Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 31st, 2014


Got Arrested Outside the Israeli Consulate: Norman Finkelstein and 20 others opposing Israel genocide preemptive war on Gaza

Why It Matters That Norman Finkelstein Just Got Arrested Outside the Israeli Consulate

Michelle Goldberg on July 29, 2014

Israel Palestine protest
Israeli-Palestinian peace protesters in New York City on July 29, 2014. Photo by Michelle Goldberg.

At 12:30 pm today, a few dozen people laid down in the street at the intersection of 43rd Street and Second Avenue, stopping traffic from reaching the 42nd Street block housing the Israeli Consulate.

Around them, a hundred or so people chanted from the sidewalks for the end of the occupation and the slaughter in Gaza.

The writer Norman Finkelstein, a fierce critic of both Israel and of the BDS movement, had called the protest the day before.

A lot of people feel that going to a demonstration every 3 days doesn’t rise to the occasion, the immensity of the horror,” he told me.

He noted that the Israeli bombing of Gaza is now in its twenty-first day, “which means it’s one day short of Cast Lead,” the assault on Gaza that began at the end of 2008. And there is no sign that this war is going to stop anytime soon.

The action didn’t last long.

After issuing a few warnings for the demonstrators to move, the police swooped in, handcuffing people and carrying those who let their bodies go limp.

Traffic was stopped for twenty minutes.

Still, it didn’t seem like a futile effort, because this is a moment when it’s particularly important to break through the illusion, which pervades our politics, that American support for Israel and its war in Gaza is unshakable.

Already, there are anecdotal signs that conventional New York opinion, which tends to be liberal on everything except Palestine, is starting to shift.

“If Netanyahu is so bothered by how dead Palestinians look on television then he should stop killing so many of them,” wrote Benjamin Wallace-Wells in a piece on New York magazine’s website last week, a sentiment that would have been hard to imagine coming from that publication a few years ago.

Today, the magazine’s DC columnist Jonathan Chait, an occasionally hawkish veteran of The New Republic, has a post titled, “Why I Have Become Less Pro-Israel.”

According to a recent CNN poll, while a majority of Americans continue to support Israel, 38% have an unfavorable opinion of the country, up 14 points since February.

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I don’t want to overstate this—after all, 10,000 people showed up at a pro-Israel rally in front of the United Nations yesterday.

Even there, however, there were a couple of people with signs, in English, Arabic and Hebrew, mourning the dead in Gaza.

“To the older woman who kept following me with her own ‘Stand with Israel’ sign to block my own sign and yelling out loud—look at the traitor—he’s a mamzer—a bastard—I turned and said, calmly—my father is a Holocaust Survivor, please respect him if not me,” wrote the rabbinical student Amichai Lau-Lavie.

“To which she replied—he should have died there. There were other obscene and racist statements that I won’t describe.”

People like this woman, obviously, are not reachable. But others might be. What’s happening is simply so brutal and inexcusable that it makes the rote rationalizations of Israel’s apologists sound ever more risible.

So it’s important for people who feel, intuitively, that there is something deeply wrong happening in Gaza to see others fighting for that conviction. Among those who were taken into custody today was Corey Robin, a Jewish professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Robin is a longtime critic of Israel, but he’d never before been arrested over it. “I finally felt like I had to do something,” he said a few moments before lying down in the street. “This is my first time doing this for Palestine. If it’s my first time, it’s going to be somebody else’s first time, if not now, then another time.

News from Lebanon the week of (April 12, 2014)

What changed in 6 months?

Here’s some of the most important news stories you might have missed from the past week.

1. Parliament Passes Civil Defense Bill

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On Wednesday, after public sector workers went on a strike in demand of a wage hike, and despite the objection of Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, Parliament approved Wednesday a draft law to grant Civil Defense volunteers full-time employment.

(The red cross are also volunteers, should they be paid as full-timers?)

Earlier that day, a group of Civil Defense volunteers gathered on the Ramlet al-Baida beach and plunged into the sea in a symbolic act of defiance, as others demonstrated outside Parliament demanding the passage of the law.

Why Parliament chief Nabih Berry passed the bill? Are the  Civil Defense volunteers part of his political party?

The syndicate of public high school teachers of about 60,0oo, “silsilat al rawateb wa rotab” movement, has been steadfastly demonstrating for 2 years demanding to obtain their agreed upon rights in cost of living increases and ranks, at no avail.

All the politicians say that their demands are 100% rights. All politicians are against ratifying their demands on political grounds. Why?

This movement is felt to be acting politically against the rotten political and social system and not just demanding their just and fair rights since 1996.

2. Heavy Rainfall Waterlogs Vehicles in Keserwan

Early morning rain on Thursday caused severe traffic jams on the highway from Beirut towards Jounieh and in Keserwan.

A number of cars were waterlogged and significantly damaged in the Al-Wadi neighborhood located between Zouk Mikael and Zouk Mosbeh.

The heavy rainfalls also lead to the injury of six people in traffic accidents in the regions of Harissa, Safra, Naameh, and Kfardebian.

(Since then, Lebanon started its 7 months of total dryness and acute water shortages.)

(Mind you that snow barely cupped our mountain tops this year, and the rainfall was half the normal, and yet at every shower, roads and houses are flooded and traffic halted)

3. Parliament: Parents Have a Right to Smack Children

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A recommendation to overturn a law on child physical chastisement submitted by Change and Reform bloc MP Simon Abi Ramia was refused, on Thursday by most of the MPs that were present at the session.

However, parliament agreed to amend the law according to the following:

The law allows non-violent [physical and verbal] chastisement inflicted on children by fathers and mothers, provided that it does not leave any impact on their psychological and physical health.”

4. Health Ministry: Lebanon Faces Polio Threat

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“The closest danger for Lebanon lies in Syria where 38 [Polio] cases have been observed.

This means there could be [as many as] 200 hundred cases that have not been discovered until now,” Health Minister Wael Abu Faour announced this week.

Children in Lebanon are in danger of contracting the disease as new cases are being detected in the region.

Abu Faour urged media outlets to provide coverage of the issue so as to promote awareness among citizens. 

Currently, Syrian refugees are plagued with skin diseases (jarab) due to sanitary deficiency.

5. Top Ain el-Hilweh Cleric Survives Assassination Attempt

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An unknown gunman on Wednesday tried to assassinate the top official of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects in Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon.

According to Naharnet, Sheikh Orsan Suleiman suffered severe head wounds in the incident. The hospital says he is alive but in a “very critical condition.”

The development comes after 8 people were killed and ten others were wounded on Monday in fierce clashes at the nearby Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp.

6. Mystery Surrounds Death of 52-Year-Old Lebanese Woman

Instead of being taken to a hospital on Thursday after suffering from fractures to both her hands and legs, and bleeding profusely from the head, Samira Shedid was rushed to a Burj Hammoud police station, according to LBC.

Shedid, 52, was found injured in Dora. The circumstances behind her injuries remain a mystery. 

According to the Internal Security Forces, various citizens reported that Samira was taking off her clothes in the Dora roundabout, adding that ISF members transported her to the police station and handcuffed her “to prevent her from harming herself.” 

Her family was only able to transfer her to a nearby hospital after going through a legal process.

Shedid later died at the hospital.




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