I. On Friday, firedoglake founder Jane Hamsher asked us to sign a petition, requesting that “Congress … immediately vote to cut off any American aid to the Egyptian government.” I signed it. Then I republished Jane’s post at my blog, where more people read about this important issue, and signed the petition.
Jane’s post at firedoglake sported an image of a tear gas canister that had been fired at protesters in Egypt late last week. The canister (as are the rubber bullets and many other anti-riot implements used in Egypt) was made in the USA. Combined Technical Systems in Jamestown, PA makes the tear gas projectiles. In my republication of Jane’s post, I added an image of the place in Pennsylvania where Combined Systems makes and packages some of this stuff. There, outside the company’s HQ, are a pair of flag poles. Atop one sits the American flag. Atop the other one, just as tall, perhaps higher, sits an Israeli flag.
The same company that makes these canisters being used as I write against the Egyptian people, makes many, many more, that are used every week against courageous Palestinian and Israeli people, who fight against policies of the apartheid regime in Tel Aviv. American college student Emily Henochowicz lost an eye to an American-made product on May 31st, as she demonstrated at Kalandi crossing near Ramallah, against the murders of eight young Turks and another American college student, Furkan Doğan, by Israeli “commandos” brandishing more American made products in their arsenal. American Tristan Anderson was severely injured by a Combined Technical Systems product near Ni’in in the West Bank, on March 13, 2009.
American-made white phosphorus products killed scores, perhaps hundreds of Palestinians, including many kids, during Operation Cast Lead. If you haven’t seen the images of these ruined kids, you should.
On Friday, I commented at Jane’s petition post, asking:
Where’s the petition to cut off the similar aid package to Israel, Jane? Essentially, they’re part of the same overall package and mindset, even if the Israelis have a very different U.S. constituency than that of the Egyptians.
A few commenters agreed. After one commenter engaged further in my question, Jane answered:
Petitions are a tool we use to identify people who are interested in a particular issue. Once we identify them we can ask them to take actions of increasing sophistication and complexity in consort such that maximum pressure is exerted on identifiable weak spots within a system.
Thank you for your concern. When it comes to the influence of money in a political system you might be surprised what we understand.
II. Today, the blog Mondoweiss, in an essay penned by their founder, Philip Weiss, all but challenges firedoglake to put up a similar petition regarding U.S. aid to Israel. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
In his bumbling press briefing two days ago, Robert Gibbs put the U.S. “assistance posture” toward the Egyptians on the table, warning the gov’t not to crack down on the protesters or there goes our money. People are listening. Firedoglake has called for ending aid to Egypt, citing the teargas canisters we produce being used against demonstrators.
Let me remind you, the Israelis killed nearly 400 children in Gaza by dropping white phosphorus on them over 22 days of hellish attacks on a population of 1.5 million two years ago, and the U.S. said nothing. The siege of Gaza is collective punishment, a war crime. And pro-democracy demonstrations in the West Bank, where the people have no rights, are routinely suppressed by Israel. A worldwide movement has called for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Will Firedoglake and Robert Gibbs see the writing on the wall?
It is a worthy challenge. I’ve been commenting at fdl since 2005, writing here since 2008. I’ve been commenting at Mondoweiss since 2008, and Weiss has asked me to begin submitting articles there (I will, when the Rachel Corrie civil suit concludes in Haifa).
Weiss’ blog (he’s now working closely with Adam Horowitz and The Nation Institute, and featuring many dynamic writers) is dedicated to “The War of Ideas in the Middle East” and to Jewish identity. firedoglake is perhaps the most formidable progressive public forum in the United States on a wide array of issues, only one of which is Palestinian rights. But with Weiss’ challenge, there appears to be a cognitive dissonance that, through resolution, might bring about some positive results.
Update – Three Issues:
1). My Header should have read “Mondoweiss Challenges firedoglake – Please Post “Sign the Petition – “Cut Off Netanyahu.” Mondoweiss has not posted a petition similar to that posted by fdl Friday. Nor has fdl posted one requesting funding similar to that given to Egypt be withheld from Israel. I shouldn’t change the title, as people have already responded to the one posted.
2). I don’t know how to post such petitions as the one posted here Friday, or proposed by Mondoweiss. I leave that up to others for now.
3). Among comments to this diary, some warrant addressing in this update:
a). firedoglake is not a “neo-lib” blog. Please. I stand by my statement in the diary – fdl is quite progressive, the range of progressive issues brought up by front-pagers and Myfdl diarists is enormous.
b). Even though fdl does not often front-page diaries about Palestinian rights, it does. And when important breaking news has happened – the assault and murders on the MV Mavi Marmara being a good, fairly recent example, fdl led the world in covering the crimes as they occurred.
c). CTuttle questioned whether this post might start “another” flame war between Mondoweiss and fdl. There is no way it should. A good start might be for somebody here – Siun comes to mind – to post a petition to congress, requesting military aid that goes to Israel, which funds the implementation of illegal repression of Palestinian rights in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself, be terminated. I believe that can be done here. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have written this diary.