Anti Israel Protests and Staying Safe

There are two kinds of protests going on right now.  Anti-Israel and Anti-War.  The media is conflating the two.  See if you can spot the subtle difference that has Reuters confused.

Protest 1 (emphasis mine):

demonstrators at the Israeli embassy in Dublin threw shoes and carried a mock coffin, covered with pictures of wounded or dead Palestinian children.

“The haunting images of homes wrecked, of terrified families existing among rubble in shock and despair, and of endless funerals, has rightly outraged people across the world,” said Gerry Adams, president of nationalist party Sinn Fein.

It is time all of this was brought to an end: The slaughter of people in Gaza must end,” Adams told a Dublin rally.

vs protest 2 (emphasis mine):

Thousands of Lebanese Shi’ites who turned out for an Ashura festival in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh also protested against the Israeli offensive, carrying Hezbollah and Palestinian flags.

“We tell the people of Gaza and the elderly in Gaza and the heroes of the resistance, you are not alone, we are with you … victory is yours, God willing,” Mohammed Raad, a senior Hezbollah official, told the crowd.

The situation in Gaza is deteriorating to the point that there is nothing the Palestinians can do to stay safeEven safe-houses are being shelled.  As Gerry Adams points, this is – rightly – generating anger.  Some of that anger is surely aimed at Jews, or at the Israeli state itself.  When you praise “heroes of the resistance”, you praise men who fire rockets indiscriminately into Israel.  Men who have killed innocents.  However, despite the violence at some of the protests, lumping all of them together under the headline “Anti-Israel” accomplishes the same goal as calling anti-war protests state-side “Anti-American”.  It de-legitimizes them.

Every protest has schmucks who smash windows.  That shouldn’t take away from the message of the protest itself.  What Israel is doing in Gaza is horrific:

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says at least 830 Palestinians have died. Thirteen Israelis have been killed: 10 soldiers, and three civilians hit by rocket fire.

I am no naive, wide-eyed believer in Hamas.  I think them cynical abusers of political power, theocrats, and murderers.  But looking at the carnage since the invasion started, 830 deaths is not a wild number.

The military response has been grossly disproportionate to the rocket attacks.  Israel needs to stop this, and stop this now.  They should uphold a cease-fire from their end.  Let Hamas continue firing rockets.  Then public opinion will rightly turn against them.  But Israel has turned Gaza into a hell-hole where no Palestinian is safe from a violent end.  This war needs to stop.  And the Israeli government needs to understand that it should never have been started.

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Thousands of Israelis Protest War in Gaza

Via my friend Helene (Israel Social TV):

A contrast to the misconception in the media that all Israeli leftists support the war on Gaza.

Slate’s Misleading Take on the Israeli Peace Movement

From a Slate article by Anne Applebaum on the explosion in Gaza:

The Israelis—both on the “peacenik” left and the more bellicose right—believe that the only way to prevent Hamas from firing rockets is to fight back.

The article links to an interview with an Israeli author, who states his opinion that the Israeli left  supports the violence in Gaza.  Given our own experience in the US of self labeled left-wing Democrats supporting the war in Iraq, I wonder how many leftists in Israel truly do support the warfare in Gaza.  How many “peaceniks” in particular.  That single  line from Applebaum makes it sound as though all of them do.

Open Letter to a PUMA

Dear Ron:

In your letter, you said:

I’ve supported the Democrats for 40 years because the Dem party was also the democratic party. This year, those two things have diverged.

No, they haven’t.  One candidate won the primary with the most votes and the most delegates.  PUMA is standing against democracy in democracy’s name.  Why should the majority of voters be disenfranchised so your candidate (who now supports Obama) can be installed?

I hope I’ll be able to support the Dem party in the future but with different leadership that respects our commitment to democracy. Leftists have taken control of the party, casting our liberal ideals aside, and they need to go.

We aren’t going anywhere.  It is the centrists, the spineless cowards who caved to Bush on every affront to life, liberty and justice, who need to go.  The word leftist should never be a dirty one to a Democrat.

The only way we can get our party back is to make sure they lose in November.

Right, because that worked so well in 2000.  That’s the same reasoning that led people to choose Nader over Gore in states that mattered.  (For the record, that election was lost in the courts, and not by the slim margin of votes that went to Nader).  The point is that viewing defeat as anything is unrealistic.  If the Democrats lose to McCain, it will be a loss, and we will feel it: in the courts and in our foreign and domestic policy.

Loyal Democrats like us who don’t support Obama have been told by Donna Brazile to shut up and stay home on election day. No, we won’t. She also said that the “new” party doesn’t need us, it’s long loyal base. If the “new” Democrats succeed under these circumstances, we won’t even have a party to go to in the future. We’ve been put out and have no place to go right now except to McCain.

I don’t want you to stay home on election day.  I want you to vote.  But keep clearly in mind that if you actually vote for McCain, there is no way in hell you are a loyal Democrat.  Not because you are voting against the party’s candidate in the race.  Because by supporting John McCain you’d be supporting the disaterous foreign and domestic policy of George W. Bush, and joining in an assault on everything Hillary Clinton stood for.

You say you are a loyal Democrat.  Do you support freedom of choice?  An end to discrimination based on sexual orientation?  Peace in the Middle East?  Universal Healthcare?  Economic policy informed by economists, not lobbyists?  Preserving the environment?  Stopping torture and domestic spying by our own government?  Freedom of speech?  Separation of Church and State?  The Rule of Law?  Tackling excessive lobbyist influence and political corruption?

If you actually support John McCain over Barack Obama, recognize you’ll be taking a big step back on all of these issues.  In some cases, even further back than George W. Bush himself has dragged us.

Barack Obama is not the best candidate in the world, but he is a solid candidate.  And he will move us forward on each and every one of the issues above.

Witness Agains the War: An Introduction

We are two days away from the kickoff to the Witness Against the War walk.  450 Miles to protest the war in Iraq:

Witness Against War 2008 is a walk from Chicago to St. Paul to challenge and to nonviolently resist our country’s continuing war in and occupation of Iraq.

Our journey will begin in the City of Chicago, site of the 1968 Democratic Party convention in the midst of the Vietnam War. The walk will conclude on August 31 in St. Paul — in time for the start of the 2008 Republican Party convention in the midst of the Iraq war.

There’s more here.  The nonviolent protest will include civil disobedience.  It carries a simple message aimed at both parties: End the War.  The participants (including Helene!) will be taking part in a long and rich history of social activism for the best of causes:  Peace.

Support Matthis Chiroux, Fight The War

Matthis Chiroux is a soldier in DC fighting back against the war.  His fight is attracting notice (AFP):

“I stand before you today with the strength and clarity and resolve to declare to the military, my government and the world that this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq,” Chiroux said in the sun-filled rotunda of a congressional building in Washington.

“My decision is based on my desire to no longer continue violating my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation… I refuse to participate in the Iraq occupation,” he said, as a dozen veterans of the five-year-old Iraq war looked on.

Minutes earlier, Chiroux had cried openly as he listened to former comrades-in-arms testify before members of Congress about the failings of the Iraq war.

The testimonies were the first before Congress by Iraq veterans who have turned against the five-year-old war.

Former army sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith told the landmark haering of “lawless murders, looting and the abuse of countless Iraqis.”

He spoke of the psychologically fragile men and women who return from Iraq to find little help or treatment offered from official circles.

Via his facebook group:

If everyone will give at least $1 it will let him continue his political work in Washington D.C for some time, please check out the group ans see the last post from Matthis, This is not charity money!
while we all do our regular business, Matthis is in d.C trying to stop the war with his very bare hands,
Please lend a hand and go to:
https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_home
and send money to :
chiroux@googlemail.com.
if you want his private address

This is a slightly more direct link: Support Via Paypal.  His a voice we want heard in the halls of power.  He is a man of rare character and bravery, and it is an honor to support him.

Peace and Love

I’m off on adventures, computer access will be random for a week or so.

I saw this, and it made me happy.  With all the bad news its easy to forget there’s a lot of positive energy out there.

“Let’s make my birthday, July the 7th at noon, all over America… whichever state you’re in, Pacific or Eastern, Western… peace and love,” Ringo told Access.

Ringo is instructing fans to say the phrase “Peace and love,” when the clock strikes 12 PM, no matter where they are in the world.

“Everybody goes ‘Peace and love,’” he explained. “In the office, on the bus… wherever.”

“It’s still peace and love for me, I’m a product of the ‘60s and it was a very influential period in my life, and you know, my head was turned around a bit, my eyes were opened as it were, ” said Starr. “In fact, I even have it on my arm, peace and love. I see nothing wrong with peace and love.”

Peace Inside and Out.

Love for All Sentient Beings.

Thanks for reading, hopefully when I get back the world will be just a bit warmer.

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