There are more signs today that what the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009 did for the left, the latest assault is doing for the mainstream: solidifying a perception that Israeli leadership has lost its moorings, opening the floodgates of criticism. The Israeli attack on the UN school yesterday followed later by the attack on civilians in Shuja’iyyah market during an announced ceasefire had an effect on public officials. The school attack at last gained a rebuke from the Obama administration, though it didn’t pin blame on Israel. At the State Department briefing, reporters expressed distress that the U.S. is not saying more. And some of our leading MSM voices are letting their outrage show: Ayman Mohyeldin of NBC and Erin Burnett of CNN have shown humanity and courage. Burnett has tee’d up the obvious question: Why are Americans funding Israeli carnage?
Monthly Archives: July 2014
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has surpassed the United Nations capabilities for emergency shelter and services and is now the responsibility of the Israel army, said the Commissioner General of the United Nations Refugee Works Association (UNRWA)
The United Nations has expressed “deep concern” at the mass killings of families: at least 68 Palestinian families in Gaza have had three or more members killed by the Israeli military in the same incident since Israel began its current assault on Gaza on July 7, for a total of 360 people. That’s an average of more than 5 members per family.
What is a state to do in the face of a widening gap between its previous status as an icon of “democratic exceptionalism”, and its new role as global bully? What is to be done when it faces a real crisis of “legitimation”? The answer is that Israel and its powerful friends around the world are attempting to criminalize dissent. From the West Bank to Paris to Indianapolis, critics are being silenced — like Haneen Zoabi, above, the Palestinian member of Knesset who has been banned from almost all parliamentary activity for six months
To many, Leonardo Boff is a prophet. As a Brazilian Roman Catholic liberation theologian for many years, Boff is respected on the religious left for his outspoken critique of injustice within and outside of the church. His influence is so wide and his ideas so radical that some years ago he was censored by the Vatican in Rome. In a wide-ranging interview in Iglesia Descalza, Boff spoke about the new Pope with ease and respect. Though Boff’s words on the Pope, especially his opening to gays and abortion, are important and in Catholic circles controversial, no doubt his reflections on Gaza – and Jews – will also garner attention.
From a left-wing community once at the forefront of struggles against racism, unconditional support for Israel has turned a significant proportion of Toronto Jews into promoters of hatred against “Arabs” and into allies of right wing, bigoted, homophobic Christian Bible literalists. Yves Engler writes: “During 15 years of activism in Montréal, Ottawa and Vancouver I haven’t seen anything equivalent to the racist, militarist pro-Israel movement experienced recently in Toronto. And sadly the quasi-fascistic organization driving the charge seems increasingly enmeshed within a community that once led the fight against racism and fascism in the city.”
Wejdan Abu Shammala in the Washington Post, Rashid Khalidi in the New Yorker, Henry Siegman on Democracy Now, and Roger Cohen in the New York Times — the Gaza slaughter has produced some excellent informative journalism
Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times says that Israeli fears of militants attacking civilians from tunnels are “borne out” by recent events and the world sympathizes with Israelis. But all attacks have involved Israeli soldiers– something many in the world would justify. The Times reporter cannot step outside the Israeli frame of mind.
In a Haaretz column, Peter Beinart demolishes in painstaking detail the Gaza narrative from Israel that would win 110% approval in the US Congress: Israel withdrew from Gaza as a peace overture; Palestinians responded with terror and the election of Hamas; Hamas violently seized power, blah blah blah.
Israeli army fire hit a United Nations school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza today, killing at least 20 Palestinians and injuring an estimated 90 people. The United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA)’s initial investigation placed the blame squarely on Israel for killing civilians and violating international law. “Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced,” UNRWA head Pierre Krähenbühl said in a statement.
During the Suez crisis in 1956 U.S. President Eisenhower threatened sanctions against Israel which forced Israel to withdraw. We should learn from history, and impose military sanctions on Israel until it complies with its international obligations. It worked before, and it can work now.
David Remnick in The New Yorker says Gaza hostilities began after Israeli teens were abducted June 12. He leaves out the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation pact the world welcomed and Israel rejected, causing the end of peace talks and leading Israel to hunt Hamas in the West Bank, precipitating war in Gaza
“Israel today, Israel tomorrow, Israel forever,” Brooklyn congressman Hakeem Jeffries said at rally for Israel, echoing George Wallace on segregation, while US Rep Grace Meng of Queens said Israel does more to protect civilians than any other country. Really? NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer said Israel’s survival is at risk more than ever and said “we discovered” tunnels, merging Israel and the US, to the largely religious audience
Demonstrations broke out around the West Bank and East Jerusalem yesterday in solidarity with Gaza. Israeli forces suppressed the protests with rubber bullets and tear gas — and arrested many, including two men wearing Gaza solidarity tee shirts.
A video created by Alex Nunns, who subtitled a BBC interview with Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev. The interview follows the Israeli bombing of an UN school in Jabaliya that killed at least 20 Palestinians.
As the Israeli slaughter in Gaza continues into its fourth week, many international voices have used the word “genocide” to describe it. Genocide entails the intent to destroy a people in whole or part and acts of genocide, “killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm, or inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction, in whole or part, of the people you’re trying to destroy”
Norman Finkelstein reached his goal yesterday afternoon, a quorum of at least 100 people to protest the latest Gaza massacre outside the Israeli consulate in midtown Manhattan. At half-past noon a vanguard of demonstrators lay in the crosswalk on Second Avenue, blocking southbound traffic for several minutes, until officers began making arrests. Finkenstein was adamant that the entire intersection not be blocked. Around 25 people were cuffed and loaded into paddy wagons, including Finkelstein and Brooklyn College professor Corey Robin.
The twisted, vicious moralizing used to justify Israel’s assault is cloaked in the song of self-defense, a term frequently heard in the United States and seconded by all the former colonial and settler colonial powers that Europe spawned. For if colonial expansion and military intervention against subjugated populations were not named defense, how could the United States continue to slaughter whole Pakistani or Yemeni families with drone attacks?
Fundraising memo advises Michelle Nunn, Dem candidate for Senate in GA, to say the right thing on Israel to raise $250,000. Matt Yglesias says everyone knows Jewish money is essential in politics, but journalists wont say so because it’s an “anti-Semitic trope.”
There was a pro-Israel rally of 10,000 people in New York yesterday, a half block from the United Nations, and Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner, who is an executive of the NY Board of Rabbis, suggested that Palestinians who voted for Hamas are combatants who deserve to be targeted by Israel. The crowd cheered. Kirshner went on to say that the Israeli army is “the most moral army in the history of civilization.” He ended his remarks with the word, Amen.
A wave of civil disobedience actions has spread around the U.S. in recent weeks as Israel’s pummeling of Gaza continues apace. The activists, many of them young people, including Jews, are putting their bodies on the line in an attempt to draw attention to how the U.S. is implicated in the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
Marc Ellis writes: In her recent writing on Gaza, Amira Hass’s words are strong and moving. They are also increasingly disconnected. As I once did and perhaps still do, Hass lives in a Jewish ethical history that no longer exists. Rather than addressing current events, her words represent mourning for a world that will not be resurrected.
Some Israeli attacks have been retribution. Eran Efrati, an Israeli investigator, has reported that Israelis carried out a civilian massacre in Shuja’iyya as a response to the killing of 7 Israeli soldiers. And after 10 Israeli soldiers were killed yesterday, a massive bombardment of Gaza overnight produced 30 civilian deaths.
Noura Erakat on MSNBC, James Zogby and Mouin Rabbani on CNN, Ayman Mohyeldin on NBC — the Israel lobby is having to contend with an alternative view of the conflict in the mainstream. Here comes the cavalry: Joe Klein citing the Israeli peace camp to explain that the Gaza operation is precise and we can’t trust US reporting!
Samah Sabawi writes publicly to an unnamed Jewish friend who has not reached out to her since the Israeli attack on Gaza began.