IN PHOTOS ~~ ONE YEAR ON // REMEMBERING THE DEAD IN GAZA

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August 26th 2015, one year after the brutal Israeli massacre in Gaza, Jewish Voice For Peace  organized a memorial march through New York City from  West 77th St. to Columbus Circle. 200+ people participated in the memorial. As the they marched with signs and banners they  boldly called out  “Free Gaza”, “End the occupation” and “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes”. The group entered Columbus Circle in silence to honor the thousands murdered and injured in the attack which included children.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ DEMO AT UN IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKER

First an update …..

Hunger striker Allan re-enters coma, in critical condition

(click HERE to see report)

Muhammed Allan's situation has sparked protests in support of his cause and demands for his release. (AFP/Said Khatib)

Muhammed Allan’s situation has sparked protests in support of his cause and demands for his release. (AFP/Said Khatib)

On August 18th, several dozen people, mainly youth of the NYC Students For Justice In Palestine, gathered at the U.N. to protest the  Israeli  threatened intent to force feed Muhammad Allan who is now on a hunger strike to gain his freedom. There were Palestinian, Black & White youth in attendance.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Here is how solidarity demos are treated in Israel …

This video shows Israeli police and right-wing extremists violently attacking and assaulting Palestinians who had gathered outside the hospital where a Palestinian hunger striker is gravely ill.

Flag-waving Israeli extremists sing songs celebrating and calling for the slaughter of Palestinians, especially children.

The events occurred on Sunday, when hundreds of Palestinians and supporters protested in Askalan (Ashkelon) in the south of present-day Israel in solidarity with Muhammad Allan, the Palestinian who has been on hunger strike for two months against his “administrative detention” – without charge or trial – by Israel.

As Allan struggled for his life, his supporters arrived aboard buses from Jerusalem, Jaffa and the north to hold a vigil outside Barzilai Medical Center where he is being treated and detained.

“Allan come and see, your people are supporting you openly,” the supporters call out in the video before they are attacked.

An Israeli police officer shouts through a megaphone: “This is an illegal gathering.”

Police assault protestors, dragging them away and confiscating Palestinian flags, and use a water cannon and pepper spray.

Genocidal songs

Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, who tries to intervene to prevent the police violence, says: “The police are beating people, young women and men.”

At the same time, extreme right-wing Israeli Jews can be seen assaulting protestors without police intervention and indeed with police protection.

“Zoabi, you are whore! You are a terrorist,” one of the right-wing demonstrators shouts at her. The mob then starts to chant “Zoabi is a terrorist! Death to terrorists!”

Many openly declare support for Meir Kahane, the founder of the violent anti-Palestinian organization Kach.

They chant anti-Arab slogans including a song celebrating the mass killing of children in Gaza: “Why is there no studying in Gaza? Because there are no children left there.”

“Gaza is a cemetery,” they sing, and “Death to reporters!”

These same genocidal songs were heard on Israel’s streets during last summer’s 51-day assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children.

Assaults and arrests

The extremists have been present at the hospital for a week, assaulting visitors and supporters of Allan.

“They don’t even let us gather in one place to demonstrate, to send a political message that we support Muhammad Allan,” Zoabi observes of the police ban. “A conqueror acts like a conquerer, so the oppressed need to act like the oppressed.”

Eight activists were arrested, at least four of whom required hospital treatment due to injuries from police violence, according to the photography collective ActiveStills, which produced the above video.

Allan, a 33-year-old lawyer from the occupied West Bank village of Einabus, recently fell into a coma for four days. On Tuesday he regained consciousness and, still gravely ill, vowed to continue his hunger strike until Israel frees him.

Video by Keren Manor, Faiz Abu Rmeleh and Oren Ziv of the ActiveStills collective.

Text by The Electronic Intifada.

BELLA CIAO JULIAN BOND

Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Credit Associated Press

Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Credit Associated Press

This weekend the world lost one of the greatest heroes of our time, Julian Bond. In an obituary that appeared in the New York Times yesterday it was reported that  ‘Julian Bond’s great-grandmother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer.’ Twitter was overloaded  with comments yesterday that he wasn’t a farmer but a slave master, and there is no such thing as a slave mistress.  Being a mistress is voluntary, she was a raped slave.  Interesting that a writer at the Times didn’t use language properly, and great that so many people spotted it. Also interesting that there was no correction for this at the Times.

The following short video will introduce you to the man himself …. with what you should know about his legacy …

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Here he interviews a fellow activist, Angela Davis …

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He will be sorely missed by all who struggle for true Justice throughout the world.

Bella Ciao dear Julian

 

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ PUERTO RICO (LIKE PALESTINE AND GREECE) IS NOT FOR SALE!

As with every struggle for Justice, our dear Pete was with us in spirit to remind us all which land belongs to you and me ;)

On August 13th  scores of people gathered to protest vulture Hedge fund investors buying up the Puerto Rican debt crisis which will result in austerity measures to pay the debt. The militant slogan is “PUERTO IS NOT FOR SALE”.

These are the slime that buy up defaulted debts for a few cents on the dollar and then turn around and try to collect the full debt from the people.  This has become a common practice.  PR is in the same economic condition as Greece but their situation largely comes from being colonials.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ SAYING YES TO IRAN DEAL

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Copy, sign and send

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More photos and full report from Mondoweiss HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ HIROSHIMA/NAGASAKI BOMBINGS REMEMBERED IN NEW YORK AND PALESTINE

See below for report from Palestine

Carlos Latuff added this image

Carlos Latuff added this image

On August 6th  the New York City Granny Peace Brigade  held a Hiroshima / Nagasaki  day memorial event in front of the New York City Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. The memorial was held during the  rush hour as people were leaving work returning home. This way the memorial would have the greatest public visibility. There were numerous tourists also passing by. People stopped to take pictures and many took the yellow leaflets the grannies were handing out.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Mazin Qumsiyeh. PhD adds the following from Palestine and Hiroshima

70 years ago, on August 6 and August 9, the US government of Harry Truman
dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here is from my visit and
speech on that anniversary August 6, 2013 in Hiroshima.

This is the same Truman that pushed successfully to create nuclear armed
apartheid state of Israel that is terrorizing Palestinians and has
committed hundreds of massacres. Today Saad Dawabshe died of his severe
burns. He is the father of 18 month old martyr Ali who was burned alive in
the attack by racist Jewish colonial settlers on their family home. The
mother and second child still in critical condition. And the world leaves a
group of “pyromaniacs led by an egalomaniac” running a tinderbox (not my
words but words of an ex-Director of Israel’s security service, see below).
But the struggle goes on.

Today Saad Dawabshe died of his severe burns. He is the father of 18 month
old martyr Ali who was burned alive in the attack by racist Jewish colonial
settlers on their family home. The mother and second child still in
critical condition. And the world leaves a group of “pyromaniacs led by an
egalomaniac” running a tinderbox (not my words but words of an ex-Director
of Israel’s security service, click on link below). But the struggle goes on.

Click HERE


Contributed by Mike Rivero @

Contributed by Mike Rivero @

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS COMMEMORATE HIROSHIMA BOMBING

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Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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Chippy Dee adds ….

Several people were invited into the consulate to present a letter of apology from the American to the people of Japan for the bombings. The failure of the American government to issue an apology in these seventy years was duly noted. Numerous peace organizations participated in organizing the event. On the street the participants engaged in speeches, singing and giving out leaflets explaining the meaning of the event.

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And Carlos Latuff added the following image

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The immortal Pete Seeger was there in spirit entertaining the participants …

WOMEN YEARNING TO BE FREE

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT is an artist/activist collective that has been in existence since 2006. Through the creative use of language embodied on shirts and emboldened on signs held up in public spaces, we respond to current social justice issues, encouraging creative, direct public actions where many people can participate.

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We Will Not Be Silent held a workshop series at the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute as part of its summer program for young women. The Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute encourages young women to engage as agents of change in their world by connecting with others and through activism in their communities. The We Will Not Be Silent workshop series focused on the meaning of COURAGE and how to embody it, starting withSophie Scholl of The White Rose, a non-violent student resistance group in Nazi Germany, from which we take the imperative, WE WILL NOT BE SILENT. Many of the young women who participated in the workshop said one of their favorite parts of the workshop was the Amy Goodman interview with Bree Newsome, who recently scaled the flagpole at South Carolina’s state capital building and took down the Confederate flag. Together, as a group, we explored the potential power of using one’s voice in public space: first by creating a sign collection which addressed issues important to each member of the group, then by carrying the signs into the streets of Irvington, NY, where the institute is located. The reaction was immediate: applause, honking, picture taking, and many, many questions leading to meaningful exchanges between the people we encountered and the young women who took the bold step to express themselves in their own strong voices.

Click here to view more photos.

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Contact: INFO@WEWILLNOTBESILENT.NET

WWW.WEWILLNOTBESILENT.NET

IN PHOTOS ~~ INTERNATIONAL AL QUDS DAY IN TIMES SQUARE

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ GAZA REMEMBERED ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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Adding insult to injury

Adding insult to injury

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ISRAEL APPLAUDS THE WORLD’S SILENCE

In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the seizure of the Marianne, claiming that the “flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.”

Netanyahu insisted that “preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.”

“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law,” Netanyahu insisted, adding that “there is no siege on Gaza.”

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Israel seizes Gaza-bound boat in “act of piracy”

Palestinian children take part in a rally to show support for the latest attempt to break the siege of Gaza by sea, at the Gaza City port on 28 June 2015. (Ashraf Amra APA images)

Palestinian children take part in a rally to show support for the latest attempt to break the siege of Gaza by sea, at the Gaza City port on 28 June 2015. (Ashraf Amra APA images)

Israeli forces boarded and commandeered the Marianne on Monday, one of four boats that were bound for Gaza in the latest attempt to break the tight Israeli siege of the occupied territory.

At around 2 am Gaza time Marianne was surrounded by three Israeli navy boats while in international waters more than 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, organizers Freedom Flotilla III said in a press release.

“After that we lost contact with the Marianne and at 05:11 am (Gaza time) the IDF [Israeli army] announced that they had ‘visited and searched’ Marianne,” the press release states. “They had captured the boat and detained all on board ‘in international waters’ as they admitted themselves. The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite the Netanyahu government’s recent denial that one exists.”

Organizers called the seizure of the boat and its passengers an “act of piracy.”

Israel’s Haaretzreports that the boat is being towed to Usdud (Ashdod), a port in present-day Israel, where the passengers “will be interrogated before being escorted to Ben Gurion Airport and flown out of Israel.”

The 18 passengers aboard the Marianne include Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Israeli parliament, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzuki, Spanish member of the European Parliament Ana Miranda and Professor Robert Lovelace, retired chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation in Canada.

Many Palestinians in had eagerly awaited the flotilla, hoping that it would call international attention to the siege which Israel imposed eight years ago.

Members of the crew of the Marianne, which was seized by Israeli forces in international waters early on 29 June as it headed toward Gaza. (Freedom Flotilla III)

Members of the crew of the Marianne, which was seized by Israeli forces in international waters early on 29 June as it headed toward Gaza. (Freedom Flotilla III)

Three other boats – Rachel, Vittorio and Juliano II – that also made up the flotilla have headed back to their ports of origin.

In total, 47 passengers from 17 countries were aboard the boats, which carried medicines, solar panels and above all a strong message of solidarity for the 1.8 million Palestinians still besieged in Gaza one year after Israel began its 51-day destructive assault that killed more than 2,200 people.

An independent UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the attack, published last week, found extensive evidence of war crimes approved by Israel’s leaders at the “highest level.”

Violence incitement

Ghattas joined the flotilla despite violent threats and incitement from fellow lawmakers in Israel to lift his parliamentary immunity so that he could be prosecuted.

Yair Lapid, head of Israel’s purportedly centrist Yesh Atid party, for instance denounced the flotilla as a “provocation against the state of Israel.”

“This is a flotilla of a group of terror supporters a heinous flotilla that needs to be stopped,” Lapid added. “We need to act against the flotilla the same way we do when dispersing a violent protest and these guys need to all be arrested.”

In a Huffington Post column on Sunday, Ghattas defended his right to take part in the flotilla.

Bigots in “a discriminatory Jewish state as a white Southern extremist in a Confederate state, seek to diminish the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and their representatives in the parliament,” Ghattas writes.

“More than anything, it is obvious that the situation of Palestinians in Gaza will inevitably lead to another round of bloody war, perhaps even more horrifying than the one we had less than one year ago,” Ghattas adds. “Still, my very outspoken colleagues in the Knesset would not even consider lifting the blockade as a means to avoid future war.”

“No siege on Gaza”

In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the seizure of the Marianne, claiming that the “flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.”

Netanyahu insisted that “preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.”

“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law,” Netanyahu insisted, adding that “there is no siege on Gaza.”

The fact that 18 civilians aboard a yacht cannot sail to Gaza, and that there has been virtually no reconstruction in Gaza since Israel’s attack last year would tend to undermine Netanyahu’s contention.

According to Haaretz, after boarding the boat, Israeli army gunmen were “to hand out a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, welcoming [the captives] to Israel and wondering why they sailed to Gaza and not Syria.”

“Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere else nearby – Syria, where Assad’s regime is massacring his people every day, with the support of the murderous Iranian regime,” the letter would reportedly state.

Netanyahu’s statement did not specify which UN “committee” he was talking about, but this was a likely reference to the 2011 “Palmer report” commissioned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon into Israel’s attack the previous year on the Mavi Marmara.

Turkey rejected the report into the assault that killed 10 of its citizens on the Mavi Marmara in international waters and imposed sanctions on Israel.

The inquiry was heavily criticized for bias. The four-member committee that wrote the Palmer report was chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and vice-chaired by former president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe, a notorious human rights abuser close to Israel.

The inquiry commissioned by Ban was in addition to an official UN Human Rights Council fact-finding missionwhich found that Israel’s attack on the 2010 flotilla was illegal.

Determined

“It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the absolutely fruitless policy of ‘no tolerance,’ meaning it will continue to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza,” flotilla organizers said in their statement.

“Israel’s repeated acts of state piracy in international waters are worrying signs that the occupation and blockade policy extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean.”

They also urged governments”to ensure that all passengers and crew from the Marianne are safe, and to strongly protest against the violation of international maritime law by the Israeli state.”

“We call on all civil society organizations to condemn the actions of Israel,” the statement concludes. “People all over the world will continue to respond and react to this injustice, as will we, until the port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended.”

This video, published on 20 June, shows Marianne calling at the Italian port of Messina for a solidarity visit.

Complicity kills!

Complicity kills!

NETANYAHU PREPARES TO ‘WELCOME’ FLOTILLA lll TO GAZA

Four boats carrying 47 pro-Palestinian activists will be welcomed with letter from PM: ‘It looks like you took a wrong turn. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here – Syria’.

The flotilla on its way to Gaza.

The flotilla on its way to Gaza.

Israeli Navy preparing to take over Gaza-bound flotilla

The Navy has been preparing to meet on Monday a flotilla carrying 47 pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade.

The Navy commandos are expected to meet the four boats at an undetermined time – sometimes between the early morning hours and evening time, some dozens of kilometers from the coasts of Israel.

There are 18 passengers aboard the main boat, Swedish vessel “Marianne av Göteborg,” including Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki and activist Dror Feiler.

The “Marianne” is accompanied by three smaller boats: “Rachel,” with eight passengers on board; “Vittorio” with nine passengers on board; and “Juliano II” with 12 passengers.

The commandos will try to take over the boats using non-violent measures and lead them to the Navy base in Ashdod.

After the takeover, the activists will be taken for questioning upon their arrival to Israel and then expelled out of the country through Ben-Gurion Airport.

The Prime Minister’s Office decided to take an unusual approach to the flotilla’s arrival.

The letter goes on to say that “If you were truly interested in human rights, you would not be sailing in solidarity with a terror regime that executes Gaza residents without trial, and uses the children of Gaza as a human shield.”

“Here in Israel we are dealing with a reality in which terror organizations like Hamas are trying to harm innocent civilians. We are protecting the citizens of Israel against these attempts in accordance with international law,” the letter continues.

“Despite this, Israel is aiding in the transfer of goods and humanitarian aid to Gaza – some 800 trucks a day, which transported over 1.6 million tons of goods over the past year … Israel is aiding hundreds of humanitarian projects using international organizations, including building clinics and hospitals.

The activists on board the four boats will receive a letter when they arrive in Israel welcoming them to the country and adding, “It looks like you took a wrong turn. Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here – Syria. Where Assad’s regime is slaughtering its people on a daily basis, and this is done with the support of Iran’s murderous regime.”

“However, we will not allow the transfer of weapons to terror organizations in Gaza, as has been done before through the sea. Only a year ago we thwarted an attempt to smuggle via the sea hundreds of arms meant to hurt innocent civilians.”

The PMO stresses that “there is no siege of the Gaza Strip, and you are welcomed to transfer any humanitarian equipment through Israel,” adding that “preventing entrance (to Gaza) through the sea is done in accordance with international law, and even has the backing of a UN committee.”

The IDF, meanwhile, said the flotilla was an attempt at provocation and that its troops will not fall into any traps. The commandos taking over the boats will offer the activists food and drinks, the army said.

As a lesson learned from the takeover of the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010, the commandos will document the takeover and the IDF Spokesman’s Office will work to quickly distribute the footage to world media before the activists could post a “victory picture” of their own.

Source

UPDATE …

Israel seizes activist flotilla headed to Gaza

Naval special forces take control of ship, which carried 20 activists including MK Basel Ghattas, without violence.

Click HERE to see report

#SailingToGaza ~~ THE BASTARDS TRY TO STOP US AGAIN

The Israeli military is preparing to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla from reaching Gaza.

The Israeli military is preparing to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla from reaching Gaza.

‘Juliano’ attacked on its way to break the siege on Gaza

Statement by The Freedom Theatre
June 27th, 2015

Passengers of the Freedom Flotilla III bound for Gaza have announced that one of the boats, named Juliano after the co-founder and director of The Freedom Theatre, Juliano Mer Khamis who was assassinated in 2011, has been sabotaged. Divers damaged the boat’s propellers, causing it to take in water and the boat barely made it into port in Greece before it sank. On Saturday June 27th, passengers reported that the flotilla was followed by an unidentified patrol boat and a military aircraft.

Israel has engaged in a massive campaign to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza, threatening the participants in a similar fashion as during earlier attempts to break the illegal siege on Gaza. In 2010, Israeli troops attacked a similar flotilla in international waters, killing ten of the activists onboard and detaining many others.

Juliano Mer Khamis oftentimes declared that he was 100% Jewish and 100% Palestinian. He spoke of the necessity of a bi-national state where true democracy and justice may rule. Juliano’s work and vision inspired many people worldwide to act for justice in Palestine. The Freedom Flotilla does the same.

The sabotage of a boat named after a freedom fighter that believed in art as the most righteous form of resistance, proves to what length Israel is willing to go to silence criticism and activism against the occupation and apartheid system.

The boat Juliano is part of an international Freedom Flotilla Coalition calling for an end to the inhuman siege on Gaza, which violates the most basic human rights of the Palestinian people. The Flotilla comes less than a year after Israel’s brutal war against the Gaza strip in which more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed.

The Freedom Theatre welcomes the Freedom Flotilla initiative just like we welcome any other form of legitimate resistance against the Israeli oppression. No single person, organisation or movement can overcome the Israeli occupation and apartheid, but by considering us all part of a joint movement, supporting and complementing each other, we can and will succeed in bringing justice and peace to Palestine.

In just a few days the Freedom Flotilla will reach international waters outside the coast of Gaza, carrying more than 50 people from over 20 countries. The boats are also carrying urgently needed supplies and most importantly a message of solidarity to the besieged population of Gaza.

The Freedom Theatre wishes the flottilla a safe and successful journey to Gaza! Long live the Freedom Flottilla, long live Gaza and Palestine!

Website: https://freedomflotilla.org and https://ff3.freedomflotilla.org
Twitter: @GazaFFlottilla, @ShiptogazaSE

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More from USTOGAZA …

Freedom Flotilla III is Sailing to Open the Port of Gaza

Boats, with more than 50 crew and passengers from 20 countries are prepared to reach the port of Gaza and call on the international community to open it

Delegates from left: Mohammed El Bakkali, Al Jazeera journalist; Dr. Moncel Marzuki, former president of Tunisia; Dr. Basel Ghattas, Knesset MP; Claudio Tamaglini; Charlie Andreasson; Ann Wright

Delegates from left: Mohammed El Bakkali, Al Jazeera journalist; Dr. Moncel Marzuki, former president of Tunisia; Dr. Basel Ghattas, Knesset MP; Claudio Tamaglini; Charlie Andreasson; Ann Wright

This year’s mission, organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition against the naval blockade and the siege of Gaza, is about to sail to highlight the violation of the rights of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison.

The Israeli government claims that there are ‘unauthorized boats trying to illegally enter Israeli territorial waters’. There are no ‘unauthorized boats’, only an illegal and inhumane blockade; the UN has recently called to end it and Freedom Flotilla III sails to challenge it, without any need or desire to enter Israeli territorial waters. This fact is highlighted by the practices of Israeli naval forces against previous sea missions, which have intercepted all boats since 2009 in international waters, headed towards Palestinian waters off Gaza, never towards Israel or Israeli waters.

Freedom Flotilla III is invited by Palestinians in Gaza through various organizations that work for a relief of the thousands that were left heavily wounded, homeless, jobless, and displaced after recent Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. We also have among our passengers Dr. Basel Ghattas, Member of the Israeli Knesset, who called in an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu to allow our mission to reach the port of Gaza.

Israel’s right-wing is now moving to penalize MK Ghattas for his participation in a legitimate political action of people from all around the world, while Deputy MFA Hotovely has announced international diplomatic action against the Freedom Flotilla III. Lawyers around the world are making legal moves against the mission, just as they did in 2011. We regret that “the only democracy in Middle-East” thinks this is the best course of action, instead of addressing the real problems of occupation, blockade and division of Palestine, as well as the openly legal discriminations against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

We remain undeterred, because our purpose is not to act against Israel, but against occupation. Our actions would not be needed, if governments worldwide and international bodies like the EU and the UN would take steps to ensure accountability of Israeli governments for war crimes and collective punishment against the 1.8 million Palestinian population in Gaza Strip. We welcome voices from Israel who publicly state that the State of Israel is not threatened by the action against the blockade.

The international community should stop turning a blind eye on the blockade and occupation and take steps urgently towards the direction of ensuring the opening of the port in Gaza, the only port of Palestine to the rest of the world.

DESPITE THE ODDS, BDS IS WORKING!

Foreign investment in Israel plummeted almost 50 percent in 2014, a fact attributed to last summer’s assault on Gaza and the growing impact of boycotts.

How zion sees us

How zion sees us

Foreign investment in Israel plummets by half since Gaza massacre

Foreign investment in Israel plummeted almost 50 percent in 2014, a fact attributed to last summer’s assault on Gaza and the growing impact of boycotts.

This week the UN’s trade and development agency UNCTAD released its annual World Investment Report on foreign direct investment (FDI) – a measure of money that investors from overseas put into a country to invest in businesses, build factories or start other economic projects.

According to the report, FDI into Israel in 2014 plummeted to just $6.4 billion from almost $12 billion in 2013.

The 2014 figure appears to be the lowest in more than a decade. Foreign direct investment into Israel averaged around $9 billion per year from 2005 to 2012.

“We believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing,” Roni Manos, an Israeli economist who co-authored the report, told Israel’s Ynet.

“Operation Protective Edge” is the name Israel gave its 51-day assault last summer that devastated much of Gaza and killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 chidren.

In line with global trends, FDI fell in other regional countries, but nowhere near as sharply as in Israel. FDI fell 1.7 percent in Turkey, 6.8 percent in Iraq, 4 percent in the United Arab Emirates and 9.6 percent in Saudi Arabia. But it actually rose by 6.6 percent in Lebanon.

Iran, which has been under brutal international sanctions, saw inward investment decline by about a third to just over $2 billion.

“The tourists have stopped coming”

The news that investors are fleeing is only the latest economic blow to Israel as a result of its attack on Gaza.

In May, Ynet revealed a dramatic plunge in visits to the country in an article headlined “Tourists have stopped coming to Israel.”

During the Gaza assault, Palestinian resistance organizations considered it a significant strategic achievement that they managed to force a shutdown of Israel’s main international airport for several days, dealing Israel a severe economic and reputational blow.

But it appears the damage may have lasted far longer than the airport shutdown.

“Despite the hopes for a recovery two or three months after last summer’s operation in Gaza, it seems the crisis is only getting worse,” Ynet reported, “the number of tourists is dropping, the number of hotel stays is declining and the number of organized tours has been significantly cut.”

Ynet cited figures from the Israel Hotel Association for the first quarter of this year pointing to a 28 percent drop in tourist stays, with some areas including the Red Sea resort of Eilat – heavily marketed as a seaside destination for Europeans – seeing a 51 percent decline.

The report quoted one tour operator saying he didn’t expect matters to improve next year. “We are only left with the pilgrims and Jewish tourists,” the tour operator complained, adding that Christian religious tourists spent most of their time in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Economic damage

This week, the UN Human Rights Council issued its independent report into the Gaza assault, and on Israel’s simultaneous violent crackdown in the occupied West Bank, finding evidence of numerous war crimes likely authorized at the “highest level” of the Israeli government.

The UN inquiry, citing Bank of Israel figures, also noted that “Operation Protective Edge caused a contraction of output in the tourism and manufacturing sectors” in Israel of about $900 million and caused “indirect damage” of another $440 million.

The economic damage Israel is doing to itself by continuing its regime of occupation, apartheid, siege and massacres of Palestinians may be mounting faster than previously thought.

This might also help explain why Israel is dramatically escalating its efforts to try to halt the momentum of the growing BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – movement.

IN PHOTOS ~~ VETERANS FOR PEACE ON MEMORIAL DAY

On Memorial day weekend the Veterans For Peace held their annual  event at Battery Park NYC in front of the massive World War II memorial  remembering those killed in the war. Attending were the family and friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, veterans of WWII, veterans of  The Korean War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Participants came to the mike and spoke of those family members and friends killed in war. Chippy Dee, a Desertpeace associate, also memorialized the Palestinians: adults and children murdered by the Zionist Attack Force (also known as the IDF). As each speaker finished they threw a rose into the waters of the Hudson river. At the end of the memorial event the sad musical notes  of “taps” sounded in the park.

Photos  and Commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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ISRAEL’S NEW PUPPET GOVERNMENT

Several dozen pro-Palestinian demonstrators clashed with those supporting Israel at the front gates of a baseball stadium in West Sacramento, CA on Sunday where a celebration of 67 years of the Israeli state was being held. 

Chanting “Israel has nothing to celebrate until Israel’s government stops violating human rights and international law,” the demonstrators featured a near life size puppet-sign of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Netanyahu puppet in West Sacramento's pro-Palestinian protest. (Photo: Rocco Valachi)

The Netanyahu puppet in West Sacramento’s pro-Palestinian protest. (Photo: Rocco Valachi)

 

Pro-Palestinian protest features Netanyahu puppet

California demonstrators square off against group celebrating 67 years of Israel’s existence; protest partly fueled by new Netanyahu government.

Several dozen pro-Palestinian demonstrators clashed with those supporting Israel at the front gates of a baseball stadium in West Sacramento, CA on Sunday where a celebration of 67 years of the Israeli state was being held.

Chanting “Israel has nothing to celebrate until Israel’s government stops violating human rights and international law,” the demonstrators featured a near life size puppet-sign of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The photo of the prime minister had a caption under it stating: “Bibi sees the light. Let refugees return home,” in effect, said demonstrators, “calling for an end to Israel’s apartheid, ethnic cleansing and human rights violations against the Palestinian.”

One protester from the pro-Palestinian demonstration told a member of the opposing celebration of Israel that, “You are Hitler,” as a small group of local authorities stood between the two.

“As a Jewish American, I feel it is critical to speak out about Israel’s abuses,” explained Pete Horn, one of those demonstrating Sunday, adding: “I don’t see how anyone of conscience can celebrate when Israel has just installed an incredibly racist government including a deputy defense minister in charge of West Bank Civil Administration who says that Palestinians are subhuman. And this man nominally controls much of the day-to-day life of Palestinians under occupation.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters outside West Sacramento's Raley Field. (Photo: Rocco Valachi)

Pro-Palestinian protesters outside West Sacramento’s Raley Field. (Photo: Rocco Valachi)

Activists said they were calling attention to Israel’s aggressive and violent campaign against Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza and those who are citizens of Israel. The protester’s accusations included kidnapping and torturing children, demolishing Bedouin homes, the jailing of non-violent activists, and war crimes.

“This event, created by the Israel-lobby affiliate, the Jewish Federation, falsely conflates Israel with Judaism and Jewish values, which is further falsely used to claim that criticism of Israel is anti-Jewish,” noted activist Paul Leunberger. “U.S. tax dollars fund Israel’s well-documented atrocious abuses and we have every right to criticize, challenge and work to try to stop what Israel is doing to the indigenous Palestinian people.”

 

Source

‘FREEDOM FLOTILLA III’ HEADS TO GAZA TOMORROW

The first ship taking part in Freedom Flotilla III on Monday set sail from Gothenburg, Sweden, for a voyage of nearly 5,000 nautical miles to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

(MaanImages)

(MaanImages)

‘Freedom Flotilla III’ sets sail for Gaza

The first ship taking part in Freedom Flotilla III on Monday set sail from Gothenburg, Sweden, for a voyage of nearly 5,000 nautical miles to the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said.

The trawler Marianne was jointly acquired by “Ship to Gaza Sweden” and “Ship to Gaza Norway” and will be joined by other ships en route.

Together, the ships will form the third flotilla to head to Gaza with the aim of “a peaceful, nonviolent action to break the illegal and inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip,” the FFC said.

Gaza has been under a crippling Israeli-administered military blockade since 2007.

The first three ports the Marianne will call into are Helsingborg, Malm and Copenhagen, with subsequent ports to be announced later.

The trawler is carrying a limited cargo of solar cell panels and medical equipment for the war-devastated Gaza Strip, the FFC said.It will carry a crew of five people as well as “up to eight delegates as passengers in each section of the route,” the FFC said, with these delegates to be announced along the way.

A range of public figures are expected to participate in the flotilla, including former Tunisian President and human rights activist Muncef al-Marzouki.

The flotilla is the third of its kind since 2010, when the first Freedom Flotilla was brutally attacked by Israel naval forces, who killed nine activists on board the ships.

The incident, which took place in international waters, sparked international outcry.

A second flotilla planned for 2011 was unable to reach Gaza after Greek authorities prevented the ships from leaving Athens.

Conditions in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated sharply following last summer’s 50-day Israeli assault, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and around 100,000 internally displaced.

A statement released by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in March said: “In Gaza, the effects of the occupation, blockade and recurring military campaigns have devastated not only Palestine refugee homes, lives and income, but also hope for a secure and dignified future.”

Another UNRWA report said: “Gaza and its people are becoming more isolated; families fear and worry that in addition to the devastated economy and the stalled political environment, the future of their children is also under siege.”

Source

Needless to say, the zionists are preparing their ‘welcome’  … (Click on link)

Flotilla ahoy! A refresher on the background to another anti-Israel publicity stunt

IN PHOTOS ~~ 10 YEARS OF BDS ~~ A JOINT CELEBRATION

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer Commentary by Chippy Dee

On the evening of May 6th in NYC at Alwan for the Arts the space was filled to capacity with people gathered to hear Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS campaign against Israel, and Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, discuss the BDS campaign as it reaches its’ 10th anniversary.  The meeting was organized by Haymarket Books.

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Barghouti began by explaining the philosophy behind boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).  It is about building awareness of the ethicality of resistance.  How does an oppressed people resist oppression without unduly harming the oppressor.  Both communities have to be humanized and the trap of collective responsibility is to be avoided.  An Us vs. Them mindset is not productive – Israelis should be encouraged to join the movement.

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The minds of Palestinians have to be decolonized.  Realizing there would be enormous resistance Zionists knew very early on that they would have to colonize the minds of Palestinians, building an iron wall there by removing all hope.  If hope is taken away the Palestinians would be defeated.  This was recognized as early as 1923 when the Zionist Vladimir Jabotinski wrote his political allies about destroying the will of the Palestinian people, “A living people make such enormous concessions…only when there is no hope left.  Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups… lose their sway….”

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Last, people have to be mobilized for goal oriented action, one with a considerable chance of success.

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Only 38% of the Palestinian people live on the West Bank and in Gaza.  12% are Israeli citizens and 50% are in the diaspora.  It is not enough to say end the occupation.  Israel has divided the Palestinians, leaving them scattered all over the world.  The 3 goals of BDS: end the occupation, full and equal rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return will reunite the people of Palestine.  Our goal is freedom, justice and equality.  We must have consistent pressure to achieve these goals.  That means resisting/opposing the regime that stands against this.

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Israel is feeling very threatened because the economic and cultural boycott is growing and Jewish support for BDS is also growing.  People are coming to realize that either they support a colonial venture or they don’t.  The “Brand Israel” campaign has failed.  Now the Israeli fight-back is based on propaganda and ‘lawfare’, legal challenges to BDS.  They seem not to know how to deal with this non-violent principled resistance which is demanding basic rights for the Palestinian people under international law.

Vilkomerson said that JVP fully endorses all elements of the Palestinian call for BDS and believes that it provides the best tactics to bring justice to Palestine.  JVP also wants to bring pressure on the US government not to be complicit in this struggle. There have been many victories here in this country – 60 members of congress did not go to hear Netanyahu’s speech.  JVP stands with the divestment of the Presbyterian church and with SodaStream closing their West Bank factory.  JVP also supports the many Students for Justice in Palestine chapters that have been fighting for divestment, often winning, on their campuses.

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But the closer we come to winning this fight, the stronger the push-back will be.  Big money is going into this fight against the BDS campaign from the Jewish community, including on campuses.  There are constant accusations of anti-Semitism which, unfortunately, dilutes real anti-Semitism.

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Blacks, Latinos, and young people are most likely to support Palestine and over the past year there has been an enormous growth of solidarity between the Palestinian struggle and the fight against the oppression of Black people in this country.  JVP fully supports, with feet in the streets, the Black Lives Matter fight.  JVP is an anti-racist organization that sees the Palestinian and the Black struggle as the same fight for justice and will be there in solidarity because it is a joint struggle.  BDS is a tool of anti-racist ideology.

JVP is now 3 times the size it was before the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer.  They now have 200,000 on line supporters because people are coming to recognize that the Palestinian struggle is the world’s great moral issue of our time.

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I remember when people used the phrase ‘PEPs’, Progressive Except Palestine, to describe those who were generally progressive on most issues but would not or could not support Palestinians.  It is becoming increasingly clear to me that there is no such thing.  If you don’t understand and support the Palestinian struggle for human rights you  cannot call yourself progressive.

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ETHIOPIAN DIARY ~~ PART THREE ~~ WHY WE WILL CONTINUE TO PROTEST

“We will demonstrate against police brutality and in solidarity with all the members of the community who are not treated fairly by the authorities.”

“We’ve been silent for 30 years and now we’re making our cry heard. I call on everyone to join and not to remain apathetic.”

See Part One HERE

See Part Two HERE

Ethiopian protest in Jerusalem

Ethiopian protest in Jerusalem

Ethiopians Plan New Israel Racism Protests

Ethiopian-Israelis have set new protests against police brutality with the theme “No to violence, yes to dialogue.”

One rally is scheduled for Thursday in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Haaretz reported, and simultaneous demonstrations are planned for Saturday night throughout the country.

A demonstration by Ethiopian-Israelis and their supporters on Sunday in Tel Aviv turned violent, with dozens injured and four indicted for assaulting police officers. Rioting also broke out at a rally in Jerusalem several days earlier. The protests were spurred by the beating of an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier in uniform by Israeli police.

“We will demonstrate against police brutality and in solidarity with all the members of the community who are not treated fairly by the authorities,” Gavriel Tigabo, a protest organizer, told Haaretz. “We’ve been silent for 30 years and now we’re making our cry heard. I call on everyone to join and not to remain apathetic.”

A Facebook announcement of the Saturday protests said that “the entire Ethiopian community will demonstrate against its local authority to demand that the social injustices be remedied. You decide what the protest will look like, you lead it. No singers, no speeches.”

From JTA

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Ethiopian Protests Sign of Stubborn Racism in Israeli Society

Images of Israeli police firing stun grenades are usually set in the West Bank and involve Palestinian protesters. But on Sunday the situation was quite different – riot police battling thousands of Ethiopian Jews in the center of Tel Aviv.

The spark was a week old video showing two Israeli policemen punching, beating and trying to arrest an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack.

The two-minute video is the latest in a string of incidents that have raised uncomfortable questions about Israel’s treatment of ethnic minorities and its struggle to integrate newcomers into broader society, whether Jews or non-Jews.

Some commentators have highlighted latent racism in a country that has absorbed millions of migrants over the past 60 years but still agonizes over differences between East European and Middle Eastern Jews, relations with its large Arab minority, and how to handle more recent arrivals from Africa.

“There is a problem, there are discrimination issues, there is racism in Israel,” said Fentahun Assefa-Dawit, the director of Tebeka, an advocacy group for Ethiopian Israelis, who number around 130,000, many of them born in Israel.

“We want the prime minister to take this matter into his hands,” he said moments before he was due to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss police behavior and the demonstrations that have ensued. “We urge him, we demand of him, to bring these issues to an end.”

DEEP SEATED PROBLEMS

In the run up to Israel’s election in March and in the weeks since there have been a series of violent incidents, comments by politicians and policy proposals that have fueled concerns the country has a race problem – not just when it comes to the 20 percent Arab population but to minority Jewish groups too.

Last week, an Ethiopian Jew said he was beaten by inspectors from Israel’s population and immigration authority because they thought he was a migrant from Sudan or Eritrea. The immigration authority said the man attacked the inspectors first.

On the day of the election on March 17, fearing he could lose, Netanyahu said “Arab voters are coming out in droves,” comments that offended the Arab-Israeli population and drew accusations of racism. The prime minister later apologized.

For months, Israel has been threatening to imprison thousands of illegal African migrants if they do not agree to be deported to third countries in Africa, despite the Supreme Court expressing deep reservations about the policy.

And rights groups have raised alarm about childcare for asylum seekers and migrant laborers after the death of half a dozen babies at a “warehouse” in Tel Aviv where the children were left while their parents went to find work.

Racism in Israeli society is “far more commonplace and far more toxic than we dare tell ourselves,” leading political commentator Nahum Barnea wrote in Yediot Ahronoth on Monday.

“It doesn’t begin with the Ethiopian Israelis and it doesn’t end with them,” he said. “Hatred of the other, or of anyone perceived as being the other, is not only deeply rooted here, but it also receives encouragement from politicians on the eve of elections.”

Ben Caspit, a columnist with Maariv newspaper, said it was not up to Netanyahu to resolve how the Ethiopian community is treated but for Israelis to wake up and address it.

“The people who are to blame for the terrible things that the members of this lovely community have been forced to undergo on a daily basis is us,” he said.

“Those among us who turn up their noses when an Ethiopian family enters the neighborhood, those among us who are not happy to see Ethiopian children in their children’s classroom.”

Around 20,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel on secret flights in the mid 1980s and early 199os, with the evacuations dubbed Operation Moses and Operation Solomon.

The offspring of those early arrivals have worked hard to integrate, many serving in elite units of the army with distinction. An Ethiopian woman won a recent Miss Israel beauty contest. But after mandatory military service, acceptance in the workplace has proved much more of a struggle.

“When an Ethiopian applies for a job, as qualified and impressive as he might be, he is not going to be invited for an interview because he has an Ethiopian name on his CV,” said Assefa-Dawit of Tebeka, the advocacy group.

“Israel is our country, there’s no ‘us and them’. This is our home. The community is crying out for the government to resolve this.”

 

From Reuters

ETHIOPIAN DIARY ~~ WHY WE PROTEST

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis turned out to the mass demonstration in Tel Aviv on Sunday to release some of the immense pain they have shouldered over the years.

ethiopiajews

Personal testimony: Why we came to protest

Sahlo was humiliated by officers and arrested; Zerviv claims Education Ministry only lets her work with youths of Ethiopian descent; and Adla, first arrested at 13, had a German Shepherd unleashed on him.’

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis turned out to the mass demonstration in Tel Aviv on Sunday to release some of the immense pain they have shouldered over the years.

Here are the stories of four protesters, who say they want to feel equal but are faced with discrimination due to the color of their skin.

Rabin Square protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Rabin Square protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)

‘He told us our women were sluts’

Addis Sahlo, a 29-year-old Israeli of Ethiopian descent, clearly recalled the humiliation he underwent a decade ago, when he sat with his friends on a major street in south Tel Aviv. “Me and three other friends arrived at a club and took a seat nearby to drink. Cops who arrived in the area asked us what we were doing.”

He told them they were at the club for a night out. “While we were talking, there was a brawl not far from us which involved some guys of Ethiopian descent. The cops ran over but they managed to escape. The police officers, who were probably pissed off, came back in our direction, kicked out bottle and began cursing at us.”

Ethiopian being arrested during the protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Ethiopian being arrested during the protest (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Sahlo says the police officers then blamed the brawl on the group, calling them “stinking Sudanese.” The Ethiopian Israeli was shocked by the officers’ conduct, who continued to hurl insults as they arrested him. “They claimed out ethnicity is responsible for all the problems and that our women were sluts. And they started to beat us.”

The police brutality victim recounted the horrific encounter. “I found myself begging the cops to stop, after which they took us under arrest and sprayed us with tear gas. At the police station they charged us with assaulting an officer and throwing bottles at police – which never happened.”

Israeli of Ethiopian descent at Rabin Square (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Israeli of Ethiopian descent at Rabin Square (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Sahlo said the judge released him at a court hearing. “That moment I understood that – no matter what – you cannot change your skin color. No matter where you go and what you do, you will be arrested. It’s insulting. Cops allow themselves to disrespect us and talk to us with their hands.”

‘I want to be everyone’s counselor’

Esthi Zerviv, a special education teacher and counselor, made aliyah to Israel at the age of six. She says she tried for years to get promoted in the Education Ministry, but claims her ethnicity held her back. “They claim that we are all equal – ‘the other is me’ – that’s one of the phrases waving atop the Education Ministry. But in the field, that is hardly implemented – many times I tried to be accepted as an education counselor and yet each time I was redirected to work with youths of Ethiopian descent.”

Ethiopian Israeli protesting police brutality (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

Ethiopian Israeli protesting police brutality (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

She pushed back against the employment discrimination. “With all due respect, I did not study to become a counselor or a special education teacher to only serve a certain segment of the population. I want to be a counselor to everyone – period.”

‘I want to be able to choose where I go out’

Menash, 25, of Ramla, said he regularly encounters discrimination at clubs, where he and his friends frequently find themselves outside for no apparent reason. “A third of the times I go out, I’m left outside or they make faces.

“Last Friday four of us, three of whom were Ethiopian, went out to a club in the south Tel Aviv area. The bouncer said there was no entry. When we asked why, he said it was closed and there was no room. But while you’re waiting in line, you see lots of people leaving the club, but they don’t let you in. After half an hour of waiting in line, you realize that you have to leave. It’s true that there are clubs that mostly cater to an Ethiopian crowd, but I want to have the ability to choose.”

‘They sent a German Shepherd after me’

Gatune Adla, 26, was arrested for the first time at the age of 13. “I returned from camp and was accused of attacking a policeman,” he said. “They arrested and beat me up. The officer pushed me up against the police car and whooped me, punching me with his firsts. I was a little kid, I cried, but nothing helped.”

His second encounter with law enforcement was a year and a half ago. “My friends and I were sitting in a grove and drinking. The police arrived and dispersed us. I had a scooter in the grove and I was carrying it home… I walked by the policemen, and I wasn’t afraid because unconsciously I knew I hadn’t done anything. I must have not heard the policeman telling me to stop, and they set a dog on me. I turned around and saw a German Shepherd with a muzzle jumping on me and grabbing my shirt. The policemen ran at me, stepped on me, and sprayed me with tear gas from a centimeter away. It’s very frustrating when you know you didn’t do anything. Now I understand people who say they’ve experienced it and are frustrated. I understand people like Yosef Salamsa.”

 

Source

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