IN PHOTOS (THAT THE MEDIA DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SEE) ~~ STILL STANDING WITH STANDING ROCK

Demos continue in New York City in support of Standing Rock Sioux … here are photos from the latest ones that the mass media deemed unfit to cover

 

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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SOLIDARITY WITH STANDING ROCK GOING VIRAL ~~ NY DEMO IN PHOTOS

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“Street by street, block by block, New York stands with Standing Rock.”

 

Early this morning a group of about 200 people, most youngish, gathered at Grand Central Station in NYC to express solidarity with the Native American people and their allies who are fighting against a pipeline being installed on their ancestral land.  Not only are sacred sites being destroyed but a rupture in the line threatens their only source of clean water.  Thousands of Native Americans and those allied with them, which includes aboriginal people from all over the globe, have been non-violently resisting for several weeks now.  They have been attacked and bitten by guard dogs, shot with rubber bullets and other projectiles, maced, gassed, tased, hit and arrested.  Still, more people arrive at their encampment.  In honor of their ancestors and their children they are standing their ground.

The demonstrators remained at Grand Central Station for about an hour with their chants, signs,  banners, and a simulated flowing stream made of blue fabric.  Then they walked along 42nd St. to the huge Bank of America Tower where they filled the lobby and spoke of the role of the banks which are funding the pipeline for financial gain but are jeopardizing the lives of the people living along it’s path as well as the ecology of the whole earth.

Everyday groups are announcing their support for the Sioux Nation and their stand at Standing Rock.  Support is coming from many human rights groups and aboriginal groups.  The Palestinian flag is flying among the tents and teepees at the encampment.  Now labor groups have joined in.  Black Lives Matter and the Dream Defenders have made strong statements of solidarity, as has Jewish Voice for Peace.   Environmental groups are joining in also.  While this struggle is being led by Native Americans many have come to realize that all of humanity has a stake in this fight and working together we are strong.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer ~~ Commentary by Chippy Dee

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#InternationalSolidarityExtraordinaire ~~ BRAZILIANS AIDING PALESTINIAN FARMERS

The Landless Rural Workers Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), sent its yearly delegation to Palestine for the olive harvest in solidarity with farmers in the West Bank.

A delegation from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement joins the harvest to help Palestinian farmers pick olives and resist Israeli violence.

A delegation from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement joins the harvest to help Palestinian farmers pick olives and resist Israeli violence.

Brazil’s MST begins solidarity olive harvest

The Landless Rural Workers Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), sent its yearly delegation to Palestine for the olive harvest in solidarity with farmers in the West Bank.

MST is a mass social movement in Brazil formed by rural workers and those who want to fight for land reform and against injustice in rural areas.

Members of the delegation are assisting with the physical work of picking olives as well as serving as witnesses to Israeli state or settler violence directed against Palestinian farmers. The hope is to ensure Palestinian farmers, even in high-risk areas, are able to harvest their olives.

The olive oil industry constitutes 25% of Palestine’s agricultural income and supports the livelihoods of approximately 100,000 Palestinian families. The constant threat of Israeli state and settler violence and upsets the olive harvest in Palestine each year.

The MST activists have already taken part in olive harvests across the West Bank, mainly in areas targeted by Israeli settlers. As a part of the 20-day olive picking delegation, MST representatives are also meeting with Palestinian civil society organizations, unions, and politicians.

On Monday, MST met with the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Beit Sahour. AIC Director Nassar Ibrahim provided an overview of the Palestinian national movement, stressing the importance of mobilizing democratic forces against the occupation in both Palestinian and Israeli societies. AIC Senior Project Coordinator Ahmad Jaradat discussed the relationship of the Palestinian struggle for liberation to other international social justice movements.

MST has acted in support of the Palestinian national movement for years. It is one of the largest social movements in the world, with a membership of 1.5 million.

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Source

PRINCIPLES COST MILLIONS

That is if those principles are in support of the BDS Movement …

Roger Waters’ anti-Israel activism has cost the British rock star millions of dollars and an American Express sponsorship, the New York Post reported.

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Rocker Roger Waters Loses $4M Over Anti-Israel Activism

Roger Waters’ anti-Israel activism has cost the British rock star millions of dollars and an American Express sponsorship, the New York Post reported.

The credit giant took off the table a $4-million sponsorship of Waters’ 2017 tour in North America following his partisan and anti-Israel rhetoric this month at a festival that American Express sponsored, according to the tabloid’s reportThursday.

“Roger is putting on a huge show. The company was asked to sponsor his tour for $4 million, but pulled out because it did not want to be part of his anti-Israel rhetoric,” an unnamed source from American Express is quoted as saying.

But an official spokesperson for the firm said it never formally offered to sponsor Waters’ 2017 tour. “When we were approached with the options, we passed on making a bid,” the spokesperson said.

At the “Oldchella” festival, Waters used his time on stage to blast the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and to call for a boycott against Israel, according to the Post.

“F - - k Trump and his wall,” Waters said at that event, calling Trump “arrogant, lying, racist, sexist.” He then voiced his solidarity with students protesting for Palestinians. He also urged people to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Waters did not reply to requests for a reaction by the Post.

Earlier this year, Waters said during an interview that celebrities are afraid to “speak out against Israel’s policies,” as he termed it, because of what he described as financial consequences attached to doing so.

“I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s - - tless. If they say something in public, they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed,” he said.

Waters, the 69-year-old co-founder of the classic rock group Pink Floyd, has been widely criticized for his anti-Israel activities and accused of espousing anti-Semitic symbols, though he has denied doing so.

In a 2013 concert in Brussels, Waters performed on a stage featuring a giant pig balloon emblazoned with a Star of David, among other symbols.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center called Waters “an open hater of Jews.” And the Anti-Defamation League’s then leader, Abraham Foxman, in an open letter to Waters earlier this month, said his “views on Israel are in fact colored by offensive and dangerous undercurrents of anti-Jewish sentiment.”

THE TERRORISTS THAT WALK AMONG US …. (PART 2 OF PREVIOUS POST)

Be sure not to miss the previous post HERE

LABEL ME A PROUD TERRORIST

Palestinian rights activists on American college campuses have become the target of posters that attempt to smear them as supporters of violence, with a new round of posters calling out students and teachers by name.

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New campaign uses racist posters to target Palestinian campus activists by name

Palestinian rights activists on American college campuses have become the target of posters that attempt to smear them as supporters of violence, with a new round of posters calling out students and teachers by name.

“Do you want to show your support for HAMAS TERRORISTS whose stated goal is the elimination of the Jewish state?” one poster asks. Then, posing as the national Palestinian rights group, says “Join us! Students for Justice in Palestine.” The poster drives home its point with a cartoon of a man wearing a kaffiyeh, pointing at the viewer like Uncle Sam.

The posters are the work of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a pro-Israel group that has a history of attempting to intimidate Palestinian activists, especially those in academia. Some of the smears use terms like “Hamas BDS,” smashing together the name of the Palestinian political party and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which seeks to protest Israel economically and earned the ire of anti-Palestinian groups like Horowitz’s and others.

The posters also come amid rising Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims, both physical and verbal, tied to the rise of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has made suspicion of Muslims a centerpiece of his campaign. Horowitz isn’t doing anything to help, Palestinian activists say.

“Horowitz, a driver of the anti-Muslim movement in the U.S., has taken credit for this and previous campaigns attacking students and faculty. While Horowitz is viewed as an extremist, his tactics are in line with broader efforts by mainstream pro-Israel advocacy organizations and U.S. government officials to suppress speech in support of Palestinian rights,” Palestine Legal said in a statement. “The Horowitz posters fall in line with a pattern of widespread intimidation and censorship of students and faculty in the U.S. who speak out for Palestinian rights, a pattern that Palestine Legal has documented.”

According to Palestine Legal, the schools where the posters have appeared are the following: Brooklyn College (CUNY), San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, Tufts University, University of California Berkeley, University of California Irvine, University of California Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Vassar College.

The identities of the individual distributors of the posters remain unknown, but the images, including the hashtag #JewHate list the names of different Palestinian rights activists.

Electronic Intifada reported that San Francisco State University had released a lukewarm response to the incident, which some feel qualifies as a hate crime.

“We do not endorse the message, and consistent with principles of free speech, we believe that the most powerful response to speech that divides or degrades people is more speech which promotes inclusion, advances human dignity, and encourages mutually respectful actions and communications,” SFSU communications officer Elizabeth Smith told the site.

SFSU president Leslie Wong added decried the posters as a “bullying” tactic, but did not name Horowitz’s organization.

“Well-funded groups are trying to undermine us because they know if the discussion happens more and more people are more likely to join the world community in supporting Palestine,” SFSU professor Rabab Abdulhadi, named in the poster, told EI.

#InGaza ~~ THE ART AND WRITING ON THE WALLS

The artwork, “Besieged Childhood,” has garnered renown for its creators. It depicts a child wearing a keffiyehscarf, a melancholy expression on her face, her hands wrapped around two bars, like those of a prison cell.

“Besieged Childhood,” a mural co-created by Belal Khaled, on a Gaza City tower. (Abed Zagout)

“Besieged Childhood,” a mural co-created by Belal Khaled, on a Gaza City tower. (Abed Zagout)

The anguish and anger on Gaza’s walls

Twenty meters high and 15 meters wide, the mural on a wall of a 12-floor building in Gaza City is unmissable.

The artwork, “Besieged Childhood,” has garnered renown for its creators. It depicts a child wearing a keffiyehscarf, a melancholy expression on her face, her hands wrapped around two bars, like those of a prison cell.

Its location, on the Zafir 9 Tower in an upmarket area of Gaza City, is deliberate. During Israel’s 2014 assault, fighter jets destroyed one of Zafir 9’s sister towers, Zafir 4, in a bombing denounced as a war crime by Amnesty International.

No one was killed, though more than a dozen were injured and the homes of more than 40 families weredestroyed. More than 200 residents were left homeless in what Amnesty described as an operation with “no military justification.”

“Besieged Childhood,” painted in 2015, references this wanton destruction, said one of its four creators, Belal Khaled, 25.

“Zafir Tower bears witness to criminal Israeli acts during wars that targeted a [highly populated] residential tower. The mural is a way for us to communicate this reality to the world outside Gaza,” he explained.

Over the last decade, Gaza has been subjected to enormous destruction.

Three overwhelming Israeli military offensives and a decade-old blockade on goods and people entering and leaving, preventing any kind of recovery, have left thousands dead, tens of thousands injured and homeless, caused widespread psychological trauma and damaged infrastructure so completely that the United Nations has warned the coastal strip may be uninhabitable by 2020.

In this devastation, media coverage has had little ameliorating effect and it is no surprise that a frustrated populace is turning to other means to voice their frustration, anger and pain.

Writing on the wall

It was from a desire to convey Gaza’s suffering that the “Besieged Childhood” mural was born, and it was also a “message,” said Khaled, that artists will not be silenced.

“Gaza may be besieged, but it has artists who are capable of absorbing what is happening in Palestine and conveying this to the outside world in different, creative ways,” said Khaled.

Khaled graduated from Al-Aqsa University’s art college and lives in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza. He started out as an artist 10 years ago in photography and sculpture, but he soon moved on to calligraphy art and murals.

Belal Khaled (Abed Zagout)

Belal Khaled (Abed Zagout)

Graffiti is a well-worn and time-honored path for a Palestinian artist, originating in the years before the first Palestinian revolt against British rule in 1936.

Perhaps the most famous of what could be called “revolutionary graffiti” was what one Palestinian wrote on the walls of his Acre prison cell in black coal, moments before his execution by the British mandatory government in 1936:

To my brother Yusuf:
Look after our mother.
To my sister: Do not grieve.
For the homeland I sacrifice my blood,
And this for your eyes,
O Palestine.

While the identity of the prisoner is unclear, most believe the poem was written by Awad Nabulsi of Nablus. His verses later became a revolutionary song, “From Acre Prison,” which has been passed down from generation to generation.

Some of these cell-wall writings still exist, according to Emad Qassem, 61, who said he was arrested in 1978 and accused of taking part in an attack on three soldiers on patrol in Beach camp in Gaza City, where he lives.

Qassem said he spent six months in solitary confinement in Naqab prison, studying the “drawings and scribblings” of those who came before him.

“When I entered this narrow place, I sat down and studied the walls. I spent most of my time trying to understand the murals drawn by ex-prisoners.”

Some were signed and dated all the way back to British Mandate times, he said.

Qassem joined those who had come before. With stones or coal from the floor, he drew, he said, what he had in his mind. One depicted a mourning mother, one was a freedom logo, and one was a broken chain.

“Once I drew a masked man. When the prison guard saw it, he ordered me to erase it with my tongue. I refused. I was beaten until I lost consciousness.”

The practice has continued and spread. Almost every street corner in Gaza is adorned with some kind of mural or writing. Most of it is openly political, some of it factional. Much of it tells the history of the Palestinian people’s suffering.

Art is politics

During the 2014 assault on Gaza, Khaled combined news photos of Israeli airstrikes and digital tools to create his own kind of graffiti-photography. Adding drawings to photos of bombings gave him the opportunity to infuse some meaning into the destruction.

“The photos of bomb smoke were widely spread [on social media] during the war so I tried to create something unique with them. I drew a weary old man, a woman wearing the keffiyeh, a child playing, a young man raising his hands praying to God and a heart to express Gaza’s hope to live in peace,” Khaled said.

His was a response to violence that built on the examples of artists in the first intifada. It was during those years, 1987-91, that graffiti really took off as an expression of resistance.

Palestinian factions used the medium as a means to convey news, make announcements and simply for bragging rights: competition over which faction had the best artists even began to spring up.

Hassan al-Wali, 54, lives in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza City. During the first intifada, al-Wali, then with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and his friends were some of the most active graffiti artists in the coastal strip.

He remembered his favorites, some of which still adorn the walls of Gaza’s camps. There were the Palestine map drawings, the always-popular key, a reminder of the the homes left behind by refugees during the ethnic cleansing by Zionist militias 1948. He drew assassinated cartoonist Naji Ali’s famous Handala character, the logos of the factions and many more.

“We would split into groups,” al-Wali recalled. “One to paint, one to keep watch and one for protection, should the army surprise us.”

Belal Khaled at work on the “Besieged Childhood” mural in November 2015. Mohammed Talatene/ (APA images)

Belal Khaled at work on the “Besieged Childhood” mural in November 2015. Mohammed Talatene/ (APA images)

They covered their faces and moved only in the alleys of the camp. It became, he said, a dangerous task that Israeli soldiers began taking more and more seriously. If caught, it could result in death or arrest.

“The goal of each drawing was to encourage and energize people. We wanted to spark the spirit of resistance by glorifying our fallen, remembering our prisoners and spreading awareness about the injustice and our history,” al-Wali said. “It worked. At least the Israelis began spending more and more time chasing the artists and designers.”

Finally, in an effort to turn people against the artists, the Israeli army forced the occupants of the houses with graffiti to erase the paintings that had clearly “got on their nerves.”

“Wall murals, graffiti, whatever you call it — it is the art of resistance,” said al-Wali.

Khaled agreed.

“Graffiti can spark a revolution. One phrase can energize people. One drawing can move them to demand their rights.”

Sarah Algherbawi is a freelance writer and translator from Gaza.

#InNorthDakota ~~ PALESTINIANS STAND WITH THE SIOUX

Palestinians know too well the threat to their own water supply ….

As Native communities face an ongoing genocide and continue to resist the imperialist settler-colonial regime of the United States, Palestinians are too experiencing a genocide and ethnocide within our homelands from the settler-colonial state of Israel.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

"Water is life for all of us": Palestinian activists join Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protest DAPL

“Water is life for all of us”: Palestinian activists join Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protest DAPL

Palestinians join Standing Rock Sioux to protest Dakota Access Pipeline

Nadya Raja Tannous

“Perhaps only in North Dakota, where oil tycoons wine and dine elected officials, and where the governor, Jack Dalrymple, serves as an adviser to the Trump campaign, would state and county governments act as the armed enforcement for corporate interests. In recent weeks, the state has militarized my reservation, with road blocks and license-plate checks, low-flying aircraft and racial profiling of Indians. The local sheriff and the pipeline company have both called our protest “unlawful,” and Gov. Dalrymple has declared a state of emergency.

It’s a familiar story in Indian Country. This is the third time that the Sioux Nation’s lands and resources have been taken without regard for tribal interests. The Sioux peoples signed treaties in 1851 and 1868. The government broke them before the ink was dry.

When the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Missouri River in 1958, it took our riverfront forests, fruit orchards and most fertile farmland to create Lake Oahe. Now the Corps is taking our clean water and sacred places by approving this river crossing.”

Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, opinion piece in the NY Times

The Bakken formation in the northern United States and southern Canada is listed by US energy companies as one of the most promising options for national oil extraction, only surpassed in size by the oil fields in Alaska. The fields in North Dakota have beenincreasingly targeted for Bakken shale oil resources over the past years and they are quite familiar with public controversy: many of us remember the proposal of the infamousKeystone XL pipeline from 2008-2015, which was held in starkly low public opinion andstruck down twice by the Obama administration. The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is not so different from its failed counterpart. It is mapped out for the same length of 1,172 miles as the Keystone XL and is targeting the same Bakken shale reserves for carry across the upper Midwest. The proposed $3.8 billion dollar DAPL would transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day across four states and cross the Missouri River itself. Parent company, Energy Transfer Partners is selling the pipeline as an economic booster, job creator, and sure investment for the future of the American people. Yet, who exactly are they referring to and who did they consult?

In the hills outside of Bismarck, North Dakota is the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, sitting along the banks of the Cannonball River, a tributary to the Missouri River. The pipeline construction sites can now be seen from the reservation, but many people here saw the pipeline coming before it even arrived. Just as Energy Transfer Partners and TransCanada failed to consult Native Tribes who live along the planned pipeline route and whose sacred lands, ancestral lands, and main water sources will be compromised by construction, there has not been a single tribal consultation around the proposed DAPL.

On April 1st , Sacred Stone Spirit Camp was erected on the bank of the Cannonball as a residence for water protectors, many whom came from within and off the reservation to stand against pipeline construction, call for water preservation, and call for recognition of the Federal treaties held with the Great Sioux Nation. What started out as a few hundred people quickly increased into the thousands, stemming the creation of the Oceti Sakowin and Red Warrior Camps on the other side of the Cannonball.

Protectors, support, and solidarity with Standing Rock are arriving from all edges of the world, many of them representing Indigenous Nations. My own caravan set out from California the 2nd week of September, preceding the Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Caravan that arrived soon after. As a contingent of Indigenous peoples in diaspora and recent settlers on Turtle Island, we attest that those standing at Standing Rock are standing for our present and future as well. We must in turn stand for each other against the present, future, and historical supremacies of erasure, the active legacy of settler-colonialism, and the viciousness of greed.

The pipeline company seems to remain unconcerned by the risk of polluting the reservation’s main water source, the highly probable degradation of land and sacred sights, and their trespass against a series of federal laws, and they are becoming increasingly reactionary to the flow of protectors in and out of the protector camps and surrounding areas. Just a few weeks ago, on September 28th, alarming images and video were released of armed police and military-style vehicles cornering protectors holding a prayer ceremony at a North Dakota construction site. The video portrayed the intensity on the ground and just how vulnerable the protector camps are without the gaze of the public eye:

“They are moving in”
“They won’t let us leave. They have locked us in on both sides”
“They’ve got their weapons drawn”
“They’ve got snipers on top of the hill”
“They’re blocking me on Facebook”
“They are arresting everyone now. Everyone is running”
“Share this far and wide”

Transcript of LiveStream video via Unicorn Riot

The militarized forces blocked the only exit from the site to the public road before arresting 21 protectors. Other attendees posted photos of a crop dusting plane releasing a gas or chemical over the crowd. There has been little clarity thereafter of the makeup of the compound or the purpose of the spray.

The participation and planning of direct actions against DAPL construction, however, are continuing, with over 100 cars caravanning out to 5 construction sites the week of October 3rd and successfully halting construction for the day. Local authorities, private security hires, and the National Guard are seemingly disturbed by the presence of protectors as well, and are going out of their way to restrict access in and out of the protector camp area and intimidate newcomers. Indeed my own caravan coming from California was discouraged from approaching the reservation on the main road running from Bismarck, ND due to the checkpoints erected by North Dakota authorities. Our longwinded encounter with the highway patrol on our way to North Dakota — who insisted on not only checking all of our IDs followed by standing on the side of the highway outside of the car for an hour but also “passed our information down the line to the authorities higher-up” including suspicions of illegal activity — seemed to be motivated to dissuade an influx of supporters into the area. Stories of license plate checks, racial profiling of Native and ethnic drivers and/or car passengers, as well as arrests at roadblocks, circulated through the camps. Democracy Now, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and many independent news sources also reported these same tactics.

Why did I go in the first place? Because somewhere in the awkward power dynamic of being a US citizen, a non-native inhabitant of Turtle Island, and a Palestinian in the Diaspora, I saw the struggle for livelihood and culture, the struggle against settler-colonialism, the struggle to protect the sacred and maintain your own legitimacy, and the ever ominous force of erasure and historical amnesia. What I later saw at Standing Rock both embodied this and became bigger than it; as a Mohawk Elder said to me, “Without water, we [humans] are infertile dust”.

At a council fire in Oceti Sakowin during my stay, 280 Indigenous Nations were thanked for their support and representation at the camps. Movement leaders at Sacred Stone Spirit Camp have repeatedly stated that the gatherings of different Indigenous Nations near Cannonball, ND is the largest in the past 150 years on the North American continent.

The council fire sits at the mouth of the main entrance of Oceti Sakowin Camp, outlined by rows of flags representing many of the Indigenous Nations who have come to stand with Standing Rock. At the end of one of the rows is the Palestinian flag. Seeing it filled me equally with joy and sadness because it confirmed two things that I had pondered throughout the long drive from California to North Dakota: the first thought is that the power of collective resistance against greed and settler-colonialism is a mighty force. That thought was embodied by my joy to see a representation of will by the presently unseen Palestinian siblings who had come to take a stand against destructive powers. The second thought was embodied by sadness for, if the struggle for protection of water, culture, land, heritage, and livelihood is truly mirrored in Standing Rock and Palestine, then the struggle ahead is both vast and uncompromising.

I spoke with many inspiring protectors from the Maori in New Zealand, indigenous representatives from Ecuador, Canadian representatives from the Blackfoot Nation who were longtime activists in the “Idle No More” mobilizations, and Dakota/Lakota/Nakota from Standing Rock and the neighboring reservations among so many others.

From a variety of perspectives and personal stories, the same foundational message was repeated back to me: this stand isn’t just about standing for Native rights, it is about protecting the water, protecting our earth and securing the livelihood of our next generations. Water is life for all of us.

Myself and fellow members of the Palestinian Youth Movement–United States Branch had reflected on the latter thought when we authored our statement of solidarity “with the Standing Rock Sioux, the Great Sioux Nation and our other native sisters, brothers and siblings in the fight against the DAPL”, circulated on September 7th. Segments read:

“We condemn all forms of state violence against our First Nation siblings and denote that the undermining of their sovereignty and livelihood is a part of the continuing dialectic of settler-colonialism transnationally.

Since the arrival of settlers on Turtle Island, First Nations have resisted genocide and displacement. From seizure of land to reservations, from boarding schools to massacres, the state has done everything in its power to erase and eradicate First Nation peoples. Yet, they are still with us today and they continue to resist. Protecting their land, people, and future generations from the DAPL is a testament to their strength and resilience.

….

As Native communities face an ongoing genocide and continue to resist the imperialist settler-colonial regime of the United States, Palestinians are too experiencing a genocide and ethnocide within our homelands from the settler-colonial state of Israel.”

The comparisons are uncanny. I had spent most of the hours on the road to North Dakota contemplating the connections between the obstacles and oppressions facing those in Standing Rock and the obstacles and oppressions facing we Palestinians under occupation and apartheid. However, upon arriving at Standing Rock, I no longer just thought about the similarities, I felt them in my bones.

When protectors at Standing Rock asked me about what Palestinians experience in our own fight against settler-colonialism, oppression, and greed, I answered sometimes through the language of statistics. Yet, more often, I told them narratives of genocide, exile, delegimitzation, broken promises, and resounding resilience.

Sitting around a fire, burning sage and cedar wood, Darlene Meguinis of the Blackfoot Nation in Canada reflected on the beginnings of the Idle No More movement, in which she is still an active organizer. She told me: “Everything must start with prayer and ceremony, especially organizing.” She reminded me that the founders ofIdle No More, elders Nina Waste, Jessica Gordon, Sheelah Mcleen, and Sylvia McAdams, had rooted the movement in ceremony. The result of doing so, Meguinis maintained, was to center the focus of the collective actions for change.

Native youth in the #NoDAPL Youth Council at Standing Rock reiterated similar ideas about DAPL actions. Two youth leaders recounted to me, “we are striving for the results that we want to see but are being directed by our ancestors. We are here, acting now, for our children.”

Intention and prayer surrounded much of the daily camp life and easily dispersed the tensions outside, even as the DAPL Company and National Guard helicopters flew low over the camps each morning, afternoon and night (something that pointedly reminded me of life in Palestine).

Some mornings along the bend of the Cannonball River, which delineates Oceti Sakowin/Red Warrior Camp from Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, Native artists reflected the beauty around them in paintings and art installations. One of the organizers was Albuquerque artist Monty Singer, whose picture is shown below.

The time set out to create art and music, to gather around fires and drum circles, toparticipate in prayer and ceremony with each other uplifted the vibrant energy of the camps and the people within them. We cheered, prayed and supported the direct actions as best we could every day; donations from across the U.S. and internationally flooded into the main entrance in the afternoons and community kitchens and donation booths ran 24/7 to maintain the swelling of protector numbers. Hundreds of people ebbed and flowed into the camps every single day.

The sheer power required to uphold the movement is sobering: in light of the failed injunction by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the US Army Corps of Engineers at the lower court level, a Federal Appeals court officially halted construction of the pipeline, underlining the same temporary hold parameters as the decree proposed on September 9th by the Department of Justice (DOJ). That hold applies solely within 20 miles on either side of Lake Oahe near the Missouri River.

Other locations on the planned pipeline route are still open for construction and, though direct actions at sites of DAPL construction have not wavered, they are increasingly receiving less and less media attention with increasingly severe charges being applied to protectors. For example, the 5 protectors who strapped themselves to bulldozers at an active DAPL construction site 100 miles down Hwy 94 from the reservation during my stay at Oceti Sakowin Camp were slapped with felony charges for “criminal trespassing”, the same charges outlined against Amy Goodman in her arrest warrant as a result of her coverage of the DAPL in early September (although her charges at the time constituted a misdemeanor and were thankfully dropped October 17th after a court hearing). Some of those arrested were even extradited back to their home states to face their charges from North Dakota in addition to preexisting protest charges in other states.

My last night in Standing Rock, I spoke with a woman by the name of “Terry”, a resident of Bismarck, ND. I asked her why I had met so few non-natives from the local area at Standing Rock. Her response was direct and had very little to do with the sheriff’s implemented checkpoints and roadblocks: “It is because of the media propaganda. For example, during the dog attacks, Bismarck news covered a worker’s injury at the site and the hospitalization of a guard. No one gave popular air time or writing space to cover the effects of the dog attacks on protectors.” She mentioned that an article in the conservative paper, Town Hall, soon after the attacks read: “So dogs were unleashed on these protestors. Good”. She and a few others from Bismarck came to the camps because they saw past the media pressure. “We understand that the fight for clean water and recognition of Native sovereignty affects everyone in the surrounding area”, she told me, which would become increasingly apparent if oil leakage wells up in the Bakken region.

In Geneva, on September 20th, Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, urged the UN Human Rights Council to stand with the tribe in opposing the DAPL project and advocate for the recognition of their sovereign rights, including the protection of water and sacred places. Protectors are remaining vigilant on and off site, many walking to pay respects to the graves of the Dakota/Lakota/Nakota ancestors that have been disturbed by construction.

Martina Looking Horse, a longtime writer from Cheyenne River Reservation, has been camping at Standing Rock for over a month. She told me that she and her family plan to stay until the pipeline is defeated but stressed that the conditions at camp are not easy to live under. The torrential rainstorms, the swings of hot and cold, and the impending North Dakota winter discourage many from staying longer than a few weeks. Yet, Looking Horse affirmed her belief that she and many others will carry on, with or without the support of mainstream media. The hope, she reaffirmed, is that the national and international people of conscience will continue to support in all the ways that they can, hold the US government accountable to their promises, and not forget that the protectors are still there taking a stand.

The day that I left, the PYM-United States Branch’s official caravan came into Oceti Sakowin, bringing supplies, people power, and small gifts for the tribal council as visitors to the land. They also read our statement at the tribal council fire and met many people, as I had, who stated how glad they were to see Palestinians supporting the front lines against movement suppression. The solidarity with Palestine for all of us who participated in caravans from PYM was overwhelming. What was supposed to be a few-day trip was extended into a week.

Inspired by the stories, the people, the call to our moral responsibility to protect each other and the water that keeps us alive, we hope to return back to Standing Rock and bring supplies for winter.

Friends of Sabeel North America also sent forward a statement of solidarity, in part remarking:

“we know that settler colonialism depends on the exploitation of land and natural resources to the detriment of indigenous communities…Today, we see you, the Sioux nation and members of the other 280 Native American tribes who have joined you to protect the water of the Missouri River and stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, taking a stand for all life, the embodiment of resilience. As the Israeli occupation continues, Palestinian land is stolen, ancient olive trees are uprooted, and blood is shed, your struggle inspires our work and we redouble our efforts to witness and nonviolently resist. We stand in full support of indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.”

The light of hope in Standing Rock is not fizzling out. Upon returning to the Bay Area, I came across many art builds and donation efforts, and have been seeing many more events publicized by friends and family in New York State, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona.

Thanks to Caleb Duarte and the wonderful youth from Fremont High School in Oakland (recently arrived unaccompanied youth from Chimeltenango, Guatemala) who made this solidarity banner:

Art build in Oakland, CA : Recent unaccompanied minors from Guatemala write “Water is Life” in Maya. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

Art build in Oakland, CA : Recent unaccompanied minors from Guatemala write “Water is Life” in Maya. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

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Dignidad Rebelde woodblock print at the Oakland Art Build for Standing Rock. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

Dignidad Rebelde woodblock print at the Oakland Art Build for Standing Rock. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

I remember thinking as I left Standing Rock to return to California: peoples suppressed by power and greed have strength when they rise together. There is a poignant uniting force through something as important as the world that sustains us.

The river was quiet when I left, with lots of green and tall grass on its banks. The river flats lay muddy and fertile, the slow current reflecting the sky day and night, the water turning pink and orange by sunset.

A water protector strapped to heavy machinery down the Hwy 94 shouted out, before being removed to jail,

“This pipeline is a pipeline to the past. We need to be building sustainable infrastructure for the future, not destructive unsustainable industries that hurt land, that hurt water, that hurt people. Everything is wrong about this pipeline… We’re here standing in solidarity with millions of people from around the world that are against this pipeline.” (via Unicorn Riot)

The collective call for justice is ringing loud and clear. Mni Wiconi –Water is life.

Please support Standing Rock. Donate here to Sacred Stone Spirit Camp.

Donate here to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund.

Donate here to the next PYM caravan to Standing Rock.

Source and more photos HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ PROTESTING U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM [THAAD] IN SOUTH KOREA

Over one hundred people gathered in Manhattan’s Korean business on October 21st to protest  the American missile “defense” system [THAAD] in South Korea.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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WHEN BOYCOTTING THE OCCUPATION ISN’T ENOUGH

“BDS could turn from something “untouchable by European and American officials and liberal academics and activists – who understood its ultimate goal as one that not only refuses to guarantee the survival of Israel as a racist state, but also aims specifically to dismantle all its racist structures – to something increasingly safe to adopt by most of them, as it now can be used to secure Israel’s survival.”

Liberal Zionists are attempting to co-opt BDS to preserve Israeli apartheid. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ActiveStills)

Liberal Zionists are attempting to co-opt BDS to preserve Israeli apartheid. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ActiveStills)

Boycotting “the occupation” is not enough

Earlier this month, The New York Review of Books published a call for “a targeted boycott of all goods and services from all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, and any investments that promote the occupation, until such time as a peace settlement is negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”

That call, signed by Peter Beinart, Todd Gitlin, Michael Walzer and more than 70 other liberal Zionist writers and luminaries, states that the so-called Green Line – the 1949 Armistice Line separating the occupied West Bank from present-day Israel – “should be the starting point for negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian parties on future boundaries between two states.”

Co-opting BDS

This is precisely the kind of attempt to co-opt the success of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that Columbia University professor Joseph Massad cautions about in a 2014 article for The Electronic Intifada: liberal Zionists aim to redefine and redirect the movement’s strength and efforts towards preserving, instead of challenging, Israel as a racist, apartheid and colonial state.

Massad warns that BDS could turn from something “untouchable by European and American officials and liberal academics and activists – who understood its ultimate goal as one that not only refuses to guarantee the survival of Israel as a racist state, but also aims specifically to dismantle all its racist structures – to something increasingly safe to adopt by most of them, as it now can be used to secure Israel’s survival.”

Palestinians must insist, Massad writes, that those in solidarity with them adopt BDS with an explicit commitment to its goals, “to bring about an end to Israel’s racism and colonialism in all its forms inside and outside the 1948 boundaries” – the whole of present-day Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Opening

In the current issue of The New York Review of Books, more than 100 activists, scholars and artists from Palestine and around the world – including BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti, activist and scholarAngela Davis, historian Joan Scott, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, writer Alice Walker and South African freedom fighter Ronnie Kasrils – have responded.

The new letter – of which I am one the signers – says that it defies “common sense” to call only for “boycotting settlements while letting Israel, the state that has illegally built and maintained those settlements for decades, off the hook.”

“By omitting Israel’s other serious violations of international law, the statement fails the moral consistency test,” the letter adds. “Aren’t Palestinian refugees, the majority of Palestinians, entitled to their UN-stipulated rights? Shouldn’t Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy equal rights by repealing Israel’s dozens of laws that racially discriminate against them?”

It emphasizes that the Palestinian call for BDS is aimed at “all entities, Israeli or international, that are complicit in denying Palestinians everywhere their rights.”

Like The Nation and The London Review of Books, The New York Review of Books has rarely opened its pages to Palestinian writers, and has been a bastion of liberal Zionist orthodoxy.

So in that sense, its publication of the letter represents a small opening in the wall of exclusion.

IN PHOTOS ~~ DECOLONIZING COLUMBUS DAY

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Columbus Day Oct 10, 2016 NYC

On this day the U.S. “celebrates” Columbus’s venture to the Western hemisphere in 1492. NYC celebrated with a parade down 5th Avenue, but there was another event taking place this day at the American Museum of Natural History. It was a peaceful “ANTI-COLUMBUS DAY TOUR” at the Museum.  It did not receive the publicity of the parade, but three hundred+ people came to the museum to protest the racist nature of Columbus’s venture and the ravaging of the indigenous peoples of the Americas in the centuries to come.

The participants demanded the Museum be “DECOLONIZED” and Columbus Day be renamed “INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY”. They also demanded the removal of the  equestrian statue of the racist President Theodore Roosevelt fronting the main entrance to the museum. They demanded that artifacts of the indigenous peoples be returned to them.

The museum’s administration had been alerted to this event and did not place obstacles. The tour visited various exhibits and speakers were critical of the museum remaining “frozen in time, bound by nineteenth-century racial classifications that designated human populations as ‘primitive’ or ‘civilized’…”.

At the end of the tour participants gathered in front of the Roosevelt statue as the statue was completely covered to emphasize their demand to remove the statue.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer ~~ Commentary by Chippy Dee

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More of the leaflets …

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IN PHOTOS ~~ 15 YEARS OF WAR IN AFGHANISTAN — A NOT SO HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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SOS VIDEO MESSAGES FROM THE WOMEN’S BOAT TO GAZA

SOS video messages were released by the Freedom Flotilla group after the all women crew members were reportedly intercepted and taken by Israeli forces en route to the shores of Gaza. Shortly before the release of the videos, Al Jazeera reported that the activists were expected to be detained and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod, then deported.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Womens BoatTo Gaza intercepted by the Occupation Navy. Piracy on the open waters! Israel is the enemy of all mankind.

Womens BoatTo Gaza intercepted by the Occupation Navy. Piracy on the open waters! Israel is the enemy of all mankind.

SOS video messages from Zaytouna-Oliva

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Contact President Barack Obama    (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry           kerryj@state.gov or
                                                          (202) 647-4000

Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends.  Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to demand Israel immediately release the women and that they do an investigation on the incident as there are a number of troubling circumstances that are against US and international law. And don’t forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end.

More contact info here ….

UN: His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General
E-mail: sgcentral@un.org
Twitter: @UN_Spokesperson

EU: Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Email: federica.mogherini@ec.europa.eu
Twitter: @FedericaMog

AUSTRALIA

Julie BishopMinistro de Asuntos Exteriores
E-mail: Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au
Teléfono: +61 8 9388 0288
Twitter: @JulieBishopMP
Facebook: Julie Bishop MP

CANADA

Justin Trudeau, Primer Ministro
Casa de los Comunes
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
(No necesita franqueo!)
Teléfono: +1 613 995 0253
Teléfono: +1 514 277 6020
E-mail: j+ustin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Twitter: @JustinTrudeau

Stephane DionMinistro de Asuntos Exteriores
Casa de los Comunes
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Información de contacto
mailto:stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca

Para más contactos en Canadá: http://canadaboatgaza.org

FRANCE

Monsieur le Président, protégez la Flottille des Femmes pour Gaza
http://www.plateforme-palestine.org/Monsieur-le-President-protegez-la-Flottille-des-Femmes-pour-Gaza

NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Please contact: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/demand-israel-allows-womens-boat-to-gaza-safe-passage/

NORWAY

Børge Brende
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
N-0032 OSLO
E-mail: utenriksminister@mfa.no
Twitter: @borgebrende
www.shiptogaza.no

SOUTH AFRICA

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Womensboattogazasouthafrica/?fref=ts

SPAIN

  • Please check the following link for detailshttp://www.rumboagaza.org/convocatorias-asalto-zaytouna/
  • Rumbo a Gaza calls on civil society and organizations to gather at 7pm in front of Spanish government offices the same day of the possible interception.
  • Rumbo a Gaza calls on the Spanish Government and Spanish MPs and MEPs to protect the Women’s Boat to Gaza mission and their participants, including the Spaniard Sandra Barrilaro.

UK

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary
Tel: +44 20 7219 4682
E-mail: boris.johnson.mp@parliament.uk
Twitter: @borisjohnson
Facebook: facebook.com/foreignoffice
Twitter: @foreignoffice

ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY IS DOING IN ISRAEL …

A new twist to the immortal words of President Kennedy …

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

BUT … Don’t ask what your country is doing in Israel!

A Jewish questioner was arrested after asking Middle East expert Dennis Ross a pointed question about what he called Israeli and U.S. “state-sponsored terrorism” at a lecture at a Kansas City library.

Image by Latuff

Image by Latuff

 

Jew Arrested for Questioning Israeli ‘State-Sponsored Terrorism’ at Kansas City Library

A Jewish questioner was arrested after asking Middle East expert Dennis Ross a pointed question about what he called Israeli and U.S. “state-sponsored terrorism” at a lecture at a Kansas City library.

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest after he challenged Ross to explain why the U.S. continues to support Israel at the inaugural Truman and Israel Lecture, established by the Truman Library Institute and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City on May 9, the Kansas City Star reported.

“When are we going to stand up and be ethical Jews and Americans?” Rothe-Kushel asked.

Private security guards employed by the employed by the Jewish Community Foundation bundled Rothe-Kushel out of the hall. They also arrested Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, after he tried to intervene. He suffered a torn knee ligament.

Police defended the arrests and said the security officers were enforcing a rule against follow-up questions.

But library officials spoke out strongly against the arrests.

“At this stage, I’m actually outraged,” said R. Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the city’s library system. “This is a big violation of the very first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Rothe-Kushel said he was also outraged.

“The library tried to defend my person and my God-given rights of the First Amendment,” he told the paper. “We believe the charges should be dropped.”

Although the incident took place months ago, library officials went public with their outrage this week after prosecutors decided to press ahead with charges against Rothe-Kushel and Woolfolk.

UPDATE ~~~~~ ISRAELI PIRATES PREPARING TO STOP WOMEN’S BOAT TO GAZA

Israeli Navy takes control of Zaytouna-Oliva flotilla
After repeated offers to dock at the port of Ashdod were rejected by activists, Israel’s navy board the flotilla 35 miles off the Israeli coast; IDF spokesman: ‘The process took place without resistance and resulted in no injuries.’   Full report HERE
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Message from Ann Wright
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Ann deserves our support
Ann has traveled thousands of miles and made a great sacrifice for human rights.  We can help her with a few small efforts:

Contact President Barack Obama    (202) 456-1111

Contact Secretary John Kerry           kerryj@state.gov or
                                                          (202) 647-4000

Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends.  Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to demand Israel immediately release the women and that they do an investigation on the incident as there are a number of troubling circumstances that are against US and international law. And don’t forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end

As if this wasn’t expected …..

Image by Carlos Latuff

Sources indicate that the Israeli navy has been given orders to intercept the Gaza Flotilla.

Sources indicate that the Israeli navy has been given orders to intercept the Gaza Flotilla.

A message from the passengers ….

The Zaytouna-Oliva has departed Messina and is now halfway to Gaza. She should arrive on the shores later this week.
We have a landing page where you follow the mission by twitter, facebook and GPS tracking.
The women on the boat represent 13 countries spanning 5 continents. The participants include a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, journalists and a physician. The US representative is former State Department diplomat (and beloved peace activist) Ann Wright.  Bios of all the women can be found here.
Letter to Secretary John Kerry

Dear Secretary Kerry,

In September 2016, several boats with the Women’s Boats to Gaza will sail in a nonviolent effort to break the illegal and immoral Israeli blockade of Gaza. Comprised entirely of women, passengers will include international parliamentarians, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and several American citizens. The Captains and crew of the boats are women. One passenger, former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq, is the recipient of the U.S. State Department’s Award for Heroism.

The women on the boats to Gaza are responding to an invitation by Palestinian civil society. They have committed themselves to nonviolence and in no way pose a violent threat to Israel. They will be sailing in international waters, not within Israeli territorial waters .

As you are aware, earlier this year, Senator Patrick Leahy, along with ten other members of Congress, wrote to you with specific concerns about “disturbing reports” regarding Israel’s “gross violations” against civilians. As Israel is a direct recipient of U.S. military assistance, these human rights abuses violate the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and the Leahy Law. These same laws protect the women on these boats.

In your role as U.S. Secretary of State, you are in the unique position of ensuring that military aid to Israel is not used against civilians, including fellow Americans. Simply put, you not only have the leverage to prevent a potential tragedy and clear violation of international and human rights laws from occurring if the Israeli defense forces use violence against the women on these boats, you have an obligation to do so. Given that Israel has taken violent measures in the past, we ask that our concerns be taken with the utmost seriousness.

Throughout history, non-violent peace activists and human rights advocates have relied on third parties of goodwill for protection and security to violent attacks against their efforts. While many organizations and individuals have already committed to providing such support to the Women’s boats, you are in a position of having one of the most tangible impacts on the safety of these passengers. We remain hopeful that you will take to heart your role in this and will do everything in your power to ensure their safety.

Sincerely,

Zohar Chamberlain Regev, Women’s Boat to Gaza

Alice Walker, Author

Marie Dennis, Executive Director, Pax Christi International

Rachel Kushner, Author

Sr. Mary Wendeln, C. PP.S., Original member, Nuns on the Bus

Sr. Patricia Chappell, Executive Director, Pax Christi, USA

Linda Sarsour,  Executive Director Arab American Association of New York

Look at our Greeting Party in Gaza

Aren't they the absolute cutest!!!

Aren’t they the absolute cutest!!!

And here is Israel’s response …. 

15 women to try to break Gaza blockade
The Zaytouna-Oliva, which set sail from Barcelona earlier this month, will try to reach the strip, as the Israeli Navy prepares to stop it and escort it to the Ashdod Port; Northern Ireland activist and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire is among those on board.

The Israeli Navy is preparing to stop a group of women who will try to reach the Gaza Strip on board a boat on Wednesday in a bid to break a decade-long blockade by Israel.

Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006 but it was tightened in 2007 after the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas seized control in the tiny enclave.

Israel’s maritime, land and sea blockade of Gaza is aimed at preventing Hamas from receiving supplies which could be used for military purposes.

Fifteen women will try to breach the blockade aboard the Zaytouna-Oliva boat early on Wednesday, said spokeswoman Claude Leotic.”But we fear there will be an Israeli attack” to prevent the boat from reaching Gaza’s shores, she told AFP Tuesday in a telephone interview.

Much like other similar instances since the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, the Navy will not allow the boat to arrive in Gaza and it will likely be escorted to the port of Ashdod.

The Zaytouna-Oliva is one of two vessels that set sail from Barcelona in September.

The flotilla dubbed “Women’s Boat to Gaza,” is part of the wider Freedom Flotilla Coalition that consists of pro-Palestinian boats that regularly go to Gaza from all over the world to try to break the blockade.

None have yet managed to get through, and Israeli authorities have made several arrests.

One such operation turned to tragedy in 2010 when Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists in a raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla. The incident strained ties between Turkey and Israel, with the crisis only resolved earlier this year with the signing of a reconciliation agreement.

Among the women of different nationalities on board the Zaytouna-Oliva is Northern Ireland activist and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire.

A South African passenger, Leigh-Ann Naidoo, told AFP she expected the boat to be 100 nautical miles off the shores of Gaza by 3am GMT.

“Our goal is to reach Gaza. We are not worried about what Israel plans on doing,” she added.

In early July, a week after Israel and Turkey signed their reconciliation agreement, a Turkish aid ship arrived at the Ashdod Port with food, medicine and toys that were checked and then transported into the Gaza Strip. On board were 22 crewmen, journalists and Red Crescent personnel. All were approved entry to Israel by the Interior Ministry.

Source and video HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ NETANYAHU’S MINION OF ABOMINATIONS

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PROTESTING NETANYAHU @ HIS AWARDS DINNER @ PLAZA HOTEL NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ PROTEST AGAINST APARTHEID

What was still is ....

What was still is ….

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

TRANSFORMATION OF A SELF HATING JEW TO A TERRORIST

PROTESTING THE JEWISH NATIONAL FUND CONVENTION @ THE NYC HILTON HOTEL

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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

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

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

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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WOMEN SET SAIL TO FREE GAZA

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

(FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION/FACEBOOK)

(FREEDOM FLOTILLA COALITION/FACEBOOK)

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Images by Carlos Latuff

Women's Boat to Gaza

Women’s Boat to Gaza

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

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

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

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Related report from Mondoweiss

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

Allison Deger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FREEDOM VINDICATED ON CAMPUS

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

the-first-amendment-parchment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ZOA had eagerly assisted with the investigation months ago.

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

JEWISH STUDENTS REJECT THE LIES ABOUT BDS

Kudos to The Forward for publishing the following …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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