JEWISH RECOMMITMENT AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

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

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Jews Recommit to Standing Against Islamophobia

by: Donna Nevel and Elly Bulkin FOR

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

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

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

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

#FergusonOctober COMES TO MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

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

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#FergusonOctober Comes to Monday Night Football

Black lives matter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Modiano, who helped organize the action, said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RABBIS JOIN THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE IN FERGUSON

American Handala By Mike Flugennock

American Handala
By Mike Flugennock

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

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20 Rabbis Join Rallies in Ferguson as Anger Keeps Building

Protests Against Racism Back on Streets of St. Louis Suburb

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

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

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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

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

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

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

The goal was to get arrested.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY WAS MY DAUGHTER’S WEDDING SEEN AS A SECURITY THREAT TO ISRAEL?

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 Yes, I would like to receive an honest and convincing answer to my frustrating question.

My daughter and her fianceי have never been involved in any wrong doing or security violations. However, Israel is so notorious for invoking the security mantra to justify denying Palestinians their basic rights. 

One Civil Administration official in Hebron told me that “if your daughter wanted to join her husband in Gaza, she would have to sign documents, wavering her right to return to the West Bank. In other words, she would have to willfully accept eternal deportation.

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What does preventing a wedding have to do with Israeli security?
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

Yes, I would like to receive an honest and convincing answer to my frustrating question. What does preventing a Hebron fiancיe from being wed to her Gaza fiancי have to do with Israeli security? Does it constitute a security risk? Does it compromise Israeli security in any real manner?

In recent months, I have left no stone unturned in order to obtain a real answer to my question from Israeli officials, but to no avail. Yes, I heard all sorts of prevarication and mendacious justifications and pretexts to justify the unjustifiable.

My daughter Azhar, 19, was engaged to Abdullah Abu Allaban, 23, from Jabalya in the Gaza Strip last year. Their marriage certificate was officiated at the Islamic Sharia court in Dura near Hebron where we live. Ever since, she has been trying in vain to travel the 30 mile-distance from Hebron to Gaza to join her husband. (It is like the distance between Oklahoma City and Norman).

We contacted the civil administration of the Israeli occupation and army and were told to contact the Palestinian Authority (PA) liaison office. However, when we did, we were told that the PA had no authority or power over these matters.  At the Israeli liaison office, a young female soldier told us rather sarcastically to “see Mahmoud Abbas, perhaps he could help you,” Mahmoud Abbas is the helpless chief of the helpless entity known as the Palestinian Authority. He is always at Israel’s beck and call.

My daughter and her fiancי have never been involved in any wrong doing or security violations. However, Israel is so notorious for invoking the security mantra to justify denying Palestinians their basic rights.

One Civil Administration official in Hebron told me that “if your daughter wanted to join her husband in Gaza, she would have to sign documents, wavering her right to return to the West Bank. In other words, she would have to willfully accept eternal deportation.

This is not fair by any standard of civility. Where else in the world does this gross injustice happen? Even the most rogue states don’t do this. Why must traveling a 30-mile distance from Hebron to Gaza lead to eternal banishment from one’s homeland?

The Israeli army authorities would deny that they are preventing a fiancיe in the West Bank from joining her fiancי in Gaza. They would argue that the couple could always travel abroad for the marriage ceremony and consummation and then return to occupied Palestine

This is partly true, but it usually involves a lot of problems, mainly stemming from the unkind treatment meted out to Palestinians by neighboring Arab authorities especially in Jordan and Egypt. Moreover, the traveler would have to incur a lot of extra expenses.

As a journalist who has been covering the bitter conflict between Israel and the Palestinians for more than 30 years, I have long become aware of Israel’s real goals behind this illogical policy of denying Palestinians the sort of things that other people around the world take for granted.

Israel simply doesn’t want us to be around. Israel wants a land without people and is always seeking an opportune time to get rid of us.  But, we won’t give Israel this opportunity, no matter what.

Israel also manipulates humanitarian issues such as this one in order to recruit informers and agents for its security agencies so that they would inform on their communities, friends and neighbors, thus corroding the Palestinian society from within.

The Israeli intelligence didn’t ask me, either implicitly or explicitly, to “cooperate” with them in exchange for permitting my daughter and me to travel to Gaza. Perhaps they knew that my profile wouldn’t allow this sort of thing to happen.   

But it is really sad that the very people who call themselves “the chosen people” and “light upon the nations” would ask the father or mother of a child afflicted with cancer, who need to have a travel permit to take the child to hospital in either Israel or the West Bank for medical treatment, to either “cooperate with us” or have your child dead in a few days or weeks.

Israel, for the sake of argument, may have some “legitimate security” concerns if it allowed Palestinians to commute freely between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But Israel also employs meticulous security measures that make it virtually impossible for Palestinians traveling through Israel checkpoints and roadblocks to indulge in any foul play.

Hence, the only remaining explanation for the draconian Israeli measures is that Israel is interested first and foremost in frustrating, harassing and tormenting the Palestinians in the hope that the latter would contemplate leaving their ancestral homeland for good in order to have a normal life in exile.

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

That's me under the third 'O'

That’s me under the third ‘O’

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

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

My own involvement …

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

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

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South African Woolworth’s Chain Battles BDS Protests

Anti-Israel Activists Vow To Step Up Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HERE’S HOW PALESTINIANS WILL LIVE IN A ONE STATE SOLUTION

Annexation of West Bank=One State Solution

Annexation of West Bank=One State Solution

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A must read for anyone who still supports that ‘solution …

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The norms proper to a true democracy obligate the state to take steps to promote equality of opportunity and implement a policy of narrowing the gaps in land allocations. Instead, it has responded with a series of laws, including the one allowing small communities to set up admissions committees, that send the following unequivocal message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out.

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Israel’s discriminatory housing message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out

Both the Israeli establishment and the greater public have completely disregarded the dire statistics about the the Arab community’s housing shortage.

By Jack Khoury FOR

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Adel Kaadan

Adel Kaadan outside his home in the town of Katzir, which challenged his right to live there because he is Arab.Photo by Moran Mayan / Jini

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Every time the issue of Arabs living in small rural Jewish communities arises, the same question arises: Would Arabs be willing to let Jews live in their small rural communities? The goal of this question is to throw the ball back into the Arabs’ court and portray them as the bad guys, who don’t want Jews in their villages, and therefore have no right to demand to live in equivalent Jewish communities.

But the people who raise this claim ignore several important facts in an attempt to justify a fundamentally racist and discriminatory policy.

First, all the Arab villages – without exception – existed even before the state was established, and the vast majority of their houses were built on privately owned land that the owners inherited from their forebears, not on land provided by the state. Most of the rural Jewish communities, in contrast, were built on state land based on terms set by the state, and according to the High Court of Justice’s precedent-setting ruling in the Kaadan case in 2000, the state cannot discriminate in allocating land on the basis of a person’s ethnic or national background.

Second, Arab citizens of Israel currently own only about five percent of the country’s land, because most of what was once Arab-owned land has been expropriated over the years since 1948 via a series of draconian laws and decisions. In contrast, the regional councils where most of the Jewish communities in question are located control about 70 percent of the country’s land.

The fact that Arabs are barred from living in these areas due to their ethnicity, while almost any Jewish citizen who meets the relevant socioeconomic criteria can live there, means that Jews have considerably more options than Arabs when it comes to choosing a place to live.

Both the Israeli establishment and the greater public have completely disregarded the dire statistics about the the Arab community’s housing shortage, which stems from blatant discrimination in the allocation of land, the expansion of existing communities’ jurisdictions and the approval of master plans. There is an urgent need for tens of thousands of houses for young Arab couples. “Where will we build our house and raise our children?” has become the problem that keeps such couples awake at night, and the options available to them are steadily shrinking.

Every young couple, even an Arab couple, is entitled to aspire to a decent standard of living in every area of life. But instead of enjoying their rights as citizens, striving to realize this aspiration and being able to talk about fair allocations of land and equality of opportunity, Arab citizens feel they are being pushed further and further into a corner. Arabs are searching for any possible solution, including the option of living in small Jewish communities, not out of a desire for separatism, but out of a desire to integrate.

The norms proper to a true democracy obligate the state to take steps to promote equality of opportunity and implement a policy of narrowing the gaps in land allocations. Instead, it has responded with a series of laws, including the one allowing small communities to set up admissions committees, that send the following unequivocal message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out.

THE PALESTINIAN DREAM IS STILL WAITING TO HAPPEN

Martin Luther King’s dream has turned into a nightmare …. but the Palestinian dream is still waiting to happen.

51 YEARS AGO TODAY

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AP PHOTOS ~~ PALESTINIAN EXILES DREAM OF RETURN
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In this Sunday, June 15, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Sabhah Abu Latifah, 85, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural depicting prisoners jailed in Israel in Kalandia refugee camp between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, were she has lived with her family since they fled during the war over Israel’s 1948 creation. She was 19 years old.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

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In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Layla Afaneh, 67, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural in the Kalandia refugee camp between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. Layla was a year and a half old when she and seven other members of her family were forced to leave their village of Barfeelia, near the central Israeli town of Ramla, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out their homes in the Mideast war over Israel’s 1948 creation.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

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In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Mohammed Emtair, 85, poses for a picture in front of a mural depicting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the Kalandia refugee camp between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. The United Nations refugee agency says that at the end of last year, more than 50 million people have been forced from their homes worldwide, the highest figure of displaced since World War II. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

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In this Tuesday, June 17, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Jamilah Shalabi, 70, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, where she has lived since she was 4 years old when she and her parents were forced to leave their home in Zarin village, near the in the northern Israeli town of Beit Shean. More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out in the 1948 Mideast war, according to U.N. figures. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

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More photos and AP Report can be seen HERE

 

A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR THAT LIVES THE MANTRA “NEVER AGAIN”

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

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IT DOESN’T END WITH THAT ….

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Holocaust survivor arrested in Missouri protests

By JACOB RYAN, MAYA SHWAYDER IN

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

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Hedy Epstein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#FergusonUnderFire ~~ 90 YEAR OLD HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ARRESTED

FERGUSON UNDER FIRE …

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

ISRAEL WELCOMES FRANCE TO THE LEAGUE OF TYRANTS

France became the first country in the world to ban pro Palestinian demonstrations …. does this make them ‘The Only Democracy In Europe?’ (sic)

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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Israel-Gaza conflict: French minister Bernard Cazeneuve backs ban on pro-Palestinian protests in Paris

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 The French Interior Minister argued the protest could threaten public order
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Thousands of protesters were expected to march in Paris over the weekend and call for an end to the violence in Gaza, as it emerged on Friday that the Israeli military had killed 296 Palestinians in the renewed conflict – including a baby, four children and a 70-year-old woman since Thursday.  One Israeli civilian and one IDF soldier have died in the 11-day conflict.

Citing a “threat to public order”, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve backed the police ban on the widely-advertised mass demonstrations, after members of the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) and pro-Palestinian groups clashed last Sunday.

He also advised other police prefects to consider banning planned rallies on a “case by case” basis.

Videos from rallies last week reportedly showed armed LDJ vigilantes attempting to tempt pro-Palestinian demonstrators into fights.

“I consider that the conditions are not right to guarantee security,” Mr Cazeneuve said regarding the main Paris march, according to theMail Online.

On Friday evening, lawyers for a number of groups responded by lodging an appeal against the ban in a Paris court.

Attending an illegal demonstration is punishable by a year in prison, and a €15,000 fine – a penalty which rises to a three year sentence and a €45,000 fine if a demonstrator covers their face to avoid being identified.

Meanwhile, publicising an illegal demonstration on social media can lead to a year-long prison sentence, and a €15,000 fine. This increases to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the post sparks violence.

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French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the National Assembly in Paris (Getty)

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the National Assembly in Paris (Getty)

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Youssef Boussoumah, of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR), told the website: “France is criminalising any show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

“This is an absolute outrage, it is a continuation of attempts to muzzle the Palestinian people and to get them and their supporters in France to surrender absolutely to Israel’s oppression,” he added.

False reports following last week’s protests claimed that pro-Palestinian demonstrators had damaged synagogues during the rally, but it later emerged none of the religious buildings had been targeted.

A judicial inquiry is to be launched into the false allegations.

SONGS FOR THE THREE MARTYRS

First see yesterday’s post … MISSISSIPPI BURNT DOWN 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

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Here are some songs written to celebrate their lives and honor their deaths, as well as one Yiddish song, “Donna Donna,” written a quarter-century earlier but profoundly appropriate, I think, to the day. The performers are Tom Paxton; Simon & Garfunkel; Harry Belafonte (singing a Pete Seeger-Frances Taylor song); Joan Baez; Richard and Mimi Farina (she was Joan Baez’s sister); Nechama Hendel; and wrapping it up, one of my favorite Phil Ochs songs, “Here’s to the State of Mississippi.” All the songs were written by the performers except where noted. (Originally appeared AT)

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Tom Paxton: “Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney.”

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Harry Belafonte: “Those Three Are on My Mind.” (Written by Pete Seeger and Frances Taylor. Hear Pete singing it here.)

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Simon and Garfunkel: “He Was My Brother” (for Andrew Goodman, their friend and classmate at Queens College).

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Richard and Mimi Farina: “Michael, Andrew and James.”

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Nechama Hendel: “Donna Donna” (the Yiddish original, by Aaron Zeitlin and Sholom Secunda). (For Joan Baez’s famous performance of the English version [“…Calves are easily bound and slaughtered, never knowing the reason why, but whoever treasures freedom like the swallow has learned to fly”] click here.)

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Phil Ochs: “Here’s to the State of Mississippi.”

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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 Click HERE to see Slide Show

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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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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 …

BELLA CIAO MAYA ANGELOU

An Angel she was ….. truly one of my favourites.

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Maya Angelou, celebrated US poet and author, dies aged 86

Angelou, who was also prominent in the civil rights movement, died at home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Jessica Glenza in New York FOR

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou in 2008. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

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Maya Angelou, the American poet and author, died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday. She was 86.

Her son, Guy B Johnson, confirmed the news in a statement. He said: “Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension.

“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”

Johnson said Angelou “passed quietly in her home” sometime before 8am on Wednesday.

Bill Clinton, at whose inauguration Angelou read her On the Pulse of the Morning, said in a statement: America has lost a national treasure, and Hillary and I a beloved friend.”

Angelou’s failing health was reported as recently as Tuesday, when she canceled an appearance honoring her with a Beacon of Life Award because of “health reasons”. The ceremony was part of the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon, in Houston, Texas, part of Major League Baseball’s Civil Rights Games.

Last month, forced to cancel an appearance at a library in Arkansas, she wrote: “An unexpected ailment put me into the hospital. I will be getting better and the time will come when I can receive another invitation from my state and you will recognize me for I shall be the tall Black lady smiling. I ask you to please keep me in your thoughts, in your conversation and in your prayers.”

Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson, in St Louis, Missouri, in 1928. She described in an NPR interview how her brother’s lisp turned Marguerite into Maya.Contribute

She survived several personal trials: she was a child of the depression, grew up in the segregated south, survived a childhood rape, gave birth as a teenager, and was, at one time, a prostitute.

She wrote wrote seven autobiographies, including the 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and was a playwright, director, actor, singer, songwriter and novelist.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was an indictment of the racial discrimination she experienced during her childhood. “If growing up is painful for the southern black girl,” she wrote, “being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has had a wide appeal, particularly to younger female readers and continues to appear on school and university reading lists in the US and the UK.

In 1993, she read On the Pulse of the Morning at President Clinton’s first inauguration, a performance that made the poem a bestseller. The poem celebrates the diversity of ethnic groups in the US, and calls on the nation to leave behind cynicism and look forward to a new pride in itself, and a new dawn for the country.

Clinton on Wednesday said he would “always be grateful for her electrifying reading … and even more for all the years of friendship that followed.”

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Angelou was a long-time Clinton supporter. One month before his inauguration, she told the New York Times: “Since the election, I have found it easier to wake up in the morning,” and “there seems to be a promise in the air.”

And her loyalty to Hillary Clinton has been steadfast, even as Barack Obama campaigned to be America’s first black president.

“I made up my mind 15 years ago that if she ever ran for office I’d be on her wagon. My only difficulty with Senator Obama is that I believe in going out with who I went in with,” she told the Guardian.

And as news of her death spread, actors, writers, directors, activists and politicians tweeted thankful and mournful notes reacting to Angelou’s passing.

JK Rowling called her “utterly amazing”; Lena Dunham thanked Angelou for “your power, your politics, your poetry. We need you more than ever.”

Angelou had lived in North Carolina since the early 1980s, when she became a professor at Wake Forest University, a private liberal arts college. A statement from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem called Angelou “a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world”.

The mayor of Winston-Salem, Allen Joines, said the town would probably remember Angelou best for her commitment to health and theatre.

She supported the founder of the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, and eventually became its first chairperson in 1989. In 2012, the Maya Angelou Women’s Health and Wellness Center opened in the city. A street in Winston-Salem is named after Angelou.

Despite her many accomplishments, the mayor said small moments seemed to touch the poet.

In April 2008, the town threw Angelou an 80th birthday party. Despite entertainers and speakers present at the party, the mayor said, “The thing that seemed to touch her the most was a group of little kids.”

 

MARTIANS YES! ~~ LESBIANS NO!!

Another in the long line of rabbinical misrulings ….

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Pope Francis is apparently ready to accept Martians into his church, but an Israeli rabbi just ruled that it is forbidden to rent apartments to lesbians ….

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Nonetheless, the rabbi added that renting an apartment to a single lesbian is allowed, on the condition she is the sole renter – but even such a case, a straight renter is preferable.

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Ramat Gan rabbi: Don’t rent apartments to lesbians

After Rabbi Yaakov Ariel issues discriminatory ruling against lesbians, Justice Ministry say it will work on legislation against discrimination in field of housing; Livni: ‘Any discrimination is a criminal offense.’

Ynet

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Ramat Gan’s Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel decreed Monday that renting an apartment to a lesbian couple who plan to “live in sin” is forbidden.

Nonetheless, the rabbi added that renting an apartment to a single lesbian is allowed, on the condition she is the sole renter – but even such a case, a straight renter is preferable.

In the section Ask the Rabbi of the Yeshiva website, a user published the following query: “A young woman is interested in renting my property, however, she has informed me that she is in a relationship with a woman. Is there a religious prohibition preventing me from leasing the apartment in light of her relationship situation?”

Rabbi Ariel, a senior member in the religious-Zionist movement, whose name was even mentioned as a its candidate for the position of Israel’s chief rabbi, responded to the question by saying that “If they are renting as a couple – don’t lease. If only one of them is renting than you can lease, but if you have another offer, take it.”

Justice Department mulls legislative amendment

Following the rabbi’s ruling, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni instructed the ministry’s legal experts to examine a legislative amendment which would define discrimination in housing as a criminal offense, punishable with up to six-month in prison.

According to Livni, discrimination is, unfortunately, a very common and difficult phenomenon, and the war against it is of great importance in a democratic country.

“The housing issue is not included in the Prohibition of Discrimination Law,” said the justice minister, “but a reality where rabbis urge people not to lease apartments to non-Jewish residents or members of the gay community, require us to respond and make it clear that any type of discrimination, including in housing, is a criminal offense and a civil injustice,” Livni added.

Chairwoman of the Orthodox-Jewish feminist organization Kolech (Your Voice) Ayelet Vider-Cohen said in response to the event that “the women of the LGBT community have equal right in all aspect of life – both in the religious sector and outside of it. This type of religious ruling is contrary to the Jewish world view which advocates respect for any man or woman.”

Mickey Gitzin, executive-director of Israel Hofshit (Free Israel) – a group promoting religious freedom in Israel – contacted the mayor of Ramat Gan, Yisrael Zinger, Wednesday, demanding he fire the rabbi.

“Ramat Gan is a city of different groups which include a big gay community that wants to be reassured that its tax money is not used to fund the salaries of public servants who use their authority to encourage discrimination and violation of LGBT community’s rights,” Gitzin said.

THE NEW JIM CROW IN PALESTINE

Palestinians Can Learn From the African-American Struggle

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palestinian-freedom-riders

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On Reality Asserts Itself, Ali Abunimah, founder of Electronic Intifada, says that Palestinians need to know that even in a country with formal legal equality, the reality can mean mass incarceration, economic inequality and racism …

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KERRY MIGHT BE RIGHT .. IT’S NOT APARTHEID, IT’S WORSE THAN THAT!

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
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Israeli bulldozers demolish mosque, 3 houses near Nablus
(MaanImages/File)
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli bulldozers on Tuesday demolished a mosque and three houses in a Palestinian village south of Nablus, an official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that over 20 Israeli military vehicles entered Khirbet al-Tawil near the town of Aqraba early Tuesday morning.

Bulldozers immediately began demolishing a mosque and three houses belonging to Osama Anas, Anwar Sidqi Hani, and Muhammad Hani.

The structures were demolished under the pretext that they were built without permits, Daghlas said.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Israel destroyed more than 663 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2013, displacing 1,101 people, according to UNOCHA. Some 250 people have been displaced since the beginning of 2014.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

BELLA CIAO PAUL ROBESON Jr.

Mr. Robeson in 1998, accepting a Grammy for his father.CreditRichard Drew/Associated Press

Paul Robeson Jr., who worked to preserve the legacy of his father, the actor, singer and civil rights advocate, since his death almost four decades ago, died on Saturday in Jersey City. He was 86.

The cause was lymphoma, his daughter, Susan Robeson, said.

Mr. Robeson wrote two books about his father and created an archive of his writing and films. He aimed to teach new generations about his father’s radical politics and criticized those he thought misrepresented his life, including a 1978 Broadway play starring James Earl Jones, which he protested.

Mr. Robeson worked for many years as a Russian translator and served as a personal aide to his father. In his later years, he wrote books about politics and race, as well as a two-part biography of his father.

He admired his father and noted their similar political views in an interview with The New York Times in 1993 when he published his first book, “Paul Robeson Jr. Speaks to America.”

“I follow in my father’s cultural tradition,” he said, “and like him, I am a black radical.”

Mr. Robeson was born on Nov. 2, 1927, in Brooklyn, the only child of Paul and Eslanda Robeson. As a boy, he traveled with his parents to Europe and lived with his grandmother in Moscow, where he became fluent in Russian and attended the same public school, he said, as Joseph Stalin’s daughter.

After his father’s death in 1976, Mr. Robeson began to collect his father’s correspondence, recordings and photographs for an archive, part of which is housed at Howard University.

When the play “Paul Robeson,” opened on Broadway in 1978, Mr. Robeson and several African-American leaders, including Maya Angelou and Julian Bond, published a letter in Variety calling it a “pernicious perversion of the essence of Paul Robeson.” The play, written by Phillip Hayes Dean, who died earlier this month, did not emphasize Mr. Robeson’s socialist views, they argued, in order to appeal to a mass audience.

The show closed after 77 performances, but it returned to Broadway in 1988 and 1995, with Avery Brooks in the title role. During the first revival, Mr. Robeson said that the production had improved but added, “I still feel the character as written is a counterfeit.”

Mr. Robeson served as a consultant for several films about his father, including a 1999 documentary for the PBS series “American Masters.”

His first book on his father, published in 2001, followed an earlier biography by Martin Duberman. It read “like Paul Jr.’s attempt to correct the story of his father’s life as told by Duberman,” a review in The New York Times said. “In the end, however, it adds little and omits a great deal from the earlier biography.”

Besides his daughter, Mr. Robeson is survived by his wife, Marilyn, and a grandson.

Mr. Robeson was tall and athletic like his father; both men played football in college. While they had much in common, he said one difference was that he was a member of the Communist Party from 1948 to 1962 while his father never joined the party. (During the McCarthy era, his father faced F.B.I. surveillance after he criticized the government.)

Asked whether it was difficult being in his father’s shadow, Mr. Robeson said that his father once told him: “If you want to be somebody, you’re going to have to be yourself. You can’t copy anybody else, especially me.”

“So I never remember having any need to compete with him,” Mr. Robeson said. “He gave me a sense of being my own man.”

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