Fifteen Thoughts About Israel

by Caitlin Johnstone (May 15 2018)

1. I hate writing about Israel. The accusations of antisemitism which necessarily go along with literally any criticism of that nation are gross enough, but even worse are the assholes who take my criticisms of the Israeli government as an invitation to actually be anti-semitic. They really do hate Jews, they really do think that every problem in the world is because of Jews and they post Jewish caricature memes and calls for genocide in the comments section on social media and it’s incredibly gross and I hate it. It feels exactly as intrusive, jarring and violating as receiving an unsolicited dick pic. But the Israeli government keeps committing war provocations and massacring Palestinians, so it’s something I’ve got to talk about.

2. Anti-semitism (or whatever word you prefer to use for the pernicious mind virus which makes people think it’s okay to promote hatred against Jewish people) is a very real thing that does exist, and I denounce it to the furthest possible extent. Anti-semitism is also a label that is used to bully the world into accepting war crimes, apartheid, oppression, and mass murder. Both of those things are true.

3. There were dozens of Palestinians killed and well above a thousand injured in the Gaza protests over the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem yesterday. I haven’t found any report of so much as a single Israeli injury. The only way to spin this as the fault of the Palestinians is to dehumanize them, to attribute behaviors and motives to them that we all know are contrary to human nature. To paint them as subhuman orc-like creatures who are so crazy and evil that they will keep throwing themselves at a hail of bullets risking life and limb just to have some extremely remote chance of harming a Jewish person for no reason. This is clearly absurd. A little clear thinking and empathy go a long way.

4. Trump could have prevented all this violence by doing what previous administrations had done and kept the US embassy in Tel Aviv. Experts warned that this would happen. Trump ignored them. He is ultimately responsible for the mounting pile of corpses resulting from this provocation.

5. The Trump campaign was given $25 million by billionaire oligarch Sheldon Adelson (the largest campaign donation made by anyone to any candidate), who provided a further $5 million for Trump’s inauguration. Adelson is a sociopathic pro-Israel hawk who once called on the US to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran. He was present at the opening of the Jerusalem embassy, getting what he paid for.

6. Any position on Israel that is determined by words made up by dead men thousands of years ago is intrinsically invalid. Saying the Jewish people are more entitled to Israel than those who were living there seven decades ago because of some superstitious voodoo written in obsolete religious texts is not an argument. Religious freedom is important, and it’s important to be able to believe whatever you like, but your beliefs do not legitimize your actions upon other people. If you murder someone in the name of Allah, you have murdered someone. If you kill 58 people because you feel some ancient scripture entitles you to a particular section of dirt, you have killed 58 people. Your internal beliefs do not give you a free pass for your egregious actions upon others.

7. Israel is very dangerous and completely unsustainable, but its interests are aggressively promoted by powerful plutocrats and lobby groups. It’s like if fracking was a place.

8. A nation that can’t exist without nonstop war and violence is like a house that can’t stand without nonstop construction work. If your house needs a large construction team working around the clock seven days a week to keep it from collapsing, you should probably either move or consider a new architectural design.

9. A nation that can’t exist without nonstop war and violence is not a nation at all, it’s a decades-long military operation with a few suburbs sprinkled on top. And that is exactly how Israel has functioned since its creation: as a nonstop disruption campaign that the post-World War Two western victors dropped on top of the Middle East just as humanity hit new heights of oil dependence. By 1967 Israel came within inches of a possible third world war with America’s only rival superpower, the Soviet Union, and today we have Israel leading the charge in the western empire’s regime change agendas against Iran and Syria. It’s been a consistent pattern.

10. There’s good conspiracy theory and there’s bad conspiracy theory. People who say America controls Israel or Israel controls America are engaged in bad conspiracy theory. We don’t live in a world where the lines between nations mean anything to those with real power; in reality “Israel” and “America” are both purely conceptual constructs which only exist to the extent that people believe in them. There is no actual “Israel” which can exert control over an actual “America”, and vice versa. It isn’t nations and governments pulling the strings of real power in the world, it’s a class of plutocrats who aren’t ultimately answerable to any government. This class of plutocrats uses governments like Israel, the US, the UK, and the KSA to advance its agendas to exploit, loot, and plunder the rest of humanity.

11. The western empire is a cluster of tightly allied nations held together by contracts and manipulation which often function more or less as a single unit on foreign policy, war, intelligence, trade, et cetera. What we call Israel is functionally just the Middle Eastern disruption wing of this empire. The people in control of this alliance place no special value on Israel beyond its usefulness in advancing plutocratic agendas in the Middle East.

12. People make a big deal about Zionism in conspiracy circles, but Zionism is just one more tool of manipulation used by the elite class which only ever cares about power. The people who are actually calling the shots in this world don’t care about Judaism or the Jewish people; Zionism is just a set of ideas they use to move people around. They use Christian fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, white supremacy, and secular liberalism in the same way. It’s always about acquiring more power for the western oligarchs, and their insatiable drive in this pursuit is how they wound up at the top of the western power structure. They’ll use any set of beliefs to manipulate the masses toward this end.

13. Since Israel plays such a crucial role in the agendas of the western power establishment for such a key strategic region, it should be no surprise that the people who lived on that land before Israel was dropped upon them get trampled underfoot. As far as the powerful are concerned, the Palestinians are no different from the animals whose habitats are destroyed by a new military base, or the whales that get killed by navy sonar experiments. They’re a nuisance to be swatted away.

14. The reason for the extreme brutality that is being used against the Palestinian demonstrators appears to be the same as that used by the Chinese government in the Tiananmen Square massacre or the lynchings of the segregated American south: to send a message. That message is “Here is how we will deal with you whenever you hold these demonstrations”. They’re quashing the protests so violently and so aggressively not out of self-defense, but to dissuade such protests in the future. All they have to do is be brutal enough to convince the Palestinians that such protests aren’t worth the cost of life, and whole generations could be dissuaded from future protests.

15. This brutality is exposing the true face of the western empire, a trend that we are seeing all over the globe in myriad ways. Despite the best efforts of the mass media machine, people are waking up to what’s really going on.


Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerilla poet. Utopia prepper.

Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so the best way to keep seeing my daily articles is to get on the mailing list for my website, so you’ll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader- and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, or buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers (2017).

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Israeli “Toxic Influence” …

… Responsible for Extreme US Policy – Max Blumenthal (May 14 2018)

Allied with the hardline Israeli government, the Trump administration has adopted the “most extreme policy in history” on Israel and Palestine, author and political analyst Max Blumenthal tells RT.

Blumenthal, the director of Killing Gaza (2018) documentary about the 2014 Israeli attack on the Hamas-run Palestinian territory, answered’s questions and later spoke to RT International in the wake of Monday’s bloodshed, in which over fifty people were killed and almost 3,000 injured on the Israel-Gaza border.

RT: Can you comment on the media coverage focusing on the embassy ceremony rather than the fatalities among protesters?

Max Blumenthal: The overall framing in mainstream American print media of the killings by Israeli soldiers has tended towards language about Israel “responding” or resorting to live fire in order to prevent Palestinians from entering Israel. To have noted that Palestinians were, in fact, responding to a decade-long siege, decades of displacement, or [US President Donald] Trump’s opening of an American embassy in Jerusalem would have been off-limits in such forums.

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during Gaza protest.

RT: How does the embassy move serve as a win for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

MB: With the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem and the American exit from the Iran deal, Netanyahu has achieved two of his biggest priorities under Trump. It is worth noting that Trump was also a beneficiary of donations from the same Likudnik billionaires – Sheldon Adelson, Bernard Marcus, and Paul Singer – that have supported Netanyahu’s political empire.

Now, Israel’s colonial project in Jerusalem has been consolidated, and Netanyahu has helped set the US back on course for confrontation with Iran. For him, this is a substantial political win that has the added benefit of distracting from the corruption charges that have plagued him all year.

RT: Will this further embolden Netanyahu to conduct another “mowing the lawn” in Gaza?

MB: Since at least 1967, the Israeli military has enjoyed a green light from Washington to carry out an uninterrupted string of attacks on civilian populations in occupied Palestine as well as in the cities of its Arab neighbors. This has not changed under Trump. Indeed, Trump and his inner circle have given Israel all the diplomatic cover it needs to “mow the lawn” down to its roots.

I also expect Israel to begin exporting the teargas drones it has tested on Gaza protesters as well as the deadly tactics it is honing.

RT: Can you speak about the US delegation, with regards to its support for Israel and settlements?

MB: The US delegation to Jerusalem is a perfect portrait of Israel’s toxic influence over American politics and foreign policy. The presidential son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the director of a family foundation that has directed millions to pro-Israel outfits, including illegal settlements in the West Bank where violent attacks on Palestinian civilians have been staged.

White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner says “All people can live in peace” as Israel kills dozens of Palestinians (c) Ronen Zvulun

David Friedman, the US ambassador, is the chairman of the American Friends of Beit El, a foundation supporting an illegal Jews-only settlement. He has also donated to Jewish extremist groups like Qomemiyut, which are connected to the Kahanist terror network. Sheldon Adelson is the Likudnik warlord who donated close to $40 million to pro-Trump Super PACs in 2016 and just dumped $30 million on the congressional Republicans. These figures are part of a wider lobby that is helping to shape the most extreme US policy towards Israel-Palestine in history, and with the general acquiescence of Democrats also under the sway of that lobby.

RT: On the eve of Nakba, what message does the embassy opening send to Palestinians waiting for their right of return to be granted?

MB: The timing of the US embassy opening for the date of the anniversary of Palestinian mass dispossession and ethnic cleansing was a flagrant provocation. It was the equivalent of pouring salt and tear gas on an open Palestinian wound.

RT: Do you think Israel is using press coverage of the embassy ceremony to go harder on protesters today?

MB: A CNN headline today reported that “Palestinians died” in Gaza. They simply died and who knows how? Maybe they were sick, or they died of old age? The passive voice is practically the American corporate media industry standard whenever Israel kills.

Israel has also demonstrated its ability to influence the mainstream narrative with its own version of events, which hold that Hamas is responsible for the mass killings committed by Israeli snipers by compelling protesters to die. The message at the White House press briefing today was delivered exactly according to the Israeli script.

Read More:

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Killing Gaza

by Chris Hedges

Information Clearing House (May 14 2018)

Israel’s blockade of Gaza – where trapped Palestinians for the past seven weeks have held nonviolent protests along the border fence with Israel, resulting in scores of dead and some 6,000 wounded by Israeli troops – is one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Yet the horror that is Gaza, where two million people live under an Israeli siege without adequate food, housing, work, water, and electricity, where the Israeli military routinely uses indiscriminate and disproportionate violence to wound and murder, and where almost no one can escape, is rarely documented. Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen’s powerful new film, Killing Gaza, offers an unflinching and moving portrait of a people largely abandoned by the outside world, struggling to endure.

Killing Gaza will be released Tuesday, to coincide with what Palestinians call Nakba Day – “Nakba” means catastrophe in Arabic – commemorating the seventieth anniversary of the forced removal of some 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 by the Haganah, Jewish paramilitary forces, from their homes in modern-day Israel. The release of the documentary also coincides with the Trump administration’s opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Because of Nakba Day and the anger over the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem, this week is expected to be one of the bloodiest of the seven-week-long protest that Palestinians call the “Great Return March”. Killing Gaza illustrates why Palestinians, with little left to lose, are rising up by the thousands and risking their lives to return to their ancestral homes – seventy percent of those in Gaza are refugees or the descendants of refugees – and be treated like human beings.

Cohen and Blumenthal, who is the author of the book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013), one of the best accounts of modern Israel, began filming the documentary August 15 2014. Palestinian militias, armed with little more than light weapons, had just faced Israeli tanks, artillery, fighter jets, infantry units, and missiles in a 51-day Israeli assault that left 2,314 Palestinians dead and 17,125 injured. Some 500,000 Palestinians were displaced and about 100,000 homes were destroyed or damaged. The 2014 assault, perhaps better described as a massacre, was one of eight massacres that Israel has carried out since 2004 against the two million Palestinians in Gaza, over half of whom are children. Israel, which refers to these periodic military assaults as “mowing the lawn”, seeks to make existence in Gaza so difficult that mere survival consumes most of the average Palestinian’s time, resources, and energy.

The film begins in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood, reduced to mounds of rubble by the Israelis. The wanton destruction of whole neighborhoods was, as documented by the film, accompanied by the shooting of unarmed civilians by Israeli snipers and other soldiers of that nation.

“Much of the destruction took place in the course of a few hours on July 23”, Blumenthal, who narrates the film, says as destroyed buildings appear on the screen, block after block. “The invading Israeli forces found themselves under ferocious fire from local resistance forces, enduring unexpectedly high casualties. As the Israeli infantry fled in full retreat, they called in an artillery and air assault, killing at least 120 Palestinian civilians and obliterated thousands of homes.”

The film includes a brief clip of young Israelis in Tel Aviv celebrating the assault on Gaza, a reminder that toxic racism and militarism infect Israeli society.

“Die! Die! Bye!” laughing teenage girls shout at the celebration in Tel Aviv. “Bye, Palestine!”

“Fucking Arabs! Fuck Muhammad!” a young man yells.

“Gaza is a graveyard! Gaza is a graveyard! Ole, ole, ole, ole”, the crowd in Tel Aviv sings as it dances in jubilation. “There is no school tomorrow! There are no children left in Gaza!”

Terrified Palestinian families huddled inside their homes as Israel dropped more than 100 one-ton bombs and fired thousands of high-explosive artillery shells into Shuja’iyya. Those who tried to escape in the face of the advancing Israelis often were gunned down with their hands in the air, and the bodies were left to rot in the scorching heat for days.

“I was inside when they started bulldozing my house”, Nasser Shamaly, a Shuja’iyya resident, says in the film. “They took down the wall and started shooting into the house. So I put my hands on my head and surrendered myself to the officer. This wasn’t just any soldier. He was the officer of the group! He didn’t say a word. He just shot me. I fell down and started crawling to get away from them.”

Shamaly, who hid wounded in his house for four days, was fortunate. His 23-year-old cousin, Salem Shamaly, who led a group of volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement to dig bodies out of the ruins in Shuja’iyya, was not.

“On the offensive’s 14th day, July 20th, 2014, four other activists and I went to the Shuja’iyya neighborhood, which Israel had bombed for days, to accompany rescue teams in the rubble during the two-hour cease-fire”, Joe Catron, one of the members of the International Solidarity Movement rescue team, says in the film. “A young Palestinian, whose name we later learned was Salem Shamaly, asked us to go with him to his house, where he hoped to find his family. It sounds ridiculous now, but at the time we thought the cease-fire would make it safe.”

“As we crossed an alley with a clear line of sight to Israeli positions by the separation barrier, a gunshot from their direction struck the ground between us. We scattered into two groups, sheltered behind buildings on either side. After a pause, Salem stepped into the alley, hoping to lead his group to our side, but was struck by another bullet. He fell to the ground.”

The film shows Shamaly wounded on the ground, barely able to move and crying out in pain.

“As he lay on his back, two more rounds hit him”, Catron continued. “He stopped moving. The gunfire kept us from reaching him. The Israeli artillery began flying overhead and striking the buildings behind us. We were forced to retreat, leaving him. We only learned his name two days later, when his mother, father, sister, and cousin recognized him in a video I had tweeted.”

“We couldn’t retrieve his body for seven days”, Um Salem, the mother, says in the film. “His body was in the sun for seven days”.

Waseem Shamaly, Salem’s brother, who appears to be about eight years old, is shown with his eyes swollen from crying. “He would take care of us, like our father”, the boy says. “Even at night, he would get us whatever we wanted. He used to buy us everything. Whatever we wished for, he would buy it. There was nothing he wouldn’t buy for us. He used to take us to hang out. He’d take us out with him just to kill our boredom a little.”

Waseem wipes his eyes.

“Now he is gone”, he continues weakly. “There is nobody to take us out and buy us treats”.

“This boy hasn’t been able to handle losing his brother”, says the father, Khalil Shamaly. “He couldn’t handle the news, seeing the way his brother died. He is in shock. It gets to the point where he goes lifeless. He collapses. When I pick him up he tells me his dying wishes. His dying wishes! As if he is leaving us. He is so young. But he gives us his dying wishes. If it weren’t for God’s mercy, I would have lost him too.”

“Destroyed cities and shattered homes can be rebuilt if the resources are there”, Blumenthal says. “But what about the survivors? How can they heal the scars imposed on their psyches? The youth of Gaza has grown up through three wars, each more devastating than the last. At least ninety percent of adolescents in Gaza suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. With mental health services pushed to the brink, these unseen scars may never heal.”

The film turns to the town of Khuza’a, a farming community with 20,000 people, which was systematically blown up by Israel after three Israeli soldiers were killed in fighting with the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas government in Gaza. The film shows a video from inside an Israeli tank as soldiers wait for explosives to bring down buildings in the town, including the mosque. When the explosions occur, the Israeli soldiers cheer and shout, “Long live the state of Israel!”

Starting Tuesday, May 15, Killing Gaza can be seen at Vimeo On Demand.

“We were shocked to see so many bodies in the streets”, Ahmed Awwad, a volunteer with the Palestinian Red Crescent, says in the film about Khuza’a. “Many were decomposing. We wanted to deal with it, but we didn’t know how. Once, when the Israelis let us in with our ambulance, we found about ten corpses from different areas, scattered. As you approached a body, of course, there is the odor, and there are worms. Hold it like this, and flesh comes off. Lift an arm and it pulls right off. We didn’t know what to do. There was nothing we could do. We had to stop. It would have been easier just to bury them. But we figured families would want the bodies. Bulldozers eventually loaded the bodies in trucks. We couldn’t pick up these bodies on our own. Most were executions, like an old lady at her front door. There was a young man, another man, and a little kid. The scenes, to be honest, were very ugly.”

The Rjeila family, including sixteen-year-old Ghadeer, who was physically disabled, attempts to escape the shelling. As a brother frantically pushes Ghadeer in her wheelchair (the scene, like several others in the film, is reconstructed through animation), the Israelis open fire. The brother is wounded. Ghadeer is killed.

The camera pans slowly through demolished houses containing blackened human remains. Walls and floors are smeared with blood.

Ahmed Awwad, a Palestinian Red Crescent volunteer, describes what happened after he and other volunteers finally receive permission from Israeli forces to retrieve bodies from Khuza’a. They find a man tied to a tree and shot in both legs. One of the volunteers, Mohammed al-Abadla, gets out of a vehicle and approaches the tree. When he switches on his flashlight, which the Israelis had instructed him to do, he is shot in the heart and killed.

“For 51 days, Israel bombarded Gaza with the full might of its artillery”, Blumenthal says. “According to the Israeli military’s estimates, 23,410 artillery shells and 2.9 million bullets were fired into Gaza during the war”.

That’s one and a half bullets for every man, woman, and child in the Gaza Strip.

There is footage of Israeli soldiers in an artillery unit writing messages, including “Happy Birthday to Me”, on shells being lobbed into Gaza. The soldiers laugh and eat sushi as they pound Palestinian neighborhoods with explosives.

Rafah is a city in Gaza on the border of Egypt. The film makes it clear that Egypt, through its sealing of Gaza’s southern border, is complicit in the blockade. Rafah was one of the first cities targeted by the Israelis. When Israeli troops took over buildings, they also kidnapped Palestinians and used them as human shields there and elsewhere, forcing them to stand at windows as the soldiers fired from behind.

“They blindfolded and handcuffed me and took me inside”, Mahmoud Abu Said says in the film. “They told me to come with them and put an M16 to my back. There were maybe six of them. They dropped their equipment and began searching. They started hitting me against the wall. And then sicced their dogs on me while I was handcuffed.”

“They put me here”, he says, standing in front of a window, “and stood behind me. Israeli soldiers placed me here while they stood behind me shooting. They took me to that window and that window too. Then they hit me against the wall and pushed me down. They put a mattress here”, he says, showing holes punched through the wall at floor level, “and sat down to shoot through these holes”.

“You see that car?” asks Suleiman Zghreibv, referring to a hunk of twisted metal that lies next to the ruins of his house. “He drove it”, he says of his 22-year-old son, who was executed by the Israelis. “This is the car we used to make our living. It wasn’t for personal use. It was a taxi. I can’t describe the suffering. What can I say? Words can’t express the pain. We have suffered and resisted for so long. We’ve been suffering our whole lives. We’ve suffered for the past sixty years because of Israel. War after war after war. Bombing after bombing after bombing. You build a house. They destroy it. You raise a child. They kill him. Whatever they do – the United States, Israel, the whole world, we’ll keep resisting until the last one of us dies.”

Israel intentionally targeted power plants, schools, medical clinics, apartment complexes, whole villages. Robert Piper, the United Nations Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, said in 2017 that Gaza had “a long time ago” passed the “unlivability threshold”. Youth unemployment is at sixty percent. Suicide is epidemic. Traditional social structures and mores are fracturing, with divorce rising from two percent to forty percent and girls and women increasingly being prostituted, something once seen only rarely in Gaza. Seventy percent of the two million Gazans survive on humanitarian aid packages of sugar, rice, milk and cooking oil. The UN estimates that 97 percent of Gaza’s water is contaminated. Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s sewage treatment plant means raw sewage is pumped into the sea, contaminating the beach, one of the very few respites for a trapped population. The Israelis did not even spare Gaza’s little zoo, slaughtering some 45 animals in the 2014 assault.

“I liked the monkeys best”, says a forlorn Ali Qasem, who worked at the zoo. “We laughed with them the most. We would laugh and play with them. They would take food right from your hand. They’d respond the most. There is a heavy feeling of sorrow. I used to spend eighteen hours a day here. I was here all the time. I’d go home for five or six hours, then come back. I worked here as a volunteer. A few volunteers built this place little by little. We were excited to finish and invite visitors for free. To me, it was like humans were killed. It’s not okay because they were animals. It’s as if they were human beings, people we know. We used to bring them food from our homes.”

The film shows Palestinians, who have received little reconstruction aid despite pledges by international donors, camping out amid the ruins of homes, gathered around small fires for heat and light. Moeen Abu Kheysi, 54, gives a tour of the smashed house he had spent his life constructing for his family. He stops when he comes upon his three-month-old grandson, Wadie. His face lights up in delight.

“Months passed and the cold rains of winter gave way to baking heat of spring”, Blumenthal says. “In Shuja’iyya, the Abu Kheysi family was still living in remnants of their home, but without their newest member. Born during the war, little Wadie did not make it through the harsh winter.”

“He was born during the war and he died during the war, well after the war”, a female member of the family explains. “He lived in a room without a wall. We covered the wall with tin sheets. We moved, but then we got kicked out. We couldn’t make rent. [We] had to come back, cover the wall and live here. Then the baby froze to death. It was very cold.”

“One day it suddenly became very cold”, Wadie’s mother says. “Wadie woke up at nine in the morning. I started playing with him, gave him a bottle. Suddenly, he was shivering from the cold. I tried to warm him up but it wasn’t working.”

She begins to weep.

“There wasn’t even time to get to the hospital”, she says. “He stopped breathing before they left the house. His heart stopped beating instantly. His father started running in the street with him. He fainted when they yelled, “The baby is dead!” The baby’s uncle took over and carried him. He looked everywhere for a taxi but couldn’t find one. We couldn’t give him first aid ourselves. They finally found a car. They did all they could at the hospital, but he never woke up. He was dead. What can I say? We remember him all the time. I can’t get him off my mind. It’s as if I lost a piece of my heart. His sisters want to sleep in his cradle and wear his clothes. This one always asks to wear her brother’s clothes. We can’t forget him.”

“Grandpa!” Wadie’s small sister cries out. “Mama is crying again”.


Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans. He has reported from more than fifty countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years.

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When Is a Massacre Not a Massacre?

by Craig Murray (May 14 2018)

On the day the Israeli Defence Force massacred dozens of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza and maimed over 400 more, our media has carefully avoided the use of the word massacre. Here is a Google search of News I did five minutes ago on the word “massacre”.

A massacre occurred today in which more people were killed than at Glencoe. All of them were unarmed and the majority were well over a hundred yards from the border fence. It says everything about the kind of nightmare fascist state Israel now is, that if you look through those news results for “massacre”, the only mention you get of Palestinians is a claim by the Israeli Defence Force that the Palestinian Defence Forces were planning a massacre of Israelis.

The Turkish government has now come out with a statement condemning the massacre, and in the UK the Daily Express and the Daily Star have both reported that; but both have chosen to put the word “massacre” in the Turkish statement into inverted commas, as though it were not true.

The Western media far prefers the word “clashes” to “massacre”. Because those terrible Palestinians insist upon demonstrating against the continuing theft of all their land and resources and keep attacking innocent Israeli bullets with their heads and bodies. If you look through the Google search of News this time for “clashes”, you discover that the western and Israeli media peculiarly have precisely the same preference for this entirely inappropriate word. That, again, is fascinating.

The gross injustice of the apartheid state of Israel appears immutable. The overwhelming force of the political and financial Establishment is behind Israel in the West, in the Russian oligarchy, and even in most of the horribly corrupt leadership of Arab states. But the situation is not as dire as it seems, because the hold of those Establishment elites on the people they exploit has never been more shaky. Israel remains a touchstone issue. In order to help redress the terrible agony of the Palestinians, we must first effect a change in our own system of elite exploitation of the people at home. That change is coming.

Categories: Uncategorized

US Media Whitewashes Gaza Massacre

As Israel killed more than fifty Palestinians in cold blood protesting the American embassy move on Monday, US corporate media failed to accurately report what happened in Gaza, once again meekly protecting the government line.

by Joe Lauria

Consortium News (May 14 2018)

Typical of the mindset of corporate media reporting on what happened in Gaza on Monday as Israeli soldiers killed more than fifty protesting Palestinians, is this tweet from CNN. It says: “Death toll rises to at least 52 people during clashes along the border fence between Israel and Gaza, Palestinian officials say. More than 2,400 people have been injured.” CNN’s new slogan is “#FactsFirst”.

Adam Johnson, who writes for the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, responded to CNN with a tweet of his own:



This one’s got it all:

* “death toll rises” – no one was killed and no one specific party did the killing, the death toll just mysteriously ‘rises’

* “clashes” – launders all power asymmetry

* “2,400 people have been injured”- all 2,400 are Palestinian but lets go with “people”



Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, said on his blog that he did a Google News search for the word “massacre” and found not one reference to Gaza.

A New York Times headline on Monday said: “Dozens of Palestinians have died in protests as the US prepares to open its Jerusalem Embassy”. Journalist Glenn Greenwald responded:



Most western media outlets have become quite skilled – through years of practice – at writing headlines and describing Israeli massacres using the passive tense so as to hide the culprit. But the all-time champion has long been, and remains, The New York Times.#HaveDied.


[Perhaps because of pressure from Greenwald and others, the Times on Monday night changed its headline to “Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as US Embassy Opens in Jerusalem”.]

Yet another CNN headline simply read: “Dozens die in Gaza”. Journalist Max Blumenthal responded:



Maybe they were old. Perhaps they were very sick. They just up and died! Who will solve the mystery behind these deaths?


Blumenthal later offered a possible solution to the mystery: “According to the White House, Khhamas launched 41 protesters into unsuspecting Israeli bullets”.


Deflecting blame from Israel is one thing. But projecting it onto the victim is quite another. Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon on Monday called for the UN Security Council to, “Condemn Hamas for their war crimes”, because “every casualty on the border is a direct victim of Hamas”.

He said in a statement released by Israel’s UN mission:



Condemn Hamas for the war crimes they commit. Not only does Hamas incite tens of thousands of Palestinians to breach the border and hurt Israeli civilians, but Hamas also deliberately endangers Palestinian civilians. The murder of Israeli civilians or deaths of the people of Gaza – each one of them is a desirable outcome for Hamas. Every casualty on the border is a victim of Hamas’ war crimes, every death is a result of Hamas’ terror activity, and these casualties are solely Hamas’ responsibility.


That’s one way to wash the Israeli government’s (blood-soaked) hands of the matter. Especially if you fear Israel will be accused of war crimes itself for its actions on Monday. Danon mentioned “breaching the border”. But it is virtually impossible to get in or out of Gaza without Israeli permission. Burning kites lofted over the barrier that pens in nearly two million Gazans subject to an internationally unrecognized economic blockade, supposedly constitutes “breaching”, in Danon’s mind.

He would do well to consider the words of Moshe Dayan, one of Israel’s Founding Fathers, who said in 1956:

What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.



He went on:

We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house … Let us not be afraid to see the hatred that accompanies and consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit all around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood.


So on the day, 61 years later, when the United States declared Jerusalem/Al Quds as the capital of Israel by moving its embassy there, rather than leaving its status to negotiation, people still trapped in Gaza protested at the gate fencing them in while Israeli military snipers picked off more than fifty of them and wounded thousands more for protesting their entrapment.

US Parrots Israel, Media Parrots US

Danon’s position was callously promoted by the White House on Monday. Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah was asked several times to condemn Israel’s military response. “We believe Hamas is responsible for these tragic deaths”, he said. “Their rather cynical exploitation of the situation is what’s leading to these deaths and we want it stopped”. He later blamed Hamas for a “gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt”.

Unsurprisingly, Congress also lined up behind the Jewish State, mostly ignoring what went on in Gaza.

At the ceremony opening the embassy, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called Monday “a monumental day in United States-Israel relations”. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who was among four senators and ten members of the House of Representatives present, incredulously said moving the embassy “furthers the chances of peace in the Middle East by demonstrating that America’s support for Israel is unconditional and will not be bullied by global media opinion”.

Back in Washington, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, proclaimed: “Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”

Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party vice presidential candidate in 2016, tweeted:

Where are the Democrats condemning the slaughter in Gaza? If this was Assad they would be joining the Republicans calling for military action pretending like they cared for Arab life.

A Handful of Democrats Speak Out

Bernie Sanders of Vermont mildly criticized Israel’s murderous response. “Hamas violence does not justify Israel firing on unarmed protesters”, he said. “The United States must play an aggressive role in bringing Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and the international community together to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and stop this escalating violence”.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, was more critical:



It’s just heartbreaking. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is desperate. Instead of cutting aid, the Trump administration must restore our leadership role and do what it can to alleviate the Palestinians’ suffering. The location of the embassy is a final-status issue that should have been resolved as part of peace negotiations where both sides benefit, not just one side. Israel will only know true security when it is at peace with its neighbors.


Representative Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, tweeted:



Today’s @USEmbassyIsrael opening in Jerusalem & killing of dozens of Gaza protesters advances @netanyahu agenda of occupation & oppression of Palestinians. @realDonaldTrump policies are fueling conflict, abandoning diplomatic efforts to achieve peace.


Pressure to support Israel on The Hill is infamously intense. But what is the media’s excuse for being afraid to simply report facts, such as that Israeli soldiers “killed” Palestinians on Monday? They didn’t just simply die.

Just because US government figures are apologists for Israel, does not mean the media must be too. But that would require the US having an independent mainstream media.

When control of powerful mainstream communications breeds self-aggrandizement and adherence to a line pushed for so long because it got you where you are in the pecking order of media culture, it seems virtually impossible to shift gears and take another look at what you are reporting.


Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

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Israeli Celebrates

Slaughters 55 Palestinians in Gaza

by ICH & Agencies

Information Clearing House (May 14 2018)

Israeli occupation forces killed at least 55 Palestinians along the Gaza fence Monday as angry protesters demonstrated on the day the United States opened its embassy in occupied Jerusalem.

Among the Palestinians killed are five children, including one girl, and among the wounded are 122 children, and 44 women.

27 of the wounded Palestinians suffered very serious wounds, 59 serious injuries, 735 moderate wounds, and 882 suffered light wounds.

772 of the wounded Palestinians were shot with live rounds, three with rubber-coated steel bullets, 91 with shrapnel, 100 cuts and bruises, and 737 suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

65 of the wounded were shot in the head and neck, 116 in their arms, 48 in the chest and back, 651 in the lower extremities, 52 in several parts of their bodies, and 737 suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

The soldiers also caused damage to at least one ambulance and injured one medic and eleven journalists.

Trump’s Message Upon the Dedication of the US Embassy in Jerusalem


The United States under President Harry Truman became the first nation to recognize the state of Israel. Today, we officially open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Congratulations. It’s been a long time coming.

Almost immediately after declaring statehood in 1948, Israel designated the city of Jerusalem as its capital. The capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. So important.

Today, Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government. It is the home of the Israeli legislature and the Israeli supreme court and Israel’s prime minister and president. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.

Yet for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious: the plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. On December 06 2017, at my direction, the United States finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel.

Today, we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem. And we’re opening it many, many years ahead of schedule.

As I said in December, our greatest hope is for peace. The United States remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement, and we continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.

This city and its entire nation is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace.

We wish Ambassador Friedman good luck as he takes up his office in this beautiful Jerusalem embassy, and we extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians, and to all of their neighbors. May there be peace. May God bless this embassy. May God bless all who serve there. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you.

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Snipers Shooting Unarmed People …

… at 100 Meters Isn’t a “Clash”

by Adam Johnson

Information Clearing House (May 14 2018)

As FAIR has noted before {1, 2}, the term “clash” is almost always used to launder power asymmetry and give the reader the impression of two equal warring sides. It obscures power dynamics and the nature of the conflict itself, for example, who instigated it and what weapons if any were used. “Clash” is a reporter’s best friend when they want to describe violence without offending anyone in power – in the words of George Orwell, “to name things without calling up mental pictures of them”.

It’s predictable, then, that in coverage of Israel’s recent mass shootings in Gaza – which have killed over thirty Palestinians and injured more than 1,100 – the word “clashes” is used to euphemize snipers in fortified positions firing on unarmed protesters 100 meters away:

* Journalist Among 9 Dead in Latest Gaza Clashes, Palestinian Health Officials Say {3}

* Burning Tires, Tear Gas and Live Fire: Gaza Clashes Turn Deadly {4}

* Demonstrators Wounded as Gaza Clashes Resume (5)

*Israel Clashes: Seven Palestinians Killed in Gaza Border Protests {6}

*After Gaza Clash, Israel and Palestinians Fight With Videos and Words {7}

It’s almost as bizarre as the time several media outlets referred to a white nationalist driving a car into a crowd of unarmed protesters in Charlottesville as a “clash” {8}:

“Clash” implies some degree of symmetry. When one side is dying by the dozens and the other is sitting behind a heavily secured wall, firing at will on unarmed people from hundreds of feet away, some of whom are wearing vests marked “PRESS” {9}, this is not a “clash”. It’s more accurately described as a “massacre”, or at the very least, “firing on protesters”. (No Israelis have been injured, which would be a surprising thing if two sides were actually “clashing”.)

How media report on troops firing on protesters when it’s an official enemy doing the firing – The New York Times {10}

The fig leaf of “clashes” is not needed in reporting on US enemies. In 2011, Western headlines routinely described Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad as having “fired on protesters” {11, 12}. Simple plain English works when reporting on those in bad standing with the US national security establishment, but for allies of the United States, the push for false parity requires increasingly absurd euphemisms to mask what’s really going on – in this case, the long-distance slaughter of unarmed human beings.

Israel has a state-of-the-art military: F35s, Sa’ar corvettes, Merkava tanks, and Hellfire missiles, not to mention the most intrusive surveillance apparatus in the world; total control over the air, sea, and land. In the Great March of Return protests, the Palestinians have employed rocks, tires and, according to the IDF, the occasional Molotov cocktail, though no independent evidence has emerged of the latter being used. The power asymmetry is one of the largest of any conflict in the world, yet Western media still cling on an institutional level to a “cycle of violence” frame, with “both sides” depicted as two equal parties. The term “clashes” permits them to do this in perpetuity, no matter how one-sided the violence becomes.














This article was originally published by “FAIR” –

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