Friday, January 16, 2009

US / Canadian Leaders and Media Unbalanced Coverage of Gaza Conflict Parrot Israel's Spin And Talking Points

So anyway just more of the same as Israel continues to bomb Gaza with the full support of the United States' and Canada's leaders and Media.

US And Canadian Leaders and Media Unbalanced Coverage of Gaza Conflict Parroting Israel's Spin And Talking Points
IDF attacks UN Compound
Israeli Navy Turns back boat with humanitarian aid for Gaza
British PM condemns Israeli attacks

Thousands Flee Gaza City- Attack on UN Compound Jan.15, 2009
Aljazeera & The Independent UK
Thousands have fled Gaza City to escape the Israeli bombardment as the Unitaed Nations calls for an investigation into the shelling of its own building.

500 huddled inside Gaza hospital after Israeli strike: Red Cross/AFP/Jan.15, 2009

GENEVA (AFP) — About 500 people including patients were huddled in a Gaza City hospital that suffered a "direct hit" in an Israeli air strike Thursday, the international Red Cross said, condemning the incident as unacceptable.

In an unusually sharply-worded statement, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that the situation in Gaza was "completely and utterly unacceptable based on every known standard of international law and universal humanitarian principles and values."

The second floor of the Al-Quds hospital immediately caught fire in the strike on Thursday morning, severely damaging the pharmacy and parts of the building.

The blaze was put out by fire engines that rushed to the scene escorted by the Red Cross.

However, 500 people were still inside by mid-afternoon, "huddled on the ground floor ... in fear for their lives and choking on dust and fumes," according to the Federation.

A French doctor in Gaza earlier said staff and patients were trapped by Israeli attacks in the neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, at least one Palestinian Red Crescent warehouse with relief supplies was shelled by Israeli forces on Thursday morning and set ablaze.

The Federation accused Israeli soldiers of firing on Red Crescent volunteers to stop them from putting out the fire.

Meanwhile a boat trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza was again turned back by Israeli Navy

"Activists vow to try again after Gaza boat blocked" from Jerusalem Post /Jan 15, 2009

A boat trying to deliver food and medical supplies to Gaza returned to Cyprus Thursday after Israeli naval vessels forced it to turn back midway through the voyage.

Organizers vowed to try the journey again at a later date.

Free Gaza organizer Huwaida Arraf said naval vessels surrounded the 20-meter Greek-flagged boat about 115 nautical miles from Gaza and threatened to open fire if it did not turn back.

"They were cutting in front of us, almost colliding with us," Arraf said.

The IDF said navy ships warned the boat to turn back because it was entering a war zone subject to a naval blockade. The ship turned back without incident, the army said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemns Israel's attack on the UN compound as indefensible.

"Brown condemns Gaza attack on UN" BBC/Jan 15, 2009

Gordon Brown has said an Israeli attack on a United Nations building in Gaza was "indefensible" and reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire.

There were 700 people sheltering in the UN relief agency compound when it was hit by rocket shells and caught fire.

Israel has apologised to the UN for the incident but maintained that Hamas fighters were firing from the site.

Mr Brown said "no-one could defend" the attack which, he added, showed a ceasefire was "absolutely essential".

..."Today's attack on the UN headquarters in Gaza is indefensible," he said.

"The UN's mission in Gaza is purely humanitarian, bringing relief to civilians suffering in appalling conditions as a result of the ongoing military action.

"UN staff are working on behalf of the international community - any attack on them is unacceptable as Israel has acknowledged.

"The intensification of Israeli military action, and continued Hamas rocket attacks, reinforce the urgency of our call for an immediate ceasefire."

In the House of Commons, foreign minister Bill Rammell described the incident as "unacceptable".

Speaking later to UN general secretary Ban Ki Moon, Mr Brown reiterated the UK's "unwavering support" for international efforts to bring an end to the violence on both sides.

as for Canada our leaders and Media defend Israel no matter what the facts are and merely parrot the Israeli and US spin on Israel's attack on Gaza. Even the Canadian media does little to inform Canadians about the humanitarian crisis which existed in Gaza even before Israel decided to invade Gaza which it had been preparing for over six months.

"Israel becoming its own worst enemy" Haroon Siddiqui/ The Star Jan15, 2009

The Israeli-U.S.-Canadian axis is at odds with the United Nations and much of the world where there's near universal condemnation of Israel.

As during the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which Stephen Harper famously described as "a measured response," his government is flying in the face of facts.

Peter Kent's was only the most egregious example, parroting the Israeli spin on the bombing of a school that killed 43, a version that has since been doubted.

Now Michael Ignatieff is parroting Harper. An ostensible lifelong advocate of human rights, he is defending what human rights groups are condemning as possible war crimes.

Given the disparity between the Harper-Ignatieff position and Canadian public sentiment, we face a growing democratic deficit.


In order to express their disapproval of the Israeli attack on Gaza a number of Rabbis and other religious leaders took out ads in New York Times because they believe their opinions on the conflict was being ignored since the US media is only interested in views which are pro- Israel and in favor of the current ation in Gaza.

"U.S. rabbis urge Obama to push for immediate Gaza truce"By Natasha Mozgavaya, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Staff /Haaretz/Jan. 14, 2009

A group of rabbis and other religious leaders bought advertising space in the New York Times this week to call for U.S. president-elect Barack Obama to push for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

The ad, placed by the Network of Spiritual Progressives and claiming to represent more than 2,800 other religious, cultural and community leaders, urges Obama to convene an international Middle East peace conference to "facilitate a lasting and just settlement for all parties."

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine, who convened the group, said the group had to buy the advertising space because the national newspapers would not make room for their perspective.

"They feel that AIPAC's choice is overwhelming, and there's no space left for empathy or objective coverage - the media, according to the group, simply ignored the voice of the Jewish opposition to war in Gaza," Rabbi Lerner said.

Eleven prominent British Jews, including Baroness Julia Neuberger, published a letter in The Observer newspaper last weekend expressing their "horror" at the Gaza conflict and calling on Israel to stop its military campaign.

"Attacks Are Inhuman, Peace Activists Tell Olmert, Barak" by Jason Koutsoukis/ The Sydney Morning Herald/ Jan 15, 2009

On Wednesday a coalition of nine Israeli human rights groups convened to urge an immediate halt to the fighting in the Gaza Strip which they said was on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.

In an open letter to the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert. and the Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, the groups said a commission of inquiry would be needed after the conflict ended to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes.

Michael Sfard, a lawyer with the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din that was a part of Wednesday's press conference, told the Herald it was time Israelis looked into the mirror.

..."Now [there have been] 1000 people killed in Gaza, many of them children, and there is very little national debate about whether this is right or wrong."

The groups, which also included Amnesty International, B'Tselem, Gisha, and Physicians for Human Rights, also presented six cases in which they say IDF troops fired on medical personnel, killing 12 people.

They said there have been 15 hits on medical facilities during the conflict, including clinics and medical storage facilities.

"I care about humanity, and what is happening here is inhuman," said Professor Zvi Bentwich, the head of the Centre for Tropical Diseases and AIDS at Ben Gurion University.

"There is no sense whatsoever of proportionality, it's a dreadful and callous disregard for human life," Professor Bentwich said.

And as David Miliband points out as others have that part of the problem with the response to Israel's attack on Gaza by some in the West is rooted in the simplistic notions which have been promulgated about the so called " War on Terror" as if the only response to any terrorist action or organization labeled terrorists is to respond with overwhelming military response as in Bush's Shock and Awe in Iraq .He thinks there might be a better way to respond by example and acting as if the Rule of law and human rights and civil liberties actually matter. Unfortunately in the United States and Canada such suggestion will fall on deaf ears since we prefer military responses to diplomacy or tackling complex issues. We prefer it appears to divide the world up into the Good Guys v the Bad Guys.

"'War on terror' was wrong"By David Miliband The Guardian, Jan. 15, 2009

We must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not subordinating it, for it is the cornerstone of the democratic society. We must uphold our commitments to human rights and civil liberties at home and abroad. That is surely the lesson of Guantánamo and it is why we welcome President-elect Obama's commitment to close it.

The call for a "war on terror" was a call to arms, an attempt to build solidarity for a fight against a single shared enemy. But the foundation for solidarity between peoples and nations should be based not on who we are against, but on the idea of who we are and the values we share. Terrorists succeed when they render countries fearful and vindictive; when they sow division and animosity; when they force countries to respond with violence and repression. The best response is to refuse to be cowed.

and so it goes ,

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