Noam Chomsky: America paved the way for ISIS


Noam Chomsky: America paved the way for ISIS

The famed linguist and philosopher on the conflict in Iraq, Israel and the myriad dangers of U.S. foreign policy

Noam Chomsky: America paved the way for ISIS

Jacobin is happy to feature an interview with journalist David Barsamian and Professor Noam Chomsky. In it, Chomsky explains the roots of ISIS and why the United States and its allies are responsible for the group’s emergence. In particular, he argues that the 2003 invasion of Iraq provoked the sectarian divisions that have resulted in the destabilization of Iraqi society. The result was a climate where Saudi-funded radicals could thrive

The interview also touches on Israel’s most recent massacre in the Gaza Strip, putting it in the context of the vital role Israel has always played for the United States. Chomsky then turns to today’s racist scapegoating of Guatemalan immigrants, tracing the conditions that lead them to leave their homes to the Reagan administration’s brutal destruction of the country.

Finally, Chomsky shares his thoughts on the growing movement for climate justice and why he thinks it is the most urgent of our time. The full exchange will be broadcast by Alternative Radio.

There are few voices more vital to the Left than Professor Chomsky’s. We hope you read and share the interview widely.


The Middle East is engulfed in flames, from Libya to Iraq. There are new jihadi groups. The current focus is on ISIS. What about ISIS and its origins?

There’s an interesting interview that just appeared a couple of days ago with Graham Fuller, a former CIA officer, one of the leading intelligence and mainstream analysts of the Middle East. The title is “The United States Created ISIS.” This is one of the conspiracy theories, the thousands of them that go around the Middle East.

But this is another source: this is right at the heart of the US establishment. He hastens to point out that he doesn’t mean the US decided to put ISIS into existence and then funded it. His point is — and I think it’s accurate — that the US created the background out of which ISIS grew and developed. Part of it was just the standard sledgehammer approach: smash up what you don’t like.

In 2003, the US and Britain invaded Iraq, a major crime. Just this afternoon the British parliament granted the government the authority to bomb Iraq again. The invasion was devastating to Iraq. Iraq had already been virtually destroyed, first of all by the decade-long war with Iran in which, incidentally, Iraq was backed by the US, and then the decade of sanctions.

They were described as “genocidal” by the respected international diplomats who administered them, and both resigned in protest for that reason. They devastated the civilian society, they strengthened the dictator, compelled the population to rely on him for survival. That’s probably the reason he wasn’t sent on the path of a whole stream of other dictators who were overthrown.

Finally, the US just decided to attack the country in 2003. The attack is compared by many Iraqis to the Mongol invasion of a thousand years earlier. Very destructive. Hundreds of thousands of people killed, millions of refugees, millions of other displaced persons, destruction of the archeological richness and wealth of the country back to Sumeria.

One of the effects of the invasion was immediately to institute sectarian divisions. Part of the brilliance of the invasion force and its civilian director, Paul Bremer, was to separate the sects, Sunni, Shi’a, Kurd, from one another, set them at each other’s throats. Within a couple of years, there was a major, brutal sectarian conflict incited by the invasion.

You can see it if you look at Baghdad. If you take a map of Baghdad in, say, 2002, it’s a mixed city: Sunni and Shi’a are living in the same neighborhoods, they’re intermarried. In fact, sometimes they didn’t even know who was Sunni and who was Shi’a. It’s like knowing whether your friends are in one Protestant group or another Protestant group. There were differences but it was not hostile.

In fact, for a couple of years both sides were saying: there will never be Sunni-Shi’a conflicts. We’re too intermingled in the nature of our lives, where we live, and so on. By 2006 there was a raging war. That conflict spread to the whole region. By now, the whole region is being torn apart by Sunni-Shi’a conflicts.

The natural dynamics of a conflict like that is that the most extreme elements begin to take over. They had roots. Their roots are in the major US ally, Saudi Arabia. That’s been the major US ally in the region as long as the US has been seriously involved there, in fact, since the foundation of the Saudi state. It’s kind of a family dictatorship. The reason is it has a huge amount oil.

Britain, before the US, had typically preferred radical Islamism to secular nationalism. And when the US took over, it essentially took the same stand. Radical Islam is centered in Saudi Arabia. It’s the most extremist, radical Islamic state in the world. It makes Iran look like a tolerant, modern country by comparison, and, of course, the secular parts of the Arab Middle East even more so.

It’s not only directed by an extremist version of Islam, the Wahhabi Salafi version, but it’s also a missionary state. So it uses its huge oil resources to promulgate these doctrines throughout the region. It establishes schools, mosques, clerics, all over the place, from Pakistan to North Africa.

An extremist version of Saudi extremism is the doctrine that was picked up by ISIS. So it grew ideologically out of the most extremist form of Islam, the Saudi version, and the conflicts that were engendered by the US sledgehammer that smashed up Iraq and has now spread everywhere. That’s what Fuller means.

Saudi Arabia not only provides the ideological core that led to the ISIS radical extremism, but it also funds them. Not the Saudi government, but wealthy Saudis, wealthy Kuwaitis, and others provide the funding and the ideological support for these jihadi groups that are springing up all over the place. This attack on the region by the US and Britain is the source, where this thing originates. That’s what Fuller meant by saying the United States created ISIS.

You can be pretty confident that as conflicts develop, they will become more extremist. The most brutal, harshest groups will take over. That’s what happens when violence becomes the means of interaction. It’s almost automatic. That’s true in neighborhoods, it’s true in international affairs. The dynamics are perfectly evident. That’s what’s happening. That’s where ISIS comes from. If they manage to destroy ISIS, they will have something more extreme on their hands.

And the media are obedient. In Obama’s September 10 speech, he cited two countries as success stories of the US counterinsurgency strategy. What were the two countries? Somalia and Yemen. Jaws should have been dropping all over the place, but there was virtual silence in the commentary the next day.

The Somalia case is particularly horrendous. Yemen is bad enough. Somalia is an extremely poor country. I won’t run through the whole history. But one of the great achievements, one of the great boasts of the Bush administration counterterror policy was that they had succeeded in shutting down a charity, the Barakat charity, which was fueling terrorism in Somalia. Big excitement in the press. That’s a real achievement.

A couple of months later the facts started leaking out. The charity had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism in Somalia. What it had to do with was banking, commerce, relief, hospitals. It was sort of keeping the deeply impoverished and battered Somali economy alive. By shutting it down, the Bush administration had ended this. That was the contribution to counterinsurgency. That got a few lines. You can read it in books on international finance. That’s what’s being done to Somalia.

There was a moment when the so-called Islamic courts, they were called, an Islamic organization, had achieved a kind of a measure of peace in Somalia. Not a pretty regime, but at least it was peaceful and people were more or less accepting it. The US wouldn’t tolerate it, and it supported an Ethiopian invasion to destroy it and turn the place back into horrible turmoil. That’s the great achievement.

Yemen is a horror story of its own.

Going back to National Public Radio andMorning Edition, the host, David Greene, was doing an interview with a reporter based in Gaza, and he prefaced his interview with this comment: “Both sides have suffered tremendous damage.” So I thought to myself, does this mean Haifa and Tel Aviv were reduced to rubble, as Gaza was? Do you remember the Jimmy Carter comment about Vietnam?

Not only do I remember it, I think I was the first person to comment on it, and am probably to date practically the only person to comment on it. Carter, the human rights advocate, he was asked in a press conference in 1977 a kind of mild question: do you think we have some responsibility for helping the Vietnamese after the war? And he said we owe them no debt — “the destruction was mutual.”

That passed without comment. And it was better than his successor. When a couple years later George Bush I, the statesman, was commenting on the responsibilities after the Vietnam War, he said: there is one moral problem that remains after the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese have not devoted sufficient resources to turning over to us the bones of American pilots. These innocent pilots who were shot down over central Iowa by the murderous Vietnamese when they were spraying crops or something, they have not turned over the bones. But, he said: we are a merciful people, so we will forgive them this and we will allow them to enter the civilized world.

Meaning we’ll allow them to enter trade relations and so on, which, of course, we bar, if they will stop what they’re doing and devote sufficient resources to overcoming this one lingering crime after the Vietnam War. No comment.

One of the things that Israeli officials keep bringing up, and it’s repeated here in the corporate media, ad nauseam, is the Hamas charter. They don’t accept the existence of the state of the Israel, they want to wipe it off the map. You have some information about the charter and its background.

The charter was produced by, apparently, a handful of people, maybe two or three, back in 1988, at a time when Gaza was under severe Israeli attack. You remember Rabin’s orders. This was a primarily nonviolent uprising which Israel reacted to very violently, killing leaders, torture, breaking bones in accordance with Rabin’s orders, and so on. And right in the middle of that, a very small number of people came out with what they called a Hamas charter.

Nobody has paid attention to it since. It was an awful document, if you look at it. Since then the only people who have paid attention to it are Israeli intelligence and the US media. They love it. Nobody else cares about it. Khaled Mashal, the political leader of Gaza years ago, said: look, it’s past, it’s gone. It has no significance. But that doesn’t matter. It’s valuable propaganda.

There is also — they don’t call it a charter, but there are founding principles of the governing coalition in Israel, not some small group of people who are under attack but the governing coalition, Likud. The ideological core of Likud is Menachem Begin’s Herut. They have founding documents. Their founding documents say that today’s Jordan is part of the land of Israel; Israel will never renounce its claim to the land of Jordan. What’s now called Jordan they call the historical lands of Israel. They’ve never renounced that.

Likud, the same governing party, has an electoral program — it was for 1999 but it’s never been rescinded, it’s the same today — that says explicitly there will never be a Palestinian state west of the Jordan. In other words, we are dedicated in principle to the destruction of Palestine, period.

This is not just words. We proceed day by day to implement it. Nobody ever mentions the founding doctrines of Likud, Herut. I don’t either, because nobody takes them seriously. Actually, that was also the doctrine of the majority of the kibbutz movement. Achdut Ha-Avodah, which was the largest part of the kibbutz movement, held the same principles, that both sides of the Jordan River are ours.

There was a slogan, “This side of the Jordan, that side also.” In other words, both western Palestine and eastern Palestine are ours. Does anybody say: okay, we can’t negotiate with Israel? More significant are the actual electoral programs. And even more significant than that are the actual actions, which are implementing the destruction of Palestine, not just talking about it. But we have to talk about the Hamas charter.

There is an interesting history about the so-called PLO charter. Around 1970 the former head of Israeli military intelligence, Yehoshafat Harkabi, published an article in a major Israeli journal in which he brought to light something called the PLO charter or something similar to that. Nobody had ever heard of it, nobody was paying any attention to it.

And the charter said: here’s our aim. Our aim is it’s our land, we’re going to take it over. In fact, it was not unlike the Herut claims except backwards. This instantly became a huge media issue all over. The PLO covenant it was called. The PLO covenant plans to destroy Israel. They didn’t know anything about it, nobody knew anything about it, but this became a major issue.

I met Harkabi a couple years later. He was kind of a dove, incidentally. He became pretty critical of Israeli policy. He was an interesting guy. We had an interview here at MIT, in fact. Incidentally, at that time there was material in the Arab press that I was reading saying that the Palestinians were thinking about officially throwing out the charter because it was kind of an embarrassment.

So I asked him, “Why did you bring this out for the first time just at the time when they were thinking of rescinding it?” He looked at me with the blank stare that you learn to recognize when you are talking to spooks. They are trained to pretend not to understand what you’re talking about when they understand it perfectly.

He said, “Oh, I never heard that.” That is beyond inconceivable. It’s impossible that the head of Israeli military intelligence doesn’t know what I know from reading bits and pieces of the Arab press in Beirut. Of course he knew.

There’s every reason to believe that he decided to bring this out precisely because he recognized, meaning Israeli intelligence recognized, that it would be a useful piece of propaganda and it’s best to try to ensure that the Palestinians keep it. Of course, if we attack it, then they’re going to back off and say: we’re not going to rescind it under pressure, which is what’s happening with the Hamas charter.

If they stopped talking about it, everyone would forget about it, because it’s meaningless. Incidentally, let me just add one more thing. It is now impossible to document this, for a simple reason. The documents were all in the PLO offices in Beirut. And when Israel invaded Beirut, they stole all the archives. I assume they must have them somewhere, but nobody is going to get access to them.

What accounts for the almost near unanimity of the Congress in backing Israel? Even Elizabeth Warren, the highly touted Democratic senator from Massachusetts, voted for this resolution about self-defense.

She probably knows nothing about the Middle East. I think it’s pretty obvious. Take the US prepositioning arms in Israel for US use for military action in the region. That’s one small piece of a very close military and intelligence alliance that goes back very far. It really took off after 1967, although bits and pieces of it existed before.

The US military and intelligence regard Israel as a major base. In fact, one of the more interesting WikiLeaks exposures listed the Pentagon ranking of strategic centers around the world which were of such significance that we have to protect them no matter what, a small number. One of them was a couple of miles outside Haifa, Rafael military industries, a major military installation.

That’s where a lot of the drone technology was developed and much else. That’s a strategic US interest of such significance that it ranks among the highest in the world. Rafael understands that, to the extent that they actually moved their management headquarters to Washington, where the money is. That’s indicative of the kind of relationship there is.

And it goes way beyond that. US investors are in love with Israel. Warren Buffet just bought some Israeli enterprise for, I think, a couple billion dollars and announced that outside the US, Israel is the best place for US investment. And major firms, like Intel and others, are investing heavily in Israel, and continue to. It’s a valuable client: it’s strategically located, compliant, does what the US wants, it’s available for repression and violence. The US has used it over and over as a way of circumventing congressional and popular restrictions on violence.

There’s a huge fuss now about children fleeing Central America, say, from Guatemala. Why are they fleeing from Guatemala? You can see a photo of one of them here in my office. They’re fleeing from Guatemala because of the wreckage of Guatemala, of which a large part was the attack on the Mayan Indians, which was really genocidal, in the early 1980s. That’s a Mayan woman in the photo, in fact. They’ve never escaped this, and many of them are fleeing.

Reagan, who was extremely brutal and violent and a terrible racist as well, wanted to provide direct support for the Guatemalan army’s attack, which was literally genocidal on the Mayan Indians. There was a congressional resolution that blocked him, so he turned to his terrorist clients.

The major one was Israel. Also Taiwan, a couple of others. Israel provided the arms for the Guatemalan army — to this day they use Israeli arms — provided the trainers for the terrorist forces, essentially ran the genocidal attack. That’s one of their services. They did the same in South Africa. Actually, this led to an interesting incident with the great hero Elie Wiesel.

In the mid-1980s, Salvador Luria, a friend of mine who is a Nobel laureate in biology and politically active, knew about this. It wasn’t a big secret. He asked me to collect articles from the Hebrew press which described Israel’s participation in genocidal attacks in Guatemala — not just participation, it’s a leadership role — because he wanted to send it to Elie Wiesel with a polite letter saying: as a fellow Nobel laureate, I would like to bring this to your attention. Could you use your influence — he didn’t ask him to say anything, that’s too much, but privately could you communicate to the people you know well at a high level in Israel and say it’s not nice to take part in genocide. He never got a response.

A couple of months later, I read an interview in the Hebrew press, where they really dislike Wiesel. They regard him as a charlatan and a fraud. One of the questions in the interview was, “What do you think about Israel’s participation in the genocidal assault in Guatemala?”

The report says Wiesel sighed and then said: I received a letter from a fellow Nobel laureate bringing to my attention these actions and asking me if I could say something privately to try to restrict them somehow, but, he said: I can’t criticize Israel even privately. I can’t say anything even privately that might impede Israel’s participation in genocide. That’s Elie Wiesel, the great moral hero.

Even this story is astonishing. Now children and many other refugees are fleeing from three countries: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Not from Nicaragua, about as poor as Honduras. Is there a difference? Yes. Nicaragua is the one country in the 1980s that had a way of defending itself against US terrorist forces — an army. In the other countries the army were the terrorist forces, supported and armed by the US, and its Israeli client in the worst cases. So that’s what you had.

There is a lot of upbeat reporting now saying the flow of children has reduced. Why? Because we’ve turned the screws on Mexico and told them to use force to prevent the victims of our violence from fleeing to the US for survival. So now they’re doing it for us, so there are fewer coming to the border. It’s a great humanitarian achievement of Obama’s.

Incidentally, Honduras is in the lead. Why Honduras? Because in 2009 there was a military coup in Honduras which overthrew the president, Zelaya, who was beginning to make some moves towards badly needed reform measures, and kicked him out of the country.

I won’t go through the details, but it ended up with the US, under Obama, being one of the very few countries that recognized the coup regime and the election that took place under its aegis, which has turned Honduras into an even worse horror story than it was before, way in the lead in homicides, violence. So, yes, people are fleeing. And therefore we have to drive them back and ensure that they go back into the horror chamber.

In the current situation, it seems that this is an opportunity for the Kurdish population of Iraq to realize some kind of statehood, some kind of independence, something that they’ve wanted for a long time, and which intersects, actually, with Israeli interests in Iraq. They have been supporting the Kurds, rather clandestinely, but it’s well known that Israel has been pushing for fragmentation of Iraq.

They are. And that’s one of the points on which Israeli and US policy conflict. The Kurdish areas are landlocked. The government of Iraq has blocked their export of oil, their only resource, and of course opposes their statehood bid. The US so far has been backing that.

Clandestinely, there evidently is a flow of oil at some level from the Kurdish area into Turkey. That’s also a very complex relationship. Barzani, the Iraqi Kurdish leadervisited Turkey about a year ago, I guess, and made some pretty striking comments. He was quite critical of the leadership of the Turkish Kurds and was plainly trying to establish better relations with Turkey, which has been violently repressing the Turkish Kurds.

Most of the Kurds in the world are in Turkey. You can understand why, from his point of view. That’s the one outlet to the outside world. But Turkey has a mixed attitude about this. An independent Kurdistan in, say, northern Iraq, which is right next to the Kurdish areas of Turkey, or in the Syrian Kurdish areas, which are right by them, potentially, from the Turkish point of view, might encourage separatists or even efforts for autonomy in the southeastern part of Turkey, which is heavily Kurdish. They’ve been fighting against that ever since modern Turkey arose in the 1920, very brutally, in fact. So they have a mixed kind of attitude on this.

Kurdistan has succeeded somehow in getting tankers to take Kurdish oil. Those tankers are wandering around the Mediterranean. No country will accept it, except probably Israel. We can’t be certain, but it looks as though they’re taking some of it. The Kurdish tankers are seeking some way to unload their oil in mostly the eastern Mediterranean. It’s not happening at a level which permits Kurdistan to function, even to pay its officials.

On the other hand, if you go to the Kurdish so-called capital, Erbil, apparently there are high rises going up, plenty of wealth. But it’s a very fragile kind of system. It cannot survive. It’s completely surrounded by mostly hostile regions. Turkey is sort of unclear because of the reasons that I mentioned. So, yes, they do have that in mind. That’s why they took Kirkuk as soon as they could.

There are a couple of questions I want to close with, actually from our latest book, Power SystemsI ask you, “You’ve got grandchildren. What kind of world do you see them inheriting?”

The world that we’re creating for our grandchildren is grim. The major concern ought to be the one that was brought up in New York at the September 21 march. A couple hundred thousand people marched in New York calling for some serious action on global warming.

This is no joke. This is the first time in the history of the human species that we have to make decisions which will determine whether there will be decent survival for our grandchildren. That’s never happened before. Already we have made decisions which are wiping out species around the world at a phenomenal level.

The level of species destruction in the world today is about at the level of sixty-five million years ago, when a huge asteroid hit the earth and had horrifying ecological effects. It ended the age of the dinosaurs; they were wiped out. It kind of left a little opening for small mammals, who began to develop, and ultimately us. The same thing is happening now, except that we’re the asteroid. What we’re doing to the environment is already creating conditions like those of sixty-five million years ago. Human civilization is tottering at the edge of this. The picture doesn’t look pretty.

So September 21, the day of the march, which was a very positive development, an indication that you can do things, it’s not a foregone conclusion that we’re going to wipe everything out, that same day one of the major international monitoring scientific agencies presented the data on greenhouse emissions for the latest year on record, 2013. They reached record levels: they went up over 2 percent beyond the preceding year. For the US they went up even higher, almost 3 percent.

The Journal of the American Medical Association came out with a study the same day looking at the number of super hot days that are predicted for New York over the next couple of decades, super hot meaning over ninety. They predicted it will triple for New York, and much worse effects farther south. This is all going along with predicted sea-level rise, which is going to put a lot of Boston under water. Let alone the Bangladesh coastal plan, where hundreds of millions of people live, will be wiped out.

All of this is imminent. And at this very moment the logic of our institutions is driving it forward. So Exxon Mobil, which is the biggest energy producer, has announced — and you can’t really criticize them for it; this is the nature of the state capitalist system, its logic — that they are going to direct all of their efforts to lifting fossil fuels, because that’s profitable. In effect, that’s exactly what they should be doing, given the institutional framework. They’re supposed to make profits. And if that wipes out the possibility of a decent life for the grandchildren, it’s not their problem.

Chevron, another big energy corporation, had a small sustainable program, mostly for PR reasons, but it was doing reasonably well, it was actually profitable. They just closed it down because fossil fuels are so much more profitable.

In the US by now there’s drilling all over the place. But there’s one place where it has been somewhat limited, federal lands. Energy lobbies are complaining bitterly that Obama has cut back access to federal lands. The Department of Interior just came out with the statistics. It’s the opposite. The oil drilling on federal lands has steadily increased under Obama. What has decreased is offshore drilling.

But that’s a reaction to the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Right after that disaster, the immediate reaction was to back off. Even the energy companies backed off from deep-sea drilling. The lobbies are just pulling these things together. If you look at the onshore drilling, it’s just going up. There are very few brakes on this. These tendencies are pretty dangerous, and you can predict what kind of world there will be for your grandchildren.

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements.

 

Marxist View On Gaza: What Does It Mean?


Gaza: What does it mean?
Posted by Alan Woods
On the morning of November 15, Israel carried out the extrajudicial killing of Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari. This act sparked off a new and deadly conflict between Israel and Gaza. This whole affair has all the hallmarks of a premeditated provocation.

“When the leaders speak of peace the common people know that war is coming.” (Bertolt Brecht)

IDF chief of staff visits southern Israel-Israel Defense Forces

IDF chief of staff visits southern Israel Photo: Israel Defense ForcesIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly wanted to provoke Hamas into an armed conflict. He has succeeded. Hamas responded with rocket attacks on Israeli towns that border the Gaza strip. The Israelis have used these attacks as an excuse for pulverising Gaza.

Throughout the night of Nov. 16-17, the Israeli Air Force bombed targets across the Gaza Strip including key Hamas ministries, police stations and tunnels near the border crossing with Egypt. They also carried out strikes in Rafah’s al-Sulan and al-Zahour neighbourhoods, as well as east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp. Later attacks included the bombing of a building that was known to be occupied by international journalists.

The Israeli propaganda machine has gone into overdrive. They try to present their military onslaught as a justified response to “terrorist attacks”. Obediently falling into line, the mass media in the western world show their “impartiality” by presenting the conflict as a war between equals: “Israeli bombs against Hamas rockets”.  But this conflict is absurdly unequal.

Gaza is an open-air prison in which 1.7 million people live in just 140 square miles. It is entirely at the mercy of its powerful neighbour, Israel. The latter possesses the most formidable military machine in the entire region. Its stockpile of arms, which includes nuclear weapons, is funded by Washington to the tune of US$3 billion a year.

By contrast, Gaza is a tiny besieged enclave composed mainly of impoverished refugees. The primitive, homemade rockets fired from Gaza are no match for the sophisticated weaponry of the Israeli army and air force. Israeli jet fighters and drones are bombarding Gaza by day and by night.

The Israelis claim that they are aimed to kill only “terrorists” and Hamas officials. But the television cameras of the world give the lie to this propaganda. Despite the claims of the Israelis that these attacks were carefully targeted, most of the victims were, as usual, civilians, including many women and children. The harrowing scenes of diminutive corpses being carried by grieving relatives to the cemeteries have shocked the public opinion of the world.

The population of Gaza is angry and desperate, but increasingly traumatised by the unrelenting bombardment, against which they have no defences. Despite talk of a ceasefire, Israel continues its airstrikes on Gaza, and Gaza continues its long-range rocket attacks on major Israeli population centres. The sight of rockets flying in the direction of Israel may or may not boost morale, but in fact their effectiveness as weapons of war is minimal.

As of last night (Monday) at least one hundred people have been killed in Gaza, while the Israeli death toll has reached the grand total of – three. This is not a case of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” The death toll of Palestinians exceeds that of Israelis by thirty three times.

The Israelis claim that their Iron Dome defence system has intercepted most of the rockets. To judge by the very low Israeli casualty figures, this may be partly true. However, the claims of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) that its Iron Dome interceptors have successfully intercepted 90 percent of the rockets are clearly exaggerated.

Israel appears to be positioning itself in preparation for a ground operation. The Israeli Cabinet on Nov. 16 approved Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s request to call up 75,000 reservists, even more than in the 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza. The main roads leading to Gaza and running parallel to Sinai have been declared closed military zones. Tanks, armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery and troops have been massing on the border in recent days. Whether this is an act of intimidation or a preparation for something more serious remains to be seen.

What was the purpose of all this?

What interest can Israel have in taking on Gaza this time?

The timing cannot have been an accident. It follows the same pattern we saw exactly four years ago. On Nov. 4, 2008, while Americans were going to the polls to elect a new president, the Israeli army entered the Gaza Strip with infantry, tanks and bulldozers Its alleged aim was to dismantle the extensive tunnel network used by Hamas to smuggle in weapons.

Hamas responded with a barrage of mortar and rocket fire. On Dec. 27, 2008, Operation Cast Lead was launched. The military campaign began with a seven day aerial bombardment was followed by a 15-day ground incursion. By the end of the campaign, many people were killed and the infrastructure of Gaza was devastated.

According to figures from the Israel Defence Forces figures, only ten Israeli soldiers died (four from friendly fire). The hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas killed three Israeli civilians. But 1,166 Palestinians were killed, of which 709 were said to be combatants.

It is no secret that Netanyahu wants to bomb Iran, allegedly to sabotage its nuclear programme. It is also no secret that Netanyahu was hoping for the victory of Mitt Romney in the US elections. The Republicans are well known to be active advocates of an attack on Iran.

Obama is a more cautious representative of US Big Business and is worried about the effect of an Israeli air strike against Iran. By flexing his muscles only a few days after the US elections, Netanyahu is ending a message to Washington, which says more or less: “Obama can say whatever he likes, but we are the ones who decide what happens in this part of the world.”

It has been said that certain forces in Gaza may be manufacturing long-range rockets locally. Even more significantly, it is said that the rockets that have been fired into Israel have been imported from Iran. The latter accusation would give a sinister twist to the present conflict, providing it with a regional dimension that is highly convenient to Netanyahu, who is looking for any excuse to launch an air attack on Iran. Part of his calculations may have been an attempt to shoring up his rear prior to such an attack.

At the same time, he may also be sending a message to the new Egyptian government. The Muslim Brotherhood is supposed to be hostile to Israel. It is also supposed to be friendly towards Hamas. But this attack has shown the Morsi regime to be weak and pusillanimous. Cairo makes noises about the “humanitarian disaster” in Gaza but does not lift a finger to go to its defence.

Prospects for Negotiations

The present conflict has once more glaringly exposed the impotence of the so-called United Nations. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has said he will go to Gaza, but he will not be able to do anything.

All kinds of contradictory rumours regarding the outcome of cease-fire negotiations between Hamas and Israel have been circulating in Cairo. A Hamas spokesman told Al Jazeera that Israel and Hamas have “agreed to 90 percent of the terms of a new cease-fire”. But he did not say what the remaining ten percent consisted of. And while Israeli officials have told news outlets that the government is in talks with Cairo on a cease-fire, Israeli officials are now denying reports that an Israeli envoy is in Cairo at all.

On the face of it, there seems to be some basis for a deal. Hamas would like to enjoy the prestige of a symbolic victory from its long-range rocket attacks against Tel Aviv and Jerusalem but does not want to pay the price of seeing its leadership and infrastructure pulverised in an Israeli ground invasion.

For its part, Israel would like to remove or neutralize the threat posed by Hamas’ long-range rockets but does not want to go through the experience of a ground invasion, drawing Israeli forces into urban warfare with the threat of suicide bombings that could prove costly.

It would appear that Hamas is pressing for a temporary truce in return for Egypt opening the border blockade on Gaza and Israel halting targeted killings of its leaders and military commanders. Whether the Israelis will accept this is open to doubt. Who will guarantee such a deal? Unless Egypt agrees to assume responsibility for Hamas’ rocket arsenal to satisfy Israel’s security concerns, it will be difficult for Israel to take these talks seriously. But that would place Egypt itself right in the firing line of future conflicts. It would also fatally undermine the Morsi government.

Both sides want a negotiated end – but on terms that would leave the other side in a weaker position. Both sides are well aware of the other side’s game. In order to reach a deal, Hamas would have to recognize Israel’s right to exist and Israel would have to accept something resembling a Palestinian state led by Hamas in Gaza, which would gradually take over the West Bank. Both these assumptions seem wildly improbable. It is hard to see how this contradiction can be resolved peacefully.

Hamas does not want to give up its rockets. Israel cannot allow Hamas to possess weapons that threatens its heartland. The long-range Fajr-5 rockets can reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The possession of these rockets improves Hamas’ strategic position and also serves to undermine the Palestinian National Authority (In the West Bank) vis-a-vis Hamas. They will therefore resist any deal that deprives them of the rockets. But Israel will not accept the Fajr-5 in the hands of Hamas. Netanyahu announced to his Cabinet Nov. 18 that targeted killings would not only continue, but would increase.

It is possible that all this merely means that both Israel and Hamas are trying to strengthen their negotiating positions by continuing their attacks before a cease-fire deal is struck. Be that as it may, while the leaders talk of peace, the war is already under way. And although a direct ground attack on Gaza by the Israelis has been temporarily stalled, the Israelis have already mobilized their forces and are ready to attack whenever they choose.

Although probably the Israelis would prefer not to attack because of the consequences, both in terms of human casualties and in political reverberations, they are poised to attack. And one must not assume that this is just a bluff. Netanyahu has given notice that if a truce is not agreed soon, a ground war may be launched even before the end of this week.

Gaza and the Arab Revolution

The Europeans are putting heavy pressure on Jerusalem to desist from an actual invasion of Gaza. Western capitals fear that any serious conflict in the region can spiral out of control. Though they always speak of humanitarianism, their real motives are quite different.

Paris, London and Berlin fear the effects on the price of oil and the anaemic economic recovery. Above all, they fear a new eruption of the “Arab Street”, always highly sensitive to the Palestinian cause. It is this that inspires their insistent calls for peace and restraint. But the Europeans are far too concerned in trying to halt the disintegration of the European Union to get involved with what is happening.

The same fears exist at the highest levels of the United States government. That is why Hillary Clinton is on a plane heading for Cairo. But, having burnt their fingers in Iraq, the gentlemen in Washington do not wish to be dragged into another conflagration in the Middle East.

In theory the United States can pressure Egypt by threatening to withhold financial and military aid. But in practice no US administration can oppose what Israel does because, after the Egyptian Revolution, it is now its only reliable ally in the whole region. Therefore, despite his weasel words, Obama has effectively endorsed the Israeli position.

On the broader scale, however, Israel has never been so isolated. Back in 2008, Mubarak’s Egypt could be relied upon to adopt a position of benevolent “neutrality”, which was, in practice, support for Israel. Now Mubarak has gone, and the present Egyptian government can no longer be relied upon.

In 2008 Turkey was a close ally of both the USA and Israel. But Israel’s relations with Turkey have been strained to breaking point by the attack on a Turkish ship bringing aid to Gaza in May 2010, during which several Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli troops. The Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan, has recently denounced Israel as a “terrorist state”.

Under Assad Syria was an adversary, but at least it was a predictable one. With the chaos in Syria spreading to the Lebanon, Israel can no longer rely on Damascus to keep Hezbollah in check. Moreover, Iran has increased its influence in the region, bringing it closer to Israel and intensifying the tension over Iranian nuclear facilities.

Closer to home, the growing crisis in Gaza threatens to provoke renewed instability in the West Bank and arouse the Palestinians in Jordan. Across the Jordan River valley, to Israel’s east, the Hashemite kingdom is hanging by a thread.

But the country most directly affected is Egypt. The Egyptian government, terrified of the repercussions of a new war on the streets of Cairo, has been the most active in trying to secure a cease-fire: Cairo is hosting talks on a ceasefire, involving senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad members. It is said that Israeli officials are also present in Cairo.

The Egyptian government has a vested interest in preventing an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza because of the explosive effects inside Egypt. The Moslem Brotherhood is supposed to be aligned with Hamas. But in reality, its support is confined to hypocritical speeches about the plight of the people of Gaza. Morsi will have to promise the Israelis that he will do everything in his power to prevent weapons smuggling via Gaza. He will stand exposed before the masses.

The leaders of Hamas have the ambition of donning the mantle of “resistance” that was earlier worn by Hezbollah. They hope that the present crisis will enable them to win a symbolic “victory” over Israel. But that is an idle dream, which can end up in the complete devastation of Gaza.

The people of Gaza are increasingly desperate. They have no control over events that are destroying their lives. They hate the Israeli oppressors, but also resent the dictatorial rule of the “men with beards,” which has brought them nothing but death and suffering. Neither Hamas nor the so-called Palestinian Authority can offer any solution. Only a genuine revolutionary leadership can show the way out for the Palestinian people.

For its part, the Israeli ruling clique pretends that their aggressive actions are intended to eliminate Hamas’ arsenal of rockets and thus guarantee the safety of Israel. But with every new war, Israel becomes a less secure place. It is increasingly isolated both in the region and internationally.

These brutal attacks on Gaza have added yet another twist to the bloody imbroglio of the Palestinian question. The spectacle of death and destruction will have filled yet another generation of Palestinian youth with feelings of rage and hatred, adding fresh fuel to the fire. In what way this can be presented as making Israel safe for future generations is s mystery.

Every Palestinian child that dies in an air raid deepens the mood of bitterness and feeds the thirst for revenge. Every “victory” merely sows the seeds of new wars, new terrorist acts, new murders and atrocities. On this path lies nothing but death and destruction for all the peoples of this unhappy region.

In this struggle, the IMT stands firmly on the side of the oppressed and against the oppressors. The question of who fires the first shot and all the rest of the diplomatic sophistry is of no interest.  We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Gaza against the barbarous onslaught of the Israeli aggressors. We will be to the forefront of every anti-war movement, protest and demonstration. We will endeavour to bring out the class content of the struggle, its anti-imperialist character. We will mercilessly expose the hypocrisy of western governments and their false “humanitarian” rhetoric.
We must build links with the most revolutionary sections of the youth in Gaza, who are fighting against imperialism and the Israeli state and also against the reactionary leadership of Hamas and the bourgeois collaborationist wing of the Palestinian leadership. Above all, we must maintain a broader perspective. The present conflict is just part of a far wider picture that encompasses the entre Middle East and cannot be understood outside this context.

The Gaza crisis is only the prelude to a far greater crisis. It is inseparably linked to Netanyahu’s plans for an air attack against Iran, which will set the entire Middle East ablaze. It will have incalculable consequences, economic, political and military. It will provoke a new wave of upheavals in the Arab world and beyond. Regimes will fall. People will take to the streets. The price of oil will go through the ceiling, and the world economy will take a nose dive, as it did in 1973 for similar reasons.

The Gaza crisis can be the match that reignites all the combustible material that has accumulated in the Middle East. It will mark a new stage in the ongoing Arab Revolution.

The stage is set for dramatic events on a world scale

Top 10 Myths About Israel’s Attack on Gaza


Top 10 Myths About Israel’s Attack on Gaza

These misconceptions are spread by the American media.

1. Israeli hawks represent themselves as engaged in a ‘peace process’ with the Palestinians in which Hamas refuses to join. In fact, Israel has refused to cease colonizing and stealing Palestinian land long enough to engage in fruitful negotiations with them. Tel Aviv routinely announces new, unilateral house-building on the Palestinian West Bank. There is no peace process. It is an Israeli and American sham. Talking about a peace process is giving cover to Israeli nationalists who are determined to grab everything the Palestinians have and reduce them to penniless refugees (again).

2. Actions such as the assault on Gaza can achieve no genuine long-term strategic purpose. They are being launched to ensure that Jewish-Israelis are the first to exploit key resources. Rattling sabers at the Palestinians creates a pretext for further land-grabs and colonies on Palestinian land. That is, the military action against the people of Gaza is a diversion tactic; the real goal is Greater Israel, an assertion of Israeli sovereignty over all the territory once held by the British Mandate of Palestine.

3. Israeli hawks represent their war of aggression as in ‘self-defense.’ But the UK Israeli chief rabbi admitted on camera that that the Gaza attack actually ‘had something to do with Iran.’

4. Israeli hawks demonize the Palestinians of Gaza as “bad neighbors” who don’t accept Israel. But 40% of the people in Gaza are refugees, mostly living in refugee camps, from families in pre-1948 Palestine that had lived there for millennia.

They were expelled from what is now Israel in the 1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign. Israelis are now living in their homes and farming their land, and they were never paid any reparations for the crimes done to them.[pdf] “Israel’s failure to provide reparations to Palestinian refugees over the past six decades is in blatant violation of international law.” Israel does not accept Palestine’s right to exist, even though it is constantly demanding that everyone, including the displaced and occupied Palestinians, recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Click to enlarge.

5. Israeli hawks and their American clones depict Gaza as a foreign, hostile state with which Israel is at war. In fact, the Gaza strip is a small territory of 1.7 million people militarily occupied by Israel (something in which the UN and other international bodies concur). Israelis do not allow it to have a port or airport, nor to export most of what it produces. Palestinians cannot work about a third of its land, which is reserved by Israel as a security buffer. As an occupied territory, it is covered by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of occupied populations by their military occupier. Indiscriminate bombing of occupied territories by the occupier is clearly illegal in international law.

6. Israeli hawks see themselves as innocent victims of bewildering Palestinian rage from Gaza. But Israel not only has kept Palestinians of Gaza in the world’s largest outdoor penitentiary, they have them under an illegal blockade that for some years aimed at limiting their nutrition without altogether starving them to death. I wrote earlier:

“The food blockade had real effects. About ten percent of Palestinian children in Gaza under 5 have had their growth stunted by malnutrition. A recent report [pdf] by Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians found that, in addition, anemia is widespread, affecting over two-thirds of infants, 58.6 percent of schoolchildren, and over a third of pregnant mothers. “

If any foreign power surrounded Israel, destroyed Haifa port and Tel Aviv airport, and prevented Israeli exports from being exported, what do you think Israelis would do? Oh, that’s right, it is rude to see both Palestinians and Israelis as equal human beings.

7. Israeli hawks demonize the Palestinian residents of Gaza as followers of Hamas, a party-militia of the Muslim religious right. But half of Palestinians in Gaza are minors, who never voted for Hamas and cannot be held collectively responsible for that party.

8. Israeli hawks justify their aggression on the Palestinians on grounds of self-defense. But Israel is a country of 7.5 million people with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, helicopter gunships and F-16s and F-18s, plus 400 nuclear warheads. Gaza is a small occupied territory of 1.7 million which has no heavy weaponry, just some old guns and some largely ineffectual rockets. (Israelis cite hundreds of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza in 2012; but until Israel’s recent attack they had killed not a single Israeli, though they did wound a few last March when fighting between Palestinians and Israelis escalated.) Gaza is a threat to Israel the way the Transkei Bantustan was a threat to Apartheid South Africa. As for genuine asymmetrical threats from Gaza to Israel, they could be dealt with by giving the Palestinians a state and ceasing the blockade imposed on them, or in the worst case scenario counter-terrorism targeted at terrorists rather than indiscriminate bombing campaigns.

9. Israeli hawks maintain that they were provoked into the attack. But actually Ahmad Jabari, the Hamas leader the Israelis assassinated earlier this week, had been engaged in talks with the Israelis about a truce. Assassinations achieved by the ruse of openness to peace talks are guarantees of no further peace talks.

10. Although most American media is a cheering section for the Likud Party,in fact the world is increasingly done out with Israel’s aggressiveness. Boycotts and sanctions will likely grow over time, leaving Israeli hawks with a deficit…

Juan Cole is a professor of history at the University of Michigan

The Monsters of Israel | Ariel Sharon’s Son Calls for Genocide in Gaza


Ariel Sharon’s Son Calls for Genocide in Gaza
Posted by Randall Gross
Using sports metaphors and the “none are innocent because they elected Hamas” logic this JPOST op ed writer calls for genocide.
Is this civilized commentary?

So what’s up with the Jerusalem Post hosting calls for genocide?

Palestinians at a home destroyed in IAF strike

[Link: www.jpost.com…]

Why do our citizens have to live with rocket fire from Gaza while we fight with our hands tied? Why are the citizens of Gaza immune? If the Syrians were to open fire on our towns, would we not attack Damascus? If the Cubans were to fire at Miami, wouldn’t Havana suffer the consequences? That’s what’s called ‘deterrence’ – if you shoot at me, I’ll shoot at you. There is no justification for the State of Gaza being able to shoot at our towns with impunity. We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.

Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.

IF THE government isn’t prepared to go all the way on this, it will mean reoccupying the entire Gaza Strip. Not a few neighborhoods in the suburbs, as with Cast Lead, but the entire Strip, like in Defensive Shield, so that rockets can no longer be fired.

 

Jewish Theocrat | Dismantle Israeli Democracy, Start Jewish Theocracy


Settler Leader: Dismantle Israeli Democracy, Start Jewish Theocracy

Benny Katzover

In an interview with Beis Moshiach, the journal of the messianic faction  of the Chabad Movement with ties to settlers, West Bank settler leader Benny Katzover says that “the  main role of Israeli democracy now is to disappear. Israeli democracy  has finished its role, and it must disassemble and give way to Judaism.  All leads toward recognition that there is no other way but to place  Judaism at the center, above all else, and this is the answer to every  situation.”

Benny Katzover

Benny Katzover

Dismantle Israeli democracy, says settler leader Katzover ‘the main role of Israeli democracy now is to disappear. Israeli democracy has finished its role, and it must disassemble and give way to Judaism,’ Katzover says in interview. By Chaim Levinson • Ha’aretz
Israeli democracy must be dismantled and in its place a halakhic state, based on Jewish law, should be established, says settler leader Benny Katzover in an interview to a a messianic journal of Chabad.

In an interview with Beit Mashiach, the journal of the messianic faction of the Chabad Movement with ties to settlers, Katzover says that “the main role of Israeli democracy now is to disappear. Israeli democracy has finished its role, and it must disassemble and give way to Judaism. All leads toward recognition that there is no other way but to place Judaism at the center, above all else, and this is the answer to every situation.”

Earlier in the interview Katzover commented on the campaign against the exclusion of women, saying that his group had information of the pending campaign.
“Our activists are linked to all the networks of the left, and we knew they were planning an incitement campaign. This is just another wave of incitement, targeting the hilltop youth and the Haredi community. The leftist activists prepare well-timed campaigns against anything which smells of holiness, and their aim is twofold: political, to undermine the government and score points among the public, and to strike at all the fundamentals of Jewish faith.

“In Jewish faith, the Land of Israel is central… The media campaigns over insignificant issues in order to undermine Jewish identity. I think there can be cooperation between the Haredim and the religious [national] communities. Incitement against us stems from the same anti-Jewish root which seeks to uproot everything,” Katzover said in the interview.
Since 2008 Katzover has headed the Committee of Samaria Settlers, an NGO which has fought against the freeze of settlement construction and the razing of outposts. Katzover believes that Jews should stay in the territories even after they are evacuated. He is well respected among the hilltop youth because of his views. His ideological line has been gaining popularity among settlers since the evacuation of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip.

Katzover was one of the first leaders of the settler movement, joining Gush Emunim, and then the nucleus of Elon Moreh, which was established in Samaria in 1979.
“I think that Israeli democracy, under its current structure, is in constant conflict with its Jewish identity, and in recent years, every time it bends its Jewish identity backwards. This structure of democracy has only one mission: to dismantle,” he told Haaretz.

Neo-Nazis Love Zionist Treatment of Muslims


Who are really the most strident backers of Israel these days? Christian fundamentalists and far-right bigots.

More than 60 years after the Holocaust, Nazis take comfort in the Zionist state. Tragic and yet utterly logical. Newsweek reports:

To the casual observer, the visiting Europeans at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial in the hills above Jerusalem, looked like any other foreign delegation. In the Garden of the Righteous Among Nations, where Gentiles who protected Jews are honored, they laid a wreath and posed for a photo before signing the visitors’ book with the solemn promise: “We will want to make sure that ‘never again’ really means never again.”

But these were no ordinary travelers with Zionist sympathies. Rather, on this trip to Israel were a Belgian politician known for his contacts with SS veterans, an Austrian with neo-Nazi ties, and a Swede whose political party has deep roots in Swedish fascism—unlikely visitors to pay their respects at Yad Vashem, perhaps, unless one considers the political currents in Israel and Europe, and the adage that one’s enemy’s enemy is one’s friend.

Only a few years ago, many of Europe’s far-right politicians were openly anti-Semitic. Now some of the same populist parties are embracing Israel to unite against what they perceive to be a common threat.

Over the past few years, Europe’s right-wing political leaders have tapped into rising worries over immigration from Islamic countries to predominantly secular and Christian Europe, where the number of Muslims has grown from 29.6 million in 1990 to 44.1 million in 2010, or up to 10 percent of the population in countries such as France. Geert Wilders, an anti-Islam firebrand whose Party for Freedom last July gained a record 24 seats in the Netherlands’ Parliament, likens the Quran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and has called Muhammad a “devil” spreading a “fascist ideology,” and has vowed to stop Muslim immigration. In Switzerland, 57 percent of voters banned the construction of minarets in a popular referendum in late 2009. In poll after poll, large majorities of Europeans say they worry about the spread of Islam and that Muslims have not properly integrated.

Invited by a right-wing Israeli businessman named Chaim Muehlstein, the December visitors did not compose an official delegation. “Jesus Christ,” fumed a government spokesman anonymously when asked about the visit; Yad Vashem spokeswoman Estee Yaari cringed when NEWSWEEK asked her about the group. “Millions come here every year, and I definitely didn’t meet these people,” she said.

But members of the Knesset did meet with the group, which signed a “Jerusalem Declaration” guaranteeing Israel’s right to defend itself against terror. “We stand at the vanguard in the fight for the Western, democratic community” against the “totalitarian threat” of “fundamentalist Islam,” says the document, which was signed by members of the group that included Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom Party; Filip Dewinter, head of Belgium’s ultranationalist Vlaams Belang; René Stadtkewitz, founder of the German Freedom Party; and Kent Ekeroth, the international secretary for the Sweden Democrats, a populist anti-immigration party.

During their trip, the Europeans drove through Palestinian villages in a bulletproof bus to meet Jewish settlers in the desolate West Bank outpost of Har Bracha, set on a windswept mountain bluff with views into Jordan. While there, they vowed that the settlements were necessary to defend Israel against its Arab enemies.

As if to prove his readiness to defend the Holy Land, Strache donned camouflage war paint and an Israeli Defense Forces combat jacket for a picture with paratroopers of the 101st “Cobra” Battalion on their base near the Gaza Strip. (The last photo of Strache in military regalia became a minor scandal in Austria when it surfaced in 2008. The picture showed him with leading Austrian neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, and was apparently taken around 1990 when Strache was reportedly active in the Viking Youth, an illegal neo-Nazi group.) The history of the Sweden Democrats is equally controversial. Until 1995 the party was headed by Anders Klarström, who had previously belonged to the openly fascist Nordic Reich Party. Convicted in 1986 for illegal possession of firearms and death threats against a Jewish actor, whom he called a “Jew pig” and threatened to burn, Klarström was one of dozens of officials and members purged by the party in the 1990s. Still, Lena Posner-Körösi, president of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden, describes the Sweden Democrats as a “neo-Nazi party.”