|Progressive Calendar 01.06.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2009 06:01:36 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.06.09 1. People's bailout 1.06 12noon 2. Palestine/CTV 1.06 5pm 3. MetroIBA 1.06 5:30pm 4. RNC court watch 1.06 6pm 5. Spanish/RCTA 1.06 6:30pm 6. Salon/Rumi 1.06 6:30pm 7. Brian Cloughley - Israel is immune from criticism 8. Joe Mowrey - Silence is complicity; we're all war criminals now 9. Titus North - Pitfalls that opponents of Israeli attack must avoid 10. ed - bumpersticker 11. ed - chant --------1 of 11-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: People's bailout 1.06 12noon Protest: No Bailouts for Billionaires! Tuesday, January 6, Noon Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Reverand Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul. Minnesota is facing a $5.2 billion deficit. As in past budget crises, politicians are already plotting to balance the budget on the backs of poor and working Minnesotans. The Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout is working on their own bailout bill for poor and working people. "Not one dime in cuts to poor and working people! Tax the rich!" At the 2009 Legislature, the Coalitions will demand: jobs or income now; moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions; no layoffs; no attacks on immigrants; no one in Minnesota should be cold or hungry; protect public education. Sponsored by: the Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout. WAMM is a member of the Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout. FFI: Call 612-822-8020. -- From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com> join the Welfare Rights Committee along with the MN Coalition for a People's Bailout: AT the ANNUAL Opening Day Rally and Protest: January 6th, 2009 MN State Capitol Building Starting at 12 noon. - front Steps on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. off of University Ave. Minnesota is facing a $5.2 BILLION Dollar Deficit. Already politicians are plotting to balance this deficit on the backs of poor and working Minnesotans. The Welfare Rights Committee and the MN Coalition for a People's Bailout are working on our own BAILOUT BILL for poor and working people. We will fight for MN legislators at the state capitol to make our bill law. We Demand - A Moratorium on the Welfare Time Limit - A Moratorium on Housing Foreclosures - A Moratorium on Evictions from foreclosures - Extend Unemployment Insurance & - Make it so more of us qualify for Unemployment - No Attacks on Immigrants! - MN Must Create Jobs with Decent Wages! - NO JOB LAYOFFS Obama is in, but we can't let Minnesota politicians off the hook. We need help NOW, and we will demand that the state do the right thing for the majority of the people. Our schools, health care, welfare, childcare are in trouble, decent jobs are hard to find and layoffs are happening everywhere. Working and poor people are losing their homes. Now we see the GOV'T bailing out the richest of the rich, while saying nothing about what our families need for basic SURVIVAL! Pawlenty and the Republican Party want to cut MORE from the state budget. The Democrats are staying silent. Don't let them. We need everyone to come and raise your voices. Let EVERY politician KNOW that THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! Take the day off, take a long lunch, take some time to join other Minnesotans for this important opening day of the State Legislature on January 6th. Please forward this to others who would like to come. Sponsored by: Welfare Rights Committee and the MN Coalition for a People's Bailout! http://sites.google.com/site/mncrisis/ FFI: 612-822-8020 --------2 of 11-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine/CTV 1.06 5pm Stylish St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow! All households with basic cable may watch. Tues, 1/6, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 1/7, 10am "Ali Abunimah: Where Next for Palestine-Israel? Part 2" Part 2 of talk by Palestinian American author Abunimah at the U of M in Oct. '07. (a still relevant repeat) --------3 of 11-------- From: info [at] metroiba.org Subject: MetroIBA 1.06 5:30pm January Networking Event at FirstTech January 6 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm FirstTech - 2640 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis Wrap up the afternoon with wine and pizza at FirstTech and get a chance to personally check out this Metro IBA member who has been selling Apple products for 31 years - the most experienced Apple dealer anywhere and they are right here in the Twin Cities! Bring your small business problems, small business solutions, and small business questions. Come and find out who you have something in common with and who you might do business with. You might find some tech answers and win a free iPod shuffle! Questions? Call Kirk at Bank of the Lakes 612-822-8395 The Metro Independent Business Alliance announcements list brings you news and opportunities relevant to small businesses and the local economy --------4 of 11-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 1.06 6pm RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing court information, documentation and etc. RNC Court Watchers Meetings are every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our meetings. Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this intimidation, harassment and abuse! Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent people. Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405 Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M participate and help organize RNC court solidarity. For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! --------5 of 11-------- From: Stephanie Bates <Stephanie.Bates [at] americas.org> Subject: Spanish/RCTA 1.06 6:30pm Our highly-engaging Spanish classes are taught by native speakers and integrate human rights and social justice themes. We are receiving great feedback from our fall students and we hope that you will join us for next session. Here's what students are saying about our Spanish classes: "This is the most interactive language class I've ever had and it really helps!" "This is as good as I was told it was going to be!!" Registration has now opened for winter session! Ten-week courses will be offered starting January 6th, 2009, at either beginning or intermediate levels. Tuition will be $198.00 for members or $220.00 for non-members (including all applicable course materials). Beginning Spanish 1 Tuesdays 6:30-8:30 p.m. or Saturdays 12:00-2:00 p.m. Beginning Spanish 2 Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 p.m. Intermediate Spanish 1 Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 p.m. Intermediate Spanish 2 Thursdays 6:30-8:30 p.m. To register or for more information see www.americas.org (click on Spanish classes) or call 612 276-0788 (ext. 1). --------6 of 11-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Salon/Rumi 1.06 6:30pm Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009, Carole Julian will be reading the beautiful poetry of the 13th Century Persian Poet, Rumi. She will lead a discussion about him and his poetry. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------7 of 11-------- A Galaxy of Partisan Propagandists Israel is Immune From Criticism By BRIAN CLOUGHLEY January 5, 2009 CounterPunch The state of Israel has descended - plummeted - to one of the lowest levels of conscious barbarity that is currently evident in this horrible world. Any nation that has behaved towards a subject people, as Israel has to Palestinians, is worthy only of utter contempt. On Sunday January 4 I heard a rabbi on the BBC's morning religious program saying that he supported Israel's air strikes on Gaza. A man of God actually endorsed the killing of hundreds of people. To say that I was - and am - aghast at the sentiment expressed is to put it very mildly. This religious leader, a person supposed to spread and preach tolerance, patience, charity and peace, was supporting war crimes of immense gravity. His approval of the killing of Arabs was blood-chilling. And this rabbi was British. Here we have a British citizen supporting hatred and bigotry on a BBC religious program. But of course he isn't really British. He is an Israeli religious propagandist of British citizenship whose main allegiance is to Israel. There are thousands like him in the UK and the US. They unconditionally promote Tel Aviv's plans and policy and wield amazing influence over politicians and businesses. Killing Palestinians is Israeli policy, and these people spare no effort to justify it. Here's a resident of Gaza talking to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz about the horrors experienced by Palestinians (and congratulations to Haaretz for having the courage to print it): "I keep the children away from the windows because the F-16s are in the air; I forbid them to play below because it's dangerous. They're bombing us from the sea and from the east, they're bombing us from the air. When the telephone works, people tell us about relatives or friends who were killed. My wife cries all the time. At night she hugs the children and cries. It's cold and the windows are open; there's fire and smoke in open areas; at home there's no water, no electricity, no heating gas. And you [the Israelis] say there's no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Tell me, are you normal?" No, they're not, is the short answer, and the ruthlessness is epitomised by the evil Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who is using the Gaza war to establish her credentials as a reliably hard-nosed barbarian. She declares "there is no humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] Strip and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce." It was reported on January 5 that Israeli troops are using white phosphorus (WP) artillery shells in Gaza, supposedly to create smoke screens to conceal their advance. American troops used WP - fondly known as Willy Pete - in their destruction of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, and the US tried to lie its way out of the war crime, but junior officers unintentionally blew the lies apart by writing in the magazine Field Artillery that "WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions . . . and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against insurgents in trench lines and spider holes . . . We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents using WP to flush them out and high explosive shells (HE) to take them out." In fact WP is an effective killer, and anyone who inhales particles will suffer a particularly hideous and painful death. As recorded by The Independent newspaper in Britain "In the aftermath of the battle [at Fallujah], the State Department's Counter Misinformation Office issued a statement saying that WP was only "used very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night [which isn't the propose of a smoke-shell], not at enemy fighters." When The Independent confronted the State Department with the first-hand accounts of soldiers who participated, an official accepted the mistake and undertook to correct its website." Big deal. Lie, lie and lie again, until you're found out and it's impossible to deny the facts. And the Israelis seem to be taking the example, as usual, and are stoutly denying what has been seen by independent witnesses. Article two, Protocol III of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons states: "It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects, the object of attack by incendiary weapons." But Israel is only following the US example. "Shake and bake" is such an attractive military option that it would be a shame to spoil their fun, especially when it has rabbinical approval. [Yahweh likes them crisp -ed] Here is part of what is laid out in Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Conventions, 1977 . . . General Protection Against Effects of Hostilities: "Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate: An attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated." Israel, supported energetically by Washington (and using US-supplied aircraft, bombs and rockets), has caused "incidental loss of life" and general civilian casualties on an enormous scale. The Israeli military and the Israeli people knew full well that their genocidal attack on Gaza would kill civilians. The use of white phosphorous in built-up areas is worthy of the Nazis at their most brutal. Stalin and Mao would nod approvingly. It wasn't considered important that there would be countless civilian deaths. Nobody cares, and least of all American politicians. The next secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, refuses to comment on the atrocities. The incoming vice-president has been silent. President-elect Obama? As Reuters reported : "Obama . . . has not commented on the Middle East crisis since Israel launched attacks on Gaza nine days ago. His advisers insist that only President George W Bush can speak for America until then." But it was noted that "The president-elect has commented on the global economic crisis and his plans to try to pull the US economy out of recession." Of course he has. And were it not for the power of Israel in America he would no doubt comment adversely on the slaughter in Gaza, because he is a decent man. But Mr Obama dare not criticize Israel, even for its use of chemical shells. Nor can any American who wishes to enter or remain engaged in politics. The kiss of political death in the United States of America is to censure Israel. It can't be done. And that is why apartheid is permitted in Israel; it's why the mass-punishment blockade was enforced months before the attack went in; and it's why the near-genocide in Gaza is allowed to continue. Does anyone remember the hearing on the so-called Israeli-Palestine peace process in the US House of Representatives in February 2007? Of course not. It was a farce. And why was it such a revolting and hideous charade? Because it was a three card trick. The main witness, of the three cards who were called, was one Martin Indyk, a former official of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee which is the richest and most powerful lobby group in the country (two of whose members are currently under a mysteriously delayed investigation for spying for Israel). From there, inevitably, he went to be US ambassador in Tel Aviv. (And, incidentally, whose book on the Middle East was the subject of a glowing review in last week's Economist.) Another witness was David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (founded by Indyk; it's all very chummy in pro-Israel sewers), which is funded extensively by American interests that support Zionism. (Among other connections, it is closely associated with the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.) And was the third witness a counter-balance to two energetic supporters of Zion? Could he or she present a rather less biased view of the Middle East? Perhaps a person who would make the point that Israel has contemptuously ignored UN Security Council resolutions concerning illegal occupation of Palestinian lands? Not a bit. The third member was a comic quasi-intellectual character called Daniel Pipes who once declared that Muslim immigrants to the US were "brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene." (Germanic? - How quaint.) Pipes founded the Middle East Forum (MEF) which encourages university students in America to report lecturers and professors who they consider to be anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian. (In Hitler's Germany there were awards given to young people who identified and reported those they thought to be pro-Jewish; I know a very elderly German lady who did this when she was 15. She is now terribly ashamed at the memory, because she actually informed on her own father. How times change. Or don't, of course.) In 2006 Pipes was given the 'Guardian of Zion' award, an annual prize to a prominent supporter of Israel, by the Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. With a galaxy of partisan propagandists like Indyk, Makovsky and Pipes being the only people selected to give evidence on Israel-Palestine to the nation's legislators in Washington, there was no chance whatever that the Congressional Sub-Committee would be presented with a balanced view of the Israel-Palestine problem. The deck was stacked, and the legislators listened. They had no choice, because of the power of the Israel lobby. They've been shaken and baked. There is little doubt that the bias towards Israel will continue in the legislature and administration of the United States of America, no matter what Obama might really think, and no matter how many Palestinian children the Zionists have slaughtered. The Israelis are behaving like genocidal filth, but those who stay silent about their atrocities are not far behind in the gutter stakes. [Amen -ed] Brian Cloughley's book about the Pakistan army, War, Coups and Terror, has just been published by Pen & Sword Books (UK) and will be published in the US in May by Skyhorse (New York). --------8 of 11-------- Silence is Complicity We're All War Criminals Now by Joe Mowrey January 5th, 2009 Dissident Voice In response to the current brutal assault on Gaza by Israel a well-known long distance service provider has sponsored a petition for their customers to sign urging a cease fire. On the face of it, this seems like a noble endeavor. The company in question caters to the progressive community and donates a portion of its fees to a wide array of progressive organizations. One could take issue with the fact that this company aligns itself with a notorious international banking cartel to provide credit card services to its customers. But what is interesting to note is how the language in the email which introduces the petition, whether intentionally or not, promotes the usual pro-Zionist narrative about the situation. First there is the all too familiar contention that "the political and historical conflict causing this violence is centuries old and far too complicated to address.." We are supposed to believe that the situation is so complex the average person can't be bothered to try and understand it. So the only reasonable thing to do is to accept the sound bite version offered to us by the media. This is usually some form of pro-Zionist rhetoric centered around an Israeli perspective. In reality, the conflict causing this violence is not centuries old. Nor is it too complex to address. Prior to 1900, Jews and Palestinians lived together in Palestine for generations without the extreme levels of hatred and violence which now exist. With the advent of Zionism, the political movement to establish a Jewish state in all of historic Palestine, tensions began to escalate. The leaders of the Zionist movement sought to control more and more of what they considered to be land promised to them by God. In 1947-48, the violent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland by Zionist militias and the creation of the Jewish state of Israel began the conflict in earnest. Since then, Israel's continued seizure of Palestinian land through the establishment of illegal settlements in the West Bank has accelerated the aggression. In addition, Israel has refused to abide by UN resolution 194 which guarantees Palestinians the right of return to or compensation for lands taken from them during the war in 1947-48. As a result of that war and the 1967 war Israel expanded well beyond the borders allotted to it by the original partition of Palestine and has been in violation of the Geneva Conventions as well as the terms of the original United Nations partition plan since its inception. Though rarely if ever spoken about in any media source, the real reason for the conflict in Palestine is not Jews or Palestinians, it is the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Zionism, a virulent form of ethnic nationalism, fosters a culture of exclusivity and entitlement within Israeli society. Jews are "The Chosen People" living in "The Promised Land". These inherently racist attitudes create an atmosphere which legitimizes collective punishment and human rights abuses against Palestinians simply because they are not Jews. Jewish lives are valued more than Palestinian lives. This attitude was epitomized by the statement of extreme right wing Israeli Rabbi, Eliyah, in April of 2008. "The life of one yeshiva boy is worth more than the lives of 1,000 Arabs". The stated goal of Zionism has always been and continues to be the expulsion of the Palestinians and the colonization of all of Palestine, not just the area which currently is Israel. This is a fact, not idle supposition. In his book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pappe, an Israeli Jewish historian, gives a well-documented account of the brutally orchestrated removal of Palestinians from their lands and the systematic plan for the ongoing colonization of Palestine. Pappe uses Israel's own archives to support these facts. For those pro-Zionists who consider Pappe to be too much of a "self-hating Jew," a term often used to slander any Jewish scholar who attempts to expose the dark underbelly of the Zionist movement, they can read essentially the same history in Benny Morris's writings. Morris is a fervent Zionist historian who has fully acknowledged the facts of Zionist history. But he sums up his findings by saying, in effect, the ethnic cleansing was a necessary evil and his only regret is that Israel did not complete the job back in 1948. The second and more subtle misconception reinforced by the promoters of the petition calling for a ceasefire in Gaza is contained in the statement, "All sides of the conflict will continue to act as they have in the past if they believe the world will stand by and allow them to do so". Indeed, the world has stood by for the last 60 years and allowed Israel to aggressively colonize Palestinian lands in violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions. But the implication of the statement is that somehow the Palestinian people need the approval of the international community to engage in resistance to Israel's illegal actions. This is like suggesting that if a family were to move into your home and occupy your living room, you would need to ask permission to take any action against them. [But what if this were The Promised By God Livingroom and they the Chosen By God Nuclear Family? And suppose they had a Written By God Bible with those very words in it? You wanna mess with God? And suppose each Chosen By God Family Member has an AK-47 and one of them picks off your pet dog and says there's more where that came from? And then the local paper celebrates their coming and forgets you ever existed? And then they drive you out and they and other neighborhoods send police to keep you from ever returning... The essential thing is to have 1) AK-47's, 2) a really touching cover story with God and Promised Livingrooms and Chosen Ones and Sacred Texts etc, 3) AK-47's, 4) connections, and 5) AK-47's. -ed] The Zionist narrative attempts to portray Israel as a victim of unprovoked Palestinian violence. But Palestinian resistance to the colonization of their land is recognized as a right under international law. The widely accepted and vociferous contention that "Israel has a right to defend itself," is a bizarre transposition of the rule of law. It is like saying the family that occupied your home has a right to defend itself from your actions to remove them. Israel does not have any right under international law to "defend" its ethnic cleansing and illegal occupation of Palestine. The attack on Gaza, and indeed, any Israeli action taken against Palestinian resistance, whether that resistance be violent or nonviolent, is not an act of self defense. It is an act of aggression against a legitimate resistance movement. Israel is not defending itself, it is defending its illegal colonization of Palestinian lands. From a purely moral perspective, it is absurd to suggest that the monstrous assault being unleashed against the captive and defenseless people of Gaza by the world's fourth largest military is in any way justified by the firing of crude homemade rockets into Israel. There are 1.5 million people in Gaza. They have no army, no navy, no air force. More than two thirds of the population is comprised of women and children. After having the nerve to conduct democratic elections in January, 2006, the Palestinians have had their elected officials imprisoned and assassinated. Their government has been removed in an administrative coup and replaced by the quisling Fatah party in the West Bank. When Hamas resisted this coup and reclaimed control of the government they were freely and fairly elected to lead, it was Hamas who was considered the aggressor, not those who removed them from power in the first place. Again, the rule of law was transposed and used to justify the demonization of Hamas. To make matters worse, in an attempt to coerce the Palestinians in Gaza to abandon their legitimately elected representatives, Israel, with the help of the international community, has kept Gaza under siege for most of the last three years. Gazans have been denied many of the basic necessities of life, including such things as paper and pencils, school books and even sanitary napkins. Israel recently added shoes and clothing to the list of forbidden imports. They claim Hamas might use them to make military uniforms. This, despite the fact that Israel often justifies its killing of civilians in Gaza by asserting that the Hamas militia can't be distinguished from civilians because, yes, you guessed it, they don't wear military uniforms. The main power plant in Gaza has also been bombed, severely limiting the amount of electricity available. This electricity is necessary for water and sewage treatment along with the more obvious aspects of normal daily life. Fuel supplies have been restricted. Importation of cement has been curtailed preventing necessary repairs to civilian infrastructure. The Israeli Air Force has used F-16 Fighter Jets, supplied by the U.S., to make frequent low level super sonic flights over Gaza creating massive sonic booms which, according to the Gaza Community Mental Health Program and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, "are having serious effects on children in Gaza, including anxiety, panic, fear, poor concentration and low academic success". The sonic events are also suspected of inducing miscarriages in Palestinian women. These are just a few examples of the war of collective punishment and terror being waged against the civilian population in Gaza. These tactics have increased in intensity over the last three years, culminating these last six weeks in the nearly complete denial of food, medicine, electricity and fuel to the million and a half people living in Gaza. So why would Hamas be engaging in resistance to Israel, anyway? One can only imagine. This back story to the devastation in Gaza is completely ignored by our corporate media and by most so-called progressive media. It's as if history began just a few months ago. Out of the blue, those crazy terrorists started firing rockets into Israel for no reason at all. How dare they? And this assumption goes largely unchallenged. There is much angst and hand wringing in the so-called alternative media about how disproportionate Israel's response has been. Outrage is expressed at the suffering of the Palestinian people. But there is little discussion of the fact that Palestinian militants actually have a reason to be firing rockets at Israel. Over the last 60 years, there has never been a sincere effort on the part of Israel to avert conflict with the Palestinians. On the contrary, conflict has been continuously inflamed in order to facilitate and legitimize the colonization of Palestine. Regardless of the repeated empty rhetoric on the part of Israel about wanting a partner in peace, since 1967, when the illegal settlement campaign was begun, there has not been a single Israeli administration which has not expanded the settlements in the West Bank. This is in direct violation of the Geneva conventions, not to mention the many so-called agreements Israel has entered into over the years promising to halt the expansion of settlements. Simply put, Israel is colonizing Palestine. Its Zionist founders always intended to achieve this end, and the current regime has no intention of sidelining that plan. Any other claim made by the government of Israel is pure guile. And this deception has been perpetrated with funding and encouragement from successive United States administrations since 1947. Indeed, none of Israel's current illegal aggression would be taking place without the approval of the United States along with the massive amounts of military aid we provide. This is the history of the current conflict which we are not allowed to hear. Not because it is too complicated for us to understand, but because it is too offensive to the sensibilities of those who blindly support Israel. As the horrors unfold in Gaza, how should we respond? Other than giving direct physical and emotional support to the people in Gaza by donating money to relief organizations and speaking out against the war crimes being committed there, not much can be done in the short term to rectify the situation. We know from attempts to derail the war in Iraq that no matter how many voices are raised in protest, the international stage is set and the usual actors will play out this disaster as they see fit regardless of our efforts to stop them. And what about over the long term? The situation is dire. Our public discourse is a cornucopia of lies, obfuscation and denial. Facts are considered irrelevant. Reality is turned upside down and language has become meaningless. Imperial and colonial violence is defined as righteous self defense. Resistance to that violence is defined as terrorism. The United States and Israel, two of the world's most celebrated so-called democracies, are in reality rogue militarized nations engaging in collective punishment, torture, wars of aggression and criminal foreign policies which flagrantly disregard even the most basic concepts of fairness and human decency. The so-called Left in the United States decries each successive atrocity either committed or supported by our government. Israel assaults Gaza using our money and weapons, so we sign petitions calling for an end to the violence. We engage in a flurry of political activism every four years and vote in sham elections which only legitimize the actions of the ruling elite. What we should do instead is boycott these fraudulent elections and engage in direct action in order to facilitate a popular uprising against the existing structure of our government. We need a nonviolent social revolution to create a new political paradigm. Under the current system, the perpetuation of empire is institutionally preordained. We are permitted to reshuffle the cards and deal a new hand now and then, but always from the same stacked deck. The situation in Palestine, along with many of the violent conflicts in the world, is nothing more than a symptom of the disease that is U.S. Empire. Gaza is just one more bloody scene in an ongoing imperial nightmare of death and destruction. If we want to stop the senseless killing taking place in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan and so many the other places, we must stand up and say no. Not just to the acts themselves, but to the fetid imperialist juggernaut which exports and cultivates them. Until we disrupt this cycle of corporate power mongering and violent militarism by refusing to participate in it, we have only ourselves to blame for the deaths of the innocent men, women and children who are the targets of our bombs. The blood is on your hands and mine. We are all war criminals now. Joe Mowrey is a Palestinian rights and antiwar activist. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his equally traitorous spouse and their three canine co-conspirators. He can be contacted at: jmowrey [at] ix.netcom.com. Read other articles by Joe. --------9 of 11-------- Pitfalls that Opponents of Israeli Attack Must Avoid by Titus North January 5th, 2009 Dissident Voice Those of us in the United States and certain other parts of the world are at a major disadvantage as we struggle to halt the Israeli assault on Gaza: namely, that there is a massive body of misperceptions and double standards that make it possible for Israeli officials to get away with bald-faced lies while providing obstacles to those of us who are pushing for a reality-based solution to the crisis. Pursuing a rational line of argument without feeding into the misperceptions can be like tiptoeing through a minefield. In particular, we need to be careful to avoid two pitfalls while we criticize Israeli policy: the first being the blaming of both sides for the violence and the second being the vilification of Hamas. In referring to the ongoing crisis, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said "Let me be clear. I condemn unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms the ongoing rocket and mortar attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian militants. But I also condemn the excessive use of force by Israel".1 What's wrong with this statement? First let's look at the content. Obviously, the condemnation of Hamas was unequivocal and in the strongest possible terms, where as the condemnation of Israel included no such emphasis. Also, the Hamas rockets were labeled "attacks" whereas the Israeli bombs (which were not specifically mentioned were simply referred to as "use of force". More importantly, Ban only condemned the "excessive" use of force by Israel, thus implicitly legitimizing violence by Israel up until the point it become "excessive," which of course is a subjective call. Moreover, we must consider the context of the statement. The immediate context of course is the increasingly brutal siege that Gaza has been subject to ever since Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank elected Hamas in the 2006 parliamentary elections. Israel controls Gaza's coastline and air space and together with Egypt has sealed its borders. Aside from humanitarian aid from the UN that Israel intermittently allows to enter the strip, Gaza's only lifeline to the world are tiny hand-dug tunnels through which daily necessities and, yes, small arms are carried through on hand and knee. Meanwhile, Israel seized Gaza along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem 41 years ago and has set about stealing the areas it finds desirable for colonial settlers and turning the rest into ghettos. Israel's supplies of goods flow freely and its weaponry, which includes a large nuclear arsenal, is underwritten by the Unites States to the tune of three billion dollars per year. Why is it that when Israel is the occupier, when Israel is in clear violation of international law, when Israel has broken more United Nations resolutions than any other country in history, does the head of that very organization issue a statement that condemns all violent resistance by the occupied while legitimizing the violence of the occupier so long as it does not become "excessive?" It is Israel that has broken into the home of the Palestinians and is stealing all that is valuable from them, yet Ban Ki-moon invokes only the intruder's right to self-defense. This goes beyond being a double standard and completely turns the concept of self-defense on its head. I single out Ban Ki-moon not so much because he is the world's top diplomat but because his statements are symptomatic of a warped and simplistic notion of "balance". Condemning both sides, even if the condemnation is equal (which it is not in Ban's case), feels good as it implies that one is speaking from a morally lofty position, but it is lazy and in this case destructive. It is lazy because it avoids the hard work of understanding and explaining the situation, and it is destructive because it perpetuates misperceptions and double standards. We don't have to endorse the firing of rockets out of Gaza, but we must reserve our condemnation exclusively for the Israeli side as its military occupation and siege of Palestinian land makes it singly responsible. I personally doubt that the firing of rockets is a wise strategy. As these rockets from time to time kill people in Israel they enable intellectually lazy people to "condemn both sides" and give the Israeli propaganda machine a platform from which to spin the most far-fetched lies, such as when Tzipi Livni told the BBC on December 31 that "Hamas kills Israeli citizens on a daily basis".2 Still, who am I to assume that were I subjected to 41 years of occupation and siege, completely forsaken by the "world community," with no recourse to any authority willing to impose international law on my tormentors, that I would continue to remain patient and passive? Who among us can point to anything in our personal experience as evidence that we could restrain ourselves in the face of the desperate situation that the Gazans find themselves in? If we cannot, then we have no right to "condemn" their actions. The second pitfall we must avoid is participating in the vilification of Hamas. This does not mean we have to be in denial about its history. Hamas was formed by the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood in 1987 in order to violently confront the Israeli occupation (the Brotherhood had until then deferred from violent confrontation). Its charter (a non-binding document) is a bizarre and anachronistic call to arms. In its early literature it called for an Islamic state stretching from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Until a year before winning parliamentary elections in January 2006 it carried out suicide bombings in Israel and against Israeli targets in the occupied territories. However, starting in March 2005 it observed a unilateral cease fire which it maintained, despite sanctions and assassinations, until the June 9 2006 Israeli Navy shelling of a beach picnic that killed an extended family . women, children, and elderly.3 During the four and a half months between its election and the beach attack, 77 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military in Gaza alone, according to the Israeli peace group B'tselem.4 The Palestinian territories were subjected to economic sanctions. During that period Hamas did not attack Israelis. The two and a half years since then have been similar. B'tselem statistics shows that during the January 2006-November 2008 period, throughout Israel/Palestine 1504 Palestinians were killed by Israelis while 67 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, with the vast majority of Israeli fatalities NOT attributable to Hamas. Of the Palestinians, 282 were children, while five of the Israelis were children, and none of them killed by Hamas. So we have a wide-spread misperception of Hamas as being a fanatic terrorist organization while the reality has been that they have refrained from violence for the past four years under all but the most extreme circumstances, even while being themselves continually under attack. It is this misperception of Hamas as being pathological extremists that paved the way for the current onslaught as it provides Tzipi Livni and the rest of the Israeli propaganda machine a convenient bogeyman while crying crocodile tears for the countless civilian casualties which they claim they try so hard to avoid. We need to stop sacrificing Hamas at the alter of false balance. Hamas was legitimately elected. Its current place on lists of terrorist organizations is due to political pressure and is in no way a reflection of its behavior in recent years. It is far less corrupt than the Palestinian Authority and far less violent than the Israeli government. We don't have to become Islamists ourselves, we don't have to agree with all its decisions, but we must recognize its legitimacy. Finally, I would like to address some double standards that we should be aware of. One that we are probably all aware of is the notion of self-defense. Israel claims that because rockets are fired at it from Gaza its entire military operation is an act of self-defense. Leaving aside the issues of who under international law can claim self-defense (which would favor the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation) and leaving aside the fact that is was Israel that broke the cease fire in November (the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last month that it was Israel's November 4 incursion into Gaza that violated the cease fire that had been holding for five months),5 how is it that the Palestinian's right to self-defense is not recognized when they are being starved via a blockade all throughout the recent cease fire. But what is rarely if ever pointed out is the double standard regarding who is a civilian. In the media discourse on the conflict, it is a given that anyone associated with Hamas, even if as a policeman or government official, is not a civilian. Someone who has ever had any military training with Hamas (or any other group) is a "gunman" regardless of whether he is outside bearing arms or eating dinner at home with his family. He is considered a fair target for Israeli missiles to summarily execute. Considering the massive imbalance between the number of Israelis who have been killed by Palestinians over the years and the number of alleged Hamas "gunman" who have been killed (not to mention imprisoned), it is obvious that the overwhelming majority of these "gunman" have no Israeli blood on their hands. Yet this is never questioned. Meanwhile, Israeli society is highly militarized and has nearly universal conscription and reserve service for Jews that starts with three years of active duty service starting at age 18 (or 21 months in the case of women) and continues with reserve duty units until the age of 40 (or 26 for women).6 Yet active or reserve duty Israeli military are treated as civilian if they are at home eating dinner with their family. If an apartment building where a Palestinian "gunman" resides is flattened, the press typically treats the "gunman" as a fair target even if it laments the "collateral damage" suffered by his dead neighbors. On the other hand, news coverage of an attack on an Israeli disco frequented by young adults of mandatory service age would never mention the fact that many or most of the victims were members of the Israeli military. They would all be treated as civilians. I must emphasize that I am not trying to rationalize such attacks, merely pointing out the double standard. Another double standard that is absolutely central to the underlying problem of the conflict but is not dealt with at all in the media is the double standard about who is allowed to come to Israel to live. People who fled their homes in 1948 in what is now Israel and their descendants are not allowed to return to their homes, yet the Israeli "Law of Return" allows any Jew in America or elsewhere the right to immigrate to and live in Israel.7 Not only that, but Jews from around the world are free to settle in the West Bank and East Jerusalem even as current residents are pushed steadily pushed out of their homes and off their land for bureaucratic and "security reasons". This underscores the nature of Zionism as practiced by the Israeli state as an ethnic cleansing project whereby one ethic group is pushed off the land through violence and intimidation to be replaced by another. It is not my intent to be insulting to people who consider themselves supporters of Israel, but decades of immunizing Israel from any form of criticism and demonizing Palestinian political forces has led to such insensitivity and a warping of morality that decent, well-intentioned people wind up supporting an ethnic cleansing project. There is also the double-standard in insisting that Hamas and all Palestinians recognize Israel's "right to exist" while Israel effectively prevents a Palestinian state from existing. As a matter of fact, the "right to exist" itself does not exist in international law. The concept of a "right to exist" has always been used primarily with regards to Israel. Google "right to exist" and see for yourself. Nobody tried to invoke the Soviet Union's or Yugoslavia's right to exist. Our own government does not recognize the right of this or that country to exist. This is not to be confused with diplomatic recognition, which governments of independent states extend to each other. Rather, it is a simple recognition of a government as representing a given country at a given time. Yet Hamas, which is political organization and not an independent state, is expected to give recognition of an undefined right to exist to an occupying power that will not even specify within what borders it intends to exist. Meanwhile, no other country on earth, let alone a political organization, is subjected to violent coercion in order to get it to recognize this non-existent right of a hostile state. The last double standard I want to look at does not contrast attitudes towards Israel with those towards Palestine but rather Israel with the United States. These two countries are similar in so many ways. Both were founded by immigrants who steadily pushed the indigenous people off the land, both have become affluent and extremely militarized, and both have an exceptionalist view of themselves. However, we Americans are free to criticize our own country for illegally occupying foreign lands, unleashing violence and torture on their populations, and exploiting their resources. However, if we Americans make those same criticisms of the Israeli government we are called anti-Semitic. It doesn't make one anti-Semitic to speak the truth, and if anyone is anti-Semitic it is those who insist that Israels' Jews should be allowed to follow a different set of rules, as if all this violence is somehow in their blood! No, militarism and exceptionalism are self-destructive forces, both in Israel and the United States. If anything threatens Israel's continued existence, it is these self-destructive tendencies. Anyone truly interested in what is best for the people in both countries must speak out against their delusional leaders. 1. Video embedded in "Gaza attacks continue as UN calls for ceasefire," Guardian, January 1, 2009. [.] 2. Youtube video of BBC interview with Tzipi Livni, Dec 31, 2008. [.] 3. "Beach strike shakes Hamas cease-fire" CNN, June 9, 2006. [.] 4. B'tselem website. [.] 5. "UNRWA chief: Gaza on brink of humanitarian catastrophe" Reuters article appearing in Haaretz, November 21, 2008. [.] 6. NYSTROM Division of Herff Jones, Inc., Serving the Country: Military Service around the World. [.] 7. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website. [.] Titus North is an adjunct professor in the University of Pittsburgh's Political Science department. He has worked for the Thomson Reuters since 1989 as a political and financial analyst and was the Green Party Candidate for US Congress in 2006 and 2008. He is the author of the recent novel Operation Patriotic Toilet Seat, published by Enlightened Pyramid Publications. --------10 of 11-------- ------------------------ Who would Yahweh bomb? ------------------------ --------11 of 11-------- Hey hey, Lord Yahweh How many kids did you kill today? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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