vrijdag 18 mei 2018

Ian Buruma en George Soros


Nog geen week na het Joods-zionistisch fascisme tegen Palestijnse burgers in Gaza, plaatst de NRC een column van mijn oude vriend Ian Buruma met als kop: 

Antisemitisme is geen rechtse ziekte meer.

Bij links heeft de klassenstrijd plaatsgemaakt voor anti-racisme, schrijft Ian Buruma. Bij de Britse Labour-partij is goed te zien hoe dat tot antisemitisme leidt.

Opnieuw voert Buruma de speculant George Soros op als 'Jood' met een hoofdletter, om zijn stelling over het antisemitisme geloofwaardig te maken. Probleem is alleen dat Soros geen Jood is, en ook geen jood, met een kleine letter, want zoals Soros zelf verklaarde tegenover een interviewer van het Amerikaanse televisieprogramma 60 Minutes gelooft hij niet in god, met of zonder een hoofdletter. Bruma heeft de merkwaardige opvatting dat het joods zijn een biologisch gegeven is, het zit als het ware in het bloed van de jood, eenmaal Jood altijd Jood, met een hoofdletter. Wat dit betreft wijkt Buruma's mening niet af van die van de nazi's en absurd genoeg, ook die van de zionisten.  Eerder al, 23 maart 2017 stelde Buruma: 

Soros might be described as the personification of ‘the West’ as defined by Kolnai (joods-Hongaarse filosoof. svh) He is everything that nativists and anti-Semites hate: rich, cosmopolitan, Jewish, and a liberal dedicated to what Karl Popper, yet another child of Jewish origin from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, called ‘the open society.’


De speculant George Soros als representant van ‘de open samenleving.’ Hoe ‘open’ is de ‘samenleving,’ die de getrukeerde ‘Soros’ voor ogen staat? Daarvoor dient men zich te verdiepen in wie Soros is. Op 20 december 1998 zond het bekende CBS-programma 60 Minutes een onthullend interview uit met Soros, dat de onderzoeksjournalist Steve Kroft als volgt inleidde:

When the Nazis occupied Budapest in 1944, George Soros’ father was a successful lawyer. He lived on an island in the Danube and liked to commute to work in a rowboat. But knowing there were problems ahead for the Jews, he decided to split his family up. He bought them forged papers and he bribed a government official to take 14-year-old George Soros in and swear that he was his Christian godson. But survival carried a heavy price tag. While hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were being shipped off to the death camps, George Soros accompanied his phony godfather on his appointed rounds, confiscating property from the Jews.

KROFT: You’re a Hungarian Jew… who escaped the Holocaust… by posing as a Christian.

Mr. SOROS: Right.

KROFT: And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.

Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that’s when my character was made.

KROFT: In what way?

Mr. SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and anticipate events and when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a very personal experience of evil.

KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.

KROFT: I mean, that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

Mr. SOROS: Not – not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t see the connection. But it was – it created no – no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

Mr. SOROS: No… Well, of course I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was – well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets – that if I weren’t there – of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would be taking it away anyhow. And – whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.


Nog eerder, in 1995, werd Soros geïnterviewd door de befaamde Amerikaanse journalist Charlie Rose. Dit vraaggesprek vond plaats drie jaar nadat George Soros op Black Wednesday, 16 september 1992, de waarde van de Britse munteenheid ineen liet storten, waardoor de Britse bevolking op één dag 3,4 miljard pond verloor, en Soros, dankzij een doortrapt spel, op diezelfde dag meer dan één miljard pond rijker maakte. Het is ander voorbeeld van de immorele wijze waarop Soros zowel tijdens de oorlog als daarna opereerde en nog steeds te werk gaat. De man kent ‘[n]o feeling of guilt.’ Evenals bij de  diefstal van gedeporteerde joodse Hongaren beschouwde hij het oplichten van de Britten ‘in a funny way,’ als iets dat is ‘just like in markets,’ namelijk dat ‘if I weren’t there’ dan ‘somebody else would be taking it away anyhow.’ Volgens eigen zeggen beschouwt hij ‘[t]he market’ als ‘a laboratory where I could test my philosophical ideals.’ Diefstal van weerloze individuen als onderdeel van ‘mijn filosofische idealen,’ want de 

market is a very good example of what reality is. All the false ideas and misconceptions that we have, and which play in the market, is part of the reality that we have to think about. So the role of misconceptions is tremendously important in forming reality.

Tijdens het interview in 1995 stelde Charlie Rose de vraag ‘Strobe Talbot, the Deputy Secretary of State, the principal architect of our policy towards Russia listens to you?’ Soros antwoordde:

He does. I do now have access, we actually work together. The country where I am most engaged and we are really working together is Ukraine.

Interessant in dit verband is dat George Soros met de regelmaat van de klok de gelegenheid krijgt om zijn vermeende ‘philosophical ideals’ uiteen te zetten in The New York Review of Books, het tijdschrift van de mainstream-liberals waarvan Ian Buruma in september 2017 de hoofdredacteur werd. Buruma is van oordeel dat ‘Soros might be described as the personification of “the West”,’ zijnde ‘a liberal dedicated to what Karl Popper, yet another child of Jewish origin from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, called “the open society.”’ Met andere woorden: ook voor Ian Buruma, als woordvoerder het ‘liberal establishment,’ is een volstrekt immorele, stelende en speculerende opportunist, die geen ‘feeling of guilt’ kent, ‘de personificatie van “het Westen”,’ oftewel ‘een liberaal toegewijd aan’ datgene wat  de gevestigde orde als ‘de open samenleving’ ziet.  Om het nog absurder te stellen: een jood die van joodse slachtoffers stal is in deze optiek, niet alleen de 
'personification of “the West” […] a liberal dedicated to […] “the open society”,’ maar tegelijkertijd ook nog eens het slachtoffer van ‘nativists and anti-Semites’ die Soros zien als ‘rich, cosmopolitan, Jewish, and a liberal.’ 

Het te pas en te onpas een beroep doen op het joodse slachtofferschap, is kenmerkend geworden voor de werkwijze van Buruma, die een geassimileerde 'joodse' moeder had, maar wiens eigen identificatie met het jodendom niet berust op een doorleefde werkelijkheid, vergeleken met die van een orthodox joodse gelovige.  Gezien het feit dat ‘na de Tweede Wereldoorlog het jodendom in de christelijke wereld vrijwel heilig [is] verklaard,’ zoals Jan Blokker terecht heeft opgemerkt, is ook een valse joodse identiteit, een geweldig wapen om onzinnige argumenten kracht bij te zetten. Het is als het ware een paspoort voor ‘the open society,’ zelfs voor degenen die nagenoeg onvoorwaardelijk achter de terreurstaat Israel staan. Wat dat betreft stellen eveneens de


begrippen ‘liberal’ en ‘cosmopolitan’ weinig tot niets meer voor. Buruma, die in de Nederlandse polder doorgaat voor een ‘typisch voorbeeld van de nieuwe kosmopoliet,’ identificeert zich ondertussen keer op keer met joods tribalisme. Zijn joods-zijn is evenwel een pose, zoals blijkt uit ondermeer het feit dat hij — of all people — Soros afschildert als slachtoffer. Het maakt Buruma’s intellectuele integriteit op z’n minst verdacht. Zeker als men die vergelijkt met de intellectuele integriteit van iemand als Gilad Atzmon, de in Israel geboren joods-Britse ‘jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer,’ die het volgende stelt

I don't write about politics, I write about ethics. I write about Identity. I write a lot about the Jewish Question – because I was born in the Jew-land, and my whole process in maturing into an adult was involved with the realization that my people are living on stolen land.

Atzmon has said that his experience in the military of ‘my people destroying other people left a big scar’ and led to his decision that he was deluded about Zionism. He has condemned ‘Jewishness’ as ‘very much a supremacist, racist tendency,’ but he has also stated that ‘I don't have anything against Jews in particular and you won't find that in my writings.’ Regarding the one-state solution, Atzmon concedes that such a state probably would be controlled by Islamists, but says, ‘That's their business.’ 

In een bespreking van zijn boek The Wandering Who? 2011 schreef de Palestijnse kunstenaar Anis Hamadeh dat Atzmon, net als wijlen ‘Leibowitz (Yeshayahu Leibowitz. kritische Joods Israelische hoogleraar. svh), van oordeel is ‘that the genocide was the only thing that united the Jews. This would not be about a historical narrative, for if it was it would not need the protection of laws and politicians. The Holocaust became an ‘ideological interface’ for Zionists, Marxists and humanists who flock to the holy core-narrative, the trauma… The author summarizes: ‘That which maintains the Jewish collective identity is fear.’

Al langere tijd bespeelt Buruma deze ‘Joodse collectieve identiteit’ door in zijn opinies keer op keer in te spelen op de ‘angst.’ Hoewel hij stelt  ‘de meeste affiniteit met de familietraditie van het geassimileerde jodendom van zijn moeder,’  te hebben, reikt die aangepastheid niet zo ver dat Ian ervan afziet om de angst voor de ‘angst’ te misbruiken om zo zijn opinies levensvatbaar te laten lijken. Hij gebruikt het slachtofferschap als politiek wapen. Tegelijkertijd is zijn slachtofferisme tevens het visitekaartje, waarmee hij zich introduceert in kringen die van belang zijn voor Ian's carrièreplanning. Netwerken zijn voor een streber immers onmisbaar, zoals Buruma zelf duidelijk maakte toen hij over zijn vader schreef dat ‘[o]m een toekomst te hebben als jurist moest hij wel lid worden van het corps (dat moet je tot op zekere hoogte nog steeds),’ en dat daardoor zijn vader het ‘normaal’ vond dat ‘feuten,’ inclusief hijzelf, zowel tijdens als na de nazi-bezetting werden vernederd en sadistisch werden behandeld, louter en alleen om bij een netwerk te kunnen horen. Het enig opvallende verschil is dat Ian het slachtofferschap niet meer ‘normaal’ vindt, maar nog wel het daderschap van de ‘stand’ waartoe hij wil behoren, zoals ondermeer blijkt uit het feit dat hij het ‘imperialisme uit Washington’ kwalificeert als ‘betrekkelijk goedaardig.’ Zo ziet men hoe een valse joodse identiteit uiteindelijk leidt tot een absurde vertoning, die lachwekkend zou zijn als zij niet zoveel leed veroorzaakt onder  Palestijnse burgers. Na zeventig jaar zionistische terreur is er mede door de corrupte houding van journalisten als Ian Buruma nog steeds geen zicht op het einde van het lijden van onschuldigen.



Blaming the Victims of Israel’s Gaza Massacre

Blaming the Victims of Israel’s Gaza Massacre

More than 200 Palestinian and Cypriot protesters on Wednesday staged a peaceful march to the Israeli Embassy in the Cypriot capital to condemn Israel's aggression against Palestinians and the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. (Petros Karadjias / AP)
Israel massacred 60 Palestinians on Monday, including seven children, bringing to 101 the total number of Palestinians Israel has killed since Palestinians began the Great March on March 30. In that period, Israel has killed 11 Palestinian children, two journalists, one person on crutches and three persons with disabilities.
Monday’s casualties included 1,861 wounded, bringing total injuries inflicted by Israel to 6,938 people, including 3,615 with live fire. Israel is using bullets designed to expand inside the body, causing maximum, often permanent damage: “The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities,” says Médecins Sans Frontières.
On the 70th anniversary of Israel’s so-called “declaration of independence,” the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem—a city Israel claims as its own, despite what international law says on the matter—and Palestinians undertook unarmed protests in reaction to the move and as part of the Great Return March. Although to this point, the only Israeli casualty during the entire cycle of demonstrations has been one “lightly wounded” soldier, considerable space in coverage of the massacres is devoted to blaming Palestinians for their own slaughter.
Two of the first three paragraphs in an NBC report provided Israel’s rationalizations for its killing spree. The second sentence in the article says that the Israeli military:
accused Hamas of “leading a terrorist operation under the cover of masses of people,” adding that “firebombs and explosive devices” as well as rocks were being thrown towards the barrier.

Washington Post article devoted two of its first four sentences to telling readers that Palestinians are responsible for being murdered by Israel. Palestinian “organizers urged demonstrators to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them,” read one sentence. “At the barrier, young men threw stones and tried to launch kites carrying flames in hopes of burning crops on the other side,” stated the next one, as though stones and burning kites released by a besieged people is violence remotely equivalent to subjecting people to a military siege and mowing them down.
The New York Times article said that “a mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire,” painting Israel’s rampage as a reaction to a Palestinian provocation. Like FAIR has previously said of the word “retaliation,” “response” functions as a justification of Israeli butchery: To characterize Israeli violence as a “response” is to wrongly imply that Palestinian actions warranted Israel unleashing its firing squads.
Yahoo headline described “Violent Protests in Gaza Ahead of US Embassy Inauguration in Jerusalem,” a flatly incorrect description in that it attributes the violence to Palestinian demonstrators rather than to Israel. The BBC did the same with a segment called “Gaza Braced for Further Violent Protests.”
One Bloomberg article by Saud Abu Ramadan and Amy Teibel had the same problem, referring to “a protest marred by violence,” while another oneattributed only to Ramadan is headlined “Hamas Targets Fence as Gaza Bloodshed Clouds Embassy Move,” as though the fence were Monday’s most tragic casualty. Ascribing this phantom violence to Palestinians provides Israel an alibi: Many readers will likely conclude that Israel’s lethal violence is reasonable if it is cast as a way of coping with “violent protests.”
The second paragraph of the Bloomberg article solely written by Ramadan says that:
Gaza protesters, egged on by loudspeakers and transported in buses, streamed to the border, where some threw rocks, burned tires, and flew kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs into Israeli territory.
This author—like the rest in the “Palestinians were asking for it” chorus—failed to note that Israel’s fence runs deep into Palestinian territory and creates a 300-meter “buffer zone” between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which makes it highly unlikely that the kites and balloons of the colonized will have an effect on their drone-operating, rifle-wielding colonizers, let alone on people further afield in Israeli-held territory.
The New York Times editorial board wrote as though Palestinians are barbarians against whom Israel has no choice but to unleash terror:
Led too long by men who were corrupt or violent or both, the Palestinians have failed and failed again to make their own best efforts toward peace. Even now, Gazans are undermining their own cause by resorting to violence, rather than keeping their protests strictly peaceful.
The board claimed that “Israel has every right to defend its borders, including the boundary with Gaza,” incorrectly suggesting that Palestinians were aggressors rather than on the receiving end of 100 years of settler-colonialism.
Moreover, like the Times and Bloomberg articles discussed above, the editorial attempts to legitimize Israel’s deadly violence by saying that it is defending a border that Palestinians are attempting to breach, but there is no border between Gaza and Israel. There is, as Maureen Murphy of Electronic Intifada pointed out, “an armistice line between an occupying power and the population living under its military rule” that Palestinians are trying to cross in order to exercise their right to return to their land.
Washington Post editorial called the Palestinians hunted by Israel “nominal civilians.” Apart from being a logical impossibility (one either is or isn’t a civilian), the phrase illuminates how too much of media think about Palestinians:  They are inherently threatening, intrinsically killable, always suspect, never innocent, permanently guilty of existing.
Business Insider piece by columnist Daniella Greenbaum described “Palestinian protesters who ramped up their activities along the Gaza strip and, as a result, were targeted by the Israeli army with increasing intensity.” Greenbaum’s use of the phrase “as a result” implies that it was inevitable and perhaps just that Palestinians’ “ramped up activities” led to Israel mowing down a population it occupies, 70 percent of whom are refugees Israel refuses to allow to return to their homes.
Greenbaum then climbs into the intellectual and moral gutter, claiming that:
absent from the commentary that children have unfortunately been among the injured and dead are questions about how they ended up at the border. On that question, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the extent to which Palestinians have glorified violence and martyrdom — and the extent to which the terrorist organization Hamas has organized the “protests.”
In her view, dozens of Palestinians died because they are primitive savages who take pleasure in sacrificing their own children, not because Israel maintains the right to gun down refugees in the name of maintaining an ethnostate.
In a rare instance of a resident of Gaza allowed to participate directly in the media conversation, Fadi Abu Shammalah wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that offered an explanation of why Palestinians are putting their lives on the line to march. Life for the people of Gaza, including for his three young sons, has been “one tragedy after another: waves of mass displacement, life in squalid refugee camps, a captured economy, restricted access to fishing waters, a strangling siege and three wars in the past nine years. ” Recalling the concern for his safety expressed by his seven-year-old child, Shammalah concludes:
If Ali asks me why I’m returning to the Great Return March despite the danger, I will tell him this: I love my life. But more than that, I love you, Karam and Adam. If risking my life means you and your brothers will have a chance to thrive, to have a future with dignity, to live in peace with all your neighbors, in your free country, then this is a risk I must take.
Palestinians have a right to liberate themselves that extends to the right to the use of armed struggle, yet as Shammalah wrote, the Great Return March signifies a “nearly unanimous acceptance of peaceful methods to call for our rights and insist on our humanity.” Nevertheless, based on media coverage, readers could be forgiven for concluding that it was Palestinians, not Israel, who carried out what Doctors Without Borders called “unacceptable and inhuman” violence.

43 Percent of American Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs

TD ORIGINALS


43 Percent of American Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs

Sander van der Wel / Flickr Creative Commons
Donald Trump may be celebrating the fact that America’s unemployment rateis at its lowest level in nearly two decades, but that’s not enough for the alarming number of American families still struggling to put food on the table and pay their rent.
On Thursday, the United Way’s ALICE project released a study showing, as CNN reports, “Nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone.”
These numbers include both the 16.1 million families living at or below the federal poverty line (currently $24,600 for a family of four) and the 34.7 million families the United Way calls ALICE, or Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This means people who earn too much to qualify for federal poverty programs but are still unable to cover their monthly expenses.
The severity of the problem varies by state. California, New Mexico and Hawaii have the highest number of struggling families, at 49 percent. By contrast, North Dakota has the lowest, at 32 percent.

As CNN quotes the study, the families represent “… the nation’s child care workers, home health aides, office assistants and store clerks, who work low-paying jobs and have little savings. … Some 66% of jobs in the US pay less than $20 an hour.”
More low-wage jobs may decrease the unemployment rate, but employment doesn’t mean families can pay their bills. Stephanie Hoopes, a founding author of the study, explained this frustration, telling NJ.com that “the rate of inflation in the past 10 years has been about 9 percent, but the cost of living for ALICE families has risen by nearly twice that.” As a result, she explained, “There’s a sense of frustration or even anger because people are being told that they’re doing better but they aren’t.”
This may be because the benefits of lower unemployment rates, lower inflation and higher wages are not being distributed equally. In fact, even when, in 2016, federal data showed that median household net worth was up across income brackets, the wealthiest Americans did the best.
According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance, the top 1 percent of wealthy Americans now holds 38.6 percent of the nation’s wealth, up from 33.7 percent in 2007. The bottom 90 percent of Americans had only 22.8 percent of the nation’s total wealth in 2017, down from 28.5 percent in 2007.

Gideon Levy: 60 Dead in Gaza and the End of Israeli Conscience

Opinion 

60 Dead in Gaza and the End of Israeli Conscience 

On the night of the Palestinians’ slaughter, Zion exulted an embassy and a Eurovision. It’s difficult to think of a more atrocious moral eclipse
A Palestinian protester reacts to teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, east of Khan Younis on May 15, 2018.
Adel Hana/AP 
When will the moment come in which the mass killing of Palestinians matters anything to the right? When will the moment come in which the massacre of civilians shocks at least the left-center? If 60 people slain don’t do it, perhaps 600? Will 6,000 jolt them?
When will the moment come in which a pinch of human feeling arises, if only for a moment, toward the Palestinians? Sympathy? At what moment will someone call a halt, and suggest compassion, without being branded an eccentric or an Israel hater?
When will there be a moment in which someone admits that the slaughterer has, after all, some responsibility for the slaughter, not only the slaughtered, who are of course responsible for their own slaughter?
Sixty people killed didn’t matter to anyone – perhaps 600 would? How about 6,000? Will Israel find all the excuses and justifications then also? Will the blame be laid on the slain people and their “dispatchers” even then, and not a word of criticism, mea culpa, sorrow, pity or guilt will be heard?
On Monday, when the death count spiked alarmingly, Jerusalem celebrated the embassy and Tel Aviv rejoiced over Eurovision, it seemed that such a moment will never come again. The Israeli brain has been washed irrevocably, the heart sealed for good. The life of a Palestinian is no longer deemed to be worth anything.
If 60 stray dogs were shot to death in one day by IDF soldiers, the whole country would raise an outcry. The dog slaughterers would be put on trial, the nation of Israel would have devoted prayers to the victims, a Yizkor service would be said for the dogs slaughtered by Israel.
But on the night of the Palestinians’ slaughter, Zion rejoiced and was jubilant: We have an embassy and a Eurovision. It’s difficult to think of a more atrocious moral eclipse. Neither is it difficult to imagine the reverse scenario: 60 Israelis are killed in one day and the crowds celebrate the embassy in Ramallah and rejoice over a concert in El Bireh to cheer the winning of the Arab “A Star is Born,” while television hosts and interviewees giggle during the live broadcasts. Oh, those Palestinian animals, oh, the monsters.
On the eve of this black Monday I found myself sitting in one of the television studios beside a giggling right-winger. Giggling isn’t the right term, he was bursting with laughter. It made him laugh so hard, the mass killing, and he found it even funnier that someone was appalled by it. Israel Hayom opened with the “Shehecheyanu” blessing in its main headline about another matter, unaware of the dark irony. Yedioth Ahronoth held a learned discussion over whether Hamas leaders should be eliminated now or not, who’s in favor of the murder and who’s against it. Imagine a discussion in a Palestinian newspaper: for and against murdering Gadi Eizenkot.
The truth is that Israel is well prepared to massacre hundreds and thousands, and to expel tens of thousands. Nothing will stop it. This is the end of conscience, the show of morality is over. The last few days’ events have proved it decisively. The tracks have been laid, the infrastructure for the horror has been cast. Dozens of years of brainwashing, demonization and dehumanization have borne fruit. The alliance between the politicians and the media to suppress reality and deny it has succeeded. Israel is set to commit horrors. Nobody will stand in its way any longer. Not from within or from without.
Apart from the usual lip service, the Trump-era world won’t lift a finger, even when Gaza becomes, heaven forbid, Rwanda. Even then our observers and analysts will recite that the IDF has accomplished its goals, that the IDF displayed restraint, that it’s the most moral and “what would you suggest doing instead?”
The chief of staff would be crowned man of the year, the moderate, good man, the opposition would tweet their applause. In the town square the “leftist” singer’s victory will be celebrated, nobody would even think of canceling the party going on, or at least set aside a moment for the dead.
We’re already there. That moment is here. Rwanda is coming to Gaza and Israel is celebrating. Two million human beings we’ve imprisoned already, and their fate matters to no one. The pictures that occasionally flicker of children without electricity and parents without water, of crippled people being shot to death and of leg amputees, all children of refugees from the 1948 disaster we landed on their heads.
What has that to do with us? It’s Hamas’ fault. Sixty individuals killed in one day, and not a shred of sorrow has been sighted in Israel. From now on, it never will be.

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Pressure grows on Germany to up its game in NATO

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 09:38
18 May 2018
Pressure on Germany is growing after a series of exposés in February this year showed the German military to be one of the least combat ready in NATO. First, Germany's parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces urged the navy to stop deploying frigates to NATO, EU and UN missions because the military simply doesn't have enough ships. German vessels have played key roles in anti-smuggling and migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean.
Second, the Bundeswehr is due to take over leadership of NATO's multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) at the start of next year, but doesn't have enough tanks, according to a leaked Defence Ministry document. Specifically, the Bundeswehr's ninth tank brigade in Münster only has nine operational Leopard 2 tanks — even though it promised to have 44 ready for the VJTF — and only three of the promised 14 Marder armoured infantry vehicles. A lack of spare parts and the high cost and time needed to maintain the vehicles was given as the reason for the shortfall. It added that it was also lacking night-vision equipment, automatic grenade launchers, winter clothing and body armour.
Additional gaps in combat readiness that have come to light include the fact that none of Germany’s submarines are currently operational, there are insufficient military helicopters for pilots to fly and only four of its 128 Eurofighter jets are combat-ready.
Germany spent 1.13 percent of its economic output on the military in 2017, well below the alliance’s agreed 2 percent target, according to January 2018 analysis by the BDI industry association. The lower 2017 figure was mainly due to stronger-than-expected economic growth, which lowered the percentage. Similarly, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI) estimated German defence spending in 2017 as $44.3 billion (1.2 per cent of GDP), which still placed the country as the 9th largest military spender in the world overall.
In April, it was reported that German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen had requested an additional $14.6 billion for the country’s military budget, saying the current budget of $45 billion is vastly inadequate for the military modernization Germany needs. The request is facing resistance from Germany’s finance ministry, which has planned a roughly $6.6 billion increase over four years. Under current plans, German military spending is expected to reach 1.5 percent of economic output in 2025, which would mean that Berlin would default on a pledge it made in 2014 when NATO members agreed to hit the 2 percent mark within a decade.
Levels of German defence spending and the lack of readiness of its armed forces are likely to re-emerge as a contentious issue between Berlin and Washington when President Donald Trump attends a NATO summit in July. German Chancellor Angela Merkel conceded on 14 May that German “credibility” was at stake and that defence spending must increase. Yet during last year’s election campaign she also said that spending on Germany’s welfare state would continue to take precedence over the increased military expenditure demanded by President Trump.
Another aspect of Germany’s reluctance to significantly increase its military investment is a broad historical and cultural uneasiness with the idea of trying to re-establish itself as a military power. An October 2017 survey in Germany by the Pew Research Centre found that 51 percent of those polled wanted defence spending to remain at the same level, while 13 percent wanted cuts. Only 32 percent wanted to increase spending.

Confronting Israel Is Important

Why Confronting Israel Is Important The Jewish state is no friend By  Philip Giraldi Global Research, August 14, 2018 Url of this articl...