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News :: Palestine
Video-Photos: Boston Silent Vigil For Peace In Palestine/Israel
24 Jul 2014
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Boston Common-July 23, 2014:
About 200 people held a silent vigil at Park St. in Boston, Mass.
to call for peace and a ceasefire between Israel/Palestine.




Boston Workmen’s Circle
Invites you to join us for an
Interfaith Silent Vigil
To call for an end to the violence in Israel / Palestine
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Park Street Station, downtown Boston

Please join Boston’s Workmen’s Circle
for a vigil that recognizes the common humanity of both Israelis and Palestinians and the complexity of resolving the cycle of violence. If you are in agreement with the following general concepts, we urge you to join us.

· End the violence on both sides. Negotiated ceasefire now!
· All lives are equally precious and worthy of respect, Palestinian and Israeli
· It’s not possible to understand the current violence in a vacuum and without considering the complex narratives of both Palestinians and Israelis
· There is no military solution
· More than ever we need a comprehensive diplomatic solution; ending the Occupation is part of that solution.
· Palestinians and Israelis both have a right to security and a viable homeland

Signs consistant with the above concepts will be provided. Please do not bring your own signs or organizational banners. Thank you for respecting this request.

For more information contact Boston Workman’s Circle at: info(no spam)

Our work in support of a just peace between Israel and the Palestinian people is guided by principles developed by the Middle East Working Group and adopted by the Board of Boston Workmen’s Circle:
• Ending the occupation
• Establishing two viable states, a homeland for the Jewish people and a homeland for the Palestinian people
• An end to the violence on all sides
• Making room for a diversity of views
We are proud to stand up as a progressive voice on Israel/Palestine in the Greater Boston Jewish community. But that doesn’t mean we all agree on the path to security and peace. We strive to foster an open and respectful environment in which a range of views can be aired and discussed. Through educational programs, dialogue groups, and membership forums, we grapple with many of the tough issues Jews face today concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
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Israel’s War of Attrition in Gaza
25 Jul 2014
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Thinly Veiled Code for Genocide by ROB URIE

Following World War II U.S. General Curtis LeMay, the reported inspiration for the psychotic General Jack Ripper in Stanley Kubrick’s dark comedy Dr. Strangelove, was said to have remarked that had the Allies lost the war he would likely have been hanged as a war criminal for the bombing of Tokyo. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians perished under American bombs in a series of raids on the Japanese city. Separately, the Japanese leadership was widely reported to have been ready to surrender before atomic bombs were dropped on primarily civilian populations in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With this history it seems difficult to remember that upon entering World War I aerial bombardment of a civilian population was widely understood to be a war crime.

As it was applied to the U.S. war on Southeast Asia (Vietnam) the term ‘war of attrition’ was barely veiled code for a racist slaughter, the ‘kill ratio’ of 58,000 U.S. soldiers to 3,500,000 Vietnamese and likely millions more in Cambodia and Laos is evidence of a degree of military mismatch perhaps better called genocide. The theory behind the term is that causing an ‘appropriate’ level of death and destruction against one’s enemies produces two outcomes: it turns people against ‘their own’ governments causing a loss of internal political support for them and it kills so many potential adversaries that there is no ‘will’ (no one) left to fight. The dim socio-pathology of the U.S. strategy in Vietnam can be found in the utter implausibility of the largely agrarian-peasant population having any geopolitical ‘vision’ at all, let alone on the side of ‘their’ enemies for preceding millennia, the Chinese.

When Ronald Reagan launched his war of terror against the people of Nicaragua in the early 1980s the articulated view in his administration was that if U.S. / CIA proxies (Contras) murdered enough people and blew up enough bridges and schools those who had supported the Nicaraguan Revolution just a few years earlier would turn against the revolutionary government (FSLN). Events in Nicaragua came on the heels of the Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the CIA / MI5 installed ‘Shah’ whose brutal ‘rule’ served as a front for Western expropriation of Iranian oil. In the name of ‘freedom’ the Contras carried out a campaign of terror against the people of Nicaragua that included torturing and murdering tens of thousands of civilians, including slaughtering entire villages. The strategy appeared to ‘work’ when in 1990 the terrorized population of Nicaragua voted out the Revolutionary government in favor of one more advantageous to U.S. ‘interests.’ However, once the murders and destruction ended the Sandanistas were voted back into power. Apparently state terrorism can create a stopping point but not an end.

‘War of attrition’ completes the shift from armies meeting on battlefields to kill and maim one another to the explicit targeting of civilian populations in wars of state terror. Historically, the specific targeting of civilian populations was ancillary and direct— before aerial bombardment and long-range missiles the capacity for modern technocratic slaughter from a ‘safe’ distance was limited. Fighter pilots in WWII faced real risk of death. By the time of the American war on South East Asia bomber pilots flew five miles high to release bombs that killed people they never had contact with. Likewise, the Israeli pilots bombing Gaza today do so from safe distances and can tell themselves that they are bombing ‘targets’ rather than human beings. Left unsaid is that killing and maiming a civilian population to affect a political outcome is the definition of terrorism. This is the ‘practical’ purpose of the Israeli ‘human shield’ charge against Hamas— to shift culpability for terrorist violence onto its (Israel’s) victims.

By the mid-2000s the improbable term ‘democratization’ was being tossed around as George W. Bush scrambled for a plausible justification of the U.S. war on Iraq in the absence of having found WMDs (weapons of mass destruction). In contrast to the reasonably inferred ‘planned chaos’ explanation of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, a number of the neo-cons Mr. Bush surrounded himself with appeared so arrogant and dimly ideological that they believed the ‘democratization’ storyline. Mr. Bush was reported to have supported the elections in Gaza and he even ‘allowed’ Hamas to challenge Fatah in them. When Hamas won the election was quickly re-framed by Israel and the U.S. as a ‘coup.’ At the time the cognitive dissonance between Bush-Cheney-neo-con blather about ‘democracy’ and the near instantaneous collective punishment inflicted on the citizens of Gaza for acting ‘democratically’ seemed too conspicuous to be readily overcome. As history had it, the received distance in the West between ‘democracy’ and the slaughter of the captive Palestinian population to affect a political outcome is less than one might imagine.

The current storyline from Israel of ‘defensive’ aerial bombardment and ‘precision targeting’ in Gaza is met with the facts of Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system (built with the U.S.) that renders rockets fired from Gaza ineffectual, the hugely asymmetrical ‘kill ratio’ of Palestinians to Israelis slaughtered and the conspicuous targeting of civilian houses, schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure by Israel. Conversely, if Israel’s bombardment is precise and those killed are overwhelmingly civilians then civilians are the precise targets of Israeli bombs. Israel’s strategy is clearly a war of attrition: slaughter a captive civilian population to force repudiation of their democratically elected political representatives without addressing the circumstances that led to the choice of Hamas over more ‘palatable’ (to Israel) political leadership. The implicit choice from the election is that Palestinian capitulation to the Israeli siege and occupation is not an option.

The reason for keeping solid focus on the U.S. in what can be more narrowly explained as a regional (or even ‘internal’ if you assume away the history of Palestine) conflict is that Israel’s capacity to act as ‘it’ does toward the Palestinians and across the Middle East depends upon the might of the U.S. military to back it up. This is to grant that narrower explanations have descriptive power but to aggressively reject the eternal slander that opposition to Israel’s state policies derives from nationalist / religionist differences rather than as stated— objection to Israel’s state policies. The U.S. provides Israel with the arms, intelligence and military support that facilitate siege, occupation, irresolution of political difference and a hardening antipathy that is as socially destructive as it is unjust. And the history of the U.S. acting as dishonest broker in Israeli-Palestinian ‘negotiations’ (always on the side of Israel) combined with the use of Israel as regional proxy for U.S. ‘interests’ places the plight of the Palestinians in an international context. Without the U.S. (and Britain and France) in the picture negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians would proceed from a wholly different set of premises.

The relevance here of the U.S. ‘experience’ in Iran (1953 – 1979) is that installation of a puppet dictator (the ‘Shah’) was preferred to direct instigation of regional chaos. Likewise the U.S. (CIA) installed Saddam Hussein in Iraq until he was ‘uninstalled’ in the recent U.S. war. When considered with (George W) Bush’s catastrophe in Iraq and his apparent sincerely held, if only superficially considered, belief in the possibility of creating ‘democracy’ across the Middle East, it would seem that American stupidity and arrogance are at least as likely an explanation for widespread chaos as some well-conceived plot to prevent competing interests from arising (the theorized goal of planned chaos). This is no doubt a roundabout way of backing into the contention that in addition to being outright evil Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is shortsighted bordering on radically self-destructive. Tying Israel’s future to the Jeb Bush / Hillary Clinton / John McCain / Lindsey Graham school of foreign policy is certainly a nod in the direction of human folly.

The intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies with Israel and the U.S. If the goal of war of attrition is to affect a political outcome then that political outcome has to be possible or it isn’t an outcome, it is a slaughter. Today Nicaragua is relatively stable while other ‘beneficiaries’ of American ‘largesse’ in Central America— Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, are gangster states so violent and corrupt that their children are willing to risk being treated as criminals in the U.S. for the chance to live a little while longer. The Nicaraguan people waited for U.S. proxies to stop murdering them and then rejected direct American governance. The Palestinian people have no such option. The election of Hamas can only be seen as destructive to Palestinian interests if there was a better option. The Israeli and American view is that if siege and occupation don’t force fealty then adding slaughter and wholesale destruction will accomplish this goal. At this point Israel’s war of attrition against the Palestinian people is evident for what it has always been, thinly veiled code for racist genocide.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is forthcoming.
Defend the Palestinians - Many Protests
28 Jul 2014
( photo - Chicago 10,000 Protest for Palestine )

ACROSS THE U.S. and around the world, expressions of sympathy with the people of Gaza are taking the form of statements of solidarity, social media comments and campaigns--and, of course, protests in the streets. Under the weight of the steady accumulation of horrific images coming from Israel's killing fields in Gaza, it's clear that minds are beginning to change.

Globally in the last week alone, actions in solidarity with Palestine have taken place in Glasgow, Scotland; Vienna; Ahmadabad, India; Madrid; Seoul, South Korea; Jakarta, Indonesia; Beijing; Sydney; Tokyo; Paris; Valparaiso, Chile; Ankara, Turkey; and many, many more.

Below are reports from just a few of the demonstrations that have taken place in the U.S.--stretching from Boston to San Diego, and Chicago to Fort Worth, Texas.

Today--July 24--is a national day of action to demand an end to the bombing and blockade of Gaza, and an end to U.S. aid to Israel (click here for details and how to add your event to the list of actions).

Even the U.S. corporate media has had to cover events in Gaza with unusual attention to the humanity of Palestinians, who have been subjected to Israel's targeting of Gaza's densely populated neighborhoods, hospitals and water treatment facilities. An artillery attack from an Israeli navy gunboat on a group of boys playing soccer on a Gaza beach, killing four and wounding several more, is now an iconic instance among many more examples of Israel's willful killing of civilians.

As a result, a CNN/ORC International poll released on July 21 showed that while a majority of people in the U.S.--57 percent--thinks Israel's military actions in Gaza are justified, the number of people with "an unfavorable opinion of Israel" is now 38 percent, up 14 percentage points from February. Sixty percent said they have a favorable opinion of Israel, which is down from 72 percent in February. And given that the polling concluded just as Israel's massacre in Shejaiya began, the shift in public opinion away from Israel has almost certainly grown.

A number of celebrities have come forward to express their support for the people of Gaza--another development likely to further the shift in public opinion. "We can passionately protest Israel's assault upon Gaza without descending, even remotely, into the hideousness of anti-Semitism," said Mia Farrow. "I have been to Israel and Palestine & bombing civilians is not self-defense," tweeted John Cusack. Mark Ruffalo: "Sorry, I thought blowing up hospitals was something that all human beings could agree was off limits."

Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, wrote this particularly powerful statement:

I am mourning genocide in Gaza. I mourn genocide in Gaza because I am the granddaughter of a family half wiped out in a holocaust and I know genocide when I see it. People are asking why I am taking this "side." There are no sides. I mourn all victims. But every law of war and international law is being broken in the targeting of civilians in Gaza. I stand with the people of Gaza exactly because things might have turned out differently if more people had stood with the Jews in Germany.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WOLF WASN'T alone in speaking as a Jew horrified by what is happening in Gaza. Across the world, Jewish voices of opposition to Israel's war are getting organized.

When 100,000 people took to the streets of London on July 19, a small contingent of Jews had gathered. "I come from a Jewish tradition that has always fought for the underdog," Sam Weinstein of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network told a reporter who was also part of the contingent. "One that has fought for social justice because historically we were the ones getting killed by the state."

A group of 200 prominent Jewish critics of Israel issued a petition calling for a ban of arms sales to Israel and support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The statement had already gathered nearly 1,000 signatories by the evening of July 23, one day after it was issued. It states:

Today, we cannot be silent as the "Jewish state"--armed to the teeth by the U.S. and its allies--wages yet another brutal war on the Palestinian people. Apartheid Israel does not speak for us, and we stand with Gaza as we stand with all of Palestine.

A group of six Nobel peace laureates--Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams--also issued a statement calling for a military embargo of Israel. Other signatories to the statement include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, playwright Caryl Churchill, U.S. rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions. The statement reads:

Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza has so far killed scores of Palestinian civilians, injured hundreds and devastated the civilian infrastructure, including the health sector, which is facing severe shortages.

Israel's ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

IN THE past week, there were actions in solidarity with Palestine across the U.S. Here are reports from a number of cities:

-- In Chicago, a massive crowd of more than 10,000 gathered for a march through the streets to the studios of two television news networks, and finally to the Israeli consulate. Organizing for the march was spearheaded by Coalition for Justice in Palestine.

More than 60 buses brought protesters from mosques throughout the suburbs, while Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters from across the city mobilized. The mood was defiant and proud. The crowd was predominantly Palestinian and Arab, with whole families and clusters of friends marching together.

The event began as hundreds made their way to the assembly point with a "die-in" organized by SJP chapters in Chicago. Police and security guards at Tribune Tower, headquarters of the Chicago Tribune and WGN News, told the crowd that we weren't allowed in the plaza in front of the building, but the sheer numbers meant that these orders were openly defied--and without any problems from the police.

About 70 people participated in the die-in, and the names and ages of more than 400 people killed by Israel's rampage in Gaza were read aloud. The moment was so powerful that three speakers were needed to get through the list as tears forced one after another to pass the list.

Popular chants included, "Gaza, Gaza, don't you cry, Palestine will never die," "Stop the killing, stop the hate, Israel's a racist state" and "How do you spell justice? BDS!"

On July 22, pro-Israel groups held a "Stand with Israel" action in front of the Israeli consulate, while hundreds of Palestine supporters held a counterprotest across the street. Though police supposedly searched those attending the pro-Israel rally, pro-Israel participant Andrew Glatz was arrested for carrying a handgun to the event. Glatz's Facebook page includes photos of himself with Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

In a statement, Hatem Abudayyeh of the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine (CJP) and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network said:

The Zionists at Tuesday's rally believe that the lives of invading Israeli soldiers in Gaza are of more value than the lives of over 600 Palestinian civilians who've been killed in Israel's latest onslaught, including over 130 children. At the same time, our counter-protest was corralled and policed like a criminal enterprise, when it was the pro-Israel protesters who harassed and assaulted us. Chicago police commanders need to learn from our community's experience, and stop giving a privileged place to the other side, which is advocating an agenda of dispossession and murder.

-- In New York City, 2,000 people gathered in Times Square on July 19 for the seventh major protest since Israel's bombardment began.

Brian Jones, Green Party candidate for New York lieutenant governor, took the stage, making him one of the first politicians to come near a Gaza protest in a city stuffed with elected officials wanting to announce that they "stand with Israel." The crowd was electrified when Jones promised that, if elected, he would work to divest New York from any involvement with Israel.

Yusef Khalil read from a statement (click here for video) issued by the newly formed international network called Syrian Revolution Bases of Support:

As we stand with our sisters and brothers in Gaza and Palestine, we stand with our sisters and brothers in Syria. We believe that attempts of the Syrian regime and their supporters to exploit the Palestinian struggle are morally reprehensible and an insult to the Palestinian cause. Those who have sided with the Syrian regime or remained silent over its crimes have no moral ground to claim solidarity with Gaza and are as hypocritical as pro-Israel supporters who pretend to support Assad's victims.

In a genuine struggle for liberation, there is no room for double standards and selective indignation.

-- In Boston, more than 1,500 people attended a July 22 protest. Popular chants included, "Resistance is justified when people are occupied" and "Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel's crimes."

During the speakout, Yusra, a young woman from Algeria, told the crowd, "The U.S. claims that they are fighting a war against terrorists, but they are supporting the biggest terrorists in the world--Israel."

Activist Keegan O'Brien addressed how Israel tries to sanitize its image by promoting itself as a "gay-friendly" country. "Israel tries to justify ethnic cleansing through pinkwashing when we know that's nothing but bullshit," said O'Brien. "There's no pink door at the apartheid wall, there's no pink shelters for the people of Gaza."

After the rally and speakout at Copley Square, protesters marched to the State House, where they held a mass sit-in in for 20 minutes before ending with another speakout at Boston Common.

On July 19, more than 100 people gathered at the Boston Common for a die-in. And on July 17, more than 200 people gathered in Copley Square. Jewish Voice for Peace; SJP chapters in Boston, in particular Northeastern SJP; and the Boston ISO spearheaded much of the organizing.

-- In Dallas, about 700 people rallied and chanted on the Grassy Knoll on July 20.

More than 300 placards were given to protesters with the name, age and date of a Palestinian killed during Israel's latest bombing of Gaza. In the middle of the rally, those with a placard spread out and dropped on the ground when the day of their death was called. This "die-in" was to visually represent the number of deaths since the recent wave of attacks and to underscore the significance of the increasing number dead every day. The protest then spontaneously turned into a march through downtown Dallas.

On July 16, about 300 people marched around downtown Dallas and chanted in solidarity with the besieged Gaza Strip. On July 13, about 900 people came out to support Palestinians under siege in Israel. Chants of "From Iraq to Palestine, occupation is a crime!", "Free, free Palestine!" and "Gaza, Gaza, don't you cry, Palestine will never die!" roared from the JFK memorial. Future protests are scheduled for Dallas on July 25 and Austin on August 2.

-- In Fort Worth, Texas, 350 people gathered July 12 in front of the Tarrant County Courthouse. Protesters held Palestinian flags and signs calling for an end to the bloodshed. The rally turned into a march after an hour of chanting. The march traveled through downtown Fort Worth, bringing attention to the latest wave of Israel's slaughter of Palestinians.

-- In Philadelphia, 300 people held a July 18 protest against Israel's war on Gaza in front of the building housing the Israeli consulate. They then marched down Market St. during the evening rush hour to City Hall. Protesters were also mobilizing to protest a pro-Israel demonstration on July 23.

-- In Northampton, Mass., more than 150 people rallied July 18 against Israel's bombing of Gaza. The rally was called by the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Palestine, individuals and organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee, International Socialist Organization and Springfield No One Leaves (an anti-foreclosure movement) participating as well.

Speakers focused particularly on the U.S. government's complicity with Israel's war. "I wanted to start by saying, thank you, Barack Obama, thank you Elizabeth Warren," said ISO member Ben Taylor. "Thank you for making it abundantly clear which side you stand on. By defending Israel's deadly campaign in Gaza, you have let us know which side you and your party stands on. By standing with Israel in this campaign, you stand with genocide and ethnic cleansing, with injustice, racism, colonialism and empire."

The crowd marched half a mile down Main Street on the sidewalk. People from the streets joined in. On the return walk back to City Hall, a few protesters made a quick decision to direct the crowd right into the street, so the march occupied the 30-foot wide westbound side of Main Street all the way back. Chants included, "Viva, viva Palestina!" and "Fight the power, turn the tide! End Israeli apartheid!"

-- In Indianapolis, more than 200 people took part in the largest pro-Palestine demonstration in Indiana history on July 19.

Palestinians and Arab-American students, many of them women, including Annise Adni, a history teacher from a local mosque, led a two-hour street protest and march through the streets of downtown Indianapolis. Passersby honked horns for peace as demonstrators chanted, "Gaza must have food and water; Israel, Israel stop the slaughter," and "Not a nickel, not a dime, no more money for Israel's crimes."

The demonstrators stopped to protest outside the office of Sen. Dan Coats, who co-sponsored U.S. Senate Resolution 489, passed unanimously last week supporting Israel's attacks on Gaza. Both Coats and Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly voted for the resolution. Sireen Zayed, a student at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, read a letter calling out the names of Palestinian children killed by bombs and bullets purchased with $3 billion of annual U.S. aid to Israel.

The Saturday demonstration was the third against the Israeli occupation in Indianapolis in the past two weeks. Demonstrations have also been held in Lafayette, Ind., and at Indiana University-South Bend. Out of these protests Indiana activists have formed Indiana Palestine Solidarity (IPS), a statewide solidarity network.

IPS is now planning a series of meetings around the state about the BDS movement against Israel, how to form new SJP chapters at Indiana campuses, and educational meetings providing Palestinian perspective and history on events like the current bombing and slaughter in Gaza.

-- In Washington, D.C., nearly 100 Palestinian activists and allies organized by Code Pink gathered near the White House for a die-in. Each participant received a cardboard tombstone with a string attached to it so they could hang it around their neck. On each of the tombstones was written a name, age and location of death of one of the Palestinian victims of the most recent ongoing assault.

Participants laid down in the street in front of the White House, and a speaker began the emotional task of reading the names of the dead, along with the date they died and their age. It seemed to go on forever as time slowed down in the dying light of a setting sun, and the speaker began to cry after reading nearly 40 names.

"Unfortunately, we are gathered out here to protest another war on Gaza and after 66 years we are still doing this," said Ramah Kudaimi, membership and outreach coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. "Obama is out golfing on the beach or something somewhere, as if he has nothing to do with this and as if there is nothing he can do about it. The reality is that he can do something about it. He can end military aid to Israel. The United States is not a bystander in this conflict."

Tareq Redi of Students Against Israeli Apartheid at George Mason University was, by his own account, more somber than usual.

I'm usually more fiery. A lot of you who know me are used to me yelling at the mic and riling things up. But unfortunately, I was tasked with finding photographs of the shahid [martyrs]. I lost 42 members of my family during al Nakba, but I didn't even know their names, let alone have photographs...I didn't feel the way I felt about my family members as I felt when I saw those four boys on the beach who were just killed--because I could see pictures of them, and I knew their names.
Re: Video-Photos: Boston Silent Vigil For Peace In Palestine/Israel
08 Aug 2014
Modified: 11:29:45 AM
So it's settled. We're all going to send Hamas a candygram asking them to stop firing rockets.