Dennis Fox, professor of legal studies and psychology at the University of Illinois and a co-founder of the Radical Psychology Network, wrote: Cautions for the Left on Israel and Palestine [a.k.a. “The Shame of the Pro-Palestinian Left”]: :…too many activists on the American left, in their zeal to remedy the Palestinians’ plight, don’t apply principles evenhandedly. I see three overlapping challenges facing the developing movement for Middle East peace and justice…”

Even many of Israel’s long-time supporters now understand that, to provide justice to Palestinians — and to salvage democracy and morality within the Jewish State itself — the thirty-five-year occupation must end. Two weeks ago, to further that goal, American Jewish critics of Israel founded the national Covenant of Justice and Peace, building on the work of older groups around the country. On the other side, a recent call by Palestinian human rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab and Nonviolence International director Mubarak Awad to transform the Palestinian armed struggle into militant non-violent resistance is attracting growing attention.

So let’s remember that justice and liberation, democracy and safety, can only come about if they come to all of us, together. Let’s not deplore only one side’s racism; or propose remedies that discount one side’s valid needs; or accept the argument that one side has the right to kill uninvolved civilians. Recognition that Israel’s occupation oppresses Palestinians is central. But the justice-based left must seek analyses and solutions built on general principles, and reject those that make new forms of oppression inevitable.

Alexander Cockburn wrote a scathing response, Is criticism of Israel anti-Semitic? “On rhetorical border-grabbing in the media” in Working for Change, a slightly different version of which also appeared in Counterpunch and The Nation. “Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned there’s a quick way of figuring just how badly Israel is behaving. There’s a brisk uptick in the number of articles here by Jews accusing the left of anti-Semitism.” In my opinion (and Fox’s as well), Cockburn sets Fox up as a straw man, ignoring considerable areas of agreement in deserved criticism of Israel in his inimitable, shrill, radicaler-than-thou style. Here is Fox’s rejoinder, Cockburn’s Distorting Lens. The more I read of Cockburn these days, the more I marvel at how he chooses to devote his energies…


[The Cone Nebula in visible and infrared]

Hubble’s NICMOS is back in business: “The revived Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has penetrated layers of dust in a star-forming cloud to uncover a dense, craggy edifice of dust and gas [image at right].” NASA

Drop Shot

The real bio-threat:

Currently the United States is experiencing shortages of eight of the eleven vaccines required by law for children: measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chicken pox), and pneumococcal disease (meningitis). In response, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have revised their immunization schedule from “optimal” to “some protection,” which means that, depending on the vaccine, kids may get the first shot and not the boosters that solidify immunity, or they may not get the first shot at all until several months past the recommended age. In response to the shortages, some states are relaxing their demands that kids get vaccinated before they come to school this September. In Oregon, for example, seven-year-olds will be allowed to forgo chicken pox shots and diphtheria/tetanus boosters; Texas is deferring the diphtheria/tetanus booster shot required for all 14-year-olds. Which is scary, because children aren’t the only ones at risk: Spotty vaccination cycles for diseases such as rubella and chicken pox mean that children may grow to adulthood without immunity, remaining at risk for diseases that cause many more complications for adults and can have devastating effects for pregnant women. The New Republic