TBR News August 26, 2017

Aug 26 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., August 26, 2017:” When I was in school many years ago, in choir practice, we used to sing Stephen Foster’s ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ for assemblies.

A few weeks ago, I looked up the lyrics and found the Politically Correct mongoloids had gotten at the lyrics:

Original version –  ‘The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home,

Tis summer, the darkies are gay…’

The Politically Correct version- ‘The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,

Tis summer, the people are gay…’

It’s a naughty-naughty-no-no to use the word ‘darky.’

Also, the implication is that black people are gay, though the word had a different meaning in Foster’s day.

I suppose that writers discussing the 1929 collapse of the stock market cannot refer to the day as ‘Black Friday’ but instead say ‘Unfortunate Friday’ or that someone is not having a ‘black mood’ day but a ‘difficult day’ instead.

And in the disintegrating American public school system, now at recess an overweight lesbian teacher, sporting a Kaiser Wilhelm moustache, has all her pupils join hands in a circle and dance around singing the Kumbaya song while she chants in her basso profundo voice ‘We’re all equal students, we’re all equal’ and the circle has humpbacks, clubfoots, hairlipped mixed bloods dancing, (or stumbling) in a circle, screeching at the top of their lungs and frightening birds and small rodents.

And we no longer sing ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…’ but instead, ‘I’m dreaming of a uni-culture Christmas…’ but then this reference to Jesus might anger the Moslems so we drop the song altogether.

And if George Soros had his way, the students would all be singing the ‘Internationale’ in their piping voices.”

Table of Contents

  • Flood threat rises as Harvey dumps torrential rains on Texas
  • Hezbollah’s new ‘power’ threatens Israel
  • Hezbollah and Lebanese military deepen cooperation
  • Iraqi forces recapture large portion of Tal Afar center from ‘Islamic State’
  • Is ‘killer robot’ warfare closer than we think?
  • How White Nationalism Became Normal Online
  • A Brief History of Radical Left-Wing Violence in America
  • The Right vs the Left in American Politics
  • Israel revokes citizenship of hundreds of Negev Bedouin, leaving them stateless


Flood threat rises as Harvey dumps torrential rains on Texas

August 26, 2017

by Brian Thevenot


ROCKPORT, Texas (Reuters) – The most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. state of Texas in more than 50 years moved slowly inland on Saturday, dumping torrential rain expected to cause catastrophic flooding after battering the coast with 130 miles per hour (209 km per hour) winds.

Texas utility companies said just under a quarter of a million customers were without power. Wind and rain continued to lash the coast as residents began to assess the damage.

Harvey is the strongest storm to hit Texas, the center of the U.S. oil and gas industry, since 1961.

The seaside town of Rockport, 30 miles (48 km) north of the city of Corpus Christi, was hit hard.

Several homes had collapsed, and many more buildings suffered damage. Roofs had been ripped off some, and windows blown in.

The streets were flooded and strewn with power lines and debris. At a recreational vehicle sales lot, a dozen vehicles were flipped over and one had been blown into the middle of the street outside.

“It was terrible,” resident Joel Valdez, 57, told Reuters. The storm ripped part of the roof from his trailer home at around 4 a.m., he said. “I could feel the whole house move.”

Valdez said he stayed through the storm to look after his animals.

“I have these miniature donkeys and I don’t know where they are,” he said, as he sat in a Jeep with windows smashed by the storm.

Resident Frank Cook, 56, also stayed through the storm.

“If you have something left of your house, you’re lucky,” he said, surveying the damage from his vehicle.

Before the storm hit, Rockport’s mayor told anyone staying behind to write their names on their arms for identification purposes in case of death or injury.

A high school, hotel, senior housing complex and other buildings suffered structural damage, according to emergency officials and local media. Some were being used as shelters.

The coastal city of Port Lavaca, farther north on the coast, had no power and some streets were flooded.

“There is so much tree damage and debris that the cost of cleanup will be enormous,” Mayor Jack Whitlow told Reuters, after touring the city earlier Saturday.

The hurricane came ashore near Port Lavaca late on Friday with maximum winds of 130 mph (209 km/h). That made it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the second-highest category and the most powerful storm in over a decade to hit the mainland United States.

The streets of Corpus Christi, which has around 320,000 residents, were deserted early on Saturday, with billboards twisted and strong winds still blowing.

City authorities asked residents to reduce use of toilets and faucets because power outages left waste water plants unable to treat sewage.

The city also asked residents to boil water before consumption.

A drill ship broke free of its mooring overnight and rammed into some tugs in the port of Corpus Christi, port executive Sean Strawbridge said. The crews on the tugs were safe, he added.

The city was under voluntary evacuation ahead of the storm.


The storm weakened to Category 1 early on Saturday and was expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm later in the day, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Harvey was about 150 miles (241 km) west-southwest of Houston, moving at about 2 mph (4 km/h), the center said in a morning update.

Harvey was expected to linger for days over Texas and bring as much as 40 inches (101.6 cm) of rain to some parts of the state.

The latest forecast storm track has Harvey looping back toward the Gulf of Mexico coast before meandering north again on Tuesday. (tmsnrt.rs/2g9jZ0W)

Nearly 10 inches (25 cm) of rain had already fallen in a few areas in southeastern Texas, the center said. Flash floods have already hit some areas, the National Weather Service said.

As many as 6 million people were believed to be in Harvey’s path, as is the heart of America’s oil-refining operations. The storm’s impact on refineries has already pushed up gasoline prices. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency eased rules on gasoline specifications late on Friday to reduce shortages.

U.S. President Donald Trump, facing the first big natural disaster of his term, said on Twitter he signed a disaster proclamation that “unleashes the full force of government help” shortly before Harvey made landfall.

“You are doing a great job – the world is watching,” Trump said on Saturday in a tweet referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which coordinates the response to major disasters.

Utilities American Electric Power Company Inc and CenterPoint Energy Inc reported a combined total of around 237,000 customers without power.

While thousands fled the expected devastating flooding and destruction, many residents stayed put in imperiled towns and stocked up on food, fuel and sandbags.


The size and strength dredged up memories of Katrina, the 2005 hurricane that made a direct hit on New Orleans as a Category 3 storm, causing levees and flood walls to fail in dozens of places. About 1,800 died in the disaster made worse by a slow government emergency response.

Texas and Louisiana declared states of disaster before Harvey hit, authorizing the use of state resources to prepare.

Residents of Houston, the nation’s fourth most populous city, were awakened early on Saturday by automatic cell phone warnings of flash floods.

The city warned of flooding from close to 20 inches (60 cm) of rain over several days.


U.S. gasoline prices spiked as the storm shut down several refineries and 22 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil production, according to the U.S. government. Many fuel stations ran out of gasoline before the storm hit.

More than 45 percent of the country’s refining capacity is along the U.S. Gulf Coast, and nearly a fifth of the nation’s crude is produced offshore.

Ports from Corpus Christi to Texas City, Texas, were closed to incoming vessels and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp and others have evacuated staff from offshore oil and gas platforms.

Disruptions to fuel supply drove benchmark gasoline prices to their highest level in four months.

The U.S. government said it would make emergency stockpiles of crude available if needed to plug disruptions. It has regularly used them to dampen the impact of previous storms on energy supplies.

Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York, Liz Hampton, Ernest Scheyder and Gary McWilliams in Houston; Writing by Brendan O’Brien and Simon Webb; Editing by Helen Popper and Matthew Lewis


Hezbollah’s new ‘power’ threatens Israel

The Lebanese Shiite Islamist group Hezbollah has benefited from the war in Syria. Backed by Iran, it has expanded enormously militarily. Its presence in Syria also makes it a threat to neighboring Israel.

August 26, 2017

by Kersten Knipp


It was a bombshell – for more than five days, the Lebanese military was fighting the terrorist organization “Islamic State” (IS), whose militia have penetrated parts of the Syrian Qalamoun Mountains. Its foothills reach as far as Lebanon and the IS jihadis have proved themselves well equipped.

Lebanon’s military, keen to push Sunni extremists back, has formed a loose alliance with Hezbollah and Iran. The Shiite-dominated alliance has managed to push back Sunni extremists.

“The Lebanese military supported by the resistance movement, Hezbollah and the [Iranian] nation, recorded some significant victories over the IS terrorists,” said Hossein Jaberi Ansari, the Iranian deputy foreign minister, during a recent visit to Beirut.

A long unthinkable alliance

The Lebanese army working with Hezbollah’s paramilitary militia – such an alliance was previously unthinkable.  For a state institution such as the Lebanese military to ally itself with the Islamist group, with roots in and support from Iran, is noteworthy. Not least because according to the political scientist Eitan Azani, Hezbollah “operates as a state within a state.”

“The independent politics of the Lebanese organization created conflicts and tensions in their relationship with the Lebanese state,” Azani said in his book on Hezbollah. “One of the main points of conflict between the movement and the government was Hezbollah’s resistance policy, which in many cases was in conflict with the interests of the government, thus undermining the processes that they tried to initiate.”

The tensions this created in the 1990s can still be seen today. Hezbollah remains an independent body in Lebanese politics. Although it has been represented in the Lebanese National Assembly since 1992, it has also maintained its largely independent paramilitary. In 2006, they fought with the Israeli military, which resulted in a war lasting about a month.

A divided Lebanon

Since then, Lebanon has been politically divided. On one side, there are the Sunnis, Druze and parts of the Lebanese Christians – on the other side, there are the Shiites and other parts of the Christian population.

“The coalition of Maronites [a collection of Christian churches], Sunnis and Druze has one main concern,” writes the Turkish analyst Timur Goksel. Particularly, he adds, “to keep Hezbollah from using its weapons and its political weight to change the political and economic balance of the [current] Lebanese system, which is based on religion.”

The fact that the Lebanese army is now cooperating militarily with this barely controllable partner, and also sees Iran as a partner,is causing serious concern in Israel. The fear is that Hezbollah could use the alliance with the Lebanese army to pursue its own agenda against Israel, even more forcefully than it has before.

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah’s threats

Several months ago, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah issued massive threats against Israel. Should Israel attack Lebanon or Syria, he said in June, “hundreds of thousands” of Arab and Muslim fighters would be ready to strike back. In the event of such an attack, it was entirely open as to “whether this struggle is limited to Lebanon and Israel or Syria and Israel,” he said.

In the middle of August he went on to say that an attack on Israel would be “a hundred times” greater than in previous conflicts. He also threatened Hezbollah could attack the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona. Previously, he had already named a huge ammonia tank at Haifa as a possible target. Its explosion would have devastating consequences for the city and its population. This sparked a discussion in Israel about the transfer of the tank into a safer area.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Hezbollah, in association with Iran, is one of the great winners of the war in Syria. Nasrallah’s self-confident words about the hundredfold strength of the organization may be exaggerated, but it indicates that Hezbollah is profiting enormously from its role as the military arm of Iran. Initially, Iran had the goal of not losing Syria, its most important and, at the same time, its only state ally in the region. During the course of the war, however, a new goal emerged – an uninterrupted land road, across Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon.

‘A stone’s throw from the border’

At the same time this means Iran’s sphere of influence extends as far as Israel. “Hezbollah is only a stone’s throw from the Israeli border,” the head of the Israeli military reconnaissance service, Herzl Halevi, said.

Hezbollah is thus given new weight. Since it also has a presence in Syria and will remain there in the foreseeable future, it also represents a whole new danger to Israel’s geopolitical strategy. It could now not only be attacked from the South of Lebanon but also from the Syrian western frontier. This would almost double the length of the front.

An attack is currently unlikely, as a third of the Hezbollah fighters are engaged in the Syrian war zone. In addition, the organization has suffered heavy human and financial losses. In the long run, however, there is a danger of war.

Israel braces itself

Israel is drawing several conclusions from the new situation. On the one hand, there are calls to no longer distinguish between Hezbollah and the regular Lebanese army. “The Lebanese army is a Hezbollah wing,” says Mordechai Kedar of the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Ramat Gan in conversation with the Jerusalem Post.

The newspaper itself also points out that arms supplies from Western countries – it mentions France and the US – to the Lebanese army would sooner or later end up in the hands of Hezbollah.

In addition, Israel has for the first time admitted to attacking arms shipments to Hezbollah “dozens of times” in recent years, as the newspaper Haaretz quoted an unnamed Israeli commander. The escalation of a war in the Middle East was a “trivial” phenomenon, Haaretz Amir Eshel, the commander of the Israeli Air Force, was quoted as saying.

Such an escalation should be avoided, he added. The army, he said, could not win such a war within a few hours. But it was so far developed that she could “dramatically reduce” their opponent.


Hezbollah and Lebanese military deepen cooperation

March 3, 2017

Tip –

The Lebanese president’s recent remarks that Hezbollah’s armaments are legitimate indicate a close relationship between the terrorist organization and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), wrote Brig. Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, on Thursday. Last month, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said in an interview that Hezbollah’s weapons “do not contradict the state… and are an essential part of defending Lebanon. As long as the Lebanese army lacks sufficient power to face Israel, we feel the need for (Hezbollah’s) arsenal because it complements the army’s role.”

Shapira wrote that due to Aoun’s comments, Israel can expect a deepening of the relationship between Hezbollah and the LAF – he noted a Hezbollah military parade in Qusayr, Syria in November, in which the group showed off a variety of arms and vehicles, including American M113 armored personnel carriers. The United States provides military aid to the LAF, so there is concern among Israel’s security establishment that American weapons and vehicles will continue to end up in the hands of Hezbollah. This undoing of “the separation between Hizbullah’s military power and the Lebanese army” means that Israel will face “a single force, [which] will enable Israel to operate freely against the Lebanese state, including its army and civilian infrastructures, at any time that Hizbullah acts against Israel,” Shapira wrote.

In The Times of Israel, journalist Avi Issacharoff explained that the Israeli military is increasingly concerned about this Hezbollah-LAF relationship and will take to take this into consideration in the next war against Hezbollah.

“In southern Lebanon, it’s Hezbollah that calls the shots,” Issacharoff wrote. “There is no village in the south (with the possible exception of several Sunni villages) that has not been transformed into a fortified bastion of Hezbollah, which possesses an entire array of command and control, communications systems, and a variety of arms including rockets (of course) and anti-tank weapons.” An Israeli defense official explained that the buildup of Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure in southern Lebanese villages meant that “civilians are living in a military compound” and that their lives were at risk.

Hezbollah reportedly has an arsenal of 130,000 rockets, more than the combined total of all 27 non-U.S. NATO member states.

No wonder she dumped him. A St. Louis man was arrested on Friday for making threats against at least eight Jewish Community Centers across the United States.

Juan Thompson is accused of calling in bomb threats to multiple JCCs and the headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League. According to authorities, Thompson made the calls as part of an effort to harass an ex-girlfriend, and used her name when making the threats.

According to the FBI’s official complaint, Thompson emailed the ADL on February 21 to say that the woman was “behind the bomb threats against the jews. She lives in nyc and is making more bomb threats tomorrow.” He allegedly made a similar threat to JCCs in San Diego and Dallas.

Thompson also allegedly emailed threats anonymously to other Jewish institutions accusing himself of planting bombs, and then tweeting that his ex-girlfriend “sent a bomb threat in my name & wants me to be raped in jail.” He even tweeted sympathy for victims of the bombing threats.

Thompson worked as a journalist for the online publication The Intercept from late 2014 to early 2016, before being fired for fabricating quotes and using fake email accounts to impersonate people, including his own boss. He is being charged with one count of cyberstalking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. He is scheduled to appear in court in St. Louis later on Friday.

Thompson is believed to be a copycat and not responsible for the vast majority of the bomb threats, which have targeted more than 100 Jewish institutions across the United States and Canada so far this year. No bombs were found at any of the threatened locations.

Iran says no to peace.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “The Gulf States Are Ready for Peaceful Coexistence—if Iran Is,” the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba makes clear that “Iran’s hostile behavior is only growing worse.”

“When the Iranian nuclear deal took effect more than a year ago, there were high hopes that it would set Tehran on a new course of responsible engagement in world affairs,” wrote Al Otaiba. “Instead, the country has chosen increased conflict and aggression.” He welcomed the newly placed sanctions on Iran and called the move long overdue. Strict enforcement of United Nations resolutions barring Iranian arms transfers and ballistic-missile tests would likewise be supported by the ambassador.

Al Otaiba also brought up Defense Secretary James Mattis’s statements that Iran is “the biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East” and “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world,” and backed up the sentiment coming from his country’s perspective.

Fortune magazine released “Here are 50 Companies Leading the AI Revolution,” and the prestigious list includes three hot Israeli companies in the artificial intelligence sector: Logz.io, Voyager Labs and Zebra Medical Vision. Fortune’s infographic includes only six countries and features an equal number of notable AI companies from Israel (population 8.5 million) as China (population 1.38 billion) and the United Kingdom, and more than France and Taiwan. Only the United States has more companies on the graph. Fortune relied on research firm CB Insights’ AI 100 list of the most promising artificial intelligence startups globally, based on factors like financing history, investor quality, business category and momentum. The CB Insights list also includes Israeli companies Prospera Technologies  (ag-tech at work in Spain, Mexico and New York) and Chorus.ai  (conversation intelligence for sales teams). “A look at the 50 largest startups on the list, ranked by total funds raised, shows that investment in AI is surging worldwide,” Fortune writes. That number in 2016 was $5 billion. (via Israel21c)


Iraqi forces recapture large portion of Tal Afar center from ‘Islamic State’

Iraqi forces have seized most parts of the northern city of Tal Afar from “Islamic State” (IS). The city is strategically important as it lies on the supply route between Syria and the former IS stronghold of Mosul.

August 26, 2017


The Iraqi army said in a statement on Saturday its troops have “liberated” Tal Afar’s city center and its Ottoman-era citadel.

“Units of the Counter-Terrorism Service liberated the citadel and Basatin districts and raised the Iraqi flag on top of the citadel,” General Abdulamir Yarallah, the military offensive’s commander, said.

The aerial and ground offensives to recapture Tal Afar, located 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Mosul, from the militant IS group started earlier this month.

Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Saturday IS had been driven out from 70 percent of the city.

“God willing, the remaining part will be liberated soon,” Jaafari said at a news conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and French Defense Minister Florence Parly, who are currently visiting the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Strategic stronghold

Tal Afar has long been a stronghold for hard-line Sunni insurgents. It was cut off from other IS-held territories in June during the Iraqi-led operation to recapture Mosul.

According to US and Iraqi military sources, there are roughly 2,000 IS militants in and around the city.

Over the past weeks, the US-led coalition against IS has carried out dozens of air strikes in Tal Afar and the surrounding areas, targeting command centers and ammunition caches.

Humanitarian organizations are not expecting a mass exodus similar to that seen during the Mosul offensive and its eventual recapture. Between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians are believed to be in Tal Afar and surrounding areas, according to the International Organization for Migration.


Is ‘killer robot’ warfare closer than we think?

August 25, 2017

by Mark Smith Technology of Business reporter

BBC News

More than 100 of the world’s top robotics experts wrote a letter to the United Nations recently calling for a ban on the development of “killer robots” and warning of a new arms race. But are their fears really justified?

Entire regiments of unmanned tanks; drones that can spot an insurgent in a crowd of civilians; and weapons controlled by computerised “brains” that learn like we do, are all among the “smart” tech being unleashed by an arms industry many believe is now entering a “third revolution in warfare”.

“In every sphere of the battlefield – in the air, on the sea, under the sea or on the land – the military around the world are now demonstrating prototype autonomous weapons,” says Toby Walsh, professor of artificial intelligence at Sydney’s New South Wales University.

“New technologies like deep learning are helping drive this revolution. The tech space is clearly leading the charge, and the military is playing catch-up.”

One reported breakthrough giving killer machine opponents sleepless nights is Kalashnikov’s “neural net” combat module

It features a 7.62mm machine gun and a camera attached to a computer system that its makers claim can make its own targeting judgements without any human control.

◾AI fighter pilot wins in combat simulation

According to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency it uses “neural network technologies that enable it to identify targets and make decisions”.

Unlike a conventional computer that uses pre-programmed instructions to tackle a specific but limited range of predictable possibilities, a neural network is designed to learn from previous examples then adapt to circumstances it may not have encountered before.

And it is this supposed ability to make its own decisions that is worrying to many.

“If weapons are using neural networks and advanced artificial intelligence then we wouldn’t necessarily know the basis on which they made the decision to attack – and that’s very dangerous,” says Andrew Nanson, chief technology officer at defence specialist Ultra Electronics.

But he remains sceptical about some of the claims arms manufacturers are making.

Automated defence systems can already make decisions based on an analysis of a threat – the shape, size, speed and trajectory of an incoming missile, for example – and choose an appropriate response much faster than humans can.

But what happens when such systems encounter something they have no experience of, but are still given the freedom to act using a “best guess” approach?

Mistakes could be disastrous – the killing of innocent civilians; the destruction of non-military targets; “friendly fire” attacks on your own side

And this is what many experts fear, not that AI will become too smart – taking over the world like the Skynet supercomputer from the Terminator films – but that it’s too stupid.

“The current problems are not with super-intelligent robots but with pretty dumb ones that cannot flexibly discriminate between civilian targets and military targets except in very narrowly contained settings,” says Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at Sheffield University.

Despite such concerns, Kalashnikov’s latest products are not the only autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons being trialled in Russia.

The Uran-9 is an unmanned ground combat vehicle and features a machine gun and 30mm cannon. It can be remotely controlled at distances of up to 10km.


How White Nationalism Became Normal Online

August 25 2017

by Lee Fang andLeighton Akio Woodhouse

The Intercept

One of the most shocking images from the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 11 was the spectacle of several hundred young people taking up torches and marching in support of white nationalism.

The avalanche of media coverage that followed the murder of antiracist activist Heather Heyer by far-right member James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, has touched on many reasons for the recent explosion in white supremacist organizing. The dehumanization of marginalized groups, from immigrants to racial minorities to Muslims, has played an increasingly overt role in mainstream conservative media and Republican election campaigns, culminating in the open bigotry of Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Many experts point to backlash against shifting racial demographics, newly won rights for gays and lesbians, and the rising economic power of women as other reasons to explain the growth of racist, far-right organizations.

All of that is true as far as it goes. But the path for radicalization for many young men also has particular roots in the online communities in which they have forged their identities, only recently making the leap to the real-world violence that has lasted all year. The Intercept has investigated the recent phenomenon, exploring the dynamics of race, violence, and online culture in a short documentary that can be viewed above.

In recent years, neo-Nazi groups, once confined to spreading their message through marginal radio programs and small publishing houses, have turned to video gaming forums; websites associated with ironic “alt-right” pranksters, who espouse far-right ideologies grounded in white supremacy; and have blended with the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” to find new foot soldiers, many of whom are the kind of disaffected young men who are ripe for recruitment into extremist movements around the world. The dark humor that has flourished in these forums, with their blurred and overlapping lines, sanitizes ideas of a race war and genocide, featuring pitched battles between racial identities. This online cauldron has been an important factor in fueling the growth of the “alt-right” and adjacent white nationalist organizations.

Without understanding these cyber terrains, efforts to stymie white nationalism’s growth are badly hindered.

Fields, for example, was photographed carrying a shield from Vanguard America, one of half a dozen newly formed far-right groups organized to bring more young people into the white supremacist movement, with a special focus on recruiting on college campuses. Fields’s Facebook page was reportedly adorned with jokey images about “weaponized autism”; Pepe the Frog, a once kid-friendly meme appropriated by online trolls into a neo-Nazi symbol; and Feels Man, a crudely drawn image originating from the web forum, 4chan, that depicts a sad, bald man as a representation of social isolation and existential dread. The fliers advertising the rally also featured the same playful images from online memes.

4chan, a site that delights in offending modern sensibilities about race, violence, and sexuality, has become a hotbed for this type of white nationalist recruitment. But the site was not always particularly friendly to white nationalism. For much of its history, 4chan simply served as a platform for various online subcultures interested in esoteric Japanese cartoons and dark humor, along with pranks centered on “trolling,” coordinated harassment, often carried out just for the hell of it. Dale Beran, a writer who has studied 4chan, notes that 4chan users would often raid Habbo Hotel, an online children’s game, “for no other reason than that it was an amusing way to pass their near limitless idle time.”

In recent years, however, 4chan’s trolling campaigns have merged with larger political debates about multiculturalism and diversity. The Gamergate controversy, which tapped into the rich vein of misogyny running through 4chan and included aggressive harassment of women online, provided near unlimited fodder for conspiracy-tinged outrage directed at feminists and advocates of progressive identity politics.

4chan users have relished any opportunity to troll what author Angela Nagle has termed “Tumblr-liberalism,” an emerging online discourse on the left that Nagle notes has reached an “absurd apotheosis with a politics based on the minutiae and gradations of rapidly proliferating identities.” This emerging discourse, which Nagle documents in her new book on the online culture wars, “Kill All Normies,” centers on a culture of mass online callouts, public humiliation, and other efforts to penalize anyone deemed in violation of constantly shifting norms of sensitivity around identity.

In one salient example of the absurdities of this style of liberal discourse, Nagle points to an “antiracist” writer who reacted to the death of a child killed by an alligator to ridicule the “white male entitlement” of his parents.

Some on the political right have seized on such attempts to reflexively mock white people by embracing a newly assertive and aggrieved white identity. For sites such as 4chan, which exists to blow past boundaries, the opportunity to present white identity politics was quickly taken to its logical extreme.

This mass prankster mob descended, for instance, on actor Shia LaBeouf’s “He Will Not Divide Us” art project, which consisted initially of a 24-hour livestreamed webcam in New York, set up with the idea that anti-Trump demonstrators could use it as a platform to express opposition to the president. As soon as it launched, 4chan mobilized to constantly troll the stream, with mobs of young men appearing before the camera to flash white supremacist symbols.

The nonstop white power pranks eventually led to the stream being shut down and moved to a discreet location in rural Tennessee, where instead the camera remained fixed upon a flag with the “He Will Not Divide Us” message across it. Again, 4chan delighted in the opportunity to use its hive mind to belittle LaBeouf’s project. Using a mixture of digital sleuthing, the flight route of a plane that briefly crossed over the sky in sight of the stream, and a volunteer who drove around rural Tennessee honking his horn, the horde of 4chan volunteers quickly identified the location and stole the flag.

The exuberant pranks increasingly converged with overt displays of white nationalism. Many arrived at the site to casually post intentionally offensive memes about racial identity. But for some, the jokey memes became a bridge to a formal association with white nationalism. In other words, when users post so many genocide and rape jokes, they become so detached from reality that they become susceptible to the messages of bonafide hate groups, a transformation referred to in forums as “irony poisoning.”

In a recent posting, one 4chan user made the connection between irony-laden jokes and white nationalism fairly explicit. “The Alt-Right is an attempt to rebrand WN,” the user wrote. “Using ironic memes and terms that don’t mean anything to our enemies but normies find funny and actually lead people to develop a race-based political consciousness is what it is all about.”

An archive of 4chan posts show a constant barrage of messages encouraging users to join a range of white nationalist organizations, including the Traditionalist Worker Party, Vanguard America, and Identity Evropa. “If you’re looking for the least autistic organisation, look into Identity Evropa,” wrote one 4chan post, claiming that the group is “actually trying to accomplish radiative realistic goals.” Others, like Andrew Anglin, the founder of the Daily Stormer, a white supremacist propaganda site modeled after the Nazi-era tabloid, Der Stürmer, cited 4chan’s evolution into a hate site as a pivotal moment in their own personal path to radicalization.

Conservative activists began to take note of the emerging online culture wars, and leapt at the opportunity to cast themselves as countercultural figures, willing to challenge gender and racial norms, with the hope that leftists would embarrass themselves by overreacting.

Christopher Cantwell, a widely photographed white supremacist at the Charlottesville melee, was previously a leading “Men’s Rights” activist, as was Mike Cernovich, a prominent “alt-right” leader and early Trump backer. Misogyny, which is more widely accepted in American society than overt white supremacy, particularly among young men struggling to find their way in the dating world, becomes what The Cut referred to as a “gateway drug for the alt-right.” Come for the sexism, stay for the racism.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s recently deposed chief strategist, consciously attempted to forge a bond to the underbelly of 4chan and similar sites. “These guys, these rootless white males, had monster powers,” Bannon discovered, while working at a failed startup designed to monetize virtual currency mining in the online game, World of Warcraft, according to the book, “Devil’s Bargain,” by journalist Joshua Green. When Bannon took the reins at Breitbart News, he moved quickly to harness the online troll army by overtly tapping into the outrage machine sites like 4chan generated. “The reality is, Fox News’s audience was geriatric and no one was connecting with this younger group,” Bannon said. The decision to hire a technology editor named Milo Yiannopoulos, whose specialty at Breitbart was intentionally offensive content, was a deliberate attempt to harness the high-traffic horde of 4chan readers for political gain.

In a piece for National Review, writer Elliot Kaufman notes that conservatives quickly embraced the chance to bait leftists into doing “something silly and destructive,” thus turning conservatives into the victims of leftist overreach and champions of free speech. In other words, trolling liberals became an effective recruiting strategy for young conservatives, especially in college towns where the audience for vulgar humor extends beyond ideological lines. It became such an alluring option that many mainstream GOP groups began inviting “alt-right” personalities, even those with a history of explicit anti-Semitism, racism, and sexism, to college campuses around the country.

In the backdrop of these controversies, there were near-limitless social media incentives for baiting the left. YouTube channels focused on ridiculing the excesses of liberal identity politics — from efforts to ban white people from participating in yoga sessions to endless debates about whether white people were stealing the “intellectual property” of Mexicans by opening a burrito shop — garnered audiences of millions of viewers.

There were also deep-pocketed right-wing foundations that quickly embraced the campus trolling strategy as a convenient way to connect with younger generations. The Koch foundation-backed Young America’s Foundation, Turning Point USA, and Robert Mercer, a far-right billionaire donor, were more than eager to nudge the emerging dynamic along by sponsoring incendiary speakers to visit college campuses. Mercer, the hedge fund titan who, along with his daughter, has financed Breitbart, Media Research Center, and other pro-Trump groups, quietly financed a campus tour by Yiannopoulos, whose bigoted insults and cruel jokes at campus events were clearly meant to humiliate minorities and provoke liberal outrage.

The effort finally led to the first major spectacle of violence inspired by the online culture wars. Yiannopoulos was prevented from speaking at a February event in Berkeley when left-wing activists responded with riots on campus and throughout the city. For many on the left, a shooting at a previous Yiannopoulos campus visit was evidence enough that any such events must be preemptively shut down. An unverified rumor also buzzed that Yiannopoulos would somehow identify Berkeley undocumented students for deportation, though it was unclear whether Yiannopoulos truly had any list of names, or how shutting down the event would prevent Yiannopoulos from unmasking their identities online.

Videos of the Berkeley riot quickly went viral, showing young people perceived as Yiannopoulos fans beaten and pepper-sprayed, along with the story of one bystander allegedly beaten by antifascists because his suit made him “look like a Nazi.”

Far-right personalities, most of whom had gained a broad online following from the Trump campaign, quickly latched onto the news to present themselves as victims of persecution. After years of fairly trivial accusations of left-wing oppression, here was a tangible example that could mobilize those ostensibly aggrieved by political correctness. A call went out to return to Berkeley to fight back, supposedly to defend the principle of “free speech.”

While it’s unclear how many genuine neo-Nazis attended the initial Yiannopoulos event in February, white nationalist organizations made the city a rallying cry, forging an alliance of convenience with other conservative figures also hoping to exploit the opportunity. A mix of militia, libertarian, white nationalist, and thrill-seekers converged over the ensuing months in Berkeley to do battle with the left at a number of so-called “free speech” rallies, all the while wielding weapons and GoPro cameras to record and broadcast their street skirmishes.

But the far-right movement has also exploited and celebrated images of its members violently attacking its leftist adversaries in order to increase its profile — in an ominous harbinger of Fields’s murderous rampage in Virginia.

The street violence, which became fodder for the network of far-right YouTube channels that specialize in promoting “alt-right” content, became a useful lightning rod for white nationalist groups hoping to expand their presence. In particular, Berkeley was a turning point for Identity Evropa, one of the newly formed white supremacist group that recruits primarily on college campuses and online forums.

At the April 15 free speech rally in Berkeley, Nathan Damigo, the founder of Identity Evropa, punched a young left-wing woman in the face, an incident caught on camera and quickly turned into a popular meme on 4chan and conservative YouTube channels.

“We started with about 12 members in March of 2016 and we now have about 625 nationwide,” says Damigo, who attributes his organization’s sudden success to the online attention he received in Berkeley. “It’s really a numbers game,” he adds, noting that the more videotaped confrontations with antifascists, the more attention he receives.

Other stars were born in a similar fashion.

Kyle Chapman, a former club bouncer with a lengthy rap sheet of convictions, similarly became an instant celebrity from videos of him using his a stick to beat leftist activists during multiple confrontations in Berkeley.

Known as a “Based Stick Man” and depicted in dozens of memes and remixed videos glorifying his brawls with the left, Chapman has embraced his new identity, and has encouraged supporters to make common cause with white nationalism. Throughout the year, Chapman and others in this far-right movement have appeared at events across the country designed to stoke similarly livestreamed and meme-able street battles with antifascist groups.

It wasn’t just traditional voices of white nationalism, such as former KKK leader David Duke, who were responsible for the “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville. Damigo, Johnny “Monoxide” Ramondetta, Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, and other online “alt-right” celebrities who gained a following through their participation at Berkeley rallies earlier this year helped organize and promote the Virginia event. Many clearly hoped to capitalize on the media firestorm, as well as the potential for violence, as they paraded around the streets of Charlottesville with livestreaming equipment.

But does the killing of Heyer, and the media firestorm that followed, represent a turning point? Or has the irony fully curdled to poison?

“The standard online shtick for politically serious members of the alt-right has been to flirt with Nazism but then to laugh at anyone who took these gestures at face value,” notes Nagle, in a post-Charlottesville essay in the Baffler. “But in the wake of James Alex Fields’ alleged terrorist assault in Charlottesville, which claimed the life of antifa protestor Heather Heyer, ironic dodges are foreclosed to the alt-right.”

Shortly after her killing, the Daily Stormer, a leading white nationalist site, posted a perfect distillation of the cocktail of poison, irony, viciousness, misogyny and racism that has come to define the movement online. The headline — “Heather Heyer: Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident was a fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut” — was the impetus for GoDaddy.com to finally yank the site off the web.

Leaked chatroom messages from the organizers of the Charlottesville rally appear to show white nationalists celebrating Heyer’s killing, suggesting that more violence is to come.

Heyer’s shocking murder, and the flippant response — the Daily Stormer chalked up the anger to “player hatred” — may drain the enthusiasm from those drawn to the “alt-right” solely to be culturally transgressive. Or maybe not.




A Brief History of Radical Left-Wing Violence in America

Pundits eager to dismiss modern far left’s roots in extreme tactics, rhetoric of the past

June 19, 2017

by Edmund Kozak


In the wake of the targeted shooting of Republican congressmen in Alexandria, Virginia, liberal commentator Sally Kohn took to Facebook to claim that, historically speaking, people on the Right have been responsible for more violence than their leftist counterparts.

“I do happen to believe that conservatives are habitually more hateful and violent than progressives, that those on the right end of the spectrum have historically been guilty of perpetuating more hatred and violence than those on the Left,” Kohn wrote.

“Slave owners were infinitely more violent than abolitionists. Segregationists extraordinarily more hateful than civil rights protesters,” she continued. “It is indisputable that throughout history, more evil has been done by those seeking to prop up and perpetuate misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and racism than by those seeking inclusion and equality.”

But Kohn is wrong. The truth is that throughout history — both in America and elsewhere — the Left has been indisputably spotted by ties to violence and hateful rhetoric.

While Kohn can only point unconvincingly towards slave owners and segregationists as proof of right-wing violence (it is a stretch in the extreme to try to apply the modern left-right paradigm to conflicts over slavery or segregation), American history is rich with examples of shockingly violent leftists and political radicals.

As The New York Times itself declared in an op-ed published in 2016, “The First Global Terrorists Were Anarchists in the 1890s.” In 1901, a radical socialist anarchist named Leon Czolgosz assassinated President William McKinley.

1919, anarchists in America led by Italian anarchist Luigi Galleani perpetrated a series of bombings and attempted bombings. In April of that year, Galleani’s followers sent 36 small mail bombs to a number of prominent politicians and businessmen.

In June, they detonated eight large bombs in eight U.S. cities simultaneously. The eight bombs were accompanied with fliers that read: “War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws.”

“There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder,” it continued. “[W]e will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.” In 1920, a blast at the J.P. Morgan headquarters at 23 Wall Street killed nearly 40 people and injured hundreds more. It is also believed to have been the work of the Galleanists.

Fast-forward a half century later, and radical leftists were still bringing violence to America’s streets. The 1960s and 1970s saw the emergence of left-wing domestic terrorist groups such as the Weather Underground, the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the Puerto Rican organization FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional).

The Weather Underground was responsible for a number of bombings and arson attacks across the country. These included the bombings of the Haymarket police memorial in Chicago on October 6,1969, the U.S. Capitol on March 1, 1971, the Pentagon on May 19, 1972, and a Department of State building on January 29, 1975.

The Black Liberation Army committed a series of murders, bombings, robberies, and even prison breaks, while members of the Black Panther party also committed numerous violent crimes, including murder. In 1973 Assata Shakur, a former member of the Panthers and a then-member of the BLA, and two other members of the group, murdered a New Jersey state trooper.

Also in 1973, two members of the Symbionese Liberation Army murdered Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster. In 1974, the group infamously kidnapped publishing heiress Patty Hearst. Between its creation in 1974 and 1983, FALN carried out more than 120 bombings in the United States.

But left-wing terrorism in America didn’t end in the 1970s. The 1980s saw the establishment of the May 19th Communist Organization (M19CO) and the United Freedom Front. The M19C0 was responsible for a string of bombings, at least one bank robbery, and a break-in to release Assata Shakur from jail

A 2001 study done on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Safeguards and Security found that “Leftist extremists were responsible for three-fourths of the officially designated acts of terrorism in America in the 1980s.”


The Right vs the Left in American Politics

August 26, 2017

by Christian Jürs

Joseph McCarthy, who was to spearhead the anti-communist drive in America, had little regard for diplomacy and would prove to be a terrible thorn in the side of the liberal movement in the United States. Stunned by the death of their champion, Roosevelt, the active liberals and communists now found themselves under a mounting attack from the American right. Their position was not helped by the beginning of the Cold War in which the once-admired and supported Stalin was being cast as an enemy by the American war party.

Investigations into Roosevelt’s left-wing activists both inside and out of the government was causing a great deal of anxiety in the faculty clubs of most American universities as well as in the headquarters of labor unions and in the Hollywood movie industry.

The strong and growing reaction to a decade of aggressive pro-Soviet liberalism was only just manifesting its revenge.

The Republican Senator from Wisconsin was known to drink and was also well known for his intemperate behavior.

When McCarthy accused the State Department of sheltering over eighty known communists, he was entirely correct but he erred in his implications that these individuals were in any way connected with State Department diplomatic affairs.

After the end of the Second World War, there was an official movement in the U.S. government to reduce the size of the bureaucracy in general and to weed out what were viewed as rabid communists by many senior officials.

The primary nesting places of these individuals was the Office of Strategic Services or OSS and the Office of War Information or OWI. Both agencies had knowingly recruited communists during the course of the war. In the case of the former, the purpose was to primarily block anti-Soviet partisan movements in an Eastern Europe that Stalin wished to completely control after the war. In the case of the latter, this agency was designed to manufacture and broadcast official American propaganda to the public during the war and most especially to put forward the goals of the Soviet dictator in an accessable light.

The Senator had been shown lists of these OSS and OWI rejects but was not allowed to copy them so his future conduct in refusing to present proof of what were completely accurate statements was not based on his invention of the claim but because he was unable to lay his hands on the relevant documentation.

Left-wing attackers of McCarthy, who have assumed epic proportions in the hagiology of American liberals, have made a great deal of his refusal to present actual proof of his sensationalistic charges but as the original list had come from the White House, those who leaked it to the Senator deemed it inadvisable to reveal their sources.


Israel revokes citizenship of hundreds of Negev Bedouin, leaving them stateless

Some were citizens for 40 years, served in the army and paid their taxes, but had their status canceled with a single keystroke and no further explanation

August 25, 2017

by Jack Khoury


Dozens of people – men and women, young and old – crowd into a big tent in the unrecognized village of Bir Hadaj. Some hold documents in plastic bags while others clutch tattered envelopes. What brought them to this village south of Be’er Sheva in Israel’s Negev desert was that the Population, Immigration and Border Authority had revoked their citizenship, claiming that it had been awarded to them in error.

Judging by the increasing number of complaints piling up in recent months, this appears to be a widespread phenomenon among the Negev’s Bedouin residents. Hundreds if not thousands of them are losing their citizenship due to “erroneous registration.” This is the reason they get from the Interior Ministry, with no further details or explanation.

Fifty-year-old Salim al-Dantiri from Bir Hadaj has been unsuccessfully trying to obtain Israeli citizenship for years. He doesn’t understand why Israel won’t grant it to him; his father served in the Israel Defense Forces. “Sometimes they say there was a mistake in my parents’ registration dozens of years ago. Is that our fault?” asks al-Dantiri. He’s not the only one, but many of those who came to the meeting were reluctant to identify themselves out of concern that it might hurt them in their interactions with the Population Authority. Others have already given up hope.

Mahmoud al-Gharibi from the Al-Azazme tribe in the Be’er Sheva area is a carpenter who has been unemployed for a year following a road accident. He has 12 children from two wives. One is an Israeli citizen and the other comes from the West Bank. Seven of his children have Israeli citizenship but he has been stateless since 2000. “I went to the Interior Ministry to renew my identity card,” he relates. “There, without any warning, they told me they were rescinding my citizenship since there was some mistake. They didn’t tell me what it was or what this meant. Since then I’ve applied 10 times, getting 10 rejections, each time on a different pretext. I have two children who are over 18 and they too have no citizenship. That’s unacceptable. I’ve been living in this area for dozens of years and my father was here before me. If there was a mistake, they should fix it.”

Another person in the tent, who wished to remain anonymous, says that “many of these people, mainly ones who don’t speak Hebrew that well, don’t understand what happened to them. No one explains anything and all of a sudden your status changes. You go in as a citizen and come out deprived of citizenship, and then an endless process of foot-dragging begins.”

For years Yael Agmon from nearby Yeruham has been accompanying Bedouin to the Interior Ministry to help them apply for passports or update their identity cards. On many occasions, she has witnessed their citizenship being revoked. “You can clearly see how a clerk enters their details into a computer and then they instantly lose their citizenship. They then have to contend with an endless bureaucratic process. Sometimes it costs them tens of thousands of shekels in lawyers’ fees, and they don’t always get their citizenship in the end,” she says.

Salman al-Amrat came to the tent gathering because of his wife’s and oldest son’s status. The 56-year-old member of the Al-Azazme tribe is an Israeli citizen. His 62-year-old wife is stateless even though she was born here, he says. “Every time we try to get her citizenship we are met with refusal.” Al-Amrat’s oldest son, now 34, is also without citizenship even though his younger brothers ultimately received theirs. “We’ve been trying for years to obtain citizenship for him but to no avail. Every time they say some documents are missing. Now we’re trying through an attorney. It’s illogical that six of my children and I have citizenship and my oldest son doesn’t,” he says.

Atalla Saghaira, a resident of the unrecognized village of Rahma, fought for 13 years to obtain his citizenship, even though his late father served in the IDF. He started the process in 2002, when he applied for a passport and the Interior Ministry refused to give him one. “They said that my parents had become citizens but weren’t ones to begin with,” he says. He finally obtained Israeli citizenship in 2015. “I insisted on my rights and waged a campaign against the bureaucracy by myself until I obtained citizenship, but I know there are some people who give up,” he says. Saghaira’s father was a tracker in the army for several years, and left after sustaining an injury. At the time, he had seven children (including Attala), but three of them still are still stateless.

Another resident of Bir Hadaj, Abu Garud Salame, works in the Ramat Hovav industrial zone. He says that all five of his children and three of his brothers received their Israeli citizenship but he has been refused each time he requested to have it reinstated. “We’ve been living here for dozens of years. My parents registered in the ‘50s and now I’ve been deprived of my citizenship. Even if there was some mistake in the registration process I don’t know why I have to pay for it,” he says. “Why are we to blame for things that happened decades ago?”

Automatic change in status

Lawmaker Aida Touma-Suliman of the Joint List has received many appeals in recent months from people who have been stripped of their Israeli citizenship. Attorney Sausan Zahar from the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel recently appealed to Interior Minister Arye Dery and to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, asking them to cancel this policy.

According to her petition, these sweeping citizenship cancellations has been going on at least since 2010. When Bedouin citizens come to Interior Ministry offices in Be’er Sheva to take care of routine matters such as changing their address, obtaining a birth certificate or registering names, the Population Authority examines their status, as well as that of their parents and grandparents, going back to the early days of the state.

In many cases, the clerk tells them that their Israeli citizenship had been granted in error. On the spot, he changes their status from citizen to resident and issues them a new document. People who lose their citizenship are given no explanation and no opportunity to appeal. Instead, the clerk suggests that they submit a request and start the process of obtaining citizenship from scratch, as if they were newcomers to Israel.

Many, caught by surprise and without legal advice, don’t know what to do. Some submit a request for citizenship while others simply give up in despair. Zahar says that many requests are denied due to missing documents, a criminal record (not a valid reason for denying citizenship) or even the applicant’s inability to speak Hebrew. Many Bedouin women who have been stripped of citizenship fall into the latter category. One such woman filed an appeal over the cancellation of her citizenship due to an alleged error. When it turned out that her Hebrew was lacking, her appeal was rejected. She remains stateless.

Adalah’s petition to the interior minister shows that individuals who have been citizens for 20, 30 or even 40 years, some of whom served in the army, who voted and paid their taxes, had clerks cancel their status with a keystroke. As permanent residents, they can vote in local elections but cannot run for office, vote in national elections or run for the Knesset. They receive social benefits such as medical insurance and national insurance payments, but cannot receive Israeli passports. If they are out of the country for prolonged periods of time, they can also lose their permanent residency, and unlike citizens, they cannot automatically transfer their status to their children.

Among those who remain without Israeli citizenship are people born in Israel to parents who are Israeli citizens. There are families in which one child is a citizen while another is a permanent resident. Some of those affected were stripped of their citizenship when they tried to renew their passports to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca, a mandatory tenet of Islam and something they now cannot do.

Registration during British Mandate

The Knesset’s Interior and Environment Committee held a discussion on the issue last year, following an accumulation of requests to reinstate citizenship. During it, Interior Ministry officials confirmed that such a policy exists: When Bedouin citizens come to the ministry’s offices, clerks check the population registry for records of their parents and grandparents between 1948 and 1952.

Perhaps these years were not chosen by chance. Between the founding of the state in 1948 and the passage of the Citizenship Law in 1952, many Arabs could not register with the population authority since their communities were governed by a military administration. This included areas in the Negev which had a high concentration of Bedouin residents after 1948. In many cases, checking the records of an individual’s grandparents entails looking at their citizenship during the British Mandate – a time when Israeli citizenship did not even exist.

After last year’s Knesset discussion, the Interior Ministry was asked to check the extent of the phenomenon and its legality and to then update the Interior Committee. The head of the ministry’s citizenship department, Ronen Yerushalmi, submitted the findings to the committee’s chairman, David Amsalem (Likud), in September 2016. Entitled “Erroneous Registration of Negev Residents,” the report said that “the extent of the problem could involve up to 2,600 people with Israeli citizenship, who could lose it due to erroneous registration by the Interior Ministry.” It added that since individual cases had not been examined, the data was not precise and the numbers could even be higher.

During an earlier meeting of the committee in December 2015, the committee’s legal counsel, Gilad Keren, expressed doubts regarding the legality of this process: “The citizenship law refers to cases in which citizenship was obtained based on false details, namely under more serious circumstances, not when the state has made a mistake. It refers to people giving false information before obtaining their citizenship. The law allows the interior minister to revoke citizenship only if less than three years have passed since it was granted. After that a court needs to intervene in order to revoke it. I therefore don’t understand how, when a person has been a citizen for 20 years and the state makes a mistake, that person’s status is changed.”

Adalah’s appeal to the interior minister and the attorney general demands an immediate halt to the citizenship cancellation policy. Zahar argued that the people affected by it don’t even have the right to a hearing before their Israeli citizenship is taken away from them. In addition to infringing on their right to citizenship, she wrote, the policy blatantly infringes on their right to equality. It is discriminatory based on nationality, since no Jewish citizen has had his citizenship revoked due to a mistake in his parents’ or grandparents’ registration under the Law of Return.

“I’m afraid that what has been exposed is only the tip of the iceberg and what hasn’t been revealed yet is even more serious,” says Touma-Suliman. She says that if Dery and Mendelblit do not resolve the issue soon, it will go to the High Court of Justice. “There is no justification for this policy,” she says. “The ministry is blatantly violating the law. It’s unacceptable that in one family living under one roof, half the children are citizens while the other half are residents or people with indeterminate status.”

Haaretz approached several former senior officials at the Interior Ministry and the Population Authority, including the agency’s head until 2010, Yaakov Ganot, and Amnon Ben-Ami, its director until recently. Former Interior Minister Eli Ben-Yishai, who held the post most recently in 2013, said that if a decision had been made to revoke the citizenship of Negev Bedouin, “I don’t know about it and don’t remember holding discussions regarding this issue during my tenure.”

The Population Authority said in response that the cases mentioned above were not instances of revoked citizenship but ones of past registration mistakes, in which people had been registered as citizens but were not. It said now was the time to fix the problem, adding that the ministry held a discussion on the issue, the minister had taken a decision and the Knesset’s Interior Committee had been informed. It said that “attempts are being made to address this problem legally in a manner that won’t affect these individuals’ status in Israel.” The Population Authority also said the attorney general would be handling the appeal filed by Adalah.

Dery’s office insisted that the cases were absolutely not instances of citizenship being revoked but were instead situations of arranging legal status. “The minister has directed officials at the Population and Immigration Authority to handle the process involving this group of people in the easiest and simplest way possible. Minister Dery asked them to find any way possible to shorten the procedure in an attempt to avoid imposing any hardship on them,” said the office.

The attorney general’s office told Adalah that the Population Authority is conducting an examination of thousands of people who have been erroneously registered as citizens instead of permanent residents. Those who are found to have been registered as such by mistake will be allowed to obtain citizenship through an accelerated process, should they meet the legal criteria, the response said.

According to the response, no one has been denied citizenship so far, and residents’ rights are being maintained. Therefore the attorney general sees no reason to intervene in the Population Authority’s decision, the response said.




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