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Israeli rapper: 'First burn all jails with Palestinians inside, then destroy Jenin!'

The Facebook status on Subliminal’s page

One of Israel’s most popular hip-hop artists, Subliminal, was pretty angry after a Palestinian teen murdered an IDF soldier in his sleep earlier this week.

Subliminal posted a photo of the Palestinian, who was bandaged after apparently being roughed up during his arrest, and had some harsh words for the lad. Here are just a few of his choice phrases:

“… Now he’ll go into a jail in Israel like a hero! Will study a few degrees and get connected to all the heads of Palestinian terror groups…

Damn all those savages, we should burn the jails with all of them inside! And a second later we should destroy Jenin whose inhabitants gloat that they are the stronghold of terror against Israel…

Another embarrassing moment for me to be an Israeli! The people of Israel – wake up!

And all the lefties who hate what I wrote here – kill yourselves already! I wish what happened yesterday would happen to a relative of yours and you’ll wake up from the zany dream you’re holding on to and splitting and weakening my people!”

Needless to say, the comments were very supportive. But I’ll spare you those…

Instead, I’ll leave you with some of his wonderful, inspiring “music.”

Read more:
Palestinian family targeted by arson in ‘revenge’ for murder of Israeli


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Congressman Keith Ellison to +972: ‘The U.S. may not be able to mediate this dispute’

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) (photo: Ami Kaufman)

“It has occurred to me that maybe the U.S. is not capable of mediating this dispute,” Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) told +972 Magazine this week, in response to a question on the failure of Israelis and Palestinians to reach a comprehensive peace deal after 20 years of U.S. mediated talks.

“It’s hard to mediate something when you say you’re on the side of one of the participants. But the facts are we’re actually also on the Palestinian side,” added Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to U.S. Congress. “I don’t believe that America is a neutral broker, but I think it’s the best we’ve got. The problem is that there aren’t too many countries that are willing to step up to the plate. If Britain, France, Germany want to get in this, they can. I don’t think anyone is pushing them out of helping them solve this problem… [Furthermore] this conflict has a lot of American interest, because there are many Israelis with family roots in America.”

As he sat on his desk next to an open Qur’an, Congressman Ellison told of the high hopes he has for the latest round of talks and for Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent efforts to negotiate a deal. “I think that this latest round is good for pragmatic reasons: they got both sides to agree that for nine months – ‘let’s go at it’. I think you’ll agree that it was a big deal for Israelis when those 104 prisoners were to be released. Because some of those people had killed folks. But for the Palestinians this was also a big deal. These are people who were willing to risk it all for the sake of a Palestinian state,” says Ellison.

When asked about the fact that even during peace talks Israel continues to build in the West Bank, Ellison maintains that even though America disagrees with this policy, there is nothing it can do about it. “Do we have the power to stop it? I don’t believe that we do. Israel is a sovereign country that does what it wants. I don’t believe that Israel is a client state of the United States. Israel does as it pleases even when America...

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Dan Rather to +972: U.S. reporting on conflict is Israel-centric

The former CBS news anchor met with me and the rest of my colleagues in the World Press Institute fellowship for a candid talk about life, news – and even the Middle East.

Dan Rather (photo: Ami Kaufman)

It’s kind of strange to see up close someone who has been a familiar television face for me for decades. So, when Dan Rather looked me straight in the eye, I had to look around to see if everybody else was as starstruck as I was. I think they were.

Rather met with us for a candid chat on his career and insights for us Young Turks (some of us not so young, and even more, not very Turkish). He told us about his departure from the network (“I was too hot to handle”), his interview with Saddam Hussein (“He kept trying to hold my hand”) and more.

As expected, I just had to get an Israel/Palestine question in the middle of it all:

How has the coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict changed over the years?

On several levels there have been tremendous changes. But in my personal opinion – which I must add is frequently wrong – the basic narrative is remarkably unchanged. This basic narrative, in my opinion, is that Israel, which is a country in which we have no small responsibility in helping to create — President Truman recognized Israel — is an island of democratic government and freedom. It’s not the mirror image of us, but the closest there is. It is constantly threatened by any number of combinations of its neighbors. And that’s the primary, basic narrative which has not changed.

Now, I would make the argument, and I think a lot of American journalists would, that it hasn’t changed because the facts haven’t changed. But I’m very aware that there are other people with different opinions about that.

But in other ways it has changed. For one thing, I’m old enough to remember that it was very difficult to report from just about any Arab country. Now, there are many more countries you can go in to.

The other difference, having said that I don’t think the spine of the narrative has changed, is that Iran has emerged as probably the...

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Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: My heart is in the East

Southwest Minnesota (photo: Ami Kaufman)

Today is one of those days where I remember a poem by the famous Jewish poet of medieval Spain, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi. The first line of Libi Ba’Mizrach, probably his most famous work of art, is: “My heart is in the East, and I am in the uttermost West.”

Rabbi Halevi, of course, was speaking then of his yearning for the Holy Land. I, on the other hand, yearn for my family in Bat Yam.

As I was driving alongside the never ending fields of corn in southwest Minnesota this morning, all I could think of were two things: in just a few hours my eldest daughter will be starting her first day of school in first grade. I’m going to miss that important milestone.

Luckily, I manage to videotape each of my fellowship colleagues wishing Emma “good luck” in their native languages for her first day of school.

They’re a good bunch, and I’m lucky to have met them.

Secondly, the tension in Syria seems to be reaching a peak that could turn into a regional war at any given moment. If the US indeed attacks Assad, and it seems it will, there is a chance (albeit low) he will retaliate against Israel. It doesn’t seem likely, but if the Mideast is anything, it is unpredictable.

The West is also unpredictable. It believes that it’s more moral. That’s why it will stop Bashar from gassing his own men, women and children. But butchering them with good ‘ole fashioned bombs for two years is fair game. That’s OK.

I’m riding in the front of the van with my colleague from Russia, Vera, and we’re trying to find some news on the situation on the radio. Nothing. Every once in a while Vera gets some wifi connection and we get snippets. The State Department is about to release a statement. Surely this will be broadcast live, somewhere on the radio. Nothing. You would think a country on the brink of war would talk about this nonstop, but all we get is Christian rock stations.

Sometimes we get through to Minnesota Public Radio, a voice of sanity...

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Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: 'Wined and dined' in the lion's den

It was only two years ago that I was on the streets protesting corporate capitalism, and here I am being hosted by one of the most powerful organizations in the world (photos: Ami Kaufman)

“Life is full of twists and turns” has to be one of the more cliché things one can say, but that’s pretty much the way I felt as my shoes were sinking in the thick carpets lining the corridors of Cargill’s headquarters, situated in a lush French-style chateau outside the Twin Cities. It was only two years ago when I was an active participant in the #J14 summer social protests in Israel, sweating profusely in the Tel Aviv humidity with hundreds of thousands of my brothers and sisters, protesting the evils of corporate capitalism. It was the summer of #occupywallstreet, of #M15 and the Indignants in Spain. It was a summer that gave me hope.

In the picture above I am overlooking the largest demonstration ever to take place in Israel. Over 300,000 people took to the streets in Tel Aviv on September 3, 2011, and a total of 500,000 all over Israel. Seven percent of the population — the largest #ows demo that summer, percentage-wise — were screaming their lungs out that day. How many people is 7 percent in your country?

And here I am today, being wined and dined by a corporation that is most probably the epitome of what made me go to the streets back then. I’m embarrassed to say that I honestly had no clue about Cargill, which deals mainly with agricultural commodities, before I came to Minnesota (disclaimer: Cargill is one of many supporters of the WPI fellowship). One reason, I suppose, is that they have no business in Israel (probably one of the only countries they haven’t “visited” – yet). Seeing as how it’s the world’s largest privately held company – this is shameful on my part. Another reason is that they seem to be quite a low-profile company that’s mainly B2B (business-to-Business). But probably every reader here has consumed something that Cargill produced.

So, although my gut instinct is to despise a company the size of Cargill – it...

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Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: Insights on ego

Where a Colombian reporter helps me get a picture with one of my favorite artists.

Downtown Minneapolis (photos: Ami Kaufman)

Well, the Twin Cities are turning out to be as charming as a metropolitan slab of concrete can get. The food’s not too bad (let’s face it, it ain’t New York), the people are the nicest I’ve met, ever (!) – and they’re simply two very handsome towns.

Oh, and I met Norah Jones.

Yup, the World Press Institute Fellowship ain’t just about discussing the First Amendment! Hell no! We meet celebrities, too!

After a long day taking care of logistical issues for the program, we all poured into the WPI van (which I like to call the “scoop-mobile”) and drove to downtown Minneapolis, in search of a… wait for it…. wait for it…: Target.

When we got out, Diane “Eagle-Eye” Duran from Colombia caught a glimpse of singer Norah Jones sitting in a bar with some friends. To say that Diana was “excited” of this sighting was an understatement. Having said that, I’m quite the fan myself. Not only that, when my wife-to-be and I had to chose which song would play as we walked down the aisle during our wedding, it was Norah’s “Come Away With Me”.

Diana and I told the group we’d join them later, and entered the bar. She was determined to get a photograph with Norah – and to be honest, I kinda wanted one, too. But I’m not as gutsy as Diana (ego issues?), who simply got out of her chair, and as I followed her lead proceeded towards Norah and asked her for a photo.

Norah Jones, Diana Duran and some dude from Bat Yam

To say that was Norah “wasn’t too happy” about this is also somewhat of an understatement. Even my little wedding anecdote managed to squeeze the smallest of smiles out of her. The Mona Lisa was more convincing. Was it ego? Was it because she was with another band who she was about to perform a few songs...

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Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: Getting settled in the Twin Cities

A series of posts where I’ll be updating readers on my trip to the U.S. as 2013 World Press Institute fellow.

The mighty Mississippi (photos: Ami Kaufman)

I haven’t really won many things in my life, so it was quite the pleasant surprise when I was awarded a 2013 World Press Institute Fellowship. I’ll be roaming all across America with nine other journalists from Australia, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Finland, Ghana, Kuwait, the Philippines and Russia. We’ll be visiting some of the biggest newsrooms in the States, meet politicians and federal officials, examining press and media innovations and learning about social and cultural diversity. Following three weeks in the Twin Cities, based at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, we’ll travel to New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Texas and California, among other places, before returning to Minnesota for the final week of the program.

Actually, I’m pretty excited about seeing this part of the country. It’s a region I probably would have never set foot in if I wasn’t invited, like I was for this program. I don’t know much about Minnesota. The only things I do know are probably from joining my parents when they would listen to Garrison Keillor and the News from Lake Wobegon – and that place isn’t even real!

Turns out I’m the first Israeli in the program since 1999. Some other journalists who took part in the program in the past include Dov Gilhar, Rafi Reshef and Yaron Dekel. I hope to write as much as I can about the trip for +972, but this depends on the spare time I have and on the frequency and interest of new insights I hope to obtain.

Anyway, I just landed in the Twin Cities on Friday, and after a few hours got my first glimpse of the mighty Mississippi.

The Mississippi River, with downtown Minneapolis in the background

The campus of the University of St. Thomas is small yet beautiful. Very green and very well kept. And pretty empty – all the students are on summer vacation.

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A colonial addiction: The twisted logic of the Netanyahu government

Charlton Heston has been on my mind recently.

That famous call during the NRA conference in 2000 after Columbine, “From my cold dead hands,” has been swirling around my head lately.

Why? Because it reminds me of Benjamin Netanyahu. But in my head Bibi isn’t holding a rifle. He’s holding a hammer. A builder’s hammer. To keep on building. At any price.

Heston and the NRA couldn’t care less about the lost lives of innocent people. The right to bear arms is above all. Protecting it as will continue at any cost.

When Bibi promised his coalition partners from the right wing to continue building in the settlements so they wouldn’t go ballistic after releasing over 100 Palestinian prisoners, he proved his addiction to the colonial project. The colonial project is above all. Colonizing will continue at any cost.

I have my issues with this release. I can sympathize with relatives of the victims of these attackers. But I also agree with Avi Issacharof’s analysis in the Times of Israel, who says that “… keeping these people in jail while Israel is negotiating with those who sent them to carry out terrorist attacks perpetuates a distortion of justice. These terrorists, despite the terrible acts in which they played a central part, should have been released to their homes many years ago — from the moment that Israel’s governments decided to forgive their handlers.”

Releasing prisoners with “blood on their hands” is a difficult decision to make for any Israeli leader. And the fact is, that this time it was done for simply returning to the negotiating table.

I could think of a more simple confidence building measure – freezing the settlements. But apparently, that wasn’t even on the agenda [Hebrew]. Both the Americans and the Palestinians are expecting the building to go on in the West Bank during the “peace talks.” It’s just a given.

Because for this government and its leader, nothing is more sacred than the right to build.

Not keeping roadblocks. Not removing checkpoints. Not keeping prisoners with “blood on their hands” behind bars.

Nothing.

Trust me, that building hammer isn’t leaving anyone’s hands soon.

Related:
Report: Netanyahu promises thousands of new housing units in West Bank, East Jerusalem


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OECD catches Israeli Finance Minister Lapid in apparent lie

Finance Minister Yair Lapid raises taxes on alcohol, then claims it was because of a binding agreement with the OECD. Problem is, the OECD has no clue what he’s talking about.

Yair Lapid (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org)

After only a few months in office, local news and social media arenas seem to be catching Finance Minister Yair Lapid with a new faux pas almost daily. Be it wrong economic figures, misunderstandings, misquotes or others – Lapid just can’t seem to keep up the appearance of someone who actually knows what he’s doing.

But if until now his unfortunate mishaps were limited to the scrutiny of domestic critics, today he opened an overseas front. Calcalist, Israel’s largest financial daily, published a story [Heb] Monday concerning Lapid’s decision to raise taxes on alcohol. The move was greeted with an uproar in Israel because it almost doubled the price of cheap liquors consumed by the lower and middle classes (such as arak) and brought down taxes on beverages enjoyed by the wealthy, such as cognac. In early July, Lapid said that the decision to raise the tax was not his doing:

Calcalist turned to the OECD, and this is the response they got:

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One child's detention in Hebron embodies the sickness of an entire regime

It takes a racist regime to produce images like this. Nothing less.

I urge readers to look closely at the pictures and videos posted today by Mairav Zonszein, which show the detention of a five-year-old in Hebron. As Mairav correctly points out, the whole process is very calm. Very routine.

I’d add one more adjective: very racist.

Look at those smug soldiers, not even flinching once or thinking twice about detaining a five-year-old. As if there’s no other way for the most powerful army in the region to handle a child who threw a stone.

Look at them, surrounding him, four or five soldiers armed to their teeth with shiny black assault weapons, his parents nowhere in sight. (Here’s where the hasbara folks go: “Well what kind of parents let a kid bla bla bla bla?” Go on, do it. Let’s just get it out of the way early.)

One of my kids is the exact same age. I’m trying to think what this kind of event would do to her, and I shudder. (Hasbara: “Ami, it wouldn’t happen because you’re more responsible than typical Palestinian parents.” Shut up, racists – who aren’t under occupation, by the way.)

It takes a racist regime to produce specimens of masculinity such as these – to not care one bit about the huge stress this child is in. One has to be in an extreme state of apathy toward that child in order to treat him like that. And apathy like that can only be the product of racism.

The nerve, to put a child so young in an army jeep.

To handcuff and blindfold his father, right in front of his eyes.

And, to make things worse, it takes a racist lieutenant colonel to reprimand his soldiers for doing that to the father and his son.

But not because of the mental damage to the child! Oh no!

Not because their actions were illegal to begin with (only children 12 and above can be detained in the West Bank according to military law)! God forbid, no!

No, this officer was angry (are you sitting down?) because they were doing “damage to hasbara!” Yup. He was angry they didn’t pay attention that there were cameras documenting the whole detention.

Stones can be dangerous, yes. Even with the amazing velocity...

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Israeli 'Big Brother' contestant photographed with blindfolded Palestinians

Entertainment reporter and blogger Omri Hayoon posted a picture of Itai Wallach, smiling with arms spread behind the backs of two blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinians. The picture seems to have been taken during Wallach’s service in the Israeli paratroopers.

Itay Wallach (photo: Omri Hayoon website)

 

Itai Wallach, 26, will be somewhat of a household name in the next few months in Israel, not only because of this picture – but mainly due to the fact that he is entering the “Big Brother” house this week, probably the most popular show in Israel.

Meanwhile, the photo is getting a lot of positive responses from Israelis who see no problem with it whatsoever.

UPDATE (14:20): The Walla! portal got a reaction [Heb] from Wallach’s mother: “I read a few of the comments from people on the web on this story. Itai got some positive feedback, so I don’t have anything to say. Apparently, taking pictures like that was something of the norm and accepted five or six years ago.”

UPDATE (14:52): The production company of the Israeli “Big Brother” released the following response: “In the past few days Itai has been in preparation for entering the “Big Brother” house. In a conversation we had with him Itai conveyed deep regret and said he is ashamed of this childish mistake. The picture was taken during arrests of wanted persons in the Hebron area during his service as a warrior (Hebrew term for combat soldier) in the paratroopers. Itai added that this happened only once during his service as a warrior.”

This, of course, isn’t the first time Israelis have taken pictures of themselves next to Palestinians in “uncomfortable” and degrading positions – the most famous of all was Eden Abergil (picture below).

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Best day of my life: Making it into the Jewish S.H.I.T List

This is a big day for me.

Bigger than my wedding day, bigger than the days my kids were born.

From today onwards, my life will be divided in two: my normal life until now, and the rest of my life after making it into the Jewish S.H.I.T List! (click for larger image)

Yeah baby! You got that right! I am now an official Self Hating and/or Israel Threatening Jew!

I’ve been working so hard for this; it’s been a long time coming.

And I’ve been checking this site for years – where people much less deserving than me have been accepted into the ranks for merely being liberal Zionists!

I’ve lashed out at settlers! But nothing.

I’ve criticized every politician from the Labor rightwards! But nothing.

I’ve even voiced support for the one-state outcome! But nothing.

I have a feeling it must have been my recent usage of the “A” word that pushed over the editors and finally got me in.

Let this be a lesson to all of you out there: He who sows in tears shall reap in joy!

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Jerusalem deputy mayor: Defund theater showing Rachel Corrie play

Hatred for Rachel Corrie knows no limits, as a Jerusalem municipal official demonstrates by trying to ban a play about the ‘Israel-hater tourist.’ The director to +972 Magazine: ‘He should see it before judging.’

American activist Rachel Corrie (photo: Rachel Corrie Foundation)

 

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem David Hadari, of Nafatli Bennet’s Jewish Home party, demanded that the city stop funding the Khan Theater because it is hosting a play about Rachel CorrieHaaretz reported Sunday evening [Heb].

My Name is Rachel Corrie” is a play that has been staged around the world and is now showing in Israel in Hebrew, directed by Ari Remez. It is based on the diaries Corrie wrote during her stay in Israel/Palestine as an activist with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) up until her death in 2003.

Rachel Corrie’s story has always touched a nerve in Israeli society, as can be seen in Hadari’s letter to the relevant authorities in the municipality:

In its response to Haaretz, the Khan Theater said the show is not its own, it is just hosting the performance.

The play’s director, Ari Remez, told +972 Magazine:

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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