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Why Do So Few Speak Up for Gaza?

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Posted on Jan 6, 2009
Gaza rubble
AP photo / Khaled Omar

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, destroyed in Israel’s military onslaught.

By Robert Scheer

Why are we so indifferent to the death and destruction in Gaza?

The major news outlets meekly accepted Israel’s banning of journalists from entering Gaza as an excuse for downplaying collateral civilian casualties, our president-elect, Barack Obama, has had little to say about an invasion that will much complicate his future Mideast peace efforts, and most commentators easily rationalize Israel’s many-more-eyes-for-an-eye killings.

Why is it that there is such widespread acceptance, beginning with the apologetic arguments of President Bush, that whatever Israel does is always justified as necessary to the survival of the Jewish state?

It is not.

While the Hamas rocket attacks are reprehensible, they are also an ineffectual challenge to Israel’s enormous security apparatus, and the severity of Israel’s response to them is counterproductive. Clearly, the very existence of Israel is not now, nor has it ever been, seriously challenged by anything the Palestinians did. Not back in 1948, when Israel was established as a state with insignificant Palestinian military resistance, nor at the time of the 1967 Six-Day War when Egypt, Syria and Jordan fought Israel.

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The Palestinians were in no position to confront the Israeli army, because those whose lands were not already occupied by Israel were living under oppressive Egyptian control in Gaza and tough Jordanian rule in the West Bank. After the speedy Israeli victory, which demolished the myth of the new state’s vulnerability, the Palestinians became imprisoned as a people by Israel for crimes they had not committed.

Even if we accept the harshest portrayal of the tactics and motives of the Palestinian movements against Israel after the Six-Day War, at what point did that terrorism represent a serious challenge to the survival of the Jewish people or the state that claims to speak in their name? Yet that survival is invoked to justify the vastly excessive use of force by the Israeli war machine, with frequent allusions to the Holocaust previously visited upon the Jewish people, a holocaust that had nothing to do with Palestinians or Muslims, and everything to do with Central Europeans claiming to be Christians.

The high moral claim of the Israeli occupation rests not on the objective reality of a Palestinian threat to Israel’s survival, but rather on the non sequitur cry that “never again” should harm come to Jews as it did in Central Europe seven decades ago.

The basic argument is that Palestinian terrorists represented by Hamas are given to an irrational hatred of Jews so profound that it invalidates their movement, even when they win elections. That was not the view of the Israeli security service when it earlier supported Hamas as the alternative to the then dreaded PLO. Also, history is replete with examples of terrorists becoming statesmen, even within the early ranks of Jews fighting to establish the state of Israel.

One of those was Menachem Begin, who went on to be an elected leader of the new state. But before Begin attained that respectability, back in 1948 when he visited the United States, a group of prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook and Hannah Arendt wrote a letter to The New York Times warning that Begin was a former leader of the “Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.” The letter urged Jews to shun Begin, arguing, “It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.”

Begin’s new party was then participating in the Israeli election, and Einstein and his colleagues, many of whom like the physicist had been victims of German fascism, stated, “Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character.”

Those actions were then detailed in the letter. They included the systematic terrorizing of innocent Palestinian men, women and children in an effort to force them to flee the territory that Begin’s party claimed for the new state of Israel.

Clearly Begin and his political heirs, who include Benjamin Netanyahu, the most likely victor in the next Israeli election, evolved in their behavior. But I bring it up now to highlight the one-sided reporting of the current phase of this interminable conflict and to wonder: Where are the voices that reflect the uncompromising morality of Einstein’s generation of Jewish intellectuals willing to acknowledge fault and humanity on both sides of the political equation?

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By PogueMahone, January 7, 2009 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

christian96 wrote:

In reference to the question of Jesus while on the
cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus knew God had not forsaken him.  Then, why did
he ask the question?  Jesus was directing people to
Psalm 22 which begins with the exact question, “My
God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”(Psalm 22:1)
Then, Psalm 22 goes on to describe a man being
crucified.  Psalm 22 was written over a 1,000 years
before Jesus was crucified.

Has the thought occurred to you that the jesus myth stories were written to match the prophesies?

MVHOME wrote:

I submit had Hamas spent the funds on infrastructure and social services that they spent on missiles we would be seeing different pictures from Gaza and the beautiful beaches that line it’s Mediterranean coast.


You simply regurgitate the AIPAC talking points I heard today on MSM.  Zionist terrorists are committing genocide.

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By yours truly, January 7, 2009 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gaza To Be The Undoing Of Zionism

“Based on?”

“Gaza looking more and more like the Warsaw Ghetto.”

“What’ll become of Israel, the Zionist state?”

“Into the dustbin of history.”

“And in its place?”

“Palestine.”

“Based on?”

“One equals one.”

“Anything else?”

“Liberty and justice for all.”

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By Sepharad, January 7, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cilcster, Shenonymous, Howard and Jim Yell have said most of what I’d say. I’ll only add that most TDers mightily underestimate the resources of Hamas—not just UN charity and the humanitarian aid intended for the Palestinian people that Hamas rips off and uses as a political tool, but the really big bucks and Kassams (and probably worse to come) from Iran. Hezbollah will only open a northern front if they think Hamas is losing, but they are also fat and prosperous and well-supplied by Iran.

Hamas stepped up rocketing when it did because of some real, if minor, improvement in building a decent economy in the West Bank AND because Syria and Israel were creeping indirectly but definitely toward coming to an accommodation. All of this was totally disrupted with the Israelis finally struck back. The worst thing that could happen, from Hamas’ point of view, would be increasing peace and prosperity in the region because that would badly derail their frequently stated objective: destroy Israel at all costs.

If these hostilities had to be now rather than later there is a minor silver lining because there’s now some hope that Barak and Livni might render Netanyahu irrelevent in the coming elections. If he became Prime Minister of Israel, it would set back the possibility of peace years, decades.

I’m following it as closely as possible as I can, largely thanks to a longtime Bedouin friend near Be’ersheva, and it’s every bit as appalling as it seems. Non-Hamas Gazans are suffering miserably right along with the cowardly Hamas men who are launching rockets and initiating firefights INSIDE residential neighborhoods and wearing civilian clothes. Of course the Palestinians on the West Bank are horrified: it’s their people who are being killed by Israeli forces. My friend says they are now blaming Abu Mazen and Israel rather than Hamas but will realize eventually what is going on once things settle down. There are supposedly 20,000 Hamas “fighters” against far fewer uniformed Israeli soldiers, yet the former are dressed in civvies except for occasional photo ops making it even harder to avoid civilian casualties.

A 13-year-old Gaza boy said it most concisely: “Hamas should not attack Israel, because Egypt does not attack Israel and Israel is not attacking Egypt.”

Someone on the thread asked whether Egypt might not absorb Gaza—but none of the Arab countries really want the Palestinians, which is why they are still in such poor condition. Israel would love to give Gaza back to Egypt but it’s no sale. The Egyptians remember when Jordan allowed displaced Palestinians in and they immediately began attacking Israel. Jordan turned their fierce Bedouin armies loose on the Palestinians, dispersing them to Lebanon and Tunis. I don’t really understand why Arabs will not take in their brother Arabs.

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By cyrena, January 7, 2009 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the post TAO..
Here’s the best part, which I guess we can’t find enough ways to articulate..
•  “How can we ever address, to any mutually beneficial effect, this ALL-Life-threatening situation if we’re unwilling or unable to face it’s true nature and dimensions?  If we can’t admit that it is “civilization” itself which is killing everything in its “path,” if we stubbornly insist it is only some “glitch” in what is an otherwise desirable (even absolutely necessary) apparatus, caused by some ideological or institutional or electro-mechanical sub-structure being mis- or mal-managed   by “others” either ignorant or “evil,” then chances of actually coming-to-grips with what ails “mankind” here in these latter days become quickly quite vanishingly small.”
….at least in respect to the concept of addressing the true nature and dimensions of the ALL-Life-threatening situation. In fact, I’m specifically obsessed on calling things what they are, which is the same thing as a proper ‘diagnosis’ in my hybrid Native view. In the Middle East I see Genocide. That is the symptom of a social misalignment. The symptoms are supposed to lead us to the cause of the maladjustment, whether they be in the form of the ‘domesticated’ attempts via the academy, or the Real Deal Medicine Woman in Native tongue. I’m comfortable enough, (at least at this point along the path) to keep developing this hybrid.

So there’s no mistaking this event as a symptom of a very serious disruption in the Living Arrangement TAO. But the REASONS are complicated, if we’re looking at it from the ‘domesticated’ view of the tame-two-leggeds. That said,  we have to address it from that side as well. In fact, if we examine any Genocidal event in the history of say just the past 100 years, we find similar sets of socio-political environments and empirical data. They are too many too list now, and would be too much like ‘work’ anyway.

Still, at the end of the day, the crux is in the same spot. The diagnosis must be made, and the domesticated two-leggers will have to finally accept the reality of it. Until we acknowledge that the rot is there, and establish and except the nature of the rot, we can’t find a way to repair or otherwise eradicate the rot.

Now on this:

•  “Native Guidance is still available, if requested.”

Personally speaking, I ALWAYS need Native Guidance. I figure it to be in the same category as water. As for whether or not Obama has Completed the Ceremony; my guess is that he’s getting a crash course now. But, I think he’s a quick study.

It probably couldn’t hurt for you to make yours available to him, even if he doesn’t specifically request it.  He could wiser than we both think, and just wanna avoid leaving a domesticated paper trail. wink

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By paul bass, January 7, 2009 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

well now that the death toll of israelis killed by hamas is equal to the death toll of israeli’s killed by freindly fire maybe the idf should attack the idf since it is a threat to the lives of israelis

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By Bazza, January 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

quote: “Why are we so indifferent to the death and destruction in Gaza?”

It could be because they haven’t learnt anything from the expression ‘don’t poke the bear’?

Sympathy for self-inflicted wounds is not often forthcoming.

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By Claudia Chaufan, January 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, Mr. Scheer, for your always well argued and documented articles. I must only wonder whether you are right that “so few” speak up for Gaza. Maybe you are. But maybe not.

I do, and have, stood up for Gaza, yet to no avail, at least so far. I often wonder how many deaths, how many lives of innocent children, it will take. I have stood up for Gaza with friends and family, who have concluded at best that I am “confused”, at worst that I am an “antisemite”—and odd state of affairs indeed, because I am Jewish.

But as American Jew, and first and foremost a human being, I am (doubly)horrified, grief-stricken, and ashamed that my tax dollars are supporting this massacre.

I am even more shocked that Palestinians, unlike us Jews, have to make a case for their victimization. While the slaughtered in the Holocaust (that as you pointed out was perpetrated by Europeans, not Arabs) will not come back, at least we Jews have been recognized as victims, granted the world’s compassion, and achieved some measure of justice in Nuremberg.

In contrast, all the innocent Palestinians being now massacred while the world looks the other way have to make a case for the fact that they are victims, not oppressors. I am including here all males over the age of 12, whose rights Israel tramples and whose lives it takes away on the justification that they are “Hamas sympathizers”, or worse, “terrorists”.

I am even more shocked at the ignorance or dishonesty (or both) of a media apparatus that largely portrays this callous attack on civilians as a “war between equals”, when it is more than clear that it is not: it is an attack by military occupiers on their occupied, not only immoral but also illegal under international law. And anybody who believes that it was Hamas who broke the so-called truce, and therefore is to blame, has not been paying attention.

If Israeli, and our, politicians truly valued human life, they would forcefully commit to a peace process that included at the very least the immediate end to the occupation, a continuing irritant for most if not all the unrest in the Middle East, and a violation of UN resolution 242 dating back to 1967. Americans would also demand that Israel implement UN resolution 194, dating back to 1948, and compensate refugees for having been kicked out of their homes, or allow them to return. Anything less (as Iehud Barak or Clinton wanted us to believe in 1993) is not serious, let alone honest or just.

Last but not least, it would certainly help if Israel apologized for the massacres perpetrated on so many civilians during Israel’s 1948 “War of Independence”, that Palestinians call Nakba or catastrophe. Canadians apologized to Native Canadians for the forced relocations, residential schools, and so forth. Yet did this did not endanger Canadian sovereignty. It would be worth Israel’s while to try, if rather than more land grabs it wants to allow its people, and Palestinians, to share a land where justice and peace prevail.

Is this too much to hope, given that close to three billion of our tax dollars go as foreign aid to Israel, which reciprocates the favor by using 70% of their military budget to buy weapons from us?

Maybe it is not. Not if Americans, both Jews and non-Jews, educate ourselves about these matters, and demand that our politicians do the job we hired them for, including taking the peace process in the Middle East seriously.

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By truedigger3, January 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous wrote:
“and I am one of them since it is not precisely clear who is right or who is wrong in this conflict”

Shenonymous,

When you witness a violent brutal rape and the victim
resists and only manages to scratch the aggressor few
scratches then you do not call that a “conflict”.
And if in that situation it is not clear to you what
is wrong then you have a lot to learn.
But please do not depend on the MSM for your informations. Depend on the internet and there are few books one of them is “Beyond Chutzpah” by Finkelstein or the “Holocaust Industry” also by Finkelstein.

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By TAO Walker, January 7, 2009 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Many here, including Robert Scheer, sincerely scratch-the-surface of what’s going-on at the eastern end of the Middle-Earth Sea.  Not surprisingly it is pretty easy for them to “draw blood,” too.  A few suggest (with some bitterness?) that this is merely one more proof of the fundamental unfitness of Human Beings to survive.  This old Indian presumes to offer a couple of comments.

First, when condemning Two-leggeds to hell, or oblivion, it is wise to distinguish carefully between homo domesticus or “civilized” peoples who exist in miserably abject captivity, and surviving free wild natural Human Beings who abide within the integrity of our organic function within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth within the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself.

It may be almost impossible for most domesticated people to see events in “Palestine/Israel” as evidence of a ten-thousand-year-long process here initiated for the specific purpose of bringing things to what they are right now….and nothing else.  Put it together with the rest of “history,” though, and a clear pattern of “progress” to that exact effect certainly does emerge.

Naturally people already at-the-(dubious)-mercy of agencies and circumstances run rampant beyond even any illusion of being under any “official” control wish to particularize and even quarantine the craziness erupting today all over “the Holy Land”....if only in their conceptualization of it.  Might it be wiser to recognize the “madness” as just the latest, most attention-grabbing symptom of a deadly disease that is in fact “global” in its extent, and unavoidably inherent in the very condition (domestication) that nearly everybody here is actually in at-the-moment?

How can we ever address, to any mutually beneficial effect, this ALL-Life-threatening situation if we’re unwilling or unable to face it’s true nature and dimensions?  If we can’t admit that it is “civilization” itself which is killing everything in its “path,” if we stubbornly insist it is only some “glitch” in what is an otherwise desirable (even absolutely necessary) apparatus, caused by some ideological or institutional or electro-mechanical sub-structure being mis- or mal-managed   by “others” either ignorant or “evil,” then chances of actually coming-to-grips with what ails “mankind” here in these latter days become quickly quite vanishingly small.

The soon-to-be U.S. president has claimed to have “a vision for america” and, by implcation, “the world.”  There is in fact a Living Ceremony for acquiring just exactly that kind of Vision.  If Barack Obama has actually completed the Ceremony, it is a good thing, and his claim perhaps a cause for “HOPE.”  If not, he’d better DO it, before whatever counterfeit he’s under-the-spell-of leads him and everybody else caught in the toils of this “global” contraption into a virtual world-o’-hurt in which only the pain and carnage will be real.

Native Guidance is still available, if requested.

HokaHey!

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By Fadel Abdallah, January 7, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

A hypothetical question to Obama to match his oft-quoted hypothetical question making the rounds in the misguided news outlets and repeated lately by the terrorist Zionists to justify their massacre of besieged, terrorized and under-armed Palestinians in their little parcel of land:

“What would you do Obama if the morning after you settle in that “Dark House” of yours, you’ll wake up to a Zionist army surrounding it and cutting all life’s basic supplies and necessities and preventing your darling daughters from going to school?!”

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By Spiritgirl, January 7, 2009 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

We as “human beings” have become de-sensitized to violence.  It started slowly, but has been on the increase - whether it is because we watch violent movies, our children are exposed to violent video games, even music videos are rampant with violence and sex or implied sexuality.  We have also been involved with a disastrous “shock & awe” war that was televised as though it was “theater”!  Not to mention that “those people” are “not like us” mentality that many people have!

I mean many on the zealot right would have you to believe that Palestinian children have horns, are born with “terrorism” in their blood, etc.!  Please, people the world over, all have similar ideals and goals for their children - to be happy, to be healthy, to be able to provide the best that they can for them!  As “human beings” we have forgotten that we are really spirit experiencing this humanity that we all have a share in, both positively and negatively!

Let us face it, in this day, the “modern” Israeli state continues to use what happened to them as a people under the Nazi’s to both shame the world into silence and submission, as they brutalize the Palestinian people into submitting to the Israeli will!  It is past time for people of good conscious to stand up and start demanding fair treatment for the Palestinians!  The phrase never again was not coined by the European Jews just for them - the phrase “never again” is used against the abuse of all people that are being persecuted!!!!!

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By mvhome, January 7, 2009 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

Big B wrote…

“Apparently the holocost has given all jewish people carte blanche to commit any attrocity they deem nesessary for their survival. They seem to have learned well from their former nazi benefactors.”

An interesting take on Israel’s justification for it’s current action in Gaza.

I think you have bought into a revisionist notion that fails to reflect the situation. 8 years and 10K missiles into residential neighborhoods of Sderot is the reason.

The primary responsibility of any nation state is the protection of it’s citizens. Missiles set to destroy civilians despite continued requests for it to stop over the course of these 8 years finally needed to be addressed.

I submit had Hamas spent the funds on infrastructure and social services that they spent on missiles we would be seeing different pictures from Gaza and the beautiful beaches that line it’s Mediterranean coast.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, January 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

The thing about Pinter’s lecture is that it was printed and played only once in Stockholm and was censored in the US which is where it was intended to strike home!  Can you imagine in the land of the free and the 1st Amendment and NPR and Democracy Now?  Few ever had the benefit of this citizen of the world’s wisdom.

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By Shula Gross, January 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I read Bob Scheer’s article with interest and dismay. How easy it is for Bob, who has never seen war except when reporting other people’s wars, to declare unequivocally that Israel is so powerful its survival was never in doubt, not even in 1948. That is pure BS, Bob.

Let me ‘prove’ to you that the Yom Kippur was experienced by Israelis as their Shoa. Prior to 1973, Israelis regarded themselves as a new breed of Jews. Their forebears who experienced the Shoa were better forgotten, because Israelis are the new Jews who knew how to defend themselves. In Israeli literature the word Shoa hardly ever appeared. Not so after 1973. Now books about the Shoa abound. Suddenly the term ‘antisemitism’ has been added to the language. In fact, suddenly Israelis have become Jews. So, whereas it might seem to you that Israel is the invincible, hateful, dominant force in the area, that is not the way Israelis are experiencing their reality. 

Furthermore, I have no idea where Bob gets the idea that Israelis are worried about the survival of the Jewish people. Here in Tel Aviv, reading Haaretz in Hebrew, I have not noticed any such claim. All they are worried about is their own safety and continued prosperity. Just like everybody else.

May I remark here that Israel never wanted to take Gaza from the Egyptians who created the Gazan monster in the first place, by never allowing the Palestenians in Gaza to disperse into Egypt. Begin the conservative tried all he could to leave gaza in the hands of the Egyptians who refused to take it, and President Carter forced Israel to accept their terms. Not so smart in retrospect, was it?

The egyptians block their border with Gaza to this day. Where is their humanity?

Israelis are in fact very happy that this war is fought away from the glare of TV cameras, but with efficiency, and goal-orientation that were totally lacking in the second war on Lebanon. There is no doubt that the probability of Israeli soldiers being captured or killed is being minimized. The price is certainly Gaza’s infrastructure and buildings. There is also no doubt that Chamass’s operation from within civilian homes increases civilian casualties. There is also no doubt that the army has committed some grave mistakes, mostly due to the lack of good visibility from within tanks. The tragedy of the school being hit was certainly grievous. Without trying to compare the gravity of the event, several Israeli soldiers were hit by Israeli tanks. This should not happen.

Nonetheless, this is not a senseless war.

At this time Israelis are still satisfied that the army is executing its plan as envisaged before the war, even if foreign commentators cannot see the point of continuing the attacks.

But then this would not be the first time that untrained outside observers could not see the point made by military experts (the surcharge in Iraq…)and lived to change their mind.

One more point, and then I shall rest my case. It seems to me that a decisive blow to Chamass is far more likely to lead to a stable cease fire, than a blocked incursion. Even the Iranians might reconsider investing so much in arming Chamass after a decisive defeat. A stopped campaign might only whet their appetite for more action.

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By Shenonymous, January 7, 2009 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

I love quotes.  But that is all they are.  The world, that is, humankind, does not learn from history, and it does not know what is The Truth because each human has their own truth, so it ends up being the trooth. ~ Shenonymous

omop’s photo essay shows the insanity that is humankind. 

Neither sides wins, everybody loses.  It’s a very good game.  It’s called There is No Room for Truth. ~  Shenonymous

Truth (ahem, trooth) can never be reached by just listening to the voice of an authority. ~ Sir Francis Bacon

The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.  ~ Albert

Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true (ahem, to be the trooth) ~ Sir Francis Bacon, again.

If you are brave you will read Harold Pinter’s lecture upon receiving the Nobel Prize 2005 at this website.  It is a little bit long and seems a bit dated but it really is not.  So you have to have some fortitude, but if you are looking for truth, you might find some of it in this perspective.
http://www.fowlesbooks.com/PinterSpeech.htm

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By christian96, January 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

When I submit my comments I receive a message telling
me that my comments are an exact copy of previous
comments.  However, when I go back to the article
my comments are recorded.  I don’t understand why I
receive the message that my comments are an exact
copy of previous comments.

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By steveorestemarzicola, January 7, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Since Israel long ago hi-jacked other’s boots, can we call them jack-boots?  If so, Israel keeps it’s boot firmly on the neck of Gaza, enough to almost break it’s neck, then complains bitterly when the Gazans attempt to bite Israel’s toe, albeit through the boot.

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By christian96, January 7, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer reported the Holocaust was a result of
Central Europeans claiming to be Christians.  The
key phrase is “claiming to be Christians.”  Don’t
blame Jesus for what people do in the name of Jesus.
Mr. Scheer also made reference to Albert Einstein.
Many, if not all, scientists believe Albert Einstein
was the brightest person on earth during the 20th
Century.  In a book titled “Ideas and Opinions,”
Albert Einstein related that if we would remove all
the ADDITIONS which have been made to the teachings
of Jesus over the years, we would have teachings
which would lay a foundation for world peace.

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By omop, January 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Most probably because they do not get to view photographs as shown in this link:

 
http://portail.islamboutique.fr/gaza2008/

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By john from ojai, January 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Robert Scheer for your wonderful blog. There are so few places for truth to be heard. Reasons for the apathy. Most Americans have no idea about the history of this conflict.Most Americans can’t even find major countries on a map so this is understandable.How then are their beliefs formed? 1) The handful of media conglomerates benefit from war activity either directly or indirectly so they will print information that enhances their profit. The antidote is media reform and using every opportunity to educate the masses. This sight, Amy Goodman, If America Knew, KPFK, Free Gaza, Ian Masters, Jewish Voices for Peace are all sources that we should support with money. 2) AIPAC and similar lobbies have done an amazingly effective job in controlling our government by donations and intimidation.The antidote is campaign finance reform and having the peace inclined American Jews who are in the majority do what AIPAC has done-take control of politicians.We should all demand some political activity. Prosecute Israel for collective punishment of civilians which is against article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Eliminate the $5 billion a year that we give to Israel. They could not afford this occupation without us.Demand a just political solution to hundreds of thousands of indigenous Palestinians having their homes and land stolen from them.

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By Howard, January 7, 2009 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Free Israel from those who do not realize that Gaza gets more monies free than any other country in the Mid East. They depend entirely on UN monies, US monies and some from Europe. Completely on the dole.

They produce nothing, manufacture nothing, and grow nothing.  Not that some of their people didn’t try, but Hamas stopped cold any economic jobs or business’s or farms that dealt with Israel.

the Petro-arab countries with millions in their coffers help not at all in starting the Gazans on their way.  Those countries put them in gaza as well as in other camps in Lebanon, Syria, etc,; and refuse to integrate or help them economically.

Pay them lip-service only and want them to go on fronting their desire to eradicate Israel. 23 Arab countries and they do not want another one that might just show them up.  No they want to destroy Israel.

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By KDelphi, January 7, 2009 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

NABNYC—I agree completely! We just cannot afford it, economically, nor moraaly..

It is not that we just accept it—we PAY for it, as Scheer points out!

Palestine was blockaded and deprived of necessary food, water, medical care, heating oil, etc. for at least four months. That is genocide in itself.

Bobasdi and Scruff—Thanks. It does seem to be almost entirely political, here AND in Israel…

THe US promised to veto any action to broker a ceasefire in the UN Security Council. Last night, Israel bombed what it KNEW to be a UN-sponsored school, where civlianas were hiding, trying to keep safe. They had troops on the ground, They didnt have to do it—they wanted to do it. And, the US govt wanted them to, too.

Shame will come to Israel, and, by way of money, to the uS. It already has. You can hear the Israeali officials parroting Bush’s words, “regime change”, “lastin g ceasefire”. We need to convict the Bush Administration of war crimes , if we are ever to regain any standing in the world. Kucinich is calling for an investigation, which will probably be ignored by Dems and GOP alike..

CHAMISA—“I can assure you, that if my sleeping daughters visiting Palestinian friends were
victimized by Israeli bombs, my sole purpose in life would be the eradication of Israel.”

Precisely. That is why it is pure Judeo-Chritisan Thanatos.

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By christian96, January 7, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

To Shenonymous—-You are reading things into my
comments.  I didn’t say the God of Israel is different from the Christian God.  Perhaps, I was
not clear enough.  Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our
enemies are not flesh and blood(people) but are
spiritual.  For example, when talking to Peter(one
of his own disciples), Jesus said, “Get behind me
Satan(Matthew 16:23).”  Jesus obviously was not talking to Peter.  He was talking to the spirit
talking through Peter(Satan).  When Jesus said to
some Jews, “You are of your father the devil(John 8:44),” he was talking to evil spirits speaking
through the Jews.  By the way, it wasn’t THE Jews
or THE Romans who killed Jesus.  It was evil spirits
working through a few Jews and Romans who killed Jesus.  They didn’t know they were being influenced
by evil spirits.  That’s why Jesus said from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what
they do.”(Luke 23:34)
In reference to the question of Jesus while on the
cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus knew God had not forsaken him.  Then, why did
he ask the question?  Jesus was directing people to
Psalm 22 which begins with the exact question, “My
God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”(Psalm 22:1)
Then, Psalm 22 goes on to describe a man being
crucified.  Psalm 22 was written over a 1,000 years
before Jesus was crucified.
You ask about the 400 gods of other religions around
the world.  When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness,
the devil said, “If you will fall down and worship
me, I will give you all the kingdoms of the world.”
(Matthew 4:8,9)  The devil wants to be worshipped.
Therefore, I believe the devil has influenced religions around the world.
I do not understand why God told Joshua and the Hebrews to cross over the Jordan river and kill all
the men, women, and children in Jericho.  The 7th
chapter of Deuteronomy tells us it is because God
did not want the Hebrews to learn the ways of the
people in Jericho.  My question is “Did they have to
kill them?”  Couldn’t God have appeared to the people
in Jericho and say, “I have given this land to the
Hebrews and I want you to learn the ways of the Hebrews?”  I don’t understand why God would tell one
group of people to kill another group of people.
Maybe someone else has an answer.  In conclusion,
as I said several comments ago, it is my opinion
that Christians do not stand up for Gaza because
they have been taught that God gave the land to Israel and that God is with Israel.  I don’t know
why Antichristians don’t stand up for Gaza.

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By NABNYC, January 7, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People of conscience agonize over the question of why terrible things happen, why is there such evil in the world.  But the truth is simple and brutal.  It is usually all about the money.  In this case, that is the entire truth.

The U.S. politicians and the Israeli politicians are involved in a criminal enterprise which is centered on stealing billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers every year, sending it to Israel, with Israeli politicians taking some off the top and putting it into their own offshore accounts.  Then they take another chunk, launder it back into the U.S. through their “friends,” and their front groups in the U.S., who in turn take a percentage then pay the rest as kick-backs and bribes to the U.S. politicians.  It is one of the biggest cons going on in the country today.  And nobody does a thing to stop it. 

In order to justify stealing billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers, they need to be able to claim that Israel is in constant war, the blood of their children running through the streets.  The truth is that Israel is a much safer place to live than is the U.S. and, thanks to the money stolen from this country, their children can get medical care and go to college.  Courtesy of the working people in this country whose children get no medical and no college. 

Israel starts wars, steals land, makes up stories about how it happened, to keep the propaganda machine rolling, keep that money coming in.  It’s like Serpico:  any politician who chooses not to join in taking the bribes will be run out of office, even the other politicians lined up to throw them out. 

What we need to do is clear:  stop all funding to Israel, permanently.  Israel’s residents have a standard of living comparable to people in the U.K.  And there is no reason to steal money from Americans and send it to Israel.

Whether Israel has peace or keeps making wars is their own problem.  They are not a state, not a territory, not a part of the U.S..  And despite all the U.S. politicians falling all over themselves to keep that money coming in, the only thing “special” about the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is the astonishing and special amount of money that the politicians make from this corrupt system of theft and bribery.  And betrayal of the people of both countries.

U.S. Out of Israel.  Stop All the Money.  No more.

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By M Henri Day, January 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Imagine the outcry if, e g, Tibetans had been treated by Han Chinese as Palestinians have been treated by Israelis for the last six decades ! What massive appropriations would not have been be granted by an outraged US Congress to the CIA to smuggle weapons into Tibet, in order to «level the playing field» between the Tibetan opposition (which would definitely *not* be referred to as «terrorists») and the Chinese police and military ! (Those who think I exaggerate, might want to consider the arms shipped in by the US to muslim groups in Bosnia.) Now, of course, the main objective of what passes for «diplomacy» in Southwest Asia is concerned with closing tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, in order to prevent the transfer of weapons (F-16s and Apache helicopters, no doubt !) from the latter to the former. O tempora, o mores !...

Henri

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By dsmith, January 7, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Sheer,

See! That’s why you are no longer at the LA Times.

We couldn’t have you spouting this kind of anti-semitic garbage in a major newspaper. How dare you insinuate that US Jews and Israelis are a protected species.

You’re no Jonah Goldberg, Mr.Sheer!

Seriously, great article.

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By donl51, January 7, 2009 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Well I didn’t get to read all the comments posted ,but I’m certain I’m just repeating some in mine…..We simply do not get the truth of the matter,...ok we here do,but mainstream America,if it bothers listening to the news at all is litening to the mainstream news,and we all know that their worth is questionable when dealing w/ other than,Johnny hit mikey on the head should he be incarcerated>!...we don’t even hardly get the news that anyone in any other country ,gives a shit either,freedom of speech ends at the border crossings and at the editors desk…who answers to a higher power,and it ain’t god!....This is why we with brains seek out the truth,unfortunately their are far to few of us to do more than ,inform,teach others,another problem of more recent heritage,is that most of Americans are struggling to stay afloat,...The US Gov. has got to lose its guilt complex over this and get w/the program…So! Israell we.‘ve done for you…so what can Israell do for us!?.....I say we start helping Cuba!...most if not all of Batistes followers are dead…lets help clean up that nation the right way…perhaps we’ll gain a friend!!Let Israell fend for themselves they’re bullies!!bullies last until finally someone gets tired of it….and we’ve all experienced a bully…

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By Howard, January 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Hamas is at fault. Can’t govern and has only caused great Harm to its people.  Does not build a normal society and only exists to promote hatred and terrorism. Its charter and leaders call for the complete destruction of Israel and its inhabitants.

It is taught in kindergarten classes all day. And taught to all children. Hamas finally promoted and instigated and forced Israel to defend itself.  Plenty of warnings from Israel to stop, but no, Hamas kept up and even increased it reat of rockets. Now it is counting on world opinion and is claiming foul ! As they hide amongst the civilians.- The bully on the block has been called to task.

If rockets were coming over every day in the U.S.from Mexico, and they said the Texans were occupying their country and land, do you think we would put up with it the way Israel exhibits so much patience before definding its people from rockets and missiles?

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By Theodore Voeks, January 7, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Be careful, half truths are very dangerous.

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By Folktruther, January 7, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Good term, Dr S. that of PSEUDO-WAR.  Shows you that even the Educated can have a useful thought.  Of course the rest of them in your post….  but there, I don’t want to say anything offensive.

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By abutaza, January 7, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Thanks for having the conscious and courage to stand against the (American) media elite.

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By Skruff, January 7, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“This grudge against Israel is largely the fault of the Palestinians, Encouraged by their religious brothers they responded to the Jews by trying to murder them, or push them off the Jewish lands.”

Right how dare those Palestinians be resentful because their lands were stolen, and their children killed.  What a bunch of sore losers!

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By ib, January 7, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well said Mr. Scheer, first as an American and second as Jew who lost most of my father’s family during the 1940’s Holocaust.

Enough victim-hood! As recent event show,here is another Holocaust - this time against Palestinians.

The European/American Zionist government in occupied Palestine is doing an enormous disservice to Jews worldwide.  All the round the world - non Jews are starting to think that is how we always behave

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By Shenonymous, January 7, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

I also heard a broadcast this morning on NPR that interviewed supposedly a wise Jew who said most likely a good will come of this pseudo-war (my term):  a partition into two states will happen.  It is madness to think there could ever be any other solution.  Neither Israel nor the Palestinians as represented by Hamas are innocent.  It is madness to try to make a case for innocence for either side.  They are both pitbulls.  Where do you think the Kassam missiles are coming from, Allah?  And Israel has its human divinities as well.

See you are back at namecalled Folktruther, your usual weak offense, offensive to be sure.  But then the counterfeit cannot change its nature.  My ejumakashun nature just rolls with your punches.

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By RAE, January 7, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Guess I’m “one of the few” who don’t speak up. Why?

Because I’m sick and tired of the immature insanity which grips BOTH sides in this never-ending stupidity. Every truce/cease fire in living memory has evaporated. Why? Because neither side has even a hint of trust of the other - never has, and, sadly, likely never will.

So I don’t speak up because I choose not to completely waste whatever little time I have left on this planet on this hopeless cause.

I wish the UN or somebody would just surround the entire area with troops, blocking entry of ALL weapons/troops of any kind, and let all the warring parties throw rocks at one another until either one group is completely dead or they run out of rocks and come to terms of cohabition themselves. The rest of the world should stay the hell out of it for as long as it takes - centuries, even.

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By Folktruther, January 7, 2009 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Way to go, Scheer, even if a little late and, as Fadel says, limited and cautious.  If the Gazans are supported in Truthdig, a mainstream psecudo-progressive newsletter, it indicates that the progressive population is turning against Israel. Soon the American Zionsits will be represented entirely by ziofascists like Howard, Sehparad and Maani.

Anarcissie’s comment that the media doesn’t tell Gaza story because no one is listening embodies his tendency to blame the population for the crimes of power.  No one listens because the Gazans are not defended by American power with which Americans tend to identify, and consequently the Gazan story appears subversive, unfamiliar and surreal. 

But just as rank and file progressives have stimulated Scheer and moved American opinion so that he could seize the oppertunity, so Scheer’s opnion makes it possible for mainstream American truth organs to begin to be critical of Israel.  And then even Dems.  You cannot mobilize the population by constantly decrying their infermities.

Welcome back, Dr Shenonymous, my favorite Educated.  Your assertion that it is not precisely clear who is wrong or right in this conflict is vintage Shenonity.
Not much is precisely clear to you, Dr S, Educated as you are.  Which is a Good Tning because what is precisely clear to you is ususally wrong. However I liked that QED; a nice Educated touch.

But, who knows, underneath your Stetson teaching the muchkins in Texas, your Educated thoughts may roll around in the washing machine of your mind and may come up with a precise clarity that…  well, I hesitate to predict what that would be, but I know it will be creative and Educated.

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By Shift, January 7, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous states:
“Addressing the topic of his article, it is not the case that there are few in the US and the world are not speaking up for Gaza nor are the Americans and the rest of the world indifferent!”

To me Americans are clearly indifferent, especially the media in it’s pro-Israel propagandist coverage.  Witness the American media mantra that Hamas rockets broke the cease fire.  Hubris!  Zionist ethnic cleansing and unbroken attempts at hegemony through military might is undeniable.  Israel is a Fascist State and deserves our condemnation.  From my perspective American foreign aid to a Fascist State is immoral and counter productive to justice for the Palestinians.  Americans are awakening to the truth and the time worn sympathy support for Zionism resulting from the Holocaust is evaporating.  To me, Robert Scheer is correct in his assessment.

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By Shenonymous, January 7, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Those who think the Israeli God is different from the Christian Father are self-deluded and if Jesus indeed said the Israeli god is the devil, then he betrayed his own OT Creator Father, remember Jesus was a Jew.  Or do you think Jesus thought there were two different Jewish Gods?  Yahweh and that Debble God?  Would any thinking person not wonder then about the story that God the Father forsook the alleged Christ on the alleged cross?  Of course sons often think their fathers are devils, it is Oedipus male competition. 

Question christiain96:  If there are two gods, for the Israelis think theirs is The One, and you obviously think yours is The One, which one is the real god, and how do you know?  And one more minor question:  what is to be done with the other 400 gods of other religions in the world?

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By purplewolf, January 7, 2009 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

Last night on MSNBC I saw the first commercials soliciting money for the Israeli people portraying them as the victims of Hamas and the people in Gaza. The showing of bombed out buildings and people being taken to hospitals did not bring about the response they may think it will. Israel is the terrorist, along with those who support these attacks, blinded to the truth. The treatment of the people in Gaza is beyond criminal. How do the people in Israel think their God will judge them when they have shown no mercy for those they have made to suffer at their hands.

The U.S. needs to cut the umbilical cord off to Israel and let them stand alone, they have entangled the U.S. too long and they need to take all responsibility for their actions. By standing by them, America is enabling this behavior to continue and we are being brought down into to the same level as those who are terrorizing the people in Gaza.

On the news (1-06-09- Rachael Maddow Show) it also compared a map of Gaza to Israel. Gaza is about a 144 square miles area, extremely small compared to the surrounding area. That would be equal to a 12x12 mile square or many bigger cities or maybe counties in America would contain more land than the whole of Gaza.

And Israel claims it is threatened by such a limited number of people, whom are in poor health, thanks to the cruel treatment for the past several years by the non-victim Israel?

It is time to end this madness. Israel is like a rabid dog, attacking the innocent. And you know what is done to rabid dogs.

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By RdV, January 7, 2009 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher:

“The American Empire is crumbling as we speak. It is precisely Obama’s job to manage that fall…”

  Then they can blame it all on the black man.
  No wonder Hillary was the heir apparent—then they would’ve said women weren’t up to the task and blamed Eve for the fall again.

wink

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By christian96, January 7, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Christians don’t speak up primarily for two reasons:
First, it is predicted in the old testamenst that
GOD would regather Israel into their own nation.
Secondly, God told Joshua to take fighting men,
cross over the Jordan river and go into Jerico and
kill all the men, women, and children.  Therefore,
there is a precedent for Israelis killing men, women, and children.  However, don’t blame Jesus.
Jesus said to the Israeli religious leaders, “Your
God is the devil.”

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By Shenonymous, January 7, 2009 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

Trying not to be so involved in the forums these days so that real life may have a fighting chance, and smelling the flowers seems jsomewhat a lightweight pastime when the world is in such turmoil, I find I am not able to stay quiet when the truth screams to be heard!

Addressing the topic of his article, it is not the case that there are few in the US and the world are not speaking up for Gaza nor are the Americans and the rest of the world indifferent!  It makes me wonder if writing articles just for the sake of having something that sounds sagacious regardless of how vacuous it might be is not what is going on with most of the journalists these days.  And those of us who can read, and think, are often being duped into thinking there is something worthwhile actually said.  Although it is a mixed bag what the sympathies are for each side, Israel vs. Hamas, there is not the alleged apathy Robert Sheer is hypothesizing.  And even though it may be lame what Condaleza Rice is saying on behalf of the United States, there is at least a genuine countenance of interest being put forth, not actually a lack of interest or concern.  Just take a look, if you are not too lazy, at for a run down of what is being said, has been said, and is being done by the US and the world.  While there are those in the US who emphatically do not agree with US government sentiments, and I am one of them since it is not precisely clear who is right or who is wrong in this conflict, it is not true that there are no sentiments or speaking out going on.  Surely he, Sheer, is not counting himself as one of the apathetics, is he?  And this forum and the other five articles noted as Related Entries also give witness.  QED
 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/28/israel-and-the-palestinians-middle-east

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7801444.stm

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/28/arab.reaction.gaza/index.html

http://news.google.com/news?q=US+and+world+reaction+to+Gaza&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&sa=X&oi=news_group&resnum=4&ct=title

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/ and back on Dec. 28 the following
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/12/20081227131419185168.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28425590/

Those who believe Sheer give lemmings a leg up on themselves in the intelligence strata.

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By Frank Goodman, Sr., January 7, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

http://www.amin.org/look/amin/articles/e93.htm1 January, 2009

Israel – The Sociopathic State

By: Anonymous American Citizen (who refuses to be silent any longer)

The unconscionable attacks of Israel upon Gaza can be seen as the action of a sociopathic state upon a helpless victim.  While the diagnosis of sociopathy is commonly reserved for the individual, it may be used to describe an entire society in a way that illuminates the behavior of that society towards another group of people.  Sociopathy is a social concept by definition, and for this reason can be expanded to describe the nature of an entire society, namely Israel. (Click on link below for entire statement.)

Get the rest here http://www.amin.org/look/amin/articles/e93.htm

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By sliptip, January 7, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Americans have been brainwashed to see the conflict purely through the eyes of the Israelis, and to somehow be made to see them as just like us—fighting the good fight against terror. The media almost exclusively frames the conflict in terms of Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli reprisals. The underlying cause of the whole conflict, the occupation, is never mentioned. And Americans, being as lazy as they are, “inform” themselves about the world almost exclusively from T.V. “news.” Hopeless really.

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By Tony Wicher, January 7, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

Re RdV, January 7 at 6:43 am #

“Question is, should the US fall as all empires do, where does that leave Israel since the US is their only friend in a world increasingly hostile and resentful towards them?”

Rdv,

The American Empire is crumbling as we speak. It is precisely Obama’s job to manage that fall, to bring the empire to a “soft landing”. The British actually managed to do a pretty good job of it after WW II. Now it’s our turn. And yes, the current U.S.-Israel relationship is one of the things that is going to change drastically in the process. That is my prediction.

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By cosmopoli, January 7, 2009 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

The Hamas rockets are not the reason for the Israeli war, they are the excuse.
The reason for the war is that Israel does not trust Obama. They want to inflict as much damage on Hamas as possible before Obama becomes president, at which time the Gaza bombing and incursions will be considered “old news”! The Israeli attacks will stop on/or before January 20, 2009. Watch for it!

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By cosmopoli, January 7, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

One reason few speak is the news blackout imposed by Israel, the U.S. government and the U.S. media. You can bypass this blackout by downloading Livestation.com which has among a dozen international stations, Aljezeera, broadcasting live from Gaza 24 hrs.

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By Anarcissie, January 7, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

‘Why Do So Few Speak Up for Gaza?’

Because no one is listening.

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By Manamongst, January 7, 2009 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Thank you Frank Goodman Jr, Thank you…unfortunately that kind of corellatory reasoning, if it sunk in, would have unfortunately made his head burst, hell…from the flailing initial knee-jerk response of cilcsster, I don’t think he quite has the thought process to get it.

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By CHAMISA, January 7, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can assure you, that if my sleeping daughters visiting Palestinian friends were
victimized by Israeli bombs, my sole purpose in life would be the eradication of Israel.  The barbaric carnage being exacted by this
illegal state
all but guarantees its demise, starting with global condemnation of their actions.  Forget about US coverage of these events;  the
tragedy played out on our screens usually shows a house in Sderot
with a hole in its roof.  Get a real idea from the internet; it is not yet run by a foreign lobby group or compromised politicians.  In the meantime, the bloodshed and worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza are all but ignored around the globe.  One thing is certain: Israel is no friend of the U.S.  Remember the USS Liberty, the Rosenbergs,  Jonathan Pollard among many other spies for Israel; throw in Bernie Madoff for good measure.

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By Frank Goodman, Sr., January 7, 2009 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

RE:  cilcsster, January 7 at 6:06 am

“...if one of my daughters or grandchildren was killed by a rocket attack coming from outside the country I would want the entire country crushed NOW!”

Thank you for providing the best reason for Palestinians to resist the occupation of their homes and land. Palestinians have many daughters, grandchildren, uncles, cousins, wives, husbands, grandparents, in-laws, and even some out-laws killed by Zionist terrorists before 1948 and by Israeli state terrorists to the present. That means that you would approve of Palestinian resistance in principle, since so many relatives of the Palestinian resistance have been killed by the Zionists past and present.

However, I believe that your comment is intended to justify the killing of the people whose land and homes were stolen and who are victim of the killers who learned their ways from the pages of history when Jews were treated by some in the rest of the world in a manner similar to what Palestinians are now treated by the Holocaust survivors and their descendants. Those of us who side with Palestine see your position as justification of the Nazi killing of Jews for the same reasons the Jews now justify killing of Palestinians. We did not and do not side with German Nazis in the Holocaust. And we do not side with Zionist killing of Palestinians, Christian, Muslim, or atheists to perpetrate the Jewish state any more than we would side with Hitler in his effort to perpetrate the Third Reich.

Your principle reasoning is right, but your response is wrong. Double standards are hard to defend. Even capital punishment in civilized law comes under the rubric of a double standard. Even when we cling to the idea that two wrongs do not make anything right, we pass laws to kill the killers. Not only that, but we allow the killing of innocents all the time in the name of privacy, personal rights, and free choice. We even justify killing of innocents as collateral damage in the pursuit of justice.

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By Jim Yell, January 7, 2009 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the Israeli’s are overly sensitive about security it might be because from the beginning the moslems have repeatedly called for the death or eviction of the Jew’s and have followed thru with repeated efforts to do just that.

But, more to the point if you allow someone to fire dangerous weapons into your neighbors yard, you must be ready for return fire. You are not innocent as long as you are passive about allowing this to happen.

This grudge against Israel is largely the fault of the Palestinians, Encouraged by their religious brothers they responded to the Jews by trying to murder them, or push them off the Jewish lands. The Jews fought back and won. The grudge makes it impossible for either side to be rational in this mess.

Perhaps Palestian people should petition Egypt to admit them as a constituant state of Egypt. Small countries have a hard time surviving. To that end they should stop shooting across the border. It validates Israeli suspicions that they mean no good.

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By jenne aakster, January 7, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jews are people as we, but somewhere somebody is playing a very refined politic, you know provoking, and afther that, the slaughter.

The real power of Israel you dont find in Israel, but in New York, their and in Washington settels the Jewes powerhouse.

People dont say much, but as I do think, that the Jewes people are calling over them selfs something very evel, a curse from their own God.

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By scared, January 7, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

The bombing of innocent civilians at the UN school is INDEFENSIBLE.  According to the UN spokesperson on Democracy Now! about an hour ago, another 10 victims of the attack died overnight bringing the total to 40 dead.

The spokesperson further said that they can say with 99% certainty that Hamas militants were not using the school and have found no evidence of this.  Israel needs to provide their evidence, otherwise this is an atrocity perpetrated on innocent civilians.

These poor people were told to leave their homes thinking they were going to a neutral site, only to be blown to pieces.  Investigation and justice is required.

Stop the attacks!

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By RdV, January 7, 2009 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

Why?
Because the Israelis learned how to protect the interests of their tribe against those of humanity at large and they put a lot of time, effort and $$$$$$ to control the spin, exploit the Holocaust and manipulate the government of the American military empire to insure “never again” would they be the victim by making themselves the oppressor.
  Question is, should the US fall as all empires do, where does that leave Israel since the US is their only friend in a world increasingly hostile and resentful towards them?

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By Allan Gurfinkle, January 7, 2009 at 7:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why do so few speak up for Gaza?

1.  We have been conditioned for 50 years to view the Jews as the eternal victims. The media is relentless in its recitations of the holocaust horrors. Holocaust education is mandated in many states starting in kindergarten, see, for example,

http://www.hdec.org/manual.pdf

2.  No political opposition to Israel is permitted by AIPAC, hence our politicians do not utter one word of criticism of Israel, and not one word is allowed in the media or the educational system.

3.  Most people realize that Israel really is in a struggle for its very existence.  It has a strong military, but it is surrounded by hostile nations who would like to see the Israelis driven into the sea.

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By Fadel Abdallah, January 7, 2009 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Robert Scheer does provide much needed historical context and balance to the current Israeli terrorist operation in Gaza.

However, his documentation leaves out some of the major terrorist Israeli figures, such as Yitzhaq Shamir, Sharon and others.

Even with his good historical expose, Scheer stops short of saying the ultimate truth about why Israel continues its terrorist, colonial policies in Palestine, which American political-military support for the wrongs and evils of Israel. A proper expression of this fact should be phrased as following:

“Congress, the White House and the Pentagon are Israeli-occupied territories.”

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By Robert Shea, January 7, 2009 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cilcsster;
Yes, I do have a family. And a family history which includes suffering at the hands of British terrorism over multiple generations.
I understand the emotion of anger and the desire for revenge. However, my comments and support of Mr. Scheer’s column perspective reflect both my personal and societal need to embrace forgiveness, fairness and truth in pursuit of peace. I do not support the tactics of Hamas any more than I support how Israel is currently dealing with those tactics. My cynicism tells me the timing is more about the February elections in Israel than it is about the sudden effectiveness of Hamas rocket fire.

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By cilcsster, January 7, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Robert, I don’t know you or whether or not you have a family, perhaps you don’t.
I’m certainly not an advocate of most of the stuff that comes out of ‘W’s mouth, but If one of my daughters or grandchildren was killed by a rocket attack coming from outside the country I would want the entire country crushed NOW!
Hamas MUST stop their rocket attacks or take responsibility for the carnage in Gaza, no ifs, ands, or buts!!

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By SV, January 7, 2009 at 7:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No doubt, the Israelis are a massive war machine supported by a large majority in the west, they should not be allowed to do as they like. The underdog here living in Gaza are only supported by som mere 1,4 billion muslim brothers and sisters pouring in their help from the east side.
We can not allow us to only take one side, both sides have supporters and agitators, we in the west appears to only see the west side and the others the other.

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By RBShea, January 7, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer provides much needed historical context and balance to the current Gaza-based war. Unfortunately, contrary to Howard’s comment, the mainstream media and politicians continue to echo the talking points of Israel.
It seems to serve the on-going and ultimately self-defeating posture of Israeli politicians and their American enablers. No lasting solution to this decades-old conflict will be created without consistent, balanced inclusion of the just concerns and needs of the Palestinian people. Mr. Scheer’s reference to Menachem Begin is just one example of how “terrorism” is in the eye of the beholder. It is saddening to see such wide-spread, knee-jerk support of tactics which degrade Israeli and Jewish claims to moral superiority.

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By ThatDeborahGirl, January 7, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For the same reasons “people” tolerated firebombings and water hoses and police dogs and lynching picnics documented on post cards…

And because no one wants to end up in Guantanamo for speaking out.

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By Bobadi, January 7, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Listen to this video of Karen Abuzayd, United Nations Relief and works Commissioner General; describing Israel as violently ending the truce. Why is this not being mentioned in our media?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDbW4zd59yM

She clearly says that Hamas observed a cease-fire for at least 4 months in an attempt to open the the crossings. (To end the Israeli strangulating imprisonment of Gaza)

As this video goes on to say; it is only after Israel’s refusal to open these crossings, and the outrage of their targeted assassination which killed 7 people in Gaza, did Hamas return to its rather ineffective rocket fire.

She goes on to say that Hamas held then another 48 hour truce, in which only one rocket was fired, clearly showing that Hamas was trying to honor the truce, when on Friday Israel committed itself to the slaughter we are witnessing.

Israel is the aggressor here, no doubt about it, but what is the motive behind this round of slaughter?

“Analysts told Adnkronos International (AKI) that attacks on the ruling Hamas movement were certain to boost the flagging popularity of Defense Minister and Labour Party leader, Ehud Barak, and the political fortunes of acting Prime Minister Tzipi Livni.

One poll published in the the daily, Haaretz, has already shown that Barak’s domestic popularity has been boosted by Israel’s action.

Michael Widlanski, a research fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, said that support for the Labor Party leader had collapsed in the past six months and Barak needed to show Israelis he was decisive.

“The current warfare, which is justified, is an opportunity for him to solidify his base with the centre and the right,” Widlanksi said.—

“There is no question that the public was clamouring for a strong response to the situation in Gaza as it had in Lebanon,” he said. “But the government of Olmert and Livni had not exactly shown forthrightness or decisiveness.”

In the Haaretz poll published on Thursday, 53 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Barak’s performance - up from 34 percent six months ago.

The turnaround means that the current coalition between Barak and Livni may be renewed.—

Talal Nizameddin, political analyst at The American University, said despite denials by the Israeli leaders, domestic political considerations were the main reason for the attacks against Gaza.

He told AKI both Barak and Livni were using the air raids to foil hardline political rival Binyamin Netanyahu, from the right-wing Likud Party.

“This would leave Netanyahu with no options. What would Netanyahu do if he does win the elections? That would make him meaningless as an Israeli prime minister because he promised to come in as a tough leader who would clean up Gaza from what he calls Palestinian terrorism,” he told AKI.

“In my opinion, there is a clear hint of political manoeuvering.”“


http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=3.0.2872833584

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By Skruff, January 7, 2009 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My Grandmother was a survivor of Hitler, and early critic of the placement of the Jewish State.

My mother was a member of The Society of Friends (Quakers).

One day while my mother was lamenting the hostilities in Palestine (about 1953) my grandmother remarked: Do you believe we could have spent so much time in Germany and learned nothing from them?

I was raised to believe “Never again” meant never again the genocide of any peoples…

This conflict makes me sick… both governments have the history to know better, My take is neither side has any respect for human life.

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By Surya Dharma, January 7, 2009 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There have been protests worldwide…but when had that stop any governmental criminal actions from taking place? I’m afraid this latest bloodshed will continue unless the Israeli government faces a valiant major opposition from the people of Israel. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen unless the blood spilled on their side of the fence increases. The Palestinians’ only hope is for Divine intervention. Pray that the Jewish public will have a change of heart. Or pray for more incidents of “friendly fire”.

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By Catherine, January 7, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

I am also very tired of Israel doing just as it pleases and the US bowing, clutching its forelock, and nodding approval. I agree with Big B’s post.  Well said.

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By eileen fleming, January 7, 2009 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

Opinion in USA is divided nearly equally in half.

IF THE TRUTH were actually reported by MSM about the WAR CRIMES Israel is guilty of, we the people would be out on the streets demonstrating-and many are being organized:

http://www.endtheoccupation.org/

Two nights ago I was on a Conference Call with over 100 on fire pissed off activists under the umbrella group END THE OCCUPATION.


ME Analyst recommended everyone disseminate:


Doctor Decries Israeli Attacks:
http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=47647801174&h=oxq4N&u=W14OP

[i was 12,135 to view it on Jan.5-over 43,000 have now]


Last night I received an email from Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire.

She also wrote to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and Father Miguel D’Escoto President of United Nations General assembly adding her voice to the many calls from International Jurists, Human rights Organizations, and individuals, for the UN General Assembly To seriously consider establishing an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel(ICTI) in view of the ongoing Israeli atrocities against the people of Gaza and Palestine.

An ICTI can be established by the UN General Assembly as a ‘subsidiary organ’ under article 22 of the UN Charter. 

Article 22 of the UN Charter states the UN General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions. 

The purpose of the ICTI would be to investigate and Prosecute suspected Israeli war criminals for offences against the Palestinian people.

Maguire said:

“In November 2008 I visited Gaza and was shocked at the suffering of the people of Gaza, being under ‘seige’ as they are for over two years.  This collective punishment by the Israeli Government, has lead to a great humanitarian crisis.  Collective punishment of the civilian community by the Israeli Government breaks the Geneva Convention, is illegal and is a war crime and crime against humanity.

Instead of protecting the civilian community of Gaza and relieving their suffering by lifting the ‘siege’, the Israeli military have carried out 7 days consecutive bombardment of civilians, by sea and air.  Dropping Israeli bombs from the air and sea on unarmed civilians, many women and children, destroying mosques, hospitals, and and homes, and infrastructure,  is illegal and constitutes war crimes. 

The deaths of people in Gaza is now over 600 with over 2,500 people injured – many women and children.  The infrastructure of Gaza has been destroyed, and the people cut off from the world – including journalists, Humanitarian workers, locked out of Gaza, and unable to go to the aid of the people.

The UN must help uphold Human rights and Justice for Palestinian People, by seriously considering establishing an International criminal tribunal for Israel, (ICTI) in order that Israeli Gov., be held accountable for war crimes.”

Mairead Maguire (Nobel Peace Laureate)
http://www.peacepeople.com
4th January, 2009.


send your message to the UN:
http://www.un.org/ga/contactus.asp

Eileen Fleming, Six Time sojourner to occupied Palestine since June 2005, Author, Founder WAWA:
http://www.wearewideawake.org/
Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

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By JPQE, January 7, 2009 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, Mr. Scheer, for your informative and intuitive article on the American press coverage of the ongoing conflict in Palestine/Israel.  I, too, have despaired of the American response to this impossible situation in violation of civilized rights. 
I feel as if now I understand what it was to live in Nazi Germany, when the people were propagandized into their war on Europe, England, and Russia, as well as their “final solution” for the Jewish question, as I lived through the implementation of the American onslaught on Iraq.  (I had no such reservations on the American movement against the Taliban, but realized that the broadening of the war to Iraq was not within reason, was a propaganda effort, and was shameful.)  Just as America did not resist the Iraqi invasion, so now it is not calling for a moral and just reaction to the Israeli incursions against not Palestine (as there is no such nation existent) but Palestinians.
This is moral blindness, but political expediency.

By the way, I voted for Obama, hoping against hope that he would bring to the Middle East a new perspective.  I guess Jimmy Carter’s voice will be a solo one.

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By Keri, January 7, 2009 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finally someone points this elephant in the room out. I have been watching and reading MSM for ages waiting for someone to take the Israelis to task over this.
As citizens of democratic countries we all share responsibility for these atrocities and by not speaking up we are ensuring they will continue.

Big B I totally agree with you. The holocaust has become an excuse for all Israels misdeeds.

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By JohnDoug, January 7, 2009 at 5:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I learn something every time I read your columns. You’re a true journalist in every sense of the word.

I’d like some clarification from others who read this blog about the statehood question.

Palestinians are already living in a de-facto state, and holding elections. What needs to happen in order to legitimize the current borders? How would the lives of Palestinians change if statehood were achieved?

It seems unlikely that ordinary Palestinians are “holding out” for total victory after 50 years of misery.

I agree that Israel is out of line. I don’t believe in statehood based on religion. I simply don’t understand how the 2 state (looking more like a 3 state) solution is workable.

Sorry about the pessimism.

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By Howard, January 7, 2009 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

Why do so few speak up for Israel ??

what nonsense; not a word about the 6 months of bombardment by Hamas of Israel that precipitated this crisis.

Hamas cannot rule.  A danger to its own people.

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By Big B, January 7, 2009 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

I was just watching Anderson Cooper(I know, I felt my IQ drop a little) and he was showing everyone the remnants of missiles supposedly fired by palestinians into Israel(collected by the Israeli army, of course). No questions as to where or when they were found(tough journalism there Anderson)or showing the hundreds of 1000-2000 pound bombs droppped on Gaza by the US, sorry, Israeli air force.

Apparently the holocost has given all jewish people carte blanche to commit any attrocity they deem nesessary for their survival. They seem to have learned well from their former nazi benefactors.

There are reasonable voices in Israel, but like in the US, they are more than often shouted down by the warhawks appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Do you suppose they will have dinner at the apocolypse, or just chips?

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By Shift, January 7, 2009 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

Scheer: “The high moral claim of the Israeli occupation rests not on the objective reality of a Palestinian threat to Israel’s survival, but rather on the non sequitur cry that “never again” should harm come to Jews as it did in Central Europe seven decades ago.”

Any once existant “high moral claim,” has been overused to the point of being useless.  There is no morality in the indiscriminate killing of the mostly defenseless Palestinians.  There is only the sickness of power and greed.  Thank you Robert Scheer for openly walking the hard road of truth.

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By Lanna, January 7, 2009 at 5:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Scheer. Israel’s existence is not threatened? Are you displaying a sick joke or, are you simply not paying attention? Perhaps you allow an irrational hatred or bigotry to cloud your judgment?

The extent of corruption of Palestinian children’s minds was vividly exposed a few weeks ago by the investigative journalist Gerald Posner, who produced a Web documentary (hosted by thedailybeast.com) based on videos culled from television by Palestinian Media Watch. It is deeply shocking to observe children being programmed for terrorism through the exaltation of suicide bombers as heroes. “Martyrdom is bliss,” a child hostess says, referring to a 14-year-old suicide killer. The clips show incessant indoctrination that Islam wants the death of adults and children for Allah and will reward those who achieve Shahada, which Palestinian Media Watch equates with death for Allah. “I have let my land drink my blood, and I have loved the way of Shahada,” intones a young boy.

Children being taught murder by rote is child abuse, a mental deformation more damaging than physical injury. Equally disgusting is the demonization of Jews based on a phony history of the Holocaust. Remember the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews? Well, take a look at the scene from a PA Fatah “educational video” in which children acting and singing about history recite: “They [Israel] are the ones who did the Holocaust, their knife cuts to the length and width of our flesh. They opened the ovens for us to bake human beings. ... When an oven stops burning, they light 100 [more].” A body called the National Committee for Defense of Children from the Holocaust organized an exhibit, one feature of which, according to al-Ayyam, one of the largest Palestinian newspapers, is “an oven and inside it small [Palestinian] children are being burned. The picture speaks for itself.”

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By thebeerdoctor, January 7, 2009 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

Thank you Robert Scheer for pointing out this part of the historical record.

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By expat in germany, January 7, 2009 at 3:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is another powerful reason why people do not speak out or rally against all forms of violence, one not mentioned in this article but hinted at by the accompanying photo: We have become accustomed to graphic displays of violence. Even worse, we have become voyeurs, much like we crane our necks when passing a traffic accident.

The image of a wailing parent carrying an injured or dead child has become commonplace. It has no power to shock us anymore. Many of the people who take such photos depend on them for their livelihood, and even “artists” who use these images as their subject exploit the human suffering they reflect.

All forms of media are self-serving, and we should remember to examine our motivations carefully.

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By SimpleOne, January 7, 2009 at 3:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Again,an excellent overview by Robert Scheer.
As far as the question ” Where are the voices that reflect the uncompromising morality ....,etc. ”
You mean Morality ....as in ” conforming to a standard of right behavior,moral principles and values ” ... for the average Joe versus the “Jewish”-version ?

I`m afraid the answer can be found in many articles about “these chosen people”, such as the most recently one about Bernard Madoff.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/business/07medici.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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