Ghada Karmi and Ellen Siegel, in 1973, 1992 and 2011. Photos by Francis Khoo (1, 2) and Jean-Pascal Deillon (3)
Juan Cole, “Top Ten Myths about Israeli Attack on Gaza” | Informed Comment 11/17/12
The professor is uncharacteristically strident in this post. This drives home the point that the humanitarian situation is dire for people of Gaza, half of whom are minors, not Hamas. Compassionate people need to find a way to stop this.
“Cartoon antics” about sums it up.”
The rest of the world can stop worrying about Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s supposed threat to bomb Iran. Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week appears to mark the end of his long campaign to convince the world that he might launch a unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear programme.
The reason for Netanyahu’s retreat is the demonstration of unexpectedly strong pushback against Netanyahu’s antics by President Barack Obama. And that could be the best news on the Iran nuclear issue in many years.
Commentary on Netanyahu’s speech predictably focused on his cartoon bomb and hand-drawn “red line”, but its real significance lay in the absence of the usual suggestion that a unilateral strike against Iran might be necessary if the Iranian nuclear programme is not halted.
|—||Ayesha Kazmi, blogger,who recently wrote to Occupy movement participants ”Tested on Palestinians, Perfected on #OWS Protesters: Introducing the LRAD Sound Cannon” | Al Akhbar English Max Blumenthal - Fri, 2011-11-18|
Israeli reservist denied asylum to Canada
An Israeli army reservist who deserted after refusing to destroy terrorist tunnels in Gaza, then sought political asylum in Canada, has been ordered to return home.
He was also branded a draft dodger, rather than a legitimate conscientious objector, in a court decision that rejected his claim the Israeli military routinely breached international humanitarian law.
The case hardens the Federal Court of Canada’s stand against foreign nationals fleeing democratic homelands to avoid military service by taking refuge in Canada, as was seen in recent cases of U.S. soldiers refusing to serve during the war in Iraq. (Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
I heard Kathy Kelly speak a few years ago about being in Iraq as a nonviolent witness when it was invaded. She and a number of Americans who were staying with families in Baghdad went out to greet the bewildered peachfuzz Americans that poked their helmeted heads out of their tanks like little turtles, offering them water and dates. She is one of those people who is Gandhi in the world today.
Last week, newly-arrived in Athens as part of the US Boat to Gaza project, our team of activists gathered for nonviolence training. We are here to sail to Gaza, in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade, in our ship, “The Audacity of Hope.” Our team, and nine other ships’ crews from countries around the world, want Israel to end its lethal blockade of Gaza by letting our crews through to shore to meet with Gazans. The US ship will bring over 3,000 letters of support to a population suffering its fifth continuous decade of de facto occupation, now in the form of a military blockade controlling Gaza’s sea and sky, punctuated by frequent deadly military incursions, that has starved Gaza’s economy and people to the exact level of cruelty considered acceptable to the domestic population of our own United States, Israel’s staunchest ally.
The international flotilla last year was brutally attacked and the Turkish ship fired on from the air, with a cherrypicked video clip of the resulting panic presented to the world to justify nine deaths, one of a United States citizen, most of them execution-style killings. So it’s essential, albeit a bit bizarre, to plan for how we will respond to military assaults. Israeli news reports say that their naval commandos are preparing to use attack dogs and snipers to board the boats. In the past, they have used water cannons, taser guns, stink bombs, sound bombs, stun guns, tear gas, and pepper spray against flotilla passengers. I’ve tried to make a mental list of plausible responses: remove glasses, don life jacket, affix clip line which might prevent sliding off the deck, carry a half onion to offset effect of tear gas, remember to breathe.
Israel Defense Forces are reportedly training for a fierce assault intended to “secure” each boat in the flotilla, the “Freedom Flotilla 2”. As passengers specifically on the U.S. boat, we may be spared the most violent responses, although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not ruled out such violent responses and has preemptively certified any response we may “provoke” (in sailing from international waters to a coastline that is not part of Israel) is an expression of Israel’s “right to defend themselves” (http://electronicintifada.net/blog/ali-abunimah/hillary-clinton-gives-green-light-israeli-attack-gaza-flotilla). Israel says it is prepared for a number of scenarios, ranging “from no violence” (which it knows full well to expect) to “extreme violence” (http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=226655). We are preparing ourselves not to panic, and to practice disciplined nonviolence whatever scenario Israel decides to enact.
If they overcome our boat swiftly, they will presumably handcuff us and possibly hood us, before commandeering our ship toward an Israeli port, removing us from the ship, jailing us and (judging from their past actions) deporting us. I don’t know what country I would be deported to, but I would eventually return to the U.S. and to my home city of Chicago, and to a safety I cannot share with the desperate people of Gaza, or friends from throughout this region so troubled by war, much of it instigated by my own country.
The slogan of our flotilla is “Stay Human.” It’s advice that exposure to violence, real or imagined, always tempts us to forget. Young friends I have met in Afghanistan, faced with pervasive everyday precarity I cannot easily imagine, have expressed this idea in a YouTube video which utterly takes my breath away: They ask Gazan youth to hold on to hope and to the capacity for childlike joy: “To friends in Gaza: don’t stay angry for too long, Stay together, and love from us in Afghanistan!”
how do we engage with issues on Israel and Palestine? Explore this challenging topic with other UUs and noted
physician, author and longtime activist Dr. Alice Rothchild Saturday, March 5, 2011, 11:30 am – 3:00 pm
The First Parish in Waltham - UU, Inc.
50 Church Street, Waltham, MA 02452 Recently back from the region, Dr. Rothchild will address: Current situation in Palestine
Contradictions within Israel surrounding the democratic process
Role of Israeli dissent
Moral issues that people of conscience confront
Role of nonviolent resistance by Palestinians, Israelis and
How the UU Seven Principles can help frame this conversation SCHEDULE
11:30 - 12:30 Lunch and conversation
12:30 - 2:00 Dr. Rothchild will share her perspectives
2:00 - 3:00 Exploration of additional resources We will also show the DVD of the winning 2010 UUJME Sermon,
“Reflections on the Middle East,” by Rev. Bill Breeden. For more information, or to let us know you plan to attend, please
email@example.com with UU in the subject line. This event is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalists for Justice in
Middle East (UUJME) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
Fears of an Islamic state in Egypt are greatly overstated and disingenuous
Stephen Zunes is Professor of Politics and Chair of Mid-Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, and co-editor, with Sarah Beth Asher and Lester Kurtz, of Nonviolent Social Movments: A Geographical Perspective (Wiley-Blackwell, 1999).
This is a lengthy piece, detailing the many social, political and economic reasons why Mubarak’s fall is unlikely to end in an Islamic state. Moreover, he does also cover to some degree the pedigree of the disingenuous forces in the US that are likely to say so. I provide only a snippet here. The whole piece demonstrates thorough knowledge of the historical and social contexts, and is worth a read.
The difference between Egypt today and Iran of the late 1970s is striking.
The direction of the anti-Shah movement in Iran from the outset came from the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini and other Shiite Muslim clerics. Inspirational sermons, tactical advice, and specific calls for strikes and demonstrations came through smuggled cassette tapes, radio broadcasts, and other communication from the clerical leadership. Though many on the ground in the struggle against the Shah were leftists and other secular democratic forces — some of whom organized important strikes, demonstrations, and other actions independently from the religious hierarchy — the religious overtone of the demonstrations was apparent in the slogans, communiqués, banners, graffiti, and other means throughout the 13-month struggle that led to the Shah’s overthrow in February 1979.
The overwhelming role played by religious forces in Iran contrasts with the ongoing demonstrations, strikes, and other actions in Egypt, which has been led from the outset by secular youth through the Internet and other means of communication. The slogans, communiqués, banners, graffiti, tweets, and Facebook messages have been almost exclusively secular in orientation, pushing nationalistic and liberal democratic themes. And, despite decades of U.S. support for the Mubarak dictatorship, the Egyptian protests have featured virtually no explicit anti-Americanism, a striking contrast with the Iranian revolution. Indeed, the current protests have almost exclusively focused on Mubarak’s misrule rather than the U.S. role in enabling it.
Although most of the Egyptian protesters are presumably practicing Muslims, they show no desire to establish an Islamic state, which was an explicit demand of much of the Iranian revolution’s leading activists from the beginning of the struggle.