IN PHOTOS ~~ NETANYAHU’S MINION OF ABOMINATIONS

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PROTESTING NETANYAHU @ HIS AWARDS DINNER @ PLAZA HOTEL NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ PROTEST AGAINST APARTHEID

What was still is ....

What was still is ….

Be sure not to miss this post from yesterday (Click on link)

TRANSFORMATION OF A SELF HATING JEW TO A TERRORIST

PROTESTING THE JEWISH NATIONAL FUND CONVENTION @ THE NYC HILTON HOTEL

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ DEMO AT G4S ~~ GET OUT OF PALESTINE AND STANDING ROCK!

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On September 16, people gathered at the NYC office of G4S demanding G4S get out of Palestine and Standing Rock North Dakota USA-where recently G4S security guards released some dogs on the “PROTECTERS” of their Native historic lands against the attempt to lay  an oil pipeline(the Dakota Access Pipeline)  through their lands.

At the end of the protest the protesters marched through the public access of the building loudly chanting “G4S out of Palestine and Standing Rock” much to the consternation of the building’s security guards.

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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WOMEN SET SAIL TO FREE GAZA

Two boats packed with activists, politicians, and artists from around the world have set sail for the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to break a nearly decade-long Israeli blockade. The boats, named Amal and Zaytouna (“hope” and “olive” in Arabic, respectively), set sail on Wednesday from Barcelona, with only women comprising the crew for each vessel.

(FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION/FACEBOOK)

(FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION/FACEBOOK)

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Images by Carlos Latuff

Women's Boat to Gaza

Women’s Boat to Gaza

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This is the one Carlos drew when we 1st broke Israel's siege, 23/08/08 We arrived successfully 4 more times

This is the one Carlos drew when we 1st broke Israel’s siege, 23/08/08 We arrived successfully 4 more times

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For the past two days, locals and international supporters have been flocking to attend the activities hosted by Rumbo a Gaza (Boat to Gaza) to mark the launch. Hundreds attended the events, including concerts, talks and non-violence training.

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Related report from Mondoweiss

Two women’s boats set sail for Gaza in effort to break blockade

Allison Deger

Two vessels with all-female crews set sail for Gaza from Spain on Wednesday in an attempt to break the nine-year Israeli blockade on the coastal Mediterranean strip. The “Women’s Boat to Gaza” is the fourth of its kind, captained by women-only, with 30 female activists and high-ranking officials aboard the Arabic-named Zaytouna (“Olive”) and the Amal (“hope”)

The organization said in a statement the boats are on a course to pierce Israel’s maritime control over Gaza’s borders, and in doing so, raise awareness of conditions inside of the Strip.

“While our focus is on opposing the blockade against the Palestinian people of Gaza, we see this in the larger context of supporting the right to freedom of movement for all Palestinians,” the group said on their website. “The Occupation daily violates the rights of Palestinians to move freely around their country and to leave and return to their country, as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Gaza is home to 1.8 million Palestinians, under siege since 2007. In the last decade, unemployment has soared to 42 percent, according to the World Bank. Gaza’s weak infrastructure already lacking basic services took a toll in the 2014 war, and of the funds promised to reconstruct, only half have been disbursed. 

Since 2014 Gaza’s southern crossing into Egypt has also mostly been shut down, with the exception of a few dozens of days of openings, leaving a majority of Gaza’s residents living in poverty reliant on aid parcels to survive. 

Notable passengers on the boat include Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead MacGuire from Northern Ireland, retired U.S. army colonel and State Department official Ann Wright, parliamentarian Marama Davidson from New Zealand’s Green Party, and playwright Naomi Wallace.

“We hope that people will put pressure on their governments to hold Israel accountable, to put sanctions on Israel for what it’s doing to the Palestinians and to tell them to lift the blockade,” Wright told the Middle East Eye before the ships left port in Barcelona two days ago.

“For us, as the women of the world, this fight is also important, it is important to show our rights and opportunities; to prove that we are able to send ships to the Gaza Strip; to show that we stand in solidarity with women and people in the area,” Palestinian-Spanish activist Jaldia Abubakra told Spanish RT.

In 2010 passengers aboard a boat in an aid flotilla charted toward the besieged Gaza Strip, the Mavi Marmara, were intercepted by Israeli commandos in an night-time raid while the boats were nearing the edge of international waters. The Israeli navy fired several rounds while commandeering the ship, killing 10 passengers including the husband of one of the sailors now aboard the Women’s Boat to Gaza, Çiğdem Topçuoğlu.

At the time Israeli officials claimed the ships were shuttling weapons. Ultimately, no such items were found stored. “Since no material aid is being provided, Israeli cannot claim the ships are bringing contraband,” the Women’s Boat to Gaza said.

The after effects of the raid disrupted relations between Israel and Turkey for six years. The two countries had a rapprochement earlier this year when they signed a memorandum of understanding. In the deal, Turkey agreed to absolve Israel of any civil or criminal penalties for the deaths of its citizens. Topçuoğlu came out against the agreement last spring. 

The two-boat flotilla left Barcelona two days ago with a sendoff from the city’s mayor. “Barcelona wants to continue to exercise the Mediterranean leadership for peace and human rights,” said a letter to the government of Israel from the Barcelona City Council.

The ships are due to arrive in Gaza during the first week of October. 

FREEDOM VINDICATED ON CAMPUS

Two lawyers hired by the City University of New York to investigate alleged instances of anti-Semitism found that expressions of political opposition to the State of Israel are not inherently anti-Semitic, and that such expressions are protected under the First Amendment.

the-first-amendment-parchment

Pro-Palestinian Group Vindicated of Anti-Semitism Charges After CUNY Probe

An independent investigation has vindicated a pro-Palestinian group charged with fostering an anti-Semitic climate at the nation’s largest urban public university.

Two lawyers hired by the City University of New York to investigate alleged instances of anti-Semitism found that expressions of political opposition to the State of Israel are not inherently anti-Semitic, and that such expressions are protected under the First Amendment.

The investigation and the events that triggered it are part of a broader trend of campuses becoming political battlegrounds, where heavyweight Israel advocacy groups, like the Zionist Organization of America, spar with pro-Palestinian activists. Students for Justice in Palestine, the subject of this investigation, is a frequent target of such groups — but not the only one.

“The report finds what we’ve said all along, that the ZOA’s claims that SJP engaged in anti-Semitic activity are completely unsubstantiated,” said Radhika Sainath, an attorney with Palestine Legal.

The lawyers’s conducted their investigation after the ZOA wrote a scathing letter in February accusing local chapters of SJP of creating “a hostile campus environment” for Jewish students at CUNY. The ZOA, one of the country’s oldest pro-Israel organizations, has been campaigning against SJP for years.

Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights have documented what they call a “Palestine exception” to free speech, which they say is a pattern of censorship on campuses and a silencing of criticism of Israel. The ZOA, Palestine Legal said in a statement, is at the forefront of these efforts.

“[The report] confirmed that SJP cannot be scapegoated for accusation of anti-Semitism on campus,” said Nerdeen Kiswani, a former SJP leader at CUNY who graduated in June. “The facts on the ground are that standing against Zionism is not anti-Semitic and is protected under free speech.”

Similar allegations against SJP and other pro-Palestinian groups have also been dismissed at San Francisco State University and the University of California Irvine, according to Palestine Legal. The U.S. Department of Education also dismissed complaints against pro-Palestinian groups at at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and UCI in 2013, and against Rutgers in 2014.

“This is not the first time that ZOA has made these kinds of allegations about a university, saying there is rampant anti-Semitism and blaming it on SJP,” said Dov Waxman, a Northeastern University professor and co-director of the university’s Middle East Center. “In the previous cases those allegations turn out to be largely baseless or exaggerated.”

But even if such allegations are ultimately thrown out, Waxman said, they “force universities to be on the defensive and that means that particularly groups like SJP are going to be much more closely monitored and closely scrutinized by nervous administrators.”

Morton Klein, head of the ZOA, said he was “shocked” and “worse than disappointed” with the results of the investigation for which his group had pushed.

The report, conducted by Paul Shechtman, a former federal prosecutor, and Barbara Jones, a former federal judge, concluded that those who call for boycotts and divestment against Israel “should not be tarred as anti-Semitic.” The report also stated that banners with depictions of a kaffiyeh, or Palestinian scarf, are protected speech.

Shectman and Jones interviewed more than 60 students, alumni, administrators and faculty.

The report said that there was a “tendency to blame SJP for any act of anti-Semitism on any CUNY campus,” which it called a “mistake.” It found that SJP could not be tied to any of the most controversial instances of alleged anti-Semitism at the CUNY campuses.

The reported also noted that a Brooklyn College SJP leader had also been the victim of an Islamophobic incident. “No fair-minded person would attribute that conduct to Hillel,” it read, “and SJP should be judged by the same standards.”

To be sure, the report noted, there had been instances of anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses, such as swastikas appearing on library book or desks. The report also described an SJP rally at Hunter College, where it was “undeniable that some protestors made anti-Semitic and threatening comments.”

An individual also pulled a pro-Israel sign from a Jewish student’s hands. These actions at the Hunter College protest “went beyond offensive speech and were tantamount to assaults,” the report read.

But the investigators could not identify those responsible for conduct: “If they can be identified, they should be punished.”

Some of those interviewed for the report said that they believed “Zionist” was often used as a code for “Jew” during rallies. The report found that in one case, this may have been true but that “it would be wrong, however, to conclude that is generally the case.”

Those who shout for “CUNY out of Israel,” the report said, should also not be automatically considered anti-Semitic.

Still, the report did note that investigators spoke to Jewish students who did feel threatened on campus — and that those experiences should not be ignored.

“It’s true that these protest activities can be very strident,” Waxman said. “They can be experienced by some Jewish students as threatening. And they can be unnerving for Jewish students for whom Israel and Zionism is a part of their identity.”

In conclusion, the report read: “The picture that has emerged is not one of unchecked anti-Semitism, far from it, but it is hardly perfect.”

A separate but related inquiry, also stemming from the ZOA’s allegations of anti-Semitism, exonerated two Brooklyn College SJP members in June, after investigators were unable to corroborate an allegation that a pro-Palestinian activist had called a Jewish professor a “Zionist pig.”

Klein told the Forward that his group is not trying to infringe on free speech. “One can criticize Israel’s policies,” Klein said. “But if you’re against Israel’s existence, you’re an anti-Semite.”

A March inquiry by the Forward into the allegations of anti-Semitism cited by the ZOA found that the letter was vague as to when and where several of the most clearly anti-Semitic episodes took place and that it would be difficult to hold SJP responsible for fostering a hostile climate for Jewish students.

The ZOA had eagerly assisted with the investigation months ago.

But now Klein said, “It did the opposite of what it was supposed to do.”

JEWISH STUDENTS REJECT THE LIES ABOUT BDS

Kudos to The Forward for publishing the following …

We believe that our involvement in social justice activism on campus is an important way of connecting to a proud history of Jewish struggles against oppression.

We're Jewish Student Activists and We Don't Need To Be Protected From BDS

We’re Jewish Student Activists and We Don’t Need To Be Protected From BDS

We’re Jewish Student Activists and We Don’t Need To Be Protected From BDS

Writing in the Forward, Seffi Kogen suggests that BDS pushes Jewish students out of social justice work on campuses across the country — because, when faced with the choice between supporting activism and supporting Israel, Jews have to choose Israel. But the problem facing Jewish student activists isn’t BDS or intersectionality: it’s the occupation, and the Jewish establishment’s support for an unjust status quo.

An assistant director for campus affairs at the American Jewish Committee, Kogen describes Jewish students as victims in need of protection from the rising tide of BDS, not as capable people with agency to make their own decisions about which groups to support. He states, “BDS has not led to a change in Israeli policy. It won’t. But it has slowly but surely begun to freeze American Jews out of the crucial social justice conversations of our time.”

But we are Jewish student activists, and we don’t feel frozen. Nor do the countless Jews on college campuses involved in the fights for racial, economic, immigration, gender and climate justice. Some of them are affiliated with Jewish groups on campus, and some are more distant from institutional Jewish life. Some of them may support BDS, and some of them may not. There is no one trajectory for Jewish students, just as Jews for centuries have encouraged a rich tradition of disagreement and discussion.

We reject Kogen’s framing on several grounds. To name a few: he assumes that all Jews are Zionists; he assumes that all Jews put unilateral support for Israel before support for Black Lives Matter; he describes Jews as in a state of perpetual victimhood, and he erases the experiences of Palestinians living under the occupation. By describing BDS as a threat to Jewish students, he obscures the realities of segregation and dehumanization that make the occupation a daily nightmare for the Palestinians who live under it, and a moral disaster for the Jewish Americans and Israelis who support and administer it.

When Jewish communal organizations claim to speak on behalf of all Jews, they force student activists to answer for policies they reject. We are tired of the argument that to be Jewish is to stand with Israel unconditionally. We have friends and family in Israel, and have both spent significant time there. But our personal ties to Israel are not what make us Jewish and do not require that we support Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.

Kogen also makes the argument that Jews should put support for Israel before support for groups that are critical of Israel, most notably Black Lives Matter. But we cannot shirk our obligation to fight for racial justice because of objections to the words “genocide” and “apartheid.” Though we should have a conversation about those words, we must demonstrate our commitment to black and brown lives, Jewish or not. Arguing that Jews should inherently choose Israel over other issues, such as racial justice, erases the lived experience of black Jews for whom supporting and participating in Black Lives Matter is a matter of survival.

 What’s more, we will not be able to participate in social justice work with our full selves until we address the injustice that our own community perpetuates. If we are silent, or perceived as silent, about the time and money our community spends justifying the destruction of Palestinian lives, why should anyone take us seriously when we say black lives matter?

We believe that our involvement in social justice activism on campus is an important way of connecting to a proud history of Jewish struggles against oppression, from the Bundists of the Pale of Settlement to Jewish labor organizers on the Lower East Side to JFREJ and IfNotNow today. And that activism must include a commitment to fight against the oppressive Israeli policies our own community funds and supports.

Crucially, Kogen’s article lacks any discussion of the Palestinian people or their struggle against a racist and oppressive Israeli government that confiscates their land and demolishes their homes. The dominant narrative in Jewish communities around BDS is that it is a threat to our safety. This makes it easier for us, American Jews, to forget that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is about to turn fifty. Fifty years of subjugation and disenfranchisement, of midnight raids and checkpoints, of demolished homes and settlement building.

Groups that support BDS do not make us afraid for our safety; we do not need, or want, the protection of an out-of-touch Jewish establishment. What we truly fear is the way Jewish identity and the history of anti-Jewish oppression have been weaponized to justify the oppression of another people.

We worry that just as Jews were dehumanized by the oppression we faced in the past, we are dehumanized in the present by the oppression we inflict — whether on the ground or through communal institutions here in the U.S. To regain our humanity, we must assert the fundamental equality of all human beings — to affirm, as Cornel West challenged us to do, that the life of a Palestinian child has the same value as the life of a Jewish child — and fight for a future in which both Palestinians and Israelis live with freedom and dignity. We invite the Jewish community and institutions to join us.

IN PHOTOS ~~ ANTI BDS BILL MEETS RESISTANCE FROM NEW YORKERS

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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First read this related article from Mondoweiss (Click on link)

NYC city council anti-BDS bill meets resistance from protesters

Additional notes by Chippy Dee

When about 100 supporters of Palestinian human rights gathered in a hearing room at City Hall to voice their objections to an anti-1st amendment free speech resolution which opposes BDS, they didn’t expect a free inquiry into what BDS was or why this form of non-violent protest was a historically time honored form of protesting injustice going back, in American history, to the Boston Tea Party.  But neither did they expect abject rudeness, a total lack of professionalism, and blatant hostility from a body of lawmakers purporting to represent all  New Yorkers, not just Zionist supporters of current Israeli policy.

When they entered the chamber they saw that the 2 front rows were set aside for people testifying for the motion. None for those against it.  The committee chair, Helen Rosenthal, announced that 2 hours had been set aside for the hearing (that was later extended), that there would be a rotation of the speakers representing each side, and that nobody should make a sound, no applause, no laughter, no booing – only hand motions were acceptable.  The 1st speaker was Rep. Charles Barron, a member of the NYS legislature who had been  on the NYC Council in the past.  He was to make a statement of his own and also read a statement on behalf of his wife who currently serves on the NYC Council.  Barron is a long time supporter of Palestinian human rights having led one of the earliest attempts to break the Gaza blockade.  Before long he was interrupted by Rosenthal addressing him as “brother” and telling him to make his remarks more brief.  He responded asking her not to call him brother and that he would take the time he needed.  He also said that no person of color should support the motion. As he spoke 2 council members on the panel appeared to be paying no attention while doing something with their phones (texting?).

The next speaker supported the motion.  He essentially said the same thing all the other proponents said at great length – mostly an often repeated pack of lies.  That BDS supporters want to destroy the Jewish state because they are antisemites,  it is all just an effort to delegitimize Israel, and that BDS supporters intimidate students on campuses all over the country.  They gave no example of any student being threatened either verbally or physically by any BDS supporter.  This writer thinks that if Zionist students are feeling threatened it is because they are not comfortable with hearing about the outrages that Israelis are visiting upon Palestinians and prefer to bury their heads in the sand.

People against the measure tried to explain what BDS stood for, its’ place in history (the Montgomery bus boycott, Indian independence, the anti-apartheid struggle in So. Africa), its’ international support,  it’s  support among Jews and the constitutional free-speech issues.  Each time after a supporter of the motion spoke the panel questioned them, giving them more time to speak on their position.  This was not done when opponents spoke.  If anything, they were challenged and asked if they supported a one state or 2 state solution in Palestine/Israel.  They answered that BDS did not take a position on this issue.  Some council members pressed, insisting on hearing the speakers personal opinion on the issue.  In general the questioning was rude, insulting (calling people anti-semites) and saying that what they were saying was untrue (i.e., calling them liars)

Meanwhile, it was abundantly clear that this was a charade.  Members of the audience, all supporters of Palestinian human rights, began, one by one, to object to the hearing, to shout “Free Palestine”, some waved Palestinian flags.  One person stormed out saying that she felt like she was sitting at a council meeting in Israel. Rosenthal had them ejected by the security  guards and then demanded that the entire balcony be ejected although most of them were sitting quietly.  Many of those ejected were scheduled to speak against the motion but she would not allow them to return.  A member of the city council who was not involved in the hearing saw what was happening and he arranged for security to let the speakers back into the hearing room.  Among the last few opponents to speak were 2 citizens of Israel.  One spoke of his time in the IDF, where soldiers had contests on how many ‘Arabs’ they could kill (Israel never speaks of Palestinians, they refuse to recognize their existence) and the other described, in detail, the many acts of racism she witnessed in her years there.  When she concluded Rosenthal said that she knows she should thank her for her testimony “but I won’t”.

When it was over many discussed whether anything was accomplished.  Most thought it was important to be there because the group made it clear that opposition exists, that it will continue to fight for Palestinian human rights using BDS, and that the opposition will come from many communities, including Black, Muslim, and Jewish.

ISRAEL MIGHT SOON BE VOID OF LEFTISTS

Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left, are leaving, are planning to leave or are talking about leaving.

For thousands of years the Jews dreamed of reclaiming their country. The left had another dream.

For thousands of years the Jews dreamed of reclaiming their country. The left had another dream.

Should I Give Up On Changing Israel from Within — and Take a Stand by Leaving?

A debate has been raging in the Israeli left over the past few weeks — primarily in the opinion pages of Haaretz and on my Facebook feed — about Israelis who are choosing to move away from Israel as a political statement.

Although these leftists make up only a tiny percentage of Israelis, their departure has hit a nerve. The veteran Israeli left-wing activist and founder of Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery, has called on them to return, arguing that leaving is a cop-out, that they are needed here. This has sparked a back and forth, with several younger Israelis writing that they are no longer willing to sacrifice their children’s lives for what they see as a dead-end country — and so, yes, they’re opting out.

Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left, are leaving, are planning to leave or are talking about leaving. My family and I included. The reasons for leaving are always personal, and it’s hard to point to a specific political trend. But the discourse around leaving is indicative of a real crisis in the Israeli left regarding the inability to effect change, and the increasing sense that our ideals are unwanted and that we are outnumbered. Not just at the polls, but at the family dinner table, too. For me, this is not just about the normalization of racism and violence in the public sphere that goes along with the occupation, but about the fact that so many Israelis who identify as liberals are either ignorant of the state’s actions or complicit in them.

When I became active in the West Bank nearly a decade ago with the direct-action Arab-Jewish cooperative Ta’ayush, I witnessed and experienced many Israeli human rights violations and absurdities that profoundly changed my working assumptions and shaped my politics, instantly setting me apart from most Israelis. Whereas other Israelis spent their Saturdays resting at home or going to family gatherings, I spent them escorting Palestinians to their wells or their grazing fields while being confronted by settlers and soldiers. I would come back to the comforts of my life in Tel Aviv outraged that people could just sit in cafes with no clue what was being done in their name just a few miles away — or worse, that they just didn’t care. The sharp dissonance affected all aspects of my life and my interaction with friends, family members, everyone. It breeds a constant sense of despair and resentment.

A decade later, and five years since the “tent protests” that saw hundreds of thousands of Israelis out in the streets protesting the high cost of living without any mention of the disenfranchised Palestinian population in our midst, this sense of alienation has only intensified. Instead of gaining legitimacy in Israeli society, activist groups like Ta’ayush, Anarchists Against the Wall and Breaking the Silence, which came of age during the second intifada with the goal of exposing and opposing human rights violations, are now targets of state-sanctioned incitement; they are marginalized even more than they already were, and delegitimized.

Israel currently has the most right-wing government in its history, and “leftist” is a bona fide bad word whose definition just keeps broadening. An Israeli who never set foot across the Green Line but who protested in central Tel Aviv against Israel’s past two wars in Gaza is considered radical. A soldier who has fulfilled his military service and then speaks out against the actions he carried out is a traitor. A 2016 poll shows that 72% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories does not even constitute an “occupation.”

Under these circumstances, how can the left possibly hope to shift the discourse, much less end the occupation?

This is the question I am constantly grappling with, and it is the million-dollar question facing the Israeli left today. In 2005, Palestinians answered this question by calling for international pressure through boycott, and some Jews in Israel and abroad have joined them, believing that change is simply not coming from within. It shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, not local activism, has taken center stage in this era when it comes to opposing Israeli policies. The Israelis emigrating from the country are inadvertently part of the spirit of the boycott movement in the sense that they, too, have given up on the idea that change will come from within.

Although I feel a constant and growing sense of alienation from the majority of Jewish Israeli society, and this makes leaving seem more appealing, I also live a comfortable life here and am invested in this place. It’s home. But every time I walk from my house in Jaffa to the beach and dip my limbs into the open sea, I am sorely aware of all the Palestinians in the West Bank who don’t have this luxury, who have never seen the Mediterranean, or for whom the chance to visit is an extraordinary, one-time opportunity entirely dependent on the whims of the Israeli establishment. Every time I experience fear or anxiety about the increasingly violent, herd-mentality society my 2-year old is growing up in, I consider the Palestinian children who are stateless and roofless in Gaza.

We can’t live in a constant state of guilt. But even as Israeli leftists are increasingly persecuted, we have to recognize that we also enjoy a lot of privileges. And it’s precisely because of the privileges I enjoy here that I feel compelled to fight for those who lack them.

There are many ways to fight that fight, though. The question, then, is not whether to stay or to go. That choice is personal and will always be personal. The real question for me is how to have an impact and how to live a life that is true to my ideals.

 

Read a commentary from Mondoweiss HERE

 

 

STILL TIME TO GET ON BOARD THE BOAT TO GAZA

Same Struggle …. Be a part of history by CHANGING IT!

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Wear our T-shirt,
logo on front,
Women’s Boat to Gaza 
in all our coalition languages on back.
Men’s and women’s styles and sizes, available now, $25 plus $5 postage. Contact Kit Kittredge, marnykit@gmail.com to order.
Ask about discounts for bulk orders to sell at fundraising events.
 
Our U.S. national goal is $30,000.  Please help by holding a fundraiser in your community.  We can send fliers and a powerpoint presentation on Women’s Boat to Gaza for the program.

 

ANOTHER ACT OF SOLIDARITY ON THE SPORT’S FIELD

It is inspiring to see an athlete who cares more about the world than their own ambitions. And it is stunning that so many people are saying that an NFL player this thoughtful and selfless is somehow a “bad” role model, in a league so rife with scandal from the owner’s box to the locker room.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference on Friday, August 26, 2016. (AP Photo / Ben Margot)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference on Friday, August 26, 2016. (AP Photo / Ben Margot)

America Needs to Listen to What Colin Kaepernick Is Actually Trying to Say

Too many people are talking about patriotism and etiquette instead of reckoning with the substance of his critique.

#InIsrael ~~ THE BAN IS ON

Image by Carlos Latuff

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

The Israeli government has called on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation.

Israel bans entry for two more US activists

Wilson Dizard

Israel has banned an American activist who has worked for years helping Palestinians in Gaza, after denying her entry into the country, detaining her for hours and deporting her against her will.  The woman’s ban comes after Israel banned five U.S. citizens at the border in July, all of them the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and another American woman last week crossing from Jordan.

Washington D.C.-based activist, Pam Bailey, 59, who has been to Gaza many times before, arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday and told passport control the truth; that she said was there helping a Swedish women’s aid group, Women to Women (Kvinde til Kvinde), that works alongside the Switzerland-based human rights organization Euro-Mediterranean Rights Human Rights Network (EuroMed). Bailey is the head of her own EuroMed-affiliated project, We Are Not Numbers, which tries to help Palestinians under occupation tell their stories.

Although she had a permit arranged by Kvinde til Kvinde to enter Gaza, Bailey faces a decade-long ban from entering the area, after Israel decided she was working with an activist group that they told her was “illegal” in the state.

After waiting for an hour in a small room, a border official “just informed me I was going to be deported and I would not be allowed to go to Gaza for ten years,” she said. The official did not offer an avenue for appeal. She says she feels devastated by the ban because the young people she helps out in Gaza are like her extended family. Her interest in the region began years ago.

“Basically, my first trip to the West Bank in 2007 was driven by a fascination with the Middle East, a sympathy for Palestinians and a desire to return to my reporting roots by experiencing this area of conflict for myself. The people I met there, and the injustice I witnessed, turned that curiosity into a passion,” she said.

Bailey’s ban comes as Israel cracks down on international attempts at intervention into its military occupation of Palestinian areas, encouraging Israelis to inform on outside agitation by visitors who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Bailey believes that in her case Israel wants to undermine Palestinian civil society groups and make them dependent on outsiders, easier for the state can control.

“They don’t want an independent Palestine working, but they’re totally fine with internationals cleaning up dirty work,” Bailey said.

The U.S. Campaign, whose five members found themselves turned back from Ben Gurion in July, found no help from U.S. consular officials. The U.S. State Department acknowledges the reality of this discrimination, the U.S. Campaign writes.

“Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints,’” the U.S. Campaign said.

Bailey’s story reflects that of another American activist, Charlotte Kates, whom Israel turned away from a land border crossing on August 15. Kates said she received a five-year ban.

She was there as the international coordinator for the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, on a trip to support Bilal Kayed, a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner of Israel. Kates was the subject of lengthy interrogation about her association with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as her advocacy for Kayed.

Both Kates and Bailey were told verbally by officials of the length of their ban.

Bailey said that after she was summarily informed of her ban, authorities shuffled her through the Kafakesque process of being forcibly deported from the state of Israel. After one small room, officials lead her to a larger one, where other travellers waited to see if they were going to be kicked out of the country.

Soon, Israeli border control officials came for her, and put her on a small van with metal bars on the windows, and drove her out of Ben Gurion into Israel to a warehouse-like detention facility. The van held one other passenger, a crying Russian woman who spoke no English.

Once at the detention center, authorities took Bailey’s possessions from her and left her under guard with another international traveler, a British woman who was on her way to work in Ramallah. That woman had also been told by Israeli border officials that she couldn’t enter the country for ten years.

“They had asked her for all the names and numbers of her coworkers and she refused to do that,” she said. Demanding to look through cell phones and social media posts has become a common practice when facing scrutiny entering Israel.

Bailey languished in the detention facility, still deprived of her passport by border control, where the only pieces of furniture were bunk beds and a table, upon which “mystery meat subway sandwiches and water” sat.

While she was there, she tried to engage one of the guards in conversation.

“‘What threat do you think I am,’ I asked. He said ‘Don’t you think we have a right to say who can come into our country?’ so I said ‘I don’t want to come into your country. I don’t want to stay here,’” she recalled. Then the guard stopped talking.

After more waiting, Bailey encountered another bizarre twist: a medical exam. She refused.

“Then they wanted me to see one of their doctors,” she told Mondoweiss. They took her to a room “where there was a blood pressure monitor and a hypodermic needle. So I said ‘no, I am not doing this,’” she recalls.

The security officials detaining her refused to speak English, she said.

“I ended up calling them fascists, so as a result I ended up being put in a room by myself,” after refusing medical treatment she never asked for.

After several more hours of waiting, officials drove her to the tarmac at Ben Gurion and up to a United Airlines flight back to the United States. Still without all her bags or her passport, which was in the hands of a flight attendant, Bailey protested by sitting down in the aisle until a sympathetic  attendant managed to get her bag of personal items. Another piece of luggage full of GRE study books for Gazans was still in the hands of Israeli officials. Bailey never got that back.

Bailey plans to appeal her ban with the help of the group Right to Enter, which advocates on behalf of people denied entry into Israel. Sudden and unexpected denials of entry into Israel have happened to Americans of Palestinian descent as well.

Kates, the other American activist denied entry in recent days, this time at the King Hussein Bridge, said that people who appear to be Arab or Muslim, and especially Palestinian, are treated far worse than European-looking international visitors by border officials.

“Furthermore, my experience of prolonged interrogation and being held for hours at the bridge pales next to the experience of Palestinians being denied their basic right to return to enter their own homeland – part and parcel of the denial of the fundamental right of return – and subject to harsh interrogation, being deported for carrying international passports, and being subjected to cruel and degrading treatment at the border,” Kates said.

“During just my own time at the bridge, I encountered numerous Palestinians facing enormous delays and aggressive interrogation, Palestinians denied entry to their own homeland, and Palestinians presented with ‘limited-access’ entry permits prohibiting them from visiting Jerusalem. I encountered a family from Gaza who had one of the rare permits to exit via Erez/Beit Hanoun and then the bridge to Jordan to see family members. As they had studied in the US and UK, they were questioned by border guards as to why they wished to return to Gaza at all, rather than staying in another country. Border control and interrogation is part and parcel of the system of Israeli colonization and dispossession separating Palestinians from their land and seeking to force even more Palestinians outside their homeland. It is part of the same system that denies millions of Palestinians their right to return and attempts to continue the Nakba on an ongoing basis,” Kates wrote in a statement following her ordeal.

“At the same time, I also witnessed numerous holders of international passports singled out for their names, visibly Muslim or Arab appearance, or travels to Arab countries, and subject to degrading and offensive interrogations regarding their religion and personal relationships,” Kates continued.

Right to Enter, the entry advocacy group, has advice for people held up at Ben Gurion or a land-crossing. Even if Israel denies you entry, it’s not the end of the story.

“Remain calm but firm.  Remember you are not alone in being denied entry and many before you have been successful in entering even after being denied entry, some by making an appeal case on the spot and others by returning a few days/weeks afterwards,”  their website reads on what to do if denied entry  “DO NOT throw a tantrum or insult the officials.  This will only antagonize the situation.”

TOON OF TODAY ~~ CELTICS MATCH THE FINE FOR PALESTINE

Image by Carlos Latuff

Match the Fine for Palestine

Match the Fine for Palestine

#matchthefineforpalestine

We, the Green Brigade, are the passionate Ultra fans of Celtic Football Club, Scotland’s most famous and successful football team. At the Champions League match with Hapoel Beer Sheva on 17 August 2016, the Green Brigade and fans throughout Celtic Park flew the flag for Palestine. This act of solidarity has earned our club respect and acclaim throughout the world. It has also attracted a disciplinary charge from UEFA, which deems the Palestinian flag to be an ‘illicit banner’

In response to this petty and politically partisan act by European football’s governing body, we are determined to make a positive contribution to the game and today launch a campaign to #matchthefineforpalestine. We aim to raise £75,000 which will be split equally between Medical Aid Palestine (MAP) and the Lajee Centre, a Palestinian cultural centre in Aida Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem. From our members’ experiences as volunteers in Palestine we know the huge importance of both organisations’ work and have developed close contacts with them.

MAP is a UK-based charity which delivers health and medical care to Palestinians worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement. Working in partnership with local health care providers and hospitals, MAP provides vital public health and emergency response services. This includes training and funding a team of Palestinian surgeons and medics to treat and operate on those affected by the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.

MAP has publicly thanked the Celtic support and all who have donated for their support. You can read their statement and find out more about their incredible work on their website: http://www.map-uk.org/home/homepage (their statement is available here:http://www.map-uk.org/news/archive/post/43…r-palestinians).
All funds raised for Medical Aid Palestine will go to mending broken limbs in Gaza and other vitally important projects in the Occupied Territories and Palestinian refugee camps.

Aida is one of 19 refugee camps in the West Bank and has for 66 years played temporary home to Palestinians forcibly expelled from their homes in Hebron and Jerusalem. Its residents live in the shadow of Israel’s apartheid wall, cut off from social and economic opportunities by the wall and neighbouring illegal settlements and military checkpoints.

For the young people of Aida, the Lajee Centre in the heart of the camp offers hope and an escape from the realities of life under Israeli occupation. Its programme of arts, culture and sporting activities are a lifeline for its impoverished and oppressed people.

Last year, the Centre built Aida’s only football pitch. Residents had previously played on recreation ground that has now been stolen by the wall. Within months of opening, the new pitch was severely damaged by tear gas canisters fired onto it by the Israeli military. It is now protected by metal netting.

Funds raised will provide a much needed boost to this fantastic project and will allow the Lajee Centre to extend its arts, dance and football programmes. As a token of their appreciation, the Centre have committed to setting up and sustaining the camp’s first ever football club and to name it Aida Celtic.

Aida Celtic will enter the Bethlehem Youth League at the start of 2017 and will host a tournament for teams from all of the West Bank’s refugee camps in Spring next year. Your generosity will also allow the Centre to buy a minibus for use in transporting Aida Celtic to matches and its other groups around Palestine.

Salah Ajarma, the Lajee Centre’s Coordinator told us the importance Aida Celtic will have for residents of the camp: “it will mean so much to our young people to be part of an official team, to have boots and strips and to represent the camp wearing the colours of our friends. Aida Celtic will be a source of pride for all in Aida”.

You can hear more from Aida’s young people and the volunteers at the Lajee Centre here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdm09DOieHc

We have been overwhelmed by the early response to this appeal and have set a new target of £75,000. Any money raised above this sum will continue to be split on an equal basis between MAP and the Lajee Centre, and will go some way to mending the broken limbs and damaged lives of the displaced and deprived people of Palestine.

At the end of the fundraising drive we will present representatives of both organisations with a cheque for their share in Glasgow.

Let’s #matchthefineforpalestine and show the footballing establishment the true spirit of the game.

EIGHT YEARS OF WAITING IN (FOR) PALESTINE

It has been 8 years since I moved back from the USA to occupied Palestine and it may be worth a brief reflection. I accomplished much since then (of course I am surrounded by good people starting with my wife and immediate family members to students and volunteers who believed in what we were doing and to hundreds of supporters around the world).

My 'official welcome back' by the occupation police

My ‘official welcome back’ by the occupation police

EIGHT YEARS

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

It has been 8 years since I moved back from the USA to occupied Palestine and it may be worth a brief reflection. I accomplished much since then (of course I am surrounded by good people starting with my wife and immediate family members to students and volunteers who believed in what we were doing and to hundreds of supporters around the world). Briefly, under difficult circumstances in 2008-2016, I (with support)

1- Published many scientific research articles including critical ones on environment and genetics

2- Wrote books (one published in 2012 on Popular Resistance in Palestine and two on the way)

3- Founded and directed a clinical cytogenetics laboratory

4- Mentored dozens of graduate and undergraduate students

5- Taught over 8 different courses ranging from molecular biology to anthropology to biodiversity at four colleges and universities

6- Founded and directed the Palestine Museum (PMNH) of Natural History and Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) including its nascent botanical garden. http://www.palestinenature.org

7- Traveled throughout occupied Palestine and collected over 8000 specimens and over 10,000 photos that are a basis of current and future research

8- Traveled and represented Palestine in over 20 countries

9- Wrote over 200 articles on issues ranging from popular resistance to the one state solution to BDS.

10- Spoke to over 5000 visiting internationals about the situation

11- Spoke to thousands of locals on issues ranging from environment to human rights

12- Created jobs and helped some students manage their financial burden with some scholarships and work-study programs

13- Organized dozens of workshops that built human capacity

14- Built working relationships with dozens of local and international groups

15- Performed a number of consultancies to local and international agencies that made a direct impact on course of human development and the environment

16- Read over 500 books and hundreds of articles that helped me change and grow as an individual

17- Built friendships with hundreds (and met thousands)

18- Challenged oppression wherever it was found (via demonstrations, media work, etc) and got arrested a few times and questioned by intelligence services of three countries😉

All of this was done while struggling against not just Israeli occupation with its repression (e.g. inability to import things normally, lack of freedom of movement) but some Palestinian societal backward culture including nepotism, patriarchy, bureaucracy, and corruption. We were learning as we go how to deal with people (including the “mental occupation”). We gave chances to some who abused them and some who benefited from the chances to improve themselves and serve Palestine. But what sustained me/us was good honest people who I met and worked with everywhere. Hundreds of individuals like you on this list who helped us in so many ways by donations, volunteerism, actions, and other kinds of support. Of course what we have done is miniscule compared to what needs to be done. And there are many millions of candles in this darkness. We are humble enough to realize that we can only continue to achieve with collective work towards a peaceful., just, and SUSTAINABLE world.

Staying in the US would have been much less demanding on my physical and psychological health (and with a six figure income would have been financially “logical”). And there was lots of activities we were doing in the US for Palestine, for global peace, and for the environment. Much remains to be done within the US as it continues to be the country that is in the words of Martin Luther King Jr “the biggest purveyor of violence”. It certainly is the most enabling and the major sponsor of apartheid Israel and the endless wars in neighboring countries (conflicts thought to serve Israeli interests). Without the US support “Israel” would fold in two weeks and would have to become a democratic country for all its people and allow the Palestinian refugees to return. However and having said all of that, the decision to return to Palestine was the best decision I made in my life and this feeling grows stronger every day. The most important accomplishment I feel will last generations is my mentoring of young people. I would like to spend more time with young people (this is part of the reason we built PMNH/PIBS) and work harder at helping people help themselves. As I look forward with optimism to the next eight years here (If I live that long), I want to sincerely thank all of you who contributed and continue to contribute your time and energy.

END OF REFLECTION. Now for other good news

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted overwhelmingly in the annual convention to set up a screen and not invest in any company that profits from Israel’s occupation. They also called to end US unconditioonal aid to Israel. The Green party of the US developed a great latform on the question of Palestine (see below) that is based on human rights and justice. Social media are abuzz after the disastrous choice of Clinton and Trump to be nominees of the “democratic” and “republican” parties. Many argue that this continuing deterioration was a predictable outcome of the permission of lobbies (like the Zionist lobby to shape elections) and/or an expected outcome of several elections where people vote for the lesser of two evils rather than vote their conscience.

Following the diminishing water supply to Palestinians in the West Bank and the severe water shortage and pollution in the Gaza Strip, a light installation was held simultaneously in eight locations: Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Boston, New York, Houston, Johannesburg, Melbourne and Perth, Australia. In an illuminating display of lights reflected in water, activists from four continents stood near lakes and beaches creating the message “WATER IS A RIGHT” in various languages.

Green Party Statement on The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Our Green values oblige us to support popular movements for peace and demilitarization in Israel-Palestine, especially those that reach across the lines of conflict to engage both Palestinians and Israelis of good will.

We reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, which precludes the self-determination of one at the expense of the other. We recognize the historical and contemporary cultural diversity of Israeli-Palestinian society, including the religious heritage of Jews, Christians, Muslims and others. This is a significant part of the rich cultural legacy of all these peoples and it must be respected. To ensure this, we support equality before international law rather than appeals to religious faith as the fair basis on which claims to the land of Palestine-Israel are resolved.

We recognize that Jewish insecurity and fear of non-Jews is understandable in light of Jewish history of horrific oppression in Europe. However, we oppose as both discriminatory and ultimately self-defeating the position that Jews would be fundamentally threatened by the implementation of full rights to Palestinian-Israelis and Palestinian refugees who wish to return to their homes. As U.S. Greens, we refuse to impose our views on the people of the region. Still, we would turn the U.S. government towards a new policy, which itself recognizes the equality, humanity, and civil rights of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and all others who live in the region, and which seeks to build confidence in prospects for secular democracy.

We reaffirm the right and feasibility of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Israel. We acknowledge the significant challenges of equity and restitution this policy would encounter and call on the U.S. government to make resolution of these challenges a central goal of our diplomacy in the region.

We reject U.S. unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands and maintains an apartheid-like system in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens. Therefore, we call on the U.S. President and Congress to suspend all military and foreign aid, including loans and grants, to Israel until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories, dismantles the separation wall in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, ends its siege of Gaza and its apartheid-like system both within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens.

We also reject U.S. political support for Israel and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel. We urge our government to join with the U.N. to secure Israel’s complete withdrawal to the 1967 boundaries and its compliance with international law.

We support a much stronger and supportive U.S. position with respect to all United Nations, European Union, and Arab League initiatives that seek a negotiated peace. We call for an immediate U.N.-sponsored, multinational peacekeeping and protection force in the Palestinian territories with the mandate to initiate a conflict-resolution commission.

We call on the foreign and military affairs committees of the U.S. House and Senate to conduct full hearings on the status of human rights and war crimes in Palestine-Israel, especially violations committed during Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead”) as documented in the 2009 “UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”(“The Goldstone Report”) authorized by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

We recognize that despite decades of continuous diplomatic attempts by the international community, it has failed to bring about Israel’s compliance with international law or respect for basic Palestinian human rights; and that, despite abundant condemnation of Israel’s policies by the UN, International Court of Justice, and all relevant international conventions, the international community of nations has failed to stop Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in Israel and the OPT, while Israeli crimes continue with impunity. We recall that ending institutionalized racism (apartheid) in South Africa demanded an unusual, cooperative action by the entire international community in the form of a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid South Africa, and that BDS can become the most effective nonviolent means for achieving justice and genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and for the region, through concerted international pressure as applied to apartheid South Africa; and that Palestinian resistance to ongoing dispossession has mainly been nonviolent, including its most basic form—remaining in their homes, on their land; and that while Palestinian armed resistance is legitimate under international law when directed at non-civilian targets, we believe that only nonviolent resistance will maintain the humanity of Palestinian society, elicit the greatest solidarity from others, and maximize the chance for future reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. However, we also recognize that our appeal to Palestinians to continue to resist nonviolently in the face of ongoing existential threats from Israel is hypocritical unless accompanied by substantial acts of international support. We recall that in 2005, Palestinian Civil Society appealed to the international community to support a BDS campaign against Israel, and that in response the Green Party of the US endorsed this BDS campaign in 2005. Therefore, we support the implementation of boycott and divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, which includes pressuring our government to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel; and we support maintaining these nonviolent punitive measures until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by

-Ending its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands and dismantling the Wall in the West Bank
-Recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
-Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

We recognize that international opinion has been committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet, we view the two-state solution as neither democratic nor viable in the face of international law, material conditions and “facts on the ground” that now exist in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Given this reality, we support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital. We encourage a new U.S. diplomatic initiative to begin the long process of negotiation, laying the groundwork for such a single-state constitution.

We recognize that such a state might take many forms and that the eventual model chosen must be decided by the peoples themselves. We also acknowledge the enormous hostilities that now exist between the two peoples, but history tells us that these are not insurmountable among people genuinely seeking peace.

As an integral part of peace negotiations and the transition to peaceful democracy, we call for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose inaugurating action would be mutual acknowledgement by Israelis and Palestinians that they have the same basic rights, including the right to exist in the same, secure place.

ISRAEL IS IN MOURNING TODAY ~~ AND ONCE AGAIN PALESTINE IS FORGOTTEN

Today is Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) on the Hebrew calendar. The saddest day on those pages …. read about it HERE.

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These brave folks remember the horrors facing Palestinians today, especially those living in the besieged Gaza Strip ….

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‘Solidarity ships’ to sail to the besieged Gaza Strip

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Two “solidarity ships” are set to sail towards the besieged Gaza Strip from Barcelona, Spain, in mid-September.

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Named ‘Amal’ and ‘Zaytouna’ — meaning ‘Hope’ and ‘Olives’ in Arabic, respectively — the ships will be led by an all-female crew of 24, including Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire.
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According to Issam Yusif, head of the world popular committee for the support of the Gaza Strip, most of the crew members are affiliated with civil society organizations, and will be making the nearly 2,000-mile journey to show solidarity with the Palestinian people against the decade-long “illegal Israeli blockade” on Gaza.
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In a statement on Sunday, Yusif urged the Palestinian and international communities to support the new all-female “solidarity ships” initiative politically, financially and morally.
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Yusif emphasized the importance of the initiative, saying it would help to highlight the Palestinian struggle for freedom and an independent state, as well as the everyday Israeli violations of international law and the Palestinian right to freedom of movement.
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He also expressed hope that the initiative would help to end the increasingly “tragic situation” of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, as the needs of the Gazan people continue to multiply despite the little aid they receive.
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The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008, most recently in the summer of 2014.
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The 51-day Israeli offensive, termed “Operation Protective Edge” by Israeli authorities, resulted in the killings of at least 1,462 Palestinian civilians, a third of whom were children, according to the UN.
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The UN has said that the besieged Palestinian territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020, as its 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the nearly decade-long Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy, while continuing to experience the widespread destruction wrought by the Israeli offenses, and the slow-paced reconstruction efforts aimed at rebuilding homes for some 75,000 of Palestinians who remain displaced following the last Israeli assault.
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FROM

DIRECT LINE TO JOE McCARTHY IN ISRAEL

Jerusalem-based BDS watchdog call center takes the fight to anti-Israel activities by providing activists’ information reported by civilians to Interior Ministry; group seeks deportation of activsts or barring their entry into Israel.

joe-mccarthy

Israel’s watchdog center fighting BDS

In a small office situated in the heart of Jerusalem a telephone center has been established which allows people in Israel to call and report Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions movement (BDS) activities inside the country designed to harm its international standing.

In recent years, the influential watchdog center against the BDS movement, ‘Lev B’Olam’ (Heart of the World), has taken on itself the struggle against the pernicious phenomenon by relying on civilians to bring it to their attention.

When a caller alerts the organization, a representative completes a complaint form and asks a series of questions to gather as much information as possible such as how many BDS activists are involved in a given incident, what they are doing, whether they are using cameras etc. As much pedigree information is compiled about the individuals in question including their names, their places of residence and whether the activists belong to any specific organization.

The accumulated information is then added to a special file and transferred to the Ministry of Interior and Internal Security.

The initiative, which has already been around for some three years, was intensified following the Israeli deportation of Rita Faye, a BDS activists known to the IDF for her activities at checkpoints and harassment of Israeli soldiers.

Faye, from Switzerland, had visited Israel several times in pursuit of her efforts to document alleged Israeli wrongdoing. However, she was deported in accordance with a deportation order from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) at the end of July after being taken in for questioning upon arrival in Ben Gurion Airport.

In addition to Faye’s deportation, Deri and Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan established a team dedicated to deporting, or preventing the entry of, activists bent on promoting boycotts against the State of Israel.

According to Nati Rom, the general manager of ‘Lev B’Olam’, “The watchdog is the answer to the calls by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan. This is a civilian initiative whose aim is to locate the activists arriving in Israel under the guise of a tourist and trying to sabotage the Zionist enterprise in Israel. We are here in order to receive as much information about them as possible.”

‘Lev B’Olam’ has already been operating for three years and has been undertaking efforts to combat BDS activities designed to delegitimize Israel. As part of its efforts, the organization engages in PR activities by sending its representatives to European capitals and to BDS hotspots.

The center operates from Sunday to Thursday between the hours of 9am and 4pm and has both Hebrew and English speakers. Callers are also able to send relevant footage, photographs and documents via email.

Source and photos @

DEPORTING SOLIDARITY FROM ISRAEL

Israel is not the first to use deportation as a weapon …..

 

This video is meant to demonstrate by music + images that the immigration problem isn’t new, but has a long history. This video takes no political position concerning immigrants or immigration, but is meant to honor Woody’s song, Arlo’s singing, and the many immigrants who have worked, suffered, been deported, etc.
This is just a slide show using Woody Guthrie’s classic song as sung by his son Arlo and public domain (I believe) images; hopefully this will not violate any Fair Use copyright guidelines. All music performed by Arlo Guthrie, video/music collage edited/created by Dulcimerea.

Deporting Solidarity: One activist’s experience being detained in Ben Gurion airport

Moara Crivelente

Scattered inscriptions written with toothpaste and food on the bunks and walls of an Israeli facility at the Ministry of Interior Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) declare: “for each International Solidarity Movement you deport back home, ten more will come!”  Me and many before me read those words as we waited for our deportation. After hours of interrogation at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, we received a 10-year ban from entering the State of Israel for “security reasons.” With no further explanation, we were declared a threat.

During the seven-hour wait at the airport, I was repeatedly interrogated and questioned. Right from the start, I was told by two security officers that it has already been decided: I was getting deported, unless—said the one who played the role of the “good cop”—I cooperate.

To “cooperate” meant to tell them about every corner I had been in and every person I had met in Palestine on previous visits. They demanded I say that I witnessed Palestinian protesters throwing stones at armed Israeli soldiers during demonstrations I attended—which they supposedly already knew of from pictures taken by the IDF. I was calm and I answered their questions obligingly until they asked me for my cellphone’s password. I told them that I was a PhD student conducting research, and my purpose of visit was to take a course on International Law in Ramallah with Al-Haq organization, but I refused to give them my password or my contacts.

To gain access to my phone meant that Israeli security forces would gather names of activists and Palestinian “culprits.” In 2014, Gary Spedding, a British activist, went through something similar. Israeli forces collected messages and contacts from his phone and he was deported, after being accused of possibly causing tumult if he were to be allowed inside the country, due to his activity on social media.

I had interactions with Israeli agents where I was ordered and moved around, taking me from one room to another. From border services, where they took my picture and collected fingerprints, to a room where my body and my luggage were fully searched, to another room where I waited—and this I only understood later, since I was given no information—for the transportation to the facility where I was detained. From there I got a new order, “Get in the car.” I was alone with two agents; I sat in the backseat of a van with metal plaques blocking the driver’s cabin.

Only when we reached the facility did I get information about my flight back, which was leaving in nine hours. There I met a young Australian woman who had been waiting for four days and would only leave on the fifth. We were granted one phone call, food, ten minutes in the yard and a door that locked from the outside. We waited. At some point there were nine of us in a room with five bunk beds, much like a cell. Most of the detainees were women from Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Uzbekistan that were planning on touring in Israel and Palestine but were denied entry.

The Australian woman was also declared a threat: she participated in a protest in Bil’in on a previous visit, a village I had also been to. There, an organization called the “Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall” administers weekly protests against the Israeli occupation which took its toll on the village by reinforcing detentions and extending the Israeli separation wall to engulf agricultural land. The resistance has been partly victorious, and the wall’s course had to be slightly diverted. The committee’s own coordinator, Abdullah Abu Rahmah, who was already imprisoned before, is waiting for a new trial for new accusations.

I was taken by car from the detention center directly to the airplane’s door. An agent escorted me inside the aircraft and delivered my documents (which had been in their possession the whole time) to the flight attendant.

Deporting solidarity

It is within Israeli policy to deport activists who demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian cause to end the Israeli occupation. That is not news. In 2003, for instance, eight members of the International Solidarity Movement, all European and North American, were deported because they were protesting against the confiscation of Palestinian land to construct the Israeli separation barrier near Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. Protestors were also moving roadblocks near Nablus to call attention to the obstacles Palestinians face in movement on their own land.

In 2011, about two hundred activists were detained and deported upon their arrival at the Israeli airport. A Haaretz news article from July of that year informs that a group of twenty-five people who were suspected of being “pro-Palestinian activists” had their entries denied. Sixty-nine others had already been questioned and deported in the same period of time. Israel’s Ministry of Transport had also delivered airline companies a list with the names of 342 other people who were barred from boarding planes to Israel.

Another Haaretz article from the same month states that “Israel has thus far been successful in preventing the entry of 200 passengers wishing to come to Israel as part of the Welcome to Palestine campaign, which had organized a ‘fly-in’ to the Middle East this weekend for solidarity visits in the Palestinian territories.” This only reveals a fragment of Israeli tactics of persecuting any demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Academic campaigns and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) have been the most visible targets. Israeli harassment of Palestine activism does not stop there: Israeli human rights groups are also infringed upon. Breaking the Silence, an Israeli platform for soldiers to come forward and give testimonies about the crimes and atrocities they have witnessed and participated in with the Israeli Defense Forces, is an example of such organizations.

There are numerous cases of Palestinian deportations by Israel since the beginning of the military occupation. From 1967 to 1992, according to B’Tselem, Israel has deported 1,522 Palestinians from their own territories. In 2002, 32 people were deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip for “administrative reasons,” with no charges or trials against the deportees, and without their defenses being heard.

A 10-year ban

Brazilians do not need visas to visit Israel, and Israelis do not need visas to visit Brazil. However, I doubt that a sum of deportations from either countries would be balanced, let alone for political reasons. In 2015, two other Brazilians from Palestinian descent were denied entry on a solidarity visit, part of a group of social movements coming from the World Social Forum in Tunisia. They were also banned from returning to Israel in the future.

Going back to Palestine is not an option for the next 10 years—unless the Israeli Embassy grants a “special permit,” or until the Palestinians can finally control their own borders. If this experience results in an appeal, it would be for the end of the Israeli occupation. After all, that is the target: solidarity with the Palestinian people and a joint struggle for a free Palestine.

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA/NAGASAKI

President Obama neglected to apologise for the slaughter on his recent visit to Japan, But these good people did.

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  Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORK LIVES MATTER

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On August 1st several hundred New Yorkers, Black and white, occupied New York’s City Hall Park. They demanded an end to police brutality and killings and an end to police occupation of Black communities. Among the many speakers two were Palestinians who represented Students For Justice In Palestine. They spoke of the unity between the Black freedom struggle and the struggle of the Palestinians to end the occupation of their homeland. They reminded the people there that with the killing in Ferguson the Palestinians sent a message of unity and instructions on how to deal with the tear gas being used against the Black protesters by the police.

   Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ PALESTINIAN LIVES MATTER

New Yorkers took to the streets yesterday in front of the Israeli Consulate to demand Freedom for Bilal Kayed and all other (7,000) Palestinians held in illegal administrative  detention.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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WOMEN’S BOAT TO GAZA IS NOW A REALITY

The Women’s Boat to Gaza will carry prominent women, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, award-winning U.S. playwright Naomi Wallace, New Zealand parliamentarian Marama Davidson and Norwegian author and former sports star Gerd von der Lippe. The vessel will visit ports in the Western Mediterranean before reaching the shores of Gaza around October 1.
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Women’s Boat Is Afloat!

The dream of sending a women’s boat to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza has moved one step closer to reality–but it’s a big step. The Women’s Boat to Gaza, a project of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, has acquired its first boat. The Amal-Hope is scheduled to set sail with 15 women, from Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 14.

In Barcelona, members of the Palestinian solidarity community will send off the Amal-Hope on its journey around the Mediterranean before heading for Gaza.

In 1998, Barcelona was ‘twinned’ with Gaza, with the goal of fostering international support. In 2005, a park called the Barcelona Peace Park was inaugurated in Gaza. The park was destroyed by the Israeli military in the 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza. The park was rebuilt in 2010. As her name suggests, Amal-Hope will send a message of hope–and an international demand that the Peace Park and the whole of Gaza must never be bombed again.

Schedule of Events in Barcelona:

Monday 12 September – Music and festival at the port
Tuesday 13 September – Non-violent resistance workshops, local speakers and tour of the boat
Wednesday 14 September – Local ceremony and departure

The Women’s Boat to Gaza will carry prominent women, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, award-winning U.S. playwright Naomi Wallace, New Zealand parliamentarian Marama Davidson and Norwegian author and former sports star Gerd von der Lippe. The vessel will visit ports in the Western Mediterranean before reaching the shores of Gaza around October 1.

The Women’s Boat to Gaza is a Freedom Flotilla Coalition initiative. By launching a women’s flotilla, women from all over the world aim to highlight the undeniable contributions and indomitable spirit of Palestinian women who have been central within the Palestinian struggle in Gaza, the West Bank, inside the Green Line and in the diaspora.

Gaza has been under Israeli blockade for the past decade, during which Israel has also launched countless attacks against the besieged population, turning their life into a nightmare and a continuous struggle. Through Freedom Flotillas and other maritime missions, we have brought international attention to their suffering and their resistance.
The Women’s Boat to Gaza seeks not only to challenge the Israeli blockade, but to also show solidarity and bring a message of hope to the Palestinian people. With the support of women, men, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and women’s collectives and events around the world, we will make this happen.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is composed of civil society organizations and initiatives from many countries. We have been challenging the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza for years and are committed to continue the struggle until the blockade is unconditionally lifted and the Palestinian people everywhere regain their full rights.
Wear our t-shirt, logo on front,
Women’s Boat to Gaza 

in all our coalition languages on back.
Men’s and women’s styles and sizes, available now, $25 plus $5 postage. Contact Kit Kittredge, marnykit@gmail.com to order.
Ask about discounts for bulk orders to sell at fundraising events.
Our U.S. national goal is $30,000.  Please help by holding a fundraiser in your community.  We can send fliers and a powerpoint presentation on Women’s Boat to Gaza for the program.
We ask for your continued support and donations to the Women’s Boat to Gaza.

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