Archive | June 1st, 2010




Israel’s deadly attack on the aid ships sailing to Gaza has shocked many of us. Leaders around the world have spoken out against the attacks but is our government doing all it can? A people-powered push from 38 Degrees members could make sure that our government turns words into urgent action. 

Across the world governments need to do all they can to ensure a real investigation into the attacks and up the pressure on Israel to lift the Gaza blockade. We could help, by pushing our government to make this a priority. 

Should 38 Degrees work together to demand our government does all it can? Let us know in our 30 second poll:

We know that some ministers accept the need to do more. Last year the Deputy Prime Minster, Nick Clegg, said that the British government and international community had done “next to nothing” to get the blockade lifted. He said “tough-sounding declarations are issued at regular intervals but little real pressure is applied”. [1] Right now the government is hesitating about how far to go. If we worked together, we could make sure they know that words aren’t enough and that we expect action.

Together we have a track record of demanding that the UK plays a positive role in the world. We’ve pushed our politicians to show leadership globally on climate change. We’ve demanded a proper inquiry into the UK’s role in the Iraq war. Should we demand our government applies real pressure this time?

If 38 Degrees members think we should work together on this we can launch an urgent action right away. Please let us know what you think now, it takes just a few seconds:

Thanks for being involved,

David, Hannah, Johnny, Nina and the 38 Degrees Team


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Sorry to overburden, but several correspondents have complained they could not open the link previously sent, so here again is at least the link to the raw video from the flotilla.

 please bear with – and share this.

This is the direct link at least to the video.

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This is a first hand report of what happened.
MK Zoabi: Israel wanted highest number of fatalities
Arab Knesset member who participated in Gaza aid flotilla holds press conference says, ‘It was clear from size of force that boarded ship that purpose was not to stop sail, but to cause largest number of fatalities to prevent future initiatives’
Knesset ‘Israeli Parliament’ Member Hanin Zoabi, who was on board the Marmara ship when it was raided by Navy fighters, held a press conference in Nazareth on Tuesday, in which she accused Israel of committing crimes during its takeover of the Gaza-bound aid ship. She called for an international inquiry into the incident.
Zoabi added, “It was clear from the size of the force that boarded the ship that the purpose was not only to stop  this sail, but to cause the largest possible number of fatalities in order to stop such initiatives in the future.”
She said the flotilla’s participants did not have any violent intentions: “Our goal was to break the siege. We had no plans for a confrontation. Israel carried out a provocative military operation. Israel is used to doing as it pleases with the Palestinians. The main problem is not the ship, but the siege.”
She also demanded the activists held in Beersheba be allowed visitation. “We also demand a UN inquiry commission probe the Israeli claims. This is an international issue, because the passengers were from different nations.”
Of the raid itself, she said, “I entered the captain’s room. He was asked to stop by the Israeli soldiers. He said, ‘We are a Turkish ship.’ We were 130 miles off. It was 11:30 pm. We saw four Israel vessels, they were at a distance because we were in international waters. At 4:15 am we saw the ships approaching.
“They were dinghies and choppers. At 4:30 am the forces landed quickly. I did not hear any warning from the ships, because noise was coming from the ships and the choppers. Within 10 minutes there were already three bodies. The entire operation took about an hour.”
She denied any resistance from the ship’s passengers. “There was not a single passenger who raised a club. We put on our life vests. From where I was standing, I didn’t see any clubs or anything of the sort. There were gunshots, I don’t know if they were live bullets or not. There were gunshots fired from the ships in our direction.
“A clear message was being sent to us, for us to know that our lives were in danger. We convened that we were not interested in a confrontation. What we saw was five bodies. There were only civilians and there were no weapons. There was a sense that I many not come out of it alive. Israel spoke of a provocation, but there was no provocation.”
Zoabi was released to her home Tuesday morning after being questioned. Three other Israeli Arabs who were on the sail faced a remand hearing at the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court.
Shortly before the takeover, Zoabi said, “We are part of the Palestinian people. They are trying to break us. The ships took us by surprise and started to call out to us. For four years, no one spoke about Gaza. Only in this past week did the entire world get to the war crimes of Israel, a country that occupies and violates basic humanitarian rights.”


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Watching Israel Delegitimize the U.S.

May 25, 2010 

by Jeff Gates

Israel USA Policy

What’s behind the sudden crisis in Korea? Who benefits?

Which nation’s nuclear arsenal is problematic?

The U.S.-Israeli relationship has long been America’s Achilles heel. Our first president warned against “entangled alliances” particularly when, as here, there’s a “passionate attachment.”

Our “special relationship” with this rogue state has placed the U.S. outside the same system of international law that we now seek to impose on others, including Iran.

Our handling of the current crisis on the Korean peninsula could restore our tattered reputation.

What’s the first issue that needs to be addressed?

Here’s where you the reader may well ask: “Do you mean the issue concerning the collapse of Building 7 of the World Trade Center?” No, but nor is that question irrelevant to this latest crisis.

Here’s the second issue that must be addressed: to which nations has Israel transferred nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons technology? Is North Korea on the list?

That issue became relevant with the release of The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa. Archival research by author Sasha Polakowsky-Suransky uncovered “top secret” minutes of a military agreement signed in April 1975 between Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and South Africa’s defense minister P.W. Botha.

Though Israel denies the conclusions reached by reporters for The Guardian (U.K.), the agreement suggests an offer of nuclear weapons while its Apartheid regime was under international sanctions.

Israel was then building a surrogate arms industry in South Africa using what was, in practical effect, slave labor. That industry has since moved to Israel where it employs “guest workers.” Peres was responsible for building Israel’s nuclear program with help from France in the 1950s.

Some weeks before the offer, Israel and South Africa signed a covert agreement (code name Secment) governing their military alliance. In the subsequent meetings, “correct payload” was used to describe the nuclear warheads Israel would provide for a Jericho missile system. As The Guardian explained:

“The use of a euphemism, the ‘correct payload’, reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons… the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.”

South Africa did not go ahead with the deal it was offered though it did develop its own nuclear weapons, possibly with Israeli assistance. The Apartheid government revealed the program to Nelson Mandela when he became president.

In 1986, nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu revealed Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the Sunday Times (London). Vanunu was kidnapped by Mossad agents in Rome and returned for trial in Israel. Sentenced to 18 years, he served 11 years in solitary confinement. On May 23rd, he was sentenced to another three months in prison for breaking the terms of his release by having unauthorized meetings with foreigners.

Evil Doers vs. Evil Doing

Even now Israel strives against all odds to maintain “ambiguity” about its nuclear weapons. But how can you offer nuclear weapons you don’t have?

Who provided nuclear technology to North Korea? That backward state, now nuclear-armed, was included in G.W. Bush’s post-911 “Axis of Evil” speech. Care to guess who wrote that speech?

Shortly thereafter the U.S. invaded Iraq to remove an Evil Doer. Only later did we learn that our “flawed” intelligence was “fixed” around a goal long sought by Israel as chronicled in A Clean Break, a strategy document written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a team of Israeli-Americans led by Richard Perle.

In 2001, Perle became chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Review Board.

The United Nations has long been scheduled to review the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to consider the creation of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. As the date approached, the world community experienced a well-timed torpedo attack on a South Korean warship, reportedly by a North Korean submarine.

In the midst of these negotiations, mainstream media has been flooding the national consciousness with power-of-association stories about Iran, its nuclear program and even its links to North Korea. Tehran, of course, was the third member in the trio of Bush-era Evil Doers.

News outlets controlled by Israeli-American Rupert Murdoch are particularly active, including Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.

Is it true that Tel Aviv transferred to Pyongyang a German-made submarine? If so, does that qualify as evil doing?

Perhaps here is a good place to pose an out-of-sequence question: What about the collapse of Building 7?

Master Myth Makers

Does Israel routinely transfer war materiél to nations subject to international sanctions?

That would help explain their status as the world’s third largest arms exporter. The U.S. holds first place with Russia second. Israel and France vie for third and fourth trailed by the U.K. and China in the Dirty Half Dozen.

If Israel has an extensive arsenal of nuclear weapons, why does the U.S not insist on inspections?

How does U.S. protection of Israel’s illegal conduct advance U.S. interests?

How is our conduct consistent with the behavior we are now pressing on Iran?

What is so valuable about the U.S.-Israeli relationship that we should sacrifice our credibility to cover-up violations of international law that make us appear guilty by association?

By law isn’t the U.S. obliged to support U.N. sanctions for Israel?

Why discredit the U.S. and undermine the stature of the United Nations? Wasn’t the U.N. the post-WWII organization founded in large part by the U.S. to discourage just such behavior?

Serial Provocations and Murderous Misdirection

Instead of sanctions, what do we see instead? Misdirection and intimidation.

The Internet is awash with Men in Black accounts featuring the usual array of conspiracies. Elvis may yet be blamed for a Korean peninsula incident that could ignite a nuclear war in the region.

How long before we see a story blaming Hezbollah terrorists led by the Pakistan Taliban aboard an Iranian submarine advised by Syrian nuclear scientists and Palestinian strategists?

Or aliens.

The stage has been set for another 911, possibly featuring a nuclear incident. A series of “plausible” Evil Doers have been prominently featured in assorted “terrorist incidents.”

Enough pre-staging has been done that Americans again feel insecure following the media coverage given the Ft. Hood shooting, the Christmas Day Bomber and now the Times Square Terrorist.

One small problem: none of these storylines hold up under close scrutiny. But then that’s not the point. Neither did the “intelligence” on which we relied to wage war in Iraq in response to the provocation of 911. It didn’t need to be true, just believable.

Time to Redo the Report

Anyone of substance associated with the report of the 911 Commission knows we still need a good faith investigation. Mainstream Europeans routinely call for it. Those demands are routinely couched in code due to the perils facing those in the EU who question our “special relationship.”

Instead, commentators ask about the “collapse” of Building 7. Good question. Also a fair question. The answer could lead somewhere useful. Therefore, don’t ask, don’t tell.

This entangled alliance has been an exercise in deceit since a Christian-Zionist president, a Democrat, was induced to extend recognition to an enclave of extremists.

Harry Truman dismissed the concerns of the Joint Chiefs who warned him about their “fanatical concepts” and their plans for “military and economic hegemony over the entire Middle East.”

We were deceived by our own better nature to embrace a relationship that has long been at odds with our national interest. The durability of the relationship has long failed to pass muster as either rational or consistent with our values. The relationship has changed for the worse who we are as a nation.

Yet somehow the relationship endures. Along with the perceived legitimacy of this “state.”

Deception and Self-Deceit

Its persistence can be traced to the strength of a lobby that, to date, has escaped registration as a foreign agent. Those known for their skill at waging war “by way of deception” have routinely betrayed the nation that first befriended and most reliably defended them.

Even when a Christian-Zionist president, a Republican, led us to war on fixed intelligence, we were unable to identity the common source of our troubles. Some blamed G.W Bush. Others now blame Barack Obama. Both critiques miss the point. This treachery is now systemic and thoroughly imbedded in both political parties.

Even now, an undisclosed media bias blocks Americans from the facts they require to make an informed choice about this relationship. And about the legitimacy of a transnational operation that murders with impunity (as in Dubai) and provokes with pleasure—anywhere they please.

Americans are now emerging from many quarters to resist the influence wielded on (and from within) our government by special interests. This special relationship often tops the list.

Many supporters of Israel have been deceived to believe that this relationship is in their best interest. The facts confirm otherwise. Like the nation itself, they too were “the mark” in this long-running fraud.

We have been seduced by those masterful at deceit to freely embrace the very forces that delegitimized us as a nation and collapsed our economy from within.

Which brings me back to the question: what about Building 7?

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Dr. Alan Sabrosky: The Madness of Arrogance: Israel’s Attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla

May 31, 2010

by Dr. Alan Sabrosky



By Dr. Alan Sabrosky STAFF WRITER/Editor

 Israel’s attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla on America’s Memorial Day was all too predictable, although the form it took surprised even me. And it confirms the old proverb that “Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad,” for the attack was the kind of madness only unbridled arrogance can assume.

 It wasn’t just that foreigners as well as Palestinians, flying flags other than that of Palestine, were attacked. Israel has a long history of doing such things, especially to the UN. But except for the USS Liberty incident in 1967, it has generally done that on inland sites — Gaza, the West Bank, the Lebanon — where it can largely block news and visual evidence, and control the spin it puts on events, counting on its friends in the US and other mainstream media to say little or nothing to contradict them.

 The Attack Reprised

 Not this time. An attack on the open seas, in acknowledged international waters, against unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid with passengers and crews from many countries — especially a direct attack against a Turkish ship — is a different matter, and potentially an explosive one. The number of shipboard casualties indicates that once fighting started, the Israeli commandos simply sprayed automatic weapons fire into the people around them — another of their long-standing habits.

And technology is their enemy here, just as it became in an earlier day the enemy of communist regimes in the former Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries. Too many images and videos were taken, and some sent, and too many witnesses reported what was happening, before the Israelis were able to suppress communications from their victims.

 Bad for their victims, but also potentially very bad for Israel, and the initial Israeli public-relations damage control efforts show that they are at least dimly aware of that fact. Trying to cast the attack in international waters as an exercise in self-defense would be ludicrous in the best or worst of circumstances — has anyone ever seen wheelchairs used as offensive weaponry?

 And for the Israeli spokeswoman to try to spin an assault by warships and armed commandos as defense against a “lynch” (I guess she was trying to push an American “hot button” for Obama — someone should tell her it is “lynching” or “lynch mob”) would have embarrassed even her public relations soulmate, Dr. Josef Goebbels. But desperate do what desperation dictates, I suppose, although this time they may well have gone way too far.

 A Judging, Long Overdue

 And that is what the initial responses appear to affirm. All of the major US and many other media outlets are carrying this story, and even with the slant from many Jewish correspondents based in Jerusalem or Ashdod, the bloody particulars are slowly coming through to at least a general American audience for the first time:

             1.  The unarmed ships with unarmed passengers were trying to ferry humanitarian and reconstruction aid to ravaged and embattled Gaza.

            2. Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza, probably if not certainly in violation of international law, supported largely by US vetoes in the UN Security Council.

            3.  Israeli warships and commandos intercepted and attacked the aid flotilla in international waters –which is an act of war, piracy or state terrorism, depending on one’s view of the details.

            4.  Under attack, some of the passengers tried to defend themselves, scores were killed or wounded, and some Israeli commandos were also wounded — doubtless a surprise to them, but then their usual run of victims may have made them a bit too cocky.

            5.  Many governments and publics around the world — not only in Arab capitals — are openly outraged, and the discussion forums on US news websites carrying the story suggest that much the same is happening at a public level in this country.

            6. But for Israel, this is just another “we are the misunderstood victim” incident in a long, sordid and utterly unbelievable litany of such things — except that this time, they may not get away with it.

 Seizing the Moment

 This is a time for those interested in justice for Palestine to seize the moment and act, building on the promise engendered but not fulfilled after the submission of the Goldstone Report to the HRC.

 I would like to think that President Obama would take a stand, and perhaps he will, but if he does it will be with words and not with deeds. Neither the Congress nor Rahm Emanuel would let him do much more, whatever his predisposition — and who knows, he may believe the “lynch” metaphor, or pretend to do so.

 Americans shouldn’t bother with letters or emails to US Senators or Representatives, or Obama; AIPAC will be there ahead of you with more letters and money than you can generate. Go instead directly to the local offices of US Senators and Representatives, stay until you speak personally to the senior person there, and make your case as forcefully as you can. Make sure as many people hear you as possible — but be polite, and leave your signs at home.

 For the world community, now is the time and this is the incident to drive home the UN “Uniting for Peace” Resolution, in both the Security Council and the General Assembly as needed. The nationalities of the victims will at least neutralize many European countries that might have opposed it before. Sanctions, embargoes, even the suspension or expulsion of Israel from the UN itself, do as much as quickly and as forcefully as possible. Press the BDS campaign everywhere hard.

 And for the US armed forces, on this Memorial Day, it would be well to reflect on the meaning of duty and service to country and people. Oaths of allegiance, obedience and loyalty are important to professionals in the armed forces, in or out of uniform. They were to me when I was in the Marines, and later as a civilian at West Point and the Army War College. I’m sure serving professionals today are no different.

 But the elected and appointed civilians overseeing the armed services have also taken their own oaths, and many have violated them by serving the interests of Israel rather than the US itself, and especially by spending American lives and treasure furthering Israeli interests rather than safeguarding American ones. This, to me, is clearly treason, and utterly negates any loyalty anyone else owes to them.

 Remember that the cornerstone of our oaths is not to obedience, but to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Think about it on this Memorial Day.

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Glenn Greenwald on “Heinous and Repugnant Crime” of Israel

May 31, 2010

by Michael Leon

Killer Israel

As we remember the fallen today, one thing is clear: Our troops and Marines did not die for the vicious, hateful state of Israel.

President Obama: Time to show your cards on this issue.

Israel attacks aid ship, kills at least 10 civilians

By Glenn Greenwald

Late last night, Israel attacked a flotilla of ships in international waters carrying food, medicine and other aid to Gaza, killing at least 10 civilians on board and injuring at least 30 more (many reports now put the numbers at 19 dead and 60 injured).  The Israeli Defense Forces is claiming that its soldiers were attacked with clubs,  knives and “handguns” when they boarded the ship without permission, but none of the Israeli soldiers were killed while two are reported injured.  Those on the ships emphatically state that the IDF came on board shooting.  An IDF spokesman said:  ”Our initial findings show that at least 10 convoy participants were killed.”  

The six-ship flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid along with 600 people, all civilians, which included 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and an elderly Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein, 85.  In December, 2008, Israel, citing rocket attacks from Hamas, launched a 22-day, barbaric attack on Gaza, bombarding a trapped population, killing hundreds of innocent civilians (1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed), and devastating Gazan society.  A U.N. report released earlier this monthdocumented that, as a result of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt (the two largest recipients of U.S. aid), “[m]ost of the property and infrastructure damaged . . .  was still unrepaired 12 months later.”  

The flotilla attacked by Israel last night was carrying materials such as cement, water purifiers, and other building materials, much of which Israel refuses to let pass into Gaza.  At the end of 2009, a U.N. report foundthat “insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physicalhealth of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory,” and also “blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings.”

It hardly seemed possible for Israel — after its brutal devastation of Gaza and its ongoing blockade — to engage in more heinous and repugnant crimes.  But by attacking a flotilla in international waters carrying humanitarian aid, and slaughtering at least 10 people, Israel has managed to do exactly that.  If Israel’s goal were to provoke as much disgust and contempt for it as possible, it’s hard to imagine how it could be doing a better job.

It is appropriate that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuis scheduled to meet with President Obama on Tuesday in Washington, because — as always — it is only American protection of Israel that permits the Israelis to engage in conduct like this.  Initial reports speculate that Netanyahuwould cancel that meeting in order to return to Israel in light of this attack.  But there would be something quite symbolically appropriate about having the U.S. stand at the side of Israel in the aftermath of this latest massacre, because it is only the massive amounts of U.S. financial and military aid, and endless diplomatic protection, that enables Israel to act with impunity as a rogue and inhumane state.  So complete is the devotion of the U.S. Congress to the mission of serving and protecting Israel that it even overwhelmingly condemned the Goldstone report, which found that Israel and Hamas had both commited war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity during the Israeli attack on Gaza (the U.S. Congress, of course, never condemned the Israeli war crimes themselves — only the Report which documented those crimes).  Israeli actions are a direction reflection on, and by-product of, the U.S. Government, because it is the U.S. which enables and protects the behavior.

The one silver lining from these incidents is that the real face of Israel becomes increasingly revealed and undeniable.  Not even the most intense propaganda systems can prettify a lethal military attack on ships carrying civilians and humanitarian aid to people living in some of the most wretched and tragic conditions anywhere in the world.  It is crystal clear to anyone who looks what Israel has become, and the only question left is how will the rest of the world — beginning with their American patrons — will react. 

As Americans suffer extreme cuts in education for their own children and a further deterioration in basic economic security (including Social Security), will they continue to acquiesce to the transfer of billions of dollars every year to the Israelis, who — unlike Americans — enjoy full, universal health care coverage?  How is the revulsion justifiably provoked by this latest Israeli crime going to impact American efforts in the Muslim world (as but one of many examples to come, Al Jazeera reportsthat “Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a large anti-Israel rally across from the Green Zone in Baghdad”)?  How much longer will Americans be willing to pay the extreme prices for its endlessly entangled “alliance” with its prime Middle Eastern client state, whose capacity for criminal and inhumane acts appears limitless?  

* * * * * 

On a day when the meaning of “heroism” is often discussed, the people on these ships who tried to deliver aid to Gazans, knowing that they could easily find themselves in a confrontation with the Israeli Navy but doing it anyway in order to bring attention to the extraordinary injustice and cruelty of the blockade, are pure, unadulterated heroes.

UPDATE: Regarding the blockade of Gaza itself — about which“Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister [said when it was first imposed]: ‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger’” — this post documents just some of the effects, with ample links to U.N. reports, including:

* since the intensification of the siege in June 2007, “the formal economy in Gaza has collapsed” (More than 80 UN and aid agencies[.pdf])

* ”61% of people in the Gaza Strip are … food insecure,” of which “65% are children under 18 years” (UN FAO)

 * since June 2007, “the number of Palestine refugees unable to access food and lacking the means to purchase even the most basic items, such as soap, school stationery and safe drinking water, has tripled” (UNRWA)

 * ”in February 2009, the level of anemia in babies (9-12 months) was as high as 65.5%” (UN FAO)

The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl, whose entire political world view is shaped by his devotion to Israel, today criticizes President Obamafor rejecting ”Bush’s conclusion that the promotion of democracy and human rights is inseparable from the tasks of defeating al-Qaedaand establishing a workable international order.”  That’s ironic, because if “human rights” played any role whatsoever in American foreign policy, the massive American aid and other protection for Israel which Diehl cherishes above all else would instantaneously disappear.

UPDATE II: Just ponder what we’d be hearing if Iran had raided a humanitarian ship in international waters and killed 15 or so civilians aboard.

UPDATE III: One of the ships attacked by Israel belonged to a Turkish aid organization, and it’s been reported that among the dead are at least two Turks.  Turkey today “warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy.” Among other things, Turkey is a NATO member with increasing tensions with Israel.  Its Prime Minister today condemned the Israeli action as “state terrorism.”  Amidst worldwide protests aimed at Israel, along with possible internal unrest if (as has been reported) an Israeli Arab leader was among the wounded or dead, it’s possible that this incident could produce some serious unforeseen consequences for the Israelis.

UPDATE IV: So, to recap what seems thus far to be the central claim of Israel apologists:   Israel is the official Owner of international waters (which is where the flotilla was when it was attacked).  As such, they have the right to issue orders to ships in international waters, and everyone on board those ships is required to obey and submit.  Anyone who fails to do so, or anyone in the vicinity of those who fail to do so, can be shot and killed and get what they deserve. 

What’s so odd about that is that the U.S. has been spending a fair amount of time recently condemning exactly such acts as “piracy” and demanding ”that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.”  When exactly did Israel acquire the right not only to rule over Gaza and the West Bank, but international waters as well?  Their rights as sovereign are expanding faster than the BP oil spill.

UPDATE V: Israel’s foreign minister is now actually claiming that attempts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza are “an attack on Israel’s sovereignty.”  Is that supposed to be some kind of a joke?  The only claim that I can recall that’s remotely comparable is when the U.S. General serving as Commander of Guantanamo condemnedsuicides by three detainees there as an “act of asymmetric warfare waged against us.”  The U.S. and Israel are very adept at claiming victimhood:  even when they’re killing large numbers of civilians and locking people up in cages with no charges, they’re the ones who are the suffering, wronged parties.  

Thus, there are at least 10-20 dead passengers and 50-60 wounded on those ships — compared to no Israeli fatalities and virtually no wounded — but it’s the passengers, delivering humanitarian aid in international waters when Israel seized their ships, who are the aggressors and were “attacking Israeli sovereignty.”  The only thing worse than this claim is how many apologists for Israel will start parroting it (see Andrew Sullivan on the claim that it was the passengers who were somehow the “aggressors”).

UPDATE VI: Among the countries condemning Israel for its attack are Russia, Turkey, India, China, Brazil, France, Spain and many more.  By stark contrast, the White House issued a statement which conspicuously refused to condemn the Israelis (Obama “expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today’s incident, and concern for the wounded”), while the U.S. State Department actually hinted at condemning the civilians delivering the aid (“we support expanding the flow of goods to the people of Gaza.  But this must be done in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation”).  

Obama’s call for “learning all the facts and circumstances” is reasonable enough, but all these other countries made clear that this attack could never be justified based on what is already indisputablyknown:   namely, that the ship attacked by Israel was in international waters and it resulted in the deaths and injuries to dozens of civilians but no Israeli soldiers were killed and a tiny handful injured.  In any event, Obama’s neutrality will have to give way to a definitive statement one way or the other, and soon.


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J-Street “Shocked and Saddened” by Massacre

June 1, 2010

by Michael Leon  

 J Street is the political home of the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” movement

University of Southern California (USC) I believe San DiegoLike many of you, I am still absorbing the terrible news from the waters off of Israel and Gaza this morning.

Going into this weekend, we knew there were few good outcomes likely from the latest effort to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip in the face of Israel’s determination to prevent it.

But none of us expected the tragedy we woke up to this morning, a day on which we honor the memory of U.S. soldiers who served and died in prior wars.

As one of our supporters wrote to me this morning, “how many more people need to die, how many more children deprived of a father or mother, before this conflict is settled and people can live in peace and security, while devoting their energy to building better lives?”

With details still emerging and propaganda spinning furiously on all sides – one simple truth stands clear to us: today’s events are the natural outgrowth of the larger, ongoing failure to resolve this conflict peacefully through a two-state solution.

It is up to our leaders to turn this crisis into a real push to end the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians now – otherwise events will spin even further out of control. We will have more to say on how in the days ahead.

In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts with us by responding directly to this message and we’ll put together a webpage for feedback and reactions from the J Street community later on in the week.

Our statement reacting to the day’s events follows:

J Street is deeply shocked and saddened by reports that at least 10 civilians have been killed and dozens more wounded (including Israeli soldiers) this morning as Israel intercepted a naval convoy bringing humanitarian supplies and construction materials to the Gaza Strip.

We express our condolences to the families of those killed and we wish the injured a full and speedy recovery. We hope that leaders on all sides will take immediate steps to ensure that this incident does not escalate into a broader round of violence – in Israel, in Gaza, or in the region.

There will undoubtedly be calls in the coming days for a UN investigation into today’s events. A credible, independent commission appointed by the Israeli government should provide the world with a full and complete report into the causes and circumstances surrounding the day’s events and establish responsibility for the violence and bloodshed.

This shocking outcome of an effort to bring humanitarian relief to the people of Gaza is in part a consequence of the ongoing, counterproductive Israeli blockade of Gaza. J Street has been and continues to be opposed to the blockade – believing that there are better ways to ensure Israel’s security and to prevent weapons smuggling than a complete closure of the Gaza Strip.

We do not know yet what the impact of today’s incident will be on the just-restarted peace process, on Israel’s relations with the international community, or on the health of Arab-Jewish relations within Israel itself.

We do know, however, that today is one more nail in the coffin for hopes of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict peacefully and diplomatically and for preserving Israel’s Jewish and democratic character. We urge President Obama and other international and regional leaders to take today’s terrible news as an opportunity to engage even more forcefully in immediate efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We’ll be in touch,

– Jeremy

Jeremy Ben-Ami
J Street
May 31, 2010

J Street is the political home of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.




“Free Gaza” Flotilla, Thank You for a Mission Well Done

May 31, 2010 

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

“We sailed to Gaza and broke through the siege, take a stand” says the slogan of ” Free Gaza movement “

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla carrying aid and hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday pre dawn.The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

The Israeli military statement

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: “This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.”

Defend themselves..!!, the Israeli military cliché – statement made it sound as if the Israeli troops were engaged in combat with an eligible enemy, who posed a direct and clear threat to the security of Israel. Those people on the ships were innocent civilians, activists from all over the world, but only Israel recognized them as militants, worthy of being labeled evil-doers rather than bold humanitarians.

The free Gaza movement

The Gaza aid flotilla is organized by The Free Gaza Movement, which is an international human rights organization formed by a coalition of pro-Palestinian human rights organizations and activists for the purpose of publicizing the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip after the election of Hamas by sailing ships from Greece and Cyprus to Gaza.

  1. The group has more than 70 endorsers, including Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky.
  2. The organizations participating in the Free Gaza Movement include the International Solidarity Movement.
  3. The activists participating in the effort include Jeff Halper, Hedy Epstein, Lauren Booth, and members of various Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious organizations.

This was not the first sailing to Gaza by The free Gaza movement, they have done it several times before, the first was in august 2008, then another one inoctober 2008 and in January 2010, and in those sailings they managed to port in Gaza and deliver their cargo of aid supplies to the Palestinians.

What went wrong this time?

So, why is the sailing of may 2010 any different from the previous sailings to Gaza? First let us take a quick look at the number and the description of the activists aboard this time, as rendered in a statement by the organizing movement itself …”The Free Gaza Movement and the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) are partnering to send multiple ships to the Gaza Strip in May 2010.

Under the coordination of the Free Gaza Movement, numerous human rights organizations, including the Turkish Relief Foundation (IHH), the Perdana Global Peace Organization from Malaysia, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, and the Swedish and Greek Boat to Gaza initiatives will send three cargo ships loaded with reconstruction, medical and educational supplies.

Multiple passenger boats with over 600 people on board will accompany the cargo ships. These passengers include members of Parliament from around the world, U.N., human rights and trade union activists, as well as journalists who will document the largest coordinated effort to directly confront Israel’s blockade of Gaza and take in basic supplies”…well,it seems like the whole international society has been delegated on this convoy, a sort of international consensus and united front targeted towards breaking the siege on Gaza and defying the military arrogance of a Zionist regime.

That’s why this aid flotilla was recognized as a danger to Israel, the convoy of ships was not equipped with nuclear heads, nor any kind of heavy artillery, but carried what is known to be the most obstinate and defiant weapon, in other words ” believers in human rights ”

Protesters denounced the raid on Gaza aid ships by Israel.

Israel’s tough response triggered widespread condemnation across Europe; and left the united states looking guilty once again, for most analysts argue that Israel wouldn’t have done such an outrageous operation without letting the Americans know about it beforehand.

The raid also strained already tense relations with Israel’s longtime Muslim ally Turkey, the unofficial sponsor of the mission, and drew more attention to the plight of Gaza’s 1.5 million people.
The only party that was not surprised by this act of military piracy was the Arabs who got used to this kind of the Israeli madness, only this time the world took notice.

Mission accomplished

The freedom flotilla sailed towards Gaza with a mission of breaking through the Israeli siege to what is considered today to be the biggest and most cruel concentration camps on earth; in accomplishing this noble and brave mission innocent human lives were sacrificed, but not in vain, for tomorrow the sun will rise on a more conscientiuos and hopefully more righteous world.

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June 1, 2010

by Michael Leon

Gaza Freedom flotilla carried world-renowned names and veteran activists

Inclusion of human beings on relief missions is  not necessarily a deterrent to state murder. Such is the nature of fascism.

Author Henning Mankell and Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire are among more than 600 passengers attacked 36 hours ago.

The squalor and oppression of 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip has been, until n0w, one of those things Americans ignore: No matter how many Nobel peace laureatea you have working for you: The world can be a dirty, mean place far away; so why try?

But how mean and dirty is largely up to us. We have in our power the capacity to reverse the decline of the humanism of Israel into something violent, bigoted and sick.

Henning Mankell Author Henning Mankell

[Author Henning Mankell had been due to speak at the Hay festival by satellite link on Saturday, but the connection failed. Photograph: Bertil Ericson/EPA]

The largest flotilla launched to challenge the Gaza blockade also carried the most passengers, well over 600 people, believed to include 27 from the UK. Internationally renowned names were on board, among them activists, authors, film-makers, politicians and journalists from Europe, the Middle East, the US and Canada.

Among the most famous is Henning Mankell, author of the best-selling Wallander series of crime novels. Mankell had been scheduled to speak to the Hay festival on Saturday night by live link from the boat, but the connection failed.

One of the best-known international activists is Huwaida Arraf, born in the US to an Israeli Arab father and Palestinian mother, co- founder in 2001 of the International Solidarity Movement, which campaigns against Israel’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza. He was on the Challenger.

Also on board was the Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, co-founder of Northern Ireland’s Peace People and a veteran of the Gaza flotillas, who was briefly jailed last year when Israel intercepted and towed a flotilla.

The Scottish journalist and documentary film-maker Hassan Ghani, 24 and from Glasgow, was on board the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish vessel attacked by Israeli forces. He was seen broadcasting for PressTV as the commandos took control of the ship.

In footage shown on YouTube, Ghani said: “This is the MC Marmara, Hassan Ghani reporting for PressTV. We’ve had several injuries here; one is critical. He has been injured in the head and we think he may die if he doesn’t receive medicaltreatment urgently.

Another person being passed in front of me right now has been seriously injured. We are being hit by tear gas, stun grenades. We’ve navy ships on either side. We’re being attacked from every single side. This is internationalwatersand not Israeli waters, not in the 68-mile exclusion zone. We’re being attacked in international waters completely illegally.”

His father, Haq Ghani, a businessman who runs an Islamic information service called Noah’s Ark, told the BBC he had asked the foreign office for news about his son but had been told anything.

Sandra Law, the mother of Alex Harrison, a 31-year-old British woman on board the Challenger 1, said the Foreign Office had “totally refused” to provide information or assistance to her family. “They were obstructive to say the least,” said Law, from Croydon. “We rang them last night to say the flotilla was being threatened by the Israeli navy.

They totally refused to help us. I’m extremely worried about Alex. We have no idea what has happened to her. But she’s an experienced human rights defender and very level-headed.”

Others among the 27 Britons believed to be on board were journalist Jamal Elshayyal, a 25-year-old producer for the al-Jazeera English service who managed a dramatic crackly broadcast cut short in mid sentenceas one of the ships was boarded; Kevin Ovenden, a member of the Viva Palestina charity, who was on the Mavi Marmara; Denis Healey, who skippered one of the previous flotillas; Theresa McDermot from Edinburgh; and Sarah Colborne, director of campaigns at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

International Solidarity London also listed Fatima Mohammed, on board the Mavi Marmara, and Alexander Evangelou, Hasan Nowarah, and Gehad Sukker – a pizza shop manager from Altrincham in Cheshire who is originally from Gaza – among those from the UK. Peter Venner, from Ryde on the Isle of Wight, is also believed by his partner, Rachel Bridgeland, to be on board.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said they were unable to confirm, or even definitely establish, how many Britons had sailed with the convoy, and on which boats.

Caoimhe Butterly, an Irish pacifist activist who was shot and injured on the West Bank in 2002 after standing in the path of Israeli tanks, was on board.

Three German MPs, Annette Groth, a human rights policy spokeswoman, Inge Höger, a member of the defence and health committees, and Norman Paech, who is also a professor of public law in Hamburg, are believed to have been on board, as well as two members of the Palestinian Knesset, including Haneen Zoubi, an Israeli citizen.

The Free Gaza Movement website lists passengersfrom Holland, Belgium, the US, Ireland, the UK, Greece, Poland, Palestine and Germany. Most were on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, including Raed Salah, who was aquitted earlier this month of rioting in Jerusalem in 2007.

The oldest passenger is believed to be David Schermerhorn, 80, an American film producer whose work includes City of Ghosts. Eighty-five year old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein decided at the last moment not to travel. Epstein, who now lives in the United States, but left her native Germany on a Kindertransport to London in 1939, before both her parents and other family members died in Auschwitz, instead spent today at the Free Gaza offices in Cyprus, trying to establish what has happened to other passengers.

Other passengers were Giorgos Klontzas, a Greek professional diver and sailor, and the Palestinian activist Lubna Masarwa.

Ewa Jasiewicz, a Polish activist and freelance journalist, who last year contributed a graphic account to the Guardian of her experiences in Gaza under Israeli shelling, was also on board.

Other media representatives included one of Pakistan’s best known reporters, Syed Talat Hussain, of Aaj television, travelling with another Pakistani journalist, Raza Mahmood Agha.


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VIDEO: U.S. Taxpayers vs. Israeli Masters

June 1, 2010

by Johnny Punish

U.S. Taxpayers Indicted on Conspiracy to Commit Terror

We’re Under Occupation Right Here in the USA

My fellow Americans, I strongly urge you to watch this video expose and follow the money.  

As we all know, yesterday, the world called for an international investigation of the GAZA FLOTILLA MASSACE yet our  U.S. Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff at the UN yesterday made no mention of an international probe, saying: “We expect a credible and transparent investigation and strongly urge the Israeli government to investigate the incident fully.” 

The attacking killers investigating themselves?  Wow! Is that a joke?  LOL!   This would be super funny if it wasn’t coming from a representative of the American people!  

You know, a long time ago during World War II with our greatest generation, the USA stood for something.  Today,we stands for NOTHING! 


Conspiracy to commit Terrorism is a crime and since US Taxpayers paid for this terror attack vis-a-vie their AIPAC induced U.S. Congress approved financial “aid”, by definition, the USA Taxpayer is guilty by association.  

US Taxpayer Indicted for Crimes Against Humanity

In lieu, I hereby indict myself and my fellow American Taxpayers on the charge of a Conspiracy to Commit a Crime Against Humanity!    

I demand to be arrested and put on trial with all my fellow American Taxpayers! 

Disgraced, Ashamed, and Embarrassed 

Johnny Punish

  On behalf of all US Taxpayers

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