June 21, 2010

Oakland stevedores refuse to cross picket line to unload Israeli ship

As reported by Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (click the title of this post for the complete article):

From 5:30 am to 9:30 am, over 800 labor and community activists held a militant and spirited protest in front of four gates of the Stevedore Services of America, with people chanting non-stop, “Free, Free Palestine, Don’t Cross the Picket Line,” and “An injury to one is an injury to all, bring down the apartheid wall.”

Citing the health and safety provisions of their contract, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers refused to cross the picketline to report for duty. ...

This week the San Francisco Labor Council and Alameda Labor Council passed resounding resolutions denouncing Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Both councils sent out public notices of the dock action.

The ILWU has a proud history of extending its solidarity to struggling peoples the world over. In 1984, as the Black masses of South Africa were engaged in an intense struggle against South African apartheid, the ILWU refused for a record-setting 10 days to unload cargo from the South African “Ned Lloyd” ship. Despite million-dollar fines imposed on the union, the longshore workers held strong, providing a tremendous boost to the anti-apartheid movement.

Today’s Oakland action, in the sixth largest port in the United States, is the first of several protests and work stoppages planned around the world, including Norway, Sweden and South Africa. It is sure to inspire others to do the same.

The goal is for a 24-hour shutdown of the docks where the Israeli ship is docked, so the protest is planned again for 4:30 p.m. Click here for details of the 4:30 p.m. protest.

Competition is for losers

COMPETITION: An event in which there are more losers than winners. Otherwise it's not a competition. A society based on competition is therefore primarily a society based on losers.

— John Ralston Saul

June 12, 2010

Soccer balls met with tear gas

In Bili’in, Palestine, protesters played a soccer game near the Israeli barrier that divides the village, kicking several balls over the barbed-wire fence onto land still owned by villagers.

The Israeli soldiers fired several tear-gas canisters and then arrested six journalists, continuing to detain two of them. While people worked to put out the fires in an olive grove caused by the tear-gas bombs, soldiers fired on them.

Click on the title of this post for the story from Ma'an News.

June 11, 2010

Video from the Mavi Marmara

Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara // Raw Footage from Cultures of Resistance

On the night of Sunday, May 30, showing a terrifying disregard for human life, Israeli naval forces surrounded and boarded ships sailing to bring humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. On the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli commandos opened fire on civilian passengers, killing at least 9 passengers and wounding dozens more. Others are still missing. The final death toll is yet to be determined. Cultures of Resistance director Iara Lee was aboard the besieged ship and has since returned home safely.

Despite the Israeli government's thorough efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Iara Lee was able to retain some of her recordings. Above is raw footage from the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos' assault on the Mavi Marmara.

15 min. version:

Video of passengers attacking Israeli soldiers appears to be fake

Some astute observers of the Israeli video showing the passengers of the Mavi Marmara fighting back in the assault on their ship noticed that details of the ship in the video didn't quite fit those of the Mavi Marmara. Most obviously, the name of the ship should be prominent on the side of the deck where the filmed events are taking place, but it is absent in the Israeli video. (Click here for a ship-spotting photo of the Mavi Marmara and here as it was prepared for the flotilla) Click the title of this post to see comparisons of the ship in the video and the actual Mavi Marmara.

This is not to say that a small group of activists did indeed resist, injure, and capture some of the Israeli soldiers attacking their ship. But at least nine activists were killed (several are still missing). (Click here for video of soldiers beating and then shooting 19-year-old Furkan Dogan.) Whereas the injured soldiers were cared for and protected from further harm by the ship's passengers.

June 6, 2010

Children of All Ages Delighted by Enslavement of Topsy The Elephant

TUCSON, AZ—Cheers, laughter, and applause filled the big top tent at the Ringling Bros. Circus Saturday as children of all ages were captivated by the savage enslavement of Topsy the elephant. ...

[click on the title of this post to read complete story]

animal rights

Mrs Moonan, Nuvoletta, Cadwan, Cadwallon and Cadwalloner

Also residing under Mrs. Matchless's roof were the boarders of the establishment, of whom there were four - or five, depending on how one viewed that fifth lodger, who was something of a special case.

There was a Miss Rivers, a young woman of character and refinement. She had russety locks, a creamy face given to blushing, and quenched-looking bashful eyes, like a Little Bo-Peep in a nursery-book. Miss Rivers was partial to all things tortoiseshell - tortoiseshell combs, tortoiseshell spectacles, tortoiseshell hair-brushes, tortoiseshell handbags, tortoiseshell cats. She could have been a walking testimonial to the tortoiseshell trade, but she hardly ever went out. She had a small independence worth £120 per annum, with which she devoted herself to the consumption of novels and exotic teas.

There was a Mr. Kix, a narrow, peevish, old-maidish sort of mustached bachelor. Mr. Kix was a man who looked always on the worst side of things, a grouch who thought the world a very dark place and the town little better. And there was his exact opposite, Mr. Lovibond, a plump, pink, full-bodied personage with a clean chin, a ready smile, and a bald head. Mr. Lovibond, too, was a bachelor - irretrievably single - but unlike the grouchy Kix he was always happy, hardly ever peevish, certainly never old-maidish, which annoyed Mr. Kix no end. Despite their differences the two were often in each other's company, the better to remind the other of his imperfections. Both subsisted on the income from annuities, which made them easy and spared them the trouble and inconvenience of engaging in the work-a-day world.

Mr. Frobisher was the fourth lodger in the house. He was a dark man of some attraction, in a rangy, cagey sort of way. His age was no more than five-and-twenty, and he passed most of his time out of doors, though as to the nature of his avocation no one had the least clue. Like Mr. Kix, he had a mustache, one which well suited his flowing hair, lustrous eyes, and lean good looks. The youthful Frobisher was a newcomer to the house, and had yet to accommodate his habits to that regimen of predictability which guided the lives of his fellow inmates.

The special case to which we have made mention was the fifth and final boarder. This was a Miss O'Guppy, who unlike the regular boarders resided in the attic rooms with the servants. She was rather a quaint young woman, very delicate of face and limb, with a nervous constitution that was - not to put too fine a point on it - rather delicate, too. In short, there were some who thought her a little unhinged.

Miss O'Guppy was an accomplished violinist, or fiddler as she liked to say. She was in great demand in the front-parlor, where she often accompanied Miss Rivers at the cottage piano. An habitual reader of the cards, she believed she could divine the future and predict the fortunes of those who consulted her in this capacity. More than this she saw and heard things only she could see and hear, and claimed to remember what she called a "morning time" before her own birth, a sort of earlier life unlinked to her present earthly existence - which was partly the basis for some persons' thinking her mad.

Strange Cargo, by Jeffrey Barlough

June 4, 2010

Jewish boat to Gaza is sailing soon

(Press Release, via palestinelibre)

In a harbour in the Mediterranean a small vessel is waiting for a special mission. She will be sailing to Gaza during the second half of July. In order to avoid sabotage, the exact date and name of the port of departure will be announced only shortly before her launch.

"Our purpose is to call an end to the siege of Gaza, to this illegal collective punishment of the whole civilian population. Our boat is small, so our donations can only be symbolic: we are taking school bags, filled with donations from German school children, musical instruments and art materials", says Kate Leiterer, one of the organizers. "For the medical services we are taking essential medicines and small medical equipment, and for the fishermen we are taking nets and tackle. We are liaising with the medical, educational and mental health services in Gaza."

"In attacking the Freedom Flotilla, Israel has once again demonstrated to the world a heinous brutality. But I know that there are very many Israelis who compassionately and bravely campaign for a just peace. With broadcasting journalists from mainstream television programmes accompanying our boat, Israel will have a great chance to show the world that there is another way, a way of courage rather than fear, a way of hope rather than hate", says Edith Lutz, organizer and passenger on the "Jewish boat".

The "Jüdische Stimme" ("Jewish Voice" for a Just Peace in the Near East), along with her friends of EJJP (European Jews for a Just Peace in the Near East) and Jews for Justice For Palestinians (UK) are sending a call to the leaders of the world: help Israel find her way back to reason, to a sense of humanity and a life without fear. "Jewish Voice" expects the political leaders of Israel and the world to guarantee a safe passage for the small vessel to Gaza, thus helping to form a bridge towards peace.

Edith Lutz, EJJP-Germany +15204519740
Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer, EJJP-Germany +1629660472472
Glyn Secker, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK) +7917098599

[Also: Click here to sign the petition at AVAAZ.org for an immediate, international investigation into the flotilla assault, full accountability for those responsible, and the lifting of the Gaza blockade.]

human rights

Israel's campaign against peace and peaceful resistance

Two essays:

"The myth of Israeli morality", by Lamis Andoni

"The real motive behind the Gaza flotilla attack", by Rannie Amiri

human rights

The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment

'Among American Jews today, there are a great many Zionists, especially in the Orthodox world, people deeply devoted to the State of Israel. And there are a great many liberals, especially in the secular Jewish world, people deeply devoted to human rights for all people, Palestinians included. But the two groups are increasingly distinct. Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. One reason is that the leading institutions of American Jewry have refused to foster—indeed, have actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens. For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.

'Morally, American Zionism is in a downward spiral. If the leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, they will wake up one day to find a younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them, and a mass of secular American Jews who range from apathetic to appalled. Saving liberal Zionism in the United States—so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel—is the great American Jewish challenge of our age. And it starts where Luntz’s students wanted it to start: by talking frankly about Israel’s current government, by no longer averting our eyes. ...

'Israeli governments come and go, but the Netanyahu coalition is the product of frightening, long-term trends in Israeli society: an ultra-Orthodox population that is increasing dramatically, a settler movement that is growing more radical and more entrenched in the Israeli bureaucracy and army, and a Russian immigrant community that is particularly prone to anti-Arab racism. In 2009, a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis (and 77 percent of recent immigrants from the former USSR) support encouraging Arabs to leave the country. Attitudes are worst among Israel’s young. When Israeli high schools held mock elections last year, Lieberman won. This March, a poll found that 56 percent of Jewish Israeli high school students—and more than 80 percent of religious Jewish high school students—would deny Israeli Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset. An education ministry official called the survey “a huge warning signal in light of the strengthening trends of extremist views among the youth.”

'You might think that such trends, and the sympathy for them expressed by some in Israel’s government, would occasion substantial public concern—even outrage—among the leaders of organized American Jewry. You would be wrong. In Israel itself, voices from the left, and even center, warn in increasingly urgent tones about threats to Israeli democracy. (Former Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak have both said that Israel risks becoming an “apartheid state” if it continues to hold the West Bank. This April, when settlers forced a large Israeli bookstore to stop selling a book critical of the occupation, Shulamit Aloni, former head of the dovish Meretz Party, declared that “Israel has not been democratic for some time now.”) But in the United States, groups like AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference patrol public discourse, scolding people who contradict their vision of Israel as a state in which all leaders cherish democracy and yearn for peace.'

Click the title of this post to read the complete essay by Peter Beinart in the June 2010 New York Review of Books.

P.S.  Isn't a "Jewish" state anachronistic? A nineteenth-century solution to a problem that perhaps was no longer so necessary after The Holocaust?

June 3, 2010

Threats to Israel's security

Partial list of items that Israel prohibits from entering into the Gaza Strip, May 2010, as compiled by www.gisha.org

sage • cardamom • cumin • coriander • ginger • jam • halva • vinegar • nutmeg • chocolate • fruit preserves • seeds and nuts • biscuits and sweets • potato chips • gas for soft drinks • dried fruit • fresh meat • plaster • tar • wood for construction • cement • iron • glucose • industrial salt • plastic/glass/metal containers • industrial margarine • tarpaulin sheets for huts • fabric (for clothing) • flavor and smell enhancers • fishing rods • various fishing nets • buoys • ropes for fishing • nylon nets for greenhouses • ropes to tie greenhouses • hatcheries and spare parts for hatcheries • heaters for chicken farms • spare parts for tractors • dairies for cowsheds • irrigation pipe systems • planters for saplings • musical instruments • size A4 paper • writing implements • notebooks • newspapers • toys • razors • sewing machines and spare parts • heaters • horses • donkeys • goats • cattle • chicks

human rights