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Nothing spells “irrelevant” better than a British parliament voting on a symbolic and non-binding resolution in support of the two-state solution, which happens to be 6-feet under for quite some time now.

If the British had any guts, they would have supported Palestinian independence decades ago. Heck, even support of Abbas’ recent attempts at the UN would have sufficed.

But no, the British parliament was intent on voting for a resolution that sounds like it came out of the 90’s.

They would have been better off – and much more relevant – settling once and for all the biggest debate of that decade: Oasis or Blur?

Following an international outcry this morning over a striped children’s shirt embossed with a yellow Star of David, fashion company Zara began removing the product page from its websites. While the statement from parent company Inditex was circumspect – explaining that the shirt was “inspired by classical Western films” and saying it was no longer available – the comment offered by Zara’s Israeli office went to greater lengths:

The item in question, part of the Cowboy Collection for babies, was inspired by the character of the sheriff in Wild West movies. The word ‘Sheriff’ is visible on the star at the front of the item. Nevertheless, we can understand the sensitive context and connotation that was created.

The item does not exist in Israel and as soon as the issue became clear, it was decided the product will be removed from shelves across the world and exterminated.

You almost got there guys. You almost did.

We sincerely apologize if, as a result, we have offended the feelings of our customers.

*Slow. Clap.* 

Zara "Sherrif" Screenshot, 0937 27Aug2014

The exact Hebrew word is “ויושמדו.” While it can also be translated as “will be destroyed,” hashmada is the exact word used to describe the Nazi genocidal practices – for example, Mahanot haHashmada, extermination camps. And since this is the precise issue on which the apology is being offered, few Israeli readers would miss the connotation. You’d think Zara would take the time to thumb through a thesaurus, or something.

Related:
ZARA presents: A striped pyjama with a yellow star for your child
Urban Outfitters’ yellow tee causes causes stir over Holocaust association

Nope, it’s not The Onion.

A few days ago some 300 Holocaust survivors placed an ad in the New York Times condemning the massacre in Gaza. My colleague from Local Call, John Brown, has selected a few of the responses on Facebook that Israelis posted in response to the ad.

I’ve translated a few from John’s selection:

David Cohen: Those aren’t Holocaust survivors those are probably collaborators with the Nazis.

Shmulik Halphon: He’s invited to go back to Auschwitz.

Itzik Levy: These are survivors who were Kapos. Leftist traitors. That’s why they live abroad and not in the Jewish State.

Vitali Guttman: Enough, they should die already. They survived the Holocaust only to do another Holocaust to Israel in global public opinion?

Meir Dahan: No wonder Hitler murdered 6 million Jews because of people like you you’re not even Jews you’re disgusting people a disgrace to humanity and so are your offspring you are trash.

Asher Solomon: It’s a shame Hitler didn’t finish the job.

Katy Morali: Holocaust survivors who think like this are invited to go die in the gas chambers.

Yafa Ashraf: Shitty Ashkenazis you are the Nazis.

Israelis lash out against holocaust survivors who oppose 'Protective Edge'

Israelis lash out against holocaust survivors who oppose ‘Protective Edge’

The following clip appeared a few days ago on the IDF’s official YouTube channel: a catchy remix of communications recorded by the Israeli Air Force during its bombing raids on Gaza during the recent war. It’s pretty self-explanatory and doesn’t really need subtitles; the words are just regular communications counting down to a missile launch (“two-three-launch!”), plus the occasional appreciative yelp from the command center.

All overdubbed on some light electro tune.

Because who said bombing civilians is something you can’t dance to.

Activists protest Israel's attacks on Gaza in a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC, August 9, 2014. The protest was part of a global "Day of Rage" called by Palestinian civil society against Israel's war on Gaza.

Activists protest Israel’s attacks on Gaza in a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC, August 9, 2014. The protest was part of a global “Day of Rage” called by Palestinian civil society against Israel’s war on Gaza. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Apparently, someone at the White House was looking out the window last Saturday as protesters demanded an end to U.S. support for Israel’s offensive on Gaza. In an action that comes as Operation Protective Edge appears to be more or less over, Haaretz reports:

[A]gainst the backdrop of American displeasure over IDF tactics used in the Gaza fighting and the high number of civilian casualties caused by Israel’s massive use of artillery fire rather than more precise weapons, officials in the White House and the State Department are now demanding to review every Israeli request for American arms individually, rather than let them move relatively unchecked through a direct military-to-military channel, a fact that slows down the process.

According to a senior U.S. official, the decision to tighten oversight and require approval of higher-ranking officials over shipments, was intended to make clear to Israel that there is no “blank check” from Washington in regards to the U.S.-made weapons the IDF makes use of in its Gaza operations.

The United States is Israel’s strongest friend, a senior official in the Obama administration told the Wall Street Journal, but “[t]he notion that they are playing the United States, or that they’re manipulating us publicly, completely miscalculates their place in the world.”

The Jerusalem Post also quotes from the Wall Street Journal report that broke the story:

A senior Obama administration official was quoted in the report as saying the decision to scrutinize future transfers at the highest levels amounted to “the United States saying ‘The buck stops here. Wait a second…It’s not OK anymore.”

The report depicted a context of poor relations between Obama and Netanyahu and claimed that the decision to halt the weapons transfer was made at a point when the White House and State Department became “increasingly disturbed by what they saw as heavy-handed battlefield tactics that they believed risked a humanitarian catastrophe,” in Gaza.

Anticipating a backlash from hawkish pro-Israel groups, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has launched a petition asking signers to thank the Obama Administration for taking this significant step. However too little or too late the White Houses measure may come in the midst of Gaza’s suffering, the petition notes that “This is the first time that we know of that the Obama Administration has ever taken any action to curtail U.S. weapons deliveries to Israel.”

Activists protest Israel's attacks on Gaza in demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC, August 9, 2014. The protest was part of a global "Day of Rage" called by Palestinian civil society against Israel's war on Gaza.

Activists protest Israel’s attacks on Gaza in demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC, August 9, 2014. The protest was part of a global “Day of Rage” called by Palestinian civil society against Israel’s war on Gaza.

Related:
Amid Gaza war IDF buys ammunition from U.S. stock in Israel
Challenging U.S. military aid to Israel

In what was slated to be the largest anti-war demonstration in Israel since the outbreak of hostilities in Gaza more than one month ago, Israeli security forces forbade a major demonstration in Tel Aviv tonight.

Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv to protest the Gaza war, despite a police decision to revoke the demonstration's permit, July 9, 2014, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv (photo: Activestills)

Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv to protest Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, despite a police decision to revoke the demonstration’s permit, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, July 9, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

Roughly 500 non-aligned activists flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in defiance of the ban, which was put in place ostensibly to stop large gatherings during a time when missiles are being fired at Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.

The major left-wing parties, including Meretz, were slated to join tonight’s demonstration but pulled out after police banned the public display of anger over the Gaza war.

Protesters chanted slogans such as “Funds to welfare not to war,” “Build more classrooms not more bombs” and “In Gaza and Sderot children want to live.”

Despite heightened tension and a small counter-protest of ring-wing activists, no major clashes were reported between leftist and rightist demonstrators. In addition, no arrests were reported.

Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv to protest Israel's Operation Protective Edge, despite a police decision to revoke the demonstration's permit, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, July 9, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv to protest Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, despite a police decision to revoke the demonstration’s permit, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, July 9, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv to protest Israel's Operation Protective Edge, despite a police decision to revoke the demonstration's permit, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, July 9, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv to protest Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, despite a police decision to revoke the demonstration’s permit, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, July 9, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

A right-wing Israeli counter-protester at a pro-peace demonstration in Tel Aviv. Hundreds gathered in Tel Aviv to protest Israel's Operation Protective Edge, despite a police decision to revoke the demonstration's permit, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, July 9, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

A right-wing Israeli counter-protester at a pro-peace demonstration in Tel Aviv. Hundreds gathered in Tel Aviv to protest Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, despite a police decision to revoke the demonstration’s permit, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, July 9, 2014 (photo: Activestills)

Related:
The night it became dangerous to demonstrate in Tel Aviv
‘No more deaths’: Thousands of Israelis protest the Gaza war
‘Unprecedented’ violence stalks anti-war demos across Israel

Readers of the prominent Israeli news site Mako have overwhelmingly voted in favor of sending President Barack Obama an envelope containing the Ebola virus for his birthday.

The site, which belongs to the Channel 2 company “Keshet” (the most widely watch broadcasting network in Israel) began the survey at noon on Sunday, asking readers what they would like to give the president for his 53rd birthday. The options were as follows (scores in brackets, screenshot below):

A) Peace in the Middle East (22%)

B) Golf clubs (11%)

C) A box set of Israeli television series Prisoners of War (9%)

D) A remix by Noi Alush (local video artist) of Netanyahu’s now-famous “Don’t ever second guess me again” line (10%)

E) An envelope with the Ebola virus (48%)

The results did not cause Mako to reconsider the list of options, nor remove the survey altogether. At the time of writing (Monday night, 11 p.m.) it is still up.

The Israeli watchdog site Walla-Branja wrote on Monday that only a month ago did Mako declare it would enact a new policy of filtering hate speech in its comments section, specifically targeting calls for incitement to violence or death following the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir.

Mako.co.il survey on President Obama's Birthday (screenshot)

Mako.co.il survey on President Obama’s Birthday (screenshot)

Related:
After Abu Khdeir murder, an ugly collision of homophobia and racism
Numbers for the president: Israeli attitudes toward Obama

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Photos and text by: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Approximately 10,000 people demonstrated in the Arab town of Tamra in northern Israel on Saturday against the assault on Gaza. The demonstration was organized by the Islamic Movement and was attended by Palestinians from the north, the Negev/Naqab and Jerusalem.

Palestinian youth living in Israel hold dolls wrapped in a white cloth, during a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza in the northern village Tamra.

Palestinian youth living in Israel hold dolls wrapped in a white cloth, during a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza in Tamra, northern Israel. (photo by Faiz Abu-Rmeleh)

The protesters gathered at the city’s mosque and marched with signs protesting the violence and the killing of civilians, as well as photographs of the victims and children’s dolls wrapped in red-stained stained cloths. The march ended with speeches by public figures, including Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

Palestinian youth living in Israel hold dolls wrapped in a white cloth, during a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza and in support of the Palestinian people, in the northern village Tamra

Palestinian youth living in Israel hold dolls wrapped in a white cloth during a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza and in support of the Palestinian people, Tamra, northern Israel. (photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Related:
Despite ban, hundreds of anti-war demonstrators march in Tel Aviv
PHOTOS: 10,000 march on White House to protest Gaza offensive
Beyond protest: War and the Israeli Left

Following the attacks on the Gaza border village of Khuza’a, Activestills photographer Anne Paq captured this image of a bathroom where six bodies were found. The walls are scorched and riddled with what could appear to be bullet holes or damage from a grenade or other blast or both.

Did those found there get a text message or phone call warning them to flee? Were they hiding weapons, launching rockets or digging tunnels? Were they human shields?

Two things are certain: 1) They were trapped in a small room when their assailants opened fire, and 2) They are all dead.

 A bathroom where six bodies were found is covered with bullet holes, raising allegations of an execution by Israeli forces in Khuza'a, Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A bathroom where six bodies were found is covered with what could appear to be bullet holes, raising allegations of an execution by Israeli forces in Khuza’a, Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Jesse Rosenfeld reports for The Daily Beast:

There is also soot staining the tiles, suggesting the bodies were burned or there had been a small blast. Several tiles have fallen away from the wall. The house is filled with casings from the bullets used in assault rifles. They are marked on the bottom as “IMI” (Israel Military Industries). …

Twenty-one-year-old Naban Abu Shaar told me he was one of the first to find the bodies. He said they looked as if they were “melted” and piled on top of each other.

“When we entered the bathroom, I found the bodies of people slumped on top of each other in the corner,” he said, staring into the distance as if disconnected from his words.

The owner of the house, Mohammad Abu Al Sharif, said he couldn’t recognize the bodies but believed, because of their clothes, some of the dead may have been from his family. He did not say if any of them were fighters. The house had nine members living in it before Abu Al Sharif, his wife and four daughters escaped Khuza’a 20 days ago. He lost contact with those who stayed, he said.
A bullet casing lies on the floor at the scene where six bodies were found dead in a bathroom in Khuza'a, Gaza Strip, after Israeli attacks, August 3, 2014. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A bullet casing lies on the floor at the scene where six bodies were found dead in a bathroom in Khuza’a, Gaza Strip, after Israeli attacks, August 3, 2014. (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

At the time of this posting, Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed more than 1,800 Palestinians, including at least 1,176 civilians, of whom 377 are children and 196 are women. Two Israeli civilians and one Thai worker have been killed by rocket fire from Gaza. The Israeli military confirms that 64 of its soldiers have died, while Hamas claims that Palestinian fighters have killed more than twice that number.

Palestinians and Israelis are holding a protest at 7 p.m. Sunday night against the violence in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Local Call’s Avi Blecherman will be broadcasting live from the demonstration in both Hebrew and English:

Related:
Israeli army scales back forces from Gaza
Palestinians flock to hospital to wait out assault
The bloody devolution of a ‘ceasefire’

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UPDATE: A 72-hour ceasefire between Hamas and Israel was called off a mere two hours after it began at 8 a.m. Friday morning. Code Red sirens rang out in southern Israel at about 10 a.m., just as Palestinian media reports of Israeli artillery fire began to surface. Mortar shells were reportedly fired from within Gaza landed near the border with Israel. Palestinian medical sources reported that at least 40 Gaza residents were killed and dozens of others wounded by subsequent Israeli artillery fire that targeted southern Gaza.

The Israeli army confirmed that a soldier was kidnapped by Hamas operatives near Rafah this morning. Extensive searches are being conducted to resolve the situation. The captive soldier was named as 2nd. Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba. Two soldiers were also killed during the same incident in which the soldier was captured.

Dispatch from Gaza: The bloody devolution of a ‘ceasefire’

Meanwhile, Palestinians on Friday staged a number of protests across the West Bank against the war in Gaza. One protester in Tul Karm was killed. Other demonstrations were held in Hebron, Qalandiya, Qalqilya, Bethlehem, Ni’lin and near the Ofer military prison. Ninety people were reportedly wounded in Hebron.

***

A heavy night of bombing in Gaza was followed by the announcement of a 72-hour humanitarian truce that took effect at 8 a.m. local time. Reuters reported that Israeli and Palestinian delegations were set to travel to Cairo immediately after the temporary truce began for negotiations with Egyptian officials to try and broker a permanent ceasefire agreement.

Following the announcement of the 3-day truce, Hamas stated that the Palestinian factions would abide by the temporary ceasefire; however, Israel said it would continue its mission to destroy Hamas infiltration tunnels regardless of efforts to reach a ceasefire.

Funeral in Bani Suhaila for the 21 members of the Al-Najjar family, who were killed just before the ceasefire, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014.  The Al-Najjar family flew their homes in Khuza'a to take refuge fi-urther west.  Israeli attacks have killed 550 Palestinians in the current offensive, most of them civilians. Khuza'a has been under heavy attacks and many fled their village as the Israeli army physically occupies the village. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Funeral in Bani Suhaila for the 21 members of the Al-Najjar family, who were killed just before a temporary ceasefire, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. The Al-Najjar family fled their homes in Khuza’a to take refuge further west. Khuza’a has been under heavy attack and many people have fled, as the Israeli army physically occupied the village. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Sixteen Palestinians were killed overnight as the Israeli army hit more than 40 targets, bringing the death toll in Gaza to 1,459, with 8,295 wounded. On Thursday the death toll surpassed the 1,391 killed during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09.

According to Ma’an News Agency, Gaza’s Housing Ministry estimates the damage caused by Israel’s military operation at $4 billion, with 5,238 buildings having been completely destroyed.

The Israeli army cleared for publication early Friday the deaths of five of its soldiers in an mortar attack near the border with Gaza on Thursday, raising the military death toll since the start of Operation Protective Edge to 61.

Different Palestinian factions were reportedly calling for protests throughout the West Bank after Friday midday prayers in solidarity with those in Gaza.

Related:
Amid Gaza war, IDF buys ammunition from U.S. stock in Israel
Will there be peace if Palestinians lay down their arms?
Not about tunnels: Israeli tanks take aim at central Gaza

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At 4:06 p.m. local time, the office of the Israeli military spokesperson sent two messages in succession through its Twitter feed:

The first:

The second:

Set aside the head-scratching leap in the second tweet (that to return home is to somehow “attack Israel”), and what you have is exactly the kind of catch-22 that Joseph Heller, who coined the phrase after living through World War II, intended.

It is a square impossible to circle. And it is lethal.

At 7:01 p.m., Sky News correspondent Sherine Tadros tweeted about an airstrike on a market in Shejaiya. Twelve minutes later, the Associated Press said that 15 were dead and more than 150 wounded in what it reported was an Israeli attack on the busy market.

The number has since risen.

It’s a telling time in Gaza. Spokespersons parse sentences at the expense of innocents. And humanitarian windows explode into shards of bone and flesh.

A relative cries over the body of one of the children killed earlier by an Israeli attack in a playground in al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza city, July 28, 2014. Reports indicate that 10 people, mostly children, were killed and 40 injured during the attack which took place on the first day Eid. Israeli attacks have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and injured more than 6,200 in the current offensive, most of them civilians (photo: Activestills)

A relative cries over the body of one of the children killed by an Israeli attack on a playground in al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza City, July 28, 2014. Reports indicate that 10 people, mostly children, were killed and 40 injured during the attack which took place on the first day of Eid. Israeli attacks have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and injured more than 6,200 in the current offensive, most of them civilians (photo: Activestills)

 

 

Activists from the left-wing British group Jewdas protested the war on Gaza outside a Zionist Federation Conference on Sunday. The activists held a Kaddish (Jewish mourner’s prayer) for the Gaza dead followed by a two-minute silence. Some of them also went inside the building to try and engage the participants, though to little success.

The conference, titled “Stand Up for Israel,” was called especially to support Israel’s actions in the current war. In a statement, the group states that their action was part of a steady rise in Jewish participation in anti-war protests in the U.K. Watch the video from the protest and read the group’s statement below:

We, as British Jews, are here to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people. Over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed recently by the Israeli state, and thousands more displaced, injured and arrested. Israel has killed civilians, destroyed homes and impoverished the Palestinian population. We are here to say: not in our name.

We reject the idea that the Israeli government had no choice but to decimate Gaza. Gaza is an open-air prison, a huge ghetto, caged in by Israel over land, sea and sky. Its population is largely that of trapped refugees. Israel has the choice to end its blockade of Gaza, and to allow Palestinians the chance to live without domination. This is the only true road towards peace.

Those who call for peace with the Palestinians without calling for justice and reparations only affirm the occupation. Brutalising and attempting to dominate a population can only lead to more violence and bloodshed.

Israel dehumanises Palestinians, negates their right to self-determination, denies their right to resist, and strips them of their dignity. We wish to underline the gaping difference between the violence of the Palestinian oppressed and that of the Israeli oppressor.

The value of a Palestinian life is equal to that of any Jew. In ending the lives of so many Palestinians, the Israeli government and military have committed an outright atrocity.

We affirm a Jewishness not tied to state violence. A diasporic Jewishness that welcomes critique and speaks truth to power. We refuse to be complicit in our words, in our actions, or in our silence, to the massacres perpetrated in our name.

Not in our name, not in anybody’s name.

Free Palestine. Justice for all.

 

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