Sign letter to Obama regarding Palestine

Jewish Voices for Peace and Just Foreign Policy teamed up to get signatures urging President Obama to end the blockade, talk to everyone and jump on this chance to actually have peace in that area of the world.


Secretary of State Clinton asks: What is the best Path Forward for Gaza?

Dipnote, the U.S. State Department blog, has a new question, what should we do about Gaza?

On March 2, Clinton will participate in the donor conference for Gaza reconstruction. Until then, she will be taking suggestions from ordinary Americans.

Here is the link. Lend your voice in our participatory democracy, or shut your piehole and live with their decisions. 🙂

Excellent explanation of the Israeli media spin

For those who don’t understand the true cost of media “spin”, here is a well-written explanation by Yonatan Mendel that even the most clueless could probably understand.

A small excerpt:

In most of the articles on the conflict two sides battle it out: the Israel Defence Forces, on the one hand, and the Palestinians, on the other. When a violent incident is reported, the IDF confirms or the army says but the Palestinians claim: ‘The Palestinians claimed that a baby was severely injured in IDF shootings.’ Is this a fib? ‘The Palestinians claim that Israeli settlers threatened them’: but who are the Palestinians? Did the entire Palestinian people, citizens of Israel, inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, people living in refugee camps in neighbouring Arab states and those living in the diaspora make the claim? Why is it that a serious article is reporting a claim made by the Palestinians? Why is there so rarely a name, a desk, an organisation or a source of this information? Could it be because that would make it seem more reliable?….
Another example: in June 2006, four days after the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped from the Israeli side of the Gazan security fence, Israel, according to the Israeli media, arrested some sixty members of Hamas, of whom 30 were elected members of parliament and eight ministers in the Palestinian government. In a well-planned operation Israel captured and jailed the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem, the ministers of finance, education, religious affairs, strategic affairs, domestic affairs, housing and prisons, as well as the mayors of Bethlehem, Jenin and Qalqilya, the head of the Palestinian parliament and one quarter of its members. That these officials were taken from their beds late at night and transferred to Israeli territory probably to serve (like Gilad Shalit) as future bargaining-chips did not make this operation a kidnapping. Israel never kidnaps: it arrests.

The Israeli army never intentionally kills anyone, let alone murders them – a state of affairs any other armed organisation would be envious of. Even when a one-ton bomb is dropped onto a dense residential area in Gaza, killing one gunman and 14 innocent civilians, including nine children, it’s still not an intentional killing or murder: it is a targeted assassination. An Israeli journalist can say that IDF soldiers hit Palestinians, or killed them, or killed them by mistake, and that Palestinians were hit, or were killed or even found their death (as if they were looking for it), but murder is out of the question. The consequence, whatever words are used, has been the death at the hands of the Israeli security forces since the outbreak of the second intifada of 2087 Palestinians who had nothing to do with armed struggle.

Read on yourself, it’s fascinating and disturbing. Read our newspapers, and watch the action words…and the modifiers. Talk about disturbing….

We don’t have an independent press, essential in a democracy. That’s why we came so close to tyranny.

Why the Peace Process in Israel/Palestine has not progressed to peace

First are the Media Rules, courtesy of israelity bites:

Rule #1: In the Middle East, it is always the Palestinians that attack first, and it’s always Israel who defends itself. This is called “retaliation”.

Rule #2: The Palestinians are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called “terrorism”.

Rule #3: Israel has the right to kill Palestinian civilians; this is called “self-defense”, or “collateral damage”.

Rule #4: When Israel kills too many Palestinian civilians, the Western world calls for restraint. This is called the “reaction of the international community”.

Rule #5: Palestinians do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even 1 or 2.

Rule #6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (over 10,000 to date being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed is the magic word: “terrorism”.

Rule #7: When you say “Hamas”, always be sure to add “supported by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran”.

Rule #8: When you say “Israel”, never say “supported by the USA, the UK, European countries and even some Arab regimes”, for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

Rule #9: When it comes to Israel, don’t mention the words “occupied territories”, “UN resolutions”, “Geneva conventions”. This could distress the audience of Fox, CNN, etc.

Rule #10: Israelis tend to speak better English than Arabs. This is why it is called “balanced journalism”.

Next, courtesy of the same site, the quote:

“We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years, neither the United Nations, nor the U.S.A, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.” Ariel Sharon to Winston S. Churchill III in 1973.

Would’ve been nice to share that with the U.S. negotiators…..

But there is hope, because not all people feel the same way Ariel Sharon did:

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis
came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers.”
— Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and Orthodox Jew.

And then there’s the old Testament:

He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Micah 4:3


israelity bites

The Next Debate

Campaigning in Ohio, a supporter brought to Hillary Clinton’s attention, two Barack Obama mailers that criticize her health care plan and challenge her position on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement which is widely accepted to have caused much of the job losses in Ohio since its passage. Clinton angrily called Obama on the carpet and challenged him to discuss his tactics at the debate that is to take place on MSNBC, Tuesday at 8pm Central.

Clinton, who is trailing Obama in delegates and whose campaign is in serious trouble, is right to call attention to the mailers one which points out that her plan would make purchasing private health insurance mandatory for every American and would financially penalize those who don’t, and the other noting that in her book, she championed NAFTA as a victory of her husband’s administration.

In a state such as Ohio, with a high unemployment rate and a lack of jobs, such information could certainly be damaging to her failing bid for the White House.

Though the mailers are factually correct, at this point in the race, damage control is certainly in order, and today Clinton called on Obama to debate his tactics in Ohio.

Sorry Hillary, the nationally televised debate on Tuesday is not the place for a discussion of campaign strategy and political tactics.

In the last debate, an inordinate amount of time was spent asking Clinton if she truly believes Obama is all talk and no action and if she thinks he is ready to be commander-in-chief, not that the American people need either candidate’s assessment of the other in order to choose their president.
Unfortunately, not discussed in the debate were issues such as how high the cost of food has gotten, just what do the candidates consider to be an “affordable” cost for health insurance, where will they get the money for the green infrastructure they both want to build to create jobs, and how they plan to take unemployed factory workers and retrain them so they can once again have jobs that will enable them to provide a decent living for their families. And who and what will pay for all of that?

Also not discussed were issues such as Iran, our lack of a standing army, the Middle East peace process, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey’s incursion into Iraq and the United States’ obsession with spreading democracy around the world. Is that what caused the burning of our embassy in Belgrade, because that is certainly what everyone over there is saying. You’d think we would have learned about democracy spreading after the Shah of Iran, El Salvadore and Nicaragua, all dismal failures which we continue to pay for today.

Nor did we get to hear what they plan to do about lead paint in China, though Obama alluded to it. They want to rethink the free trade agreements, but no details as to what is being rethought. Hillary said we have to look at NAFTA again, though nothing specific as to what we are looking for. And Obama, though greeted with silence, mentioned that future agreements must have better wages and environmental controls built in so we can lift these countries up.

The silence should have been a clue to him that the failure to lift other countries up is not what is bothering the American people about free trade agreements.

Obama also said that companies that export jobs should be taxed and those that keep jobs here should be rewarded. He got applause for that one. Hello…… anybody home? That is on the right track.

But Hillary wants instead, to debate Obama about his campaign tactics, something that is so irrelevant to those trying to decide who to choose for president when we live in a country that has banks borrowing billions, foreclosures in the millions, unemployment in the hundreds of thousands and heads of families working two and three minimum wage jobs because the last few presidents, including Bill Clinton, thought it would be just grand to make the United States’ most plentiful employment opportunities, low paying service jobs, and were satisfied with intellectual property being our biggest export.

No, this is neither the time nor the place to debate a couple of mailers. If your campaign is hinging on two pieces of paper that accurately describe your health care plan and quote your book, perhaps you should bow out now in the interests of party loyalty and spend the rest of the primary season helping Obama build enough momentum so that in November, we don’t find ourselves with John McCain as president committing our children, grand children and great grand children to spending the next hundred years in Iraq.

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