'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


Read the New York Times Report


Hong Kong Protesters Defy Officials’ Call to Disperse


In the ‘name of Democracy’, the following leaked email sent from the office of the ADL shows how they are attempting to defame Democracy itself ….


'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


The leaked email … 

The ADL email is another indicator that there will be no let up this fall in Israel lobby efforts to use all repressive means available to stigmatize and punish, if not shut down altogether, campus criticism of Israel’s crimes.

It was sent by From: Brysk, Seth [] … you can write to him and tell him what you think.


Dear …

We write to you today to provide information and recommendations about how to respond to conflicts that may arise on your campus due to the recent conflict in Gaza.

Over the last several years, we have seen individual students and student groups critical of Israel attempt to stifle dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by disrupting events on campus and refusing to work with pro-Israel and Jewish student groups. In the wake of the recent crisis, anti-Israel organizations are placing increasing pressure on academic institutions to engage in a “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) activities.

You should be aware that American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organizations around the country, recently issued a statement calling for an “International Day of Action on College Campuses” on September 23. AMP advocates for a variety of BDS-related initiatives – all in an effort to isolate and demonize Israel and Jewish communal organizations. These efforts serve only to polarize students on campus, inflame existing tensions, and often isolate and intimidate Jewish students.

AMP’s call for a “Day of Action” –scheduled for the evening before the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah– urges the elimination of study abroad programs in Israel, a ban on university administrators traveling to Israel, and scholars to refuse to participate in research or conferences with colleagues from Israeli institutions. Such tactics disrupt campus life and stifle the ideals of inquiry, free expression, and the civil exchange of ideas – – precisely the foundation on which university communities are built.

The Anti-Defamation League is a strong advocate of free speech and we do not seek to censor or stifle opinions in the university community. We have a long history of fighting for the ideals of individual expression and the free exchange of ideas, even when we disagree with the ideas being exchanged. However, no university should countenance attempts to discourage and suppress free speech, or harass and intimidate Jewish and other students. When this occurs, as in the examples noted above, appropriate action should be taken.

To address these concerns, we urge you to consider implementing the following policies and practices in the coming academic year:

  • Be aware of the discourse around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that takes place on your campus and the potential for escalation.
  • Review student codes of conduct to ensure that activity which is detrimental to the free exchange of ideas is not allowed on campus.
  • When an event takes place on campus where there is potential for disruption, ensure that adequate security is provided to prevent any dangerous escalation in the disruption and ensure the safety of the speakers, organizers and attendees.
  • Send a senior university official to potentially hostile events and prior to the start of the event have him or her remind those in attendance of university codes of conduct regarding free speech and civil discourse.
  • Remember the school’s obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, particularly the responsibility of the school not only to investigate an incident, but to take prompt and effective steps to eliminate any hostile environment and to take proactive steps to prevent its recurrence.
  • If the actions of the protestors violate any university policies or codes of conduct, appropriately discipline those involved.
  • Use your own right to free speech to condemn actions which go against the ideals of the university.
  • Reach out to individual students and organizations who may have been negatively affected by an incident.
  • Provide educational opportunities on campus that foster an environment of inclusion, acceptance and respect.

As one of the country’s premier civil rights organizations, ADL has decades of experience in helping administrators and students on campus respond to bigotry and intergroup strife. We would be happy to discuss the challenges many campuses face today and to assist your efforts to ensure that your campus remains a place where all viewpoints can be discussed in an atmosphere of respect and civility. We encourage you to be in touch with us if you have any questions.

Seth Brysk
Central Pacific Regional Director

Anti-Defamation League | 720 Market Street, Suite 800 | San Francisco, CA 94102 Phone: 415-981-3500 | Fax: 415-981-8933 |


Full report HERE


See Immediate ACTION ALERT ….. HERE


The new legislation would prevent New York higher-ed institutions from paying membership fees to academic groups that boycott Israel and will no longer reimburse students or scholars for their travel expenses to conventions of groups that have voted to boycott the Jewish State.


Another great blow to Democracy and Academic Freedom …

In line with the policies of New York City, the State itself is now backing the occupation of Palestine with the following legislation …


New York State passes anti-boycott legislation

Bill proposed by Democratic state senator passes chamber, if signed into law will prohibit New York universities and colleges from paying dues to ASA and other academic organizations that boycott Israel

By Yitzhak Benhorin FOR


WASHINGTON – New York State Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that directly addressed the controversy surrounding the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities.

The bill, to become law if signed by the governor, would prohibit the state’s massive higher education system from funding organizations that “have undertaken an official action boycotting certain countries or their higher education institutions” according to the language of the legislation.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Senator Jeff Klein, and it passed with a wide margin of 56-4.

The senator’s office released a statement: “This legislation sends a very simple message, which is that we should never ask taxpayers to support religious, ethnic, or racial discrimination.”

The statement stressed the New York legislator’s relationship with the Jewish State: “I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York.”

The new legislation would prevent New York higher-ed institutions from paying membership fees to academic groups that boycott Israel and will no longer reimburse students or scholars for their travel expenses to conventions of groups that have voted to boycott the Jewish State.

Violators of the new bill would be cut off from state aid for the academic years in which the violation occurred.

The president-elect of the ASA, Lisa Duggan, told Al Jazeera that the New York Senate legislation is intended to cover Israel’s “ongoing violations of international law and human rights.”

In an emailed statement to Al Jazeera, Duggan said: “This law’s supporters claim to oppose discriminatory boycotts, but they have designed their legislation to let Israel off the hook for restricting the academic and other freedoms of Palestinians, while punishing those who protest those injustices.”


As Thanksgiving approaches, we reflect on what we were once thankful for …





We can only hope that the Egyptian people will wake up sooner rather than later in order to save their country from the worst possible scenarios. For sure, no one would want Egypt to morph into another Somalia or another Syria.
fascism-2 (1)
Prosperity and fascism are oxymoron
By Khalid Amayreh

According to the latest reports from Cairo, Egypt’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum has fallen for the 4th consecutive year.

The fall reportedly became more pronounced and more acute especially since the bloody military coup in July, carried out by Abdul Fattah Sisis, in collusion with secular and anti-Islamic elements, against the democratically elected President Muhammed Mursi.

In the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), the country slid to 118th position from 107 last year, falling from 3.7 to 3.63 points, to be placed in the lowest quartile of 148 countries included in the report.

The report pointed out that Egypt’s competitiveness was compromised due to deteriorating security circumstances and the consequent instability besetting the country.

“The deteriorating security situation and tenacious political instability are undermining the country’s competitiveness and its potential for growth,” according to the authors of the report.

The report defines competitiveness by the institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.

Fascism could ruin Egypt

The latest reports from Egypt should not raise the eyebrows of observers following up Egyptian affair. The present military junta simply doesn’t have the ability and necessary skills to run the country and efficiently manage its already shaky economy.

The military leadership may well be able to murder peaceful protesters at will at Rab’a and shut down non-conformist media outlets. It can also round up political opponents and incarcerate elected officials on concocted charges leveled against the Islamists by a notoriously corrupt justice system utilized as a rubber stamp by the fascist-minded ruling junta.

But the military can’t really do what should be done to revive the economy, create jobs for millions of unemployed Egyptians, create social peace and harmony among Egyptians and heal the wounds and scars of the catastrophic coup. Yes, it can kill, maim and incarcerate, but it can’t heal. It can destroy, but it can’t build. It can bully, but it can not reconcile.

It is really difficult to pin any real hopes on the military junta to stop Egypt’s slide to the unknown. That is because the fate of the country is being entrusted to an ignorant junta that thinks, behaves and acts like Third World coup makers did during the cold war between the West and the Soviet Union especially in the 1950s and 1960s.

What really makes things look even worse is the scandalous utilization of Egyptian courts to give the fascist junta a thin façade of legitimacy and legality.

But then, what are we to expect from a “justice system” that keeps a democratically elected president in captivity while setting free a vicious dictator who utterly ruined Egypt morally, politically and economically for more than 30 years?

Didn’t the same justice system abruptly cancel all parliamentary and other elections in Egypt for the purpose of depriving the Islamists of their victories, as the infamous Judge Tahani Jabali of the Constitutional Court told the New York Times in 2012?

Clearly, these are the hallmarks of fascism, pure and simple.

Indeed, with the Egyptian army effectively morphing into a full-fledged repressive police force, murdering and terrorizing its own people, it is hard to expect the occurrence of any economic improvement in the county.

This is why bankruptcy will become more rampant, foreign investors will flee Egypt and millions of Egyptian will lose the impetus to rebuild their country, given the depressive atmosphere overwhelming the country as a result of the usurpation of the Egyptian people’s will by a group of ignorant military officers, devoid of any morality.

To be sure, Egypt doesn’t lack the brain power to transform itself from a wretched, poor country into a modern state where the rule of law is respected and human rights and civil liberties are observed and upheld. But in order to reach this point, the right people ought to be in the driver’s seat.

The democratically-elected Islamists tried their best to rescue Egypt from a hopeless situation brought about thanks to decades of failed management, political tyranny and secular fascism.

They may not have succeeded in solving all Egypt’s problems, especially in light of the monumental conspiracies to thwart their efforts at the hands of a virulent clique of conspirers, including the despotic-minded armed forces, a notoriously dishonest and vehemently anti-Islamic media, and a vindictive Coptic Church that is hell-bent on de-Islamizing a country where Muslims constitute about 95% of the population.

But the Islamists tried despite the paucity of resources and the rampant conspiracies devised by the “deep state” and Mubarak’s supporters who were hell-bent on aborting the “Islamic experiment.”

None the less, Egypt and its great people will pay the price for the perfidy and treason of the military junta. To be sure, Egypt is already paying the price for the criminal vagaries of its armed forces which, we are told, are trying to rebuild democracy by decapitating it.

We can only hope that the Egyptian people will wake up sooner rather than later in order to save their country from the worst possible scenarios. For sure, no one would want Egypt to morph into another Somalia or another Syria.

However, even the unthinkable could happen if this ignorant and stupid military junta remains at the helm.




 Both images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Related report ….




The old joke goes as follows ….

A Russian and an American were having a heated argument during the Cold War days….
The American said that he could call the US President a bastard and nothing would happen to him ….
The Russian said that he too could call the US President a bastard and nothing would happen to him either.
Today the joke came to mind as Egypt became the ‘Second Democracy in the Middle East’ …. a joke in itself ;)
A decree issued by Egypt’s interim head of state on Monday means people no longer face jail for insulting the president, after a surge in such cases under deposed leader Mohamed Mursi including that of a popular comedian dubbed “Egypt’s Jon Stewart.”*

Egyptians no longer face jail for insulting president

 By Shadia Nasralla

(Reuters) – A decree issued by Egypt’s interim head of state on Monday means people no longer face jail for insulting the president, after a surge in such cases under deposed leader Mohamed Mursi including that of a popular comedian dubbed “Egypt’s Jon Stewart.”

The legal change by interim President Adli Mansour was welcomed by activists who had voiced concern over the high number of investigations during the one-year rule of ousted Islamist Mursi, who was toppled on July 3.

But Human Rights Watch Egypt said the decree did not go far enough, arguing that insulting the president “should not be an offence in the first place.”

Several Egyptians were investigated for insulting Mursi during his brief term in office, fuelling fears that the Muslim Brotherhood politician was trying to crush freedoms won in the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The most high profile case was that of Bassem Youssef, a popular comedian likened to U.S. satirist Stewart, who regularly poked fun at Mursi.

The prosecutor general ordered Youssef’s arrest in March, drawing criticism from Washington, but the cardiologist was released on bail.

Youssef hosted Stewart on his show in Cairo in June, and Stewart took aim at Mursi and his government, saying: “A joke has never shot teargas at a group of people in a park. It’s just talk.”

The army removed Mursi from power following mass protests against his rule and replaced him with Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Under the decree, those found guilty of insulting the president face a fine of up to 30,000 Egyptian pounds ($4,300). Under the previous law, they could be jailed for up to three years.

“We were hoping (such cases could be dealt with) through civil litigation and compensation, not fines, but it is still a good step,” rights lawyer Gamal Eid said.

“We are against imprisonment and we prefer no criminal courts forpublishing crimes,” he said.

He added the 28 cases of “insulting the president” brought during Mursi’s year in office compared with a total of 24 cases over the 115 years that preceded his election win last June.

Many of the cases were brought by private citizens sympathetic to Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood.

But Egypt director at Human Rights Watch, Heba Morayef, called on the interim leadership to go further.

“This amendment, while a general step in the right direction, doesn’t go anywhere near far enough, because it doesn’t address the multiple provisions in the penal code that limit freedom of expression,” she told Reuters.

Under the amended law, anyone found guilty of insulting the president would face a minimum fine of 10,000 pounds.

($1 = 6.9949 Egyptian pounds)

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Tom Perry and Mike Collett-White)



From a demo in defense of the 4th Amendment held yesterday in NYC …
Photos © by Bud Korotzer


Those who spoke …
Christopher Hedges
Daniel Ellsberg
Michael Moore
All Photos above © by Bud Korotzer

Daniel Ellsberg, February 6, 2013, outside of the 2nd circuit court of appeals which heard oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging section 1021 of the NDAA in which he is a plaintiff. He is one of the most highly lauded government whistle-blowers in U.S. history.
NOTE: Read the excerpt below from an article on the front page of the New York Times from the same day, February 6, 2013, written by Robert F. Worth, Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane.
SANA, Yemen – Late last August, a 40-year old cleric named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber stood up to deliver a speech denouncing Al Qaeda in a village mosque in far eastern Yemen. 
It was a brave gesture by a father of seven who commanded great respect in the community, and it did not go unnoticed. Two days later, three members of Al Qaeda came to the mosque in the tiny village of Khashamir after 9 p.m., saying they merely wanted to talk. Mr. Jaber agreed to meet them, bringing his cousin Waleed Abdullah, a police officer, for protection.
As the five men stood arguing by a cluster of palm trees, a volley of remotely operated American missiles shot down from the night sky and incinerated them all, along with a camel that was tied up nearby.
This is not a state secret… this information has been well-documented and is well-known…
Extrajudicial executions/assassinations are being carried out by the Obama administration and U. S. military that are criminal and immoral. No matter if a legal argument is constructed to justify these means, the end is deadly wrong.
We are looking at a continuous pattern of escalating abuses of power, employing a constellation of methods, including indefinite detention, torture, increasing surveillance and extrajudicial assassinations by unmanned drones.
WE WILL NOT BE SILENT is an artist/activist collective that has been in existence since 2006. Through the creative use of language embodied on shirts and at times emboldened on signs held up in public spaces, we respond to current social justice issues, encouraging creative, direct public-actions where many people can participate.




Palestinian Statehood??
Terrorist Attacks???
Rule them all out!
The greatest threat to the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East’ is Democracy itself!!
And just how is this manifested?
Last week I posted about an election ad put out by Hanin Zoabi’s Party, Balad. It was amusing, yet it carried a serious message, too serious it seems for it to be allowed to be aired publicly….

Banned Balad election ad has Israel’s racist politicians dancing to Arab rhythm

Submitted by Ali Abunimah


Balad, a party representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, has released an election ad that shows some of Israel’s most notoriously racist politicians, including recently resigned foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, dancing to an Arabic rhythm.

The ad was banned from radio and television broadcast by Israel’s election commission.

Balad – also knows as al-tajammu or the National Democratic Assembly, currently has three members in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, and was founded by the now exiled Palestinian intellectual Azmi Bishara in the mid-1990s.

Last month Israel’s election commission forbade one of its members, Haneen Zoabi, from running for re-election in the 22 January national election, a ban that was later overturned by the Israeli high court.

Behind the gag a serious message

At the beginning of the ad, an animated Lieberman puts forward one of his notorious loyalty laws, including the requirement that Palestinian citizens sing the Israeli national anthem “Hatikva.”

Palestinian citizens of Israel generally do not identify with “Hatikva” because it is an explicitly Zionist and Jewish supremacist song that contains the words:

As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,
An eye still gazes toward Zion …

But, the cartoon Lieberman says, “I have become convinced of the need to change the anthem a bit so that the Arabs can learn it and sing it.”

The gag is that the altered version Lieberman and other right-wing politicians perform is simply the same Zionist lyrics to an Arab beat. The result is quite catchy and hilarious.

Justifying the ban on broadcasting the ad, election commission chair and high court judge Elyakim Rubinstein said, according to Times of Israel that “the Arab party’s campaign ad ridiculed the national anthem and that insulting national icons is unacceptable in election campaigns.” However the ad does not alter any of the lyrics of the anthem. It only puts them to a typically Arab tune and rhythm. It does however ridicule Israeli politicians.

Rising abstention rates among Palestinian citizens of Israel

At the end of the ad, the narrator says “Are you done laughing?” and makes the argument that for Palestinian citizens of Israel the upcoming election is no joke.

The ad urges Palestinian citizens of Israel to vote so that Balad can act as a defense against racist laws and loyalty oaths of the kind Lieberman and his ilk push. The turnout rate among the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, which once peaked at over 90 percent, fell to just 53 percent in the 2009 election.

The plummeting turnout perhaps reflects a growing sense that there is no way for Palestinian citizens of Israel to push back the rising tide of racism and incitement within an Israeli political system that is rigged against them.

Other ads by Balad can be seen on the party’s YouTube channel.


Written FOR


Last week, the Central Elections Committee voted to ban Zoabi from the upcoming elections. Nineteen committee members voted in favor of disqualifying Zoabi, nine opposed and one member abstained.
Prior to the hearing Zoabi said, “I expect the court to overturn the decision. I did not break any law, there is no basis for disqualification. The court should try racists instead. To disqualify me would be to disqualify all Arab citizens.”
Riot breaks out after Zoabi hearing

Right-wing, Arab activists clash in Supreme Court after judges discuss Arab MK’s disqualification from elections. Zoabi: I broke no law

The Supreme Court on Thursday discussed an appeal of the disqualification of Arab Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi (Balad). A panel of nine justices presided over by Supreme Court President Asher Grunish discussed the motion.

Soon after the hearing ended a violent riot broke out outside the court room. Right-wing activists including MK Michael Ben Ari shouted “Go to Syria” at Arab activists and tried to approach Zoabi. The Arabs in response accused the right-wingers of being racists. Security guards tried to restore order.

MKs Zoabi and Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka were quickly ushered into one of the court rooms.

Prior to the hearing Zoabi said, “I expect the court to overturn the decision. I did not break any law, there is no basis for disqualification. The court should try racists instead. To disqualify me would be to disqualify all Arab citizens.”


מהומה בבית המשפט (צילום: גיל יוחנן )

Hanin Zoabi in court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


Last week, the Central Elections Committee voted to ban Zoabi from the upcoming elections. Nineteen committee members voted in favor of disqualifying Zoabi, nine opposed and one member abstained.
A representative of the Central Elections Committee defended the decision stressing that there had been due process and discounted Zoabi’s claim of discrimination. “The committee makes its decisions based on evidence,” she said.

“MK Zoabi was never convicted of any charge, was never indicted, and never uttered a racist word,” Zoabi’s attorney’s claimed.


ח"כ זועבי וח"כ זחאלקה בדיון (צילום: גיל יוחנן)

‘I have been subjected to demonization’ (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


They pointed to the fact that Zoabi, out of all Knesset candidates, was the only MK to be disqualified “based on 4-5 quotes most of which are untrue and inaccurate and all of which are irrelevant.”

In a deposition filed with the court, Zoabi said that her disqualification “is another step in the process of demonization I have been subjected to since my participation in the flotilla.

“All of the claims regarding the flotilla are false, there had been no complaint made against be by the soldiers who took part in the Marmara raid.”



I left the United States in 1967 with no intention of ever returning there. Yet, I have the right to vote in US elections. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn’t to me.
My next country of residence was Canada which I left in 1984, also with no intention of returning. I do not have the right to vote in Canadian elections. That makes sense to me. Canada has a Parliamentary System whose representatives are elected by voters living in a given area. Israel is NOT one of those areas. Is that fair? It is to Canadians.
The talk in the street in Israel these days (among  former American residents) is; Did you vote yet? And who do they vote for? Obviously whichever candidate has a stronger pro Israel position. There is little or no concern about which candidate will make a better President for the American people.
This is what I call the right to vote wrong!
This brings to mind the election practices of the Southern States up till the early 60’s … Afro-American RESIDENTS of those states did not enjoy the benefit of voting in elections. Because of the strength of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, many of these residents were afraid to even register to vote. Their fear was justified as can be seen in what happened to those that tried to change that situation. Even worse was the participation of the Federal Government, through its local agencies in carrying out the criminal activities.
Yet, in those very days, American citizens (permanently) living abroad had the right to vote. Again, this seems wrong.
American citizens living in the United States should all have the right to vote for the candidate who will represent AMERICAN interests in AMERICA, NOT IN ISRAEL or elsewhere.
Then, it won’t be wrong!
Americans in Israel can learn something from the following piece written by a distinguished educator and two time Vice Presidential candidate, rather than burying their heads to the plight of the Palestinians. To know the history of their own nation could help prevent its evils continuing in other nations.
Ask not what an American President can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for the country you reside in.

Jim Crow and the Palestinians


The controversy generated by Newt Gingrich’s outrageous statement last year that Palestinians are “an invented people” should have led to greater caution in the formulation of politicians’ public statements on Israel and Palestine. However, this seems not to have been the case: Mitt Romney recently offered the judgment that “Palestinians have no interest in peace” as if he were making an uncontested factual observation.

This was the moral equivalent of saying that African Americans were never interested in ending Jim Crow or that black South Africans did not want to see Apartheid dismantled.

It is revealing that Romney proposed this characterization of Palestinians’ political stance in the same speech (at a fund-raiser among the ultra-wealthy in Florida) in which he insisted that 47 percent of the people in this country believe that they are entitled to government assistance and do not want to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The convergence of backward positions regarding governmental guarantees of universal availability of food, health care, housing, and other necessities and retrograde policies on settler colonialism practiced by Israel might be expected. But the Democratic Party scarcely fares better when it comes to Israel and Palestine.

At its recent national convention, the party leadership chose to disregard voting preferences of delegates by passing a two-thirds voice vote — despite the fact that the convention’s oral response clearly indicated otherwise — asserting that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Such flagrantly undemocratic behavior summons up such past moments in convention history as the conduct toward Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964.

In my home state of California, elected officials have gone so far as to encourage the violation of First Amendment rights in order to control opposition to Israel. Largely in response to University of California students’ support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, state legislators recently passed an Assembly Bill (HR 35) that, while unbinding, calls upon campus authorities to restrict student activism that is critical of Israel.

Such desperate measures implicitly proclaim that curbing criticism of Israel is more important than safeguarding constitutional rights. Perhaps those who support these measures fear the increasingly widespread use of the “apartheid” label to describe Israel, employed not only by students but also by such prominent figures as President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

If they fear the emergence of a new anti-apartheid movement, this time directed against Israel, they may very well be correct. The BDS movement is rapidly gaining support: this past spring, the Eighth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week was observed on campuses in South Africa and throughout Europe, North America and the Arab World.

Shortly after the passage of California Assembly Bill HR 35, the University of California Student Association passed a strong resolution that not only opposed HR 35 but recognized “the legitimacy of boycotts and divestment as important social movement tools” and encouraged “all institutions of higher learning to cleanse their investment portfolios of unethical investment in companies implicated in or profiting from violations of international human rights law, without making special exemptions for any country.”

We here in the U.S. should be especially conscious of the similarities between historical Jim Crow practices and contemporary regimes of segregation in Occupied Palestine. If we have learned the most important lesson promulgated by Dr. Martin Luther King — that justice is always indivisible — it should be clear that a mass movement in solidarity with Palestinian freedom is long overdue.

*Angela Davis is Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California Santa Cruz and a member of the jury for the 2012 Russell Tribunal on Palestine. She is author of many books including “The Meaning of Freedom” and New Critical Edition of Frederick Douglass’s  ”Narrative of a Life of a Slave,” both published in the Open Media Series by City Lights Books,

Written FOR


A glimpse of how ‘Democracy’ works in America …

County Democratic official Garcia resigns after emails critical of Israel surface

By John Lantigua

Evelyn Garcia, a member of the Democratic National Committee from Palm Beach County, resigned the post Monday after emails surfaced in which she sharply criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Garcia, a candidate for the State House of Representatives from District 88, which includes parts of West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach, said she would continue to campaign for that seat. She apologized for her remarks and called them “ugly” and “hurtful.”

The emails were provided anonymously to local Democratic Party leaders late last week, those leaders said. In each case, the recipient’s name was blacked out. Some of them appear to have been written to a South Florida Congressional aide.

“The continued Israeli occupation of Palestine is ugly on moral, ethical, religious and legal grounds,” Garcia said in an email dated July 26, 2011. “Palestinians had nothing to do with the holocaust and it is time that this guilt trip was taken off their backs…. And I deeply resent U.S. taxpayer funds being used to continue Israeli aggression.”

In that same email, Garcia accused Israel of confiscating land and building illegal settlements in occupied territories, as well as “incursions that kill people, destroy civilian homes and infrastructure all over; mass concentration prison camps, etc.”

In A May 24, 2011 message, Garcia wrote: “Slavery was ended, apartheid was ended and so this occupation must end.”

County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Alan Siegel accepted Garcia’s resignation Monday afternoon. He called the emails “grossly inappropriate.”

“I was shocked by her choice of words,” Siegel said.

He said he was surprised because Garcia “had never shown any animus toward Jews she encountered in her work for the party. “This wasn’t the Evelyn we knew,” he said.

County Commissioner Burt Aaronson was angered by the emails.

“She can say what she wants but not as an executive of the Democratic Party,” Aaronson said. “The party, locally, statewide and nationally, supports the state of Israel. I am personally offended as a Jew, as a Democrat and as a supporter of the state of Israel. The Democratic Party is better off without her.”

Garcia, a Haitian-American, was elected to the Democratic National Committee in 2008, after serving as a delegate to the party’s national convention in Denver earlier that year.

She issued a resignation statement Friday afternoon, saying that’s she wrote it “with great sadness and a heavy heart.” She said the private emails had been released “by someone I believed was my friend.”

“In passionately advocating my position supporting the rights of people I felt were being harmed, I used language that I now regret,” she wrote. “The gist of the conversation had to do with my concern for innocent people being oppressed, but such support for the oppressed does not diminish my support for the good people of Israel.”

In a separate statement emailed later Friday to The Palm Beach Post, Garcia said: “My comments were not only inappropriate and hurtful, they are exactly the kind of ugly rhetoric that is not conducive to the overall atmosphere needed to create a prosperous peace and security for both parties. I apologize to anyone I offended and to my friends in the Democratic Party, in particular, members of the Jewish faith whom I have worked with for years.

“My continued presence would merely serve as a distraction to the good work of Democrats and it is for this reason I have submitted my resignation,” she wrote.

Garcia is up against three other Democrats – Charles Bantel, Bobby Powell and Nikasha Wells — for the District 88 House seat. The GOP has no candidate in the race, so the winner of the primary will win the seat. All registered voters can vote in that primary Aug. 14.


More videos will be found HERE
 All submitted by Vas


Black Firebrand Vies in Heavily Jewish District

Charles Barron Battles for Seat That Includes Russian Areas

Truth to Power? New York City Councilmember Charles Barron is running for a Brooklyn Congressional seat.

Truth to Power? New York City Councilmember Charles Barron is running for a Brooklyn Congressional seat.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

New York City’s most radical city councilman could end up representing the city’s most politically conservative Jewish community in the U.S. Congress.

In an only-in-Brooklyn clash, New York City Council member Charles Barron, a former Black Panther, has a realistic chance of winning a June 26 Democratic primary that could send him to congress representing Brooklyn’s Russian-speaking Jews.

The possibility has inflamed Russian-Jewish activists. But though Jews make up 20% of the population of the district, the unusually early date of the election and the confusing redistricting process could keep them from the polls.

“They are saying if such a person like Barron will come to Congress, it’s unbelievable,” said Vladimir Epshteyn, an activist and retired community organizer. “He represents for us a huge danger.”

Epshteyn and other activists point to Barron’s history of provocation, his harsh criticism of Israel and his staunch black nationalism to justify their rhetoric. Their concern doesn’t seem shared, however, on the streets of Little Russia by the Sea, as signs on Brighton Beach Boulevard call the neighborhood.

Just a subway stop from hot dog stands and freak shows of the Coney Island boardwalk, shop owners in Brighton Beach assume patrons speak Russian. And though the key congressional primary is just weeks away, no signs are posted under the elevated subway tracks for Barron, or for his opponent, New York State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.

A few older Russian-speakers sitting in a playground near the boardwalk recognized Barron’s name when they were asked on a recent morning, but most seemed unaware of the impending race. Few spoke English.

New York’s Russian-speaking Jewish community is self-contained. Many members came to the United States in the past few decades. They listen to Russian radio, read Russian newspapers and shop in Russian supermarkets where signs are written in Russian.

They are conservative, even Republican — an anomaly among New York Jews, and New Yorkers generally. Russian-speaking Jews were credited with playing a major role in the 2010 victory of Republican Bob Turner, who won the special election for the congressional seat vacated by Democrat Anthony Weiner.

Though grassroots awareness of this race appears slight, Barron’s candidacy has elicited particularly vehement passions among community activists.

“For me — I’m talking about my personal opinion — to me he’s a bad guy, let’s put it this way, he’s not good people,” said Yelena Makhnin, an activist who works as executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District. “I come from the communist country, so I do see some things differently.”

Others also said the depth of their distaste for Barron stems from their Soviet pasts. “The disaster is coming and I know it because I am from the Soviet Union,” said Epshteyn. “The system looks so strong, unbelievably strong. [But] it takes a few seconds, a few minutes, and it can change absolutely the situation.… To have a Barron in Congress.… The Russian Jews from the Soviet Union, we can understand. American Jews living for so many years in prosperity and wealth… they are blind, they don’t see the changes to the world.”

Barron, 61, has served in the City Council for a decade. An outspoken black nationalist, he is as noted for his political skill as for the often-controversial positions he’s taken, including the defense of Third-World dictators. In October, Barron mourned the killing of Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi. “Out there, they don’t know that Qaddafi was our brother,” Barron said, according to press reports. “The man was a freedom fighter.”

In 2002, Barron hosted Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe at City Hall. Mugabe, who led the southern African country’s liberation struggle in the 1970s, has been criticized for his increasingly oppressive rule in recent decades and his mass expropriation of white-owned farms.

“I was very much pissed off when he gave a proclamation on behalf of City of New York to Robert Mugabe,” said Ari Kagan, an activist, former New York State Assembly candidate, and reporter for the Russian-language newspaper Vecherniy New York.

Barron has also been critical of Israel. In a much-cited June 2010 statement, Barron, at a rally criticizing the Israeli raid of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara protest ship, compared conditions in Gaza to “a concentration death camp.”

A resident of the working class Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York, Barron has long had a base of support there. His City Council district also included the largely African-American neighborhoods of Brownsville and East Flatbush.

But a scrambling of New York’s legislative districts has sent Barron looking for votes among Russian Jews. As part of the once-a-decade redistricting process, parts of what was once Turner’s district have been mashed together with parts of a congressional district previously represented by Upper West Side liberal Democrat Jerrold Nadler, and parts of another district represented by longtime Democratic Congressman Edolphus Towns.

The new district spans from Bedford-Stuyvesant to East New York, down through Canarsie to Brighton Beach. The population of this area is 70% black and Hispanic, according to the governmental body that drew the district lines. An analysis by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York estimates that it is 20% Jewish, and that the vast majority of those Jews are Russian speakers.

Towns is retiring and Turner is running for Senate, leaving an opening. The two contenders in the June 26 Democratic primary elections are Jeffries and Barron. Democratic dominance in New York City means that the winner of the primary will likely win the November election.

Jeffries, 42, a former attorney, has the backing of most of the relevant city unions and most of the Democratic establishment.

But Barron has the support of Towns. In a recent televised debate, Barron had the practiced air of a longtime politico, landing blow upon stinging blow.

Court decisions have forced an unusually early date this year for the primary. The early date, combined with the confusing redistricting, has meant that awareness of the race is low among voters.

“The biggest issue is to let people know that this race exists,” Kagan said.

In an effort to bolster Jeffries’ candidacy and the profile of the race, New York City Council member David Greenfield convened a June 11 press conference of Jewish elected officials, including Nadler and former mayor Ed Koch, to paint Barron as anti-Israel.

In a phone call after the event, Greenfield criticized Barron. “He’s a bigot, and he represents the worst — not just everything that’s wrong with politics, but everything that is wrong with bad people,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield alleged that Barron was anti-Semitic, citing his 2010 comparison of Gaza to a death camp. Greenfield said that Barron had called him a “tool of the Jewish lobby” after Greenfield had criticized his Gaza statement.

Barron’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the Greenfield-organized press conference. Earlier, Barron co-campaign manager Colette Pean said that she thought voters in the new district would embrace Barron’s position on Israel. “I think the councilman has a stated position that Israel as a state exists, that there needs to be negotiated solution, and that he’s opposed to terrorism in all its forms,” Pean said.

Jeffries, for his part, appears to be making an effort to reach out to Russian-speaking Jews. Community activists said that he had appeared a handful of times on Russian radio, that he had visited Israel in 2008, and that he had the support of those community members who were paying attention to the race.

Jeffries did not respond to two requests for comment from the Forward.

Written FOR



Remarkably, in comparison to 47 countries surveyed in the World Values Survey, Iranian society’s potential for liberal democracy was found to be higher than that of 23 others—including Arab countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Jordan, and Asian countries such as South Korea, India and Thailand. In comparison to 29 countries surveyed In the European Social Survey, Iran was found to have higher tendencies toward liberal democracy than Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Romania.


Wall Street Journal Shocker: Iranians Have Democratic Values
or, OMG! Iranians are Like Totally Almost Like Real Humans!

By Nima Shirazi

A chart from

Iranians Have Democratic Values,” screams a headline in The Wall Street Journal.  The article that follows, written by “Israeli political strategist” Yuval Porat, publicizes the findings of a recent public opinion poll conducted by the author and his colleagues.

Porat explains that the results of the survey reveal that, believe it or not, Iranian society is actually populated with real human beings who think and feel the way real human beings do.  He writes,

An analysis of the Iranian sample showed that alongside conservative values, such as conformity and tradition, Iranian society is characterized by strong support for pro-liberal values such as a belief in the importance of self-direction and benevolence. For example, 94% of the respondents identified with the sentence “freedom to choose what he does is important to him,” and 71% of the respondents identified with the sentence “being tolerant toward all kinds of people and groups is important to him.”

The poll was carried out using “a psychological questionnaire” that Porat says was developed by Israeli “cross-cultural psychology expert Shalom Schwartz as part of his ‘Theory of Basic Human Values'” and which is designed to “measures the basic values of society without posing a single question in political terms.”  Results were then analyzed to create “an index which measures the potential of a society to foster democratization, based on its values.”

Porat was “amazed by how forthcoming the Iranian people were” during the polling interviews and was equally stunned by the results, writing,

Remarkably, in comparison to 47 countries surveyed in the World Values Survey, Iranian society’s potential for liberal democracy was found to be higher than that of 23 others—including Arab countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Jordan, and Asian countries such as South Korea, India and Thailand. In comparison to 29 countries surveyed In the European Social Survey, Iran was found to have higher tendencies toward liberal democracy than Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Romania.

Neat, huh?  What a fresh perspective on the Islamic Republic…and in The Wall Street Journal no less!

But the article is a smoke-screen and the research it’s based on is transparently agenda-driven.  Basically, Porat’s piece is one long infomercial for regime change in Iran.  In fact, the author tips his hand in his very first sentence when he references “high-stakes international discussions surrounding Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

As a researcher, Porat should maybe do a little research on the Iranian nuclear program before making such claims.  Western and Israeli intelligence have long assessed that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, a conclusion backed up by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But, of course, that’s not the point.  Porat knows full well what he’s writing and why.  His Wall Street Journal article reads like something out of MAD Magazine or National Lampoon.  Golly-gee, folks, those Eye-ranians are just like you and me!  Now let’s get the regime change planes fueled up and ready to fly!

The poll cited is one of the most patronizing, if not least scientific, ever conducted.  The research itself has barely been made public and is housed on a strangely amateurish website with hardly any content called  There is no press about this enterprise other than the Wall Street Journal article, which is also posted on the website.  Each page of the site is topped by a banner reading, “Could Iran Turn Into A Liberal Democracy?”  Porat‘s other researchers are mostly students at The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel with past or current connections to the IDF.  The agenda could not be more obvious.

Furthermore, the researchers – in their quest to justify foreign intervention and regime change – seem not to understand (or care) that, for most Iranians, sentences like “It is important to him to make his own decisions about his life” and “Thinking creatively is important to him” are not seen as anathema to the current Iranian political system.  Also, the supposed “findings” of this poll are in no way shocking to anyone familiar with (a) Iranian society, which obviously doesn’t include most neoconservative WSJ readers, or Israeli pollsters for that matter, and (b) have read other polls of the Iranian public.

In late 2010, for example, the International Peace Institute together with Charney Research, released an actual poll on Iranian public opinion.  Among the findings was the strong support (67%) for developing “closer connections with developed Western countries,” yet this had no effect on the fact that 87% of respondents viewed the United States unfavorably, 68% considered the US “the greatest threat in the region,” and a majority (55%) viewed European nations in a negative light.  An overwhelming majority (68%) continued to support Iran’s relationship with and support for Hamas and Hezbollah.

In response to a question about whether Iranian society needs “controls to protect Islam and Iran from its enemies” or needs “more democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” 51% of those polled chose the former versus 31% who picked the “more democracy” option.  Nevertheless, 54% said they “have real opportunities to improve their lives” and 60% said they “have much hope for the future.”

Whereas a plurality of respondents (47%) said that the Rahbar and Guardian Council should have the last word on political decisions, 53% believed that, over the next decade, the elected President and Majlis would assume more powerful roles and make final decisions for the Islamic Republic.

Results like these show that Iranians don’t believe themselves to be powerless in their own country (for example, the voter turnout and those voting for Ahmadinejad were found by the Charney report to be nearly identical to the official Iranian results).  Former Presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani still enjoyed broad support, while opposition leaders Mousavi and Karroubi were far less popular, each receiving “favorable” reactions from fewer than 40% of respondents.  The so-called “Green Movement” was even less popular, garnering a mere 26% approval rating.

The Israeli poll cited by the Wall Street Journal is yet another example of using an Orientalist frame (those people are almost just like us so we can finally convince ourselves it makes sense to go and save them from themselves!) in order to promote an agenda that the Iranian people across all social strata and the political spectrum reject out of hand – that is, Western-influenced regime change.

In case the purpose of the poll, and its publicity in the Wall Street Journal, wasn’t explicit enough, here’s how Porat concludes:

Our findings demonstrate that Iranian society as a whole is characterized by a pro-liberal value structure that is deeply at odds with the fundamentalist regime. This presents considerable potential for regime change in Iran and for the development of liberal democracy.

It might be instructive for Mr. Porat to turn his polling sights on his own state to find out if Israel really fits the definition of a pluralistic, liberal society with democratic values.

A poll released early this year by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in conjunction with the Avi Chai Foundation found that 70% of Israeli Jews believe that Jews are “the Chosen people,” with 61% advocating that “public life should be in accordance with Jewish religious tradition.”  Less than half of those polled (48%) thought that civil marriage should be allowed in Israel.  Additionally, as Ha’aretz put it, “only 44 percent said that if Jewish law and democratic values clashed, the latter should always be preferred.”  Eli Silver, director of Avi Chai–Israel, analyzed the results this way: “The results of the survey are evidence that Israeli Jews are committed to two significant values: preserving Jewish tradition on the one hand, and upholding individual freedom of choice on the other.”  Sound familiar?  Perhaps Silver also thinks that means Israel is ripe for regime change.

But most other public opinion polls conducted in Israel tell a far more sinister story.  A September 2011 poll conducted by IDI showed that one-third of Israeli Jews (33%) don’t think Palestinian citizens of Israel should have equal rights with their Jewish counterparts, claiming that Arabs are not Israelis.  The poll also found that “77.9% of Jews inside Israel say that Arabs inside Israel should not be allowed to participate in the crucial, political, economic and even social decisions in Israel.”

An October 2010 poll by the Dahaf Institute found that 36% of Israeli Jews “are in favor of revoking the voting rights” of Palestinian citizens of Israel.  It also reported that “55% of those polled justify harming freedom of speech in times of political difficulty, and 57% oppose non-violent protests held during military operations.”

In March 2010, a poll conducted by the Maagar Mochot research institute revealed that while 80% of Israeli high school students say they prefer a democratic form of government (amazingly, 16% actually said they desired a dictatorship), over 49% do not support equal rights being granted to both Jewish and Arab citizens of the State of Israel. 56% of the high school students polled believed Arabs should not be allowed to vote, while 32% said they would not even want to have an Arab friend. One out of every six students would not want to study in the same class with an Ethiopian or an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, and 21% of them think that “Death to Arabs” is a legitimate expression. Additionally, 48% insisted they would refuse official orders to evacuate illegal West Bank settlements if they were serving in the Israeli military (for which 91% of respondents were eager to enlist).

Just a few months later, in September 2010, another poll of Israeli teenagers was conducted, this time by a professor from the Statistics Department of Tel Aviv University.  It found that “96 percent of the respondents want Israel to be a Jewish and democratic state, but 27 percent believe that those who object should be tried in court, and 41 percent support stripping them of their citizenship.”  The poll also revealed that a full 50% of all Jewish Israeli high schoolers didn’t want Arab students to share their classrooms.

Perhaps these results should not be surprising, considering that a 2008 poll cited by Yediot Ahronot discovered that “40 percent of Jewish Israelis did not believe that Arab Israelis should be allowed to vote.”

In late April 2010, a survey commissioned by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University found that over 57% of the respondents agreed that human rights organizations that expose immoral conduct by Israel should not be allowed to operate freely, the majority felt that “there is too much freedom of expression” in Israel, 43% said “the media should not report information confirmed by Palestinian sources that could reflect poorly on the Israeli army,” 58% opposed “harsh criticism of the country,” 65% thought “the Israeli media should be barred from publishing news that defense officials think could endanger state security, even if the news was reported abroad,” and 82% said they “back stiff penalties for people who leak illegally obtained information exposing immoral conduct by the defense establishment.”

The poll also found that “most of the respondents favor punishing Israeli citizens who support sanctioning or boycotting the country, and support punishing journalists who report news that reflects badly on the actions of the defense establishment.” Additionally, of those polled who described themselves as right-wing, 76% said “human rights groups should not have the right to freely publicize immoral conduct on Israel’s part.”

“Israelis have a distorted perception of democracy,” said pollster Daniel Bar-Tal, a professor at the Tel Aviv University’s School of Education, as he analyzed the survey’s findings. “The public recognizes the importance of democratic values, but when they need to be applied, it turns out most people are almost anti-democratic.”

A 2006 poll found that 68% of Israeli Jews fear that Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel would “initiate an intifada” and 64 % believe that “Arabs endanger the security of the state because of their high birth rates.” Other polls from 2006 and 2007 revealed that 50% of Israeli Jews support the “transfer” of Arabs out of the country, 42% desire the “nullifying Arab Israeli citizens’ right to vote,” and 55% supported the “notion that the government should encourage Arab emigration.” The Israel Democracy Institute’s June 2007 report found that 55% of Israeli Jews surveyed support the idea that the government should encourage Arab emigration and 78% are opposed to Arab political parties (including Arab ministers) joining the government.

Additionally, surveys have found that 75% of Israeli Jews “oppose living in the same apartment buildings as Arabs,” 55% believe that “Arabs do not have the ability to reach the same level of cultural development as the Jews,” 61.4% were unwilling to have Arab friends visit their homes, 55% supported segregated recreational facilities for Jews and Arabs, while 37% of them “view Arab culture as inferior.”

A few years ago, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel reported that 49.9% of the Jewish population feels fear when hearing Arabic spoken in the street, 31.3% feels revulsion, 43.6% senses discomfort and 30.7% feels hatred.

A different poll, conducted by KEEVOON Research and Strategy company, showed overwhelming support in the Hebrew-speaking Jewish population of Israel for the Jewish National Fund’s policy of selling land to Jews only. 81% of respondents favored the 100-year old policy, with only 10% opposed.

In mid-January 2012, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld a law banning most Palestinians who marry Israelis from living inside Israel because, as the majority opinion stated, “Palestinians who gain Israeli citizenship through marriage pose a security threat.” The ruling also explained that “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide.”

With the Israeli public and government so hostile towards the basic tenets of democracy, human rights, and equality, why aren’t we hearing about what a danger they are to our way of life, how their government agents train, fund and arm terrorists that kill civilians on Iranian soil, how colonization, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing are contrary to our innate sense of morality and justice, how such nuclear-armed messianic zealots should be disarmed, diplomatically isolated and boycotted, how “unwavering” is our support for those oppressed by occupation, how “unbreakable” is our commitment to alleviate the suffering of an indigenous population under siege, and how the values that Americans and Iranians share should be exported via regime change to the Jewish State of Israel to make the world a safer and more peaceful place?

Oh right, because that’s not the point.


Written FOR


Israel is gearing up to its 64th birthday celebrations. It is traditional among Jewish people to wish the celebrant ‘ad mea v’esrim’ (until 120).
Does this mean that Palestine has to wait another 56 years to be free?
Israel prides itself on being ‘the Only Democracy in the Middle East’. There is a Yiddish expression that goes ‘es’redt zich azoi’ (say it enough times and you will believe it). That’s exactly what Israel is doing, as in reality, the ‘Democracy’ that (does not) exists there is  deviant one. A year ago, Israel’s right-wing daily, the Jerusalem Post published an interesting piece they titled ‘Israel’s democratic veneer’. It’s worth reading and can be accessed HERE.
Interesting to see that even Israel’s ‘right’ have their doubts about it’s Democratic character.
But, overlooked by them and many others is at whose expense this is at … the following video might help explain that. Listen carefully to the words of Mahmoud Darwash’s poem.
A Land that was Abducted by Myths


Referring to his interrogation, Gharra said: “An officer from a police station in the Talpiot area in Jerusalem contacted me more than once and asked me to go immediately to the police station to be interrogated in a case that I knew nothing about. I refused to do so as these kind of invitations are illegal. The next day I received a printed invitation to my room in the students’ dorms.”

According to Gharra, the letter stated, “If you do not arrive to the station immediately, we will come and arrest you in the late hours of the night.”

Khalil Gharra (

“We won’t be silenced,” say students arrested over Peres boycott call

Yara Sa’di*

Three Palestinian students at the College of Engineering in Jerusalem (JCE) have been put under house arrest for a week and instructed not to contact any of their peers for using the social media website Facebook to urge a boycott of a speech by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

A couple of weeks ago, students received a message from the college authorities, notifying them of a visit by Peres scheduled for 10 January. The message emphasized that attendance during Peres’ speech was “compulsory.”
Three Palestinian students then posted on the college’s Facebook page that they would not attend the speech and asked others to follow suit. In response almost all the Palestinian students of the college boycotted the speech.

Following the event, the three students who urged the boycott were called for an interrogation at an Israeli police station. They were accused of threatening other students, as well as racism. They were then put under house arrest for a week, outside Jerusalem, and were instructed not to contact other students.

“Intense debate”

Khalil Gharra, one of the three targeted students, told The Electronic Intifada, “There was an intense debate on the Facebook page of the college’s first year students between students who rejected the college’s policy regarding the compulsory attendance of Peres’ speech and others who supported it.”

He added, “The debate revolved around the commitment of the students to the decision of the college, and around how the college should not be forcing students to attend a lecture delivered by a ‘political symbol.’ This act contravened the students’ freedom of expression. Within this context, I expressed my opinion, saying that I wouldn’t attend the lecture. And I advised others to do the same.”

Gharra added that another debate is now taking place on Facebook regarding the punishments that the police imposed on him and his friends. He said that many Palestinian students have protested over the case, and have expressed their support for the targeted students.

Referring to his interrogation, Gharra said: “An officer from a police station in the Talpiot area in Jerusalem contacted me more than once and asked me to go immediately to the police station to be interrogated in a case that I knew nothing about. I refused to do so as these kind of invitations are illegal. The next day I received a printed invitation to my room in the students’ dorms.”

According to Gharra, the letter stated, “If you do not arrive to the station immediately, we will come and arrest you in the late hours of the night.”

At the station he was told that he was accused of threatening behavior and of incitement to racism. Ghara said, “I denied all the charges against me. Later the interrogator consulted other interrogators and officers who are in charge of the case, and he decided that I should be deported from Jerusalem and that I’m not allowed to contact any student till 25 January. Moreover, he decided to put me under house arrest until 21 January.”

“Political persecution”

Ghara argued that this specific case should not be viewed separately from other restrictions on Palestinian student activism in Israeli universities. He said, “It’s clear to me from the investigation’s course that the case is about political persecution. However, they won’t stop us from our political activism. I won’t bend to the policy of repression that the police and the intelligence are practicing on Arab students. Our activism is legal and it’s our right to organize and express our opinion.”

Alaa Mahajna, the students’ lawyer, also argued that the case is not criminal but political. He said, “The students are suspected of threatening and incitement to racism following Shimon Peres’ speech. However, Peres is a controversial political figure, some consider him to be responsible for murdering more than a hundred innocent people during the Qana massacre [in Lebanon] in 1996, when he was the prime minister of Israel. The argument about whether to attend or boycott the speech was conducted through the public sphere — Facebook — where everyone could express his or her opinion. As a lawyer, I don’t see any legal basis for the suspicions against the students.”

“These legal actions are part of the whole process of political persecution, which aims to shut down the voice of the Palestinian students in Israeli universities,” he added.

Palestinian students in the college are organizing a petition to express their support for the targeted students, emphasizing their right to protest.

Moreover, the Palestinian students association at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem released a statement condemning the violation of the right to free expression. The association also confirmed the importance of boycotting Israelis who are involved in war crimes, referring to Peres’ role in the Qana massacre.

*Yara Sa’di is a postgraduate student and activist from Haifa.





 Democracy Now! interviews someone who became one the faces of the global Occupy movement this year. Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old former U.S. Marine who served two tours in the Iraq war, was critically wounded after being shot in the head by a police projectile at Occupy Oakland. In a rare interview, Olsen joins us to discuss his life-threatening ordeal, his involvement in this year’s historic Wisconsin and Occupy protests.  “They aren’t respecting our right to assemble, protest and redress our government for grievances,” Olsen says of police repression of the Occupy protests. “They are terrorizing us from going out [to demonstrations]. That is a sad statement for our country.” Olsen also says he expects to rejoin the Occupy and antiwar protests as his recovery progresses. “I look forward to being a part of the 99 percent and Iraq Veterans Against the War in 2012,” he says.


Comentary by Chippy Dee
In response to Obama’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act on New Year’s Eve pro-democracy citizens belonging to several organizations, including Wall St. Occupiers, held a news conference on the steps of the NY Public Library on 42nd St. to state their most strenuous objections to this act which will, in actuality, negate the Bill of Rights.  Then they demonstrated outside the offices of the 2 New York Senators, Schumer and Gillibrand, who both voted for the act.  The group then went to Rockefeller Center with their signs and leaflets and demonstrated in the shadow of the enormous Christmas tree.  This was followed by a “flash-mob” scene at Grand Central Station during rush-hour.  The size of the group swelled to substantial numbers as they shouted in unison that the NDAA would allow the military to arrest US citizens on American soil and hold them indefinitely without charging them with a crime or having them stand trial.  In essence, they will be “disappeared”.  There is great concern in the Muslim community about this act but, in reality, every American is threatened by it. 

5 people were arrested at Grand Central Station.  Nobody knows what they will be charged with since they appeared to be doing nothing different than anyone else in the group.*

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*On the steps of the New York Public Library










Flash Event at Grand Central Station















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