Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 89 (since 2010-03-08 21:00:28)

mariapalestina

Active for a dozen years in the Palestinians' struggle for peace and justice. Visited the West Bank 7 times since 2002. Beaten and robbed by Jewish settlers from Itamar in Oct 2002. On board the first Free Gaza boat to Gaza in Aug 2008 (co-founder of Free Gaza Movement) Member Women in Black.

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  • State Department calls for 'speedy, transparent investigation' of Israel's killing of 14-year-old US citizen
  • Hamas is Nazi Germany and Israel is valiant and desperate England -- explains Canadian Jewish leader
    • Comparing Hamas to the Luftwaffe is a pretty strange analogy, since the Palestinians have no Air Force.

  • Israeli military announce they will bomb al-Shifa hospital in Gaza
    • We keep saying Israel will pay. We keep praying Israel will pay. But the past has shown us Israel never pays. Never will so long as our craven Congress swears allegiance to the zionist state at every opportunity. Even when mildly criticizing Israel for killing "too many" civilians in Gaza, we give Netanyahu the keys to our billion dollar stockpile of weapons, conveniently stored in Israel. What hope can the Palestinians have? What can we do? Really? Tell me and I'll do it. How about a voter rebellion... tell them we won't vote for any candidate who supports Israel. Will they hear? Will they care?

    • It's likely the phone call originated in Washington.

  • Horrifying details continue to emerge of massacre in Khuza'a
    • I don't think anybody is suggesting Israelis leave Palestine. Just that they have to quit that nonsense about a Jewish state. They have to give up the idea of chosenness and accept that non Jews are entitled to the same rights as Jews. This won't be easy for most Israelis who have become accustomed to thinking of themselves as privileged. Hopefully the violent ones will leave, though no doubt they will leave a few dead Palestinians and maybe even Jews in their wake. All Palestinian refugees who want to return will do so. No more zionism. Just one state for Muslims, Christians, and Jews, with equality and justice for all. Sort of like it was before 1948, but with more Jews. Shouldn't be a problem.

    • I'll be surprised if they accept less. Palestine Resistance must be feeling encouraged by the support they are receiving, and they know if they back down now it will only mean Israel will repeat the process every couple of years. Even though the people of Gaza are suffering beyond imagination, they seem more resolute than I have ever known them to be. As if they are saying "Kill us if you like, but we refuse to continue to be subjugated."

    • The U.S. Government has made its position clear. Today's statement by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf (via Democracy Now today)
      "We will stand up for Israel even if it means standing alone..."
      This appears to be a clear message to Israel that the U.S. will not intervene or even criticize Israel no matter what crimes it commits against the Palestinians.

  • Gaza massacre is generating ideological crisis in American Zionists
  • Federal official fires gun at pro-Palestine demonstrators following scuffle in LA
    • I was there also. That's exactly what happened. It is always the Stand With Us group that tries to cross the road to attack people supporting Palestine. It happened last week at the Zionist consulate (the event where Ali Abunimah was briefly handcuffed & restrained for speaking to a zionist) The police were very friendly toward us, and several times escorted zionists back across Wilshire Boulevard when they crossed over to our side. We never engage with them. At the end of the demonstration, the police insisted on walking with us to where our cars were parked, for our safety they said.

    • Just about every person at the demonstration was carrying a stick. Actually most of the Pro-Israel people were carrying two. The Israeli Consulate drops off hundreds of U.S. & American flags, on sticks, at the site, so that everybody can hold a flag in each hand -- on a stick. This is not the first time zionist supporters of Israeli terrorism have attacked pro-Palestinian demonstrators at that site. The last time the zionists group crossed Wilshire Boulevard & provoked a confrontation in which a Palestine supporter suffered a broken arm.

  • 'Jewish' or 'Israeli' -- NYT, BBC, and CNN make different word choice
    • I always ask Palestinian Israelis if they consider themselves Palestinians or Arabs. The answer is always "Palestinian." I believe Jewish Arabs in Israel outnumber Palestinians, so to refer to Palestinian Israelis as Arabs is misleading as well as deliberately offensive.

  • Israel maintains gag order in missing teens' case, leading to charge of media 'manipulation'
    • When Palestinian children, teens and younger, are injured or even killed by Israeli forces, the childrens' parents are usually blamed for allowing their kids to be in a war zone. And this even when the children aren't accused of anything, even throwing stones at tanks. These parents didn't intentionally put their kids in war zones. They just happen to live on land that Israel has turned into a war zone.

    • A Nakba museum in Palestine? Israel would bring in a couple of those behemoth Caterpillars and demolish it, after arresting anybody inside the building at the time.

  • Why I pull against the U.S. in the World Cup
    • I thought I was the only one who just about always pulls for the other side when the U.S. is in the game.

  • Nighttime Israeli raid on Bir Zeit University yields -- truck full of Hamas flags
    • One of ten unarmed passengers on board MAVI MAMARA murdered by Israeli commando pirates four years ago in international waters of the Mediterranean was an American citizen. Didn't see the U.S. State Department get too upset about that, did we?

  • Mainstream piece lays settler teen abduction at feet of 'illegal' and 'indefensible' occupation
  • Evolution of the Bibi-Barack relationship
  • The Siege of the Tel Aviv bus station
    • ".......maintaining the Jewish and democratic character of the state..." An oxymoron if I ever saw one.

  • Mohammed Assaf invades! (50 years after the Beatles)
  • 'Quietly, with no fanfare,' Israeli army delivers Philippine baby alongside NBC's Dr. Snyderman
    • They only do that in Gaza.

    • Israel gives nothing to Gaza. And it steals much of what others try to send to Gaza.

    • I just consider the source.

    • It would be more fitting for them to be in Gaza where people are wading through streets overflowing with sewage as a result of Israel's draconian blockade and frequent attacks, cutting off electricity and necessary medical supplies for the survival of Palestinian men, women and children. Children are dying in Gaza right now, because of Israel, on the anniversary of Israel's PILLAR OF (Offense) massacre. There are teams from around the world working in the Phillippines, without all the hoopla and self-promotion of the IDF which will leave as soon as the photo ops and staged propaganda scenes are finished.

  • 'Pro-Life? Pro-Israel?': Israeli anti-abortion organization reaches out for US support to fight demographic war in the Jewish state
    • Vaguely reminiscent of another state whose leaders had a plan to make designer babies to help fulfill their racist policies.

  • NYT's Jodi Rudoren responds to criticism of Facebook comments
    • I understand acutely (after what was done to my friend Greta Berlin) how easily someone's character can be assassinated and how one can be accused and convicted of saying things one has not said. I didn't read Rudoren's original piece, but if she actually did write: "Gazans aspire to martyrdom and lead such limited lives they have less to lose than Israelis" there is no way she can talk her way around that one. It is racist and obscene in or out of any context.

  • Billboard campaign to end US aid to Israel hits LA -- thanks to CBS
    • It's not easy to find places to post signs. A couple of friends and I hung one on an overpass bridge on the 10 freeway in Santa Monica. Within minutes an irate zionist couple got off the freeway and came screaming at us, with the police in tow. The cop was nice, but we had to remove the sign because it's not legal to do that. You can post them at night but expect they'll be removed within hours. The signs need to be pretty big if you want them to be readable from the freeway, so it gets pretty expensive when they're up for just a short time. You have to find some private property where the owner will let you post signs, if you know somebody close to the freeway, preferably in a location that's hard to reach by car. I checked out two of the new billboards today. They're great.

    • Great approach. Americans might not all understand what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people, but they know what our leaders in Washington are doing to the American people. Let's hope this gets the people's attention and action.

  • The things I miss (confessions of an activist)
    • Sarah, I appreciate so much what you wrote and what you do. I "came out" as an activist in my sixties and I too have paid a price for giving up my anonymity. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for someone still in school, where it's impossible to keep your personal information private. Just know you are "on the right side of history" and that the people of Palestine need you... need all of us who are committed to standing alongside them in their struggle for justice and peace. I hope to be back in Gaza soon and hope you will still be there then. Bless you.
      Mary Hughes-Thompson, co-founder Free Gaza Movement

  • Israeli celebrity says she enjoyed video of IDF attacking Danish activist because he looked like a Nazi
    • Actually, Fred, though this particular thug was more brutal than most, attacks by IDF on unarmed and non-violent Palestinians and internationals happens on a weekly basis at the very least. Israel is condemning this criminal because his crime was so egregious and the videotape was seen around the world. Had it not been recorded they would have lied as they always do. And by the way, yes, I do know from personal experience how thuggish these IDF types can be, having been on the receiving end of both tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets. Fortunately I wasn't close enough to be blinded by the bullet, but the wound took some time to heal. I also am quite deaf and require hearing aids as a result of IDF sound bombs fired close to my head. No provocation by the way. Just business as usual for IDF.

    • Labels are always a problem, and I agree that both zionists and anti-semites are tarred with the same brush. It might be a good idea, though, for Jews, or many Jews, to stop flaunting their "Jewishness" and setting themselves apart and sometimes above non-Jews. It never occurs to me that somebody is or is not Jewish, because I'm not into labels. Nowadays we hardly even notice if somebody is non-white. But this "Jewish State" thing is what angers and alienates people. So for the most part the "labelling" of Jews comes from Jews themselves.

    • Even in Israel the preferred Jewish look is the blond blue eyed European version, rather than the semitic ones who are actually connected to the Middle East.

    • The ISM activists are unarmed and are there at the invitation of their Palestinian friends. The IOF are armed thugs who are part of an illegal occupation force. Every last illegal Jewish settler and every IOF goon needs to go home to Israel or wherever they came from and leave the Paletinians and their friends to ride bicycles in peace on their own land and their own roads.

  • The occupation reaches Europe: airlines cancel 'flytilla' passenger tickets
    • Is 78 too old to be a shit-stirrer? I hope not because there's an awful lot of zionist shit out there that needs to be stirred.

    • By your definition I guess a troublemaker is anyone who supports human rights? Everyone who marched with Dr King? Everyone who participated in the boycott against apartheid in South Africa? Every woman who chained herself to an iron gate in London so that women would be allowed to vote? The man in Tiananmen Square who stood before the tank? If that's who are are, I am proud to be a troublemaker. Israel is embarrassing itself every time it uses storm troopers to brutalize unarmed civilians who have never committed any crime anywhere but want just to visit friends in Bethlehem. Or when it attacks and murders unarmed passengers on boats to Gaza, far out in international waters. Israel is Israel's worst enemy.

    • Does anybody know where we can see a copy of the list? If it's gone out to all airlines that fly into Ben Gurion it should be available somewhere. Would love to see it (since I'm probably on it)

  • 'Be on our side': Bay Area ad campaign features Palestinian and Israeli women calling for U.S. sanctions against Israel
    • You're right. The headline IS misleading. Both women are Israel. One is a Jewish Israeli and one is a Palestinian Israeli. As you say, Lubna doesn't enjoy the same freedoms as Michal, which is why we must keep up the pressure to end Israeli apartheid.

    • Isn't Lubna just beautiful in every way?

  • Another congressperson writes home from the Jewish State, surrounded by madness she compares to Nazism
  • White Shirts in Jerusalem cry 'Butcher the Arabs'
    • There were certainly many Jews involved in the civil rights movement. I believe Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwermer, both murdered in Mississippi, were Jewish. I would speculate they weren't zionists.

  • Bin Laden's last tape said America will have no security till Palestinians do
    • Was surprised to learn you can buy marijuana plants at a nursery or gardening shop in the U.K.

  • A response to the killers of Vittorio Arrigoni (and to my family)
    • Our two little boats that sailed to Gaza in August 2008 were named the FREE GAZA and the LIBERTY. Before leaving Cyprus the press attended a ceremony where we threw roses into the Mediterranean as we read out the names of the LIBERTY victims. We felt that naming one of the boats after the USS LIBERTY would honor the memory of the Americans who died and might also afford us some degree of protection from the Israeli forces who had promised to stop our boats. Israel had always tried to avoid any discussion of what had happened to the USS LIBERTY in Gaza waters 41 years earlier, and we hoped there might be an awareness that attacking a second LIBERTY would put the spotlight back on the original LIBERTY. We'll never know why, when we were well on the way to Gaza, the Israeli Foreign Office decided not to stop us after all. We suspect that naming our boat LIBERTY might have been one of the reasons.

    • Mohammed al-Doura was executed by the IDF. Just as the family on a Gaza beach was executed by the IDF. And the al-Samouni family, and the three daughters and niece of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish. All of these innocent civilians and thousands more. Israel's pathetic attempts to re-write history, as in the case of the Goldstone Report, are making it a laughing stock.

    • Kathleen, you are so right. Vik's friendship was a wonderful gift for us. He always wore a hat with a picture of Che Guevara who said:
      “Don’t cry for me if I die, do what I was doing and I will live on in you.”
      Right now we are crying, but we will do what Vittorio was doing in hopes he will live on.

    • David, I haven't found a single person who has cancelled plans to go to Gaza on the boats or any other way. In fact as you know there aren't nearly enough places for all those clamoring to go. I was lucky enough to have sailed with my friend Vittorio on the first boat, the FREE GAZA, (and to fly the only Canadian flag that broke the siege; which I still have for you) You can bet I'll be back with this flotilla too if I can fight my way on board. Israel still doesn't get it. Ram our boats and sink them, murder unarmed passengers in cold blood in international waters, kill Gaza fishermen and farmers, murder activists... we will not be intimidated. Vik's death hasn't had the result Israel hoped for. Bibi is desperate to stop the flotilla. All the begging and pleading hasn't worked. All the threats haven't worked. He doesn't understand that people like you and me and Pam and all those who are committed to the struggle for justice in Palestine will never be intimidated. Does it take courage? I never felt particularly courageous. I just never see any other option when I see an opportunity to go to Palestine. I'll board any boat, any plane (heck, I'll fly one there myself) join any freedom march, and if the IDF wants to kill me then it's out of my hands. Like Vik, I don't want to die yet, but if I have to die at all I would be happy to have it happen in Gaza. Vik's murder has only made us stronger. As for who is responsible for his death? Let's hope the truth will come out. Since it's not Israel that is doing the investigating, I'm hopeful we'll soon know the whole sordid story. Bless you, Vik. Restiamo Humani

    • DBG, are you suggesting that the majority of people actually believe the story that two teenagers, one whose recent surgery would preclude him getting through or over the barbed wire that surrounds Itamar, actually were responsible for the settler deaths at Itamar?

      Confessions under torture are meaningless. It's possible that Palestinians did it, it's possible that foreign workers did it, it's possible disgruntled neighbor settlers did it, it's even possible the settler father himself did it. Unfortunately for Israel, it has lied for so long that it has almost no credibility at all, anywhere in the world.

  • Arrigoni documented Israeli attacks on Palestinian ambulance workers, 'the most heroic people I ever met'
    • This film was made by Alberto Arce, journalist from Spain who also was in Gaza during the massacres of December 2008 and January 2009. Alberto is also on Lee Kaplan's hit list.

  • Arrigoni: I came here because my grandfathers fought fascist occupation in Italy
    • Hophmi
      "Utterly misguided as he was.."
      Certainly no more misguided than the settler family who lived illegally in Palestine. They didn't deserve to die any more than Vittoria deserved to die. Vik knew he was hated by some Israelis; he knew he was taking a risk. We all know we take a risk when we go to Gaza or the West Bank. Strangely, it is never Palestinians we fear. We still don't.
      Vik was in Gaza because he was invited there by the people of Gaza living on their own land.
      I don't know why the settler family was in Palestine, uninvited by Palestinians and living on Palestinian land.

  • Activist Vittorio Arrigoni's body said to be found in Gaza
    • "If Palestinians are arrested for these crimes, will you exonerate Israel for them?"

      Probably not. I'm eager to see just who they have fingered; then I'll let you know.

    • "So even when Palestinians are obviously the perpetrators..."

      Obvious to whom? Not to me. Not to a lot of people. Do you have some sort of proof? Or maybe you use a crystal ball?

    • Larry:
      Are you actually suggesting that what is happening between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a war? Do you think the massacres in Gaza in December 08 and January 09 were a war? Israel is a brutal occupier, the only side allowed to have tanks, Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter planes, Naval gunboats. There is no war, Larry. There is an occupying force and there is a legitimate resistance to occupation. And as if the occupation weren't bad enough, we have over half a million Jews living illegally in colonies in Palestine. How would you feel if tanks drove up to your front door, kicked you out, demolished your home and turned it over to hostile foreigners who have no connection to the land of your forefathers? It is a testament to the peaceful nature of the Palestinian people that they don't rise up by the thousands to resist their occupiers and kick them off the land.

    • I hope I can be forgiven if I find my own experience at the hands of a half dozen or more armed Itamar thugs colors my perspective. Having been attacked and savagely beaten by a gang from Itamar while I was helping a handful of women and children harvest their olives in the nearby village of Yanoun, I have to agree with those who have said the settlers there are a particularly nasty lot. After beating me, these thugs, young enough to be my grandsons, robbed me of everything I had, leaving me with no money, passport, plane ticket, credit cards, camera, jacket -- even my cane after they beat me with it. Police at Ariel who "investigated" said they knew who these guys were; it appeared they were regular troublemakers who had participated in weeks of night raids on the villagers which had been successful in that every last resident of the village had fled in fear. Only when Israeli activists had promised to protect the villagers if they returned had a few families agreed to go home. The village generator had been smashed, the well poisoned, by settlers from Itamar.

    • Imagine if you are a simple Palestinian family, living in the small village of Awarta. Imagine the lengths (or depths) to which Israel goes in its frenzy over the deaths at Itamar. With nothing to lead them to Awarta, other than the fact it is the closest village to the settlement, this is what Israel does:
      "...volunteers from the Jordan Valley Solidarity, with other internationals and Israeli activists, visited Al Aqaba village where some homes and roads were demolished yesterday. Neighbors from Al Aqba told the activists some of their histories about demolitions and lands grab. Later the volunteers visited the mayor of the village where there is a population of 400 inhabitants. The major is a disabled person in a wheel chair, because he received three shots from an Israeli soldier. The mayor confirmed that all of the buildings and any sort of built thing on the surface of Al Aqaba, except 6 houses, have demolition orders. That means schools, hospital, clinic, kindergarten, roads, streets, pillars [?], shelters, pens and the mosque. Everything. "

      Perhaps someone, maybe Larry (who has not yet supplied the list of settler children brutally murdered by Palestinians) can explain how this kind of thuggery can be accepted from a supposed democracy. I would sincerely like to understand the mentality of people who behave in this fashion, and only a zionist can explain the rationale.

    • Yes, I could use my mouse, though it would take some time to find reports of murdered Israeli children when there are ten or twenty times as many murdered Palestinian children cluttering up the search engines.

      But Larry specifically mentioned settler children murdered by Palestinians, so I'd really like to have him back up his statement with facts. If you want to do it for him, go ahead.

    • Obvious? I don't see it as obvious at all. Itamar boasts nobody can get in or out. Why do you not think it a distinct possibility it could have been a suicide/murder situation. Even now Haaretz has an article about a family murder/suicide that just happened inside Israel. And recently a father in Israel murdered his three children. If this were anywhere other than Palestine the family would be looked at first. Israel will do anything it can to pin the killing of this settler family on Palestinians. It's already clear it is torturing women as well as men, trashing houses, terrorizing hundreds of innocent Palestinian villagers. Settlers walk and drive around Palestine all the time, so there would be plenty of opportunity for Palestinians to murder them if they wanted to. They don't murder them. So I'll need some pretty strong proof, which doesn't mean accusations by IDF against people who have been tortured into making confessions, before I will believe it was anything other than an inside job, by the father or a fellow settler, or possibly a foreign worker. It's not as easy to fool us as it used to be.

    • I'd be interested in seeing a list of some settler children brutally murdered by Palestinians. I'm sure you can provide such a list.

    • Unfortunately for the Israeli hasbara machine, millions of people have learned that Israel's leaders lie and lie and lie (not to mention steal and steal and steal) with the result that if sometimes Israel is actually telling the truth, few will believe it is the truth. I no longer even take Israel's statements with a pinch of salt. I just assume they are lies. I am certainly not convinced Palestinians were involved in the settler deaths at Itamar. And if Palestinians actually killed Vittorio, it will be difficult for Israel to convince me and all of Vik's friends, colleagues and admirers that the killers were not doing Israel's dirty work for a fee of some kind.

    • Dear Avi, I have never been afraid in Gaza, and in Palestine my only fear comes from illegal Jewish colonists and Israeli soldiers and police. Clearly Bibi and Co are ratcheting things up lately in response to the negative image Israel now enjoys around the world (even in the U.S. except for Washington) If Palestinians caused the deaths of the colonist family in Itamar -- an outpost of savages if there ever was one -- then they should be arrested and given a fair trial. If Palestinians killed Vittorio, which at the moment it appears is the case, then we need to know who is pulling their strings and paying their bills. We only have to cast our eyes a little eastward. It's well known that every Palestinian arrested by Israel, whether guilty of anything or not, is pressured by Shabak or Mossad, by use of torture or of threats against themselves or their families, to work for Israel. Sadly, faced with the alternative, some save themselves and their families by giving in. Israel supported Hamas when it thought it was useful to do so. It isn't much of a stretch to suppose it's now creating groups to undermine Hamas. The thugs who carried out this horrendous crime against Vik might be working for Israel without even knowing it. Such is the depth of Israel's cunning, combined with its hatred of Palestinians and its desire to destroy them.

    • Vittorio was my friend. We sailed to Gaza together on board the FREE GAZA in August 2008. Vik stayed in Gaza until he was kidnapped by IDF forces on a fishing boat off the coast of Gaza. He was abducted to Israel, imprisoned in Ramle Prison, and finally deported home to Italy. Within days he was back in Gaza, where he stayed throughout the Gaza Massacre in December 2008 and January 2009. He has lived with the people there until his death. The last time I saw him was in Cairo during the Gaza Freedom March in December 2009 and January 2010. (Did you meet him there, Phil?) As always he was smiling, wearing his skipper's hat and holding his beloved pipe. His death is a great tragedy for his family, his friends around the world, and especially his friends in Gaza. Vik was especially proud of his Palestinian passport, given to him as to all of us who sailed on those first two small boats. He considered himself Palestinian, and he considered Gaza his home.

      There is no understanding this. Whoever killed Vik and whoever was behind whoever killed him must be brought to justice. For now, we celebrate the life of a wonderful young man who left us far too soon, and we grieve for those who can never recover from the tragic loss.

      Rest in peace, Vittorio.

  • Star of 'Cleopatra' was... a Zionist
    • Yes, Jennifer Jason Leigh is good. I think sometimes Nicole Kidman gives remarkable performances. And there are others who consistently do the same. But I still say for her body of work there isn't any American actress who can touch Meryl Streep. As for her being sitcommy, the fact she can play tragic roles, dramatic roles, comedy, romance, song and dance, and yes, even sometimes sitcom, only shows her amazing versatility. Recalling her work in DEERHUNTER and SOPHIE'S CHOICE, it's astonishing to see her singing, dancing, and looking amazingly young and beautiful in MAMA MIA. I admire Street for her willingness to take on lightweight roles. She shows she doesn't take herself as seriously as many actors who will never be in her league but who go on talk shows explaining (when they aren't working) that they read hundreds of scripts but choose only those worthy of their unique talents. Hey, just my opinion. We all have our favorites, and she's mine. Streep is one of the few actors whose movies I see just because she's in them. Anthony Hopkins is another. I used to feel the same about Sissy Spacek but we don't see her much these days.

    • Who cares if Elizabeth Taylor and Meryl Street are Jewish or not? And who cares if Natalie Portman is Jewish? I gather Natalie is not a zionist, so her religion is irrelevant to me. Still, I think it's way too soon to mention her name in the same breath as Meryl Street or Elizabeth Taylor. I agree with those who see Meryl Street as the best actress alive today, and Elizabeth Taylor has a remarkable body of work too. All of her films mentioned here were exceptional, but there are many others among my personal favorites, beginning with LASSIE, COME HOME, and NATIONAL VELVET. And a couple not mentioned but still great performances IMHO.: BUTTERFIELD 8, for which she got the Oscar, and THE VIP's with a great cast including Richard Burton, Orson Welles, Margaret Rutherford, Louis Jourdan and the wonderful Maggie Smith whose amazing performance I can never forget. And I even liked THE SANDPIPER just to see her working once again with Burton. (Okay so some will criticize these choices as Chick Flicks, but then I am -- or used to be -- a chick.)

      As for Meryl Streep, whom I have been fortunate enough to work with, and I am amazed at her every performance. I never saw an actress with Streep's gifts, including her ability to speak convincingly in foreign accents. I don't know of an actress alive today who can match her.

  • Tipping point? Dan Rather crew angered by stripsearch before interview with Deputy P.M.
    • Oooooops! I just talked with Hedy Epstein who tells me the Masada2000 website has finally removed the photo of Bella Abzub and replaced it with a photograph of Hedy. Perhaps somebody there recognized the irony of showing a photo of an ultra-zionist like Abzub among its lists of self-hating Jews.

    • We're not absolutely certain the photo is of Bella Abzug (which would be ironic since Abzug was a rabid zionist) but Hedy is convinced it is. The photo certainly isn't Hedy, and there are plenty of photos of Hedy available on the web if the Masada2000 nutcases had wanted to use one.

    • My friend Hedy Epstein, 86 years old, holocaust survivor, less than 5 feet tall and around 100 pounds, was strip searched at Ben Gurion Airport, including a body cavity search. I can't imagine what they thought she might be hiding. I don't think this hostile treatment was because she was visiting a memorial in Israel that bears the names of both her parents who perished at Auschwitz, but rather because she also has spoken out against Israel's actions in Palestine. Hedy is, of course, listed on Masada 2000's list of self-hating Jews, accompanied by a photograph of Bella Abzug.

  • Deconstructing the news from the West Bank
    • @Sumud,
      I have all the information about the cargo sent with the various boats which were attacked in international waters enroute to Gaza. I don't want to post it here, but if there's some way you and I can communicate directly I'll be happy to share it. I can say that as a result of months of work between our Free Gaza coordinators in Ireland and the U.N. and various NGO's in Gaza, almost everything has been now finally been distributed. Here's an excerpt from the report I received:

      "I've attached cargo lists, the only thing left in Israel is the 50 prefab homes.
      The UN are waiting for the instructions from ECES before they collect them ... Everything else got in & most got to the ngo's and rest went to UN,they say they are using cement to build schools. The medical equipment for the Haifa medical centre arrived battered & broken."

      The information I have is detailed as to items and quantities, together with the groups who bought the items and the specific groups the material was sent to. Personally I had no idea there was so much cargo sent; it's something I wasn't personally involved in. Only now can I appreciate the tremendous amount of work has been done by all sides to first of all coordinate collecting, loading and shipping so much material, and mostly having to try to retrieve as much as possible from the boats once they were taken to Israel and then to arrange to have it sent overland to Gaza. Overall, though, it is heartening to know that in the end much of the materials reached their destinations.

    • @Sumud,
      No, I think there is just about zero chance of a two state solution. Israel has pretty much shot itself in the foot by stealing so much land that everybody can see there is nothing left for the Palestinians. Nowadays most experts on both sides are accepting the reality that it will be a single state. It is pretty much one state already with Israel controlling it one way or another. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are all living at the whim of Israel's changing demands and laws, and meanwhile Israel continues to move its Jewish citizens onto Palestinian land. Of course the single state is Israel's worst nightmare, and I don't know how they overlooked the signs as they continued to steal land and resources. Did they really think the Palestinians would leave or die or that Israel would find a way to "transport" (ethnically cleanse) them out of their land. I think a lot of Israelis are seeing the writing on the wall and realizing they are fast losing international support and that even Uncle Sam can no longer afford to support them and the racist policies that would never be accepted in the U.S.

      The Jewish State will not survive; instead Israel/Palestine will become a democracy for all its people.

      My hope is that Israel will ultimately have to formally annex the land it already controls, and take responsibility for the population as it is required to do. I suspect the zionists will find this unacceptable and will leave. The rest of the Israeli Jewish population will accept all of the non-Jewish residents of Israel and Palestine as equal citizens with equal voting rights. Of course there will be continuing apartheid for the forseeable future, but in the end the world will crack down on Israel's racist policies as it did with South Africa.

      I believe this is inevitable, and I pray I will live to see it come to pass.

    • Hamas did not break the truce. Hamas always keeps its word. Israel broke the truce when it attacked and killed several alleged militants in Gaza. The Palestinians responded, as Israel hoped they would. Israel then lied by claiming the attack on Gaza and its civilian population in December 2008 was justified. Nobody buys that lie except zionists. Israel gets very nervous when the Palestinians stick to non-violence, which they almost always do.

    • @Wondering Jew:
      Thank you for your thoughtful response, with which I agree almost completely.

      The settlers from the farflung settlements and outposts are not the ones blocking the peace agreement.

      I do have a problem with the above statement. While it's true that many, perhaps even the majority, of settlers do not themselves participate in or even condone settler violence against Palestinians, I consider each and every Jewish settler living on Palestinian land under the Israeli flag to be to some degree a criminal. Certainly each plays a role in blocking any peace agreement. It is settlers such as those at Itamar who expose the violent side of the settler movement, but the entire settler movement is immoral and illegal, and thus every participant is culpable. This isn't to say I think there should be attacks on non-violent settlers. Many of them were duped by their government, while others knew they were lawbreakers but chose to move to settlements anyway.

      There can be no peace in Israel/Palestine until Israel declares borders and withdraws every single settler from the Palestinian side of the line. It's likely the Palestinians will agree to giving legal residency to some non-violent settlers who agree to accept that they are no longer Israelis. Everyone else must leave.

    • In order to "take part in hostilities" a Palestinian merely has to exist in the vicinity of Israeli attacks. Israel even tried to claim the daughters and niece of Dr Abuelaish had weapons in their bedroom when they were slaughtered by IDF rockets. Every murdered Palestinian fisherman, farmer, student, grandmother or child was either "suspected of planning to plant a device of some kind" or "suspected of carrying a weapon" or suspected of making an Israeli soldier or settler nervous. No matter the crime, no matter how young or how very old the Palestinian victim, it is always the victim's fault.

      As far as how many Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers, police and settlers, it is ten to one Palestinian vs Israeli. (And no doubt the Israeli count includes those killed by its own friendly fire.) And there's no comparison for those who survived. Thousands of Palestinians have been blinded or crippled or horribly burned by Israeli weapons; on the Israeli side practically none.

    • Jon S: "For deliberately murdering children there are no excuses, rationalizations and spin."

      Absolutely. So tell us please, how do you feel about the killing of 300 children in Gaza? (And please don't say it wasn't deliberate.) Or Iman, the West Bank schoolgirl shot in the head at close range?

      "Not guilty. The Israeli captain who emptied his rifle into a Palestinian schoolgirl"
      link to guardian.co.uk

      No excuses, rationalizations and spin? Judged Not Guilty? Please spare us with the violins.

    • The deaths of these innocent children can never be justified, any more than the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian children in Gaza and all over Palestine can be justified. One major difference is that the Palestinian children were all living legally with their families on land that belonged to them and to Palestine. Settler children are being used as potential human shields by parents who insist on living illegally on land that doesn't belong to them. I wish this latest violence had not occurred. I am saddened to know that this one Palestinian was finally driven to commit such a horrendous act.

      I know some of these Itamar settlers, or at least I have personally experienced their hatred and violence. The lives of local villagers had been hell for years, and by the fall of 2003 every single family in the tiny hamlet of Yanoun had fled after months of nightly raids and physical attacks by Itamar settlers. Wells had been poisoned, electrical generators destroyed. Some Israeli Jewish peace activists were dismayed that the settlers had been able to do what the Irgun and Stern gangs had done in 1948: force every single inhabitant of a Palestinian village to flee. So these Israelis, along with volunteers from ISM, promised that if the villagers would return to Yanoun they would be protected from the settlers. That's where I came in. With a small group of volunteers I was sent to Yanoun village in October 2002 to help the handful of Palestinians who had dared return to harvest their few olive trees. On a Sunday morning we were attacked by a gang from Itamar. After they cornered and isolated me I was beaten and robbed by armed thugs screaming that this was their land and that they would kill me. They kicked me to the ground and beat me with sticks and rifle butts. They stole everything I had with me: passport, plane ticket, money, camera, credit cards, jacket. IDF soldiers parked in a jeep close by did nothing to intervene. Later I and my three fellow victims were told by the chief of police at Ariel Settlement, which controls (or supposedly controls) Itamar, that these thugs are well known to the police for their violence against Palestinian villagers in the area close to the Itamar settlement.

      Anyone who wants to understand some of what the Palestinians in the area have been suffering at the hands of these Itamar crazies should read the attached report of interviews with Yanoun villagers. It's a fascinating and beautifully illustrated piece which gives wonderful insight to the suffering endured by all the Palestinian residents of Yanoun since the creation of the Itamar settlement. The piece also includes reference to the incident in which I was personally victimized.

      link to kirkensnodhjelp.no

      So when I hear talk of legalizing existing settlements as part of any peace process I know this would never work. Settlers like those at Itamar will never accept that Palestinians have the right to live in Palestine. All settlers will have to leave the land and return to Israel for there to be any kind of peace.

  • NYU group cancels event set to feature Israeli Navy Seal who attacked the Mavi Marmara
    • Interesting suggestion, but of course the Israelis will then claim we were armed with terrorist cats and that they were merely defending themselves when they murdered us.

    • I will try to get that information from our people in Ireland who have been following up as best they can, particularly because our cargo boat, RACHEL CORRIE, was our "Irish" boat.

      And yes, Free Gaza is one of the groups participating in the next flotilla. Free Gaza is still the only group which has been successful in getting boats into Gaza.

      As for why we have always turned down Israel's "offer" to deliver our cargo to Gaza, it is in true we don't trust Israel. However, from the beginning when we first started planning to sail boats to Gaza, our position was that Israel had been claiming that Gaza was free. So we admittedly intended to challenge their claim, realizing we were in a win-win situation. If they didn't stop us then we would have opened the door for others to follow. (And best of all, we would be in Gaza -- which is exactly what happened.) If they stopped us, as they threatened to do, it would prove they were lying when they said Gaza was free.
      Certainly they no longer claim Gaza is free.

    • Since we are planning to send another flotilla in a couple of months we will have to wait and see how Israel will respond. We won't do anything differently, and we expect the MAVI MARMARA, still scarred by holes from Israeli bullets, to be part of the flotilla. In fact it is my hope I will be on the MAVI MARMARA myself. We have read that the IDF is training attack dogs to be lowered onto the decks ahead of the commandoes next time, and I certainly don't look forward to that. But despite Israel's threats and even knowing they are willing to commit murder in order to stop us, we refuse to be intimidated. Every time a boat is attacked, thousands more people ask to join the next flotilla. This is what Israel doesn't seem to understand. We truly aren't afraid of them. We know they can stop us, brutalize us, imprison us, kill us. So long as Gaza is not free we are not free.

    • We have tried to find out what happened to the materials stolen by the Israelis from the flotilla boats, as well as from the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY which was boarded by Israeli pirates in international waters on June 30 2009, and from the Lebanese cargo boat TALI which was siezed in the same way in February 2009. Also the so-called "Jewish boat" IRENE which was siezed in September 2010. Israel continues to hold these boats and we have never been able to get reliable information about the fate of the cargo. We suspect Israel kept everything it considered useful, and after damaging or destroying everything else it delivered token anounts of items it considered kosher to be sent to Gaza.

      One problem is that arrangements had been made for everything on all the various boats to be delivered directly to various NGO's and hospitals in Faza, and all of this had been coordinated ahead of time. When Israel agree to deliver some of the items it had confiscated we learned that much was too seriously damaged to be of use (such as the wheelchairs from which they removed the batteries), spoiled because it had expiration dates before Israel got around to delivering it, or in some cases they wanted to just dump the stuff randomly without anybody in Gaza having an opportunity to coordinate unloading it or finding out where it was supposed to go. Clearly this was deliberate on Israel's part, and further proof that they can't be trusted.

    • As one of the original co-founders of the Free Gaza Movement, and a passenger on the first boat, I can vouch for the fact we were never asked to take any kind of weapons or any kind of military personnel to Gaza. We alone selected our passengers, whose names all appeared on our website http://www.freegaza.org. Every passenger was known to us and we make certain all were peace activists with a proven record of non-violence. As for Gilad Shalit, as a prisoner of war he was not our concern, nor did we consider it appropriate to comment on the issue of prisoners (especially, in my own personal opinion, because there are thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, and only one Israeli imprisoned in Palestine.)
      We were at one point contacted by lawyers claiming to represent Shalit's family and supporters, requesting that we deliver a letter to be given to Shalit. We responded in the affirmative, but the lawyers, never contacted us again. (We realized later this was a publicity stunt, when we saw claims that we had refused to deliver such letters for Shalit, which of course were total lies.)

    • Very little of what we sent with the flotilla was ever delivered to Gaza. Hundreds of wheelchairs were tossed around and broken, and some were finally sent to Gaza without the batteries that were needed to make them of any use. There was a lot of talk but very little action. Not sure where all the toys, notebooks, pencils and crayons ended up, but unlikely they reached the children in Gaza. I was on the FREE GAZA, the very first boat to reach Gaza. We took hearing aids, basketballs, a few musical instruments, baby food and clothing, toys, notebooks, pencils. I knitted some hats for preemie babies and they made it to Gaza, but not through Israel. Why would anybody trust Israel? Fortunately I know and work with some wonderful Israelis, both Jewish and non-Jewish, so I know that all Israelis aren't thieves and murderers like those responsible for pirating humanitarian boats to Gaza and killing innocent passengers.

    • After his death, the intersection of Main and Vassar Streets in Cambridge was renamed "Danny Lewin Square" in his honor. (Wikipedia)

    • @JonS
      The level of your self-delusion is astonishing. You are actually saying that Israel's only mistake is that when armed-to-the-teeth Navy Seals descended from attack helicopters while firing live ammunition onto the deck of a passenger boat in international waters they had been promised by their leaders there would be no resistance? That is your excuse? So if an armed thug breaks into a house and gets hurt by a woman who scratches his face while he is attempting to rape her, then his attack is justified on the basis he didn't realize she would resist?
      You know, Jon S, a lie, no matter how oft-repeated, is still a lie. This is something the hasbarists don't seem to understand.

    • @Jon S.

      "but I doubt that if the Israeli Navy had waited for the flotilla to enter territorial waters and then acted, the critics would have been satisfied."

      There were no plans for the flotilla to ever enter Israel's territorial waters. And yes, the Israelis offered to deliver the aid for us. We declined their offer. We don't trust them.

    • Racism is exactly right. I suspect the passengers on board the MAVI MARMARA especially targetted because they were known to be primarily Muslims and also because there was far less likelihood of killing Jews on that boat, since there were several Jews on board the other flotilla boats. All boats were attacked and boarded aggressively and brutally, but thankfully there were no fatalities except those on the MAVI MARMARA. No passenger on any boat was armed in any way. Passengers on all the boats were beaten and tasered, so it is a lie to claim that the only violence was on the MAVI MARMARA in order to justify killing those passengers who were no more prepared for the vicious attack from the IDF than were any of the passengers. All were unarmed. All were nowhere near Israeli territorial waters. All were victims of an unprovoked attack by armed thugs.

    • Israelis (and some of their apologists here) suggest that passengers were killed on the MAVI MARMARA and not on the other boats because the MAVI MARMARA passengers were violent. They also claim that there was no violence on any other boat. First of all there was violence on all the boats. Boats filled with unarmed passengers known to be on a humanitarian mission were boarded by pirates in international waters. Guns were fired by the attackers, and many were hurt by paint guns. Some passengers were beaten, handcuffed, blindfolded. All the passengers on all the boats were forced at gunpoint to be transported against their will to Israel, where they were thrown in jail. They were then charged with being in Israel illegally and were asked to sign statements admitting to that fact. Few passengers signed. Some people believe the passengers on the MAVI MARMARA were singled out especially because they were mostly Muslims, many of them praying when the attack occurred.
      And to add insult to injury all the passengers were robbed in some way. Credit cards and cellphones were used by Israeli soldiers, and one soldier admitted selling several computers taken from passengers.
      And all this from the world's most moral army?

    • Yes, it's ludicrous to suggest the Israeli attackers were frightened into killing unarmed passengers. The soldiers, armed to the teeth as they were, were vastly outnumbered by passengers. As you point out, Potsherd, there are photos of at least one slightly injured soldier receiving medical treatment from passengers. They could easily have killed him or held him hostage, but instead they returned him to his fellow-attackers. There isn't any proof that these minor injuries to a few of the commandoes were caused by passengers. Had any soldiers been hurt we would have seen video and photos and weeping and wailing at their bedside. The passengers did the right thing in the face of brutality they never expected. They were well away from Israeli waters and should never have been attacked by pirates who in any other situation would have been condemned by the U.S. as they were condemned by just about every other country and state.

    • Hophmi,
      You can't be allowed to make such false statements without being challenged. I know for a fact there were no weapons on board the MAVI MARMARA or any other boats of the flotilla. Everyone on board was committed to unarmed non-violence. Nobody would be allowed to board any of the flotilla boats without signing a commitment to non-violence. It is ridiculous to suggest otherwise. I have sailed to Gaza and I know the rules. I was part of the flotilla. I too was sworn to non-violence, and if my vessel had been swarmed and attacked by armed commandoes I hope that I would have done what all of us non-violent peace activists do: refuse to resist brutality against us. But had I watched other passengers being shot, beaten and killed, and if I saw a piece of loose hardware on the boat, I fear I might have picked it up and tried to protect myself or others. There were no guns on the flotilla boats. Yes, there were knives. There were also forks and spoons... there were hundreds to people to be fed. It is insulting that after the wanton slaughter of nine unarmed passengers, and serious injury to dozens more, Israel and people like you continue to suggest they were armed. The attack was unprovoked, in international waters where Israeli gunboats and vessels of war had no right to be. Israel got away with yet another massacre; please don't embarrass yourself by claiming otherwise.

  • BDS and one state as an alternative to the peace process
    • Hardly after 63 years. The Palestinians have been demanding their internationally recognized right to return to their homes since they were first driven from them in 1948.

      And if you have a problem with right of return going back 63 years, how about Jewish people claiming they are all returning home after an absence of three thousand years, notwithstanding the fact that the majority have no roots in the middle east at all?

      Chutzpah or hypocrisy? Or both?

  • Free Gaza Movement commemorates anniversary of first Gaza landing
    • Arriving in Gaza two years ago was the most amazing experience of my rather long life, and we who started it all can hardly believe that in two short years FREE GAZA has become known around the world. Sadly, this notoriety came at a very heavy price; had the IDF not attacked the Freedom Flotilla, murdering 9 unarmed passengers, we would still be struggling to spread the word of our existence and of the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

      For the record, Free Gaza was founded as an international movement in 2006 by four women and one man. Of the four women, Greta Berlin and I are from the U.S, while Eliza Ernshire and Bella Locke are both Australians living in the U.K. The lone man, who has not been associated with Free Gaza since late 2008, was American Paul Larudee.

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