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17 Aug

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

The Observer>>

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Demonstrators aim to show public support for movement remains strong

Thousands of teachers rallied against police brutality toward young protesters.

Thousands of teachers rallied against police brutality toward young protesters. Photograph: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong, as they sought to show their movement still had public support even after two months of increasingly violent clashes.

Protesters, clad in their signature black and holding umbrellas, marched down major streets in Kowloon, chanting: “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our time!” Volunteers handed out herbal tea and juice, while some shops that had closed for the day left boxes of drinks out for protesters.

Three separate rallies were taking place on Saturday, marking the 11th weekend of protests in Hong Kong as residents continue to press the government to formally withdraw a controversial extradition bill as well as meet other demands.

In one of the demonstrations, thousands of teachers braved heavy rains to fill a public square in central Hong Kong where they rallied against police brutality toward young protesters.

“When I see how things are right now, I can’t see a future for the children,” said Li, 30, a kindergarten teacher who helped organise the rally.

“Today the teachers came out to show students that we understand them and we will fight with them until the end,” she said of the event, called “Protect the Next Generation”. She said: “It’s not just the students. All Hong Kong people need protecting.”

Marching in Kowloon, they yelled: “See you at Victoria Park!” in reference to a major rally planned for Sunday.

The teachers’ march moving through central Hong Kong.

 

The teachers’ march moving through central Hong Kong. Photograph: Vivek Prakash/EPA

The weekend of demonstrations serves as a test for the momentum of the protests after tensions reached a new level this past week. Following a weekend of violent clashes with police, protesters swarmed Hong Kong’s airport.

Demonstrators blocked passengers, forcing a shutdown and clashing with police as well as detaining two men suspected of being spies, in scenes pro-government figures and Chinese state media have seized on as evidence of the protesters’ violent tendencies.

Following the violent episodes, protesters have called for a weekend of peaceful marches and a return to methods used when the demonstrations first began in June. On Saturday, protesters wore surgical masks but did not appear to be in full protective gear as they have been in past rallies in preparation for confrontations with the police.

Critics say officials seem intent on clashing with protesters. The police have banned the original plan for Sunday’s event, a march, and have instead confined it to a rally within Victoria Park. The park can hold only about 100,000 people, but organisers expect many more.

“We know the government is not trying to help the situation, or at least not showing any signs of trying,” said Elizabeth Yu, 26, a musician and performer.

World Politics

United States

The US president feigns concern for Jews to justify bullying Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Israel is happy to play along

Israeli Likud party election banners hang from a building, showing Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with Donald Trump, in Tel Aviv.

Israeli Likud party election banners hang from a building, showing Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with Donald Trump, in Tel Aviv. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Why would a president who has elevated white nationalism, who said there were “very fine people on both sides” in the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, decide that it’s his duty to identify American leaders who he sees as threats to the Jews and to Israel? Why would a man who has given a platform to proud antisemites like Sebastian Gorka and Ben Garrison decide that the safety of the Jewish people rests on his shoulders?

President Trump’s game of feigning concern for Jews in order to undercut women of color in Congress is all too transparent. And this time, his racism has been handed a new amplifier in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump and Netanyahu are ratcheting one another’s bigoted behaviors up in a game of anti-democracy chicken, where only these two election-frenzied men can win and many have their free expression and civil rights to lose.

The news that Israel planned to bar Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country due to their support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is no surprise. It’s the latest episode in the country’s serial moves to stifle leftwing dissidents, including holding Simone Zimmerman, founder of IfNotNow, at the border; detaining the journalist Peter Beinart in Ben Gurion airport; and denying an entry visa to the BDS advocate Ariel Gold. The government’s ploys to quiet anti-occupation activism started even earlier, notably with the 2016 so-called NGO Law that forced organizations to declare foreign funding they received in an effort to stigmatize pro-peace groups like B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. All of this from America’s proud “democratic ally” – a country hailed as the “sole democracy in the Middle East” that now thinks it appropriate to harass and intimidate critics of the occupation.

At a certain point in the American-Israeli special relationship, the US might have decried these anti-democratic behaviors. We might have used our military aid as leverage to call for free speech and respect for civil society, as Senator Bernie Sanders has advocated. Instead, President Trump has not only built on America’s recent legacy of writing Israel blank military aid checks but actually used his position to intimidate Israeli leadership into even more unscrupulous behavior. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Representative Omar and Representative Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.” Minutes after this tweet, Netanyahu’s administration announced that Omar and Tlaib would be barred from entry, though on Friday morning Tlaib was granted permission to visit her grandmother in the West Bank.

While most of President Trump’s “Maga” agenda is built on false nostalgia for a “great America” that never really existed, his tweets Thursday certainly did evoke a longing for the past – think of that moment when Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat met on the White House Lawn in a flash of possibility for cross-cultural dialogue. “Every peace has its enemies, those who still prefer the easy habits of hatred to the hard labors of reconciliation,” President Clinton said then. “But Prime Minister Rabin has reminded us that you do not have to make peace with your friends. And the Koran teaches that if the enemy inclines toward peace, do thou also incline toward peace.”

Where a US president was once quoting the Qur’an to broker peace, Trump uses his position to bully our first Muslim women in Congress; where American-Israeli leadership once leaned toward the “hard labors” of negotiations, Twitter-happy Trump of course chooses the “easy habits” of harassment and division.

Trump and Netanyahu use the Jewish community to justify his bigotry – but Jewish civil society groups are not free from blame in this exercise. For decades establishment Jewish organizations, most prominently the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee, have advocated blind American support for Israel in a tacit acceptance of the Israeli government’s continued occupation of Palestinian territories. US military aid with few strings attached is the engine of Trump and Netanyahu’s grossly symbiotic relationship, and such organizations have long blithely poured on the diesel.

Tlaib and Omar are no doubt Israel’s fiercest critics in Congress. That both Trump and Netanyahu are so afraid of letting them travel through the country and ground their critiques in first-hand witness accounts of life in the occupied territories is just as troubling as it is unsurprising. As Peter Beinart writes in the Forward, it should be cause for concern when our leaders know that cruelties on the ground are so obvious that critics must be kept from seeing them first-hand. Birthright Israel has used almost $100m of philanthropy annually to test the notion that “the gift of a life-changing trip to Israel” can “transform the Jewish future”. Trump and Netanyahu seem to believe a trip to the country can be dangerous to the future of the Jews – that is if it’s given to critical thinkers visiting occupied territory. Again, for them the “hard labors” of truth and transparency pale next to the “easy habits” of concealment.

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One Response to “A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses”

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