Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS


State Department kicks can down the road on Israel’s crippling of Munib Masri

Jun 03, 2011

Philip Weiss

A case we’re following. Matt Lee of the AP again brought up Israel’s shooting of American citizen Munib Masri at the State Department yesterday, and Mark Toner said they’re aware of the case. Yes and the family is begging for American action. Where’s the action Jackson?

QUESTION: Did you – yesterday, I asked about this American —

MR. TONER: Yes.

QUESTION: — who was shot.  Do you have – have you managed to find anything out about him?

MR. TONER: Yeah.  We’re obviously aware of his case.  He doesn’t have – and you’re going to be thrilled at this.   He does not – he’s not signed a Privacy Act waiver, so we’re limited to what we can say.  But the consular personnel in Beirut are providing assistance in his case.  And obviously in any case of an injured U.S. citizen abroad, we’ll work to ensure that the individual in question receives appropriate medical care.

QUESTION: Can you tell me when he was given the opportunity to sign a Privacy Act waiver?

MR. TONER: Normally, in the first meeting, they would offer him the opportunity to sign.

QUESTION: Well, normally, but in this case?

MR. TONER: I don’t know in this case.  I haven’t talked to the people in Beirut.

White Shirts in Jerusalem cry ‘Butcher the Arabs’

Jun 03, 2011

Phil Weiss and Annie

What has Zionism done to Jewish identity? I ask that question a million times a day, but this video of Jerusalem day, June 1, is particularly poignant.

Celebrating the reunion of Jerusalem following the ’67 War, the demonstration is reminiscent of Freud’s father telling him about being attacked during the Hep-hep pogroms in 1819. Look at all these boys in their white shirts. Hear them shouting Muhammad is Dead! And spitting at a Palestinian compound. Giving the finger. And “butcher the Arabs… death to Arabs… May your village burn…” I’m trusting the translations. How deep in any people is the spirit of ethnic cleansing– and what licenses that spirit? How intractable is this conflict, and what can Americans be doing to wind these screwballs down? Thanks to Elly K.

Oh and Annie was on this last night. Her report:

Ynet reports the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement filmed right-wing activists chanting and singing inflammatory songs and slogans including “Muhammad is dead,” “May your village burn,” “Death to leftists,” and “Butcher the Arabs” while marching through East Jerusalem yesterday. English subtitles added to video.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan

Israeli extremists staged a racist march in honor of Jerusalem Day today, from the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The streets of East Jerusalem stood empty, save for the thousands of Israeli marchers, supported by Israeli troops, who chanted slogans against Arabs, Muslims and Christians. Phrases such as “death to Arabs” rung out. Right-wing extremists attacked a group of left-wing Israeli counter-protesters before Israeli police eyes, who did nothing to impede the assault. Three left-wing Israelis and one American protester were arrested by police. The American citizen remains in police custody.

(photos and captions provided by Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan)

Extremists in the streets of Jerusalem

Jerusalem streets empty save for marchers and military back-up

The march ends in front of the Wailing Wall

UPDATE: misquoted earlier post on Hep-Hep riots. Thanks to Joachim for correction.

Where is Congress/Obama on Israel’s crippling of American citizen Munib Masri?

Jun 03, 2011

Philip Weiss

I’m late on everything, including a report from the Nakba Day protests in Lebanon on March 15th that one of those struck by Israeli bullets– and maimed– is an American member of a prominent Palestinian family, Munib Masri, 22. Apparently he was paralyzed. And again I wonder, what are the consequences when Israelis strike American citizens who are protesting nonviolently? Nothing. Ask Emily Chloe Henochowicz.

Matt Lee of AP (I think that’s him) asks State Department spokesman Mark Toner about the case on June 1:

QUESTION: Just one briefly on the Middle East. Are you aware of the case of an American citizen named Munib Rashid Masri who was shot – allegedly shot in the back by Israeli troops during the Nakba?

MR. TONER: I’m not.

QUESTION: Okay. Apparently, he’s paralyzed now. He’s in a hospital in Beirut. His family has spoken to —

MR. TONER: When did this happen? I’m sorry.

QUESTION: It happened during the – two weeks ago during the Nakba day protests.

MR. TONER: Right.

QUESTION: Apparently, they’ve been in touch with the American Embassy in Beirut and have not gotten – not been happy with what they have heard —

MR. TONER: And just to clarify, he’s an American citizen?

QUESTION: I wouldn’t be raising it if he wasn’t.

MR. TONER: Okay. I’m sorry, I just didn’t hear that.

QUESTION: Yes, he is. So —

MR. TONER: I’ll look into it.

QUESTION: — if you don’t know, can you ask around on that?

MR. TONER: Yeah. I’ll look into it, Matt.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. TONER: Sure. Okay. Is that it?

His family describes the ordeal here. And here is young Masri’s facebook page. Here is Robert Fisk reporting on a visit to Masri in his hospital bed:

“I was angry, mad — I’d just seen a small child hit by the Israelis,” Munib said to me. “I walked nearer the border fence. The Israelis were shooting so many people. When I got hit, I was paralyzed. My legs gave way. Then I realized what had happened. My friends carried me away.” I asked Munib if he thought he was part of the Arab Spring. No, he said, he was just protesting at the loss of his land. “I liked what happened to Egypt and Tunisia. I am glad I went to the Lebanese border, but I also regret it.” …

He is, of course, lucky to be alive.

And I guess lucky to be an American citizen, much good did it do him. The U.S. embassy sent a female diplomat to see his parents at the hospital, Munib’s mother Mouna told me. “I am devastated, sad, angry — and I don’t wish this to happen to any Israeli mother. The American diplomats came here to the hospital and I explained the situation of Munib. I said: ‘I would like you to give a message to your government — to put pressure on them to change their policies here. If this had happened to an Israeli mother, the world would have gone upside down.’ But she said to me: ‘I’m not here to discuss politics. We’re here for social support, to evacuate you if you want, to help with payments.’ I said that I don’t need any of these things — I need you to explain the situation.”

Any U.S. diplomat is free to pass on a citizen’s views to the American government but this woman’s response was all too familiar. Munib, though an American, had been hit by the wrong sort of bullet. Not a Syrian bullet or an Egyptian bullet but an Israeli bullet, a bad kind to discuss, certainly the wrong kind to persuade an American diplomat to do anything about it. After all, when Benjamin Netanyahu gets 55 ovations in Congress… why should Munib’s government care about him?

Angry Arab is on the story, with an angle about the American University of Beirut:

An inside source at AUB tells me about a brewing political scandal.  Here is the story from my source:  “Munib Masri Jr., 22, grandson of Munib Masri, was shot in Maroon El Rass, lost his spleen and left kidney and injured his spine which might render him paralyzed for all his life! Prior to the incident, he was suspended for one year at AUB because of an incident that took place on campus. A few days ago, AUB President proposed to the University Disciplinary Committee  to cut down on the one year suspension and to readmit him if he will soon recover from his serious wounds. One of the committee members, P. Lewtas (my guess is that he is…), sent the email below to the Committee members including the President and Provost. It is nauseating and the strange thing, no one to my knowledge has responded to his email!”

Glasnost– Clemons to ‘Atlantic,’ Goldberg from ‘Atlantic’ to ‘Tablet’

Jun 03, 2011

Philip Weiss

This is interesting, Steve Clemons of New America Foundation has a big new media job at the Atlantic. And Jeffrey Goldberg is leaving that shop.

Atlantic Media Company president Justin Smith announced today that Steve Clemons has joined The Atlantic as Editor-in-Chief of AtlanticLIVE [this seemslike their thinktank] and Washington Editor-At-Large for The Atlantic.

Clemons is notable lately for helping to organize a letter to Obama from 50 f.p. notables, including Andrew Sullivan, Peter Beinart, a lot of realists and Walt and Mearsheimer and Mike Desch, urging him not to veto the UN Security Council resolution opposing settlements. Futile gesture. But resonant.

Goldberg is taking his column to Tablet, the Jewish site. Kinda like where he started, the Forward. A coup for Tablet. Writes Goldberg today, with insight:

I think we’re entering a period of huge disruption in the relationship between America and Israel, and between American Jews and Israelis, and I want to be able to focus on these conflicts in an intensely granular way, inside the Jewish community. Tablet is the most exciting Jewish publication I’ve seen since I worked, in the previous century, at the Seth Lipsky-led Forward, and it is becoming the hub of the worldwide Jewish conversation.

Oh by the way here is Desch on Sarah Palin’s bling: “She looks like a Zionist Run DMC, who used to wear an oversized Mercedes hood ornament.”

Dagan says, grab the Saudi initiative (of how many years ago?)

Jun 03, 2011

Philip Weiss

There’s that line that history is like a horse running by the window and you have to jump out on to it when you have the chance. Well the Saudi Peace Plan is some years old, some of the dictators are gone; also it was said that Arafat was the last Palestinian leader who could actually have summoned his people to a two-state solution. Not to be a rejectionist. But who in Israeli society would accept this, and who in the Israel lobby?Sydney Morning Herald, from the guy who said Israel had decided long ago not to go after Iran:

JERUSALEM: A former chief of Israeli intelligence, Meir Dagan, has urged political leaders to embrace the so-called Saudi peace initiative under which Israel would withdraw to its 1967 borders and give East Jerusalem back to the Palestinians.

In a forthright contradiction of the position of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that a withdrawal to 1967 borders posed an unacceptable security risk, Mr Dagan said Israel ”must present an initiative to the Palestinians”.

Obama is driving a wedge with settlements, in the American polity

Jun 03, 2011

Philip Weiss

More evidence of my theory that Obama is trying to drive a wedge with the Netanyahu/1967 line talk and that he thinks he can keep the Democratic base even as he alienates Netanyahu; here is Gene Lyons, a Democratic partisan if ever there was one, saying at Salon that Obama has outflanked Netanyahu politically. Not that this will make any difference in the end, not that Obama’s parameters are meaningful; but the politics are interesting.

President Obama got a big laugh when he addressed AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) three days later. “Since questions have been raised,” he said, “let me repeat what I actually said on Thursday — not what I was reported to have said.”

Obama didn’t have to say by whom. Everybody understood. Interrupted by frequent applause, he repeated America’s commitment to Israel’s security and to the peace process. Netanyahu wound up looking like a chump. Regardless of the reaction in Tel Aviv, his cheap grandstanding play didn’t hurt Obama at all with American supporters, while marking Netanyahu as a clumsy opportunist not to be trusted.

You’d think they’d learn.

Arabopedophobia (Massad on Obama’s views of Arab children)

Jun 03, 2011

Philip Weiss

Joseph Massad at Al Jazeer (h/t Samel):

The number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli soldiers in the first intifada (1987-1993) was 213, not counting the hundreds of induced miscarriages from tear gas grenades thrown inside closed areas targeting pregnant women, and aside from the number of the injured. The Swedish branch ofSave the Children estimated that “23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the intifada”, one third of whom were children under the age of ten years old. In the same period, Palestinian attacks resulted in the death of five Israeli children. In the second intifada (2000-2004), Israeli soldiers killed more than 500 children with at least 10,000 injured, and 2,200 children arrested. The televisedmurder of the Palestinian child Muhammad al-Durra shook the world – but not Israeli Jews, whose government concocted the most outrageous and criminal of stories to exonerate Israel. In the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008, 1,400 Palestinians were killed, of whom 313 were children.

This exhibition of atrocity is not simply about regurgitating the history and present of Israel’s murder of Arab children for the past six decades and beyond – a history well-known across the Arab world – but to demonstrate how obscene Obama’s references to Jewish children are when he insists to Arabs that they must show sympathy with Jewish children, without ever enjoining Jews to show sympathy with the far larger number of Arab children killed by Jews. But Obama himself shows no sympathy with Arab children. Had he attempted to mourn the Arab children who fell and fall victim to Israeli violence at the rate of hundreds, if not thousands, of Arab children to one Jewish child, Arabs might have forgiven him this indiscretion…

In his speech to Congress, Prime Minister Netanyahu correctly diagnosed the situation on the ground. He declared: “Our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state.” It is the establishment of a Jewish settler colony that the Palestinians must accept to ensure a future for Jewish children and terminate a future for Palestinian children. Indeed it is precisely the refusal of Arabs to adopt Arabopedophobia that is the biggest impediment to peace in the region. Obama hopes that a Palestinian bantustan could limit the threat that Palestinian children constitute to the nightmare that is “the Jewish and democratic state”. He recognises that the world can no longer claim to support universalism while endorsing Israel’s right to discriminate against non-Jews. In his AIPAC speech, he said as much when he told Israel’s lobby that the entire world, including Asia, Latin America, Europe (and he could have added Africa, which he inexplicably excluded) and the Arab World can no longer tolerate Israel’s institutionalised racism; that America in fact stands alone with Israel today.

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