The Occupied Nation Show (Monday May 24, 2021)
Host – Patrick Wilson
Co-Hosts – Rhodes Pierre and David Concepcion
Guest – Bil Lewis
‘Apartheid Doesn’t Stop’: Hours After Cease-Fire, Israeli Police Assault Palestinians at Al-Aqsa
“A cease-fire premised on Palestinians ceasing fire while Israel continues apartheid is a cease-fire with an inevitable expiration date,” said one Palestinian rights advocate.
by Jake Johnson
Just hours after a cease-fire agreement paused Israel’s latest bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip, Israeli police forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday and fired stun grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas at Palestinian worshipers and demonstrators, an attack that observers worried could undermine the nascent truce.
“Back to ‘normal’—Israeli forces repressing Palestinians. This is unacceptable.”
Following Friday prayers, many Palestinians remained at the Jerusalem compound—one of Islam’s holiest sites—to celebrate the cease-fire deal, which came after Israel killed more than 230 people in Gaza and displaced tens of thousands.
Reporting from the ground in Jerusalem, Al Jazeera‘s Imran Khan said that Palestinians “were singing and chanting when a contingent of the Israeli police [stationed] next to the compound came into the compound and started using crowd control measures that they use all the time.”
“They started firing in that crowd in an effort to try and disperse them,” Khan added.
The Israeli raid injured more than a dozen people, according to Middle East Eye.
“Israeli apartheid doesn’t stop,” the Institute for Middle East Understanding tweeted in response to the raid.
Palestinian rights advocates warned that Israeli forces’ latest attack on demonstrators underscores the inherently fragile nature of a cease-fire agreement that does nothing to address Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestinian land, forced expulsions, and other abuses driving the frequent outbreaks of violence.
“A cease-fire premised on Palestinians ceasing fire while Israel continues apartheid is a cease-fire with an inevitable expiration date,” tweeted Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer and political analyst.
Israel’s attack on worshipers at Al-Aqsa last Monday was what provoked Hamas to fire rockets from Gaza, to which the Israeli military responded with a vicious aerial and artillery campaign that further devastated the occupied strip—a deadly assault that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed as “an exceptional success.”
“The bombs stopped but there’s never a cease-fire,” Alex Kane, a contributing writer for Jewish Currents, said Friday. “Israeli apartheid continues unleashing brutality.”This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
‘Sends a Terrible, Terrible Message’: Sanders Rejects Top Dems’ Push for a Big Tax Break for the Rich
“You can’t be on the side of the wealthy and the powerful if you’re going to really fight for working families.”
By Jake Johnson
Sen. Bernie Sanders made clear in an interview Sunday that he opposes the push by top Democrats to restore a tax deduction that overwhelmingly benefited the richest households in the U.S., saying such an effort “sends a terrible, terrible message” at a time of crippling economic pain for poor and working-class people.
“You have got to make it clear which side you are on—and you can’t be on the side of the wealthy and powerful if you’re going to really fight for working families,” Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said in an appearance on “Axios on HBO.”
The tax break in question is known as the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, which former President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers capped at $10,000 as part of their 2017 tax law. While the GOP tax measure was highly regressive—delivering the bulk of its benefits to the rich and large corporations—the SALT cap was “one of the few aspects of the Trump bill that actually promoted tax progressivity,” as the Washington Post pointed out last month.
According to a recent analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), 62% of the benefits of repealing the SALT cap would go to the richest 1% and 86% of the benefits would go to the top 5%. ITEP estimated that temporarily suspending the cap would cost more than $90 billion in just one year.
“There is no state where this is a primarily middle-class issue,” the organization found. “In every state and the District of Columbia, more than half of the benefits would go to the richest 5% of taxpayers. In all but six states, more than half of the benefits would go to the richest 1%.
Nonetheless, prominent Democrats from blue states—which were disproportionately impacted by the SALT cap—are demanding full restoration of the tax break in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package, disingenuously characterizing the cap as a major burden on the middle class.
While Biden did not include the SALT cap repeal in his opening offer unveiled in March, Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) are calling for a revival of the deduction.
As Common Dreams reported last month, Suozzi is part of a potentially influential faction of House Democrats that is threatening to oppose Biden’s infrastructure package if the SALT cap repeal is not included.
Though much of the New York congressional delegation has come out in favor of repeal—including progressive Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.)—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said last month that she doesn’t “think that we should be holding the infrastructure package hostage for a 100% full repeal on SALT, especially in the case of a full repeal.”
“Personally,” Ocasio-Cortez added, “I can’t stress how much that I believe that is a giveaway to the rich.”This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).