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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gaza Flotilla, Israel and your voice

When societies live in denial of their abuses against others or justify them, their morality declines and the society goes downhill towards a characterless nation. The following pieces and several reference links on Israel's bullying of the humanitarian aid are action items for you, if you have the time to do your share of justice in the world, it is time to act now.

Please remember this action by Israel is unilateral in nature by a few in the government, they are neither the voice of Jews, nor would Judaism approve such actions.

Where are the moderate Jews?

Indeed, they are everywhere and shamelessly their voices are being muted out in the media, they are not giving the time to the moderate Jews, just like they did with the Moderate Muslims. The extremists have the gall to discredit those voices of justice; those are the only voices that will ensure safety and security for Israel and the Jews, Palestinians and the Gazans and the people and nations around them. The extremists will run down their countries. ( New York times ran a well researched article in May this year pointing to the effect that the moderate voices of Jews are not hear and only the bullies get the pulpit- when I am in Dallas, I will post the link)

Lord Krishna had said, whenever there is immorality, someone will emerge from them and bring the righteousness back to them. I see the emergence of Tikkun Olam, the J Street, Jewish voice for Peace, Bretzdek and others among the Jewish communities to set right what has been wronged. The world needs to stand by the moderates who want the best for all including the extremists.

It is in the best interests of Israel and the world that the moderates speak up and bring corrective actions to the ill-actions of the few thoughtless individuals.

Please do your share of Justice…
I am pleased to enclose the following for you to read and reflect.

1. Draft Release from Dallas Peace Center ( it will be updated and offcially released)
2. Jewish Voice for Peace and Muslim Writers Alliance
3. Tikkun Magazine, Rabbi Lerner
4. AVAAZ
5. Arab American Institute
5. Resounce Links from the Guardian, Al-Jazeerah and others

Continued at: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/gaza-flotilla-israel-and-your-voice.html

Mike Ghouse
http://www.mikeghouse.net/
>>>>>>>

May 31, 2010
DRAFT PRESS RELEASE FROM DALLAS PEACE CENTER

While details and facts are still being sorted out, we can find no justification for armed forces from Israel to forcibly board an unarmed civilian humanitarian aid vessel in International waters. Further, the killing of civilians, no matter what the reason, is a deplorable, horrible, condemnable act, for which there can be no justifiable explanation or excuse.

We herby demand not only an explanation, but a heartfelt apology from the Israeli government. We also request the ships and their cargo be allowed to be delivered to those in need, as well as a cessation of all hostilities, including the blockade of food, medicine, clothing, and any other non-military items for the people of Gaza. We urge President Obama to call for an immediate lifting of the siege of Gaza while demanding an international and impartial investigation into the tragic killing of civilians in a humanitarian mission.

Locally, we ask everyone to write and call their representatives, demanding both an apology and a cessation of the armed conflict from the Israeli government. In addition, urge your representative to suspend any and all military aid to Israel.

We also encourage those of the Jewish faith to visit their Temples and Synagogues and say Kaddish (prayer for the dead) for those who were killed.

# # #
MWA Joins Jewish Voice For Peace in Condemnation of Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Today at 7:06pm

Tragedy must not overshadow the goals; ensuring that the Flotilla's cargo reaches its final destination, to bring an end to the illegal siege and embargo on Gaza, and to bring to justice the perpetrators of unnecessary crimes against humanity.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PR Log (Press Release) – May 31, 2010 – WASHINGTON, D.C. (MWA) — Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) joins Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the chorus of global outrage in response to the early morning attack launched by Israeli forces on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, while sailing in international waters, resulting in the tragic deaths of reportedly 20 civilians and injuries to 50 or more.

"This is yet another deadly escalation of the repression of nonviolent protests against the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory and embargo on Gaza—funded by American tax-dollars," stated MWA Director, Aishah Schwartz.

The White House has stated, through yet another spokesperson, that it, "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained [by civilians], and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy." This kind of administrative rhetoric is, once again, NOT ENOUGH!

"This past December when I embarked upon the quest to break the siege of Gaza myself, I was told by a leader and activist in my own community, that attempting to enter Gaza was a 'waste of time' – words that left me in outright tears as the bus I was on moved forward over the Rafah border crossing on December 30, 2009.

"God facilitated my journey, and that of 85 other delegates–despite a lack of support and dissent, and we are collectively proof today that when God stands with us; none can stand against us—and rest assured, no wrong ever goes unpunished. The Israeli government's day of reckoning may not be by our hand, or may not even been seen in our lifetimes – but that does not mean we should give up the fight or stop standing firm for justice. Ever," Schwartz stated.

Concluding Schwartz added, "I am deeply saddened and extend my sincerest condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones or whose family members have been injured, but it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to ensure that this tragedy is not forgotten; and that these lives were not lost in vain. We must maximize EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY to further support the cause—to ensure that the 10,000 tons of humanitarian relief reaches its final destination, to bring an end to the illegal siege and embargo on Gaza, and to bring to justice the perpetrators of unnecessary and illegal crimes against humanity."

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP!

CALL the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and DEMAND that the U.S. Government take immediate action to safeguard innocent lives!

Tel: +972 2 622 7207/21/30—or Fax: +942 2 625 9270/627 2233

BUT DON'T STOP THERE!

Contact the Israeli Embassy nearest you and let them know how you feel!
(Israeli Embassy Finder Tool: www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Israel

CALL White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and DEMAND that the Obama Administration hold the Israeli government accountable for the deaths and injuries of Gaza Freedom Flotilla civilians passengers and crew members!

Tel: +1 202 456 6798—or Fax: +1 202 456 2461

WRITE LETTERS!

Let President Obama and Congress know unconditional aid and support of Israel must end; and the embargo on Gaza must be lifted.

Send a letter to President Obama asking him to withhold U.S. aid to Israel until it agrees to abide by international law, including lifting of the blockade on Gaza. Deliver your letter via fax to (202) 456-2461. Alternatively, and respectfully, you can also voice your concerns by calling (202) 451-1111.

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Telephone: (202)
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Email: (online form) www.emailthepresident.com
Or (online form) www.whitehouse.gov/contact

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
ATTN: Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Fax: (202) 647-2283

Contact your U.S. Representatives and let them know you are counting on them to stand up for justice. Find your Representative at http://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.

FREE, FREE PALESTINE!!!

Video of the Gaza Freedom March (Dec. 31, 2009) from Gaza
http://aishahsjourney.blogspot.com/2010/05/video-gaza-fr ...

MWA PRESS ROOM
http://pressroom.prlog.org/mwa-net

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRESS RELEASE - TIKKUN MAGAZINE

Tikkun Magazine and the Network of Spiritual Progressives' Statement on Killings on the High Seas:
We regret and deplore the killings which took place as Israeli troops, in defiance of international law, boarded and assaulted, wounded many and killed some of the participants in a flotilla seeking to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza (itself a morally outrageous policy) to bring humanitarian aid. We ask all people of peace to dedicate at least fifteen minutes today (Memorial day in the US) to silent memorial for those peace activists who have been killed (and we call upon all synagogues around the world to say Kaddish for those people at their Shabbat services this coming weekend), and for prayer for the speedy recovery of all those wounded in this attack (mostly peace activists, but also the Israeli soldiers who boarded the boats with violence). We invite all peace-loving people to attend a public memorial for those who died in this assault in Lafayette Park opposite the White House on Sunday, June 13, at 11 a.m-2 p.m., sponsored by Tikkun, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and many other groups, and which will include a larger consideration of U.S. policies. Memorial prayers and prayers for healing will be said at 1 p.m.


We call upon Israel to conduct an objective, credible investigation to determine all the levels of responsibility for this criminal act, and to punish those from the top of the government down through the IDF who were responsible. If the past is any guide to the present moment, the Israel hasbara (public relations 'explanation" operation) will now be working full time to put the blame on the people who sought to bring aid to Gaza, claiming that they were the violent ones and maybe even claiming that they were bringing military equipment or something of the sort.. Yet there was no need for any of this to have happened. Israel could have waited for the boats to arrive at shore and then sent military to search what was being brought to Gaza to ensure that it was in fact humanitarian aid. Moreover, as the Israeii peace movement Gush Shalom pointed out today, the core of the issue remains israel's attempt to starve and punish the entire population of Gaza for the activities of Hamas.


We call upon the international community to stop the blockade and, if necessary, to introduce an international force into Israel/Palestine to protect each side from the other, and then to implement the creation of a two state solution, freeing both sides from the violence of the other, and giving to each side the security and self-determination to which both sides are entitled. We call upon President Obam to use this moment to take decisive steps to create the Palesitnian state while providing Israel with all necessary security, and providing the Palestinian people with protection from those in Israel who have used violence to prevent Palestinian national self-determination. We contnue to abhor and denounce those in Israel and those in Palestine and Gaza who resort to violence to achieve their ends, including Hamas and including Israeli settlers. We acknowledge that the Israeli treatment of Gaza cannot be understood separate from the violent attacks on Israeli civilians from the shelling of Israeli cities from Gaza, nor that shelling understood apart from the blockade of Gaza by Israel, nor that violence from Gaza apart from the violence of the Occupation, nor the Occupation separate from previous acts of violence by Palestinians, nor that previous violence separate from the larger context of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians by Israel during the founding of the State, nor that explusion separate from the hostility of Palestinians to the creation of the State, and the story goes on and on. It's time to stop with the blame game and simply put an end to the struggle on both sides.


We continue to support the State of Israel's right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, and for Palestine to exist as a homeland for the Palestinian people. The violence must stop. The peace process is going nowhere. The time for decisive action to impose a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict arrived decades ago, and must be grabbed now. What level of barbarity needs to happen for the U.S. and the international community to act decisively? How many more deaths?


We mourn the lives lost, the many who have been wounded, including both those on the humanitarian aid mission and Israelis sent by a crazed and irresponsible government into actions that put their lives in danger. Israel's security was never threatened by this flotilla of humanitarian aid, and it was only macho political motivations that led Israeli leaders to order this insane assault. Israel deserves better than Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, and the world has to recognize that this current Israeli government will never bring peace or stability to the Middle East. While we continue to deplore Hamas and all that it has introduced into the equation, complicating attempts to make peace and doing what it could to stir hatred, we believe that the world and the Israeli people and the Palesitnian people deserve peace and justice, and that it is our human obligation to bring that to the peoples of the Middle East. A first step is to end the blockade of Gaza.We call upon all who protest Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to maintain a strict non-violent discipline, and to affirm the humanity of all sides in this conflict even as we insist on bold and compelling action to stop the conflict.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FROM AVAAZ TEAM

Dear friends, The world is reeling from Israel's assault on an aid flotilla trying to reach Gaza. It's time for a full investigation to begin -- and for the siege of Gaza to end. Sign the worldwide petition, then forward this message:

Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world.

Israel, like any other state, has the right to self-defence, but this was an outrageous use of lethal force to defend an outrageous and lethal policy -- Israel's blockade of Gaza, where two thirds of families don't know where they'll find their next meal.

The UN, EU, and nearly every other government and multilateral organization have called on Israel to lift the blockade and, now, launch a full investigation of the flotilla raid. But without massive pressure from their citizens, world leaders might limit their response to mere words -- as they have so many times before.

Let's make the world's outcry too loud to ignore. Join the petition for an independent investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza -- click to sign the petition, and then forward this message to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_flotilla_1/?vl

The petition will be delivered to the UN and world leaders, as soon as it reaches 200,000 names -- and again at every opportunity as it grows and leaders choose their responses. A massive petition at a moment of crisis like this one can demonstrate to those in power that sound bites and press releases aren't enough -- that citizens are paying attention and demanding action.

As the EU decides whether to expand its special trade relationship with Israel, as Obama and the US Congress set next year's budget for Israeli military aid, and as neighbours like Turkey and Egypt decide their next diplomatic steps -- let's make the world's voice unignorable: it's time for truth and accountability on the flotilla raid, and it's time for Israel to comply with international law and end the siege of Gaza. Sign now and pass this message along:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_flotilla_1/?vl

Most people everywhere still share the same dream: for two free and viable states, Israel and Palestine, to live side by side. But the blockade, and the violence used to defend it, poisons that dream. As a columnist wrote to his fellow Israelis today in the newspaper Ha'aretz, "We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is becoming Israel's Vietnam."

Thousands of pro-peace activists in Israel today protested the raid and the blockade in demonstrations from Haifa, to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem -- joining demonstrations around the world. Regardless of which side threw the first punch or fired the first shot (the Israeli military claims it did not initiate the violence), Israel's leaders sent helicopters of armed storm-troopers to raid a convoy of ships in international waters bringing medicine and supplies to Gaza, and some now lay dead.

Their lives cannot be brought back. But perhaps, together, we can make this dark moment a turning point -- if we arise with an unshakable call for justice, and an unbreakable dream of peace.

With hope,

Ricken, Alice, Raluca, Paul, Iain, Graziela and the rest of the Avaaz team
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FROM ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE
We are outraged by the reports of causalities in the latest flashpoint of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We condemn Israel's attack upon a convoy of ships delivering much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza and the resulting loss of civilian life and causalities. The actions of the Israeli government in international waters off the coast of Gaza are deplorable and consistent with a policy in place since the brutal and illegal Israeli blockade was imposed on 1.5 million people in Gaza in 2007.

At its core, Israeli's siege on Gaza is a policy that disregards the most basic humanitarian considerations and flouts international law. Since the blockade was imposed, a not-so-subtle policy of starving a civilian population has been in place with either complacency or complicity from world leaders, including the United States. A leading source of independent analysis, the International Crisis Group, issued a statement highlighting the need for a strategic shift in policy toward Gaza.

Having little impact on Israel's declared goal of adversely affecting Hamas control in Gaza, the failed policy remains in place in spite of its distressing human toll.

While reasonable people can debate strategies and tactics for ending the immoral blockade, there is no scenario that allows for deadly commando attacks on humanitarian relief efforts and puts the lives of American citizens at risk.

The United Nations Security Council has condemned the attack and issued a presidential statement addressing the incident that "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza."

The State Department issued a statement also expressing regret over the causalities and continued concern about the "suffering of civilians in Gaza," but unfortunately failed to address the implications of this attack by being the only party that thinks Israel can investigate itself by asserting that the "Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation."

While a great deal of media has turned the focus of this incident into a discussion of a public relations blunder for Israel, the focus must remain on the failed policy that prompted the humanitarian relief effort to begin with. While the IDF is historically adept at explaining away its "errors of judgment," Israel's standard use of lethal force has been and continues to be the problem not the PR implications of it.

Crises like this often allow for reexamination of policies and shifts. For the sake of our national security interests, our world standing and regional stability, we must act quickly to end the humanitarian blockade of Gaza, demand a full independent investigation of this deadly assault and secure the release of our citizens under Israeli military control. After that, we can move to asserting our leadership role to advance negotiations between Arabs and Israelis.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RESOURCES:

Live coverage from Al Jazeera:
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/05/31/live-coverage-israels-flotilla-raid

Live coverage from the Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2010/may/31/israel-troops-gaza-ships

"The Second Gaza War: Israel lost at sea" - Bradley Burston, Ha'aretz
http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/a-special-place-in-hell-the-second-gaza-war-israel-lost-at-sea-1.293246

Analysis of violence from IDF's perspective from Debka, reporters with ties to Israeli intelligence:
http://debka.com/article/8824/

70% of Gazans suffer from food insecurity - 2008 ICRC report, cited by al Jazeera:
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/05/20105319333613851.html

Analysis of possible political consequences of the flotilla attack:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gtowfFjiFD4HYdHuYgxydKNwVRDwD9G2B3880

4 comments:

  1. Face book has the same information and a lot of comments:

    http://www.facebook.com/MikeGhouse#!/notes/mike-ghouse/gaza-israel-jewish-and-your-voice-for-peace/437710117773

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mike

    These attacks have nothing to do with religion. What if some Jews as demanded by you come and issue a statement condemning the attack! This is a power game and attacks have much more to do with politics and economics than faith. Condemnation from the world powers will help more than by some unknown Rabbis or Intefaith Jew activists.
    The Israeli attack is a warning to Turkey that his hobnobbing with Iran and Brazil and attempts to thwart the designs of West in punishing Iran will not be tolerated. Israel’s Nuclear Capabilities, its continuing acts of aggression and its recurrent massacres will all be condoned by the US with no sanctions, no threats of military actions and no threats of isolation. But Iran will face all these despite having no record of invasions, massacres and possession of Nuclear bombs.

    I had written an article, “US: the Dying Tiger” about 7 years back, and the way it is behaving it really looks to be a dying tiger. Unable to tame Iran through threats, campaign of hatred, Israel’s attack against Hezbollah, it is now using Israel to frighten Turkey in order to keep it away from Iran.

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  3. Israel's defenders moblize and threaten;
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LF04Ak01.html

    The biggest threat to Israel is the Neocons, who are itching to have wars, bomb and threaten others. No national will be secure if they keep threatening others and expect others to be silent, they will counter threat...and they will coutner it.. there ... See Moreis no end to the itching ideology and policies of Neocons. It is time for moderates to speak up and ask the neocons to shut up for a while, their policies have kept Israel on the edge, and not safety.

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  4. Knesset goes wild over Zoabi
    By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
    03/06/2010 http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177321

    Arab and Jewish MKs fight in the aisle until ushers separate them.



    The Knesset witnessed a rare eruption of violence on Wednesday when MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) was cursed and shoved after relating her experience as a passenger on the Mavi Marmara.

    Knesset members from coalition and opposition parties alike sought to shout down the freshman MK, but the furor reached a climax when Anastasia Michaeli (Israel Beiteinu) charged the podium in an attempt to physically block Zoabi from continuing her speech.

    RELATED:
    Rivlin: Action against Arab MKs on immunity could backfire

    It took a battery of ushers to remove MK Eli Aflalo (Kadima), who was called to order three times but remained standing in an aisle yelling and gesticulating until he was forcibly removed.


    During the pandemonium, Arab and Jewish MKs scuffled in the aisles, and ushers were summoned to separate them.

    “Go back to Gaza, you traitor!” MK Miri Regev (Likud) yelled in Arabic at Zoabi during the heated debate on the Free Gaza flotilla.

    Zoabi was released from police custody early Tuesday morning.

    At the podium, Zoabi said she was “astonished by the incitement” and “despised the words” she had heard during the Knesset debate on the Monday morning incident.

    She said that she had agreed to participate in the flotilla, as it was a “political, human and moral imperative to oppose the imprisonment of 1.5 million people.”

    She described the blockade of Gaza as an “illegal, inhuman, illegitimate siege opposed by every politician who has a moral position... only the immoral support the blockade.”

    She blasted the MKs attacking her, saying, “Who is the criminal? Did I murder anyone?”

    At that point, one MK shouted, “Check if she has a knife!” resulting in an uproar.

    When Michaeli took the podium and attempted to stand between Zoabi and the microphone, Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka also ran forward to try to defend Zoabi.

    A number of other Arab MKs also moved toward the podium, yelling. Michaeli and Zahalka were both expelled from the hearing by Knesset ushers.

    Deputy Knesset Speaker Carmel Shama repeatedly tried to call the plenum to order, but was eventually forced to call a five-minute break when the MKs refused to calm down.

    Over half an hour into the hearing, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin decided to change his schedule and to return to run the stormy plenum.

    “My role is to ensure Israeli democracy, and I am willing to take chances in order to do so,” Rivlin admonished the MKs.

    When Zoabi again took the podium, MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) yelled to Rivlin to “be careful, because there is a terrorist standing next to you.”

    Although Zoabi, like the other speakers in the debate on the Gaza flotilla, was originally allotted one minute to deliver her speech, her time was repeatedly extended due to catcalls and interruptions by MKs. Rivlin finally told the outspoken MK to return to her seat, but she refused and was forcibly removed from the podium by the ushers.

    Following the incident, the Balad faction coordinator, Musa Diab, who rushed into the plenum during the confrontation, was told that he was temporarily forbidden to enter the hall.

    Also on Wednesday, MK Danny Danon said the Ministerial Committee for Legislation had agreed to debate a bill on Sunday that he had recently drafted, to allow for removing an acting MK from his position if he or she were found to have committed incitement against the State of Israel.

    Regev’s office said that she had submitted a similar bill to the Knesset secretary on Wednesday afternoon.

    Shama, shortly before the hearing, also announced that he had submitted a request to the Central Elections Committee to block Zoabi from being able to run in any future Knesset election.

    ReplyDelete