Yitzhak Benhorin / YNet & Sir Gerald Kaufman / House of Commons & George Galloway / House of Commons & Lynn Pollack / Jewish Voice for Peace – 2009-01-18 23:01:03
Israel, US Foil UN Condemnation
Yitzhak Benhorin / YNet
WASHINGTON (January 16, 2009) – Israel and the US succeeded in preventing a United Nations announcement condemning the Jewish state for its strike on a UN compound in Gaza Thursday. The condemnation was proposed by Britain among other countries.
The announcement was scheduled to be released to the press by current Security Council President, French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert. Instead, Ripert made a public speech calling on both sides to cease their fire, according to UN Resolution 1860.
EU ambassadors initiated the council meeting following the IDF strike on an UNRWA compound in Gaza earlier Thursday. The meeting was intended to end with the issue of an announcement declaring Israel responsible for the situation in Gaza.
Israeli diplomats alerted US diplomats to the intention, and the latter transferred Israel’s response to the Security Council while the meeting proceeded – which caused the council to disperse without a concrete resolution.
Israel’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Danny Carmon, told Ynet that “this is the first time we have succeeded in thwarting an attempt to act against us thanks to reliable firsthand information received from the Foreign Ministry and the IDF.”
At least three people were injured in the IDF attack on the UNRWA compound. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apologized for the incident before UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but stressed that IDF forces were attacked from the building before it was hit.
Roni Sofer contributed to this report
Jewish British Lawmaker Likens Israel to Nazis
Sir Gerald Kaufman / House of Commons
LONDON (January 16, 2009) — Sir Gerald Kaufman, yesterday compared the actions of Israeli troops in Gaza to the Nazis who forced his family to flee Poland. Kaufman, a member of the Jewish Labour movement linked to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ruling party, also called for an arms embargo against Israel.
Sir Gerald, who was brought up as an orthodox Jew and Zionist, said: “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.
“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”
He said the claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants “was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”
He accused the Israeli government of seeking “conquest” and added: “They are not simply war criminals, they are fools.”
“We Are The Authors of This Tragedy”
George Galloway / House of Commons
LONDON (January 15, 2009) — George Galloway’s powerful speech in the House of Commons debate on Gaza, highlighting the hypocrisy and brazen double-standards of Western foreign policy towards Israel policies, including assassinations and other war crimes.
Challenging the Jewish Double-Standard
Lynn Pollack / Jewish Voice for Peace
Just a few days after the bombing of Gaza started, my rabbi, Rabbi Brant Rosen here in Evanston, Illinois had the courage to write something on his blog* that may forever change his life, and the lives of those around him. As I read it, I could literally feel the earth shift beneath my feet. He said,
We good liberal Jews are ready to protest oppression and human-rights abuse anywhere in the world, but are all too willing to give Israel a pass. It’s a fascinating double-standard, and one I understand all too well. I understand it because I’ve been just as responsible as anyone else for perpetrating it.
So no more rationalizations. What Israel has been doing to the people of Gaza is an outrage. It has has brought neither safety nor security to the people of Israel and it has wrought nothing but misery and tragedy upon the people of Gaza.
The earth is shifting on this issue when the people to whom we look for guidance about right and wrong, people like Rabbi Brant, finally speak the trut— that killing will not bring peace. Not for the Israelis, not for the Palestinians, not for anyone. Many people from my own congregation, including my own daughter, wrote him to say “Thank you, thank you for finally saying these words out loud.”
I felt something similar when I saw Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on Monday night. While almost all of the mainstream news in the United States has reported the story without any context whatsoever, repeating the lie that this is a simple case of Israel defending its people against irrational attacks, it was Jon Stewart, the main source of news for an entire generation of Americans, who got it right**.
He talked about the “soul-crushing” siege of Gaza, the occupation that has forced Palestinians to go through checkpoints to do anything at all, the perverse logic of trying to “get a war in” just before Obama’s inauguration. When I watched this segment, I knew the earth was shifting. And I knew I had to thank Jon, and to make sure everyone I know watches his segment.
We all know that if every Jew in America said no to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians, it would still happen, because it has is seen as serving the interests of our country’s foreign interests. And it is supported by Christian fundamentalists who believe it is one step closer to the end times. That’s why we all need to work together- every single one of us.
So thank Jon by going here. And then tell everyone you know to watch this video. Tell your friends that if it seems like what is happening now is wrong, that’s because it is.
By the way, the last haunting words of Rabbi Brant’s post were these: “There, I’ve said it. Now what do I do?”
At Jewish Voice for Peace, it’s our mandate to answer that question. We’re planning a broad-based response that we know will make a difference, and the heart of that response will be every single one of you. We’ll ask you to have those conversations with everyone you know, to educate yourselves, to let the world know peace with justice is possible.
Send a THANK YOUNote to Jon Stewart.
Tell everyone you know to watch the segment.
On The Daily Show‘s January 5 “Strip Maul” segment, Jon Stewart did what few American television personalities have dared to do: he criticized Israel’s campaign against Gaza, making it clear that bombing will not bring peace for Israelis or Palestinians. He mocked the one-sided response of U.S. politicians by calling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the “Mobius strip of issues because there’s only one side!”
He’s sure to get thousands of complaints, so send Jon a letter of appreciation and then ask all your friends to watch this segment.
Letter to Jon Stewart & The Daily Show
I saw your Strip Maul segment about Gaza and Israel. When nearly all American politicians are getting it wrong, you said exactly what needed to be said at a time when people everywhere most need to hear it, and that matters.
We’ll never achieve peace through bombing or occupation.