Saturday, May 04, 2024

Gaza: The silencing of the protesters is the silencing of the killing taking place in Gaza

Never was Jonah Platt took to FOX "NEWS" to prove that, career or no career, he does exist.  Lacking the charisma and talent of his young brother Ben Platt, Jonah decided the fright-wing is probably his only chance at 'stardom' now -- years of bit parts led nowhere.  So he decides to trash those speaking out against the actions -- the War Crimes, let's be honest -- of the Israeli government and call them "antisemitic."  Because that is all that crowd has.  

What?  You expect them to own up to the Israeli government killing children?  Over 14,000 killed in the last six months?

No, no, no.

It's much easier for them to just to scream ANTISEMITIC!  over and over and hope that stops the discussion.

It's not going to.

But keep trying, Jonah, and keep trying to lift yourself to something higher -- maybe you can become a D-list level celebrity?  Or you could become the face of erectile dysfunction!  There are still opportunities for you.  Not good ones but there's something out there for a man of your age with such minimal talents. 

Sadly, it's not just acting failures that attack those speaking out.  It's also some on the left.

I knew the e-mails would come in.  You need to go to the video you're complaining about.  

I don't blame you for being upset.  I was ticked off too.  I watched it live.  The overall video is fine but what you're objecting to?  Not only do I agree with you, I left a comment when it was being broadcast live:

Student protests in the US -- which have inspired others in Australia and France -- are not taking attention away from the slaughter in Gaza. Lolo's statement is not only uninformed, it's very disappointing.

The hosts left this reply to me:

Respectfully, I think you may have misunderstood what he was trying to say. He was saying that the way the college administrations and US media is treating the protestors is so horrendous that it’s the focus of the media and peoples discussions rather than what they’re protesting itself—the genocide. He’s full throatily in support of the student protests and has attended several to show solidarity. 

I understand what they're saying in their comment right above.  I get it.  I disagree with it.  I don't think they understand what I'm saying. 

Now I left the comment so that I could post the show at this site and when people complained -- as I knew they would -- I could say, "Already touched on it."

And I did.

As for their reply?  They don't understand the media.

I can't go into it here because we're addressing it at THIRD.  He said what he said -- the male host.  I've got 73 e-mails objecting to what he said -- and objecting to me posting the video here -- in the community e-mail account -- I haven't gone into the public e-mail account ( because community members are in uproar over that video, over what the male host said and at me for posting it here.

They don't understand how the US media works.

That's reality.  Sam Seder does.  And we may include that in the piece that Ava and I are going to write in a few hours for Third.

It's going to deal with the media as usual, that is our beat.  It's going to deal with Chris Hedges -- word of warning,, stop defending him.  It's exactly what Ava and I said it was in Friday night's POLLY'S BREW.  And we noted, we were guessing.  We noted based on what was said by Chris in his Tweet and his history that he was fired for just cause.  Turns out he was.

He's not a victim.

We explained in that piece how non-profit status works.  

And yet there's this huge myth of THE REAL NEWS NETWORK doing him bad.  

For the record, I loathe TRNN.  I always have.  That's when Gore Vidal was alive.  I knew Gore very well.  He thought the world of Paul Jay.  I couldn't stand him.  We've mocked TRNN for decades -- here and at THIRD.  It has always been a joke.  We did repost a few programs from it -- Chris Hedges' programs.  Otherwise we ignored them because they are a useless network.

But we all need to get honest and be honest.

And it's just not happening.

Again, we have marked that off for a piece we're doing at THIRD.  We'll fold the media issue involving the students.  

And, with all due respect, I know what the co-host said,, I heard him say it.  Your reply to my comment only made me more correct.  

You don't understand how the media works.  You are also acting as though what's happening to the protesters does not matter.  It matters to the extreme.

And it matters to American voters more than anything.  This is an election year.

Every day, I bite my tongue to avoid handing the election to Donald Trump by pointing out X.  The GOP is too damn stupid to get to X.  I thought they were going to bring up X back in March.  They still can't pick up on X.  X is a topic that destroys the election for Joe.  It's out there.  All they have to is highlight it.  But they don't because they're too damn stupid to see it.

And every day Joe Biden pisses me off -- lately with his attacks on protesters -- making me want to respond, "Oh, do we want to talk about jobs and job duties because how the hell do you claim to be doing your job when X is taking place."

Everyone -- even the GOP -- has indulged and spared Joe.

I don't spare him on any other issue than X.    I call him out on every other issue -- including his attacks on the students. Including his support for the continued assault on Gaza.

[Added: X is one specific issue.  I'm not naming it because once it's named it's a noose around Joe's neck.  He's very lucky no one else is picking up on it and harping on it.  Not even ABC.  But it's the only issue I'm giving him a pass on. And I noted that here when I thought the GOP had finally discovered it two months ago.]

And that's what people do and that's what outlets do as well.

Here and at THIRD?

I have been very clear that I do not want to call out Chris Hayes.  I have noted time and again that I reached out to various people at various outlets ahead of Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier action in March of 2008.  I begged, I pleaded.  Matthew Rothschild, then in charge of THE PROGRESSIVE, swore he'd get the word out.  Swore.  And did nothing until after the hearing.  That was true of all the 'independent' media types.  The only exception was Chris who kept his word.  Many people in corporate media kept their word and did give a heads up to it or highlight it while it was going on.  But the only one in little media -- Chris was at THE NATION back then and not on TV -- was Chris.

IVAW was doing a brave and important action, they were truth telling to the American people about what actually was going on in Iraq.

So Chris Hayes is off limits with me.  For the most part.  He did something that was so conflicted that Ava and I had to call him out on it (he can't -- though he did -- weigh in on Obama actions that his wife was part of without disclosing her role in the administration and her role in the action he was defending). 

But now we're getting into the issue for THIRD and I'll just have to stop here.  

The students are raising awareness and are showing a way to take a stand and be heard.  In response, the government is cracking down on them.

So sorry, but as a domestic issue?  That actually trumps what's going on in Gaza.

I would love for US voters to vote internationally.  That rarely happens.  When we're young we think people always vote their ideals.  Turns out, that's not even true when you get into the weeds on voting.  

If a US president is attacking and trashing American college students, that is a voting issue.  Jacob Knutson (AXIOS) reports:

Student journalists covering protests over the Israel-Hamas war at college campuses across the country have been impeded, threatened, arrested and assaulted.

Why it matters: With outside media access limited, their work has illuminated the events reminiscent of college protests against the Vietnam War and divestment demonstrations against South Africa's apartheid system.

  • The Pulitzer Prize Board, which is housed at Columbia University, praised the work of student journalists in a statement this week, recognized student journalists' tireless work "in the face of great personal and academic risk."
  • The Student Press Law Center, which praised the work being done, urged student journalists facing barriers in their reporting to contact its legal hotline.
  • Ireland Blouin, associate managing editor at The Daily Texan, told Axios the newspaper's reporters have had unique access to other students, even those with reservations about media coverage on the protests.
  • "Although we are journalists, [protesters] have been more willing to speak with us," Blouin said. "And we've been grateful for that because not all news outlets are able to get that right now."

The Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement this week:

With tensions over pro-Palestinian protests escalating on college campuses across the United States, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on university authorities and law enforcement agencies to allow reporters to freely cover the demonstrations.

“Journalists – including student journalists who have been thrust into a national spotlight to cover stories in their communities — must be allowed to cover campus protests without fearing for their safety,” said CPJ U.S., Canada and Caribbean Program Coordinator Katherine Jacobsen on Wednesday. “Any efforts by authorities to stop them doing their jobs have far-reaching repercussions on the public’s ability to be informed about current events.”

Since the Israel-Gaza war began on October 7, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker – a CPJ partner – has documented at least 13 arrests or detentions and at least 11 assaults of journalists covering protests related to the conflict. 

Those arrested include FOX 7 reporter Carlos Sanchez, who was shoved to the ground on April 24 while covering a protest at the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently facing two misdemeanor charges.

Silencing of dissent is always an issue.  Brett Wilkins (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

  As U.S. Republicans push for the deployment of National Guard troops to quell nationwide student demonstrations against the Gaza genocide, progressive lawmakers marked the anniversary of the 1970 Kent State Massacre by condemning police repression of peaceful protesters and reaffirming the power of dissent.

"On the 54th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre, students across our country are being brutalized for standing up to endless war," Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said on social media. "Our country must learn to actually uphold the rights of free speech and assembly upon which it was founded."

Fellow "Squad" member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said that "54 years ago, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students at Kent State."

"Students have a right to speak out, organize, and protest systemic wrongs," she added. "We can't silence those expressing dissent, no matter how uncomfortable their protests may be to those in power."

Don't come to me with 'what he meant was' -- I don't give two s**ts what he meant.  I know what he said.  And what he said was wrong.  SILENCING POLITICAL DISSENT: HOW POST-SEPTEMBER 11 ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURES THREATEN OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES by Nancy Chang, read it. Read Heidi Boghosian's SPYING ON DEMOCRACY: GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE, CORPORATE POWER AND PUBLIC RESISTANCE.

COMMON DREAMS had an article in the last ten days -- probably seven days ago -- by some weirdo saying that the protests were getting coverage and it was a distraction and wah-wah-wah.  

No, it's a story -- it's a major news story.  

Anyway, I'm not in the mood.

To community members complaining that the video got posted -- see the comment that the hosts left and grasp that they didn't (and don't) think that what was being heard was being said.  Also note that Ava and I will carry it over to THIRD.  Ask yourself if you're able to let that one comment not overwhelm the rest of the video?  For me, that comment deserved objection (which I made) but the overall discussion deserved highlighting.  Think back on the Tavis video that I didn't highlight.  The Columnist was lying and spinning and whoring.  Tavis didn't sit there passive.  Tavis disagreed with him.  And between that and Janine Jackson's comments, the video might have been worth highlighting.  But in the end, I made the decision that it wasn't worth highlighting and that I was never going to do anything to advance the name of that columnist.  His name will never appear here unless he dies while this site is still active.  If that happens, I will reveal everything, every tearful whine I had to hear from that columnist when he felt bad about whoring for the Iraq War.  

In the case of Olay, I think she's an important voice and one that we need to highlight and amplify.  She did not make the comment, her co-host did.

I made the call that the overall video was worth highlighting.  I may have been wrong and I'll continue to read e-mails from community members this weekend on the topic. 

Let's move on. 

Dozens of people came out to protest in Boise on Friday night and into Saturday calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza. 
The demonstrations come amid growing anti-war protests and as students nationwide form encampments on college campuses to call for their universities to divest from companies with links to Israel. 
The protest in Boise began Friday night at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, where protesters left flowers to “honor victims of genocide everywhere,” Boise to Palestine, a group that says it is seeking the liberation of Palestine, wrote on its Instagram. Demonstrators then marched downtown and set up an encampment near the Capitol. Many remained at the site overnight, though protesters said police removed tents early Saturday. Idaho State Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Workers protesting led to the actors and writers showing a backbone when it came time for their own protest.  This is what happens.  We see others utilizing their rights and we realize we can do it too.  That's why they want to shut down this story -- the government and big media.

They protested in Maine.  Portland, Maine.  You know the video about to put in here.  Even trying to hurry with this entry, I have to stop to include the video.

Strange times in Portland, MaineLobsters dancing on the dockSwitzerland's been weird since they unplugged the clocksMan and a woman living in Brooklyn HeightsEach convinced that the other is in the wrongLast year the divorce rate tripled in Hong KongIf through all the madnessWe can stick togetherWe're safe and soundThe world's just inside out and upside down

--  "Safe & Sound," written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman, first appears on Carly's HOT CAKES.

The students have been under attack from the White House and the media and right-wing thugs.  Lorraine Ali (LOS ANGELES TIMES) notes:

Bill Maher on his HBO talk show this week said that pro-Palestinian student protests on college campuses are what happens when “activism merges with narcissism.”

The Atlantic columnist David Frum referred to protesters like the UCLA students who were violently attacked Wednesday by a mob of counterprotesters as “banana-allergy revolutionaries.”

During Tuesday night’s tactical police response to Columbia University students' taking over a building on campus, author Judith Miller tweeted: “Hey Columbia protesters! If you’re so proud of what you’re doing, why are you covering your faces?”

Mocking student protesters has become a fun and easy pastime since they began marching and camping out in opposition to Israel’s ongoing military incursions in Gaza following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in Israel. All critics and jeering old folks need is a platform (cable TV, Instagram, a tattered soap box) to discredit the movement as the performative act of feckless snowflakes and spoiled children.

The protective gear of the “gluten-free warriors” is a form of dress-up. Their safety measures — encampment barricades and self-manned medical tents — are seen as ploys for attention. They’re called cowards for covering their faces with masks and goggles.

But these actions weren’t just for show. UCLA's pro-Palestinian demonstrators did need to shield and defend themselves when a violent mob of pro-Israeli counterprotesters attacked their encampment.

Video shot by The Times, other media outlets and witnesses at the scene show counterdemonstrators in black attire and white masks ripping down barricades, beating people with batons and poles and screaming racial epithets. Campers were dragged, kicked and pummeled by the predominantly male mob Tuesday night and Wednesday morning while police and campus security stood by for three hours before responding.

Law enforcement eventually cleared the counterprotesters, who reportedly included non-student organizations. No arrests were made.

At UCLA, the students were attacked by thugs, pro-genocide thugs.  And the campus safety officers and the police officers did nothing.  Nothing.  At Columbia, the police officers were the thugs doing the attacking.  This is the opening to Isabella Ramirez and Esha Karam's report for THE COLUMBIA SPECTATOR:

Moments before the New York Police Department swarmed our campus in riot gear for the second time in two weeks, we stood in front of Hamilton Hall—renamed Hind’s Hall by protesters—bracing for arrests.

The night prior, Spectator reporters and editors had stayed up all night to break the news that dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters had occupied Hamilton. Unlike most nights, we had left our office early, in anticipation of the escalation. Near a bench to the left of Low Plaza, one of our editors briefed a handful of younger reporters on what to do if they were arrested; photographers passed around a sharpie to write our phone numbers on their arms, and we collected a list of staffers’ emergency contacts.

Throughout the night, reporters ran back and forth between Hamilton and Butler Library, switching off between writing and gathering information in shifts as we live-updated our article until nearly 6:30 a.m. The two of us eventually went home as others slept on hard tables under the fluorescent lights of Butler that night, if they even slept at all. Then, at around 6:23 a.m., the Emergency Management Operations Team announced a complete lockdown of our campus, effectively trapping our reporters still stuck in Butler inside—and the two of us and countless other journalists outside.

We scrambled to contact Columbia’s Office of Public Affairs to grant four of us access to campus despite the security crackdown. A spokesperson first told us they couldn’t let all of us in, asking us to pick a smaller crew. After we insisted on the importance of having senior reporters and editors on the ground—emphasizing it would be negligent for the University to restrict campus access to student journalists at this time—all four of us were escorted in.

But this initial hesitance from Columbia to allow reporters onto campus amid a crisis was only the beginning of a day marked by suppression of free press unlike anything we’ve ever seen during our time on Spectator.

From the first-floor lounge of John Jay Hall—where we had moved after the University closed Butler unannounced—we tried to calculate the University’s next move. We covered a relatively quiet morning in front of Hamilton, a rally on 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and several press conferences. While the NYPD said it was in “constant dialogue” with Columbia officials, Mayor Eric Adams confirmed around 6 p.m. that the department had not received authorization from University President Minouche Shafik—yet. But as hundreds of police encircled our campus Tuesday evening, breaking down the barricades blocking our gates, we knew it was any minute before they’d breach our campus again.



During news conference hours later, New York Mayor Eric Adams said there were no incidents of violence. This is an abhorrent lie. Later on Wednesday, in an email sent to the entire university community, Columbia President Minouche Shafik thanked the NYPD for their “professionalism.” This supposed professionalism is also a lie.  

What is nonviolent and professional about seizing a compliant 120-pound student with her hands up and slamming her to the concrete ground? What is nonviolent and professional about brutalizing students? What is professional about removing a woman’s hijab during police bookings and refusing to return it – yet offering me, a non-Muslim, my vest because the jail cell was cold? What is professional about forcing women to expose their genitalia to male officers in order to use the toilet because we “trespassed” on our own university?

We sang “Like a tree planted by the waters, we shall not be moved” as our bodies were seized – but we would not be moved. 


Where the encampment once stood, there were only marks of discoloured grass in the shape of rectangular tent bases.

But the movement seems anything but a ghost; on Wednesday, protesters hosted a “light show” beside the campus, projecting titles onto the public-facing side of Hamilton Hall that read “Hind’s Hall forever.”

Every year, on the eve of exams, students gather to let out what is known as a “primal scream” on campus. On Thursday, they took that tradition to Shafik’s house, shouting outside her door.

On Friday, protesters again lined the street outside of Columbia’s gate. And the words still rang through the neighbourhood: “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.”


As the genocide in Gaza continues, the student protest movement here in the U.S. keeps growing. The Associated Press reports nearly 2,200 people have now been arrested nationwide across college and university campuses. President Biden addressed the protests on Thursday.

President Joe Biden: “Dissent is essential to democracy, but dissent must never lead to disorder or to denying the rights of others so students can finish the semester and their college education. Look, it’s basically a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of what’s right. There’s the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos.”

Biden also said the historic student uprising will not affect U.S. policy in the Middle East.

On Thursday, police arrested students at Portland State University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and SUNY’s Purchase and New Paltz campuses. Meanwhile, new solidarity encampments went up in recent days at the University of Washington and the University of Toronto, among others.
Video of Dartmouth College history professor Annelise Orleck being violently arrested on Wednesday night has prompted outrage. Orleck, who is also chair of Jewish studies at Dartmouth, was trying to protect students along with other faculty members as they were attacked by police. Police made over 90 arrests that night.

Here in New York, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office says it is investigating after a police officer fired a gunshot on the Columbia campus while the NYPD was forcing out protesters on Tuesday. No one was harmed in the shooting.

Students at Rutgers University in New Jersey and the University of Minnesota have voluntarily disassembled their encampments after school leadership agreed to some of their demands and to continue conversations with the protesters.

The protests continue across the country.  Cole Krutzfield (KCRG) reports,  "A second day of protests on the Pentacrest at the University of Iowa over the war in Gaza took place on Saturday.  The protest marked day two of a planned three-day event. At around 1:30 p.m., roughly 30 people were in attendance. The Iowa City chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine is helping organize the demonstration. Groups like the Jewish Voice for Peace and Iowans For Palestine are also involved in the protest."  Austin's WVLT files a video report today about how protests continue at UT (University of Texas in Austin).  Philip Macelo and Denise Lavoie (AP) report that today saw 25 students arrested on the University of Virginia campus, "In Virginia, student demonstrators began their protest on a lawn outside the school chapel Tuesday. On Saturday, video from WVAW-TV showed police wearing heavy gear and holding shields lined up on the campus in Charlottesville. Protesters chanted 'Free Palestine,' and university police said on the social platform X that an “unlawful assembly” had been declared in the area."  REUTERS adds, "Dozens of people were arrested for criminal trespass outside the Art Institute of Chicago at a demonstration on Saturday after the institute called in police to remove protesters it said were illegally occupying its property, the Chicago Police Department said on X.
Elsewhere, confrontations did not escalate into arrests. In Ann Arbor, pro-Palestinian protesters briefly disrupted a commencement ceremony at the University of Michigan."  NDTV notes that the US campus protests have spread across the globe.  Ashitha Nagesh (BBC NEWS) reports:

Here in Newcastle, about 40 students have set up camp on the university’s quadrangle, with tents for sleeping, a makeshift first-aid centre, and tables for all the snacks donated by supporters - including crisps, water, and a Colin the Caterpillar cake.

Students themselves do coursework or exam revision on the grass, or slip off for seminars and lectures, as they would if it were student halls. Several staff members come in to show their support and drop off donations of snacks. All of those I speak to tell me they feel “proud” to see their students taking part. 
In Ireland?  Alex Payne (UNIVERSITY TIMES) reports:

Trinity’s campus is currently closed to the public. Only those with a valid student ID card are currently allowed to enter. On Trinity’s official Instagram account, a story uploaded last night stated: “A student TCD BDS encampment is in place in Trinity. Trinity supports students’ right to protest within the rules of the university.”

“To ensure that the protest is as safe as possible for all, access to campus is restricted to students, staff & residents with college ID cards only. We will keep you updated.”

Multiple protesters have spoken to The University Times on the condition of anonymity. They say they want to remain anonymous because of the potential risks faced by those identified, such as potential suspension, expulsion and/or fines.

One protester revealed that the encampment was due to begin on the morning of Saturday May 4th, but that “due to hearing that college were not allowing some members of the public in last night” members of TCD BDS rallied at short notice to begin the encampment that night.

One protester described the encampment as “an inevitable escalation”. TCD BDS have previously taken disruptive action in Blockading the Book of Kells exhibition and protesting senior administration meetings.

Another protester described a “nervous” energy in the group when the encampment was beginning. They revealed that they had had some interaction with security, but that this amounted to no more than their presence. As of yet, no protesters have said they have been asked to reveal their identities by campus security.

Back to the US, Ralph Nader (COMMON DREAMS) advises:

At many college campuses, students are protesting in opposition to the Biden Administration’s unconditional backing, with weapons and diplomatic cover, of Netanyahu’s continuing serial war crimes slaughtering tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, most of them children and women. Hundreds of faculty members are defending these valiant youngsters and criticizing excessively harsh crackdowns by failed University presidents who are calling in outside police.

With graduations approaching, pro-Netanyahu lobbies and cowed University heads (like Columbia University President Minouche Shafik, who makes a salary of over $2,000 an hour) expect the students to disperse from campus for the summer and end their demonstrations.

The Israeli genocidal crimes against Gazans will continue and intensify if Israel invades Rafah. Millions of refugees will suffer. What will become of the organized student calls for a permanent ceasefire, greatly increased humanitarian aid and cessation of U.S. weapons shipments? The students who leave their campus protests can and should focus on members of Congress in their Districts and in Washington.

In two weeks, hundreds of Congressional summer student interns will begin arriving to work in Congressional offices. Congress is the decades-long reservoir for Israeli colonial aggression. Moreover, Congress, under AIPAC’s extraordinary pressure, has blocked testimony by prominent Israeli and Palestinian peace advocates since 1948. Not once have any of these peace advocates, many of whom are Israeli retired cabinet ministers, mayors, security and military leaders been invited to a Congressional Committee Hearing.

This power center for the U.S. Empire – Capitol Hill – presents serious students with an opportunity to educate their elders. Such an opportunity materialized during the Vietnam War when Congressional interns in the late 1960s organized a highly visible petition drive and engaged in peaceful protests.

Back in the Congressional Districts, the access is easier and available to many more students and faculty. Because Congress is in “recess” for much of the summer – Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and the entire month of August to Labor Day – students and citizens can demand public meetings preceded by formal summons to Senators and Representatives. (See my column “Sending Citizens Summons to Members of Congress”).

Tonight's THE NEWSHOUR (PBS) noted, "In our news wrap Saturday, the head of the UN’s World Food Program said there is “full-blown famine” in northern Gaza and it is spreading south."  The official is Cindy McCain.  Clarissa-Jan Lim (NBC NEWS) reports:

“Full-blown famine” is present in the northern part of Gaza and is spreading south, said Cindy McCain, the executive director of the World Food Programme.

“What I can explain to you is that there is famine — full-blown famine — in the north, and it’s moving its way south,” McCain told NBC’s Kristen Welker in an interview to air on Sunday.

McCain’s comments are not an official declaration of famine, which must meet certain criteria, but she said it’s based on what WFP employees have seen and experienced in Gaza.

“It’s horror,” she added.

Israel has inflicted staggering levels of destruction and suffering on Gaza in its retaliatory assault after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which killed 1,200 people. The IDF’s relentless bombing campaign has destroyed Gaza’s agricultural lands, critical infrastructure and large swaths of housing. More than 34,000 people in Gaza have been killed, the majority of them women and children, and over 10,000 more are believed to be buried under the rubble.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement this week that it could take up to three years to retrieve the bodies with the tools on hand.

As people in Gaza starve, Israeli officials have continued to restrict humanitarian aid shipments and to subject deliveries to excessive waits at checkpoints. Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, has accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

ALJAZEERA adds, "The UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification has previously warned that more than 70 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million population is facing “catastrophic hunger” any time between mid-March and May."

Gaza remains under assault. Day 211 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 death toll in Gaza has increased to 34,654, the enclave's Health Ministry said on Saturday.  It added in a statement that 77,908 had been injured since the war began on October 7. More than 32 were killed and 41 injured in the previous 24 hours, the ministry said."   Months ago,  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:


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 Gaza Health Ministry has called on the International Criminal Court and The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory to open an investigation into the death of a senior Palestinian doctor in an Israeli prison after more than four months of detention.

On Saturday, the ministry also called for an investigation into the killing of 491 medical staff in Gaza.

Dr Adnan Al Barsh died at the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank last month, the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Committee and the Palestinian Prisoners Club said in a joint statement on Thursday. 

The two associations called his death an "assassination" and said his body remained in Israeli custody.

Exclusive footage obtained by Al Jazeera Arabic shows several Palestinian men wailing as they retrieved the remains of several people killed in an Israeli attack on the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City.

Our colleagues at AJA report that a mother and her two children were killed in the attack. Witnesses said the bomb hit while she was preparing a meal for her family.

The identities of the victims were not immediately known.

[Translation: A mother and her two children were killed in an Israeli bombing on the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City.]

The following sites updated:

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    Congresswoman Bush Joins Jayapal, Dean, and 50+ Lawmakers Call on Administration to Help Prevent Assault on Rafah

     May 03, 2024

    Congresswoman Bush Joins Jayapal, Dean, and 50+ Lawmakers Call on Administration to Help Prevent Assault on Rafah

    Washington, D.C. (May 3, 2024) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) joined Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04) and 54 additional lawmakers in calling on the Biden Administration to use all tools possible to dissuade the Israeli government from moving forward with an offensive invasion into Rafah. 

    “We write with urgency to say: an offensive invasion into Rafah by Israel in the upcoming days is wholly unacceptable,” wrote the Members. “Despite […] dire circumstances, the Israeli government is reportedly on the verge of a full-scale offensive on Rafah. An Israeli offensive in Rafah risks the start of yet another escalatory spiral, immediately putting the region back on the brink of a broader war that neither Israel nor the United States can afford.”

    Before the horrific October 7th attack by Hamas on Israel, 280,000 Palestinians lived in Rafah. Now roughly 1.4 million people are sheltering in Rafah after being displaced. This dire humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by hindered access to food, water, and medicine in the Gaza Strip.

    “We urge you to invoke existing law and policy to immediately withhold certain offensive military aid to the Israeli government, including aid sourced from legislation already signed into law, in order to preempt a full-scale assault on Rafah,” continued the Members. “If the Israeli government will not uphold international law and protect civilians, then the United States must act to protect innocent life. We urge you to continue your work toward achieving a lasting ceasefire that will bring hostages home and build a path toward safety and security for all.”

    A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

    The letter was also signed by Becca Balint (VT-At Large), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), André Carson (IN-07), Greg Casar (TX-35), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Judy Chu (CA-28), Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Maxwell Frost (FL-10), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA-04), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Dan Kildee (MI-08), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Summer Lee (PA-12), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Mark Takano (CA-39), Mike Thompson (CA-04), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

    Congresswoman Bush has remained a steadfast advocate for peace and a permanent  ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestine.

    • On October 16, 2023, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Congresswoman Tlaib, and Representatives André Carson (IN-07), Summer Lee (PA-12), and Delia C. Ramirez (IL-03), introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution, which urges the Biden Administration to call for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestine, to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible. Since its introduction, the Ceasefire Now Resolution has secured a total of 19 co-sponsors, and over 60 other members of Congress have come forward to publicly support a ceasefire.

    • Over the past four months, Congresswoman Bush has held several press conferences with different groups, including veterans, rabbis, doctors, and unions, to highlight the breadth of the ceasefire movement. 

    • Last month, Congresswoman Bush and Tlaib both expressed support for South Africa’s case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging Israel violated the Genocide Convention, and released a joint statement on the ICJ’s provisional measures ruling.

    • On January 12, 2024, Congresswoman Bush released a statement celebrating the St. Louis City’s Board of Aldermen’s unanimous passage of a resolution calling on President Biden to work toward a ceasefire in Gaza.

    • This February 2024, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), sent a letter to President Biden urging the President to decisively oppose any invasion by Israeli forces or further bombardment in Rafah, and to facilitate an immediate, lasting ceasefire to save lives. 

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    Congresswoman Bush Statement on Washington University in St. Louis Crackdown on Students, Faculty & Community Members

     April 30, 2024

    Congresswoman Bush Statement on Washington University in St. Louis Crackdown on Students, Faculty & Community Members


    Washington, D.C. (Apr. 30, 2024) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) released the following statement after the disturbing law enforcement and disciplinary response by Washington University in St. Louis to students, faculty, staff, and community members at the campus, which resulted in over 80 arrests and multiple suspensions.

    “I am appalled by the response of Washington University to student-led protests over the past few weeks and days. The police brutality, mass arrests, suspensions, evictions, and wholesale bans on access to the St. Louis campus are inappropriate, unacceptable, and outright shameful.

    “Washington University administrators have joined the disgraceful nationwide trend of violent, aggressive responses by university administrators and local law enforcement aimed at curbing the rights to free speech and assembly by students, faculty, staff, and community members. Violently assaulting and injuring people who are courageously advocating for peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis alike is unconscionable. Every person in our community deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

    “It is obvious that the recent wave of violence, suspensions, arrests, intimidation, denial of access to food and healthcare on campus, refusal to return property including medicines, and evictions from campus housing is intended to further suppress dissent by students and all those who dare to speak out for Palestinian human rights, and to demand transparency and divestment by their university. As the U.S. government sends another $14 billion to fund Netanyahu’s war crimes, these students deserve to be listened to, not criminalized.

    “As an activist on the frontlines of the Ferguson Uprising, I experienced state-sanctioned violence and police repression, manipulation by the press, and self-serving, out-of-touch public officials who tried to crush our movement. I know from experience that these actions are traumatizing and dangerous; they do nothing to address the underlying issues and simply fuel more violence against non-violent protesters.

    “At a time when students should otherwise be studying for finals or preparing for graduation, they have instead chosen to stand up against the Israeli government’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians by participating in nonviolent direct action. I am proud of our students, faculty, staff, and community members who stand on the side of peace and diplomacy at Washington University. Whether Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, Black, white, or any other race, faith, or ethnicity, they are united in a common cause on behalf of humanity, and I stand with them. 

    “Washington University must be the institution it claims to be. It must refuse to bow to the demands of those who seek to smear and divide us and undermine a growing movement for peace. The Administration must immediately halt its repressive tactics toward students, faculty, staff, and community members, including reversing suspensions, allowing students back on campus, supporting the dismissal of criminal charges, and stopping the blatant mischaracterization of the protests and arrests. And I urge officials to listen to and engage in productive dialogue with these young organizers instead of fueling a violent crackdown against them.

    “Every student, faculty, and staff member has a right to feel safe on college campuses and to live in a society without fear of discrimination. The recent response by Washington University jeopardizes that right for everyone. Further, these false smears against student protesters do nothing to address the real issue of rising antisemitism in our country, which I condemn and remain committed to addressing.

    “My Office and I are engaged in direct conversations with various parties involved, including students, faculty, and administrators, and I have formally requested a meeting with administrative officials to come to a resolution. We remain committed to doing all we can to ensure the safety of all students, faculty members, staff, and our broader St. Louis community.”

    Congresswoman Bush has remained a steadfast advocate for peace and a lasting ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestine.

    • On October 16, 2023, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Congresswoman Tlaib, and Representatives André Carson (IN-07), Summer Lee (PA-12), and Delia C. Ramirez (IL-03), introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution, which urges the Biden Administration to call for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestine, to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible. Since its introduction, the Ceasefire Now Resolution has secured a total of 19 co-sponsors, and over 60 other members of Congress have come forward to publicly support a ceasefire.
    • Over the past four months, Congresswoman Bush has held several press conferences with different groups, including veterans, rabbis, doctors, and unions, to highlight the breadth of the ceasefire movement. 
    • Last month, Congresswoman Bush and Tlaib both expressed support for South Africa’s case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging Israel violated the Genocide Convention, and released a joint statement on the ICJ’s provisional measures ruling.
    • On January 12, 2024, Congresswoman Bush released a statement celebrating the St. Louis City’s Board of Aldermen’s unanimous passage of a resolution calling on President Biden to work toward a ceasefire in Gaza.
    • This February 2024, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), sent a letter to President Biden urging the President to decisively oppose any invasion by Israeli forces or further bombardment in Rafah, and to facilitate an immediate, lasting ceasefire to save lives. 


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      The Black Commentator Issue #999 is now Online

      May 2, 2024

    Read issue 999

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