Archive | June 9th, 2010



While the world has been rightfully focused on the Gaza Flotilla, the banality of occupation goes on.  In this video (originally posted on Coteret), a twelve year old boy is arrested in Bil’in.  An international activist and the boy’s mother plead with the soldiers to release him, but the soldiers ignore them completely, with the complete power of the occupier.  

The child was apparently working in his olive groves with his family.  As the boy is taken away, you can see, not far away at all, the buildings of the nearest settlement.  Just another day in Palestine.

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NOVANEWS:[Video of threats and taunts embedded above.]  On June 6th, 2010, peace activists including members of Bay Area Women in Black and Jewish Voice for Peace held a silent vigil outside the main entrance to the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s annual “Israel in the Gardens” celebration. The peace activists called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian Territories and an end to the siege on Gaza.

 Their silent, dignified march was greeted by members of StandWithUs/SF Voice for Israel and other affiliates who called them “kapos” (concentration camp prisoners who carried out Nazi orders on other prisoners) and suggested that Israel should “sink the next flotilla with you on it.”  One man made repeated explicit threats against the peace activists and their families and used a camera to take pictures.

No one from StandWithUs/SF Voice for Israel intervened. Rather, they kept up their vicious and abusive chants which included, according to multiple witnesses:

“Nazi, Nazi, Nazi!” – this done as a group chant
“You’re all being identified, every last one of you…we will find out where you live. We’re going to make your lives difficult..we will disrupt your families…”, all on above video.
“Sink the flotilla—and you on it!”
“Terrorists, terrorists, terrorists.”
One man yelled (to someone who may have looked heat exhausted) “I hope you stroke out, old man!”
“Ugly bitches” said to older women.
“You’re not a Jew! you gave up your Jewishness!”
“Witches in black! Bitches in black!” (hard to tell which one it was, or whether they alternated the chant)
“You fucking…!”
“Bin Laden loves you! you support terrorism!”
“Is there a coroner in the house? Women in Black are dead!”
“Is there a doctor in the house? Women in Black are sick!”
“End the occupation of our sidewalk.”
“Remember 9/11, they were dancing in the streets.”
“Sharmuta!” this was chanted for a while (means “slut” or “whore” in Arabic and which was particularly shocking for Arabic speakers to hear)
“Commit suicide!”
“Anti-women, anti-gay, why support Hamas today!”
They were also lesbian-baiting, even though they were chanting “Anti-women, anti-gay, why support Hamas today?” One guy yelled “lesbian” at me and my friend (correctly assessing our sexual identity) and maybe the same guy yelled at someone else, “When’s the last time you dated a man?”

One guy kept saying “you’re looking at real people now (meaning Stand with Israel folks); you are not people.”

Signs said: “JVP, Proud to be ashamed to be Jewish.”
and “Don’t fuck with the Jews”.

An 88-year-old woman reported being told, “You’re halfway in your grave already’.
“Jihad!” chanted repeatedly at Muslim peace activists.

They also had signs that read, “JVP cons the world”, etc.

One woman waved the end of the large stick of her Israeli flag in a very threatening manner, as if to hit one of us (it happened to me several times as i walked by her), directed especially to those of us who carried signs identifying ourselves as Jews.

At an earlier demonstration last week at the consulate, there was a huge sign on the Stand with Us side (which Stand with Us later condemned). On one side it said “Until Gaza is destroyed, the job is not complete.” On the other, it said “God is great. It’s Islam that sucks.”

Over the years, members of Bay Area Women in Black chapters (a group started in Israel to protest the occupation), many of them older women including physically tiny Jewish grandmothers, have reported equally terrible encounters with StandWithUs/SF Voices with Israel- they’ve been called 4-letter words, had cameras violently thrust in their faces. At least one person had her home chalked.

That’s why threats on people’s families that you can hear in the video are being taken seriously. A few weeks ago, liberal rabbi Michael Lerner, a resident of Berkeley across the bay from San Francisco, awoke to discover he was the target of a hate crime: his house had been surrounded with threatening posters permanently affixed with glue.

StandWithUs/SF Voices with Israel hosted a booth at Israel in the Gardens and is an approved charity at the San Francisco Federation’s Jewish Community Endowment Fund, unlike Jewish Voice for Peace and other peace groups which were banned from the Federation’s acceptable charity list.

Are StandWithUs/SF Voices with Israel values the values the Federation promotes?

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  1. Helen Thomas, hypocrisy here and there
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Helen Thomas, hypocrisy here and there

It’s impossible to defend Grande Dame of White House journalists Helen Thomas’

recent off the cuff statement that Israeli Jews should go back to Germany…..

or Poland. (She said Israel should get out of Palestine, but it wasn’t clear if she

meant the Occupied Territories, which Israelis should get out of, or Israel behind

the green line.) It was deeply offensive and wrong.

One of this country’s most important and courageous journalists said something

terribly wrong, was massively criticized, apologized for it, and was forced into

retirement. Exactly the way it should be, right? Wrong.

It’s hard to even chart out the hypocrisy of the whole affair. What happened in 2002

when House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey

called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians on MSNBC’s Hardball? An outraged

response? Nary a peep. That same year Senator James Inhofe also called for Israel

to permanently retain all of the Occupied Territories, “Because God said so. “ 

 Did he quit? No. And what to make of the fact that Obama’s White House

summoned infinitely more moral outrage for Thomas’ terrible but certainly

not lethal remarks, than for the death of 9 people on the Mavi Marmara, including

a 19-year-old US citizen shot in the head. (One prompted “deep regret”, the other

was “reprehensible”. Guess which was which.)

There’s also the glass house in which Rabbi Nessenoff lives: he’s the one who recorded

the Thomas gotcha video and who, it seems, has offered the world his own

offensive imitation of a Mexican priest, and believes that Palestinians all belong back home…in Jordan.

Taking a short trip over to Israel we discover that the Israeli military recently created

an order that, according to many human rights groups and Ha’aretz,

will enable mass deportation from West Bank.” Who had to retire because of that?

Maybe because it wasn’t an off the cuff remark to suggest ethnic cleansing, but an

actual military order to allow it, its authors escaped opprobrium. Wacky!

Just this week, Likud party MK, Miri Regev shouted at Hanin Zuabi, an Arab member

 of the Knesset from Nazareth who went on the Gaza flotilla,

Get back to Gaza, you traitor!” Sounds familiar, as though Thomas herself could

have said it. Outrage meter? Zero. Then again, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai

wants Zuabi stripped of her Israeli citizenship, so telling her to go back to a place

she is not from actually seems pretty mild by those standards.

Moshe Yaroni, who abhors what Thomas said,

compares her treatment to Israel’s response to the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick

who is surely responsible for what will go down as one of the most morally heinous

pieces of agitprop in modern history:

In Israel, the premier woman journalist in the country went a hell of a lot

farther, in a premeditated, rather than an impetuous fashion. And there is

 hardly a peep in response in her home country.

Caroline Glick is well-known to readers of right-wing e-mail lists, and of

course, of the Jerusalem Post, where she is the deputy managing editor and a

regular columnist. She is also a fellow at the extremist neoconservative Center

 for Security Policy in Washington.

Glick herself is an extremist, and even those who agree with her (and who

would, of course, not refer to her as an extremist) would have to agree that

she situates herself well to the right of the current Israeli government. And

that’s all well and good; she’s an op-ed writer, and she is certainly entitled to

her opinions.

But at her web site, Latma, Glick has raised her vitriol to a whole new level.

In a video overflowing with racism, a group of Israelis satirize the Israeli

attack on the Gaza flotilla. You can see it for yourself at the link above, if you can

make it through the whole thing.

Caroline Glick with fellow travelers, Morton Klein and John Bolton

In a most contemptible fashion, almost every trope of bigotry is on display in

the video, which features the contention that the massive suffering in Gaza

is all an elaborate fabrication. For a quick rundown of this “fabricated”

suffering, check out B’Tselem’s summary of conditions in Gaza.

This level of cruelty is truly astonishing. Even if one contends that the Gaza

blockade is a necessary security measure (see my earlier article for why it

has the opposite effect), it is appalling to see fellow Jews laughing about it.

 And don’t we know all too well the offense in denying such things?

The punch line, of course, is that because of her truly abominable and utterly vile

video, Caroline Glick and is being hailed as a Hasbara hero in Israel- while one of

our few truly great journalists has ended an otherwise remarkable career. Yaroni


No, the real concern, the real question is where is the Israeli outrage? We

wouldn’t expect it from the government, of course. In fact, the Government

Press Office e-mailed the video to journalists and later apologized, saying it had

been done in error. That is unlikely to say the least. Mark Regev, the

Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman said “I called my kids in to watch it because I

thought it was funny. It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do

with it.” The courageous blog, Coteret, run by Didi Remez, blasts the video

and all it represents. But in the mainstream Israeli media and commentary,

there is nothing. This blatantly hateful and racist video is perfectly acceptable

in Israel.

Glick, on her blog, magnifies her hypocrisy by spending a great many words

blasting Thomas for her offensive remarks.

Grit Tv’s Laura Flanders may be onto something when she says:

Thomas’s crime wasn’t just Antisemitism — it was Antisemitism in defense of

Palestine. That’s the true source of the outrage. The outrage that Obama and

Biden and most other U.S. officials, to say nothing of the majority of the press

corps, can’t seem to find for others.

I’m not sure. Had Helen Thomas made a similar remark about African Americans,

for example, it’s possible the same fate would have befallen her. If only I could feel

confident that all those power-brokers cared as much about my Arab and Muslim

friends as they seem to care about me… as a Jew of course.

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 Flotillas, Iron Bars and Hand Guns.

modernityblog | June 9, 2010 12:13 am at 12:13 am | Tags: Flotillas, Gaza, IDF, Iron Bars, Mavi Marmara | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Having been away for a few days I have come back to a mountain of e-mails and plenty of posts to ponder.

There’s a lot to read about the flotilla and how nine people were shot, but I thought I would put down my initial impressions, which are not set in stone or fixed.

When we originally heard of the deaths connected to the flotilla the figure was said to be 20, now I believe it is about nine.

When I first heard it I was astonished I couldn’t imagine how peaceful activists would be shot. After all, they’re not violent so why should anyone wish to employ violence against them? That was my thinking.

A bit naïve, in the extreme.

Now as far as I can tell there was some six ships, Israelis wanted to inspect the cargo and informed their Captains accordingly. Five ships complied and one didn’t, the Mavi Marmara.

The Israelis then decided to board that ship, a rather difficult task in the middle of the night when the ship was moving.

So some commandos abseiled down ropes, carrying paintball guns, and sometime after, nine people were dead.

I couldn’t understand what was happening until I saw a YouTube clip.

Apparently, as each soldier reaches the deck he’s set upon by eight to 10 men with lumps of wood, iron bars and possibly baseball bats. One of the soldiers is thrown over the side of the ship.

The would-be peace activists continue attacking the soldiers with pieces of wood, metal bars and other weaponry. One soldier in the video aimed his paintball gun at them, but that didn’t do much (you can tell it’s a painful than because of the lump above the barrel). More soldiers come down and more are attacked.

I imagine what happened is, that eventually Israeli soldiers realised that paintball guns weren’t much use against iron bars and conceivably fearing for their lives use their pistols to defend themselves.

That is my assessment which could, of course, be wrong and I am open to alternative reasoned explanations of the video clip.

It seems to me that when grown men attack armed soldiers with iron bars and lumps of wood, then you’re going to have casualties.

Likewise, if a 60-80 strong group of British football hooligans decided to attack a few French gendarmes in a similar fashion then it seems probable what the French police would do, shoot at the hooligans.

That’s what people do when they have guns, are attacked and they fear for their lives.

I wonder what Turkish troops would have done in a similar situation and how big the fatalities would have been?

Slightly more than nine, I will wager.

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Has J Street’s ridiculous reaction to the armed take-over of the Rachel Corrie been properly appreciated or responded to? Not that I know of. I’m in Gaza, and so dunking Jeremy Ben-Ami’s head in a toilet bowl, the only appropriate retaliation to that twerp’s reaction to Israeli war crimes in Gazan sea-lanes, will not be feasible in the short-term. Ha’aretz reported that the “Army says peaceful takeover takes place.” J Street, now the world’s premier anti-anti-Zionist movement, existing solely to shore up American support for Jewish ethnocracy in the Middle East, obediently twitted: “#flotilla peacefully taken over by IDF, redirected to Ashdod.” Imagine. I take out an assault rifle, put on a balaclava, and start issuing orders to a Nobel Peace Prize winner, political figures from a Southeast Asian country, and a former high official in the United Nations. Because they don’t forcefully resist, aware that the Israeli army gunned down the brave resisters on the Mavi Marmara a couple days before, the army’s press flacks blare about their “peaceful takeover.”

Attn: American liberalism. Absence of resistance does not = “peaceful.”

And then here is lynch, the latest entry in the hasbara dictionary. In the American South, lynching meant hanging up a black person on a tree and strangling them to death, burning them alive, or breaking their neck. In Israel, “lynching” refers to when people under armed assault by jackbooted commandos disarm those commandos, and after hitting them in self-defense, treat their wounds (the Israeli press office does more of our work for us in pissing on the horrible memory of white terrorism in the South against blacks, in line with the Zionist SOP of instrumentalizing tragedy, and in the process maybe gets us more allies).

Here is Udi Aloni, capturing the empathy probably displayed by those who treated the soldiers’ wounds:

Suppose I were a warrior in the best commando unit in the world, trained to fight its most atrocious enemy. Suppose that instead of defending my country I would be dropped in the darkness of night from a combat helicopter outside the territorial waters of Israel, in order to perform a takeover of a civilian unarmed ship which carries humanitarian aid to the besieged. And suppose that those civilians on board the ship, who were either determined or frightened by the mask on my face, clouded with tear gas, decided to attack me with rods and knives. Then it is plausible that I too would open fire, thinking, “who the hell sent me to become a murderer against my will?”


Aloni relieves the commandoes of a lot of their responsibility. Maybe a little more than he should. But the question stands, and extends to dimwit liberal Zionists whose applause for “peace” is really a call for castrating resistance. Really Jeremy. The problem is with the people your tax-money goes to, not the ones dying  from the bullets it pays for. The peace of non-resistance isn’t far from the peace of the graveyard.

Technorati Tags: blockade, freedom flotilla, Gaza, Israel, Mavi Marmara, Palestine, Rachel Corrie, resistance movements, Zionism

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