BDS GAINING MOMENTUM IN EUROPE

Despite Israel’s denials (and fears) the BDS Movement is gaining momentum in Europe

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LONDON — A branch of Sainsbury’s grocery store removed kosher products from its shelves, it said, to prevent anti-Israel demonstrations. The Tricycle Theater in north London, after hosting a Jewish film festival for eight years, demanded to vet the content of any film made with arts funding from the Israeli government. George Galloway, a member of Parliament known for his vehement criticism of Israel, declared Bradford, England, an “Israel-free zone.”

Mr. Galloway, in comments being investigated by the police, said, “We don’t want any Israeli goods; we don’t want any Israeli services; we don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or college; we don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford.”

The war in Gaza and its aftermath have inflamed opinion in Europe and, experts and analysts say, are likely to increase support for the movement to boycott, disinvest from and sanction Israel, known as BDS.

“We entered this war in Gaza with the perception that the Israeli government is not interested in reaching peace with the Palestinians,” said Meir Javedanfar, an Israeli analyst at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a private university. “Now, after the casualties and the destruction, I’m very worried about the impact this could have on Israel. It could make it very easy for the BDS campaign to isolate Israel and call for more boycotts.”

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Demonstrators in London this month protesting Israel’s operations in the Gaza Strip. Emotions are running high.CreditJustin Tallis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Gilead Sher and Einav Yogev, in a paper for the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, warn that Gaza means Israel pays “a much heavier price in public opinion and in erosion of support for its positions in negotiations with the Palestinians.”

Along with reports of “familiar anti-Semitic attacks on Jews,” they said, “the movement to boycott Israel is expanding politically and among the public.”

Daniel Levy of the European Council on Foreign Relations points to the debate over halting arms exports to Israel, which has been given new momentum in Britain and Spain by the asymmetry of the Gaza war.

“You’re beginning to see the translation of public sympathy into something politically meaningful,” he said. He noted two tracks — the governmental one, which distinguishes between Israel and the occupied territories, and the social one of academic, commercial and artistic boycotts.

But for all the new attention around the BDS movement, the economic impact has been small, experts say. The European Union, which has been looked to for leadership on the issue, does not support the idea.

Instead, the Europeans are drawing a legal distinction between Israel within its 1967 boundaries and Israeli towns and settlements that are beyond them in occupied land. Brussels regards all Israelis living beyond the 1967 lines, including those in East Jerusalem, as settlers living in illegal communities whose status can be regulated only through a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians.

In matters such as scientific cooperation, funding for research, import duties and labeling requirements, Brussels has sought a strong relationship with pre-1967 Israel, while demanding a different status for institutions and products from beyond the Green Line, the armistice lines that ended the 1967 fighting but did not fix borders or create a Palestinian state.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said before the Gaza conflict that “there is no boycott” of Israel by the European Union, citing trade and scientific cooperation. “The European Union defends the right of existence of Israel with all its means,” he said. “The view that the Europeans are against Israel, I repeat it, is wrong.”

Some members of the 28-nation European Union are closer to Israel than others, but the bloc is united on Israel within its 1967 boundaries.

“Our relationship with Israel is close and one of the best we have in the region, but only with Israel in its 1967 lines unless there is a peace agreement,” said a senior European Union official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in keeping with diplomatic protocol. “We are clear, however, that what came under Israeli control in 1967 is not a part of Israel, so the settlements are illegal under international law and not helpful in the peace process.”

To that end, the European Union has demanded that all products produced by Israelis beyond the 1967 lines be labeled differently, and they are excluded from the duty-free trade agreement the bloc has with Israel proper. Goods from settlements are imported, but under different labels and tariffs. “There is no question of a boycott,” the European official said.

In an agreement last December on scientific exchanges and funding, known as Horizon 2020, Brussels insisted, despite fierce opposition from the Israeli government, on keeping Israeli institutions in the West Bank, like Ariel University, out of the deal. Since European funding is so important to Israeli academic institutions, the Israeli government gave in, attaching a legally meaningless appendix opposing the distinctions.

While some Israeli companies label goods produced in the West Bank as Israeli, the Europeans have tried to crack down, insisting that permits have a physical address attached and not simply an Israeli post office box. Goods can be labeled “West Bank” or as coming from a particular place, but cannot say “Made in Israel.”

The European Union has gone considerably further than the United States, declaring that Israeli settlements over the Green Line are “illegal” under international law; the United States simply calls them “illegitimate” and “obstacles to peace.”

Israel says its settlement activity is consistent with international law, although it accepts that some settlements are built illegally on privately owned Palestinian land and says that all will be resolved as part of a final deal with the Palestinians.

The United States also has no regulations requiring separate labeling of products from Israeli-occupied land.

The recent fuss over SodaStream and one of its spokeswomen, the actress Scarlett Johansson, was indicative of the passions raised. Oxfam insisted she quit SodaStream, which has a factory in the large West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, or quit her work with Oxfam; Ms. Johansson chose to quit Oxfam. SodaStream defended itself by citing the number of jobs it was providing for Palestinians, who were being paid the same wages as Israeli workers.

The debate was indicative of shifting attitudes. During the period around the Oslo Accords, in the early 1990s, when peace seemed close and economic cooperation between Israel and the new, interim Palestinian Authority was considered an important part of a future relationship built on mutual dependency and confidence, factories in occupied territory were praised.

With the failure of Oslo to produce a Palestinian state, the tone has changed, and companies once seen by many as in the forefront of economic cooperation are now being seen by some as colonial occupiers undermining a future Palestinian state.

But the interconnection of Israel with the settlements is difficult to untie — every major Israeli bank has a branch in the settlements.

Some countries, like Britain, have gone further. Britain issued voluntary labeling guidelines in December 2009 “to enable consumers to make a more fully informed decision concerning the products they buy,” according to the UK Trade and Investment agency, because “we understand the concerns of people who do not wish to purchase goods exported from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

More troubling to Israel, in December the agency warned companies and citizens to be “aware of the potential reputational implications” of investments in settlement areas. “We do not encourage or offer support to such activities,” it said.

But even these concerns should be distinguished from the organized BDS campaign against the state of Israel itself. Begun in 2005, the campaign is supposed to last, the Palestinian BDS National Committee says, until Israel “complies with international law and Palestinian rights.”

Its three goals are “the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Arab land and dismantling the Wall,” “full equality” for “Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel,” and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Israelis see the first two as compatible with two states, but the third as the end of the Jewish state.

Then there is the associated effort at an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, which has attracted well-known figures like Stephen Hawking and Sinead O’Connor. Others defend artistic freedom or the unifying nature of culture, or believe, as the writer Ian McEwan said, “If I only went to countries I approve of, I probably would never get out of bed.”

#OperationCeasefire ~~ THE ‘VICTORY’ ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL

The actual victory is that the madness seems finally over!

Be sure to read THIS post from yesterday.

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Haniyeh hails Palestinian resistance ‘victory’ in massive Gaza rally

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Palestinians flash the sign of victory atop a vehicle, as people celebrate
a deal reached between Hamas and Israel for a long-term end to fighting
in the Gaza Strip, Aug. 26, 2014, in Gaza City (AFP Mahmud Hams)
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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh greeted thousands of Palestinians in a central Gaza square on Wednesday in a massive victory rally following the signing of a long-term ceasefire that concluded 50 days of intense conflict with Israel.

The speech followed the release of polls earlier in the day showing widespread belief in Gaza that the Palestinian military resistance had increased its deterrence capacity and overwhelming support for the firing of rockets into Israel.

In his speech, Haniyeh hailed the people of Gaza and the resistance forces for their steadfastness in the fight against Israel, which claimed the lives of more than 2,100 Palestinians — the overwhelming majority of whom were civilians — and left 64 Israeli soldiers dead, in addition to six civilians in Israel.

“Those whose blood was spilled and the martyrs were the fuel of this victory,” Haniyeh said during the rally, emphasizing to the crowd of thousands that the resistance had been preparing for the battle for years.

“It is not possible to express this victory with words and speeches,” he added.

“The victory is beyond the limits of time and place. This battle is a war that lacks a precedent in the history of conflict with the enemy,” he said, stressing that the group was preparing for the “ultimate battle” for the liberation of Palestine.

“The war began with fire on Haifa and ended with fire on Haifa,” he told the crowd, highlighting the fact that Hamas had managed to fight throughout the seven-week Israeli assault and emerged with its military strength intact.

“The Palestinians who couldn’t celebrate Eid al-Fitr because of the fighting and because they were on the battlefield, today celebrate the celebration of victory.”

Hamas spokesman Abu Ubaida also gave a speech in Gaza on Wednesday night, arguing that the conflict had shown the need to “completely revise the methods of national struggle.”

“Negotiations are not enough with these occupiers,” he told a large crowd gathered in Gaza City’s eastern Shujaiyya neighborhood, which was devastated during the Israeli ground assault.

“Resistance unified the people, and that is our big achievement,” he added. “We will not return to divisions or disputes.”

“The resistance forced the ceasefire out of its enemy and did not allow them any strategic or tactical achievements,” he continued. “It crushed its pride that has been fabricated for decades through media outlets, and laboratories of psychological warfare.”

He also stressed that his was not a “victory speech,” adding: “Our appointment with the victory speech will be in the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem). This is merely an inevitable step along the way.”

Hamas has hailed the conflict with Israel as a victory for the group and the Palestinian resistance more broadly, stressing that Gaza is coming out of the battle having gained concessions from Israel while Israel has not managed to dent its military power.

Israeli authorities said at the beginning of the assault that their goals were to end rocket fire and later added the destruction of tunnels underneath Gaza that it said would be used to launch attacks into Israel.

Although the Israeli government says it destroyed all the tunnels, Palestinian militant groups dispute this. Rocket fire, meanwhile, continued into Israel until the final moments of the conflict.

The long-term ceasefire agreement, meanwhile, promises a gradual easing of the Israeli-imposed economic blockade of Gaza, which Israel has maintained with Egyptian support since 2007.

Although the Palestinian delegation team stressed the need for the re-opening of the airport and seaport in Gaza, these demands will be discussed further in a new round of talks next month.

Israel’s primary demand — for a disarmament of Gaza militant groups — has not been realized.

(AFP/Diane Desobeau)

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Strong belief in increased deterrence

The speeches come hours after an opinions poll released by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion showed a widespread belief in Gaza the deterrence capacity of the Palestinian resistance groups following the conflict.

More than 75 percent of Palestinians surveyed in the poll, which was conducted from August 14-19 among 1,000 adult respondents across Gaza, thought that as a result of the conflict Palestinian militant groups had an increased deterrence capability.

This belief was reinforced by a tremendous rise in support for the firing of rockets into Israel, which the poll showed was supported by an overwhelming 88.9 percent of respondents, a nearly 100 percent increase over a Jan. 2013 poll which showed only 49 percent support.

Israel’s military strategy toward Gaza has relied on the use of massive military force to cow the population at large and diminish support for Hamas, but the poll results suggest that the Palestinian population has instead rallied around the armed resistance groups.

Despite the heavy civilian casualties suffered in Gaza — the UN estimates that 70 percent of the more than 2,100 dead have been civilians — many Palestinians were surprised by the effectiveness of Hamas fighting capabilities during the seven-week long conflict.

The Israeli military suffered its highest casualty rate since it attempted to invade Lebanon in 2006, while Hamas launched cross-border raids targeting military sites in addition to firing rockets into distant cities like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa on a regular basis.

The poll also showed mild support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s performance during the operation, with 54 percent saying they approved while more than 38 percent expressing disapproval.

Although Abbas was criticized for failing to act in the early weeks of the bombardment, the PA’s involvement in indirect long-term negotiations with Israel in Cairo provides a possible explanation for the general approval.

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency, which offered refuge to around 485,000 Palestinians displaced by the fighting, also enjoyed widespread approval, with more than 71 percent saying the agency had done a “good” job.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, however, came out of the conflict with extremely low levels of approval, with nearly 65 percent rating his performance negative, 17 percent positive, and 13.5 percent “balanced.”

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Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall …
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Netanyahu: Hamas won none of its demands in Gaza truce

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on August 24, 2014 at the
Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv (AFP/File Gali Tibbon)
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JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Hamas had achieved none of its demands in a truce ending 50 days of deadly conflict in Gaza.

“Hamas was hit hard and got none of its demands,” Netanyahu said at a news conference in Jerusalem, his first comments since the ceasefire went into effect on Tuesday evening.

“Hamas wanted a port and airport in Gaza, the liberation of Palestinian prisoners, the mediation of Qatar and Turkey and the payment of salaries for its employees.

“But it got nothing.”

The seven-week conflict claimed the lives of at least 2,140 Palestinians, more than 70 percent of them civilians according to the United Nations, and 64 soldiers and six civilians on the Israeli side.

“Hamas has not suffered such a defeat since its creation. We destroyed attack tunnels, killed nearly 1,000 enemy combatants, including senior officials in the movement, destroyed thousands of rockets and hundreds of command posts,” Netanyahu said.

Both sides’ guns fell silent on Tuesday, with Israel agreeing to ease restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza, and allow fishing boats up to six nautical miles offshore.

The sides have yet to agree on other issues, such as the freeing of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in exchange for militants handing over the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in the fighting.

Negotiations are also yet to take place on Hamas’ key demand for a Gaza seaport and airport.

“We have agreed to help reconstruct the territory for humanitarian reasons, but only under our control,” Netanyahu said.

“It’s still too early to know if the calm has returned in the long term,” he warned.

“We won’t tolerate any firing on Israel, and our response will be even stronger.”

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So, WHO WON?

THE PALESTINIAN DREAM IS STILL WAITING TO HAPPEN

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

51 YEARS AGO TODAY

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

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

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

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

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More photos and AP Report can be seen HERE

 

THE HATRED WE CALL OUR OWN

no-to-hatred
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“For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand,” a 10th-grade girl from a high school in the central part of the country says in abominable Hebrew. “I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them. I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by the [bus] station and whistle. I wish them death.”
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Israeli Teens Gripped by Virulent Racism

Book Details Spread of Anti-Arab Hatred in Schools

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HAARETZ

By Or Kashti

 

(Haaretz)  (VIA)— “For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand,” a 10th-grade girl from a high school in the central part of the country says in abominable Hebrew. “I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them. I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by the [bus] station and whistle. I wish them death.”

The student’s comments appear in a chapter devoted to ethnicity and racism among youth from a forthcoming book, “Scenes from School Life” (in Hebrew) by Idan Yaron and Yoram Harpaz. The book is based on anthropological observations made by Dr. Yaron, a sociologist, over the course of three years in a six-year, secular high school in the Israeli heartland – “the most average school we could find,” says Harpaz, a professor of education.

The book is nothing short of a page-turner, especially now, following the overt displays of racism and hatred of the Other that have been revealed in the country in the past month or so. Maybe “revealed” isn’t the right word, as it suggests surprise at the intensity of the phenomenon. But Yaron’s descriptions of what he saw at the school show that such hatred is a basic everyday element among youth, and a key component of their identity. Yaron portrays the hatred without rose-colored glasses or any attempt to present it as a sign of social “unity.” What he observed is unfiltered hatred. One conclusion that arises from the text is how little the education system is able – or wants – to deal with the racism problem.

Not all educators are indifferent or ineffective. There are, of course, teachers and others in the realm of education who adopt a different approach, who dare to try and take on the system. But they are a minority. The system’s internal logic operates differently.

Much of the chapter on racism revolves around the Bible lessons in a ninth-grade class, whose theme was revenge. “The class starts, and the students’ suggestions of examples of revenge are written on the blackboard,” the teacher told Yaron. A student named Yoav “insists that revenge is an important emotion. He utilizes the material being studied to hammer home his semi-covert message: All the Arabs should be killed. The class goes into an uproar. Five students agree with Yoav and say openly: The Arabs should be killed.”

One student relates that he heard in the synagogue on Shabbat that “Aravim zeh erev rav” [“Arabs are a rabble,” in a play on words], and also Amalek, and there is a commandment to kill them all,” a reference to the prototypical biblical enemy of the Children of Israel. Another student says he would take revenge on anyone who murdered his family, but would not kill them all.

“Some of the other students are outraged by this [softer stance],” the teacher reported. “The student then makes it clear that he has no love for Arabs and that he is not a leftist.”

Another student, Michal, says she is shocked by what she is hearing. She believes that the desire for revenge will only foment a cycle of blood; not all Arabs are bad, she adds, and certainly they don’t all deserve to die. “People who decree the fate of others so easily are not worthy of life,” she says.

Yoav himself claims to have heard Michal say: “Too bad you weren’t killed in a terrorist attack.”

“The students all start shouting,” the teacher says, according to Yaron. “Some are personally insulted, others are up in arms, and Michal finds herself alone and absorbing all the fire – ‘Arab lover,’ ‘leftist.’ I try to calm things down. The class is too distraught to move on to the biblical story. The bell rings. I let them out and suggest that they be more tolerant of one another.”

In the corridor during the break, the teacher notices that a crowd has gathered from all the ninth-grade classes. They have formed a human chain and are taunting Michal: “Fie, fie, fie, the Arabs will die.” The teacher: “I contemplated for five seconds whether to respond or keep going down the corridor. Finally I dispersed the gathering and insisted that Michal accompany me to the teachers’ room. She was in a state of shock, reeling under the insult, with tears to come instantly.”

Six students are suspended for two days. The teacher reports on his conversation with Michal: “She continues to be laconic. This is what always happens, she says. The opinions are racist, and her only regret is speaking out. I just want to hug her and say I’m sorry I put her through this trauma. I envy her courage to say aloud things that I sometimes am incapable of saying.”

Leftists as ‘Israel-haters’

In his research, Yaron spoke with Michal and Yoav, with other students in the class and with the homeroom teacher and the principal. The multiplicity of versions of the goings-on that emerge suggest a deep conflict and a lack of trust between the educators and the pupils. Each world functions separately, with the adults exercising little if any influence on the youngsters. It’s hard to believe that the suspension, or the punishment inflicted on some of the students – for example, to prepare a presentation for the ninth-grade classes on the subject of racism – changed anyone’s opinion.

The same goes for the principal’s unequivocal declaration that, “There will be no racist comments in our school.” Even the essay Michal was asked to write on the subject was soon forgotten. “The intention was to launch an educational program, but in the meantime it was postponed,” the homeroom teacher admits.

A year later, however, the incident itself was still remembered in the school. The same student who told Yaron that she won’t think twice if she gets the opportunity “to shoot one of them” when she serves in the army, also said, “As soon as I heard about the quarrel with that leftist girl [Michal], I was ready to throw a brick at her head and kill her. In my opinion, all the leftists are Israel-haters. I personally find it very painful. Those people have no place in our country – both the Arabs and the leftists.”

Anyone who imagines this as a local, passing outburst is wrong. As was the case with the girl from the ORT network vocational school who alleged earlier this year that her teacher had expressed “left-wing views” in the classroom – in this case too a student related that he cursed and shouted at a teacher who “justified the Arabs.” The students say that workshops to combat racism, which are run by an outside organization, leave little impression. “Racism is part of our life, no matter how much people say it’s bad,” a student said.

In the concluding discussion in just one such workshop, the moderator asked the students how they thought racism might eradicated. “Thin out the Arabs,” was the immediate reply. “I want you to leave here with the knowledge that the phenomenon exists, for you to be self-critical, and then maybe you will prevent it,” the moderator said. To which one student shot back, “If we’re not racist, that makes us leftists.”

The moderator, in a tone of despair: “I’d like it if you took at least something small from this workshop.” A student responds to the challenge: “That everyone should live the way he wants, that if he thinks he’s racist, let him think what he wants, and that’s all.”

As an adjunct of racism and hatred, ethnic identities – Mizrahi (Jews from Middle Eastern and North African countries) and Ashkenazi – are also flourishing. Yoav believes that there is “discrimination between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim. We were severely punished for the incident [with Michal], but if it were the other way around, that wouldn’t have happened.” Yoav later told Yaron that he found the common saying, “What’s this, an [open-air] market?” offensive, because his whole family works in the local produce market.

“Our business has existed since the state was established,” he said. “I am proud of my father, who is a man of the market. What are they trying to say, that my father isn’t cultured? When people say something about ‘Arabs,’ it’s considered a generalization, but when they say ‘market,’ that’s alright. When people say ‘market,’ they are actually talking about Mizrahim. We need to change the prejudices about the market and about the Mizrahim. People say I am a racist, but it’s just the opposite.”

“There is no discussion about the topic of racism in the school and there probably will not be,” the principal admits. “We are not prepared for the deep, long-term process that’s necessary. Even though I am constantly aware of the problem, it is far from being dealt with. It stems in the first place from the home, the community and the society, and it’s hard for us to cope with it. You have to remember that another reason it’s hard to deal with the problem is that it also exists among the teachers. Issues such as ‘human dignity’ or ‘humanism’ are in any case considered left-wing, and anyone who addresses them is considered tainted.”

Threat of noise

Prof. Yoram Harpaz is a senior lecturer at Beit Berl Teachers College and the editor of Hed Hahinuch, a major educational journal. Recalling the recent promise of Education Minister Shay Piron that classes in the first two weeks of the coming school year will be devoted to “emotional and social aspects of the summer’s events,” including “manifestations of racism and incitement,” Harpaz observes that schools in their present format “are incapable of dealing with the racist personality and identity.”

He adds: “The schools are not geared for this. They can only impart basic knowledge and skills, hold examinations on them and grade the students. In fact, they have a hard time doing even that. In classes of 40 students, with a strict curriculum and exams that have to be held, it is impossible to engage in values-based education.”

Yaron, a senior lecturer in sociology at Ashkelon Academic College, emphasizes how important teachers and the principal (and the education system in general) feel it is to stick to the curriculum and the lessons schedule – two islands of quiet amid a risk-laden reality.

“Doing this makes it possible for the teachers not to enter a dynamic sphere, which obligates openness and is liable to open a Pandora’s box, too,” he notes. “The greatest threat to the teacher is that there will be noise – that someone will complain, that an argument will break out, etc. That danger looms especially large in subjects that interest young people, such as sexuality, ethnicity, violence and racism. Teachers lack the tools to cope with these issues, so they are outsourced, which only emasculates educational personnel even more.”

The demand for quiet in the schools is not only an instrumental matter, deriving from the difficulty of keeping order in the classroom. There is also an ideological aspect involved. In general, there is a whole series of subjects that are not recommended for discussion in schools, such as the Nakba (or “catastrophe,” the term used by Palestinians to denote the establishment of the State of Israel), human rights and the morality of Israeli army operations. This was one of the reasons for the warnings issued by Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev during the fighting in the Gaza Strip about “extreme and offensive remarks.”

Harpaz: “In Israel, the most political country there is, political education has not been developed as a discipline in which high-school students are taught how to think critically about political attitudes, or the fact that those attitudes are always dependent on a particular viewpoint and on vested interests.”

What, then, can be done? According to Harpaz, the solution will not be found in discussions between the homeroom teacher and the students. Nor is a condemnation, however late, by the education minister sufficient. A more radical change is needed.

“Values and outlooks are acquired in a lengthy process of identification with ‘significant others,’ such as teachers,” Harpaz explains. “This means that every aspect of the schools – patterns of teaching, evaluation methods, curricula, the physical structure and the cultural climate – has to change in the direction of becoming far more dialogical and democratic.”

And he has one more recommendation: not to flee from political and moral dilemmas, or from possible criticism. “Our leaders are so fearful of criticism, but they don’t understand that critical education is what generates close ties and caring. We get angry at those we love.”

A LETTER FROM THE WEST BANK ~~ WE ARE ONE WITH GAZA

TO LIVE NOW

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

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Some of the volunteers for the Palestine Museum of Natural History, Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

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I have not written much lately and this email maybe personal and hard. Our days start early and end very late. Our nights are also occasionally interrupted by calls from friends in Gaza or others who need some support. In the past 48 hours, over 100 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli occupation forces. Many of those are in Rafah. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am affected more by those I know than those who die that I did not know. For example, I cried after I hung-up the phone with Islam, a friend in Rafah who has four children and they can’t sleep and their house shook and windows shattered as missiles rained on homes nearby. I cried because I know him and his handicapped son and his dilemma at whether to try to carry his son and run to the street or not. But then I cried some more thinking of the many innocents who got killed and injured and who I dd not personally know and did not cry for them earlier. Islam and his family will be traumatized for life. Hundreds of thousands will be even more traumatized. I can’t even imagine a life of a girl who lost all her family members and carries emotional and physical scars for life.

Sometimes I think I carry scars too. Perhaps I cope because I am so lucky to have positive things to do daily to keep me from thinking too much. I am lucky because I can help others. I am lucky that I am surrounded by dozens of young volunteers that show us what life could be like in the future. Volunteers passing out fliers about boycotts, volunteers reclaiming agricultural lands, volunteers helping us build a natural history museum in Palestine, volunteers helping other volunteers cope with a difficult life, volunteers giving time and money to needy children, and volunteers doing media work (that should have been done by paid professionals). Aida refugee camp where some of those volunteers live is really unlivable because of daily dumping of toxic gas and toxic stink water by the Israeli occupation forces. Its health impact is dramatic and far worse than respiratory illnesses.

People ask me about politics and claim it is too complex. I say it is simple and predictable. For thousands of years we had a struggle between wealthy greedy people who employ others to shoot and injure poor people so that they wealthy people get richer. It was like that at the time of Jesus and it is like that today. Some (minority) who get offered a chance will join forces of repression and go with the flow of power. Others (also a minority) lead an active life that helps change things for the better for a lot of people. The majority in the middle remain apathetic. More people need to see the truth and act on it. It is not too difficult even for those who were on the side of repression to change. Yonatan Shapira former Israeli Air Force captain became a refusnik and BDS activist and once wrote: “Most of my family came from Poland and many of my relatives were killed in the death camps during the Holocaust. When I walk in what was left from the Warsaw Ghetto I can’t stop thinking about the people of Gaza who are not only locked in an open air prison but are also being bombarded by fighter jets, attack helicopters and drones, flown by people whom I used to serve with. I am also thinking about the delegations of young Israelis that are coming to see the history of our people but also are subjected to militaristic and nationalistic brainwashing on a daily basis. Maybe if they see what we wrote here today they will remember that oppression is oppression, occupation is occupation, and crimes against humanity are crimes against humanity, whether they have been committed here in Warsaw or in Gaza”. I only add resistance is resistance’ Warsaw ghetto residents also dug tunnels and were also called terrorists by their tormentors.

In my 2004 book “Sharing the land of Canaan” I wrote:
“Palestinians were subjected to cruel and unreasonable treatment over so many years that many begin to doubt that justice is possible and many certainly believe coexistence impossible. Similarly, since many Israelis have been feeling embattled and attacked that many also feel that coexistence is impossible. A defeatist attitude develops and envelops not only Palestinians and Israelis but also may of their supporters. But either the societies coexist as peaceful human beings or they will perish as rival primate societies.…..A sense of hopelessness and desperation leaves many looking for “crumbs” of both material and psychological “food”. This is especially stressful when combined with the deep commitment by many to historical myths of grandeur or glory. I am not going to spend much time on the history of the Jewish, Arabic and Islamic civilizations (volumes have been written on these). Suffice it to say that our psychological profile is one that contrasts our existing condition with the perceived greatness of our ancestors and our prophets. We thus assume ourselves as a privileged group but this immediately contrasts with what we observe to be the destitute present situation as described throughout this book. This is especially true for the Palestinian people who are dispossessed. We can address the bigger issues of why 1.3 billion Muslims or 300 million Arabs (Muslims and Christians) have so little to say in the direction of world economies and social and cultural developments so dominated now by the US as a sole remaining power. But perhaps this too can be resolved slowly once the knot of friction in Israel/Palestine is resolved. Imagine the example set if this one place in the world, previously an example of violence, endemic hatred and tribalism, can transcend all this to build a truly shining example of coexistence and non-violence. Imagine the billions of dollars spent on armaments going to desalinate seawater, to build high tech industries, and truly harness the great minds of the inhabitants (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) for positive developments.…….Perhaps we need to teach children to value themselves, value teamwork, respect others and defend the rights of minorities. This is not as simple as it seems. Adults perhaps need to learn to accept, in a very positive fashion, views that are foreign to them. In other words, someone who speaks his views regarding issues should be listened to and respected regardless of how sacred the holy “cows” may be.”

I end with a quote from Howard Zinn (You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A personal history of our times, p. 208): “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

New Facebook page 

Sincerely

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Bethlehem University
Director, Palestine Museum of Natural History

ANTI SEMITISM DOES NOT HELP THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!

zionism-is-not-judaism

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In recent weeks there has been an increase of anti Semitic events throughout Europe, possibly in retaliation for the genocide taking place in Gaza. All that is accomplished by these random acts is the alienation of many Jews of conscious that do not support zionism or the crimes committed in the region. Internationally, more Jews are joining the struggle for a Just and Lasting Peace between Israel and Palestine, as well as adding their names to the growing BDS Movement.

zionism has nothing to do with Judaism and not all Jews are zionists! The attacks are just plain wrong and are aimed at the wrong people. Rather than brutality, much more would be accomplished if these angry people joined the ranks of the daily demonstrations against the Israeli government that are taking place internationally.

Studies suggest antisemitism may indeed be mounting. A 2012 survey by the EU’s by the Fundamental Rights agency of some 6,000 Jews in eight European countries – between them, home to 90% of Europe’s Jewish population – found 66% of respondents felt antisemitism in Europe was on the rise; 76% said antisemitism had increased in their country over the past five years. In the 12 months after the survey, nearly half said they worried about being verbally insulted or attacked in public because they were Jewish. (FROM)

The most recent incident took place in Sweden just a few days ago. It received page one coverage throughout the zionist media, not as a news item but rather as a confirmation to their readers that this was in connection to supporting Israel. Both those media outlets and the attackers themselves are JUST PLAIN WRONG! The only ones benefiting by such actions are the zionists themselves, surely not the Pro Palestinian Movements. The burning of Jewish owned shops or synagogues in Paris will not rebuild the shops and mosques destroyed in Gaza, nor will those actions garner sympathy from people who have not yet sided with us. Once again, it’s only the zionists that benefit from this. In fact, I will go even further by saying that the vast majority of these ‘anti Semitic’ incidents are actually propaganda hoaxes by Israel’s supporters.

The latest incident is reported HERE, from the ziopress itself …. (click on link to see report)

Swedish Jewish Woman Savagely Beaten for Wearing Star of David

Jewish mother of four brutally attacked by Muslim gang who noticed her Star of David necklace.
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This short video shows the difference between Jews and zionists.
Just remember who benefits by random anti Semitic attacks.
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ZIONISM’S ORIGINAL SIN RELIVED

Gaza is being punished because Gaza is a constant reminder to Israel and the world of the original sin of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of a so-called Jewish state. Even though Palestinian resistance has never presented a military threat to Israel, it has always been portrayed as an existential threat to the state.

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Gaza reminds us of Zionism’s original sin

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Palestinians recover belongings from the Khuzaa neighborhood of Khan Younis, southern Gaza, on 3 August following bombardment by Israeli forces. (Basel Yazouri / ActiveStills)

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The morning after Lailat al-Qadr, the death toll in Gaza was approaching its first thousand.

Al-Qadr — the night before the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan — is believed to be the night when the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. I spent this special night with friends in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah after participating in the “48K March” for Gaza.

The march began in Ramallah and went to Qalandiya checkpoint. What began as a peaceful event with families bringing their children and even babies in strollers, ended with young Palestinians with gunshot wounds being rushed in ambulances to the local hospital.

Qalandiya crossing was fortified and air-tight, and the Israeli soldiers stationed on top were shooting live ammunition at the crowd.

As the ambulances were speeding through the crowd, I couldn’t help but wonder why there is no hospital between Qalandiya and Ramallah, a good distance which includes the municipalities of Jerusalem, al-Bireh and Ramallah.

The following night I was scheduled to leave Palestine to return to the United States. But Israeli forces sealed all the roads from Ramallah to Jerusalem for the night, and they were likely to be sealed the following day as well.

At the crack of dawn, when things had quietened down, my friend Samer drove me to a checkpoint that he suspected would be open. It was open, albeit for Israelis only, and from there I made my way back to Jerusalem.

That evening, as I was preparing to leave for Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, people around me were trying to calm me down. “Don’t aggravate them, cooperate and they will be nice,” they said. “Why go through all this unnecessary inconvenience?”

They were talking about the “Smiling Gestapo,” Israeli security officers at Tel Aviv airport that go by the squeaky clean name of the Airport Security Division.

Non-cooperation and resistance

Listening to this, I was reminded of Jewish communities under the Nazi regime who believed that if they cooperated and showed they were good citizens then all would be well. But the road from cooperation to the concentration camps and then the gas chambers was a direct one.

The policies of racist discrimination and humiliation at Ben Gurion airport, and the policies of ethnic cleansing and murder of Palestinians in Gaza, emanate from the same Zionist ideology.

As we have seen over the past seven decades, cooperation and laying low do not make things ok.

Cooperation with the Israeli authorities might lead to short-term relief but it also validates Israel’s “right” to terrorize and humiliate Palestinians with our consent, “we” being all people of conscience. Whether we are Palestinian or not, the call of the hour is non-cooperation and resistance against injustice.

Today, Israel and its supporters lay the blame for the violence in Gaza on Hamas. But Israel did not start its assaults on the Gaza Strip when Hamas was established in the late 1980s. Israel began attacking Gaza when the Strip was populated with the first generation refugees in the early 1950s.

Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, are not faced with an option to resist and be killed or live in peace. They are presented with the options of being killed standing up and fighting or being killed sleeping in their beds.

“Sea of hatred”

Gaza is being punished because Gaza is a constant reminder to Israel and the world of the original sin of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of a so-called Jewish state. Even though Palestinian resistance has never presented a military threat to Israel, it has always been portrayed as an existential threat to the state.

Moshe Dayan, the famed Israeli general with the eyepatch, described this in a speech in April 1956. He spoke in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, an Israeli settlement on the boundary of the Gaza Strip where Israeli tanks park each time there is a ground invasion of Gaza.

“Beyond the furrow of this border, there surges a sea of hatred and revenge,” Dayan saidthen. Ironically, when six months later Israel had occupied Gaza and my father was appointed its military governor, he said that he saw “no hatred or desire for vengeance but a people eager to live and work together for a better future.”

Still, today, Israeli commanders and politicians say pretty much the same: Israel is destined to live by the sword and must strike Gaza whenever possible. Never mind the fact that Palestinians have never posed a military challenge, much less a threat to Israel.

After all, Palestinians have never possessed as much as a tank, a warship or a fighter jet, not to say a regular army.

So why the fear? Why the constant, six-decade-long campaign against Gaza? Because Palestinians in Gaza, more so than anywhere else, pose a threat to Israel’s legitimacy.

Israel is an illegitimate creation brought about by a union between racism and colonialism. The refugees who make up the majority of the population in the Gaza Strip are a constant reminder of this.

They are a reminder of the crime of ethnic cleansing upon which Israel was established. The poverty, lack of resources and lack of freedom stand in stark contrast to the abundance, freedom and power that exist in Israel and that rightfully belongs to Palestinians.

Generous offer

Back at Ben Gurion airport that night, I was told that if I cooperate and plead with the shift supervisor it would make the security screening go faster. When I declined this generous offer, I was told they “did not like my attitude.”

They proceeded to paste a sticker with the same bar code on my luggage and give me the same treatment Palestinians receive.

As I write these words, the number of Palestinians murdered by Israel in Gaza has exceeded two thousand. Ending the insufferable, brutal and racist regime that was created by the Zionists in Palestine is the call of our time.

Criticizing Palestinian resistance is unconscionable. Israel must be subjected to boycott, divestment and sanctions. Israeli diplomats must be sent home in shame. Israeli leaders, and Israeli commanders traveling abroad, must fear prosecution.

And these measures are to be combined with disobedience, non-cooperation and uncompromising resistance. This and only this will show mothers, fathers and children in Gaza that the world cares and that “never again” is more than an empty promise.

A RABBINICAL DISCOURSE AGAINST PEACE

PEACE NOW OR PEACE NO?

peace_no_excuses_bumper_sticker

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The ‘Peacenik said … (Let us all breathe freely)

There is no military solution that will bring an end to the suffering of the residents of the south, to the terrible fear they live with, and there’s no military solution to the inhuman anguish of the Palestinians in Gaza. In plain words: until there is a resolution to the feelings of suffocation of the people of Gaza, we in Israel will not be able to breathe freely. We won’t breathe through both our lungs.

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The Rabbi responded … (Might makes right)

But you chose to go down a different path, and found yourself forced to utter these words of self-delusion: “You are many. We are many, many more than we thought, than we believed.” What a pity.

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An Israeli Novelist’s Cry for Peace. A Rabbi’s Reply

By J.J. Goldberg FOR

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WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Rabbi Yuval Sherlow
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Novelist David Grossman spoke Saturday night at a peace rally at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, sponsored by the Peace Now movement and the Meretz and Hadash parties, among others. It was attended by an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people, which the left considered an impressive show of force and the right mocked as a failure. Grossman’s speech, an eloquent cri de coeur of Israel’s increasingly isolated antiwar left, was reprinted in Hebrew on Sunday on Ynet.co.il, the Hebrew-language website of Yediot Ahronot. (Thanks to Gary Brenner for urging me to translate it.)

Also appearing Sunday on Ynet was a reply to Grossman by Rabbi Yuval Sherlow, dean of the Hesder yeshiva of Petah Tikvah. Sherlow is one of the most liberal voices in Israeli Orthodoxy. He’s spoken out bravely within his community in favor of tolerance of gays, greater recognition of non-Orthodox Judaism — including Reform conversion — and open, sympathetic dialogue between right and left. In this “Letter to David Grossman” he warmly chides the novelist for preaching to the converted (no, not that kind) and failing to find a language that can bridge the gap dividing left and right. Remarkably, he concedes many of Grossman’s sharpest critiques, but insists that Grossman fails to acknowledge “the other sides of the coin” — the still-vital humanity within the Israeli public, the implacability often facing Israel from its enemies — and so alienates a large audience that Sherlow wishes the novelist could reach.

They’re both well worth reading for their insight into the current mood in Israel. The translations are mine, and as usual are as literal as I can make them. Let me know if you spot mistakes.

David Grossman: ‘We Are Collaborators of Despair’

You are many. We are many, many more than we thought, than we believed.

I stood here in this square two days ago, at the demonstration in support of the residents of the south. I stood here at the demonstration in support of the residents of the south the day before yesterday. I wanted to be with them, to listen to them as they told of their hard lives. There were many speakers here, and most of them spoke fitting, heartfelt words, and they all said basically the same thing: It can’t go on like this.

I listened to them, and to others who bitterly said things like “Let the IDF win” and “Let the IDF mow them down” and “The time has come to eliminate Hamas,” and I thought, these are sophisticated, experienced people, the sort who know that in the current circumstances this wish of theirs won’t come true, and everything that’s happened in this war testifies to that. But nobody is showing them another way or offering hope for a better future, and there’s nothing left for them but to shout over and over in ever-growing despair, like so many of us: Let the IDF win.

There are no images of victory in this war, not for either side. There are no images of victory, only visions of destruction and death and indescribable suffering. Every image from this miserable battlefield is in the end an image of a profound defeat of two peoples who have hardly learned to speak to one another, even after a century of conflict, in any language but violence. In the current circumstances, under the existing limits — the limits of force, of morality, of international pressure — there is no military solution to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

There is no military solution that will bring an end to the suffering of the residents of the south, to the terrible fear they live with, and there’s no military solution to the inhuman anguish of the Palestinians in Gaza. In plain words: until there is a resolution to the feelings of suffocation of the people of Gaza, we in Israel will not be able to breathe freely. We won’t breathe through both our lungs.

Therefore, in the negotiations that will begin again tomorrow in Cairo, and after Israel insists, as it must, on the security demands necessary for the people of Sderot and Nahal Oz to live secure, peaceful lives, and after Israel demands that Hamas commit itself to ending its violent attacks, and its preparations for future attacks, after all this Israel will have to offer proposals to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip that are greater and more significant than the sum of their parts. Not another limited, local, narrow cease-fire agreement but a framework for a change in relations between the sides — a big, far-sighted, generous plan that contains proposals for a genuine improvement in the lives of the resident of Gaza, for reviving their hopes for a better future and granting them a feeling of self-respect and human dignity.

Of course it’s possible to bargain over every little paragraph in an agreement, over ten trucks fewer or more passing through the fence, over another kilometer or two of permitted fishing zones for Gaza’s fishermen. But what must change this time, after this war, is the spirit of things. To my mind this is one of the main reasons we’ve come and gathered here this evening. To remind those who negotiate in our name with the Palestinians in Cairo that even if the people of Gaza are enemies today, they will always be our neighbors, and that is the spirit of things. We will always live beside one another, and this fact has meaning, because my neighbor’s downfall is not necessarily my victory, and my neighbor’s welfare is in the end my welfare.

But above all we have gathered here this evening to voice a demand that the central provision in the agreement they are trying to draft in Cairo will say the following: that after the cease-fire is stabilized, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as represented by the Palestinian unity government, will open direct talks whose goal is to bring peace between the two peoples.

That’s how it has to be, without hesitation, without stammering, without grieving, perhaps without clear, sharp declarations of intention by the two sides. Because if after a war like this, after its terrors, after its results, Israel does not initiate such a step, there will be only one explanation: that Israel prefers the certainty of repeated wars over the risks involved in the compromises that bring peace. And we will know that Israel’s current leader is not prepared, does not dare to go down the path of peace because he is afraid to pay the price, especially the price of withdrawing from the West Bank and evacuating the settlements.

Friends, this moment of decision might come tomorrow, or perhaps the day after, or perhaps in a month, but it could be that we will suddenly discover that it is very near and it will be a sort of acid test that will tell us in the clearest fashion whether or not Israel is trying with all its might to reach peace or whether it chooses another war. Eighty-two thousand reserve soldiers took part in this war. Some of them may even be with us this evening as civilians. Again and again we have heard them say to the cameras and microphones, we’ll meet again in another year, two years tops.

These statements of theirs are nothing less than heartbreaking. It is clear to these young people, with a sort of horrifying certainty, that sooner or later they will be drawn back into this inferno. It is terrible, terrible to hear young people with their whole lives before them, people who were brave enough to enter booby-trapped houses and terror tunnels, to hear how they are ready to accept as a sort of decree from heaven that their lives are only theirs on loan until the next payment due date.

It is no less terrible to see how so many Israelis make do in intentional, considered passivity with a government that for years has done almost nothing genuine to solve the conflict. How is it, tell me, how is it that we, the children and citizens of a state that in every other area of its life is enterprising, creative and daring, pathbreaking, how is that we agree, in this most fateful area of our existence, to be collaborators in despair and failure?

Dear friends, the time has come to wake up. This war has exposed perhaps more sharply than ever the dangerous processes befalling Israel because of despair, because of fear, because of the feeling that there is no way out. The time has come for us to wake up and understand that while we slept, things were happening here. Chauvinism, fanaticism and racism have erupted shamelessly, all at once. They have swiftly succeeded in imposing a dictatorship of fear on broad sectors of our public domain.

Not one word of condemnation has come from the mouth of the prime minister nor from any senior minister. It will be very difficult to rein in these forces of darkness. They are already here. I suspect, too, that all those leaders have drawn a certain strange satisfaction from seeing the left take it on the chin, and they don’t understand that this foul wave will be very difficult to control, because it will turn against them when it decides that they have suddenly become too moderate.

These fascistic forces are joined by other forces that both nourish them and draw nourishment from them. Huge social gaps, bitterness over poverty and years of discrimination, corruption and greed in high places.

Friends, all these things, all these things create an atmosphere of disintegration of the bonds that should maintain a healthy society. All these things are tunnels burrowing under Israel’s fragile democracy. These are precisely the phenomena and processes that are likely very soon, much sooner than we think, to turn Israel from a progressive state with its face toward the future into an extremist, militant, xenophobic, ingrown pariah cult.

I want to say something here to those who have spent the last month or so boasting about our nation’s inner strength. Our nation’s inner strength means, among other things, understanding that Arab citizens of Israel are at present in severe, intolerable distress. They see their people killed and wounded by the thousands, sometimes their own family members. Sometimes the person shooting at their family members is the son of their employer or of a person who works alongside them. And anyone who exults that we Jewish Israelis are the most humane nation, the most sensitive to the troubles of other humans, should please explain to me how it is that we insist on preventing Arab citizens of Israel, doctors and nurses who care for us in our hospitals, social workers and garage mechanics and students and cooks and artists and construction workers, those with whom we live and with whom we will live, how we refuse to permit them at least the right to cry out.

Is our nation’s resolve so weakened that it has no room for these human expressions of anger and grief? Friends, you who have come in your numbers to this square and the even greater numbers at home, of every point of view, every party, every religious orientation, you whose lives are bound up and intertwined with the life of the state of Israel, you in whose eyes, I hope — as in mine — this is the most meaningful place to live and raise children.

And you, perhaps, who belong to today’s ruling political majority, but who feel that a great mistake is taking shape here on a historic scale — all of you who see how we are, by our own hands, by our inaction, we are losing our home, losing it to the fanaticism and internecine hatred that leave us paralyzed in a fifty-year deadlock that prevents us from saving ourselves — I am speaking to you. The alarm sounded in our ears by this last war tells us to forge new partnerships that break the deadlock and raise us up past the narrow self interests of our quarreling camps.

I believe, and with this I will conclude, that there is still a critical mass of people here, people of the broad Israeli mainstream, people from the right and the left, religious and secular, Jews and Arabs, people from every community and class, people who are disgusted with violence and extremism, people with the wisdom of life and of compromise, people from Tel Aviv and Ofra and Ashkelon and Jerusalem and Sakhnin and Be’er Sheva, people who are still capable of uniting, intelligently and without illusions, around three or four points of agreement. For example, that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people and that it is a democratic state, all of whose citizens have absolutely equal rights, and that it will make every effort to resolve the conflict with its neighbors. Three or four points that are the heart of the matter, a sort of test by which every Israeli citizen can define for himself where he stands and to which camp he belongs.

If this evening produces such a call and it lands on attentive ears, and if it gathers strength and mobilizes people, then perhaps, perhaps, even the leaders of this country will begin to reposition themselves along these new lines. This is the choice before us after this last war. This is the choice, this is our hope. Thank you and good evening.


Yuval Sherlow, Letter to David: This is How You Missed the Israeli Public

To David Grossman, greetings,

Who did you want to speak to last night? If you wanted to speak to the few thousand people who think like you and thus to fix in place the framework that you are addressing, you succeeded. That’s how your words sounded, in fact — fixed in place, unequivocal, without reconsideration, without doubts. A typical rally speech. A speech that demands of others what it won’t consider from itself: rethinking its path.

But if you were thinking of speaking to the broader public, or at least to those who are willing to listen to your words and reexamine their own opinions — you didn’t succeed. You missed an opportunity.

What was it in your words that created the great barrier to their reception? First, one could point to the broad expanse that wasn’t present. You spoke about difficulties and despair. They appeared many times in your remarks, and from your point of view, rightly so. But you didn’t speak at all about the solidarity and great spirit of this nation that have appeared in the difficult days we’re going through. You didn’t speak about the deep sense of partnership that has appeared within the divided and quarreling people of Israel.

You spoke, apparently correctly, about the fact that there is no military solution to the terrible conflict between these two peoples — at least none that is visible on the horizon. But you weren’t willing to examine other options. You repeated the familiar mantras about sitting down and talking peace, while completely ignoring the experience we’ve acquired in the last few years.

You spoke of a perfect symmetry of pain and suffering between us and Gaza, but you weren’t willing to raise the more complex challenge of the ethics of war, of justice, of the fact that one side of the conflict includes a group that has written our destruction on its banner.

You spoke quite justly of the fact that “my neighbor’s downfall is not necessarily my victory, and my neighbor’s welfare is in the end my welfare,” but you took no note of the fact that this sentence is spoken only on one side of the border, not on both sides. Indeed, no one would willingly live under siege, but you didn’t speak about the use Hamas makes of the resources it has acquired in the last few years — where the money goes, and toward what goals.

But the most important thing you missed is something I’m not sure you can see: something that was missing in the words you directed inward, toward your own people. I noted at the outset your decision not to acknowledge the spirit, the strength, the devotion and solidarity. I don’t think for a moment that you didn’t feel them. But you chose not to take note of them as part of the overall equation.

Note how many words you devoted to despair, hatred, division and the inroads of fascism, and how much you ignored the fact that there are other phenomena at work, trends that are building a new house that can yet arise from the dichotomy within which you live. In so doing, you closed my ears — and the ears of many others, I’m sure — from hearing your words. I can listen only to someone who sees a rich picture, not one-dimensional, not fanatical, not extreme.

Not only that, but you continue to live in your dichotomous world. You continue to speak in a language of “only one answer,” which is to say, anyone who thinks like you is a lover of peace, and anyone who doesn’t “prefers the certainty of repeated wars.” Those who believe that following your path is in fact the surest guarantee of repeated wars, and on ever-worsening terms, count for nothing in your book.

This dichotomy turns into fatalism: “People who were brave enough to enter booby-trapped houses and terror tunnels, to hear how they are ready to accept as a sort of decree from heaven that their lives are only theirs on loan until the next payment due date.” Your ears are closed to the other possibilities: These precious boys are lovers of life and lovers of peace. They don’t accept anything as decreed from heaven. They just think differently from you.

And the dichotomy continues in your telling of the left “taking it on the chin.” The world is somehow divided in two: One side of the equation is “chauvinism, fanaticism and racism” erupting “shamelessly, all at once,” swiftly managing “to impose a dictatorship of fear on broad sectors of our public domain.” The other side is you.

One side is accused (quite justifiably, if your facts are correct) that “not one word of condemnation has come from the mouth of the prime minister nor from any senior minister.” The other side, of course, is clean of hand and pure of heart, and we have heard its voice raised in protest against the spokesmen of the right and its legal representatives.

I don’t want to get into self-pity and questions of who started it and whether or not it’s symmetrical. I only want to point out the ugly world of black and white within which street-rally rhetoric traps you.

It was your final passage that could — and should — have taken you to a different place. You said, and rightly so: “I believe that there is still a critical mass of people here, people of the broad Israeli mainstream, people from the right and the left, religious and secular, Jews and Arabs … people from Tel Aviv and Ofra and Ashkelon and Jerusalem and Sakhnin and Be’er Sheva, people who are still capable of uniting, intelligently and without illusions, around three or four points of agreement. For example, that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people and that it is a democratic state, all of whose citizens have absolutely equal rights, and that it will make every effort to resolve the conflict with its neighbors. … a sort of test by which every Israeli citizen can define for himself where he stands and to which camp he belongs.”

But your words once again were incomplete. If only you had added the other sides of the coin — the readiness to stand forcefully and with determination on our Zionist stance and our relationship with the Land of Israel; the true situation of the enemies that surround us, “intelligently and without illusions”; as well as the national mobilization on behalf of the peripheries, in the fullest sense — then you would have broken through the boundaries of the narrow public to which you spoke.

Then, too, you would have found allies and partners in the struggle for freedom of expression and honest public discourse, for sensitivity toward the complex and difficult situation of the Arab community in the state of Israel; in the struggle to redeem those who have been harmed by official corruption and public rigidity as they search for ways to stop the terrible bloodshed plaguing our region, and to restore the word “peace” to its proper status — instead of the political manipulations for which it is exploited today.

But you chose to go down a different path, and found yourself forced to utter these words of self-delusion: “You are many. We are many, many more than we thought, than we believed.” What a pity.

IN SONG ~~ LOVE AND PEACE FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL

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Let there be peace on earth; let it begin in me… for love is all we need.

Moved by a summer of pain and suffering in the Middle East, at home and around the world, Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson have responded in the form of a prayerful, riveting and emotionally raw music video, produced by Josh Nelson.

Musical artists with a lifelong commitment to Israel, trans-denominational appeal and a message of unity for the Jewish community and the world at large, Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson were compelled to record the legendary melody composed by the late, great Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach in the midst of the violence in Israel and Gaza…and in the face of the resurgence of anti-Semitism around the world.

“As a Jew, as a mother and as a human being, I am terrified by the escalating hatred that I see in this world,” stated Neshama Carlebach, daughter of Shlomo Carlebach. “I grew up knowing that my father’s family ran from Nazi-occupied Europe and was aware of my deep blessing; that I was living securely and free of fear. I hear his voice in my head. This song is our prayer.”

Individually and as a creative team, Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson perform widely across the denominational spectrum of Jewish life and in secular venues as well. Deeply invested in Jewish Peoplehood, they are spiritual role models in their community. As such, they felt the urgent need to call for peace and love in the middle of this time of unprecedented conflict, they said. “We believe that all people have the right to live their lives without fear, and when we decided to speak up, we knew of no text more poignant than this prayer for peace,” said Josh Nelson.

Shlomo Carlebach’s version of “Y’hi Shalom” is beloved and meaningful for millions around the world, Jews and non-Jews alike, explained Josh Nelson. “We hope that this recording will inspire humanity to come together and to begin to move in a new direction. There are no simple answers to the incredibly complex situation in Israel and Gaza, but the message in this song may be a place to start.”

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The words are unadorned, but Eid’s performance is haunting, set against images from Israel’s most recent massacre in Gaza:

Between contractions and pain
We will be reborn

Between contractions and pain
Wisdom will be born
The song of freedom will be born

All that has passed and gone
Is still being born in your eyes

At the end of the video are these words from Eid himself:

The Palestinian people, and Gazans in particular, have been living an unending massacre since 1948. We can no longer negotiate about improving the conditions of oppression; it is either the full menu of rights, or nothing. And that means the end of occupation, apartheid and colonialism.

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BLOCK THE BOAT AND BOYCOTT ISRAEL!

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First a video update on BDS

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A new app called Buycott lets hundreds of thousands of users boycott products deemed to support Israel, something that is gaining popularity in light of the attack on Gaza.

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Why Activists Are Blocking an Israeli Ship From Docking on the West Coast

A coordinated “Block the Boat” solidarity action will leave Israel looking elsewhere to unload its goods.

Amidst the terror Israel has unleashed on Gaza, activists on the West Coast have organized a Palestinian solidarity action that is not only politically symbolic, but economically hits Israel where it hurts.

Starting Saturday, activists in Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle plan to block an Israeli ship from unloading goods at their city’s ports as part of a larger boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. These “Block the Boat” actions come as a response to the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions’ call for supporters to “educate and build awareness among the labor movements of the U.S., and urge them to condemn the Israeli aggression and to boycott Israel.”

On Saturday, organizers in Oakland will march to the port and form a picket line in front of its gates early in the morning before the port workers, who are members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, are scheduled to begin their shift. Organizers are hoping to stop workers from unloading a ship owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Services, which is the biggest cargo shipping company in Israel and has ties to the Israeli government and military via stock ownership.

More than 1,000 protesters are expected at the Oakland action, said Reem Assil of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which is one of more than 70 groups endorsing the event.

“Symbolically for Oakland we can say, not in our name,” Assil said. “We’re not going to be complicit and an accomplice to the ongoing genocide and massacres going on.”

Oakland organizers have coordinated with supporters in Long Beach, CA, and the ports of Tacoma and Seattle in Washington in hopes that Zim won’t reroute to another port on the West Coast like it did four years ago. In 2010, in response to Israel’s attack on a flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, Oakland activists and port workers made history by being the first to ever block an Israeli ship in the United States. That ship redocked in Los Angeles a day after, and unloaded there.

“This time, we want to make sure there’s a disruption to Israel commerce all over the West Coast,” Assil said, adding that this would cause a sustained economic burden on the company.

The Oakland organizers’ biggest coordination efforts, however, have been with the labor movement. In fact, the event, which was originally scheduled for August 2, was postponed in order to do more outreach to the ILWU workers.

“We don’t want workers to be alienated, we want workers to be part of the fight,” Assil said. “And so we have spent the last few weeks really honoring that commitment and building with the workers themselves.”

Assil said Block the Boat organizers and active members of the ILWU have been flyering and talking to members about the Saturday action in terms of “worker power”—especially because they are under negotiation for a new contract.

But these negotiations have made the action this year more complicated than in the past. For one, ILWU is unable to take an official stand on the action. Also, during negotiations there is no arbitrator who can evaluate the port during the Block the Boat action and deem working conditions unsafe; this happened in 2010, leaving workers with no option of crossing the picket line.

This, along with a loss of double-time pay for workers, presents difficulties for a successful action. An ILWU port worker named Anthony, who is spreading the word about Block the Boat, said he responds to co-workers’ financial concerns by talking about the bigger picture.

Anthony said, “I ask them, ‘Are you okay with innocent people being killed?’’’

 

Source

#OperationCeasefire ~~ OUT OF GAZA INTO THE WEST BANK

IT AIN’T OVER YET ….

‘Out of the frying pan, into the fire’

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Man injured by live fire in Bethlehem clashes

(MaanImages/file)
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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian man was shot and injured late Thursday when Israeli special forces raided Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers shot a 24-year-old man from the Abu Srur family in the foot before detaining him.

Clashes broke out in Aide refugee camp and along Hebron road as Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, live ammunition and tear gas canisters.

Israeli soldiers deployed heavily by a military watchtower near Rachel’s Tomb during the clashes.

Witnesses said an Israeli ambulance was seen in the area.

Clashes also broke out in the al-Tur area of East Jerusalem late Thursday, with Mahmoud Khalil Abu al-Hawa reported injured after being shot in the stomach with a rubber-coated steel bullet.

Settlers from an outpost in the area fired shots into the air during the clashes.

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THERE’S MORE …
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Israeli forces detain 20 in West Bank raids

(MaanImages/file)
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NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least 20 Palestinians early Thursday in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli military spokeswoman said.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that Israeli forces detained Oday Amin Muhammad from Nablus at Yitzhar checkpoint.

In Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained four teenage Palestinian boys from the southern West Bank village of Husan west of Bethelehem early Thursday morning, locals told Ma’an.

Eyewitness Hayda Hamamrah told Ma’an that dozens of Israeli soldiers stormed the village in military vehicles and ransacked several homes for inspection before they detained four teenagers.

He identified them as 17-year-old Haydar Iyad Hamamrah, 16-year-old Muhammad Hasan Hamamrah, 16-year-old Firas Ibrahim Hamamrah, and 17-year-old Bakr Shawasha.

The detainees were taken to an unknown destination.

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THOSE MURDERED IN GAZA

 

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A SILENT VIGIL IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE 

PALESTINIAN PEOPLE OF GAZA   

WHY ARE WE GATHERING:

Shamefully, “over 50 Israeli-associated New York organizations” will be gathering then at the JCC on the UWS of Manhattan to “commemorate Israeli soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during ‘Operation Protective Edge,”‘ the bombing campaign of Gaza, without one mention of Palestinian lives lost. (see photo at bottom)

We are appalled at this blatant valuing of Jewish and Jewish Israeli lives over the nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including hundreds of children, who have been massacred by the Israeli army.  To express our opposition to a perverse ethic that values only Jewish lives and ignores Israeli war crimes, the siege of Gaza, and an ongoing brutal occupation, please join us in a silent vigil across from the JCC.  

WHAT WE WANT TO DO: 

 

We want to create a silent presence that says loudly and clearly, with our signs and banners and names of Palestinian dead, that many Jews and others on New York’s upper west side stand in solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers and staunchly oppose a politics of ‘Israel right or wrong.’ 

co-sponsored by: Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC, Jewish Voice for Peace–Westchester,  Jews Say No!, Women in Black-NY 

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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The zionists mourn their own …. why shouldn’t we all mourn the almost 2,000 murdered Gazans?

NYC Jeweler’s Tribute to Slain IDF Soldiers

Boutique’s front window lists Israeli soldiers killed in recent Gaza operation

DAFFYNITIONS ~~ ‘OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE’ WAS NOT A WAR

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After 29 days of fighting, 64 fallen IDF soldiers, and more than 1,900 Palestinians killed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government insists that Operation Protective Edge was not a war.

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Israel insists Protective Edge was ‘not a war’

State Attorney rejects petition to High Court of Justice, claiming financial assistance not dependent on declaration of war.

Aviel Magnezi FOR

After 29 days of fighting, 64 fallen IDF soldiers, and more than 1,900 Palestinians killed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government insists that Operation Protective Edge was not a war.

In responding to High Court of Justice petition calling for the operation to be declared a war, the State Attorney claimed Tuesday that the petition must be rejected outright for two main reasons.

The State said the petition does not provide a sufficient cause for the court to order the government to announce the declaration of war  a widely-shared opinion in the coalition on every foreign and defense policy in general, and the declaration of war in particular.

The State Attorney also claimed that the fundamental assumption underlying the basis of the petition  which said “the necessity of declaring the start of war is a social and financial need of the highest order”  was mistaken.

“The declaration of war in and of itself does not necessarily guarantee compensation or financial aid to citizens harmed by the conflict,” wrote the State Attorney in the response.

“Given that, not declaring war does not signal that there would be such compensation. The matter of compensation for direct or indirect damages from war are regulated by the law, and it does not require a declaration of ‘the start of war’ to decide on compensation.”

The State Attorney emphasized that the “State worked quickly to implement regulations from the legislation on property tax during Operation Protective Edge, and it has taken and it will take many steps to provide a wide-reaching response on additional financial and social issues, and its actions are not dependent on whether or not a war was declared.”

In the response to the petition, the State Attorney stressed that “the decision to identify the campaign in 2006 as a ‘war’ was symbolic and ceremonial, and had no budgetary or legal significance.”

Labor Party members of Knesset first called on the prime minister to declare Protective Edge a war as early as three and a half weeks into the fighting, to enable the government to widen its assistance efforts.

GAYS YES! ~~ PALESTINIANS NO!!

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“The gates of Israel will be open to every Jew and his family without any discrimination against his lifestyle.”

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Still no to this ….

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The Palestinian right of return (Arabic: حق العودة‎, Ḥaqq al-ʿawda; Hebrew: זְכוּת הַשִׁיבָה, zkhut hashivah) is a political position or principle asserting that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees (c. 30 to 50,000 people as of 2012) and their descendants (c. 5 million people as of 2012), have a right to return, and a right to the property they themselves or their forebears left behind in what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories (both formerly part of the British Mandate of Palestine), as part of the 1948 Palestinian exodus, a result of the 1948 Palestine war and due to the 1967 Six-Day War.

Proponents of the right of return hold that it is a “sacred” right, as well as an inalienable and basic human right, whose applicability both generally and specifically to the Palestinians is protected under international law. This view holds that those who opt not to return or for whom return is not feasible, should receive compensation in lieu. Opponents of the right of return hold that there is no basis for it in international law, and that it is an unrealistic demand.  

The government of Israel regards the claim as a Palestinian ambit claim, and does not view the admission of Palestinian refugees to their former homes in Israel as a right, but rather as a political claim to be resolved as part of a final peace settlement.

Other disputed aspects include the issue of the territorial unit to which Palestinian self-determination would attach, the context (whether primarily humanitarian or political) by which the right is being advanced, and the universality of the principles advocated or established to other (current and former) refugee situations.  (from)

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BUT this is OK

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Right of Return Extended to Gay Couples

Interior Minister rules that Jews in same-sex marriages can immigrate to Israel – even with a non-Jewish partner.
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Israel’s Right of Return also gives citizenship to spouses of the same sex when Jews choose to immigrate to Israel together, Interior Minister Gidon Sa’ar (Likud) decided Tuesday.

According to Sa’ar’s decision, gay and lesbian Jews married abroad wishing to immigrate to Israel could do so – even if one of the partners is not Jewish – and both would receive Israeli citizenship.

“The gates of Israel will be open to every Jew and his family without any discrimination against his lifestyle,” Sa’ar stated, in the precedent-setting decision.

Sa’ar penned a letter to the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption codifying the law, writing that “the business of the Law of Return is an issue of kibbutz galuyot, bringing the Jewish people from exile, and the purpose of the 1970 amendment to Right of Return was to allow the families of Jews to immigrate to Israel as well, as equals, to encourageimmigration in general.”

“I see no basis for distinguishing between heterosexual marriage married Jews, and Jews living abroad in same-sex marriages, according to the law,” he continued. “Both fulfill the purpose of the Right of Return, to ‘bring their children home’ .”

The landmark decision surfaces amid ongoing tension over what defines a “family” in Israel, and as debate rages over whether or not same-sex marriages should be recognized in Israeli law.

Gidon Sa’ar’s Likud has a Mizrahi and traditional voter base, but he and other members of the faction toe an extremely liberal line on family values that is no different from that of Meretz.

Currently, same-sex couples in Israel cannot legally marry, but they have recently started to receive limited recognition.

In June, Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) faced immense backlash after stating in an interview with Arutz Sheva that “it was the right of Israel, perhaps even its obligation, to tell same-sex couples that they could not be considered ‘families.’ However, we would grant them full economic rights.”

Piron, himself an ordained Orthodox rabbi, was later forced to backtrack slightly after enduring harsh criticism from liberals, for placing gay couples outside the definition of marriage, and from conservatives, for agreeing to give them full economic rights.

“There is a constant tension between religious belief and liberal society,” he told Channel 10 at the time. “All I said was that it was possible to debate the question of ‘familyhood’ for homosexuals. I will not allow anyone to disqualify anyone for that standing, or for anything else, but that does not mean that the tension is not there.”

When asked what he thought about “gay families,” Piron said that a same-sex couple “is, from a civil, social, economic, and cultural point of view a family for all practical purposes. Religiously there is an issue, and this is a problem that must be solved.

“What most bothers me about this incident are the feelings of the children and adults I have hurt,” Piron said. “I look at them directly and say ‘I am sorry.’ I am conducting an ongoing dialogue with the gay community,” Piron added, “unlike what any other religious leader is doing in Israel today.”

 

Source

#OperationCeasefire ~~ HOW THINGS STAND AT THE MOMENT

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As of today ….

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Demanded by Israel:

  • A complete halt to firing and hostile action from Gaza.
  • Israeli control of border crossings to be opened between Gaza and Israel in the framework of the agreement.
  • Payment of money and any other cash transfers to public workers in Gaza will be carried out only via the Palestinian Authority.

    Demanded by Palestinian negotiators:

    • Expansion of the coastal waters permitted by Israel to Gaza fishermen. The new limit to be determined by Israel according to its security needs.
    • Reopening by Egypt of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai. Egypt conditions this on the placement of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority security forces on the Gaza side. Egypt is reportedly demanding 1,000 troops, a number that might be beyond the authority’s capacity.
    • Significant expansion of the range and quantity of goods imported from Israel to Gaza. Ynet reports that the number of trucks entering Gaza daily will be roughly doubled to 600.

The Palestinians have agreed to drop for now their demands for a Gaza seaport and reopening of the Dahaniya airport in Gaza. Israel and Egypt had opposed the opening of a Gaza seaport out of fear that Hamas would use it to import weapons. Israel’s position is that it will not agree to opening a Gaza seaport until agreement has been reached on a verifiable, enforceable disarmament of Hamas and demilitarization of Gaza.

For the present, Israel is said to have dropped its demand for demilitarization of Gaza. There was never any chance that Hamas would agree to it, and as such it would require a complete reconquest of Gaza and defeat of Hamas. That, as the heads of the Israel Defense Forces warned the cabinet last week, would require a massive operation that would devastate Gaza and lead to Israel’s complete isolation internationally.

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Another issue close to agreement is that Israel will double the number of trucks entering Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing to approximately 600 trucks per day. Similarly, a decision by Israel to increase the monthly quota of permits for entry into the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing is also close to being finalized. At the same time, criteria for entry into Israel from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will be broadened. 

In the negotiations held Monday, the parties did not reach an understanding regarding the Gaza ports. Hamas sources in the Gaza Strip said Monday evening that it would be possible to delay in dealing with the airport and seaport if Israel agrees to the rest of their requirements. The sources noted that such a situation would still require an agreement in principle for the establishment of the ports.

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NEVER TOO OLD TO FIGHT THE OCCUPATION

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This video shows a Palestinian elder with a paper model of the kind of rocket the Palestinian resistance fires from Gaza fearlessly confronting Israeli occupation forces in the Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Friday.

He does not back off even when a soldier fires towards him at close range.

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Towards the end of the video, filmed by Yusri al-Jamal, the man whose name was not reported says:

Gaza is steadfastness, Gaza is heroes, Gaza is revolution, Gaza is rage, Gaza is victory, Gaza is the lifeline of the Palestinian people. Our blood is not more precious than the blood of the children or the resistance of Gaza. We will redeem you Gaza. We are all with you Gaza. Do not rely on the Arabs; tell them to sleep comfortably. But we Palestinians do not fear rifles or cannons.

Posted BY

ACT FOR GAZA NOW

Act For Gaza

Compiled by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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Child lost his eyesight after Israeli shelling. The father was killed a week later!

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A rocket fell near us Tuesday in Beit Sahour. From the way it broke-up, we think it was one of the “iron dome” missiles that missed its mark (this happens to some 70-80% of missiles that are supposed to intercept Palestinian  home-made rockets from Gaza).  The owner of the house said of the significant damage: “we are with Gaza and continue to be”.  Wars bring out the worse in people and the best in people. Israeli devastation of Gaza is facing against heroism of resilience and resistance of Palestinians and an awakening of conscience of millions. Every hour we hear stories and listen to dignified resilient voices from Gaza in the face of incredible devastation. Medics who continue to operate even as their colleagues and relatives are killed. Remaining family members who lost everything but promise to rebuild and fight back until freedom. Municipal workers trying to avert a catastrophe and keep bombed sewage and water lines open and separate. Neighbors helping each other. Resistance fighters coming back from the front lines to help dig for civilian corpses buried under the rubble. A child consoling her little brother after all their family has been wiped out. People taking care of each other and giving all of us lessons in how we can keep our humanity. Messages from Gaza say to us “we survive, we are fine, how about you? How are you?” Gaza has become like the pH meter in my lab, a good barometer of change in the medium. How are we, the medium of humanity doing and where are we heading?

Palestinian Civil society organizations and public figures are calling on the world to demand the opening of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Israel has developed a doctrine of slowly increasing attacks on civilians to give them a chance to supposedly stop the resistance (an impossible task). The three stages used in the past four weeks included: first stage) used in the first week of the shelling of Gaza included  Israeli forces giving warning to some of the people to leave their houses before they flattened them with shells (a form of ethnic cleansing never-the-less).  Second stage) clearing neighborhoods with a blanket statement in media to evacuate whole neighborhoods, then flattening them (also ethnic cleansing), third stage) no warning just blanket and random shelling increasing civilian deaths.  Overlapping stage two and three was also the shelling of hospitals and schools and the power station (targeting infrastructure, mostly without notice given). Having exhausted these three stages which obviously were well planned, Israeli leaders announced victory and moved on. The only gain was to bank account of those who profit from wars (companies like Elbit Systems). This helps sales of weapons (depleting stocks which have to be bought back and the US taxpayers pay for these). People die but some people get to be even more rich.

On the bright side (if there is any), this adventure accelerated the inevitable decline of the racist genocidal state of Israel. The resistance is strengthened because people saw that Israel could not advance one or two kilometers into Gaza without casualties of its soldiers who are paranoid about being captured or killed (even killed by Israeli forces to prevent them from being captured. Many committed suicide or injured themselves to leave the battle field. In 1967, Israeli armies advanced and conquered hundreds of kilometers without any opposition from supposed “Arab armies”. The land conquered per hour was literally the time it took infantry to walk across the landscape (no opposition). Israel, Jordan and Egypt did not fight or even plan to fight. And they had supplies and open borders. Here a concentration camp (the enclave of Gaza) giving Israel a real fight and Israeli mighty army is bloodied and confused and wining about tunnels (well yes, the Vietcong also used tunnels because everything above ground was instantly scorched by imperial US forces). So many lies were uncovered that many observers have started to believe Hamas and other resistance groups more than they believe anything that the Western Mainstream Media and Netanyahu and his puppets have to say. Mr. Netanyahu came in front of the Israeli public and lied yet again. Israel acknowledged some 50 soldiers killed but most Israelis know the number is at least three times as high. Many Israeli families acknowledge money is being given to them to refrain from mentioning the killing of their children at the borders of Gaza. One Israeli leak suggested some 130-150 Israeli soldiers killed (closer to a number released by Hamas resistance). But the ceasefire declared by the UN (the only one declared by the UN and agreed to by the two parties) was broken by Israeli forces after they encountered some resistance fighters in their advance to Rafa and two Israeli soldiers were killed and the area was bombed burying a third soldier with the resistance fighters on spot. The Israeli government version of this was a fabrication (soldiers were attacked, one was kidnapped etc). Hamas’s version of what might have happened was more believable (they lost contact with soldiers defending the field East of Rafah and they presume them dead). Belatedly the Israeli version changed and they were forced t accept a version closer to what the Palestinians said. But this is of little consolation to Palestinians including children massacred with the excuse that Hamas broke the cease fire. Now there is talk in Cairo to give Israel what it could not achieve by military means: impunity from crimes, pacification of the natives while maintaining colonization and injustice.

But people are moving. The above call and other like it are followed by actions. There si widening boycotts of everything Israeli and people are mobilizing aid convoys to Gaza (three trucks from my own town of Beit Sahour will leave in the next two days and this is just one of hundreds of such efforts).  Yet this is still not enough. 400,000 Palestinians are now dislocated and for nearly half of them, their homes have been destroyed. Billions of dollars are needed to rebuild. Every bit helps though and actions speak louder than words. As we help Gaza Palestinians on a humanitarian level, we must also ensure accountability and to prevent more Israeli crimes. To do that we need BDS, we need ICC, we need coordination and joint action.

Names of Palestinians murdered by the colonial fascist Israeli forces (they are not numbers or even names, they are people with their stories and their rights violated and robbed of their lives by a war machine empowered by human silence)

I have many friends/colleagues in Gaza and all where affected by the ongoing horrors, more than half of them had family members killed (see for example story of family members of our colleague Dr Mona El Farra ), and one was killed herself with two of her children.

Being calmly rational about dead children feels like a very particular form of madness. Whatever else journalistic objectivity is, it surely cannot be the elimination of human emotion

Israeli Vets Speak Out: What Really Goes On In Gaza

Starvation, shooting at kids, casual violence—former IDF soldiers reveal the abuses by the Israeli military in Gaza

Photographer is killed as he videotapes attacks on ambulances

here is the same incident from another photographer who survived this war crime

A very excellent example of an article putting the context out that is ignored by Zionist dominated western media. We should all learn to write like that and to focus our energy on media.

 

Who profits from the war on Gaza

Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Boycott Israel: here is research on 60 companies to boycott/picket etc.

Dr. Mads Gilbert makes a moving speech upon his return to Norway from Gaza

Norman Finkelstein” The word is out, Israel is a lunatic state

 

CEASEFIRE TALKS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND ISRAEL

Egypt seems  to be trying to act as broker in negotiating a ceasefire between the warring factions of Israel and Palestine, BUT …. an important element is missing from those talks. The Palestinians are NOT being represented at all so what you have in actuality are talks between Israel and itself ….. talks that will obviously lead nowhere.

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And thanks to Uncle Sam that budget is unlimited

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From HaAretz, a report on the Palestinian view of the ‘talks’ …

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Confusion reigns in Cairo as sides remain far apart

Egypt’s president doesn’t think Hamas and Israel will reach an agreement in coming days, while the Palestinians aren’t even sure who’s authorized to agree on their behalf.

There is some confusion in the Palestinian delegation about who is actually conducting their negotiations. According to Egyptian sources, every idea that is raised goes to Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal for comments, agreement or rejection. His delegates in Cairo have no authority to decide – in contrast to Islamic Jihad representatives, who were instructed by the organization’s leader to accept Egyptian proposals.

Read the full Report HERE

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Below is a post from last night outlining the source of that confusion …

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THIS IS WHAT THEY PROPOSE AS THE LEADER OF GAZA

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WHY NOT GO ALL THE WAY AND PROPOSE THIS INSTEAD?

We can call it a Troika ;)

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I really had to laugh when I read the following report from Ynet ….

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Egyptian ceasefire plan introduces PA control in Gaza

Analysis: Israel seems prepared to accept passage of goods, people between Gaza, West Bank; diplomats considering release of prisoners withheld during peace talks.

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Egypt’s intelligence chief, Major General Mohamed Ahmed Fareed Al-Tuhami, is taking action at ceasefire talks in Cairo to consolidate an initial agreement focused on a ceasefire and humanitarian relief.

According to the emerging agreement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA) will have control over the Philadelphi Route to prevent further construction of smuggling tunnels beneath the border between Egypt and Gaza.

By following this plan, Abbas and forces under the PA would be responsible for monitoring or destroying entrances to smuggling tunnels on the Palestinian side and the Egyptians would do the same from Sinai as they have done up till now.

 

Under the Egyptian initiative, the PA would gain control of the Philadelphi Roue. (Photo: AFP)
Under the Egyptian initiative, the PA would gain control of the Philadelphi Roue. (Photo: AFP)

 

These plans for the Philadelphi Route are all part of the Egyptian ceasefire plan which would include the opening of the Rafah border crossing under control of the PA and which Abbas’ negotiators seem ready to accept within the framework of their reconciliation government with Hamas, restoring some form of control and status to the PA in the Gaza Strip.

In accordance with the current outlines drawn up by the Egyptians, Israel is required to facilitate the movement of goods at the Kerem Shalom border crossing as well as the movement of people between Gaza and the West Bank through the Erez border crossing. Israel is prepared to agree to such a deal.

The Israelis have also signaled that they are prepared to grant the Palestinians expanded fishing rights off the Gaza coast, but demand that Israeli forces will be able to monitor a security parameter from the west to the fence surrounding the Strip in order to make sure that Palestinian organizations aren’t digging new smuggling tunnels.

It’s not completely clear if the Israelis are demanding a permanent presence in the security parameter or simply the right to enter the area when there is suspicion of a tunnel being dug and about to emerge in Israeli territory.

According to the Egyptian initiative, besides having control of the Philidelphi Route and the Rafah border crossing, the PA will act as a middle man, passing funds from Qatar to Hamas in the amount required to pay some 43,000 government officials who have not been paid for quite some time.

The efforts to reach an agreement are being held mainly in Cairo, but are also taking place by telephone between the Israelis, Egypt, the PA, the US, and a few countries representing EU interests. The UN envoy Robert Serry is also involved in these efforts.

These efforts are complex, but can be easily separated into two different political fronts or goals to be achieved.

1. The involved parties are working to achieve an immediate ceasefire that will allow for humanitarian relief to reach Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

2. The general consensus is also that a long-term agreement needs to be reached that will include an international declaration to prevent Hamas’ military build up under either Palestinian or international supervision, and a large aid package to rebuild the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli delegation is not currently present in Cairo, mostly because their presence isn’t necessary for talks to continue. The envoy that returned to Israel on Friday already gave the Egyptians their stance on the initial agreement.

So far, Egyptian mediators have not phoned and asked the Israelis to change or reconsider any of their terms. Therefore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can say without hesitation that he is not negotiating with Hamas while Israel remains under fire. At least for the time being, the Israeli envoy doesn’t seem to be preparing to return to Cairo, but such action is possible.

 

A rocket that fell near a town in the Eshkol Regional Council as fire from Gaza continued Saturday. (Photo: Eshkol Regional Council Spokesperson)
A rocket that fell near a town in the Eshkol Regional Council as fire from Gaza continued Saturday. (Photo: Eshkol Regional Council Spokesperson)

 

Israel, Egypt, and the PA all have mutual interests in the Egyptian initiative which intelligence chief Al-Tuhami is currently trying to sell to the Palestinians. At the moment, Hamas is standing by its demands, but according to assessments in Cairo and Jerusalem, the group will eventually agree to a ceasefire and the terms of the initial agreement. The sides will then sit and talk out the main diplomatic truce.

Prisoner release

Israel will most likely agree to release Palestinian prisoners that were denied their freedom during the last round of peace talks. This move will strengthen PA leader Abbas and at least partially meet Hamas’ demands to release certain prisoners. However, right-wing politicians in Israel deny reports regarding the possible release of prisoners who were released in the deal for Gilad Shalit and re-captured during Operation Brother’s keeper in the West Bank.

Bassam as-Salhi, a member of the Palestinian envoy to Cairo, said Saturday that the Palestinians have postponed Israel’s suggestion to release prisoners in exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers.

As-Salhi spoke to Ma’an News Agency on Saturday saying that the Palestinians are refusing to discuss the subject of the soldiers in the framework of the ceasefire talks. He said that the delegates would be ready to raise the issue after their other demands were met.

 

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is making a push on the international front to come to an agreement in Gaza. (Photo: Emil Salman)
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is making a push on the international front to come to an agreement in Gaza. (Photo: Emil Salman)

 

Meanwhile, in the international arena, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is pushing for an agreement that will finance the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip with funds from the US, EU and possibly even the UN while making sure to enforce strict inspection to prevent the military build up of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas proactively continues to fire rockets at Israel in relatively small amounts. Even Hamas doesn’t want to anger the Egyptians and lose points in international and Palestinian opinion. Therefore, they are simply allowing Islamic Jihad to fire the rockets while seemingly putting limits on them.

This policy allows Hamas to keep its stockpile of rockets for another day. Israel is responding to rocket fire by hitting targets picked out by intelligence efforts during the fighting including operation and control centers which were already attacked but which Hamas is trying to reoccupy.

Israel is also attacking with comparative restraint in order no to upset Egyptian efforts to reach a stable ceasefire.

 

HAMAS IS NOT IN A POSITION OF POWER TO WAGE WAR AGAIN

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It looks like the Ceasefire has come to an end ….

Hamas has legitimate demands for it to have continued, but they are dealing with a most stubborn entity which is backed by US unlimited funding.

Hamas’ original Demands

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First a video dealing with those demands…

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1. Return of IDF tank positions so that farmers can work their lands

2. Freeing of all prisoners arrested since June 23 (when 3 Israeli teens were killed by Hamas operatives), and improving the conditions of those currently in prison.

3. Lifting of Israel’s naval blockade around Gaza along with the complete opening of the land border crossings.

4. Establishment of an international airport and seaport in Gaza.

5. Expansion of Gaza fishing zone by six miles.

6. Open the Israel-Gaza Rafah border crossing permanently under UN supervision, instead of under Israel’s watch.

7. 10 year truce with Israel along with the deployment of an international observer force on the border.

8. Israel must never enter Gaza under any circumstances and protect Palestinian Muslim worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

9. Israel must refrain from interfering with the newly created unity Palestinian  government between Fatah and Hamas.

10. Rehabilitation of Gaza Industrial Zones and allowance for Gaza to create a border protection force.

All of the above are legitimate!

All, or most of the above, will not be met by Israel.

BUT

There are forces within Gaza that are working in the interests of Israel at the moment as they once again began firing rockets into Israel this morning.

THE RESULT

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THIS IS WHAT IS CONTINUING

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Here a rocket from Gaza hits near a school in Sderot ….

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Here is the Israeli response ….

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Here is DesertPeace’s response to WHAT CAN AND SHOULD BE

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It CAN …. It WILL be done! We have NO OTHER CHOICE!

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ENOUGH ALREADY!

FROM BOTH SIDES!!

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Dr. Mads Gilbert adds the following thoughts

Dr. Mads Gilbert: Solidarity with Gaza! If no siege, no tunnels! – If no occupation, no rockets!

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Dr. Mads Gilbert from Tromsø, Norway (Twin City with Gaza City), was working at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza during the last Israeli onslaugt on Gaza. When he returned from Gaza to his home-town Tromsø on July 31 2014, he went straight from the airport to give this spontaneous speech at a large solidarity demonstration for Gaza held at the same time. The regional newspaper “Nordlys” (“Northern Light”) streamed the demonstration and featured Dr. Mads’ speech on their web-site. They have donated the video. It was transcribed and subtitled in English through a solidarity effort by Norwegian film and video professionals. The video can be shared and used for non-commercial purposes.

Friends of Gaza posted this on YouTube.

 

THE OAKLAND PALESTINE SOLIDARITY MURAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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