HAPPY PASSOVER

To all of my Jewish readers, friends and family ….

Wishing you all a Happy and Kosher Pesach.

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May we all enjoy the Freedom that is meant to be!

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NEXT YEAR IN A FREE JERUSALEM!

DON’T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM …. DIVEST FROM HEWLETT-PACKARD NOW!

In this video, members of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Rabbinical Council call for divestment from occupation profiteer Hewlett-Packard.

It is part of JVP’s “Hewlett-Packard: Harming Peace” campaign.

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In Passover message, rabbis call for divestment from Hewlett-Packard

TIME TO ONCE AGAIN CLEANSE THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS


CLEANSING THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS
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Jewish mothers used to go into a cleaning frenzie a week or so before the Festival of Passover. All traces of leaven (chametz) had to be removed from the home before the onset of the holiday. Modern folk have determined that dust is not chametz, so there is less madness involved in the cleaning process, but Israel has added a new dimension to the situation; Arabs must be removed as well as the leaven.
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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Following this report dealing with the latest round of racism you will find a post from the archives that I reblog every Passover eve…
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Just  one of many attempts to cleanse the land of Arabs ….
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Thousands of East Jerusalem Arabs without water

Security barrier leaves Shuafat refugee camp in legal no-man’s land; population growth, ‘pirated’ pipes overwhelm water infrastructure.

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Full report HERE
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CLEANSING THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS
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My maternal grandmother was a simple Shtetel Jew. She came from a place not much different than the small town portrayed inFiddler on The Roof.
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Traditionally the womenfolk from those areas were uneducated in matters of anything other than home making and child raising, while the menfolk studied their Holy Books for hours on end. Life was simple for them, and they themselves were basically a very simple folk.
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I remember my grandmother going through the frenzie of cleaning the house this time of year…. the traditional Passover cleaning. All traces of leaven had to be removed from the home before the start of the Holiday. To her, that process included the removal of any trace of dust or smears on the window panes. The house sparkled when she was finished. Most of our non Jewish neighbours were going through the same process, but simply called it ’spring cleaning’, ridding the house of all unwanted matter, including broken furniture and junk.
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I remember asking my grandmother why she was going through such a frenzie…. her answer was simple and to the point…. “If a Jew eats bread during Passover he will die!” That was what she was taught, that’s what she taught us….
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In Israel today, things are not much different than life in the Shtetel when it comes to Passover preparations. But today there is a growing number of non observant Jews as well as a growing number of non Jews. This is a threat to the lifestyle of the self imposed Shtetel Jew living here today.
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Christian Pilgrims from abroad, as well as local Christians are denied access to their Holy Sites. Where is the uproar against this?
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Where is the uproar against the Neanderthal rabbis that have recently called for the expulsion or the genocide of the Palestinians? WHERE??? As in previous years, the Palestinians living on the ‘other side’ of the great wall of apartheid will be sealed in for the duration of the Holiday (8 days), literally making the State of Israel Arabrein for that period of time. Where is the uproar against this? WHERE???
Israel does need a cleansing… a good one; not only of bread during the Holiday season but also of hatred. Both are violations of the Holy Teachings.

THE TURBULENT HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Or …. how this glorious Holiday almost wasn’t …..

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Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

By Naomi Zeveloff  FOR

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Clara Zetkin (left) with Jewish Marxist Rosa Luxemberg in 1910 // Wikimedia Commons

Today is International Women’s Day. Two German women, Clara Zetkin and Luise Zietz, first proposed the holiday in 1910 at the International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen. A year later, the holiday was celebrated for the first time. Neither woman was Jewish, but Zetkin, a member of the German parliament, was called a Jew by members of the Nazi press who wanted to prevent her from speaking at a government event.

According to a 1932 article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

Ignoring the fact that Clara Zetkin, veteran Communist, is of Aryan stock, the Nazi press here calls her a Jewess and seeks to make stock from this fact for its propaganda, in connection with the possibility that, as the oldest member of Parliament, she may open the new Reichstag sessions in accordance with tradition. While the “Vossische Zeitung” insists that Clara Zetkin is of Aryan descent, and while it is known that her husband was a Jew, and not she, the “Angriff” writes: “Zetkin was never attached to Germany which is small wonder considering that she is not German, but a Jewess. We therefore ask whether it is to be tolerated that such shame be imposed upon the German nation as permitting a Jewess residing in Moscow and obeying orders from Moscow to open our Reichstag?” The “Voelkische Beobachter” also endeavors to establish that Clara Zetkin is a Jewess and uses the title “Jewish Woman wants to preside over Reichstag.” It is not only the irony of fate but symbolic that a Jewess from Moscow should open the Reichstag, the “Beobachter” asserts, expressing the hope that this Reichstag will be the last.

Read more about Zetkin here.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR’s DREAM HAS BECOME OUR NIGHTMARE

SPECIAL IMAGES IN HONOUR OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. 

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This is what it all really boils down to …
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CHRISTMAS APPEAL FROM GAZA TO POPE FRANCIS

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There is no world leader other than yourself who possesses the moral strength, the political freedom and the spiritual imperative to help Gaza. There is none of global influence to whom the Gazans can turn except Your Holiness.
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Gaza calling: A Christmas appeal to Pope Francis

The author calls on Pope Francis to mingle with his flock and help alleviate the suffering of Gazans.

Vacy Vlazna
Palestinian Christian boys hold candles during a service in the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City on Christmas day [Reuters]
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Your Holiness, Pope Francis,

At Christmas, as you say, we contemplate “the faithfulness and tenderness” of Boundless Love. This holiday also embraces the season of refugees recalling The Holy Family’s flight to Egypt  to escape Herod’s massacre of the innocents. Their journey from Bethlehem meant passing through Gaza, which, since 1948, is itself in a wretched refugee limbo. Families in Gaza have no escape. Its borders are hermetically sealed and bound by Israel and Egypt. Gaza needs your help. 

In December, in desperation, a campaign was launched appealing to you to give a helping hand to release the suffering people of Gaza from the genocidal strangulation of Israel’s seven-year blockade.

There is no world leader other than yourself who possesses the moral strength, the political freedom and the spiritual imperative to help Gaza. There is none of global influence to whom the Gazans can turn except Your Holiness. 

Through your words and actions, we see the same star that heralded the advent of Gandhi, of Mandela, of Jesus. Its light – the spiritual simplicity of love for the human family, for the oppressed, for the poor – is again penetrating human hearts and consciences. 

It shone bright when you went to Lampedusa, the refugee purgatory, drawing the world’s attention to the “globalisation of indifference”.

We are a society that has forgotten the experience of weeping, of ‘suffering with’: The globalisation of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep! …We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us, it’s none of our business. …Herod sowed death in order to defend his own well-being, his own soap bubble. And this continues to repeat itself.” (Lampedusa Homile)

Today’s Israeli Herods have systematically made Gaza a hell on earth by imposing a blockade in violation of international law that has made Gaza an open air concentration camp imprisoning 1.7 million innocent people, half of whom are children. 

As the world makes merry this festive season, the people of Gaza have deliberately, cruelly, been deprived of fuel by Israel for two months: They suffer in freezing temperatures, with no electricity, no light, no heat, scarcity of food, no essential services. When the waste water treatment plant stopped functioning sewage flooded the streets. Then kicking families while they are down so low, Israel opened dams east of Gaza drowning hope and the last vestiges of normal life.

Imagine, truly, if this Christmas you were in Gaza, suffering with Gazan families, and you have no place to run, can’t get medical help for your hungry and cold children, can’t  cook, clean their clothes, keep them dry, warm, safe and happy. 

Meanwhile the Christian kings of the “free world”, Obama, Cameron, Merkel, Hollande, Abbott will attend Christmas mass under a blaze of cameras and their own sinful hypocrisy in full knowledge that the Gaza humanitarian disaster, unlike the Philippines, is man-made. Herod-made. Nor will they lift a finger to bring the gifts of justice, compassion and love to Gaza’s immiserated manger.

Speaking of “manger”, doesn’t it strike you as bizarre and un-Christ-like that Christians have for decades, overlooked, ignored or tolerated the sacrilege that Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Divine Child, is in illegal occupied territory and surrounded by the illegal annexation/apartheid wall enforced by the Israeli military?

And speaking of Palestine’s military occupier, unconscionably, Israeli Herods sow death to raise the profits of Israel’s armament juggernaut. In his recent shocking documentary, The Lab, Yotam Feldman exposes how Palestinians have been dehumanised as sacrificial guinea pigs:

“I think the main product Israelis are selling, especially in the last decade, is experience… the testing of the products, the experience is the main thing they [customers] are coming to buy. They want the missile that was shot in the last operation in Gaza or the rifle that was used in the last West Bank incursion.”

Inevitably, profits soared in 2009-10 after surgical strikes by F16s, attack helicopters drones, and phosphorous bombs slaughtered 1,400 Gazans, one-third of whom were children, and again in November 2012 – business as usual for the Western Caesars of Profit who have swept with their wars and political subterfuge through the Middle East like locust plagues devastating the lives of our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran. 

The blockade of Gaza is the crime of the 21st century and is integral to Israel’s 65 years of war crimes, crimes against humanity, apartheid policies, state terrorism and illegal colonisation perpetrated against the indigenous people of Palestine. Gaza/Palestine is also the great lament in the sacred heart of humanity. 

The blood and weeping never dry up in the Gazan soul. It is crying out. Will you respond? Please.

In your Lampedusa homily, you pose two questions that call our spirit to live in solidarity with the poor, with the oppressed, “Adam, where are you?” “Where is the blood of your brother?” These questions are versions of the quintessential question, Who am I? 

And in this instance who is Pope Francis? Whose shoes do you step into – The Fisherman’s or Caesar’s?

The signs of your papacy are hope-filled.

The 1968 film, The Shoes of the Fisherman, based on Morris West’s novel, portrays a spiritually pragmatic pope of profound compassion who sells off the Vatican’s treasures to alleviate the lethal poverty of Communist China. 

The film also drew inspiration from the Archbishop of Venice, the beloved Albino Luciani,  who later became, for a shimmer of time and light, Pope John Paul I. Over the years, Luciani had condemned “the hypocrisy of the Vatican treasures”. (White Light, Dark Night, Lucien Gregoire)

Of Luciani and Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), Gregoire writes, 

“During the 20 years they served as bishop and cardinal, each of their countries suffered from an immense orphan problem – about two million in each  country. During that time Wojtyla built and dedicated 53 churches and not a single orphanage. Luciani, on the other hand, built and dedicated f4 orphanages and not a single church.” 

Like Luciani, you, Pope Francis, mingle with your flock and criticise the “idolatry of money” and the “new tyranny” of capitalism.

Gandhi fasted and marched with humility for justice. Mandela, with humility, sacrificed 27 years for justice. So when you see the glittering lights of the Christmas tree in St Peter’s Square, may you reflect on the wretched darkness in Gaza and know that peace on earth doesn’t exist without peace in Gaza and all of Palestine. Peace for Palestinians is your and our business.

Gaza doesn’t need Vatican treasures; it needs liberation to live fully and humanely.

We, who respect justice and human dignity, have just lost the presence of Mandela but, Insh’Allah and God Willing, we have gained you, Pope Francis.

Dr Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was the Human Rights Adviser to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.  

Written FOR

FELIZ NAVIDAD FROM BETHLEHEM

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If Mary and Joseph tried to enter Bethlehem today …

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And from Jerusalem itself ….. One Big Humbug!
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Israel’s Knesset Speaker Nixes Christmas Tree

Rejects Holiday Request From Christian Lawmaker

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Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said it would be inappropriate to place a Christmas tree on prominent display in the Knesset following a request from a Christian lawmaker.

Edelstein suggested in a statement released Sunday that Hanna Swaid of the Israeli-Arab Hadash party, who is Christian, place a Christmas tree in his office or in the party’s faction room.

“I do not believe it appropriate to order the erection of a Christmas tree as you requested,” Edelstein wrote. Swaid on Sunday told Israeli media that he was disappointed in Edelstein’s response.

“The public space does not only belong to the Jewish majority. It should show other groups,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

Swaid had sent a letter to the speaker at the end of last week requesting that he place a Christmas tree at the entrance to the Knesset or in a “visible place.” He said it would be “a gesture toward Christian members of Knesset and citizens of Israel, and a symbol of [Israel’s] ties to the Christian world.”

Also on Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres visited the Franciscan Catholic Church in Ramla in honor of Christmas. He was welcomed by children in Santa hats singing Christmas songs in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

“It is a special occasion for us to be able to celebrate Christmas all together — we all pray to the same Lord and we all pray for the same thing — for the Lord to provide peace to us all and in particular that the young girls and boys will now know anymore wars and hatred,” Peres said in his greeting.

Leaders of several Christian denominations attended the event and each delivered a holiday greeting.

From

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To all of our loyal readers who will be celebrating this year, A Very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014.

May we finally see Peace be ushered in throughout the world!

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My Christmas Cactus
My Christmas Cactus 2007

DON’T LET BAD SANTA GET HIS CLAWS ON YOU

More on NSA’S latest attempt to destroy America …

 

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Click HERE to see more and to do something about it. The bad Santa must be stopped in his tracks!

IMAGE OF THE SEASON

Image by Carlos Amorim

HAPPY HALLOWEEN ~~ TWO VIEWS

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

EID-AL- ADHA 2013 ~~ PALESTINE IS THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB

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The Muslim Festival, Eid Al-Adha will start tonight at sundown. It is a celebration to remember the willingness of ʾIbrāhīm (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismā’īl (Ishmael) as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead.
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If we look at the reality of the Middle East today, we see that it is not a sheep that is being sacrificed, but rather the entire nation of Palestine. It is not Ibrahim that stands at the alter today, but rather it is the zionist entity called Israel that thinks it is fulfilling its obedience to God, in their chosen role of the Chosen People.
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It is no longer a three day celebration, but rather an ongoing one for over 65 years. Below is just a one of the latest examples describing the situation in Israel/Palestine today, an example which should shame any supporter of zionism throughout the world. But first, allow me to wish all of my Muslim Brothers and Sisters
Eid Al-Adha Mubarek!
May we very soon see a free Palestine!!
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A concerted attack on Palestinian identity

Apart from demolition of Palestinian houses and building of illegal colonies, Israel’s attempt at tampering with school curricula points at an even more sinister game plan — polluting impressionable minds

    • By Marwan Asmar*

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  • Image Credit: Hugo A. Sanchez/©Gulf News
 
Palestinians are up-in-arms over the latest attempts by Israel to introduce its “homegrown” educational curriculum in Arab schools in occupied East Jerusalem. Ever since the current academic year started early last month, Palestinians have expressed their anger at the Israeli Ministry of Education’s decision to introduce the Jewish curriculum in five Arab schools in occupied Jerusalem.

This is part of an insidious plot, long-term plan and thin end of the wedge to “Judaise” Arab education and the final blow to the Palestinian educational system in occupied East Jerusalem. It is the start of the imposition of total Israeli cultural hegemony over the 207 schools in the city which have around 110,000 pupils.

The latest move to introduce Israeli curricula in the Sur Baher Boys School, Sur Baher Girls School, Ibn Khaldoun School, Ibn Rushd School and Abdullah Bin Al Hussain School can only be seen as a renewed step-by-step policy by Tel Aviv to introduce Israeli curriculum so it eventually will spread among all Palestinian schools in the eastern part of occupied Jerusalem. It is part of a trend that began in the 2011-2012 academic year when the Ministry of Education made a bold move to introduce the Jewish syllabus and strengthen its grip in occupied East Jerusalem, which is seen by many to be the future capital of a Palestinian state as part of an eventual negotiated peace settlement.

The latest move is a concerted attack on Palestinian identity because the pupils targeted are between 4th and 8th grades and who educationists argue are in the prime of the socialisation stages when the mind is fertile and can be moulded to accept any idea. Many Palestinians see the move as troubling, leading to “de-Palestinisation” and “de-Arabisation” of education. Palestinian parents, educationists, teachers and politicians are particularly worried about “Israeli” textbook cases introduced to these youngsters. Of particular concern is the issue of maps, making the Occupied Territories look like they are part of the state of Israel with biblical and Hebraic names replacing Arab names and geographical areas. Over the years, for instance, Al Quds, the Arabic name for Jerusalem, has been signed around the city as “Yerushalayim”, regardless of the Arab population of the city.

 

Then in the textbooks, there is the identification of occupied Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, with the state being a bastion of democracy and human rights protected by a “security fence” rather than the concrete 142km Iron Wall around occupied east Jerusalem, splitting the Arab population of the city, who now require entry permits, and cutting it off from the West Bank, which is itself referred to in Israeli parlance as “Judea and Samaria”.

The Israeli term “Jewish Temple” is increasingly used instead of Al Aqsa Mosque, which is not only holy to Palestinians but to Arabs and Muslims all over the world. And of course there is no mention of occupation or the fact that Israel is slowly confiscating more Palestinian land, including the ones in occupied East Jerusalem.

It is no wonder that many see it as outright “brainwashing”, control of and onslaught on Palestinian culture, history and existence. And an imposed Israeli narrative on a population in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states an occupying power has the responsibility for the welfare and education of the people it is occupying.

Up until the recent moves, there had been an implicit understanding: Schools in occupied East Jerusalem would continue to follow an “Arab curriculum”. Despite Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem and its annexation after 1967, and declaring the city its capital against the wishes of the international community, it could not introduce its own curricula — not for the want of trying, but because of resistance from the Palestinian population. Hence the Ministry of Education unwillingly relented. After 1967, it allowed locals to follow the “Jordanian educational system” till 1993, when it was transferred to the Palestinian National Authority after the Oslo Accords.

However, the going has been tough for Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem. They have continually faced Israeli obstacles like house demolitions, which have increased because they require housing permits that are rarely given. Indeed it has been reported that from April 15 till the end of June, 12 buildings were demolished. In addition to that, permission to build more schools was denied.

Since 1967, Israel has been populating occupied east Jerusalem with Jews through colonies, amidst the predominantly Palestinian population that numbers slightly more than 370,000 people. There are eight major colonies, with 250,000 to 500,000 colonists.

Reflecting the socio-economic situation of Palestinians in occupied east Jerusalem, where 79 per cent live below the poverty line, the educational sector is in deep neglect as seen in poor facilities, lack of classrooms, over-crowding and need for maintenance. This is recognised by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel and even the Israeli High Court, which in 2011 ordered the Jerusalem Municipality to complete 2,200 classrooms by 2016. But the municipality continues to stall such moves due to the political situation regarding the city and its future.

The Israeli Ministry of Education itself runs around 54 schools in Arab east Jerusalem with a student population of around 40,000. Schools that are willing to teach the Israeli curriculum are offered incentives and benefits like more funds and there is an increase in salary for teachers willing to teach Israeli subjects. In addition, Israeli officials are playing on a number of psychological factors. When they meet parents, they stress that the Israeli curriculum is stronger, provides for better education, opens more doors to Israeli universities and the job market.

Palestinians educators and officials are sticking to their guns, but there is a much more sinister push from the other side.

*Marwan Asmar is a commentator based in Amman.

Source

AN ODE TO COLUMBUS DAY ~~ THE REAL MEANING

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COLUMBUS DAY
By Tom Karlson
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Financed by Iberian Jewry

the Admiral, Christian or Jew, Spaniard or Italian

leads 120 men in the

Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria

sailing south and west  

India bound

crewed by:

Milton Freedman and his Chicago University goons

     in charge of propaganda, interrogation, discipline,

     race and class consciousness  

Prescott Bush and George Armstrong Custer

     compose the voyage manifesto and mission

below deck are the sun-dried souls of

Rasputin, the Popes, Sylvester the Second and Benedict the Ninth 

     in charge of rape, incest, and family values

Pinkerton and J Edgar Hoover

     spying, pimping, and procuring stool pigeons

Kenneth Lay  

     finance, mergers, and loans

Edward Teller   

     munitions

Robert E Lee’s horse Traveler

will show the way home

where Ferdinand and Isabella’s bishops

find Jews to murder and maim, books to burn, Moors to exterminate

Columbus will trade

measles, diphtheria, small pox, and malaria

for gold and land

as he works out the science of genocide on Hispaniola

never forgetting the University’s tools of slavery   colonization

religious fanaticism   and free market capitalism                                       

 

HOLIDAYS IN ISRAEL ~~ A TIME TO LOVE OR TO HATE

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Preparations are underway to usher in a week long holiday in Israel. It is called Succot, or The Feast of the Tabernacles. We eat all of our meals in little booths and the ceilings are usually made of tree branches, allowing the sky to be visible. It is a reminder of the 40 years we roamed in the desert and dwelled in such structures. It is actually quite a fun holiday and a very community oriented one, it is one of my favourites.
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A non Jewish visitor to Jerusalem this week might get the impression that the entire city stands in solidarity with the homeless Palestinians illegally evicted from their homes by settlers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Tents have appeared (actually booths) in preparation of the Festival
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Family homes were STOLEN, many families have been living in makeshift tents for over three years…. and neither the Municipality of Jerusalem nor the Palestinian Authority gives a damn. As winter approaches, a new meaning is given to the term ‘settlement freeze’ as these homeless literally freeze in their abodes.
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I had some flashbacks this morning to my Succot celebrations in Brooklyn as a child, they were much different than here. Here there is a Jewish community and an Arab community. In the neighbourhood I grew up in, there was a Eastern European Jewish Community (Ashkenazi) and a community made up of Spanish Jews and Jews from Northern Africa (Sephardi). Both communities had their own traditions and practices, but basically both were members of the same religion. One of the major differences between the two communities at the time were language, the Ashkenazi Jews spoke Yiddish; a language with Germanic roots, while the Sephardi Jews spoke a language called Ladino; a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish.
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What I remembered this morning was the following;The Synagogue of the Sephardi community was situated very close to the home of my grandparents. They used to build a large enough booth to accommodate their entire congregation. As a child, I used to help them with the preparations. I remembered my grandmother screaming at me from her window to get away from them, not to play with their kids…. I could never understand why. It seemed that part of her ghetto mentality was to distrust anyone that was in any way different. These people were different than we were, as mentioned; they spoke a different language and, for the most part, had darker skins than the Ashkenazi Jews. The younger generation, like myself did not see these differences as our common language was English and skin colour was never an issue with me or my immediate family. I therefore could never understand my grandmother’s logic, or lack of…. So I secretly maintained my friendships with the kids there.
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Today, I started thinking about prejudice, why it exists, how to overcome it…. It seems to exist because of ignorance and fear, two very real factors. How to overcome it? Learn about each other and the fear factor will be eliminated. Very simple! It worked in my case.Things are different today, in Israel at least. The Jewish community celebrates together. We have a common language, Hebrew. There are still some remnants of the old world prejudice, but for the most part it’s gone. Now to overcome the prejudices between the Jewish and Arab communities here. My way is to open my booth, as well as my home, to ALL members of the community, both Arab and Jew.  It’s the only way to guarantee an end to the hatred… live together! So, instead of fearing the differences of the others, my philosophy is to say
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VIVA LA DIFFERENCE!
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Let us all live together as neighbours and brothers.Shalom-Salaam!

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ SOLIDARITY WITH FAST FOOD WORKERS ON LABOUR DAY

For some today is a holiday …. for others it’s a day of struggle.
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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 ….. Let’s make it a Happy Holiday for all!
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PHOTO ESSAY ~~RAMADAN IN JERUSALEM

As Ramadan comes to an end, preparations are now underway for the start of Eid Al Fitre ….. enjoy the photos of Ramadan in Jerusalem …
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Eid Mubarak!!
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In photos: Ramadan in Jerusalem

 Maureen Clare Murphy 
Kiyam el layl ❤(got myself a pillow today!) #ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Muslims follow a lunar calendar; the full moon signals that the second half of Ramadan has arrived, a time for introspection and extra motivation to make the most of the blessings of what is left of the holy month. Pictured is the Dome of the Rock and Dome of the Chain. 

The month of Ramadan is well underway and Instagram user @zalameh (@BDS4Justiceon Twitter), a resident of Jerusalem, is documenting how Palestinians are observing and celebrating. Below are a selection of his beautiful photographs (find many more on hisInstagram account) and his own description of Jerusalem during Ramadan:

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims all over the world abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. It is a month of prayer, introspection, charity and renewing of interpersonal ties.

Jerusalem is the home of one of Islam’s most holiest sites, the al-Aqsa mosque, and is thus a center of pilgrimage for Muslims. The majority of Palestinians however are prevented from visiting their capital due to Israel’s racist pass system, which restricts Palestinians’ freedom of movement and confines them into ghettos. Palestinian Jerusalemites have become increasingly isolated as a result and their numbers have dwindled. Israeli policies of Judaization and ethnic cleansing have placed pressure on Palestinians to leave the city, accompanied by attempts to criminalize Palestinian national and cultural expressions.

Ramadan therefore comes as a breath of fresh air. As the month begins, the Old City of Jerusalem transforms and becomes almost unrecognizable. Street lights beautify the city, with neighborhoods competing with each other on who has the best lights. Children walk around holding the fanous, the traditional Ramadan lantern, and launch fireworks in celebration of the month. New commerce spurs up; street vendors sell all kinds of delicious food and drinks, which have become tradition during Ramadan.

Damascus Gate is the center of the festivities, especially during the evening until the early hours of the morning. During the weekends street performers animate the crowds. The Israeli occupation allows for a restricted number of permits for Palestinians from the West Bank to visit Jerusalem during Ramadan, a much needed economic relief for Palestinian businesses. (Jerusalem remains inaccessible to Palestinians in Gaza.) Palestinians from ‘48 [present-day Israel] also flood the city in great numbers. Ramadan allows us to imagine the Jerusalem that once was, before Israel came to colonize it, and to dream of a Jerusalem that one day will be.

al-Quds sharif :-) 3ala albi #ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

A panoramic view of the Muslim quarter of the Old City, as seen from the Austrian Hospice. The golden Dome of the Rock is one of the several buildings inside the Aqsa mosque compound, the center of prayer during Ramadan.

Oh the symbolism of this photo! Israeli apartheid colonialist army standing next to sign directing worshippers to "aqsa mosque" #ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Israeli soldiers are sure to make their presence felt in the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem. A group of soldiers standing next to a sign that says “al-Aqsa mosque.”

I just had a shower myself #ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Thousands of worshippers concentrate at the al-Aqsa mosque for Friday prayers, a large proportion of them from the West Bank, having received rarely-issued permits to enter Jerusalem. Volunteers throw water over thirsty worshippers to refresh them under the scorching summer heat. Acts of kindness are considered particularly virtuous during Ramadan and are encouraged.

#ramadan selfless deeds I wish were there the rest of the year: volunteers dot the streets of the old city distributing water to fasting crowds in scorching heat #ramadan #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

The Old City is dotted with residents distributing water to passersby so they can cool themselves under the scorching heat during Fridays when scores of pilgrims head to al-Aqsa mosque. Pictured is a woman wetting her towel with water.

Thousands upon thousands at #aqsa today - some in shade others in sun #ramadan #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Thousands at al-Aqsa for Friday prayers.

Father and son take shade ☺#ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Friday prayers at al-Aqsa. Thousands fill the compound, and not everyone can find a shade so they come up with creative ways to take shelter. Here a father and son cover their heads with a prayer mat.

#iftar (breaking of fast) today at #aqsa #palestine #ramadan on Instagram

The iftar meal is a happy occasion that brings families together around the table filled with traditional dishes. Communal iftar meals are also served at the al-Aqsa mosque (pictured), some of which are sponsored by the Gulf states (UAE and Qatar). 

Love this, these little kids making their own kiyam el layl #ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Al-Aqsa mosque remains open at night during Ramadan, and worshipers are encouraged to peform qiyam al-layl, standing in prayer during the night. Pictured is a group of children reciting the Quran (Islam’s holy book) while in prayer inside Aqsa before the dawn meal, the suhour.

21st night kiyam el layl #ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

The last ten nights of Ramadan are special because within one of them there is “the night of power” which is superior in worth and blessings than 1,000 months. However Muslims do not know which one of the last ten nights will be the “night of power. They are therefore instructed by God to “look” for the night by worshiping during intensely during the last ten nights in practice called i’tikaf. It is said that those who stay awake in worship will be able to identify the “night of power” for its distinctive characteristics. This photo shows the first night of i’tikaf at Aqsa.

Falling asleep 😴 (i'tikaf) #ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Hundreds sleep during the night inside al-Aqsa mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan before they stand in prayer for qiyam al-layl.

Eating sohor meal at #aqsa #ramadan #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

The Aqsa mosque was open this year during the night, unlike the rest of the year when the Israeli authorities force it to close at strict schedules. Muslims are encouraged to stand in prayer during the night and many faithful stay overnight at Aqsa for that. Pictured is the suhour meal at al-Aqsa mosque, eaten before dawn when the fast is supposed to start.

S7oor at #aqsa: labne, bread, tomato, cucumber and a bar of halawa #ramadan #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

suhour meal of yogurt, bread, tomato, cucumber and a bar of halawa at al-Aqsa mosque before dawn when the fast begins. Al-Aqsa remains open during the night during Ramadan for qiyam al-layl(night worship).

#ramadan is a lifeline for #jerusalem businesses, otherwise strangled by Israeli ethnic cleansing. Israel provides a very limited number of "apartheid permits" to Palestinians from West Bank to visit. #palestine on Instagram

Ramadan is a lifeline for Jerusalem businesses which are badly suffering as Israel seeks to isolate Palestinians in the city from the rest of Palestinian society.

Men beddo ka3ek? (La fotoor) - #Jerusalem bread #ramadan #palestine on Instagram

A stand of ka’ek, a crusty bread with sesame seeds. The ka’ek from Jerusalem is particularly famous. Visitors from elsewhere in Palestine carry large quantities home with them when visiting.

Here it is the whole collection of traditional #ramadan drinks: Caroub, loz, lemon and tamer hindi. My favorite has to be kharob, so refreshing! #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Almond, tamarind, lemon and carob drinks for sale. While these are available throughout the year (sold in a cup), they are particularly popular during Ramadan (when they are sold in bottles) and they are drunk extra cold, sure to quench one’s thirst after a long day of fasting.

6abeekh fee mosrara, the dishes are msakhan, kidra rice and chicken yum yum #ramadan #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Restaurants are normally closed during the day in Ramadan but some open a few hours before the breaking of fast (the iftar). Pictured is one such restaurant outside Damascus Gate selling traditional Palestinian dishes.

Mjadal traditional bread only for #ramadan - #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Khubez mjaddal (crossed bread) has become a must during Ramadan for Palestinians in Jerusalem. The tradition is said to have started by a Jerusalem baker two decades ago.

Baraze2 (sesame crackers, sort of), popular during #ramadan - #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Baraze’ is a snack made of sesame seeds available throughout the year but is more popular during Ramadan. Pictured is a street vendor of baraze’.

When I was a kid I used to have these, dunno what's the name in English, my translation is "sweet cotton" #ramadan #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Ramadan is a particularly happy occasion for children; here one of their favorite sweets is on sale. Children queue up in the evening after the iftar — the breaking of the fast meal — to spend their pocket money on sweets.  

Serving qatayef after tarawee7 #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Qatayef is a sweet traditionally eaten in Palestinian homes during Ramadan after the main meal. It consists of a small rounded pancake filled with walnuts or cheese and then soaked in a sweet syrup. Most families make their own qatayef at home.

Stocking up on the jelly & gum supply for #ramadan #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Jelly gums are a favorite during Ramadan.

Bab el amood is one big party tonight #ramadan #aqsa #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

A festive mood in Damascus Gate, where street vendors set camp, families shop and youth socialize until the early hours of the morning. Israeli police are often seen harassing Palestinian street vendors, imposing on them heavy fines because they don’t have permits — which the municipality refuses to give. Palestinians remain unfazed by these impositions as the festive mood takes over.

Happy kids on my way home of 7ara sa3diya in the old city - the little small things that make you small and be thankful #jerusalem #ramadan #palestine on Instagram

Usually empty and depressing at night, the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem come to life during Ramadan, with beautiful street lights on display and children playing outside until late at night.

Entering #aqsa through Bab Hutta #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

Street lights at the Bab Hutta neighboorhood in the Old City. Bab Hutta is also the name of one of the doors of al-Aqsa mosque, which gives the name to the neighborhood.

I've always been a #sunset enthusiast but #sunrise is a whole new experience by itself - first morning rays of sun hit the quds - saba7 el hurriya #ramadan #jerusalem #palestine on Instagram

The sunrise in Jerusalem on the morning of the 21st day of Ramadan.

RAMADAN KAREEM

To all of my Muslim Brothers and Sisters …
May this year’s Ramadan usher in a new era of Peace and Hope!
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Ramadan Kareem!
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ramadan-kareem

HOW PALESTINIANS DON’T CELEBRATE PASSOVER

Historically, Passover is a holiday that Hebron settlers regularly exploit for expansionist purposes. In 1969, a small group of settlers led by a hard-line rabbi established the first illegal settlement in the city without the Israeli government’s permission. The settlement in a hotel in Hebron was evacuated, but the settlers moved to a former military base nearby and established what became the Kiryat Arba settlement. The move was carried out with the agreement of the Israeli government, which at the time was led by the Labor Party.

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Not a happy Passover for Hebron’s Palestinians

by Allison Deger and Alex Kane
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Palestinian youth stops in front of road closure to Shuhada Street in Hebron.

Hundreds of Israelis traveled over the Green Line to observe Passover in Hebron this week at a carnival-like event as Israeli officials closed the Ibrahimi Mosque to Palestinians in the West Bank’s largest city.

Since at least the mid-1990s, settlers and religious Jews have flocked to the Herodian-era site around the Cave of the Patriarchs for the holy week, which ordinarily is partitioned by religion between Jews and Muslims—or Israelis and Palestinians. But on Wednesday and Thursday, with an increased border police presence, the tombs of the monotheistic forefathers and mothers were only opened to the busloads of Jewish tourists.

The contrasts between the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish areas were stark. While most Palestinians closed up shop in Hebron’s Old City due to the threat of settler harassment, Israeli Jews marked Passover by dancing in the streets, surrounded by high-flying Israeli flags and armed soldiers.

The annual occasion was also marked by clashes between soldiers and Palestinians.Ma’an News reported that a twelve-year old was in “critical condition” after Israeli soldiers fired a rubber bullet in his head during the clashes. Hebron residents told us that the clashes began after the settlers made their way through a Palestinian area. 

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Nawal Slemiah at Women in Hebron shop.

“If the mosque is closed nobody will come,” said Nawal Slemiah, the founder of Women in Hebron, an embroidery collective. “Last year when they came, more that 8,000 people”–Israelis–walked through the Palestinian neighborhoods of Hebron. Most shops closed this year to avoid the possibility of tensions with the Israelis, but each year Slemiah keeps the women’s collective open. “They took things from outside,” she said, explaining the scene last year. “Some of them they steal things.”

Slemiah’s shop in the historic district of Hebron is full of hand-made Palestinian embroidery garments. Outside the door frame of her one-room shop are two racks of brightly colored taubes, or traditional Palestinian dresses. There is a particular pattern of stitching for each Palestinian city. Slemiah showed us a black and a whitetaube with big flowers over the breast of the dress, indicating the design of Hebron. She said that last year, when Israelis marched through the old city, they dumped her dresses on the ground and stomped on them.

A short walk from Slemiah’s store is Hebron’s Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood. This year it was the site where Israelis marched through Palestinian streets adjacent to Shuhada Street, a downtown road that is closed off to most Palestinians by a checkpoint at its entrance and exit. The march set off the clashes that injured the 12-year-old Palestinian boy. The injury, along with the economic impact that settler harassment has on Palestinian shops, is only the latest example of the hardships Palestinians face in Hebron.

Shuhada Street used to be the central market for Hebron’s Palestinians. But that all changed as a result of the 1994 massacre in the Ibrahimi Mosque, when Baruch Goldstein, a militant Israeli-American, killed 29 Palestinian worshipers. In response to that act, the Israeli military imposed restrictions on Palestinian movement, and forbade Palestinian traffic on parts of the main street. The restrictions on Palestinian movement were made worse by the Israeli military after the Second Intifada, and led to severe economic deterioration in the city. B’Tselem reports that “304 shops and warehouses along Shuhada Street closed down” since these restrictions were imposed. “Most of the properties on or adjacent to Shuhada Street, including homes and businesses, had been abandoned or had been closed by military order,” the Israeli human rights group stated in 2011.

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Israeli Passover party in front of Cave of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque.

 

Unlike the desolate Palestinian area of Hebron, during Passover the plaza in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs couldn’t have been a happier scene. Inside of H2, we walked past scores of border police and Israeli security, as a Hebraicized version of Akon’s “Right Now”bumped from two speakers mounted to roof racks on a van. Once we reached the festivities, mostly religious Israelis enjoyed popcorn and pastel cotton candy swirled up by an Orthodox youth. Others who belong to the Na Nach movement, a Hasidic sect known for dancing like in the time of King David to bring on the era of the messiah, bounced to boom boxes. Brief discussions with some of the festival-goers revealed that some of them had come from outside Hebron. Tour buses lined up outside the festival to take people home, with most of the destination signs reading “Yerushalayim” in Hebrew.

Historically, Passover is a holiday that Hebron settlers regularly exploit for expansionist purposes. In 1969, a small group of settlers led by a hard-line rabbi established the first illegal settlement in the city without the Israeli government’s permission. The settlement in a hotel in Hebron was evacuated, but the settlers moved to a former military base nearby and established what became the Kiryat Arba settlement. The move was carried out with the agreement of the Israeli government, which at the time was led by the Labor Party.

Last year, in an action also timed to Passover, settlers again tried to establish a new colony without the permission of the Israeli government. This time, they were evacuated and no new settlement was established in Hebron. Shortly after the Hebron evacuation, though, new construction in Jerusalem-area settlements was announced.

Settler activity in Hebron around the Jewish holiday of Passover is so routine that many Palestinians in the area expect harassment—and are also familiar with the traditional Passover greeting.

“In English I don’t know how to say…” contemplated Mohammed, a teenage unofficial tour guide who regularly stops by the Women in Hebron store. With a smile on his face he continued, “‘happy holidays,’ ‘chag sameach.’”

All photographs were taken by Allison Deger.

Written FOR

FOUR QUESTIONS THE ZIONISTS DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ON PASSOVER

pesach four questions.pdf

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FOUR QUESTIONS… 

 

A Passover Seder is a service held at home

as part of the Passover celebration of liberation,

to share the Passover story together in order

to recognize peoples’ right to freedom.

 

During the evening, as part of the Passover

Seder, four questions are asked, traditionally

by the youngest child, to teach the next

generation to question as a way to learn.

 

The idea of Passover is also about becoming

free personally from our internal

constraints. Asking questions makes manifest

that quest and shows our courage to exercise

our freedom.

 

On Passover we learn that when people

without their freedom question authority, they

are at great risk.

 

It is therefore essential for those with privilege

to question, to wonder aloud. We ask these

four questions on behalf of people in struggle

for their liberation and right to freedom.

 

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How can a Jewish State be a democracy?

 

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Can the Jewish people know true liberation while a “Jewish” state deprives the Palestinian people of their freedom?

 

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How can we pass over the occupation of Palestine while we tell the story of the liberation of the Jewish people?

 

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When you say “next year in Jerusalem” who is it that you imagine has a right to return?

 

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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.

TIME TO RID ISRAEL OF BREAD AND ARABS

no-bread
Passover comes early this year, starting a week from today. Observant households are in a frenzy of ridding their homes of all forms of leaven, in some cases even rice and legumes.
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The new Israeli government is also in a frenzy as to when to ‘lock the gates’ closing off all of Israel to its Palestinian residents for the duration of the 8 day holiday. President Obama’s visit to the region makes that a bit awkward, but the timing is perfect as he will be leaving a few days before the holiday actually starts as not to witness the true meaning of apartheid.
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Latuff”s view of the settlement’s new government …
netanyahu-and-the-settlements
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The Jewish ‘Festival of Freedom’ means that Palestinians lose whatever vestiges of  freedom they might have. They will be unable to go to work, unable to visit friends and family, unable to live, period! All in the name of ‘Freedom’ …. (sic)
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The following rap song appears on the FaceBook page of the US Consul General in Jerusalem … The US is obviously aware of the situation but chooses to be silent about it. ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, Freedom ain’t worth nothing but it’s free’ … Yup, it’s free until you don’t have it!
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Below is a repost of my annual Passover message, unfortunately still valid today …
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CLEANSING THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS

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My maternal grandmother was a simple Shtetel Jew. She came from a place not much different from the small town portrayed in Fiddler on The Roof.
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Traditionally the womenfolk from those areas were uneducated in matters of anything other than home making and child raising, while the menfolk studied their Holy Books for hours on end. Life was simple for them, and they themselves were basically a very simple folk.
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I remember my grandmother going through the frenzy of cleaning the house this time of year…. the traditional Passover cleaning. All traces of leaven had to be removed from the home before the start of the Holiday. To her, that process included the removal of any trace of dust or smears on the window panes. The house sparkled when she was finished. Most of our non-Jewish neighbours were going through the same process, but simply called it ’spring cleaning’, ridding the house of all unwanted matter, including broken furniture and junk.
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I remember asking my grandmother why she was going through such a frenzy…. her answer was simple and to the point…. “If a Jew eats bread during Passover he will die!” That was what she was taught, that’s what she taught us….
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In Israel today, things are not much different from life in the Shtetel when it comes to Passover preparations. But today there is a growing number of non observant Jews as well as a growing number of non Jews. This is a threat to the lifestyle of the self-imposed Shtetel Jew living here today.
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Christian Pilgrims from abroad, as well as local Christians are denied access to their Holy Sites. Where is the uproar against this?
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Where is the uproar against the Neanderthal rabbis that have recently called for the expulsion or the genocide of the Palestinians? WHERE??? As in previous years, the Palestinians living on the ‘other side’ of the great wall of apartheid will be sealed in for the duration of the Holiday (8 days), literally making the State of Israel Arabrein for that period of time. Where is the uproar against this? WHERE???
Israel does need a cleansing… a good one; not only of bread during the Holiday season but also of hatred. Both are violations of the Holy Teachings.
 

THIS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY LET’S END THE WAR ON WOMEN

End Patriarchy!
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Source of image
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first
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THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

In 1869 British MP John Stuart Mill was the first person in Parliament to call for women’s right to vote. On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. Women in other countries did not enjoy this equality and campaigned for justice for many years.

In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result.

The very first International Women’s Day was launched the following year by Clara Zetkin on 19 March (not 8 March). The date was chosen because on 19 March in the year of the 1848 revolution, the Prussian king recognized for the first time the strength of the armed people and gave way before the threat of a proletarian uprising. Among the many promise he made, which he later failed to keep, was the introduction of votes for women.

Plans for the first International Women’s Day demonstration were spread by word of mouth and in the press. During the week before International Women’s Day two journals appeared: The Vote for Women in Germany and Women’s Day in Austria. Various articles were devoted to International Women’s Day: ‘Women and Parliament’, ‘The Working Women and Municipal Affairs’, ‘What Has the Housewife got to do with Politics?’, etc. The articles thoroughly analyzed the question of the equality of women in the government and in society. All articles emphasized the same point that it was absolutely necessary to make parliament more democratic by extending the franchise to women.

Success of the first International Women’s Day in 1911 exceeded all expectation.

Meetings were organized everywhere in small towns and even the villages halls were packed so full that male workers were asked to give up their places for women.

Men stayed at home with their children for a change, and their wives, the captive housewives, went to meetings.

During the largest street demonstration of 30,000 women, the police decided to remove the demonstrators’ banners so the women workers made a stand. In the scuffle that followed, bloodshed was averted only with the help of the socialist deputies in Parliament.

In 1913 International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since.

During International Women’s Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments. International Women’s Day is marked by a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

Source

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