Saturday, November 04, 2023

No, it's not a new Beatles song

 I've never understood hype and, fortunately, have never been victimized by it as a result.  I stand back and watch in dismay from time to time.

Such as right now.  This is from NPR's WEEKEND SATURDAY EDITION:


New music singles don't usually make headlines, but what if it's a new single from a group that broke up more than 50 years ago?


THE BEATLES: (Singing) I know it's true. It's all because of you.

SIMON: That single, "Now And Then," has an origin story worthy of John, Paul, George and Ringo.


THE BEATLES: (Singing) It's all because of you.

SIMON: John Lennon's vocals for the song go back to the late 1970s. He was essentially a stay-at-home dad then, writing songs on the side, songs that would make up "Double Fantasy," the solo album released shortly before he was murdered in 1980.

No, it is not a new song by the Beatles.  There are no new songs by the Beatles, there never will be.  They were an incredible group.  But they are no more.

I listen to them to this day and all of their albums starting with REVOLVER would make my top 100 list with ABBEY ROAD.  But I am not going to pretend that "Now And Then" is a Beatles song.  John Lennon was a creative genius.  Taking a home demo of a song he was working on and 'fixing' it with AI does not make it a Beatles song.

He was not in the studio.  Adding junk to his demo does not make it a Beatles song. Considering the back and forth that always took place when the four recorded, I do not understand how anyone can pretend this artificial and sterile nonsense is a Beatles song.

I really question Paul McCartney and his greed that he's allowed this garbage to be presented as a song by the Beatles. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Friday, November 3, 2023.  The horrors continue as the assault on Gaza continues, Senator Dick Durbin finds his voice (leaving only 99 other senators still voiceless), Speaker of the Hate Mike Johnson spent years on conversion therapy (for himself and others?), and much more.

A doctor at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital said that low fuel stocks have plunged wards into darkness and cut off major, basic functions like oxygen generation.

Only one operating theatre, the emergency department, and the intensive care unit (ICU) continue to function, Dr. Yousef Abu Al-Rish, director of the hospitals in Gaza, said in a video obtained by CNN.

[. . .]

Filming an almost pitch-black building, Abu Al-Rish points out the services that are affected.

“This is the maternity hospital, there, which is containing the neonatal ICU. And this is the rest of the hospital. And this is the surgical department building,” he says.

“We are just trying to keep the hospital working... Even the admin part now, as you see, it’s in complete darkness.”

He said that they were “trying our best” to extend the fuel as long as they can.

“All the other services directly related to the electricity will stop. For example, the oxygen generator, as there is no fuel, it stopped.”

Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah, also at Al-Shifa hospital, told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that the hospital is currently running on just one generator after the fuel shortage led to another generator being switched off.

“Unless there's electricity, this hospital will turn into a mass grave,” Abu-Sittah said. “It's as simple as that. If we cannot keep the ventilators running, if we can't take our critically wounded patients back to the operating room, then there's nothing for this place other than to come and die.”

Abu Al-Rish, in his video, said that pleas for help had gone unanswered.

“No one responds,” he said. “No one can imagine even how the nurses will complete their job to give the medication, to have follow up, without an electromechanical system. Without the light even. It’s very catastrophic.”

This is not surprising, day after day has come with a warning of this.  Lorraine Mallinder (ALJAZEERA) was among the many warning in the last days, "The looming threat comes as hospitals across the besieged enclave, deprived of essential fuel and medicine, are collapsing. Sixteen out of 35 are no longer functioning. Hospitals that are still running warn that once generators shut down, they will be unable to keep ventilators, incubators and dialysis machines working and will effectively turn into morgues."  There are patients who cannot be moved.  There are patients who need treatment.  The Israeli government doesn't care.  But if it were your loved one or friend, you'd care and you'd wonder what kind of a world is letting this happen.  The world is watching as these crimes take place.

Jordan Shilton (WSWS) observes, "The Israeli regime is carrying out horrendous war crimes on a daily basis, with Thursday marking the third day in a row that the Jabaliya refugee camp was struck. As the official death toll among Palestinian civilians surpassed 9,000, the Israel Defence Forces also reportedly struck four schools within 24 hours and is preparing a horrific massacre of civilians in Gaza City."  What kind of a person can watch this unfold and feel this is about peace?  An idiot like Amy Schumer, obviously, 

a hate merchant like Tulsi Gabbard as well.  Jeffery St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) notes:

+ Tulsi Gabbard, darling of Glenn Greenwald and Jimmy Dore, on FoxNews:

Islamist jihadists, both Sunni and Shiite, openly call for wiping out all Jews from the face of the earth—yet Cori Bush, the Squad, and others support or act as apologists for such jihadists and say that Israel is guilty of human rights abuses and genocide. This is one of the main reasons I left the Democratic Party—because it is led by and rife with apologists for Islamist jihadists.

+ Will she run as RKF, Jr.’s sidekick?

But most people only experience outrage and horror over this.   ALJAZEERA notes, "The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza says the death toll since October 7 has reached 9,227. The ministry said 3,826 children and 2,405 women were among those killed in Israeli attacks. More than 32,500 people have also been wounded in the same period."  Writing from Gaza, Nowar Diab (GUARDIAN via ZNET):

However, there is one thing that has recently given me hope in the face of the tragedy that has become our lives here in Gaza. It is the pictures of hundreds of thousands of people standing up for us and protesting in our name – demonstrations held in the streets of cities across the world, from Algiers and Istanbul to London and Washington DC. The kindness of strangers, often thousands of miles away: this pulls us out of that feeling of hopelessness. Seeing this, I cannot help my eyes filling with tears. It shows people care and our suffering is felt.

These scenes of support and solidarity really restore our hope. Seeing people of all ages and from all communities descend on the streets of London last weekend proved that our cries were not in vain. We are heard. The world is watching. And our fellow humans are standing up for us by opposing this war.

We are in dire need of hope right now. I cannot stress this enough. The situation is so difficult and we need a portion of hope every day. This is what your support gives us: enough hope to get through the long, painful and difficult day that will come tomorrow. So my message to those people of Britain – who will stand up for us yet again today by attending peaceful demonstrations held in London and other cities– is a simple word of thanks. You restore my faith in humanity – each time you march in our name and call for peace, each time you chant for a free Palestine and a better world, and with every sign, banner and flag that you wave in our support.

We are together. We march with you in our hearts and hopes. The people of Gaza are watching. We see this and we feel less alone. You give us hope for a better, fairer world.

Protests are taking place around the world.  Betsey Piette (WORKERS WORLD) explains, "As demands increase for a cease-fire in Gaza to stop Israel’s genocidal war against the people of Palestine, demonstrations continue in cities across the U.S. Coordinated actions included the National Student Walkout for Palestine in the U.S. and Canada on Oct. 25, which was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, Dissenters and Students for Justice in Palestine. In many cities, protests were held outside the offices of U.S. senators and congress members, calling on them to pressure President Joe Biden into agreeing to a ceasefire."

On November 2, some 500 students and workers participated in a rally organized by the Wayne State chapters of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), called “Stop the Genocide in Gaza!” The protest was held at the Wayne State University campus in downtown Detroit, Michigan.
Speakers included students from the SJP, the IYSSE and the Socialist Equality Party. After the speeches, a march was held in which protesters chanted, “Biden Biden what do you say? How many kids did you kill today?” “Israel Israel you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” and “Free free Palestine” among others.
Prior to the march, Aya, the co-president of SJP at Wayne State University, pointed out that while the last 27 days have featured “relentless violence” and thousands of “shattered lives and lost dreams,” this is a continuation of “75 years of enduring injustice and relentless oppression.”
“It is time for change and it is time for action,” said Aya.

The link in the Tweet above goes to Caya Craig and Camiryn Stepteau's HILLTOP article:

More than 100 students gathered around the campus flagpole on two separate days last week to protest Israel’s bombardment of Palestinians in Gaza. 

Students from Howard University Students for Justice in Palestine and DMV chapter of Students for Socialism organized a vigil on Oct. 23 to pay respects to Palestinian lives lost in Israel’s attack, and a walkout on Oct. 25 to express their dissatisfaction with the U.S. and, purportedly, Howard’s aid to Israel’s apartheid state. Students on the Yard advocated for a “liberated” Palestine. 

Some students held signs that read “End Genocide Now” and “HU Students for Palestine,” while  others wore Palestinian flags on their backs or shirts that read “End Apartheid.” 

The students also engaged in various chants on the Yard in support, yelling, “Free Free Palestine,” “Long Live Palestine” and “Not in Our Name.”    

These protests, Joyce Chediac (LIBERATION NEWS) notes,  have taken place despite the many government and media lies,  "While certainly confusing some, these gross distortions have not succeeded in masking the brutality of the Israeli invasion or stifling support for Palestine. Millions of people around the world, and hundreds of thousands in U.S. cities, have taken to the streets to demand a free Palestine and denounce Israeli genocide and apartheid and the U.S. government as well for arming and protecting Israel. A giant national demonstration is planned for Washington on Nov. 4. For more information click here."

AMY GOODMAN: As pressure builds for a ceasefire after 27 days of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, we spend the rest of the hour with the acclaimed author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates. This summer, he spoke at a literary festival in the West Bank that connected the Palestinian struggle with decolonization struggles around the world. In Ramallah, he opened his remarks with a comparison between the struggle of African Americans and Palestinians.

In recent weeks, Coates joined dozens of other writers and artists in signing “An Open Letter from Participants in the Palestine Festival of Literature,” that was published in The New York Review of Books and called for, quote, “the international community to commit to ending the catastrophe unfolding in Gaza and to finally pursuing a comprehensive and just political solution in Palestine.”

AMY GOODMAN: Last night, Ta-Nehisi Coates participated in another event hosted by organizers of the Palestine Festival of Literature, or PalFest, in the James Chapel at Union Theological Seminary here in New York City. It was called “But We Must Speak: On Palestine and the Mandates of Conscience.”

Ta-Nehisi is the recipient of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and the recipient of numerous prizes, including the National Book Award for his book Between the World and Me. We Were Eight Years in Power is another book, An American Tragedy, and his memoir, The Beautiful Struggle. His novel is titled The Water Dancer. In 2014, he wrote an award-winning cover story for The Atlantic magazine headlined “The Case for Reparations.”

Ta-Nehisi, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us, under extremely difficult circumstances. Last night, this remarkable event almost didn’t happen. I mean, it was in the James Chapel of Union Theological Seminary, but venue after venue had said no to this gathering. And without almost any publicity, well over a thousand people turned out, but the place only held 300, so people went over across the street to another place of 300, overcrowd, overflow, and then thousands watched on the live video stream. Can you talk about your experience being in the West Bank, going to the Occupied Territories, and how it changed you?

TA-NEHISI COATES: Oh wow. I spent 10 days in Palestine, in the Occupied Territories and in Israel proper. I’ve had the great luxury over the past 10 years of seeing a few countries. I have not spent more time or seen more of another country or another territory than I did this summer.

I think what shocked me the most was, in any sort of opinion piece or reported piece, or whatever you want to call it, that I’ve read about Israel and about the conflict with the Palestinians, there’s a word that comes up all the time, and it is “complexity,” that and its closely related adjective, “complicated.” And so, while I had my skepticisms and I had my suspicions of the Israeli government, of the occupation, what I expected was that I would find a situation in which it was hard to discern right from wrong, it was hard to understand the morality at play, it was hard to understand the conflict. And perhaps the most shocking thing was I immediately understood what was going on over there.

Probably the best example I can think of is the second day, when we went to Hebron, and the reality of the occupation became clear. We were driving out of East Jerusalem. I was with PalFest, and we were driving out of East Jerusalem into the West Bank. And, you know, you could see the settlements, and they would point out the settlements. And it suddenly dawned on me that I was in a region of the world where some people could vote and some people could not. And that was obviously very, very familiar to me. I got to Hebron, and we got out as a group of writers, and we were given a tour by our Palestinian guide. And we got to a certain street, and he said to us, “I can’t walk down this street. If you want to continue, you have to continue without me.” And that was shocking to me.

And we walked down the street, and we came back, and there was a market area. Hebron is very, very poor. It wasn’t always very poor, but it’s very, very poor. Its market area has been shut down. But there are a few vendors there that I wanted to support. And I was walking to try to get to the vendor, and I was stopped at a checkpoint. Checkpoints all through the city, checkpoints obviously all through the West Bank. Your mobility is completely inhibited, and the mobility of the Palestinians is totally inhibited.

And I was walking to the checkpoint, and an Israeli guard stepped out, probably about the age of my son. And he said to me, “What’s your religion, bro?” And I said, “Well, you know, I’m not really religious.” And he said, “Come on. Stop messing around. What is your religion?” I said, “I’m not playing. I’m not really religious.” And it became clear to me that unless I professed my religion, and the right religion, I wasn’t going to be allowed to walk forward. So, he said, “Well, OK, so what was your parents’ religion?” I said, “Well, they weren’t that religious, either.” He says, “What were your grandparents’ religion?” And I said, “My grandmother was a Christian.” And then he allowed me to pass.

And it became very, very clear to me what was going on there. And I have to say it was quite familiar. Again, I was in a territory where your mobility is inhibited, where your voting rights are inhibited, where your right to the water is inhibited, where your right to housing is inhibited. And it’s all inhibited based on ethnicity. And that sounded extremely, extremely familiar to me.

And so, the most shocking thing about my time over there was how uncomplicated it actually is. Now, I’m not saying the details of it are not complicated. History is always complicated. Present events are always complicated. But the way this is reported in the Western media is as though one needs a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern studies to understand the basic morality of holding a people in a situation in which they don’t have basic rights, including the right that we treasure most, the franchise, the right to vote, and then declaring that state a democracy. It’s actually not that hard to understand. It’s actually quite familiar to those of us with a familiarity to African American history.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Ta-Nehisi Coates, last night you were asked about the significance of Martin Luther King’s words on Vietnam. You said it’s taken you years to, quote, “understand nonviolence as an ethic” and that you understood that ethic in Israel. Could you explain?

TA-NEHISI COATES: Yeah, sure, I mean, and I think the thing to do is just to proceed off of what I said. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to the fight against segregation. His was a segregated society. The Occupied Territories are segregated, de jure segregated. It’s not, you know, hard to understand. There are different signs for where different people can go. There are different license plates forbidding different people from going different places. Now, what the authorities will tell you is that this is a security measure. But if you go back to the history of Jim Crow in this country, they would tell you the exact same thing. People always have good reasons, besides, you know, “I hate you, and I don’t like you,” to justify their right for imposing an oppressive regime on other people. It’s never quite that simple. And so, that was the first thing.

But the second thing I think that you’re referring to is, you know, I — you know, this is like really personal for me, because I came up in a time and in a place where I did not really understand the ethic of nonviolence. And by “ethic,” I mean the notion that violence itself is corrupting, that it corrupts the soul. And I didn’t quite understand that. If I’m truly honest with you, as much as I saw my relationship with the Palestinian people and as much as it was clear what the relationship was, it was at the same time clear that there was some sort of relationship with the Israeli people, too. And it wasn’t one that I particularly enjoyed, because I understood the rage that comes when you have a history of oppression. I understood the anger. I understood the sense of humiliation that comes when people subject you to just manifold oppression, to genocide, and people look away from that. I come from the descendants of 250 years of enslavement. I come from a people who sexual violence and rape is marked in our very bones and in our DNA. And I understand how when you feel that the world has turned its back on you, how you can then turn your back on the ethics of the world. But I also understood how corrupting that can be.

I was listening, actually, to my congressman last night, or I guess it was two nights ago, talk on the news. And a journalist asked him, “How many children, how many people must be killed to justify this operation? Is there an upper limit for the number of people that could be killed, when you would say, 'This is just too much. This just doesn't — this just doesn’t, you know, compute. This does not add up’?” And I will tell you, that congressman couldn’t give a number. And I thought, “That man has been corrupted. That man has lost himself. He’s lost himself in humiliation. He’s lost himself in vengeance. He has lost himself in violence.”

I keep hearing this term repeated over and over again: “the right to self-defense.” What about the right to dignity? What about the right to morality? What about the right to be able to sleep at night? Because what I know is, if I was complicit — and I am complicit — in dropping bombs on children, in dropping bombs on refugee camps, no matter who’s there, it would give me trouble sleeping at night. And I worry for the souls of people who can do this and can sleep at night.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Ta-Nehisi, last night, as I said at the beginning, I think Union Theological was the fifth place that PalFest had turned to for this event. I want to point out who was there. Among the speakers was you, you know, a MacArthur “genius” fellow; was Michelle Alexander, the remarkable author and lawyer; Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian American scholar, Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University; and others. And you being at Union Theological, you know, Dr. Martin Luther King is known for that speech, “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam,” that he gave across the street at Riverside Church, but he started at Union Theological. So many people came, he had to go across the street for it. But can you talk about this difficulty in speaking out? I mean, just last week, we spoke to Viet Thanh Nguyen, who is the Vietnamese American Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who was on a book tour for his latest memoir, and the 92nd Street Y, now known as 92NY, canceled his conversation about his memoir because he had signed on to a letter — I think it was signed by 750 other people — calling for a ceasefire. The U.N. secretary-general has called for a Gaza ceasefire. Can you talk about what it means to break the sound barrier, and if you were nervous about coming out and speaking about Gaza, about the West Bank, even going, to begin with, knowing what you would feel responsible for doing once you came out?

TA-NEHISI COATES: Yeah, I wasn’t just nervous. I was afraid. You know, I hear people talk all the time about how fearlessness is a necessary quality. And I have never had that. I’ve never had that in my life, and I certainly have never had that in my career.

I spent five days with PalFest when I was over there, and then I spent another five days with a group of Israeli Jews. And I knew that whatever I was going to see — like, I had a sentiment. I couldn’t express it like I just expressed it for you right now, because, obviously, I hadn’t been there. But I had a sentiment that what I was going to see was not going to be great. And I know that, A, because of my upbringing, and I know that, B, because of my vocation as a journalist, you can’t behold evil and then return and not speak on it. And segregation is evil. There just is no — there’s no way for me, as an African American, to come back and stand before you, to witness segregation and not say anything about it.

One of the hardest things was to come back and then to read the rhetoric of certain African American politicians who are defending this regime. And I just — I couldn’t understand it. You know, I wanted to know if they had been to Hebron. You know, I wanted to know if they had been to Masafer Yatta, if they had been to Shusha, if they had been to Tubas. Had they seen? Had they really seen what is actually happening here? I don’t know how anybody who benefits, who stands on the shoulders of our ancestors’ struggle against Jim Crow, against segregation, could see what is happening right now, could see the bombs being dropped, 9,000 people dead, an ungodly number of them children, in service of Jim Crow and segregation, which we have exported, and be OK with that. I don’t — I don’t understand it.

So, yes, I have my fears. I do. I do. You know, I’m afraid right now, sitting here talking to you. But I have to measure my fear against the misery that I saw. I have to measure my fear against the promises that I made to the Palestinians who welcomed me into their homes and gave me the facts, to the Israeli Jews who welcomed me into their homes and gave me the facts, to the Holocaust survivors who welcomed me into their homes and gave me the facts. I have to measure it against my own ancestors, against Frederick Douglass, against Ida B. Wells, who certainly faced off against things that were much, much more perilous than going someplace, coming back and telling people what you saw. This is the minimum. It’s scary, but it’s also the minimum. And the fact that people are trying to suppress speech is not an excuse for you not to speak. It’s always been this way for Black writers and journalists. This is our tradition, you know? And so, I feel — as I do feel the fear, I also feel that I am in good company, because I’m in the company of my ancestors.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Ta-Nehisi, I want to ask you about the way in which this conflict is in fact being represented in the media and, as you pointed out, politicians, congressmembers, but also the White House. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre compared pro-Palestinian protesters to the white supremacists who took part in the deadly —

TA-NEHISI COATES: Yeah, I saw it.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: — Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. She made the comment in response to a question from Fox News’s Peter Doocy.

PETER DOOCY: Does President Biden think the anti-Israel protesters in this country are extremists?

PRESS SECRETARY KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: What I can say is what we’ve been very clear about this: When it comes to antisemitism, there is no place. We have to make sure that we speak against it very loud and be — and be very clear about that. Remember, what the president decided to — when the president decided to run for president is what he saw in Charlottesville in 2017, when we — he saw neo-Nazis marching down the streets of Charlottesville with vile, antisemitic just hatred. And he was very clear then, and he’s very clear now. He’s taken actions against this over the past two years. And he’s continued to be clear: There is no place — no place — for this type of vile and despite — this kind of rhetoric.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Ta-Nehisi Coates, that’s the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Your response?

TA-NEHISI COATES: You know, I don’t want to personalize this. I’m sure she’s a very, you know, nice person and a very, very kind person. But, you see, all of us stand on the shoulders of Martin Luther King. All of us stand on the shoulders of the nonviolent struggle. And on King’s birthday, the White House, like it’s done for years, stands up, and, you know, it praises Dr. King, and it talks about Dr. King as our modern-day prophet. I don’t know how these people do that and sleep at night. I don’t know how you compare people who are trying to stop a war, who are very much in the tradition of nonviolence, who are trying to stop bombs being dropped, literally, on refugee camps, to neo-Nazi protesters. It’s disgraceful, to use her own words. It’s disgraceful. It’s reprehensible. It is offensive, as far as I am concerned, to the shoulders on those whom we stand right now. I just — I don’t understand it.

I would extend this further. I mean, I think hearing President Biden himself — and here I will personalize it — downplay the number of Palestinian deaths, to say that he doesn’t believe the Palestinians, I just — when his own State Department was citing those figures only months ago, you know? At some point, you know, there’s that saying: When people show you who they are, you have to believe them. And so, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to do the political calculus on this. And I think at a certain point we have to just stop and say, “They believe it.” They believe it. They believe bombs should be dropped on children. They just think it’s OK. They think it’s OK, or at the very least they think it’s the price of doing business.

That’s not an ethic I can align myself from, because, as I’ve said several times in this interview, I come from a history where people wanted to make the exact same calculus about us and took stances that we would now say are immoral. But, see, the test isn’t what you did in the past; the test is what you do in the moment right now. I’m a writer. I would be much more comfortable — I was working on a book about this. I would be much more comfortable sitting at home writing about this, before I’m here talking to you guys right now. It is not my nature to talk about things that I have not written about yet. But one has to balance one’s responsibility against the suffering, against the death, against the body count. And to see what is coming out of this White House right now is just — it’s morally reprehensible. Again, I don’t know how people sleep at night.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve been talking about Dr. King. His daughter, Dr. Bernice King, who heads The King Center, lawyer, Martin Luther King’s youngest daughter, responded to a post by the comedian Amy Schumer, who shared a video of Dr. King condemning antisemitism and defending Israel’s right to exist. Bernice King wrote, quote, “Certainly, my father was against antisemitism. He also believed militarism (along with racism and poverty) to be among the interconnected Triple Evils. I am certain he would call for Israel’s bombing of Palestinians to cease,” Dr. Bernice King said. And so, if you could comment on this and also talk about how the issue of Palestinians, the Occupied Territories, the occupation, has been raised in the Black community, the Movement for Black Lives, for years now, and the pressure you come under when you do?

TA-NEHISI COATES: Yeah, and, look, I think it’s very, very important to talk about the force of antisemitism in history, indeed in American history, in fact. It’s a very, very, very real thing, and I don’t think you can understand the events of the moment without understanding that.

And I think, over the past few weeks especially, much has been made about the historic alliance between Black folks and Jewish activists and Jewish folks and that sort of thing. And it’s a very, very real thing. It’s a very, very important thing. But I think, like any alliance, it is at its best when it grounds itself in moral principle, not in a kind of gang truce, not in a kind of “I had your back, so you’ll have mine.” A moral alliance that is transactional is actually, in fact, not a moral alliance. And we have always been at our best — you know, when I think about the Jewish civil rights workers who went south and put their bodies on the line for the civil rights movement, I like to think — and I think it’s true — that that was not a transactional arrangement. That was not, you know, an attempt to say, “Look, I’m doing this because I think you’ll have my back in the future.” They did it because it was right. They did it based on principle.

And so, you know, I think some of the frustration that certain, certain people feel about the lack of African American support for this war comes from this notion that we should have people’s back as they drop bombs to try to defend a segregationist apartheid regime. We shouldn’t do that. And we haven’t done that. That’s the history that you allude to, I mean, going back to Angela Davis, to SNCC, to Black Lives Matter. I stand here, or I sit here, very, very humbly as a latecomer to the cause, but someone who has come to the cause nonetheless. We have to stand on principle, Ma’am. We have to stand on principle. And if I’m a latecomer to the Palestinian cause, I’m also a latecomer to the cause of nonviolence, but I’m here now. You know? And knowing what that has meant to our history, you know, to our — there is no way in the world that we can leverage the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, there’s no way in the world we can leverage the weight, the ancestry of our movement, in defense of a war, in defense of indiscriminate bombings on refugee camps. We just — we can’t do that. We can’t do that. We would be a disgrace to our ancestors.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Ta-Nehisi, last night, just to end, you said — we’ve just spoken about the fact that it was so difficult for the Palestine Festival of Literature to find a venue for last night’s event. Your own books here in the U.S. have faced book bans, and yours aren’t the only ones, of course. But you’ve said that when people resort to these measures — book banning, limiting public discussions — these are weapons of a weak and a decaying order. Could you explain what you mean by that, and why there is, despite the horror of the moment, some scope for optimism?

TA-NEHISI COATES: Well, I think if you — and a lot of this is, you know, actually from my time talking to Rashid Khalidi, Professor Rashid Khalidi up at Columbia. And one of the points he made — you know, I came back from Palestine, and I just was glass-eyed. I didn’t understand. I had this deep-seated feeling that, in fact, I had been lied to. And I began consulting people and talking to people. And so, I got to spend some time with Professor Khalidi.

And one of the things he said to me was, never has the movement — this is somebody who’s been fighting this war for his entire life. He said, “Never has the movement been as powerful as it is right now.” And, you know, I had to take that in. I also have to take in the fact that, like, when I think about what I did not know, and when I did not know, it wasn’t that I had competing sources and I didn’t know where to turn. The way I think Americans have traditionally, up until very recently, you know —

AMY GOODMAN: We have 10 seconds, Ta-Nehisi.

TA-NEHISI COATES: — saw this struggle — sure. I’m sorry about that. I will just say that I’m very optimistic about the fight, and I think we’re going to win. I’ll leave it there. Sorry about that.

AMY GOODMAN: Ta-Nehisi Coates, acclaimed writer, National Book Award winner, spoke at an event last night organized by Palestine Festival of Literature here in New York. We will link to the live stream.

Before we end, this update from Gaza: The Palestinian WAFA news agency is reporting at least 27 people were killed today in an Israeli bombing of an UNRWA school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in Gaza. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

As the War Crimes continue, Reporters Without Borders announces it has filed a complaint:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has filed a complaint for war crimes committed against Palestinian journalists in Gaza – the third such complaint since 2018 – and against an Israeli journalist, killed and wounded in the course of their work. These reporters were the victims of attacks amounting – at the very least – to war crimes justifying an investigation by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Filed with the office of the ICC prosecutor on 31 October, RSF’s complaint details the cases of nine journalists killed in the course of their work since 7 October and two others who were wounded, also in the course of their work. It also cites the deliberate, total or partial, destruction of the premises of more than 50 media outlets in Gaza. 

According to RSF’s tally, 34 journalists have been killed since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, of whom at least 12 were killed in the course of their work – 10 in Gaza, one in Israel and one in Lebanon.

“The scale, seriousness and recurring nature of international crimes targeting journalists, particularly in Gaza, calls for a priority investigation by the ICC prosecutor. We have been calling for this since 2018. The current tragic events demonstrate the extreme urgency of the need for ICC action.

Christophe Deloire
RSF secretary-general

War crimes complaint

This RSF complaint to the ICC concerns eight Palestinian journalists who were killed in bombardments of civilian areas in Gaza by Israel, and an Israeli journalist who was killed on 7 October while covering an attack on his kibbutz by Hamas.

The attacks suffered by Palestinian journalists in Gaza correspond to the international humanitarian law definition of an indiscriminate attack and therefore constitute war crimes under Article 8.2.b. of the Rome Statute. Even if these journalists were the victims of attacks aimed at legitimate military targets, as the Israeli authorities claim, the attacks nevertheless caused manifestly excessive and disproportionate harm to civilians, and still amount to a war crime under this article.

The Israeli journalist’s death constituted the wilful killing of a person protected by the Geneva Conventions, which is a war crime under article 8.2.a. of the ICC’s Rome Statute.

It will be up to the ICC prosecutor’s office to determine the precise nature of these crimes and, at the end of their investigation, to select any other applicable classification.

In its complaint, RSF also calls on the prosecutor to investigate all of the cases of journalists killed since 7 October – 34, according to our latest information. RSF’s complaint details the cases of journalists killed in the course of their work. Other cases are still being investigated before being referred to the ICC. Several reporters have been killed or wounded in Lebanon, which – unlike Palestine – is not a State Party to the ICC. RSF is looking into the possibility of referring these cases to other competent jurisdictions.

RSF’s third complaint about war crimes against Palestinian journalists in Gaza

This is RSF’s third complaint to the ICC prosecutor about war crimes against Palestinian journalists in Gaza since 2018. The first was filed in May 2018 about journalists killed or injured during the “Great March of Return” protests in Gaza. The second was filed in May 2021 following Israeli air strikes on more than 20 media outlets in the Gaza Strip. RSF also supported the complaint filed by Al Jazeera about the fatal shooting of Palestinian journalist Shirin Abu Akleh in the West Bank on 11 May 2022.

In other news,  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

  Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin on Thursday became the first U.S. senator to call for a cease-fire in Gaza and Israel, joining the head of the United Nations, human rights organizations, and nearly two dozen House progressives.

Durbin (D-Ill.), the number two Senate Democrat, said during a CNN appearance that he supports a cease-fire agreement that includes the "immediate release" of all hostages.

"An effort should be made to engage in conversation between the Israelis and the Palestinians," said Durbin, who was first elected to Congress with AIPAC support in 1982. "Let's face it, this has gone on for decades. Whatever the rationale from the beginning, it has now reached an intolerable level. We need to have a resolution in the Middle East that gives some promise for the future."

Durbin said he has not communicated his position directly to the Biden White House, which has thus far vocally opposed a cease-fire, claiming it would benefit Hamas. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden expressed support for a "pause" after his campaign speech in Minnesota was interrupted by a demonstrator calling for a cease-fire. 

Hopefully, others in the Senate will find similar courage.  In the House, Speaker of Mike Johnson just embraces hate.  Connor Surmonte (RADAR) reports:

According to a 2005 recording obtained and shared by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski on Wednesday night, Johnson argued that “gay people could be made straight” during an Exodus International event 18 years ago.

Although Exodus International ceased operations in 2013, the non-profit group promoted itself as an “ex-gay Christian organization” that sought to "help people who wished to limit their homosexual desires.”

“It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality,” Johnson said during one portion of the 2005 recording. “There’s freedom to change if you want to.”

“Our race, the size of our feet, the color of our eyes, these are things we’re born with and cannot change,” the new House Speaker claimed at the time. “But what these adult advocacy groups like the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network are promoting is a type of behavior.”

“Homosexual behavior is something you do,” he added. “It’s not something that you are.”

Meanwhile, CNN reported that Exodus International’s founder – Alan Chambers – issued an apology after ceasing operations in 2013.

Chambers reportedly apologized for the “hurt and pain” the “ex-gay Christian” organization caused and admitted that Exodus International was “very damaging” for the gay teenagers the group sought to convert.

CNN’s Erin Burnett and Andrew Kaczynski also discussed Johnson’s efforts to overturn the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling that threw out the state’s sodomy laws.

Let's wind down with this:

Jody Watley Talks Music, Sports and Inspiration With NBA Hall Of Fame Icon Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

Via BNM Publicity Group and Management

(NATIONWIDE) November 2, 2023 – Jody Watley, the celebrated singer, songwriter, and iconic figure in the world of music and fashion, is delighted to announce a special guest appearance by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the legendary basketball icon and accomplished entrepreneur, on “The Jody Watley Show” airing on November 12th 6 P.M. EST / 3 P.M. PST

Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

The show, exclusively on SiriusXM’s The Groove, has attained a huge mass appeal to their subscribers and dedicated fanbase throughout the years.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, celebrated not only for his remarkable basketball career but also for his extraordinary success in the world of business, will engage in a captivating conversation with Jody Watley, promising an enlightening and inspiring discussion. Johnson’s exceptional journey is artfully depicted in the AppleTV+ project, “They Call Me Magic,” which became the top-selling documentary series per episode upon its release in 2022.

“I am thrilled to welcome Earvin “Magic” Johnson as a guest on my show,” expressed Jody Watley. “His incredible achievements, both on and off the court, are a testament to his tenacity, business acumen, and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in our communities.”

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who successfully transitioned from the basketball court to the boardroom, now serves as the Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE). MJE specializes in providing high-quality products and services primarily to ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities.

In addition to his accomplishments, Earvin “Magic” Johnson has expanded his influence through ownership of multiple sports franchises, including the Washington Commanders, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Sparks, Los Angeles Football Club, and Team Liquid.

He also manages businesses such as EquiTrust Life Insurance Company and SodexoMAGIC, a food service and facilities management company.

In today’s dynamic digital age, Earvin “Magic” Johnson continues to invest millions of dollars in infrastructure improvement across the United States through a joint-venture fund, JLC Infrastructure.

Renowned as one of the defining artists of the 80s with a profound influence on style, music, and pop culture, Jody Watley has set the standard that many artists follow today. Her groundbreaking marriage of rap and R&B in hits like “Friends,” her fusion of high fashion, street fashion, and music, and her effortless crossing of musical genres make her a true visionary in the industry.

“The Jody Watley Show” is a 2-hour monthly program offering a unique blend of classic and contemporary R&B music, along with engaging conversations and surprise guests.

Listeners can enjoy the best of Old School R&B on SiriusXM’s The Groove, hosted by Jody Watley, featuring artists from the ’70s and ’80s, such as Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Isley Brothers, and the Gap Band, among others.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the extraordinary Earvin “Magic” Johnson in conversation with Jody Watley on “The Jody Watley Show.”

Tune in to SiriusXM’s The Groove on November 12th at 6 PM (EST) / 3 PM (PST), or listen via the SiriusXM app on your smartphone or other connected devices. 

SiriusXM is available to subscribers in their car, on their phone and connected devices at home with the SXM App. Streaming access is included with all of our trials and most popular plans. Go to to learn more.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Queens of Dishonesty MTG and Boe-Boe

Poor crazy Marjorie Taylor Greene.  The internet mocks her:

Following the dismissal to move forward with a censure resolution against Rashida Tlaib, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene faced severe mockery on social media.

One wrote, "Girl, your L column is getting huge. Lolololol," and another said, "This very much seems like a "you" problem, Marge."

"Lol you failed – again," mocked one user, and another wrote, "Yesss! Some Republicans grew a spine here!"

The Internet continued to laugh at Greene as one wrote, "FAILED." and another said, "Fact Checking...CONCLUSION: Marjorie Taylor Greene fails spectacularly to prevent Tlaib from exercising her right to free speech. Fact Check Completed."

If she and Lauren Boebert hadn't had that falling out, maybe they could get together and commiserate over glasses of Hubba Bubba soda and Fritos?  MEDIAITE reports:

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) claimed her congressional district has “been regulated into poverty” and suggested her defunct restaurant was collateral damage.

Speaking on the House floor on Thursday, Boebert introduced a proposal preventing the Bureau of Land Management from restricting oil and gas leases on federal land in Colorado. In doing so, she decried red tape and lamented the loss of her establishment.

“Colorado’s west slope used to have a booming energy production economy,” she said. “Unfortunately, we’ve been regulated into poverty in Colorado’s third district. I remember when I owned a small business roughnecks used to come into my restaurant and I knew it was going to be a good, successful, profitable day because I had mud on my floor to clean up. But through regulations, there was no more mud to clean up on nearly any of our business floors and many businesses shuttered forever.”

Boebert owned Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado until last year when it closed down. Despite her tale of a loss of customers due to a lack of regulation, that is at odds with the actual reason.

The congresswoman tweeted about the closure in July 2022 and stated that “our landlord would not be renewing our lease.”

Boe-Boe's lies indicate she has a serious case of George Santos envy.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, November 2, 2023.  The assault on Gaza continues,  Columbia and Jordan make clear their stance on the slaughter, the US government merrily applauds the blood flow, and much more.

Kathleen Magramo (CNN) reports, "Doctors are struggling to treat patients with severe injuries under dire conditions in Gaza as Israel maintains its bombardment of the enclave, a medic with aid group Doctors Without Borders said.  Speaking from Amman, Jordan, Dr. Tanya Haj-Hassan said the lack of medical supplies in Gaza meant doctors have been 'completely stripped of all the tools of modern medicine' to treat patients -- mostly women and children -- with severe injuries and burns'."  Tuesday, Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) spoke with Al-Shifa Hospital's Dr. Hammam Alloh.

DR. HAMMAM ALLOH: This is not an incident I would really love to keep remembering, but this is — what you just said was exactly what happened to me. As physicians, we are trained to resuscitate patients who go into cardiac arrest, hoping they would make it back again to life, and consequently put them on ventilators to help them live again, go back to life. But I had to stop my co-nurses and my physicians from doing this. They asked me, “Why are you asking us to stop resuscitating the patients? It’s like you’re asking us to kill her.” I told them, “We have no better options. We have no other choices, because in case she makes it back to life, we have no ventilators to offer her. And if there is any, we would prevent a younger, healthier injured patient from entertaining that victory — I mean the ventilator.” So, I don’t know if you would imagine the amount of regret, the amount of sadness I’m living with since this happened with me, but I’m sorry to say there was no better options to go for except stopping that resuscitation.

 CNN’s Abeer Salman and Zeena Saifi report this morning, "Israeli airstrikes struck near the Al Quds hospital in Gaza City, where doctors say thousands of displaced people are sheltering, the key medical facility's director told CNN Thursday. The strikes that began Wednesday evening continued into Thursday morning and were 'getting closer to the hospital,' Dr. Bashar Mourad said in a phone call."

The world watches as the horrors pile up daily and protests continue against the slaughter.  REUTERS notes that yesterday Jordan withdrew its ambassador to Israel   ALJAZEERA reports:

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has condemned Israel’s bombardments of Gaza, calling its war in the besieged Palestinian enclave that has so far killed more than 9,000 people “genocide”.

Petro’s remarks came in a post on X on Wednesday, accompanied by a picture of victims of the Israeli air attack on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza that killed at least 195 people. At least 120 people are also missing, according to Gaza’s officials.

Genocide with intent flaunted publicly.  Julia Conley (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

An Israeli lawmaker from the ruling right-wing Likud Party on Wednesday offered fresh evidence that the Israeli government's aim in its bombardment of Gaza is a genocidal effort to kill or forcibly remove the more than 2 million Palestinians living there, declaring, "Gaza should be erased."

With the support of the United States and other Western countries, Israel has claimed since October 7—when Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel, killing as many as 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostage—that its bombardment of Gaza is necessary to destroy the armed group, even though the IDF has repeatedly struck civilian targets and killed nearly 9,000 Palestinians so far, including over 3,500 children.

After screening a 45-minute montage of footage taken by Hamas fighters' body cameras during the October 7 attack, Knesset member and former Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distal Atbaryan posted on Facebook that Israeli officials must invest all their energy "in one thing: erasing all of Gaza from the face of the Earth."

"That the brave monsters will fly to the southern fence and enter Egyptian territory," Atbaryan continued, an apparent reference to Israel's reported plan to permanently expel Palestinians who survive the assault to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, imposing a "second Nakba" on the population. "Or let them die... Gaza needs to be wiped out."

"Revengeful and vicious IDF is required here," she continued. "Anything less than that is immoral."

Atbaryan's post signified "genocidal intent, clearly expressed," said author and former Irish Times environmental editor Frank McDonald.

Tuesday, the Israeli government bombed a refugee camp.  From DEMOCRACY NOW!'s headlines:

In Gaza, Israel struck the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp again today, one day after an Israeli air attack killed at least 50 people and injured another 150. This is a doctor who treated victims of the Jabaliya attack at the Indonesian Hospital, where surgeons had to operate in the hallways as the facility was overrun with patients.

Dr. Suaib Idais: “A large number of injured have come to us after the large explosion that shook the entire Jabaliya refugee camp. Hundreds of injuries, hundreds of martyrs. They were just sitting in their homes. They were targeted while they were in their homes. Children, all martyrs. Children, women, elderly. We have no idea what to do. There are injured everywhere. All the volunteers went down hand in hand just to help people.”

The World Health Organization is warning of an “imminent public health catastrophe” in Gaza, with some surgeries performed without anesthesia due to the dire shortage of medical supplies.

Mohamed Abu Al-Qumsan, an engineer with Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau, lost 19 family members, including his father and two sisters, in Israeli air raids on the Jabaliya camp.

Jordan Shilton (WSWS) notes, "The two strikes claimed at least 195 civilian lives, with over 120 still missing as of late Wednesday evening. According to Gaza’s Government Media Office, a further 777 people were wounded in the twin attacks on the enclave’s largest refugee camp." 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

Massive Israeli airstrikes on Gaza’s largest refugee camp, Jabaliya, killed at least 50 Palestinians Tuesday and wounded over 150 others, sparking new outrage over Israel’s 26-day bombardment of the besieged territory. Israel bombed the refugee camp again today. Numerous residential buildings collapsed in Tuesday’s blast, trapping families under rubble. One engineer from Al Jazeera, Mohamed Abu Al-Qumsan, reportedly lost at least 18 members of his family, including his father and two of his sisters. A long line of dead bodies wrapped in white sheets were placed outside the Indonesian Hospital in the refugee camp, where doctors scrambled to treat survivors.

DR. SUAIB IDAIS: [translated] A large number of injured have come to us after the large explosion that shook the entire Jabaliya refugee camp. Hundreds of injuries, hundreds of martyrs. They were just sitting in their homes. They were targeted while they were in their homes. Children, all martyrs. Children, women, elderly. We have no idea what to do. There are injured everywhere. All the volunteers went down hand in hand just to help people.

AMY GOODMAN: Israeli officials acknowledged carrying out the airstrike on the refugee camp, describing it as a, quote, “wide-scale strike” targeting a Hamas commander accused of helping to orchestrate Hamas’s October 7th attack inside Israel that resulted in the deaths of about 1,400 people in Israel and the capture of over 220 hostages.

The attack on Jabaliya came as the United Nations and aid groups issued new dire warnings about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. James Elder of UNICEF said Gaza is becoming a “graveyard for children.”

JAMES ELDER: The numbers are appalling. Reportedly, now more than 3,450 children have been killed. Staggeringly, this number rises significantly every single day. Gaza has become a graveyard for children. It’s a living hell for everyone else. And yet the threats to children go beyond bombs and mortars. I want to speak briefly now on two of those: water and trauma. The more than 1 million children of Gaza have a critical water crisis. Gaza’s water production now, its capacity is at 5%, 5% of its daily output. So child deaths to dehydration, particularly infant deaths to dehydration, are a growing threat.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier today, the Rafah border crossing with Gaza was opened to allow dozens of Egyptian ambulances in to evacuate injured patients.

We go now to Gaza, where we’re joined by Yousef Hammash, advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, who lives in the Gaza Strip with his wife and two children. He’s from the Jabaliya refugee camp but is joining us today from Khan Younis.

Yousef, thanks so much for joining us again. You grew up in, you were born in the Jabaliya refugee camp. Can you talk about the significance of what took place yesterday?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, yes, proudly, I’m born and raised in Jabaliya camp as a refugee. And Jabaliya camp was not a place that — for us to consider. It’s more than a place. And the place where they attacked is the center of the Jabaliya camp. It’s the heart of the camp. And everyone knows that Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Jabaliya camp is the most densely populated — the most densely populated place in Gaza. And so, people who doesn’t know how it’s Jabaliya camp, it’s a block of concrete. Houses are next to each other. And the widest street in Jabaliya camp is half a meter. And 90% of the houses are one roof. It’s one floor. And it’s one of the most crowded places on Earth.

The attack yesterday, the massive amount of casualties, it was, first of all, the massive bombardment, and also because it’s very populated place. And I don’t think, both, yeah, I mean, the Israelis really care about that, and they want to target someone. And I’m not sure about these accusations, who were they targeting, what’s going on there. But it’s a really horrific situation. And if you look to the images, what was going on, it’s really horror.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you respond to the Israeli military saying they bombed — they aimed for the alleyways, not the buildings, and that they were going for one of the commanders of Hamas, and that people should have left, that they warned Palestinians to leave northern Gaza and go south?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: First of all, if they are pushing people to leave, where people should go, first of all? I was lucky because I have relatives in the south in Khan Younis. But thousands of people are in the streets or in UNRWA schools, and there is not enough place for anyone anymore in the south. And even there is no safe passage for people to move from the north toward the south. People cannot leave their houses without knowing where they are going. And this is one thing. If you live in Jabaliya, it means that you can handle your situation and keep up and with handling your needs in Jabaliya. If you are going to a new place without somewhere to go, and even doesn’t know where to go, how people will keep up when they are displaced? This is completely illegal, first of all. And you cannot push more than 1 million people to move in a few days. And until now, for example, since few days, even the roads have been cutted between — they split Gaza in two parts. How people are going to go from Jabaliya in the north or Gaza City towards the south? This is the first thing. And the other thing, I think the images and the amount of casualties can answer what the Israeli forces are saying.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play for you a clip of the IDF, Israeli Defense Forces, spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, who appeared on CNN, where he was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER: But you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians, men, women and children, in that refugee camp, as well, right?

LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT: This is the tragedy of war, Wolf. I mean, we — as you know, we’ve been saying for days, move south. Civilians that are not involved with Hamas, please move south. We —

WOLF BLITZER: Yeah, I’m just trying to get a little bit more information. You knew there were civilians there. You knew there were refugees, all sorts of refugees. But you decided to still drop a bomb on that refugee camp attempting to kill this Hamas commander. By the way, was he killed?

LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT: I can’t confirm, yeah. There will be more updated. He, yes, we know that he was killed. About the civilians there, we’re doing everything we can to minimize.

AMY GOODMAN: So, if you can respond to the IDF Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: I just need to understand what they did to minimize the loss, casualties, the loss of civilians. And asking people to leave is not a justification. This is not a justification to use this massive amount of bombardment targeting something. And even then, they cannot confirm it. And it’s a bit weird how world is looking to that and how they are trying to justify the killing of civilians. This is unacceptable, how to justify killings of that amount of civilians by saying that you ordered everyone to evacuate. First, even this is illegal to push — these people are forced to flee, and also, there is no place that people can go to.

And even here in Khan Younis, people who were displaced, people like me, we are facing tragedy to provide our daily need, like water and bread. And everything is challenging here because there is not enough space in the south to host all these hundreds of thousands of people who fled from Gaza and the north. People who decided to stay there, they don’t have any other solution. They don’t have any other options. And there is nothing on this planet can justify killing civilians.

AMY GOODMAN: You are in Khan Younis, Yousef Hammash, where you moved. Were you living in Jabaliya?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: I’m born and raised in Jabaliya camp. Yes, I live in Jabaliya.

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about who lives there. Talk about the refugee camp, this largest refugee camp, how it was established.

YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, this northern — refugee camps all across Gaza have been established after the Nakba 1948 and then have been expanded more and more. It became small cities. It’s a block of concrete. It’s not like the other camps that we see on the planet, like what’s seen now in Khan Younis, for example. They had to designate another camp which is a tent camp. No, it’s a small city within the city, as the refugee camp. And it’s very densely populated. I know every corner there. I know the people who live there are refugees. And this is generations of refugees who are living in this refugee camp, who is getting expanded day by day because the amount of people are getting more and more, and there is no solutions also for refugees. So it became not a refugee camp. It became a small city within a city. This is how the camp. It’s different than other camps in the world.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you moved with your family to other family in Khan Younis. After the Israeli military told people to move south, dropped thousands of pamphlets and said they would consider you terrorists if you didn’t, they bombed Khan Younis. Is that right? They bombed places in the south, where they said you should go.

YOUSEF HAMMASH: Even here in Khan Younis, it’s not safe. Yesterday, 50 meters away from us, they bombed a family. Eighteen members were killed. And it take us until the daylight to evacuate people who were killed, and most of them were children. There is no safe place all over Gaza. And that’s also another reason why people are not leaving. It’s not safe in the north. It’s not safe in the middle area. It’s not safe in the south also. All across Gaza Strip, the bombardment didn’t stop since the first day. So, this is another reason why people are not moving from the north, because it’s not different. Every day there is a lot of bombardment in Rafah, in Khan Younis, in Deir al-Balah, in the middle area, in Gaza City and the north. There is no difference wherever you are in Gaza City. You are always thinking when you are going to be the next target.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re there in Khan Younis. In an interview you did with Channel 4, you said it took you five hours to look for one liter of fuel in Khan Younis. If you can talk about why fuel is important? And respond to what the Israeli military is saying, why they’re not letting any fuel come in, which runs hospitals, of course, saving lives, the incubators that have premature babies in them, etc. What this fuel shortage looks like for you, not only you as a person, a Palestinian in Gaza, but as advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, where you’re responsible for so many refugees?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, unfortunately, even as humanitarian actors, we cannot do our own, because there is no difference between anyone here. Everyone is under the same circumstances. Fuel is very important because there is no electricity at all. Even when we have one week — one time per week, we have water from the municipality because they have schedule for each area. We need the fuel to push the water from the municipality lines up to the houses. That’s why everything is challenging. And it’s a matter — it’s a layer of complexities. If you have water, you need fuel to push it to the house. To find water, you need to find a way to get it. And it’s almost impossible. Five hours, and I was lucky to did it. Since three days, we are trying to find another liter, and I couldn’t make it. I was lucky because I found someone who’s a friend of mine, and his car was having some fuel. Now, unfortunately, since three days, we don’t have fuel. Today we have the water again that’s from the municipality lines. And unfortunately, we couldn’t push it to the house. So we have had to fill small gallons, and we had to create lines of us inside the house to hand each other, to push, to get — to carry the water to the house tanks. Everything is challenging. And day by day, everything becomes more impossible. And it’s layers above layer of complexities and needs. We don’t have electricity. We don’t have fuel. We don’t have water. And we are lacking everything. We don’t have access for our basic needs.

And unfortunately, we don’t see that effort to push to allow for fuel, for other basic needs for Palestinians. Even these trucks that came in on a daily basis, the maximum amount of trucks reached 50 trucks per day. Before this war started, Gaza was having more than 500 trucks per day, without that amount of need from the war. So, it’s really unacceptable how the world is behaving toward that. It’s not a victory that they succeeded to manage to get these trucks to come. This is not a victory for anyone. This is a drop in the ocean of needs.

AMY GOODMAN: Yousef Hammash, they cut off communication again. We didn’t even know if we’d be able to talk to you. But now the electricity, at least where you are, is back on. Can you talk about the significance of this cutting off of cellphone and electricity, that also happened over the weekend, what it means for you? And also, what’s happening at Rafah today?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, this is the second time —

AMY GOODMAN: But first start with, yes, the cutoff.

YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, this is the second time that — so, this is the second time that they isolated us from the rest of the planet. We didn’t have access to phone calls, internet or even radio stations. So, literally, we didn’t know what was happening in the next city. We were completely isolated inside our houses. And here to find internet, I think there is a lot of chaos around me, because I need to go to a cafe where there is — at least they have generator, they have some electricity, so I can have access to internet to have this interview with you. Everything is challenging. And being isolated from the rest of the world, we wasn’t knowing what’s happening in the north or in Gaza City or anywhere else in Gaza. We were just completely in a blackout. I don’t know how it’s acceptable to do this to us. And I don’t think we are — we are very good people in coping. We have a very good coping mechanism. But we cannot cope with this. We didn’t have communication. It’s lacking us from everything.

And this is very dangerous, especially for the emergency situations. You cannot call an ambulance. When they did it a few days ago, it was for two days, 36 hours. People who were trying to get an ambulance after an attack, or even if they have a medical situation inside the house, they had to go to the hospital, informing them, and bring them back with them to the house to take someone who is, for example, very sick, or even if they were injured from an attack. It’s an impossible situation without connection. And this is the second time we see it. This time, it was around 14 hours. And let’s hope — because we cannot find alternatives, let’s hope they are not going to keep continuing doing that, because this is not only affecting us as people who have become more isolated, it’s affecting the emergency situation, the emergency response from the medical teams and civil affairs teams. It’s really dangerous.

AMY GOODMAN: How old are your children, Yousef? Yousef, you’re frozen. How old are your children?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, I have two children. Ilya is 5 years old, and Ahmed, two-and-a-half. And hopefully, we will manage to stay alive during this chaos and madness, and they can see a brighter future. And because — my son Ahmed is 2 years old. He have witnessed a lot. My 5-years-old daughter witnessed more than a lot for a child to witness from this madness around us. And I feel, again — I keep saying that to myself, and I can tell you clearly, I feel guilty because I brought my children in this place. I feel responsible towards my children, and I regret having them in this chaotic situation.

AMY GOODMAN: Yousef Hammash, I want to thank you so much for being with us, advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, born in the Jabaliya refugee camp. We have 30 seconds. Your final message — we are based here in the United States — to the U.S. government, to the American population, and also globally around the world?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: I think the world needs to react and to act seriously stopping this madness. I think it’s more than enough for us to suffer and to see what we are seeing currently. World need to extend and hold their responsibilities toward us as a human being. It’s more than enough since the first day. Now we’re stopping — we have already stopped calculating days, because it’s all similar, all its amount of bombardment and horror nights. The world needs to stand and hold their responsibilities toward us as human beings.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you, Yousef Hammash, for making the effort, despite all of these difficulties to speak to us today. Again, Yousef Hammash is the —


AMY GOODMAN: — advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, grew up, was born in the Jabaliya refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in Gaza.

When we come back, we’ll be joined by Craig Mokhiber, top U.N. official in New York, who’s resigned, saying the U.N. is failing to stop what he calls a “genocide” unfolding in Gaza. Back in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: “Giving Up Everything” by Natalie Merchant. Natalie Merchant recently signed an open letter titled “Artists Call for Ceasefire Now,” alongside actors like Joaquin Phoenix, the playwright Tony Kushner and Miranda July, the letter supported by Oxfam American and ActionAid USA.

As the slaughter continues,  Andre Damon (WSWS) explains:

Israeli authorities gloated about having deliberately attacked an area full of hundreds of women and children. “But you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians, men, women and children in that refugee camp as well, right?” CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer asked IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht. 

Hecht made clear that the answer was yes. “This is the tragedy of war, Wolf,” he replied.

When asked to respond directly to Hecht’s statement, US Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder endorsed the attack by accusing Palestinians of serving as “human shields.” In response to the bombing, Senator Lindsay Graham publicly declared that there is “no limit” to the number of civilian deaths the United States is willing to tolerate in Gaza.

The US-Israeli plans are becoming clear. For 50 years, the imperialist powers have been talking about a “solution” to the “problem” of the Palestinians. Now, they have found one: the “final solution of the Palestinian question.”

Aestimated 1.4 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes since the Israeli military began bombing the Gaza Strip on Oct. 8, 2023, in retaliation for a surprise attack by Hamas militants. Many of these Palestinians have sought refuge in United Nations emergency shelters in a situation the World Health Organization has described as “catastrophic.”

With shelters running out of adequate access to water, food, electricity and other critical supplies, humanitarian agencies are deeply concerned and fear a total breakdown in order.

While the current refugee crisis in Gaza has raised global concern over Palestinian displacement, this is not the first time Palestinians have endured the hardships of forced migration. Long before the latest upheaval, Palestinians who today live in Gaza and throughout the Middle East were forced from or fled their homes in what became the state of Israel. Today, they number about 5.9 million refugeesalmost half of the entire global Palestinian population.

Over the past 20 years, my research as an anthropologist has focused on the situation of Palestinian displacement in the Middle East. Having studied some of the daunting challenges millions of Palestinians face as stateless refugees denied the ability to return to their homeland or the right of compensation, I believe it is critical to understand their history and what is at stake for those trapped in indefinite exile.

The majority of Palestinian refugees today receive aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA. Dispersed throughout the region, including in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories, about one-third of all Palestinian refugees live in UNRWA refugee camps, while the remainder live in surrounding cities and towns.

The origins of Palestinian displacement are ongoing and cannot be reduced to a single cause. Most Palestinian refugees, however, can trace their roots to two significant events in Palestinian history: The “Nakba” and the “Naksa.”

The majority of Palestinian refugees today receive aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA. Dispersed throughout the region, including in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories, about one-third of all Palestinian refugees live in UNRWA refugee camps, while the remainder live in surrounding cities and towns.

The origins of Palestinian displacement are ongoing and cannot be reduced to a single cause. Most Palestinian refugees, however, can trace their roots to two significant events in Palestinian history: The “Nakba” and the “Naksa.”

The majority of Palestine’s Arab population fled their homes during the war, seeking temporary refuge across the Middle East but hoping to return after hostilities ceased.

The mass exodus of Palestinians in 1948 resulted in two realities that have marked the region since. The first involved about 25,000 Palestinians displaced within the boundaries of what became Israel. Known as internally displaced Palestinians, this community did not cross any official border and thus never received refugee status under international law. Instead, they became Israeli citizens, distinguished by their legal designation in Israel as “present absentees.”

Through the Absentee Property Law the Israeli state proceeded to confiscate displaced Palestinians’ properties and deny their right to return to the homes and villages of their birth.

The second event involved over 700,000 Palestinians who fled beyond what became the de facto borders of Israel and acquired formal refugee status under the United Nations. This group of refugees sought shelter in areas of Palestine unconquered by Jewish forces, like Nablus and Jenin, and in neighboring states, including Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

Immediately following their displacement, these Palestinians were subject to ad hoc support from various international organizations until the 1949 creation of the UNRWA, which assumed official responsibility for the management of direct relief operations and refugee camp infrastructure throughout the Middle East.

The world is outraged.  The US government?  Not really.  THE NEW YORK TIMES notes:

Even as President Biden presses Israel to define clearly the goals of its war against Hamas in Gaza, he is turning his eyes to a much larger endgame: the ever-elusive hope for a lasting peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking to reporters last week, Mr. Biden said that “when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next, and in our view it has to be a two-state solution,” creating a sovereign Palestinian nation alongside the state of Israel.

The question is how hard Mr. Biden intends to work for that outcome.

Until last month, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not among his top priorities. A president focused on countering China and then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had little time or inclination for a distant goal that stymied — and politically bruised — several of his predecessors.

Biden administration officials also doubted whether Israel’s increasingly hawkish leadership was interested in any plausible deal. They also wondered whether the Palestinians would trust the United States as a peace broker after four years of the Trump administration’s dramatically pro-Israel tilt and a Trump peace plan that the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, excluded from its devising, declared dead on arrival.

Unlike his recent predecessors, Mr. Biden did not appoint a special envoy for Middle East peace or task his secretary of state with trying to forge an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead, he focused on mediating a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, hoping to leverage Israeli concessions to the Palestinians along the way.

The US government's inflexible and total support for the assault on Gaza is costing Joe votes. Ahmed Moor (THE NATION) explains that Joe has lost his vote:

I first had serious doubts about Joe Biden when I learned he self-identified as a Zionist. For me, as a Palestinian American, and for the millions of Palestinians living through apartheid, Zionism isn’t a way of seeing the world. It’s a political theory that establishes Jewish dominance over the people and land of Palestine/Israel, based on a Jewish majority in that land. It seeks to justify, unsuccessfully, repeated bouts of ethnic cleansing, occupation, and inequality before the law. By identifying himself with Zionism, Biden expressly indicated his support for the outcome of these policies: a Jewish-majority state, for Jews only. Implicitly, he endorsed the policies themselves.

Like many in the coalition of progressive minorities that drives the success of the Democratic party, I arrived at an uneasy accommodation with myself. The moral challenge many of us face in voting for the Democrats isn’t new; the Iraq war, which was supported by most of the party’s leadership, made it difficult to vote for Hillary Clinton. The conventional argument admonishing progressives to vote for the Democrats is: You have an obligation to help the poor, fight inequality, and work for climate justice, racial justice, reproductive rights, and basic democracy; there is only one party in Washington willing to make a contribution to your goals; therefore, despite Democrats’ limitations, which include excessive corporatism, an institutional affinity for Israel, a neoliberal foreign policy, and an unwillingness or inability to tax the wealthy, you should vote for the Democrats.

Call it maturity, or a pragmatism born of experience, but over the years I learned to suppress my deep discomfort with the party’s non-progressive policies to vote Democrat and keep “a lesser evil” at bay. In 2021, after voting for Jill Stein in two presidential elections, I relented and joined up. Here in Philadelphia, I ran for and won a seat as a committee person in my ward. In that capacity, I worked to turn out voters for John Fetterman. I voted for Joe Biden.

I have no intention of doing so again next year.

The past three weeks have transformed me. I’ve viewed shocking, nauseating videos documenting the genocide underway in Gaza. I’ve seen the neighborhoods I grew up in eliminated, totally. I cannot describe the pain of viewing my extended family suffer through state-sanctioned terror. I cannot describe the horror they’re experiencing, their awareness of their dehumanization, and the agonizing knowledge that they’ve been abandoned by a cynical world. Now, with Gaza in total darkness, literal and metaphorical, I find that I dread the worst. I am justified in expecting it.

That sentiment is not a surprise.  The United States, like the world, is watching as the assault on Gaza continues.  They see the scenes like the one below that Corky Siemaszko (NBC NEWS) describes:

Desperate Palestinians were using their bare hands Tuesday to retrieve bodies buried in the ruins of a Gaza refugee camp moments after it was hit by an airstrike that reduced more than a dozen buildings to rubble, killed dozens and wounded hundreds of people, according to local health officials. 

[. . .]

Hamas has denied that any of its leadership was in Jabalia at the time of the strike, which they said destroyed at least 20 homes.

NBC News has not independently verified Biari’s death.

Footage of the aftermath of the attack showed hundreds of anguished people clambering in and out of what appears to be several giant craters and struggling to find buried victims.

"My three kids are gone, my kids, no one is alive," one despondent man named Jabar could be heard saying as his friends tried to console him.

The threat to life to children in Gaza is urgent and extreme. Hundreds of children are foreseeably killed with each passing day of Israel's campaign. The deaths of these young souls is foreseeable for three reasons: because half the population of Gaza are children; because in multiple previous bombing campaigns one in four fatalities were children; and because the child casualty rate of the current campaign is widely reported. There comes a point where the very inevitability and predictability of these deaths collapses the moral distinction between "foreseen" and "intended." If Israeli children were being harmed in this way, there would be an identical global outcry.

Any search for a solution to this crisis inevitably arrives at its strategic context, which is deeply uncomfortable for the Israeli government. Under international law, Israel is the occupying power of Palestinian territory in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. No accusations of anti-Semitism or of pro-Hamas bias can scrub out this basic reality. If the tables were turned and Palestine were the occupier, the Palestinians would be implored to stop bombing the homesschoolshouses of worship and evacuation zones of a captive and impoverished population. They would be urged to revive a political pathway for ending the occupation so that all can live in peace and with dignity. And so that extremists in Palestine, Israel and beyond can be marginalised and frozen out.

The House Republican bill to provide aid to Israel will add $26.8 billion to the U.S. budget deficit, according to a new report Wednesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The bill championed by new Speaker Mike Johnson pairs $14.3 billion in aid to Israel with $14.3 billion in cuts to IRS funding that was enacted under the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration initiative passed by Democrats last year.

But the CBO found that the IRS cuts coupled with the Israel aid would lead to a $26.8 billion decline in revenue, contradicting the stated goal of offsetting the aid. The CBO and the Treasury Department have said the funds, if left intact, would lead to tougher IRS enforcement and the collection of more tax revenues.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

A top United Nations official in New York has resigned and accused the United Nations of failing to address what he calls a “text-book case of genocide” unfolding in Gaza. Craig Mokhiber is a longtime international human rights lawyer who served as director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He had worked at the United Nations since 1992 and lived in Gaza in the 1990s.

In a letter addressed to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, Craig Mokhiber wrote, “In Gaza, civilian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and medical institutions are wantonly attacked as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units. Across the land, Apartheid rules.”

Craig Mokhiber went on to write, “What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault. Not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations 'to ensure respect' for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities,” unquote.

On Tuesday, the U.N. released statement about Mokhiber’s resignation, saying, quote, “I can confirm he is retiring today. He informed the U.N. in March of his upcoming retirement, which takes effect tomorrow. The views in his letter made public today are his personal views,” the U.N. said.

Craig Mokhiber joins us now in New York, the first day he’s not working for the United Nations.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Thank you, Amy. Good to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about why you left.

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I originally registered my concerns in writing to the high commissioner in March, as you heard from that statement, in the wake of a wave of human rights violations on the West Bank, including the pogrom Huwara at that time. And at that time, I complained, really, about what I saw as a trepidatious response by many in the United Nations, and an effort to try to silence some of the human rights critique of U.N. officials, including myself. And I admit to feeling a great deal of frustration, and at that moment indicating that I would be resigning from the U.N., effective this month. So, of course, the situation got much worse since then, which is why I was — particularly the events in Gaza — which is why I was compelled to write this latest letter to the high commissioner, to put on record my very serious concerns about how we were failing to address the unfolding events in the Occupied Territories.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think the United Nations, the United States, the West, U.K. should be doing right now?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I think there is an obligation on the part of all member states of the United Nations, including those states in the West, to respond in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law. My central point in the most recent letter was that we had effectively left international law behind when the international community embraced the Oslo process, which sort of raised up notions of political expediency above the requirements of international law. And that was a real loss for human rights in Palestine. I think there is an obligation on the part of all states not just to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, but, under the Geneva Conventions, to ensure respect. And it’s clear that many states, including the United States itself, have not only — are not only in breach of their obligation to ensure respect vis-à-vis those states over which they have influence — in this case, Israel — but have been actively complicit, actively engaged in arming, in diplomatic cover, in political support, intelligence support and so on. That is a breach of international humanitarian law. We need the opposite of that. We need all states, members of the United Nations, to use whatever influence they have to ensure an end to these attacks on civilians in Gaza, to ensure as well accountability for the perpetrators, redress for the victims, protection for the vulnerable there.

It’s interesting, Amy. We have a formula at the United Nations that is applied to virtually every other conflict situation. But when it comes to the situation in Israel and Palestine, there’s a different set of rules, apparently. And that’s, I think, a big source of my frustration. Where is the transitional justice process? Where is the U.N. protection force to protect all civilians? Where is the tribunal for accountability? Where is the action on the part of the Security Council, the only mechanism in the United Nations that has enforcement to ensure protection in the Occupied Territories? Obviously, every effort in the Security Council is vetoed by the United States itself, a further indication of the kind of complicity about which I am referring.

And I think the other thing that needs to happen in the international community is that we have to abandon the failed paradigms of the past on a political level and get back to the roots, which is international law, international human rights. What has happened in the context of the so-called Oslo process, the two-state solution, the U.N. Quartet, is that they have acted effectively as a smokescreen, behind which we have seen further and worsening dispossession of Palestinians, massive atrocities, such as those as we are witnessing now, the loss of homes and land, further settlement activity. You know, it’s an open secret inside the halls of the United Nations that the so-called two-state solution is effectively impossible now — there’s nothing left for a sustainable state for the Palestinian people — and takes no account of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people. The new paradigm has to be one based upon equality of all people there, equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews. And that needs to be the new approach.

And I think, as well, you know, it’s interesting that this year we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948. That same year, the Nakba occurred in Palestine, and apartheid was adopted in South Africa. We have seen, because of a consistent international law and international human rights approach in the U.N. and the international community, that apartheid in South Africa fell. We did not take the same approach in Palestine. We’ve deferred to these political processes. And as a result, not only have we not seen an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people, we’ve seen a continuing worsening of the situation.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re a longtime human rights lawyer. I want you to respond — I played this already for Yousef Hammash in Gaza right now, in Khan Younis, to respond, but I’d like you to respond to it, as well. After Israel’s attack on Jabaliya yesterday, the IDF spokesperson, Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, appeared on CNN and was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER: But you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians, men, women and children, in that refugee camp, as well, right?

LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT: This is the tragedy of war, Wolf. I mean, we — as you know, we’ve been saying for days, move south. Civilians that are not involved with Hamas, please move south. We —

WOLF BLITZER: Yeah, I’m just trying to get a little bit more information. You knew there were civilians there. You knew there were refugees, all sorts of refugees. But you decided to still drop a bomb on that refugee camp attempting to kill this Hamas commander. By the way, was he killed?

LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT: I can’t confirm, yeah. There will be more updated. He, yes, we know that he was killed. About the civilians there, we’re doing everything we can to minimize.

AMY GOODMAN: So, he’s saying they’re doing everything they can to minimize. He’s talking about Ibrahim Biari, whom it identified — Israel has identified as Hamas’s commander of the Jabaliya center battalion, saying he was killed in those recent strikes. Can you respond to every aspect of what he said? They were trying to get a high-value target, as they put it, and they are not trying to kill civilians.

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I think what’s important in that interview is that is another of many indications of intent on the part of Israeli authorities, that will be very important in a court of law. He has said very openly that they knew of the concentrations of civilians there, and yet, in violation of the principle of distinction in international humanitarian law, and on the pretext of killing one combatant, wiped out the better part of an entire refugee camp, densely populated refugee camp. And I think what’s been interesting in this war is the very open statement of intents. I referred in my letter to the case for genocide which is happening now. And, you know, “genocide” is a very politicized term, often abused. But in this case, the hardest part of proving genocide has been proven for us with these very open statements of genocidal intent by Israeli officials, including the prime minister and the president and senior Cabinet ministers and military officials, who in their public statements have indicated very clearly their intention not to distinguish between civilians and combatants, and to carry out the kinds of wholesale slaughter that we are witnessing in Gaza. That is not a justification in international law, saying that there was a combatant there, for that very disproportionate use of firepower against what was a civilian target. And that’s what we’ve been seeing in all of Gaza, from the north to the south.

The other thing is this claim that, “Well, we told them to move south, and therefore we can kill everybody who didn’t move.” This is an extremely dangerous and unlawful tactic that is being used, first because we know that evacuations in Gaza in the best of times, in this densely populated small territory with 2.3 million civilians crowded in, with very limited infrastructure, is a huge challenge. But most of Gaza has been bombed into rubble. It is just not physically possible for civilians to move en masse in the ways that Israel has required them to do so. And we know, already well documented, that when they do so, they’re still subjected to bombings even in the south of the Gaza Strip. So, all of this, it seems to me, is evidence of intent and a prima facie case for violations of the laws of war.

AMY GOODMAN: Israel has called for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to resign, after he said Hamas’s October 7th attack did not happen in a vacuum. This is Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan.

GILAD ERDAN: Mr. Secretary-General, the U.N. was established to prevent atrocities, to prevent such atrocities like the barbaric atrocities that Hamas committed. But the U.N. is failing. The U.N. is failing. And you, Mr. Secretary-General, have lost all morality and impartiality, because when you say those terrible words that these heinous attacks did not happen in a vacuum, you are tolerating terrorism. And by tolerating terrorism, you are justifying terrorism.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. Craig Mokhiber, your response?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, of course, you can imagine why the ambassador would want to start the clock only in October and to ignore the decades upon decades of persecution against the Palestinian people in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, inside Israel proper. But that is not the kind of assessment that leads to peace or leads to an improved situation on the ground. The secretary-general was doing his job. He had condemned the loss of civilian life in the Hamas attack, and he also criticized not just what Israel was doing in Gaza, but all of the events that have led up to this situation.

And that’s what I mean by a need to break from the failed paradigm of the past. We really need to get into something that says that human beings are entitled to human rights under international law and that the duty of the international community is to ensure protection for all under the rule of law, but also accountability for perpetrators and redress for victims.

So, I am not surprised at that statement. We’ve seen a lot of extreme statements from that particular ambassador, a lot of theater, as well. I don’t think we should allow it to distract us to what’s happening on the ground, which is the wholesale loss of life of innocent civilians in their thousands, including thousands of children in the Gaza Strip, and the need to get to an immediate ceasefire and then to shift into a new approach that will prevent this from happening again and again and again.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m wondering about the role of Karim Khan, the lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. I think he was in Rafah just a few days ago. We see the world’s response, or the West’s response, when it came to Russia invading Ukraine and occupying Ukraine. Karim Khan, very soon after, opened a whole investigation into crimes against humanity that Putin was committing in Ukraine. Can you respond to the difference in approach to Russia and Ukraine and Israel and the Occupied Territories, officially, international law, the OPT, the Occupied Palestinian Territories?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, there has been a stunning inconsistency with the rapidity with which the court was able to move and the prosecutor was able to move with regard to Ukraine and the years upon years in which it has dragged its feet with regard to Palestine. This is just one of many critiques of the court, including the fact that it does not have a very strong record of holding Northern countries — Israel, the United States and others — to account for their crimes under international criminal law, and yet is very anxious to move forward on cases in the Global South.

Now, that is not to condemn the court. The court is a young institution. It needs to be strengthened. It needs to insulate itself from the kinds of political pressure that have led to its inaction in the case of Palestine. But our hope, ultimately, is the peaceful resolution of disputes through the use of international law. And if that’s going to happen, we need a robust and fair International Criminal Court that doesn’t provide for exceptionalism for powerful countries of the North, like Israel, for example, but that holds all perpetrators of international crimes to account. The court has a long way to go before it’s going to have the reputation that will bring confidence globally that it’s meeting its mandate under the Rome Statute.

AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre compared pro-Palestinian protesters to the white supremacists who took part in the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. She made the comment in response to a question from Fox News’s Peter Doocy.

PETER DOOCY: Does President Biden think the anti-Israel protesters in this country are extremists?

PRESS SECRETARY KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: What I can say is what we’ve been very clear about this: When it comes to antisemitism, there is no place. We have to make sure that we speak against it very loud and be — and be very clear about that. Remember, what the president decided to — when the president decided to run for president is what he saw in Charlottesville in 2017, when we — he saw neo-Nazis marching down the streets of Charlottesville with vile, antisemitic just hatred. And he was very clear then, and he’s very clear now. He’s taken actions against this over the past two years. And he’s continued to be clear: There is no place — no place — for this type of vile and despite — this kind of rhetoric.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s President Biden’s spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre. Craig Mokhiber, your response?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I think one of the most disturbing aspects of this current situation in the North, in countries like the U.S. and in Europe, has been this rather unprecedented crackdown on human rights defenders speaking up to defend the human rights of people in Gaza during this situation. And that has come from official statements that try to critique in that way people who are defending human rights, and to compare them with far-right neofascist protesters, for example. I mean, it’s an outrageous comparison to make. And it doesn’t stop there. We have also seen very strong efforts on the part of government institutions, including local governments and state governments and the federal government, and universities and employers and others to punish people for daring to speak up, criticizing the human rights violations that are happening, or criticizing the U.S. role in these violations.

But I think what is most hopeful, Amy, and where there is a glimmer of hope, which has, I have to say, moved me very much, it’s that people are not allowing themselves to be intimidated by these tactics. We have seen massive demonstrations, in all parts of the country and in Europe, from people many times risking arrest, risking police beatings, risking other consequences, because they refuse to allow this to go forward and to have the human rights claim be silenced. And I think most encouraging, we have seen — you know, just a few blocks from here a few days ago, we saw a large group, organized by Jewish Voices for Peace, IfNotNow, of Jewish protesters standing up and saying, “Not in our name,” and taking over Grand Central Station, and in one move stripping away the Israeli propaganda point that they are somehow acting in the defense of Jews. Jewish people are not represented by Israel. These protesters have made that perfectly clear. Israel pushes an old antisemitic trope that it somehow represents Jewish people around the world. Not only is that not factual, but it’s very dangerous. And everyone needs to know that Israel is a state that’s responsible for its own crimes, and that responsibility does not extend to our Jewish brothers and sisters, many of whom are standing up alongside Muslim and Christian and others in demonstrations across this country and across Europe, saying that this must end.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to a comment in The Guardian by Anne Bayefsky, who directs Touro College’s Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust in New York, who accused you of overt antisemitism, saying you used U.N. letterhead to call for wiping Israel off the map. Craig Mokhiber, if you could respond?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, Anne Bayefsky is a well-known entity amongst human rights defenders. She has made a career of attacking anyone who dares to criticize Israeli human rights violations, in particular. I have responded to this idea of wiping Israel off the map by saying I’m not looking for an end to Israel, I’m looking for an end to apartheid. And it’s very telling, what Anne Bayefsky tweeted in her attack on me. She accused me of antisemitism, and the quote that she took from my letter to prove that was my call for equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews. I had to reply to her tweet by saying that she had become a parody of herself, because if calling for equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews is a new form of antisemitism, then there’s no conversation to be had.

But I don’t think people are falling for these smears anymore. They are almost automatic. But the point needs to be made again and again that criticism of Israeli human rights violations is not antisemitic, just as criticism of Saudi violations is not Islamophobic, criticism of Myanmar violations is not anti-Buddhist, criticism of Indian violations is not anti-Hindu. If any of those are true, then there is no international human rights framework. And if only the case of Israel is true, well, that’s a racist proposition that only Palestinians can’t have their human rights defended in this globe. So, I don’t think anyone listens too much to those kinds of smears anymore. And luckily, people are speaking up louder, not lowering their voices, to demand human rights in the Occupied Territories.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what do you go off to do, Craig Mokhiber? I mean, you have been at the United Nations for decades. Talk about your plans now. Today is your first day that you’re not working at the U.N.

CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I intend to remain involved in the cause of international human rights, in which I’ve been involved since 1980, in fact. There’s no question about that. I will do it under my own name, unconstrained by diplomatic protocol and the constraints of the U.N. I will continue to support my colleagues. I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m criticizing the whole U.N. You know, U.N. humanitarian workers, U.N. human rights workers, the UNRWA colleagues in Gaza, dozens of whom have lost their life just in the last couple of weeks under Israeli bombs, are doing absolutely heroic work all around the world. But I want to try to influence the political side of the house to take up a more realistic and principled approach to this particular conflict, one based in international human rights, one based in international humanitarian law, and one based in achievable goals, if not in the immediate term, of a paradigm based upon equality, an end to apartheid, and, as I said, equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your final response to the protesters just yesterday in Washington, D.C., in the Senate, repeatedly disrupting Secretary of State Antony Blinken while he was testifying before the Senate on President Biden’s request for $106 billion for Ukraine, Israel and militarizing the U.S.-Mexico border. A group of protesters with members of Muslims for Just Futures and Detention Watch Network, sitting behind Blinken, held up their hands covered in fake blood. He was also interrupted by members of CodePink, including the former State Department official Ann Wright, who resigned over the Iraq War. This is what she said.

ANN WRIGHT: Three thousand five hundred kids dead. Come on. I’m an Army colonel. I’m a former diplomat. I resigned on that War in Iraq that you talked about. That was a terrible thing. And what you’re doing right now in supporting Israel’s genocide of Gaza is a terrible thing, too. Stop the war! Ceasefire now!

AMY GOODMAN: She was holding a sign as she was taken out by security, “Ceasefire in Gaza.” Craig Mokhiber, your final comments?

CRAIG MOKHIBER: This is where I find the most hope, Amy. I have lost confidence in official institutions of government after all these years in the international human rights movement. I am losing hope in international — important parts of international institutions. Where there is hope, it is in civil society. It is in those ordinary people, here in the United States and elsewhere, who are willing to stand up and demand respect for human life and for human rights. And these kinds of protests in the halls of Congress, before the State Department, in front of the White House, in Grand Central Station, in the streets, everywhere, particularly with this climate that is trying to —

AMY GOODMAN: Three seconds.

CRAIG MOKHIBER: — suppress critique of these current policies, it’s only going to come from civil society —

AMY GOODMAN: Craig Mokhiber — 

CRAIG MOKHIBER: — that these will be shaken loose.

AMY GOODMAN: — we thank you so much, international human rights lawyer.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Gross, Daddy, I Know Where Her Hand's Been" went up yesterday.  The following sites updated: