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Decarboxylation: What It Is, & Why You Should Decarb Your Weed

Decarboxylation: What It Is, & Why You Should Decarb Your Weed

decarbing

Have you ever wondered why you need to heat cannabis to feel the psychoactive effects? In order to get high from cannabis, you need to decarboxylate it first. But, what is decarboxylation and why should you decarb your weed? We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting the most out of your herb. 

What is decarboxylation?

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Did you know that raw cannabis is non-psychoactive? The herb only becomes psychoactive when two things happen. First, when the bud dries and ages. Second, when the cannabis is heated. More psychoactive compounds are created by heating the plant than via ageing. In order to release the full potential of marijuana’s psychoactive effects, you must first go through a process called decarboxylation.

 

“Decarboxylation” is a long word for a simple process. To decarboxylate your herb, you just need to heat it. Applying a little heat to dried bud inspires some fascinating chemical reactions in the plant. Namely, you transform compounds called cannabinoid acids into a form that is readily usable by the body.

Cannabinoids are chemicals found in the cannabis plant that bind to cells in the body to produce effects. Sometimes decarboxylation is called “activating” or “decarbing”.

You probably have already heard that the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis is delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is what gets you high when you smoke a little flower or eat an edible. But, you won’t find much THC on a live, growing marijuana plant, if any at all. What you find instead is another compound called THCA, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.

THCA is not psychoactive. That’s right, this acid compound won’t get you high. In order to feel the mind-altering effects of cannabis, you need to transform THCA into psychoactive THC. So, you apply a little heat.

Each time you take a lighter to a joint or place your cannabis in the oven, you are acting the part of an amateur chemist. You are converting one compound into another. You’re turning an otherwise non-psychoactive plant into a psychoactive one. To get specific, you are removing a “carboxyl group” from the acid form of THC. Hence the term “De-carboxylation“. Without that carboxyl group, THC is able to freely bind to cell receptors in your brain and body.

Are there benefits to raw cannabis?

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If you want a high, you need to decarb first. However, there are some benefits to leaving your cannabis raw. Keep in mind that “raw” does not mean dried and cured. When you dry and cure your cannabis, a little decarboxylation happens as the herb ages.

Raw, uncured cannabis has a variety of health benefits. Cannabinoid acids are potent anti-inflammatories. The herb is also packed full of vitamins and nutrients found in other healthy greens.

To use the herb raw, you’ll need to use freshly picked buds or fan leaves. You can also store raw cannabis in the refrigerator for a day or two like you would any other leafy green herb. Though, be mindful of mould and wilting. Densely packed cannabis flowers can become mouldy quite quickly when they’re exposed to moisture. You really want to use them as quickly as possible. They also begin to lose potency and denature the longer they sit.

Many medical cannabis patients have success by simply drinking raw cannabis juices or smoothies. You can find more information on raw, dietary cannabis here.

If you’re hoping for some psychoactive edibles, however, it’s best to decarboxylate your cannabis before you begin the cooking process.

Why do I decarb before cooking?

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If you’re cooking with cannabis, it is highly recommended you decarboxylate before you begin making your edible. If you ingest cannabis and want the full psychoactive effect, you need to first decarboxylate before cooking with the herb. Activating your cannabis prior to cooking ensures that THC’s psychoactive potential is not wasted.

If you don’t decarb before cooking, you risk losing potency and are not making the most out of your cannabis.

Do I need to decarb CBD strains?

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The short answer? Yes. CBD is short for cannabidiol, another common cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. Just like THC, CBD is found in its acid form in raw cannabis. This raw form (CBDA) has health-promoting properties on its own. But, activating CBD makes it more readily available for the body to use.

To use the proper term, activated CBD is more bioavailable. This means that the compound can be put to use by your body right away. When left in its raw form, your body has to do some extra work to break down the molecule and it may use the acid form in a slightly different way.

The same goes for other cannabinoids as well. Their raw form is the acid from. To make them more bioavailable, you need to decarboxylate. Bioavailability is why you need to decarb your weed.

Temperature and terpenes

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When it comes to decarboxylating, the lower the temperature you use, the longer the decarboxylation process is it’s going to take. However, this is not a bad thing! When using a lower temperature, you to lose fewer terpenes throughout the decarboxylation process.

Have you ever wondered why buds of even the same strain can have different tastes and smells? The answer is hidden in terpenes. Simply put, terpenes are the oils that give cannabis plants and flowers their unique smell such as berry, mint, citrus, and pine. There are many medicinal benefits to terpenes; some will successfully relieve your stress while others will promote focus and awareness.

Terpenes also work in tandem with THC and other cannabinoids to amplify the medical benefits of certain strains. For example, one common terpene is linalool. Linalool is the compound that gives lavender its unique scent. Strains like L.A. Confidential and Lavender tend to have high levels of linalool. Research suggests that this may amplify the sedative effects of THC.

The max temperature for terpene expression is 310 to 400°F (154 – 204.4°C). Anything above that will burn off the terpenes, altering flavor and lessening medical effects.

How to decarb before cooking

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Decarboxylation is a super simple process. Before you throw some cannabis into your pasta sauce or some “herbal seasoning” to your next pizza, make sure you follow these easy steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 240° F. / 115° C.
  2. Break up cannabis flowers and buds into smaller pieces with your hands. We use one ounce, but you can elect to do more or less.
  3. Put the pieces in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure the pan is the correct size so there is not empty space on the pan.
  4. Bake the cannabis for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so that it toasts evenly.
  5. When the cannabis is darker in color, a light to medium brown, and has dried out, remove the baking sheet and allow the cannabis to cool. It should be quite crumbly when handled.
  6. In a food processor, pulse the cannabis until it is coarsely ground (you don’t want a superfine powder). Store it in an airtight container and use as needed to make extractions

Watch the video

Fortunately, we’ve created this easy step-by-step video to walk you through the decarboxylation process. It really is not complicated, and taking a little time to properly activate your herb will produce amazing results. Watch the video below to see how it’s done:

 

 

Iraq Starts Offensive to Retake Western Mosul From ISIS

Iraqi forces advanced toward western Mosul on Sunday. CreditKhalid Al-Mousily/Reuters

 

 

ERBIL, Iraq — Iraq opened the next chapter in its offensive to drive the Islamic State out of Mosul on Sunday, preparing an assault on the western half of the city. Overnight, planes carpeted the ground with leaflets, directly appealing to the group’s fighters to surrender.

“To those of you who were intrigued by the ISIS ideology,” one of the leaflets said, “this is your last opportunity to quit your work with ISIS and to leave those foreigners who are in your homeland. Stay at home, raising the white flags as the forces approach.”

On state-run television, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq announced the beginning of the offensive, describing it as “a new dawn” and calling on his troops “to move bravely forward to liberate what is left of the city.”

The assault is taking place amid new concerns about the condition of hundreds of thousands of civilians still trapped in the western part of the city. Food, water and cooking fuel have all been reported to be in short supply, and residents have described increased harassment from Islamic State fighters preparing for the attack.

Continue reading the main story

The overall push to free Mosul, once Iraq’s second-largest city, began in October, with local troops pushing from the east into the city’s geographically larger but more sparsely populated eastern half. In late January, they reached the banks of the Tigris River, which bisects Mosul, and declared the city’s eastern section liberated.

The operation took longer than expected and took a high toll on civilians and the Iraqi forces, but much of the city’s infrastructure was preserved and a sense of daily life has returned. That is in contrast to the operations to take back other cities from the Islamic State, including Ramadi and Sinjar, which were laid waste by airstrikes. More than a year since Sinjar was freed, even its mayor has not been able to return.

The fight for Mosul’s western half could be even more protracted than for its east. The west is home to neighborhoods of narrow streets, some so small that it will not be possible for Iraqi troops to enter in their fortified Humvees. That may make the Islamic State’s signature suicide bomb attacks even more effective.

Because all five of the bridges spanning the Tigris have been bombed, Iraqi troops will trace a circuitous path to western Mosul, initially approaching it from the city’s south.

Officials said the first objective would be Mosul International Airport, just south of the city. By midday on Sunday, Iraqi forces had captured a string of nearby villages, advancing within six miles of the airfield, officers from the troops said.

American forces are supporting the operation. “The U.S. forces continue in the same role as they did in East Mosul,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters traveling with him on Sunday, adding that the rules of engagement for American troops in Iraq had not changed: “We are very close to, if not already engaged in, that fight.”

He said that the American-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State would “continue with the accelerated effort to destroy” the group.

Anticipating the offensive, the Islamic State damaged the Mosul airport, carving wide trenches onto the runways and adjacent taxiways and aprons, leaving no paved portion of the airport usable by aircraft, according to an analysis of satellite imagery by Stratfor, a global intelligence company.

While the airport may be unusable, taking it would be a milestone for the offensive, as would taking the adjacent hilltop village of Abu Saif, which sits at a higher elevation than Mosul. Because of the Islamic State’s heavy use of snipers, securing high ground is crucial, and Iraqi forces were nearing the base of the hill by Sunday afternoon.

The troops’ push into western Mosul will be further complicated by the Islamic State’s vast network of tunnels throughout the city, allowing fighters to hide from overhead surveillance. And the group is also increasingly using armed drones, allowing them to spot and remotely bomb advancing Iraqi troops.

Yahya Salah, whose neighborhood in eastern Mosul was liberated in November, described how Iraqi troops were just streets away when Islamic State fighters forced their way into his home, armed with a jackhammer. They herded Mr. Salah’s family into one of the bedrooms. From behind the closed door, Mr. Salah said, he then heard a deafening sound and realized the fighters were drilling a hole.

“They worked without stopping — when one got tired, another took over, and they dug a hole that was 1.5 meters wide,” said Mr. Salah, who said his family was locked in the bedroom for three days. “When we said we were thirsty, they threw water bottles at us,” he said.

He said the fighters had left at noon on the final day. The Iraqi Army arrived at sunset, unlocking the door. When the family stepped into the rest of their house, they found ceiling-high piles of dirt in three of their four bedrooms and a hole in the living room floor. The tunnel the fighters had dug stretched for dozens of yards, allowing the terrorist group’s foot soldiers to slip away.

Residents have shown reporters similar tunnels throughout the eastern part of the city, and officials expect the same in western Mosul. A photo essay published this weekend by the Islamic State titled “Life of Fighters South of Mosul” shows their soldiers cooking a meal on a kerosene stove, reading the Quran and praying inside a tunnel wide enough for five men to stand side by side.

At the same time, the Islamic State has become better at the use of small drones, which are available off-the-shelf in malls across the region, including in Erbil, the nearest major city to Mosul. They use the drones to pinpoint army positions and to target them, and recently recovered Islamic State documents show how the group has cobbled together its own drone program. Iraqi forces describe how they frequently see the twoto-four-foot-long aircraft overhead, whining like a lawn mower. Then 30 minutes later, they will take incoming fire at that location.

“Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world, and the Iraqi forces have risen to the challenge,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of the American-led effort against the Islamic State, said in a news release from United States Central Command announcing the beginning of the operation. Some of the 450 American advisers on the ground in Iraq are helping Iraqi officers plan and execute the offensive.

Reached by telephone, residents in western Mosul described the elation they felt at the approach of government troops. “All we have left to eat is tomato paste. We are eating it with salt,” said Umm Anwar, 41, who asked to be identified only by her nickname. “We are ready to kill ISIS ourselves with knives, or by biting them, because we are in so much pain.”

Your Electricity Company Fears This Man

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As we documented in a previous article, electricity is the key to unleash world democracy and freedom,

“It’s well known that many wars are fought over resources, many times oil and other energy bases. Electricity is arguably the most essential staple for human survival; because with enough electricity, water can literally be extracted from thin air, which can then be used to plant and water crops.

With enough electricity, nearly all of humanity’s needs can be met.

Centralized energy, like most of us have now, is inherently dangerous to a free society. It can fluctuate, prices can be raised, and grids can be shut down or get damaged by natural disasters. The move toward localized production of electricity, then, is a move towards freedom, security, and democracy. Autonomous energy production is the precursor to an autonomous free society. The secondary effect of increased use of renewable energy is, of course, cleaner air and less pollution. We have all the reasons in the world to support this exciting new development.”

Our previous article pointed out the strides that some countries are taking to make the move toward solar and other sustainable energies. Now, an even more exciting development has been made in the most unlikely of places: an obscure home work shop in Virginia known privately as the “box full of creative chaos”.

Doug Coulter of Floyd, Virginia, lives in the woods in what he calls a “libertarian communism”community where he spends much of his life inventing and innovation in his home work shop.

What Doug has developed can be a game changer when it comes to providing the world’s electricity. He claims that,

“If this works, I’m about to anger several trillion dollar a year businesses.”

These businesses include gas and electric utilities and Big Oil companies.

Doug claims to be on the verge of cracking what has stumped scientists for decades: nuclear fusion. Doug runs an open source forum for scientists and engineers, where he got much of the research needed to crack this priceless problem. He says that once his nuclear fusion reactor is complete, it too will be open source so that anyone living anywhere will have access to the technology. Watch this video to see what he is up to:

 

#Saudi #woman pictured not wearing #hijab faces calls for her to be #killed, Saudi’s are #TOSSERS!

One social media user said: ‘Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs’

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A woman in Saudi Arabia pictured without a hijab is facing calls for her to be killed.

Some social media users reacted with outrage after the emergence of the image taken in capital city Riyadh, with one man demanding: “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs”.

The photo was allegedly first posted by an account under the name of Malak Al Shehri, which has since been deleted, reports the International Business Times.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

A Saudi woman went out yesterday without an Abaya or a hijab in Riyadh Saudi Arabia and many Saudis are now demanding her execution.

An unnamed student who reposted the image told the website that Ms Al Shehri had announced she was going out to breakfast without either a hijab or abaya; a traditional Saudi body covering.

The student said she started receiving death threats after posting proof in response to followers who had asked to see a photo.

Saudi Arabia executes prince accused of killing man in brawl

“So many people retweeted it and what she did reached extremists, so she got threats,” the student said. “She deleted her tweets but they didn’t stop, so she deleted her account.”

A hashtag which translates into English as “we demand the imprisonment of the rebel Angel Al Shehri” subsequently went viral.

One user wrote “we propose blood”, while another demanded a “harsh punishment for the heinous situation”.

Despite the outrage, many more users in Saudi Arabia came out in support of the woman’s actions.

 

Has the EU Just Outlawed ‘Fully-Loaded’ Kodi Boxes?

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Android devices with modified Kodi software installed continue to prove popular among the pirating masses. However, a ruling from the EU Court this week will make life more difficult for suppliers. That’s the opinion of Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN, who say that sellers will now have to verify if the links contained in such devices are infringing.

kodiWhile millions of people around the globe share files using BitTorrent every day, there are some who prefer to stream their content instead.

These users can easily visit any one of thousands of streaming portals via a desktop web browser but for those looking for complete convenience, set-top boxes offer a perfect solution.

These devices, often Android-based, regularly come with the Kodi media center already installed. However, Kodi provides no illegal content – custom addons do – and it’s their inclusion in the package that provides users with what they want – free (or cost reduced) movies, TV, and sports.

One of the groups trying to crack down on so-called “fully loaded” boxes is Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The organization has threatened legal action against several local suppliers and has had one case referred to the European Court. However, a decision in a separate case last week could have big implications for “fully loaded” box supply across Europe, BREIN says.

The case, which involved Dutch blog GeenStijl.nl and Playboy, resulted in an important ruling from the European Court of Justice.

The Court found that when “hyperlinks are posted for profit, it may be expected that the person who posted such a link should carry out the checks necessary to ensure that the work concerned is not illegally published.” In other words, posting links to infringing content in a commercial environment amounts to a communication to the public, and is therefore illegal.

For groups like BREIN, the ruling opens up new avenues for anti-piracy action. For sellers of piracy-capable boxes and related IPTV subscriptions across the EU, trouble could lie in wait.

“Copyright protection organization BREIN holds suppliers of IPTV devices responsible for verifying whether their sources for internet TV channels are legal or not. In general, this is not the case,” BREIN said in a statement this week.

“Suppliers advertise that when buying their service you do not have to pay separately for pay-channels for films, TV shows, and sports. Such a compilation costs a fraction of the total sum of subscriptions to the individual channels.”

BREIN says that following the decision of the European Court of Justice last week, commercial suppliers of IPTV boxes are now obliged to verify whether the sources being linked in their devices are authorized by the content providers. If they are not, the seller could be held liable for infringement.

If BREIN’s interpretation of the decision proves correct, sellers of “fully-loaded” Kodi and other IPTV boxes face a minefield of uncertainty.

There is absolutely no way vendors can check every single link contained in the software present in the boxes they sell. Furthermore, those links are often updated automatically, meaning that what is legal on the day they are sold might not be legal when the software updates tomorrow.

But while it’s certainly possible that BREIN’s take on the decision will prove to be correct, actually enforcing the law against hundreds or even thousands of suppliers is likely to prove impossible. Big suppliers are easily targeted though, which may send out a warning.

“BREIN has written letters to suppliers of IPTV subscriptions to warn them that they are required to verify beforehand whether the sources for the IPTV channels they use are legal. If the suppliers are not willing to do so, then BREIN will institute court proceedings,” BREIN says.

However, more often that not “fully loaded” boxes are offered for sale on eBay and Amazon by regular people out to make a few bucks. Taking action against every single one is not realistic.

But even if all infringing boxes were wiped from sale, that wouldn’t stop people selling blank devices. These can be easily setup by the user to stream all of the latest movies, sports and TV shows with a few clicks, rendering a smart supplier immune from liability.

And of course, anyone with VLC Media Player and the ability to Google can find plenty of dedicated IPTV streams available online, without paying anyone a penny.

Phone Call Leaked! All USA People Need to See This! June 2016 New World Order Exposed !

Finally FOX News showing more PROOF and EVIDENCES for MARTIAL LAW and FEMA! Leak!! People of America urgent news!! Public utility! Update to JUNE 2016! Real Scenes! This video is very important! NEW EVIDENCES – NEW PROOF! All American people need to see this! GOV LEAKED! FEMA CAMPS and MARTIAL LAW are coming in 2016!! All Americans need to watch this!! Let’s Share… Share… this video must be shared with max number of people! make your part now, please share it! Because the Government Cover-up! Important: Before JUDGE, watch the whole video. MARTIAL LAW EMINENT APPROACH! MUST SEE!! URGENT VIDEO PUBLIC UTILITY! FEMA CAMPS IS REAL!! OBAMA IS LEAKED!

Phone call leaked! All USA people need to see this! JUNE 2016 NEW WORLD ORDER Exposed! pls share

Medicare Prescriptions Drop After Medical Marijuana Legalized

Big Pharma’s nightmare has come true as Americans are depending less on the pharmaceutical industry and more on medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription medication.

Marijuana is a natural plant that can’t be patented, unlike chemical-made synthetic tablets. Marijuana can be used to treat chronic pain, depression and anxiety. This may be why more are choosing to toke and smoke the herb and less are choosing to swallow pills.

Marijuana is not only a natural, safer alternative, but the prices for pharmaceutical drugs have sky rocketed. Now people are seeking an alternative to “modern medicine” in the form of cannabis.

Research shows states that legalized medical marijuana has caused a sharp decline in the purchasing of prescription meds. Using data on all prescriptions filed by Medicare D enrollees from 2010 to 2013, it was found that the use of prescription drugs was replaced with marijuana for health problems that marijuana could substitute for. For health problems where marijuana could not substitute, like blood-thinners, prescriptions didn’t drop.

“National overall reductions in Medicare program and enrollee spending which covers the cost of prescription medication.

When states implemented medical marijuana laws estimated to be $165.2 million per year in 2013.” – Researchers Ashley C. Bradford and W. David Bradford

The study’s finding’s add more arguments to the debate about whether to legalize marijuana or not for medical purposes. Already 25 states and the nation’s capital have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. That list includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

Other States have legalized medical marijuana for limited use including – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Two states –  Florida and Missouri – are expected to vote for medical marijuana legalization in November.

On one hand legalization would save an estimated $470 million in Medicare part D spending if widely available. On the other hand, Big Pharma would lose customers, and as said by George Carlin, they want customers — not cures.

Various drugs have adverse side effects, and some even include suicidal thoughts and death. Not one known death can be attributed to marijuana, and opioid dependency is being decreased by Marijuana.

But could there be benefits to using marijuana? It’s already been revealed that the age old myth that marijuana kills brain cells is indeed false.

The myth was due to experiments where scientist took chimpanzees, strapped them with a gas mask and pumped them full of smoke. The study forgot to take into account that they didn’t allow the chimpanzees to breathe. Which holding your breathe for too long can kill brain cells on it’s own, by not breathing and taking in no oxygen and just smoke this would definitely kill brain cells — but marijuana isn’t to blame.

In fact, according to researchers Marijuana might do the opposite and grow brain cells. Marijuana compounds may also protect the brain from developing the Alzheimer’s disease according to researchers at the Salk Institute in San Diego. THC and other chemical compounds found in Marijuana remove amyloid beta proteins from the brain — which are toxins found in Alzheimer’s patients. The THC compounds also reduced cellular inflammation. What other health benefits lie ahead for cannabis users? Only time and more medical research will tell. But to reap its benefits we need to legalize marijuana as it’s still considered a schedule 1 drug by the federal government.

Horrifying moment a taxi driver is surrounded by riot cops and beaten with truncheons

Horrifying moment a taxi driver is surrounded by riot cops and beaten with truncheons on the floor… during a protest about police brutality in Zimbabwe

  • Violent clashes between Zimbabwean police and protesters resulted in 30 arrests as a riot broke out in Harare
  • Demonstrators forced to lie down in dusty roads and battered by truncheons as police use tear gas and dogs
  • Protest over a number of issues including economic hardship, police brutality and Robert Mugabe’s government
  • A journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks before taking their uniforms to wear them
  • Many rioters were young men who make a living from by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses
  • The majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens survive on just one US dollar (75p) a day, the official statistics agency says

Violent clashes between Zimbabwean police and protesters resulted in 30 arrests as a riot broke out over economic hardship, police brutality and Robert Mugabe’s government.

Demonstrators were forced to lie down in the dusty roads as machine gun-wielding officers fired warning shots and rounded up civilians in Harare.

One taxi driver can be seen getting a savage beating from six riot cops, another man has his head stood on by an officer carrying a machine gun and bloodied protesters are pictured running from the mayhem.

As well as a number of economical and political issues affecting workers, the protest was ironically about police brutality in the country.

Savage:Taxi driver surrounded by six riot cops who kick him and beat him with truncheons as another demonstrator escapes the fracas

Savage:Taxi driver surrounded by six riot cops who kick him and beat him with truncheons as another demonstrator escapes the fracas

Down in the dirt: Four police officers in riot gear carrying guns as they force protesters to the ground in Harare

Down in the dirt: Four police officers in riot gear carrying guns as they force protesters to the ground in Harare

Blood on the streets: One protester is helped away from the riots while a child (far right) watches on in horror having been caught up in the action on the way to school 

Blood on the streets: One protester is helped away from the riots while a child (far right) watches on in horror having been caught up in the action on the way to school

Police fire tear gas and water cannons at protesters

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Smoking barrel: A Zimbabwean police officer fires a warning shot as the riot gathers pace in the capital

Smoking barrel: A Zimbabwean police officer fires a warning shot as the riot gathers pace in the capital

Brutal: A protester has his face shoved into the dirt by a machine gun-wielding police officers boot as one of his colleagues goes after another civilian with a truncheon

Brutal: A protester has his face shoved into the dirt by a machine gun-wielding police officers boot as one of his colleagues goes after another civilian with a truncheon

Police in Zimbabwe’s capital have fired tear gas, water cannons and warning shots during riots by minibus drivers and others protesting alleged police harassment.

The violence in Harare, in which 30 people were arrested, came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of increasing economic hardship and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe.

An Associated Press journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks, then take their uniforms and helmets and wear them.

The protesters blocked roads leading into the centre of the city on Monday, forcing many people to walk up to six miles (10km) to get to work.

The violence in Harare, in which 30 people were arrested, came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of increasing economic hardship and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe

The violence in Harare, in which 30 people were arrested, came amid a surge in protests in recent weeks because of increasing economic hardship and alleged mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe

Outnumbered police later sought to negotiate with the crowds after failing to disperse thousands of protesters, who were concentrated in Harare's eastern suburbs

Outnumbered police later sought to negotiate with the crowds after failing to disperse thousands of protesters, who were concentrated in Harare’s eastern suburbs

Rioters threw stones at police and vehicles, and some children on their way to school were caught up in the chaos.

Outnumbered police later sought to negotiate with the crowds after failing to disperse thousands of protesters, who were concentrated in Harare’s eastern suburbs.

Many rioters were young men who cannot find regular employment and make a living from drivers by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses.

Some police were seen firing live ammunition into the air to ward off the crowds. They also brought in police dogs.

The drivers’ grievances stem from anger over numerous roadblocks that police sometimes set up in city streets, which drivers allege are to demand bribes.

Police said they had reduced the number of roadblocks after complaints from parliamentarians, tourism operators and others.

Many rioters were young men who cannot find regular employment and make a living from drivers by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses.

Many rioters were young men who cannot find regular employment and make a living from drivers by charging a small fee to load passengers into minibuses.

An Associated Press journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks, then take their uniforms and helmets and wear them. A demonstrator, not involved in the attack, can be seen carrying two sticks

An Associated Press journalist saw protesters severely beat two police officers with sticks, then take their uniforms and helmets and wear them. A demonstrator, not involved in the attack, can be seen carrying two sticks

Burning issue: Mugabe, 92, has ruled the southern African country since independence from white minority rule in 1980, scoffing at frequent allegations of human rights violations

Burning issue: Mugabe, 92, has ruled the southern African country since independence from white minority rule in 1980, scoffing at frequent allegations of human rights violations

Thirty people were arrested for inciting the protests, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said.

“We have information and intelligence on the identities of some criminal elements who are behind the social unrest,” Ms Charamba said at a news conference.

Such acts of defiance and clashes with the police are rare in Zimbabwe, although the government deployed the army against 1998 riots over soaring food prices.

Mugabe, 92, has ruled the southern African country since independence from white minority rule in 1980, scoffing at frequent allegations of human rights violations.

Frustrations over rapidly deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, compounded by dissatisfaction over alleged government corruption and incompetence, have resulted in near-daily protests in recent weeks.

On Friday, protesters burned a warehouse at Beitbridge, a busy border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa, over a Zimbabwean decision to ban a wide range of imports.

Seventeen people appeared in court on Sunday over the Beitbridge protests and were charged with public violence.

Separately, state hospital doctors and other government workers said they will strike over the government’s failure to pay their June salaries on time.

Down and out: Frustrations over rapidly deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, compounded by dissatisfaction over alleged government corruption and incompetence, have resulted in near-daily protests in recent week

Down and out: Frustrations over rapidly deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, compounded by dissatisfaction over alleged government corruption and incompetence, have resulted in near-daily protests in recent week

Hands up: A protester is surrounded by three riot police officers as he cowers against a wall

Hands up: A protester is surrounded by three riot police officers as he cowers against a wall

Nowhere to go: The drivers' grievances stem from anger over numerous roadblocks that police sometimes set up in city streets, which drivers allege are to demand bribes

Nowhere to go: The drivers’ grievances stem from anger over numerous roadblocks that police sometimes set up in city streets, which drivers allege are to demand bribes

Grounded: Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been pleading with Western countries to unlock financing for Zimbabwe in the form of loans that were halted close to two decades ago

Grounded: Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been pleading with Western countries to unlock financing for Zimbabwe in the form of loans that were halted close to two decades ago

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has been pleading with Western countries to unlock financing for Zimbabwe in the form of loans that were halted close to two decades ago.

The financing dried up due to failure to repay debts as well as international sanctions imposed because of concerns over democratic rights.

Some recent political protests have been notable for their brazenness.

Police said they are looking for Lumumba William Matumanje, a former ruling party activist who used an obscenity to denigrate Mugabe while launching his own political party last week.

People have often been sent to jail for such conduct in Zimbabwe.

Last month, video footage showed an anti-government protester shouting in the lobby of an upmarket hotel in Harare and haranguing police until they move in and drag him away.

The video shows a protest by activists angry at Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s alleged 18-month stay in a 400 US dollars (£300) a night hotel suite in the capital.

Activist Sten Zvorwadza was charged with threats to commit malicious damage to property and was freed on 200 US dollars (£150) bail.

The majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens survive on just one US dollar (75p) a day, the official statistics agency says.

Rock bottom: The majority of Zimbabwe's citizens survive on just one US dollar (75p) a day, the official statistics agency says

Rock bottom: The majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens survive on just one US dollar (75p) a day, the official statistics agency says

7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Are you “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestine”? It isn’t even noon yet as I write this, and I’ve already been accused of being both.

These terms intrigue me because they directly speak to the doggedly tribal nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You don’t hear of too many other countries being universally spoken of this way. Why these two? Both Israelis and Palestinians are complex, with diverse histories and cultures, and two incredibly similar (if divisive) religions. To come down completely on the side of one or the other doesn’t seem rational to me.

It is telling that most Muslims around the world support Palestinians, and most Jews support Israel. This, of course, is natural — but it’s also problematic. It means that this is not about who’s right or wrong as much as which tribe or nation you are loyal to. It means that Palestinian supporters would be just as ardently pro-Israel if they were born in Israeli or Jewish families, and vice versa. It means that the principles that guide most people’s view of this conflict are largely accidents of birth — that however we intellectualize and analyze the components of the Middle East mess, it remains, at its core, a tribal conflict.

By definition, tribal conflicts thrive and survive when people take sides. Choosing sides in these kinds of conflicts fuels them further and deepens the polarization. And worst of all, you get blood on your hands.

So before picking a side in this latest Israeli-Palestine conflict, consider these 7 questions:

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1. Why is everything so much worse when there are Jews involved?

Over 700 people have died in Gaza as of this writing. Muslims have woken up around the world. But is it really because of the numbers?

Bashar al-Assad has killed over 180,000 Syrians, mostly Muslim, in two years — more than the number killed in Palestine in two decades. Thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Syria have been killed by ISIS in the last two months. Tens of thousands have been killed by the Taliban. Half a million black Muslims were killed by Arab Muslims in Sudan. The list goes on.

But Gaza makes Muslims around the world, both Sunni and Shia, speak up in a way they never do otherwise. Up-to-date death counts and horrific pictures of the mangled corpses of Gazan children flood their social media timelines every day. If it was just about the numbers, wouldn’t the other conflicts take precedence? What is it about then?

If I were Assad or ISIS right now, I’d be thanking God I’m not Jewish.

Amazingly, many of the graphic images of dead children attributed to Israeli bombardment that are circulating online are from Syria, based on a BBC report. Many of the pictures you’re seeing are of children killed by Assad, who is supported by Iran, which also funds Hezbollah and Hamas. What could be more exploitative of dead children than attributing the pictures of innocents killed by your own supporters to your enemy simply because you weren’t paying enough attention when your own were killing your own?

This doesn’t, by any means, excuse the recklessness, negligence, and sometimesoutright cruelty of Israeli forces. But it clearly points to the likelihood that the Muslim world’s opposition to Israel isn’t just about the number of dead.

Here is a question for those who grew up in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority countries like I did: if Israel withdrew from the occupied territories tomorrow, all in one go — and went back to the 1967 borders — and gave the Palestinians East Jerusalem — do you honestly think Hamas wouldn’t find something else to pick a fight about? Do you honestly think that this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are Jews? Do you recall what you watched and heard on public TV growing up in Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt?

Yes, there’s an unfair and illegal occupation there, and yes, it’s a human rights disaster. But it is also true that much of the other side is deeply driven by anti-Semitism. Anyone who has lived in the Arab/Muslim world for more than a few years knows that. It isn’t always a clean, one-or-the-other blame split in these situations like your Chomskys and Greenwalds would have you believe. It’s both.

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2. Why does everyone keep saying this is not a religious conflict?

There are three pervasive myths that are widely circulated about the “roots” of the Middle East conflict:

Myth 1: Judaism has nothing to do with Zionism.
Myth 2: Islam has nothing to do with Jihadism or anti-Semitism.
Myth 3: This conflict has nothing to do with religion.

To the “I oppose Zionism, not Judaism!” crowd, is it mere coincidence that this passage from the Old Testament (emphasis added) describes so accurately what’s happening today?

“I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods.” – Exodus 23:31-32

Or this one?

“See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers — to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — and to their descendants after them.” – Deuteronomy 1:8

There’s more: Genesis 15:18-21, and Numbers 34 for more detail on the borders. Zionism is not the “politicization” or “distortion” of Judaism. It is the revival of it.

And to the “This is not about Islam, it’s about politics!” crowd, is this verse from the Quran (emphasis added) meaningless?

“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you—then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” – Quran, 5:51

What about the numerous verses and hadith quoted in Hamas’ charter? And the famous hadith of the Gharqad tree explicitly commanding Muslims to kill Jews?

Please tell me — in light of these passages written centuries and millennia before the creation of Israel or the occupation — how can anyone conclude that religion isn’t at the root of this, or at least a key driving factor? You may roll your eyes at these verses, but they are taken very seriously by many of the players in this conflict, on both sides. Shouldn’t they be acknowledged and addressed? When is the last time you heard a good rational, secular argument supporting settlement expansion in the West Bank?

Denying religion’s role seems to be a way to be able to criticize the politics while remaining apologetically “respectful” of people’s beliefs for fear of “offending” them. But is this apologism and “respect” for inhuman ideas worth the deaths of human beings?

People have all kinds of beliefs — from insisting the Earth is flat to denying the Holocaust. You may respect their right to hold these beliefs, but you’re not obligated to respect the beliefs themselves. It’s 2014, and religions don’t need to be “respected” any more than any other political ideology or philosophical thought system. Human beings have rights. Ideas don’t. The oft-cited politics/religion dichotomy in Abrahamic religions is false and misleading. All of the Abrahamic religions are inherently political.

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3. Why would Israel deliberately want to kill civilians?

This is the single most important issue that gets everyone riled up, and rightfully so.

Again, there is no justification for innocent Gazans dying. And there’s no excuse for Israel’s negligence in incidents like the killing of four children on a Gazan beach. But let’s back up and think about this for a minute.

Why on Earth would Israel deliberately want to kill civilians?

When civilians die, Israel looks like a monster. It draws the ire of even its closest allies. Horrific images of injured and dead innocents flood the media. Ever-growing anti-Israel protests are held everywhere from Norway to New York. And the relatively low number of Israeli casualties (we’ll get to that in a bit) repeatedly draws allegations of a “disproportionate” response. Most importantly, civilian deaths help Hamas immensely.

How can any of this possibly ever be in Israel’s interest?

If Israel wanted to kill civilians, it is terrible at it. ISIS killed more civilians in two days (700 plus) than Israel has in two weeks. Imagine if ISIS or Hamas had Israel’s weapons, army, air force, US support, and nuclear arsenal. Their enemies would’ve been annihilated long ago. If Israel truly wanted to destroy Gaza, it could do so within a day, right from the air. Why carry out a more painful, expensive ground incursion that risks the lives of its soldiers?

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4. Does Hamas really use its own civilians as human shields?

Ask Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas how he feels about Hamas’ tactics.

“What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?” he asks. “I don’t like trading in Palestinian blood.”

It isn’t just speculation anymore that Hamas puts its civilians in the line of fire.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri plainly admitted on Gazan national TV that thehuman shield strategy has proven “very effective.”

The UN relief organization UNRWA issued a furious condemnation of Hamas after discovering hidden rockets in not one, but two children’s schools in Gaza last week.

Hamas fires thousands of rockets into Israel, rarely killing any civilians or causing any serious damage. It launches them from densely populated areas, including hospitals and schools.

Why launch rockets without causing any real damage to the other side, inviting great damage to your own people, then putting your own civilians in the line of fire when the response comes? Even when the IDF warns civilians to evacuate their homes before a strike, why does Hamas tell them to stay put?

Because Hamas knows its cause is helped when Gazans die. If there is one thing that helps Hamas most — one thing that gives it any legitimacy — it is dead civilians. Rockets in schools. Hamas exploits the deaths of its children to gain the world’s sympathy. It uses them as a weapon.

You don’t have to like what Israel is doing to abhor Hamas. Arguably, Israel and Fatah are morally equivalent. Both have a lot of right on their side. Hamas, on the other hand, doesn’t have a shred of it.

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5. Why are people asking for Israel to end the “occupation” in Gaza?

Because they have short memories.

In 2005, Israel ended the occupation in Gaza. It pulled out every last Israeli soldier. It dismantled every last settlement. Many Israeli settlers who refused to leave wereforcefully evicted from their homes, kicking and screaming.

This was a unilateral move by Israel, part of a disengagement plan intended toreduce friction between Israelis and Palestinians. It wasn’t perfect — Israel was still to control Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace — but considering the history of the region, it was a pretty significant first step.

After the evacuation, Israel opened up border crossings to facilitate commerce. The Palestinians were also given 3,000 greenhouses which had already been producing fruit and flowers for export for many years.

But Hamas chose not to invest in schools, trade, or infrastructure. Instead, it built an extensive network of tunnels to house thousands upon thousands of rockets and weapons, including newer, sophisticated ones from Iran and Syria. All the greenhouses were destroyed.

Hamas did not build any bomb shelters for its people. It did, however, build a fewfor its leaders to hide out in during airstrikes. Civilians are not given access to these shelters for precisely the same reason Hamas tells them to stay home when the bombs come.

Gaza was given a great opportunity in 2005 that Hamas squandered by transforming it into an anti-Israel weapons store instead of a thriving Palestinian state that, with time, may have served as a model for the future of the West Bank as well. If Fatah needed yet another reason to abhor Hamas, here it was.

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6. Why are there so many more casualties in Gaza than in Israel?

The reason fewer Israeli civilians die is not because there are fewer rockets raining down on them. It’s because they are better protected by their government.

When Hamas’ missiles head towards Israel, sirens go off, the Iron Dome goes into effect, and civilians are rushed into bomb shelters. When Israeli missiles head towards Gaza, Hamas tells civilians to stay in their homes and face them.

While Israel’s government urges its civilians to get away from rockets targeted at them, Gaza’s government urges its civilians to get in front of missiles not targeted at them.

The popular explanation for this is that Hamas is poor and lacks the resources to protect its people like Israel does. The real reason, however, seems to have more to do with disordered priorities than deficient resources (see #5). This is about will, not ability. All those rockets, missiles, and tunnels aren’t cheap to build or acquire. But they are priorities. And it’s not like Palestinians don’t have a handful of oil-rich neighbors to help them the way Israel has the US.

The problem is, if civilian casualties in Gaza drop, Hamas loses the only weapon it has in its incredibly effective PR war. It is in Israel’s national interest to protect its civilians and minimize the deaths of those in Gaza. It is in Hamas’ interest to do exactly the opposite on both fronts.

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7. If Hamas is so bad, why isn’t everyone pro-Israel in this conflict?

Because Israel’s flaws, while smaller in number, are massive in impact.

Many Israelis seem to have the same tribal mentality that their Palestinian counterparts do. They celebrate the bombing of Gaza the same way many Arabs celebrated 9/11. A UN report recently found that Israeli forces tortured Palestinian children and used them as human shields. They beat up teenagers. They are oftenreckless with their airstrikes. They have academics who explain how rape may be the only truly effective weapon against their enemy. And many of them callously and publicly revel in the deaths of innocent Palestinian children.

To be fair, these kinds of things do happen on both sides. They are an inevitable consequence of multiple generations raised to hate the other over the course of 65 plus years. To hold Israel up to a higher standard would mean approaching the Palestinians with the racism of lowered expectations.

However, if Israel holds itself to a higher standard like it claims — it needs to do much more to show it isn’t the same as the worst of its neighbors.

Israel is leading itself towards increasing international isolation and national suicide because of two things: 1. The occupation; and 2. Settlement expansion.

Settlement expansion is simply incomprehensible. No one really understands the point of it. Virtually every US administration — from Nixon to Bush to Obama — hasunequivocally opposed it. There is no justification for it except a Biblical one (see #2), which makes it slightly more difficult to see Israel’s motives as purely secular.

The occupation is more complicated. The late Christopher Hitchens was right when he said this about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories:

“In order for Israel to become part of the alliance against whatever we want to call it, religious barbarism, theocratic, possibly thermonuclear theocratic or nuclear theocratic aggression, it can’t, it’ll have to dispense with the occupation. It’s as simple as that.

It can be, you can think of it as a kind of European style, Western style country if you want, but it can’t govern other people against their will. It can’t continue to steal their land in the way that it does every day.And it’s unbelievably irresponsible of Israelis, knowing the position of the United States and its allies are in around the world, to continue to behave in this unconscionable way. And I’m afraid I know too much about the history of the conflict to think of Israel as just a tiny, little island surrounded by a sea of ravening wolves and so on. I mean, I know quite a lot about how that state was founded, and the amount of violence and dispossession that involved. And I’m a prisoner of that knowledge. I can’t un-know it.”

As seen with Gaza in 2005, unilateral disengagement is probably easier to talk about than actually carry out. But if it Israel doesn’t work harder towards a two-state (maybe three-state, thanks to Hamas) solution, it will eventually have to make that ugly choice between being a Jewish-majority state or a democracy.

It’s still too early to call Israel an apartheid state, but when John Kerry said Israelcould end up as one in the future, he wasn’t completely off the mark. It’s simple math. There are only a limited number of ways a bi-national Jewish state with a non-Jewish majority population can retain its Jewish identity. And none of them are pretty.

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Let’s face it, the land belongs to both of them now. Israel was carved out of Palestine for Jews with help from the British in the late 1940s just like my own birthplace of Pakistan was carved out of India for Muslims around the same time. The process was painful, and displaced millions in both instances. But it’s been almost 70 years. There are now at least two or three generations of Israelis who were born and raised in this land, to whom it really is a home, and who are often held accountable and made to pay for for historical atrocities that are no fault of their own. They are programmed to oppose “the other” just as Palestinian children are. At its very core, this is a tribal religious conflict that will never be resolved unless people stop choosing sides.

So you really don’t have to choose between being “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestine.” If you support secularism, democracy, and a two-state solution — and you oppose Hamas, settlement expansion, and the occupation — you can be both.

If they keep asking you to pick a side after all of that, tell them you’re going with hummus.

TO THE STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE, A LETTER FROM AN ANGRY BLACK WOMAN

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A protest led by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2009. (Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.” It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. Indeed, as an African-American, I am highly insulted that my people’s legacy is being pilfered for such a repugnant agenda. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies they peddle.

• If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation—you do not get to claim the title of “Freedom Fighter.”

• If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate “resistance.”

• If your heroes are clerics who sit in Gaza plotting the genocide of a people; who place their children on rooftops in the hopes they will get blown to bits; who heap praises upon their fellow gang members when they succeed in murdering Jewish school boys and bombing places of activity where Jews congregate—you do not get to claim that you are some Apollonian advocate of human virtue. You are not.

• If your activities include grieving over the woefully incompetent performance by Hamas rocketeers and the subsequent millions of Jewish souls who are still alive—whose children were not murdered by their rockets; whose limbs were not torn from them; and whose disembowelment did not come into fruition—you do not get to claim that you stand for justice. You profess to be irreproachable. You are categorically not.

• If your idea of a righteous cause entails targeting and intimidating Jewish students on campus, arrogating their history of exile-and-return and fashioning it in your own likeness you do not get to claim that you do so in the name of civil liberty and freedom of expression.

• You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.

• You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, traveling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews—and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities—and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.

• You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble “uprising” of the oppressed—that is racism. It is evil.

• You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist.

Coretta Scott King was a Zionist.

A. Phillip Randolph was a Zionist.

Bayard Rustin was a Zionist.

Count Basie was a Zionist.

Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. was a Zionist.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Zionist.

Indeed, they and many more men and women signed a letter in 1975 that stated: “We condemn the anti-Jewish blacklist. We have fought too long and too hard to root out discrimination from our land to sit idly while foreign interests import bigotry to America. Having suffered so greatly from such prejudice, we consider most repugnant the efforts by Arab states to use the economic power of their newly-acquired oil wealth to boycott business firms that deal with Israel or that have Jewish owners, directors, or executives, and to impose anti-Jewish preconditions for investments in this country.”

You see, my people have always been Zionists because my people have always stood for the freedom of the oppressed. So, you most certainly do not get to culturally appropriate my people’s history for your own. You do not have the right to invoke mypeople’s struggle for your shoddy purposes and you do not get to feign victimhood in our name. You do not have the right to slander my people’s good name and link your cause to that of Dr. King’s. Our two causes are diametrically opposed to each other.

Your cause is the antithesis of freedom. It has cost hundreds of thousands of lives of both Arabs and Jews. It has separated these peoples, and has fomented animosity between them. It has led to heartache, torment, death and destruction.

It is of course your prerogative to continue to utilize platitudes for your cause. You are entirely within your rights to chant words like “equality” “justice” and “freedom fighter.”

You can keep using those words for as long as you like. But I do not think you know what they mean.

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