The corporate media can be counted on to minimize discussion of the terrorising of a population when that population is Palestinian. As well, any evidence of solidarity by left wing Israelis is totally obliterated, leading one to assume that if the NY Times says Israel is acting in self defense, it must be true. Here then are news reports from other sources, mainly activist groups, which put the issue in better perspective.
MASSIVE DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE WAR
At the same time as Ehud Barak was ordering the army to start the bloody ground offensive against Gaza, some ten thousand protesters from all over Israel marched in Tel-Aviv in a massive demonstration against the war. This and many more articles from Gush Shalom: CONTINUE
FROM WAR TIMES
As of this writing, over 540 Palestinians – at least 30% unarmed civilians – have been killed in Israel‘s assault on Gaza. Protests demanding an end to the attacks are ongoing, as are efforts to educate the public about the reasons for Israel‘s assault and the underlying nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict. War Times calls your attention to two places where you can find up-to-date, accessible information and analyses, as well as suggestions about how you can raise your voice:
1. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has developed on online Gaza Crisis Resource Center at http://www.adc.org . This new tool, designed to serve as a primary source of information, incorporates several resources on the Gaza attacks including:
*A factual timeline of the events leading up to the Israeli attacks.
*Reliable articles on the situation in Gaza.
*A list of UN responses and statements on the tragedy.
*A list of credible media sources.
*A continuously updated resource on the numbers of killed and injured.
*An instructive link on contacting the media about the tragedy in Gaza.
*An instructive link on contacting elected representatives including President-elect Obama.
*A list of protests, rallies, and vigils taking place nationwide.
Go to the online Resource Center at: http://www.adc.org
2. The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has published a new downloadable fact sheet, “Israel is Killing Palestinians in Gaza w/U.S. Weapons” as part of its emergency campaign, “Take Action: End Israel’s Attack on Gaza.” For the fact sheet and full information, go to:
Israeli news “farteiched und farbessered” (abridged and improved)
(from Jewish Peace News)
To read the English internet version of Haaretz of January 4th, you wouldn’t know that some ten thousand marchers had protested their government’s policy and attack on Gaza the night before in Tel Aviv or that earlier that day, many tens of thousands (some estimates have quoted 70 to 100 thousand), Jews and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, marched their protest through the Arab town of Sakhnin in the Galilee. They’re not part of the reality constructed by Haaretz’s English website. On January 4th, one headlinetopping an item picked up from Associated Press read: “Protesters across Europe urge Israel to end attacks on Gaza Strip” with no mention of domestic protests. Haaretz, mind you, is the newspaper often cited as a central example of Israel’s relatively critical and truthful media.
Though the Hebrew website published items on both the above protests above, Haaretz’s report on the Tel Aviv march was headlined: “Hundreds demonstrated throughout the country in protest ”. The article actually says that, “thousands participated in a protest march in Tel Aviv” and that “tens of thousands of demonstraters” protested in Sakhnin (my translation), but the dismissive “hundreds” of the headline might well convince you to skip such insignificant details. Today, one day later, as I’m writing this analysis, the Hebrew website of Haaretz no longer features even this headline; it can only be accessed via the archive and the item itself is only available for purchase.
A powerful “die-in” staged on Friday, January 3rd, by about 20 activists, at the entrance to an air force base situated in the posh northern Tel Aviv quarter known as “Tochnit Lamed” (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpeC7P-2LfU), hasn’t been reported on to date by Haaretz in English, though the English version of Ynet carried an item on it (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3649206,00.html). In Monday’s print version in Hebrew Haaretz included a “box” briefly reporting on this action, which is absent from both the Hebrew and English websites.
This is just a quick and superficial survey of how reality is filtered, “farteiched und farbessered” (abridged and improved, as a Yiddish adapter is reputed to have claimed of his rendering of Shakespeare) by Israeli media, in translation to English.
The arrest and aftermath of the 19 activists from Anarchists Against the Wall who did a “die in” at Tel Aviv’s air force base, was extraordinary. There is a video of the arrest (in hebrew) and it clearly shows them being ordered to move to the sidewalk, doing so, and then being arrested anyway (see video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpeC7P-2LfU). They were held for an un-precedented three days before being charged, and in the meantime activists’ homes have been entered, computers have been taken, and even additional arrests have been made by the police. The Anarchists have been one of the most effective groups working against the Occupation, and my sense is that the state is taking this opportunity to both to try to deter others from civil disobedience as well as try to do damage to the group, under cover of the invasion and less outcry on invasions of civil liberties in a “democracy.” It is also important to note that there are reports that numerous Palestinian Israelis have been arrested from their homes as well since the invasion began, but there has been no focus (at least in the English or Hebrew press) on these actions whatsoever.
(I am writing in English for the benefit of our friends outside Israel, to encourage them to continue speaking out to get the world to respond to this. I assume most of my Israeli friends can follow this).
There is a huge number of protests going on around the country. This blog http://mystical-politics.blogspot.com/2009/01/israeli-demonstrations-against-bombing.html mentions some. One of the most impressive was outside a base of the airforce, to remind pilots that they are actually killing people, not just bombing targets. In this protest 21 people were arrested, some of whom have been in jail for several days.
A significant development is that parts of the zionist left, such as Meretz and Peace Now, have joined the calls for an immediate halt to the war- http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230456536477&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull. Several thousands protested last night in Tel Aviv – http://things.co.il/, and thousands more demonsrated in Sakhnin earlier that day, in what is seen as the biggest protest in the Arab sector for many years. http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=29543
Not enough to stop the land invasion, but public opinion is turning in our direction.
The counter-protestors yesterday told us we had no right to an opinon, since we don’t live in Sderot. It brought me great satisfaction to tell them of the petition by Sderot civilians against the war (thanks Sarah Anne for posting it on Jewish Peace News –http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com/2009/01/some-voices-of-dissent.html).
(I resolved not to let anyone silence me, and the next time someone tries to take my place in the queue at a bank or at a store, I will definitely scream “fifth column!!!! go to Gaza!!! traitor!!!!”. Also, those who weren’t at the rally missed the counter-protestors’ inimitable rendering of HaTikvah, the Israeli national anthem, as some kind of soccer song, to which some us responded quite naturally by screaming stuff about the referee’s mother. I guess you should have been there)
Yesterday I spoke with M., a 20-year old student at the Hebrew university, who is planning a vigil this week in her campus. This is her first semester ever. In Jaffa, Palestinian activists are undergoing serious intimidation, including being woken up at night by the police for trumped up charges, and then released without being accused of anything. In spite of this they are continually protesting: last week they set up a mourning site for the civlians who died in Gaza, on Saturday many of them came to demonstrate in Tel Aviv, and on Tuesday another protest is planned in Jaffa (יפת פינת הפגנה ביפו ביום שלישי – ארליך, שעה 6).
Here are some testimonies – http://www.alternativenews.org/news/english/freedom-of-speech-denied-to-palestinian-citizens-of-israel-20090101.html
Maybe remember this the next time someone tells you how lucky Arabs are to be citizens of Israel.
The police initially said that it would ban Saturday’s demonstration if participants were to wave Palestinian flags, and it took a decision by the High Court to allow the protest to happen http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3649253,00.html. This is, of course, the “flag of the enemy”, and Palestinian citizens of Israel are expected to proudly wave the Israeli flag with the Star of David, as an expression of their national identity.
I am constantly impressed by people’s creativity: a party scheduled for Saturday was not cancelled because of the war, but it turned instead into a protest event, with drag kings dressing up as soldiers and parodying the fighting. A group of Jewish and Palestinian poets brought out a collection of anti-war poems (in Hebrew – you can download it here – http://notes.co.il/mati/51225.asp), and organized a reading outside the house of Barak, the Defense Minister, to emphasize his responsibility for the massive killings.http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052047.html – and these are only a few instances that I am aware of, mainly from my area (Tel Aviv).
The media is barely covering it, but as a Tel Avivian friend told me, she was hardly aware of the protests against the war until 10000 people passed by her house chanting slogans like (my favorite) – Arabs and Jews refuse to be enemies – ערבים, יהודים, מסרבים להיות אויבים . Since many Arabs bused into Tel Aviv to be present, this felt especially poignant.
Tom Segev wrote in his column this week that “On April 5, 1956, Israel bombed the marketplace in the center of Gaza City. Fifty civilians were killed in that attack, including women and children. Then foreign minister Moshe Sharett thought it was a “savage and stupid” operation. But David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister and defense minister, and Moshe Dayan, the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, believed the Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, sought to destroy Israel and therefore his regime must be toppled, via a defeat in a comprehensive war. Therefore, the ministers followed a policy designed to increase tension and escalation, to the brink of war”. This was 52 years ago! http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052024.html
whereas this market in Gaza was attacked last week – http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Pessah/1237509#/video/video.php?v=1037755058264&ref=nf
We can either continue to accept this logic, that killing hundreds of people will “teach them a lesson”, or we can demand a complete change of policy – a real honest attempt to end the occupation in both Gaza and the West Bank, dismantling settlements instead of building new ones, allowing people access to health care, food, higher education, travel abroad and the right to choose their own government democratically just like everyone else. To all those who say “there is no choice” – why is killing 500 people, very few of whom were engaged in firing rockets, even considered a legitimate choice? where is this leading to? only to the death and wounding of more Palestinian and Israeli soldiers and civilians. Enough is enough. Get up, stand up.
Jewish Peace News editors:
Sarah Anne Minkin
Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com