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Friday, April 27, 2012

Israelis Under Another Threat

Abduct Israelis to free prisoners, Gaza leaders say

REUTERS - The Jerusalem Post, April 27th, 2012

GAZA – Islamic leaders in the Gaza Strip called on Friday for militants to kidnap Israelis and use them as bargaining chips to secure the freedom of thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
Human rights groups say up to 2,000 prisoners have joined an open-ended hunger strike to protest against jail conditions and thousands of Palestinians staged a rally in the Gaza Strip to support their cause.
“We should work hard to get (Israeli) prisoners in our hands in order to secure the freedom of our prisoners,” Khaled Al-Batsh, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad, told the crowd.
“I say to all armed factions, the way to free the prisoners is through swaps … An arrest for an arrest, and freedom for freedom. This is the way,” he said.
Israel last year freed some 1,000 Palestinians in return for the release of Gilad Schalit, a soldier seized in 2006 and held by the Islamist group Hamas in secret captivity for five years.
Human Rights groups say at least 4,700 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails, many of them convicted for violent crimes. Palestinian leaders say they should be treated as prisoners of war, something Israel rejects.
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza, said Palestinian militant factions would “never abandon” the prisoners.
“The swap deal was a message to the (Israeli) occupation that the resistance and the Palestinian people will pursue every difficult avenue to break the chains of these heroes,” he said.
“We are in a battle for the prisoners, and we will either win, or we will win,” he added.
Friday's rally saw participants waving both the green and black flags of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad – a sign of growing ties between the two groups, which share the same Islamist ideology and advocate the destruction of the state of Israel.
Prisoners are seen as heroes in their communities and the mass hunger strike is putting pressure on the leadership to respond. Israel struck deals with two prisoners earlier this year to end their hunger strikes, but is resisting demands for further concessions.
At least two prisoners have been refusing food for more than eight weeks. A mass hunger strike by at least 1,200 was launched on April 17 and the Addameer prisoners' association has said a further 800 have since joined the movement.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sowell: Who Is Racist

After you read the attached essay by Thomas Sowell and still think that George Zimmerman should not get a trial--then you are the racist, not Zimmerman. Mr. Sowell, does a great job of laying the blame at those who should be more cautious by throwing around that very derogatory term!

Conservative Tom

Sowell: Who Is 'Racist?'

By Thomas Sowell 
Whatever the ultimate outcome of the case against George Zimmerman for his shooting of Trayvon Martin, what has happened already is enough to turn the stomach of anyone who believes in either truth or justice.
An amazing proportion of the media has given us a painful demonstration of the thinking -- and lack of thinking -- that prevailed back in the days of the old Jim Crow South, where complexion counted more than facts in determining how people were treated.
One of the first things presented in the media was a transcript of a conversation between George Zimmerman and a police dispatcher. The last line in most of the transcripts shown on TV was that of the police dispatcher telling Zimmerman not to continue following Trayvon Martin.
That became the basis of many media criticisms of Zimmerman for continuing to follow him. Only later did I see a transcript of that conversation on the Sean Hannity program that included Zimmerman's reply to the police dispatcher: "O.K."
That reply removed the only basis for assuming that Zimmerman did in fact continue to follow Trayvon Martin. At this point, neither I nor the people who assumed that he continued to follow the teenager have any basis in fact for believing that he did or didn't.
Why was that reply edited out by so many in the media? Because too many people in the media see their role as filtering and slanting the news to fit their own vision of the world. The issue is not one of being "fair" to "both sides" but, more fundamentally, of being honest with their audience.
NBC News carried the editing even further, removing one of the police dispatcher's questions, to which Zimmerman was responding, in order to feed the vision of Zimmerman as a racist.
In the same vein were the repeated references to Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic." Zimmerman is half-white. So is Barack Obama. But does anyone refer to Obama as a "white African"?
All these verbal games grow out of the notion that complexion tells you who is to be blamed and who is not. It is a dangerous game because race is no game. If the tragic history of the old Jim Crow South in this country is not enough to show that, the history of racial and ethnic tragedies is written in blood in countries around the world. Millions have lost their lives because they looked different, talked differently or belonged to a different religion.
In the midst of the Florida tragedy, there was a book published with the unwieldy title, "No Matter What ... They'll Call This Book Racist." Obviously it was written well before the shooting in Florida, but its message -- that there is rampant hypocrisy and irrationality in public discussions of race -- could not have been better timed.
Author Harry Stein, a self-described "reformed white liberal," raised by parents who were even further left, exposes the illogic and outright fraudulence that lies behind so much of what is said about race in the media, in politics and in our educational institutions.
He asks a very fundamental question: "Why, even after the Duke University rape fiasco, does the media continue to give credence to every charge of racism?"
Harry Stein credits Shelby Steele's book "White Guilt" with opening his eyes to one of the sources of many counterproductive things said and done about race today -- namely, guilt about what was done to blacks and other minorities in the past.
Let us talk sense, like adults. Nothing that is done to George Zimmerman -- justly or unjustly -- will unlynch a single black man who was tortured and killed in the Jim Crow South for a crime he didn't commit.
Letting hoodlums get away with hoodlumism today does not undo a single injustice of the past. It is not even a favor to the hoodlums, for many of whom hoodlumism is just the first step on a path that leads to the penitentiary, and maybe to the execution chamber.
Winston Churchill said, "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." He wasn't talking about racial issues, but what he said applies especially where race is involved.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is