Between Israel and Palestine you can’t have it both ways

Gaza political art July 27 2014

Liberal Zionists (those who want to believe a Jewish-only state has some relationship to democracy) & who support the murderous assault on Gaza keep wanting to change the subject to Syria & they chide us: ‘If you’re so concerned about justice, what about Syria? Why no opposition to Assad’s regime? Palestine is small potatoes.” So why does Palestine matter? Why have hundreds of thousands around the world risen up in thunderous defense of Gaza? Because for 66 years they stood alone & undaunted against two of the mightiest military arsenals in the world & never reconciled themselves to apartheid or expropriation. They are not just a symbol of defiance against tyranny. A victory for Palestine would cut the Gordian Knot of colonialism in the Middle East & release the energies of revolution against tyranny of every kind around the world. Long live Palestinian intifada! Take it international! Palestine will be free. (Political art from the Peanut box)

No this is not damage from a Hamas rocket in Israel; this is Gaza City

Gaza City rubble July 26 2014

You wouldn’t think even the inventive minds of hasbara agents could hedge on this one, would you? This is the landscape of the Shuja’iyya residential neighborhood in Gaza City that Israel blasted into smithereens this week ostensibly to take out tunnels & rocket launchers. Of course nobody with half a brain & an ounce of decency buys that. There are dozens & dozens of these kind of scenes all over Gaza but captions still hedge with comments like, the area “was reportedly heavily damaged by shelling & airstrikes.” You think!?

The UN is cooking up another investigation for after the carnage ends to cover Israel’s ass for war crimes while Amnesty International claims the jury is still out on war crimes. God knows where Human Right Watch stands on this. They’re probably vacationing in the Bahamas so they don’t have to bear witness. They all belong to the “see no evil, hear no evil” crowd. Perhaps if they go up to the hills of Sderot they can take a front row seat along with all the other psychos & try to gather data from there.

Support the Palestinians: grab a placard & join a rally, boycott their products, & support the cultural boycott of Israel

(Photo by Oliver Weiken/EPA)

Sometimes the simple things tell the truth

Gaza saving parakeets July 26 2014

Sometimes the simplest things are the most telling. The psycho-state of Israel has ceased fire for a 12-hour period & Israelis watching ethnic cleansing from the hills of Sderot can take a bathroom break now or check to see if dinner’s ready or catch up on the sports page.

Palestinians are returning to mountains of cement rubble to retrieve what they can from demolished homes.These young men in Beit Hanoun (the town where Israel bombed the hospital & refugee center yesterday) are trying to save the family birds who they found still alive. Not exactly the image of terrorists are they? But then who knew this stage of Operation Ethnic Cleansing would bring the truth all home for all the world to see?

Those who have eyes & see not & who have ears & hear not can stuff their cognitive dissonance. Playing stupid doesn’t cut it any more.

Support the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729); support the cultural boycott, & join the hundreds of thousands around the world demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza!”

(Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

We need a war crimes tribunal for Israeli crimes in Gaza

Gaza boy with balloon July 26 2014

This poignant photo is widely circulated on social media as if it were from Israel’s current murderous assault on Gaza but it was taken during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead assault in 2009. The original caption identified this as the rubble of the little boy’s house in Jabalia, northern Gaza.

Israel has really never stopped bombing Gaza since it removed Zionist settlers in 2005 under prime minister Ariel Sharon’s “unilateral disengagement” plan touted in media as a peace initiative, but as we know now, was intended to facilitate ethnic cleansing & avoid harm to Zionist settlers.

The continuous bombing of Gaza has been punctuated by several-day operations including Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 & January 2009 (22 days) & Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012 (8 days) & now Operation Protective Edge which continues after 18 days. All of which combine to make Operation Ethnic Cleansing. After the 2009 massacre, a UN commission was formed to investigate war crimes, headed by Judge Richard J. Goldstone, a South African judge & chief prosecutor of the UN criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia & Rwanda.

The commission report published in September 2009 was an important exposure & indictment of Israeli war crimes but it was an equivocal document also indicting Hamas self-defense as war crimes. It could be said “equivocal” is not damning enough of such diplomatic deceit & false even-handedness. Israeli politicians including president Shimon Peres & Netan-psycho-yahu went ballistic denouncing the exposure of Israeli war crimes. People are still trying to figure out where Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority stood on the report because he had his head stuck so far up Israel’s “you-know-what” that no one has ever been able to discern–not unlike his conduct today.

Predictably, the US government damned the report as biased against Israel & for letting Hamas off easy & the political halfwits in the US Congress played their usual role by passing resolutions of condemnation. As we know from the November 2012 & current Israeli assaults on Gaza, nothing practical came out of the Goldstone report.

Unfortunately Goldstone turned out to be a cowardly man who couldn’t take the criticism & perhaps the loss of prestige in awards & honoraria that come with turning your back on Israeli war crimes. In 2011, he repudiated the commission findings & said Israel did not in fact intentionally target “civilians” in Gaza as a matter of policy. The other principal authors of the report exhibited more backbone & stood by the original condemnations of Israel for war crimes. Ah well, just another day at the UN, where equivocations & deceits are the diplomatic norm.

There are calls for another UN commission to investigate war crimes in Gaza on both sides: the side of genocide & the side of self-defense. Been there, done that! There needs to be a truly independent commission to investigate charges of human rights crimes & one of the first things they’ll need to demand is iron-proof documentation of property damage in Israel from those alleged barrages of Hamas rockets. We’ll need to see documentation of those alleged 31 cement Hamas tunnels from Gaza into Israel. And of course, we’ll need to see proof positive that those tunnel entrances were under hospitals, mosques, schools, & homes in Gaza to justify Israel bombing them into smithereens. We’ll need to see proof that ambulances harbored rocket launchers & that medics recovering bodies & rescuing wounded were really Hamas “military operatives” which justified Israel bombing them.

The world already has overwhelming documentation of Israeli war crimes in Gaza; most of us can’t stomach any more gruesome evidence. Their defense for targeting children & using weapons like flechette shells & Dime shrapnel is already being played out in world media accompanied by a chorus of braying jackasses from governments–in which Canada, the UK, & US distinguish themselves. That defense comes complete with the evil fairies from outer space reversing Hamas rockets to protect Israel. But of course in an independent inquiry those evil fairies won’t hold much sway so they better come up with something much more convincing than farce.

All out in defense of Gaza, demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza!” Support the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729) & support the cultural boycott of Israel.

Long live Palestinian intifada! Take it international!

(Ashraf Amra is the actual photojournalist who took this photo for APA Images; that is misidentified in current captions.)

Long live Palestinian intifada! Take it international!

Gaza rally in Beirut July 26 2014

The monstrous assault hammering Gaza approaches three weeks & the barbarisms of Israeli crimes against Palestinians has men & women of good will around the world horrified & shell-shocked. We stand witness to genocide. But we do not stand silent & complicit. Tens of thousands around the world in hundreds of cities gather to demand “stop the massacre in Gaza!” in the biggest expression of human solidarity since we gathered to defend the Vietnamese people against the US war machine.

While our brothers & sisters in Gaza run from bombs & thousands in the occupied West Bank marshal in defense of Gaza & intifada, solidarity activists around the world hold high the banner of Palestine. We were all Vietnamese; today we are all Palestinians.

This solidarity rally is at Rawshe Rock on the Mediterranean coast in Beirut (July 22nd).

Long live Palestinian intifada! Take it international!

(Photo by Jamal Saidi/Reuters)

Israeli defense of war crimes can hardly keep up with the lies

Gaza City destruction July 25 2014

Zionists are having a hell of a time explaining away the overwhelming photographic evidence of Israeli war crimes & genocide in Gaza. After three weeks of damning Hamas for thousands of rockets they still can’t come up with documentation of property damage in Israel that would hold up in petty claims court.

Not unlike US rationalizations for Afghanistan & Iraq, media–from main stream to the most crackpot Zionist–are fumbling for explanations that will fly & when they can’t find one, they just improvise & make stuff up. Fiction competes with farce because Zionism has reached the limits of credibility.

Originally Israel justified genocide by claiming it had to stop those Hamas rockets. Now the Associated Press (AP), relying on sources like the Israeli military & Netan-psycho-yahu, tells us the bombing & ground invasion were necessary to take out Hamas tunnels. Not the smuggling ones between Gaza & its border with Egypt (which Egypt long-since destroyed by flooding with sewage) but tunnels between Gaza & its border with Israel. Netan-psycho told Ban Ki-hopeless-moon that Hamas built “terrorist tunnels” under Gazan hospitals, mosques, schools, homes to penetrate Israeli territory & kill or kidnap Israelis.

The editorial board of The Washington Post will not be outdone by flunkeys from the AP & elaborated on the tunnel defense for genocide. The editors claim Hamas tunnels leading from Gaza to kibbutzim in Israel have entrances in residential areas like the Shijaiyah district of Gaza City. That’s why last week Israeli bombs leveled the district, leaving hundreds of bodies buried in cement rubble or lying on the streets. That’s why they shot at medics trying to rescue the survivors & gather the remains. The editors claimed Israel found another tunnel underneath al-Wafa hospital, along with a Hamas command post & weapons arsenal. That’s why they had to take the hospital out too.

The editors allege these tunnels are constructed with cement but didn’t explain where in the hell Hamas got the cement since the Israeli blockade prohibits building materials, specifically cement, & has only allowed entry to a small tonnage earmarked for UN projects. Is the UN now working with Hamas in building those tunnels?

The Washington Post editors don’t know when to stop & they go on: “The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which–following the terrorists’ script–blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels.” Take a moment to catch your breath here from the stinking cynicism of that complaint. But at least they acknowledge growing squeamishness about leaving the streets of Gaza running in blood to take out imaginary tunnels–though the editors aren’t squeamish in the least.

Hasbara tests the limits of credulity though. The editors claim Hamas leaders are hiding out in those tunnels while Gaza goes up in flames. With Israel going after those tunnels with bombs, tanks, & infantry it’s hard to imagine a place less safe than those tunnels–unless you’re a child in Gaza.

Left-wing Zionist media does a lot of hand-wringing, regretting genocide whilst damning Hamas rockets more. The differences among left-wing Zionists are fracturing & though they all adhere to a Jewish-only state, many in Israel & around the world are protesting the massacre in Gaza. In Israel, in particular, they courageously defy state repression & goon squad violence. Others like the group J Street are involved in pro-Israel rallies & need to be exorcised as indistinguishable from Netan-psycho-yahu.

Right-wing Zionist media is completely unhinged. You only wish you could write them off as crackpots & misanthropes. The Jewish Press (JP), which comes out of Brooklyn, NY, claims Israel did not bomb the UN refugee center (a vacant schoolhouse) in Beit Hanoun yesterday; it was destroyed by a misfired Hamas rocket & says an errant IDF artillery shell from combat in the area might also have hit. The JP also said Israel gave ample notice to evacuate the school. How the hell would Israel know in advance about a misfired Hamas rocket? This contradicts reports from UN representatives on the scene that there were no warnings despite repeated requests to Israel by UN workers.

The far-right Zionist blogosphere is afire today with the headline from the Jewish Telegraph (out of England): “Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist.” If there weren’t a genocide involved, this would be farcical. An unidentified Hamas guy says God made that Hamas rocket misfire, reverse direction, & take out the school in Beit Hanoun? The Zionist writer who started this nonsense quoted David Ben Gurion (Israel’s first prime minister) from a 1956 interview when he said, “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” Are miracles the same as farce? Are evil fairies from outer space possibly involved?

Photos of the Beit Hanoun school bombing are far too gruesome to post, showing dozens of children & others being treated for massive shrapnel injuries & in shell shock. This photo is of Israeli airstrike damage in Gaza City–ostensibly to take out those tunnels underneath the ground where children play.

(Photo by Hatem Moussa/AP)

The Pope and Peres: comrades-in-arms

Pope and Peres July 24 2014

There was some amicable disagreement when Pope Francis stopped at the apartheid wall to say a Hail Mary on his trip to the West Bank & Israel last month. Some considered that act supportive of Palestinian justice. I don’t like empty gestures that much. Prayer is good, especially if combined with outspoken commitment to Palestinian justice. But praying doesn’t exempt you from taking a stand with justice.

Pope Francis proceeded from the apartheid wall to join Netan-psycho-yahu & Shimon Peres (president of Israel & former paramilitary death squad leader) at the monument to Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism who inspired the monstrosity that is Israel. One media source said: “It was a finely balanced gesture on the last day of the pontiff’s visit to the Holy Land, where even the smallest acts are fraught with political symbolism”–a statement that manages to flatter the pope for banality & at the same time, insult the intelligence of Palestinians & Israelis. In fact, from empty gesture the pope moved to an affront & betrayal of Palestinians. Because even the pope, with his hot-line to heaven, cannot have it both ways.

So where does Pope Francis stand today on Israeli ethnic cleansing in Gaza? Is he sporting a keffiyeh or is he standing with tens of thousands of men & women around the world demanding “stop the massacre in Gaza”? Actually he’s chatting it up with Shimon Peres in the most meaningless exchange of pietisms & false religiosity that we’ve seen since the last time he met Peres. And they also exchanged regrets about the “small group of fanatics who are the cause of suffering in Gaza.” Ethnic cleansing never came up. Reality never came up.

You always want to give the pope a break; nobody wants to excoriate a holy man. But nobody wants to be made a fool of either. Nobody wants to pretend when Pope Francis talks about praying for peace but refuses to take a stand against genocide, that he is just too holy to face political reality & really does have his head in the clouds. Nobody thinks he’s that stupid–or for that matter, that holy.

Nobody with a conscience gets to turn their backs on the people of Gaza spouting platitudes & banalities, abstractions & evasions.

I deeply regret if I offend people for my criticism of Pope Francis but if he calls himself a leader of the faith, then he has to act like a leader & not like a man lost in the wilderness or worse, a flunkey to the status quo.

(Photo is Shimon Peres greeting Pope Francis during the latter’s trip to Israel in May, by David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images)