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BDS activists prove that ‘doing dirty business with Israel comes at a cost’

In a historic act of solidarity with the people of Palestine, protests have been staged against the Zim Piraeus, Zim Haifa and Zim Chicago, container ships owned by Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. Zim is viewed as “a national security asset” to Israel and is currently required by the Israeli government to “maintain at least 11 ships to serve Israel’s needs in times of national emergency.” Thousands of protesters, including an estimated 5,000 who marched on the Port of Oakland, located on the San Francisco Bay in Oakland, California, have prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading but on the West Coast by keepimg workers from crossing their picket line. These protests, which have been successfully taking place against incoming Zim vessels at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Seattle, have caused financial damage that has so far been substantial but which may get a lot worse according to maritime industry journal Lloyd’s List which has published that Israeli shipping sources suggest other container carriers may be wary of working with Zim because of its ties to Israel.

Owning a weapon is like owning a Quran

“Owning a weapon is like owning a Quran,” is a glorious quote on a huge fan-made billboard on the sidewalk of one of Beirut’s Muslim neighborhoods. Behind it was a picture of a religious leader, fundamentally the owner of the quoted wisdom. Children played in front of it with a colorful, muddy ball throwing it left and right unknowingly emulating the game their quoted leader and his colleagues play with their futures.

The Saudi lobby

Usually one speaks comically of the Arab lobby in Washington, D.C.. Since the oil boom in the 1970s, various Arab-American businesspeople and crooks traveled to the Middle East offering their services to Gulf regimes and promising—in return for large sums of money—to launch an Arab lobby in Washington, D.C.. Those personalities explained that what the “Arab cause”—there was a talk about that back then—only needed money, and once it becomes available in Washington, D.C. the Israeli case would be immediately defeated. Many of those Arab crooks advanced anti-Semitic scenarios about the nature of American politics, and the Saudi political elite loved those scenarios, as does [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas. They believed that a small elite runs US foreign policy in the region.

The farewell mood of things: Beirut’s persuasive airport

Last week, I was the designated driver to the airport; three trips in one week. I despise our airport. If Lebanon were a bathtub, Beirut airport is its hair-clogged drain, a bottleneck of a despicable orchestration of everything that’s either disgusting or tiring in this god-forsaken place. On one hand, it’s quite an honest welcome message to anyone who’s arriving: this country you are entering will rip you off without sweating over providing any quality to what it serves. On another hand, it’s as honest to its sons and daughters bidding their farewells to their crying, but glad, parents: don’t come back.

The case against Alan Dershowitz

What is galling about liberal Zionists in the US is that they insist on having it both ways; they want to support Israeli occupation, racism, and wars and yet they want to be perceived as liberals who strive for peace and equality. But Alan Dershowitz in his documentary, “The Case For Israel,” goes farther: he thinks that he has discovered a trick by which he can reconcile his support for racist and war-mongering Israel and his alleged liberalism. He calls himself nowadays “pro-Palestine,” and that verbal declaration – he thinks – can then compensate for his support for Israel’s wars and inequality.

The militarization of police agencies from Ferguson to the Middle East

The arming of US police agencies with military-grade weaponry and tactics can be traced back, at the very least, to the creation of the paramilitary "Special Weapons and Tactics" Unit (SWAT) in 1967. In Overkill: Rise of Paramilitary Policing journalist Radley Balko notes that what inspired the heavily militarized SWAT team of today was "a specialized force in Delano, California, made up of crowd control officers, riot police, and snipers, assembled to counter the farm worker uprisings led by Cesar Chavez." Balko writes in August 2013 for The Wall Street Journal that by 1975 from this first experimental SWAT unit grew to “approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13 percent of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80 percent.”

Fearscapes: Walking in Lebanon

I stood within an enchanting rocky terrain, hesitant to walk left or right afraid of possible landmines following a pleasant weekend wedding in the mountains of the south of Lebanon. After the festivities were over, a couple of friends and I decided to follow some road signs, letting them lead us wherever they may, before we head back to Beirut. Beirut is too tiring these days, and any excuse to stall our journey back was welcome.

ISIS: the US saves Iraq, yet again?

The tweets of US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power deserve to be added to the speeches of George W. Bush as examples of rhetoric-in-the-service-of-an-empire. Her statements give the impression that the US is a charitable organization desperately looking for colored people to save around the world. The distinctions between Obama and Bush were only great in the minds of those liberals who projected so much of their dreams and aspirations on the campaign of Obama in 2008. By 2012, it was was clear that Obama was following in the footsteps of his predecessor with less fanfare.

Gaza’s children will not forget

As Israel withdraws its ground forces from Gaza “to defensive positions” outside the Gaza Strip there are already obscene calls for Israel to re-engage so that Israel may “finish the job” and “go all the way” by demilitarizing Gaza, purging the 360 sq. km strip of its native Arab inhabitants and reoccupying it. Nearly 1,900 Palestinians have been killed and at least 500,000, who are already refugees, have been internally displaced once more as a result of 29 days of implacable Israeli attacks. Parts of Gaza have been emptied, with entire neighborhoods eradicated as though they had never existed. From space the Gaza Strip was captured veiled in black, with Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment glowing bright — the widespread pockets of shelling luminous amongst the darkness, like blazing sulfur. If this is what was witnessed from space imagine what horrors the people of Gaza will see on earth as the dust settles.

It’s too dark to see

I am writing this from the third café I migrated to today following exile from my comfortable home in Beirut. The electricity has been cut off from my entire neighborhood, and after more than 24 hours of blackout, we were told that nothing can be done over the weekend and that we would need to wait for the upcoming working day for the issue to be fixed. As the scene seemed quite prehistoric, I checked the calendar on my smart phone showing a “battery low” alert and it was indeed a hot August day, 2,014 years after the birth of Christ.

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