Sunday, May 19, 2024

Joe Biden underwhelms at Morehouse

Katie Hawkinson and Andrea Cavallier (INDEPENDENT) report:

Jerry Seinfeld has been disrupted on stage by pro-Gazaprotesters for a second time, with a heckler yelling out during his stand-up gig comedy show in Norfolk, New Jersey, on Saturday night.

[. . .]

Earlier this month, dozens of students walked out as the comedian delivered the commencement speech at Duke University.

Videos show students leaving the stadium in North Carolina to protest Israel’s war in Gaza at the same moment that Duke President Vincent Price introduces Seinfeld.

Poor Jerry Seinfeld, he has not been socially significant since 1998.  And no big paychecks will be forthcoming from NETFLIX now that the breakfast pastry movie has proven so unpopular.  People loved I LOVE LUCY, THE LUCY SHOW, HERE'S LUCY and Lucille Ball.  But 12 years later, she tries to return with LIFE WITH LUCY and the country has moved on.  It's 26 years later since Jerry had a hit TV show.  Someone should have clued him in. 

Poor Jerry Seinfeld, just another relic from out pop culture past.  In New Zealand,  another celebrity, Will Alexander, is in the news:

In a video posted online on Sunday, Alexander, who appeared in 36 episodes of the New Zealand soap, said his move had come as he didn't "know how to live in a world in which children are killed in such horrific numbers and so blatantly against international law with the active support of the New Zealand government."

Alexander said in a statement accompanying the video that at yesterday's Christchurch rally in support of Palestine, he started his hunger strike and vowed to continue until the government met three demands. 

"I am now in my second day of this zero calorie hunger strike and have no intention of stopping until my demands are met," he said.

Others, many others, are taking action as well.  At COMMON DREAMS, Julia Conley reports:

As one United Nations official on Saturday said that "brand new words" are needed to adequately describe the devastation Israel has wrought across Gaza in its U.S.-backed military assault, tens of thousands of people across the globe marched in solidarity with Palestinians to demand an end to the "ongoing Nakba."

The marches were held to honor Nakba Day, which was marked on May 15—the 76th anniversary of the mass displacement of 700,000 Palestinians who were forced from their homes when Israel declared statehood in 1948. The protesters demanded a cease-fire in Gaza, where Israeli forces have killed at least 35,456 people since October, the majority of them women and children.

 Protesters in London carried signs reading, "Solidarity is a verb," and "The Nakba never ended" as they marched through Whitehall, close to the home and office of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza, who covered the first months of Israel's bombardment and evacuated Gaza in January, joined the marchers and told the crowd that mass protests around the world have given Palestinians hope.

"I didn't believe that I would stay alive to stand here in London today in front of the people, who saw me there under the bombing," said Azaiza. "Occupation is using all the weapons against us, the bombs, the killing, the starvation, the apartheid in the West Bank, and now killing the people and forcing them to leave their lands... I did my best to show you, and I believe you will do more, we all together will do more to stop this genocide."

In Dublin, Ireland, where politicians have harshly criticized Israel and its supporters for the assault on Gaza and the near-total blockade on humanitarian aid that has pushed parts of the enclave into famine, more than 100 civil society groups supported a march organized by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Irish Palestinian Zak Hania, a researcher and translator who was trapped in Gaza until earlier this month when he was finally granted permission by Egyptian and Israeli authorities to leave, thanked the crowd for choosing "to stand with justice and to stand with an oppressed people."

"I am proud to be an Irish Palestinian," said Hania. "I am proud to see all of you. It is part of my healing... We inherited a dream from our parents. We are trying for all our lives to fulfill our dreams and our parents' dreams. My parents are dead, but I will work to fulfill their dreams. Their dream is to have a free Palestine."

Other protests included a rally outside the German embassy in Bangkok, a march of about 400 people in Washington, D.C., and a demonstration in Brooklyn where police violently arrested at least 34 people, according to The New York Times. 


Thousands of Moroccans demonstrated on Sunday in Casablanca in support of the Palestinian people and against ties with Israel, more than seven months into the Gaza war.

Protesters in Morocco's commercial capital chanted “Freedom for Palestine”, “If we don't speak out, who will?” and “No to normalisation”.

Many wore keffiyeh scarves and waved Palestinian flags.

On the London protest, Chris Mardsen (WSWS) reports:

London again saw a massive solidarity march in opposition to Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Saturday’s march marked the 76th anniversary of the Nakba, the brutal ethnic cleansing of three quarters of a million Palestinians from the newly founded state of Israel. A leaflet issued by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), “Ending second Nakba means mobilising workers against the Tories and Labour!” explained:

“The mass expulsion was achieved through systematic terror involving at least 31 massacres. Those Palestinians driven out, along with their descendants, were banned from returning to Israel and their homes and property seized.

“Today a second Nakba is being carried out by Israel, with yet more destructive weapons of mass murder and terror—aimed at the ethnic cleansing of Gaza, to be followed by the West Bank. And the horrors have vastly multiplied, with 800,000 trapped in Rafah and half a million forced to flee back to the ruined land they so recently left behind. The toll of more than 35,000 killed and 80,000 wounded grows by the day.”

Leading the demonstration were Palestinians holding keys as a symbol of intent to return to their stolen land. The protest included a large contingent of students involved in some of the 25 campus occupations taking place nationally. There was a confrontation at Piccadilly Circus with a group of Zionists, waving Israeli flags and seeking to block the route of the march, with demonstrators chanting “Shame” including Jews marching in defence of the Palestinians.

The UK SOCIALIST WORKER, Sophie Squire notes:

The familiar sound of the popular Ana Dammi Falastini (My Blood is Palestinian), by Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf, rang through the air. There are banners everywhere people have made to remember 76 years since the Nakba.

Many of the banners had been reused on previous demonstrations, a sign of how people are coming back and marching time and time again. Parents pushing buggies lined the road. Despite the noise, some of the younger demonstrators had managed to fall asleep. 

At Piccadilly Circus, the marchers found that Zionists were trying to block their way. The rabble completely failed in their objectives as they were outnumbered by pro-Palestine demonstrators.

Protesters raged against the pro-Israel mob, chanting, “Shame, shame”. The loudest and angriest among them were Muslim women.

The students who had joined the demonstration from the encampments were one of the liveliest sections of the demonstration. Most had brought their banners they had made in their camps. Textile students at UAL had made an embroidered banner in their occupation. 

Saturday’s demonstration was defiant, furious, and revealed the breadth and diversity of the movement. 

Today, US President Joe Biden spoke at Morehouse College.  CNN has video hereREUTERS notes, "Some students wore keffiyehs -- the black-and-white head scarf that has become an emblem of solidarity with the Palestinian cause --  around their gowns. A handful of students turned their backs to Biden in silent protest. Morehouse's valedictorian also called for a permanent and immediate ceasefire, garnering Biden’s applause."  John Bowden (THE INDEPENDENT) adds, "When he began speaking, one student held up a Palestinian flag and a handful turned their chairs away from him.  One faculty member was seen turning her back to him and raising a fist, while standing in silent protest."  POLITICO notes, "Some walked out when Biden was presented with an honorary degree. Many kept their heads down as he spoke and declined to stand or applaud."  NDTV reminds, "A number of Morehouse students had called for Biden's speech to be canceled over the Gaza war but the ceremony went ahead without disruption."

Meanwhile Lorenzo Tondo (GUARDIAN) reports:

The United Nations’ humanitarian chief has warned of “apocalyptic” consequences due to aid shortages in Gaza, where Israel’s military offensive in the southern city of Rafah has blocked desperately needed food.

“If fuel runs out, aid doesn’t get to the people where they need it. That famine, which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming any more. It will be present,” the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, told AFP on the sidelines of meetings with Qatari officials in Doha.

“And I think our worry, as citizens of the international community, is that the consequence is going to be really, really hard. Hard, difficult, and apocalyptic.”

Griffith said 50 trucks of aid a day could reach the hardest-hit people north of Gaza through the reopened Erez crossing on the northern frontier. However, he added, the battles near the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings in Gaza’s south meant the vital routes were effectively blocked.

This is as ALJAZEERA reports, "Fierce fighting continues in northern Gaza, with Israeli jet, helicopter and artillery attacks reported on the Jabalia refugee camp as Doctors Without Borders reported that the besieged al-Awda Hospital in the area has completely run out of drinking water."  THE NATIONAL notes, "An Israeli air strike on Gaza's central Nuseirat refugee camp killed at least 31 people, Gaza authorities said on Sunday, revising an earlier death toll of 20.  Twenty were wounded in the strike on the Hassan family home, Mahmoud Bassal of Gaza's civil defence told reporters."

Gaza remains under assault. Day 226 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said on Sunday that at least 35,456 people have been killed there in more than seven months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.  The toll includes 70 deaths over the past 24 hours, the ministry said, adding that 79,476 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began."  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


On bodies trapped under rubble, ALJAZEERA notes this morning:

We’re talking about a three-storey building that housed not only residents but also dozens of other displaced Palestinians in Rafah that made it to Nuseirat three days ago.

I met the neighbours. I met the family. I met one of the relatives of people still trapped under the rubble earlier today. They were telling me heartbreaking things.

Imagine escaping the air strikes in Rafah, looking for a safe space but being killed after three days of evacuating – not only being killed but being trapped where the Civil Defence teams do not have any equipment to remove or pull these people from under the rubble.

I saw Civil Defence teams doing their best to pull people from under the rubble. They were digging with their bare hands, with very basic tools. This was not the first time we have seen this scene. We have been seeing this for more than seven months now.

Unfortunately, it may come to a point where the Civil Defence teams will give up on this house because there are more people being targeted every single hour across the Gaza Strip.

April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

 The following sites updated: