GOING ON VACATION

This is where I will be until Friday.I will not have Internet access so will not be blogging…. But… I don’t want anyone to worry about me like the last time I disappeared from the Net.
I’ll be giving a full report of the Israeli elections when I get back… and hopefully some fun stories from my vacation…
So…. until Friday!

THOUSANDS PAY TRIBUTE TO RACHEL CORRIE


Rachel, dressed in dayglo orange with megaphone in hand, saying NO to a Caterpillar bulldozer in Rafah, a town in Gaza.

When I was a small child, my mother Esther took me out for long walks in my stroller. Quite often she met up with a very close friend of hers named Laura. Laura had a son that was two years younger than me, his name was Matt. Matt and I grew up together, went to the same high school, took part in the same struggles to make America a better place than it was.
Matt remained in Brooklyn, my travels took me to Canada and eventually Israel, but we remained close friends.
Matt also has a blog here on Blogspot and he wrote this piece yesterday. I took the liberty of ‘stealing’ it from him… that’s what friends do.
Please read it… and you will see why I love my friend Matt dearly.

HOSTAGES FREED IN IRAQ


From left to right, Canadian nationals James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, and British national Norman Kember.
Three Christian peace workers that were taken hostage in Iraq were freed earlier today.Two Canadians and one Brit , comrades of the slain American Tom Fox were taken hostage while on a peace mission in the war torn regeon.
Let us give thanks that they are safe, and let us hope that the war ends soon so more peace workers do not have to go there again.

Forth memember of the team, American Tom Fox, found murdered two weeks ago.

RACHEL CORRIE REMEMBERED

Three years have passed since the murder of Rachel Corrie. She was a peace activist involved in trying to prevent the demolition of homes in occupied Gaza.
She was crushed to death by a bulldozer when she refused to move out of its way. She was murdered!
Her memory stays alive throughout the world, and it must. In her hometown of Seattle, Washington cultural events are taking place as well as in New York.
These events must be supported by all progressive minded people. Her memory must be kept alive and her message must be spread.
Her death must not be allowed to in any way stop the movements against injustice. Her love for humanity must never be forgotten, neither must she.

DUBYA APPEALS FOR PATIENCE ON IRAQ

The following is a report from AlJazeera…
The Bush administration is conveying a stay-the-course message on the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, although a top military commander has acknowledged that the armed anti-US campaign is fiercer than expected.

George Bush, the US president, set the tone for his administration when he said on Sunday: “We are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq.”

Dick Cheney, the vice-president, and Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defence, echoed the remarks.

“The Iraqi people voted for democracy last December; 75% of the eligible citizens went to the polls. Now, the Iraqi leaders are working together to enact a government that reflects the will of the people,” the president said at a time when polls at home are showing growing public scepticism about the mission.

Rumsfeld, writing in a column for The Washington Post newspaper, declared: “Now is the time for resolve, not retreat. Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis.”

Progress hailed

Cheney echoed the president in hailing political progress in Iraq, noting that the Iraqis have met political deadlines set for them and predicting they will form a unified government “shortly”.

In an interview on CBS Face the Nation, Cheney rejected a statement in which Iraq’s former interim prime minister said the increasing attacks can only be described as a civil war. “If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is,” Iyad Allawi told the BBC.

Instead, Cheney described the violence as the actions of terrorists who have “reached a stage of desperation”.

“What we’ve seen is a serious effort by them to foment a civil war,” Cheney said. “But I don’t think they’ve been successful.”

Yet there were acknowledgments from US General George Casey that the situation is fragile and that he was not in a position to predict the strength of the armed anti-US campaign.

“I did not think it would be as robust as it has been,” Casey, the top commander there, said on NBC’s Meet the Press programme. “And it’s something that, obviously, with my time here on the ground, my thinking on that has gained much greater clarity and insight.”

Bush did not mention the continuing attacks, the car bombings or the mounting Iraqi deaths in his two-minute statement to reporters. And he avoided using the word “war”, choosing instead to call the day “the third anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Iraq”.

Sacrifices

The president indirectly referred to the violence when he said he spent the morning reflecting on the sacrifices made by US soldiers.

Bush said that he spoke by phone earlier in the day with the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, and had received a positive report.

Over 2300 US servicemen and women have been killed in Iraq.

The White House is trying to remind the disapproving public of Bush’s vision for Iraq with a public-relations blitz.

The president plans to give a series of speeches on Iraq, beginning on Monday in Cleveland.

More than three-fourths of the public thinks it is likely that Iraq is headed toward civil war, according to an AP-Ipsos poll taken in early March.

And two-thirds of Americans say the US is losing ground in preventing civil war in Iraq, according to a Pew Research Center poll taken in the same period. That is up from 48% in January.

On a different note, but the same moronic mentality, the Judeo nazi candidate in the Israeli election is calling for left wing activists to be killed. This from someone that is supposedly ‘outlawed’, someone that should be sitting in a jail cell right now instead of spreading the hate that he does.
Read this, from HaAretz…it’s pathetic.

RUBBING SALT IN THE WOUNDS

Israel has allowed 6 or 7 trucks carrying flour and sugar to enter Gaza. Not nearly enough to feed the 1.5 million people that live there.
But… another problem has developed… there is a food shortage in Gaza…now there is also a water crises in northern Arab villages because of the apartheid wall.
There just doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to this madness….

ISRAEL TO BLAME FOR STARVATION IN GAZA


Gazans stock up bread on Saturday

How quickly Israel forgets what starvation means. This photo of a starving Jewish child was taken in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.Who was to blame for this? The nazis..
Today, a similar situation is developing in Gaza, who is to blame? ISRAEL…

This photo shows Gazans lining up for the remaining loaves of bread on Saturday.

Here we have Jews buying the last loaves in the Warsaw Ghetto. The bread had to be kept locked up to prevent it from being stolen.

Is history repeating itself? Has Israel become the new monster? WHEAT-FLOUR STOCKS HAVE FINISHED IN THE GAZA STRIP, WITH MOST BAKERIES CLOSING SHOP AND THE UNITED NATIONS WARNING OF A LOOMING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE FACE OF A NEARLY TWO-MONTH LONG ISRAELI-IMPOSED CLOSURE OF GAZA’S COMMERCIAL CROSSINGS…These words from the ElectricIntefada. And this from AlJazeera. The Israeli press had very little to
say on the situation.
There must be a world outcry against this situation. Israel must not be allowed to follow in the ‘boot’ steps of nazi Germany.The U.N. is doing what they can to end this horrible situation… it is the duty of every progressive minded person throughout the world to do the same.
This must not be allowed to continue. Israel has overstepped its bounds this time and must be stopped.

UNITE TO FIGHT STARVATION NOW

BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW


This week marks three years since the US invasion of Iraq. Over 2000 US dead…billions of dollars spent, money that could solve many a problem right in the US itself.
Today and yesterday, tens of thousands of patriotic Americans voiced their opposition to the war…with the simple message BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
Conflicting reports in the press are disturbing, numbers do not match. Someone is not telling the whole truth and I can’t figure out why. CNN reports tens of thousands participating.
AlJazeera reports hundreds.
If you scroll down at my sidebar, you will see how much this invasion is costing the US taxpayer… the number increases every second.
The time is three years overdue… BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

AND JUSTICE FOR ALL?

Dick Cheney goes hunting and shoots a lawyer instead of a quail…his punishment? He becomes the laughing stock of the nation and half the world. This man goes and shoots a lawyer and gets sentenced to life in prison.
Cheney committed more than his share of crimes to warrant the same punishment… Where is the justice?
DISCLAIMER TO THOSE IN DOUBT… YES..THIS WAS MEANT TO BE FUNNY

WHEN A PICTURE IS WORTH 1.5 MILLION BUCKS

A picture used to be worth a thousand words… inflation has increased its value to 1.5 Million Dollars…
This story from today’s New York Times tells it all.. it’s actually quite frightening. A photographer,doing his job, shoots a photo of a passerby on a busy street, the photo gets published in a magazine, the passerby sees it and sues the photographer for a million and a half dollars for ‘publishing the portrait without permission and profiting from it financially.’Sheesh, the man (photographer) was doing his job! No one was hurt by what he did.. where is the crime? The man was walking on one of the busiest streets in the United States.What is America coming to?
Shame on you Erno Nussenzweig!

HATRED VS. KINDNESS

The Jerusalem Post is not my favourite newspaper in Israel. It is usually quite politically slanted to the right and very biased in my opinion. But this weekends magazine section had two articles that I felt should be shared with my readers. One is a story of how a personal tragedy opened a mans heart.. not to hatred as a result of it, but to kindness and compassion. It was a very moving story.

The other story describes the aftermath of the soccer game I wrote about the other day. Hatred,it seems, can very easilly be replaced with kindness and compassion… hopefully the first story will inspire others in the second camp.

3 YEARS TOO MANY

Do whatever you can, in every way you can, to help bring the troops home NOW!

Tell Washington it’s been 3 Years Too Many!

FAREWELL TO ANOTHER GREAT WOMAN

Anne Braden has left us at the age of 81. She and her late husband Carl were two very special people. They fought racism and injustice their entire life. One of my favourite quotes, in fact I use it in my e mail signature is….
“To believe in something and not live it, is dishonest.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

Anne Braden believed in something and lived it. Her obituary that appears in todays New York Times tells part of her story. It’s worth the read.
She was a truly great woman that will be sorely missed by the forces of Peace and Justice.
Farewell Anne… and thanks!

FBI COVERS UP RACIST MURDER

Emmett Till is not exactly a household word today, but in the 50′s it was. Emmett was a young boy that was murdered in Mississippi in 1955…murdered because he was Black in a white man’s land. Murdered because hate was the norm in the area.
The trial was a sham… the murderers set free… justice was never served.
Now, 51 years later the FBI still refuses to level charges in the case. Nothing will bring Emmett Till back to us, but justice still deserves to be served.
Here is a little background on the case as reported on CNN…
Till, a black teenager from Chicago, was visiting relatives in Mississippi in August 1955 when he was beaten and shot, purportedly for whistling at a white woman. His battered body, weighted down with a cotton-gin fan around his neck, was pulled from the Tallahatchie River a few days later.

The boy’s mother held an open-casket funeral, and a photo of Till’s disfigured face let the world see what was happening in the South.

In 1955, an all-white jury acquitted two white men, Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milan, who later confessed to the killing in a magazine interview. They have since died.

The Justice Department reopened the case last year, prompted by meetings with a documentary filmmaker who claimed to have found investigative errors and who concluded that some people still living were involved in the crime.

Before 1994, all federal criminal civil rights violations carried a five-year statute of limitations, even in cases involving death. In 1994, the law was amended to provide the death penalty in such cases, but the law cannot be applied retroactively, said FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden.

The FBI’s Raucci said the bureau would have no further comment on what is now a state case.

Till’s family said it had not expected any federal charges, so the news did not come as a disappointment.

“It’s up to Mrs. Chiles now and the state of Mississippi that’s been given a rare chance to redeem themselves,” said Till’s cousin Simeon Wright, who was with the teen the night of the murder. “They claim that they have changed. We’re going to see. We’re going to stand back and watch what happens.”

In recent years, law enforcement authorities have been trying to complete unfinished business from the civil rights era.

In 1994, Mississippi won the conviction of Byron de la Beckwith for the 1963 sniper killing of NAACP leader Medgar Evers.

In Alabama, Bobby Frank Cherry was convicted in 2002 of killing four black girls in the bombing of a Birmingham church in 1963. In 2001, Thomas Blanton was convicted.

And Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman, was convicted last June of manslaughter in the killings of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964.

Racism and hate is alive and well in the deep south and is still covered up by Federal Authorities. This must not be tolerated!

This song, written by Bob Dylan in 1963 says it all…

PALESTINIAN PRISONERS SURRENDER TO ISRAELI TROOPS


Wanted Palestinians surrendering to IDF soldiers outside Jericho’s prison on Tuesday. (AP)

Today was a holiday in Israel. It was Purim.. a festive occassion quite similar in customs to Halloween. Children are all in costumes.. it’s a fun day. At least it’s supposed to be. Today’s festivities had a damper put on them when Israeli troops stormed into a prison complex in Jericho, a town in occupied Palestine.
The prison was guarded by British and American monitors. They left this morning, which is when the Israeli troops wre prompted to move in.
According to CNN,The Israel Defense Forces operation comes a week after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was prepared to free one of the six, Ahmed Saadat, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who allegedly ordered the 2001 killing of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi.

Further reports from AlJazeera stated..The operation on Tuesday drew a furious response from Ismail Haniya, Hamas’s prime minister-designate, who criticised the “dangerous escalation” and warned Israel against any attempt on the life of Saadat and his comrades.

The Israeli public security minister told public radio: “This operation was ordered by the prime minister in the fight against terrorism. We are committed to the murderers of minister Rehavam Zeevi remaining behind bars.”

A spokesman for the Palestinian interior ministry in Gaza City said the British and the Americans had left the premises shortly before the operation began.
This was the scene outside the prison earlier…
Palestinian prisoners were ordered
to strip down to their underwear.
HaAretz reported that…The drama began early in the day, when American and British monitors supervising the detention of the six left the prison. The monitors had been stationed there as part of a compromise reached between Israel and the PA, which had guaranteed Israel that it would keep Ze’evi’s killers behind bars.

The monitors were withdrawn in response to a statement last week by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who said that he was prepared to free Sa’adat, drawing an angry response from Israel. Abbas said Tuesday that the British and American monitors bore “full responsibility” for the raid.

Israelis and Palestinians both were glued to their TV sets today. Tensions were high throught the entire country. Mosques and Synagogues were packed for evening prayers, all praying for the same thing.. an end to the siege and peace in the region…
Isn’t Anyone listening to those prayers?

RACISM IS OUTLAWED…BUT THRIVES IN ISRAEL

Twelve years ago tomorrow on the Hebrew Calendar, 29 Muslims were shot to death while at prayer in a Mosque in Hebron. It was the Jewish Holiday of Purim. The Mosque, part of a complex which contains the remains of Abraham and His family also serves as a Synagogue. It is a site holy to both Jews and Muslims. The common history that we share is contained in that very building. Twenty nine people shot to death during morning prayers. Shot to death by a disciple of the prince of Judeo-nazism, Mayer Kahana.
The movement to which they belonged to was outlawed. The political party they belonged to was forbidden to run in Knesset elections.
But, if they changed the name of their party or movement it’s OK… Does this make sense? The hatred continues, the racism continues…by the same people with a different name on their banner.
Tonight there will be a football game between Betar Jerusalem and Benei Sachnin. Betar fans are the most vicious anti Arab people in Israel. They almost always shout racist remarks at games which forced the Israeli Government to outlaw shouting “death to Arabs” at their games…Did this stop them? NO!
Benei Sachnin is an Arab team from the north of Israel. There are also Jewish players involved with them. The last game they had with Betar ended in near riots in the stadium.
Tonight, members of various Jewish nationalist and Judeo nazi organizations plan to attend the game… to insure that riots occur again. These actions from ‘supposedly outlawed’ organizations.
Just who is Israel trying to kid? Racism is outlawed but thrives in Israel. This is our biggest disgrace.

CHUTZPAH REVISITED

With all of the recent scandals and wrong-doings facing the present administration in Washington, they have one hell of a nerve calling for Iran to change it’s government.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that the administration of George Bush, the US president, intends to mount a campaign against Tehran’s religious leaders in its efforts to build international pressure against Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran’s present government is the last government I would in any way offer any support to, but it is up to the people of Iran to change the situation… not George W. Bush.
Let him look at his own administration and seriously consider stepping down, before he is impeached. The last Republican President to do that was able to ‘save some face’ and some dignity… this one should do the same… NOW!

NEW VENEZUELAN FLAG REFLECTS NEW POLICIES

When one sees positive changes in one part of the world, the hope that similar changes will occur elswhere are strengthened. Hugo Chavez is proving daily that Socialism is not dead, in fact, is still the future and the hope of the world…

As the new flag was unveiled Sunday, President Hugo Chavez’s sash still bore the old coat of arms.

The following is taken from an Associated press report…

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday raised a new flag with one extra star and its white horse galloping left instead of right — changes that he said pay tribute to independence hero Simon Bolivar but that critics called frivolous and wasteful.

Chavez hoisted the eight-starred flag — approved by congress last week — at an outdoor ceremony while soldiers stood at attention, and then he applauded and smiled.

“Long live the fatherland!” Chavez said. He called the eighth star, which Bolivar once proposed, “the star of victory, the star of the future.”

“The white horse is now liberated, free, vigorous, trotting toward the left, representing the return of Bolivar and his dream,” said Chavez, who has been heading left himself — leading a “Bolivarian Revolution” to install socialism and help the poor.

Thousands of Chavez’s supporters attended a government parade marking Flag Day and the 200th anniversary of Venezuela’s tricolor flag.

While a white horse, floats, dancers and soldiers in revolutionary-era uniforms paraded past Chavez, his opponents planned their own, separate march to protest the new flag and coat of arms.


Chavez said the horse looked odd running to the right and looking back in the opposite direction.

Venezuela’s new coat of arms has a horse running to the left, “liberated and free,” its president says.

STREET TALK

Finally summer is returning to Jerusalem. I ventured out to the local commercial centre to get a feel of what’s on people’s minds these days.As I suspected, it was full of people enjoying the sunshine and the local eateries. I am definitely a people watcher and evesdropper. I’ve lived in the same community for over twenty years so I know who lives here, who doesn’t, but definitely who has interesting things to say.
There was a group of young adults, recent graduates from high school, about to enter the army in about a week…they were ‘plotting’ ways of how to wind up in the same unit.
There was a group of young Palestinians having coffee…. they were discussing the results of a soccer game they saw yesterday.
I sat with a young man who was about to be released from the army. We discussed his plans for the future… he wants to study photography in Australia. He holds duel citizenship because his father was born there.
Another young man was sitting with his father discussing his dental appointment later today.
So…. why is this interesting? Israelis, like most other Middle Easterners are a very political people. It is often joked that if you have three Israelis together, you will hear at least six political opinions. Here we are two weeks and two days before a general election… and no one is talking about it. Not one person in the area I was in today even mentioned the election. It leads me to believe that there will be a very low voter turnout, which is sad…
People seem fed up… no matter who gets elected there never seems to be a change. Again, all I can say is that I hope the Left will not lose out from this apparent apathy. Time will tell….

THE RIGHT SNUBS THE RIGHT IN ISRAEL

With Israel’s general election just over two weeks away, one would think there would be talks of issues. One would think there would be talks of how to establish a just peace in the regeon. One would think….. but no, this is Israel. Issues do not matter..only personalities matter. It’s Netanyahu against Olmert… no issues… just personalities.
Both parties, Likud and Kadima assume they will lead the next government. Hopefully both will be disappointed when the left takes over instead… there is always that hope.
One can say that there are issues raised in the linked article, but in my opinion those are lies. I said that in an earlier thread and I will say it again… if Kadema speaks of withdrawing from the illegal settlements, why wasn’t it done already? The fact that it wasn’t done leads me to believe that they never intend to do it. They have truly inherited Sharon’s policies of ‘lie and deceive’, his greatest legacy to Israel.

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