IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORK SOLIDARITY WITH YARMOUK REFUGEE CAMP

March from Bryant Park to United Nations Headquarters

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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See THIS recent post  (Click on link)

WORLD TURNS A BLIND EYE TO ISIS’ MASSACRE OF PALESTINIANS

VIDEO MESSAGE FROM GAZA ~~ 7 MONTHS LATER WE ARE STILL UNDER THE RUBBLE!

A message from Gaza: We are still under the rubble !!

NYT FINALLY PUBLISHES NEWS FIT TO PRINT

WAIT TILL ZION SEES THIS ;)

hatereagle

Has the New York Times finally joined the human race?

NEVER SAY NEVER!

But better late than never. I feel like I’m reading a normal report in a normal newspaper. We salute Kershner.

Now let’s brace for the backlash. This is the kind of thing that will get hasbara worked up, and the full-scale counterattack on the Times is probably already under way. I cannot recall ever reading a news article in the Times that is so clear about Israeli human rights violations.

Surprise– ‘NYT’ publishes straightforward report on Israeli human rights violations in Gaza

James North FOR

In today’s New York Times, reporter Isabel Kershner devotes a substantial article to a new report from B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, saying that Israel likely committed war crimes in its attack on Gaza last summer.

An Israeli human rights group said Israel’s attacks on residential buildings in Gaza during the 50-day war against Hamas last summer appeared in at least some instances to violate the provisions of international law and raised grave legal concerns in others, according to a report to be published on Wednesday…

[B’Tselem] investigated 70 cases in which more than 600 Palestinians were killed inside homes, a majority of them — children, women and men over the age of 60 — considered unlikely to have been involved in the fighting.

Simple as that. How much clearer can you be?  A few paragraphs down, we get the denial from Israeli authorities. But then it goes back to the charges. The bulk of the story is what B’Tselem says in its 49-page report, which is titled “Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014.” There’s even an interview with B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad. And a paragraph that begins, “The B’Tselem report contains wrenching testimonies from the survivors of 13 houses that were hit.”

Of course the Times should have been doing this all along. As I reported last summer, the Times’s failure to quote B’Tselem’s reports has been a serious omission in its coverage.

In the past two years, B’Tselem has been mentioned only 20 times — and 9 of those appearances were in “The Lede,” a blog by Robert Mackey that is not part of the printed newspaper.

But better late than never. I feel like I’m reading a normal report in a normal newspaper. We salute Kershner.

Now let’s brace for the backlash. This is the kind of thing that will get hasbara worked up, and the full-scale counterattack on the Times is probably already under way. I cannot recall ever reading a news article in the Times that is so clear about Israeli human rights violations.

THE COST OF PALESTINIAN JUSTICE ~~ IN TOONS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

 

Israel will stop you by hook or by crook!

Israel will stop you by hook or by crook!

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Nobody will touch or war criminals!

Nobody will touch our war criminals!

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Related (Click on link)

Israel freezes Palestine tax funds over ICC bid

NEW YEAR SPOOFS

All images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Despite all the carnage committed by Israel, Palestine will live to fight again!

Despite all the carnage committed by Israel, Palestine will live to fight again!

 

 

I can’t make any prediction for 2015…EXCEPT that the struggle in Palestine will continue!

I can’t make any prediction for 2015…EXCEPT that the struggle in Palestine will continue!

 

Happy New WHAT?! #Syria #Iraq #Ukraine #Gaza #Afghanistan

Happy New WHAT?! #Syria #Iraq #Ukraine #Gaza #Afghanistan

 

CHANUKAH IN GAZA ~~ TIS THE SEASON TO DROP BOMBS

Tis the Season to bomb Gaza ….. just look at THIS post from 6 years ago …

(MaanImages/file)

Israel and Palestinian factions signed a ceasefire agreement on Aug. 26 after a deadly Israeli offensive on Gaza that left more than 2,100 — overwhelmingly civilians — dead.

The ceasefire deal stipulated an end to hostilities, and Israel agreed to ease its devastating blockade on the Strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast.

However, Palestinians accuse Israeli forces of regular ceasefire violations, with near-daily reports that navy soldiers have fired at fishermen off the coast of the enclave, and occasional reports of Israeli troops shooting and injuring Palestinians near the border.

For first time since summer,
Israeli planes bombard
Gaza
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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Palestinians in the city of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip woke Saturday morning to the sounds of explosions for the first time since the Israeli offensive in July-August that lasted 51 days and left nearly 2,000 dead.

A Ma’an reporter said that Israeli F-16 warplanes fired at least two rockets targeting a site belonging to Hamas in eastern Khan Younis.

The Israeli army confirmed the air strike, adding that it had “targeted a Hamas terror infrastructure site.”

A spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry said there were no casualties in the attack.

The strikes came after a rocket shell was fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Friday, causing no injuries or reported damage.

None of the Palestinian resistance factions including Hamas, however, claimed responsibility for firing the rocket.

Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said the “Hamas terrorist organization is responsible and accountable” for the rocket fire, which he said the army viewed “with severity.”

Hamas has almost entirely prevented any other factions from firing rockets since the ceasefire, despite repeated Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians at sea and near the border.

On Friday alone, Israeli forces shot and injured six Palestinians as they participated in a protest march near the border.

Political analyst Hani Basous told Ma’an that the Israeli airstrikes are a mere reaction to the rocket and an attempt to send a warning message to all Palestinians.

“Israel wanted to deliver a message to the Palestinian factions and Hamas that any actions on the border will be confronted with a harsh response.”

Basous added that Israel cannot go through another “wave of struggle” at the current moment due to the upcoming domestic elections.

He added that despite the fact that the shell fired from Gaza was “unidentified,” Israel still holds Hamas responsible for it.

Another political analyst, Akram Atallah, told Ma’an that the Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip was meant to send a message to a domestic audience during the elections campaigns.

Atallah said that the airstrikes are meant to show that nothing stops the Netanyahu government from hitting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Palestinian factions signed a ceasefire agreement on Aug. 26 after a deadly Israeli offensive on Gaza that left more than 2,100 — overwhelmingly civilians — dead.

The ceasefire deal stipulated an end to hostilities, and Israel agreed to ease its devastating blockade on the Strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast.

However, Palestinians accuse Israeli forces of regular ceasefire violations, with near-daily reports that navy soldiers have fired at fishermen off the coast of the enclave, and occasional reports of Israeli troops shooting and injuring Palestinians near the border.

Continued Cairo ceasefire talks to iron out further details of the truce were postponed to November following a deadly attack on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula.

Gaza has been under a severe economic blockade since 2007, set into place by Israel after Hamas won democratic elections and later took power in the Strip.

Lifting the blockade has been the main grievance of Gaza militant groups in the bloody conflicts with Israel in 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014.

REMEMBERING THOSE THAT ISRAEL WANTS YOU TO FORGET ABOUT

Take action for Palestinian children killed by Israel

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Defence for Children International–Palestine (DCI-Palestine) has put together a stunning online resource to tell their stories and to encourage people to take action to help call for justice.

Click HERE to see the presentation ….. it’s a must watch.

Less accountability than ever

On 23 November, Israeli prosecutors brought manslaughter charges against the Border Police officer allegedly responsible for shooting Nadim Nuwara.

“The defendant used the blanks magazine so that his live fire, as opposed to rubber-bullet fire, would not be observed,” DCI-Palestine quotes the indictment as saying.

Some Israelis have rallied around the suspect, who has not been officially named, hailing him as a hero and inciting more killings of Palestinians.

No arrests have been made in the killing of Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, however.

And the fact that anyone was charged in Nuwara’s death – albeit for a reduced charge of manslaughter instead of murder – is rare enough.

Since 2000, Israeli forces have killed more than 8,896 Palestinians, DCI-Palestine states. At least 1,895 have been children.

In 2014, Israeli occupation forces killed ten children with live ammunition in the West Bank, including Nuwara and al-Thahir.

Between 2000 and 2013, just 5.2 percent of all investigations resulted in indictments.

And over the past three years, the chances of indictments have become slimmer – down to just 1.4 percent.

Take action

When you reach the end of the timeline on the No More Forgotten Lives website, DCI-Palestine asks you to take part in its Thunderclap – a social media campaign that is easy to join using Twitter or Facebook to draw attention to the killings.

This is a beautifully assembled resource to tell a story no one should ever have to tell.

The goal is to bring a measure of accountability and justice for these two boys, and for all the children whose lives have been stolen by the brutality of Israel’s occupation.

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The above was prepared by Ali Abunima 

DOES ISRAEL HAVE ANYTHING TO HIDE?

It certainly looks that way …

Breaking News

 

 

Israel denies entry to members of UN inquiry into alleged war crimes in Gaza

Jerusalem refuses to cooperate with members of the Schabas Commission, appointed to investigate conduct of Israel, Hamas during Operation Protective Edge.

Israel denied entry on Wednesday evening to members of a UN commission appointed by the Human Rights Council to investigate possible war crimes committed during Operation Protective Edge.

Full report HERE

AMNESTY’S ‘BETTER LATE THAN NEVER’ FINDINGS ON ISRAELI WAR CRIMES

Amnesty International has accused Israel of committing war crimes during its campaign in Gaza.

The 50-day war killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 72 people on the Israeli side, all but six of whom were soldiers.

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Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Israel accused of war crimes during Gaza conflict

Amnesty International says Israel displayed ‘callous indifference’ in attacks on family homes during military campaign in Gaza
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A Palestinian woman amid the rubble in Gaza City. The 50-day conflict killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis/ Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP

A Palestinian woman amid the rubble in Gaza City. The 50-day conflict killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis/ Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP

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Amnesty International has accused Israel of committing war crimes during its campaign in Gaza.

A report released by the group on Wednesday says Israel displayed “callous indifference” launching attacks on family homes in the densely populated coastal strip and in some cases its conduct amounted to war crimes. It adds that war crimes were also committed by Palestinian militants.

The 50-day war killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 72 people on the Israeli side, all but six of whom were soldiers.

Israel’s Gaza operation came after increased rocket attacks by Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers. Israel also arrested scores of Hamas activists in the West Bank, following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Israel’s foreign ministry rejected the report’s findings, saying Amnesty “ignores documented war crimes perpetrated by Hamas” and had produced no evidence to back up its claims.

Amnesty says it documented eight instances in which Israeli forces attacked homes in Gaza without warning, killing “at least 104 civilians including 62 children”.

“The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families,” Amnesty said.

While possible military targets were identified in some cases, “the devastation to civilian lives … was clearly disproportionate”, it added.

The report charges that when it appeared to have failed to identify any military target in a Gaza residential building, Israel may have “directly and deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects, which would constitute war crimes”.

“The report exposes a pattern of attacks on civilian homes by Israeli forces which have shown a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, who were given no warning and had no chance to flee,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s director for the Middle East and north Africa.

“Palestinian armed groups also committed war crimes, firing thousands of indiscriminate rockets into Israel killing six civilians including one child.”

The group said it had to conduct research for the report remotely as Israel denied it and other watchdogs access to Gaza.

Amnesty called on Israel and the Palestinians to “accede to the Rome statute and grant the ICC [international criminal court] the authority to investigate crimes committed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories”.

It called for cooperation with the UN human rights committee, which in October urged Israel to ensure an independent and impartial investigation to the Gaza war.

Israel said Amnesty had ignored “documented war crimes” by Hamas, such as the use of human shields, ammunition storage and firing at Israeli civilian population centres from within schools, hospitals, mosques and civilian neighbourhoods.

Israel was carrying out investigations into 90 incidents during the Gaza campaign, the foreign ministry said.

GITMO # 2 ~~ TURNING GAZA INTO A SUPER-MAX PRISON

Gaza – Maus Image created by Gianluca Costantini

Gaza – Maus
Image created by Gianluca Costantini

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Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?

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How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

A NEW ISRAELI PIN-UP CALENDAR TO DIE FOR ~~ LITERALLY

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The occupation isn’t sexy.

The Gaza war, just recently ended, wasn’t sexy.

And so seeing these women’s limbs draped in ammunition belts, their faces smeared in war paint and their bodies surrounded with guns and knives — it doesn’t feel sexy.

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Israeli Soldiers Create Least Sexy Pin-Up Ever

By Sigal Samuel FOR

MTKL’s Israeli Army Women Calendar

Just a couple of months after the Gaza war, Israel has found a new way “to show the world the beauty of Israel and its people” — via the power of a pin-up calendar featuring real IDF soldiers.

Or, as the creators of the MTKL Israeli Army Women Calendar like to call them, “the chosen amongst the chosen people.”

These chosen women, brought together by two former (male) soldiers who “scoured the ranks of the powerful Israeli army,” would like you to donate $25 to their Indiegogo campaign so that they can not only ship you this calendar, but also create a whole line of clothing and accessories that will blend “the best of military and street into must-have urban fashion.”

MTKL

Their goal is to make $30,000 off the calendars, enabling them to bring their clothing line to production in early 2015. So far they’ve raised about $3700 — which means that a bunch of people are already walking around wearing jewelry “fashioned after the official IDF Dog Tag.”

Scary thought.

I say that because, if you ask me, this fashion line — and the pin-up calendar being used to showcase it — is pretty much the most unsexy thing I can imagine.

It’s not just that this product is the work of two men using a bunch of women’s bodies to make a quick buck. Leave aside for a minute the obvious feminist objections to pin-up calendars writ large — and hone in on this calendar in particular. It doesn’t take long to see that we’re being sold more than your average “male gaze” sexual fantasy. What we’re being sold is an ideology that equates sexiness with militarism, and Israel with both.

There are at least 4 deeply unfortunate things about this:

1) It shows that Israel’s macho culture — a culture that says military violence is a beautiful and even arousing thing — is alive and well.

2) Women are supposed to be grateful to be allowed into this macho culture. The fact that they’re included is a sign of the culture’s progressiveness, of how evolved and “egalitarian” it is (to quote MTKL’s campaign).

3) Plenty of women actually buy into this logic. That includes the international buyers of MTKL’s products (sadly, I have no doubt that their products will sell) and the Israeli models themselves.

4) By buying into this logic, they are — wittingly or unwittingly — working to put a sexy face on the occupation.

But the occupation isn’t sexy.

The Gaza war, just recently ended, wasn’t sexy.

And so seeing these women’s limbs draped in ammunition belts, their faces smeared in war paint and their bodies surrounded with guns and knives — it doesn’t feel sexy.

The MTKL designers may think their calendar will help “to show the world the beauty of Israel and its people” — but I suspect that for an increasing number of people, this insistence on associating Israel with militarism actually does the exact opposite.

I AM NO LONGER ACCEPTING THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE

I AM CHANGING THE THINGS I CANNOT ACCEPT!
Free yourselves from all evils of society

Free yourselves from all evils of society

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As a society, we have been duped by the powers that be. We were told to chant the following …

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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Yet, the President of the United States promised CHANGE …. and yes, he kept his promise. Things have changed from bad to worse!

Are we expected to accept that?

I SAY NO!

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Now that we are finally awake, let's get out of bed and get to work!

Now that we are finally awake, let’s get out of bed and get to work!

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Acceptance of what Obama calls CHANGE is complicity with the evils within those changes!

Let’s start with the erosion of our Academic Freedom …. students are no longer allowed or encouraged to think … or even hear opinions contrary to those of the Administration. The human brain has become as redundant as the appendix.

Black Americans have become mere targets for trigger happy police officers, especially the youth.

Muslim Americans have been classified as terrorists and are racially profiled in every aspect of their lives.

New wars are being waged throughout the world targeting self created enemies … soldiers are dying for no reason at all yet they continue to follow orders, truly ‘Waste Deep In The Big Muddy’ …

Attempts to change any of the above leads to arrests, loss of jobs, or even worse, loss of lives.

BUT IT MUST BE DONE!

The American nation has become a nation of Sheeple being led to slaughter.

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The outdated Serenity Prayer presented above has allowed the Administration to destroy the very fibers of our society. They have treated us as if we were all addicted to a substance  dangerous to our health … and yes we were, a substance we know as Capitalism! Don’t allow that substance to become fascism …. an evil even harder to cure.

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It can be nipped in its bud!

It can be nipped in its bud!

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Stop following that asshole in front of you! Become the CHANGE that will give us something to really be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving!

AN ORWELLIAN LOOK AT THE ISRAELI ARMY

Do you remember the book and/or movie by George Orwell called Animal Farm? If not, watch the following before you proceed with the rest of this post …

The above was Orwell’s view of life in the Soviet Union during the Stalin era. (I must admit that the pig has a strong resemblance to one of the former leaders, Nikita Khrushchev.)

paul-schutzer-nikita-khrushchev-during-press-conference-from-balcony-of-soviet-united-nations-headquarters

paul-schutzer-nikita-khrushchev-during-press-conference-from-balcony-of-soviet-united-nations-headquarters

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Now, back to the IDF ….

Certain segments of the ultra orthodox community view those that serve in the Israeli army as pigs, an insult needless to say to any Jew who follows the laws of Kashrut ( laws concerning Kosher food).

This is how they are depicted

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Why then was it a surprise that Hamas tweeted the above poster?

While many Israelis were outraged by a recent anti-IDF poster campaign by hareidi extremists in which religious soldiers were portrayed as pigs, the campaign has received an enthusiastic endorsement from another group of anti-Zionists: Hamas.

On Saturday morning, a Hamas-aligned Twitter account retweeted the image, which showed a “pig” in an IDF uniform wearing a skullcap and peyot (sidecurls), waving a copy of the Talmud while hareidi children mocked his appearance. (FROM)

See the Twitter Page HERE

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Below you can see what the people of Gaza saw during the recent Israeli blitzkrieg. How could they not view these people as pigs?

So why the fuss? If the sandal fits, wear it!

IN PHOTOS ~~ APARTHEID AND WAR ARE NOT GAMES! BOYCOTT ISRAEL ON THE COURTS!!

When activists arrived at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to protest a Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces fundraiser that was coupled with an exhibition game between the Nets and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, the police were waiting with a message of their own. As the night unfolded, this message spoke volumes. Protesters would not be allowed on the expansive plaza that unfolds from the front of the Barclays Center all the way to the Atlantic Yards subway entrance. Instead, they would have to be in a fenced-off pen on the narrow strip of sidewalk to the side of the arena. Yes, an outdoor space built with public funds was deemed a privatized, no-free-speech zone, enforced by armed public employees, otherwise known as the police.

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‘Israel’s War On Gaza Is Not A Game’: Scenes From the NBA Preseason Protest

IN PHOTOS ~~ VIGIL IN NEW YORK TO STOP ARMS TO ISRAEL

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(As a preface, yesterday Mondoweiss posted a letter by Alan Levine written to Schumer & Gillibrand urging them to follow the Leahy law which states that countries who use arms against a people in a way that violates international law and creates war crimes will no longer receive arms or $ for arms from the US.  

On Monday, October 6th, Jewish Voice for Peace NY and Jews Say No, with the support of several other organizations that support justice for Palestinians, held an 8 hour demonstration in front of the offices of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand at 780 3rd Avenue.  Demonstrators came and went in the course of the day but there were always between 50 and 80 people there.  Palestinian food was served to the demonstrators and people passing by, many having questions to ask or just wanting to chat a bit. It was explained that welcoming with food was part of a strong Palestinian tradition.  Informational leaflets were also distributed.  Most participants carried signs throughout the day created by We Will Not Be Silent. 

There was also an educational/cultural program.  People read Palestinian poetry, songs were sung accompanied by a guitar, there was a humorous skit about a trip to Israel and another about a news conference for a newly reformed Senator Schumer,  a reading of the Carol Churchill play, 7 Jewish Children, by some very talented actors (done twice) and a concert from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.  Another participant read a  list of some of the horrible conditions that Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza are forced to live with, all imposed by Israel because of the occupation. 

At one point the Granny Peace Brigade came with some of the representations that they made of the 519 children murdered by Israel in Gaza this summer.  The people present held up each figure, read their name and age, and noted that they were murdered by Israel, some noting that this was done with the active support of the 2 New York senators and U.S. taxpayer funds.  Some people were brought to tears because the action felt very much like a funeral.  One of the participants noted, “These children are all our children and our grandchildren.” 

The 8 hours passed very quickly.  Many strangers in the street stopped to read the signs and leaflets and to listen to the presentations.  It is hoped that as people learn what Israel is doing they will urge Congress not to give Israel $8.7 million a day and a carte blanc to kill and destroy at will.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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A RABBINICAL LAMENTATION OF THE SEASON FOR THE PEOPLE OF GAZA

Lamenting for Gaza

Lamenting for Gaza

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The following was written days before the Jewish fast of Tisha B’Av: a day of mourning for the calamities that have befallen the Jewish people over the centuries. Among other things, the traditional Tisha B’Av liturgy includes the chanting Biblical book of  Lamentations.

Given the profoundly tragic events currently unfolding in Gaza, I offer this reworking of the first chapter of Lamentations.  I share it with the hope that on this day of mourning we might also mourn the mounting dead in Gaza  along with what Israel has become.

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A LAMENTATION FOR GAZA

By Rabbi Brant Rosen

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Gaza weeps alone.
Bombs falling without end
her cheeks wet with tears.
A widow abandoned
imprisoned on all sides
with none willing to save her.

We who once knew oppression
have become the oppressors.
Those who have been pursued
are now the pursuers.
We have uprooted families
from their homes, we have
driven them deep into
this desolate place,
this narrow strip of exile.

All along the roads there is mourning.
The teeming marketplaces
have been bombed into emptiness.
The only sounds we hear
are cries of pain
sirens blaring
drones buzzing
bitterness echoing
into the black vacuum
of homes destroyed
and dreams denied.

We have become Gaza’s master
leveling neighborhoods
with the mere touch of a button
for her transgression of resistance.
Her children are born into captivity
they know us only as occupiers
enemies to be feared
and hated.

We have lost all
that once was precious to us.
This fatal attachment to our own might
has become our downfall.
This idolatrous veneration of the land
has sent us wandering into
a wilderness of our own making.

We have robbed Gaza of
her deepest dignity
plunged her into sorrow and darkness.
Her people crowd into refugee camps
held captive by fences and buffer zones
gunboats, mortar rounds
and Apache missles.

We sing of Jerusalem,
to “a free people in their own land”
but our song has become a mockery.
How can we sing a song of freedom
imprisoned inside behind walls we have built
with our own fear and dread?

Here we sit clinging to our illusions
of comfort and security
while we unleash hell on earth
on the other side of the border.
We sit on hillsides and cheer
as our explosions light up the sky
while far below, whole neighborhoods
are reduced to rubble.

For these things I weep:
for the toxic fear we have unleashed
from the dark place of our hearts
for the endless grief
we are inflicting
on the people of Gaza.

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Brant Rosen recently resigned* as the rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Illinois. He is a former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and is the co-founder and co-chairperson of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council. He has served on the boards of numerous national and local organizations, including Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, Brit Tzedek v Shalom, and Hands of Peace. He is an activist for peace, social justice, and human rights, and he has travelled to the former Soviet Union,Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Iran as part of peace delegations. In 2009, he co-founded the Jewish Fast for Gaza, or Ta’anit Tzedek with Rabbi Brian Walt. Rosen is also an active environmentalist. Under his leadership, his synagogue, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, built their new building with an environmentally sustainable design in 2008, becoming the first house of worship to ever receive a Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. He was the recipient of Chicago Magazine‘s Green Award for his environmental leadership in 2009. In 2008, Rosen was named one of the Top 25 Pulpit Rabbis in America byNewsweek magazine. In 2009 he was awarded the Partner in Justice Award byAvodah: The Jewish Service Corps and he received the Inspiration for Hope Award by the American Friends Service Committee in 2010 for his social justice activism in the Middle East.Rosen is a native of Los Angeles, CA. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

*  Rosen: However, if I’m going to be fully honest, I must also be ready to admit that my decision to leave JRC is being motivated by both a push and a pull. I must also be ready to admit that for some years now I’ve been going down a path that has slowly been pulling me away from the congregational rabbinate and toward a rabbinate more directly defined by social justice activism.

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The above poem originally appeared on Rabbi Rosen’s Blog, SHALOM RAV

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Rabbi Brant Rosen, Personification of the Yiddish word, MENTCH*

Rabbi Brant Rosen, Personification of the Yiddish word, MENTCH*

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* Definition of MENTCH

GAZANS STILL WAITING FOR THE LIGHTS TO COME ON

blind-to-gaza

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Israel has the capacity to stop power interruptions today. Sympathetic nations have the influence to insist that Israel does this. If international leadership cannot agree that providing electricity to the people of Gaza — a very achievable goal — should be an immediate priority, how can we possibly imagine that the larger political issues can be resolved anytime soon?

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Why must Gaza wait in the dark?

Separating Gaza’s electricity supply from the political conflict is a step long overdue.

By Sam Bahour FOR

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Gaza aftermath, Gaza city, 6.9.2014

 

When I asked my colleague in Gaza about her biggest dream, her answer made an impression on me: “I dream of what life would be like with 24-hour electricity.” This was the answer of a single, mid-career, western educated, professional woman who lives in the more affluent part of Gaza City. Her response suggests the depth of despair among Palestinians throughout Gaza.

Day-to-day life in Gaza between Israeli attacks is unworthy news for Western mainstream media. As a result, few people are aware that electricity in Gaza is a luxury, with blackouts lasting 16-18 hours—every day. This bitter reality has warped people’s lives for years now, as they must plan their daily activities around the four-six hours when they anticipate electricity, even if that means waking up to put laundry in the washing machine in the middle of the night.

Smoke and flames rise from Gaza

 

Contrary to common belief, the severe under supply of electricity in Gaza is not new, and not a result of the latest military aggression. Gaza has not had uninterrupted electricity since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. In an attempt to compensate for the Israeli disruption of Gaza’s power supply, the Palestinians established their first power generation plant in 2004. Ever since, Israel has regularly limited the supply of electricity and industrial fuel needed to operate this only power plant in Gaza. Israel’s ability to deny families in Gaza the energy they need is nothing less than collective punishment of Palestinians—an entire community is made to pay for the acts of a few.

Separating Gaza’s electricity supply from the political conflict is a step long overdue. Access to electricity—a basic necessity that much of the world, including Israeli citizens can take for granted—should not be conditional upon outcomes of future negotiations. Continued darkness in Gaza serves no one.

During Israel’s military aggression on Gaza this past summer, Israel again bombed the sole power plant in Gaza. (Israel bombed the same plant on June 28, 2006.)  In a July 29, 2014 article about the latest destruction, the Guardian quoted Amnesty International which stated, “the crippling of the power station amounted to collective punishment of Palestinians.” Amnesty went on to note that, “the strike on the plant will worsen already severe problems with Gaza’s water supply, sewage treatment and power supplies to medical facilities.”

On September 14, 2014, less than 50 days after the Israeli strike on the plant and less than a month after the cessation of fighting, the Middle East Monitor reported that the CEO of the Gaza Electricity Company, Walid Sayel, announced that Gaza’s power plant was ready to resume operating, pending fuel supply. “The Turkish minister of energy,” the item continued, “had said that his country is ready to send a floating 100 megawatt power plant to Gaza after obtaining the necessary permits [from Israel].” As Palestinians in Gaza try to move on, none of the players involved in the latest debacle, foremost among them Israel, is being held accountable.

The barrier is not simply being without fuel for the power plant. The issue is much more complex and calculated. If Turkey were serious about helping, their floating power station would already be in Gaza’s territorial waters even if they had to face down the Israeli navy and risk an international incident to bring electricity to Gaza. If the Palestinian Authority were serious, we would not have to witness the CEO of a Palestinian power plant begging for the funds needed to get the power plant running. And most importantly, Israel has the capacity to provide Gaza with continuous electricity immediately. According to international law, as the occupying power, Israel has sole responsibility to remedy this issue immediately.

To the governments and leaders who just returned to Cairo for another round of ceasefire negotiations with no timeline or end in sight, I challenge them to first focus on this basic and humane step: Give the people of Gaza access to electricity. It would be a basic step in easing the stresses of life in Gaza where loved ones can’t check in with one another when cell phones can’t get charged, email and Skype calls are not predictable, and having back-up generators for hospitals is literally a matter of life and death.

As what was intended to be a five-year peace process crawls into its third decade, an entire generation of Palestinian children in Gaza who were born in the early 1990s are now turning 16, 18, 20 years old. Their generation has never known a time that didn’t require candles to be able to study after dark due to intermittent electricity.

Israel has the capacity to stop power interruptions today. Sympathetic nations have the influence to insist that Israel does this. If international leadership cannot agree that providing electricity to the people of Gaza — a very achievable goal — should be an immediate priority, how can we possibly imagine that the larger political issues can be resolved anytime soon?

LAST NIGHT I HAD THE STRANGEST DREAM

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I listened to Netanyahu utter the following words at the UN …

“I stand here before you today ashamed and mortified. I’m ashamed and mortified by the outcome of the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza. Ashamed and mortified by the alarming number of civilians my country killed, ashamed and mortified by the scope of devastation its unrestrained army spread. The Israeli army made a certain effort to reduce injury to civilians, but I know that this was no more than conscience-soothing measures, if any conscience still remains in Israel, and the rest is propaganda tricks.

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But alas …

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It’s all a daydream


Benjamin Netanyahu should have told the UN General Assembly that he regrets Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip and genuinely seeks a two-state solution. Of course, it didn’t happen.
By Gideon Levy

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Israeli soldiers look toward the Gaza Strip from Israel, August 3, 2014. Photo by Reuters
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This is what Benjamin Netanyahu should have said in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this week:

“I stand here before you today ashamed and mortified. I’m ashamed and mortified by the outcome of the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza. Ashamed and mortified by the alarming number of civilians my country killed, ashamed and mortified by the scope of devastation its unrestrained army spread. The Israeli army made a certain effort to reduce injury to civilians, but I know that this was no more than conscience-soothing measures, if any conscience still remains in Israel, and the rest is propaganda tricks.

“The results rest before you – 2,200 bodies – and they speak for themselves. They should torment every decent Israeli, they torment me as well. From this podium I’d like to bow my head, express sorrow and apologize to the residents of Gaza for what we have done to them. My country will contribute as much as it can to compensate them.

“We launched this attack after we detected a golden opportunity – the abduction and murder of three teens in the West Bank – to wreak revenge on Hamas and sabotage the Palestinian reconciliation government, which threatened to advance an agreement with Israel. Hamas fell into the trap we laid for it and in retaliation to our harsh steps against its people in the West Bank, it began firing rockets at Israel. We responded in the language we love most when dealing with the Palestinians – the language of military power, killing and destruction. By so doing we also proved to the world that we don’t give a damn about it and have no reason to do so. The world grumbles and Israel conquers and kills.

“If anyone thought that after the Goldstone report there won’t be another wild operation in Gaza, we proved that not only will there be one, but it will be more brutal than its predecessor. Why should we listen to the world? The United States is deep in our pocket – there isn’t another state in the world that can disregard it as we can – and all the rest doesn’t matter. Public opinion? International law? They’re mere anti-Semitism.

“But all these are matters of the past. In the morning after the war in Gaza, Israel, myself included, awoke to new insights. Suddenly we understood that force and aggression aren’t advancing the state anywhere. We realized that Israel cannot live by the sword forever – there’s no historical precedent for that. Even Israel’s seemingly unlimited power has limitations and we cannot wipe Gaza out or remove the Palestinians. We realized too that the dozens of Israeli fatalities had died for nothing, that Israel had achieved nothing and that in another war it will pay an immeasurably higher price.

“The morning after the terrible war I realized what I had never understood before – that the only way to ensure my state’s future is to make an effort to integrate it into the problematic space it is located in, rather than turn its back on it, as Israel has done so far. I understood that precisely because of the upheavals in this region we must find a solution to the Palestinian problem, the mother of all problems, before it’s too late. I realized that if there’s still a chance for the two-state solution, which I committed myself to but never meant, this is the last opportunity.

“From this stage I now call on the representatives of the reconciliation government to enter into quick negotiations with Israel. Everything has already been discussed to excess and all we need to reach an agreement is to decide. Israel, for its part, will undertake to end the occupation completely within an agreed time frame. On the eve of opening the negotiations it will free thousands of Palestinian prisoners, to prove to the Palestinian people that it has truly changed direction. At the same time I propose to the Palestinian government to hold a joint Israeli-Palestinian referendum, to determine whether we’re going for a two-state solution within the 1967 borders, or a solution of one egalitarian democracy, a state whose citizens all have equal rights.”

All this never happened – and won’t happen. It’s all a daydream. Instead we got another propaganda-filled, hollow, patronizing speech. The obsequious advisors cheered, the Adelsons invited the Netanyahus to dinner and Israel remained, of course, intransigent.

ATONING FOR THE UNFORGIVABLE

This Friday at sunset Pius Jews will literally pound their chests as they ask their Creator to forgive their sins of the past year. On the Hebrew calendar it will be Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. 

Watch this short clip to see what Nelson Mandela had to say about forgiveness …

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“Forgiveness liberates the soul, Forgiveness is Freedom.”

A few questions arise from that; does a serial child killer even have a soul? Would a loving God forgive him for those sins?

Does one who denies the Freedom of an entire nation be granted Freedom by that same God?

Somehow, I think not. Sins which are in total violation of the Ten Commandments themselves are surely not forgivable.

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'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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The pounding of the chest cannot forgive the sin of the pounding of civilians, including women and children. It cannot forgive the sin of destroying the homes and workplaces of thousands of people. No, this Day of Atonement will be different, there will be no forgiveness!

For those out there that declared LOUD AND CLEAR that those crimes were not committed in your name, may you be Blessed and inscribed in the Book of Life. There are many of you and your numbers are growing with each passing day. 

As for the others, Hell is too cold a place for you!

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not_myname_1

NETANYAHU TO TELL THE ‘TRUTH’ ABOUT GAZA AND IRAN AT THE UN

What part of the truth do we not already know?

'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Image by Bendib

Image by Bendib

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Netanyahu will speak at the UN on Monday. Before leaving, the prime minister vowed to “tell the truth of Israel’s citizens to the entire world.” 

“In my UN General Assembly speech and in all of my meetings I will represent the citizens of Israel and will – on their behalf – refute the slander and lies directed at our country,” Netanyahu went on to say.

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Netanyahu heads to US to dispel Abbas, Rouhani’s ‘slander and lies’

Prime minister to meet with US President Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban and Indian Prime Minister Modi.

Ynetnews

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to leave for New York on Sunday morning to “refute the slander and lies” in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “deceptive speech” and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ “inciteful speech” at the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu will speak at the UN on Monday. Before leaving, the prime minister vowed to “tell the truth of Israel’s citizens to the entire world.”

“In my UN General Assembly speech and in all of my meetings I will represent the citizens of Israel and will – on their behalf – refute the slander and lies directed at our country,” Netanyahu went on to day.

The prime minister will begin his visit on Sunday in a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This would be the first time in over a decade the prime ministers of Israel and India meet.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu will meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, followed by a meeting with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

While Rouhani only mentioned Israel once in his speech, saying that “Had we had greater cooperation and coordination in the Middle East, thousands of innocent Palestinians in Gaza would not have been fallen victim to Zionist regime’s aggression,” Abbas dedicated the lion’s share of his speech to Israel.

In the speech, Abbas called the previous round of fighting against Gaza “a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world, moment by moment.” The devastation unleashed, he asserted, “is unmatched in modern times.”

He further stated that “the Israeli government undermined chances for peace throughout the months of negotiations,” referring to the failed 9-month-long peace process undertaken before the latest violence in Gaza. “Israel has consistently sought to fragment our land and our unity.”

Senior officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office denounced the allegations as “a speech of incitement filled with lies.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also commented on Abbas’ speech Friday saying that, “Abu Mazen’s (Abbas’) words at the UN General Assembly sharply clarify again that Abu Mazen doesn’t want and can’t be a logical partner for a political settlement. Abbas isn’t a member of joint government with Hamas for no reason.”

The Foreign Minister said that “Abbas complements Hamas in his political terrorism and storytelling against Israel. So long as he’s chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas will lead to the continuation of the conflict. He has proved time and again that he is not a man of peace, but rather Arafat’s heir.”

 

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