldn’t it be in Israel’s economic interests? One would think that the more viable the economy was in Palestinian [sic], the less the security concerns there would be.

HEVER: Of course. That is a very valid argument, that a strong Palestinian state would mean also more security for Israel. But I think if we want to talk about the economic realities of the situation, we should think about one economic sphere, and we should talk about how to achieve justice and more equal redistribution of wealth within that economic sphere. There is really no reason why Palestinians in the West Bank have to ship their goods to be exported to countries like Jordan, or all the way to the Gaza Strip to a seaport that may be built there eventually, when they can ship it closer, to seaports in Haifa or Ashdod, and ship it from there. But, of course, under the current situation, if they try to do that, they have to pay a lot of taxes to Israel, they have to use a lot of Israeli companies, and they end up getting a very small margin of profit, while Israeli companies profit on their backs. So what we actually are talking about is how to create a just economic system, not about how to create two separate economic systems. The idea of separation is wrong politically, but also wrong economically.

JAY: Yes, two-state solution is wrong economically as well as politically, essentially, is what you’re saying.

HEVER: Yeah, I’m saying that—it’s not my choice. I’m an Israeli citizen, and the Palestinians are the ones who are going to decide their future, and they’re going to decide whether they prefer two states or one state.

JAY: But I think it’s pretty clear that in the current Israel, it’s hard to even fathom Israel giving a vote and equal rights to all the Palestinians outside of Israel. The Palestinians inside Israel don’t really have equal rights. They’re not going to start giving it to people in the West Bank and Gaza.

HEVER: Right.

JAY: So if—.

HEVER: You can say the very same argument about South Africa in 1992, where also you could say 99 percent of the white population would not give up apartheid and would not give equal rights to the black people. But what’s interesting is that in South Africa, one week after apartheid fell, one year after apartheid fell, you will be hard-pressed to find white people who would support apartheid anymore, and suddenly everybody was always against apartheid.

JAY: But everyone we’re talking to here is so—I mean, people who want some kind of justice with the Palestinians, who would like to see a one-state that would include Palestinians, or would like to see a two-state, at the very least, that would give rights, everyone’s so depressed and in despair. They don’t see anything happening here. I mean, but let me ask my basic question, which is: is there an economic motive for the Israeli government or elite not to have a two-state solution or to have one? I mean, what would make more economic sense?

HEVER: Well, people obviously don’t want to give up control, and right now there is a system where all the customs and all the taxes are centralized by one government. The value-added tax is—it’s set by Israel and collected by Israel; the customs, again, collected and controlled by Israel. So that gives Israel a lot of advantages. Also the currency: only Israeli currency is used, which gives Israel a strong advantage—they can print a currency, they can determine its value. Obviously they have an interest in keeping that control in their hands. And so you could hear [inaudible] proposals. Let’s give the Palestinians a state, but they’ll have to use our currency, but they’ll have to use our tax system, but they will be under a kind of a free-trade zone, which in reality would mean they will be completely subject to Israeli economic policies. So there is an economic interest in the one-state solution. There is also an economic interest for the two-state solution, because that would mean that although Palestinians will remain completely controlled under the Israeli economic regime and it will be completely dependent on the Israeli economy, they would not be Israeli citizens, and as such would not receive all the benefits, such as minimum wage law, such as pension plans, such as health care, which would make it a lot cheaper for Israeli companies to exploit them. So they will become consumers of Israeli products. They are already consumers of Israeli products. They would become the cheap labor for Palestinian companies. They’re already the cheap labor of Israeli companies. But they will not get any share of the benefits.

JAY: And most of the two-state models that are being talked about are this type of—.

HEVER: Yes, this is the two-state solution that is offered. Of course, all of these proposals also talk about eventually Palestinians having their own sources of income, trade agreements directly with third countries that don’t go through Israel, and of course that is important and I do support that very much. But creating these things would take time. And as long as Israel has the upper hand in everything, it’ll be very difficult to ensure that Palestinians really have the ability to negotiate on their own behalf.

JAY: Okay. In the next segment of our interview, let’s talk a little bit more about President Obama and his recent argument with Netanyahu, and a little bit more about the politics of occupation in Israel. Please join us for the next segment of our interview with Shir Hever.

End of Transcript

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Economics of Israeli Occupation Part 4

Shir Hever: The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation – Part IV

note at about 6:48, Hever discusses how Israel makes decisions in a way far different from other states: decisions do not come from a central authority but are made on the ground. This is consistent with Jewish authority structure compared, for example, to Roman Catholic hierarchy: Jews have always been ruled by 'rabbis' -- of greater or lesser quality and virtue, but vested with great authority, even life and death. see Israel Shahak. In Babylon, Jewish interpreters of law were the wealthy -- bankers, merchants.

--An Israeli company is building a wall between US and Mexico. The same company is building killing machines to mount on the separation wall in Israel. The US stock exchange-listed company that is building both walls says they are different: the Mexico wall is just to keep people out; the Israeli wall is to kill people.

15 July 2010

IOA Editor: This is a very important series, confirming Amira Hass’s assertions, made regularly, that Israel knows that peace just doesn’t pay.

By The Real News Network – 15 July 2010

A seven-part series on the political economy of the Israeli Occupation

Paul Jay of The Real News Network interviews Shir Hever, an Israeli economist and expert in the political economy of the Occupation whose forthcoming book is The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation.

Part II: Israel Inflates National Security Concerns in Order to Invalidate Labor and Class Disputes

The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation

Part I: 18 Families Control 60% of the Equity Value of All Companies in Israel

Part II: Israel Inflates National Security Concerns in Order to Invalidate Labor and Class Disputes

Part III: Israeli Elite Profited through Privatization of Public Assets – Workers Are Asked to Sacrifice

Part IV: Rational and Irrational Zionism – The Moderates and the Right

Part V: One State or Two, There Should Be Economic Justice – The Only State Now is Israel, It Has Obligations

Part VI: Israel’s Elite and the Far Right – Israel Sells Itself As ‘Frontline’ Against Islam

Part VII: The Boycott Israel Movement – The Reasons for Boycotting Israel


Shir Hever is an economic researcher in the Alternative Information Center, a Palestinian-Israeli organization active in Jerusalem and Beit-Sahour. Researching the economic aspect of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, some of his research topics include international aid to the Palestinians and Israel, the effects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories on the Israeli economy, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of the economy of the Israeli occupation.


PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, and we’re in Jerusalem. And joining us again now is Shir Hever. He’s an economist, and he’s at the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem, and he’s the author of the upcoming book Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation. Thanks for joining us again. So in the first segment we learned that Israel had been one—considered one of the most equal countries in the world, now considered one of the more unequal. What happened?

SHIR HEVER, ECONOMIST, ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER: Well, basic infrastructure and institutions in Israel that were fighting for equality were institutions that were not only defined by their class identity but also by ethnic identity. Perhaps the most famous one is the Histadrut. The Histadrut is the federation of Israel’s labor union. But the Histadrut didn’t even allow Palestinian-Israeli citizens to join the Histadrut until the late ’60s, did not even allow Jews of Arab descent to become members of the Histadrut until the early ’60s, and until today it does not allow Palestinians from the occupied territories to become members. So the Histadrut is not only an organization for workers rights, for union empowerment; it’s also an organization for disenfranchising Palestinians and weakening Palestinian workers. And that creates a divide within the labor force. That creates more empowered workers—Jewish workers—who receive some kind of organizational support and higher wages and more benefits. But they cannot really compete with the wages of the disempowered workers that come from the lower rungs of society, or the completely rightless workers who come from the West Bank.

JAY: So workers that do not get represented in the trade unions act as a pressure to lower the wages of those that are in the trade unions, and it creates more of a split amongst the workers.

HEVER: Yes. And that split was able to undermine the welfare state in Israel and basically convince a lot of employers to hire the cheaper labor, to fire the more empowered workers. And it serves as a constant load on the Israeli social system.

JAY: Now, I understand how that can be a pressure to lower wages. But why does that lead to dropping of state programs—health care and other kinds of government-supplied social safety net?

HEVER: What makes countries able to sustain welfare programs and social programs is only if there is a strong public cry to support these programs and only if people are able to mobilize in order to protect themselves from neoliberal reform, where these programs are constantly canceled or government assets are constantly privatized. And what happens in Israel is that the workforce is divided according to ethnic or national lines, which makes it very difficult to organize joint protest.

JAY: Well, why does it even have to be joint? Why can’t the Jewish workers at the very least even just fight for themselves in terms of these social programs? What stopped them from mounting those kinds of defence?

HEVER: Well, I can give you an example, perhaps, with Netanyahu. When he was minister of finance, he was trying to break the union of the port workers, the seaport workers, who were demanding better conditions and were trying to fight the privatization of the seaports. So he said, I don’t need you; we’ll open up a seaport in Gaza, and we’ll use the Palestinian workers in Gaza to offload the cargo, and we’ll pay them a tenth of what you’re getting. And he used that argument to break their strike. Of course, when that strike was broken, he didn’t allow Palestinians to build a seaport in Gaza, citing security reasons. So he was playing both cards: the security card to disempower the Palestinians in Gaza; the economic card to break the unions in Israel.

JAY: And to what extent is there a kind of nurturing of racism in order to exacerbate this contradiction between Jewish and Arab-Palestinian workers?

HEVER: The racism is very apparent and very inherent to the labor discourse in Israel. There are people who say that “this is an Arab job”. An “Arab job” is a derogatory term used to describe a job that was not done well or not done professionally. Palestinians are considered to be lazy or disloyal workers, not very productive workers, and so on. So the racism is inherent there. But you don’t need to encourage it; you don’t need to—the government doesn’t need to create programs to teach people to be racist. Unfortunately, racism is strong enough as it is.

JAY: Why?

HEVER: Because the entire project of the state of Israel as a Jewish state is a racist project. It’s a project that every Israeli child at school, from a very early age, learns that there is a constant struggle with the native population of the land (which is, of course, not considered native; it’s considered to be some kind of invading force), the Jews have some kind of biblical right to this land, and that therefore Palestinians are—they simply have no place in this picture, only as enemies to be fought against. So the treatment of Palestinians as foreigners, as unwanted people, as a threat, is something that children study in school from a very early age.

JAY: What’s the current unemployment rate amongst Jewish Israelis, and then Palestinian Israelis?

HEVER: The total unemployment rate in Israel officially is about 7.8 percent currently, but that’s a very gross underestimation, because it doesn’t include a lot of people who have either given up on looking for jobs or who are underemployed (they can’t get enough hours to meet their needs).

JAY: And what’s the rate once you include those people?

HEVER: If you include these people, you get about 18 percent unemployment, according to various studies that were conducted. We’re only talking about Israeli citizens now. But you asked also how can we distinguish unemployment amongst Jewish Israelis as opposed to Palestinian Israelis. So Palestinian Israelis are only about 20 percent of the population, 22 percent. So if you don’t include them, unemployment drops by about 1 or 2 percent. But amongst Israeli Palestinians, unemployment rates are about double that of Jewish Israelis, which means about 14 percent official unemployment and about 36 percent unofficial.

JAY: Which makes even more pressure on everyone else’s wages. I mean, such high unemployment means even more desperate Palestinian Israelis looking for work and even more downward pressure. So if this is the case, to what extent and how sharp are the contradictions between Israeli workers, both Jewish and Palestinian, but particularly Jewish, and the 18 families? And let’s talk about that in the next segment of our interview with Shir Hever. Please join us on The Real News.

End of Transcript

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Tagged as: Economy, History, Israel, Occupation, video

The Political Economy of Israel's Occupation 7 parts

Shir Hever: The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation

15 July 2010

IOA Editor: This is a very important series, confirming Amira Hass’s assertions, made regularly, that Israel knows that peace just doesn’t pay.

READ ALSO Shir Hever: Why Does Israel Still Occupy the Palestinians? (24 Sept 2010)

By The Real News Network – 15 July 2010

A seven-part series on the political economy of the Israeli Occupation

Paul Jay of The Real News Network interviews Shir Hever, an Israeli economist and expert in the political economy of the Occupation whose forthcoming book is The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation.

Part I: 18 Families Control 60% of the Equity Value of All Companies in Israel

The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation

Part I: 18 Families Control 60% of the Equity Value of All Companies in Israel

Part II: Israel Inflates National Security Concerns in Order to Invalidate Labor and Class Disputes

Part III: Israeli Elite Profited through Privatization of Public Assets – Workers Are Asked to Sacrifice

Part IV: Rational and Irrational Zionism – The Moderates and the Right

Part V: One State or Two, There Should Be Economic Justice – The Only State Now is Israel, It Has Obligations

Part VI: Israel’s Elite and the Far Right – Israel Sells Itself As ‘Frontline’ Against Islam

Part VII: The Boycott Israel Movement – The Reasons for Boycotting Israel


Shir Hever is an economic researcher in the Alternative Information Center, a Palestinian-Israeli organization active in Jerusalem and Beit-Sahour. Researching the economic aspect of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, some of his research topics include international aid to the Palestinians and Israel, the effects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories on the Israeli economy, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of the economy of the Israeli occupation.


PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, and we’re in Jerusalem. Now joining us is Shir Hever. He’s an economist at the Alternative Information Center and author of the upcoming book Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation. Thanks for joining us Shir.


JAY: So, in talking to people in Israel, one thing I hear constantly is the fight here is about national identity, it’s about the defense of the Jewish state. I don’t hear very much about economics of Israel or the economics of occupation. So how does national identity relate to the economics here?

HEVER: Well, the economic reality of Israel, of course, plays a part in every aspect of Israel’s existence—in the politics, in the society, and, of course, also in identity issues as well. The occupation of the Palestinian territories defines Israel’s economy in a large way. About two-thirds of Israel’s history, it has been occupying power, controlling Palestinian territories. But even before that occupation, Israel has created a very particular system of economic control, which is designed to promote the idea of a Jewish state. The Jewish state is not merely a cultural idea; it’s not merely a symbolic idea; it’s a material reality which is designed to redistribute wealth in order to draw as many Jews as possible to this area and to maintain a sustainable control of the Jewish population over a piece of land which is by nature binational.

JAY: Now, in terms of the Israeli economy, what percentile at the top controls the majority of the Israeli economy in terms of ownership?

HEVER: Israel is very centralized in terms of capital, far more than most developed economies in the world. About 18 families in Israel control roughly 60 percent of the equity value of all companies in Israel. So it’s concentrated in the hands of 18 families. Of course, there are other rich people in Israel who control some more of that other 40 percent.

JAY: So what are we talking about? What kind of things do they control, in terms of what makes up the bulk of the Israeli economy and the ownership?

HEVER: The Israeli economy has a very strong banking sector and financial sector, which also includes insurance companies, so that’s a very big part of the Israeli economy. But Israel’s also one of the world’s biggest exporter of diamonds, Israel is one of the world’s biggest exporters of chemical fertilizer, and there are a lot of high tech industries. Much of that high-tech industry actually ties with a very large and very famous industry in Israel, which is the arms trade, the arms industry. A lot of the high-tech development in Israel is actually for what is known as homeland security technology. And so a lot of companies, especially companies set up by former military officers, specialize in developing homeland security products designed to track individuals and to help governments or corporations—.

JAY: Which we know have been sold in the past to South Africa, to Colombia, to Honduras.

HEVER: Yeah. Well, until the year 2000, Israel was about the tenth biggest arms exporter in the world, but the fourth biggest arms exporter to the developing world, because Israel was willing to sell weapons to clients, to customers which other countries were reluctant to sell to, such as South Africa during the apartheid and so on. But after September 11, after the attacks, there was a famous quote by Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently Israel’s prime minister. He said these attacks are good for Israel; they show the world that Israel fighting terrorism—or fighting Islam, basically—is a good thing.

JAY: So these 18 families, we’re talking families that are all billionaires, then, in terms of, amongst the families, the wealth that’s been accumulated. In terms of the size of the fortunes on a global scale, are they significant fortunes?

HEVER: Well, they are significant in those sectors. In the diamonds sector and the weapons sector and in the fertilizer sector Israel is a global player. In the high-tech sector not so much, but definitely in the homeland security sector.

JAY: So, then, these families, in terms of the Israeli politics, political parties, and the various governments that come and go, are the families split? Or are they involved in all the parties?

HEVER: Well, all the Zionist parties in Israel, starting from the so-called Zionist left or the liberal parties and all the way to the extreme right-wing, almost fascist parties, are almost indistinguishable from each other. And the controlling—the wealthy families, they know that. They contribute about equally to the centrist parties, or the so-called centrist parties, because they know that it doesn’t really matter whether it’s going to be Likud or Labor or Kadima. These parties have the same agenda, the same strategy, and the same platform.

JAY: Now, to what extent does the struggle with the Palestinians take attention off the 18 families? Or how visible are the 18 families in terms of popular perception?

HEVER: Well, they are visible. I think people know to a certain extent that there are these people who own the companies that they pay money to every day. You know that your cellular phone comes from a very large and powerful company that you see their signs every day. And so they do know about these companies. Many people also know even the names of the owners of these companies. But when you want to tie it to the struggle with the Palestinians, then, of course, that plays a role through different ways. You hinted that perhaps the struggle with the Palestinians helped to draw attention from the centralized capital in the year 2002. The chairman of the Manufacturers Association in Israel said that because of the struggle with the Palestinians, because of the intifada, Israelis have to learn that they cannot expect an increase in the minimum wage, or perhaps even they should expect a decrease in the minimum wage, meaning that the security constraints are used as a justification to stifle social struggle.

JAY: So 18 families, you said, own 60 percent of capitalization in Israel?

HEVER: Yeah.

JAY: Now, in terms of general social programs, social safety net, how much redistribution takes place amongst Israeli citizens?

HEVER: Well, Israel is the most unequal country in the developed world, second only to the United States. In the year 2009, Israel bypassed Mexico for the first time as more unequal than Mexico, making Israel indeed one of the most unequal countries in the world. And that is because while most countries in the developed world spend some of their budgets in redistributive efforts such as health care, unemployment benefits, infrastructure, creating jobs, that sort of thing, Israel actually spends about 75 percent less, in ratio comparisons, with most of these countries, with OECD countries, and that is because Israel spends so much on security, on the military.

JAY: Well, how much is it because they spend so much on security, and how much is it because of the accumulation of the 18 families? I guess, let me ask the question the other way: how taxed are the 18 families?

HEVER: Well, they are slightly less taxed than in most developed countries, mostly because Israel created a system of loopholes which allow, especially, wealthy Jewish people from around the world to bring their property to Israel with no questions asked. So there have been many cases of very wealthy Jews coming to Israel with their property, saying they’re doing a Zionist act, but in fact there were standing lawsuits against them in other countries. Israel will not extradite them, stating against the Zionist argument. And that was one of the reasons that Israel was able to draw a lot of capital in the past two decades.

JAY: So if great concentration of ownership and wealth in the top tier, not that much taxation, not very much social safety net—so to what extent is there a social movement demanding more economic justice for Israelis?

HEVER: Well, Israel historically had a very strong social movement and was considered an almost socialist state. In 1965 there was a survey of all countries in the world in terms of equality, and Israel was ranked between the Netherlands and Finland—one of the most equal countries in the world. Today, as I said before, Israel is one of the most unequal countries in the world. So something did happen.

JAY: Okay. So in the next segment of our interview let’s find out what happened. Please join us for the next segment of our interview with Shir Hever.

End of Transcript

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Tagged as: Economy, History, Israel, Occupation, video

STUXNET, Israel, Libya

I had speculated that the war on Libya was waged because Japan called in its notes to US: between the passage of UN Res 1970, a relatively peaceful means of getting rid of Qaddafi, by referral to ICC, and UN Res 1973, the 'no fly zone,' the factor that changed was the meltdown of Fukushima. Arab involvement in UNR 1973 signaled to my antenna that Saudis were paying for the war; more specifically, paying the US for the use of its air force.

Yesterday on another forum we started to explore Israel's relationship to STUXNET and Fukushima. Israelis developed STUXNET at Dimona (w/ US involvement); an Israeli company managed security for Fukushima.

Three videos lay out these dots:
1. US Senate hearing, Joe Lieberman & Susan Collins, Nov 17, 2010. (on C Span) Collins: "Whoever developed STUXNET was very smart and very well financed," and "a STUXNET attack is the next 9/11" (or words to that effect.

2. a TED talk by German engineer Ralph Langner on how STUXNET works :http //www dot ted dot com/talks/ralph_langner_cracking_stuxnet_a_21st_century_cyberweapon dot html
At the very end of the talk, Langner is asked: "Did Mossad create STUXNET." Langner says yes & no: US was involved in creation of STUXNET WITH Israel; it was tested at Dimona. Langner concluded (paraphrasing): "If it had been ONLY Israel that has STUXNET
3. :http www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=M6M5-2Hewt0
This YouTube might be too conspiracy-theoristic for full credibility, but it does mention one teeny curious fact: in Japan, the quakes were rated at 5.6 (Tokyo) and 6 in the north. In the west, the quakes were rated above 8. The narrator says that a tsunami does not occur following a 6, so an explanation for tsunami had to be provided. He says HAARP was used to create tsunami.
Was it expected that tsunami would harm Fukushimi reactor? The narrator says no, and experts before a Senate hearing chaired by Jeff Bingaman yesterday implies agreement--the proper mechanisms were in place to protect against an earthquake & even tsunami.
An Israeli company provides security services for Fukushimi. As part of security, it has access to computer systems.
The Youtube narrator then traces how STUXNET operates and how it could have caused the explosion. We report, you decide.**

Incredibly, the Japanese govt has contracts with the same Israeli company to monitor ALL of its nuclear facilities. Should a state that is not signatory to NPT but that has nuclear weapons be allowed to be in a position to spy on or possibly 'STUXNET' nuclear facilities elsewhere? But that's another question.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Neoliberalism and Attacking Libya

1. It was said today (Mar 23 2011) on C Span Washington Journal that Susan Rice and Samantha Power were persuaded that US had to "intervene" in Libya by warning that Libya "might turn into a massacre like Srebernitza."

2. It was said on Sunday on Washington Journal by Claudia Rosett that Susan Rice and Samantha Power were persuaded that US had to "intervene" in Libya by warning that Libya "might turn into a genocide like Rwanda."

3. This is the Hitler fallacy, and why the concept surrounding holocaust denial is extremely dangerous.
3a. Jewish Israeli school children are taught the bible as history. If the god of the Jewish people speaks and acts through history, then how is it the Jewish people put lies in god's mouth?
3a1. Jews are constantly changing their history, and failing to tell the truth. Are they trying to hide their acts from god? Do Jews write history for god's perusal, or do Jews write the history that is inspired in them of god?
3a1a. Ezra, Graetz, Sam Untermyer, Deborah Lipstadt & C Span and David Irving,
3b. If Jewish bible is history, and Jews believe that Jews are singularly chosen to bring all people back to god, as Rabbi Spiro declares, then all people should be free to examine that god, and that history, without constraints or limitations on the dogma of that god.
3c. Benny Morris asserted that all history is subject to revision, but, of course, everyone knows that Hitler was evil.
3c1. But if you start with the premise that Hitler was evil, no further evaluation is possible and nothing is learned from history.

4. Qaddafi has been tagged with the labels, "evil," "tyrant," "dictator," "monster," and there the conversation stopped. No assessment of the nature of the 'tyrant," no calculation of why the tyrant was doing what he was doing.
4a. See Frank Delaney: the horse . . . in Venetia Kelly's Travelling Show.

5. It's necessary to understand the concept of tikun olam. It is a Jewish concept, not an American value/concept, by definition: tikun olam is the praxis of choseness; by definition, -- and by Tammy Bruce's affirmation -- JEWS, not Christians, not gentiles, not goy, are the chosen people.

5a. Rabbi Ken Spiro on choseness.

6. Toynbee: The World and the West.

7. How many people in the United States know more than the barest minimum about zionism? Do the moderators at C Span have even a journalist's 'who what where when why how' knowledge of zionism?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Death by Democracy in Bahrain March 21 2011

No Accountability for Israeli Mercenaries in Libya UNSCR 1970

On Feb 26 2011 UN Resolution 1970 was signed . UN Res 1970 recited

“ . . .concern at the plight of refugees forced to flee the violence in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,

“Expressing concern also at the reports of shortages of medical supplies to treat the wounded,

“Recalling the Libyan authorities’ responsibility to protect its population,

“Underlining the need to respect the freedoms of peaceful assembly and of expression, including freedom of the media,

“Stressing the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians,

“Recalling article 16 of the Rome Statute under which no investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with by the International Criminal Court for a period of 12 months after a Security Council request to that effect,
. . .

That is, it appears that the UN wished to accelerate the availability of referral to ICC and could do that upon passage of an UN Security Council Resolution.

“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and taking measures under its Article 41,

“1. Demands an immediate end to the violence and calls for steps to fulfil the legitimate demands of the population;

“2. Urges the Libyan authorities to:

(a) Act with the utmost restraint, respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and allow immediate access for international human rights monitors;


ICC referral

“4. Decides to refer the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court;

“5. Decides that the Libyan authorities shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligation under the Statute, urges all States and concerned regional and other international organizations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor;

“6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State;

Libya has signed but not ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC treaty. That means that Libya is not bound by the ICC but must "refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty."

The US and Israel have "unsigned" the ICC treaty. They have no legal obligations under the treaty.

Several state leaders praised the passage of UN Resolution 1970 as a “swift and decisive act” to bring evildoers to justice.

On Mar 1, 2011, several sources reported that an Israeli corporation was supplying 50,000 foreign mercenaries to support the Qaddafi regime in Libya. Sources posting these reports referred to an original report from Palestinian site Ma’an and included




Thus, by March 5, 2011, the public is able to know that the UN Security Council recognizes the “need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians,” and, at 5., DECIDES that Libya shall cooperate with the ICC, but that mercenaries supplied to Libya through Israel, which, although exempt from ICC provisions because it has “unsigned” the ICC, could be included under provisions of the clause,

“Stressing the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, “including by forces under their control, on civilians,”

But is exempted from this accountability to the ICC by clause 6., and is subject to accountability only to its own State.

In other words, if it is true that Israel has supplied mercenaries to Libya to support Qaddafi, those mercenaries can be held only to that level of accountability to which Israel held its IDF in Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara. On the other hand, state forces supporting the Libyan state against rebellion are held accountable to the ICC.

A smarter head than mine would have to figure out if the enactment of UN Resolution 1973, which imposes a No Fly zone over Libya, obviates the impositions of UN Resolution 1970, which referred the Libyan actions to the International Criminal Court.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dolinsky chooses Anniversary of Italian Unification to list 'Worst Italian Restaurants'

Jews seem to go out of their way to insult, put down, deride Italians. Jews make sure everybody goes away with the impression that all Italians have contributed to the world is spaghetti and restaurants.

Some months ago when the DVD 'Schmats' was in the works, a writer discussed the deeeeep involvement and sacrifice of JEWISH women in the Triangle fire, and in the subsequent unionizing of garment workers.

No mention of the facts that the Triangle company was owned by Jews, the building was owned by Jews, and a Jewish lawyer got the owners off with a tap on the wrist.

No mention that almost half of the young women who died were Italian.

No mention of the Italian women who spearheaded the union campaign.

No mention that the garment industry itself had deep roots in Florence and other Northern Italian cities, where Italians put together the capital, the skill, the fine materials that Jews came upon johnny-come-lately and reduced to "schmatta" -- rags.

Ah, but -- the reporter did comment that the conversation was being held in an Italian restaurant where the pasta was so-so.

Steve Dolinsky felt compelled to explain why he chose ST. Patrick's Day to list the "Top Five Overrated Italian Restaurants" in Chicago, noting parenthetically that "(My Top 5 favorite Italian will appear in this space next Thursday)."

Dolinsky explains,

did you also realize that Saturday is St. Joseph's? This Italian day of feasting occurs during Lent and features several seafood courses, if not an entire spread (don't forget the zeppole!)

Maybe somewhere the Feast of St. Joseph is a "day of feasting." Typically, St. Joseph is invoked as the patron of peaceful death. Eat up.

But Dolinsky is either tone deaf or stupid in failing to observe what a commenter to his article pointed out: This week marks the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. It would have been nice if Dolinsky had mentioned that. Would have been even nicer if Dolinsky had used the occasion to celebrate Italian culture -- even if it is just mediocre cooking -- rather than the occasion to list the worst of the breed.

Mazel tov.

"The Future Has Arrived in the Arab World" - Davutoglu (bu-bye pisrael)

The audacity of change
By Ayse Alibeyoglu in

* Middle East

on March 14th, 2011.
Al Jazeera

Has the future arrived in the Arab world? "Yes", in fact it has been "delayed", according to Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Turkish foreign minister and pioneer of the "zero problems with neighbours" policy.

He said a transformation in the region was a social necessity and that no one should attempt to resist the changes sweeping north Africa and the Middle East.

"No leader should think that they could rule forever," Davutoğlu said in his address at Al Jazeera's Sixth Annual Forum "Winds of Change in the Arab World" session on Sunday.

His words received nods of agreement from the activists and bloggers from the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as much of the audience.

Turkey is increasingly taking on the role of regional model, mediator and leader, with a solid economy and an evolving democracy. It has sought to balance many of the forces that shape, and shake, the region: The East and the West, Israel and Iran, religion and secularism.

Addressing a room full of journalists, analysts, academics, traditional and new media experts, Davutoğlu urged leaders of the region to respect people's demand for democratic change.

"Everybody deserves democracy. People's demand should be respected. We are witnessing a natural flow of history because there was a need for change," he said.

'No foreign intervention'

Davutoğlu opposed any foreign intervention into the countries going through political unrest in the region.

"Now, more than ever, the time has come to take a definitive and unified stance. We are already divided enough. We need more unification and more unity now. There should be regional ownership. No foreign intervention. This is our region.

"We have to put all our efforts toward a peaceful transformation in the region," he said.

Davutoğlu added it was military interventions, in particular, which could further complicate an already fragile political situation.

Since his speech, more than 1,000 Saudi troops and 500 police officers from the United Arab Emirates have entered Bahrain.

A move that has further polarised the tiny island nation and marks the first time Arab nations have intervened in another country's affairs amid sweeping unrest in the region.

However, as more people feel empowered to challenge the status quo, eventually leading to grassroots uprisings aimed at ousting dictatorships in the region, the ultimate objective of young Arabs is deliberative democracy, freedom, and the change they have yearned for.

"What we are facing is a political tsunami and we should react to it as such. The sense of common destiny is everywhere, and no one can ignore it," Davutoğlu said.

He also paid homage to Ali Hassan Al Jaber, an Al Jazeera cameraman who was killed in an ambush near the rebel-held city of Benghazi in eastern Libya on Saturday.

"I would like to extend my sincere and deepest condolences to Ali Hassan Al Jaber’s family and to all the family at Al Jazeera over the loss of a great journalist.

"He will be one of the symbolic names in the future of those who we will remember in the historic turning point of our region."

As the session came to a close, excitement filled the air as the participants possess a new sense of purpose and direction, eager to ride the winds of change.

"Those who are now leading the process of change in their countries, these young leaders will be saying and contributing more to the emergence of a new global order and they have the power to do so," Davutoğlu said to rapturous applause.

And if the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are any guide, then it is these debates, stemming from unprecedented generational change unfolding concurrently with a modern media revolution, that will surely continue and be the indicator that defines history in this region.

Fuck you Israel. Bahrainis Tear gassed Mar 15 2011

Netanyahu before US House, Sept 12 2002

Dan Burton Opens the session and introduces Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu's Opening remarks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marcy Kaptor on C Span -- a disappointment Mar 15 2011

Oh, Kaptor did her bit in slamming the big banks and giant corporations who are posting very high profits, but noted that those profits are based on slashed employment and outsourced work forces. Kaptor emphasized that "America needs jobs!"

The combination of ignorance and disconnect in America's leaders presages disaster. "Without a vision, the people perish." I had thought Kaptor was one of those few who did have a vision of the big picture -- how America's foreign policy backwardness and unholy marriage to Israel and the philosophical-political strictures of zionism ripple throughout its domestic and economic structures.

But Kaptor, like most other Congresspersons, does not see the forest for the flags. The US has demonstrated that its purpose in the Middle East, in Latin America, in Africa has little to do with spreading "liberty" and more to do with preserving its perquisites and dominance of power. Moreover, Kaptor and most of America's leaders

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Alan Sabrosky: Mossad Did 9/11

"When the American people realize what happened, Israel is done. Americans will wipe Israel off the face of the earth and not give a rat's ass."

Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi speaks in Tahrir Square. Frank Gaffney objects. Egypt State TV shies away. ADL calls the Imam a (wait for it) Terrorist

On Mar 12, 2011, Frank Gaffney on C Span said that radical imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi had addressed a very large crowd -- 2 or 3 million -- in Cairo, Egypt's Tahrir Square. Gaffney saw this as a signal that the Muslim Brotherhood, "Islamist," would seek power in Egypt. In Gaffney's estimation, this is contrary to American interests and those of America's allies.

This article about al-Qaradawi's speech was posted on a gay rights blog, on the ADL website, and on a website called OnIslam: Islamophobia Watch. The last site first:

OnIslam interviews Yusuf al-Qaradawi
DateTuesday, February 22, 2011

Under government pressures, Egypt's state television has scrapped plans for hosting prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi following his Friday prayers sermon from Cairo's Tahrir Square.

"Some government officials considered the Friday sermon too strong," Qaradawi, the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), told in exclusive statements. "They would not bear a second powerful speech."

Qaradawi delivered the weekly sermon on Friday, February 18 from Tahrir Square, where nearly five million Egyptians gathered to celebrate the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. The sermon was broadcast by the state television, Qaradawi's first appearance on the Egyptian TV in decades.

During the sermon, the prominent scholar called on Egyptians, both Muslims and Christians, to be proud of their country after ousting Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for 30 years. He also praised the armed forces' position on protecting the revolution, calling on them to open Rafah border with Gaza strip.

After the sermon, Qaradawi, an Egyptian, was invited to appear on the Egyptian television on Sunday on the prime-time program "Egypt Today". But shortly, the prominent scholar received a phone call from the program's anchor apologizing for not shooting the program.

"I don’t know who was exactly behind banning Sheikh Qaradawi from appearing on the state television," a source close to the prominent scholar said. A source in "Egypt Today" program cited "procedural reasons" for banning Qaradawi's appearance.

Qaradawi dismissed accusations that his weekly sermon aimed at establishing a religious state in Egypt. "On the contrary, my speech supported establishing a civil state with a religious background," he has told Al-Ahram newspaper. "I am totally against theocracy. We are not a state for mullahs."

Some critics compared the return of Qaradawi, who has been living in Qatar, to Egypt as Ayatollah Ruhollah Ghomeini to Iran from France after the 1979 revolution. "I only came to celebrate the revolution," said Qaradawi.

Qaradawi dismissed claims that he was still a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. "I've totally defected from the Muslim Brotherhood and have rejected many calls to be appointed as the group's general guide," he said. "I hope to serve as a guide for the whole nation and not for a certain group."

The prominent scholar denied reports that his "guards" had prevented Google executive and activist Wael Ghonim from taking the podium in Tahrir Square. "I have no guards, I only brought my sons with me," Qaradawi said. "I rejected many requests by scholars to send guards to protect me. Allah is my guard."

Media reports claimed that Ghonim, who emerged as a leading youth figure in the Egyptian revolution, had been prevented by Qaradawi's guards from speaking to the celebrators. Qaradawi said he neither organize the celebration nor prevent anyone from going on stage.

"I was surrounded by youth who cordoned me to protect me from the huge crowds," he said. "I would have been glad if I met this young man [Ghonim] who initiated the 25 January revolution. I have praised him in a TV program when he was released from the prison. So how can I prevent him? I was only a guest in the celebrations."

OnIslam, 22 February 2011

Meanwhile, over at Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer is outraged that Qaradawi has called on the Libyan armed forces to turn their guns on Gaddafi rather than the Libyan people.

Update: Spencer has a piece on Qaradawi at Human Events ("Egypt's Islamic supremacist is man of the hour"). The depth of Spencer's knowledge of Qaradawi can be gauged by the reference to "his website (which publishes many of his fatwas)". It has apparently escaped the attention of this self-styled expert on all things Islamic that last year a strike and sit-in took place at the IslamOnline offices in Cairo. Qaradawi intervened on the side of the strikers and as a result the Qatari government removed him from his position as chairman of the Al-Balagh Cultural Society which owns the website. The IslamOnline strikers subsequently launched the OnIslam website ("From the creators of IslamOnline") which is where the above interview with Qaradawi was published. Qaradawi now has no links with IslamOnline.
Egypt:- Hardline homophobic imam returns to lead prayers in Tahrir Square
# Posted by Tim on February 20, 2011 at 8:30pm
After being banned from doing so in Egypt for 30 years, homophobic imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi was back in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to lead prayers in front of a crowd of thousands. He's famous across the Arab world for a popular show he used to present on TV channel Al Jazeera.

His many followers are overjoyed by his return. But his re-appearance in Egypt won't bring comfort to the country's gay community, as he takes a hardline fundamentalist view of homosexuality; he thinks we should be put to death.


And here is ADL's 2009 spiel on Al-Qadarawi:

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi: Theologian of Terror RULE Introduction

Posted: February 2, 2009

Introduction Biography Support for Terror Affiliations In His Own Words

Updated: February 14, 2011

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue based in Qatar, has garnered worldwide appeal through a wide network of associations and by making use of various media outlets. Through his speeches and writings, Qaradawi has demonstrated consistent support of terrorist groups that seek to undermine both a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and, more broadly, reform and democracy in the Middle East.

Qaradawi has a long record of inciting violence against Jews and Israel. For example, during a sermon that aired on the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera TV on January 28, 2009, Qaradawi told his audience, "I will shoot Allah's enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus I will seal my life with martyrdom."

In another sermon on January 9, 2009, Qaradawi lashed out at Jews, including calling on God to "kill them, down to the very last one."

He has also refused to dialogue with Jews. Qaradawi declined to participate in the 8th annual conference organized by the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue because of the participation of Jews. In a statement released by Qaradawi's office, he reportedly said, "How can we conduct a dialogue in a time when they seize lands, shed blood, burn farms, and demolish houses? Palestine's conundrum has to be resolved first before we sit together at the same table."

Qaradawi continues to endorse Palestinian suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. In his latest major work, Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of Jihad (2009), Qaradawi chastises those Muslims who do not observe jihad as an obligatory duty, including participation in "physical jihad" if capable. A significant portion of the book is dedicated to legitimizing suicide bombing, or "martyrdom operations," which Qaradawi casts as a "defensive jihad against oppression." He encapsulates his view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with anti-Semitic rhetoric, attesting that the "Zionist massacres of today" are a continuation of alleged Jewish calls to genocide in the Old Testament.

During a July 2007 conference held in his honor in Doha, Qatar, titled "Imam al-Qaradawi: A Forum for Students and Friends," Qaradawi reiterated his support for suicide bombing and terrorist groups.

"I support the Palestinian cause. I support the resistance and the jihad," Qaradwi said according to MEMRI. "I support Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. I oppose the peace that Israel and America wish to dictate. This peace is an illusion. I support martyrdom operations."

The conference, indicative of his ability to attract a worldwide following, was attended by at least 90 supporters from all over the world, including Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who praised Qaradawi on one of his previous fatwas (legal opinions) endorsing suicide bombing.

Qaradawi, who has also expressed support for targeting American forces and civilians in Iraq, has been banned from the entering the U.S. since 1999 for his extremist views. In February 2008, Qaradawi was denied a visa to enter Britain for medical treatment.