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A new research into child neglect has found that up to 1.5 million children across Britain go without food, care and education every day, local media reported.
The research commissioned by YouGov and the University of Sterling asked some 40 percent of teachers, police officers and social workers in 27 Local Authorities around the country about child poverty, to which they answered they regularly came into contact with deprived children, but felt powerless to help, the daily The Independent said in a report.
The government, itself, defines “neglect”, as a “persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological need”.
According to findings, neglect is “now a factor in 60 percent of infant deaths or serious injuries”.
The shadow Children’s minister, Lisa Nandy, described the probe, part of an ongoing project by Action for Children, as shedding light on a constant failure to protect vulnerable families.
“It’s a really shocking statistic, but it’s not a surprise given that there’s been a sharp increase in the stress on families, combined with cuts to local authorities,” she said.
“With all the focus being on free schools and academies, it leaves very little room for child protection. The Department for Education’s priorities are absolutely in the wrong order and a report like this should act as a wake-up call to ministers. They are creating a perfect storm; the situation for the most vulnerable children looks really bleak”, Nandy added.
Some 6,000 front-line workers and parents were polled between June and October last year as part of The State of Child Neglect report.
Dame Clare Tickell, CEO of Action for Children, said of the findings: “Vulnerable children are falling through the cracks of a protection system that is failing some of those who need it most - sometimes with tragic consequences.”
Unemployed young people stand in line outside a job centre in central London. (AFP Photo / Leon Neal)
Millions of people have emigrated from the UK over the last 10 years, most of whom seek to find a job in a more favorable economic climate. Graduate immigration is on the up as well in what’s been dubbed as the ‘talent drain’ by the British press.
According to statistics accumulated by the Office of National Statistics in the UK, over 3.5 million people have fled the country in the last decade.
The number has increased sharply over the past decade, going from 363,000 a year to a peak of 427,000 in 2008. However, during the past four years statistics have plateaued again, averaging off at 350,000 a year.
The principle motivation for leaving the UK is the search for a job, with 89 per cent of long-term immigrants being of working age, says the UK Home Office.
“Over the last 10 years, more than a third of British, EU and non-EU citizens who emigrated left to take up definite jobs but a much smaller proportion [18 per cent] of British citizens compared to the other two groups [34 per cent of EU citizens and 42 per cent of non-EU citizens) left to look for work,” wrote the Home Office report published at the end of 2012.
Australia has traditionally been the most coveted destination for British nationals of working age over the past two decades, with the US following closely behind. Emigrants of retirement age tend to prefer destinations within the EU, such as France and Spain.
Those British citizens who chose to leave are more often than not highly-educated professionals seeking to work for pharmaceutical, aerospace, engineering and creative companies that are based abroad.
Conservative MP Nick de Bois told the Daily Telegraph that the growing rates of emigration were indicative of a talent drain that is dealing “enormous damage” to the UK economy.
In addition, last year a record amount of graduates quit the UK in search of employment in more favorable job climates.
Government statistics showed that in 2011, an average of one in 10 students looked for jobs abroad after graduating. The UK’s most successful higher education institutions were looked at in the report, including Cambridge, Durham, Exeter and Oxford.
Concerns have been voiced in British society that the departure of newly-graduated young professionals may leave a skill vacuum that will cause significant problems for the UK economy in the future.
Director of The Emigration Group, Paul Arthur, told the Yorkshire Post “there has never been a better time to emigrate.”
“The UK is continuing to experience a ‘brain drain’, with many Brits in professional or managerial positions emigrating to pursue careers abroad.”
British expat John Lucas, who moved to Australia three years ago, told the English publication “he had no plans to return to England.”
“With the 2008 global recession, the UK market was slow. But in Australia the market is still booming and there remains a great deal of opportunity for a construction business,” the 32-year-old said.
At present unemployment in the UK stands at almost 8 per cent, and the government is introducing sweeping economic cuts with a view to curtailing national deficit. Graduates have suffered the most in the economic crisis with unemployment at 9 per cent, and over 8 per cent still jobless six months after graduation.
The UK’s military and economic and industrial assets are at risk of being “fatally compromised” by cyber attack because the government has not fully grasped “the opportunities and vulnerabilities that” the cyber world presents, say MPs.
The potential vulnerability of vital UK assets must be urgently addressed, a report compiled by the Commons Defense Select Committee, released Wednesday says.
Some recent examples of high profile cyber attacks on British interests include the leaking of thousands of email addresses and encrypted passwords, including 221 military officials, 242 NATO staff, and staff from the Joint Intelligence Organization, as well as the loss of 800 million pounds (US$1.28 billion) in revenue by a British company following cyber attacks by a foreign state.
The MPs also highlighted worrying gaps in strategy saying it was unclear exactly who would be in charge if the UK came under sustained cyber attack.
They also expressed alarm that the MoD and the British military were now totally reliant on cyber systems for communication and that the technology upon which they rely has no proven back-up.
“The evidence we received leaves us concerned that with the armed forces now so dependent on information and communications technology, should such systems suffer a sustained cyber attack, their ability to operate could be fatally compromised,” the committee warned.
An unmanned official told the Independent in December last year that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) was under almost daily attack.
The MPs delivered a scathing attack on the government’s cyber-crime strategy, concluding, “The government needs to put in place –as it has not yet done – mechanisms, people, education, skills, thinking and policies.”
While they said the MoD had done a lot to secure its own systems, they expressed concern that other companies and organizations which work with the military on a daily basis, such as the firms that overhaul fighter jets, were often vulnerable to cyber-attack and this gave a “backdoor” route into the MoD.
Witnesses that the MPs talked to seemed to give “the impression that they believed an admission of the problem took them close to resolving the problem, it does not,” the report stated.
“It is not enough for the armed forces to do their best to prevent an attack…the government should set out details of the contingency plans it has in place should such an attack occur. If it has none, it should say so – and urgently create some,” the MPs said in a withering critique of the status quo.
Culprits hard to prove
Professor Paul Cornish, a professor in international security at the university of Bath and a contributor to the report, believes the nature of the cyber threat has, “blurred between military and civilian, and between the physical and the virtual; power can be exerted by states or non-state actors, or by proxy. Cyberspace has made it possible for non-state actors, commercial organizations and even individuals to acquire the means and motivation for warlike activity.”
The UK government has refused to publicly blame the countries it considers to be most likely responsible for carrying out cyber attacks, but MP’s drew on evidence given by the Security Community and GCHQ.
They said that, “The greatest threat of electronic attack continues to be posed by state actors and of those, Russia and China, are [suspected of carrying out] the majority of attacks. Their targets are in government as well as in industry.”
Although the report notes that the main purpose of these attacks is espionage and the acquisition of information, rather than to disrupt activities.
Aleksandr Gostev, chief virus analyst at Kaspersky Labs, told RT that such practices are commonplace amongst the major global powers, although all the evidence points to China as the most active player in this field.
“There are two main types of Chinese hackers, freelance teams who sell their information to anyone including the government, and specifically-assembled government operations, who have a specific task and target,” said Gostev.
He explained that as well as stealing technology one of the main targets of these cyber attacks is “ ‘mapping’ – finding weak spots in an existing security network, so that a serious attack can be carried out at a later time.”
The UK’s Cyber Security Strategy admits that the nature of the “borderless and anonymous nature of the internet, [makes] precise attribution difficult and the distinction between adversaries is increasingly blurred.”
But Jim Murphy, the shadow defense secretary, warned the report was worrying.
“Policy progress is falling behind the pace of the threat the armed forces face. Vulnerabilities must be tackled urgently and minsters must respond in detail to the demands in this report,” he told The Guardian.
Taxpayer cash funneled into cyber wars
The government, however, insists it is not being complacent.
“The MoD takes the protection of our systems extremely seriously and has a range of contingency plans to defend against increasingly sophisticated attacks,” Andrew Murrison, the minister for international security strategy at the MoD, told The Guardian.
As a result of the strategic defense and security review (SDSR) the coalition made cyber security a priority, setting aside 650 million pounds ($1.04 billion) to bolster the UK’s defenses, support online safety campaigns and boost investment at GCHQ, the government’s electronic eavesdropping center.
The MPs’ report draws on observations of former US Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn, who wrote that in cyberspace it is always the offense that has the upper hand.
“The internet was designed to be collaborative and rapidly expandable and to have low barriers to technological innovation; security and identity management were lower [priority] policies.”
You can also add to that ten million, countless others whose lives have been sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit, which did not rely on the military to bomb peoples and countries into submission but on the IMF, World Bank and WTO. It begs the question how many lives have been cut short across the world because of the inherent structural violence or silent killing of the everyday functioning of predatory capitalism?
Peddling their high salaried deceptions, they have failed and continue to fail the public and genuinely hold power to account. By shining their ‘investigative’ light on ‘parliamentary procedures’, personalities, the rubber stamping of policies and the inane machinations of party politics, they merely serve to maintain and perpetuate the status quo and keep the public in the dark as to the unaccountable self-serving nature of power broking and the unity ofinterests that enable Big Oil, Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Agra and the rest of them via their secretive think tanks and policy initiatives to keep bleeding us all dry.
But that’s the role of the media: to help reinforce and reproduce the material conditions of a divisive social system on a daily basis. It’s called having a compliant, toothless media. It’s what the corporate media itself calls part of ‘liberal democracy’. And in this type of 'liberal democracy', it is people like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange who expose the wrongdoings of the political-corporate elites that are hounded.
MI5 targeted labour correspondents in both newspapers and broadcasting right up to the 80s; they were recruited in droves for their contacts with a wide range of trade union officials and with each other. According to Peter Wright, MI5 always had about twenty senior journalists working for it in the national press. “They were not employed directly by us, but we regarded them as agents because they were happy to be associated with us.”
At the BBC, Brigadier Ronald Stonham liaised with MI5 and Special Branch and advised the corporation on whether or not to employ people. Names of applicants for editorial posts in the BBC were similarly ‘vetted’ by MI5.
“There should be times when the journalist, when he’s examined all the facts and tested all his sources, should come down on the side of the government of the day, the established order and the Establishment as a whole.” - Chairman of the Radio Authority
“We are in a period of considerable social change. There may be social unrest, but we can cope with the Toxteths… but if we have a highly-educated and idle population, we may possibly anticipate more serious conflict. People must be educated to once more know their place.” – from a secret Department of Education Report.
According to Mathew Holehouse in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper (here), former UK Environment Minister Owen Paterson will this week accuse the European Union and Greenpeace of condemning people in the developing world to death by refusing to accept genetically modified crops. Speaking in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, Paterson will warn that a food revolution that could save Africa from hunger is being held back and that the world is on the cusp of a green revolution, of the kind that fed a billion people in the 1960s and 1970s as the world’s population soared.
"This is also a time, however, of great mischief, in which many individuals and even governments are turning their backs on progress. Not since the original Luddites smashed cotton mill machinery in early 19th century England, have we seen such an organised, fanatical antagonism to progress and science. These enemies of the Green Revolution call themselves ‘progressive’, but their agenda could hardly be more backward-looking and regressive… their policies would condemn billions to hunger, poverty and underdevelopment. And their insistence on mandating primitive, inefficient farming techniques would decimate the earth’s remaining wild spaces, devastate species and biodiversity, and leave our natural ecology poorer as a result.”
“We don’t have a goal of developing GM products here or to import them. We can feed ourselves with normal, common, not genetically modified products. If the Americans like to eat such products, let them eat them. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” (see here)
“We strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly nor economically beneficial to us. We do not believe that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce the food that is needed in the 21st century. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia, and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.”
“… the statements that they [supporters of GMOs] use such as “thousands die of hunger daily in India” are irresponsible and baseless scare-mongering with a view to projecting GM as the only answer. When our people go hungry, or suffer from malnutrition, it is not for lack of food, it is because their right to safe and nutritious food that is culturally connected has been blocked. That is why it is not a technological fix problem and GM has no place in it.”
“The problem is that the poor have no money to buy food and increasingly, no access to land on which to grow it… GM is a dangerous distraction from real solutions and claims that GM can help feed the world can be viewed as exploitation of the suffering of the hungry. GM crops do not increase yield. Nor are there any GM crops that are better than non-GM crops at tolerating poor soils or challenging climate conditions. Thus it is difficult to see how GM can contribute to solving world hunger… The two major GM crops, soy and maize, mostly go into animal feed for intensive livestock operations, biofuels to power cars, and processed human food – products for wealthy nations that have nothing to do with meeting the basic food needs of the poor and hungry.”
"In the morning, you make porridge from maize and send the kids to school. For lunch, boiled maize and a few green beans. In the evening, ugali, [a staple dough-like maize dish, served with meat]… [today] it’s a monoculture diet, being driven by the food system – it’s an injustice.” (see here and here for the sources that quote Maingi and other commentators mentioned below).
“It’s a system designed to benefit agribusinesses and not small-scale farmers.”
“What the World Bank has done, the International Monetary fund, what AGRA and Bill Gates are doing, it’s actually pretty wrong. The farmer himself should not be starving”.
“… take capitalism and business out of farming in Africa. The West should invest in indigenous knowledge and agro-ecology, education and infrastructure and stand in solidarity with the food sovereignty movement.” Daniel Maingi, Growth Partners for Africa.
“The “economic therapy” imposed under IMF-World Bank jurisdiction is in large part responsible for triggering famine and social devastation in Ethiopia and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, wreaking the peasant economy and impoverishing millions of people. With the complicity of branches of the US government, it has also opened the door for the appropriation of traditional seeds and landraces by US biotech corporations, which behind the scenes have been peddling the adoption of their own genetically modified seeds under the disguise of emergency aid and famine relief. Moreover, under WTO rules, the agri-biotech conglomerates can manipulate market forces to their advantage as well as exact royalties from farmers. The WTO provides legitimacy to the food giants to dismantle State programmes including emergency grain stocks, seed banks, extension services and agricultural credit, etc.), plunder peasant economies and trigger the outbreak of periodic famines.” See the full article (‘Sowing the Seeds of Famine in Ethiopia’) from which this extract is taken here.
“Unfortunately, many members of the media, and even some scientists, have been snookered by PR firms about a supposed scientific consensus on GMOs that doesn’t exist.”
“Assembling big lists of studies supposedly providing overwhelming evidence of the safety of GMOs has become common practice by GMO proponents… The success of the tactic depends on the reading public failing to examine the actual studies and seeing what they say.” Claire Robinson (here).
“… authors should re-learn the basic scientific principle of citing a specific data point to support each claim they make about GMO safety. The problem for them is that doing so would cause their entire house of cards to collapse.”
“…the totality of scientific research outcomes in the field of GM crop safety is nuanced; complex; often contradictory or inconclusive; confounded by researchers’ choices, assumptions, and funding sources; and, in general, has raised more questions than it has currently answered… [Decisions on whether to continue and expand GMO crops should] be supported by strong scientific evidence… obtained in a manner that is honest, ethical, rigorous, independent, transparent, and sufficiently diversified to compensate for bias… [rather than based on] misleading and misrepresentative claims by an internal circle of likeminded stakeholders that a ‘scientific consensus’ exists on GMO safety.”
Nile Bowie is an independent journalist and political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His articles have appeared in numerous international publications, including regular columns with Russia Today (RT) and newspapers such as the Global Times, the Malaysian Reserve and the New Straits Times. He is a research assistant with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), a Malaysian NGO promoting social justice and anti-hegemony politics. He can be reached at [email protected].
A New Recession and a New World Devoid of Washington’s Arrogance? Paul Craig Roberts June 25, 2014. A final number for real US GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014 was released today. The number is not the 2.6%…
The post A New Recession and a New World Devoid of Washington’s Arrogance? — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.
Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – Professor Antony C. Sutton’s ‘Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Professor Sutton taught at California State University, Los Angeles and was a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He wrote numerous books based on Wall Street corruption and their involvement in world wars including ‘Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler’ and ‘Wall Street and FDR’ both published in 1976. Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution is a historical classic based on Professor Sutton’s extensive research on whom and why Wall Street helped fund the Bolshevik Revolution. If you want to understand the conspiracy by the West who overthrew Czarist Russia and replaced it with one of the most dangerous political movements in the 20th century known as the “Bolsheviks”, then Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution is one history book you should add to your list. The Bolsheviks murdered millions of Russian people since the start of the Russian revolution in 1917 where it is estimated that between 20 and 66 million who were executed, starved and even tortured to death, many in the labor camps known as the gulags. Nobel Prize winner and author of ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn declared that more than 66 million Russian people were murdered. Solzhenitsyn’s book was based on his personal experience as a prisoner, but it was also a well-researched document of what actually happened in the gulags according to eyewitness accounts. The Western elites wanted total control of Russia’s economy and society with a communist regime in place and they succeeded with their plans as the Bolsheviks became their enforcers; the Czars were eventually removed from power.
Recently in a speech regarding Crimea, President Vladimir Putin had said “In short, we have every reason to assume that the infamous policy of containment, led in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today.” There is truth to that statement; according to ‘Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ it is a historical fact that the Wall Street elites had planned to undermine Russia’s sovereignty dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. In the early 19th Century, Western Financiers created a revolution to overthrow Czarist Russia; Professor Sutton makes the connection between the United States and German interests in untapped Russian markets with prominent financiers such as J.P. Morgan, David Rockefeller and Leaders of the Bolshevik revolution Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Sutton explains his methods on how he obtained information:
Since the early 1920s, numerous pamphlets and articles, even a few books, have sought to forge a link between “international bankers” and “Bolshevik revolutionaries.” Rarely have these attempts been supported by hard evidence, and never have such attempts been argued within the framework of a scientific methodology. Indeed, some of the “evidence” used in these efforts has been fraudulent, some has been irrelevant, much cannot be checked. Examination of the topic by academic writers has been studiously avoided; probably because the hypothesis offends the neat dichotomy of capitalists versus Communists (and everyone knows, of course, that these are bitter enemies). Moreover, because a great deal that has been written borders on the absurd, a sound academic reputation could easily be wrecked on the shoals of ridicule. Reason enough to avoid the topic.
Fortunately, the State Department Decimal File, particularly the 861.00 section, contains extensive documentation on the hypothesized link. When the evidence in these official papers is merged with nonofficial evidence from biographies, personal papers, and conventional histories, a truly fascinating story emerges.
We find there was a link between some New York international bankers and many revolutionaries, including Bolsheviks. These banking gentlemen — who are here identified — had a financial stake in, and were rooting for, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Who, why — and for how much — is the story in this book
Professor Sutton asks:
“What motive explains this coalition of capitalists and Bolsheviks?”
He explains Wall Street’s intentions on creating the Bolshevik Revolution against Czarist Russia:
Russia was then — and is today — the largest untapped market in the world. Moreover, Russia, then and now, constituted the greatest potential competitive threat to American industrial and financial supremacy. (A glance at a world map is sufficient to spotlight the geographical difference between the vast land mass of Russia and the smaller United States.) Wall Street must have cold shivers when it visualizes Russia as a second super American industrial giant.
But why allow Russia to become a competitor and a challenge to U.S. supremacy? In the late nineteenth century, Morgan/Rockefeller, and Guggenheim had demonstrated their monopolistic proclivities. In Railroads and Regulation 1877-1916 Gabriel Kolko has demonstrated how the railroad owners, not the farmers, wanted state control of railroads in order to preserve their monopoly and abolish competition. So the simplest explanation of our evidence is that a syndicate of Wall Street financiers enlarged their monopoly ambitions and broadened horizons on a global scale. The gigantic Russian market was to be converted into a captive market and a technical colony to be exploited by a few high-powered American financiers and the corporations under their control. What the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Federal Trade Commission under the thumb of American industry could achieve for that industry at home, a planned socialist government could achieve for it abroad — given suitable support and inducements from Wall Street and Washington, D.C.
In an interesting note, Sutton explains how British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared that there was a “Jewish Conspiracy” to control the world. He believed that the Bolshevik Revolution was a first step towards that goal:
The argument and its variants can be found in the most surprising places and from quite surprising persons. In February 1920 Winston Churchill wrote an article — rarely cited today —for the London Illustrated Sunday Herald entitled “Zionism Versus Bolshevism.” In this’ article Churchill concluded that it was “particularly important… that the National Jews in every country who are loyal to the land of their adoption should come forward on every occasion . . .and take a prominent part in every measure for combatting the Bolshevik conspiracy.”
Churchill draws a line between “national Jews” and what he calls “international Jews.” He argues that the “international and for the most atheistical Jews” certainly had a “very great” role in the creation of Bolshevism and bringing about the Russian Revolution. He asserts (contrary to fact) that with the exception of Lenin, “the majority” of the leading figures in the revolution were Jewish, and adds (also contrary to fact) that in many cases Jewish interests and Jewish places of worship were excepted by the Bolsheviks from their policies of seizure. Churchill calls the international Jews a “sinister confederacy” emergent from the persecuted populations of countries where Jews have been persecuted on account of their race.
Winston Churchill traces this movement back to Spartacus-Weishaupt, throws his literary net around Trotsky, Bela Kun, Rosa Luxemburg, and Emma Goldman, and charges: “This world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing.”
Churchill then argues that this conspiratorial Spartacus-Weishaupt group has been the mainspring of every subversive movement in the nineteenth century. While pointing out that Zionism and Bolshevism are competing for the soul of the Jewish people, Churchill (in 1920) was preoccupied with the role of the Jew in the Bolshevik Revolution and the existence of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.
Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution is a must have for those who want to understand how far Wall Street will go to subjugate populations into perpetual slavery. They wanted total control of Russian society which resulted in the deaths of millions of people. The Russian people were victims of a conspiracy, one that Mr. Sutton’s brilliant research proves.
Many universities do not include ‘Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ in their syllabus as “required” reading materials. Of course, it can be labeled as “conspiratorial” and not relevant to Russian history especially in the American university system. However, it is a must read for those who wish to understand how Wall Street bankers were involved in funding a revolution to remove the Czars from power.
Every university, public and private schools around the world should include “Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ as a requirement for their history classes. Sutton connects the Russian revolution to Wall Street elites who funded the operation. It is an essential chapter in world history that allows you to understand how financial elites manipulate the politics and society so they can control the economy for their advantage. Not only educational institutions should include Professor Sutton’s books as part of their lesson plans, but every man, woman, child, historian, political scientist, economist or those who are simply looking for the truth, ‘Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ is one history book that should be in everyone’s library. It is a history lesson that should not be missed.
The movement to break away from Wall Street and form publicly-owned banks continues to gain momentum. But enthusiasts are deterred by claims that a state-owned bank would violate constitutional prohibitions against “lending the credit of the state.”
California’s constitution is typical. It states in Section 17: “The State shall not in any manner loan its credit, nor shall it subscribe to, or be interested in the stock of any company, association, or corporation . . . .”
The language sounds prohibitive, but what does it mean? Hundreds of state and local government entities extend the credit of the state. State agencies make student loans, small business loans, and farm loans. State infrastructure banks explicitly leverage the credit of the state. Legally, state and local governments are extending their credit to private banks every time they deposit their revenues in those banks. When money is deposited, it becomes the property of the bank by law. The depositor becomes a creditor with an IOU or promise to be repaid. The state or local government has thus lent its money to the bank.
How can these blatant extensions of the state’s credit be reconciled with the constitutional prohibitions against the practice?
North Dakota’s constitution has particularly strong language. Article 10, Section 18, provides:
The state, any county or city may make internal improvements and may engage in any industry, enterprise or business, not prohibited by article XX of the constitution, but neither the state nor any political subdivision thereof shall otherwise loan or give its credit or make donations to or in aid of any individual, association or corporation except for reasonable support of the poor, nor subscribe to or become the owner of capital stock in any association or corporation.
Yet this prohibition has not prevented the state from establishing its own bank. Currently the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, the Bank of North Dakota has been a stellar success and has been going strong ever since 1919. In Green vs. Frazier, 253 U.S. 233 (1920), the US Supreme Court upheld the bank’s constitutionality against a Fourteenth Amendment challenge and deferred to the state court on the state constitutional issues, which had been decided in the state’s favor.
In the nineteenth century, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and Indiana all had their own state-owned banks. Some were extremely successful (Indiana had a monopoly state-owned bank). These banks, too, withstood constitutional challenge at the US Supreme Court level.
Were the prohibitions against “lending the credit of the state” simply ignored in these cases? Or might that language have meant something else?
The Constitutional Ban on “Bills of Credit”: Colonial Paper Money
Constitutional provisions against lending the state’s credit go back to the mid-nineteenth century. California’s is in its original constitution, dated 1849. There was then no national currency, and the National Bank Act had not yet been passed.
Several decades earlier, the states had been colonies that issued their own currencies in the form of paper scrip. Typically called “bills of credit”, these paper bills literally involved the extension of the colony’s credit. They were credit vouchers used by the colony to pay for goods and services, which were good in trade for an equivalent sum in goods or services in the marketplace.
Prior to the constitutional convention in the summer of 1787, the colonies exercised their own sovereign power over monetary matters, including issuing their own paper money. After the collapse of the Continental currency during the Revolutionary War, largely due to counterfeiting by the British, the framers were so afraid of paper money that they expressly took that power away from the colonies-turned-states, and they failed to expressly give it even to the federal government. Article I, Section 10, of the U.S. Constitution provides:
No State shall . . . coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; . . . .
Congress was given the power “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.” But language authorizing Congress to “emit Bills of Credit” was struck out after much debate.
The Supreme Court ruled in the Legal Tender Cases after the Civil War that the power to coin money implied the power to print money under the Necessary and Proper Clause, legitimizing the Greenbacks issued by President Lincoln. But in 1850, no state government had the power to extend its own credit in the form of bills of credit or paper money, and whether the federal government had that power was a subject of debate.
However, the expanding economy needed a source of freely-expandable currency and credit, and when local governments could not provide it, private banks filled the void. They issued their own “bank notes” equal to many times their gold holdings, effectively running their own private printing presses.
Was that constitutional? No. The Constitution nowhere gives private banks the power to create the national money supply – and today, private banks are where virtually all of our circulating money supply comes from. Congress ostensibly delegated its authority to issue money to the Federal Reserve in 1913; but it did not delegate that authority to private banks, which have only recently admitted that they do not lend their depositors’ money but actually create new money on their books when they make loans. In the Bank of England’s latest Quarterly Bulletin, it states:
Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.
This broad exercise of the money power by private banks is nowhere to be found in our federal or state constitutions, but courts have managed to get around that wrinkle. In Constitutional Law in the United States, Emlin McClain summarizes the case law like this:
A state cannot, even for the purpose of borrowing money, exercise the sovereign power of emitting paper currency (Craig v. Missouri). But this prohibition does not interfere with the power of a state to authorize banks to issue bank notes in the form of due-bills or of similar character, intended to pass as currency on the faith and credit of the bank itself, and not of the state which authorizes their issuance.
The anomalous result is that state-chartered banks are able to issue credit that passes as currency, while state governments are not. But so the cases hold, and they apply to public banks as well as private banks.
Public Banks Held Constitutional
John Thom Holdsworth wrote in Money and Banking (1937) that in the mid-nineteenth century, “several of the states established banks owned entirely or in part by the state. There was some question as to the right of these state institutions to issue circulating notes, but the Supreme Court held that such notes were not ‘bills of credit’ within the meaning of the constitutional prohibition.”
In Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky, 36 U.S. 257 (1837), the Court observed that the charter of the challenged Kentucky state bank contained “no pledge of the faith of the state for the notes issued by the institution. The capital only was liable; and the bank was suable, and could sue.” The Court “upheld the issuance of circulating notes by a state-chartered bank even when the Bank’s stock, funds, and profits belonged to the state, and where the officers and directors were appointed by the state legislature.”
The Court narrowly defined the sort of “bill of credit” prohibited by Article 1, Section 10, as a note issued by the state, on the faith of the state, designed to circulate as money. Since the notes in question were redeemable by the bank and not by the state itself, they were not “bills of credit” for constitutional purposes. The Court found that the notes were backed by the resources of the bank rather than the credit of the state. Moreover, the bank could sue and be sued separate from the state.
These cases are still good law. A state bank – or city bank or county bank – is not in violation of state constitutional prohibitions against lending the credit of the state.
Other Ways to Avoid Constitutional Challenge
In light of those Supreme Court cases, it hardly seems necessary for a city to become a chartered city before establishing its own publicly-owned bank; but that is another way to circumvent this debate. The California Constitution gives cities the power to become charter cities; and while General Law Cities are bound by the state constitution, cities organized under a charter have broad autonomy. They can bypass large swaths of state law, including asserting their independence from the state’s supposed restrictions on lending.
For county-owned banks, the case is not as clear. In California, Government Code 23005 forbids counties from giving their “credit to or in aid of any person or corporation. An indebtedness or liability incurred contrary to this chapter is void.” But the US Supreme Court rulings validating state banks should be equally applicable to county banks; and in any case, enabling legislation can be crafted to allow public banks at any level of government.
There is another way to bypass this whole legal debate: by pursuing the initiative and referendum process pioneered in California. It allows state laws to be proposed directly by the public, and the state’s Constitution to be amended either by public petition (the “initiative”) or by the legislature with a proposed constitutional amendment to the electorate (the “referendum”). In California, the initiative is done by writing a proposed constitutional amendment or statute as a petition, which is submitted to the Attorney General along with a modest submission fee. The petition must be signed by registered voters amounting to 8% (for a constitutional amendment) or 5% (for a statute) of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for governor.
Before sufficient signatures could be collected, a widespread educational campaign would need to be mounted; but just informing the public on this little-understood subject could be worth the effort. Recall the words of Henry Ford:
It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
When enough people understand that private banks rather than governments create our money supply, imposing interest and fees that constitute an enormous unnecessary drain on the economy and the people, we might wake up to a new day in banking, finance, and the return of local economic sovereignty.
Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.
Filed under: Ellen Brown Articles/Commentary
Middle East Report Online - 13 May 2014
For the past 18 months the Israeli government has gradually raised the stakes in its campaign to pressure Palestinian Christians to serve in the Israeli military. In April, Israel upped the ante once again, announcing it would henceforth be issuing enlistment notices to Christians who have graduated from secondary school. This time, the Greek Orthodox patriarch responded, sacking a senior Nazareth priest, Jibril Nadaf, who had styled himself the spiritual leader of a small but vociferous group of Palestinian Christians who back the government campaign.
The enlistment drive began quietly in October 2012 with a clandestine “recruitment conference” arranged by the Defense Ministry to which Christian Scout groups, mostly from the Greek Catholic and Maronite communities, were invited. Then, in the summer of 2013, standing alongside Nadaf, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, went public. He declared at a press conference: “Members of the Christian community must be allowed to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). You are loyal citizens who want to defend the state. I salute you and support you. We will not tolerate threats against you and we will act to enforce the law with a heavy hand against those who persecute you.”
The April announcement was the first concrete step toward fulfilling Netanyahu’s vow, though for the time being the recipient will be able to treat the letter as an “invitation” rather than a formal draft notice. The military said it would begin by sending out 800 letters to Christians who had reached conscription age.
As the campaign proceeds, Israeli officials are watching carefully to see how the local Christian population responds and, more importantly, what reaction this effort provokes from the international community and church hierarchies.
The group of Palestinian Christians led by Nadaf has established a Forum for Christian Recruitment, which is advising the government on how to advance enlistment. Nadaf articulates their thinking: “We have broken through the barrier of fear. The time has come to prove our loyalty, pay our dues and demand our rights. Because the State of Israel is our heart, Israel is a holy state, a strong state, and its people, Jews and Christians alike, are united under one covenant.”
The overwhelming majority of Christians appear unpersuaded by such appeals and oppose military service, voluntary or otherwise. But Israeli officials employ a combination of pressures — arrests, threats of prosecution for incitement and civil suits for financial damages — to intimidate the scheme’s critics.
Meanwhile, church authorities inside Israel and abroad find themselves in uncomfortable territory, pushed by local congregants to act but loathe to antagonize the Israeli government. Both the Greek Orthodox Church, representing the largest Christian denomination in Israel, and the Vatican are heavily dependent on Israeli good will. Israel provides entry permits for priests and nuns to work in religious institutions, and mostly averts its gaze from the churches’ intentionally opaque tax and property affairs.
That may in part explain why appeals from Palestinian Christian leaders to Pope Francis to intervene during his May visit to the Holy Land have so far gone unheeded. For many months, the Greek Orthodox patriarch had also ignored repeated requests from the local community to defrock Nadaf. A spokesman revealed that senior clerics finally agreed to sack the priest. “We warned him before to keep to his priestly duties and not to interfere in matters of the army. When he did not heed our warning we held a meeting of the church court, which decided to sack him,” said ‘Isa Muslih.
Divide and Rule
Palestinian leaders in Israel, representing a minority of the country’s 1.5 million citizens, or one fifth of the population, view the government’s efforts to recruit Christians to the military as an elaboration of long-standing divide-and-rule policies.
Founded explicitly as a Jewish state, Israel has preserved the foundations of the Ottoman millet system, which gave each confessional group’s religious leadership exclusive control over personal status matters, such as marriage, divorce and burial. Having separated these confessional groups, Israel then granted preferential status to the Jewish community in many areas of the law, treating it as a part of a global Jewish nation and consequently entitled to national rights. Members of the Palestinian community are accorded only inferior sectarian or tribal identities: Muslim, Christian, Druze, Bedouin and Circassian.
Conscription has also been structured around these confessional identities. Israeli Jewish men are drafted for three years, and women for two, after graduating from high school, unless an individual is exempted on religious, physical or psychological grounds. Among the Palestinian minority, on the other hand, conscription has always been a hugely divisive issue.
Druze leaders signed an agreement with Israel in 1956 to draft all males from their community, which comprises one tenth of the Palestinian population. The tiny Circassian population followed suit. Both communities, vulnerable to sectarian fighting, preferred to seek the military patronage of the young state of Israel.
It seems there was little enthusiasm among the Israeli political and military establishments for conscripting Muslims. The Sunni Muslim population, today comprising 80 percent of the Palestinian minority, was seen as a potential fifth column, likely to ally with Israel’s enemies, whether Palestinian fighters in exile or neighboring Arab states. Giving the Muslim population military training and equipment was therefore ruled out.
In the state’s first decade, however, there were hopes that the small Christian community might be persuaded to agree to the draft. A key figure was George Hakim, the Greek Catholic bishop for the Galilee. He founded a Christian militia during the 1948 war, and many of his followers were allowed by Israel to return from exile in Lebanon at the end of the fighting. Hakim went on to transform the Greek Catholic Scouts into a Zionist youth movement, as a political counterweight to the joint Jewish-Arab Communist Party, which was the only mainstream non-Zionist movement permitted in Israel.
In 1958 Hakim considered signing an agreement on military service similar to what the Druze leadership had signed, but found little support among Christians. A photograph in Hillel Cohen’s book Good Arabs, on the early collaborators with the new state of Israel, shows Hakim seated next to Druze leader Sheikh Amin Tarif at an IDF parade marking Independence Day in 1959.
Instead, the Christian and Muslim communities received a general exemption from the draft. There is a provision for members of either community to volunteer, though communal leaders actively discourage such service.
The Bedouin, physically isolated from the rest of the Palestinian minority in their separate and heavily deprived villages, often in the semi-desert Naqab (Negev) region, have been among those most likely to volunteer, usually as trackers. Like the Druze, many were persuaded by a discourse that presented military service as proof of loyalty to the state and, consequently, a way to gain benefits and access to jobs. But in recent years the number of Bedouin volunteers has slowly declined, as the Bedouin come to understand that service rarely offers them escape from social and economic marginalization and strengthen their connections to external political actors, particularly the Islamic Movement.
Israel’s Model Christians
Israel’s intention is to end the current arrangement for the Christian community. Like the Druze, Christians account for about one tenth of Israel’s Palestinian population. Christian supporters of the enlistment campaign hope to reach an agreement with the government that would mirror the one between the state and the Druze.
In return for their conscription, the Druze are recognized as possessing very limited attributes of nationhood: Their ID cards identify them as “Druze” rather than generic “Arabs”; and they have their own education system, separate from the Arab one, emphasizing a narrative of Druze history that presents their community — and their allies, the Jews — as oppressed for centuries by Muslim rulers.
In practical terms, the benefits of military service for the Druze are chiefly individual rather than communal. After conscription, many are recruited to the prison service, where most work as lowly warders, or to the Border Police, a much-feared paramilitary force that operates in both Israel and the Occupied Territories. Most significantly, former Druze soldiers get preferential access to the scarce plots of land made available to the Palestinian minority. For many, given discriminatory land allocation and planning systems, it is their only hope of building a home legally.
Shadi Khaloul, a former Israeli paratrooper and spokesman for the Forum for Christian Recruitment, speaks of Christians needing to “live freely [and] rediscover our identity and history.” He highlights the importance of establishing a separate school system for Christians, reviving and teaching in the ancient and near-extinct language of Aramaic, which, like Hebrew, preceded Arabic in the Levant.
Khaloul is the model for the new Christian the Israeli government wants to cultivate. His grandparents were “present absentees,” or internal refugees, expelled in 1948 from the mostly Maronite village of Kafr Bir‘im in the Upper Galilee, one of the hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed during and after the war. Refugees from Kafr Bir‘im — along with those of another Christian village nearby, Iqrit – have battled without success to be allowed to return to their villages, based on a written promise by the army that their “evacuations” in 1948 were temporary. But Khaloul is not affiliated with this effort and indeed bears no obvious grudge over his family’s dispossession. Rather, he believes, exaggerated loyalty to the state is the best route to regaining his rights. He is fiercely proud of what he views as a native Judeo-Christian identity that predates the Arab conquests of the Holy Land.
His family, like many others from Kafr Bir‘im, ended up nearby in the village of Jish. But Khaloul refuses even to acknowledge this village’s Arabic name. For him, it is the ancient community of Gush Halav, and his identity is Maronite-Aramaic rather than Arab. Khaloul argues that the Maronites and Jews share the language of Aramaic and that both communities suffered persecution at the hands of Muslims for hundreds of years. Following pressure from Khaloul, Jish schools became the first in Israel to offer Aramaic classes until eighth grade, paid for by the Education Ministry.
Listening to Khaloul, one can understand why Israel has chosen this moment to push Christian military service. “We are part of Israel and it is important that we keep our country strong, especially when our brothers are being persecuted and slaughtered only a short distance away [in Syria and Egypt].”
The 2011 Arab uprisings and their aftermath provoked genuine fear among many Palestinians in Israel, especially Christians. They believe that these events demonstrate how easily communal relations can break down and turn to violence without strong state structures in place. Given its virile army and its financial and diplomatic support from the United States, Israel seems, at least to some, like the only reliable oasis of calm in the region.
Benjamin Netanyahu is keen to play on these fears. In a Christmas video message to local Christians, he referred to Christians as “loyal citizens” and urged the youth to enlist, adding that the Forum would “grant protection to supporters of enlistment and to the conscripts themselves from threats and violence directed at them.”
Hana Suwayd, a Christian member of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, was among those who read the prime minister’s comments as endorsing the formation of Christian militias. “He is trying to sell this to Christians with the idea that Israel will arm and train you to defend yourself against your Muslim neighbors.”
Suwayd and others are only too aware where such scare tactics could lead, as illustrated by a notorious incident a decade ago in the village of Rama in the central Galilee. There, a knife fight in which a Druze youth was fatally stabbed by a Christian teenager led to a campaign of intimidation of the village’s Christian population, culminating in Druze soldiers firing an anti-tank missile at the local church.
Nazareth Center Stage
Palestinian leaders in Israel regard Netanyahu as the driving force behind the military enlistment campaign. It was on Easter 1999, during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, that simmering sectarian tensions in Nazareth exploded into street fights between Christians and Muslims.
The conflict had been stoked by a series of cynical government interventions in the run-up to Pope John Paul II’s visit for the millennium. Netanyahu set up two ministerial committees to arbitrate in a dispute over control of a public square next to the city’s main holy site, the Basilica of the Annunciation. In an unprecedented decision, the government overruled the local municipality and backed the efforts of a group of Muslims to build a large mosque next to the Basilica. Planning permission was never granted, and the mosque was never built. But the initial government ruling ensured that sectarian strife mounted for many months, fueling tensions that have not entirely abated to this day.
The latest campaign to recruit Christians to the military is seen as an extension of Netanyahu’s earlier efforts. And again Nazareth, the effective capital of Palestinian citizens of Israel, has been thrust onto center stage. Home to the largest community of Christians in Israel, the city of 85,000 also has a two-thirds Muslim majority. Sectarian conflict here reverberates throughout the Palestinian minority.
The main political parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel have staged protests in the city, including one in April at which youths dressed as soldiers and carried toy rifles. They declared the area a closed military zone, setting up barbed wire and a mock checkpoint. The “soldiers” then acted out a show in which they harassed other youths as a way to highlight what military service in the Occupied Territories entails. A pamphlet handed out to passersby warned that Israel wanted to achieve “the disintegration of the Palestinian national minority into warring sects.”
The Higher Follow-Up Committee, the main political body representing the Palestinian minority, has also called for a major rally against the enlistment drive on May 17. Other leaders have urged Christian youngsters publicly to burn their call-up papers.
In addition to the Forum for Christian Recruitment, Nadaf’s followers have established in Nazareth the first joint Christian-Jewish political movement, called Bnei Habrit, or Children of the Covenant. It is led by Bishara Shlayan, a former merchant navy captain, whose uncle, Ihab, is the Defense Ministry’s adviser on Christian issues. Ihab Shlayan initiated the October 2012 conference to encourage Christian Scouts to join the military.
The party’s public platform is so far largely restricted to encouraging Christian enlistment and supporting Israel as a Jewish state. It has also launched a plan to erect a 100-foot statue of Jesus — modeled on Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer — on the Mount of Precipice, overlooking the city. The tourism minister, Uzi Landau, is reported to have given the project his blessing. Shlayan says the statue will be a “symbol of love and peace.”
From the start Israeli officials have sought to make examples of any prominent opponents of the enlistment drive.
Leaders from the Christian community in Nazareth heavily criticized the government’s original recruitment conference and Nadaf’s participation after details emerged in late 2012. Abir Kopty, a former Nazareth councillor and prominent blogger, and ‘Azmi Hakim, then head of the Greek Orthodox council, the Orthodox community’s political leadership, were called soon afterward for interrogation by the Shinbet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service. They were accused of incitement to violence and told to sign statements promising not to refer to Nadaf by name again. In what appeared to be an attempt at further intimidation, they were required to provide a DNA sample — in violation of Israeli law, according to Adalah, a legal organization for the Palestinian minority.
Israel’s Palestinian Knesset members have also rounded on Nadaf and his supporters, accusing them of being collaborators. Miri Regev, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party and head of the Knesset’s interior committee, responded by calling the MKs “Trojan horses” and urged the police to investigate them for incitement against Nadaf. The MKs’ parliamentary immunity has so far scotched such efforts. But Hakim and the Greek Orthodox council are now facing a civil action for harassment and defamation from Nadaf, who is suing each for $170,000.
Other protests have also been treated with the “heavy hand” promised in 2013 by Netanyahu. Police broke up a silent protest against Christian enlistment held by students on the campus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Three students were arrested.
And Ghassan Munayyir, a 44-year old political activist from the city of Lod in central Israel, was arrested in April after posting on Facebook photographs of Nadaf and other Palestinian Christians who met the finance minister, Yair Lapid, to discuss the introduction of a draft for Christians. Munayyir had commented: “For the sake of freedom of speech and transparency, the faces and names of the ‘honorable’ who appear in the following photos are the same ones who want to enlist your sons against your people. Remember this.” According to the police, these words constituted a “threat.” Munayyir was released to house arrest, but only after agreeing to the confiscation of his computer and phone.
At the same time that Netanyahu and Nadaf promote enlistment, a political ally of Netanyahu’s is pushing for the creation of a new Christian national identity, echoing the status already assigned to the Druze.
Yariv Levin, chairman of the ruling Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu faction, began by introducing a law, passed in February, that for the first time distinguishes between the rights of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. The measure is a minor one: It provides Christians with separate representation in the national employment advisory council. But it lays the foundations for a much grander scheme declared by Levin to create a Christian nationality, leaving the traditional “Arab” one to refer to Muslims only.
Levin makes no secret of his motives. In a February 14 interview with Haaretz, he said his legislative initiatives were meant to “connect us [the Jewish majority] and the Christians…. They’re our natural allies, a counterweight to the Muslims who want to destroy the country from within.”
Hanin Zu‘bi, a Palestinian MK, believes that the enlistment campaign is a sign of the Netanyahu government’s desperation: “It understands that our Palestinian identity has strengthened over the past decade and is doing everything it can to weaken us as a community. Netanyahu is effectively creating a loyalty test — serving in the army — that is required only of Christians. The implication is that Muslims are, by definition, disloyal.”
Providing additional help is a far-right youth group, Im Tirtzu. It is best known for waging a campaign of intimidation against “leftist trends” in schools and universities, working closely with senior Likud officials. It was involved, too, with the October 2012 recruitment conference and has been providing organizational and financial help to the Forum for Christian Recruitment ever since. Im Tirtzu is reticent about divulging its funding sources. But investigations by the Israeli media show that in 2008 and 2009 it received donations of over $100,000 from Christians United for Israel, a Christian Zionist organization led by US pastor John Hagee, a close ally of Netanyahu’s.
Despite the government’s aggressive promotion of the enlistment drive, the figures for new recruits are not terribly impresssive. According to the IDF, about 2,000 Christians reach the age of conscription each year. Currently, 150 are reported to be serving. The numbers volunteering since the launch of the enlistment campaign have risen marginally, from about 40 per year to around 50.
In another sign of the enlistment movement’s lack of a popular base, Shlayan’s new party avoided fielding candidates in Israel’s 2014 municipal elections, even in Nazareth.
Nonetheless, the success of Netanyahu’s enlistment campaign is probably not best measured in the number of new recruits it secures. His government in the late 1990s had no interest in upsetting the Vatican by building a mosque provocatively close to the Basilica of the Annunciation. Success could be gauged by the extent of the conflict the proposal generated, not the mosque’s realization.
And so it is with the draft of Christians. Netanyahu does not need many Christians to sign up for military service to sow discord, both between the various Christian denominations and more generally between the Christian and Muslim communities. And with the careful use of legislative changes, the government may think it can gradually prise apart Christians and Muslims, whether they approve or not.
Nazareth’s two recent divisive and closely run municipal elections serve as a warning of things to come. In the current climate, it was inevitable that the two main candidates would be seen by some of their followers as representing confessional rather than political identities: The long-time mayor, Ramiz Jaraysi, of the Communist-allied Democratic Front, is Christian, while his challenger, ‘Ali Salam, his former deputy who ran as an independent, is Muslim.
In the first election, in October 2013, Salam won by a handful of votes, a victory that was overturned a short time later after Jaraysi’s party demanded a recount. Jaraysi insisted on counting an envelope of postal ballots that had not been properly signed by election officials. Jaraysi’s win was secured by these votes, which — embarrassingly for him — were mostly from Nazareth’s volunteer soldiers, many of them probably Christian. As claims and counter-claims from both parties mounted, Israel’s supreme court ruled that a new election must be held.
That contest took place in March, and Salam won with a near two-thirds majority in an election in which sectarian sentiments came even more obviously to the fore. Salam has quickly tried to calm Christian concerns, including among his first decisions a declaration of March 25 — Annunciation Day — as a citywide holiday and the naming of a neighborhood as the “Virgin Mary Quarter.”
But as Nadim Nashif, director of Baladna, a youth movement in Haifa that is leading opposition to Christian enlistment, has observed, Salam’s actions are likely to be counterproductive, only reinforcing sectarian politics.
Most of the Palestinian leadership in Israel has interpreted the enlistment drive as primarily a renewed effort at divide and rule. Should Netanyahu succeed, he will have reversed the long-term commitment of Israel’s Christian and Muslim communities to unity. That would have damaging repercussions for the minority’s political institutions like the Higher Follow-Up Committee and its secular parties that cut across the sectarian divide.
‘Clash of Civilizations’
But there are signs that another, deeper goal may be motivating the government’s campaign to enlist Christian soldiers.
For many years Netanyahu and the Israeli right have cultivated ties to Christian Zionist movements in the US. The two sides have found mutual interests in an alliance. For Christian Zionists, Israel’s support is vital to realization of an “ingathering” of Jews to advance the supposed Biblical prophecy of the end of days and the return of the Messiah. For Israel, Christian Zionists have added lobbying clout in Washington and invested usefully in settlement projects in Jerusalem and other religious sites in the West Bank.
But surprisingly, until recently, Christian Zionists had had no visible involvement with or meaningful impact on the Christian Palestinian population in Israel.
Historically, Palestinian Christian leaders, far from adopting Zionist positions, have taken a prominent role in Palestinian national movements, whether through figures like George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or Azmi Bishara, who led the political campaign inside Israel to end its status as a Jewish state. Religious leaders, too, like Elias Chacour, the Greek Catholic archbishop of the Galilee, have had a profound effect on educating Christian communities abroad about the injustices perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinian minority. Books like his Blood Brothers or Anglican bishop Riyah Abu al-‘Assal’s Caught in Between became seminal texts for many pilgrims to the Holy Land.
Christians in Israel are also advocates for international campaigns against Israel, using their connections abroad, for example, to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement now championed by some overseas churches. Israel has become increasingly unnerved by what it terms “delegitimization,” with some believing this effort could soon be the biggest threat facing Israel.
None of this history fits comfortably with the Manichean thinking of the Israeli right, which presents Israel as sitting on the fault line between a Judeo-Christian west and the barbarian hordes of the Islamic east. Or as Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, explained, a Jewish state should act as “a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” Better for Netanyahu and the right if Palestinian opposition to Israel is limited to Islamic extremists.
In so far as is possible, the Israeli right may be hoping to reposition Palestinian Christians on Israel’s side of the divide, through a mixture of financial incentives, legislated privileges and mounting sectarian pressures derived from a presumed Muslim backlash. If such is the goal, then Christian Zionist movements in the US may be key allies, not least because of their deep pockets. Christian Zionists have been involved in supporting Israel for some time through organizations such as the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and evangelical broadcasters like GOD-TV. The latter network features Nasir Siddiki, a British preacher who converted to Christianity from Islam, and Benny Hinn, the Jaffa-born, Texas-based evangelist whose regular tours of the Holy Land enjoin participants to “experience Israel.”
But signs of involvement by US Christian Zionists in Nazareth and surrounding communities have also started to come to light. The first group of Palestinian Christian Zionists was recently established in the town of Kafr Yasif, near Acre. They are reported to have ordained a former Anglican priest as their bishop. Rumor has it that they are receiving overseas funds. There is the relationship between Im Tirtzu, Nadaf’s Forum and John Hagee. And Nazareth, after decades of central government opposition to establishing a university in the city, is now in line to be the home of a large branch campus of Texas A&M University, funded by donations raised by Hagee. This deal was dropped on Nazareth following behind-the-scenes negotiations involving President Shimon Peres and reportedly personally approved by Netanyahu. Local officials are not displeased, as the campus will bring an investment up to $100 million. The reality is, however, that the chief local beneficiaries will probably be Christian (as was the case with the massive injection of government funds in advance of the papal visit in 2000). Muslims in Nazareth may therefore resent the project.
It may be that Netanyahu hopes these financial ties will give incentive to some parts of the Palestinian Christian population, or its leaders, to move closer to support for Israel, along the lines of the Druze community. Universal backing from Palestinian Christians is unnecessary; noisy divisions within the community would be enough to underscore the Israeli right’s “clash of civilizations” thesis. With religious leaders like Nadaf at his side, Netanyahu can make a plausible case that brave Christians are speaking out while others are keeping a low profile for fear of retribution from the Muslim extremists among whom they live.
This argument, in the Israeli right’s thinking, could be an important weapon in weakening support among Christians overseas for BDS and other “delegitimization” campaigns. But along the way, such insinuations may intensify sectarian tensions between Palestinian Muslims and Christians to a breaking point. And that may be enough to ensure that Netanyahu’s clash of civilizations thesis becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.
Global Research and Countercurrents 6/5/2014 and Deccan Herald 9/5/2014
The majority of the British public who hold a view on genetically modified (GM) crops are against them (1). Yet the push to get them into the country and onto plates is in full swing. Strategically placed politicians like Secretary of State for Rural and Environmental Affairs Owen Paterson and scientists such as Professor Jim Dunwell and Sir David Baulcombe are conveying the message that GM food is both safe and necessary.
"… has cast biased press briefings such as one on GMOs, funded by Monsanto and invited unwitting and time-starved journalists… The quality of science reporting and the integrity of information available to the public have both suffered, distorting the ability of the public to make decisions about risk. The result is a diet of unbalanced cheerleading and the production of science information as entertainment." (5)
“The problem is that SMC pretends it's promoting the best science, but in fact it promotes a certain kind of science; those kinds of science that corporations and governments stand by in the area of science policy and want to see developed in terms of markets, like cloning, GMOs and to some extent pharmaceuticals as well. These are areas where there's a huge amount of potential profit to be made. Once it steps from supporting science to supporting science policy, SMC becomes political, even though it pretends not to be." (6)
"Extremely dangerous because it manages to convince the public and the mainstream media that it is an independent voice of science, whereas actually it is a small selection of industry-friendly scientists who are hand-picked." (6)
Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News- A congressional candidate named Allan Levene is proposing a solution to Israel’s problem with the Palestinians (since 1948) by creating a second ‘Israeli’ state in Eastern Texas. Yes, you read this right. Eastern Texas. According to the Times of Israel, Mr. Levene’s idea would only work if “eminent domain” is established by the US government and if Israel withdraws to it pre-1967 borders. That would set the stage for a ‘New Israel’ within the United States:
The idea, briefly, is to take (through eminent domain) roughly 8,000 square miles of sparsely populated land bordering the Gulf of Mexico and give it to Israel as a second, non-contiguous part of the State of Israel. Israel would get the land only if it agrees to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders
I would be curious to see how Texans would react to a Jewish homeland in East Texas. Besides one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States is located in San Antonio, Texas called ‘Christians United for Israel (CUFI)’ who wish to educate Christians on why they should support the State of Israel:
While millions of Christians support Israel, there are millions more who do not yet vocally stand up for the Jewish state. It is crucial to educate Christians on the Biblical and moral imperatives to support Israel and to build Christian support for Israel throughout America
If Levene’s plan follows through if he is elected to congress, Will Texans still support a state of Israel in their own backyard? But Levene says “everybody wins” if the US government agrees to partition the state of Texas:
Israel wins because it would gain a new, peaceful territory far from the strife of the Middle East, in a place where, as Levene suggests, “the climate is similar,” and Israel could “have access to the Gulf of Mexico for international trade.” The U.S. wins because it would no longer need to send Israel billions of dollars a year in foreign aid. Texas wins because of all the construction jobs from building an entirely new state within its borders. The Palestinians win because they get the West Bank, and because now Israel, too, gets to see just how fun it is to have a non-contiguous state. Everybody wins!
The father of modern-political Zionism and the founder of the State of Israel, Thomas Hertzl considered a number of locations including Uganda, Argentina and even Alaska to form a Zionist state of Israel. The Times of Israel also stated:
And, in fact, it’s an idea with plenty of precedent. Theodor Herzl temporarily embraced a British proposal to establish a Jewish homeland in Uganda (though the backlash against the idea almost destroyed the Zionist movement). And in 1938-40, various plans were floated to settle European Jewish refugees in the Alaska territories – a notion that later inspired Michael Chabon’s novel, “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.”
This idea of a Jewish State besides one based in Palestine is not new. An interesting event took place in Basel, Switzerland on August 26th, 1903. Before the British government offered the country of Palestine to the Zionist political movement in 1948, a country in Africa called Uganda was on the list of possible future Jewish settlements known as the “Uganda Plan”. Before Palestine was turned into the state of Israel, Uganda was seen as a possible home for the Jewish people who were persecuted in Russia. They were subject to anti-Jewish sentiments among the Russian population. Other areas in the world were also considered for a Jewish homeland including Patagonia in Southern part of Argentina. In Joseph Telushkin’s ‘Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History’ stated a historical fact that “Britain stepped into the picture, offering Herzl land in the largely undeveloped area of Uganda (today, it would be considered an area of Kenya).” The proposal was controversial to the Jewish community. The idea was rejected at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905. It is interesting to note that a small number of Jewish families did immigrate to Kenya before and after World War II, mostly in the capital of Nairobi. Today, there are a few hundred Kenyan Jews living in Nairobi.
It is hard to imagine the state of Israel in Africa. Besides, racism in Israel is comparable to Apartheid South Africa in the 1960’s. With Ethiopian Black Jews living in Israel facing unprecedented levels of racism including the forced massed sterilizations on Ethiopian women according to a report conducted by Haaretz in 2012 reported that “Women who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago say they were told they would not be allowed into Israel unless they agreed to be injected with the long-acting birth control drug Depo Provera, according to an investigative report aired Saturday on the Israel Educational Television program “Vacuum.” According to IRIN, a humanitarian news and analysis service launched by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2012, racism against Ethiopian Jews in Israel does exist:
An estimated 125,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, but while they are supposed to be full citizens with equal rights, their community has continued to face widespread discrimination and socio-economic difficulties, according to its leaders. A recent decision – as reported by local media – by 120 homeowners not to sell or rent their apartments to Israeli-Ethiopian families has brought discrimination against Ethiopian Jews in Israel back into the spotlight.
Hundreds of Ethiopian Israelis took to the streets on 18 January to protest the move by landlords in the southern city of Kiryat Malakhi – Shay Sium’s hometown.
It is an interesting part of history that forces to ask the question: What if Israel did make Uganda, a country in Eastern-Africa their home? If the Palestinians, Ethiopian and Sephardic Jews suffer from racism in modern-day Israel, imagine if Uganda was turned into a Jewish homeland? Would it have been another Palestine? “Shall we choose Palestine or Argentina? Thomas Hertzl wrote. Argentina? That would have been interesting, but Eastern Texas as the ‘New Israel’? Would Texan’s then be the new Palestinians? Creating a state through “eminent domain” would treat the citizens of Texas as such. And it sure won’t be a good start to diplomatic relations. What is interesting about Allan Levene is that he is running for a congressional seat in two states, Hawaii and Georgia under the Republican Party, but not in the state of Texas. Another very interesting note on Levene’s candidacy is that “He also wants to put conspiracy theories to rest by investigating national catastrophes with not one, not two, but three separate commissions.” I actually agree with his idea for new commissions, perhaps a new “911 commission?” Allan Levene’s proposal would not happen anytime soon, even if he is elected. But the real question we should ask is, would Washington and Brussels consider creating a ‘New Israel’ in Eastern Texas if a war were to take place in the Middle East resulting in the destruction of several countries including Israel? It does raise a serious debate.
War, Economic Catastrophe and Environmental Degradation. Under the Guise of Progress and Development
Do you believe in any “health conspiracy theories”? Do you believe that there are “natural cures” for diseases that the medical establishment is not telling you about? Do you believe that vaccines, cell phones or the fluoride in the water can have a harmful impact on the health of your family? If you answered [...]
Climate disruption and population growth are increasing the pressures on food supply. The challenge is to get more from existing land in a sustainable way, or people will go unfed.”
“We should have confidence in the scientific evidence which concludes that, when properly controlled, GM products are as safe as their conventional counterparts.”
Genetic scientist Jonathan Jones has weighed in by claiming:
“How anyone could think this is a bad thing boggles the mind. We need to better explain that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the GM method.”
"By no stretch of the imagination can these people be described as independent scientists. Their views should be treated with the same scepticism we would apply to any sales pitch."
"A group of scientists with financial interests in the success of GM wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in November, but waited four months to tell the press about it: just in time for EU discussions about regulation. Something certainly smells a bit fishy."
"This extraordinary report, published very conveniently to coincide with Owen Paterson’s attempts within the EU to dismantle GM regulations and to repatriate powers to the
, is in turns naive, biased, disingenuous, cynical, and downright dangerous. We find it incredible that five senior scientists can have been so dismissive of the work of scores of independent scientists who have discovered that GM organisms are directly and indirectly harmful to mammals and to the environment. In the world of science there should be respect for those whose findings are 'inconvenient." UK
"They are not employed by government or industry, and each works for different publicly funded universities and research institutes. For better or worse, it’s not unusual any more for universities and institutions to get bits and pieces of funding from government, charities and industry – indeed many can only access public money on condition that they raise a proportion of their funds from commercial or private sources. This does not automatically undermine their independence."
"It’s really just not good enough for a group of scientists who have a strong interest, it seems, through their funding sources, in persuading a reluctant public to accept the growing of GM crops in the UK, to be the ones who attempt to write the rule book on how that should happen."