Michele Bahl: How can we be indifferent to suffering of children in Gaza?

Michele Bahl, Cap Times, Sep 20, 2014

Dear Editor: For three days, at the Barrymore Theater Sept. 12, Fighting Bob Fest Sept. 13 and at the Willy Street Fair Sept. 14, I stood with a large cardboard panel of horrific and gruesome pictures of children who were wounded and killed in Gaza in July by Israel’s brutal assault in which 2,200 people, the majority of them civilians, were killed by bombs. We in the Madison Rafah Sister City Project call it “The Wall of Shame: Pictures from the Gaza Assault.” Politicians, even progressive ones, will not talk about these pictures.

During the 50 days of Israel’s bombardment on the people of Gaza, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved an additional $225 million to Israel fund their “Iron Dome” missile system. Their vote supported Israel’s massacre on the people of Gaza.

During his speech at Fighting Bob Fest on Saturday, Chris Hedges, an author and former foreign correspondent of The New York Times, said this about Gaza: “I have stood over bodies, including the bodies of children, left behind by Israeli airstrikes and assaults. I have watched mothers and fathers cradle their dead and bloodied boys and girls in their arms, convulsed by an indescribable grief, shrieking in pitiful cries to an indifferent universe.”

How can we be indifferent? How can we walk by pictures of wounded and dead children and not even look? During the three days I was out, there were a lot of people who did look though, especially children. It was children who got close, read the headlines and were visibly impacted. But so many adults just kept on walking by. But if we keep walking by, nothing will change. Israel will continue to get billions of dollars in U.S aid every year, and more innocent Gazans will be killed.

Michele Bahl

Madison

Sep 25 – Nov 13, 2014
The Joe Deane Memorial Series on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Madison Central Library, Rm. 104
201 W. Mifflin

Thurs. Sept. 25th 6:30 pm
The Zionist Colonization, The British Colonial Regime, and the 1948 War and Founding of Israel

Thurs. Oct. 30th 6:30 pm
A Dispossessed People, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Wars of 1956, 1967, and 1982, and Evolution of the Palestinian National Movement

Thurs. Nov. 13th 6:30 pm
Israeli Colonialism and Apartheid in the Occupied Territories, the U.S.-Israeli ‘Peace Process’, and the Current Impasse

Part of the Origins and Development of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: the Joe Deane Memorial Series, facilitated by David Williams and Steve Wolvin. Co-sponsored by the Peregrine Forum, the Madison Infoshop Free Skool, and Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative. Info? #284-9082

September 28, 2014
DAVID ROVICS IN CONCERT

With Clare Norelle
Sunday, September 28, 4 – 6 pm
The Brink Lounge, 701 E Washington Ave, Suite 105

$10 at the door – proceeds benefit Gaza emergency relief and scholarships for children of Arcatao, El Salvador

DAVID ROVICS grew up in a family of classical musicians and became an early fan of populist regimes. After busking full-time in the Boston subways, by the mid-90's he was traveling the world as a professional flat-picking rabble-rouser. Now living in Portland, Oregon he tours regularly on four continents, playing at cafes, pubs, universities, churches, union halls and protest rallies. He has appeared with a veritable who's whoof the left in two dozen countries, with his music featured on Democracy Now!, BBC, Al-Jazeera andother networks. The 200+ songs he makes available for free on the web have been downloaded more than a million times. Most importantly, he's really good. He’ll make you laugh, he’ll make you cry; he will make the revolution irresistible.

CLARE NORELLE is a local performer who sings in several languages and tells stories from around the earth, connecting with people in many places and promoting a message of acceptance and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Falasteen Habibti (Palestine My Love) – Love Songs for Palestine
A new 21-song CD of nearly all David’s songs about Palestine, a portion of sales at the concert benefits the Independent Middle East Media Center. One to be given as a door prize!

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Palestinians in Gaza are still waiting for the siege to end

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 September 2014

Destruction everywhere

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

A new United Nations assessment published this week lays out the massive scope of the needs facing the nearly 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza following the “unprecedented” destruction wreaked by 51 days of Israeli bombing in July and August.

Israel’s assault – which it dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” – left at least 2,133 Palestinians dead and more than eleven thousand injured. More than 100,000 are permanently homeless as some 13 percent of Gaza’s housing stock – 44,300 housing units – was affected by the attack, with five percent rendered completely uninhabitable.

The UN report “Gaza Initial Rapid Assessment,” published by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), was conducted through August with the assistance of dozens of Palestinian and international aid agencies, organizations and experts.

It indicates that almost everyone in every part of Gaza faces some urgent need for basic protection, healthcare and rehabilitation, housing, water, food security or education.

The report came out the same day that the UN and the Palestinian Authority launched a $551 million emergency appeal to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza.

The assessment also identifies the need for “legal support to address some of these protection needs, including pursuing accountability for alleged violations of international law resulting in deaths and injuries, as well as destruction of property as a result of the military operation.”

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September 12 – 13, 2014
Gaza “Wall of Shame” at Fighting BobFest

We will be displaying the Gaza “Wall of Shame” at the entrance to the BobFest events this weekend, both Friday, September 12 at the Barrymore, beginning around 6 pm, and Saturday, September 13 at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, beginning around 8:30 am.

The wall is four large panels of pictures from the Gaza assault, plus a sign and leaflets asking why progressive icons (and BobFest featured speakers) Senators Baldwin and Sanders voted, along with the entire US Senate, to give Israel a green light to slaughter the people of Gaza.

We will have Free Gaza stickers to hand out to participants to show their solidarity, and will be staffing a table in Baraboo. We have informed organizers of our intentions.

40 Holocaust survivors condemn ‘massacre’ of Palestinians, call for BDS against Israel

Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, August 26, 2014

Holocaust survivors printed an ad in the New York Times condemning Israel’s attacks on Gaza. (Photo: Alex Kane)

A group of Holocaust survivors and descendants of those targeted by Nazi Germany have harshly criticized Israeli actions in Gaza and called for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Following a letter from survivors of the Holocaust printed in the New York Times on Saturday, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, which helped coordinate the letter, organized a press call Monday, where some of those who signed the letter spoke out against the assault on Gaza.

Participants in the press call included Edith Bell, whose parents died in concentration camps and who was taken to four camps herself; Suzanne Weiss, whose mother was murdered in Auschwitz and who was hidden by French peasants; and Liliane Kaczerginski, whose father Schmerke was a Jewish fighter against the Nazis in Lithuania. Also joining the call were Monadel Herzallah and Hani Jamah, two Palestinians with family in Gaza who expressed appreciation at the descendants’ and survivors’ efforts.

40 survivors of the Holocaust signed the letter and 287 descendants of victims also added their names.

“I resent anybody who will use those events as an excuse to exterminate Palestinians,” said Bell, who said she survived concentration camps by “pure luck.”

The letter printed in the New York Times has garnered international media attention from the likes of the BBC and Ha’aretz. “As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine,” the letter says. “We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. ‘Never again’ must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

The advertisement cost $18,000. The funds were raised by some of the signatories.

“I applaud your courage for doing such a statement like that, that speaks from the heart,” said Herzallah, a member of the US Palestinian Community Network whose family was expelled from what is now Israel into Gaza. “I’m not surprised when I see these courageous statements by Holocaust survivors and their families…Our children and grandchildren will learn together in Gaza and all over Palestine that never again truly means never again for anyone.

The impetus for the letter came from Holocaust survivors and descendants of victims of the Nazis who were outraged that Israel used their histories to justify assaults on Palestinians. One of the signatories who helped organize the letter was Dr. Hajo Meyer, a German-Dutch physicist who survived Auschwitz and who died the day before the letter was printed in the Times. Meyer was an outspoken critic of Israel, telling the Electronic Intifada that he “had to quit grammar school in Bielefeld after the Kristallnacht…Therefore, I can fully identify with the Palestinian youth that are hampered in their education. And I can in no way identify with the criminals who make it impossible for Palestinian youth to be educated.”

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