Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

cast away illusions, prepare for struggle!

Israel: The Jewish-Exclusivist State, Running Out of Borrowed Time

[Caught between its long-discredited mythological claim of “democracy” and its Jewish (Settler-Colonial and Palestinian-Expelling) State reality, the discrediting and de-legitimizing of Israel and the unraveling of its power relations is accelerating by the day.  Even Israel’s closest backers are finding that the defense of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and war crimes carries an exceptional political price, so large that it not only damages the credibility of Israel, but the credibility of its backers, with no chance of recovery.   —  Frontlines ed.]

Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia

Philip Weiss on December 6, 2014
omar-barghouti

OMAR BARGHOUTI is an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Omar Barghouti’s appearance at Columbia University on Tuesday night felt like a landmark in the Palestinian solidarity movement in the U.S. A large hall at the law school was crowded to overflowing and the mood was celebratory. Luminaries of the community were in attendance, among them Lila Abu-Lughod, Rula Jebreal, Rashid Khalidi, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Dorothy Zellner, Lia Tarachansky. Barghouti’s speech was hugely optimistic. He said that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement was racking up victories far faster than the organizers had imagined when they began nine years ago, faster than the South African movement had progressed. And the BDS movement has the “closet” support of the Netanyahu administration, which was doing its utmost to demonstrate the fallacy of a Jewish democracy.

The suspense of waiting for the Israel supporters to say something was a bit of a fizzle, not the big drama it used to be at such events. Law professor Katherine Franke had urged the crowd not to be civil in discussing one of the most challenging moral questions of our time, and at the end, a man at the back said he had a short question.

“Do you believe that the Jewish people have a right to self determination?” And if so, “Where should it be?”

Barghouti said it was not up to him as a Palestinian to decide whether Jewish communities make up a nation, and where they should have a state. Though he pointed out that there was not consensus among Jews globally about whether they are a people; this is a recent debate, and in fact up till the 1945 the majority of  Jews did not support Jewish nationhood. Then he said sharply:

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Israeli Forces Confine Gaza Family to Home, Occupants Later Killed in Attack

 [In July, 2014, the Israeli military attack on the Palestinian people in Gaza was shown to be a terrorist, genocidal move, by forcing families to be confined, and then killing those who could not escape.  This continued a practice repeated many times.  Notably, in the previous Israeli assault on Gaza, in January 2009, the attack on the Al Zaytoun neighborhood began with soldiers, then two days of bombing, which struck the Al Samouni home, followed by soldiers shooting to kill.  26 members of the Al Samouni family were killed, including 10 children and 7 women. The Red Cross was only allowed entry three days later to evacuate the dead and injured, the majority of whom were so critical that they were taken to Belgium, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for treatment.  

The names of children killed: Azza Salah Al Samouni, 3 years of age; Waleed Rashad Al Samouni, 17 years of age;  Ishaq Ibrahim Al Samouni, 14 years of age; Ismail Ibrahim Al Samouni, 16 years of age; Rifka Wael Al Samouni, 8 years of age; Fares Wael Al Samouni, 12 years of age; Huda Nael Al Samouni, 17 years of age; Ahmad Atieh Al Samouni, 14 years of age;  Mu’tassim Mohammed Al Samouni, 6 years of age; Mohammed Hilmi Al Samouni, 5 years of age.

Names of Women Killed:  Rahma Mohammed Al Samouni, 50 years of age; Safa’ Hilmi Al Samouni, 25 years of age; Maha Mohammed Al Samouni, 22 years of age; Rabbab Azzat Al Samouni, 32 years of age; Laila Nabih Al Samouni, 40 years of age; Rifqa Mohammed Al Samouni, 50 years of age; Hannan Khamis Al Samouni, 36 years of age.

Names of Men Killed: Tallal Hilmi Al Samouni, 55 years of age; Attieh Hilmi Al Samouni, 25 years of age; Rashad Hilmi Al Samouni, 42 years of age; Tawfiq Rashad Al Samouni, 23 years of age; Mohammed Ibrahim, 26 years of age; Ziyad Izzat Al Samouni, 28 years of age; Nidal Ahmad Al Samouni, 30 years of age; Hamdi Maher Al Samouni, 23 years of age; Hamdi Mahmoud Al Samouni, 70 years of age.

And now, again, in 2014.  —  Frontlines ed.]

beit hanoun

A Palestinian woman carries her belongings past the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Eight members of the Wahdan family, the youngest only two years old, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home in Gaza after Israeli forces confined them inside and used their home as a military base. Continue reading

“Block the Boat” Declares Decisive Victory Over Apartheid Israel

Oakland has made history once again with another BDS victory for Palestine against the Israeli Zim shipping line. This latest round of organizing has been the most momentous and historic. Members of ILWU Local 10 informed Block the Boat organizers that the Zim Beijing which was headed to the Port of Oakland, has been re-routed to Russia to avoid disruptions at the SSA terminal. For the first time ever, an Israeli ship has been completely turned away before reaching its port of destination due to sustained overwhelming community organizing.

The damage to Israel’s credibility can’t be exaggerated — the Zim line, though privately owned, is an Israeli “security asset.”  Israel exerts control over the corporation through a “golden share” which it uses to prevent the sale of the company into foreign hands. The Zim line is mandated to be part of Israel’s critical supply chain during protracted military conflicts. The brand and economic impact on Zim has yet to be calculated, but is surely devastating. Goods have been rerouted, and undelivered for months. ILWU workers have honored our pickets and sided with the community against US complicity in Israeli apartheid. Zim has been disrupted and confronted by anti-Zionist protests in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Orleans, New York and Tampa. Ports all over North America are making it clear that Israel can no longer conduct business as usual because Zionism is simply not welcome on our coasts.

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Egypt’s Israeli tactics in Sinai

 [See additional articles, photos, and videos on the Egyptian army’s military operation for a “buffer” on the Gaza-Sinai border, below. — Frontlines ed.]
About 800 homes will be razed as part of the operation.

About 800 homes will be razed as part of the operation.  Photo:  AFP

 Channel 4: “Buffer zone”

Channel 4 reports:  “As Israeli police moved in heavy numbers into the Silwan neighbourhood of Jerusalem adjacent to the old city, the Egyptian army’s demolition of buildings in Rafah, in northern Sinai, continued……..

Yesterday Egypt began clearing residents from the town, on the Egypt-Gaza border, in response to the killing by Islamic militants of at least 31 soldiers in the Sinai peninsula town of Sheikh Zuwaid…….Large explosions could be seen in Rafah as Egypt accelerated its plan to create a 500-metre deep buffer zone by clearing houses and trees, as well as destroying tunnels it says are used to smuggle arms from Gaza to Sinai militants…….General Abdel Fattah Harhour, governor of the north Sinai region, has said each family displaced by the demolition programme will receive 900 Egyptian pounds – just under £80 – to cover three months’ rent elsewhere……But Rafah resident Hammam Alagha wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that his family had been given no more than eight hours to evacuate their home before it was blown up.”

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Gaza: From the massacre and rubble of Shejalya, statues of memory and witness…

Palestinian artist captures Gaza pain in clay

October 28, 2014
GAZA CITY : Palestinian artist Iyyad Sabbah (R),40, stands in front of his statues standing amidst the rubble of buildings destroyed during the 50 days of conflict between Israel and Hamas last summer, in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City on October 21, 2014. The statues are made of fiberglass and covered with clay and are depictions of the Palestinians who fled their houses from Israeli shelling during the most recent conflict. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS

GAZA CITY – Among the mountains of rubble littering Gaza after a deadly summer war, clay outlines emerge of men, women, and children with a story to tell about fear, flight and destruction.

Though his sculptures, which are made of fibreglass and covered with clay, Iyyad Sabbah relates the pain of those who lived through this latest conflict with Israel during which nearly 2,200 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians.
Some are splashed with blood-red paint, those closest to the ruins of homes flattened by bombs in Gaza City’s eastern Shejaiya district.
The neighborhood, on the border with Israel, lay on the frontline when ground troops went in and was largely reduced to a wasteland in the war launched to halt cross-border militant rocket fire.
It is in Shejaiya that Sabbah, a professor of art at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa University, has chosen to locate his installation, attracting many passers-by.
“These statues recall the war, when we fled – men, women and children – some in just their underwear,” reflected Mohammed al-Latif, 20, who escaped his home shortly before it was flattened in an Israeli drone strike.
Personification of suffering
“These statues are a new form of art by giving form to the suffering of Gazans,” said the artist, who was delighted at the warm reception local people have given to his figures of clay.

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison


Palestinians walk under the minaret of a destroyed mosque in Gaza. Israel not only are profiting from the reconstruction but also turning the territory into a super-maximum prison. Photo: Mohammed Saber / EPA

According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help.

Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?

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Under cover of reconstruction, UN and PA become enforcers of Israel’s Gaza siege

[Among the more cynical acts of “humanitarian imperialism” is the invention of this “relief” program for the further humiliation and victimization of the Gazan victims of imperialism and Zionism. — Frontlines ed.]
10/17/2014

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/under-cover-reconstruction-un-and-pa-become-enforcers-israels-gaza-siege

Details given in a confidential briefing this week confirm that the UN has agreed to become the chief enforcer of Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza.

Under the guise of reconstruction, the UN will be monitoring and gathering private information about Palestinian households to be passed onto Israel, which will have a veto over which families get aid to rebuild their homes.

This was presented as part of an effort to try to entrench and legitimize the Israeli-backed Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza.
Under the arrangements, Israel will be given even more intrusive control over the lives of Palestinians in Gaza, who will be subjected to onerous ongoing monitoring as they try to rebuild their houses, communities and lives following Israel’s summer massacre.

UN agencies estimate that almost 90,000 homes must be rebuilt, in addition to hundreds of schools and other major infrastructure systematically destroyed in Israel’s attack, or degraded by years of blockade.

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California Dock Workers Struggle Against Class Collaboration

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee’s Response to ILWU International’s Statements on ZIM Protests
Recent ILWU press releases and public statements are misleading and conflict with well-established ILWU policies and positions on Palestine and Israel. The editor of the ILWU newspaper, The Dispatcher, at the direction of the ILWU President, can not overturn those policies and positions without a vote by Convention delegates.

The Israeli Consulate’s statement that the ZIM Pireaus sailed from the port of Oakland on August 20 after completing cargo operations is untrue. But for the ILWU Communications Director, Craig Merrilees, to make that same statement, reaffirming the Zionist’s self-serving distortion places the ILWU on the side of those responsible for the recent slaughter of over 2,100 Palestinians, most of them innocent Gazan civilians. The false statement implies that the 5-days of picketing by thousands of protesters had no impact on cargo operations. The original call for a mass protest on August 16 and 17, mobilizing a few thousand was made by a coalition, Block the Boat, initiated by the Arab Research and Organizing Committee. However, subsequent picketing on August 18, 19 and 20 that stopped the ship’s cargo operations was done spontaneously by a smaller group of Bay Area activists, including the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee.

The truth is that after failing to gets its cargo worked at the SSA terminal, ZIM Lines tried to fool protesters that the ship was sailing to Russia, but longshoremen knew otherwise. The ship departed August 19, headed out the Golden Gate at night then abruptly reversed course, made a Williamson turn and headed back to the Port of Oakland, this time to Berth 22. Ports America, the employer, tried to shift longshore workers from another ship to work the ZIM Pireaus but there already was a picket line at the terminal gate. Some ILWU Local 10 members refused to work the ship. Those that reluctantly worked it, despite pressure from the employer and union officials, rebelled by slowing down cargo ops to a crawl. One crane operator boasted that barely 1% of containers was actually moved before the ZIM ship was forced to sail. Continue reading

Netanyahu-Modi Forging a Global Zionist-Hindutva anti-Muslim alliance

[Bringing together the leader of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine with the leader of the Gujarat Massacres, ominous new steps in diplomatic/state-spying/military conspiracies, open and covert, are forged–as The Jerusalem Post spins, below, in glowing terms. — Frontlines ed.]

modi-israel-L

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting in New York. (Source: AP)

Netanyahu Meets PM of India, Seeks Strengthened Ties

“We are both ancient peoples but we are also two democracies,” Netanyahu tells India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

By Ben Ariel, Jerusalem Post,, 9/29/2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Sunday with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in New York, marking the first meeting between an Israeli Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of India in more than a decade.

During the meeting, Netanyahu and Modi spoke of the danger of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, and the threat posed by Islamic terrorism around the world. Continue reading

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

Workers Against Israel — Bay Area Actions Against ZIM

[The campaign to stop the export of Israeli goods via the ZIM shipping line continues to have significant effect on the Israeli economy and on the growing strength of the BDS movement worldwide.  The article below analyzes the impact of this campaign, and announces a “Block the Boat” action for October 25.  And another action has been announced by the Stop ZIM Action Committee for this Saturday, September 27:  “Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) Endorses September 27th community picket of Zim Shanghai at Port of Oakland. …Citing the historic four-day blockade of the Zim Piraeus initiated by the Block the Boat coalition last August, the endorsement salutes Oakland dockworkers and community activists for their ‘principled, ongoing and effective solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality’….The Stop ZIM Action Committee, an ad hoc committee formed to organize the September 27th blockade, appeals to all activists to join the picket lines when the Zim Shanghai arrives. We are currently projecting the first assembly at the West Oakland BART Station at 5am on Saturday, September 27th. Please text ‘Join’ to 88202 or monitor @StopZimOak on Twitter for updates closer to the picket date, since the ship may arrive earlier or later.”  —  Frontlines ed.]

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by jacobinmag.com, 24 September 2014

Nothing is more crucial to the success of BDS than the movement’s relationship with organized labor.

Robert Croma / Flickr

Over the past year, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign has finally gained some widespread political attention in the United States: from the American Studies Association’s vote to endorse the academic boycott of Israel, to the flurry of student votes for divestment at the University of California and other US campuses, to the unprecedented criticism that met Scarlett Johansson when she quit her role as global ambassador for Oxfam so she could continue as global ambassador for SodaStream.

Last month’s protests at West Coast ports point not only to the momentum with which BDS has moved forward – more quickly than most activists could have predicted – but also to the possibility of direct action posing an ever graver threat to business as usual for Israel, particularly when organized labor is on board.

Until now, no one had ever kept an Israeli cargo ship from unloading for two consecutive days; we blocked the Zim Piraeus for four.

From Saturday, August 16 to Tuesday, August 19, activists at the Port of Oakland protested Israeli human rights abuses by picketing the berths where the ship intended to offload its cargo.

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U.S. Guilty Of War Crimes in Palestine

Photo by Marius Arnesen

The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.’s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong—deadly wrong.

While Israeli bombs were hammering Gaza, Alice Lynd with the assistance of Staughton Lynd, drafted a 32-page pamphlet which was published by the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW) titled, Violations by Israel and the Problem of Enforcement (August 2014). The policy paper places the U.S. in front of its own mirror and meticulously documents how one hand of the U.S. government systematically documents Israeli violations of U.S. law and international law, while the other hand unconditionally dishes out financial, military, and diplomatic support to Israel.

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The Growing Phenomenon of Pro-Israeli Advocacy in Chinese Academia

[The prominent and powerful role of the Israeli Lobby in the policies and practices of the imperialist world system, often described as a special relationship with the US (and closely related Canadian and European) imperialists, is not limited to those relations.  Israeli strategic planners actively pursue the widest range  of imperialist relations; they will not be tethered to the success of US hegemonism, especially when crises and internal contentions and surrogate instability are matched by growing global challenges from China and others.  The news of the Sino-Israeli alliance-building may surprise those  “anti-imperialists” who confine their opposition (and pro-Palestinian activism) to the US (and US-led) forces allied with Israel, but imperialism is a larger system, and Israel will not confine its fortunes to the US. — Frontlines ed.]

Over the last decade, a network of loosely affiliated pro-Israeli organizationsembracing a number of think tanks, universities, lobbyist groups, foundations, activist-scholars as well as donorshave successfully established a foothold in Chinese academia. The aim of these groups in China has been to provide a platform for espousing hasbaraa Hebrew term for “explanation” denoting the utilization of diplomatic, media, and political mediums to clarify and defend Israel’s positions and actionsthat would serve to re-shape Chinese academic perceptions of the Jewish state. The logic underlying this advocacy is that it would eventually influencegiven prevailing assumptions about the Chinese government’s reliance on the opinion of scholars and expertsthe calculations of Chinese policymakers, nudging them toward positions more conducive to the preservation and maximization of Israeli interests over the long-term.

[Image of a graphic that demonstrates the SIGNAL backed ISP zones in China. Image from Sino-Israel.org]

Israel: 7,000 Eritrean and Sudanese Migrants ‘Coerced’ into Leaving

By Gianluca Mezzofiore, International Business Times (UK)
September 9, 2014

african miogrants israel

African migrants hold signs and gesture as they protest against Israel’s detention policy toward them, from inside the fence surrounding Holot, Israel’s southern Negev desert detention centre February 17, 2014

 reuters/Amir CohenIsrael has been accused of using unlawful detention and restrictive asylum policies to try to pressure 51,000 Eritrean and Sudanese migrants into leaving the country.

A fresh report by New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) concluded that the Israeli government created “convoluted legal rules” to get around international and domestic law about protection of refugees and used the insecure legal status of Eritrean and Sudanese migrants to detain them indefinitely.

The asylum-seekers find themselves in a coercive position with the choice of living in fear of spending the rest of their days locked up in desert detention centres” or risking life-threatening abuse back home.

“Destroying people’s hope of finding protection by forcing them into a corner and then claiming they are voluntarily leaving Israel is transparently abusive,” Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at HRW and author of the 83-page report, said. Continue reading