WATCH HOW THE OCCUPATION TURNED AN AMERICAN TEEN INTO A PALESTINIAN ACTIVIST

Photo of Tariq provided by the Abukhdeir family

Photo of Tariq provided by the Abukhdeir family

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Until recently, Tariq Abu Khudair  was a ‘happy go lucky’ American teenager. Watch and listen to the following account as to how the brutality of the occupation changed his life…

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Transcript

Tariq Abukhdeir: Thank you for having me tonight. Good evening. I’m happy to be back in the US – safe – and when I went overseas I had a tough time.

And actually when I arrived in Palestine the Israelis kept me in the airport for ten hours. At that time I was confused so I thought about it a little bit. I thought about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. As we speak right now, the Palestinian people are suffering.

I visited Palestine for six weeks and what happened to me was just a small taste of what they go through every single day. And the Palestinians do not have rights and when I went over there I forgot that I had freedom. I wish, now that I’m back, that they have the same freedom I have. I appreciate freedom more now that I’m back in the US.

I’m just an average kid. I was born in Baltimore and I moved to Tampa when I was eleven. I’m fifteen and I’m in tenth grade right now – I started school already.

Now, about my cousin Muhammad Abu Khudair. He was my first friend that I made when I went to Palestine this year – because I hadn’t been to Palestine for eleven years. So right when I went there I saw him with all my cousins. We became friends on the spot. We went out every day – we had so much fun. We stayed up all night.

So one night during the month of Ramadan, I passed by him and I said “Hi” to him. I was on the way to the bakery to buy some food. I came by and I drove off and I came back and I saw the cops were exactly where he was sitting. And I asked – there was only one of my cousins that was there – and I asked him “What happened?”

He told me that they kidnapped Muhammad and that, right when he told me that, so many things went through my mind. I was thinking, is he going to come back alive, what are they going to do to him, is he saying anything, can anybody hear him?

So at that point I got a call, the same second that I was told that he was kidnapped – and it was my cousin and he said “What are you doing at 4:30 AM outside?”

And I’m like “Bro, Muhammad just got kidnapped.” So then all my cousins, all of Shuafat came down, and they were like, “Where is he? We need to know where he is right now.” And we were talking to the cops. And the cops asked me, “Were you the last person to see him?” And I said “Yes. All I saw – and he was just sitting there in front of his house and I drove off and I came back and I saw you guys.”

So later on, a couple of hours later, we found out that he was killed. I found out first and I didn’t want to tell anyone. I just sat by myself and my cousins were like, “Why are you sad? He’s going to be back. He’s going to come back. We have to be positive.”

And I’m telling them “I hope so. God’s will.” And I’m sitting there thinking to myself, “Is this true?” I don’t want to think about it in a bad way but did he really get stabbed and burned alive? Could that really happen? Could someone actually do that to another person? And I was scared for his life.

And then, he was stabbed and burned alive and finally everyone knew when they announced it in the mosque. And when they announced it in the mosque everyone just dropped. They were like, “Is it true? We don’t even know how someone could to that to someone else.”

And to even make it worse, they began to fire rubber-coated metal bullets at us, at everyone. They even were firing at my mother, at my aunts and uncles that were inside their houses. They were shooting at every house. And it was so sad and inhumane that they could do that when we lost someone in our family. We’re the ones – my mom is still grieving and my cousin’s mom, my aunt, is still grieving over her son’s death. When he was murdered we thought to ourselves that we tried our best to think he was going to come back, until we found out everything.

To make it worse, later that day, I was on the side of the street when there were some protestors in front of me and there were the IDF [Israeli army] firing rubber bullets at them. And that’s when I was on the side and I’m thinking to myself, “Is this really happening in front of me? Are they really firing rubber bullets to the whole city, to my family?

It made me think how could this happen right in front of me? And then I heard Israeli soldiers behind me, and then I’m thinking they’re going to run by me. They’re just going to shoot like the rest of the soldiers did. They began to run after me. That’s when I panicked. And everyone began to scream and panic too and then they ran. And I began to run too and I panicked because I didn’t know what to do. And that’s when they stuck to me. Three of them were running after me, one person.

And that’s when I jumped the fence on my left and I was at a dead end. It was not actually a dead end but there was like a little ten-foot drop in front of me which everyone jumped. I was going to jump it because I was scared and so many things were running through my mind. So when I was about to jump it, they tackled me and punched me and zip tied me. So I couldn’t make any movements.

I was zip-tied and leg-cuffed and beaten, punched and kicked in the face until I was unconscious. And even when I went unconscious they kept punching and kicking me like I was a punching bag. And I woke up blindfolded in jail. I woke up like I thought I was in the same place, I felt like I was in my cousin’s place, God rest his soul. I’m like, “Where am I? Are they going to kill me? Am I going to live through this?” And I’m bleeding down my neck, and I’m bleeding down every part of my body and I feel like my face is a bubble because of how much it hurt.

After being six hours in jail – they took me to jail – they finally took me to a doctor. And when I went to that doctor I went unconscious again and when I woke up I saw my dad and my uncle in front of me. They said “you might come back home with us tonight, or you might go to jail.”

I thought to myself “why would I go to jail? They beat me up!”

And later on I began to drink and eat and while I was drinking and eating the soldier came up to me to go get dressed. I’m going back to jail. And I’m like – I couldn’t say anything.

So I went to the bathroom and I changed back into my clothes, the same clothes – I was in a gown in the hospital. I had to change back into the same clothes that had all my blood on it, and my ripped shirt.

I went back to the jail and I saw all my cousins in jail and it was so sad. It’s inhumane like how you can just take a bunch of kids for no reason and beat them. I saw my one cousin sitting next to me and his whole shoulder is dislocated and his whole shoulder is bleeding. And I’m looking at myself like how, how is this happening to me? How’s it happening to all the Palestinians? How do they live through this?

I stayed in jail for four days. Actually on the second day I was in jail they said I went to a court date. I went to the court, sat in a jail cell inside the court. I didn’t even get to go to my court date. They just tortured us. They put us in a cell inside the court. Nine people in a closed cell and it was so small. We had to stand, we couldn’t sit down. For six hours we kept standing in that cell. We couldn’t do anything until one by one, [I] was called.

So that’s when I returned to jail. Two days later I had another court date. The same thing happened. I went to the jail cell, stayed there for a couple of hours and finally I got out and there was a bunch of media in front of me. I was getting a bunch of questions. Right when I walked into the courtroom I saw my parents. My face lit up. I was so happy. So many things running through my mind. I’m finally going home. I’m finally going home. I’ll think about everything when I’m going home.

Then the judge told me I’m going to be on house arrest. Usually when I think about house arrest I’m like, “house arrest, I don’t know what that is.” Until she told me that I’m not allowed to go back to my city where my parents are staying – you’re supposed to stay away from your family. Why should I stay away from my family? They’re like trying to torture me.

So they did all this with no charges. That’s what they do to all the Palestinian people – with no charges filed. So on the day I left Palestine they attacked all my cousins, the rest of them. They took half my cousins when I was there and then they took the rest when I left – the night I left.

They waited for me to leave and then they took my cousins, ransacked my house that I was staying in. They took my fifty-year-old uncle. He got back from work and they took him. He works every day from eleven in the morning to six in the morning the next day and they took him. He was so tired.

And I really want to thank everyone that supported me and it’s sad that my cousins are still being persecuted. And the three cousins that were arrested with me – their names are Karim, Muhammad and Mahmoud – they’re still in jail because they’re not American and they didn’t have a video that showed the brutality of the Israelis.

Now, I think all people should be treated equal, no matter who they are or where they come from. We were all created equal and we all deserve to have our rights and I feel my cousins should have the same rights that Israel gives the Israelis.

And giving Palestinians the same rights is a key to peace in the Middle East. I pray one day my cousins can feel safe to play outside and have fun. And I don’t want them to feel scared when they’re outside trying to play with their other cousins. It’s inhumane, I can’t explain it. It’s really sad. Thank you.

** Suha Abukhdeir**: Thank you. Good evening everyone. I want to thank the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for having us here tonight. We’re honored to be here. My name is Suha Abukhdeir. I’m the mother of Tariq Abukhdeir.

I cannot begin to describe the pain of seeing my beloved son held in an Israeli prison without charges, denied medical care and suffering from a brutal beating given to him by the Israeli police.

When I first heard about the vicious beating he faced at the hands of the Israeli police and saw his bloody and swollen face and his unconscious body in the hospital, I feared for his life and I didn’t know if he was going to survive.

I could not bear to watch the video of his beating. What if he was screaming for help and I could not be there for him? When I arrived at the hospital, when I found out about him being in jail and then taken to the hospital, I found an Israeli policeman at the hospital door.

And I asked him if I can go in and see my son. He refused at first. After my husband had pleaded with him he finally allowed me but proceeding to say, “You cannot get near him, you cannot touch him and you cannot speak to him.”

So I proceeded to go to the hospital room and I looked over and all I could see is this helpless body laying there – he had a distorted face. I did not recognize him. I didn’t know if he was alive, what had happened exactly. So I told my husband, “Please, don’t leave him” – because he was handcuffed to the hospital bed.

I felt like since he was handcuffed to the hospital bed that the same people that brought him to the hospital could take him right back. So I was afraid.

The next morning, we got a call from the American consul Josh Wagner and he told us that he had made an appointment for all of us to go see Tariq in jail. I found out before [consular official] Josh Wagner called that they took Tariq back to jail and I couldn’t believe it.

I knew he was on antibiotics so the first thought I had was “Are they really going to give him his antibiotics? Are they really going to take care of him? Are they going to feed him?”

And especially after seeing the condition he was in, I couldn’t bear to think he was in a jail cell when he should have stayed in the hospital. So the next morning we went with Josh Wagner to the jailhouse. So when we proceeded and told the Israeli police that Josh Wagner had an appointment to see Tariq today. They said no one was going to see any prisoners and that was it and they closed the prison doors in our face.

Josh Wagner could not believe it. He told them, “I am not going to leave here until I see him because I made an appointment with you guys and I’m going to stay until I see him.

He proceeded to call the US embassy and the Israeli embassy back and forth for three hours until finally they agreed to let him in alone. So he got in – before he got in I told him, “Please Josh, can you just let me know of his condition. Ask him, is he eating, are they giving him his medications because the medications are in Hebrew and obviously he can’t read Hebrew.” These are the same people that beat him that now are caring for him.

I’m grateful to be back in America safe with my son but I know Palestinians go through what my son faced every day. Tariq was not able to grieve his cousin’s death or attend his cousin Muhammad’s funeral as a result of the beating Israeli police had given him that same day his cousin was brutally murdered by the Israeli extremists.

Instead of the police protecting us they taunted us, telling us that Muhammad was just the first to be killed and that 300 Palestinians would be killed for the three teenagers who were killed.

My son and family have been very traumatized by this whole experience. Our cousins are still in jail and the only reason Tariq is out is because he is an American citizen and his beating was caught on tape.

While some of the Israeli officials tried to justify the vicious beating my son received by smearing his name, my son has never been charged with any crime. Nothing, nothing can justify restraining the hands of a fifteen-year-old child and beating him unconscious. Although as Americans we enjoy great freedom in America, in Jerusalem we felt worse than second-class citizens because the Israeli government treated us differently because we had a different religion and ethnicity.

Like my Palestinian cousins I felt that my family had no rights. My son was viciously attacked while in custody. He was in jail for four days. We were forced to pay a $1,000 bond and my son faced nine days of house arrest away from his family – although he committed no crime and faced no charges.

When we left to America, Israeli police raided the family home where we were staying and arrested the males there. They’re still being held today without any charges. The Israeli police involved in the beating of my son must be held accountable so that no other mother must go through the pain that I went through.

My son still suffers from body aches and pains and headaches, not to mention the emotional trauma he must now struggle through. I just pray that America and the world can have the same sympathy for the countless children who are wrongfully arrested or even killed by Israel who do not carry a US passport like my son Tariq.

None of this would have happened if the Israeli government valued the life of my son Tariq and other Palestinian Muslim and Christian children in the same way they value the lives of Israeli children. Thank you.

 

More HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ CLIMATE CHANGE; PUTTING THE BLAME ON WALL STREET

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Monday, the day after the big climate march, was the day that climate activists chose to have a demonstration, including acts of civil disobedience, against Wall Street.  The people were demonstrating there with full understanding that unregulated, rapacious capitalism was the cause of the destruction of the earth and Wall Street is the epicenter of these destructive corporations.  The action was named, FLOOD WALL ST.  The plan was to meet at Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, wear blue (representing water), walk to Wall St. and have a massive sit-in there.  On the bus going down Broadway we could see very many police on the streets in the area, particularly on Wall St., they were clearly prepared for an invasion.  

When we reached Battery Park, beautiful under sunny skies with a bit of fall chill in the air, we found well over 1,000 people there carrying signs and banners, singing, playing musical instruments and yes, wearing blue, except for those in polar bear or mermaid costumes.  Spirits were high but the mood was also serious, ‘we aren’t going to let anyone destroy our home’.  All the signs and chants spoke of capitalism as the enemy.  The crowd had people of all ages and races, including Native Americans.  At noon they started walking towards Wall St. along Broadway which is very narrow at it’s southern end.  When they reached Wall St. they stopped without turning onto it.  The entire street was filled with demonstrators and the area was brought to a stand-still.  Tourist buses were stuck and the people onboard applauded the demonstrators and waved to them.  Eventually a path was cleared for them to pass out of the area.  Many people sat down and sang.  Some made speeches.  One young man climbed to the top of a telephone booth and when the police asked him to get down he said he was doing civil disobedience up there.  He was a Wobbly, a member of the International Workers of the World, and described the beautiful kind of world he wanted to  live in.  At one point a balloon burst and many people put their hands up and started chanting, “Don’t shoot.  It was just a balloon”. 

The police gathered around the Bull representing Wall St. that stands at Bowling Green, guarding it as if it was made of gold.  Many of them were congenial and talking to the demonstrators, some joking and laughing.  In contrast to them were the officers wearing white shirts, the supervisors, who were clearly not amused.  They conferred a lot and spoke on phones.  By the time we left in the mid-afternoon there was barely a cop in sight and many demonstrators had left with the exception of 100+ sitting on the ground in the middle of Broadway.  We hoped the NYPD, instructed by New York’s new liberal mayor, would just wait it out. But that was not to be.  We later learned that at about 8PM those sitting-in were all arrested. 

The demonstration was somewhat different from the big climate march the day before.  These folks knew exactly who was guilty of creating global warming and, in a sense, were stating upfront, we aren’t going to let you get murder our children and grandchildren,  we will fight you with all our strength which will continue to grow.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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Chris Hedges was there .... His report can be read HERE

Chris Hedges was there …. His report can be read HERE

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The threat of Arctic melting

The threat of Arctic melting

PHOTOS OF NEW YORK IN ACTION TO SAVE THE PLANET ~~ ‘THERE IS NO PLANET B’

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets on Sunday in what was billed as a People’s Climate March. Police estimated there were 600,000 marchers present, many more than the 100,000 which was expected.

Related report below

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Related Report FROM

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Climate March Shatters Record

By Andrew Restuccia

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l Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined a larger-than-expected throng of activists, scientists, students and elected officials who took to New York City’s streets Sunday for a massive march meant to sound the alarm about climate change.

Organizers initially estimated that the march had drawn 310,000 people, then raised that estimate to nearly 400,000 — far exceeding their projections of 100,000 attendees and making the procession through midtown Manhattan by far the largest climate-related protest in history. New York police did not offer their own crowd count.

Participants waved flags, pounded on drums and carried signs that said “No More Climate Change” and “Climate Action Now,” while police blocked traffic along Central Park West from 59th Street to 86th Street.

The scene turned a bit chaotic when Gore, Moon, scientist Jane Goodall and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the march around 12:45 p.m., with police, security officers and arms-linked volunteers holding back the crowd while photographers clicked away. After a moment of silence, the crowd erupted in cheers.

Others taking part in Sunday’s protest included Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) as well as former Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Participants said they were trying to send a message to elected officials that tackling climate change, an issue that has often taken a back seat in Washington, should be a top priority.

“It shows we have power,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “It’s a diverse coalition. It’s broad and it’s growing in strength and it’s growing in diversity. And it’s increasingly impatient at the rate of progress.”

But it wasn’t making an immediate splash on national TV — “Meet the Press” didn’t mention the march, while CNN, Fox and MSNBC were focusing on issues like the NFL, the fight against ISIL, Friday’s White House intruder and the November elections.

The march comes just two days before more than 120 world leaders and other high-ranking officials, including President Barack Obama, are slated to descend on New York City for a United Nations climate change summit. Countries are working toward reaching an international climate change accord at the end of 2015 that would go into effect in 2020.

De Blasio said he hoped this week’s events would mark a “turning point moment” for the climate cause, but conceded that that’s far from certain.

“Summits sometimes spark great change — rallies, protests sometimes spark great change. Sometimes they don’t,” de Blasio said. He added, “My sense is that the energy you’re seeing on the streets, the numbers that have amassed here and in other cities around the world suggest something bigger is going on.”

The march was organized by more than 1,500 groups and spearheaded by 350.org, the same upstart climate activist group that has turned the proposed Keystone XL pipeline into a political quagmire for President Barack Obama. Activists mounted a massive effort to spread the word and attract the public, distributed more than 1 million flyers around New York City and chartered nearly 500 buses to bring people from around the country.

Organizers said they held more than 2,000 climate-focused events in 162 countries, and Twitter’s feeds on Sunday included photos from marches in cities like London, Berlin, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Melbourne, Australia. The Associated Press said 40,000 people attended the London protest, including musician Peter Gabriel and actress Emma Thompson.

But the New York City march was the centerpiece.

Mary Francis, carrying a sign proclaiming herself an “angry granny,” said she came to the march from Oklahoma.

“This is a problem that my generation has created,” said Francis, 72. “My parents didn’t know about this problem. But my generation knows and we have to do what we can to fix what we can.”

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer called the protest “a message to our dysfunctional federal government that we’re not going to be pushed out of our planet.”

While several polls have painted climate change as a marginal priority for most voters, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer predicted Sunday that the mass demonstration will show that it’s “a first-tier political issue, that the ability to sweep this under the rug is over.”

And Obama is one person surely paying attention, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said before the march kicked off.

“You don’t get to be president of the United States by ignoring huge outpourings of public sentiment,” McKibben said.

 

#FloodWallStreet … SAVE THE WORLD!

(Image Courtesy of Flood Wall Street)

(Image Courtesy of Flood Wall Street)

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What does climate change have to do with capitalism? According to “Flood Wall Street” organizers, who are part of a mass people’s response to the upcoming United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, the answer is simple: Everything.

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Aiming at Roots of Climate Chaos,

‘Flood Wall Street’ Targets Capitalism

Itself

Ahead of UN summit, organizers of direct action say the planetary crisis of global warming ‘is a result of an economic system that is based on endless extraction, endless growth, and ceaseless exploitation of the earth and people.’

by Sarah Lazare, staff writer for
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What does climate change have to do with capitalism? According to “Flood Wall Street” organizers, who are part of a mass people’s response to the upcoming United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, the answer is simple: Everything.

To illustrate this, thousands of people on Monday, September 22 will bring the climate crisis to the doorsteps of the financial institutions underpinning the capitalist economic system by “flooding” New York’s Wall Street district with a mass sit-in of people donning blue and bearing a 300-foot banner that reads “Capitalism = Climate Chaos. Flood Wall Street.”

Organizers of the protest told Common Dreams that 400 people from across the country have already committed to risking arrest in the direct action and they expect that number to grow. Many more, they say, will attend the protest as supporters of the civil disobedience. “It’s going to be a sea of blue evocative of Hurricane Sandy that’s going to flood the financial district,” organizer Michael Premo told Common Dreams.

This action is targeting capitalism itself because “the climate crisis fundamentally is a result of an economic system that is based on endless extraction, endless growth, and ceaseless exploitation of the earth and people,” explained Premo. “A lot of the small incremental changes that have been touted over the last decade as addressing the situation are just band-aids. If there is any hope of building  a more ecologically sustainable and socially equitable economy, we have to start at the root.”

Monday’s direct action will kick off with a 9:00 am demonstration in Battery Park, which will include music from New York City radical marching band the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, to be followed by speakers including Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit, and leaders from the Climate Justice Alliance. Protesters will then march to the New York Stock Exchange, where the direct action will take place at noon. The organizers of the protest do not hail from a single group but constitute a network of “Occupy Wall Street veterans, student divestment activists, housing activists, artists and more,” according to a press statement.

The protest is a response to a recent call to action from Climate Justice Alliance, a global coalition of indigenous peoples, people of color, and poor and working class communities bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. “From Mesa to Mountaintop, from Hood to Holler—join us as we meet the scale and urgency of the crisis by standing in solidarity with all frontlines of resistance and resilience around the world, and taking non-violent direct action against the corporations driving the extractive economy,” reads the statement from the group.

“We are flooding Wall Street to stop its financing of planetary destruction, and make way for living economies that benefit people and planet,” said Michael Leon Guerrero of the Climate Justice Alliance. “Communities that are first and most impacted by storms, floods and droughts are also on the frontlines of fighting the dig, burn, dump economy causing climate change.”

But these communities are not invited to the UN summit of government representatives, corporations, financial institutions, and select civil society organizations that will take place at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 23rd. Last week a global coalition of social movement organizations, including La Via Campesina and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, slammed the “corporate takeover” and “false promises” of the meeting.

Grassroots creative actions and events will take place outside UN meeting’s closed doors. Flood Wall Street will come the day after the People’s Climate March, which is expected to bring out historic numbers. A People’s Climate Justice Summit is one of many activities planned as part of a week of action in New York. While a multitude of organizations, bringing a vast array of political visions, will participate in the week of actions, Flood Wall Street organizers say groups and people among them are seeking to push the conversation towards a critique of capitalism. Meanwhile, people across the world, from Mexico to Egypt to South Africa, plan simultaneous demonstrations and actions.

“The world is at stake,” said Vida James, a social worker and one of the many organizers behind Flood Wall Street, in an interview with Common Dreams. “This action is part of a larger global community that is taking direct action against climate change. We are part of a tapestry of communities all over the world fighting for change, risking arrest and security.”

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Take the Pledge (Click HERE)

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Pledge to #FloodWallStreet

Join the flood on September 22 starting at 9 am. The economy of the 1% is destroying the planet, flooding our homes, and wrecking our communities. After the People’s Climate March, wearing blue, we will bring the crisis to its cause with a mass sit-in at the heart of capital.

Yes! I will #FloodWallStreet

I will join the sea of bodies disrupting business as usual (and risk arrest).
I will support those participating in the sit-in.

SALAITA BREAKS THE SILENCE ON HIS SILENCING

Steven Salaita broke his silence today for the first time since administrators at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) fired him from a tenured position in the American Indian Studies program more than a month ago.

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Breaking silence, Salaita calls on Univ.

of Illinois to rescind his firing over

Gaza tweets

‘THOSE DANCING ISRAELIS’ AT GAZA GROUND ZERO

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The Palestinian cause is one of the most just causes in history. What we need o do is change ourselves first and move towards more actions.

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Gaza Ground Zero

Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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According to the United Nations, the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, in its latest assault on the people of Gaza, the occupation forces killed 2170 and injured 10900 human beings (about 80% of them civilians, >519 children killed, 2114 children injured).

Israel was using the media distraction it created with slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza (while shouting “hamas, hamas”) to hide the intensification of its ethnic cleansing policies in the occupied West Bank. For example, Israel announced one of the largest expropriation ordesr of Palestinian lands to expand its illegal Gush Etzion complex of colonies. 3799 dunums of land (1000 acres) are to be taken from the villagers of Husan, Nahhalin, and Wadi Fukin.

The latest “ceasefire” arrangement between the resistance factions and Israel are closer to resistance demands than Israeli demands. A majority of Israeli citizens supported the genocide in Gaza and they wanted even more mayhem. Polls also reveal that many do not buy their government propaganda that the Israeli military won. But in wars there are no winners but only losers and worse losers. Gaza was devastated because the Israeli military was unable to find or attack resistance forces and vented its frustration on civilians. But politicians have a ways of twisting things to their advantage. Even Mahmoud Abbas joined the fray to adopt the Israeli myth that the ceasefire agreed to in the end was the same as the ceasefire offered in the beginning. But Israel has just violated the cease fire by attacking fisherman off the coast of Gaza. Alas, we are in for a long struggle and I urge people to intensify the BDS movement against the apartheid regime of Israel. I get interviewed a lot and speak to visiting internationals regularly. The Palestinian cause is one of the most just causes in history. What we need o do is change ourselves first and move towards more actions (especially by us Palestinians but also by global activists).

Drones have been flying over Bethlehem in the past few days. A prelude to Gazafication of our ghetto? Drones are a core part of Israel’s military occupation and ethnic cleansing strategy. Londoners have been doing great actions including taking over the roof of a British drone supplier.

Australian copycat action, also targeting Elbit: Palestine protesters occupy roof of Port Melbourne factory

For more actions from the London group

Powerful virtual tour of Gaza ground zero. (click to go through panoramic views from different locations)

“Civil resistance and conflict transformation: Transitions from armed to nonviolent struggle“ has just been released! I have a chapter in it on Palestine struggle (colonial anti-colonial and tactics of the resistance)

ARIJ reports and maps (in Arabic and Hebrew) of the recent orders affecting villagers (Nahhalin, Husan, Wadi Fukin, AlKhader)

A Common Dreams investigation has discovered thousands of anti-Semitic comments over the past two years were posted by proxies who support Israel. One included posting comments by a screen name, “JewishProgressive,” whose purpose was to draw attention to and denounce the anti-Semitic comments that HE had written under many other screen names. One proxy commentator posted inflammatory comments under sixty names and a host of identities/ Black, White and Jewish!!!

Scholars at Risk Network: Occupation attack on Palestinian Universities (another reason to boycott)

SPEAK NOT AND FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE

THE ISRAEL LOBBY’S NEW MANTRA FOR AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES
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Raw power – intimidation, denial of tenure, firings and other kinds of discipline – are being used to try to stop the growth of Palestine solidarity on campus.

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“Civility” is the Israel lobby’s new

weapon against free speech on US

campuses

“Civility” comes in many forms, sometimes wearing a uniform. (Ali Abunimah)

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As I was driving through Indiana en route to Michigan this weekend, I saw this billboard for a local sheriff’s election campaign. There, above the uniformed police officer with his military-style crew cut, is the slogan “Return to Civility.”

It seemed the perfect metaphor for what “civility” has come to mean on US campuses: the forceful policing, at the behest of Israel lobby groups, of any discourse or activism critical of Israel.

In the wake of Israel’s latest Gaza massacre, the civility police are cracking down hard. Most notoriously, administrators and trustees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have used the excuse of “civility” to fire Steven Salaita for his strong criticisms of, among other things, Israel’s slaughter of hundreds of children in Gaza.

But civility crackdowns are now breaking out across the country. Another alarming case involves a student at Ohio University.

Pouring cold water on free speech

Last week Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis challenged the newly elected student senate president Megan Marzec to take the “ice bucket challenge.” This is a stunt where someone pours a bucket of ice water over their head on video to raise awareness of the disease ALS.

It has become a very mainstream activity which allows the participant to appear philanthropic at no political risk (former President George W. Bush took the “challenge,”inadvertently recalling his administration’s use of water-boarding as a form of torture).

But what Marzec did – as Palestinians have done with their own “rubble bucket challenge” – is to subvert the meme.

She made a video in which she pours a bucket of fake blood over her head to protest Israel’s abuse of Palestinians.

“I’m urging you and OU [Ohio University] to divest and cut all ties with academic and other Israeli institutions and businesses,” Marzec says in the 50-second video that she posted on her Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

“This bucket of blood symbolizes the thousands of displaced and murdered Palestinians, atrocities which OU is directly complacent in through cultural and economic support of the Israeli state,” she adds. (The original instance of the video is no longer available but I am including this copy in my post because I believe people should see that it is, contrary to the lurid criticisms, rather tame, polite and indeed civil.)

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Marzec was quickly and swiftly denounced. The Twitter account of the Student Senate tweeted: “On behalf of the student senate, we humbly apologize for the video President Megan Marzec posted.”

The campus group Bobcats for Israel and Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity, called for her resignation.

“In part of the video she promotes the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, which is anti-Semitic,” one student critic told The Cleveland Jewish News.

Marzec herself has reported receiving death threats for her protest. She showed The Athens Post newspaper messages she’d been sent that “ridiculed her as a woman, among other insults,” and said that she’s been subjected to “a whole slew of very vile things.”

But she strongly defended her protest. “It’s clear to me that my video was not anti-Semitic,” she told The Post. “Any reframing of the video is caused by outrage that I am standing in solidarity with oppressed Palestinians.”

More than 600 people have signed an online petition in “solidarity with Megan Marzec’s right of free speech to publicly state her political opinions on the liberation of Palestine.” It also condemns “any attempt to employ threats and/or acts of interpersonal violence to intimidate Ohio University students into silence.”

“Civility”

Enter the president of Ohio University, who has come down not on the side of Palestinians victimized by massive Israeli violence, not on the side of Marzec who was trying to draw attention to that violence, and not against those denigrating and threatening her.

Instead, the university and President McDavis issued a campus-wide call for “civility”that criticized only Marzec.

“Her actions do not reflect the position of Ohio University or President McDavis,” the university statement says. “We recognize the rights of individual students to speak out on matters of public concern and we will continue to do so, but want to be clear that the message shared today by her is not an institutional position or a belief held by President McDavis.”

And then here is the “civility” punchline (emphasis added):

In a university community of our size, there are many issues that merit our attention and dialogue. As stewards of the public trust, we have a responsibility to encourage the free exchange of ideas. For it is through dialogue on conflicting views that we will move toward mutual understanding.

I take great pride in the fact that Ohio University is a community that tackles hard issues head-on. The conflict in Israel and Gaza is no exception. But the manner in which we conduct ourselves as we exercise our right to free speech is of utmost importance.

In my First Year Student Convocation address, I emphasized the idea that we are a University family. As members of a University family, we will not always agree,but we should respect one another. And when we engage in difficult dialogue on issues such as this, we must do so with civility and a deep appreciation for the diverse and resilient international community in which we live.

Who is being protected?

There is much to be said about McDavis’ invocation of the “family” – with all its connotations of patriarchy, hierarchy, privacy, discipline and infantilization as a metaphor – but I will leave that for another day.

There are important unstated assumptions in McDavis’ statement. Notably, he seems to be saying that by criticizing Israeli violence against Palestinians, and urging the institution to end its complicity, Marzec was somehow targeting and injuring a component of the campus community or “family.”

Unless there is a brigade of the Israeli army with particularly sensitive feelings permanently stationed on campus, this cannot be the case.

Rather, the implication seems to be that criticism of Israel and its actions is deemed offensive to Jewish students. This is certainly implied by the intervention of the Jewish fraternity.

But we must always reject the equation of Jewish students with the State of Israel, no matter how often pro-Israel groups and university administrations insist on it.

This is the Israel lobby’s new tactic, as I have argued in my recent book The Battle for Justice in Palestine: to equate criticism of Israel or solidarity with Palestinians with “hate speech,” “hate crimes” or even attacks on an individual such as sexual or racial violence that must be ultimately subject to university or juridical discipline and punishment.

In the case of Salaita, this meant the loss of his job based on libelous and speculative claims that his statements about Israel would mean students in his classroom might be endangered.

In the same vein, when Palestine solidarity groups have distributed mock eviction notices as a tactic to educate peers on campus about Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, they have usually faced false allegations from Zionist groups that the dorm rooms of Jewish students were “targeted.”

It is in this context that Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern University was banned last Spring, an unprecedented act of repression that the administration onlyrescinded after a fierce student campaign and a national outcry. The year before they were banned, Northeastern SJP had been forced to sign a “civility statement,” following an organized walk-out of a talk given by Israeli soldiers.

This is the same basic idea behind the wave of complaints against various universities made by Zionist individuals and organizations under Title VI of the US Civil Rights Act in recent years alleging that campus Palestine solidarity activism was making Jewish students feel “unsafe.”

While the strategy has so far failed at the legal level, it is succeeding with university administrations, who are rushing to issue “civility” statements explicitly or implicitly targeting utterers of speech critical of Israel.

It cannot be mere coincidence that Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, sent an email to the entire campus community last week also calling for “civility.”

Ostensibly marking the 50th anniversary of Berkeley’s famed Free Speech Movement, Dirks said, “we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so, and this in turn requires that people treat each other with civility.”

What does “civility” mean in this context? Does it mean saying “please,” “thank you,” “sir” and “ma’am” to war criminals? Or does it mean electing a sheriff instead of a professor to run a university to make everyone feel “safe” and secure?

(A similar statement has also just been issued from Penn State University. No particular cause is mentioned as prompting the statement and it does not mention Palestine, but I expect to see more of these.)

Dirks, as I recount in The Battle for Justice in Palestine, was the vice president at Columbia University who, prior to taking his new job at Berkeley, boasted about his role in the witch-hunt against Professor Joseph Massad.

Losing their grip

Zionism is losing its grip. It has lost the substantive debate on the past and future of Palestine in the academy. It no longer has a hold on the hearts and minds of young people the way it did in the years after the 1967 War.

Many of the Jewish students whose “safety” is being invoked to justify the campus crackdowns are joining – and in some cases leading – chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and similar groups.

Key Israel lobby groups, as I explain in the book, see US campuses as the battleground on which the future of US support for Israel will be secured or lost.

Raw power – intimidation, denial of tenure, firings and other kinds of discipline – are being used to try to stop the growth of Palestine solidarity on campus.

Corporatized university administrations across the country are fully complicit in this repression. And this iron fist is being wrapped in the velvet glove of “civility.”

UPDATED GUIDELINES FOR THE ACADEMIC BOYCOTT

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PACBI urges academics, academic associations/unions, and academic — as well as other — institutions around the world, where possible and as relevant, to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, whitewash Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights, or violate the BDS guidelines.

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How to boycott Israel: updated guidelines for academics

A Palestinian man inspects a classroom damaged by an Israeli air strike at a school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, 24 August. (Abed Rahim Khatib / APA images)
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The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) recently updated its guidelines on how to apply the international academic boycott of Israel.

This comes at a crucial moment – in the wake of Israel’s latest spasm of horrifying destruction and mass killing in Gaza, and after a period of unprecedented growth in support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

Calls for academic boycott will resonate more than ever particularly in light of Israel’s recent bomb attacks on university facilities in Gaza, its violent raids on universities in the West Bank and the financial and political support Israeli universities have themselves given to the carnage.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children in Gaza are not going back to school on time as a direct consequence of the Israeli devastation, while in the West Bank young children face such violence as tear gas fired at them on their way to class.

The school year in Gaza was scheduled to begin on 23 August but has been postponed; Israeli attacks since 7 July killed more than 500 children and injured thousands. In total220 schools were damaged, 22 of which were completely destroyed.

Children will not be able to go back to class until “war-damaged schools” are repaired and “unexploded ordnance” removed, the UN says.

When children do go back to class, learning will certainly be an even bigger challenge due to the fact that virtually the entire child population in Gaza is in need of psychosocial support due to the trauma of Israel’s 51-day bombardment.

Practical guidance

The updated PACBI guidelines are important for two reasons: they provide a practical reference that can be used to decide if a specific activity is boycottable and they can be used to debunk false claims made by opponents of the boycott, for example that the boycott stifles “academic freedom.”

A common false claim is that PACBI has called for a blanket boycott of Israeli individuals or even of Jewish individuals.

But, PACBI states: “Anchored in precepts of international law and universal human rights, the BDS movement, including PACBI, rejects on principle boycotts of individuals based on their identity (such as citizenship, race, gender, or religion) or opinion.”

A person’s activities are boycottable, however, when “an individual is representing the state of Israel or a complicit Israeli institution (such as a dean, rector, or president), or is commissioned/recruited to participate in Israel’s efforts to ‘rebrand’ itself.”

There are other circumstances as well, as the guidelines detail.

The PACBI guidelines “are mainly intended to assist conscientious academics and academic bodies around the world to be in harmony with the Palestinian call for boycott, as a contribution towards upholding international law and furthering the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

PACBI urges:

academics, academic associations/unions, and academic – as well as other – institutions around the world, where possible and as relevant, to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, whitewash Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights, or violate the BDS guidelines.

Normalization and “fig-leafing”

Many Palestinians reject initiatives that they say constitute “normalization.” But what does this mean? Here is the definition provided by PACBI:

Academic activities and projects involving Palestinians and/or other Arabs on one side and Israelis on the other (whether bi- or multilateral) that are based on the false premise of symmetry/parity between the oppressors and the oppressed or that claim that both colonizers and colonized are equally responsible for the “conflict” are intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible forms of normalization that ought to be boycotted.

Far from challenging the unjust status quo, such projects contribute to its endurance. Examples include events, projects, or publications that are designed explicitly to bring together Palestinians/Arabs and Israelis so they can present their respective narratives or perspectives, or to work toward reconciliation without addressing the root causes of injustice and the requirements of justice.

The guidelines gives examples of forms of joint activity that are and are notnormalization and also warn against “fig-leafing”:

International academics who insist on crossing the BDS “picket line” by pursuing activities with boycottable Israeli institutions and then visiting Palestinian institutions or groups for “balance,” violate the boycott guidelines and contribute to the false perception of symmetry between the colonial oppressor and the colonized. The BNC (including PACBI) rejects this attempt at “fig-leafing” and does not welcome such visits to Palestinian institutions.

PACBI also publishes guidelines for cultural boycott, which were updated in 2009.

The full academic boycott guidelines are here.

 

IN PHOTOS ~~ THE LITTLE DOLLS OF GAZA’S DEAD CHILDREN

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Although they have only finished about 1/3 of our representations of the children murdered in Gaza the Granny Peace Brigade brought them to a demonstration organized by Jews Say No at the subway station on W. 96th St. and Broadway yesterday.  Jews Say No does this regularly in an effort to engage with the community and discuss what is happening in Israel/Palestine.  The reaction to the Gaza children representations was very strong.  Many people gave the Grannies a thumbs-up or came over to speak saying they were glad to see them there.  Several others were very passionate in their condemnation, screaming, calling the Grannies ignorant and anti-semites, and accusing them of pandering to people’s feelings.  For the most part the demonstrators didn’t respond to the attacks.  When there is one representation for each murdered child they will be taken to public places around the city and displayed.

As a sidenote, Palestinian children throughout Israel and the West Bank have been sending their ‘Eid Gifts’ to help the ‘little people’ still suffering in Gaza’s hospitals.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer … Commentary by Chippy Dee

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IN PHOTOS ~~ MARCH FOR JUSTICE IN STATEN ISLAND

 

"Do we actually have to say this?"*

Thousands marched in Staten Island today. They were protesting police brutality and abuse. They were demanding justice for the victims of that abuse. Eric Garner was placed in an illegal choke hold by a NYPD office several weeks ago. His crime? Selling illegal cigarettes. Despite his protestations and his repeated plea of “I can’t breathe,” despite the fact that he was already subdued, despite the fact that he was surround by cops, the officer continued to choke Mr. Garner. The result? Eric Garner died on the sidewalk, a victim, like so many others, of out-of-control police brutality. These police crimes are then followed by a disturbing lack of transparency and a failure of the justice system to indict, try and convict. Victims are invariably people of color.
The time has come for civilian control of the police forces and an end to the militarization of police departments around the country. The sight of tanks and long rifles being aimed at American citizens in American towns like Ferguson, Missouri by a police department in camouflage and armed with military weapons should frighten and anger everybody.

The thousands marching in Staten Island today were saying “Enough!” and demanding that democratic control of police become a reality.

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Photos and commentary © By Matt Weinstein

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""I can't breathe.""

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"Complaints about police abuse."

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"In front of the site of Eric Garner's murder by police."

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"The group, Picture The Homeless."

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"Javier and Danny."

#OperationStopTheBoat ~~UPDATE

LATEST UPDATE

zion triumphs as the boat is unloaded…. they are gloating in their media.

Breaking News: #BlocktheBoat #EpicFail as ZIM Unloads

Longshoremen pulled a fast on anti-Israel picketers and are unloading the Zim ship that was blocked from unloading last week.
Report HERE
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A cargo ship left the Port of Oakland for Los Angeles on Tuesday, days after activists protesting Israel’s military actions in Gaza began a waterfront demonstration that blocked the vessel’s unloading.

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Ship Targeted by Protesters Leaves Oakland for L.A.

The protesters, organizing under the motto “Block the Boat,” first converged at the International Container Terminal on Saturday, a day before the Piraeus arrived at the port.
Henry K. Lee 
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Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters march towards the Port of Oakland to attempt a blockade of the Israeli cargo ship Zim, which was scheduled to dock at the port in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014.
Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

A cargo ship left the Port of Oakland for Los Angeles on Tuesday, days after activists protesting Israel’s military actions in Gaza began a waterfront demonstration that blocked the vessel’s unloading.

Online ship tracking databases showed the Piraeus leaving the port about 3 p.m., assisted by a pair of tugboats. The destination was listed as Los Angeles.

The ship began maneuvering away from the port hours after Israel’s consul general to the Pacific Northwest in San Francisco said it would “eventually leave” if longshore workers continued to refuse to unload it.

The Piraeus, which is managed by Israel’s largest shipping firm, doesn’t travel to Israel and instead navigates between the United States, the Caribbean and Asia, said Consul General Andy David.

“They chose a symbol, perhaps, and they’re trying to portray it as hurting the Israeli government, but they’re really causing damage to the people who live here, and to me this is exactly the definition of political terrorism,” David said of pro-Palestinian protesters who demonstrated outside the Port of Oakland. “They’re trying to achieve a goal, but they don’t care about the innocent people hurt along the way.”

The protesters, organizing under the motto “Block the Boat,” first converged at the International Container Terminal on Saturday, a day before the Piraeus arrived at the port.

Longshore workers responsible for unloading the vessel refused to do so, not because they are taking sides in the fight between Israel and Hamas, but because they would not work “under armed police escort – not with our experience with the police in this community,” said Melvin MacKay, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10.

Only when officers “dispersed” at 9 p.m. Monday did longshore workers agree to enter the container terminal, said union spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent. Those who declined to work on the ship were released, she said.

Sargent said the demonstrators were outnumbered 5-1 by Oakland police and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies.

Union officials said longshore workers have been concerned about port safety during demonstrations since several people protesting the Iraq war were injured in a 2003 port rally. Oakland police fired nonlethal projectiles, including wood bullets and bean bags, without provocation and without allowing protesters a chance to disperse.

The protests over the Piraeus were peaceful.

The Piraeus is managed by Israel’s largest shipping firm, Zim Integrated Shipping Services. David said Zim is 32 percent owned by Israeli shareholders, and that the rest is owned by various international interests, including banks and other shipping companies.

San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Kurtis Alexander contributed to this report.

Henry K. Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer

Source

A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR THAT LIVES THE MANTRA “NEVER AGAIN”

This video tells the story of a German victim of holocaust who has spent most of her life trying to stop the genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in the last 6 decades.

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IT DOESN’T END WITH THAT ….

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Holocaust survivor arrested in Missouri protests

By JACOB RYAN, MAYA SHWAYDER IN

Hedy Epstein, also a fierce critic of Israel: This is how I’m entering my 10th decade of life!

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Hedy Epstein

Hedy Epstein Photo: REUTERS
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New York- Hedy Epstein, 90, and eight others were arrested for “failing to disperse” during protests taking place in downtown St. Louis on Monday.They were arrested for “failure to disperse” when they marched on, and held a small rally in front of a building where the office of Gov. Jay Nixon and many of his staff are located.

The protesters had demanded to speak to the governor or his representative about the conflict in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, by a police officer, and the governor’s decision to call in the National Guard to deal with the subsequent protests and looting.

Police and security would not let them in the building. When the nine protesters refused to leave, they were arrested, taken to the police station, booked, and then released.

“We need to stand up today so that people won’t have to do this when they’re 90,” Epstein said when she was arrested.

She was ordered to appear in court on October 21, she told The Jerusalem Post.

“This is how I’m entering my 10th decade of life!” Epstein, who turned 90 last week, joked.

The German-born Epstein is known for her fervent activism and speaking out about national and international events.

She lives in Missouri and in 2001 started the St. Louis chapter of Women in Black, an antiwar movement organization that was founded in Jerusalem in 1988, during the second intifada, but has spread to other countries and to causes other than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Epstein has been a vocal advocate for the Free Gaza Movement.

According to her website, she has participated in several demonstrations “in opposition to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, the 25-foot-high cement wall, and the demolition of Palestinian homes and olive orchards.” Epstein joined the failed Gaza Freedom March in 2010, trying to take a bus from Cairo to the Gaza Strip.

Epstein has won various accolades for her activism over the past decade, notably the 2005 Imagine Life Education through Media Award and the 2008 American Friends Service Committee’s Inspiration for Hope Award.

Born in born in Freiburg, in southwestern Germany, and raised in nearby Kippenheim, Epstein was eight years old when Adolf Hitler was sworn in as chancellor. In 1939, she was sent to England as part of the Kindertransport, which eventually moved 10,000 mostly Jewish children to safety. Her parents both died in concentration camps. After the war, she went back to Germany to work for the American government, including for the Nuremberg Doctors Trial, and finally immigrated to America in 1948.

Epstein told the Post that her parents were anti-Zionists, although she never had a chance to ask why they did not support a Jewish state.

“As young child, I didn’t really understand what that [anti-Zionism] is, and my parents were looking to go anywhere they could, but weren’t willing to go to Palestine,” Epstein said. “They did not wish to live in a country that was run by Jews and for Jews only.”

After arriving in the US in May 1948, the same month Israel was founded, she noted, Epstein said she remained fairly insulated from Israeli issues until 1982, when she heard about the massacres in the Sabra neighborhood and the adjacent Shatilla refugee camp in Beirut. She went to the West Bank for the first time in 2003, for several months, and said that she was stopped at Ben-Gurion Airport in January 2004 when she was trying to leave the country.

“I was accused of being a security threat and a terrorist,” Epstein recounted. “And I was stripped searched and internally searched.”

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From The New York Times: Another report of a man that ‘lives the mantra’ …

Resisting Nazis, He Saw Need for Israel. Now He Is Its Critic.

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#FergusonUnderFire ~~ 90 YEAR OLD HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ARRESTED

FERGUSON UNDER FIRE …

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Hedy Epstein, 90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor, Arrested During Michael Brown Protest

UPDATES ON BLOCKING THE BOAT FOR GAZA

THE EFFORTS ARE WORKING!

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See last night’s post, then see updates on Facebook below …

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UPDATES HERE
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SUPPORT ACTIONS IN NEW YORK YESTERDAY
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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BLOCK THE BOAT AND BOYCOTT ISRAEL!

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First a video update on BDS

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A new app called Buycott lets hundreds of thousands of users boycott products deemed to support Israel, something that is gaining popularity in light of the attack on Gaza.

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Why Activists Are Blocking an Israeli Ship From Docking on the West Coast

A coordinated “Block the Boat” solidarity action will leave Israel looking elsewhere to unload its goods.

Amidst the terror Israel has unleashed on Gaza, activists on the West Coast have organized a Palestinian solidarity action that is not only politically symbolic, but economically hits Israel where it hurts.

Starting Saturday, activists in Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle plan to block an Israeli ship from unloading goods at their city’s ports as part of a larger boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. These “Block the Boat” actions come as a response to the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions’ call for supporters to “educate and build awareness among the labor movements of the U.S., and urge them to condemn the Israeli aggression and to boycott Israel.”

On Saturday, organizers in Oakland will march to the port and form a picket line in front of its gates early in the morning before the port workers, who are members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, are scheduled to begin their shift. Organizers are hoping to stop workers from unloading a ship owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Services, which is the biggest cargo shipping company in Israel and has ties to the Israeli government and military via stock ownership.

More than 1,000 protesters are expected at the Oakland action, said Reem Assil of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which is one of more than 70 groups endorsing the event.

“Symbolically for Oakland we can say, not in our name,” Assil said. “We’re not going to be complicit and an accomplice to the ongoing genocide and massacres going on.”

Oakland organizers have coordinated with supporters in Long Beach, CA, and the ports of Tacoma and Seattle in Washington in hopes that Zim won’t reroute to another port on the West Coast like it did four years ago. In 2010, in response to Israel’s attack on a flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, Oakland activists and port workers made history by being the first to ever block an Israeli ship in the United States. That ship redocked in Los Angeles a day after, and unloaded there.

“This time, we want to make sure there’s a disruption to Israel commerce all over the West Coast,” Assil said, adding that this would cause a sustained economic burden on the company.

The Oakland organizers’ biggest coordination efforts, however, have been with the labor movement. In fact, the event, which was originally scheduled for August 2, was postponed in order to do more outreach to the ILWU workers.

“We don’t want workers to be alienated, we want workers to be part of the fight,” Assil said. “And so we have spent the last few weeks really honoring that commitment and building with the workers themselves.”

Assil said Block the Boat organizers and active members of the ILWU have been flyering and talking to members about the Saturday action in terms of “worker power”—especially because they are under negotiation for a new contract.

But these negotiations have made the action this year more complicated than in the past. For one, ILWU is unable to take an official stand on the action. Also, during negotiations there is no arbitrator who can evaluate the port during the Block the Boat action and deem working conditions unsafe; this happened in 2010, leaving workers with no option of crossing the picket line.

This, along with a loss of double-time pay for workers, presents difficulties for a successful action. An ILWU port worker named Anthony, who is spreading the word about Block the Boat, said he responds to co-workers’ financial concerns by talking about the bigger picture.

Anthony said, “I ask them, ‘Are you okay with innocent people being killed?’’’

 

Source

HOW YOU CAN HELP THE PEOPLE OF GAZA

gaza040

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 PLEASE HELP

As important as the food itself is the voice of hope — our voice! — telling our sisters and brothers in Gaza that we will not abandon them, and they are not alone. Especially now.
 
And spread the word to your friends.
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Please go to Indiegogo and donate what you can for food aid to Gaza – today.

Online contributions HERE

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Details of campaign in the following Jerusalem Post report ...
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Founder of Israeli Palestinian

think tank campaigns to buy

surplus Israeli potatoes for Gazans

By SHARON UDASIN

Online campaign aims to raise $730,000 needed to purchase

5,000-ton surplus of potatoes from Israel Vegetable Growers Association.

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The founder of an Israeli Palestinian think tank who played an instrumental role in

the release of captive soldier Gilad Schalit is working on a new cross-border effort

amid conflict – the transfer of 5,000 tons of Israeli potatoes to civilians in Gaza.

After hearing the idea from Israeli agricultural expert Hillel Adiri, activist

Gershon Baskin, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, launched an online

Indiegogo campaign aiming to raise the $730,000 necessary to purchase a

5,000-ton surplus of potatoes from the Israel Vegetable Growers Association,

he said. Due to union bylaws guaranteeing farmers a fair price for their labor,

the association cannot simply donate the potatoes.

“They can’t market these potatoes [in Israel] because then the market would

be flooded and the prices would go down,” Baskin told the Post on Wednesday,

explaining that such a scenario would not bode well for the farmers.

While nearly every year such surpluses occur, Baskin agreed that the

regulations of the associations are important in protecting the farmers’ interests.

“We don’t want our farmers to go bankrupt,” he said.

“We have pride in Israeli agriculture.”

Meanwhile, Adiri told the Post that European buyers were not interested in

purchasing more potatoes at the moment because there was also overproduction

there due to good summer growing conditions. Adiri, a senior technical

marketing adviser for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,

has served a number of agricultural advisory roles both globally and at home –

including a past position as director-general of the Agriculture Ministry.

In light of this situation, Baskin is determined to raise the funds necessary to

buy the surplus potatoes and ship them to Gaza, calculating that $730,000 can

cover the purchase and shipping of 5,000 tons of potatoes.

As of Wednesday evening the “Emergency Food Aid for Gaza” campaign had

attracted a total of $49,236 worth of donations on Indiegogo.

In addition, Baskin said he had received another $10,000 in direct bank transfers.

“There’s more money coming in; it’s coming in every hour,” Baskin said, noting

that the money has come from about 600 donors, predominantly from the US

and Israel.

Meir Yifrach, head of the Israel Vegetable Growers Association, told the Post

that the association’s farmers were more than willing to sell the potatoes for

transport to Gaza for between NIS 0.40-0.50 per kilogram.

At the moment these potatoes are in refrigeration and can stay there until

September, at which point they could technically be sold to the Israeli market

for about NIS 1.60-1.70 per kilo, Yifrach explained. However, due to the

exorbitant electricity costs of cooling these potatoes, it is preferable to sell

them now for civilian use in Gaza and to sell fresh ones to the Israeli market

come September, he said.

The going price for potatoes today in Gaza is between four and six times the

price that Baskin would pay the association, according to his campaign.

Baskin has pledged that all contributions would go directly toward distributing

the potatoes to the neediest members of Gaza society, saying he and his team

members would be working with a “reputable international charitable organization”

that operates in the territory.

Potatoes are one of the main food sources in Gaza and are widely grown by

local farmers, Adiri said. But during the conflict, most of the crops spoiled.

“This will help the impoverished people in Gaza,” he said.

Along these lines, Adiri is also working with Israeli strawberry growers to

bring seedlings to Gaza. Strawberry farmers there buy mother plants from

Israel and plant them at the end of June or July in order to have them ready

to grow in greenhouses in September. Due to the conflict, however, the

irrigation systems failed to work and Gaza’s strawberry seedlings dried out.

“We have an alternative way to help them,” Adiri said. “They can get in

Israel, I hope, plants from Israeli nurseries ready for planting in September.”

As far as the potato transfer is concerned, donors must commit to their

contributions by August 16. The intention remains, however, to purchase

as much as the money allows, even if the total does not reach $730,000.

Baskin stressed that all conveyance of the potatoes to the citizens would

occur by means of international organizations and would be safely supervised

by a coalition of groups.

“You’re not going to use potatoes to make rockets,” he said.

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THOSE MURDERED IN GAZA

 

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A SILENT VIGIL IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE 

PALESTINIAN PEOPLE OF GAZA   

WHY ARE WE GATHERING:

Shamefully, “over 50 Israeli-associated New York organizations” will be gathering then at the JCC on the UWS of Manhattan to “commemorate Israeli soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during ‘Operation Protective Edge,”‘ the bombing campaign of Gaza, without one mention of Palestinian lives lost. (see photo at bottom)

We are appalled at this blatant valuing of Jewish and Jewish Israeli lives over the nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including hundreds of children, who have been massacred by the Israeli army.  To express our opposition to a perverse ethic that values only Jewish lives and ignores Israeli war crimes, the siege of Gaza, and an ongoing brutal occupation, please join us in a silent vigil across from the JCC.  

WHAT WE WANT TO DO: 

 

We want to create a silent presence that says loudly and clearly, with our signs and banners and names of Palestinian dead, that many Jews and others on New York’s upper west side stand in solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers and staunchly oppose a politics of ‘Israel right or wrong.’ 

co-sponsored by: Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC, Jewish Voice for Peace–Westchester,  Jews Say No!, Women in Black-NY 

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The zionists mourn their own …. why shouldn’t we all mourn the almost 2,000 murdered Gazans?

NYC Jeweler’s Tribute to Slain IDF Soldiers

Boutique’s front window lists Israeli soldiers killed in recent Gaza operation

NEVER TOO OLD TO FIGHT THE OCCUPATION

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This video shows a Palestinian elder with a paper model of the kind of rocket the Palestinian resistance fires from Gaza fearlessly confronting Israeli occupation forces in the Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Friday.

He does not back off even when a soldier fires towards him at close range.

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Towards the end of the video, filmed by Yusri al-Jamal, the man whose name was not reported says:

Gaza is steadfastness, Gaza is heroes, Gaza is revolution, Gaza is rage, Gaza is victory, Gaza is the lifeline of the Palestinian people. Our blood is not more precious than the blood of the children or the resistance of Gaza. We will redeem you Gaza. We are all with you Gaza. Do not rely on the Arabs; tell them to sleep comfortably. But we Palestinians do not fear rifles or cannons.

Posted BY

#StayingHumanWithGaza ~~ IN PHOTOS

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150,000 marched in London yesterday for Gaza. Thousands marched in New York as well … below are photos from that. Video follows

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Chris Hedges was a main speaker at the rally that followed the march

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ACT FOR GAZA NOW

Act For Gaza

Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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Child lost his eyesight after Israeli shelling. The father was killed a week later!

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A rocket fell near us Tuesday in Beit Sahour. From the way it broke-up, we think it was one of the “iron dome” missiles that missed its mark (this happens to some 70-80% of missiles that are supposed to intercept Palestinian  home-made rockets from Gaza).  The owner of the house said of the significant damage: “we are with Gaza and continue to be”.  Wars bring out the worse in people and the best in people. Israeli devastation of Gaza is facing against heroism of resilience and resistance of Palestinians and an awakening of conscience of millions. Every hour we hear stories and listen to dignified resilient voices from Gaza in the face of incredible devastation. Medics who continue to operate even as their colleagues and relatives are killed. Remaining family members who lost everything but promise to rebuild and fight back until freedom. Municipal workers trying to avert a catastrophe and keep bombed sewage and water lines open and separate. Neighbors helping each other. Resistance fighters coming back from the front lines to help dig for civilian corpses buried under the rubble. A child consoling her little brother after all their family has been wiped out. People taking care of each other and giving all of us lessons in how we can keep our humanity. Messages from Gaza say to us “we survive, we are fine, how about you? How are you?” Gaza has become like the pH meter in my lab, a good barometer of change in the medium. How are we, the medium of humanity doing and where are we heading?

Palestinian Civil society organizations and public figures are calling on the world to demand the opening of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Israel has developed a doctrine of slowly increasing attacks on civilians to give them a chance to supposedly stop the resistance (an impossible task). The three stages used in the past four weeks included: first stage) used in the first week of the shelling of Gaza included  Israeli forces giving warning to some of the people to leave their houses before they flattened them with shells (a form of ethnic cleansing never-the-less).  Second stage) clearing neighborhoods with a blanket statement in media to evacuate whole neighborhoods, then flattening them (also ethnic cleansing), third stage) no warning just blanket and random shelling increasing civilian deaths.  Overlapping stage two and three was also the shelling of hospitals and schools and the power station (targeting infrastructure, mostly without notice given). Having exhausted these three stages which obviously were well planned, Israeli leaders announced victory and moved on. The only gain was to bank account of those who profit from wars (companies like Elbit Systems). This helps sales of weapons (depleting stocks which have to be bought back and the US taxpayers pay for these). People die but some people get to be even more rich.

On the bright side (if there is any), this adventure accelerated the inevitable decline of the racist genocidal state of Israel. The resistance is strengthened because people saw that Israel could not advance one or two kilometers into Gaza without casualties of its soldiers who are paranoid about being captured or killed (even killed by Israeli forces to prevent them from being captured. Many committed suicide or injured themselves to leave the battle field. In 1967, Israeli armies advanced and conquered hundreds of kilometers without any opposition from supposed “Arab armies”. The land conquered per hour was literally the time it took infantry to walk across the landscape (no opposition). Israel, Jordan and Egypt did not fight or even plan to fight. And they had supplies and open borders. Here a concentration camp (the enclave of Gaza) giving Israel a real fight and Israeli mighty army is bloodied and confused and wining about tunnels (well yes, the Vietcong also used tunnels because everything above ground was instantly scorched by imperial US forces). So many lies were uncovered that many observers have started to believe Hamas and other resistance groups more than they believe anything that the Western Mainstream Media and Netanyahu and his puppets have to say. Mr. Netanyahu came in front of the Israeli public and lied yet again. Israel acknowledged some 50 soldiers killed but most Israelis know the number is at least three times as high. Many Israeli families acknowledge money is being given to them to refrain from mentioning the killing of their children at the borders of Gaza. One Israeli leak suggested some 130-150 Israeli soldiers killed (closer to a number released by Hamas resistance). But the ceasefire declared by the UN (the only one declared by the UN and agreed to by the two parties) was broken by Israeli forces after they encountered some resistance fighters in their advance to Rafa and two Israeli soldiers were killed and the area was bombed burying a third soldier with the resistance fighters on spot. The Israeli government version of this was a fabrication (soldiers were attacked, one was kidnapped etc). Hamas’s version of what might have happened was more believable (they lost contact with soldiers defending the field East of Rafah and they presume them dead). Belatedly the Israeli version changed and they were forced t accept a version closer to what the Palestinians said. But this is of little consolation to Palestinians including children massacred with the excuse that Hamas broke the cease fire. Now there is talk in Cairo to give Israel what it could not achieve by military means: impunity from crimes, pacification of the natives while maintaining colonization and injustice.

But people are moving. The above call and other like it are followed by actions. There si widening boycotts of everything Israeli and people are mobilizing aid convoys to Gaza (three trucks from my own town of Beit Sahour will leave in the next two days and this is just one of hundreds of such efforts).  Yet this is still not enough. 400,000 Palestinians are now dislocated and for nearly half of them, their homes have been destroyed. Billions of dollars are needed to rebuild. Every bit helps though and actions speak louder than words. As we help Gaza Palestinians on a humanitarian level, we must also ensure accountability and to prevent more Israeli crimes. To do that we need BDS, we need ICC, we need coordination and joint action.

Names of Palestinians murdered by the colonial fascist Israeli forces (they are not numbers or even names, they are people with their stories and their rights violated and robbed of their lives by a war machine empowered by human silence)

I have many friends/colleagues in Gaza and all where affected by the ongoing horrors, more than half of them had family members killed (see for example story of family members of our colleague Dr Mona El Farra ), and one was killed herself with two of her children.

Being calmly rational about dead children feels like a very particular form of madness. Whatever else journalistic objectivity is, it surely cannot be the elimination of human emotion

Israeli Vets Speak Out: What Really Goes On In Gaza

Starvation, shooting at kids, casual violence—former IDF soldiers reveal the abuses by the Israeli military in Gaza

Photographer is killed as he videotapes attacks on ambulances

here is the same incident from another photographer who survived this war crime

A very excellent example of an article putting the context out that is ignored by Zionist dominated western media. We should all learn to write like that and to focus our energy on media.

 

Who profits from the war on Gaza

Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Boycott Israel: here is research on 60 companies to boycott/picket etc.

Dr. Mads Gilbert makes a moving speech upon his return to Norway from Gaza

Norman Finkelstein” The word is out, Israel is a lunatic state

 

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