Originally published August 24, 2018 in Counterpunch
As old as war itself, collective punishment has long been the most damning and destructive weapon of all. Not satisfied with engaging combatants alone and directly, historically, it has fueled state reprisal against families, communities and entire populations in a drive to “win” a given conflict, military or otherwise, at all costs.
With roots that trace, literally, to the start of time, reprisal has evolved as modern warfare has became more proficient and popular resistance more prevalent. Nowhere has collective punishment proved more evident and systemic than it has in the West where it has long run the gamut from civil sanctions, to population displacement, to political penalty, to imprisonment, to outright slaughter. Of late, it has grown more subtle, yet no less pernicious, through state censorship that seeks to control the narrative of the day.
Announcing a new music video from Junior Chills, a three-piece band in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They produce songs of strong feeling. This one is about the stupefying lack of media coverage on a marginalized, ignored, dismissed, forgotten, unknown people.
Many still know nothing of refugees who lost their homes, who are still denied a right of return guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They still possess that right denied. It’s another reason for following Junior Chills.
Did I mention that billions of people alive today are unaware that these people even exist. I am ashamed to report being a citizen of a country whose military and intelligence communities dump enormous taxpayer funds into weapon and security systems that stagger the imagination. Are we exceptional? Is that not arrogance?
But the name of their occupiers is on the map, methinks the occupiers doth occupy too much. The population of Israelis in Israel-Palestine is approximately the same as the population of the Philistines (the name they actually give themselves) but would you know that from looking at the map below?
Humiliation is the name of the game, but these people possess joy in the very spite of subjugation. Prisons for the occupied are stuffed with dissenters. Children as young as 12 are imprisoned daily for throwing stones. Perhaps they throw them at low-flying F-16 fighter jets. Call them terrorists and toss them into prison. Then throw away the key. While you are throwing away keys, break into their grandparent’s house and throw away their family home they had to leave in 1948 (more on that in the next paragraph). So yes, I am complicit in this 68-year ethnic cleansing operation by the “only democracy in the Middle East.” But I don’t yield to those who actually believe that ignorance is strength.
“Wake Up World” is Junior Chills’ latest contribution toward bringing attention to the human rights of the people exiled from their homes in 1948. They are refugees to this day. 700,000 were forced from their land in that year alone. I was eight months old that year.
Many were cast from the paradise of a coast along the Mediterranean into a part of Palestine west of the Jordan River and into an open-air prison known as Gaza. They brought only what they could carry in 1948. House keys used to lock their doors on Nakba Day (the Arabic word for catastrophe).
Damien McGee writes, sings and plays guitar for Junior Chills. Here is how he described the protest song in our recent communication:
“It is called simply Wake Up World. I am going to try my best to share it out there as widely as I can to help do my bit to raise awareness of the daily struggle in Palestine…I hope you like it!!”
This is a very powerful musical and visual depiction of the massive injustice meted out every day. The bombs you see exploding in the video killed 2200 people in Operation Protective Shield (a lovely name for an excuse to spew death IMO), 500 were children. Just one of many “operations” that are all pretty much alike. One encouraging note for anyone looking to buy shares in corporations such as Halliburton: every round expended is a round for another round of expenditures. Revolving doors. dick cheneys.
It gives the viewer pause and tears tears from your eyes. The violence depicted in the video is not gratuitous, but know that young innocents were not of concern to those who saw the exterior of the buildings in the crosshairs.
The streaming trails you see in the photograph below spew from two white phosphorous bombs exploding from a height, that height insures horrid deaths and agonizing injuries. Population density is very high in Gaza, there is no safe place. White phosphorous burns to the bone.
In America principles are goods placed on sale to the highest bidder. Career paths are paved with bricks forged by selling yourself out at every opportunity.
Cash in your chips at the next square and move on to another chance for a sell-out.
Guardians of integrity are rare beasts on our fruited plain. Experience has taught me that wealth management is incompatible with free and open society. But weapons of wealth management are the coin of our realm.
A kind and gentle hint: the system is gamed.
Marking my 50th post on this blog, I leverage what goes for my political capital (49 previous articles) by suggesting that
become essential reading for billziegler1947 readers.
THE SHADOW is the sole remaining underground newspaper in New York, the home of Stanley Cohen and the only living boy in New York. Mr. Cohen is following the same principled path he began in 1969 and his principles are not for sale.
Imagine that you are looking for a source for truth on Palestine. It’s right here on @StanleyCohenLaw all day long.
But if you need an additional source for truth on that occupied land, consider the words of anthropologist Jeff Halper. He graduated from Hebrew Union College in 1969, the same year I graduated from another Cincinnati institution on Clifton Avenue. I am presently reading and recommending his
Jerry Rubin is best known as one of the Chicago 7 of ’68, he was also a fellow University of Cincinnati alumnus who decided that selling stock portfolios was the new revolutionary act. Rubin gave an address in Cincinnati the late 60’s. That was before joining the “revolution” on Wall Street as the Reagan era began.
Today, speaking truth to power is the best way I know to find yourself in a Gulag.
Israel is a state recognized completely and thoroughly by the United States and a few South-Pacific island territory/nations. The prisons in Israel are legally available for detaining pre-teen Palestinians, indefinitely. Not the vision evoked by Leon Uris’ Exodus, more like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
But if you are looking for an investment opportunity for idle dollars, prisons are wise investments. Billions of dollars accrete to a single individual. It’s where the smart money goes.
Where a half-truth is a full-lie and a decimated truth is an epic.
The AIPAC Conference in Washington D.C. this week demonstrates that America is not only shoulder-to-shoulder in the ties that bind. America and Israel are shoulder-to-shoulder at both shoulders now. It’s beginning to resemble that iconic Brezhnev/Honecker image burned into my, and now your, memory.
Wealth is publicly flaunted in 2016. The party of the big tent is becoming the party of the wide wallet. Before AIPAC met I held slight hopes that despite Clinton’s roots in political dynasty and Realpolitik she might take note of Palestine on Monday. Not a hint. Without Bernie Sanders it is the party of little hope for 2017.
I wonder if the New York Times would reject my headline suggestion:
“PACers pleased at remaining appeased.”
Meanwhile 2.5 million Palestinians living in Palestine and 3.5 million Palestinians in diaspora live without independence but with a stolen homeland. Palestine was around a hundred years ago. Israel was not.
The Palestinian Authority directs attention from the sleight of hand played by Israel. Abbas is useful for diverting your eye from everyday ethnic cleansing.
The parties at the Oslo Accords of 1993 let pass a largely unknown legal restriction: requiring the labelling of goods manufactured in the West Bank, the occupied territories. A small negotiating point and legally binding, but the powers that be know the difference between de jure and de facto. Some negotiator did not recognize that BDS would happen.
The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated political unit on Earth. I wonder where the Palestinians now living in Gaza lived before they lived in Gaza?
It’s not a trick question. They lived in Palestine.
Here is where they used to live before the Nakba of 1948:
The rocks thrown by Palestinian youth are Made in the USA: created with weapons of modern technology. On July 12, 2014 Israelis showed up with lawn chairs (and a sofa) to witness rock manufacturing.
Bonus dollars for the military-industrial complex: an exploded bomb no longer exists after the explosion and must be replaced by an unexploded bomb. The destroyed homes are not replaced. But if they are replaced bombs are available to destroy them again.
Operation Protective Edge was just the most recent of many catastrophic assaults on Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel’s Justice System imprisons 12-year-old rock throwers. Death by sniper on Palestinians of any age thought to hold a knife. Actual knife-wielding/rock throwing optional.
The common response in the USA: shrug that shoulder.
Another lucrative industry for Israel: prisons. It’s where 12-year-olds are sent for throwing rocks, where they are housed. During a daily patrol IDF soldiers follow “suspected” youth to their homes. They enter homes at will and locate the suspect’s bedroom. At 2:00 in the morning a knock comes on the bedroom door. Bedwetting is common. I wonder why.
It’s called Stone Cold Justice. The unemployment rate in Gaza is +40%. Disaffected youth talk to their grandparents about memories of life before Nakba. My two grandchildren are not disaffected youth without hope. They have a grandfather who was born 8 months before Nakba. Their grandfather was not born in Jaffa.
Maybe we can look to the Ministry of Justice in Israel for justice, so let’s check there. Ayelet Shaked is Justice Minister.
Sounding out for solid solidarity in Cincinnati for Palestine. I have included a new category on billziegler1947: cincy4palestine. You can reference existing content on Palestinian independence and human rights by clicking it. CPSC recognizes the need to act locally as we join in solidarity with a purpose.
CPSC is obtaining visibility in greater Cincinnati and the greater world. It began last year with a teach in at the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, a second at the University of Cincinnati, a third at the Clifton Mosque, a fourth at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church and we are working on a fifth teach-in.
We are raising our visibility and are joining other like-minded souls in supporting BDS.
At the same time we have sponsored film screenings at several locations to shine truth on a deferred dream and a half century of occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, funded by the monetary and military power of the United States.
We believe that many small voices speaking truth will bring down the Apartheid Wall and end the occupation.
The Oslo Accords of 1993 are dead. 500,000 stakes were driven through its heart by a half-million settlers. These settlers, many of them truculent and militant, live in modern super gateway communities subsidized by the United States. It’s a divide and conquer strategy.
The United States government transfers $10,000,000 per day to Israel ($0 per day for Palestine) as well as the highest tech military support systems. These preserve a lucrative status quo for Israel and for those corporations making a killing from it.
Meanwhile Palestinians’ birthright is reported throughout US media as “stones, knives and poorly guided mortar fire.” Informed readers have to go offshore for the headlines that are ignored in our corporate or corporate-sponsored media.
The Apartheid Wall looms above a complex of modern fenced highways leading to each former Palestinian village and renamed in Hebrew from the original Arabic. Fences and security stations are everywhere. The reason: humiliation and eventual ethnic cleansing for a “greater” Israel.
When the sun set on the British Empire, Palestine bordered the priceless Mediterranean Sea.
Shaking off the yoke of empire is always the dream of the colonized. The Arabic expression for shaking off a yoke is “انتفاضة intifada.” An obvious and overdue response to colonialism? Yes, of course, but, what if the land is stolen out from under you? As clever a crime as a Moriarty might craft:
Picture to yourself the pilot fish with the shark, the jackal with the lion—anything that is insignificant in companionship with what is formidable: not only formidable, Watson, but sinister—in the highest degree sinister. That is where he comes within my purview. ‘You have heard me speak of Professor Moriarty?’
‘The famous scientific criminal, as famous among crooks -‘
‘My blushes, Watson!’ Holmes murmured in a deprecating voice.
‘I was about to say, “as he is unknown to the public”.’
‘A touch! A distinct touch!’ cried Holmes. ‘You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself. But in calling Moriarty a criminal you are uttering libel in the eyes of the law…
— A. Conan Doyle, “The Valley of Fear.”
Speaking of uttering libel in the eyes of the law:
A land for me but not for thee. In 1948 another tribe lived under the same Mandate for Palestine. Empire-speak: promise the same thing to the divided and conquered. Lord Balfour was a functionary of the conquerers write the history, but when they write about it, truth is strictly optional.
Arabic cities with long histories got a facelift by the new boss (same as the old boss). The cities were renamed in Hebrew.
What was destroyed? Palestinian culture, traditions, culture, family, livelihoods, fashions, ethnic recipes, hectic markets, crowded schools, incomparable coastlines. The Mediterranean Sea was at the middle of the known world conquered by earlier empires, but the Palestinians abide.
New keys on old doors for new “settlers.” Demolish some more, build some more, grow some more, have children, grandchildren. To the victor goes the spoils.
Refugees ended up in an open-air prison (Gaza) or on the West Bank of the Jordan River — or all over the Earth.
The beautiful Mediterranean Coast out of sight but not out of mind after 1948. So they were shoved away in 1948, but at least they were not occupied. 1967 changed even that. There began a war of swift occupation with tanks, planes, assault rifles, white phosphorous, etc. Decades go by. An endless list of IDF “Operations” routinely bomb the open-air prison: GAZA.
Birthright (aliyah) tours available if your mother is related to Isaac. Youth are sold on something called a once in a lifetime $10,000 Birthright Tour. The trip itinerary does not include a visit to the West Bank or Gaza. Who wants to visit a prison while on vacation?
There are also opportunities called Hasbara Fellowships: something to sell the brand.
“There were Arabs selling rosaries and holy water. Why are they doing that? I don’t know. I just don’t trust them, you know.”
It’s getting a little crowded in the old promised land. I mean, who can afford to live with rents so high. And all that land on the West Bank is wasted on the Arabs. I mean, it’s all G-d gave us and it’s already too small.
Demolish homes upon whim, build gated communities and connect them with modern highways, all fenced along each shoulder to keep things nice and safe. .
West Bank settlers spray graffiti on the outside walls of Palestinian homes they destroy. “Kill them All” is another.
Ironically 700,000 Palestinians were exiled in 1948. 70 years later 700,000 settlers live in the West Bank.
Israel insists that it is still the underdog in the Middle East. Danny Ayalon, well known for his video series The Truth about Israel, is a familiar countenance on the pro-Israeli internet. He explains Underdogland with familiar maps and graphics, available at the click (such as the link above). The presentation has high production qualities, the music is rousing and the end-tone is dramatic. Favored mightily by those who like echo-chamber metaphors.
Something happened at Harvard and Microsoft recently: two prestigious shakers and movers (lifelong Zionists) endorsed a boycott of Israel, a ‘single state.’ It became the most read article on the Washington Post. This does not mean that they have joined the BDS Movement but it’s a step.
Consider diaspora: the Syrians these last five years, the Palestinians these last sixty-seven years? To be ousted from ancestral lands along the Mediterranean and shoved to the east. Then, in 1967 (Naksa) occupied by the same people who shoved you eastward in 1948: (Nakba).
But what about Lebensraum for the people of choice?
Perhaps a current dweller thinks “The Mediterranean coast is beautiful, but we need more living space for more living rooms. May the houses all look like the ones in California where the climate is the same.”
Descendants of Abraham: Ishmael and Isaac. A great lesson learned from those who occupied all of Palestine, the British and their Empire. A semantic sleight of hand and, magically, the Palestinians no longer exist. But a magician’s trick does not stay a secret forever. It turns out Palestinians were there all along with a history, a culture, families, friends, acquaintances, businesses, interests, festivals, religions, works of literature, restaurants, theaters, tourist trade, traditions…and tragedies.
At present, a two-state solution (State of Israel/State of Palestine) remains challenged by Realpolitik.
Immigration, emigration, visiting exiled family in other climes. Travel back and forth between Gaza and the West Bank? It’s onerous. The two territories are not contiguous. It is also expensive, time-consuming and dangerous.
Did you know that most Israelis are not interested in visiting the occupied territories? To go through generations without once meeting the “other.” Believing only their own propaganda.
Palestinians are also de facto victims of extrajudicial executions. There are no Palestinian soldiers, there is no Palestinian military force. Israeli soldiers know they can simply attack fellow humans using their own judgment, without disciplinary action. Did you know that records detailing criminal acts are sometimes lost by the authorities entrusted with preserving them? I’ve hear that it happens.
Highways connecting settlements are modern and rimmed with security. Fences built to complement the security wall lengthen.
Existing Palestinian homes are demolished daily, reason optional. Unemployment is so high in the occupied sectors that many Palestinians work as domestic help in the very homes they lost to “settlers”. Yes, this is humiliating, but those who humiliate know that a mean-spirited, tough, single-minded determination and persistence may bring blossoms of fear and submission. The New York Times and NPR do not remove bias from their reporting. Both news giants are either corporations or corporately funded.
What happens when Rupert Murdock purchases media? The Wall Street Journal was once a newspaper of integrity, now it’s a tabloid. National Geographic was an institution and cultural icon. Guess who owns NG now. Readers and listeners are left to wonder: just who are these tattered keffiyeh-sporting angry people in the street, those with weapons slightly more modern than those of the Ottoman Empire, with knives and stones: stones right at-hand, produced from rubble left by incendiary bombs equipped with the latest technology, dropped on civilians (collaterals) by the fourth largest military on our planet.
I found an obscure op-ed dated 9 July 2015. The opinion by an editorial board: Gaza and Greece are comparable. Offhand I can think of two points for comparison: both border the Mediterranean, both begin with the letter “G.” GAZA NEEDS WHAT GREECE IS GETTING. thePretty much published on the first anniversary of the 51 Day War, also known as Operation Protective Shield.
The fantasyland of eternal bailouts. The fantasyland of eternal hatred.
The ultimate lesson about Greece is not economic, it’s about Fantasyland. Greece has lived in Fantasyland — just like Gaza.
Greece’s fantasyland is the free lunch. Gaza’s fantasyland is the attitudinal free lunch: hatred without consequences.
The Greek fantasy is the supply of money as automatic as the laws of nature.
The Gaza fantasy is the end of Israel despite the laws of nature.
The Greek fantasy is pensions, wages, holidays, insurance, subsidies, welfare, all based on funds from outside Greece, without limit.
The Gaza fantasy is the destruction of Israel based on random missile fire and terror tunnels.
The Greeks fight the laws of production. The Gazans fight the laws of decency and self-interest.
The Greeks are finding out the hard way that big bailouts are not forever.
The Gazans need to find out that hatred forever will not destroy Israel.
The Greeks are finding out that there is no way to economic strength other than work, discipline and the end of ridiculous policies, such as huge pensions tied to early retirement.
The Gazans need to find out that there is no path to social achievement other than tolerance, political pluralism and religious freedom.
The Greek bluff was called.
Now the Gaza bluff needs to be called: no more “humanitarian assistance” when it is basic humanitarianism, i.e., the end of the hatred of Jews and Israelis, that Gazans need to cultivate.
Greece banked on the fear of others to let Greece fail. For this, Greece is failing.
Gaza banks on the blindness of others to the true cause of their suffering: themselves. For this, Gaza wins sympathy around the world, yet continues its suffering.
Greece is now getting a dose of reality. Gaza is long overdue for a dose of reality.
Greece turned its good people against the necessary pain and pleasure of hard work, economic reform and national self-reliance.
Gaza turns its people toward the unnecessary pain of dead Gaza children as the inevitable consequence of placing them in harm’s way.
Greece is learning: It is not someone else’s job to fix the mess it created.
Gaza needs the very lesson that Greece is learning: Its poverty is of its own making, not someone else’s responsibility to fix.
Greece is learning: Fantasyland cannot last forever. The day of reckoning inevitably arrives.
Greece’s fantasyland is the free lunch
Gaza’s fantasyland is the attitudinal free lunch: hatred without consequences.
Greece is learning: It is not someone else’s job to fix the mess it created.
Gaza needs the very lesson that Greece is learning: Its poverty is of its own making, not someone else’s responsibility to fix.
The word for today’s class is “inexplicable.” Let’s get some قهوة عربية (arabischen Kaffee) and try to understand why news stories should be read with discrimination and not with discrimination.
Hey man, look at this crazy crap. There’s a cow on the news right now and it’s walking down the expressway. Is that like something you’ve ever seen ever? It’s like a North Korean spotted anywhere outside North Korea: an escapee from an authentically horrible place. A possible location of said cow using Google Maps: buildings densely populated by bovines. You are responsible for finding two (2) similarly inexplicable matters.
Doctors make house calls in Cuba, infant mortality is low, education is free, something about literacy rates and a cartoon character. What do my fellow Americans know about Cuba, its culture, its history?
Time for a Google search, exact phrase: “most moral army in the world”. Find a sentence that incorporates all six (6) words. For example, here is one such result from Haaretz(March 3, 2014): “The most moral army in the world fired an anti-tank missile at the house in which a wanted young Palestinian was hiding. The most moral army in the world ran a bulldozer over the top of the house and destroyed it.” I subscribe to Haaretz, so this article may not be available to you. Now, to stay on task, consider usage: inexplicable or explicable.
Class assignment: clip stories from your local newspaper about police officer heroes. Compare to episodes of The Wire. Consult this database maintained continuously and meticulously by The Guardian:
You may also view the following video from Australian journalists that might pique your interest and provide examples of the “inexplicable.” It’s 53 minutes long. Remember that my quiz questions may come from anywhere in the video. If you are not a member of this class you do not have to view it. It’s here for its value; however images of gross child mistreatment are always disturbing: