A Jewish reporter in Gaza responds to Jane Eisner

US Politics
on 55 Comments

Today, Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of the of The Jewish Daily Forward wrote a piece called “Why the Forward Sent a Brave Reporter to Gaza,” in which she described the decision to send their Middle East correspondent, Naomi Zeveloff, to Gaza for a three day reporting trip. She writes that the decision to send Zeveloff, who is Jewish, was “mulled over for many months” and required “complex planning.”

Eisner’s assumption is that Gaza is a dangerous place for a Jewish journalist to visit, even for a couple of interviews on a subject as non-controversial as psychological trauma. This viewpoint is shared by Eisner’s colleague at the Forward, JJ Goldberg, who put it into blunt terms last summer while debating The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah on Democracy Now!, claiming “I’d be shot” upon stepping foot into Gaza. Ironically, Goldberg’s claim is a succinct description of Israel’s “buffer zone” policy, in which any Palestinian who walks within a loosely-interpreted 300 meters of the border is shot by an Israeli soldier or remote-control machine gun.

Cohen reporting on al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades in Gaza during a recent month-long trip.

As a journalist who happens to be Jewish and having spent almost four months on the ground in Gaza including the last weeks of the war last summer, it is clear to me that Eisner knows nothing of reality on the ground in Gaza.  More than anything else, Eisner’s hysteria over sending Zeveloff to a place where journalists – Jewish and gentile — make regular visits, exposes her anti-Palestinian racism.

Eisner wrote about a rocket launch Zeveloff heard while she sat in a beachside hotel as “a frightening introduction to everyday life in Gaza.” Zeveloff featured a quote from an interviewee saying the rocket is the “soundtrack” to Gaza.

Since the final ceasefire last summer, however, rockets have been few and far between. If there is a soundtrack to Gaza, it is the incessant hum of drones and roar of F16s punctuated by Israeli gunfire and the laughter of children.

Palestinian children in Gaza. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Palestinian children in Gaza. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

This is not to say there is no element of danger in Gaza. I can recall several moments when I was fearful. However, these instances were results of Israeli violence. For instance, in mid-May, I attended a Nakba Day demonstration where unarmed Palestinian protesters marched towards the Nahal Oz border crossing and Israeli soldiers immediately shot three people in the legs just a few meters away from me (as JJ Goldberg projected). I spent many days walking around on ruins on homes, fully aware of the possibility of detonation of an Israeli ordnance buried under the rubble. I went into the buffer zone, knowing that the only thing protecting me was the soldier tasked with choosing who to shoot recognizing that I am not Palestinian.

But the danger from Israeli violence doesn’t end in the Gaza Strip. Last year I was used as a human shield by Israeli soldiers while photographing in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp, and that night was held at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers who then threw a flash grenade as they released me. I’ve been repeatedly threatened and spit on at right-wing Israeli demonstrations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Eisner’s anti-Palestinian racism reinforces the propaganda of the Israeli government and groups like the Anti-Defamation League, who published a survey claiming the Gaza Strip and West Bank are the world’s epicenter of anti-Semitism — a study so deeply flawed that the Forward itself published a short critique of it.

In my experience, if Palestinians in Gaza pose a threat to the health of professional journalists who happen to be Jewish, it’s only by offering too much food and sweets.

Editor’s Note: Dan Cohen incorrectly stated that Naomi Zeveloff’s article did not mention the subsequent Israeli bombing after the rocket she witnessed. This article has been updated to reflect that.

About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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55 Responses

  1. James North
    June 9, 2015, 1:45 pm

    Dan Cohen. A moral giant — and an outstanding reporter.

    • just
      June 9, 2015, 1:50 pm

      Ditto!

      • Krauss
        June 9, 2015, 2:21 pm

        Dan shows why independent journalism is so critically important. He has Western/Jewish privilege in the sense that he can make himself heard in the Western media in a way that an Arab and/or Palestinian journalist probably can’t.

        That’s an issue which is tied to Eisner’s bigotry, the fact that we discount Palestinian voices as extremist and less “worthy” than Western, and especially Jewish Western, voices on all matters Israel/Palestine.

        If there was no independent journalism, nobody would challenge the coccoon of racism that the Forward/NYT/NPR and the rest of them live in.

  2. just
    June 9, 2015, 1:46 pm

    When I read Eisner’s racist and pejorative piece this morning, I immediately thought of you, Dan.

    You hit it out of the park! Bless you. You are a dear and kind man. You represent the very finest of journalists~ you are inimitable, indefatigable, and truthful.

    • bintbiba
      June 9, 2015, 6:56 pm

      @just

      ” You hit it out of the park! Bless you. You are a dear and kind man. You represent the very finest of journalists~ you are inimitable, indefatigable, and truthful.”
      – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/jewish-reporter-responds#sthash.u15eFxri.dpuf

      Beautifully said, ‘Just’

      Dan Cohen,

      I am sure I can speak for most Palestinians who are aware of what you have done and do in Gaza ; you have our eternal
      Respect and Gratitude, laced as well with a bushel of love .

      • ziusudra
        June 10, 2015, 12:27 am

        Greetings bintbiba,
        One more Mensch, who we admire coming from the Jewish Faith, Dan Cohen.
        ziusudra
        PS The photo group’s eyes radiate Menschkeit.

  3. Memphis
    June 9, 2015, 1:48 pm

    Love the pics of the smiling kids. They put a smile on my face. Great work, Dan. Keep up the good work, and exposing the lies and propaganda we are faced with daily.

    • Pippilin
      June 10, 2015, 1:16 pm

      I especially love the photo of the reporter and the kids all of whom are wearing what looks like warm winter clothing. The kindness of many makes me feel warm too. I have been concerned about how well or not Palestinian refugees everywhere survived the very cold winter.

  4. eljay
    June 9, 2015, 1:54 pm

    Thank you for your article, Mr. Cohen. :-)

  5. Kris
    June 9, 2015, 1:58 pm

    Thank you for this excellent essay, Dan Cohen.

    From the editorial in The Forward:

    Shaban (a Palestinian) talked fondly about Gaza in the 1980s and 1990s , when Jews from Israel would shop in Gaza City, and Israelis and Palestinians knew each other not only as enemies, but as human beings.

    Many of the Gazans she (the Forward reporter) interviewed worried about how Israel’s repeated military incursions and the blockade are affecting their children’s attitudes toward Jews. Naomi told me about one man whose work takes him back and forth to Israel, and whose comments — anonymously, since he wasn’t authorized by his organization to speak — were so disturbing.

    His children want to know if there are humans in Israel. Do they have children, too? Do they point guns at his head when he’s there?

    “The only thing they know about Israel is about wars, about destruction, about weapons,” he told her. “I tell them that in Israel there is an army, which is ugly and the occupation. Those are dirty things. But there are still good people, nice people.”

    And here’s the really disturbing part: this man’s son, who studies in an American school, didn’t believe him.

    “If they are humans like us, why don’t they let us go see them?” the son asked.

    The article, “Gaza Braces for Next War, but Last One Hasn’t Really Ended,” is very interesting, too. http://forward.com/news/309460/gazans-brace-for-next-war-but-last-one-hasnt-really-ended/

    Good on the Forward for taking what obviously feels to them like a big scary step.

  6. amigo
    June 9, 2015, 2:37 pm

    “I went into the buffer zone, knowing that the only thing protecting me was the soldier tasked with choosing who to shoot recognizing that I am not Palestinian.”

    Hmmmm, how does that work.

    Just asking.

  7. michelle
    June 9, 2015, 4:03 pm

    .
    a great example of a self loving Jewish person/human being
    .
    there can be no love for G-d oneself or ones people without
    first loving truth peace justice equality ….
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  8. eGuard
    June 9, 2015, 5:15 pm

    After this, Jane Eisner’s piece reads like satire. Made me laugh.

  9. just
    June 9, 2015, 5:24 pm

    Because of the Palestinian children pictured above,the ones that are physically and mentally hurt, and the ones that RIP… because of Dan’s excellent reporting from Gaza and the OPT, I am posting this by Ben White here:

    “Ban Ki-moon buckles – and Palestinian children will pay the price

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has overruled his colleagues’ recommendations and removed Israel from a list of parties guilty of grave violations of children’s rights, it was revealed Monday.

    The decision to exclude Israel from the list, part of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict presented to the Security Council, was slammed by human rights groups, who accused Ban Ki-moon of buckling under pressure from Israel and the US.

    Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, had included Israel on the list, and unnamed UN sources cited by Reuters said that “Ban’s decision to override Zerrougui’s recommendation was unusual.” Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), a child’s rights NGO, went further, claiming that this was “believed to be the first time” that the Secretary-General “has not accepted the recommendation” of his special representative.

    DCIP’s general director Khaled Quzmar said Ban Ki-moon had “provided tacit approval for Israeli forces to continue carrying out grave violations against children with impunity.” He added: “It is deplorable that a proven and strong evidence-based accountability tool to protect children during armed conflict has been significantly undermined in an effort to shield Israel from accountability.”

    Human Rights Watch also expressed frustration at the “disappointing” decision. A representative of the group, who had previously urged Ban to “apply consistent standards” and “resist reported pressure from Israel and the United States to remove Israel from the draft list”, said the move was “a blow to UN efforts to better protect children in armed conflict.”

    Zerrougui had listed Israel on the recommendation of local representatives of UN agencies who, like DCIP, Human Rights Watch and others, were in agreement that Israel had committed the relevant grave violations. The suggestion made by anonymous officials to AP that “there were differences of opinion among those on the ground on whether Israel should be listed” is pure deflection.

    What makes the omission of Israel from the annexed list all the more striking is that the report itself makes it clear Israel did commit grave violations of children’s rights as per the Security Council-established Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM). According to the report, 557 Palestinian children were killed in 2014, and 4,249 injured; most casualties, of course, occurring during Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip. …

    …Despite the evidence, Ban caved. In March, reports surfaced that senior UN officials were under “political pressure” not to list Israel. Last week, a Foreign Policy piece described “strenuous opposition from US and Israeli officials”, with a key role being played by American ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. No wonder then, that Israeli envoy to the UN Ron Prosor conceded on Sunday that without the help of the US and Power, Israel “would be in real trouble.”

    Ban’s decision makes a mockery of his own Human Rights up Front initiative, begun in 2013 with the apparent aim that within the UN system, “human rights and the protection of civilians are seen as a system-wide core responsibility.” Omitting Israel also runs contrary to the evidence presented in his own recent report on the death and destruction visited upon UN facilities in Gaza. …

    …This episode demonstrates how Israel is indeed ‘singled out’ – for impunity. More than 50 state and non-state armed parties were included in the list for the 2014 report, on the basis of evidence gathered by agencies and human rights defenders on the ground. Only Israel was removed, after pressure behind closed doors.

    Accountability is not just about bringing the perpetrators of past crimes to justice; it is also about preventing future violations from taking place. The decision by the UN Secretary-General to buckle under pressure shames his office – but it will be Palestinian children who pay the price.”

    Read the entire thing @ https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/19120-ban-ki-moon-buckles-and-palestinian-children-will-pay-the-price

    • bintbiba
      June 9, 2015, 7:10 pm

      Just, many thanks for bringing us this link.

      “Accountability is not just about bringing the perpetrators of past crimes to justice; it is also about preventing future violations from taking place. The decision by the UN Secretary-General to buckle under pressure shames his office – but it will be Palestinian children who pay the price.”

      Read the entire thing @ link to middleeastmonitor.com

      – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/jewish-reporter-responds/comment-page-1#comment-773249

      So nauseatingly sickeningly shameful !!! The total and utter corruption of the top échelons of the UN is now out in the open for all to see .

      • just
        June 9, 2015, 7:20 pm

        As I said yesterday : “This is beneath contempt, and I have nothing but contempt for the UN chief, for Samantha Power, and for Nachson et al. Israel is a serial violator of rights, and if it is not to be on the blacklist of states/organizations “that systematically and continuously harm children during times of conflict”, then nobody is. They do it all the time~ even as I write this! – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/netanyahu-government-combat#sthash.7LZx2iqi.dpuf

        As for your kind comment above, thank you bintbiba. I think that you speak not only for Palestinians, but also for all good humans everywhere with these words:

        “I am sure I can speak for most Palestinians who are aware of what you have done and do in Gaza ; you have our eternal
        Respect and Gratitude, laced as well with a bushel of love” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/jewish-reporter-responds#comment-147616

        Beautifully expressed. Thank you.

  10. Bornajoo
    June 9, 2015, 5:52 pm

    Thank you very much Dan Cohen. Terrific article.

    Thank you for exposing the double standards, the lies and the hypocrisy. What you do is absolutely invaluable; real on the ground reporting of the truth

  11. James North
    June 9, 2015, 9:55 pm

    Hasbara Central is active elsewhere on this site today, but seems to be avoiding this thread. At least I hope they read Dan Cohen’s superb post, even if they can’t find anything to say about it.

  12. yonah fredman
    June 9, 2015, 10:11 pm

    Dan Cohen is a reporter who happens to be Jewish (and who also happens to write positive puff pieces about the resistance aka Hamas). Jane Eisner was sending a reporter who was representing a Jewish newspaper. Potentially totally different dynamic.

    • James North
      June 9, 2015, 11:32 pm

      Yonah: Just for the record; I don’t think of you as part of Hasbara Central.

      • yonah fredman
        June 10, 2015, 4:51 pm

        James: Thanks.

        The answer was brewing even before your challenge.

    • just
      June 9, 2015, 11:53 pm

      You cannot hold a candle to Dan Cohen, yonah.

      Do you dispute the faces of the … “557 Palestinian children were killed in 2014, and 4,249 injured; most casualties, of course, occurring during Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/jewish-reporter-responds/comment-page-1#comment-773305

      “”Puff?

      “Potentially totally different dynamic.” Which”dynamic”? Your fiction, or Dan’s truth?

      (#whaddaidiotiamyf)

    • WH
      June 10, 2015, 2:21 am

      To be precise, the resistance group he was writing about don’t actually belong to Hamas.

      Max Blumenthal, Jesse Rosenfeld (Daily Beast) – more Jewish reporters not shot in Gaza.

    • Mooser
      June 10, 2015, 11:11 am

      “Jane Eisner was sending a reporter who was representing a Jewish newspaper. Potentially totally different dynamic. “

      Yonah is right! Exciting yourself with masturbatory ethnic fear-fantasies is an integral part of Judaism! Would Dan Cohen deny us a huge part of our culture? Shame on him! Judaism without free-floating fear we can exploit or forget about as we please? Unthinkable!

    • yonah fredman
      June 10, 2015, 4:48 pm

      Daniel Pearl is one journalist who did not fear, but should have. I know that Hamas June 2015 does not equal Al Qaeda 2001, but journalism is a dangerous business. The chutzpa of someone who even on this page includes a photo of a Palestinian freedom fighter to say, “Look I am not in danger, you are silly to be afraid,” when talking to a newspaper that is definitely to the left of Arutz Sheva, but is definitely wishy washy on Gaza, to say, “Oh, you are silly to be afraid” and for the amen chorus to snicker, “Paranoid,” this is the essence of Mw’s comment section, a perfect symmetry to the bubble of the Tablet writer, stuck in your own bubble here in the amen chorus.

      • oldgeezer
        June 10, 2015, 5:20 pm

        @yonah

        “I know that Hamas June 2015 does not equal Al Qaeda 2001 – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/jewish-reporter-responds#comment-147616

        but……

        That didn’t stop you from launching into a totally unrelated topic and anecdotal event

        ZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

      • just
        June 10, 2015, 5:31 pm

        Oh my, yonah.

        It truly can be very dangerous to be a journalist, because Israel targets them in the OPT, in Occupied Gaza, sometimes even in Israel (Gideon Levy has to have a bodyguard, and “During the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict the chairman of the Likud Yisrael Beiteinu faction in the Knesset, Yariv Levin, called for Levy to be put on trial for treason, due to Levy’s anti-war views.[43] He has been subject to death threats.[44])… & In 2006, Gideon Ezra, Israel’s former deputy Minister of Internal Security, suggested that the General Security Services should monitor Levy as a borderline security risk.[37]”)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_Levy

        here’s a sampling:

        “‘With God’s help, the journalists at Haaretz will be murdered just like in France’: Death threats follow publication of cartoon in Israeli newspaper “- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/journalists-publication-newspaper#sthash.rdeNzpFK.dpuf

        “‘NYT’ predictably comes under attack for reporting Israel targeted journalists in Gaza” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/?s=journalists+targeted#sthash.pNR3LzHo.dpuf

        “Israeli forces fire tear-gas and stun grenades on Palestinian journalists during World Press Freedom Day march” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/?s=journalists+targeted#sthash.pNR3LzHo.dpuf

        “Media obsesses over ‘free speech’ in Charlie Hebdo case while ignoring Israeli targeting of journalists” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/?s=journalists+targeted#sthash.pNR3LzHo.dpuf

      • oldgeezer
        June 10, 2015, 5:40 pm

        @just

        I probably should have given a more reasoned response to the typical attempt to deflect and obfuscate by those who feel the need to protect the rogue state.

        That said don’t forget the cpj which tracks such killings, attacks and the perps

        http://cpj.org/mideast/israel-and-the-occupied-palestinian-territory/

      • just
        June 10, 2015, 5:45 pm

        Thanks very much for that oldgeezer!

        RIP.

      • Kris
        June 10, 2015, 5:47 pm

        @yonah: “but journalism is a dangerous business.”

        Especially for journalists reporting in and around Israel, which is notorious for injuring and killing journalists.

        During the last 12 months, Israel’s Foreign Press Association (FPA) has issued numerous protests at the manhandling, harassment and shooting of both members of the foreign media and Palestinian journalists.

        “The Foreign Press calls on the Israeli border police (a paramilitary unit) to put an immediate end to a wave of attacks on journalists. In just over a week, border police officers have carried out at least four attacks on journalists working for international media organisations, injuring reporters and damaging expensive equipment. These attacks all appear to have been unprovoked,” was one of many statements released by the FPA last year.

        The rising trend of Israeli security forces using live ammunition against Palestinian protesters has expanded to include journalists as well.

        It is becoming increasingly risky to cover clashes and protests between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank as the number of journalists injured, in what appears to be deliberate targeting by Israeli security forces, continues to rise.
        http://www.juancole.com/2015/04/israeli-target-journalists.html

        The Israeli army bombed Al-Shoroq Tower (or the “Journalists’ Tower”) in Gaza City. The 15-story building housed both local Arab and international media agencies such as Al Arabiya, Al Quds TV, Sky News, France 24, and Russia TV. Local media sources reported that eight journalists were injured in the initial attack. According to [Palestinian human rights group] Al-Mezan field reports, building occupants later received warnings about the Israeli army’s intent to demolish the entire building, and were told to evacuate.”

        By the Israeli army’s own admission, they knew journalists were in the building at which they fired: “We obviously knew there were journalists in the building, so we did not attack other floors in the building. But my advice to journalists visiting Gaza is to stay away from any Hamas position, site or post for their own safety,” army spokesperson Avital Leibovich told the press today (BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar recorded her admission).

        According to Protocol 1, Article 79 of the Geneva Convention, it is a war crime to target journalists. Furthermore, to suggest that anyone can “stay away from” anything at all during this relentless assault on tiny, sealed-off Gaza is patently absurd. But to instruct journalists to stay away from the conflict on which it is their job to report points to Israel’s reckless disregard for the public’s right to information and the journalist’s duty to provide it. Israel seems clearly bent on preventing information from getting out of Gaza.
        http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/israeli-spokesperson-admits-targeting-journalists-gaza

        With tearful eyes, the Al-Aqsa TV anchorman announced the death of Palestinian journalist Hamed Shehab on Wednesday evening, hit by an Israeli air strike while driving home on Omar al-Mukhtar street.

        Shehab, 27, was working for local press company Media 24. He was driving a car that had the letters “TV” affixed to it in large, red stickers when it was struck by an Israeli missile. The bombing, carried out on one of Gaza City’s busiest streets, has triggered fear and rage among journalists in Gaza.
        http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/palestinian-journalists-under-israeli-fire-201471011727662978.html

        Four Israeli attacks on journalists and media facilities in Gaza during the November 2012 conflict violated the laws of war by targeting civilians and civilian objects, says a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW). It has made a detailed investigation into the incidents.

        In the attacks, two Palestinian cameramen were killed, at least 10 media workers were wounded and four media offices were badly damaged. A two-year-old boy was killed in one shelling.

        HRW says it found no evidence to support the contention by the Israeli government that each of the four attacks was on a legitimate military target.

        “Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command centre does not make it so,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East director.
        http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2012/dec/20/gaza-israel

      • just
        June 11, 2015, 5:18 pm

        For yonah, hot off the presses from Patrick Strickland:

        “Israel shoots journalist in the face

        Israeli occupation forces committed at least 18 press violations against Palestinian media workers in May, including shooting a journalist with live ammunition, according to a Palestinian rights group.

        The Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Media Freedoms and Development (MADA) documented several cases of Palestinian journalists being targeted by Israeli forces with both rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

        Last year was the deadliest year ever for Palestinian journalists, according to the Gaza Centre for Media Freedom, which called it ”a black year for freedom of the press in Palestine.” At least 16 Palestinian press workers were killed during Israel’s 51-day war on Gaza last summer.

        Israel was the second most lethal country in the world for journalists after Syria, according to Reporters Without Borders data for 2014.

        Israeli forces continue to target journalists and other media workers.

        Journalist Muhammad al-Hatab was shot in his thigh with a live bullet on 15 May while covering a Gaza protest marking Nakba Day – the annual commemoration of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

        As he was filming Israeli soldiers firing on Palestinian protesters throwing stones, al-Hatab says he “suddenly fell to the ground because of a gunshot [that] penetrated my right leg in the thigh area,” according to testimony given to MADA.”

        much more @ http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/israel-shoots-journalist-face

      • Mooser
        June 12, 2015, 12:28 pm

        Yonah has something I would have liked to have at one time, a bottomless pill-bottle. He can always pull another pill from it, even when it’s apparently empty.

  13. -John-
    June 10, 2015, 2:31 am

    Dan — you make excellent points about U.S. editors and writers’ ignorance of the Palestinian population in Gaza. But one doesn’t have to slander Palestinians to acknowledge that there could be factions in Gaza that that are hostile to journalists of any ethnicity. Take the case of the BBC’s Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped in 2007 by a group calling itself Army of Islam and held for 114 days.

    Thankfully, the hard work of many Palestinians resulted in Johnston’s release. But there are unpredictable, small factions that are trying to make a name for themselves today. Do you really think one need only be concerned with (very real) dangers from the IDF, given how journalists are increasingly targeted for propaganda purposes by insurgents in conflict zones worldwide?

    • Kris
      June 10, 2015, 10:46 am

      It would be interesting to know how many foreign visitors have been killed or injured in Gaza, and by whom.

      • Pippilin
        June 10, 2015, 2:00 pm

        I don’t know if Israel does or ever did allow tourists into Gaza, but I visited in 2009 with a group of 80 internationals via Code Pink, at the invitation of UNRWA. I felt perfectly safe, but we WERE
        accompanied by Hamas police, either on the busses with us or driving alongside us during the day. We were allowed to wander in small groups around the neighborhood of our guesthouses–but then, Hamas could still have been keeping an eye on us for safety purposes ( I am talking about the possibility of kidnapping by renegade Hamas individuals.)
        Foreign members of pro-Palestinian NGO’s have been killed and seriously maimed. Those from the US were virtually ignored by the US and when their cases went to trial, Israeli courts found the perpetrators (IDF) not guilty, using reasoning such as ” The dead were knowingly in a war zone.”
        The only things that frightened me while I was in Gaza were the incredible devastation wreaked upon it during Op. Cast Lead (4 months earlier) and hearing Israeli gunboats take potshots at Gaza fisherman at nighttime.

  14. Steve Macklevore
    June 10, 2015, 7:24 am

    Anyone who acts in a civilised manner in the Palestinian territories is welcomed with open arms.

    And yes, the main danger to anyone visiting a Palestinian area is of being fed to death.

    I’m reminded of advice I was given by Israelis when I was about to enter the Palestinian quarter of the old city of Jerusalem. “Don’t go there, you’ll be stabbed to death.” When I told them I’d been visiting the quarter on and off for years I was met with looks of disbelief.

    But then once, someone did try very hard to sell me a carpet…

  15. Joseph R. Davis
    June 10, 2015, 10:55 am

    It seems a strange thing, mystifying, that the Jewish Daily Forward asks the question “What are American Jews talking about today?” yet they ban the comments of an anti-Zionist, Jewish American. Of course, it may have something to do with the fact I pointed out that “Jewish Americans” are loyal, first and foremost, to the US of A, while from Israel-supporting “American Jews,” an occasional traitor emerges.

  16. Jackdaw
    June 10, 2015, 1:32 pm

    @Dan Cohen

    A quick review of your twenty odd posts to Mondoweiss reveals a paucity of criticism of Hamas.

    Am I wrong?

    • Annie Robbins
      June 10, 2015, 1:36 pm

      jack, a quick review of your comments reveals an absence of criticism of israel.

      am i wrong?

      • Jackdaw
        June 10, 2015, 4:20 pm

        ” a quick review of your comments reveals an absence of criticism of israel”

        I’m not a journalist.

        I live in Israel and I could criticize Israel ad nauseam.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 10, 2015, 5:20 pm

        I’m not a journalist

        so what?

        I live in Israel and I could criticize Israel ad nauseam.

        you could but you don’t. not here anyway. people get arrested for their facebook postings in israel. y’know that don’t you. it all depends who you are. i mean, if you threatened the PM with cutting off his head it would land you in jail for sure — if you were palestinian.

      • Jackdaw
        June 10, 2015, 11:49 pm

        @Annie

        I’ll criticize Israel here, but you have to criticize Hamas here, as well.

        Deal?

      • Annie Robbins
        June 11, 2015, 12:15 am

        why would i make a deal like that? for what purpose? to prove something about myself to you?

        i don’t agree with everything hamas does but for the most part i think they are all heroes. i think the people living in gaza are heroes — for the most part. their sumud in the face of these genocidal mowing operations of israels is almost unfathomable to me. so of course their warriors i am going to respect and honor.

        but i don’t even believe in the death penalty, so of course i don’t agree with all their decisions*. and then there are turf wars, etc. so there’s no way i should agree with everything, every action, they do. nor is their a rhyme or reason i need to.

        *who am i to second guess their judgements (the resistance) on collaborators at a time of war? how many deaths did they prevent by those retaliations? were those condemned to die as punishment or preventative – in wartime?

    • Mooser
      June 10, 2015, 2:05 pm

      “A quick review of your twenty odd posts to Mondoweiss reveals a paucity of criticism of Hamas. “

      Turn him in, “Jackjaw”! Don’t accept any mewling equivocations, or apologies, or promises to do better! Mercy would be misplaced in this case! Yup, “Jackjaw” you march right on down to, well, whoever it is, and report Dan Cohen for “a paucity of criticism of Hamas”. You know what they give you for that! Cohen’s “jailhouse bound”

      • Annie Robbins
        June 10, 2015, 2:30 pm

        i’m shocked frankly mooser! and with a name like cohen, how dare he not criticize hamas? there’s so little criticism of hamas it certainly seems reasonable to expect dan could throw his hat in the ring with all the other critics, it’s the least he could do. some “human shields” garbage and other yada yada.

      • Mooser
        June 12, 2015, 12:31 pm

        “Thirty days in the hole, that’s what they give you! Thirty days in the hole!”

      • Jackdaw
        June 12, 2015, 12:49 pm

        Steve Marriott! The greatest rock n roll singer of all time!

        Mooser. I guess your not a total loser after all.

      • Mooser
        June 12, 2015, 5:56 pm

        I live in Israel and I could criticize Israel ad nauseam.”

        In Israel? “Grober”, I thought you were squatting someplace in occupied territory, near that repossessed Temple. What on earth makes you think you live “in Israel”?

    • Qualtrough
      June 11, 2015, 2:37 pm

      Jackdaw – Good to see you back here after your recent plagiarism incident! I didn’t see any apology, but what the heck? Water over the dam and all that, right?

      Your post here got me thinking, so I did a very quick review of your 362 odd posts and what struck me was a paucity of criticism of anything other than Palestians/Arabs/Muslims, etc. I didn’t find any indication that you have criticized or called out the horrible goings on in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, or other areas in Africa with terrible human rights records. Ditto for Central America and some Caribbean countries like Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Nothing on China for that matter. The fact that you obsessively focus on criticizing Palestians/Arabs/Muslims while ignoring glaring problems in other areas of the world indicates to me that you must be some kind anti-Muslim bigot. A real anti-semite if you will.

      • eljay
        June 11, 2015, 2:46 pm

        || Qualtrough @ June 11, 2015, 2:37 pm ||

        Well put. :-)

  17. Zaghlul
    June 11, 2015, 1:26 am

    Oh Jackdaw, it’s all about Khamas,isn’t it? Pay no attention to those smiling Palestinian children, the demographic threat so eloquently alluded to by Cohen. Hamas, Hamas, Hamas…rinse and repeat.

    • Jackdaw
      June 12, 2015, 12:46 pm

      @Zaghul

      Either Hamas is a model of good governance, and above criticism, or independent journalist Dan Cohen hasn’t the stones to do it.

      • Mooser
        June 12, 2015, 5:59 pm

        Jackdaw, just think of the devastating blow Israel could hand Hamas! Just think, all Israel has to do is stop the occupation, and Hamas would fall to pieces. That’d show them, huh? Israel could destroy Hamas in one swell foop!

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