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03 January 2009

Israel claims success in the PR war, The Jewish Chronicle

While you're watching Israeli flaks on TV, or reading their crap in the paper, keep this article, penned by a sympathetic journal, obviously, firmly in mind.

Incidentally, one thing you can always depend on: scumbag PR whores will eventually brag (e.g., Wolfowitz bragging to Vanity Fair that Iraqi WMD was invented for bureaucratic reasons), and thus undermine their own lies.

Note bolded part below, among the rest of this truly amazing article. Yes, this invasion of Gaza was just cobbled together in retaliation against Hamas' post-truce rocket fire. Uh huh. Better control the messages just a tad more tightly next time, huh? Scum.

Israel claims success in the PR war

From The Jewish Chronicle

Anshel Pfeffer
December 31, 2008

Fewer military officers; more women; tightly controlled messages; and ministers kept on a short leash. This was Israel’s new media game-plan in Operation Cast Lead.

The Gaza attack is the first major demonstration of Israel’s total overhaul of its ‘hasbara’ operation following the Second Lebanon War. While the military aspects of the operation were meticulously planned, a new forum of press advisers was also established which has been working for the past six months on a PR strategy specifically geared to dealing with the media during warfare in Gaza.

“Whenever Israel is bombing, it is hard to explain our position to the world,” said Avi Pazner, Israel’s former ambassador to Italy and France, and one of the officials drafted in to present Israel’s case to the world media. “But at least this time everything was ready and in place.”

One of the decisions taken following Israel’s failure to explain its case during the Lebanon War was the formation of a National Information Directorate within the Prime Minister’s Office, tasked with coordinating the efforts of the press bureaus in the various government departments.

The Directorate, which has been up and running for eight months, began planning six months ago for a Gaza operation. A forum with representatives of the press offices of the Foreign and Defence ministries, the IDF Spokesman Unit and other agencies held numerous meetings to decide on the message.

The forum held two system-wide exercises in the past two months, one aimed at foreign media and, last week, one dedicated to the Israeli press.

“One of our lessons from the Lebanon War was that there were too many uniforms in the coverage,” says Yarden Vatikay, director of the National Information Directorate, “and that doesn’t come over very positively.”

The international media were directed to a press centre set up by the Foreign Ministry in Sderot itself so that foreign reporters would spend as much time as possible in the main civilian area affected by Hamas rockets. When the IDF was represented on the international TV networks, it was by Major Avital Leibovich to project a feminine and softer image.

Ministers have been ordered by the Cabinet Secretary not to give interviews without authorisation so as not to repeat the PR disaster of a year ago, when Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai threatened the Palestinians with a “holocaust”.

So far, the two cabinet members without direct responsibility who have been most regularly interviewed have been Social Affairs Minister Yitzhak Herzog and Interior Security Minister Avi Dichter.

For the first time, sufficient numbers of spokespeople in a range of languages were appointed and briefed in advance. Mr Pazner gave close to 100 interviews in the first three days of the operation, in English, French, Spanish and Italian.

In his view, the toughest and most hostile questioning was “definitely by the Spanish interviewers, and also the French, especially the Canadian French”.

Israeli diplomats and spokespeople working with the British media have said that so far “most of the hostility has been in the print media, especially in The Guardian and The Independent. The electronic media, including also the BBC, have made more of an effort to seem even-handed.

“The coverage is definitely less hostile to Israel than what we saw during the Second Lebanon War two-and-a-half years ago.”

Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry ran monitoring services to view foreign media coverage and pass the results back to press officers to enable them to address the claims being put forward by reporters and Palestinian interviewees.

The months of preparation and the increased intensity of the media efforts have also shown results in Britain.

Senior diplomats in the London Embassy, headed by Ambassador Ron Prosor gave an unprecedented 25 interviews to national television and radio channels, in the first three days of the operation.

Gaza Siege: A Good Site to Watch

Gaza Emergency Appeal: United Palestinian Appeal

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Emergency Appeal for Gaza




January 1, 2009 - The death toll in Gaza surpassed 400 people today, as Israeli warplanes continued to inflict horrific suffering on a people already facing "a crisis of human dignity," according to the United Nations.

"In little more than a day, as many people had been killed as in the worst year of the first Intifada," said UPA's Samer Badawi. "The difference this time is that the people of Gaza have virtually zero resources to cope."

On the morning of December 27, Israeli warplanes unleashed what the Associated Press called "unprecedented waves of airstrikes" on Gaza. At least 225 people were killed, including women and children, with more reportedly buried beneath the rubble of targeted buildings.

"We are depending on you on the outside to tell the world what is happening," said Dr. Hamdi Khalouf, a volunteer physician who saw some of the most gruesome effects of the day's aerial bombardment of northern Gaza. UPA spoke by phone with Dr. Khalouf just hours after the attacks as he detailed the unfolding human tragedy at Kamal Adwan Hospital. He said there are shortages of virtually all emergency room stocks -- from gauze to syringes to antibiotics.

The attacks come as Gaza's healthcare system struggles to survive Israel's near-total blockade over the last 18 months. "It was already the worst [man-made] humanitarian crisis in the world," said Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. "Now it is a massacre."

UPA is working to support several teams of health professionals we are helping train and equip in northern Gaza, where the damage is among the heaviest. We are also trying to identify other ways to help and will post an update soon.

Please help us respond by making a donation online today.


DonateNow


See the need. In Gaza’s enforced darkness, young minds keep hope alive by candlelight. More than a million people have only intermittent access to safe drinking water. Human waste goes untreated in dilapidated, powerless sewage plants. And nurses and physicians, overworked and unpaid, will stand round-the-clock over a patient to simulate the work of a respirator gone dead.

Dare to care. We know from experience that there is a quiet—but far from complacent—majority that sees this kind of suffering for what it is: unjust, unacceptable, and unsustainable. When pundits and politicians dismiss the human tragedy in Gaza as just so much propaganda, we get a modest check from one of our contributors, sometimes with a note attached: “Freedom for Palestine,” or “Please send to Gaza.” We take your trust in us very seriously, which is why we make sure that your contributions do make it to Gaza while complying fully with U.S. regulations. If you have any questions or concerns about giving to Gaza, we’re here to help. Please email or call us anytime.

Act now. From funding the vital work of healthcare professionals to corresponding with a disabled child, to hosting a fundraising event in your community, there is so much you can do to ease the suffering in Gaza. Buying time is not one of them.

Here's how you can help:

Sustain lives in this hour of need.

With the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, we have delivered more than 18 tons of food aid to Gaza in the last six months. Our partnership with UNRWA remains strong, and we are turning to you to help us continue to support the agency’s emergency food distribution efforts. Help us feed a hungry family today.

Invest in vital healthcare services.

Most of Gaza’s health crisis owes to one harsh reality: lack of access to professional medical services. That’s why we’re working with the internationally respected Palestinian Medical Relief Society to fund two mobile clinics that serve tens of thousands of Gaza’s most vulnerable. Already operational, the clinics need more funds to restock basic pharmaceuticals, purchase fuel, and support physicians who have gone without pay for months. Your contribution can help us make an immediate, positive impact on the medical crisis in Gaza.

Connect with a Palestinian child today.

In Gaza, where virtually all contact with the outside world has been cut off, a letter from a sponsor can mean as much as the modest monthly commitments our supporters make to the Child Sponsorship Program. Join hundreds of UPA Child Sponsors, and connect with a Palestinian child in need today. Your support helps provide clothing, food, school supplies—and, most of all, hope—to a new generation of Palestinians. You can also make a one-time donation to help sustain this program.

Please help us provide emergency relief to the people of Gaza.


DonateNow


You can also send a check or money order payable to "UPA" to the following address:

United Palestinian Appeal, Inc.
1330 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Suite 104
Washington, DC 20036




In this Section
UPA Op-Ed on the Gaza Crisis (December 30, 2008)
This Holiday Season, Make a
Difference in a Child's Life
(December 12, 2008)
Gaza Crisis Hits the Airwaves (May 16, 2008)
Solidarity, Individual Giving Soar (May 15, 2008)
UPA, DC Food Bank Join Forces (February 4, 2008)
Emergency Appeal for Gaza (January 1, 2009)
Haidar Abdel Shafi, 1919-2007 (September 25, 2007)
Health Appeal: Mobile Clinics (September 10, 2007)
Emergency Appeal: Food Drive (December 8, 2006)



  • Home > Program News > Campaign Appeals > Emergency Appeal for Gaza

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    02 January 2009

    If Gaza falls . . . By Sara Roy, LRB

    Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then. Israel’s siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt. That is why the Israelis tolerate the hundreds of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt around which an informal but increasingly regulated commercial sector has begun to form. The overwhelming majority of Gazans are impoverished and officially 49.1 per cent are unemployed. In fact the prospect of steady employment is rapidly disappearing for the majority of the population.

    On 5 November the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and out of Gaza. Food, medicine, fuel, parts for water and sanitation systems, fertiliser, plastic sheeting, phones, paper, glue, shoes and even teacups are no longer getting through in sufficient quantities or at all. According to Oxfam only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza in November. This means that an average of 4.6 trucks per day entered the strip compared to an average of 123 in October this year and 564 in December 2005. The two main food providers in Gaza are the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP). UNRWA alone feeds approximately 750,000 people in Gaza, and requires 15 trucks of food daily to do so. Between 5 November and 30 November, only 23 trucks arrived, around 6 per cent of the total needed; during the week of 30 November it received 12 trucks, or 11 per cent of what was required. There were three days in November when UNRWA ran out of food, with the result that on each of these days 20,000 people were unable to receive their scheduled supply. According to John Ging, the director of UNRWA in Gaza, most of the people who get food aid are entirely dependent on it. On 18 December UNRWA suspended all food distribution for both emergency and regular programmes because of the blockade.

    The WFP has had similar problems, sending only 35 trucks out of the 190 it had scheduled to cover Gazans’ needs until the start of February (six more were allowed in between 30 November and 6 December). Not only that: the WFP has to pay to store food that isn’t being sent to Gaza. This cost $215,000 in November alone. If the siege continues, the WFP will have to pay an extra $150,000 for storage in December, money that will be used not to support Palestinians but to benefit Israeli business.

    The majority of commercial bakeries in Gaza – 30 out of 47 – have had to close because they have run out of cooking gas. People are using any fuel they can find to cook with. As the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has made clear, cooking-gas canisters are necessary for generating the warmth to incubate broiler chicks. Shortages of gas and animal feed have forced commercial producers to smother hundreds of thousands of chicks. By April, according to the FAO, there will be no poultry there at all: 70 per cent of Gazans rely on chicken as a major source of protein.

    Banks, suffering from Israeli restrictions on the transfer of banknotes into the territory were forced to close on 4 December. A sign on the door of one read: ‘Due to the decision of the Palestinian Finance Authority, the bank will be closed today Thursday, 4.12.2008, because of the unavailability of cash money, and the bank will be reopened once the cash money is available.’

    The World Bank has warned that Gaza’s banking system could collapse if these restrictions continue. All cash for work programmes has been stopped and on 19 November UNRWA suspended its cash assistance programme to the most needy. It also ceased production of textbooks because there is no paper, ink or glue in Gaza. This will affect 200,000 students returning to school in the new year. On 11 December, the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, sent $25 million following an appeal from the Palestinian prime minister, Salaam Fayad, the first infusion of its kind since October. It won’t even cover a month’s salary for Gaza’s 77,000 civil servants.

    On 13 November production at Gaza’s only power station was suspended and the turbines shut down because it had run out of industrial diesel. This in turn caused the two turbine batteries to run down, and they failed to start up again when fuel was received some ten days later. About a hundred spare parts ordered for the turbines have been sitting in the port of Ashdod in Israel for the last eight months, waiting for the Israeli authorities to let them through customs. Now Israel has started to auction these parts because they have been in customs for more than 45 days. The proceeds are being held in Israeli accounts.

    During the week of 30 November, 394,000 litres of industrial diesel were allowed in for the power plant: approximately 18 per cent of the weekly minimum that Israel is legally obliged to allow in. It was enough for one turbine to run for two days before the plant was shut down again. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company said that most of the Gaza Strip will be without electricity for between four and 12 hours a day. At any given time during these outages, over 65,000 people have no electricity.

    No other diesel fuel (for standby generators and transport) was delivered during that week, no petrol (which has been kept out since early November) or cooking gas. Gaza’s hospitals are apparently relying on diesel and gas smuggled from Egypt via the tunnels; these supplies are said to be administered and taxed by Hamas. Even so, two of Gaza’s hospitals have been out of cooking gas since the week of 23 November.

    Adding to the problems caused by the siege are those created by the political divisions between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas Authority in Gaza. For example, Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), which is not controlled by Hamas, is supposed to receive funds from the World Bank via the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) in Ramallah to pay for fuel to run the pumps for Gaza’s sewage system. Since June, the PWA has refused to hand over those funds, perhaps because it feels that a functioning sewage system would benefit Hamas. I don’t know whether the World Bank has attempted to intervene, but meanwhile UNRWA is providing the fuel, although they have no budget for it. The CMWU has also asked Israel’s permission to import 200 tons of chlorine, but by the end of November it had received only 18 tons – enough for one week of chlorinated water. By mid-December Gaza City and the north of Gaza had access to water only six hours every three days.

    According to the World Health Organisation, the political divisions between Gaza and the West Bank are also having a serious impact on drug stocks in Gaza. The West Bank Ministry of Health (MOH) is responsible for procuring and delivering most of the pharmaceuticals and medical disposables used in Gaza. But stocks are at dangerously low levels. Throughout November the MOH West Bank was turning shipments away because it had no warehouse space, yet it wasn’t sending supplies on to Gaza in adequate quantities. During the week of 30 November, one truck carrying drugs and medical supplies from the MOH in Ramallah entered Gaza, the first delivery since early September.

    The breakdown of an entire society is happening in front of us, but there is little international response beyond UN warnings which are ignored. The European Union announced recently that it wanted to strengthen its relationship with Israel while the Israeli leadership openly calls for a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip and continues its economic stranglehold over the territory with, it appears, the not-so-tacit support of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah – which has been co-operating with Israel on a number of measures. On 19 December Hamas officially ended its truce with Israel, which Israel said it wanted to renew, because of Israel’s failure to ease the blockade.

    How can keeping food and medicine from the people of Gaza protect the people of Israel? How can the impoverishment and suffering of Gaza’s children – more than 50 per cent of the population – benefit anyone? International law as well as human decency demands their protection. If Gaza falls, the West Bank will be next.

    Sara Roy teaches at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and is the author of Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.

    From the ashes of Gaza, Tariq Ali

    In the face of Israel's latest onslaught, the only option for Palestinian nationalism is to embrace a one-state solution

    The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed, to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, as in the case of Lebanon in 2006, sit back and watch.

    Washington, as is its wont, blames the pro-Hamas Palestinians, with Obama and Bush singing from the same AIPAC hymn sheet. The EU politicians, having observed the build-up, the siege, the collective punishment inflicted on Gaza, the targeting of civilians etc (for all the gory detail, see Harvard scholar Sara Roy's chilling essay in the London Review of Books) were convinced that it was the rocket attacks that had "provoked" Israel but called on both sides to end the violence, with nil effect. The moth-eaten Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt and Nato's favourite Islamists in Ankara failed to register even a symbolic protest by recalling their ambassadors from Israel. China and Russia did not convene a meeting of the UN security council to discuss the crisis.

    As result of official apathy, one outcome of this latest attack will be to inflame Muslim communities throughout the world and swell the ranks of those very organisations that the west claims it is combating in the "war against terror".

    The bloodshed in Gaza raises broader strategic questions for both sides, issues related to recent history. One fact that needs to be recognised is that there is no Palestinian Authority. There never was one. The Oslo Accords were an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinians, creating a set of disconnected and shrivelled Palestinian ghettoes under the permanent watch of a brutal enforcer. The PLO, once the repository of Palestinian hope, became little more than a supplicant for EU money.

    Western enthusiasm for democracy stops when those opposed to its policies are elected to office. The west and Israel tried everything to secure a Fatah victory: Palestinian voters rebuffed the concerted threats and bribes of the "international community" in a campaign that saw Hamas members and other oppositionists routinely detained or assaulted by the IDF, their posters confiscated or destroyed, US and EU funds channelled into the Fatah campaign, and US congressmen announcing that Hamas should not be allowed to run.

    Even the timing of the election was set by the determination to rig the outcome. Scheduled for the summer of 2005, it was delayed till January 2006 to give Abbas time to distribute assets in Gaza – in the words of an Egyptian intelligence officer, "the public will then support the Authority against Hamas."

    Popular desire for a clean broom after ten years of corruption, bullying and bluster under Fatah proved stronger than all of this. Hamas's electoral triumph was treated as an ominous sign of rising fundamentalism, and a fearsome blow to the prospects of peace with Israel, by rulers and journalists across the Atlantic world. Immediate financial and diplomatic pressures were applied to force Hamas to adopt the same policies as those of the party it had defeated at the polls. Uncompromised by the Palestinian Authority's combination of greed and dependency, the self-enrichment of its servile spokesmen and policemen, and their acquiescence in a "peace process" that has brought only further expropriation and misery to the population under them, Hamas offered the alternative of a simple example. Without any of the resources of its rival, it set up clinics, schools, hospitals, vocational training and welfare programmes for the poor. Its leaders and cadres lived frugally, within reach of ordinary people.

    It is this response to everyday needs that has won Hamas the broad base of its support, not daily recitation of verses from the Koran. How far its conduct in the second Intifada has given it an additional degree of credibility is less clear. Its armed attacks on Israel, like those of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or Islamic Jihad, have been retaliations against an occupation far more deadly than any actions it has ever undertaken. Measured on the scale of IDF killings, Palestinian strikes have been few and far between. The asymmetry was starkly exposed during Hamas's unilateral ceasefire, begun in June 2003, and maintained throughout the summer, despite the Israeli campaign of raids and mass arrests that followed, in which some 300 Hamas cadres were seized from the West Bank.

    On August 19 2003, a self-proclaimed "Hamas" cell from Hebron, disowned and denounced by the official leadership, blew up a bus in west Jerusalem, upon which Israel promptly assassinated the Hamas ceasefire's negotiator, Ismail Abu Shanab. Hamas, in turn, responded. In return, the Palestinian Authority and Arab states cut funding to its charities and, in September 2003, the EU declared the whole Hamas movement to be a terrorist organization – a longstanding demand of Tel Aviv.

    What has actually distinguished Hamas in a hopelessly unequal combat is not dispatch of suicide bombers, to which a range of competing groups resorted, but its superior discipline – demonstrated by its ability to enforce a self-declared ceasefire against Israel over the past year. All civilian deaths are to be condemned, but since Israel is their principal practitioner, Euro-American cant serves only to expose those who utter it. Overwhelmingly, the boot of murder is on the other foot, ruthlessly stamped into Palestine by a modern army equipped with jets, tanks and missiles in the longest-armed oppression of modern history.

    "Nobody can reject or condemn the revolt of a people that has been suffering under military occupation for 45 years against occupation force," said General Shlomo Gazit, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, in 1993. The real grievance of the EU and US against Hamas is that it refused to accept the capitulation of the Oslo Accords, and has rejected every subsequent effort, from Taba to Geneva, to pass off their calamities on the Palestinians. The west's priority ever since was to break this resistance. Cutting off funding to the Palestinian Authority is an obvious weapon with which to bludgeon Hamas into submission. Boosting the presidential powers of Abbas – as publicly picked for his post by Washington, as was Karzai in Kabul – at the expense of the legislative council is another.

    No serious efforts were made to negotiate with the elected Palestinian leadership. I doubt if Hamas could have been rapidly suborned to western and Israeli interests, but it would not have been unprecedented. Hamas' programmatic heritage remains mortgaged to the most fatal weakness of Palestinian nationalism: the belief that the political choices before it are either rejection of the existence of Israel altogether or acceptance of the dismembered remnants of a fifth of the country. From the fantasy maximalism of the first to the pathetic minimalism of the second, the path is all too short, as the history of Fatah has shown.

    The test for Hamas is not whether it can be house-trained to the satisfaction of western opinion, but whether it can break with this crippling tradition. Soon after the Hamas election victory in Gaza, I was asked in public by a Palestinian what I would do in their place. "Dissolve the Palestinian Authority" was my response and end the make-believe. To do so would situate the Palestinian national cause on its proper basis, with the demand that the country and its resources be divided equitably, in proportion to two populations that are equal in size – not 80% to one and 20% to the other, a dispossession of such iniquity that no self-respecting people will ever submit to it in the long run. The only acceptable alternative is a single state for Jews and Palestinians alike, in which the exactions of Zionism are repaired. There is no other way.

    And Israeli citizens might ponder the following words from Shakespeare (in The Merchant of Venice), which I have slightly altered:

    "I am a Palestinian. Hath not a Palestinian eyes? Hath not a Palestinian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Jew is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that … the villainy you teach me, I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction."

    Howard Zinn on “War and Social Justice”

    Speech at SUNY-Binghamton right after the election. Zinn is usually on the ball, but his take on Obama is naive. It's irrelevant what Obama's "instincts" are -- we don't know. What matters are his actions. Period. Thus far, worse than even I expected. Happy to see something different come January 21. Don't expect it.

    Emergency Conference Call & More Action to Take on Gaza


    Through six days of attacks on the occupied Gaza Strip, Israel has killed at least 430 Palestinians and injured at least 2,250 with U.S. weapons in violation of U.S. law. Israel now stands ready to invade the Gaza Strip with troops at any moment.

    Israel's attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip, which has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life.

    Make no mistake about it-Israel's war and siege on the Gaza Strip would not be possible without the jets, helicopters, ships, missiles, and fuel provided by the United States.

    From 2001-2006, the United States transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts to fly its fleet of F16's and more than $100 million worth of helicopter spare parts for its fleet of Apaches. In July 2008, the United States gave Israel 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel and signed a contract to transfer an addition $1.9 billion worth of littoral combat ships to the Israeli navy. Last year, the United States signed a $1.3 billion contract with Raytheon to transfer to Israel thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and "bunker buster" missiles.

    Additional troubling details continue to emerge about the misuse of U.S. weapons by Israel:

    * Israel is dropping GBU-39 small diameter bombs on the Gaza Strip. According to weapons experts, these bombs contain uranium oxide and have left behind radioactive contamination in places such as Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In September 2008, Boeing received a $77 million contract to transfer 1,000 of these bombs to Israel.

    * On December 30, the Israeli navy intentionally rammed a boat in international waters which was carrying medical supplies to the Gaza Strip, nearly causing it to sink. The passengers of The Dignity included doctors and recent Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. In July 2008, the United States signed a contract to transfer $1.9 billion of naval combat ships to Israel.

    Join our emergency conference call, Monday, January 5, 9PM Eastern. To RSVP and get call-in info, send your name and group affiliation (if any) to us by clicking here.

    TAKE ACTION NOW

    1. Take to the streets and make your opposition public. Thousands of people have already taken to the streets in New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dearborn, MI and dozens of other cities to protest Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip. We’re maintaining a comprehensive listing of all protests—more than 100 in at least 30 states and 65 cities so far—on our website and updating it continuously. Join a protest near you or organize one and send us the details.

    If you know of a protest not listed on our site, send us all the logistical details and contact information by clicking here.

    We must keep up the protests until there is a cease-fire and a lifting of the siege of Gaza. We’re calling on everyone to continue to organize protests in your community.


    2. Educate and organize people in your community. Tonight millions of people will gather in public places around the country to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

    We are encouraging everyone to attend public events tonight in their communities to pass out information on Israel’s atrocities in Gaza and to collect signatures to end U.S. military aid to Israel. Download a flyer by clicking here and a petition by clicking here and make copies.

    Also, sign up as a volunteer organizer to challenge military aid to Israel by clicking here and we’ll send you an organizing packet with fact sheets, petitions, and the postcards below.



    3. Contact your elected representatives and set up emergency meetings with your Members of Congress before January 6. Demand from the President, your Representative, and Senators an unconditional, immediate cease-fire; full humanitarian access to Gaza and a lifting of Israel’s siege; and accountability for Israel’s misuse of U.S. weapons to kill Palestinian civilians. Send your letter today by clicking here.

    Congress is scheduled to go back into session on Jan. 6. Until then, many Members of Congress are in their home districts. Assemble a delegation of concerned constituents and request an immediate meeting with them. For contact information, click here. For tips on how to arrange a meeting, click here.

    In these meetings, ask your Members of Congress to send a public letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and make a public statement with the political demands above. To download a sample letter to give to your Members of Congress, click here.

    Also give them a copy of our open-letter to President Elect-Obama signed by more than 250 organizations entitled “We Need a Change in Israel/Palestine Policy” to show them that there is growing and widespread opposition to our country’s policy of support for Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians. Download a PDF copy of the letter by clicking here.

    If you can take the lead in arranging an emergency meeting with your Members of Congress, please fill out this brief form by clicking here.


    4. Get the message out to the media. Call in to talk radio programs and write letters to the editors. To download talking points for the media, click here. To find contact information for your local media, click here.


    5. Step Up the Pressure on the New Administration and Congress. Sign our open letter to President Elect-Obama by clicking here. This open letter will be published as a full-page ad on Inauguration Day. Add your individual and organizational endorsements to it today by clicking here.

    Then spread the word by copying and pasting the flash graphic below into your email signature, blog, social networking site, or webpage and join our Facebook group and forward it to all your friends.



    Join us in Washington, DC on January 20 for Inauguration Day to say “Yes We Can…End U.S. Military Aid to Israel! Sign up to help us pass out information and collect signatures by clicking here.

    And join us again in Washington, DC for a Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Day on February 1-2 with Interfaith Peace-Builders. Gain the skills you need to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality, and express your concerns directly to your Members of Congress. Space is filling up fast. For more information and to register, click here.


    6. Donate more money to us and give less of your taxes to Israel’s war machine. Make a tax-deductible contribution today to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation by clicking here. Owe less in taxes for 2008 by making your contribution before midnight (we’ll gladly accept your donation in the New Year too) to make sure that less of your money goes to fund Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians. Make the most generous contribution you can right now by clicking here.

    01 January 2009

    Mark Steel: So what have the Palestinians got to complain about?

    To portray this as a conflict between equals requires some imagination

    Wednesday, 31 December 2008

    When you read the statements from Israeli and US politicians, and try to match them with the pictures of devastation, there seems to be only one explanation. They must have one of those conditions, called something like "Visual Carnage Responsibility Back To Front Upside Down Massacre Disorder".

    For example, Condoleezza Rice, having observed that more than 300 Gazans were dead, said: "We are deeply concerned about the escalating violence. We strongly condemn the attacks on Israel and hold Hamas responsible."

    Someone should ask her to comment on teenage knife-crime, to see if she'd say: "I strongly condemn the people who've been stabbed, and until they abandon their practice of wandering around clutching their sides and bleeding, there is no hope for peace."

    The Israeli government suffers terribly from this confusion. They probably have adverts on Israeli television in which a man falls off a ladder and screams, "Eeeeugh", then a voice says, "Have you caused an accident at work in the last 12 months?" and the bloke who pushed him gets £3,000.

    The gap between the might of Israel's F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters, and the Palestinians' catapulty thing is so ridiculous that to try and portray the situation as between two equal sides requires the imagination of a children's story writer.

    The reporter on News at Ten said the rockets "may be ineffective, but they ARE symbolic." So they might not have weapons but they have got symbolism, the canny brutes.

    It's no wonder the Israeli Air Force had to demolish a few housing estates, otherwise Hamas might have tried to mock Israel through a performance of expressive dance.

    The rockets may be unable to to kill on the scale of the Israeli Air Force, said one spokesman, but they are "intended to kill".

    Maybe he went on: "And we have evidence that Hamas supporters have dreams, and that in these dreams bad things happen to Israeli citizens, they burst, or turn into cactus, or run through Woolworths naked, so it's not important whether it can happen, what matters is that they WANT it to happen, so we blew up their university."

    Or there's the outrage that Hamas has been supported by Iran. Well that's just breaking the rules. Because say what you will about the Israelis, they get no arms supplies or funding or political support from a country that's more powerful than them, they just go their own way and make all their weapons in an arts and crafts workshop in Jerusalem.

    But mostly the Israelis justify themselves with a disappointing lack of imagination, such as the line that they had to destroy an ambulance because Hamas cynically put their weapons inside ambulances.

    They should be more creative, and say Hamas were planning to aim the flashing blue light at Israeli epileptics in an attempt to make them go into a fit, get dizzy and wander off into Syria where they would be captured.

    But they prefer a direct approach, such as the statement from Ofer Schmerling, an Israeli Civil Defence official who said on al-Jazeera, "I shall play music and celebrate what the Israeli Air Force is doing."

    Maybe they could turn it into a huge nationalfestival, with decorations and mince pies and shops playing "I Wish We Could Bomb Gaza Every Day".

    In a similar tone Dov Weisglas, Ariel Sharon's chief of staff, referred to the siege of Gaza that preceded this bombing, a siege in which the Israelis prevented the population from receiving essential supplies of food, medicine, electricity and water, by saying, "We put them on a diet."

    It's the arrogance of the East End gangster, so it wouldn't be out of character if the Israeli Prime Minister's press conference began: "Oh dear or dear. It looks like those Palestinians have had a little, er, accident. All their buildings have been knocked down – they want to be more careful, hee hee."

    And almost certainly one of the reasons this is happening now is because the government wants to appear hard as it wants to win an election. Maybe with typical Israeli frankness they'll show a party political broadcast in which Ehud Olmert says, "This is why I think you should vote for me", then shows film of Gaza and yells: "Wa-hey, that bloke in the corner is on FIRE."

    And Condoleezza Rice and her colleagues, and the specially appointed Middle East Peace Envoy, could then all shake their heads and say: "Disgraceful. The way he's flapping around like that could cause someone to have a nasty accident."

    An Example of Antonioni's Subtle Direction

    From what little I know of criticism on Antonioni (third-hand), the emphasis has been on the inspired use of interior or exterior space to show alienation and isolation. Those static shots are definitely typical, but what seems less appreciated is Antonioni's unobtrusive but deft camera moves which compress an amazing amount of meaning into one image.

    At the end of La Notte, an estranged couple finally come together (perhaps only for a moment) in a long-delayed release of raw emotion. How this is shown is typical of how Antonioni finds poetry in starkly realistic settings, how he uses locations, movement, and framing to tell a story on several levels simultaneously.

    Check the scene out here:



    Note the trees at 0:19. At far left is a sole tree; at the right, two more. At about 0:44, there is a cut to a frame which excludes the sole tree stage left. Jeanne Moreau then tells Mastroianni about the death of their mutual friend, Tommaso.

    Around 1:57, you see Moreau and tree in the frame as she speaks of her insecurity and how Tommaso selflessly bolstered Moreau's wobbly self-regard. As Moreau tells Mastroianni how much more selfish he seems against Tommaso's intense concern and engagement, Antonioni cuts to Mastroianni -- with the other tree in frame. Moreau keeps talking; the use of out-of-frame dialogue is pure Antonioni.

    At 2:42, as Mastroianni talks (out-of-frame) about Tommaso, Moreau walks toward "Tommaso's" tree and, stroking the leaves, tells her husband how desperately distraught she is, communicating directly for the first time in the film. Tommaso's influence?

    Soon Mastroianni comes into frame, and the two are sheltered, almost embraced, by the tree. They leave its shelter, sit, and finally speak honestly to each other. (Interestingly, the tree of knowledge -- or perhaps wisdom -- leads to a seeming reconciliation in this incidental Eden.) Moreau reads a moving love letter that Mastroianni had written to her years go. Mastroianni doesn't recognize it -- this is how estranged from himself, even, he has become. The shock of learning that he once could feel so strongly is beautifully captured by Mastroianni's face. And then the flood comes.

    Note the final shot (from about 9:40). The once-separate trees come together in front of their embrace in the 9:50s -- and we continue on out of their world. Fine.

    Beautiful film-making. You can watch the entire film here:


    Letter to Bush on Gaza Crisis, Ralph Nader

    Dear George W. Bush---

    Cong. Barney Frank said recently that Barack Obama’s declaration that “there is only one president at a time” over-estimated the number. He was referring to the economic crisis. But where are you on the Gaza crisis where the civilian population of Gaza, its civil servants and public facilities are being massacred and destroyed respectively by U.S built F-16s and U.S. built helicopter gunships.

    The deliberate suspension of your power to stop this terrorizing of 1.5 million people, mostly refugees, blockaded for months by air, sea and land in their tiny slice of land, is in cowardly contrast to the position taken by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. That year he single-handedly stopped the British, French and Israeli aircraft attack against Egypt during the Suez Canal dispute.

    Fatalities in Gaza are already over 400 and injuries close to 2000 so far as is known. Total Palestinian civilian casualties are 400 times greater then the casualties incurred by Israelis. But why should anyone be surprised at your blanket support for Israel’s attack given what you have done to a far greater number of civilians in Iraq and now in Afghanistan?

    Confirmed visual reports show that Israeli warplanes and warships have destroyed or severely damaged police stations, homes, hospitals, pharmacies, mosques, fishing boats, and a range of public facilities providing electricity and other necessities.

    Why should this trouble you at all? It violates international law, including the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter. You too have repeatedly violated international law and committed serious constitutional transgressions.

    Then there is the matter of the Israeli government blocking imports of critical medicines, equipment such as dialysis machines, fuel, food, water, spare parts and electricity at varying intensities for almost two years. The depleted UN aid mission there has called this illegal blockade a humanitarian crisis especially devastating to children, the aged and the infirm. Chronic malnutrition among children is rising rapidly. UN rations support eighty percent of this impoverished population.

    How do these incontrovertible facts affect you? Do you have any empathy or what you have called Christian charity?

    What would a vastly shrunken Texas turned in an encircled Gulag do up against the 4th most powerful military in the world? Would these embattled Texans be spending their time chopping wood?

    Gideon Levy, the veteran Israeli columnist for Ha’aretz, called the Israeli attack a “brutal and violent operation” far beyond what was needed for protecting the people in its south. He added: “The diplomatic efforts were just in the beginning, and I believe we could have got to a new truce without this bloodshed…..to send dozens of jets to bomb a total helpless civilian society with hundreds of bombs—just today, they were burying five sisters. I mean, this is unheard of. This cannot go on like this. And this has nothing to do with self-defense or with retaliation even. It went out of proportion, exactly like two-and-a-half years ago in Lebanon.”

    Apparently, thousands of Israelis, including some army reservists, who have demonstrated against this destruction of Gaza agree with Mr. Levy. However, their courageous stands have not reached the mass media in the U.S. whose own reporters cannot even get into Gaza due to Israeli prohibitions on the international press.

    Your spokespeople are making much ado about the breaking of the six month truce. Who is the occupier? Who is the most powerful military force? Who controls and blocks the necessities of life? Who has sent raiding missions across the border most often? Who has sent artillery shells and missiles at close range into populated areas? Who has refused the repeated comprehensive peace offerings of the Arab countries issued in 2002 if Israel would agree to return to the 1967 borders and agree to the creation of a small independent Palestinian state possessing just twenty two percent of the original Palestine?

    The “wildly inaccurate rockets”, as reporters describe them, coming from Hamas and other groups cannot compare with the modern precision armaments and human damage generated from the Israeli side.

    There are no rockets coming from the West Bank into Israel. Yet the Israeli government is still sending raiders into that essentially occupied territory, still further entrenching its colonial outposts, still taking water and land and increasing the checkpoints This is going on despite a most amenable West Bank leader, Mahmoud Abbas, whom you have met with at the White House and praised repeatedly. Is it all vague words and no real initiatives with you and your emissary Condoleezza Rice?

    Peace was possible, but you provided no leadership, preferring instead to comply with all wishes and demands by the Israeli government—even resupplying it with the still active cluster bombs in south Lebanon during the invasion of that country in 2006.

    The arguments about who started the latest hostilities go on and on with Israel always blaming the Palestinians to justify all kinds of violence and harsh treatment against innocent civilians.

    From the Palestinian standpoint, you would do well to remember the origins of this conflict which was the dispossession of their lands. To afford you some empathy, recall the oft-quoted comment by the founder of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, who told the Zionist leader, Nahum Goldmann:

    There has been anti-Semitism -- the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz -- but was that their [the Palestinians] fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?
    Alfred North Whitehead once said: “Duty arises out of the power to alter the course of events.” By that standard, you have shirked mightily your duty over the past eight years to bring peace to both Palestinians and Israelis and more security to a good part of the world.

    The least you can do in your remaining days at the White House is adopt a modest profile in courage, and vigorously demand and secure a ceasefire and a solidly based truce. Then your successor, President-elect Obama can inherit something more than the usual self-censoring Washington puppet show that eschews a proper focus on the national interests of the United States.

    30 December 2008

    Is Norman Finkelstein a Self-Hating Jew?

    An instant classic. Witty, astute, and thorough answer:

    Edward S. Herman on the US and Latin America

    Coauthored many excellent books with Chomsky; a fine analyst.

    Why I Am a Socialist, Chris Hedges

    The corporate forces that are looting the Treasury and have plunged us into a depression will not be contained by the two main political parties. The Democratic and Republican parties have become little more than squalid clubs of privilege and wealth, whores to money and corporate interests, hostage to a massive arms industry, and so adept at deception and self-delusion they no longer know truth from lies. We will either find our way out of this mess by embracing an uncompromising democratic socialism—one that will insist on massive government relief and work programs, the nationalization of electricity and gas companies, a universal, not-for-profit government health care program, the outlawing of hedge funds, a radical reduction of our bloated military budget and an end to imperial wars—or we will continue to be fleeced and impoverished by our bankrupt elite and shackled and chained by our surveillance state.

    The free market and globalization, promised as the route to worldwide prosperity, have been exposed as a con game. But this does not mean our corporate masters will disappear. Totalitarianism, as George Orwell pointed out, is not so much an age of faith as an age of schizophrenia. “A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,” Orwell wrote, “that is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.” Force and fraud are all they have left. They will use both.

    There is a political shift in Europe toward an open confrontation with the corporate state. Germany has seen a surge of support for Die Linke (The Left), a political grouping formed 18 months ago. It is co-led by the veteran socialist “Red” Oskar Lafontaine, who has built his career on attacking big business. Two-thirds of Germans in public opinion polls say they agree with all or some of Die Linke’s platform. The Socialist Party of the Netherlands is on the verge of overtaking the Labor Party as the main opposition party on the left. Greece, beset with street protests and violence by disaffected youths, has seen the rapid rise of the Coalition of the Radical Left. In Spain and Norway socialists are in power. Resurgence is not universal, especially in France and Britain, but the shifts toward socialism are significant.

    Corporations have intruded into every facet of life. We eat corporate food. We buy corporate clothes. We drive corporate cars. We buy our vehicular fuel and our heating oil from corporations. We borrow from corporate banks. We invest our retirement savings with corporations. We are entertained, informed and branded by corporations. We work for corporations. The creation of a mercenary army, the privatization of public utilities and our disgusting for-profit health care system are all legacies of the corporate state. These corporations have no loyalty to America or the American worker. They are not tied to nation states. They are vampires.

    “By now the [commercial] revolution has deprived the mass of consumers of any independent access to the staples of life: clothing, shelter, food, even water,” Wendell Berry wrote in “The Unsettling of America.” “Air remains the only necessity that the average user can still get for himself, and the revolution had imposed a heavy tax on that by way of pollution. Commercial conquest is far more thorough and final than military defeat.”

    The corporation is designed to make money without regard to human life, the social good or impact on the environment. Corporate laws impose a legal duty on corporate executives to make as much money as possible for shareholders, although many have moved on to fleece shareholders as well. In the 2003 documentary film “The Corporation” the management guru Peter Drucker says: “If you find an executive who wants to take on social responsibilities, fire him. Fast.”

    A corporation that attempts to engage in social responsibility, that tries to pay workers a decent wage with benefits, that invests its profits to protect the environment and limit pollution, that gives consumers fair deals, can be sued by shareholders. Robert Monks, the investment manager, says in the film: “The corporation is an externalizing machine, in the same way that a shark is a killing machine. There isn’t any question of malevolence or of will. The enterprise has within it, and the shark has within it, those characteristics that enable it to do that for which it was designed.” Ray Anderson, the CEO of Interface Corp., the world’s largest commercial carpet manufacturer, calls the corporation a “present day instrument of destruction” because of its compulsion to “externalize any cost that an unwary or uncaring public will allow it to externalize.”

    “The notion that we can take and take and take and take, waste and waste, without consequences, is driving the biosphere to destruction,” Anderson says.

    In short, the film, based on Joel Bakan’s book “The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power,” asserts that the corporation exhibits many of the traits found in people clinically defined as psychopaths.

    Psychologist Dr. Robert Hare lists in the film psychopathic traits and ties them to the behavior of corporations:

    • callous unconcern for the feelings for others;
    • incapacity to maintain enduring relationships;
    • reckless disregard for the safety of others;
    • deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit;
    • incapacity to experience guilt;
    • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior.

    And yet, under the American legal system, corporations have the same legal rights as individuals. They give hundreds of millions of dollars to political candidates, fund the army of some 35,000 lobbyists in Washington and thousands more in state capitals to write corporate-friendly legislation, drain taxpayer funds and abolish government oversight. They saturate the airwaves, the Internet, newsprint and magazines with advertisements promoting their brands as the friendly face of the corporation. They have high-priced legal teams, millions of employees, skilled public relations firms and thousands of elected officials to ward off public intrusions into their affairs or halt messy lawsuits. They hold a near monopoly on all electronic and printed sources of information. A few media giants—AOL-Time Warner, General Electric, Viacom, Disney and Rupert Murdoch’s NewsGroup—control nearly everything we read, see and hear.

    “Private capital tends to become concentrated in [a] few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones,” Albert Einstein wrote in 1949 in the Monthly Review in explaining why he was a socialist. “The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”

    Labor and left-wing activists, especially university students and well-heeled liberals, have failed to unite. This division, which is often based on social rather than economic differences, has long stymied concerted action against ruling elites. It has fractured the American left and rendered it impotent.

    “Large sections of the middle class are being gradually proletarianized; but the important point is that they do not, at any rate not in the first generation, adopt a proletarian outlook,” Orwell wrote in 1937 during the last economic depression. “Here I am, for instance, with a bourgeois upbringing and a working-class income. Which class do I belong to? Economically I belong to the working class, but it is almost impossible for me to think of myself as anything but a member of the bourgeoisie. And supposing I had to take sides, whom should I side with, the upper class which is trying to squeeze me out of existence, or the working class whose manners are not my manners? It is probable that I, personally, in any important issue, would side with the working class. But what about the tens or hundreds of thousands of others who are in approximately the same position? And what about that far larger class, running into millions this time—the office-workers and black-coated employees of all kinds—whose traditions are less definite middle class but who would certainly not thank you if you called them proletarians? All of these people have the same interests and the same enemies as the working class. All are being robbed and bullied by the same system. Yet how many of them realize it? When the pinch came nearly all of them would side with their oppressors and against those who ought to be their allies. It is quite easy to imagine a working class crushed down to the worst depths of poverty and still remaining bitterly anti-working-class in sentiment; this being, of course, a ready-made Fascist party.”

    Coalitions of environmental, anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist, sustainable-agriculture and anti-globalization forces have coalesced in Europe to form and support socialist parties. This has yet to happen in the United States. The left never rallied in significant numbers behind Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader. In picking the lesser of two evils, it threw its lot in with a Democratic Party that backs our imperial wars, empowers the national security state and does the bidding of corporations.

    If Barack Obama does not end the flagrant theft of taxpayer funds by corporate slugs and the disgraceful abandonment of our working class, especially as foreclosures and unemployment mount, many in the country will turn in desperation to the far right embodied by groups such as Christian radicals. The failure by the left to offer a democratic socialist alternative will mean there will be, in the eyes of many embittered and struggling working- and middle-class Americans, no alternative but a perverted Christian fascism. The inability to articulate a viable socialism has been our gravest mistake. It will ensure, if this does not soon change, a ruthless totalitarian capitalism.

    29 December 2008

    Updated Action Alert on Gaza: We Need "Sustained, Determined Political Action"

    Updated Action Alert on Gaza:
    We Need "Sustained, Determined Political Action"


    December 29, 2008

    As of this writing, a third consecutive day of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have killed an estimated 315 Palestinians and injured more than 1,400. According to the UN, at least 51 of the victims were civilians and 8 were children. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has vowed ominously "a war to the bitter end."

    Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip are being carried out with F16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, and naval gunboats all given to Israel by the United States with our tax dollars.

    From 2001-2006, the United States transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts to fly its fleet of F16's and more than $100 million worth of helicopter spare parts for its fleet of Apaches. In July 2008, the United States gave Israel 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel and signed a contract to transfer an addition $1.9 billion worth of littoral combat ships to the Israeli navy. Last year, the United States signed a $1.3 billion contract with Raytheon to transfer to Israel thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and "bunker buster" missiles.

    Make no mistake about it-Israel's war on the Gaza Strip would not be possible without the jets, helicopters, ships, missiles, and fuel provided by the United States.

    Ali Abunimah, of The Electronic Intifada, wrote, "Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action." In light of our country's enabling role in Israel's war on the Gaza Strip, it is the least we can do. Here's how:

    1. Attend a protest or vigil. We've compiled a list of more than 60 emergency protests taking place in 25 states and the District of Columbia, many of which are taking place today or tomorrow. Find one near you and bring as many people to it as you can. If you know of a protest that isn't listed on our website, please send us all the logistical details and contact information by clicking here. More events are being posted all the time-check back frequently for the latest updates.

    2. Contact the White House, the State Department, your Representative and Senators, and the Obama Transition Team to protest Israel's war on Gaza and demand an immediate cease-fire.

    White House: 202-456-1111 or comments@whitehouse.gov
    State Department: 202-647-6575 or send an email by clicking here
    Congress: 202-224-3121 or find contact info by clicking here
    Obama Transition Team: send an email by clicking here

    3. Make your voice heard in the media.
    Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor. To find contact info for your local media, click here.

    4. Tell President-Elect Barack Obama that "We Need a Change in Israel/Palestine Policy." Join more than 200 organizations in 38 states plus Washington, DC and abroad and thousands of individuals by endorsing this letter which will be published as a full-page ad on Inauguration Day. Let all your friends know by copying and pasting the graphic below into your email signature, blog, or website and by joining our Facebook group.



    5. Sign up to organize people in your community to end U.S. military aid to Israel. We'll send you an organizing packet complete with our brand new postcards featuring the icon below. If we're going to change U.S. policy, we've got to go beyond agreeing among ourselves and educate and organize others as well. Sign up today and we'll send you a package tomorrow by clicking here.



    6. Join us in Washington, DC for Inauguration Day on January 20. Upwards of 4 million people are expected in Washington, DC for President-Elect Obama's inauguration. This is a perfect time for us to reach out to and educate our fellow citizens about U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel. If you plan to be in Washington for the inauguration and would like to help us distribute information and get signatures on postcards calling for a cut off of arms transfers to Israel, please click here.

    7. Join us again in Washington, DC for a Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Day on February 1-2. Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign are organizing this exciting two-day event, featuring interactive, skills-building workshops and the chance to meet with your Representative and Senators to discuss U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine. Spaces are filling up fast. For more details, and to register, please click here.

    8. Forward this email to everyone you know and ask them to take action.

    Thank you for doing all you can during this tragic time.

    US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

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    Israeli Attacks Kill Over 310 in Gaza in One of Israel's Bloodiest Attacks on Palestinians Since 1948

    28 December 2008

    Gaza War Info, Information Clearing House

    Slaughter In Gaza

    More Than 200 Killed As Israel Drops 100 Tons Of Bombs In Gaza City

    The BBC Video Report

    Israeli F-16 bombers have pounded targets across the Gaza Strip, killing more than 200 people, according to local medical workers. Click to view


    Israeli Attack on Gaza, Kills 205

    Israeli warplanes have carried out a massive airstrike on the Gaza Strip
    By Press TV [Iranian TV -- Doug]

    Video footage showed the bodies of dead people including men, women and children on Gaza streets. Continue


    Eyewitness: Chaos in Gaza

    By BBC

    We can see from our office here in Gaza, in the middle of Gaza City, ambulances are still evacuating the injured from buildings and school kids are trying to find secure places. Continue


    Hamas Press Conference After Israeli Attacks On Gaza

    Video - 27 Dec 08

    Taher al-Noono, a Hamas spokesman, speaks to reporters in Gaza following Israeli attacks which killed more than 195 people and wounded more than 200 others. Continue


    Bush Winks at Israel’s Slaughter in Gaza,

    Obama and Clinton Are Silent

    By Matthew Rothschild

    President-elect Barack Obama and Secretary of State-to-be Hillary Clinton were shamefully silent in the first hours after the attack. Bush’s reaction, and the non-reaction by Obama and Clinton, underscores the point that Hanan Ashrawi made on Saturday. “Israel has gotten used to not being held accountable and to being a country that is above the law,” said the Palestinian legislator and human rights activist. She called the bombings a “massacre.” Continue


    Gaza Massacres Must Spur Us To Action

    By Ali Abunimah

    "I will play music and celebrate what the Israeli air force is doing." Those were the words, spoken on Al Jazeera today by Ofer Shmerling, an Israeli civil defense official in the Sderot area adjacent to Gaza, as images of Israel's latest massacres were broadcast around the world. Continue


    Gaza Massacre
    Israel’s Cynicism Supported by the West’s Complicity


    By Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)

    Today the Israeli army launched its long awaited strikes against the Gazan people, an unarmed, captive civilian population. The West, including the British government, has supported the last two years’ of blockade of the Palestinians in Gaza for the crime of exercising their democratic rights in a manner not to Israel’s liking. Continue


    One Israeli killed, 4 hurt as Palestinian rockets hit Negev home: Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired at least 54 Qassam and Grad rockets into southern Israel on Saturday after Israeli air strikes killed more than 195 Palestinians in Gaza, according to Palestinian sources.

    Israel to mount emergency international PR effort in wake of savage attacks on Gaza: Livni instructed senior ministry officials to open an aggressive and diplomatic international public relations campaign, in order to gain greater international support for Israel Defense Forces operations in the Gaza Strip.

    In Pictures: Israeli Attack On Gaza