Israel spying on human rights groups - #32
The apartheid regime may have banned the six groups to cover its cyberweapons exporter NSO Group.
I want to start by thanking my readers for the outpouring of supportive messages I have received since I tested positive for COVID-19. It was incredibly heartening and helped assuage some of the anxiety I felt at being unable to work for an undetermined period.
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If you appreciate my work and are able to support it financially, new monthly subscribers are the the best way help sustain my journalism in the long term:
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COVID-19 hit me hard in the end with a quite serious cough and shortness of breath. NHS support over the phone was excellent. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I personally feel that I could well have been hospitalised had I not been fully vaccinated: it did get that serious.
I’m well on the road to recovery now. But I am taking it slow and will be easing myself back to work by stages. I began by catching up with some of the journalism I had missed while I was ill.
As always the latest article by leading Palestinian intellectual Joseph Massad is a must-read, full of historical detail and incisive analysis. Massad argues that Israeli chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi who claim traditional Palestinian and other Arab cuisine as their own are guilty of “colonial theft”.
I agree with this. “Cultural appropriation” is an overused term, but Israeli theft of Palestinian and other Arab food as “Israeli” or “Jewish” is a case where the shoe definitely fits.
Secondly you should read this series of three articles by my colleagues at The Electronic Intifada, giving the latest updates on the six Palestinian human rights groups banned by Israel on the blatantly false pretext that they are “terrorists”.
Not only did the supposed intelligence (once again) not prove Israel’s claims about the six, but it turns out that Israel has already tried — unsuccessfully — to push their latest dodgy dossier in European countries in order to get them to stop funding the six groups as long ago as May.
The Europeans were not persuaded and funding continues to flow.
Next, you should also read this longer and more in-depth article by Maureen. It was recently discovered that Israeli spyware had been installed on the phones of six Palestinian human rights workers — at least three of whom work for the newly-banned groups.
The spyware — made by the notorious NSO Group, which I have covered before — is capable of complete and total invasion of privacy. It essentially turns the target’s smart phone into weapon: a spy device targeting its own user.
As pointed out in Maureen’s article, the timing of the discovery of this is significant. It means that it’s very likely that the main reason that Israel banned the six groups was as a way to protect its international asset and cyberweapons exporter, NSO Group.
This is a potentially explosive story, which I’ll keep following in the months and years ahead.
Finally please do read this interview by Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof, with Shawan Jabarin, the director of one of the six banned groups. Al Haq, as many of you will know, is one of Palestine’s leading human rights groups, established in 1979.
Jabarin tells Adri that empty EU “concerns” about Israeli actions are not enough: “Israel can live with condemnations forever. But they can’t live with actions.” Al-Haq has repeatedly called for sanctions against Israel.
My work this week
I wrote this report about the student protest at the London School of Economics against Israel’s far-right racist ambassador Tzipi Hotovely.
Despite the fact that the protest was entirely peaceful, that didn’t stop almost the entire mainstream media and the entire political class from denouncing the protesters (many of whom were Palestinians and Muslims) and fabricating lies that the protesters were “anti-Semitic” — which was entirely without basis.
Prior to that I wrote this piece about the latest anti-Palestinian censorship efforts in British academia. Following on from the Israel’s lobby’s victory in having anti-Zionist professor David Miller fired at Bristol university, they are now attempting a full-on campus purge. Things are not going to go all their own way, but they will try their best.
Glasgow university seems to be the latest to want to purge Palestine solidarity from campus using the false pretext of “anti-Semitism.” Read all about it here.
And speaking of David Miller, in the latest episode of the EI podcast, we interviewed the fired professor himself. David says that it’s important we talk about Zionism as the root cause of the problem in Palestine, as well as a malign force in our own countries.
“The road to socialism in Britain, if there is such a thing, goes through the Zionist movement,” he told us.
Finally, I wrote this MEMO column on the deranged political reaction to the student protest against Tzipi Hotovely:
Home Secretary Priti Patel was one of several government ministers to condemn the protesters, smearing them as anti-Semitic, and lying that they had been violent and “intimidated” Jewish people…
If you had somehow expected the Labour “opposition” to do any opposing on this front, then you would have been sadly disappointed.
Both Labour Leader Keir Starmer and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Lisa Nandy echoed Patel’s baseless smears. Nandy even called the protests “completely unacceptable”.
Read the whole piece here.