I haven’t had a message on Tumblr in months, and it’s making me sad. :(

It was a great satisfaction to participate in today’s rally and march in Oakland in support of the Palestinian people. We began at the West Oakland BART station and marched to the Port of Oakland. The idea was to “Block The Boat.” A cargo ship from Israel was scheduled to land and unload its goods, but remained offshore because of today’s demonstration. It’s hard to know how this will turn out, but it felt good to show our support for the Palestinians who are under occupation and blockade in Gaza and the West Bank.

My heart’s a’Twitterseeing you wait on your bikedon’t leave me behind

My heart’s a’Twitter
seeing you wait on your bike
don’t leave me behind

You were extraordinary, Robin. You really were.

Thank you, Robin. We will miss you.

Thank you, Robin. We will miss you.

It’s necessary to watch “Harold And Maude” every so often.

Harold & Maude.

Harold & Maude.

This may be the most unpopular Congress ever - support in opinion polls is usually in single digits - and may also end up being the least productive in our history. But as disgraceful as its failure to pass meaningful legislation may be, perhaps its most shameful moment came last week when the U.S. Senate, without dissent, passed a resolution giving its approval to Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Even as Israeli bombs were obliterating neighborhoods and the bodies of innocent civilians piled up in the streets of Gaza, senator after senator rose to heap praise on Israel. “I strongly condemn the heinous attacks being perpetrated by Hamas and other terrorist groups against Israel,” said New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. “No country should have to live under a constant threat of aggression against its people, and I stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel as it defends itself against this shocking violence. My heart goes out to the citizens of Israel and the countless civilians in Gaza caught in this Hamas-initiated violence.”

Booker, a Democrat, failed to note that hundreds of Palestinians had already died in the recent Israeli onslaught, while Hamas’s crude missiles had done virtually no damage to Israel. As of today, only three Israel civilians have been killed by Hamas rockets, whereas known Palestinian deaths have already exceeded 1,100, the vast majority being civilians. Between 100 and 200 are children. The physical damage to Gaza neighborhoods is immense, with many streets resembling Dresden after its firebombing in World War Two.

Indeed, the resolution passed by the Senate makes no mention whatever of Palestinian civilian casualties, but portrays Israel, the region’s military superpower, as the vulnerable party. “The State of Israel is under siege on multiple fronts…. The United States Senate is in Israel’s camp,” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said on the Senate floor Thursday. He added, “There is no moral equivalency between the self-defense actions of Israel and the barbaric actions of Hamas.”

“Israel is our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East, and we stand with Israel and their right to defend themselves against terrorist organizations that deliberately target civilians,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire).

Perhaps the most nauseating comment came from a Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, who said, “This resolution supports Israel as it protects itself in a manner that values the safety of Palestinian civilians even as its own civilians face indiscriminate attacks from terrorists.”

Read that sentence a second time. “Israel….protects itself in a manner that values the safety of Palestinian civilians.” Even the most casual observer would know that Schumer’s statement is a bald-faced lie, as photos of the shattered buildings and bodies of Gaza fill the world’s television screens and Facebook pages. Yet not one senator challenged that outrageous comment, not even liberal stalwarts like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.

Meanwhile, in the British House of Commons, a very different scene was taking place. MPs of every major political party questioned the ruling government on its support for Israel’s heinous behavior. You can see one MPs remarks here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEYz00MqCx0


How can it be that the United States Congress is so abjectly failing to do its duty, so cravenly parroting Israel’s line? The answer is obvious - our elected representatives are in the pocket of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. They know that to question Israel’s actions, and especially to openly criticize Israel, is to invite instant retribution from this powerful lobby group. Only unquestioning supporters of Israel can expect to receive the generous campaign contributions doled out by AIPAC. And critics of Israel may well find themselves challenged in the next election by an opponent well funded by AIPAC contributions.

It’s not only Congress that has become Israel’s lapdog. All recent Presidents have fallen into line behind Israel. The last President to seriously challenge Israel was George H.W. Bush, and he felt the wrath of the Israel lobby. He ruefully admitted that he was up against “thousands” of lobbyists who opposed any evenhanded treatment of the two sides in Palestine. Bill Clinton learned from this and carefully avoided antagonizing Washington’s most powerful lobby. George W. Bush, as usual, went in the opposite direction from his father and basically gave Israel Prime Minister Sharon carte blanche to do whatever he wanted.

President Obama initially pushed back on Israel, particularly on the issue of its illegal settlements in the West Bank, but soon retreated in the face of AIPAC’s power. His vice president, Joe Biden, has been downright obsequious to Israel.

With the United States in his hip pocket, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu knows that he can pretty much do whatever he wants in Gaza and the West Bank. The U.S. dutifully vetoes any UN Security Council resolution that even hints at criticism of Israel’s actions. It provides over $3 billion in direct aid to Israel annually, and sells some of its most advanced weapons to Israel, weapons that are destroying Palestinian lives today.

It’s apparent that our government is for sale to the highest bidder. Just look at what’s happening in Gaza and you’ll see the result of that. This recent commentary pretty well sums up the situation: our government is morally bankrupt.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-m-walt/aipac-americas-israel-policy_b_5607883.html

In order to justify a great injustice, it is often necessary to create myths. The truth is that Palestine was not an empty wasteland devoid of people when Israel came about in 1948, but a vibrant society that was destroyed by the creation of Israel. Over 700,000 natives of Palestine, most of whom could trace their families there back several generations, were forcibly evicted from their lands and forbidden from ever returning. This ethnic cleansing has been denied ever since by Israel and its apologists, but the truth will not die. This is why there is no peace in the Middle East today.