Working for Peace on Earth and Peace with Earth since 1952
February 19, 2024. The Israeli paper Haaretz is worth reading to learn about Israeli liberal-left dissent, but its coverage of the current warfare and genocide leaves much to be desired.
On the 15th of February as Nasser Hospital, the biggest hospital in southern Gaza, was invaded and rendered unusable. Haaretz had an article with the headline "Israel: No Evidence So Far that Hamas held Hostages in Gaza's Nasser Hospital". Under the headline it reads "The army say they evacuated the hospital after receiving 'credible intel' that hostages were held there, and their bodies may remain on the grounds. Reports on the ground say Israeli forces unearthed temporary graves."
My comment which I made in several parts under the Haaretz article:
1. So, no hostages in Nasser hospital. 2. Lots of arrests of "suspects" which mean nothing. The IDF assumes all male Palestinians are Hamas. 3. A tunnel underneath - no surprise. There are hundreds of miles of tunnels under everything in Gaza. 4. And those pill bottles with the names of hostages!! The Times of Israel says none of the bottles had been opened. https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/vehicle-stolen-from-israel-unopened-medicine-for-hostages-found-at-nasser-hospital-says-idf/
Doesn't that suggest the hostages were never there? 5. Bodies were dug out of makeshift graves. Probably not bodies that Hamas was going to use to trade. 6. The amazing "command center" again. Moved from al-Shifa by magic? . 7. Admiral Hagari says the "terrorist" gave him wrong information. Is information obtained under torture reliable?
And for all this the biggest hospital in the South was completely disabled. How many were killed when all the electricity was shut off? How many who will die later as hospitalized human beings were denied the emergency service they desperately needed?
And why didn't you mention the war crime about the use of a prisoner in handcuffs to deliver the message that everyone had to evacuate Nasser hospital. In a second crime he was shot dead by the IDF when he tried to return to his captors. We in the West have all seen it. Only Israelis are not told. https://theintercept.com/2024/02/14/gaza-nasser-hospital-evacuation-israel-prisoner/
Update 2-20 " A large number of Nasser Hospital medical staff were arrested by the Israel Defense Forces, which turned the facility into military barracks, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. " Source ABC News So after finding nothing the biggest hospital in southern Gaza is turned into a barracks to assist in the genocide. Crime upon crime.
On November 20, WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote a piece headlined "Evidence confirms Israel’s al-Shifa claims, so critics move the goal posts". Here's a link to it. It's a full-throated defense for the Israeli attack on Gaza's biggest hospital. I added this comment below the article:
"It is Jennifer Rubin who should be begging the public’s pardon for this exercise in disinformation. The Israelis based their siege on Al Shifa hospital on the claim that “the” Hamas command center was beneath it and that it could be reached via entrances within the hospital whose location they knew exactly. The IDF entered and occupied the hospital without a shot being fired from within the complex. Its spokespersons have yet to show any of the vaunted entrances from within the hospital. They claim to have found a tunnel entrance outside the hospital buildings. OK, but everyone agrees there’s tunnels all over Gaza. But where is the “command center” that the IDF illustrated in their animated video. Israeli troops don’t want to go down the discovered tunnel entrance for fear of booby traps. That sounds reasonable, but why haven’t they dug and drilled their own entrances to “the command center”? It goes on and on. Rubin works with a tissue of lies from which she thinks she can build an edifice."
"Read Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times. https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/israels-war-on-hospitals He explains that the goal of the Israeli attacks was not Hamas, but the hospitals themselves. The goal was to make the area unlivable for Palestinians. (It’s just what Assad and Putin did in Syria. Destroy the possibility of medical care and people have to surrender or flee.) Two months ago most Washington Post readers were understanding how fascist the Israeli government had become. After the Hamas attack (that did include major atrocities) all that understanding went out the window and Netanyahu and his minions become credible sources. "
"At any rate Israel has occupied al-Shifa and taken out the bag of weapons that it found behind an MRI machine. It’s certainly harmless now. So what possible justification is there for driving out all the remaining patients? End the #IsraeliWarOnHospitals."
Sept 28, 2023.
The Canadian House of Commons, Prime Minister Trudeau and Ukrainian President Zelensky gave a standing ovation to Yaroslav Hunka described to them as a “Ukrainian-Canadian veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today”. It didn’t take long for a reporter from Forward, (Ukraine-born) Lev Golinkin, to ferret him out. This “veteran from the Second War War” fought on the Nazi side in a unit the Nazis set up in occupied Ukraine called the First Ukrainian Division — also known as the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division.
The Canadian Speaker who introduced Hunka has resigned. A college who received $30,000 from the Hunka family returned it. Poland may seek his extradition (Nazi and nationalist groups during the war killed Poles as well as Jews).
The story was an international sensation, a huge black-eye for the cause of Ukrainian freedom. Now there’s no proof that Trudeau or Zelensky had any specific knowledge about Hunka before the Speaker called him out for an honor. Trudeau properly made an apology. Has Zelensky made any statement? He sure should have. His government has been very soft about the ultra-right.
I bring this up after reading today a fine account of a trip to Kyiv by a DSA member. It was excellent except for one sentence*. The sentence talked about the AFL-CIO office in Kyiv being on Simon Petliura St. who the writer said was controversial. No, he wasn’t controversial. He was a murderer. His troops killed thousands of Jews in 1919 during the wars after the Russian Revolution.
There are streets named after Petliura and a statue and a stamp. There’s lots more dedicated to Stephan Bandera who collaborated with the Nazis when they invaded Ukraine, that was jailed by the Nazis and whose OUN (there were at least two factions) was busy killing Jews and Poles.
Lev Golinkin being interviewed by Forward “noted that 2 million Ukrainians died during World War II, and that 99% of the country fought against the Nazis. ‘Modern-day Ukrainians walk past graves on their way to buy groceries,’ he said. He likened those who celebrate veterans of SS Galichina like Hunka to Americans who revere the Confederacy or the KKK. ‘They’re seen as heroes in a very specific region,” he said, “and are not seen as heroes by the vast majority.’”
So there’s got to be many, many Ukrainian heroes who fought the Nazis, and fought or resisted Stalinist genocide. Put up statues to them even if they weren’t famous people and tear down the tributes to Nazi killers.
If Zelensky felt he was too weak to alienate the Ukraine ultra-right he should realize that this black-eye could be gangrenous. Putin has called his government Nazis, the ultra-right in the US and tankies do the same. This not some matter of "ancient history" to be debated in colleges. It's of utmost importance in whether or not support for Ukraine can be maintained. Zelensky, prodded by the Ukrainian and international Left should speak out and take action.
*When I went to the DSA page to get the exact wording I found find the whole article had been deleted! Evidently not in tune with the pathetic DSA national "line" on Ukraine.
If Trudeau wants to make an effective apology for all this he could replace the statues in Canada devoted to Ukrainian far-right nationalists with statues to Ukrainian children killed or maimed by Putin or monuments to other Ukrainian heroes. Perhaps show 4-year-old Liza Dmytriyeva wheeling her carriage moments before being killed by a Russian missiles strike on July 9, 2022. Or erect a statue to the 37-year-old Ukrainian writer and war crimes researcher Victoria Amelina, killed this June.
Update 7/28 "The Era of Global Boiling has Arrived."
on Democracy Now today
July 27. From the article in the New York Times yesterday "A Grim Climate Lesson From the Canadian Wildfires"
David Wallace-Wells a few years ago wrote a book about worst-case outcomes if we didn't stop global warming. Then a year ago he said we probably were not going to hit worst-case. But that was before this.
"In Quebec, more land was torched in June than in the previous 20 years combined."
"According to some tabulations, in 2021 wildfires in North America and Eurasia contributed more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than any nation but China, the United States and India."
"In California the record-setting fire season of 2020, which produced five of the state’s seven largest fires in modern history, also entirely erased its emissions gains over the previous 16 years."
“The most powerful firefighting equipment that humans have — Canadair planes that cost roughly $35 million each and drop 30 bathtubs’ worth of water at a time — can extinguish fires with an intensity of up to 10,000 kilowatts per meter of fire line,” Henry Mance wrote recently in The Financial Times. “Today’s megafires are a different order of magnitude, sometimes exceeding 100,000 kilowatts per meter — 10 times as intense. Water dumped from above can evaporate before it reaches the ground."
Also in the NY Times yesterday this news, "Warming Could Push the Atlantic Past a ‘Tipping Point’ This Century"
A major ocean current in the north Atlantic may collapse because of global warming. It could reach a “tipping point” with no way back.
“Were the circulation to tip into a much weaker state, the effects on the climate would be far-reaching, though scientists are still examining their potential magnitude. Much of the Northern Hemisphere could cool. The coastlines of North America and Europe could see faster sea-level rise. “
“That led them to predict that the Atlantic circulation could collapse around midcentury, though it could potentially occur as soon as 2025 and as late as 2095.”
August 28 Update
Apparently Sachs appeared on Solovyov program two more times after March 9, 2023 , once on June 2 and again in July. The July interview was weeks after Solovyov's second call for a nuclear strike on Ukraine. See screenshots below of twitter feeds of Francis Scarr (BBC Russia watcher) and Dietmar Pichler who calls himself a "disinformation analyst."
And on August 2 Newsweek reported that Solovyov for a third time called for the use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine. "I think we should strike," he said "As soon as they officially deliver [F-16s], we conduct a strike with tactical nuclear weapons."
June 24. There’s a Russian news presenter named Vladimir Solovyov who hosts Russian TV and radio programs. Solovyov is a confidant of Vladimir Putin. He was awarded the Order of Honor from Vladimir Putin in 2013. Needless to say Solovyov has been a supporter of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. On January 25 he described the attack as “a ‘holy’ and ‘patriotic’ war against all of NATO, as well as ‘50 Satanic countries’ who want "to destroy us." Responding to a guest who said using nuclear weapons would be a bad trend Solovyov replied that "not using nuclear weapons is a dangerous trend" as he said that Russia should make the most of its "superiority in tactical nuclear weapons."
None of that stopped liberal hero Jeffrey Sachs from going on Solovyov Live a month later on March 9 where he and Solovyov had a friendly banter about the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, Sy Hersh's claims, the possibility that a lab leak that could have created COVID 19, the responsibility of Victoria Nuland, the lie that Ukraine was forced to stop a peace plan with Putin because of Western pressure, why “the world” wants diplomacy, proxy war and so on. Sachs was on for 20 minutes and NEVER mentioned that Russia invaded Ukraine. In fact, I don’t think he disputed Putin’s confidant on anything. Sachs had been on the program at least twice before, in October 2021 and again in August of last year, six months after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Surely he knew that Solovyov had called for a nuclear attack on Ukraine, but Sachs said not one word.
I call Sachs a liberal hero with some justification. He’s on CNN, Bloomberg, The Week, The Hill, etc. He must have been on Democracy Now five times in the last year. Last fall one of his appearances there got 3 million views on YouTube, far, far above a typical DN show (I suspect that these number were boosted by a certain foreign power’s bots, but I have no proof.)
Well, this week after Ukraine bombed the Chonhar bridge to Crimea Solovyov said, “We no longer have any option. We must wipe them from the face of the earth... their decision-making centers," Solovyov said. "If our tactical nuclear weapons give us an advantage, maybe it's time? Maybe we simply need to batter them."
Sachs has had nothing to say about this direct call by Putin’s pal to go and commit genocide.
Times Vladimir Solovyov called for nuclear strikes
By the way if you think that Sachs just didn't know about Solovyov's calls for nuclear strikes note that he was told about this in an open letter to him signed by scores of economists in March of 2023.
March 27. Netanyahu’s welcome “pause” in his campaign to gut the Israeli Supreme Court comes with strings attached. It’s part of a package in which there’s a poison pill. In exchange for the pause, religious-fascist Ben-Gvir was given a fully funded government militia. He’ll be put in charge of a brand new Israeli "National Guard”. The Israeli democracy movement (better called the Keep-Democracy-for-Israeli-Jews movement) is still in peril. The answer is staring it in the face. Unite with Palestinian forces to build a democratic and eco-socialist state.
The phrase for the title of this piece came from a comment reaction by “Lorraine” to an article in Haaretz with the headline “Explosives, Guns, Knives: Israeli Far-right Groups Call for Violence Against Protesters This Evening”. It refers to calls on encrypted WhatsApp groups for violent attacks on Israelis who have turned out in huge numbers to protest Netanyahu’s attempted “judicial coup”. There’s a barely disguised fascist “soccer fan club” La Familia that urges its members to turn out for counterprotests. And some callers want people to drive vehicles in crowds or to use gasoline.
As late as this morning a guest on Democracy Now predicted that Netanyahu would backtrack and that Ben-Gvir would quit the government and that we’d see a coalition much like one of Netanyahu's Far-Right-Center-Right coalitions of the past. It doesn’t look that way. Ben-Gvir, the ultimate extremist, is being given an army.
Lorraine nails it, “Netanyahu and company give the appearance of listening to the opposition while using the opportunity to slip in yet more anti-democratic take-overs. Don't fall for this! Don't accept these terms for a freeze!” The lack of counter-protesters in Israel until today shows that while the new coalition was able to scrape up a majority of votes it is weak in terms of power in the street. Yesterday the Histadrut union federation pulled off a general strike. Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir couldn’t do that. But they can use an armed gang loyal to a “thug” to violently smash the power in the street. Israel Jews must continue the massive demonstrations until the “militia” idea is scrapped.
But more must be done. Millions of people are shut out from the democratic protests. What does a Palestinian think when seeing seas of Israeli blue and white flags in demonstrations of protesters and counter-protesters? Both are waving the emblem of apartheid. What’s in it for Palestinians if there's a restoration of “liberal apartheid”.
Democratic forces in Israel need to go all the way and demand democracy for everyone “from the river to the sea”. This would gain support not only from millions of Palestinians, who are experts in struggle from 75 years of experience, but also from millions more in surrounding countries and across the sea.
And “eco-socialism”? Why bring that up? Well, Israel for the last 50 years has been conquered by neo-liberalism. Gaps between rich and poor are among the largest in the world. Most working people in Israel, who are victims of this way of life, fall for right-wing populist “solutions”, meaning racist measures. As climate collapse shows its first signs this will only grow worse. An alternative solution is necessary, but is available, a socialism that centers climate preservation and climate justice as an essential part of its structure. That’s what is meant by eco-socialism. It’s a key way of convincing the Israeli masses that abandoning apartheid will not just mean losing status and their few material privileges. It would instead open up new possibilities for a better post-racist and post-fossil-fuel-poisoned life.
P.S. March 28. You realize that when Smotrich on March 1 said that Huwara should be "wiped out", he qualified his remark saying, “I think the State of Israel should be the one to wipe it out, not, God forbid, private people.” Now the Kahanists are being given the vehicle to do just that.
The magazine Tikkun (June 29, 2022) has an article by Jeffry Sachs “Ukraine is the Latest Neocon Disaster”. For some reason liberals like to listen to Sachs. He was even on Democracy Now in June of ’21. But it’s rarely mentioned that Sachs has some direct responsibility for the disaster that is Gangster Capitalist Russia. His “shock therapy” program for Russia in the 1990's ushered in an era of capitalism at its worst, with the rise of Russian oligarchs and constant gangster assassinations. Sachs claims he didn’t invent “shock therapy” and the Russians under Yeltsin didn’t really follow his ideas, but he happily carries the New York Times 1993 article “Jeffrey Sachs, Shock Therapist” on this website.
The Soviet Union officially ended on the last day of 1991. In 1992 Russia’s population was 148 million. By 2000 after 9 years of “shock therapy” it population was two million less, with deaths outnumbering births each of those years.
The reaction to the “wild” ‘90’s led to the rise of a strongman (Putin) who vowed to keep order. You can read about this in detail in the article NPR put on its website in March of this year headlined, “How 'shock therapy' created Russian oligarchs and paved the path for Putin”. Or you can read a much earlier article in The Nation.
Sachs was a disaster for Russia. Why should anyone publish anything he says unless it was a heartfelt apology?
But for the sake of argument let’s look at what he says. His words in plain type. My criticisms or sarcasm in boldface type
Analysis by Stanley Heller
He starts by saying:
The war in Ukraine is the culmination of a 30-year project of the American neoconservative movement. The Biden Administration is packed with the same neocons who championed the US wars of choice in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Syria (2011), Libya (2011), and who did so much to provoke Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Poor Russia is just a victim, forced to blow up whole cities. What rot.
The neocon track record is one of unmitigated disaster, yet Biden has staffed his team with neocons. As a result, Biden is steering Ukraine, the US, and the European Union towards yet another geopolitical debacle
… (paragraphs about the rapaciousness of the neo-cons are omitted)
After the fall of the Soviet Union, both the US and Russia should have sought a neutral Ukraine, as a prudent buffer and safety valve.
They did after a fashion. The U.S. and Russia in 1994 negotiated and signed an agreement to respect Ukraine’s then “existing borders” which included Crimea.
Kagan penned the article as a private citizen while his wife Victoria Nuland was the US Ambassador to NATO under George W. Bush, Jr. Nuland has been the neocon operative par excellence. In addition to serving as Bush’s Ambassador to NATO, Nuland was Barack Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs during 2013-17, where she participated in the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych,
“Participated in” covers a lot of ground. Nuland did indeed stick her nose in, but most Ukrainians were happy with the “overthrow”. For some peculiar reason they didn’t like Yanukovych shooting dead hundreds of protesters.
and now serves as Biden’s Undersecretary of State guiding US policy vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine.
The neocon outlook is based on an overriding false premise: that the US military, financial, technological, and economic superiority enables it to dictate terms in all regions of the world. It is a position of both remarkable hubris and remarkable disdain of evidence. Since the 1950s, the US has been stymied or defeated in nearly every regional conflict in which it has participated. Yet in the “battle for Ukraine,” the neocons were ready to provoke a military confrontation with Russia by expanding NATO over Russia’s vehement objections because they
The objections weren’t so “vehement”. When 7 countries joined NATO is 2004 Lavrov attended the ceremony.
fervently believe that Russia will be defeated by US financial sanctions and NATO weaponry.
The most likely outcome of the current fighting is that Russia will conquer a large swath of Ukraine, perhaps leaving Ukraine landlocked or nearly so. Frustration will rise in Europe and the US with the military losses and the stagflationary consequences of war and sanctions. The knock-on effects could be devastating, if a right-wing demagogue in the US rises to power (or in the case of Trump, returns to power) promising to restore America’s faded military glory through dangerous escalation.
And this is all the result of the crimes of the neo-cons. Putin is an innocent lamb, provoked beyond measure. His desire to incorporate these 40 million people who don’t know they’re Russians has nothing to do with it.
Instead of risking this disaster, the real solution is to end the neocon fantasies of the past 30 years and for Ukraine and Russia to return to the negotiating table, with NATO committing to end its commitment to the eastward enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia in return for a viable peace that respects and protects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At this point negotiations are a “fantasy”. What is Putin offering to do other than erase the notion of Ukraine from history?
The neo-cons are indeed bad news and their “support” for Ukraine is only to further their idea that the U.S. must dominated every region, but they’ll never be defeated with this one-sided analysis by a economist who should be considered long discredited.