Tuesday, March 19, 2024

If you have divided loyalties, I do not consider you an American citizen

Dan Gordon is neither an American citizen nor famous.  He writes (badly).  He is a member of the Israeli forces so I do not consider him an American though he has dual citizenship.  If you are an American and you are in the military, then you are in the U.S. military.

Divided loyalties.

I thought of that when reading the snapshot today (in full below) and learning that Jennifer Jason Leigh was just as nuts as Debra Messing.  Israel, these hacks insist, is their homeland and will always welcome them.  So go there.

Go there.  Move there.  I am not stopping you.

As I have noted before, this Jew does not consider Israel the 'homeland.'  I was born before the state of Israel was created.  The United States is my home and it is my country.  I do not suffer divided loyalties.  Mr. Gordon and Ms. Leigh cannot say the same. And, for the record, we never sent our children to Israel to be on a kibbutz.  Nor have my sons sent their children to Israel.  Israel is a mythical place to some deluded people.  But our family is American and happy to be American.

It is such a shame that other people I thought were my fellow Americans actually do not feel this way.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Tuesday, March 19, 2024.  Starvation, destruction and murder don't matter to a few names in the entertainment industry (who mistakenly attempt to pass themselves off as "stars").  We go a little slower than usual today since so many of these 'stars' are uneducated high school drop outs in their 60s who never sought out education after failing to graduate.

So last night, I go to Paul Rucnick's Twitter feed, like I do many nights, to get a good laugh.  And I do, but I look to the side and see "trending" and one of the names is Jennifer Jason Leigh.  "Jennifer didn't die, did she?"  No.  Although that might have been better.  Instead she's just getting her hate on.

 More than 450 Jewish stars and other Hollywood professionals are denouncing Zone of Interest writer-director Jonathan Glazer’s speech from the 2024 Oscars, in an open letter published by Variety on Monday.

In his controversial remarks on stage accepting the award for Best International Feature, Glazer connected his Holocaust film with the crisis in Gaza, saying, "Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It’s shaped all of our past and present. Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October — whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?”

The open letter responds in part: "We refute our Jewishness being hijacked for the purpose of drawing a moral equivalence between a Nazi regime that sought to exterminate a race of people, and an Israeli nation that seeks to avert its own extermination."

Oh, their Jewishness was "hijacked."  That's hilarious and pretends that they, and only they get a say as Jews.  But the whole thing's pretense.


Bald headed Julianna's lucky to get a third-banana role.  What was she doing before that crumb was tossed at her?  Oh, yeah, 'starring' on NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

As for Jennifer, it would have been great if she could have become a star.  She's a very talented actress.  But she's had multiple opportunities and she never became a star and it's really too late at sixty-plus for her to become a star.  

Amy Pascal?  I always marvel how that racist got away with her racism being exposed -- those comments about Barack Obama in her e-mails -- and it appears it'll never impact her career.   And as bad as her racist comments were, they weren't comments when it came to Thandiwe Newton -- Amy was racist in her comments and actions .  And after SONY fired her, she continued to style herself as a great woman helping other women -- despite the fact that she regularly underpaid actresses when compared to actors on the same films and when pressed on this sexist behavior insisted it was the actresses' fault.

That's the kind of trash whore that Amy Pascal is.

That's really all you need to know about the people that signed that letter.  Amy is them, they are Amy.  They are racist born into comfort who just became more racist and more sexist.  And they don't have the common sense to shut their damn mouths.

Children are being killed and they deny it.  They are deniers of a genocide.

And you're seeing now why jury selection is needed.  The whores who signed the letter can't be objective.  They've tied being Jewish in with a foreign government -- not their own, please note -- and rush to serve that (right-wing) government.  They can't be objective.  They can't be honest.

They're sad and pathetic and they now include Jennifer Jason Leigh.  Who, to be clear, was never a star but had multiple chances.  It would have required dieting and following certain expected fashions and Jennifer never pursued that.  She did have a career where a number of us rooted for her.  She's lost her cheering section with her latest lies.

THE NATIONAL notes, "Israel's restrictions on humanitarian aid for Gaza may amount to a starvation tactic that could be a war crime, the UN's human rights chief said on Tuesday."  That's Volker Turk and THE TIMES OF ISRAEL quotes him stating, "The extent of Israel’s continued restrictions on entry of aid into Gaza, together with the manner in which it continues to conduct hostilities, may amount to the use of starvation as a method of war, which is a war crime."  PRESS TV reports on Adele Khodr's warning, "UNICEF regional director for West Asia and North African has warned that more children in Gaza will die due to an 'impending famine' as Israel continues to impeded aid operations."  AFP quotes the head of the United Nations' World Food Program Cindy McCain stating, "People in Gaza are starving to death right now. The speed at which this man-made hunger and malnutrition crisis has ripped through Gaza is terrifying."  But, hey, these people are experts -- why not ignore them and embrace the musings of high school drop out Jennifer Jason Leigh?  THE NATIONAL notes, "The Palestine Red Crescent Society said Israel had killed 14 of the organisation's medics since the start of the war in Gaza."  But, hey, who you gonna believe, facts or a high school drop out?

 AFP reports:

The entire population of Gaza is experiencing “severe levels of acute food insecurity”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday, underscoring the urgency for increasing the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Palestinian territory.

“According to the most respected measure of these things, 100 percent of the population in Gaza is at severe levels of acute food insecurity. That’s the first time an entire population has been so classified,“ Blinken told a press conference in the Philippines where he is on an official visit.

The European Union's top foreign affairs official on Monday said that after more than five months of Israel's blocking of humanitarian aid and bombardment of Gaza, the U.S.-backed government has pushed the enclave into famine.

Josep Borrell, the E.U.'s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, demanded that Western governments clearly state the reason that at least two of Gaza's five governorates have now been identified by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification global initiative (IPC) as experiencing famine "with reasonable evidence."

"In Gaza we are no longer on the brink of famine; we are in a state of famine, affecting thousands of people," Borrell said in Brussels at a meeting on humanitarian aid for the besieged enclave. "This is unacceptable. Starvation is used as a weapon of war."

"By whom? Let's dare to say by whom. By the one that prevents humanitarian support entering into Gaza," he said, adding that "Israel is provoking famine."

Gaza has become a “graveyard for children.” Israel’s bombing has killed least 12,300 children — and more than 31,000 people total — since October. Thousands more are unaccounted for and are likely to be found under the rubble of their destroyed homes and shelters. In addition to the relentless bombing, Israel has been waging a starvation campaign: While all Gazans are facing food insecurity, 1.17 million Gazans have reached emergency levels of hunger, and half a million are at catastrophic levels.

Against this backdrop of extreme violence, Israel has also been perpetrating a very particular form of violence that has disproportionate and long-term effects on children and youth: “scholasticide,” or the systematic destruction of the entire education system.

The destruction of Gaza’s education system has garnered less attention than has that of the health care system. But the consequences for children, youth and future generations of Palestinians are severe. In late January 2024, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that Israel had destroyed or damaged 378 school buildings (76 percent of the total school buildings in Gaza).

Many of the schools that are still standing have been transformed into displaced persons camps to accommodate some of the 1.9 million Gazans forced to flee their homes. Children who started the new school year with dreams of becoming teachers, nurses or doctors are now sleeping on the floor of their classrooms, with hundreds of people sharing a toilet. Still there’s no safety. Schools serving as shelters are being bombed and besieged, sniped at and blown up. Schools that haven’t been totally destroyed have been emptied of their furniture and textbooks, which were burned in the absence of needed fuel.

Gaza’s higher education system has also been decimated. All 12 universities in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed. The almost complete closure of the Gaza Strip has also prevented 555 students from taking up scholarship-funded studies abroad. Even more devasting, Israeli forces have killed 100 Palestinian academics in Gaza since October 7, 2023. Among them were professor Sufian Tayeh, killed with his family on December 2. He was a prominent scientist and the president of the Islamic University of Gaza, the Strip’s leading academic institution.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

We begin today’s show in Gaza, where humanitarian agencies say a small amount of flour has been delivered in northern Gaza for the first time in months, as the U.N. food agency warns famine is imminent and 70% of Palestinians in Gaza are facing catastrophic hunger. This comes as UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, is reporting one in three children under the age of 2 in northern Gaza is now acutely malnourished as Israel continues to block most aid from entering Gaza. On Friday, a ship carrying 200 tons of aid arrived in Gaza from Cyprus, but aid groups say far more aid is desperately needed inside Gaza.

Despite growing international criticism, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to move ahead with a full-scale ground invasion of the southern city of Rafah, where over 1.4 million Palestinians are now seeking refuge.

For more, we go to Rafah, where we’re joined by Mohammed Abu Lebda. He’s a poet and a translator. He used to translate Edgar Allan Poe but now translates for the International Medical Corps.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Mohammed. Thank you for joining us today on Democracy Now! Can you describe the situation on the ground in Rafah and tell us about your city?

MOHAMMED ABU LEBDA: OK. Hi. It’s my pleasure to be here.

Actually, as you may see in the background, I’m talking about the tents that are here, and I want to say that every single street in Rafah city is full of tents, because after people were forced to be displaced from the rest areas of the Gaza Strip, from north until Khan Younis in the south, and they didn’t find any shelter but Rafah city, which — actually, let me say that the border towns — Rafah is a border town, and the border towns usually are neglected. And it’s not known — it’s not even known, only for geographers or even border guards.

So, Rafah was suffering in the normal days from bad infrastructure, lack of many basic life needs. So, actually, let me say, in the war of 2014, the people of Rafah were demanding to have a hospital, because we here, until now — we are in 2024 — we don’t have a suitable hospital that can provide good medical services to the people of Rafah. To just describe the horrible situation that Rafah is living, Rafah used to have a population of 250,000 people only. Now we have more than, over than 1.4 million people, without any suitable infrastructure or without providing them with the necessary basic life needs.

OK, the situation in the north of Gaza is really horrible. But let me say, in Rafah, there is no big difference, actually. People here are suffering from several things. Actually, you need to wait in lines, and maybe you can — you may spend the whole day in lines just to have some bread or even to have clean water, because most of the water here is polluted, and it’s not suitable for the human use. And it’s important to mention that, above all of this, the shooting and the bombing is still continuing here in Rafah, actually, even if Rafah was declared as a safe place.

AMY GOODMAN: Mohammed Abu Lebda, the Biden administration has said they have a red line, that would be the prime minister having the Israeli troops engaging in a full ground invasion in Rafah, if he doesn’t present a plan for how Palestinians would be dealt with on the ground, civilians. Israel announced it wants to transfer most of the more than million Palestinians in Rafah to what it calls humanitarian islands in other parts of Gaza. Can you explain what that means and what people are saying, how they are preparing?

MOHAMMED ABU LEBDA: OK, actually, to be honest, I don’t know what does it mean even, because I never heard about something called safe islands or something like that in Gaza Strip. So it is the first time I heard it, after reading the news. Actually, there is no effective plan that can easily transfer or move over than 1.4 million people here from Gaza Strip — from Rafah city, I mean, even to another areas, where the IDF is still working there. So, to be clear, it’s not an effective plan. Actually, to be honest, me and the rest of the Rafah people don’t know even what they are talking about, because it is the first time to hear about this.

But I can ask that the American government is to put real pressure and serious pressure on the Israeli government so they can prevent them seriously and honestly to invade Rafah, because invading Rafah means that there is a true catastrophe that is coming, even if we are still living in a catastrophe, actually, because the situation here cannot be described. So, invading Rafah means that you will end the little, the tiny hope that is still — we still have. So, what does this mean to me, actually? I am actually a little bit worried about the safety of the entire people here, because invading Rafah, which means that hundreds of thousands will be killed if something like that happened. So, I’m expecting and I’m hoping from the U.S. government to put serious pressure on the Israeli government in order to prevent such a catastrophe to happen.

AMY GOODMAN: What would it mean for your family, Mohammed, if the Israeli military does launch a full-scale invasion of Rafah? And can you describe what the process is for people to leave, to make their way into Egypt, the thousands of dollars that must be spent? I think, on average, it’s something like $5,000 per adult and $2,000 or $2,500 per child?

MOHAMMED ABU LEBDA: Let me say, first, leaving Gaza Strip toward Egypt, I mean, the entire people here, if there is an invade or march or there is any march into Rafah, actually, most of the world, including the U.S. government itself, actually they refuse that entirely. The Palestinians will not be moved. They refuse that entirely, to be moved to the Sinai or the Egyptian side. But let me say that I’m already displaced, because I lost my house by bombing some near houses near my house at the same square, so I forced to move to another place in the same area, Rafah city, because I’m from Rafah. And the same thing for the people who were displaced from the rest of Gaza Strip cities.

For me, or for my experience, for me and my family, we suffered a lot first when we were at our house in order to provide the basic life needs, as I mentioned, the basic food even. If there is any food here, you will find very, very high prices that the normal citizen or the normal civilians cannot really afford. So, it’s impossible to the people in such a situation to afford any kind of food. And let me say that anything that is entering from Rafah cross-bording, anything, literally, it’s not even enough for maybe half a million. We are talking about a number that — over than that with a big thing. So, from my experience, I face several things. First of all, we face, actually, very, very real threats — and it’s not once, it’s not even twice; we are even facing that daily. This is according to the physical thing.

And also I want to mention that we are facing severe symptoms related to our mental health. Actually, I’m not sure that I’m going to be the person that I used to be before the war when the war ends. I’m 100% sure that I was changed, and I was changed forever. It’s not me only. I’m talking about my family and the rest of the people here of Gaza Strip. We are facing severe symptoms when we are talking about the mental health. We are talking about children that are raising in such situations. Of course, they are going to have severe symptoms and many, many horrible things for their mental health, and they will carry that to all entire life, their entire life. So, from all sides, people here are really suffering, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Mohammed, you are a poet. You translate Edgar Allan Poe. Now you are a medical translator. Can you describe your work?

MOHAMMED ABU LEBDA: OK, yeah, I used to work to translate novels as a literary translator. But this war, or this catastrophe, let me say — I don’t prefer to use the word “war” because what we are witnessing is a catastrophe that cannot be described. Anyway, yeah, I used to translate literature, which means that I’m a sensitive person with many emotions. So, you need that in order to translate poetry or translate novels or something like that.

So, then, this catastrophe changed us forever, all of us, even our jobs. So, yeah, I moved to be a medical translator and a medical interpreter at a field hospital here between Rafah city and Khan Younis city in the south of Gaza Strip. Actually, my work as a medical translator, it was the first time to be in the field, actually, in such situations. And I can say that I’m witnessing very, very, very horrible situations. I’m witnessing daily many casualties that are arriving to the field hospital, because we don’t have any — we lost every governmental medical services because of the destruction of many, many hospitals, even the only hospital here in Rafah, which is al-Najjar Hospital. It cannot provide the necessary medical help, services. And the field hospital, which was established by the IMC, the International Medical Corps, they are actually — in only two months, they performed about 1,000 major surgeries, which is really, really a great thing to have. And even related to the outpatient departments, we are talking about consultations of maybe 30,000.

So, yeah, we are trying hard to provide our people with the necessary medical services, as well as the mental health and the CP, which is the child protection. We are doing our ultimate efforts in order to try hard in order to provide the people or the civilians and the innocent people here, to provide them with the medical services and other services. And let me use what Michel Foucault once said: Because we are no prophets, our job is to make windows where were once walls. So, we are trying hard is to create windows on the walls that this catastrophe is trying to build.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Mohammed Abu Lebda, we’re going to be joined by Rachel Corrie’s parents and the activist who held her hand as she lay dying. This is 21 years ago in Rafah. She was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. You shared with us a picture from Rafah in 2003 — you were a little boy at the time — with the caption “my grandmother with her neighbor and my sister Rozan after their home was destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer,” right around the time Rachel was trying to protect homes as a U.S. activist. Your thoughts on her significance? And how is she remembered in Rafah?

MOHAMMED ABU LEBDA: OK, let me say that Rachel Corrie is being remembered. Every single person here in Rafah, and in Gaza in general, in Gaza Strip in general, and especially of Rafah, every single person knows Rachel Corrie, even the late generations, all of them. Allow me to tell you the main reason. Actually, Rachel Corrie became an icon, not only here in Gaza Strip and not only for the Palestinians, the Palestinian people, but for the rest of the world, because she was — she passed away or she was killed because of her — because she was trying to deliver a very important message. It’s the most important message in the world, which is peace.

And, actually, for me, this is the main thing that we need to focus on, in order to achieve what Rachel Corrie was dreaming to achieve, which is a peace for the Palestinians. So, what matters for me in Rachel Corrie’s story is that she left her home, she left her parents and her family, and she came to a very — to a country that she never visited before. And, actually, she came into a conflict zone, which is considered as a dangerous zone. So, even her ideas to come to here, actually, it’s a bravery.

She’s really — actually, I want to say that she is being remembered here because of the story and the message she tried to deliver. And this, actually, this and Rachel Corrie’s story, should strengthen us here while we are living these horrible situations. We need to remember Rachel Corrie and her courage to come to a dangerous area, not only that, trying to defend the people, the voiceless people, to be the voice of the voiceless people here and to stand in front the ultimate power. She stand in front tanks and bulldozers, trying to defend the people here in Gaza Strip, which, actually, I don’t know what is a greater — what act will be greater than Rachel Corrie dead. So, I’m really grateful for Rachel Corrie. And I want to say that people like Rachel Corrie will never die, ever.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Mohammed Abu Lebda, poet and translator from Rafah, thank you so much. Your words are being heard around the world and by her parents, who are going to be joining us next. I’m looking at your GoFundMe page, Mohammed, which quotes another poet. You say, “All what we seek for is to live, like any human being in this earth. Helping us means that you are taking action, supporting humanity because the famous poet [Dante] said: 'The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.'” Thank you for talking to us today on Democracy Now!, Mohammed Abu Lebda.


AMY GOODMAN: Next up, we continue to remember the U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie, killed 21 years ago, March 16th, 2003, when she was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist. It was three days before the U.S. invaded Iraq. Back in 20 seconds.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 165 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  FRANCE 24 notes, "At least 31,819 Palestinians have been killed and 73,934 wounded since Israel started its offensive on Gaza, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."   

Omar Nazzal, the deputy head of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, says Israel’s latest crackdown on journalists at al-Shifa Hospital is part of a longstanding campaign of intimidation.

“The main objective is to deter journalists from speaking the voice of Palestinians,” Nazzal told Al Jazeera in Ramallah. Israeli forces are “intimidating journalists by showing that anyone who speaks out will be their next target”, he said.

As of today, at least 95 journalists and media workers – the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians – have been killed since the start of the war in October, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In addition to the dangers faced in the line of duty, Nazzal said Palestinian journalists are also at risk of abuse or torture in Israeli jails, where he says 62 are currently held.

“There is no doubt that journalists are under massive danger,” said Nazzal.

The following sites updated: