a number of e-mails are aksing if i'm going to review barbra streisand's autobiography?

probably not and surely not this weekend.  it's very long and i'm not a speed reader.  

you know who should review it?


we were talking on the phone and she has read it and she offered the best critique and i told her she should review it.  she doesn't want to but i'm going to stay on her.  i think i can sell her on doing it with just one decade.  her remarks on what barbra included from the 70s and what she ignored from the 70s.  

anyway, are you reading it?

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, November 10, 2023.  The assault on Gaza continues. 

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says there have been some “issues” getting aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

At a briefing, the agency said the crossing had been designed for pedestrians, not trucks.

Only 65 trucks carrying food, medicine, hygiene supplies and water, and seven ambulances, crossed from Egypt into Gaza on Wednesday, it said, adding that none of that aid can reach northern Gaza.

“We cannot drive to the north at the current point, which is of course deeply frustrating because we know there are several hundred thousand people who remain in the north,” said OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke.

“If there is a hell on Earth today, its name is northern Gaza,” he said. “It is a life of fear by day and darkness at night and what do you tell your children in such a situation, it’s almost unimaginable — that the fire they see in the sky is out to kill them?” he said.

"If there is a hell on Earth today, its name is northern Gaza."  CNN notes:

“Demands for civilians to relocate to an Israeli Defence Force designated ‘safe zone’ are also very alarming,” Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said during a news conference in Amman, Jordan.
“A so-called ‘safe zone,’ when established unilaterally, can heighten risks to civilians, and raises real questions as to whether security can be guaranteed in practice. At the moment, nowhere in Gaza is safe, as bombardments are being reported in all parts of the Strip.”

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Israel and the United States are continuing to reject calls for a ceasefire in Gaza as the death toll from Israel’s bombardment tops 10,500, including over 4,000 Palestinian children. Tens of thousands of Palestinians in northern Gaza have evacuated their homes on foot as Israeli troops attempt to forcibly seize control of the area. The U.N. estimates 1.5 million Palestinians have been displaced in Gaza — that’s 70% of Gaza’s population. Many Palestinians fear Israel will never allow them to return to their homes.

On Wednesday, the top human rights official at the United Nations, Volker Türk, traveled to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, where he accused both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes.

VOLKER TÜRK: The Rafah crossing has been the symbolic lifeline for the last month for the 2.3 million in Gaza. The lifeline has been unjustly, outrageously thin. These are the gates to a living nightmare, a nightmare where people have been suffocating under persistent bombardment, mourning their families, struggling for water, for food, for electricity and fuel. … On the other side of this gate is Gaza, already described as the world’s biggest open-air prison before 7 October, under a 56-year occupation and a 16-year blockade by Israel.

The atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian armed groups on the 7th of October were heinous. They were war crimes, as is the continued holding of hostages. The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians is also a war crime, as is unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.

AMY GOODMAN: In Gaza City, Israeli airstrikes have hit areas near Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital. Meanwhile, most operations at al-Quds Hospital have been halted due to dwindling fuel supplies and daily Israeli attacks on areas around the hospital. Most roads to the hospital have been destroyed. The hospital is run by Palestine Red Crescent Society, which is part of the International Red Cross.

We go now to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where we’re joined by Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

Thanks so much for being with us. If you could start off by talking about the state of the hospitals in Gaza right now? And what hospitals are you being told that you must have evacuated? And what is the response of the Palestinian Red Crescent, Nebal?

NEBAL FARSAKH: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

The situation now in hospitals is dire. Almost 18 hospitals out of 35 in Gaza Strip have been — have gone out of service, either due to bombardment or because extreme shortage of — they are running out of fuel and medical supplies. The rest of the hospitals are operating under extreme difficult situations. They are having extreme shortages of medical supplies and medicine, as well as almost running out of fuel.

For example, al-Quds Hospital, yesterday we had to reduce all services and operations in al-Quds Hospital to the extent that the major and main generator in the hospital has been turned off, and now we are only using the small generator. The hospital’s surgical ward has been shut down, as well. The hospital’s oxygen generator also has been shut down, and now we are using oxygen cylinders. According to the information, we are only now for 24 hours, and we will be completely shutting down, because we will be running out of fuel. Basically, up to this moment, none of the aid has been allowed to get into al-Quds Hospital.

This is the fourth day, and al-Quds Hospital has been under intense bombardments, along of all roads that lead to al-Quds Hospital are closed. Because of the bombardment, the roads are closed. Our emergency medical services team, they are also inside the hospital, so they are unable to go out of the hospital to arrive the wounded people in the area. They can see from where they are inside the hospital that there are many wounded people very close to the hospital, but, unfortunately, they feel helpless. Because of the intense bombardment, it’s so much dangerous. So they even can’t go out to arrive those wounded people and save their lives. And the area where the hospital is located now became so much dangerous. As highlighted, all roads are closed, so nobody can get into al-Quds Hospital.

Unfortunately, none of the aid has been allowed to get into al-Quds Hospital. Two days ago, we were waiting for aid to come in through ICRC. However, the ICRC convoy was targeted by Israeli occupation forces. And unfortunately, they were unable to deliver the aid to al-Quds Hospital.

So, now the situation, not only the problem is the fuel; we are barely having food or water for our staff and our patients and for over 14,000 civilians who are currently sheltering inside the hospital. Because of the continuous bombardments, all the windows have been falled down — I mean, the glass. So they are literally open. And at nighttime, it became so much cold, even for families who are lying and sleeping on the ground. You can’t imagine the picture of children who are feeling so much cold and don’t even have a blanket to warm them up. So now we are in urgent need for everything, for blankets, for food and water. Those children, they even have a very minimum amount of food. As I mentioned, we barely have even food for the staff or for the patients. This is the third day all Gaza City and the north is out of bread, because all bakeries have already run out of fuel. So none of Gazans who are now currently in Gaza and the north are able to get any piece of bread.

There’s still in Gaza and the north almost 500,000 civilians who are still now sheltering in schools and hospitals in those area where Israel forced its people to evacuate. It’s not easy to say just “evacuate,” because intense bombardments are just taking place all over, and it’s not safe to evacuate yourself, taking into consideration that, as you highlighted, many people have to do that on foot under intense bombardment. There is no transportation. There is complete destruction of the road and infrastructure. And simply an ICRC convoy was targeted while it was on its way from the south to the north. So, how it would be safe for civilians to evacuate themselves to the south?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Nebal, so if you could respond to the fact that Israel has said, either evacuate from al-Quds Hospital, or the Palestinian Red Crescent is responsible for any deaths? And then, also, you know, you’ve said that oxygen generators have now been shut off, you’re relying on oxygen cylinders, that fuel is running out. I mean, what do you — how will this go, if you don’t have access to fuel? What do you fear will happen to these patients who are dependent on oxygen, not to mention all of the other medical supplies that are dwindling, if not have entirely run out?

NEBAL FARSAKH: Yes. We have announced repeatedly that we have around 500 patients inside the hospital. Many of them are connected to life support machines. They are in the intensive care unit. We have babies in incubators. We don’t have the means to evacuate them safely. Evacuating them means killing them. Taking into consideration that already intense bombardments are taking place, so there will be no even any way to evacuate the staff, along with 14,000 civilians who are currently taking shelter because, simply, they have nowhere, no way to go to.

Hospitals, healthcare personnel, healthcare facilities should be protected under international humanitarian law. There will be no justification for Israel targeting al-Quds Hospital, although — even the WHO has announced that evacuation orders against hospitals are impossible to implement. They constitute a death penalty for patients. Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers should not put in an option to choose either to lose your life or risk your life or even turn back — turn your back to your patients and just go away. This is not acceptable.

And this situation, to be under intense bombardment, under constant fear and panic of losing your life, it’s also unacceptable. As I said, for over at least a week, now two weeks almost, intense bombardments are taking place in a very close area of the hospital, to the extent that most of the buildings in the surrounding area of the hospital has been damaged. Airstrikes are taking place even 15 meters away from the hospital. It has resulted to at least 16 people were injured during these bombardments, to the extent that a patient in the intensive care unit was also injured. This should not be acceptable.

I can’t describe the situation now inside the hospital, when I’m talking about 14,000 civilians — most of them are children and women — just sleeping on the hospital’s ground. Every single corner in the hospital, there is internally displaced people, who have no other option. This is the last choice for them. It’s just seeking shelter to a place they thought they will be in a safe place. Unfortunately, this is not the case, because Israel, it looks like it’s absolutely over and above the international humanitarian law.

Unfortunately, as a humanitarian organization, we have completely run out of all of solutions. Over three weeks now we have been calling on the international community to intervene immediately to allow the entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and including fuel. We have warned repeatedly, “We are running out of fuel.” We have already run out of fuel a week ago. So, we managed to get some fuel from some gas stations who had some left over. Unfortunately, because of the continuous blockade on Gaza, particularly, and the north, it’s now an impossible mission to find one liter of gas, one liter of fuel in Gaza and the north. We have come to an end. We have already reduced all of our operations, all of our services, in order just to manage to take care of those patients who are now inside the hospital. And although we have taken all of these measures, we are only for 24 hours. At that point, the hospital’s small generator will shut down, and then the lives of those who are connected to life support machines, they will lose their life. And we even — we even can’t imagine the situation we will be in. As a humanitarian organization, we feel helpless. We feel helpless.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Nebal, your response to Israel saying, if you don’t evacuate al-Quds Hospital, your organization, the Palestinian Red Crescent, is responsible for any deaths?

NEBAL FARSAKH: As I said, international humanitarian law is clear: Hospitals, healthcare worker, healthcare facilities, civilians should not be a target. If an attack or whatsoever happened for al-Quds Hospital, this will be a responsibility of Israel, the responsibility of the international community, who are, up to this moment, fail to stand up for humanity, fail to pressure Israel to ensure the protection of civilians, healthcare personnel and healthcare facilities. Up to this moment, four colleagues were killed during conducting their humanitarian role, trying to save other people’s life. Twenty-two other paramedics were injured. At least eight ambulances completely went out of service due to Israeli bombardment and targeted for ambulances. This also should be stopped. Under all circumstances, in all conflicts, healthcare workers, healthcare personnel, healthcare facilities and hospitals, along with civilians, they should be protected. Unfortunately, 70% of the victims, of thousands of people who were killed in Gaza, are children, women and elderly people. This war crime should be stopped.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Nebal, I mean, if you could talk specifically about the situation of children, over 4,000 killed, countless others thought to be under the rubble? But apart from that, there’s a new acronym that’s been in use in Gaza hospitals: WCNSF, wounded child, no surviving family. If you could say something about that, Nebal, whether you’re witnessing that, how much you’re witnessing it in hospitals there, al-Quds included?

NEBAL FARSAKH: Unfortunately, because of the intensive bombardments that is taking place on people’s residential buildings, houses, without even any prior warning, that has resulted to wiping out whole families. And unfortunately, many children who are survivors now, they don’t even have any family member.

We have saved a 12-years-old girl. She was under the rubble for almost 30 hours. Unfortunately, she has lost all of her family. And now she is currently sheltering inside the hospital. Our psychosocial support team try as much as they can to support her, but no words can describe the traumatized situation that this 13-years-old girl, along with other children in Gaza, are living because of this intense bombardment.

Even those who didn’t lose anyone, simply being under intense bombardments day and night, and hearing strong bombardments with complete darkness because of the cut of electricity, is just so much horrifying and panic among those children who are living unprecedented situations that no child in this world, we wish, is be living.

AMY GOODMAN: Nebal Farsakh, we want to thank you for spending this time with us, spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent Society, joining us from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Coming up, we’ll speak to the Palestinian American poet and physician Fady Joudah. Israel has killed dozens of his family members in Gaza in just the past month. Stay with us.

Nebal Farsakh stated, "As I said, international humanitarian law is clear: Hospitals, healthcare worker, healthcare facilities, civilians should not be a target. If an attack or whatsoever happened for al-Quds Hospital, this will be a responsibility of Israel, the responsibility of the international community, who are, up to this moment, fail to stand up for humanity, fail to pressure Israel to ensure the protection of civilians, healthcare personnel and healthcare facilities."   Nidal Al-Mughrabi (REUTERS) reports this morning, "Israeli air strikes hit Gaza's biggest hospital, the Al Shifa, on Friday, killing one person and wounding others sheltering there, Palestinian officials said, one of several hospitals reported struck at dawn as Israel battles Hamas in the heart of the enclave."  An hour ago, ALJAZEERA noted:

Gaza resident Motei Ibrahim says the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, is “totally overwhelmed by people who have evacuated their homes”.

“People are living inside the corridors,” he told Al Jazeera from the hospital. “The situation is so dire and so difficult,” Ibrahim said.

“The repetitive scene here is the people who are targeted by the Israeli air strikes frequent the road to the hospital and their relatives and beloved ones come to bid a farewell to them and carry them to their last destination,” he added.

“The grief is overwhelming.”

It's amazing what people can lie to themselves and justify.  And it's worth noting that once they lie like that, the behavior gets easier and easier.  ALJAZEERA notes, "Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra says Israel has bombed al-Shifa Hospital buildings five times since Thursday night." The Israeli government is openly targeting hospitals now.  Gone is any effort to argue that it wasn't them.  It matters less and less, the war machinery keeps grinding on.  And we can thank the feckless leaders like Joe Biden who have refused to address this issue in a rational manner. Andre Damon (WSWS) reports:

On Thursday, as he was leaving for a campaign event in Illinois, US President Joe Biden again categorically reiterated his opposition to a ceasefire in Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Asked, “What are the prospects of a Gaza ceasefire?” Biden replied, “None. No possibility.”

Biden’s comments made clear that the United States is actively instigating Israel’s genocide in Gaza and working to inflame a wider war in the Middle East. They came just two days after White House National Security spokesman John Kirby stated again that the United States has no “red lines” on the number of civilian casualties it will accept.

Biden’s remarks sparked worldwide outrage, with clips of his statement viewed or shared by millions of people on all social media platforms. He was met in Chicago by thousands of people demonstrating against US support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza. The crowd chanted, “Genocide Joe” and “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”

While Biden was speaking in Illinois, he was interrupted by a protester who yelled, “10,000 Palestinians have been killed. Half of them are children.”

Before Biden left for Chicago, he was asked whether Israel’s “retaliatory airstrikes” were working, he replied, “Yes,” adding, “they’re hitting the targets they’re seeking.”

So targeting hospitals is working?  Good to know.  Good to know how low Joe is willing to go.  He's a War Criminal.  

Ooh you're slickYou investors in hateYou Saddams and you BushesYou Bin Ladens and snakesYou billionaire bulliesYou're a globalized curseYou put war on the masses while you clean out the purse
And that's how it's done war after warYou old feudal parasites just sacrifice the poorYou've got the cutting edge weapons But your scam's still the same as it's been since the RomansIt's the patriot gameIt's the war racket
You twisters of languageYou creeps of disguiseYour disinformationLike worms in your eyesYou privileged bankersYou gambler thievesYou profit on warThere's less money in peace
That's how it's done time after timeCountry after country, crime after crimeYou pretend it's religion and there's no one to blameFor the dead and impoverished in your little patriot gameHoney, that's the war racket

-- "War Racket," words and music by Buffy Sainte-Marie, first appears on her album MEDICINE SONGS.

Amnesty International has called for a cease-fire. ALJAZEERA noted earlier this week, "The leaders of 18 United Nations agencies and non-profit organisations (NGO) have called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas war, expressing 'shock and horror' at the mounting death toll from the conflict."  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

  As Israeli troops neared the hospital on Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on social media that "with ongoing strikes and fighting nearby, we are gravely concerned about the well-being of thousands of civilians there, many children among them, seeking medical care and shelter, including people on life support, those who lost limbs in air strikes, and burn victims."

"Videos from inside al-Shifa's compound, verified by HRW, show hundreds of people in a courtyard next to the [emergency room], including sheltering civilians, medics tending to patients, emergency workers collecting dead bodies, and journalists. Satellite imagery shows many tents there," the group said. "Videos and photos taken in recent days show civilians and emergency workers bringing hundreds of injured and dead people to the hospital day and night, by ambulance, by car, on foot, and by donkey cart. People regularly walk in and out of the hospital's main entrance."

CNN’s Zeena Saifi reports, "Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) called for an end to the war in Gaza and the end of the 'forced displacement' of Palestinians."  Mithil Aggarwal (NBC NEWS) notes, "Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed news that Israel would formalize daily humanitarian pauses but said that 'more needs to be done'."  More needs to be done?  Well you're an abject failure so clearly it won't be accomplished by you. 

There’s no question that US aid provides a substantial share of Israel’s war costs. A rough sense of the overall importance of US aid to the Israeli war effort can be developed by comparing the $14 billion in military aid proposed by the Biden administration with an estimate by the Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist, first reported by Reuters. Calcalist estimates that the conflict in Gaza will cost Tel Aviv roughly $50 billion if it goes on for eight to 12 months.

If the Calcalist estimate is on the mark, that would mean that if the $14 billion in proposed US aid is approved and disbursed over the next year, it would account for just over one-quarter of the total cost of the war to Israel. About half of the estimate—$25 billion—represents direct military costs, with the additional costs related to negative economic impacts of the war, compensation for businesses, and reconstruction. If US aid is compared only to the estimate of direct military costs of the war, it would amount to more than half of relevant expenditures. No estimate made in the midst of an ongoing conflict will be entirely accurate, but what we do know suggests that US tax dollars are a major factor in sustaining the Israeli war effort.

The role of US-supplied weapons may be even more important than the question of how much of the costs of the war would be paid for with American tax dollars. The United States has been Israel’s principal arms supplier since the nation’s inception—supplying military aid to the tune of $124 billion over that time period before adjusting for inflation. Washington is currently in the fifth year of a 10-year $38 billion military aid commitment to Tel Aviv, or $3.8 billion per year. This annual figure will be dwarfed by the $14 billion in military aid contained in the administration’s pending emergency aid request. The types of weaponry in the package include large quantities of bombs and tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells that can be put straight to use in the Gaza war.

Joe makes all Americans complicit in these War Crimes.  Gabriel Black (WSWS) notes:

On November 2, Will Lehman, the Mack Trucks worker who ran as the rank-and-file socialist candidate for president of the UAW, issued a video statement demanding the immediate cessation of production for equipment and munitions used by the Israeli military. At the time of writing, his statement has been viewed over a hundred thousand times, particularly on TikTok where it was widely shared.

In his statement, Lehman endorsed the call of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions asking workers around the world to “refuse to build weapons destined for Israel … refuse to transport weapons to Israel … [to] take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege.”

Lehman noted, however, that the leadership of the UAW “has ignored the appeal by the Palestinian trade unions,” with UAW President Shawn Fain—the backed candidate of the DSA—inviting President Joe Biden to Michigan “to posture as a friend of working people.” At the time of writing, the UAW leadership remains silent on the call of the Palestinian Federation of Trade Unions to shut down the production of bombs, missiles, and other equipment for war.

More than 1,100 General Dynamics workers in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania were set to strike on October 22 but the UAW announced a last-minute deal to prevent a walkout at the giant defense contractor, which supplies weapons to Israel.

The American weapons being used by the IDF to destroy Gaza

Over ten thousand Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In just one month of bombing, the IDF has killed 4,000 children. Responding to the slaughter which has been made possible by Biden and the imperialist powers in Europe, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres described Gaza as a “graveyard for children” on Monday.

The vast majority have been killed inside their apartments, tents, or place of shelter, as bombs fired by Israeli warplanes either kill them on impact or collapse the infrastructure around them, in which case they are crushed to death or suffocate beneath the rubble. Civilians hear the whistling of the bombs for several seconds before the bombs land on their homes and explode. On-the-ground footage from independent journalists, such as Motaz Azaiza (Instagram) and Eye on Palestine (Instagram), shows Palestinian civilians desperately trying to free their relatives and loved-ones from the rubble every day—hoping for signs of life beneath the concrete.

The IDF has one of the more advanced militaries on the planet—funded, almost exclusively, by billions of American tax-dollars. The US has spent over $130 billion on supplying Israel with weapons since the country’s founding in 1948.

The IDF fires bombs on Gaza from a fleet of American made war planes. Cross-referencing information from Reuters, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Al Jazeera suggests this fleet consists of:

  • 40 F-35 advanced Lockheed Martin stealth warplanes (Reuters reports that a total of 75 have been ordered)
  • 196 F-16 multi-purpose planes made by General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin
  • 83 F-15 fighters designed and produced by McDonnell Douglas (which is now Boeing)

These warplanes are equipped with bombs, missiles, and guidance kits largely manufactured in the United States. 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: As we continue to look at Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, we’re joined in Houston, Texas, by Fady Joudah. He’s an award-winning Palestinian American writer and poet, as well as a physician. He has translated several collections of poetry from Arabic into English, including work by the renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Dozens of his family members have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. His recent piece for LitHub is titled “A Palestinian Meditation in a Time of Annihilation.”

Fady Joudah, welcome to Democracy Now! First of all, of course, our condolences on the loss of your family members. If you could say a little bit about those family members and how you and your family here in the U.S. are keeping in touch with people who remain in Gaza?

DR. FADY JOUDAH: Thank you.

We have had more than 50 or 60 people in our extended family killed by Israeli airstrikes. Some of them are in-laws of one of my cousins, and others are different families. Others were also killed by the dozens in one strike. One particular story is of a woman I knew since when I was a child in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. And her brother’s grandkids were killed because Israel bombed the house next to them, and in the bombing, one of the walls — one of the walls of their house fell off on them. And they were sleeping, and it killed the three grandchildren and the parents. And only the grandfather survives. So this is also a different spectrum of what we hear about the children being the only survivors in entire families. There are also stories of elderly people who have survived 1948, the Nakba, and/or 1967, and they’re the only ones who are surviving or who have survived their families.

We try to keep in touch with some family members through social media or WhatsApp or what have you, but you know there’s no guarantee that there is regular access or regular communication. You can send a message and maybe get a response the next day. In the beginning of the war, we could get a few phone calls in. But the stuff now is just very difficult to access many people.

The situation is unspeakable and will remain unspeakable, I think, for generations and decades, has been a culmination of the Palestinian experience for a hundred years, since the British Mandate and the beginning of settler colonialism with Zionist immigration into Palestine. It is really beyond words to describe what it means to be a Palestinian in this moment, the accumulation of multigenerational trauma and memories that activates in each one of us previous memories we’ve tried overcome with hope and a flair for life and for freedom, only to find that there is always some horrific episode that reminds us that we are on this Earth in this time, liable to be massacred and lied about. It is —

AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of which, Fady — we’re speaking to Fady Joudah, who is an award-winning Palestinian American writer and poet and physician. As you speak to us from Houston, we’ve spoken to so many Palestinians in Gaza, in the West Bank, as well, but you are here in the United States. And the United States is so important when it comes to how Israel deals with Palestine, because of the amount of aid, to the tune of billions of dollars a year, and is now asking for much more. Can you talk about how the media here covers this issue?

DR. FADY JOUDAH: Well, it’s how the media doesn’t cover it. I think that I’ve written in the piece there — and I’ve written in other pieces before — there is a collective psychosis in the mainstream language of U.S. media and administration, that is bizarre to the point of ghosting Palestinians, permitting their erasure, year after year, decade after decade.

When we say, for example, Israel has a right to defend itself, we’re also saying that Palestinian lives are not equal to any other lives that we deem superior to them. And I think that we have not repeatedly asked the question in American media and culture: Do you believe that Palestinian lives are equal to Israeli lives and to Jewish lives? There are many, Jewish people among them, who believe the answer is yes. But there are many more who haven’t even entertained the question honestly. And I think the importance of the question is to go beyond the moral lip service reflex of saying, “Of course, yes,” because to say “yes” means that you have to believe in the equal humanity of Palestinians as a political condition for freedom. When we hear about all the stuff from Blinken or Biden, it is really a language that says, “We believe that the Palestinians have rights when we decide that they have equal rights. We will put it on the back burner.” Always on the back burner.

And what I say is that we have reached a point where the murder and the destruction of Palestinian lives has reached a point of every time it reaches, it goes up higher, escalates in what is permissible about destroying Palestinian lives. We are not just talking about the numbers of the dead. We are talking about 2 million people who are living a life worse than death, and they have to overcome that and the trauma, that is unspeakable. And I do not expect the U.S. media and mainstream media or politics to even care about this. The ghosting continues.

Yesterday in The Washington Post, they published a racist cartoon, in — which they took down because there was an immediate back — I mean, lashing out at the racist cartoon. It is unimaginable to think that this — and it shouldn’t be imaginable — to think that this would be directed at Jewish lives or Israeli lives, but it is permissible to dehumanize Palestinians, until it has become part of the accepted feeling within the American psyche or consciousness on the whole. And so, everyone, I think, on the whole, except pockets here and there, is really complicit in the permissibility of the destruction of Palestinian lives, that has reached an unprecedented level in our hundred years of being massacred, displaced, dehumanized.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Fady, I want to ask you about a point that you raise in this beautiful essay that you’ve written, “A Palestinian Meditation in a Time of Annihilation.” In the essay, you cite Aimé Césaire, the renowned Martinican poet, very important anticolonial thinker, who wrote one of the canonical texts on colonialism, A Discourse on Colonialism. You cite him saying, “Neither America nor Europe seem able or willing to solve their colonial addiction, their civilizational motif. Israel is a translation of that failure, a prized Western desire. But Israel has agency in mechanizing this desire.” Could you explain, elaborate on that?

DR. FADY JOUDAH: Well, I think that, for some of us who know, or don’t know, that the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 was a response to the Zionist movement in Europe by a Jewish people in Europe who had suffered a lot of oppression. But to overcome that oppression, they chose to side with the colonial aspect, the domineering aspect of the culture that dominated them, and export that as a mode for success and triumph into a Palestine, without much recognition of the racism involved in dehumanizing what they call the Arab population of Palestine.

And since then, it has been in the interest of the West and the U.S. to prop up Israel as an outpost, so to speak, for further domination of the Middle East for various reasons. But the problem is that this kind of propping up has really gone mad at this point. And, you know, I think we’ve reached a moment — and others have said it — where the degree of colonial viciousness that exists now in Israeli society, and is supported by the West, sends us back to 19th century barbarism, really, colonial barbarism. And then, obviously, Israel is interested in affecting this kind of behavior within the U.S. through major lobby influences and also cultural influences.

As I said, I — or let me say it this way. It would be an amazing achievement if Zionists in the U.S., and outside it, would actually say to a single Palestinian, “I am sorry.” Just once. This has not happened in a hundred years. It has happened, of course, on an individual level. I have Jewish friends and colleagues who have said it, because we are all human, and there is no monolithic collective anywhere.

But I think that one of the things we need to do is to begin to shift the language that speaks of the Palestinian and to allow for more Palestinian presence in the American consciousness, beyond death and dying. It seems to me that Palestinians in the West are only alive when they are dying, and that is abhorrent and unacceptable. And that is part of a settler colonial mentality that only humanizes its subjects when they are limp, near dying, completely helpless, obedient. Any sense of resistance or rise toward freedom or liberation is denied them through dehumanizing language and, you know, manipulative approaches and processes.

AMY GOODMAN: Fady Joudah, we want to thank you so much for spending this time with us, Palestinian American writer, poet, translator and physician, speaking to us from Houston. Dozens of his family members have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. We’ll link to your recent piece for LitHub, “A Palestinian Meditation in a Time of Annihilation.”

The following sites updated:

grab bag

if you missed it, hillary clinton was on 'the view' and says no to a cease-fire.  

why doesn't she just shut her damn mouth?

does she not get that she'll never be president? does she not get that her half-assed campaign is the reason america got stuck with donald trump for 4 years?

she should hang her head in shame and speak in public only to apologize for her lousy 2016 campaign.  

her students walked out on her last week.  ha ha.  they want a cease-fire as most reasonable people do.

all hillary does is rally people around donald trump.  she really needs to go away.  for good.

in other news?  not linking to yet another sharon stone article.  that woman never stops lying.  this time, though, she may be telling the truth.  if so, why?

she wants you to know that at the end of the 80s a studio exec - at sony - exposed himself to her and she couldn't stop laughing.


she won't name him  it's obvious she's implying it's jon peters and that is something he would have done.  why does she want to talk about this?  and if she wants to talk about it, why doesn't she name him?

am i reading the barbra streisand auto biography.  i am.  i have no idea when i'll get done with it.  the thing is nearly 1000 pages.  

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, November 9, 2023.  Moms For Bigotry is rejected in Tuesday's voting, a bigot in Sherman, Texas tries to destroy a kid's dream, the assault on Gaza continues, US House Rep Rashida Tlaib is censured by members of Congress who are doing nothing to save the people of Gaza, and much more.

Tuesday, elections took place in the US.

Republicans across the country suffered a crushing defeat in the transgender battle that they thrust into the national spotlight just two years ago.

GOP candidates in Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kansas suffered major losses Tuesday night in several local elections where voters rejected anti-trans policies by voting against Republicans in school board races.

The results of the 2023 election suggest that a tide is turning against the so-called "parents rights" movement, which gained momentum two years ago and has since dominated the national conversation about education and American politics.

Fresh off of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin's 2021 victory, Republicans seized on school culture wars as a winning election strategy. Advocacy group Moms for Liberty gained significant traction as Republican lawmakers, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, pursued education policies that tackled critical race theory, sexual orientation and transgender rights.

This year alone, 586 anti-trans bills—which include bans on gender-affirming care, the inclusion of transgender athletes in women's sports and choice of pronouns—have been introduced in 49 states, according to the Trans Legislation Tracker.

But Tuesday night suggested that the crusade against transgender students may not be as popular among Americans as Republicans believed two years ago. Virginia Democrats triumphed in statehouse elections, effectively shrinking Youngkin's power, and the majority of candidates endorsed by Moms for Liberty lost their school board elections.

Far-right groups like Moms for Liberty say they speak for parents, a proposition that’s always been dubious. As they push for book bans, whitewash American history, and try to drive LGBTQ+ teachers and students back into the closet, they’ve made plenty of enemies. Parents, especially mothers, have gone head to head with Moms for Liberty and the candidates it backs, stunting the far right’s march through local school boards. That trend was particularly apparent on Tuesday evening when anti-diversity candidates lost a number of pivotal school-board races across the nation.

When Moms for Liberty assaults protections for LGBTQ+ children in public schools, and threatens to out trans children to families that may not be welcoming, they do so with specious arguments about “parental rights.” Nobody wants to co-parent with the government, they argue, and parents have a right to know what their children are doing in school. Members have backed policies that would prevent teachers from covering LGBTQ+ topics in the classroom, ban trans girls from playing school sports, and notify parents if a child requests a name change at school. Those policies place LGBTQ+ students — and educators — at risk. Tuesday’s school-board races tested the nation’s priorities: Did voters want culture war or did they want candidates focused more on the work of education? The answer is a blow for Moms for Liberty and their larger platform.

[. . .]

Banning books about LGBTQ+ issues or racism is somewhat popular with Republican voters, but like much of the GOP’s culture-war turn, they alienate other voters. According to polling from YouGov, independent and Democratic voters don’t want to ban books from school libraries and are much less likely to think that certain topics should be banned from classrooms, too. Moms for Liberty and the parental rights cause they celebrate may appeal to the base, but it’s not yet a winning formula. That’s good news for parents, educators, and students alike.

Moms For Bigotry?  Yes, those hate merchants.  As I noted a few months back, the country reached the turning point on those hate merchants.  They got a lot of traction early on due to liars and trash but they don't fit in with democracy, people who preach hate rarely do.   One of the group's earliest champions grasps this and it's why she rejected an insult one of her new supporters made this week where the supporter attached "trans" to another term and the woman replied back that they shouldn't do that.  Maybe there's hope for that woman yet.  Or maybe she's just grasped how unpopular and harmful Moms For Bigotry actually are.  Troy Matthews (MEDIASTOUCH NETWORK) notes:

Moms For Liberty, an anti-LGBT hate group that couches itself as a "parent's rights" organization suffered a massive electoral defeat Tuesday with many of their targeted school board races going to Democratic candidates.

As the Republican caucuses approach in Iowa, all but one of the 13 candidates endorsed by Moms For Liberty lost in school board races in that state. The sole winner will serve in a district with less than 1,000 students.

Pennsylvania also proved rough for Moms For Liberty despite being the group's home state, as Democrats swept several school board races in Bucks County including Pennsridge and Central Bucks, after Moms For Liberty had put forth a slate of five "approved" Republicans for each district.

For more on this week's election results, Rebecca covers the impact reproductive rights had and Marcia notes some LGBTQ+ victories. But let's take a moment to look at a specific example of how Moms For Bigotry's hate destroys children's lives.  Marlene Lenthang (NBC NEWS - Dallas, Fort Worth) reports:

A Texas student who identifies as a transgender male was kicked out of the lead role of his high school musical after his principal introduced a new gender casting policy.

Max Hightower, a senior at Sherman High School, learned just last month that he landed the starring male role in the school’s production of “Oklahoma!” But the 17-year-old’s excitement didn’t last long. 

Why?  Because a transphobic man named Scott Johnston got his panties in a wad.  Why?  A trans male can play a male.  In fact, in the theater, anyone can play anyone and has since the beginning of time.  It's called . . . acting.  In Shakespeare's time, the cast were all males -- even Juliet was played by a male.  At schools across the country, throughout the last century, there were females playing male characters and males playing female characters -- sometimes due to talent, sometimes due to not having anyone else.

There was no reason to destroy this child's hopes and dreams and sense of accomplishment.  Talia Richman (DALLAS MORNING NEWS) explains:

Max Hightower was cast in ensemble roles for theater productions throughout high school. Then, finally, his teacher offered him one of the lead spots in Oklahoma!.

He would play Ali Hakim in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical – and even get his own song, “It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage!


Max tried to act like a seasoned professional in front of his teacher. But as soon as the ecstatic 17-year-old left the office and told his friends about his role, they all started screaming in excitement.

“Everybody in the choir room, like, blew up,” Max said.

Max threw himself into preparing for the part. He read the script during class, managing to go off-book in three days. But last week, Max’s dad Phillip Hightower got a call from Sherman High School principal Scott Johnston. School officials were taking away his part.

Outrageous.  Uncalled for.  What kind of an idiot is Scott Johnston? He's not even a trained educator.  He has a degree in administration from Lamar University (masters degree) and a b.s. from UNT in . . . kinesiology.  So he's not really a teacher then, no training at all.  And I'm told he's creepy and he makes homophobic jokes.  How did this loser end up a principal of a high school just a few months ago?  Seems like someone needs to explain that.   Especially his with his known status as an alleged  bigot -- including a racist -- was already known before he returned to the school this fall as principle.  (He left the school as an assistant principal and then a brief time later returned to become principal.)  His rumored comments about Barack Obama alone should have kept him out of any school.  Those alleged  comments had nothing to be with politics but everything to do with Barack's skin color.  This information is based upon what adults who've worked with him told me last night on the phone.   From the beginning THE COMMON ILLS has had a Texas audience.  Our community members are all over the world but from the beginning we've had support from Texas.  To get info when it has anything to do with Texas, all I ever have to do is a group e-mail blast to Texas members asking, "Does anyone know anything about ____?" And I will get hundreds of replies including suggestions of who to speak to.  How do you think we got the floor plan to the dump Bully Boy Bush bought -- the dump he lives in now.  He's so damn cheap, Laura Bush wanted to live in Highland Park.  It has a higher tax rate than Dallas and the homes are more expensive.  So Bully Boy Bush went with a house close to Highland Park.  And because he's so cheap, he bought that wasn't finished.  One that still needed building and had been abandoned after it didn't pass inspection in its first attempt.  How were we able to post the floor plan all those years ago?  Texas community members.  

This creep is uneducated and a bigot and never should have been put in charge of a school. 

Phillip Hightower tells Brianna Brown (KTEN), "I mean, they didn't even try to jazz it up when they called me; it was, 'Max isn't a boy, essentially, so Max can't have this role.' And you know, you never forget something like that."
"I could not believe they brought him back," said one teacher over the phone last night about Principal Johnston.

Max and his parents were elated until they were notified two weeks later by the school principal that there was a new policy.

"And [he] said we're instituting a new policy where only males can play males, and only females can play females," said Max's father, Phillip Hightower.

"I was devastated," said Hightower.

His father said their son's identity has never been an issue with the District, and the decision by school leaders cost other students their roles, too. Parents plan to appeal to the school board.

"I'm not an activist. I'm not highly political. I have both liberal and conservative beliefs. I'm just a dad that wants to fight for his kid," Hightower said.

Sherman ISD released a statement saying the production was being reviewed after "It was brought to the district's attention that the current production contained mature adult themes, profane language, and sexual content."

First question: Policy?  If it's a policy it should have been in place already.  You don't create a law and try to apply it after the fact, nor do you create a policy and try to apply it after the fact.

This should not survive a legal challenge.   Secondly, "mature adult themes, profane language, and sexual content"?  


Confession, I've never seen it.  I loathe Rogers & Hammerstein.  I love Rogers & Hart and can play any song by that duo on the piano or guitar.  But I loathe Rogers & Hammerstein.  So maybe I'm missing the raunchy  scene in the play?  I don't grasp how a play from 1943 that became a film in 1955 that has resulted in one school production after another for over 70s years is inappropriate?  Apparently when you sleep with goats, you find everything objectionable.  (Don't worry, Scott Johnston knows what I'm talking about.) The film's been aired on TV repeatedly -- broadcast TV. 

Cora Neas (KXAN) reports, "Parents opposed to the decision tell KXAN that they plan to be at the Sherman ISD board meeting on November 13. This comes after a petition to reinstate the roles was ignored by the board, according to a district parent."  Talia Richman (DALLAS MORNING NEWS) notes:

Amy Hightower, Max’s mother, was devastated when she found out about the school’s decision

Max has been Max for years, but not everyone in the Hightowers’ orbit knows that he’s transgender. Amy Hightower hasn’t shared it broadly; the family lives in a conservative community.

But the school’s actions changed things for her. She decided to post about what happened on Facebook – and to make her post public.

“I don’t normally post super personal stuff out here on the ol’ FB but today I am. Until you have a kid that comes to you and tells you they don’t want to live anymore because they’re different, don’t tell me what you would do,” she wrote. “We almost lost this kid, more than once, and now we just support Max and what makes Max happy.”

She said she poured her heart out online because her family has gotten to a place with Max where he’s able to thrive. What helped him, she said, was his parents’ support.

 What should have been a happy moment for a young man has instead become an excuse for a bigot to attack.  Stop lying that this was ever about protecting children when it was always about bigots projecting their hate and causing pain.

That's why elections do matter -- to hold the hate merchants in check.

And here's more proof that they matter, from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to censure Democratic Congressmember Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, for her criticism of Israel. The vote was 234 to 188, with 22 Democrats joining Republicans to censure Tlaib. Prior to the vote, the congresswoman spoke from the House floor.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: I’m the only Palestinian American serving in Congress, Mr. Chair, and my perspective is needed here now more than ever. I will not be silent, and I will not let you distort my words. Folks forget I’m from the city of Detroit, the most beautiful, Blackest city in the country, where I learned to speak truth to power even if my voice shakes.

Trying to bully or censor me won’t work, because this movement for a ceasefire is much bigger than one person. It’s growing every single day. There are millions of people across our country who oppose Netanyahu’s extremism and are done watching our government support collective punishment and the use of white phosphorus bombs that melt flesh to the bone. They are done watching our government, Mr. Chair, supporting cutting off food, water, electricity and medical care to millions of people with nowhere to go. Like me, Mr. Chair, they don’t believe the answer to war crimes is more war crimes. The refusal of Congress and the administration to acknowledge Palestinian lives is chipping away at my soul. Over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed. Majority — majority were children.

But let me be clear: My criticism has always been of the Israeli government and Netanyahu’s actions. It is important to separate people and governments, Mr. Chair. No government is beyond criticism. The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is antisemitic sets a very dangerous precedent, and it’s being used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation.

Do you realize what it’s like, Mr. Chair, for the people outside the chamber right now listening in agony to their own government dehumanizing them, to hear the president of the United States we helped elect dispute death tolls as we see video after video of dead children and parents under rubble? Mr. Chair, do you know what it’s like to fear rising hate crimes, to know how Islamophobia and antisemitism makes us all less safe, and worry that your own child might suffer the horrors that 6-year-old Wadea did in Illinois? I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable.

AMY GOODMAN: As Congressmember Rashida Tlaib composed herself, her sister congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, put her hand on her shoulder, the only other Muslim woman in Congress.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: We are human beings, just like anyone else. My sity, my grandmother, like all Palestinians, just wants to live her life with freedom and human dignity we all deserve. Speaking up to save lives, Mr. Chair, no matter faith, no matter ethnicity, should not be controversial in this chamber. The cries of the Palestinian and Israeli children sound no different to me. Why — what I don’t understand is why the cries of Palestinians sound different to you all.

We cannot lose our shared humanity, Mr. Chair. I hear the voices of advocates in Israel, in Palestine, across America and around the world for peace. I am inspired by the courageous, the courageous survivors in Israel, who have lost loved ones, yet are calling for a ceasefire and the end to violence. I am grateful to the people in the streets for the peace movement, with countless Jewish Americans across the country standing up and lovingly saying, “Not in our name.”

We will continue to call for a ceasefire, Mr. Chair, for the immediate delivery of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza, for the release of all hostages and those arbitrarily detained, and for every American to come home. We will continue to work for a real lasting peace that upholds human rights and dignity of all people and centers a peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, and censures no one — no one — and ensures that no person, no child has to suffer or live in fear of violence.

Seventy-one percent of Michigan Democrats support a ceasefire. So you can try to censure me, but you can’t silence their voices. I urge my colleagues to join with the majority of Americans and support a ceasefire now to save as many lives as possible. President Biden must listen to and represent all of us, not just some of us. I urge the president to have the courage to call for a ceasefire and the end of killings. Thank you, and I yield.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Detroit Congressmember Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American, speaking on the House floor before the House voted to censure her for her criticism of Israel.

Rashida Tlaib may have been censured by Congress but she is right and has history on her side.  Those who voted to censure her cannot make the same claim.  They do want to silence her.  234 members of the House of Representatives want to censor her, to silence her.  One voice, one Palestinian-American's voice is just one too many for them.  That's why representation matters and Rashida voiced her experience, her lived-experience, and that of many of her constituents.  And even one voice -- just one voice -- telling the truth was too damn much for 234 members of the House of Representatives.  

Palestinian suffering "is 75 years old" and "did not start on October 7," Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Thursday at an international humanitarian conference for Gaza in Paris.  

"We are a victim here... defending oneself doesn't mean occupying someone's land,” Shtayyeh said, adding that “what Israel is doing is not a war against Hamas” but a war against “all Palestinian people.”   

  As most Western leaders stand staunchly with Israel as it wages what many experts have described as a genocidal war on Gaza, a top Cabinet member of a NATO nation on Wednesday implored her government to sanction Israel and call for the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes committed by Israeli forces and Hamas.

"It's time for sanctions against Israel," Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter, a member of the center-left Groen (Green) party, said on social media.

"The rain of bombs is inhumane," she continued. "While war crimes are being committed in Gaza, Israel is ignoring international demands for a cease-fire." 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

As we continue to cover Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, we’re joined by two guests: one, a Holocaust survivor, the other, one of the world’s leading genocide scholars. Omer Bartov is a professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Brown University. He’s the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Genocide, the Holocaust and Israel-Palestine: First-Person History in Times of Crisis. He is an Israeli American scholar who’s been described by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as one of the world’s leading specialists on the subject of genocide. He recently signed an open letter warning of Israel committing a potential genocide in Gaza.

We’re also joined by Marione Ingram. She’s an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who’s been protesting outside the White House calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, longtime activist who was an organizer with SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in the 1960s. She’s the author of The Hands of War: A Tale of Endurance and Hope from a Survivor of the Holocaust and Hands of Peace: A Holocaust Survivor’s Fight for Civil Rights in the American South.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! We’re going to begin with Marione Ingram. Before we talk about the ceasefire in Gaza, I’d like you to respond to the censuring of the only Palestinian American member of Congress, Rashida Tlaib, whose speech we just played.

MARIONE INGRAM: I totally support her comments. And I think it is, on top of that, shameful that her justified defense of human lives is considered antisemitic. It is pro-human beings. I find it horrific that the politicians have the nerve to censure righteous voices for peace and for the lives of Gazans, who are being murdered. It is slaughter that is happening. And Rashida Tlaib is, in my eyes, a hero.

Netanyahu’s government, Israel’s policies for decades has been the suppression of Palestinians, land grabs, deprivation of Palestinians. It is painful for me, as someone who has experienced all of the terrors that Gazans are experiencing, and even the horrific attacks in Israel by Hamas. But Hamas’s attack on Israel does not justify the slaughter of women and children, especially children. I was a child of war. I have experienced all of these things. I have also known for a fact that what Israel is doing will not end this conflict. It will only exacerbate it. It will increase resistance to anything.

I think that Biden needs to defund all of the money that is given to Israel. I think he should not only call for a ceasefire; I think he needs to start thinking about peace. We cannot continue to make wars and then call for ceasefires, only to have wars start again after the ceasefire ends. We’ve experienced this over and over and over again. I am so tired of having to protest everything — wars, gun violence, the war against women. It is ridiculous that we are not able to think clearly.

My husband has an expression, and that is, “all about the Benjis.” I think that the happiest people in the universe must be the manufacturers of armaments, and probably are also complicit in the promotion. The fact that the United States is complicit in this murder of children is, to me, a horrific indictment of inhumanity. And I applaud Rashida Tlaib with all of my heart, with all of my being. I think she’s fantastic. I just wish that there were more voices to join her in the House.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Marione Ingram, I wanted to ask you — you grew up in Hamburg, Germany, in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Could you tell us and to our audience some of your experiences that shaped and determined and made you want to participate in these protests in Washington against the Israeli bombardment and invasion of Gaza?

MARIONE INGRAM: Because I am a Jew, my mother was a Jew, my family was murdered in 1941. My Jewish family was murdered in 1941. Hamburg Jews were sent to Minsk in Belarusia. Upon arrival, they were stripped and then shot and dumped into a mass grave. My grandmother was taken by two Gestapo who came to my mother’s apartment and took her away the night before I turned 6 years old. From about the time I was 3 years old, I was aware that I was the object of hate of the German government, the German country. It was made clear by a playmate who told me that she wouldn’t play with me because I was a dirty Jew pig. I had no idea what she was talking about.

This horrific war against Jews and Germans who protested the Nazi regime progressed. It got worse. My mother had to go to the Gestapo every week. The only reason we were not taken in 1941 was because my mother had married a non-Jew. And this saved us in 1941. But in 1943, the Nazis said that all Jewish spouses were to be exterminated, as well. And in 1943, in the summer of 1943, my mother got our deportation order to Theresienstadt.

My mother tried to commit suicide, in the hopes that my father’s relatives would take in her children, in the hope that she would be able to save her three daughters. She had sent me off to one of the relatives, who was instrumental in helping us. And I had not been allowed to be outside since the Nazis came to power, and it struck me as very odd — I was seven-and-a-half — that she let me take my baby sister to my father’s cousin. And I turned around, and I found my mother with her head in the gas oven, and I pulled her out. And my mother lived and never had another such moment and was horrifically strong.

Right after that, the Allies bombed the city of Hamburg. It was called Operation Gomorrah. The Brits bombed at night. The Americans bombed during the day. It was a 10-day and 10-night uninterrupted bombing. My mother and I were not allowed in a bomb shelter. We were forced to run through flaming streets. The Allies dropped phosphorus, and I saw human beings jumping into the lake, in the canals, and coming up. They were like human candles. Their bodies were in flame. And every time they jumped into the canals and lakes, the flames would be doused, but the minute they came up for air, they would be in flames. As a seven-and-a-half-year-old, I saw more dead bodies burned to a crisp.

Two things: I’m a pacifist, and it is ironic that this horrific revenge attack on civilians — it was entirely targeted on civilians — saved my life, because there were so many burned bodies that could not be identified that I was able to go into — we were able to go into hiding. This was arranged. My father was in the underground. He had managed to arrange for us to be hidden in a sort of exurban farm outside the city of Hamburg by communist underground members. The elderly couple who hid us were not pro-Semitic, but they were virulently anti-Nazi.

And we were in hiding in a tar paper shack, when there were no people around. When there were people around, we had to go hide in an earthen dugout. And on my eighth birthday, on 19th November, 1943, in the earthen dugout, I told my mother that if I lived, I would never, ever be quiet, and that I wanted to become a peacemaker. Well, I’ve never — I’ve kept that promise. I have not been able to figure out how I can get governments to make peace, but I continue to battle on all fronts. I have battled — when I came to America as a 17-year-old, I saw that America was a racist country, and I became active in the civil rights movement. I thought —

AMY GOODMAN: Marione, in Part 2


AMY GOODMAN: — of our conversation, we’re going to talk about your history in the civil rights movement. But just before we go to the Israeli American genocide historian, Omer Bartov, just if you could share a message to the world about what “never again” means to you?

MARIONE INGRAM: To me, it would mean never again to repeat the horrors that we have committed throughout my lifetime, and certainly before that. Nothing has been learned from the atrocities of the mid-20th century, the continued atrocities in Vietnam, Iraq, in Afghanistan.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ve been holding signs of you calling for a ceasefire.

MARIONE INGRAM: Yeah, I want more than that. I want peace. I’m disgusted at the fact that not a single nation, not a single leader has even mentioned that word, as though that is a word of — a dangerous word. There has to be a way of bringing together warring parties. When the Allies attacked Hamburg, Germany, thinking that that would weaken the military conflict, it only strengthened it. What Israel is doing in Gaza, in the West Bank, and has been doing, is only going to strengthen the attack on Israel. You cannot expect that people will be quiet after what we’ve all witnessed. I say stop, stop this madness.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I’d like to bring in professor Omer Bartov, one of the most prominent scholars of Holocaust and genocide studies. Your sense, Professor Bartov, of what Israel is doing right now in Gaza?

OMER BARTOV: Well, good morning, and thank you for having me.

Look, what Israel is doing right now, according to its own political leaders and military commanders, is attempting to destroy Hamas, which is the hegemonic power in Gaza at the moment. And it claims to be doing it, A, as retaliation for the heinous attack on October 7th, where over a thousand civilians were butchered and 240 people were kidnapped and are still kept in Gaza. But it claims to be doing it also because it feels that without doing that, it would be permanently under threat from that organization. So, that’s its own position.

The problem with this position is not only is there massive and excessive and disproportionate killing of civilians, of Palestinian civilians, in Gaza during this operation, but also that it doesn’t have any clear political horizon. It is not clear what the day after would look like. And the reason the Israeli government does not want to talk about that is that it does not want to have any sort of compromise with the Palestinians. And that has been the policy of the Netanyahu administration, or many administrations, for decades now.

And Netanyahu actually kept Hamas quite strong and kept the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank quite weak, so that he could say that he could not find any representative of the Palestinians who would be willing to sit down and find a compromise, while at the same time he was busy — he and, of course, the settlers, who are now heavily represented in his government, could keep settling in the West Bank. So, the larger context of this is that the refusal of the Israeli government to find any kind of compromise with the Palestinians, and, frankly, the indifference of the large part, the majority of the Israeli population to the occupation, is what led and keeps leading to this ongoing and increasingly violent confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Omer Bartov, we’re going to continue with Part 2 of our conversation and post it at democracynow.org, Brown University professor of Holocaust and genocide studies, called by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum one of the world’s leading specialists on the subject of genocide. And Marione Ingram, 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, about to turn 88. We thank you for sharing your experience. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk declared Wednesday that "the collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts... to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians."

Israel's monthlong war on Gaza has killed over 10,500 Palestinians, wounded thousands more, displaced 70% of the strip's 2.3 million residents, and decimated civilian infrastructure, including homes, religious buildings, and hospitals.

Türk's comments came after he visited the Rafah border crossing that connects Egypt to Gaza, which he described as "the gates to a living nightmare—a nightmare where people have been suffocating, under persistent bombardment, mourning their families, struggling for water, for food, for electricity and fuel." 

The following sites updated: