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Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Today I end my support of Israel

Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 11:07:48 AM PST

Like davidminzer, I’m Jewish and descendant of holocaust survivors. Moreover, I’ve been a Zionist all of my life. I went to a Zionist school, I was active in Zionist youth groups. I’ve always been a fervent supporter of Israel as a refuge for Jews around the world who seek a place to exercise their traditions and embrace their identity in peace.

I sang the Israeli anthem in the train rails of Aushwitz-Birkenau and I pledged to fight every day of my life to make sure the savage crimes that had taken place there would never happen again. Every year I pledged: Never Again. Remember and Never forget.

Well, I haven’t forgotten. And so to honor that pledge, to honor the memory of my family members who died in those death camps and because “there comes a time when silence is betrayal”, today I finally and publicly end my support for the state of Israel.

I do this with great pain in my heart, but nonetheless with the overwhelming conviction that it is the only right thing to do. I was patient: I tolerated the destruction of the Oslo process by refusing to end or slow down the constant and criminal construction of settlements. I held my nose and stood my ground when Barak killed the final status negotiations at Taba 2001. I even remained loyal after Sharon’s massacres in the West Bank, the brutal Annexation wall, the illegal “selective assassinations” and Olmert’s war crimes in Lebanon.
I had to defend Israel and Israelis with my friends and others who demanded I be consistent with my progressive views and oppose a country that was responsible for horrible crimes against innocent human beings. “Israelis are scared, they are traumatized, you have to understand…”, “Israel is responding to attacks on itself, tell me one other country that wouldn’t respond when attacked…”, I demanded understanding, I pleaded for a fair and comparative analysis.

ENOUGH. I’m done justifying crimes against humanity by a country that claims to be an illuminated western democracy. I’m done defending a country that is unwilling to grant self-determination to a neighboring people because it won’t let go of a few settlements and divide a city. I’m done tolerating the slaughtering of innocent kids, the murderous and barbaric occupation of an impoverished people, the utter disregard for human life.
Fuck them.
If they think their daily peace of mind is worth the lives of hundreds of innocent people, Fuck them.
If they think the best way to go right now would be to vote for Natanyahu (who is so far winning in the polls), Fuck them.
If they won’t bat an eye before keeping millions without electricity or water, before bombing civilian neighborhoods at exactly the time when kids are leaving schools, before breaking every standard of international law or moral decency, Fuck them.
It’s time for every true progressive in this country and around the world to do the only thing that our consciences should allow us to do, the only thing that can keep us consistent with our supposed beliefs that human life is precious and that unnecessary violence is always criminal, barbarous and unacceptable. We must demand that Israel stop violence and immediately put an end to its colonialist military occupation of Palestine.
And until they do so, we must organize and do everything we can to make sure our money is not financing mass murder and oppression.
It is time for the progressive movement to demand immediate Divestment from Israel, just like we divested from other oppressive states like South Africa.
The only reason not to do so is willful hypocrisy.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m done being a hypocrite.
Unnecessary murder of innocents is always wrong.
Selfish and unjustifiable occupation is always wrong.
Inaction in the face of massive suffering and injustice is always wrong.
It is thus our responsibility to make sure Obama and the rest of our leaders understand that this time we will be relentless, this time we mean business and this time we will honor our pledges.




Update: Thanks for putting this on the Recommended list. Now, if we could only come together as a community and think of different ways to organize a divestment campaign and other ways of putting pressure on the Israeli government, that would be truly amazing. Please read
this great diary where different ways of supporting Gaza’s population and organizing against Israeli occupation are presented.
Also, for those who are willing to work to pressure and lobby the American government to do something, please take a a look at this cool group. Toda Raba le culam (Thank to all).

Foreign Journalists Demand Gaza Access |

Foreign Journalists Demand Gaza Access

Israeli supreme court to hear petition protesting against block on reporters seeking to cover conflict

by Rory McCarthy

Israel’s supreme court will hear a petition tomorrow brought by the Foreign Press Association, which represents around 400 foreign journalists, demanding that Israel allow reporters into Gaza to cover the latest conflict.

[The body of a Palestinian security force officer lays in the rubble after an Israeli missile strike on a building in Gaza City, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. In an open letter, the Foreign Press Association said this week that the closure of the Erez crossing to journalists marked "an unprecedented restriction of press freedom. As a result the world's media is unable to accurately report on events inside Gaza at this critical time," it said.(AP/Fadi Adwan)]The body of a Palestinian security force officer lays in the rubble after an Israeli missile strike on a building in Gaza City, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. In an open letter, the Foreign Press Association said this week that the closure of the Erez crossing to journalists marked “an unprecedented restriction of press freedom. As a result the world’s media is unable to accurately report on events inside Gaza at this critical time,” it said.(AP/Fadi Adwan)

The sole pedestrian crossing from Israel into Gaza, at Erez, has remained closed to journalists since Israel’s bombing campaign began on Saturday.

Two years ago, after Hamas won the Palestinian elections, Israeli authorities stopped all Israeli journalists and Palestinian journalists with Israeli identity cards crossing into Gaza, saying it was too dangerous.

Last month, as the last ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militant groups began to collapse, the Israeli defence ministry closed the Erez crossing to all foreign journalists as well, citing “security” reasons.

Egypt has largely kept its one crossing into Gaza, at Rafah, closed except for in rare medical emergencies, and it too does not allow journalists to cross. The only reporters in Gaza now are Palestinians who live there and work for news agencies or for Palestinian and Arab satellite channels, including al-Jazeera.

In an open letter, the Foreign Press Association said this week that the closure of the Erez crossing to journalists marked “an unprecedented restriction of press freedom. As a result the world’s media is unable to accurately report on events inside Gaza at this critical time,” it said.

“Despite our protests the Israelis authorities have refused to let journalists in … Never before have journalists been prevented from doing their work in this way. We believe it is vital that journalists be allowed to find out for themselves what is going on in Gaza. Israel controls access to Gaza. Israel must allow professional journalists access to this important story.”

Previous hearings have been held on the issue at the supreme court without any clear resolution of the case.

2008 Eternal Figures of Iran Announced

2008 Eternal Figures of Iran Announced

TEHRAN, Nov. 10 (Mehr News Agency) — Iranian luminaries of various scientific, cultural, and artistic fields were praised during the seventh Eternal Figures Gathering here at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) International Conference Hall in northern Tehran Sunday night.

The program was organized by the IRIB in collaboration with domestic universities, academies, unions, and foundations.

The 2008 eternal figures pose for a photograph after the award presentation ceremony at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) International Conference Hall on November 9. (Mehr/Mohsen Sajjadi)

The gathering commenced with a speech delivered by IRIB Managing Director Ezzatollah Zarghami.

He paid homage to the late eternal figures who brought honor upon their country, and said, “Respecting these eternal figures means to appreciate science and to show others ways to strive for higher achievements in life.”

Head of the gathering Reza Purhossein also made a short speech and said, “Introducing the luminaries as eternal figures promise a bright future for our country.”

Afterwards, the elite got on stage to receive their awards and Zarghami handed the honorary diploma and the plaque to the selected figures.

Iran’s eternal figures for 2008 are as follows:

Shams Shariat and Abbas Sheibani (Medicine)

Mohammad Edrisi and Manusr Taheri (Chemistry)

Mohammad-Mehdi Sheikh-Jabbari (Physics)

Mohammad-Jafar Malakuti (Agriculture)

Mohammad Golyar (Architecture)

Gholamali Haddad Adel (Philosophy)

Shokuh Navvabinejad (Psychology)

Mehdi Shojaii, Qeisar Aminpur, Hassan Anvari (Persian Literature)

Ali-Akbar Sadeqi (Visual Arts)

Kamal Purtorab (Music)

Davud Rashidi (Cinema)

Nasrollah Afjei (Calligraphy)

Arsalan Qahreman (Civil Engineering)

Faramarz Afshar Taromi (Polymer Engineering)

Deans of the universities of Tehran and Sharif as well as university professors attended the ceremony.

Israeli warships ram Free Gaza boat

Israeli Gunboats Came Out of the Darkness and Rammed Us Three Times

(Lebanon, Tuesday 30 December) – Today the Free Gaza ship Dignity carefully made its way to safe harbor in Tyre, Lebanon’s southern-most port city, after receiving serious structural damage when Israeli warships rammed its bow and the port side. Waiting to greet the passengers and crew were thousands of Lebanese who came out to show their solidarity with this attempt to deliver volunteer doctors and desperately needed medical supplies to war-ravaged Gaza. The Lebanese government has pledged to provide a forensic analysis of what happened in the dark morning, when Israel rammed the civilian ship in international waters, and put the people on board in danger of losing their lives.

The Dignity, on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, was attacked by the Israeli Navy at approximately 6 am (UST) in international waters, roughly 90 miles off the coast of Gaza. Several Israeli warships surrounded the small, human rights boat, firing live ammunition around it, then intentionally ramming it three times. According to ship’s captain Denis Healy, the Israeli attack came, “”without any warning, or any provocation.”

Caoimhe Butterly, an organizer with the Free Gaza Movement, stated that, “The gunboats gave us no warning. They came up out of the darkness firing flares and flashing huge flood lights into our faces. We were so shocked that at first we didn’t react. We knew we were well within international waters and supposedly safe from attack. They rammed us three times, hitting the side of the boat hard. We began taking on water and, for a few minutes, we all feared for our lives. After they rammed us, they started screaming at us as we were frantically getting the life boats ready and putting on our life jackets. They kept yelling that if we didn’t turn back they would shoot us.”

Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, was traveling to Gaza aboard the Dignity in order to assess the impact of Israel’s military onslaught against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip. According to McKinney, “Israeli patrol boats…tracked us for about 30 minutes…and then all of a sudden they rammed us approximately three times, twice in the front and once in the side…the Israelis indicated that [they felt] we were involved in terrorist activities.”

The Dignity departed from Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7pm (UST) on Monday 29 December with a cargo of over 3 tons of desperately needed medical supplies donated to Gaza by the people of Cyprus. Three surgeons were also aboard, traveling to Gaza to volunteer in overwhelmed hospitals and clinics. The ship was searched by Cypriot Port authorities prior to departure, and its passenger list was made public.

Israel’s deplorable attack on the unarmed Dignity is a violation of both international maritime law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that “the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes.”

Delivering doctors and urgently needed medical supplies to civilians is just such a “peaceful purpose.” Deliberately ramming a mercy ship and endangering its passengers is an act of terrorism.

CALL the Israeli Government and demand that it immediately STOP attacking the civilian population of Gaza and STOP using violence to prevent human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264

Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
+972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148

Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy at:
+ 972 5 781 86248

For more information read an article (click here) in the Atlantic Journal-Constitution in which former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney called on President-elect Obama to address the Gaza crisis, saying the weapons being used by Israel were supplied by the United States.