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Netanyahu aide calls US ambassador ‘little Jew boy’ in escalating controversy

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US State Department backs Daniel Shapiro after his comments drew criticism from Israeli ministers

The US State Department has moved to back America’s ambassador to Israel in a febrile and escalating row over his remarks on Monday that Israel applied law in the occupied West Bank differently to Palestinians and Israelis.

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Ambassador Daniel Shapiro’s unusually critical comments drew harsh criticism from ministers in Israel’s rightwing government – including from Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Shapiro was also publicly lambasted on Israeli television on Tuesday by a former aide to Netanyahu who used the deeply offensive Hebrew word yehudon – which translates as “little Jew boy” – to disparage the ambassador. The term is used by rightwing Israelis against other Jews – particularly against those in the diaspora – whom they regard as not being Jewish or pro-Israel enough.

Netanyahu has described Shapiro’s comments as unacceptable and wrong, while justice minister Ayelet Shaked has suggested that they were inappropriate and that Shapiro should recant them.

“We are being subjected to a terrorist onslaught that is simply unfamiliar to the United States, and to pass judgment on us in such a one-sided manner is wrong,” Shaked told Army Radio. “It would be appropriate if he corrected himself, and I hope he does that.”

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As the row continued into a third day, US State Department spokesman John Kirby insisted the ambassador was reiterating US policy on Israeli settlement construction. Kirby was speaking after a private meeting between Shapiro and Netanyahu to attempt to paper over the differences.

“Our long-standing position on settlements is clear. We view Israeli settlements activity as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace. We remain deeply concerned about Israel’s current policy on settlements including construction, planning, and retroactive legalisations,” he said.

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The latest row comes against a backdrop of escalating tensions between Israel and various countries and international political groupings.

Last year Netanyahu’s government reduced diplomatic contacts with EU officials following a decision to recommend that member states label products produced in illegal Israeli settlements.

Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom has effectively been declared a persona no grata in Israel after calling for an investigation into whether some recent shootings by Israeli security forces of Palestinians amounted to extra judicial executions. Israeli officials said her comments were “delirious”. Netanyahu said they were “outrageous”.

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Israel also strongly condemned the decision this week by the EU foreign council to take up a new resolution strongly critical of continued Israeli settlement.

Israel finds itself facing renewed criticism from the European Union for the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a complaint that Shapiro echoed.

In remarks at a security conference on Monday – regarded as a showcase event for Israeli politicians and senior security officials – Shapiro said: “Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”

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Kirby explicitly rejected Israeli claims that EU labelling of settlement products amounted to a boycott of Israel. “We do not view labelling the origin of products as being from the settlements a boycott of Israel. We also do not believe that labelling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott.”

Aviv Bushinsky, former aide to Netanyahu turned media pundit on Israeli television, described Shapiro, who is Jewish, as “a little Jew boy” – using the disparaging Hebrew word “yehudon”. Bushinsky, who served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff when he was finance minister in Ariel Sharon’s government, made the remarks on an Israeli political show.

“Nobody was standing there with a hammer forcing him to say it,” said Bushinsky on the programme.

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“I see a Jew, Dan Shapiro, saying this. I see it as a pattern – it was the same thing with [former US Middle East envoy] Dennis Ross and now with [former US ambassador to Israel] Martin Indyk saying his nonsense. It’s the behaviour of Jews who are trying to show that they are extra leftwing, more liberal and more balanced.”

Some Israeli commentators saw it as no coincidence that Shapiro’s remarks were made so soon after the lifting of sanctions against Iran and at such a high profile forum.

Writing in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth , Shimon Shiffer said: “Shapiro’s comments … are significant in that they suggest the Obama administration will no longer tolerate human rights violations by our decision-makers against Palestinians in the West Bank. From the perspective of the White House, ‘enough is enough’.”

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2016

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

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Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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