10 July 2021
We gathered at the North side of City Hall in Phiadelphia. I'd say our
attendence was in the low 100s. The actual fighting that occurred
between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza in June has ceased, but Israeli
harrassment of Palestinians continues. The attempted seizure of
Palestinian property in Jerusalem never broke out into actual combat,
but it triggered the bombings and rocket launches between Israel and
Gaza. What's probably the most significant outcome of the fighting in
June was a newfound solidarity among Palestinians.
According to Israel's Jewish population, they have every reason to fear
the worst if their Palestinian population gains power. According to a long-time American right-winger:
"The charge of apartheid is the new blood libel." Human Rights Watch
has long agreed that Israel is an apartheid state, which the pundit
argues, gives the charge "a patina of legitimacy," but which simply
makes HRW one of many "anti-Israel organizations."
First off, there really isn't any question that Israel practices apartheid. Al Jazeera lists all of the definitions and well, Israel meets all of them. The Israeli Supreme Court has also reaffirmed that "Israel a Jewish nation such that sovereignty is solely invested in the
Jewish population. Over 20 percent of Israel’s population is not Jewish." Oh, and "Israel’s foreign minister admits it’s an apartheid state."
The Philadelphia group C-J Allies
has published a book "Why Palestine Matters: The struggle to end
colonialism" that further explains the situation. It's available by
In a very good and positive move, the US is making a clear break
with the former administration, Vowing "to rebuild US relations with
Palestinians by reopening a consulate in Jerusalem and giving millions
in aid to help the war-ravaged Gaza Strip."
But [Secretary of State] Blinken also
stressed "the commitment of the United States to rebuilding the
relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people,
a relationship built on mutual respect and also a shared conviction
that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of
security, freedom opportunity and dignity".
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, postponed the summer 2020 elections. Many suspected that Abbas was more concerned with his low popularity than with anything that Israel might have been doing. When the fight over the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem broke out, Hamas of Gaza had already placed itself firmly on the side of protecting Palestinians in Jerusalem, so by taking the initiative to launch rockets into Israel during the struggle over Sheikh Jarrah, Hamas staked a very strong claim to being the leader of all Palestinians.
So is it really worthwhil for the US to try "rebuilding the relationship with the Palestinian Authority" of the West Bank?
The Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace brings up a very good point. Isn't it time US major news media stopped referring to Hamas as a "terrorist organization?" Isn't it time Hamas be referred to as simply a political party? On May 25, US Secretary of State
Blinken acknowledged Palestinians’ aspirations “to live in freedom; to
have their basic rights respected, including the right to choose their
own leaders; to live in security...
Emphasis mine. If the US is going to end up having to deal with Hamas as rightful leaders, it would seem to make sense for the US to lower the heat of the discussion and to not use a loaded, provocativer term like "terrorist."
Fellow named Joe Piette has been taking photos of demonstrations for at
least as long as I've been in the anti-war movement (since late 2002). Here's his Flickr account
for this particular demonstration. Note: Joe insists that anyone who
wishes to re-post any of his photos must obtain his permission first.
Leading Israeli Human Rights Lawyer Michael Sfard argues that Israel's
policy towards Palestinians, whether inside Israel or in Gaza or the
West Bank is simpyly not sustainable.
So what else is going on? Amazingly, after a conservatived whined that TFG (The Former Guy) wasn't being credited for producing the vaccines that are defeating COVID-19 (Yes indeed, the Trump Administration put up about $10 billion for the vaccines, but
"the first several weeks of the rollout were ridden with missteps and
crossed wires" and "Since then, the pace as picked up considerably"),
Republicans in general seem awfully determined to cause as many deaths as posible.
As the new Delta variant of the coronavirus is even more contagious
than the initila version was, it's more urgent than ever to get
everyone vaccinated (The existing vaccines appear to work fine against
th Delta variant).
One of TFG's favorite news sites, Newsmax, is currently claiming vaccines are against nature. The Governor of Arkansas seems hesitant to ascribe vaccine hesitancy to the Republican Party. "Madison Cawthorn Says With Biden's Door-to-door Vaccine Program They'll Take Your Guns And Bibles"
Videos of demonstration.
Representative Lauren Boebert is clearly part of the problem, trying to suggest that getting the "Fauci ouchie" is a bad thing! Fox News commenter Tomi Lahren seems uh, rather skeptical
about the "experimental" vaccine (About 159 milliion Americans have
been fully vaxxed, so I kinda suspect if there were any health
problems, we would be aware of them by now). This is a rather interesting change in tune
from about a year earlier when vaccines were considered perfectly fine
by Lahren. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene compares the Biden
proposal to send people door-to-door to convince people to get
vaccinated to Nazi Brownshirts. A "Never-Trumper" Republican, Representative Adam Kinzinger, says his party is trying to get people killed.
And all this is at a time when the environment appears to be going crazy as well!
Oregon and Washington have announced
emergency rules protecting farmworkers and other outdoor laborers amid
the extreme heat wave that has killed hundreds, including one
farmworker, in the Pacific Northwest. "The heat experienced in our
state this year has reached catastrophic levels,” Washington Gov. Jay
Inslee said in a release from the state’s Department of Labor and
Industries. “The physical risk to individuals is significant, in
particular those whose occupations have them outdoors all day.”
Truly amazing temperature even for the South West US:
"Canada broke its temperature record for a third straight day on
Tuesday - 49.6C (121.3F) in Lytton, British Columbia." Lytton is
at roughly the latitude 50 degrees North, about the same as Germany's
Rhineland, the Czech Republic and Kyiv (Kiev) Ukraine. As MSNBC's Chuck
Todd points out, "It's not even August yet!" NASA gives us technical details about how it's tracking the North West heat wave.
One bit of very cheerful and uplifting news: Texas Democrats are determined to toss a monkey wrench into Governor Abbot's autocratic plan to pass some extremely repressive and undemocratic laws.