Archive | August 1, 2014

India Vetoes New WTO (TFA) Deal*

India Vetoes New WTO (TFA) Deal*


By M Rochan

US Secretary of State John Kerry has told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his government’s refusal to sign a landmark global trade pact has sent a wrong signal.

Kerry, who was in India to prepare the ground for Modi’s Washington visit, urged New Delhi to resolve the dispute at the earliest possible.

Some World Trade Organisation (WTO) members, frustrated by India’s veto, have already discussed a plan to exclude the subcontinent from the so-called Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and push ahead no matter what.

But New Zealand’s Minister of Overseas Trade, Tim Groser, told Reuters that any talk of excluding India was “naive” and counterproductive.

The failure of the WTO Bali accord must signal a move away from multilateral agreements, Peter Gallagher, an expert on free trade and the WTO at the University of Adelaide, told Reuters.

“I think it’s certainly premature to speak about the death of the WTO. I hope we’ve got to the point where a little bit more realism is going to enter into the negotiating procedures,” Gallagher said.

“It’s 153 countries. We can’t all move at the same speed on the same things, and it’s time to let those that want to do it, do it.”

The WTO Bali pact to ease global customs rules collapsed over India’s insistence that a deal be accompanied by a parallel agreement giving the subcontinent more freedom to subsidise and stockpile food grains for its impoverished population than is permitted by WTO rules.

The Bali accord, tipped to inject $960bn (£570bn, €716bn) into the global economy, promises to cut red tape at customs the world over. The deal is expected to create 21 million jobs globally.

Food Storage

India has an ambitious plan to subsidise food for two-thirds of its population and Indian economists have said that New Delhi’s stand on agricultural stockpiling is justified.

However, the nation has surprisingly tolerated deplorable food storage facilities and infrastructure for decades, which Modi’s government hopes to set right.

The 2014-15 federal budget has allocated nearly $820m for boosting warehouse capacity countrywide.

The move followed a survey, by the Ludhiana, Punjab-based Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (Ciphet), which showed that about 18% of the nation’s total produce is wasted every year.


Related Topics:

TPP: Controlling the Worlds Food Supply*

A Bilateral Free Trade Agreement with U.S. a Slow Death*

Legislators from 7 Countries Demand Release of Secret Trade Deal TPP*

France Celebs Campaign against EU-US TAFTA*

TPP, TPPA Goes EPA in the Recolonization of Africa*

New Wikileaks Confirm Global Corporate Tyranny*

Senegal Farmers Tell Transnational Corporations to get off their Land*

Pakistan Death by GM Contamination*

Farmers of El Salvador Block Monsanto Seeds*

Sri Lankan President Bans Monsanto’s Weedkiller that Causes Kidney Disease*

S. And Japan TPP Talks Fail Again*

132 Nations Want Out of the Cabal’s Global Banking System*

Six Companies Have Patented 76% of the Global Seed Market*

Corporate Landgrab Deprives Small Farmers Who Feed the World- with Less than a Quarter of all Farmland*

Bolivia Bans Partnerships with Multinationals*

“Our Liberation is for the Whole of Humanity”

The Return of Feudalism

Who Owns all the Major Brands*

Who Owns all the Major Brands*

By Jesus Diaz

All the biggest product brands in the world are owned by a handful of corporation. Food, cleaning products, banks, airlines, cars, media companies… everything is in the hands of these mega-corporations. These graphics show how everything is connected.

Consumer goods

In the supermarket—as you can see in the graphic at the top—Mondelez, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Pepsico, P&G, Johnson Johnson, Mars, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Unilever own everything.

Financial assets

It doesn’t stop in the supermarket, of course. Our money is all in the hands of a few megacorporations too. Here’s all the stuff that merged into Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo since 1996. Now, according to MotherJones, 54% of all the financial assets in the United States are owned by just 10 institutions.

Studios and media companies

TV channels



Everything else (2003)



Related Topics:

The 8 Strongest Banks in the World*

NWO Banksters Buying out the Smaller Banks*

Six Companies Have Patented 76% of the Global Seed Market*

Celebrities and Activists Remember Gaza’s Dead*

Celebrities and Activists Remember Gaza’s Dead*

US-based Jewish Voice for Peace launched a campaign condemning Israel’s attack on Gaza which has, at the time of writing, left over 1,400 Palestinians dead, the vast majority of whom are civilians including more than 300 children.

The #GazaNames campaign features dozens of celebrities and activists holding signs with the names of the victims of so-called “Operation Protective Edge” which has been labelled “a massacre” by critics of Israel’s policy in the occupied territories.

The statement released by Jewish Voice for Peace on their Freedom4Palestine website reads as follows:

A diverse group of celebrities, artists, and activists that includes American Jews and Palestinians are speaking out for Palestinian human rights in a video released online today. The video is a first of its kind expression of support for Palestinian freedom, equality and justice and features celebrities such as Chuck D, Jonathan Demme, Gloria Steinem, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner, Mira Nair, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, and others holding signs with the names and ages of Palestinian civilians recently killed by the Israeli military in Gaza.

“The Israeli leaders seem sincere when they say they believe that their actions are appropriate. Apparently, one of ‘us’ is worth many more of ‘them,’” said actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, who provides the voice-over narration for the video. “American leaders know they are lying when they defend the murder of children in their beds. And we, the public, pay for the bombs, pay for the airplanes, and pretend not to notice what’s going on.”

As Israel continues its assault against the occupied, besieged, and blockaded Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 1,400 Palestinians since July 8, most of them civilians, a growing number of global citizens of conscience feel compelled to speak out against Israel’s disproportionate attack on the Palestinian people. In addition to those featured in this video, a growing number of celebrities have been speaking out via social media about the horrors we are witnessing in Gaza, as reported recently by BuzzFeed and The Hollywood Reporter.

“We wanted to provide a platform for the growing list of prominent individuals who are outraged by Israel’s brutal violence against Gaza’s civilian population,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization that co-produced the video. “Our message is that securing freedom and justice for Palestinians is the only pathway to a lasting peace.”

“My family was forced to flee our beloved Jerusalem in 1948 and every day since then, we have longed for freedom,” said Nina Saah, an 83-year-old Nakba survivor featured in the video. “What is happening in Gaza breaks my heart all over again. And yet I am so moved by all those who have come together in this video and the outpouring of support I am seeing for Palestinians. It gives me hope that the people of the world will be the ones to change our situation and that freedom and justice will come.”

“This is a scream on paper. This is a wail,” said playwright Eve Ensler, one of the artists featured in the video. “There are no more words. Only this moment where we rise against the illegal and deathly occupation of Palestine, against mass slaughter of the defenseless, against the complicit silence of the international community, against the military might and arrogance of the Israeli and the U.S. governments who choose annihilation over justice and love.”

A full list of participants can be found here.

The motivation behind their campaign:

With the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians who fled fighting —or were forced out—were not allowed back to their homes and became refugees. Since 1967, Israel has occupied The West Bank and Gaza, controlling the lives of millions of Palestinians. Three-quarters of the Palestinians in Gaza are the descendants of refugees who lived in what became Israel in 1948.

For the last 7 years, the people of Gaza have been living under an illegal Israeli siege with devastating restrictions on the movement of people and the flow of food, fuel, and all other critical materials. Since 2008, Israel has initiated 3 large-scale military assaults on Gaza using F-16 jet fighters, Apache helicopters, and in ’08-’09, white phosphorous. Hamas has responded with inferior weaponry, launching rockets at Israel.

Over 2,592 Palestinians and 61 Israelis have died (as of July 28, 2014) in these vastly disproportionate assaults, with thousands more injured and disabled. The overwhelming majority of casualties have been Palestinian civilians, particularly women and children.

Palestinians have endured statelessness, occupation, dispossession and a lack of basic rights, while Israel has steadily taken more and more of their land and denied their freedom.

Anyone can participate in the campaign by submitting a photograph “of how you choose to resist, or the name of a person you want to memorialize.”


Related Topics:

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*

Demonstrators Take to the Streets against the Massacres in Gaza

Would Jewry Exist today if it Were not Muslims*

Pentagon Rushes Ammunition to Israel*

Egypt Blocking Iran Humanitarian Aid to Palestine*

From Gaza: I’m a Human Being, Not a Human Shield*

Jordanian Aid Convoy Arrives in Gaza*

World’s Leading Medical Journal Sends an Open Letter to Gaza*

The Real Jihad is in Palestine*

Irish Shops Urged to Remove Produce from Israel*

Deir Yassin, the Beginning of the Palestinian Holocaust. 1948*

Sacred Activism and the Lighting of the Third Fire*

A Zionist General’s Son Speaks Out!*

Intelligence Agents amidst UAE ‘Aid Convoy’ to Gaza*

Turkish Medical Aid Reaches Gaza*

President Bashar al-Assad’s Inauguration Speech*

Pentagon Rushes Ammunition to Israel*

Pentagon Rushes Ammunition to Israel*

From A.N.S.W.E.R.

Just minutes after the White House made a tepid criticism of the deadly shelling of a United Nations-run girls’ school and refugee center in Gaza, the U.S. military announced that it was resupplying the Israeli army with several types of ammunition. At least 15 people were killed and more than 90 wounded in the attack on the school. An Israeli air attack the same day on a crowded market in the Jabaliya refugee camp killed at least 17 people and injured more than 100.

While the U.S. statement criticism of the shelling of the school was obviously a reference to an Israeli military action, the statement pointedly failed to name Israel in keeping with U.S. support for Israel in its murderous assault.

Now, the Pentagon announced, it will provide 120mm mortar rounds and 40mm ammunition for grenade launchers among other munitions from a $1 billion stock of ammunition pre-positioned in Israel for use in other U.S. wars in the region.

The Israeli occupation forces have expended so much firepower in their devastating assault on Gaza, a tiny and densely populated strip of land, they needed an emergency resupply in order to keep up the killing and destroying.

More than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 7,000 wounded since July 8. On the Israeli side, 53 soldiers and 3 civilians are reported killed and hundreds wounded.

The emergency resupply operation illuminates the real relationship between the U.S. and Israel. The differences between the leaders in Washington and Tel Aviv are secondary to the military alliance. Bottom line, Israel is an extension of Pentagon power and has been for many decades. That is why Israel has received hundreds of billions in military and economic aid.

What’s more, this latest episode demonstrates once again that Israel could not do what it does without the support—economic, military, diplomatic and political—of the United States.

Related Topics:

Egypt Blocking Iran Humanitarian Aid to Palestine*

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*

Unholy Trinity United States-Israel- Saudi Arabia Sowing Discord amongst Muslims*

Ceasefire Initiative Aims to Dismantle the Palestinian Resistance*

Israel: Operation Brother’s Keeper*

Another Bedouin Community Razed to the Ground, Leave Children without Water in High Temperatures*

A Zionist General’s Son Speaks Out!*

Deir Yassin, the Beginning of the Palestinian Holocaust. 1948*

DEBKA Report: Saudi, Egypt and Israel Orchestrated Palestinian Holocaust*

The Real Jihad is in Palestine*

US Congress: Bill to Outlaw Muslim Brotherhood*

The Iron Dome Hoax*

One of Israel’s Greatest Spies

The Talmudic Roots of Jewish Supremacism*

Boycott America, Not Russia*

The Indoctrinated West*

Enforcing Imperialism through the Ballot Box in Syria, Egypt and Ukraine*

The New Middle East vs. the Arab Spring

Egypt Blocking Iran Humanitarian Aid to Palestine*

Egypt Blocking Iran Humanitarian Aid to Palestine*

Egyptian border policemen are seen at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Egyptian border policemen are seen at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Egyptian government refuses to cooperate for the dispatch of medical and humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, a senior Iranian lawmaker says.

On Wednesday, spokesman for the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Seyyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini criticized Egypt’s policies regarding the Israeli regime’s onslaught on Gaza, saying Cairo has not issued the permit needed for the delivery of relief aid to the blockaded Palestinian territory.

“Cairo is not providing the necessary cooperation for sending medicines and humanitarian aid to Gaza,” he added.

The parliamentarian also noted that the plane carrying the Islamic Republic’s medicines and humanitarian aid for Gaza is currently waiting for a flight permit to Egypt.

Naqavi Hosseini further pointed out that Egypt has also done nothing to facilitate the travel of a group of Iranian lawmakers to the Gaza Strip, adding, “The six-member parliamentary delegation is waiting for visa issuance by the Egyptian government, which has not appeared cooperative so far.”

Headed by Hassan Kamran, a member of the Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, the parliamentary team plans to visit Gaza to pay tribute to the families of people affected during the Israeli strikes on the coastal sliver.

The remarks came on the same day that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian urged Cairo to immediately reopen the Rafah border crossing amid Tel Aviv’s offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Despite international outcries, Cairo is keeping the Rafah border crossing closed. The 12-kilometer crossing links Egypt to the Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes and tanks have been pounding numerous sites inside the besieged Gaza Strip and killing innocent residents of the impoverished Palestinian enclave since July 8.

The Palestinian death toll from more than three weeks of aerial and ground assaults on Gaza now stands at 1,300, with more than 7,200 people wounded.


Related Topics:

Jordanian Aid Convoy Arrives in Gaza*

U.K.’s Largest Supermarket Chain Tesco to Boycott West Bank Products*

Turkish Medical Aid Reaches Gaza*

God Gave Gaza Life not for Humans to Make Life Worthless*

Israel’s ‘Eid Gift to Palestinians*

Intelligence Agents amidst UAE ‘Aid Convoy’ to Gaza*

World’s Leading Medical Journal Sends an Open Letter to Gaza*

Irish Shops Urged to Remove Produce from Israel*

DEBKA Report: Saudi, Egypt and Israel Orchestrated Palestinian Holocaust*

The Real Jihad is in Palestine*

Deir Yassin, the Beginning of the Palestinian Holocaust. 1948*

Ceasefire Initiative Aims to Dismantle the Palestinian Resistance*

Demonstrators Take to the Streets against the Massacres in Gaza

Would Jewry Exist today if it Were not Muslims*

Would Jewry Exist today if it Were not Muslims*

By David J Wasserstein

David Wasserstein is the Eugene Greener Jr Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. This article is adapted from last week’s Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity – also in Christendom – through the medieval period into the modern world.

By the fourth century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. One aspect of this success was opposition to rival faiths, including Judaism, along with massive conversion of members of such faiths, sometimes by force, to Christianity. Much of our testimony about Jewish existence in the Roman Empire from this time on consists of accounts of conversions.

Great and permanent reductions in numbers through conversion, between the fourth and the seventh centuries, brought with them a gradual but relentless whittling away of the status, rights, social and economic existence, and religious and cultural life of Jews all over the Roman Empire.

A long series of enactments deprived Jewish people of their rights as citizens, prevented them from fulfilling their religious obligations, and excluded them from the society of their fellows.

This went along with the centuries-long military and political struggle with Persia. As a tiny element in the Christian world, the Jews should not have been affected much by this broad, political issue. Yet it affected them critically, because the Persian Empire at this time included Babylon – now Iraq – at the time home to the world’s greatest concentration of Jews.

Here also were the greatest centres of Jewish intellectual life. The most important single work of Jewish cultural creativity in over 3,000 years, apart from the Bible itself – the Talmud – came into being in Babylon. The struggle between Persia and Byzantium, in our period, led increasingly to a separation between Jews under Byzantine, Christian rule and Jews under Persian rule.

Beyond all this, the Jews who lived under Christian rule seemed to have lost the knowledge of their own culturally specific languages – Hebrew and Aramaic – and to have taken on the use of Latin or Greek or other non-Jewish, local, languages. This in turn must have meant that they also lost access to the central literary works of Jewish culture – the Torah, Mishnah, poetry, midrash, even liturgy.

The loss of the unifying force represented by language – and of the associated literature – was a major step towards assimilation and disappearance. In these circumstances, with contact with the one place where Jewish cultural life continued to prosper – Babylon – cut off by conflict with Persia, Jewish life in the Christian world of late antiquity was not simply a pale shadow of what it had been three or four centuries earlier. It was doomed.

Had Islam not come along, the conflict with Persia would have continued. The separation between western Judaism, that of Christendom, and Babylonian Judaism, that of Mesopotamia, would have intensified. Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance in many areas. And Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.

But this was all prevented by the rise of Islam. The Islamic conquests of the seventh century changed the world, and did so with dramatic, wide-ranging and permanent effect for the Jews.

Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond. Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms – all for the better.

First, things improved politically. Almost everywhere in Christendom where Jews had lived now formed part of the same political space as Babylon – Cordoba and Basra lay in the same political world. The old frontier between the vital centre in Babylonia and the Jews of the Mediterranean basin was swept away, forever.

Political change was partnered by change in the legal status of the Jewish population: although it is not always clear what happened during the Muslim conquests, one thing is certain. The result of the conquests was, by and large, to make the Jews second-class citizens.

This should not be misunderstood: to be a second-class citizen was a far better thing to be than not to be a citizen at all. For most of these Jews, second-class citizenship represented a major advance. In Visigothic Spain, for example, shortly before the Muslim conquest in 711, the Jews had seen their children removed from them and forcibly converted to Christianity and had themselves been enslaved.

In the developing Islamic societies of the classical and medieval periods, being a Jew meant belonging to a category defined under law, enjoying certain rights and protections, alongside various obligations. These rights and protections were not as extensive or as generous as those enjoyed by Muslims, and the obligations were greater but, for the first few centuries, the Muslims themselves were a minority, and the practical differences were not all that great.

Along with legal near-equality came social and economic equality. Jews were not confined to ghettos, either literally or in terms of economic activity. The societies of Islam were, in effect, open societies. In religious terms, too, Jews enjoyed virtually full freedom. They might not build many new synagogues – in theory – and they might not make too public their profession of their faith, but there was no really significant restriction on the practice of their religion. Along with internal legal autonomy, they also enjoyed formal representation, through leaders of their own, before the authorities of the state. Imperfect and often not quite as rosy as this might sound, it was at least the broad norm.

The political unity brought by the new Islamic world-empire did not last, but it created a vast Islamic world civilisation, similar to the older Christian civilisation that it replaced. Within this huge area, Jews lived and enjoyed broadly similar status and rights everywhere. They could move around, maintain contacts, and develop their identity as Jews. A great new expansion of trade from the ninth century onwards brought the Spanish Jews – like the Muslims – into touch with the Jews and the Muslims even of India.

All this was encouraged by a further, critical development. Huge numbers of people in the new world of Islam adopted the language of the Muslim Arabs. Arabic gradually became the principal language of this vast area, excluding almost all the rest: Greek and Syriac, Aramaic and Coptic and Latin all died out, replaced by Arabic. Persian, too, went into a long retreat, to reappear later heavily influenced by Arabic.

The Jews moved over to Arabic very rapidly. By the early 10th century, only 300 years after the conquests, Sa’adya Gaon was translating the Bible into Arabic. Bible translation is a massive task – it is not undertaken unless there is a need for it. By about the year 900, the Jews had largely abandoned other languages and taken on Arabic.

The change of language in its turn brought the Jews into direct contact with broader cultural developments. The result from the 10th century on was a striking pairing of two cultures. The Jews of the Islamic world developed an entirely new culture, which differed from their culture before Islam in terms of language, cultural forms, influences, and uses. Instead of being concerned primarily with religion, the new Jewish culture of the Islamic world, like that of its neighbours, mixed the religious and the secular to a high degree. The contrast, both with the past and with medieval Christian Europe, was enormous.

Like their neighbours, these Jews wrote in Arabic in part, and in a Jewish form of that language. The use of Arabic brought them close to the Arabs. But the use of a specific Jewish form of that language maintained the barriers between Jew and Muslim. The subjects that Jews wrote about, and the literary forms in which they wrote about them, were largely new ones, borrowed from the Muslims and developed in tandem with developments in Arabic Islam.

Also at this time, Hebrew was revived as a language of high literature, parallel to the use among the Muslims of a high form of Arabic for similar purposes. Along with its use for poetry and artistic prose, secular writing of all forms in Hebrew and in (Judeo-) Arabic came into being, some of it of high quality.

Much of the greatest poetry in Hebrew written since the Bible comes from this period. Sa’adya Gaon, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Ibn Ezra (Moses and Abraham), Maimonides, Yehuda Halevi, Yehudah al-Harizi, Samuel ha-Nagid, and many more – all of these names, well known today, belong in the first rank of Jewish literary and cultural endeavour.

W here did these Jews produce all this? When did they and their neighbours achieve this symbiosis, this mode of living together? The Jews did it in a number of centres of excellence. The most outstanding of these was Islamic Spain, where there was a true Jewish Golden Age, alongside a wave of cultural achievement among the Muslim population. The Spanish case illustrates a more general pattern, too.

What happened in Islamic Spain – waves of Jewish cultural prosperity paralleling waves of cultural prosperity among the Muslims – exemplifies a larger pattern in Arab Islam. In Baghdad, between the ninth and the twelfth centuries; in Qayrawan (in north Africa), between the ninth and the 11th centuries; in Cairo, between the 10th and the 12th centuries, and elsewhere, the rise and fall of cultural centres of Islam tended to be reflected in the rise and fall of Jewish cultural activity in the same places.

This was not coincidence, and nor was it the product of particularly enlightened liberal patronage by Muslim rulers. It was the product of a number of deeper features of these societies, social and cultural, legal and economic, linguistic and political, which together enabled and indeed encouraged the Jews of the Islamic world to create a novel sub-culture within the high civilisation of the time.

This did not last forever; the period of culturally successful symbiosis between Jew and Arab Muslim in the middle ages came to a close by about 1300. In reality, it had reached this point even earlier, with the overall relative decline in the importance and vitality of Arabic culture, both in relation to western European cultures and in relation to other cultural forms within Islam itself; Persian and Turkish.

Jewish cultural prosperity in the middle ages operated in large part as a function of Muslim, Arabic cultural (and to some degree political) prosperity: when Muslim Arabic culture thrived, so did that of the Jews; when Muslim Arabic culture declined, so did that of the Jews.

In the case of the Jews, however, the cultural capital thus created also served as the seed-bed of further growth elsewhere – in Christian Spain and in the Christian world more generally.

The Islamic world was not the only source of inspiration for the Jewish cultural revival that came later in Christian Europe, but it certainly was a major contributor to that development. Its significance cannot be overestimated.


Related Topics:

Rabbis on the Sin That is Zionism

Between the Builder and the Architect: Frederick II, and the Castel Del Monte

Islamophobia: From the Spanish Inquisition to the Western Inquisition

Hitler: The War on Jews that was Started by Ashkenazi Jews!*

The Unheard Voice of Jewish-Americans on Palestinian Statehood

How Fear was Instilled to Make Jews Leave for Israel

Jewish Odyssies to IslamAshkenazi Jews are Genetically European

Jews against Zionism: The Case of the Haredim

The Talmudic Roots of Jewish Supremacism*