GOLDSTONEFACTS.org

Goldstone FactsAbout us

On September 15th 2009, the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone released its report (executive summary can be found here) on the Israeli invasion of Gaza. The report concluded that there exists strong evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by Israel and Hamas during the Gaza conflict. The report emphasized that Israel and Hamas committed actions amounting to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

Goldstonefacts.org is a project created by a group of individuals from around the globe who decided to dramatize portions of the Goldstone Report. We are all volunteers and amateurs. Our professional backgrounds are diverse as are our ethnic and national origins. In fact, most of us have never met each other.

Visit Goldstonefacts.org

Did you know this about Gaza?

IDF admits war crime after months of heavy pro-israeli propaganda

VIDEO: PEACE, PROPAGANDA & THE PROMISE LAND: MEDIA & THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites–oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others–work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

ISRAHELL: Public Relations instead of saving lives


Sending portable toilets to Haiti would have been a better option, but this does not provide good photo opportunities. Israeli missions to disaster areas in the past have shown that such activity was in vain.

DR Yoel Donchin

I received my final exemption from the army after I published an article which said that the State of Israel acts like the proverbial Boy Scout, who insists on doing a good deed daily and helping an old lady cross the road even against her will. How ungrateful of me to publish such a column when I had participated in almost all the rescue missions to overseas disaster areas! Suddenly I am no longer suitable to take part in such heroic endeavours. But in light of the experience I gained in such missions…we have wasted our effort.

Generally speaking, we start preparing for such a mission within hours of the announcement of a natural disaster. Most often the Israeli mission team is the first one to land in the area. Like those who climb Mount Everest, it plants its flag on the highest peak available, announcing  to all and sundry that the site has been conquered. And in order to ensure that the public is aware of this sporting achievement, the mission is accompanied by media representatives, photographers, an IDF spokesman’s office squad and others.

I understood the purpose perfectly when the head of one of the delegations to a disaster zone was asked whether oxygen tanks and a number of doctors could be removed to make room for another TV network’s representatives with their equipment. (With unusual courage, the delegation head refused!)

The lesson learnt from the activities of those missions is that when there is a natural disaster, or when thousands of people are expelled from their homes by force, as happened in Kosovo, survivors may benefit from international assistance only if it responds to the region’s specific needs. Also assistance must be coordinated among the various aid agencies.

The competitive race to a disaster zone imposes a huge strain on the local health and administration authorities. Airports are clogged by transport planes unloading a lot of unnecessary but bulky equipment. Doctors and rescue organisations seek ways to utilise single carriageway roads and in fact they are a burden.   The correct way to help is to send a small advance force to gauge the dimensions of the disaster…

Would they still call that child Israel?

Three components are crucial:  shelter, water and food — these things are crucial in order to save the largest number of people. Water purification equipment, tents, basic food rations are needed. But they do lack the desired dramatic effect. If we went down that track we would miss out on seeing that child who was born with the assistance of our physicians. Most certainly, the excited mother wouldn’t give her child (who knows if he will ever reach a ripe old age?) the name Israel or that of the obstetrician or nurse. (Would he get citizenship because he was born in Israeli territory? There would be many opposed to that.) The drama is indeed classy, but its necessity is doubtful.

It being Israel, our current force contains a Kashrut supervisor, security personnel and more.

In the present disaster, which is of a more massive scale than anything we have encountered to date, the need is not so much for a field hospital but field, ie portable, toilets. There is more of a need for digging equipment to dig graves and sewage pipes.

A country which wants to provide humanitarian aid without concern for its media image should send whatever is required by the victims, and not whatever it wants to deliver. But would the evening news show the commander of the Israeli mission at the compound with 500 chemical toilets? Unlikely. It is much more media savvy to show an Israeli hospital, replete with stars of David and of course the dedicated doctors and nurses, dressed in their snazzy uniforms with an Israeli flag on the lapel.

…It is quite likely that financial assistance commensurate with Israel’s resources would be preferable to the enormous expense and complicated logistics involved in the maintenance of a medical unit in the field…

But apparently a minute of TV coverage is much more important…and in fact Israel is using disasters as [military] field training in rescue and medical care. After a fortnight, the mission will reportedly return to Israel. To be truly effective a field hospital needs to remain for two or three months, but that’s a condition that Israel cannot meet.

…It is only in the Israeli aid compound in Haiti that large signs carrying the donor country’s name hang for all to see.

Prof. Yoel Donchin is the director of the Patient Safety Unit at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem.
Translated by Sol Salbe, who directs the Middle East News Service for the Australian Jewish Democratic Society.

Ref: RichardSilverstein.com

FOOTNOTES IN GAZA!

Sacco makes a forgotten and bloody crime in a refugee camp from 1956 that left 111 Palestinians dead the basis for Footnotes in Gaza – a 400-page behemoth telling the history of Gaza from that moment to the present day. He immersed himself in the daily life of squalid Rafah, scene of the massacre and notorious place for bitter conflict, and tells the story through everyday Palestinians; fugitives, schoolchildren, widows and sheikhs.

“I heard torture stories that were unusually harsh, but I decided not to use those kinds of stories, and instead something less shocking, something more of an “everyman” experience. I think it’s the “everyman experience” that people can relate to. It’s harder to imagine; harder to put yourself in the picture of someone who is being humiliated.’

Read more about Sacco
Eyeless in Gaza

Colleagues laughed when a young journalist in Palestine announced his intention to tell the story of that region though cartoons. Twenty years later, Joe Sacco is one of the world’s leading exponents of the graphic novel form…

Ref: Guardian

Read about the israeli “reaction” to grasp how real Sacco´s work is.

Graphic novel on IDF ‘massacres’ in Gaza set to hit bookstores

The American-Maltese artist’s latest book, “Footnotes in Gaza,” chronicles two episodes in 1956 in which a U.N. report filed Dec. 15, 1956 says a total of 386 civilians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers – events Sacco said have been “virtually airbrushed from history because they have been ignored by the mainstream media.”

Israeli historians dispute these figures.

“It’s a big exaggeration,” said Meir Pail, a leading Israeli military historian and leftist politician. “There was never a killing of such a degree. Nobody was murdered. I was there. I don’t know of any massacre.”
Sacco’s passion for the Palestinian cause has opened him up to accusations of bias.

Ref: Haaretz


Jewish groups slam ‘hideously anti-Semitic’ cartoon on Gaza (hers the cartoon that the Nazi hunter want to stop)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the group founded by a famed Nazi hunter which has more than 400,000 members in the United States, says the cartoon denigrates and demonizes Israel and mimics the Nazi propaganda.

It called on The New York Times and other media groups to remove the cartoon from their Web sites.

“Pat Oliphant’s outlandish and offensive use of the Star of David in combination with Nazi-like imagery is hideously anti-Semitic,” Anti-Defamation League chief Abe Foxman said.

A message was left Wednesday night with Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes Oliphant’s cartoons. Oliphant won a Pulitzer Prize in 1967.

ReF: Haaretz


No, NOONE is allowed to utter the obvious.
That ISRAEL is hell.
That ISRAHELL is an apartheid state.
That ISRAHELL kills, steals, bombs humans as a part of their everyday policy.
That ISRAHELL are the biggest violater in the world reg. international law and human rights.

NO no, you might not do that and every attempt will be fought.
Otherwise, others might follow.
And the more the propaganda and censur will be applied the more obvious
the tatic and the israeli core is. Hatred, ethnic cleansing, colonialism and “whitness” can never
be hidden in the long run as it smells like shit and dead bodies.

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Hasbara spam alert

The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it’s going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.

A reader of my blog has received the following email which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them. The solicitation to become a pro-Israel “media volunteer” also includes a list of media links which the ministry would like addressed by pro-Israel comments:


Dear friends,
We hold the [sic] military supremacy, yet fail the battle over the international media. We need to buy time for the IDF to succeed, and the least we can do is spare some (additional) minutes on the net. The ministry of foreign affairs is putting great efforts in balancing the media, but we all know it’s a battle of numbers. The more we post, blog, talkback, vote – the more likely we gain positive sentiment. I was asked by the ministry of foreign affairs to arrange a network of volunteers, who are willing to contribute to this effort. If you’re up to it you will receive a daily messages & media package as well as targets. If you wish to participate, please respond to this email.

My friend did so and received this official communique from the Israeli Foreign Ministry with talking points about Operation Cast Lead which s/he was to use in her/his propaganda efforts. Among the links was was a Peter Beaumont Cif piece. The following were identified as “target sites”: the Times, the Guardian, Sky News, BBC, Yahoo!News, Huffington Post, and the Dutch Telegraaf. Also targeted were other media sites in Dutch, Spanish, German and French considered critical of the invasion.

Locally, here in Seattle, peace activists held a rally at our federal building attended by 500 protesters. In the foreign ministry communique issued the next day, activists were directed to comment in the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s article about the demonstration. The comment thread for the article is riddled with clear hasbara “plants” who distort the balance and tone of the discussion with their programmed arguments, making it much more favorable than it otherwise would be.

Here the foreign ministry’s coordinator describes a meeting he attended at the government’s offical office:

Hi all,
I had a meeting in the ministry of foreign affairs today, and was very happy to hear that their metrics show that Israel’s position in the internet is getting better every day. It means that you’re doing a good job! MFA are concerned with the biased public opinion in Europe. So please focus your efforts on European media. What can you do to help?
– Identify internet battle-grounds in different languages, and let me know
– Comment/post/vote in the listed links and others; you can use the material attached below
– Write letters to authors and editors. Identify yourself as a local resident
– Have your friends join this activity

This message was meant to encourage the pro-Israel activists in their work:

“World governments are still patient with Israel’s justified operation in Gaza. The [sic] public opinion, on the other hand, is impatient, to say the least. This gap will soon close – it always does. It is our goal to shift the public opinion, as conveyed in the internet; avoiding, or at least minimising, sanctions by world leaders. We need to buy the IDF enough time to achieve its goals.”

Besides the talking points provided by the foreign ministry to the pro-Israel web activists, they are offered online pro-Israel material to link to in their comments such as these:

-Bicom.org.uk/
-Aish HaTorah’s What Really Happened in the Middle East
-YouTube video: Amid Gaza violence, Israeli and Palestinian doctors save baby’s life –
-CNN’s Amanpour interviews Tzipi Livni
-Military incursion should be seen as part of War on Terror
-Blog from Southern Israel, Morit Rozen

Remember when the defence department was paying public relations companies and Iraqi newspapers to insert articles praising the Iraq war? The companies also attempted to plant coverage favorable to the US military in US newspapers. There rightly was a media uproar about the manipulation. We’ll see whether the same happens over this.

The foreign ministry shouldn’t get a pass on this one. It may view such hasbara as maximising its efforts to “explain” Israel’s position in the world media. I view it as a cynical attempt to flood the web and news media with favorable flackery in a vain attempt to tilt public opinion toward Israel. Not only does it do Israel a disservice, it stains every legitimate effort that the ministry might make to explain Israel to the world, since no one will believe a word it says knowing it engages in such outright propaganda.

Not to mention that this is such cheap pennyante stuff. What do they gain by this? How effective can it be and how many can be convinced? By the way, I’ve even noticed the hasbaraniks in my own blog. You can see them a mile away because they’ve never published a comment before yet write something like: “I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time, but anyone with a brain in their head knows that Hamas is out to destroy Israel blah, blah blah.” Pretty formulaic stuff. Also, you can Google a few phrases of the comment and if you find it appears elsewhere on the web you know you either have a hasbaranik or someone who has repetition compulsion.

In some instances, western media may intentionally or unintentionally fall victim to manipulation. Tony Karon points out that pro-Israel journalist-historian Michael Oren has published several stories since the Gaza incursion began in US media outlets like the New Republic and Los Angeles Times. He is also on active duty with the IDF in Gaza serving as a public affairs officer liasing with foreign media. You will find nothing noting this in the Los Angeles Times op ed. In effect, the media is allowing advocates like Oren to pass themselves off as disinterested experts when they are anything but. It behooves editors to do some due diligence when they publish any piece that advocates for one side or the other to determine whether there may be conflicts of interest or other unacknowledged factors influencing a commentator’s judgment.

It seems we are now well and truly in the world of Propaganda 2.0.

Ref: Guardian

Visti MUZZELWATCH

PROPAGANDA WARNING: Israel recruits ‘army of bloggers’ to combat anti-Zionist Web sites

The Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced on Sunday it was setting up an “army of bloggers,” to be made up of Israelis who speak a second language, to represent Israel in “anti-Zionist blogs” in English, French, Spanish and German.

The program’s first volunteer was Sandrine Pitousi, 31, from Kfar Maimon, situated five kilometers from Gaza. “I heard about the project over the radio and decided to join because I’m living in the middle of the conflict,” she said.

Before hanging up the phone prematurely following a Color Red rocket alert, Pitousi, who immigrated to Israel from France in 1993, said she had some experience with public relations from managing a production company.

“During the war, we looked for a way to contribute to the effort,” the ministry’s director general, Erez Halfon, told Haaretz. “We turned to this enormous reservoir of more than a million people with a second mother tongue.” Other languages in which bloggers are sought include Russian and Portuguese.

Halfon said volunteers who send the Absorption Ministry their contact details by e-mail, at media@moia.gov.il, will be registered according to language, and then passed on to the Foreign Ministry’s media department, whose personnel will direct the volunteers to Web sites deemed “problematic.”

Within 30 minutes of announcing the program, which was approved by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday, five volunteers were already in touch, Halfon said.

REF: HAARETZ


Here they come!
Ordered out by the state that knows nothing but oppression.
Blinded by the very ideology that makes them superiour.
Welcome to Israel!

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VIDEO of Israeli massacre on civillian – (WARNING! This not your american or israeli state propaganda images at display but reality!)

MASSACRE

Czech minister admits mistake in describing Israeli ground operation as defensive

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg admitted on Sunday that a “large” and “personal” mistake had been made by a spokesperson for the new Czech presidency of the European Union on Saturday, when he described Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza as “more defensive than offensive.”

Schwarzenberg said that the spokesperson had made a personal mistake, adding that the only declaration by the Czech Presidency of the EU was that which was published by the foreign ministry. He added that the first declaration had been a misunderstanding.

A Czech government spokesman, Jiri Frantisek Potuznik, had told AFP on Saturday, “At the moment, from our perspective, we do understand that the action is part of the defensive action of Israel (…) we do understand that it is more defensive than offensive. This is the position of the Czech prime minister.”

The spokesperson also said that the Israeli ground operation in Gaza was about the crossing of the Gaza border, “There is no violence, no victims, so we are waiting for more information, we would like more details,” he said.

Ref: Now

UN Complicity in Israel’s Massacre in Gaza – A Rubber Stamp for U.S. Dictats

us_thwarts_un_gaza_ceasefire_by_latuff2

A friend forwarded to me the most original greeting for the New Year: “I wish in 2009 a horrible year for all war criminals and their accomplices.” I could not but think of whether some UN officials can be counted among such “accomplices.”

Over the last two days, various UN officials stated that the percentage of civilians among those Palestinians killed in the current Israeli war of aggression on Gaza is about “25%” and is “likely to increase.” Assuming the best of intentions, stating such a painfully low figure reflects shabby research or scandalous incompetence. At worst, it reveals intentional deception and misinformation that can only benefit the already massive and well-oiled Israeli PR machine.

The United Nations’ complicity in Israel’s propaganda war is the latest, albeit hardly ever mentioned, dimension of the international organization’s utter failure in defending its principles, foremost among which are the prevention of war and the promotion of peace, when performing such a duty is expected to stir the wrath of the US master and the uniquely influential Israel lobby. Not only has the UN General Secretary betrayed the very Charter of the UN and all relevant international law principles by failing to even condemn Israel’s massacre of civilians and targeting of civilian institutions and residential neighborhoods; the entire UN system has so far dealt with it as a “war” between two relatively symmetric forces, where the mightier side has sufficient justification to “defend itself,” but should do so more proportionately, while the weaker side is chiefly responsible for triggering the “armed conflict.”

Now, senior UN officials, excluding the particularly courageous and principled UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Richard Falk, and a few others, are only focusing on “women and children” victims of the massacre, implying, even if unintentionally, that all Palestinian men in Gaza are fair game for the Israeli killing machine. The tens of Palestinian civilian policemen that were butchered in the opening hours of the massive Israeli attack by dozens of fighter jets were, thus, conveniently dismissed by such irresponsible UN figures of casualties as Hamas “fighters,” more or less, that may be targeted with impunity. This is not to mention the scores of male teachers, doctors, workers, farmers and unemployed who were killed by Israel’s indiscriminate bombing in their workplaces, public offices, homes or streets and were not accounted for as civilian victims of Israel’s belligerent murder spree.

Above everything else, this UN discourse not only reduces close to half a million Palestinian men in that wretched, tormented and occupied coastal strip to “militants,” radical “fighters,” or whatever other nouns in currency nowadays in the astoundingly, but characteristically, biased western media coverage of the Israel “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Gaza, as some international law experts have described them; it also treats them as already condemned criminals that deserve the capital punishment Israel has meted out on them. I am not an expert on the history of the UN, but I suspect this sets a new low, a precedent in dehumanizing an entire adult male population in a region of “conflict,” thereby justifying their fatal targeting or, at least, silently condoning it. But this should surprise no one as the same UN leaders have for 18 months watched in eerie silence or even indirectly justified, one way or another, Israel’s siege of Gaza which was described by Falk as a “prelude to genocide” and compared by him to Nazi crimes.

If one wants to be truly magnanimous and give those UN officials the benefit of the doubt — not something I would recommend at all, given the scale of the massacre and their verifiable complicity — one has to assume that they are quite confused as to how best to categorize the thousands of Palestinian victims of Israel’s war on Gaza, whether those injured or killed. A casual overview of Israeli army press statements and human rights organizations’ reports, however, will immediately dismiss the possibility that the UN figure of 25% was the product of clinical incompetence or technical ineptness, widely recognized trademarks of the organization.

A recent article published in the Washington Post, for instance, quoted a senior Israeli military official saying: “There are many aspects to Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel.” An Israeli army spokeswoman went further stating. “Anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target.” Given that, in the ghetto of Gaza, Hamas is effectively the “ruling” party — it was democratically elected, after all — and its network of social and charitable organizations are the largest provider of social services to the impoverished and besieged population, all of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, public schools, hospitals, universities, law and order organs, traffic police, sewage treatment and water purification stations, ministries providing vital services to the public, mosques, public theatres and many non-governmental institutions can technically be considered “affiliated” with Hamas.

Lest the reader feels that this is an exaggeration, today, in the first hours of the first day of the new year, the Israeli air force already bombed the following “targets” in Gaza: the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Justice. Earlier, several mosques were pulverised to the ground. So were main buildings in the Islamic University of Gaza, which serves 20,000 students. Ambulances and private homes were not spared either.
Even B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization that often issues sanitized, “balanced” or selective reports focusing on Israel’s less criminal behaviour in the OPT, was compelled to conclude that the Israeli army was intentionally targeting “what appear to be clear civilian objects” that are not “engaged in military action against Israel,” without making the distinction between male and female civilians. A statement from the organization on December 31st said:

For example, the military bombed the main police building in Gaza and killed, according to reports, forty-two Palestinians who were in a training course and were standing in formation at the time of the bombing. Participants in the course study first-aid, handling of public disturbances, human rights, public-safety exercises, and so forth. Following the course, the police officers are assigned to various arms of the police force in Gaza responsible for maintaining public order.

Another example is yesterday’s bombing of the government offices. These offices included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labor, Construction and Housing. An announcement made by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office regarding this attack stated that, ‘the attack was carried out in response to the ongoing rocket and mortar-shell fire carried out by Hamas over Israeli territory, and in the framework of IDF operations to strike at Hamas governmental infrastructure and members active in the organization.’

Just to drive the point closer to home for an average western reader who may have internalized over the years a perception of Israelis — inaccurately and quite deliberately depicted by Israeli and western propaganda as part of the “west” — as full humans and Palestinians, along with almost all global southerners, as relative humans, perhaps the following mirroring exercise is necessary.

Imagine if the Palestinian resistance, in exercising its otherwise perfectly legitimate, UN-sanctioned right to fight Israel’s occupation and apartheid, were to regard all institutions “affiliated” with the Israeli government as legitimate targets, justifying the bombing of universities, hospitals, civilian ministries, publicly-run synagogues, neighborhoods where government or army officials live or work, and other civilian “targets,” killing in 5 days only 1,600 Israelis and wounding 8,000 (four times the current toll in Gaza, given that Israel’s population is four times as large). What would the UN do? Would UN officials only count Israeli women and children victims? Would they call on both parties to “exercise restraint” or to end “the violence”? Morally, and even legally, this is not even a fair reversal of roles, for Israel, no matter what, remains the occupier and settler-colonial oppressor, while the indigenous Palestinians remain the colonized and oppressed.

The truth is the UN leadership, in the unipolar world that we are still living in and is perhaps on its way to be transformed to more multipolar space, has effectively turned into a rubber stamp bureau for US dictates. Ban Ki-Moon will go down in history as the most subservient and morally unqualified general secretary to ever lead the international organization. The only question remaining is whether one day he and his senior staff will stand trial for being accomplices in Israel’s war crimes, together with leaders of the US, the EU and many Arab regimes. In a more just world, governed by the rule of law, not the US-dominated rule of the jungle, they should.

Ref: Counterpunch

Omar Barghouti is a founding member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign http://www.BDSmovement.net