social-climbing for nationalists

Posted: 02 Jun 2010

Jeffrey Goldberg:

I happen to be around a lot of Israeli generals lately…

‘In the spirit of humanity!’ –a look at the MV Rachel Corrie

Posted: 02 Jun 2010

Goldstone vindicated by flotilla attack as Israel faces another UN investigation

Posted: 02 Jun 2010

Richard Goldstone  told Newsweek magazine in a May 27th interview that he “doubts” Israel will ever launch another “Operation Cast Lead”-type assault because of the ramifications of his report. Goldstone told Dan Ephron that Israeli military lawyers are “on notice more than they were. If it achieves nothing else, I think it’s worth that.”
We can only hope that Goldstone is right. But how many more “Operation Mini Cast Leads” (as Gideon Levy put it) will there be?
The Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla has vindicated Goldstone’s report and his central claim that Israel used disproportionate force and deliberately attacked civilians in the Gaza assault—just as Israel, albeit on a much smaller scale, did in the massacre aboard the flotilla.
Israel is now facing another international, United Nations-led independent investigation of the events that led to the killing of at least 9 people and the injury of dozens more aboard the Mavi Marmara. The U.N. Human Rights Council lopsidedly passed a resolution today that authorizes “an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian aid and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance.”
The resolution passed with 32 countries voting in favor, 9 abstaining, and 3 voting against: the United States, Canada and Holland.
Once again, the United States has proven that it’s on the wrong side of history.
 The U.S. ambassador to the Human Rights Council said that the U.S. opposed the resolution because “it creates an international mechanism before giving the responsible government the opportunity to investigate the incident itself.”
What a joke.
Israel has already had ample opportunity to investigate themselves after the Goldstone report called for independent, impartial investigations, but they have failed.  Here’s an excerpt from an April 2010 Human Rights Watch report titled “Turning a Blind Eye: Impunity for Laws-of-War Violations during the Gaza War”:

Israel has failed to conduct credible investigations into policies authorized by senior levels of the country’s political and military leadership that may have led to violations of the laws of war.

There’s nothing more to say.  This time won’t be different.  The Obama administration is completely out of touch with reality.

Obtuse NYT editorial portrays courageous humanitarian mission as human sacrifice

Posted: 02 Jun 201

Today the New York Times editorial board weighs in on the disaster at sea. Here’s a brief look at its more notable statements. The editorial leads with the following:

“The supporters of the Gaza-bound aid flotilla had more than humanitarian intentions. The Gaza Freedom March made its motives clear in a statement before Monday’s deadly confrontation: ‘A violent response from Israel will breathe new life into the Palestine solidarity movement, drawing attention to the blockade.’”

This makes it seem like the flotilla organizers intended to provoke the violent Israeli response. This is a gross distortion of the Gaza Freedom March statement, which accurately noted that Israel was preparing a violent response, and merely tried to foresee a positive outcome whether or not Israel followed through. There is not a shred of evidence that the flotilla organizers intended anything other than humanitarian aid. They forced the issue; either Israel would have to allow the goods to pass through, or it would have to use force to stop it. Both responses would have negative consequences, as Israel would be hard-pressed to justify its interception of humanitarian goods when it was conducting a blockade.
Moreover, the organizers no doubt anticipated that any “violent response” by Israel would be similar to the prior Israeli actions against aid ships, such as ramming and crippling one ship and boarding another and arresting all on board. In fact, in the same public statement as the one quoted by the Times, the Gaza Freedom March stated: “Although the first five voyages successfully docked, the last three attempts have all been violently stopped by the Israeli military.”
The editorial makes it seem like the courageous souls who ventured on this trip were used, either willingly or unwillingly, as human sacrifices for the purpose of embarrassing Israel. It surely was not expected that Israel would increase its violence a thousandfold and actually execute a number of the volunteers to set an example.
The Times continues: “There can be no excuse for the way that Israel completely mishandled the incident.” Mishandled? That eliminates the possibility that Israel deliberately committed murder. One could say that BP has “mishandled” the oil gusher on the gulf coast, because no one suggests that BP intentionally executed the disaster. And it might not be fair to expect the Times to reach the conclusion of pre-planned murder, but it jumps to the opposite conclusion–mistaken judgment. “This is a grievous, self-inflicted wound.” Yes, it is. At least one hopes it will damage Israel’s image.
But Israel’s actions are first and foremost a “wound” directed at international humanitarian activists – a lethal wound for at least nine and injuries to dozens of others – and a blow to the million and a half people of Gaza. Israel is saying that these people have no possibility of relief from the crushing blockade, and that it will go to great lengths to prevent concerned people of the world from providing even a small measure of assistance. Did anyone ever suggest that a serial killer committed a “grievous, self-inflicted wound” by embarking on a course of conduct that led to his execution? Aren’t the victims entitled to primary consideration?
The Times proposes what it believes are the important questions to be resolved: “Why did Israel, which has blocked some ships but allowed others to pass, decide to take a stand now? Did it make a real effort to find a compromise with Turkey, which sanctioned the flotilla?” One can hardly think of lamer questions. These would be slow-pitched softballs served up to the Israeli PR machine.
“Israel has a right to stop weapons from going into Gaza, but there has been no suggestion that the ships were carrying a large cache.” “Large cache?” That suggests that there was at least a “small cache.” There was no “cache” at all. What do the Israelis claim to have found? Knives? There are knives in my kitchen, and no doubt there were knives in the galleys as well. Slingshots? What were those going to be used for? To hurl small stones into Sderot? Not to mention the bigger picture that Israel imports and manufactures billions of dollars per year of the most sophisticated killing machines ever invented, and has no right to complain even if there had been light weapons on board, which there were not.
“The Israeli Defense Forces have distributed a video showing that the commandos were attacked. Why weren’t they better prepared to defend themselves without using lethal force?” Once again, the Times buys Israel’s claim that it was attacked and that its mistake was in not being adequately prepared to respond.
Then the Times gets to the heart of the matter. “Is the blockade working? Is it weakening Hamas? Or just punishing Gaza’s 1.4 million residents —— and diverting attention away [sic] from abuses by Hamas, including its shelling of Israeli cities and its refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist?”
The blockade is a form of collective punishment against a civilian population, illegal under international law. It is not a question of whether or not it is “working.” Collective punishment often works, though in this case it surely is not; when it is effective, it is no less illegal. Moreover, Hamas stopped its shelling of Israel for months in 2008 in compliance with a cease fire, and only resumed when Israel broke the truce on US Election Day. Even then, Hamas offered to reinstate the cease fire if Israel lifted the blockade, and Israel flatly refused. Israel could have terminated the shelling peacefully rather than launching an offensive that killed about 1400 people and cruelly accomplished the almost impossible task of making the people of Gaza even more miserable than they already had been made by the blockade.
And what about now? There has been virtually no shelling for over a year, but does Israel lift the blockade? Why does the Times imply that the shelling is ongoing and that it still is a legitimate aim of Israel to stop it? “At this point, it should be clear that the blockade is unjust and against Israel’s long-term security.” That was not clear before? Did the Times previously think the severe restrictions on the amount of day-to-day goods available to the Gazans was “just”? Israel had coldly calculated how much was necessary to keep a million and a half people alive, and decided that any excess constituted “luxury” goods that could be barred from entering the Strip.
And now that the Times has seen the light, the principal flaw it finally identifies is damage to Israel’s long-term security. “Hamas is still in charge —— and the blockade has become an excuse for any and all of the government’s failures.” Excuse? In other words, the Times contends that Hamas provides inefficient, ineffective government, and unfairly blames Israel and its measly blockade for its failures.
Does the Times get anything right? Sort of, but at the end of the editorial. It properly criticizes Obama’s wishy-washy expression “deep regret” over the incident. Even then, the Times makes it clear this is about Israel, not about the suffering of the people of Gaza and the murderous attack on a humanitarian convoy, as it adds, “He is doing Israel no favors with such a tepid response.”
The Times scores again by saying, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown time and again that he prefers bullying and confrontation over diplomacy. Washington needs to make clear to him just how dangerous and counterproductive that approach is.”
Of course, the Times does not suggest that Obama use leverage of threatening or even implementing a reduction in the enormous aid it gives Israel. Instead, he is urged to “back an impartial international investigation,” presumably along the lines of the Goldstone report that the Obama Administration has worked so hard to undermine and bury in oblivion. The Times also proposes that the US join in a Security Council effort to “urge” that Israel lift the blockade. Sure, that will work – urge, persuade, implore Israel to stop its four-year long sadistic siege.
While we’re at it, why doesn’t the US “urge” Israel to end the occupation and grant full and equal rights to the non-Jewish citizens of the country? Surely it is not yet time to impose actual pressure from the international community. After all, the US still practiced slavery nearly 90 years after the Declaration of Independence, and openly allowed ethnic discrimination against its citizens for another century. Israel at 62 is still relatively youthful, and prone to adolescent errors. Give it time.
A knowledgeable friend of mine emailed me this morning and asked if this was the harshest Times editorial against Israel in our lifetime. Sadly, that might be the case.

Israel’s war against non-violence

Posted: 02 Jun 2010

Today, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak, praising the Shayetet 13 commandos who slaughtered at least nine humanitarian activists on board the Mavi Marmara, said:

“…we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for the weak…”

A year ago President Obama declared in Cairo:

Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end.

But if the violence is being committed by Israelis then it is all too evident that this particular world leader lacks the courage and moral conviction to speak out.
When the slaves of Zionism are called on to break out of their chains, instead, their own fear of political and financial retribution guarantees that they will maintain their silence.
Obama is not only incapable of condemning Israeli violence; he cannot even acknowledge its existence!
When unarmed and non-violent Americans are the victims — whether killed, maimed or abused by Israeli soldiers — the government of the nation that proudly describes itself as the most powerful nation on earth has nothing to say in defense of its own citizens.
If it wasn’t being used to justify murder, this headline in the Washington Post would be laughably absurd:
Israel says Free Gaza Movement poses threat to Jewish state
The report says:

Once viewed only as a political nuisance by Israel’s government, the group behind the Gaza aid flotilla has grown since its inception four years ago into a broad international movement that now includes Islamist organizations that Israeli intelligence agencies say pose a security threat to the Jewish state.
The Free Gaza Movement’s evolution is among Israel’s chief reasons for conducting Monday morning’s raid on a ship carrying medicine, construction materials, school paper and parts for Gaza’s defunct water treatment plant. The movement once drew its support almost entirely from activists and donors in Australia, Britain and the United States. But the ship that Israeli forces stormed Monday morning was operated by a Turkish charity that Israeli intelligence agencies and others contend has connections to radical Islamist groups.

Radical Islamist groups — the hobgoblins of the Israeli psyche have also enfeebled the judgement of most Americans. Raise the specter of such a threat and the rational mind freezes.
This is the psychology of cowardice, where fear becomes omnipresent.
Those thus enslaved, cloak their own weakness with fables about the demons they hope to destroy. But their deceit is transparent. This is heroism merely self-declared, visible to no one else.
Arrogance and cowardice are the two faces of the fear of fear. Israel’s might is the mask behind which it conceals its own lack of courage — its terror of looking weak.
Hours after Israeli commandos were out slaying sea monsters, an Israeli soldier in the West Bank faced the threat of an unarmed American 21-year old.
Emily Henochowicz was hit in the face with a tear gas canister fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint. She is a talented young artist who will now only be able to follow her passion with one eye — the other was removed in surgery yesterday.
Does the soldier who shot her believe Israel is now safer?
When a state blinds or even kills individuals whose “crime” is their willingness to stand up in defense of justice, what is it that national security is securing?
As Robert Fisk duly noted yesterday:

[I]t is a fact that it is ordinary people, activists, call them what you will, who now take decisions to change events. Our politicians are too spineless, too cowardly, to take decisions to save lives. Why is this? Why didn’t we hear courageous words from [Britain’s prime minister and deputy prime minister] Messrs Cameron and Clegg yesterday [after the flotilla massacre]?
For it is a fact, is it not, that had Europeans (and yes, the Turks are Europeans, are they not?) been gunned down by any other Middle Eastern army (which the Israeli army is, is it not?) there would have been waves of outrage.
And what does this say about Israel? Isn’t Turkey a close ally of Israel? Is this what the Turks can expect? Now Israel’s only ally in the Muslim world is saying this is a massacre – and Israel doesn’t seem to care.
But then Israel didn’t care when London and Canberra expelled Israeli diplomats after British and Australian passports were forged and then provided to the assassins of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. It didn’t care when it announced new Jewish settlements on occupied land in East Jerusalem while Joe Biden, the Vice-President of its erstwhile ally, the United States, was in town. Why should Israel care now?
How did we get to this point? Maybe because we all grew used to seeing the Israelis kill Arabs, maybe the Israelis grew used to killing Arabs. Now they kill Turks. Or Europeans. Something has changed in the Middle East these past 24 hours – and the Israelis (given their extraordinarily stupid political response to the slaughter) don’t seem to have grasped what has happened. The world is tired of these outrages. Only the politicians are silent.

This is cross-posted at Woodward’s site, War in Context.

‘Huffpo’ stakes out new frontier in the liberal discourse (Welcome home, Barney!!!!!!!)

Posted: 02 Jun 2010

I have been in despair about the lack of angry response to the flotilla in the American liberal discourse. Well, take heart: at this moment (11), seven of the 25 blogs on the Huffington front page are about Israel and the lame U.S. response; all but one (by Dershowitz) are highly critical of Israel–impressive showing by Zogby, Clemons, others. The contrast with the Times and Washington Post is remarkable. The main Huffpo headline is Barney Frank saying that
“as a Jew”
he’s ashamed of the treatment of Palestinians. A Boston Herald interview, foreshadowed by Jeff Halper on Mondo a few weeks back when he said that Barney would let loose if he only thought he had political cover.
Does Barney feel he has political cover? Oh wow, this is awesome. Awesome. Celebrate Barney Frank, celebrate the shift. From the Herald:

Frank, in a wide-ranging interview with the Herald, went on to say that “as a Jew,” Israeli treatment of Arabs around some of the West Bank settlements “makes me ashamed that there would be Jews that would engage in that kind of victimization of a minority.”

Liberalism. Coming home.

Israel censors the news, again

Posted: 02 Jun 2010

Israel may have botched its raid on the Gaza Flotilla, but it is still successfully deploying its time-honored news management practices — as outlined by the Dutch journalist, Joris Luyendijk, in his impressive book, People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East.
The London  Financial Times provides its readers with an entire article documenting the Israeli strategy. The reporter, Tobias Buck, explains:

Desperate to counter a mounting diplomatic backlash, the Israeli government and army sought to flood the airwaves with their version of events, bolstered by heavily edited scenes from the assault.  More importantly, the authorities ensured that their narrative gained early dominance by largely silencing the hundreds of activists who were on board during the attack.

Let’s look and see how The New York Times handled the same story.  In my print edition, I had to read down to the 11th paragraph before I discovered,

Israel did not provide journalists with access to those detained.

This is a nice euphemism for “Illegally arresting hundreds of people on the high seas, killing at least 9 of them, detaining the rest unlawfully for several days, and not permitting scores of international journalists who were on the scene to listen to their side of the story.”
Eventually, the hundreds of activists will be deported, and start to talk.  By then, the cement will have settled around the Israeli story, and if another Goldstone comes along to calmly challenge it, he will be dismissed as anti-Semitic.

Drive-by settlers, and other news

Posted: 02 Jun 2010 07:56 AM PDT

My “Today in Palestine” news links. Don’t miss the two Palestinian pedestrians killed in the West Bank by Israelis speeding by on settlers-only roads:

Land Theft/Destruction & Ethnic Cleansing
Settlers torch hundreds of Nablus olive trees
Nablus – Ma’an – Residents of the illegal Yitzhar settlement set fire to more than 100 dunums of Palestinian lands near Urif village, southwest of Nablus on Wednesday afternoon, Palestinian officials said.  Local official in charge of the settlements file in the northern West Bank Ghasan Daghlas said the fire was set in the Jabal Marwes area, the hill separating the villages of URif and Asira Al-Qaliya, into which Yitzhar’s “municipal area” extends.

Israel deports Palestinian to Gaza, says society
Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian man from Beersheba was deported into Gaza on Tuesday evening, the Wa’ed Prisoners Society said, after Israeli authorities invoked a controversial military order allowing the expulsion of Palestinians broadly defined as “infiltrators.”
The society said Nasser Al-Jarushah was detained late Tuesday night from his home in the southern Israeli city and left at the Erez crossing into Gaza, leaving behind his wife and children.

Violence and Aggression
Jewish settler runs over Palestinian to death in West Bank
RAMALLAH, June 2 (Xinhua) — A Palestinian man died Wednesday shortly after a Jewish settler ran over him in the West Bank, witnesses and Palestinian security sources said.  Mazen Al-Jamal, 50, was passing across a road in the south of Hebron before a speedy Israeli vehicle hit him, the witnesses said.  Meanwhile, security sources said the man died hours after being evacuated by an Israeli ambulance to an Israeli hospital.  Jewish settlers, who have access to the heart of the Palestinian city, use the Road 60 on their movement in and out of Hebron.  Following the accident, the Israeli police and army shut down the road before the Palestinians.  On Monday, an elderly Palestinian woman also died in a similar accident in Hebron.

Call for action from activist Caoimhe Butterly (Gaza TV News)

Petition: Strip Israel of UN Membership


Gaza Flotilla March on Saturday June 5th.  Assemble Downing Street, London @ 1:30PM
Al-Awda Los Angeles, calling for a second demonstration on Friday June 4th @ 4 pm in front of the Zionist Consulate, 6830 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

Political Fallout
Nicaragua suspends diplomatic ties with Israel
MANAGUA, June 1 (Xinhua) — The Nicaraguan government Tuesday suspended the country’s diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of the Jewish state’s deadly raid on the Gaza-bound international aid flotilla on Monday.  Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo, who is wife of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, announced the move in a short statement.  “Nicaragua suspends from today its diplomatic relations with the government of Israel,” said the statement.

Mashaal wants ‘Goldstone report’ on sail
Hamas politburo chief lashes out at Israel over IDF takeover of Gaza-bound flotilla. ‘One of the participants was a Holocaust survivor, while Israel itself is committing a Holocaust today,’ he says during visit to Yemen.,7340,L-3897620,00.html

Hamas urges states to cut Israel ties, end embargo
* Meshaal wants US, Russia to make Israel end Gaza blockade
* Urges Egypt to keep Rafah crossing point open permanently
* Calls for Barak, Netanyahu to be tried for war crimes

Full Text of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Speech

Diplomat families return to Israel
Israel’s ambassador to Turkey has been stuck at home for two days, consulate in Istanbul also under ‘siege.’ Remaining detainees to be deported.,7340,L-3897776,00.html

Turkey gives Israel deadline to free activists (AFP)
AFP – Turkey warned Wednesday of fresh measures against Israel if it failed to free by the evening hundreds of Turkish activists detained in a deadly raid on aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip.*

Turkey calls on Israel to end blockade to restore ties (Reuters)
Reuters – Turkey demanded Israel lift its blockade of Gaza as a condition for normalizing relations but added it was time that “calm replaced anger” after Israel’s deadly raid on a Turkish-backed aid flotilla.*

Turkey wants US condemnation of Israeli raid (AP)
AP – Turkey demanded on Tuesday that the United States condemn the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip that ended with Israeli soldiers killing nine activists.*

No one should test Turkey’s patience, PM Erdoğan warns
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who cut his trip to Chile short after Israel’s attack on a Turkish-led humanitarian aid flotilla on Monday, said in an address to his party’s parliamentary group on Tuesday that Israel should not test Turkey’s diplomatic patience and that Turkey would do everything in its diplomatic power to give the deserved response.

Turkish foreign minister: Israeli raid on Gaza aid flotilla ‘like 9/11’ for his country
With anger and sarcasm, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lashed out Tuesday at Israel’s attack on a Gaza aid flotilla and by extension the Obama administration’s reluctance to immediately condemn the assault that left at least nine civilians dead.

Obama expresses regret over loss of lives (AP)
AP – President Barack Obama has expressed condolences to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the loss of life and injuries after Israel’s raid on a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza.*

Report: Turkey considers navy escort for future Gaza aid ships
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Turkey may escort future aid ships to Gaza, according to news reports. IBN, the US network CNN’s affiliate in India, reported Tuesday that Turkey was considering accompanying future aid ships to Gaza.

Travel Advisory: Stay Away From Arabs…
The consulate advised American citizens to be “on alert for possible road blockages, demonstrations and protests,” adding that US citizens “should specially use caution in places with large Arab populations, including Umm el Fahem, Acre, Jaffa, Haifa, East Jerusalem and Jerusalem’s Old City. Demonstrations are likely in various West Bank cities as well as in Gaza.”

Irish aid vessel still sailing for Gaza, ‘most serious consequences’ promised if passengers harmed

Irish humanitarian aid ship the MV Rachel Corrie is still sailing for Gaza, in spite of Israel’s recent, devastating attack on other vessels in the Gaza aid flotilla, resulting in at least nine dead activists and hundreds of prisoners.  Irish humanitarian aid ship the MV Rachel Corrie is still sailing for Gaza, in spite of Israel’s recent, devastating attack on other 23-year-old U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie — who was crushed to death in 2003 by an American-built bulldozer operated by the Israeli army — has been pleading with the international community to pressure Israel into leaving them alone.

Condemnation across Europe after Israel raid on Freedom Flotilla (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – European official and public reaction to an Israeli raid that killed at least 9 members of the self-styled “Freedom Flotilla” bound for Gaza on Monday has been uniformly condemnatory.*

Egypt opens border as new aid ship sails for Gaza
Egypt opens its border with the Gaza Strip in a clear rebuke to Israel the deadly raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla, as activists say they have launched another aid ship.

Kuwait MPs call for withdrawal from Arab peace plan (AFP)
AFP – Kuwaiti MPs on Tuesday blasted Israel as a criminal state over its attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and called on the government to withdraw from an eight-year-old Arab peace initiative.*

Vatican: Israeli occupation politically unjust
Leaked document says occupation of Palestinian territories ‘makes daily life difficult for freedom of movement, the economy and social and religious life’.,7340,L-3897712,00.html

Israeli ministers likely to demand probe of Gaza flotilla raid
Netanyahu convenes political-security cabinet; senior ministers fume after Gaza flotilla operation goes ahead without their approval.

Democracy Now Interviews Adam Shapiro, Amira Hass, Ali Abunimah and Richard Falk
It was early Monday morning as Israeli soldiers stormed the Gaza-bound international aid convoy called the Freedom Flotilla in international waters about forty miles off the coast of Gaza. The six ships had nearly 700 international activists on board and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid. They were aiming to break the three-year-long siege of the Gaza Strip. Israeli commandos landed on the lead ship in the convoy, the Turkish Mavi Marmara, which had about 600 activists on board.

Barney Frank: ‘As A Jew’ I’m ‘Ashamed’ Over Treatment Of Palestinians
JERUSALEM — Israel on Wednesday began deporting the bulk of nearly 700 international activists detained during its deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for Palestinians in the blockaded, Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.  The raid that ended with Israeli soldiers killing nine activists has strained diplomatic ties, sending Israeli relations with Turkey, in particular, to a new low. At least four of the nine killed were Turkish and the ship Israel attacked was Turkish. Israel ordered families of its diplomats out of that country a day after Turkey branded the raid a “massacre.”
Harman challenger: Top Dem “in the pocket” of AIPAC
In a statement posted on her website on Monday, Winograd called for an international investigation into the flotilla raid and called Harman’s refusal to speak out immediately on the issue “shameful.”  She also charged that Harman’s lack of response indicated she approved of Israel’s violent tactics and said her policies make her constituents less safe.

Experts say Gaza convoy raid may boost militancy (Reuters)
Reuters – Outrage at a lethal Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla could radicalize youths in Western-based Muslim communities already unsettled by the West’s military record in Afghanistan and Iraq, security experts say.*

Eyewitness Accounts/Information on Activists

Palestinian-Israelis from Gaza Flotilla Face Extended Detention
A court hearing held in Ashkelon Tuesday resulted in the decision to extend the detention of four Flotilla detainees who are prominent Arab Israeli ctizens.

Iran’s Press TV reporter missing after Israeli attack on aid convoy: report
TEHRAN, June 2 (Xinhua) — Contact with Press TV’s reporter Hassan Ghani was lost soon after Israeli commandos intercepted the Freedom Flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea, Iran’s English language satellite Press TV reported on Wednesday.  Three days after the deadly Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the fate of Press TV’s British national correspondent onboard the humanitarian convoy remains unknown, the report said.

Freedom Flotilla activists released to Jordan
Over one hundred and twenty of the Freedom Flotilla activists, finally released from Israeli detention. The activists were captured and cut off from contact from more than two days. They tell us stories of the deadly Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ship and the dreadful treatment they were subjected to.

Israel to Deport All Activists, Breakdown by Country
Australia 3; Azerbaijan 2; Italy 6; Indonesia 12; Ireland 9; Algeria 28; United States 11; Bulgaria 2; Bosnia 1; Bahrain 4; Belgium 5; Germany 11; South Africa 1; Holland 2; United Kingdom 31; Greece 38; Jordan 30; Kuwait 15; Lebanon 3; Mauritania 3; Malaysia 11; Egypt 3; Macedonia 3; Morocco 7; Norway 3; New Zealand 1; Syria 3; Serbia 1; Oman 1; Pakistan 3; Czech Republic 4; France 9; Kosovo 1; Canada 1; Sweden 11; Turkey 380; Yemen 4.

Doubt cast on Israel raid account
Activists on ships raided by Israeli commandos cast doubt on Israel ‘s version of events that led to at least 10 deaths.

Israelis “humiliated” ship activists: eyewitness
* Activists acted in self-defence, witness says
* Refused to sign documents

MK Regev to Balad’s Zoabi: Go to Gaza, traitor!
Likud member says Arab MK who took part in Gaza sail must be punished, adds, ‘We don’t need Trojan horses in the Knesset.’ Barakeh: Her actions were noble.,7340,L-3898073,00.html
Huwaida Arraf recounts Israeli attack on Freedom Flotilla

Israeli MP’s Terror on Aid Ship: ‘Plan Was to Kill Activists’, Jonathan Cook – Nazareth
An Arab member of the Israeli parliament who was on board the international flotilla that was attacked on Monday as it tried to take humanitarian aid to Gaza accused Israel yesterday of intending to kill peace activists as a way to deter future convoys.  Haneen Zoubi said Israeli naval vessels had surrounded the flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara, and fired on it a few minutes before commandos abseiled from a helicopter directly above them.

Gaza boat passenger says Australian photographer electroshocked by Israeli soldiers
CANBERRA , June 2 (Xinhua) — Australian photographer Kate Geraghty was electroshocked on the arm by Israeli soldiers who stormed a flotilla of boats heading to Gaza , a fellow passenger said on Wednesday.  One of the first to be released from detention center on Wednesday (AEST) was organizer with the Free Gaza Flotilla, Huwaida Arraf, a dual U.S./Israeli citizen who claimed she was aboard the U.S.-flagged vessel Challenger 1 along with Australian Fairfax journalist Paul McGeough and Geraghty.

Expelled activists describe cold-blooded killings (AFP)
AFP – Activists expelled to Jordan early on Wednesday after being hauled off a Gaza-bound aid flotilla accused Israeli commandos who carried out the raid of killing passengers cold-bloodedly.*

Swedish intellectuals among Gaza flotilla detainees
Gaza – Ma’an – The famous Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell is currently detained in Israel amongst solidarity activists seized by Israeli naval forces which raided Gaza aid flotilla on Monday morning, Ma’an has learned.

El Cerrito man beaten in assault on Gaza aid flotilla
A 64-year old El Cerrito resident who sailed with a group taking supplies to the Gaza Strip was badly beaten during the Israeli commando assault, a family friend said Tuesday.  The report came from Lindsay Bagette, who said she was speaking on behalf of Paul Larudee’s wife, Betty.  Larudee was beaten because he refused to comply with a commando’s orders, the Israeli Consulate General told Betty Larudee on Tuesday afternoon, Bagette said.  The report could not be independently confirmed.

Israelis used bullets and tear gas: Greek activist (AFP)
AFP – A Greek activist told Tuesday of the moment Israeli troops stormed the ill-fated Gaza-bound aid flotilla, using rubber bullets, tear gas and electroshock weapons to subdue those aboard.*

Israelis pointed guns at our heads-Turkish captain
ISTANBUL, June 1 (Reuters) – An Israeli warship threatened to sink Captain Huseyin Tokalak’s ship before young commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged Gazze and trained their guns on him and his crew.  “They pointed two guns to the head of each of us,” Tokalak told a news conference on Tuesday. “They were really interesting guns, like the ones you see in the movies.”

Germans on Gaza ship deny Israeli commandos provoked
BERLIN — Visibly shaken German activists who were on an aid ship bound for Gaza rejected on Tuesday Israeli claims that commandos were provoked by violence by those on board, saying it was a peaceful convoy.  A German doctor on the ship, Matthias Jochheim, who had bloodstains on his trousers from people he treated, said that he had personally seen four dead people and that he expected the total death toll to be 15.

Salah to remain in custody 1 more week
Head of Islamic Movement’s northern branch waves at supporters during remand hearing, appears amused.,7340,L-3897739,00.html

Victoria activist caught in Israeli attack willing to risk his life: friend
Victoria, B.C. – Activist Kevin Neish of Victoria “is willing to lay his life on the line to follow through with convictions,” said a friend of 35 years.

Flotilla Activist’s Family on Hunger Strike to Demand his Release
The family of Osama Qashoo, a British citizen of Palestinian descent, has declared a hunger strike that will only end with Qashoo’s release. Qashoo was one of the activists aboard this Freedom Flotilla attempting to bring aid supplies to Gaza . His mother, father, and six brothers are demanding his release after he and all of the other activists aboard the Flotilla were arrested by Israeli troops.

Why we sailed to Gaza | Lauren Booth
Let me ask you one final question that’s been troubling me, as sympathy for those apparently fragile Israeli commandos continues to pour in. If you were on a boat in the Mediterranean and hundreds of the world’s most notoriously violent soldiers started falling from the sky, wouldn’t you defend yourself? The brave human beings on the Mavi Marmara were acting in self-defence. And because of this many died. Something of the hopeful child in me died with them.

Other Flotilla News
Organizers: Freedom Flotilla 2 in a few weeks
Gaza – Ma’an – The Brussels-based European campaign against the siege on Gaza announced Wednesday that they had secured funds to support three new aid ships to be sailed to Gaza .  The fleet will be called the Freedom 2, which head of the campaign Arafat Madhi said would be “much bigger than the first,” which included nationals from some 40 nations and 10,000 tons of aid, currently held by Israel following the takeover of six ships in international waters on Monday morning.

Activists: We have funding for another larger Gaza flotilla
‘Freedom 2’ expected to set sail in coming weeks; Crew members of ‘Rachel Corrie’ ship, part of the first Gaza aid convoy, still determined to break Gaza blockade, saying ‘we are a peaceful mission.’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  FGM: Update on Israeli attack on Humanitarian Boats
[Cyprus – 1 June, 2010] The UN Security Council Calls for Impartial, Credible Investigation of Israeli Boat Raid. The raid in international waters, on the aid convoy headed to Gaza left at least 16 civilians dead. After an emergency session wrapped up in the early hours this morning, the council agreed to language condemning the acts that resulted in the deaths and injuries aboard the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara and the European Campaign’s vessel Spendoni.

Israel navy braced to intercept next Gaza aid ship (Reuters)
Reuters – Activists vowed on Tuesday to try to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza with another ship, and an Israeli officer pledged to halt it, setting the stage for a fresh confrontation after Monday’s deadly clash.*

Activists on board last flotilla ship now ‘more determined’
BEIRUT: Activists on board the last remaining ship of the Gaza freedom flotilla said Tuesday they were more determined to reach Gaza following the deaths of their comrades, and urged the international community to call on Israel to allow their safe passage.
“After hearing the news we were more determined than ever to get to Gaza ,” Derek Graham, an activist on board the ship, told The Daily Star by satellite phone.

No weapons on stormed Turkish ship: Report
“Allegations that there were weapons aboard the Turkish ship are baseless,” Fevzi Gulcan, the head of customs at the Mediterranean port city of Antalya, told Anatolia.

Pictures: Mystery solved: flotilla cargo contents revealed!

Gaza aid flotilla: Israeli sabotage suspected
Israel’s military may have sabotaged two boats carrying Free Gaza activists after both malfuntioned at the same time in the same way prior to the raid.

Anger in Turkey over Israeli flotilla raid

Palestinians in Bulgaria Rally against Israeli Blockade of Gaza

Tunisians demonstrate to denounce Israeli raid on aid ships

Israeli strike echoes in Pakistan

Mya Guarnieri: Israeli Left Denounces IDF’s Raid of the Freedom Flotilla

Church council condemns flotilla raid

Thousands Rally in Los Angeles Against Israeli Flotilla Raid

Vermonters mourn the dead of the Memorial Day Massacre on Aid Flotilla to Gaza

San Francisco Protests Flotilla Massacre (Part 1: The March)

San Francisco Protests Flotilla Massacre (Part 2)

Arab Americans protest in Dearborn against Israel’s actions

Other Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Sweden requests cancellation of national youth soccer team’s match in Israel
In wake of IDF raid on Gaza-aid flotilla, Swedish Soccer Association asks UEFA to nix its national youth squad’s match in Israel scheduled for Friday.

Ireland: Tribute to the people of Gaza
I never cease to be amazed at the power of the human spirit to survive. During my last visit to Gaza in October 2008 I was amazed and deeply moved by the power of the people I witnessed. In a triumph of hope over adversity and tremendous suffering, love still abides.

What leaders will decry Henochowicz’s ‘devastating injury’?, Philip Weiss
Emily Henochowicz, the 21-year-old Cooper Union student whose left eye was destroyed by Israeli soldiers in Palestine yesterday during a protest of the flotilla raid, has a blog. You will see that she is a person of great imagination. On her “about” page appears this image and the words, “A visual adventure!” Let’s look for important expressions from Henochowicz down the road.  Cooper Union has issued a completely safe/noncommital statement on the matter. Notice the scaly evasion, “a tear gas canister hit her in the face.” Oh, and a bullet paralyzed Dean Kahler.

Palestinian pacifist gets Sweden’s Anna Lindh award (AFP)
AFP – A Palestinian pacifist, Jean Zaru, on Tuesday won the Anna Lindh award for dedicating her life to “defending non violence as a solution” to the Mideast conflict, the prize committee said.*

Lessons from the UC Berkeley Divestment Effort
Israel right-or-wrong apologists have reason to be worried after three lengthy UC Berkeley student senate hearings concluded each with a solid majority of votes (60% or more) in favor of divestment from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. Though in the end, the vote fell 1 short of the needed supermajority required to overturn a veto, neither our opponents nor we forget that a clear majority consistently supported the bill.

Israelis celebrating attack on Turkish Aid Ship – infront of Turkish Embassy,Tel Aviv

Palestinian civil society condemns repression in Canada against Palestine solidarity campaigns and humanitarian efforts
Occupied Palestine, May 26 2010 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), strongly condemns the actions taken by Canadian state bodies, university administrations and pressure groups to defund, repress and otherwise attempt to weaken groups and individuals that provide assistance to, or campaign in solidarity with, Palestinians. Such blatantly anti-democratic measures are not only repulsive per se; they are forms of complicity with Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian rights and have far reaching adverse consequences for civil liberties. The BNC believes that this repression in Canada must be brought to an end.

Israeli Justification of Crimes/American Support
‘Next time we’ll use more force’
Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Netanyahu: World criticism won’t stop Israel’s blockade of Gaza
Ministers likely to call for probe into Gaza flotilla raid; PM tells cabinet that naval blockade needed to ensure weapons not be smuggled into Hamas-ruled territory.

Lieberman to UN chief: International community is two-faced for condemning Israel
After emergency session and marathon negotiations, UN Security Council calls for impartial probe of Israel’s raid on Gaza flotilla, requests immediate release of ships and civilians held by Israel.

State: Petitions over raid of Gaza flotilla biased
Human rights groups file High Court petition claiming Israeli army’s raid violated international law. State prosecutor argues to the contrary, says petition is ‘baseless and mendacious’.,7340,L-3897575,00.html

Official: US Will Stand with Israel
I’m told there won’t be any daylight between the US and Israel in the aftermath of the incident on the flotilla yesterday, which resulted in the deaths of 10 activists.  Regardless of the details of the flotilla incident, sources say President Obama is focused on what he sees as the longer term issue here: a successful Mideast peace process.  “The president has always said that it will be much easier for Israel to make peace if it feels secure,” a senior administration official tells ABC News.

US declines to apportion blame after Israeli raid (AFP)
AFP – The White House declined Tuesday to specifically condemn Israel for its raid on a humanitarian flotilla, but said it showed Middle East peace moves were now needed more than ever.*

Obscene:  Peres: Soldiers were beaten for being humane
President expresses support for IDF actions during takeover of Gaza-bound ship, commends ‘troops who preferred getting hurt over hurting someone else’.,7340,L-3897711,00.html

Obscene: Israel should lead investigation into attack on Gaza flotilla, says US
Turkey’s demands for international inquiry blocked at meeting of United Nations security council

Top US lawmaker: No ‘biased’ UN resolution in flotilla raid (AFP)
AFP – US President Barack Obama should veto “any biased UN resolutions reining in Israel’s right to defend itself” after a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, a top lawmaker said Tuesday.*

Israel’s Arab Helpers
Fatah’s Azzam Al-Ahmad: Gaza Doesn’t Need Food, Humanitarian Supplies
02/06/2010 Senior Fatah Movement official, Azzam Al-Ahmad, told the German News Agency (DPA) that the Gaza Strip did not need humanitarian or food supplies. The Fatah Central Committee member stressed in his telephone call with DPA the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas was securing the needs of the Strip on daily basis. “I confidently say that Gaza does not need humanitarian or food supplies because the PA is securing all of this. The PA sends 200 trucks into Gaza, not through Rafah but through other crossings,” he told the Genrman News Agency. “These trucks are always full of food supplies, medicaments, and fuel,” he added.

Humanitarian/Human Rights
Amnesty International: Suffocating Gaza – the Israeli blockade’s effects on Palestinians/More than half of the population in Gaza are children
Israel’s military blockade of Gaza has left more than 1.4 million Palestinian men, women and children trapped in the Gaza Strip, an area of land just 40 kilometres long and 9.5 kilometres wide.  Mass unemployment, extreme poverty and food price rises caused by shortages have left four in five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. As a form of collective punishment, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law.

WHO: Medical Supplies Blocked From Entering Gaza
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Israel is blocking vital medical supplies from entering the Gaza Strip.  The U.N. agency says it is impossible to maintain a well-functioning health system if necessary supplies are not available.  The World Health Organization is renewing its appeal to the Israeli government to allow necessary medical equipment, spare parts, and repair crews to enter the Gaza Strip.

After Israeli raid, Freedom Flotilla aid starts to flow to Gaza
Ships involved in the “Freedom Flotilla” were towed into the Israel port of Ashdod after the Israeli raid Monday. Some of the humanitarian aid is being delivered by Israel to Gaza. But Hamas says it won’t accept it until flotilla activists are released from Israeli detention.

OPT: Gaza hopes Egypt border opening will be permanent
* UN says blockade led to humanitarian crisis, Israel denies
* Hamas calls for full opening of Rafah crossing
* Egypt allows generators into Gaza

PA official: Shin Bet threatened to expel me from Jerusalem
Jerusalem Portfolio appointee Hatem Abdel Kader says was warned over his political activities within capital’s limits.,7340,L-3897694,00.html

The colors of racism
Even Iran is not as bad as Immanuel, where they make Jewish girls of differing ethnic stripe wear different colored uniforms.

Political Developments
Palestinians to continue with indirect talks: UN (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said on Tuesday indirect talks with Israeli would go ahead despite a deadly commando raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, UN chief Ban Ki-moon told AFP.*

PA factions demand end to proximity talks
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The majority of factions within the Palestinian Authority are opposed to the continuation of indirect talks with Israel, officials in Ramallah said Monday.  The officials spoke out during a meeting convened to consider sending a delegation of PLO and Fatah Central Committee members to Gaza in order to finalize a reconciliation deal with Hamas. It followed Israel’s fatal attack on an aid convoy destined for the coastal enclave.

Haniyeh: Gaza receiving calls of support from Arab world
Gaza – Ma’an – Turkish Prime Minister Raceb Tayeb Erdogan called Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader said, to affirm solid support for the de facto government “even if Turkey is your only supporter.”  While Turkey had remained neutral on the issue of Hamas rule in Gaza, offering earlier in the year to act as a go-between for reconciliation talks with the rivals, Haniyeh said Edrogan believed the presence of activists from some 40 nations was an “indicator that Israel is not only confronting Turkey but also the whole world.”

NPT Signatories Call on Israel to Open Nuclear Sites
Israel is the only Middle East state not to have signed the NPT. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the measure, calling it biased for excluding Iran.

Media Bias/Restrictions
Reporters Without Borders: 15 journalists still missing
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Reporters Without Borders is urging the Israeli authorities to release a list of the journalists who were arrested during Monday’s raid on the humanitarian flotilla and to say where they are being held.

RSF condemns flotilla censorship
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Reporters Without Borders has strongly condemned the censorship attempts that accompanied Monday’s deadly assault by Israel on a flotilla that was carrying humanitarian aid, 750 pro-Palestinian activists and several journalists to the Gaza Strip.  “We deplore this assault, which left a heavy toll of dead and wounded,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. “The journalists who were on the flotilla to cover the humanitarian operation were put in harm’s way by this disproportionate reaction.

FAIR:  Reporting Israeli Assault Through Israel’s Eyes
On May 31, the Israeli military attacked a flotilla of boats full of civilians attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip. Reports indicate that at least nine and as many as 16 of the activists on board were killed, though details remain sketchy due to Israel’s censorious limitations on media coverage. Much of the U.S. media coverage has been remarkably unskeptical of Israel’s account of events and their context, and has paid little regard to international law.

‘Washington Post’ relies on Israel lobby group for statistical graphic about blockade, Philip Weiss
Our media are broken, corrupted. Look at these Washington Post graphics on the blockade of Gaza. For info, the Post credits the Israel Project, the Israel Defense Forces, and Gisha: Legal Center for freedom of Movement. That’s nuts. The IDF is a foreign army, and the Israel Project is an Israel lobby group that serves up propaganda over easy. You will say that Gisha is a Palestinian-solidarity group, but it is in the end an NGO, and an Israeli one, which, shockingly, seeks freedom of movement for an ethnic minority. Once again, we see the lobby’s influence in American discourse. Pervasive. Hard to say where it stops. I didn’t spot this: Matt Duss did.

Compassionless, Matthews ratifies Israeli raid
I thought Chris Matthews, a Catholic, would betray a hint of compassion for the persecuted people of Gaza. But tonight he was shockingly callous re the flotilla raid:

Who will take on Netanyahu? Comedy channel?, Susie Kneedler
CNN aired Binyamin Netanyahu’s falsehoods yesterday. The Israeli Prime Minister held forth about Israel’s premeditated attack on international humanitarians, as well as its starvation siege of Gaza—both of which, let’s not forget, are acts of war.  CNN challenged this Minister no more than facts confront Orwell’s Ministry of Truth once they’re dumped down Nineteen Eighty-Four’s “memory hole.” No reporters queried his claims; worse, substitute anchor Suzanne Malveaux echoed many. Certainly, CNN’s very headline for the video,  “Netanyahu responds to flotilla raid,” casts the PM as a mere bystander to the attack he masterminded.  His government threatened beforehand that it would do anything to halt the convoy.

Other News
Elliott Abrams to Maariv: Obama’s policies bad for Israel, prospects for peace slim
Last weekend, Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom featured Newt Gingrinch warning Israelis that Obama’s policies could lead to “a second Holocaust.” Now, Elliott Abrams is in Israel for an event organized by Dore Gold’s neoconservative institute, the JCPA, and the competition, Maariv, interviews him on Obama’s Israel policies.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
CrisisWatch N°82, 01 Jun 2010
Israeli commandos killed at least nine people when they raided a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on 31 May. Full details are not yet clear but the incident has already thrown into question recently launched proximity talks between the Palestinians and Israel. The international community has been swift to condemn Israel’s actions and the UN Security Council has called for an impartial investigation. However, the event has underscored the failure of a much broader policy for which Israel is not solely responsible. Many in the international community have been complicit in isolating Gaza in the hope of weakening Hamas, an approach that has ultimately harmed the people of Gaza without loosening Hamas’s control.

‘We’re the only ones who believe them’, Ben Smith
For while much about the incident remains unclear, a day of carefully parsed statements from the White House and State Department left at least one irrefutable aftershock: With much of the world expressing fury over the raid, the contrast with Washington’s muted response could not have been more striking.  “The situation is that they’re so isolated right now that it’s not only that we’re the only ones who will stick up for them,” said an American official. “We’re the only ones who believe them – and what they’re saying is true.”

Glenn Greenwald Destroys MSNBC’s Israeli lapdog Apologist
Here’s what Glenn had to say about his appearance: I was just on MSNBC talking about Israel, the Gaza blockade and the flotilla attack with Eliot Spitzer, who was guest-hosting for Dylan Ratigan. It was a rather contentious discussion, though quite illustrative of how Israel is (and is not) typically discussed on American television, so I’m posting the whole 8-minute segment below. Two points: (1) before I was on, Spitzer had on an Israel-defending law professor, followed by Netanyahu’s former Chief of Staff, and both of them (along with Spitzer) were spewing pure Israeli propaganda in uninterrupted and unchallenged fashion; at the end of Spitzer’s discussions with them, he asked them to “stick around just in case,” and once I was left, he brought at least one of them back on to respond to what I said without challenge; (2) literally 90 seconds before my segment was about to begin, the new cam and sound system I just acquired stopped working, forcing me to unplug everything and use only my laptop cam and mic, which caused the technical aspects to be less than ideal (though still perfectly workable)

It’s up to Obama whether the siege of Gaza continues, Paul Woodward
After the flotilla massacre committed by Israeli forces, Turkey’s call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council yesterday was to be expected. Turks are assumed to be among the dead — whose names and nationalities have still not been released. There are now hundreds of Turks being held in detention in Israel and Turkish ships were captured illegally in international waters in an action Turkey’s foreign minister described as “tantamount to banditry and piracy.”

Still Think Israel Doesn’t Run the United States?
From the website of the U.S. Department of Commerce (Bureau of Industry and Security)

US reaction: Cracks appear in America’s other special relationship
Once again, the US conspicuously failed to follow most of the rest of the world in condemning Israel. The White House merely expressed its “deep regret” at the loss of life, stressing the need to establish first the details of what happened. The State Department went a fraction further, citing its “deep concern” at the civilian sufferings in Gaza. But again, no condemnation.

Questions over US policy on Middle East conflict
In the US military and diplomatic establishments a consesnsus has long existed that Israel is a strategic liability. Following the wars of ’67 and ’73 corporate elites also came to share this view. Now Mossad chief Meir Dagan is admitting that Israel is becoming a strategic burden for the United States. His honesty is refreshing. One wishes Jewish liberals in the US would be as forthcoming as Jewish rightists in israel. Alas, with some honourable exceptions, this hasn’t happened. The Israel lobby, which has fought a historically uphill battle trying to convince politicians that Israel is a strategic asset, has found an unlikely ally in some figures on the left. The most prominent of course is Noam Chomsky, but there is also a legion of his followers who keep parroting this line.

U.S. must condemn Israel for ship killings, Amjad Atallah, Special to CNN
(CNN) — President Obama, in his memorable speech almost exactly one year ago in Cairo, Egypt, urged Palestinians to pursue nonviolent means toward securing their freedom and raised the hopes of many Muslim-majority nations who saw a new, unbiased Mideast policy in the making. Those hopes were shattered by America’s tepid response to the killings aboard a ship on a peaceful humanitarian mission Sunday night.

Israeli raid on Freedom Flotilla shatters key Turkey-Israel ties
The raid on the Turkish-led Gaza Freedom Flotilla has dealt a harsh blow to Turkey-Israel relations. Ankara’s sharp response is strongest signal yet that Turkey may abandon its bid to be regional mediator.

Israel’s flotilla actions vindicate Goldstone report, Philip Weiss
The flotilla is completely vindicating Goldstone. Note that the Israeli defense of its actions on the boat is exactly the same as its defense of its actions in Gaza: we had a right to inderdict their movements across international lines, we got severe provocation, we were being attacked by so-called civilians, no country could permit this to happen, we defended ourselves, just look at the video. And in Gaza the Israelis killed 1200-1400 with minimal loss of life on the Israeli side; and the numbers are similarly imbalanced for the Mavi Mamara.

Ex-Mossad agent: Gaza flotilla raid ’so stupid it’s stupefying’
Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 — 10:53 pm, submit to reddit Stumble This!, Share, 0diggsdigg, israelnavygazaaidflotilla Ex Mossad agent: Gaza flotilla raid so stupid its stupefying, While the United States has reserved judgment in the matter, a former Mossad agent is casting blame for the botched raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, pointing directly at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for allegedly ordering forces to act without vital preparation.

Israel underestimated reactions
Daniel Levy, a former Israeli negotiator in the peace process, said that Israel underestimated world reaction to the raid. Here he speaks to Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halket from Jerusalem.

The Gaza flotilla attack shows how far Israel has declined
The closure of Gaza is the consequence of a clumsy, calcified policy, which resorts by default to the use of massive force

Israeli aid boat attack ‘has opened world’s eyes to Gaza’s plight’
Israel’s botched commando raid has succeeded in doing the one thing that Tel Aviv will have wanted to avoid — drawing attention to the Jewish state’s harsh three-year blockade of Gaza.  Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, said that while the activists did not succeed in reaching their intended port they have at last brought international attention to the Israeli-led blockade.

It’s up to us to lift the blockade, Donald Macintyre
The people of Gaza don’t need the West to send humanitarian aid. They need our leaders to take decisive action – after all, we have been complicit in this siege, writes.

PR blitz cannot turn off spotlight on Gaza
Those on the ships – Turks, Europeans and Americans as well as Israelis and Palestinians – cannot be dismissed as ‘terrorists’ with ties to Iran. Their voices will not be easily silenced.

Israeli Attack May Have a Silver Lining
Details of Israel’s attack on the flotilla to Gaza containing humanitarian aid are still leaking out from the Israeli attempt to stifle them. But even if Israel’s spin about its attack on the flotilla is accepted, the situation is still fairly damning for Israel.

The Flotilla attack and Turkey’s views of Palestine
Turkish society has been deeply divided over many issues, from political allegiances to cultural preferences. The public sphere in Turkey is more a realm of appropriation and exclusion than one of mutual agreement and consensus building. However, when it comes to Palestine — as the current furor of Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza — demonstrates, there is a surprising consensus. Murat Dagli comments for The Electronic Intifada.

We are all Gazans now, Pepe Escobar
Just imagine if these were Iranian commandos attacking a multinational, six-boat aid flotilla in international waters. The United States, the European Union and Israel would instantly make sure to shock and awe Iran to kingdom come.  Instead, it was Israeli commandos who perpetrated this bit of gunboat diplomacy – or “self-defense” – in the dark hours of the early morning, in international waters, some 130 kilometers off the coast of Gaza.

Will Israel’s attack change anything for Palestinians?, Ian Black
Outside Israel and the US, it is widely acknowledged that the policy of isolating Gaza has failed. Is this a watershed moment?  Arabs and many others have been venting their fury over Israel’s violent interception of the Gaza freedom flotilla. The UN security council’s call for a full investigation into the fatal maritime assault is one early achievement. But the larger and longer-term question is whether there will now be any change for the 1.5 million Palestinians living under blockade in the crowded coastal strip. Will policy shift?
Treat Palestinians Like Jews, Robert Scheer
It was an act of international terrorism, pure and simple. There can be no valid claims of self-defense on the part of Israeli commandos who attacked a ship of protesters in international waters, killing nine civilians and kidnapping more than 600 others–including 15 international reporters who were prevented from filing their stories by a nation that claims to be the beacon of democracy in the Mideast.

Why Israeli raid on Freedom Flotilla makes Abbas’s job harder
International pressure in the wake of the Israeli raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has boosted sympathy for Hamas, the chief rival of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s party and a longtime opponent of peace talks.

Israel is becoming the new Jewish ghetto
The events unfolding in the wake of Israel’s attack on Monday against the humanitarian aid flotilla heading for the Gaza Strip can be assessed on three levels, and it matters very much how one chooses to engage the matter.  The first is the narrow technical level of who used force first – whether the Israeli attack was the problem, or whether those on board the Turkish vessel, the Mavi Marmara, who defended themselves against the Israelis triggered the fighting that resulted in death and injuries.

Murdering Human Rights Workers, MARJORIE COHN
On Sunday, Israel murdered human rights workers who were attempting to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, because Gaza has been virtually cut off from the outside world by Israel. At least 19 people were reportedly killed and dozens injured when Israeli troops boarded the 6-ship Freedom Flotilla convoy in international waters and immediately fired live ammunition at the people on board the ships.

America’s Complicity in Evil, PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian  aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn “all the facts about this morning’s tragic events” and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House. Thus has Obama made America complicit once again in Israel’s barbaric war crimes.  Just as the US Congress voted to deep-six Judge Goldstone’s report on Israel’s war crimes committed in Israel’s January 2009 invasion of Gaza, Obama has deep-sixed Israel’s latest act of barbarism by pretending that he doesn’t know what has happened.

Obama’s Timidity and Deaths at Sea, RAY McGOVERN
A chief lesson to learn from President Barack Obama’s recent unwillingness to stand up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Lobby is that such timidity can get people killed.  Casualty figures are still arriving in the wake of Israel’s Sunday night-Monday morning commando attack on an unarmed flotilla trying to bring relief supplies to the 1.5 million Palestinians crowded into Gaza. Already, at least nine civilian passengers are reported killed, and dozens wounded.

The Mediterranean Massacre,  Justin Raimondo
The condemnations, the imprecations, the expressions of shock are rolling in, as the nations of the world raise their voices in protest over the Mediterranean massacre carried out by Israeli commandos, but rather than get into specifics, I want to note a general pattern that this incident seems to confirm.

The Shadow over Israel, Margaret Atwood
Then there are people like me. Having been preoccupied of late with mass extinctions and environmental disasters, and thus having strayed into the Middle-eastern neighbourhood with a mind as open as it could be without being totally vacant, I’ve come out altered. Child-killing in Gaza? Killing aid-bringers on ships in international waters? Civilians malnourished thanks to the blockade? Forbidding writing paper? Forbidding pizza? How petty and vindictive! Is pizza is a tool of terrorists? Would most Canadians agree? And am I a tool of terrorists for saying this? I think not.

Piracy on the Blood-Red Sea, NEVE GORDON
“Why didn’t they greet us with muffins and orange juice?” was my friend’s facetious question after listening all morning to the Israeli media’s coverage of the assault on the relief flotilla heading for Gaza, the navy assault that left nine citizens dead and many more wounded. Like a group of pirates in the Mediterranean, the Israeli navy attacked humanitarian aid ships in international waters, and yet Israeli officials and commentators were totally surprised when the passengers did not receive them with open arms. Going through the talkbacks on news sites, it seems that most Jews in Israel were also taken aback.

Notch Up Another Disaster for Israel’s Well-Oiled Propaganda Machine, PATRICK COCKBURN
An old Israeli saying describing various less-than-esteemed military leaders says: “He was so stupid that even the other generals noticed.” The same derisive remark could be applied almost without exception to the present generation of Israeli politicians.
Such healthy skepticism among Israelis about the abilities of their military and political leaders has unfortunately ebbed in recent decades. As a result, Israelis are left perplexed as to why their wars, military interventions and armed actions have so often ended in failure since the 1973 war, despite the superiority of their armed forces.

9 Activists Paint-Balled To Death By Israel
During two appearances on CNN yesterday and today, on-again off-again American and currently Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, made the claim that the commandos who helicopter-dropped and stormed the humanitarian aid ships going to Gaza were armed with paintball guns. You may be laughing now, and I agree, it is almost funny, except the Stepford wives and other dumb fucks posing as journalists at CNN eat that shit up and take it at face value. As a matter of fact they did let the claim pass unchallenged and as a matter of fact.

Israel and Palestinians Stay on Collision Course, James Gundun – Washington D.C.
Prospects of the White House learning from its first, aborted round of indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians quickly dropped in the days following a second launch.  One attempt at proxy negotiations hadn’t just failed, but crashed spectacularly across the international community and media. A brief, exaggerated scuffle between America and Israel ensued, gleefully observed by the Palestinians regardless of its authenticity. Justifiable Schadenfreude recycled into further Israeli resentment.

Rachel Corrie Lives: The Attack On the Aid Flotilla, Ron Jacobs
Just when you think Israel can not do anything more to anger most of the world, it does. The attack on the aid flotilla of ships that includes the MV Rachel Corrie on May 31, 2010 was beyond the pale of conventionally accepted actions, even by Israel. It was the ship Mavi Marmara that was attacked and several of its passengers killed because they dared to physically challenge the tactics of the Israeli government in its campaign to isolate and eventually eradicate the idea of a Palestinian people. Like Rachel herself, the people on the ship were activists actively opposing the Israeli regime’s decades-long crusade to dehumanize and destroy the lives of those who call themselves Palestinian. Realizing that the blockade of goods into Gaza has reached disastrous proportions, these folks worked with thousands of others around the world to gather food, medicines and a multitude of other goods forbidden by Israel to enter Gaza and bring the goods to Gaza.

PR Advice to the Palestinians, Matt Barganier
I’ve heard a certain criticism countless times over the years, but after seeing it three times in two days on the same site, I decided to do a little research. From that vast repository of respectable opinion, The Atlantic, here are Jeffrey Goldberg, Andrew Sullivan, and Megan McArdle with the idea du jour:

Political Cartoons

How To Achieve The Right Of Return?
Supporters and critics of one democratic state came together from around the world recently, indicating that alternative solutions are being actively sought as the viability of a two state solution loses support.  Organised by the Abnaa El’Balad movement, the Second Haifa Conference for the return of Palestinian Refugees and for the Democratic Secular State welcomed around 300 participants from Palestine, Israel and across the globe. Through workshops, debate and performances, the three day event provided a forum for discussion on the establishment of a one state solution for Palestine.

Only a one-state Palestine is possible,Christopher King
Christopher King looks beyond Israel’s latest crime against humanity, its murder in international waters of aid workers bound for Gaza. He argues that it is high time to accept the fact that Israel is a fundamentally illegitimate entity and that the only chance for peace lies in a one-state Palestine shared among Palestinian Arabs and Jews.

Israel’s Nuclear Policy, James Petras
On May 24, 2010, the Guardian (U.K.) published a highly confidential document released by the South African government. The 1975 document reveals a secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, Israel’s Foreign Minister at the time (and today Israel’s President) and South Africa’s Defense Minister P. W. Botha. Israel offered to sell the apartheid regime, weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and conventional weaponry to destroy and defeat the million person African resistance movement. The Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization, immediately set in motion the Lying Machine claiming the official minutes of the Israeli nuclear offer and a far reaching agreement on military ties between two apartheid regimes were merely a “conversation” (sic) and that Israel did not “make an offer.”

Gideon Levy, can you express yourself freely as a journalist in Israel?
I met Gideon Levy in Hebron five years ago, when we both went for the same reason – to find out about certain Arab families who were being harassed by Israeli settlers. He is a very committed journalist, who in his articles, reportage and columns expresses his views – usually critical of the establishment and the government – with clarity, honesty, talent and courage. I want Gideon to help me to understand the most contradictory and fascinating passion of the world today – Israeli society.

Lebanon fires on Israeli warplanes: security official (AFP)
AFP – Lebanon’s military fired anti-aircraft artillery at Israeli warplanes that were flying over Lebanon, a senior Israeli security official said on Tuesday.*

Israeli troops kidnap shepherd’s 11-year-old son
SIDON: Units of the Lebanese Army and peacekeeping forces were put on alert Tuesday in the region of Wazzani, following the abduction of two Lebanese shepherds by Israeli forces. A number of Israeli troops crossed the technical fence near an Israeli checkpoint in the region of Wazzani where they kidnapped an 11-year-old shepherd. Mohammad Hayel Zaal Mohammad, from the village of Wazzani was herding his flock along with his father Hayel Zaal Mohammad when both were abducted by the Israeli squad. While Hayel managed to escape, his son was taken to an unknown destiny after which he was handed over to the Lebanese army one hour later. Mohammad was interrogated by the Lebanese Army about the details of the incident in an effort to figure out whether or not he had crossed the Blue Line.

Q&A with Hizbullah’s Sheikh Naim Qasim: Israel ‘not ready’ for regional war

337 Iraqi civilians killed in May
275 civilians, 45 police and 17 soldiers – killed as a result of attacks in May, according to data compiled by the health, interior and defence ministries.

Tuesday: 6 Iraqis Killed, 1 Wounded
For Iraqi civilians, May has been the deadliest month so far this year. According to data released by various ministries, at least 275 died. Another 62 Iraqis who were security personnel were killed as well, along with five U.S. soldiers. On the first day of June, at least six Iraqis were killed and one more was wounded, including both civilians and service members.

Iraq’s north says villagers flee Iranian shelling

SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, June 1 (Reuters) – Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region said on Tuesday dozens of families had been displaced in days of shelling by Iranian forces pursuing Kurdish rebels in the border region.

U.S. and World News
Amnesty International:  Libya executes 18 by firing squad
Amnesty International has condemned the reported execution by firing squad of 18 people in Libya on Sunday.  Amnesty International has condemned the reported execution by firing squad of 18 people, many of them foreign nationals, in Libya on Sunday. Cerene, a newspaper closely affiliated with Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, reported that the 18, including nationals of Chad, Egypt and Nigeria, were executed after being convicted of premeditated murder.

Egypt goes to polls, opposition says supporters blocked
CAIRO: Many Egyptians were blocked by security forces and ruling party backers from voting in an election on Tuesday, particularly where the opposition Muslim Brotherhood was running, rights groups and the opposition said.  The vote for 88 of the 264 seats in the upper house, or Shura Council, is regarded as a litmus test for how much space the authorities will give opposition voices in a parliament vote this year and presidential election in 2011.

Saudi youths in trouble over MTV reality show
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s religious police are trying to bring to court three Saudi youths for challenging the kingdom’s austere lifestyle on an MTV reality show – a new test of the country’s stated commitment to reform.  Divisions have emerged within the influential religious establishment, including the religious police body itself, over long-held restrictions that have been enforced in the world’s leading oil producing country and key US ally.

Did Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman provoke and incite their murderers in Philadelphia, MI?

Posted: 02 Jun 2010

Tracking the American liberal discourse’s failure on the flotilla raid, it is important to note that Brian Lehrer, the cerebral conscience of the New York public radio station, WNYC, today did an interview with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of England on his new book about Jews and Israel. So a conservative Zionist was given a platform to defend Israel’s attack on the boat.
(How’d Lehrer have done with the killings of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman, freedom riders who died in 1963?)
Lehrer brought up some good questions. He asked about the inhuman blockade, without quoting the many legal opinions that it is collective punishment. He halfway valorized criticisms of Israel that come from “anti-Zionists” and asked whether these were anti-Semitic.
Sacks said it was anti-Semitic when people attack The Jews for supporting Israel.
So they take credit for anti-Zionist Jews, as proving diversity, when neither Sacks nor Lehrer gives a platform to an anti-Zionist Jew. No, anti-Zionist Jews and non-Zionist Jews are excommunicated by the Jewish leadership. I challenge you, Brian, if you are bragging on that diversity, to honor it: and let your listeners hear from these people. Amy Goodman does so all the time. She puts on Naomi Klein and Norman Finkelstein. Al Jazeera put me on last week. BBC put me on last month. Russian TV put Norman on yesterday.
Lehrer read from a Tom Friedman op-ed today that criticized the Israeli attack mutedly. This is how Lehrer seems to express his own discomfort with the Israeli violence, Tom Friedman.  When Israel is in a crisis stemming from a simple fact: the government does not represent half the people who are under its governance.

Anywhere but here: ‘Haaretz’ prints another Israeli rightwinger talking one-state

Posted: 02 Jun 2010

Moshe Arens, a rightwing Israeli hawk, has joined Reuven Rivlin, speaker of the Knesset, in endorsing a one-state solution that absorbs the West Bank. At the link, Jerry Haber points out that they want to disgorge Gaza but congratulates the right for thinking outside the box. Arens wrote in Haaretz:

Adding another 1.5 million Muslims, the population of Judea and Samaria, to Israel’s Muslim population would of course make the situation considerably more difficult. Would a 30-percent Muslim minority in Israel create a challenge that would be impossible for Israeli society to meet? That is a question that Israeli politicians, and all Israelis – Jews and Arabs alike – need to ponder.

I believe the figure is closer to 2.5 million. But what is exciting about Arens’s statement, following on Rivlin’s, is that the right is thinking creatively about a dire crisis faced by Israeli society. And who else is thinking creatively? Who else is publishing this sort of idea? Certainly not liberal Zionists in the United States, who can’t even call for a return to the ’67 lines to save the Jewish state of ancient memory. The right is actually willing to take action/some risk with enfranchising Palestinians who are now under occupation and tyrannized. The Israeli right is thus far closer to Ali Abunimah’s idea that Israel/Palestine should become a… are you sitting down? …. a democracy.
The marvel here is that the Israeli right is doing harder mental work than any American liberal I can think of. And doing so in good measure out of fears of endless bloodshed, lack of progress. The matsav, the conflict, hovers over Israeli society like a black cloud. And over our political life too. How long before American conservatives and realists, who see the apartheid conditions that liberals have blinded themselves to, join this conversation in favor of democracy? I am about to call on Roger Cohen to join this conversation, Roger Cohen who ardently opposed Partition in the former Yugoslavia out of a noble hatred of ethnic division. An essential conversation for Americans, and who will push it.

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