Group headed by Trump’s Israel envoy pick sued for war crimes

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for US ambassador to Israel is the head of an organization that is being sued by Palestinians for its role in the theft of their land for settlements and other Israeli war crimes.

Announcing the nomination, the Trump transition team said that David Friedman would serve from Jerusalem, “Israel’s eternal capital” – signaling that the new administration intends to move the US embassy to the city from its current location in Tel Aviv.

Friedman is being described as “more extreme” even than the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

As the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reports, Friedman has called President Barack Obama an “anti-Semite” and labeled supporters of the liberal Zionist lobby group J Street as “kapos” – a term used to describe Jews who collaborated with the Nazis in the death camps.

Friedman supports the outright annexation of the occupied West Bank and has argued that absorbing the Palestinian population would not threaten Israel’s status as a Jewish-ruled state because, allegedly, “Nobody really knows how many Palestinians live there.”

A bankruptcy lawyer, Friedman is president of American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center, a nonprofit organization that raises about $2 million a year, mostly for the Beit El settlement, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Read more: Group headed by Trump’s Israel envoy pick sued for war crimes

Gaza Water Crisis Has Caused Irreversible Damage, World Bank Warns

In interview with Haaretz, bank's local specialist warns that without more water from Israel, Gaza will continue to move toward being uninhabitable by 2020.

Irreversible damage has already been done to parts of the Coastal Aquifer in the Gaza Strip as a result of overpumping and seawater seepage, according to a senior water-sanitation specialist at the World Bank.

The financial institution is one of many local and international organizations that have been warning against, and trying to prevent, such an occurrence over the past 20 years.

“Ecologically speaking, the damage to the aquifer is getting worse, and studies have been showing a steady increase in water salinity,” said Adnan Ghosheh. This brings the Gaza Strip closer to the situation the United Nations predicted in 2014: that it will be unfit for human habitation by 2020.
As a way of expressing once again the urgency needed to rectify the situation, the World Bank issued a press release earlier this month, following which Haaretz interviewed Ghosheh.

Most of the information in the press release is not new. It notes that while 90 percent of the inhabitants of the West Bank and 85 percent of the inhabitants of the Middle East and North Africa have access to a faucet for drinking water, only 10 percent of the 2 million or so inhabitants of Gaza can safely drink the water piped into their homes. The other 90 percent do not even associate drinking water with the simple act of turning on a tap: Their water is too saline because of seawater seepage, and too dangerous because of raw sewage or gray-water seeping into the aquifer.

read more on Haaretz

Is Trump steering Israel toward diplomatic disaster?

[Zaha is a co-founder of AUPHR!]

Zaha Hassan is a human rights attorney and Middle East Fellow at New America. During Palestine's bid for UN membership and Quartet-sponsored talks between 2010 and 2012, she was the coordinator and legal adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Anyone interested in a just and durable resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict should be disturbed watching the Donald Trump transition unfold. 

As Israel's military occupation over Palestinian land enters its 50th year, the President-elect has nominated David Friedman, a right-wing sponsor of Israel's illegal settlement enterprise, to serve as US ambassador to Israel. 
Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer with no relevant experience, is president of the US fundraising arm for Bet El, a settlement built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. His extremist record includes calling President Obama an anti-Semite and labeling American Jews who criticize Israel's military occupation "kapos," a term used for Nazi collaborators. At a time when bold US leadership is required to stop the Israelis from flying off a cliff, destroying any chance of peace, Friedman is the exact opposite of who we need in a diplomatic position. 

Both Trump and Friedman have promised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the city. At best, in one fell swoop Friedman would serve to normalize the acquisition of territory by force. At worst, such reckless disregard for international law and the highly sensitive issues involved could egg on a diplomatic Armageddon.


CIty Council Vote on Caterpillar / Wells Fargo!

The City Council hearing and vote on whether to add Caterpillar and Wells Fargo to Portland's ​do not buy list is now re-scheduled to:

Wednesday December 21 at 2:30 to 4:30 PM
Portland City Hall 1221 SW 4th Ave.
City Council Chambers--2nd Floor
Come one and all to fill the chamber!

We are not quite at the finish line and there is still time to make sure the CIty Commissioners hear our voices. Just a few easy steps. If each of us take them, it will be powerful:

1. SIGN AND SHARE the petition from our allies at Enlace. We are almost at 1000 signatures, now with extra days, let's come in with 2000 names.

2. Email or call each of the City Council members. The message is simple, "I support Portland's Socially Responsible Investment policy and I urge you to put Caterpillar and Wells Fargo on the Do Not Buy list for these companies' many violations of that policy. Thank you."
Here is the contact for all the City Council Members:

Commissioner Nick Fish    503-823-3589 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Commissioner Amanda Fritz 503-823-0008 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Commissioner Steve Novick 503-823-4682 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mayor Charlie Hales  503 823-4120 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman 503-823-4151   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanks for supporting our city to align its investment with values.


The OFP Steering Committee--
Curt, Maxine,​ ​ Ned, ​​Peter and Rod

‘Alt Right’ Leader Ties White Supremacy to Zionism — Leaves Rabbi Speechless

A prominent leader of the “alt-right” left a Hillel rabbi speechless when he drew a direct parallel between white supremacy and Zionism — igniting debate on social media about whether such a comparison has any validity.

Richard Spencer, who leads the white nationalist National Policy Institute, appeared at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas on Tuesday night. Hundreds of students protested outside of the event, while others stood silently with raised fists inside the hall.

During a question-and-answer session, Texas A&M Hillel’s Rabbi Matt Rosenberg stood and invited the white nationalist to join him in Torah study. Rosenberg’s invitation, and Spencer’s response, were captured on video by The Eagle, the Texas A&M student paper, and viewed widely on Twitter.

“My tradition teaches a message of radical inclusion and love,” Rosenberg said. “Will you sit town and learn Torah with me, and learn love?”

Spencer declined the invitation, but used it as an opportunity to suggest that the objectives of Zionism and Jewish continuity were close to his own goals for white people.

“Do you really want radical inclusion into the State of Israel?” Spencer said. “And by that I mean radical inclusion. Maybe all of the Middle East could go move in to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Would you really want that?”

Rosenberg, who later admitted he is not a good debater, stood silent.

“You’re not answering,” Spencer said.

“I’m not answering,” Rosenberg said.

Spencer went on to argue that Jewish continuity is predicated on resistance to assimilation. He framed that cultural imperative as similar to the movement for so-called white rights in the U.S.

“Jews exist precisely because you did not assimilate,” he said. “That is why Jews are a coherent people with a history and a culture and a future. It’s because you had a sense of yourselves. I respect that about you. I want my people to have that same sense of themselves.”

Rosenberg later acknowledged that the confrontation wasn’t his best moment.


Read more on The Forward



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