Archive | August 7th, 2014

Outrageous $20,000 bail for unjust arrest at Gaza demonstration

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Donate to help Waylette!

Waylette showing support for Gaza
Waylette leading LA mass march against the Nazi massare in Gaza

On Aug. 2, at the mass march of thousands in defense of the Palestinian people, a young ANSWER organizer named Waylette was unjustly arrested by police after being brutalized by a counter-demonstrator supporting Israel’s massacre in Gaza. She was hit with an outrageous $20,000 bail and trumped-up charges.

At every LA demonstration in support of Palestinian rights since the U.S.-backed Israeli massacre began, the police have showed extreme bias against pro-Palestine demonstrators and on the side of counter-demonstrators. This day was no different.

Waylette has not just been joining and helping facilitate every action in defense of the Palestinian people in Los Angeles, but has been an essential and key organizer of the protests. She has spent countless hours in the ANSWER office and in the streets doing the hard work necessary to build these important mobilizations.

Support is urgently needed to pay back the cost of her outrageous bail and ensure that she beats the charges in court. Please make a donation today by making out a check or money order payable to ANSWER and sending it to our office in Downtown LA: 135 E. 3rd St, Los Angeles CA 90013. You can also drop off a donation in person. Donations to support Waylette are not tax-deductible. 

Please call 323-394-3611 if you have any questions or to arrange making a donation. You can also click here to make a tax-deductible online donation to help our continued organizing in support of Palestine.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, GazaComments Off on Outrageous $20,000 bail for unjust arrest at Gaza demonstration

Video: Palestinian resistance in Gaza is “fighting for all of us,” says Dr. Mads Gilbert

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Submitted by Ali Abunimah

“The heart of the Earth beats in Gaza now. It bleeds, but it beats,” says Dr. Mads Gilbert.

The Norwegian emergency surgeon returned to his home city of Tromsø on 31 July after spending several weeks treating the wounded from Israel’s assault at Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital.

He went straight from the airport to give a spontaneous speech at a large solidarity demonstration for Gaza held at the same time.

Tromsø is twinned with Gaza City.

The newspaper Nordlys made this video, above, of his speech. It is subtitled in English.

“The Palestinian people’s resistance in Gaza today is admirable, it is fair and it is a struggle for all of us. We do not want a world where raw power can be abused, to kill those who struggle for justice,” he states.

Gilbert asks why after all the massacres, all of Israel’s violations of the laws protecting civilians, there are no sanctions on Israel.

He demands to know why the government of Norway is so “quiet” as Palestinians face “one of the most brutal occupation forces of modern history.”

“Solidarity is a powerful weapon,” Gilbert says, ending his address with a call for everyone to get involved in the movement for Palestinian rights.

“Israel is more isolated than ever and they deserve to be,” Gilbert says, endorsing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

It is a powerful 25-minute speech.

We have transcribed the first few minutes, in which Gilbert asks his fellow Norwegians to imagine what their country would be like today if they had not struggled for its liberation from German occupation:

I know you applaud for Gaza. I know you applaud for those who are there, the heroes of Gaza.

This will be no easy appeal to make, because I am now overcome by the mildness, the warmth, the safety, the absence of bombs, jets, blood and death. And then all that we’ve had to keep inside comes to the surface – so forgive me if sometimes I break.

I thought when I got home and met my daughters Siri and Torbjørn, my son-in-law and my grandkids Jenny and Torje, that it is such a mild country we live in.

It so good, with a kind of humanity in all relationships, because we actually built this country on respect for diversity, respect for the individual, respect for human dignity.

And imagine being back in 1945. And I beg to be understood when I say that I am not comparing the German Nazi regime with Israel. I do not.

But I compare occupation with occupation. Imagine that we in 1945 did not win the liberation struggle, did not throw out the occupier, could not see a bright future or believe our kids had a future. Imagine the occupier remaining in our country, taking it piece by piece, for decades upon decades. And banished us to the leanest areas. Took the fish in the sea, took the land, took the water, and we became more and more confined.

And here in Tromsø we were actually imprisoned, because here there was so much resistance to the occupation. So we are imprisoned for seven years, because in an election we had chosen the most resilient, those who would not accept the occupation.

Then after seven years of confinement in our city, Tromsø, the occupier began to bomb us. And they began to bomb us the day we made a political alliance with those in the other confined parts of occupied Norway, to say that we Norwegians would stand together against the occupier. Then they began to bomb us.

They bombed our university hospital, then the medical center, then killed our ambulance workers, they bombed schools where those who had lost their homes were trying to seek shelter. Then they cut the power and bombed our power plant. Then they shut off the water supply. What would we have done?

Would we have given up, waved the white flag? No. No, we would not. And this is the situation in Gaza.

This is not a battle between terrorism and democracy. Hamas is not the enemy Israel is fighting. Israel is waging a war against the Palestinian people’s will to resist. The unbending determination not to submit to the occupation!

It is the Palestinian people’s dignity and humanity that will not accept that they are treated as third, fourth, fifth-ranking people.

In 1938, the Nazis called the Jews “Untermenschen,” subhuman. Today, Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza, in the Diaspora are treated as Untermensch, as subhumans who can be bombed, killed, slaughtered by their thousands, without any of those in power reacting.

So I returned home to my free country – and this country is free because we had a resistance movement, because we said that occupied nations have the right to resist, even with weapons. It’s stated in international law.

You are permitted to fight the occupier even with weapons. One should of course respect international law …

Nobody wants to be occupied!

Posted in Palestine Affairs, GazaComments Off on Video: Palestinian resistance in Gaza is “fighting for all of us,” says Dr. Mads Gilbert

Community leader, beloved grandfather shot dead by Nazi as he carried white flag

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Invading Israeli forces broke down the garage door of the Qdeih family home leading to the basement.

(Shadi Alqarra)

Muhammad Qdeih, 65, was shot dead while carrying a white flag to signal to Israeli soldiers that he was an unarmed civilian.

He was killed on 25 July right at the staircase of his house, where his daughter Mufida, a homemaker in her forties, stood speaking to The Electronic Intifada in the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

“They killed the man who taught me the meaning of devotion to the community and to the Palestinian cause,” Mufida said, gesturing towards the staircase. “He inspired me to take part in protests and solidarity events for prisoners.”

Down the stairs is the basement where the family and some neighbors had been hiding, seeking shelter from the Israeli onslaught.

Khuzaa was utterly devastated during Israel’s assault on Gaza which began on 7 July, and which paused for a 72-hour “humanitarian ceasefire” that was set to expire on Friday morning unless Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo were able to agree on an extension.

Inside the house, Israeli soldiers left evidence of their presence in the form of some of their gear, including a few bullets that had not been fired.

“About twenty years ago, my father used to collect vegetables and fruits and distribute them to the families of Palestinian prisoners from the area who are in Israeli jails,” Mufida said. “Though he loved Palestine, he refused to join any political faction, as he believed that Palestine is greater than any faction.”

“I was very close to my father, even though I am one of three daughters and six sons. Four of my brothers live in France and my father used to visit them there often,” Mufida said. “God have mercy on him. I cannot believe he has been taken by their criminal hands,” she said of the Israeli soldiers who killed him.

A doting grandfather to more than a dozen children, Muhammad Qdeih was a respected member of the community in the Abu Irjela neighborhood where he lived and died, about two kilometers from the fence separating Gaza from present-day Israel.

Even during the Israeli onslaught he thought about others.

“The day before he was brutally shot dead, my father asked me to help him donate two thousand euros he had received from his son Mahmoud in France,” Mufida told The Electronic Intifada. “He told me, ‘I would love to donate this money to help people around here, as the war situation is so desperate.’”

Killed carrying a white flag

Muhammad’s son Ramadan, 34, who witnessed his father’s killing, was inspecting damage Israeli tank shells had caused to the house of his uncle, also called Ramadan.

“Everybody in this neighborhood respected my father,” Ramadan said. “Many people asked him to be the chief of our tribe, but he refused, saying that he preferred to remain loved by everyone. But still, he was able to help sort out many family disputes.”

Ramadan told The Electronic Intifada what happened when Israeli forces invaded the area.

“Early on Thursday, 24 July, the Israeli air strikes and tank shelling continued unabated and about 45 people, including myself and my father, went out of the basement, as the house of my uncle Ramadan was hit by tank shells,” Ramadan recounted. “We headed for the entrance of Khuzaa town, yet the Israeli tanks were already around, so we had to go back to the basement.”

Occupying Nazi soldiers left behind equipment in the Qdeih family home.

(Shadi Alqarra)

“When night fell, we could hear the strikes getting more intense and at dawn on Friday, we heard the Israeli soldiers breaking the doors of the garage, which leads towards the basement,” Ramadan said.

“They shouted at us to come out and suddenly, a soldier stopped my father who went up first, holding a white flag. I was behind my father as the soldier ordered him to stay where he was and abruptly, the same soldier shot him in the chest, killing him instantly.”

Muhammad’s 22-year-old nephew Alaa was also there that day.

“I heard the soldier telling Ramadan that his father, my uncle, was taken by the soldiers for medical aid and that he was not dead,” Alaa said. “But a few hours later, we found my uncle laying dead in an a partially-built bathroom in the garage,” Alaa told The Electronic Intifada, while showing a photo of his uncle’s body on his mobile phone.

Killings of civilians in Khuzaa

The killing of Muhammad Qdeih was not the only such crime in Khuzaa. Human Rights Watch collected testimonies of other crimes in the village between 23 and 25 July in which Israeli soldiers “killed civilians in apparent violation of the laws of war.”

On the morning of of 23 July, Israeli forces ordered a group of approximately one hundred Palestinians in Khuzaa to leave a home in which they had gathered to take shelter. “The first member to leave the house, Shahid al-Najjar, had his hands up but an Israeli soldier shot him in the jaw, seriously injuring him,” according to the testimonies collected by Human Rights Watch.

In another incident on 25 July, Israeli forces shelled a basement where 120 civilians were sheltering, killing three.

The survivors fled and walked to Khan Younis, “carrying white flags and raising their hands when they came across Israeli soldiers. An Israeli missile strike hit one group of them, killing a man and wounding his cousin,” Human Rights Watch reported.

Nazi strikes destroyed swaths of Khuzaa village east of Khan Younis, photographed on 5 August.

(Yasser Qudih)

Israel’s assault has so far left almost 1,900 Palestinians dead — one in every thousand residents of the occupied Gaza Strip. Each one had a life and a story that ended brutally.

Three months ago, Muhammad Qdeih left Gaza to pay a visit to his son Mahmoud in France. He had traveled abroad frequently, and, according to the family, lived for a spell in Spain, where he succeeded in obtaining citizenship.

“I feel very sorry and sad for the loss of my grandfather. He was so kind and tender to us all,” Iman Abu Rjaila, Mufida’s 18-year-old daughter, said.

“A month before the war on Gaza started, my grandfather used to call me every day from France to check on me as my high school exams were underway,” Iman said.

“Why did they kill him, why did they steal him from us?” she asked.

It is a question many bereaved and heartbroken families in the devastated Gaza Strip are posing as they wait to see what the days ahead will bring.

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Community leader, beloved grandfather shot dead by Nazi as he carried white flag

Zionist BBC agrees to air Gaza charity appeal after getting I$raHell permission

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Submitted by Amena Saleem

Even Israel now admits there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The BBC announced Thursday morning that it would broadcast an emergency charity appeal for Gaza on Friday — but only after it was reassured that it won’t face censure from the Israeli government for doing so.

This is in stark contrast to 2009, when another Israeli massacre in Gaza was drawing to an end. Then, the BBC, along with Sky, refused to air an appeal from the same body – the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) — even though other major television networks, including Channel 4, did so.

The BBC’s then director general, Mark Thompson, said at the time that broadcasting the DEC appeal would breach impartiality guidelines, as funds were being raised for Gaza but not Israel.

He wrote in his BBC blog that the corporation, if it aired the appeal, could be accused of “taking a political stance on an ongoing story.”

So what has changed this time? Why is the BBC no longer afraid of airing the DEC appeal on its radio and television networks?

Regev instrumental

The reason appears to be that the allegedly independent broadcaster has been influenced by recent Israeli announcements that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and therefore feels it can safely broadcast a humanitarian aid appeal.

Speaking on the BBC’s flagship radio news program, Today, this morning, the BBC’s media and arts correspondent David Sillito admitted as much.

“Israel has said there is a humanitarian crisis … so it feels as though the issue of impartiality has come to an end,” he told presenter Sarah Montague. “There is no issue of compromising impartiality.”

Montague then asked the obvious question: “So, it’s because of Israel’s admission that it’s a humanitarian crisis?”

Sillito replied: “It seems to have been a key part of it. [Israeli government spokesperson] Nazi Mark Regev, making a statement on Friday, talking about a humanitarian window, a humanitarian crisis, seems to have been instrumental.”

It’s a disturbing admission by the BBC that it feels it has been given permission by Israel to run the appeal — the same appeal it was too afraid to run five years ago because no such implicit permission had been given.

Loyalties called into question

The publicly funded corporation’s dependence on what Israel says and how this dependence influences its decision making process is of serious concern.

In 2009, an astounding 40,000 members of the licence fee-paying public complained to the BBC about its refusal to air the DEC appeal. The then Labor government also felt the wrong decision had been made, as did many BBC journalists.

However, a fear of not being “fair” to Israel (which was at the time in the process of slaughtering 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza) seems to have been the clinching factor for senior BBC management, raising questions about where loyalties at the top lie.

And even now, as it prepares to broadcast the appeal tomorrow on Radio 4 and BBC One, the BBC is thought to be preparing its own version of the appeal rather than taking the version offered by DEC.

It will be interesting to see if, even in a charity appeal, the BBC will strive, in its version, to show a “balance” between the effects of heavy duty Israeli bombing and shelling in Gaza and the results of Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.

The “balance,” of course, will be entirely false, as nothing caused by Palestinian rocket fire can compare to what Israel has wrought in Gaza, but it will be aimed at keeping the Israeli government happy.

Sillito’s further comments on this morning’s Today program reveal how desperately the BBC aims for that false balance in its reporting on Gaza, rather than simply showing the situation as it is.

Explaining why the BBC didn’t run the DEC appeal in 2009, he said that “making an appeal, talking in plain facts about a humanitarian crisis, it would look as though they [the BBC and Sky] were taking sides in what was an ongoing news story.”

Sorry state of affairs

It’s extraordinary that a news organisation can think that “talking in plain facts,” (in other words, telling the unvarnished truth about Israel’s carnage in Gaza) is somehow taking the Palestinian “side.” It’s not; giving “plain facts” is just straightforward journalism, devoid of the tortured fear apparent in the BBC’s reporting of the occupation.

This week, Israel is on a PR drive, now that its daily slaughter of Palestinians has abated. It is trying to present itself in humanitarian terms, professing concern for the crisis situation in Gaza.

In its daily media briefing yesterday, the British Israel Communications and Research Centre included a story headlined Israel shifts focus onto humanitarian aid effort.”

The article quotes the Israeli army’s chief of staff Benny Gantz saying: “Now we must help rehabilitate Gaza … we will help, not out of any strategic considerations, but from humanitarian ones.”

The offensive irony of this PR strategy should be jumped on and pulled to pieces by serious journalists at the BBC.

Instead, we have Sillito on Today meekly saying that the BBC can run a charity appeal because “Now it’s felt that there is no doubt or debate about this … Israel has said there is a humanitarian crisis.”

The compliance implicit in this statement is appalling.

Why isn’t the BBC challenging Israeli spokespeople over their alleged concerns, confronting them with the “plain facts” that Israel created the crisis, not just with its out-of-control onslaught of the last four weeks, but with its medieval blockade and ongoing occupation? Why aren’t BBC journalists asking the Israeli government why it’s not bearing the cost of reconstruction in Gaza, instead of submissively accepting its tacit permission to broadcast a charity appeal?

And if Israel hadn’t “said so,” would the UN or DEC statements of a humanitarian crisis been enough to dispel the BBC’s doubts about the existence of a human tragedy in Gaza? Highly unlikely.

It is the Israeli viewpoint that appears to be elevated above all others at the BBC.

The DEC appeals for Gaza in 2009 and now in 2014 have helped to expose the sorry state of affairs at the BBC when it comes to Israel. The fear of Israeli censure if BBC journalists report the “plain facts” has been laid bare for all to see, as has the craven need for Israeli approval in its broadcasts about Gaza and the occupation. At the BBC, it seems, if Israel doesn’t “say so,” then neither will our public broadcaster.

David Sillito’s interview on Today can be heard on the BBC website (time code 01:12 onwards) until 13 August.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Gaza, UKComments Off on Zionist BBC agrees to air Gaza charity appeal after getting I$raHell permission

Jewish group that sent email promising action denies role in Steven Salaita firing

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Submitted by Ali Abunimah

Steven Salaita

The Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation has told The Electronic Intifada it had no role in the University of Illinois’ decision to terminate professor Steven Salaita.

This is despite the fact that its director had sent an email on 22 July reassuring constituents concerned by Salaita’s social media use that “leaders in the [Champaign-Urbana] Jewish community take this issue quite seriously and are addressing this matter to the best of our abilities.”

It was revealed yesterday that the university terminated Salaita’s appointment as associate professor in the American Indian Studies Program just weeks before he was to begin teaching at its Champaign-Urbana campus.

This came after anti-Palestinian activists and media raised concern over Salaita’s tweets condemning Israel’s massacre in Gaza.

Salaita has been an outspoken campaigner for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

Jewish Federation role

“We really don’t really know anything other than what’s being reported right now,” Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation executive director Jessica Kopolow told The Electronic Intifada by telephone.

“We certainly support respectful discussion on our campus and in our community and we certainly support everyone’s rights in this country to free speech,” Kopolow added.

Asked if her organization had any comment regarding the decision to terminate Salaita, Kopolow responded, “I can’t really comment on that. It’s a university matter.”

The university has refused media requests for comment.

The Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation is affiliated with a national network called the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

In 2010, JFNA and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs launched the “Israel Action Network,” described as “a multimillion-dollar joint initiative to combat anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns” and to fight “the delegitimizing of the State of Israel.”

22 July email

On 22 July, The News-Gazette, a central Illinois newspaper, ran an article about the “ire” Salaita’s social postings were raising on the far-right anti-Palestinian website The Daily Caller.

The same day, Kopolow sent this email to the Jewish Federation’s contact list:

IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT NEWS-GAZETTE ARTICLE

By now, many of you have read the article in today’s News-Gazette about the University of Illinois’ recent hiring of Steven Salaita, whose inflammatory comments on social media are drawing attention from both the media and the Jewish community.

I would like to take this opportunity to let you all know that leaders in the CU Jewish community take this issue quite seriously and are addressing this matter to the best of our abilities.

Several of you have called to express your concern–please know that we are doing what we can, and we will keep you informed every step of the way.

We are here for you, CU!

L’shalom, Jessica

No “specific” action

Asked about what action this email referred to, Kopolow stated: “There wasn’t necessarily a specific action other than to let our community know that we were hearing their concerns.”

Asked if she or any officers or board members of her organization had communicated with the university about Salaita, Kapolow said, “I did not and I really don’t know if any others did.”

Kopolow acknowledged that the story on Salaita did raise “a lot of concern” in her organization’s constituency. “I had lengthy phone conversations with maybe five community members and then I received maybe 10-15 emails,” she said.

Outside intervention

Another Israel lobby group, the fervently anti-Palestinian Simon Wiesenthal Center, has been more direct, accusing Salaita of being an “anti-Semite” and urging in a letter to university president Robert Easter that the university “reconsider” Salaita’s appointment.

The Jewish Voice reported on the letter from the Wiesenthal Center’s director Rabbi Meyer May and campus outreach coordinator Aron Hier yesterday, but does not say what date it was sent.

Cary Nelson, a self-described “Zionist” and past president of the American Association of University Professors, has been leading the public campaign justifying Salaita’s termination.

Nelson, who teaches English at the University of Illinois, told The Electronic Intifada yesterday that he had been monitoring Salaita’s Twitter account for months.

No due process

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s apparent cave-in to outside pressure is generating mounting concern about free speech at the institution.

The Illinois Conference Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors issued a strong statement condemning the university’s action.

“Reports that the university has voided a job offer, if accurate, due to tweets on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be a clear violation of Professor Salaita’s academic freedom and an affront to free speech that we enjoy in this country,” the statement says.

It adds:

We are unaware that the university has afforded Professor Salaita any due process. In the absence of due process, particularly if a contract was signed, any institutional action to reverse an offer of appointment would be a grave violation of academic due process. Furthermore, there is nothing in the Salaita statements about Israel or Zionism that would raise questions about his fitness to teach. These statements were not made in front of students, are not related to a course that is being taught, and do not reflect in any manner his quality of teaching. What one says out of class rarely, in the absence of peer review of teaching, confirms how one teaches. Passion about a topic even if emotionally expressed through social network does not allow one to draw inferences about teaching that could possibly rise to the voiding or reversal of a job appointment.

The US Palestinian Community Network also strongly condemned Salaita’s dismissal.

“Salaita’s academic and teaching record are unassailed – this matter is entirely about his public activism and refusal to back down or legitimize racism and Zionism,” it said in an action alert.

An online petition calling for Salaita’s reinstatement had already gathered almost 7,500 signatures just a day after it was launched.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Jewish group that sent email promising action denies role in Steven Salaita firing

Coalition of feminists condemn ‘massacre’ in Gaza, urge support for BDS

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Supporters of Palestine chant during a rally in Sydney against Israel's recent attacks on Gaza. (Photo: Getty Images/Lisa Maree Williams)

Supporters of Palestine chant during a rally in Sydney against Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza. (Photo: Getty Images/Lisa Maree Williams)

Editor’s note: The following statement in solidarity with Gaza comes from Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feminists.

Statement in Solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza and with seekers of freedom and justice world-wide

As Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feministsinvolved in a range of social justice struggles, we strongly condemn the current massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza and affirm our support for and commitment to the growing international movement for a free Palestine and for racial justice, equality, and freedom for all.

As many of us know from time spent in Palestine and in other movements for justice, the connections between the movement for a free Palestine and anti-colonial struggles for self-determination throughout the world are inextricable.

The current Israeli attacks on Gaza have resulted in more than 1900 Palestinian deaths, including over 450 children; the displacement of up to 25% of the population; and the destruction of crucial infrastructure such as sanitation, hospitals, and schools.  We condemn and are horrified by the current acts of Israeli brutality, while also recognizing the deeply rooted and ongoing violence that Palestinians are forced to endure on a daily basis- for example, living in ghetto-like conditions in Gaza, systematically having land confiscated, being deprived of their livelihoods, collective punishment, gender and racial violence, and ongoing expulsion and displacement from the Nakba until today.

An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance.  Over 5,000 Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons; more than 200 are children.  There is ongoing criminalization of their political activity.

We believe in the critical importance, now more than ever, of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions call for Israel to 1) End its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall; 2) Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3) Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The purpose of the BDS campaigns is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations.

We stand with the Palestinian community and with activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the current Israeli massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza; the land, air, and sea blockade of Gaza; and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

We call for an end to US military aid, at more than 3 billion a year, for the Israeli state and its occupation.

We call upon all people of conscience to stand with Palestine and to join the worldwide actions in which communities and civil society are stepping up in critical ways. We recognize that all our struggles for social, racial, gender, and economic justice and for self-determination are deeply interconnected and can only gain strength and power from one another. As Audre Lorde taught us, “When we can arm ourselves with the strength and vision from all our diverse communities then we will in truth all be free at last.”

Signatories:

Ujju Aggarwal, INCITE!; New School for Social Research

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University

Bina Ahmad, National Lawyers Guild

Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

Linda Carty, Syracuse University

Ayoka Chenzira, Artist and Filmmaker

Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz

Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz

Zillah Eisenstein, Anti-Racist Feminist Scholar, Activist, Writer

Eve Ensler, Writer, Activist, Founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising

G. Melissa Garcia, Dickinson College

Anna Guevarra, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Wells College

bell hooks, Feminist critic and writer

Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University

Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation

Mona Khalidi, Columbia University

Reem Khamis-Dakwar, Adelphi University

Nancy Kricorian, Writer

Amina Mama, University of California, Davis

Hannah Mermelstein, Adalah-NY; Librarians and Archivists with Palestine

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

Nadine Naber, University of Illinois, Chicago

Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College

Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!; Nakba Education Project, US

Dana Olwan, Syracuse University

Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago

Beverly Guy Sheftall, Author, Atlanta, Georgia

Kimberly M. Tallbear, University of Texas, Austin

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace

Alice Walker, Writer and Activist

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Coalition of feminists condemn ‘massacre’ in Gaza, urge support for BDS

Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts

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Exclusive: From magazine covers to pronouncements by top politicians, Official Washington jumped to the conclusion that Ukrainian rebels and Russia were guilty in the shoot-down of a Malaysian passenger plane. But some U.S. intelligence analysts may see the evidence differently, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Contrary to the Obama administration’s public claims blaming eastern Ukrainian rebels and Russia for the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, some U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appears Ukrainian government forces were to blame, according to a source briefed on these findings.

This judgment – at odds with what President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have expressed publicly – is based largely on the absence of U.S. government evidence that Russia supplied the rebels with a Buk anti-aircraft missile system that would be needed to hit a civilian jetliner flying at 33,000 feet, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Despite U.S. spy satellites positioned over eastern Ukraine, U.S. intelligence agencies have released no images of a Buk system being transferred by Russians to rebel control, shipped into Ukraine, deployed into firing position and then being taken back to Russia. Though the Obama administration has released other images of Ukraine taken by U.S. spy satellites, the absence of any photos of a rebel-controlled Buk missile battery has been the dog not barking in the strident case that Official Washington has made in blaming the rebels and Russia for the July 17 shoot-down that killed 298 people.

Given the size of these missile batteries – containing four 16-foot-long missiles – the absence of this evidence prompted caution among U.S. intelligence analysts even as senior U.S. officials and the U.S. mainstream media rushed to judgment blaming the rebels and Russians.

In making that case, Kerry and other senior officials relied on claims made by the Ukrainian government along with items posted on “social media.” These snippets of “evidence” included ambiguous remarks attributed to rebels who may have initially thought the shoot-down was another of their successful attacks on lower-flying Ukrainian military aircraft but who later insisted that they had not fired on the Malaysian plane and lacked the longer-range Buk missiles needed to reach above 30,000 feet.

If the U.S. intelligence analysts are correct – that the rebels and Russia are likely not responsible – the chief remaining suspect would be the Ukrainian government, which does possess Buk anti-aircraft missiles and reportedly had two fighter jets in the vicinity of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 at the time of the shoot-down.

Some independent analyses of the initial evidence from the crash site suggest the jetliner may have been destroyed by an air-to-air attack, not by an anti-aircraft missile fired from the ground. Yet, the working hypothesis of the U.S. intelligence analysts is that a Ukrainian military Buk battery and the jetfighters may have been operating in collusion as they hunted what they thought was a Russian airliner, possibly even the plane carrying President Vladimir Putin on a return trip from South America, the source said.

The source added that the U.S. intelligence analysis does not implicate top Ukrainian officials, such as President Petro Poroshenko or Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, suggesting that the attack may have been the work of more extremist factions, possibly even one of the Ukrainian oligarchs who have taken an aggressive approach toward prosecuting the war against the ethnic Russian rebels in the east.

Obviously, a successful shoot-down of a Russian plane, especially one carrying Putin, could have been a major coup for the Kiev regime, which ousted Russian ally, President Viktor Yanukovych, last February touching off the civil war. Some prominent Ukrainian politicians, such as ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, have expressed the desire to kill Putin.

“It’s about time we grab our guns and kill, go kill those damn Russians together with their leader,” Tymoshenko said in an intercepted phone call in March, according to a leak published in the Russian press and implicitly confirmed by Tymoshenko.

The Shoot-Down Mystery

The Malaysia Airlines plane, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was not expected to be over the eastern part of Ukraine on the afternoon of July 17, but was rerouted to avoid bad weather. The plane was nearing Russian airspace when it was shot down.

Some early speculation had been that the Ukrainian military might have mistaken the plane for a Russian spy plane and attacked it in a scenario similar to the Soviet shoot-down of Korean Airlines Flight 007 in 1983 after misidentifying it as a U.S. spy plane.

In the two-plus weeks since the Ukrainian air disaster, there have been notable gaps between the more measured approach taken by U.S. intelligence analysts and the U.S. politicians and media personalities who quickly rushed to the judgment blaming the rebels and Russia.

Only three days after the crash, Secretary of State Kerry did the rounds of the Sunday talk shows making what he deemed an “extraordinary circumstantial” case supposedly proving that the rebels carried out the shoot-down with missiles provided by Russia. He acknowledged that the U.S. government was “not drawing the final conclusion here, but there is a lot that points at the need for Russia to be responsible.”

By then, I was already being told that the U.S. intelligence community lacked any satellite imagery supporting Kerry’s allegations and that the only Buk missile system in that part of Ukraine appeared to be under the control of the Ukrainian military. [See Consortiumnews.com’s What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?”]

On the Tuesday after Kerry’s Sunday declarations, mainstream journalists, including for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, were given a senior-level briefing about the U.S. intelligence information that supposedly pointed the finger of blame at the rebels and Russia. But, again, much of the “evidence” was derived from postings on “social media.”

The Los Angeles Times article on the briefing took note of the uncertainties: “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [the Buk anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.”

That reference to a possible “defector” may have been an attempt to reconcile the U.S. government’s narrative with the still-unreleased satellite imagery of the missile battery controlled by soldiers appearing to wear Ukrainian uniforms. But I’m now told that U.S. intelligence analysts have largely dismissed the “defector” possibility and are concentrating on the scenario of a willful Ukrainian shoot-down of the plane, albeit possibly not knowing its actual identity.

A Hardened Conventional Wisdom

Nevertheless, even as the mystery of who shot down Flight 17 deepened, the U.S. conventional wisdom blaming Putin and the rebels hardened. The New York Times has reported Russia’s culpability in the airline disaster as flat-fact.

On July 29, Obama prefaced his announcement of tougher sanctions against Russia by implicitly blaming Putin for the tragedy, too. Reading a prepared statement, Obama said: “In the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, and countries around the world, families are still in shock over the sudden and tragic loss of nearly 300 loved ones senselessly killed when their civilian airliner was shot down over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.  …

“Since the shoot-down, however, Russia and its proxies in Ukraine have failed to cooperate with the investigation and to take the opportunity to pursue a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine. These Russian-backed separatists have continued to interfere in the crash investigation and to tamper with the evidence. They have continued to shoot down Ukrainian aircraft in the region. And because of their actions, scores of Ukrainian civilians continue to die needlessly every day.” [Emphasis added.]

Though one could argue that Obama was rhetorically tip-toeing around a direct accusation that the rebels and Russia were responsible for the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down, his intent clearly was to leave that impression. In other words, Obama was pandering to the conventional wisdom about Russian guilt and was misleading the American people about what the latest U.S. intelligence may suggest.

It’s also grotesquely deceptive to blame the Russians and the rebels for the indiscriminate shelling by government forces that have claimed hundreds of lives in eastern Ukraine. The rebels have been resisting what they regard as an illegitimate coup regime that, with the aid of neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine, overthrew elected President Yanukovych in February and then moved to marginalize and suppress the ethnic Russian population in the east.

By presenting the conflict in a one-sided way, Obama not only misled Americans about the origins of the Ukraine crisis but, in effect, gave the Kiev regime a green light to slaughter more ethnic Russians. By pointing the finger of blame at Moscow for all the troubles of Ukraine, Obama has created more geopolitical space for Kiev to expand its brutal onslaught that now has included reported use of poorly targeted ballistic missiles against population centers.

Obama’s covering for the Kiev regime is even more outrageous if the U.S. intelligence analysts are right to suspect that Ukrainian forces were behind the Flight 17 shoot-down.

And as for who’s been responsible for destroying evidence of the Flight 17 shoot-down, an assault by the Ukrainian military on the area where the plane crashed not only delayed access by international investigators but appears to have touched off a fire that consumed plane debris that could have helped identify the reasons for the disaster.

On Saturday, the last paragraph of a New York Times story by Andrew E. Kramer reported that “the fighting ignited a fire in a wheat field that burned over fuselage fragments, including one that was potentially relevant to the crash investigation because it had what appeared to be shrapnel holes.” The shrapnel holes have been cited by independent analysts as possible evidence of an attack by Ukrainian jetfighters.

Accepting Reality

Yet, given how far the U.S. political/media establishment has gone in its Flight 17 judgment pinning the blame on the rebels and Russia even before an official investigation was started, it’s not clear how those power-brokers would respond if the emerging analysis fingering Ukrainian forces turns out to be correct.

The embarrassment to high-level U.S. officials and prominent mainstream U.S. news outlets would be so extreme that it is hard to believe that the reality would ever be acknowledged.  Indeed, there surely will be intense pressure on airline investigators and intelligence analysts to endorse the Putin-is-to-blame narrative.

And, if the investigators and analysts won’t go that far, they might at least avoid a direct contradiction of the conventional wisdom by suggesting that the Flight 17 mystery remains unsolved, something for historians to unravel.

Such has been the pattern in other cases of major mainstream mistakes. For instance, last year, some of the same players, including Secretary Kerry and the New York Times, jumped to conclusions blaming the Syrian government for an Aug. 21 sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb.

On Aug. 30, Kerry gave a bellicose speech filled with “we knows” but providing no verifiable evidence. A punitive U.S. bombing campaign against the Syrian government was averted at the last minute when President Obama decided to first seek congressional approval and then accepted President Putin’s assistance in working out a deal in which the Syrian government surrendered all its chemical weapons while still denying a role in the Aug. 21 incident.

Only later did much of Kerry’s case fall apart as new evidence pointed to an alternative explanation, that extremist Syrian rebels released the sarin as a provocation to push Obama across his “red line” and into committing the U.S. military to the Syrian civil war on the side of the rebels. But neither U.S. officialdom nor the mainstream U.S. press has acknowledged the dangerous “group think” that almost got the United States into another unnecessary war in the Middle East. [See Consortiumnews.com’s The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.”]

It may seem cynical to suggest that the powers-that-be in Official Washington are so caught up in their own propaganda that they would prefer the actual killers of innocent people – whether in Syria or Ukraine – to go unpunished, rather than to admit their own mistakes. But that is often how the powerful react. Nothing is more important than their reputations.

 

Posted in USA, Russia, UkraineComments Off on Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts

Rudoren: I did not have journalistic relations with that censor

NOVANEWS

 

Submitted by Abraham Greenhouse

New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren has posted a tweet in which she referred to the story of Hadar Goldin, the Israeli soldier captured in Gaza, as her “first” encounter with “Israel’s military censor”:

on Twitter

My first (and, I hope, last) encounter with Israel’s military censor, explained — no paywall. https://medium.com/@lydiapolgreen/22bcfa5addb … @LydiaPolgreen

Goldin was killed in Israel’s massive shelling of Rafah, in what The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah reported may have been a deliberate action in accordance with the Israeli military’s “Hannibal Directive.”

While covering the story may well have resulted in Rudoren’s “first encounter” with “Udi,” the specific “military censor” named in the story to which the tweet links, it was hardly her “first encounter” with Israeli military censorship.

Rudoren admitted complying with a gag order when covering the arrest and death of Australian-Israeli Mossad agent Ben Zygier, otherwise known as “Prisoner X”, in 2013:

on Twitter

has partially lifted gag order on story, allowing local publication of foreign reports, but no original reporting

As Noam Sheizaf noted in 972 Magazine, Israel made use of its military censor, in addition to gag orders, in regulating coverage of the affair.

Much more recently, in June, Rudoren admitted to complying with a gag order imposed in the case of the abduction of three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank:

on Twitter

  1. Did the @nytimes‘ Jerusalem bureau honor Israel’s gag order about the missing Israeli teens? Cc @rudoren @Sulliview

@RaniaKhalek @nytimes @Sulliview Yes. There was no way to report reliable information before gag was lifted & it was only few hours anyhow

Mondoweiss obtained a copy of that order, which it published in translated form. Although the “petitioner” was named as “the State of Israel via the Hebron police and the Israeli police,” the request was “ordered by an Israeli military officer.”

Just last month, Rudoren acknowleged complying with another gag order, on the murder investigation of sixteen-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khudair:

on Twitter

There is in fact a gag order on investigation re Muhammad Abu Khdeir killing, acc to Israel Police @YousefMunayyer

Unlike the order concerning the abducted Israeli teens, the text of that order has not been published, and so it cannot be readily determined if the Israeli military played a role in its issuance.

In April, when Rudoren failed to report on Israel’s incommunicado arrest of Palestinian citizen of Israel Majd Kayyal, due to a gag order requested by Israel’s secret police the Shin Bet, she later explained to The New York Times public editor that obeying censorship was practically her civic duty:

The Times is “indeed, bound by gag orders,” Ms. Rudoren said. She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land, and that two of her predecessors in the bureau chief position affirmed to her this week that The Times has been subject to gag orders in the past. (An earlier version of this post said that The Times agrees to abide by gag orders as a prerequisite for press credentials, but Ms. Rudoren told me today that that is not the case, although it was her initial understanding.)

Given her work covering the Prisoner X and abducted teens stories, Rudoren’s framing of her interactions with “Udi” while reporting on Hadar Goldin is misleading at best.

Rudoren’s objectivity has recently been called into question by the appearance of a video, posted to YouTube by her husband Gary, in which she is seen casually meeting with Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, which regularly denounces critics of Israeli policies as “anti-Semites,” while making joking references to “the Arabs.”

Ironically, shortly after The Electronic Intifada published Max Blumenthal’s report about the Rudoren video, the original video published by Gary Rudoren was made “private” on YouTube, preventing it from being embedded in the article (a backup copy, posted under the US Fair Use doctrine, had to be substituted).

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Rudoren: I did not have journalistic relations with that censor

Is this Anti-semitism or Nazi Bull-shits ?

NOVANEWS 

Sydney Morning Herald? Gaza cartoon retracted

Anti-semitism at Sydney Morning Herald? Gaza cartoon retracted

The Sydney Morning Herald apologized for this cartoon today. (Credit: Sydney Morning Herald)

Shame on you Sydney Herald 

The Sydney Morning Herald retracted and said it was “wrong” to publish a July 26 cartoon about Gaza that has been called racist.In an August 3 editorial, the Sydney Morning Herald admitted the cartoon “invoked an inappropriate element of religion, rather than nationhood, and made a serious error of judgment.”

The cartoon by Glen Le Lievre depicted “an elderly man, with a large nose, sitting alone, with a remote control device in his hand, overseeing explosions in Gaza,” according to the newspaper.  His armchair had a Star of David on it, “and the man was wearing a kippah, a religious skullcap.”

Critics compared the image to that of propaganda from Nazi Germany, the newspaper reported. Initially, the newspaper defended the cartoon, pointing out that Le Lievre’s “distinctive drawing style routinely sees old people depicted with large noses and pronounced facial features” as part of his drawing style. Further, the newspaper explained that Le Lievre’s cartoon was inspired by “news photographs of men seated in chairs and lounges, observing the shelling of Gaza.”

One such photo that shows that is the below AFP/Getty Images picture, tracked down by the Daily Mail.


Another photo was published by UPI/Landov/Barcroft Media, via the Guardian.

 

The Sydney Morning Herald said it originally denied that Le Lievre intended “racial vilification,” but now understands the cartoon wasn’t acceptable. “It was wrong to publish the cartoon in its original form,” the newspaper’s editors wrote. “We apologise unreservedly for this lapse, and the anguish and distress that has been caused.”

The newspaper’s editor Darren Goodsir told the Guardian Australia that he decided to apologize “after a long 10 days of serious thinking, and reflection.”

 

Posted in GazaComments Off on Is this Anti-semitism or Nazi Bull-shits ?

Gaza Holocaust: Nazi’s accused of targeting fleeing families in ceasefire

NOVANEWS

Gaza conflict: Israel accused of targeting fleeing families in ceasefire

Palestinians claim Israel targeted unarmed civilians as they returned to their homes in the southern city of Rafah during the first day of a 72-hour truce

A Palestinian family carries belongings as they return to their home in Beit Hanoun

A Palestinian family carries belongings as they return to their home in Beit Hanoun Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters

By , in Rafah

Israel faced allegations from residents returning to their shattered homes in southern Gaza that it had targeted fleeing, unarmed civilians as a previous ceasefire fell apart.

The claims came from Palestinians in the southern city of Rafah, who took advantage of the first day of a 72-hour truce mediated by Egypt to venture back to neighbourhoods that had been the subject of a powerful Israeli bombardment that lasted several days.

Hopes were rising on Tuesday that the new ceasefire, which appeared to be holding, would pave the way for a diplomatic formula to restore long-term calm, with both Israel and Hamas sending delegations to Cairo for talks.

But there seemed little prospect that the mutual emnity fuelled by the conflict that lasted almost a month would begin to abate any time soon, as angry Rafah residents recounted running away in terror under a fusillade of heavy shelling after they had returned home at the start of a previous ceasefire last Friday.

The mass flight occurred when hostilities resumed, just half an hour after the truce – negotiated by the United States and the United Nations – was meant to have taken effect. Residents said they had been assured it was safe to leave UN shelters where they had been seeking refuge and return to their homes.

Within minutes, there was an eruption of shelling in Oruba Street in eastern Rafah, resulting in several people being killed and injured, and hundreds of others escaping in panic as shells descended, according to witnesses. One woman is still critically ill after suffering shrapnel wounds during the attack. Another miscarried her unborn child due to the effects of shock and being forced to run in fear, her relations said.

Their claims – made independently to theTelegraph in a series of interviews – appear to contradict the version of events given by Israel, which says that ceasefire was broken by a militant attack at 9.30am, an hour later, that resulted in the death of three soldiers.

The accounts are similar to claims by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, which accused Israel of violating the laws of war, citing the testimony of residents from the neighbouring town of Khuza’a, who said they were fired on as they tried to escape an earlier barrage.

The accounts coincided with a threat from the Palestinian leadership to have Israel indicted for war crimes by reviving an application to join the International Criminal Court.

The four-week conflict has left 1,867 Gazans dead – mostly civilians – compared with 67 on the Israeli side, all but three of them soldiers. At least 408 of the Palestinian dead are children.

A Palestinian inspects destroyed houses and the area where the Al-Wafaa hospital used to stand in Shejaea

“The attacks started at 8.25 or 8.30 when we had only come home 15 or 20 minutes earlier,” said Salah al-Arja, 32, a wedding hall owner who said his wife Islam, 28, and three children, Mohammed, two, Abdullah, four, and seven-year-old Rozan, were injured after being hit by flying fragments in the bombardment.

“After firing started, we looked outside and saw many people, including motorcyclists and their passengers, injured or dead in the street. They initially targeted two trucks. One of the drivers opened the door but just fell out, apparently dead.

“We tried to escape into a passageway. They were shelling us as we ran. We could see shells falling around. There were hundreds of others running too. People had felt secure enough to return to their homes but they fooled us with this ceasefire.”

Tawfiq Abu Sohaiban, 38, described the scene as “complete terror”, adding: “We just reached home at 8.20am when suddenly, less than 10 minutes later, they started showering the whole area with shells. We tried to escape down a lane but there seemed to be about 400 people trying to escape and all my family got separated. We didn’t know where to go. We were just running. They were shelling at us while we were escaping.”

His sister-in-law, Safa’a Abu Sohaiban, 30, suffered serious leg and abdominal wounds from shrapnel as she ran carrying her infant son.

Israeli accused Hamas, the Islamist group in charge of Gaza, of breaking the truce after militants killed three soldiers in a tunnel ambush.

More than 200 people are believed to have died in the subsequent bombardment of eastern Rafah, which left widespread destruction and only abated early yesterday when the latest ceasefire took hold and Israel withdrew the last of its ground forces from Gaza.

Many Israelis living on the Gaza border were unconvinced by the announcement that the military’s mission to end rocket strikes and tunnel infiltration was accomplished. Israel’s government, they said, had taken too long to deal with the network of underground passages Palestinian militants had been digging for years, and it may have acted prematurely in pulling the army out of Gaza.

“They knew about it for so long and did nothing. Who can promise me that all the tunnels have been destroyed?” said Leah Musafi, 30, from Nir Am, a kibbutz near the Gaza border. “I am angry that they are not pressing on with the offensive.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Gaza Holocaust: Nazi’s accused of targeting fleeing families in ceasefire

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