Category Archives: Extremists

Our Broken System has no “Moderate” Devotees

Western politics is tearing itself apart, polarising into two camps – or at least, it is in the official narrative we are being fed by our corporate media. The warring camps are presented as “moderate centrists”, on one side, and the “extreme right”, on the other. The question is framed as a choice about where one stands in relation to this fundamental political divide. But what if none of this is true? What if this isn’t a feud between two opposed ideological camps but rather two differing – and irrational – reactions to the breakdown of late-stage capitalism as an economic model, a system that can no longer offer plausible solutions to the problems of our age?

Neighbouring news headlines this week offered a neat illustration of the media’s framing of the current situation. Representing the “moderates”, German chancellor Angela Merkel made a “passionate address” in which she denounced the outbreak of far-right protests in east Germany and reports of the “hunting down” of “foreigners” – asylum seekers and immigrants.

She observed:

There is no excuse or explanation for rabble-rousing, in some cases the use of violence, Nazi slogans, hostility towards people who look different, to the owner of a Jewish restaurant, attacking police.

Ostensibly pitted against Merkel is Viktor Orban, Hungary’s “extreme right” prime minister. Hungary risks being stripped of its voting rights in the European Union because of Orban’s “rabble-rousing” policies and his anti-migrant agenda.

Shortly before the European parliament voted against Hungary, accusing its government of posing a “systematic threat” to democracy and the rule of law, Orban argued that his country was being targeted for preferring not to be “a country of migrants”.

He is far from an outlier. Several other EU states, from Italy to Poland, are close behind Orban in pursuing populist, anti-immigrant agendas.

Family feud

But does this civil war in Europe really reflect a divide between good and bad politics, between moderates and extremists? Are we not witnessing something else: the internal contradictions brought to the fore by a turbo-charged neoliberalism that is now so ideologically entrenched that no one dares question its suitability, let alone its morality?

In truth, the row between Merkel and Orban is a family feud, between sister and brother wedded to the same self-destructive ideology but in profound disagreement about which placebo should be administered to make them feel better.

What do I mean?

Merkel and the mainstream neoliberal elite are committed to an ever-more deregulated world because that is imperative for a globalised economic elite searching to accrue ever more wealth and power. That elite needs open borders and a lack of significant regulation so that it can plunder unrestricted the Earth’s resources – human and material – while dumping the toxic waste byproducts wherever is most profitable and convenient.

In practice, that means creating maximum damage in places and against life-forms that have the least capacity to defend themselves: the poorest countries, the animal kingdom, the forests and oceans, the weather system – and, of course, against future generations that have no voice. There is a reason why the deepest seabeds are now awash with our plastic debris, poisoning and killing marine life for decades, maybe centuries, to come.

Interestingly, this global elite makes a few exceptions to its policy of entirely open borders and sweeping deregulation. Through its pawns in the world’s leading capitals – the people we mistakenly think of as our political representatives – it has created small islands of opacity in which it can stash away its wealth. These “offshore tax havens” are highly regulated so we cannot see what goes on inside them. While the elite wants borders erased and the free movement of workers to set one against the other, the borders of these offshore “safe deposit boxes” are stringently preserved to protect the elite’s wealth.

International order

Meanwhile, the global elite has created international or trans-national structures and institutions precisely to remove the power of nation-states to regulate and dominate the business environment. The political class in the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Mexico or Brazil do not control the corporations. These corporations control even the biggest states. The banks are too big to fail, the arms manufacturers too committed to permanent war to rein in, the largely uniform narratives of the corporate media too powerful to dissent from.

Instead, global or trans-national institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary, the European Union, NATO, BRICS and many others, remake our world to promote the globalised profits of the corporations.

The United Nations – a rival international project – is more problematic. It was created immediately after the Second World War with the aim of imposing a law-based international order, premised on respect for human rights, to prevent future large-scale wars and genocide. In practice, however, it chiefly serves the interests of the dominant western states through their capture of the Security Council, effectively the UN’s executive.

A few UN institutions – those in charge of human rights and prosecuting war crimes – that have the potential to restrain the power of the global elite find themselves ever more marginalised and undermined. Both the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court have been under sustained assault from US officials, both before and after Donald Trump became president.

Towards the abyss

The internal contradictions of this globalised system – between the unfettered enrichment of the elite and the endless resource depletion of the Earth and its weakest inhabitants – are becoming ever more apparent. Historically, the toxic waste from this system was inflicted on the poorest regions first, like puddles forming in depressions in the ground during a rainstorm.

As the planet has warmed, crops have failed, the poor have gone hungry, wars have broken out. All of this has been an entirely predictable outcome of the current economics of endless, carbon-based growth, coupled with resource theft. But unlike puddles, the human collateral damage of this economic system can get up and move elsewhere. We have seen massive population displacements caused by famines and wars, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. These migrations are not about to stop. They are going to intensify as neoliberalism hurtles us towards the economic and climate abyss.

The political class in the west are now experiencing profound cognitive dissonance. Merkel and the “moderates” want endless growth and a world without borders that is bringing gradual ruination on their economies and their privileges. They have no answers for the “extremists” on the right, who acknowledge this ruination and say something needs to be done urgently about it.

Orban and the far-right want to fiercely resurrect the borders that globalisation erased, to build barriers that will stop the puddles merging and inundating their higher ground. This is why the right is resurgent. They, far more than the moderates, can describe our current predicament – even if they offer solutions that are positively harmful. They want solid walls, national sovereignty, blocks on immigrants, as well as racism and violence against the “foreigners” already inside their borders.

The system is broken

We have to stop thinking of these political debates as between the good “moderates” and the nasty “extreme right”. This is a fundamental misconception.

The deluded “moderates” want to continue with a highly unsustainable form of capitalism premised on an impossible endless growth. It should be obvious that a planet with finite resources cannot sustain infinite growth, and that the toxic waste of our ever-greater consumption will poison the well we all depend on.

The west’s deluded far-right, on the other hand, believe that they can stand guard and protect their small pile of privilege against the rising tide of migrants and warming oceans caused by western policies of resource theft, labour exploitation and climate destruction. The far-right’s views are no more grounded in reality than King Canute’s.

Both sides are failing to grasp the central problem: that the western-imposed global economic system is broken. It is gradually being destroyed from within by its own contradictions. The “moderates” are doubly blind: they refuse to acknowledge either the symptoms or the cause of the disease. The “extremists” are as oblivious to the causes of the illness besetting their societies as the “moderates”, but they do at least recognise the symptoms as a sign of malaise, even if their solutions are entirely self-serving.

Squaring the circle

This can be seen in stark fashion in the deep divide over Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, so-called Brexit, which has cut across the usual left-right agendas.

The Remain crowd, who want to stay in Europe, believe Britain’s future lies in upholding the failed status quo: of a turbo-charged neoliberalism, of diminishing borders and the free movement of labour, of distant, faceless technocrats making decisions in their name.

Like a child pulling up the blanket to her chin in the hope it will protect her from the monsters lurking in the darkness of the bedroom, the “moderates” assume European bureaucrats will protect them from economic collapse and climate breakdown. The reality, however, is that the EU is one of the trans-national institutions whose chief rationale is accelerating our rush to the abyss.

Meanwhile, the Brexit crowd think that, once out of the EU, a small island adrift in a globalised world will be able to reclaim its sovereignty and greatness. They too are going to find reality a terrifying disappointment. Alone, Britain will not be stronger. It will simply be easier prey for the US-headquartered global elite. Britain will be jumping out of the EU frying pan into the flames of the Atlanticists’ stove.

What is needed is not the “moderates” or the “extreme right”, not Brexit or Remain, but an entirely new kind of politics, which is prepared to shift the paradigm.

The new paradigm must accept that we live in a world that requires global solutions and regulations to prevent climate breakdown. But it must also understand that people are rightly distrustful of distant, unaccountable institutions that are easily captured by the most powerful and the most pitiless. People want to feel part of communities they know, to have a degree of control over their lives and decisions, to find common bonds and to work collaboratively from the bottom-up.

The challenge ahead is to discard our current self-destructive illusions and urgently find a way to solve this conundrum – to square the circle.

How will US Jerusalem Move Affect Israel’s Far Right?

Donald Trump’s recognition this week of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, overturning seven decades of US policy in the region and effectively ending hopes of a two-state solution, has provoked dire warnings.

But the focus by commentators on Palestinian reactions, rather than the effect on the Israeli public and leadership, might have underestimated the longer-term fallout from Trump’s move, analysts say.

Predictions have included the threat of renewed violence – even an uprising – from Palestinians; the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians’ government-in-waiting, and its diplomatic strategy for two states; and the demise of Washington’s claim to be serving as a credible peacemaker.

But according to analysts, more far-reaching – and disruptive – undercurrents will likely be set in motion by Trump’s decision.

Few have factored in the likely effect of Trump’s new Jerusalem policy on the Israeli public, which has been shifting steadily to the right for most of the past two decades. The city and its contested holy sites have gained an increasingly powerful religious and national symbolism for many Israeli Jews.

The fear is that Trump’s effective rubber-stamping of the right’s political goals in Jerusalem will further radicalise both sides of the divide – and accelerate processes that have been turning a long-standing national conflict into a more openly religious one.

‘Tipping point’

“We may remember this date as the tipping point, as the moment when a new consensus emerged in Israel behind the idea of total Jewish supremacy,” journalist David Sheen, an expert on Israel’s far-right movements, told Al Jazeera.

Similar concerns were expressed by Yousef Jabareen, a Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament.

“We can expect to see a move rightwards across Israeli society,” he told Al Jazeera. “The centre-left parties were already tacking much closer to the right. They will now want to align themselves with Trump’s position. Meanwhile, the right will be encouraged to move to the extreme right.”

Both noted that Avi Gabbay – the recently elected leader of the Zionist Union, the official opposition and the party that was once the backbone of the Israeli peace camp – had begun espousing positions little different from those of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last week, Gabbay backed Trump’s announcement, saying that recognition of Jerusalem was more important than a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Sheen said that traditionally, the centre-left had been restrained in its political positions by concerns about alienating the United States: “Netanyahu has shown that he can bring the US round to his way of thinking by staying the course. In many Israelis’ eyes, he has now been proved right. The centrists may decide it is time to come onboard. Allying with the Republican right and the Christian evangelicals in the US may now look like a much safer bet.”

Settler movement spawned

The possible effects of Trump’s announcement on Israelis have been largely overlooked, even though previous turning points in the conflict have consistently resulted in dramatic lurches rightwards by the Israeli public.

Given Israel’s power over the Palestinians, these changes have played a decisive role in leading to the current impasse between Israel and the Palestinians, analysts note.

Most obviously, Israel’s seemingly “miraculous” victory in the 1967 war, defeating the armies of neighbouring Arab states in six days, unleashed a wave of Messianic Judaism that spawned the settler movement.

A new religious nationalism swept parts of the Israeli public, driving them into the occupied Palestinian territories to claim a supposed Biblical birthright.

Other major events have had a decisive effect too. Unexpectedly, the Oslo peace process, launched in the mid-1990s, persuaded many non-religious Israeli Jews to move into settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, doubling the numbers there in a few years.

Into the far right’s arms

Alan Baker, a legal adviser to the Israeli foreign ministry in that period, explained Israelis’ peculiar reading of the Oslo Accords. In their view, Oslo meant Israel was “present in the territories with their [the Palestinians’] consent and subject to the outcome of negotiations”.

In other words, many Israelis believed that the Oslo process had conferred an international legitimacy on the settlements.

Later, in 2000, after the Camp David summit collapsed without the sides agreeing to a two-state solution, Ehud Barak, Israel’s then-prime minister, blamed Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians. He said they were “no partner” for peace.

As a result, Israelis deserted the peace camp and drifted into the arms of the right and far-right. Netanyahu has reaped the benefits, leading a series of ultra-nationalist governments since 2009.

Now Trump’s decision on Jerusalem effectively gives Washington’s blessing to Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and five decades of creating facts on the ground there, said Jabareen.

“Trump has legitimised the far-right’s argument that Israel can control all of Jerusalem by sheer force, by denying Palestinians their rights and by creating facts on the ground,” he said.

Demands for annexation

With their policy of aggressive unilateralism now paying dividends in the US, the settlers and the ultra-nationalists were unlikely to be satisfied with that success alone, he added. “The danger is that the religious right’s narrative will now seem persuasive at other sites in the occupied territories they demand, such as Hebron and Nablus.”

Since Trump’s election a year ago, Naftali Bennett, the Israeli education minister and the leader of the main settler party, has begun calling for Israel to seize the opportunity to annex West Bank settlements.

Pressure is likely now to mount rapidly on Netanyahu to shift even further to the right.

On the 972 website, Noam Sheizaf, an Israeli analyst, observed that Trump’s declaration had boosted the settlers’ position that “in the long run ‘facts on the ground’ are more important than diplomacy and politics, and that Israel will eventually win legitimacy for its actions”.

Effects in Jerusalem

The most immediate effects, according to Ir Amim, an IsraeIi human rights organisation, will be felt in Jerusalem itself. Government ministers have already drafted legislation to bring large West Bank settlements under Jerusalem’s municipal authority, as a way covertly to annex them.

There are also plans to strip large numbers of Palestinians of their Israeli-issued Jerusalem residency papers because they live outside the separation wall Israel built through the city more than a decade ago. That would cement a new, unassailable right-wing Jewish majority in Jerusalem.

Last week, Ir Amim warned in a statement that Trump’s move would be certain to “embolden” such actions by the Israeli right and provide a “tailwind” to those determined to pre-empt a two-state solution.

Assad Ghanem, a politics professor at Haifa University, told Al Jazeera: “Trump has given a legitimacy to the right’s Messianic agenda. He has adopted the language of the extreme right on Jerusalem – that it is Israel’s eternal, united capital. The far-right will declare this a victory.”

In parallel, Trump’s seal of approval for Israel’s takeover of Jerusalem is likely to intensify the city’s religious symbolism for Jews – and the importance of Israeli sovereignty over al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Ghanem noted.

Temple movements

In recent years, a growing number of rabbis have been overturning a centuries-old consensus that al-Aqsa compound is off-limits to Jews because it was not known where the ruins of an earlier Jewish temple lay. In Jewish tradition, it is forbidden to walk over an inner sanctum, known as the Holy of Holies.

Today, Jews regularly enter the compound and some even pray there. Settler rabbis and far-right government ministers have called for dividing the compound between Israelis and Palestinians, creating huge tensions with Palestinians.

Meanwhile, a once-fringe movement of Jewish supporters who wish to destroy the mosque to rebuild the ancient Jewish temple in its place, are gradually moving into the mainstream. Trump’s move will be a shot in the arm to their ambitions and their credibility, said Sheen, who has studied the temple movements.

He pointed out that immediately after Trump’s declaration, these groups had uploaded a cartoon of Trump standing in al-Aqsa compound, in front of the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, imagining the Jewish temple in its place. Trump is shown saying in Hebrew: “This is the perfect spot!”

Sheen said: “This will be treated as a call to arms by these groups.”

New tools of resistance

Will the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital have similarly dramatic long-term effect on Palestinian public opinion? Analysts believe it will. The lack of an outpouring of significant anger – even after Palestinian leaders called for three days of rage last week – could be deceptive.

Israeli analysts have suggested that there is often what they term an “incubation period” – a delay between a major change in Israel’s favour and a popular reaction from Palestinians. That was true of the second Intifada, which came months after the collapse of the Camp David summit.

An expectation of knee-jerk anger to Trump’s decision may be misplaced, say analysts. The decision may result in a slower and much deeper process of adjustment to the new reality.

“Palestinians will now have to abandon the old tools of national struggle, because they have been shown to be ineffective. We need new tools of resistance, and that will require a grassroots struggle. We need a return to mass protests,” Jabareen said.

Ghanem noted the danger that, with the likely growth of a Jewish religious extremism in Israel and among the settlers, some Palestinians might drift towards violence.

But he expected that a more significant trend would be Palestinians reassessing the end goal of their struggle and opting for mass civil disobedience.

“The two-state solution is obviously now finished, and that is likely to mobilise a new generation to struggle for a single state,” he said. “Activists and the leadership will need to rebuild Palestinian nationalism.”

• First published in Al Jazeera

What Went Wrong in Charlottesville?

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem.

— Ronald Reagan

Corruption. Graft. Intolerance. Greed. Incompetence. Ineptitude. Militarism. Lawlessness. Ignorance. Brutality. Deceit. Collusion. Corpulence. Bureaucracy. Immorality. Depravity. Censorship. Cruelty. Violence. Mediocrity. Tyranny.

These are the hallmarks of an institution that is rotten through and through.

What you smell is the stench of a dying republic. Our dying republic.

The American experiment in freedom is failing fast.

Through every fault of our own—our apathy, our ignorance, our intolerance, our disinclination to do the hard work of holding government leaders accountable to the rule of law, our inclination to let politics trump longstanding constitutional principles—we have been reduced to this sorry state in which we are little more than shackled inmates in a prison operated for the profit of a corporate elite.

We have been saddled with the wreckage of a government at all levels that no longer represents the citizenry, serves the citizenry, or is accountable to the citizenry.

We’re not the masters anymore.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about the federal government, state governments, or local governing bodies: at all ends of the spectrum and every point in between, a shift has taken place.

“We the people” are not being seen, heard or valued.

We no longer count for much of anything beyond an occasional electoral vote and as a source of income for the government’s ever-burgeoning financial needs.

Everything happening at the national level is playing out at the local level, as well: the violence, the militarization, the intolerance, the lopsided governance, and an uneasy awareness that the citizenry have no say in how their communities are being governed.

Take my own hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, for instance.

In recent years, Charlottesville has been plagued by government leaders who are tone-deaf, focused on their own aggrandizement, and incapable of prioritizing the needs of their constituents over their own personal and political agendas; law enforcement officials for whom personal safety, heavy-handed militarized tactics, and power plays trump their duty to serve and protect; polarized citizens incapable of finding common ground, respecting each other’s rights, or agreeing to disagree; and a community held hostage by political correctness, divisive rhetoric and a growing intolerance for any views that may be unpopular or at odds with the mainstream.

It was a perfect storm just waiting for the right conditions to wreak havoc.

Unfortunately, the maelstrom hit in the summer of 2017, when Charlottesville, regularly cited as being one of the happiest cities in America, became ground zero for a heated war of words—and actions—over racism, “sanitizing history,” extremism (both right and left), political correctness, hate speech, partisan politics, and a growing fear that violent words will end in violent actions.

In Charlottesville, as in so many parts of the country right now, the conflict was over how to reconcile the nation’s checkered past, particularly as it relates to slavery, with the present need to sanitize the environment of anything—words and images—that might cause offense, especially if it’s a Confederate flag or monument.

That fear of offense prompted the Charlottesville City Council to get rid of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that has graced one of its public parks for 82 years.

That’s when everything went haywire.

In attempting to pacify one particularly vocal and righteously offended group while railroading over the concerns of those with alternate viewpoints, Charlottesville attracted the unwanted attention of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and the alt-Right, all of whom descended on the little college town with the intention of exercising their First Amendment right to be disagreeable, to assemble, and to protest.

When put to the test, Charlottesville did not handle things well at all.

No one—not the armed, violent, militant protesters nor the police—gave peace a chance, not on July 8 when the KKK descended, nor on August 12, when what should have been an exercise in free speech quickly became a brawl that left one dead and dozens more injured.

As the New York Times reported:

Protesters began to mace one another, throwing water bottles and urine-filled balloons — some of which hit reporters — and beating each other with flagpoles, clubs and makeshift weapons. Before long, the downtown area was a melee. People were ducking and covering with a constant stream of projectiles whizzing by our faces, and the air was filled with the sounds of fists and sticks against flesh.

And then there was the police, who were supposed to uphold the law and prevent violence.

They failed to do either.

Indeed, a 220-page post-mortem of the protests and the Charlottesville government’s response by former U.S. attorney Timothy J. Heaphy merely corroborates our worst fears about what drives the government at all levels: power, money, ego, politics and ambition.

When presented with a situation in which the government and its agents were tasked with protecting free speech and safety, Heaphy concluded that “the City of Charlottesville protected neither free expression nor public safety.”

Heaphy continues:

The City was unable to protect the right of free expression and facilitate the permit holder’s offensive speech. This represents a failure of one of government’s core functions—the protection of fundamental rights. Law enforcement also failed to maintain order and protect citizens from harm, injury, and death. Charlottesville preserved neither of those principles on August 12, which has led to deep distrust of government within this community.

In other words, the government failed to uphold its constitutional mandates. The police failed to carry out their duties as peace officers. And the citizens found themselves unable to trust either the police or the government to do its job in respecting their rights and ensuring their safety.

Despite the fact that 1,000 first responders (including 300 state police troopers and members of the National Guard)—many of whom had been preparing for the downtown rally for months—had been called on to work the event, despite the fact that police in riot gear surrounded Emancipation Park on three sides, and despite the fact that Charlottesville had had what reporter David Graham referred to as “a dress rehearsal of sorts” a month earlier when 30 members of the Ku Klux Klan were confronted by 1000 counter-protesters, police failed to do their jobs.

In fact, as the Washington Post reports, police “seemed to watch as groups beat each other with sticks and bludgeoned one another with shields… At one point, police appeared to retreat and then watch the beatings before eventually moving in to end the free-for-all, make arrests and tend to the injured.”

Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville,” reported ProPublica.

Instead of establishing clear boundaries—buffer zones—between the warring groups and protecting the First Amendment rights of the protesters, police established two entrances into the permit areas of the park and created barriers “guiding rally-goers single-file into the park” past lines of white nationalists and antifa counter-protesters.

Incredibly, when the first signs of open violence broke out, Heaphy reports that the police chief allegedly instructed his staff to “let them fight, it will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.”

Read Heaphy’s report for yourself.

It’s full of drama and intrigue, plots and dueling egos, petty tyrants and ambitious politicians. (There’s even mention of a personal email account and deleted text messages.)

Not much different from what is happening on the national scene.

Commissioned by the City of Charlottesville, this Heaphy report was intended to be an independent investigation of what went right and what went wrong in the government’s handling of the protests.

Heaphy found very little to commend.

What went right on August 12 according to Heaphy: 1) Despite the presence of firearms, including members of the militia, and angry confrontations between protesters and counter-protesters, no person was shot and no significant property damage occurred; 2) Emergency personnel did their jobs effectively and treated a large number of people in a short period of time; and 3) Police intelligence gathering was thorough (that’s the best he had to say about police).

Now for what went wrong, according to the report:

  1. Police failed to get input from other law enforcement agencies experienced in handling large protests.
  2. Police failed to adequately train their officers in advance of the protest.
  3. City officials failed to request assistance from outside agencies.
  4. The City Council unduly interfered by ignoring legal advice, attempting to move the protesters elsewhere, and ignoring the concerns of law enforcement.
  5. The city government failed to inform the public about their plans.
  6. City officials were misguided in allowing weapons at the protest.
  7. The police implemented a flawed operational plan that failed to protect public safety.
  8. While police were provided with riot gear, they were never trained in how to use it, nor were they provided with any meaningful field training in how to deal with or de-escalate anticipated violence on the part of protesters.
  9. Despite the input and advice of outside counsel, including The Rutherford Institute, the police failed to employ de-escalation tactics or establish clear barriers between warring factions of protesters.
  10. Government officials and police leadership opted to advance their own agendas at the expense of constitutional rights and public safety.
  11. For all intents and purposes, police abided by a stand down order that endangered the community and paved the way for civil unrest.
  12. In failing to protect public safety, police and government officials undermined public faith in the government.

The Heaphy report focused on the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, but it applies to almost every branch of government that fails to serve “we the people.”

As the Pew Research Center revealed public trust in the government remains near historic lows and with good reason, too.

This isn’t America, land of the free, where the government is “of the people, by the people [and] for the people.”

Rather, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is Amerika, where fascism, totalitarianism and militarism work hand in hand.

So what’s the answer?

As always, it must start with “we the people.”

I’ve always advised people to think nationally, but act locally. Yet as Charlottesville makes clear, it’s hard to make a difference locally when the local government is as deaf, dumb and blind to the needs of its constituents as the national government.

Still, it’s time to clean house at all levels of government.

You’ve got a better chance of making your displeasure seen and felt and heard within your own community. But it will take perseverance and unity and a commitment to finding common ground with your fellow citizens.

Stop tolerating corruption, graft, intolerance, greed, incompetence, ineptitude, militarism, lawlessness, ignorance, brutality, deceit, collusion, corpulence, bureaucracy, immorality, depravity, censorship, cruelty, violence, mediocrity, and tyranny.

Stop holding your nose in order to block out the stench of a rotting institution.

Stop letting the government and its agents treat you like a servant or a slave.

You’ve got rights. We’ve all got rights. This is our country. This is our government. No one can take it away from us unless we make it easy for them.

Right now, we’re making it way too easy for the police state to take over.

Stop being an accessory to the murder of the American republic.

Weather Disrupters, Beetle Killers, Tide Changers: Dowsing for the Last Species on Earth

Human Evolution of the Mind Is Like a Hind Teat on a Texas Bull…

Here we are witnessing The Great Collective Amnesia of the Western World…. The great Forgetting, from the political crass class (total), intellectual wanderers (not all, but mostly all) and the general public (most, and these huge blocks against intelligence follow from generation to next generation with a fluidity equal to the amount of information – mostly junk – exponentially increasing on the world wide web and the number eye gazes at the weekly sales worldwide a la eBay, Amazon.dot.steal and any other number of aggregators and on-line scams) is like bubonic clouds in our industrial and post-industrial nations’ cortexes.

The lack of intelligence is deep, to include all those drone makers, the data collectors, the A.I. freaks, the robotics innovators (AKA, people killers), the war makers, the profiteers of toxicity, and any other shill in the giant Facebook-Mass Suicide (intellect) Media Kingdom with their legions of grovelers in their armies of financial and investment classes. Forget History and Forego Other Peoples. This lack of humanness, which is defined by forced and accepted agnotology – large portions of the human fabric and the positive human condition propagandized into complete lies or chopped into meaningless vestiges, remnants of a complete whole – makes daily the thrust of thinking and saying in this country almost like peering into the looking glass. Confusion and anti-thought, anti-knowing.

Thus, the deadening of intellect, atrophying of those so-called smarts, that is, as we hear and see from those Hollywood and Wall Street scum deeming what is and is not smart which includes anyone displaying electronic-coding-algorithmic skills or tinkering or hedge funding acumen, whatever modern business groper brings to the table. They are vapid, lacking true intellect which has always been tied to understanding history and knowing what is right and how to wrest control from the wrong-doers, and, of course, understanding the world, from sea to shining seabed, to lost tribe of Ecuador, to every beetle yet cataloged by science and shaman kind.

The depth of stupidity and genuflecting to all-encompassing consumption (suicide) is astounding in its coverage and voracity. It’s a total great collective forgetting that is both serendipitous and planned, and our dementia has created untenable damage to the rest of the globe. Call it Stockholm Syndrome tied to our murderers’ well-being, their own sustainability while we frog-march into oblivion death marches. We just cannot keep from fawning and vaunting corporations and chemical eaters, war mongers, money cachetting freaks, living off the flesh of humanity. This is US, us-ay, USA, this overvalued by every measure exceptionalist country of the so-called tuned-in, wired-up, and dialed-in leaders of the Western World. Our collective raping and then impregnating the rest of the world with Disneyfication stupidity, and then riding that ol’ train a slow time comin’, but rest assuredly comin’ to all corners of the globe with the splash-splash of glaciers Humpty-Dumpty-ing into their own march to catastrophe, oblivion –this DEFINES us, USA!

You Shit Here, Piss Here, Dump Your Dump Your Carcinogenic Offal Here . . . And We Get to the Now Generations!

The gut reaction and media devolution around probably one of the most coalescing written pieces in the past few years on climate change-global catastrophe caused by humans polluting the planet with cooked up fossil fuels and the various feedback loops of methane releases and the reflectivity (albedo effect) of the earth’s surface going negative (our land masses and oceans sponges for heat, now) are in real time despicable. The flinging shit and mud against the writer and his written facts and projections are now embedded in the very nature of how humanity in this western dystopian paradise of constant growth (with entropy quickly back-filling that sickness) puts the he and the her and the they smack in the middle of creation, which is the middle of destruction. The amount of ire, hate, and condemnation tied to his thinking and pseudo marketing-psychology-rhetoric vilifying the piece by David Wallace-Wells (“The Uninhabitable Earth,” New York Magazine, 7/9/2017) is reflective of the insipid quality of thinking that has come to define the consumer-capitalist-predator investing/divesting society we have shaped and embraced for more than 60 years.

This piece by Wallace-Wells has garnered absurd critiques in the so-called liberal-left greenie press, and the mainstream disastrous press, the pseudo journalism of the big great and digital kings on the east Coast vying for a new Zion in every nook and cranny of the bankster world. The usual libertarian and conservative suspects are trying to burn Wallace-Wells at the stake, for sure, since his article compiles thousands upon thousands of researchers’ work – that is, evidence and prognostications based on those many webs of writing about the research on climate change (which is a catch-all phrase for global warming, weather destabilization, climate uncertainty, geo-engineering, greenhouse gas expulsion through fossil fuel burning and the various parallel defamation of the earth mostly through deforestation and hyper urbanization/ consumption/over-population of Homo Erectus/ Sapiens/ Consumopithecus).

Do we need a list of those thinkers and doers years ago who predicted the outcome of the despoiled commons and over-impregnating Homo Sapiens eating the edges and now the center of all the other species, who, in a quick nod, have so-so much to give than a billion “I Wanna Be A Star” cretins who can’t wait for the next and the next bloody mess viewable in the next Netflix world of lies.

The subtitle of the piece, “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think,” has bristled the hackles of the me-myself-and-I bros and sisters, all from the various stripes of the political quagmire. Imagine, truth to power, truth to stupidity, truth against the prevailing Cellophane-wrapped essence of nano-particle humanity.

Then the greenies start shedding their thin epidermis of green-o-atic colors to show the real flavor of their existence – eating cool, living cooler and propping up everything that is American.

I’ve heard crap from Grist and so many other naysayers splaying (attempting, though) David Wallace-Wells’ thinking; many parts of the many numbers of NGO-like, non-profit “looking” environmental concerns (most are money-making harbors of war-loving, capitalism S & M driving nuts who love Hillary or even think Bernie is twenty-two degrees removed from the party he ran under) think going truthful and objective with the reality of the many dynamics tied to climate disruption which Wallace-Wells does, is worse than being a denier, than a Pence or Trump or any color of them ruling DC and the palaces of the stupids.

I’ve been listening to our local Pacifica Station, KBOO-Portland, and today (7/19/17), on one show, Robert Hunziker, who wrote a piece, “Unhabitable Earth?” over at Dissident Voice talked about Wallace-Wells’ piece with Paul Roland, and, Hunziker is more or less right on, spot on, agreeing (to a degree, though) with the predictions and creative thought experiment David Wallace-Wells unfolds in a very prescient piece. Hunziker still has qualifiers, as is the style of the day – you know, us digital kings and writers having so much more with it and together than the real hard researchers and satirists.

You have to give it to the ameliorating masses in the liberal class, the so-called environmentalists, and the shills that play this marketing/narrative framing/meme-ing game, saying that “too harsh a picture on the global negative implications of climate disaster can cause people to turn off and do nothing . . . scare them into paralysis . . . push them back to the all-you-can-eat/buy/consume/burn/immolate /dump/throw-away ways.” Yep, the so-called environmental b.s.-pushers, the majority of which are happy campers in their Subaru-tooling, Prius-loving, eco-capitalist REI lovefest, go on hyper-drive attack of this man’s well-reasoned and fabulously important piece of climate change writing.

Hunziker and Roland on KBOO talked it out, about the Wallace-Wells piece, and the fallout. The call-in folk, well, they have so-so much mixed-up hope, and some cited Bill Gates as savior (those corporate Nazi saviors, don’t you know), or others talking geoengineering, you know, iron shavings by the millions of metric tons, dumped into the oceans, to, as most readers know, human engineer the planet to absorb CO2 – **“Iron fertilization is the intentional introduction of iron fines to iron-poor areas of the ocean surface to stimulate phytoplankton production. This is intended to enhance biological productivity and/or accelerate carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration from the atmosphere.” **

The absurdity of this human ecocide on the oceans is telling, very telling. How we are living in our own shit and waste, tailings from the crimes of resource theft, the burning and slag piles smoking and curing our unborn, the stripped soils and exploded mountains beautiful images of earth gas chamber, diverted rivers to bred desertification, chemicalized water systems to cause death and migration, the entire mess of genetic engineering ready to latch onto the gene codes of the earth eaters, so perfectly captured in macrocosm with the example of salmon crossed at the DNA level with fat ass bass, and penned by the hundreds of thousands forced to eat soy and chicken entrails tablets.

One good fishy example of humanity’s human shit and total species hate makes for emblematic ways to really show how warped a species we are.

The ever-increasing Franken-fish/Franken-food/Franken-people experiments funded by tax monies, pushed by the controllers, yet average Joe and Jane Blow think this is the new normal. Then we have confused Rachel Maddows and Al Gores and the lot of them on their Van Jones high horses, empty of intelligence, blasphemers of the precautionary principle, small-minded and closed-headed people who look at a climate change article (which should be a triple-clarion call out) with real mettle, real predictions, not only poo-pooing it, but downright eviscerating the facts in order to play some full-of-shit narrative framing, shit, a la Freud and Bernays and Madison Avenue Zionist slave to consumerism shit.

How much shit makes hubris and delusion capitalism?

Imagine, the pencil necks at Grist (“Stop Scaring People About Climate Change: It Doesn’t Work”) attacking the reality, calling this man to task, for his look inside and outside at the real and unfolding possibilities of this that’s world a comin’, like a fast freight train a thousand miles long with every species ready for the Mother of All Dachaus — every species but that lying, raping, murdering, polluting, insane, blubbery, superstitious, vapid, inelegant Hominoid of modern atrocities. These people, advertising-seeking, for sure, and vetted by that political and non-profit enviro class so easily despised for their hypocrisy, they are grandstanding saying scaring doesn’t work? What sort of Wallace-Wells work is this writer leaning on, or wanting? It’s not his job to get people to revolt, overthrow, throw down, end the entire shooting match. “Quit scaring people” is so-so telling of the liberal class who gives shit about the illegal wars, the massive murders of millions by this empire, the massive deportations, massive destabilizations, massive inequities within their own shores. Almost anything coming out of their people’s cloud-digital-print asses is worth less than that one political orifice’s total value.

Sanity Found Not Between the Lines, but in the Alarms and Emergency Sirens Apparent in the Words

To give us a bit more to chew on without replicating the piece, here, the sectional titles of Wallace-Wells’ article:

I. ‘Doomsday’ — Peering beyond scientific reticence.
II. Heat Death — The bahraining of New York.
III. The End of Food — Praying for cornfields in the tundra.
IV. Climate Plagues –What happens when the bubonic ice melts?
V. Unbreathable Air — A rolling death smog that suffocates millions.
VI. Perpetual War  — The violence baked into heat.
VII. Permanent Economic Collapse  — Dismal capitalism in a half-poorer world.
VIII. Poisoned Oceans — Sulfide burps off the skeleton coast.
IX. The Great Filter — Our present eeriness cannot last.

Even the climate change piece looks at the rotten form that is capitalism, and the great day trading of the commons, the willingness of man to barter for more money with the future commons of ancestral havens. We’re talking war, too, rarely mentioned by greenies. War is the power, the engine, of greed, destabilization, the end of food, the lack of preparedness for everyone to adapt and adjust to the impending collapsed societies.

Wallace-Wells nails it.

Then, look at these opposing points of view, sick, really, spewing liberal elites with their pedigrees, whatever that means in this sell-out science landscape:

“Doomsday Scenarios Are as Harmful as Climate Change Denial” By Michael E. Mann, Susan Joy Hassol and Tom Toles

Analysis of “The Uninhabitable Earth” Published in New York Magazine, by David Wallace-Wells on 9 July 2017:

Sixteen scientists (all male, all White/Christian/Jewish) analyzed (attacked) the article and estimated its overall scientific (what is this, really, in a sell-out world of science for their own profits) credibility to be ‘low’. (yet more mumbo-jumbo from the science arena). A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: Alarmist, Imprecise/Unclear, Misleading.

This grouping of puke scientists, who we all must bow to, don’t you know, with their Ivy-League and powerhouse Stanford and Big 20 university laurels, well, they are vapid, untenable when you think about their own contexts – first world, elite, white, privileged, ivory towered, and never grasping the reality of an uneven world for not only their fellow billions, but for the entirety of the wild world. Hmm, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has been reporting a huge loss of population in thousands of vertebrate species. Researchers have studied 27,600 species of birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles, finding huge losses in over 8,000 species. The animal species are not yet technically extinct, but the loss of numbers is severe enough to collapse breeding, viability, and their own roles in their eco-webs, let alone their own rights to exist on this planet. The findings mean that billions of animal populations that once roamed the Earth are now gone.

This is the great Sixth Great Extinction of animal species caused by climate change and loss of habitat – all perpetrated by Man and Woman and “they”. “The sixth mass extinction is already here and the window for effective action is very short.”

Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, continues: “If we continue the trend we’re on, we’re going to be looking at 50 to 75 percent of our species lost over the next hundred years.”

Here’s what the capitalism-adoring Atlantic magazine says of the work of Wallace-Wells:

It’s into that morass that this week’s New York magazine walks. In a widely shared article, David Wallace-Wells sketches the bleakest possible scenario for global warming. He warns of a planet so awash in greenhouse gas that Brooklyn’s heat waves will rival Bahrain’s. The breadbaskets of China and the United States will enter a debilitating and everlasting drought, he says. And millions of brains will so lack oxygen that they’ll slip into a carbon-induced confusion.

Unless we take aggressive action, “parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century,” he writes. “No matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough.”

It’s a scary vision—which is okay, because climate change is scary. It is also an unusually specific and severe depiction of what global warming will do to the planet. And though Wallace-Wells makes it clear that he’s not predicting the future, only trying to spin out the consequences of the best available science today, it’s fair to ask: Is it realistic? Will this heat-wracked doomsday come to pass?

Many climate scientists and professional science communicators say no. Wallace-Wells’s article, they say, often flies beyond the realm of what researchers think is likely. I have to agree with them.

This is the tribe of elites, the publishing mainliners, the gatekeepers, controllers, the myopics and the critics of anything outside their own narrative frames – America good, or inherently good and all-knowing, all-solving, leaders of the world and technology and in ideas. Words like scary and vision and morass, oh, those wordsmiths, oh those literary kingpins of the big East Coast tribe. Humanity’s chosen people, these publishers and writers and editors and pundits and cultural icons.

Here, from Wallace-Wells in an updated and annotated version of his piece:

Since the article was published, we have made four corrections and adjustments, which are noted in the annotations (as well as at the end of the original version). They are all minor, and none affects the central project of the story: to apply the best science we have today to the median and high-end ‘business-as-usual’ warming projections produced by the U.N.’s ‘gold standard’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But the debate this article has kicked up is less about specific facts than the article’s overarching conceit. Is it helpful, or journalistically ethical, to explore the worst-case scenarios of climate change, however unlikely they are? How much should a writer contextualize scary possibilities with information about how probable those outcomes are, however speculative those probabilities may be? What are the risks of terrifying or depressing readers so much they disengage from the issue, and what should a journalist make of those risks?

The End Game is Capitalism-Delusional Thinking-Soylent Green is People!

Now, let’s get really real. How many minds were talking about no-growth, steady-state economics, the three e’s of sustainability (environment, equity, economy, in that fucking order!), small is better, de-industrializing, eco-socialism, and on and bloody on? Forget Muir, or Pinchot or Stegner or Rachel Carson or Mumford or Kunslter or Jane Jacobs or any number of proponents of fair and environmentally gauged communities.

One part Wallace-Wells, another part, hmm, Derrick Jensen?

While we face ‘hard choices’ about which species and ecosystems to conserve, it’s odd how we face no such quandaries over which of our frivolous luxuries to refrain from, or what murderous weapons system not to build, writes Derrick Jensen.

This look at the hard choices of species and ecosystems, over pornography, sweat-shop clothes, next generation iPhones, animal-shit coffee, Ikea lasting six months, endless cruises and buffets, disposable internal combustion vehicles, jets and satellites and drones and backyard pools and chemical trails circling the globe and, well, you know what humanity is not willing to sacrifice!

Sure, we’re supposed to choose whether to extirpate or save Bulmer’s fruit bats or Sumatran Rhinos, wild yams or hula painted frogs (with the default always being extirpate, of course); and we’re supposed to make careful delineations of how we choose who is exterminated, and who lives (at least until tomorrow, when we all know there’ll be another round of exterminations, complete with another round of wringing our hands over how difficult these decisions are, and another round of heartbreak; and then another round, and another, until there is nothing and no one left).

But just as after Fukushima a Japanese energy minister said that nuclear energy must continue to be produced because no one “could imagine life without electricity”, so, too, entirely disallowed is any discussion of what technologies should be kept and what should be caused to go extinct.

There’s no discussion of extirpating iPads, iPhones, computer technologies, retractable stadium roofs, insecticides, GMOs, the Internet (hell, Internet pornography), off-road vehicles, nuclear weapons, predator drones, industrial agriculture, industrial electricity, industrial production, the benefits of imperialism (human, American, or otherwise).

That’s the rub, every single SOV day (single occupancy vehicle). I can’t even help my homeless and beaten-down young foster kids without being forced to drive miles upon miles and meet them at the quintessential rot gut everything that is bad about society Starbucks, because that’s company policy.

I drive in a rural area near Oregon City, Estacada, and daily, the number of sacrifices on the road, AKA road kill, is in the dozens. Daily. We cut and maul and pave over and build over and divert and seed with invasives, and daily, hourly, each minute, on this planet, not one shit product or idea or lifestyle is sacrificed, but each and every square inch of soil and cubic meter of river and 2000 foot of altitude is raped and re-raped.

By us, the supremacists. The dunces. The ones sitting, lying and sleeping in our own shit, using the cadavers of the real world – ecology, environment – as our rationale for putting us at the top of the dung heap.

The murder of the planet is not some tragedy ordained by fate because we’re too damn smart. It is the result of a series of extremely bad social choices. We could choose differently. But we don’t. And we won’t. Not so long as the same unquestioned beliefs run the culture.

Don’t get me wrong. Anyone who is working to protect wild places or wild beings from this omnicidal culture is in that sense a hero. We need to use every tool possible to save whomever and wherever we can from this culture.

But it’s ridiculous and all-too-expected that while there’s always plenty of money to destroy the Tongass and every other forest, and there’s always plenty of money for various weapons of mass destruction (such as cluster bombs or dams or corporations) somehow when it comes to saving wild places and wild beings, we have to pinch pennies and ‘make difficult decisions’.

Also, I need to say that the whole Ark metaphor doesn’t work. In the original story, God saved two of every species (as He, like the humans who created Him, destroyed the planet). Here, modern humans are going where even God didn’t tread, and explicitly not saving every species, but instead deciding which species to save, and which species to kill off.

This is, of course, both pleasing and flattering to human supremacists: they’re making decisions on questions even God punted. How cool is that?

Israel tells Palestinians: “Al-Aqsa is No Longer Yours”

Palestinian leaders have denounced new construction projects they say will further tighten Israel’s grip on occupied East Jerusalem and its holy places, including the incendiary site of Al-Aqsa mosque.

The most elaborate plan is for a cable car intended to bring thousands of visitors an hour to the Western Wall and its Jewish prayer plaza immediately below al-Haram al-Sharif, a compound containing Al-Aqsa and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.

The $56m project was unveiled at a meeting of the Israeli cabinet in tunnels below the al-Haram al-Sharif. It is the first time the cabinet has met in Jerusalem’s Old City, which Israel annexed in violation of international law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the meeting in the provocative location late last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem.

Explosion in making

Palestinians, meanwhile, have expressed mounting concern that Netanyahu’s stated intention to “strengthen Jerusalem” conceals a policy of driving out Palestinians and seizing control over the Al-Aqsa compound. Israel claims two ancient Jewish temples are built under the mosque.

At the weekend, Jibril Rajoub, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority, told Israeli TV that Netanyahu’s government had to stop treating the site as though it were under Israeli sovereignty. “If you want to create an explosion, just say ‘It’s ours, it’s ours’,” he said.

However, in the same programme, he suggested the PA might agree to Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall. The PA appealed last week to the United Nations Security Council to take action to protect Jerusalem from what it called Israeli attempts to “Judaise” the city.

Officials believe Israel is seeking to foil any future peace-making efforts by preventing East Jerusalem from ever becoming the capital of a Palestinian state.

Donald Trump, the US president, who visited East Jerusalem as part of a visit to the region late last month, has promised he will soon unveil the “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last Thursday he signed a waiver, delaying moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, on the grounds it would harm prospects for such a deal.

‘Illegal practices’

In addition to the cable car, Netanyahu’s government announced a $14m lift and underground passageway to ease access for disabled and elderly people to the Western Wall, a retaining wall of the Al-Aqsa compound and a Jewish holy site.

Longer term, Israel hopes to build a subterranean station, connecting the site by express train from Tel Aviv. Netanyahu told his ministers the various projects would strengthen the Jewish people’s connection to the city.

These latest moves follow figures showing that Israeli authorities have been allowing Jewish ultra-nationalists to visit the Al-Aqsa compound in record numbers.

Palestinians have long complained that Jewish extremists are being allowed to pray at the site, in contravention of agreements, and that they pose a danger because many support destroying Al-Aqsa and building a Jewish temple in its place.

Last month, the United Nations cultural body, UNESCO, passed a resolution reaffirming that East Jerusalem was occupied, and that “illegal practices” by Israel were threatening historical and cultural sites there.

“Step by step, Israel is finding ways to take over Al-Aqsa,” said Khalil Tufakji, a Palestinian geographer in Jerusalem and director of the Arab Studies Society’s mapping department, which monitors settler activity.

He told Al Jazeera: “Israel is sending a message to the Palestinians and to Jordan [whose officials formally oversee the site] that ‘Al-Aqsa is no longer yours. We can enter and we can do as we please there’.”

Cable car aids settlers

The cable car, due for completion in four years, is supposed to transport some 3,000 visitors an hour from West Jerusalem to an entrance in the Old City walls next to Al-Aqsa. The cable car will pass directly over Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan.

Yariv Levin, the tourism minister, called it “revolutionary project” that would serve as “an exceptional tourist attraction”. Yonatan Mizrachi, who heads Emek Shaveh, a group of archaeologists that oppose the misuse of tourism and archaeology, warned that the cable car would also connect to a controversial tourism site in Silwan run by an Israeli settler organisation, Elad.

The City of David complex, close to Al-Aqsa, has taken over a large area of Silwan, damaged surrounding Palestinian homes with underground excavations, and encouraged large numbers of settlers to move into the area, backed by armed guards.

“This is yet another element in an Israeli policy of divorcing the Old City from its Palestinian hinterland, making it seem exclusively Jewish to visitors,” he told Al Jazeera. “It is all about changing the Old City’s character irreversibly.”

Loyalty oath by students

The cable car project, initially championed by Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, was scrapped two years ago after the French firm due to construct it pulled out, following warnings from the French foreign ministry of the likely diplomatic fallout.

Israel’s efforts to bring larger numbers of Jews into the Old City were highlighted last week with a new government-sponsored programme of ceremonies at the Western Wall.

A group of 300 students from the US, Britain and France became the first to “pledge allegiance to the Jewish people” at the spot, echoing a loyalty oath conducted at the Wall by newly drafted Israeli soldiers. At the ceremony, the students vowed to “forge a covenant with Jerusalem”.

At the same cabinet meeting at which the cable car and lift were approved, noted Tufakji, plans were announced to apply budgetary pressures to Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem to force them to switch to the Israeli curriculum.

That has alarmed Palestinian leaders, who say the curriculum – overseen by education minister Naftali Bennett, a settler leader – erases Palestinian connections to Jerusalem and teaches only Zionist history.

“Israel taking control of the Palestinian schools is very dangerous,” Tufakji said. “They want to change the thinking of the children, to educate them that Israel has a natural right to Jerusalem.”

‘Desolate’ before occupation

That was the message from Netanyahu, too, on May 24, when Israel celebrated “Jerusalem Day”, an annual show of force by the Israeli right in East Jerusalem.

Tens of thousands of ultra-nationalists marched through Palestinian neighbourhoods, close to Al-Aqsa, forcing residents into hiding and traders to shut shops.

In an address to mark the occasion, Netanyahu said East Jerusalem had been “desolate” and “neglected” before Israel occupied it. He added that the Al-Aqsa mosque compound – or what he called Temple Mount – would “always remain under Israeli sovereignty”.

Under pressure from Israel, Jerusalem’s Islamic authorities have been forced to allow access to the mosque compound for settlers and ultra-nationalist Jews, backed by Israeli police.

Israeli figures show some 1,000 Jews entered the compound on Jerusalem Day, the largest number in a single day in decades. That followed the largest-ever annual number of visits by settlers, at nearly 15,000, in 2016.

Visits by extremists

Sheikh Azzam Khatib Tamimi, head of the Waqf, an Islamic authority in charge of Al-Aqsa, protested in an interview last week with the Haaretz daily that the Jewish visitors “don’t come innocently as tourists. They are extremists … Their purpose is to foment conflict.”

He added that they had the blessing of Israeli officials. “The government isn’t preventing extremists from performing ceremonies [praying] here. The police encourage them.”

In April, during the Passover holiday, settlers were permitted by police for the first time to sacrifice a lamb close to Al-Aqsa, to them, part of a ceremony associated with building a Jewish temple where Al-Aqsa stands.

By contrast, Tamimi pointed out, Waqf officials were regularly banned from entering the compound and Islamic groups associated with Al-Aqsa had been outlawed by Israel. The vast majority of Palestinians can no longer reach the site because of Israeli movement restrictions in the West Bank and Gaza.

Shrinking city’s borders

Tufakji said Israel was increasingly treating outlying areas of East Jerusalem – located outside the wall Israel built through the city more than a decade ago and heavily populated with Palestinians – as no longer part of Jerusalem.

“Israel is frightened by the fact that East Jerusalem continues to have a Palestinian majority,” he said. “The goal is to ‘shrink’ the city so that the 140,000 Palestinians who live beyond the wall no longer count.”

He added that Israel had seized control of 87 percent of East Jerusalem’s land. A master plan for 2050 includes building an airport, railway and increasing the connections between the Western Wall and the main Jewish settler colony in the Old City.

Video link to Congress

The projects unveiled by Netanyahu come in the wake of Trump’s visit to the Western Wall late last month. Trump became the first sitting US president to enter occupied East Jerusalem.

The Israeli prime minister exploited the visit to undermine last month’s UNESCO resolution, saying: “I told Trump that his visit to the Western Wall dispels all of [the] UNESCO lies.”

Netanyahu is due to take part in a video link on Wednesday this week between the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem and the US Congress to mark Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem. Trump or Vice-President Mike Pence are expected to participate.

Israeli officials have been advising that the event should be interpreted as tacit approval from the White House of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem exactly 50 years ago.

On Monday, the US Senate voted 90-0 in favour of resolution celebrating what it termed the “reunification” the city’s western and eastern sections in 1967.

Mizrachi said: “Israel has reached the point where it believes it can treat the Old City and surrounding Palestinian neighbourhoods as part of Israel, without international criticism.”

Homes razed for plaza

Over the weekend, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the occupation, Haaretz published an account of what took place immediately after the capture of Jerusalem’s Old City. It recounted that army generals quickly and secretly demolished more than 100 Palestinian homes to create the current broad Jewish prayer plaza in front of the Western Wall.

Many thousand more Palestinians were also expelled from their homes nearby in the Old City to create its Jewish Quarter.

Uzi Narkiss, the army commander in charge of the area, warned his officials: “Best to do it and not ask questions.”

• First published in Al-Jazeera