Tag Archives: Israeli apartheid

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.)

A moment to pay respects to those who have died in Gaza

Gazan funeral July 19 2014

We should take a moment to pay respects to those who have lost children & other beloved in the murderous siege of Gaza, which continues to target children. Here a woman holds the body of her 1-year-old daughter at her funeral in Rafah (July 18th).

“How will we return to life its splendor after the bodies of the young are stolen? He carries his body in his hands and needs no coffin. His hands have become a coffin for his child shrouded in white cloth. He walks with his head high and his tears flowing. But he is lucky that he is still alive to pay his child the last honors. Entire families were buried in their homes and no one remained to pay them these last honors. It is so simple. In this civilized world of international rights and conventions and the right to life and the right to housing and the right to education and the right of expression, these rights are not for Palestinians but for someone else.”

{By the Palestinian blogger, Hedaya Shamun, “I Do Not Wish For You To See Gaza As Anything But a Rose”}

(Photo by Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters)

Intifada: Palestinian resistance to ethnic cleansing

Gaza intifada July 18 2014

Most of us are overwhelmed with images & reports of unspeakable Israeli barbarity in Gaza & now phalanxes of tanks have entered Gaza supporting an infantry indoctrinated in Zionist ideology & racist hatred. It isn’t worse than US-NATO wars in Iraq & Afghanistan but it is considerably more concentrated & hell-bent on genocide.

We are overcome with grief & terror for the people of Gaza but we continue to organize public opposition in a growing & thunderous international chorus of “Stop the massacre in Gaza!”

This photo is a Palestinian woman sitting in the rubble of her home in Gaza City which was targeted by Israeli bombers under the ruse she harbored rocket launchers in her closet. But Israel isn’t afraid of those; they have the most sophisticated military apparatus in the world & can take most of them out in a trice. What they’re afraid of is intifada–Palestinian resistance to ethnic cleansing. It isn’t wishful thinking or projection that sees resistance & determination written all over this young boy’s face. In all that rubble & carnage, intifada only grows.

And so must our solidarity. The mission of Palestinian supporters is to remain steadfast & not buckle before the onslaught. We have “miles to go before we sleep.” Until the last Palestinian cries “uncle”, we stand with them because that is where justice stands & because staying the hand of genocide has the power to inspire millions around the world to defy power & fight for human freedom.

Reports continue of solidarity protests around the world: now the Maldives & new protests in Turkey, India, Ireland, the UK, Scotland, Cape Town, Durban, & Johannesburg, South Africa. In the US, rallies are slated in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, California, Minnesota, New York, Washington DC, Texas, & elsewhere: all demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza!”

If you cannot get to a rally, honoring the economic & cultural boycott of Israel is a powerful show of solidarity (barcode beginning 729).

Long live intifada!

(Photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

The grief of ethnic cleansing and the strength of intifada

Gaza funeral in Rafah July 17 2014

There have for days been many photos of burials & grieving in Gaza–often multiple burials. The most wrenching have been of children being buried or weeping for family, neighbors, & playmates–or of parents wailing for the loss of children, like the family who lost four young sons yesterday, bombed while they played football on a Gaza beach.

There’s something about this man’s grief that is particularly powerful. He is holding the body of 4-year-old Sara Sheik el Eed at her funeral in a village outside Rafah. She was killed in a bomb strike along with her father & uncle. This mourner is among her relatives.

This is not just the face of Palestinian bereavement; it is the face of 66 years of ethnic cleansing & Israeli genocide. When Israel targets children–& the bombing of four small boys playing soccer on a Gaza beach is only the latest instance making crystal clear they target children (even a NY Times reporter acknowledged that)–it is to break the spirit of men & women like this who’ve been fighting intifada since 1948. Taking out the children is to destroy the younger generations of intifada. That’s why it’s called ethnic cleansing.

For most of those 66 years, Palestinians stood alone against one of the mightiest military apparatuses in the world. They’ve witnessed thousands die, thousands driven off their lands into exile or refugee camps, thousands carted off to the Israeli gulag, thousands of family & kin die under the tyranny of Israeli apartheid. And against all odds & very much alone, they stood steadfast.

Something is changing now–dramatically. And it is the thunderous sound of solidarity from every corner of this globe: from El Salvador, South Africa, India, Morocco, Algeria, Kashmir, Ireland, Italy, the UK, US, France, Norway, Scotland, Israel, Canada, Yemen, Spain. And we know that if these countries weren’t under siege, we would see massive solidarity in Egypt, Afghanistan, & elsewhere.

But Zionism has been riding high for 66 years, inspired by the schmaltz of Andy Williams singing “The Exodus Song”. It’s time to change the soundtrack to Roger Waters “We Shall Overcome (for Palestine)”.

All out in solidarity: Stop the massacre in Gaza!

The mantra of Palestinian solidarity and intifada: Stay Human!

Gazan boy and donkey July 17 2014

In even the worst of human tragedies, there are always moments when human beings reveal the stardust we are born from. This little guy with his baby donkey is at the UN school in Beit Lahiya (north Gaza) where his family took refuge after evacuating their home. Even in hell holes, humans can make magic.

It was the Italian reporter & passionate advocate for Palestinians, Vittorio Arrigoni (murdered in Gaza in 2011), who popularized the mantra “Stay Human” from a compilation of his reportage on Gaza. The reminder not to lose our humanity in the struggle against barbarism is a caveat that includes Palestinian supporters–that we never stoop to violence or vituperations that even come close to antisemitism. Jews & Judaism are not the problem; in fact, thousands of Jews sensitized to injustice through centuries of pogroms, were central to building the labor movement & other social justice movements in many countries. Zionism in league with neoliberal colonialism–implicating the US, European countries, & other nations like India–is the problem. If we become so desensitized that we turn venom on Jews, we render ourselves not just useless but impediments to the struggle for Palestinian justice & human freedom.

There are several photos of abandoned donkeys scouring for food in garbage since being abandoned by fleeing caretakers. Maybe they’ll survive the bombing; maybe they won’t. Israel has enough war crimes charged against it now (per international law & ignored by everyone except Palestinian supporters) to keep an army of human rights courts busy for a long time. But somewhere among the catalog of charges should be one about the reckless endangerment of animal welfare.

Reports are coming in of solidarity protests in Madrid, Firenze, London, Dublin, & elsewhere, with others scheduled in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Fresno. Grab a placard demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza” & head out. If you cannot participate, join the economic & cultural boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729).

(Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Show us the rocket!

Ashdod, Israel rocket damage July 17 2014

Once again in the interests of journalistic integrity (an antiquated, romantic notion taught in high school journalism courses but found inconvenient to media), we post this photo of alleged rocket damage in Ashdod Israel, about 23 miles north of the Gaza border. We say alleged because we can see no evidence of any damage whatsoever.

These guys are from Homefront Command, a division of the Israeli military, & the caption says they’re cleaning up rubble from a Hamas rocket in this front yard. Now let’s get real: if there was significant damage in Israel, it would be all over the front pages to counter the impact of the hundreds of photos of massive destruction in Gaza. And if there was any real damage in this front yard, they wouldn’t stick soldiers in front to obscure it; they’d have the family out there weeping over their lost flower bed. Is it that those home-made jobs coming out of Gaza are no match for that multi-billion dollar Iron Dome system? Or are there really not that many rockets to contend with?

Why is it that every photo of Hamas rocket damage in Israel (out of four or five that exist) are taken from long distance & never actually show the rockets? Is this another version of people in Sderot cowering in bomb shelters when cameras show them sitting in lawn chairs watching ethnic cleansing like a ball game?

There is one reported death in Israel, allegedly from a Hamas rocket, but the deceased was serving as an adjunct to Israeli troops at the Gaza border; he was operating in a war zone. It should be noted, there isn’t a single other soldier death reported in this slaughter because the military aggression goes entirely one way.

When Israel claims it bombs mosques, disabled rehab centers, homes, apartment complexes, schools in congested areas because they’re harboring Hamas rocket launchers, they turn propaganda into farce. One doesn’t have to know squat about rocket launching & military operations to know you cannot launch long-distance rockets from a studio apartment or prayer room & expect it to get past other buildings obscuring its path.

Protests in defense of Gaza continue around the world. If you cannot join a picket, join the economic boycott of Israeli goods (barcode beginning 729); support the cultural boycott of Israel; demand “No military aid to Israel!”

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Egyptian cease fire proposal another version of the Trojan Horse

Israelis cowering July 15 2014

You don’t have to be a classical scholar to recognize a Trojan Horse when you see one. Confidence tricks & scams are the nature of military diplomacy. But when it comes to Israel, 66 years of romanticized Exodus-style propaganda has blunted political perception & nourished stupidity with racism.

The Los Angeles Times has an article today on the latest Trojan Horse, with a headline proclaiming, “Hamas keeps up rocket attacks after Israel agrees to cease-fire”. As of Saturday, Israel was ignoring appeals for a cease fire from the UN security council, Britain, France, Germany, & the US. (They must have made those appeals in a tiny whisper since most of us never heard them.) Now today we read Israel accepted a cease fire proposal by Egypt to suspend all land, sea, & air strikes & sit down with Hamas & mediators in Cairo.

With the German foreign minister at his side (& John Kerry somewhere in the wings grooming himself), Netan-psycho-yahu said Israel accepted the proposal for the purpose of “demilitarizing the Gaza strip of rockets & tunnels by diplomatic ways.” He added, that if Hamas did not accept the proposal “Israel will have every international legitimacy to expand its military operation to restore the necessary calm.” In other words, this peace proposal is just another ruse to justify escalation.

Hamas officials–referred to in the LA Times as “the Hamas militia that controls Gaza”–rejected the proposal, calling it an ambush & complained that everybody in Kingdom Come was consulted about it except the Palestinians. Let’s do a little exegesis here in defense of Hamas’ decision: for months (years?), Egypt has been acting as Israel’s proxy by flooding sewage into the smuggling tunnels on the border, by closing the Rafah border crossings, including in this crisis when thousands of Gazans are fleeing for their lives. The entire country of Egypt is on lockdown, with hundreds being sent to jail for life for exercising democratic rights. Would any political leadership in their right minds trust those guys to negotiate justice for Gaza?

But the most compelling reality is that Israel has one of the mightiest militaries in the world & is conducting land, sea, & air strikes against Gaza. Who knows what the hell Hamas has in rocketry–& it certainly isn’t much because of the blockade–but are they supposed to stand before the onslaught without any attempt at self-defense?

After the fiasco of the last peace talks between Israel & the Palestinian Authority (PA)–when Israel & the US badgered the PA for surrender, escalated settlements, & finished them off with their jackboot operation–does anybody in their right mind think negotiations will settle differences between those being violently dispossessed & the dispossessors? Differences of this scale require intifada.

Many will want to know where Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the PA, is in all this since he’s been quiet as a mouse–which is good, because when he opens it, it’s to chide Hamas. No need to wonder; he’s where he always is–in the pockets of Israel & the US. When Palestinians finally run him out of there on a rail, he expects remuneration for betrayal rendered in the form of peace prizes & speaking engagements.

An interesting aside is that the LA Times article included 33 photos, mostly of the devastation in Gaza. The few of Israel were of people in shelters escaping sirens & one described as a bomb disposal crew inspecting the damage caused to a house in Israel by a Hamas rocket. In the past hour they added several more photos, including a few others of alleged bomb damage in Israel so they must know that photojournalism belies hasbara.

Befitting the idiocies of hasbara, the article ended with a guy from Sderot, Israel complaining the cease fire was insufficient & residents were “willing to spend a month & more in the bomb shelter for them to finish this rocket fire once & for all.” Nice try, bucko, but the world has seen several photos of residents from Sderot sitting on lawn chairs, eating popcorn & sucking down sodas while watching Israel’s murderous assault of Gaza like it was a football game.

There’s a sardonic element to all this hasbara crap but it’s hard to find the humor when there’s a genocide going on. The mission for Palestinian supporters is clear: continue to build massive public protests demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza”; support the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729); support the cultural boycott of Israel; demand “No military aid to Israel!”

Once again, in the interests of journalistic integrity, we post this photo of Israelis in Nitzan, Israel, lolling more than cowering in a drain pipe from what is identified as a Hamas rocket attack but is more likely an Israeli siren assault.

(Photo by Menahem Kahana / AFP/ Getty Images)

Palestinian diaspora 2014

Palestinian diaspora July 14 2014

And so Palestinian diaspora continues: now 66 years of young, old, infirm, disabled, terrorized off their lands, out of their homes into refugee camps or exile. Operation Ethnic Cleansing in Gaza is intended to destroy the infrastructure of Gazan society & forcibly destroy or expel the population; it hasn’t a damn thing to do with fictitious rocket barrages from Hamas militants.

Netan-psycho-yahu proclaims Israel will not buckle before international pressure & he is not referring to a groundswell of revulsion at ethnic cleansing from any government. The regimes weighing in outdo each other with scurrilous, shameful denunciations of “Hamas terrorism” & weepy-assed declarations that Israel has a right to defend itself against those rockets–for which nobody can provide documentation because there is none. Showing photos of Israelis in parking garages waiting out sirens is not documentation of terrorism. It is Israeli political theater to scare the hell out of its citizens & fool them & us into thinking massive rocket barrages really exist.

As we would expect, the US Congress & Canada have issued inflammatory proclamations endorsing Israeli genocide. If you can imagine, the resolutions are even more war-mongering than the Knesset. But what do we expect from governments that conduct wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, DR Congo, & so many other places, & work tirelessly to thwart popular thrusts for democracy, like the Arab uprisings? Barbarism is the very nature of neoliberal capitalist regimes.

India, whose new prime minister is a fascist, issued a less inflammatory statement, shaking the naughty finger at both sides & urging restraint from both Palestinians & Israel. Not too much restraint on the part of Israel though because behind the scenes India has a lucrative political & military relationship with Israel, including $10 billion in military sales in the past decade.

Maybe the saddest proclamation of all comes from Cuba. No one is demanding long-winded denunciations of Israeli genocide but it certainly merits more than a couple sentences in Granma. The Cuban statement condemned Israel’s policy of collective punishment & disproportionate use of force & then went on to call for peace talks between Israel & Palestinians to set up a Palestinian state–the old bantustate solution long-since discredited by the Oslo Accords & confirmed in the past two decades of trying to implement them. As for peace talks, what did Cuba miss in the catastrophe of Israel talking peace with the Palestinian Authority & US while it escalated settlements in the West Bank & conducted bombing sorties in Gaza?

And where is the UN in all this? After all, isn’t harmoney between nations their stated mission? Don’t they have a pile of proclamations & resolutions defining war crimes & genocide? And doesn’t Israeli conduct in Gaza violate every single one of them? Why instead of denouncing this war does the UN content itself with mopping up some of the carnage by providing abandoned schools for Palestinians running from bombs to live in, sleeping on bare floors with blankets as mattress? Why does the UN make public estimations that 77% of the victims in Gaza are civilians when 100% of the people of Gaza are civilians? And why does it issue the same kind of equivocations as India, urging restraint on both sides? How does the distinction between ethnic cleansing & self-defense so escape them?

The international pressure that concerns Netan-psycho-yahu is Palestinian solidarity & the boycott movement. Mobilizing opposition to genocide is not a flash-in-the-pan operation but an ongoing campaign calling to men & women of good will across this planet to join in & make the voice of justice thunderous: Stop the massacre in Gaza!

(Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Neil Young: from troubadour for justice to minstrel for apartheid

Rafah bombing July 11 2014

The musician Neil Young, who has made a career for himself as troubadour to progressive causes, was scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv next Saturday, July 19th. For months activists for the cultural boycott of Israel have been appealing to him not to throw away a lifetime of political cachet to become another jester for apartheid–in the same ignominious company as Bono, Elton John, & the Rolling Stones. Young refused to cancel &, according to a comment made to a fan, perhaps intended to give a little sermon on justice to his audience–from which Palestinians would be excluded.

Recently I posted to his fan page saying he would be singing in Tel Aviv–close enough to Gaza to provide the soundtrack for Israeli bombing & ethnic cleansing & in place of requiems at Palestinian funerals they would hear Young serenading the Israelis. I reminded him that the fight for social justice & social transformation is a collective commitment, not a grandstanding operation.

It didn’t look like Young was going to cancel from his certain encounter with disrepute but the war in Gaza has intervened to save his ass if not his reputation. The Tel Aviv concert organizers canceled the gig “due to rocket fire on Tel Aviv”. There is no indication whether he will re-schedule.

Young isn’t walking away from this shameful episode with his honor intact. He has all the resources necessary to thoroughly inform himself about Israeli apartheid & the Palestinian struggle. When you turn your back arrogantly on one of the most important political struggles of this era–at a moment of ethnic cleansing–we’re embarrassed for you, ashamed of you, & hope you don’t expect a warm reception at the next rally–or an invite.

This is a photo of Israeli bombing in Rafah, Gaza near the Egyptian border. It’s posted in place of a photo of Young. He was going to be putting music to this. From troubadour for justice to jester for apartheid: he can stuff his protest songs.

(Photo from Wall Street Journal)

No civil rights for Israeli Palestinians

Israeli soldiers in West Bank July 7 2014

This scene is from Ar’ara, described as an Arab Israeli town in northern Israel. Check out the arsenal those soldiers are packing against unarmed Palestinian protesters. There is no news coverage about Palestinian protests within Israel except this photo & another showing a protester being arrested. Zionist mythology claims Palestinians within Israel have civil rights & as we can see from this photo, they use the military to make damn sure Palestinians don’t exercise them.

Ar’ara is a contentious region because of its concentration of Palestinian towns & its proximity to the border between Israel & Palestinian bantustates. After the establishment of Israel in 1947, the government began confiscating Palestinian land in Ar’ara without notifying the owner. In 1954 an Israeli court ruled that Israeli law (which they were likely extemporizing on the spot) did not require the owner to be notified & excluded even the possibility land owners could contest confiscations in court. So all that mythology about civil rights for Palestinians in Israel is nothing but hogwash & hasbara.

Support civil rights for Palestinians; boycott all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729); support the cultural boycott of Israel; demand “No military aid to Israel!”

(Photo by Oded Balilty/AP)