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)

Israel bombs refugee center in Gaza

Gaza school refugee July 24 2014

If we want to know where neoliberalism is dragging this planet, we need only look at Israeli barbarism in Gaza. Those few world politicians (it is such a misnomer to call them leaders) who speak about Israel’s slaughter in Gaza rant support for genocide without even a scintilla of squeamishness about blood rolling in the streets. The rest stand like mute oxen lest they endanger their secret defense bargains with Israel. Wearing a keffiyeh scarf around your neck, wringing your hands in discomfort for benefit of reporters, running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to broker a ceasefire do not substitute for outspoken denunciations of ethnic cleansing or for mobilizing every resource your government can muster to compel Israel to stop the slaughter.

Just a week ago, the UN was up in arms denouncing Hamas far & wide when they discovered a cache of rockets stored in one of the vacant schoolhouses they use for refugee asylums in Gaza. It could be said they went ballistic, launching an investigation & even informing Israeli officials. They were talking tough: the UN “has reinforced & continues to implement its robust procedures to maintain the neutrality of all its premises, including a strict no-weapons policy & regular inspections of its installations, to ensure they are only used for humanitarian purposes.”

Today, for the fourth time in two days, Israel bombed one of the schools serving as shelters where the majority of refugees are women, children, elderly, & disabled. According to the UN official in charge of UN refugee facilities in Gaza, they received no evacuation warning before Israel bombed the school in Beit Hanoun, just a few miles across the border from the hills of Sderot, Israel where they watch these horrors in genocidal delight. The UN official said they told the Israeli military several times to warn them so they could evacuate the refugees & their own staff.

The schools are all marked with a UN flag; more importantly, in this case the UN official tweeted that “Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army.” So the Israeli army knew just where to pick those women & children off. That’s called ethnic cleansing, bought & paid for by the US government in collusion with all those regimes that remain silent, hoping this too will pass, & they can continue to make hay on deals with Israel.

We await with hopeful anticipation for Ban Ki-moon to stop wringing his hands & come out ballistic in condemnation of Israeli bombers violating the neutral premises of the UN refugee centers, of Israel violating every international law on the books governing human rights. After all, what’s a cache of undeployed weapons in a vacant building compared to bombing a schoolhouse full of kids, old people, & people in wheelchairs? Will we wait in vain for Ban Ki-moon’s indictment? Most likely–& even though many UN relief workers have been shot & killed in Gaza by Israeli forces.

This isn’t the first time Israel bombed refugee centers in Gaza; they did so also in the 2009 siege of Gaza. Forty-three people, mostly women & young children, were killed when Israel fired white phosphorous bombs at a school shelter in Beit Lahiya (near Beit Hanoun). Obama expressed his deep concern over the deaths but never wavered in support for Israeli ethnic cleansing & Israel had the criminal temerity to identify nine of them as Hamas militants.

Support the economic boycott of all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729); support the cultural boycott of Israel; & keep the rallies massive demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza!”

Long live intifada! Take it international!

(Photos of UN refugee center at school in Rafah, July 19th, by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Israeli ethnic cleansing targets children

Gazan refugees July 23 2014

Israel is targeting children in Gaza & there’s no mystery why. When the Knesset politician called Palestinian children “little snakes” & called for their genocide she was expressing the colonial & racist mind that sees young among the oppressed as the enemy. This is not unique to Zionist racism & Palestinian children but is inherent to the psychology of racism.

Prior to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in the US, racism toward Blacks, Latinos, & Native Americans had many cultural expressions–from playground games (like “eeny meeny miney mo”) to the cowboy & indian genre of film & comic books, to an entire catalog of insulting epithets, & to what was called pickaninny art. Pickaninny art wasn’t art at all; it was hate-mongering propaganda & it appeared in cartoons, postcards, venues of all sorts–& for decades. White kids grew up on this crap. What typified it was images of tiny Black children, infants really, in the most dire & threatening situation. Most commonly, it depicted a pudgy Black child hanging by one hand from a tiny branch over an alligator pit. When you look at this stuff, you get the willies; you understand you’re looking at evil, at hatred, at psychopathology.

What purpose could this stuff possibly serve & what’s the psychology behind it? Well if racism is institutionalized, as in the US & Israel (& everywhere else), then every new generation of the oppressed has to be broken & inculcated with self-hatred, trained to be obsequious & docile, chastened of every instinct of dignity & rebellion. It’s a never-ending process as long as the oppressed keep having babies. The oppressing apparatus hates this task & hates the children–but it fears them more. And they express that fear of youthful defiance in perverse cultural forms–like pickaninny art. The Civil Rights Movement swept this rubbish away (including the cowboy movies) & it did so in short order.

So it’s no wonder at all Israel is targeting children with its bombs & DIME shrapnel & flechette shells. It’s out to kill them, plain & simple. It doesn’t plan on living in peace or next door to Palestinians; it just wants them gone. But images of the mangled bodies & terrified faces of little Palestinian kids have gone round the world. Twitter accounts & social media are bursting with these images & there isn’t a way in hell Israel can control that or put their evil genie back in its stinking bottle.

Take a look at these little kids. They aren’t just the next generation of intifada; they are the downfall of Zionism, exposing its barbarisms & racist hatred for all the world to see. It’s all over for Israel; a fatal blow has been struck by innocent children seeking shelter from bombs. The end of Zionism won’t come easy & it won’t be soon but this murderous campaign marks the beginning of the end & the hope for Palestinian justice.

Join the rallies demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza!”; honor the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729); support the cultural boycott of Israel.

Long live intifada! Palestine will be free!

(Photo of children fleeing the bombing by Sergey Ponomarev/NY Times)

A tribute to the medics of Gaza

Gazan medic July 23 2014

Many people have read the poignant–nay, horrifying–appeal to Obama from Dr. Mads Gilbert, the Norwegian doctor who has served in Gaza for many years. Gilbert is a long-time socialist & nobody’s fool; he doesn’t expect his description of catastrophe care in Gaza to change US support for Israeli apartheid & he knows appeal to Obama’s human sympathies is a waste of good ink. Gilbert is really reaching out to men & women of good will so we understand the carnage that is Zionism & the transformative power that is solidarity with Palestinians.

His description helps us see more clearly than in the past the role of medics–men & women with professional credentials to leave Gaza & migrate to good paying jobs elsewhere but remain there to serve. Defying international law, Israel (as the US in Iraq) is firing on hospitals & ambulances & killing medical personnel as they try to rescue the wounded & pick up the scattered remains of the dead.

There’s been discussion about how well solidarity is or is not served by circulating gruesome photos of mangled children. As we know from the hills of Sderot, Zionists & those who support Israeli apartheid can witness ethnic cleansing not just with equanimity but with glee. But most of us cannot bear to witness such unspeakable evil. It isn’t that “human kind cannot bear very much reality,” in the words of T.S. Eliot, but that we cannot bear to stare the horrors of ethnic cleansing right in the face. Human hearts & psyches aren’t made like that as we’re forced not just to witness it but collude with it more & more as capitalism spirals into its barbaric phase.

It really wasn’t until the Vietnam War that psychic damage to those conducting colonial wars was acknowledged publicly which probably came from antiwar resistance among soldiers & veterans. And now we see reports that many Israeli soldiers have committed suicide rather than continue duty in Gaza.

Imagine then, as Gilbert describes in his letter, that medics working round the clock without respite handle hundreds of children, men & women with charcoaled skin from DIME shrapnel, bodies punctured with flechette darts, bodies missing limbs, & sights so gruesome they may never again sleep well & they will never be the same. They serve while Israeli airstrikes come after hospitals & ambulances & target medics trying to pull survivors out of cement rubble & pick up bodies strewn in streets.

There are no words to express the honor these men & women deserve; there are no words to console them as they weep while they treat injured & prepare the dead for burial. But Dr. Gilbert said it best: the medical help solidarity can best render is to stay in the streets demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza!”

This medic is helping an injured man in Gaza City in the Shejaia neighborhood which Israeli bombers went after with a vengeance, leaving the streets strewn with Palestinians (on the 20th).

Honor the medics by joining a rally, by honoring the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729), & by honoring the cultural boycott of Israel.

Long live intifada!

(Photo by Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters)

The historic moment of the beginning of the end for Zionism

Gaza flight July 23 2014

Israel has not ceased bombing or strafing Palestinians with illegal munitions like flechette shells & DIME weapons (which charcoal skin & sever limbs). But when this frantic binge of ethnic cleansing is halted by massive international opposition & revulsion at the savagery, Israel will stand more shamed & isolated than it has in its 66 years of ignominious existence. This is a historic moment signalling a historic reversal in the fate of Israel & Palestinians. Israel, reflecting political desperation & the dry rot of Zionism, went too far. And they did it after Palestinians organized an international economic & cultural boycott of Israel which exposed the truth of Israel & the justice of Palestinians behind the rancid Exodus myth created in film, song, & hasbara.

World politicians came late to the revolution but their actions are a sign worth noting: Sweden refused landing to the plane of Shimon Peres, the former paramilitary death squad leader now president of Israel; Chile has stopped trade with Israel; Ecuador recalled its ambassador to Israel; South Africa is attempting to expel the Israeli ambassador; the Brazilian ambassador to the UN & the “king” of Sweden & his wife appeared in public wearing the keffiyeh, the Palestinian scarf. To be frank, these gestures may be telling but they are wimpy & not the scale of solidarity these regimes are capable of mobilizing. What about public denunciations & explanations? What about embargoes on Israel? What about cutting off aid & military deals with Israel? What about telling the damn truth after decades of going along with the lies?

It is the tens of thousands of people around the world who almost spontaneously erupted in a massive expression of solidarity with Gaza who are creating this historic shift. Again it must be said, social transformation & Palestinian justice are a collective commitment, not a grandstanding operation. It isn’t some ambassador draping the keffiyeh around his neck that turned the tide, but the tens of thousands of men & women of good will who responded to the call of justice & in a thunderous international chorus demand “Stop the massacre of Gaza!”

We have not witnessed a phenomenon like this outpouring of international solidarity since opposition to the war in Vietnam. The media always gave itself too much credit for turning public opinion against the Vietnam War & misrepresented & failed to accurately report antiwar activity for the duration of the war & certainly never gave the Vietnamese their due. But the hundreds of photos flooding out of Gaza of unspeakable barbarisms do play a central role in undoing the Exodus narrative & affirming the historic claims of Palestinians. It is clear this is ethnic cleansing & not self-defense. No one can ever undo the damage of claiming Israelis are huddled terrified in bomb shelters when photojournalism shows them whooping it up over genocide on the hills of Sderot.

These women & children in Gaza City are fleeing from what they thought were safe buildings now being bombed by Israel. How do you undo this image? Even when media tries to temper the impact in their captions, they come out looking like jackasses covering for genocide.

Palestinian intifada has become international. Long liver intifada! Join a rally, join the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729), support the cultural boycott of Israel.

And one last thing: to those who stand on the side in this struggle–shaking the naughty finger at both sides or chiding Palestinians for alleged terrorism–shame on you. Because in ethnic cleansing, there is only one side, the side of justice. And if you aren’t on it actively, you are in silent collusion. And that’s not too harsh a condemnation to make.

(Photo by Carolyn Cole/LA Times)

The idiocies of U.S. politicians and the plight of undocumented child immigrants

Unaccompanied minor immigrant July 23 2014

How old do you think this little girl is? Nine or ten years old at most? She’s an unaccompanied minor on a freight train in south eastern Mexico waiting to depart to the US border. She has over a thousand miles left to go on her own & is very likely to encounter one or more forms of violence including rape, kidnapping, assault, dismemberment from hopping on & off the train, disappearance, execution, robbery. If she makes it across the border she’ll almost certainly get picked up by border patrol agents & put in immigration jail in squalid conditions.

Now two Texas politicians–one a Republican & one a lesser evil guy–have the wretched temerity to claim she got here through trafficking & is associated with prostitution or drugs. They are sponsoring a bill in Congress which they sarcastically call the HUMANE act to whisk those kids in & out of immigration court in 7 days & send them packing back to Central America.

Most of us know by the time we’re out of kindergarten that you can’t reason with idiocy–not of that scope. When you deal with politicians you have to bully them into submission with power politics. If you try to reason or negotiate with them, you end up with hemmorhoids & a concussion from banging your head against the wall.

That’s why massive social change & justice have always required massive social movements that won’t take no for an answer. The entire Obama regime & every single bozo representing it from Obama & Biden down to Homeland Security are out to get these little kids. They talk about the “humanitarian” crisis at the border but that’s a concept they can’t get their pea brains around & only use to promote the most violent solution possible–sending all the kids back to an uncertain future.

It cannot be said enough that child welfare doesn’t honor citizenship or borders.Their humanity & vulnerability are sufficient to grant them asylum. But if you listen to these politicians talk about these little kids, you would think it was a swarm of locusts coming across the border.

Do you think this too harsh a judgement of the politicians? On the contrary, it flatters them & leaves out the worst of their traits. Though we should at least give passing reference to that stupid smugness that seems to come with the distinction of politician. Don’t wish it on your worst enemy. If you get to your grave without ever having to listen to them blither, count yourself a lucky soul. Their blighted victims will earn a special place in heaven. Amen.

Immigration is a human right! Open the borders! Close down the immigration jails! Grant asylum to all who come.

Israeli bombs attack ambulances and hospitals violating dozens of international laws: U.N. remains mute

Gaza--bombed ambulance July 22 2014

This is another photo worth a thousand lies exposing egregious war crimes by the Israeli military. These Palestinians–“civilians,” if you will–run past a bombed out ambulance during a brief ceasefire requested by rescue operations to retrieve the bodies of wounded & dead in Gaza City (July 20th). Retrieving victims means trying to dislodge many from the rubble of bombed buildings or picking up their mangled remains off the streets so a time limit constitutes a war crime.

Israel gets around indictment for war crimes by claiming Palestinians misuse medical services & ambulances for terrorist activities–which is why they are bombing ambulances & hospitals in Gaza. “He who believeth Israeli propaganda has to have their head examined,” saith the Lord.

Israel has been spewing this trash for decades & in 2004 the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs (the hasbara department of the state of Israel) issued a statement which included this apologetic for genocide: “One of the issues that most hampers the IDF in its fight against terror is the intentional blurring of distinctions between Palestinian terrorist groups & the innocent Palestinian population. Terror groups operate from within residential centers, in civilian dress, assimilating in the local population & taking refuge in public institutions. Terrorists exploit civic buildings, hospitals & ambulances, religious institutions & schools as covers for their activities.”

So there you have it! Israel can bomb everything in sight because Palestinians hide rocket launchers & smuggling tunnels in hospitals & ambulances & every Palestinian is a suspect terrorist. International law obligates the Israeli military to allow medical teams to operate during times of conflict. So why aren’t the UN & Human Rights Watch (HRW) screaming bloody murder? Because both are up to their eyeballs running interference for Israeli genocide & scurrying around like the rats they are to see or hear no evil.

The political & criminal affinity between Israel & the US is no where more evident than in military assaults on hospitals & ambulances. It became public in 2004 that the US used the same military tactic in Iraq, most notably in Fullajah, where they restricted civilian health care services, seized & bombed clinics & hospitals, & confiscated ambulances. The Pentagon claimed US soldiers fired on ambulances routinely because they were involved in carrying insurgents or arms.

The bombing of al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza yesterday took out several operating rooms, vital medical equipment including x-ray facilities, & maternity wards & has left the hospital unable to receive the hundreds of seriously injured. Ambulances trying to move patients to another hospital were hit by Israeli airstrikes.

It appears Israel is riding high because the death & destruction in Gaza is so massive. But this monstrous genocidal overkill is decisively demolishing the narrative of Israel defending itself against barrages of Hamas rockets. Israel & the US can kiss those hasbara lies good-bye cause they no longer fly. Intifada is now international.

All out in protest against Israeli genocide! No military aid to Israel! Stop the massacre in Gaza!

(Photo by Oliver Weiken/EPA)

Israel’s Palestinians show intifada will not be defeated

Intifada in West Bank July 22 2014

There have been some Israeli soldiers killed in the murderous assault on Gaza & at last media can show Israelis grieving & not just cheering ethnic cleansing. There are hundreds of photos of Palestinians sobbing as they collect the remains of their beloved or as they bury them. One of the more wrenching was captioned “Relatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant Abduallah El-Buhasi, who medics said was killed in an Israeli air strike, mourn during his funeral” in Gaza. The suggestion is of course, he was a terrorist & maybe he was hit by an evil fairy flying in from outer space. Today Reuters news service chose a woman grieving at the funeral of her Israeli military brother as their photo of the day. May he RIP but his funeral is being used for war propaganda.

This is our choice for photo of the day: despite the blood bath in Gaza & the terrorism of Israeli military in the West Bank, intifada will not be defeated. This young Palestinian in Nazareth, Israel–the very heart of the beast–is being arrested because he threw stones. Israel claims affinity with David in the myth of David & Goliath. In truth their affinity is with the Gestapo in the Third Reich.

Intifada will not be defeated as long as we render the most active & consistent support rallying to demand “Stop the massacre in Gaza.” Join the economic boycott of all Israeli goods (barcode beginning 729) & support the cultural boycott of Israel.

(Photo by Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Intifada is not defeated by Israeli bombs in Gaza

West Bank intifada July 22 2014 (2)

And while Gaza grieves & flees from ethnic cleansing, Palestinian intifada defies the jackboot occupation of the West Bank to rally in defense of Gaza. These young men stand with rocks & block the road with burning tires against one of the most barbaric military forces in the world. They rally outside Ofer prison near Ramallah where Israel warehouses hundreds of Palestinian activists who will not bend the knee to Israeli apartheid.

Israel cleared Zionist settlers out of Gaza in 2005 ostensibly to generate peace but it is now eminently clear it was to isolate & exterminate the Palestinians of Gaza. These young men would face the same fate as Gaza if Israel weren’t concerned about damaging Zionist settlements in the West Bank.

The international solidarity movement is now an essential part of Palestinian intifada & must carry the banner for those now fighting for their lives. For those who cannot join the hundreds of solidarity rallies around this world to demand “Stop the massacre in Gaza”, you can participate by honoring & promoting the economic boycott of all Israeli goods (barcode beginning 729) & supporting & building the cultural boycott of Israel.

(Photo by Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

“All of Gaza bids farewell to herself every night and congratulates those who remain alive the morning of another day”

Gaza July 22 2014

Palestinian men carrying a white flag, the symbol of truce & surrender, flee Israeli bombing during the brief ceasefire requested by rescue teams to retrieve the wounded & dead in the Shuja’iyya neighbourhood of Gaza City (July 20).

“There are no spaces for life. No place to return. All of Gaza bids farewell to herself every night & congratulates those who remain alive the morning of another day. They inspect their bodies, then run their hands over the living. They close their eyes then open them, & once again call the members of their families one by one…so that the memory of their names does not fail & their spirits do not disappear.”

(by Gaza blogger Hedaya Shamun from “I Do Not Wish For You To See Gaza As Anything But a Rose”)

(Photo by Manmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)