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https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181215-saudi-students-to-study-philosophy-lifting-ban/

Saudi students to study philosophy, lifting ban

A team of Saudi and British academics has begun preparations to include philosophy in the Saudi secondary school syllabus.

The team also began a training programme for more than 200 teachers to begin teaching philosophy after the subject was banned for decades, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Friday.

The plan was announced by Saudi Education Minister Ahmad Al-Issa during an international conference held in the Kingdom last week.

However, a headmistress in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia – who preferred to remain anonymous – told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that she had not received directions to start preparing to teach philosophy at her school, nor was she asked to nominate teachers for training.

The headmistresses said that schools in the Saudi capital Riyadh are likely to start teaching the controversial material first, then other schools across the Kingdom will be asked to follow.

Saudi Arabia previously did not include philosophy on the curriculum, a decision based on several fatwas (rulings) issued by senior muftis, including the late religious scholar Sheikh Abdel-Aziz Bin Baz who was highly respected by all Saudis, including the royal family.

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Facebook Blocks Netanyahu’s Son, Saying His Posts ‘Included Hate Speech’

"In a Facebook post a few days ago, one of the Israeli prime minister’s sons said he hoped the deaths of two Israeli soldiers killed by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank would be “avenged” and said, “There will never be peace with the monsters in human form known since 1964 as ‘Palestinians.’”

In other posts, Yair Netanyahu, the older son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he would prefer an Israel without any Muslims and mused that no attacks occurred “in Iceland and Japan where coincidentally there are no Muslims.”

Facebook removed the posts after a flood of complaints, saying they “included hate speech” and clearly violated the community standards.........

 

After a series of angry tweets, in the early, almost Trumpian, hours of Monday morning, he concluded:

“I basically hate leftists to the same degree they hate me. And I wish for them exactly the same as they wish for me.”

Israel’s first son, often in the headlines, is hardly new to controversy or vitriol and has long espoused hard-right views on social media. But his blunt online presence is increasingly raising questions in Israel about the blurred lines between the public and private personas of what some cynics refer to as Israel’s royal family, which has reigned over Israel continually for almost a decade.......

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/world/middleeast/yair-netanyahu-facebook-hate-speech.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur

:(

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https://www.rt.com/news/447091-white-helmets-terrorists-russia/

‘Organ traders, terrorists & looters’: Evidence against Syrian White Helmets presented at UN

The ‘White Helmets’ are not a rescue group but an extension of jihadist militants, and should be designated a terrorist organization, Russia’s envoy to the UN argued at the presentation of evidence into the group’s wrongdoing.

Praised in the West as humanitarian rescue volunteers, in reality the ‘White Helmets’ work with Islamist militants in Syria, harvest organs from the victims they pretend to be “rescuing,” stage false chemical weapons and other attacks for cameras, and loot the bodies and homes of Syrians killed and injured in the war, according to Maxim Grigoriev, director of the Russia-based Foundation for the Study of Democracy.

Grigoriev presented the results of the Foundation’s research into White Helmets at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said the evidence shows the group is dangerous.

“The White Helmets deserve to be on the United Nations’ designated terrorist list,” Nebenzia said.

Rather than volunteers, almost all the members of White Helmets were paid staff, Grigoriev explained. There is also “undeniable evidence” that the group has been taking written orders from Jaysh al‑Islam, an Islamist militant group most notorious for its occupation of Douma.

It was in this suburb of Damascus that the White Helmets staged the “chemical attack” that served as the pretext for French, UK and US missile strikes against the Syrian government in April this year.

“Falsification of chemical attacks was an essential part of the White Helmets' activities,” Grigoriev testified, adding that the group also regularly engaged in “making fake news and organizing staged rescues.”

He cited a particular example of a place called Jisr al‑Haj in Aleppo, where the militants had set trash on fire, brought bodies from the local morgue, and had the White Helmets film a staged rescue. Grigoriev cited a testimony by a member of the White Helmets, who also said that everyone involved received an extra $50 for the effort.

Many local residents interviewed for the research spoke about people “rescued” by the White Helmets ending up dead, with their internal organs missing. One of the witnesses interviewed was a former member of Ahrar al-Sham, who testified that his commander Shadi Kadik, also known as Abu Adel Al-Halabi (of Aleppo), acknowledged the organ harvesting. The total number of cases involving organ theft is “at least several hundred” in Aleppo alone, Grigoriev testified.

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  • 2 weeks later...
10 hours ago, jakeem said:

Per senior Senate D aide, Schumer has told the rest of his caucus that he will vote to block legislation authorizing security assistance to Israel (and other things) until McConnell tees up bills re-opening the government

 

10 hours ago, jakeem said:

Israel Channel 10 cuts away in the middle of Netanyahu's "dramatic announcement" once it becomes clear he's just complaining about minutiae of the investigations against him.

We gotta check the Las Vegas oddsmakers on who will be thrown out of office first:

Netanyahu or trump?

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https://www.rt.com/usa/448190-us-senate-israel-boycott-law/

America's last? First Senate bill of 2019 aims to protect Israel from boycott, report reveals

With the start of the 2019 legislative session, one might hope the US Senate would prioritize ending the two-week government shutdown. Instead, the Senate’s first bill of the year reportedly aims to protect Israel from boycotts.

According to The Intercept, the first piece of legislation to be rolled out by the 2019 GOP-controlled Senate will give the US government the authority to cut ties with companies that choose to boycott Israel. The not-very-America-first decree is part of a series of foreign policy-related measures which will make up S.1 – the designation given to the symbolically important first bill of the session.

The boycott-banning legislation has apparently taken precedence over the ongoing government shutdown – already the third-longest on record, shuttering nine departments and leaving hundreds of thousands of government workers without paychecks.

 

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The Senate sure has got its priorities straight. In the midst of devastating #shutdown, THE FIRST order of business is a bill defending #Israel from boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign at expense of our 1st Amendment rights. #BDSMovement #FreePalestine https://theintercept.com/2019/01/05/u-s-senates-first-bill-in-midst-of-shutdown-is-a-bipartisan-defense-of-the-israeli-government-from-boycotts/ 

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America's last? First Senate bill of 2019 aims to protect Israel from boycott, report reveals

Published time: 6 Jan, 2019 14:11Edited time: 7 Jan, 2019 08:21
 
America's last? First Senate bill of 2019 aims to protect Israel from boycott, report reveals
FILE PHOTO. © Reuters / Brendan McDermid
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With the start of the 2019 legislative session, one might hope the US Senate would prioritize ending the two-week government shutdown. Instead, the Senate’s first bill of the year reportedly aims to protect Israel from boycotts.

According to The Intercept, the first piece of legislation to be rolled out by the 2019 GOP-controlled Senate will give the US government the authority to cut ties with companies that choose to boycott Israel. The not-very-America-first decree is part of a series of foreign policy-related measures which will make up S.1 – the designation given to the symbolically important first bill of the session.

The boycott-banning legislation has apparently taken precedence over the ongoing government shutdown – already the third-longest on record, shuttering nine departments and leaving hundreds of thousands of government workers without paychecks.

With Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) as the lead sponsor, the Combating BDS Act is expected to receive bipartisan support. Coincidentally, punishing corporations and individuals who support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement is a top legislative priority for AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby. The bill was previously introduced (but never passed) last year, and gave state and local governments the authority to refuse to do business with US firms participating in a boycott against Israel. Similar anti-BDS legislation has already been adopted in 26 states. So far, two federal courts have ruled that punishing companies or individuals who boycott goods produced in Israel violates constitutionally-protected rights under the First Amendment.
 

America's last? First Senate bill of 2019 aims to protect Israel from boycott, report reveals

Published time: 6 Jan, 2019 14:11Edited time: 7 Jan, 2019 08:21
 
America's last? First Senate bill of 2019 aims to protect Israel from boycott, report reveals
FILE PHOTO. © Reuters / Brendan McDermid
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With the start of the 2019 legislative session, one might hope the US Senate would prioritize ending the two-week government shutdown. Instead, the Senate’s first bill of the year reportedly aims to protect Israel from boycotts.

According to The Intercept, the first piece of legislation to be rolled out by the 2019 GOP-controlled Senate will give the US government the authority to cut ties with companies that choose to boycott Israel. The not-very-America-first decree is part of a series of foreign policy-related measures which will make up S.1 – the designation given to the symbolically important first bill of the session.

The boycott-banning legislation has apparently taken precedence over the ongoing government shutdown – already the third-longest on record, shuttering nine departments and leaving hundreds of thousands of government workers without paychecks.

 
With Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) as the lead sponsor, the Combating BDS Act is expected to receive bipartisan support. Coincidentally, punishing corporations and individuals who support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement is a top legislative priority for AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby. The bill was previously introduced (but never passed) last year, and gave state and local governments the authority to refuse to do business with US firms participating in a boycott against Israel. Similar anti-BDS legislation has already been adopted in 26 states. So far, two federal courts have ruled that punishing companies or individuals who boycott goods produced in Israel violates constitutionally-protected rights under the First Amendment.
Courts have found state laws penalizing Israel & settlement boycotters to be unconstitutional, but GOP Senate leaders are making a bill authorizing & encouraging states to enact such laws their first order of business in a package to be voted on next week

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/texas-speech-pathologist-fired-for-refusing-to-pledge-not-to-boycott-israel-1.6750517?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter 

S.1 is purportedly being specially drafted to avoid similar legal challenges – but has already come under fire from civil liberties groups. In a comment provided to The Intercept, the ACLU said that the bill would “weaken Americans’ First Amendment protections” and “sends a message to Americans that they will be penalized if they dare to disagree with their government” – or Israel, for that matter.
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Mike Pompeo Lied About the U.S. and the Middle East.

 

",,,,,,, Pompeo claimed that the United States was “a force for good in the Middle East” and referred to “America’s innate goodness.” His 3,500-word address at the American University in Cairo contained only one passing reference to “democracy” and zero references to “equality” or “human rights.” There were more than 20 references, however, to “malevolent” and “oppressive” Iran. ......

he wanted to speak about “a truth that isn’t often spoken in this part of the world.” He went on to offer a litany of lies, delusions, and exaggerations.

 

Below, however, is the (fantasy) speech that I wish the secretary of state could have delivered on Thursday, if he truly wanted to be “blunt” and “honest” about U.S. involvement in the Middle East since 1945. ........

..... ‘In the eyes of the majority of Arabs the United States appears to be opposed to the realization of the goals of Arab nationalism. They believe that the United States is seeking to protect its interest in Near East oil by supporting the status quo and opposing political or economic progress.’

U.S. interests in the area, added the National Security Council, ‘have led not unnaturally to close U.S. relations with elements in the Arab world whose primary interest lies in the maintenance of relations with the West and the status quo in their countries.’ .....

We have never supported freedom or democracy for the Palestinians. Nor have we done so for the Iranians. .....

We have supported dictators and despots while singing the praises of democracy; we have bombed, invaded, and occupied while calling for stability and security; we have been complicit in torture, ethnic cleansing, mass starvation, and the use of chemical weapons while pretending to be champions of human rights.

The post-war history of our role in this region is clear, undeniable, and shameful. Those who claim that the United States is a ‘force for good in the Middle East‘ are dishonest — or deluded. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

https://theintercept.com/2019/01/11/mike-pompeo-speech-cairo/

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