Sunday, January 11, 2009

100,000 march in Paris against Israeli assault on Gaza

Here are photos of yesterday's march in Paris. They are not great, I realize, as it was difficult to find a perch high enough to get a good expansive view, but believe me that it was impressive and one of the biggest marches in Paris in recent years. There were other actions in about 130 French cities, rather than the 50 cities I reported yesterday.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Israelis have gone collectively mad (other than those who oppose the war, which is a good number.) Israel cannot achieve its objectives in Gaza--it has yet to stop the rockets, and liquidating Hamas would require liquidating the entire Gazan people, which it is doing its best to carry out but ultimately will fail. Eventually it will have to pull out, and while some Israeli politicians will be in a better position in the upcoming elections, the nation as a whole will be in a worse position once the Obama administration takes office. In any Middle East peace talks, Israel's credibility will have been severely compromised, and those pushing for a real, just peace will be able to point to ample evidence of Israel's real motivations: To crush the Palestinians and any resistance to Israel's continuing occupation of the West Bank. Again, what will Israelis gain from their actions? Other, that is, than the expression of their apparent blood lust for taking Palestinian lives.

Photos: Copyright Michael Balter. Right to reproduce granted with proper credit.

How Israel gets away with murder. By Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Independent. With thanks to LP for the link.

Getting the Gaza story: Al Jazeera. Monday's New York Times has an important story on the networks reporting from Gaza. Jazeera's English language television service is almost entirely unavailable in the United States, but widely available elsewhere in the world. It is a regular part of our cable subscription here in Paris. And yes, Jazeera is a fairly reliable source of news--in fact, much more reliable and balanced than most American news outlets when it comes to reporting on the Middle East. The network can also be accessed on the internet.

Who will save Israel from itself? An article by University of California, Irvine professor of Middle East studies, Mark LeVine, on Al Jazeera's English site.

Israel targets journalists? The International Federation of Journalists issues a press release protesting the bombing of media facilities in Gaza.

Will Obama give us fresh thinking on the Middle East? Not with the team he is apparently assembling, says New York Times columnist Roger Cohen in Monday's paper. Says Cohen: Now, I have nothing against smart, driven, liberal, Jewish (or half-Jewish) males; I’ve looked in the mirror. I know or have talked to all these guys... Still, on the diversity front they fall short. On the change-you-can-believe-in front, they also leave something to be desired. The BBC's diplomatic correspondent in Washington, Jonathan Marcus, also weighs in on the subjecct.

Final Wrap-Up on L.A. Weekly. Marc Cooper posts a roundup of updates and comments on his 4000 word "autopsy" of what used to be one of America's most important alternative newspapers before it was gutted by its now owner Village Voice Media (a link to the original post and all other relevant links are provided.) I was one of many, many journalists and writers who got their big starts at the Weekly, and Marc links to my story as well.

Those pesky fruit flies again. From During the presidential campaign, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska infuriated scientists by mocking federal support for research on fruit flies — apparently unaware of how many significant scientific advances (many of them helping humans) started with research on fruit flies. Sen. John McCain, her former running mate, returned to the fruit fly last week in his war against earmarks. This time he attacked the same fruit fly research, but also focused on an earmark for the University of Maine so that researchers at the Orono campus could conduct studies and fund a “lobster-cam” so people can watch lobsters. But it’s unclear whether McCain’s anti-earmark campaign is always based on knowledge of the earmarks. Maine officials say that the lobster-cam was a small student project that never received federal support, and that the funds that have gone to the Lobster Institute at Maine have supported research on mysterious diseases that have been depleting lobster stocks and endangering the lobster industry. “McCain and his buddies should check the facts,” said Bob Bayer, a professor of animal and veterinary sciences and director of the institute.

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