News Release Archive - Imperialism

Haiti: Assassination


Al Jazeera reports: “Haiti’s President [Jovenel] Moïse was assassinated by unidentified gunmen at his home, says the PM. Moïse had been ruling Haiti by decree after delaying elections, sparking protests that he illegally stayed past his term. The country is also facing growing poverty and gang violence.”


A longtime Haiti specialist, Concannon wrote the piece “Is the White House greenlighting Haiti’s descent into dictatorship?” for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He said today that much of Haitian civil society had concluded that Moïse’s presidency was not legitimate.


Bernadel is on the Haiti Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace; both of his parents are Haitian immigrants. See the group’s statement, issued Tuesday, which quotes Bernadel: “Black Alliance for Peace Condemns Increasing Human Rights Violence in Haiti and the Continued U.S./OAS/UN Support for Unconstitutional Actions by Haiti’s Illegitimate Government.”

Just back in the U.S. from Haiti, Johnston is senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He had just written the piece “Biden Continues Trump’s Policy in Haiti Despite Bipartisan Congressional Pushback” published on Tuesday.

Biden Exalts Human Rights While Pushing More Weapons for Israel as New PM Bombs Gaza


Biden is widely quoted in U.S. media regarding his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin: “How could I be the president of the United States of America,” Biden said, “and not speak out against the violation of human rights?” A USA Today piece is headlined: “Biden warns Putin on human rights and cybersecurity in Geneva. U.S. moral clarity is back.”

The New York Times reports: “Israeli Aircraft Bomb Gaza Just Days Into New Government.”

Commondreams reports: “Just hours after far-right marchers chanted ‘Death to Arabs!’ during a demonstration in the streets of Jerusalem, Israeli war planes bombarded the occupied Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning in the first series of airstrikes launched by the new government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former IDF officer who once boasted that he has ‘killed a lot of Arabs.’ … The Israeli military characterized the latest airstrikes as retaliation for ‘incendiary balloons’ released into Israel from the Gaza Strip.”

Axios is reporting: “Israel to ask U.S. for $1 billion in emergency military aid.”

El-Tayyab is legislative manager for Middle East policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, which recently put out the statement: “FCNL Joins 100 National Organizations Calling on Biden to Halt Weapons Sales to Israel.”

He said: “Moving ahead with these transfers will be seen as an endorsement of Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on Gaza and encourage more acts of violence against Palestinian civilians. The administration’s efforts should instead be focused on delivering humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, helping with reconstruction efforts in Gaza, using U.S. leverage with Israel to end its occupation and blockade, and supporting human rights and justice for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Is a Network of Donors Neutralizing Peace Activism?


Lindorff is an investigative journalist who just wrote the piece “Peace-washing: Is a network of major donors neutralizing activism in the peace movement?” for Salon.

He writes: “Consider the liberal response to the Biden transition team floating Michèle Flournoy’s name as a potential secretary of defense. Instead of outrage at the idea of someone who had spent the previous four years helping arms contractors win business with the Trump Pentagon and who is an advocate for tough, even aggressive stances towards Russia, China and Iran, we saw an open letter of support signed by 29 key people active in the peace and arms-control arena. Signatories included Joe Cirincione, former president for 12 years of the Ploughshares Fund, along with Tom Collina, Michelle Dover and Emma Belcher of that same well-endowed grant-offering organization. They were joined by the likes of Tom Countryman and Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association, Rachel Bronson of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Ilan Goldenberg of the Center for New American Security, Joan Rohlfing of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and others. …

“Interestingly though, while serious opposition coalesced among anti-militarism, anti-revolving-door people and groups in the Flournoy case, her WestExec Advisors co-founder Antony Blinken, nominated as secretary of state, sailed through his nomination and hearing process. This despite Blinken’s record as an enthusiastic interventionist while serving in the Obama administration as deputy national security advisor and later as deputy secretary of state, and despite his profiting off his connections as a WestExec adviser to arms makers after leaving office.”

Hoh is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. Until his resignation five years ago, he was a board member of Council for a Livable World, one of the larger national security/arms control organizations in the Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG). Hoh tells Lindorff that while he has no inside information about the funding policies of the funding consortium or its members, “The assumption that the big peace and national security funding groups are taming the peace movement is a correct one.”

He explains: “When you have a bunch of organizations in a group like that, and some of them are really mainstream vanilla like Open Society, you’re going to see the whole organization and its member groups moderate their positions and their funding policies to the lowest denominator. These big groups, especially the ones that also act as holding pens for people in the foreign policy area who have to leave government employment when a Republican administration comes in, and use them as references when looking for government jobs under a new Democratic administration like this one, don’t want to be funding groups that mount protests in House or Senate committee hearings or try to arrest [former Nixon Secretary of State] Henry Kissinger for war crimes.”

Hoh says he recalls comments being made while he was at CLW about organizations receiving grants needing to “ease up” on their rhetoric or protest actions, but doesn’t recall that kind of conversation moving beyond CLW to the collective PSFG membership. But he also says, “I think the issue of putting pressure on activist groups has deepened over the last 10 years.” He adds, “The best evidence that there is pressure on activists to tone down is the way you’re finding so few leaders of groups that get funding from PSFG member organizations willing to speak for this article on the record.”

Research for Lindorff’s article was funded by a grant from the ExposeFacts program of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Facebook Collaboration with Israeli Military “Beyond Outrageous”


DANI NOBLE, via Sonya Meyerson-Knox,, @jvplive
Nashif, a Palestinian living in Haifa, is co-founder of 7amleh (pronounced Hamleh), the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, a non-profit organization that advocates for Palestinian digital rights. Nobel is campaign organizer for Jewish Voice for Peace.

The two groups are signers of a letter generated by the new initiative along with a host of other groups including Access Now, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Fight for the Future and BDS France:

“As Palestinian residents defend their homes in Jerusalem from forced dispossession by the Israeli government and state-sanctioned Zionist settler groups, their calls for support have received widespread international attention — inspiring social media campaigns and mass protests around the world. This international outcry only grew after the Israeli military attacked Ramadan worshippers at al-Aqsa mosque and started brutally bombing Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip …

“Facebook executives’ decision at this moment to directly collaborate with Israeli Defense and Justice Minister Gantz on content moderation, without appropriate parity of government engagement until prompted by civil society, is beyond outrageous. …

“In addition, the numerous reports of removal or chilling of political speech that several of our organizations have received over the past two weeks, combined with the report released by 7amleh last week [‘The Attacks on Palestinian Digital Rights,’ PDF] that includes 429 reported incidents from Instagram and Facebook, raise concerns about Facebook’s relationship with the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s extra-legal Cyber Unit. The fact that since May 6 there has been widespread removal of Palestinians’ content or supportive content (including removal of content and deactivation of accounts or pages based on Community Standards violations, as well as the mass removal of Instagram stories) that after review have been restored for lack of any violation, indicates that Facebook is perhaps voluntarily agreeing to takedowns recommended by the Israeli Cyber Unit. This unclear relationship between Facebook and the Israeli Cyber Unit is concerning, as it is not subject to any formal governmental or legal process.”

“Ceasefire” Does Not Mean Israeli Violence Has Stopped


SAREE MAKDISI,, @sareemakdisi
Makdisi’s books include Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation. He is professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA. His pieces include “Apartheid” for Critical Inquiry. He recently wrote the piece “The Nakba Is Now” for The Nation.

He said: “Israel is not dropping bombs. But it is still besieging Gaza; still smothering Palestinian life in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; still repressing its second-class Palestinian citizens; still violently barring the refugees’ right of return. This racial violence must also end.

“Israeli police on both sides of the 1947-67 line are raiding Palestinian homes and dragging people off to dungeons. The line distinguishing ‘Israel’ from ‘the occupied territories’ is meaningless: the same racial violence grips both sides of the line.

“A ceasefire in Palestine means we’re back to the slow suffocation of apartheid and brutal military occupation. As Dickens said in a different context, it’s like being drowned by drops, stung to death by single bees. Slow violence, everyday occupation, is still violence.”

What is Hamas?


The Jerusalem Post is reporting: “Blinken trip to Israel aimed at preventing aid to Gaza from reaching Hamas.” Poorly understood is that Hamas won the last Palestinian parlimentary elections, in 2006, that have been allowed to take place. In 2014, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson wrote a piece in Foreign Policy titled: “Ending this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor.”

Baconi is the Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Israel/Palestine and economics of conflict. He is author of Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance, Stanford University Press, 2018.

See his recent interview with +972 Magazine, “Hamas breaks out of its Gaza cage,” in which he states: “The pro forma language around Israel’s ‘right to self-defense’ and ‘de-escalation on both sides’ is a symptom of that inability to grapple with Hamas, showing that the international community is very much frozen when it comes to the movement. They are unable to understand Hamas as a political faction committed to Palestinian liberation and are still focused on a very particular narrative.

“It’s not just about Hamas, though. What’s mind-boggling to me is that by the time the international community started saying ‘self-defense,’ there were 500 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces in Jerusalem. The rhetoric of a ‘right to self-defense’ only came out when the first rocket landed in Israel; it is triggered only for Israel and is triggered only by Hamas. Outside of that, there’s no way for the diplomatic community to understand the violence of the occupation or the right of Palestinians to defend themselves.

“Until we fix that premise, no form of engagement with Hamas is going to be productive, because it is only going to be seen as a party that is irrationally attacking Israel for some decontextualized, unknown reason. …

“For a long time, even under [former political chief] Khaled Meshaal, Hamas has flirted with the idea of popular protest. The movement was not always exclusively committed to armed struggle; it had thought about the power of popular demonstrations and of international law. However, there’s a streak of cynicism within the movement that popular protests are never going to garner the level of international pressure or support like that of the U.S. Civil Rights struggle or the South African anti-Apartheid struggle.

“This cynicism was tested in the Great March of Return. Over weeks and weeks of a sustained popular mobilization, there was no adequate response from the international community, even when Israel was sniping off Palestinians. It was only when Hamas came into the fray and started upping the ante of ‘disturbances’ against Israel that the situation started shifting, and negotiations began around concessions such as easing the blockade on Gaza. The lesson for Hamas was very clear: unless Israel feels pressure — usually militarily or other forms of ‘disturbances’ — nothing would give.”

Israel’s Invention of Hijacking and its “Sacred Terrorism”


CNN reports: “Did Belarus ‘hijack’ a civilian airliner to detain an activist?” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki claimed Sunday: “Hijacking of a civilian plane is an unprecedented act of state terrorism. It cannot go unpunished.” Such charges have been echoed by other officials and media, but the statement is inaccurate — Israel originated the practice in 1954 and suffered no legal consequence, see below.

Grosscup is professor emeritus at the department of political science at California State University, Chico. He is author of several books on terrorism, including Terrorism and Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial BombardmentHis latest book is Tell Them What You Want, co-authored with Laverne Merritt-Gordon.

He said today: “The U.S. government is demanding an international investigation here while refusing one for the horrific bombing of Gaza by Israel. It is another instance that the oft quoted ‘one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter’ is a vacuous statement. The U.S. government (and its allies) ‘owns’ the concept terrorism, meaning it tells the global community who the terrorists are and who the freedom fighters are, and has the power to make that distinction meaningful in policy, law, practice, and public opinion.”

Jeremy Scahill tweeted: “If the reports are accurate, Lukashenko’s government forcing this plane to land in an effort to arrest a dissident is a terrible crime. Interesting to contrast this with the Obama admin. forcing Evo Morales’s plane to land in 2013 in an effort to arrest a US dissident, [NSA whistleblower Edward] @Snowden.” See by John Pilger: “Forcing down Evo Morales’s plane was an act of air piracy.”

Israel originated the practice of a state hijacking an airplane in 1954. On Dec. 8 of that year, five Israeli soldiers were captured in Syria, apparently retrieving eavesdropping equipment. On Dec. 12, Israeli jet fighters intercepted a Syrian civilian aircraft flying from Damascus to Egypt, claiming that the plane had violated Israeli airspace.

The following day, the New York Times reported that this “development appears to have given Israel an unexpected position of strength for negotiating the release of Syria’s prisoners.”

Gen. Moshe Dayan was then Israeli Chief of Staff. The Israeli Prime Minister, Moshe Sharett, wrote in his diary, “It is clear that Dayan’s intention…is to get hostages in order to obtain the release of our prisoners in Damascus.”

Contrary to General Dayan’s hopes, no exchange took place. Prime Minister Sharett added that the United States State Department complained that “our action was without precedent in the history of international practice.” See Israel’s Sacred Terrorism by the late Livia Rokach, which has a forward by Noam Chomsky and prefix by Naseer Aruri.

Beyond Israel-Hamas Ceasefire, Will BDS Movement Help End Apartheid Again?


Israel and Hamas declared a ceasefire on Thursday. While some praised the Biden administration, many are arguing that the violence escalated largely because it gave Israel a greenlight to to attack in Jerusalem and then in Gaza, including approving more weapons; see this timeline by Asa Winstanley. 

As many have noted, ceasefires can be tenuous.

While the U.S.-brokered Oslo process has dominated the dynamics in the violence-laden Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, activists have initiated the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement modeled on the South African anti-apartheid struggle. Many South Africans, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have long embraced the comparison, see below.

See interview from Thursday with Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS Movement for Palestinian rights by Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC.

But the Biden administration, like the Trump administration, has pledged to fight grassroots BDS efforts. These governmental moves have been criticized as restricting freedom of speech.

Kasrils was Minister for Intelligence Services in South Africa from 2004 to 2008 and was a leading member of the African National Congress during the apartheid era. He just wrote the piece “Bloodshed in Palestine: Fundamental Cause and Solution.” He recently wrote the piece “How to Stop Apartheid Israel” which states: “It is imperative that we of the international community redouble our efforts to aid the Palestinian people in solidarity actions. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign remains the most formidable weapon in our arsenal. It worked to bring about the demise of South African Apartheid behind the internal people’s resistance struggle, and is growing in scope and efficacy, to the extent that Israel has identified the non-violent global movement as a strategic threat. Israel, like apartheid South Africa must pay for its crimes — above all by sanctions.”

Past president of TransAfrica Forum, Fletcher just wrote the piece “You knew that this would happen, right?”: “You knew that the Palestinians would have to respond after years of being expelled from their land, kicked to the curb, subjected to what is now being publicly described as ‘apartheid’ conditions.” In 2014, Fletcher wrote the piece “Why Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Should Be Used to Target Israeli Apartheid.”

Barrows-Friedman is author of In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in PalestineShe is an associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, see her pieces on the BDS activist and legal battles include: “U.S. Palestinian activist defeats Israeli ‘defamation’ lawsuit” and “Israel lobby loses legal effort to harass Palestinian rights activists.”

Background: At least as early as 2002, Desmond Tutu publicly likened Israel to apartheid South Africa. He repeated it recently in “Joe Biden should end the U.S. pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons,” in The Guardian, where Tutu, who chaired the South African Truth and Reconcilation Commission, wrote: “there are few truths more critical to face than a nuclear weapons arsenal in the hands of an apartheid government.”

In 2008, South African member of parliament Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge said “What I see here is worse than what we experienced — the absolute control of people’s lives, the lack of freedom of movement, the army presence everywhere, the total separation and the extensive destruction we saw…”

In 2014, Tutu backed divestment moves targeting companies that work with Israel and spoke up against attempts to limit free speech around BDS.

In a 2013 interview, David Frost asked Tutu if he was ever tempted to back violence, as Nelson Mandela had done, in the South African anti-apartheid struggle.

Tutu stated that it was only the application of sanctions which prevented him from embracing the use of violence.

Tutu explained that “we urged the world to apply sanctions and said to them this is really the last nonviolent way of seeking to change the system” crediting “students at universities and colleges who helped to change the moral climate.” All the while, Tutu said he “recognized that there might come a time when you would have to say that nonviolent means were no longer viable.”

While Congress placed sanctions on South Africa in 1986 over then-President Ronald Reagan’s veto, now many in Congress concur with Biden’s stance to hinder the BDS movement.

Could Congress Cut off Funding to Israel by Acknowledging its Nuclear Weapons?


Many media outlets are reporting that members of “the Squad” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, as well as other members of Congress including Pramila Jayapal, are trying to “block a $735 million arms sale to Israel.”

But Grant Smith, author of Big Israel: How Israel’s Lobby Moves America, states that members of Congress who have been critical of Israel “won’t use the tools available to them.”

Specifically, he states “there are legal avenues to challenge the entire $3.8 billion of U.S. taxpayer funds that Israel gets every year.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu cited Smith’s work recently in a piece published by The Guardian: “Joe Biden should end the U.S. pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons.” Tutu challenged Biden to break with past U.S. administrations and acknowledge Israel’s undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal. Wrote Tutu, who chaired the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission: “There are few truths more critical to face than a nuclear weapons arsenal in the hands of an apartheid government.”

Grant notes: “there are laws already on the books that call for a cutoff of aid to nuclear proliferators.”

Smith is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy. Last year he wrote letters to several members of Congress who have voiced criticism of Israel, noting: “I believe your coalition has far more influence on the matter of foreign aid than it may realize. In 2016 and 2017 we sued the administration(s) over violations of the Arms Export Control Act, but did not prevail for lack of standing. Your coalition does not have such issues.”

Grant explained: “The Symington & Glenn provisions of the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC §2799aa-1: Nuclear reprocessing transfers, illegal exports for nuclear explosive devices, transfers of nuclear explosive devices, and nuclear detonations) forbid U.S. foreign aid to countries with nuclear weapons programs that are not signatories to the Treaty on the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, absent required special procedures.”

Smith said today: “But no member of Congress has taken up this issue — or even mentioned Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal.”

Grant also wrote the piece “Challenging the secret ‘Israel Nuclear Weapons Gag Order’ WNP-136” about a government order that “forbids all U.S. government agency employees and contractors from discussing Israel’s nuclear weapons program.”

Grant said today: “It seems as though even these members of Congress, as well as the rest of the U.S. government, are abiding by this secret gag order when they could take action which would challenge the administration’s refusal to acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons and possibly stop $3.8 billion in taxpayer money from going to Israel.

“Eleanor Holmes Norton confirmed that there have never been proper waivers filed by POTUS either. (See page 39 of this legal filing PDF.)”

Grant wrote to the members of Congress last year: “If you really want to leverage U.S. foreign aid to Israel, you may easily do so by raising the issue of proper waivers and whether Congress is in compliance with the Arms Export Control Act when delivering aid to Israel.”

Could Biden Be Impeached for Aiding and Abetting Israeli War Crimes?


Jewish Currents reports: “AOC to Introduce Resolution Blocking Bomb Sale to Israel.” Groups are urging Sen. Bernie Sanders and other senators to introduce similar resolutions in the Senate, which, unlike the House, would likely force a vote. According to Jewish Insider, Sen. Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Chris Van Hollen will “introduce a resolution today urging an immediate cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law.

He said today: “The Biden administration has repeatedly prevented the United Nations Security Council — which under Article 24 of the United Nations Charter — has ‘primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security’ from addressing the Israeli assault on Gaza.” During the 2014 war, the UN Security Council called for a ceasefire, which the Biden administration has been preventing.

“Biden has repeatedly stated that Israel has the ‘right to defend itself’ — effectively a green light for bombing — rather than demanding an immediate ceasefire and allowing the Security Council to do its job. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has correctly understood Biden’s statements and dismissed Biden’s rhetorical call for ‘de-escallation.’

“The Biden administration is thus now aiding and abetting war crimes.

“There is now rocket fire between Israel and Lebanon. The actions of the Biden administration — a green light to Israel — are now threatening global security.

“Biden has knowingly let U.S. weapons to be used by Israel to commit war crimes in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the U.S. Arms Control Export Act and the Arms Supply Agreement between the U.S. and Israel.

“Moreover, Biden is moving to ship more weapons to Israel as we speak. These efforts by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others may be worthwhile, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi and company will likely push them aside. The efforts by Sanders and other senators, while a welcome departure from the usual rhetoric from Capitol Hill … are unlikely to jar the Biden administration.

“During the impeachment of Trump earlier this year — which I supported — Democrat after Democrat stated that the issue was not disliking Trump, it was his pernicious violation of the law that was the issue. Well, President Biden is now violating laws. He is aiding and abetting a foreign power in conducting war crimes in violation of both international law and domestic law.

“The remedy for this situation is for one sitting member of Congress to live up to their responsibilities under our Constitution which they have pledged to uphold and introduce articles of impeachment. We are supposed to be a nation of laws and not men. Impeachment is effectively a check given to each and every member of Congress against a president who is violating the law.”

Boyle was legal adviser to Rep. Henry B. González and wrote the first draft of the González Impeachment Resolution in 1991. George H. W. Bush would later write in his memoirs about his fear of impeachment — that if the Gulf War “drags out, not only will I take the blame, but I will probably have impeachment proceedings filed against me.”

In 2017, Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, and foreign policy speechwriter, told Politico that President Obama feared impeachment if he targeted the Syrian government.

While many regard Rep. Rashida Tlaib and other members of “The Squad” as unique in their stance on Israel, that is not accurate. For example, Rep. Paul Findley — the author of the War Powers Resolution and a longtime associate of Boyle’s — addressed the issue in a manner that resulted in his political defeat at the hands of political operatives including Rahm Emanuel.

Also see: “War in Palestine: a timeline.”