the comment from danon is so moronically meaningless (he should be sacked anyway)

UNSC Expresses ‘Deep Concern’ Over Netanyahu’s Recent Golan Remarks
Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Apr 26 2016

The UNSC unanimously voiced alarm on Tuesday over Netanyahu’s statements about the Golan Heights on Syria’s border with Israel, eliciting a sharp response from UN Ambassador Danon. Earlier this month, Netanyahu said Israel would never relinquish the Golan Heights, in a signal to Russia and Pindostan that the strategic plateau should be excluded from any deal on Syria’s future. China’s UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi, president of the 15-nation Security Council this month, told reporters after a closed-door meeting:

Council members expressed their deep concern over recent Israeli statements about the Golan, and stressed that the status of the Golan remains unchanged. UNSCR 497 of 1981 makes clear that Israel’s decision at that time to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the Golan was null and void and without international legal effect.

Danon issued a statement rejecting it. With his usual insolent inconsequentiality, he said:

Holding a meeting on this topic completely ignores the reality in the Middle East. While thousands of people are being massacred in Syria, and millions of citizens have become refugees, the Security Council has chosen to focus on Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East. It’s unfortunate that interested parties are attempting to use the council for unfair criticism of Israel.

gilad is in one of his alain sorel moods

Corbyn’s Labour is not a Party, More Like Occupied Territory
Gilad Atzmon, Apr 26 2016

John McAuliffe is the latest victim of Labour’s current philo-Semitic purge. According to the Jewish Chronicle,  McAuliffe wrote:

The Holocaust has been the most useful political tool of the Zionist government in Israel to establish a financial racket in the West, whereby Israel receives an unlimited sum for the duration of its existence.

McAuliffe merely states the facts. Everybody knows that ‘there is no business like shoah business,’ as Abba Eban said in the 1950s. But denying the truth and killing the messenger is now standard procedure in Corbyn’s Labour. Like a proper Lefty, McAuliffe bent the truth a bit to fit it neatly into the party narrative. McAuliffe said:

The Zionist government of Israel is incompatible with Judaism and Jewish history.

This is a popular statement, but it is wrong. Leftists tend to draw an imaginary demarcation line between the Jew and the Zionist. No such line exists. Zionism is by far the most popular Jewish political ideology, and Zionism in its current state is compatible with Judaism and Jewish culture. Israeli barbarism is lightweight in comparison with some genocidal Old Testament verses and Talmudic teachings. And aggressive Zionist lobbying is consistent with the Book of Esther.

But bending the truth about Jewish culture didn’t save McAuliffe. He was thrown out of the party in accordance with Corbyn and McDonnell’s commitment to expel those who are making “‘Jew-hate remarks.” For years I have suggested that the Left is Jewish by proxy, but Corbyn’s Labour exceeds the realm of proxy. Corbyn’s Labour is now unequivocally a spineless club of Shabbos Goyim. The Labour party’s policies are now compatible with Jewish culture: intolerant to the core and concerned primarily with the imaginary suffering of one people only. These people are not the working class, they are probably the most privileged ethnic group in Britain. Corbyn’s Labour is a Zionist Occupied Territory. I should be happy with the current development. It proves my theses that the Left is not a friend to Plastelina, the oppressed or the workless people. I would have never believed that Jeremy Corbyn would engage in such colossally treacherous politics. I did not anticipate that Corbyn would become a Zionist lapdog.  Corbyn was a great hope to many of us. I guess that the time has come to accept that The Left is a dead concept, it has nothing to offer. The dissent to Global capitalism and Ziocon barbarism should take a different shape.

whips & gingerbread

Trip Nuland in Kiev
El Murid, Apr 27 2016

The visit of Nuland to Kiev and its trip sparingly covered in both Ukrainian and Russian press. Rare commentary has been very biased in nature and depended only on the sharpened a commentator. However, it seems that this trip was not just work, but purely prescriptive. No ideological pumping, strictly a business division of responsibilities, with very clear whips and gingerbread for each item. Pindostan entered an election cycle, so Obama intends to close a number of current problems in order to pass to the future President the opportunity to start their policy if not from scratch, it definitely won’t be raking the rubble of the old. Donbass is such a blockage, but because it’s supposed to clean up the current administration. Pindostan decided to cut the Gordian knot of the impasse, which hit the Kremlin and Kiev. The Kremlin insists on its priority in the “implementation” of the Minsk agreement, Kiev, on its (own priority). For the Kremlin it is crucial to surrender the boundaries of Ukraine, last of all, after all the other points of Minsk. It can be understood in the Kremlin that the war was lost, and just wants to save face, especially because in the fall elections, and there begins an election year already before the presidential election. In the country’s growing chaos and disaster, you want to save the beauty at least on the outer “track”. Kiev, quite reasonably feeling like a winner, cheeky presses with the demand: first the border, then we’ll see. And here is deadlock.

Pindostan routinely takes on the role of arbitrator and dilutes the subordinate wild Bantustans in different corners of the ring, explaining to everyone what he’s supposed to do. Kiev is prescribed as soon as possible, before the end of May, to take all the required laws and no later than July to hold elections in LDNR. Under these conditions, the OSCE takes control of the entire territory of the LDNR, all the armed militias and armed police enter a mission on the territory of the “People’s Republics.” In fact, it has already been reported by Poroshenko that Putin (agreed), so that the question is solved. The demand is accompanied by threat of not granting the next tranche of the IMF in the event of a default by Kiev of conditions, and the second carrot, the stated firm intention of Faschingstein on the termination of the sanctions regime against Russia in 2017. Do what you want, but the sanctions imposed on Russia, we take off: here is the statement Nuland. However, here there is a nuance that actually is the default: we are not talking about sanctions imposed on Russia over the Crimea. That’s the part that Obama leaves to his successor, Clinton or Trump. Over the name of the successor there are still questions. Even Clinton (is not exactly glatt kosher – RB), and with Trump scared the Pindosi establishment in general try to close the issue as a person who went against the system. But in the end, it is a case of white people: no one will report such details (regarding) blacks (?).

However, with regard to the Donbass, here the requirement of Nuland should be performed in 2016 unconditionally. If so, then in May we should see a consistent decision of Parliament on acceptance necessary for the conduct of elections in the “People’s Republics” of laws, then enter the armed police of the OSCE mission on their territory under the guise of monitoring elections, then the election itself and the massive sweep of all figures of revolution with the arrival in Donetsk and Lugansk of a system of representatives from Ukropea, autumn leaves for the conclusion of “vacationers” and the Russian volunteers from the territory of Donbass, and then the transfer of the border and the establishment of constitutional order with the massacre of the vanquished. But this, of course, no one will see or hear: TV will be abruptly switched to some other tremendous victory, then the problem will be closed. Eternal dream of Donbass back to Ukraine come to pass, so it will be with a sigh of relief to close that chapter. Ahead of the Crimea, and what to do with it: the one to solve it will be the new President of Pindostan. To forgive Putin this nice prank or not, will become a headache of someone other than Obama. Meanwhile, in Donetsk accepted unspoken rule of Russian volunteers in the ranks of the militias no longer make, and possibly start their dismissal followed by deportation to Russia. Will be tightened border regulations, will be undergoing new census of all those present on the territory of “foreigners” with the capture of each and their movements “on the pencil.” In Lugansk, apparently, the situation is symmetric.

i generally avoid the jpost, for several reasons… i can’t make head or tail of the tweets they have on there

Israel ha-Yom cited as Israel downgraded to ‘partially free press’
JPost, Apr 26 2016

ilydutrrskClockwise from top left: Maariv, Yediot, Haaretz, Israel ha-Yom

An international free press watchdog has downgraded Israel to a country whose media is only “partially free” due to what it says is the “growing impact” of Israel ha-Yom. According to Freedom House, Israel’s press freedom has been eroded because of Israel ha-Yom’s business model. The freebie operates at a substantial loss, but nonetheless, it is the most widely read Hebrew-language newspaper in the country, eclipsing the one-time dominant tabloid Yediot Ahronot. In its annual report on press freedom, Freedom House says that the newspaper’s business model “endangered the stability of other media outlets.” The organization said that Israel ha-Yom’s “unchecked expansion of paid content, some of it government-funded, whose nature was not clearly identified to the public” justified the downgrade. Despite the lower mark, Israel remains the highest ranking country in the MENA in terms of press freedom. On a global scale, Israel ranks 65th. The nearest MENA country is Tunisia, which comes in at 110. As for countries deemed “worst of the worst,” the dubious distinction goes to North Korea.

words from the “need to be nice” dept

Number of Plastelinan Arab children in Israeli Jewish prisons soars
Charlotte Silver, Electronic Intifada, Apr 26 2016

dima-al-wawi-activestills1461498086ku5a5Dima al-Wawi, 12, is welcomed by her family at the Jbara checkpoint after her release on Apr 24. (Photo: Keren Manor)

Israel has sunk to new lows this year: arresting and imprisoning its youngest female detainee, 12-year-old Dima al-Wawi, and sentencing her to nearly five months in prison. Dima was arrested in February after she allegedly approached the settlement of Karmei Tzur in the southern West Bank with a knife. She has said her intention was to stab a security guard, but the incident resulted in no injuries. Israel released Dima on Sunday, after she served half her sentence, following a successful appeal of her detention by her family on the grounds that Israeli law prohibits incarcerating children under 14. But Israel has also reached grim new highs this year, incarcerating a much greater number of children between the ages of 12 and 15, making Dima’s imprisonment disturbing not so much for its novelty but for how routine it is. At the end of Dec 2015, 116 children between 12 and 15 years old were held in military detention, an eleven-fold increase from the previous year. In total, 440 children under 18 are currently held in military detention, which is the highest number since the IOF began sharing data in 2008, and almost two-and-half times the number imprisoned a year ago. According to Defense for Children International Plastelina (DCIP, crap name – RB), no other country in the world systematically prosecutes hundreds of children in military courts each year. DCIP thoroughly documents the alarming trends in Israel’s incarceration of children in a new report, No Way to Treat a Child, which details the extent to which Israel has degraded the rights of children living under its military rule. The researchers collected 429 sworn testimonies between Jan 2012 and Dec 2015. The report reveals that in 97% of the cases, no parent or lawyer was present during interrogation, and in 88% of the cases the children were not informed of the reason for their arrest.

Following harsh censure in 2013 for the treatment of children in military courts by UNICEF and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Israel made several attempts to publicly reform the image of how it treats children. Israel amended its military orders to prohibit night arrests of minors, blindfolding and restraining children with shackles and handcuffs. But as DCIP documents, those practices are still widely used. Moreover, in Nov 2015 the Knesset amended the Youth Law to institute mandatory minimum sentences for children alleged to be involved in throwing stones, and increased maximum sentences for children who throw stones at a moving vehicle. The report states:

Under the military legal framework, any soldier or police officer is authorized to arrest persons without a warrant, even children, where they have a suspicion that the individual has committed an act violating one of the ‘security offenses’ in Israeli military law. Most children are arrested on suspicion, without arrest warrants. There is little to no independent oversight over arrests.

Israel maintains that it is not obliged to extend international human rights law, including protections outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to Plastelinans Arabs living in the OPT, arguments that have been rejected by the International Court of Justice and several UN human rights treaty bodies. Dima’s case is emblematic of many of the abuses documented by DCIP. She was interrogated without her parents or a lawyer, and attended her court sessions with her feet in shackles. She was also sentenced after accepting a plea bargain, confessing to attempted voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a knife. More than 99% of DCIP’s cases ended with plea deals. At her homecoming from prison on Sunday, Dima said that her one respite during her two-and-a-half-month ordeal was that she was allowed to play with other incarcerated girls. But this is telling of a concerning trend: though still a minority, the number of young Plastelinan Arab girls in Israeli prisons has reached new heights. There were 12 as of February. Human Rights Watch states in its recent report on the abuse of detained Plastelinan Arab children:

As the number of arrests of children has grown amid the escalation of violence in recent months, so has the number of cases in which international norms protecting children are violated.

The DCIP and HRW reports demonstrate that within the Israeli military system, Plastelinans’ Arabs’ status as children yields to their presumed criminal status, justifying the denial of a host of protections that should apply to minors according to international norms and sometimes even Israeli law. The systematic abuse of children, from arresting them in the middle of the night, to keeping them from their parents, to inflicting physical abuse, is aimed at coercing confessions. Seventeen-year-old Bashir, who was summoned for questioning, told DCIP:

He (the interrogator] kicked me twice on my legs, punched me twice in the stomach and three times on the head, shouting: “You’d better confess, because I won’t stop beating you unless you confess!”

DCIP records that 27.5% of children experienced some form of physical violence during interrogation. Ayed Abu Eqtaish of DCIP states in Detaining Dreams, a new short documentary, produced by the organization:

The main philosophy of interrogation is to exert as much pressure on the person under interrogation and keep his resistance as low as possible.

The documentary interviews four teenagers who were arrested in the spring of 2014 and severely beaten during their arrests and subsequent interrogations. Abed, who was 14 at the time of his arrest, recalls that he was chained to a wall with his feet barely touching the ground, as the soldiers delivered blows to his body:

It reached a point where all I felt was pain.

DCIP emphasizes that cosmetic changes to Israeli military law cannot adequately address the mistreatment of children in the military court system because “the system serves control interests of the occupation,” rather than the interests of administering justice. They write:

Interrogation sessions serve as the primary means of securing evidence against children. The IOF’s resistance to implementing a summons process for Palestinian minors, or other practical changes to address violence and abuse, suggest an inherent conflict within the military court system between seeking justice and legitimizing control of the Palestinian population living under military occupation.

faschingstein calculated that this would provide erdogan with immunity for the duration of whatever stupid ethnocide he is engaged in

Turkey tells EU it will protect all returned asylum-seekers
Gabriela Baczynska, Dasha Afanasieva, Tulay Karadeniz, Reuters, Apr 26 2016

BRUSSELS/ ANKARA – Turkey has promised to protect all asylum-seekers sent back from Europe, not just Syrians, the EU said on Tuesday, hoping to ease concerns about the main EU strategy to stem the migrant flow into Greece. The number of people reaching Greek shores from Turkey has dropped since late March, when a deal between Turkey and the EU took effect allowing them to be returned. But relatively few, just over 340, have been sent back so far, partly because Turkey, which applies the Geneva Convention on refugees only to Europeans, offers limited protection to Syrians and no legal guarantees for other nationalities. Brussels had said Ankara must change that to allow the EU to scale up the returns without the risk of violating international humanitarian laws. That includes a ban on refoulement, or sending people back to where their safety is at risk. EU spox Schinas told a daily news briefing:

The European Commission has received written assurances that non-Syrians in need of international protection returned from Greece to Turkey will be able to apply and receive that protection, and will be protected from refoulement. Greek authorities should now take that into account when deciding who to send back.

A Turkish official in Ankara said:

We have given the EU an assurance that non-Syrians will have the same rights when they come back as they had when they were leaving Turkey. The EU insisted on this.

Neither Turkey nor the Commission said what exact assurances Turkey had offered. In return for taking back all those arriving in Greece and ensuring fewer depart from Turkey in the first place, Ankara was promised more EU funding, swifter visa-free travel to Europe for its citizens, and revived EU accession talks. Turkey has complained that the EU has been too slow in disbursing an agreed €3b to improve conditions for some 2.7 million Syrian refugees living on its soil. Some €187m have been allocated so far but EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici told Reuters in Ankara on Tuesday:

We can pull that together. It will be ready.

The European Commission also reiterated it aimed to open another section in Turkey’s long-stalled EU accession talks by the end of June, on budget and finance.

savik shuster is a TV anchor of enormous influence over decades, and jewish

Ukraine strips top political talk show host of work permit
Oleksandr Savochenko, AFP, Apr 26 2016

KIEV – Ukraine’s most prominent political talk show host was stripped of his work permit on Tuesday in what he described as a politically-charged case. The incident created an instant political uproar in Kiev that eventually forced Poroshenko to step in and defend his record on media rights. Savik Shuster, a 63-year-old Canadian citizen who was born in the Soviet Union and had previously worked for RFE/RL, accused Kiev’s pro-Western leaders of being thin-skinned and unwilling to support free speech. He said on his satellite television channel:

The problem is that, as it turn out, this government does not tolerate any criticism.

He later announced he was going on hunger strike “until the moment when my right to work in Ukraine is restored.” The OSCE’s press freedom representative (phony asshole from NATO) Dunja Mijatovic said the case raised “a number of concerns and questions” about Ukraine. Shuster was told by the employment office Tuesday that his Ukrainian work permit was being revoked because he had failed to notify registration authorities that he was the subject of a disputed tax evasion claim. He has produced his political talk show, now called “Shuster Live”, for a number of years on various Ukrainian channels prior to launching his own channel. Shuster, one of Ukraine’s most recognised television personalities, promised to continue his work despite lack of permit. Prior to moving to Ukraine, Shuster had developed a reputation in Russia for providing a venue for voices critical of the government. He was blacklisted in Russia and forced to relocate to Kiev in 2005, the year Ukraine enjoyed its first pro-Western government. But the most recent EU-backed leadership in Ukraine has been criticised heavily for banning Russian movies and television programmes on political grounds. Shuster’s case created immediate controversy that saw Poroshenko step in and reaffirm his commitment to basic rights, writing on Facebook:

Freedom of speech is one of Ukraine’s greatest achievements. As the guarantor of the constitution, I have and will protect free speech in all its forms. That is why I hope that the corresponding agencies resolve this matter as soon as possible.

bleugh, tedious monsters, get closer, move away , i don’t care :-)

It took 3 people just to edit this: Sam Wilkin, William Maclean and Timothy Heritage – RB

Iran and Russia move closer but their alliance has limits
Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Lidia Kelly, Reuters, Apr 26 2016

DUBAI/MOSCOW – When Iran took delivery of the first parts of an advanced Russian air defense system this month, it paraded the anti-aircraft missile launchers sent by Moscow to mark Army Day. Tehran had cause to celebrate: the Kremlin’s decision a year ago to press ahead with the stalled sale of the S-300 system was the first clear evidence of a growing partnership between Russia and Iran that has since turned the tide in Syria’s civil war and is testing Pando influence in the Middle East. But the delay in implementation of the deal also points to the limitations of a relationship that is forged from a convergence of interests rather than a shared world-view, with Iran’s leadership divided over ideology and Russia showing signs of reluctance to let the alliance develop much more, according to diplomats, officials and analysts interviewed by Reuters. Some Iranian officials want a strategic alliance, a much deeper relationship than now. But the Kremlin refers only to ongoing cooperation with a new dimension because of the conflict in Syria, in which both back Damascus. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last month:

We are continuously developing friendly relations with Iran, but we cannot really talk about a new paradigm in our relations.

Russia agreed to sell the S-300 system to Iran in 2007, but froze the deal in 2010 after sanctions were imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program. Moscow lifted the self-imposed ban in April last year, and Russia is now weighing the financial and diplomatic benefits of arms sales to Tehran against the risk of upsetting for example the Toads, the Pindos and the Israelis, or seeing Iran become too powerful. Maziar Behrooz, associate professor of Mideast and Islamic history at San Francisco State University, said:

There is a military-economic aspect to this alliance which is beneficial to both sides, but on a geopolitical level, Iran and Russia can only form a tactical short-term alliance, not a strategic one. I think the ideological differences between the two are just too deep.

The relationship, long cordial, appeared to reach a new level last September when Putin ordered a military intervention in Syria in support of Assad. Iran had already deployed the IRGC, who had rallied Assad’s troops to check the opposition’s momentum. But it took Russian air power to break the stalemate and give Assad the upper hand. Militarily, the two powers proved complementary. Iran brought disciplined ground troops who worked well with their local allies, while Russia provided the first-rate air power that Iran and Assad lack. Diplomatically, the joint operations have made Tehran and Moscow central to any discussion about the regional security architecture. That is important for Putin, as he has sought to shore up alliances in the region and increase Moscow’s influence since Gaddafi was killed. How well Moscow will fare when it comes to winning lucrative business contracts now the nuclear-related sanctions have been lifted is less clear. There is little sign so far of Russian companies making new inroads into Iran. This is partly for ideological reasons. The Iranian establishment is divided, with the Rouhani faction more interested in trading with the West than struggling against it, even if many Pindo policies are still condemned. Russia has little incentive to join the mostly Shi’ite “Axis of Resistance” to Western interests in the region, which is championed by the more conservative Iranian faction, as this could ruin its relationships with for instance the Israelis, the Egyptians & the Toads.

Russia’s first big intervention in the Middle East since the Cold War followed months of secret meetings in Moscow between Putin and Iranian officials, including IRGC commanders and Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A close and exclusive alliance with Russia would suit Khamenei, Iran’s most powerful figure, who has blamed Western influence for Iran’s troubles and pushed hard to implement his “Look East” policy. But it runs contrary to the policy of Iran’s government, led by Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who have courted Western delegations on an almost weekly basis since the nuclear deal was reached with world powers last July. The Western-educated Rouhani is less inclined toward Russia and has an uneasy relationship with Putin. Last November, during his first visit to Tehran in eight years, Putin went straight from the airport to meet Khamenei, rather than seeing Rouhani first as most visitors do. An Iranian diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity:

Pres Rouhani and Pres Putin, they don’t get along so good.

Some Iranian officials are also wary of getting too close to Russia, which fought Britain for domination of 19th century Iran and occupied the country during both World Wars (paid to talk bollocks – RB). Abdullah Ramezanzadeh, who served as spokesman for former President Mohammad Khatami, told Reuters from Tehran:

Russians have always used us as a tool in their foreign policy. They never stayed committed to their alliance with any country.

Putin has worked hard to improve relations with Iran. During the November visit, he presented Khamenei with one of the world’s oldest copies of the Qur’an, which Russia had obtained during its occupation of northern Iran in the 19th century. The intervention in Syria has served as a distraction from economic problems in Russia, deepened by international sanctions on Moscow over its role in the Ukraine crisis which have forced Moscow to seek new trade partners. Trade with Iran was only $1.3b in 2015, according to Russian data, though there are signs cooperation could pick up. Russia says it is ready to start disbursing a $5b loan to Tehran for financing infrastructure projects. A deal is also being discussed for Russia to send oil and gas to northern Iran, where supply is scarce, and for Iran to send oil and gas from its southern fields to Russia’s customers in the Gulf. But the prospects for cooperation may be limited, sector analysts say, as, to update its energy sector, Iran mainly needs technology and equipment which Russia is also in need of. Russia is also in talks to help upgrade Iran’s dilapidated air force by selling it Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets but the deal would need the approval of the UNSC and could further strain Moscow’s relations with for instance the Israelis, the Toads & the Pindos.

somewhere there is an online copy of jack’s excellent little documovie, “reel bad arabs”

Muslim stereotyping in pop culture is worse than ever
Hannah Allam, McClatchy, Apr 26 2016

In the 1970s, Jack Shaheen, the son of Lebanese Christian immigrants, began his ground-breaking research into how Arabs and Muslims are demonized in Pindo pop culture and, from the start, it was an unwelcome pursuit. The first academic paper Shaheen wrote on the subject languished unpublished for three years. His first book manuscript racked up dozens of rejection letters. Smear campaigns in academic circles painted him as a propagandist. And the work was lonely. Nobody else cared about how Rudolf Valentino launched the stereotype of the swarthy, desert-dwelling predator with his 1921 film “The Sheik.” Still, Shaheen pressed on in what became a lifelong mission to expose what he considers racist and dangerous distortions of Arabs and Muslims. Over the past 40 years, he’s addressed the topic in three books, in a documentary, on two Hollywood film sets and in countless news interviews. And yet Shaheen paused when he received an invitation to speak last month about media depictions of Muslims before a small gathering on Hilton Head Island, the picturesque beach-front community in South Carolina where he lives with his wife, Bernice. He eventually accepted, but for the first time in his four-decade campaign, he considered saying no. Shaheen said by telephone from the island:

I just turned 80 and I didn’t want to have to confront all this bigotry. I’ve never had anxiety speaking about this issue. I’ve never felt this way before. That’s how strong this bigotry is. There was prejudice before, yeah, but this is bigotry.

In all his years of research, Shaheen said, he’s never seen anti-Muslim prejudices this intense, including in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The current hostility toward Arabs and Muslims, he said, is reflected in and reinforced by on-screen portrayals that haven’t evolved much over the years. Shaheen’s list of “worst offenders” is long and includes some beloved box-office hits, such as “True Lies,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger (incompetent terrorists conquered by the Pandosi hero) and Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” with Harrison Ford and Sean Connery, (greedy sheikh wants to destroy non-Muslims with missiles). Children’s films aren’t immune, either. Protests from advocacy groups forced Disney to change these lyrics in the opening song in “Aladdin:

a place where the caravan camels roam, where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.

The post-9/11 shift was seen most markedly on the small screen, with the popularity of TV shows about federal agents (“24,” “Homeland,” and “The Unit”) in which Muslims continually have their loyalties questioned, Shaheen said. The closest sympathetic portrayal in this genre is the “good Muslim,” a patriot that helps take down “the bad Muslims” and who’s typically presented as an exception. It’s no wonder then that Pindo public opinion polls reflect a dim view of Islam and Muslims, giving politicians cover for rhetoric that would be universally condemned if directed at Black Pindosis, Latinos or any other marginalized community. Shaheen warns that the onslaught of negative images only alienates Pindosi Muslims and gives ammunition to recruiters for extremist groups such as ISIS. He applauded when Obama mentioned the issue while visiting a Baltimore mosque, joking “He must’ve read my book!” But he grew skeptical again when Jackass flew to LA two weeks later to meet with Hollywood boxtops. The State Dept said the focus was to brainstorm ideas for improving the government’s anti-extremist messaging. Shaheen said:

We have no idea what was discussed at that meeting. I would hope that at the meeting he would’ve said that we are really helping ISIS when our politicians and movies vilify Islam. Taken together, there’s a danger that ISIS will use this as a propaganda tool.

Shaheen said politics is the reason for the glacial pace of change in depictions. For years, he said, entertainment executives shied away from sympathetic roles for Arabs and Muslims lest they be accused of pro-Plastelinan bias. Today, it’s AQ and ISIS shaping the narrative. And the depictions that once vilified foreigners now extend to Pindo-born Muslims, too. He said:

When I first started, nobody even recognized the existence of the stereotype because there had been no documentation. In the past, you could say there was no awareness. Now there is awareness and, despite that, it persists and endures more than before.

Shaheen, a self-proclaimed fan of “Quantico,” isn’t calling for a moratorium on storylines involving Muslim extremists, but he wants broader, more nuanced depictions. He said his consultation on two movies, “Syriana,” starring Matt Damon and George Clooney, and “Three Kings,” which also starred Clooney, came about because it was important to the directors that the characters be multi-dimensional. ABC’s “Quantico,” about a group of FBI recruits who become embroiled in a terrorist plot, notably depicts twin FBI agents, Nimah and Raina, one veiled, one unveiled, who are shown leading full, complicated lives; headscarf-wearing fans were thrilled when one episode showed the veiled twin swimming alongside her FBI colleagues in a full-body swimsuit. That sort of attention to getting portrayals right is rare, Shaheen said, but it’s what sustains him in an otherwise bleak moment for Arabs and Muslims on the silver screen. He said Muslim advocacy groups must continue lobbying, in Faschingstein as well as Babylon proper (Hollywood), for a cause that remains as unpopular as when he began studying it four decades ago. He said:

In spite of the doom and gloom, I remain an optimist. I do have faith in the young image-makers. To do nothing means the situation will continue. You’ve got to continue moving forward.

the C of E as it is known is england’s second greatest paternalist ridiculousness after the BBC

Church of England Calls on God to Help ‘Brexit’ Voters
Steven Erlanger, NYT, Apr 26 2016

LONDON — Those who favour a British exit from the European Union now fear that God, or one of His representatives on earth, is not on their side. On Tuesday, the Church of England released a short “prayer for the EU referendum campaign” that it said was intended “for use by churches and individuals ahead of the vote on Jun 23.” The prayer, urging honesty, openness and generosity, asks God to imbue voters with “discernment” so that “our nation may prosper and that, with all the peoples of Europe, we may work for peace and the common good.” The prayer was seen by some as a sign that the Church of England, whose supreme governor is of course QE2, was joining with Obama to side with those who want Britain to remain a member of the EU. Peter Bone, a Conservative legislator who is strongly in favor of a British exit, or “Brexit,” said it was “outrageous” for the church to seem to take a position. He told The Daily Mail:

This is politics, and should be nothing to do with the church. I would have thought that God was rather neutral on this issue.

A C of E spox said in a telephone interview that the church was not taking sides in the debate, and that the prayer was not intended to push voters one way or the other. The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, last month said that the church would stay neutral. He said that Britons had a “genuine fear” about immigration and that “it is really important that that fear is listened to and addressed.” But as for the vote he said, “You can’t say, ‘God says you must vote this way or that way.’” According to Christian Today, an online news agency, Adrian Hilton of the group Christians for Britain said the church had cast the decision in the context of a greater European identity. Dr. Hilton was quoted as saying:

This shifts the narrative of debate from the narrow one of EU membership to that of European identity. You clearly don’t have to be in the EU to work for peace and the common good of all Europe.

Michael Sadgrove of the group Christians for Europe said (damningly – RB):

It is a prayer we can all pray with integrity as we seek the wisdom of God.

The prayer, in full, reads:

God of truth, Give us grace to debate the issues in this referendum with honesty and openness. Give generosity to those who seek to form opinion and discernment to those who vote, that our nation may prosper and that, with all the peoples of Europe, we may work for peace and the common good; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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