Monday, May 23, 2016

Democracies end when they are too democratic - an article by Andrew Sullivan

In Eric Hoffer’s classic 1951 tract, The True Believer, he sketches the dynamics of a genuine mass movement. Hoffer’s core insight was to locate the source of all truly mass movements in a collective sense of acute frustration. Not despair, or revolt, or resignation — but frustration simmering with rage. Mass movements, he notes (as did Tocqueville centuries before him), rarely arise when oppression or misery is at its worst (say, 2009); they tend to appear when the worst is behind us but the future seems not so much better (say, 2016).
Mass movements, Hoffer argues, are distinguished by a “facility for make-believe … credulity, a readiness to attempt the impossible.” What, one wonders, could be more impossible than suddenly vetting every single visitor to the U.S. for traces of Islamic belief? What could be more make-believe than a big, beautiful wall stretching across the entire Mexican border, paid for by the Mexican government? What could be more credulous than arguing that we could pay off our national debt through a global trade war? In a conventional political party, and in a rational political discourse, such ideas would be laughed out of contention, their self-evident impossibility disqualifying them from serious consideration. In the emotional fervor of a democratic mass movement, however, these impossibilities become icons of hope, symbols of a new way of conducting politics. Their very impossibility is their appeal.
But the most powerful engine for such a movement — the thing that gets it off the ground, shapes and solidifies and entrenches it — is always the evocation of hatred. It is, as Hoffer put it, “the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying elements.” And so Trump launched his campaign by calling undocumented Mexican immigrants a population largely of rapists and murderers. He moved on to Muslims, both at home and abroad. He has now added to these enemies — with sly brilliance — the Republican Establishment itself. And what makes Trump uniquely dangerous in the history of American politics — with far broader national appeal than, say, Huey Long or George Wallace — is his response to all three enemies. It’s the threat of blunt coercion and dominance.

Could this explain why Trump and Sanders are popular with the American masses these days?

Andrew Sullivan has written a brilliant article which appears in the May 2, 2016 issue of New York Magazine. It should be a must-read for anyone serious about American (and some western nations) politics where fascist tendencies are seemingly alive and kicking. I quote below a few excerpts from his writing.
And Socrates seemed pretty clear on one sobering point: that “tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.” What did Plato mean by that? Democracy, for him, I discovered, was a political system of maximal freedom and equality, where every lifestyle is allowed and public offices are filled by a lottery. And the longer a democracy lasted, Plato argued, the more democratic it would become. Its freedoms would multiply; its equality spread.

And it is when a democracy has ripened as fully as this, Plato argues, that a would-be tyrant will often seize his moment.

Plato, of course, was not clairvoyant. His analysis of how democracy can turn into tyranny is a complex one more keyed toward ancient societies than our own (and contains more wrinkles and eddies than I can summarize here). His disdain for democratic life was fueled in no small part by the fact that a democracy had executed his mentor, Socrates.

Part of American democracy’s stability is owed to the fact that the Founding Fathers had read their Plato. To guard our democracy from the tyranny of the majority and the passions of the mob, they constructed large, hefty barriers between the popular will and the exercise of power. Voting rights were tightly circumscribed. The president and vice-president were not to be popularly elected but selected by an Electoral College, whose representatives were selected by the various states, often through state legislatures. The Senate’s structure (with two members from every state) was designed to temper the power of the more populous states, and its term of office (six years, compared with two for the House) was designed to cool and restrain temporary populist passions. The Supreme Court, picked by the president and confirmed by the Senate, was the final bulwark against any democratic furies that might percolate up from the House and threaten the Constitution. This separation of powers was designed precisely to create sturdy firewalls against democratic wildfires.
Over the centuries, however, many of these undemocratic rules have been weakened or abolished. The franchise has been extended far beyond propertied white men. The presidency is now effectively elected through popular vote, with the Electoral College almost always reflecting the national democratic will. And these formal democratic advances were accompanied by informal ones, as the culture of democracy slowly took deeper root. For a very long time, only the elites of the political parties came to select their candidates at their quadrennial conventions, with the vote largely restricted to party officials from the various states (and often decided in, yes, smoke-filled rooms in large hotel suites). Beginning in the early 1900s, however, the parties began experimenting with primaries, and after the chaos of the 1968 Democratic convention, today’s far more democratic system became the norm.

Direct democracy didn’t just elect Congress and the president anymore; it expanded the notion of who might be qualified for public office.

And so after demonizing most undocumented Mexican immigrants, he then vowed to round up and deport all 11 million of them by force. “They have to go” was the typically blunt phrase he used — and somehow people didn’t immediately recognize the monstrous historical echoes. The sheer scale of the police and military operation that this policy would entail boggles the mind. Worse, he emphasized, after the mass murder in San Bernardino, that even the Muslim-Americans you know intimately may turn around and massacre you at any juncture. “There’s something going on,” he declaimed ominously, giving legitimacy to the most hysterical and ugly of human impulses.

To call this fascism doesn’t do justice to fascism. Fascism had, in some measure, an ideology and occasional coherence that Trump utterly lacks. But his movement is clearly fascistic in its demonization of foreigners, its hyping of a threat by a domestic minority (Muslims and Mexicans are the new Jews), its focus on a single supreme leader of what can only be called a cult, and its deep belief in violence and coercion in a democracy that has heretofore relied on debate and persuasion. This is the Weimar aspect of our current moment. Just as the English Civil War ended with a dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell, and the French Revolution gave us Napoleon Bonaparte, and the unstable chaos of Russian democracy yielded to Vladimir Putin, and the most recent burst of Egyptian democracy set the conditions for General el-Sisi’s coup, so our paralyzed, emotional hyperdemocracy leads the stumbling, frustrated, angry voter toward the chimerical panacea of Trump.
And while a critical element of 20th-century fascism — its organized street violence — is missing, you can begin to see it in embryonic form.
Trump celebrates torture — the one true love of tyrants everywhere — not because it allegedly produces intelligence but because it has a demonstration effect. At his rallies he has recounted the mythical acts of one General John J. Pershing when confronted with an alleged outbreak of Islamist terrorism in the Philippines. Pershing, in Trump’s telling, lines up 50 Muslim prisoners, swishes a series of bullets in the corpses of freshly slaughtered pigs, and orders his men to put those bullets in their rifles and kill 49 of the captured Muslim men. He spares one captive solely so he can go back and tell his friends. End of the terrorism problem.
In some ways, this story contains all the elements of Trump’s core appeal. The vexing problem of tackling jihadist terror? Torture and murder enough terrorists and they will simply go away.
The racial aspect of this is also unmissable. When the enemy within is Mexican or Muslim, and your ranks are extremely white, you set up a rubric for a racial conflict. And what’s truly terrifying about Trump is that he does not seem to shrink from such a prospect; he relishes it.
For, like all tyrants, he is utterly lacking in self-control.
Those who believe that Trump’s ugly, thuggish populism has no chance of ever making it to the White House seem to me to be missing this dynamic. Neo-fascist movements do not advance gradually by persuasion; they first transform the terms of the debate, create a new movement based on untrammeled emotion, take over existing institutions, and then ruthlessly exploit events. And so current poll numbers are only reassuring if you ignore the potential impact of sudden, external events — an economic downturn or a terror attack in a major city in the months before November. I have no doubt, for example, that Trump is sincere in his desire to “cut the head off” ISIS, whatever that can possibly mean. But it remains a fact that the interests of ISIS and the Trump campaign are now perfectly aligned. Fear is always the would-be tyrant’s greatest ally.

Letter from Tom Andrews, President, United to End Genocide

Here below is a letter from Tom Andrews. Please, support the cause to end genocide of the Rohingya people.
Thanks to you, it’s not going to be business as usual in Burma.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was pressing hard for President Obama to lift all remaining economic sanctions on Burma. That would have allowed U.S. firms to do business with Burma’s military – a military that continues persecution and threats of genocide against the country’s Rohingya minority.

Thousands of activists like you joined with us and our friends at Fortify Rights, calling on President Obama to maintain the Administration's sanctions authority. And he did!

The Administration lifted some sanctions against certain banks and companies but because of our voices, they maintained the “blacklist” preventing human rights abusers from doing business with the United States.

We knew we were up against a powerful opponent and that it wouldn’t be easy to counter U.S. business interests clamoring for an open Burma despite that government’s systematic persecution of the Rohingya.

Together with our partners at Fortify Rights, we released a report, Supporting Human Rights in Myanmar: Why the U.S. Should Maintain Existing Sanctions Authority, documenting the Burmese government’s egregious denial of human rights through interviews with eyewitnesses and Rohingya survivors of abuse.

Human rights champions in Congress helped as well, sending a plea to President Obama. And Representative James McGovern (D-Mass.) distributed our report to every member of Congress, asking them to join our call for continued sanctions on Burma.

Your actions mattered the most – without the clear voice of American human rights advocates like you, it would be easy for President Obama to forget the Rohingya and yield to business interests.

Our work is far from over. 140,000 Rohingya Muslims suffer in wretched internment camps, while a million others face systemic persecution and discrimination. And the chorus of business leaders who want sanctions removed altogether will not let up.

As I made clear in an interview with and in a joint Foreign Policy opinion piece with Fortify Rights – now is not the time to ease up on Burma. The sanctions must be used to pressure government officials including Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, whose historic election to office signaled hope for the Rohingya.

Sadly, officials in Suu Kyi’s party have said that dealing with the Rohingya will not be a priority of the new government. Indeed, Suu Kyi avoids even saying the word “Rohingya.”

Thank you again for speaking up for the Rohingya. Our combined voices were critical to countering the voice of U.S. business interests, and I know we can count on you to continue being a voice for the Rohingya until they no longer face persecution and fear of genocide.

Israeli politics

Here is the link to an article on Moshe Yaalon's resignation and current events within the Likud government of Israel.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sumit Ganguly’s pseudo-analysis of Bangladesh

After reading Sumit Ganguly’s article - Bangladesh’s Accommodation of Extremism Spells Danger for Region (YaleGlobal Online) - I could not believe that I was reading an analysis from someone who holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington, and is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia. I feel sorry to state that it is a terrible piece.

It’s a disingenuous attempt by Ganguly to analyze Bangladesh. As an Indian-American of Bengali heritage his piece is full of dada babu (condescending, big brotherly) attitude, which many Bangladeshis would find very offensive. He describes Bangladesh as the "mostly poverty-stricken nation", while hiding the fact that in his native India there are more beggars than found in Bangladesh. Hundreds of millions of Indians don’t have the necessary sanitary and health care facilities. On some of the Human Development Indices, India’s record is simply abysmal and much worse than those of Bangladesh.

Religion is important to most South Asians. The subject matter would have benefited from an objective analysis and not something that is shallow and highly opinionated from an individual whose piece was unnecessarily too long and short on facts, analysis, structure and reflection.

Ganguly’s piece is also marred with many half- and full lies. He also insults the homegrown entrepreneurs that have been the real drivers for the economic miracles inside Bangladesh by foolishly lauding “massive infusions of foreign assistance as well as the dramatic growth of non-governmental organizations” for the economic progress. Where would Bangladesh be today if she had gotten a tenth of foreign assistance that India had received?

Ganguly says that Bangladesh’s “record in guaranteeing the rights of religious, ethnic and other minorities is abysmal.” Really? Let’s look at the facts and not unsubstantiated allegations, which Ganguly lobs so frequently. If he was serious to dig the truth he would have known that the status of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh is much better than those enjoyed by the Muslim minorities - politically, socially and economically - inside India. To her credit, the government of Sheikh Hasina has placed a Hindu as the chief justice bypassing some more qualified judges.

Like any other government in the region, Sheikh Hasina’s government has its share of problems and challenges though, and has been accused by the opposition of being authoritarian. But no one should doubt its record on protecting the rights of minorities. Contrary to Ganguly’s assertion, many have blamed Hasina government of appeasing Hindus at the cost of more qualified Muslims. Rakhine and other Buddhists from Myanmar have fared better inside Bangladesh than Rohingya Muslims.

Although Muslims comprise nearly 14 percent of Indian population, their share in government jobs is less than 2 percent. On the other hand, the share of jobs held by Hindus in Bangladesh government jobs is several times their percentage (9%) inside the country (and so is the case with Buddhists), which once again belies Ganguly's faulty claims to portray Bangladesh negatively.

The government of Sheikh Hasina has put many of the leaders of the Islamic parties not only behind the bar but also executed them audaciously in trials that have been widely criticized by the US and many western governments. And yet, Ganguly sounds alarming and alleges that Hasina government is in ‘denial about religious extremism’.

It is true that a Hindu blogger (Roy), known for his bigotry and hostility against Islam, was allegedly killed by Muslim fanatic(s). There is, however, no proof that the terrorist outfit ISIS, which, by the way, has killed more Muslims than non-Muslims, was ever involved in such a targeted assassination of Roy and other bloggers (mostly from Muslim background), and a university professor inside Bangladesh. The ISIS claims on such matters has no basis, and are seen more as a propaganda tool towards recruitment than anything else. Hasina government’s repeated claims that such killings were perpetrated by some extremists who found the views of those anti-Islamic zealots highly offensive may be quite right.

Ganguly should know that freedom of expression has limits everywhere. One has the right to stretch his/her fist but when it hits the face of someone, it is no longer treated as a right but as a violation of the right of the one being hit. Thus, Prime Minister Hasina was right when she condemned the excesses practiced by the anti-Muslim zealots that abused the freedom of expression to poison the community. She rightly said that “they have no right to write or speak against any religion. … When you are living in a society, you have to honor the social values, you have to honor others’ feelings.” It would be foolish to regard such statements as pandering to the religious extremists. They are actually delivered to inject some common sense to secular fundamentalists and anti-Muslim zealots who seem to be lacking such and have chosen to be oblivious of the limits of freedom.

Ganguly’s piece is full of unsubstantiated claims and gives a very bad name to the very institutions where he works. His accusations that Hasina government finds ‘tacit toleration of religious extremism, whether local or international, are manageable and useful’ or that it is co-opting ‘fundamentalists to further marginalize the already weakened BNP and its allies’ and that it is harnessing ‘religious bigots to pursue political ends’ are so ludicrous that I wish he had done his homework right before writing the article. An inquiry with the religious minded politicians and supporters inside Bangladesh would have shown that no administration has been so hostile to the religious ‘fundamentalists’ and ‘bigots’ since the birth of Bangladesh as the Hasina administration has been. The execution of powerful leaders like Nizami cements the case for her government.

Far from Ganguly’s ridiculous claims that Hasina regime is ‘flirting with Islamists’, it has proved to be the worst enemy of the ‘Islamists.’ In all fairness, his fear of the spread of the virus of extremism should have been directed to India and the Modi regime. After all, Modi’s BJP is a Hindutvadi fascist organization that is a member of the Sangh Parivar with a record of inciting violence against not only Muslims but all minorities inside India. It rules the center and many of the state assemblies. It has banned trading in and slaughter of cow in many of the states. Muslims have been killed on just mere suspicion of storing beef in their refrigerators. Muslim cattle traders have been lynched to death. Since the demolition of the historic Babri Mosque, scores of mosques and churches have been demolished and vandalized by Hindutvadi fascists that are aligned with the Sangh parivar.

With the recent BJP’s win in states like Assam, it is clear which direction India is heading. Prime Minister Modi remarked, “The polls have made it clear that the BJP’s ideology is being accepted, appreciated and supported by more and more people in the country. It is great for democracy.”

Ganguly ought to have known that in spite of many flaws with Bangladesh’s democracy, her people have never put a religiously inclined party to lead the country. Surely, the same cannot be said of his mother India where Hindutvadi fascists are ruling the so-called secular country and are winning big! Shockingly, they are even believed to win in 2019 also!Thus, rather than wasting his readers’ time, Ganguly could have done all of us a favor by focusing on India’s growing accommodation of Hindutvadi fascism which would spill danger for the region.

In recent years, Bangladesh has seen her share of political violence, execution of some top ‘Islamist’ leaders, and killings of anti-Muslim bigots and zealots who had offended Islam, but it would be paralysis of one’s wits to conclude that Bangladesh is accommodating religious extremism. 

In summary, Ganguly’s analysis of Bangladesh is a faulty one, and only unmasks his deplorable bias and offers nothing of substance. Pseudo pundits like him does a disservice to the reputation of institutes that they are attached with

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Where is Israel heading?

General Ya’ir Golan, the deputy Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, delivered a speech on Holocaust Memorial Day. He said, "If there is something that frightens me about the memories of the Holocaust, it is the knowledge of the awful processes which happened in Europe in general, and in Germany in particular, 70, 80, 90 years ago, and finding traces of them here in our midst, today, in 2016."

This speech by General Golan speaks volumes. He has compared today’s Israeli state with Hitler’s Germany. Ninety years ago in 1926 Germany was witnessing one of the last years of the Weimar Republic, which with its collapse brought the Nazis into power in 1933 (almost 80 years ago) who carried out the ‘final solution’ for the Jewish minority there. With an emboldened fascism and unfathomed power, Hitler took his nation into the Second World War (1939-1945) and ultimately committed suicide nearly 70 years ago in 1945, thus ending the Nazi Reich.

By any measure, pre-Hitler Germany was the most cultured European nation. It was the birthplace of Goethe, Beethoven and Kant. And yet 83 years ago, Germany democratically elected a psychopath like Adolf Hitler as its leader!

Today, Israel is touted as the only democracy in the Middle East, in spite of all its flaws.

Under Benjamin Netanyahu, is Israel witnessing the dawning of Jewish fascism? Many Israelis and westerners are dismissive of the brewing trouble, even after the resignation of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, probably the last of the so-called moderate voices within Netanyahu’s government. By so doing they forget that Hitler’s march to power started in 1929, when a terrible worldwide economic depression hit Germany hard. Hitler was able to exploit the depressing political - e.g., the humiliating surrender of Germany in World War One, the signing of the Versailles Pact, and loss of German territories to France and Belgium - and economic conditions (e.g., loss of millions of jobs) to rally the German crowd behind the Nazi ideology. It took only took another four years for his party to become the most popular party in Germany and put him into power. Fuehrer Hitler was treated as the new savior and saying "Heil Hitler" became the norm everywhere inside Germany.

Netanyahu and his Likud Party are seen as the saviors of the Jewish people by many Israelis today while the discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian people is at an all time high -- comparable to the treatment of the Jews in the first phase of Nazi Germany. 

Israeli government actions against protesting Palestinians have been excessively harsh, and often times tantamount to torture. This was also the conclusion of a U.N. panel against torture, which on Friday expressed concerns about allegations of "excessive use of force," including deadly force, by Israeli security forces in the Palestinian Territories, and warned about authorities barring access to detained suspects, including minors.

The Committee Against Torture, which works under the office of the UN human rights chief, released its "concluding observations" about Israel and five other countries that included France, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines — as part of regular reviews by the panel.

In a 12-page segment on Israel, the committee pointed to "allegations of excessive use of force, including lethal force, by security forces" at demonstrations, in response to attacks or alleged attacks against Israelis and took aim at Israel's controversial policy of administrative detention, under which it can arrest suspects and hold them without charge for months at a time. 

The committee said that 700 people — including 12 minors — were reportedly in administrative detention even as its members were discussing the issue with Israeli officials. Panel co-chair Jens Modvig of Denmark said administrative detentions can last "for months or even years," with almost no access to those detained.

But such incriminatory reports from the U.N. will not be able to stop Israeli government crimes against the Palestinian people. Instead, with powerful friends in the West and the U.N., Israel is seemingly on a slippery slope towards fascism under Netanyahu.
As peace activist Uri Avnery has recently pointed out the deluge of racist bills in the Knesset, those already adopted and those in the works, strongly resembles the laws adopted by the Reichstag in the early days of the Nazi regime. Like the racist Nazis, some Jewish rabbis are calling for a boycott of Arab shops.
The call ‘Death to the Arabs’ ("Judah verrecke"?) is regularly heard at soccer matches. A member of parliament has called for the separation between Jewish and Arab newborns in hospital. A Chief Rabbi has declared that Goyim (non-Jews) were created by God to serve the Jews. Our Ministers of Education and Culture are busy subduing the schools, theater and arts to the extreme rightist line, something known in German as Gleichschaltung. The Supreme Court, the pride of Israel, is being relentlessly attacked by the Minister of Justice. The Gaza Strip is a huge ghetto,” opines Avnery.
Netanyahu has recently named Avigdor Lieberman to replace defence minister Yaalon. Lieberman is known for his gross racism, and has called for the execution of Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament who reportedly met with members associated with Hamas, and has signed on to controversial legislation, such as the so-called "loyalty oath" that would be required of Israeli citizens to maintain their citizenship. He has also called for the annexation of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and for the transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Israel has been a colonial enterprise, and thus, Lieberman’s unfiltered remarks should not come as a surprise to anyone. Since its illegal birth, nearly seven decades ago, the apartheid state has been in the business of grabbing Palestinian-owned land. As I have noted elsewhere the entire litany of episodes that led to the implantation of European Jewry in the Holy Land - from the Balfour Declaration, nearly a century ago, to the highly controversial plan by the United Nations to partition Palestine in the aftermath of World War Two to today's land-grabbing activities - have all been illegal.

Before the apartheid state was born the Jewish community in Palestine owned only 2.5 % of the total land, and yet it was given 56% of the total land in one of the most outrageous crimes of the last century. The Palestinians and neighboring Arabs were not consulted by the UN in this criminal land distribution. The rest is history. Israel was born 68 years ago.

In its so-called War of Independence, the newly declared Jewish state with its Zionist terrorists succeeded not only onto grabbing 77% of the total land, which was 21% more than what the UN allotted, but also into evicting nearly 770,000 indigenous Palestinians from their ancestral homes. In the 1967 War, Israel was able to occupy the remainder part of Palestine. She has been slowly but steadily, ever since, doing everything possible to let the Jewish settlers from outside to grab the personal land properties of the Palestinians. 

Consider, e.g., the case of Muhammad Abu Ta’ah, whose story has been captured recently by Charlotte Silver in the Electronic Intifada. Last November, Abu Ta’ah arrived at his property in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem only to find it had been fenced off by contractors.

On the three-dunum plot of land, construction had begun on a four-story, 70-office building that would make up the new headquarters for the private settler group Amana.

The property had once been part of an expansive 4,000 dunums (nearly 1,000 acres) of land which Israel expropriated in 1968, one year after its military occupied East Jerusalem. On that land, the state built the French Hill and Ramat Eshkol settlements, in addition to a government compound.

Much of this land had been owned by the Abu Ta’ah family. Until now, they had retained this last slice of property, located between a Palestinian hospital and a main thoroughfare, rented part of it to a car business and turned the rest into a large parking lot.

But now it belongs to Amana, the development arm of the Gush Emunim settlement movement, which has been integral to Israeli colonization of many parts of the occupied West Bank.

Amana also owns Al-Watan, a company based in the West Bank that buys Palestinian land for Jewish settlement and which has been involved in forging Palestinian signatures in dubious land purchases.

new investigation by the settlement watchdog group Peace Now reveals how several Israeli ministries, led by the Israel Land Administration (ILA), went to extraordinary lengths to steal the Abu Ta’ah family’s last piece of land in order to give it to Amana.

The investigation shows that at every step of the way, the ILA helped Amana circumvent bureaucratic roadblocks to ensure the land became theirs.

“First they exempted Amana from the duty to hold a tender,” Hagit Ofran of Peace Now told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz.

“Then they approved its building plan without it having any real rights to the land. Later the finance minister signed an expropriation in order to retrospectively whitewash the transfer of the land to Amana, and finally, today too, the state continues to fiercely guard this illegal behavior in court, instead of righting the wrongs and returning the land to its owners.”

With all the filthy money pouring in from overseas, the settlement activities in the Occupied Palestine are going on non-stop and I see no cessation of such illegal activities any time soon.

Israel recently celebrated her birthday, while it was a Day of Catastrophe for all Palestinians. They call it ‘Al-Nakbah’ Day. Nada Elia, a Palestinian, wrote on the significance of this day, "Sixty-eight years into our catastrophe, Palestinians in the West Bank are still losing towns, homes, land, olive groves, to the Zionist settlers."

But more problematic is the attitude of Israeli Jews on the recent execution style murder of an injured Palestinian youth in Hebron by a trigger-happy Israeli soldier. The latter is treated as a hero, and asked to be decorated by the state. During his trial, Lieberman entered the crowded courtroom in order to express his solidarity with the soldier. Prime Minister Netanyahu also called his father to assure him of his support.

When a war criminal is celebrated as a celebrity, there is something utterly wrong in that society.

General Golan has been quite prophetic about the recent appointment of Lieberman as the Defense Minister. The appointment says a lot about the direction Israel is heading.

History has shown that democracy is not a sufficient bulwark against the rise of fascism – something that needs to be pondered seriously not only by the Israelis but also by the Americans and Europeans with the rise of populist fascists in their midst these days.

Why Rohingya? - an article by Wai Wai Nu

Growing up as a Rohingya inside Myanmar is not an easy thing. It is actually quite dangerous. Wai Wai Nu is a courageous Rohingya young woman who has written a very good article on this subject. Her article can be read by clicking here.

Parallels between Netanyahu's Israel and Hitler's Germany

Uri Avnery's latest article can be viewed by clicking here.