TIMELY POSTERS OF THE DAY

Finally some sanity regarding Israeli terrorism …

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PHOTO ESSAY ~~ NEW YORKERS WALK AND TALK TO END ISRAELI AGGRESSION

The photos speak for themselves …. no commentary needed

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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To the surprise of all involved, not even one passerby mentioned the missing teenagers … the demonstration was met by friendly response.

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AMERICAN JEWS HAVE BECOME THE GREATEST THREAT TO ISRAEL

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zionism is today confronted with its greatest challenge since 1948. It’s not coming from the Arab states or the Palestinians, but rather their problem is the American Jewish community itself.

Once the greatest support group for Israel, that support is dwindling daily as more and more Jews openly support the Movement to Boycott and Divest from Israel.

As the government of Israel continues its reign of terror against the people of Palestine, as more lands are stolen to build and expand the illegal settlements, a growing sector of Jewry is finally waking up to the fact that this is all wrong …. and are doing something about it.

This trend is growing globally at the moment as can be seen in the following report from Mondoweiss

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The growing support from Jews internationally for the BDS call and the boycott of Israel shows that the landscape of the debate around BDS and broader peace process in Israel-Palestine is shifting. Increasingly the question is no longer whether or not to boycott, but rather to what extent do we boycott? The emerging local and international constituency of Israeli Jews and the Jewish Diaspora, and their adoption and promotion of a range of methods that fall within the scope of the BDS campaign is significant. On the surface, this wide-ranging support of course reminds us of how non-sensical and futile it is to deploy classic anti-Semitic imagery in an attempt to delegitimize what is a growing international movement for human rights and legal equality. At a deeper level, however, this growing Jewish support is an indication that the spirit of the boycott call reflects a truly democratic vision that is shared by Jews internationally, a call that wants to see the preservation, not the demise, of a democratic Israel, an Israel that fairly represents all of its citizens, regardless of race or religion. Ignoring these efforts by Jewish organizations and individuals to promote democracy, human rights and a just peace in the Middle East is a dangerous mistake. Clearly in conflicts such as Israel-Palestine, governments don’t always have all the answers: free speech and open criticism of government policy is critical. Given the lack of success of official diplomacy in the region we should be encouraging, not dismissing, these growing local and international efforts.

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Growing Jewish support for boycott and the changing landscape of the BDS debate

A couple of weeks ago Jerusalem-based think-tank, the Jewish People Policy Institute, released the findings from its study “Jewish & Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry”. The key findings demonstrate a growing trend towards a concern for the current Zionist policies of the Jewish state from the core of its international supporters—Jews themselves. This reveals a more critical portrayal of Israel’s “implementation of Jewishness” than ever before, including a growing tension associated with the idea of a state that is both a “Jewish” and “democratic”. Participants of the study said that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and “the continued building of Jewish settlements”, as well as its treatment of minorities falls seriously short of behavior expected from a democracy. The Jewish-only settlements are of course not only frowned upon by a growing number in the Jewish community, but also considered illegal by a large majority of states (as most recently demonstrated in UN General Assembly Resolution 68/82). Although Israel and its chief ally the United States continue to contest this, even U.S. officials blame Israeli settlements for the collapse of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. There also appears to be an emerging consensus among government officials in Israel, Palestine, and the U.S., as well as among legal experts, that Israel and especially the Palestinian territories are in—or are rapidly heading towards—a situation of apartheid.

Unfortunately the extent of this new reality of Jewish criticism of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians that is taking hold appears largely unreported by mainstream media. One place where opposition to Israel’s policies finds concrete expression amongst Jews both within Israel and internationally is in a wide range of boycotts and divestments activities aimed at promoting legal equality and human rights in Israel-Palestine. Though not necessarily always explicitly linked to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, these activities do fall within the scope of the movement and help to advance its goals. The call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions came in 2005 from an unprecedented coalition of over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations including NGOs, unions, professional associations, religious groups, human rights organizations, refugee networks, youth, and cultural organizations. The BDS campaign has three goals: an end to the occupation of Arab lands occupied by Israel since 1967, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of Palestinian refugees displaced or expelled during conflict in the region to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194. The BDS movement was launched on the one year anniversary of the landmark 2004 International Court of Justice case that found that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory is illegal under international law. In addition to the large majority of the world’s countries, a wide range of legal experts and Israeli and international NGOs concur on the illegality of the occupation.

In this article we explore the growing Jewish support for both the BDS movement and other civil society boycott activities which advance the human rights goals of the movement. While not all of the individuals and organizations we mention actively support every aspect of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, they represent a multi-faceted approach to applying international pressure on Israel to abide by international law and human rights treaties.

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In the United States where debate over the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is heavy and heated, Jewish Voice for Peace, a coalition of Zionists, anti-Zionists, and non-Zionists, states clearly that it aligns itself with the methods as well as “the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee– ending the occupation, achieving equality for Palestinians now living in Israel, and recognizing Palestinian refugees’ right of return.” Others in the U.S. who support the full goals and strategy of the BDS campaign include, both Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and Rabbi Brian Walt, from the Jewish Voice for Peace’s Rabbinical Council. New York-based groupJews Say No!founded by Jewish boycott, divestment and sanctions advocate Donna Nevel,also takes a stance in full support of the BDS call. Other organizations include American Jews for a Just PeaceBreaking the Law of Return and the Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism, which “unequivocally” supports the movement.Jewish-American scholar and LGBT activist, Sarah Schulman has publicly declared her support for the BDS cause by advocating for the implementation of the boycott in its entirety. Udi Aloni, Israeli-American filmmaker also promotes BDS and the full goals of campaign. Similarly Jeremiah Haber (thenom de plume of Charles H. Manekin), an orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor dividing his time between Israel and the United States, backs BDS.

Elsewhere in North America, Canadian group Independent Jewish Voices (Canada)  has resolved to support the BDS call and urges the Canadian government to disengage from “its one-sided and uncritical support for Israel”. Naomi Klein, Jewish-Canadian journalist and author has likewise added her full backing to the BDS movement.

The UK group, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods claims solidarity with any individuals or organizations who share our anti-racist agenda in pursuing the non-violent goals of BDS”. European Jews for a Just Peace also shares this support for the methods and goals of the campaign.

Australia-based Jews Against the Occupation also actively promote the BDS movement. Sydney-based Jewish academic Peter Slezak supports the BDS call, as does Jewish-Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein, who is highly critical of attempts to label the nonviolent movement anti-Semitic. The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network echoes these sentiments, declaring that BDS is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-democratic and that the international body “stands firm” in support of the full BDS call.

Even within Israel, prominent individuals and organizations have pledged their support to the BDS movement and its vision of equality for Arab citizens of Israel, recognition of the Palestinian right of return, and ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. The prominent group of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel, BOYCOTT!, offers support for the Palestinian BDS call from within the Jewish state. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions  and the Alternative Information Center likewise fully support the movement. Israeli Journalist, writer, and founder of the Alternative Information Center, Michel Warschawski, actively promotes BDS and has reiterated the call to Israelis to “boycott from within”. Rachel Giora, Israeli feminist and professor of linguistics at Tel Aviv University has also responded to the BDS call in a letter addressed to her colleagues at the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, expressing full support for the movement. Other Jewish-Israeli academics in support of the campaign include historian and activist Ilan Pappé, anthropologist Uri Davis, political scientist Marcelo Svirsky, and anthropologist Jeff Halper.

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The most widely adopted mode of targeted support for BDS from within Israel and by Jewish individuals and organizations worldwide is a boycott of the Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem). This can include a boycott of products manufactured or grown within the settlements, or businesses and academic institutions located in settlements or actively supporting their perpetuation.

Reasons for why a narrow settlement boycott is preferred over a broader BDS include that international law is less ambiguous regarding the illegality of settlements (as compared to the BDS goals of the right of return, or legal equality in Israel) and that it is easier to consistently boycott settlements (rather than boycott broader Israeli or international organizations involved in abuses of Palestinian human rights). However even among Zionists who still support legally mandated disadvantage for Israel’s non-Jewish ethno-religious groups (required for Israel to be fixed as a “Jewish state”), the settlement boycott is gaining ground. As noted above, a recent survey by the Jewish People Policy Institute appears to show a growing tension within the international Jewish community regarding the idea that Israel can be both fundamentally Jewish and a democracy.  Zionist boycott supporters typically differ from other boycott supporters in that they contend that even with the legally entrenched dominance of one etho-religious group (ie Jews) the state of Israel is still able to function as a “democracy”. These groups typically argue that the  realization of the third goal of the BDS movement, the Palestinian right of return, would spell an end to the demographic and political dominance of Jews in Israel. For similar reasons they are also less supportive of the BDS movement’s goal of equality for Israel’s Arab citizens. These Zionist groups call for a more narrow boycott, of Israel’s Illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), in line with the first goal of the BDS movement. The rationale generally advanced by Zionists is that it is only with the end of the occupation of Palestinian territory that Israel can preserve both its Jewish and ostensibly “democratic” character.

Notably, in 2006 the Israeli peace activism group headed by Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom, published “a list of several hundred products made in areas beyond the Green Line. The list, comprised of many food products, also included businesses operating in the Golan Heights.” In the face of the 2011 Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott passed by the Knesset, the group stated that it could no longer afford to continue publishing the list, for fear of the threat of lawsuits. The law would allow for lawsuits to be filed -without any proof of damages- against those who promote boycott tactics against people associated with the state of Israel or any “area under its control”. Gush Shalom appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court to rule the law as unconstitutional, and was joined by several other notable minority rights groups, including The Civil Rights Association, Yesh Din, Adalah, the Women’s Coalition for Peace, The Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, Knesset member Ahmed Tibi and The Arab Monitoring Committee. Israeli peace group Peace Now has published a similar list of settlement products and likewise calls for a boycott of the settlements. Israeli politician, Zahava Gal-On, head of the Meretz opposition party, has also publically declared that she boycotts the settlements in her own purchases and hopes that a boycott campaign on settlement goods would encourage Israelis to think critically about the “economic cost of the Occupation.”  There are signs that the boycott of settlements among Israelis, has begun to cause manufacturers and producers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to “encounter obstacles” marketing goods “not just overseas, also in Tel Aviv”.

Support for a settlement boycott is also building among U.S. Jews. Distinguished Jewish-American jurist Richard Falk, as UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, has recently formally recommended that UN member states  and businesses and civil society impose sanctions and boycotts against Israeli settlements and international corporations supporting the occupation of Palestinian territory. Back in 2011, the American Liberal Zionist  organization Partners for Progressive Israel (then Meretz U.S.A) issued a call to American Jews to boycott West Bank settlement goods through their campaign: “Buy Israel – Don’t buy Settlements”.   Americans for Peace Now, describing themselves as a pro-Israel, pro-peace, American Jewish organization,echo this support.  Similarly, even other Zionists, who ostensibly oppose the broader BDS campaign, do support a boycott of the settlements. Well-known American Liberal Zionist Peter Beinart for instance has repeatedly written in support of a settlements boycott in order to “save Israel”. Beinart advocates a targeted approach to boycotting West Bank settlements. Addressing American Jews, Beinart declared: “We should lobby to exclude settler-produced goods from America’s free-trade deal with Israel. We should push to end Internal Revenue Service policies that allow Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to settler charities. Every time an American newspaper calls Israel a democracy, we should urge it to include the caveat: only within the green line”. Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of the influential liberal pro-Israel lobby group, J-Street also recently announced that if the BDS campaign were restricted to a boycott of the settlements J-Street would support it. Similarly, National President of Ameinu Kenneth Bob has declared that while he does not support the BDS movement he is “extremely sympathetic to the settlement boycott approach”. The New Israel Fund, through a statement their Vice President of Public Affairs from Naomi Paiss, has also shown support for the same type of targeted approach, stressing that “boycotting settlements is not anti-Israel”. After a visit to the West Bank, Rabbi Ellen Lippmann issued a statement reversing her initial opposition to the settlement boycott and claiming solidarity with Israeli rabbis who also support a boycott of settlement goods. Jewish-American political scientist and activist Norman Finkelstein supports an economic boycott of Israel in order to compel Israel to end its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory (also see the start of an interview with Finkelstein posted here). Prominent linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky has also publicly spoken out in support of BDS as a tactic, saying: “There is an interesting mythology that I have opposed the BDS movement. In reality, as explained over and over, I not only support it but was actively involved long before the ‘movement’ took shape…” Chomsky specifically supports boycott and divestment from companies that operate in the occupied Palestinian territories and also promotes forms of academic and military boycott.

Among the Jewish Diaspora in Australia, Ben Saul, Professor of International Law at Sydney University has written in favor of a targeted boycott approach focused on the Jewish-only settlements. What’s more, The Australian Jewish Democratic Society “has become the first Australian community-affiliated Jewish organization to adopt the view that some boycotts of Israel may indeed be justified.” The group supports “selected BDS actions designed to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation, blockade and settlement on Palestinian lands lying outside of the June 1967 Israeli borders.” The organization resolves to boycott settlement products as well as “specific academics openly supportive of the Occupation”.

Support for BDS methods also takes the form of refusal to perform in the Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. In 2010, over 50 Israeli actors, directors, and playwrights released a statement declaring that they would not perform at the new theatre in Ariel, Israel’s fourth largest settlement, or in any other settlement. In a show of support for that petition over 150 Israeli academics and university faculty from across Israel released their own open letter, vowing to likewise engage in a cultural and academic boycott of the settlements. The Israeli academics declared: “We will not take part in any kind of cultural activity beyond the Green Line, take part in discussions and seminars, or lecture in any kind of academic setting in these settlements.” Signatories include Zeev Sternhell, Anat Biletzki, Shlomo Sand, Neve Gordon, Oren Yiftachel, among others. The declaration was also supported by several prominent Israeli authors, A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, David Grossman, and Sami Michael. A letter drafted by the authors, as well as by well-known Israeli memorial sculptor and Israel Prize laureate, Dani Karavan, expresses further solidarity with the actor’s boycott.  Theodore Bikel, a Jewish American actor, has also been vocal in the settlement boycott also joined a separate petition for the boycott of the settlements, signed by over 150 Israeli entertainment professionals.

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Another aspect of the BDS movement is the boycott of Israeli academic institutions: specifically, the withdrawal of support from Israeli academic institutions complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and the violation of Palestinian human rights. This movement draws on a growing body of evidence detailing academic institutions support for the occupation of Palestinian territory and violation of human rights (including education rights) through a variety of military and public relations oriented research and training activities. One such in-depth report was released by the Israeli Alternative Information Center in 2009. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was launched in 2004 to challenge the unethical policies of these institutions. However boycotts of Israeli academic institutions to promote Palestinian human rights also predate the PACBI call. In April 2002 a call “for a European Boycott of Research and Cultural Links with Israel” was signed by around 700 Europe-based academics, ten of which are Israeli academics from various universities. More recently, in 2013 in response to the PACBI call a group of Israeli, Palestinian and other oral historians and academics from Europe, South Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas issued an international call for the boycott of the “International Oral History Conference” organized by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In February this year, an international Jewish group, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, published a list of signatories endorsing and supporting the American Studies Association academic boycott. Israeli and international Jews have likewise joined the boycott of the 2014 Cinema and TV Studies Conference held at Tel Aviv University. Jewish-American academic, Colin Dayan has also written in support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions as has Malcolm Levitt, professor at Southampton University and a fellow of the Royal Society in the UK. Levitt as well as Noam Chomsky joined a group of academics who successfully lobbied physicist Stephen Hawking to boycott the IsraeliPresidential Conference held in Jerusalem last year.

A number of Jewish and Israeli academics and organizations support BDS activities in forms other than the academic boycott (such as through a settlement boycott, support on the grounds of free speech, or in support of the full BDS Call), signifying that there  other forms of boycott activity at play within the academic world. Two instances of this  last year were Kings College and the University of Southampton  in the UK dropping their contracts with security firm G4S, in response to the British security firm’s role in supporting the Israeli occupation and abuse of human rights.

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Earlier this year human rights group Amnesty International published a report that recommended an international military boycott of Israel, citing the country’s “use of excessive force in the West Bank”. The conclusions of this report (and similar research efforts) lay out the rationale for the military boycott of Israel. One example of this is the  movement within Israel in opposition to the military draft. In March of 2014, The Israeli youth group, Conscientious Objectors of the Occupation, released an open letter addressed to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu “declaring their refusal of compulsory service in the Israeli military” because of their opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Another boycott movement within the military sphere is the call for the disinvestment of international companies and organizations that are part of the Israeli military-industrial-complex (such as the efforts by Kings College and the University of Southampton noted above). This military boycott is often included within broader BDS policies. The Australian Jewish Democratic Society statement of support for targeted boycotts for example also advocates for “divestment from military Research and Development (R&D) and boycott of industrial/military activities unrelated to Israel’s defense and security.” Noam Chomsky has also called for an end to U.S. and other international military aid to Israel.

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The status of the anti-boycott law opposed by Gush Shalom and other human rights groups in Israel is, as alluded to above, currently in legal in limbo through a challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court. Israeli human rights groups argue that the Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott aims to limit Israeli and Palestinian freedom of expression by threatening monetary sanctions on anyone who expressed support for the boycott of any Israeli organization or individual. Similar attempts to combat boycotts through legislation are also being made in the U.S.. In 2014 in a wave of right-wing reaction against the BDS movement several bills were proposed within state legislatures aimed at prohibiting academic institutions and individuals from engaging in boycotts of Israel. Following this a new flood of support has emerged both from within Israel as well as from Jewish supporters outside of Israel, advocating for the right of free speech in the face of these anti-BDS bills. The New Israel Fund, a U.S.-based group calling for social justice and equality for all Israelis, shows explicit support for the freedom of speech regarding BDS: “The New Israel Fund is committed to strengthening democracy in Israel, supports freedom of speech and promotes non-violent means of expression of belief and conscience. We oppose any attempt to criminalize the legitimate expression of support for any non-violent strategy or tactic, including those we do not ourselves support.” As noted above the New Israel Fund supports of boycott of the settlements, and they oppose the settlements outright, and as a matter of policy. Naomi Paiss, Vice President of Public Affairs for the New Israel Fund has also stated that her organization “will not disqualify organizations for funding if they support the boycott of settlement goods because we see it as entirely consistent with our opposition to the occupation, our defense of Israeli democracy and our support for a two-state solution.”

Elsewhere, in a letter opposing political censorship, over 150 U.S.-based academics, spearheaded by Jewish academic Judith Butler, and Rashid Khalidi, signed a statement condemning the “accelerating efforts to curtail speech, to exercise censorship, and to carry out retaliatory action against individuals on the basis of their political views or associations, notably support for BDS.” Calling on support from cultural and educational institutions to uphold and support “the principles of free expression”, the authors point out that “as non-violent instruments to effect political change, boycotts cannot be outlawed without trampling on a constitutionally protected right to political speech.” Even Israeli Foreign Ministry officials, “pro-Israel” lobby organizations such as Israel-based NGO Monitor, and most of the mainstream press in Israel have stated they oppose efforts to stamp out BDS through the courts. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, and other senior Jewish leaders in Australia have made clear they oppose attempts to suppress BDS through litigation, which they view as counter-productive. Elsewhere in Australia other pro-Israel organizations the Zionist Federation of Australia and the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council have also refused to support anti-BDS efforts through the courts..

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The growing support from Jews internationally for the BDS call and the boycott of Israel shows that the landscape of the debate around BDS and broader peace process in Israel-Palestine is shifting. Increasingly the question is no longer whether or not to boycott, but rather to what extent do we boycott? The emerging local and international constituency of Israeli Jews and the Jewish Diaspora, and their adoption and promotion of a range of methods that fall within the scope of the BDS campaign is significant. On the surface, this wide-ranging support of course reminds us of how non-sensical and futile it is to deploy classic anti-Semitic imagery in an attempt to delegitimize what is a growing international movement for human rights and legal equality. At a deeper level, however, this growing Jewish support is an indication that the spirit of the boycott call reflects a truly democratic vision that is shared by Jews internationally, a call that wants to see the preservation, not the demise, of a democratic Israel, an Israel that fairly represents all of its citizens, regardless of race or religion. Ignoring these efforts by Jewish organizations and individuals to promote democracy, human rights and a just peace in the Middle East is a dangerous mistake. Clearly in conflicts such as Israel-Palestine, governments don’t always have all the answers: free speech and open criticism of government policy is critical. Given the lack of success of official diplomacy in the region we should be encouraging, not dismissing, these growing local and international efforts.

About Paul Duffill and Gabriella Skoff

Paul Duffill is a part-time lecturer and researcher at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. He is also project manager for an inter-university human rights curriculum project lead by the University of Sydney. Gabriella Skoff is a graduate of NYU where she majored in religion, politics and war. She is currently an intern at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney.

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The following report from The Forward is worth reading as well….

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“I used to believe that BDS is an idealistic and not a realistic approach,” said Holly Bicerano, a Boston University student activist. Bicerano, who helped found a pro-Israel campus group called BU Students for Israel, recently switched over to Jewish Voices for Peace, a pro-BDS Jewish organization. “When the peace talks collapsed I reached the conclusion that BDS is the practical way forward,” she said.

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After Presbyterian Win, BDS Advocates Trumpet Divestment as Path to Two States

With Peace Talks Dead, Boycott Pressure Gains Allure

Presbyterian Protest: Demonstrators calling for action against Israel confront Rabbi Rick Jacobs at the Presbyterian Church’s recent convention.

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Presbyterian Protest: Demonstrators calling for action against Israel confront Rabbi Rick Jacobs at the Presbyterian Church’s recent convention

Read the report HERE

BAD NEWS FIRST ~~ THEN GOOD NEWS ABOUT PALESTINE

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Presbyterian divest

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

In the past 10 days, Israeli occupation soldiers murdered 7 Palestinians (including a 13 year old child), injured dozens, kidnapped nearly 400, demolished many houses, destroyed contents and broken doors on hundreds of homes invaded in the middle of the night, blocked travel to hundreds of thousands, and continues to imprison thousands many on hunger strike for being held without charge for months. One of the people they kidnapped is also Samer Aleisawi who is famous for having the longest hunger strike in history as a political prisoner. He was released only after human rights activists and human rights organizations exerted significant pressure on Israel He was now kidnapped using the excuse of three missing colonial settlers (which maybe a false flag operation to detract from the suffering of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners). In those 10 days, Apartheid Israel received nearly 100 million dollars from US taxpayers unaware of what their congress is doing with their money. And to add insult to injury the colonial apartheid state was given a vice president position in a UN agency that is supposed to fight colonialism. To say all of this is Orwellian would be the understatement of the year.

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In those ten days other US supported regimes cracked down. Egyptian kangaroo courts passed death sentences and long prison terms on hundreds of their political opponents (including even journalists just doing their job). US supported “Saudi” regime puppets executed hundreds in Iraq.

But there are signs of resistance every where. Israeli parliament member Haneen Zoabi (a decent Palestinian leader in 1948 occupied areas) was brave to say the truth others did not dare say: resistance to occupation is legitimate, collaboration with occupiers against native people is treacherous. Demonstrations were held in Ramallah against the Palestinian authority (even throwing stones at a PA police station). This after  the PA police blocked several demonstrations some of them by family members of the Palestinian youth imprisoned by Israel.  There was resistance to the invading Israeli army in dozens of villages. Al-Aqsa martyrs brigade issues a statement from Balata refugee camp finally openly accusing Mahmoud Abbas of treason. But Abbas sent his wife to an Israeli hospital to give the Israelis a good media opportunities to vilify the Palestinians and beautify the occupiers.  But the most significant news of all: The Presbyterian church general assembly voted to divest from three American companies that aid the Israeli occupation: Motorola, Hewlett Packard, and Caterpillar. I wrote on my facebook page after the vote:

“Despite all the Zionist racist tactics that tried to intimidate, pressure, bully and trick commissioners, there was still enough of them principled enough to stand that and vote for what is right. Thank you to the Presbyterian church.. Presbyterians light the way for the rest of humanity.. kudos to all including our activists at Al-Rowwad who sent the message on the wall, the thousands of peace activists who wrote and acted and spoke out. Special mention to Jewish Voice for Peace. You all rock. We love you from Bethlehem”

Now our job is to resist to end this charade. We ,must approach other churches and we must engage in massive rebellion against the repression. Freedom is not freely given and it takes effort. Time to act is now.

Note: thousands of activists worked very hard

Message from Jewish Voice for Peace

Presbyterian Church Israel/Palestine mission network

Presbyterian Church resolution as passed

The number of registered Palestinian refugees 5.4 million (plus many unregistered) 
It is time to imagine a future without the “Palestinian authority”

WHILE THE POPE PRAYS AND TALKS ~~ PRESBYTERIANS VOTE TO DIVEST FROM THE OCCUPATION!

In an image likely to become one of the most emblematic of his trip to the holy land, Francis rested his forehead against the concrete structure that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem, and prayed silently as a child holding a Palestinian flag looked on.
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Hello Palestine: Pope Francis prays at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem.

GETTY IMAGES Hello Palestine: Pope Francis prays at Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem.

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ACTIONS ARE  NEEDED TO FREE PALESTINE ~~ NOT WORDS!
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Needless to say, the ADL condemned the following actions …
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The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), one of a handful of historic mainline Protestant denominations and the church of many American presidents, is the largest yet to endorse divestment at a churchwide convention, and the vote follows a decade of debate — and a close call at the assembly two years ago, when divestment failed by only two votes.

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The vote, by a count of 310 to 303, was watched closely in Washington and Jerusalem and by Palestinians as a sign of momentum for a movement to pressure Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to end the occupation, with a campaign known as B.D.S., for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), one of a handful of historic mainline Protestant denominations and the church of many American presidents, is the largest yet to endorse divestment at a churchwide convention, and the vote follows a decade of debate — and a close call at the assembly two years ago, when divestment failed by only two votes.

The measure that was passed not only called for divestment but also reaffirmed Israel’s right to exist, endorsed a two-state solution, encouraged interfaith dialogue and travel to the Holy Land, and instructed the church to undertake “positive investment” in endeavors that advance peace and improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians. It also said the motion was “not to be construed” as “alignment with or endorsement of the global B.D.S.” movement by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The language was written by the church’s 65-member Middle East committee.

Heath Rada, the church’s moderator, who was leading the proceedings, said immediately after the electronic vote count was posted, “In no way is this a reflection of our lack of love for our Jewish sisters and brothers.”

The B.D.S. campaign has gained support in Europe, but has not fared as well in the United States, where two relatively small academic groups voted this year to support an academic boycott of Israel, but larger groups as well as many universities have opposed it.

The companies the church has targeted for divestment are Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions. The church has about $21 million invested in them, a spokeswoman said. The church says it has tried for many years to convey its concerns that the companies are profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories by selling it bulldozers, surveillance technology and other equipment.

Large American Jewish organizations lobbied the Presbyterians furiously to defeat a divestment vote, their most determined campaign yet in the 10 years the Presbyterians have considered such a step. More than 1,700 rabbis from all 50 states signed an open letter to the Presbyterian voters, saying that “placing all the blame on one party, when both bear responsibility, increases conflict and division instead of promoting peace.”

In a last-ditch tactic on Thursday, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, leader of the Reform movement (the largest branch in American Judaism), addressed the assembly and offered to broker a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the church’s two top leaders so they could convey their church’s concerns about the occupation — on the condition that the divestment measure was defeated.

That offer appears to have backfired, with some saying afterward that it felt both manipulative and ineffectual, given what they perceive as Mr. Netanyahu’s approval of more settlements in disputed areas and lack of enthusiasm for peace negotiations.

“I’m not sure it was the strategy I would have chosen,” the Rev. Gradye Parsons, the church’s stated clerk and one of the two leaders invited to meet Mr. Netanyahu, said in an interview. “I’m sure it was a sincere and generous invitation. I’m not sure it was helpful in our debate.”

He said that Presbyterians valued their relationships with Jews in their communities and in Washington, where their lobbyists are often on the same side of many issues. He acknowledged that the church has been accused of anti-Semitism, which he said was not true and “delegitimizes our concerns” about human rights.

“We’re still committed to Israel and its right to exist, but we’re concerned about the occupation and think Israel can do better,” Mr. Parsons said.

Relations between Jews and Presbyterians soured after the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, a Presbyterian advocacy group, issued a study guide this year called “Zionism Unsettled,” which challenged the history and theological underpinnings of the Zionist movement. Jewish leaders denounced it as hateful, racist and willfully ignorant of the role of the Holocaust and violence toward Israel by the Palestinians and Arab countries in explaining the region’s history.

The assembly passed a measure here in Detroit saying that the study guide does not represent official church policy, but it is available for sale on the church’s website. Jewish organizations have called for the church to stop selling it. Many Presbyterians at the general assembly said that they had not read it, and that it had no bearing on their votes.

Of more influence was the presence at the church’s convention all week of Jewish activists, many of them young, in black T-shirts with the slogan “Another Jew Supporting Divestment.” Many of them were with Jewish Voice for Peace, a small but growing organization that promotes divestment and works with Palestinian and Christian groups on the left.

Right before the vote, some Presbyterian commissioners sought out Rabbi Alissa Wise, director of Jewish Voice for Peace, who spent a week inside the convention center and spoke at a prayer service in a Presbyterian church. She told them that divestment can serve a constructive purpose. “To me, this helps Palestinians build their power,” she said, “so that Israel is convinced, not by force, but by global consensus that something has to change.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), with nearly 1.8 million members, has been losing members and influence in recent decades, in part from wrenching debates over whether to ordain gay clergy members and permit same-sex marriages, a step the assembly approved here on Thursday.

It is not the first American church to use divestment to protest Israeli policies: The Mennonite Central Committee and the Quakers have sold stock in some companies that do business with Israel. Last week the pension board of the United Methodist Church announced that it had sold its stock in a company over concerns about its contracts with Israeli prisons.

Rifaat Odeh Kassis, a Palestinian Christian who traveled from Bethlehem to urge the Presbyterians to vote for divestment, said in an interview that the vote would send a loud message to Palestinians that says, “You are not alone.”

Major Jewish organizations were quick to issue statements expressing distress and outrage. Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, called the divestment action “outrageous” and said it would have a “devastating impact” on relations between the national church and mainstream Jewish groups.

Mr. Rada, the church’s moderator, said at a news conference after the vote, “I don’t believe you could talk to a single commissioner and have any of them say they were doing this as an anti-Jewish issue.

“I think there is a lot of emotion about the unjust treatment on the part of the Israeli government toward the Palestinians, but there is equal upset,” he said, about “terrorist activity that has been undertaken by the Palestinians.”

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Take a moment to say THANK YOU by clicking HERE

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Also read these related reports …

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From The Guardian

From Mondoweiss

From Ali Abunimah

From Middle East Monitor

 

MISSISSIPPI BURNT DOWN 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

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Fifty years ago the State of Mississippi was burning …. burning with the same hatred that we see in the State of Israel today. Three young men went missing the summer of 1964. Two of them were Jewish, the third was African American. 

Fifty years ago today Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were murdered in cold blood by active members of the KKK.

But 50 years after Freedom Summer, we once again need to cause some trouble. The tragedy of the “Mississippi Burning” murders became a travesty of justice when only a handful of the perpetrators were convicted on federal charges, none spending more than a half-dozen years in prison because the state wouldn’t pursue a murder prosecution.

Time for a FREEDOM SUMMER THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD!

Below is a report from the younger brother of Andrew Goodman …. let us never forget the bravery of these young men and the many others that gave their lives for the Freedom of others. Let us never forgive those that snuffed out those lives.

 

‘Freedom Summer’ 2014

50 years after the murder of my brother, Andrew Goodman, voter rights still threatened.
David Goodman
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The Andrew Goodman Foundation
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Fifty years ago, on June 21, 1964, my older brother, Andrew Goodman, was murdered near Philadelphia, Miss. He and his colleagues Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were ambushed by more than a dozen members of the Ku Klux Klan, including the county’s deputy sheriff. They were taken to an unmarked dirt road and shot, one by one. Their bodies weren’t discovered for 44 days, a mystery and a tragedy that continues to elicit raw emotions even a half-century later.

It happened on the first day of Freedom Summer, an effort by the black leadership to flood Mississippi with northern college students who would help register African-American voters.

At the time, barely 7% of Mississippi’s black residents were registered to vote. In eight of the 13 mostly black counties in the state, not a single African American had ever voted. A century after the Civil War, they remained disenfranchised — citizens without a voice. It was more than segregation; it was subjugation. Something had to be done.

A daring initiative

The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project was a bold initiative. Given the widespread hatred of “outside agitators,” it was an act of remarkable bravery by all who participated.

As the late Maya Angelou wrote in the foreword to My Mantelpiece, the recently published posthumous memoir of my mother, Carolyn Goodman, “Those three young men represent 300,000 young men and women who dared, who had the courage to go to the lion’s den and try to scrub the lion’s teeth.”

When 20-year-old Andy asked my parents for permission to volunteer in Mississippi, their urge to protect their son was trumped by the understanding that he was a spiritual reflection of themselves and their willingness to take action. His death devastated my family, but the brazenness of the act also shocked the nation. Sadly, it was largely because two of the three victims were white.

In fact, as officials searched through the forests and swamps of Mississippi, they discovered many black lynching victims who simply had been ignored because their tragic fate had become commonplace. So the case, which inspired the movie Mississippi Burning, lit a fire for the cause. It is no coincidence that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed the following year.

Yet here we go again. Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of that landmark piece of legislation, and immediately a number of states moved to implement laws that would essentially reduce voter turnout among minority groups. Dubious claims ofvoter fraud are being used to once again disenfranchise a portion of the population.

In 1964, black would-be voters were turned away by intimidation and poll tests. Now, voter ID requirements and limited voting hourswill disproportionately turn away, or inconvenience, low-income and minority voters. It is a more sophisticated and insidious form of voter suppression.

Not letting go

Something has to be done. After Andy’s death, my mother devoted the rest of her life to ensuring that he did not die in vain. She formed The Andrew Goodman Foundation, celebrated youth activists, and worked tirelessly for voting rights and human rights (she was even arrested during a protest at age 83).

As the estimable Rep. John Lewis put it, “She got in trouble. … It was necessary trouble. And she inspired many of us to continue to get in trouble.”

But 50 years after Freedom Summer, we once again need to cause some trouble. The tragedy of the “Mississippi Burning” murders became a travesty of justice when only a handful of the perpetrators were convicted on federal charges, none spending more than a half-dozen years in prison because the state wouldn’t pursue a murder prosecution.

It wasn’t until 41 years later that the ringleader of the group wasconvicted of three counts of manslaughter. My 89-year-old mother testified at the trial, a trial that happened because a few determined folks, inside and outside of Mississippi, wouldn’t let it go.

So we cannot let this new movement — these cynical and sinister attempts to disenfranchise Americans — go. If it takes an act of “outside agitation,” so be it. If it requires courage, we can summon it. If it means replacing cynicism with optimism and apathy with action, we can accomplish it. After all, there is a tiny hamlet right next to Philadelphia, Miss. It is a town called Hope.

David Goodman is The Andrew Goodman Foundation president.

BELLA CIAO RUBY DEE

Another great human being took leave of us on Wednesday ….. once again asking the unanswered; WHERE ARE THE REPLACEMENTS FOR THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE?  WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE!!

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G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

Ruby Dee, one of the most enduring actresses of theater and film, whose public profile and activist passions made her, along with her husband, Ossie Davis, a leading advocate for civil rights both in show business and in the wider world, died on Wednesday at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y. She was 91.

Her daughter Nora Davis Day confirmed the death.

A diminutive beauty with a sense of persistent social distress and a restless, probing intelligence, Ms. Dee began her performing career in the 1940s, and it continued well into the 21st century. She was always a critical favorite, though not often cast as a leading lady.

Her most successful central role was Off Broadway, in the 1970 Athol Fugard drama, “Boesman and Lena,” about a pair of nomadic mixed-race South Africans, for which she received overwhelming praise. Clive Barnes wrote in The New York Times, “Ruby Dee as Lena is giving one of the finest performances I have ever seen.”

Her most famous performance came more than a decade earlier, in 1959, in a supporting role in “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark drama about the quotidian struggle of a black family in Chicago at the dawn of the civil rights movement. Ms. Dee played Ruth Younger, the wife of the main character, Walter Lee Younger, played by Sidney Poitier, and the daughter-in-law of the leading female character, the family matriarch, Lena (Claudia McNeil).

Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee in “A Raisin in the Sun,” which opened on Broadway in 1959. Creditvia Photofest

 

Ruth is a character with far too much on her plate: an overcrowded home, a troubled husband, a young son, an overbearing mother-in-law, a wearying job and an unwanted pregnancy, not to mention the shared burden of black people everywhere in a society skewed against them. Ms. Dee’s was a haunting portrait of a young woman whose desperation to maintain grace under pressure doesn’t keep her from being occasionally broken by it.

The play had 530 performances on Broadway and was reprised, with much of the cast intact, as a 1961 film. On screen, Edith Oliver wrote in The New Yorker, Ms. Dee was “even more impressive” than she was onstage. “Is there a better young actress in America, or one who can make everything she does seem so effortless?” Ms. Oliver wrote.

The loyal but worried loved one was a role Ms. Dee played frequently, in films like “The Jackie Robinson Story” (in which she played the wife of the pioneering black ballplayer, who starred as himself) and “No Way Out,” a tough racial drama in which she played the sister of a prison doctor (Mr. Poitier).

Over the course of Ms. Dee’s career, the lives of American blacks, both extraordinary and ordinary, belatedly emerged as rich subject matter for mainstream theater productions and films, and black performers went from being consigned to marginal and often belittling roles to starring in Hollywood megahits.

Ms. Dee went from being a disciple of Paul Robeson to starring with Mr. Poitier on Broadway. She was a featured player in the films of Spike Lee and an Oscar nominee for a supporting role in the 2007 movie “American Gangster,” about a Harlem drug lord (Denzel Washington); she played a loving mother who turned a blind eye to her son’s criminality.

But Ms. Dee not only took part in that evolution; through her visibility in a wide range of projects, from classics onstage to contemporary film dramas to television soap operas, she also helped bring it about.

In 1965, playing Cordelia in “King Lear” and Kate in “The Taming of the Shrew,” she was the first black woman to appear in major roles at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Conn. In 1968, she became the first black actress to be featured regularly on the titillating prime-time TV series “Peyton Place.”

She appeared in two of Mr. Lee’s earliest films, “Do the Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever.” (On Thursday, Michelle Obama tweeted about Ms. Dee: “I’ll never forget seeing her in ‘Do the Right Thing’ on my first date with Barack.”)

Ms. Dee picketed Broadway theaters that were not employing black actors for their shows and spoke out against film crews that hired few or no blacks.

Having made her name in films that addressed racial issues, she began seeking out more of them. She collaborated with the director Jules Dassin on the screenplay for “Up Tight!,” a 1968 adaptation of “The Informer,” Liam O’Flaherty’s 1925 novel set after the Irish civil war. (It had also been filmed by John Ford.) Mr. Dassin and Ms. Dee shifted the tale of betrayal among revolutionaries to 1960s Cleveland; Ms. Dee played a welfare mother who helped feed her family by resorting to prostitution.

She also lent her voice and presence to the cause of racial equality outside show business. She was an active member of the Congress of Racial Equality, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

At the Tony Awards ceremony on Sunday, Audra McDonald, in accepting her sixth acting award for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” acknowledged Ms. Dee as one of five black women whose shoulders she stands upon. (The others were Holiday, Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll and Lena Horne.)

A revival of “Raisin in the Sun,” now playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on Broadway, the same stage as the original production, won three Tonys, including one for Sophie Okonedo, who plays Ruth Younger. In a statement, Ms. Okonedo called Ms. Dee “one of my heroines.”

Ruby Ann Wallace, as she was known when she was born in Cleveland on Oct. 27, 1922, grew up in Harlem. The third child of teenage parents, she was reared mostly by her father, Marshall Wallace, who became a waiter on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and his second wife, the former Emma Amelia Benson, a college-educated teacher who was 13 years older than he. Ms. Dee described her as a strict but loving mother, a stickler for elocution and the person who introduced her to poetry, music and dance.

By the mid-1940s, when she graduated from Hunter College, Ms. Dee was already a working actress, having appeared on Broadway and in productions of the American Negro Theater, then a fledgling professional company housed in the basement of the Harlem branch of the New York Public Library.

She had also been married, in 1941, to the singer Frankie Dee Brown. The marriage dissolved within four years, but it gave Ms. Dee the name by which she would be known for the rest of her life.

She made her Broadway debut in December 1943 in a short-lived play called “South Pacific,” unrelated to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that came along more than five years later. In 1946 she joined the cast of a Broadway-bound play called “Jeb,” about a black soldier who has lost a leg in World War II and discovers that his sacrifice for his country is of little value in the face of the racism he encounters on his return home.

Hired as the understudy for the role of Libby, the title character’s loving girlfriend, Ms. Dee not only replaced the original actress in the role before opening night but also fell in love with the star, Ossie Davis. The show lasted for nine performances, the relationship nearly 60 years, until Mr. Davis’s death in 2005. They married in 1948.

Besides her daughter Nora, Ms. Dee is survived by another daughter, Hasna Muhammad; a son, the singer Guy Davis; a sister, Angelina Roach; and seven grandchildren.

The partnership between Ms. Dee and Mr. Davis was romantic, familial, professional, artistic and political, and they jointly received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton.

During their careers they performed together many times, including in “Raisin,” when Mr. Davis took over the stage role of Walter Younger from Mr. Poitier, and in “Purlie Victorious,” Mr. Davis’s own broad satire about a charismatic preacher in the Jim Crow South, on Broadway in 1961 and in the 1963 film version, “Gone Are the Days!”

In 1998 they published a joint autobiography, “With Ossie & Ruby: In This Life Together,” to commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary. The book is remarkable for its candor, not only about their careers and upbringings but also about their intimate lives, together and apart, and their reflections on race relations, politics and art. Told in separate, alternating voices, it was a book-length public conversation that testified to a lifelong private one.

Ms. Dee and Mr. Davis stood together, far to the political left, on behalf of numerous causes. They spoke out in the 1950s against the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and against the persecution of American Communists (and purported Communists) in the investigations by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee. When, under the McCarran Internal Security Act, the government revoked the passport of Robeson, the great black actor, singer and outspoken socialist, they helped organize the campaign to have it restored.

They were friends and supporters of both the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, whose eulogy, after his assassination in 1965, was delivered by Mr. Davis. On Aug. 28, 1963, the day of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which culminated in Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Ms. Dee and Mr. Davis were the M.C.’s of the entertainment event at the foot of the Washington Monument that preceded the march to the Lincoln Memorial. They raised money for the Black Panthers. They demonstrated against the Vietnam War.

In 2005 Ms. Dee received a lifetime achievement award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

“You can only appreciate freedom,” she said then, “when you find yourself in a position to fight for someone else’s freedom and not worry about your own.”

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ENDING THE OCCUPATION, HOUSE BY HOUSE, VILLAGE BY VILLAGE

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They confront the soldiers, who try to give orders to the villagers, but instead the villagers order the soldiers out of the house. At one point, when a women pushes a soldier to get him out of the house, the soldier turns around and appears to threaten her with his weapon.

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Video: Palestinian villagers expel Israeli soldiers from West Bank home

This video shows villagers in Silwad, east of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, expelling a group of Israeli soldiers from a home they occupied.

In the video, a group of community members – women and men – knock on the door. A distressed woman answers and says the soldiers had come into the house and confiscated the family’s telephones and keys.

The villagers then search the house and find the heavily armed occupation soldiers in a bedroom.

They confront the soldiers, who try to give orders to the villagers, but instead the villagers order the soldiers out of the house. At one point, when a women pushes a soldier to get him out of the house, the soldier turns around and appears to threaten her with his weapon.

Wattan TV reports that the video was shot by journalist Muath Mishal, who gave this account of the incident: relatives of the elderly couple living in the house had attempted to reach the family by telephone.

When they were unable to do so, they became worried and suspicious that soldiers had entered the house. That is when they went over and liberated the house from Israeli occupation, as the video shows. According to Mishal, the soldiers had entered the house on Thursday night.

The video has been widely circulated on social media and Palestinian websites, includingQuds News Network and Donia Alwatan.

BECAUSE OF YURI KOCHIYAMA ….

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*Yuri Kochiyama, in 1999, hosted activists in Harlem.CreditNicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

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Tributes continue to pour in for this remarkable giant of a woman ….

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One regular reader of this Blog commented the following on my post about Yuri …

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WHERE ARE THE REPLACEMENTS FOR THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE?  WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE!!   

Jim Rivers

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Such truth in so few words …

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Tributes that are appearing on Tumbler …

Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014) was a Japanese American activist who organized and fought for the liberation of all people. Her life & work continue to illuminate & inspire generations of organizers working for justice in the U.S. & around the world. This is how we choose to remember her & honor her legacy.

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See all of the tributes HERE, and add your own as well …

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This tribute FROM

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Who was Yuri Kochiyama? A Tribute in Words, Photos, and Video

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“Don’t become too narrow. Live fully. Meet all kinds of people. You’ll learn something from everyone. Follow what you feel in your heart.”  –

 

Through photos, videos, interviews and a timeline, BK Nation honors the life of Yuri Kochiyama, one of the most important activists of the 20th century. Once imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during World War II and later raising a family in the housing projects of Harlem, Kochiyama’s activist career was ignited by the Black liberation movement and her friendship with Malcolm X. In addition to her involvement with the Black liberation and Civil Rights movements, Kochiyama was an advocate for nuclear disarmament, Puerto Rican nationalism, and youth empowerment. In 1988, she and her husband Bill won reparations and an apology for Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II with the passage of the Civil Liberties Act. No matter her own ethnic background, Kochiyama joined the struggles of a diverse array of peoples. Her commitment to justice for any and all who faced oppression is truly remarkable, and she will always be remembered as an outstanding role model and courageous leader. – Ben Weitz, BK Nation Writer

TIMELINE: The Life of Yuri Kochiyama

VIDEOS

INTERVIEWS

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Yuri Kochiyama at Malcolm X’s side after he was gunned down in 1965 at Harlem’s Audubon Hotel

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And from The New York Times

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Her granddaughter Akemi Kochiyama confirmed the death.

Mrs. Kochiyama, the child of Japanese immigrants who settled in Southern California, knew discrimination well by the time she was a young woman. During World War II she spent two years in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans in Arkansas, a searing experience that also exposed her to the racism of the Jim Crow South.

A few years after the war, she married William Kochiyama, whom she had met at the camp, and the couple moved to New York in 1948. They spent 12 years in public housing in Manhattan, in the Amsterdam Houses on the Upper West Side, where most of their neighbors were black and Puerto Rican, before moving to Harlem.

The couple had become active in the civil rights movement when Mrs. Kochiyama met Malcolm X for the first time at a Brooklyn courthouse in October 1963. He was surrounded by supporters, mostly young black men, when she approached him. She told him she wanted to shake his hand, to congratulate him, she recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 1996.

“I admire what you’re doing,” she told him, “but I disagree with some of your thoughts.”

He asked which ones.

“Your harsh stand on integration,” she said.

He agreed to meet with her later, and by 1964 Mrs. Kochiyama and her husband had befriended him. Early that year Malcolm X began moving away from the militant Nation of Islam, to which he belonged, toward beliefs that were accepting of many kinds of people. He sent the Kochiyamas postcards from his travels to Africa and elsewhere.

One, mailed from Kuwait on Sept. 27, 1964, read: “Still trying to travel and broaden my scope since I’ve learned what a mess can be made by narrow-minded people. Bro. Malcolm X.”

The following February, Mrs. Kochiyama was in the audience at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan waiting to hear Malcolm X address a new group he had founded, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, when there was a burst of gunfire. She ran toward the stage.

“I just went straight to Malcolm, and I put his head on my lap,” she recalled. “He just lay there. He had difficulty breathing, and he didn’t utter a word.”

A powerful photograph of her holding him accompanied an article about the assassination in the March 5, 1965, issue of Life magazine.

Mrs. Kochiyama was born Mary Yuriko Nakahara on May 19, 1921, in San Pedro, Calif. An outgoing student in high school, she played sports and wrote for the school newspaper. She said in interviews that she was mostly unaware of political issues until her father, Seiichi, was taken into custody by the F.B.I. shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Although ill, Mr. Nakahara, a successful fish merchant, was held and interrogated for several weeks before being released on Jan. 20, 1942. He died the next day. By the spring, the rest of the family was among the 120,000 Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps across the country.

In the 1980s, the Kochiyamas sought government reparations for Japanese-Americans who had been interned. In 1988, Congress approved a plan to pay $20,000 to each of the estimated 60,000 surviving internees.

Besides her granddaughter Akemi, her survivors include a daughter, Audee Kochiyama-Holman; three sons, Eddie, Jimmy and Tommy; eight other grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Another son, Billy, died in the 1970s, and a daughter, Aichi, died in 1989.

Her husband died in 1993. He had been interned in Arkansas before he joined the all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became one of the most decorated units in American military history.

In the 1960s and ’70s, the sofa in the Kochiyamas’ apartment was regularly occupied by activists in need of a place to sleep. Years later, Mrs. Kochiyama helped organize campaigns to free activists and others whom she believed had been wrongly imprisoned, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther and radio journalist sentenced to death in the killing of a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. In 2012, his sentence was reduced to life without parole.

Mrs. Kochiyama, who never graduated from college, read constantly and widely. On Tuesday, her granddaughter Akemi opened for the first time a journal of favorite quotations that Mrs. Kochiyama had collected and given to her several years ago.

“There were so many different writers and thinkers,” said Akemi Kochiyama, who is pursuing a doctorate in cultural anthropology. “It’s Emerson, it’s Keats and Yeats and José Marti. It’s political thinkers. It’s Marcus Garvey. It’s everything.”

Mrs. Kochiyama was an inspiration herself. For its 2011 album “Cinemetropolis,” the Seattle hip-hop group Blue Scholars composed a song about her. The refrain: “When I grow up I want to be just like Yuri Kochiyama.”

A BARELY KNOWN WOMAN OF VALOR PASSES ~~ RIP YURI KOCHIYAMA

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Her name was never a household word to most of us, but it definitely should have been …

The life history of Yuri Kochiyama is the life history of the American Civil and Human Rights Movements.

Truly a Woman of Valor, she died on Sunday at the age of 93.

Her story follows … (FROM)

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Yuri Kochiyama dead: Japanese American human rights activist and close Malcolm X ally dies aged 93

 In 1963, she became friends with radical Nation of Islam activist Malcolm X, who inspired her work on black nationalism. She was famously with Malcolm X at the very end of his life. He was shot by assassins during a speech in New York City on 21 February 1965. Kochiyama rushed towards X’s wounded body and held his head in her lap – a moment famously immortalised in black-and-white photograph (seen in the image below).
 The Nobel Peace Prize-nominated civil rights campaigner also fought for political prisoners, Puerto Rican independence and nuclear disarmament
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Yuri Kochiyama, a lifelong champion of civil rights causes in the United States, has died.

The Japanese-American activist, who was with Malcolm X during his final moments, passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 93, her family have confirmed.

Kochiyama, who was born Mary Yuriko Nakahara in 1921, grew up in the small town of San Pedro in California. Her family were forced to relocate to an internment camp with thousands of other Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

It was at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas where she first met her late husband Bill Kochiyama, who served as a soldier in the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

They married after the Second World War had ended and moved to New York City to start a family together. It was living side-by-side with poor African-American and Puerto Rican families in the neighbourhood that initially inspired her career in activism.

In 1963, she became friends with radical Nation of Islam activist Malcolm X, who inspired her work on black nationalism. She was famously with Malcolm X at the very end of his life. He was shot by assassins during a speech in New York City on 21 February 1965. Kochiyama rushed towards X’s wounded body and held his head in her lap – a moment famously immortalised in black-and-white photograph (seen in the image above, left).

In the 1970s, she staged several demonstrations – including the takeover of the Statue of Liberty, to highlight the plight of Puerto Rican independence. She was part of a group who successfully demanded the release of five Puerto Rican nationalists who had been held for over 20 years.

She was also a prominent figure in the Asian American movement that gathered pace after the Vietnam War protests, and mentored scores of young activists in the art of protest.

In the 1980s, together with her husband, she pushed for a formal government apology to the Japanese-American internees and reparations through the Civil Liberties Act. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed it into law and $20,000 was awarded to each Japanese American internment survivor.

She also dedicated time to fighting for the rights of political prisoners and campaigning against nuclear disarmament.

Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize during the “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005”.

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Bella Ciao Dear Comrade


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Watch a recent discussion with Angela Davis …

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ TO LOVE HUMANITY IS TO SAFEGUARD THE ENVIRONMENT

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And the food we eat!

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Large protest at New York’s Union Square against Monsanto and GMO

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Related Report of other demos … FROM

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Global anti-GMO action: People unite against Monsanto dominance

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Over 400 cities worldwide will see millions marching against the US chemical and agricultural company Monsanto in an effort to boycott the use of Genetically Modified Organizms in food production.

Marches are planned in 52 countries in addition to some 47 US states that are jointing in the protest.

Follow RT’s LIVE UPDATES on March Against Monsanto

“MAM supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides,” said Tami Monroe Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto (MAM) in a press release ahead of the global event.

The movement was formed after the 2012 California Proposition 37 on mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food initiative failed, prompting activists to demand a boycott of the GMO in food production.

“Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agriculture practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity,” Canal said.

The main aim of the activism is to organize global awareness for the need to protect food supply, local farms and environment. It seeks to promote organic solutions, while “exposing cronyism between big business and the government.”

Activists claim that Monsanto spent hundreds of millions of dollars to “obstruct all labeling attempts”while suppressing all “research containing results not in their favor.”

Birth defects, organ damage, infant mortality, sterility and increased cancer risks are just some of the side-effects GMO is believed to cause.

“That is what the scientists have learned about, that the genetically modified foods will increase allergies that they are going to be less nutritious and that they can possibly or very contain toxins that can make us ill,” Organic Consumers Association’s political director Alexis Baden-Mayer told RT.

GMOs have been partially banned in a number of countries, including Germany, Japan, and Russia but yet in most countries across the globe still feed GMOs to their animals.

Citing the US example, Baden-Mayer told RT that “it is hard to distinguish the company Monsanto from the players in the US government.”

“Most of the genetically modified crops grown in the US, almost all of them end up in factory farms, concentrated in animal feeding operations,” stating that US has enough grassland to pasture and raise“100 percent grass-fed beef” and produce even more grass fed beef than is raised on “modified corn and soy.”

One year ago over 2 million people in 436 cities in 52 countries worldwide marched against the largest producer of genetically engineered seeds.

EXILED MEXICAN ACTIVISTS STAND IN SUPPORT WITH VICTIMS OF TERROR

ON MAY 20TH  THE ZAPATISTA MOVEMENT IN NYC HELD A DEMONSTRATION IN UNION SQ TO BRING ATTENTION TO THE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY OF THE MEXICAN GOV’T.

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Palestinian activists condemn lethal attack on “Zapatista brothers and sisters”

Subcomandante Marcos in La Realidad, Chiapas in 1999.  (Cesar Bojorquez / Flickr)

A group of Palestinian activists, writers and educators issued a statement last week condemning a lethal attack on a Zapatista community in Chiapas, southern Mexico.

The paramilitary attack on the village of La Realidad left one teacher dead, an autonomous school and clinic destroyed and fifteen Zapatista activists wounded, the statement says.

Sent to The Electronic Intifada, the statement draws an explicit parallel between Palestinian and Mexican indigenous struggles: “we understand that our brothers and sisters in Chiapas are struggling against a Nakba in a fight not just for themselves, but for all of humanity.”

The Nakba is the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, which began when Zionist militias expelled some 750,000 Palestinians from their land.

Chiapas state is home to the Zapatistas (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), a mostly indigenous Maya liberation movement that has enjoyed global grassroots support since it rose up against the Mexican government in 1994.

The movement became iconic within the global anti-capitalist movement of the late 1990s, with the masked image of spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos smoking his pipe becoming famous the world over.

As Jimmy Johnson and Linda Quiquivix reported for The Electronic Intifada last year, the Mexican state and Israel have worked together on security coordination at the level of police, prisons and technology. Mexico has also bought Israeli weaponry.

Israeli personnel were sent into Chiapas in response to the 1994 Zapatista uprising for the purpose of “providing training to Mexican military and police forces.”

Nakba

The statement characterizes the attack as “only the latest orchestration by the Mexican government at the service of neoliberalism, continuing the further theft of Mexico and the final expulsion of the country’s indigenous people from their land.”

It draws parallels to the European colonization of the Americas with the European Zionist colonization of Palestine, stating: “the world that began to be built on October 12, 1492 is the one that made possible May 15, 1948, and it has all been catastrophic for humanity.”

The Zapatistas are “a dignified threat to this new face of colonialism” and so “we call on all dignified Palestinian organizations, communities, collectives, and individuals in struggle to denounce these attacks against the Zapatistas as an attack on us all.”

The statement concludes by quoting words of solidarity that Subcomandante Marcos issued in 2009 during Israel’s brutal “Cast Lead” massacre in the Gaza Strip, which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead.

The full statement is published below in English for the first time, and has also been published in Spanish and in Arabic.

Full statement

“The Nakba in Chiapas: Words from afar in the black room of death”

Not far from here
in a place called Gaza
in Palestine, in the Middle East
right here next to us,
the Israeli government’s
heavily trained and armed military
continues its march
of death and destruction.

– Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Chiapas, Mexico

May 15, 2014

To the family of Compañero Galeano
To all the wounded
To the Junta de Buen Gobierno in La Realidad
To the Juntas de Buen Gobierno
To the Sixth
To Palestinians in Palestine and the shatat

Over the past several days, we have been hearing the news coming out of Chiapas, Mexico, and our hearts are heavy. It reports on a recent paramilitary attack against our indigenous Zapatista brothers and sisters on May 2nd in the community of La Realidad. The attack left their autonomous school and clinic destroyed, fifteen Zapatista compañeros wounded, and Galeano, a teacher in the Zapatistas’ Little School, brutally murdered.

We understand that this was not a confrontation between two armed groups, but an attack by armed paramilitaries against unarmed Zapatista civilians. We also understand that the attack was only the latest orchestration by the Mexican government at the service of neoliberalism, continuing the further theft of Mexico and the final expulsion of the country’s indigenous people from their land once and for all. The Zapatistas are a dignified threat to this new face of colonialism, and those ruling from above know it.

The tactic has become one of the Mexican government’s favorite over the past twenty years: arm, fund, and organize paramilitary groups whose members come from other indigenous communities in Chiapas to then fabricate the lie that these are intra-community conflicts. The mainstream media then doesn’t have to work too hard in its manipulations. In this case, the paramilitary group the government sent in to attack our Zapatista brothers and sisters goes by the name of CIOAC-Histórica, and it was assisted by the Green Ecological Party (PVE) and the National Action Party (PAN) – two political bodies in Mexico currently helping manage the further plunder and destruction of the country.

So in listening to the news coming out of Chiapas, what we understand above all, is that while the names may change, the death and destruction remains the same.

“The underground rivers that crisscross the world can change their geography, but they sing the same song.”

Neoliberalism, colonialism, occupation…

We did not have the honor of knowing Compañero Galeano, but we think that maybe we did not need to. We are hearing that he lived for us, and that he fell while fighting for us. What else is left to know? Galeano was our brother, our father, our friend… Galeano was our teacher.

What Galeano taught is what Zapatista men, women, youth, and elderly teach every day: That the world that began to be built on October 12, 1492 is the one that made possible May 15, 1948, and it has all been catastrophic for humanity. This is a world that requires the annihilation of those of us who refuse to live by its designs, and the only way for us to win this fight, the Zapatistas teach us, is by creating the world anew and together. The world anew, as they say, “where many worlds fit.”

So today, on this May 15, on this 66th year of our catastrophe, of our “Nakba” as we call it in Arabic, we understand that our brothers and sisters in Chiapas are struggling against a Nakba in a fight not just for themselves, but for all of humanity. And so we stand with them in dignified rage, reflecting on how the crime against us in Palestine is one that many more around the world continue to experience 500 years on.

We gather our voices today in strong condemnation of the murder of Compañero Galeano, the attack on La Realidad, and all aggressions against our Zapatista brothers and sisters in Chiapas. And we call on all dignified Palestinian organizations, communities, collectives, and individuals in struggle to denounce these attacks against the Zapatistas as an attack on us all.  While we know that our words cannot bring back Galeano’s body, and that they may not heal the wounds of the injured, what we do know, what we can in fact say is true, is what Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos once took the time to say to us:

words from afar
might not stop a bomb
but it is as if a crack
were opened
in the black room of death
and a tiny ray of light
slips in

From Palestine and the shatat, from below and to the left:

Collectives

  • Palestinian alumni of the Little School’s first grade course, “Freedom according to the Zapatistas”
  • Palestinian Youth Movement – U.S. Branch

Individuals

  • Amal Eqeiq
  • Shadi Rohana
  • Ahmad Nimer
  • Salma AbuAyyash
  • Hazem AlNamla
  • Hazem Jamjoum
  • Ahmad Lahham
  • Faris Giacaman-Taraki
  • Yara Kayyali Abbas
  • Nada Elia
  • Remi Kanazi
  • Murad Odeh
  • Boikutt
  • Randa Wahbe
  • Wassim
  • Thayer Hastings
  • Isshaq AlBarbary
  • Mezna Qato
  • Natasha Aruri
  • Dena Qaddumi
  • Budour Hassan
  • Shireen Akram-Boshar
  • Linah Alsaafin
  • Vivien Sansour
  • Nura Alkhalili
  • Deema Alsaafin
  • Omar Jabary Salamanca
  • Annemarie Jacir
  • Will Youmans
  • Raya Ziada
  • Alaa Hijaz
  • Lucy Garbett
  • Hala Turjman

OCCUPYING THE PRISONS

Cecily McMillan Sentenced to Three Months in Jail

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Cecily McMillan Sentenced to Three Months in Jail

By Jon Swaine, Guardian UK (Via)

McMillan to also serve five years’ probation for deliberately elbowing a New York police officer at a protest in 2012

 

n Occupy Wall Street activist has been sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting a New York police officer as he led her out of a protest.

Cecily McMillan, who had been facing a maximum sentence of seven years, was told on Monday morning by Judge Ronald Zweibel that she “must take responsibility for her conduct”.

“A civilised society must not allow an assault to be committed under the guise of civil disobedience,” said Zweibel at Manhattan criminal court. However, he added: “The court finds that a lengthy sentence would not serve the interests of justice in this case.”

McMillan, 25, received a three-month jail sentence to be followed by community service and five years of probation. Her lawyers expect her to serve two-thirds of the sentence. She will also receive credit for the two weeks she has been remanded at Rikers Island jail since being convicted.

McMillan was earlier this month found guilty of deliberately elbowing officer Grantley Bovell in the face at a demonstration in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park in March 2012. He suffered a black eye and spent two weeks off work with headaches and sensitivity to light. McMillan insisted throughout her trial that she swung her arm instinctively after having one of her breasts grabbed from behind.

Wearing a fuschia dress, the New School graduate student was on Monday led, handcuffed, into a courtroom lined by about 50 police officers. Reading a prepared speech, she told the judge that she lived by the “law of love”. She said: “Violence is not permitted. This being the law that I live by, I can say with certainty that I am innocent of the crime I have been convicted of”. She apologised for what she called “this accident”.

However, in a sharply critical statement to the judge, assistant district attorney Shanda Strain said that McMillan had “not only physically assaulted the police officer but also falsely accused this police officer’s character both inside and outside of this courtroom”.

Accusing McMillan of using the court as a “grandstand for her political opinions,” Strain baldly stated that the 25-year-old had committed perjury by accusing Bovell of grabbing her breast. “Through her lies, she has undermined the claims of genuine sexual assault victims who seek justice in this system,” she said. However, Strain said that a sentence of 90 days would be sufficient to “serve the interests of society”.

After being pushed to the ground during her arrest, McMillan suffered further bruising and said that she had a seizure or anxiety attack. She previously said that she underwent treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar, told Zweibel: “I urge the court to take into account the injuries that Miss McMillan suffered subsequent to her arrest … which will last probably the rest of her life.”

Stolar told the Guardian outside court that the sentence was “less worse than it could have been”. He said: “The punishment, and whatever deterrent effect a punishment can have, was already delivered to Cecily the night she was arrested. As far as the police were concerned, she punched a cop and she got punched back, so street justice was delivered.”

McMillan’s felony conviction for second-degree assault is believed to be the most serious against any of the hundreds of members of Occupy who were prosecuted for offences around protests after the movement began in 2011. She had previously turned down an offer from prosecutors to plead guilty to the felony charge in exchange for a recommendation that she not receive a prison sentence.

Following the sentencing, Erin Duggan Kramer, Vance’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement that the district attorney’s office recognised the freedoms of speech and assembly as “bedrocks of our personal liberties” that were “deeply entrenched in our city’s culture”. Claiming that “great leniency” had been shown to Occupy members charged with minor offences, Duggan Kramer said: “This defendant chose to take her case to trial, and was convicted by a jury of her peers for a violent felony.”

Stolar pointed out to the judge that following McMillan’s conviction, nine of the 12 jurors in her trialwrote to Zweibel, asking him not to send her to prison and to show her leniency. Their letter was followed by similar requests from members of the New York city council and prominent pop musicians. Two members of Pussy Riot, the Russian punk activist group, visited McMillan at Rikers and also wrote to the judge.

McMillan’s support team also delivered a petition to Zweibel and Cyrus Vance, the district attorney, bearing what they said were 43,000 names of other people asking that she not be sent to prison. While acknowledging that the courts should not be dictated by public opinion, Stolar urged Zweibel to note that “so many people have spoken up and that they believe leniency is in order for Miss McMillan”.

Singling out by name contributions from Kim Gordon, formerly of Sonic Youth, and Lauren Mayberry, of the Scottish group Chvrches, Stolar told Zweibel: “These are people that neither you nor I would recognise, but among this generation are fairly important”.

Zweibel said: “The court agrees with many of Miss McMillan’s supporters that Miss McMillan is capable of making a positive contribution to society. However, as I stated before, a sentence must take into account the fact that Miss McMillan was convicted of assaulting a police officer.” He then delivered his order on her sentence.

Several people in the public gallery began quietly singing ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’, adding “Cecily is innocent” to the lyrics. However, they stopped after being ordered to be quiet by a senior police officer.

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Related Report

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ THE NAKBA MEMORIAL EVENTS IN NEW YORK

Electronic billboard at 8th Ave. and 42nd St.

PHOTO CREDIT: MOHAMMAD BARAKAT

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On Friday, the 16th of May, hundreds of people turned out at Times Square in New York to commemorate 66 years of the Nakba …

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A day earlier, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine held a Memorial ‘Die In’ at the plaza of NYU’s Stern School for Business in Manhattan …

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The United Nations Aid Agency helps us remember the Nakba by documenting photos of the exodus …

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UN photo archive tells story of Palestinian exodus 

 

In bid to preserve documentation of Palestinian ‘Nakba’ refugees, UN aid agency has digitized thousands of photos in organization’s archive.

See the full AP Report HERE

 

GOLIATH UNLEASHED IN BROOKLYN

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Max Blumenthal spoke in Brooklyn last Thursday, at the Friends Meeting House. Photos below by Bud Korotzer.

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Click on link below to see the photos

Photos from Max Blumenthal in Brooklyn – May 8, 2014.

CECILY McMILLAN ~~ HEROINE OF THE AMERICAN INTIFADA

111004103034-rushkoff-occupy-wall-street-story-top

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THIS link gives some background of the case …..

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Our friend and fellow occupier Cecily McMillan is looking at 2-7 years in state prison after a guilty verdict came down on May 5th.

But even the jurors themselves agree that hard time in prison is a punishment that does not fit the crime.

Join us to call for #Leniency4Cecily alongside elected officials on the City Hall steps Monday at 12pm.

Cecily’s trial has achieved international attention for good measure. Her entire ordeal is indicative of vast miscarriages of justice within our system. This is exemplified by the military-style invasion of Zuccotti Park by police officers looking for a fight with peaceful protesters the night of her arrest.

However, in anticipation of Cecily’s sentencing on May 19th, we are laser focused on her freedom alone. #Justice4Cecily is impossible over the next 9 days but there is hope of saving years of her liberty if we can achieve #Leniency4Cecily from Judge Zweibel.

Echo the call of the 9 jurors who officially petitioned the court for leniency.

Monday’s press conference at 12pm will include occupiers and advocates of all stripes. At the event we will deliver the 20,000+ petition signatures collected so far calling for leniency in the form of no jail time for Cecily.

We are happy to report that Cecily is in good spirits, and even had a special visit from Pussy Riot yesterday! She happened to call during a big meeting at her house with the Justice For Cecily team last night and expressed how appreciative she is for all that her supporters are doing.

Solidarity is contagious. Help spread the call for #Leniency4Cecily. Here’s to freeing our friend!

– from your Occupy Network team

HELP BURST SODASTREAM’S BUBBLE

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Click HERE to see a brilliant presentation from the Jewish Voice For Peace

NBC REFUSES TO PULL OUT OF THE OCCUPATION

“NBC seeks to entertain the public with a thriller filmed in Jerusalem, but the situation in Jerusalem is neither entertaining nor thrilling. Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem live under constant fear that their homes will be demolished and that they themselves will lose their right to reside in the city of their birth, while at the same time an estimated 200,000 Israeli Jews have settled in the area. It would be more fitting for NBC to do a documentary of dispossession and expropriation,” said Sydney Levy of JVP.

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NBC refuses to receive petition calling for end to occupied Jerusalem shoot

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Poet Remi Kanazi, Jewish Voice for Peace’s Abe Greenhouse and Pat Connors of Adalah-NY attempted to deliver a petition at NBC’s New York headquarters on 6 May.

 (US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation)

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The following account is provided by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

On Monday NBC refused to accept a petition signed by more than 5,000 people calling on the network to end its involvement in the action series DIG, which will be set and shot in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian city of East Jerusalem.

Representatives from Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of IsraelJewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation attempted to deliver the petition addressed to Cory Shields, Executive Vice President Communications of NBC Universal, at NBC’s office at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. An assistant in Shields’ office refused to accept the delivery, telling activists to mail it instead.

In Los Angeles, JVP-LA and Students for Justice in Palestine at California State University, Northridge were able to deliver the petition to Jeff Wachtel, Co-President of USA Network, through an intern at their Universal City Plaza office.

The petition was accompanied by a letter from the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, a network of 25 Palestinian human rights, youth- and cultural centers, and community development organizations, demanding NBC “distinctly and explicitly” make clear that the series “will not be filmed in any place located in occupied East Jerusalem, and that NBC will not cooperate with any official Israeli entities in this project.”

“NBC’s drama series DIG, filmed in occupied Palestinian Jerusalem with the sponsorship of Israeli government and municipal officials notorious for promoting the illegal Israeli settlements and apartheid, violates all standards of corporate ethics and responsibility, is deeply immoral, and adds insult to injury for all Palestinians and conscientious people in the world,” said Zakaria Odeh, Executive Director of the Civic Coalition.

“No amount of Hollywood makeup can cover up occupation, land confiscation, and discriminatory laws. Palestinian society has been clear, and more than 5,000 people on the signature list agree, playing dress up on occupied land will only help to whitewash Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights and further entrench the status quo,” said Palestinian-American poet and Adalah-NY member Remi Kanazi.

USA Network announced the series DIG back in November 2013 and it is currently set to air in the fall of 2014. Nir Barkat, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, and the Israeli Keshet Media Group declared at the time that most of the filming would take place in the “City of David National Park,” an illegal Israeli settlement located in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.

More than 20 Palestinian civil society and national institutions immediately called on NBC to terminate the project: “We consider the NBC’s involvement in this project, which aims to captivate, thrill, and influence the perceptions of millions of viewers around the world, to be deeply immoral, shameful, and an act of complicity in the serious violations of international law, including war crimes and human rights abuses, committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.” PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi also called on NBC to halt this production, which “will legitimize the annexation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the authenticity and character of the occupied city.”

In a letter dated 20 December 2013, Shields wrote to the General Delegation of the PLO: “NBC Universal Cable Entertainment reiterates that there are no plans, and there will be no plans, to film ‘DIG’ in the City of David National Park or the village of Silwan.”

But the network has since refused to clarify if the show will be shot in other parts of occupied East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, or if they will be cooperating with Israeli government bodies there on the project, including receiving funding. In FebruaryHaaretz reported that Israel and the Jerusalem municipality are jointly providing up to $6.3 million in grants over the next two years to encourage foreign producers to shoot movies and television series in the city. The first recipient will be NBC for DIG.

“In times when even the best friends of Israel, including Secretary of State [John] Kerry, are warning of Israeli apartheid, NBC would be well-advised to scrap its drama series DIG in occupied East Jerusalem that will promote Israeli apartheid and oppression of the Palestinian people. Going ahead will definitely affect NBC’s image in our region,” Odeh added.

According to countless UN Security Council resolutions and the International Court of Justice in 2004, East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Its annexation by Israel is not recognized internationally and has been condemned. For the past 47 years, Israel has committed serious violations of international law and human rights there. According to Human Rights Watch, this includes policies of forced land acquisition and population transfer through home demolitions and revocation of residencymeant to change the composition of this Palestinian city and “Judaize” non-Jewish areas.

“NBC seeks to entertain the public with a thriller filmed in Jerusalem, but the situation in Jerusalem is neither entertaining nor thrilling. Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem live under constant fear that their homes will be demolished and that they themselves will lose their right to reside in the city of their birth, while at the same time an estimated 200,000 Israeli Jews have settled in the area. It would be more fitting for NBC to do a documentary of dispossession and expropriation,” said Sydney Levy of JVP.

PHOTO AND SONG ESSAY ~~ THE GIANT REAWAKENS ON MAY DAY

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After a long and cold winter, the 99% finally ended their hibernation in New York … They went all out on May Day …

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The following from Matt Weinstein …

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The City Belongs To Its Workers – May Day 2014

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Thousands of New York city’s workers filled the sidewalks on Broadway next to City Hall. The weather was sublime and the spirit exuberant as the working class of New York claimed the day as theirs. 

May Day, the international workers holiday, was born in the USA in the struggle for an eight-hour work day. For many years, it was ignored or red-baited out of the consciousness of America’s working people. But it’s back and the pride and militancy of today’s rally was palpable.

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Photos © by Matt Weinstein

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The NYC Labor Chorus. A fantastic rendition of Solidarity Forever!

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Folks from NYSNA - the NY State Nurses Association.

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UFT members at May Day rally.

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Seattle just passed the .00 minimum wage. Is New York next?

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Brooklyn For Peace was in the house for May Day.

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And Comrades who have left us were with us in spirit …

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GIVE ROGER WATERS A ‘LIKE’ ON FACEBOOK

It has also been shared via social media thousands of times, and has garnered significant attention on Roger Waters’ Facebook page with almost 10,000 “likes” and 800 comments.

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Pink Floyd members strike nerve with call on Rolling Stones to boycott Israel

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Roger Waters performs The Wall Live in Barcelona, 2011.

Roger Waters performs The Wall Live in Barcelona, 2011. (Wikipedia)

Yesterday, Roger Waters and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd urged the Rolling Stones not to go ahead with a planned concert in Tel Aviv this summer.

“With the recent news that the Rolling Stones will be playing their first-ever concert in Israel, and at what is a critical time in the global struggle for Palestinian freedom and equal rights, we, the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd, have united in support of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), a growing, nonviolent global human rights movement initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005 to end Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of basic Palestinian rights,” the pair write in their message, published in Salon.

“Playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid; regardless of your intentions, crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime.”

“If you wouldn’t play Sun City, back in the day, as you, the Rolling Stones did not, then don’t play Tel Aviv until such time as freedom reigns for all and equal rights is the law of the land,” the pair conclude.

The message has been reported widely in mainstream media, including in The Washington Post and the New York Daily News.

Abuse

It has also been shared via social media thousands of times, and has garnered significant attention on Roger Waters’ Facebook page with almost 10,000 “likes” and 800 comments.

Yet a large number of the comments, apparently from users in Israel, are extremely abusive against Waters and Palestinians, and many are Islamophobic.

If anything, however, the backlash indicates how sensitive many Israelis are to calls that their state should suffer consequences over its systematic violations of the rights of millions of Palestinians.

Waters has become one of the most prominent voices calling for the cultural boycott of Israel, a position he explained in a widely circulated letter to his “family of Rock and Roll”last year.

Waters’ and Mason’s call on the Stones echoes a recent appeal by the PalestinianBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee that the band should abandon its Tel Aviv show.

Written FOR

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