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Gaza ‘world’s largest concentration camp’: Dr Finkelstein
Abdur Rahman Khan
 
Dr Norman Finkelstein, the controversial Jewish American academic and fierce critic of Israel, was deported from the country and banned from the Jewish state for 10 years in 2008. 
Finkelstein, the son of a Holocaust survivor who has accused Israel of using the genocidal Nazi campaign against Jews to justify its actions against the Palestinians, was detained by the Israeli security service, Shin Bet, when he had landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport almost ten years ago.
Full Story
Abdur Rahman Khan
 
Dr Norman Finkelstein, the controversial Jewish American academic and fierce critic of Israel, was deported from the country and banned from the Jewish state for 10 years in 2008. 
Finkelstein, the son of a Holocaust survivor who has accused Israel of using the genocidal Nazi campaign against Jews to justify its actions against the Palestinians, was detained by the Israeli security service, Shin Bet, when he had landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport almost ten years ago.
Last year in January, US academic Finkelstein, who is also braded as pro-Hezbollah activist, delivered two lectures, including one titled “Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom.” at the Max Planck Institute branch in the city of Halle, in the state of Saxony-Anhal in Germany prompting a parliamentary inquiry into Dr. Norman Finkelstein’s talks.
The institute under Stratmann’s leadership had been mired in turmoil since the Halle branch of the institute allegedly lied to the public about the content of Finkelstein’s pro-Hamas talk. 
Finkelstein has defended Hamas violence against the Jewish state, saying: “Now, under international law, Hamas, the Palestinians – nothing in international law debars them from using armed force to end the occupation.... For me that’s not an important question. Legally, they have the right. Morally, in my opinion, they have the right.”
When Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill asked Finkelstein, “Is it accurate, is it calling things by the proper names to say that the Palestinians in Gaza are trying to breach a border fence?” 
The academic responded, “No. The Palestinians in Gaza are trying to breach a concentration camp fence. They’re trying to breach a ghetto fence. They’re trying to breach a prison gate.” 
Finkelstein who has penned 11 books, including, “The Holocaust Industry,” and “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History” has a harrowing family history. The academic grew up in Brooklyn where his father was a factory worker and his mother stayed at home. 
Finkelstein’s father was a Jew resisting the Nazis, who survived both the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. Finkelstein’s mother also survived the Warsaw ghetto, the Majdanek concentration camp, and Nazis-imposed slave labor. 
“The people of Gaza are the only people in the world who don’t have that option. They’re caged in. In those circumstances, to refer to it as a border fence strikes me as almost obscene,” the academic added. 
So far, Israeli security forces have killed at least 104 Palestinians and wounded about 12,000 others during this year’s annual Palestine Great March of Return that began March 30. The march calls for refugees’ right to return to the Palestinian land they were forcibly expelled from in 1948. 
Blacklisted Palestinian scholar pointed out that Palestinians were merely exercising their right to free themselves and they have a right to do so under the international law. Those who report stories on the ground like Haaretz are targeted, the academic pointed out. 
“The respected Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, they refer to the “Gaza Ghetto,” with the obvious resonances for Jews, the Warsaw Ghetto,” Finkelstein noted. 
The academic also stated he has been targeted for his outspoken views and scholarship on Israel. 
Finkelstein’s latest book published January, “Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom” is a detailed 440-page study of international law, of Israel’s sustained attacks against Gaza and its people and stands testament to one of the most horrifying and sustained campaigns of collective punishment in modern world history. 
The book wasn’t reviewed by any major U.S. publication. 
He pointed out to Scahill during the interview, “You regain, you reclaim your right when you do three things.”
“One, you end the illegal blockade of Gaza. Two, you end the illegal occupation of alien territory. And three, you give the people in Gaza and the West Bank the right to self-determination and statehood.
“The denial of all of those three rights, not one fundamental right, not two fundamental rights, three fundamental rights, the denial of those rights means you lose any right to quote-unquote “defend yourself.” Until and unless you end those three consecutive, compounded illegal situations.”

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An affront to history: Giro d’Italia’s ‘sport-washing’ of Israeli apartheid
Ramzy Baroud
 
For the first time since its inception in 1909, the legendary Italian cycling race, Giro d’Italia kicked off outside Europe and, strangely enough, from the city of Jerusalem on May 4.
The inherent contradictions in that decision are inescapable. Italy is a country that has experienced a ruthless forging occupation and was ravaged by fascism and war. To be a party in Israel’s constant attempts at whitewashing or, in this case, “sport-washing’ its military occupation and daily violence against the Palestinian people is appalling.
Full Story
Ramzy Baroud
 
For the first time since its inception in 1909, the legendary Italian cycling race, Giro d’Italia kicked off outside Europe and, strangely enough, from the city of Jerusalem on May 4.
The inherent contradictions in that decision are inescapable. Italy is a country that has experienced a ruthless forging occupation and was ravaged by fascism and war. To be a party in Israel’s constant attempts at whitewashing or, in this case, “sport-washing’ its military occupation and daily violence against the Palestinian people is appalling.
Every attempt aimed at dissuading the race organizers from being part of Israel’s political propaganda has failed. The millions of dollars paid to the Giro d’Italia organizers, the RCS Sport, seemed far more compelling than shared cultural experiences, solidarity, human rights and international law.
Legendary Italian novelist, Dino Buzzati wrote various accounts in Italian newspapers in the 1940s, describing the symbolism of the race in the context of a battered nation resurrecting from the ashes of untold destruction.
Just after WWII had ended, Giro d’Italia organizers found themselves contending with the seemingly impossible task of organizing a race with a few bicycles and even fewer athletes. The roads were disfigured and destroyed in the war, but the determination to triumph was stronger.
The 1946 Giro D’Italia, especially the legendary competition between Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, became a metaphor of a country rising from the horrors of war, reanimating its national identity, symbolized in the final struggle between heroic athletes pedaling through the torturous mountainous roads to reach the finish line.
Understanding this history, Israel exploited it in every possible way. In fact, the Israeli government recently gave the late Gino Bartali an honorary Israeli citizenship. The decision was made as an acknowledgment of the Italian athlete’s anti-Nazi legacy. The irony, of course, is that the Israeli practices against Palestinians – military Occupation, racism, Apartheid and abhorring violence -  is reminiscent of the very reality that Bartali and millions of Italians fought against for years.
When Israeli officials announced last September that Giro D’Italia would start in Jerusalem, they labored to link the decision with Israel’s celebration of 70 years of independence.
Also, 70 years ago, Palestinians were dispossessed from their homeland by Zionist militias, leading to the Nakba, the catastrophic destruction of Palestine and the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state. It was then that West Jerusalem became part of Israel, and the rest of the Holy City, East Jerusalem, was also conquered through war in 1967, before it was officially, but illegally, annexed in 1981, in defiance of international law.
RCS Sport cannot claim ignorance regarding how their decision to engage and validate Israeli Apartheid will forever scar the history of the race. When their website announced that the race would kick off from ‘West Jerusalem’, the Israeli response was swift and furious. Israeli Sports Minister, Miri Regev and Tourism Minister, Yariv Levi, threatened to end their partnership with the race, claiming that “in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, there is no East or West. There is one unified Jerusalem.”
Alas, Giro d’Italia organizers publicly apologized before removing the word ‘West’ from their website and press releases.
According to international law, East Jerusalem is an occupied Palestinian city. This fact has been stated time and again through United Nations resolutions, including the most recent Resolution 2334, adopted on December 23, 2016. It condemns Israel’s illegal settlement constructions in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem.
This reality stands as a stark contradiction to the claims made by Giro d’Italia organizers that their race is a celebration of peace. In truth, it is an endorsement of Apartheid, violence and war crimes.
The fact that the race was held according to plan, despite the ongoing killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza, also underlines the degree of moral corruption by those behind the effort. Over 50 unarmed Palestinians have been killed since the start of the peaceful protests at the Gaza border, known as the ‘Great March of Return’ on March 30. Over 7,000 were wounded, among them 30 athletes, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Youth and Sports.
One of those wounded is Alaa al-Dali, a 21-years-old cyclist whose leg was amputated after being shot on the first day of protests.
‘Canadian-Jewish philanthropist’, Sylvan Adams, one of the biggest funders of the race, claimed that his contribution is motivated by his desire to promote Israel and to support cycling as a ‘bridge between nations.’
Palestinians, like Alaa, whose cycling career is over, are, of course, excluding from that lofty, and selective definition. Was the 12 million dollars received by the organizers from Israel and its supporters a worthy price to ignore the suffering of Palestinians and to help normalize Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people?
Sadly, for the RSC Sport, the answer is ‘yes’.
Many Italians, and more around the world, of course, disagree. Despite Italian media’s partaking in Israel’s ‘sport-washing’, hundreds of Italians protested at various stages of the race.
The fourth stage of Giro d’Italia, which was held in Catania, Sicily, was delayed by a protest, against a race which is “stained with the blood of Palestinians”, in the words of activist, Simone Di Stefano.
Renzo Ulivieri, the head of the Italian Football Managers Association, was one of prominent Italian voices that objected to the decision to hold the race in Israel. “I could have remained indifferent, but I fear I would have been despised by the people I respect. Viva the Palestinian people, free in their land,” he wrote in Facebook post.
The RCS Sport has done the ‘Giro’ race, sport cycling and the Italian people an unforgivable disservice for the sake of a few million dollars. By agreeing to start the race in a country that is guilty of apartheid practices and a protracted military occupation, they will stain the race forever.
However, the general wave of indignation caused by this reckless decision seems to indicate that Israel’s efforts at normalizing its crimes against Palestinians are failing to alter public opinion and perception of Israel as an occupying power - that deserves to be boycotted, not embraced.
— Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. 
— Romana Rubeo, an Italian writer, contributed to this article.

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Jinnah’s importance

Kuldip Nayar
 
Jinnah is as much respected in Pakistan as Mahatma Gandhi in India is. It’s time for the Hindus to recognise that partition was deliverance for Muslims. That was in 1947. Today, the Muslims in India, approximately 17 crores, do not matter in the affairs of India. True, they have the voting rights and the country is ruled by the Constitution which gives one vote to one person.
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is not just a place of learning. It was in the forefront of a movement for the demand of Pakistan and still leans towards what is considered beneficial to the millat.
Full Story
Kuldip Nayar
 
Jinnah is as much respected in Pakistan as Mahatma Gandhi in India is. It’s time for the Hindus to recognise that partition was deliverance for Muslims. That was in 1947. Today, the Muslims in India, approximately 17 crores, do not matter in the affairs of India. True, they have the voting rights and the country is ruled by the Constitution which gives one vote to one person.
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is not just a place of learning. It was in the forefront of a movement for the demand of Pakistan and still leans towards what is considered beneficial to the millat.
A photo of Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the wall of Kenney Hall, the most prestigious place in the AMU campus, is no surprise. It was there even before the partition and it continues to be there all these years. But what amazes me is its disappearance on May 1 and reappearance on May 3!
True, it was the handiwork of a fanatic BJP member. But that he should retract his steps within two days and put back the photo where it had hung since the time before partition looks extraordinary. Perhaps the person concerned was admonished by the BJP High Command which is trying its best to woo the Muslim voters in the Karnataka State elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also kept the polls in mind when he addresses different rallies in the country. Once in a while he tends to make remarks like there should be electricity at cremation grounds as is the case at burial grounds. But this is to assure the Hindu audience that the BJP has not strayed from the party’s philosophy of Hindu Rashtra.
No doubt, the majority of Hindus-they are 80 per cent in India-tilt towards what is known as Hindutva. But I do not think that this is something long lasting. Hindus and Muslims have lived together for centuries. They would continue to do so despite the hot winds of Hindutva blowing at present. By temperament, India is a pluralistic society. It would stay that way although at times it would look like going the Hindu way. However, there is always a spoil-play group which opposes everything worthwhile for the sake of opposition.
Take the case of India-Pakistan relations. There are elements which are bent on negating every effort towards conciliation and rebuffing steps that help promote good relations between the two countries. Some years ago, the Pakistanis themselves took the initiative to rename the Shadman Chowk in Lahore and the gesture was very much appreciated in India. In fact, the renaming of the chowk gave birth to the idea of honouring heroes of the pre-partition days.
I recall that after celebrating Bhagat Singh’s birthday in March some years ago, a delegation of Pakistanis participated in a gathering at Amritsar in April to recall the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy which had Hindus and Muslims as martyrs. So much enthusiasm was created that preparations were afoot to hail the sacrifices of those who were part of the Indian National Army and the naval uprising in 1946. The two challenges to the British, even when the Hindus and Muslims were divided, indicated that when it came to a third party, both sides were willing to join hands to thwart it.
This is, more or less, what Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, had said when he came to the Law College at Lahore in 1945 when I was a student. To my question what would be the stand of Pakistan if a third power attacked India he said straightaway that the Pakistani soldiers would fight by the side of Indian soldiers to defeat the enemy. It is another matter that military dictator General Mohammad Ayub Khan did not send any help to India when it was attacked by China in 1962.
Bhagat Singh was only 23 when he went to the gallows fighting against the British rulers. He had no politics other than the politics of sacrificing one’s life and freeing India from bondage. I was surprised to know that there were as many as 14 applications against renaming the Shadman Chowk. This was the same roundabout where a scaffold was erected to hang Bhagat Singh and his two colleagues, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
Jinnah’s name is associated with partition. Was he alone to blame? When I talked to Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy, at his place in London in the early 1990s, he said that then Prime Minister, Clement Richard Atlee, was keen that India and Pakistan should have something in common. Mountbatten tried for that but Jinnah said that he did not trust the Indian leaders. He had accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan which envisaged a weak Centre. But India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said that all would depend on the decision of the Constituent Assembly which was already meeting in New Delhi.
Differences between the two sides only accentuated with the passage of time. In the 1940s when the Muslim League had adopted a resolution for the establishment of Pakistan, partition looked inevitable. Both sides were not facing the fact when they rejected the idea of transfer of population. People themselves did it, Hindus and Sikhs coming to this side and Muslims going to the other side. The rest is history.
They have lost their say in decision-making. What Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had said before partition has come true. He warned the Muslims that they may feel insecure in the country because their number was small but they can proudly say that India belonged as much to them as it did to the Hindus. Once Pakistan was established, the Hindus would tell the Muslims that they had their share and should go to Pakistan.
Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel were able to keep India pluralistic after partition. But the line drawn on the basis of religion is what haunts everybody today. The growing importance of the BJP is because pluralism has weakened. Secularism needs to be strengthened so that every community and every part of the country feels that it is equal in the affairs of the country.
Courtesy: Kashmir Times

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Protest mounts against Israel
Special Correspondent
 
Pro-Palestinian groups including the Boycott, Disinvestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement along with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) have called on Netflix to discontinue the series ‘Fauda’ (Chaos in Arabic) for “sanitizing and normalizing war crimes” and “promoting and justifying these grave human rights violations.”
Originally produced by a network named, Yes, the series depicts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and justifies the crimes against humanity by the Israeli intelligence.
Full Story
Special Correspondent
 
Pro-Palestinian groups including the Boycott, Disinvestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement along with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) have called on Netflix to discontinue the series ‘Fauda’ (Chaos in Arabic) for “sanitizing and normalizing war crimes” and “promoting and justifying these grave human rights violations.”
Originally produced by a network named, Yes, the series depicts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and justifies the crimes against humanity by the Israeli intelligence.
Calling the series, “racist propaganda material for the Israeli occupation army,” the BDS movement wrote a letter to Netflix, the United States-based entertainment company to remove the series.
The series produced by the two former Israeli Defense Forces, IDF officers is scheduled to be broadcast in May, which also marks the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe) of the Palestinian people.   
“The two authors [of the series], who are graduates of one of these teams, without any ambiguity have collaborated with the occupation, colonization and the Apartheid regime,” the letter noted, referring to the series’ creators, Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff’s former service in elite IDF units.
The series has won over 11 awards at the Israeli Academy for Film and Television awards in March, after which it was picked up by Netflix. 
Netflix needs to “stop broadcasting and not to produce the third season of the series and remove the previous seasons” as “the series promotes and legitimizes the war crimes committed by death squads disguised as people pretending to be Arabs,” the BDS movement said in a statement. 
“Fauda promotes and legitimizes violent acts committed against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory by Israeli army death squads — the so-called “Mistaravim.” The show’s writers, who were members in these units, have based the series on the war crimes committed by these squads against Palestinians,” PACBI said in a press release.  
Adding that if Netflix fails to pay heed to the call of Palestinian social movements, it will face “nonviolent grassroots pressure and possible legal accountability.”

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