President Barack Obama, 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference
The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has expressed her “deep concerns” over Israel’s continued siege of the Gaza Strip, imposed since 2006. She also blamed Israeli settlers for most of the human rights violations in the occupied West Bank.
Pillay delivered her remarks in Geneva at a special meeting of the Human Rights Council to debate Palestinian rights. She told the UN council that, “The High Commissioner remained deeply concerned by the situation in Gaza where violence was on the increase, and where the continuing Israeli blockade, coupled with the recent destruction of most of the tunnel network with Egypt, had led to a significant deterioration of economic and social rights in Gaza.”
In addition, Reuters quoted Pillay as saying: “Israeli settlement-related activities and settler violence are at the core of many of the violations of human rights in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” adding that the settlement activities not only have a significant impact on Palestinians’ right to self-determination, but “also violate the entire spectrum of Palestinians’ social, cultural, civil and political rights”.
Furthermore, Pillay stressed that: “Despite repeated calls for Israel to cease settlement activity, on-going settlement construction and [other] acts of settler violence continue with devastating consequences for Palestinian civilians.”
She also noted that UN monitors in the occupied West Bank had documented “a dramatic increase in fatalities and injuries in incidents of use of force by Israeli security forces” in 2013.
The state of Israel is trying to use “pinkwashing”—trumpeting its supposedly liberal, feminist and gay-friendly social atmosphere—to wipe away the stain of its military occupation and apartheid treatment of Palestinians. In so doing, apologists for Israel aim to draw away potential liberal supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
One of the Israeli government’s frequent strategies is to tour Israel Defense Force soldiers—with the aim of humanizing its occupation forces and, in this case, promoting its military as a beacon of gender equality. In response, the issued this statement.Campaign for BDS at Ohio State
We also came to understand how overt repression is buttressed by deceptive representations of the state of Israel as the most developed social democracy in the region. As feminists, we deplore the Israeli practice of “pinkwashing,” the state’s use of ostensible support for gender and sexual equality to dress up its occupation.
—From a report by a delegation of indigenous and women-of-color feminists after their visit to Palestine
A friend writes:
11 years ago today the U.S. invaded Iraq (again). These were the first images I saw of the invasion, and subsequent occupation. I was 13 years old. The Iraq war transformed the way a generation of people looked at the world—myself included. It showed us that everything we are brought up to believe about this country and it’s commitment to democracy and human rights was a lie.
It revealed the scale of human catastrophe, and magnitude of destruction those in power will go to in their pursuit for oil and empire. Over 1 million Iraqis killed. 5 million displaced. More then 5,000 U.S. soldiers killed, hundreds of thousands wounded, and over 30,000 murdered by suicide.
Never let the criminals that run this system rewrite or erase what they did. It’s for all of those who’s lives were stolen away and cut short that we still fight for a world where this will never happen.
Jesus. Reading a 1956 feature article in an American newspaper written by a military officer who served in the U.S. Occupation administration in Japan following the war. The paternalistic racism is literally out of control. Talk about “white man’s burden!”
The article starts with a subheading which promises to unravel “one of the great mysteries of the East: that unfathomable Japanese personality.” He proceeds to inform the reader that the “Japanese are not accustomed to analysis,” “they take their feelings for granted,” and they all have a “stoic Oriental acceptance of misfortune.”
He concludes, “This was the one gift we could say we had brought them [the Japanese]. All their lives for centuries past, they had accepted their misfortunes. They had endured poverty, illness, malnutrition, famine, earthquake, typhoons and wars. They had resigned themselves; the misery of their lives was beyond remedy. Now they had a new hope. It was something that came to them from the New World.”
Strange “hope” this, which came to Japan from the “New World” along with the deaths of at least 750,000 Japanese citizens, slaughtered — en masse — by what remains today the most destructive series of bombing raids in human history. 153,000 tons of bombs dropped on civilian targets; 60 major Japanese cities completely burned to the ground by nonstop fire-bombings; Hiroshima and Nagasaki obliterated instantaneously by nuclear bombs; millions more left homeless, permanently injured, suffering from radiation poisoning; and all followed by a totalitarian occupation in which US officials had absolute control over the lives of all Japanese citizens, including suspension of the right to travel inside and outside of Japan, having all of the press subject to unilateral US censorship, the summary prohibition of independent political parties and trade unions, famine-producing rationing of food and medicines, and the widespread proliferation of sex-trafficking and rape at the hand of US forces.
As Martin Luther King, Jr., said of the Vietnamese people during the U.S. war on that nation, “They must see Americans as strange liberators.”
THE MOVEMENT calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to grant basic rights to Palestinians has suddenly moved from the margins to center stage.
Scarcely a year ago, knowledge that a BDS movement even existed was mostly confined to people who have spent years engaged in solidarity campaigns that were largely shrugged off by the mainstream media and the Israeli political establishment. When activism did take place, it was often in reaction to Israel’s repeated military assaults and acts of repression.
But as 2013 drew to a close, the controversy swirling around a lucrative marketing deal between SodaStream, which produces a home carbonation machine in an illegal West Bank settlement, and Hollywood superstar and Oxfam ambassador Scarlett Johansson captured some headlines for the movement.
Then the American Studies Association (ASA) voted to honor the Palestinian call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The ensuing backlash against the ASA, including denunciations by high-profile university presidents and an ill-conceived attempt to punish the ASA, proposed and then abandoned by the New York state legislature (and now revised and reintroduced), gave the BDS campaign its highest profile yet and uncorked a fierce debate about academic freedom and Palestine.
There was more to come: Secretary of State John Kerry warned his Israeli counterparts that they needed to get serious about “peace” negotiations or risk facing a growing global boycott movement. On January 31, the New York Times ran an opinion article by Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement and one of its ablest spokespeople, breaking the Times' longstanding embargo against significant articles by BDS proponents.
In February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with three of his top cabinet ministers, including ultranationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to discuss strategies for containing the boycott threat. Pointedly, however, Netanyahu didn’t invite two ministers—Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid—who have echoed Kerry’s remarks.
In the U.S., a schism is likewise emerging between Israel’s most reactionary defenders, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, and a more confident network of liberal Zionists who are sounding the alarm about the refusal of Israel’s hardliners to make even token concessions that are fully within Israeli interests.
The arrival of BDS as a factor in the geostrategic calculations of American and Israeli policymakers is, in itself, a major accomplishment for this young movement. The call from Palestinian civil society for a global BDS campaign was issued in 2005, less than 10 years ago.
Everyone involved—from pro-Israel political leaders to the activists of the BDS movement—know full well the impact of the last solidarity campaign against an apartheid system. The divestment movement against South Africa’s racist regime began in earnest in the 1970s and played an important part in galvanizing international sentiment and undermining the legitimacy of white rule. The fall of South African apartheid was a long time in coming, but it did fall.
Today, the BDS movement is poised to become the anti-apartheid movement of a new generation, capable of inspiring people around the world to speak out for justice for a historically dispossessed people—and in so doing, learn how to better speak out for themselves….
And who is holding the US accountable for these war crimes and crimes against humanity?
The number of civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan’s war rose 14 percent last year, with nearly 3,000 people dead as violence escalates and the US prepares to withdraw the bulk of its forces.
The United Nation’s annual protection of civilians in armed conflict report, published on Tuesday, documented 2,959 civilian deaths and 5,656 wounded in 2013.
The UN said the figures are the highest since 2009, the worst year since the US invasion of 2001.
Purdue University professorassesses the effect of the recent advances in the effort to spread the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
RECENT VICTORIES in the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid have opened up new possibilities for the movement.
First, the American Studies Association (ASA), with more than 4,000 members worldwide, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) voted to join the boycott of Israeli universities. Then, the 27,000-member Modern Language Association (MLA) passed by a narrow margin a resolution criticizing Israel for restricting the right of U.S. scholars to enter the West Bank to work at Palestinian universities. Earlier in 2013, the Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS) passed its own boycott resolution.
Predictably, this wave of anti-apartheid activism has predictably been met with an apartheid wall of opposition.
More than 150 university administrators, mostly well-paid university presidents, leapt to condemn the ASA vote and defend Israel’s denial of rights and self-determination. Leading newspapers, including the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, editorialized against the ASA. And 134 members of Congress signed on to an open letter attacking the ASA and supporting Israel.
But the impact of the courageous stance taken by these academic associations is nevertheless unmistakable: Israeli apartheid is on the defensive, and the global BDS movement has inched closer to what co-founder Omar Barghouti has called a “tipping point.”
Students and Palestinian solidarity activists around the country are strategizing about how to build on these victories; public discussion of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East and U.S. support for Israel has broken into the mainstream media; and chinks in Israel’s armor of political and diplomatic support are beginning to emerge.
The mainstream media depicted Ariel Sharon as a dignified Israeli leader. He should be remembered as a war criminal.
This is a few months old, but I just came across it. It demonstrates the way in which the equivocating, soft-Empire nature of “limousine liberalism” — which The Nation often indulges in — can produce some of the most obscene attacks on truly radical and forthright critics of oppression, injustice, and colonialism.
In this case, we are told by Nation columnist Eric Alterman that it is somehow not in the interest of the VICTIMS of Israeli brutality for an author to unabashedly detail such brutalities and cohere them into a unified picture of pattern crimes against humanity.
This carelessly constructed case against the Jewish state won’t help the occupation’s victims.
Max Blumenthal’s Goliath, published by Nation Books, consists of seventy-three short chapters, each one devoted to some shortcoming of Israeli society and/or moral outrage that the Jewish state has perpetrated against the Palestinians. Some are titled to imply an equivalence between Israel and Nazi Germany (“The Concentration Camp,” “The Night of Broken Glass”); others merely evidence juvenile faux-cleverness (“How to Kill Goyim and Influence People”).
Israel is rarely wholly innocent in the stories Blumenthal tells. Its brutal military occupation of Palestinian land, now entering its forty-sixth year, has not only deeply damaged Israel’s democracy, but also desensitized its citizens to the daily humiliations it inflicts on the Palestinians. But Blumenthal proves a profoundly unreliable narrator. Alas, his case against the Jewish state is so carelessly constructed, it will likely alienate anyone but the most fanatical anti-Zionist extremists, and hence do nothing to advance the interests of the occupation’s victims.
Blumenthal evinces no interest in the larger context of Israel’s actions. Potential threats that emanate from Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, etc., receive virtually no mention in these pages. Israel’s actions are attributed exclusively to the myopia of its citizens. Blumenthal blames “Israeli society’s nationalistic impulses,” its politicians who struggle “to outdo one another in a competition for the most convincing exaltation of violence against the Arab evildoers,” its “fever swamps,” its “unprovoked violence against the Arab outclass,” and its textbooks that “indoctrinate Jewish children into the culture of militarism.” It would have been easy for him to at least pretend to even-handedness here. Did it not occur to Blumenthal, for instance, that Palestinians have textbooks as well?
PARIS (AP) Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United States, accusing it of making threats in the dispute over an agreement to keep U.S. troops in the country beyond 2014.
In an interview published Tuesday by the French daily Le Monde, Karzai says the U.S. is ‘‘absolutely’’ acting like a colonial power in its attempts to force him to sign the bilateral security agreement by the end of this year. The paper quoted him as saying: ‘‘The threats they are making, ‘We won’t pay salaries, we’ll drive you into a civil war.’ These are threats.’’
"The proposed accord would allow the U.S. to keep up to nine military bases in Afghanistan—and mandate that it fund the Afghan government’s security forces through at least 2024.
"It also allows for the presence of an indefinite number of foreign troops, though Karzai claims the number will be some 15,000 soldiers, the majority of them from the U.S. U.S. troops and contractors working with the Defense Department would be allowed to enter the country without having to obtain passports or visas.
"U.S. troops will be able to engage in combat operations in "mutually agreed" circumstances, including giving support to Afghan forces. Under the agreement, U.S. soldiers are exempt from civil or criminal complaints under Afghan law—jurisdiction will lie solely with the U.S., which has never allowed its own soldiers to face charges in Afghanistan for the killing of Afghan civilians."
The Hamas government of the Gaza Strip has appointed their first female spokesperson to represent the group’s communications with the international media.
The hiring of Isra al-Modallal, a 23-year-old who speaks fluent British-accented English, as a spokeswoman for Hamas is part of a long-running push by the group to present a newer and friendlier face both to its own citizens and internationally.
"We are looking forward to having a different and unique language," said al-Modallal in an interview in her Gaza City office, on her first week in the job. "We will make the issues more human."
Al-Modallal, a divorced mother of a four-year-old girl, does not have her roots in the Hamas movement. Unlike many other Hamas officials, her office does not bear a photo of Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Along with the Quran, she keeps a book on American history as well.
She takes a slightly different line than many Hamas spokesmen. She refers to “Israel” rather than the “Zionist entity.” She does not consider herself a Hamas loyalist but says she would be equally willing to work as spokeswoman for the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank.
"I am not Hamas. I am a Palestinian activist who loves her country," al-Modallal said.
describes the role of the Palestinian Authority in suppressing the struggle for freedom and justice in the West Bank.
THOUGH THE mainstream media coverage of Israel and Palestine often speculates about a third Intifada (which means “shaking off” in Arabic), it’s rarely pointed out that the next uprising will likely seek to shake off the Palestinian Authority (PA) before it turns its sights toward Israel again.
As the perception that the PA is a proxy for the Israeli government gains currency among Palestinians, popular resentment is spreading. “Here we have layers of colonialism and occupation—the Palestinian government is just another layer because it is an Israeli tool,” lamented Ehab el-Shafie, a resident of Al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah.
A recent petition with over 10,000 signatures says no.
There’s still time to vote “No!” in this BET poll.