12 thoughts on “‘We Are One’ Inaugural Concert – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Them blockheads at HBO made the video only available in the US and Territories. I got past that through a web proxy, but then all got was a loverly animated splash image saying “The program currently airing is not available on HBO Live at this time”.

  2. Oh man the concert was incredible! Got to watch it here live on one of the Dutch channels. And Richard, like you I freaked out in a positive way when I saw Pete Seeger come out and sing that great protest song! Who could have imagined all this. I know how Michelle Obama felt when she made her comment about first time in a long time feeling proud to be an American or something like that. This the first time in decades as an ex-pat that I have felt this happy and proud to be identified as an American. And if President Obama can succeed in rejuvenating America’s reputation abroad, maybe I will even feel comfortable or even be anxious to finally travel once again on an American passport.

    This is real history, man. This is the real deal.

  3. Feel free to ignore this post. I posted it earlier in response to Witty’s whitewashing of the bungling of the cease-fire.

    I just want a response since he may not see the other post.


    Witty. Read the Israel’s MFA report. Furthermore read the article in the Independent where the head of Shin Bet is quoted as saying that Hamas wanted to negotiate and extend the truce further. Israel refused. This was December 23.

    They concede that Hamas was ‘careful’ to maintain the cease-fire.

    They concede that the sporadic rocket fire that took place during the lull was carried out by OTHER groups in defiance of Hamas.

    They concede the cease-fire was working. That there was ‘quiet’. From June 19th to Nov. 4th – the cease-fire WORKED FINE.

    Hamas kept their end of the bargain.

    What were the demands?

    Hamas to end the rockets. They virtually did – except for groups acting independently in defiance.

    Israel to ease the blockade. THEY DID NOT.

    First of all, the demands on Hamas are quite definitive. END the rockets. Whereas with Israel the word is EASE. EASE the blockade.

    So EASE being subjective. Who determines whether Israel carried out their end of the bargain?

    Israel does, because they DON’T LISTEN TO THE RED CROSS OR THE UN.

    Israel bombed the tunnels in Gaza on the 4th of November. Israel then killed 6 Palestinian militants.

    They GOADED Hamas into reacting.

    When you weigh the effect of these crude rockets – 15 people dead in 8 years…


    The effect of the blockade imposed on 1.5 million Palestinians = HUMANITARIAN CRISIS; WORLD’S LARGEST CONCENTRATION CAMP

    Then, it puts some context on WHY Israel went into Gaza.

    It’s not for fucking security. It’s not to stop the rockets. It’s not for anything other than an excuse to squash any form of Palestinian resistance. They did this to the secular PLO and now they are doing it to Hamas.

    This is not about terrorism. It’s never about terrorism. Terrorism is just an EXCUSE, just a PRETEXT for Israel to carry out WHATEVER military operation in order to silence Palestinian dissent and brutally quell any resistance.

  4. The blockade was, and remains unlawful. It shouldn’t have been up to Hamas to get it lifted, that’s what International Law is for. If Israel had obeyed the law by ending the blockade Hamas wouldn’t have fired the rockets. The reality is there is NOTHING Hamas or any other Palestinian could have done to avert the carnage inflicted on them.

    Slightly nearer to the topic of this thread, I think advocates of Palestinian rights are being hugely overoptimistic about what an Obama administration might achieve. Regardless of Obama’s own inclinations, the real problem is Congress. As far as I can see the vice like grip of the Lobby may have been fractionally weakened, but it is light years away from putting any real pressure on Israel to make any meaningful compromise. I find it very hard to believe that Israel would have engaged in the last three weeks of carnage if it felt it was going to incur the ire of the incoming administration. Either that, or it feels it can just ride roughshod over the Obama administration anyway.
    Don’t get me wrong, I cannot overemphasize just how delighted I am that the outgoing idiot is going to be replaced by an articulate, educated and thoughtful politician. However, in respect of Israel/Palestine it is not going to change the congressional fundamentals. Neither is it going to change the US media which acts as little more than a funnel for official Israeli distortions (see endnote). In this climate there is a negligible prospect of achieving a lasting settlement which will provide genuine security for Israelis and liberation for Palestinians. The lack of either element is a recipe for future disaster. The Oslo process is not a path to be repeated, and that is the path of nugatory advances we are presently headed down. If Obama really wants to make a difference he should focus his efforts on changing the US climate on this issue, so that congresspersons can be freed to support what is right, rather than what is expedient. In other words he should exercise leadership.

    Endnote: look at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4jOFXL62zw0. Two points:
    First, I’ve no idea who the man asking the question is, but I’m assuming he’s a journalist covering the conflict, as he appears to be. What is absolutely astounding is that he could be SO ill-informed that the very premise of his question is false. Second, the response by Karen Abuzayd is a somewhat academic presentation. I appreciate that it’s not her job to explicitly assign responsibility, and one can work out from the answer that it was indeed Israel who broke the cease fire, but it’s hard work. I’m really unconvinced that journalist is up to it, especially given that it so strongly clashes with his genuine preconceptions. This is the problem I am trying to get at. His concern is that Palestinians in Gaza are unaware that Hamas broke the truce!!! This is just awful, if, as I fear, he is not smart enough to pick through the answer, his reports are going to say “Gazans ignorant of Hamas responsibility”. I’m sure it isn’t going to say “Israel ignored International Law, failed to meet the terms of the cease fire, and then broke it anyway”. It is that degree of ignorance and misinformation that Obama needs to address before there is any chance of making real progress.
    While I’m on the topic, I’ve just watched a tearful Jewish woman pleading for Israel to be allowed to get on with it. I’ve little doubt that she really believes she is right. It is that kind of misunderstanding that has to change. Obama cannot possibly help Israel to face reality when the US is so disastrously misinformed as to what the reality is.

  5. Hey LD: I have read some of the same stuff but was wondering if you could source the MFA report – I would love to read it and be able to quote it in my own articles. Thnks!

  6. *Discrimination against Arabs in Israel proper – http://www.adalah.org/newsletter/eng/dec06/tasawor-mostaqbali.pdf

    *Cease-fire begins June 19th 2008, ends on November 4th on-the-ground when Israel bombs the Gaza tunnels and kills 6 Palestinian militants.

    From June 19th to November 4th, there was a monumental decrease in rocket fire. Clear evidence that Hamas was working to keep the truce.
    After the 19th, for the rest of the month of June, 3 rockets were fired. Proof : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfFMZ7Y-s_c

    Furthermore, 1 rocket fired in July. 8 in August. 1 in September. 1 in October.

  7. *Media bias in the coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict – http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/17560/muting_the_alarm_over_the_israelipalestinian_conflict.html

    *Arabs, 20% of Israeli population, discriminated against in Israeli media – http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3462471,00.html

    *IDF admits threat of Hamas rockets were overestimated, confirming what any non-Zionist non-idiotic person knew (that these crude rockets are a response to the blockade and continued oppression inflicted on the Palestinian people;that these crude rockets are just that, CRUDE, ie. ineffective – only killing 15 people in 8 years). These rockets are fired out of desperation. Hamas targeting civilians is despicable and a crime but the context of this violence must be considered.
    On the other hand, Israel and the IDF killing over 1000 people – most of which are CIVILIANS and most of THEM being CHILDREN) is an outright overt act of STATE TERROR.
    Even, establishment goons like Thomas Friedman agree with that assessment. – http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052046.html

  8. *Analysis shows Israel breaking most of the truces – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kanwisher/reigniting-violence-how-d_b_155611.html

    *Yesh Din, Israeli human rights group studies the prosecution of Israeli soldiers in the Occupied territories – http://www.yesh-din.org/sys/images/File/Exceptions%5BEng%5D%5B1%5D.pdf
    They find that only 40% of the complaints are heard and only 6% of this 40% go to trial and are convicted. Even then the punishment is lenient. No justice for the Palestinians.

    *Israel steals Palestinian land, homes, and even lives. But they also steal Palestinian WATER – http://www.miftah.org/Doc/Factsheets/Miftah/English/PALESTINEWATER.pdf

    Etc. etc. etc. etc.

    There’s so many dimensions to this conflict. It’s sickening to hear morons like Witty bring up establishment talking-points which are purposefully shallow so as to MISINFORM THE PUBLIC OF THE TRUTH AND CONTEXT.

    Read everything you can. Read independent media. Read the reports and studies released by the various human rights groups.

    Amass as much information as you can. Israel cannot defend itself when it comes to the FACTS.

    It can only rely on buzzwords and Newspeak – “terrorism”, “self-defense”, “right to exist”, etc. etc.

  9. At the conclusion of today’s concert for president-elect Barack Obama 89-year-old Pete Seeger joined Bruce Springsteen for a sing-along with perhaps half a million people of Woody Guthrie’s “This Your Land is Your Land,” which I dare say practically everyone in the country knows from childhood.

    But sly old Pete, who actually hoboed with Woody during the Depression and Dust Bowl, had the crowd sing the song as it was actually written, as not only a celebration of this great land, but as a demand for workers’ and people’s rights. That is, he restored the verses that have been censored from the song over the years to make it less political:

    There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
    Sign was painted, it said private property;
    But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
    That side was made for you and me.

    In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
    By the relief office I seen my people;
    As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
    Is this land made for you and me?

    Nobody living can ever stop me,
    As I go walking that freedom highway;
    Nobody living can ever make me turn back
    This land was made for you and me.

    The “relief office,” of course, refers to the ad hoc soup bowls and such set up during the Depression before the New Deal began to get the social security net we have all depended upon since the 1930s in place.

    Seeger, like Guthrie, has been a controversial figure at times during his life, questioned by the witch hunting committees of Congress in the 1950s, black listed, and even banded from television as late as the late 1960s.

    But while he hasn’t got much of a voice left anymore and did not attempt to play his banjo today, it was wonderful to see the gleam in his subversive eye as he did his call and response with the throngs in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

    Somewhere Woody — and Leadbelly, and Sonny and Cisco and the rest of the great balladeers of that bygone era — are smiling tonight.

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