Friday, July 11, 2014

The Atrocity

Bombs are raining on Gaza and rockets on Southern Israel, people are dying and homes are being destroyed. Again.


URI AVNERY -- July 11, 2014

BOMBS ARE raining on Gaza and rockets on Southern Israel, people are dying and homes are being destroyed.

Again. 

Again without any purpose. Again with the certainty that after it’s all over, everything will essentially be the same as it was before. 

But I can hardly hear the sirens which warn of rockets coming towards Tel Aviv. I cannot take my mind off the awful thing that happened in Jerusalem. 

IF A gang of neo-Nazis had kidnapped a 16-year old boy in a London Jewish neighbourhood in the dark of the night, driven him to Hyde Park, beaten him up, poured gasoline into his mouth, doused him all over and set him on fire— what would have happened?

Wouldn't the UK have exploded in a storm of anger and disgust?

Wouldn't the Queen have expressed her outrage? 

Wouldn't the Prime Minister have rushed to the home of the bereaved family to apologize on behalf of the entire nation?

Wouldn't the leadership of the neo-Nazis, their active supporters and brain-washers be indicted and condemned?

Perhaps in the UK. Perhaps in Germany. 

Not here.

THIS ABOMINABLE atrocity took place in Jerusalem. A Palestinian boy was abducted and burned alive. No racist crime in Israel ever came close to it.

Burning people alive is an abomination everywhere. In a state that claims to be “Jewish”, it is even worse. 

In Jewish history, only one chapter comes close to the Holocaust: the Spanish inquisition. This Catholic institution tortured Jews and burned them alive at the stake. Later, this happened sometimes in the Russian pogroms. Even the most fanatical enemy of Israel could not imagine such an awful thing happening in Israel. Until now. 

Under Israeli law, East Jerusalem is not occupied territory. It is a part of sovereign Israel. 

THE CHAIN of events was as follows:

Two Palestinians, apparently acting alone, kidnapped three Israeli teenagers who were trying to hitchhike at night from a settlement near Hebron. The objective was probably to use them as hostages for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The action went awry when one of the three succeeded in calling the Israeli police emergency number from his mobile phone. The kidnappers, assuming that the police would soon be on their tracks, panicked and shot the three at once. They dumped the bodies in a field and fled. (Actually the police bungled things and only started their hunt the next morning.)

All of Israel was in an uproar. Many thousands of soldiers were employed for three weeks in the search for the three youngsters, combing thousands of buildings, caves and fields. 

The public uproar was surely justified. But it soon degenerated into an orgy of racist incitement, which intensified from day to day. Newspapers, radio stations and TV networks competed with each other in unabashed racist diatribes, repeating the official line ad nauseam and adding their own nauseous commentary— every day, around the clock.

The security services of the Palestinian Authority, which collaborated throughout with the Israeli security services, played a major role in discovering early on the identity of the two kidnappers (identified but not yet caught). Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president, stood up in a meeting of the Arab countries and condemned the kidnapping unequivocally and was branded by many of his own people as an Arab Quisling. Israeli leaders, on the other hand, called him a hypocrite. 

Israel’s leading politicians let loose a salvo of utterances which would be seen anywhere else as outright fascist. A short selection: 

Danny Danon, deputy Minister of Defense: “If a Russian boy had been kidnapped, Putin would have flattened village after village!”

“Jewish Home” faction leader Ayala Shaked: “With a people whose heroes are child murderers we must deal accordingly.” (“Jewish Home” is a part of the government coalition.)

Noam Perl, world chairman of Bnei Akiva, the youth movement of the settlers: “An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand: Revenge!”

Uri Bank, former secretary of Uri Ariel, Housing Minister and builder of the settlements: “This is the right moment . When our children are hurt, we go berserk, no limits, dismantling of the Palestinian Authority, annexation of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), execution of all prisoners who have been condemned for murder, exile of family members of terrorists!”

And Binyamin Netanyahu himself, speaking about the entire Palestinian people: “They are not like us. We sanctify life, they sanctify death!”

When the bodies of the three were found by tourist guides, the chorus of hatred reached a new crescendo. Soldiers posted tens of thousands of messages on the internet calling for “revenge”, politicians egged them on, the media added fuel, lynch mobs gathered in many places in Jerusalem to hunt Arab workers and rough them up. 

Except for a few lonely voices, it seemed that all Israel had turned into a soccer mob, shouting “Death to the Arabs!”

Can anyone even imagine a present-day European or American crowd shouting “Death to the Jews?”

THE SIX arrested until now for the bestial murder of the Arab boy had come straight from one of these “Death to the Arabs” demonstrations. 

First they had tried to kidnap a 9-year old boy in the same Arab neighbourhood, Shuafat. One of them caught the boy in the street and dragged him towards their car, choking him at the same time. Luckily, the child succeeded in shouting “Mama!” and his mother started hitting the kidnapper with her cell phone. He panicked and ran off. The choking marks on the boy’s neck could be seen for several days.

The next day the group returned, caught Muhammad Abu-Khdeir, a cheerful 16-year old boy with an engaging smile, poured gasoline in his mouth and burned him to death. 

(As if this was not enough, Border Policemen caught his cousin during a protest demonstration, handcuffed him, threw him on the ground and started kicking his head and face. His wounds look terrible. The disfigured boy was arrested, the policemen were not.)

THE ATROCIOUS way Muhammad was murdered was not mentioned at first. The fact was disclosed by an Arab pathologist who was present at the official autopsy. Most Israeli newspapers mentioned the fact in a few words on an inner page. Most TV newscasts did not mention the fact at all. 

In Israel proper, Arab citizens rose up as they have not done in many years. Violent demonstrations throughout the country lasted for several days. At the same time, the Gaza Strip frontline exploded in a new orgy of rockets and aerial bombings in a new mini-war which already has a name: “Solid Cliff”. (The army's propaganda section has invented another name in English.) The new Egyptian dictatorship is collaborating with the Israeli army in choking the Strip.

THE NAMES of the six suspects of the murder-by-fire— several of whom have already confessed to the appalling deed— are still being withheld. But unofficial reports say that they belong to the Orthodox community. Apparently this community, traditionally anti-Zionist and moderate, has now spawned neo-Nazi offspring, which surpass even their religious-Zionist competitors.

Yet terrible as the deed itself is, to my mind the public reaction is even worse. Because there isn’t any.

True, a few sporadic voices have been heard. Many more ordinary people have voiced their disgust in private conversations. But the deafening moral outrage one could have expected did not materialize.

Everything was done to minimize the “incident”, prevent its publication abroad and even inside Israel. Life went on as usual. A few government leaders and other politicians condemned the deed in routine phrases, for consumption abroad. The soccer world cup contest elicited far more interest. Even on the Left, the atrocity was treated as just another item among the many misdeeds of the occupation.

Where is the outcry, the moral uprising of the nation, the unanimous decision to stamp out the racism that makes such atrocities possible?

THE NEW flare-up in and around the Gaza Strip has obliterated the atrocity altogether. 

Sirens sound in Jerusalem and in towns north of Tel-Aviv. The missiles aimed at Israeli population centres have successfully (up to now) been intercepted by counter-missiles. But hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are running to the shelters. On the other side, hundreds of daily sorties of the Israeli Air Force turn life in the Gaza Strip into hell.

WHEN THE cannon roar, the muses fall silent. 

Also the pity for a boy burnt to death.

CANADA’S NEW VISION OF CITIZENSHIP: A PRIVILEGE IN TWO CLASSES



Every year, several hundred people from across Ottawa gather in a city park in late June for a day-long festival of soccer (football), sweat, and citizenship. Yes, citizenship.

Community Cup – celebrating its 10thanniversary this year – is a hugely successful multicultural event that does more than feature teams from ethnic communities, the police service, fire department, media and local colleges playing (mostly) friendly matches. There’s music and dance, health and wellness booths, and the centerpiece of the day: a citizenship ceremony under a big white marquee.

This year 42 new Canadians swore the oath in front of assembled dignitaries and volunteers, pledging to “bear true allegiance to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors,” and “faithfully observe the laws of Canada” and fulfill their “duties as a Canadian citizen.”

The newly minted citizens laughed, they wept, and in an instant, they became Canadian. Then they had a piece of the giant Canadian flag cake that miraculously had not melted into a red and white puddle in the soaring temperatures.

A little while later, I was talking to one of the organizers when up walked Tony, a Rwandan-Canadian whose nieces sang the national anthem to open the ceremony.

“Do you know something?” said Tony. “I felt more Canadian watching that citizenship ceremony that at any other time in the 15 years I’ve been here. It just filled me up.”

Moments like that put a serious crack in the outer shell of my cynical hack credentials. They remind me that, in spite of all the challenges migration entails, at some point you’re bound to see and hear deeply heartfelt declarations about what it means to have found a home in Canada.

Becoming a citizen isn’t the only expression of belonging, but it’s a big one. Newcomers love this place so much that 86 per cent of Canada’s foreign-born residents acquire citizenship (a very high rate). Canadians who become citizens through migration are forced to ponder the meaning of citizenship, the rights and responsibilities it entails, and work hard to get it. Often they choose to give up rights and claims to their homeland in favour of staking their claim to life in the true north strong and free. They have to meet specific criteria for age, language and length of residence, among other things; study a guide about Canadian history, institutions and values (issued by the government and marked by its own controversy) and finally, take the citizenship test - sometimes more than once before they get it right.

Those of us born here? We think our country is pretty great and we know a Canadian passport is one of the most powerful in the world, but most of us don’t think about citizenship much at all beyond our national holiday on July 1, which is a great excuse to dress in red and white, wave the flag and watch some fireworks.

And that’s a shame (the apathy, not the fireworks), because it means most weren’t paying attention earlier this year when the government introduced a new naturalization framework that threatens to turn a thing of beauty and sanctuary into a tool of division and exclusion. Bill C-24, An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act, was introduced last February and received Royal Assent on June 19.

The government says it is protecting Canadian citizenship by making it harder to obtain and easier to lose, because “citizenship is a right, not a privilege.” That’s news to many outside the ruling Conservative party, and as it galloped through the House of Commons, Parliamentary committee hearings and Senate review, Bill C-24 gathered critics who catalogued its flaws. Chief among the red flags, according to critics: longer residency requirements, a stipulation that citizens give a declaration of intent to reside in Canada and – most ominously – expanded powers to revoke citizenship from foreign-born dual citizens.

The government produced some nifty graphics to explain differences between the old and new systems, and to bolster its case that the new framework is a streamlined one. However, for a neutral assessment of the nuts and bolts of any piece of legislation, the Library of Parliament’s legislative summary is the best place to start.

It tells us that the Act replaces legislation passed in 1977, which itself was the first update since 1947, when the concept of Canadian citizenship (as distinct from British) was created. There have been tweaks to the rules along the way, and that is generally where C-24 looks good. It corrects ambiguities of past laws and clarifies provisions the courts have found problematic. It also codifies a partial solution to a longstanding injustice: the so-called “lost Canadians,” many of them elderly men and women who were shocked to discover, after living in Canada their entire lives, that they were not citizens because some quirk in their personal history had quietly dropped them through arcane loopholes.

But what has sparked the most concern is the law’s significant changes to the way immigrants can achieve citizenship, and how they could lose it.

Currently, newcomers to Canada who want to become citizens are required to establish residence here for three out of four years, but residence did not require physically being on Canadian soil. Under the new law, “residence” is now defined as actual physical presence in Canada for 1,460 days over six years, and a minimum of 183 days of physical presence per year in four of six years. This is a direct attack on what have been called “Canadians of convenience,” people who come long enough to get the passport, then return home armed with their Canadian safety net.

One prominent immigration lawyer applauded the clarity the law brings to the residency issue, by providing the first actual definition in law. But as other commentators pointed out in a national newspaper, the residency provision is at odds with our increasingly mobile and diverse workforce. Many permanent residents will have to pass up overseas assignments – positions for which they might have been hired, given their diversity of language skills and global contacts – unless they want to jeopardize their citizenship aspirations.

And international students should take note: the Library of Parliament points out that under the new system, “Time spent in Canada as anything other than a permanent resident no longer counts towards the residency period.”

Most controversially, the law establishes new grounds for revoking citizenship. Currently the only cause for revocation of citizenship is fraud, i.e. lying to the government in your application for citizenship or permanent resident status. This provision has been exercised many times, most notablyto strip citizenship from former war criminals.

The new law establishes three new grounds for revoking citizenship in addition to fraud, all applicable to dual citizens. If the person fought against Canada in armed conflict, was convicted of treason or spying offences and sentenced to life in prison, or was convicted of a terrorism or equivalent offence at home or abroad and sentenced to five or more years in prison, the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration may revoke citizenship. The previous framework required approval by both the Minister and the Governor in Council, with appeals being heard by the Federal Court. Now only the minister is involved, and the appeal consists of written representations from the individual. Only cases involving national security would be referred to the Federal Court.

The new law is clearly a new weapon to use against problems the government would like to ship offshore, a weapon with fewer checks. As several columnists noted, it applies neatly to one of the Conservative government’s biggest security headaches, Canadian-born former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr.

Critics and media commentators pointed out this effectively sets up two classes of citizenship: the one for people born here who have no citizenship ties elsewhere, and one for everyone else. “To turn citizenship from a tool of integration into a reward for good behaviour – to be revoked at the discretion of one minister on grounds of bad behavior and without due process – is to undermine the meaning and value of citizenship for all Canadians,” said one commentary, signed by a leading Canadian pollster, a human rights expert and a prominent integration advocate.

Human rights experts told a Parliamentary committee the government will end up facing Supreme Court challenges on this and other aspects of the citizenship law that they say restrict the movement of Canadians and interferes with the rights of citizenship.

There was no shortage of informed critique of the legislation, but the issue failed to catch fire with the general public. One migration advocate said privately last week she and her allies were shocked that the issue failed to move Canadians. It affected each one of us, after all, and a national survey in 2012found that most of us – naturalized and citizens by birth alike – felt existing citizenship provisions were good enough. But to become bigger, the issue would have had to resonate not just with the quarter of Canadians who were born outside the country, but with the so-called “Canadian mainstream” of citizens by birth – exactly the people most likely to rarely think about citizenship at all.

The law will be in force soon, but the bitter aftertaste remains. Thousands more new Canadians will swear loyalty to the Queen this year, knowing – for better or for worse – their new home has put clear boundaries on their citizenship. Is that how we build a stronger sense of belonging?

Terrifying Tweets of Pre-Army Israeli Teens

A simple search of Twitter for the string ARAVIM, which means "Arabs" in Hebrew, produces a long list of messages by young Jewish Israelis calling to ethnically cleanse the country.

See also this Ha'aretz editorial:

Israeli leaders incite hatred against Palestinians and are shocked when people listen (and act)

Canadian charities feel ‘chill’ as tax audits widen into political activities

The Canada Revenue Agency, ordered by the Harper government to audit political activities, is now targeting charities focused on foreign aid, human rights, and even poverty. READ MORE...

This Land is Mine

Situating War Resistance within Canadian History


JULY 10, 2014 -- By Jessica Squires


At this year’s Canadian Historical Association meeting in St. Catharines, I participated in a round table discussion about war resistance. As the panel showed, war resistance history is a growing area of research, offering a different perspective on traditional histories of war, politics, international relations, and social movements.

The panelists included Bruce Douville (Algoma University), Rose Fine-Meyer (University of Toronto), Marie Hammond-Callaghan (Mount Allison University), Geoff Keelan (University of Waterloo), and me (Independent Scholar), and was chaired and commentated by Lara Campbell (Simon Fraser University).

As Lara Campbell queried before the conference, “Given all of the federal government focus on war commemoration, how might our work on war resistance contribute to a more complex/nuanced understanding of war? Do you think it is possible, in some way, to ‘insert’ the memory of war resistance into these sorts of public discussions?” Jamie Swift and Ian McKay’s book Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety (Between the Lines, 2012) haskick-started a conversation about this topic, also highlighted in my book on the Canadian anti-draft movement. The book Campbell is co-editing with Catherine Gidney and Mike Dawson,Raise Every Voice: War Resistance in Canadian History, forthcoming from Between the Lines in 2015, will be another important contribution to this discussion.

In “La Macaza: Two Canadian Peace Protests in the 1960s,” Bruce Douville described two 1964 protests at La Macaza, Quebec against the presence at the military base of American nuclear weapons. Members of several Montreal groups in the antiwar movement and on the left led the organizing. The protests were remarkable not for their size – both were fairly small in comparison to other antiwar protests – but for their strategies of nonviolent civil disobedience. As Douville observed, these tactics were enjoying popularity in 1964 due to the influence of the American civil rights movement. For Douville, the protests were significant for several reasons: because they marked the first such tactic in Canada, later used regularly in anti-war and other social movements in Canada; and because of the participation of a broad cross-section of movements, including both English- and French-speaking activists, separatists, leftists, and pacifists. His research provoked questions about how social movement history and war resistance should be incorporated into more mainstream narratives of Canadian history and, in particular, Cold War history.

From the streets to the classroom, Rose Fine-Meyer described teachers’ interest in imparting peace and nonviolence to students in “‘The good teacher is a revolutionary’: Alternative War Perspectives in Toronto Classrooms, 1960s-1990s.” Teachers and their unions sought to promote peace in the classroom through the use of pedagogical material not included in the mandatory curriculum. Even the Toronto Board of education partnered with peace groups and supported such initiatives as guest speakers, newsletters and “peace festivals.” Fine-Mayer concluded by observing that, like today, teachers have often felt the impact of war in their schools and in their communities, and that the need to teach critically about war remains an urgent one.

Groups such as Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) had an influence both on some of Fine-Mayer’s teachers and on the protests at La Macaza. Marie Hammond-Callaghan gave CHA participants a glimpse into the inner workings of this group, a prominent peace organization involved in 1960s peace movements. In “Bridging and Breaching Cold War Divides: Transnational Peace Building State Surveillance and the Voice of Women, Canada 1963-1967,” she summarized how war resistance history must be considered transnational. Locating VOW’s anti-nuclear and disarmament activism within a vital transnational movement which galvanized the forces of progressive women across the ideological spectrum, her paper foregrounded important and largely unconsidered questions about the political and cultural influence of civil society groups on each other across borders. For VOW, war resistance required steadfast defiance of the repressive panoptic effects of the Red Scare in Canada and abroad as well as subversion of a cold war paradigm heavily laden with gender norms.

Geoff Keelan started his presentation by wondering if his topic fit well with the rest of the panel. As he described in “With Thought and Faith: Henri Bourassa’s Resistance to Canadian Participation in the Great War,” perhaps “few would describe [Bourassa] as a war resister,” because historians often think about resisting war in the context of social movement history or cultural history, rather than in relation to individuals. Further, Bourrassa, as founder of Le Devior and a prominent Canadian nationalist, is more likely to be considered by historians for his role in formal politics than as part of a history of war resistance. Bourrassa’s resistance to conscription and British imperialism through writing and electoral politics arguably places him within the boundaries of inquiry about war resistance, broadly speaking. In turn, seeing Bourrassa as a war resister brings an important nuance to an understanding of his historical impact: an indicator of just how broad our approaches need to be to account for a full picture.

In my own presentation, “Building Sanctuary: the Canadian Anti-Draft Movement,” I made a similar argument about thinking in interdisciplinary and unconventional ways about this history. As I stated then, and wrote about in a previous Active History entry, the history of US war resisters is a fascinating window into the boundaries between various zones of geography, theory, and historical inquiry. Furthermore, the history draft resistance might also be considered part of the new political history, which looks closely at the way that the state interacts with a diverse component of actors.

Perhaps all history needs to be explicitly situated within, without, or across boundaries in order to be fully appreciated. And, as the research of the presenters on this panel demonstrates, perhaps war resistance must also be broadly defined, with historical attentiveness to the context in which it evolves – histories of war, peace, religion, politics, foreign policy, the counter-culture, social movements, nationalism, and national identity.

Jessica Squires is an independent scholar and activist who lives and works in Gatineau, Quebec. Her book on 1960s Canadian support for war resisters, Building Sanctuary, is now available in trade paperback from UBC Press.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

List of demonstrations being held over the next few days for Gaza

List of demonstrations being held over the next few days for Gaza

Israel's Assault on Gaza Obscures Core Issues: Racism, Occupation, Colonization

Nobody pays attention to the settlement project or thuggish incitement when there are air raid sirens in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

By Rashid Khalidi*

July 10, 2014  


Another Israeli assault on Gaza will produce more red herrings.

These include an obsessive focus on Israeli suffering, linked to an insistence on equivalence between intensive Israeli air raids on a tiny and highly populated strip of land killing at least 81 Palestinians and wounding 615 thus far, most of them civilians, and inaccurate Palestinian rocket-fire which has reached distant targets but has harmed no Israelis so far. With these red herrings come the utter obliteration of any background or context. Background such as that Palestinians have been subjected to nearly five decades of illegal occupation, colonization, subjugation and humiliation. Context such as that two young Palestinians were killed in cold blood by Israeli troops in May, a month before three settlers were kidnapped and killed. Or that Israel launched a massive search-and-destroy campaign against Hamas in the West Bank long before the first rocket barrage was fired from Gaza. Or that Israeli security sources confirmed that even while hundreds of Hamas adherents were being rounded up in these raids, Hamas tried for days to restrain other groups’ rocket fire from Gaza. The red herrings are essential, of course, to distract us from what is really going on: the occupation regime and its infernal settlement project are operating on all cylinders while racism and thuggish incitement against Arabs have infected broader and broader segments of Israeli society.

Despite its potential for getting out of the control of the protagonists, and despite the psychological impact of the rocket attacks on Israelis, this conflict has certain advantages for the Israeli government. Its forces are once again using potent American weapons to shoot human fish in the barrel that is Gaza, an open air 360 sq. km. prison for 1.8 million people. This is taking place under dehumanizing and racist rubric dear to Israeli security specialists of “mowing the grass” – as if the civilians who are falling by the score are no more than inanimate weeds. This video game war (that is what it is for the Israeli drone operators and pilots doing the bombardment) serves to let off ultra-nationalistic Israeli steam while simultaneously changing the subject at a moment when, for the first time, the West has really gazed at settler violence and the regular abuse of children by Israeli state, after the burning alive of a Jerusalem boy and the brutal beating of his young cousin. Those atrocities, well reported, with video footage of the beating and graphic detail about the murder, were too awful to ignore. Even the spin which tried to describe the perpetrators as outcasts in Israeli society could not disguise the fact that, as an Israeli journalist wrote, those who carried out the atrocity are “the children of the nationalistic and racist generation –Netanyahu’s children.” That said, we have yet to see the US media report regularly on the 1407 Palestinian children NOT engaged in hostilities who have been killed by Israel troops and settlers since 2000, with an average of over two of them dying every single week of those 14 years. Nor have we heard about the Palestinian minors regularly kidnapped, detained (214 of them were being held in May 2014) and even tortured by Israeli forces without charge or trial.

Earlier, the murder of three young Israelis living in a West Bank settlement gave the Israeli army the excuse to launch its dragnet across the West Bank, targeting Hamas (which to this day has not claimed the kidnapping-killings). This was mainly designed to achieve another cherished Israeli objective: wrecking the recent Palestinian unity government. Heaven forbid that the Palestinians unify their ranks and strengthen their debilitated national movement. This is unacceptable from Netanyahu’s point of view, as it might enable them better to resist Israel’s so far unstoppable colonial land-rush. Advancing this colonial settlement project is the core objective of the Netanyahu government, as it has been the core objective of most of its predecessors since at least 1977.

Rockets fired from Gaza also have the inestimable value for Israeli leaders of letting them do whatever they want to Gaza while receiving the usual pious US support for Israeli “self-defense.” This blanket support enables them to disregard the recent warning of a White House official that “Israel confronts an undeniable reality: it cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability.” As usual, the besieged and incarcerated people of Gaza will pay the highest price, while those of the West Bank and East Jerusalem will continue to suffer the humiliation and routine brutality of occupation and dispossession. And as usual the media will swallow the standard hasbara red herrings, will ignore background and context, and will report this story with the clock starting a month ago with the abductions of the three Israeli settlers, or with the first rockets fired from Gaza.

But like most recent Israeli encounters with the Palestinians, like every previous assault launched against Gaza, this will be a losing maneuver. In the long run it will it backfire, producing another crack in the edifice of Israel’s illegal and morally bankrupt project of perpetual occupation and unceasing colonization. Just the other day, Netanyahu let slip what he had never uttered before: in future negotiations, Israel will insist on permanent occupation, meaning permanent subjugation of the Palestinians. All of this is in service of the Revisionist-Likud dream of unlimited settlement to achieve a greater Eretz Israel. However, the ongoing unrest in Arab East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories as well as in Palestinian communities within Israel is another warning. It is the third such warning since the first intifada began in 1987, that this inhuman and racist project is unsustainable, and there is simply no way that it will pass: it cannot proceed in calm and tranquility, as some dream, because it cannot force the Palestinians to submit.

* Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and author most recently of Brokers of Deceit: How the US Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

Beating of U.S. Teen Underscores Zionists' Crimes Against the Youth

TML Daily -- July 10, 2014

Fifteen-year-old U.S.-born Palestinian-American Tariq Abu Khdeir was brutally beaten by masked Israeli police on the evening of July 3 in the Shuafat neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. His 16-year-old cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir was lynched by Zionist extremists the day before in that area. Israeli authorities claim Tariq was arrested for participating in a demonstration against the killing of Mohammed. Video of the attack shows Tariq being brutally beaten into unconsciousness.



On July 6, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reported that on July 5, two days after the brutal attack, a consular officer visited Tariq. She stated that "the State Department is profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force. [TML emphasis]. We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force."The video and photos of Tariq after the beating make clear there is no doubt that he was beaten by Israeli police. Furthermore, nothing was said about the fact that he remained in custody (now house arrest) nor that he has at no point been charged with any crime. It is only a matter of the use of "excessive force," while the fact that he is in detention at all is not questioned. The family has requested that the youth be returned to the U.S. to receive medical treatment for his injuries. The State Department's response underscores the U.S. government's support for Zionist crimes, as surely had this been any other government in the region as well as an American of some nationality other than Palestinian, a massive hue and cry would have been raised by the U.S.

The killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and the brutal beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir underscores the Zionists' crimes against Palestinian youth in particular. Prisoner rights organization Addameer reports that Tariq is one of eleven Palestinians who were beaten and arrested in Shuafat on July 3, many of whom were minors. "The continued state-sanctioned violence against children is unlawful and unacceptable," Addameer stated in an appeal for protests against Tariq's treatment.

"Addameer urges immediate action and calls on the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United States consulate and all regional embassies and consulates, human rights organizations and journalists to attend Tariq Abu Khdeir's hearing on Sunday 6 July to investigate the intensified aggression against Palestinian children," the group added.

Furthermore, a report issued June 30 by the NGO Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, documents that Palestinian children are at much greater, ongoing risk from Israeli forces. According to the report, Israel seized an estimated 2,500 Palestinian children and youth between January 2010 and June 2014. Of these approximately 400 were just 12-15 years old.

"The Israeli police or military typically break into homes in the middle of the night or take youth right off the streets without telling them what they are charged with or informing their parents, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," says Ihsan Adel, a legal officer at Euro-Mid. "How is that different from the reported kidnapping of the Israeli students? And yet it is occurring every day, every year. Where is the international outrage?"

The report documents continuing abductions of Palestinian youth and children, as well as numerous human rights violations such as torture and coerced confessions during detention, in violation of international laws. The Euro-Mid findings echo earlier conclusions by other international bodies. In a February 2013 report, UNICEF concluded that "ill-treatment of children who come into contact with the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process."

Euro-Mid is calling for equal coverage of the plight of Palestinian children by the international media, and for the signatory states of the Geneva Conventions and other international stakeholders to bring all pressure at their disposal (including denial of financial pacts and assistance) on Israel to immediately halt violations of their human rights.

"The disappearance or ill treatment of any child is tragic and should outrage all humans with consciences," says Sandra Owen, a policy officer at the Euro-Mid. "Are not the lives and liberties of Palestinian children worth as much?"

(News Agencies, Euro-Mid)

Snowden documents show NSA spied on prominent Muslim-Americans

By Thomas Gaist 

10 July 2014

Internal documents analyzed by Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept show that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation surveilled email accounts held by a number of leading professionals and activists, all of a Muslim-American background.

The individuals cited by the Intercept were taken from a list of more than 7,000 email accounts spied on by the US government between 2002 and 2008. This list was transferred to Greenwald by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The names of the targeted individuals were pulled by Greenwald and his collaborators from a spreadsheet leaked by Snowden titled “FISA recap.” Of the spied-upon email accounts, 202 belonged to US citizens, 1,782 to non-US citizens, and 5,501 were listed as unknown. READ MORE.....

Death toll mounts in Israeli attacks on Gaza

By Patrick Martin 

10 July 2014

The death toll from Israeli bomb and missile attacks on the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip has reached at least 63 since Sunday, when virtually non-stop air strikes on the blockaded territory began. More than 300 people have been reported wounded. Of the 47 dead who have been identified, 41 were described as civilians. Of these, 12 were children. READ MORE.....

Whatever the 'Canadian Taxpayers Federation' is, it's not a 'tax watchdog'


JULY 10, 2014

While the Canadian Taxpayers Federation claims to be a "tax watchdog" that opposes waste and advocates transparency in government, evidence suggests its principal purposes are to provide partisan support for the Harper Government, fulfill the corporate agenda and undermine the rights of working people.

The July 2 Alberta Diary post on the CTF’s disgracefully misogynistic and personal attack on a group of promising young Canadian scholars for the crime of being awarded scholarships provides an example of the former.

Today let's take a look at the evidence of the CTF’s strong anti-worker, anti-union bias, as well as the group's lack of transparency about its own supporters and objectives. READ MORE......

92 Muslims among World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds-2014

ABDUL RASHID AGWAN -- July 9, 2014


Thomson Reuters, a UK-based multi-media corporation, has recently released its report ‘The Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014’, listing more than 3200 scientists who are found as the leading contributors in some hot fields of scientific research during the previous year.

The mention of top researchers around the world is based on their distinction earned due to the highest number of articles that rank among those most frequently cited by other researchers.

From among scientists of 51 countries who surfaced in the study, 72 belong to seven Muslim countries, namely Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Jordon, Malaysia and UAE. These countries respectively have 34, 11, 10, 8, 4, 3 and 2 most influential scientific minds of the surveyed year and accordingly have been put on 13th, 24th, 26th, 28th, 34th, 40th and 44th slabs in the world for the unique distinction.

Out of the total names from Saudi universities, almost half are Muslims whereas the rest are Christians, Hindus and Chinese. Around 35 Muslim scientists were noted to be working in USA, Canada, UK and other countries. Thus, overall 92 Muslim names may be noted from the list.

Saudi Arabia’s ascendance on the science ladder may surprise many as Iran and Turkey are generally found as the leading Muslim countries in science research publications. Countries like Israel, India and Russia can be seen in the Thompson Reuters’ survey on 20th, 22nd and 29th positions respectively. Thus, Saudi Arabia is ahead of Israel by 7 positions and four Muslim countries are better than Russia and also other 11 western countries put on the list.

No doubt, the Saudi government’s educational reforms during the past decade have made the country emerge as the leading country of the Muslim world on the Thompson Reuters list of 2014. The country is presently spending more than 10% of its GDP on the promotion of education and scientific research.

It is evident from the survey of the Thompson Reuters that only 3% Muslim scientists could find place in the list of over 3200 names. However, it is still higher than some of the leading third world countries such as India and Brazil, which have only 14 and 5 mentions in the list respectively. As may be anticipated, USA tops the list with 1725 instances followed by UK and China with 309 and 166 instances respectively.

It is a matter of satisfaction that a few Muslim countries have now come up to compete with many western countries in the field of scientific advancement.

[The author is an India-based scholar and the author of “Islam in 21st Century: The Dynamics of Change and Future-making”. He can be contacted on agwan@rediffmail.com] Source: Muslim Mirror

Jewish Hate of Arabs Proves: Israel Must Undergo Cultural Revolution


Haaretz Editorial July 9, 2014 

Abu Khdeir’s murderers are not “Jewish extremists.” They are the descendants and builders of a culture of hate and vengeance that is nurtured and fertilized by the guides of “the Jewish state": Those for whom every Arab is a bitter enemy, simply because they are Arab; those who were silent at the Beitar Jerusalem games when the team’s fans shouted “death to Arabs” at Arab players; those who call for cleansing the state of its Arab minority, or at least to drive them out of the homes and cities of the Jews.

There are no words to describe the horror allegedly done by six Jews to Mohammed Abu Khdeir of Shoafat. Although a gag order bars publication of details of the terrible murder and the identities of its alleged perpetrators, the account of Abu Khdeir’s family — according to which the boy was burned alive — would horrify any mortal. Anyone who is not satisfied with this description, can view the horror movie in which members of Israel’s Border Police are seenbrutally beating Tariq Abu Khdeir, the murder victim’s 15-year-old cousin.

The Israel Police was quick to label the murderers “Jewish extremists,” meaning they aren’t part of the herd, they are outliers, “wild weeds.” This is the police’s way of trying to justify a sin, to “make the vermin kosher.” But the vermin is huge, and many-legged. It has embraced the soldiers and other young Israelis who overran the social media networks with calls for revenge and with hatred for Arabs. The vermin was welcomed by Knesset members, rabbis and public figures who demanded revenge. Nor did it skip over the prime minister, who declared “Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created.”

Abu Khdeir’s murderers are not “Jewish extremists.” They are the descendants and builders of a culture of hate and vengeance that is nurtured and fertilized by the guides of “the Jewish state": Those for whom every Arab is a bitter enemy, simply because they are Arab; those who were silent at the Beitar Jerusalem games when the team’s fans shouted “death to Arabs” at Arab players; those who call for cleansing the state of its Arab minority, or at least to drive them out of the homes and cities of the Jews.

No less responsible for the murder are those who did not halt, with an iron hand, violence by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian civilians, and who failed to investigate complaints “due to lack of public interest.” The term “Jewish extremists” actually seems more appropriate for the small Jewish minority that is still horrified by these acts of violence and murder. But they too recognize, unfortunately, that they belong to a vengeful, vindictive Jewish tribe whose license to perpetrate horrors is based on the horrors that were done to it.

Prosecuting the murderers is no longer sufficient. There must be a cultural revolution in Israel. Its political leaders and military officers must recognize this injustice and right it. They must begin raising the next generation, at least, on humanist values, and foster a tolerant public discourse. Without these, the Jewish tribe will not be worthy of its own state.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Canadians oppose online spying bill



July 9, 2014 - 

A recent opinion poll conducted by Forum Researchshows strong opposition to the Canadian government’s proposed online spying legislation.

The poll shows that 73 percent of Canadians oppose C-13, with just 15 percent approving, a ratio of nearly 5 to 1 opposed.

Bill C-13 would give police new powers to monitor the private data of Canadians. C-13 was tabled as a “cyberbullying” law but also includes clauses to strengthen the power of various government officials to monitor mobile phones and other electronic data and track Canadian residents.

While a warrant is still required in most cases, the bill explicitly permits law enforcement officials to seek private information from telephone companies, who under the bill can voluntarily hand over certain subscriber data to police, border guards, or other officials, with full legal impunity.

Opposition to bill, according to the Forum Research poll, spans every age group and is strongest among 18-34 year olds (78 percent) and 55-64 year olds (74 percent). Opposition is consistent across income levels, particularly among those earning between $40,000 to $60,000 (78 percent) and $80,000 to $100,000 (78 percent) per year.

Civil liberties groups and privacy commissioners across Canada have expressed a tremendous amount of concern about the proposed legislation.

“This poll reflects how Canadians have come together from right across the political spectrum to oppose the government’s reckless and irresponsible spying bill,” said Steve Anderson, Executive Director of OpenMedia, an advocacy group that promotes digital privacy. “This government has a terrible track record on privacy and I hope this poll will encourage it to pull back on its insulting and reckless online spying legislation.”

BiometricUpdate.com recently reported that a major report in Canada was released which found that surveillance in Canada is expanding, mostly unchecked, into every facet of life. In response, Canadian academics and privacy groups mobilized to issue a statement against mass spying efforts pursued by government.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right and a core Canadian value,” Anderson said. “The government has mismanaged our data security and it’s past time we begin to address the privacy deficit they’ve put this country in.”

Civil liberties groups began expressing concern when Chantal Bernier, Canada’s InterimPrivacy Commissioner, first revealed a document showing that telecoms already receive data requests from government agencies and had processed over 1.2 million requests in 2011. Bernier noted that the most “troubling aspects” about the bill include “a lack of accountability and reporting mechanisms”.

The Supreme Court of Canada also ruled last month that “warrantless spying” is unconstitutional, putting the proposed bill, and the government’s entire online surveillance strategy, in jeopardy.

Op-Ed: All the News Fit for White Men: Why Journalism is Failing America

Op-Ed: All the News Fit for White Men: Why Journalism is Failing America

Dinesh D’Souza’s paranoid nightmare: Everything is a vast conspiracy against him

Dinesh D’Souza’s paranoid nightmare: Everything is a vast conspiracy against him

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Responds to Hillary Clinton: Fair U.S. Trial for Snowden 'Not Possible' | Democracy Now!

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Responds to Hillary Clinton: Fair U.S. Trial for Snowden 'Not Possible' | Democracy Now!

Serbia – Members of Women in Black attacked while commemorating massacre of Srebrenica


9 July 2014

On 8 July 2014, members of Women in Black were attacked in Valjevo by a group of young people wearing t-shirts bearing the image of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić, during a commemoration of the genocide in Srebrenica. Women in Black is a world-wide network of women committed to peaceful advocacy, which opposes injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence.

During the commemoration on 8 July 2014, a group of young people verbally assaulted members of Women in Black in the centre of Valjevo before throwing eggs and other heavy objects at them. In the attack, Ms Stasa Zajovic, co-founder of Women in Black, and members Ms Lilyana Radovanovic, Ms Deyan Gasic, and Mr Milos Uroshevic suffered injuries. The attackers reportedly wore t-shirts bearing the image of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić, who is currently on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The bodies of 175 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were recently found in mass graves and are due to be buried on 11 July 2014, which is the 19th anniversary of the event. To date, 6,066 victims of the massacre, which is thought to have taken the lives of 8,000 Muslim men and boys from the village of Srebrenica, have been identified. As part of the commemoration, Woman in Black and other groups will present in front of the Serbian parliament and President. The commemoration is due to end in Belgrade on 10 July 2014.

After the attack, the police escorted the injured members of Women in Black who had been attacked out of Valjevo.

The attack comes three months after the then spokesperson of the Anti-Terrorist Unit of the Ministry of Interior, Radomir Počuča, made a call on his facebook profile for football hooligans to “deal” with Women in Black. The post was published on 25 March 2014, the day before a silent vigil by Women in Black to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the start of the armed conflict in Serbia and Kosovo.

Front Line Defenders expresses concern that members of Women in Black were attacked as a direct result of their peaceful human rights advocacy in Serbia.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Serbia to:

Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on members of Women in Black with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of members of Women in Black and any human rights defenders commemorating the Srebrenica massacre;

Take measures to ensure that government officials or other public figures refrain from making statements or declaration stigmatising the legitimate work of human rights defenders;

Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Serbia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Palestinian press losing media war in current crisis

Asmaa al-Ghoul -- July 8, 2014


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Palestinian local media outlets — including radio stations, news agencies and newspapers — have struggled to cover the fast-paced events on the Palestinian territories since the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli settler teens in mid-June to the current Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip. So far, quick reporting and live interviews on the ground have prevailed over published materials. Amid a lack of deep analyses of the events, a scarcity of information and an absence of expectations, many news agencies and newspapers are relying on Israeli sources, and are thus failing to articulate an alternative narrative of the events.

The absence of the human story, the reliance on statistics of deaths and injuries, the dissemination of photos of bodies and the limited number of officials who can be reached for comment, either in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, affect the issuance of a complete Palestinian side of the story. They also preserve the state of confusion that has characterized local media since the three settlers were abducted on June 12, and found killed, and after the burning and killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir by settlers in Jerusalem on July 2.

Palestinian coverage has also been hampered by the politicized tit for tat between Hamas and Fatah-affiliated media outlets. For example, on July 4, the victims of the clashes between Egyptian security forces and the Muslim Brotherhood was front-page news, despite the current volatile situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and Al-Ayyam, two newspapers published in Ramallah, ignored the tension in the Palestinian street and the escalating criticism of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas because of his remarks on the security coordination with Israel, the pro-Hamas Al-Resalah and Felesteen newspapers attacked the president by using innuendo in their headlines: “The young boy Abu Khdeir, a victim of human beings in Quds [Jerusalem],” in reference to the president’s speech describing the settlers as human beings.

In a news item on its front page, Al-Resalah wrote, “Al-Habbash is persona non grata in Palestinian society,” referring to the expulsion of chief Judge Mahmoud al-Habbash from Al-Aqsa Mosque. He is known to be close to Abbas.

Perhaps this media rivalry prompted Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority (PA), to step up its anti-Israeli rhetoric. On July 4, it used the word “terrorists” to refer to Israeli settlers in its headline, “Terrorists try to kidnap a child and a citizen, and wound a young man with bullets.”

Felesteen and Al-Resalah extensively covered the responses of Hamas leaders to the current situation. The websites of Felesteen and Al-Resalah are updated frequently, unlike the websites of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and Al-Ayyam, which mirror the print versions and make no effort to provide in-depth material such as analyses or comprehensive reports.

A lot of breaking news and news reports are posted by local online news agencies, such as Media 24, Safa, Sawa, Sama, Falastin Al-Youm and Maan. Unlike the print media, web media is not obviously partisan, although they do have affiliations.

Naela Khalil, a journalist in Ramallah, told Al-Monitor, “The ordinary citizen is lost among the media owned by the PA, partisan media and the media of editors who ride the president’s plane and thus cannot criticize his performance,” arguing that “coverage for the most part was lukewarm, [strictly reporting the] news and without any meat, and didn’t carry the true spirit of the revolt of the people of Shuafat and Jerusalem. This made the citizens turn to international or Israeli press. … Can you imagine that the spokesman for the security services in the West Bank refused to talk to or deal with some local journalists and incited against them, while he gave statements to Israeli media?”

In the same vein, Gaza-based journalist Fathi Sabbah told Al-Monitor, “Palestinian media was a recipient and not a producer of news since the three settlers disappeared, and most of its information came from Israeli sources because there were no clear Palestinian reactions about what was going on.”

Mohammed Abu Allan, a Palestinian from the West Bank who blogs on Israeli affairs, agreed. “There was no consistent and complete Palestinian narrative in our media. Palestinian officials gave statements to Israeli media and refused to give statements to Palestinian [media],” he told Al-Monitor.

A journalist from Jerusalem who works with an international news agency, whose name she did not mention in accordance with the agency’s policy, told Al-Monitor, “Palestinian media copied from the agencies, and rarely gave special reports on anything that was happening, such as the collective punishment by the Israeli occupation, which human rights institutions [covered].”

For her part, Khalil explained, "The local media avoided to a large extent mentioning the tension that the people of the West Bank and Jerusalem accumulated against both the PA and the occupation. … For example, we didn’t see the news about the expulsion of Jerusalem Gov. Adnan al-Husseini from the house of mourning in local newspapers not affiliated with Hamas. Also, no one criticized the weak role of the PA in protecting citizens from attacks by settlers.”

Sabbah agreed, saying, “It seems that our media is scared of retaliation from Israeli or PA security, which destroyed and confiscated the cameras of journalists in the West Bank.”

About the accuracy of the terminology, Sabbah told Al-Monitor, “At the beginning of the crisis, when settlers disappeared, I used the term 'abductees' and wrote 'those whose traces disappeared.' We didn’t know if the operation had a criminal or nationalist background.”

Khalil said, “Palestinian media acted somewhat in self-defensive. … It also failed to choose [proper] terminology. Some called them [the three kidnapped youths] soldiers. Some called them settlers without mentioning the nature of settlement activity and land theft. Some called them the kidnapped, while all Israeli media called them teenagers and youths. … The local media was very superficial in its coverage of the events and only published the numbers of wounded, prisoners and martyrs without including the stories behind these numbers.”

Salim al-Bek, an Arab writer and observer of Arab media, said from France that the “coverage was not up to scratch, not just locally but at the Arab [level], too,” pointing out to Al-Monitor, “All Arab media coverage of the recent confrontations in Shuafat as well as the Israeli bombardment of Gaza was subject to overlapping considerations, the basis of which were the political positions of the sponsoring, financing or owning regime of this or that media outlet — the most influential among them, as always, are the TV channels.”

Palestinians who do not affiliate to Hamas or Fatah will struggle to find local media outlets that keep abreast with the daily scene of hundreds of masked youths who are knocking the doors of a third intifada in Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, while Gaza faces another Israeli onslaught.

World Cup puts spotlight on rights of migrant workers in Qatar

Posted on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 

By Susan Kneebone


As recent demonstrations in Brazil around the staging of the FIFA 2014 World Soccer Cup show, major sporting events put the spotlight on human rights issues in host countries. In the case of Qatar the preparations to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup are focussing worldwide attention on the plight of migrant workers. It estimated that the country needs an extra 500,000 migrant workers to build stadiums and other infrastructure such as a metro system in the lead up to the World Cup. But a report by the International Trade Union Commission (ITUC) predicts that 4,000 migrant construction workers will die in Qatar before the start of the game.

As for much of the Gulf States region, Qatar is heavily dependent on migrant workers. It has the highest ratio of migrants to citizens in the world, with migrant workers making up approximately 88 per cent of the whole population. The majority of migrant workers come from South and South-East Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. A series of reports has revealed poor working conditions for migrant workers in Qatar particularly in the construction industry and in domestic workplaces and a lack of enforcement of existingprotective legal mechanisms.

This situation highlights the global issue of exploitation of low and unskilled temporary migrant workers, also labelled as “foreign workers”. Currently, there are about 232 million migrants globally, of whom it is estimated that 105 million are migrant workers who are displaced by necessity in a labour market which reflects the increasing disparity between rich and poor countries. Unskilled temporary migrant workers are vulnerable because they have no choice but to migrate to work. Such workers are constructed in laws and policies as lacking connection to the host state but rather the responsibility of their home state. They are discriminated in the host state on the basis of their culture and identity, and often regarded as ‘export’ labour at home.

Builders at Work: There are close to one million migrant workers in Qatar, mainly from South Asia. The majority work in construction. Photo by WBUR Boston’s NPR News Station. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via WBUR Flickr.

The Kafala sponsorship system which operates in Qatar is a symptom of such vulnerability. The Kafala system reduces migrant workers to the status of slaves or indentured property in host country. This system is used to regulate the relationship between employers and migrants, with a work permit linked to a single person, who is often the sponsor. The law provides power and authority to sponsors to prevent migrant workers from changing employers and from the leaving Qatar.

As the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau summaries:

The kafala system enables unscrupulous employers to exploit employees. Frequent cases of abuse against migrants include the confiscation of passports, refusal to give “no objection” certificates (allowing migrants to change employer) or exit permits and refusal to pay migrants’ plane tickets to return home. Some employers do not extend residence permits for their employees, often because of the fees incurred. This leads to migrants ending up in an irregular situation, with no valid identity card, despite the fact that they are regularly employed. [7]

The recruitment process and charging of excessive fees are other critical issues. Recruitment fees are forbidden by Qatari law, but the reports found that many migrant workers had taken out substantial loans to pay the fees in their home countries and were in long-term debt. Contract substitution is also a huge problem, as the terms of contracts signed in the home countries are often different upon arrival in Qatar, usually with a lower salary and different job description. As migrant workers cannot easily change jobs without the sponsor’s approval and often have recruitment loans to repay, they become highly vulnerable to abuse and less likely to report such violations. In many cases, such practices will amount to human trafficking for labour exploitation or forced labour as the Amnesty International Report, “My Sleep is My Break” explains (pp54-60).

The exploitation of “foreign” migrant workers suggests that we have created a new global form of ‘indentured servitude’ or slavery in which others exercise property-like powers or control over individuals. The irony is that the development of individual rights to free and decent working conditions in the nineteenth century ran parallel to the anti-slavery movement. Qatar 2022 offers an opportunity to Qatar to show the global community the need to recognise collective responsibility for migrant workers in a globalised economy, and to put pressure on states and non-state actors to respect the rights of migrant workers.

Dr Susan Kneebone (PhD, MA (Asian Studies), Dip Ed, LLB), is a Professor in the Faculty of Law, Monash University, Australia. She is the author of many articles and book chapters, including author \ editor of the following: Transnational Crime and Human Rights: Responses to Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion (Routledge 2012) (co-authored with Julie Debeljak) ; Migrant Workers Between States: In Search of Exit and Integration Strategies in South East Asia 40 (4) Asian Journal of Social Sciences (2012) ; “Transnational Labour Migrants: Whose Responsibility?” in Fiona Jenkins, Mark Nolan and Kim Rubenstein eds, Allegiance and Identity in a Globalised World (Cambridge University Press, 2014 – in press) Chapter 18. Recent publications include: “ASEAN and the Conceptualisation of Refugee protection” in Abass A. and Ippolito, F., et al eds., Regional Approaches to the Protection of Asylum Seekers: An International Legal Perspective (Ashgate 2014) Chapter 13, pp295-324 ; “The Bali Process and Global Refugee Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region” Special Edition of the Journal of Refugee Studies on Global Refugee Policy, 2014.