the reluctant radical

on 213 Comments
Protesters and police in Cairo’s Tahrir square.

Wednesday afternoon in Cairo, word went out among the Gaza freedom marchers that there was to be a general meeting in the Lotus Hotel restaurant at 7:30 to plan the next day’s demonstration. I got to the Lotus on time but the elevator only takes four, and there were so many gathered in the dim gray courtyard that I joined a procession walking up 9 flights. When we got upstairs the restaurant was jammed and the hall and stairwell outside the restaurant were filling up. I picked my way past others up the 10th floor stairway, sitting down just low enough that I could crane my neck and see inside the restaurant.

The meeting was being led by a muscular and charismatic Scotsman of about 60 named Mick Napier. He wore a red baseball cap and had a strong brogue and a humorous manner. On the issue of nonviolence, for instance, he warned us that the Egyptian security forces were adept at dispensing violence. “We need violence like a hole in the head. If you’re fighting Mike Tyson, play chess.”

Other times Mick pitched his voice to bugs in the ceiling, and addressed “our friends in Egyptian security.” That was part of the thrill of the meeting. 1400 internationals had gathered in Cairo to go on to Gaza to join a freedom march there, but we had been denied entry to Gaza and now denied even the freedom to meet; and so our meetings took place in stairwells and restaurants ala eastern Europe.

Mick ran the meeting like “a dictator,” as he himself acknowledged, to get it over inside an hour. If we went any longer, people would start arguing, and he didn’t want argument, he wanted a plan of action. “If anyone wants another chair, I’ll stand down.” But we were with him. Mick’s leadership was evidence of a shift inside the top of the Gaza Freedom March. When we got to Cairo we had been led chiefly by the American antiwar group Code Pink. But after that group’s decision to accept the Egyptian government’s offer of two buses of 100 people to visit Gaza, instead of all 1400 marchers, Code Pink had been attacked and even conceded error; and the result was that Europeans who were harder-line than we Americans took over some of the organizing function. I don’t think anyone would say that this was not a good thing. In fact, Medea Benjamin, a leader of Code Pink, was jammed in the stairwell just below me, showing the grace and toughness and indefatigability she has shown throughout months of organizing. But at this point a more stubborn spirit was in the air, and we were all going along with it.

The plan for tomorrow was largely set. Mick had talked it over with the “magnificent” French, the 300 or so marchers who were still barricaded/imprisoned on the sidewalk outside their embassy but had hopes of getting out. We would drift into Tahrir Square, the central downtown Cairo intersection, at 9:30 the next morning, Dec. 31, the day that we were supposed to be marching in Gaza alongside the Palestinian civil society group that had invited us. We would pretend to be just what the Egyptians wanted us to be—tourists– till 10 o’clock, and then the women leading the protest would give a sign, unfurl a banner outside the Museum of Antiquities, and we were to cloud together like bees, and start to march. The Egyptian security forces would surely stop us, but we would take as much of the square as we could and try to hold the space.

“Get ready to take your revenge on the Cairo traffic," Mick shouted, to cheers.

At this point, an Italian man with short hair and sharply owlish features who had sung a sweet tenor at earlier demonstrations said that he had another idea. Mick said that we didn’t have time for other ideas, we had to break up as quickly as possible. The crowd was fully behind Mick. Still the Italian became shrill- “At least hear me—no! at least hear me!”– and he was given the floor for one minute to present his counter-proposal. His idea was that we should go to the farthest stop of the metro and begin marching from there toward Gaza, as if to actually join the marchers in Gaza. No one took him seriously, he was self-involved. The French were on board and out at the zoo, what was the point of hearing an alternative?

When the crowd began to murmur, the singer’s voice rose angrily. Mick put the plan to a vote. The no’s were overhwleming. I saw the Italian leave a few minutes later.

Mick now asked for questions, "killing" them rapidly. He stood just inside the restaurant doorway addressing about 150 people in that room, and as he spoke Felice Gelman of the freedom march steering committee, who is also a very forceful person, called out his answers to what looked like 200 people in the stairwell and going up and down the stairs in both directions.

Avoid instigation. Do not yield to provocateurs. The legal team’s #s. A short speech from the medical team. There was very little discussion of political ideas, and what Mick offered was pithy and inspiring: We were here because it was “an obscenity in the 21st century” that the people of Gaza did not have the freedom to come and go. The walls had come down in Berlin and South Africa, they must come down here.

A lot of the questions were about violence. The Egyptians had shown little appetite for hurting westerners, but you did not know. And what if you felt uncomfortable with the idea of being arrested or clubbed? “The demonstration is for everyone," Mick said. "There’s always the option of walking away and saying, enough is enough.” Those who wanted to observe and support could do that. There would not be “a scintilla” of pressure on anyone to do what they did not want to do.

Sitting on the stairwell, I wondered what I was doing there. The jammed space had a romance, an air of the many freedom marches before this; and the word “provocateurs” was redolent of socialist activism. I’m not a radical, but a left/liberal; the doorways for my engagement here was not solidarity with suffering people but good old self interest: my concerns about American militarism in the Middle East and Zionism in Jewish life. And yet here I was; and it occurred to me that certain injustices become so disturbing to some people, to their understanding of history, that they must take a stand, and are willing to make great sacrifices to do so; and in that sense I was also a radical, if a reluctant one.

“The meeting is now over,” Mick declared. A great performance got cheers. It was 8:27.

The next morning when I came out of my room, Ted told me that the Egyptians had barricaded the Lotus and were letting nobody out. That meant a lot of the leadership. The Lotus is on Talaat Harb, the Madison Avenue of Cairo, and I walked past it going to the square. About 30 cops were lined up outside the barricades, and plain clothes guys milled in the streets and made threatening gestures if you got out a camera. Inside the barricade, women were holding a large pink banner. One woman wore a clown suit. A sympathizer sat on the sidewalk just outside the barricades and seemed to be weeping.

Tahrir Square is a large circle. The full circuit is probably a mile, and I kept walking around, trying not to smile at other marchers I recognized. It felt like a caper movie. Mick was the most relaxed. When I saw him, I stopped and asked if he knew where the Spinx was. He laughed. But most other marchers made a point of not recognizing you or even frowning. Some of the marchers you could see their Gaza tshirts under their shirts, white, poking out. At a certain point they would rip their shirts off. Even the Italian tenor was there.

It was 9:58. I was walking south when I heard a shout, then another. I turned and saw scores of people running toward the great pink Museum of Antiquities. It was a beautiful sight. They were flooding with purpose across the circle, dodging traffic and crying out Free Gaza, and I ran too, and within a minute or so we were all together in a large clot. There were probably 300 of us. Free free gaza, we chanted, and we made our way across the circle. Traffic stopped.

It did not take the cops long to descend. We hadn’t been marching five minutes when they too began to flood the square. They came from all directions. They formed a double line against our forward movement and then another police phalanx formed at our side to hem us in. They were penning us, and trying to get us out of the road. As the pen formed and began to be pushed, and people were knocked to the street, I escaped. I didn’t want to be trapped. I ran the other way and almost bumped into someone who looked a lot like Alice Walker, looking lost. I said, "Are you Alice?" She said, No no no.

I spent another hour in the square. You could not get too close, or the cops sensed your energy, and tried to herd you into the pen. After twenty minutes or so, a separate group of demonstrators who had made a demonstration outside the museum were marched inside a police cordon to the pen. Some people were in trees inside the pen. Some were being knocked down. My friend Michael called out to me to find his father and tell him he was safe. I saw Antony Loewenstein holding up a camera, and Bernardine Dohrn trying to give legal advice over the barricade. The Egyptians passing by seemed to regard the Gaza posters and cries with sympathy, but they did not join us. No, we were a bunch of "bloody foreigners," as Mick had said the night before.

I believe that the hunger strikers were the last to be cleared form the actual road. They had to be dragged by the young Egyptian cops. One of them was Hedy Epstein, 85.

I gather the group was detained for several hours. Later they did another action at the Israeli embassy, and some issued a declaration.

Myself, I had made a promise to myself to go to Israel; and I got a bus to Suez, where I waited hours for a minibus. That night, traveling through the desert under the full moon, I thought about radicalism. Mick’s statement that we are protesting an obscenity is the guiding thought; that is why we were all in Cairo. And yet there was considerable political diversity among us. We were not all fiery abolitionists. Some of us would probably accept a two-state solution, some of us would not. That may in fact be the line between Code Pink and the Europeans; I sense that the Europeans are mostly one-staters, while Code Pink would accept partition. Still: we came to Cairo unified, and we left it unified, and even stronger. We had made the international press, and in the streets we sensed our power.

Mick said that we are a nonviolent movement, and that is true. We seek the fulfillment of the Palestinians’ right of self-determination, and seek it not by a violent course. Still I wonder whether that will be possible. In the end, the question is whether this situation, politically/historically, is more like slavery or more like Jim Crow. The obscenity of American slavery only ended with a huge bloodletting; the obscenity of Jim Crow ended with a remarkable series of government reforms. The trouble with the Israel/Palestine situation is that it feels more like the slavery model. So far the governments with the greatest power have shown themselves completely incapable of handling the issue politically; the two-state solution and the end to occupation have gone nowhere, and these governments blithely shut down the sober Goldstone report, which is something like nullifying Brown v Board of Education with a shrug. There is as Lincoln said in 1858 a political "conspiracy" against the idea that all men are created equal; and so those who believe in that idea have little choice but to take to the streets. I fear what will happen if the political movement that flooded Tahrir Square is not soon recognized in the American mainstream. As everyone knows, the batons that we were so worried about at our meeting the night before are just a taster’s menu.

213 Responses

  1. Citizen
    January 2, 2010, 5:47 am

    On the first day of the new year I watched a number of news and political pundit shows on cable tv and PBS with the theme of summarizing worthy, most important news and issues of 2009, including sub-themes such as Most Covered ad Under Covered, key people, the hot spots overseas, the big issues in foreign policy, etc. Not one of them touched the I-P situation. It was exactly like our deep involvement in the I-P situation, in Gaza, Gaza itself, the international march, the prior Gaza boats, etc
    never happened, did not, do not exist. Obama, of course was one of the top 10 or 20 most influential people on everyone’s list; his important activities were listed–but not the Cairo speech, or the issue of settlements.
    Did any other Americans living here experience the same thing?

    PS: Doesn’t Phil’s little story here remind you of a short story by Kafka, Gogol, or
    Doestoievski? Who’s more superfluous, Phil or Gaza? Thanks, Phil, for your intrepid
    honesty–you brought us right there. Looks like Change We Can Believe In is missing both here in Obamaland, and there in Holy Land. But again, both here on the domestic front, and there, on our foreign policy’s holiest front, the mother of all half dozen of our current wars on “terror,” the period to the status quo sentence is missing.

  2. Richard Witty
    January 2, 2010, 6:36 am

    Wonderful writing Phil.

    A couple things I disagree with.

    One that the two-state solution has gone nowhere. That is the radical conclusion, that ice has not changed to water.

    But, the reality is that the ice has changed from 0 degree ice to 27 degree ice. And, that is due to the objective testing of trust-building from Oslo (3 steps forward, 2 steps back), from post-Oslo, from Hamas recognition that terror is a 3 steps forward self-talk – 4 steps back reality, from Fatah institution-building and reforms of corruption in the West Bank, from the Arab League proposal, from the change in US adminstration and foreign policy, and from near consentual acceptance within Israel of the two-state format (in the last decade Sharon, Olmert, and now super-recalcitrant Netanyahu).

    In contrast, whenever a militant approach is applied, it nets a step backward, providing a rush (an addictive one), but not progress for anything but extremely limited objectives and regress for reconciliation between peoples and regress for affected by rational reactions of increased security.

    In Cairo, as could be inferred from your post, the reason that the Egyptian police were as gentle with the demonstrators as they were was because they were European. They wanted to not alienate prospective tourists, of which you might have been. (Alternately a skillful guerilla tactic, or a non-violent form of free speech “human shield”.)

    The Egyptian power structure are pissed at the demonstration. There is no doubt about that. I hope that the net affect of the demonstration is positive, that it won’t result in more harsh treatment of dissent in Egypt, or of more distrust of meddling westerners (the Israelis’ meddle, the US meddles, the EU meddles, the radicals meddle ).

    Me personally, I want the phase change (a change in qualitative conclusion) on the two-state solution, which will realize a phase change from the window of democracy, optimal self-governance, Palestinian sovereignty, Palestinian health and dignity.

    • Citizen
      January 2, 2010, 10:50 am

      Maybe the water to ice better analogy applies to the separate-but-(un) equal solution; let’s make sure those water holes and crappers are separate but “equal” just as in Israel, so should go the OT. Take me home, Georgia, take me home ( a la any movie ever made in Hollywood about “the Deep South.”

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 11:35 am

        The two-state is a change.

        One that is close. Worth actually working for.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 12:31 pm

        Well, yes, Dick Witty, the pre-Civil War South did change from straight slavery to Jim Crow. You would’ve chosen a separate Union and Confederate state? Worth actually working for? Change you can believe in?

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 11:54 am

        On the other hand, Citizen, how can we expect Hamas to accept Israel on the Green Line borders when Israel won’t accept Israel on the Green Line borders? The construction of the settlement continues in spite of the “freeze” and the slaughter of Gazans by the IDF continues in spite of an end to the rocket attacks.

        Seems pretty clear that “separate but equal,” as vile as it is to force that upon the Palestinians, isn’t even on Israel’s docket. The continued murder and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, is.

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 9:24 pm

        How will a Palestinian state be segregated? between Hamas and Fatah?

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 9:45 pm

        Seems to me that the segregation happened in 1948, between the Jewish and non-Jewish residents of Palestine. One side heavily armed, showed no compunction against slaughtering civilians, and destroyed hundreds of villages before any of the neighboring countries mobilized to put a stop to Plan Dalet’s systematic ethnic cleansing.

  3. Aref
    January 2, 2010, 6:43 am

    Thank you Phil. Although the marchers were prevented from getting into Gaza, something positive came out of this and that is a mass movement has been created. Different support groups coming together to put an end to the obscenity. The marchers are now heading back to their homes around the world but the movement must continue to grow and next time the walls will come down.
    A question I would to pose to all here especially those in the US: how do we get the MSM to be a nit more responsive and free it from Zionist occupation?

    • Citizen
      January 2, 2010, 7:14 am

      Well, you can join the movement, e.g., on Facebook and Twitter, to force Ben Stein
      to apologize to Ron Paul for conflating George Washington’s non-intervention USA foreign policy with anti-semitism. And write letters to PBS and Madow and Obermann asking why they never cover Gaza and its implications for the USA and the world.

      • Aref
        January 2, 2010, 7:33 am

        Yes Citizen that is fine and I already do that but I am thinking more at an organized level. You see one of the strength of the Zionist Lobby is that they can mobilize a large number of people to flood newsrooms and congress people’s phones with calls and complaints.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 8:58 am

        There’s local groups of the dozen or so principal organizations right now who seeks to bring attention to Gaza and the Palestinian plight, BDS, etc. Get on their list. Sometimes there web sites even have a map pointing to the nearest group local to you.

      • Oscar
        January 2, 2010, 10:10 am

        Actually, there was a lot of traction gained in mobilizing people to call the Egyptian embassies before the GFM. JFP is especially expert in mobilizing people through on-line petitions.

    • Oscar
      January 2, 2010, 10:08 am

      Maybe we can come up with a Mondoweiss 100 — the one hundred most dishonest/incompetent reporters on the Middle East, with a companion list of the 25 reporters who are the best at I/P (Amira Hass, Larry Derfner, CSM, Time’s Tim McGurk, reporters, etc.).

      • Aref
        January 2, 2010, 11:06 am

        Thanks Oscar. Sounds like a good idea but I wonder how effective it is to make those dishonest and incompetent reporters change their ways. I actually don’t think it is the reporters that are the problem. The editors make the decisions as to what to publish and what not to publish so those are the ones who we should take to task–I am not denying that some reporters exercise self-censorship and maybe dishonest/incompetent.

    • gmeyers
      January 2, 2010, 4:06 pm

      Last night’s Press TV: Israeli attacks on Rafah, Gaza City and Khan Younis:

      link to

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 9:29 pm


        how can you post that crap. They make it sound like it was unprovoked. That is the most one sided coverage I’ve read.

        Doesn’t Israel have a right to respond to unprovoked rocket fire?

        It’s really quite ironic that there was a lasting calm, but once the freedom march started, there was renewed rocket fired, one being a Grad type rocket, others Qassams and mortars.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 9:43 pm

        November 4th proves that the rocket fire was not unprovoked by any stretch.

        And again, the statistical data shows that it is Israel — not Palestine — that overwhelmingly starts the cycle of violence. Since you keep repeating the same lie, yonira, I might as well keep repeating the same rebuttal:

        link to

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2010, 11:34 pm

        Whoi do you think you are talking to Yonira? Who do you think you are fooling? This is not Perhaps you are cofused as to what blog you are on.

        Then again, maybe you have an in-built switch like Witty, that resets itself every 24 hours, so that regardless of how often your lies and BS are debunked, you simply dust yourself off and return to spin the tired old crap as though nothing. happened.

        Yes, Israel has a right to respond to unprovoked rocket fire, but the rocket fire was and has NEVER been unprovoked, least of all when Israel broke the ceasfire on Novemerber4th 2008.

        As for the so called “renewed rocket fired”, that followed the worst case of violence from Israel since Cast Lead, but I guess you missed that part right?

  4. Shmuel
    January 2, 2010, 7:12 am

    In a media world of feigned objectivity, “equal time” and “two sides to every story”, your journalistic activism (or activist journalism) is a breath of fresh air. Your objectivity is natural – calling things as you see them, grappling with them, and trying to maintain some kind of coherence and morality. Thanks.

    • Citizen
      January 2, 2010, 7:16 am

      Which reminds me, there’s a new book out addressing the “new” fairness doctrine. My question is, why is mandated context always applied only one way?

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 12:04 pm

        Simple, Citizen. It’s because our media is own by rich people, instead of the people, in the democratic sense of the turn of phrase. If they applied it in both directions, it would hurt the profit margins.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 12:37 pm

        Goering said democracies are always easy to turn in one’s favor–you simply hit the fear button, which applies both internally and in foreign affairs. Reichstag Fire.
        Enabling acts.
        Tried and true formula.
        MSM always a key player.
        Actually, the most key player.
        Everybody knows “the people” are only as good as the information they are allowed to receive, and that “the people” spend most of their time simply trying to survive and at most give their families some relatively modest comfort.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 12:40 pm

        True. You can see it that at work in every Zionist perspective — if Israel isn’t allowed to create a state by ethnically cleansing Palestinians, if Israel isn’t allowed to have rogue nuclear capacity, if Israel isn’t allowed to break international laws left right and center… then there will be a second Holocaust.

        It’s starting to look to me that the that primary difference between Zionist and non-Zionist Jews, is bravery.

  5. LeaNder
    January 2, 2010, 7:45 am

    A question I would to pose to all here especially those in the US: how do we get the MSM to be a nit more responsive and free it from Zionist occupation?

    I am wondering if part of the answer is that the numbers have to get so big, that they can’t be ignored.

    Something else:

    The Egyptians passing by seemed to regard the Gaza posters and cries with sympathy, but they did not join us. No, we were a bunch of “bloody foreigners,” as Mick had said the night before.

    How does he know? Has anyone tried to include Egyptians? Invited them into the group? Admittedly I met two Egyptians over here in Germany, I had huge problems with concerning both German history and Israel, but it might well be different among the younger. There must be groups one can connect with.

    I liked Phil’s report too. And although I love Scottish accents, yes, I somehow liked the idea of the Italian. After all the Freedom March was to join Palestinians. Why not at least symbolically go as far as you can. His idea feels closer to the initial intention than simply another demonstration in Cairo. That’s something media can easily ignore, considering the numbers. And it’s somehow disconnected from the initial idea, surrendering to Egypt decision. Could media just as easily have ignored a vigil of 1.500 Westerners at the frontier not allowed to join a peaceful demonstration inside Gaza but prevented to get in, by the barriers.

    But yes, if you look at this scenario closely you realize that Hamas in this scenario did the rest. Neither was there a big demonstration in Gaza after all. So it would have been a purely symbolical act with no attention by media.

    Has anyone looked at reports in the Arab media? Was there any?

    • Aref
      January 2, 2010, 8:02 am

      I think the problem in getting Egyptians involved is the fact that it might be too risky for the Egyptians due to the fact that the Egyptian regime is very repressive and oppressive as we all know. Kefaya and the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrated against Netanyahoo visit–maybe it was a pretext to demonstrate in support of the GFM?
      I have been scanning Al-Jazeera, there were a few reports but what was interesting are the comments. There were a few Egyptians defending the actions of the Egyptian government. Overwhelmingly the comments were supportive of the GFM and very critical of Egypt and Arab governments in general for their collective inaction and complacency (collaboration). Also there was a critique of the Arab public which did not do much of anything to commemorate the anniversary of the Gaza slaughter.

      • potsherd
        January 2, 2010, 9:19 am

        Al-jazeera reported that Egypt got a couple of tame government sheiks to declare that the iron wall is kosher.

      • Aref
        January 2, 2010, 9:25 am

        Yes I have just seen that. The head of the Azhar declared that it is “kosher” to build the wall and that those who oppose it are in fact in breach of “Sharia’a”. I am baffled by this one: since one Sharia’a concerns itself with walls? Yes, those mullah, muftis and sheiks are nothing more than functionaries at the service of the dictators.

      • potsherd
        January 2, 2010, 12:50 pm

        The clerics in question are paid by the government. Their excuse is “Egypt has the right to defend itself.” They’re framing it as “security.”

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 3:54 pm

        Every predator regime always has framed their aggression as defense, security.
        The USA is a tad behind the propaganda times–we need to call our military the USASDF.

  6. LeaNder
    January 2, 2010, 7:47 am

    I am pleased you go to Israel, Phil. I wondered if you would.

    The Magnus Zionist published a wonderful article by Michael Sfard, translated by Sol Salbe. How about meeting him?

    • Aref
      January 2, 2010, 7:51 am

      Sol Salbe is a journalist living in Australia he is not in Israel.

      • Shmuel
        January 2, 2010, 7:55 am

        Michael Sfard, on the other hand, is a human rights lawyer and activist, living in Israel. He is a mainstay of the struggle for Palestinian rights in Israel and the OT.

      • Aref
        January 2, 2010, 8:16 am

        Thanks Shmuel. I misunderstood LeaNder’s post my mistake :)

  7. potsherd
    January 2, 2010, 8:10 am

    We are all at different places along the road. We have started our journeys from different places. What matters is the direction we take: the direction of justice.

  8. Richard Witty
    January 2, 2010, 9:11 am

    On the distinction between radical and liberal and centrist.

    A liberal and a centrist can each assertively advocate for the assertive change in circumstance for Gazan civilians. But, the element of pragmatism always enters their choice of issues to raise, and their choice of means to accomplish their chosen issue(s).

    There is no necessity for revolutionary change in thinking or institutional structure. They adopt reform, assertively, respecting that the structures that are in place were at least (and prospectively still are) relevant concerns. Even if the structure is sought to be reformed, the prior needs are incorporated into the mix of goal and strategy.

    The radical approaches (left) and (right), compel radical changes in basis of thinking and institutions that either attempt to create the “new man/woman” as in Soviet Russia, China, early socialist Zionist, or revert to the “old man/woman” as in reactionary radical ideologies that seek fantasies of prior better days/purity.

    To be a radical is not such a great thing in fact, not necessarily progressive, not necessarily democratic, not necessarily forward-oriented.

    STRANGE bedfellows on this one. (Noam Chomsky and David Duke in the same effort.)

    • potsherd
      January 2, 2010, 9:23 am

      The process of radicalization is often spurred by the recognition that the less extreme position is dominated by fatheads.

    • Citizen
      January 2, 2010, 10:57 am

      And you, Dick Witty, advocate by enforcing the status quo. What exactly in your mind is the difference between a Palestinian resistor now and a black American resistor in 1963 at the local southern ice cream counter? Why did the Jews join the blacks then at the counter, but not now? What does it mean, in terms of the different loyalties, for American Jews? What does it mean for the USA and its foreign policy? As you are an American by birth, and have lived here protected and in comfort your whole life, inquisitive Americans want to know.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 11:59 am

        The reason is the strange bedfellows of the pro-Palestinian movement, that includes fascists that blame all of the world’s ills on Jews, and on those that rationalize that anti-semitism is inconsequential and permanently immaterial.

        If the movement appealed to strictly moral sensitivities rather than rancorous hateful ones, you’d see far far more Jews in pro-Palestinian demonstrations. You’d see Phil’s nieces and nephews, his mother and father, me.

        “We support the formation of a viable and healthy Palestine.”

        Contrasted with

        “Zionism is racism”.

      • gmeyers
        January 2, 2010, 3:54 pm

        The reason is the strange bedfellows of the pro-Palestinian movement, that includes fascists that blame all of the world’s ills on Jews, and on those that rationalize that anti-semitism is inconsequential and permanently immaterial.

        Richard, I’ve come to believe you suffer too much ad hom here but then you come up with crackers like the one above…

        The pro-Palestinian movement has no ‘strange bedfellows’: the fascists and antisemites you’re referring to get expelled, excoriated and spewed out from the movement, which, let me remind you, was born from anti-racist and anti-fascist movements. This is in rather stark contrast to Zionism that has no qualms about convenience marriages between it and openly antisemitic movements. How much money does Zionism receive for instance (tip of the iceberg, BTW) from Loon par excellence John Hagee and his CUFIs? The IDF’s tragic alliance with the Phalange in Lebanon? Zionism’s embrace of antisemites like the Polish Kaminsky? The list goes on and on…

        As regards ‘antisemitism being inconsequential’, all we demand is that antisemitism doesn’t get treated any different from other forms of racism, which is exactly what Zionism does: racism against Jews is always worse than racism against ‘them’ (whoever ‘they’ are), is that not so? Hence a whole raft of ‘new new new antisemitisms’, all in fact no more than legitimate criticism of the racist ideology that is Zionism. Arch-Zionists also believe antisemitism is innate to all Goyim. Yoohoo, can you trolls hear yourselves think, out there in Zionland?

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 12:02 pm

        Zionism believes that any Jew in the world has the right to become an Israeli citizen.

        However, it also believes that ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from the land that became Israel is also necessary. Likewise, it is necessary to drive those refugees and their descendants from the land they once lived on, in spite of international law regarding right of return and colonial expansion by military force. It also insists that the “purity” of the “Jewish state” be maintained.

        And Zionism isn’t racism.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 12:22 pm

        You asked why the Jews don’t join this movement, when they did largely join the anti-segregation and anti-racist movements in the south (actually long long before the lunchcounters).

        Hear the answer. Its accurate.

        In 1948, Zionism was NOT racism, but necessity and progressive. Some could argue that Zionism is not needed in the world at large, and therefore preferential status is not needed either.

        Among those that state “Zionism is racism”, in the name of democracy, some insist that Jews be sent back to their former homelands, as if three generations in a locale doesn’t make it home.

        In my case 20 years in a locale makes it home, especially for my kids who have only lived in the same town.

        The truth lies somewhere in between “Zionism is racism” and “Anti-Zionism is racism”. Liberal.

        And, the best proposal that optimizes democracy in fact, is the two-state model. Liberal.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 12:24 pm

        I’d like to take back the second to last paragraph. There is no basis that Jews self-associating as a national majority is racism, as in something to be rejected on that basis.

        Anymore than any national entity preserving its national character.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 12:27 pm

        Jews will not flock to ANY movement that forces them to examine their own identity and community in any meaningful critical way.

        What is the CHALLENGE in supporting de-segregation in the US, by Jews?

        NONE! There is none. It didn’t conflict w/ Jewish identity politics and it didn’t conflict with Jewish interests. So on a subtle level, Jews would certainly be open to it.

        If there is even a hint, then their is some hesitation.

        You should read an excellent book called ‘Esau’s Tears’ – I’m reading it now, and it all relates to your revisionist history.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 12:48 pm

        Are all Germans to be equated with Germany? More German Americans died
        than any other ethnic group of Americans in the USA armies in both WW 1 & WW2. Were they serving their national character, or were those fighting in the German armies
        of WW1 and WW2?

        Weren’t all those Germans on both sides in both world wars self-associating?
        Did racism have anything to do with any of it?
        How could you tell the difference?
        Which uniform they wore?

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 2:08 pm

        That is a malevolent mis-representation. In my childhood hometown, New Rochelle, NY, there was a segregation case relating to busing, in the early 60’s.

        The largest representative ethnic group speaking on behalf of integration in the town were Jews.

        You think that has changed. I don’t. the numbers would be smaller than in the 60’s, but the sentiment of compassion IF there is no possibility of terror or opportunist hatred.

        You asked why it is difficult to the point of not occurring much. That is the reason. I’ve told a story a number of times in which I attended a pro-peace demonstration in Amherst, MA that leaned towards support of Palestinian rights, with my then new rabbi. He carried a sign with an Israeli and Palestinian flag as two components of a peace sign. He was yelled at, and on one occassion a rock was thrown.

        It was sickening. And, it happens all the time. The equivalent verbally happens here.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 2:09 pm

        That last post was in response to Cliff.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 2:34 pm

        You didn’t address my basic point.

        That in supporting the struggle for equal rights for African Americans, Jews did not have to tread on their own interests and did not have to face themselves (their own history, their own identity, and their ‘faults’ [as that political identity]).

        It’s like in this video:

        link to

        Americans often speak fiercely and uncompromisingly about our government. And look throughout American history and you’ll see constant dissidence and efforts to make things fairer. That doesn’t absolve ‘us’ of being the Empire that we are. It’s just accepting a fact that we exist (like Israel exists) and to make things better and to not make more mistakes and commit more injustices.

        However, there isn’t a big movement of Jews going anti-Zionist and questioning Israel’s founding. Not in any meaningful sense.

        I separate Jews from Americans, even though they can be both because we’re talking about American Jews who supported civil rights/equality for African Americans but would not do the same for the Palestinians or would not identify w/ anti-Zionism.

        I mean, it’s very pathetic that you cite that one rally over and over. First, you label it ‘pro-Peace’ as if you define peace, and as if you own the word itself.

        Utterly disgusting.

        BTW – if you want to go back and forth on rallies, I’ll post videos and pictures of pro-ISRAEL (not “pro-peace” as you phrase according to the Hasbara Handbook I cited) rallies with the displays of ignorance/racism/bigotry/etc. I recall seeing one guy with a poster that said ‘Wipe Gaza off the Map’.

        Zionism is the issue. Not anti-Zionism. Zionism came first. It is a nationalistic ideology. So if supporting the rights of Palestinians, if supporting their Right of Return, their right to self-determination, etc. – runs contrary to Zionism then I think those Jews who identity as Zionists would not support it. That means, in a sense that means something. Not a swiss-cheese Palestine. A demilitarized Palestine, controlled via a puppet government that will ‘work with’ Israel and the US.

        Etc. etc.

        I mean, I don’t ever see how a 2-State solution would work, when the parties involved are 2 corrupt, bullies and 1 battered and beaten people with shit for leaders.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 2:45 pm

        Correction, Cliff: one battered and beaten people who have leaders forced upon them who are funded by foreign hegemonic interests.

        link to

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 2:49 pm

        I did address your basic point from my personal experience. MANY were upset at the integration of schools into upper middle class New Rochelle formerly Jewish “ghettos”, but the Jews were still the largest ethnic group supporting it, on the basis of principle. (It certainly was not a universal sentiment.)

        The schools did get rough, especially junior high school. We lived with it, identified friends by individuals, not by race.

        Post WW2 Zionism is nearly universally regarded as a necessity, a grand and successful social experiment in socialism, and an affirmation of Jewish identity worldwide, even with the incidents of moral compromise at prohibiting return (balanced by to the death terror and war from Palestinians and Arab states).

        You want to call it a myth fine. We’ll call it a great uprising, a collective fulfillment.

        What Israel is now is different than what it was in 1949. It is far more commercial than idealistic, far more suppressive than conciliatory.

        There is no way that the Jewish community in 1948 would harm itself to voluntary homelessness for the ideological question that you claim recognition of the nakba (Palestinian suffering) compels.

        Until Israel is accepted as Israel (beyond just offered, though that is a great prospect that Israel should take up), the justification for Israel as seperate and at least significantly defensive remains. As circular as that phrase is, it is still truth.

        That is how nearly all nations form and remain, by need for defense creating a current unity.

        The insistence that Israelis be solely universalistic when the critics, professing proponents of universalism aren’t, confirms the present more than it opposes it.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 2:52 pm

        Question that Witty will not answer:

        What was the largest ethnic group opposing integration in New Rochelle?

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 2:55 pm

        Good question.

        Many Jews opposed integration for fear of their children’s experience. But I would expect that the support was 50-50 among Jews.

        And 80-20 opposed among most other groups. (Italians, Irish, Wasps)

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 2:56 pm

        I think it was a Supreme Court case.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 2:57 pm

        A definitive answer is refused in favor of falsified speculation. Not unexpected.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 3:09 pm

        What a malevolent response on your account, Chaos.

        The case was ruled in 1963. I heard it discussed at my home and my neighbors’.

        In junior high school I read of demonstrations.

        Research more if you want to know more.

        I HONESTLY distinguish between an estimate and knowledge.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 3:38 pm

        You still haven’t addressed my point. Again, you need to read carefully.

        The reason Jews supported African American rights is because in doing so, they did not hurt their own interests.

        Its not to imply that there is some master plan. It’s the result of the community/identity politics/human nature.

        Supporting the rights of Palestinians and their right to self-determination and justice for them means self-reflection if you are a Jew.

        That is not how it SHOULD be (meaning, just because you are a ‘Jew’ does not mean you have to answer for what the Zionist State does; Zionism is a political ideology and does not speak for all Jews) – but that’s the POLITICAL (identity politics, identity politics) reality.

        So in that sense, I don’t find the cause of support to be meaningful *at all*.

        I do find the extent one would have gone to support African American civil rights to be meaningful though.

        It’s like (but not as bad of course) those Israeli environmentalists or human rights workers who don’t do anything in the OT and don’t touch the I-P issue.

        Anyways, you’re never going to see Israel ‘accepted’ under your conditions. Maybe, some puppet government will be installed in a future Palestinian State similar to Jordan and Egypt.

        The people will still hate Zionism and remember that the only way you have your Jewish State is because 800K Palestinians were forced out by Jewish terrorists.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 3:46 pm

        Witty is dodging my question.

        It’s like when some Zionist debates whether the OT is under Apartheid rule – they see the trees but not the forest (on purpose).

        We’re similarly talking about the big picture (Jews supporting African American civil rights as opposed to Jews supporting Palestinian civil rights).

        I mean, it’s kind of obvious that there isn’t a movement amongst the Jewish community to support Palestinian basic human rights.

        So there is a broader reason why this is happening. Witty picks out one case from his personal experience – why Witty?

        How is your personal experience relevant?

        I mean, actually you agree that Jews don’t support Palestinian human rights and their right to self-determination, because you were told ‘No soup for you!’ at a “pro-Peace” rally? Well, as insane as you are, at least you agree that most Jews do not support or sympathize w/ the Palestinian people.

        Now, the pertinent question to ask is why would they not support basic human rights and dignity?

        Why is bringing up the Civil Rights era, important to this question?

        I answered it. You’re missing the point – on purpose, as usual.

      • gmeyers
        January 2, 2010, 4:01 pm

        The truth lies somewhere in between “Zionism is racism” and “Anti-Zionism is racism”. Liberal.
        And, the best proposal that optimizes democracy in fact, is the two-state model. Liberal.

        Another whopper…

        How is anti-Zionism racism? How do you define anti-Zionism?

        The two state model calls for a double whammy of ethno-states: How can an ethno-state (well, two) be ‘liberal’? That must make the US one of the most illiberal Nations on Earth. True as that may be on another level, it clearly isn’t the case in this context.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 4:09 pm

        “In 1948, Zionism was NOT racism, but necessity and progressive. Some could argue that Zionism is not needed in the world at large, and therefore preferential status is not needed either.”

        Wrong; in 1948 Zionism WAS racism in that it thought and implemented
        anything done to the Palestinians was justified by what Nazi europe did to the jews.

        The two-state model is two different drinking fountains. Exactly as in the separate-but-equal south of the historical usa Jim Crow.. .

        Among those that state “Zionism is racism”, in the name of democracy, some insist that Jews be sent back to their former homelands, as if three generations in a locale doesn’t make it home.

        In my case 20 years in a locale makes it home, especially for my kids who have only lived in the same town.

        The truth lies somewhere in between “Zionism is racism” and “Anti-Zionism is racism”. Liberal.

        And, the best proposal that optimizes democracy in fact, is the two-state model. Liberal.


      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 5:14 pm

        You brought up the civil rights era.

        Zionism was an increasing necessity for European Jews from the period of the pogroms to 1948, when it became a realization.

        Now that it is a realization, the only relevant question is of how Israel will conduct itself, not whether it should dissolve.

        You can agitate for that, but unless you are willing to agitate against nearly every national formation, you will be engaging in a selection of only the Jewish national state to criticize.

        It is what it is. Accept it. Work for its reform if you like. Otherwise you are urging a millenial war based on an interpretation of an injustice (undeniably a tragedy).

        And, in doing so you justify the likud approach to Zionism which is by no means inevitable, but understood as a rational choice in the light of violent harrassment.

        In rational political approaches, the best for all concerned, states and civilians, is reconciliation and establishment of viable and healthy states in Palestine and Israel.

        If harrassment prohibits healthy states, then war results. If you believe that war is a more progressive, more just approach than an uncomfortable reconciliation, then you are a either a man with a backbone, truer to his convictions than any, willing to put his own body at great risk for the greater good, or a fascist willing to put others’ bodies at great risk (and selecting only disposable Jewish bodies, and disposable Palestinian) for a raging ideological dogma.

        And you call me racist.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 5:52 pm

        Zionism was an increasing necessity for European Jews from the period of the pogroms to 1948, when it became a realization.

        Why did they choose to create a political entity on top of the indigenous population?

        Why did they expel the indigenous population and then prevent them from returning?

        I’m not referring to Jews before the Civil Rights movement. I’m referring to American Jews since then, who have the memory of Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights movement in their construct of Jewish political identity.

        Now that it is a realization, the only relevant question is of how Israel will conduct itself, not whether it should dissolve.

        Zionism (colonization, land-theft, nationalistic myths, worship of the State, atrocity, racism, discrimination, chauvinism, etc.) is not fully realized. It is a work (trainwreck) in progress. The only relevant question is when Israel will become One-State.

        Just think tactically for one moment. Instead of ideologically. You are a supporter of Israel. You do not speak out against Israel’s criminal actions in the OT, against the Palestinians – ever. You do not offer any meaningful criticism of Israel. You are allowing Israel to further entrench itself in the OT.

        People like you, are the ones destroying the Two-State solution.

        The Palestinian camp is weak and will continue to be weak.

        But they have time on their side. And as time passes by, both populations will only become further intertwined.

        You can agitate for that, but unless you are willing to agitate against nearly every national formation, you will be engaging in a selection of only the Jewish national state to criticize.

        What other conflicts going on today involve one group of people employing a huge campaign of PR are outright lies to justify the continued theft and colonization of another peoples’ land?

        I mean, if there is one and it’s not as bad as Jewish nationalism, I’d still be against it.

        You could just ask me, you know. The reason I focus on Zionism is because I’m American, and because it’s so shocking when you juxtapose the picture presented here in the States to the reality over there.

        Jewish nationalism requires a great deal of lying. I bet it would be true for ANY nationalistic movement but since we live in the age of television and the internet it’s especially noticeable when it comes to Israel.

        I think this is Zionist debating tactic #4? The whole world sucks?

        In rational political approaches, the best for all concerned, states and civilians, is reconciliation and establishment of viable and healthy states in Palestine and Israel.

        How so? You don’t justify the premise to your argument. You just assume it’s validity. And you’re applying this broad brush to I-P when the truth is not mystified. We know what happened in 1948. A Jewish State was created on the ruins of another society and through the expulsion of another people.

        This expulsion began before the declaration of Israeli Statehood. Lies upon lies followed.

        This conflict is entangled in lies.

        The Palestinians will not accept a swiss-cheese State, and will certainly not accept second-class citizenship or Richard Witty’s lecturing them about reconciliation.

        They have real-life experience. You have none. You are so out of touch with the people who you constantly lecture to. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Yes, you are a racist. A senile old man.

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 5:58 pm

        Please don’t talk for Jews, you know nothing about them and have never said anything which was not derogatory towards them.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 6:05 pm

        Say something other than the intellectual equivalent of ‘talk to the hand’, lunchbox.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 6:07 pm

        And I’m not speaking on behalf of Jews. What are you, 12?

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 6:10 pm

        I really wish there was an edit button.

        Anyways, Jews are not a single blob identity. I am almost always talking about American Jews. I am never talking about Judaism. I am always talking about Jewish identity in a political context.

        Nothing more than that, ever.

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 6:24 pm

        Please don’t call me a lunchbox or refer to me as a 12 year old. You are all about personal attacks, I thought maybe your first banning on here might change that, but it didn’t take long for you to start the same old shit. Its not productive at all Cliff.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 6:44 pm

        How is ‘lunchbox’ a personal insult? Did you have some horrific accident when you were younger, that involved a lunchbox?

        And look who’s talking! I don’t insult Israeli children in S’Derot. I don’t say or imply that Israelis or JEWS are inferior (you implied as much when you said the Palestinians aren’t ready for globalization).

        That statement of yours, coupled w/ other gems like the one where you compared an Israeli winning a Nobel to Palestinians in Gaza painting stripes on Donkeys to cheer up the kids provides context and explains why I’d assume that when you say ‘Palestinians aren’t read for globalization’ – what you’re implying is that they are inferior.

        I was banned but the original post of mine was deleted. I asked Phil several times in email to tell me what about the post led him to think I was attacking Nurit.

        annie – who posts here often now it seems, didn’t cite that part of my post either and completely straw-manned me even after I provided a clarification and cited Illan Pappe, who coined the term I was using ‘paradigm of parity’. It wasn’t about the grieving Israeli mother, it was about the picture being presented by a recently PEP activist – Medea Benjamin.

        And furthermore, other commentators have articulated exactly my point. That a more Jewish focus isn’t going to help the Palestinians.

        annie went on to make several contradicting and snide comments directed at me while I couldn’t reply back.

        But it was guest commentators like Ahmed who coined the phrase, ‘clay of Jewish humanism’ in reference, to how Liberal Jews like Phil, see Palestinians.

        Its not antisemitic to point this out. And if it is, you’re clearly an expert on antisemitism – please define it for me.

        In fact, let’s have more than one of the resident Zionists provide a definition and we’ll see if they are identical. I bet they aren’t.

        My ‘lesson’ had nothing to do w/ how I talk to other commentators. I mean, if that were the case, people whom you like (OhioJoes) would have been banned a long time ago.

        There has been a long-standing double standard on the blog about moderation.

        I’m hardly as bad as you make me out to be. Its just that we’re on different sides.

        I don’t racialize Jewishness (you do). I don’t chalk up Jewishness in any context to any conspiracy theory. I don’t imply that all Jews are Zionists – unless you expect me to preface each of my comments (which I won’t do, people here should know this is common sense stuff).

        Etc. etc.

        Cry me a river.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 6:48 pm

        Oh let me add, that Ahmed did not connect that phrase (‘clay of’) to Phil. I did. I consider Phil’s quest to ‘save’ American Jews to be ridiculous. He’s just ethnocentric and he’s admitted it.

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 7:14 pm

        How does Phil and other liberal Jews see Palestinians?

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 7:33 pm

        Why aren’t you asking them, yonira? You can ask Phil directly if you seriously want a direct answer.

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 7:33 pm

        link to

        Yet, despite all the progress made in recent years, I remain frustrated by one dominant discursive characteristic. That is the tendency of Jewish commentators to speak about the conflict through a Jewish lens. On its face, this criticism appears absurd. It’s natural for Jews who have identified with Israel for most of their lives to question Israel’s actions, and its very existence, through the identity that enamored them of Israel in the first place. Many of Israel’s Jewish critics are so critical precisely because of their love for Israel, or at least the Jewish people. However, it is this tendency that gives rise to a myopic view of the situation.

        Jewish people who are critical of Israel are right to question what Israel means to them as Jews. “Not in my name” is a solid basis for taking issue with the often-criminal behavior of the Zionist Israeli government. But it is not enough to eventually heal the rift between the Jewish and Palestinian peoples. A purely Jewish focus on a more-than-Jewish problem causes many leftist Jews to take a paternalistic view of Palestinians. Rather than equals whose inalienable rights form the crux of the case against Zionism, the Palestinians are the clay of Jewish humanism, waiting to be fully actualized by thoughtful and reflective Jewish hands. Instead of insisting that Palestinians are human beings whose existence is the repudiation of Zionism, some Jews on the left argue that Zionism violates Jewish ethics. I am not suggesting that the two streams of thought are mutually exclusive, only that the focus on one may inhibit the realization of the other.

        This is a good thread too:

        link to

        Anyways, I could have articulated my ideas more diplomatically. But I don’t see the point in trying to convert Zionists on this blog or over the internet.

        Ahmed did a great job anyways and he said it first. (I don’t think he’d like my tone either, but I’m trying to say the same thing.)

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 11:06 pm

        Thanks Cliff, I see what you meant, sorry about that.

    • Shingo
      January 2, 2010, 4:57 pm

      “Noam Chomsky and David Duke in the same effort”

      Neo Nazi’s are now supporting Israel, which makes you and Neo Nazis bed fellows, though definitely not strange ones.

  9. potsherd
    January 2, 2010, 9:22 am

    Another report from Gaza, posted in a less welcoming environment: link to

    According to Naiman, people are extending their BDS activity to include Egypt. More radicalization.

    • Chaos4700
      January 2, 2010, 12:52 pm

      Hey, the march demonstrated rather aptly that Egyptians are prisoners of a hostile government too. I can tell you right now, Mubarak’s cooperation with Israel and the US will be directly proportional to the impact on the Egyptian pocketbook.

  10. jimby
    January 2, 2010, 10:18 am

    I wonder if Phil will be allowed into Israel or will the customs officials block him. I’m sure he is regarded as a shit-stirrer par excellence. If he gets in I hope he can get out in one piece. I believe that the Israeli govt just like the US one tries to keep the sheeple dumbed down. MSM sucks

  11. Citizen
    January 2, 2010, 10:59 am

    Hey, there’s hope–not one of the MSM summaries of 2009 included Gaza or Israel or the I-P situation. Not even PBS.

  12. Kathleen
    January 2, 2010, 11:01 am

    Good move by Medea Benjaman and others. Medea has become involved with this human rights issue in the last five years or so. Phillip this may be the case for you also. Better to let many Europeans who have been hammering on this issue far longer to take a lead. While Medea is a master at getting the attention of the media and playing hardball again she is relatively new to this movement.

    From what I understand Prof Norman Finkelstein (I believe the Gaza Freedom March was his brain child)…involved with this human rights issue for quite some time dropped out because of some internal frictions. I believe Norman wanted to stay focused on the International agreements and UN resolutions that Israel has been and continues to be in violation of.

    Phillip thanks so much for this update.

    Still no coverage of this in the MSM. Many of the so called progressive blogs are negligent in covering this critical march and issue. Crooks and Liars…Nothing
    Raw Story….Nothing. Firedoglake. folks at Seminal putting it up. But the big brains at FDL, Jane, Marcy Wheeler, Bmaz, etc will not go there. Silence

    Interesting which blogs are basically PEP sites. Progressive Except for Palestine. Just will not touch it

    • Siun
      January 2, 2010, 1:12 pm

      Just a clarification – As the Firedoglake writer who normally covers Gaza, I just wanted to note that the lack of front page coverage was solely due to my being away not to any editorial decision – far from it. I did see that folks at Seminal – which we take very seriously -were doing a good job on the story. FDL has backed my coverage of Gaza from the beginning and provided amazing support for me when I was doing nonstop coverage of Operation Cast Lead.

      Meanwhile, I want to thank Phil for his superb writing about GFM – his work is so essential to our understanding.

      • James Bradley
        January 2, 2010, 3:04 pm

        I’m glad to hear that Siun.

      • potsherd
        January 2, 2010, 4:25 pm

        If only the information would leak out to the media at large.

  13. Richard Witty
    January 2, 2010, 11:40 am

    How does someone that call themselves progressive urge a blacklist of reporters or editors?

    In the name of opposing censorship?

    • Cliff
      January 2, 2010, 11:50 am

      Who is censoring? Who is blacklisting?

      Give details. Don’t be vague on purpose.

      There is a difference between your implications and that of the honest, regular posters here – evidenced by your selection of words.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 11:57 am

        The only blacklisting that is occurring, is occurring in Israel. I believe reporters are still being denied passage into Gaza, for the most part, either from Israel or via Rafah (which Israel still controls, after a fact, since they get veto power on any traffic at Rafah thanks to the terms of the Agreement on Movement and Access of 2005).

        Do you suppose that is the blacklisting that is being referred to? I’d like to think so.

  14. LeaNder
    January 2, 2010, 11:47 am

    How does someone that call themselves progressive urge a blacklist of reporters or editors?

    In the name of opposing censorship?

    Am I correct Richard, and you are responding to Kathleen?

    Where exactly did she demand a blacklist of reporters or editors?

    • Richard Witty
      January 2, 2010, 11:53 am

      Oscar and Aref above.

      Innocent comments and not.

      • jimby
        January 2, 2010, 12:06 pm

        witty , since when is a list automatically a blacklist. Oscar and Aref don’t hire and fire the zionist toadies in the press.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 12:54 pm

        A list is a blacklist for sure when it is a list of “terrorist” groups or organizations or states, or some part of those states. Any body named on such a list is subjected to many sticks and no carrots by the powers that issued the list.

      • Oscar
        January 2, 2010, 12:14 pm

        Richard, not calling for a “blacklist” and calling for the opposite of censorship. If you as a “humanist Zionist” are agreeing that a two-state solution is optimal, why wouldn’t you want the MSM talking about it? Why wouldn’t Rachel Maddow make it a centerpiece of her progressive telecast?

        By taking an informal poll of mondoweiss participants, wherein we gauge which reporters are doing an excellent job of reporting in I/P and which ones are not, doesn’t this call attention to a significant deficiency in American journalism? And by the way, the NYT is not on the list of those who cover I/P in a fair and balanced manner. The NYT uses the precepts of journalistic integrity as a shield for exceptionally Israeli-centric reporting. It didn’t used to be that way about 10 years ago (way back when I still had a daily subscription to the NYT and read it from cover to cover), but it certainly is now (and of course nowadays, I rarely read the Times because of the Judith Miller scandal, and if so, only as a Google News link).

        I don’t agree with several of the criticisms that Mondoweiss posters have of you, Richard, but I do believe that you have a tendency to spew pontifications that are short on both substance and action. Most of the conscientious objecting you have done seems to have been several decades ago. Many times, your posts here are reminiscent of the so-called “peace process” — emphasis on “process” and not so much on “peace.”

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 12:38 pm

        The mass media talks about the two-state solution as desirable/needed, nearly to a concensus.

        Maybe Fox still drags its feet.

        The site itself and the comments here, are not generally focusing on achieving a viable two-state solution. That would be a productive effort that would gain much more support than current.

        The common thread of this site is on dissent solely, on winning against Israel (not against specific policies and actions).

        On media. My conclusion from reading EVERY report that I’ve ever read from any source is that it is a starting point, not a truth. It takes reading more to fill in the blanks, and to question assumptions.

        The common thread about large mass media, especially on political issues, is that the territory that they are reporting on is primarily political relations between powers. Its a question of what scale they are looking at.

        I also wrote for a newspaper for a year in DC in 1980-81, a daily progressive paper. I often conducted interviews and/or attended press conferences that were reported on by large press (Washington Post), amazed at what they choose to report and their official tack, that often very closely resembled the State Dept positions.

        I still regularly appreciatively read the Post, Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. I met a few of the writers and editors that wrote about the topics that I disagreed with, and understood that most of them were aware of the issues that we were writing about and included it in their thinking, at very different weight of importance.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 1:05 pm

        The common thread of this site is NOT on dissent solely, NOT on winning against Israel but is against specific Israeli policies and actions, all of them paid for with US tax dollars and equally repetitive US Security Council vetoes at the UN. The common thread of this site is to bring responsible US and humane
        perspective in the face of US-Israel policy and actions. Dick Witty provides the service of tossing in the hypocritical status quo in the service of the powers that be, so we all always know just how big our task really is. It’s like having our very own Ben Stein.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 1:16 pm

        Like you and I keep pointing out, the tactics of the Zionists are not unfamiliar, Citizen. Zionists seek to slander and discredit their opponents by affixing labels as “anti-Semite” and “violent” and the like.

        Goebbels portrayed the Nazi “struggle” against the Jews as the salvation of Western civilization. Likewise do Zionists paint their “struggle” against Muslims. Those who stand against Israel’s military expansion and colonialism are denying Israeli Jews some fundamental right to “self-determinism” that no one else enjoys. The concept used to be known as reinrassig before Zionism recycled and coopted it.

        And so therefore, it is imperative for Zionists, like the aforementioned, to take honest, humanistic, compassionate people and insist that by standing up against the spraying of civilians with white phosphorous, piracy by warships in international waters, the construction of the largest concentration camp in history, or the bombing/shelling of hospitals, factories, Parliament buildings, schools and UN warehouses full of humanitarian aid… then, you must be a “terrorist sympathizer.”

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 4:22 pm

        Witty, we all know you do nothing but repeat hasbara–yes, in that sense you are an American–part of the tail that wags the dog of Israel First.

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2010, 5:02 pm

        “The mass media talks about the two-state solution as desirable/needed, nearly to a concensus. ”

        Yet, the US has veto’d calls for a 2 state solution since 1976. Joseph Lieberman openly voiced his hope that the US would reject any attempts by the Palestinians to declare an independent state along the green line.

      • Donald
        January 2, 2010, 7:22 pm

        “The common thread about large mass media, especially on political issues, is that the territory that they are reporting on is primarily political relations between powers…I often conducted interviews and/or attended press conferences that were reported on by large press (Washington Post), amazed at what they choose to report and their official tack, that often very closely resembled the State Dept positions.”

        In other words, what you saw was in accordance with what the far left says about the MSM–on foreign policy issues they often put out material which is very close to a State Department handout. And they mostly write about struggles between the powerful.

        “I met a few of the writers and editors that wrote about the topics that I disagreed with, and understood that most of them were aware of the issues that we were writing about and included it in their thinking, at very different weight of importance.”

        In other words, they were aware they were downplaying the importance of human rights (or whatever it was you were writing about).

        Underneath the typically hard to understand prose, you seem to be confirming from your own experience what most far lefties say about the press.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 10:46 pm

        They were writing about relations between the powers largely. They wrote about human rights periodically.

        I was familiar with the Washington Post writing on Nicaragua and Guatemala, attended a couple press conferences at the Nicaraguan embassy, maybe a year after their revolution, but before their purges.

        The Washington Post noted that purges were happening, that the eloquent and charismatic liberation priests, poets, women’s cadre leadership were window dressing for a more doctrinaire Marxist approach of the Ortega brothers. (The younger brother, defense minister, spoke at one conference). Within three years, the priests, poets were all purged, either killed or emigrated to Mexico or the states.

        They saw something that I didn’t. We both admired the priests and poets (them in two lines, me in 500 words).

        I assume now that the mass media sees different elements than I do, and notes different elements as important. They are definitely influenced by the powers that be, and defer to official policy, rather than confront with accusations of “invalidity”.

    • Chaos4700
      January 2, 2010, 11:59 am

      I’m not sure we should concern ourselves with baseless accusations that are not backed up by our own eyes, LeaNder. Seems to me that this is just yet another distraction from the real article above.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 12:07 pm

        Because when I look up there, all I see is an effort to compile a list of incorrectly reported stories and the venues by which they were propagated.

        And now making comments about another person’s journalistic integrity are off limits? One imagines that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. It may be witty, but it is neither wise nor honest.

      • LeaNder
        January 2, 2010, 5:45 pm

        Peculiar, simplistic, highly conventional. Was I invited into a fight against Aref (mispelled) and Oscar?

        This probably triggered his suspicion: in the US: how do we get the MSM to be a nit more responsive and free it from Zionist occupation?

        Slightly, agitprop, I would never put it that way. But so what? He get’s his message over. Honesty in Reporting and other pressure influences are real not a tinfoil hat paranoia. I was subscribed to it and quite a few similar lists over the years and I read the resulting comments. …

        Gaza Freedom March: No reports over here on the public channels. Instead today the report of a tiny demonstration in Israel, about 500. Much less than before. Netanyahu is getting more and more popular, we are told. Uri Avneri among the crowd, and of course he is interviewed. Then this report is “balanced” by news from the West Bank. We are shown “violent” demonstration against the Wall/Fence, against which poor little Israel is forced to use tear gas. The images were cut to get this message over. So don’t think it’s much different over here. It isn’t.

        Compare this bit of Richard’s agitprop: STRANGE bedfellows on this one. (Noam Chomsky and David Duke in the same effort.)

        What about these strange bedfellows: ardent Zionists catering for white Christian American supremacists to instigate against the evil Muslim terrorists. Onward brave Christian soldiers. SANE Gone undercover now, subscription only:

        America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white, who ventured from Europe to create a nation in their image of a country existing as free men under G-d. This constellation of forces existed no where else in the world and resulted in a unique people and nation.

        Were Richard to meet David Yerushalmi, he would politely nod to many of his points and carefully squeeze in a few reservations. But there you go, if you do not respect “natural authority” and call the ultimately powerless names, you must be a radical. ( I can’t forget his phrase: “W” probably “elegantly” presented his point, but was quoted out of context …)

        The whites feared black drums, thus they prohibited them. … The more things change …

        Maybe calling the powerless names makes you feel you are in control of the “posse”.

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2010, 5:49 pm

        Even stranger bedfellows are Zionists and Christian Zionists, who’ ultimate belief is that all Jews will be forced to convert to Christianity or burn in the fired of hell.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 6:44 pm

        I’m not sure where you derived that tirade from. I didn’t understand it clearly.

        Are you joining in the “Richard Witty is expressing hasbara” theme?

  15. Cliff
    January 2, 2010, 12:00 pm





    Sorry, just figuring out how to do this stuff. ;x

  16. Kathleen
    January 2, 2010, 12:03 pm

    Finished your whole post. Made me cry. Your feelings about your experience expressed so clearly. Having been clubbed and thrown in jail during the civil rights era and Vietnam, and hit with rubber bullets I discovered only a tiny tiny taste of what African Americans and others oppressed and often slaughtered by our government and other colonial occupiers have felt. A tiny tiny taste.

    I often react to the idea of “radicalism”. Have always felt that any social justice activism is “humanism” growing inside of me. Until others are free we are not free.

    Phillip can not wait to hear about the rest of the trip. Thank you for going and for sharing. Not much video footage out of the even on line. Too bad Rachel Maddow did not pick up any of the footage as she has continued to do with the Iranian protesters. If had been re routed through Iran she might have picked it up

  17. Kathleen
    January 2, 2010, 12:10 pm

    “I believe that the hunger strikers were the last to be cleared form the actual road. They had to be dragged by the young Egyptian cops. One of them was Hedy Epstein, 85.”

    Can you imagine media coverage of Hedy being dragged or moved off of the square? An interview of Hedy Epstein by Keith Olbermann, Ed, Rachel any of the mainstreamerss

    Hedy is one of my new heroes. What a woman, what a social activist, what an incredible example for us all!

    She applies her own direct experience of being oppressed and violated onto others experiences of oppression. If there is a heaven Hedy is a shoe in.

    • Chaos4700
      January 2, 2010, 12:30 pm

      I think what the real horrible irony is, if Hedy Epstein were a pro-Zionist protester being dragged off by Egyptian cops, she would instantly be a household name in the United States. Consider that.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 1:10 pm

        I guess we have to settle for the call to have Ben Stein apologize to Ron Paul on Facebook. You know, Stein the guy droll guy famous for his bit part in a teen movie and for his great stock market predictions, and predictions that there’d be no problem with Wall Street’s machinations (regular operations, before the Bailout)?

  18. Aref
    January 2, 2010, 12:14 pm

    PLease people ignore R. Witty. He is here ti hijack the discussion by making the most outrageous statements and putting words into people’s mouths. Please do not feed the trolls.

  19. Oscar
    January 2, 2010, 12:20 pm

    Aref, great line. Nevertheless, Witty’s participation (and Julian, OhioJoes and Yonira, formerly Jake of Jerusalem, etc.) are critical, otherwise, Mondowiess just becomes an echo chamber, an amen choir, a Greek chorus. I think Chaos4700 put it best — the opposing view is good nutrition, gives us a chance to build up intellectual stamina.

    We need to take a page from Olbermann. “The Worst in the World.”

    • Chaos4700
      January 2, 2010, 12:28 pm

      True, but Witty’s goal seems to be more to serve as a distraction. He’s content to rearrange deck chairs while Palestinians go down on the Titannic (in this case, ostensibly rammed by an IDF warship rather than run aground on an ice berg)

      I think Witty’s remarks can be addressed, but A) in such a way that forces him back on the rails and steers the conversation from whatever new distraction he has come up with, back to what each of the articles is actually about, and B) it’s really no longer advantageous to address him directly.

    • Aref
      January 2, 2010, 12:29 pm

      Oscar, I am not saying do not discuss–if there is something to discuss. The issue is that there are certain people who will not admit the truth even if stares them in the face. There is a difference between a dialog and wanting to make a point, throwing accusations left and right and putting words in people’s mouth is not a dialog nor is it a discussion.

      • Oscar
        January 2, 2010, 12:32 pm

        Very true. Couldn’t agree with you more. Any time a Mondoweiss post starts getting 100+ comments, I’d wager that 25% of the content is flaming Richard Witty’s postings. Not a productive ratio.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 12:43 pm

        It’s OK, Oscar. We’ll always have the threads on the articles that present actual evidence and documentation of Israeli crimes against humanity.

        Witty avoids articles about actual facts like the plague.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 12:44 pm

        Seriously. Start a discussion over here on this topic, if anything.

        link to

        Still Witty-free.

    • Aref
      January 2, 2010, 12:31 pm

      Yes disagreement and difference of opinions is healthy and necessary. No argument there.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 12:46 pm

        Please disagree, as disagreement.

        Lets actually talk.

        If you haven’t noticed, Yonira and Wondering Jew have very distinctly different Zionist perspectives than OhioJoe’s for example.

        Ignore means don’t discuss.

      • Aref
        January 2, 2010, 1:27 pm

        When stop twisting statements made by others and when you stop insinuations and innuendos, and when you stop simply regurgitating propaganda, then I will be more than willing to talk and discuss with you.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 2:14 pm

        They are just reading from different parts of the Israel Project’s bible regarding how to sell Israel’s official and de facto policies to the USA masses.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 2:16 pm

        “Twisting statements by others”

        Can you give me an example of a time when you chose to discuss, with all concerns on the table?

        I appreciated your detail of your take of primary events occurring in Gaza leading to December, 2008. I noted the omission of any shelling or rocket fire by Hamas or other factions between December 17 and 27th.

        You didn’t comment.

        I attempted to indicate that your summary was a selection, a propaganda, not an inquiry into facts, nor an inquiry into the communication process that war and retaliation is.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 2:24 pm

        And the pot continues to call the steam kettle black.

        Let’s all take a look at the actual statistical data, shall we, and see who is responsible for triggering death and violence?

        Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?

        And then there’s the video evidence of which side resorts to violence and aggression.

        Someone won’t comment on that, will they?

        Again, kudos to Mr. Weiss and the others in Egypt who refuse to be violent but also refuse to be silent and passive.

      • Aref
        January 2, 2010, 3:32 pm

        This is precisely what I am talking about twisting; innuendos; insinuations and distortions.
        Since you brought this up you are chastising me for omissions when your post was what you called a “summary” with no sources whatsoever. You say there was no mention of shelling between Dec. 17 and 27. That is true. By that date the cease fire was over–it has ended. The post was to illustrate the myth that Israel had nothing to do with the breach of the cease fire like you suggested.
        If this post illustrates one thing it is what I have come to conclude: you are not interested in a discussion or a dialog but in making a point. You do not argue by presenting verifiable facts backed by sources but rely on trying to discredit your interlocutors by attempting to distort their words and intent. That is much less than honest discourse and concern for dialog and reaching some consensus or understanding or “communication” like you love to say.
        Mr. Witty, please do not play the role of victim with me. I sincerely have no time to waste on childish games. If you have something concrete to offer and some genuine desire to engage in a respectful and meaningful discussion I will respond to you but if you are simply trying to make your point please be my guest and have the last word.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 5:24 pm

        Actually, you are twisting my words now.

        I accurately described the resumption of shelling as a choice (maybe under great internal political pressure) made by Hamas militia to not extend the truce (as inperfect as it was) in favor of shelling desert (a warning), to shelling Sderot (maybe a warning, maybe a terror), to shelling Ashkelon, to shelling Beersheba.

        If you consider ignoring that escalation to be a childish game, then I contest that you are not willingly reviewing your assumptions, that you are propagating.

        The degree of cease-fire exceptions/violations decreased considerably after the first wave of snipering. To say that the breaking down of the ceasefire by Israel was a continuity is a falsehood. Both sides indicated publicly, a desire to resume the cease-fire, dependant on intentional calm from the other side.

        If Hamas did not intend war after the lull (instead a return to periodic shelling), then it would not have escalated its shelling to large cities.

        The truth is in an overlay of the time lines.

        On “communication”. What do you think shelling Israeli civilians is if it is not a communication? Please tell me how that action should be interpreted.

        It can either be a communication of “we demand that you stop the blockade”, or “we demand justice for the killing of the original 6”. Those are communications, some message conveyed in the form of rockets. Or, it can be a communication of “we will never accept your existence, your right free and calm civilian life”.

        Which communication?

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2010, 5:37 pm

        The usual lies from you Witty.

        Your description of the resumption of shelling was false. The shelling was a response to Israeli agression, which was unprovoked and unecessary, but intended to incite a retaliation. When Israel retaliates, no one questions it, but when Palestinians do, they are being unwise.

        Secondly, Hamas tried to resume the ceasefire on December 14th, but Israel rejected it. The US were vetoing call for a ceasefire at the UN, and when the US eventually helped broker a ceasefire resolution (from which they abstained), Israel were furious. Olmert even boasted about how he ordered Bush to stop a speech he was giving on ordered Rice to abstain from the vote.

        So your suggestion that “Both sides indicated publicly, a desire to resume the cease-fire” is a lie.

        Israel violated the ceasefire and killed 6 Palestinians. Has 6 Israeli’s been killed, Israel would have destroyed Gaza. Responding to blatant aggression does not signal an intent for war after the lull.

        Escalation is something you do once you’ve started a fight. Israel broke the ceasefire, having already been conducting acts of war against Gaza (with the blockade) and thus they are the ones who escalated.

        Stop lying Richard. No one is buying your propaganda and revisionism.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 12:49 pm

        And a person who ignores facts, can’t be discussed with. I applaud you for coming to this realization, Aref. Denial of crimes against humanity on the premise of Israeli exceptionalism does not constitute a “discussion” after all.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 12:51 pm

        What facts do you believe that I ignore?

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 1:15 pm

        What facts do you believe “the posse” here ignores? Why do you refer to a posse on this blog anyway?

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 1:25 pm

        Propaganda is all about word choice, Citizen.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 2:23 pm

        Gee, you mean that Witty does not believe in any facts, just perceptions of facts or their aggregates? Like a hired accountant, rather than a bench/judge trial or jury trial in the American adversarial judicial process?

        Imagine if the Jews and the Palestinians had a jury trial before the world as jury, using the USA adversarial rules, including the rules of evidence and forensic and expert witness factors. You know, something more just and equitable than we gave
        the Nuremberg defendants?

  20. Rehmat
    January 2, 2010, 12:24 pm

    As water and ice are not equal – so it the Washington-Tel Aviv narration of the so-called “two-state” – which put in USrael perspective is US vs American Indian Reserves.

    Military confrontation is immoral – except for the Jewish settlers and Barack Obama who weeps for the rights of Iranian protesters against Ahmadinejad’s re-election, but apporoves 30,000 more American soldiers for Bush’s Afghanistan failed adventure and opens a new war front in Yemen against country’s Shia minority which seeks equal rights with the other Yemeni citizens. Obama, also helped to airlift Yemeni Jews – but he show no tears for the 175,000 Yemeni shia refugees.

    Obama is not only using the non-proven Al-Qaeda threat and the latest Nigerian bomber to support his opening up a new war front in Yemen.

    The ‘Nigerian Terrorist’
    link to

    • Chaos4700
      January 2, 2010, 12:33 pm

      And here I was placing my bets on Iran. I guess to the White House and the Pentagon, any Middle Eastern country is really as good as another. And actually, Yemen is a plus to the war machine because we’ll be sacrificing men and women in uniform to the alter of capitalism and getting in good with both Israel and Saudi Arabia.

      To say nothing of the fact that Yemen is an easy target.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 1:19 pm

        Well, we’re building up to Iran, taking on the weak despotic arab states first.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 1:30 pm

        It’s a shame that our country is run by war mongers who don’t even know how wars are actually won. It is some consolation to me that this whole effort is doomed to failure, because sooner or later American imperialism will be just another bubble that bursts, like the housing bubble, the internet bubble, etc.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 2:25 pm

        I think they actually do know how wars are actually won–they just figure they will be winners, and not without some historical insight. Those most key to the bubbles you mention are still in charge of the hen house.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 2:30 pm

        Yeah, but the problem continues to be that they no longer own the hens. China, India and Europe do.

    • yonira
      January 2, 2010, 8:38 pm

      So Israel was behind that attempted bombing also? You never cease to amaze me. And get your facts straight (for once). The full body scanner wasn’t being used in Amsterdam, it was not yet available.

      Your conspiracy theories are getting a little bit old Rehmat.

  21. VR
    January 2, 2010, 12:26 pm

    Not to be contrary, but I think it is amusing what some think is “radical.” This is because the goal posts have moved by the intransigence of the world system of domination and exploitation. So we call ourselves radical when we merely opt for what is just and true, like so many children being disobedient to their parents – when in reality this has nothing to do with what the peoples relationship is supposed to be to these rogue states. It does not matter how much the system bristles at the contrary activity – because they have defined the lines of demarcation, and some walk to what they perceive to be the limits of the envelope and congratulate themselves.

    If you think some protesting is going to change anything, just remember the large amount of protests, marches, and speeches globally made up to the Iraq war – did it stop anything? To accomplish anything we are going to have to move beyond what is “radically acceptable” to the status quo, that is, what will shut down this process of war and oppression. This is because you have swallowed the status quo defined limits and if nothing has changed, who is helped? You merely feel good about what you think you did, but all you did was minimal because you received the “permission” of the illegitimate entities to trivialize the impact by a tiny amount of people entering Gaza, and the atrocities march on.

    I do not agree with everything a person like Derfner says, but I know he is correct about this while addressing the Israelis – “…there’s going to be Operation Cast Lead II, then Operation Cast Lead III, and each one is going to be worse than the last, and the consequences for Palestinians and Israelis are going to be unimaginable.” His concern is primarily what it will do to Israel (just like his bogus descriptions of who the people Gaza are – some sort of disconnected entity, and that all the leadership of the oppressed wants to do is destroy Israel).

    We have to stop thinking within the defined parameters of what these governments (which are just a reflection of the will of the elite few moneyed interest) find acceptable or palatable, otherwise they will always keep doing exactly what they want to the designs of the few. Malcolm X said the black man is not supposed to get upset, because than he becomes “the angry black man.” He put it in the context of a lynching, he is not supposed to cry out or struggle, fight back, or try to escape – he is supposed to sing “We Shall Overcome” as he is lynched. I guess protesting is ok as long as you are safe, after all what did it cost you?

    • Todd
      January 2, 2010, 12:29 pm

      I agree, V. Marching isn’t radical, and nothing will change from within.

    • Chaos4700
      January 2, 2010, 12:35 pm

      I think what’s really sad, is that American politics and culture have become so subverted by greed, racism and conservatism that activities that would have been commonplace a few decades ago — like protest marches — are now considered “radical” in the United States.

      I suspect if the founding fathers could see the country they gave birth to, where it is today… they would be thoroughly appalled.

    • Citizen
      January 2, 2010, 1:24 pm

      That’s the beauty of the all-volunteer military we have. Plus, isn’t it a great temp jobs program? Didn’t WW2 get us out of the Great Depression? You should look forward
      to attacking Iran to save our only real buddy/\.

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 8:44 pm

        It wasn’t a volunteer army during WWII citizen

  22. David Samel
    January 2, 2010, 12:26 pm

    Phil, thanks for the informative and comprehensive report. I cannot help thinking, though, that the bad guys won. The purpose of the March was to generate a high-profile event dramatizing how the world has allowed Israel, Egypt and the US to impose utter misery on a defenseless population. The Egyptian authorities managed to forcefully thwart that purpose with some brutality but not enough to create an international incident that could not be ignored. The 1400 brave souls who travelled there should be highly commended, but I am at a loss to even formulate any lessons learned.

    • Citizen
      January 2, 2010, 1:37 pm

      The biggest lesson for Americans is our tv news media, where most Americans get
      most of their news, including the summaries of 2009 hilights delivered yesterday and the day before, did not even mention Gaza.

  23. VR
    January 2, 2010, 12:40 pm

    Nothing is going to change until we learn some real systemic disdain that causes the upheavals necessary, and reform is not the ticket.


    You cannot split rotten wood.

  24. AJM
    January 2, 2010, 1:18 pm

    Sorry if this has already been linked. A very intelligent, if rather long and academic, analysis by Saree Makdisi of Zionist ‘excavating of memory’, especially with reference to Jerusalems ‘Museum of Tolerance’ (built on an ancient Palestinian graveyard). If nothing else, chapter 11 and 12 are very intelligent, contrasting Liebermans honest racism and main stream Zionisms ‘denial of denial’ of the other:
    link to
    Also includes Anthony Loewenstein. I wish the language of occupation and racism was decoded more often.

    Respect to all the marchers, at least they can say they got off their arses and made their voice heard over all the propaganda. Egypts complicity is sickening, if not surprising.

  25. Citizen
    January 2, 2010, 1:46 pm

    The Israel Project’s bible for spinning the news (google Israel Dictionary) regarding the I-P scenario and the USA’s
    government role in it makes a special point of not dwelling on the I-P historical past, as in
    that’s old news, let’s move forward, tackle the now (similar to Obama approach to Shrub
    regime’s attack on our domestic privacy and free speech, and on torture).

    Simultaneously, whenever a critic of USA or Israel foreign policy and implementation or funding of same brings up some annoying facts, AIPAC and Israel trot out The Shoah.
    The lesson is, if history can be included to buttress the status quo, it will be; but if
    history is included to change the status quo (more dead Pal kids, more US tax dollars for Israel, more US grunts indirectly aiding Israel), then it should be ignored as out-dated
    and a red herring on the way to the Crystal Palace.

    Who said you can’t have it both ways?

    • Citizen
      January 2, 2010, 1:51 pm

      The formula is simple: Shoah Yes, Nakba, No. And BTW, don’t ever get into
      how all those terrorist groups once were aided and abetted by the USA and/or Israel.
      The USSR came tumbling down. To those billions of people in the Third World, the old USSR and current USA and/or Israel are the same oppressors. It really does depend on where you literally stand, no? Do you really care why somebody is mugging you, robbing you, killing your family? Who likes to view themselves as merely collateral damage?

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 2:20 pm

        The understanding is:

        1. Jews suffered and were desparate and needed a home
        2. Palestinians and Arabs attempted to deny Jews immigration and co-existence
        3. A war was fought in which both communities sought to and did displace the other
        4. Jordan did not afford a right of Jews to return to their homes in Hebron, Jerusalem and Israel did not afford a right of Palestinians to return to their former homes.
        5. The present is different. There is the possibility of mutual acceptance, clarification of borders, compensation and other means to right prior wrongs, and the possibility of mutual apology.

      • Citizen
        January 2, 2010, 2:44 pm

        Jews needed a place to go after Hitler took power.
        It was easy for the western powers to go along with: send the Jews to Palestine.
        But that’s actually a facile take because the seminal document was the Balfour letter attendant the politics of WW1, way before Hitler. Truth is, the Balfour Declaration bought American and English Jewish support of WW1 and America’s
        entry into it, alongside of course, the Brits at the time the USA entered WW1 were in no condition to pay back the USA military-industrial complex’s loans to England, many Jewish American capitalists involved.

        The Balfour letter to Lord Rothschild included not only a western force for Jews to have their own place, but simultaneously, it was not suppose to be at the expense or the natives, and expressly this was so.

        But it was, and and has been. And nobody but Hamas expresses this. The reward courtesy of the Western powers and Israel is that Hamas is black listed
        as a humane entity.

        This is simple history. If you deny it, please explain your thinking and furnish support–thank you.

        Also, please explain why Harry Truman crossed out the words “Jewish state” in his letter recognizing the self-proclaimed state of Israel eleven minute later, and why Harry substituted “state of Israel.”

      • Shingo
        January 2, 2010, 5:09 pm

        1. Zionists wanted someone else’s home and took it. Jews needed protection, not a home and most Jews rejected the idea of a home, but were forced to turn to Palestine because Zionists wanted it to be populated by Jews.
        2. Palestinians and Arabs attempted to deny Jews stealing their land. The Ziinist foundrs made it clear they had no desire to so-exist. Co-existence would have meant no Israel.
        3. 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed, not becase of the war, but in spite of it. This had been the Zionist plan all along.
        4. Israel denied all 750,000 the right of return. Only a handful of Jews lived in Hebron and now control it, even though it resides in Palestinian territory,
        5. Israel has no desire to accept the Palestinians. Tzipi Livni said that Palestinian need to accept that their future lies outside of Israel.

        Any questions.

      • jimby
        January 2, 2010, 6:31 pm

        The British tried to get the Jews to go to Uganda. They anticipated difficulty in the holy land and certain promises had been made to the Arabs. Too bad that offer was rejected.

      • Donald
        January 2, 2010, 7:44 pm

        “1. Jews suffered and were desparate and needed a home
        2. Palestinians and Arabs attempted to deny Jews immigration and co-existence”

        Half-truths. I agree that Arabs bear some blame for the conflict, if we are going back to the pre WWII days. But Arabs knew perfectly well that the Zionists intended to build a Jewish state in their land and there’s no people on earth that would have accepted that. I wish there had been a large scale movement of Arabs allied with Judah Magnes or someone like that, but I don’t blame them for seeing mainstream Zionism as their enemy.

      • wondering jew
        January 2, 2010, 8:17 pm

        Harry Truman first wrote “the Jewish state” because he did not know the name of the state at that moment. Once the name of the state became known to him, he crossed out the descriptive phrase “Jewish state” and wrote “state of Israel”.

        It is highly likely that the Balfour Declaration was an attempt to move the Jewish population of the United States (and Russia) to support the war effort against Germany. There is no proof that it was the essential cause of America’s entrance into the war. If Zionists claim that they were essential to America’s entrance into the war this is not proof, only boasting to push Britain to pay off their promise.

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 11:02 pm

        “Knew perfectly well”.

        If the holocaust hadn’t occurred, the migration to Israel would not have been a need, and an accusation of intentional displacement of Arabs might be a supportable argument (likely in a very very much smaller geographic region, as many prior Zionist written proposals indicate).

        But, the holocaust did occur. Western states did refuse immigration beyond token numbers of European refugees. Survivors were harrassed upon return to their former homes. Courageous leaders did arrange and courageous survivors did make the difficult journeys. Competent and committed leaders did develop the social institutions of governance.

        Reality. Not ideology. Not conspiracy. Not colonialism.

        1973 is what kicked the settlement project into high gear. Before that, the attitude of the Israeli government was that the occupied land was occupied, temporarily per provisions in the Geneva Conventions.

        After 1973, the Arab world started the oil embargo, terror shifted into high gear, and most importantly politically, the labor government lost to the precursor of likud, with design and orchestration of the settlement enterprise.

        That is when the colonial enterprise began in earnest.

        The repitition of denunciation and condemnation, INSTEAD of focusing on goal and change, harms the effort for a viable Palestine.

        The two-state solution is not dead for a long time. When the minorities in each state reach 35%, then it could said as dead, and single state is natural.

        It is a horrible tragedy that the zealousness of the far left so contributes to the delay of that viable and rational goal.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 2:40 pm

        So that the Zionist perspective is thoroughly understood:

        A) The Palestinian nation is subservient to European Jewish immigration onto their land.

        B) Palestinian human rights — the right of return to their own homeland, among them — is subservient to European Jewish immigration onto their land.

        In other words, under Zionism, the nation of Palestine is deprived of its right to control immigration. Meanwhile, the nation of Israel is privileged to deny the rights of Palestinians to return to their own homeland.

    • Kathleen
      January 2, 2010, 3:20 pm

      The Bible is the biggest PR scam of all times. This land belongs to the Jews

      It is a fucking history book and we know about how those in control of writing the history can spin what took place.
      god told Moses this and that. God what a science fiction piece of hogwash. A bunch of Jewish guys writing their interpretation of the history at that point. What a brilliant real estate scam

      Oy vey.

      Real Estate Company …Century 2000 B.C.
      Real Estate Salesman ..Moses
      Cost…………….. Hundreds of thousands of lives
      Non Jews need not apply

      What a crock of shit

      • MHughes976
        January 2, 2010, 6:19 pm

        Don’t be too hard on the Bible, Kathleen. It was written – or took a form generally like that we know – by the poets and historians of a people with little power, who believed that they had lost what power their ancestors had once had. They told a story about God’s having planted a people in a certain place so that they could set an example of good and humane living and win over the whole world – and then about the tragic failure of the people to live up to God’s purposes, which would have to start afresh. So beautiful and compelling was this story that many people with little connection to the land in question were indeed won over – Shlomo Sand is good on this – presumably finding that it gave their lives a sense of purpose and morality. It wouldn’t have succeeded so well if it had just been a scam. But it seems as if the beautiful story has been interpreted so that ugly consequences follow.

  26. VR
    January 2, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Let me know when you are ready to discuss what is necessary to produce real change in the current course.

    “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove not only from our land but from our minds as well.”
    — Frantz Fanon


    • Kathleen
      January 2, 2010, 3:21 pm

      Cut off the aid to Israel

      • VR
        January 2, 2010, 4:14 pm

        And when trying to do this does not work Kathleen, what is next?

      • potsherd
        January 2, 2010, 4:29 pm

        It is the right direction. It addresses the real source of the problem.

      • VR
        January 2, 2010, 4:42 pm

        Let me rephrase this for potsherd – what are you going to do when they do not stop giving the so-called “aid” to Israel? Because this is what is going to happen, they have no intention of stopping.

      • potsherd
        January 2, 2010, 4:47 pm

        Indict them all for bribery and imprison them.

      • VR
        January 2, 2010, 4:52 pm

        How do you propose to indict them all of bribery and imprison them when you have 90 plus percent of both houses, including the executive branch espousing and maintaining such a process? I might add, I think contrary to the collective majority will of the American people – who for the most part find it wrong to maintain one side (supported by innumerable polls), the Israeli side.

      • potsherd
        January 2, 2010, 6:02 pm

        You answer your own question. The answer is to mobilize the collective majority will of the American people.

      • VR
        January 2, 2010, 9:23 pm

        That is ok potsherd, I can see that we are headed back to some sort of systemic answer with your reply, that is, what people have said previously about vote them in – out, or something of that nature. The answer clearly relates to this question – how and why, for what purpose, do you mobilize the collective of the American people? If it is to go through the same repeated processes that have proven themselves useless over the years, it does us no good.

        No, what has to be done is nothing short of revolutionary. It should have happened years ago, because power, as expressed in this system, never willingly steps down or surrenders. We could bring ourselves to the level of resistance that was done during the Roosevelt era, but as you can see eventually, everything reduces back to the same old process. That is because America started out as a polyarchy (ruled by the so-called moneyed/propertied “responsible class”), and always eventually reverts to a form of oligarchy – it never has been a democracy. Also, to say that the people make it a democracy by their will is to constantly in tension, and that always eventually fails because the people are played for their divisive interests.

        What is necessary is a revolution which totally changes the systemic activity to the real will of the people – but to get people to this point means that they have to wake up like Shay’s rebellion, and understand that they have been played for dupes for the will of the few. That all of the documents of the Constitution, and the ornate developed corpus of law are a joke, being played against the people – there is no representation of the people in either the Senate or the House Of Representatives, there is no judicial remedy because all of the “findings” are for the few. The rapidly receding upper to lower “middle class” is nothing but fat around the midsection of the will of the few (as represented by the reigning corporate entities, etc.).

        The only way it is going to change is to really change it, by any means necessary. A dismantling so that these tragedies do not continue, both foreign and domestic.

  27. MHughes976
    January 2, 2010, 3:02 pm

    I concur with the view that the bad guys have once again won. Only in dribs and drabs are people are seeing the reality of the situation but dribs and drabs is better than what used to be when the veil of ignorance seemed to be impenetrable.
    I’m off in a couple of days to a small exhibition in a small English town – boring?! – of chidren’s art from Gaza. Not making waves, I suppose, merely putting a few drops in a bucket. Still, better than absolutely nothing. I know that the organisers had a few problems – it wasn’t total censorship – in finding a venue. Fear and trembling over the provenance of the exhibits – presumably because ‘terrorists’ and ‘anti-Semites’ might be standing like black shadows over the innocent child daubers. A ridiculous and paradoxical situation – horrible things happen and we quake before mere words.
    Well, there’s no denying that words are important. The concepts of terrorism and anti-Semitism worry and trouble us.

  28. Kathleen
    January 2, 2010, 3:23 pm

    Noam over at Democracy now
    NOAM CHOMSKY: “Gaza: One Year Later”
    link to

    Noam cuts through the bullshit

    • Richard Witty
      January 2, 2010, 6:35 pm

      Noam adds some bullshit, cuts through some.

      And ends with the requirement of a mass movement speaking in the same terms as he does.

      Again and again, an approach that emphasizes positive values rather than requiring adoption of the litany of condemnations, will appeal to those with sympathies towards human beings, civilians. And, that is the majority of Americans, hopefully, and more likely the majority of Jews.

      The civil rights movement rested on “eyes on the prize”. It opposed injustices, but focused on the goal. It regarded the policies and actions as the problem and not the identity, and did not seek collective punishment in response to collective punishment.

      It sought reconciliation.

      The civil rights movement is the most apt and effective parallel model.

      Harrassment and litanies of condemnations alienates the majority of prospective supporters of movements. It says to prospective supporters, “They could turn on me if I am not politically correct by their judgement, and its not that important to me. I’ll stay away.”

      • Cliff
        January 2, 2010, 7:41 pm

        Witty, tell us what the bullshit was.

        Make a substantiated argument. Counter his argument. Provide facts?

        Did you even respond to my post earlier about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine? You just vanished (predictably).

        You’re such a shameless fraud.

      • Donald
        January 2, 2010, 8:17 pm

        “The civil rights movement rested on “eyes on the prize”. It opposed injustices, but focused on the goal. It regarded the policies and actions as the problem and not the identity, and did not seek collective punishment in response to collective punishment.

        It sought reconciliation.

        The civil rights movement is the most apt and effective parallel model.”

        As others have pointed out, white moderates in those days played the role that you play now–they were obstacles, the people crying out against the civil rights protestors, complaining that they were only causing trouble because it felt threatening to Southern whites.

        But before I get back to that, do we have here an acknowledgement that Israel has been using collective punishment, say with the Gaza blockade? And if so, is that also an admission that this is wrong?

        It’d be a big step forward if you could forthrightly admit this. You think that boycotting Israel would be collective punishment (and it would be, if it was conducted as harshly and sadistically as Israel’s blockade of Gaza). And you think that is wrong. So can we have an admission that it cuts both ways?

        What I get from you (and also from some other Israel supporters I’ve seen) is that saving face is all-important. You’re not going to support a just peace unless it is offered in a way that allows you (or the Zionist side) to avoid unpleasant admissions of guilt (using the Zionist right as a convenient scapegoat can only go so far). Again, growing up in the South right after Jim Crow gives me some insight into this–a great many whites were (reluctantly) willing to allow blacks to have the same civil rights as whites, but at that time they were not about to admit that their beloved Southern culture was deeply tainted with racism. They were too wedded to a certain self-image of their history and culture to give that up.

        It didn’t matter in the South–in the 1960’s, with a handful of exceptions, nobody was willing to use violence to avoid the cultural humiliation of having the Federal government impose civil rights on the South. It had been different 100 years earlier.

        I think you see harsh criticism of Israel as the same sort of threat many white Southerners saw in the civil rights movement. It was a threat to their self-image then, just as criticism of Zionism is a threat to you.

        Real reconciliation is going to involve some painful admissions from your side, Witty. Not that I’m predicting real reconciliation is likely to happen. But if it does, it’s going to involve some much deeper soul-searching than you seem willing to engage in. Which is fine–you don’t live there anyway.

      • Richard Witty
        January 3, 2010, 12:06 pm

        What was “pointed out”, was a Martin Luther King quote decrying “liberal moderates”, but that was at a specific time and place, in which he was critical of first the Kennedy administration and later the Johnson administration (less so), delaying and softening civil rights legislation in some tentativeness relative to resistant southern democrat legislators.

        Martin Luther King was VERY APPRECIATIVE of the financial support and presence at mass demonstrations of liberal moderates.

        Don’t get confused Donald.

      • Todd
        January 3, 2010, 12:40 pm


        Segregation was a thing of the past before I was born, but I still have to disagree with you on a few points.

        I don’t believe that many in the South ever denied that racism was a part of their culture. From my experience, most of the older people I have known viewed Northerners as hypocritical on the issue of race. A typical view is that race was used after the Civil War and beyond as a means to control the region. There is some truth to that view. The belief in white superiority was explicit among many in the North for most of the nation’s history. If anything, it is Northerners who refuse to look at their past and examine their own culture.

        I have a hard time comparing Zionism to the culture of the South. Even Zionists tend to compare themselves to the manifest destiny era of the North that massacred and displaced the Indians of the plains and the West. I tend to accept the Zionists’ own comparison here . The treatment of blacks in the South was poor, but power was often exercised on the local level– and war was never waged against blacks by governments in the South. As bad as things were, blacks were allowed property, and state militias were not organized against them.

        The Zionist analogy also falls apart in that blacks weren’t indigenous to the South, either. Add the fact that Israelis have never lived under a corrupt and vengeful Palestinian elite as whites were forced to do in many cases after the Civil War, and there is even less reason to compare Israel to the South.

        I’m not even sure that examining the WASP culture of the North matters at this point, but I certainly see no reason to allow anyone to use any participation in the Civil Rights movement to grant themselves sainthood or political capital when they supported what was happening in Palestine before, during and after the civil rights struggles of the post WWII era.

    • Shingo
      January 2, 2010, 7:37 pm

      “Noam adds some bullshit, cuts through some.”

      Why not elaborate on what Bullshit he adds or do you need more time to compile one of your nonesensical posts first?

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 7:41 pm

        I suspect he cannot, so asking that of him is almost certainly a waste of time. After all, why make an intelligent response when an ad hominem is cheaper and more distracting?

  29. Richard Parker
    January 2, 2010, 6:15 pm

    This is the third time Ive written this message, which was fucked up by your message software. If you pout in more links than it wants, it calls you a spammer, and sends you back, where your carefully written message has disappeared

  30. Richard Parker
    January 2, 2010, 6:39 pm

    Thanks, Phil, for your update from Gaza. Your own solution to the problem seems possible, if not perfect. I wish you luck with it.

    Shared taxis from Cairo to Rafah could have infiltrated enough people to make a visible demonstration.

    But visible demonstrations are not enough. They are very small and almost invisible to the wider world.

    Imagine 1500 Palestinians arriving in New York, parading around, moseying down to Times Square, pretending to be tourists, and then making themselves into a flash mob and disrupting the traffic.

    Not many New Yorkers would like that.

    I have suggested another protest method, possibly more suited to the internet age:

    Publish photos of the Gaza carnage.

    I posted ‘Child of Gaza’ link to
    a year ago, and so far, there have been 3680 views.

    10 per day is not a lot, but represents a few who might change their minds, and perhaps those already convinced.

    125 of those views have happened since I mentioned it in this relatively small forum

    • yonira
      January 2, 2010, 7:54 pm

      I read the comments section on under that photo. People were about 50/50. Some even went as far as saying perhaps Hamas should bare at least some responsibility for the carnage.

    • Chaos4700
      January 2, 2010, 9:23 pm

      Remind us again, how many children died as a result of Hamas attacks, yonira? How many F-16s do are in the Hamas Air Force? How much white phosphorous did the US donate to Hamas last year?

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 9:36 pm

        Cast Lead was a response to the rocket fire Chaos. Rocket fire which was fired by Hamas. Hamas has a duty to protect its citizens. Without the rocket fire there wouldn’t have been Cast Lead.

        And forget Chaos response #3 (November 4th) because regardless of who started/ended the cease fire, Hamas knew there was a chance for an Israeli reprisal, but they still didn’t stop the rockets.

        Israel is ultimately responsibly for the death tolls during Cast Lead, the use of WP is unwarranted and those who ordered its use should be punished, but to say Hamas bears no responsibility for the escalation of violence is absurd. Even your beloved Goldstone report says that much.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 9:40 pm

        So your argument, yonira, is that the IDF is run by unsentient irrational brutes who lash out at women and children with the slightest provocation, and Hamas should have anticipated that the lumbering Zionist hulk would not respond to either international law nor to cease fire?

        Don’t limit yourself to just November 4th, the bigger picture reveals just who is responsible for the endless cycle of murder.

        We defined “conflict pauses” as periods of one or more days when no one is killed on either side, and we asked which side kills first after conflict pauses of different durations. As shown in Figure 2, this analysis shows that it is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict: 79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern — in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause — becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.

        link to

        Israel is definitively responsible for escalating violence, not Hamas, and the factual data bears that out.

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 9:54 pm

        We defined “conflict pauses” as periods of one or more days when no one is killed on either side, and we asked which side kills first after conflict pauses of different durations.

        So Israel should just sit back and wait until a citizen is killed? So basically the rockets are non-violent?

        Are you saying that Hamas did absolutely nothing wrong? In your opinion have they ever? Is firing rockets with no guidance systems not a war crime? I can admit that the use of WP in a populated area is a war crime, I’ve done it several times on here.

        So your argument, yonira, is that the IDF is run by unsentient irrational brutes who lash out at women and children with the slightest provocation

        Don’t be ridiculous, my argument is not that Israel is going out and killing women and children on purpose. if that were the case why wouldn’t they just wipe out gaza like Hama was wiped out by the the Syrians or Sabra and Shatilla was wiped out by the Lebanse Christian Phalangists. (Although Sharon/Israel must bear responsibility for allowing it to happen)

        Search Hamas and Human shield once in Google, here is a taste:

        link to

        I can admit readily that Israel bears responsibility for their actions and is guilty of war crimes. Can you do the same for Hamas?

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 9:55 pm

        wow, sorry for the HTML ineptness.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 10:05 pm

        Wow, Yonira, the same discredited MEMRI video you always show.

        How about a search for IDF and human shield? That way you get actual footage of the crimes in progress, as documented by Amnesty International:

        link to

        The IDF doesn’t target civilians, huh?

        link to

        So, yonira, your argument is that Hamas should and sit back and wait for civilians to be killed by Israel? Because if they don’t, Israel will just open up with every tank, F-16 and mortar on every home, mosque and hospital in Palestinian territory?

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 10:06 pm

        wow, sorry for the HTML ineptness.

        Your ineptitude, you mean? Don’t worry, that’s only the least offensive ineptitude you demonstrate, really.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 10:10 pm

        I also continue to be mortified that your argument, yonira, is that unless the IDF actually manages to slaughter every last man, woman and child in Gaza, they can’t be put on trial for war crimes. Whereas if Hamas fires even one unguided rocket across it’s border, that’s a war crime.

        The very definition of apartheid — one set of rules for one group (Israeli, whose society is composed mostly from Jews of European descent) and another for Palestinians (well, and really, the rest of the world)

      • MRW
        January 2, 2010, 10:23 pm

        Utterly ridiculous, yonira.

        Cast Lead was a response to the rocket fire Chaos. Rocket fire which was fired by Hamas. Hamas has a duty to protect its citizens. Without the rocket fire there wouldn’t have been Cast Lead.

        Channel 4 – London
        Who Broke The Cease Fire – Hamas or Israel 2008
        Mark Regev admits Hamas didn’t fire any rockets before Israel broke the cease fire in November.
        link to

        Israel broke the truce on Nov 4, 2008 by killing six Palestinians. See video for British TV count of rockets fired between June 2008 and Nov 2008.

        Operation Cast Lead was planned for months before it happened.

        “Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 10:29 pm

        Wow, that’s funny Chaos, because I said that it was a war crime in my previous post.

        You are a scholar of Arabic, are you saying that wasn’t the translation? And don’t act all high and mighty Chaos, you are showing me posts from the Huffington Post and claiming them to be factual data.

        One last attempt Chaos, is the use of unguided rockets and other munitions aimed at civilians and civilian infrastructure a war crime?

        There is a difference between apartheid and occupation, both are shitty, but the apartheid argument doesn’t hold water because Gaza and the WB are occupied and the citizenry are not Israel or 3/5s Israel, or even 1/5 Israel for the matter.

        On a side note, not political in nature, I watched District 9 today which was a South African Sci Fi movie which is analogous to Apartheid SA, but this time with Aliens!!!!

        link to

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 10:35 pm

        MRW, so there were no rockets fired after November 4th?

      • James Bradley
        January 2, 2010, 10:41 pm

        Yonira you should know that the translation in that video is VERY skewed and the speaker is in no way, shape or form alluding to the fact that Hamas used Palestinians as human shields.

        You should also know that MEMRI is a propaganda organization whose sole objective is to demonize Arabs and Muslims.

        link to

      • James Bradley
        January 2, 2010, 10:44 pm

        so there were no rockets fired after November 4th?

        Yes, there were rockets fired after November 4th, but this was AFTER Israel had murdered several Palestinians.

        Furthermore, Hamas made several gestures to reinstate the truce, all of which were refused by Israel, which continued dropping 2 ton bombs on civilian infrastructure and homes.

        Operation Cast Lead was planned well before November 4th, this is public knowledge that has been pointed out to you several times, yet you still apologize for Israeli crimes against humanity.

      • VR
        January 2, 2010, 10:45 pm

        We will add this to the file yonira when you proclaim “what have I supported?” Thanks for the working files…lol

      • Richard Witty
        January 2, 2010, 11:05 pm

        “Public knowledge”.

        Bull. Operation Cast Lead was one of a dozen gamed scenarios, one that was chosen from the frustration that Israelis experienced after such a basis of hope that Hamas would commit to reconciliation rather than escalation.

      • yonira
        January 2, 2010, 11:05 pm

        Do you speak Arabic? What is the real translation? I didn’t know it was so factually in accurate.

        In retrospect do you think a better gesture to the Israelis would have been to stop the missiles, then offer a cease fire?

        Do you all deny that Olmert was on Al-Arabiya pleading w/ Hamas to knock it off?

        Also, the ceasefire expired on Dec 19th/20th and HAMAS decided not to renew it.

        link to

        Were each rocket fired between June 19th and November 4th also crime’s against humanity? How about the 213 rockets and 126 mortar shells fired into Israel between November 4th and Dec 18th? are those crimes against humanity? They are definitely war crimes.

        Of course Cast Lead was planned before November 4th, that is what you do as a military, you have contingency plans in place. James, what did Hamas plan to do with a tunnel into Israel?

        Planning a war is a crime against humanity?

        Done playing for tonight boys and girls, look forward to hearing your responses though :)

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 11:37 pm

        Wow, it’s like the Earth temporarily ceased to exist for yonira and Witty for the duration of November 4th.

        Just so you guys know, Obama won the election. I suppose you might be wondering about that, since apparently you both spent the entire day in stasis.

      • Chaos4700
        January 2, 2010, 11:52 pm

        So yonira, you concede that Israel planned to bomb and shell all those mosques, hospitals, factories, water infrastructure, schools, farms and UN facilities in Gaza?

        Firing crude munitions when you can’t guarantee that you won’t be killing civilians (i.e. Hamas’ rockets) is a war crime, but firing state of the art munitions (i.e. F-16s, close range tank cannons) at targets you are guaranteed to slaughter civilians in (mosques, hospiutals, refugee camps, etc) isn’t a war crime?

        Was that tunnel in Israel? I don’t believe it was, actually. To say nothing of how an incomplete tunnel is an immediate existential threat. Or how dropping a bomb on six people standing on the surface somehow stopped them from digging a tunnel — what technology do the Palestinians possess that allow them to dig a tunnel while standing above ground, pray tell?

        Will yonira ever apply the same rules to Israelis as to Palestinians? Or will he continue to be a snarky racist who will traipse merrily on the corpses of Palestinian children in order to make his point?

      • Shingo
        January 3, 2010, 1:06 am

        “Also, the ceasefire expired on Dec 19th/20th and HAMAS decided not to renew it.”

        Debunked garbage.

        Israel Rejected Hamas Ceasefire Offer in December
        link to

        Furthermore, Olmert bragged about the fact that he interrupted a Bush speach and ordered his to order Rice to abstain from voting on a ceasefire resolution that the US had created.

        link to

        Facts do matter yonira .

      • Shingo
        January 3, 2010, 1:17 am

        “Wow, it’s like the Earth temporarily ceased to exist for yonira and Witty for the duration of November 4th.”

        Appaerntly Yonira didn’t even get the memo from Israel’s own spokesman, who admitted that Hamas fired no rocekts during the ceasefire.

        Israel admits: “No Hamas rockets were fired during ceasefire” FULL INTERVIEW

      • Chaos4700
        January 3, 2010, 1:44 am

        Capital work, Shingo. There’s no way around — yonira’s an ignorant dumb-ass.

        Hey, I call it where I see it.

  31. potsherd
    January 2, 2010, 7:58 pm

    People repeat what they have heard.

  32. Richard Witty
    January 2, 2010, 11:15 pm

    link to

    A graph depicting the number of Palestinian deaths before and during the cease-fire. Note that the Palestinian deaths were very high through June, decreased to near zero until November and SLIGHTLY increased in November and December.

    The assertion that the “cease fire was off” as of November 4 conflicts with the actual statistics.

    link to

    This graph depicts the number of rockets fired from Gaza in the same time period, including the period after the official end of the hudna. Please note that the number of rockets fired in November was close to the number fired prior to the cease fire, and the number fired in December greatly exceeded the number fired during the cease fire.

    These two patterns indicated to me that the cease fire remained ostensibly in effect after the period of intense skirmishes in early November at least by Israel, and was largely restored until the end of the hudna.

    • Chaos4700
      January 2, 2010, 11:33 pm

      Bull. Operation Cast Lead was one of a dozen gamed scenarios, one that was chosen from the frustration that Israelis experienced after such a basis of hope that Hamas would commit to reconciliation rather than escalation.

      So apparently it’s not “hudna” if Israelis are the ones planning and stocking up to attack?

    • Shingo
      January 3, 2010, 1:24 am

      “These two patterns indicated to me that the cease fire remained ostensibly in effect after the period of intense skirmishes in early November at least by Israel, and was largely restored until the end of the hudna.

      That’s not what the stats mean at all.

      The US was vetoing calls for a ceasfirew at the UN throughout December and even when the US did help to produce a resolution for a ceasfire, Israel ordered the Bush administration to obstain from voting.

      There was no ceasefier and Israel rejected all calls for ceasfire.

      The Resolution passed 14 – 0.

  33. Chaos4700
    January 2, 2010, 11:31 pm

    Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End? by Nancy Kanwisher

    How did the recent ceasefire unravel? The mainstream media in the US and Israel places the blame squarely on Hamas. Indeed, a massive barrage of Palestinian rockets were fired into Israel in November and December, and ending this rocket fire is the stated goal of the current Israeli invasion of Gaza. However, this account leaves out crucial facts.

    First, and most importantly, the ceasefire was remarkably effective: after it began in June 2008, the rate of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza dropped to almost zero, and stayed there for four straight months (see Figure 1, from a factsheet produced by the Israeli consulate in NYC). So much for the widespread view, exemplified in yesterday’s New York Times editorial that: “There is little chance of restraining Hamas without dealing with its patrons in Syria and Iran.” Instead, the data shows clearly that Hamas can indeed control the violence if it so chooses, and sometimes it does, for long periods of time.

    Second, and just as important, what happened to end this striking period of peace? On November 4th, Israel killed a Palestinian, an event that was followed by a volley of mortars fired from Gaza. Immediately after that, an Israeli air strike killed six more Palestinians. Then a massive barrage of rockets was unleashed, leading to the end of the ceasefire.

    Thus the latest ceasefire ended when Israel first killed Palestinians, and Palestinians then fired rockets into Israel. However, before attempting to glean lessons from this event, we need to know if this case is atypical, or if it reflects a systematic pattern.

    We decided to tally the data to find out. We analyzed the entire timeline of killings of Palestinians by Israelis, and killings of Israelis by Palestinians, in the Second Intifada, based on the data from the widely-respected Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem (including all the data from September 2000 to October 2008).

    We defined “conflict pauses” as periods of one or more days when no one is killed on either side, and we asked which side kills first after conflict pauses of different durations. As shown in Figure 2, this analysis shows that it is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict: 79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern — in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause — becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.

  34. Kathleen
    January 3, 2010, 1:01 am

    the link above to one of Noam’s recent talks. Always worth the listen

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