WEEK 4 OF THE GREAT MARCH IN GAZA ~~ ON VIDEO

Nice overview of the Great Return March in Gaza

Palestinians continue their 4th week of protest at the Israeli border with Gaza. Four people were killed.

HOW TO PISS OFF THE FAR RIGHT IN ISRAEL

DesertPeace and Associates congratulates David Grossman on his receipt of the Israel Prize for 2018

While people can think and say what they like, not everyone deserves to be awarded the Israel Prize. It is not surprising when a Leftist writer rages against Israel at every opportunity and speaks disparagingly about Israel’s moral bankruptcy all over the world, but if a Rightest government in Israel  awards and praises him for it, that’s even more tragic.

David Grossman speaking at the Alternative Memorial Day event in Tel Aviv, April 17, 2018. credit Ofer Vaknin

Anti-Israel Prize

While people can think and say what they like, not everyone deserves to be awarded the Israel Prize.

This year, the Israel Prize for Literature was awarded to David Grossman, one of the heralded novelists of the Left, who has a long reputation for speaking out against the “occupation” of Palestinian land, against the “settlers’ and the “settlements”, and against the ideological decay and dying morality of the Israeli majority.

In the past, after the Gaza War, Grossman demanded an inquiry to investigate the IDF, Tzahal, which led to the infamous anti-Israel Goldstone Report. After the Flotilla Affair, he accused the IDF of acting like a “brigade of pirates.” When Tzahal was sent to clean out terrorist havens in Judea and Samaria, Grossman drove off to assist Palestinians with their olive harvest.

On Memorial Day, as a bereaved father whose son, sadly, was killed in the Second Lebanon War, he spoke in Tel Aviv at a controversial gathering of Arabs and Israelis who had lost children in battle. Among the Arabs were family members of terrorists. The Israel Defense Minister attempted to thwart the event, calling it a blatant affront to the feelings of the country on the Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and terror victims, but the Supreme Court insisted that the gathering be allowed.

Here are some excerpts from Grossman’s speech, as reported by the newspaper, Haaretz:

“Finally, we have come home. But when Israel occupies and oppresses another nation, for 51 years, and creates an apartheid reality in the occupied territories — it becomes a lot less of a home.

“And when Minister of Defense Lieberman decides to prevent peace-loving Palestinians from attending a gathering like ours, Israel is less of a home.

“When Israeli snipers kill dozens of Palestinian protesters, most of them civilians — Israel is less of a home.

“And when the Israeli government attempts to improvise questionable deals with Uganda and Rwanda, and is willing to endanger the lives of thousands of asylum seekers and expel them to the unknown — to me, it is less of a home.

“And when the Prime Minister defames and incites against human rights organizations, and when he is looking for ways to enact laws that bypass the High Court of Justice, and when democracy and the courts are constantly challenged, Israel becomes even a little less of a home —for everyone… It is a dysfunctional home.

“The people and organizations who are here today, Especially the Family Forum and Combatants for Peace, and many more like them, are perhaps the ones who contribute most to making Israel a home, in the fullest sense of the word.”

While people can think and say what they like, not everyone deserves to be awarded the Israel Prize. It is not surprising when a Leftist writer rages against Israel at every opportunity and speaks disparagingly about Israel’s moral bankruptcy all over the world, but if a Rightest government in Israel  awards and praises him for it, that’s even more tragic. Announcing that Grossman was this year’s recipient, Israel’s Education Minister, Naftali Bennet, declared:

“In his novels, books, essays, documentary writing, in his extensive creations for children, he presented a series of masterpieces that excel in rich imagination, deep wisdom, human sensitivity, a poignant moral stand and a unique and resonant language.”

Bennett defended giving the Israel Prize to a writer known for his opposition to the “settlements” and his support for European boycotts of products produced by the settlers, saying he has no regrets over his decision to award Grossman the acclaimed award.

The Israel Prize committee stated: “Since the early 1980s, David Grossman has taken his place at the center of Israeli culture, and he is one of the most profound, moving and influential voices in our literature… David Grossman is one of the most famous, admired and beloved Israeli writers in the world.”

Grossman is beloved around the world because of his unquestionable literary talent, but does this love also stem from his harsh and never-ending criticism of Israel?

Fortunately, we have the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, which awards its prizes on a far healthier basis, to builders of the Nation and not to its detractors.

Here is Grossman’s speech (Click on link)

‘Israel Is a Fortress, but Not Yet a Home’: David Grossman’s Memorial Day Speech to Bereaved Israelis and Palestinians

HOW CAN I SUPPORT THAT?

URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT for all young Jews!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile in New York …..

THESE ARE   FOTOS FRM THE ANTI-ADELSTEIN & ANTI- ZIONIST BIRTHRIGHT PROGRAM EVENT ON 4/15.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Related article ~~ Click on post

Dozens of American Jews arrested protesting Gaza violence

From Boston to San Francisco, young activists from IfNotNow demonstrate outside the offices of prominent Jewish institutions and senators, demanding they condemn Israel’s violence against Gaza protesters.

IN PHOTOS ~~ MULTI DEMOS IN NEW YORK

 DEMO @ UNION SQ. IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE RIGHT OF RETURN MARCH

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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And another demo against ‘Agent Orange’

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THE HIGHEST FLAG IN THE WORLD

Jarah, a 22-year-old Palestine refugee cancer survivor and amputee, climbs Mount Everest Base Camp to save his UNRWA school in Jordan

When he was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 15, he didn’t give up.

When his right leg was amputated, he didn’t give up.

When 9 of the 11 climbers were medevaced, he didn’t give up.

When it dropped to -14 Celsius and he couldn’t feel his face, he didn’t give up.
Jarah reached Everest Base Camp on Saturday, April 14 because he never gave up.

And to mark 17,500 steps up Mt. Everest, he raised a flag.

He raised a flag to help refugees like him have the chance to get a quality UNRWA education.

He raised a flag to show fellow cancer survivors and amputees that nothing is impossible.

He raised a flag to show solidarity with 5 million Palestine refugees.

Weather permitting, Jarah will be climbing down the mountain over the course of the next week.

For live updates, follow #MyFirstStep as well as his personal posts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

 

Show Jarah that you’re willing to take your own step to save his UNRWA school and others like it.

IN THE MIDST OF THE HORRORS, GAZA’S CHILDREN TRY TO LIVE A HAPPY LIFE VIA CINEMA

This is a message of gratitude and appreciation for making this initiative real. Without your generous donations, we wouldn’t be able to reach many of children across the Gaza Strip, and offer them some moments of peace, dialogue, and entertainment. We are determined to continue in this track, this time with more commitment and enthusiasm. We always appreciate your input and feedback. If you wish to know more, please contact us on info@gazachildrencinema.org.

Yours Sincerely, 
Ayman Qwaider and Mohammed Al-Rozzi
For Gaza Children Cinema Team

Gaza Children Cinema – Update March 2018

In a local library in Rafah, South of the Gaza Strip, children are busy working on a white cardboard. They are creating their cinema’s box office. Others are allocating number stickers to the seats. Another group of children are in charge of distributing popcorn in preparation of a film screening. Children then line up to get their tickets before entering the screening venue; they stay quite as their eyes gaze at the screen; but once the movie ends, they are eager to talk about what they just saw and reflect on their first cinema experience. Some talk, some sing, some dance and some draw.

This is only a brief scenario of one of the 160 screenings we have managed to implement across the Gaza Strip in 2017 thanks to your generous donations. Below is an update of some of the major outcomes of the cinema’s Project activities last year.

Gaza Children Cinema:
The idea was to create a peaceful, creative space where kids could be just kids—a space where a child can live a joyful moments while surviving the bitter reality of siege loss, hardship and war. The result was the Gaza Children’s Cinema, a project was born out of a desire to create a safe haven for children, and it is evidence of the magic of cinema—of how film can relieve suffering and provide light to literally one of the darkest places in the World.

The Cinema in 2017:
In 2016 and early 2017, we managed to raise 7800 AU$ through our online fundraiser page and through other fundraising events in support of the Gaza Children Cinema project.

In April 2017, we partnered with the Tamer Institute for Community Education, Gaza, in order to facilitate the implementation of the cinema screenings and to allow the initiative to be led by the local community, especially young volunteers. This partnership was important for building on the existing community resources in reaching more children. We did not want to re-invent the wheel, no one does want!

Besides targeting marginalised areas for the screenings, we have successfully managed to engage libraries and to promote regular screening within library settings across the Gaza Strip.

In preparation of the screenings, the Tamer Institute held two training workshops for the librarians and the young volunteers from Tamer Institute. The workshops focused on brainstorming the best ways to make the screening a successful enjoyable experience for the kids, the choice of the films and training the librarians to use arts as a tool of expression for the children to reflect on their inner thoughts and emotions.

About 160 cinema screenings were held with the children throughout 2017. We have managed to reach out to hundreds of children each month through organizing several screenings at several locations. The screenings were held across the Gaza Strip in Gaza, Rafah, Khan Younis, Maghazi Refugee camp, Jabalia refugee camp, amongst many other locations.

Gaza Children Cinema activities have been carried out across the Gaza Strip including border areas, marginalised children communities and refugee camps.

We have seen children join the cinema sessions with their parents in inclusive and entertaining settings. With the support of Gaza Children Cinema volunteer team, these children had the opportunity to engage into stimulating and interactive discussion prior and after the film screenings.

In September, and as part of our attempts to reach the most marginalized children in the most remote areas, we launched a call for proposals for initiatives around cinema and children. To our surprise, we received about twenty proposals from grassroots community groups. This has assured us that the impact of the Gaza Children Cinema is invaluable and is growing.

This project has been fully funded by charitable fundraiser events that we have voluntarily carried out here in Perth, Australia. Either through food stall markets, various movie screenings or an online fundraiser page, we have managed to raise enough funds to keep this initiative going and growing. And today we are hoping to raise funds to sustain this project for another year.

Here are some photos from 2017 and early 2018 screenings:

A photo of children watching a movie screening in a Library in Khan Younis, South of the Gaza Strip.

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A photo of a cinema workshop, where we try to take the student through an imaginative cinema experience. The children here are performing buying their tickets to enter the movie screening.

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“What would a cinema theatre look like??” a photo of children in a pre-screening workshop on cinema in Rafah, South of Gaza. The children are watching photos of cinema theatre and imagining what would the cinema look like. Most of these children would have never experienced a real cinema setting.

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A photo of children creating a movie poster for the movie they are going to watch. This workshop was held in the Red Crescent library in Gaza City. And it shows part of the activities Children engage in before or after each screening.

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A photo of children creating a movie poster for the movie they are going to watch. This workshop was held in the Red Crescent library in Gaza City. And it shows part of the activities Children engage in before or after each screening.

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During a cinema workshop with the children aged (12-15) implemented in Atfalona Society for Deaf Children. This picture is for the children while they are standing in a line to take the cinema tickets.

 

IN PHOTOS ~~ THE FEARLESS GIRL ON WALL STREET (AND MORE)

There is a statue in lower Manhattan called Fearless Girl, she stands facing the Wall Street Bull with a stance and facial expression of total defiance.  A small group organized by Samidoun, which represents Palestinian political prisoners, decided go there with signs calling for the freedom of Ahed Tamimi, a teenager in prison in Palestine/Israel.  When they arrived there they put a keffeyeh on the little statue.  That act seemed to have sent an electric shock through the crowd.  Suddenly everyone wanted to pose with Fearless Girl, some held Free Ahed Free Palestine posters.  Most of the people there were tourists who were much more familiar with what was going on in Palestine/Israel than most Americans are.  Parents were heard explaining to their children who Ahed was.  During the 2 hours there only 2 people objected to the Keffeyeh on the statue.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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New Yorkers who support justice for the Palestinian people have been very occupied over the past weeks, despite bone chilling weather most of the time has been spent on the streets.  Many of the people participating were there because they saw 30,000  people on a symbolic march of return to their land, nonviolent and  unarmed,  demonstrating for their freedom on their own land, on the Gaza side of the barrier, while Israeli military trained snipers, under no threat, and as their own families celebrated their freedom at Passover sedars, looked through their scopes, took aim and fired.  They deliberately assassinated one person after another leaving 31 murdered and over 1,000 injured.  A coalition of many groups called for a demonstration at Union Sq. on Friday, April 6th.  As the large plaza in the park filled with hundreds of people someone cried out, she had just received a call from Gaza telling her that her old friend, photojournalist Yassir Murtaja, wearing a clearly labeled vest with the word PRESS marked on it, had been murdered.  There was an outpouring of grief and anger and a memorial was planned for Murtaja and the other slain Palestinians.

Two days later, on another freezing night, about 90 people gathered at the same place for a chance to memorialize the Gaza dead and to share the enormous sadness and the even more enormous rage.  People came with candles to light the darkness and some brought flowers.  There were silent moments to think about the horrors we had witnessed on television and on our computer screens.  And yet more moments to fully understand that Israel had shown the world that they were fascists.  They had shown  their true ugly face.  All left with a determination to work even harder for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

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Most Israel supporters are quiet now, the voices of the apologists for Israel have been shamed into silence for the moment.  Netanyahu and the settler/colonials born in Russia and Brooklyn are in control.

UNION SQ. MEMORIAL FOR YASSIR MURTAJA > 4/8/18

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IN PHOTOS ~~ FOR THE MARTYRS OF PALESTINE

THE PALESTINIANS ARE NOW WALKING IN THE DESERT FOR 70 YRS.

NYC Students For Justice In Palestine held an emergency public meeting at Washington Sq. Park Manhattan to recognize Palestinian Land Day and mourn and protest the killing of 16 Palestinians attending a mass peaceful demonstration at the Gaza Zionist border.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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See THIS related post (Click on link)

Videos of Palestinians shot walking, running and praying appear on social media, but US cables keep mum

IN PHOTOS ~~ 5K RUN FOR GAZA

On Saturday morning, March 24th, under bright sunny skies that turned the scene technicolor, supporters of Palestine gathered in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, for the 4th annual UNRWA 5k run to raise money for mental health services for the children of Gaza.  In the past decade Gaza has suffered several major military attacks from Israel with thousands being murdered, both children and adults.  Their homes, schools, hospitals and water treatment facilities have been bombed turning their shore into an open sewer and making the water unsafe to drink.  Some babies are born blue, oxygen deprived, because of the nitrates in the water their mother has to drink.  They are being blocaded, not allowing essentials into the area.  Electricity has been cut to only a few hours a day making it impossible to keep food fresh or run necessary medical equipment. 

The number of runners has increased every year which is a likely indication that people are aware of the deterioration of life in Gaza and are determined to do what they can to help the children there.  The number of runners that volunteered has risen over the years to well over 1,000 and the money raised was about $350,000 – well over the amount raised in prior years.

When participants arrived they were treated to breakfast donated by several food shops and after greeting friends and checking in there was dabke dancing.  At 9:30 everyone lined up for the 5K run.  Many wore Palestinian flags around their shoulders like Superman capes.  The colors glowed in the sunlight.  Whole families, 3 generations, got into the line.  Most were on their feet but many were carried while others were in strollers, wheelchairs, or on scooters. The atmosphere was jubilant.  A little one in a stroller called out to her mother, “faster, faster”, as they approached the finish line.

The events of last Saturday morning made it crystal clear that there are people living very many miles away from Gaza who keep Gaza and Palestine in their hearts and they are teaching their children to do the same.  They know of the nakba and Palestine will not be forgotten or abandoned.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

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IN PHOTOS ~~ TIME TO END THE ENDLESS WARS

 

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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REMEMBERING RACHEL CORRIE

March 16 marks 15 years since Rachel Corrie was killed. She died putting her body between a bulldozer and a home she was trying to protect in Gaza. She has inspired so many and we salute her and those who carry on her legacy.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

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A VIDEO TO HELP YOU GET TO KNOW THE BOYCOTT

Short video for those unfamiliar with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

WOMEN’S DAY IN NEW YORK HIGHLIGHTS PALESTINIAN FREEDOM

Support for Ahed Tamimi was there in full force

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Here are scenes from the March in New York City

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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SARAH SILVERMAN LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO FREE AHED TAMIMI

Silverman promoted an email campaign launched by Amnesty International which called on supporters to write to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and protest Tamimi’s detention. “There is nothing Ahed Tamimi has done that can justify the continuing detention of a 17-year-old child,” Amnesty wrote in its appeal.

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Sarah Silverman Calls On Jews To Stand Up For Palestinian Ahed Tamimi

The arrest of Ahed Tamimi, a 17-years old Palestinian girl arrested after being filmed slapping an Israeli soldier near her West Bank home, has evolved into an international debate, pitting human rights groups against the government in Jerusalem and pro-Israel groups.

Now, comedian Sarah Silverman is weighing in on Tamimi’s side and urging fellow Jews to do the same, even if it means parting with the Israeli government. “Jews have to stand up EVEN when — ESPECIALLY when — the wrongdoing is BY Jews/the Israeli government,” Silverman tweeted Thursday.

Jews have to stand up EVEN when — ESPECIALLY when — the wrongdoing is BY Jews/the Israeli government.

Silverman promoted an email campaign launched by Amnesty International which called on supporters to write to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and protest Tamimi’s detention. “There is nothing Ahed Tamimi has done that can justify the continuing detention of a 17-year-old child,” Amnesty wrote in its appeal.

 

Source

TODAY’S IMAGE ~~ THE REAL WONDER WOMAN

Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick Gallery, famous for creating the iconic image of Che Guevara, has released an image of Ahed Tamimi cast as the real Wonder Woman.

FINALLY, A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINATION THAT DESERVES IT

Awarding this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful signal, emphasizing the international community’s commitment to support a just peace for the Palestinian people and by that – for the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East – and the world at large.

Image by Carlos Latuff

BDS nominated for 2018 Nobel Peace Prize

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. Formal nomination for the prestigious award was made last week by the Norwegian MP and leader of the Red Party, Bjørnar Moxness.

In a statement announcing the nomination, the Parliamentary Group, which includes a number of left-wing parties, said that the selection of BDS for a Nobel Peace Prize reflected “the growing international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice, dignity and freedom from the Israeli occupation”.

Explaining their nomination, the Parliamentary Group said that the BDS campaign is a non-violent movement for freedom, equality and a just peace for the Palestinian people and was therefore being nominated for the prestigious prize.

Moxness, who is leading the campaign for BDS to be honoured in Oslo at the end of the year, said:

Awarding this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful signal, emphasising the international community’s commitment to support a just peace for the Palestinian people and by that – for the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East – and the world at large.

In his comments to MEMO, Moxness was keen to point out that the intention behind the nomination was “first and foremost pro-Palestinian, not anti-Israeli”. Having said that, the Norwegian politician expects a backlash: “We are well aware that the current right-wing government of Israel tends to try to criminalise any attempt to convince Israel to abide by international law and end the occupation and oppression of Palestine and the Palestinians.”

Asked about the kind of opposition he is likely to face, he said: “We nominated the BDS movement for the Nobel Peace Prize well aware that this perfectly legitimate nomination of a perfectly legitimate movement that fights for a legitimate cause – that of the Palestinians – with legitimate peaceful means, will meet some resistance, typically in the form of smearing campaigns and the like. In the face of that kind of opposition, the challenge is to stay focus on the main cause, freedom for the Palestinians, and to stay focused on what we see as our humble contribution to that cause, an attempt to start a positive international campaign in favour of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement.”

One of the main reasons BDS groups cite for endorsing the campaign is the double standard when it comes to Israel. Alluding to this tendency the Red Party’s press statement mentioned Norway’s January 2018 decision to “officially impose sanctions and restrictions against 26 different states or regions due to breeches of international laws and human rights but not against the state of Israel – despite Israeli occupation, annexation and collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.

According to Moxness “the current Norwegian government is closely allied to the USA and seems to be more eager to please the USA and its ally in Tel Aviv, than to uphold a principled stance on international law and human rights”. This fact was one of the reasons for initiating this campaign to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement, he said to MEMO.

Moxness explained that the support Israel gets on a governmental level is not replicated across Norwegian society, pointing to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions which he said is a massive player in Norwegian politics. “They firmly support the Palestinian cause and voted in favour of implementing BDS measures against Israel last December.”

The opposition to BDS, according to Moxness, is due to its impressive success. The BDS movements’ impressive record of creating pressure to end Israeli occupation through peaceful means is seen as legitimate and ethical by most of the international community. It gets its inspiration from the anti-apartheid movement from South Africa, and it is endorsed by a very broad range of organisations and personalities, former Nobel Peace Prize laureates like Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire, people of different political affiliations and religious belongings. This legitimacy, said Moxness, is probably what scares the Israeli hawks the most.

The next step on the formal track is the publication of the Nobel Committees short list, which is due towards the end of September/beginning of October. Moxness is confident that if all supporters of the Palestinian cause join together and campaign for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement it is perfectly possible to make it to that shortlist and beyond. And regardless of the committee’s decision, he insists, “through the campaign we might have made important steps towards reigniting the struggle for justice for the Palestine through peaceful means.”

Moxness appealed to human rights groups and activists to join the campaign. “We think an international campaign to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement can contribute both to legitimise the BDS movement and more broadly to put the Palestinian cause back on the international agenda again,” he predicted.

For this to happen we need the participation of all, he added. Moxness predicts that there will be grassroot support, social media support, the support of media organisations, political parties, politicians, governments, trade unions, students, artists, intellectuals, athletes as well as football teams.

The Nobel Committee will publish a shortlist of nominees by the end of September. “We have until then to make this an effective international campaign,” Moxness said, and “if everyone participates this is the kind of positive campaign that we think can change the political environment and bring us closer to the objective of justice for the Palestinians.”

 

Source

HOW YOU CAN HELP THE CHILDREN OF GAZA

The following links were sent to me from Australia. They are all important and will give you an idea how YOU can help the children of Gaza during these most difficult days for them. Please take the time and click on every link posted below.

The following note was sent along with the links by a dear friend and Brother, Ayman Qwaider,  from Gaza now living in Perth, Australia:

I am writing to share one of my passionate community education projects called Gaza Children Cinema which I founded in Gaza back in 2013. I often say that only hope left in Gaza is the young generation which we need to invest in to build up a better future for Gaza and for the region. The overall situation in Gaza is devastating which has demoralised me personally a lot. However, I often get energized when watching those kids in Gaza still smiling despite the harsh realities. 

Now the links dealing with the activities ……

https://www.facebook.com/GazaChildrenCinema/

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https://www.gofundme.com/gaza-childrens-cinema-2v7zz5dg

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http://www.fopwa.org/2016/11/gaza-childrens-cinema-infofood-stall-perth-wa/

The following are links to articles dealing with the situation ….

They are both MUST READS

https://grokonline.com.au/2017/10/28/escaping-war-and-weaving-magic-the-gaza-childrens-cinema/

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Cinema salvation

IN PHOTOS ~~ WOMEN MARCH TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Women’s March 2018: Thousands of Protesters Take to the Streets

(Click HERE to see report from NYT)

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Here are scenes from the March in New York City

Support for Ahed Tamimi was there in full force

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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AS PEOPLE PEELED OFF THE MARCH MANY HAD TO WALK BEHIND TRUMP’S HOTEL AS THEY DID SO THEY PLACED THEIR POSTERS ON THE BACK OF HIS BLDG

 

MLK SPEAKS OF THE NECESSITY OF NONVIOLENT GADFLIES

There is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. . . . we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

 

A symbol of resistance for all of humanity

What MLK’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ tells us about Ahed Tamimi in a cold Israeli cell

In recent weeks, several people have said that the liberal indifference to Ahed Tamimi’s detention in an Israeli prison for slapping an occupying soldier on December 15 is reminiscent of the white liberals in Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, written in 1963. Today, you can give yourself no better political lesson than rereading that inspiring document of the American movement  for freedom.

King’s letter is an explanation of the need for “direct political action.” King addresses a group of white liberal ministers and rabbis who have said they’re against segregation but times are changing, so why do “extremist” black clergy have to risk a backlash with provocative demonstrations? King answers that time is neutral and won’t do anything on its own; blacks have waited for hundreds of years for some modicum of justice and learned that the privileged will never give up privilege without pressure. White businesses promised to remove humiliating signs directing blacks to segregated water coolers and bathrooms and never followed through, and meantime anti-colonial struggles in other countries have outpaced American change, and inspired blacks to dream of an equal future.

We need to ratchet up political tension so as to precipitate a crisis, King explained:

[T]here is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. . . . we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

Liberal ministers and rabbis were a bigger obstacle to this process than outright racists, King said, because they defused that tension among progressives with “lukewarm acceptance.” In the distant past the church had ended infanticide and gladiators’ fights to the death, but now the church was ineffectual. King warned:

It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo [as to]. . . be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I meet young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.

Some whites had walked in black people’s shoes and understood the “urgency of the moment,” King said, but the moderate ministers were blindly supporting order, however unjust.

You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping “order” and “preventing violence.” I don’t believe you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its angry violent dogs literally biting six unarmed, nonviolent Negroes.

And he warned that the black community now includes many nationalists who advocate violence against Jim Crow.

The analogies of King in the Birmingham city jail to 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi in an Israeli jail are many. Occupied Palestinians have waited decades for justice as other struggles in the world have been successful. Palestinians have long been promised sovereignty and never gotten it. “Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber,” King writes, but Palestinians have seen their lands robbed year after year with no enforcement mechanism from the world. Many in the Palestinian community now advocate violence. But in their little village the Tamimi’s are part of a non-violent struggle against a violent occupation.

Ahed Tamimi caused tension– and a “crisis-packed” situation– when she slapped the soldier in her tiny village of Nabi Saleh on December 15, just hours after her cousin was maimed by another Israeli soldier.

But her weeks in jail are greeted with indifference or contempt by leftwing Israelis and American liberal Zionists, who tell us there must be equal sympathy for the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian children. While the U.S. press writes articles about Tamimi’s choice in clothing, suggesting her encounters were staged. These people rationalize Israel’s brutal policy of a “managed conflict” forever with “lukewarm acceptance.”

Some will say, what about Ahed’s slap? Wasn’t that violent? It was not. Violence entails the possibility of producing injury to another. Tamimi’s slap of a towering, heavily-armed soldier was merely an insult, and a resonant one. “We must see the need of having non-violent gadflies.” (And as for throwing stones, even the New York Times Magazine has justified that as a legitimate response to occupation).

King’s letter is a challenge to the indifferent who rationalize the status quo. Moral people — church people, political people — must either take action or support it, he said. Geography is no barrier. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” is the most ringing line in the letter (which one of us used as an epigraph in his book againstSouth African apartheid).

Today we revere King for precipitating radical political change in the U.S. and sacrificing his life to do so. The letter speaks to all who cherish the hope of ending other injustices. It is NOT meaningful as a nostalgic signpost of a huge battle our society won 50 years ago. It is ONLY meaningful as a signpost for what actions we should take today.

King ended his letter with a prayer. It is consciously a spiritual statement. Birmingham 1963 is the “eternal now of the letter, and the message passes from King’s soul to the reader right now. It addresses the struggle we all feel inside ourselves: It calls to the idealistic and motivated parts of our nature that see a way to address injustice, and against the lukewarm, timid despairing acceptance we feel in the face of huge odds.

For people who care about the Middle East, the letter can have only one meaning, to look on the lives of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and to hate the occupation and anything that rationalizes it. King tells us to be with Ahed Tamimi in her cold cell, and fight for her freedom.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was released from the Birmingham jail after 11 days. Ahed Tamimi, 16 years old, is still in an Israeli jail — 27 days later, and counting.

Here is the last speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. …..

“I may not get there with you. But we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” He was shot the next day.

A MUST SEE VIDEO ~~ HOW WE GOT WHERE WE’RE AT

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