Archive for peace

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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A Matter of Life and Death

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NicoleSandlerHeadshotw202h202

War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! --Edwin Starr

I was hit with a dose of sad reality yesterday during the show when, as I was discussing the sickening situation in Gaza, a long-time regular listener of this show, contributor and participant in the chat room posted in there, "Israeli Jews are Nazis." When I implored him to rethink his over generalization and admit that his hyperbole was overblown, he left the chat room in a huff and quickly stopped his monthly $5 contribution of support for Radio or Not. I emailed him the following:

"I'm sorry that you feel that all Jews in Israel are Nazis. If that is, indeed, how you feel, then you probably should not listen to my show any more, as you probably believe that all Americans are war mongering right wing assholes too.

I may not be a religious Jew, but I am of Jewish descent, which makes me Jewish. Not all Jews are bad, not all Palestinians are innocent. And you painting all Jews in Israel as Nazis is indefensible.

His response was a simple

will do...

I don't know what that meant. I'm guessing he'll stop listening to my show, which is fine with me as I have no need or patience for bigots. But how sad is it that an otherwise forward-thinking individual would stoop to taking sides in a conflict where both sides are wrong and, further, to paint all in Israel with such an ugly. broad brush.

I'm no fan of Netanyahu and the others in the Israeli government who are killing innocent civilians trapped in the Gaza strip indiscriminately. But to not realize that there are many "Israeli Jews" who are as outraged over their governments actions as are we is just plain wrong.

This morning I reached out to the founder of Israel's peace movement Gush-Shalom, Uri Avnery. He'll turn 91 in September and, as he told me on the air this morning, he's spent the past 65 years fighting for peace!

Follow the link and read about Avnery's remarkable life, or just read this brief bio:

A member of theIrgunas a teenager, Avnery sat in theKnessetfrom 1965–74 and 1979–81.He was also the owner ofHaOlam HaZeh, an Israeli news magazine, from 1950 until it closed in 1993. Avnery turned toleft-wingpeace activism and founded theGush Shalommovement in 1993, which he continues to lead as of 2009. He is a secularistand strongly opposed to theOrthodoxinfluence in religious and political life. In 2001, Avnery and his wife Rachel Avnery were honored with theRight Livelihood Award, sometimes called the "Alternative Nobel Prize", "… for their unwavering conviction, in the midst of violence, that peace can only be achieved through justice and reconciliation".In 2006, settler activistBaruch Marzelcalled on theIsraeli militaryto carry out "a targeted killing" against Avnery. Avnery is a contributor to the news and opinion sitesCounterPunch,Information Clearing House,Scoop.co.nz,LewRockwell.comandThe Exception Magazine. He is famous for crossing the lines during theSiege of Beirutto meet Yassir Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery is the author of several books about theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict, including1948: A Soldier’s Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem(2008);Israel’s Vicious Circle(2008); andMy Friend, the Enemy(1986).

I'll post the interview later as a standalone, but it comes at the very beginning of the show today, and I urge you to listen to it with an open mind.

Today on the show, we also addressed the issue of poverty in America as it affects single minority mothers. Bryce Covert, economic policy editor at Think Progress and blogger for The Nation joined me to discuss her latest piece, "We're Arresting Poor Mothers for Our Own Failures," about recent legal crises involving Shanesha Taylor, the Arizona mother arrested for leaving her children in the car while she went to a job interview, and Debra Harrell, the South Carolina mother arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play alone in a park while she worked her shift at McDonalds.

Next week, we'll delve further into the poverty crisis in the US with Anat Shenker-Osario who, along with Celinda Lake worked on a new report, Redefining the Way we Talk About Poverty.

It is Thursday, so we feature two regular segments during the second hour of the show:

Amy Simon of She's History today told us about the first Women's Convention that took place in Seneca Falls this week in 1848. Even after 166 years, we still have a long way to go!

And for today's "No More Bullshit Minute," Stephen Goldstein and I discussed the bullshit term "Peace with honor." Puh-leeze. As Stephen wrote in The Dictionary of American Political Bullshit, <

never have peace with honor because war is never honorable, even when and if we win it... The only way to have peace with honor uis not to get into war in the first place..."

To which I say, "Amen!"

Tomorrow, we'll wrap up the week with a few more of the interviews I recorded at Netroots Nation in the first hour. And for our Flashback Friday segment, in the second hour, we'll hear the World Premiere Broadcast of Steely Dan's Two Against Nature! It had been 20 years since Steely Dan released an album, and I was honored to be chosen to fly from LA to NYC to interview Donald Fagen and Walter Becker for this nationally syndicated program. The album then went on to win the Album of the Year Grammy...

Talk to you then, radio or not!

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Even Tony Blair says "No" to Iraq Involvement, Backs Obama

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Deja Moo
Meet the Press, despite the GOP caste, conservative cast and often, Cast, does yet get the truly good Gets.

Today: Tony Blair, someone whose voice about Iraq should carry a little weight. Especially as he was so far up BushCo's innards, Fox Noise and Nation adored the Prime Min'istah from ''ello'.

Andrea Mitchell was pitching the Meet the Press softballs.

Annoyingly, as is so often true with Brits, he made some good points in that rather hawkish summarizing up of the present situation under Malaki … blast it, Blair had some thoughtful truthiness tucked away. Must be all that centuries more of organized war peacenik clap trap.

qE2

Religious extremism in Iraq will never be taken down by a David, it is the ultimate and unassailable Goliath. (To put it in terms our Religionist brethren and Fvx News would get on the first try.)

And that America and her allies are no longer willing to be in the military industry of our fathers and grandfathers. Steve Jobs happened, you can let go of the gun fondling, tank humping Military Industrial Complex Fantasy thing about Iraq. And Iran.

Just keep your filthy minds out of Persia in general.

And realize that local militias are just plain Ridiculous. You are not fighting to liberate anyone from Dachau. You are not going to be deployed to Iraq.

gop-lies-big
You have some confused Fvxed Up notions that a moderate president wants your guns, holy books and freedoms and that Rush Limbaugh has a brain - tamper down that Day Drinking and fondle something less dangerous than a loaded long gun. Kay?

None of this, in other words.

Progressives and liberals, however … out there fighting the Tea Party cray cray on Iraq and everything under the sun ...

Cheers, Mates.

Friend of the Carnival, cartoonist and blogger extraordinaire Chan Lowe, of the South Florida Sun Sentinel and his own blog, The Down Lowe, summed up the gun fondlers so very well, just had to share as an apology for the whole Meet the Press intrusion. Or the Country Music intrusion.

Image courtesy The Down Lowe

Image courtesy The Down Lowe

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Overnight: Yoga Girls of the World

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Yoga Girls

From YouTube:

Written, Performed, and Produced by:

Jocelyn Kay Levy & Jacquelyn Richey
(JocelynKayLevy.com, JacquelynRichey.com)

Director of Photography:
Panos Stoumpos

Music:
Steve McCormick

Editor:
John David Heeg

Camera Operators:
Carlos Jovel
John Schaller

Grip:
Jerzy Aust

Yoga Girls:

Andrea Brook
Janice Chiou
Elise Falanga
Susie Vanessa Frank
Ashley Grimaldi
Theodora Holt
Susie Vanessa Frank
Haisu Jiang
Leilani Kashida
Michelle Katz
Alana Lee
Ginger Lowcher
Danielle Merrill
Elizabeth O'Brick
Sonya Perry
Talisa Reeve
Becky Schaller
Jessica Schmidt
Monica Schuller
Laurie LadyYoga Searle
Crystal Weaver
Michelle Wild
Elizabeth Yochim

Kids:
Alexander Grimaldi
Azielle Nuru Gamba

Special Thanks:

Fog and Smog Films
Ryan Kolbe
Ray Markow
Esteban Serrano
Dj Dave Wittman

Yoga!

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GOP Men Spill Democracy Seed, Now Hate Their Bastard Child

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Weed

One of the many excuses the Republicans gave for invading Iraq was that we needed to sew the seeds of Democracy. Yes, really, those are their words-- the seeds of Democracy. Forget 911, Saddam's nuclear threat or his weapons of mass destruction. Revisionism history by the current crop of Republicans declares our reasons/goal for invading Iraq was really Gardening 101 -- planting seeds of Democracy.

Where do these seeds of democracy come from? Burpee? Miracle Grow? Henry Jones or Gurney? C'mon, this is America. You get the seeds of Democracy from the GOP. After all, where else can you find something to germinate that comes in its own fertilizer?

Curiously though, what do you do if when the seeds finally take root, the plant springs up through the sand and you don't like the plant you cultivated? You do what you would with any weed. You look for ways to eliminate it. Forget all the plant food (money) and insecticide you wasted (lives) and just plain take out the weed-whacker (the U.S. military) and mow that sh*t down.

Gardening expert and news/comedy show host Jon 'Mr. Green Jeans' Stewart has the full story for us. After listening to him, we're going to need some of that John McCain/Lindsay Graham fertilizer to bring our new crop of Democracy in Iraq to harvest. But if anything has the magic of Miracle Grow, it's John McCain/Lindsay Graham's 90-10 blend: 90% moronic, 10% nuts. They've joined together (which means Mrs. Green Jeans, Kelly Ayotte has linked with them) and figured out what went wrong. It's that stupid farmer, Barack Obama. His Kenyan green thumb is really brown and he's the problem the Iraq Democracy plant crop has gone bad.

Here's the Daily Show 'How To Grow A Healthy Democracy' segment:

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Overnight: The Dirty Fucking Hippies Were Right

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hippies

From the 'About' section on YouTube about this video:

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that.
There's a black granite wall in Washington D.C. that bears 58,260 names on it. All of those whose names are carved on that wall are dead. For what? Freedom? If this country had listened when kids were screaming to stop that slaughter, that wall would have been one hell of a lot shorter. Yet we as a nation still wage wars of choice. War encouraged by pluotcrats. Peace is never discussed. Peace has somehow become a pejorative. Peace is no perjoritive. Peace is essential to the survival of the human race. Those who advocate for war are a dangerous and fearful group who should be marginalized and disavowed. War is always the last choice.

The dirty fucking hippies were right!

Now the oceans have been rising and warming. The polar ice is melting at alarming rates. The climate is changing in irreversible ways. Our survival as a species is on a precipice. The science on this is clear: Humans are now in trouble..... because of our reckless stewardship of what we dominate. We have polluted this fragile jewel that hangs in space. Our only home. The food we buy is contaminated. The toys we give our children as presents for christmas are tainted with poison. The water we drink is rife with carcinogens. The fish in our seas, lakes and rivers are so full of mercury that it is only recommended we eat them once per week. We have now come face to face with our own extinction. I hate to say we told you so, but...

the dirty fucking hippies... were right!

As an old, peacenik hippy, I entirely approve of this message.

Want to know more about the hippies? Read this.

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