IN PHOTOS ~~ HAS MOSSAD INFILTRATED THE US LEGAL SYSTEM?

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Some background info on the case …

A conspiracy to convict …. and it’s not a theory!

The Mossad Connection …

After her conviction this week, Shurat HaDin, an Israeli legal group that The Electronic Intifada revealed works closely with the Israeli spy and assassination agency Mossad,claimed responsibility for helping US prosecutors unearth Odeh’s 45-year-old record with the Israeli military court. The Jerusalem Report said on Thursday:

“In trying to defang her defense, the NGO [Shurat HaDin] said that the US attorney’s office ran into heavy red tape trying to get the IDF [Israeli army] Archives Division to supply it, in timely fashion, with documents proving Odeh’s identity and conviction, in Israel’s Judea and Samaria [occupied West Bank] courts, for her hand in the bombing. Using its own connections, Shurat HaDin was able to get the relevant documents.”

Read the full report on the Electronic Intifada HERE

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Photos from the demonstration outside the Manhattan Federal Building in New York

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ SILENCING THE SONGS AND DANCE OF APARTHEID

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Anti-Apartheid Dance and Songs Meet Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company in Protest at Brooklyn Academy of Music

On busy Lafayette Avenue outside Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), 80 New Yorkers gathered last night to dance and sing in protest of Batsheva Dance Company’s performances in BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival (photos). Batsheva’s appearance is part of the “Brand Israel” initiativedesigned to distract from the facts of Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and its denial of rights to Palestinians the world over. The demonstration was organized by Adalah-NY and endorsed by 15 other local human rights organizations including the BDS Arts Coalition, Brooklyn For Peace, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Ya-Ya Network.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs touts Batsheva as “perhaps the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture.” Batsheva is funded in part by that government office as well as by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. While Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin has criticized Israeli abuses of Palestinians, Batsheva Dance Company continues in its role as a prominent cultural ambassador of the Israeli state.

The demonstration began with a dabke (traditional Palestinian dance) lesson led by Adalah-NY member Riham Barghouti, with musical accompaniment by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra followed by songs from Dave Lippman. Chants highlighted the disconnect between the Batsheva dancers’ virtuosity and their company’s political role, including, “Their range of motion cannot hide / Their support for apartheid” and “Batsheva gets no ovation / Ambassador for occupation!”

Protester Carlos Pareja, an independent media maker, said, “I support drawing attention to the abuses against the Palestinian people. We can’t have only the ‘nice’ face of Israel, which is what we often see here.” Barghouti echoed that point, telling the crowd, “Today, only a few months after the most brutal of all Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip—which killed over 2100 Palestinians including 500 children and leveled whole neighborhoods, leading Amnesty International and others to accuse Israel of war crimes—yet again BAM has invited the Israeli dance company Batsheva to whitewash Israel’s crimes.”

Interactions with Brooklynites were mostly positive, as curious people tookflyers and asked questions about the activities. Passersby and BAM ticket holders alike stood and watched the high-energy Freedom Debka Group and the Columbia Palestinian Dabke Brigade, two Palestinian dance troupes. The protest ended with two moving dances by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl, a Mexica danza group, who offered “dance and prayers for dignity and solidarity” with Palestinians during their performance. Dancer Karen Lopez explained afterward, “We are indigenous people who have been displaced and seen our traditions threatened with destruction. We are always there in solidarity and resistance with other displaced peoples, including Palestinians.”

Wednesday night’s protest is part of the global movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. The Palestinian civil society call for BDS includes boycotting Israeli academic and cultural institutions complicit in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. Adalah-NY is also organizing a protest next Tuesday, November 18, at the concert of the Touré-Raichel Collective, which features another premiere Israeli “cultural ambassador,” musician Idan Raichel.

More photos from the protest can be found here.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Adalah-NY

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ZION CONDEMNS AS WE APPLAUD THOSE WHO BOYCOTT

In this music video Roger Waters covers the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” in support of the Palestinian people

Roger Waters has been the ‘leader of the pack’ of those international Artists who refuse to support the occupation in any way by performing in Israel. The ‘pack’ is growing daily as the occupation intensifies its policies against the people of Palestine. zion wants this to go away ….. but it won’t until the occupation ends COMPLETELY!

Today zion condemns the latest addition to the group, Peter Gabriel. As they condemn him, we applaud him for his stance!

Here is what they had to say about him …. (Also see THIS report)

Musician Peter Gabriel: I’m Not Anti-Israel, I’m Anti-Occupation

Singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel contributes songs to Gaza aid album, says he against “injustice and occupation”.
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Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel Reuters

Singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel says he is not anti-Israel, but that he is “against occupation”.

Gabriel, who originally rose to fame with the band Genesis, contributed songs to a new compilation album titled “2 Unite All”, proceeds from which go to humanitarian organizations aiding Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, reportsi24news.

“I am certain that Israelis and Palestinians will both benefit from a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders,” Gabriel said in a statement quoted by i24news. “We have watched Palestinians suffer for too long, especially in Gaza.”

He added, “I am not, and never was, anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic, but I oppose the policy of the Israeli government, oppose injustice and oppose the occupation… I am proud to be one of the voices asking the Israeli government: ‘Where is the two-state solution that you wanted so much?’ and clearly say that enough is enough.”

i24news noted that other musicians featured on the album include politically outspoken alternative metal musician Serj Tankian, most famous for his work as frontman of System of a Down, who contributed a song titled “Spinning Mysteries at the Sacred Grove”, which features Police drummer Steward Copeland.

The album also features former The Cure guitarist Porl Thompson and Def Leppard drummer, Rick Allen, known for continuing to play drums despite losing one of his arms in an automobile accident.

Several musicians in recent years have expressed their support for Palestinian Arabs while expressing anti-Israel sentiments.

The most notable among these is perhaps Roger Waters, who has in the past compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying in an interview, “The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable.”

He previously released a giant balloon pig bearing the Star of David during a concert in Belgium. Concert-goers said the Jewish star was among several symbols representing various corporations and fascist movements.

On the flip side, many musicians have ignored calls by pro-Palestinian groups to cancel concerts in Israel and have expressed their support of the Jewish state.

Last year, popular rhythm and blues artist Alicia Keys refused to cave in to pressure by anti-Israel activists and gave a sold out concert in Tel Aviv.

Keys announced that she had decided to go ahead with her concert in Tel Aviv despite calls from a number of anti-Israel activists to boycott the Jewish state.

The pop duo Pet Shop Boys also rejected calls from pro-Arab activists to cancel a Tel Aviv concert. The concert went ahead as scheduled on June 23 of last year.

BRAVO PETER!

And here is a poem written and performed by our very own Remi Kanazi …

THIS DIVESTMENT BILL HURTS MY FEELINGS

And here’s what YOU in New York can do to help …

There is no Art in Apartheid. Boycott Batsheva!
Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 – 8 pm
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Spread the word on Facebook!
Subway:
2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q, N, R, D to Atlantic Ave/Barclays Center
C to Lafayette Avenue
G to Fulton Street

Join us in front of the Brooklyn Academy of Music to protest the Batsheva Dance Company. There will be dance performances and a free dabke class. Help us show BAM, Batsheva and their audience that it’s time to dance against apartheid – not around it!

Why are we protesting? Batsheva is funded in part by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture and Sports. Let’s not let the ‘Brand Israel’ campaign use dance to whitewash Israel’s occupation, colonization, and apartheid system.

And save the date…

Protest Idan Raichel’s performance at Symphony Space
Tuesday, November 18, 6:30-8pm
Symphony Space (Broadway and West 95th St.)
Spread the word on Facebook!
Subway:
1, 2, or 3 trains to 96th Street.

Please join Adalah-NY for a demonstration against a performance by the Touré-Raichel Collective, featuring Israel’s premiere “cultural ambassador” Idan Raichel. We’ll show what art for a cause really looks like, with dance (performed by the Columbia Palestinian Dabke Brigade), poetry, and protest music. Applaud for art, not apartheid!

Why are we protesting? Idan Raichel describes his role as an artist in terms of uncritical support for the Israeli military and government. Before, during, and after this summer’s horrific assault on Gaza, Raichel provided morale-building entertainment to the troops involved. His collaborations with diverse artists such as Vieux Farka Touré attempt to cover up Israel’s egregious abuses of human rights – whether Palestinians or African asylum-seekers – with a veneer of multicultural music.

If you have not already signed our letter to the World Music Institute asking them to drop Idan Raichel, we urge you to do so now!

PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM MUST GO A FEW STEPS FURTHUR

President Obama has turned the Dream into a nightmare

President Obama has turned the Dream into a nightmare

But, in a positive move, this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom went to 3 slain Civil Rights workers more than 50 years after they were brutally murdered by the very same US government that honours them today.

IRONIC! …

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman Win Highest Civilian Honor

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman Win Highest Civilian Honor

But what about the activists of TODAY? What about the brave people of Ferguson who are literally putting their lives on the line daily in an attempt to restore Freedom and Democracy.

What about ALL those involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movements to restore Democracy and Civil Liberties to America and the world at large.

There are scores of others who are worthy of the honour but are either overlooked or ignored. It is time for President Obama, who promised change, to honour those that are ACTUALLY WORKING for that change.

Presented below is a Reuters report of this year’s recipients …

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3 Slain ‘Mississippi Burning’ Civil

Rights Activists Will Get Medal of

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Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman Win Highest Civilian Honor

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Three civil rights workers slain in Mississippi in 1964 will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, joining actress Meryl Streep and singer Stevie Wonder among the 19 recipients of America’s highest civilian honor this year, the White House said on Monday.

The posthumous honorees include James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were killed as they participated in the “Freedom Summer” drive to register black voters in Mississippi.

Their deaths helped galvanize support for civil rights legislation and inspired the film “Mississippi Burning.”

“From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Other recipients to be honored at a White House ceremony on Nov. 24 are the late dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey, physicist Mildred Dresselhaus, Native American writer and activist Suzan Harjo, former judge and congressman Abner Mikva, former U.S. Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink, the late Mexican-American congressman Edward Roybal, actress Marlo Thomas, and economist Robert Solow.

Also to be honored is Ethel Kennedy, the widow of slain U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy. Other recipients include television newsman Tom Brokaw, novelist Isabel Allende, composer Stephen Sondheim, veteran U.S. Representative John Dingell, and Charles Sifford, who helped desegregate the U.S. professional golf tour.

AMERICAN LABOUR BLOCKS THE BOATS FOR PALESTINE

Block the Boat for Gaza on 16 August CREDIT: Henry Norr

Block the Boat for Gaza on 16 August CREDIT: Henry Norr

This August, during five days and four nights of demonstrations at the Port of Oakland, a diverse group of pro-Palestine and social justice activists under the banner of the Block the Boat coalition picketed several berths where the Israeli cargo ship Zim Piraeus attempted to dock. Activists returned to the port whenever workers were dispatched to unload it—in some cases in the middle of the night. Their numbers, which fluctuated between dozens and thousands, were not always sufficient to physically block all entrances to the vessel. Yet the action succeeded due to the support of Oakland’s longshoremen, members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 10, who refused to cross the community picket lines. Even when police surrounded and split protestors on multiple occasions, workers refused to proceed and unload the ship. The ship eventually left port, unable to unload most of its cargo.

A BIG Thank You from Palestine

A BIG Thank You from Palestine

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Unionizing solidarity with Palestine: Support grows for BDS among grassroots labor movement

Alborz Gandanhari, David McCleary, Kumars Salehi and Tory Webster *

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“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel.” This call for solidarity was issued in July 2005 by hundreds of Palestinian organizations, including all major trade unions. Systematic land confiscation, mass incarceration, house demolition, and routine attacks that leave hundreds of civilians dead have become part and parcel of daily life in Israel-occupied Palestine. The US-sponsored “peace talks” merely readjusted Israel’s occupation strategy: instead of deploying its army inside Palestinian cities and towns, Israel now surrounds them with checkpoints and walls; hinders Palestinians’ ability to work, study, and travel; and ensures that Palestine remains economically dependent on Israel. Recognizing that Israel has used negotiations to normalize and sustain the occupation, Palestinian civil society adopted the non-violent strategy of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) against its oppressor.

Compared to its international counterparts, the U.S. labor movement has been slow to embrace BDS. Michael Letwin, co-founder of the solidarity group Labor for Palestine, suggests this is the product of the American labor movement’s historical and continuing institutional support for Israel. The major US trade unions, Letwin says, have hundreds of millions of dollars in pension funds that are invested in Israel. Senior union leaders, in fear of alienating the Democratic Party and other political allies, frequently denounce BDS and criticize their counterparts around the world who support it.

On the grassroots level, however, things look different. This summer, hundreds of US labor leaders and organizers signed on to Labor for Palestine’s BDS statement. To add to these inspiring developments, on December 4th, UAW 2865, a union that represents 13,000 student workers across nine University of California campuses, will become the first U.S. union to hold a membership vote on joining the BDS movement. Similarly encouraging are recent solidarity actions in the San Francisco Bay Area, which show that, despite the ambivalence among some union leadership, rank-and-filers do not hesitate to stand in solidarity with the oppressed.

This August, during five days and four nights of demonstrations at the Port of Oakland, a diverse group of pro-Palestine and social justice activists under the banner of the Block the Boat coalition picketed several berths where the Israeli cargo ship Zim Piraeus attempted to dock. Activists returned to the port whenever workers were dispatched to unload it—in some cases in the middle of the night. Their numbers, which fluctuated between dozens and thousands, were not always sufficient to physically block all entrances to the vessel. Yet the action succeeded due to the support of Oakland’s longshoremen, members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 10, who refused to cross the community picket lines. Even when police surrounded and split protestors on multiple occasions, workers refused to proceed and unload the ship. The ship eventually left port, unable to unload most of its cargo.

Israel’s massacre of more than 2,000 Palestinians this summer enraged Samantha Levens, an ILWU marine division rank-and-file member. Upon hearing that community members were organizing to block the Israeli liner, she prepared information fliers and distributed them to the longshoremen. “We weren’t saying ‘don’t handle the cargo,’” Levens says. “We were just giving information about the issue: what happened during the South African apartheid, the history of ILWU honoring community picket lines, and the position of international unions on the situation in Gaza.” The longshoremen’s reaction was positive. Even on the third and fourth days of picketing, she says, when members were eager to go back to work, “I mostly saw people becoming more supportive.”

Lifelong longshoreman, ILWU member, and activist Clarence Thomas explains: “I can’t be silent on these issues. I’m sure that there are longshoremen in Gaza who haven’t been doing work in decades. Isn’t it ironic that ships can go as they please into ports in Israel, but can’t come into Gaza?” Solidarity, Thomas says, is a key value in labor activism: “Politics is one thing, but the aspiration and the communality of the working class is something else,” he says, citing numerous solidarity actions ILWU has taken since the 1930s against oppressive regimes throughout the world. “As an African American man, I don’t have any difficulty relating to the plight of the Palestinian people,” he says. “I know what it means to be racially profiled and to be targeted by a militarized police. I’ve been pulled over many times. I had police guns pointed at me. I understand this phenomenon.”

The strong parallels between state and racial oppression in Palestine and the US, respectively, are at the foundation of ILWU Local 10’s policy of not crossing community picket lines. “We will not work under armed police escort—not with our experience with the police in this community,” said Local 10 president Melvin MacKay, referring to the police’s violent dispersal of anti-Iraq war pickets in 2003. “This action was always about building worker-community solidarity,” assesses Reem Assil, one of the organizers of the port actions. “We hope to use it as an impetus for us to deepen work in educating workers about the issue and connecting it to their personal conditions.”

Following the successful pickets in August, a second ship, the Zim Shanghai, again encountered community picket lines when it docked at the Port of Oakland on October 25. Once again, ILWU longshoremen stood down. As the first shifts to unload the Zim Shanghai were being met with pickets, all but one longshoremen refused to even take a job working the ship. The Shanghai left port without loading or unloading any cargo, thanks to the decision of ILWU rank-and-file members to once more respect a community picket line. When the Zim Beijing, a third ship scheduled to unload at the Port of Oakland, faced similar plans by the Block The Boat coalition in October, the ship diverted to avoid another humiliating defeat at the hands of a determined coalition of social justice activists and rank-and-file union members. With Block the Boat actions now spreading to other ports, it’s difficult to see how Israel will weather the growing storm of BDS.

Palestine solidarity is gaining traction among academic workers too. This July, UAW Local 2865, which represents over 13,000 University of California student workers, took an important step towards joining the international BDS movement. In a public letter posted on the union’s website, the UAW 2865 Joint Council (which includes 83 elected officers) declared its commitment “to support our Palestinian counterparts.” The joint council pledged to bring a comprehensive BDS proposal to a general membership vote this year, a proposal that would include a call for academic boycott of institutions profiting from Israeli occupation and human rights abuses. In addition to soliciting its members’ commitment to cut contact with such institutions, the union would also call on the UC system and UAW International to divest from companies complicit in the occupation.

This endorsement comes as no surprise: in the past few years, UAW 2865 has joined numerous struggles against oppression, including Occupy protests, UC student protests against fee-hikes, and last year’s strike by UC custodians. Recently, it negotiated unprecedented protections for its undocumented immigrant members, queer and trans members, parents, and others.

In the midst of Israel’s bombing of Gaza, the union’s social justice committee carefully worded the call for BDS, outlining in detail the different dimensions of the Israeli occupation. They cited Israel’s refusal to recognize Palestinian refugees’ rights as indigenous people (specifically, their right to return to their land), the system of apartheid that Israel enforces in the West Bank and Gaza, and the second-class status of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. The letter also mentions the connection between Israel’s military industry and ethnic cleansing, the suppression of popular movements, and the oppression and criminalization of people all over the world. Concluding by quoting Desmond Tutu’s “hope for a time when there are universal rights for all humans regardless of ethnicity, gender, or national, origin,” the letter emphasizes that BDS does not target the Jewish people but instead targets Israel as “a colonial-apartheid state.” The letter further highlights the unequivocal support BDS receives from Jewish organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. In fact, a few days after the letter’s publication, more than forty current and former Jewish UAW 2865 members publicly endorsed this BDS call.

The date for the general UAW 2865 membership vote has been set for December 4th. The official ballot language adopted by the Joint Council includes a single yes or no vote on whether the union should call on the US government to end military aid to Israel, and call on the University of California and UAW International to “divest…from Israeli state institutions and international companies complicit in severe and ongoing human rights violations as part of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people”. The ballot also includes a checkbox where members can pledge to refuse to “take part in any research, conferences, events, exchange programs, or other activities that are sponsored by Israeli universities complicit in the occupation of Palestine and the settler-colonial policies of the state of Israel”. The Joint Council also adopted several documents to educate members about the issues and explain the rationale for the vote; these include a BDS FAQ page, an academic boycott fact sheet, and a labor movement statement.

As in other social justice struggles, mobilization for BDS concerns not just Palestinian rights, but also the right of workers to act and express themselves politically. Purporting to represent UC Jewish students, several Zionist organizations have petitioned UC President Janet Napolitano, alleging that the Joint Council’s solidarity with Palestine creates “a hostile anti-Semitic environment” for Jewish students. Many Jewish students, however, find such allegations to be spurious and see the claims as dishonest attempts to silence criticism.The BDS movement is a fundamentally anti-racist movement, one that opposes racism in all of its forms, including and especially anti-Semitism. The President’s office has yet to respond to the petition, and one can only hope that Napolitano’s tenure will not add to her abysmal human rights record both as Governor of Arizona and Homeland Security Secretary.

The success of Oakland’s Block the Boat makes clear the centrality of organized labor to the global movement for Palestinian freedom. This, and the upcoming UAW 2865 vote on BDS, signal a sea change in US labor’s willingness to be complicit in apartheid and ethnic cleansing. As the larger Palestine solidarity movement picks up steam, we can expect the grassroots labor mobilization for Palestine to bear greater and greater fruits, until Israeli apartheid is no more.
*About Alborz Gandanhari, David McCleary, Kumars Salehi and Tory Webster

Alborz Ghandehari is a graduate student at UC San Diego; Tory Webster is a graduate student at UC Davis; Kumars Salehi and David McCleary are graduate students at UC Berkeley. All are UAW 2865 rank-and-file members and members of the UAW 2865 BDS Caucus. Tory and Alborz are also elected officers of the UAW 2865 Joint Council. Kumars and David participated in the Block the Boat protests in Oakland.

 

This originally appeared at Mondoweiss

THE WALL ~~ I WROTE ABOUT IT YESTERDAY, IT’S HAPPENING TODAY!

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*Yesterday I posted about the fall of the Apartheid wall in Israel. Today it started to crumble! Let’s hope this trend continues!

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Click HERE to see the report including a video….

From Berlin to Palestine: Palestinian activists blast hole in separation fence

‘It doesn’t matter how high the barriers will be, they will fall. Like the Berlin Wall fell – the Palestinian wall will fall,’ activists say on 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It WILL happen!

It WILL happen!

ZIONISM HAS KILLED MORE PEOPLE THAN THE EBOLA VIRUS

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Is a research scientist working to find a cure for AIDS called an extremist?

Same question, a research scientist working to find a cure for the Ebola Virus??

The answer is NO!*

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BUT ….

Activists who are working to expose the evils of zionism are extremists according to the spokesmen of zion. Here is their definition … Of course, the definition of an ‘extremist’ is one for whom the real-world moral consequences of his or her actions are of little concern, especially in comparison to the imperative of maintaining fealty to a rigid – and often destructive – political ideology.

A Jewish settler from an illegal settlement in the Occupied West Bank who roams the streets of Jerusalem armed with a gun is not an extremist, But someone like myself who lives in Jerusalem goes out unarmed is one …. how’s that for ziologic?

A neighbour who circulated a petition recently to keep Arab children out of a local playground is not an extremist, BUT someone like myself who refused to sign it is one. (BTW, hardly anyone signed it).

An influential rabbi who recently tried to have Arab children removed from a local nursery is not an extremist, but someone like myself who campaigned against him is one.

I can give hundreds of other examples, but these are enough to get my message across.

Now for the latest attack from zion …. (First read THIS POST from last week)

Whilst it’s not clear if SodaStream’s decision to close their plant in the West Bank town of Mishor Adumim was undertaken due to pressure from BDS activists, the reaction by the BDS Movement to the company’s decision to move production of the fizzy drink makers to a new location in the Israeli Negev – placing the employment of 500 Palestinians in jeopardy – speaks volumes about the political extremism of the movement.

So, if you are involved in any way to expose, or better yet find a cure for the virus known as zionism, be ready to be labeled an extremist. Here is how they view the closure of the SodaStream plant …

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What does it say about BDS activists when the loss of 500 Palestinian jobs is a ‘victory’?

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Whilst it’s not clear if SodaStream’s decision to close their plant in the West Bank town of Mishor Adumim was undertaken due to pressure from BDS activists, the reaction by the BDS Movement to the company’s decision to move production of the fizzy drink makers to a new location in the Israeli Negev – placing the employment of 500 Palestinians in jeopardy – speaks volumes about the political extremism of the movement.

Homepage of BDS Movement, Nov. 2

 

The Guardian’s Middle East editor Ian Black wrote the following on SodaStream’s relocation in an Oct. 29th column:

Palestinian activists have hailed a decision by SodaStream International, an Israeli-owned soft drink company, to close its controversial factory in a settlement in the occupied West Bank, calling the decision a victory for the campaign for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions.

The company had defended itself as employing 500 Palestinians, along with 450 Israeli Arab and 350 Israeli Jewish citizens, and insisted that closure for political reasons would benefit no one.

But the BDS statement said: “Any suggestion that SodaStream is employing Palestinians in an illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land out of the kindness of its heart is ludicrous.”

Naturally, neither the Guardian’s Ian Black, nor the BDS Movement, bothered to explain how the closing of a factory which employs (at wages far above the average in the West Bank) the largest number of Palestinians outside the Palestinian Authority could reasonably be characterized as a victory for Palestinians.

Indeed, additional evidence attesting to the BDS Movement’s true motivations can be found in this passage near the end of Black’s article:

It’s [the BDS Movement] statement said: “Even if this announced closure goes ahead, SodaStream will remain implicated in the displacement of Palestinians. Its new Lehavim factory is close to Rahat, a planned township [see footnote] in the Naqab [Negev] desert, where Palestinian Bedouins are being forcefully transferred against their will. Sodastream, as a beneficiary of this plan, is complicit with this violation of human rights.”

The statement is referring to draft legislation in the Knesset last year (since shelved), on Bedouin development, which would have seen some 20,000-30,000 Israeli Bedouin relocated from unrecognized and undeveloped shanty towns to officially recognized and developed towns in the Negev, including the city of Rahat.  Those who moved were to receive financial compensation as well as free land.

So, the BDS statement is in effect saying that, by virtue of the fact that the new SodaStream factory will be located some 9 km from one of the towns which would become home to thousands of Bedouins (in the context of a plan to relocate Bedouin to developed), planned communities), the company is somehow “complicit” in human rights violations.  Even though the company will be moving its factory to within Israel’s pre-67 boundaries, BDS will not end their anti-SodaStream campaign.

Indeed, the broader point should be familiar to anyone with even a basic understanding of the malevolence of the BDS Movement.  BDS seeks the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties”, goals which undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination. BDS leaders have made their opposition to the continued existence to the Jewish state (within any borders) quite clear.

The promoters of the SodaStream boycott are so zealous in desire to isolate, delegitimize, and demonize Israel, that they are unburdened by the fact they’ve harmed a thriving factory, one which provides a livelihood to hundreds of Palestinian workers and has served as a rare model of co-existencebetween Arabs and Jews.

Of course, the definition of an ‘extremist’ is one for whom the real-world moral consequences of his or her actions are of little concern, especially in comparison to the imperative of maintaining fealty to a rigid – and often destructive – political ideology.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE OF THE BDS MOVEMENT

Their work is done .... time to move on

Their work is done …. time to move on

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Originally I was going to headline this post A SMALL STEP FOR MAN, A GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND …. AN EVEN GREATER LEAP FOR THE BDS MOVEMENT.

BUT

I must say that when we call for a boycott of companies situated in the Occupied West Bank we are calling for a boycott of the occupation itself. It is not our intention to put these companies out of business, just to get them out of lands that do not belong to them or Israel.

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In reality, the workers of SodaStream are victims of Collateral Damage in our ongoing war against the occupation. The workers of the plant involved, both Israeli and Palestinian have our sincerest wishes that they will soon find suitable employment elsewhere … they were certainly not our target.

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Leah, a Jewish worker, and Nidaa, a Palestinian from Jericho, at the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim. Photograph: Heidi Levine/Sipa/Rex.

Leah, a Jewish worker, and Nidaa, a Palestinian from Jericho, at the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim. Photograph: Heidi Levine/Sipa/Rex.

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SodaStream gives the following reason for the closure of their plant; Sales of SodaStream’s soda machines have been weak in the United States as consumers in the company’s biggest market opt for healthier drinks such as juices and teas over sodas.

No mention of the fact that their company has been the number one target of the BDS Movement over the past year or so. Obviously consumers in the United States are opting against the occupation which is definitely unhealthy!

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Similar protests to these were held throughout the world on a regular basis

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Below is a Reuters Report on the situation. You will notice that there is no mention the role that our Movement played in their decision. They are obviously proud losers, when in reality the workers involved are the true losers. There is also no mention of them in the report.

Despite the outcome of this, our efforts will continue globally to boycott the occupation until it ends!

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SodaStream Will Shut West Bank Factory

Onetime Start-Up Nation Star Cuts Costs Amid Financial Woes

By Reuters

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SodaStream, the Israeli at-home soda machine maker, is closing its controversial West Bank factory as part of a cost-cutting campaign amid poor financial results.

The beverage machine maker cut its 2014 revenue and profit forecasts after reporting a sharp drop in third-quarter earnings and said it would restructure to spur a return to growth.

Sales of SodaStream’s soda machines have been weak in the United States as consumers in the company’s biggest market opt for healthier drinks such as juices and teas over sodas.

“Our third quarter performance was pressured by challenging selling conditions for soda makers and flavors primarily in the U.S.,” Chief Executive Daniel Birnbaum said, adding that performance outside the United States was mixed.

Birnbaum announced a “comprehensive growth plan” meant to return SodaStream to profitable growth.

As part of that plan, the company said it would be shutting down and relocating operations from two facilities into a new plant. It would also discontinue certain beverage makers and flavors at a cost of about $20 million to the company.

The financial impact of those two moves will be spread out from the fourth quarter into 2015.

“We are fully committed to getting the company back on track,” Birnbaum said.

It was reported in July that SodaStream was in talks with an investment firm to be taken private in a deal valuing the company at $828 million.

SodaStream’s shares received a boost last week when it said it would sell some PepsiCo Inc brands such as Pepsi Homemade, that are not sold in stores in a limited test.

SodaStream said third-quarter revenue was $125.9 million, down from $144.6 million a year earlier. net profit was $9.5 million versus $16.4 million a year earlier.

The company lowered its forecast for all of 2014, saying revenue was expected to decrease about 9 percent from $562.7 million in 2013, and profit was expected to drop about 42 percent from $42.0 million in 2013. Previously the company had forecast a 5 percent drop in both revenue and profit from 2013.

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Related post from the JTA

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Boycott Israel Activists Claim Credit for SodaStream Factory Closing

Company Points to Fizzling Profits in Cost-Cutting Move

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By JTA

The Israeli firm SodaStream, which has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, is closing its West Bank factory — and anti-Israel activists claimed credit for forcing the move.

The company, which makes home soft drink machines, made the announcement about its Maale Adumim facility on Wednesday. It also said that its third quarter sales had dropped 9 percent.

SodaStream said that closing the West Bank factory would result in a $9 million savings in production costs. A second factory in the Galilee also will be closed.

CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in September that the decision to shut down the West Bank factory would be based solely on economics.

The operations from the two plants are slated to be relocated by the end of 2015 to a new facility in Lehavim, a Negev community near Beersheba in Israel’s South. The company will receive a government subsidy for its operations in the new plant. The Lehavim plant is expected to employ a significant number of Bedouin Arabs.

Birnbaum told The Associated Press that the company is working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for its Palestinian employees from the Maale Adumim factory so that they can work in the new plant.

The company also has a plant in Ashkelon and 20 others around the world. There are currently about 1,100 employees in the Maale Adumim plant, including 850 who are Arab-Israelis or Palestinians.

SodaStream was at the center of controversy following the signing of actress Scarlett Johansson as a spokeswoman and the ensuing furor over its West Bank factory. Johansson resigned as a global ambassador for Oxfam over her position with SodaStream.

“We have witnessed a tremendous growth in boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts this year to pressure Israel to ends its denial of Palestinian rights,” Ramah Kudaimi of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of more than 400 groups, said in a statement. “Today’s news is just the latest sign that these global BDS campaigns are having an impact on changing the behavior of companies that profit from Israeli occupation and apartheid.”

Kudaimi said that SodaStream would remain a target of boycott efforts since its factory is close to Rahat, a planned township in the Negev desert for Bedouins, “thus still implicating the company in Israel’s displacement policies.”

I AM NO LONGER ACCEPTING THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE

I AM CHANGING THE THINGS I CANNOT ACCEPT!
Free yourselves from all evils of society

Free yourselves from all evils of society

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As a society, we have been duped by the powers that be. We were told to chant the following …

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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Yet, the President of the United States promised CHANGE …. and yes, he kept his promise. Things have changed from bad to worse!

Are we expected to accept that?

I SAY NO!

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Now that we are finally awake, let's get out of bed and get to work!

Now that we are finally awake, let’s get out of bed and get to work!

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Acceptance of what Obama calls CHANGE is complicity with the evils within those changes!

Let’s start with the erosion of our Academic Freedom …. students are no longer allowed or encouraged to think … or even hear opinions contrary to those of the Administration. The human brain has become as redundant as the appendix.

Black Americans have become mere targets for trigger happy police officers, especially the youth.

Muslim Americans have been classified as terrorists and are racially profiled in every aspect of their lives.

New wars are being waged throughout the world targeting self created enemies … soldiers are dying for no reason at all yet they continue to follow orders, truly ‘Waste Deep In The Big Muddy’ …

Attempts to change any of the above leads to arrests, loss of jobs, or even worse, loss of lives.

BUT IT MUST BE DONE!

The American nation has become a nation of Sheeple being led to slaughter.

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The outdated Serenity Prayer presented above has allowed the Administration to destroy the very fibers of our society. They have treated us as if we were all addicted to a substance  dangerous to our health … and yes we were, a substance we know as Capitalism! Don’t allow that substance to become fascism …. an evil even harder to cure.

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It can be nipped in its bud!

It can be nipped in its bud!

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Stop following that asshole in front of you! Become the CHANGE that will give us something to really be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving!

REMEMBERING CHE AND VITTORIO, MARTYRS EXTRAORDINAIRE

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Forty seven years ago this month Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was murdered by the CIA in Bolivia. 

Below is a heartbreaking letter from the mother of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian in Gaza murdered by similar forces of hatred just over three years ago. Imagine the letter having been penned by the mother of Che …

Both live on in the hearts of all who work for Social Justice throughout the world …

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“Don’t cry for me if I die, do what I was doing and I will live on in you.” –
Che Guevara
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A letter from Vittorio’s mother

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One has to die to become a hero, to hit the headlines and to have TV crews around the house, but does one have to die to stay human? I recall Vittorio in the Christmas of 2005, detained and incarcerated in the Ben Gurion Airport, the scars left by the handcuffs that cut his wrists, the denial of any contact with the consulate, the farcical process. And I recall Easter that same year, when just across the Allenby Bridge at the Jordanian border the Israeli police blocked his entrance in the country, put him on a bus and, seven against one (one of the seven was a policewoman), they beat him up “with skill”, without leaving any external marks, like the real professionals they are, then hurling him to the ground and throwing at his face, as a last scar to add to the others, the hair they had ripped off him with their machines.

Vittorio was unwanted in Israel. Too subversive, for having joined his friend Gabriele one year earlier and demonstrated along with the women and men of the village of Budrus against the Wall of Shame, teaching them the lyrics and singing together our most beautiful partisan song ‘O bella ciao, ciao…’. (see below)

Back then no TV crew came by, not even when in the Fall of 2008 a commando attacked in Palestinian waters off Rafah the fishing boat he had boarded. Vittorio was incarcerated in Ramle and soon after sent back home with nothing but the clothes on his body. Nevertheless, I cannot but be thankful to the press and television that have approached us with composure, that have ‘besieged’ our home with restraint, without excesses and that have given me the chance to talk about Vittorio and about his ideals and the choices he made.

This lost child of mine is more alive than ever before, like the grain that has fallen to the ground and died to bring forth a plentiful harvest. I see it and hear it already in the words of his friends, above all the younger among them, some closer, some from afar. Through Vittorio, they have known and understood, and now even more, how one can give ‘Utopia’ a meaning, like the thirst for justice and peace, how fraternity and solidarity still stand and how, as Vittorio used to say, ‘Palestine can also be found at your doorsteps’. We were a long way from Vittorio, but now we are closer than ever, with his living presence magnified at every passing hour, like a wind from Gaza, from his beloved Mediterranean, blowing fierily to deliver the message of his hope and of his love for those without a voice, for the weak and the oppressed, passing the baton.

Stay human. – Restiamo umani.

The above is a translation of the letter written by egidia beretta arrigoni, mother of vittorio arrigoni, translated by Sebastiao Nascimento

Bella Ciao Vitto
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Scenes in Gaza after Vittorio’s murder…..
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Honoured by Carlos Latuff

Honoured by Carlos Latuff

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As was Che on the 40th Anniversary of his martyrdom

As was Che on the 40th Anniversary of his martyrdom

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION FOUND IN HONG KONG

THE UMBRELLA REVOLUTION
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Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Hong Kong govt says umbrellas are Kung Fu weapons of mass destruction

Hong Kong govt says umbrellas are Kung Fu weapons of mass destruction

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Weapon of Mass Destruction in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

The Umbrella Revolution has also been labeled as “Color Revolution” backed up by foreign forces, in particular, the United State. Pro-Beijing law makers passed a motion on October 10 demanding an investigation of the mobilization of the massive sit-in action under the Legislative Council(Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.

In response to the smear campaign, DDED HK, created a video that imitates the China Central Television’s news report on the students’ use of mass destruction weapon – umbrellas and birthday song – in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution.

In the video, the umbrellas that protected the protesters from police pepper spray and tear gas were depicted as parachutes and ray guns. The birthday song, which was sang by the sit-in protesters, when they were surrounded and bombarded by the anti-occupation groups, was depicted as the most evil weapon.

 

Source

JEWISH RECOMMITMENT AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

While many of us have been concerned about, and appalled by the recent Islamophobic ads on NYC subways and buses and have responded to them in a number of different ways, we also recognize that Islamophobia extends far beyond those ads.

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Jews Recommit to Standing Against Islamophobia

by: Donna Nevel and Elly Bulkin FOR

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While many of us have been concerned about, and appalled by the recent Islamophobic ads on NYC subways and buses and have responded to them in a number of different ways, we also recognize that Islamophobia extends far beyond those ads.

As part of our commitment to challenging Islamophobia in all its forms and to bringing these issues to the forefront within the Jewish community, the coalition we are part of, Jews Against Islamophobia (Jews Say No!, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice), wanted to make visible the many manifestations of Islamophobia that we oppose and that we are committed to challenging. We created a short video that highlights the multiple ways Islamophobia is promoted – through police surveillance of the Muslim community, government institutions and policies, and the media as well as through Islamophobic ads in public spaces and demanding that Muslims pass a litmus test declaring their loyalty to the State of Israel before being considered an “acceptable” partner.

Some of us from Jews Against Islamophobia have also been part of initiating a new national network, J-NAI (Jewish Voice for Peace Network Against Islamophobia) that we hope will provide support and resources for those interested in organizing against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and in making the connections between Islamophobia and Israel politics.You can learn more about these efforts at JVP.org/JNAI

We join our partners and allies from the Muslim community and from other communities who are organizing against Islamophobia and for justice and dignity for all our communities.

#FergusonOctober COMES TO MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Tory Russell, who has been on the ground in Ferguson from the start, said, “What were saying is No Justice, No Peace. You can’t go on with life as usual until justice is served. We are fighting all across St. Louis and this is not a game to us.”

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#FergusonOctober Comes to Monday Night Football

Black lives matter

“Rams Fans Know Black Lives Matter On and Off the Field” (Photo: Benjamin Boyd)

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The tradition is as longstanding as it is powerful: fans and even players disrupting sporting events in the name of a greater cause. Sometimes when this takes place, it’s iconic, other times it’s forgotten. This is usually dependent on the power and breadth of the movements off the field that animate these extraordinary actions.

We saw it most famously perhaps when John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists at the 1968 Olympics. It helped change the world when the people of Australia and New Zealand fans stormed the grounds when Apartheid South Africa’s storied Springbok rugby team took the field. It continues today when people protest the Israeli basketball tour of the NBA preseason in the shadow of the Gaza war or when NFL players in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown raise their hands as they leave the tunnel.

That tradition continued last night when, as a part of #FergusonOctober, fifty people in the upper deck of the St. Louis Rams-San Francisco 49ers game unfurled a banner saying “Black Lives Matter On And Off The Field” and held a protest right in the middle of Monday Night Football.

An NFL stadium is a place of constant security, surveillance and inspection. Getting inside the White House with a knife seems like an easier task than entering an NFL arena for a protest. Yet in St. Louis, they did it and sent a strong message that this was not a time for games.

Stadium protester Shannon Wilson said, “We chanted in protest to tell the world that Rams fans know that black lives matter. Some Rams fans who sat in front of us ignored us at first. When our cries for our lives grew louder, some men began to dance as if to imitate monkeys, and shouted, verbatim, ‘Shut the f*** up you monkeys.’ I guess some Rams fans don’t know that Black lives matter.”

Charles Modiano, who helped organize the action, said:

Sorry to inconvenience the 3rd quarter, but the wild cheering of African-American athletes who can run fast, and the death and disrespect of Mike Brown simply cannot be separated from each other. Black lives must matter on AND off the field. We witnessed many hateful, hostile, and nearly violent responses from fans inside and outside the stadium. But we witnessed many Rams fans – including many white fans — who joined our protest in solidarity after initial hesitance. It’s almost like they needed permission to show their justifiable outrage. Last week the St. Louis Symphony protesters asked ‘What side are you on, my friends. That’s the question. There are six witnesses, no police incident report, still no arrest, and Mike Browns in every town. This is real basic. There can be no fence-sitting here. Dismantling the Blue Wall of Silence also includes ending white walls of silence.

Thousands were protesting at St. Louis University, Walmart, at the Ferguson police Department, and other places. And that was just one day.

As one stadium protester who requested anonymity told me, “Tonight was a major success. Our message was clear – black lives matter and that means that police violence is an issue no one can ignore, even during Monday night football. Our movement is growing every day and while ESPN chose not to air our major action, we know that many in our country stand with us. We are waiting for our leaders to act.”

Yes, it’s true that ESPN ignored the happenings in the stands. But it was picked up by mainstream channels like The Sporting News and SB Nation as well as the highly trafficked rebel sports site Deadspin.

At a rally this weekend, Montague Simmons, from the Organization for Black Struggle, told a crowd: “They didn’t value Black lives then, they don’t value Black lives now…. If this moment is gonna be all that it can be, we got to make the cost of Black life too high for them to take it.” Actions like last night are a critical part of that process.

Protestor Darnell Moore said, “While waking around the stadium with several dozen others chanting ‘Mike Brown’ and ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ some fans willfully ignored us or shouted irately because their game was interrupted.”

This was a brave action that went down last night. As long as some people in the United States cannot escape the fear of police violence, the escapism of sports is a bubble well worth popping.

Tory Russell, who has been on the ground in Ferguson from the start, said, “What were saying is No Justice, No Peace. You can’t go on with life as usual until justice is served. We are fighting all across St. Louis and this is not a game to us.”

RABBIS JOIN THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE IN FERGUSON

American Handala By Mike Flugennock

American Handala
By Mike Flugennock

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Outside the Ferguson police station, under a steady rain, the rabbis were asking the cops to repent.

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20 Rabbis Join Rallies in Ferguson as Anger Keeps Building

Protests Against Racism Back on Streets of St. Louis Suburb

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Stop the Hate: Rabbi Mordechai Leibling addresses protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where anti-racism protests are still roiling the St. Louis suburb.

PHILIP DEITCH
Stop the Hate: Rabbi Mordechai Leibling addresses protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where anti-racism protests are still roiling the St. Louis suburb.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Outside the Ferguson police station, under a steady rain, the rabbis were asking the cops to repent.

“We repent for the sins of our community, not only for the things we personally did,” Rabbi Jill Jacobs told one officer. “I asked him if he would join me in repenting, and he didn’t really respond.”

Two months after the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, the protest movement in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb shows no sign of ending. A grand jury has yet to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, for shooting the unarmed black teen. And in early October, a St. Louis police officer shot another black teen to death under unclear circumstances, giving the movement new energy.

Rabbis from outside of the St. Louis area have stayed away from the protests in Ferguson, leaving them to local leaders and activists. But that changed October 12, when 20 rabbis joined dozens of clergy members for a series of actions protesting what they see as a pattern of police impunity.

The goal was to get arrested.

“It was clear they didn’t want to arrest clergy,” said Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, a rabbinic social justice group, of police at the October 13 protest outside of the Ferguson police station.

Some clergy did go to jail, though all of the rabbis remained free. Rabbi Susan Talve, the spiritual leader of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, who has been a regular presence at the Ferguson protests, was driving to prison to visit a group of arrested ministers when she was reached by the Forward.

“I want my sisters to know I’m here,” Talve said.

Talve’s synagogue is near Ferguson. One 16-year-old black congregant lives in the town.

“He just wants to go to school,” she said of the teenager. “He also doesn’t want to be afraid that when he walks on the street at night, that he’s going to be provoked, profiled and harassed because of the color of his skin.”

Talve said that Jacobs and others had been asking her how to support the Ferguson protest movement since the beginning, but that she had waited for an appropriate moment to invite them to come in. The civil disobedience at the police station was part of a series of events called Ferguson October meant to draw national attention to the ongoing protests.

Jacobs said that she and her colleagues from outside of the area felt that they, too, had a role in countering the discrimination in Ferguson. “We know what it’s like to be singled out because of our religion, because of the way we look, so we have an obligation to stand with other people in the same situation,” Jacobs said. “It’s incredibly important to break out of this us/them dynamic. This is about the Jewish community and every community.”

Outside the police station, activists chanted while some confronted the officers.

“We had clergy of all faiths going up to the police officers and asking them to repent for their part in the system that led to the death of Michael Brown,” Jacobs said.

Some Christian clergy offered to take confession. Jacobs said that she spoke to two unflinching riot police who would not engage with her. Talve spoke to a Catholic officer who did not accept her premise.

“He said he didn’t have anything to be sorry for, to repent for,” Talve said. “I said, I’m sure you’re a good man, you’re doing holy work… but we’re all part of the system.”

The protest was designed as a civil disobedience action, but the unwillingness of the officers meant that the rabbis stayed out of jail. “They wouldn’t arrest me,” Talve said. “We tried.”

CNN reported that 43 people were arrested outside the police station, including Cornel West, the academic and activist.

The weekend was not without tension among the activists. At a rally on the evening of October 12, local youth leaders protested when speakers from outside Ferguson were given priority, calling for their own chance to speak.

IN PHOTOS ~~ THE WORLD STANDS WITH PALESTINE IN HARLEM

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On Saturday evening, October 11th, a meeting was held at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Community Center in Harlem, NYC.  It was formerly the Audubon and the conference took place in the ballroom, almost sacred ground because it is where Malcolm was assassinated.  It began with a very good buffet dinner and the music of an excellent Latino band.  Tables were set up around the side of the large room selling beautiful handmade Palestinian goods, Mumia T-shirts and giving out information.   The theme of the evening was solidarity among oppressed peoples and the interconnections between the various peoples struggles.  It was also pointed out that ultimately we are all fighting the same enemy, capitalism. The teargas being used on the Palestinian people is the same teargas that is being used on the people of Ferguson, MO.  Nancy Mansour from Existence is Resistance spoke describing what is happening in Palestine including huge demonstrations on the West Bank that were never reported here where the IDF shot into the crowd. Another one of the speakers, Bassem Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, had just arrived from Palestine to speak to the crowd at the meeting. He described the struggle there as well as his years in Israeli prisons, the torture he endured there, and the deaths of people in his family at the hands of the IDF. Everyone was brought up to date by Johanna Fernandez on the struggle to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and Mumia addressed the people, by phone, and answered questions followed by applause and cheers from all present. We learned what was happening in the Puerto Rican community from former Young Lord Carlito Rovira, and there was excellent analysis of the current political situation in the US by Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report.  He pointed out that the Black Caucus in Congress went along with the militarization of the police who direct their attacks on Black urban communities. The audience of about 200+ people were very enthusiastic, eager to hear more.  Some speakers spoke through skype because they couldn’t make the trip.  Remi Kanazi was supposed to appear but he too spoke via skype because he was in Ferguson, MO in solidarity with the protestors there.  There are many from the Palestinian justice community in Ferguson supporting the fight against racism there. 

This meeting was a result of months of preparation by people from different organizations who recognized there was a common enemy and that we would have much greater strength working together.  That, in itself, is a revolutionary concept. It was made clear by many speakers who made the point that solidarity was not just about feeling good being together – solidarity is self defense.  Activists chant, “The people, united, will never be defeated”.   Efforts are now being made to unite them.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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On sale were shirts MADE IN PALESTINE

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Meanwhile, 

UNARMED CIVILIANS IN THE STREETS OF FERGUSON

The struggle continues at home and abroad

It is our duty to fight for our freedom…

“…It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains…”

Said 62 times for the 62 days that have happened since Mike Brown’s death – 62 days still lacking justice and a policing system that refuses to honor the inherent value and dignity of all lives equally.

SELF INFLICTED ANTI SEMITISM

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

The zionist Thought Police have mastered the art of "linguistic warfare" and have buried many with their Orwellian weaponry.

The zionist Thought Police
have mastered the art of
“linguistic warfare” and have
buried many with their
Orwellian weaponry.

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The event reported in yesterday’s post seems to have rocked the foundations of zion. The last thing Israel wants is to be publicly criticized, especially by American Jews. Even worse is when those very same Jews endorse the BDS Movement.

As always, Israel’s only defense is to lie about the situation and to use their latest tactic of artificial anti Semitism as is reported below …

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The following made headline news in the Israeli press ….

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Pro-Palestinian protesters chanted anti-Semitic statements in the arena when there was a call for donations to the IDF before the game. Other protesters also tried to disrupt the game by unfurling Palestinian flags on the court – they were removed by security.

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NY Jew assaulted outside Maccabi TA game in Brooklyn

Local community leader beaten by pro-Palestinian protesters after Israeli basketball champions lose to Brooklyn Nets.
Ynetnews
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Leonard Petlakh, a local Jewish leader in New York City, was assaulted by pro-Palestinian protesters at the Barclays Center on Wednesday.

Petlakh, a 42-year-old who runs one of the largest sports centers in the community, was rushed to the hospital with a broken nose and required eight stitches.

He was beaten by the demonstrators in front of his children, 10 and 14, who were accompanying him to cheer on Maccabi Tel Aviv in their loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Brooklyn (Photo: AP)

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Brooklyn (Photo: AP)

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According to the Jewish Daily Forward, Petlakh was upset that his sons witnessed the violence, but said that he hoped “it sends a strong message to them to stand up for their values as proud Americans and as those who will eventually volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters chanted anti-Semitic statements in the arena when there was a call for donations to the IDF before the game. Other protesters also tried to disrupt the game by unfurling Palestinian flags on the court – they were removed by security.

The incidents continued after the game, when Petlakh was assaulted. The Jewish leader filed a complaint with the police, which has launched a hate-crime investigation, and called for increased police presence at sporting events connected to Israel.

According to American media outlets, the incident was captured on closed-circuit cameras and the police is reviewing the footage.

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The American zionist Jewish Daily Forward had a slightly different report …. a wee bit more believable

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Pro-Palestinian Group Condemns Beating of Jewish Leader at Brooklyn Nets Game Protest

Jewish Voice for Peace Says ‘Horrified’ by Attack

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DIRECT ACTION FRONT FOR PALESTINE

By Gabe Friedman

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A pro-Palestinian organization expressed ‘horror’ at the attack on Jewish leader Leonard Petlakh during a demonstration after a Nets basketball game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Tuesday night — and called for an investigation into the incident.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which supports Palestinian causes and often criticizes Israel, was one of the primary organizers of the protest, which slammed the Nets for holding a fundraiser with a group that supports the Israeli miltary.

It said the protest ended after the start of the exhibition game between the Brooklyn Nets and Maccabi Tel Aviv. Petlakh, director of the KIngs Bay Y, a Jewish community group, was punched in the face after the game while leaving the arena and suffered a cut that required eight stitches.

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Leonard Petlakh

Leonard Petlakh
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“If something happened after the game, which would have been several hours after the protest ended, it had nothing to do with us or the demonstration,” said JVP New York member Pam Sporn.

“(We) express our horror at the injuries that Mr. Petlakh suffered,” the group added in a press release. “We hope to know soon the full details of what happened.”

About 100 protestors, JVP and several other organizations, such as Adalah New York and Direct Action Front for Palestine, demonstrated outside the Barclays Center because the Nets were holding a fundraiser for Friends of the IDF.

As the JVP press release explains, these organizations expressed the view that “honoring the IDF only a few weeks after Israel’s attack on Gaza has ended contradicts our values as Jewish New Yorkers.”

Petlakh, 42, says he was attacked by demonstrators holding Palestinian flags as he walked out of the arena with his sons, ages 14 and 10, and a group of friends.

Police are investigating the attack. A police spokesman said Thursday that no arrests have been made.

IN PHOTOS ~~ APARTHEID AND WAR ARE NOT GAMES! BOYCOTT ISRAEL ON THE COURTS!!

When activists arrived at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to protest a Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces fundraiser that was coupled with an exhibition game between the Nets and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, the police were waiting with a message of their own. As the night unfolded, this message spoke volumes. Protesters would not be allowed on the expansive plaza that unfolds from the front of the Barclays Center all the way to the Atlantic Yards subway entrance. Instead, they would have to be in a fenced-off pen on the narrow strip of sidewalk to the side of the arena. Yes, an outdoor space built with public funds was deemed a privatized, no-free-speech zone, enforced by armed public employees, otherwise known as the police.

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‘Israel’s War On Gaza Is Not A Game’: Scenes From the NBA Preseason Protest

IN PHOTOS ~~ VIGIL IN NEW YORK TO STOP ARMS TO ISRAEL

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(As a preface, yesterday Mondoweiss posted a letter by Alan Levine written to Schumer & Gillibrand urging them to follow the Leahy law which states that countries who use arms against a people in a way that violates international law and creates war crimes will no longer receive arms or $ for arms from the US.  

On Monday, October 6th, Jewish Voice for Peace NY and Jews Say No, with the support of several other organizations that support justice for Palestinians, held an 8 hour demonstration in front of the offices of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand at 780 3rd Avenue.  Demonstrators came and went in the course of the day but there were always between 50 and 80 people there.  Palestinian food was served to the demonstrators and people passing by, many having questions to ask or just wanting to chat a bit. It was explained that welcoming with food was part of a strong Palestinian tradition.  Informational leaflets were also distributed.  Most participants carried signs throughout the day created by We Will Not Be Silent. 

There was also an educational/cultural program.  People read Palestinian poetry, songs were sung accompanied by a guitar, there was a humorous skit about a trip to Israel and another about a news conference for a newly reformed Senator Schumer,  a reading of the Carol Churchill play, 7 Jewish Children, by some very talented actors (done twice) and a concert from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.  Another participant read a  list of some of the horrible conditions that Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza are forced to live with, all imposed by Israel because of the occupation. 

At one point the Granny Peace Brigade came with some of the representations that they made of the 519 children murdered by Israel in Gaza this summer.  The people present held up each figure, read their name and age, and noted that they were murdered by Israel, some noting that this was done with the active support of the 2 New York senators and U.S. taxpayer funds.  Some people were brought to tears because the action felt very much like a funeral.  One of the participants noted, “These children are all our children and our grandchildren.” 

The 8 hours passed very quickly.  Many strangers in the street stopped to read the signs and leaflets and to listen to the presentations.  It is hoped that as people learn what Israel is doing they will urge Congress not to give Israel $8.7 million a day and a carte blanc to kill and destroy at will.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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IT STARTED AT WOOLWORTH’S IN 1960 …. AND NOW IT CONTINUES

That's me under the third 'O'

That’s me under the third ‘O’

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For many of us who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement’s early days, Woolworth’s was our first ‘battle ground’ Every week for over a year picket lines were set up in front of every Woolworth Store north of the Mason Dixon Line. We called for a boycott of the chain because of their discriminatory policies in the South.

We eventually won that ‘battle’ and the video below became history.

My own involvement …

I was considered a ‘normal’ kid while growing up in New York …. BUT one day in 1960 everything changed….
I was walking on the main street in my neighbourhood when I spotted a picket line in front of the local Woolworths. They were handing out leaflets calling for a boycott of the chain. Reason being that Blacks in the Southern states were denied service at their lunch counters.
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Picketers protesting the F.W. Woolworth store’s policy on lunch counter segregation NY,NY 1960
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I joined the protesters and continued on with them for the next year or so …. we finally won as Woolworths reversed their policy. But, one thing led to another and it certainly was not the end of the struggle.
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Unlike the title of James Dean’ movie, we were rebels WITH a cause …

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And today the ‘battle’ continues in South Africa …. they too will be victorious!

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South African Woolworth’s Chain Battles BDS Protests

Anti-Israel Activists Vow To Step Up Campaign

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WIKIPEDIA
 By JTA
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Woolworths of South Africa said it may take the BDS lobby to court for threatening its staff and customers.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has held more than 40 protests at Woolworths stores throughout the country in recent weeks.

“Our employees, of all faiths and cultures, are telling us that they are feeling increasingly threatened by the protests,” spokesman Babs Dlamini told the South African daily The Times on Sunday. “What’s more, the families of our employees have reported being abused and sworn at by BDS. “If this continues we will consider taking further precautions, including legal action against the individuals involved.”

It is not known if the protests have hurt Woolworths sales.

BDS reportedly plans to continue to pressure the company, Woolworths Holdings Limited, until its annual general meeting on Nov. 26.

Dlamini told the Times that Woolworths was not sure why it was being targeted because “more than 95 percent of our food is sourced locally [and] the government continues to authorize trade with Israel.”

BDS activist Mohammed Desai told the Times that the movement knows there are other companies in South Africa with ties to Israel, but said: “For now, Woolworths is our target. They are making a grave mistake by ignoring us and if we go to all those retailers our campaign will be diluted.”

In South Africa, BDS has received support from the African National Congress’ Youth League, and the Times reported that the movement has lobbied influential ANC supporters to put pressure on one of Woolworths’ largest shareholders, the Government Employees Pension Fund, which holds 17.2 percent of the shares.

Woolworths, one of the largest companies in South Africa, is not related to the U.S. chain F. W. Woolworth Company.

A RABBINICAL LAMENTATION OF THE SEASON FOR THE PEOPLE OF GAZA

Lamenting for Gaza

Lamenting for Gaza

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The following was written days before the Jewish fast of Tisha B’Av: a day of mourning for the calamities that have befallen the Jewish people over the centuries. Among other things, the traditional Tisha B’Av liturgy includes the chanting Biblical book of  Lamentations.

Given the profoundly tragic events currently unfolding in Gaza, I offer this reworking of the first chapter of Lamentations.  I share it with the hope that on this day of mourning we might also mourn the mounting dead in Gaza  along with what Israel has become.

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A LAMENTATION FOR GAZA

By Rabbi Brant Rosen

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Gaza weeps alone.
Bombs falling without end
her cheeks wet with tears.
A widow abandoned
imprisoned on all sides
with none willing to save her.

We who once knew oppression
have become the oppressors.
Those who have been pursued
are now the pursuers.
We have uprooted families
from their homes, we have
driven them deep into
this desolate place,
this narrow strip of exile.

All along the roads there is mourning.
The teeming marketplaces
have been bombed into emptiness.
The only sounds we hear
are cries of pain
sirens blaring
drones buzzing
bitterness echoing
into the black vacuum
of homes destroyed
and dreams denied.

We have become Gaza’s master
leveling neighborhoods
with the mere touch of a button
for her transgression of resistance.
Her children are born into captivity
they know us only as occupiers
enemies to be feared
and hated.

We have lost all
that once was precious to us.
This fatal attachment to our own might
has become our downfall.
This idolatrous veneration of the land
has sent us wandering into
a wilderness of our own making.

We have robbed Gaza of
her deepest dignity
plunged her into sorrow and darkness.
Her people crowd into refugee camps
held captive by fences and buffer zones
gunboats, mortar rounds
and Apache missles.

We sing of Jerusalem,
to “a free people in their own land”
but our song has become a mockery.
How can we sing a song of freedom
imprisoned inside behind walls we have built
with our own fear and dread?

Here we sit clinging to our illusions
of comfort and security
while we unleash hell on earth
on the other side of the border.
We sit on hillsides and cheer
as our explosions light up the sky
while far below, whole neighborhoods
are reduced to rubble.

For these things I weep:
for the toxic fear we have unleashed
from the dark place of our hearts
for the endless grief
we are inflicting
on the people of Gaza.

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Brant Rosen recently resigned* as the rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Illinois. He is a former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and is the co-founder and co-chairperson of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council. He has served on the boards of numerous national and local organizations, including Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, Brit Tzedek v Shalom, and Hands of Peace. He is an activist for peace, social justice, and human rights, and he has travelled to the former Soviet Union,Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Iran as part of peace delegations. In 2009, he co-founded the Jewish Fast for Gaza, or Ta’anit Tzedek with Rabbi Brian Walt. Rosen is also an active environmentalist. Under his leadership, his synagogue, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, built their new building with an environmentally sustainable design in 2008, becoming the first house of worship to ever receive a Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council. He was the recipient of Chicago Magazine‘s Green Award for his environmental leadership in 2009. In 2008, Rosen was named one of the Top 25 Pulpit Rabbis in America byNewsweek magazine. In 2009 he was awarded the Partner in Justice Award byAvodah: The Jewish Service Corps and he received the Inspiration for Hope Award by the American Friends Service Committee in 2010 for his social justice activism in the Middle East.Rosen is a native of Los Angeles, CA. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

*  Rosen: However, if I’m going to be fully honest, I must also be ready to admit that my decision to leave JRC is being motivated by both a push and a pull. I must also be ready to admit that for some years now I’ve been going down a path that has slowly been pulling me away from the congregational rabbinate and toward a rabbinate more directly defined by social justice activism.

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The above poem originally appeared on Rabbi Rosen’s Blog, SHALOM RAV

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Rabbi Brant Rosen, Personification of the Yiddish word, MENTCH*

Rabbi Brant Rosen, Personification of the Yiddish word, MENTCH*

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* Definition of MENTCH

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