[News] Palestine - Hey Hollywood, time to put your money where your morality is

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 27 11:17:18 EDT 2010

'Hope' Floats: Hey Hollywood, time to put your money where your morality is

Shirazi • Jul 27th, 2010

A coalition of nearly twenty U.S.-based human 
rights and peace groups has joined the global 
justice community and numerous foreign 
governments in vowing to send more humanitarian 
aid ships to break the 
Israeli blockade of Gaza this coming Fall. The 
coalition, united under the mantle 
<http://ustogaza.org/>US To Gaza, includes 
activist organizations such as CodePink, Jews Say 
No, Veterans For Peace, Voices for Creative 
Non-Violence, and Jewish Voice For Peace.

In the wake of the 
Israeli raid on an international 
carrying over 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid and 
hundreds of civilian passengers, during which 
activists were 
(if not outright 
by Israeli commandos in international waters, the 
global call to end the US-backed Israeli siege has grown even more forceful.

Later this year, boats from Europe, Canada, South 
Africa, India, and the Middle East are expected 
to set sail for Gaza once again. US To Gaza, 
which states on its 
<http://ustogaza.blogspot.com/>website that 
"America pays for the blockade with our tax 
dollars; Americans must join together to end this 
collective punishment of 1.5 million 
Palestinians," aims to add a vital American 
element to this new Freedom Flotilla.

The U.S. boat, which will be named The Audacity 
of Hope (irony intended), is expected to carry an 
American peace delegation of forty to sixty 
passengers and will join its international 
flotilla partners en route. But purchasing a 
suitable ship, securing a sailing crew, obtaining 
the needed licenses and registration, gathering 
tons of humanitarian aid, and sailing for Gaza is 
a costly endeavor. It is estimated that at least 
$370,000 needs to be raised from private donors 
in the next month for the U.S. ship to become, 
not merely hopeful audacity, but a necessary reality.

All in all, $370,000 isn't that much money. For 
instance, South Carolina Republican Congressman 
Joe Wilson 
hundreds of thousands of 
donors giving less than $200 just because he 
called Barack Obama a liar. If a jackass like 
Wilson can raise that kind of money for shouting 
falsehood, raising funds for a just cause like 
breaking the illegal Gaza blockade shouldn't be that hard.

Sure, the fund-raising goal can be hit with 3,700 
people each pledging $100 or a mere 370 donations 
of $1,000 each. But why is the bar for funding 
justice and fighting illegal 
punishment so low? Where are the big donors who 
could single-handedly buy a boat and subsidize 
the entire delegation? Why does it seem like such 
a stretch for American supporters of human rights 
and international law to send an armada of siege-breaking ships to Gaza?

Perhaps, in order to open borders and ship a 
little bit of hope to suffering Palestinians in 
the Middle East, US to Gaza organizers should be 
looking for a lot of financial support from open wallets on the West Coast.

Hollywood has no shortage of outspoken Israel 
supporters, ethnic cleansing enthusiasts, and 
racist, right-wing nutjobs. The Zionism, publicly 
professed or not, of famous musicians and movie 
stars takes many forms and runs the gamut of 
willful ignorance to actively insane.

There are those who ignore or condemn the 
<http://bdsmovement.net/>Boycott, Divestment, and 
Sanctions Movement and promote Israeli 
Stewart, Bob 
Rogen, Robert Duvall, Halle Berry, Lenny Kravitz, 
Ed Zwick, Chazz Palminteri, Paul Reiser, 
Cronenberg, Norman Jewison, Saul Rubinek, 
Seinfeld, Lisa Kudrow, Sacha Baron Cohen, 
Driver, and Natalie Portman (who was also a proud 
assistant of Alan Dershowitz and is thanked in 
his appalling book The Case for Israel); there 
are those who 
resistance to Israeli aggression and expansion 
and laud Israeli assaults that take the lives of 
thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians 
like actors Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, 
Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James 
Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton, Doug 
Liman, Gary Sinise, Kristen Chenowith, Michael 
Chiklis, Vivica A. Fox, Nicole Kidman, Pat Sajak, 
and William Hurt, along with filmmakers like 
Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Mann, William 
Friedkin, Ivan Reitman, Richard Donner, and Sam Raimi.

There are those, like producer Lawrence Bender, 
who see Israel as an eternal victim, besieged by 
oppressive Palestinians, and 
that "Nobody realizes how badly the Israelis are 
suffering. Obviously the Palestinians are 
suffering – but people need to understand that 
Israel needs help" and there are those, like 
actor Joshua Malina, who are 
by the 
that "somehow Israel is the bully and the Palestinians are the underdog."

There are Zionist zealots like 
Malkovich and 
Maher and there's also 

There are celebrities who advocate for peace, 
love, and understanding, like 
yet somehow believe a "Jewish" state isn't 
inherently discriminatory. There's Jason 
Alexander, who, despite his 
with the two-state promoting 
Peace project, was an 
guest at last year's Friends of the Israeli 
Defense Forces [sic] Fundraising Gala and shill 
for Jewish 
programming that endorses violent, fanatical 
Zionist settler ideologies. There are fashion 
designers like Elie Tahari, who 
a whopping $100,000 at this year's IDF love-fest in March.

With friends like these, it's no wonder that the 
IDF, a foreign military that oppresses and 
occupies an indigenous population, 
over $20 million in one night at the 
Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan. But donors here in 
the United States don't only fund the Occupation, 
they also fund 
Jewish settlements – to the tune of 
hundreds of millions over the past decade – that 
have now 
stolen and 
over 42% of the West Bank.

So where are their anti-occupation, 
pro-international law counterparts, especially 
the ones with equally deep pockets? The truth is they're everywhere.

Belafonte to 
Mortensen, Julie Christie, Wallace Shawn, 
Demme, Stephen King, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Irwin, 
Tilda Swinton, Wim Wenders, Uma Thurman, Debra 
Kirkland, Terry Gilliam, 
Glover, Oliver Stone, Ed Asner, 
Kasem, and Jeremy Pikser, celebrity support for 
Palestinian freedom and an end to the Israeli 
occupation and blockade is widespread in Tinseltown.

Actresses Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Drew 
Barrymore, Brooke Shields, Andie MacDowell, Lucy 
Liu, Whitney Houston and Sharon Stone all had 
their pictures 
from the website of blood diamond dealer Lev 
Leviev after being alerted to Leviev's criminal 
funding of illegal West Bank settlements.

Musicians like 
Def, Laurie Anderson, Boots Riley, Steve Earle, 
Young, and 
all publicly oppose Israel's systematic 
oppression and land theft and support the 
<http://www.pacbi.org/>Palestinian Campaign for 
the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel. 
Lennox and 
spoke out against the 2008-9 Israel slaughter of 
over 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza and, more 
recently, Rage Against The Machine's 
de la Rocha condemned Israel's Gaza blockade 
stage during a concert in London. This past 
Saturday, July 10, for the first time in five 
years, Pink Floyd's 
Gilmour and 
teamed up to 
at a <http://www.hopingfoundation.org/>HOPING 
Foundation benefit, which 
£350,000 (over $538,000) for Palestinian children 
living in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, 
Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The organization was 
co-founded by fashion designer (and Siggy's 
Freud in 2003.

Megastars Dustin Hoffman and Meg Ryan 
their attendance at this year's annual Jerusalem 
Film Festival the day after Israel's bloody raid 
on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and recent 
performances by 
Pixies, Elvis Costello, Gorillaz Sound System, 
Scott Heron, and Snoop Dogg were also 
for similar – if not identical – reasons.

All of these well-heeled celebrities should take 
their courageous 
of Israeli apartheid and aggression even further 
by funding more humanitarian aid ships. With 
their help, supplementing the support of small 
donors, the 
blockade can indeed be broken.

The Israeli policy of 
blockade is clear. In 2006, after Palestinians 
democratically elected Hamas to the shock and 
chagrin of both Israel and the US (who had 
insisted on the elections in the first place), an 
economic and commercial siege was put into place 
by Israel as a 
for Palestinian self-determination. As Dov 
Weisglass, adviser to then-Israeli Prime Minister 
Ehud Olmert, 
declared, "It's like an appointment with a 
dietitian. The Palestinians in Gaza will get a lot thinner, but won't die."

Collective punishment, via forced deprivation and 
near-starvation, is unequivocally illegal. 
International law is quite clear in this regard. 
Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which 
has governed Israel's occupation of the West Bank 
and Gaza since 1967 (and has been repeatedly 
affirmed by both the UN Security Council and General Assembly), states plainly:

"No protected person may be punished for an 
offence he or she has not personally committed. 
Collective penalties and likewise all measures of 
intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

Furthermore, though the Israeli intention may not 
have been to kill Palestinians in Gaza via food 
and medicine shortages, they have more than made 
up for it with their subsequent use of bombs, 
missiles, tank shells, bullets, depleted uranium, 
flechettes, white phosphorous, and DIME weaponry.

Still, Israeli officials such as former-Prime 
Minster, now Defense Minister, Ehud Barak and 
Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, Yossi 
to claim that "there is no shortage in 
humanitarian aid to Gaza, as food, fuel and 
supplies are regularly transferred into Gaza by international organizations."

No mention is made of the fact that all building 
material, such as cement, plaster and dry wall, 
is banned from entering Gaza, in 
to the absurd 
of so-called "dual use" medicines, rope, wood, 
razors, light bulbs, textiles and fabrics, sewing 
and hypodermic needles, sewing machines, candles, 
matches, mattresses, bedsheets, pillowcases, 
blankets, cutlery, books, newspapers, coffee, 
tea, cigarettes, clothing, shoes, pencils and 
paper, fresh meat, seeds, nuts, cilantro, sage, 
cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cumin, vinegar, 
biscuits, candy, potato chips, jam, chocolate, 
french fries, canned or dried fruit, notebooks, 
empty flowerpots, fishing rods or line, 
livestock, musical instruments, and children's toys.

Obviously, Israeli officials take no note of the 
findings of the Food and Agriculture Organization 
of the UN which has reported that 
of Gazans are "food insecure," of which 
are children under 18 years;" the level of anemia 
in infants is as high as 65.5%, about 70% of 
Gazans live on less than $1 a day, 75% rely on 
food aid, and 60% have no daily access to water.

As Rebecca Sargent of the Peace and Collaborative 
Development Network 
"Much of the population remains unemployed and 
thus have no money to buy supplies for 
themselves. The 
resolution 1860 calls for the unfettered access 
of aid and commercial goods to Gaza, although it 
would appear this call has been mostly ignored by 
the Israeli government's blockade."

Also, as of the end of 2009, a 
report found that "insufficient food and medicine 
is reaching Gazans, producing a further 
deterioration of the mental and physical health 
of the entire civilian population since Israel 
launched Operation Cast Lead against the 
territory," and also "blamed the blockade for 
continued breakdowns of the electricity and 
sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to 
let spare parts needed for repair get through the 
crossings." Since 
2007, "the number of Palestine refugees unable to 
access food and lacking the means to purchase 
even the most basic items, such as soap, school 
stationery and safe drinking water, has tripled" 
and over 80 UN and aid agencies 
that "the formal economy in Gaza has collapsed."

On May 31, the six-ship Gaza Freedom Flotilla was 
attacked in international waters (the ships had 
no intention of sailing through Israeli 
territory) about 80 miles (130 kilometers) off 
the Gaza coast in an early morning raid by elite 
Israeli commandos. The attack was conducted after 
Israel cut off all communications from the ships 
the flotilla with over 20 naval vessels and 
warships, along with multiple helicopters. In 
addition to the 45 highly-trained and 
who rappelled onto the largest ship, the 
Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, murdering at least 
9 civilians and wounding about 60 more, about 650 
other Israeli troops, including surveillance and 
support troops alongside those who actually 
boarded the ships, took part in the illegal assault on the flotilla.

The Mavi Marmara carried 10,000 tons of 
humanitarian aid on board including 6,000 tons of 
cement, more than 2,000 tons of iron, 100 
prefabricated houses, 500 wheelchairs, crutches, 
medical equipment, wood and glass for building, 
electric generators, water purifiers, a mobile 
dental care facility, and food and had even been 
not to be transporting any weaponry by authorities before its departure.

Another aid ship, the 
Rachel Corrie, carrying 550 tons of cement, 20 
tons of paper for printing school books, 25 tons 
of school supplies, 12 tons of sports equipment 
and 150 tons of medical supplies, was also 
by the Israeli Navy a few days later.

On June 24, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin 
Netanyahu announced an "easing" of the 
four-year-long Gaza siege, 
"Today, after we lifted the civilian blockade of 
Gaza there is no reason or justification for further flotillas."

Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz 
that "The highlight of the new policy is to be 
the creation and distribution of a detailed 
'black list' of goods that will not be permitted 
into the Gaza Strip," continuing that, now, "Only 
weapons or 'dual-use' materials that could be 
used to manufacture weapons will be on the list. 
Any item not on the list will be permitted into Gaza."

As a result of this new policy, items such as 
parts, agricultural and fishing tools, cosmetics, 
juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, 
cookies and candy are now being imported into Gaza.

Nevertheless, the siege has 
ended. Even though coriander, chocolate, and 
Coca-Cola are now allowed through Israel's 
military checkpoints, goods such as cement, 
steel, iron, fertilizers, gas tanks, drilling 
equipment and water disinfectant are still 
In fact, The Los Angeles Times 
that "the new list of banned and restricted 
items, which fills several hundred pages, still 
includes goods and supplies vital to Gaza's economic recovery."

Consequently, Karin Laub of Associated Press 
that "because Israel will continue to ban most 
travel and exports and restrict the import of 
desperately needed construction materials, the 
new rules are unlikely to restore the territory's 
devastated economy or allow rebuilding of all 
that was destroyed in last year's war [sic]."

In short, Israel's ongoing 
against humanity in Gaza continues. As long as 
Israel maintains its military control of Gaza's 
economy, land and sea borders, airspace, 
restricts (or outright denies) the freedom of 
movement of its 1.5 million imprisoned 
inhabitants, and continues murdering Palestinians 
with Apache helicopters, F-15 and F-16 bombers, 
unmanned drones and 
machine guns, Gaza will not be free.

If the 
international attention Israel received after the 
Mavi Marmara massacre led to the so-called 
of the Gaza siege, there's no telling what a 
constant barrage of boats might do. Therefore, 
until this collective punishment of innocent 
civilians ceases completely and Israel is 
accountable for its crimes, more boats must 
continue to sail to Gaza. Among those boats 
should be a massive American contingent, funded 
by bold and steadfast believers in 
self-determination, human rights, and 
international law. We have paid for the Israeli 
oppression of Palestine for so long with our tax 
dollars, it's now time to fight for Palestinian 
freedom with our tax-exempt donations.

And so, to all you stars of summer blockbusters 
and sold-out stadiums, start giving generously so 
that a fleet of blockade-busting boats can start their engines.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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