Sunday, January 11, 2009

British Jews Decry Israel's Holocaust-like Attack

From Stephen Soldz's blog, which has switched into high-gear coverage of the criminal and ongoing attack by Israeli military forces on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip:
The Guardian has published an important letter from over 70 British Jews objecting to the war on Gaza and making the natural connection with the Warsaw Ghetto. They call for “a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions”:
We the undersigned are all of Jewish origin. When we see the dead and bloodied bodies of young children, the cutting off of water, electricity and food, we are reminded of the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto. When Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, talked of putting Gazans “on a diet” and the deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, talked about the Palestinians experiencing “a bigger shoah” (holocaust), this reminds us of Governor General Hans Frank in Nazi-occupied Poland, who spoke of “death by hunger”.

The real reason for the attack on Gaza is that Israel is only willing to deal with Palestinian quislings. The main crime of Hamas is not terrorism but its refusal to accept becoming a pawn in the hands of the Israeli occupation regime in Palestine.

The decision last month by the EU council to upgrade relations with Israel, without any specific conditions on human rights, has encouraged further Israeli aggression. The time for appeasing Israel is long past. As a first step, Britain must withdraw the British ambassador to Israel and, as with apartheid South Africa, embark on a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Ben Birnberg, Prof Haim Bresheeth, Deborah Fink, Bella Freud, Tony Greenstein, Abe Hayeem, Prof Adah Kay, Yehudit Keshet, Dr Les Levidow, Prof Yosefa Loshitzky, Prof Moshe Machover, Miriam Margolyes, Prof Jonathan Rosenhead and 65 others
Meanwhile, the latest news from Gaza continues to be terribly grim. From today's New York Times:
JERUSALEM — Israeli troops pushed into a heavily populated area of Gaza City from the south on Sunday in fierce fighting as senior Israeli officials said that they believe the Hamas military wing is beginning to crack, and that Hamas leaders inside Gaza are looking for a cease-fire....

According to Palestinian Ministry of Health figures on Sunday, nearly 900 Palestinians have died so far in the conflict, including 275 children and 93 women. The figure does not include complete figures for Hamas fighters, who have not been brought to hospitals....

Three rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel on Sunday morning, Israeli Army radio said. Two exploded near Beersheva, injuring several people. The third hit empty land....

In a press conference on Sunday, a senior United Nations official, Maxwell Gaylard, the deputy special coordinator for UNSCO, the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that the humanitarian situation for Gaza’s 1.5 million people is deteriorating.

“People are terrified, hungry, thirsty and traumatized,” he said. “The civilian population is caught in the middle of this conflict,” he said, and added: “This is a conflict where the civilian population has nowhere to flee.”
The near-total impotence of the forces of peace, who rely on appeals to the same criminals that either conduct the atrocities, or to those political forces that back them, especially the U.S. government, could not be clearer. Yet someone needs to do something, and the large rallies internationally opposing the Israel attack and atrocities represent a genuine effort to express outrage and some kind of attempt to do something to mobilize public opinion.

Now Reuters reports from Cairo that Egyptian police have arrested 21 members of the Muslim Brotherhood after a rally was held in protest against Israel's offensive.
The Egyptian government and security agencies have been eager to suppress protests against the Israeli attacks on Gaza, in which protesters frequently condemn the government for what they see as its complicity in the blockade of the coastal strip.

In recent days protesters have called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Cairo, and for Egypt to open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza to allow Palestinians to flee the 16-day onslaught which has killed 869 people.
Up to 40 protesters may have been arrested at rallies in London, and similar arrests have taken place in protests from Paris to Denmark. Numerous protests across the United States, from Times Square and Chestnut Hill/Boston to Los Angeles/Westwood and San Francisco, have been mostly peaceful, but controversy and tension between pro-Israeli groups or individuals and those who defend the Palestinians have broken out at times. The intensity of the conflict in Gaza, and the agony over the attack upon innocent civilians with loss of life in the hundreds, has ratcheted up feelings among concerned citizens around the world.

Protesters and political activists should add to their list of demands the release of all protesters and activists arrested for protesting Israel's criminal assault.

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