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Ali Abunimah: Obama's deadly silence

[A]s more than 2,400 Palestinians have been killed or injured -- the majority civilians -- since Israel began its savage bombardment of Gaza on 27 December, Obama has maintained his silence. "There is only one president at a time," his spokesmen tell the media. This convenient excuse has not applied, say, to Obama's detailed interventions on the economy, or his condemnation of the "coordinated attacks on innocent civilians" in Mumbai in November.
[...]
Obama's comments in Sderot echoed what he said in a speech to the powerful pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, in March 2007. He recalled an earlier visit to the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona near the border with Lebanon which he said reminded him of an American suburb. There, he could imagine the sounds of Israeli children at "joyful play just like my own daughters." He saw a home the Israelis told him was damaged by a Hizballah rocket (no one had been hurt in the incident).

Obama has identified his daughters repeatedly with Israeli children, while never having uttered a word about the thousands -- thousands -- of Palestinian and Lebanese children killed and permanently maimed by Israeli attacks just since 2006. This allegedly post-racial president appears fully invested in the racist worldview that considers Arab lives to be worth less than those of Israelis and in which Arabs are always "terrorists."
[...]
Similarly, we can expect that the American university professors who have publicly opposed the academic boycott of Israel on grounds of protecting "academic freedom" will remain just as silent about Israel's bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza as they have about Israel's other attacks on Palestinian academic institutions.

There is no silver lining to Israel's slaughter in Gaza, but the reactions to it should at least serve as a wake-up call: when it comes to the struggle for peace and justice in Palestine, the American liberal elites who are about to assume power present as formidable an obstacle as the outgoing Bush administration and its neoconservative backers.
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We must adjust our distorted image of Hamas

Gaza is a secular society where people listen to pop music, watch TV and many women walk the streets unveiled.

The political leadership of Hamas is probably the most highly qualified in the world. Boasting more than 500 PhDs in its ranks, the majority are middle-class professionals - doctors, dentists, scientists and engineers. Most of its leadership have been educated in our universities and harbour no ideological hatred towards the West. It is a grievance-based movement, dedicated to addressing the injustice done to its people. It has consistently offered a ten-year ceasefire to give breathing space to resolve a conflict that has continued for more than 60 years.

Six months ago the Israeli Government agreed to an Egyptian- brokered ceasefire with Hamas. In return for a ceasefire, Israel agreed to open the crossing points and allow a free flow of essential supplies in and out of Gaza. The rocket barrages ended but the crossings never fully opened, and the people of Gaza began to starve. This crippling embargo was no reward for peace.
frandroid: A key enters the map of Palestine (palestine)
I'm back from spending the holidays in Québec City.

Toronto Star: Protesters condemn Israeli violence. Lame article, but a witness to it nonetheless. Globe and Mail: Canadians take to streets to protest air strikes

Israel is trying to re-establish its manhood: Israel Reminds Foes That It Has Teeth [NYT], Israel's Shock and Awe by G&M's Patrick Martin.
Trying to 'teach Hamas a lesson' is fundamentally wrong by Tom Segev through [livejournal.com profile] corvus

All that the WaPo can think about is how this is distracting the U.S. from paying attention to Iran. Sigh.

The neighborhood bully strikes again from Haaretz.

Kucinich criticizes Israel; wants U.N. probe
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is calling for a United Nations investigation into Israel’s attacks on Gaza, criticizing Israel for a disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks.

The criticism stands in stark contrast to the statements of other Democrats, who have offered near-unanimous support for Israel amid the latest violence in the Middle East.
[...]
President-elect Obama has yet to weigh in on the violence, although top adviser David Axelrod on Sunday noted statements Obama made over the summer that respected Israel’s right to defend itself.

Why would Israel bomb a University? from E.I.

Ali Abunimah, from Electronic Intifada and reprinted in the Guardian: We have no words left:
Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, pleaded that Israel wanted "quiet" - a continuation of the truce - while Hamas chose "terror", forcing him to act. But what is Israel's idea of a truce? It is very simple: Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonise their land.

As John Ging, the head of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, said in November: "The people of Gaza did not benefit; they did not have any restoration of a dignified existence ... at the UN, our supplies were also restricted during the period of the ceasefire, to the point where we were left in a very vulnerable and precarious position and with a few days of closure we ran out of food."

That is an Israeli truce. Any act of resistance including the peaceful protests against the apartheid wall in the West Bank is always met by Israeli bullets and bombs. There are no rockets launched at Israel from the West Bank, and yet Israel's extrajudicial killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnappings never stopped for a day during the truce. The western-backed Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has acceded to all Israel's demands. Under the proud eye of United States military advisors, Abbas has assembled "security forces" to fight the resistance on Israel's behalf. None of that has spared a single Palestinian in the West Bank from Israel's relentless colonisation.
[...]
Israel is no doubt emboldened by the complicity of the European Union, which this month voted again to upgrade its ties with Israel despite condemnation from its own officials and those of the UN for the "collective punishment" being visited on Gaza.
[...]
Diplomatic fronts, such as the US-dominated Quartet, continue to treat occupier and occupied, coloniser and colonised, first-world high-tech army and near-starving refugee population, as if they are on the same footing. Hope is fading that the incoming administration of Barack Obama is going to make any fundamental change to US policies that are hopelessly biased towards Israel.

With governments and international institutions failing to do their jobs, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee - representing hundreds of organisations - has renewed its call on international civil society to intensify its support for the sanctions campaign modelled on the successful anti-apartheid movement.

Now is the time to channel our raw emotions into a long-term effort to make sure we do not wake up to "another Gaza" ever again.

For now, I'm waiting for Israel to mistakenly bomb a hospital.
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[livejournal.com profile] chapatimystery brings to light some of the unsavory connections of two of Obama's new peeps... Many people have talked about Rahm Emanuel and his commitment to Zionism, but Sepoy also brings up Sonal Shah's RSS roots. In a latter entry, Sepoy writes about his belief that Obama cannot be summed by his advisers, but commenters aren't so hopeful. Someone in the comments there links to CounterPunch's devastating profile of Shah's Sangh Parivar connections, and an explanation of why that's bad, for those who don't follow Hindu-supremacist politics. The article also describes the Center for American Process, the Democratic thinktank where Obama's transition team comes from. What's the point of evincing Hillary when you get all of Bill's people in?

Special kudos to [livejournal.com profile] esizzle for kicking me in the pants about Rahmbo.

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