ISRAEL IS THE BIRTHRIGHT OF PALESTINIAN REFUGEES, NOT JEWS FROM BROOKLYN

We are non-Israeli Jews who oppose the program because it promotes and supports Israel’s ongoing colonialism and apartheid policies, and marginalizes Jewish experiences in the diaspora. We are calling for the end of the Birthright program, and encourage individuals to boycott the trips.
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Unfair
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As Jews we say “Birthright” trips must end

Aviva Stahl
Sarah Woolf and 
Sam Elliott Bick
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Elderly woman sits in refugee camp

Israel claims all Jews have a “birthright” to the country, while Palestinian refugees are barred from return.

 (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

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As the summer months approach, thousands of young Jews from more than 60 countries prepare to participate in the Taglit-Birthright program. Since 1999, Birthright has brought 340,000 young Jews to Israel on free ten-day trips. In the midst of the fervor to sign up for this bi-annual program, we have launched the website Renounce Birthright (renouncebirthright.org) with the aim of providing a space for potential participants to engage with critiques of Birthright and of Zionism.

We are non-Israeli Jews who oppose the program because it promotes and supports Israel’s ongoing colonialism and apartheid policies, and marginalizes Jewish experiences in the diaspora. We are calling for the end of the Birthright program, and encourage individuals to boycott the trips.

Birthright was created in response to concerns over increasing rates of intermarriage, the perceived “crisis of continuity” and the weakening of Jewish communal ties. Over the course of the last decade, the program has worked to create and maintain commitment to Zionism and Israel on the part of non-Israeli Jews.

Exclusive ideology

Birthright’s mission, according to the organization, is to “diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.”

The idea of strengthening “solidarity among world Jewry,” “personal Jewish identity,” and Israel’s “connection to the Jewish people” through trips to Israel is based on a conflation ofJudaism with Zionism. Judaism is a religion. Political Zionism is a movement based on the belief that Jews have a right to settle in modern-day Israel, to the exclusion of the indigenous Palestinians.

The term “Birthright” itself is telling. Like its American counterpart, the ideology of manifest destiny, it operates under the premise that all Jewish people have an exclusive “right” to Palestinian land. In both the American and Israeli contexts, the only way to secure that “right” is through violence, land theft and displacement.

Settler-colonialism must be opposed, no matter where it takes place. For non-Israeli Jews living in other settler-colonial countries, we must also be accountable to other processes of de-colonization. No group of people have the right to live anywhere that mandates the explicit exclusion of anyone else.

The establishment of the Israeli state, and the alleged Jewish “birthright,” involved the violent displacement of several hundred thousand indigenous Palestinians, and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages. A Palestinian refugee population of nearly 7 million people is to this day excluded from returning to their lands by Israeli state discrimination.

In contemporary Israel — where approximately one-fifth of the population is Palestinian — the rights of citizenship (ezrahut) and nationality (le’um) are intentionally distinct. Palestinians born within the 1949 armistice line are considered citizens (and not nationals). Meanwhile a Jew born and raised in New York has a “birthright” to the Israeli state in Palestine, is considered a national, and can almost immediately become a citizen upon emigrating.

Maintaining a myth

Birthright in particular — as a part of the Zionist project — relies on the belief that non-Israeli Jews are national-citizens-in-waiting, a reality from which Palestinian refugees are forever excluded.

We would have no “Birthright” without Israeli occupation and apartheid — it is how Zionism sustains the myth of “a land without a people, for a people without a land.”

Birthright has spent more than $600 million since its inception in 1999. The organization has three major sources of funding: the Israeli government (which committed another $100 million to Birthright in 2011), wealthy donors such as Charles Bronfman, and Jewish federations across North America (“The romance of Birthright Israel,” The Nation, 15 June 2011).

In a 2012 speech delivered to Birthright participants, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “So when you go out and people tell you things about Israel, tell them about what you saw. Make sure when you go back home, tell them about the real Israel” (“PM Netanyahu’s speech at Taglit-Birthright Israel mega-event”).

Convincing non-Israeli Jews to defend Netanyahu’s “real Israel” is an integral part of Birthright, and helps explain the government’s investment in the program.

The program’s largest financial supporter, billionaire Sheldon Adelson — who has provided $140 million to the program — was described in The New York Times last year as having “disgust for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (“What Sheldon Adelson wants,” 23 June 2012).

Beyond individual donors, non-Israeli Jewish community organizations and institutions — such as the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Agency for Israel — support Birthright economically and politically.

Apolitical?

In the name of diasporic Jewish communities, these organizations invest millions of dollars into the promotion of Birthright’s political Zionism, rather than in local projects.

Despite all this, Birthright claims to be apolitical. In 2006, Birthright Director of Marketing Gidi Mark said: “I don’t think it’s political for Jews to support Israel” (“Come, see Palestine!” Salon.com, 5 June 2006).

However, the establishment and maintenance of an exclusively Jewish Israel — through forcible displacement, land theft, occupation, segregation, institutionalized racism and systemic discrimination — is political at its core, and is both supported and reinforced by the Birthright program.

For instance, during the trip, approximately 10,000 Birthright participants visit the Ahavacosmetics factory each year; Ahava is located in the illegally-occupied West Banksettlement of Mitzpe Shalem. Ahava directly profits from the exploitation of Palestinian Dead Sea resources.

Moreover, disturbing accounts of explicit racism have arisen in recent years; former participants often recount how the language used by Birthright personnel demonizes Palestinians. One past attendee said her Birthright tour guide told her group that “Arabs have wanted to kill Jews forever, that they are ‘like mosquitoes’ we must swat away” (“So you’re thinking of Birthright,” Mondoweiss, 20 December 2012).

Zionism is a political project, and Birthright is perhaps the most tangible manifestation of that political project outside Israel. As such, we must recognize our engagements with Birthright as a question of politics, and not just “a free vacation.”

Narrow confines

In reinforcing the belief that what it means to be Jewish is to be Zionist (particularly for non-Israeli Jewish youth), Birthright perpetuates a single narrative about what it means to be Jewish outside of Israel, and who can be a Jew.

Jewish people speak and have spoken an array of languages, live and have lived across the world, and possess different histories that extend beyond the narrow confines of political Zionism and the nation-state of Israel.

It is contemporary political Zionism that has “othered” Mizrahi/Arab-Jews, as New York University professor Ella Shohat explains, by urging Arab Jews “to see their only real identity as Jewish,” such that their “Arabness, the product of millennial cohabitation, is merely a diasporic stain to be ‘cleansed’ through assimilation” (“The invention of the Mizhahim,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Volume 29, No. 1, Autumn 1999).

Further, Israel’s policy towards Ethiopian Jews in recent years demonstrates how the limits of Jewishness are often defined through Zionism. There is a clear tension between Birthright’s claim to promote diasporic life, and the fact that it the program is so deeply rooted in Zionism, an ideology that homogenizes the experiences and identities of Jews.

Our alleged Birthright can only exist through the suppression and erasure of many Jewish identities, histories and experiences.

Liberation in Palestine is a question of land, colonialism and apartheid — not religion. The work of Jewish and Israeli organizations and collectives such as Zochrot, Boycott from Within, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, and Israeli Queers Against Apartheid attests to this fact.

As scholar Judith Butler has explained: “there have always been Jewish traditions that oppose state violence, that affirm multi-cultural co-habitation, and defend principles of equality, and this vital ethical tradition is forgotten or sidelined when any of us accept Israel as the basis of Jewish identification or values” (“Judith Butler responds to attack,” Mondoweiss, 27 August 2012).

No right to apartheid

We have founded Renounce Birthright because Birthright demands our complicity in two intersecting (but distinct) forms of violence: first, the occupation of Palestine and the Israeli government’s brutal regime of apartheid and second, the erasure and suppression of diverse Jewish experiences and communities across the world.

In organizing for Palestinian liberation, we are deeply committed to the belief that Jewish experiences and narratives — particularly North American Jewish experiences, including our own — should not be centered.

As Mezna Qato and Kareem Rabie explained in their recent article for Jacobin magazine: “the left often neglects these anti-colonial principles and seeks out Jewish voices to validate Palestinian claims. In turn, it privileges Jewish discourse, anxieties, and histories in ways that marginalize Palestinians in their own struggle” (“Against the Law,” Spring 2013).

We recognize that our struggles are greatly distinct yet related, and are engaged in this project first and foremost from a position of solidarity.

We call on non-Israeli Jews across the diaspora to join us in renouncing Birthright— and our privileged legal relationship to the Israeli state — because we have no right to apartheid and colonialism.

Aviva Stahl grew up in New Jersey and now lives in London; she is the US researcher for CagePrisoners and a collective member of Bent Bars. She can be followed on Twitter@stahlidarity.

Sarah Woolf is an editorial intern at The Nation magazine. Hailing from Montréal, she currently lives in New York City.

Sam Elliott Bick is from Montreal, Québec. He is a member of the Tadamon! collective, and organizes at the Immigrant Workers Center. He can be followed on Twitter@sam_Bick.

Source

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Also see THIS relevant post

MORGAN FREEMAN; YOU SAID ‘NO TO APARTHEID’ ONCE, SAY IT AGAIN!

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The fundraiser, a “Celebration of Excellence” at the Toronto Center for the Arts, honoring Freeman, appears to be another effort by an Israeli institution to use high-profile celebrities to attract audiences while deflecting criticism of Israel’s human rights record.

Freeman is a symbolic catch given that he played Nelson Mandela in the movie Invictus.

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Morgan Freeman and Jian Ghomeshi, say no to Israeli apartheid on May 6!

 by Ali Abunimah
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Canadian filmmaker John Greyson has released this short video supporting the Palestinian call on actor Morgan Freeman and Canadian broadcaster and musician Jian Ghomeshi to cancel their participation in a 6 May event hosted by the Canadian Friends ofHebrew University.

The fundraiser, a “Celebration of Excellence” at the Toronto Center for the Arts, honoring Freeman, appears to be another effort by an Israeli institution to use high-profile celebrities to attract audiences while deflecting criticism of Israel’s human rights record.

Freeman is a symbolic catch given that he played Nelson Mandela in the movie Invictus.

In November, legendary musician Stevie Wonder made headlines by pulling out of a Los Angeles fundraiser for “Friends of the IDF,” a group that raises money for the Israeli army.

PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, issued an appeal to Freeman explaining why supporting an event for Hebrew University is no better than one raising funds for the Israeli army of occupation. The statement calls on Freeman to refuse an award “tarnished with apartheid and colonialism.” Here’s an excerpt:

The intention of the award is to honor your work in ‘combating racism and promoting knowledge and education worldwide.’ Given that Israel practices forms of racism through its system of colonialism, occupation and apartheid, and violates the rights of Palestinians to education and life, it is cynical, and nothing short of a dishonor to your lifelong achievements to be accepting an award from a group that is in deep support of an Israeli University complicit in Israel’s systematic violations of human rights and international law.

The Hebrew University is specifically implicated in serious violations in a number of ways. The University illegally acquired a significant portion of the land on which its Mount Scopus campus and dormitories are built. On 1 September 1968, about one year after Israel’s military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, the Israeli authorities confiscated 3345 dunums of Palestinian land. Part of this land was then used to build the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University.

It’s also disappointing to see Jian Ghomeshi, who hosts the excellent CBC arts and culture program Q, hosting the event and appearing in this video promoting it. Ghomeshi is smart enough to know better. He’s also smart enough to understand that he can’t just ignore the Palestinian appeal and claim he’s being apolitical. By participating in this event he’s already taken a political stance, and a really bad one at that. Ignoring the appeal from Palestinians living under an Israeli occupation in which Hebrew University is complicit will only confirm Ghomeshi’s stance.

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Update, 29 April: Jian Ghomeshi listen to your own words on Idle No More!

It’s particularly unfortunate that Ghomeshi should be unwilling to heed the call of Palestinians given his high-profile support for the Canadian First Nations’ Idle No Moremovement. In a radio essay last year, Ghomeshi urged Canadians to listen to the demands of Canada’s indigenous people who for so many years have seen their land rights, often enshrined in treaties, trampled and violated.

Ghomeshi said:

Idle No More is a way of reframing the debate, especially of young people taking initiative and taking action and making their voices heard, to affect change in our country, to get the notice of those in power, to send them a message… It is the way we should want our democracy.

This is exactly what the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is too – a way of reframing the debate and taking back the struggle for human rights from the stultifying language of a failed and deceptive “peace process” that has only seen more Palestinian land and rights taken away while Israel enjoys total support and impunity from governments like Canada’s.

“We deride the apathy that can exist in this country. Well this is a movement of young people and First Nations saying clearly that they will be Idle No More,” Ghomeshi added. “We might want to give them the attention they deserve…”

Ghomeshi also highlighted the six-week hunger strike last year of Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation, which she ended in January when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to meet her.

In his essay, Ghomeshi had publicly told Harper, “Dear Prime Minister, this is a meeting you should really attend.”

Now Palestinians are saying to Ghomeshi – and Morgan Freeman – that the 6 May fundraiser for Israel is one meeting you should really not attend.

Update, 28 April: Jian Ghomeshi responds on Twitter ….

TWO NEW STREETS IN JERUSALEM ~~ ONE GOING LEFT, THE OTHER GOING RIGHT ..

With strife ….
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The Jerusalem municipality finally agreed to name a street after the renowned intellectual, philosopher and scientist Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz Thursday, ending years of council strife over the matter.
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Leibowitz, who was an Orthodox Jew, never hesitated to speak out against the occupation and the settlements. Time and again since his passing in 1994, proposals were raised to honor his memory by naming a street after him. However, they were repeatedly shot down by rightist and ultra-Orthodox council members, who protested against the scholar’s controversial utterances denouncing the Israel Defense Forces and the occupation.
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Without strife ….
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The municipality also decided to officially honor rightist American business magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is a close supporter and friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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Jerusalem agrees to honor Prof. Yeshayhu Leibowitz after years of strife

Rightists and ultra-Orthodox city council members have repeatedly protested against naming of street after renowned Israeli Orthodox philosopher who spoke out against the occupation, settlements and the IDF.

By Nir Hasson
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Yeshayahu Leibowitz
Yeshayahu Leibowitz. Photo by Alex Levac
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The Jerusalem municipality finally agreed to name a street after the renowned intellectual, philosopher and scientist Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz Thursday, ending years of council strife over the matter.

The municipality also decided to officially honor rightist American business magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is a close supporter and friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Councillor Meir Margalit ‏(Meretz‏) said the two proposals were adopted as a sort of package deal, in which each political faction could boast an achievement. Most rightist council members abstained in the vote, while Shas members voted against the move, due to Leibowitz’s criticism of its spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Leibowitz, who was an Orthodox Jew, never hesitated to speak out against the occupation and the settlements. Time and again since his passing in 1994, proposals were raised to honor his memory by naming a street after him. However, they were repeatedly shot down by rightist and ultra-Orthodox council members, who protested against the scholar’s controversial utterances denouncing the Israel Defense Forces and the occupation.

Mayor Nir Barkat, who was a student of Leibowitz’s in “the philosophy of biology,” pledged to pass the motion. At the beginning of April the council withdrewthe motion at the last moment, after rightist and Haredi council members united to vote against it. Barkat had promised to raise the proposal again soon.

Councillor Elisha Peleg ‏(Likud‏), who objected to the move earlier this month, said Thursday, “I haven’t changed my opinion about Leibowitz. But I’m open to the public sentiments and mood, and I’ve received numerous requests from people, including Likud people, saying many people who contributed a lot less than Leibowitz have had streets named after them. So I decided to abstain.”

“Finally we succeeded in honoring Leibowitz,” said Deputy Mayor Yosef ‘Pepe’ Alalu ‏(Meretz‏), who has been fighting for 16 years to name a street after the scholar. “But the honor is Jerusalem’s, who gained a street in his name. If anyone deserves a street, it’s Leibowitz.”

The street bearing Leibowitz’s name will be in Givat Ram, possibly on the Hebrew University campus, where Leibowitz worked as a scientist.

The city also decided to set up a park named after Ornan Yekutieli, a former Jerusalem councillor and a key activist in the battle against religious coercion in the capital. Yekutieli, one of the most important leaders of Jerusalem’s secular public in the 1980s and ‘90s, had asked to be commemorated in a public garden where people could speak and debate, Hyde Park-style.

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Source


 

LEGAL VOICE OF BLACK ACTIVISM SILENCED BY DEATH

“He could perform in a courtroom in a trial, and then he could write an excellent brief. Then he could do transactional work. Many lawyers can do one but not the others.”
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Leo Branton Jr., Activists’ Lawyer, Dies at 91

Associated Press

Leo Branton Jr. with Angela Davis during her 1972 trial on murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges. She was acquitted.

By WILLIAM YARDLEY

Leo Branton Jr., a California lawyer whose moving closing argument in a racially and politically charged murder trial in 1972 helped persuade an all-white jury to acquit a black communist, the activist and academic Angela Davis, died on April 19 in Los Angeles. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by Howard Moore Jr., another lawyer who represented Ms. Davis.

Mr. Branton, a black veteran of World War II who served in a segregated Army unit, represented prominent black performers, including Nat King Cole and Dorothy Dandridge, argued cases on behalf of the Black Panthers and the Communist Party, and filed numerous cases alleging police abuse. But the case with which he was most closely associated was that of Ms. Davis.

“Friends of mine said we couldn’t get a fair trial here in Santa Clara County,” Mr. Branton told jurors in his final remarks, on June 1, 1972, in a courtroom in San Jose, Calif. “They said that we could not get 12 white people who would be fair to a black woman charged with the crimes that are charged in this case.”

Ms. Davis, a 28-year-old former instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles, was accused of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1970 death of a state judge who was shot with one of several weapons she had bought. The year before, Ms. Davis had lost her teaching job after she expressed support for the Communist Party. After the charges were filed, she became a fugitive, one of the F.B.I.’s 10 most wanted. She said the weapons had been stolen from her.

Her flight had been an important part of the prosecution’s case. But Mr. Branton, who had argued numerous cases of police abuse in the 1950s, urged jurors to view her behavior in the context of centuries of slavery, racism and abuse against blacks.

At one point he showed jurors a drawing of Ms. Davis bound in chains. Then he removed the drawing to reveal another showing her freed.

“Pull away these chains,” he said, “as I have pulled away that piece of paper.“

Some jurors cried, and after she was acquitted, so did Ms. Davis. She also hugged the jurors.

“Angela Davis Found Not Guilty by White Jury on All Charges,” said a headline in The New York Times on June 5, 1972.

Decades later, Mr. Branton said the case stood out to him not just because of the verdict or the distinctiveness of his final appeal, but also because of the defense’s preparations. During jury selection, defense lawyers hired psychologists to help them determine who in the jury pool might favor their arguments, an uncommon practice at the time, he said. They also hired experts who undermined the reliability of eyewitness accounts, which were important to the prosecution.

Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law professor and defense lawyer who met Ms. Davis in 1970 when she was being detained before trial and he was an undergraduate at Stanford, said in an interview on Friday that Mr. Branton had emphasized to the jury “who she was as a person.”

“He didn’t want her convicted because of her race or her politics,” he said.

Mr. Branton was born on Feb. 17, 1922, in Pine Bluff, Ark., the oldest of five children. He received a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University in 1942 before serving in the Army. He earned his law degree at Northwestern University in 1948 and soon moved to California.

In 1952, Mr. Branton represented 14 members of the California Communist Party who were accused of advocating the overthrow of the government through force. They were convicted in lower courts, but the convictions were vacated by the United States Supreme Court in 1957.

His survivors include three sons, Leo L. Branton III, Tony Nicholas and Paul Nicholas; a brother; a sister; and five grandchildren. Geraldine Pate Nicholas, his wife of more than 50 years, died in 2006.

Mr. Branton began representing Nat King Cole in 1958 and eventually helped him secure ownership of his master recordings from Capitol Records, said Mr. Moore, his fellow lawyer in the Davis case. Many years later, Mr. Branton represented the estate of Jimi Hendrix until he and others were sued by members of the Hendrix family. The suit was dropped in 1995.

Mr. Moore said he first met Mr. Branton when they represented different clients in civil rights cases in Mississippi in the 1960s. Mr. Branton was already well known for his work in Hollywood and before the Supreme Court.

“Leo was good in his seat and on his feet,” Mr. Moore said. “He could perform in a courtroom in a trial, and then he could write an excellent brief. Then he could do transactional work. Many lawyers can do one but not the others.”

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MEDICAL RACISM IN ISRAEL

It’s a “problem” that too many babies are being born to parents from Africa, a leading Israeli medical official has told lawmakers at the Israeli parliament.
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Medical racism: Israel hospital director complains that too many African babies are being born

 by Ali Abunimah
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Israelis chant “Sudanese Back To Sudan” during a right-wing demonstration against African refugees in south Tel Aviv, 30 May 2012.

 (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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It’s a “problem” that too many babies are being born to parents from Africa, a leading Israeli medical official has told lawmakers at the Israeli parliament.

Israel’s Maariv reported yesterday the official’s comments in Hebrew:

“In Tel Aviv, today, there live approximately 80 thousand infiltrators from Africa, who constitute about 15 percent of the city’s population. In the last year about 700 babies were born to Eritrean and Sudanese mothers, and we currently have an average of about two births a day,” thus reported today Professor Gaby Barabash, director of the Ichilov Medical Center, in a hearing the Knesset held by the lobby for returning the infiltrators.

The problem is that they closed down the fence, but they did not close down the natural growth, and the number of Eritreans born here rises from year to year,” said Barabash.

Barabash’s use of the term “infiltrators” as a general term for Africans marks his comments as part of the long-standing campaign of racist incitement by Israeli leaders and officials that has resulted in horrifying demonstrations and pogroms targeting Africans in Israel, many of whom arrive as refugees.

In December, David Sheen profiled Israel’s “racist ringleaders,” the political leaders and public figures most responsible for racist incitement.

Barabash’s comments are also in keeping with the general outlook in Israel where it is socially acceptable to define the births of non-Jewish babies as undesirable or as a “demographic threat” to the so-called “Jewish and democratic state.”

Even more disturbing, Barabash played on common racist tropes of Africans and people of color as bearers of diseases, recognizable from racist discourses in other places and times, including traditional European anti-Semitic rhetoric:

Professor Barabash reported high percentages of intrauterine deaths, and also contagious viral diseases among the delivering mothers: tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. The African population constitutes one third of the new cases of AIDS carriers [sic] diagnosed in Israel, and half of the cases of malaria carriers.

All of this testimony was taken at a parliamentary hearing organized by members who voice vocal support for mass expulsions of Africans and for the construction of a desert prison camp to hold them.

Recently, women of Ethiopian origin have accused Israeli officials of forcing them to take long-term contraceptives, allegations that came to light following an investigation into the precipitous drop in births to Ethiopian women in Israel in recent years.

A long tradition of Israeli baby-hatred

Barabash’s shocking comments also recall those made by Dr. Yitzhak Ravid, a senior researcher at the Israeli government’s Armaments Development Authority at the Herzliya Conference in 2003, who called for Israel to “implement a stringent policy of family planning in relation to its Muslim population.”

Ravid added: “the delivery rooms in Soroka Hospital in Beersheba,” an area with a large Bedouin population, “have turned into a factory for the production of a backward population” (“Herzliya conference sees verbal attacks on Israeli Arabs,” Haaretz, 18 December 2003).

Palestine’s indigenous Bedouin population has long been the target of Israeli forced removal from their lands and other racist practices.

And as David Hirst wrote of Prime Minister Golda Meir in his classic book The Gun and the Olive Branch, “The Palestinians’ birth-rate was so much higher than the Jews’ that her sleep was often disturbed, she would say, at the thought of how many Arab babies had been born in the night.”

With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation and analysis.

 

 

Written FOR

TAX DEDUCTIBLE APARTHEID

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Friends of Israel Defense Forces Raises $27 Million Under NY Media’s Radar
by JEFF BLANKFORT

It isn’t every day or night that a tax-exempt non-profit American charity rakes in $27 million in the space of a few hours. When it happens in New York at such a well known landmark as the Waldorf-Astoria, arguably the city’s most famous hotel, it should be news, right?

Wrong, apparently, since not a single TV station nor any New York newspaper, all of which are known for their attention to events in the city’s Jewish community as well as their devotion to Israel, saw fit to cover the annual dinner of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) this past March 12 which raised that enormous sum.

Nor, it turns out, did they cover last year’s FIDF fundraiser at the Waldorf which took in almost as much, $26 million, nor the one in 2011, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the organization that featured the presence of six former Israel Defense Forces Chiefs of Staff and collected $23 million.

More than five weeks after latest dinner, the only paper trails that can be found to the event were in the Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz (a week later), the New York Jewish Week, and the Forward, the city’s national Jewish weekly which is known for printing articles that the mainstream press and other Jewish publications find too hot to handle. The Jewish Week’s reporter, Tim Boxer, in fact, did not mention the amount raised at the black tie, $1000 a plate affair, until the very last paragraph of the story.

“The dinner raised $27 million for FIDF which, since 1981, has been supporting educational and recreational facilities for soldiers and their families,” wrote Boxer. “Among the heavy hitters was Marc Belzberg who announced, ‘I am donating one million dollars and my first-born son to the IDF in August’.”

The FIDF is an organization that most Americans, including Jews not affiliated with the Jewish establishment, have probably never heard of and that is obviously the intent of those who run what has, in the last few years, become one of the brightest star in the pro-Israel fundraising firmament with a $60 million annual budget, all of which, it cannot be overemphasized, is tax-exempt.

“[E]stablished … by Holocaust survivors to provide for the well-being of Israeli soldiers,” according to its website, and headquartered in New York City, the FIDF is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation that operates 16 regional offices in the United States and Panama. Its mission, in brief, is visible at the top of its website: “Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.”

True to that motto, the money this “charity” raises benefits exclusively the soldiers of a foreign country that has not fought a war longer than 33 days in 40 years and whose primary duties have been to protect Israel’s illegal settlements, demolish Palestinian homes, make the lives of ordinary Palestinians miserable, and suppress Palestinian resistance to its ongoing ethnic cleansing by whatever means necessary.

The FIDF has a different take:  “The Israeli government is responsible for training IDF soldiers and providing them with the necessary tools for their service. FIDF is committed to providing these soldiers with love, support, and care in an effort to ease the burden they carry.” FIDF also brings Israeli soldiers to the states to visit synagogues and lecture at schools and universities. “These events,” according to its website, “offer a great opportunity to meet IDF soldiers and hear the stories of these brave young men and women.”

In 2011, the last year reported, it raised just over $62 million and had $80 million in assets at the end of the year, $546,000 of which goes in salary to its national director, Retired Israeli General Jerry Gershon, plus an additional $10 thousand a month for his New York apartment, according to the Forward.

Given that every year, irrespective of the ups and downs of the US economy,  Washington awards Israel’s military establishment with more than $3.5 billion (when it’s all added up) of the taxpayers money,  the FIDF’s desire to keep its fundraising activities under wraps and invisible to the larger American public is readily understandable.  That they are able to do so with apparent impunity is but further evidence, if such is needed, of the degree to which supporters of Israel dominate our national media.

Considering that an estimated 870,000 US veterans are suffering the after effects, physically and mentally, of multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and comprise a significant segment of the nation’s homeless, the very existence of the FIDF and the nature of its primary concern—the welfare of Israeli soldiers—might be viewed as an insult not only to US servicemen and women,  but to ordinary Americans who are forced to confront the increasing costs of medicines and medical care, higher gas and food prices, and underfunded schools, not to mention the more than 300,000 who lose their jobs and forced to file for unemployment benefits every week for the past several decades.

There are some other things about New York’s FIDF dinners that are unusual. With the exception of Monica Crowley, the right-wing Fox News commentator who is routinely brought in to preside over the post-dinner programs, it is largely an inside job. Unlike at other pro-Israel events, there was an absence at the dinner, at least in the reports in the Israeli and Jewish press, of key New York Jewish political figures known for their loyalty to Israel, such as Sen. Charles Schumer and Representatives Elliot Engel, Gary Ackerman, and Nita Lowy, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

There was one prominent attendee, however, whose substantial donations to the FIDF should raise some eyebrows were it not apparently at the service of Israel. His name is Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, another tax-exempt non-profit that raises money for Israel from American evangelicals while paying him a handsome $491,000 for his services.

The rabbi apparently has collected quite a bit from the evangelicals—the friendship often being a one way street–so when he attends an FIDF dinner he is in a generous mood. On March 12th Eckstein’s $5 million dollar pledge topped all the others as did his $8.5 million commitment at the 2011 FIDF dinner and his $9.25 million bequest in 2012.

Those kind of numbers would certainly draw the public’s critical attention, particularly when all of this money that is headed towards Israel is tax-exempt and more than that, thanks to IRS rules enacted in 2008, once it leaves America’s shores it’s not traceable.

Even though the rule was changed, essentially favoring pro-Israel non-profits, five years ago, it went unnoticed by the media until theForward’s Josh Nathan-Kazis reported on it in the paper’s April 12th edition:

“Want to know how an American charity is spending your donated dollars overseas?,” he wrote.

“Tough luck.

“That’s the effect of an Internal Revenue Service rule change that is making it increasingly difficult for donors and watchdogs to track American not-for-profit dollars after they leave the United States.

“Former IRS officials,” he noted, “have criticized the little-noticed 2008 change, which lifted the requirement that charities in the United States report to the IRS and the public the identities of overseas charities to which they have sent money.

“Charities still have to tell the IRS and the public the names and amounts they donate to other American charities. When American charities send money out of the country, however, they need to say only the region of the world where they sent it and the amount they gave.”

Nathan-Kazis  cites, as an example, the  One Israel Fund, which in 2003 reported sending tens of thousands of dollars to settlements in the West Bank, and now needs only to note  that it sent grants to the “Middle East” for “Security,” among other purposes, as it did in its 2010 disclosure.

The One Israel Fund makes it quite clear on its site where its money is going:

“One Israel Fund is dedicated to supporting the welfare and safety of the men, women and children of Judea and Samaria as well as rebuilding the lives of the Jewish people impacted by the Gaza evacuation. These 300,000+ people are the vanguard of Israel’s security and sovereignty as a Jewish State.”

In other words, One Israel Fund has no qualms about openly raising funds for projects that are in direct conflict with long standing US policy and yet the government not only has not penalized it but made it easier to cover its trail. In 2010, on the last available 990, One Israel Fund reported that it had sent $2, 340,000 to meet its goals, a $600,000 increase from the previous year. It is not hard to speculate that its donations have grown considerably since then.

In its 990 form for 2011, Rabbi Eckstein’s International Fellowship of Christians and Jews made no mention of his donations to the Friends of Israel Defense Forces nor did he so in its annual report which was filled with pictures of children, women and the aged in Israel which the Fellowship claims to support out of the slightly more than $100 million  it raises annually.

The largest Jewish organization to take advantage of the IRS’s tax-exempt status is the United Israel Appeal, founded in 1953, which is the funding arm of the Jewish Federations of North America. It funnels its donations through the Jewish Agency of Israel, a quasi-governmental organization that predates the founding of the state and was in charge of Jewish settlement in Palestine.

In 1963 it was revealed in US Senate hearings that between 1955 and 1962, the Jewish Agency had recycled over $5 million ($40 million in today’s dollars) donated by American Jews to Israel back to the American Zionist Council, (AIPAC, before its name change) to pay for pro-Israel lobbying and propaganda in the US. This led to an unsuccessful attempt by the President Kennedy’s Justice Dept. to force the AZC to register as a foreign agent, an effort that would evaporate following his assassination. Private efforts to follow-up on Kennedy’s efforts have been blocked by subsequent administrations.

According to Guide Star, a website that monitors non-profits, the United Israel Appeal took in just under $197 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, the last year it reported its financials. Curiously, according to Guide Star, the United Israel Appeal at this point in time “is not required to file an annual return with the IRS” and no audited financial statements are available.

What a difference 57 years makes. In 1956, when Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion was reluctant to obey President Eisenhower’s order to withdraw Israeli troops from the Sinai which they occupied after joining Britain and France in an attack on Egypt, in the “Suez War,”  Ike threatened to end the United Israel Appeal’s tax exemption status and that brought Ben-Gurion to heel.

One can imagine what Eisenhower would think today of an organization of Americans established to help Israeli soldiers, not American troops, and receiving an exemption from paying US taxes at the same time.

The New York and East Coast media have not been alone in protecting the FIDF from possible public wrath. In Beverly Hills, the local chapter has raised sums that while not approaching the amounts raised by its New York counterparts, has not done badly. Its fundraising events, as well, have also been blacked out by the mainstream media, despite the presence of such well known Hollywood stars as Barbra Streisand and Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, an ardent supporter of Israel who acts as master of cermonies.

Last December 17th, at the Century-Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills, its annual dinner pulled in a record $14 million in pledges which some viewed as the Jewish establishment’s defiant response to entertainer Stevie Wonder who had agreed to be the night’s headliner, but pulled out as a result of a petition by from pro-Palestinian activists and a personal plea by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.

There should have been two stories there for the LA media. First, that Stevie Wonder had withdrawn from the event, bowing to public pressure and second, that the FIDF dinner, hosted as it is every year by Israeli-American communications billionaire, Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, had raised a record sum for the local chapter. It was not to be. Only the local Jewish Journal reported on the event and Wonder’s cancellation.

Back in New York, in what was headlined, “A LETTER FROM THE WALDORF-ASTORIA  the Forward’s Josh Nathan-Kazis poked fun at the heavy handed security at March’s FIDF dinner.

“For defenders of Israel, danger is everywhere, — even in New York City, even on Park Avenue,” he wrote, “even once they’ve passed a metal detector on the second story of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

“Such was the conceit of the organizers of the Friends of the IDF gala, who posted two additional layers of security between the cocktail room and the ballroom at their March 12 event.”

Nathan-Kazis  noted that guests had been warned not to take photos and that MC Monica Crowley had told them, “Do not even think about uploading anything, anywhere, at any time,” as a live satellite feed from what was said to be a secure Israeli intelligence facility in Jerusalem appeared on screens throughout the ballroom on which  “a bald, bespectacled soldier described how his unit eavesdrops on Palestinian phone calls, though this practice was hardly a state secret.”

The FIDF had flown a number of Israel soldiers to New York for the event and, as  Nathan-Kazis tells it,

“In the ballroom, Crowley, in her role as MC, talked with a young drone operator identified as Major Yair, who stood in a spotlight on an upper balcony. ‘Flying these kind of remote vehicles sounds really fun,’ Crowley told Major Yair, referring to the rocket-equipped unmanned warplanes.

“’Yeah, it is,’” Yair affirmed.

“Yair grew up in a town near Israel’s southern border. His own home was hit with a rocket launched from Gaza while he was away serving in the IDF, he told the rapt audience. Yair spoke about how he identifies targets while piloting his drone, showing side-by-side infrared images of a man in a stretcher and a man preparing to launch a rocket. The blobs in the middle of the images looked similar, but Yair showed how he could carefully distinguish between them.

“’If someone dropped a rocket on my family I wouldn’t spend so much time deciding which one was which,’” Crowley said. The crowd applauded.”

Written FOR

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While in Canada …..

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Internal documents show Canadian tax agency protected Jewish National Fund from scrutiny

Yves Engler
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130423-jewish-national-fund (1)

The Jewish National Fund enjoys tax-exempt status in Canada.

 (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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In 2010 the Canada Revenue Agency was asked whether it would “investigate or revoke” the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status, internal documents seen by The Electronic Intifada show. But this request seems to have been ignored in deference to a “charity” that has long participated in the erasure of Palestinians’ presence from their historic homeland.

Through an access to information request, Montreal-based activist Ron Saba received dozens of Canada Revenue Agency documents concerning the Jewish National Fund (JNF) of Canada in March (documents may be viewed at the end of this article).

In probably the most explosive revelation, the Canada Revenue Agency was questioned if it would revoke the charitable status of the JNF: “If a registered charity undertakes illegal activities abroad, what action will the CRA take? Will the CRA investigate or revoke the registered status of the Jewish National Fund?”

While the document does not make clear who authored it, context suggests it came from Canada’s Auditor General.

Released by the Canada Revenue Agency after Saba’s freedom of information request, the document takes the form of questions and answers based on Chapter 7 of the 2010 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada. The JNF is the only specific charity to be challenged in the 30 questions, most of which address issues of performance and targets.

The CRA did not return emails or phone messages from Saba seeking to clarify whether the Office of the Attorney General authored the document.

JNF violates Canadian law

Shutting out Palestinian citizens of Israel, JNF lands can only be leased by Jews. A 1998 United Nations Human Rights Council report finds that the JNF systematically discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population. According to the UN report, JNF lands are “chartered to benefit Jews exclusively,” which has led to an “institutionalized form of discrimination” (UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “Consideration of Report Submitted by States Parties Under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant,” 14 December 1998, E/C.12/1/Add.27).

In 2005, Israel’s high court came to similar conclusions. It found that the JNF, which owns 13 percent of the country’s land and has significant influence over most of the rest, systematically excluded Palestinian citizens of Israel from leasing its property (“A racist Jewish state,” Haaretz, 20 July 2007).

There is a strong case to be made that the Jewish National Fund’s bylaws and operations violate Canadian policy and law. Discrimination in the provision of housing is illegal under the Canadian Human Rights Act. And a September 2003 Canada Revenue Agency public policy statement titled “Registering Charities that Promote Racial Equality” makes clear that racial equality is a stated aim of Canadian charitable policy.

Registered charities that operate abroad are supposed to adhere to domestic policy or else lose their ability to provide donors with tax subsidies. “An organization is not charitable at law if its activities are contrary to Canadian public policy,” explains the Canada Revenue Agency.

But the CRA and politicians in Ottawa have shown little interest in applying the rules in the Jewish National Fund’s case. They seem to have ignored the call to investigate whether the JNF’s practices contravene Canadian law. In particular, the CRA has not properly addressed the question of whether the JNF is a racist organization.

The internal documents suggest the CRA has spent hundreds of hours devising strategies to respond to complaints about the JNF and covering up what Ron Saba has dubbed “the Racist JNF Tax Fraud.”

Protecting the JNF

This public relations strategy is spelled out explicitly in a document of “Media Lines” on the JNF prepared for use by the Canada Revenue Agency’s media handlers — another of the documents released to Ron Saba.

It notes that Saba has been “questioning the legitimacy of the charitable status of the JNF” through a “wide distribution list, including members of Parliament, senators, Canadian and international media and human rights and social justice groups.” The document also expresses concerns that while “the JNF has not generated any mainstream media coverage” so far, “because of Mr. Saba’s wide distribution list, the potential for media interest remains.”

The document then specifies some general lines about information access requests and charities, along with several specific lines on the JNF. The latter do not address the reality of the JNF’s racist policies that exclude non-Jews. Instead they claim that the “Federal Court of Appeal has ruled, in the [2002] case of Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel v Canada, that there is no clear public policy prohibiting charitable activities in the Occupied Territories” — avoiding the point.

In what seems to be part of this effort to protect the JNF from scrutiny, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Caitlin Workman emailed Canada Revenue Agency media spokespersons in 2011, suggesting they “monitor” an Independent Jewish Voices sponsored talk in Ottawa.

Under the headline “Event you may want to monitor,” Workman sent a 13 May 2011 communication stating “author of the Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy, Yves Engler, will give a talk on Canada and the Jewish National Fund.”

The tax agency’s protection should not be surprising. Conservative officials have strongly backed the JNF — even though the internal documents show that since 2007, six different Conservative ministers have received documentation detailing the racist nature of JNF policies (at least two of the ministers circulated the information).

Challenges and successes

Over the past nine months, immigration minister Jason Kenney and foreign minister John Baird have spoken at Jewish National Fund galas, while environment minister Peter Kent toured southern Israel with officials from the organization in December. At the end of the year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to be honored at the JNF Negev Dinner in Toronto, which will be the first time a sitting Canadian prime minister has spoken to a JNF gala in the organization’s 100-year history.

Hopefully, Harper will be greeted by protesters. While getting the prime minister to speak is obviously a boon for the JNF, it also provides a unique opportunity to draw attention to an institution that most people are unfamiliar with.

It’s time to turn Independent Jewish Voices’ nascent campaign to revoke the JNF’s charitable status into a major element of pro-Palestinian activism in Canada. Groups elsewhere have had successes on this front recently.

In 2011, Stop the JNF in England sucessfully pushed Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw his patron status from the JNF. Additionally, 68 members of parliament have endorsed a call to revoke the organization’s charitable status because “the JNF’s constitution is explicitly discriminatory by stating that land and property will never be rented, leased or sold to non-Jews.”

In Scotland, the Green Party and Friends of the Earth have endorsed the Stop the JNF campaign and the Green Party of England and Wales have also called for JNF to lose its charitable status. In 2011, legendary US folksinger Pete Seeger distanced himself from a previous event with the JNF, and a board member of the US organization quit in protest over the JNF’s role in the eviction of a Palestinian family from East Jerusalem. And at the start of this year, Stop The JNF prompted the new owners of a major South African toy retailer, Reggies, to sever ties with the organization.

While the political climate is more difficult in Canada, there’s no reason that a major campaign can’t bring successes. If made aware, most Canadians would be uncomfortable with the idea that public money is supporting an openly racist institution. They would also be appalled by the JNF Canada’s direct (and documented) role in displacing Palestinianssince the late 1920s.

While it’s hard to imagine the Canada Revenue Agency (under Stephen Harper) revoking the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status — at least without a lengthy and expensive legal battle — the campaign can play an important educational role. The organization is at the heart of Israeli apartheid and drawing attention to this institution is a way to discuss the racism intrinsic to Zionism.

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ISRAEL AND AMERICA’S LATEST THREAT TO WORLD PEACE

Seeking to appease his Israeli hosts, Hagel said maintaining Israeli military superiority was a top priority for the Obama administration. “President Obama has made not only maintaining but improving Israel’s military qualitative edge a top priority,” he said.
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New US-Israel arms deal a threat to peace

 

 

The latest arms deal between Washington and Tel Aviv not only puts Tehran in the crosshairs, but will also underline Israeli intransigence on Palestine, writes Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
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New US-Israel arms deal  a threat  to peace
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem (photo: Reuters)
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A new major US arms deal with Israel is intended to further enhance the Hebrew state’s ability to strike Iran, even without direct American operational involvement. The multi-billion dollar package include anti-radiation missiles designed to take out enemy air defences, new sophisticated radar for fighter jets, KC135 aerial refuelling tankers and Osprey V-22 tilt-rotor transport aircraft.

The deal, however, will not include laser-guided bunker-buster bombs, according to The New York Times.

The deal was announced this week during the visit of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Israel. Hagel reassured Israeli officials of America’s traditional commitment to Israel’s security and to maintaining its qualitative military edge over all its neighbours.

The KC135 tankers are reportedly capable of being used in long-range operations by Israel against Iran. The sale of the V-22’s would also mark the first time the aircraft have been released to any country outside the United States. The deal will be implemented in several months.

Seeking to appease his Israeli hosts, Hagel said maintaining Israeli military superiority was a top priority for the Obama administration. “President Obama has made not only maintaining but improving Israel’s military qualitative edge a top priority,” he said.

Hagel reiterated earlier statements concerning Iran, saying that all options for dealing with that country were on the table. The American official also said his country would continue to help Israel develop the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.

According to intelligence reports published by the Israeli media, the Iron Dome performed “much worse than expected” during last year’s brief war between Hamas and Israel. Israeli officials claimed then that the costly defence system scored an 80 per cent success rate, a claim strongly contested by the Hebrew media.

It is widely believed the continued funding by the US of further research pertaining to the anti-missile system vindicates reports about its dismal performance.

The additional military aggrandisement is expected to further enforce the arguments of those in Israel who advocate striking Iran’s nuclear facilities unilaterally, ie without cooperation and coordination with the US.

Following talks with Hagel, Israel’s War Minister Moshe Yaalon, was quoted as saying: “One way or another, Iran’s nuclear programme will be stopped.”

Yaalon is no stranger to war given his role in murdering and maiming thousands of Palestinian civilians when he was chief of staff of the Israeli army in the mid-1950s.

Hagel’s visit to Israel is the first leg of a tour that will also take him to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Both Saudi Arabia and the Emirates will also sign arms deal with Washington. Washington has always sought to promote Arab-Iranian contradictions at the expense of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

According to informed Israeli sources, the weapons these two countries will purchase from Washington will be of an inferior quality in comparison to those sold to Israel. Moreover, Washington will see to it that both countries will not try to transfer these weapons to a third country, especially one hostile to Israel.

 

FULL-FLEDGED ALLIANCE AGAINST IRAN: It is uncertain if the highlighted American-Israeli alliance against Iran will be brought to fruition by carrying out an Israeli or joint-Israeli-American strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Some commentators in Israel contend that US reluctance to supply the Hebrew state with more strategic weapons, such the bunker-buster bombs, may indicate that the US is trying to pacify Israel, and to convince Tel Aviv to give diplomatic efforts a chance to succeed.

However, one of the main goals — if not the main goal — of the current Israeli government is “to neutralise the Iranian danger”.

Israel, which possesses a large arsenal of nuclear weapons, along with their delivery systems, doesn’t face a real existential threat from Iran. This means that the hyperbolic and often phobic language used by Israeli officials and leaders to highlight the “Iranian danger” is intended largely to maintain the Israeli state’s military supremacy and hegemony in the region.

Moreover, it is widely believed that if Iran were to be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, this would trigger a nuclear arms race involving countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. One Saudi official was quoted as saying in a press interview several months ago that “if Iran got the bomb, we would get it a few weeks afterwards.”

Thus, if this nightmarish scenario found its way to reality, Israel would then face not one Iran but many, as the possession of a nuclear deterrence by Arab countries would change the rules of the game of politics in the region to Israel’s disadvantage.

Earlier this month, the former head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Amos Yadlin, said that while an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would only delay Iran’s nuclear capability, “this delay could be important because we may have a regime change”.

Yadlin added: “Israel has defined what the trigger is, what the red line is. Iran is already there.”

Nonetheless, most observers and experts doubt whether regime change in Iran would lead to a degradation let alone disappearance of the country’s nuclear programme. Other pundits argue that Iran’s nuclear programme has already reached the point of no return.

A final point: It is very likely that the new arms deal will further embolden Israel with regards to the Palestinian issue.

Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be dead within two years if action were not taken now.

“I believe the window of the two-state solution is shutting,” Kerry told the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. “I think we have some period of time, a year, a year-and-a-half. Or two years, or it is over.”

Past experience has proven that the aggrandisement of Israeli military might at the expense of Arab and Muslim countries in the region makes Israel more intransigent, and much less prone to make peace.

 

Written FOR

 

‘LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT’ (YOUR LAPTOP) IF VISITING ISRAEL

A third American citizen, who preferred that her name not be published, was also refused entry in May after refusing to allow airport security personnel to access her personal email account. She was also told that she must have something to hide.
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Israel airport security demands access to tourists’ private email accounts

Several U.S. tourists report being asked by airport security personnel for access to their personal email accounts; Israel’s Shin Bet security service says it acted within the law.

By Amira Hass
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Travellers in Israel's Ben Gurion Airport
Travellers in Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Israel’s Shin Bet security service has been demanding access to personal email accounts of visiting tourists with Arab names, according to the testimony of three U.S. citizens who were interrogated at Ben Gurion Airport and subsequently refused entry into Israel in May.

Najwa Doughman, a 25-year-old architect from New York, landed in Israel on May 26. Doughman, who had already visited Israel three times in the past, planned to tour the country for ten days with a friend, Sasha Al-Sarabi, 24, who was visiting Israel for the first time. Both women were born to Palestinian families who were expelled from Haifa and Akko in 1948.

Around 5 P.M., approximately an hour after landing, Doughman’s interrogation began. She was questioned by a female security guard who did not divulge her name or position. Another female questioner was also present.  

The first part of the interrogation began with questions like: “Do you feel more Arab or more American?” (to which the interrogator supplied her own answer: “Surely you must feel a little more Arab.”), “Will you go to Al-Aqsa?” and “Why are you coming now for the third time? You can go to Venezuela, to Mexico, to Canada. It is much closer to New York, and much less expensive!”

When Doughman responded by asking “Don’t you have other tourists who come here more than once?” her interrogator responded, “I’m asking the questions here.”

Then, according to Doughman, her interrogator said, “Okay, we are going to do something very interesting now!” As Doughman describes it, the harsh stare on the security woman’s face gave way to a slight smirk. She typed www.gmail.com on her computer, turned the keyboard toward Doughman and demanded that she log in to her personal email account.    

Doughman said she that, while she was taken aback, it did not occur to her to refuse, despite the fact that this was clearly not a reasonable request.

According to a piece Doughman wrote several days later on the blog Mondoweiss, the security woman read through every email with certain key words (including “Palestine,” “Israel,” “West Bank” and “International Solidarity Movement”), reading some lines out loud as well as some chats between her and her friend regarding their upcoming trip. Then she recorded a number of her contacts’ names, emails and telephone numbers.

After some five hours of questioning, Doughman and her friend were forced to wait another three hours, after which they were told that they would be refused entry into Israel. Accompanied by a heavy cadre of security people, they were led to another part of Ben Gurion Airport, where they were photographed and their bags were searched meticulously down to the smallest objects.

Their computers and iPads were passed, twice, through an explosives-detection machine. Then they were given body searches behind a curtain.

When a metal detector beeped while being passed over a button on Doughman’s jeans, she was asked to take her pants off. She broke down in tears and refused, to which the security team responded by threatening to remove her pants by force. Instead, she was given a pair of shorts from her own suitcase and told to put them on instead of her jeans.

The two spent the night in a detention facility at Ben Gurion Airport and were flown out via France, some 14 hours after landing in Israel.

On May 21, another U.S. citizen, Sandra Tamari, a 42-year-old Quaker from St. Louis, was also asked to give airport security people access to her email before being denied entry into Israel. Her interrogation lasted eight hours. When she refused to open her email account, she was told that she was probably hiding something.

Tamari, also of Palestinian descent, has been active in campaigns for a boycott and sanctions against Israel. Her description of events was also published on Mondoweiss.

A third American citizen, who preferred that her name not be published, was also refused entry in May after refusing to allow airport security personnel to access her personal email account. She was also told that she must have something to hide.

A similar case was reported in October of 2011.

Ronit Eckstein, a spokesperson for the Israel Airports Authority, told Haaretz that the Interior Ministry is responsible for the entry of tourists to Israel, and that the security officials who interrogated the women were not employed by the Airports Authority or by Ben Gurion Airport.

The Interior Ministry said in response that the security checks are the responsibility of the Shin Bet security service.

The Shin Bet confirmed that Doughman and Tamari had been questioned by Shin Bet agents after landing in Israel, adding that the actions taken by the agents during questioning were within the organization’s authority according to Israeli law.

Source

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Israel’s Response …

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Israel Rebuffs Criticism Over E-Mail Checks at Airport

Civil RIghts Groups Blast ‘Drastic Invasion of Privacy’

E-Mail Invasion? Israel is legendary for its tight airport security. But is it going too far by demanding that some passengers show their private e-mails?
GETTY IMAGES
E-Mail Invasion? Israel is legendary for its tight airport security. But is it going too far by demanding that some passengers show their private e-mails? 

By Reuters

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Israel’s top legal adviser on Wednesday rebuffed criticism of authorities for asking travellers entering the Jewish state to show border officers their emails, saying the checks affecting only certain foreign nationals were lawful.

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein’s written legal opinion was given in response to a query by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) which first questioned the practice last year.

On Wednesday the group called the checks a “drastic invasion of privacy … not befitting a democracy”.

Israel’s security agencies have been keen to stop pro-Palestinian activists they suspect may be planning anti-Israel activities in the occupied West Bank or inside the Jewish state.

Weinstein said officers of the internal undercover security service, the Shin Bet, needed “to establish or dispel suspicion against prospective foreign nationals wishing to enter Israel who show initial suspicious signs”.

He said officers were not allowed to access email accounts without the consent of the owner and added that travellers could refuse to cooperate. This did not necessarily mean they would automatically be barred entry.

“The traveller is not asked to reveal passwords … but opens the account on their own. The traveller has a full right to refuse the search and will not be forced to comply, although this will be taken into account when the authorities decide whether to allow the person to enter Israel,” he said.

Marc Grey, an ACRI attorney, said the issue was not so much the matter of revealing the email account’s password but the actual perusal of the private content in the mailbox.

“Passwords are not the issue, email accounts are about as private as it gets,” Grey told Reuters.

He said he did not know how many travellers to Israel had been asked to open their email accounts.

Lila Margalit, another ACRI attorney, said travellers were not on an equal footing when they faced questioning.

“A tourist … to Israel (who is) interrogated at the airport by Shin Bet agents and told to grant access to their email account, is in no position to give free and informed consent. Such ‘consent’, given under threat of deportation, cannot serve as a basis for such a drastic invasion of privacy,” she wrote in an email distributed on Wednesday.

“Allowing security agents to take such invasive measures at their own discretion and on the basis of such flimsy ‘consent’ is not befitting of a democracy.”

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Source

ISRAEL: A PLACE TO VISIT OR BOYCOTT?

(Source)

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Must-see photos: Activists remix “Visit Israel” ads on Irish bus shelters

 by Ali Abunima
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Activists in the Irish city of Cork have added their own touches to ads that appeared on bus shelters in their city that call on people to “Visit Israel.” The ads now say “Boycott Israel” among other biting and funny messages.

These photos were posted on the Facebook page of the Cork Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The original ads were placed by a group called Irish4Israel that campaigns against Palestinian rights and the boycott, divestment and solidarity (BDS) movement.

(Source)

Irish4Israel appears only to have a Twitter account and a Facebook page but neither of them readily identifies the individuals or organizations responsible for the shadowy group. However, an online message signed by one Michelle Cohen claimed responsibility and fund-raised for the Irish4Israel bus shelter ads. And, according to J.Weekly, “Irish4Israel was founded in 2010 by Barry Williams, a non-Jewish student at University College Cork.”

Israel’s image has taken a battering in Ireland, not only because of its mistreatment of Palestinians, but also due to various social media blunders by Israel’s embassy in Dublin.

The embassy proposed a campaign to portray Palestine solidarity activists as sexual deviants and Mossad agents and last Christmas caused offense in the predominantly Catholic country by issuing a bigoted “greeting” that suggested Palestinians would have “lynched” Jesus and Mary.

The alteration of the bus ads by the unidentified activists in Ireland is reminiscent of similar responses to Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian ad campaigns on public transport in the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States.

(Source)

 

 

Source

DIASPORA JEWS AND THE ISRAELI LAW OF RETURN

For the most part, world Jewry is silent about this reality of having an Israeli citizenship held in perpetuity for Jews only that awaits them their entire life. All they need to do to claim it is to visit Israel and request it. Partly because of this warped state of affairs, every Jew in the world is coaxed into thinking that they need to bear-hug Israel, regardless of whether Israel is engaged in war crimes or blatant racism.
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Diaspora Jews must speak out against the Israeli Law of Return

by Sam Bahour
Unfair

 

You are born in a country, say the United States. As such, you become a citizen of that country. You are issued a passport from your country of citizenship which allows you to travel to other countries, as a tourist, a foreigner. Of course, you can apply for residency or citizenship in a foreign country based on their immigration laws and, if accepted, you can be issued a second citizenship. Immigration laws are complicated, non-uniform, and, for democratic countries, go out of their way to be non-discriminatory, that is, unless you are Jewish.

If you are Jewish, a very discriminatory law in a foreign country applies to you, without taking your consent and without any formal ties between you and that country. It matters not that you are a citizen of America, Argentina, or Australia; as long as you are Jewish, you have a foreign country that claims to speak for you from the moment of your birth. You could be a sixth generation Alaskan Jew or a tenth generation Brooklyn Jew; it matters not. You, and your entire family for as far back as you can track could know no other place than your hometown in America, and you would still be “represented” by a foreign country, one whose language you don’t even speak. That foreign country is Israel.

Law in the service of discrimination

It goes without saying that for Palestinians, upon whose ruins Israel was established, this Orwellian-perfected, Israeli immigration law, called the Law of Return, is a disgrace and a stain on the quilt of humanity. After all, the Israeli Law of Return only applies to Jews. Those Palestinians who became refugees because of Israel’s creation, or those Palestinians who happened to be abroad when Israel militarily occupied their homes, like my father, or even for the Palestinians living as “residents” in the West Bank and Gaza Strip today, are totally excluded from this right to return home and gain automatic citizenship. Ironically, the word “return” directly applies to Palestinians given they were born here, lived here, tilled the land here, and were the subjects that Israel attempted to ethnically cleanse in order to build a new state—one which gives Jews exclusivity on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line, referred to as the “Green Line.”

For the most part, world Jewry is silent about this reality of having an Israeli citizenship held in perpetuity for Jews only that awaits them their entire life. All they need to do to claim it is to visit Israel and request it. Partly because of this warped state of affairs, every Jew in the world is coaxed into thinking that they need to bear-hug Israel, regardless of whether Israel is engaged in war crimes or blatant racism.

Amira Hass, the Israeli-Jewish journalist who has been covering this conflict for decades while living amongst Palestinians under occupation, frequently gives public talks. When her audience is Jewish, she religiously starts by stating: “Any Jew in any part of the world is entitled to rights in Eretz-Yisrael/Palestine [from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River] that are being denied, in whole or in part, to every Palestinian.”

Then, Amira goes on to give some concrete examples: only Jews have the right to visit the country (something not self-evident for most Palestinians who were born outside the country, or were born there but live in the Diaspora), only Jews have the right to reside and work anywhere in the country, only Jews have the right for immediate naturalization, only Jews have the right to reside or buy property in Jerusalem (Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza are deprived of this right), the list could go on.

The Palestinian-Israeli “conflict,” as it is so frequently referred to, has many aspects. To understand this seemingly intractable conflict, one cannot detach themselves from a historical understanding of the Middle East, in general, and of the tragedy that befell the Jews (and all of mankind) in Europe ever since WWI. However, no tragedy, no matter how severe, should be used as a pretext to discriminate—not against Muslims and Christians of the land, and not against Jews who are also inherently linked to the same land. Likewise, no democracy, in today’s world, should have the “right” to speak for persons who are not its citizens, live thousands of miles away, and have not given their direct consent to be spoken for or “represented.”

President Obama weighs in

“Put yourself in their [Palestinian] shoes.” This is what President Barack Obama told a group of Israeli students gathered in a conference hall in Jerusalem during his recent visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank. In an Israeli context, this is a bold statement, one they are not used to hearing. The president made several bold statements in that speech, making repeated reference to the need for Palestinians to be free from Israeli military occupation. The students applauded, several times, to these politically loaded overtures from the president.

The right-wing Israeli leadership led by Benjamin Netanyahu, who was not invited to the Jerusalem event, was surely fuming at how President Obama spoke directly to the Israeli public and evoked applause on issues related to the unjust Israeli suppression of Palestinian rights. Encouraging those applauses may have sounded nice to the untrained ear, but one fact remains clear: similar applause would be hard to come by from Jewish communities as represented by leading organizations such as AIPAC and the ADL.

If President Obama was sincere about wanting to see the conflict from a Palestinian perspective, then, instead of praising Israel for being a successful country of immigrants, he would have used his charm and oratory skills to portray to the Israeli public how wrong it is for a Jew born anywhere in the world to have more rights in Palestine/Israel than the Palestinians themselves.

The reality that the state of Israel lacks defined borders, which happens to be one of the key requirements for statehood as defined by international law, clearly articulates the preferential treatment that Israel has been provided by the international community ever since its establishment. When such preferential attitudes become embedded in a nation’s DNA, exclusivity is bound to reign supreme in every sphere of the state. Like in apartheid South Africa, such exclusivity is a recipe that jeopardizes any nation-state project, including Israel’s. Jewish communities around the globe can stop the damage Israel is self-inflicting upon itself.

However, if Diaspora Jews can accept having an Israeli citizenship being held ‘forever’ for them while Palestinians are denied not only citizenship, but basic human rights, then they too are directly partaking in the continued apartheid against Palestinians.

 

 

Written FOR

IS YOUR NAME ON THE LIST?

JFPROR tinyurl

To support the Jews for Palestinian Right of Return statement below, please:

**Sign as an individual or organization at: http://bit.ly/JewsForRoR

**Join, invite friends to, and repost the Facebook event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/123495234483983/

**Repost widely on websites and blogs

———
Praise for JFPROR

Ali Abunimah (Electronic Intifada): “Beautiful!”

Mezna Qato (US Palestinian Community Network): “Absolutely beautiful.”

Dr. Ghada Karmi, M.D.: “An excellent statement which gets at the heart of the Palestinian cause. All people of conscience must sign it.”

Fatin Jarara (Al Awda-NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition): “Thank you, JFPROR, for your support of the right of return for Palestinian refugees to all of Historic Palestine and for the call for a single democratic state, a point that must never be compromised by Palestinians, first and foremost, or their allies.”

Max Blumenthal: ”I was proud to join so many outstanding people in signing.”

Stuart Bramhall (Daily Censored): “Profoundly moving.”

Kevin Ovenden (Palestine solidarity activist, London): “Well done – forwards to peace and justice, without which there can be no peace.”

————-
Jews For Palestinian Right of Return
January 1, 2013

“For Palestinians, the right to return home and the right to live in dignity and equality in their own land are not any less important than the right to live free of military occupation.”
Prof. Saree Makdisi

For more than a century, Zionists have sought to construct a “Jewish state” through forced removal of the indigenous Palestinian people.

In 1948, this state was established through the Nakba (Catastrophe): erasure and occupation of more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages, dispossession of over 750,000 Palestinians, and a terror campaign of which the massacre at Deir Yassin is but the most infamous example.

Since 1967, Israel has also occupied and colonized the remainder of historic Palestine. Today, this relentless ethnic cleansing continues — armed and financed by the U.S. and its allies — on both sides of the 1948 “Green Line.”

As a cumulative result, seventy percent of Palestinians are in exile, the world’s largest refugee population.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Gaza, where Israel inflicts particularly brutal collective punishment on 1.7 million people — most of them refugees — for defiantly resisting expulsion from their homes throughout historic Palestine.

“Pick a point, any point, along [Gaza’s] 25-mile coastline,” writes Gaza City resident Lara Aburamadan, “and you’re seven or so miles — never more — from the other side. The other side is where my grandparents were born, in a village that has since become someone else’s country, off limits to me. You call it Israel. I call it the place where the bombs come from.”

To hide these crimes and shield itself from their consequences, the Zionist regime officially denies the Nakba, the ethical equivalent of Holocaust denial. It has even authorized legislation to penalize those who memorialize the Nakba — a step toward criminalizing its observance altogether.

As it is for all colonized peoples, liberation means reversing dispossession. “The Palestinian cause,” writes Dr. Haidar Eid in Gaza, “is the right of return for all refugees and nothing less.”

Return — one of the key demands of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign — is affirmed in U.N. resolution 194, but derives from the principle of universal human rights and, as such, cannot be renounced or abandoned by any body or representative; it inalienably attaches to Palestinians, both individually and collectively.

Despite this, even some who criticize Israel’s 1967 occupation claim that Palestinian return is “unrealistic.”

However, solidarity means unconditional support for the just aims of those resisting oppression. As Palestinian journalist-activist Maath Musleh explains: “If you think that [return] is not possible, then you are really not in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.”

Some also object that refugees’ return would mean an end to the “Jewish state.” But supporters of social justice must ask themselves how they can defend a state whose very existence depends on structural denial of Palestinian rights.

Recently, more than a hundred leading Palestinian activists reaffirmed their opposition “to all forms of racism and bigotry, including, but not limited to, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Zionism, and other forms of bigotry directed at anyone, and in particular people of color and indigenous peoples everywhere.”

Such racism and bigotry is reflected precisely in Zionism’s attempt to erase the Palestinian people, a century long campaign that dishonors the memory of Jewish suffering and resistance in Europe.

The moral response is clear: “There is one geopolitical entity in historic Palestine,” writes Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah. “Israel must not be allowed to continue to entrench its apartheid, racist and colonial rule throughout that land.”

As Jews of conscience, we call on all supporters of social justice to stand up for Palestinian Right of Return and a democratic state throughout historic Palestine — “From the River to the Sea” — with equal rights for all.

The full measure of justice, upon which the hopes of all humanity depends, requires no less.

(Except where marked as organizational endorsements,* affiliations below are listed for identification only.)

Initial Signers
Max Ajl, Writer and activist; Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine
Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Switzerland
Max Blumenthal, Journalist and author
Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Filmmaker, photographer and film studies scholar
Lenni Brenner, Author and antiwar activist
Mike Cushman, Convenor, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)
Sonia Fayman, French Jewish Union for Peace; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network France
Sherna Berger Gluck, Founding member, U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Israel Divestment Campaign
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Coordinator, Fellowship of Reconciliation Peacewalks, Mural Arts in Palestine and Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence
Hector Grad, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Spain
Abraham Greenhouse, Blogger, Electronic Intifada
Tony Greenstein, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)
Jeff Halper, Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
Stanley Heller, Host of “The Struggle” TV News
Tikva Honig-Parnass, Former member of the Zionist armed forces (1948); author of False Prophets of Peace: Liberal Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine
Adam Horowitz, Co-Editor, Mondoweiss.net
Selma James, Global Women’s Strike; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK
David Klein, Organizing Committee, U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Dennis Kortheuer, Organizing Committee, U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Israel Divestment Campaign; Dump Veolia LA
David Letwin, Activist and writer; Gaza Freedom March
Michael Letwin, Co-Founder, Labor for Palestine; Organizing Committee, U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Antony Loewenstein, Australian journalist and author
Barbara Lubin, Executive Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance
Mike Marqusee, Author of If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew
Hajo Meyer, Auschwitz survivor; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Linda Milazzo, Participatory journalist and educator
Prof. IlanPappé, Israeli historian and socialist activist
MikoPeled, Author of The General’s Son
Karen Pomer, Granddaughter of Henri B. van Leeuwen, Dutch anti-Zionist leader and Bergen-Belsen survivor
Diana Ralph, Assistant Coordinator, Independent Jewish Voices-Canada
Dorothy Reik, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains
Prof. Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin, President, International League for Human Rights (German Section FIDH); Founding member, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace – EJJP Germany
Rachel Roberts, Civil rights attorney and writer
Ilana Rossoff, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Carol K. Smith, Activist and civil rights attorney
Lia Tarachansky, Director, Seven Deadly Myths
Hadas Thier, Contributing author of The Struggle for Palestine; Israeli-born daughter and granddaughter of Nazi Holocaust survivors
Dr. Abraham Weizfeld, Jewish People’s Liberation Organization (Montréal)
Sherry Wolf, Author and public speaker; International Socialist Organization; Adalah-NY
Marcy Winograd, Former Congressional peace candidate; public school teacher
Dr. Roger van Zwanenberg, Non-Executive Director, Pluto Books Ltd. 

Additional Signers
Dr. Liz Aaronsohn, New Britain, CT
Stephen Aberle, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver, BC

Deborah Agre
, Middle East Children’s Alliance; Berkeley, CA
Seymour Alexander
, Jews for Justice for Palestinians; Slough, UK
*American Jews For A Just Peace (ajjp.org)
Steve Amsel
, Jerusalem
Jeremy Appel, Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) York; Toronto, ON

Ruth Bader
German-Jewish/Australian daughter of Holocaust survivors
Adam Balsam, Independent Jewish Voices Canada
Miri Barak, Israel
Elifelet Sara Der Barambdiker, Jerusalem
Moran Barir, Human rights activist; Jerusalem
Ronnie Barkan, Boycott from Within; Tel-Aviv
Nora Barrows-Friedman, Journalist
Dalit Baum, Israeli feminist teacher and activist
Medea Benjamin, Codirector, Codepink
Ray Bergmann, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Craig Berman
, Kampala, Uganda
Mark Berman, Playwright
Rima Berns-McGown, Writer and Adjunct Faculty, University of Toronto at Mississauga
Frances Bernstein, Leeds, UK

Professor Naomi Binder Wall
, Toronto, ON
Councillor Jonathan Bloch, London, UK

Elizabeth Block
, Independent Jewish Voices; Toronto, ON
Audrey Bomse, National Lawyers Guild, Free Gaza
Lawrence Boxall, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver, BC
Professor Dennis Brasky, Rutgers University
Monique Buckner, BDS South Africa; Cassington, Oxfordshire, UK
Estee Chandler, Founding Member, Jewish Voice for Peace, L.A. Chapter
Linda Clair, Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
Jonathan Cohen, College Park
Robert A. H. Cohen, Kendal, Cumbria, UK
Richard Colbath-Hess, Jewish Voices for Peace; Cambridge, MA
David Comedi, Tucumán, Argentina
Prof. Stuart Cryer, Gatineau, QC
Prof. Roger Dittmann, Scientists Without Borders; CSU Fullerton
Gordon Doctorow, Toronto, ON
Amy Druker, Toronto, ON

Sarah Ducker
, Leeds, UK
Mark Elf
, Jews sans frontiers
Arlene Eisen, San Francisco, CA
Marc Etlin, NYC
Prof. Sam Farber, NYC
PnIna Feiler, Yad Hanna, Israel
Marian Feinberg, Environmental and social justice activist; Bronx, NY
Harry Feldman, Blogger
Keith Fine, Birmingham, AL

Deborah Fink
, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods; UK
Julius Fisher, Vancouver, BC
Alexei Folger, Jewish Voice for Peace; Bay Area
Maxine Fookson, Jewish Voice for Peace; Portland, OR
Racheli Gai, Tucson Women in Black; Jewish Voice for Peace
Prof. Roni Gechtman, PhD, Mount Saint Vincent University; Halifax, NS
Nicole Gevirtz, Voorhees, NJ
Amit Gilutz, Ithaca, NY
Dr. Terri Ginsberg, film scholar; Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism; NYC
Christoph Glanz, Oldenburg, Germany
Neta Golan, ISM, Palestinian Territories
Nathan Goldbaum, International Socialist Organization; Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, Chicago Teachers Union
Sharon Goldberg, Surrey, BC
Michael Golden, Ashland, OR
Steve Goldfield, PhD, Former chair, Palestine Solidarity Committee; former editor, Palestine Focus; Oakland, CA
Jean R. Goldman, Women in Black; Miami Beach
Rachel Goldstein, Lakewood, CO
Sue Goldstein, Women in Solidarity with Palestine; Toronto, ON
Arifa Goodman, San Cristobal, NM
Kathryn Goodman, Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast, Wellington, NZ
Marty Goodman, Former Executive Board member, Transport Workers Union Local 100, NYC
Allen Greenberg, NYC
Terry Greenberg, Vancouver, BC

Shaina Greiff
, Researcher/writer; London, UK
Jennifer Grossbard
Heidi Grunebaum, Cape Town
Cathy Gulkin, Independent Jewish Voices; Queers Against Israeli Apartheid; Toronto, ON
Georges Gumpel, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Freda Guttman, Tadamon!; Montreal
Boris Hammerschlag, Internationalist Socialist League, grandson of holocaust survivors and victims (Dachau); Israel/Occupied Palestine
Shaul Hanuka, Mitzpe Ramon
Benjamin Hecht, Germany
Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Author and journalist; Germany
Elliot Helman, Jewish Voices for Peace; San Francisco, CA
Annette Herskovits, Holocaust survivor, writer, and activist; Berkeley, CA
Louis Hirsch, Chicago, IL
Rebecca Hom, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-U.S.
Bec Hynek, Socialist Alternative; Sydney, NSW
Naomi Isaacs, Munich, Bavaria
*Jews Opposing Zionism, Not In Our Name – NION (Canada)
Riva Joffe
, Jews Against Zionism; London, UK
Bette Jones, Jews for Justice for Palestinians; Network of Oxford Women (NOW) for Justice & Peace; UK
Ramsey Judah, Activist and immigration rights attorney; Los Angeles, CA
Elena Judensnaider, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Alex Kane, Assistant Editor, Mondoweiss.net; World Editor, AlterNet
Dan Kaplan, Executive Secretary, AFT Local 1493, San Mateo, CA Community College Federation of Teachers
Jenny Kastner, Cambridge, MA
Louis Katz, Longmeadow, MA
Martha H. Katz, Youngstown, OH
Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, Author, Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation; Independent Jewish Voices–Canada; Burnaby, BC
Asaf Kedar, Zochrot
Alice Diane Kisch, Jewish Voice for Peace; Emeryville, CA
Elena Klaver, Niwot, CO

Janet Klecker
, Sonoma Valley Peace & Justice
Mark Klein, Toronto, ON
Dr. Irena Klepfisz
Jacob Klippenstein, Chicago, IL
Harris Kornstein, Graduate student, UC Santa Cruz
Bud Korotzer, Brooklyn, NY
Francine Korotzer, Brooklyn, NY
Yael Korin, Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid; Southern California
Al Kovnat, Vietnam Vets Against the War; OSS; Veterans for Peace; Bensalem, PA
Prof. Emeritus Steve Kowit, American poet, Southwestern College
*L.A. Jews for Peace
Rosa Kurshan-Emmer, public school teacher; Oakland, CA

Micha Kurz
, Grassroots Jerusalem; Al-Quds
Sylvia Laale
, Ottawa, ON
Stephen Landau, Translator and publisher; White Plains, NY
David Landy, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Lenny Lapon, Springfield, MA
Valerie Lasciak, WILPF Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Santa Cruz, CA
Lillian Laskin, L.A. Jews for Peace
Prof. Barbara Laslett, Seattle, WA
Albert Meyer, Gainesville, FL
Alan Myerson, Culver City, CA
Pauline Laurance
Chuck Scurich
, Oakland, CA

Melanie Lazarow
, University of Melbourne, Australia
Rachel Lederman, Attorney; San Francisco, CA
Howard Lenow, Union Attorney, Founder, American Jews For A Just Peace;
Sudbury, MA
Aaron Lerner, Senior, University of Washington-Seattle
Leah Levane, Jews for Justice for Palestinians; London, UK
Adam Levenstein
Michael Levin
, Musician; Chicago, IL
Rebekah Levin, Steering Committee, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine; Oak Park, IL
Daniel Levyne, Union juive française pour la paix, France
Brenda Lewis, Child of Holocaust survivor; Guelph, ON
Mark Lickerman, Chicago, IL
Molly Lidz, Labor organizer; Philadelphia, PA
Daniella Liebling, Brooklyn, NY
Prof. Emerita Abby Lippman, McGill University, Montreal
Dave Lippman, NYC
Michael Locker, NYC
Stephanie Locker, NYC
Jennifer Loewenstein, Faculty & Programming Assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Henry Lowi
Prof. Alex Lubin, American University of Beirut
David Makofsky, Research anthropologist; Oakland, CA/Beijing, PRC

Helga Mankovitz
, Independent Jewish Voices; Kingston, ON
Eli Marcus, Occupied Palestine
Richard Marcuse, Independent Jewish Voices; West Vancouver, BC
Katrina Mayer, Jewish socialist & anti-Zionist; Leeds, UK
Hilda Meers, Scottish Jews For a Just Peace
Helaine Meisler, Jews Say No!, Middle East Crisis Response
Chloe Meltzer
Peter Melvyn, Critical Jewish Voice; Vienna
Abraham Melzer, Publisher and Journalist; Neu Isenburg, Germany
Waldo Mermelstein, Sao Paulo, Brasil
Karen Meshkov, Philadelphia, PA
Gail Miller, Passenger, U.S. Boat to Gaza-The Audacity of Hope; NY
Prof. David Moshman, Lincoln, NB

Susannah Nachenberg
, Oakland, CA
Dorothy Naor
, Herzliah, Israel
Ofer Neiman
, Jerusalem, Israel
Sheryl Nestel
, Independent Jewish Voices Canada; Toronto, ON
Prof. Hilton Obenzinger, Palo Alto, CA

Orna Neumann
, London, UK
Marlene Newesri, NYC
Hiam Tabbarah Odds, Spain
Paula Orloff, Nevada City, CA
Norah Orlow, Jerusalem

Akiva Orr 
(1931-2013), Matzpen
Dr. Susan Pashkoff, London, UK
Ibrahim Paul, Sweden
Sharon Pavlovich, Teacher, NYC

Yael Petretti
, Southampton, MA
Karen Platt, Jewish Voice for Peace; Albany, CA
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Peter Purich, Ottawa, ON

Prof. Peter Rachleff
, Macalester College; Saint Paul, MN
Dr. Marco Ramazzotti Stockel, Ebrei Contro l’Occupazione; Roma
Roland Rance, Jews Against Zionism; London, UK
Zohar Chamberlain Regev, Dúrcal; Granada, Spain
Fanny-Michaela Reisin, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace-EJJP Germany
Renen, Boycott From Within; Tel Aviv
Ernest Rodker, Jews for Justice for Palestinians; UK
Barbara Rosenbaum, Co-editor, Patterns of Prejudice; London, UK
Ernesto Rosenberg, Gynecologist; Neuquén, Argentina
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, Chair, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)
Emma Rosenthal, Director, Cafe Intifada; Los Angeles, CA
Yehoshua Rosin, Gush-Shalom; Rehovot, Israel
Martha Roth, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver, BC
Peter Roth, Stockholm, Sweden
Reuben Roth, Laurentian University, Oshawa, ON
Gerald Rozner, Monroe, MI
Prof. Cheyl A. Rubenberg, Boca Raton, FL
Rachel Rubin, Chicago, IL
Sandra Ruch, Toronto, ON
Michael Sackin, Leicester, UK
Leslie Safran, London, UK
Margot Salom, Just Peace for Palestine; Brisbane, Australia
Marlena Santoyo, Jewish Quaker, Germantown Friends Meeting, Philadelphia, PA
Prof. Christiane Schomblond (Ret.), University of Brussels
Ralph Schoenman, Author: Hidden History of Zionism; Vallejo, CA
Abraham Schultz,  Mexico City
Chuck Scurich, Oakland, CA
Susan Schwartz, Thousand Oaks, CA
Sylvia Schwarz, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; Saint Paul, MN

Yossi Schwartz
, Internationalist Socialist League; Haifa
Amanda Sebestyen, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Independent Jewish Voices
Carole Seligman, Co-editor, Socialist Viewpoint; San Francisco, CA

Noa Shaindlinger
, PhD candidate, Department of Near and Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto
Stephen Shenfield, Researcher and translator; Providence, RI
Ur Shlonsky, Geneva, Switzerland
Sid Shniad, National Steering Committee, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver, BC
Mya Shone, Author, The Hidden History of Zionism
Benjamin Silverman, Student and writer; New Jersey
Inbal Sinai, Tel-Aviv, Israel/Occupied Palestine
John Sigler, Jewish Friends of Palestine, Colorado Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Judy Slosser, Los Angeles, CA

Erica Smith
, New Rochelle, NY
Kobi Snitz, Tel Aviv

Abba A. Solomon
, Author of The Speech, and Its Context
Peter Sporn, Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East; Oak Park, IL
Lyn Stein, San Francisco, CA
Marsha Steinberg, BDS LA for Justice in Palestine
Alan Stolzer, NYC
Bilha Suendermann Golan, Human rights activist; Beit She’arim, Israel
Rhonda Sussman
Cy Swartz, Grandparents for Peace in the Middle East; Philadelphia, PA
Lois Swartz, Grandparents for Peace in the Middle East; Philadelphia, PA
Len Szajko, Israel
Marta Szedlak, Australia
Joshua Tartakovsky, Jerusalem
Prof. Barry Trachtenberg, Historian; Albany, NY
Matthew Taylor, Founding member, Young Jewish and Proud group within Jewish Voice for Peace; Berkeley, CA
Steve Terry, Criminal defense attorney; Brooklyn, NY
Sara Traub, Toronto, ON
Michael Treiger, Palestine

Lily van den Bergh
, Documentary filmmaker & organizer; Women in Black; NL
Dominique Ventre, French Jewish Union for Peace; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network France
Richard Wagman, Honorary Chairman, French Jewish Peace Union (UJFP), Paris
Donna Wallach, Founder, Justice for Palestinians
Judith Weisman, Independent Jewish Voices; Not in Our Name (NION); Toronto, ON
Jeff Warner, La Habra Heights, CA
Suzanne Weiss, Not In Our Name (NION); Toronto, ON
Barry Weisleder, Federal Secretary, Socialist Action/Ligue pour l’Actionsocialiste; Toronto, ON
Devra Wiseman
Adrienne Weller
, Freedom Socialist Party; Seattle, WA
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Founder member, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods; UK
Bekah Wolf, Co-Founder, Palestine Solidarity Project
Tamar Yaron, Founder & moderator: Encounter-EMEM for International Israel-Palestine peace activities; Kibbutz Hazorea, Israel
Myk Zeitlin, London, UK
Helen Holt Zuckerman, Philadelphia, PA
Larry Zweig, Solidarität International e.V.; Fürth, Germany

Allies
*Al Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Avigail Abarbanel
, Psychotherapist, activist and writer; Inverness, UK
Medhat Abbas, Bioinformatician, Director, Egyptiske KulturSenter I Norge
Lamia Abbas, Atlanta
Ramy Abdeljabbar, Paterson, NJ
Milagros Ahmad, Clermont
Jane Alexander, Oxford, UK

Faisal Algahtani
, Saudi Arabia
Elaine Algrain, Luxembourg
Tony Ali, Vancouver, BC
Jackie Alsaid, Academic lawyer in international law; Fareham, UK
Nawal Annab
Don Anderson, Vietnam Veteran; Lebanon, OR
Muhammad Haris Ansari, Medical student; Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

Marshall Ansell
, Sweden
Larry C. Anthony, Richardson
Enzo Apicella, FCSD/Cartoonist; London, UK
Rita Appleby, Grays, Essex, UK

B. Ross Ashley
, Steering Committee, NDP Socialist Caucus; Toronto, ON
Captain Wajkih Asi, Los Angeles, CA
Muna Assaf, Ramallah, Palestine
Rev. Rene August, Cape Town, South Africa
Prof. Silvio Augusto de Carvalho, Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Ahmed Azeddine, Retired didactic engineering specialist, Teknologist Institut, Frederiksberg, Denmark

Belal Bahader, Writer/activist, Seton Hall University; South Orange, NJ
William Bailey, Kaneohe HI
Maggie Bagon, Florence, OR
Samar Barakat, London, UK

Benjamin Baker
, Doctoral candidate, University of Pennsylvania
Prof. Mona Baker, Translation Studies, University of Manchester, UK

Julien Ball
, International Socialist Organization; San Francisco, CA
John Banks, Care Africa; Las Vegas, NV
Pier Luigi Barberini, Civitella San Paolo, Italy
Brenda Barnard, Brighton, UK
Julia Barnett, Toronto, ON
Faye Bartlett, United Methodist; Bellingham, WA
Bonita Behun, Sebastopol, CA

Nancy J. Bell
, US Student Ambassador for Peace to Israel (1978); Rossville, GA
Linda Benedikt, Writer; München, Deutschland
Ray Bergmann, Just Peace for Palestine; Brisbane, QLD
S. Bergsma, Zwinderen, NL

Joshua Beth

Ada Bilu, Jerusalem
Nils Bjørkelo, Fredrikstad, Norge
Paul Bouwmeester, Elgin, IL
Anne Bowers, Women in Black; NYC
Sallye Steiner Bowyer
Soraya Boyd, Facilitate Global; London, UK
Eamon Bradley, Derry, Ireland
David Bragin, USA

J
ed Brandt, Occupied Media; Brooklyn, NY
Nadine Brennan, Santa Cruz, CA
Tibby Brooks, NYC
Jean Brown, Oakland, CA
Pauline Brown, Oakland, CA
Regina Brown, MD, Anochi; San Francisco, CA

Tom Brown
, Oakland, CA
Rick Burgess, Bangor & Ynys Mon Peace and Justice Group, Anglesey, Wales
Dr. Clint Le Bruyns, Director & Senior Lecturer of Theology & Development Programme, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Francisco Caballos
, Sefarad Al Andalus, Rojo, Seville, Spain
Edith Cacciatore, Novato, CA
Maria Cal, Vigo, España
Paola Canarutto, Italy
Jen Carlo, Staten Island, NY
Smadar Carmon, Human rights activist; Toronto, ON
Daniel Carnie, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-UCLA
Vittorio Caroselli, Blogger; Palermo, Italy

Eva Carter
, Pittsburgh, PA
Eric Carwardine
, Thornlie, Western Australia
Teresa Castillo, Madera, CA
Carolyn Cicciu, Palestine Education Network (NH) and New Englanders for Justice in Palestine; Goffstown, NH
Ben Collins, International HIV Partnerships; London, UK
Margot Connolly, Charleville, Co. Cork, Ireland
Ismael Cordeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sue Cosgrave, Cork, Ireland
Aquila Coulibaly, Occupy The Hood; Philadelphia, PA

Armand Crispin
, Staten Island, NY
Prof. Susan Curtiss, PhD, UCLA
Ian Cuthbertson, UK
Michelle Dalnoky, RN; Florida

Jamal Daoud
, Viva Palestina Australia; Sydney, NSW
Susan Daum, MD, NYC
Walter Daum, League for the Revolutionary Party; NYC
Howard Davidson, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid; Toronto, ON

Rebeca Dawson
, MD; Houston, TX
Jean Day, Seattle, WA
Langlois Dominique, Hainaut, Belgium
Elsie Dean, Burnaby, BC
Pucci Dellanno, Public speaker, music manager; Porterville, CA
Alexander R. DeSantiago, Stockton, CA

Dr. Sheila Delany
, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
Stany Dembour, Belgium
David DePoe, Teacher, Rank and File Education Workers of Toronto, Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly
Merav Devere, Brighton, UK
Gustav Draijer, Amsterdam, NL
Francine Dumas, Gatineau, Quebec
Shane Duran, Brisbane, QLD
Juan De Santiago, San Jose, CA
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian & Gay Solidarity; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sarah Ebady
David Ehrens, Dartmouth, MA
Prof. Nada Elia, Antioch University, Seattle WA
Hilde Kristin Ellingsund, Norway
James A. Everett, President, Ark of the Covenant Foundation

Shaban Mahamoud El-Hellou
, Gaza, Palestine
Ramzy Elian
Liz Elkind
, Scotland

Philip Englehard
, Macclesfield, UK
Sydda Essop, Cape Town

Unni Evang
, Norway
David Evans, Rochester, NY
Prof. Faramarz Farbod, Moravian College, Nazareth, PA

Kathy Felgran
, Watertown, MA
Daniel Fernandes, Curitiba, PR, Brazil

Prof. Gary Fields, 
University of California, San Diego
Michael J. Fitzgerald, Klamath Falls, OR

Steven Flowers
, Chicago Cuba Coalition
Richard Forer, Author, Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion–A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict; Trenton, NJ
Heather Formaini, Italy
Sadie Fourie, Pretoria, South Africa

Prof. Cynthia Franklin
, Univ. of Hawaii
Carl Freeman
, France
Joseph Freeman, Toronto, ON

Craig Fulton
, UK
Patricia Furlough, Conway SC
Maria Galan, Spain
Alisa Gayle-Deutsch, Toronto, ON
Daniel Geery, Salt Lake City, UT

Gumpel Georges
, Union Juive Française pour la Paix, France
Ihsan Ghadieh, Michigan
Kamran Ghasri, CA Green Party Israel Divestment Campaign
Bilal Billy Gibbons, London, UK
W. Gifford, Leesburg
Christoph Glanz, Oldenburg, Germany
Veronica Golos, Poet, Taos, NM
Alicia Fdez Gómez, Asturias
Neil Gordon, Author; Paris
Alice Graner, Minneapolis, MN
Shaina Greiff, Researcher and writer; London, UK
Elsa Guerra, San Francisco, CA
Leticia Guerra, San Antonio, TX
Mitchell Gumbley
Marilyn Hacker
, Poet, translator and editor; Paris
Ismail Hammad, Fairfield, CA
Khaled Hamam, Qatra, Palestine
Cliff G. Hanley
Marcus Christain Hansen, Alstead, NH
Jane Harries, UK
Leora Harris, Brooklyn, NY
Wendy Hartley, Palestine-Israel Working Group of Nevada County, CA
Kamal Hassan, Grants Pass, OR
Abe Hayeem, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, UK

Dietrich Heißenbüttel
, Esslingen, Germany
Detlef Heier, Watamu, Coast, Kenya
Amy Helfant, Activist and worker
Philippe de Henau, ingénieur civil member of ABP, INTAL; Belgium

Elise Hendrick
, Cincinnati, OH
George Henry, Bellevue
Shir Hever, Goettingen, Germany
Pat Hewett, Friends of Sabeel; USA
Guy St. Hialie, Canada

Martin Hijmans
, Journalist & blogger, Amsterdam, NL
Sally Hinshaw, Columbus, OH
Reverend Andy Hird, Santa Fe, NM
Guus Hoelen, Leusden, NL
David Howard, Ojai, CA
Michael V. Hugo, Youth and Young Adult Minister; Clinical Social Worker; Mundelein, IL
Thami Hukwe, Socialist Party of Azania

Tony Iltis
Green Left Weekly, Melbourne, Australia
John A. Imani, Los Angeles, CA
Jane Jackman, Researcher, UK
Mohammed Jaradat, Torrance, CA
Jake Javanshir, Toronto, ON

Patrick Jay
, Occupy Colorado Springs
Lee Jenkins, Deputy General Counsel, Howard University; Sterling, VA
Michael Jerome, NYC
Roland James Jesperson, Attorney, Taylor, ND

Nicholas Jewitt
, Bangor, Wales, UK
Linea Johansen, Social-and healthcare helper; Denmark
Susan Kadray, London, ON
Ghada Karmi, UK Research Fellow, University of Exeter

Adah Kay

Asaf Kedar, Zochrot
Warren Keller, Clearwater, FL
Kieran Kelly, Aotearoa
June Forsyth Kenagy, Albany, NY

Stephen Kerpen
, Portland, OR
Dr. Israr Khan, UK
Migna Khan, Advocates for Peace and Social Justice; West New York, NJ
Dr. Nasir Khan, Historian and peace activist; Oslo, Norway
Samira Khoury, Lebanon
Mark Kilian, Internationale Socialisten NL, Alkmaar, Nederland
John King, NYC
Orang Kiyani, London, UK
Kim Klausner, San Francisco, CA
Susie Kneedler, USA
Gill Knight
Margaret Knight
, Santa Cruz, CA
Terri Knoll, Tampa, FL
Kostas Kounenidakis, Athens, Greece
Robert Krikourian
Larry Kronen
, Albuquerque, NM

Elfriede Krutsch
, Berlin, Germany
Jurgen P. Kuhl, Burnaby, BC

*Labor for Palestine
Scott Lafferty
, Brighton, UK
Mika Laiho
, Ex-peacekeeper, UNIFIL, UNPROFOR, IFOR; Pori, Finland
David Landy, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Dublin
David K. Langstaff, Bay Area, CA

Marian Larsen
, Odense, Denmark
Pam Laurance, London, UK
Larry Lawson, Tignish, PEI, Canada

Rachel Lea

Arthur Leahy, Ireland
William Leavy
Lucien Legrand
, Président, Comité pour unePaixJuste au Proche-Orient (CPJPO)–Luxembourg

Margaret Leicester
, Albuquerque, NM
Paola Leonardini, Livorno, Italy
Kathy Lessuck, Providence, RI
Benji de Levie, NL Palestina Komitee, Rotterdam

Jeremy Levinger
, University of Wisconsin-Madison; St. Paul, MN
Carol Frances Likins, ICUJP (Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace); Los Angeles, CA

Scott Linder
, Fremont, CA
Brittney Little, Students for Liberty; Toms River, NJ
Brooke Lober, PhD Student, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson
Tristan Lohendrin, Amsterdam, NL
Ben Lorber, Journalist and activist; Chicago, IL
Leila J. Louis
Rhonda Lumley, Pensacola, FL
Prof. Andrew Lyons, PhD; Toronto, ON
Prof. Emerita Harriet Lyons, University of Waterloo, Toronto, ON
Michael McAllister, Founder of Ché scholarship Bethlehem University; Belfast, Ireland
Ellen McGovern, Buderim, QLD
Dr. William F. McIver II, PhD; Eugene, OR
Paula McPheeters
Dorothy Macedo

Savdah Manjra, Toronto, ON
David Marchesi, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK

Daniel Marlin
Eugene Marner
, Franklin, NY
Robby Martin, Dublin
Marita Mayer
Marijke Merel, Utrecht, NL
Katherine M. Metres, Writer entrepreneur; Silver Spring, MD

Cecily Michaels
, Blaxland, NSW
Salem Mikdadi, China
Julia Miranda, Montreal, QC
Mirna Miranda, U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation; LaPorte, CO

Sean Mohsin, Chicago, IL
Jeffrey Monheit, Fresh Meadows, NY
Liron Mor, Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine
Margrit Moser, Berne, Switzerland
Marie Mouradi, East Greenwich, RI
Neil Mulholland, Ireland
Mariyam Mulla, London, UK
Sean Mulligan, Alpharetta, GA
Haroon Munir, Watford, UK
A. Munshi, Toronto, ON

Maarten Muskens
, PK NL; Germany
Prof. Rima Najjar, Al Quds University, Occupied Palestinian Territory; Bloomington, IN
Taghreed Najjar, Amman, Jordan

Yahya Nana
, Lenasia, South Africa
Jeff Neff, Los Angeles, CA

Mical Nelken
, London, UK
Diana Neslen, Ilford, UK
Si Neumann, Artist, Cairo
Cindy Newman, Los Angeles, CA
Hayley Newman
*New York City Labor Against the War
Tony Nicholas, Sydney, NSW
Rael Nidess, MD; Marshall, TX
Kathy Nitsan, Berkeley, CA

Dagmar Noble
, Weston-super-Mare, Avon, UK
Devon Nola, Political and social justice activist
Judith Norman, San Antonio, TX
Henry Norr, Berkeley, CA
*North Pyget Sound Israel-Palestine Mission Network, Everett, WA
Adam Nuchtern, Houston, TX
Cornelius O’Brien, London, UK
Dr. John O’Brien, Sydney, NSW
Margaret O’Bryan, Australia
Gerry Ohannessian, London, UK

Annika Ohlson
, Teacher; Bjärred, Sweden
KajOhrnberg, Historian; Helsinki, Finland
Roberta Olimpi
Vaneide Olmo
, São Paulo, Brazil

Cristina L
ópez Ortiz, Barcelona, Spain
Sot Otter, Scotland
Kevin Ovenden, Palestine solidarity activist and Respect Party; London, UK
*Palestine Poster Archives
Pauline Pan
, Toronto Students for Justice in Palestine
Dr. Kathy Panama, London, UK
Meredith Pass, Louisville, KY
Judith Pecho, RN; Educator; Corrales

Grahame Perkins
, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Deutschland
Ursula Peters, Germany
Mr. Blair M. Phillips, St. Catharines, ON
P.G. Phippen, New London, NH

Caroline Picker
, Phoenix, AZ
Daniel Pines, Rochester, NY
Sophia Ponders, Interfaith worker; Los Angeles, CA
Sylvia Posadas, Blogger, Kadaitcha; Noosa, QLD
Jenean Qaddura, SMU; Dallas, TX
*Queensland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Australia
Ezyño Ezygual Quemasda, Madrid, Spain
Steve Quester, Teacher; Brooklyn, NY
Attia Rajab, Palestine Solidarity Committee; Stuttgart, Germany
Najah Rammouni, Dearborn Heights, MI
Boris Ran, Dallas, TX

Sterling Rand
, Eugene OR
Naomi Rankin, Edmonton, AB
Ismaeel Abdur-Rasheed, Vietnam-era veteran; NYC

Dan Read
, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK
Peter Reid
, Abbotsford, BC
Dick Reilly, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism

Michael Richter
, München, Deutschland
David Rider
, Washington
Rosalie Riegle, Neighbors For Peace; Evanston, IL
Bill Risebero, Palestine Solidarity Committee; Friend of Alrowwad; London, UK
William Roberts, Redwood City, CA
Liz Roberts, War Resisters League; Brooklyn, NY
Stewart Robinson, Cleveland Hts., OH
Joan F. Rodriguez, San Mateo, CA
Linda Rogers, Bangor and Ynys Mon Peace and Justice Group; Llangoed, Ynys Mon, Wales
Ned Rosch
Rudy Ruddell
, Castro Valley, CA
Michael Ryan, Lacoste, France
Sara Saba, Esq., Attorney and human rights activist; Princeton, NJ
Katherine Salahi, Oxford, UK
Joe Salameh, Brentwood, CA
Julieta Salgado, Organizer, New York Students Rising; Brooklyn, NY
Herbert Salit, Los Angeles, CA

Yasmina Samahy
, Houston, TX
Dr. Ian Saville, Lecturer, Middlesex University, London, UK

Michael Schembri
, Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine; Allawah, NSW
Gabriel M. Schivone, Ad Hoc Steering Committee, National Students for Justice in Palestine; Tucson, AZ
Fred Schloessinger, Nanaimo, BC
Margot Schlösser, Malmedy, France

Angelika Schneider
, German Branch Fellowship of Reconciliation; Lilienthal
Björn Schneider, Frankfurt, Germany
Prof. Christiane Schomblond (Ret.), Brussels, Belgium
*Scientists Without Borders
Neil Scott, Auckland, NZ
Chuck Scurich, Oakland, CA
Prof. Sako Sefiani, Glendale, CA
Mehrdad Shahabi, Tehran, Iran
Mehraz Shahabi, Bristol, UK

Jennifer Selwyn
, PhD
Mona Seredin, Delray Beach, FL
Ellen Shatter, Providence, RI
Glenn Shelton, Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice; Detroit, MI
Anouche Sherman, London, UK

Amanda Joy Sidell
, Chicago, IL
Damon Simonetti, ACLU, F&AM; Greenfield, MA
Sam Simpson, Cork, Ireland
Inbal Sinai, Tel-Aviv, Israel/Occupied Palestine
Diego Siragusa, Author of “Il terrorismoimpunito”; Biella, IT
Melinda Smith, International peace education consultant; Albuquerque, NM 

*Socialist Party of Azania
Rebecca Anshell Song
, Redmond, WA
Dan Sockrider, Indianapolis, IN
Isabelle Spreafico
Prof. Carol Strauss Sotiropoulos, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
John Spritzler, Editor, 
www.NewDemocracyWorld.org
Aviva Stahl, US researcher, CagePrisoners; London, UK
Rick Staggenborg, MD
, Board President, Take Back America for the People; Coos Bay, OR
Burton Steck, Chicago, IL
Ron Strand, Vancouver, BC
Mary-Alice Strom, USA
Deena Stryker, Philadelphia, PA
Beverly Stuart, Seattle, WA
Dr. Dwyer Sullivvan, Organization Director, Camp Micah: Leadership for Peace and Justice; Kitchener, ON
Liz Taha, London, UK
Mohamed Taha, London, UK

John Taulbee
, Fort Wayne, IN
H. Kelly Taylor, University City, MO
Nadya Tannous
Barbara Thiessen, Kansas City
Laura Tillem, Wichita, KS
Maxime Touzel, Sept-Iles, QC

Roger Tucker
, Publisher, One Democratic State; Eronga, Michoacan, Mexico
Beth Tupper, Allston
Rogers Turrentine, WGAwest; Encinitas, CA
Samir Twair, Journalist; Los Angeles, CA

Willi Uebelherr
, Halle/Westfalen, Germany
Katie Unger, NYC
*US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)
Lily van den Bergh, Documentary filmmaker & organizer; Women in Black; Amsterdam, NL
Rev. Johan A. van der Merwe, Dutch Reformed Church; George, West Cape, South Africa
Dottie Villesvik, North Pyget Sound Israel-Palestine Mission Network; Everett, WA
Johan Viljoen, South Africa
Maria Vittoria, Italy
Viva Palestina Australia
Fay Waddington
, Founding member, Queensland Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Brisbane, Australia

Bonnie Walker
, Portland, OR
Dan Walsh, Palestine Poster Project Archives
Sharron Ward, London, UK
Stuart Ward, Chairperson, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Thailand;
Bangkok
Nadia Warrayat, Washington, DC
Kathy Wazana, Director, They Were Promised the Sea; Toronto, ON

Terry Weber
, NYC
Lilian Wehbe
Alison Weir
, Executive Director, If Americans Knew, USA

Pim Wiersinga
, Rotterdam, NL
Barbara B. Wilhelm, Brookline, MA

Samantha Wischnia
, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP
Vincent Calvetti-Wolf
, TESC Divest!; Oakland, CA
Naomi Woodspring, Palestine Solidarity Committee; UK
Elizabeth Woolever, Lay Delegate, United Methodist Upper NY Conference; Rochester

Efa Wulle
, Wales
Rhona Wyer, Bangor & Abglesey Peace & Justice Group; Upper Bangor, Wales
Rev. Darrell Yeaney, Santa Cruz, CA
Sue Yeaney, Santa Cruz, CA
Samar Yunis, Florida
Ben Young, London, UK

Errol Young
, Toronto, ON
Frances Yule, Mt. Barker, Western Australia

Giuseppe Zambon
, Grankfurt am Main, Deutschland
Elizabeth Zoob, CSW; Boston

ROGER WATERS CLARIFIES HIS POSITION ON BDS

XMM102_wa
Roger Waters at separation fence (Photo: AP)
*
A week ago Roger Waters was featured live on a Huffington Post video interview where it appeared that he was ‘rethinking his position on the BDS Movement.’ Needless to say, the zionist press publicised this widely. I was hesitant to post anything at all about it, adopting a ‘Harry Truman attidude’ …. “I’m from Missouri … Show me!”  Well, today Waters did just that!
*
Former Pink Floyd frontman clarifies he was misinterpreted in Huffington Post Live interview when he said he was ‘reconsidering letter to fellow musicians about a cultural boycott of Israel’
*
Waters ‘still calling for Israel boycott’

Former Pink Floyd frontman clarifies he was misinterpreted in Huffington Post Live interview when he said he was ‘reconsidering letter to fellow musicians about a cultural boycott of Israel’

Or Barnea*

Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters says he was misinterpreted last week in a Huffington Post Live interview when he said he was “reconsidering the publishing of a letter to my fellow musicians about a cultural boycott of Israel.” Now he wishes to “clear the somewhat muddied waters.”

Many websites around the world, including Ynet, reported that Waters was rethinking his call for a boycott after he told Huffington Post, “I am considering my position. The letter asking my fellow musicians to boycott Israel has never appeared. I am thinking all of this through extremely carefully because I care more about the outcome, because I care about the people involved, than I do about the moment.”

In a note published on his Facebook pageon Friday, Waters clarified: “This was misinterpreted by some as meaning I was reconsidering my position on the Israel/Palestine issue, and more alarmingly that I had made an about face on this issue; not so. My position remains the same.”

He went on to apologize for the misrepresentations causing “some distress, particularly to my many friends.

“I am still considering the full text of a letter to my fellow musicians,” he said. “But for those of you who haven’t the patience to wait for me to consider the text, feeling somewhat caught between the rock of concern for my friends and the hard place of misrepresentation, here are the bare bones of any final version:

“To my fellow musicians: Please join me in a cultural boycott of Israel until such time as the Israeli government ceases its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and reverses its Illegal program of settlement building, both of which, it is widely agreed, constitute insurmountable impediments to any peaceful solution for either the Palestinian or the Israeli people.

“Peace for them both is our goal. Not to talk is not an option,” he concluded.

Source

ISRAEL ‘CASHING IN’ ON BOSTON BOMBING

The American people stand firmly with Israel. I think they identify with Israel. I think if you look historically, there’s a big change after 9/11. I’m sure that after the bombing, the tragic bombing in Boston, I believe that people will identify more with Israel’s struggle against terror and I think we can maintain that support.
*

Israeli PM’s advisor “bullish” Israel will benefit from Boston bombing – just like Netanyahu after 9/11

by Ali Abunima
*
*

In comments reminiscent of Benjamin Netanyahu’s own on 11 September 2001, a senior advisor of the Israeli prime minister has expressed confidence that Israel will benefit from the 15 April Boston Marathon bombing.

Speaking to US Jewish leaders, Ron Dermer, a senior advisor to the Israeli prime minister, praised Netanyahu’s leadership before stating:

I’m pretty bullish about the prospects for strengthening cooperation with the United States. Support for Israel – you all can tell me yourselves – I see polls that show that its almost at record highs… The American people stand firmly with Israel. I think they identify with Israel. I think if you look historically, there’s a big change after 9/11. I’m sure that after the bombing, the tragic bombing in Boston, I believe that people will identify more with Israel’s struggle against terror and I think we can maintain that support.

I think there’s strong bipartisan support in the United States for Israel. I think it’s a critical asset for Israel that that support remain bipartisan and I think there’s very important things this president [Obama] has done for Israel these last four years….

Dermer can be heard making the comments in a two and a half-minute video tweeted byHaaretz diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid.

Netanyahu on 9/11: “It’s very good”

Dermer’s comments are remarkably similar to ones his boss, then Israeli opposition leader, made on 11 September 2001 as the world watched in horror as the Twin Towers came down in New York. As The New York Times reported:

Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, “It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

It is unclear if Dermer’s comments were intended for public consumption, given that they reveal a fairly cynical and calculated Israeli government assessment of how to exploit an American tragedy for nakedly political purposes.

 

 

Written FOR

WHY WE WON’T MOURN FOR MARGARET THATCHER

*
Among other things … She sponsored a wave of racism claiming Britain was being “swamped by immigrants” – and then unleashed a reign of racist terror by the police on black communities across the country, notably in places like Brixton and Toxteth. At the same time she propped up Apartheid racism in South Africa branding Nelson Mandela a terrorist to the very end. She used the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s as an excuse to attack lesbians and gay men, bringing the anti-gay law, Section 28. And in case students thought they were getting off lightly she laid the foundation stone of the long campaign to transform education from a right into a privilege for the rich by introducing student loans.
*
Why we Won’t Mourn for Margaret Thatcher
Written by Liverpool Trades Union Council   

Margaret Thatcher died on 8 April 2013 and the vast majority of ordinary people greeted her passing with undisguised joy.

The right wing media have tried to portray this response as the disrespectful behaviour of a minority. It isn’t. It is a fitting response to the death of a Tory prime minister who spent the entire 1980s wilfully attacking the poor and the working class, in Britain and abroad.

During her reign countless people lost their lives directly as a result of her policies – miners killed on the picket lines, ten Irish prisoners driven to death on hunger strike by her refusal to recognise their human rights, sailors on the Belgrano torpedoed on her order as their ship sailed away from a war zone, people driven to suicide by her selfish economic policies that increased inequality massively in Britain.

And of course in this city 96 Liverpool supporters died at a football match. She was up to her armpits in a conspiracy to blame the victims and their families for a tragedy that her hateful policing policies caused. And we have only just got an official recognition of how this cover up increased the terrible suffering that the families and survivors of this terrible event have had to endure for 24 long years.

Did Thatcher mourn for her victims? No. And we don’t mourn for her.

In Britain she destroyed industry after industry to break the power of the trade unions – in steel, in the mines, in the print and on the docks. She passed the most undemocratic and draconian anti-union laws in the west. She deregulated the banks and directly caused the regime of financial piracy that led to the recent financial crash.

Thatcher openly targeted our city – a city with strong trade union and socialist values –imposing savage cuts and then ousting a democratically elected Labour council that fought her. She launched her attacks on Liverpool after the Toxteth Rising in 1981, determined to make us pay for having fought back and determined to carry out a policy of the “managed decline” (her words) of our city.

After she had waged her neo-colonial war against Argentina in the Falklands/Malvinas in 1982 – a war designed to shore up Britain’s military prowess on the world stage and protect the interests of Britain’s bosses who could smell oil reserves in the South Atlantic and saw the islands as a potential future basis of operations – she returned to war on people she called “the enemy within”, trade unionists, workers, poor people and above all the miners. After all, the excuse that Argentina was ruled by a dictator didn’t wash given her lifelong support for the murderous General Pinochet in neighbouring Chile. This was a dictator she was happy to lavish praise on and arm to the teeth. He killed at least 30,000 Chilean trade unionists after his coup in 1973.

Thatcher spent untold millions killing Argentinians and then in 1984/85 bludgeoning British miners into submission after a year-long strike, and all for the same aim – to ensure that the country would be a land of plenty for the rich elite both at home and abroad. Mining communities were wrecked by her pit closure programme and criminalised by a police occupation of their villages when they fought back.

And having won both battles she went on, in her third term of office – to impose an unjust local tax on everyone – the poll tax. She brazenly piloted it in Scotland first in act of vengeful spite against a people who had rejected Toryism outright. This was one battle she lost as we fought back with all our might. Make no mistake, it may have been the Tory men in suits who moved against her in parliament, but they were only able to do it because we had made Britain virtually ungovernable through the great Poll Tax Rebellion.

During her time in office and even before she became prime minister Thatcher – who famously said, “there is no such thing as society” –did her best to harm all of those who stood for justice and equality? She took free milk away from schoolchildren. She sold off council houses creating a terrible shortage of affordable homes; she privatised industries and utilities so her loud mouthed mega rich friends in the City of London could make killing after killing on the stock markets. She closed down industries and then allowed a heroin epidemic to flourish in the ghost towns her policies had created.

She sponsored a wave of racism claiming Britain was being “swamped by immigrants” – and then unleashed a reign of racist terror by the police on black communities across the country, notably in places like Brixton and Toxteth. At the same time she propped up Apartheid racism in South Africa branding Nelson Mandela a terrorist to the very end. She used the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s as an excuse to attack lesbians and gay men, bringing the anti-gay law, Section 28. And in case students thought they were getting off lightly she laid the foundation stone of the long campaign to transform education from a right into a privilege for the rich by introducing student loans.

There is not one thing that Thatcher did that was good. Her life was a blot on our landscape. We are well rid of her – and we are outraged that at a time of major cuts in welfare she is being given a multi-million pound send off. What hypocrisy, what an insult to the poor of this country who are having to cope with the bedroom tax and the benefit cuts as over £10million is spent burying a person the majority of people in this country despise.

Which brings us to the main point we should all remember as she is dispatched – Thatcher may be dead but her legacy of sacrificing the livelihoods, the rights and communities of the working class on the altar of profit lives on in her descendants. Cameron and his gang of Etonian toffs are trying to finish off the job Thatcher started. It is our job to stop them and hurl Thatcher’s legacy back in their face. Which is why on the day of her funeral Liverpool Trades Union Council renews its commitment to stopping the cuts, axing the bedroom tax, saving the NHS and supporting workers’ struggles here, across the country and across the world. 

Source

 

*

50 YEARS LATER ~~ FROM THE GHETTOS OF BIRMINGHAM TO THE GHETTOS OF PALESTINE

Numerous studies document an increasingly frightened, racist society: large numbers of Israeli Jews would not allow an Arab in their home, neighborhood, or children’s school, favor preference for Jews over Arabs in governmental hiring, and both societies live increasingly ghettoized lives.
*

Lessons from the civil rights movement on an important anniversary

By Alice Rothchild

 

Martin Luther King Jr.
A few months after writing the “Letter from Birmingham jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. (File photo) 

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the protests against Southern segregation in Birmingham and celebrate today’s anniversary of Martin Luther King’s penning of his fiery “Letter from Birmingham jail,” we are challenged by King’s deeds and  voice.

King wrote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He talked about the importance of grappling with the underlying causes of popular resistance; the powerful role of nonviolent direct action “to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.”

King was not only deeply committed to nonviolence, to fighting “the triple evils” of racism, materialism and militarism, but toward the end of his life, he also turned his passion to opposing the Vietnam war, thus entering the international realm and the struggle for human rights for all oppressed peoples.

 

Now, 44 years after his assassination and decades of unity between African-American and Jewish communities fighting racism and anti-Semitism, a new challenge is arising. African-Americans are feeling growing pressure to stand with their Jewish brothers and sisters, despite mounting distress over the policies of the Israeli government towards Palestinians. At the same time, the U.S. Jewish community is increasingly agonized and fractured over criticism of Israeli policies and the growing Jewish voice, from activist organizations to campuses, for an end to the occupation and for boycott, divestment, and sanctions towards Israel until there is a just resolution to the conflict.

What can we learn from King’s legacy about this contentious issue?

 

In October 2012, under the leadership of the Dorothy Cotton Institute, a delegation of African-American civil rights leaders, theologians, scholars and activists, (many of whom are Jewish), traveled to Israel and the West Bank to see for themselves. Informed by our experiences and knowledge of the segregated South, sit-ins, bus boycotts and nonviolent marches, many were unprepared for the striking parallels we faced.

“Why didn’t I know?” was a common, disturbing question.

 

While Israel is usually presented as a vibrant, productive, democratic society, the delegates learned about a reality that is usually hidden from public discourse. We learned that from 1948 to 1966, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship lived under military rule with checkpoints and permits to travel within their own country. There are now more than 35 laws that explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. Approximately 93 percent of Israeli land is in actuality for use by Jews only through the work of the Jewish National Fund and various state agencies. There are Jewish towns and Arab towns with major discrepancies in funding, infrastructure and schools, not to mention unrecognized Palestinian villages within Israel that receive no services whatsoever.

Numerous studies document an increasingly frightened, racist society: large numbers of Israeli Jews would not allow an Arab in their home, neighborhood, or children’s school, favor preference for Jews over Arabs in governmental hiring, and both societies live increasingly ghettoized lives.

 

Our experiences within East Jerusalem and the West Bank were even more troublesome; whether it was the aggressive Judaization of old Arab neighborhoods in the Holy City or the efforts by Israeli authorities to make it increasingly difficult for East Jerusalemites to retain their IDs. We witnessed the extensive systems of bypass roads (intended for Jewish settlers only), separate bus systems, the rapid growth of Jewish settlements, much on private Palestinian land, the crushing checkpoint system for Palestinians and the separation wall snaking through the West Bank.

Jewish settlers in the West Bank live under Israeli civil law, Palestinians under military law. Settlements receive ample water, electricity and infrastructure; Palestinian villages are marked by their scarcity.

In Hebron where militant Jewish settlers, guarded by heavily armed soldiers, have established an enclave in the middle of the Old City, there are streets that are “Arab-rein” (“clean of Arabs”) and a high level of daily harassment by well-armed settlers toward the local Palestinian population.

 

Given Israel’s reputation as the victim of Palestinian intransigence and terrorism, the other surprise for some members of the DCI delegation was meeting Palestinians deeply committed to nonviolent activism, well-versed in the teachings of King and Gandhi, placing their bodies on the line Friday after Friday in the villages of Bi’ilin, Budrus, Nabi Saleh and others. We learned of years of boycotts and nonviolent marches, campus actions, Freedom Rides and a growing commitment to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

 

Just as King wrote, “Where do we go from here?” today’s African-Americans and American Jews are struggling with the terrible consequences for a society that was once a source of pride and comfort, but is now more publicly reaping the cost of privileging one group of people over another. Discrimination, racism and segregation are the prevailing reality and what leaders from Jimmy Carter to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu have compared to apartheid.

 

Clearly, powerful forces within our own society, from Christians Zionists to AIPAC to our government-backed global military industrial complex make this all possible. This is further reinforced by a corporate news media frequently parroting the voices of the Israeli government rather than investigating the human rights concerns of Palestinians. But grassroots activists, joining together as part of an international movement, are developing a new discourse which is human rights-based, rather than focused on Jewish victimhood and exceptionalism at the expense of the Palestinian population.

Perhaps this can unite African-Americans steeped in the civil rights struggle and US Jews who feel Judaism has been hijacked by the increasingly isolated and dangerous policies of the Israeli state.

 

Alice Rothchild is a Boston-based physician, author, and filmmaker who is active in the US Jewish peace movement. 

Source

RUSHING TO JUDGEMENT IN BOSTON

Two related reports ….
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Obama’s rush to judgment: Was the Boston bombing really a “terrorist” act?

 Ali Abunimah
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President Obama has repeatedly claimed that the Boston Marathon bombing was an “act of terror” and that its alleged perpetrators are “terrorists.”

It may seem pointless to quibble with this description: after all what could be more “terroristic” than setting off bombs at a peaceful sporting event killing three persons, one a child, and injuring or horrifically maiming dozens more?

But in fact how the act is described is very important in determining government, media and wider societal responses, including ramping up racism and bigotry against Muslims, Arabs or people of color.

There can be no doubt that the Boston Marathon bombing was a murderous act, but does it –– based on what is known –– fit the US government’s own definitions of “terrorism”?

It is important to recall that other, far more lethal recent events, including the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and the school massacre at Sandy Hook, Connecticut havenot been termed “terrorism,” nor their perpetrators labeled “terrorist” by the government. Why?

Obama’s changing descriptions

In his first statement shortly after news emerged of the bombing in Boston on 15 April 2013, Obama pointedly did not describe the attack as “terrorism.” The term is totally absent from his statement. He does say, “We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.”

It was only the next day on Tuesday, 16 April, that Obama first called the bombing an “act of terrorism” after media had pressed the White House on the issue.

Last night, after 19-year-old suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev was captured by police, Obama made a statement declaring: “We will investigate any associations that these terroristsmay have had. And we’ll continue to do whatever we have to do to keep our people safe.”

In his weekly video address today, Obama reaffirmed, “on Monday an act of terrorwounded dozens and killed three people at the Boston Marathon.”

Official definitions of “terrorism”

The US government has no single definition of “terrorism” but the National Institute of Justice at the US Department of Justice points to two influential standards that are in use, one enshrined in law and the other provided by the FBI:

Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Both definitions of terrorism share a common theme: the use of force intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal. In most cases, NIJ researchers adopt the FBI definition, which stresses methods over motivations and is generally accepted by law enforcement communities.

What was the “political” or “social” goal of the Boston bombing?

Based on these definitions, what distinguishes a “mass shooting” such as Aurora or Sandy Hook on the one hand, from an act of “terrorism” on the other, is that the mass shooters have no political goals. Their act is nihilistic and is not carried out in furtherance of any particular cause.

So far, however, absolutely no evidence has emerged that the Boston bombing suspects acted “in furtherance of political or social objectives” or that their alleged act was “intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal.”

Nor is there any evidence that they are part of a group.

Neither of the suspects is known to have made any statement of a political or other goal for their alleged action and there has been no claim of responsibility. Obama, in his statement last night, admitted as much:

Obviously, tonight there are still many unanswered questions. Among them, why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help?

So why is Obama calling them “terrorists?

Since Obama has no idea why the alleged suspects may have resorted to violence and no one else has offered an evidence-based explanation, why is Obama already labeling them “terrorists” when he himself warned against a “rush to judgment?”

The only explanation I can think of is the suspects’ identification as ethnic Chechens and Muslims, even though there is no evidence that they acted either in relation to events in their ancestral homeland or were motivated by any Islamist ideology.

Obama seems to be going on the careless, prejudiced assumption so common on cable television: they’re Muslims, so they must be “terrorists.”

This may be the easy and populist way of looking at it, pandering to prejudice as Obama so often does, but it is irresponsible and violates official US policy that Obama seemed, at least on the first day, willing to observe.

How acts are labeled is highly political: recall the controversy over whether Obama was quick enough to label the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September as “terrorism,” and the continuing demands that the government designate the November 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, allegedly perpetrated by Major Nidal Hasan, as “terrorism.”

All of these cases reinforce the widely noted observation that acts of violence, especially mass shootings, carried out typically by white males are immediately labeled as the acts of “disturbed individuals” while the acts of a person identified as “Muslim” are to be labeled “terrorism” regardless of the facts.

These are unsafe assumptions and foreclose the possibility of full understanding. Moreover, by reinforcing popular stereotypes, they give new force to the anti-Muslim backlash that seems only to be growing stronger and more poisonous as the 11 September 2001 attacks recede into the past.

It is also important to note the contrast between Obama’s eagerness to label the Boston attack as “terror” and its alleged perpetrators as “terrorists” – without evidence – and hisreluctance to label last August’s mass murder at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin as “terrorism” despite the identification of the shooter as having a history of white nationalist and supremacist activism.

Perhaps the first serious consequence of labeling Boston a “terrorist” attack was the Obama administration’s decision to deprive the suspect who was captured of his constitutional right to receive a Miranda warning on arrest, a further thinning of the already threadbare pretense of “rule of law” in post 11 September 2001 America.

Could this be another “Columbine?”

Let’s consider another possibility. Exactly 14 years ago today, 20 April 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold executed a carefully-planned attack on Columbine High School in Colorado, using guns and bombs.

The two seniors murdered 12 fellow students and one teacher before shooting themselves.

Like the Boston Marathon bombing allegedly was, the Columbine attack was carried out by two persons, and it involved some of the same methods: homemade explosives.

But the Columbine attack is remembered as a “school shooting” or a “mass shooting” – perhaps the most iconic of a sad litany of such events – but not a “terrorist” attack.

In his essential 2009 book Columbine, Dave Cullen tells the story of the attack in meticulous detail, debunking many of the popular stereotypes that persist to this day that the attack was meant to avenge bullying by “jocks.”

The evidence that emerged is that Harris was a clinically sadistic sociopath who had no ability to empathize with other human beings. Klebold was a depressive whom Harris was able to manipulate. These facts lay at the heart of what happened.

It is definitely not any more desirable in the wake of such atrocities to have a media frenzy stigmatizing all people with mental illness as potential killers any more than we want them to stigmatize all Muslims as potential terrorists – in fact people with mental illness are no more likely to be violent than anyone else, and are indeed more likely to be victims of violence. And contrary to popular stereotypes fed by the media it is exceptionally rare for Muslims to become “terrorists.”

What we do need is patient, serious and informed analysis: could the relationship between the Boston suspects be similar to those of the Columbine killers? What other factors are at at play? I don’t know, but I cannot rule anything out.

Just like President Obama, I do not know what drove the alleged Boston bombers. What I do know is that when the media and the government, egging each other on, rush to judgment, the possibility of alternative scenarios is ruled out and getting to the truth is harder.

If Boston was “terrorism” based on the little that is known, then we must be able to answer these questions: can only white or Christian males be sociopaths, or suffer from other mental illnesses that under certain conditions lead to violence?

Can only two white Colorado high school students act as a pair without “terrorist” motives? Can “Muslims” or ethnic Chechens, or Arabs never be subject to the same kind of conditions or analysis?

Surely the survivors and families of the Boston bombing deserve no less of an accounting of what happened than the victims of Columbine?

We cannot and should not rule out that evidence will emerge that the alleged Boston bombers had a political motive. But it hasn’t so far.

What we have seen is the usual rush to judgment that has left Muslims and many people of color once again fearing collective blame and the governmental and societal retribution that comes with it.

 

Written FOR

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And of course, the anti-Muslim backlash …

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So here we are, nearly 12 years after September 11 unleashed a new wave of anti-Muslim hate. 44 percent of Americans say they have an “unfavorable” view of Muslims, according to a recent poll–and that was before the Boston bombings. How little has changed.

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Boston Marathon bombings unleash a new wave of Islamophobia

by Alex Kane
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Sharia
An anti-Park 51 protester in New York City in September 2010
(Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons)
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It’s happening again: another collective freakout steeped in Islamophobia. The Boston Marathon bombings have unleashed the anti-Muslim sentiment that bubbles under the surface and always shines bright in times of national hysteria. The current wave of Islamophobia the country is perpetuating and experiencing–and it’s only the beginning–is the first since the Park 51 fracas in 2010.

The news that the main suspects in the bombing are Chechen Muslims will fuel the ugly hate that has intensified since September 11. But the hate was unleashed immediately after the attack, even before the public knew that Muslims were involved. How little is needed for the brash and bigoted side of this country to come out swinging against the “Muslim enemy” we have been been so trained to fear.

It’s very easy to see the most blatant manifestations of the ugly phenomenon of Islamophobia, which casts collective blame on all Muslims. The right-wing is always the place to start. But it’s also emanating from our mainstream institutions and figures, where it’s a little more difficult to identify the Islamophobia. It’s there, though. Powerful institutions and figures are focusing on Muslims and trying to justify even more animus and surveillance targeting the Muslim community in the United States.

Let’s begin with the easiest of places: the Islamophobic media. The New York Postled the charge on this front. In the immediate hours after the Boston attack, the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid fingered a “Saudi national” who was injured in the blast as a suspect. It turns out he had nothing to do with the attack.

The other easy place to see anti-Muslim hate is, of course, the Islamophobic blogosphere. Pamela Geller went from freaking out about the Saudi to freaking out about two innocent people featured on the Post’s front page to freaking out about a missing university student to finally arriving at where everybody else is: freaking out about the Chechen suspects. What tied them all together was they all looked “Muslimy,” the term Wajahat Ali aptly used in Salon, and denotes how Muslims have become racialized in this country. There was also Steve Emerson, the faux terror “expert” welcomed by AIPAC with open arms, who opined about the “Saudi national” on television, as Ali Gharib documented.

And then there are the anti-Muslim hate crimes. ColorLines has chronicled some of them. They include: a white man punching a Palestinian woman who wears a hijab in Massachusetts; and Latino men beating up a Bangladeshi in the Bronx because he looked “Arab.”

But how easy anti-Muslim sentiment migrates over into the mainstream. Sure, this form of Islamophobia is not as blatant as Pam Geller’s. But it’s just as dangerous–if not more so, since more people imbibe what the mainstream tells them.

The mainstream media is busy speculating about whether Islam played a role in the decision to blow up the bombs at the Boston marathon. I heard one reporter ask the uncle of the suspects whether they were “radicalized” in a local mosque, apparently not knowing that the vast majority of mosques in the nation are nowhere near “radical.” This is the soft bigotry the mainstream is engaging in.

Another culprit that has bought into Islamophobia, and therefore legitimizing it, is law enforcement. Return back to the Saudi national story. As The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson writes, “he was the only one who, while in the hospital being treated for his wounds, had his apartment searched in ‘a startling show of force,’ as his fellow-tenants described it to the Boston Herald, with a ‘phalanx’ of officers and agents and two K9 units.” Davidson goes on to ask: “Why the search, the interrogation, the dogs, the bomb squad, and the injured man’s name tweeted out, attached to the word ‘suspect’?” The question answers itself. He was Saudi. He was Arab. That’s enough for a lot of people, including law enforcement. It speaks volumes that the only injured person to have his home searched by law enforcement was the Saudi national.

Finally, let’s look at the man who runs the city that suffered the nation’s most catastrophic terrorist attack. Mayor Michael Bloomberg sought to reassure New York City in the aftermath of the Boston attacks. But he ended up exploiting the attacks for his own political purposes. At a press conference on Tuesday, he crassly said: “The moment that we let our guard down, the moment we get complacent, the moment we allow special interests to shape our security strategies, is the moment that the terrorists are waiting for. As a country, we may not be able to thwart every attack. We saw that yesterday. But we must do everything we possibly can to try.”

“Security strategies.” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Bloomberg is referring to the New York Police Department’s tactic of spying on Muslim communities with no regard as to whether people are innocent or guilty of any crime. Don’t get complacent: stop criticizing the NYPD, the mayor says. They’re doing their job, and their job is to map Muslim communities, eavesdrop on conversations and catalog innocent people in police documents related to terrorism. And those “special interests”? That’s a clear as day reference to the Muslims who are fighting back against the spy program and to the allies who have joined them in that fight.

What Bloomberg doesn’t acknowledge is that the police department itself has admitted in court that their surveillance program has not stopped a single act of terrorism. Not one. Which begs the question: how can the “security strategies” Bloomberg is defending help prevent the next Boston? They can’t. But Bloomberg wants to justify a program that is Islamophobic at its core.

So here we are, nearly 12 years after September 11 unleashed a new wave of anti-Muslim hate. 44 percent of Americans say they have an “unfavorable” view of Muslims, according to a recent poll–and that was before the Boston bombings. How little has changed. 

 

 

Written FOR

 

JIMMY CARTER ALREADY WORKING TOWARDS HIS NEXT PEACE PRIZE

prisoners-day (1)
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Just a week after receiving an award for his work as a Peacemaker at Yeshiva University, Jimmy Carter is already working towards his next award ….
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       Carter Center Expresses Concern Over Palestinian Prisoners

ATLANTA… On the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, April 17, The Carter Center expresses concern for the treatment of 4,750 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, which contravenes international law and human rights norms. The prisoners, 106 of whom have been detained more than 20 years, include democratically elected members of the Palestinian legislature, such as Marwan Barghouti, Ahmad Saadat, and Ahmad At-Toun, as well as 235 children.  The fate of hunger striking prisoners is of special concern.  Samer Issawi has been on hunger strike for some 270 days, and his health has gravely deteriorated. Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters have occurred over detainee issues.  Should one of the strikers die, wider violence could erupt.

“The thousands of prisoners held by Israel are a persistent cause of resentment for the Palestinian people,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees should be consistent with its obligations under international law.  Practices such as transferring prisoners out of the occupied territory, extended solitary confinement, torture and ill-treatment, and the use of ‘administrative detention,’ which allows prisoners to be held for extended periods without trial or charge, should end.  Release of a significant number of prisoners could contribute to efforts to find peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

ISLAMOPHOBIA GETS A NEW INFUSION

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
3-faces-of-islamophobia
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Even before the suspects in the Boston bombing are apprehended, the verdict has already been handed down and it apparently has been decided that they are Moslems.
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Needless to say, the corporate media is having a heyday with this  …
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According to several Muslims interviewed by the media, when a white man carries out a crime, he is looked at as an individual, but when the suspect is Muslim, the entire Muslim-American community is labeled.

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After Boston attack: US Muslims reliving post 9-11 experience

Some 6 million Muslims live in US, and in days following Boston Marathon attack, they say they are experiencing anew harassment and anxiety which took place after 9/11. Says one Muslim youth who was at marathon finish line and whose photo was posted online, ‘I’m afraid to go to school’

Yitzhak Benhorin*

Muslims in the US are living in fear, praying that those responsible for the bombings in Boston will be apprehended and shown to be non-Muslim. Over the last few days, reports of harassment of Arabs and Muslims have been coming up throughout the US, especially at places of employment and in schools.

Apprehensions were raised among Arabs and Muslims after the New York Post published the photos of two Muslim teens, who the paper’s headlines claimed, were wanted by authorities for questioning in relation to the Boston bombings.

A short time after the attack, the main headline on the newspaper’s site had stated that at least 12 people had been killed and that the main suspect was a Saudi who had been arrested by Boston Police. Law enforcement quickly denied the reports, saying they had not arrested a Saudi national, or anyone else.

On Thursday, the New York Post published a photo of the two youth, both 17. The paper wrote that Salah Eddin Barhoum and his friend, Yassine Zaime, had been seen close to the marathon finish line. Later the paper retracted its earlier report, saying the two were not the ones being looked for and that the FBI had identified other suspects.

But Salah Barhoum, a son of Morrocan immigrant parents and a high school track runner, was so shocked by the publicity, that when he noticed someone in a car outside his high school watching him and talking on a phone, he quickly ran back into the school.

הרגעים שלאחר הפיגוע בבוסטון (צילום: AP)

Police, runner react to explosion (Photo: AP)*

Barhoum said that after his photo appeared on the cover of the Post, he received over 200 messages, one from someone in Oregon saying, “How could you do that? Did you even think about the consequences?”

In an interview with the AP, Barhoum said he will not feel safe until the party responsible for the attack is caught. “I’m going to be scared going to school. Work wise, my family, everything is going to be scary.”

The Barhoum family emigrated from Morocco to the US five years ago, and the father, El Houssein Barhoum said he is afraid someone will shoot his son, and that he worries about the safety of his wife and daughters. He himself admits he is afraid to go to his job at a Boston bakery.

The BBC also spoke with several random Muslims they met on US city streets. One 10-year-old boy, identified only as Yusef, said when he arrived at his Ohio school after the attack, he was asked questions by classmates regarding his family. During a class discussion on the attacks, another student asked whether Yusef would blow up the school. The teacher, who did not understand Yusuf’s reply, pulled him aside and held him back until his school locker was checked.

Since the Monday attack,US Muslims are experiencing an intense change in the treatment they receive from others, as they did after September 11. Memories from 2001 are resurfacing for the estimated 6 million Muslims throughout the nation.

The greatest apprehension for Muslims following 9/11 was brought on by the fact that the attackers did turn out to be Muslim.

According to several Muslims interviewed by the media, when a white man carries out a crime, he is looked at as an individual, but when the suspect is Muslim, the entire Muslim-American community is labeled.

From

WHAT IF THE BOSTON TERRORIST IS A MUSLIM?

But even if the perpetrator eventually turned to have a Muslim background, would that mean that America should indict the estimated 1600 million Muslims of this world.”

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The Bostonian tragedy

  Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem

There is no doubt that that the bombing at the Boston Marathon was a decidedly criminal act which ought to be condemned in the strongest terms. There is nothing more evil than targeting innocent people. No legitimate grievances or causes justify murdering or maiming innocent people.

This is why our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this violence and their families.

We Palestinians who have been victimized by Israeli terror and violence for decades understand what it means to be targeted by casual death and calamity.

Indeed, not a single Palestinian family has been spared the pain and anguish accompanying the sudden loss of life as a result of Israeli terror, either at the hands of the Israeli occupation army or Para-military Jewish settlers, hell bent on murdering non-Jews in order to expedite the appearance of a Jewish Messiah who would rule the world and attain redemption for Jews.

The Boston bombing has been condemned by every one, including Muslims, the likely suspects, given the Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hysteria permeating through the U.S. media ever since the 9/11 attacks.

I do hope that the American authorities will catch the perpetrators and subject them to the full weight of justice.

Having said that, I feel that as a Palestinian and Muslim, I must warn against the voices of hate and racism in the U.S. which are taking advantage of this tragic incident to incite against Muslims.

These are not truly patriotic American voices. I am not in a position to teach Americans the true meaning of patriotism. However, I believe there is a difference between true patriotism and inciting people to hate and murder.

This hateful incitement doesn’t fall under freedom of speech since freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom to urge people to murder or harm innocent people.

Otherwise, we must admit that the Nazis were exercising legitimate freedom of speech when they indulged in promoting the mass hysteria of hatred against their opponents.

Erik Rush, a frequent Fox News contributor, is one of these rabid gung-ho bigots of the American media whose tongue apparently functions much more swiftly than his brain does.

Rush got into a twitter exchange shortly after the tragic bombing. He wrote “Yes, they (Muslims) are evil. Let’s kill them all.”

Well, this is the kind of stuff that one would expect from such hate-filled individuals who should belong to psychiatric sanitariums rather than allowed to spew their racist venom via a TV outlet watched by millions.

Make no mistake about it, words can kill, especially when there are too many psychopaths of Rush’s ilk lurking throughout America, awaiting the “right moment” to murder an innocent Muslim man or woman and child.

In the final analysis, there is no real difference between killing innocent people at the hands of a terrorist and killing innocent people as an act of revenge.

True, the American law is against killing innocent people and the American law-enforcement agencies ought to be applauded for protecting Muslim citizens and visitors from the random violence of malevolent racists such as Erik Rush.

However, this is not enough. Venomous, hateful speech inciting to murder should be outlawed immediately.

Fox News must be held responsible, accountable and liable for any possible ramifications of Rush’s and like-minded people’s hate speech.

A gesture of good-will by the eccentric TV station should take the form of stopping any further association with this unreasonable individual.

So far, it is uncertain who carried out the criminal act at the Boston Marathon. But this is not the real issue because terrorists are terrorists first and foremost.

But even if the perpetrator eventually turned to have a Muslim background, would that mean that America should indict the estimated 1600 million Muslims of this world.”

What would Americans say and how would they react if one Muslim preacher in Amman or Cairo or Sana’a urged a massive congregation to kill Americans wherever they are found in revenge for the killing of innocent Muslims by Americans?

To be sure, innocent Muslims are being murdered and killed by Americans and their allies in Afghanistan, Yemen, and occupied Palestine and in many other places.

Yet, American visitors and tourists are freely touring the Muslim world, receiving all respect, protection and hospitality.

In the course of the past few decades, this writer hosted hundreds of Americans and Europeans and I don’t remember an instance of allowing the criminal American policy in occupied Palestine influence my or my people’s treatment of our American guests.

As a student, I lived many years in the U.S. and I know that most Americans are not carbon copies of Erik Rush. None the less, even one spoiled apple can ruin an entire fruit box.

I hope and pray that incidents like that of the Boston Marathon, painful and tragic as it is, will not make Americans lose their composures and mental equanimity. This is probably the ultimate goal of the perpetrators.

THE PALESTINIAN ‘CONNECTION’ TO THE BOSTON BOMBINGS

Let us hope that someone in the FBI is smart enough to look more carefully at the clues in Boston and find the real culprits behind these bombings instead of buying the Zionist spin. 
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Boston Bombings

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
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At first I thought I should not comment on the Boston bombings as it is obvious that we in Palestine, under siege and regular bombardment would clearly sympathize with the victims. But then I saw the usual pundits on mainstream media trying to spin the tragedy to serve racism.  The Israeli Consul-General in Boston told the Jerusalem Post that “Boston is a very quiet and calm place, especially when we come from Israel…..Still, the Jewish community and the consulate are on alert and security has been increased”.  He speaks as if he represents Jews of Boston (and only them) and insinuates as usual that problems in Palestine (‘Israel’) are because of the native “Arabs” not because of the Zionist colonization.  CNN gave extensive time to the Zionist ex-congresswoman Jane Harman who claimed this terrorist attack is likely linked to AlQaeda Islamists while trying to connect herself to victims when she supports terrorism herself. Besides her appalling record in voting for more weapons and money to Israel to kill Palestinians, she was unashamedly more pro-Israel to the point of challenging US interests on several occasions.  In October 2006, Time magazine stated that Harman had agreed to lobby the US Department of Justice to reduce espionage charges against Steve J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, two officials at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In exchange, Time said there was a quid pro quo in which AIPAC would lobby then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to appoint Harman as chair of the House Intelligence Committee! Then came Wolf Blitzer, another Zionist who now poses as the serious looking global “reporter” for CNN.   Here is Norman Finkelstein speaking the truth while Blitzer in defends racism/Zionism and shows where his loyalties stand in a public debate: 
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But if you thought his CNN appointment made him moderate his stance, you would be mistaken.  He continues to use all opportunities (including this tragedy) to use smoke and mirrors to hide facts.  Many Zionist pundits appeared in mainstream media spinning the same web.
 
There is no mention by those with “Israel first” mentality of the billions of taxpayer dollars given to Israel annually because of the Zionist lobby and how many innocent people are killed or displaced by it.  There is no mention of past false flag operations by the Israeli Mossad (for example in Egypt against US and British interests and in Iraq against Jewish institutions to drive Jews to migrate to colonize Palestine).  There is no mention of billions made by investors with inside knowledge; no mainstream media tried to investigate the short selling and the US stock market collapse that happened hours BEFORE the bombings (who profited?).  And while most western media had hours of continuous coverage of this bombing that killed three individuals, they rarely mention the daily bombings and killings of hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians especially by US drones in places like Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan (where there are no first class medical facilities as exists in Boston).  Nor do they care to mention killing by proxy of hundreds of civilians monthly by US puppet dictators from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia or by the US supported racist apartheid regime of Israel or of western funded Islamist groups in Syria.  Alas, Blitzer and Harman and hundreds like them assume their audience is stupid to buy their Zionist spin.  Let us hope that US citizens will finally challenge the staggering cost of Israeli apartheid and Israel-firsters in their midst. Let us hope that someone in the FBI is smart enough to look more carefully at the clues in Boston and find the real culprits behind these bombings instead of buying the Zionist spin. 

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