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HeadlinesNovember 02, 2023

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U.N. Warns Israel’s Attacks Could Amount to “War Crimes” as Gaza Death Toll Passes 9,000

Nov 02, 2023

Officials in Gaza say Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 195 Palestinians in the Jabaliya refugee camp since Tuesday. One hundred twenty Palestinians are reported missing and feared to be buried under rubble from three days of strikes which leveled entire blocks of residential buildings inside Gaza’s largest refugee camp. Earlier today, Israel bombed a school at the refugee camp run by UNRWA. The U.N. Human Rights Office said in a statement, “we have serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes.” One resident of Jabaliya, Abdel Kareem Rayan, said the Israeli airstrikes killed 15 members of his family.

Abdel Kareem Rayan: “I lost my whole family, 15 of them. They were innocent, just staying in the camp. What wrong did they do? All of them were killed, my sister’s house with her children, my brother’s house with his children, all of my siblings, no one left but me and my younger brother. Fifteen people, these are their names. They are innocent and kind. It’s literally a massacre.”

On Wednesday, Gaza’s only cancer treatment center, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, was forced to close due to a lack of fuel. An Israeli airstrike damaged the hospital’s third floor earlier this week. The Indonesian Hospital reports it’s running on a backup generator with limited power. Egyptian ambulances have taken about 80 critically ill patients from Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. Hundreds of foreigners and dual nationals are also hoping to leave Gaza at Rafah. It’s expected thousands will be able to go out of the crossing in the next few days. Meanwhile, Israeli troops and tanks are pushing deeper into Gaza. Israel says 18 of its soldiers have died since it launched a ground invasion of Gaza on Friday. Health officials in Gaza say over 9,000 Palestinians have been killed during Israel’s 27-day bombardment.

Biden Responds to Rabbi Calling for Gaza Ceasefire: “We Need a Pause”

Nov 02, 2023

President Biden has publicly voiced support for a humanitarian pause to Israel’s assault in Gaza for the first time. Biden’s comment came during a campaign fundraiser in Minneapolis after a local rabbi named Jessica Rosenberg of Jewish Voice for Peace interrupted his speech to donors.

Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg: “Mr. President, if you care about Jewish people, as a rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire right now.”

Donors: “Shhh! No! Ssss! Sit down! Sit down! Get out!”

Moments later, in an exchange with the rabbi, President Biden said he supported a pause to the fighting.

Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg: “A pause?”

President Joe Biden: “Yes, a pause.”

Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg: “What is a pause?”

Security: “OK.”

President Joe Biden: “A pause means it gives time to get the prisoners out.”

Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg: “Yes please, do something!”

Biden did not meet with any Muslim leaders during his visit to Minneapolis. Instead, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations held a peaceful protest demanding an immediate ceasefire. This week a poll by the Arab American Institute showed support for Biden among Arab Americans has cratered, down from 59% three years ago to just 17% in October.

Protesters Hold Die-in in Office of Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed

Nov 02, 2023

In Rhode Island, peace activists held a die-in protest inside a local office of Democratic Senator Jack Reed. The protesters were urging Reed to vote against sending an additional $14 billion to Israel.

Protester: “As a senior member of Congress in a key position of power over the U.S.'s military spending, Senator Reed has played an influential role in upholding our government's support for the systematic and decadeslong oppression of Palestinians by the Israeli state. We are here to say, 'No more,' and to condemn in no uncertain terms Senator Reed’s complicity in the provision of billions of dollars of U.S. aid and arms to Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people.”

Jordan Recalls Ambassador to Israel over Gaza’s “Unprecedented Humanitarian Catastrophe”

Nov 02, 2023

Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel. In a statement, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the “ongoing Israeli war that is killing innocent people in Gaza and causing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.” Jordan’s move came ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s departure for the Middle East this weekend. Blinken will meet in Tel Aviv with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials on Friday before heading to Jordan, where the State Department says he will discuss ways to “reduce regional tensions.”

Iran Warns of “Grave” Consequences If Israel Continues Gaza Assault

Nov 02, 2023

Lebanese media is reporting two shepherds who had been shot at by Israeli forces have been found dead of gunshot wounds near Lebanon’s southern border. The reported killings came as Israeli forces continue to trade cross-border fire with the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, which claimed Thursday it shot down an Israeli drone for the second time this week. Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister warned Wednesday that Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip could spark a wider regional war. He spoke during an official visit to the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: “If this war is not stopped immediately and the joint attacks by America and Israel against civilians — the women and children of Gaza — are not halted, then the consequences for those who are waging this war will be grave.”

Ukraine’s Military Commander Says War with Russia Has Reached a Stalemate

Nov 02, 2023

Ukraine’s commander-in-chief has acknowledged that a five-month-long counteroffensive has largely failed to recapture territory lost to Russia’s invasion. General Valery Zaluzhny compared the impasse to battles during World War I in which vast numbers of troops were killed retaking small patches of territory in brutal trench warfare. His comments came as Ukraine’s military reported Russian shells have fallen in nearly 120 settlements over the past day in some of the heaviest bombardment of the war. The U.N.'s humanitarian affairs office reports more than 9,900 civilians have been killed since the start of Russia's invasion — an average of nearly 16 civilians killed every day. Ukraine is now the most heavily mined country in the world; its government estimates a third of its territory is covered in mines and unexploded ordnance.

Republican Senators Confront Tommy Tuberville over Holding Up Military Confirmations

Nov 02, 2023

On Capitol Hill, Republican senators have launched an effort to end a monthslong blockade by their colleague, Republican Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, on hundreds of military nominations and promotions. Since July, Tuberville has blocked more than 370 confirmation votes to protest a Pentagon policy that covers the travel costs of employees forced to cross state lines to obtain an abortion. On Wednesday night, Republican senators repeatedly rose to sharply criticize Tuberville. This is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

Sen. Lindsey Graham: “No matter whether you believe it or not, Senator Tuberville, this is doing great damage to our military. I don’t say that lightly. I’ve been trying to work with you for nine months.”

House Rejects Resolution to Expel New York GOP Rep. George Santos

Nov 02, 2023

House lawmakers have rejected a resolution to expel New York Republican Congressmember George Santos over his litany of lies and alleged criminal behavior. Santos — if that is his real name — has admitted to fabricating his educational background, employment history and religion. He faces nearly two dozen federal charges, including wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds. This is New York Republican Congressmember Anthony D’Esposito.

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito: “We have learned about countless lies, deceptions and 23 charges against Mr. Santos. It is in the best interest of the constituents of New York 3 and all Americans that he is expelled from the House of Representatives.”

Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson joined 181 other Republicans and 31 Democrats voting against the measure. Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin wrote after the vote, “This would be a terrible precedent to set, expelling people who have not been convicted of a crime and without internal due process.”

House Tables Censure Resolution Against Palestinian American Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Nov 02, 2023

Lawmakers have dropped a bid to censure the House’s only Palestinian American representative after she joined a nonviolent protest calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and accused Israel of carrying out a genocide. The resolution to censure Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib was brought by far-right Georgia Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene, who accused Tlaib of “antisemitic activity” and “insurrection.” Congreemember Tlaib rejected the accusations, writing in a statement, “I will not be bullied, I will not be dehumanized, and I will not be silenced.”

Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene herself has repeatedly made racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic remarks. In 2018, she advanced a conspiracy theory about the Rothschild banking firm — a popular target of antisemitic tropes — suggesting it was connected to a plot to start wildfires in California using a “space laser.”

Oregon Teachers Strike for Higher Wages and Smaller Class Sizes

Nov 02, 2023

In Oregon, more than 4,500 teachers and other employees at 81 Portland-area schools walked out on strike Wednesday after failing to reach an agreement on a new union contract. The union is seeking higher wages, more time to plan lessons and a limit to class sizes. It’s the first-ever strike of Portland teachers.

“Pharmageddon”: Pharmacists and Technicians Launch Wildcat Strikes at CVS and Walgreens

Nov 02, 2023

In other labor news, thousands of nonunion pharmacists and technicians at CVS and Walgreens stores have launched a three-day walkout to demand the pharmacy chains hire more staff and improve working conditions. Organizers of the wildcat strike — which has been dubbed “Pharmageddon” on social media — say the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated workplace stress and high turnover, with employees forced to work faster and with less help.

Healthcare Activist Ady Barkan, Who Championed Medicare for All, Dies of ALS at 39

Nov 02, 2023

Healthcare activist Ady Barkan has died at the age of 39 of the neurodegenerative disease ALS. After his diagnosis in 2016, Ady Barkan dedicated his life to the fight for single-payer healthcare. He continued to speak out even after ALS left him physically unable to talk, communicating with a computerized system that translated his eye movements into spoken words. In 2019, Barkan used the device to deliver powerful opening remarks at the first-ever congressional hearing on Medicare for All. His story is told in the documentary “Not Going Quietly.” In 2021, Democracy Now! spoke with Ady Barkan just ahead of the film’s premiere.

Ady Barkan: “Only a truly radical departure from our exploitative, for-profit model to one that guarantees healthcare as a right for all will ensure that we no longer live in a nation where people go bankrupt on account of their medical bills. … A system that profits off of death and people forgoing medical care is a system that is beyond repair. We need Medicare for All now.”

Click here to see our full interview with Ady Barkan.

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