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An Old, but very Interesting, Report on the Trafficking of Women–from Ukraine to Israel

The latest news from Ukraine today is that seven children were injured when the new president of the country unleashed his military forces on a residential neighborhood in the city of Slavyansk.

A few days ago, I put up a post entitled “Ukrainian Jews Celebrate Poroshenko Win,” in which I discussed Petro Poroshenko’s support amongst Ukrainian Jews and which also included a repost of an article by Gregory Kolyada. That article deals with the shady business practices of the new Ukrainian president, whose exploits have included, says Kolyada,  involvement in drugs, prostitution, and illegal arms. “The Poroshenko family had plans to expand the activities beyond Ukraine,” says Kolyada, and in the closing paragraph of the piece, the author refers to the billionaire oligarch as “one of the most odious figures in Ukrainian politics.”

After I posted that article, a friend sent me a link to a document entitled “Trafficking in Women from Ukraine” that was submitted to the US State Department in 2003, but which for some reason was never published. Of course in 2003, US efforts to bring “democracy” to Ukraine had already been under way for some ten years, according to Victoria Nuland, so maybe that was a factor in the decision not to publish it at the time.

In any case, the report, authored by Donna M. Hughes of the University of Rhode Island, and Tatyana Denisova, of Zaporizhia State University, discusses at length the recruitment of Ukrainian women into prostitution rings, transnational crime networks through which they are ferried to other countries for purposes of sexual exploitation. And one of the countries of destination discussed in the report is Israel. You can access the full report here, in PDF format, but below are some excerpts:

Ukraine, now the second largest country in Europe, is one of the largest suppliers of women for prostitution…

Transnational crime networks take advantage of patterns of migration to traffic women. An example is the increased migration and trafficking of women from the former Soviet Union to Israel. After 1989, Soviet Jews started immigrating to Israel, resulting in 800,000 dew immigrants to Israel. Russian and Ukrainian traffickers used this cover to bring 10,000women into Israel for the sex industry. The sex industry in Israel has since grown into a US$450million a year industry, which is dependent on trafficked women from Eastern Europe. Professor Menachem Amir of Hebrew University, an expert on organized crime in Israel, estimates that 70 percent of the women in prostitution in Tel Aviv are from the former Soviet republics.28Moreover, according to Israel’s report to CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Report, more than 95 percent of the women deported from Israel for illegal prostitution are repatriated to the former Soviet Union.29From 1995-1997, Israel deported 1500 Russian and Ukrainian women.30

In Israel, a Russian or Ukrainian woman earns the pimp who controls her between US$50,000 and $100,000 per year.

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News

The Bankers Want Putin’s Head

By Ariadna Theokopoulos

The international bankers want Putin’s head and they have $20,000,000,000 painful reasons. A recent revelation by a French source details Putin’s incredible double coup that made Russia gain $20 billion in a few days and recover most of the shares owned by West European and American investors in Russia’s largest energy companies.

The foreign (American and European) ownership of a large portion of shares in the energy industry meant that almost half of the revenues of the gas and oil industry did not go into the coffers of the Russian Federation, but into the pockets of Western financial ‘sharks,’ as the French commentator says.

At the beginning of of the Crimean crisis, the rouble started to fall but the Central Bank of Russia did nothing to prop it up. Rumors started spreading that Russia simply did not possess the reserves necessary to maintain the rouble.

These rumors and Putin’s declarations of intent to support the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine led to a plunge in the price of the shares in Russian energy companies, which made the “sharks” rush to sell their shares before they might lose their entire value. Putin waited a whole week, apparently doing nothing but smiling at press conferences (which was interpreted as trying to show a brave face), but when the shares almost touched bottom he gave instructions to rapidly buy them up from European and American owners.

When the “sharks” realized they had been had it was already too late: the shares were all in Russia’s hands. Not only did Russia gained $20 billion in only a few days, it also brought home the market shares of its industries. Now the revenues from oil and gas will not stay stay in Russia rather than run abroad but the rouble has been restored without having to touch Russia’s gold reserves and the “sharks” have been thwarted.

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commentary

A US Official’s ‘Blistering’—but Anonymous—Response to Israeli Insults

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon accused the US of “feebleness” in a speech at Tel Aviv University on March 17–prompting a tame, timid (and rather feeble) response from US officials–including one who spoke on condition of anonymity.

By Richard Edmondson

The US-Israel “special relationship” is unprecedented in world history. And not only that, it violates the laws of nature.

Never before in recorded history has a large, powerful nation come to be dominated by a small country with substantially lesser military capabilities. It has never happened. Yet such a conquest has fallen upon America.

Recent insults—and a perhaps not-so-subtle threat—by an Israeli official have angered the Obama White House, but the administration has found itself powerless to respond in any kind of meaningful fashion, and as such, the case provides us with a glaring illustration of the disproportionality of the power dynamics between the two countries.

On March 17, in comments delivered at Tel Aviv University, Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon criticized the US for projecting an image of “feebleness” around the world, specifically singling out what he regards as weak US policies toward Russia, China, and Iran.

“I heard voices of disappointment in the region. I was in Singapore and heard disappointment about China getting stronger and the US getting weaker,” Ya’alon said. “Look what’s happening in Ukraine, where the United States is demonstrating weakness, unfortunately.”

Ya’alon also apparently believes the US should step up front and center and go to war right away with Iran.

“At some stage the United States entered into negotiations with [the Iranians], and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better,” he said.

Voicing criticism of “comfortable Westerners” who “prefer to put off confrontation,” Ya’alon suggested that with regard to Iran, the Jewish state may simply have to “behave as though we have nobody to look out for us, but ourselves,” hinting at the possibility of an Israeli attack.

Finally, the official issued what some could easily construe as an indirect threat to America, given Israel’s almost certain involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

“If you sit and wait at home, the terrorism will come again,” he said. “Even if you hunker down, it will come. This is a war of civilizations. If your image is feebleness, it doesn’t pay in the world. Nobody will replace the United States as global policeman. I hope the United States comes to its senses.…

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commentary

Evaporating Support Among Young American Christians Panics Israel Supporters

Yesterday I posted an article about a conference called “Christ at the Checkpoint,” which opened Monday in Bethlehem and will run through Friday. The conference was designed with the aim of exploring the teachings of Jesus and how they might “contribute towards achieving peace and justice in Palestine/Israel.” Though it has been scathingly denounced by the Israeli government, the event is being attended by a number of evangelical Christians, including some from America.

Now today we have an article published in The Jewish Daily Forward, headlined Israel’s Grip on Evangelical Christians Loosens, that digs into the whole issue of evaporating support for Israel,  particularly among younger Christians, and would seem to indicate a high level of concern, perhaps almost near-panic, setting in among Israel supporters who have taken note of it.

Before we get to that, however, watch the video below, which features Glenn Beck interviewing David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, who does indeed seem to be in a state of angst. Brog is one of the people quoted in The Forward article. In this interview Brog (who is Jewish, not Christian) describes the younger generation of evangelical Christians as “the soft underbelly of the evangelical community,” and seems to imply that their changing views on the Middle East are the result of a nefarious plot by George Soros rather than any genuine concerns over justice or human rights abuses.

The Forward article indeed notes that “members of the millennial generation do not share their parents’ passion for the Jewish state,” and that this is indeed setting off “alarm bells” among Israel supporters, particularly among the CUFI leadership, which, it seems, is now plotting a strategy to combat it. This strategy includes launching speaking tours of college campuses, investing in videos and social media, and organizing more evangelical tours to Israel.

How successful these efforts will be is open to question given the fact that the younger generation, unlike their elders, relies increasingly upon the Internet for news and information. There is also the fact that Christians by and large are guided, at least nominally, by the teachings of a fellow named Jesus, and that in this context, and with open access to the Internet, the suffering of the Palestinians is difficult, if not impossible, to ignore.

Activists in Illinois’s Wheaton College, a leading Christian school, protested a planned CUFI event on campus in 2009; in Tulsa, Okla.,Oral Roberts University has appointed a harsh critic of Israel to its board of trustees, and at Bethel University, in Minnesota, President Jay Barnes visited Israel and the Palestinian territories on a trip that changed participants’ views on the conflict.

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Analysis

The Blood Drippings of OY?

Oded Yinon

Details about the man are sketchy. In fact, not much is known other than that he was a journalist who reportedly also had ties to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. In the years since the publication of his paper, he seems to have dropped out of public life…

By Richard Edmondson

Since the US invasion of Iraq 11 years ago, and particularly since the so-called “Arab Spring” uprising of three years ago, we have seen one country after another in the Muslim world bled, lacerated, and dismembered. Spasms of mayhem, recorded on videos, have particularly hit Syria, a nation that has been invaded by hordes of Wahhabi executioners backed and funded by the West and Saudi Arabia, in a conflict that has run on for almost three years. That conflict recently spilled over into Lebanon, whose capital city, Beirut, has seen at least six deadly bombings since July of last year, including two in one week—on December 27 and again on January 2. The most recent bombing there took place January 21 and killed an 18-year-old girl.

And these don’t include bombings and attacks outside of Beirut, in places like Hermel.

A question worth pondering is to what extent much of this germinated out of the mind of Oded Yinon. What’s that? Oh, you say you never heard of Oded Yinon? Welllll…………..pull up a chair and sit down!!! I’ll tell you about him! Pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate! Or some coffee if you prefer! Or perhaps you might want to pour something a little stronger once you hear what I have to say.

Oded Yinon—let’s call him “OY” for short—said that we’re living in a “new epoch in human history.” Whew! Sounds profound, doesn’t it? But wait, there’s more (unfortunately). OY said this new epoch would be characterized by “a breakdown of the rationalist, humanist outlook,” and he insisted that humankind is losing the ability to “assess the simplest things, especially when they concern the simple question of what is Good and what is Evil.”

So good and evil are essentially becoming irrelevant concepts. Got it? He alsosaid, and I quote:

The view that ethics plays no part in determining the direction Man takes, but rather his material needs do–that view is becoming prevalent today as we see a world in which nearly all values are disappearing.

When OY contended that views of ethics and questions of good and evil are being discarded, and that values are disappearing, what exactly did he mean?…

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Analysis

The ‘Jewish Covenant with God,’ According to Pope Francis

By Richard Edmondson

The supposed “covenant” establishing the Jews as God’s “chosen people”—and particularly Pope Francis’ recently-articulated position on this—has been the subject of a very lively online discussion over the past week or so.

Francis is quite possibly the most philo-Semitic pope in history, and in November of 2013 he published his Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) which included a section on the Catholic Church’s “relations with Judaism.”

In it he asserts, “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked…” which is a distinct departure from Church doctrine, a doctrine which for many centuries has held that the covenant between God and the Jews, as outlined in the pages of the Old Testament, was superseded by the new covenant in Christ.

The Evangelii Gaudium is a type of papal document known as an “apostolic exhortation,” and this one is quite lengthy—close to 50,000 words. Moreover, only a small portion of it pertains to Jews. Economic inequalities and the obligation to provide assistance to the poor are among its more dominant themes. For instance, Francis writes: “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society.”—a noble sentiment to be sure.

Indeed, ever since he was elected pope in March of last year, Francis has been an outspoken advocate for the poor. He has also become the darling of the mainstream media—which is quite curious since the mainstream media have never been known for expressing much sympathy for the poor.

But last March, one week into his papacy, the New York Times trumpeted Francis’ “passionate pledge” on behalf of the poor. An ABC News guest and Wall Street Journal columnist believes he “excites the imagination of the world.” The L.A. Times seems thoroughly enraptured that the pope has “deliberately shunned high-cost, high-falutin’ ways”; CBS calls him “a vigorous, accessible, even affectionate leader”; and of course last month Time Magazine named him its Person of the Year.

So what gives? What exactly is the agenda here? Hard to say for sure, but perhaps the discussion below will shed some light. There does seem to be a certain disconnect, however—even within the pages of the Evangelii Gaudium itself. For instance the document denounces unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny.” Yet how are we to reconcile this with the view of Jews as enjoying a special covenant with God?…

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Analysis

No Dams in the Negev? Anatomy of a Hasbara Swarm

The Nir Am Reservoir lies near the town of Sderot, in southern Israel. This view of the reservoir shows the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun in the background.

“How can we return the occupied territories? There is no one to return them to.”
—Golda Meir

“There are no dams in the Negev.”
—Hasbara talking point

By Richard Edmondson

In the week before Christmas, the Zionist-hasbara crowd came out swinging in response to comments by Palestinian officials that Israel had opened dams east of Gaza and thereby further aggravated the flood disaster then engulfing the coastal territory.

In a December 18 article published at Commentary magazine, Jonathan S. Tobin accused Palestinians of “blaming Israel for the weather” and insisted that “there are no dams in the region bordering Gaza.” His article additionally included a link to my own site, richardedmondson.net, as well as to a Press TV video on YouTube, and went on to express the cheerless lament that “purveyors of Jew hatred” (presumably like myself) have come to “dominate” Palestinian politics with the result of keeping alive “false hope about Israel’s eventual destruction.”

Tobin’s article, headlined “Hamas Asks You to Buy a Dam in the Negev,” called attention to an article in the Times of Israel, also with an evocative headline—“How Hamas Used the Weather to Defame Israel”—and both articles referenced statements by two Palestinian officials in Gaza which the writers deemed as erroneous and defamatory toward Israel.

The two officials named were Yasser Shanti, chairman of Gaza’s Disaster Response Committee, and Muhammad Al-Maidana, a Civil Defense spokesperson. Shanti is said to have told journalists late in the day on December 13 that Israel had opened dams east of Gaza, causing even greater flooding within the coastal territory than what was already then taking place. And in what both Tobin, as well as his colleague at the Times of Israel, viewed as but a slight “variation” on Shanti’s comments, Al-Maidana is reported to have said that “sewage canals” (rather than dams) were opened, and that these also (or instead of) were to be found east of the Gaza Strip.

“There is only problem with these claims (sic),” said Tobin. “While Israelis have made the southern portion of the country bloom via ingenuity and clever irrigation schemes, dams are a scarce commodity in a desert region without rivers or lakes. In fact there are no dams in the region bordering Gaza.”

I first became aware that something stupendous was happening in Gaza when a friend emailed me an article by Gaza journalist Mohammed Omer, headlined Gaza Returns to Donkey Days, which I posted on December 6.…

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commentary News

Dealing Death to Three-Year-Olds

On Christmas Eve I put up several posts, including one entitled A Message of ‘Peace on Earth’ from Israel, which included some videos showing Israeli children talking, singing, and laughing about what kind of violence and mayhem they would love inflicting upon members of the Arab population around them.

Turns out that roughly around the time I was posting that, Israel:

A) launched an airstrike upon the Gaza strip, killing a three-year-old girl and wounding members of her family; and,

B) carried out home demolitions in the West Bank, displacing 68 people, 32 of whom were children, including a five-year-old girl who is paralyzed from the waist down.

I guess that’s how they like to celebrate Christmas in Israel.

The three-year-old girl killed in Gaza was named Hala Abu Sbeikha. She lived in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. She and other members of her family were standing outside their home when an Israeli plane fired a missile. Two of her brothers were wounded. Hala apparently was killed instantly. Her death came on Christmas Eve. That’s her in the photo below—lying in a hospital morgue.

The Israeli missile was supposedly aimed at a Hamas training camp, fired allegedly in “retaliation” for a sniper shooting at the Gaza border earlier in the day which left an Israeli civilian dead—or at least that’s how the mainstream media are reporting it. But of course the mainstream media always report Israeli violence as “retaliation,” or as being “in response” to something Palestinians have done. What never gets explained is what prompted the act, which prompted the act, which prompted the act, which prompted the so-called “retaliation” in the first place (more on that below).

As for the home demolitions, they occurred in Ein Ayoub and Fasayil al-Wusta, two areas of the West Bank inhabited largely by Bedouins. According to UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness:

These are Bedouin communities who managed to weather the recent snow storms. Tents have been distributed by the Palestinian Red Crescent in coordination with the ICRC but this is hardly adequate considering night-time temperatures plunge to around zero. In addition, some 750 head of sheep and goats are without shelter at this crucial lambing season.

Reportedly Israeli authorites have demolished 663 structures, including 259 residential units, so far in 2013 (we still have five days to go in the year, so don’t discount the possibility of those numbers growing higher), and Gunness said the demolitions are a clear violation of international law.…

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