Monday, February 19, 2018

Witness Out of Palestine



Witness Out of Palestine
By David Swanson
http://davidswanson.org/witness-out-of-palestine/
Anna Baltzer’s amazing book Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories has been updated over the years, and I’ve just read it for the first time. Rather unfairly, and — as it turns out — wrongly, my first response upon turning the initial pages was: Do we really need another one of these? Jewish person believes pile of myths. Jewish person confronts reality. Jewish person tries to open the eyes of others. It’s become as familiar as “Dog Bites Man.” Couldn’t we all just share one book around instead of everyone writing his or her own, and then pool our money until we can afford a television station so that people can be made to wake up in large numbers?
But here’s the thing. While I’ve grown accustomed to describing each such book as the best or one of the best, they are not all the same. One of the many merits of this one is that it would make — and I hope it does make if it isn’t already — an excellent text book in schools. And significant numbers of people are waking up, without television, and presumably in part because of all the books, plus the interviews and events that accompany the books. The movement in the U.S. against Israel’s wars (and occupations and apartheid) demonstrates to the movement against all wars, and that against U.S. wars, that such things are possible. It may also demonstrate to writers that their efforts are in fact worth a bit more than would be spending their time helping Fox News hosts spot hidden sperms in presidential portraits.
I recently debated a West Point professor on whether war can ever be justified, and I tried to get him to name some actual wars that have been justifiable (as opposed to theoretical wars). He claimed that Israel’s Six Days War was the “quintessentially” just war. So in our second debate, I read to him from a Los Angeles Times column by Miko Peled showing that those who launched that war did so because they saw an opportunity for aggression and conquest. The facts that Peled revealed would be spreading virally and becoming universally known if they proved that the United States was created by God to set an example for the dumber people of earth. Information becomes known if it is desirable. But why isn’t the fact that every single war ever has been unjustifiable very desirable news, as it allows the world to do something more useful with $2 trillion a year?
My debate partner was a man who took part in the U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan but refused repeatedly to say whether they were just or unjust wars. During our second debate he said that only fresh recruits could be excused for refusing to participate in those wars, but that experienced trained soldiers should have known better. However, he said something seemingly at odds with that, when, after the debate, I asked him yet again whether Iraq 2003-on was a justifiable war, yes or no? He said that it was only unjustifiable after the fact because of new information. And yet he had publicly promoted and participated in that war long after any such supposedly new information (presumably meaning the absence of the WMDs) had become widely known and the fact that the lies had been intentional had been thoroughly documented, and those who had pointed out the blatant falsehoods beforehand had been proven right.
My confused debate partner much preferred talking about analogies to Good Samaritans and doctors and muggers than actual wars, so I pointed out to him that Israel’s concern in 1967 that in 18 months Egypt could be capable of attacking it actually bore no relevant similarity to the immediacy and the urgency of a victim of a mugging. In making this comment I also referred to “decades of genocidal occupation” that followed the war. Someone later accused me of misusing the term genocide. So I pointed out the open advocacy of genocide by top Israelis. Baltzer’s book points out the open advocacy of genocide by many (obviously not all) Israeli settlers and soldiers. But I was then told that the crime of “incitement of genocide” is not the same as genocide. So, apparently it is OK to accuse Israelis of “incitement of genocide” but not of doing anything genocidal. I have no idea Baltzer’s view and don’t want to overemphasize the silly question of the use of a particular word, but I recommend reading her book.
This book documents the normalization of a long-term gradual genocide, one that in its duration serves as a marketing device for generations of new military weaponry. Ambulances are stopped at checkpoints until the ailing person dies. Children are shot for straying too near a fence in pursuit of a soccer ball. Supplies are blocked. Malnutrition is intentionally and successfully imposed. Fishing is restricted. A village is flooded with raw sewage with five people drowning in it. These and hundreds of other techniques serve to reinforce the bigotry behind the apartheid, and to do something that is in a strange way worse than a faster genocide: the banalization of evil. Call it whatever the bloody hell you want to call it. But let’s not let the unpleasantness of it prevent us from working to make it stop.
--
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate

Sign up for these emails at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/articles-from-david-swanson.
Anna Baltzer’s amazing book Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories has been updated over the years, and I’ve just read it for the first time. Rather unfairly, and — as it turns out — wrongly, my first response upon turning the initial pages was: Do we really need another one of these? Jewish person believes pile of myths. Jewish person confronts reality. Jewish person tries to open the eyes of others. It’s become as familiar as “Dog Bites Man.” Couldn’t we all just share one book around instead of everyone writing his or her own, and then pool our money until we can afford a television station so that people can be made to wake up in large numbers?
But here’s the thing. While I’ve grown accustomed to describing each such book as the best or one of the best, they are not all the same. One of the many merits of this one is that it would make — and I hope it does make if it isn’t already — an excellent text book in schools. And significant numbers of people are waking up, without television, and presumably in part because of all the books, plus the interviews and events that accompany the books. The movement in the U.S. against Israel’s wars (and occupations and apartheid) demonstrates to the movement against all wars, and that against U.S. wars, that such things are possible. It may also demonstrate to writers that their efforts are in fact worth a bit more than would be spending their time helping Fox News hosts spot hidden sperms in presidential portraits.
I recently debated a West Point professor on whether war can ever be justified, and I tried to get him to name some actual wars that have been justifiable (as opposed to theoretical wars). He claimed that Israel’s Six Days War was the “quintessentially” just war. So in our second debate, I read to him from a Los Angeles Times column by Miko Peled showing that those who launched that war did so because they saw an opportunity for aggression and conquest. The facts that Peled revealed would be spreading virally and becoming universally known if they proved that the United States was created by God to set an example for the dumber people of earth. Information becomes known if it is desirable. But why isn’t the fact that every single war ever has been unjustifiable very desirable news, as it allows the world to do something more useful with $2 trillion a year?
My debate partner was a man who took part in the U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan but refused repeatedly to say whether they were just or unjust wars. During our second debate he said that only fresh recruits could be excused for refusing to participate in those wars, but that experienced trained soldiers should have known better. However, he said something seemingly at odds with that, when, after the debate, I asked him yet again whether Iraq 2003-on was a justifiable war, yes or no? He said that it was only unjustifiable after the fact because of new information. And yet he had publicly promoted and participated in that war long after any such supposedly new information (presumably meaning the absence of the WMDs) had become widely known and the fact that the lies had been intentional had been thoroughly documented, and those who had pointed out the blatant falsehoods beforehand had been proven right.
My confused debate partner much preferred talking about analogies to Good Samaritans and doctors and muggers than actual wars, so I pointed out to him that Israel’s concern in 1967 that in 18 months Egypt could be capable of attacking it actually bore no relevant similarity to the immediacy and the urgency of a victim of a mugging. In making this comment I also referred to “decades of genocidal occupation” that followed the war. Someone later accused me of misusing the term genocide. So I pointed out the open advocacy of genocide by top Israelis. Baltzer’s book points out the open advocacy of genocide by many (obviously not all) Israeli settlers and soldiers. But I was then told that the crime of “incitement of genocide” is not the same as genocide. So, apparently it is OK to accuse Israelis of “incitement of genocide” but not of doing anything genocidal. I have no idea Baltzer’s view and don’t want to overemphasize the silly question of the use of a particular word, but I recommend reading her book.
This book documents the normalization of a long-term gradual genocide, one that in its duration serves as a marketing device for generations of new military weaponry. Ambulances are stopped at checkpoints until the ailing person dies. Children are shot for straying too near a fence in pursuit of a soccer ball. Supplies are blocked. Malnutrition is intentionally and successfully imposed. Fishing is restricted. A village is flooded with raw sewage with five people drowning in it. These and hundreds of other techniques serve to reinforce the bigotry behind the apartheid, and to do something that is in a strange way worse than a faster genocide: the banalization of evil. Call it whatever the bloody hell you want to call it. But let’s not let the unpleasantness of it prevent us from working to make it stop.
--
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate

Sign up for these emails at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/articles-from-david-swanson.























Iraq snapshot

Monday, February 19, 2018.  Mere weeks away from the 15th anniversary of this wave of the never-ending Iraq War.


I was on the phone earlier with a friend.  We both know Patricia Arquette and are amazed at her Russian scare mongering -- appalled actually.  I said, "Well Rosanna's not stupid."  He checked.  No, she's not.  I have no idea why Patricia's decided to jump off the cliff but she's on her own.  Increasingly on her own.


(Also, it's very insulting to her late brother for Patricia to present Billie Jean King as the brave voice.  There is the reality of Billie Jean -- lesbian her whole life and in the closet long after she admits to today -- and there there is the myth of Billie Jean.  Patricia's too old to fall for the myth.)


The violence never ends in Iraq (if Patricia wants to check in on that any time soon).

near popular market leaves four civilians killed, injured




And there's the attack today on Iraqi forces:

BREAKING: Iraq's Shiite-led force: Militants disguised in army uniforms ambush paramilitary troops north of Baghdad, killing 27.




Who was behind that attack?

ISIS says they were.

claims responsibility for killing 20 security personnel in





B-b-b-but Hayder al-Abadi says he defeated ISIS!!!!!

And it must be true because the media's told us that as well!!!!

Oh, the media lies.

Are you still that naive?

As Iraq War vet Mike Prysner explained on LOUD & CLEAR over the weekend:

There are two sides to this.  There's the preparing and the priming for war and all the propaganda and lies and all of the things that the media does to prepare people for that initial attack and [. . .]  But then when the war starts there's this whole other part of the of masking what's really happening, masking the war on civilians, masking the mismanagement and poor planning of the war makers and of course this happened with the Gulf War and with the invasion of Iraq that I was a part of in 2003.  I think that the US empire learned a lesson from the Vietnam War because if you look up footage of the Vietnam War, you'll see that journalists were on the front line, the evening news was showing front line reporting, showing destruction of civilians and the death of and the serious wounding of US soldiers.  And the US empire learned a lesson from that because that stimulated so much anti-war activism in the United States and in the military because people were seeing a first-hand look at what was going on every single day.  And with the Gulf War they made a very specific effort to conceal that.  To be a military reporter there you had to be approved by the government, you had to go through all types of vetting and they were only allowing journalists embedded with soldiers who were approved and who were going to show positive coverage.  And the same was true with the invasion of Iraq.  And I remember one of the things that, you know, I think one of the first times that me and my friends there started to get really angry at the media.  You know we hadn't seen newspapers or news for quite some months but when we finally saw a news report it was just a news report about a rocket that had hit the side of a building and it was just like this kind of endless loop footage of a hole in the side of a building.  This was the reality that we had been dealing with day in and day out -- that was a daily or nightly occurrence for us.   And we realized that people back home had absolutely no idea what was happening in Iraq.  That the politicians were saying everything's going fine, yes, we have to report on this or that death when it happens but overall it's going well.  But what we were seeing was just the opposite -- that every day was getting worse and every day was becoming more and more of a disaster and so this kind of extreme need to conceal from the public what's actually going on as the plans are falling apart or as the plans are working and are getting more and more destructive and horrible for the people that they're going after. We felt completely betrayed by the fact that the people we were supposed to be serving back home weren't allowed to know the true extent of what was going on.


As we have repeatedly pointed out, it wasn't just the Judith Millers responsible for getting us over there, it was also the liars -- The Go-Go Boys of  the Green Zone -- that kept us there.

And the lies never end.

Like the corporate media's need/desire to do the US State Dept's work for them and pimp the lie that ISIS is defeated in Iraq. 

That lie benefits Hayder al-Abadi who faces an election May 12th and who has damn little to show for four years as prime minister.

So the corporate media repeats it even though events on the ground -- which they largely ignore -- beg to differ with that claim.


For example:






No, that's not something you do when ISIS is defeated.


And let's talk about something else the media did.

Bob Hope's annual Vietnam specials.

I believe it was 1972 when one of them finally came in second for the week.  Prior to that, they were all the number one program for their week.  It reminded people that US troops were in Vietnam.  For some that was good, for some that was bad.  It was these specials that led to it being labeled "Hope's War" -- and that wasn't a good thing.  He faced booing from the troops in one instance, in another, in the US, he insisted it was "a beautiful thing" the war even if it did cost American lives.  He later insisted he was misquoted and said he was suing.  But he never did sue, did he? 

Throughout the ongoing Iraq War, there's been every effort to avoid the war in prime time.  There's been every effort to hide it away.


In fact, the most honest moment may have been when Bright Eyes performed "When A President Talks To God" on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO May 2, 2005.





The Iraq War continues because it's sold over and over, because the corporate media conceals it, because so-called peace activists only care to rail against war if a Republican's in the White House, for so many reasons.

Next month, the Iraq War, this wave of it, hits the 15 year mark.

But it's okay, Patty Arquette's obsessed with defending War Criminal Hillary Clinton and that's what really matters -- at least in a world that's as full of s**t at Patricia herself is these days.




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