With passage of a short and elegant plank in its Action Plan for 2012, the United National Anti-War Coalition is building a peace movement that is finally prepared to confront President Obama’s global military offensive, cloaked in “humanitarian” interventionist rhetoric. The language states: “End all threats of war and intervention against Iran and Syria! No to sanctions, blockades and embargoes!”
It is a simple expression of the singular mission of anti-warriors in the belly of the beast. That mission is to disarm the beast– not to quibble with the war machine about where best to deploy its overwhelming firepower, or to advise corporate warmongers on the most efficient killing-mix of live troops and automated drones, or to pick and choose from a Democratic administration’s menu of regimes that might be changed to make the world more amenable to Wall Street. Our task as Americans – our overarching responsibility, for which we are uniquely positioned and, therefore, solemnly obligated – is to dismantle from within the monstrous apparatus of imperial aggression. Period.
I was privileged to present the coordinating committee’s draft of the Action Plan to UNAC’s national conference in Stamford, Connecticut, this past weekend. “This action plan does not just target some U.S. wars,” said the committee’s statement. “It does not target the currently unpopular wars. It does not shy away from condemning wars that remain acceptable to half the population because the real reasons for them are obscured in the rhetoric of humanitarian intervention. It does not advocate that we avoid putting U.S. boots on the ground by mounting embargoes that bring economic devastation on the peoples of Iran. It does not condone war by other, more sanitized, means. It does not cheer on wars that minimize U.S. combat deaths by the use of robotic unmanned planes or the highly trained murder squads of the Joint Special Operations Command. It does not see war by mercenary as somehow less threatening to the peoples of the world and the U.S. than war by economic draft. It does not give credit to Washington for removing brigades from one country in order to deploy them in the next.”
The document demands an end to “all wars, interventions, targeted assassinations and occupations” and U.S. withdrawal from “NATO and all other interventionist military alliances.”
UNAC’s reasoning is rooted in the principle that all the world’s peoples have the inherent right to self-determination,to pursue their own destinies – the foundation of relations among peoples, enshrined in international law but daily violated by the United States.
American exceptionalism – the belief that rules of international conduct, or even the rules of history and human development, do not apply to the United States – is deeply entrenched in the popular American psyche and has long been the bane of the U.S. anti-war movement. It encourages Americans to think they have a privileged perspective on the world and a consequent right to preach, lecture and ultimately intervene in other people’s affairs – just as their government does. In anti-war movements, this national arrogance (deeply entwined with racism) allows self-styled peaceniks to behave like little imperialists, imposing conditions and caveats on their willingness to confront their own government’s aggressions. They reserve the right to pick and choose which U.S. violations of international law to oppose. Unmoored by principle and crippled by national chauvinism, such “peace” movements inevitably disband at the earliest opportunistic juncture.
UNAC emerged with the disintegration of United for Peace and Justice, which showed itself to be more of an anti-Republican formation than an anti-war movement. UFPJ disintegrated at the first whiff of the new Democratic administration, clearing the way domestically for a new imperial strategy: “humanitarian” intervention. At its founding conference, in July of 2010, UNAC tackled the first taboo of American foreign policy with a plank to “End all U.S. aid to Israel, military, economic and diplomatic!” – a direct confrontation with Israeli “exceptionalism.” Last week, UNAC broke decisively with Obama’s humanitarian “exception” to the rules of international behavior. There now exists a place for genuine anti-imperialists to gather and plot for peace – and that is a beginning. No repeats of Libya, no more equivocations in the face of U.S. carnage.
A luta continua – the struggle continues, in the belly of the beast.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
- “Human Rights” Warriors for Empire (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Opposing War in France (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The Case for a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Progressives Embrace Humanitarian Imperialism – Again! (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- McCain, Graham, Lieberman Unveil Resolution Calling For U.S. Help In Arming Syria Rebels (thinkprogress.org)
- Marching Toward Syria with Eyes Cast Towards Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
I was standing outside the U.S. Supreme Court holding a sign that said: “Single Payer Now, Strike Down the Obama Mandate.” It was the second day of argument on the Affordable Care Act. As I watched the crowds it was evident this was an organized partisan event.
As the Washington Post reports, the mandate was a Republican idea that originated with conservatives: “The tale begins in the late 1980s, when conservative economists such as Mark Pauly, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business, were searching for ways to counter liberal calls for government-sponsored universal health coverage. Pauly then proposed a mandate requiring everyone to obtain this minimum coverage, thus guarding against free-riders…Health policy analysts at the conservative Heritage Foundation, led by Stuart Butler, picked up the idea and began developing it for lawmakers in Congress. The Heritage Foundation worked with then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) to pass Massachusetts’ 2006 health reform law, which required all Bay State citizens to purchase coverage.”
Someone from the Heritage Foundation came up to us, wanting to take a photo of our sign. I asked him – does the Heritage Foundation oppose the mandate? He said “yes.” I told him that the idea came out of the Heritage Foundation. He looked confused, mumbled an unclear answer “not since 2006” and walked away.
Of course, Democrats opposed this Republican idea. They saw it for what it is: a massive giveaway to the insurance industry that will lead to their entrenchment and continued domination of heath care. The idea was used by Republicans to oppose the Clinton health plan. Of course, the Clinton’s opposed it. But, by the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton supported the mandate (by then the insurance industry was a big financial backer of hers), but candidate Barack Obama opposed it. One of his campaign advertisements said: “What’s she not telling you about her health-care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.”
So, while I was out there watching groups like the National Organization for Women, who supports single payer favoring this pro-insurance law, as part of a coalition of Democratic Party aligned groups, I thought, what if President McCain had passed this law. My conclusion, we’d have the same people out here protesting, they’d just reverse sides. This was really not about healthcare, it was about Obama vs. the Republicans in this 2012 election year.
The people protesting followed their leader’s orders, said the chants they were told to say, and held the signs they were given to hold, but they were confused. When we talked to people on both sides the partisan confusion was evident.
My colleague, Margaret Flowers, asked two women carrying an Americans for Prosperity sign (a group opposed to Obama’s law) whether they were on Medicare. They said “yes.” “Do you like it?” Again, “yes.” “Do you know Medicare is a government program?” A confused look. “Do you know the Republicans want to end Medicare, make it into private insurance?” “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You probably support Obama”; and they started to walk away. “No, we oppose ObamaCare,” the women stopped and listened again, “We think everyone should have Medicare. Don’t you think it would be a good idea if every American could have the Medicare you have and like?” “Hmm, yes” then, more confusion in their faces.
Then, talking to the Democrats showed equal partisan confusion. I explained: “We oppose the Obama mandate because we want to end insurance control of health care. We support single payer, Medicare for all?” Response: “So do I.” I asked: “Single payer ends insurance, and Obama’s law entrenches insurance more deeply in control of health care, aren’t those opposites?” Response, obviously not understanding what ‘opposite’ means: “It’s a step in the right direction.” I ask: “How can it be a step in the right direction when it is going in the opposite direction?” No longer able to say it is the right direction, spouts another talking point: “This is the best we can get, we can build on this.” Me, trying to figure out what the Democrat thinks there is to build on, asks: “But, if we want to end insurance domination, how do we build on a law that is based on insurance?” Unable to explain it, the Democrat answers: “We can’t get what we want.” I say: “Of course, not, if people like you and organizations like yours who support single payer, spend their time advocating for the insurance industry, we can’t get what we want. But, if people who support single payer work for it we could.” Answer: “But, we have to re-elect President Obama.”
Partisan confusion reigned.
And, sadly partisan confusion dominates our airwaves as well. Of course, the right wing radio continues to attack Obama and confusingly calls a market-based, insurance-dominated health law socialism. But, sadly the “liberal” media sends out equal partisan confusion. We were able to go into Radio Row, where all the liberal radio outlets were interviewing “experts” on health care. The talking points, like in the conversation, were repeated and repeated. When one radio host wanted to interview me, really debate me since he was a Democratic apologist, I sat down. An organizer in the room asked the host to speak with her. She came back and told me I had to leave. This was private property and only people allowed to be here were allowed to be here. I explained I was invited by a station to be interviewed. She explained: “I tell them who to interview. The stations have slots and we fill them.” I asked: “Do you mean only people who support Obama can be interviewed.” She explained “The Republicans do it to.”
Despite all this supermajorities of Americans have consistently supported single payer, whether inaccurately called socialism or correctly described as “Medicare for all” 60% or more support it. Why? For the same reason that the great salesman President Obama and his superb marketing team have been unable to sell forced purchase of health insurance: Every family, business whether large or small; and every doctor or other health care provider have suffered insurance abuse. Two thirds of those who go bankrupt from a health problem have health insurance. The American experience is that health insurance is expensive, provides inadequate coverage and tries to avoid paying for health care. We all know this. So, no matter what the politicians say – Americans do not trust the health insurance industry.
But, one thing the two parties in Washington agree on – they will protect health insurance at all costs. After-all, they are a great source of campaign contributions – as the two politicians responsible for forcing Americans to buy insurance, President Obama and Mitt Romney, well know.
Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters for Peace.
- Left Takes ObamaCare To Court – Supreme Court (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Real Health Care Advocates Should Support Repeal of the Insurance Mandate (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The “delusional effect” that swept Black America with the advent of the First Black President has warped and weakened the mental powers of some of our most revered icons – and it has been painful to behold. Earlier this month, Angela Davis diminished herself as a scholar and thinker in a gush of nonsense about the corporate executive in the White House. The occasion was a conference on Empowering Women of Color, in Berkeley, California. Davis shared the stage with Grace Lee Boggs, the 96-year-old activist from Detroit. The subject was social transformation, but Davis suddenly launched into how wonderful it felt to see people “dancing in the streets” when Barack Obama was elected. She called that campaign a “victory, not of an individual, but of…people who refused to believe that it was impossible to elect a person, a Black person, who identified with the Black radical tradition.”
There was a hush in the room, as if in mourning of the death of brain cells. Angela Davis was saying that Barack Obama is a man who identifies with the Black radical tradition. She said it casually, as if Black radicalism and Obama were not antithetical terms; as if everything he has written, said and done in national politics has not been a repudiation of the Black radical tradition; as if his rejection of his former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was not a thorough disavowal of the Black radical tradition. In his famous 2008 campaign speech in Philadelphia, Obama blamed such radicals for compounding the nation’s problems. He viewed people like Rev. Wright as having been mentally scarred by battles of long ago, who were unable to see the inherent goodness of America, as he did. This is the man who said he agreed with President Ronald Reagan, that the Sixties were characterized by “excesses.” Can anyone doubt that Obama considers the historical Angela Davis, herself, to be a part of the political “excesses” of the Sixties and early Seventies that he so deplores?
And that is the saddest part of the story. Angela Davis, who retired as a professor of the history of human consciousness, in 2008, seems not to be conscious of the fact that she is repudiating herself, her history, her comrades – all in a foolish attempt to artificially graft a totally unworthy Barack Obama onto the Black radical tradition – a place he not only does not belong, but most profoundly does not want to be. This is the guy who declared, at his first national broadcast opportunity, that “there is no Black America…only the United States of America.”
How, then, did Angela Davis connect Barack Obama to the Black radical tradition? She didn’t, because even an icon cannot do the impossible. Instead, Davis quickly told the crowd, in Berkeley, that “we need to figure out how to prevent somebody like Mitt Romney from getting elected.” But the vast majority of Black people are going to wind up voting for Obama, anyway, because he’s not white and Republican. There is no need to pollute the proud tradition of Black radicalism by dipping the corporate warmonger, Obama, into the historical mix. In doing so, Professor Davis has soiled herself, and done a terrible injustice to Black history and tradition. And, the biggest shame of all is, she has diminished herself and insulted our people for the sake of a president who doesn’t give a damn for their history or their future.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Doughlas told Ma’an that residents of Itamar and Elon Moreh settlements arrived at Beit Dajan in around 15 cars and closed the main gate to the village.
The settlers were protesting the reopening of the main road from Beit Dajan to Nablus a day earlier, Doughlas said.
The road had been closed by the Israeli military for 12 years, forcing villagers to take long detours to reach Nablus, the nearest city.
Doughlas said Israeli forces arrived and dispersed the settlers.
An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Yesterday, brought ominous news regarding yet another aggressive Israeli projection of its military power in the Mideast. Since 1967, with but a few exceptions (Osirak being one), Israel has mainly satisfied itself by retaining dominance over its frontline neighbors and not attempting to meddle in affairs of more far-flung states. But with Bibi Netanyahu’s new policy of projecting Israeli power far outside Israel’s immediate sphere and threatening Iran with attack, we have an Israel ready and willing to step far outside its former comfort zone.
To show that Bibi’s aggressive, interventionist approach isn’t a fluke, UPI reports that Israel is negotiating with Greek Cyprus for placement of an Israeli air base on the island, ostensibly to protect the new Israeli-Cypriot joint gas exploration project:
Israel is already preparing to launch a major security operation to protect the offshore fields and the attendant facilities in its waters.
This will involve missile-armed patrol vessels, round-the-clock aerial surveillance by unmanned drones and other naval detachments, primarily to defend the energy zones against attack by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed force in neighboring Lebanon.
This field is in dispute with Lebanon, which also claims title. Turkey too disputes the area on behalf of Turkish Cyprus. This certainly is one reason for the Israeli move.
But an even more important one in the long-term, is Israel confronting Turkey with its power. It’s a rather naked move. A flagrant invasion of Turkey’s sphere of influence, which can only bring a Turkish response. The response will likely come within an area under Israel’s sphere of influence. Oh say, like Gaza. Someone with a cool head ought to start looking at this developing rivalry and see where it could lead (or end).
There is only one way to resolve territorial disputes of the nature of the one concerning the Cypriot gas field, negotiation. Israel, however, doesn’t believe it negotiation. It believes in naked projections of military strength. An Israeli base on Cyprus would be a forward projection of Israeli power in the same way that the U.S. base in Diego Garcia is our forward projection of power into the Mideast (currently threatening Iran, but previously used to bolster invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan).
It’s bad enough with the U.S. making a pretense of being the cop of the world and getting itself mired in places it should never be. But do we want Israel, with its history of wars and endless bloodshed, tangling not just with Palestinians or Arab militant groups like Hezbollah, but with full-fledged regional powers like Turkey? Let’s not forget that country’s age-old rivalry with Greece which has also led to centuries of historic conflict. Now Israel is playing footsie with the Greeks and becoming best friends with the current economic basket case of Europe. Greece is only too happy to oblige and take advantage of the power Israel has to offer.
Do we really want Israel playing with fire in this way? I fear this can only end badly.
Another related matter that concerns me is the economic bonanza that this new-found oil portends for Israel, one of the most economically striated nations in the world. The new gas and oil deals promise to make the Israeli elite even richer. It will bring untold billions to Israeli politicians and generals who will flock to consult for the new enterprises (as has Meir Dagan). One place this wealth will not go, is into the pockets of those who need it most inside Israel: the poor, the disenfranchised, etc. The Haredi and Israeli Palestinian poor will stay poor. There will be few, if any programs to share the wealth or provide benefits to those in need. After all, this is Bibi Netanyahu, a disciple of Milton Friedman, an economic Hobbesian. It’s dog-eat-dog in the Likud world. Just as long as Bibi and his party cronies are taken care of, little else matters.
In truth, this would likely happen whoever was in power. The only thing that would change is the names and faces of those benefitting. Labor and Kadima would be no better as anyone who knows about Ehud Barak’s wealth-producing consulting jobs while he was out of power, is aware. So for any who believe in the dreams of liberal Zionism and the Declaration of Independence, that Israel is a nation meant to realize a vision of brotherhood, tolerance and human dignity, the coming oil boom will frustrate you. But undoubtedly, if you’re a liberal Zionist, you’ll, as Tim Hardin wrote, “still look to find a reason to believe.”
Rape of the defenseless is part and parcel of “Jewish morality”
Answering a question from a concerned reader regarding the Torah’s position on rape during war, Colonel Eyal Qarim of the Military Rabbinate wrote nine years ago – out of uniform – that ‘prohibitions against immorality’ are removed during war.
Is it permitted for a Jewish soldier to rape a gentile woman during wartime? This question – based on the biblical mitzvah of Eshet Yefat Toar (“a comely woman”) – was referred to nine years ago (Hebrew) by Rabbi Eyal Qarim. The questioning party seemed anxious and worried, and wanted to know whether the iron-age mitzvah (religious deed) is applicable to Israeli soldiers today. Rabbi Qarim answered thus:
“The wars of Israel […] are mitzvah wars, in which they differ from the rest of the wars the nations wage among themselves. Since, essentially, a war is not an individual matter, but rather nations wage war as a whole, there are cases in which the personality of the individual is “erased” for the benefit of the whole. And vice versa: sometimes you risk a large unit for the saving of an individual, when it is essential for purposes of morale. One of the important and critical values during war is maintaining the army’s fighting ability […]
As in war the prohibition against risking your life is broken for the benefit of others, so are the prohibitions against immorality and of kashrut. Wine touched by gentiles, consumption of which is prohibited in peacetime, is allowed at war, to maintain the good spirit of the warriors. Consumption of prohibited foods is permitted at war (and some say, even when kosher food is available), to maintain the fitness of the warriors, even though they are prohibited during peacetime. Just so, war removes some of the prohibitions on sexual relations (gilui arayot in the original – YZG), and even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge (yetzer ha’ra in the original -YZG), under the conditions mentioned, for the purpose of the success of the whole.”
Wow. Herein lies a hornet’s nest. The first is that according to Qarim, the rape of female prisoners is not just permitted, it is also essential to war; the success of the whole at war relies on it. Even Genghis Khan, who (according to tradition) said that the best thing in the world is “to crush your enemies, to see them fall at your feet — to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. That is best” – even he, who excelled at rape, did not see it as essential to warfare, just a satisfactory outcome. Stalin, likewise, dismissed complaints about rapes carried out massively by the Red Army by saying “a soldier has urges,” but he did not see it as an essential element of military life.
Qarim came up with a new military doctrine, which replaces Napoleon’s: an army marches on its phallus. According to this logic, perhaps the IDF should appoint to each unit not just a supply officer, but also a Comely Woman Officer (CWO), to make certain no soldier is left unsatisfied.
Another problem is that Qarim invokes here the usual apologetics of those who speak of “Jewish morality”: he claims war is a conflict between nations, not individuals, and that the individual has no importance at war. The raped woman is not a woman, is not a person, has no feelings and if she feels pain it is unimportant: she is not a woman or a person, just an individual of an enemy tribe whose misfortune was to be captured. Furthermore, Qarim says that rape during wartime is immoral if carried out by a rival tribe – but all Jewish wars are, by definition, mitzvah wars. If the rape of the defenseless is part and parcel of “Jewish morality,” it’s not hard to reach the conclusion it is inferior to all modern morality systems.
A border policeman faces a Palestinian woman in Hebron (Photo: Yossi Gurvitz)
Yet a third problem is that, essentially, Qarim says there is nothing which may be prohibited in war, if it is done “for the success of the whole.” We know that the killing of armed combatants is permitted (this is, after all, the essence of war), and we now learn that, for His Blessed Name, the rape of women is also permitted. Then we must ask ourselves whether it is also permitted, for the sake of victory, to also kill unarmed people. Children, for instance, who we have good reason to think may seek one day vengeance for the death of their fathers and brothers and the torturing of their mothers and sisters. The notorious book “Torat Ha’Melekh” answered in the affirmative; it would be interesting to know what Qarim thinks, and whether there is anything he thinks a Jewish soldier ought not to do for victory.
But the real problem here is that Eyal Qarim is an Israeli colonel (Aluf Mishneh), and is a senior officer in the Military Rabbinate, i.e. is in a senior position in the IDF religious edicts apparatus. I’ve sent the following questions to the IDF Spokesman:
- Is the rape of women during wartime agreeable to the IDF Ethics Code?
- If not, why does a prominent military rabbi promote it?
- If not, does the IDF intend to end the service of Col. Qarim, or bring charges against him?
- How does the IDF Spokesman intend to deal with the anticipated damage to its image in the international arena, resulting from Col. Qarim’s ruling?
Frankly, I did not expect an answer, but surprisingly enough an enraged officer from IDF Spokesman New Media Unit called me. His official response was that Qarim was not an officer in active service when he wrote that ruling, and furthermore that my question “disrespects the IDF, the State of Israel and the Jewish religion,” and hence his unit will no longer answer my questions.
I told him that, as an Israeli citizen, I considered Col. Qarim to be a ticking time bomb, which will blow up in the IDF’s face should a soldier rape an enemy woman: it would automatically be seen as official policy. I told him this happened in the past. He vehemently denied it, and wouldn’t listen.
I think that the fact that Qarim was on hiatus at the time – earlier he was the religious officer of a crack unit, Sayeret Matkal (commando unit) – is unimportant. What is important is that the Military Rabbinate chose to re-call an officer who wrote such a ruling to active service. Qarim was briefly considered a candidate for the position of the Chief Military Rabbi. This is the face of the IDF in 2012, and this is the face of the rabbis it chooses to employ. There are certainly more humane rabbis than Qarim; yet somehow these are not the rabbis who are promoted.
The United States is planning to grant more money to Israel’s Iron Dome missile system designed to intercept short-range rockets and mortars.
“Supporting the security of Israel is a top priority of President Obama and Secretary (Leon) Panetta… [The Department of Defense] intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Obama administration and the US Congress allocated $205 million to Israel’s Iron Dome system in the 2011 budget. The budget for next year demands $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel, which is more than the current level and the highest for any foreign country.
Although the Pentagon statement provided no specific numbers, congressional sources said the purchase of 10 battery systems at a cost of $50 million each is likely to be requested.
- Pentagon asks for extra $100 million to Israel for Iran defense (and Congress doubles the tip) (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Gaza truce declared as Israel hails new missile defense (alethonews.wordpress.com)
White House Correspondents Association refuses table to Helen Thomas at upcoming dinner – on 50th anniversary of allowing women journalists to attend, a breakthrough accomplished by Helen
I just sent the following message to the president of the White House Correspondents Association about their decision to refuse to allow Helen Thomas to purchase a table at their upcoming dinner. I hope others will contact them about this, also. (202-266-7453 phone; 202-266-7454 fax)
Dear Caren Bohan,
I hope you will reconsider your decision not to allow Helen Thomas to purchase a table at this year’s White House Correspondents Association’s Dinner. As you are aware, this will be the 50th anniversary of women journalists being allowed to attend this dinner – a breakthrough created by Helen Thomas.
Thomas wrote to your organization with a small, extremely appropriate request: “As the first woman president to preside over the WHCA, and one of a few women who were instrumental in successfully convincing President Kennedy to boycott the dinner, it is very important to me to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this monumental feat with my family and close friends this year.”
I have read that Secretary of the WHCA Julie Mason explained your denial of a table to Ms. Thomas’ because “it would be ‘logistically impossible’ to allow every past WHCA president to get their own table.”
However, as you and she are no doubt aware, this is not a request based on Thomas’ position as a past president of the WHCA; it is a request based on her unique, historical contribution.
In addition to breaking numerous barriers to women journalists, Thomas spent decades providing profoundly important reporting. It is for this reason that so many organizations honored her though the years with a multitude of awards, scholarships in her name, and honorary degrees — many of which have now been taken away through the vengeful, mean-spirited campaign waged against her by such Israel apologists as Ari Fleischer and Abraham Foxman (please see The Manufactured Controversy Over Former Senior White House Correspondent Helen Thomas.)
I feel there is little doubt that if Thomas had not offended Israel partisans, your organization would be particularly celebrating her at the upcoming dinner, not denying her small request.
Given Ms. Thomas’ age and health, this may be your organization’s last chance to honor her in person. Please reconsider your timid, highly inappropriate refusal to allow her to purchase a table – a truly minimal request.
President, Council for the National Interest
Executive Director, If Americans Knew
- Helen Thomas: Israel should get that Hamas was chosen democratically (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner reporting from Jerusalem on March 20th described Israeli government rage at a comment made by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton relating to the killing of three Jewish children in Toulouse France on the previous day. Ashton decried the killing but then tied it in to equally unfortunate deaths of children in other places, including Gaza. Her comment caused Netanyahu to explode, saying he was “infuriated” by the “comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and the defensive, surgical actions” of the Israeli Defense Forces hitting “…terrorists who use children as a human shield.” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman quickly joined in, saying that Ashton should instead be thinking about the “children of southern Israel who live in constant fear of rocket attacks from Gaza.”
Where to begin? Israel’s surgical attacks have killed thousands of Gazans, including many children, and the stories about children as human shields comes from – you guessed it – Israeli government sources. The Goldstone report uncovered no evidence that there had been any use of civilians by Hamas militants. Israel has deliberately attacked schools and refugee camps, with little regard for who ends up dying. In its most recent bombings of Gaza, Israel has killed 26 Palestinians, including two children. No Israelis were injured when the Palestinians responded with homemade rockets. In 2011, 105 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, at least 37 of whom were undeniably civilians. This was up from 68 killed in 2010.
In Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, the Israelis killed at least 1,100 Palestinians, using phosphorous shells and other weapons considered to be forbidden under international law. Ten Israeli soldiers died as well as 3 civilians, a Palestinian-to-Israeli rate of mortality approaching 100 to one.
The fact that Netanyahu and Lieberman can be taken seriously and reported in the New York Times when they rant about how humane the Israeli Army is demonstrates that there is an operating assumption in the media that the American public can believe just about anything when it comes to Israel. It recalls the foppish French “philosopher” Bernard Henri-Levy’s assertion that the Israeli Army is the world’s most moral. After years of being subjected to intense propaganda, maybe it’s true that the public in Europe and America have been completely brainwashed when it comes to Israel’s bad behavior.
- Gaza: Boy Dies of Wounds Sustained on Monday; Jet Fighters Bomb Gaza City (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Baroness Ashton and Jewish Sensitivities (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- No pretense of an excuse for continued Israeli attacks on Gaza (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel using Gaza as testing field for weapons: Meshaal (alethonews.wordpress.com)