Tag Archives: Palestinians

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)

Israeli propaganda piles surrealism on lies: the farce that is hasbara

Sderot Israel July 15 2014

Israeli propaganda has gone to the next level, as they say–from bald-faced lies to science fiction. It’s on a par now with the guys who claim space aliens built the pyramids. It’s one thing to get nailed claiming traumatized residents of Sderot, Israel cower in terror in bomb shelters when photojournalists show them sitting in lawn chairs & moving in furniture to watch Israel slaughter thousands of Palestinians. It’s another level of deceit to claim the Israeli military is taking out Hamas drone aircraft. But there’s no shame in hasbara-land & the Israeli military reported an unmanned Hamas aircraft was taken out by a Patriot surface-to-air missile along the southern Israeli coastline near the city of Ashdod.

One doesn’t know who the Associated Press is talking to in Hamas since they don’t name names, but they report Hamas acknowledged it has drones in its arsenal, claimed it launched three yesterday (two have disappeared in fairy land), & have developed one type of drone for surveillance & one for delivering munitions. And as they used to say, if granny had wheels, she’d be a Ford.

The whole shebang would be a burlesque except that millions of people read this stuff & think it’s reality–& all of this crap is to justify ethnic cleansing.

We keep the people of Gaza in our hearts, along with our grief about what they are sustaining, but there is a deeper understanding now of how malignant & profoundly corruptive Zionism is to its adherents. Like every other form of racism, it creates sociopathology, emotional & spiritual hollowness incapable of human empathy.

Supporting Palestinian intifada, standing with the people of Gaza is the duty of all who believe in a just & humane world & it is the only possible liberation from the stranglehold of Zionist hatred.

(Photo of Israelis in Sderot, Israel watching the slaughter in Gaza by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Israeli bombers target homes, schools, mosques, clinics in Gaza

Rafah missile on Bedouin home July 14 2014

There is so much infrastructure damage from Israeli bombing in Gaza & one can only view so many photos of rubble. But a lot of that rubble tells a story so it’s worth going through them because they identify Israeli military targets & document war crimes. This gesturing Palestinian woman lives in Rafah, a town near the Gaza border with Egypt where there are border crossings & also a lot of smuggling tunnels Palestinians use to bring in contraband like foods & medicines from a several page list of vital needs Israel bans. Israel & Egypt have been trying to destroy those tunnels for a few years, including by flooding them with sewage, so that helps explain why there have been several bombing sorties over Rafah.

If you look at this photo, it’s clearly a congested residential area indistinguishable from a slum. The house with the dud missile is a tin shack belonging to a Bedouin. Can the Israeli military explain how their state-of-the-art aircraft, including drones, mistook a tin shack for a Hamas rocket launcher? Or were they really going for the Bedouin, his family & neighbors?

Property damage in Gaza is massive & speaks to several violations of international law governing war. But it’s one thing to show rubble & document infrastructure damage; it’s quite another to show the human carnage of ethnic cleansing. Some political journals have found through experience that little purpose is served showing gruesome photos of dismembered or tortured bodies. More often the barbarities demoralize rather than inspire antiwar opposition. But of course, those being bombed, including small children, witness & are traumatized by what we find unbearable to view. Medical personnel treating the injured have to deal with human beings torn apart, dismembered, charcoaled from burns, & screaming with pain from shrapnel, bombed buildings collapsing on them, & from DIME explosives, the experimental US weapons Israel is developing by use against Gaza.

On the one hand, no political purpose or dignity is served by circulating photos of human carnage, but on the the other hand, Israel & other warmakers take advantage of that to conduct the most unspeakable human rights & war crimes in secret. The way to get around the apparent dilemma is to describe the kinds of weapons Israel is using & what damage they inflict on human bodies. Many writers have done this over the course of many wars, describing the effects of Agent Orange & other biological weapons in Vietnam, depleted uranium in the Gulf War, white phosphorus & DIME explosives in Gaza.

In an interview on Democracy Now, Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who has treated in Gaza through the past 17 years, described the bombing injuries & mutilations from DIME. He said more important than medical teams, “The most important medical thing you can do now is to force Israel to stop the bombing, & to lift the siege of Gaza. Then the Palestinians will manage well themselves.” For those of us overwhelmed with grief & feeling helpless before Israeli genocide, Gilbert just laid out our mission: building massive, consistent, persistent, committed public opposition to the massacre in Gaza & building broad participation in the boycott campaign.

Stop the massacre in Gaza! Boycott all Israeli products; support the cultural boycott of Israel; demand “No military aid to Israel!”

(Photo by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Israeli goon squad attacks rally demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza!”

Israeli goon squad July 13 2014

What is it about goon squads that make them so identifiable in any language? Is it their simian brow, the Rotweiler stance, or their steroidal physique? Anyone who’s ever worked with men like this can tell you their cowardice is in reverse ratio to the size of the weapons they carry. This bozo is one of several dozen in a right-wing goon squad that attacked several hundred Gaza solidarity activists with clubs last night in Tel Aviv.

Protesters were chased with clubs, threatened with violence, & one man was beaten so badly he had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Witnesses say police did nothing to stop the violence or arrest the offenders.

Netan-psycho-yahu & other Israeli politicians have whipped up a frenzied political environment that is unleashing the very worst elements in Zionist society–not unlike Nazism & the Third Reich. Israel may not have such an easy time controlling these anti-social elements once they’re unleashed. That’s their problem but points to the crevices in Zionist society.

It takes extreme courage & commitment to protest Israel’s genocide in Gaza when you have goons like this coming at you. Our deepest respect & solidarity with the Israeli activists.

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

RIP Anas Qandeel: Long live Palestinian intifada!

Anas Qandeel July 13 2014

Israel & its alibi agency (the media) talk about Israel’s precision bombing in Gaza to take out the homes of Hamas commanders, as if Hamas was an army with a command structure & bombing their families along with them was legitimate military practice rather than war crime. Overwhelming photographic documentation puts the lie to all this hasbara horse manure by showing Israeli aircraft indiscriminately dropping massive bombs over Gazan cities & creating massive property damage in residential areas. There’s nothing precision about it & that constitutes war crimes. Is the UN or Human Rights Watch taking note? Or are they still on the sidelines shaking their naughty fingers at both sides? Of course, when you call a spade a spade, standing on the sidelines in the midst of ethnic cleansing is tacit endorsement.

What Israel actually means by “precision bombing” is that the many Gazan infants & children we see in photographs being treated for injuries or prepared for burial (those the Israeli politician called the “little snakes”) & their Palestinian mothers, are precisely the ones Israel is going after. That’s why it’s called ethnic cleansing.

It’s too gruesome to post the photos of those small children. One feels daunted by the criminality & military might of Israel which we need our psychic & political energies to oppose. This is a photo of 17-year-old Anas Qandeel, a young Gazan teenager killed along with his father in an Israeli airstrike. Again, precisely the ones Israel is going after.

His FB cover photo is an image of intifada with the inscription in English & Arabic: “Palestine Resist”. He wrote on his wall just a few days ago: “I cannot sleep. When are you going to attack my home & finish?” This young boy wasn’t taunting fate; he was expressing trauma at hearing & huddling from hundreds of Israeli bombers trying to take out all of Gaza.

This beautiful vibrant young boy is now gone, taken out in one of Israel’s precision sorties. May he RIP. And may we keep him in mind as we continue to rally around the world demanding “Stop the massacre in Gaza!”

Pay your respects to young Anas & all those killed & injured by honoring the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729); supporting the cultural boycott of Israel; & demanding “No military aid to Israel!”

(Photo from thebowspring)

Rare photo of rocket damage in Israel? Or fire at the petrol pump?

Ashdod, Israel July 12 2014

In the interests of journalistic integrity, we post this rare photo of rocket damage in Ashdod, Israel, about 23 miles north of the Gaza border, halfway to Tel Aviv. The caption says residents are watching firefighters douse fire from a rocket that hit a petrol station & does not claim it is a Hamas rocket. For all we know, it could be a fire at the pump or a car fire having nothing to do with rockets. Why do we say that? Because if ABC news can put up footage of a Muslim woman in veil standing in bombing rubble & claim it’s Israel rather than Gaza, then truth in journalism doesn’t mean squat. If Israel can rain down thousands of tonnage of bombs on cities in Gaza, calling it precision bombing to take out Hamas commanders, & media howls only about home-made rockets from Gaza, then war reporting becomes a farce.

It cannot be said often enough: there is no military parity between Gaza & Israel since Gaza has no military & Israel has one of the mightiest in the world. But there is a distinction between self-defense & ethnic cleansing. The caption doesn’t accurately report the number of deaths, injuries, & massive property damage in Gaza. It claims 90 have died in Gaza but admits not a single soul has died in Israel. That harsh & telling contrast does not give media pause because they are not reporting news; they are fabricating an alibi for Israeli genocide.

The death toll in Gaza is now well over 100 with hundreds & hundreds of injuries. And when we say injuries, we don’t mean just scratches, but broken limbs, concussions, permanent disabilities from being bombed. There is massive property damage which Israel claims are Hamas arsenals but photojournalism clearly identifies as homes. And according to the Israeli government, this genocidal siege has only just begun.

There are massive protests around the world in solidarity with Palestinian justice & opposed to Israeli ethnic cleansing. Palestinians are less politically isolated today than they were ten years ago or even since the last genocidal bombing siege over Gaza–because with every new murderous assault, more & more people around the world are learning the truth in place of media alibis for Israel.

Find a rally in your area to join with; if there is none organized, call one. If necessary, be the voice in the wilderness & take a picket sign to a busy corner demanding “No military aid to Israel!”

(In 1967, I was disturbed by the media frenzy in support of Israel & saw a young Palestinian picketing at the University of Minnesota student union. I wanted to understand–even though I couldn’t have found Israel or Palestine on a map at that time–& asked the young man why he was picketing. He was afraid, because the political climate then was nourished by the Israeli propaganda film “Exodus”, & he answered me gruffly, “They stole our land.” Didn’t tell me much except that I needed to investigate the issue more deeply.

There was no solidarity movement at that time in the US, except a handful of Arab students, some socialists, & odd & end activists like myself. BDS has changed all that & that lone Palestinian no longer stands alone. If you have to stand on a street corner alone with a picket sign, keep that young man in mind.)

The political defeat of Zionist racism is a historic mission of our generation. A Palestinian victory heralding a democratic secular state where Jews & Arabs can live in harmony would reverberate around the world, fatally weaken the stranglehold of racism & colonialism, & inspire resistance in millions of human beings still held in the grip of tyranny.

If you can’t picket, join the boycott in support of Palestinian justice.

(Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

Israel preparing massive occupation of Gaza

Israeli tanks at Gaza border July 11 2014

During the Vietnam War, there was widespread opposition among US soldiers to the war & they played a central role in mobilizing antiwar sentiment. It was common to see photos of US GIs in Vietnam flashing the peace sign or wearing it as an insignia on their helmets in solidarity with the antiwar movement. The breakdown in military discipline justifiably made the Pentagon sweat bullets about its ability to conduct the war. That’s a proud part of GI antiwar activity.

But that history makes this photo even more repugnant. These are two of the tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers lined up in tanks on the Gaza border preparing for what Netanyahu & the Israeli war minister claim will be an extended offensive against Gaza by land, air, & sea. These two guys are preparing for genocide by taking a selfie & flashing a peace sign for ethnic cleansing. Of course, what he’s really doing is flipping the bird to the humanity of Palestinians.

Someone recently pointed out that genocide is happening in several countries including Sri Lanka, Burma, Kashmir, & elsewhere, & objected to Palestinians receiving more political attention & solidarity than other peoples. It’s a peculiar complaint because clearly, with Israel embarking on a major escalation of ethnic cleansing, Palestinians are not receiving enough solidarity to restrain genocide. For decades, Palestinian intifada stood alone against Israeli apartheid & they did not retreat against the insuperable odds of US & Israeli military might. Now the boycott movement (BDS) has changed all that & they have allies across the globe willing to stand with them–but still insufficient to restrain genocide.

What makes the Palestinian struggle evoke such widespread support is the pivotal role their struggle plays in world politics, especially in the Middle East. The US bankrolls Israeli apartheid with billions of dollars a year. They don’t do that to protect democracy in the Middle East but to maintain tyranny & the Arab uprisings made that absolutely clear. Palestinian courage & intransigence challenge the colonial schemes.

Israel, with US & European backing, is preparing to do in Gaza what was & is being done to suppress the Arab uprisings. We need only look at Egypt to see what they have planned for Gaza & the West Bank.

There can never be too much solidarity until justice is achieved. It’s time to mobilize; time to hold forums, speak-outs, rallies defending Palestinian justice & opposing genocide.

Support Palestinian justice by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729); supporting the cultural boycott of Israel; & demanding “No military aid to Israel!”

(Photo by Ariel Schalit/AP)

The betrayal of the Oslo Accords

For anyone holding out high hopes for the new detente between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas) & Hamas, we only need look at the monstrosity of the Oslo Accords brokered between the PLO & Israel. The Accords legitimized Israeli military occupation & divided the West Bank into three administrative zones labeled Areas A, B, & C, depending on the level of Israeli military control.

You can parse that jurisdiction until the cows come home but it all comes down to whether the West Bank is controlled directly by the Israeli military or indirectly using the Palestinian Authority (run by Abbas) as enforcers of Israeli apartheid.

Area C was designated for full Israeli military control which allows massive Zionist settlement expansion, restrictions on Palestinian building (including of residences), & Israeli exploitation of natural resources. Does this differ from outright colonialism in any discernible way?

There are dozens of refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, & Syria established when Zionist terrorist squads drove them from Palestine. Hundreds of thousands of people have been living in them since 1948 since they have no place else to go. Al-Aroub refugee camp near the West Bank city of Hebron is one of those camps where 13,000 Palestinians still live. Parts of the camp are considered within Area C. Construction permits for building or renovation of Palestinian homes are “virtually impossible” to obtain (according to the World Bank), demolition of Palestinian homes are accelerating, & Zionist settlers now outnumber Palestinian residents & occupy 62% of Area C. Israeli politicians are discussing abandoning the shell game of the Oslo Accords & outright annexing Area C.

This Palestinian man is sitting on the rubble of one of two homes in Al-Aroub bulldozed by the Israeli military on April 30th because Israeli officials claim they were built without the required permits. When angry Palestinians converged at the site to prevent the demolitions, Israeli soldiers used tear gas, grenades, & rubber bullets against them. According to Palestinian witnesses, the bulldozers also destroyed olive, grape, & fig trees in the camp & prevented ambulance crews & journalists from accessing the area.

Support Palestinian justice by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729), supporting the cultural boycott of Israel, & demanding “No military aid to Israel!”

(Photo by Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Jimmy Carter opposes Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions against Israeli apartheid

Former US president Jimmy Carter (who many naifs consider a saint) announced yesterday that he opposes BDS. He was speaking for The Elders, a group of senior political figures formed in 2007 by Nelson Mandela. Its membership includes Desmond Tutu & Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland & UN official. Tutu, who has long supported BDS, has not spoken out to distinguish himself from the group position. One hopes such a disavowal is forthcoming.

Carter’s opposition to BDs may surprise those who thought his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” an indictment of Israeli apartheid because of the immense furor it evoked in Zionist circles. Alan Dershowitz was among those who flew into orbit, challenging Carter to a debate. The book, in fact, was entirely equivocal in designating Zionist policies as apartheid but was damning in depicting the barbaric realities of those policies in the West Bank. A brief tip of the hat to Carter for standing the guff he took for writing the book.

But Carter is no champion of Palestinian justice. He isn’t just an outspoken promoter of the two-state, bantustate solution for Palestinians; he has blood on his hands from brokering the Camp David Accords in 1978 when he was president. Those accords, signed between Anwar Sadat of Egypt & Menachem Begin of Israel, were so flawed they were even rejected by the UN. Jordan & Syria refused to participate (at least openly) & Palestinian representatives were excluded. The Accords had nothing to do with Palestinian justice but with neutralizing Egypt & making it a partner with the US & Israel in isolating Palestinians. The Accord provisions established the framework for the arrant betrayal of Palestinian justice negotiated by Yasser Arafat in the Oslo Accords in 1993.

In return for massive trade concessions to Israel (including ending the boycott by Egypt & opening the Suez Canal to Israel), the US committed to billions of dollars in military aid to Egypt & established it as a military bulwark for US hegemony against Palestinians & in the entire region. Sadat was assassinated for his betrayal but the military arsenal created in Egypt under Mubarak, created by the Camp David Accords, made it possible to defeat the initial tsunami of the Egyptian uprising in 2013. That is the legacy of Jimmy Carter.

Many equivocate or outright oppose BDS saying the comparison with apartheid in South Africa is inexact; it’s only an approximation or is outright invalid. This isn’t just pedantic or sophistic thinking; it’s missing the forest for the trees. South Africa gave us the term “apartheid” but they didn’t invent the ignominious policies. It existed in the US South & throughout the Americas for hundreds of years before it was initiated in South Africa in the 20th century. The US Civil War ended slavery but in an attempt to reverse Black Reconstruction in the late 19th century, extreme racist segregation was reinstalled using paramilitary violence. US apartheid, called “Jim Crow,” was every bit as oppressive & violent as apartheid in South Africa.

Equivocators will point out differences between South African apartheid & US Jim Crow; there are plenty–as there are between South African & Israeli apartheid. It isn’t the differences that make them all apartheid but the common features: segregation in housing; economic, educational, & social disadvantages; denial of basic human, democratic, & civil rights; violence; repression; murder; incarceration. Need we list more!?

The BDS movement against Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing is separating the wheat from the chaff in international politics. The BDS movement is not just a potent economic lever against apartheid; it is playing a key role in countering the “Exodus” mythology about Israel & in delegitimizing the repugnant Zionist dystopia of an only-Jewish state–a ghetto writ large. The term ghetto was originally used to describe the city areas where Jews were restricted & segregated. Is a ghetto the Zionist vision of freedom!?

The economic impact of BDS in some ways has less importance than the political exposé of Zionism & its dystopic vision–a vision which not merely concedes ground to racism but joins the reactionary forces & pretends their methods of tyranny & supremacism are the road to freedom.

Oppose Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing by supporting BDS; supporting the cultural boycott of Israel; & demanding No military aid to Israel!

(Photo of Carter by Lydia Smith)