Thursday, November 09, 2023

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, November 9, 2023.  Moms For Bigotry is rejected in Tuesday's voting, a bigot in Sherman, Texas tries to destroy a kid's dream, the assault on Gaza continues, US House Rep Rashida Tlaib is censured by members of Congress who are doing nothing to save the people of Gaza, and much more.

Tuesday, elections took place in the US.

Republicans across the country suffered a crushing defeat in the transgender battle that they thrust into the national spotlight just two years ago.

GOP candidates in Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kansas suffered major losses Tuesday night in several local elections where voters rejected anti-trans policies by voting against Republicans in school board races.

The results of the 2023 election suggest that a tide is turning against the so-called "parents rights" movement, which gained momentum two years ago and has since dominated the national conversation about education and American politics.

Fresh off of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin's 2021 victory, Republicans seized on school culture wars as a winning election strategy. Advocacy group Moms for Liberty gained significant traction as Republican lawmakers, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, pursued education policies that tackled critical race theory, sexual orientation and transgender rights.

This year alone, 586 anti-trans bills—which include bans on gender-affirming care, the inclusion of transgender athletes in women's sports and choice of pronouns—have been introduced in 49 states, according to the Trans Legislation Tracker.

But Tuesday night suggested that the crusade against transgender students may not be as popular among Americans as Republicans believed two years ago. Virginia Democrats triumphed in statehouse elections, effectively shrinking Youngkin's power, and the majority of candidates endorsed by Moms for Liberty lost their school board elections.

Far-right groups like Moms for Liberty say they speak for parents, a proposition that’s always been dubious. As they push for book bans, whitewash American history, and try to drive LGBTQ+ teachers and students back into the closet, they’ve made plenty of enemies. Parents, especially mothers, have gone head to head with Moms for Liberty and the candidates it backs, stunting the far right’s march through local school boards. That trend was particularly apparent on Tuesday evening when anti-diversity candidates lost a number of pivotal school-board races across the nation.

When Moms for Liberty assaults protections for LGBTQ+ children in public schools, and threatens to out trans children to families that may not be welcoming, they do so with specious arguments about “parental rights.” Nobody wants to co-parent with the government, they argue, and parents have a right to know what their children are doing in school. Members have backed policies that would prevent teachers from covering LGBTQ+ topics in the classroom, ban trans girls from playing school sports, and notify parents if a child requests a name change at school. Those policies place LGBTQ+ students — and educators — at risk. Tuesday’s school-board races tested the nation’s priorities: Did voters want culture war or did they want candidates focused more on the work of education? The answer is a blow for Moms for Liberty and their larger platform.

[. . .]

Banning books about LGBTQ+ issues or racism is somewhat popular with Republican voters, but like much of the GOP’s culture-war turn, they alienate other voters. According to polling from YouGov, independent and Democratic voters don’t want to ban books from school libraries and are much less likely to think that certain topics should be banned from classrooms, too. Moms for Liberty and the parental rights cause they celebrate may appeal to the base, but it’s not yet a winning formula. That’s good news for parents, educators, and students alike.

Moms For Bigotry?  Yes, those hate merchants.  As I noted a few months back, the country reached the turning point on those hate merchants.  They got a lot of traction early on due to liars and trash but they don't fit in with democracy, people who preach hate rarely do.   One of the group's earliest champions grasps this and it's why she rejected an insult one of her new supporters made this week where the supporter attached "trans" to another term and the woman replied back that they shouldn't do that.  Maybe there's hope for that woman yet.  Or maybe she's just grasped how unpopular and harmful Moms For Bigotry actually are.  Troy Matthews (MEDIASTOUCH NETWORK) notes:

Moms For Liberty, an anti-LGBT hate group that couches itself as a "parent's rights" organization suffered a massive electoral defeat Tuesday with many of their targeted school board races going to Democratic candidates.

As the Republican caucuses approach in Iowa, all but one of the 13 candidates endorsed by Moms For Liberty lost in school board races in that state. The sole winner will serve in a district with less than 1,000 students.

Pennsylvania also proved rough for Moms For Liberty despite being the group's home state, as Democrats swept several school board races in Bucks County including Pennsridge and Central Bucks, after Moms For Liberty had put forth a slate of five "approved" Republicans for each district.

For more on this week's election results, Rebecca covers the impact reproductive rights had and Marcia notes some LGBTQ+ victories. But let's take a moment to look at a specific example of how Moms For Bigotry's hate destroys children's lives.  Marlene Lenthang (NBC NEWS - Dallas, Fort Worth) reports:

A Texas student who identifies as a transgender male was kicked out of the lead role of his high school musical after his principal introduced a new gender casting policy.

Max Hightower, a senior at Sherman High School, learned just last month that he landed the starring male role in the school’s production of “Oklahoma!” But the 17-year-old’s excitement didn’t last long. 

Why?  Because a transphobic man named Scott Johnston got his panties in a wad.  Why?  A trans male can play a male.  In fact, in the theater, anyone can play anyone and has since the beginning of time.  It's called . . . acting.  In Shakespeare's time, the cast were all males -- even Juliet was played by a male.  At schools across the country, throughout the last century, there were females playing male characters and males playing female characters -- sometimes due to talent, sometimes due to not having anyone else.

There was no reason to destroy this child's hopes and dreams and sense of accomplishment.  Talia Richman (DALLAS MORNING NEWS) explains:

Max Hightower was cast in ensemble roles for theater productions throughout high school. Then, finally, his teacher offered him one of the lead spots in Oklahoma!.

He would play Ali Hakim in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical – and even get his own song, “It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage!


Max tried to act like a seasoned professional in front of his teacher. But as soon as the ecstatic 17-year-old left the office and told his friends about his role, they all started screaming in excitement.

“Everybody in the choir room, like, blew up,” Max said.

Max threw himself into preparing for the part. He read the script during class, managing to go off-book in three days. But last week, Max’s dad Phillip Hightower got a call from Sherman High School principal Scott Johnston. School officials were taking away his part.

Outrageous.  Uncalled for.  What kind of an idiot is Scott Johnston? He's not even a trained educator.  He has a degree in administration from Lamar University (masters degree) and a b.s. from UNT in . . . kinesiology.  So he's not really a teacher then, no training at all.  And I'm told he's creepy and he makes homophobic jokes.  How did this loser end up a principal of a high school just a few months ago?  Seems like someone needs to explain that.   Especially his with his known status as an alleged  bigot -- including a racist -- was already known before he returned to the school this fall as principle.  (He left the school as an assistant principal and then a brief time later returned to become principal.)  His rumored comments about Barack Obama alone should have kept him out of any school.  Those alleged  comments had nothing to be with politics but everything to do with Barack's skin color.  This information is based upon what adults who've worked with him told me last night on the phone.   From the beginning THE COMMON ILLS has had a Texas audience.  Our community members are all over the world but from the beginning we've had support from Texas.  To get info when it has anything to do with Texas, all I ever have to do is a group e-mail blast to Texas members asking, "Does anyone know anything about ____?" And I will get hundreds of replies including suggestions of who to speak to.  How do you think we got the floor plan to the dump Bully Boy Bush bought -- the dump he lives in now.  He's so damn cheap, Laura Bush wanted to live in Highland Park.  It has a higher tax rate than Dallas and the homes are more expensive.  So Bully Boy Bush went with a house close to Highland Park.  And because he's so cheap, he bought that wasn't finished.  One that still needed building and had been abandoned after it didn't pass inspection in its first attempt.  How were we able to post the floor plan all those years ago?  Texas community members.  

This creep is uneducated and a bigot and never should have been put in charge of a school. 

Phillip Hightower tells Brianna Brown (KTEN), "I mean, they didn't even try to jazz it up when they called me; it was, 'Max isn't a boy, essentially, so Max can't have this role.' And you know, you never forget something like that."
"I could not believe they brought him back," said one teacher over the phone last night about Principal Johnston.

Max and his parents were elated until they were notified two weeks later by the school principal that there was a new policy.

"And [he] said we're instituting a new policy where only males can play males, and only females can play females," said Max's father, Phillip Hightower.

"I was devastated," said Hightower.

His father said their son's identity has never been an issue with the District, and the decision by school leaders cost other students their roles, too. Parents plan to appeal to the school board.

"I'm not an activist. I'm not highly political. I have both liberal and conservative beliefs. I'm just a dad that wants to fight for his kid," Hightower said.

Sherman ISD released a statement saying the production was being reviewed after "It was brought to the district's attention that the current production contained mature adult themes, profane language, and sexual content."

First question: Policy?  If it's a policy it should have been in place already.  You don't create a law and try to apply it after the fact, nor do you create a policy and try to apply it after the fact.

This should not survive a legal challenge.   Secondly, "mature adult themes, profane language, and sexual content"?  


Confession, I've never seen it.  I loathe Rogers & Hammerstein.  I love Rogers & Hart and can play any song by that duo on the piano or guitar.  But I loathe Rogers & Hammerstein.  So maybe I'm missing the raunchy  scene in the play?  I don't grasp how a play from 1943 that became a film in 1955 that has resulted in one school production after another for over 70s years is inappropriate?  Apparently when you sleep with goats, you find everything objectionable.  (Don't worry, Scott Johnston knows what I'm talking about.) The film's been aired on TV repeatedly -- broadcast TV. 

Cora Neas (KXAN) reports, "Parents opposed to the decision tell KXAN that they plan to be at the Sherman ISD board meeting on November 13. This comes after a petition to reinstate the roles was ignored by the board, according to a district parent."  Talia Richman (DALLAS MORNING NEWS) notes:

Amy Hightower, Max’s mother, was devastated when she found out about the school’s decision

Max has been Max for years, but not everyone in the Hightowers’ orbit knows that he’s transgender. Amy Hightower hasn’t shared it broadly; the family lives in a conservative community.

But the school’s actions changed things for her. She decided to post about what happened on Facebook – and to make her post public.

“I don’t normally post super personal stuff out here on the ol’ FB but today I am. Until you have a kid that comes to you and tells you they don’t want to live anymore because they’re different, don’t tell me what you would do,” she wrote. “We almost lost this kid, more than once, and now we just support Max and what makes Max happy.”

She said she poured her heart out online because her family has gotten to a place with Max where he’s able to thrive. What helped him, she said, was his parents’ support.

 What should have been a happy moment for a young man has instead become an excuse for a bigot to attack.  Stop lying that this was ever about protecting children when it was always about bigots projecting their hate and causing pain.

That's why elections do matter -- to hold the hate merchants in check.

And here's more proof that they matter, from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to censure Democratic Congressmember Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, for her criticism of Israel. The vote was 234 to 188, with 22 Democrats joining Republicans to censure Tlaib. Prior to the vote, the congresswoman spoke from the House floor.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: I’m the only Palestinian American serving in Congress, Mr. Chair, and my perspective is needed here now more than ever. I will not be silent, and I will not let you distort my words. Folks forget I’m from the city of Detroit, the most beautiful, Blackest city in the country, where I learned to speak truth to power even if my voice shakes.

Trying to bully or censor me won’t work, because this movement for a ceasefire is much bigger than one person. It’s growing every single day. There are millions of people across our country who oppose Netanyahu’s extremism and are done watching our government support collective punishment and the use of white phosphorus bombs that melt flesh to the bone. They are done watching our government, Mr. Chair, supporting cutting off food, water, electricity and medical care to millions of people with nowhere to go. Like me, Mr. Chair, they don’t believe the answer to war crimes is more war crimes. The refusal of Congress and the administration to acknowledge Palestinian lives is chipping away at my soul. Over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed. Majority — majority were children.

But let me be clear: My criticism has always been of the Israeli government and Netanyahu’s actions. It is important to separate people and governments, Mr. Chair. No government is beyond criticism. The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is antisemitic sets a very dangerous precedent, and it’s being used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation.

Do you realize what it’s like, Mr. Chair, for the people outside the chamber right now listening in agony to their own government dehumanizing them, to hear the president of the United States we helped elect dispute death tolls as we see video after video of dead children and parents under rubble? Mr. Chair, do you know what it’s like to fear rising hate crimes, to know how Islamophobia and antisemitism makes us all less safe, and worry that your own child might suffer the horrors that 6-year-old Wadea did in Illinois? I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable.

AMY GOODMAN: As Congressmember Rashida Tlaib composed herself, her sister congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, put her hand on her shoulder, the only other Muslim woman in Congress.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: We are human beings, just like anyone else. My sity, my grandmother, like all Palestinians, just wants to live her life with freedom and human dignity we all deserve. Speaking up to save lives, Mr. Chair, no matter faith, no matter ethnicity, should not be controversial in this chamber. The cries of the Palestinian and Israeli children sound no different to me. Why — what I don’t understand is why the cries of Palestinians sound different to you all.

We cannot lose our shared humanity, Mr. Chair. I hear the voices of advocates in Israel, in Palestine, across America and around the world for peace. I am inspired by the courageous, the courageous survivors in Israel, who have lost loved ones, yet are calling for a ceasefire and the end to violence. I am grateful to the people in the streets for the peace movement, with countless Jewish Americans across the country standing up and lovingly saying, “Not in our name.”

We will continue to call for a ceasefire, Mr. Chair, for the immediate delivery of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza, for the release of all hostages and those arbitrarily detained, and for every American to come home. We will continue to work for a real lasting peace that upholds human rights and dignity of all people and centers a peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, and censures no one — no one — and ensures that no person, no child has to suffer or live in fear of violence.

Seventy-one percent of Michigan Democrats support a ceasefire. So you can try to censure me, but you can’t silence their voices. I urge my colleagues to join with the majority of Americans and support a ceasefire now to save as many lives as possible. President Biden must listen to and represent all of us, not just some of us. I urge the president to have the courage to call for a ceasefire and the end of killings. Thank you, and I yield.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Detroit Congressmember Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American, speaking on the House floor before the House voted to censure her for her criticism of Israel.

Rashida Tlaib may have been censured by Congress but she is right and has history on her side.  Those who voted to censure her cannot make the same claim.  They do want to silence her.  234 members of the House of Representatives want to censor her, to silence her.  One voice, one Palestinian-American's voice is just one too many for them.  That's why representation matters and Rashida voiced her experience, her lived-experience, and that of many of her constituents.  And even one voice -- just one voice -- telling the truth was too damn much for 234 members of the House of Representatives.  

Palestinian suffering "is 75 years old" and "did not start on October 7," Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Thursday at an international humanitarian conference for Gaza in Paris.  

"We are a victim here... defending oneself doesn't mean occupying someone's land,” Shtayyeh said, adding that “what Israel is doing is not a war against Hamas” but a war against “all Palestinian people.”   

  As most Western leaders stand staunchly with Israel as it wages what many experts have described as a genocidal war on Gaza, a top Cabinet member of a NATO nation on Wednesday implored her government to sanction Israel and call for the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes committed by Israeli forces and Hamas.

"It's time for sanctions against Israel," Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter, a member of the center-left Groen (Green) party, said on social media.

"The rain of bombs is inhumane," she continued. "While war crimes are being committed in Gaza, Israel is ignoring international demands for a cease-fire." 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

As we continue to cover Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, we’re joined by two guests: one, a Holocaust survivor, the other, one of the world’s leading genocide scholars. Omer Bartov is a professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Brown University. He’s the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Genocide, the Holocaust and Israel-Palestine: First-Person History in Times of Crisis. He is an Israeli American scholar who’s been described by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as one of the world’s leading specialists on the subject of genocide. He recently signed an open letter warning of Israel committing a potential genocide in Gaza.

We’re also joined by Marione Ingram. She’s an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who’s been protesting outside the White House calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, longtime activist who was an organizer with SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in the 1960s. She’s the author of The Hands of War: A Tale of Endurance and Hope from a Survivor of the Holocaust and Hands of Peace: A Holocaust Survivor’s Fight for Civil Rights in the American South.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! We’re going to begin with Marione Ingram. Before we talk about the ceasefire in Gaza, I’d like you to respond to the censuring of the only Palestinian American member of Congress, Rashida Tlaib, whose speech we just played.

MARIONE INGRAM: I totally support her comments. And I think it is, on top of that, shameful that her justified defense of human lives is considered antisemitic. It is pro-human beings. I find it horrific that the politicians have the nerve to censure righteous voices for peace and for the lives of Gazans, who are being murdered. It is slaughter that is happening. And Rashida Tlaib is, in my eyes, a hero.

Netanyahu’s government, Israel’s policies for decades has been the suppression of Palestinians, land grabs, deprivation of Palestinians. It is painful for me, as someone who has experienced all of the terrors that Gazans are experiencing, and even the horrific attacks in Israel by Hamas. But Hamas’s attack on Israel does not justify the slaughter of women and children, especially children. I was a child of war. I have experienced all of these things. I have also known for a fact that what Israel is doing will not end this conflict. It will only exacerbate it. It will increase resistance to anything.

I think that Biden needs to defund all of the money that is given to Israel. I think he should not only call for a ceasefire; I think he needs to start thinking about peace. We cannot continue to make wars and then call for ceasefires, only to have wars start again after the ceasefire ends. We’ve experienced this over and over and over again. I am so tired of having to protest everything — wars, gun violence, the war against women. It is ridiculous that we are not able to think clearly.

My husband has an expression, and that is, “all about the Benjis.” I think that the happiest people in the universe must be the manufacturers of armaments, and probably are also complicit in the promotion. The fact that the United States is complicit in this murder of children is, to me, a horrific indictment of inhumanity. And I applaud Rashida Tlaib with all of my heart, with all of my being. I think she’s fantastic. I just wish that there were more voices to join her in the House.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Marione Ingram, I wanted to ask you — you grew up in Hamburg, Germany, in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Could you tell us and to our audience some of your experiences that shaped and determined and made you want to participate in these protests in Washington against the Israeli bombardment and invasion of Gaza?

MARIONE INGRAM: Because I am a Jew, my mother was a Jew, my family was murdered in 1941. My Jewish family was murdered in 1941. Hamburg Jews were sent to Minsk in Belarusia. Upon arrival, they were stripped and then shot and dumped into a mass grave. My grandmother was taken by two Gestapo who came to my mother’s apartment and took her away the night before I turned 6 years old. From about the time I was 3 years old, I was aware that I was the object of hate of the German government, the German country. It was made clear by a playmate who told me that she wouldn’t play with me because I was a dirty Jew pig. I had no idea what she was talking about.

This horrific war against Jews and Germans who protested the Nazi regime progressed. It got worse. My mother had to go to the Gestapo every week. The only reason we were not taken in 1941 was because my mother had married a non-Jew. And this saved us in 1941. But in 1943, the Nazis said that all Jewish spouses were to be exterminated, as well. And in 1943, in the summer of 1943, my mother got our deportation order to Theresienstadt.

My mother tried to commit suicide, in the hopes that my father’s relatives would take in her children, in the hope that she would be able to save her three daughters. She had sent me off to one of the relatives, who was instrumental in helping us. And I had not been allowed to be outside since the Nazis came to power, and it struck me as very odd — I was seven-and-a-half — that she let me take my baby sister to my father’s cousin. And I turned around, and I found my mother with her head in the gas oven, and I pulled her out. And my mother lived and never had another such moment and was horrifically strong.

Right after that, the Allies bombed the city of Hamburg. It was called Operation Gomorrah. The Brits bombed at night. The Americans bombed during the day. It was a 10-day and 10-night uninterrupted bombing. My mother and I were not allowed in a bomb shelter. We were forced to run through flaming streets. The Allies dropped phosphorus, and I saw human beings jumping into the lake, in the canals, and coming up. They were like human candles. Their bodies were in flame. And every time they jumped into the canals and lakes, the flames would be doused, but the minute they came up for air, they would be in flames. As a seven-and-a-half-year-old, I saw more dead bodies burned to a crisp.

Two things: I’m a pacifist, and it is ironic that this horrific revenge attack on civilians — it was entirely targeted on civilians — saved my life, because there were so many burned bodies that could not be identified that I was able to go into — we were able to go into hiding. This was arranged. My father was in the underground. He had managed to arrange for us to be hidden in a sort of exurban farm outside the city of Hamburg by communist underground members. The elderly couple who hid us were not pro-Semitic, but they were virulently anti-Nazi.

And we were in hiding in a tar paper shack, when there were no people around. When there were people around, we had to go hide in an earthen dugout. And on my eighth birthday, on 19th November, 1943, in the earthen dugout, I told my mother that if I lived, I would never, ever be quiet, and that I wanted to become a peacemaker. Well, I’ve never — I’ve kept that promise. I have not been able to figure out how I can get governments to make peace, but I continue to battle on all fronts. I have battled — when I came to America as a 17-year-old, I saw that America was a racist country, and I became active in the civil rights movement. I thought —

AMY GOODMAN: Marione, in Part 2


AMY GOODMAN: — of our conversation, we’re going to talk about your history in the civil rights movement. But just before we go to the Israeli American genocide historian, Omer Bartov, just if you could share a message to the world about what “never again” means to you?

MARIONE INGRAM: To me, it would mean never again to repeat the horrors that we have committed throughout my lifetime, and certainly before that. Nothing has been learned from the atrocities of the mid-20th century, the continued atrocities in Vietnam, Iraq, in Afghanistan.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ve been holding signs of you calling for a ceasefire.

MARIONE INGRAM: Yeah, I want more than that. I want peace. I’m disgusted at the fact that not a single nation, not a single leader has even mentioned that word, as though that is a word of — a dangerous word. There has to be a way of bringing together warring parties. When the Allies attacked Hamburg, Germany, thinking that that would weaken the military conflict, it only strengthened it. What Israel is doing in Gaza, in the West Bank, and has been doing, is only going to strengthen the attack on Israel. You cannot expect that people will be quiet after what we’ve all witnessed. I say stop, stop this madness.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I’d like to bring in professor Omer Bartov, one of the most prominent scholars of Holocaust and genocide studies. Your sense, Professor Bartov, of what Israel is doing right now in Gaza?

OMER BARTOV: Well, good morning, and thank you for having me.

Look, what Israel is doing right now, according to its own political leaders and military commanders, is attempting to destroy Hamas, which is the hegemonic power in Gaza at the moment. And it claims to be doing it, A, as retaliation for the heinous attack on October 7th, where over a thousand civilians were butchered and 240 people were kidnapped and are still kept in Gaza. But it claims to be doing it also because it feels that without doing that, it would be permanently under threat from that organization. So, that’s its own position.

The problem with this position is not only is there massive and excessive and disproportionate killing of civilians, of Palestinian civilians, in Gaza during this operation, but also that it doesn’t have any clear political horizon. It is not clear what the day after would look like. And the reason the Israeli government does not want to talk about that is that it does not want to have any sort of compromise with the Palestinians. And that has been the policy of the Netanyahu administration, or many administrations, for decades now.

And Netanyahu actually kept Hamas quite strong and kept the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank quite weak, so that he could say that he could not find any representative of the Palestinians who would be willing to sit down and find a compromise, while at the same time he was busy — he and, of course, the settlers, who are now heavily represented in his government, could keep settling in the West Bank. So, the larger context of this is that the refusal of the Israeli government to find any kind of compromise with the Palestinians, and, frankly, the indifference of the large part, the majority of the Israeli population to the occupation, is what led and keeps leading to this ongoing and increasingly violent confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Omer Bartov, we’re going to continue with Part 2 of our conversation and post it at, Brown University professor of Holocaust and genocide studies, called by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum one of the world’s leading specialists on the subject of genocide. And Marione Ingram, 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, about to turn 88. We thank you for sharing your experience. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk declared Wednesday that "the collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts... to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians."

Israel's monthlong war on Gaza has killed over 10,500 Palestinians, wounded thousands more, displaced 70% of the strip's 2.3 million residents, and decimated civilian infrastructure, including homes, religious buildings, and hospitals.

Türk's comments came after he visited the Rafah border crossing that connects Egypt to Gaza, which he described as "the gates to a living nightmare—a nightmare where people have been suffocating, under persistent bombardment, mourning their families, struggling for water, for food, for electricity and fuel." 

The following sites updated: