IN PHOTOS ~~ THE LITTLE DOLLS OF GAZA’S DEAD CHILDREN

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Although they have only finished about 1/3 of our representations of the children murdered in Gaza the Granny Peace Brigade brought them to a demonstration organized by Jews Say No at the subway station on W. 96th St. and Broadway yesterday.  Jews Say No does this regularly in an effort to engage with the community and discuss what is happening in Israel/Palestine.  The reaction to the Gaza children representations was very strong.  Many people gave the Grannies a thumbs-up or came over to speak saying they were glad to see them there.  Several others were very passionate in their condemnation, screaming, calling the Grannies ignorant and anti-semites, and accusing them of pandering to people’s feelings.  For the most part the demonstrators didn’t respond to the attacks.  When there is one representation for each murdered child they will be taken to public places around the city and displayed.

As a sidenote, Palestinian children throughout Israel and the West Bank have been sending their ‘Eid Gifts’ to help the ‘little people’ still suffering in Gaza’s hospitals.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer … Commentary by Chippy Dee

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IN PHOTOS ~~ MARCH FOR JUSTICE IN STATEN ISLAND

 

"Do we actually have to say this?"*

Thousands marched in Staten Island today. They were protesting police brutality and abuse. They were demanding justice for the victims of that abuse. Eric Garner was placed in an illegal choke hold by a NYPD office several weeks ago. His crime? Selling illegal cigarettes. Despite his protestations and his repeated plea of “I can’t breathe,” despite the fact that he was already subdued, despite the fact that he was surround by cops, the officer continued to choke Mr. Garner. The result? Eric Garner died on the sidewalk, a victim, like so many others, of out-of-control police brutality. These police crimes are then followed by a disturbing lack of transparency and a failure of the justice system to indict, try and convict. Victims are invariably people of color.
The time has come for civilian control of the police forces and an end to the militarization of police departments around the country. The sight of tanks and long rifles being aimed at American citizens in American towns like Ferguson, Missouri by a police department in camouflage and armed with military weapons should frighten and anger everybody.

The thousands marching in Staten Island today were saying “Enough!” and demanding that democratic control of police become a reality.

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Photos and commentary © By Matt Weinstein

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""I can't breathe.""

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"Complaints about police abuse."

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"In front of the site of Eric Garner's murder by police."

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"The group, Picture The Homeless."

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"Javier and Danny."

FERGUSON AND GAZA … THE CONNECTION ~~ IN PHOTOS

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Late Wednesday afternoon many thousands of people marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in a strong show of solidarity with Gaza and with Ferguson, Missouri where the police appear to be at war with the residents of that city.  The people of Gaza have reached out to the people of Ferguson pointing out that they both may be afflicted by teargas manufactured by the same American company.  At about 6:30 the marchers began across the bridge starting at the Brooklyn side.  There was a sea of Palestinian flags for as far as the eye could see and shouts of “Free, Free Palestine”.  The marchers were of every age, race, and ethnicity and many carried signs declaring their solidarity with Palestine and saying that the U.S. government did not speak for them in supporting what Israel was doing by sending money and arms to Israel.  Their chant was, “Not another nickle, not another dime.  No more money for Israel’s crimes”.  At one point people noticed that a gigantic banner with the colors of the Palestinian flag had been attached and was flying off the Manhattan Bridge (a marvelous act of civil disobedience), located a short distance from the Brooklyn Bridge.  In the red section it said GAZA  In Our Hearts and the other colors carried the words, BOYCOTT DIVEST SANCTIONS.  Marchers saw the banner, clearly enjoying it and pointing it out to others which drew the attention of the police.  They notified other cops and we could soon see red lights flashing on the Manhattan Bridge while the beautiful banner was being removed.  But it was there for about 20 minutes, enough time to lift the spirits of the marchers. 

 

By the time everyone finished walking across the bridge night had fallen.  It was dark. Everyone walked to Police Plaza in front of the central police headquarters where people spoke in small groups or listened to speakers.  We met a young woman from France, a tourist, who was very excited at having come upon the march and joined it.  She said they had bigger marches for Palestine in Paris but she was here now and very pleased that she was able to join in.   People were generally excited by the number of people who had marched, those numbers keep growing.  There was a militancy in the crowd  along with a disgust that Israel was once again committing genocide with impunity.  But mixed in with that there was a hint of, as was well said by Fanny Lou Hamer, a great hero of the civil rights movement, we’re ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired’.  We must put all our energy into the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions and win this fight.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer … Commentary by Chippy Dee

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LAST NITE WHILE WORKING ON THE BKLYN BRIDGE MARCH FOTOS  I HEARD LOUD VOICES & CHANTING  “HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT” COMING FRM THE STREET 10 FLOORS BELOW.

THE CHANTS CAME FROM A MASS OF PEOPLE W/ HANDS UP & DEMONSTRATING THRU LOWER EAST SIDE MANHATTAN STREETS (IT APPEARS THERE WAS A LARGE MEETING IN SUPPORT OF FERGUSON ELSE WHERE,  IN ADDITION TO THE GAZA BKLYN BRIDGE  MARCH).

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UPDATES ON BLOCKING THE BOAT FOR GAZA

THE EFFORTS ARE WORKING!

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See last night’s post, then see updates on Facebook below …

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UPDATES HERE
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SUPPORT ACTIONS IN NEW YORK YESTERDAY
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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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

#StayingHumanWithGaza ~~ IN PHOTOS

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150,000 marched in London yesterday for Gaza. Thousands marched in New York as well … below are photos from that. Video follows

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Chris Hedges was a main speaker at the rally that followed the march

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IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

In front of 42nd St. Library in NYC

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“I AM BECOME DEATH THE DESTROYER OF WORLD”

By Tom Karlson

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August 6th nineteen and forty-five

Enola Gay flies high

8:15

bombs away, Little Boy

 

8:16 one hundred fifty-thousand dead, vaporized

two hundred-thousand Hibakusha,

zombies stagger down streetless streets

silhouetting their dead friends, family

a cityless city

called Hiroshima

 

on a standing wall an image of

a man, a woman, burned into the brick’s retina

 

the little haberdasher is not done

praying to his god

“to use it his way and

for his purposes”

August 9th,

he orders Bockscar to drop Fat Man,

ninety thousand exterminated, vaporized

Hiroshima and Nagasaki will sing no more

 

Truman “The atom bomb was no ‘great decision,”

 

Eisenhower “…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

 

MacArthur “…no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.”

 

“Albert Einstein…President Roosevelt would have forbidden the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had he been alive and that it was probably carried out to end the Pacific war before Russia could participate.”

 

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings Remembered

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Yasuaki Yamashita, a survivor of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.  (Photo by Paule Saviano)

It has been 69 years since the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As he has done for the last 20 years, Rev. Dr. Kenjitsu Nakagai, a Buddhist priest living in New York, organized an interfaith memorial event to commemorate the bombings.

On August 5, a peace gathering will be held at the West Park Presbyterian Church on West 86th Street in Manhattan, while a peace concert will be held on August 8. (Hiroshima was bombed on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9.)

Forming a backdrop for the events is a photography exhibit, “From Above,” with photos taken by Paule Saviano of various survivors of the bombings. Some of the photos appeared in a book of the same title, published in Tokyo.

Rev. Dr. Kenjitsu Nakagai (Photo by Kinue Imai Weinstein for Voices of NY)

Although the book was published in 2011, Saviano continues to seek out and photograph aging survivors of the bombing, in order to take their portraits and collect their thoughts before they die. As part of the project he interviews his subjects and accompanies their photographs with quotes.

The photographer spoke about his project at a kickoff reception for the commemoration on August 1. “I wanted the human faces to tell the history,” he said.

A number of hibakusha (nuclear bomb victims) lived outside Japan after World War II. Hideo Sotobayashi, for example, lived in Berlin since the 1950s and started speaking about his “hibakusha” story only after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster brought on by the tsunami in March 2011. Saviano photographed him just eight months before Mr. Sotobayashi’s death.

Paule Saviano at the exhibit "From Above." (Photo by Kinue Imai Weinstein for Voices of NY)

It was during a photo exhibit he had in Tokyo in 2007 that Saviano, a native of Brooklyn, became interested in the nuclear bomb victims. With assistance from the Peace Wing of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, he met victims in 2008.

The book “From Above,” contains 51 black-and-white photos. In addition to victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, it includes pictures of the Bikini Incident (at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands), a nuclear testing disaster in the 1950s, and the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden, Germany, during World War II.

This is what Hidetaka Komine, a survivor of Nagasaki, told Saviano: “I was 4 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped. So I don’t know ‘normal life.’ I hated the war for a long time, but realized having a grudge does nothing. I have to speak and leave messages to the next generation.”

 

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IN PHOTOS ~~ 10,000 STRONG MARCH IN NEW YORK MARCH FOR GAZA’S CHILDREN

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The continuing slaughter of innocents in Gaza brought a crowd of what one police officer estimated to be 10,000 people into the streets of New York on Friday.  They met at the headquarters of CNN and then marched through the crowded theater district to the Fox News Building.  At both places they accused the corporate news entities of lying to the public and shouted “Shame!” repeatedly.  The crowd was mostly young, multi ethnic, sad, and very angry.  The tourists on the streets along Broadway looked astonished and fascinated.  They read the signs and explained what was happening to their children.  Some gave a thumbs-up and said they were glad to see people out protesting what was happening.  It seemed that very many of the demonstrators were young Palestinian Americans who felt a strong tie to the Palestinian people  struggling in Palestine and Israel and wanted to express strong feelings of solidarity with them  as well as protest the torment that Israel was inflicting.  Golda Meir is reputed to have said, in reference to the Palestinian people, the old will die and the young will forget.  Judging by who has been in the streets over the past 3 weeks, she couldn’t have been more wrong.  These young people know exactly who they are, what has happened to them, and they are not about to forget anything.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer … Commentary above by Chippy Dee

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WE CANNOT SAY
WE DID NOT KNOW

ONCE AGAIN IN SHOCK
ONCE AGAIN IN SORROW
ONCE AGAIN ENRAGED

We carry the names of the dead in Gaza.
In the name of decency we must act.

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Photo credit Laura Krasovitzky
 
On July 31, 2014, we gathered to mourn Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli military forces. We read some of their names aloud.  We marched silently from Bryant Park to the Israeli Consulate in New York City wearing names of those who were murdered.

The March of The Dead continues.

Some of us wore death masks to represent the massacre of civilian populations throughout Gaza. At the site of the Israeli Consulate
eight masked activists were arrested.

Actions around the world continue in solidarity
with the people of Palestine.

We will not be silent.

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Photo credit Bud Korotzer
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Photo credit Michael Nigro
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   Photo credit Belén Suárez

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Photo credit Len Tsou

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Photo credit Lisa Guido

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Photo credit Belén Suárez

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Photo credit Bud Korotzer

[] Photo credit Lisa Guido

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Photo credit Lisa Guido

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Photo credit Laura Krasovitzky

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Photo credit Laura Krasovitzky

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Click here to view more photos. 

NEW YORKERS REFUSE TO REMAIN SILENT ~~ PHOTO ESSAY

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The demonstration was organized by WE WILL NOT BE SILENT,  a group of artists and activists who take the name  from the words of the sister and brother anti-Nazi activists in Hitler’s Germany who formed the group known as the White Rose.  They were both captured and executed.  Scores of people met in Bryant Park, stood in a line while each wore the name of one of the people murdered in Gaza and a member of the group read some of the names of those killed.  At noon they began a slow walk of mourning in a single file to the Israeli Consulate. Once they reached their destination twelve members of the group staged a die-in  in front of the Consulate bringing traffic to a stop on busy 2nd Avenue.  They were arrested for this act of civil disobedience, a tactic frequently used by Dr. Martin Luther King.  This week there have been several such acts in New York and in other cities with some being initiated by Jewish  Voice for Peace but most others came about through people, in a state of anguish and rage, making connections on facebook and coming together to express their pain, their anger, and their need to say, not in my name.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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PHOTOS OF ‘DIE-IN’ AND MARCH FOR GAZA IN NEW YORK

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The demonstrators made a short tour of financial institutions in midtown Manhattan that are supporting Israeli policies financially and aiding in colonization.  The demonstrators stopped at 2 banks and walked through the diamond district where many were glad to have a heavy police escort since the business owners appeared to become
agitated and threatening.  In front of one of the banks 6 people performed an act of civil disobedience by having a die-in after spraying the bank and street with fake blood.  Using passive resistance, the police were forced to lift  and carry them to the police van to arrest them.
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The Die-In and arrests …
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And the march …
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In the afternoon several thousand people of every age, race, and ethnicity
converged on Times Sq. for a rally against the Gaza massacre.  Families came
with their flags, posters, and beautiful children.  After the rally everyone
marched across busy 42nd St. to the Israeli Consulate. They got considerable
support from people standing aside to watch the marchers pass.
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Diamond merchants seem to have a problem with the marchers … I guess zionism is their BEST FRIEND
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PHOTOS ~~ THOUSANDS PARICIPATE IN COALITION MARCH FOR PEACE IN NEW YORK

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The demonstration and march, organized by a coalition of groups supporting justice in Palestine, began at Foley Sq. where the names of children murdered in Gaza were read.  Some in the crowd of approximately 2,000 were weeping.  Led by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra the mile and 1/2 march weaving west through the busy streets of lower Manhattan to the shore of the Hudson began.  It was a noisy chanting group carrying Palestinian flags and signs demanding an end to the U.S. funding of Israel, an end to the occupation, and a cease to the slaughter by Israel in Gaza.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Also see THIS report from the Forward

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Not in Our Name: New Yorkers rally against Israeli war in Gaza in lower Manhattan.

MARTYNA STAROSTA
Not in Our Name: New Yorkers rally against Israeli war in Gaza in lower Manhattan.

PHOTO OF ONE OF THE SADDEST THINGS THE GOD OF ABRAHAM EVER WITNESSED

So sad when a Father has to watch His children act this way ….

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Photo: Twitter Screenshot

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Astronaut sees rocket fire from space: ‘My saddest photo yet’

Image taken hundreds of miles from earth captures IDF strikes on Gaza, rockets launched from Strip fly over Israel.

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According to Gerst, the photo that was taken from more than 200 miles from earth documents Israel and Gaza during an evening of rocket attacks and aerial strikes. The dark part at the top of the picture is the Mediterranean Sea.

Source

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And Latuff’s latest spoof ….. One child killed every hour

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Jewish Law is not necessarily God’s Law

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Rabbi Lior: Jewish law permits destruction of Gaza to bring safety to Israel

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Senior national religious leader and Chief Municipal Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron Rabbi Dov Lior published a letter this week saying that according to Jewish law it would be permitted to destroy the entire Gaza strip to bring peace to southern Israel.

Lior said that he had received questions about whether it is permitted according to Jewish law to harm a civilian population not directly involved with the combatants.

“At a time of war it is permitted for the people who are attacked to punish the enemy population with measures such as blocking supplies or electricity and to shell the entire area according to the considerations of the minister of the army and not to needlessly endanger soldiers but rather to take crushing warning steps to exterminate the enemy,” Lior wrote.

Addressing the current hostilities with Hamas, the rabbi continued “In the case of Gaza, it would be permitted for the Minister of Defense to even order the destruction of all of Gaza so that the south will no longer suffer  and to prevent injury to our people who have been suffering for so long from the enemies surrounding us.”

Lior added that “talk of humanism and consideration are as nothing when weighed against saving our brothers in the south and across the country and the restoration of quiet to our land.”

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On condemned Lior’s comments and called on the Attorney General to open an investigation into him for incitement.

“The racist comments of Rabbi Dov Lior have for some time not been protected by freedom of speech. We’re talking about a man who praises mass murder, stands behind those who murder innocents and took part in the incitement that led to the murder of a prime minister,” said Gal-On in reference to Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated in a politically motivated murder.

“These type of comments are not made in a vacuum but are rather an inseparable part of the dangerous and tempestuous atmosphere prevailing in Israeli society in recent weeks,” said Gal-On.

 

FROM

 

AS THE WAR EFFORT GROWS, SO DOES THE JEWISH OPPOSITION TO IT ~~ IN PHOTOS

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They say .. “The little boys who were blown-up by the IDF while playing soccer on the beach were there to hide a missile launcher so their blood is really on Hamas’ hands.”

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We say .. “Not another nickel, not another dime.  No more money for Israel’s crimes” and “Jews stand with Gaza.  End the occupation”.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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The home of the Friends of the IDF in NYC

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And their best friends …

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Watch here as they arrest 9 of the activists …. warning them in advance, not unlike the IDF that warns Gazans that their home will soon be bombed … (From Alex Kane at Mondoweiss)

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And the friends of humanity …

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PHOTOS OF THE CARNAGE IN GAZA

The latest massacre brings to more than 420 the number of Palestinians killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, now entering its second week. More than 3,000 people have been injured and tens of thousands have fled their homes, with many seeking shelter in UN-run schools.
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Massacre in Shujaiya: Dozens killed as Israel shells eastern Gaza City – photos

A Palestinian boy wounded by Israeli shelling, receives treatment at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, 20 July.(Ali Jadallah / APA images)
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Dozens of men, women and children were killed in the early hours of Sunday as Israel indiscriminately shelled the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya.

Some sixty bodies have already been removed from the rubble of homes and apartment buildings, and the number of injured is more than two hundred, Palestinian health ministry spokesman Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra told local media.

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Smoke rises after an Israeli missile hit the Shujaiya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, 20 July.   (Ashraf Amra / APA images)
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But the true death toll could be even higher. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it coordinated a two-hour “humanitarian truce” to allow the rescue of the injured and the removal of bodies.

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Palestinian medics carries the body of girl killed during Israeli shelling, outside al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, 20 July.  (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

 

The latest massacre brings to more than 420 the number of Palestinians killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, now entering its second week. More than 3,000 people have been injured and tens of thousands have fled their homes, with many seeking shelter in UN-run schools.

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Palestinians flee the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City during heavy Israeli shelling on 20 July. (Ezz al-Zanoun / APA images)

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Gaza is a small territory, home to 1.8 million people, and no place in the territory has been safe from Israeli land, sea and air attacks. Egypt’s military dictatorship, closely allied with Israel, has kept the Rafah crossing tightly sealed.

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The bodies of Palestinians lie on the ground of al-Shifa hospital morgue in Gaza City on 20 July following a massacre in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiyeh. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

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Eyewitnesses to aftermath

Some journalists entered Shujaiya during the pause in the Israeli attack and tweeted images of what they saw. Others tweeted images from in or near Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital.

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Medics at al-Shifa hospital mourn their colleague who was targeted and killed in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya neighbourhood earlier in the day on 20 July. (Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

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NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin posted these images on his Instagram account today from the morgue at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, where many of the massacre victims have been brought:

SEEGER FEST FOR PEACE

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At Lincoln Center – zillions of people came to celebrate Pete & Toshi.  It was like a hootenanny that went on for almost 4 hours with lots of performers singing Pete’s songs with the audience joining in.  There was one totally beautiful speech by Harry Belafonte who praised Pete’s dedication to humanity and added that when he sang Tsena, Tsena he never dreamed that the country would turn into the horrible spectacle of children’s destroyed bodies lying on a beach in Gaza.  He saw an opportunity to speak truth and he took it.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Pete Seeger brought the world together

Pete Seeger, who died in January, was a modern-day troubadour for social justice who was on the frontline of every key progressive crusade in his lifetime. Peter Dreier pays tribute to a great artist and human being.

‘TO everything, there is a season,’ Pete Seeger’s song, ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, tells us. ‘A time to be born, a time to die.’

Seeger died on 27 January at 94. In the spirit of that song, he spent his time on earth planting, healing, laughing, building, dancing, loving, embracing and advocating peace.

Seeger brought the world closer together with his music. Every day, every minute, someone in the world is singing a Pete Seeger song. For over six decades, he introduced Americans to songs from other cultures, like ‘Wimoweh’ (‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’) from South Africa, ‘Tzena, Tzena’ from Israel (which reached number two on the pop charts) and ‘Guantanamera’ from Cuba, inspiring what is now called ‘world music’. The songs he has written, including the antiwar tunes, ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’, ‘If I Had a Hammer’ and ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, and those he has popularised, including ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’, have been recorded by hundreds of artists in many languages and have become global anthems for people fighting for freedom. His songs are sung by people in cities and villages around the world, promoting the basic idea that the hopes that unite us are greater than the fears that divide us.

Seeger was a much-acclaimed and innovative guitarist and banjoist, a globe-trotting song collector, and the author of many songbooks and musical how-to manuals. In addition to being a World War II veteran, he was on the frontlines of every key progressive crusade during his lifetime – labour unions and migrant workers in the 1930s and 1940s, the banning of nuclear weapons and opposition to the Cold War in the 1950s, civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, environmental responsibility and opposition to South African apartheid in the 1970s, and, always, human rights throughout the world.

For the past decade, Pete has kept coming out of semi-retirement to do one more concert, give one more interview, write one more book, record one more album. His remarkable spirit, energy and optimism kept him going through triumphs and tragedies, but he outlived all his enemies and remained one of the greatest American heroes of this or any other era.

Several biographies of Seeger have been published in the past decade, including David King Dunaway’s How Can I Keep from Singing? The Ballad of Pete Seeger, Alec Wilkinson’s The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger, and Alan Winkler’s To Everything There Is a Season: Pete Seeger and the Power of Song. Six years ago Jim Brown produced a wonderful documentary film, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.

Pete, who was modest and self-effacing despite his remarkable accomplishments, never wrote an autobiography. But two years ago he published a collection of his writings, Pete Seeger: In His Own Words. The book presents Pete in his own voice. With Pete’s cooperation, Rob Rosenthal, sociology professor at Wesleyan University, and Sam Rosenthal, a musician and writer, dug through Pete’s extensive writings – letters stored for decades in his family barn, notes to himself, published articles, rough drafts, stories, books, poems and songs – to chronicle and illuminate Pete’s incredible life as America’s troubadour for social justice.

Making music for change

The son of musicologists Charles and Ruth Seeger, Pete spent two years at Harvard, where he got involved in radical politics and helped start a student newspaper, The Harvard Progressive. He quit in 1938 in order to try his own hand at changing society by making music. He worked at the Library of Congress’s Archive of American Folk Song, where he learned many of the songs he would sing throughout his career, travelled around with Woody Guthrie singing at migrant labour camps and union halls, and perfected his guitar- and banjo-playing skills.

In 1941, at age 22, Seeger formed the Almanac Singers with Lee Hays and Millard Lampell, later joined by Guthrie, Bess Lomax (daughter of musicologist John Lomax) and several others who rotated in and out of the group. The Almanacs drew on traditional songs and wrote their own songs to advance the cause of progressive groups, the Communist Party, the Congress of Industrial Organisations unions, the New Deal and, later, the United States and its allies (including the Soviet Union) in the fight against fascism. The Almanacs were part of a broader upsurge of popular progressive culture during the New Deal, fostered in part by programmes like the federal theatre and writers’ projects. Even so, the group was hounded by the FBI, got few bookings and was dropped by its agent, the William Morris Agency. After Seeger and Guthrie joined the military, the group disbanded in 1943.

The Almanacs cultivated an image of being unpolished amateurs. Guthrie once said that the Almanacs ‘rehearsed on stage’. Among them, however, Seeger was the most gifted and disciplined musician, with a remarkable repertoire of traditional songs. He carefully crafted a stage persona that inspired audiences to join him, a performing style that he perfected when he began working as a soloist. Every Seeger concert involved a lot of group singing.

Immediately after World War II, American radicals and liberals sought to reignite popular support for progressive unions, civil rights and internationalism. The left’s folk-music wing hoped to build on its modest successes before and during the war. In 1946 Seeger led the effort to create People’s Songs, an organisation of progressive songwriters and performers, dominated by but not confined to folk musicians, and People’s Artists, a booking agency to help the members of People’s Songs get concert gigs and recording contracts. They compiled The People’s Song Book, which included protest songs from around the world, sponsored a number of successful concerts, and organised chapters in several cities and on college campuses.

When Henry Wallace ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948, his campaign relied heavily on folk music. Seeger travelled with Wallace during the campaign, distributing song sheets at every meeting or rally so that sing-alongs, led by Seeger, could alternate with Wallace’s speeches.

By 1949 folk music’s popularity had grown, with performers like Burl Ives, Josh White and others gaining a foothold in popular culture, but the folk music of this period had lost much of its political edge.

For a brief period, as a member of the Weavers folk quartet, Seeger achieved commercial success, performing several chart-topping songs that reflected his eclectic repertoire. The group was formed in 1948 by Seeger and Hays (both former Almanacs), along with Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman. They exposed audiences to their repertoire of songs from around the world as well as to American folk traditions, but without the overt advocacy of left-wing political causes. Decca Records signed the Weavers to a recording contract and added orchestral arrangements and instruments to their music, a commercial expediency that rankled Seeger but delighted Hays. The Weavers performed in the nation’s most prestigious nightclubs and appeared on network television shows.

In 1950 their recording of an Israeli song, ‘Tzena, Tzena’, reached number two on the pop charts, and their version of Lead Belly’s ‘Goodnight, Irene’ reached number one and stayed on the charts for half a year. Several of their recordings – ‘On Top of Old Smokey’, ‘Kisses Sweeter Than Wine’, ‘Wimoweh’, and ‘Midnight Special’ – also made the charts. Their 1951 recording of Guthrie’s song ‘So Long It’s Been Good to Know You’ reached number four.

The blacklist years

But the Weavers’ commercial success was shortlived. As soon as they began to be widely noticed in 1950, they were targeted by both private and government witch-hunters. The FBI and Congress escalated their investigations. A group of former FBI agents founded the newsletter Counterattack in 1947 to expose Communism in American society; in 1950, the newsletter issued a special report, ‘Red Channels: the Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television’. It listed 151 actors, writers, musicians, broadcast journalists and others whom it claimed were part of the Communist influence in the entertainment industry – including Seeger and the Weavers. Hollywood studios, TV shows and other venues blacklisted people on the list. A few performers, notably Josh White and Burl Ives, agreed to cooperate with the investigators and were able to resume their careers; others refused to do so, and some were blacklisted. The Weavers survived for another year with bookings and even TV shows, but finally the escalating Red Scare caught up with them. Their contract for a summer television show was cancelled. They could no longer get bookings in the top nightclubs. Radio stations stopped playing their songs, and their records stopped selling. They never had another major hit record.

Seeger left the Weavers to pursue a solo career, but he was blacklisted from the early 1950s through the mid-1960s. In 1955 he was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to discuss his political affiliations at a hearing called by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, although he never spent time in jail. (The conviction was overturned on appeal in May 1962.) Many colleges and concert halls refused to book Seeger. He was kept off network television. In 1963 ABC refused to allow Seeger to appear on Hootenanny, which owed its existence to the folk music revival Seeger had helped inspire.

During the blacklist years, Seeger scratched out a living by giving guitar and banjo lessons and singing at the small number of summer camps, churches, high schools and colleges, and union halls that were courageous enough to invite the controversial balladeer. In 1966, on New York City’s nonprofit educational television station, he hosted a low-budget folk music programme, Rainbow Quest, that gave exposure to many little-known country, bluegrass and folk singers. The station had a limited viewership at the time, but fortunately the programmes were taped and are now available on YouTube.

Eventually, Seeger’s audience grew. In the 1960s he sang with civil rights workers at rallies and churches in the South and at the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. He popularised the song ‘We Shall Overcome’ in the United States and during his concerts around the world. In a letter to Seeger, Martin Luther King Jr thanked him for his ‘moral support and Christian generosity’. In 1967 Tom and Dick Smothers defiantly invited Seeger onto their popular CBS television variety show, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. True to his principles, Seeger insisted on singing a controversial antiwar song, ‘Waist Deep in the Big Muddy’. CBS censors refused to air the song, but public outrage forced the network to relent and allow him to perform the song on the show a few months later.

Role model

Seeger helped catalyse the folk music revival of the 1960s, encouraging young performers, helping start the Newport Folk Festival, and promoting the folk song magazine Sing Out! that he had helped launch. His book How to Play the 5-String Banjo taught thousands of baby boomers how to play this largely forgotten instrument. He continued to bring audiences songs from around the world, often sung in their original languages.

Tons of prominent musicians – including Bob Dylan, Bono, Joan Baez, the Byrds, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Morello and Bruce Springsteen – consider Seeger a role model and trace their musical roots to his influence. Many of his 80 albums, which include children’s songs, labour and protest songs, traditional American folk songs, international songs and Christmas songs, have reached wide audiences. Among performers around the globe, Seeger became a symbol of a principled artist deeply engaged in the world.

In 1969 Seeger launched the nonprofit group Clearwater, near his home in Beacon, New York, and an annual celebration dedicated to cleaning up the polluted Hudson River. The effort, at first written off as simplistic and naive, helped inspire the environmental movement. The Hudson, once filled with oil pollution, sewage and toxic chemicals, is now swimmable.

Through persistence and unrelenting optimism, Seeger endured and overcame the controversies triggered by his activism. In 1994, at age 75, he received the National Medal of Arts (the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the US government) as well as a Kennedy Center Honor, when President Bill Clinton called him ‘an inconvenient artist, who dared to sing things as he saw them’. In 1996 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because of his influence on so many rock performers. In 1997 he won the Grammy Award for his 18-track compilation album, Pete.

In the 21st century, some of the nation’s most prominent singers recorded albums honouring Seeger, including Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions. In May 2009 more than 15,000 admirers filled New York City’s Madison Square Garden for a concert honouring Seeger on his 90th birthday. The performers included Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Rufus Wainwright, Bela Fleck, Taj Mahal, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dar Williams, Tom Morello, Ani DiFranco and John Mellencamp.

In 2012 Pete released two new albums. A More Perfect Union featured 16 original songs written with singer-songwriter Lorre Wyatt and includes duets with Springsteen, Morello, Earle, Harris and Williams. The two-CD Pete Remembers Woody honoured his friend as part of the centennial celebration of Guthrie’s birth. It includes reminiscences, songs and anecdotes.

In the past year, Seeger released the music video and single of ‘God’s Counting on Me, God’s Counting on You’, performed with Arlo Guthrie at Carnegie Hall; shared the stage at New York’s Beacon Theater with Harry Belafonte, Jackson Browne and others to celebrate the life of Native American activist Leonard Peltier, and issued an audiobook titled Peter Seeger: The Storm King, Stories, Narratives and Poems (which was nominated for a Grammy).

Toshi, his wife of 70 years who helped manage Pete’s career, died in July. Despite the enormous loss, Pete kept on singing. He sang ‘I Come and Stand at Every Door’ on Democracy Now! on 9 August to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. He sang ‘This Land Is Your Land’ (adding an anti-fracking verse) at the Farm Aid concert in Saratoga Springs in September (joined by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews). In December, he performed at a concert in Nyack to benefit the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a peace group. He was scheduled to receive the first Woody Guthrie Award from the Guthrie Foundation and Grammy Foundation in February.

Probably no song reflects Pete’s indomitable spirit more than ‘Quite Early Morning’, the song he sang on the Colbert Report in 2012.

Don’t you know it’s darkest before the dawn

And it’s this thought keeps me moving on

If we could heed these early warnings

The time is now quite early morning

If we could heed these early warnings

The time is now quite early morning

Some say that humankind won’t long endure

But what makes them so doggone sure?

I know that you who hear my singing

Could make those freedom bells go ringing

I know that you who hear my singing

Could make those freedom bells go ringing

And so keep on while we live

Until we have no, no more to give

And when these fingers can strum no longer

Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

And when these fingers can strum no longer

Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

So though it’s darkest before the dawn

These thoughts keep us moving on

Through all this world of joy and sorrow

We still can have singing tomorrows

Through all this world of joy and sorrow

We still can have singing tomorrows

Pete’s fingers can strum no longer, but, thanks to him, people around the world can have many ‘singing tomorrows’.

 

From

NEW YORKERS HONOUR THE MARTYRS OF GAZA ~~ IN PHOTOS

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Mock Funeral held for the victims …

We met in Bryant Park behind the 42nd St. library, read the names of the dead, and then began a silent walk, only the sound of a drum, across 42nd St to the Israeli Consulate on 2nd Ave. We carried signs, Palestinian flags, figures of people wrapped in white, and some wore blood stained shrouds.  People on the crowded streets stood aside and watched our long line pass.  Some took photos.  When we got to the consulate we chanted and after about an hour we went to the Egyptian Consulate and did the same there.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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NEW YORKERS CONTINUE TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR GAZA ~~ IN PHOTOS

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As the bombings continue, so do the demonstrations for Peace in Gaza. Here at the UN Building yesterday, New Yorkers (mostly young Muslims) stand (and drive) for Justice in Palestine.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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And tomorrow in New York …

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Emergency Vigil & Flyering – Friday, July 11 6 PM @ Union Square

 

Click HERE to see photo gallery

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Also planned …

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In the words of our beloved friend and the martyr Vittorio Arrigoni:

“Stay human”
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IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS DEFY THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND STAND WITH PALESTINE … NOT WITH ISRAEL!

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NY elected officials say that New York Stands with Israel? Let’s tell them where we stand!
Our elected officials including City Councilmembers Mark Levine and David Greenfield, Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Assemblymember David Weprin are using their positions as representatives of the people of New York to lend support to Israel’s abuses and violations of international law.
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While the toll in Gaza climbs above 150 people dead and 1100 wounded, while Israel continues to attack and oppress Palestinians in its 67th year of dispossession and colonization, while the international BDS movement grows, we say these officials don’t speak for us!
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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Other actions of support …
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From South Africa
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From Detroit
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From Israel itself

THE WORLD STANDS WITH GAZA ~~ IN PHOTOS

Worldwide protests against Israeli attack on Gaza

Francece
France

 San Francisco, USASan Francisco, USA

Francefrance

GreeceGreece

 

Chicago,USA
Chicago

Glasgow, ScotlandGlasgow, Scotland

Edinburgh, ScotlandEdinburgh, Scotland

Lebanon (photo:AP)Lebanon

Tokyo, ,JapanTokyo, ,Japan

NorwayNorway

San FranciscoSan Francisco

SeattleSeattle

SeattleSeattle

Seattleeattle

Buenos Aires, ArgentinaBuenosAires, Argentina

Sydney, AustraliaSydney

Milan, ItalySpain

Bogata, ColumbiaBogata, Columbia

Chicago, USAChicago

GermanyGermany

Frankfurt, GermanyFrankfurt, Germany

NorwayNorway

All of the above from Annie Robbins AT

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Protests in the West Bank ….

From Kelly Lynn, also AT

 

 

Palestinian youth gathered again for the ninth consecutive night near Rachel’s Tomb on Bethlehem’s Jerusalem-Hebron Road on Friday, June 11th.  Clashes began on July 3rd in response to the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and have continued with the Israeli government’s current operation in Gaza.  At least 8 young people have been treated for wounds sustained from Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition and dozens more for injuries from rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation.

Approximately forty IDF soldiers and Border Police fired tear gas, skunk water, rubber bullets, sound grenades and live ammunition at demonstrators last night.  During a relatively quiet moment toward the end of the evening, a military jeep sped down Jerusalem-Hebron Road and fired ten rounds of tear gas from its high-capacity, variable-payload system.  Most demonstrators fled down the street while a few remained in nearby Al Azza Refugee Camp to seek shelter from the plumes.  Medics reported four families not involved in the demonstration were treated for tear gas inhalation and two youths were treated for gunshot wounds in the leg from live ammunition. The unconscious young man who was rushed to the hospital at the end of the clip was released in good condition after being treated.

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians have swept the West Bank since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir on July 2nd and only increased in frequency and intensity.  Hundreds have been injured in the latest bout of clashes across the West Bank.  According to IMEMC, in the last week, the use of live ammunition has been reported in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, Tulkarem, Kufr Qaddoum, Ramallah, Al Ram, Yatta, Al Arroub Refugee Camp and multiple villages in the districts of Ramallah and Hebron.

NEW YORKERS MARCH FOR PEACE IN GAZA ~~ PHOTO ESSAY

 

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There were over a thousand participants in the march. The general mood was one of anger and pain but not discouragement. Determination might best describe the mood. There were a few speeches, lots of loud chanting, and then a march from the Israeli Consul on 42nd & 2nd Ave. along 42nd St. (very crowded area, marchers were seen by many) and then turned north on 6th Ave. to FOX News on 48th St. 
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People of all ages took part …
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Jews and Muslims united
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The martyred were remembered
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From The Forward

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Jewish-Led Protests Draw 1,000 as Anger Erupts Over Israel Attack on Gaza

Pro-Israel Groups Plan Counter-Rallies

By JTA

Protests against Israel organized by Jewish Voice for Peace drew a thousand demonstrators in 15 cities, organizers said.

Cities where “We Divest National Week of Actions” protests took place included Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, according to Rabbi Alissa Wise, a director of organizing for the group and a member of its rabbinic council. The Oakland, Calif. group supports boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Sponsors of the Boston protest, which attracted about 100 people, included the American Friends Service committee, Grassroots International and Ads Against Apartheid, a group that has run an anti-Israel poster campaign on the Boston transit system.

After a rally on the Boston Common, the group, including many students and young people as well as members of a few faith and labor groups, marched through downtown streets and picketed briefly in front of three companies they say are complicit in the violence. One was Macy’s which was targeted as part of a boycott campaign of SodaStream products made in a West Bank settlement, and TIAA-CREF, a retirement investment fund.

“We are here to condemn Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians, to mourn the loss of lives, and to hold accountable the corporations that enable this violence,” said Lisa Stampnitzky, an activist with the Boston chapter of JVP.

Boston’s Jewish establishment did not stage any counter protests.

“We’re devoting all our energies to supporting Israelis who are facing an impossible situation with a reprehensible enemy sworn to Israel’s destruction,” said Elana Margolis, assistant director of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

A rally in support of Israel is being planned by the Boston area chapter of StandWithUs, a national pro-Israel organization with a presence on college campuses, according to Aviva Malveira, a recent Boston University graduate who is now the group’s New England campus and community organizer.

“It’s important to speak out on behalf of Israel,” Malveira told JTA. “It’s unfortunate and sad that Jewish Voice for Peace aligns itself with an anti-Israel agenda. They blame solely Israel for the lack of peace and place no responsibility on the Palestinian leadership.”

Wise said that JVP mourns all of the victims of the conflict and said that it would be short-sighted to view last month’s kidnapping and murders of three Israeli teens as the launch of the current fighting. “This is a conflict that goes back 47 years,” she said referring to Israel’s capture of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Six-Day War. “To not see that context would miss the story.”

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), who has led trade and academic delegations to Israel, said in a statement to JTA that the state’s residents extended their concern to all those in the region.

“It is difficult to imagine that only a few weeks after our most recent visit, sirens warn of rocket attacks from Gaza over Tel Aviv,” the statement from Patrick’s office said. “We hold close in our hearts our friends and loved ones in the region, and all innocent Israelis and Palestinians who are living in fear as a result of the recent violence.”

Separately, Ads Against Apartheid issued a statement on Thursday condemning the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority for taking down its pre-approved posters without prior warning, claiming it was the result of pressure from pro-Israel groups.

MBTA Spokesman Joseph Pesaturo in an email to JTA confirmed that after additional scrutiny by the transit authority, the three posters were removed, four days before they were scheduled to come down.

“The ad was deemed to be in non-compliance with the MBTA’s court-approved advertising guidelines,” Pesaturo said.

He said it was the responsibility of the agency’s advertising contractor to inform the ad buyer.

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