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

 

THE OAKLAND PALESTINE SOLIDARITY MURAL

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Presented by Art Forces, the Estria Foundation and NorCal Friends of Sabeel, the Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural is a monumental work of public art located in Uptown Oakland on 26th Street between Telegraph and Broadway. The mural pays homage to the history of Bay Area public art and expresses solidarity with Palestinians as bombs continue to fall on Gaza.

The Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural adopts the image of the tree as a central motif and global visual signifier to link seemingly disparate issues and distant locations. Spanning 157 feet and reaching 22 feet high, the mural is comprised of nine separate panels, where each artist or team of artists has painted his or her own interpretation of a tree to address social and political issues.

These issues include the shared histories of colonization, environmental exploitation, internal exile of indigenous peoples, resilience and resistance to these injustices. The mural dedication will be held on August 10, 2014 from 1-4 pm and is free and open to the public. The dedication will include poetry, music, traditional Palestinian dance, local stiltwalkers from LocoBloco and an art exhibit From Gaza to Oakland.

This exhibition includes artwork from Gaza artists and photo journalists responding to the recent assault; historical photos of the expulsion of Palestinians from what is now called Israel; print portfolios from Middle East Children’s Alliance and work by muralists and friends of Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural.

This exhibition will open in conjunction with the mural unveiling on August 10th and will run through September 30, 2014.

The twelve participating artists come from a wide array of backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures. They include Dina Matar, who is participating virtually (Gaza); IROT (Native American); VYAL (Chicano-Native American); Deadeyes (African American); Erin Yoshi (Japanese American); Susan Greene (Jewish American); Emory Douglas (African American); Nidal El Khairy (Palestinian); Chris Gazaleh (Palestinian American); SPIE (Asian American); Fred Alvarado (Latino American); Miguel Bounce Perez (Chicano-Pacific Islander American).

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AMERICAS FIRST VICTIM OF THE WAR IN GAZA

ACADEMIC FREEDOM?
FREEDOM OF SPEECH??

AMERICA’S DREAM IS SLOWLY BECOMING A NIGHTMARE!

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Steven Salaita was fired from his position as associate professor in the American Indian Studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) apparently over views critical of Israel, especially its current massacre in Gaza.

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University of Illinois fires professor Steven Salaita after Gaza massacre tweets

A mock-up of Israel’s apartheid wall erected by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Benjamin Stone/Flickr)

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Steven Salaita was fired from his position as associate professor in the American Indian Studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) apparently over views critical of Israel, especially its current massacre in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Cary Nelson, former president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), who has publicly supported the university’s decision to remove Salaita, gave frank comments to The Electronic Intifada revealing the extent of his own pro-Israel views.

Nelson acknowledged that he had been monitoring Salaita’s social media use for months.

This indicates Salaita may be the victim of a retaliation campaign. Salaita is the author ofIsrael’s Dead Soul and The Uncultured Wars, Arabs, Muslims and the Poverty of Liberal Thought, as well as a contributor to a number of publications including Salon and The Electronic Intifada.

He was a prominent campaigner for the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions last December.

In May, Salaita wrote a post for The Electronic Intifada called “How to practice BDS in academe.”

Fired not “revoked”

This morning, Inside Higher Ed reported that Salaita had merely had a job offer “revoked.”

Salaita was “recently informed by Chancellor Phyllis Wise that the appointment would not go to the university’s board, and that he did not have a job to come to in Illinois, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation,” Inside Higher Ed said.

“The sources familiar with the university’s decision say that concern grew over the tone of [Salaita’s] comments on Twitter about Israel’s policies in Gaza,” it added.

Neither the university nor Salaita have commented on the matter. Salaita did not respond to requests for comment.

But a source with close knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly, disputed Inside Higher Ed’s version. The source told The Electronic Intifada that Salaita had actually been “fired.”

The source said they had seen documentation indicating that Salaita’s appointment had been through all the ordinary procedures for hiring faculty, up to and including the scheduling of new faculty orientation.

Salaita had already resigned from his position as associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, according to Inside Higher Ed. It would not make sense for Salaita to resign from a secure position without already having been fully and properly hired to a new one.

Even though Inside Higher Ed’s sources say the opposite, the publication’s own analysis supports The Electronic Intifada’s reporting that Salaita has actually been fired.

“As recently as two weeks ago, the university confirmed to reporters that he [Salaita] was coming,” Inside Higher Ed reported. “The university also declined to answer questions about how rare it is for such appointments to fall through at this stage.”

Target

Salaita’s exact status at the university is likely to be important to the outcome of his case.

If a job offer was merely “revoked,” as Inside Higher Ed’s sources claim, then Salaita would likely have far fewer protections than if he had already been hired, and then fired.

Opponents of Palestinian rights are already seizing on this distinction to spin and legitimize the decision to remove Salaita for his opinions expressed in public forums.

According to Inside Higher Ed, AAUP past president Cary Nelson, who is also an English professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said that “it was legitimate – at the point of hiring – to consider issues of civility and collegiality. In this case, [Nelson] said, that would lead him to oppose Salaita’s appointment.”

Nelson’s views are important because his former role at AAUP means he is often cited as an authority on academic freedom issues, though his own anti-Palestinian biases are rarely examined.

In a telephone interview with The Electronic Intifada from his Urbana-Champaign home, Nelson went even further, claiming that Salaita’s supposed social media transgressions “are more serious than collegiality and civility.”

Nelson accused Salaita of “incitement to violence” for retweeting a tweet by another Twitter user, stating: “Jeffrey goldberg’s story should have ended at the pointy end of a shiv.”

Goldberg, a former Israeli prison guard who participated in and helped cover up the torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, and now a writer for The Atlantic, is one of the most prominent defenders of Israel’s bombardment that has killed more than one in every one thousand Palestinians in Gaza over the last month.

While Salaita is known for an acerbic sense of humor – a likely reason he would have retweeted the tweet – it is an oft-stated norm of Twitter that “a retweet does not equal an endorsement.”

When pressed, Nelson could provide no example of any tweet written by Salaita that “incited violence.”

Nelson acknowledged, however, that he has been closely monitoring Salaita’s Twitter account for months. “There are scores of tweets. I have screen captures,” he said. “The total effect seems to me to cross a line.”

Salaita has “always tweeted in a very volatile and aggressive way,” Nelson asserted, but “recently he’s begun to be much more aggressive.”

Another example Nelson gave was an 8 July tweet by Salaita, at the beginning of Israel’s current massacre in Gaza, stating, “If you’re defending #Israel right now you’re an awful human being.”

Nelson claimed that this might mean that students in one of Salaita’s classes who “defended Israel” could face a hostile environment.

But Nelson acknowledged that he knew of no complaints about Salaita’s teaching and that Salaita was not even scheduled to teach classes on Palestine and the Israelis.

Asked if he therefore supported a “pre-emptive firing” based on a Tweet, Nelson again insisted that Salaita had not been “fired,” but merely not hired. Nelson claimed that if Salaita had already been hired, he would defend him.

When asked if he would oppose the hiring of a person who said that “someone who defends Hamas firing rockets towards Tel Aviv is an awful person,” Nelson answered: “No.”

There could be no clearer admission that Nelson’s opposition to Salaita is based on the content of his views, specifically criticism of Israel.

Resistance to Israel is “criminal”

This became clearer when Nelson expanded on his views on Palestine and the Israelis.

Nelson defended Israel’s attack on Gaza as part of its “right to self-defense,” although he stressed that many aspects of the attack were “unethical” and “immoral” and that pictures of children killed by Israel were “horrific.”

When asked whether he would condemn Israel’s bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza, Nelson used cautious language: “It’s very difficult for someone from a distance to judge particular artillery strikes. My personal view is that Israel should have been more careful. From what I know, there are military actions as part of the Gaza incursion that seem regrettable to me and should not have taken place.”

While asserting Israel’s right to bomb Gaza, Nelson denied that Palestinians have any right to armed resistance to the onslaught.

“I don’t know where that right would come from,” he said. “I don’t view Gaza under as under occupation so I don’t see a right to resistance.”

When asked if the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international bodies were incorrect in their view that Israel’s siege of Gaza constitutes “collective punishment” and is therefore a war crime, Nelson insisted he was unable to make legal judgments.

Nelson added that he did not see that the situation in the occupied West Bank “warrants resistance,” either. “I don’t think there’s a right to violent resistance on the West Bank.”

Asked if he thought “all Palestinian military resistance is criminal,” Nelson answered: “Yes. I think that is my view.”

When asked if any of Israel’s actions could be labeled “criminal,” Nelson repeated that many were “immoral” and “unethical,” but that he was not qualified to give legal opinions about Israel’s actions.

Nelson, an outspoken campaigner against the nonviolent, Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), said that Palestinians should resort to “civil disobedience” in the West Bank such as “blocking roads.”

Israel has shot dead 17 Palestinians just in the last month in the occupied West Bank.

BDS is “political violence”

Nelson reaffirmed his strong opposition to the BDS movement because some of its prominent advocates – he named Omar Barghouti and philosopher Judith Butler – dispute Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state.”

“I consider that to be a form of political violence,” Nelson said.

Asked if he called himself a “Zionist,” Nelson answered: “Yes.”

If there were doubts about Nelson’s clear bias against Palestinians and their pursuit of their rights by any means (except of course the most invisible and ineffective), his frank comments to The Electronic Intifada put them to rest.

On 21 July, Salaita was attacked for his Twitter use in the right-wing, anti-Palestinian website The Daily Caller.

It seems clear that with Nelson now publicly leading the charge, Salaita is the latest victim of a nationwide campaign to intimidate into silence anyone on campus who criticizes Israel or supports effective campaigns to secure Palestinian rights.

Call for action

Brooklyn College political science professor Corey Robin has also pointed out that in the past, Nelson himself has criticized how “claims about collegiality are being used to stifle campus debate, to punish faculty, and to silence the free exchange of opinion by the imposition of corporate-style conformity.”

Nelson has also previously supported academic boycotts, though never for Palestinian rights.

But now, Robin says, Nelson’s about-face is “a symptom of the effects of Zionism on academic freedom, how pro-Israel forces have consistently attempted to shut down debate on this issue.”

Robin urges people to write to UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise asking her to reverse her decision.

“As always, be polite, but be firm,” Robin writes. “Don’t assume this is a done deal; in my experience, it often is not.”

Supporters have also launched an online petition, which as of this writing, had already gathered more than 1,500 signatures.

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

In front of 42nd St. Library in NYC

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“I AM BECOME DEATH THE DESTROYER OF WORLD”

By Tom Karlson

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August 6th nineteen and forty-five

Enola Gay flies high

8:15

bombs away, Little Boy

 

8:16 one hundred fifty-thousand dead, vaporized

two hundred-thousand Hibakusha,

zombies stagger down streetless streets

silhouetting their dead friends, family

a cityless city

called Hiroshima

 

on a standing wall an image of

a man, a woman, burned into the brick’s retina

 

the little haberdasher is not done

praying to his god

“to use it his way and

for his purposes”

August 9th,

he orders Bockscar to drop Fat Man,

ninety thousand exterminated, vaporized

Hiroshima and Nagasaki will sing no more

 

Truman “The atom bomb was no ‘great decision,”

 

Eisenhower “…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

 

MacArthur “…no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.”

 

“Albert Einstein…President Roosevelt would have forbidden the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had he been alive and that it was probably carried out to end the Pacific war before Russia could participate.”

 

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings Remembered

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Yasuaki Yamashita, a survivor of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.  (Photo by Paule Saviano)

It has been 69 years since the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As he has done for the last 20 years, Rev. Dr. Kenjitsu Nakagai, a Buddhist priest living in New York, organized an interfaith memorial event to commemorate the bombings.

On August 5, a peace gathering will be held at the West Park Presbyterian Church on West 86th Street in Manhattan, while a peace concert will be held on August 8. (Hiroshima was bombed on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9.)

Forming a backdrop for the events is a photography exhibit, “From Above,” with photos taken by Paule Saviano of various survivors of the bombings. Some of the photos appeared in a book of the same title, published in Tokyo.

Rev. Dr. Kenjitsu Nakagai (Photo by Kinue Imai Weinstein for Voices of NY)

Although the book was published in 2011, Saviano continues to seek out and photograph aging survivors of the bombing, in order to take their portraits and collect their thoughts before they die. As part of the project he interviews his subjects and accompanies their photographs with quotes.

The photographer spoke about his project at a kickoff reception for the commemoration on August 1. “I wanted the human faces to tell the history,” he said.

A number of hibakusha (nuclear bomb victims) lived outside Japan after World War II. Hideo Sotobayashi, for example, lived in Berlin since the 1950s and started speaking about his “hibakusha” story only after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster brought on by the tsunami in March 2011. Saviano photographed him just eight months before Mr. Sotobayashi’s death.

Paule Saviano at the exhibit "From Above." (Photo by Kinue Imai Weinstein for Voices of NY)

It was during a photo exhibit he had in Tokyo in 2007 that Saviano, a native of Brooklyn, became interested in the nuclear bomb victims. With assistance from the Peace Wing of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, he met victims in 2008.

The book “From Above,” contains 51 black-and-white photos. In addition to victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, it includes pictures of the Bikini Incident (at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands), a nuclear testing disaster in the 1950s, and the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden, Germany, during World War II.

This is what Hidetaka Komine, a survivor of Nagasaki, told Saviano: “I was 4 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped. So I don’t know ‘normal life.’ I hated the war for a long time, but realized having a grudge does nothing. I have to speak and leave messages to the next generation.”

 

FROM

THE PALESTINIAN CONNECTION TO HIROSHIMA

The following is a post from the Archives written a year ago …
Palestinian in Hiroshima

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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I and Oliver Stone both spoke at Hiroshima on the anniversary of the first nuclear bombing in human history and we are slated to speak in two days at Nagasaki on the anniversary of the second nuclear attack.  My speech is below in English (I will send the Japanese version later).  These remain the most starkest of acts of state terror in Human history.  I had seen images and video before that made me shudder but being in the City is different.  At 8:15 AM on a sunny hot day we laid down next to the dome for three minutes with people from all backgrounds and I stared at the sky and tried to imagine through the tears the terror that came and exploded 600 meters directly above us in the sky 68 years ago.   But how can one imagine the horror of dropping a nuclear weapon on a population incinerating and skeletonizing tens of thousands and leaving tens of thousands with burned body skin hanging in rags and worse. Harder to imagine yet is the darkness of the human hearts and minds that took the decisions to do that to fellow human beings.
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Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick explained eloquently about the real reasons for dropping the bombs instead of the mythology that is told in school books in America.  But does that really make any difference on the horror of what Truman and his generals visited on humanity? Those of us in the medical field understand clinically what radiation poisoning does to the human body but politicians also know that and Truman had detailed reports from the earlier experiments.  I met so many hibakushas (survivors of the nuclear blast) and their children and grandchildren.  Many told us of the dramatic death of children by leukemia and other cancers and of the congenital deformities.  It was more than we could take even as visitors so I can only begin to imagine the actual feelings of people here.
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Clearly the monuments to victims were slanted strongly away from nationalism and war; something that reminded us that it is possible for victims to learn that war and nationalism are not the answer.  I wished more people can learn that lesson and change the misleading pro-war pro-Zionist message of many holocaust museums to build instead a pro-peace structure.
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On the positive side, we were thrilled to see so many children and youth taking the banner of peace.  Middles school children collected signatures to ban nuclear weapons around the world. Hundreds of us marched to the electric company in town to ask that they stop using nuclear power (especially poignant after the disastrous Fukushima plant meltdown).   Our colorful Palestinian Kuffiyas were welcomed among the colorful banners in our march. We felt love and peace. We saw alternating images of hope and pain and of beautiful people who face-up to right-wing politicians and the few racists who even deny what Japanese soldiers did in China and Korea. Like a roller-coaster, a tour of Japan brings mixed emotions.
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As a visiting Palestinian I am struck most of all by the neatness and orderliness of the cities.  Everything runs perfectly.  Trains are accurate to the minute.  Millions ride on these trains both within cities and between cities.  Streets are clean and no walls or checkpoints stop us from freely moving around.  It is all orderly and peaceful.  Crossing streets on cues, trash in its receptacles, lines are straight, and cars and homes are clean and orderly.  Just about everyone speaks in low tones and people are courteous to each other.
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Japan like most countries is a society burdened by Western style capitalism.  Here you see also things like McDonalds, Starbucks, prostitution, and corrupt politicians.   Though more homogeneous than other countries, Japan is a very large country of 120 million people and even in a short visit one sees remarkable diversity of ideas and concepts.  In Nagoya, we visited an educational table at the main square that tried to challenge the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty (a US Dominated agreement favorable to corporations at the expense of people). The organizer of this table belonged to one of the few native communities of Japan, a great man by the name of Esaman.  People stopped by bringing food and sharing stories.  In the same square a lone young musician played his guitar asking for donations to build a school in a remote area of Pakistan.
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In Nagoya, I attended a discussion of writings by Kobayashi Takiji.  The audience were some 30 individuals of diverse background who put their shoes at the entrance of the lecture hall and wore red slippers as they listened intently to a retired bookstore seller discuss and pass around the books by Takiji.  Takiji was born in 1903 and showed a talent for writing at an early age. His writings did not please authorities and he was fired from his job and eventually executed by the government at age 30 y.o. His most famous short novel is called  Kanikōsen and it is a story about workers at a boat fishing for crabs.  The story takes you into an incredible world of suffering of the workers, humanity to fellow workers, and cruelty of their boss.  There seemed to be a revival of the interest in this genre of literature after the last Japanese economic bubble burst.
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Many Japanese yearn for a more caring society and support global solidarity, including with Palestine. This was shown vividly in our visit to Nagoya and Hiroshima.   I reflect on the people I met and saw in get-together, on the streets, in trains, and in restaurants.  Here I would see people who reminded me of people I met in America, in Palestine and elsewhere.  I thought someone should do a documentary on this carrying a camera around different countries to show that there are individuals in each country virtually twins with those living in other countries.  Perhaps this film can bring us all closer to one another.  In the meantime, I cannot wait for our upcoming visit to Nagasaki, Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto. And I cannot wait to go back to Palestine where hope against all odds still survives.  Stay tuned.
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Speech by Professor Qumsiyeh in Hiroshima on the 68th anniversary of the First Atomic Bomb
Kumbunwa and thank you for this invitation.  It is a special honor for me to visit Japan.  Here in Hiroshima we are most reminded of the horrors of war.  Here we have a chance to reflect on the fact that there is no “good war”.  We are reminded that nations do not win or lose wars.  Wars cause the suffering of common people and makes rich people richer.   Money wins wars, people lose wars. That is why President Eisenhauer warned about the power of the military-industrial complex.  It is a power we were reminded of by Oliver Stone earlier today. It is this complex that was enriched as US taxpayers were left with 3 trillion dollars more in debt due to the criminal war on Iraq.    And it was the same Truman that lied publicly about why he created the catastrophes of Hiroshima and Nagazaki and also the catastrophe (Nakba) of Palestine.
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War, as General Butler correctly observed, war is a racket.  It is a way to make money for rich people at the expense of poor people.  And that is why wars will continue unless common people revolt to stop them. And we the people were able to stop wars before for example in Vietnam and in South Africa. It is this power of the people that I am most optimistic about.
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I am one of 12 million Palestinians in the world, 2/3rd of us are refugees or displaced people and the rest live under rule of a foreign government.  How did this come about and how can we stop this war on the people?
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Palestinians are the endogenous people of the Western Part of the Fertile Crescent in Western Asia.  Key milestones in human civilization occurred in this Land of Canaan: animal and plant domestication, development of the alphabet, and development of laws and religions.
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We had over 11,000 years of civilization with religious and cultural developments.  Short attempts to transform Palestine into one thing or another failed.  This included short lived attempts to make it all Christian or make it all Muslim or make it all Jewish.  The European crusades were a good examples of this. But for 97% of our history, Palestine remained mutli-religious and mutli-cultural.
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Since the late 19th century, the new political idea of Zionism was developed to create a “Jewish state” in Palestine. At that time less than 3% of the population in Palestine was Jewish. This Zionist colonization was aided by western countries notably England and more recently the USA.
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An organized and ruthless project to ethnically cleanse the native Palestinians was organized resulting in countless massacres and total destruction of 530 Palestinian villages and towns. It is still the largest refugee crisis after World War II. In that sense my grandmother is a hibakusha.
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Today 7 million Palestinians are refugees and five million of us still live on 8.3% of our historic land.  The state of Israel was built on the destruction of Palestine. Israel has 55 laws that specifically discriminate against native Palestinians. It fulfills the international legal definition of an apartheid (racial discrimination) state.
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Zionists like all other colonial imperial powers try to portray the victims as terrorists. European colonization always did that whether in the Americas or in Africa or in Asia.  It maybe convenient to say that we are white civilized people who “circle the wagons” to protect ourselves from native savages. But the truth is that colonization is violence and 10 times more native civilians are killed than invading people.
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I can tell you hundreds of stories of the brutality of occupation and colonization.  I can tell you about home demolitions, about removal of people from their land, about murders, and about torture. I can tell you about breaking bones of Palestinian children, about using white phosphorous on schools and about Israel’s nuclear weapons. I can tell you about toxic waste dumped on Palestinian villages. I can tell you about prisoners held for years without seeing lawyers or judges.I could tell you about friends I lost killed in peaceful demonstrations.  I could tell you my own family stories of suffering. But we do not have time.
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I will tell you that Palestinians resisted for the past 100 years this onslaught.  This Palestinian resistance took hundreds of forms, most of them unarmed. We had 13 uprisings, on average one every 10 years. South Africa under apartheid had a long struggle with 15 uprisings.
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We Palestinians have been innovative in our struggle.  We had the first demonstration in human history to use automobiles (cars) when in 1929 Palestinian women gathered 120 cars and drove down the old streets of Jerusalem. We lobbied the Ottoman Empire and the British empire to stop supporting colonialist Zionism. We engaged in tax revolts and other forms of civil disobedience.
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We also asked and still ask the international community to help us.  Tens of thousands joined our struggle. There is the International solidarity movement.  As in the struggle against apartheid in south Africa, there is also the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS).  We ask you to join us because this struggle is the most important.  It is important because it exposes clearly the hypocrisy of Western governments who speak of democracy and human rights but directly support racism, tyranny, war, and all violations of human rights.
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We share this one small blue planet and the era of nuclear weapons when a country like Israel could destroy the earth, we cannot afford to be complacent.  We must prove Haegel wrong when he wrote that “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” We do learn from our common history and today in the age of the internet, we are beginning a global uprising against nuclear weapons and against war. When people power is finally realized through global solidarity, we can not only win over war but also over poverty and over climate change and over apathy/indifference.  That is really a future worth sacrificing for.
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The Budhists tell us to have “joyful participation in the sorrows of this world”.  Participation is the key.  So indeed may you all have  joyful participation in the sorrows of this world….  Arigatu, thank you, shukran, peace, salam.
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Also see THIS post from the Archives

IN PHOTOS ~~ 10,000 STRONG MARCH IN NEW YORK MARCH FOR GAZA’S CHILDREN

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The continuing slaughter of innocents in Gaza brought a crowd of what one police officer estimated to be 10,000 people into the streets of New York on Friday.  They met at the headquarters of CNN and then marched through the crowded theater district to the Fox News Building.  At both places they accused the corporate news entities of lying to the public and shouted “Shame!” repeatedly.  The crowd was mostly young, multi ethnic, sad, and very angry.  The tourists on the streets along Broadway looked astonished and fascinated.  They read the signs and explained what was happening to their children.  Some gave a thumbs-up and said they were glad to see people out protesting what was happening.  It seemed that very many of the demonstrators were young Palestinian Americans who felt a strong tie to the Palestinian people  struggling in Palestine and Israel and wanted to express strong feelings of solidarity with them  as well as protest the torment that Israel was inflicting.  Golda Meir is reputed to have said, in reference to the Palestinian people, the old will die and the young will forget.  Judging by who has been in the streets over the past 3 weeks, she couldn’t have been more wrong.  These young people know exactly who they are, what has happened to them, and they are not about to forget anything.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer … Commentary above by Chippy Dee

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WE CANNOT SAY
WE DID NOT KNOW

ONCE AGAIN IN SHOCK
ONCE AGAIN IN SORROW
ONCE AGAIN ENRAGED

We carry the names of the dead in Gaza.
In the name of decency we must act.

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Photo credit Laura Krasovitzky
 
On July 31, 2014, we gathered to mourn Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli military forces. We read some of their names aloud.  We marched silently from Bryant Park to the Israeli Consulate in New York City wearing names of those who were murdered.

The March of The Dead continues.

Some of us wore death masks to represent the massacre of civilian populations throughout Gaza. At the site of the Israeli Consulate
eight masked activists were arrested.

Actions around the world continue in solidarity
with the people of Palestine.

We will not be silent.

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Photo credit Bud Korotzer
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Photo credit Michael Nigro
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   Photo credit Belén Suárez

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   Photo credit Belén Suárez

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Photo credit Len Tsou

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Photo credit Lisa Guido

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Photo credit Belén Suárez

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Photo credit Bud Korotzer

[] Photo credit Lisa Guido

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Photo credit Lisa Guido

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Photo credit Laura Krasovitzky

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Photo credit Laura Krasovitzky

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Click here to view more photos. 

GAZA POSTER OF THE DAY

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GAZA_We_Are_With_You

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