Socialism Art Nature

In Russell Brand’s latest episode of The Trews, the British comedian attacks Sean Hannity for his hypocrisy when it comes to the subject of Israel.

 … When Hannity tires of yelling the same question his guest has already answered, he switches to his other guest, who like himself is pro-Israel. The guest immediately begins discussing the Palestinians using children as human shields, a fact whose veracity Brand disputes.

“Reports from Gaza say that they’re not using children as human shields,” he say, “those children are dying because there are missiles going off all over the place and Gaza’s only a little tiny area.”

“But even if they were,” Brand continued, “even if everyone was carrying around children literally strapped to wooden boards, using them as shields — they still wouldn’t die if it weren’t for the missiles. The key ingredient in the death of those children is the missile.”


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Israel’s racist colonial-settler population are the impediment to peace and justice in the Middle East, not the Palestinian people.

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Ninety-one percent (91%) of Israeli Jews support Israel’s self-defense campaign against terrorism in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, according to a survey published Monday - and just 4.2% believe the operation is a “mistake.”

… The survey also revealed that 85% of respondents would only support a cease-fire agreement if Israel eliminated every Hamas rocket and destroyed the full network of terror tunnels before agreeing to do so.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of respondents “strongly agree” to the suggestion that protests against the IDF should be outlawed; 17% agreed. In addition, nearly half - 49% - of respondents believed that anti-IDF protestors should be tried for treason against the State.

A surprising third (34%) of respondents also said that Israeli Arabs “cannot be trusted” and are “a security risk,” vs. just 12% who insist that they “can be trusted” and 15% who believe they “are not a security risk.”


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Israel will never accept a sovereign Palestinian state in "Judea and Samaria", and opposes the Palestinian unity government.

Israel blamed Hamas for the murder of three Israeli teenagers.  It waged war on Hamas in the West Bank on this pretext.  Hamas did not murder the three teenagers.  Israel stands by its claim.

Hamas fired rockets in reply.  Israel waged war by air and then land on Gaza, on this pretext.

Part of Israel’s stated mission is to destroy Hamas’s military capability.  It isn’t working.

The other part of Israel’s mission is to “downgrade” Hamas’s political support.  Popular support is the infrastructure of any political movement.

As such, Israel is destroying Gaza’s life-support systems.  Hospitals, oil depots, the only power station, refugee centres, schools.  War on the civilian population.  This is the Dahiya doctrine in action.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the two regional bulwarks of counter-revolution at the moment, are deep into the planning of this war.  By burying Gaza, Israel, the major regional ally of Egypt’s dictatorship, might finally bury the remaining embers of the ‘Arab Spring’.  This is a nexus of power that is full of peril for all democratic and radical forces in the Middle East.

Israel’s global allies are rattled by Netanyahu’s adventurism, but firm in their fundamental strategic alignment toward the apartheid state.

The EU, as such, condemns deaths on ‘both sides’, but does not condemn ‘both sides’.  As ever, only Israel has the right to self-defence.  Israel thanked its foreign ministry staff for achieving this result.

But Israel remains concerned about the other side of Europe, the protests and their echo in a growing murmur of official criticism.  There is antisemitism, they point out.  And certainly, there is.  Even with the inventions and bogey men and bad faith invocations of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust, it is hard to miss.  But, invoking this threat, Israel demands strict regulations on the format and content of future demonstrations.  They want to make up what they’re losing in ‘soft power’ with coercion.  Some EU states are already way ahead of them.

Washington is not happy with its client.  Bibi goes too far.  The Likudniks are crazy.  There is a rift.  Washington might send more money.


The discourse.

86.5% of all Israeli Jews reject a ceasefire.

The Labour opposition leader said: "I speak often with Netanyahu; he has taken a restrained and reasonable position, bearing in mind the pressure on him."

The kibbutzim are among "the staunchest supporters" of Israel’s war on Gaza.

In Israel, “the one percent” are those who turn out to antiwar protests.  And they say, when the sirens go off, "the fascists in front of us are more dangerous than the rockets on the way."

Some Israelis strip and write “I heart IDF” and “Fuck Hamas” on their bodies.

Some of them say: "Kill them already, Arabs are whores."

Some Israelis tell Arabs: "Don’t even think about a Jewish woman."

Some of them say: "Call me extreme and inhuman, but its about time to exterminate all the Arabs’ land".

Some of them chant: "There’s no school tomorrow, there’s no children left in Gaza!"

Some of them sing: "Gaza is a graveyard.  Gaza is a graveyard.  Gaza is a graveyard.  Gaza is a graveyard."

Some of them beat up antiwar protesters and chant: "Death to Gaza."

Some of them want to "kill all Palestinian mothers".


The bodies.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza counts 1,255 dead this morning.  The last two days have seen the worst bombing yet.  We don’t know how many are dead.

Israel bombs hospitals.  Israel says Hamas hides rockets there.  Israel bombs hospitals.

The Al Quds hospital will stay open and continue to treat people after Israeli tanks shelled the eighth floor.  Because upstairs being bombed is the new normal.

There are massacres.  Massacres which take place in order to spare the IDF tactical defeats.

Israel bombs schools.  The IDF made a statement about bombing a school.  There is footage.  And who are you going to believe?  Israel or your lying eyes?  Israel was told the location of a school 17 times.  Israel bombed the school.  Israel bombs schools.

Israel has instructed 400,000 Palestinians to flee northern Gaza.

It has said it will treat any remaining Palestinians as combatants.

UNRWA says: 43% of Gaza is now off limits.

UNRWA’s spokesperson says: “We’ll soon have a situation where there are tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Gaza.  Nowhere to go.  No electricity.  No Water.  No food.  No blankets.  No safe UN shelter - by the way, they aren’t safe anyway because they get hit as well.”

In Gaza, you go to sleep "knowing that there is nobody with any power to move or help you".

In Gaza, you try to sleep to the sound of bombs, saying: "This is in my area. I can’t stop crying. I might die tonight."


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It makes sense that the most reactionary regime in the world, Saudi Arabia, and the counter-revolutionary military dictatorship in Egypt, would be working hand-in-hand with the genocidal apartheid state of Israel. For the last 40 years these three pillars of despotism have together served as the bulwarks of U.S. imperial hegemony in the Middle East. This is why the Egyptian dictatorship has long been the number two highest recipient of US foreign military aid after Israel, while the cozy relationship between the Saudi monarchy and U.S. government officials is both legendary and lucrative.

The real fight in the Middle East — and the world — is between the masses of people who fueled the Arab Spring and the various repressive, imperialist, and capitalist elites who collude in ruling over the former, within and across each nation.

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With the world’s eyes focused on Gaza’s and Israel’s barbaric offensive, the eruption of resistance in the West Bank has gone largely unnoticed—though the latest spasm of Israeli violence began in the West Bank with the Israel Defense Forces operation, called Operation Brother’s Keeper, in response to the disappearance of three settler boys.

Kelly Lynn is an independent journalist and photographer from Vancouver, Wash., and a regular contributor to Mondoweiss.net and other sites. For the last three years, she has traveled back and forth to Palestine to report on resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid. Currently, she is based in the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem in the West Bank. Last week, she talked to Sarah Levy about Israel’s escalating repression, and the rising tide of protest in the West Bank.

 … I’ve been out on Hebron Road, which is the main street in Bethlehem, almost every night since July 4, which is when the protests in solidarity with Gaza and after Abu Khdeir’s funeral began. At least 25 young men and teenagers have been shot in the leg with live ammunition. Soldiers aim for the knee to cause the most damage, and because it requires the longest recovery time. They usually shoot during a lull, when there isn’t any stone throwing, so they can take careful aim.

Clashes are taking place in all of the big cities, but also all the small villages. On July 24, the largest protests since the Second Intifada took place in Ramallah, with tens of thousands marching toward Jerusalem. One was killed by Israeli troops.

And so it’s happening everywhere, and it’s absolutely an uprising of some sort, but it’s still a question of how long it’s going to continue. Everyone that I talk to doesn’t think it will calm down, they think it will continue to escalate, especially if the use of live ammunition is becoming a norm in these protests, and if Gaza continues to burn.

In the same way that Gazans don’t want a cease-fire that doesn’t address the living hell that they experience under the Israeli blockade, the people of the West Bank don’t want the clashes and demos and actions to be quelled without addressing the occupation and apartheid policies that they face. People seem ready for some sort of unprecedented change. I mean, they’re always ready for change—but I think they’re ready to make the sacrifice in terms of an uprising.


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Gloria Steinem, Chuck D, Jonathan Demme and Other Celebrities, Artists, Activists and Nobel Peace Laureates Stand Up for Palestinian Rights in New Video
A diverse group of celebrities, artists, and activists that includes American Jews and Palestinians are speaking out for Palestinian human rights in a video released online today. The video is a first of its kind expression of support for Palestinian freedom, equality and justice and features celebrities such as Chuck D, Jonathan Demme, Gloria Steinem, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner, Mira Nair, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, and others holding signs with the names and ages of Palestinian civilians recently killed by the Israeli military in Gaza.
“The Israeli leaders seem sincere when they say they believe that their actions are appropriate. Apparently, one of ‘us’ is worth many more of ‘them,’” said actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, who provides the voice-over narration for the video. “American leaders know they are lying when they defend the murder of children in their beds. And we, the public, pay for the bombs, pay for the airplanes, and pretend not to notice what’s going on.”
As Israel continues its assault against the occupied, besieged, and blockaded Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians since July 7, most of them civilians, a growing number of global citizens of conscience feel compelled to speak out against Israel’s disproportionate attack on the Palestinian people. In addition to those featured in this video, a growing number of celebrities have been speaking out via social media about the horrors we are witnessing in Gaza, as reported recently by BuzzFeed and The Hollywood Reporter.
“We wanted to provide a platform for the growing list of prominent individuals who are outraged by Israel’s brutal violence against Gaza’s civilian population,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization that co-produced the video. “Our message is that securing freedom and justice for Palestinians is the only pathway to a lasting peace.”
"My family was forced to flee our beloved Jerusalem in 1948 and every day since then, we have longed for freedom,” said Nina Saah, an 83-year-old Nakba survivor featured in the video. “What is happening in Gaza breaks my heart all over again. And yet I am so moved by all those who have come together in this video and the outpouring of support I am seeing for Palestinians. It gives me hope that the people of the world will be the ones to change our situation and that freedom and justice will come."
“This is a scream on paper. This is a wail,” said playwright Eve Ensler, one of the artists featured in the video. “There are no more words. Only this moment where we rise against the illegal and deathly occupation of Palestine, against mass slaughter of the defenseless, against the complicit silence of the international community, against the military might and arrogance of the Israeli and the U.S. governments who choose annihilation over justice and love.”
A full list of participants can be found here.

Gloria Steinem, Chuck D, Jonathan Demme
and Other Celebrities, Artists, Activists and Nobel Peace Laureates
Stand Up for Palestinian Rights in
New Video

A diverse group of celebrities, artists, and activists that includes American Jews and Palestinians are speaking out for Palestinian human rights in a video released online today. The video is a first of its kind expression of support for Palestinian freedom, equality and justice and features celebrities such as Chuck D, Jonathan Demme, Gloria Steinem, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner, Mira Nair, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, and others holding signs with the names and ages of Palestinian civilians recently killed by the Israeli military in Gaza.

“The Israeli leaders seem sincere when they say they believe that their actions are appropriate. Apparently, one of ‘us’ is worth many more of ‘them,’” said actor and playwright Wallace Shawn, who provides the voice-over narration for the video. “American leaders know they are lying when they defend the murder of children in their beds. And we, the public, pay for the bombs, pay for the airplanes, and pretend not to notice what’s going on.”

As Israel continues its assault against the occupied, besieged, and blockaded Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians since July 7, most of them civilians, a growing number of global citizens of conscience feel compelled to speak out against Israel’s disproportionate attack on the Palestinian people. In addition to those featured in this video, a growing number of celebrities have been speaking out via social media about the horrors we are witnessing in Gaza, as reported recently by BuzzFeed and The Hollywood Reporter.

“We wanted to provide a platform for the growing list of prominent individuals who are outraged by Israel’s brutal violence against Gaza’s civilian population,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization that co-produced the video. “Our message is that securing freedom and justice for Palestinians is the only pathway to a lasting peace.”

"My family was forced to flee our beloved Jerusalem in 1948 and every day since then, we have longed for freedom,” said Nina Saah, an 83-year-old Nakba survivor featured in the video. “What is happening in Gaza breaks my heart all over again. And yet I am so moved by all those who have come together in this video and the outpouring of support I am seeing for Palestinians. It gives me hope that the people of the world will be the ones to change our situation and that freedom and justice will come."

“This is a scream on paper. This is a wail,” said playwright Eve Ensler, one of the artists featured in the video. “There are no more words. Only this moment where we rise against the illegal and deathly occupation of Palestine, against mass slaughter of the defenseless, against the complicit silence of the international community, against the military might and arrogance of the Israeli and the U.S. governments who choose annihilation over justice and love.”

A full list of participants can be found here.


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Israeli forces today bombed a park near the beach in Gaza City killing at least 10 children on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, medics said. Read more here: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=716699


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Eight days ago, 100,000 people lived here. It was a bustling town with homes, schools, libraries, parks, and theaters.

Israel pulverized it all with a barrage of airstrikes on 21 July 2014. It has been turned into “a ghost town.”

#Genocide #ShujaiyehMassacre

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Shujaiyeh, which had about 100,000 Palestinian inhabitants, not refugees, had turned into “a ghost town,” Amira Hass reports: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.607331


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27 July 2014

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israel resumed its bombardment of the Gaza Strip for the 20th day on Sunday afternoon, as Hamas leader Meshaal stressed that the group was ready to “coexist with the Jews” but would not tolerate “occupiers.”

 … Hamas continued to insist that any lasting ceasefire must be based on an Israeli lifting of the blockade on Gaza, with leader Khaled Meshaal warning that Palestinians cannot coexist with their neighbors while their land is occupied in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

On Saturday, Meshaal was interviewed by US broadcaster PBS in the Qatari capital Doha while in Gaza the party was under assault from Israeli forces in renewed fighting.

A full version of the interview will be broadcast late on Monday, but excerpts were revealed on Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

Asked by veteran interviewer Charlie Rose whether he could foresee living beside Israelis in peace, Meshaal said only a future Palestinian state could decide whether to recognize Israel.

"We are not fanatics, we are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers," he said.

"I’m ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and the Arabs and non-Arabs," he said. "However, I do not coexist with the occupiers."


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Those who support Palestinian self-determination must challenge Israel’s justifications for war—and that means setting the record straight about Hamas.

AS THE world reels in horror at mounting Palestinian deaths in Gaza, the Israeli propaganda machine and its willing accomplices in the U.S. mainstream media have issued their customary reply: Blame Hamas.

Speaking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed all responsibility for Palestinian deaths on Hamas:

We’re sad for every civilian casualty. They’re not intended. This is the difference between us. The Hamas deliberately targets civilians and deliberately hides behind civilians. They embed their rocketeers, their rocket caches, their other weaponry which they use to fire on us in civilian areas.

What choice do we have? We have to protect ourselves. So we try to target the rocketeers. We do. And all civilian casualties are unintended by us, but intended by Hamas. They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can…They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause.

Netanyahu presents Israel as innocently defending itself—and Hamas as inviting Palestinian deaths for propaganda purposes.

WHILE THE mainstream media regularly describes Hamas as anti-Semitic or even genocidal, it rarely if ever describes Israel’s treatment of Gaza as racist or genocidal. But no other description of Israel’s blockade of Gaza is appropriate.

 … Not only are calls for war crimes coming from high-level Israeli officials, but the premise—that Hamas would never accept a “Jewish presence” in Palestine—is false. When Hamas agreed to a unity government with the Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Fatah, back in April, the terms were clear. As Nathan Thrall wrote in his article "How the West Chose War in Gaza" in the New York Times:

[The unity government deal] offered Hamas’ political adversaries a foothold in Gaza; it was formed without a single Hamas member; it retained the same Ramallah-based prime minister, deputy prime ministers, finance minister and foreign minister; and, most important, it pledged to comply with the three conditions for Western aid long demanded by America and its European allies: nonviolence, adherence to past agreements and recognition of Israel. Israel strongly opposed American recognition of the new government, however, and sought to isolate it internationally, seeing any small step toward Palestinian unity as a threat. (emphasis added)

Even after the chaos that Israel has wreaked in Gaza during July, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal reiterated the same commitments in a statement on July 27:

We are not fanatics, we are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers…I’m ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and the Arabs and non-Arabs. However, I do not coexist with the occupiers.

In other words, Hamas does accept the presence of Jews in Palestine—but it does not accept the presence of Israel as a Jewish state, with apartheid laws that deny equal rights to Palestinians. This is the opposite of the explicitly racist and openly genocidal attitudes expressed by some of the leading political figures of Israel.

SO WHY is Hamas firing rockets at Israel?

For many people in Gaza, though certainly not all, the rockets send a message: If Israel’s policy toward Palestinians is occupation and genocide, than it cannot be business-as-usual for Israelis either.

For this, Israel brands Hamas “terrorists.” It should be noted that this was also the U.S. government’s official designation for Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress because of its bombing of public institutions in apartheid South Africa. It was also how the British government described American insurgents who overthrew the rule of the king in 1776.

Israel also accuses Hamas of placing its rockets in neighborhoods and using civilians as human shields. Indeed, Israel would like Hamas to build a clearly designated military installation in the desert—so that Israel could cleanly eliminate any capacity for resistance. But resistance movements always operate similarly against enemies with an overwhelming military advantage—as the American revolutionaries and the Vietnamese also did.

Moreover, the Israeli complaints are for public relations purposes—the Israel Defense Forces haven’t made anything like a legitimate effort to avoid civilian casualties.

Witnesses to Israel’s killing of four young boys playing soccer on a Gaza beach in July said it looked “as if the shells were chasing them”—that is, the Israeli naval vessel kept firing until it hit its pre-teenaged targets. Israel has bombed half of Gaza’s hospitals, as well as a UN school serving as a shelter for people who had been told by Israel to flee their homes.

Whatever one might think of Hamas, its politics and its strategy and tactics, we should be clear about one thing: the current slaughter against Palestinians is the product of Israel’s actions, not Hamas’.

Furthermore, it is not the place of people in the U.S., sitting in the heart of the world’s superpower and the main international supporter of Israel empire, to lecture dying Palestinians about what they should and should not do in the face of Israeli atrocities. Who Palestinians choose to represent them politically is a matter for Palestinians to decide, and no one else. Our role is to pressure the U.S. government to stop facilitating Israel’s massacre with its political, diplomatic, economic and military support for Israel.


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Dear Fellow Trade Unionist,  

Below is Labor for Palestine's new statement, Stop the War on Gaza: No Arms for Apartheid Israel, with more than 200 initial signers.  

To support this urgent campaign, please:  

• Endorse.  To be listed, you must provide your labor affiliation/organization (inclouding local number, if any), union position (if any), location and email address.

• Forward this message widely.

• Share the petition on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.  

• Like the Labor for Palestine Facebook page.  

• Introduce a resolution in your union or other labor body (see model resolution, below).  

• Donate to Labor for Palestine.  

Thank you for taking a stand!  

Suzanne Adely, Monadel Herzallah and Michael Letwin
Co-Conveners, Labor for Palestine 


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Against Apartheid: The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement today

A conversation with leading BDS activists on strategy, tactics and experiences. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has, in a few short years, changed the way we talk about Palestine in America and these are some of the leaders of that struggle who nave helped make that change a reality.

Nashiha Alam - Students for Justice in Palestine, Loyola University Chicago
Tareq Radi - Students Against Israeli Apartheid, George Mason University
Ryan Branagan - Students for Justice in Palestine, Northeastern University
Dina Abdalla - Students for Justice in Palestine, DePaul University
Steven Salaita - Professor, Virginia Tech
Ali Abunimah - Editor, The Electronic Intifada and author, The Battle for Justice in Palestine

(26 June 2014, Chicago, Socialism Conference)


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