Saturday, August 16, 2014

Can you attend a Gaza support vigil on Sun., Aug. 17?/Gaza and the propaganda machines

Can you join a silent vigil for Gaza on Sun., Aug. 17 at Park Heights Ave. and Slade Ave. in Baltimore? Show your opposition to Israel’s violence in Gaza, and call to end the occupation. Stand at the intersection on the grass from 11 AM to 1 PM. RSVP to Bring signs. Here are suggestions: stop occupation, justice for Palestine, stop massacre or stop US arms & aid to Israel. You can park in the lot at Baltimore Hebrew Synagogue.

Gaza and the propaganda machines

• The Guardian, Friday 15 August 2014 14.14 EDT

‘A telling contribution to the overall picture’: Adir Ali sits in her devastated flat in Beit Hanun, Gaza. Photograph: Sean Smith

As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide, we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonisation of historic Palestine. We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation. Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanisation of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached fever-pitch. Politicians and pundits in the Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians and rightwing Israelis are adopting neo-Nazi insignia.

Furthermore, we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages (advertisement, 11 August; Report, 11 August) to promote blatant falsehoods used to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.

We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean “Never again for anyone”.

Hajo Meyer survivor of Auschwitz; The Netherlands, Henri Wajnblum survivor and son of an Auschwitz victim from Lodz, Poland; Belgium, Norbert Hirschhornrefugee of Nazi genocide and grandson of three people who died in the Shoah; London, Suzanne Weiss survived in hiding in France, whose mother died in Auschwitz; Canada, Felicia and Moshe Langer survivors from Germany, Moshe survived five concentration camps, family members were exterminated; Germany, Michael Ricechild survivor, son and grandson of survivor; United States and 30 Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide and 260 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives of survivors
See full list at

• When I encountered Hamas delegates in Gaza in 2010, they bore no resemblance to the fundamentalists characterised by Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel. They stated they had “nothing against the Jews” (contrary to their 1988 charter, which needs serious re-consideration). They differentiated between Jews, Zionists and Israeli occupiers. This was demonstrated by the protection of the Jewish contingent in the Gaza freedom march, when we walked with many disabled residents towards the Erez Crossing in the north of the enclave. There we were warned we might be fired upon by the Israeli border guards should we proceed further.
I am sure that there are fanatical elements in Hamas but according to the United States Institute of Peace, Hamas’s political bureau has been indicating its willingness to explore peace negotiations with Israel for years (while keeping its propaganda condemning Israel’s existence) – that is, when Israel is not actively attempting to assassinate its leaders and incarcerating its members in the West Bank as they try to form a unity government with Fatah.
Peter Offord

• In 1962, interviewing me for a traineeship on the Guardian in Manchester, the then editor, Alastair Hetherington, asked me whether I thought he had been right to publish a full-page ad from the Soviet embassy. It was a lengthy excerpt from a speech by Nikita Khrushchev, and Hetherington had received a lot of hostile mail. I told him that Guardian readers were quite capable of seeing through propaganda, and he was right to trust them. He offered me the job.
Richard Bourne
Senior research fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London

• I seem to remember the Manchester Guardian in the 1930s reporting quite extensively the speeches of Hitler and other Nazi leaders without anyone supposing it was peddling its own viewpoint. It thought, no doubt, it was its public service duty to make sure we knew what we were up against. The This World advert seems to serve the same purpose – happily, at the expense of the advertiser.
Ray Wainwright
Amersham, Buckinghamshire

• After the This World ad, the 13 August edition, with its centre spread of Sean Smith’s photograph of Adir Ali’s devastated flat in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, was hardly, in terms of balance, a case of quid pro quo, but a telling contribution to the overall picture.
Michael Gallacher
Whitchurch, Shropshire

• As Liberal Democrats, we are totally committed to the state of Israel being able to live within secure borders, and wish to see the removal of the existential threat to Israel’s security by an internationally recognised terrorist group, and the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

As recorded by the UN and captured by various international media sources, Hamas’s policy of using human shields to protect its arms caches in hospitals, schools and densely populated neighbourhoods must be understood as the principal factor behind the number of Gazan civilian deaths, and condemned as such.

Hamas’s commitment to the destruction of Israel and its refusal to recognise Israel’s right to exist is a huge obstacle to peace.

We hereby ask that the UK government and the international community call on Hamas to maintain the cessation of rocket fire beyond this current ceasefire. Israel has shown it is committed to a ceasefire subject to an end to the rocket fire; it is now incumbent on Hamas to do the same. This will allow the international community, led by Egypt, to broker an end to hostilities, involving the demilitarisation of Gaza plus recognition and adherence to the Quartet principles, which in turn will lead to the eventual opening of borders and a more enduring peace.
Sir Alan Beith MP Chairman of the justice select committee and former deputy leader of Liberal Democrats, Lord Navnit Dholakia Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Lord Monroe Palmer Liberal Democrat, joint backbench international affairs committee, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP for London 1999-2014, Cllr Barry Aspinall Leader, Brentwood borough council

• Like Steven Rose (Letters, 14 August) I have memories of campaigning in Ridley Road market in Hackney. It was 1965 and Oswald Mosley’s supporters were making what turned out to be last-gasp efforts to win support in that increasingly multiracial area. I spoke as a member of the Central Hackney Labour party Young Socialist branch, supported by an enthusiastic group, most of whom were Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. We were very happy to have the support of the Association of Jewish Ex-servicemen. Two years later, we (me a non-Jew and my friends, largely young Jews) were virulently denounced as antisemitic and as self-hating Jews by most of the members of the Labour party for opposing Israel’s actions in the six-day war. Then as now, Zionism and the state of Israel were and are the most basic obstacles to any humane solution to the conflicts in Palestine and the Middle East.
Fred Lindop
Swanage, Dorset

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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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