Enough is enough. After 61 years of Palestinian slaughter, displacement, occupation, oppression, and international dismissiveness and complicity, global action is essential. Israel must be held accountable. World leaders won't do it, so grassroots movements must lead the way.
In 2004, Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote:
"The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure - in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s. Over the past six months, a similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation."
"So Israel stands out among other unpleasant nations in the depth of its commitment to gratuitous violence and nastiness: this you expect to find among skinheads rather than nations."
It's hard to say what's so bad about Israel, and its defenders--having nothing better to use--have seized on this. Some do so soberly, like Harpers publisher John R. MacArthur, who thinks Israel comes off no worse than the Russians in Chechnya, and much better than the Americans in Vietnam (Toronto Globe and Mail, May 13th, 2002). Others do so defiantly. True, Israel has taken the land of harmless people, killed innocent civilians, tortured prisoners, bulldozed houses, destroyed crops, yada yada yada. Who cares? What else is new?
Sharon Weill & Valentina Azarov
One of the main issues raised during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip -- apart from a considerable number of allegations of violations of international humanitarian law that will not be dealt with here -- concerns the functioning of rule of law in Israel in cases regarding the freedoms of expression, opinion and access to information. The state did all that was in its power (and far beyond) to silence the voices that opposed the government's policies and operations in Gaza.
Those events were one major component of the process that led to the results of the elections to the Israeli parliament, in which a party, Yisrael Beiteinu, whose leader advocates a manifest racist and authoritarian agenda, has become the third political force in the country. The state's policies that will be examined in this article -- the ban on protests, the restrictions on freedom of expression and the disqualification of Arab political parties -- are a part of the transformation of Israel into an authoritarian regime based on segregation.
I was a very young boy when Dwight Eisenhower ran for president. I wore an "I Like Ike" button. I liked Ike 'cuz he had a great button. My dad voted for Adlai. Ike was my hero 'til everybody started talking about how much golf he was playing while the Russkies were kicking our ass all over the planet . . .
I was thirteen when John Kennedy came up to bat. He was just about everybody's hero, 'specially if you were an Irish Catholic Bostonian like I was. It was several decades before I found out the truth about his presidency and I finally threw him in the old hero hamper . . .
It will always disturb me that Ronald Reagan is a hero for so many Americans, except as a deification of American selfishness. To credit the man with "bringing down" the Soviet Union and all but destroying international communism is disingenuous at best. The USSR collapsed of its own weight of corruption and imperial overstretch, complete with its own Vietnam-like Afghanistan quagmire, just as the US and its empire are imploding now, the result of the ideology and policies of the Reagan years.
In 2007 I came across a chilling bit of news from the UK that sent shivers down my spine.
The news was about Samina Malik, a 23-year-old cashier and poet, who was “arrested and jailed for her violent prose and visiting terror web sites.” Malik’s defenders argued that she was charged with a thought crime, while prosecutors emphasized that:
“Samina Malik was not prosecuted for writing poetry. Ms. Malik was convicted of collecting information, without reasonable excuse, of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.”
"You can walk away from these stories today, but if you choose to follow them they will become a profound part of you and will deeply affect your life." ~~Anthony Guarisco, Founder and director, International Alliance of Atomic Veterans (IAAV, with AAV here in the US), to photo-journalist James Lerager. (Note: Anthony was the first of many Atomic Veterans Lerager interviewed)
In a world full of mind-wrenching turmoil, I am a gentle dreamer searching for some soulful serenity. But in reality, my dreams are not always so pleasant when I revisit the arc of history when our pentagon warmongers worked day and night to demonize our own Stars and Stripes when they unleashed nuclear hell-on-earth to establish the most powerful military presence on earth. Indeed, the Hibakusha people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki know this lesson well. Just as surely as all 300,000 Atomic Veterans (including my father) know they are the government's best-kept-secret when they were quickly deemed "expendable" by Uncle Sam's nuclear weapons testing programs.
These days you can’t swing a cat or open your mailbox without being hit by a flood of emails about the memorials, tributes, condolences, and donation sites for the victims of these tragedies that the conspiracy theorists say were created -- not right after the event, but right before the event.
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