Saturday, May 29, 2021

Baltimore Activist Alert – May 30 – June 1, 2021

Baltimore Activist Alert – May 30 – June 1, 2021

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center.  Go to

If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to Max Obuszewski, BNC, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 [at]

1] Books, buttons and stickers

2] Web site for info on federal legislation

3] Get involved with NCNR   

4] Volunteer with a Catholic Worker house  

5] Max is looking for tips on a garage or a storage suggestion.

6] House cleaner needed

7] Remembrance Day -- May 30

8] Wilmington Memorial Day Parade – May 30

9] Julian Assange and the Criminalization of Journalism – May 30

10] Healthcare Town Hall – May 30

11] Peacemaker Salon for Palestine – May 30

12] The Future of Waging Peace and Waging War – May 30

13] Pentagon Peace Vigil – May 31

14] For the People Act meeting – May 31

15] Care Corner Food Pantry June 1

16] Messaging for a post-9/11 America – June 1

17] Protest JHU’s weapons research – June 1

18] Animal Bereavement Support Group – June 1


1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Call Max at 410-323-1607.

2] –To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to  Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at

3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR].  It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed.  It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to U.S. wars.

 To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  

 4] - Suzanne Fontanesi and Jeff Ross are in the beginning stages of renovating the basement of their house for purposes of bringing in a volunteer (targeting young adults in discernment mode), starting next fall. They are trying to grow a Catholic Worker House in Irvington (West Baltimore). In a nutshell, there is a lot that a volunteer could do in that neighborhood/Baltimore, in addition to prayer and daily community living and in addition to plugging into all the good work that people are already doing in and around Baltimore (and beyond).  If you think you might know of anyone who might be interested in starting a conversation with them about becoming such a volunteer/community member, please contact Jeff/Suzanne at 443-690-6872.

5] – Max is in need of a garage or a storage space.  Any suggestions would be welcome.  Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

6] – Is there a woman in the Baltimore area who does house cleaning?  This assignment would be on an irregular basis with several hours per week.  Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

7] – Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 2521 St. Paul St., Baltimore 21218, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion at 10:30 AM.  On Sun., May 30, it is “Remembrance Day.” In the last year we have all experienced the loss of our usual way of life, and so many have also lived through the death of someone they care about. In this program, a tradition here at the Baltimore Ethical Society, we will come together to share our memories of people who we cared about or who influenced us who died over the last year or before. If you have a photo or some memento you’d like to hold up to the camera while you talk please be prepared to do so.  The Zoom link and more info can be obtained at PRESIDENT@BMORETHICAL.ORG for INFORMATION.

8] – Jeffrey Lott [] is inviting you to join the Wilmington Memorial Day Parade on Sun., May 30.  March with Pacem in Terris behind its banner --Honor the Dead. Heal the Wounded.  End the War. The parade lines up 5:15 PM ET, and steps off at 6 PM ET on Delaware Ave. at Woodlawn Ave.  Participants will march east, down Delaware Avenue to the Civil War Monument at Broom St., where we honor the dead of all wars with a memorial service.

9] – On Sun., May 30 at noon EDT, catch Julian Assange and the Criminalization of Journalism.  This online event is sponsored by Free Assange IrelandSign up at The speakers are Mick Clifford, author and investigative journalist currently working as a special correspondent with The Irish Examiner; and Tim Dawson, author and journalist who has been a member of the executive of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) since the late 1990s. He currently convenes the International Federation of Journalists expert group on the surveillance of journalists. He observed the extradition hearing of Julian Assange.

10] – Dr Bill Honigman for Progressive Democrats of America [] wants you to join in the Healthcare Emergency Town Hall on Sun., May 30 at 4 PM ET. Join in the weekly series of town halls to discuss the #COVID19 Healthcare emergency and the profound impact a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll system would have in saving lives and saving money, not only during this pandemic but for those Healthcare emergencies yet to come.  Register at The special guests are Drs. Sara Deen, DDS, and Richard Huynh, MD, who will share their horror stories of trying to practice medicine within our broken system.

11] – Sana, CODEPINK, is inviting you to a Peacemaker Salon on Palestine on Sun., May 30 at 5 PM ET. Sana is the new Regeneration Manager, and can be reached at at any time! Hear a discussion with CODEPINK's Middle East Team on Sheikh Jarrah, Gaza, and US foreign policy towards Israel, along with what we can do to help Palestine. RSVP at

12] – World BEYOND War [] wants you to attend a Webinar: The Future of Waging Peace and Waging War. The webinar with Paul Chappell takes place on Sun., May 30 from 7 to 8:30 PM ET. World BEYOND War is pleased to cosponsor this event with Veterans for Peace of Corvallis, Oregon. Paul K. Chappell is an international peace educator and founder of Peace Literacy. He graduated from West Point, was deployed to Iraq, and left active duty as a Captain. Realizing that humanity is facing new challenges that require us to become as well-trained in waging peace as soldiers are in waging war, Chappell created Peace Literacy to help people from all backgrounds work toward their full potential and a more peaceful world. Register at

13] – There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop.  The next vigil is May 31 and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Email or call 202-882-9649.  The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro.  By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr.,  and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM.  No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr.  

14] – There is a For the People - Maryland Teleconference on Mon., May 31 from 7:30 to 8:30 PM ET.  There are two ways to join the conference: Dial 1 301 715 8592 with a meeting ID of 931 3066 2622. The password is 173976. Or download the app from Zoom: can we do to build the capacity of our coalition and help win critical democracy reforms in the next few months? What are the most salient messages to get people to take actions like calling their senators or showing up to events? Have we given enough emphasis to the aspects of S. 1 that will combat the corrupting influence of money in politics? What specific requests do we have for our two U.S. senators now? How can we help activists in states with undecided senators to pass S.1, H.R. 4, and S. 51? Call Charlie Cooper at 410-624-6095.

15] – On Tues., June 1 from 9:30 to 11:30 AM ET, get over to the Care Corner Food Pantry at the Pasadena United Methodist Church, 61 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena. This will continue each Tuesday through June 29.  Food bags are available for individuals and families in need. Food bags are first-come, first-served each week.  Volunteers are needed each week to help distribute the food. Sign up here: All COVID safety measures are followed, including outdoor distribution, mask-wearing and social distancing. 

16] – Emily Blout [] wants you to get involved with Messaging for a post-9/11 America. As the 20th commemoration of September 11 approaches, ReThink Media has conducted in-depth survey research on what Americans think of post-9/11 policies and how they respond to messages calling for change in our domestic and foreign policy. ReThink Media is holding a one-hour call on Tues., June 1 at 12:30 PM ET to present these findings. Register for the call here.

17] – There is a Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" at 33rd and N. Charles Sts. on Tuesdays from 5 to 6 PM. Contact Max at mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net or 410-323-1607.  You may consider contacting President Ron Daniels and telling him that the university should reject all military contracts, including those for killer drone and nuclear weapons research.  The president’s mailing address is Office of the President, 242 Garland Hall, The Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Maryland 21218.  You can also reach his office by Phone: (410) 516-8068, Fax: (410) 516-6097 or email:

18] – On Tues., June 1 from 7 to 8:30 PM ET, get with the Animal Bereavement Support Group at the Baltimore Humane Society, 1601 Nicodemus Road, Reisterstown 21136. This will continue each Tuesday, through August 3. See  The loss of an animal can be a devastating blow. Our friends are often loved as a member of our family, and we believe their passing should be treated with the same respect. RSVP to 

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"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

The Spotlight on Israel Apartheid Must Not Fade

 - - -

 The Spotlight on Israel Apartheid Must Not Fade

 By Kenn Orphan on May 27, 2021

   Unlike ever before, Israel is finally seeing some major pushback that is international in scope. With its ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign exemplified by the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, its attacks on worshippers at one of the holiest sites in Islam, Al Aqsa, and on the holiest of holidays, and its murderous and criminal assault on the captive population of Gaza, Israel has been put in an uncomfortable spotlight. But the key to dismantling its entrenched apartheid system lies in keeping that spotlight fixed, especially now that a ceasefire has been implemented. If attention is diverted, as Israel desperately wants, then it will become even more intransigent, especially as the Biden administration continues its business-as-usual approach.

 Fortunately, there has been a noticeable shift in public opinion. Even among many American Jews there has been increasing unease with being associated with such an obviously belligerent and sadistic colonial settler regime. Much of this is thanks to the tireless work of organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace. The recent reports from Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem which detailed Israel apartheid, have also been instrumental in providing a framework that can be used to understand and confront this decades long injustice. But it is also largely thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement which galvanized public outrage in the wake of the brutal police murder of George Floyd. Justified parallels are being drawn between systemic racism in the US and the intricate system of apartheid in place in Israel/Palestine. And, in both instances, the self defense excuse is wearing thin on anyone who has a conscience.

 For years Israel has justified its periodic carpet-bombing rampages in Gaza as its right to “self defense.” But that narrative is beginning to sound an awful lot like American police when they tell Black people to “stop resisting” as they kneel on their necks. It falls apart upon close inspection of the facts on the ground. Just as the case with the police, one cannot claim to have feared for one’s life if you are the one holding the gun and have your supposed attacker in handcuffs on the ground. Gaza and the Occupied West Bank and Jerusalem resemble the Bantustans of apartheid South Africa. They are captive populations in shackles, with no say in how they wish to be governed, constantly subject to arbitrary and violent punishment by the state of Israel.

 After Israel’s heavy bombardment of the captive population of Gaza last week, unprecedented mass protests have swept over the entire world. But make no mistake, Israel is wasting no time now with its public relations campaign. It realizes that its image as the Middle East’s “only democracy” has once again been shown for the farce it is with videos on social media showing Palestinian families being violently removed from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah to make way for Jewish settlers, many of whom were not even born there and come from the US or Russia.

These campaigns to sway international perception of Israel, known as hasbara, are nothing new and they are not unique to them either. Apartheid South Africa made many attempts to restore its image on the world stage as it violently oppressed its Black population. The infamous Sun City courted international celebrities to play in its one and only “integrated” enclave. And during segregation in the US the government routinely sent Black artists on international public relations tours to obscure the cruel reality of Jim Crow segregation and create an illusion of American inclusiveness.

 It is important to remember this when apologists for Israeli apartheid say things like “there is no apartheid in Israel since Arab citizens can vote and there is an Arab on the supreme court there.” Oppressive systems often engage in what is known as tokenism as a way of distraction. In other words, placing some members of an oppressed population in positions of authority or high esteem as judges or heads of departments or as celebrities.

This is an insidious tactic that has long been used in the US by its ruling class. President Biden’s own cabinet picks reflect a lot of this. A person from Cuba to head the Department of Homeland Security. A Black person as Secretary of Defense [sic]. A woman to head the Department of the Treasury. Tokenism is obfuscation. It gives the illusion of inclusion and change when, in fact, it is primarily optics. Nothing of substance in regard to policy or systemic operations of government change in the least.

 Israel is no different in this regard. It routinely parades the LGBT community and Black Israelis on the world stage in an effort to obscure its fundamentally discriminatory and oppressive apartheid system. It is a cynical approach which, sadly, often works. But fortunately, this game is beginning to lose its edge.

 Apartheid is easily demonstrated to most reasonable people when presented with the facts on the ground. Within Israel, towns and neighbourhoods have committees that have the right to exclude whomever they want on the basis of ethnicity or religion. Those that have a Jewish majority can effectively ban non-Jews from living where they want, echoing the redlining practices in the US that excluded Black Americans from purchasing homes in predominantly white, middle-class neighborhoods. Many Palestinian and Bedouin communities are disproportionately discriminated in building permits and are often disconnected from basic services like water and garbage collection. In fact, there are over 65 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel and it allocates only a fraction of its budget to Palestinian Israelis councils.

 In addition to this, nearly 3 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem live under Israeli occupation. Israeli apologists claim that the Palestinian Authority is their government when, in actuality, it is merely a proxy government for the occupation. Thanks to the corrupt Oslo Accords, Israel has effectively divided the occupied West Bank into three administrative areas. In all but one of those zones, Israel has absolute control. Palestinians in the remaining area are still subject to the Israeli occupation by way of the administration of its proxy, the PA.

All Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem face home demolitions, walls, barriers, separate roads, scores of dehumanizing checkpoints, daily violence from Jewish settlers that include being shot at and the burning of olive groves, and military tribunals instead of civil courts like their Israeli settler counterparts. Palestinian children are routinely spirited away in terrorizing night raids and taken to detention centers that are often undisclosed. There they often face abuse and neglect.

 And over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, which has been blockaded and besieged for nearly 15 years, have absolutely no say regarding their unjustified imprisonment or the routine collective punishment meted out by the Israeli military. These Palestinians are subject to indiscriminate bombing and are prevented from leaving the Strip by Israel and Egypt. The UN has warned repeatedly that Gaza will be unlivable thanks to poverty, scant access to clean drinking water, and routine Israeli drone surveillance and bombardment.

As the conviction of Derrick Chauvin was no cure for US police state violence, the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza offers no solution for ongoing Israeli ethnic cleansing and apartheid. It may provide some relief, especially to the people of Gaza who were mercilessly terrorized for 11 days by one of the world’s most sophisticated military powers. And it may ease the consciences of those simply weary of the story dominating headlines and social media timelines. But it does nothing to solve the entrenched problem itself. Only through ongoing public pressure and mass movements will systems change. Now, more than ever before, it is crucial that the spotlight on Israeli apartheid not fade.

 Article printed from

 URL to article:

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"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



Friday, May 28, 2021

Israel’s apartheid treatment of Palestinians must end/'End the Occupation': Progressives Say Cease-Fire Far From Enough to Secure Justice for Palestinians


  My letter was published.  However, another letter was also published, and the heading was “Israel is in the right, and Hamas is in the wrong.”  That letter made no mention of the occupation or the assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  And the letter-writer failed to indicate how many children were killed in Gaza.  So somehow, this letter writer concluded that Israel was right and Hamas was wrong, possibly because the Israelis killed more people than Hamas.  Kagiso, Max


Israel’s apartheid treatment of Palestinians must end | READER COMMENTARY


MAY 20, 2021 AT 11:49 AM

People inspect the rubble of the destroyed Abu Hussein building that was hit by an Israeli airstrike early morning, in Gaza City, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

People inspect the rubble of the destroyed Abu Hussein building that was hit by an Israeli airstrike early morning, in Gaza City, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (Adel Hana/AP)

I was part of a human rights delegation to the occupied territories of Palestine in 1987 and became familiar with the use of rubber bullets, which are very capable of killing. This trip was during the first intifada, and I visited many homes where the Israeli Defense Force killed a child for alleged stone-throwing.

During the subsequent years, there has been an escalation in state and settler violence against the Palestinians (”Biden calls for ‘significant de-escalation’ from Israel as Gaza conflict continues,” May 19). The armed assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the airstrikes in Gaza, including the destruction of a building which housed media groups, are some recent examples. Unfortunately, my government supports this horrific violence by word and $3.8 billion in U.S. tax dollars.

I find it very timely, though, that as the settler colonialism and the Jim Crow citizenship laws are getting more oppressive, on April 27 Human Rights Watch released “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” This is remarkable and very fitting considering that Israel lacks a government, and its ultra-right prime minister is looking at years in prison. So what better way to turn attention away from his judicial problems than to bomb back to the Stone Age one of the poorest plots of land in the world?

As a pacifist and believer in nonviolence, I urge Hamas to reconsider its violent response to on obdurate Israeli government. Of course, it is easy for me to say turn the other cheek, as I am not suffering under an oppressive occupation. However, I have to believe that someday there will be a U.S. government unbiased against the Palestinians which will work tirelessly to end this apartheid occupation.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

Friday, May 21, 2021

'End the Occupation': Progressives Say Cease-Fire Far From Enough to Secure Justice for Palestinians

Rep. Ilhan Omar said the U.S. government must "stop underwriting crimes against humanity while doing nothing to end the occupation."

 Jake Johnson, staff writer

 Gaza families return to their homes after cease-fire

Palestinians return to their destroyed houses after a cease-fire deal on May 21, 2021. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

While welcoming the cease-fire agreement that brought about a desperately needed pause to Israel's 11-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, progressive lawmakers and Palestinian rights advocates stressed Thursday that an end to the bombing in itself will neither rebuild the devastated territory nor remedy decades of harm inflicted by the brutal Israeli occupation.

Primarily brokered by diplomats from Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations, the deal marked a temporary reprieve for Palestinians who have been living in a state of near-constant terror for close to two weeks as Israeli war planes dropped bombs on densely populated residential areas, reduced apartment buildings to rubble, leveled the offices of media outlets, badly damaged key medical facilities, and wreaked havoc on Gaza's fresh water and sewer systems.

Israel's aerial and artillery attacks ultimately killed more than 230 Palestinians, including dozens of children, according to Gaza's health ministry. Israeli authorities said Hamas rocket attacks killed 12 people.

After the cease-fire agreement was announced late Thursday afternoon, U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration is "committed to working with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people of Gaza and the Gaza reconstruction efforts."

"I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy," the president added.

But to help bring about such a reality, progressives argued that Biden—who dragged his feet in supporting a cease-fire, excused Israel's assault on Gaza as self-defense, and is currently trying to sell $735 million more in weapons to the Israeli government—will have to offer far more than rhetorical commitments.

"A cease-fire is necessary, but will not alone achieve freedom, justice, and equality for all who live under Israel's apartheid government," said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to Congress. "The U.S. must condition funding to uphold human rights, and end the funding entirely if those conditions are not met."

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)—who, like Tlaib, was highly critical of Biden's handling of the latest wave of Israeli violence in Gaza—tweeted late Thursday that "we should all be grateful that a cease-fire will prevent more civilians and children from being killed."

"But now what?" the Minnesota Democrat asked. "We need accountability for every war crime committed. And we need to stop underwriting crimes against humanity while doing nothing to end the occupation."

On Friday morning, after the fragile cease-fire held overnight, Gazans who were forced to flee their homes to escape Israeli airstrikes returned to their devastated neighborhoods, sifting through the ruins in search of belongings and bodies trapped under the wreckage.

"We see such huge destruction here, it's the first time in history we've seen this," Azhar Nsair, a resident of the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, told the Associated Press. "The cease-fire is for people who didn't suffer, who didn't lose their loved ones, whose homes were not bombed."

Citing an anonymous senior Biden administration official, the New York Times reported that the U.S. government intends "to be at the fore of an international response, most likely costing billions of dollars, to include restoring health and education services, and other reconstruction" in Gaza.

"Biden is expected to consider other initiatives," the Times added. "American diplomats who had shelved the prospects of brokering a broader peace agreement between the two sides will take a new look at the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, said the senior official."

But Palestinian rights advocates made clear that money for rebuilding efforts and gentle diplomatic prodding of the right-wing Israeli government will not be anywhere near enough to secure justice as long as forced expulsions of Palestinians from their homes continue, the 14-year blockade of Gaza remains intact, and the occupation Palestinian territory persists.

"Repeat after me: Gaza does not need your pity, it needs your advocacy and understanding," said Laila El-Haddad, a Palestinian-American author and activist. "It does not need a cease-fire, it needs a cease-siege and cease-occupation. Our people do not need food aid, they need their freedom."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"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



Media Coverage of Israel/Palestine Presents False Equivalency Between Occupied and Occupier

Media Coverage of Israel/Palestine Presents False Equivalency Between Occupied and Occupier


   Of course, there is media bias against the Palestinians.  But unfortunately macho Hamas is committing war crimes as is Israel.  Sadly though, Israel is a major military force and Hamas rocket attacks simply give the IDF an opening to slaughter Palestinians.  Imagine it is 1965, and members of the civil rights movement blow up a Klan headquarters.  You can be sure the white supremacists would have terrorized all African Americans not just the bombers.

  I have been following media reports since the assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque took place. And I have been waiting for a Palestinian to condemn Hamas.  I understand that someone living in the Gaza Strip would be very hesitant.  Finally, today on NPR Hussein Ibish, born in Lebanon but a commentator on Palestine, condemned the macho violence of Hamas. Violence is not going to convince Israel to negotiate. Kagiso, Max

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Media Coverage of Israel/Palestine Presents False Equivalency Between Occupied and Occupier

The fatal flaw in the "both sides" narrative is that only the Israeli side has ethnically cleansed and turned millions on the Palestinians' side into refugees by preventing them from exercising their right to return to their homes.

Gregory Shupak


A Palestinian child carries his cat after he and his family members survived the violent Israeli bombing of their homes in Gaza City, on May 16, 2021. (Photo: Momen Faiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A Palestinian child carries his cat after he and his family members survived the violent Israeli bombing of their homes in Gaza City, on May 16, 2021. (Photo: Momen Faiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Media coverage of heightened violence in Israel/Palestine has misrepresented events in the Israeli government’s favor by suggesting that Israel is acting defensively, presenting a false equivalency between occupier and occupied, and burying information necessary to understand the scale of Israeli brutality.

WSJ: Israel Strikes Hamas Targets After Rockets Fired at Jerusalem

Corporate media have presented Israel’s killing spree as defensive, as a reaction to supposed Palestinian aggression. A Financial Times headline (5/10/21) read, "Hamas Rocket Attacks Provoke Israeli Retaliation in Gaza." The New York Times’  description (5/12/21) was, "Hamas launched long-range rockets at Jerusalem on Monday evening, prompting Israel to respond with airstrikes." An article in Newsweek (5/12/21) had it that "Hamas rained down rockets on Israeli civilian targets, and the Israeli military responded with surgical air strikes against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza." A CNN headline (5/12/21) said, "At Least 35 Killed in Gaza as Israel Ramps Up Airstrikes in Response to Rocket Attacks."

The Wall Street Journal (5/12/21) ran the headline, "Hamas Attack on Israel Aims to Capitalize on Palestinian Frustration," which makes it sound as if Israel were simply minding its own business and Hamas lashed out for no reason. The Journal reinforced this impression by describing Israel’s bombing of Gaza as merely a "response" to and a "counterstrike" against the rockets from Palestinian resistance factions.

Imagine for a moment that the entire history of Israel/Palestine began on May 10. Even then, Hamas’ rocket fire was a follow through on its promise (Ynet, 5/10/21) to fire rockets in "response" to and "retaliation" against Israel if the latter didn’t remove its forces from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah, where Israel has been attempting to force Palestinians from their homes and repressing the resultant protests, and from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which Israel had just raided during Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month (Jacobin5/14/21).

More to the point is that Israel, and its forerunners in the Zionist movement, have been carrying out a war against Palestinians for over 100 years, so Israeli self-defense against Palestinians is a logical impossibility (Electronic Intifada7/26/18). As an occupying power, Israel does not have a legal right to claim self-defense against the people it occupies (Truthout5/14/21). Israel has been subjecting Gaza to a military siege for 12–14 years, depending on the metric one uses to determine the starting point, which has left the territory effectively unlivable (Jacobin, 3/31/20); a siege is an act of war, so the party enforcing it cannot claim to be acting defensively in response to anything that happened subsequent to the start of the blockade.

‘Both sides’ narrative

NBC: Over 70 killed as Israel, Palestinians exchange worst violence in years — and prepare for more

Similarly, media have had a long-running tendency to amplify the view that violence across historic Palestine should be understood as roughly equivalent fighting on "both sides." This remains a commonplace feature of the coverage, exemplified by NBC headline (5/12/21), "Over 70 Killed as Israel, Palestinians Exchange Worst Violence in Years."

Washington Post editorial (5/11/21) was headlined "New Israeli/Palestinian Fighting Serves Political Agendas on Both Sides." It said that "the worst conflict in years has erupted between the two peoples, with Palestinian missiles raining down on Israeli cities and airstrikes rocking the Gaza Strip."

A David Ignatius article in the Post (5/13/21) was headlined, "The Vicious Cycle Gets Worse for the Israelis and Palestinians." The author wrote that Israelis and Palestinians "both" are "swept up yet again by the cycle of violence."

The word "clash" is frequently employed to avoid acknowledging that violence is overwhelmingly inflicted by one side on the other, as in headlines like Reuters‘ "Israeli Police, Palestinians Clash at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa, Scores Injured" (5/8/21). The headline gives no clue that 97% of the injuries were being suffered by Palestinians.

The fatal flaw in the "both sides" narrative is that only the Israeli side has ethnically cleansed and turned millions on the Palestinians’ side into refugees by preventing them from exercising their right to return to their homes. Israel is the only side subjecting anyone to apartheid and military occupation. It is only the Palestinian side—including those living inside of what is presently called Israel—that has been made to live as second-class citizens in their own land. That’s to say nothing of the lopsided scale of the death, injury and damage to infrastructure that Palestinians have experienced as compared to Israelis, both during the present offensive and in the longer term.

Amnesty International: End brutal repression of Palestinians protesting forced displacement in occupied East Jerusalem

The "both sides" approach, however, permeates the coverage. The New York Times (5/12/21) relied on a bogus symmetry between oppressor and oppressed, with Jerusalem bureau chief Patrick Kingsley writing:

For weeks, ethnic tensions had been rising in Jerusalem, the center of the conflict. In April, far-right Jews marched through the city center, chanting "Death to Arabs," and mobs of both Jews and Arabs attacked each other.

In contrast, Amnesty International (5/10/21) documented:

"Evidence gathered by Amnesty International reveals a chilling pattern of Israeli forces using abusive and wanton force against largely peaceful Palestinian protesters in recent days. Some of those injured in the violence in East Jerusalem include bystanders or worshipers making Ramadan prayers," said Saleh Higazi, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

"The latest violence brings into sharp focus Israel’s sustained campaign to expand illegal Israeli settlements and step up forced evictions of Palestinian residents—such as those in Sheikh Jarrah—to make way for Israeli settlers. These forced evictions are part of a continuing pattern in Sheikh Jarrah, they flagrantly violate international law and would amount to war crimes."

Eyewitness testimonies—as well as videos and photographs taken by Amnesty International’s researchers on the ground in East Jerusalem—show how Israeli forces have repeatedly deployed disproportionate and unlawful force to disperse protesters during violent raids on Al-Aqsa mosque and carried out unprovoked attacks on peaceful demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrah.

The Wall Street Journal (5/12/21) presented the Israeli police as neutral peace keepers, obscuring power differentials between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel:

Israel is also facing an internal conflict, as pro-Palestinian Arab residents clashed with their Jewish neighbors in mixed towns, prompting the government to bring in border police troops to quell riots.

The reality is that Israeli police have violently assailed Palestinian demonstrators across Israel. That the Palestinians arrestees have been denied legal rights and necessary medical treatment is also omitted.

Another Journal (5/12/21) article referred to "Palestinian anger over what they see as years of efforts to push them out of Jerusalem and limit their access to land they claim, as well as infringing on their basic rights." Yet these views are not simply a matter of "what [Palestinians] see as" discrimination. As Human Rights Watch (5/11/21) noted:

Nearly all Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem hold a conditional, revocable residency status, while Jewish Israelis in the same area are citizens with secure status. Palestinians live in densely populated enclaves that receive a fraction of the resources given to settlements and effectively cannot obtain building permits, while neighboring Israeli settlements built on expropriated Palestinian land flourish.

Israeli officials have intentionally created this discriminatory system under which Jewish Israelis thrive at the expense of Palestinians. The government’s plan for the Jerusalem municipality, including both the west and occupied east parts of the city, sets the goal of "maintaining a solid Jewish majority in the city" and even specifies the demographic ratios it hopes to maintain. This intent to dominate underlies Israel’s crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.

Presenting as debatable the indisputable fact that Palestinians in Jerusalem are denied "their basic rights" is a form of "both sides-ism," taking incontrovertible factual information about the status of Palestinians in Jerusalem and reducing it to merely one of multiple possible narratives.

Important facts left out

I looked at Gaza coverage during the first four days of Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian rocket fire, focusing on the databases of the five US newspapers with the highest circulation: The Wall Street JournalUSA TodayThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. Crucial aspects of what is happening in Gaza have been severely underreported.

For instance, Israel closed Kerem Shalom Crossing on May 10, "blocking the entrance of humanitarian aid and fuel destined for Gaza’s power plant" (Gisha, 5/12/21). Kerem Shalom is also Gaza’s main commercial crossing, which means that the closure will further devastate Gaza’s economy, already in ruin thanks to the Israeli siege. Between May 10 and May 13, the five newspapers published a combined 114 articles that refer to Gaza. Only two pointed out that Israel has tightened the siege during the bombing campaign. The New York Times (5/10/21) ran an article that noted that Israel "shut a key crossing between Gaza and Israel," but said nothing about the consequences of doing so.

WaPo: Israel’s military assault on Gaza threatens to worsen the pandemic in the enclave

Washington Post report (5/13/21) quoted Sasha Muench, Palestinian territories director for the US-based humanitarian group Mercy Corps:

At the moment, no goods or people can enter Gaza because the border crossings are closed. This means no medical supplies, including vaccines, can enter…. In addition, no fuel to run the generators can enter, and Gaza authorities are warning of increased blackouts, including at hospitals, and potentially having no electricity in Gaza at all within a few days.

The latter is the only one of the 114 articles that mentioned that Israel has been blocking the entrance of humanitarian aid even more so than before it began this round of violence against Gaza.

On May 12, the Israeli human rights group Gisha noted that Israel is "banning all access to Gaza’s sea space, a cynical and punitive measure that harms fishermen’s livelihoods and food supply," and that this move is a form of collective punishment that is illegal under international law. Restricting Palestinians’ food access is particularly egregious, given that 68.5% of Gaza residents are already food insecure.

Collectively, the five newspapers ran 88 articles that mentioned Gaza between May 12 and 13. Just one mentioned anything about Israel barring access to the sea, a New York Times piece (5/10/21) that said Israel "barred fishermen from [Gaza] from going to sea," but did not point out that there is already a major problem with food access in the Strip that Israel’s move is sure to worsen. In fact, zero of the 88 articles mention that there is widespread food insecurity in the territory that Israel is incinerating.

Thus, the enthusiastic cheers for attacks on Palestinians, coming from, say, the New York Times’ Bret Stephens (5/13/21), are not the only form of media misdeeds against Palestinians. It’s the inversion of attacker and attacked, or the flattening of distinctions between the two. It’s the burying of information that clarifies the scope of Israeli criminality. Such approaches can confuse the public about the differences between those who fight for liberation and those who fight to snuff it out.

Gregory Shupak teaches media studies at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. His book, "The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel and the Media," is published by OR Books.

© 2021 Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"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