Confounded Opposition

For four years, the government has successfully deep-sixed its critics and confounded the opposition. Low-key nuclear regulator Linda Keen was fired (and the isotope crisis remains unresolved.) Inquisitive parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, is being starved of funds. The government refused to co-operate with the Military Police Complaints Commission looking into the detainee issue and is not reappointing its chairman, Peter Tinsley. It has taken Elections Canada to court, withheld an RCMP study on the gun registry until after a crucial vote, and ignored a vote ordering it to release documents relating to Colvin’s testimony.

More from Susan Riley at The Ottawa Citizen and from Lawrence Martin at The Star here

UPDATE:  Don’t forget Dawg

And so a four-year assault on Canadian democracy continues on many fronts, from subverting responsible government to the targeting of ordinary citizens and now to the suppression of charitable human rights groups.

About that “suppression of charitable human rights groups”?  He’s talking about KAIROS.  See this and this [pdf] and this.

UPDATE II:  Haroon Siddiqi weighs in —

Stephen Harper is centralizing power in the PMO on an unprecedented scale; defying Parliament (by refusing to comply with a Commons vote demanding the files on Afghan prisoner abuse); derailing public inquiries (by a parliamentary committee and the Military Police Complaints Commission); muzzling/firing civil servants; demonizing critics; and dragging the military into the line of partisan political fire.

Of course, there’s more.

So, lots of people have noticed.  Now what?

LOL Your Stilted Agenda

[VI – Best post yet from friend of this blog mattt]

[UPDATE V- One more link]

[UPDATE IV – MORE LINKS]

[UPDATIE III]

[WOW UPDATE AGAIN: IT’S TEH GAY PANIC AT CJC AND THE TORONTO STAR]

[UPDATED BELOW]

On July 1st, Antonia Zerbisias wrote a piece for The Star noting four things for which she thought Canadians ought to be grateful.  Here’s one of them:

Freedom of Expression: Excuse me but since when did the interests of Zionist lobby groups determine who or what Canadians can see and hear?

In recent months, to list just three examples, there have been concerted campaigns against the staging of Caryl Churchill’s controversial Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza and an academic conference at York University where the so-called “one-state solution” was to be discussed. We also saw British MP George Galloway be denied entry to the country for a speaking tour, just because he brought aid to bombed-out Gaza.

Now comes word that the only way the respected Al-Jazeera English news service, currently applying for TV distribution in Canada, can win the support of these same Jewish groups is to have them become consultants.

Journalistically speaking, that is hardly kosher.

So then Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress wrote this letter which was published in The Star:

Antonia Zerbisias betrays her own rather stilted agenda by targeting “Zionists” (as though being a Zionist is a bad thing) as unworthy of constitutional protections.

According to Zerbisias, Zionists (that seems to be anyone who supports Israel and is concerned about anti-Semitism) should neither be seen nor heard. How dare we speak out here in Canada on issues that concern our community!

In Zerbisias’ society, only those with whom she agrees ought to be given a platform.

Thank goodness we live in Canada.

So then hysperia wrote this:

Dear Mr. Farber:

I’m writing to comment on your letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star with respect to a column written by Antonia Zerbisias on July 1st.

I respect the fact that Jewish people have the right to speak publicly about their views on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The dialogue between those who support the means that Israel currently uses to secure” peace” in the Middle East and those who don’t is becoming increasingly polarized, though, and sometimes I despair that we often end up arguing about what we’re “allowed” to say rather than the issues themselves. Perhaps this is just part of the journey, but still I would have thought that encouraging understanding between those who hold differing views would have been a goal that all of us could agree upon – so that in our dialogue with one another we are at least talking about the goals we want to reach instead of merely pouring out propaganda about why we think those with whom we disagree have no right to express an opinion. Often, accusations of anti-Semitism are just that. You didn’t quite accuse Ms Zerbesias of anti-Semitism but I thought you implied it.

After reading your letter I’m not sure on what grounds you found fault with Ms Zerbisias’ article. She wrote nothing that was untrue. In recent months there have been attempts to censor Caryl Churchill’s play, George Galloway was denied entry to Canada because of his political activities with respect to Gaza and there is still pressure to suppress a conference at York University in which a “one-state” solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict will be discussed.  I’ve followed each of these issues and I’ve certainly noted that some members of the Canadian Jewish community who are admitted “Zionists” have exerted pressure to suppress both art speech and political speech and, in one case, have expressed pride and happiness when they were successful (re: George Galloway).

Moreover, I still can’t find any evidence in Ms Zerbisias’ article that suggests she wants to deny “Zionists” their constitutional right to free speech. I thought she was protesting the desire of some in the Jewish community to suppress the speech of those who disagree with the Zionist agenda, such as it is.  Is that a “stilted agenda”?  If so, the discussion would be improved if we all had one.

I believe we have to stand up for journalists who aren’t afraid to take on powerful people like Bernie Farber when they think there are critically important issues at stake, like the ability to critisize Israeli policy without fear of repression or accusations of “anti-Semitism” and the rights of others, such as Caryl Churchill, George Galloway and those participating in the conference at York U. to express themselves in a society where free speech is supposedly not only protected but welcomed.  You GO Antonia!  Make sure you see Antonia’s follow-up to her Star column at her blog, Broadsides.

UPDATE:

My letter to Mr. Farber was published at The Star, here.  Here’s Mr. Farber’s response, for what it’s worth – and that’s not much.  He simply repeats his charges against Ms Zerbisias in an even more nasty and truth-bending fashion:

Ms. _

Thank you for your letter.
 
In fact Ms. Zerbisias made a number of claims that are “untrue” the most egregious of which is that “Zionists” determine public policy. The government and those who apply the law determine public policy. “Zionists” who live in Canada have as much right as anyone else to speak out on issues of concern to them. However to suggest that a small cabal of “Zionists” somehow control the country is ugly and untoward.
 
Secondly, many of us found “Seven Jewish Children” offensive many others did not. One Jewish organization called for the city of Toronto to ban it from publically funded theatres others did not but still voiced their concerns. That’s what makes our democracy great, the right to speak out. In the case of “Seven Jewish Children”  Ms. Zerbisias’ “Zionists” determined nothing. The play went on as scheduled in Toronto and has been viewed in many other places across Canada.
 
Ms. Zerbisias creates a straw man with her gratuitous use of the term “Zionist” paints those who support the Jewish state of Israel as having powers they simply do not and thus stirs the pot of ethnic tension.
 
I hope this has been helpful.
 
Best
BMF
 
Bernie M. Farber
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Jewish Congress
4600 Bathurst St.
Toronto Ont. M2R 3V2
416-635-2883 ext. 5186 PLEASE NOTE NEW EXTENSION
bfarber@on.cjc.ca

Well no BMF, not helpful at all.

For more nasty truth-bending, check out further comments on Zerbisias’ original article at Broadsides.  In fact, the word “truth” really shouldn’t be used in this context at all.  The “many of us” who found Caryl Churchill’s play “offensive” (without having seen it, mind you) pressed Mayor David Miller to stop the show.  That’s not merely expressing dislike when you have the power of a large part of the Jewish community behind you.

UPDATE II:

Well fans, check all this out:

First, there’s a WHOLE column by teh Star‘s public editor, Kathy English, about Antonia Zerbisias’ “gay” blog post.  Now who came up with THAT headline?  Here it is.

THEN, teh Star‘s moderators held up all comments but one, ALL DAY.  What’s up with that, as Kim Elliot of rabble finally gets to ask in comments.  Comments are now … closed.

Good comment on this nonsense at from rabble’s Andrew Brett, here.  (I ripped his headline!)

And from Dr. Dawg, although the trolls have come out in comments.

In one way, it’s about a tempest in a teapot, as Dawg says.  That is, if it’s really about whether Antonia Zerbisias called Bernie Farber “gay”.  On the other hand, it’s not, because it’s about trying to intimidate a journalist (believe me, it won’t work!) and access to media – that is, Bernie Farber’s got it and I don’t.  Someone “read” that comment, made by me at Dawg’s, to mean:  “The Jews control the press”.  Not.  What.  I.  Said.  Not.  What.  I.  Mean.

Have fun!

More on the blogs – this is first class coverage:

YayaCanada – Queer goings on

Stageleft – Political Correctness Rule #172

Creekside – Gay freakout at The Star

We Move to Canada – Support Antonia Zerbisias

POGGE? – Toronto Star publisher and public editor channel Joe McCarthy

A Creative Revolution: Supporting Mz Z

Even Mark Steyn is on Zerbisias’ side!

UPDATE V:

The Galloping Beaver – TorStar Public Editor fails to take Round-to-Round Disperson into Account

UPDATE VI:

bastardlogic- Antonia Zerbisias: Under their Wheels

“Inconvenient Truths” & Zionism

From Inconvenient Truths About ‘Real Existing’ Zionism by Jacques Hersh at Monthly Review:

Coping with the Jewish question in general and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular has been and still is a dilemma for progressive opinion in the West. While it is acknowledged that Arab politics and political culture were affected by the intrusion of a Jewish state in the area and its alliance with the United States, the same consideration was not given to the transformation of Jewish political culture, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, as a result of the creation of the Zionist state and its patron-client relationship to the United States. Pro-Israel Jews of all political stripes have been duped by the ideological discourse of Zionism, which has hailed the existence of the Jewish state as the guarantor of the security of Jews everywhere.

Having captured the “commanding heights” of morality by usurping the mantle of the victimhood of European Jewry, the Zionist state, in a seldom-seen example of chutzpah, transformed the Holocaust experience into political capital. In this context it is interesting to note that the Holocaust did not become a universal point of reference in the Western worldview until after the decade of the 1960s. The reason for the time lag is related to the convergence of strategic and ideological currents in the postwar period. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, the antifascist coalition gave way to the Cold War between East and West. The German question played a central role in the establishment of the Western alliance system under the leadership of the United States. Under these conditions there was little interest on the part of the U.S. foreign policy establishment and indeed the U.S. government to alienate Germany by dwelling on the Nazi responsibility for the extermination of European Jews. In addition, looking closely at the Holocaust would have revealed the profiteering of U.S. industrialists in the arming of Hitler’s war machine. As far as the American Jewish elite is concerned, it acquiesced to the public silence on this monstrous crime and accepted the U.S. policy of rearming a barely de-Nazified Germany. Motivated perhaps by the concern of not reactivating American anti-Semitism and putting their improved situation in jeopardy, U.S. Jewry followed an opportunistic strategy.33

In the case of Israel, the Shoah question reflected the complex relationship of Zionist ideology toward non-Israeli Jews. The extermination of European Jews legitimized the cause of Zionism, to the extent that the Holocaust confirmed that Jews could not survive and prosper in the Diaspora and that integration and assimilation in these nations was an illusion. At the same time, there was a widespread feeling among Israelis following the Second World War that European Jews had themselves to blame for their fate, because they had not resorted to armed resistance. In contrast, Israelis saw themselves as rejecting the past and creating a new kind of Jew, capable of defending his or her people and the Jewish state.34 As the focus on the Holocaust evolved, it came to be seen as related to the transformation of the struggle for a secure Israel into one of an expanding and conquering state. The Shoah-paradigm became useful in reminding public opinion of the justification for the creation of the Jewish state and for the deflecting of criticism of Israeli policies, especially in the occupied territories of Palestine.

The Holocaust discourse, however, was more important in the Diaspora than in Israel itself and it introduced an element of confusion within the ranks of progressive politics. The sixties had been a decade of youth activism in the West that had included some leading Jewish participants. Many active anti-imperialist Jews in the Diaspora were caught off-balance by the realization that Israel, as the embodiment of the victimhood of the Jewish people, could be capable of victimizing another people and of following a pro-U.S. imperialism foreign policy. In Churchill’s terminology, the “bad Jews” (internationalist and anti-imperialist) had to be turned into the “good Jews” (pro-Zionist and well established in the West). Some of them became figureheads of neoconservatism!

The desperation with which the Holocaust paradigm is projected by modern Zionism and Western (especially U.S.) political establishments is not kosher. The attempt to pre-empt criticism of Israeli and U.S. policy and strategy in the Middle East will hardly be feasible in the longer run. Besides the dissidence toward the dominating ideology in Israel, the success of Zionism in the establishment of a modern Jewish capitalist state contains the seeds of its own societal “post-Zionism.” From an initial projection of pioneering social-nationalism, Israeli society in recent years seems to be affected by an identity and material crisis accentuated by the implementation of neoliberalism. From having been originally one of the most egalitarian Western societies, Israeli society has since the 1980s become one of the most unequal. The poverty rate in Israel is one of the highest of advanced capitalist countries with approximately 22 percent of the population living below the poverty line.35 The socio-economic prospects are bleak for a sizable number of Israelis and this seeping crisis translates into a crisis of identity for the Israeli-born generation who does not relate to Jewishness. “It is ideologically indifferent, secular, petit bourgeois in lifestyle and outlook, apathetic to world Jewry, and concerned with self-fulfillment only.”36

The Israeli dissident politician, Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Knesset, fears that the Zionist experiment will lead to a tragedy for the Jewish state. Without having become anti-Zionist, he nevertheless feels that the original principles of Zionism and the values of the declaration of independence have been betrayed and that Israel has been transformed into a colonial state led by a corrupt clique of outlaws. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot in 2003, he foresees a bleak future for the entire project of Zionism: “The end of Zionism is at our door…it is possible that a Jewish state will survive, but it will be another kind of state, ugly because of being foreign to our values.”37

Congressmen Freaked Out By Gaza

US Congressmen Baird and Ellison on Gaza:

“The amount of physical destruction and the depth of human suffering here is staggering” said Baird, “Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, schools completely leveled, fundamental needs such as water, sewer, and electricity facilities have been hit and immobilized. Relief agencies, themselves, have been heavily damaged. The personal stories of children being killed in their homes or schools; of entire families wiped out, and relief workers prevented from evacuating the wounded are heart wrenching. What went on here? And what is continuing to go on, is shocking and troubling beyond words.” the Washington state Congressman said.

[…]

“If this had happened in our own country, there would be national outrage and an appeal for urgent assistance. We are glad that President Obama acted quickly to send much needed humanitarian funding to Gaza for this effort. However, the arbitrary and unreasonable Israeli limitations on food, and repair and reconstruction materials are unacceptable and indefensible. People; innocent children, women and non-combatants, are going without water, food and sanitation, while the things they so desperately need are sitting in trucks at the border, being denied permission to go in” said Ellison.

[…]

“It’s hard for anyone in our country to imagine how it must feel to have a sick child who needs urgent care or is receiving chemotherapy or dialysis, then to be forced to take a needlessly lengthy route, walk rather than drive, and wait in lines as long as two hours simply to get to the hospital. As a health care professional myself, I found this profoundly troubling – no, actually it’s beyond that, it is outrageous.” said Baird.

Read the whole thing here

UPDATEMedea Benjamin travelled to Gaza last week.  Her article at AlterNet begins this way –

What I saw was like a form of collective punishment, leaving behind a trail of grieving mothers, angry fathers and traumatized children.

The Gaza “Holocaust”?

From Roger Cohen at the NRRB:

I had a dream: Israeli Arab students, enraged by the war in Gaza, were protesting at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A counterdemonstration by Jewish students erupted. When the head of university security, a Holocaust survivor, tried to intervene, the Arab students called him a Nazi.

Actually, I didn’t dream this. Shlomo Avineri, a political scientist at the university, related the incident, which occurred in the first days after Israel began its Gaza war on December 27. But dreams cut to the quick. There’s no point denying that a line of sorts runs from the forty-three people killed by Israeli fire near a United Nations school in Gaza on January 6 back to the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948 and to Berlin, 1945.

History is relentless. Sometimes its destructive gyre gets overcome: France and Germany freed themselves after 1945 from war’s cycle. So, even more remarkably, did Poland and Germany. China and Japan scarcely love each other but do business. Only in the Middle East do the dead rule. As Yehuda Amichai, the Israeli poet, once observed, the dead vote in Jerusalem. Their demand for blood is, it seems, inexhaustible. Their graves will not be quieted. Since 1948 and Israel’s creation, retribution has reigned between the Jewish and Palestinian national movements.

I have never previously felt so despondent about Israel, so shamed by its actions, so despairing of any peace that might terminate the dominion of the dead in favor of opportunity for the living.

[…]

There are about 1.3 million Arab citizens of Israel, or a little less than 20 percent of the population. Their loyalties are divided, but never before have they protested so vigorously. That’s a fair guide to the virulence of Arab sentiment, stoked by graphic around-the-clock coverage of the Gaza carnage from the al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya networks. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, resorting to the same loaded World War II lexicon, has called Gaza “a concentration camp,” a term also recently used by Cardinal Renato Martino, the head of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace.

These jackboot allusions—which include Meshal’s reference to a Gaza “holocaust”—are untenable: a Jewish minority in any Arab state of the size of the Arab minority in Israel is unimaginable. Israel remains a small island of relatively liberal democracy in a repressive Arab sea. But it is ghettoizing itself, not least from the agonizing plight of the estimated 1.5 million Palestinians crammed into the narrow strip of land that is Gaza.

Read the whole thing here

Inspiring Courage In Gaza – Huwaida Arraf

Please watch this example of inspiring courage – as Danny Schechter notes, you’re not likely to see it in the MSM:

Danny Schechter writes about this video at his blog:

A Korean camera crew in Gaza documented one of the most heroic actions we have ever seen or heard of. In the spirit of Rachel Corrie, who gave her life to defend a Palestinian home. Unlike the iconic image of the Chinese man standing in front of the tanks come to crush the Tiananmen protests in Beijing, 1989 and images splashed all over the world’s media, you are unlikely to see this video or its images in the U.S. media. It is also a video of some hope. Her courageous action seems, at least, momentarily successful.

She has been identified as Huwaida Arraf, a co-founder and central figure in the International Solidarity Movement and, recently, the Free Gaza Movement (the folks organizing the boat trips from Cyprus to Gaza).

The stated mission of the ISM is to resist the Israeli occupation using nonviolent tactics. Arraf is married to Adam Shapiro, another ISM co-founder, whom she met while both were working at the Jerusalem center of “Seeds of Peace*,” an organization that seeks to foster dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian youth.

Arraf, who is Christian, is the daughter of a Israeli Arab father and a Palestinian mother. Arraf majored in Arabic and Judaic studies and political science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She also spent a year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and studied Hebrew on a kibbutz.

Huwaida later earned a JD at American University’s Washington College of Law. Her focus was on International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, with a particular interest in war crimes prosecution.

Thanks to Brian Drolet of DeepDishTV for calling this video to our attention. And, thanks to YouTube.com for enabling people to break through the censorship blockade.

* DISCLOSURE: I directed the first feature-length documentary about Seeds of Peace in 1996. For more information, visit the film catalog at Globalvision.org.

Moyers on Gaza & Israel

From Bill Moyers Journal at pbs:

For too much of the world at large the names of the dead and wounded in Gaza might as well be John Doe too. They are the casualties and victims of Israel’s decision to silence the rockets from Hamas terrorists by waging war on an entire population. Yes, every nation has the right to defend its people. Israel is no exception, all the more so because Hamas would like to see every Jew in Israel dead.

But brute force can turn self-defense into state terrorism. It’s what the U.S. did in Vietnam, with B-52s and napalm, and again in Iraq, with shock and awe. By killing indiscriminately – the elderly, kids, entire families by destroying schools and hospitals — Israel did exactly what terrorists do and exactly what Hamas wanted. It spilled the blood that turns the wheel of retribution.

Hardly had Israeli tank fire killed and injured scores at a UN school in Gaza than a senior Hamas leader went on television to announce, “The Zionists have legitimized the killing of their children by killing our children.” Already attacks on Jews in Europe are escalating — a burning car crashes into a synagogue in Southern France, a fiery object is hurled through a window in Sweden, venomous anti-Semitic graffiti appears across the continent, and arsonists strike in London.

What we are seeing in Gaza is the latest battle in the oldest family quarrel on record. Open your Bible: the sons of the patriarch Abraham become Arab and Jew. Go to the Book of Deuteronomy. When the ancient Israelites entered Canaan their leaders urged violence against its inhabitants. The very Moses who had brought down the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” now proclaimed, “You must destroy completely all the places where the nations have served their gods. You must tear down their altars, smash their pillars, cut down their sacred poles, set fire to the carved images of their gods, and wipe out their name from that place.”

So God-soaked violence became genetically coded. A radical stream of Islam now seeks to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. Israel misses no opportunity to humiliate the Palestinians with checkpoints, concrete walls, routine insults, and the onslaught in Gaza. As if boasting of their might, Israel defense forces even put up video of the explosions on YouTube for all the world to see. A Norwegian doctor there tells CBS, “It’s like Dante’s Inferno. They are bombing one and a half million people in a cage.”

America has officially chosen sides. We supply Israel with money, F-16s, winks and tacit signals. Our Christian right links arms with the religious extremists there who claim divine sanctions for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Our political elites show neither independence nor courage by challenging the consensus that Israel can do no wrong. Although one recent poll found Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive by a 24-point margin, Democratic Party leaders in Congress nonetheless march in lockstep to the hardliners in Israel and the White House. Rarely does our mainstream media depart from the monotonous monologue of the party line. Many American Jews know, as Aaron David Miller writes in the current “Newsweek”, that the destruction in Gaza won’t do much to address Israel’s longer-term needs.

But those who raise questions are accused by a prominent reform rabbi of being “morally deficient.” One Jewish American activist told me this week that never in 30 years has he seen such blind and binding conformity in his community. “You’d never know,” he said, “that it is the Gazans who are doing most of the suffering.”

We are in a terrible bind — Israel, the Palestinians, the United States. Each greases the cycle of violence, as one man’s terrorism becomes another’s resistance to oppression. Is it possible to turn this mindless tragedy toward peace? For starters, read Aaron David Miller’s article in the current “Newsweek”. Get his book, “The Much Too Promised Land”. And pay no attention to those Washington pundits cheering the fighting in Gaza as they did the bloodletting in Iraq. Killing is cheap and war is a sport in a city where life and death become abstractions of policy. Here are the people who pay the price.

Hamas Revived

Tariq Ali at The Guardian:

The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed, to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, as in the case of Lebanon in 2006, sit back and watch.

Washington, as is its wont, blames the pro-Hamas Palestinians, with Obama and Bush singing from the same AIPAC hymn sheet. The EU politicians, having observed the build-up, the siege, the collective punishment inflicted on Gaza, the targeting of civilians etc (for all the gory detail, see Harvard scholar Sara Roy’s chilling essay in the London Review of Books) were convinced that it was the rocket attacks that had “provoked” Israel but called on both sides to end the violence, with nil effect. The moth-eaten Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt and Nato’s favourite Islamists in Ankara failed to register even a symbolic protest by recalling their ambassadors from Israel. China and Russia did not convene a meeting of the UN security council to discuss the crisis.

As result of official apathy, one outcome of this latest attack will be to inflame Muslim communities throughout the world and swell the ranks of those very organisations that the west claims it is combating in the “war against terror”.   [more]

Sara Roy at The London Review of Books:

Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then. Israel’s siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt. That is why the Israelis tolerate the hundreds of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt around which an informal but increasingly regulated commercial sector has begun to form. The overwhelming majority of Gazans are impoverished and officially 49.1 per cent are unemployed. In fact the prospect of steady employment is rapidly disappearing for the majority of the population.
[…]

How can keeping food and medicine from the people of Gaza protect the people of Israel? How can the impoverishment and suffering of Gaza’s children – more than 50 per cent of the population – benefit anyone? International law as well as human decency demands their protection. If Gaza falls, the West Bank will be next.

 

 

The whole article is here

Chris Hedges at Truthdig:

Can anyone who is following the Israeli air attacks on Gaza-the buildings blown to rubble, the children killed on their way to school, the long rows of mutilated corpses, the wailing mothers and wives, the crowds of terrified Palestinians not knowing where to flee, the hospitals so overburdened and out of supplies they cannot treat the wounded, and our studied, callous indifference to this widespread human suffering-wonder why we are hated?

Our self-righteous celebration of ourselves and our supposed virtue is as false as that of Israel. We have become monsters, militarized bullies, heartless and savage. We are a party to human slaughter, a flagrant war crime, and do nothing. We forget that the innocents who suffer and die in Gaza are a reflection of ourselves, of how we might have been should fate and time and geography have made the circumstances of our birth different. We forget that we are all absurd and vulnerable creatures. We all have the capacity to fear and hate and love. “Expose thyself to what wretches feel,” King Lear said, entering the mud and straw hovel of Poor Tom, “and show the heavens more just.”

Privilege and power, especially military power, is a dangerous narcotic. Violence destroys those who bear the brunt of its force, but also those who try to use it to become gods. Over 350 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians, and over 1,000 have been wounded since the air attacks began on Saturday. Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, said Israel is engaged in a “war to the bitter end” against Hamas in Gaza. A war? Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely crowded refugee camps and slums, to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command and control, no army, and calls it a war. It is not a war. It is murder.

 

It’s all here

Robert Dreyfuss at The Nation:

As Israel presses its bloody assault on Gaza, dropping broad hints that it is planning a ground attack to complement four days of bombings that have killed hundreds, it’s clear that Israel’s actions are likely to bolster, not weaken, the very enemy it is fighting.

Writing in the Washington Post, Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab points out that, before the latest crisis, Hamas was in sharp decline. The headline on his thoughtful piece is: “Has Israel Revived Hamas?” He says: “Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.”

Over the past two years, Kuttab notes, Palestinian support for Hamas — an ultrareligious, terrorist-inclined wing of the fanatical Muslim Brotherhood movement — has declined sharply, from a 30 percent in 2006 to 22 percent in August, 2007, to just 17 percent in 2008 — compared to 40 percent for Fatah, the mainstream, secular nationalist wing of the Palestinian body politic. Kuttab points out that Hamas has “turned down every legitimate offer from its nationalist PLO rivals and Egyptian mediators.” Now, he says, the attacks are a “bonanza for Hamas” and says that Israel’s assault will achieve “results exactly the opposite of its publicly proclaimed purposes.”

Read the rest here

Nowhere to Run

Well, at least the current Israeli attack on Gaza won’t create any refugees.  Gazans have nowhere to run and face the aggression of Egypt when they try:

… on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, the ground shook on Sunday afternoon. In a matter of four minutes, Israeli aircraft destroyed 40 smuggling tunnels running under the border. The tunnels are used to smuggle goods and weapons into Gaza.

Area resident Fida Kishta rushed to the border once the smoke cleared – and she wasn’t alone.

Hundreds gathered at the border wall, trying to get across. Egyptian border guards opened fire above the crowds, trying to scatter them. Instead, residents manned a bulldozer and tried to knock down the wall.

When that didn’t work, they set an explosive device beside it, knocking what Kishta said appeared to be a small hole. Dozens of defiant Gazans clambered over it, but were eventually returned to Gaza.

At times, shock turned into confusion and denial. A news photographer who found the body of a friend under the rubble drove him home, unwilling to believe he was dead.

“My children are wetting the bed, they cry when they hear planes,” said Amal Hassan, 38, a mother of three children. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Maybe the next bomb will fall here, maybe the next person killed will be one of us,” Hassan said.   [more at The Star]

Gazans are people about whom no one cares at all, apart from Hamas.  No wonder Hamas has their support.

“A Mother From Gaza” Reports

From blogger A Mother From Gaza:

The rains of death continue to fall in Gaza. And silently, we watch. and silently, governments plotted: how shall we make the thunder and clouds rain death onto Gaza? Egypt; the United States; Israel…

And it will all seem, in the end of the day, that they are somehow a response to something. As though the situation were not only acceptable- but normal, stable, in the period prior to whatever this is a response to. As though settlements did not continue to expand; walls did not continue to extend and choke lands and lives; families and friends were not dislocated; life was not paralyzed; people were not exterminated; borders were not sealed and food and light and fuel were in fair supply.

But it is the prisoners’ burden to bear: they broke the conditions of their incarceration. They deviated. But nevertheless, there are concerns for the “humanitarian situation”: as long as they do not starve, everything is ok. Replenish the wheat stocks immediately.

The warden improves the living conditions now and then, in varying degrees of relatively, but the prison doors remain sealed. And so when there are 20 hours of power outages in a row, the prisoners wish that they were only 8; or 10; and dream of the days of 4.

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