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    I'm late to the party but better late than never - though in this case I'd prefer it were "never" indeed.

    2.5 years ago this icon was picked up by people across Flickr to promote awareness of Israel's atrocious campaign of bombing Lebanon and solidarity with people there (and, yes, some people were free to include Israeli civilians bombed by Hizballah, as well as hundreds of Gazans who were dying almost unnoticed in the big scheme of things). At the time I was somewhat torn and maybe even squeamish about joining in the gesture, making up justifications about mixing art and politics and such.

    Well, now in some sort of perverted poetical justice the history decided to repeat itself and give me another chance. Those who have eyes will see that the parallels to the situation 2.5 years ago are all here: the "shock and awe", the gung-ho patriotism and thirst for blood of Israeli public, the uncertain, slippery goals of the "operation", and, as we speak, more dead on both sides, with disproportionately large numbers in Gaza.

    I feel I could predict what is going to happen in the coming weeks with uncanny ease and only hope to be proven wrong: there is going to be a big building with lots of civilians inside that will be destroyed "by mistake" in one of Israeli raids; there are going to be Israeli victims in places not used to rockets, such as Beer Sheva and the Israeli public will cry for obliteration of Gaza because nothing else works; ground troops will enter at some point and hit an ambush and suffer heavy losses, after which Israel will have to "fuck" Gazans even more in impotent rage; finally, after the world, seeing enough of the useless carnage will come to its senses and start demanding a cease fire in earnest, Israel will begrudgingly oblige, secretly thankful for a chance to come down from the tree it so gingerly climbed, while Hamas will emerge as victorious and glorious force that stood up to the aggressors.

    Making this black ribbon the icon and spreading it across Flickr will not stop any of the above, sure, but it is a small outlet for protest and call to senses. I hope people will come, see, engage.

    And make it to AnomalousNYC photostream and support him!

    AnomalousNYC and hireth added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. AnomalousNYC 64 months ago | reply

      Not even sure why that would be newsworthy at this point - it has become commonplace for Israeli soldiers to ignore white flags.

      According to many reports from Palestinians over the last decade, it is widely understood that a white flag guarantees nothing and may in some cases actually draw fire. There were several such incidents in the Jenin massacre, including several instances where civilians were deliberately shot in the street in order to use them as bait to draw out attempted rescuers - when people attempted to come to help them or drag them to safety, they were systematically murdered.

      I understand this to be basically a subset of the Israeli refusal to respect established rules granting particular persons - civilians, humanitarian relief workers, journalists, religious figures, medical workers, international observers - a blanket exemption or immunity from military targeting. If Israelis feel comfortable shooting at the head of the UNRWA, or murdering nonviolent demonstrators, or executing journalists in the street, or assassinating clerics, or launching missiles at ambulances, or dropping white phosphorous bombs on United Nations humanitarian facilities, or carpet bombing elementary schools and hospitals, it should hardly be surprising that they would not respect a white flag. Israel has never accepted any such restraints on its conduct.

      The Israeli press seems to understand and accept this; if you watch the horrible israeli tv interview with Dr. Aish - whose children were murdered by Israeli rockets while he was on the phone with a panelist on a live Israeli TV show - it is casually mentioned that he had been trying to get his family out for days but was afraid that even with a white flag he would be shot.

      www.antiwar.com/blog/2009/01/18/israeli-tv-airs-call-to-f...

    2. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      Dr. Aish story is heartbreaking (even though unusual only in the sense that it did manage to penetrate Israeli homes thanks to an unplanned cell-phone call by Shlomi Eldar). I can only marvel at his ability to suppress the feelings of hate and revenge, though these are natural to come from the circumstances. What an amazing person. Another such example is Bassam Aramin of Combatants for Peace whose daughter Abir was killed by Israeli soldiers. Truly people to look up to, saints.
      An officer in reserves Noam Livne, who bravely refused to participate in the Gaza offensive, wrote a column for Ynet (Hebrew) in which he bemoans the insular coverage coming to Israeli homes, sparing the Israelis the terrible pictures of what their army is doing there. He hopes that seeing those pictures could give pause to many people; and I hope that dr. Aish story did give pause at least to some with shreds of humanity remaining in them. (Noam, btw, was arrested for his refusal only two days after the operation was officially over - a classic case of IDF, acting shrewdly but cowardly, not wanting to create a big media story, expose others to the "option" to refuse and expose the cracks in the support for war during the operation. See this (Hebrew).)

      P.S. Noam's Ynet column (predictably!) does not appear in Ynet's English edition. Here, however, is another one by him:

      [...]All my life I volunteered. I did one year of community service. I was in a combat unit. I was an officer. I volunteered in public service organizations. But today I can say with confidence (and much anguish): I don't like my country. In fact, I am embarrassed by it. I was taught that patriotism is a value. But if patriotism is automatic, then it has no meaning, and if it has no meaning then certainly it has no value. And if it isn't automatic then it requires some thought before deciding to be a patriot. And if so, show me what logical thought can cause me to love my country today.[...]

    3. AnomalousNYC 64 months ago | reply

      I'd add Rami Elhanan's name to that list of saints:
      www.criticalconcern.com/rami_elhanan.htm

    4. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      'Legal' weapons also kill / Amira Hass
      [...]
      On Friday, January 16, [Kassab and Ibrahim Shurab, aged 28 and 17,] were driving with their father Mohammed, 64 [...] to their home in Khan Yunis. [...]
      At about 1 P.M. they reached the Abu Zaidan supermarket in the Al-Foukhari neighborhood. An adjacent building had been converted into an IDF outpost. Soldiers moved in, turning the tenants into prisoners in their own homes.
      Suddenly intensive fire opened on the Land Rover from the army outpost, about 30 to 50 meters away, according to the father's estimate. Kassab was hit in the chest, came out of the sport utility vehicle (SUV), collapsed and died. Ibrahim jumped out and was hit in the leg by the fire, which did not stop. He tried to call for help on his mobile phone but a soldier shouted at him not to call and swore at him in Arabic, the father told Tom, a member of Physicians for Human Rights, hours later. [...]
      At 11 P.M., 10 hours after they were injured, his bleeding son grew colder and his breath weakened. Mohammed managed to drag him back to the shell-riddled SUV in the hope of finding a warmer spot for him. But half an hour after midnight, between Friday and Saturday, the son took his last breath in his father's arms, 30 to 50 meters away from the soldiers. [...]
      The European Hospital is located some two kilometers from the site. One minute's ride in an ambulance? Two? At about 9:30 the next morning Tom was told that the IDF had permitted an ambulance to approach at 12 noon that day.

    5. AnomalousNYC 64 months ago | reply

      I couldn't begin to count the number of such stories I've heard over the horrible years I've spent listening to the victims of Israel's insatiable ethnic malice. It's like this horrible nightmare, where the form changes but the substance is always exactly the same.

      I am glad people are starting to finally see it for what it is, but remain appalled that it has taken so many decades of murder and misery to get to this point where - finally - some of Israel's defenders are beginning to feel a wee bit guilty about their mindless advocacy.

    6. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      Maybe we're witnessing "things getting much worse before they get better" phenomenon; or "night is always darkest before the dawn". I want to hope so. As I said before, I believe most people are reasonable and moral; they might be brainwashed, lacking guidance, sometimes paranoid and traumatized. Etc. But with time attitudes and positions shift. I want to hope that in twenty years we'll look at today and marvel how these things could have happened...

    7. AnomalousNYC 64 months ago | reply

      As someone who has spent a considerable number of years looking closely at the mechanics of genocide, I have very little hope that Israelis will - at this very late stage - extricate themselves from this whirlpool they are very clearly heading towards.

    8. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      I guess it's better to be pessimistic and be proven wrong than otherwise. But I am not yet ready to give up hope.

    9. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply


      This says:
      "I too am voting Hadash"

      I wish I could, but Israel does not allow absentee voting...

    10. AnomalousNYC 64 months ago | reply

      "The settlements and the settlers are an abscess that should be removed. Israel's Arabs have rights to this land and not just rights in this land. I bring a message of life and hope and not a message of death and despair like MK Eldad."
      --Ahmed Tibi, ynet

      Wish I could vote for the brilliant Azmi Bishara - what's become of him? I had such hopes in him, as did so many others, which is why he was intolerable to the scum of Tel Aviv, I suppose.

    11. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      Muhammad Barakeh of Hadash also looks impressive as is the the rest of the list. Dov Khenin, number 3 has a lot of appeal to the young lefty crowds of Tel Aviv, and almost caused a run-off for mayoral elections there against the incumbent Huldai a couple of months ago.
      Bishara was forced to escape from the country on some charges by Shabak. Great piece by him in the LA Times, thanks!

    12. AnomalousNYC 64 months ago | reply

      Right I heard about the crap with Bishara - I was just curious what had become of him since then - haven't heard a word in about a year, which is unusual for Bishara, who always had a wise word to say about nearly everything. I suppose being finally expelled from the repellent country he sacrificed much of his life to improving has left him a little disheartened about the prospects of Israel having any future at all other than a glowing slag heap populated by radioactive and peculiarly racist cockroaches.

      Every Israeli election I just ask myself what is the most horrible possible outcome, and that is usually not far off the mark. What horrors can Israel bring us this year?

      I propose a new coalition party - let's just call it "mavet" - with Netanyahu at the front, flanked by Baruch Marzel, Arieh Eldad, Effi Eitam, Benny Elon and Avigdor Lieberman. It's a sure thing!

      Mavet for Israel in 2009!

    13. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      Re: the "Mavet" party - LOL - just today I was leaving this comment on a certain blog:

      If Israel had absentee voting, I’d vote either Hadash or someone from extreme right. For justifications, I will defer to the Magnes Zionist, because he will always phrase it better than I could ever hope to (except that I’d maybe vote even more extreme than Bibi - Lieberman, for example. The “fascistier” the better):
      Vote Hadash
      vs
      Vote Bibi

    14. AnomalousNYC 64 months ago | reply

      Wonderful endorsements! He's always a charming read. But I still want a chance to wear a "Mavet for Israel in 2009" button!

      I never cease to be amazed by how the Israeli right seems to sincerely believe itself to represent a change, an untried option for a firm hand - as if Israel has ever been or done anything other than that.

      Israel is all out of ideas, as its latest genocidal snit in Gaza seems to have demonstrated. Even its most reliable gesture - mass murder - has failed in its purposes, unless there is some clerk in the Pentagon's General Accounting Office who dictates the dispensation of US military aid based solely on kill ratios. (I jest but of course this is not entirely implausible).

    15. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      “We were used like cows…”

      By Dan Fleshler | January 28, 2009

      He couldn’t take it any more. He was a nationally-known American rabbi who had publicly supported the Israeli government, despite his doubts about the wisdom or morality of its policies. He had backed its initial military response to attacks by non-state actors on Israeli citizens. But as time wore on, he could not find a way to rationalize or justify the IDF’s willingness to pummel civilian neighborhoods with bombs and mortar shells. Eventually, he reached a point where the Israelis’ callous disregard for Palestinian lives prompted him to speak out. He said, in an angry interview:

      I fear that our past public support of the government of Israel, no matter its policy and no matter our reservation, was used by the Israelis to project a world Jewish community completely in accord with its goal and methods. We were used like cows. We were milked, both for moral and financial support—and for the influence we could bring to bear on Washington—and when we were used up we were put out to pasture. Yes it is fair to say we were treated with contempt, and we’ve gone along willingly. But we’ve crossed a watershed now, and our open criticism will continue and increase.

      The angry rabbi was not a left wing opponent of Israel’s recent assault on the Gaza Strip. He was Alexander Schindler, head of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union of Reform Judaism), the largest synagogue movement in the U.S. The interview was in New York Magazine, in the October 19th, 1982 issue. He was talking about Israel’s war against the PLO in Lebanon.
      Every major American Jewish organization supported Israel’s initial invasion of Lebanon 27 years ago. The expressed Israeli goal was to stop the PLO from firing rockets into northern Israel. It seemed to be limited and quite sensible. American Jewish leaders were initially told that Israel wanted to create a cordon sanitaire in order to keep Israeli civilians out of harm’s way.
      But, under Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, the Israelis took the battle much further, all the way to Beirut. Within a few weeks, it was clear that one of the goals was to rout the PLO and kick them out of Lebanon. The Israelis laid siege to West Beirut for weeks, shelled and bombed the city, cut off its food, water and electricity. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed. Later, after the war, still another goal surfaced, one that was abstract and murky: Sharon had hoped that the collapse of the PLO would force Jordan to assume responsibility for West Bank Palestinians.
      American Jews were used like cows back then. What about more recently, during the war in Gaza?
      There are a great many differences between the circumstances of the two wars, too many to point out without a lengthy analysis. One difference worth mentioning,though, is that Schindler was hardly the only major American Jewish leader to speak out back then. In his book, Irreconcilable Differences, Stephen Rosenthal devotes a whole chapter to public American Jewish dissent against the first Israeli war in Lebanon. (I also touch upon this in my forthcoming book). Some of the opponents, like Schindler, were mainstream heavyweights who had accepted Israel’s initial explanations for invading Lebanon, then decided that they could not endorse Sharon’s real objectives. This time, of course, the heavyweights have kept silent.

      But there was one important similarity:
      At the outset of the Gaza war, I–like thousands of other American Jews with ties to Israel–received a flurry of email messages, bulletins and reports of conference calls with Israeli diplomats. I was assured that the goal of Israel’s massive bombardment of Gaza was to protect the people of southern Israel from rocket fire. I was told that Israel was simply trying to destroy the Hamas infrastructure that supported the rocket fire. The goal seemed to be limited.
      But the declared goals kept changing, as I noted in a furious post a few days after the war started. Eventually, it became clear that I was being asked to defend an operation whose real goal was to send a message, to show Hamas and the Palestinians under its rule that the Israelis would not hesitate to behave like unpredictable madmen if the rocket fire on southern Israel continued. As Ethan Bronner put it, “The Israeli theory of what it tried to do here is summed up in a Hebrew phrase heard across Israel and throughout the military in the past weeks: `baal habayit hishtageya,‘ or `the boss has lost it.’”
      The price of this feigned madness was the death of hundreds of innocent people and the maiming of many more, all in the name of the abstract and murky goal of “deterrence.”

      Moo…

    16. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      Anomalous, Israel in general is like a gambler that compulsively keeps throwing away money in the hope of one day taking the whole pot. It says: "This time it's gonna happen! This time it's gonna work! I can feel it in my guts!" Israeli right, on the other hand, knows that what did not work in the past won't work today either. It just believes that "what doesn't work with force, will work with more force" and hopes to create conditions that will make application of "more force" possible. "More force" is, of course, ethnic cleansing.

    17. AnomalousNYC 64 months ago | reply

      Bronner's proposal of `baal habayit hishtageya‘ as a strategy recalls Henry Kissinger's "madman theory", which was similarly deployed in the Nixon administration to justify the industrial mass extermination of millions of people in Vietnam and throughout southeast Asia.

      ...

      Your "of course" ["More force" is, of course, ethnic cleansing.] chills me, because ethnic cleansing is not an untried option - it is the status quo. It was imposed on 85% of Palestinians in 1948, and it continues to be a systematic policy. Ethnic cleansing takes place every day, as any Palestinian will tell you. It is the guiding motivation of virtually all policies and normal practices concerning non-Jews both within Israel and in the areas militarily controlled by Israel.

      What happens when the regular imposition of ethnic cleansing is not percieved to be ethnic cleansing at all? What happens when it - whatever it is understood to be - is percieved as insufficient?

      The problem at base remains Jewish racism - as non-Jews, the Palestinians are simply not percieved as sufficiently human to merit further concern, be it the "patience" of Israel's vast bureaucracy of ethnic exclusion, or the "tolerance" of Israel's ethnic punishment brigades.

      The truly terrifying face of today's Israel is not the outraged racist that squeals "kick them all out" on prime-time TV - it's the cavalier and now horrifyingly popular endorsement of genocide as not only inevitable, but desirable - a long-overdue tribal revenge for something or other.

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvR9077-5o4

      I am reminded of Himmler's remark: "the difficult decision had to be taken to have this people disappear from the earth." Himmler was preoccupied with how to popularize this "difficult decision" but Germans were apparently a good deal less receptive to the prospect than Israelis are. I imagine that is because he had only a handful of years to mobilize his "experts" and "technicians" to explain why their "race" was in mortal danger, while Israelis have been broadcasting this message relentlessly for decades, and it now sits quite comfortably alongside historic Jewish narratives about victimization and the perils of intermingling with the goyim.

      It all smacks of a return of the repressed rabbinate, with the looming figure of the genocidal Taliban-Jew as the revenge for decades of disobedience in the secular zionist paradise, with the mass sacrifice of Palestinians diagnosed as the requisite expiation of Jewish transgressions.

    18. skyredoubt 64 months ago | reply

      You're right, of course; I used "ethnic cleansing" to signify a swift expulsion accompanied by massacres, as opposed to currently practiced "slow" one. This is "more force": same thing, but with greater intensity. The current slow ethnic cleansing will not achieve the desired effect, at least not quickly enough.

    19. skyredoubt 63 months ago | reply

      Watch this:

      Obama, take away the pain in my stomach

      Powerful, touching, but tell me how the hell did we get here, that we think we need Obama save us from ourselves? This is nuts. This was not what Israel was supposed to be about. What a shame...

    20. AnomalousNYC 63 months ago | reply

      yeah, and when israel destroys itself you can bet it will all be the fault of the evil goyim.

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