California: Pro-Palestinian Protesters Block Israeli Ship from Unloading

Protesters block unloading of Israeli ship in Oakland

By Hamed Aleaziz

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Protesters angered by Israel’s military actions in Gaza gathered at the Port of Oakland on Saturday morning in an effort to prevent a cargo ship managed by an Israeli company from unloading.

Longshore workers did not unload the ship, the Zim Shanghai, because of safety concerns posed by the presence of several hundred protesters and about 50 police officers, said Craig Merrilees, spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The ship is docked at the port’s Berth 59, he said.

The workers planned to reassess the situation later during the Saturday evening shift, he said. The union has not taken a position on the protest or any of the issues involved. Continue reading

43 Israeli Reserve Soldiers Stand Against IDF and SIGINT

[“A significant part of what the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] does is not the “title” [ie defence]. The “title” of what the IDF does in the occupied territories is ruling another people. One of the things you need to do is defend yourself from them, but you also need to oppress the population. You need to weaken the politics, you need to strengthen and deepen your control of Palestinian society so that the [Israeli] state can remain [there] in the long term … We realised that that’s the job of the intelligence.”: — from the interview with 3 of the “refuseniks”, in the 2nd article posted below. The unity of these “refuseniks” is a rejection of the colonial mission to control all aspects of Palestinian life.  They do not, as a group, object to other aspects of Israel and Israeli military policy and practice.  Nonetheless, their stance is noteworthy, though limited. — Frontlines ed.]

.2014/09/18

Jean Shaoul

Forty-three reserve soldiers and officers in Israel’s prestigious military intelligence gathering unit, Unit 8200, have refused to take any further part in the gathering of information on Palestinian society in the West Bank.
Their stand is the latest expression of the growing opposition within the armed forces to the ongoing repression of the Palestinian people.
Refusal to enlist was once considered unthinkable among Jewish Israeli youth other than among the ultra-orthodox, but now, as one young refusenik, Shaked Harari, explained, they “are not embarrassed that we are refusing. We believe that this declaration can make an ideological change, and it will not happen if we don’t stand behind it and we are not honest with it.”

Unit 8200 is under the control of the Israel Defence Force’s (IDF) Military Intelligence Directorate, whose role is similar to that of the National Security Agency in the United States. It collects signal intelligence (SIGINT), including eavesdropping on telephone calls, text messages, and emails. As the largest part of the IDF, the views expressed must therefore reflect a much wider layer than the number who actually signed the letter.
The unit has acquired an iconic status, in part because as a result of its technical expertise a number of 8200’s alumni have gone on to found or manage some of Israel’s high-tech start-up companies. Its operations are secret and subject to censorship, while the identities of its leading personnel are never revealed.
It is therefore all the more significant that it is the ethical and political character of the Unit’s work and above all its methods that have come to public attention. While a number of pilots, soldiers and officers from combat units faced with the daily task of humiliating and arresting Palestinians—and worse—have refused service, this is the first time that anyone in electronic surveillance has spoken up and refused to enlist.
Jewish Israeli men are required to carry out three years of military service from the age of 18 and then at least a month a year of reserve duty until the age of 40. They typically spend a few weeks each year in active duty. While women are also obliged to do military service, they are not required to serve in combat units, while their service and reservist duties are shorter.
The 43 signatories, collected over a year, to an open letter to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, chiefs of the IDF and its SIGINT branch stressed that they believed that the information they collected was often used to exert control over innocent Palestinian civilians and to set West Bank residents against each other. At the same time it was an invasion of the privacy of the Palestinian, said the signatories. Continue reading

When the smoke clears in Gaza

by Robin D. G. Kelley, August 8, 2014

http://blackeducator.blogspot.com/2014/08/gaza-massacre-continues-us-academia-and.html

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” –Nelson Mandela

Israel’s illegal, genocidal war on the people of Gaza has the characteristics of a massive tsunami.
Waged with even greater ferocity than Operation Cast Lead or any other assault since the Nakba of 1948 or the 1967 War, its destructive impact may even be worse. Masked as a war of “self-defense,” the euphemistically-named “Operation Protective Edge” is state violence at warp speed; it is completely indiscriminate yet calculated in its targeting of children and adult civilians, hospitals, schools, shelters, markets, and neighborhoods. So massive the onslaught, so swift the reports on social media, that my twitter feed resembles a ticker-tape machine. No one can write or speak fast enough to keep up with the body count.

As I write now, the Palestinian dead is inching toward the 2,000 mark, the injured close to 10,000; a quarter of Gaza’s population is displaced; about 10,000 homes were destroyed—including 141 schools; entire neighborhoods have been razed to the ground; morgues are filled to capacity as dead bodies lay strewn in streets, under rubble or placed in vegetable refrigerators or commercial ice cream freezers. The lack of electricity, clean water, food, sanitation, medical supplies, among other things, means a variety of infectious, nutritional and water-borne diseases are imminent.

If you are reading this, you’re probably familiar with these terrifying facts. Continue reading

Cowardly, Hypocritical, Subservient Congressional Black Caucus Endorses Israeli Apartheid and Current War Crimes in Gaza

http://blackagendareport.com/content/cowardly-hypocritical-subservient-congressional-black-caucus-endorses-israeli-apartheid-and-

Israeli president Shmon Peres meets with Marcia Fudge, chair of the US Congressional Black Caucus, and a delegation of the Congressional Caucus at the president's residence in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/FLASH90)

                                         Israeli President Shimon Peres hosts Marcia Fudge, chair of the US Congressional Black Caucus, and a delegation of the caucus at the president’s residence in Jerusalem.  (February, 2014)

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, July 30, 2014

Back in the 1970s, when the Congressional Black Caucus began calling itself “the conscience of the Congress,” that was almost literally true. CBC members could be relied upon not just to reliably vote for raising wages and expenditures on housing, health care and education, but to keep the issues of full employment and opposition to unjust war near thefront of their public agendas.

By the late 1980s, a gaggle of former CBC staffers had moved through the revolving doors of elite affirmative action to become corporate lobbyists, with the same ethics and table manners as their white colleagues, but with black faces. Thanks in large part to their efforts, by 2000 a tsunami of corporate cash began filling up the coffers of incumbent CBC members, their black replacements, or in the cases of Alabama’s Earl Hilliard and Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney, their black opponents.

Only a single member of the CBC, Rep. Barabra Lee opposed President Bush’s blank check for invading anywhere he pleased in Septermber of 2001, and by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, four CBC members, some of them swimming in donations from military contractors, raced down to the White House to have their pictures taken with Bush as the bombs were about to explode over Baghdad.

Continue reading

“Boycott Israeli Products” App Gets 350,000 Supporters

By Anthony Cuthbertson, International Business Times, 
August 7, 2014

An app that allows users to search for a product linked to targeted companies or countries in order to boycott them has seen a significant surge in users signing up to anti-Israel campaigns.

Buycott catalogues brands and their affiliations and lets users set up campaigns to either help or avoid funding certain causes. By scanning a product’s barcode with their smartphone camera, consumers are able to determine which brands are associated with which campaigns.

The two most popular campaigns currently on Buycott are Long Live Palestine Boycott Israel and Avoid Israeli Settlement Products. Between them they have close to 350,000 supporters, over a quarter of which have joined in the last 12 hours (at time of publication).

Included on the list of companies implicated by the Long Live Palestine Boycott Israel campaign are McDonald’s, Intel, Nestle and Marks & Spencer.

“This campaign is about ordinary people around the world using their right to choose what they buy in order to help bring about an end to oppression in Palestine,” the campaign’s page states.

Continue reading

London: Indian Workers Join Solidarity with Gaza Demo, 9 August

The National Demonstration for Gaza

London 9th August Saturday 2014

Condemn US, UK-backed Israeli genocidal bombardment of Gaza!
Condemn the killing of Gaza’s innocent women and children!
Stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine!

The Indian Workers’ Association (Great Britain) stands in firm solidarity with people of Palestine and emphatically condemns the Israeli Zionist regime for murdering 1,655 and injuring 8,900 Palestinians during their recent military offensive on Gaza. These figures were still rising as we go to print. More than 74 percent of those killed are civilian. We are seeing gruesome images of decapitated children’s bodies and innocent injured individuals being shot. The Palestinian people in Gaza have no place to run or hide and are helpless against the Israeli tanks and superior fire power. This is not the first time Israel has attacked the Palestinian people in Gaza. The same happened in November 2012 and in winter of 2008-09. These attacks on the Palestinian people are war crimes that are being watched by the US and their allies, including Britain. The western governments shamelessly exercise duplicity. Unlike their stand in Ukraine, Syria, etc. there is no call for sending in the US military or the NATO forces to defend the Palestinian people. In their eyes the people in GAZA don’t matter so intervention on humanitarian grounds is not even a consideration. On the contrary the US imperialist are poised to sell $225m arms to restock the Israeli military arsenal. Continue reading

The Colonial Condescension of Those Who Ask for a “Palestinian Gandhi”

[The people of Gaza have, in their determined resistance, brought many issues to the fore among its supporters and defenders.  Central to these is the right of resistance itself -- "by any means necessary" i.e., with whatever force the defenders can bring to the battlefield.  The forces of self-defense and the struggle for self-determination include moral force, political force, and military force.  Those who claim to support the victims of imperialist and settler-colonial military aggression, but argue against popular military resistance and armed liberation strategies, are denying the very means by which defense is made and by which liberation is won.  In the essay below, Ramzy Baroud of Palestine Chronicle details the background and recent history and "debate" over this issue.  (And, an important, but here secondary, difference with Baroud's concluding paragraphs which cite 'Gandhi's inspiring greatness in the struggle against colonialism' -- this is disputed in India and elsewhere, as, most recently, Arundhati Roy and many others have challenged the iconization of Gandhi as a false anti-colonialist who ushered in an "independent" India without breaking the colonialist cultures and structures and laws of caste, class, and repressive state violence, and without empowering the people who, in their overwhelming majority, live today in the same same oppressive conditions that characterized the period of direct British colonial rule.  But this is a side-point here, which will be further explored separately and soon). -- Frontlines ed.]

Gaza’s resistance paradigm
By Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle

“Where is the Palestinian Gandhi? In Israeli prison, of course!,” was the title of an article by Jo Ehrlich published in Mondoweiss.net on December 21, 2009. That was almost exactly one year after Israel’s concluded a major war against Gaza. The so-called Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009) was, till then, the deadliest Israeli attack against the impoverished strip for many years.

Ehrlich was not in the least being belittling by raising the question about the “Palestinian Gandhi” but responding to the patronization of others. Right from the onset, he remarked: “Not that I’m in any way playing into the Palestinian Gandhi dialogue, I think it’s actually pretty diversionary/racist. But sometimes you have to laugh in order not to cry.”

Indeed, the question was and remains condescending, ignorant, patronizing and utterly racist. But the question was also pervasive, including among people who classify themselves as “pro-Palestinian activists”.

Now that Israel’s latest war – so-called Operation Protective Edge – has surpassed Cast Lead in terms of duration, causalities, level of destruction, but also the targeting of civilians – the Gandhi question seems more muted than usual. To understand why, one needs to first examine the reason of why Palestinians were demanded to produce a non-violent Gandhi alternative in their struggle for freedom in the first place. Continue reading