Thursday, November 2, 2023

Disgusting freak Mike Johnson

I'm betting that we'll find out shortly that Speaker of the House Mike Johnson was a 'conversion therapy' patient and that he's really gay.  Until then, we're left wondering: What else is he hiding?  Radar reports:

According to congressional finance records, Johnson reported neither a checking account nor a savings account in the seven years since he was elected to Congress in November 2016.

Additional financial records found that the Republican House Rep. also never reported a bank account for his wife or any of his children.

The Daily Beast noted that Johnson may have not reported a checking or savings account due to House Ethics Committee filing guidelines that force congress members to disclose bank accounts containing more than $5,000.

Although Johnson may be living “paycheck to paycheck” – and therefore does not have a combined value of $5,000 in his accounts – a government ethics expert named Brett Kappel noted that it is “very unusual for a member not to have to disclose at least one bank account.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson does not appear to have a bank account despite earning more than $200k last year and being “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in debt, has learned.
The concerning revelation regarding Johnson’s nonexistent bank account came just one week after the Louisiana GOP congressman was elected House Speaker following Kevin McCarthy’s removal from the role on October 3.

What do you do with a wife who equates homosexuality with bestiality and prescribes to an antiquated anatomical philosophy in which a key player is phlegm? If you’re Mike Johnson, first you make a joke about her spending two weeks on her knees in prayer. Then you send her to Stepford.

Stepford in this case, as Salon senior Amanda Marcotte sees it, is an internet from which the House speaker’s wife Kelly Johnson has been quietly scrubbed. According to Marcotte, her life should be considered “fair game.”

“They spent years marketing their marriage for political and financial gain, weaponizing their supposed moral superiority to deny the rest of us basic rights,” she writes. “In realpolitik terms, it matters.”

As proof, Marcotte points to reports that Kelly Johnson’s work as a Christian therapist and training she received from the National Christian Counselor's Association, which bases its teachings on Hippocrates, who as the name suggests, wasn’t clearing his findings with the American Psychological Association.

“These are famously the ideas that led medieval doctors to believe blood-letting would help cure illness,” she notes.

While Kelly Johnson's views remain unclear, Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall notes a lot of her role on the couple's since-deleted podcast was agreeing with her husband, who has said gay sex should be criminalized and women who have abortions are to blame for Social Security cuts.

As Wallis explained, White Christian Nationalism preaches that our Founding Fathers were all white Christians, that they founded a white Christian nation, that white Christians are the only true Americans, and that the Bible, not the Constitution, is our founding document. And they are wrong on all counts.

But if Christian nationalism was a danger a year ago, it’s even more of a danger today – now that a Christian Nationalist, Louisiana’s “ MAGA Mike” Johnson, holds the powerful position of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

And there’s no doubt where Johnson stands. He made that clear on the first day of his speakership. Making an obligatory appearance with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Johnson told the world: “Someone asked me today in the media, they said…‘ People are curious. What does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun?’ I said,‘ Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it – that’s my worldview.’”

Whoa! Stop! Read that again. Let that sink in. It’s shocking that the man entrusted with the powerful position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, second in line for the presidency of the United States, says he’s guided by the Bible, not by the Constitution. That statement itself is so un-American it should scare everyone, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or non-believer.


Stephen Colbert put House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on blast for his “extreme anti-LGBTQ views.”

Johnson called same-sex marriage a “dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy” in an old newspaper column that’s getting new attention after his rise to power. 

“Mike Johnson fears sexual anarchy,” Colbert said. “He believes in sexual government, with three sexual branches: Man, woman and the judiciary. They like to watch, and judge.” 

For more on Mike Johnson, see Marcia's posts from earlier this week:

  • Disgusting Mike Johnson
  • Mike Johnson's wife is just as disgusting as he is
  • Mike Johnson (Boo!) and Black-owned businesses (Yea!)

  • This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, November 2, 2023.  The assault on Gaza continues,  Columbia and Jordan make clear their stance on the slaughter, the US government merrily applauds the blood flow, and much more.

    Kathleen Magramo (CNN) reports, "Doctors are struggling to treat patients with severe injuries under dire conditions in Gaza as Israel maintains its bombardment of the enclave, a medic with aid group Doctors Without Borders said.  Speaking from Amman, Jordan, Dr. Tanya Haj-Hassan said the lack of medical supplies in Gaza meant doctors have been 'completely stripped of all the tools of modern medicine' to treat patients -- mostly women and children -- with severe injuries and burns'."  Tuesday, Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) spoke with Al-Shifa Hospital's Dr. Hammam Alloh.

    DR. HAMMAM ALLOH: This is not an incident I would really love to keep remembering, but this is — what you just said was exactly what happened to me. As physicians, we are trained to resuscitate patients who go into cardiac arrest, hoping they would make it back again to life, and consequently put them on ventilators to help them live again, go back to life. But I had to stop my co-nurses and my physicians from doing this. They asked me, “Why are you asking us to stop resuscitating the patients? It’s like you’re asking us to kill her.” I told them, “We have no better options. We have no other choices, because in case she makes it back to life, we have no ventilators to offer her. And if there is any, we would prevent a younger, healthier injured patient from entertaining that victory — I mean the ventilator.” So, I don’t know if you would imagine the amount of regret, the amount of sadness I’m living with since this happened with me, but I’m sorry to say there was no better options to go for except stopping that resuscitation.

     CNN’s Abeer Salman and Zeena Saifi report this morning, "Israeli airstrikes struck near the Al Quds hospital in Gaza City, where doctors say thousands of displaced people are sheltering, the key medical facility's director told CNN Thursday. The strikes that began Wednesday evening continued into Thursday morning and were 'getting closer to the hospital,' Dr. Bashar Mourad said in a phone call."

    The world watches as the horrors pile up daily and protests continue against the slaughter.  REUTERS notes that yesterday Jordan withdrew its ambassador to Israel   ALJAZEERA reports:

    Colombian President Gustavo Petro has condemned Israel’s bombardments of Gaza, calling its war in the besieged Palestinian enclave that has so far killed more than 9,000 people “genocide”.

    Petro’s remarks came in a post on X on Wednesday, accompanied by a picture of victims of the Israeli air attack on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza that killed at least 195 people. At least 120 people are also missing, according to Gaza’s officials.

    Genocide with intent flaunted publicly.  Julia Conley (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

    An Israeli lawmaker from the ruling right-wing Likud Party on Wednesday offered fresh evidence that the Israeli government's aim in its bombardment of Gaza is a genocidal effort to kill or forcibly remove the more than 2 million Palestinians living there, declaring, "Gaza should be erased."

    With the support of the United States and other Western countries, Israel has claimed since October 7—when Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel, killing as many as 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostage—that its bombardment of Gaza is necessary to destroy the armed group, even though the IDF has repeatedly struck civilian targets and killed nearly 9,000 Palestinians so far, including over 3,500 children.

    After screening a 45-minute montage of footage taken by Hamas fighters' body cameras during the October 7 attack, Knesset member and former Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distal Atbaryan posted on Facebook that Israeli officials must invest all their energy "in one thing: erasing all of Gaza from the face of the Earth."

    "That the brave monsters will fly to the southern fence and enter Egyptian territory," Atbaryan continued, an apparent reference to Israel's reported plan to permanently expel Palestinians who survive the assault to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, imposing a "second Nakba" on the population. "Or let them die... Gaza needs to be wiped out."

    "Revengeful and vicious IDF is required here," she continued. "Anything less than that is immoral."

    Atbaryan's post signified "genocidal intent, clearly expressed," said author and former Irish Times environmental editor Frank McDonald.

    Tuesday, the Israeli government bombed a refugee camp.  From DEMOCRACY NOW!'s headlines:

    In Gaza, Israel struck the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp again today, one day after an Israeli air attack killed at least 50 people and injured another 150. This is a doctor who treated victims of the Jabaliya attack at the Indonesian Hospital, where surgeons had to operate in the hallways as the facility was overrun with patients.

    Dr. Suaib Idais: “A large number of injured have come to us after the large explosion that shook the entire Jabaliya refugee camp. Hundreds of injuries, hundreds of martyrs. They were just sitting in their homes. They were targeted while they were in their homes. Children, all martyrs. Children, women, elderly. We have no idea what to do. There are injured everywhere. All the volunteers went down hand in hand just to help people.”

    The World Health Organization is warning of an “imminent public health catastrophe” in Gaza, with some surgeries performed without anesthesia due to the dire shortage of medical supplies.

    Mohamed Abu Al-Qumsan, an engineer with Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau, lost 19 family members, including his father and two sisters, in Israeli air raids on the Jabaliya camp.

    Jordan Shilton (WSWS) notes, "The two strikes claimed at least 195 civilian lives, with over 120 still missing as of late Wednesday evening. According to Gaza’s Government Media Office, a further 777 people were wounded in the twin attacks on the enclave’s largest refugee camp." 

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

    Massive Israeli airstrikes on Gaza’s largest refugee camp, Jabaliya, killed at least 50 Palestinians Tuesday and wounded over 150 others, sparking new outrage over Israel’s 26-day bombardment of the besieged territory. Israel bombed the refugee camp again today. Numerous residential buildings collapsed in Tuesday’s blast, trapping families under rubble. One engineer from Al Jazeera, Mohamed Abu Al-Qumsan, reportedly lost at least 18 members of his family, including his father and two of his sisters. A long line of dead bodies wrapped in white sheets were placed outside the Indonesian Hospital in the refugee camp, where doctors scrambled to treat survivors.

    DR. SUAIB IDAIS: [translated] A large number of injured have come to us after the large explosion that shook the entire Jabaliya refugee camp. Hundreds of injuries, hundreds of martyrs. They were just sitting in their homes. They were targeted while they were in their homes. Children, all martyrs. Children, women, elderly. We have no idea what to do. There are injured everywhere. All the volunteers went down hand in hand just to help people.

    AMY GOODMAN: Israeli officials acknowledged carrying out the airstrike on the refugee camp, describing it as a, quote, “wide-scale strike” targeting a Hamas commander accused of helping to orchestrate Hamas’s October 7th attack inside Israel that resulted in the deaths of about 1,400 people in Israel and the capture of over 220 hostages.

    The attack on Jabaliya came as the United Nations and aid groups issued new dire warnings about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. James Elder of UNICEF said Gaza is becoming a “graveyard for children.”

    JAMES ELDER: The numbers are appalling. Reportedly, now more than 3,450 children have been killed. Staggeringly, this number rises significantly every single day. Gaza has become a graveyard for children. It’s a living hell for everyone else. And yet the threats to children go beyond bombs and mortars. I want to speak briefly now on two of those: water and trauma. The more than 1 million children of Gaza have a critical water crisis. Gaza’s water production now, its capacity is at 5%, 5% of its daily output. So child deaths to dehydration, particularly infant deaths to dehydration, are a growing threat.

    AMY GOODMAN: Earlier today, the Rafah border crossing with Gaza was opened to allow dozens of Egyptian ambulances in to evacuate injured patients.

    We go now to Gaza, where we’re joined by Yousef Hammash, advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, who lives in the Gaza Strip with his wife and two children. He’s from the Jabaliya refugee camp but is joining us today from Khan Younis.

    Yousef, thanks so much for joining us again. You grew up in, you were born in the Jabaliya refugee camp. Can you talk about the significance of what took place yesterday?

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, yes, proudly, I’m born and raised in Jabaliya camp as a refugee. And Jabaliya camp was not a place that — for us to consider. It’s more than a place. And the place where they attacked is the center of the Jabaliya camp. It’s the heart of the camp. And everyone knows that Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Jabaliya camp is the most densely populated — the most densely populated place in Gaza. And so, people who doesn’t know how it’s Jabaliya camp, it’s a block of concrete. Houses are next to each other. And the widest street in Jabaliya camp is half a meter. And 90% of the houses are one roof. It’s one floor. And it’s one of the most crowded places on Earth.

    The attack yesterday, the massive amount of casualties, it was, first of all, the massive bombardment, and also because it’s very populated place. And I don’t think, both, yeah, I mean, the Israelis really care about that, and they want to target someone. And I’m not sure about these accusations, who were they targeting, what’s going on there. But it’s a really horrific situation. And if you look to the images, what was going on, it’s really horror.

    AMY GOODMAN: Can you respond to the Israeli military saying they bombed — they aimed for the alleyways, not the buildings, and that they were going for one of the commanders of Hamas, and that people should have left, that they warned Palestinians to leave northern Gaza and go south?

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: First of all, if they are pushing people to leave, where people should go, first of all? I was lucky because I have relatives in the south in Khan Younis. But thousands of people are in the streets or in UNRWA schools, and there is not enough place for anyone anymore in the south. And even there is no safe passage for people to move from the north toward the south. People cannot leave their houses without knowing where they are going. And this is one thing. If you live in Jabaliya, it means that you can handle your situation and keep up and with handling your needs in Jabaliya. If you are going to a new place without somewhere to go, and even doesn’t know where to go, how people will keep up when they are displaced? This is completely illegal, first of all. And you cannot push more than 1 million people to move in a few days. And until now, for example, since few days, even the roads have been cutted between — they split Gaza in two parts. How people are going to go from Jabaliya in the north or Gaza City towards the south? This is the first thing. And the other thing, I think the images and the amount of casualties can answer what the Israeli forces are saying.

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play for you a clip of the IDF, Israeli Defense Forces, spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, who appeared on CNN, where he was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer.

    WOLF BLITZER: But you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians, men, women and children, in that refugee camp, as well, right?

    LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT: This is the tragedy of war, Wolf. I mean, we — as you know, we’ve been saying for days, move south. Civilians that are not involved with Hamas, please move south. We —

    WOLF BLITZER: Yeah, I’m just trying to get a little bit more information. You knew there were civilians there. You knew there were refugees, all sorts of refugees. But you decided to still drop a bomb on that refugee camp attempting to kill this Hamas commander. By the way, was he killed?

    LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT: I can’t confirm, yeah. There will be more updated. He, yes, we know that he was killed. About the civilians there, we’re doing everything we can to minimize.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, if you can respond to the IDF Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht?

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: I just need to understand what they did to minimize the loss, casualties, the loss of civilians. And asking people to leave is not a justification. This is not a justification to use this massive amount of bombardment targeting something. And even then, they cannot confirm it. And it’s a bit weird how world is looking to that and how they are trying to justify the killing of civilians. This is unacceptable, how to justify killings of that amount of civilians by saying that you ordered everyone to evacuate. First, even this is illegal to push — these people are forced to flee, and also, there is no place that people can go to.

    And even here in Khan Younis, people who were displaced, people like me, we are facing tragedy to provide our daily need, like water and bread. And everything is challenging here because there is not enough space in the south to host all these hundreds of thousands of people who fled from Gaza and the north. People who decided to stay there, they don’t have any other solution. They don’t have any other options. And there is nothing on this planet can justify killing civilians.

    AMY GOODMAN: You are in Khan Younis, Yousef Hammash, where you moved. Were you living in Jabaliya?

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: I’m born and raised in Jabaliya camp. Yes, I live in Jabaliya.

    AMY GOODMAN: And talk about who lives there. Talk about the refugee camp, this largest refugee camp, how it was established.

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, this northern — refugee camps all across Gaza have been established after the Nakba 1948 and then have been expanded more and more. It became small cities. It’s a block of concrete. It’s not like the other camps that we see on the planet, like what’s seen now in Khan Younis, for example. They had to designate another camp which is a tent camp. No, it’s a small city within the city, as the refugee camp. And it’s very densely populated. I know every corner there. I know the people who live there are refugees. And this is generations of refugees who are living in this refugee camp, who is getting expanded day by day because the amount of people are getting more and more, and there is no solutions also for refugees. So it became not a refugee camp. It became a small city within a city. This is how the camp. It’s different than other camps in the world.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, you moved with your family to other family in Khan Younis. After the Israeli military told people to move south, dropped thousands of pamphlets and said they would consider you terrorists if you didn’t, they bombed Khan Younis. Is that right? They bombed places in the south, where they said you should go.

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: Even here in Khan Younis, it’s not safe. Yesterday, 50 meters away from us, they bombed a family. Eighteen members were killed. And it take us until the daylight to evacuate people who were killed, and most of them were children. There is no safe place all over Gaza. And that’s also another reason why people are not leaving. It’s not safe in the north. It’s not safe in the middle area. It’s not safe in the south also. All across Gaza Strip, the bombardment didn’t stop since the first day. So, this is another reason why people are not moving from the north, because it’s not different. Every day there is a lot of bombardment in Rafah, in Khan Younis, in Deir al-Balah, in the middle area, in Gaza City and the north. There is no difference wherever you are in Gaza City. You are always thinking when you are going to be the next target.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re there in Khan Younis. In an interview you did with Channel 4, you said it took you five hours to look for one liter of fuel in Khan Younis. If you can talk about why fuel is important? And respond to what the Israeli military is saying, why they’re not letting any fuel come in, which runs hospitals, of course, saving lives, the incubators that have premature babies in them, etc. What this fuel shortage looks like for you, not only you as a person, a Palestinian in Gaza, but as advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, where you’re responsible for so many refugees?

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, unfortunately, even as humanitarian actors, we cannot do our own, because there is no difference between anyone here. Everyone is under the same circumstances. Fuel is very important because there is no electricity at all. Even when we have one week — one time per week, we have water from the municipality because they have schedule for each area. We need the fuel to push the water from the municipality lines up to the houses. That’s why everything is challenging. And it’s a matter — it’s a layer of complexities. If you have water, you need fuel to push it to the house. To find water, you need to find a way to get it. And it’s almost impossible. Five hours, and I was lucky to did it. Since three days, we are trying to find another liter, and I couldn’t make it. I was lucky because I found someone who’s a friend of mine, and his car was having some fuel. Now, unfortunately, since three days, we don’t have fuel. Today we have the water again that’s from the municipality lines. And unfortunately, we couldn’t push it to the house. So we have had to fill small gallons, and we had to create lines of us inside the house to hand each other, to push, to get — to carry the water to the house tanks. Everything is challenging. And day by day, everything becomes more impossible. And it’s layers above layer of complexities and needs. We don’t have electricity. We don’t have fuel. We don’t have water. And we are lacking everything. We don’t have access for our basic needs.

    And unfortunately, we don’t see that effort to push to allow for fuel, for other basic needs for Palestinians. Even these trucks that came in on a daily basis, the maximum amount of trucks reached 50 trucks per day. Before this war started, Gaza was having more than 500 trucks per day, without that amount of need from the war. So, it’s really unacceptable how the world is behaving toward that. It’s not a victory that they succeeded to manage to get these trucks to come. This is not a victory for anyone. This is a drop in the ocean of needs.

    AMY GOODMAN: Yousef Hammash, they cut off communication again. We didn’t even know if we’d be able to talk to you. But now the electricity, at least where you are, is back on. Can you talk about the significance of this cutting off of cellphone and electricity, that also happened over the weekend, what it means for you? And also, what’s happening at Rafah today?

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, this is the second time —

    AMY GOODMAN: But first start with, yes, the cutoff.

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, this is the second time that — so, this is the second time that they isolated us from the rest of the planet. We didn’t have access to phone calls, internet or even radio stations. So, literally, we didn’t know what was happening in the next city. We were completely isolated inside our houses. And here to find internet, I think there is a lot of chaos around me, because I need to go to a cafe where there is — at least they have generator, they have some electricity, so I can have access to internet to have this interview with you. Everything is challenging. And being isolated from the rest of the world, we wasn’t knowing what’s happening in the north or in Gaza City or anywhere else in Gaza. We were just completely in a blackout. I don’t know how it’s acceptable to do this to us. And I don’t think we are — we are very good people in coping. We have a very good coping mechanism. But we cannot cope with this. We didn’t have communication. It’s lacking us from everything.

    And this is very dangerous, especially for the emergency situations. You cannot call an ambulance. When they did it a few days ago, it was for two days, 36 hours. People who were trying to get an ambulance after an attack, or even if they have a medical situation inside the house, they had to go to the hospital, informing them, and bring them back with them to the house to take someone who is, for example, very sick, or even if they were injured from an attack. It’s an impossible situation without connection. And this is the second time we see it. This time, it was around 14 hours. And let’s hope — because we cannot find alternatives, let’s hope they are not going to keep continuing doing that, because this is not only affecting us as people who have become more isolated, it’s affecting the emergency situation, the emergency response from the medical teams and civil affairs teams. It’s really dangerous.

    AMY GOODMAN: How old are your children, Yousef? Yousef, you’re frozen. How old are your children?

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: So, I have two children. Ilya is 5 years old, and Ahmed, two-and-a-half. And hopefully, we will manage to stay alive during this chaos and madness, and they can see a brighter future. And because — my son Ahmed is 2 years old. He have witnessed a lot. My 5-years-old daughter witnessed more than a lot for a child to witness from this madness around us. And I feel, again — I keep saying that to myself, and I can tell you clearly, I feel guilty because I brought my children in this place. I feel responsible towards my children, and I regret having them in this chaotic situation.

    AMY GOODMAN: Yousef Hammash, I want to thank you so much for being with us, advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, born in the Jabaliya refugee camp. We have 30 seconds. Your final message — we are based here in the United States — to the U.S. government, to the American population, and also globally around the world?

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: I think the world needs to react and to act seriously stopping this madness. I think it’s more than enough for us to suffer and to see what we are seeing currently. World need to extend and hold their responsibilities toward us as a human being. It’s more than enough since the first day. Now we’re stopping — we have already stopped calculating days, because it’s all similar, all its amount of bombardment and horror nights. The world needs to stand and hold their responsibilities toward us as human beings.

    AMY GOODMAN: Thank you, Yousef Hammash, for making the effort, despite all of these difficulties to speak to us today. Again, Yousef Hammash is the —

    YOUSEF HAMMASH: Thank you.

    AMY GOODMAN: — advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, grew up, was born in the Jabaliya refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in Gaza.

    When we come back, we’ll be joined by Craig Mokhiber, top U.N. official in New York, who’s resigned, saying the U.N. is failing to stop what he calls a “genocide” unfolding in Gaza. Back in a minute.


    AMY GOODMAN: “Giving Up Everything” by Natalie Merchant. Natalie Merchant recently signed an open letter titled “Artists Call for Ceasefire Now,” alongside actors like Joaquin Phoenix, the playwright Tony Kushner and Miranda July, the letter supported by Oxfam American and ActionAid USA.

    As the slaughter continues,  Andre Damon (WSWS) explains:

    Israeli authorities gloated about having deliberately attacked an area full of hundreds of women and children. “But you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians, men, women and children in that refugee camp as well, right?” CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer asked IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht. 

    Hecht made clear that the answer was yes. “This is the tragedy of war, Wolf,” he replied.

    When asked to respond directly to Hecht’s statement, US Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder endorsed the attack by accusing Palestinians of serving as “human shields.” In response to the bombing, Senator Lindsay Graham publicly declared that there is “no limit” to the number of civilian deaths the United States is willing to tolerate in Gaza.

    The US-Israeli plans are becoming clear. For 50 years, the imperialist powers have been talking about a “solution” to the “problem” of the Palestinians. Now, they have found one: the “final solution of the Palestinian question.”

    Aestimated 1.4 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes since the Israeli military began bombing the Gaza Strip on Oct. 8, 2023, in retaliation for a surprise attack by Hamas militants. Many of these Palestinians have sought refuge in United Nations emergency shelters in a situation the World Health Organization has described as “catastrophic.”

    With shelters running out of adequate access to water, food, electricity and other critical supplies, humanitarian agencies are deeply concerned and fear a total breakdown in order.

    While the current refugee crisis in Gaza has raised global concern over Palestinian displacement, this is not the first time Palestinians have endured the hardships of forced migration. Long before the latest upheaval, Palestinians who today live in Gaza and throughout the Middle East were forced from or fled their homes in what became the state of Israel. Today, they number about 5.9 million refugeesalmost half of the entire global Palestinian population.

    Over the past 20 years, my research as an anthropologist has focused on the situation of Palestinian displacement in the Middle East. Having studied some of the daunting challenges millions of Palestinians face as stateless refugees denied the ability to return to their homeland or the right of compensation, I believe it is critical to understand their history and what is at stake for those trapped in indefinite exile.

    The majority of Palestinian refugees today receive aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA. Dispersed throughout the region, including in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories, about one-third of all Palestinian refugees live in UNRWA refugee camps, while the remainder live in surrounding cities and towns.

    The origins of Palestinian displacement are ongoing and cannot be reduced to a single cause. Most Palestinian refugees, however, can trace their roots to two significant events in Palestinian history: The “Nakba” and the “Naksa.”

    The majority of Palestinian refugees today receive aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA. Dispersed throughout the region, including in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories, about one-third of all Palestinian refugees live in UNRWA refugee camps, while the remainder live in surrounding cities and towns.

    The origins of Palestinian displacement are ongoing and cannot be reduced to a single cause. Most Palestinian refugees, however, can trace their roots to two significant events in Palestinian history: The “Nakba” and the “Naksa.”

    The majority of Palestine’s Arab population fled their homes during the war, seeking temporary refuge across the Middle East but hoping to return after hostilities ceased.

    The mass exodus of Palestinians in 1948 resulted in two realities that have marked the region since. The first involved about 25,000 Palestinians displaced within the boundaries of what became Israel. Known as internally displaced Palestinians, this community did not cross any official border and thus never received refugee status under international law. Instead, they became Israeli citizens, distinguished by their legal designation in Israel as “present absentees.”

    Through the Absentee Property Law the Israeli state proceeded to confiscate displaced Palestinians’ properties and deny their right to return to the homes and villages of their birth.

    The second event involved over 700,000 Palestinians who fled beyond what became the de facto borders of Israel and acquired formal refugee status under the United Nations. This group of refugees sought shelter in areas of Palestine unconquered by Jewish forces, like Nablus and Jenin, and in neighboring states, including Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

    Immediately following their displacement, these Palestinians were subject to ad hoc support from various international organizations until the 1949 creation of the UNRWA, which assumed official responsibility for the management of direct relief operations and refugee camp infrastructure throughout the Middle East.

    The world is outraged.  The US government?  Not really.  THE NEW YORK TIMES notes:

    Even as President Biden presses Israel to define clearly the goals of its war against Hamas in Gaza, he is turning his eyes to a much larger endgame: the ever-elusive hope for a lasting peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Speaking to reporters last week, Mr. Biden said that “when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next, and in our view it has to be a two-state solution,” creating a sovereign Palestinian nation alongside the state of Israel.

    The question is how hard Mr. Biden intends to work for that outcome.

    Until last month, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not among his top priorities. A president focused on countering China and then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had little time or inclination for a distant goal that stymied — and politically bruised — several of his predecessors.

    Biden administration officials also doubted whether Israel’s increasingly hawkish leadership was interested in any plausible deal. They also wondered whether the Palestinians would trust the United States as a peace broker after four years of the Trump administration’s dramatically pro-Israel tilt and a Trump peace plan that the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, excluded from its devising, declared dead on arrival.

    Unlike his recent predecessors, Mr. Biden did not appoint a special envoy for Middle East peace or task his secretary of state with trying to forge an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead, he focused on mediating a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, hoping to leverage Israeli concessions to the Palestinians along the way.

    The US government's inflexible and total support for the assault on Gaza is costing Joe votes. Ahmed Moor (THE NATION) explains that Joe has lost his vote:

    I first had serious doubts about Joe Biden when I learned he self-identified as a Zionist. For me, as a Palestinian American, and for the millions of Palestinians living through apartheid, Zionism isn’t a way of seeing the world. It’s a political theory that establishes Jewish dominance over the people and land of Palestine/Israel, based on a Jewish majority in that land. It seeks to justify, unsuccessfully, repeated bouts of ethnic cleansing, occupation, and inequality before the law. By identifying himself with Zionism, Biden expressly indicated his support for the outcome of these policies: a Jewish-majority state, for Jews only. Implicitly, he endorsed the policies themselves.

    Like many in the coalition of progressive minorities that drives the success of the Democratic party, I arrived at an uneasy accommodation with myself. The moral challenge many of us face in voting for the Democrats isn’t new; the Iraq war, which was supported by most of the party’s leadership, made it difficult to vote for Hillary Clinton. The conventional argument admonishing progressives to vote for the Democrats is: You have an obligation to help the poor, fight inequality, and work for climate justice, racial justice, reproductive rights, and basic democracy; there is only one party in Washington willing to make a contribution to your goals; therefore, despite Democrats’ limitations, which include excessive corporatism, an institutional affinity for Israel, a neoliberal foreign policy, and an unwillingness or inability to tax the wealthy, you should vote for the Democrats.

    Call it maturity, or a pragmatism born of experience, but over the years I learned to suppress my deep discomfort with the party’s non-progressive policies to vote Democrat and keep “a lesser evil” at bay. In 2021, after voting for Jill Stein in two presidential elections, I relented and joined up. Here in Philadelphia, I ran for and won a seat as a committee person in my ward. In that capacity, I worked to turn out voters for John Fetterman. I voted for Joe Biden.

    I have no intention of doing so again next year.

    The past three weeks have transformed me. I’ve viewed shocking, nauseating videos documenting the genocide underway in Gaza. I’ve seen the neighborhoods I grew up in eliminated, totally. I cannot describe the pain of viewing my extended family suffer through state-sanctioned terror. I cannot describe the horror they’re experiencing, their awareness of their dehumanization, and the agonizing knowledge that they’ve been abandoned by a cynical world. Now, with Gaza in total darkness, literal and metaphorical, I find that I dread the worst. I am justified in expecting it.

    That sentiment is not a surprise.  The United States, like the world, is watching as the assault on Gaza continues.  They see the scenes like the one below that Corky Siemaszko (NBC NEWS) describes:

    Desperate Palestinians were using their bare hands Tuesday to retrieve bodies buried in the ruins of a Gaza refugee camp moments after it was hit by an airstrike that reduced more than a dozen buildings to rubble, killed dozens and wounded hundreds of people, according to local health officials. 

    [. . .]

    Hamas has denied that any of its leadership was in Jabalia at the time of the strike, which they said destroyed at least 20 homes.

    NBC News has not independently verified Biari’s death.

    Footage of the aftermath of the attack showed hundreds of anguished people clambering in and out of what appears to be several giant craters and struggling to find buried victims.

    "My three kids are gone, my kids, no one is alive," one despondent man named Jabar could be heard saying as his friends tried to console him.

    The threat to life to children in Gaza is urgent and extreme. Hundreds of children are foreseeably killed with each passing day of Israel's campaign. The deaths of these young souls is foreseeable for three reasons: because half the population of Gaza are children; because in multiple previous bombing campaigns one in four fatalities were children; and because the child casualty rate of the current campaign is widely reported. There comes a point where the very inevitability and predictability of these deaths collapses the moral distinction between "foreseen" and "intended." If Israeli children were being harmed in this way, there would be an identical global outcry.

    Any search for a solution to this crisis inevitably arrives at its strategic context, which is deeply uncomfortable for the Israeli government. Under international law, Israel is the occupying power of Palestinian territory in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. No accusations of anti-Semitism or of pro-Hamas bias can scrub out this basic reality. If the tables were turned and Palestine were the occupier, the Palestinians would be implored to stop bombing the homesschoolshouses of worship and evacuation zones of a captive and impoverished population. They would be urged to revive a political pathway for ending the occupation so that all can live in peace and with dignity. And so that extremists in Palestine, Israel and beyond can be marginalised and frozen out.

    The House Republican bill to provide aid to Israel will add $26.8 billion to the U.S. budget deficit, according to a new report Wednesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    The bill championed by new Speaker Mike Johnson pairs $14.3 billion in aid to Israel with $14.3 billion in cuts to IRS funding that was enacted under the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration initiative passed by Democrats last year.

    But the CBO found that the IRS cuts coupled with the Israel aid would lead to a $26.8 billion decline in revenue, contradicting the stated goal of offsetting the aid. The CBO and the Treasury Department have said the funds, if left intact, would lead to tougher IRS enforcement and the collection of more tax revenues.

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

    A top United Nations official in New York has resigned and accused the United Nations of failing to address what he calls a “text-book case of genocide” unfolding in Gaza. Craig Mokhiber is a longtime international human rights lawyer who served as director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He had worked at the United Nations since 1992 and lived in Gaza in the 1990s.

    In a letter addressed to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, Craig Mokhiber wrote, “In Gaza, civilian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and medical institutions are wantonly attacked as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units. Across the land, Apartheid rules.”

    Craig Mokhiber went on to write, “What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault. Not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations 'to ensure respect' for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities,” unquote.

    On Tuesday, the U.N. released statement about Mokhiber’s resignation, saying, quote, “I can confirm he is retiring today. He informed the U.N. in March of his upcoming retirement, which takes effect tomorrow. The views in his letter made public today are his personal views,” the U.N. said.

    Craig Mokhiber joins us now in New York, the first day he’s not working for the United Nations.

    Welcome to Democracy Now!

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Thank you, Amy. Good to be here.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about why you left.

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I originally registered my concerns in writing to the high commissioner in March, as you heard from that statement, in the wake of a wave of human rights violations on the West Bank, including the pogrom Huwara at that time. And at that time, I complained, really, about what I saw as a trepidatious response by many in the United Nations, and an effort to try to silence some of the human rights critique of U.N. officials, including myself. And I admit to feeling a great deal of frustration, and at that moment indicating that I would be resigning from the U.N., effective this month. So, of course, the situation got much worse since then, which is why I was — particularly the events in Gaza — which is why I was compelled to write this latest letter to the high commissioner, to put on record my very serious concerns about how we were failing to address the unfolding events in the Occupied Territories.

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you think the United Nations, the United States, the West, U.K. should be doing right now?

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I think there is an obligation on the part of all member states of the United Nations, including those states in the West, to respond in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law. My central point in the most recent letter was that we had effectively left international law behind when the international community embraced the Oslo process, which sort of raised up notions of political expediency above the requirements of international law. And that was a real loss for human rights in Palestine. I think there is an obligation on the part of all states not just to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, but, under the Geneva Conventions, to ensure respect. And it’s clear that many states, including the United States itself, have not only — are not only in breach of their obligation to ensure respect vis-à-vis those states over which they have influence — in this case, Israel — but have been actively complicit, actively engaged in arming, in diplomatic cover, in political support, intelligence support and so on. That is a breach of international humanitarian law. We need the opposite of that. We need all states, members of the United Nations, to use whatever influence they have to ensure an end to these attacks on civilians in Gaza, to ensure as well accountability for the perpetrators, redress for the victims, protection for the vulnerable there.

    It’s interesting, Amy. We have a formula at the United Nations that is applied to virtually every other conflict situation. But when it comes to the situation in Israel and Palestine, there’s a different set of rules, apparently. And that’s, I think, a big source of my frustration. Where is the transitional justice process? Where is the U.N. protection force to protect all civilians? Where is the tribunal for accountability? Where is the action on the part of the Security Council, the only mechanism in the United Nations that has enforcement to ensure protection in the Occupied Territories? Obviously, every effort in the Security Council is vetoed by the United States itself, a further indication of the kind of complicity about which I am referring.

    And I think the other thing that needs to happen in the international community is that we have to abandon the failed paradigms of the past on a political level and get back to the roots, which is international law, international human rights. What has happened in the context of the so-called Oslo process, the two-state solution, the U.N. Quartet, is that they have acted effectively as a smokescreen, behind which we have seen further and worsening dispossession of Palestinians, massive atrocities, such as those as we are witnessing now, the loss of homes and land, further settlement activity. You know, it’s an open secret inside the halls of the United Nations that the so-called two-state solution is effectively impossible now — there’s nothing left for a sustainable state for the Palestinian people — and takes no account of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people. The new paradigm has to be one based upon equality of all people there, equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews. And that needs to be the new approach.

    And I think, as well, you know, it’s interesting that this year we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948. That same year, the Nakba occurred in Palestine, and apartheid was adopted in South Africa. We have seen, because of a consistent international law and international human rights approach in the U.N. and the international community, that apartheid in South Africa fell. We did not take the same approach in Palestine. We’ve deferred to these political processes. And as a result, not only have we not seen an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people, we’ve seen a continuing worsening of the situation.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re a longtime human rights lawyer. I want you to respond — I played this already for Yousef Hammash in Gaza right now, in Khan Younis, to respond, but I’d like you to respond to it, as well. After Israel’s attack on Jabaliya yesterday, the IDF spokesperson, Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, appeared on CNN and was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer.

    WOLF BLITZER: But you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians, men, women and children, in that refugee camp, as well, right?

    LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT: This is the tragedy of war, Wolf. I mean, we — as you know, we’ve been saying for days, move south. Civilians that are not involved with Hamas, please move south. We —

    WOLF BLITZER: Yeah, I’m just trying to get a little bit more information. You knew there were civilians there. You knew there were refugees, all sorts of refugees. But you decided to still drop a bomb on that refugee camp attempting to kill this Hamas commander. By the way, was he killed?

    LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT: I can’t confirm, yeah. There will be more updated. He, yes, we know that he was killed. About the civilians there, we’re doing everything we can to minimize.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, he’s saying they’re doing everything they can to minimize. He’s talking about Ibrahim Biari, whom it identified — Israel has identified as Hamas’s commander of the Jabaliya center battalion, saying he was killed in those recent strikes. Can you respond to every aspect of what he said? They were trying to get a high-value target, as they put it, and they are not trying to kill civilians.

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I think what’s important in that interview is that is another of many indications of intent on the part of Israeli authorities, that will be very important in a court of law. He has said very openly that they knew of the concentrations of civilians there, and yet, in violation of the principle of distinction in international humanitarian law, and on the pretext of killing one combatant, wiped out the better part of an entire refugee camp, densely populated refugee camp. And I think what’s been interesting in this war is the very open statement of intents. I referred in my letter to the case for genocide which is happening now. And, you know, “genocide” is a very politicized term, often abused. But in this case, the hardest part of proving genocide has been proven for us with these very open statements of genocidal intent by Israeli officials, including the prime minister and the president and senior Cabinet ministers and military officials, who in their public statements have indicated very clearly their intention not to distinguish between civilians and combatants, and to carry out the kinds of wholesale slaughter that we are witnessing in Gaza. That is not a justification in international law, saying that there was a combatant there, for that very disproportionate use of firepower against what was a civilian target. And that’s what we’ve been seeing in all of Gaza, from the north to the south.

    The other thing is this claim that, “Well, we told them to move south, and therefore we can kill everybody who didn’t move.” This is an extremely dangerous and unlawful tactic that is being used, first because we know that evacuations in Gaza in the best of times, in this densely populated small territory with 2.3 million civilians crowded in, with very limited infrastructure, is a huge challenge. But most of Gaza has been bombed into rubble. It is just not physically possible for civilians to move en masse in the ways that Israel has required them to do so. And we know, already well documented, that when they do so, they’re still subjected to bombings even in the south of the Gaza Strip. So, all of this, it seems to me, is evidence of intent and a prima facie case for violations of the laws of war.

    AMY GOODMAN: Israel has called for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to resign, after he said Hamas’s October 7th attack did not happen in a vacuum. This is Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan.

    GILAD ERDAN: Mr. Secretary-General, the U.N. was established to prevent atrocities, to prevent such atrocities like the barbaric atrocities that Hamas committed. But the U.N. is failing. The U.N. is failing. And you, Mr. Secretary-General, have lost all morality and impartiality, because when you say those terrible words that these heinous attacks did not happen in a vacuum, you are tolerating terrorism. And by tolerating terrorism, you are justifying terrorism.

    AMY GOODMAN: That’s Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. Craig Mokhiber, your response?

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, of course, you can imagine why the ambassador would want to start the clock only in October and to ignore the decades upon decades of persecution against the Palestinian people in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, inside Israel proper. But that is not the kind of assessment that leads to peace or leads to an improved situation on the ground. The secretary-general was doing his job. He had condemned the loss of civilian life in the Hamas attack, and he also criticized not just what Israel was doing in Gaza, but all of the events that have led up to this situation.

    And that’s what I mean by a need to break from the failed paradigm of the past. We really need to get into something that says that human beings are entitled to human rights under international law and that the duty of the international community is to ensure protection for all under the rule of law, but also accountability for perpetrators and redress for victims.

    So, I am not surprised at that statement. We’ve seen a lot of extreme statements from that particular ambassador, a lot of theater, as well. I don’t think we should allow it to distract us to what’s happening on the ground, which is the wholesale loss of life of innocent civilians in their thousands, including thousands of children in the Gaza Strip, and the need to get to an immediate ceasefire and then to shift into a new approach that will prevent this from happening again and again and again.

    AMY GOODMAN: I’m wondering about the role of Karim Khan, the lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. I think he was in Rafah just a few days ago. We see the world’s response, or the West’s response, when it came to Russia invading Ukraine and occupying Ukraine. Karim Khan, very soon after, opened a whole investigation into crimes against humanity that Putin was committing in Ukraine. Can you respond to the difference in approach to Russia and Ukraine and Israel and the Occupied Territories, officially, international law, the OPT, the Occupied Palestinian Territories?

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, there has been a stunning inconsistency with the rapidity with which the court was able to move and the prosecutor was able to move with regard to Ukraine and the years upon years in which it has dragged its feet with regard to Palestine. This is just one of many critiques of the court, including the fact that it does not have a very strong record of holding Northern countries — Israel, the United States and others — to account for their crimes under international criminal law, and yet is very anxious to move forward on cases in the Global South.

    Now, that is not to condemn the court. The court is a young institution. It needs to be strengthened. It needs to insulate itself from the kinds of political pressure that have led to its inaction in the case of Palestine. But our hope, ultimately, is the peaceful resolution of disputes through the use of international law. And if that’s going to happen, we need a robust and fair International Criminal Court that doesn’t provide for exceptionalism for powerful countries of the North, like Israel, for example, but that holds all perpetrators of international crimes to account. The court has a long way to go before it’s going to have the reputation that will bring confidence globally that it’s meeting its mandate under the Rome Statute.

    AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre compared pro-Palestinian protesters to the white supremacists who took part in the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. She made the comment in response to a question from Fox News’s Peter Doocy.

    PETER DOOCY: Does President Biden think the anti-Israel protesters in this country are extremists?

    PRESS SECRETARY KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: What I can say is what we’ve been very clear about this: When it comes to antisemitism, there is no place. We have to make sure that we speak against it very loud and be — and be very clear about that. Remember, what the president decided to — when the president decided to run for president is what he saw in Charlottesville in 2017, when we — he saw neo-Nazis marching down the streets of Charlottesville with vile, antisemitic just hatred. And he was very clear then, and he’s very clear now. He’s taken actions against this over the past two years. And he’s continued to be clear: There is no place — no place — for this type of vile and despite — this kind of rhetoric.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s President Biden’s spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre. Craig Mokhiber, your response?

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I think one of the most disturbing aspects of this current situation in the North, in countries like the U.S. and in Europe, has been this rather unprecedented crackdown on human rights defenders speaking up to defend the human rights of people in Gaza during this situation. And that has come from official statements that try to critique in that way people who are defending human rights, and to compare them with far-right neofascist protesters, for example. I mean, it’s an outrageous comparison to make. And it doesn’t stop there. We have also seen very strong efforts on the part of government institutions, including local governments and state governments and the federal government, and universities and employers and others to punish people for daring to speak up, criticizing the human rights violations that are happening, or criticizing the U.S. role in these violations.

    But I think what is most hopeful, Amy, and where there is a glimmer of hope, which has, I have to say, moved me very much, it’s that people are not allowing themselves to be intimidated by these tactics. We have seen massive demonstrations, in all parts of the country and in Europe, from people many times risking arrest, risking police beatings, risking other consequences, because they refuse to allow this to go forward and to have the human rights claim be silenced. And I think most encouraging, we have seen — you know, just a few blocks from here a few days ago, we saw a large group, organized by Jewish Voices for Peace, IfNotNow, of Jewish protesters standing up and saying, “Not in our name,” and taking over Grand Central Station, and in one move stripping away the Israeli propaganda point that they are somehow acting in the defense of Jews. Jewish people are not represented by Israel. These protesters have made that perfectly clear. Israel pushes an old antisemitic trope that it somehow represents Jewish people around the world. Not only is that not factual, but it’s very dangerous. And everyone needs to know that Israel is a state that’s responsible for its own crimes, and that responsibility does not extend to our Jewish brothers and sisters, many of whom are standing up alongside Muslim and Christian and others in demonstrations across this country and across Europe, saying that this must end.

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to a comment in The Guardian by Anne Bayefsky, who directs Touro College’s Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust in New York, who accused you of overt antisemitism, saying you used U.N. letterhead to call for wiping Israel off the map. Craig Mokhiber, if you could respond?

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, Anne Bayefsky is a well-known entity amongst human rights defenders. She has made a career of attacking anyone who dares to criticize Israeli human rights violations, in particular. I have responded to this idea of wiping Israel off the map by saying I’m not looking for an end to Israel, I’m looking for an end to apartheid. And it’s very telling, what Anne Bayefsky tweeted in her attack on me. She accused me of antisemitism, and the quote that she took from my letter to prove that was my call for equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews. I had to reply to her tweet by saying that she had become a parody of herself, because if calling for equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews is a new form of antisemitism, then there’s no conversation to be had.

    But I don’t think people are falling for these smears anymore. They are almost automatic. But the point needs to be made again and again that criticism of Israeli human rights violations is not antisemitic, just as criticism of Saudi violations is not Islamophobic, criticism of Myanmar violations is not anti-Buddhist, criticism of Indian violations is not anti-Hindu. If any of those are true, then there is no international human rights framework. And if only the case of Israel is true, well, that’s a racist proposition that only Palestinians can’t have their human rights defended in this globe. So, I don’t think anyone listens too much to those kinds of smears anymore. And luckily, people are speaking up louder, not lowering their voices, to demand human rights in the Occupied Territories.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, what do you go off to do, Craig Mokhiber? I mean, you have been at the United Nations for decades. Talk about your plans now. Today is your first day that you’re not working at the U.N.

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: Well, I intend to remain involved in the cause of international human rights, in which I’ve been involved since 1980, in fact. There’s no question about that. I will do it under my own name, unconstrained by diplomatic protocol and the constraints of the U.N. I will continue to support my colleagues. I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m criticizing the whole U.N. You know, U.N. humanitarian workers, U.N. human rights workers, the UNRWA colleagues in Gaza, dozens of whom have lost their life just in the last couple of weeks under Israeli bombs, are doing absolutely heroic work all around the world. But I want to try to influence the political side of the house to take up a more realistic and principled approach to this particular conflict, one based in international human rights, one based in international humanitarian law, and one based in achievable goals, if not in the immediate term, of a paradigm based upon equality, an end to apartheid, and, as I said, equal rights for Christians, Muslims and Jews.

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your final response to the protesters just yesterday in Washington, D.C., in the Senate, repeatedly disrupting Secretary of State Antony Blinken while he was testifying before the Senate on President Biden’s request for $106 billion for Ukraine, Israel and militarizing the U.S.-Mexico border. A group of protesters with members of Muslims for Just Futures and Detention Watch Network, sitting behind Blinken, held up their hands covered in fake blood. He was also interrupted by members of CodePink, including the former State Department official Ann Wright, who resigned over the Iraq War. This is what she said.

    ANN WRIGHT: Three thousand five hundred kids dead. Come on. I’m an Army colonel. I’m a former diplomat. I resigned on that War in Iraq that you talked about. That was a terrible thing. And what you’re doing right now in supporting Israel’s genocide of Gaza is a terrible thing, too. Stop the war! Ceasefire now!

    AMY GOODMAN: She was holding a sign as she was taken out by security, “Ceasefire in Gaza.” Craig Mokhiber, your final comments?

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: This is where I find the most hope, Amy. I have lost confidence in official institutions of government after all these years in the international human rights movement. I am losing hope in international — important parts of international institutions. Where there is hope, it is in civil society. It is in those ordinary people, here in the United States and elsewhere, who are willing to stand up and demand respect for human life and for human rights. And these kinds of protests in the halls of Congress, before the State Department, in front of the White House, in Grand Central Station, in the streets, everywhere, particularly with this climate that is trying to —

    AMY GOODMAN: Three seconds.

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: — suppress critique of these current policies, it’s only going to come from civil society —

    AMY GOODMAN: Craig Mokhiber — 

    CRAIG MOKHIBER: — that these will be shaken loose.

    AMY GOODMAN: — we thank you so much, international human rights lawyer.

    Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Gross, Daddy, I Know Where Her Hand's Been" went up yesterday.  The following sites updated: