Two Peace Activists Banned from Daily Kos

There was once a time when civil and human rights came to grace the forward politics of the Democratic Left, which in the 1960s brought about the beginnings of change in racist American society. The legal changes brought about by the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act were subsequently telescoped into a panoply of civil rights causes backed by the Democratic Left affecting discrimination against women, minorities, religious groups, and the disabled. In the 1970s during Jimmy Carter’s Democratic presidency, human rights became an established principle in American foreign policy, one that was followed by no less than Ronald Reagan, and went on to influence the thinking of the United Nations. Even George Walker Bush later signed legislation enabling disabled Americans to be treated with equality and accommodation.

Indeed the Democratic Left has been the forbear of all things civil and human in the sphere of rights, at least since the rise of Daily Kos.

Today, there is an allegation that the Democratic Left is back and that it is resident, in of all places, on the internet, and that it can be accessed through a huge and influential political blog called Daily Kos. Is that possible?

I don’t think so.

At least in the arena of foreign policy, it is not possible to conclude that Daily Kos is representative of the Democratic Left or its human rights perspective. In fact, it took a book by Jimmy Carter to show Americans how far askew of human rights America has become when it comes to America’s blind support of the discriminatory state of Israel, and Israel’s 60 year project to colonize lands belonging to the Palestinian people. I shall not go into the numerous ways in which America has directly supported human rights violations, grievous injustices cited by the UN, even war crimes, through its carte blanc support of Israel’s right wing governments, but only suggest that our own Republican and Democratic governments, through AIPAC/DLC politics (moderate Democrat, Republican Lite), has created an “exception” to Democratic Left politics in its support of Israeli racism and Israel’s continuing colonial effort. Everyday, Israel adds bodies to the tens of thousands of Palestinians already killed and maimed, and acres of Palestinian land to the tens of thousands already stolen in the West Bank (known as Judea and Samaria in Israeli children’s school books).

Daily Kos has now joined the AIPAC/DLC exception, and veered from the Democratic people-powered Left Wing politics it once espoused.

Two well-known peace activists were recently kicked off Daily Kos, banned because of their criticism of Israeli racism and Israel’s oppression of Palestinian human rights. Their banning followed the banning of three other left wing diarists. In the case of one of these activists, right wing blog supporters of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel most notorious racist, protested, called Steve Amsel of Desert Peace a troll, and he was banned. Remarks and comity by the Kos administrator made clear that Kos was following the wishes to the right wing Zionist supporters of Israel (right wing Zionist refers to a supporter of a “no state” solution or one which will lead to a Bantustan concept of Palestine).

Steve Amsel is called a Freedom Fighter.

Although advancing in years, he opened a Blog called DesertPeace in 2005, where he courageously asks for Peace, Freedom, and Independence for the Palestinians.

He is an “Active Peace/Civil Rights Worker, aiming to establish a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine, while at the same time continuing the struggle against racism and for peace throughout the world.”

What could be more Democratic Left than these ideals, spoken by a left wing Israeli-American living in Jerusalem.

Have a look to his Blog.

Here is Steve’s autobiography:

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Some of you might be wondering… Who is this DesertPeace? What makes him tick??

Perhaps I should explain. The saga starts at the tail end of the war (the Big One WW2)… I was named Israel Meyer at my circumcism (Brit), after my paternal grandfather that had been recently murdered in Auschwitz by the nazi beast. (OMG…. bet you didn’t realise I was such an old geezer)…

My father’s cousin advised my father to give me a Christian name “in case the nazis made it to Brooklyn”… so I was named Stephan… the Patron Saint of Hungary… and the first ‘Christian name’ to pop into pop’s head.

I always hated that name… so I went through life simply called Steve. We spoke Yiddish at home when I was a child. Hebrew was ‘reserved’ for the zionists and prayers… neither of which affected me at the time.

There were two ‘camps’ of secular Yiddish speakers in those days… those that read the Morning Freiheit, of the Communist Camp… and those that read the Jewish Daily Forward, of the Social Democrat Camp. Today, the Freiheit is gone…. along with most of its readers. THIS link gives a pretty good picture of the situation today…

There was a resort area in upstate New York where organisations affiliated with these two newspapers had summer camps for children. They were on opposite sides of Sylvan Lake. There was Kinderland for the ‘lefties’ and KinderRing for the ‘righties’.

During the height of the ‘cold war’ we had our own battles on the lakefront… all in fun. No one was ever hurt and a great time was had by both sides.

So… we lived the ideal set down by our parents in those days. There was a term used for children of progressive parents (or even worse, Communist parents)…. we were called ‘Red Diaper Babies’… a term most of us wore with pride.

In 1956, the Premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev made a speech in the Kremlin denouncing his predecessor Joseph Stalin. He ‘exposed’ the atrocities done by him including those against the Jews in the Soviet Union. This speech was the beginning of the end for the Jewish Communist Movements throughout the western world.

But, it was far from the end of the Communist and Progressive Movements in the States or throughout the world.

Despite the Cold War, the Movements grew in the United States; the Civil Rights Movement, the Peace Movement and various International Solidarity Movements.

I was personally involved in all of them, especially the Solidarity Movements. When there was a blockade put around Cuba I was involved in the movement to end it. When America bombed North Viet Nam I was involved in the movement to end the war there. When there was a fascist coup in Greece I was involved in a movement to restore democracy to the land of it’s birth. The same with Chile…. the list goes on and on.

Through my involvement in these various Solidarity Movements I was privileged to meet people from the different countries. This helped me realise that I identified with these people’s struggles because I identified with the people themselves. I was a Greek, Vietnamese, Cuban, Chilean… whatever…

How could that be? I honestly felt that the world was my village.. we were all of the same race; the human race. When one of us was not free… none of us were.

Now I find myself in Israel being outspoken for the rights of the Palestinians. I find nothing odd or special about that although I have been told that I am both or either…

But, if you look at the whole picture you might see why I am the way I am, just the fact that my grandfather was murdered the way he was and by whom had a big influence. Anyone, be he a President of Iran or a university professor in Canada that denies the existence of the holocaust is in my mind an idiot. To deny that it happened is to open the doors for the horror to be repeated. It is a fact that happened and it is a fact that millions of people perished in it… not only Jews, but others as well.

I find myself in a situation regarding the Palestinians of seeing descendents of those murdered by the beast doing it themselves to others. There is no way that I can be silent about it. I, as a Jew, as an Israeli Jew in particular, see the Palestinians as my own people. We share a common history, land and forefather. To sit by and watch the attempted genocide against them would be fratricide on my part; these people are my brothers and sisters.

I take great pride in the fact that I have three citizenships. I was born in the United States so by virtue of that I am an American citizen. I migrated to Canada and lived there for almost twenty years…thereby obtaining Canadian citizenship. I have been living in Israel for twenty two years… and by virtue of the Law of Return (which Palestinian do not have) I am an Israeli citizen. Despite being Jewish and despite being an Israeli citizen I have never lost the ‘Global Outlook’ that makes me who I am, if anything, it has been strengthened.

When Palestine gets its statehood I intend to get my fourth citizenship, then I will really be able to say that the world is my village. Perhaps now, after reading this, you have a better picture of who this guy at the other end of your monitor is…. now you know just what makes DesertPeace tick.

The other peace activist banned from Daily Kos, for no apparent reason, was Eileen Fleming.

Eileen’s Blog is here.

This is her autobiography:

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When I was a child, my dream was to grow up and become Brenda Starr, the red headed, ace investigative journalist, who was smarter than the guys, glamorous and headstrong.

Star reporter for the metropolitan daily, The Flash, Brenda traveled the world solving mysteries and unearthing scoops. Brenda intuitively knew when somebody was not telling the truth. She boldly went around the world searching for unusual and usually dangerous stories.

I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territories four times since June 2005.

Brenda is my muse, but my role model and mentor is Dorothy Day, who agitated church, state and media in her time through her publication, The Catholic Worker, which persists today.

So, This is 53…

In the year 2000, I was a first year student in an Episcopal-Methodist Formation Program for Spiritual Directors. I knew going into the program that I would NOT be hanging out a shingle as a SD. I was there for the curriculum; studying the saints and ways of prayer. That is also when I began to write creative spiritual literature.

Before 9/11, I did not give too much thought for another beyond my rural community. I was apolitical, thought the world had already gone mad and there was nothing much anyone could do or say to change it. I lived a simple contended life in the rural South and have always been grateful to be an American.

But after 9/11, I wanted to learn why did a few-and back then it was but a few-people in the world hated Americans so much that they could cold bloodedly murder innocent people. I also wanted to do some good in the world and that lead me to the Interfaith Olive Trees Foundation for Peace and then to journey four times into Israel Palestine.

St. Augustine penned: “HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it.

Education is The Way to Compassion; and Compassion is The Way to Change. And so, I have researched, studied and I write.

KEEP HOPE ALIVE, is available as a paperback and also is posted on the blog beginning February 7th through March 9, 2007.

I entitled my second book;

Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl’s Life in Occupied Territory: Third Intifada/Uprising: Nonviolent, But with Words Sharper than a Two-Edged Sword, because the following words ran through my head all during my fourth journey to Palestine in November 2006.

“The word of God is living and active. Sharper than a two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him whom we must give account.”- Hebrews 4:12-13

Both of these peace activists are deeply and sincerely committed to bringing forth the truth rather than perpetuating the false propaganda that characterizes American perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, both of them failed the test of the Democratic Left on Daily Kos: Israel is exceptional and cannot be held accountable to any American principle concerning the civil and human rights of Palestinians.

Daily Kos banned them both.

11 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Bonethug Iranian said on May 17th, 2007 at 5:01am #

    DailyKos is representative of the Democrat establishment. Huff ‘n’ Puff is more of the same. Criticize Israel, the Clintons, Howie the Duck, or ‘little butcher’ Lieberman, and oh holy burning in hell, one becomes a pariah. The simply isn’t much difference between the Democrats or the Republicons. ‘We the people’ are screwed and left out in the cold voiceless wilderness of political limbo. However, at least ‘we the people’ can be with a better class of humanity. peace,

  2. Paulette Sage said on May 17th, 2007 at 10:11am #

    I have a bookmark folder titled “Progressive Websites” – but, really, I am a RADICAL. Most “liberals” have too much to lose to dismantle “the system.” So. Months ago I deleted DK from the list. I knew even then.
    Best to you both.

  3. Assaf Oron said on May 17th, 2007 at 12:43pm #

    Hi Shergald,

    You may remember me. I am an anti-Occupation Israeli who started posting on Daily Kos last October, a few months before you were banned from there.

    What I encountered there was that over 3/4 of the members had their heart in the right place, also in terms of Israel/Palestine. You could see that in any poll anyone posted on the site, etc. However, there was a vocal minority of “progressive on everything but right-wing on Israel” types, that tried to destroy any I/P debate and turn it into a personal mudfight.

    What’s worse, whoever they marked as a target, they’d wait for this target and ambush it once the target has made a vulnerable step – a posting that can be unpopular, or some technical violation of rules. It happened to me a couple of times, though not to the level of banning. At some point I got tired of this childishness – and frankly, Carter’s book did such a better job than me in bringing the I/P’s ‘dark side’ to mainstream awareness – so I stopped posting on a regular basis a few months ago (my page is still there, username “Assaf”).

    But leave Israel/Palestine aside, Daily Kos has two inherent problems by design:
    1. It is privately owned and controlled by a small group in a very non-transparent way, and you cannot promote grassroots democracy with such a contradiction (we had the exact same problem with Israel’s “Courage to Refuse” organization).
    2. Its declared goals are partisan – that is, they subject everything to the Democratic party goals.

    The end result is, that DailyKos has become yet another tool in taking the immense grassroots energies released in response to this administration, and channeling them to benefit the Democrats – without any real mutual relationship.

    I think that the Iraq issue has suffered much worse from that than Israel/Palestine, where American awareness still lags behind for many other reasons.

    In any case, I think it is still worth it to crash the DailyKos party and continue posting there in an informative manner. There’s no question that most member’s opinions there are progressive on all key topics. Meanwhile, anyone who sets up a really democratic alternative to that site – please let me know!


  4. Max Shields said on May 18th, 2007 at 10:02am #

    I’d add to that list of faux “progressive” underminers, and drainers of essential energy required to transform this society, it’s governmental institutions, economic, and political system.

    Moveon does more to deflate the Peace movement than perhaps any one single movement that supports Bush.

  5. Max Shields said on May 18th, 2007 at 10:54am #

    Btw, to understand the intimidation that leads to the actions on Daily Kos regarding hands-over-ear I/Pism, suggest taking a look at both the book (Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History ) and the impact to the like of Norman Finkelstein as a resulting of his courage.

  6. rosemarie jackowski said on June 11th, 2007 at 12:11pm #

    I suggest that you all check out the Mickey Z blog site.

  7. shergald said on June 11th, 2007 at 1:02pm #

    Thanks for these comments. After being without question, for some reason Eileen Fleming was permitted to return. They claimed that she was not banned, but since she could not post diaries or comments, that claim is questionable. After Desert Peace and Eileen were banned, two Palestinian/Palestinian-American peace activists, who were post diaries on Daily Kos, Sabbah and Umkahlil, were also banned, without any reason whatsoever.

    In addition to Daily Kos, MyDD and Democractic Underground are so censored as not to permit IP diaries on their sites.

    Assaf, I have seen you diaries on Daily Kos and enjoyed reading them. I hope that y ou will continue to do so, as it help to publicize the peace effort, the occupation/colonization, the treatment of Palestinians, and so forth. Jimmy Carter did a great deal to educate the American public, but more is needed, given the immense censorship effort Israel has directed at the US.

  8. Dump Daily Kos said on November 4th, 2007 at 11:42am #

    Recently Bill Mahr had Kos on his show and asked him “Why can’t you rile up your base and convince the people in congress to do something about this situation (the war, impeachment, health care)?”

    When the camera panned over to Kos’s face he looked like a deer in headlights.

    That, for me… was a classic moment 🙂

    Thanks for this great article, we thoroughly enjoyed it!


  9. Leonard said on March 16th, 2009 at 2:23am #

    Everything one needs to know about Kos is in this article… Daily Kos, CIA Controlled Opposition. Google it.

  10. Brian said on March 16th, 2009 at 6:46am #

    Re Daily kos

    There’s an activist who from time to time posts a diary about Mumia.

    The guy literally gets hit with an avalanche of ridiculous fact free abuse.

    When you ask some of the posters why they think Abu Jamal guilty you get the most absurd claims about the evidence. All of them are easily debunked, but not to the true believers in the tale spun by the Philadelphia officialdom.

    What good is a cite, to the cause, that attracts so many ignorant, abusive people?

  11. J Foster said on April 23rd, 2009 at 12:47pm #

    Steve Amsel is not a “peace activist.” He is a proponent of Palestinian Arab nationalism who lives in Israel and enjoys all its rights while working to destroy it.