NEW REPORT DEALING WITH PALESTINIAN CHILDREN IN MILITARY CUSTODY

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The report has been extensively covered in the UK media: 

·         The Independent – Nothing resonates like the mistreatment of minors

·        The Independent – UK ready to take on Israel over fate of children clapped in irons

·         The Guardian – Israel subjecting Palestinian children to ‘spiral of injustice’

·         Channel 4 News – Israel ‘breaches rights of Palestinian children’

·         The Jewish Chronicle – Israel ‘in breach of international law’ over child detainees

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A new  report by UK lawyers, including Sir Stephen Sedley and Baroness Scotland (a former Attorney General), was published in London last night. The UK Foreign Office funded report: Children in military custody – considers the situation facing Palestinian children prosecuted in Israeli military courts.

 

The report found that Israel is in breach of a series of articles under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The report concludes by making 40 recommendations including:

 

·         An end to night time arrests except in extreme circumstances;

·        An end to hooding and blindfolding children;

·         An end to painfully tying children;

·         An end to transferring children on the floor of military vehicles;

·         The presence of a family member during interrogation;

·         Access to a lawyer prior to interrogation;

·         An end to forcing children to sign confessions in Hebrew; and

·         An end to transferring children to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. (See: DCI Urgent Appeal)

 

The report has been extensively covered in the UK media:

 

·       The Independent – Nothing resonates like the mistreatment of minors

·        The Independent – UK ready to take on Israel over fate of children clapped in irons

·         The Guardian – Israel subjecting Palestinian children to ‘spiral of injustice’

·         Channel 4 News – Israel ‘breaches rights of Palestinian children’

·         The Jewish Chronicle – Israel ‘in breach of international law’ over child detainees

 

 

Transmitted via Gerard Horton

International Advocacy Officer – Lawyer

Defence for Children International – Palestine Section


BOB DYLAN; A YEAR WITHOUT AN ANSWER

 Words …. Nothing but words!
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Words that mean NOTHING today …
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Israelis were reminded yesterday that Bob Dylan performed here a year ago. All of the major radio stations ‘rubbed it in our faces’ as they played his recordings.
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… Despite appeals such as the following…
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BOB DYLAN WILL YOU HEED THE CALL?

Dear Bob Dylan,

“Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.”

We are members of an Israeli group called BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within (BfW). We support the Palestinian call for the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel (1) until Palestinians’ most basic human rights are respected:

1. Ending [Israel’s] occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

You have been part of a civil rights movement. You have been able to raise your voice louder than others, you can do it again. We are asking you not to perform in Israel until it respects Palestinian human rights. A performance in Israel, today, is a vote of support for its policies of oppression, whether you intend for it to be that, or not (2). Choosing not to perform will effect over 3 and a half million lives, living under brutal occupation.

As we write this, Israel continues a practice of ethnic cleansing and it is systematically driving its own Palestinian citizens off their lands. Israel is keeping a population of millions under martial-law in the West Bank, and yet another threat of wholesale massacre is looming in Gaza, in the last few days. In the late of night of 21.3.11 the Israeli air force attacked Gaza, bombing the most populated area in the world from the sky. 8 children under the age of 17 lost their lives (3). This is not an out of the ordinary occurrence, or even a rare one. Over half the population of besieged Gaza are minors (under 18 years of age), over a million are registered refugees. They are trapped inside the biggest open-air prison in the world and are under a real and immediate threat of death, as we speak.

In 2005 over 170 (and growing) civil society Palestinian groups came together and signed the BDS call. BDS is a powerful and united civil initiative in the face of a brutal military occupation and apartheid. It’s a nonviolent alternative to a waning armed struggle and it has reaped many successes and instilled much hope, in the past 6 years. BDS is a long process in which those of us who live here are deeply invested in, knowing that there’s a personal price, which non of us could withstand alone. That is why we ask for support from the international community. Your celebrity status affords you a leading role. You may choose to block the halls, or heed the call.

Sincerely on behalf of BfW,

Noa Abend
Adi Dagan
Naama Farjoun
Shir Hever
Assaf Kintzer
Gal Lugassi
Naomi Lyth
Rela Mazali
Edo Medicks
Ofer Neiman
David Nir
Leehee Rothschild
Tal Shapira
Yana Ziferblat

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But, fame and fortune won out in your mind as you ignored all appeals of reason by acivists who were at your side for decades.

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Now you have chosen a new side with new supporters ….

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So yes, we got our answers, you are a sellout and a whore! You made your bed, enjoy your new mates…

As for your ‘music’, truth is it makes me gag when I try to listen to it today.

Happy Anniversary!

OCCUPY WALL STREET ~~ A REVIEW ON FILM…

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More videos will be found HERE
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 All submitted by Vas

IF YOU ARE A PALESTINIAN IN ISRAEL …. DON’T GET SICK!

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A notoriously racist rabbi who once called on Israel to slaughter a million Palestinian civilians has been appointed to head a supervisory committee for Magen David Adom (MDA) – Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
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Rabbi who called for slaughter of a million Palestinians is to supervise Israel’s ‘Red Cross’

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 
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A notoriously racist rabbi who once called on Israel to slaughter a million
Palestinian civilians has been appointed to head a supervisory committee for Magen David Adom (MDA) – Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Haaretz reported that under pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups MDA decided to set up a rabbinical committee to dictate religious guidelines – including gender relations – for volunteers in the rescue service.

The committee is headed by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safad, whose salary is paid by the Israeli government. Eliyahu has a long, well-documented history of extreme racism and has called for violence against Palestinians.

Since 2006, Magen David Adom – whose name means Red Star of David – has been a full member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and is Israel’s internationally recognized agency for disaster management, ambulance service and blood banks.

The organization also raises tax-exempt donations in the United States through theAmerican Friends of Magen David Adom.

‘Kill a million’

Violating neutrality and respect for international humanitarian law

As a member organization of ICRC, Magen David Adom is presumably committed to themission of the ICRC:

The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes – and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.

What could be more contrary to that mission than Israel’s MDA appointing Shmuel Eliyahu who not only defends and advocates mass, indiscriminate violence against civilians, but is a racist par excellence?

It should be recalled that there was a years long campaign by Israel and Zionist organizations to get MDA accepted into the ICRC. If MDA does not completely dissociate itself from, and condemn racist inciters like Eliyahu, perhaps it should be expelled.

Moreover, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society should review any cooperation with MDA

 

Written FOR

ONE MAN’S AGONY, ONE NATIONS MISERY

  
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 URGENT ACTION APPEAL: My friend is still in jail ! ! !
Submitted by Sam Bhahor
I could not make up the below update even if I were a world-class fiction writer.
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You will recall my friend Walid Abu Rass who was taken in the middle of the night on November 22, 2011 when Israeli occupation soldiers arrived at his home at 1:30 A.M. His wife, Bayan, and two daughters, Mays, 13 years old, and Malak, 4 years old, were all frighteningly awakened with soldiers in their bedrooms as Walid was blindfolded and taken away. At the time, I wrote this: http://bit.ly/walidaburass
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Then, I shared with you all a letter that his daughter Mays wrote following an attempt to deliver him a blanket in prison.
After that, I gave an update and advised that his release date was to be July 22, 2012.
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Then, Amnesty International highlighted Walid’s case in their latest report titled, Starved of justice: Palestinians detained without trial by Israel’   (pg 26).
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Something else happened after my last update that I was not aware of until a few days ago. Two weeks ago, during a case Walid brought forward to request to be released, the Israeli military “judge” REDUCED his administrative detention sentence by a month, making his new date of release June 22, this past Friday. His wife was relieved, again, finally! His daughters were in their glories. Dad was coming home, again, finally!
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Then, on Thur, June 21, Walid was orally informed that his administrative detention order was being EXTENDED for 3 more months! Today, 25/6 , he will be brought in front of an Israeli military “judge” to formally have his detention extended. 
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Remember, an Administrative Detention Order means you are being held for no reason that you or your lawyer know of. This practice was one reason behind all the prisoner hunger strikes that partially ended by Israel stating they would not renew detention orders. So much for that!  
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Walid is being held in Israel’s Ofer Military Detention Center , literally a 5 minute drive from his home, where his amazing wife and beautiful two daughter’s await him. He has now been out of his work for 7 months. His position was Finance and Administration Director at the Health Work Committees.
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URGENT ACTION APPEAL
There is no reason for Walid to be imprisoned by Israel. His interrogators basically told him that much, saying he is there for “precautionary measures,” whatever that means.
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WE WANT THE COURT TO RELEASE WALID TODAY!
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For that to happen we ask every person of conscience who sees this message to act.
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You can do any or all of the following to make your voice heard:
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Reference his name, Walid (Hanatsheh) Abu Rass, and his ID # 9-9702819-6
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1. Call/fax/email your nearest Israeli embassy/consulate. Here is a list to find one nearest you: Web Sites of Israeli Missions Abroad
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2. Call/fax/email the following Israeli occupation officials:
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    Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit
    Military Judge Advocate General
    6 David Elazar Street
    Harkiya, Tel Aviv
    Israel
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    Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
    Email: arbel@mail.idf.il; avimn@idf.gov.il
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    Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi
    OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
    Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
    Fax: +972 2 530 5741
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
    Ehud Barak
    Ministry of Defense
    37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
    Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
    Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / +972-3-696-2757
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    Col. Eli Bar On
    Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
    Beth El 90631
    Fax: +972 2 9977326
3. Call/fax the Public Ombudsman at The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT), the Israeli military unit responsible for implementing the Israeli occupation: Telephone: +972-3-697-7957,   Fax: +972-3-697-5177
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4. Call/fax the jailer himself, Col. Ganish Menashe, Commander, Ofer Prison:
24-hour number: Telephone: +972-2-541-5610 or +972-2-541-5611, Fax: +972-8-919-3360
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5. Call/fax/email your own country’s foreign affairs department (e.g. U.S. State Department, Palestine/Israel Desk) and put this issue on their radar.
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6. Lastly, I have a personal appeal to Jews in Israel and around the world who are reading this. These kind of arbitrary detentions are being made in your name. This practice is merely breeding a generation of children who will hate more than they already do. Please act.
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Walid’s wife, Bayan, was spot on when she told me at the start of this saga that “Administrative detention has a beginning, but doesn’t have an end.”
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Does Walid have to go on a hunger strike and die before his girls can hug him again?
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RELEASE WALID NOW!!!

THE GREENING OF APARTHEID

Israel’s effort to shift the focus away from its occupation, oppression and colonization of Palestinians and their land, has in recent years taken the form of “pinkwashing” – using Israel’s supposed tolerance for gay rights to market it as a liberal haven.

The strategy of “greenwashing” is intended to work in a similar manner.

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New “Green Israel” ads on CNN greenwash sewage of occupation and apartheid

Submitted by Ali Abunimah
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The Israeli government is launching a new international propaganda campaign, featuring ads on CNN International, that seeks to brand Israel as a haven of green technologies and environmentalism.

But don’t expect the campaign to talk about the environmental catastrophes brought about by Israeli occupation and apartheid.

The campaign, which includes sponsorship of CNN International’s world weather bulletins, is being launched to coincide with the UN’s Rio +20 Summit on Sustainable Development.

Ynet reports in Hebrew that the ads will focus on Israel’s supposed prowess in “green technologies” with claims that Israel is a world leader in water desalination, that 40 percent of its drinking water is desalinated, and that 70 percent of Israeli sewage is recycled and used in agriculture.

These technologies, the ads will claim, are of benefit to people all over the world.

Israel’s effort to shift the focus away from its occupation, oppression and colonization of Palestinians and their land, has in recent years taken the form of “pinkwashing” – using Israel’s supposed tolerance for gay rights to market it as a liberal haven.

The strategy of “greenwashing” is intended to work in a similar manner.

Environmental catastrophes brought about by Israel

 

Yet, the “greenwashing” strategy should provide new opportunities for the Palestine solidarity movement to focus on the environmental catastrophes Israel has created on land, sea and air.

Some of the things the Green Israel ad campaign is unlikely to talk about:

  • According to the OECDIsraeli “water quality” is ranked 35 out of 36 countries, better only than the Russian Federation. Israel’s water score “is much lower than the OECD average” according to the OECD, “and suggests Israel still faces difficulties in providing good quality water to its inhabitants.”
  • Similar problems face air quality: Israel is ranked 27 out of 36 for harmful particulate matter in the air and, “Particulate matter and ground-level ozone concentrations frequently exceed limit values for the protection of human health.”
  • Because of Israeli discrimination, Palestinians face severe shortages of water,a report from Amnesty International found. Palestinians are systematically denied water for basic needs, and hundreds of thousands don’t even have running water. Israel hogs 80 percent of the water from the West Bank’s main aquifer, while allowing Palestinians a mere 20 percent. In the West Bank, 450,000 settlers use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.
  • The fact that 95 percent of Gaza’s water is unfit for human consumption due to Israel’s siege and military attacks, and the use of desalination technology as a means to further isolate Gaza.
  • The frequent contamination of Palestinian villages by flows of raw sewage from Israeli settlements;
  • The systematic destruction of trees to facilitate settler takeover of land, such as in Wadi Qana, an area of rare natural beauty that is now also awash in settler sewage.
  • The threat of destruction of the West Bank village of Battir’s ancient irrigation and ecosystem by Israel’s colonization and apartheid wall – which has led to an emergency application to UNESCO to try to save the area.
  • Israel’s further entrenchment in the occupied West Bank under the guise of supposedly environmental companies like Better Place, which build settlement infrastructure.

These are just a few examples of Israel’s environmental record of shame, but you won’t be seeing them on CNN.

 

Written FOR

ROADMAP TO APARTHEID ON THE BIG SCREEN

 Not only is Roadmap the first documentary to offer an in-depth exploration of parallels between the South African and Israeli forms of apartheid, but it presents the material in such a way as to serve as a fairly comprehensive and accessible introduction for audiences with no prior exposure to the issue
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Film explores striking parallels between South African, Israeli apartheid

Abraham Greenhouse*
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A film still highlights the parallels between South African and Israeli aparthied policies.


Roadmap to Apartheid, a feature-length documentary by filmmakers Ana Nogueira (a white South African) and Eron Davidson (a Jewish Israeli), is an extremely ambitious project that is largely successful in achieving the difficult goals it sets for itself.

Not only is Roadmap the first documentary to offer an in-depth exploration of parallels between the South African and Israeli forms of apartheid, but it presents the material in such a way as to serve as a fairly comprehensive and accessible introduction for audiences with no prior exposure to the issue.

Few films are ever made about the “parallels between x and y,” no matter how salient the comparison. The challenges of crafting such a film — structural, technical and otherwise — are many, and daunting even to the most experienced filmmakers. Yet first-timers Nogueira and Davidson have assembled a work which, at moments, rivals anything by heavyweight documentary artists like Errol Morris.

Physical and psychological aspects of apartheid

The sophistication of filmmakers’ technical skills is readily apparent throughout the film, which looks like anything but a first-time effort.

Roadmap employs striking data visualizations, animations and split screen effects, but does not overuse them. Decades-old footage is smoothly integrated with modern material, and the original footage is remarkably well-shot. The interviews employ a variety of different camera angles which help maintain an organic, conversational tone that never feels monotonous, and much of the on-the-ground footage of demonstrations and military incursions has an immersive, kinetic quality that pulls the viewer into the action.

The sheer breadth of the aspects of Israeli and South African apartheid that the film explores and compares will likely exceed the expectations of many viewers. The filmmakers cover nearly everything: siege mentality colonialism, forced migration,checkpoints, passes, foreign natives, present absentees, partition and proxy rule, bombing and boycotts, bulldozers and Bantustans. Refugee issues, central to understanding Palestine, get less screen time, but this is mainly because this is one of the numerous ways in which the Israeli form of apartheid, as journalist Allister Sparks puts it, is “significantly worse than apartheid” in South Africa.

Some of the transitions and comparisons work better than others, but those which work best, such as the juxtaposition of a Boer laager and Israel’s infamous wall in the West Bank, work remarkably well. That the film explores parallels not only between the physical aspects of apartheid, which are many and varied, but the psychological dimensions, for colonizer and colonized alike, is important. The most powerful moments of the film, in which the strongest links between the two forms of apartheid are made, are those which depict an emotional experience common to both struggles.

“There is no pain quite like being unloved, unwanted, in one’s own land, among one’s own kind,” laments South African poet Don Mattera, whose mesmerizing voice dominates several of the film’s most emotionally resonant moments, including a heartrending journey into the mind of a person watching as their home is physically destroyed. So powerful are Mattera’s words and voice that they tend to overshadow the uncharacteristically flat tone of the film’s narration by Alice Walker. Of course, if one of your film’s worst problems is that someone managed to outdo Alice Walker, you probably don’t have that much to worry about.

Prominent voices, leading analysts

The film is packed with insights from the world’s leading authorities on both South African and Israeli apartheid, including Diana Buttu, Na’eem Jeenah, Jeff Halper, Yasmin Sooka,Ali Abunimah, the late Dennis Brutus, Salim Vally, Ziad Abbas, Eddie Makue, Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Jonathan CookJamal Juma’, Allister Sparks, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Phyllis Bennis and others. Among this group, it would have been nice to hear from more black South Africans, and more women, but the film does manage to assemble a good mixture of very smart people saying very smart things.

Perhaps more importantly, the film includes just as prominently the voices of many ordinary South Africans and Palestinians who are experts on apartheid in their own right, by virtue of suffering, surviving and resisting it through the course of their own daily lives. The voices of ordinary Jewish Israelis are also included, exploring how Israeli apartheid offers them all manner of colonial privileges while erecting physical and psychological barriers that largely prevent them from observing its direct impact upon the indigenous Palestinians.

Individual and collective resistance

The discussion of home demolitions, a practice common to both Israeli and South African forms of apartheid, does seem to take a bit longer than it should, but is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the film.

“Every time you destroy someone’s house, you destroy their life,” says an unnamed Palestinian man who has experienced this six times firsthand. “You kill that person, and they become like they are neither dead nor alive.”

Mattera, after recounting the 1962 demolition of his own home in Sophiatown, South Africa, remarks: “You can shave off my hair. New hair will grow. You can spit in my face. I will find water to wash it. You can take away my clothes and leave me naked. I will find a blanket. But if you take away my house, and dignity, where can I go? Where?”

Some answers to that question may be found in the film’s closing segment, which examines individual and collective resistance to apartheid, and frameworks for imagining a shared future based on freedom and equality for all people. The global campaigns for boycott, divestment, and sanctions which helped end apartheid in South Africa, and which are well on their way to doing to same in Palestine, are discussed, but the emphasis here is more on the outcome than on the strategy.

Roadmap to Apartheid is an important achievement in the history of popular education about Palestine, which has long pointed to the parallels between Israel and South Africa, but has lacked a film that could present this framing in a comprehensive yet accessible way. For the filmgoer, it is well worth seeing. For the activist, it is well worth screening. For anyone who doubted that such a film could be made, Nogueira and Davidson have proven, just as Mattera declares when discussing the dream of free and equal society in historic Palestine, “It is possible. It is possible.”

Roadmap to Apartheid premiered in New York City on Friday, 22 June. For more information and screenings, visit their website at roadmaptoapartheid.org.

*Abraham Greenhouse is a longtime Palestine solidarity activist and blogger for The Electronic Intifada. Follow him on Twitter at @grinhoyz.

 

Written FOR

A CATERPILLAR THAT PRODUCED AN UGLY MOTH

A caterpillar spins a cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly or an ugly moth …. none are as ugly as those that supported Apartheid Israel …
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“We applaud this decision,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, Director of Campaigns at Jewish Voice for Peace and National Coordinator of the We Divest Campaign (www.wedivest.org). “It’s long past time that TIAA-CREF began living up to its motto of ‘Financial Services for the Greater Good’ when it comes to the people of Israel and Palestine.”

Caterpillar Removed from TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Funds

Victory for Pro-divestment Advocates

Pension fund giant TIAA-CREF has removed Caterpillar, Inc. from its Social Choice Funds portfolio. As of May 1, 2012, financial data posted on TIAA-CREF’s website valued Social Choice Funds shares in Caterpillar at $72,943,861. Today it is zero.

“We applaud this decision,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, Director of Campaigns at Jewish Voice for Peace and National Coordinator of the We Divest Campaign (www.wedivest.org). “It’s long past time that TIAA-CREF began living up to its motto of ‘Financial Services for the Greater Good’ when it comes to the people of Israel and Palestine.”

Since 2010, We Divest has been urging TIAA-CREF to drop Caterpillar and other companies profiting from and facilitating Israel’s 45-year-old military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

“By selling weaponized bulldozers to Israel, Caterpillar is complicit in Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights,” said Rabbi Wise. “We’re glad to see that the socially responsible investment community appears to be recognizing this and is starting to take appropriate action.”

Caterpillar has come under increasing criticism from human rights organizations in recent years for continuing to supply bulldozers to Israel, which uses them to demolish Palestinian civilian homes and destroy crops and agricultural land in the occupied territories, and to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

In the coming weeks, many will be watching the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly taking place in Pittsburgh, where church commissioners will vote on a motion to divest from Caterpillar and two other companies, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard, that remain in TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Funds.

Last month, Friends Fiduciary, a Quaker institution, divested $900,000 worth of shares in Caterpillar stating: “We are uncomfortable defending our position on this stock.”

What Others are  Saying

Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights activist and founding member of the BDS movement said, “CAT is out of the bag of TIAA-CREF’s socially responsible companies thanks to the inspiring campaign waged by JVP and its partners, with vision, persistence and tactical skillfulness. Palestinian civil society, represented by the BDS National Committee (BNC), deeply appreciates these efforts and believes that more pressure will ultimately convince TIAA-CREF to fulfill its basic moral obligation to finally divest from CAT and all other corporations that are complicit in Israel’s grave and escalating violations of international law and human rights.”

Cindy and Craig Corrie, Rachel Corrie’s parents said, “For nearly a decade, we have witnessed human rights abuses committed with Caterpillar equipment in the West Bank and Gaza and have joined thousands who have asked the company to stop supporting these actions.  We are hugely gratified that TIAA-CREF has taken this step.  When governments and corporations avoid responsibility, we must refuse to profit from their abuses. Our family salutes and thanks TIAA-CREF for this decision that moves all of us closer to accountability.”

Jennifer Bing, Middle East Program Director of the Chicago office of the American Friends Service Committee, a member organization of the We Divest Campaign Coordinating Committee, said, “As a TIAA-CREF client institution which has divested from Caterpillar ourselves, we are encouraged to see this first, great step toward creating a complete occupation-free portfolio that my colleagues and I are eager to have as an investment option.”

Samia Shafi of Adalah-NY, a member organization of the We Divest Campaign Coordinating Committee, said,  “This small, positive first step shows that TIAA-CREF is not immune to pressure for human rights for Palestinians. Our We Divest Campaign will continue pressuring TIAA-CREF until we win full divestment from all companies in TIAA-CREF’s portfolio that profit from violations of Palestinian human rights.”

Background

·      The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) attempted unsuccessfully to negotiate with Caterpillar before calling for selective divestment. MRTI’s report on engagement with companies on Israel/Palestine-related issues noted that:

Caterpillar’s complicity in non-peaceful pursuits led the 2010 General Assembly to denounce the company’s profiting from involvement in human rights violations. Sadly, despite significant support for the shareholder resolution calling for a review of its human rights policy, Caterpillar has become even more intransigent. It has cut off all communication with the religious shareholders. Caterpillar continues to accept no responsibility for the end use of their products.

·      In 2004, Amnesty International urged Caterpillar to take action in response to the documented use of its bulldozers to violate international law in the occupied territories, noting that “thousands of families have had their homes and possessions destroyed under the blades of the Israeli army’s US-made Caterpillar bulldozers.”

·      Human Rights Watch, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and thePresbyterian Church USA have all made similar recommendations to Caterpillar, to no avail.

·      In 2003, a Caterpillar bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier killed American activist Rachel Corrie while she nonviolently protested the demolition of Palestinian homes in the town of Rafah, in Gaza.

From WeDivest

COME JOIN THE ‘AIR FLOTILLA #3′ ~~ DON’T ALLOW ZIONISM TO RULE THE SKIES!

“We, Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals, who took part in the “Bienvenue en Palestine” initiatives of July 2011 and April 2012, call on you to continue the struggle with us for the freedom of movement in Palestine and against the isolation of the Palestinian people.
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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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More info HERE …. Tweet it HERE

FOXMAN’S ILLUSIONARY CONCEPT OF DEMOCRACY

A look at Israeli ‘Democracy’ in action…
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Abe Foxman’s ADL lets its bigotry slip: in its view there are no Palestinian citizens of Israel

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 

 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the most prominent Israel lobby groups in the US, accidentally let slip what it really thinks of the 1.5 million Palestinians who are nominally citizens of Israel, but face multiple forms of legal and social discrimination andongoing expulsions from their land.

15 June press release on the ADL website carries the title, “Poll of Israeli Public Shows Overwhelming Appreciation for the U.S., Mixed Views of November Presidential Election.”

Here’s a few snippets from the text, with emphasis added:

The Israeli public has a strongly positive attitude toward the United States and continues to perceive the U.S. as a loyal ally of Israel, according to a new poll of Israeli public opinion issued today.

The comprehensive poll of Israeli public opinion was released today by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (“BESA Center”), the Bar-Ilan University Center for International Communication (“CIC”), and the Anti-Defamation League (“ADL”) and queried Israeli citizens about a number of issues affecting U.S.-Israel and Israel-Diaspora relations.

“Israelis” support military action against Iran

And here’s one of the poll’s key findings:

If diplomatic efforts fail to stop the Iranian drive towards a nuclear bomb, two-thirds (66 percent) of Israelis would support an Israeli military strike on Iran.Of those supporting Israeli military action, 71 percent would continue to support such action even if the American government opposed an Israeli strike.

It would seem this poll is part of Israel lobby groups’ propaganda efforts to put pressure on the US to escalate its confrontation with Iran, on behalf of Israel.

Who are the “Israelis”?

But keep reading and you discover this:

The survey of Israeli opinion was prepared for the international conference on “American-Israeli Relations,” June 17-18, 2012 at the BESA Center.  It was conducted by the Maagar Mochot polling agency between May 28 and June 1, 2012. 540 adult Jewish Israelis were surveyed. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percent.

In other words, this supposedly “comprehensive poll of Israeli public opinion” is a Jews-only affair.

It is ironic, because Israeli law doesn’t recognize anything called “Israeli” nationality. Instead, Israel categorizes citizens by ethnoreligious designations, with Jews being the most privileged group legally and socially.

But there is supposedly such a thing as “Israeli” citizenship – Palestinian citizens of Israel, unlike those in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, carry Israeli ID cards and passports and can vote in Knesset elections, even though their elected representatives are systematically excluded from running the country (rare tokens excepted).

Inherent bigotry in ADL poll

Elsewhere on its website, the ADL apparently does recognize the existence of Palestinian citizens of Israel – calling them generically “Arabs”:

Today, Israel’s Arab citizens are accorded full civil and political rights, entitled to complete participation in Israeli society. They are active in Israeli social, political and civic life and enjoy representation in Israel’s Parliament, foreign service and judicial system.

Leave aside the ADL’s ludicrous claims that Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy full rights and equality, why isn’t the ADL at least practicing what it preaches? If Palestinian citizens of Israel are fully active in Israel’s political life, how come they’re excluded from the ADL’s “comprehensive poll of Israeli public opinion”?

It’s simple: The ADL’s poll is very much like a “comprehensive poll” of American public opinion that interviews only white people, or only Christians.

What would the ADL and its ubiquitous boss Abe Foxman say about such blatant bigotry then?

 

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The new ‘Opinion Poll’ ….

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ADL chief Foxman: 30% of Americans think U.S. Jews more loyal to Israel

Foxman tells Haaretz in wide-ranging interview that many Americans hold anti-Jewish sentiments, and that Israelis’ approval of Obama is on the rise.

 Bradley Burston
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A new opinion poll suggests that Israelis’ approval of President Barak Obama is on the rise, Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said on Tuesday.

In a wide-ranging interview ahead of this week’s President’s Conference in Jerusalem, Foxman told Haaretz that in the years since the publication of his controversial “The Israel Lobby,” co-author John J. Mearsheimer has proven himself to be a true anti-Semite.

According to Foxman, although anti-Semitism is less of a problem in the United States than elsewhere, 30 percent of the American people believe that U.S. Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States, and 30 percent of Americans believe that Jews killed Jesus.

Foxman noted that one element fostering the ancient anti-Semitic charge against the Jews, was the fact that while Mel Gibson’s exposure as an anti-Semite has effectively discredited the actor, his film “The Passion of the Christ” continues to be used as a teaching aid in hundreds of Christian schools in America.

Foxman cited FBI figures showing that anti-Semitic acts in America outnumber attacks on Muslims by a factor of ten to one.

Foxman’s remarks about Israelis and Obama referred to an opinion poll co-sponsored by the ADL and released at the weekend. Asked their attitude toward President Obama, 38 percent of the Israelis surveyed said that their views were “negative,” another 38 percent described them as “neutral” and 23 percent responded “positive.”

“I was surprised by the results,” Foxman said. “I remember when Obama got only 4 percent approval by the Israeli public. I found the results encouraging.”

A Jerusalem Post poll in August, 2009, showed that just 4 percent of Israelis believed that Obama’s policies were pro-Israel.

“I also found the fact that 90 percent of Israelis believed that in an existential moment, the United States will be with Israel – and we’re talking about the president being either Obama, or someone else – evidence that attitudes have changed for the better.”

Foxman said that “In a very strange way, because the [U.S.-Israel] relationship is so consequential to them, I think that Israelis are more willing to be objective, than some in our [U.S.] community, who have a political agenda, who are more ‘either/or.’”

“Obama is a mixed bag when it comes to Israel, and I think that Israelis are willing to recognize him and give him credit, more than some American Jews.”

In Foxman’s view, for the first two years of his term, Obama’s performance on the diplomatic front “was a negative.”

“But in the last year or two, [his actions] on the strategic-military-intelligence front, have been very positive, very significant. The inability by some of us in the United States and the American Jewish community, to be critical on one hand and give him credit on the other, I find troubling.

In Israel, by contrast, “I find a greater objectivity, a greater ability to say, ’He was wrong here, but we recognize the changes.”

Foxman said that back in the States, he is a target for activists of both major parties. “When President Obama gave his AIPAC speech, on Sunday [March 4], we at the ADL praised him on Monday. When on Tuesday, he gave a press conference and walked back some of the things he’d said on Sunday, on Wednesday we criticized him.

“On Monday, I received flak from Republican Jews, saying ‘Did you have to go out there and be supportive?”’ and on Thursday I got flak from Democrats, saying ‘Why’d you have to be critical?”

When Mearsheimer’s and Stephen M. Walt’s initial “Israel Lobby” articleappeared in 2006, Foxman was vocal in attack. The article maintained that the Israel lobby had disproportionate influence over American decision-making and that many the policies the lobby promoted were contrary to the U.S. national interest.

In a book published the next year, Foxman called the Mearsheimer and Walt article “a sloppy diatribe” which “repeats and supports myths and beliefs that anti-Semites have peddled for centuries, thereby giving aid and comfort to some of the most despicable people in our society.” But he stopped short of calling the writing, and the authors, anti-Semitic.

In the Tuesday interview, Foxman said that had he written the book today, he would be “more direct in saying that this is anti-Semitism. At that time, I and many of us were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as scholars, that even if the work were biased, it was not motivated by anti-Semitism.”

Since then, however, “Mr. Mearsheimer has proven himself to be an anti-Semite. He is on every platform today, of propagandists, anti-Semites, he doesn’t differentiate anymore. If you take a look at where he’s been, what he has written in the last several years, I would flavor him today as a full-time propagandist who’s crossed the line into anti-Semitism.

Moreover, Foxman said, the intervening years have shown that “The Israel Lobby” has legitimized and lent apparent credibility to anti-Semitic contentions.

“To talk about how the Jews control foreign policy, that was once outside the bounds for serious, credible, respected people, and today it’s more in the mainstream. Nobody’s shocked anymore when someone says the Jews control American foreign policy, or that Israel and the Jews are pushing America into a war with Iran.”

Rather than being seen and dismissed as anti-Semitic, this point of view is now seen as “a legitimate subject of conversation and discussion. It’s now ‘Do the Jews actually control American foreign policy?’”

Foxman is adamant that legitimate criticism of Israel is positive and important. Asked how he differentiates between legitimate criticism and what he has called the “demonization, de-legitimization, and double standard employed against Israel, that is either inherently anti-Semitic, or generates an atmosphere of anti-Semitism,” he responds:

“I’ve established a set of criteria for myself. Look at the record. In all the years that this person has been a journalist or in public life, has he or she ever found anything in the Israel experience that has been worthy of praise. If I can’t find that, I conclude that this criticism was not sincere, not honest, maybe anti-Semitic, but certainly biased.”

An additional criterion, Foxman said, is the question of whether standards applied to Israel are applied to other nations as well. He cited efforts in Great Britain to promote a comprehensive academic boycott against Israeli universities. The ADL branded the move as anti-Semitism.

“People said ‘How can you say that?’” We answered, ‘If people want to use the weapon of boycott to enhance human rights and human decency, respect for law – God bless you. Set up this campaign, and I will give you 20 countries. I will argue that Israel does not belong on the list of China, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, but okay, if you insist that Israel is one of those countries, even though I differ with you, fine. That’s more or less legitimate.

“But if the only country in the world that you single out for a social action boycott because of their violations of human rights is Israel – that, to me, is anti-Semitism.”

A person can be an anti-Zionist and not an anti-Semite “if you are that unique bird that is opposed to nationalism. And there are a few in the world who find nationalism abhorrent, exclusive, racist, whatever. So if you think Zionism is racism, fine – but I better hear you say the same things about Palestinian nationalism and French nationalism and American nationalism.”

There are some genuine internationalists in this world, he said. “I haven’t found them yet, but they’re there.”

At the same time, Foxman warned that misusing or overusing the charge of anti-Semitism acted to drain the term of meaning – as in the case of Jewish critics of Barack Obama who have labeled the president an anti-Semite.

Foxman has had his differences with Obama over Israel policy and other issues, he said. “But to call him an anti-Semite is not only to cheapen the term, but also to undermine the power of what I think we have successfully achieved in the last 30-40 years.”

“In America, our constitution guarantees you the right to be a bigot. You have the right to be an anti-Semite. The beauty of America is that there are consequences to your being an anti-Semite. You pay a price in society.”

“To me, Mel Gibson is an appropriate example of this. Here is a guy who was at the height of his career, the people’s choice, he was the best director, actor, producer – he was number one, until he exposed himself as an anti-Semite. That destroyed his career.

“So in an open society, that term [anti-Semite] is almost sacrosanct for us, and we can’t permit it to be abused, to be cheapened. Here in this country, when we see comparisons to the Shoa, it not only cheapens the Shoa, it cheapens an understanding of what hate can do.”

Trivialization of the Holocaust is also a large part of his work, said Foxman, himself a Holocaust survivor. “To compare health care to Nazism, to compare regulation in a park to the Gestapo – these things are out there. This shows that there’s an ignorance and a lack of understanding, and I think that as long as survivors are alive, we owe it to stand up against the trivialization.”

Two years ago, during the controversy over building a mosque in the vicinity of Ground Zero in New York, the ADL was criticized for suggesting that an alternative site be chosen. Criticism was also leveled at Foxman, for comments he made to The New York Times.

“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” Foxman told the Times. Referring to bereaved loved ones of the 9/11 attacks, he said further that “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”

Looking back, “It was an inarticulate quote,” he said. “The way it came out exposed me to legitimate criticism. I tried to express something which as a Holocaust survivor I truly feel and believe.” He cited the instance of survivors and other Jews opposing the Sisters of Zion order’s plans to build a chapel outside of Auschwitz, in order to pray for Jews souls.

“In a normal world, how could these people be opposed to good people – nuns – praying for the salvation of their souls. The survivors said no, not in our cemetery. It is irrational, because they want to help, they want to heal.

“What we were saying is, ‘If you want to reconcile with your victims, do you want to do it in their face?’”

Foxman said that the Jewish community “came down on us disproportionately on this issue,” and a Pew opinion poll explained why. “God bless the Jewish community – Jews see more discrimination against American Muslims than Muslims do. And by the way, if you look at the FBI figures , you see that there are ten times as many anti-Semitics acts as there are attacks agaist Muslims.

On the other hand, he continued, the Ground Zero mosque showed that there was, in fact, obstacles and prejudice directed against Muslims who want to build mosques. As a consequence, the ADL put together a coalition of Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders who have since pursued several legal cases to defend the building of mosques, he said.

Asked if his recommendation for the Ground Zero mosque – that “the city would be better served if an alternative location were found” – could also be applied to the dispute over the planned Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, to be built on the site of an medieval Islamic cemetery, Foxman replied, “It would be a stretch. If we are talking about Auschwitz or Ground Zero, we are speaking of victims of hate and sites of atrocity. The debate over the cemetery is not comparable.”

Nonetheless, he added, “If I had been there in the beginning, and I had been aware of it, I would have done everything I could to say ‘You know what? Find another place.’”

Asked what sorts of things keep him awake at night, Foxman replied that when he came to the ADL out of law school, 45 years ago, “I was convinced that anti-Semitism was a historical fact of the past, something that I would have an opportunity be able to use as a learning tool, as a point of reference, to fight against other prejudices, because after Auschwitz, after what the world had seen – sure, there would be sick people – there would not be a serious challenge to the well-being of the Jewish people.

“I’ve been proven wrong.”

He said that he and others in the field woke up in 2000 amid a global explosion of anti-Semitism, to realize how naïve and overly optimistic they had been.”

Foxman believes that the stimulus for the new outbreaks of anti-Semitism was the internet, which “has provided a highway for bigots to operate in ways that Goebbels could never have every imagined. You can do it anonymously. Every bigot has a megaphone. It doesn’t disappear, it’s always there, it gives them a certain sense of credibility.”

“Now I’ve met with the realization that anti-Semitism continues to be a virus that may threaten the Jewish community.”

No place in the world is immune, he said. “America is better than any other country when it comes to the history of how Jews are received, treated, etc. It’s unique. But it’s not immune. The virus is there. And who knows what crisis will legitimize it.”

It has taken hard work for Jews to reach this level of acceptance, with the vice-president having two Jewish sons in law, he laughed. “But at the same time, we’ve been taking the pulse of prejudice. Two things haven’t changed in 40 years. One is that with all the interfaith dialogue, the Vatican declarations – 30 percent of the American people still believe that the Jews killed Christ. And that’s the mother of anti-Semitism in Western civilization.”

“And the other element is that 30 percent of the American people believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than the United States.”

Are they the same 30 percent? “I don’t know, but I’m sure some of it crosses over.”

He added that “one of the concerns with Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ was the film’s afterlife. And it has had one – it is the vehicle taught in hundreds if not thousands of Christian schools, about the Passion.”

“The other part of what keeps me up at night is the [nightmare scenario] that Israel is under existential threat, and the only ones standing with Israel are Jews around the world,” with America having withdrawn its support.

Asked his response to reading Philip Roth’s novel “The Plot Against America,” in which, as the Holocaust begins in Europe, the United States turns against its Jews, Foxman said:

“It brought me back to a sense of reality of what could happen. I’m not one of those who says it can’t happen here, it won’t happen here, that [meaning of] ‘Never Again.’

“With my background, I’m thinking that it can happen anytime, anywhere. And if Israel is isolated, it can happen here.”

Source

BEST HOME VIDEO OF THE YEAR ‘KITTENS AGAINST APARTHEID’

 Two cuddly kittens go searching for the right hummus and learn a valuable lesson about human rights! Join the kittens in supporting Justice in Israel-Palestine! Boycott Sabra and Tribe hummus!
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Something to definitly try out on your next shopping spree ;)

THE COLOR PURPLE ~~ AGAINST RACISM THEN AND NOW

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Walker said Israelis policies were “worse” than the segregation she suffered as an American youth and said South Africans had told her it was worse than Apartheid.

 

“The Color Purple,” which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was adapted into a movie in 1985 directed by Jewish filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

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Alice Walker Won’t Release ‘Color Purple’ in Hebrew

Prize-Winning Author Slams Israel’s ‘Apartheid State’

Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple,” refused to authorize a Hebrew translation of her prize-winning work, citing what she called Israel’s “apartheid state.”

In a June 9 letter to Yediot Books, Walker said she would not allow the publication of the book into Hebrew because “Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.”

In her letter, posted Sunday by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on its website, Walker supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and offered her hope that the BDS movement “will have enough of an impact on Israeli civilian society to change the situation.”

It was not clear when Yediot Books, an imprint of the daily Yediot Achronot newspaper, made the request, or whether Walker could in fact stop translation of the book. At least one version of the book has already appeared in Hebrew translation, in the 1980s.

Walker said Israelis policies were “worse” than the segregation she suffered as an American youth and said South Africans had told her it was worse than Apartheid.

“The Color Purple,” which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was adapted into a movie in 1985 directed by Jewish filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

The novel and the film, which was nominated for 11 Oscars, treat racism in the American South in the first part of the 20th century and sexism among blacks.

Walker has intensified her anti-Israel activism in recent years, traveling to the Gaza Strip to advocate on behalf of the Palestinians.

Source

WEST BANK LUNA PARK // KILL A ‘TERRORIST’ WIN YOUR SPOT IN THE NEXT WORLD

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YUP…. you read it right.
BUT….. who’s the ‘terrorist’?
According to the settler terrorists themselves, it’s the likes of one Hanin Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset….
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According to others….
The word used for terrorist in Hebrew is “Mechabel” (mechablim for terrorists). In Israeli discourse this is a synonym for Palestinian.
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Tourism in Israeli settlements: practice shooting Palestinians (From

Israeli newspaper Yidioth Ahronot published today (June, 18th, 2012) about a tourist’s activity offered by Gush Etzion settlements, where visitors can practice how to shoot “terrorists”.

Stories about such tours both in settlements and army bases are always published, but no serious attention given to such scary culture of hatred and violence. (see here one example in Hebrew from 2003)

Tourists from across the globe visit Gosh Etzion settlements, where they are offered by settlers “enjoyable” package under the name “Hebrew Extreme Tourism” with range of activities that include: story telling about battles, view live shooting performance and an activity where visitors can practice shooting at “terrorists-mechablim”‘s cardboard pictures hung on the wall.

The word used for terrorist in Hebrew is “Mechabel” (mechablim for terrorists). In Israeli discourse this is a synonym for Palestinian.

Yedioth Ahronot cover page, June 18th, 2012

So now we know who the ‘terrorist’ is… how to deal with them is still another question…. right wing settlers came up with a money making solution which can keep tourists busy for a day or so….
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Ynet Magazine reported the following…
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Tourists venture to West Bank to ‘shoot terrorists’
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Thrill-seeking tourists of all ages brave West Bank shooting range to be taught by settlers how to shoot terrorists
Read the report HERE
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Hate for America results in love for Israel….
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SNIPS AND FLICKS OF GAZA …

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All images used taken from CodePink’s massive collection….
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Submitted by VAS

ISRAELI/PALESTINIAN BINATIONAL SOLIDARITY

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Yaniv Mazor, a 31-year-old Jerusalem resident, was sentenced last week to 20 days in jail over his refusal to fill any position, be it combat or otherwise, in what he said was the occupying army. He was transferred to the IDF’s Tzrifin prison on Monday, launching his hunger strike the following day.
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Israeli reservist goes on hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner

Yaniv Mazor, incarcerated for refusing to serve in the ‘occupation army,’ says could not continue overlooking the strife of Palestinian administrative detainees.

By Amira Hass

Hunger strike - AP - May 13, 2012
Palestinian schoolgirls chant slogans during a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel in the West Bank village of Kufr Rai near Jenin. 
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An Israel Defense Forces reserves soldier, who has refused to partake in army duty to protest Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, has gone on hunger strike in military prison, in what he said was a show of solidarity with Palestinian administrative detainees.

Yaniv Mazor, a 31-year-old Jerusalem resident, was sentenced last week to 20 days in jail over his refusal to fill any position, be it combat or otherwise, in what he said was the occupying army. He was transferred to the IDF’s Tzrifin prison on Monday, launching his hunger strike the following day.

In a phone conversation with his attorney Michael Sfard on Friday, Mazor said that he had “become appalled over the last few months by the hunger strike initiated by Palestinian administrative prisoners, but I couldn’t do much about it.”

“I decided to start a hunger strike in solidarity [with the Palestinians], and in order to raise awareness on the issue of administrative detention, and not to prompt my own release,” Mazor added.

The IDF reserves soldier added that he was incarcerated “of my own volition, since I have done something for which I understand I must pay a price. The hunger strike is in protest of administrative detentions.”

Mazor’s friends at the left-wing NGO Ta’ayush said that they had learned that the reserve soldier was placed in isolation after he had refused to wear uniform in the prison as well as to address prison commanders using their official ranks.

Ta’ayush activists also said that prison officials had cancelled the automatic shortening of his sentence (a day for every 10 days), for unspecified reasons.

Mazor, a tour guide in profession, served in the armor corps between 1999 and 2002, with most of his service taking place in the Jordan Valley and some in the West Bank.

He had also reported six or seven times to reserves duty, when, as he told journalist Haggai Matar, the question of Israel’s occupation of the territories began bothering him more and more.

“I arrived in the army as a typical product of the system,” he told Matar, “a nice boy, serving in the territories, doing what he’s told. Without thinking. Mostly without thinking.”

According to Mazor, he had also tried so-called “grey insubordination,” in which the soldier doesn’t make his refusal public. However, after he had returned from a year-long trip abroad, he decided he could not “resume the façade anymore.”

At first, he was sentenced to a 15-day suspended sentence a week and a half ago, after announcing his refusal to serve. Sfard said Mazor was told by his battalion commander “to go home and think.”

“Yaniv told me that he spent the weekend in a tour of Hebron with Breaking the Silence – a NGO collecting testimonies by IDF soldiers concerning their service in the occupied territories – and in a tour of the South Hebron Hills with Ta’ayush,” Sfard said, adding: “His thinking didn’t change in those two days, and his stance regarding insubordination as well.”

He was then ordered to return to the base on Sunday, where the brigade commander sentenced him. According to Mazor, he was informed by the commander that he would continue receiving summons for military service.

In response, the IDF confirmed that a soldier had been put on trial and sentenced to serve time in a military prison, but added that out of respect for the soldier’s privacy it would not discuss details of the case.

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BACK IN BUSINESS

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Needed a few days off to get both me and my system rewired and reenergised…. Back now ….  all OK ;)

 

NEW YORKERS IN SUPPORT OF THEIR NORTHERN NEIGHBOURS

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OWS rally to support the Quebec student strike.

About 150 + people gathered in Washington Square Park NYC to march through the city’s streets banging on pots and pans.

There was a phalanx of police accompanying the rally with the warning to walk on the sidewalks.

This event occurs every Wednesday evening.

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Photos and above text © by Bud Korotzer

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YOU CAN TAKE THE BOY OUT OF GAZA, BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE GAZA OUT OF THE BOY

 He might appear to be free…. but he won’t rest till ALL of Gaza is!
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Over the years I have written extensively about a very special young man from Gaza. Ayman Quader waged a battle to receive a Visa to study abroad in Spain. A Visa that is taken for granted in most parts of the world. NOTHING can be taken for granted in Gaza.
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Following, in his own words, is a video about him which woll be screened tomorrow, June 16th, 18h30 at Art Dreams, association for multicultural. 15, bis Rue Imbert COLOMES 69001 Lyon.
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Here is a preview…. Spread it widly, let the world see how the are helping to destroy an entire nation.
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MIND THE STRIP

A documentary on human rights, education and how social networks can revolutionize the world

SYNOPSIS

Mind the Strip tells the story of Ayman Quader, a jove Palestinian from the Gaza Strip. As a humanitarian, one day decides to leave his country to study an MA in Peace Studies, Conflict and Development of the UNESCO Chair at the University Jaume I of Castellón de la Plana. It had all the papers prepared: a student visa, the letter of acceptance to the University and even a scholarship.
Getting out of Gaza, however, will not be easy. Trapped in a country living under a terrible blockade, Ayman must find a way out. AND HE DID!


AUTHORS

CRISTINA VALENTÍ
is a journalist, writer and cultural manager. He has worked in Barcelona Television, in Diari de Girona, in the Journal, in the dance company Sol Pico, in Valenti Films in the Film Festival in Girona and Barcelona Film Awards. Film mounted José María Nunes, 
A solitude , and is the author of the screenplay of the film 501 , winning Gaudí Prize for Best Short Film (2010). He has worked in the production direction of the pel · ícula Azana . Currently working in the area of Communication at the University of Girona and collaborates with Versus Films Films and Valenti.

LLABERIA ARNAU
Broadcasting graduate, participated in making numerous short films and has directed En blanc . In Mind the Strip , combines two of his passions: cinema and Palestine.

ANOTHER 9/11? GUESS WHO MIGHT BE BEHIND IT

This is exactly backward. I absolutely believe that another 9/11 is possible. And the reason I believe it’s so possible is that people like Andrew Sullivan — and George Packer — have spent the last decade publicly cheering for American violence brought to the Muslim world, and they continue to do so (now more than ever under Obama). Far from believing that another 9/11 can’t happen, I’m amazed that it hasn’t already, and am quite confident that at some point it will. How could any rational person expect their government to spend a full decade (and counting) invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting huge numbers of innocent children, women and men in multiple countries and not have its victims and their compatriots be increasingly eager to return the violence?

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What might cause another 9/11?

It is supporters of Obama’s aggression, not its opponents, who are likely to provoke another Terrorist attack

BY GLENN GREENWALD
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What might cause another 9/11?

(Credit: Reuters/Pete Souza/The White House)

Today’s defense of President Obama from Andrew Sullivan is devoted to refuting Conor Friedersdorf’s criticism of Obama’s drone program. Says Sullivan:

What frustrates me about Conor’s position – and Greenwald’s as well – is that it kind of assumes 9/11 didn’t happen or couldn’t happen again, and dismisses far too glibly the president’s actual responsibility as commander-in-chief to counter these acts of mass terror.

This is exactly backward. I absolutely believe that another 9/11 is possible. And the reason I believe it’s so possible is that people like Andrew Sullivan — and George Packer — have spent the last decade publicly cheering for American violence brought to the Muslim world, and they continue to do so (now more than ever under Obama). Far from believing that another 9/11 can’t happen, I’m amazed that it hasn’t already, and am quite confident that at some point it will. How could any rational person expect their government to spend a full decade (and counting) invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting huge numbers of innocent children, women and men in multiple countries and not have its victims and their compatriots be increasingly eager to return the violence?

Just consider what one single, isolated attack on American soil more than a decade ago did to Sullivan, Packer and company: the desire for violence which that one attack 11 years ago unleashed is seemingly boundless by time or intensity. Given the ongoing American quest for violence from that one-day attack, just imagine the impact which continuous attacks over the course of a full decade must have on those whom we’ve been invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting.

One of the many reasons I oppose Obama’s ongoing aggression is precisely that I believe the policies Sullivan and Packer cheer will cause another 9/11 (the other reasons include the lawlessness of it, the imperial mindset driving it, the large-scale civilian deaths it causes, the extreme and unaccountable secrecy with which it’s done, the erosion of civil liberties that inevitably accompanies it, the patently criminal applications of these weapons, the precedent it sets, etc.). I realize that screaming “9/11″ has been the trite tactic of choice for those seeking to justify the U.S. Government’s militarism over the last decade, but invoking that event strongly militates against the policies it’s invoked to justify, precisely because those policies are the principal cause of such attacks, for obvious reasons.

In fact, one need not “imagine” anything. One can simply look at the explanations given by virtually every captured individual accused of attempting serious Terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The Times Square bomber, the Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, said this:

As soon as he was taken into custody May 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, onboard a flight to Dubai, the Pakistani-born Shahzad told agents that he was motivated by opposition to U.S. policy in the Muslim world, officials said.

“One of the first things he said was, ‘How would you feel if people attacked the United States? You are attacking a sovereign Pakistan’,” said one law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the interrogation reports are not public. “In the first two hours, he was talking about his desire to strike a blow against the United States for the cause.”

When the federal judge who sentenced Shahzad asked with disgust how he could try to detonate bombs knowing that innocent children would die, he replied: “Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don’t see children, they don’t see anybody. They kill women, children, they kill everybody.” Those statements are consistent with a decade’s worth of emails and other private communications from Shahzad, as he railed with increasing fury against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, drone attacks in Pakistan, Israeli violence against Palestinians and Muslims generally, Guantanamo and torture, and asked: “Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed? And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and Muslim blood flows?”

Najibullah Zazi, one of the first Afghans ever to be accused of Terrorism on U.S. soil when he plotted to detonate bombs in the New York subway system, was radicalized by the U.S. occupation of his country (“This is the payback for the atrocities that you do,” he said). Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) expressly said that the Christmas Day bomb attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in retaliation for the Obama cluster-bomb airstrike in Yemen that killed dozens of women and children along with U.S. support for the Yemeni dictator. The Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan was motivatedby “the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Anwar Awlaki was once such a moderate that he vehemently denounced the 9/11 attacks, got invited to the Pentagon to speak, and hosted a column in The Washington Post on Islam — but then became radicalized by the constant post-9/11 killing of Muslims by his country (the U.S.). David Rodhe, the former New York Times reporter who was held hostage by the Taliban for nine months,said after he was released that Taliban “commanders fixated on the deaths of Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian civilians in military airstrikes, as well as the American detention of Muslim prisoners who had been held for years without being charged.”

Even The Washington Post just two weeks ago pointed out that the primary source of strength for AQAP — the Terror group which the U.S. Government insists is the greatest threat to the U.S. — are repeated U.S. drone strikes in Yemen; said The Post: “An escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States.” In late 2009 — almost three years ago – The New York Times pointed out exactly the same thing when quoting a Yemeni official after Obama’s civilian-killing cluster bomb attack (“The problem is that the involvement of the United States creates sympathy for Al Qaeda“). Even Sullivan acknowledges: “there does seem a danger, especially in Yemen, that drones may be focusing the Islamists’ attention away from their own government and onto ours.”

In other words, the very policies that Sullivan and Packer adore are exactly the ones that make another 9/11 so likely. Running around screaming “9/11″ at Obama critics to justify his ongoing American violence in the Muslim world is like running around screaming “lung cancer” to justify heavy cigarette smoking. It isn’t those of us who oppose American aggression in the Muslim world who need manipulative, exploitative reminders about 9/11; it’s those who cheer for these policies who are making a follow-up attack ever more likely.

Prior to 9/11, of course, the U.S. spent decades propping up dictators in that part of that world, overthrowing their democratically elected leaders, imposing devastating sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslim children — literally — and then blithely justifying it like it was the most insignificant problem in the world, arming, funding and diplomatically protecting continuous Israeli aggression, and otherwise interfering in and dominating their countries. There’s a reason they decided to attack the U.S. as opposed to, say, Peru, or South Africa, or Finland, or Brazil, or Japan, or Portugal, or China. It isn’t because The Terrorists put the names of all the countries into a hat and — bad luck for us — randomly picked out the piece of paper that said “The United States.”

It’s because the U.S. has been and continues to be guided by the imperial mindset that causes Andrew Sullivan, George Packer and people like them to cheer and cheer and cheer for U.S. violence and other forms of coercion in that part of the world — violence and coercion that they would be the first to denounce and demand war in response to if it were done to the U.S. rather than by the U.S. Indeed, that’s precisely how they reacted — and, a full decade later, are still reacting — to a one-time attack on U.S. soil.

In light of that, I can’t even conceive of the uncontrolled rage, righteous fury and insatiable desire for violence in which they would be drowning if those attacks lasted not a single day but a full decade, if it involved constant video imagery on American television of dead American children and charred American wedding parties and thousands of Americans imprisoned for years in cages in a distant ocean prison without charges and surveillance and weaponized drones flying constantly over American soil and unignited cluster bombs left on American soil that explode when American children find them.

Although I can’t conceive of the rage that would be produced in people like Sullivan and Packer from a decade’s worth of that kind of violence on American soil, they should spend some time trying toimagine it. Then perhaps they’d understand how much they — and the President whose foreign policy they venerate — are doing to bring about “another 9/11″ with the non-stop violence they so enthusiastically endorse.

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For those who don’t understand or who like purposely to ignore the difference between observations about causation (A causes B) andarguments about justification (B is justified) — where “B” is “violent attacks on civilians” — see here. To be clear, this analysis is an example of the former (a causal argument), not the latter (an argument about justification).

On a related note: a Democratic Party club recently created a website to tout all of President Obama’s sterling achievements. AsCharles Davis and Reason both note, half of those “achievements” are corpses that he created. This, ladies and gentlemen, is your Democratic Party in the Era of Obama:

I have no idea who my President keeps killing — never heard of almost any of them — but I’m going to blissfully assume that they’re TERRORISTS and thus stand and cheer when their lives are ended.

Why do they hate us?

 

UPDATE [Wed.]: My Salon colleague Jefferson Morley has an excellent article documenting the mass political instability that Obama’s militarism in that part of the world is breeding; it’s well worth reading.

 

UPDATE II [Wed.]: A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds that “The Obama administration’s increasing use of unmanned drone strikes to kill terror suspects is widely opposed around the world“; in particular: “in 17 out of 21 countries surveyed, more than half of the people disapproved of U.S. drone attacks.” Caring about world opinion is so 2004.

 

Written FOR

CAN TRUTH OVERIDE PREJUDICE?


Black Firebrand Vies in Heavily Jewish District

Charles Barron Battles for Seat That Includes Russian Areas

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Truth to Power? New York City Councilmember Charles Barron is running for a Brooklyn Congressional seat.

GETTY IMAGES
Truth to Power? New York City Councilmember Charles Barron is running for a Brooklyn Congressional seat.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

New York City’s most radical city councilman could end up representing the city’s most politically conservative Jewish community in the U.S. Congress.

In an only-in-Brooklyn clash, New York City Council member Charles Barron, a former Black Panther, has a realistic chance of winning a June 26 Democratic primary that could send him to congress representing Brooklyn’s Russian-speaking Jews.

The possibility has inflamed Russian-Jewish activists. But though Jews make up 20% of the population of the district, the unusually early date of the election and the confusing redistricting process could keep them from the polls.

“They are saying if such a person like Barron will come to Congress, it’s unbelievable,” said Vladimir Epshteyn, an activist and retired community organizer. “He represents for us a huge danger.”

Epshteyn and other activists point to Barron’s history of provocation, his harsh criticism of Israel and his staunch black nationalism to justify their rhetoric. Their concern doesn’t seem shared, however, on the streets of Little Russia by the Sea, as signs on Brighton Beach Boulevard call the neighborhood.

Just a subway stop from hot dog stands and freak shows of the Coney Island boardwalk, shop owners in Brighton Beach assume patrons speak Russian. And though the key congressional primary is just weeks away, no signs are posted under the elevated subway tracks for Barron, or for his opponent, New York State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.

A few older Russian-speakers sitting in a playground near the boardwalk recognized Barron’s name when they were asked on a recent morning, but most seemed unaware of the impending race. Few spoke English.

New York’s Russian-speaking Jewish community is self-contained. Many members came to the United States in the past few decades. They listen to Russian radio, read Russian newspapers and shop in Russian supermarkets where signs are written in Russian.

They are conservative, even Republican — an anomaly among New York Jews, and New Yorkers generally. Russian-speaking Jews were credited with playing a major role in the 2010 victory of Republican Bob Turner, who won the special election for the congressional seat vacated by Democrat Anthony Weiner.

Though grassroots awareness of this race appears slight, Barron’s candidacy has elicited particularly vehement passions among community activists.

“For me — I’m talking about my personal opinion — to me he’s a bad guy, let’s put it this way, he’s not good people,” said Yelena Makhnin, an activist who works as executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District. “I come from the communist country, so I do see some things differently.”

Others also said the depth of their distaste for Barron stems from their Soviet pasts. “The disaster is coming and I know it because I am from the Soviet Union,” said Epshteyn. “The system looks so strong, unbelievably strong. [But] it takes a few seconds, a few minutes, and it can change absolutely the situation.… To have a Barron in Congress.… The Russian Jews from the Soviet Union, we can understand. American Jews living for so many years in prosperity and wealth… they are blind, they don’t see the changes to the world.”

Barron, 61, has served in the City Council for a decade. An outspoken black nationalist, he is as noted for his political skill as for the often-controversial positions he’s taken, including the defense of Third-World dictators. In October, Barron mourned the killing of Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi. “Out there, they don’t know that Qaddafi was our brother,” Barron said, according to press reports. “The man was a freedom fighter.”

In 2002, Barron hosted Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe at City Hall. Mugabe, who led the southern African country’s liberation struggle in the 1970s, has been criticized for his increasingly oppressive rule in recent decades and his mass expropriation of white-owned farms.

“I was very much pissed off when he gave a proclamation on behalf of City of New York to Robert Mugabe,” said Ari Kagan, an activist, former New York State Assembly candidate, and reporter for the Russian-language newspaper Vecherniy New York.

Barron has also been critical of Israel. In a much-cited June 2010 statement, Barron, at a rally criticizing the Israeli raid of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara protest ship, compared conditions in Gaza to “a concentration death camp.”

A resident of the working class Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York, Barron has long had a base of support there. His City Council district also included the largely African-American neighborhoods of Brownsville and East Flatbush.

But a scrambling of New York’s legislative districts has sent Barron looking for votes among Russian Jews. As part of the once-a-decade redistricting process, parts of what was once Turner’s district have been mashed together with parts of a congressional district previously represented by Upper West Side liberal Democrat Jerrold Nadler, and parts of another district represented by longtime Democratic Congressman Edolphus Towns.

The new district spans from Bedford-Stuyvesant to East New York, down through Canarsie to Brighton Beach. The population of this area is 70% black and Hispanic, according to the governmental body that drew the district lines. An analysis by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York estimates that it is 20% Jewish, and that the vast majority of those Jews are Russian speakers.

Towns is retiring and Turner is running for Senate, leaving an opening. The two contenders in the June 26 Democratic primary elections are Jeffries and Barron. Democratic dominance in New York City means that the winner of the primary will likely win the November election.

Jeffries, 42, a former attorney, has the backing of most of the relevant city unions and most of the Democratic establishment.

But Barron has the support of Towns. In a recent televised debate, Barron had the practiced air of a longtime politico, landing blow upon stinging blow.

Court decisions have forced an unusually early date this year for the primary. The early date, combined with the confusing redistricting, has meant that awareness of the race is low among voters.

“The biggest issue is to let people know that this race exists,” Kagan said.

In an effort to bolster Jeffries’ candidacy and the profile of the race, New York City Council member David Greenfield convened a June 11 press conference of Jewish elected officials, including Nadler and former mayor Ed Koch, to paint Barron as anti-Israel.

In a phone call after the event, Greenfield criticized Barron. “He’s a bigot, and he represents the worst — not just everything that’s wrong with politics, but everything that is wrong with bad people,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield alleged that Barron was anti-Semitic, citing his 2010 comparison of Gaza to a death camp. Greenfield said that Barron had called him a “tool of the Jewish lobby” after Greenfield had criticized his Gaza statement.

Barron’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the Greenfield-organized press conference. Earlier, Barron co-campaign manager Colette Pean said that she thought voters in the new district would embrace Barron’s position on Israel. “I think the councilman has a stated position that Israel as a state exists, that there needs to be negotiated solution, and that he’s opposed to terrorism in all its forms,” Pean said.

Jeffries, for his part, appears to be making an effort to reach out to Russian-speaking Jews. Community activists said that he had appeared a handful of times on Russian radio, that he had visited Israel in 2008, and that he had the support of those community members who were paying attention to the race.

Jeffries did not respond to two requests for comment from the Forward.

Written FOR

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