Archive for israel

Stop It! (Nicole Sandler Interviews Uri Avnery)

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Uri Avner

As a progressive atheist with a Jewish heritage, I'll admit to being really ashamed of Israel's actions. I feel for the Palestinian people trapped in the "open-air prison" that is the Gaza strip. I think that Israeli Jews, of all people, should know better - should have learned lessons from their history about genocide, bigotry, hatred and tolerance.

By no means am I saying that Hamas is innocent. They've thumbed their noses at the rules of war -- an oxymoronic notion if ever there was one.

But all the killing and bloodshed in the world isn't going to solve the problems or ease the differences there. The only thing that will lead to peace is if representatives of these two groups sit down and talk.

I last interviewed Uri Avnery while I was on Air America, pre- 2010, but his story resonated with me. Avnery, who'll turn 91 in September, was a member of the Irgun as a teenager, fighting for the creation of the state of Israel by whatever means necessary.

From 1965–74 and 1979–81, Avnery sat in the Knesset and, in 1982, famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yassir Arafat, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli.

He worked as a journalist and, in 1993, founded the Gush Shalom peace movement, at which he continues working for peace today.

I don't have to wait to hear what Avnery thinks about the rockets flying in both directions as I subscribe to his newsletter. But with this latest round of death and destruction, I called him and he agreed to join me on the air.

The video is posted above. I urge you to listen to what this wise man has to say. Once you've listened, you might want to read his latest article for Gush-Shalom. It's entitled "Once And For All!"

Once And For All!
26/07/14

IN THIS war, both sides have the same aim: to put an end to the situation that existed before it started.

Once And For All!

To put an end to the launching of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, Once And For All!
To put an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt, Once And For All!
So why don't the two sides come together without foreign interference and agree on tit for tat?

They can't because they don't speak to each other. They can kill each other, but they cannot speak with each other. God forbid.

THIS IS NOT a war on terror. The war itself is an act of terror.

Neither side has a strategy other than terrorizing the civilian population of the other side.
The Palestinian fighting organizations in Gaza try to impose their will by launching rockets at Israeli towns and villages, hoping that this will break the morale of the population and compel it to end the blockade that turns the Gaza Strip into an "open-air prison".

The Israeli army is bombing the Gaza Strip population and destroying entire neighborhoods, hoping that the inhabitants (those who survive) will shake off the Hamas leadership.
Both hopes are, of course, stupid. History has shown time and again that terrorizing a population causes it to unite behind its leaders and hate the enemy even more. That is happening now on both sides.

SPEAKING ABOUT the two sides in a war, one can hardly avoid creating the impression of symmetry. But this war is far from symmetric.

Israel has one of the largest and most efficient military machines in the world. Hamas and its local allies amount to a few thousand fighters, if that.

The closest analogy one can find is the mythical story of David and Goliath. But this time we are Goliath, and they David.

The story is generally misunderstood. True, Goliath was a giant and David a small shepherd, but Goliath was armed with old-fashioned weapons – heavy armor, sword and shield - and could hardly move, while David had a new-fangled surprise weapon, the sling, with which he could kill from a distance.

Hamas hoped to achieve the same with its rockets, whose reach was a surprise. Also with the number and efficiency of their tunnels, which are reaching into Israel. However, this time Goliath too was inventive, and the Iron Dome missile batteries intercepted practically all the rockets that could have harmed population centers, including my neighborhood in Tel Aviv.
By now we know that neither side can compel the other side to capitulate. It's a draw. So why go on killing and destroying?

Ah, there's the rub. We can't talk to each other. We need intermediaries.

A CARTOON in Haaretz this week shows Israel and Hamas fighting, and a bunch of mediators dancing in a circle around them.

They all want to mediate. They are fighting each other because each of them wants to mediate, if possible alone. Egypt, Qatar, the US, the UN, Turkey, Mahmoud Abbas, Tony Blair and several more. Mediators galore. Each wants to gain something from the misery of war.

It's a sorry lot. Most of them pitiful, some of them outright disgusting.

Take Egypt, ruled by a bloodstained military dictator. He is a full-time collaborator with Israel, as was Hosny Mubarak before him, only more efficient. Since Israel controls all the other land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian border is Gaza's only outlet to the world.
But Egypt, the former leader of the Arab world, is now a subcontractor of Israel, more determined than Israel itself to starve the Gaza Strip and kill Hamas. Egyptian TV is full of "journalists" who curse the Palestinians in the most vulgar terms and grovel before their new Pharaoh. But Egypt now insists on being the sole broker of the cease-fire.

The UN Secretary General is rushing around. He was chosen for his job by the US because he is not outstandingly clever. Now he looks pitiful.

But not more pitiful than John Kerry, a pathetic figure flying hither and thither, trying to convince everyone that the US is still a world power. Gone are the days when Henry Kissinger commanded the leaders of Israel and the Arab countries what to do and what not (especially telling them not to talk to each other, but only to him.)

What exactly is the role of Mahmoud Abbas? Nominally, he is the president of the Gaza Strip, too. But he gives the impression of trying to mediate between the de facto Gaza government and the world. He is much closer to Tel Aviv than to Gaza.

And so the list goes on. The ridiculous figure of Tony Blair. The European Foreign Ministers trying to get a photo opportunity with their neo-fascist Israeli colleague. Altogether, a disgusting sight.

I want to cry out to my government and to the Hamas leaders: For God's sake, forget about the whole sorry lot, talk to each other!

THE PALESTINIAN fighting capabilities are surprising everyone, especially the Israeli army. Instead of begging for a ceasefire by now, Hamas is refusing until its demands are met, while Binyamin Netanyahu seems eager to stop before sinking even deeper into the Gaza morass – a nightmare for the army.

The last war began with the assassination of the Hamas military commander, Ahmad al-Jaabari. His successor is an old acquaintance, Mohammed Deif, whom Israel has tried to assassinate several times, causing him severe injuries. It now appears that he is far more capable than his predecessor – the web of tunnels, the production of far more effective rockets, the better trained fighters – all this attests to a more competent leader.
(This has happened before. We assassinated a Hizbollah leader, Abbas al-Mussawi, and got the far more talented Hassan Nasrallah.)

In the end, some kind of cease-fire will come into being. It will not be the end Once And For All. It never is.

What will remain?

THE HATRED between the two sides has grown. It will remain.

The hatred of many Israelis for Israel's Arab citizens has grown considerably, and this cannot be repaired for a long time. Israeli democracy has been hard hit. Neo-Fascist groups, once a fringe, are now accepted in the mainstream. Some cabinet ministers and Knesset members are outright fascist.

They are acclaimed now by almost all the world's leaders and repeat parrot-like Netanyahu's most threadbare propaganda slogans. But millions around the world have seen day after day the terrible pictures of devastation and death in the Gaza Strip. These will not be eradicated from their minds by a cease-fire. Israel's already precarious standing in the world will sink even lower.

Inside Israel itself, decent people feel more and more uncomfortable. I have heard many utterances by simple people who suddenly talk about emigration. The choking atmosphere inside the country, the awful conformism of all our media (with Haaretz a shining exception), the certainty that war will follow war forever – all this is leading young people to dream about a quiet life with their families in Los Angeles or Berlin.

In the Arab world the consequences will be even worse.

For the first time, almost all Arab governments have openly embraced Israel in the fight against Hamas. For young Arabs anywhere, this is an act of shameful humiliation.
The Arab Spring was an uprising against the corrupt, oppressive and shameless Arab elite. The identification with the plight of the forsaken Palestinian people was an important part of this.

What has happened now is, from the point of view of today's young Arabs, worse, much worse. Egyptian generals, Saudi princes, Kuwaiti emirs and their peers throughout the region stand before their younger generation naked and contemptible, while the Hamas fighters look like shining examples. Unfortunately, this reaction may lead to an even more radical Islamism.

WHILE STANDING in an anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv, I was asked by a nice young man: "OK, assuming that this war is bad, what would you do at 6 o'clock after the war?" (That was the name of a famous World War II Soviet movie.)

Well, to start with I would drive away all the mediators and start to talk directly with fighters of the other side.

I would agree to put an immediate end to the land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow the Gazans to build a decent port and airport. On all routes, effective controls must ensure that no weapons are let in.

I would ask that Hamas, after receiving international guarantees, remove in reasonable stages all rockets and destroy all tunnels under the border.

I would certainly release at once all the Shalit-exchange prisoners who were re-arrested at the start of the present crisis. An obligation undertaken under pressure is still an obligation, and cheating by a government is still ugly.

I would recognize, and call upon the world to recognize, the Palestinian Unity Government and do nothing to impede free Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections, under international inspection. I would undertake to respect the results, whatever they may be.
I would immediately start honest peace negotiations with the unified Palestinian leadership, on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative. Now that so many Arab governments embrace Israel, there seems to be a unique chance for a peace agreement.

In short, put an end to the war Once And For All.

Nicole Sandler is host of The Nicole Sandler Show, weekdays 10-noon ET at radioornot.com

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Misfired Palestinian(?) Airstrikes At a Main Hospital and Public Park in Gaza Reported

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gaza.articleLarge.v2

Who shot the rockets??

Two separate strikes near the main hospital in Gaza and the nearby Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City, brought a stream of victims out of the medical center. Most news outlets report ten dead.

It was initially broadcast on MSNBC as a pair of Israeli airstrikes, that has been the pattern … then perhaps unsurprisingly, by 22 after the hour on Monday, EST, Tamron Hall was reporting that the strikes appear more and more to be friendly fire misfirings.

Now both sides are denying blame.

memewrong

Which is almost more tragic. But by noon, we realize that NBC doesn't have a definitive view of who fired the rockets that caused the damage they are reporting in their crawl and on their website, see below. Andrea Mitchell had to get Ayman Mohyeldin back, to discuss. Then Susan Rice.

By chance, Mitchell already had National Security Advisor Susan Rice on her docket, and that footage is informative as well. She urged a political settlement and long-term disarmament and a future for both Gaza and Israel.

Mysteriously, NewsNation never put up Tamron Hall's footage of their field reporter, but I caught part of the footage in another NBC location and that is last, below. Maybe they'll have it figured out by Maddow. [Will update. Or click here just in case. Rachel Central.] But NBC ran footage of John Kerry's statements today, have a listen.

Hamas officials, as reported by Mohyeldin, feel that most of the Palestine people are tired of living under siege … but they'll fight to the end if they have to, because the existential fight is rather bigger than all of them, alive and dead.

That's one sobering look into the future.

From MSNBC's breaking coverage Monday morning.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/middle-east-unrest/gaza-strikes-near-shifa-hospital-refugee-camp-kill-or-wound-n166571

Another strike occurred at the Al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza. At least 30 dead and wounded were brought to Shifa Hospital in ambulances, civilian cars and on motorcycles. A NBC News team in the area said the strikes were in "close succession."

However, the Israel Defense Forces told Haaretz that a “preliminary investigation has found the Israeli army did not fire at the Shifa Hospital, and the fire is believed to have been Hamas.” The IDF could not immediately be reached to clarify that account on Monday.

ohlookapenny

MSNBC reported this with a bit of a personal angle, they had a film crew in the hospital at the time and they were on site to film the strike at the medical complex. The outpatient clinic was thought to the target of the 5 p.m. [Israeli time] extremely lethal missile.

The reporter on the ground, familiar NBC field newsman Ayman Mohyeldin, was there.

For some background, Lester Holt and Mohyeldin on Today over the weekend discussing one of the rolling cease fires John Kerry has been busily negotiating in an effort to quiet the roiling waters.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Well this is a pickle, which in turn ties right back to the Churchillian enigma that is the struggle in Gaza. I was on the other side of that border thirty years ago this summer, and it was as uncomfortable then as it must be now - and about as dangerous.

It was, however, before the Right Wing truly adopted Israel as their savior and their land as what will be their reward for enduring Obama and Armageddon: Rapture Ground Zero.

quoi?

Just waiting for someone to beller, "At this point does it really matter who fired the rocket that killed 9 children at a refugee camp and hospital during a rolling cease fire in Gaza?" in shades of a righteously frustrated Hillary Clinton in the hot seat.

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Phuque Feck, Abby Huntsman et al Conservative Bimbette Pundits

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I have had it up to here with Feck, so excuse my language.

Her little schtick ought to be called 'Abby's Road To Nowhere', and did we learn nothing from The View about shiny-eyed, shiny-haired young conserva-babes? Surprisingly lifelike but not going to bring anything new to the table?

Hannity and Limbaugh have already 'been in', so to speak.

She might as well call the president gay. It would almost be a relief if dis-compassionate conservatives of Abby Huntsman's calibre just showed the entire spectrum of their Winger Delusions in week one. Be straight up.

Specious smile … Hi. Isn't it a lovely summer day? I'm Sally Lynn, and I'm a Tea Party Era Republican who will snidely condemn every damn thing that abhorrent black man does, whatever it is, until said impertinent man drags his free stuff out of the White House and white people get back to running things.

fox4

We knew it was going to be offensive, Abby was perfection, etiquette wise, and politely warned us early on that a rant about a lack of leadership (in the West Wing, allegedly, not on the 3 PM EST hour of messnbc daytime when the younguns' have at it) was our 3:28 minutes of punishment at the end of the hour.

And not to be catty, but that dress? She is aware that True Blood wrapped already? Ted Cruz had a once in a lifetime shot there, but he got that cameo-Get. Maybe Scandal has something in the conservative cable news pundit slash spokes-bimbette category for next year.

And not to be anti-Mormon, but isn't Abby one of the tribe of Utah extreme 'religionists' [Lucian's splendid term which I poached but need to cite] who truly believe that Jerusalem has to be safely, securely, strongly in em … Judeo-Christian possession … by Armageddon and Rapture? Huntsman was moderate in some social and scientific senses, but Dude still sported the undergarments.

And to be snide, but does Israel even want this Feck obsessed chick defending them? Maybe over Hasselbeck, that you could see.

worldisending

So Miss Huntsman's underlying nerves and anxiety have less to do with a need for President Obama to look like he has Feck to spare and could ride a bear and is a capital L Leader of the free world … but more with thinking, nay believing deeply, let's not be judgmental, that her immortal soul and future in the hereafter weren't intertwined with what's going on in Tel Aviv?

It's been an entire week of conservative whiney women bitching about the president's lack of Feck, and frankly we've had enough. Phuque Feck, what Feck seems to conflate to over ta' Fvx Nation and all of that Reaganesque Marlboro Man bullshite … these neo-con women need to stick a pin in it.

havalaugh

La Palin first, all she's done for seven years is squawk about President Obama being a wuss in equitable times, she'll ultimately allegorically implode soon in a very True Blood sort of 'last life', writhing morass of idiocy and evil intent, with some moose entrails and a tacky lipstick shade thrown in.

And steaming piles of Feck.

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Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

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SULOME ANDERSON
'He calls me neshama, I call him habibi. Love doesn't speak the language of occupation #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies,'
Sulome Anderson tweeted.

If only the so-called leaders could be taken out of the equation, the people of the world might actually have a shot at world peace!

But only a shot because there are still citizens throughout the world who insist on placing all of the blame for this mess on one side or the other. As an American atheist of Jewish descent, I still consider myself a Jew - with all the history to comes with that heritage.

I have family members who escaped the concentration camps. That history doesn't go away because the powers that be in Israel seem to have forgotten their persecution. I sympathize with the Palestinian people who have no homeland and live in the open-air prison that is Gaza.

I can see both sides of the story, and know that both sides are right in some respects and wrong in many others.

But when a long-time listener and supporter of this program writes in the chat room "All Jews in Israel are Nazis," we have an even bigger problem than I realized. (Said listener left the chat room in a huff and canceled his monthly donation to the show. If you'd like to make up for the shortfall, your support is needed.)

Thank goodness I was able to read a sensible take on the situation with a sensible solution over at Slate: William Saletan's "How To Save Gaza and Keep Israel and Hamas from Fighting the Next War." I already emailed and invited him on the show tomorrow. I hope he accepts.

And thank goodness for the people who started the #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies campaign.

Let me add myself and Keith Ellison to the mix who did the Jew/Muslim fist bump at Netroots Nation and shared a hug too!

Today on the show, Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars joined in to show that even like-minded people can disagree, and do with without being assholes.

And Mario Piscatella, managing editor of Blue Nation Review, guested to tell us about that great new news website, the assault on premium subsidies in the Affordable Care Act by two Republican judges and more.. until a Florida lightning strike nearby knocked me off the air.

So, we'll be back tomorrow with another show... Amy Simon on Seneca Falls, Stephen Goldstein with another "No More Bullshit Minute" and whatever else the day throws our way... radio or not!

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Violent headlines that won't go away #NotOneMore

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headlines smaller

headlines guns shootings

I spend a good part of my workday hunting for stories to bring to you. If a headline piques my interest, I link over and start reading. If two similar headlines pique my interest, my newsflash periscope pops up. If three or four similar headlines about a topic I regularly cover show up, I drop everything and start writing. This is one of those times. Check out these headlines that are currently running at TPM Livewire:

A group of open carry gun activists who protested Saturday at Dealey Plaza in Dallas filmed a bizarre, more-than-10-minute video of their demonstration and posted it to YouTube.

For the second time in less than a week, police arrested a man on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to bring a pistol into a building at the U.S. Capitol, according to Roll Call.

The Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's department found a body believed to be the suspect in multiple shootings in California...

Police were searching for at least one suspect who was wearing body armor and carrying a semi-automatic rifle after a Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's deputy was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

And it's only 11:30 a.m. here in California. I don't know about you, but I've already O.D.'d on disturbing gun headlines.

While were (rightfully) focused on the Israel-Hamas war and the brutal downing of a Malaysian jetliner by Russian separatists, there is a whole lot of excruciatingly persistent violence going on right here at home. Plus a whole lot of sickos who are apparently convinced that their deadly weapons will compensate for their rather humbling "shortcomings".

Everywhere you look these days, people are substituting communication, patience, and reason with hostility and savage bloodshed. And what does America get when we ask for a way out, for remedies, for peace? Competing headlines featuring GOP Second Amendment Solution warmongers who are fixated on blaming President Obama and his alleged feck in an effort to appeal to their equally extreme voters.

You know what I say to all this anger and to politicians who perpetuate it? Feck you.

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Tackling the Tough Issues

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Nicole Sandler

As if things weren't bad enough before I left for 10 days... As Jon Stewart asked upon his return, "What could happen in two weeks?" Famous last words..

Well, Jon Stewart attempted to cover the Israel-Gaza story with objectivity and, for his troubles, he got attacked - from both sides!

I hearken back to those words of wisdom spoken by every mother to every child, "Two wrongs don't make a right." What's going on in Israel and Gaza is unacceptable. Yes, Israel has a right to defend itself, and Hamas' practice of storing its weapons where civilians live and play is reprehensible, but that doesn't make it right to kill hundreds of innocent people who cannot escape the Gaza strip. They have no place to go. As Jon Steward asked, “Evacuate to where? Have you fucking seen Gaza? Israel blocked this border, Egypt blocked this border. What, are you supposed to swim for it?

Then you have the Russians trying to deflect the blamed for the downed Malaysian airliner. The New Republic translated a story from a "Russian website" and CNN reported on it, saying

"Then it was taken to Holland. On the necessary day and hour, it flew out, bound for Malaysia, but inside were not live people, but corpses. The plane was flown not by real pilots; it was on autopilot. Or take-off (a complicated procedure) was executed by live pilots, who then ejected on parachutes. Then the plane flew automatically. In the necessary spot, it was blown up, without even using a surface-to-air missile. Instead the plane was packed with a bomb, just like the CIA did on 9/11.

And we thought we were living in Opposite world. Indeed.

Today on the show, as we do every Tuesday, I hung with The Political Carnival's GottaLaff in the second hour of the show.

In the first hour, I shared another interview from Netroots Nation; this one was with David Silverman, president of American Atheists.

Back tomorrow, a little more rested, radio or not...

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Afternoon-Evening Links

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GazaDeath Toll from Israeli Strikes in Gaza Hits 100.

Inside the Right-Wing's Creepy Demonization of Helpless Children

Judge: Florida redistricting a "mockery," illegally favors GOP

In Hobby Lobby, Supremes grant religious objection rights to for-profit corporations.

A response to the Hobby Lobby decision was written in 1925—in Tennessee!

I'm Glad The President Got The Memo

It turns out that Republicans love their Obamacare. Repeal that, GOP

Rep. Bass: Democrats Have Already Compromised With Republicans On Immigration

CNN's S.E. Cupp seems to think that "compromise" with Republicans means giving them everything they want.

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