Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting It: Another American Renounces His Zionism

If this guy can get it, every American can

In Mondoweiss, Lenny Lapon writes about Renouncing my Israeli citizenship:
On October 19, 2010 my plane landed in Israel and instantaneously I was awarded Israeli citizenship with identification card # 012706735, solely because I am Jewish. Through reflection and study I have come to realize that this act was a travesty of justice. There are several million Palestinians and their descendants who cannot enter and/or live and move freely in their native historical homeland...
Israel is not becoming an apartheid state—it already is one with separate and unequal laws and policing for its Jewish citizens on one hand and for its non-Jewish, mostly Arab citizens and victims of the occupation on the other hand.
It is with a newfound clarity of thinking and analyzing a very emotional tragedy that I have thrown off the shackles of Zionist propaganda and am proudly and publicly renouncing my Israeli citizenship effective immediately.  At the same time I denounce the ongoing colonial oppression of the Palestinian people, a terrible injustice that is greatly facilitated by US tax dollars supporting the vast Israeli military machine. I also encourage other Jews to educate themselves and to stand on the side of the oppressed.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mouthpieces

Conspiracy fact. 

Two supposedly independent leaders of supposedly independent states, supposedly representing their own citizens, deliver exactly the same speech. Read, that is, the same script. 

Who wrote it? Do you think it was a  Canadian or an Australian?

These are satellite states of the American empire, their leaders are proconsuls, and the US government will never let them be anything but.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Murder at a Discount: Pricing Lives in Israel

Here's an excerpt from the New York Times story, by Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren, on the apparent revenge abduction and killing of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem:
The Israeli minister of internal security, Yitzhak Aharonovich, urged residents to “lower the volume” regarding the suspicion of a revenge attack by Jews. “There are attempts to make a connection between the two incidents and we are still checking all directions,” he said on Israel Radio. “There are many possibilities, criminal and nationalistic, and everything is being examined in a responsible manner.”
Is this what the Israeli government did when young Jewish kids went missing? Did the Israeli government "lower the volume" regarding its "suspicions"? Or didn't they—on the basis of pure suspicion, before anyone was known to be killed, before any suspect was identified or charged--raid, bomb, destroy homes, abduct and arrest hundreds, kill at least six people? Did they not, without any evidence, “make a connection” and use the incident to it as a pretext to attack a political party (Hamas)?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Without America this cannot happen." Jewish Grandmother Shows the Way

On June 12, three Israeli teenagers disappeared. The Israeli government and most of the media say they were “kidnapped,” although there have been no ransom demands. If they were taken by one of the five previously-unknown groups that claimed responsibility (including, apparently, a branch of the now-ubiquitous ISIS), that group would probably say that they were  “captured.” Some Palestinians have described the teenagers as "soldiers" or "soldier-settlers," or "armed settlers." Israel denies they were soldiers (probably true, especially for the two 16-year-olds), but at least one of them lived in an illegal West Bank settlement, where carrying arms is common..

However these particular teenagers have served the Israeli state and its settlement enterprise, in order to understand the motivation of whoever might have taken them, it’s worth remembering the policies that teenage Israeli soldier boys carry out on the even-younger boys of the illegally-occupied population:




Friday, May 16, 2014

Resurrecting the Lede: The New York Times on the F.C.C. and Net Neutrality

Yesterday (May 15th), the New York Times published a story by Edward Wyatt on the FCC’s “net neutrality” decision.  Here are the first two paragraphs of the story, and what I believe was the headline (See note below), as it appeared on the  NYT web site yesterday:
F.C.C. Votes to Move Ahead on Net Neutrality Plan
WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to move forward with a set of proposed rules aimed at guaranteeing an open Internet, prohibiting high-speed Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against legal content flowing through their pipes. 
While the rules are meant to prevent Internet providers from knowingly slowing data, they would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service. Some opponents of the plan, those considered net neutrality purists, argue that allowing some content to be sent along a fast lane would essentially discriminate against other content.
When I read this, I contributed the following comment (slightly edited):
This story is published in a seriously deceptive way. The headline and the first paragraph make it sound like the decision reinforces openness and equality, with language about "guaranteeing an open Internet, prohibiting high-speed Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against legal content."  Only when you read the second paragraph, after the introductory "while"--which actually means "in contradiction with what we just implied"--does the reader learn that the decision will "allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service," which means precisely that everyone else will be relegated to a slower lane, creating, ipso facto, "discriminat[ion] against legal content"! The headline could and should have read: "FCC Votes to Allow Internet Content Discrimination"!  Why did the NYT feel the need to present the case so misleadingly? 
When I went to write about this for the blog today, I found that the story had been substantively re-written, including the headline.* The article now begins like this:
F.C.C. Backs Opening Net Neutrality Rules for Debate
WASHINGTON — Federal regulators appear to share one view about so-called net neutrality: It is a good thing.
But defining net neutrality? That is where things get messy.
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to open for public debate new rules meant to guarantee an open Internet. Before the plan becomes final, though, the chairman of the commission, Tom Wheeler, will need to convince his colleagues and an array of powerful lobbying groups that the plan follows the principle of net neutrality, the idea that all content running through the Internet’s pipes is treated equally.
While the rules are meant to prevent Internet providers from knowingly slowing data, they would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service. Some opponents of the plan, those considered net neutrality purists, argue that allowing some content to be sent along a fast lane would essentially discriminate against other content.
Yesterday’s lead paragraph, with its flat claim that the FCC’s proposal is “aimed at guaranteeing an open Internet,” has been changed to a kind of “Well, ‘net neutrality’ means different things to different people” plaint.  This at least implicitly recognizes that the FCC’s claim that it’s working for net neutrality is not accepted by everyone. “Moving Ahead on Net Neutrality” also has significantly different implications than “Opening Net Neutrality Rules for Debate.”

Still, the article maintains the misleading and contradictory sentence that now begins the fourth paragraph.  This sentence, beginning with “While the rules,” contains, in its first clause, an assertion about what the rules “are meant” to do--prevent some data from being provided more slowly--that is proved false by the second clause, which states that the rules allow some data to be provided more quickly for a fee. The article then goes on to treat the idea that allowing paid fast lanes on the internet means actual discrimination in content delivery as if that idea were a peculiar conceit of net neutrality “purists.”

This is another example of the construction of a false ambiguity that complexifies a clear distinction—an ambiguity that pretends the point of the FCC’s proposed rules may not be what it obviously is.  FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, former cable industry lobbyist, is trying to approve a system of differential speeds of content delivery on the internet in order to provide cable and telecom companies with a new profit stream. That is the opposite of net neutrality. There’s no ambiguity or debate or mystery about this. 

Wheeler’s claim—namely, that such a system is “meant” to “guarantee an open internet” and preserve net neutrality—is not of equal credibility with the claim that the system he proposes will undermine net neutrality. The attempt to present these as equally compelling claims is an egregious example of the journalistic tactic of constructing a false equivalence in order to avoid identifying the weakness and mendacity of positions promoted by those who are powerful and respected.

You know, we must consider the idea that Republican Voter ID laws are “meant” to preserve the integrity of the vote as equally credible as the idea that they are meant to reduce voter turnout by disfavored populations.

I’d also ask: Should not the NYT acknowledge its re-write of the story? The paper very carefully acknowledges one edit: a change in the number of protesters cited in the article. But it gives no hint of the much more substantial re-write from the "earlier version," which changed the lede significantly.

All the news we print in fits.


Note

*Thus my uncertainty about the headline. The original story has been preserved on local news sites that picked up the NYT feed yesterday; some have the headline: “FCC votes to pursue net neutrality rules.” I cannot remember specifically, but the headline strongly suggested that the FCC had ratified net neutrality, as my comment to the NYT implies. See also the post on this at DailyKos.