DEMOS IN NEW YORK ‘KEEP ON GOING’ ~~ IN PHOTOS

They just keep going!

Like the bunny, they just ‘keep on going’

Thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets yesterday demanding an end to racist police violence and seeking justice for those who died at the hands of officers who are never held accountable for their illegal actions. 

The crowds of tens of thousands, diverse and overwhelmingly young, were a wonderful representation of New York and they were exuberant and militant in their demands: “No justice, no peace!” rang throughout Washington Square Park which is where they assembled at 2:00 pm on a blustery winter Saturday. The weather proved no deterrent as marchers left the park and headed up Fifth Avenue. “I can’t breathe!” “Hands up, don’t shoot!” were shouted out, echoing the dying words of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, whose deaths ignited the unending protests that have created, what seems to be, a new civil rights movement in our country – or at least a growing awareness by millions that something is terribly wrong with the so-called justice system in these United States and a determination to demand change to right that wrong.

Above commentary by Matt Weinstein.  Click HERE for his photos of the demo.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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#BlackLivesMatter ~~ IN PHOTOS

MORE BIG DOINGS IN THE BIG APPLE

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“Hands up.  Don’t shoot!”

“I can’t breathe!”

“How do we spell murder?  NYPD!” 

These were the sounds heard in the Times Sq. area last night as over 100 people gathered to protest the killings of unarmed Black people that have been going on for much too long in this country.  A multi-racial, multi-ethnic group of people stood in the cold for 2 hours holding signs, reading the names of victims, and telling their stories to all who would listen.  To further decry the long history of American racism, the names of people lynched, like Emmett Till, were included in the signs and recitation. 

Every night since the New York Grand Jury refused to indict the officer who choked unarmed Staten Island citizen Eric Garner to death there have been marches, die-ins, and occupations in parts of the city by thousands of angry and pained people.  The groups have included everyone from youthful students to seniors, some veterans of the civil rights movement of the 60’s.  But this is not like the civil rights movement – the demonstrators are not asking for laws to be changed.  They are demanding that the government, the police departments, and their fellow citizens conduct themselves in a way to show that BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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#WeekofAction ~~THE WEST BANK IS NOT FOR SALE!

Boycott RE/MAX Week of Action

SHAME on RE/MAX! While Palestinian homes and olive groves are bulldozed to make way for new settlements, Israeli RE/MAX agents are doing business in all the major West Bank settlements, including Adam, Beit Arye, Beit El, Giva’at Ze’ev, Ma’ale Adumim, Oranit, Salit, Sha’arei Tikva and Zufim.

In occupied East Jerusalem, the company markets and rents properties in the settlement neighborhoods of Gilo, Har Homa, Ramot, French Hill and Pisgat Ze’ev. The settlement properties cater to young Israeli couples and first-time buyers by offering less expensive suburban real estate.

Through REMAX you can find —for a cool $1 million—a 4,000 square-foot villa just minutes from Jerusalem, “at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac” in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumin with balconies, high quality materials, and swimming pools for example.

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Boycott RE/MAX protests flood the US during Week of Action

Ben Norton FOR

While temperatures cooled, the first week of December saw a tremendous kindling of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement, as Palestinian solidarity activists across the US flooded RE/MAX offices, demanding that the real estate giant cease its activities in illegal, Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

RE/MAX is one of the largest real estate corporations in the world. RE/MAX International, based in the US, with headquarters in Denver, Colorado, oversees more than 100,000 agents in over 7,000 offices in almost 100 countries. Realtor Magazine has consistently ranked numerous RE/MAX franchises in its annual list of Top 100 Companies.

Several of RE/MAX’s Israeli franchises sell property in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the French Hill, Armon HaNatziv, and Pisgat Ze’ev. The office of RE/MAX Israel’s Atid franchise is itself located in Maale Adumim, a major illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. RE/MAX Israel agents openly admitthat many of the homes they sell can only be owned by Jewish people.

A screen grab from RE/MAX Israel’s website shows a map of some of the settlement houses it markets.

The United Nations published a report in 2013 indicating that RE/MAX LLC, the US-based parent company, can be “held accountable” for the crimes of RE/MAX Israel, over which it “has constant interaction and influence.” Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventionmandates that the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” and UN Security Council Resolution 446explicitly states that Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, in which RE/MAX Israel is operating, “have no legal validity.”

No Open House

In October 2014, peace and social justice organization CODEPINK launched the Boycott RE/MAX: No Open House on Stolen Land (or No Open House, for short) campaign. At the end of November, No Open house launched its official website, BoycottREMAX.org. The website includes answers to frequently asked questions, a campaign timeline and tactics, a newsletter, links to further reading materials, and a wide array of resources, including shareable memes, protest chants, and a draft of a letter to send to RE/MAX.

CODEPINK says its goal in launching the campaign is to pressure RE/MAX “to cut its ties with franchises involved in the sale or rental of settlement properties.” Sophia Armen, National Coordinator of the Boycott RE/MAX: No Open House on Stolen land, explained the “campaign is a call for people of conscience to address the complicity of RE/MAX corporation in heinous violations of international law. It is our duty, as people concerned with justice, to be in solidarity with Palestinians and to address how these large corporations are profiting off continuing displacement, dispossession and death in Israel/Palestine.”

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In October 2014, CODEPINK sent a letter to RE/MAX co-founder and Chairman of the Board Dave Liniger. The RE/MAX executive never responded. Overall, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin says, RE/MAX has been largely unresponsive and dismissive. In the summer of 2014, CODEPINK began working on building a coalition with Palestinian solidarity groups around the country, including countless chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace, and a variety of social justice, peace, anti-war, and leftist organizations.

By October, CODEPINK made a national call for a Week of Action, to be held from 29 November to 5 December. Activists from over 15 major cities organized demonstrations outside of local RE/MAX offices. CODEPINK organizer Desirée Fairooz says the strategy of activists targeting local RE/MAX franchises “is the only way to express solidarity with this campaign in their own hometowns,” noting it is not clearly feasible for everyone to travel to the Denver headquarters to protest. Fairooz says she hopes local protests will inspire franchises to tell “LLC ‘Make it stop!’, thereby pressuring LLC to close operations in Occupied Palestine.”

On 21 November, Rich Forer, author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, delivered a petition with over 4,000 signatures to the RE/MAX headquarters in Denver, Colorado, requesting that Chairman Liniger “stop RE/MAX Israel’s illegal sales of Jewish-only settlement homes on Palestinian land.” In the early December Week of Action, activists throughout the country delivered this petition to local RE/MAX offices.

Boycott RE/MAX Week of Action

No Open House protesters in Dallas, Texas on 29 November  CREDIT: Facebook

On Saturday, 29 November, three Boycott RE/MAX demonstrations were held, thousands of miles apart. Activists from a variety of groups, including CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace, and more gathered in Dallas, Texas; Strongsville, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland; and Somerville, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, to protest outside of RE/MAX offices. Those in Strongsville and Somerville stood outside for hours in below-freezing weather. Cleveland-based activist Toni Ann Rozsahegyi said she helped organize the action because she feels “it’s important to raise awareness of the fact that companies like RE/MAX break international law and impede the peace process for profit.”

No Open House protesters in Los Angeles, California on 1 December   CREDIT: Facebook

On Monday, 1 December, Palestinian solidarity activists in Los Angeles demonstrated in front of a RE/MAX office, holding signs reading “RE/MAX, stop making money off violating law,” “RE/MAX sells ILLEGAL settlements,” “RE/MAX, stop selling stolen land,” “RE/MAX, every settlement is an obstacle to peace,” and more.

No Open House protesters in Denver, Colorado on 2 December   CREDIT: Facebook

No Open House protesters in Boston, Massachusetts on 2 December   CREDIT: Facebook

On  Tuesday, 2 December, activists from CODEPINK Greater Boston, the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, United for Justice with Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, and more held a demonstration outside a RE/MAX office in Boston. Organizer Hayat Imam said she “salute[s] CODEPINK for putting out the call for actions against RE/MAX to demand that they stop the sale of houses on stolen Palestinian land by their franchisee RE/MAX Israel” and feel[s] good about the fact that our action is the opening salvo of the boycott in Boston.” Imam explains the activists made an appointment with RE/MAX and organized a representative “delegation” of individuals “who had just been to Palestine so they could talk about the first hand conditions there” to hand a letter to the RE/MAX Chair.

Coalitions of protesters also gathered in both Chicago and Denver. Pat Hunt, an organizer in the former, insisted that “it’s our responsibility to shine a light on the illegal settlements and” on RE/MAX Israel’s illegal profiteering. “We need to keep the pressure on companies that participate in apartheid and let them know we will not tolerate it,” Hunt said.

On Wednesday, 3 December, Palestinian human rights advocates protested in San Francisco and Washington, DC. Activists in the nation’s capital were joined by Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

Falk spoke about the importance of pressuring RE/MAX to end its illegal activities and addressed the the illegality and immorality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

We are here today to bring pressure on RE/MAX to comply with international humanitarian law, to cease engaging in commercial activities with the settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And we have made every effort to engage the officers of RE/MAX in a constructive dialogue, which they have refused to engage in, presumably because they have no response to make. And we are disappointed that they won’t even physically receive our petition.

It is a shame that the interests of the market take precedence over the interests of people and the well-being of people and a common sense of morality. …

To establish a settlement of the occupying power’s people in an occupied society is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. And this has gone not for just a few months, or even a few years, but more than 47 years. …

And RE/MAX, in the mean time, will feel the costs of continuing to deal with these unlawful settlements. They really are making a sustainable peace between these two peoples a real impossibility. So it’s not just a matter of violating a particular provision of law; it’s subjecting the Palestinian people as a whole to the daily ordeal of living under this prolonged occupation that’s gone on longer than any other comparable situation in recent history.

It is a scandal that the international community has allowed this to go on for so long.

DC-based CODEPINK organizer Anna Kaminski addressed the need to make realtor allies in the Boycott RE/MAX movement. “While local franchises indeed have nothing to do with RE/MAX Israel, this visibility of protests helps to mount pressure on headquarters which has the power to halt operations in any franchise at any time,” she said. Protesting local RE/MAX branches “can also help individual franchises learn more about what their company is doing overseas and realtors can use the opportunity to learn more about the conflict and how their company violates international law. Realtors can then use their concern regarding a boycott to help mount pressure on RE/MAX HQ.”

Only miles away, on the same day, in Olney, Maryland, activists gathered outside of a RE/MAX office, holding signs reading “RE/MAX Israel complicit in theft of Palestinian homes,” “Stolen land not for sale,” and “RE/MAX profits – Palestinians suffer.”

No Open House protesters in Olney, Maryland on 3 December   CREDIT: Facebook

On Thursday, 4 December, activists woke up bright and early to protest RE/MAX in Houston, Texas, in what was the second Boycott RE/MAX demonstration in Texas in five days.

On Friday, 5 December, the country saw its largest flood of Boycott RE/MAX protests. Activists gathered outside of a RE/MAX office in Rochester, Minnesota. Just two days after one demonstration, San Francisco Palestinian human rights activists got together for another.

UCSB SJP members meeting with RE/MAX representatives  CREDIT: Facebook

Miles away, in Ventura, California, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Students for Justice in Palestine met with RE/MAX representatives, asking the workers to pressure their company to stop its operation in illegal settlements. The students also connected the struggle of indigenous Palestinians against Israeli colonization to that of immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border, as well as to the struggle of black Americans in Ferguson and across the US, protesting police brutality and structural racism in the Justice System. Anumita Kaur, a UCSB SJP organizer, spoke of what she sees as the importance of the BDS movement, explaining that, as “students at the UC, our tuition money is invested in corporations profiting off of Israeli apartheid and occupation—we are not okay with this.”

In Portland, Oregon, protesters assembled in freezing weather. They made cardboard props of RE/MAX apartment complexes, emblazoned with the word “stolen,” and stood next to mounds of snow. Portland-based CODEPINK organizer Lisa Savage explains they scheduled the demonstration to coincide with evening commute traffic and to be end when a Black Lives Matter civil rights march began, which many of the Palestinian solidarity activists then joined.

No Open House protesters in Portland, Oregon on 5 December   CREDIT: Lisa Savage

SJP activists in NYC RE/MAX offices  CREDIT: Facebook

New York City held the fifth demonstration on this day. Members of Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, and many others flooded New York RE/MAX offices, asking the offices to convey to RE/MAX International that RE/MAX Israel’s illegal sales must cease immediately.

No Open House’s Week of Action marked just the beginning of the Boycott RE/MAX campaign, and it marked it with a bang. Activists around the country showed great enthusiasm and took great initiative, organizing more than 20 demonstrations. Noteworthy was the community-based nature of all these protests, demonstrating that the Palestinian solidarity movement is a true grassroots movement, and that this grassroots movement is growing rapidly. While the chill of winter begins to fill the air, this new phase of the BDS movement is just heating up.

BDS MOVEMENT ‘BACKHANDEDLY’ ENDORSES NETANYAHU

NOT QUITE ….

This is what was actually said …

Barghouti, speaking recently at an event held at Columbia University Law School in Manhattan, credited broadly negative world response to Netanyahu and his government’s hardline policies, for much of the movement’s success in recent years.

“We’ve got to give credit to Netanyahu,” Barghouti said in remarks quoted on the pro-BDS Mondoweiss website. “Without him we could not have reached this far, at this time”.

Omar Barghouti, founder of Boycott Divestment Sanctions at the 'Busboys and Poets' event in Washington D.C. on April 15, 2011.

Omar Barghouti, founder of Boycott Divestment Sanctions at the ‘Busboys and Poets’ event in Washington D.C. on April 15, 2011.

Netanyahu lands unexpected endorsement: the Boycott Israel movement

Omar Barghouti credits the prime minister for the BDS movement’s success in recent years.

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PM Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing his intent to seek new elections, Dec. 2, 2014.Photo by Emil Salman

Benjamin Netanyahu, his re-election campaign dogged by polls showing mounting voter disapproval of his performance as prime minister, has struggled of late to win decisive endorsements, even within his own Likud party.

From at least one sector, however, Netanyahu has received an endorsement as ringing as it was unsolicited – that of Omar Barghouti, a leading figure in BDS, the international movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.

Barghouti, speaking recently at an event held at Columbia University Law School in Manhattan, credited broadly negative world response to Netanyahu and his government’s hardline policies, for much of the movement’s success in recent years.

“We’ve got to give credit to Netanyahu,” Barghouti said in remarks quoted on the pro-BDS Mondoweiss website. “Without him we could not have reached this far, at this time”.

“It could have taken much, much, much, much longer, but with the help of the Israeli government, our biggest closet supporters in the world, we’re going much faster”.

Barghouti said the government’s deliberations over the Netanyahu-backed Jewish Nation-State bill, cast Israel as a nation which has always been anti-democratic and discriminatory toward Arabs – as BDS long argued – as well as suggesting the specter of an eventual end to Israel itself.

Barghouti, a founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, declared, “The latest discussion in Israel about the Jewish nation state law has brought to the fore the very possibility of the unraveling of the entire Zionist project. And these are not my words, these are the words of certain very important leaders in Israel.”

He later cited a recent opinion piece  by Shabtai Shavit, in which the former Mossad chief urged Netanyahu to reverse course, pursue the 2002 Arab league peace overture, and to recognize what Shavit described as the far-right and dangerously Messianic origins of “the folly of the current policy … and its devastating results – up to the destruction of the Zionist vision.”

In his appearance at the event, which was titled “Palestine’s South Africa Moment?” and was sponsored by Columbia’s Center for Palestine Studies, Barghouti said that the Netanyahu government had also greatly aided BDS in what the boycott leader stressed was the unintelligent manner in which Israeli officials have sought to battle the movement.

“They’re not coming up with rational solutions to BDS,” Barghouti said of the government.

“I think their IQ is dipping, I don’t know what’s happening with Zionism. But when I went to school here, Zionists used to be very smart,” said Barghouti, who holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Columbia.

“Either smarter people have abandoned Zionism or the average IQ of Zionists has gone down, but they’re really not thinking straight. Because they haven’t come up with one smart tactic to fight BDS … since 2005. We’re not being cocky about that. I mean, seriously, we’re not facing serious challenges there. It’s becoming an open door.”

In addition, Barghouti said, the Netanyahu government has advanced BDS in its conduct of wars in which large numbers of civilians have been killed by Israeli fire, with little or no explanation on the part of Israeli officials.

The Netanyahu government has characterized BDS as a strategic threat to the nation, but its response has been hampered by infighting between Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Economics and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, each vying for resources and control.

It has been further hobbled by ideological spats between Netanyahu and Bennett, and controversies over whether and how to use AIPAC to lobby against boycotts, and whether and how to employ Israeli intelligence agencies to track the activities of pro-boycott groups.

In February, Steinitz demanded a budget of NIS 100 million shekels for implementation of an anti-BDS plan, which was to include PR materials and aggressive legal and media campaigns against pro-boycott organizations. His ministry had already provided the IDF intelligence department a budget of several million shekels for the purpose of bolstering military surveillance of such organizations.

Efforts by the Netanyahu government and its right-wing supporters to combat BDS, have backfired on a number of occasions, notably inattacking and alienating leftist opponents of BDS such as J Street, and in proposing anti-boycott legislation so draconian as to leave the Netanyahu government vulnerable to charges of incipient fascism.

In his Columbia remarks, Barghouti pointed to the Jewish Nation-State law as a watershed in Netanyahu’s role in advancing the boycott movement’s contentions regarding Israel: “Forget democracy. This is an ethnocracy,” Barghouti said. “This is a Jewish supremacist state. So – no pretense of democracy. And that’s a very important development because it’s revealing Israel’s true nature. The last mask of Israel’s so-called democracy has been dropped”.

IN PHOTOS ~~ BIG DOINGS IN THE BIG APPLE ~~ THOUSANDS GATHER AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY

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 Under the NYC night sky at 6:30 pm, 10,000 (police report) people gathered at Foley Square to protest the failure of the Grand Jury to indict the killer policeman of Eric Gardner, a Black resident from Staten Island . The demonstration was called  by the NYC Civil Liberties Union and The Center For Constitutional Rights. The meeting was peaceful, but participants were angry. The meeting represented the wide range of ethnic and racial population in NYC, from the young to oldsters. “BLACK LIFE MATTERS” and “I CAN’T BREATHE” were the refrains which filled Foley Square as well as “NO PEACE WITH OUT JUSTICE” and “HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT” (referring to Ferguson  Mo). Within  hours people spontaneously began to leave the Square to circulate through the city.  Local street protests continued to the wee hours of the morning.  The Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges were closed down.  The Holland Tunnel was closed for forty  minutes.  In some streets traffic was blocked and “die-ins” on the streets helped block the traffic. There were masses of police with their patrol cars  and scooters and their  buses to hold arrested demonstrators (200 were arrested).

The tactics used by the demonstrators were very familiar to those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s.

It is unfortunate that people are still marching for what should have been achieved more  than a half a century ago.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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Two reports from the New York Times (click on photo to see slideshow)

THANKSGIVING IN FERGUSON (SPOOF)

Thanksgiving dinner ... 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Thanksgiving dinner …
‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Support demos continue ... 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Support demos continue …
‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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RELATED

IN PHOTOS ~~ HAS MOSSAD INFILTRATED THE US LEGAL SYSTEM?

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Some background info on the case …

A conspiracy to convict …. and it’s not a theory!

The Mossad Connection …

After her conviction this week, Shurat HaDin, an Israeli legal group that The Electronic Intifada revealed works closely with the Israeli spy and assassination agency Mossad,claimed responsibility for helping US prosecutors unearth Odeh’s 45-year-old record with the Israeli military court. The Jerusalem Report said on Thursday:

“In trying to defang her defense, the NGO [Shurat HaDin] said that the US attorney’s office ran into heavy red tape trying to get the IDF [Israeli army] Archives Division to supply it, in timely fashion, with documents proving Odeh’s identity and conviction, in Israel’s Judea and Samaria [occupied West Bank] courts, for her hand in the bombing. Using its own connections, Shurat HaDin was able to get the relevant documents.”

Read the full report on the Electronic Intifada HERE

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Photos from the demonstration outside the Manhattan Federal Building in New York

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ SILENCING THE SONGS AND DANCE OF APARTHEID

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Anti-Apartheid Dance and Songs Meet Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company in Protest at Brooklyn Academy of Music

On busy Lafayette Avenue outside Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), 80 New Yorkers gathered last night to dance and sing in protest of Batsheva Dance Company’s performances in BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival (photos). Batsheva’s appearance is part of the “Brand Israel” initiativedesigned to distract from the facts of Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and its denial of rights to Palestinians the world over. The demonstration was organized by Adalah-NY and endorsed by 15 other local human rights organizations including the BDS Arts Coalition, Brooklyn For Peace, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Ya-Ya Network.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs touts Batsheva as “perhaps the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture.” Batsheva is funded in part by that government office as well as by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. While Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin has criticized Israeli abuses of Palestinians, Batsheva Dance Company continues in its role as a prominent cultural ambassador of the Israeli state.

The demonstration began with a dabke (traditional Palestinian dance) lesson led by Adalah-NY member Riham Barghouti, with musical accompaniment by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra followed by songs from Dave Lippman. Chants highlighted the disconnect between the Batsheva dancers’ virtuosity and their company’s political role, including, “Their range of motion cannot hide / Their support for apartheid” and “Batsheva gets no ovation / Ambassador for occupation!”

Protester Carlos Pareja, an independent media maker, said, “I support drawing attention to the abuses against the Palestinian people. We can’t have only the ‘nice’ face of Israel, which is what we often see here.” Barghouti echoed that point, telling the crowd, “Today, only a few months after the most brutal of all Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip—which killed over 2100 Palestinians including 500 children and leveled whole neighborhoods, leading Amnesty International and others to accuse Israel of war crimes—yet again BAM has invited the Israeli dance company Batsheva to whitewash Israel’s crimes.”

Interactions with Brooklynites were mostly positive, as curious people tookflyers and asked questions about the activities. Passersby and BAM ticket holders alike stood and watched the high-energy Freedom Debka Group and the Columbia Palestinian Dabke Brigade, two Palestinian dance troupes. The protest ended with two moving dances by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl, a Mexica danza group, who offered “dance and prayers for dignity and solidarity” with Palestinians during their performance. Dancer Karen Lopez explained afterward, “We are indigenous people who have been displaced and seen our traditions threatened with destruction. We are always there in solidarity and resistance with other displaced peoples, including Palestinians.”

Wednesday night’s protest is part of the global movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. The Palestinian civil society call for BDS includes boycotting Israeli academic and cultural institutions complicit in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. Adalah-NY is also organizing a protest next Tuesday, November 18, at the concert of the Touré-Raichel Collective, which features another premiere Israeli “cultural ambassador,” musician Idan Raichel.

More photos from the protest can be found here.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Adalah-NY

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ZION CONDEMNS AS WE APPLAUD THOSE WHO BOYCOTT

In this music video Roger Waters covers the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” in support of the Palestinian people

Roger Waters has been the ‘leader of the pack’ of those international Artists who refuse to support the occupation in any way by performing in Israel. The ‘pack’ is growing daily as the occupation intensifies its policies against the people of Palestine. zion wants this to go away ….. but it won’t until the occupation ends COMPLETELY!

Today zion condemns the latest addition to the group, Peter Gabriel. As they condemn him, we applaud him for his stance!

Here is what they had to say about him …. (Also see THIS report)

Musician Peter Gabriel: I’m Not Anti-Israel, I’m Anti-Occupation

Singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel contributes songs to Gaza aid album, says he against “injustice and occupation”.
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Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel Reuters

Singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel says he is not anti-Israel, but that he is “against occupation”.

Gabriel, who originally rose to fame with the band Genesis, contributed songs to a new compilation album titled “2 Unite All”, proceeds from which go to humanitarian organizations aiding Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, reportsi24news.

“I am certain that Israelis and Palestinians will both benefit from a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders,” Gabriel said in a statement quoted by i24news. “We have watched Palestinians suffer for too long, especially in Gaza.”

He added, “I am not, and never was, anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic, but I oppose the policy of the Israeli government, oppose injustice and oppose the occupation… I am proud to be one of the voices asking the Israeli government: ‘Where is the two-state solution that you wanted so much?’ and clearly say that enough is enough.”

i24news noted that other musicians featured on the album include politically outspoken alternative metal musician Serj Tankian, most famous for his work as frontman of System of a Down, who contributed a song titled “Spinning Mysteries at the Sacred Grove”, which features Police drummer Steward Copeland.

The album also features former The Cure guitarist Porl Thompson and Def Leppard drummer, Rick Allen, known for continuing to play drums despite losing one of his arms in an automobile accident.

Several musicians in recent years have expressed their support for Palestinian Arabs while expressing anti-Israel sentiments.

The most notable among these is perhaps Roger Waters, who has in the past compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying in an interview, “The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable.”

He previously released a giant balloon pig bearing the Star of David during a concert in Belgium. Concert-goers said the Jewish star was among several symbols representing various corporations and fascist movements.

On the flip side, many musicians have ignored calls by pro-Palestinian groups to cancel concerts in Israel and have expressed their support of the Jewish state.

Last year, popular rhythm and blues artist Alicia Keys refused to cave in to pressure by anti-Israel activists and gave a sold out concert in Tel Aviv.

Keys announced that she had decided to go ahead with her concert in Tel Aviv despite calls from a number of anti-Israel activists to boycott the Jewish state.

The pop duo Pet Shop Boys also rejected calls from pro-Arab activists to cancel a Tel Aviv concert. The concert went ahead as scheduled on June 23 of last year.

BRAVO PETER!

And here is a poem written and performed by our very own Remi Kanazi …

THIS DIVESTMENT BILL HURTS MY FEELINGS

And here’s what YOU in New York can do to help …

There is no Art in Apartheid. Boycott Batsheva!
Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 – 8 pm
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Spread the word on Facebook!
Subway:
2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q, N, R, D to Atlantic Ave/Barclays Center
C to Lafayette Avenue
G to Fulton Street

Join us in front of the Brooklyn Academy of Music to protest the Batsheva Dance Company. There will be dance performances and a free dabke class. Help us show BAM, Batsheva and their audience that it’s time to dance against apartheid – not around it!

Why are we protesting? Batsheva is funded in part by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture and Sports. Let’s not let the ‘Brand Israel’ campaign use dance to whitewash Israel’s occupation, colonization, and apartheid system.

And save the date…

Protest Idan Raichel’s performance at Symphony Space
Tuesday, November 18, 6:30-8pm
Symphony Space (Broadway and West 95th St.)
Spread the word on Facebook!
Subway:
1, 2, or 3 trains to 96th Street.

Please join Adalah-NY for a demonstration against a performance by the Touré-Raichel Collective, featuring Israel’s premiere “cultural ambassador” Idan Raichel. We’ll show what art for a cause really looks like, with dance (performed by the Columbia Palestinian Dabke Brigade), poetry, and protest music. Applaud for art, not apartheid!

Why are we protesting? Idan Raichel describes his role as an artist in terms of uncritical support for the Israeli military and government. Before, during, and after this summer’s horrific assault on Gaza, Raichel provided morale-building entertainment to the troops involved. His collaborations with diverse artists such as Vieux Farka Touré attempt to cover up Israel’s egregious abuses of human rights – whether Palestinians or African asylum-seekers – with a veneer of multicultural music.

If you have not already signed our letter to the World Music Institute asking them to drop Idan Raichel, we urge you to do so now!

PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM MUST GO A FEW STEPS FURTHUR

President Obama has turned the Dream into a nightmare

President Obama has turned the Dream into a nightmare

But, in a positive move, this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom went to 3 slain Civil Rights workers more than 50 years after they were brutally murdered by the very same US government that honours them today.

IRONIC! …

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman Win Highest Civilian Honor

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman Win Highest Civilian Honor

But what about the activists of TODAY? What about the brave people of Ferguson who are literally putting their lives on the line daily in an attempt to restore Freedom and Democracy.

What about ALL those involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movements to restore Democracy and Civil Liberties to America and the world at large.

There are scores of others who are worthy of the honour but are either overlooked or ignored. It is time for President Obama, who promised change, to honour those that are ACTUALLY WORKING for that change.

Presented below is a Reuters report of this year’s recipients …

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3 Slain ‘Mississippi Burning’ Civil

Rights Activists Will Get Medal of

Freedom

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman Win Highest Civilian Honor

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Three civil rights workers slain in Mississippi in 1964 will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, joining actress Meryl Streep and singer Stevie Wonder among the 19 recipients of America’s highest civilian honor this year, the White House said on Monday.

The posthumous honorees include James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were killed as they participated in the “Freedom Summer” drive to register black voters in Mississippi.

Their deaths helped galvanize support for civil rights legislation and inspired the film “Mississippi Burning.”

“From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Other recipients to be honored at a White House ceremony on Nov. 24 are the late dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey, physicist Mildred Dresselhaus, Native American writer and activist Suzan Harjo, former judge and congressman Abner Mikva, former U.S. Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink, the late Mexican-American congressman Edward Roybal, actress Marlo Thomas, and economist Robert Solow.

Also to be honored is Ethel Kennedy, the widow of slain U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy. Other recipients include television newsman Tom Brokaw, novelist Isabel Allende, composer Stephen Sondheim, veteran U.S. Representative John Dingell, and Charles Sifford, who helped desegregate the U.S. professional golf tour.

AMERICAN LABOUR BLOCKS THE BOATS FOR PALESTINE

Block the Boat for Gaza on 16 August CREDIT: Henry Norr

Block the Boat for Gaza on 16 August CREDIT: Henry Norr

This August, during five days and four nights of demonstrations at the Port of Oakland, a diverse group of pro-Palestine and social justice activists under the banner of the Block the Boat coalition picketed several berths where the Israeli cargo ship Zim Piraeus attempted to dock. Activists returned to the port whenever workers were dispatched to unload it—in some cases in the middle of the night. Their numbers, which fluctuated between dozens and thousands, were not always sufficient to physically block all entrances to the vessel. Yet the action succeeded due to the support of Oakland’s longshoremen, members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 10, who refused to cross the community picket lines. Even when police surrounded and split protestors on multiple occasions, workers refused to proceed and unload the ship. The ship eventually left port, unable to unload most of its cargo.

A BIG Thank You from Palestine

A BIG Thank You from Palestine

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Unionizing solidarity with Palestine: Support grows for BDS among grassroots labor movement

Alborz Gandanhari, David McCleary, Kumars Salehi and Tory Webster *

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“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel.” This call for solidarity was issued in July 2005 by hundreds of Palestinian organizations, including all major trade unions. Systematic land confiscation, mass incarceration, house demolition, and routine attacks that leave hundreds of civilians dead have become part and parcel of daily life in Israel-occupied Palestine. The US-sponsored “peace talks” merely readjusted Israel’s occupation strategy: instead of deploying its army inside Palestinian cities and towns, Israel now surrounds them with checkpoints and walls; hinders Palestinians’ ability to work, study, and travel; and ensures that Palestine remains economically dependent on Israel. Recognizing that Israel has used negotiations to normalize and sustain the occupation, Palestinian civil society adopted the non-violent strategy of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) against its oppressor.

Compared to its international counterparts, the U.S. labor movement has been slow to embrace BDS. Michael Letwin, co-founder of the solidarity group Labor for Palestine, suggests this is the product of the American labor movement’s historical and continuing institutional support for Israel. The major US trade unions, Letwin says, have hundreds of millions of dollars in pension funds that are invested in Israel. Senior union leaders, in fear of alienating the Democratic Party and other political allies, frequently denounce BDS and criticize their counterparts around the world who support it.

On the grassroots level, however, things look different. This summer, hundreds of US labor leaders and organizers signed on to Labor for Palestine’s BDS statement. To add to these inspiring developments, on December 4th, UAW 2865, a union that represents 13,000 student workers across nine University of California campuses, will become the first U.S. union to hold a membership vote on joining the BDS movement. Similarly encouraging are recent solidarity actions in the San Francisco Bay Area, which show that, despite the ambivalence among some union leadership, rank-and-filers do not hesitate to stand in solidarity with the oppressed.

This August, during five days and four nights of demonstrations at the Port of Oakland, a diverse group of pro-Palestine and social justice activists under the banner of the Block the Boat coalition picketed several berths where the Israeli cargo ship Zim Piraeus attempted to dock. Activists returned to the port whenever workers were dispatched to unload it—in some cases in the middle of the night. Their numbers, which fluctuated between dozens and thousands, were not always sufficient to physically block all entrances to the vessel. Yet the action succeeded due to the support of Oakland’s longshoremen, members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 10, who refused to cross the community picket lines. Even when police surrounded and split protestors on multiple occasions, workers refused to proceed and unload the ship. The ship eventually left port, unable to unload most of its cargo.

Israel’s massacre of more than 2,000 Palestinians this summer enraged Samantha Levens, an ILWU marine division rank-and-file member. Upon hearing that community members were organizing to block the Israeli liner, she prepared information fliers and distributed them to the longshoremen. “We weren’t saying ‘don’t handle the cargo,’” Levens says. “We were just giving information about the issue: what happened during the South African apartheid, the history of ILWU honoring community picket lines, and the position of international unions on the situation in Gaza.” The longshoremen’s reaction was positive. Even on the third and fourth days of picketing, she says, when members were eager to go back to work, “I mostly saw people becoming more supportive.”

Lifelong longshoreman, ILWU member, and activist Clarence Thomas explains: “I can’t be silent on these issues. I’m sure that there are longshoremen in Gaza who haven’t been doing work in decades. Isn’t it ironic that ships can go as they please into ports in Israel, but can’t come into Gaza?” Solidarity, Thomas says, is a key value in labor activism: “Politics is one thing, but the aspiration and the communality of the working class is something else,” he says, citing numerous solidarity actions ILWU has taken since the 1930s against oppressive regimes throughout the world. “As an African American man, I don’t have any difficulty relating to the plight of the Palestinian people,” he says. “I know what it means to be racially profiled and to be targeted by a militarized police. I’ve been pulled over many times. I had police guns pointed at me. I understand this phenomenon.”

The strong parallels between state and racial oppression in Palestine and the US, respectively, are at the foundation of ILWU Local 10’s policy of not crossing community picket lines. “We will not work under armed police escort—not with our experience with the police in this community,” said Local 10 president Melvin MacKay, referring to the police’s violent dispersal of anti-Iraq war pickets in 2003. “This action was always about building worker-community solidarity,” assesses Reem Assil, one of the organizers of the port actions. “We hope to use it as an impetus for us to deepen work in educating workers about the issue and connecting it to their personal conditions.”

Following the successful pickets in August, a second ship, the Zim Shanghai, again encountered community picket lines when it docked at the Port of Oakland on October 25. Once again, ILWU longshoremen stood down. As the first shifts to unload the Zim Shanghai were being met with pickets, all but one longshoremen refused to even take a job working the ship. The Shanghai left port without loading or unloading any cargo, thanks to the decision of ILWU rank-and-file members to once more respect a community picket line. When the Zim Beijing, a third ship scheduled to unload at the Port of Oakland, faced similar plans by the Block The Boat coalition in October, the ship diverted to avoid another humiliating defeat at the hands of a determined coalition of social justice activists and rank-and-file union members. With Block the Boat actions now spreading to other ports, it’s difficult to see how Israel will weather the growing storm of BDS.

Palestine solidarity is gaining traction among academic workers too. This July, UAW Local 2865, which represents over 13,000 University of California student workers, took an important step towards joining the international BDS movement. In a public letter posted on the union’s website, the UAW 2865 Joint Council (which includes 83 elected officers) declared its commitment “to support our Palestinian counterparts.” The joint council pledged to bring a comprehensive BDS proposal to a general membership vote this year, a proposal that would include a call for academic boycott of institutions profiting from Israeli occupation and human rights abuses. In addition to soliciting its members’ commitment to cut contact with such institutions, the union would also call on the UC system and UAW International to divest from companies complicit in the occupation.

This endorsement comes as no surprise: in the past few years, UAW 2865 has joined numerous struggles against oppression, including Occupy protests, UC student protests against fee-hikes, and last year’s strike by UC custodians. Recently, it negotiated unprecedented protections for its undocumented immigrant members, queer and trans members, parents, and others.

In the midst of Israel’s bombing of Gaza, the union’s social justice committee carefully worded the call for BDS, outlining in detail the different dimensions of the Israeli occupation. They cited Israel’s refusal to recognize Palestinian refugees’ rights as indigenous people (specifically, their right to return to their land), the system of apartheid that Israel enforces in the West Bank and Gaza, and the second-class status of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. The letter also mentions the connection between Israel’s military industry and ethnic cleansing, the suppression of popular movements, and the oppression and criminalization of people all over the world. Concluding by quoting Desmond Tutu’s “hope for a time when there are universal rights for all humans regardless of ethnicity, gender, or national, origin,” the letter emphasizes that BDS does not target the Jewish people but instead targets Israel as “a colonial-apartheid state.” The letter further highlights the unequivocal support BDS receives from Jewish organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. In fact, a few days after the letter’s publication, more than forty current and former Jewish UAW 2865 members publicly endorsed this BDS call.

The date for the general UAW 2865 membership vote has been set for December 4th. The official ballot language adopted by the Joint Council includes a single yes or no vote on whether the union should call on the US government to end military aid to Israel, and call on the University of California and UAW International to “divest…from Israeli state institutions and international companies complicit in severe and ongoing human rights violations as part of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people”. The ballot also includes a checkbox where members can pledge to refuse to “take part in any research, conferences, events, exchange programs, or other activities that are sponsored by Israeli universities complicit in the occupation of Palestine and the settler-colonial policies of the state of Israel”. The Joint Council also adopted several documents to educate members about the issues and explain the rationale for the vote; these include a BDS FAQ page, an academic boycott fact sheet, and a labor movement statement.

As in other social justice struggles, mobilization for BDS concerns not just Palestinian rights, but also the right of workers to act and express themselves politically. Purporting to represent UC Jewish students, several Zionist organizations have petitioned UC President Janet Napolitano, alleging that the Joint Council’s solidarity with Palestine creates “a hostile anti-Semitic environment” for Jewish students. Many Jewish students, however, find such allegations to be spurious and see the claims as dishonest attempts to silence criticism.The BDS movement is a fundamentally anti-racist movement, one that opposes racism in all of its forms, including and especially anti-Semitism. The President’s office has yet to respond to the petition, and one can only hope that Napolitano’s tenure will not add to her abysmal human rights record both as Governor of Arizona and Homeland Security Secretary.

The success of Oakland’s Block the Boat makes clear the centrality of organized labor to the global movement for Palestinian freedom. This, and the upcoming UAW 2865 vote on BDS, signal a sea change in US labor’s willingness to be complicit in apartheid and ethnic cleansing. As the larger Palestine solidarity movement picks up steam, we can expect the grassroots labor mobilization for Palestine to bear greater and greater fruits, until Israeli apartheid is no more.
*About Alborz Gandanhari, David McCleary, Kumars Salehi and Tory Webster

Alborz Ghandehari is a graduate student at UC San Diego; Tory Webster is a graduate student at UC Davis; Kumars Salehi and David McCleary are graduate students at UC Berkeley. All are UAW 2865 rank-and-file members and members of the UAW 2865 BDS Caucus. Tory and Alborz are also elected officers of the UAW 2865 Joint Council. Kumars and David participated in the Block the Boat protests in Oakland.

 

This originally appeared at Mondoweiss

THE WALL ~~ I WROTE ABOUT IT YESTERDAY, IT’S HAPPENING TODAY!

knocking down apartheid wall.2

*Yesterday I posted about the fall of the Apartheid wall in Israel. Today it started to crumble! Let’s hope this trend continues!

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Click HERE to see the report including a video….

From Berlin to Palestine: Palestinian activists blast hole in separation fence

‘It doesn’t matter how high the barriers will be, they will fall. Like the Berlin Wall fell – the Palestinian wall will fall,’ activists say on 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It WILL happen!

It WILL happen!

ZIONISM HAS KILLED MORE PEOPLE THAN THE EBOLA VIRUS

Image From

Image From

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Is a research scientist working to find a cure for AIDS called an extremist?

Same question, a research scientist working to find a cure for the Ebola Virus??

The answer is NO!*

unnamed

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BUT ….

Activists who are working to expose the evils of zionism are extremists according to the spokesmen of zion. Here is their definition … Of course, the definition of an ‘extremist’ is one for whom the real-world moral consequences of his or her actions are of little concern, especially in comparison to the imperative of maintaining fealty to a rigid – and often destructive – political ideology.

A Jewish settler from an illegal settlement in the Occupied West Bank who roams the streets of Jerusalem armed with a gun is not an extremist, But someone like myself who lives in Jerusalem goes out unarmed is one …. how’s that for ziologic?

A neighbour who circulated a petition recently to keep Arab children out of a local playground is not an extremist, BUT someone like myself who refused to sign it is one. (BTW, hardly anyone signed it).

An influential rabbi who recently tried to have Arab children removed from a local nursery is not an extremist, but someone like myself who campaigned against him is one.

I can give hundreds of other examples, but these are enough to get my message across.

Now for the latest attack from zion …. (First read THIS POST from last week)

Whilst it’s not clear if SodaStream’s decision to close their plant in the West Bank town of Mishor Adumim was undertaken due to pressure from BDS activists, the reaction by the BDS Movement to the company’s decision to move production of the fizzy drink makers to a new location in the Israeli Negev – placing the employment of 500 Palestinians in jeopardy – speaks volumes about the political extremism of the movement.

So, if you are involved in any way to expose, or better yet find a cure for the virus known as zionism, be ready to be labeled an extremist. Here is how they view the closure of the SodaStream plant …

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What does it say about BDS activists when the loss of 500 Palestinian jobs is a ‘victory’?

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Whilst it’s not clear if SodaStream’s decision to close their plant in the West Bank town of Mishor Adumim was undertaken due to pressure from BDS activists, the reaction by the BDS Movement to the company’s decision to move production of the fizzy drink makers to a new location in the Israeli Negev – placing the employment of 500 Palestinians in jeopardy – speaks volumes about the political extremism of the movement.

Homepage of BDS Movement, Nov. 2

 

The Guardian’s Middle East editor Ian Black wrote the following on SodaStream’s relocation in an Oct. 29th column:

Palestinian activists have hailed a decision by SodaStream International, an Israeli-owned soft drink company, to close its controversial factory in a settlement in the occupied West Bank, calling the decision a victory for the campaign for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions.

The company had defended itself as employing 500 Palestinians, along with 450 Israeli Arab and 350 Israeli Jewish citizens, and insisted that closure for political reasons would benefit no one.

But the BDS statement said: “Any suggestion that SodaStream is employing Palestinians in an illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land out of the kindness of its heart is ludicrous.”

Naturally, neither the Guardian’s Ian Black, nor the BDS Movement, bothered to explain how the closing of a factory which employs (at wages far above the average in the West Bank) the largest number of Palestinians outside the Palestinian Authority could reasonably be characterized as a victory for Palestinians.

Indeed, additional evidence attesting to the BDS Movement’s true motivations can be found in this passage near the end of Black’s article:

It’s [the BDS Movement] statement said: “Even if this announced closure goes ahead, SodaStream will remain implicated in the displacement of Palestinians. Its new Lehavim factory is close to Rahat, a planned township [see footnote] in the Naqab [Negev] desert, where Palestinian Bedouins are being forcefully transferred against their will. Sodastream, as a beneficiary of this plan, is complicit with this violation of human rights.”

The statement is referring to draft legislation in the Knesset last year (since shelved), on Bedouin development, which would have seen some 20,000-30,000 Israeli Bedouin relocated from unrecognized and undeveloped shanty towns to officially recognized and developed towns in the Negev, including the city of Rahat.  Those who moved were to receive financial compensation as well as free land.

So, the BDS statement is in effect saying that, by virtue of the fact that the new SodaStream factory will be located some 9 km from one of the towns which would become home to thousands of Bedouins (in the context of a plan to relocate Bedouin to developed), planned communities), the company is somehow “complicit” in human rights violations.  Even though the company will be moving its factory to within Israel’s pre-67 boundaries, BDS will not end their anti-SodaStream campaign.

Indeed, the broader point should be familiar to anyone with even a basic understanding of the malevolence of the BDS Movement.  BDS seeks the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties”, goals which undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination. BDS leaders have made their opposition to the continued existence to the Jewish state (within any borders) quite clear.

The promoters of the SodaStream boycott are so zealous in desire to isolate, delegitimize, and demonize Israel, that they are unburdened by the fact they’ve harmed a thriving factory, one which provides a livelihood to hundreds of Palestinian workers and has served as a rare model of co-existencebetween Arabs and Jews.

Of course, the definition of an ‘extremist’ is one for whom the real-world moral consequences of his or her actions are of little concern, especially in comparison to the imperative of maintaining fealty to a rigid – and often destructive – political ideology.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE OF THE BDS MOVEMENT

Their work is done .... time to move on

Their work is done …. time to move on

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Originally I was going to headline this post A SMALL STEP FOR MAN, A GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND …. AN EVEN GREATER LEAP FOR THE BDS MOVEMENT.

BUT

I must say that when we call for a boycott of companies situated in the Occupied West Bank we are calling for a boycott of the occupation itself. It is not our intention to put these companies out of business, just to get them out of lands that do not belong to them or Israel.

SO

In reality, the workers of SodaStream are victims of Collateral Damage in our ongoing war against the occupation. The workers of the plant involved, both Israeli and Palestinian have our sincerest wishes that they will soon find suitable employment elsewhere … they were certainly not our target.

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Leah, a Jewish worker, and Nidaa, a Palestinian from Jericho, at the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim. Photograph: Heidi Levine/Sipa/Rex.

Leah, a Jewish worker, and Nidaa, a Palestinian from Jericho, at the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim. Photograph: Heidi Levine/Sipa/Rex.

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SodaStream gives the following reason for the closure of their plant; Sales of SodaStream’s soda machines have been weak in the United States as consumers in the company’s biggest market opt for healthier drinks such as juices and teas over sodas.

No mention of the fact that their company has been the number one target of the BDS Movement over the past year or so. Obviously consumers in the United States are opting against the occupation which is definitely unhealthy!

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Similar protests to these were held throughout the world on a regular basis

sodastream_flickr_img

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Below is a Reuters Report on the situation. You will notice that there is no mention the role that our Movement played in their decision. They are obviously proud losers, when in reality the workers involved are the true losers. There is also no mention of them in the report.

Despite the outcome of this, our efforts will continue globally to boycott the occupation until it ends!

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SodaStream Will Shut West Bank Factory

Onetime Start-Up Nation Star Cuts Costs Amid Financial Woes

By Reuters

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SodaStream, the Israeli at-home soda machine maker, is closing its controversial West Bank factory as part of a cost-cutting campaign amid poor financial results.

The beverage machine maker cut its 2014 revenue and profit forecasts after reporting a sharp drop in third-quarter earnings and said it would restructure to spur a return to growth.

Sales of SodaStream’s soda machines have been weak in the United States as consumers in the company’s biggest market opt for healthier drinks such as juices and teas over sodas.

“Our third quarter performance was pressured by challenging selling conditions for soda makers and flavors primarily in the U.S.,” Chief Executive Daniel Birnbaum said, adding that performance outside the United States was mixed.

Birnbaum announced a “comprehensive growth plan” meant to return SodaStream to profitable growth.

As part of that plan, the company said it would be shutting down and relocating operations from two facilities into a new plant. It would also discontinue certain beverage makers and flavors at a cost of about $20 million to the company.

The financial impact of those two moves will be spread out from the fourth quarter into 2015.

“We are fully committed to getting the company back on track,” Birnbaum said.

It was reported in July that SodaStream was in talks with an investment firm to be taken private in a deal valuing the company at $828 million.

SodaStream’s shares received a boost last week when it said it would sell some PepsiCo Inc brands such as Pepsi Homemade, that are not sold in stores in a limited test.

SodaStream said third-quarter revenue was $125.9 million, down from $144.6 million a year earlier. net profit was $9.5 million versus $16.4 million a year earlier.

The company lowered its forecast for all of 2014, saying revenue was expected to decrease about 9 percent from $562.7 million in 2013, and profit was expected to drop about 42 percent from $42.0 million in 2013. Previously the company had forecast a 5 percent drop in both revenue and profit from 2013.

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Related post from the JTA

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Boycott Israel Activists Claim Credit for SodaStream Factory Closing

Company Points to Fizzling Profits in Cost-Cutting Move

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GETTY IMAGES

By JTA

The Israeli firm SodaStream, which has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, is closing its West Bank factory — and anti-Israel activists claimed credit for forcing the move.

The company, which makes home soft drink machines, made the announcement about its Maale Adumim facility on Wednesday. It also said that its third quarter sales had dropped 9 percent.

SodaStream said that closing the West Bank factory would result in a $9 million savings in production costs. A second factory in the Galilee also will be closed.

CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in September that the decision to shut down the West Bank factory would be based solely on economics.

The operations from the two plants are slated to be relocated by the end of 2015 to a new facility in Lehavim, a Negev community near Beersheba in Israel’s South. The company will receive a government subsidy for its operations in the new plant. The Lehavim plant is expected to employ a significant number of Bedouin Arabs.

Birnbaum told The Associated Press that the company is working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for its Palestinian employees from the Maale Adumim factory so that they can work in the new plant.

The company also has a plant in Ashkelon and 20 others around the world. There are currently about 1,100 employees in the Maale Adumim plant, including 850 who are Arab-Israelis or Palestinians.

SodaStream was at the center of controversy following the signing of actress Scarlett Johansson as a spokeswoman and the ensuing furor over its West Bank factory. Johansson resigned as a global ambassador for Oxfam over her position with SodaStream.

“We have witnessed a tremendous growth in boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts this year to pressure Israel to ends its denial of Palestinian rights,” Ramah Kudaimi of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of more than 400 groups, said in a statement. “Today’s news is just the latest sign that these global BDS campaigns are having an impact on changing the behavior of companies that profit from Israeli occupation and apartheid.”

Kudaimi said that SodaStream would remain a target of boycott efforts since its factory is close to Rahat, a planned township in the Negev desert for Bedouins, “thus still implicating the company in Israel’s displacement policies.”

I AM NO LONGER ACCEPTING THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE

I AM CHANGING THE THINGS I CANNOT ACCEPT!
Free yourselves from all evils of society

Free yourselves from all evils of society

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As a society, we have been duped by the powers that be. We were told to chant the following …

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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Yet, the President of the United States promised CHANGE …. and yes, he kept his promise. Things have changed from bad to worse!

Are we expected to accept that?

I SAY NO!

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Now that we are finally awake, let's get out of bed and get to work!

Now that we are finally awake, let’s get out of bed and get to work!

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Acceptance of what Obama calls CHANGE is complicity with the evils within those changes!

Let’s start with the erosion of our Academic Freedom …. students are no longer allowed or encouraged to think … or even hear opinions contrary to those of the Administration. The human brain has become as redundant as the appendix.

Black Americans have become mere targets for trigger happy police officers, especially the youth.

Muslim Americans have been classified as terrorists and are racially profiled in every aspect of their lives.

New wars are being waged throughout the world targeting self created enemies … soldiers are dying for no reason at all yet they continue to follow orders, truly ‘Waste Deep In The Big Muddy’ …

Attempts to change any of the above leads to arrests, loss of jobs, or even worse, loss of lives.

BUT IT MUST BE DONE!

The American nation has become a nation of Sheeple being led to slaughter.

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sheeple_copy-s720x216-224041

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The outdated Serenity Prayer presented above has allowed the Administration to destroy the very fibers of our society. They have treated us as if we were all addicted to a substance  dangerous to our health … and yes we were, a substance we know as Capitalism! Don’t allow that substance to become fascism …. an evil even harder to cure.

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It can be nipped in its bud!

It can be nipped in its bud!

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Stop following that asshole in front of you! Become the CHANGE that will give us something to really be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving!

REMEMBERING CHE AND VITTORIO, MARTYRS EXTRAORDINAIRE

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Forty seven years ago this month Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was murdered by the CIA in Bolivia. 

Below is a heartbreaking letter from the mother of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian in Gaza murdered by similar forces of hatred just over three years ago. Imagine the letter having been penned by the mother of Che …

Both live on in the hearts of all who work for Social Justice throughout the world …

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“Don’t cry for me if I die, do what I was doing and I will live on in you.” –
Che Guevara
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A letter from Vittorio’s mother

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One has to die to become a hero, to hit the headlines and to have TV crews around the house, but does one have to die to stay human? I recall Vittorio in the Christmas of 2005, detained and incarcerated in the Ben Gurion Airport, the scars left by the handcuffs that cut his wrists, the denial of any contact with the consulate, the farcical process. And I recall Easter that same year, when just across the Allenby Bridge at the Jordanian border the Israeli police blocked his entrance in the country, put him on a bus and, seven against one (one of the seven was a policewoman), they beat him up “with skill”, without leaving any external marks, like the real professionals they are, then hurling him to the ground and throwing at his face, as a last scar to add to the others, the hair they had ripped off him with their machines.

Vittorio was unwanted in Israel. Too subversive, for having joined his friend Gabriele one year earlier and demonstrated along with the women and men of the village of Budrus against the Wall of Shame, teaching them the lyrics and singing together our most beautiful partisan song ‘O bella ciao, ciao…’. (see below)

Back then no TV crew came by, not even when in the Fall of 2008 a commando attacked in Palestinian waters off Rafah the fishing boat he had boarded. Vittorio was incarcerated in Ramle and soon after sent back home with nothing but the clothes on his body. Nevertheless, I cannot but be thankful to the press and television that have approached us with composure, that have ‘besieged’ our home with restraint, without excesses and that have given me the chance to talk about Vittorio and about his ideals and the choices he made.

This lost child of mine is more alive than ever before, like the grain that has fallen to the ground and died to bring forth a plentiful harvest. I see it and hear it already in the words of his friends, above all the younger among them, some closer, some from afar. Through Vittorio, they have known and understood, and now even more, how one can give ‘Utopia’ a meaning, like the thirst for justice and peace, how fraternity and solidarity still stand and how, as Vittorio used to say, ‘Palestine can also be found at your doorsteps’. We were a long way from Vittorio, but now we are closer than ever, with his living presence magnified at every passing hour, like a wind from Gaza, from his beloved Mediterranean, blowing fierily to deliver the message of his hope and of his love for those without a voice, for the weak and the oppressed, passing the baton.

Stay human. – Restiamo umani.

The above is a translation of the letter written by egidia beretta arrigoni, mother of vittorio arrigoni, translated by Sebastiao Nascimento

Bella Ciao Vitto
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Scenes in Gaza after Vittorio’s murder…..
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Honoured by Carlos Latuff

Honoured by Carlos Latuff

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As was Che on the 40th Anniversary of his martyrdom

As was Che on the 40th Anniversary of his martyrdom

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION FOUND IN HONG KONG

THE UMBRELLA REVOLUTION
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Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Hong Kong govt says umbrellas are Kung Fu weapons of mass destruction

Hong Kong govt says umbrellas are Kung Fu weapons of mass destruction

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hong-kong-protests-altagreer

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Weapon of Mass Destruction in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

The Umbrella Revolution has also been labeled as “Color Revolution” backed up by foreign forces, in particular, the United State. Pro-Beijing law makers passed a motion on October 10 demanding an investigation of the mobilization of the massive sit-in action under the Legislative Council(Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.

In response to the smear campaign, DDED HK, created a video that imitates the China Central Television’s news report on the students’ use of mass destruction weapon – umbrellas and birthday song – in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution.

In the video, the umbrellas that protected the protesters from police pepper spray and tear gas were depicted as parachutes and ray guns. The birthday song, which was sang by the sit-in protesters, when they were surrounded and bombarded by the anti-occupation groups, was depicted as the most evil weapon.

 

Source

JEWISH RECOMMITMENT AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

While many of us have been concerned about, and appalled by the recent Islamophobic ads on NYC subways and buses and have responded to them in a number of different ways, we also recognize that Islamophobia extends far beyond those ads.

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twittersign

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Jews Recommit to Standing Against Islamophobia

by: Donna Nevel and Elly Bulkin FOR

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While many of us have been concerned about, and appalled by the recent Islamophobic ads on NYC subways and buses and have responded to them in a number of different ways, we also recognize that Islamophobia extends far beyond those ads.

As part of our commitment to challenging Islamophobia in all its forms and to bringing these issues to the forefront within the Jewish community, the coalition we are part of, Jews Against Islamophobia (Jews Say No!, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice), wanted to make visible the many manifestations of Islamophobia that we oppose and that we are committed to challenging. We created a short video that highlights the multiple ways Islamophobia is promoted – through police surveillance of the Muslim community, government institutions and policies, and the media as well as through Islamophobic ads in public spaces and demanding that Muslims pass a litmus test declaring their loyalty to the State of Israel before being considered an “acceptable” partner.

Some of us from Jews Against Islamophobia have also been part of initiating a new national network, J-NAI (Jewish Voice for Peace Network Against Islamophobia) that we hope will provide support and resources for those interested in organizing against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and in making the connections between Islamophobia and Israel politics.You can learn more about these efforts at JVP.org/JNAI

We join our partners and allies from the Muslim community and from other communities who are organizing against Islamophobia and for justice and dignity for all our communities.

#FergusonOctober COMES TO MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Tory Russell, who has been on the ground in Ferguson from the start, said, “What were saying is No Justice, No Peace. You can’t go on with life as usual until justice is served. We are fighting all across St. Louis and this is not a game to us.”

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#FergusonOctober Comes to Monday Night Football

Black lives matter

“Rams Fans Know Black Lives Matter On and Off the Field” (Photo: Benjamin Boyd)

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The tradition is as longstanding as it is powerful: fans and even players disrupting sporting events in the name of a greater cause. Sometimes when this takes place, it’s iconic, other times it’s forgotten. This is usually dependent on the power and breadth of the movements off the field that animate these extraordinary actions.

We saw it most famously perhaps when John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists at the 1968 Olympics. It helped change the world when the people of Australia and New Zealand fans stormed the grounds when Apartheid South Africa’s storied Springbok rugby team took the field. It continues today when people protest the Israeli basketball tour of the NBA preseason in the shadow of the Gaza war or when NFL players in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown raise their hands as they leave the tunnel.

That tradition continued last night when, as a part of #FergusonOctober, fifty people in the upper deck of the St. Louis Rams-San Francisco 49ers game unfurled a banner saying “Black Lives Matter On And Off The Field” and held a protest right in the middle of Monday Night Football.

An NFL stadium is a place of constant security, surveillance and inspection. Getting inside the White House with a knife seems like an easier task than entering an NFL arena for a protest. Yet in St. Louis, they did it and sent a strong message that this was not a time for games.

Stadium protester Shannon Wilson said, “We chanted in protest to tell the world that Rams fans know that black lives matter. Some Rams fans who sat in front of us ignored us at first. When our cries for our lives grew louder, some men began to dance as if to imitate monkeys, and shouted, verbatim, ‘Shut the f*** up you monkeys.’ I guess some Rams fans don’t know that Black lives matter.”

Charles Modiano, who helped organize the action, said:

Sorry to inconvenience the 3rd quarter, but the wild cheering of African-American athletes who can run fast, and the death and disrespect of Mike Brown simply cannot be separated from each other. Black lives must matter on AND off the field. We witnessed many hateful, hostile, and nearly violent responses from fans inside and outside the stadium. But we witnessed many Rams fans – including many white fans — who joined our protest in solidarity after initial hesitance. It’s almost like they needed permission to show their justifiable outrage. Last week the St. Louis Symphony protesters asked ‘What side are you on, my friends. That’s the question. There are six witnesses, no police incident report, still no arrest, and Mike Browns in every town. This is real basic. There can be no fence-sitting here. Dismantling the Blue Wall of Silence also includes ending white walls of silence.

Thousands were protesting at St. Louis University, Walmart, at the Ferguson police Department, and other places. And that was just one day.

As one stadium protester who requested anonymity told me, “Tonight was a major success. Our message was clear – black lives matter and that means that police violence is an issue no one can ignore, even during Monday night football. Our movement is growing every day and while ESPN chose not to air our major action, we know that many in our country stand with us. We are waiting for our leaders to act.”

Yes, it’s true that ESPN ignored the happenings in the stands. But it was picked up by mainstream channels like The Sporting News and SB Nation as well as the highly trafficked rebel sports site Deadspin.

At a rally this weekend, Montague Simmons, from the Organization for Black Struggle, told a crowd: “They didn’t value Black lives then, they don’t value Black lives now…. If this moment is gonna be all that it can be, we got to make the cost of Black life too high for them to take it.” Actions like last night are a critical part of that process.

Protestor Darnell Moore said, “While waking around the stadium with several dozen others chanting ‘Mike Brown’ and ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ some fans willfully ignored us or shouted irately because their game was interrupted.”

This was a brave action that went down last night. As long as some people in the United States cannot escape the fear of police violence, the escapism of sports is a bubble well worth popping.

Tory Russell, who has been on the ground in Ferguson from the start, said, “What were saying is No Justice, No Peace. You can’t go on with life as usual until justice is served. We are fighting all across St. Louis and this is not a game to us.”

RABBIS JOIN THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE IN FERGUSON

American Handala By Mike Flugennock

American Handala
By Mike Flugennock

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Outside the Ferguson police station, under a steady rain, the rabbis were asking the cops to repent.

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20 Rabbis Join Rallies in Ferguson as Anger Keeps Building

Protests Against Racism Back on Streets of St. Louis Suburb

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Stop the Hate: Rabbi Mordechai Leibling addresses protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where anti-racism protests are still roiling the St. Louis suburb.

PHILIP DEITCH
Stop the Hate: Rabbi Mordechai Leibling addresses protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where anti-racism protests are still roiling the St. Louis suburb.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Outside the Ferguson police station, under a steady rain, the rabbis were asking the cops to repent.

“We repent for the sins of our community, not only for the things we personally did,” Rabbi Jill Jacobs told one officer. “I asked him if he would join me in repenting, and he didn’t really respond.”

Two months after the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, the protest movement in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb shows no sign of ending. A grand jury has yet to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, for shooting the unarmed black teen. And in early October, a St. Louis police officer shot another black teen to death under unclear circumstances, giving the movement new energy.

Rabbis from outside of the St. Louis area have stayed away from the protests in Ferguson, leaving them to local leaders and activists. But that changed October 12, when 20 rabbis joined dozens of clergy members for a series of actions protesting what they see as a pattern of police impunity.

The goal was to get arrested.

“It was clear they didn’t want to arrest clergy,” said Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, a rabbinic social justice group, of police at the October 13 protest outside of the Ferguson police station.

Some clergy did go to jail, though all of the rabbis remained free. Rabbi Susan Talve, the spiritual leader of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, who has been a regular presence at the Ferguson protests, was driving to prison to visit a group of arrested ministers when she was reached by the Forward.

“I want my sisters to know I’m here,” Talve said.

Talve’s synagogue is near Ferguson. One 16-year-old black congregant lives in the town.

“He just wants to go to school,” she said of the teenager. “He also doesn’t want to be afraid that when he walks on the street at night, that he’s going to be provoked, profiled and harassed because of the color of his skin.”

Talve said that Jacobs and others had been asking her how to support the Ferguson protest movement since the beginning, but that she had waited for an appropriate moment to invite them to come in. The civil disobedience at the police station was part of a series of events called Ferguson October meant to draw national attention to the ongoing protests.

Jacobs said that she and her colleagues from outside of the area felt that they, too, had a role in countering the discrimination in Ferguson. “We know what it’s like to be singled out because of our religion, because of the way we look, so we have an obligation to stand with other people in the same situation,” Jacobs said. “It’s incredibly important to break out of this us/them dynamic. This is about the Jewish community and every community.”

Outside the police station, activists chanted while some confronted the officers.

“We had clergy of all faiths going up to the police officers and asking them to repent for their part in the system that led to the death of Michael Brown,” Jacobs said.

Some Christian clergy offered to take confession. Jacobs said that she spoke to two unflinching riot police who would not engage with her. Talve spoke to a Catholic officer who did not accept her premise.

“He said he didn’t have anything to be sorry for, to repent for,” Talve said. “I said, I’m sure you’re a good man, you’re doing holy work… but we’re all part of the system.”

The protest was designed as a civil disobedience action, but the unwillingness of the officers meant that the rabbis stayed out of jail. “They wouldn’t arrest me,” Talve said. “We tried.”

CNN reported that 43 people were arrested outside the police station, including Cornel West, the academic and activist.

The weekend was not without tension among the activists. At a rally on the evening of October 12, local youth leaders protested when speakers from outside Ferguson were given priority, calling for their own chance to speak.

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