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2009-01-13

Pro-Israel Supporters Praise Gaza Assault as Justified Despite Mounting Civilian Death Toll

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On Sunday, thousands turned out in New York for a rally to support the attack on Gaza. Speakers included New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Governor David Paterson. The journalist Max Blumenthal, also a Jewish American, spoke to some of the demonstrators. We play highlights. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We continue with our coverage of the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza and two very different protests from Jewish Americans on opposite sides of the issues. On Sunday, thousands turned out in New York for a rally to support the attack on Gaza. Speakers included the New York Governor David Paterson, Senator Chuck Schumer.

The journalist Max Blumenthal, also a Jewish American reporter, spoke to some of the demonstrators. Max Blumenthal is a senior writer for thedailybeast.com and a Puffin Foundation writing fellow at the Nation Institute. His work appears at The Nation

, Salon and other publications. His book Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party comes out later this year. This is his report.

    UNIDENTIFIED: Long live Israel! God bless America!

    SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER: Israel has sent phone text messages to Palestinians in Gaza saying, “Leave your homes, because there are weapons inside them.” What other country would do that?

    GOV. DAVID PATERSON: For the last three-and-a-half years, Israel has been bombarded daily by a number of rockets coming from Gaza.

    CHEER LEADER: When I say, “Israel,” you say, “rocks!” Israel!

    CROWD: Rocks!

    CHEER LEADER: Israel!

    CROWD: Rocks!

    CHEER LEADER: Israel!

    CROWD: Rocks!

    CHEER LEADER: What do we want?

    UNIDENTIFIED: Peace!

    UNIDENTIFIED: Messiah!

    CHEER LEADER: Yeah!

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: You guys out here to support Israel?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 1: Yep.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Why?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 1: Because they’re pro-Western and everything. So, you know, don’t want to get killed one day by these, you know, crazy people.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 2: I was at the World Trade Center on 9/11. I saw the [expletive] that was going on. America has to wake up. It’s coming to America, just like it’s happening in the rest of the world. The radical Muslim must be defeated unless we’re going to all ruin the whole Western civilization.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: So how many civilian casualties would it take before you questioned the attack?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 3: There is not a number involved.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 4: Nothing good is going to come out of it, unless they keep fighting all the way with this ’til they wipe them all out.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Wipe them all out?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 4: Yeah, they got to go strong with this.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 5: There’s only one way to deal with a cancer. You burn it out or you remove it. And when people don’t want to talk and just want to destroy you and not allow you to live, there’s only one thing you can do.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 2: They are forcing us to kill their children to defend our children.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 6: When did Israel blow up any hospitals? They didn’t blow up any hospitals.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: They blow up schools, sorry.

    How is Israel kicking Hamas’ ass?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 7: We’re target – it’s – we have a very intelligent way of going about it. We —-

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Very intelligent.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 7: Very intelligent. We have the greatest intelligent out there. We try to minimalize casualties as much as possible, civilians. We have advanced technology.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Israel knows what schools Hamas is hiding in.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 7: Correct.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: And then they blow up the whole school.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 7: They -—

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Very intelligent.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 7: Yes.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 8: There are weapons factories inside of school. How do you define that?

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: They’re making missiles under the school desks.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 8: Yeah. No, how do you define — no, under the schools, there’s underground tunnels.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 9: Wherever there is terror, no matter where they hide, you’ve got to get them out. And if the women and children —-

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Even in a school?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 9: Wherever there is terror -—

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 10: Even in a school, even in a school. You have to get them out. Otherwise, no peace, no peace. We have to fight them.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 11: They’re hiding in school. They’re hiding in school.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: They’re making bombs under the desks.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 11: Exactly.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 12: I could tell you one thing: don’t screw with the Jews, ’cause we kick butt. Bam!

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 13: Dude, it’s a repeat.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: It’s a repeat of the Holocaust?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 13: Yeah.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: How?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 13: We’re being persecuted again, for the trillionth time ever.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: So we’re fighting a second Nazi, war against the Nazis?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 13: Yeah, yeah.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 10: They want to kill all Jewish people.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 13: It’s a double of the Holocaust.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 14: The reason why more Israelis haven’t been killed or wounded is sheerly by the grace of God, because God has been performing just miracle after miracle. Those who are dying are suffering God’s wrath, but — but we also believe that when the Angel of Death comes out, he takes everyone in his path.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 15: There are different prophesies that says that there will be great wars before the coming of the Messiah. And there are many things that we see have been tied in.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: So, after the downfall and the wars, the Messiah comes back.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 15: That’s what we’ve been praying for, and that’s what we hope will happen.

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 16: If Hamas could not differentiate between civil — civilians and army, we don’t need to either. I think we should go with all force and just go in and get them all.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: So what if Israel just, you know, wiped Gaza off the map? What would be so wrong with that?

    ISRAEL SUPPORTER 16: Um.


AMY GOODMAN: That video from Max Blumenthal produced for website alternet.org. The next day, a group called Jews Against the Occupation also held a protest. They were protesting against the Israeli invasion of Gaza. When we come back from break, we’ll go to that.

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