Forbidden love tales in Israel…

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

How can a two-year-old novel become a best seller? Censorship is the short answer. The most important question is, however, why would the “Jewish democracy” censor a love fiction between a Jew and non-Jew?

The banned book Borderlife was based on a love story between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. According to Haaretz newspaper, the novel was recommended in 2015 for Hebrew high school literature classes by “a professional committee of academics and educators, at the request of a number of teachers.”

The Israeli Ministry of Education rejected the fiction work for fear it would corrupt young Jewish minds. In explaining its decision, the ministry wrote “Intimate relations between Jews and non-Jews threaten the separate identity.” The Israeli Education Ministry wrote that “young people of adolescent age don’t have the systemic view that includes considerations involving maintaining the national-ethnic identity of the (Jewish) people and the significance of miscegenation.”

In layman’s terms, the educational authorities in the only “democracy” in the Middle East wanted to protect the fledgling Jewish minds from the plague of assimilation and intermarriages between people of different races. Wasn’t this what Adolph Hitler had advocated for the Aryan race?

But in an Orwellian love is hate doublethink, Dalia Fenzig, the head of the Israeli ministry committee that decides the Hebrew Literature matriculation reading list, told Israeli Army Radio: “The (love fiction) book could incite hatred…”

Fenzig further implied that Israeli societal racism rendered the book unfit for Israeli students. “Many parents in the state school system would strongly object to having their children study the novel,” she said.

Shlamo Herzig, the ministry’s head of literature studies that recommended the book was more forthright in addressing Israeli structural racism: “The acute problem of Israeli society today is the terrible ignorance and racism that is spreading in it.”

In a newspaper interview with the Telegraph, Israeli book author Dorit Rabinyan talked about the real fundamental issue for banning her work.

“My book’s only ‘harm’, if you want to call it that, is that a young (Israeli) person may get another perspective on Palestinians to the one they’re being exposed to by politicians and the news … he’s a Palestinian and a full human. That is the power of the book and  the reason for it to be banned.”

It is worth noting that the book’s author is anything but an ardent Zionist. She espoused the racist Zionist ideology that gave her Jewish parents the right to emigrate from Iran to live on land stolen from native Palestinians. This is while, like most Zionists, she rejects the right of those Palestinians to return to their homes.

Not surprising, the whole fiasco was very likely engineered by the ex-American, Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett who previously said such things as “when Palestinians were climbing trees, we already had a Jewish state” and “I’ve killed lots of (Palestinian) Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.”

Bennett sees his educational role, “in the only ethnocentric diplomacy” as the national custodian to ensure Jewish blood remains pure and Palestinian-free, even in fiction tales.

In the face of blatant Israeli ethnocentric racism against non-Jews, the  onus is on Jewish civil rights organisations, especially those advocating equality in the US and Europe to speak up against Jewish racism in Israel.

Jewish organisations cannot demand justice and equality when in the minority, while supporting a government perpetuating inequality under a self-proclaimed Jewish state majority.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

Rights of Palestinian Israeli citizens…

By Jamal Kanj    Jamal Kanj

January 31, 2016

Palestinian civic organisations inside Israel have declared January 30 the Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Israeli citizens.

Israel was established in 1948 on the ruins of more than 500 native towns and villages and the forceful displacement of approximately 780,000 Palestinians. Only 153,000 Palestinians remained under what became Israel. Of which, approximately 25 per cent became refugees in their own country when their homes were destroyed and their land was expropriated by the new state.

Palestinians who continued to live in what became Israel were governed until 1966 by martial laws under appointed Jewish military governor. Unlike Jews, Palestinians couldn’t travel inside Israel without special military permit, lived under the threat of curfew, administrative detention and expulsions. Israel expropriated their land allegedly for military use before they were turned over for the exclusive civilian use of Jewish citizens.

No wonder in 1948, Palestinians owned 80pc of the land. Following the establishment of Israel, their land had shrunk to less than 3.5pc. The same laws were used extensively in the West Bank to confiscate Palestinian land, which were later handed to Israeli settlers to build “Jewish only” colonies.

Israel has two systems: One for its Jewish citizens and another for Palestinian non-Jewish citizens.  In education, a 2001 report by Human Rights Watch described Israeli run Palestinian schools “a world apart from government-run Jewish schools.” A Committee on Arab Education inside Israel found in 2005 that Israel spent an average of $192 a year on Palestinian students compared with $1,100 for Jewish students.

These discriminatory policies translated to great economic disparity between Jews and non-Jews. As a result, they are under-represented in civil service, high technology and financial sectors while over-represented in meagrely paid low-skilled trades. For example, out of 150,000 employees in the high-tech sector, only 460 are Palestinians.

Palestinian Israeli citizens represent 20pc of the population. They, however, account for more than 50pc of the impoverished families in Israel. In fact, out of the 40 Israel communities with the highest unemployment rates, 36 are Palestinian towns.

Discrimination in health care at an early age is equally striking. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in December 2014,  infant mortality rate among Palestinians is more than double the rate of Jewish babies -2.5 for Jewish babies and 6.3 for Palestinians.

On the housing front, discrimination is more blatant. Since 1948, Israel has established more than 1,000 new Jewish cities and towns on the land expropriated from it original Palestinian owners. On the other hand, Israel did not build one single new (non-Jewish) Palestinian community despite the fact that their population grew 10-fold.

Israel building policies choke Palestinian communities by restricting construction permits and demolishing homes of Palestinians as in the case of December 15, 2015 in the town of Tamra. Currently, there are active official orders to demolish 50,000 homes purportedly built without government permits.

Another salient case of Israeli discrimination against non-Jewish Israeli citizens is the Prawer-Begin plan to depopulate 35 unrecognised Palestinian Bedouin communities in the Negev desert. In one instance, Israel demolished and Palestinians rebuilt the village of Al Araqeeb 93 times in the last five years.

The Prawer-Begin plan is part of a larger racist strategy aimed to increase the sparse Jewish population in the Negev desert by building 22 new Jewish communities. This is while eradicating Palestinian villages that predated the establishment of the state Israel.

In the face of the unmitigated wave of additional formalised discrimination by the current ultra-right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinians inside Israel are bringing their grievance to the attention of the international community. Israel can’t continue to use the Jewish victims of the Holocaust to justify its racist and malevolent policies against non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

‘War on terror’ made us unsafe

By Jamal Kanj

On a Thursday night, terrorists blew themselves up in the streets of Beirut. The next day, co-ordinated terrorist attacks in des rues of Paris. The same perpetrators targeted Muslims and Christians in the two different capitals.

Just a month ago, it was a moving scene watching European women and men holding signs welcoming refugees arriving at train stations. Thus, the horrific attacks would become even more appalling if there was any truth to the news these terrorists might have hid among refugees to reach France. Especially since refugees found better reception in Europe than anywhere else, including many of the Arab and Muslim countries. And for these terrorists to exploit that hospitality is neither Arab nor a Muslim value.

There could be no rationalisation to the terrorist attacks in Paris or the atrocious murders in Beirut, Baghdad, Damascus or Nigeria. Putting aside our virtuous indignation, however, we mustn’t forget the so-called Islamic State (IS) was the illegitimate child of George Bush’s “birth bangs of democracy.” The misguided US-led Western interventionist policies created the environment that gave birth to the refugees and terrorists.

A programme was designed for Israel by Zioncons’ appointees in the dens of the US State Department and the Pentagon.

Lasting conflicts and fragmentations of the Arab world were envisioned more than 30 years ago by former Israeli foreign ministry official Oded Yinon. In a 1982 treatise in Kivunim (Directions), the official journal of the World Zionist Organisation, Yinon argued that the future priorities for the “Jewish State” (JS) are “The dissolution of Syria and Iraq … into ethnically or religiously unique areas.” Almost 30 years earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett proposed the same for Lebanon.

IS and JS have a shared strategy: A perpetual conflict between Islam and the West is critical for their respective survival.  

IS gets its oxygen from US and Western powers’ unchecked diplomatic and financial support for JS. IS ideology flourishes on Western pandering to JS as an exceptionalist state beyond reproach, defying UN resolutions with complete impunity. Following Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Washington, Israel is in line to be rewarded, again, for its intransigence and attempts to derail the nuclear deal between the West and Iran.

Israeli planned and Western executed “dissolution of Syria and Iraq,” Lebanon, Yemen and Libya into ethnic or religious entities have become fertile grounds for dissention. Offering Islamist’s demagogues the perfect recipe to manipulate feeble minded individuals to rally around “IS” believing they were avenging their religion.

Alas, all of this was already predictable; a known consequence and anticipated outcome by US intelligence agencies.

In August 2002, CIA analysts authored a study ‘The Perfect Storm: Planning for the Negative Consequences of Invading Iraq.’ It predicted the breakup of Iraq, regional instability, and surge of global terrorism.

In a pre-war briefing, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was presented with two intelligence assessments warning that the Iraq invasion would lead to anarchy and rise of terrorism. In January 2003 the National Intelligence Council think-tank issued an assessment forecasting that “many angry young recruits” would fuel the rank of Islamic extremists.

Despite the red flags, the Bush administration opted to heed the advice of Israeli advocates. Ideologues who were trained at the offices of America Israel Public Affairs Committee and Israeli think-tanks in Washington. After election, large donors from the winning party recommend them to occupy policy making positions in the Pentagon and the State Department.

The Zioncons redirected the war compass from Al Qaeda to fight Israel’s wars. According to a Bush administration insider’s book during a policy discussion, Israeli firster Paul Wolfowitz advocated, “We don’t have to deal with Al Qaeda … We have to talk about” Iraq.

Just one day before the Iraq invasion, US Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a speech, which was likely prepared, or at least proofed by Zioncon and Chief of Staff Scooter Libby where Cheney foolishly claimed “we will … be greeted as liberators” in Iraq.

Today it’s not enough to mourn Paris or Beirut’s victims. We must also remember the estimated 1.3 million people who were banished directly and indirectly by the deviated “war on terrorism.” For the Zioncons’ conceived war has offered more than 1.3m reasons to recruit terrorists.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regualr newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

Is Erdogan a great leader?

By Jamal Kanj

It is high time for Recep Tayyip Erdogan to step aside if Turkey is to continue progressing democratically, and flourish economically. Great leaders know when and where to pass their torch.

Regardless of whether one believes Erdogan is an authoritarian or an egalitarian leader, it can’t be disputed that Turkey before him is not the same country after 13 years under his reign. While it is still to be seen, Erdogan’s legacy might equal or even surpass that of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk.  

For more than 50 years, Turkish democracy was frequently interrupted by military coups. Even when not in direct control, the military played a central role in governing Turkey. Since the demise of Ataturk, the military has appointed itself as the custodian of the secular constitution changing governments at their whim. One of Erdogan’s major achievements – overlooked by his critics – is his success in removing the shadow of the military out of Turkey’s political process.

For hundreds of years, Turkey and Europe had enjoyed a love-hate relationship. Ever since the aging Ottoman Empire, successive Turkish leaders sought to integrate their country into the European continent. In recent history, the European Union (EU) has tantalised the allure of membership to succeeding Turkish governments, but never good enough to join.

Unlike other Turkish leaders, and without abandoning that goal, Erdogan didn’t place “all of his eggs” in the European basket. Under his leadership, Turkey had finally overcome its religious and cultural identity crises and turned eastward to expand its economic power and leadership.

In his first challenge as the mayor of Istanbul in 1994, Erdogan surprised more than 74 per cent of the electorate, who voted for other candidates. He approached his job as a pragmatic politician rather than a religious ideologue. He rolled his sleeves not just for ablution, but to deal with his city’s chronic problems. Despite his profound religious background, Erdogan realised something most religious parties fail to understand: The running of government requires much more than relying on supernatural power.

He tackled Istanbul’s water shortage, traffic chaos, air pollution, garbage and entrenched civil service corruption. He invested in building pipelines, bridges, trash recycling facilities and instituted financial accountability in managing municipal funds. He spent over $4 billion on improving the city’s infrastructure and paid off most of Istanbul’s municipality debt.

Climbing the ladder to national leadership in 2002, Turkey owed $23.5bn to the International Monetary Funds (IMF). After a little more than a decade under his leadership, Turkey was declared debt free by the IMF.

In the years under the Justice and Development party, Turkish public debt as a percentage of annual GDP was reduced by more than 40pc. In fact, Turkey today has a better ratio of public debt to GDP and lower budget deficit to GDP ratio than the vast majority of EU members.

In the last 13 years, minimum wage in Turkey has grown by almost 300pc with another 30pc increase planned for next January. The increase in minimum wage didn’t cripple Turkey’s competitiveness, but to the contrary it was credited in part for 64pc growth in real GDP and a 43pc increase in GDP per capita. 

Unlike what typically takes place in the West during tough economic times, where governments resort to austerity measures by reducing public services, Erdogan’s government doubled the number of free universities and offered healthcare to all.

Debunking the perceived image of Islam, in 2003 the Turkish government joined with Unicef in a campaign called “Come on girls, let’s go to school.” The objective was to close the gender-gap in education between boys and girls. 

Why should he step aside then?

Erdogan has a fatal human weakness. Much like Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia, he has a gargantuan ego. While that could be the driver behind his success, however, leaders must also realise that greatness of country overarches all egos.

The coming years will tell which is far more important for Erdogan; his eternal legacy or temporal greatness disposed to slide into dictatorship. History has plenty of examples.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regualr newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

Blair and the other sucker

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” Tony Blair told Fareed Zakaria during a CNN interview. The TV interview came ahead of the much delayed British Chilcot – expected now by next summer – report investigating Iraq war. 

He also apologised “for some of the mistakes in planning” the war. It didn’t however come clear from the interview what were “some of” the correct decisions made in planning for the war. The war was neither a mistake, nor “wrong” intelligence. It was well thought of by those who cooked the intelligence book and sold it to two suckers named George W Bush and Tony Blair. The plan intended to break up Iraq, destroy the know-how by assassinating Iraqi scientists and to dismantle the Iraqi army. Not because Iraq was a threat to America, but it was an Israeli agenda. 

On February 21, 2003, Jeffrey Steinberg wrote in the Executive Intelligence Review that Blair’s infamous dossier on Iraq’s WMD included 11 pages copied “verbatim, from an Israeli journal Middle East Review of International Affairs.”  According to Steinberg, the Blair dossier was “cooked-in-Israel propaganda” to drive the US to invade Iraq.

Complementing Blair’s hoax, US Zioncons waged a misleading campaign to influence American public opinion and to deceive officials on the cost of war and its aftermath. 

On July 11, 2002, Richard Perle a Pentagon official, who was on Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s payroll in mid-90s, professed the war will end “after the first whiff of gunpowder.”

His ex-boss, Netanyahu, gave a Congressional testimony two months later where he promised America, “If you take out Saddam regime, I guarantee it will have enormous positive reverberation on the region.” 

About a month before the war, Israeli firster and American official Kenneth Adelman published an Op-ed in the Washington Post, positing that the war “would be a cakewalk.” 

In briefing the Armed Services Committee on February 25, 2003, General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff of the US Army, warned that “several hundred thousand soldiers” would be needed to secure postwar Iraq. Days later, civilian Zioncon Paul Wolfowitz countered: “The notion that it will take several hundred thousand troops are wildly off the mark.”

In his book Plan of Attack, Bob Woodward wrote that Secretary of State Colin Powell used to refer to the Office of Special Plans – war bureau – as “a separate government.” The Office was led by Zioncos: Lewis Libby, Wolfowitz and according to Powell, it was run from Douglas Feith’s “Gestapo” office. Soon following the invasion, Wolfowitz assured the House Appropriations Committee and American taxpayers that the war cost and rebuilding “doesn’t have to be US taxpayer’s money.” We have “a country that can really finance its own reconstruction.” 

Wolfowitz’s statement cost the taxpayers between two to six trillion dollars.

After the Zioncons WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) was exposed, Wolfowitz offered a new fallacious assessment. He claimed that removing Saddam would help in the peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  

The Zioncons’ undue influence came under FBI. There were public reports in July 2004 of a probe by the FBI into potential Israeli spies in the Pentagon who might have influenced US decision on the war. The FBI suspected the Israeli mole was a senior analyst closely associated with two senior officials: Zioncons Wolfowitz and Feith. It believed that “highly sensitive information” was passed to Israel via “the pro-Israel lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”

The FBI inquiry was quashed and Americans never discovered the Israeli spies who blundered America and Britain’s human and financial resources on a “made for Israel war”. 

Hence, Chilcot has an opportunity now to bisect the Israeli “sacred cow” and identify the source of the “wrong” intelligence. It should start by deciphering the palpable link between US Zioncons’ ideologue and Israel.   

Undeniably, Saddam was a brutal dictator. But the war, the preceding economic blockade and Netanyahu’s promised “enormous  reverberation on the region” are causing more human deaths than Saddam ever did. 

The world might be better with one less Arab dictator, though it would have been a much better place without Bush and his British toady.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regualr newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

Israeli self-inflicted hate…

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

Haftom Zarhum, a 29-year-old Eritrean, was lynched by Jewish Israelis simply because he looked different. After being shot in the legs, a mob circled him like hyenas over a bleeding prey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwVG5_78G7o) throwing a bench over his head and chanting the unofficial Zionist’s anthem of hate: “Death to Arabs, Arabs out!” and “Am Israel Hai”.

Disowning culpability and playing the traditional victim, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nashon blamed the incident on the “terrible situation we are in.”

At a similar scene, a week earlier, a video showed a despondent Palestinian child lying in a pool of blood. A puzzled appearance engulfed the child’s face as he gazed at a Jewish racist who was screaming “Die, you son of a whore, die.”

Had Mr Zarhum been an innocent Palestinian bystander, it would have been a different story. Of the approximately 50 Palestinians, who were murdered by the Israeli army, police or Jewish vigilante in the last three weeks, at least 20 were allegedly threatening Israeli life.

Resisting occupation, by all means, is a right guaranteed by international conventions. Hence, there were instances when desperate Palestinians using basic home tools confronted occupying Israeli soldiers or armed Jewish settlers. But certainly, it wasn’t in all 20 cases.

It was definitely not in the case of the slain Jew that Israeli soldiers suspected for a Palestinian. Emergency response organisation chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav Zaka said, “At first it appeared he was like all others. When I was asked to deal with the body, I realised that he was a Jew, and that he was mistaken for a terrorist (Palestinian).”

That is why Mr Zarhum’s life had no value. The murderers rightly assumed their actions “like all others,” had no consequences. It was proven more than 20 times in the preceding three weeks when Jewish killers walked free as heroes.

Israel has two systems of justice. It demolishes homes and revokes “Israeli” citizenship of Palestinians accused of violence. But Jewish terrorists, arrested for burning alive a  Palestinian child last year, are celebrated as heroes and continue to own government subsidised homes in Jewish colonies.

It was discovered that Mr Zarhum – who looked more African than a typical Palestinian – was from Eritrea when someone found his Israeli-issued visa and shouted “he’s Eritrean, he is not a terrorist (Palestinian).” It was already too late to stop the hyenas’ insatiable thirst for blood.

Life in Israel is either Jewish or goyim. It’s been established that taking a non-Jewish life is inconsequential. Israel newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported in 2013 that Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett boasted, “I have killed lots of Arabs (Palestinians) in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

As for immigrants, two years ago Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev called Africans a “cancer in Israel’s body.” She was not alone.

Following a wave of anti-African demonstrations in Tel Aviv, a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute in 2013 found that 52 per cent of Jews agree with Regev that blacks living in Israel are “a cancer”.

As to excuse something like Zarhum’s murder, one third of Israelis in that poll agreed, “that unlawful, vigilante violence against non-Jewish African Immigrants is fine with them.” A whopping majority of Jewish Israelis, 83pc, supported anti-African protests.

Screaming at an injured Palestinian child soaked in blood, a racist mob lynching Zarhum, or killing a Jew who was mistaken for a Palestinian were further manifestations of Israel’s culture of hate. It was espoused by no less than Israeli minister of culture, and supported by the majority of Israelis.

Hate crimes against the African immigrant by a Jewish mob or the Jew, who was thought to be a Palestinian, were not an exception. The only exception is that they were not just numbers to be added to the more than 50 murdered Palestinians.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regualr newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

Israel’s haunted temple…

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

Tension in Jerusalem has escalated to dangerous levels in response to deliberate Israeli provocation at Haram Al Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary. This fragile situation was further worsened by new Israeli government decrees to blow up Palestinian homes and grant its army a free rein to deal with protesters.

Since then, at least eight Palestinians were murdered and hundreds injured by live ammunition and rubber plated bullets. In the West, the violence became news headlines only after the killing of two armed illegal Jewish colonists in the occupied West Bank.

Missed from the Zionist-controlled media, 10 days earlier and while Palestinians were preparing to celebrate Eid, an Israeli soldier murdered a young Palestinian woman in Hebron. The unchecked Israeli hasbara and media deceit claimed the 18-year-old Hadeel Hashlamun was a threat to the Israeli soldier.

The claim was belied by a video tape showing the young girl being shot at close range in cold blood.

Fawaz Abu Eisheh, who witnessed the slaying, said, “One of the soldiers shot directly at her left leg, she fell down and didn’t move. After 10 to 15 seconds, he shot another bullet at her right leg, five bullets at her abdomen and chest area, and then shot another from one metre away.”

According to news reports and UN sources, more than 41 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and or armed Jewish hooligans since January 2015.

For years, fundamentalist Jewish incursions at the Noble Sanctuary, escorted by heavy military guard, had invariably provoked friction between the Israeli army and Palestinians. While access to the site is normally unimpeded to non-Muslim visitors through Bab Al Maghariba Gate, clashes occur only when Jewish fanatics barge into the Muslim holy site disturbing prayers and demanding right to perform Jewish rituals.

Just imagine if Muslims or, even worse, Palestinian Christians raised the Cross and tried to hold their mass at the Jewish Wailing Wall during Easter. Mind you, according to UN witnesses, Palestinian Christians from the West Bank weren’t even allowed to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Easter.  

Al Aqsa, Muslim’s third holiest mosque, has stood as a historical testimony at the Noble Sanctuary since the dawn of Islam. Built over a vacant hilltop during the life of Prophet Mohammed and several years before the second Muslim Khalifa, Omar ibn Al Khattab liberated Palestine from the Byzantine Empire in 637 CE.

The Khalifa’s first act – known as the Omariyya Covenant – was to guarantee civil and religious freedom for Palestinian Christians. He also allowed Palestinian Jews to live in Jerusalem after they were barred under the Roman occupation.

The first recorded history of a specific Jewish claim for a place of worship near the Noble Sanctuary was made almost 1,000 years after the Muslim leader allowed Jews back in Jerusalem.

Now under occupation for nearly 50 years, Israeli archeologists have turned the old city into craters’ land and the Noble Sanctuary hovered over a cavity as they desperately scoured for evidence of the alleged Temple of Solomon.

History and archeology hitherto continue to debunk the Zionist myth. According to a report by Israel’s foremost archeologist and university Professor Israel Finkelstein – after all the digging – “There is no historical or archaeological evidence to back the biblical narrative on … Joshua’s conquest of Canaan,” or “Temple of Solomon” to have ever existed in the city.

To fulfil its delusional prophecy, Israel has a better chance of collaborating with the misnomer Islamic State and doomsday Christians to breed the unblemished bovine red heifer before finding the haunted mirage under the Noble Sanctuary.

While Christian and Muslim Palestinians clutch physically to heritage symbols in Jerusalem, European Zionist Khazar Jewish converts are chasing a phantom.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

Sharia concerns are baseless

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

Lagging in the polls, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came from behind ranting Mexican migrants. Trump exploited a real topical complex issue to mobilise the White Republican base and rode to the top of the ticket deriding Mexicans.

Ben Carson was however more inventive. He created a fictitious candidate to rally the same delusional crowd. Carson declared that the Muslim faith could disqualify a person from being a US president.

Within days, Carson crowded Trump to the top of the Republican ticket by bashing the imaginary Muslim candidate. Even though there was none, Carson made the “Muslim candidate” the hottest topic for US news and talk shows outdoing Trump’s sordid attacks against Mexican immigrants.

In one of his tirades, Carson claimed that “Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official,” and warned against the creeping Muslim “Sharia.”

Never mind that Carson must not understand that Islamic jurisprudence even in Muslim majority countries clearly states that “non-Muslims are not required by law to follow Islamic religious or social standards (Sharia).”

Academically speaking, the Republican candidate’s baseless concerns over the Sharia are hogwash and cheap electioneering demagoguery; unless Carson plans to become a Muslim and move to a place governed by the Sharia. But even then, he will have difficulties. There are at least 50 Muslim majority countries around the world where the vast majority are not governed by Sharia.

Instead of arguing a very unlikely fictional scenario, Carson should be most troubled by his support to American policies, like the invasion of Iraq when the US replaced a very secular constitution with a new dominated by religious authorities.

Carson should also know that the only secular democracy in the Middle East is a Muslim country: Turkey. The other widely acclaimed democracy, Israel, is a Jewish and not a secular democracy.

In propagating fear mongering to indulge the ignoble Republican Evangelist base, Carson brings up unintentionally an important issue: Religion and the Constitution.

It is indisputable that religions across the board are not compatible with many aspects of the US constitution. But it is not the imaginary Muslim candidate who is a threat to the constitution. It is the Republican contestants who have made religion an important part of their candidacy and are attempting to subjugate the US constitution to their belief.

Recently, Carson along with most Republican candidates rallied behind Kim Davis, who preached her own definition of “God’s authority” to subjugate the law of the land and refused to issue same sex marriage licences in Rowan County, Kentucky.

Carson explained to Fox news that Davis was right to defy the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the US constitution. “This is a Judeo-Christian nation in the sense that a lot of our values and principles are based on our Judeo-Christian faith,” he said. Translating to how faith should guide “a public official” in conducting their life.

Putting aside Carson’s xenophobic demagoguery and his pandering to the extreme right-wing Republican base, it would be worth noting that women were elected to head two of the world’s most populous Muslim countries – an ambitious reality women in the US are still struggling to achieve more than a decade later.

When John F Kennedy’s faith was questioned in 1960, he eloquently said “… it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again,  a Jew – or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist … Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you.”

Neither faith nor race is an indicative of a good leader. Kennedy was a good example. An anti-abolitionist with the “right faith” could have succeeded in mobilising Carson’s reactionary crowd a century ago. Ironically, Carson, the black man, couldn’t have qualified to vote in that election.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

UK Labour Party revolution

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/24255/UK-Labour-Party-revolution

The election of veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour Party in the UK is a revolution by all means. In a party grassroots election, the 66-year-old outsider defeated a line-up of traditional Labour candidates. 

Corbyn’s victory was a rejection of Tony Blair’s wing as much as it was a swing to the left. Blair, who came back from hibernation to campaign against Corbyn, was rebuffed by the rank and file of the Labour Party. Party membership didn’t forgive Blair’s disgraceful servitude role to George Bush and his Israeli fabricated “dossier” to sell the invasion of Iraq.

Additionally, the outcome of the Labour Party vote must be seen in consort with the wave of anti-austerity sentiment sweeping throughout Europe. During the last economic crisis, European and US taxpayers bailed large financial institutions and endured cuts in public services. With improved economic conditions, bankers were back receiving huge salaries and large bonuses while average wages stalled and pension cuts became modus operandi for governments’ austerity programmes. 

Greek voters led the European Spring by rejecting the central bank’s conditions for bailout and elected the anti-austerity Syriza Party to power.  To the north, the Scottish overwhelmingly rejected Labour, as an alternative to the Tories and cast their votes for the Scottish National Party (SNP). In Spain, the emergence of Podemos is shaking the Spanish political system. Even in the US, the presumed traditional Democratic frontrunner, Hilary Clinton, is facing serious challenge from presidential candidate and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders.

Approximately 60 per cent of the more than 400,000 registered Labour Party members, who supported Corbyn – even those believing he was unlikely to win a national election – sent a strong message to Britain’s pompous traditional political class and hammered the last nail in the Blairites’ coffin.  

Euphoria aside, Corbyn must now learn from previous progressive victory lessons. In 1980, anti-austerity candidate Michael Foot defeated James Callaghan and the old Labour guards’ choice to unseat Margaret Thatcher. However soon after his election, Foot faced a rebellion when four senior officials, known as “the gang of four”, walked out and formed the new Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The SDP became the darling of corporate media overnight and was posited as an alternative to the Labour. In June 1981, SDP joined an alliance with the Liberal Party forming a new centrist party, the Liberal Democrats. 

The Labour Party swung further to the left and ran on what the media described then as “suicide manifesto”. Shortly thereafter, the substantial lead Foot enjoyed over the conservative government melted faster than an ice cube under August desert sun. 

Despite Corbyn’s large grassroots mandate, it is not surprising that traditional Labour autocrats have joined hands with the corporate media to undermine the new party leader. Soon after his election, Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle wrote that Corbyn was “barely fit to be an MP,” and accused him as someone who “doesn’t just hate America,” but “hates Britain itself.”  Pollard had literally plagiarised the tired US Republicans and FOX News chorus’ name calling and aspersion strategy used against Barack Obama.

It is worth noting here that when Foot ascended to the Labour leadership, he enjoyed a double-digit lead over Thatcher; Corbyn is starting with a double-digit deficit to David Cameron. The new Labour leader has already proven his special ability to run from behind. According to BBC and other news reports, Corbyn was a 200-1 outsider when he ran for the party’s leadership three months ago. 

Today, Corbyn has five years to bridge the deficit gap and defeat the Conservative government of Cameron. He has a unique opportunity to make the Labour Party more inclusive by reaching out to the large reservoir of marginalised British voters and to work with SNP supporters to make Britain more of a United Kingdom.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

Burned alive by Israelis

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

Five years ago at a stop during my book signing tour in San Diego, I met an adorable toddler named Farah.

She was being treated in the US for severe burns she received at the age of two.

Farah was one of thousands of civilians who were either injured or killed when Israel rained white phosphorus bombs on Gaza in 2008-2009.

The phosphorus that burned through Farah’s angelic flesh was American made and paid for by US taxpayers. Ironically, so was Farah’s treatment.

Last Sunday, mother of two Reham Dewabsha died from burn injuries.

On July 31, Reham, her 18-month-old son Ali, his four-year-old brother Ahmed and their father cuddled on a floor mattress in their small room.

Outside, the stars were glistering in the clear sky of a warm summer night in the village of Duma, Palestine.

Ahmed complained it was hot. Saad, his 32-year-old father, decided to open the window to let in the cool breeze from the fields of their peaceful village.

Ali spread his tiny legs and was first to fall asleep, followed by Ahmed.

Reham kissed her babies goodnight and covered them to keep the mosquitoes away before she and Saad dozed after a hard day working on the farm.

In the middle of that Friday night, Reham was startled from her sleep by Ali’s loud wail. Her vision was blinded by the bright blaze engulfing her baby’s small body. She jumped over Ahmed to reach Ali when another firebomb landed between them, setting Reham, Saad and Ahmed on fire.

Ali, the 18-month-old baby, was burned to death. Saad succumbed to his fate a week later. Reham joined them after more than a month in coma. Four-year-old Ahmed is still fighting for his life.

The perpetrators celebrated their feat by spraying their signature and symbol of pride, the Star of David, on nearby walls. Israeli police arrested known extremists from a nearby illegal Jewish-only colony. Most were released later and no-one was charged.

This is in a country that brags about its superior security service.

Had this been the plight of an illegal Jewish settler family, no doubt their faces would have been paraded on TV screens and newspapers.

Their names would be engraved on our brains and we would be reminded of the Holocaust. But in this case, I dare say, most haven’t heard of Reham or her family.

Meanwhile, Israeli-subsidised Jewish settler Moshe Orbach wrote “Kingdom of Evil”, an instruction manual on how to set fire to mosques, churches and Palestinian homes.

I always wondered about Jewish terrorists’ fascination with burning.

Last year, they kidnapped Mohamed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian teenager from the streets of Jerusalem, and took him to a nearby forest area. Mohamed was forced to swallow petrol before they burned him alive.

This is not just an Israeli fringe.

Since July, the Israeli army and its terrorist settlers murdered more than 10 Palestinians, ordered the building of thousands of Jewish-only homes in illegal colonies and marked 14,000 Palestinian homes for demolishing.

Matan Vilnai, a high-level Israeli government official once threatened Palestinians in Gaza with “shoah”, a Hebrew term equivalent to Holocaust.

Former Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu pontificated that Judaism doesn’t prohibit “the indiscriminate killing of civilians”.

The world can’t continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s ethnic cleansing and its direct responsibility for crimes committed by its subsidised terrorist settler population.

While Holocaust deniers are jailed in Europe, in Israel Jewish proponents of “new shoah” – and those who burned Ali, Reham, Saad and Ahmed – roam free.

Incinerating humans whether in a gas chamber, military attack, by injecting petrol into the mouth or throwing a torch through a window all have one thing in common: burning is how racists manifest hate.