The Jaded Prole

A Progressive Worker's Perspective on the political and cultural events of our time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crimes Against Humanity

As the deadly assault on Gaza continues, the crimes perpetrated by Israel mount. The latest is the bombing raid on the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency as well as the al-Quds hospital. It is also beyond doubt that white phosphorous weapons are being used against the Gazan population -- a crime against humanity. By its silence, the incoming Obama administration is guilty of aiding and abetting those crimes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Gaza Coverage from Link TV

The Prole on the Street

Here in Norfolk, I have been involved in protests against Israel's assault of Gaza, the last on December 30th and another to happen later today. This evenings vigil brings in the local Islamic community with other religious and community organizations in a show of solidarity with Palestinians.

Also in keeping with the times I have a New t-shirt available at Partisan T-Party:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jews Speak Out Against Zionism

Whether in Canada or the U.S., there are a growing number of Jews breaking with Zionism. While the majority may remain silent for fear of community alienation, groups like International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, J Street, and Jews Untied for Peace and Justice are growing. Israel's monstrous intransigence is undermining its base of support. Articles like the following are vital in letting Jews know that it is OK to criticize Israel and in undermining the anti-Semitism which Zionism perpetuates.

by Haroon Siddiqui

Judith Weisman, 78, is a Toronto psychotherapist. She grew up in "a very Zionist family" in Baltimore but "began to change when Israel supported the Vietnam War."

She and her husband came to Canada in 1969. She worked at the Jewish Family and Children's Services.

Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon estranged her from the Jewish state. "It took me a while to grasp what was being done to the Palestinians." She was critical of Israel through the two intifadas and the 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

She helped found Jews for a Just Peace; Jewish Women to End the Occupation (since renamed Women in Solidarity with Palestine); Not in Our Name; and an umbrella group, Independent Jewish Voices.

She helped host a stream of visiting Israeli scholars and human rights activists. She's awaiting the arrival of Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (7.30 p.m., Jan. 23, Trinity St. Paul's United Church).

Hers has been a long struggle, ignored by the media and shunned by "the organized Jewish community" that is solidly pro-Israel.

But in recent years, she and other dissidents have been garnering support. In recent days, they've had much company.

On Wednesday, a dozen Jewish women "occupied" the Israeli consulate on Bloor St., demanding an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza.

The group included Judy Rebick and Judith Deutsch, president of Science for Peace (whose former presidents include George Ignatieff, the late father of Liberal leader, Michael, who has just joined the Stephen Harper Tories in giving blanket immunity to Israel).

The women expressed "outrage at Ottawa's refusal to condemn the massacres," said spokesperson Miriam Garfinkle. They urged the media to report that "many Jewish-Canadians do not support Israel's violence and apartheid policies."

On Thursday, four prominent Jewish Canadians held a news conference.

Anton Kuerti, internationally acclaimed concert pianist, said:

"I am not an expert on what is a war crime but I can recognize one when I see one ...

"What if almost a thousand Israelis had been killed by F-16s and helicopters and 1,000-pound bombs? There'd be immense outrage throughout the world ...

"Israel's behaviour makes me ashamed of being a Jew, and Canada's servile support of the United States position – `it's all Hamas' fault' – makes me ashamed of being a Canadian."

Deutsch read from a prepared statement: "The words `never again,' so fraught with memories of the Holocaust, means `never again' for all peoples."

Others who spoke were Weisman; Michael Mandel, professor of international law at Osgoode Hall, once a visiting professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and the venerable Ursula Franklin, retired U of T research physicist, Companion of the Order of Canada and a Pearson Medal of Peace recipient.

Later that evening, two dozen dissenting Jews turned up at a pro-Israel rally at Beth Tzedec Synagogue.

Smadar Carmon, a dual Israeli-Canadian citizen, said the group was harassed by another – "a mob of thugs, full of hate, shouting `IDF,' `We love Israel,' and `Terrorist supporters,' `Traitors,' `You are not real Jews.'"

On the other side of town, there was a candlelight vigil for Gaza at the Mississauga Civic Square, organized by Palestine House.

And yesterday, there was a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate, organized by an array of groups, including the Canadian Arab Federation, Canadian Peace Alliance, Coalition to Stop the War, Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario), Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and all the groups that Weisman is associated with.
She had planned to be there, as she had been the Saturday before.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Holocaust Continues

OUR liquidation of the Gaza ghetto continues. Yes it is ours because we arm, fund and call the shots of our proxy state "Israel." Below, an article from the Palestine Chronicle describes the realities:

By Suzanne Baroud

Ironically, it was in Palestine, 20 years ago, that I concluded that there is no God. For how could a God, who claims to love all and treat all with impartiality, allow such horrors like those in Palestine to happen?

This unbelief grew stronger with each curfew, with each strike that mourned the death of yet one more martyr, with a decapitation induced by gunfire in the main square on a sunny Ramallah afternoon so many years ago. But it was cemented the day I had to tell one of my fifth grade students that his brother had just been taken away by the Israeli army. His expression, his body going limp, the shuddering of his shoulders as he wept with his classmates…that’s what finally did it.

Nearly 20 years have passed since that day, and I have now married into a Gazan family. I am a wife and mother, the sister and aunt of so many kids living the horror of what Gaza has become. As we watch the footage of Israel’s onslaught, I hear myself, whispering as I see one more martyred child, “Run to the angels….run.” After so many years, this living nightmare is fostering a burning desire to believe once again in the afterlife.

Caged, starved, sniped, suffocated. They are slaughtered like sheep, but the leaders of the free world just cannot seem to find a moment to comment. Golfing, vacationing, Obama, Bush, even the EU, they just aren’t important enough. My mutterings have become a like a canter. I call out to these stricken and shattered little bodies, who frankly never experienced life to lose it. The only consolation to offer is the respite found in death.

A crowd gathers, shrouded in gas, smoke and dust. In the front stand eight young fathers, each holding a white swaddled bundle of what used to be a son, a daughter. For a few moments there is no screaming, no chanting or crying, but a moment of quiet and stillness that presses one to wonder just whom has been granted the greater mercy, the toddler who caught the snipers bullet, or the young father, who will have to find some way to live beyond this moment?

A young boy sits on the sidewalk beside his mother. She is propped up against the wall of a collapsed building and her life is bleeding out all over the sidewalk. It is spattered on his face and smeared on his shirt. She uses the last of her strength to lift her arm and clutch his cheek in her palm and then she is gone. He rests his head in his hands and cries. He is all alone.

The camera zooms in on the scene of a freshly detonated building, a civilian home. A little girls brown curly hair covered in dust and eyes wide open is all that can be found of her. Her mother wails and pulls her hair while her father frantically searches among the rubble for the rest of his daughter, where could she be? I whisper again, “you will be made whole again in Paradise. Run to the angels”.

What amazing faith. What strong devotion that a father loses his mother, father, wife and eight children, that this man before anything can assert, “God is Great, Thank God for Everything”. He holds his child, now still and ashen, he smothers him with kisses and then gently pulls back the sheet to expose two bullet holes in his chest. He then tenderly places the child beside his brother and again, pulls the sheet back of his youngest son to reveal a single snipers bullet to the chest. He can barely compose himself and he moans to the sympathizing camera man, “God is Great, Thank God for Everything”.

An old and wrinkled Imam so lovingly cradles a little girl’s lifeless body, as if mishandling her now could inflict more pain, he mumbles a benediction and gently lies her beside her sisters and her brothers in the mass grave. I try to comfort her, saying, “Finally, a place of safety. Rest beside your sister. Your brother. Put your fears to rest and meet your beloved Prophet and the many of your little friends who have fallen before you.”

Hospitals, schools, mosques, civilian homes, UN shelters, all worthy targets. Doctors, medicines, food and water, truckloads of relief from all corners of the world line up for miles at the Egyptian border but they are refused entry. Security is high, food is scarce, water is completely gone.

Faith seems to spring forth in the strangest of moments. For me, it seems to be coming full circle out of desperation and in agony, for the sake of the snow-white souls of the many bloodied and dismembered innocents of Gaza.

UN workers coordinate with Israelis to get civilians to safety inside a UN school. Hundreds are tucked inside the mutually agreed safe haven. Soon after, the school comes under Israeli fire. Bruised and battered refugees stare Satan in the face, clad in his fatigues. Hundreds wounded, scores dead, many lost and unaccounted for.

Governments negotiate a cease-fire. Rumors buzz of conspiracies. The US President-elect is forever silent. Parents search beneath the collapsed walls for what remains of their children. Shattered concrete, random arms and legs, broken glass, tossed together in a bloody hodge-podge. But, in my mind, I see them whole, their little bodies swiftly being swept up into Paradise and I call out to them, “Run!”