STRANGE PRIORITY UNITES THE ‘LEFT’ AND ‘RIGHT’ IN ISRAEL

The ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ in Israel is finally united in what seems to be their greatest priority ….  Considering the mess the whole world is in today it seems very strange to me.  See for yourselves ….

Thousands of Israelis, including two lawmakers, demonstrated Saturday night for the full legalization of cannabis, urging the government to go beyond the recently announced measures to decriminalize use of the drug.

Will this soon be the new flag of Israel?

Will this soon be the new flag of Israel?

Thousands call for full weed legalization at Tel Aviv rally

Knesset members join others urging public security minister to go beyond decriminalizing cannabis use

STUART WINER

Thousands of Israelis, including two lawmakers, demonstrated Saturday night for the full legalization of cannabis, urging the government to go beyond the recently announced measures to decriminalize use of the drug.

Among the estimated 3,000–5,000 people who gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square were MKs Sharren Haskel of the ruling Likud party and MK Tamar Zandberg from the opposition Meretz party.

Protesters urged Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to enshrine in law recent changes he approved to hand out fines to offenders rather than prosecute them, and asked him to go further by fully legalizing the use of cannabis. Some called on the government to regulate the marijuana market to prevent sky-high prices.

“At first they laughed at us, then they belittled us, and in the end we won,” Haskel told the crowd, referring to the changes in regulations that Erdan said last month he would adopt. “As long as I am in the Knesset I will continue to push the matter until there is complete decriminalization.”

“This is a health campaign, a campaign for quality of life,” Zandberg declared.

“I call on the government to recognize that using cannabis is not a criminal or administrative offense,” said Oren Leibovich, editor of the Israeli online magazine “Cannabis.”

“There is tobacco everywhere, and Ritalin in every classroom, yet no one considers preventing their use,” he said.

Leibovich called for regulation of the market, which, he suggested, could then be taxed, pulling in billions of shekels to state coffers compared to the millions the state would make from fining users.

In his announcement last month, Erdan said he would be adopting proposals put forward by the Anti-Drug Authority to endorse the “Portugal Model,” in which possession and use of the drug would be decriminalized and treated largely as a health issue.

The new tack will need to clear the cabinet, but with many lawmakers backing decriminalization, the move is seen as likely to gain ministerial approval.

Under the proposal, home use and possession of marijuana would carry no punishment but those caught smoking in public could be subject to a series of punitive measures.

First-time offenders would be charged a NIS 1,000 ($265) fine but would not have a criminal case filed against them. That sum would be doubled on the second offense.

Those caught for a third time could still escape prosecution on condition they accept a number of possible measures, including loss of their gun or driving license and participation in a rehabilitation program. Only those caught smoking in public on a fourth occasion would be subject to automatic indictment.

Erdan also said that minors under the age of 18 would only be prosecuted if they refused a rehabilitation program.

Erdan did not specify the amount of marijuana that would be subject to sanctions but the Anti-Drug Authority has in the past recommended that fines apply only for possession of more than 15 grams of marijuana.

Among Western countries, Israel already has one of the highest per capita rates of legal marijuana use, with over 21,000 people medically licensed to use the drug.

Israel is well-known as a pioneer in medical cannabis. Last summer, the government approved a plan initiated by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman to relax some of the medical cannabis requirements. The plan aims to expand the number of doctors who can issue cannabis prescriptions, remove limits on the number of marijuana growers, make cannabis available at approved pharmacies, and possibly eliminate the requirement for a permit from the Health Ministry so that just a doctor’s prescription will be sufficient.

ANTI-TRUMP DEMOS COME TO ISRAEL ~~ IN VIDEO AND PHOTOS

Scores of  left-wing demonstrators in Israel gathered outside of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem to protest against President Donald Trump’s executive action ordering a temporarily halt to the entry of asylum seekers into the United States.

Photos by Tomer Neuberg & Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

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CHILDREN OF PEACE ~~ A DIALOGUE

In the following our interview with Richard Martin, President and Founder of Children of Peace. The organisation struggles for children to be safe from criminality and terrorism in the Middle East, in particular in Palestine. Richard talked to us about the history of his organisation, about how to work for peace by challenging all kind of racism, discrimination of all monotheistic religions, by personal contact and dialogue. Dialogue is the magic word to promote peace. Richard told us: “Children of Peace is a UK based non-partisan, conflict resolution organisation, that aims to protect children and build friendship, trust and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children, aged 4 -17 through arts, education, healthcare and sports projects and programmes, so that a future generation and their communities might live in peace, side-by-side.” 

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Richard Martin of Children of Peace – peace needs contact and face-to-face dialogue

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi

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How do you identify the organizations you cooperate with?
When I founded Children of Peace in 2004, we sent a delegation from the UK to Israel and Palestine on a fact find. We discovered – to our incredulity – that there were over 50,000 NGOs in Israel & Palestine. This is a huge industry and since the early 1950s we estimate that 7 trillion dollars has reached the region from world organisations and donors.

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Yet, despite all this funding, almost nothing has changed. Only six organisations actually made contact with each other. We wanted to change the culture and focus on dialogue – on making contact, of listening to each community’s narrative, respecting each other’s heritage and those things that we all share – a yearning to protect our children, to build a better life, to be in a safe and hopeful place.

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That’s why we established the Coalition of Peace.

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Essentially all groups – CBOs or NGOs – must apply to join us as affiliates or partners. Most groups approach us or are researched by our team. The application is scrutinised by our Compliance Committee to check the group’s track record and connections to protect the children and our work from criminal or terrorist fronts. If accepted, groups go through a monitoring process for two years before applying for funding.

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Today, the Coalition of Peace is now the single, largest peace network across the Middle East with affiliates in Bahrain, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey and the West Bank.

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Since 2005 we have helped over 120,000 children in Israel and Palestine.

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How has civil society been responsive so far? 
Right from the get-go our position has been to welcome a diverse range of religious, secular and political supporters who shared our non-partisan position. As a conflict-resolution organisation we focus on reconciliation, simply refuse to take sides or bring our own agendas into the region. We take our cue from the communities themselves. We are proud of the support we receive from Christians, Jews and Muslims both in the region and worldwide.

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Taking sides says more about you. It does not advance peace one jot.
As part of our backstory – although we are not a religious organisation nor have any connection with faith based groups – we challenge Christianophobia, Antisemitism and Islamophobia – now on the rise throughout Europe right now – often used as a cover to take sides in this conflict.

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Across the region Children of Peace enjoys the respect of communities in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank. We are the go-to organisation if contacts need to be made. We act as a conduit or peace channel for groups or communities who wish to connect across the divide but cannot do so through direct means.

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Our projects and programmes focus on alleviating poverty within disadvantaged communities, bringing children together from Israel and Palestine through the arts, sports, healthcare and education.
Every year – with Israeli affiliate Humans Without Borders – we help bring dozens of sick or disadvantaged Palestinian children and their families to the seaside in Israel from towns and villages in the West Bank. This is one of the cherished dreams of many landlocked West Bank children – just to see the sea.

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We just funded the refurbishment of the Leir Peace Pre-School in Jerusalem where Christian, Jewish and Muslim children learn and play together. Through another affiliate Rabbis for Human Rights we have provided grants to assist the resource centre for the Negev Bedouin. In Gaza, we work with various groups funding clinics, hospitals and education facilities.

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A few months ago, for example Celtic FC contacted us days before playing a match in Israel. As part of their commitment to diversity in soccer they wanted our help in linking them up with Israeli and Palestinian youth sports groups and within hours the Chairman of Celtic FC Foundation met up with three groups in Israel and Palestine in Jerusalem to gift them football kit and other resources.

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None of this would be possible without the commitment of our extraordinary team at Children of Peace from the Board of Trustees to the Regional Representatives to the volunteers.

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This trust is reflected by the support we receive from world leaders including Pope Francis, former US Vice President Biden, French President Hollande, the Palestinian Envoys to the UK and Washington and the last four British Prime Ministers including Theresa May.

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What are, according your experience, the most effective strategies in order to promote tolerance and democratic values among children? 
It’s simple……contact, contact, contact. And dialogue. Meeting people face-to-face and developing a relationship with a real person from a “group” or “community” that you have been brought up to distrust or be suspicious of….changes everything.

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I recall a magic moment when some young Palestinians who were staying here in the UK as our guests were busy texting their Jewish friends in Israel, following an incident….concerned for their safety.
Once you break bread together, everything changes.

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Can you tell me more about the researches on children health issues? What were their findings and conclusions?
Richard: In 2007, Israeli-Palestinian Kassim Baddarni and myself completed a huge research study on the impact of conflict and the presence of violence on Israeli and Palestinian children. We looked at the effects of stress and tension on the physical and mental health of children – on their educational attainment, on family life, on relationships, on their own sense of well-being and adjustment. It is too complex to spell out here but the findings confirm that children from all communities are seriously and adversely affected by the dire situation.

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Israeli children have excellent healthcare but suffer from worrying levels of morbidity whilst Palestinian children have poorer healthcare – they have the highest levels of childhood diabetes, for instance – they too suffer from fear and anxiety. Too many children know of someone in their lives who has died or been injured or negatively affected by sudden and unexpected acts of violence.

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Do you cooperate with any local authority or institution? If yes, how?
Children of Peace is a UK based non-partisan, conflict resolution organisation, that aims to protect children and build friendship, trust and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children, aged 4 -17 through arts, education, healthcare and sports projects and programmes, so that a future generation and their communities might live in peace, side-by-side.
As an entirely independent organisation we will cooperate with local government or national governments to further our aims in helping the children, promoting tolerance and building a better place for the next generation.

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Israeli and Palestinian supporters talk about the ‘Children of Peace family’. I like that.

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Original source and more photos HERE

#NotMyPresident ~~ FIGHTBACK CONTINUES

ABOUT 500+ PEOPLE SHOWED UP IN A DRENCHING RAIN TO DEMAND NYS U.S. SENATORS VOTE DOWN TRUMP’S PROJECTED CABINET

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Later today ….

Action Alert:

The moment we’ve been bracing for is here. Multiple news outlets are reporting that President Trump will sign an executive order tomorrow (Wednesday), restricting entry to the US from  majority Muslim countries.  As a city of immigrants, we cannot stay silent in the face of such hate. We ask you to gather tomorrow(Wednesday) night, to show President Trump that all New Yorkers stand with our Muslim neighbors.  Together, we will form a beacon of light against the coming darkness

WHAT: CAIR-NY Holds Rally to Oppose Executive Orders on Muslim Immigration
WHEN: Wednesday, January 25, 5 p.m.
WHERE: Washington Square Park Arch

IN PHOTOS ~~ FREEDOM DENIED TO STUDENTS AT FORDHAM UNIVERSITY

Fordham flunks a free speech test

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Fordham flunks a free speech test 

BY AHMAD AWAD

This month, Fordham University, my alma mater, denied students on campus the chance to form a student group to support Palestinian rights.

We thought we’d go through the same application process as any other student group. Instead, we were subject to a protracted 13-month review process.

We were eventually approved by the student government and started preparing for our inaugural event — only to learn that Dean of Students Keith Eldredge implemented a rarely used veto power to ban the group from campus

I was still a student when the application to form the group, Students for Justice in Palestine, was first submitted. The process included repeated meetings with administrators; questioning around Gov. Cuomo’s widely criticized executive order against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement; and numerous administrative hurdles.

All of this drained my time and energy and had a serious impact on my studies. I graduated and was never given a chance to advocate for what I believe in on my campus. Now, current and future students won’t have that chance, either.

Advocating for the basic rights of Palestinians is more than just a conviction for me, it is an integral part of my identity. My mother’s father was a Polish survivor of Nazi labor camps, and my father’s parents were born in Palestine prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948. These two histories of oppression taught me to value human dignity and to fight injustice wherever I see it.

My relatives in the West Bank have been forced to live under Israeli military rule for decades now, with no ability to control even the most basic aspects of their lives. The Israeli government controls the borders, which means that even though my grandparents — one of whom is a U.S. veteran — were born there, they are now prohibited from living in their birthplace. They can only obtain a visitor’s visa for three months a year, if they’re lucky.

When I travel to Palestine to visit my relatives, I am routinely discriminated against and threatened by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints simply because I am Palestinian.

It’s only natural that I wanted to establish Students for Justice in Palestine — an organization that exists on over 170 campuses nationwide — at Fordham.

I was devastated to discover that Fordham would prohibit SJP — and, even worse, do so not because of any bad behavior, but simply because of what it represents on paper. This decision violates the free speech and academic freedom the university guarantees under Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act in addition to its own values as an institution “committed to research and education that assist in the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of justice, the protection of human rights and respect for the environment.”

This experience has underscored how difficult it is to talk about Palestinian freedom in America without facing serious suppression. In recent years, students and faculty who choose to speak critically of Israeli policies have faced increasing pushback, a problem that has been widely documented by constitutional and civil rights attorneys. In the first half of 2016 alone, there were 171 such incidents of suppression across the country.

Despite these obstacles, support for Palestinian rights has grown over the years as more Americans have become aware of the oppression facing Palestinians. Recent polls found that 60% of Democrats and 46% of all Americans support sanctions or stronger action against Israel for building settlements on Palestinian land, and that sympathy for Palestinians among millennials has tripled since 2006.

Fordham and other institutions can try to shut down this growing social justice movement, but they won’t succeed in silencing people who feel a moral imperative to create a better world.

The great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who called on the U.S. government and consumers to boycott and divest from the apartheid regime in South Africa, once said, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” Despite Fordham’s wishes otherwise, I won’t give up this fight. I will continue to stand up for what is right until freedom rings. I will not die.

My request of Fordham is a very modest one: Let Students for Justice in Palestine live.

Awad is a recent Fordham graduate.

#NotMyPresident ~~ THEY CAME AND THEY CAME AND THEY CAME

They came and they came and they came!

by Mike Luckovich / Atlanta Journal Constitution

by Mike Luckovich / Atlanta Journal Constitution

THEY CAME

© By Tom Karlson

they came from the east

they came from the west

they came from the north

thet came from the south

all sizes, all ages, all colors

in numbers incomprehensible

 

they came by foot

they came by rail

they came by subway

they came by plane

taxi, bus, car

pushing babies, held up by walkers, canes

wearing hats of protest

singing songs of their parents, grandparents

given with grace and love to these new protesters

 

they came with messages

of patriotism

of love

in peace

of resistance

to the call NO JUSTICE NO PEACE

 

they came with signs

solidarity with

immigrants

Muslims

LGBTQIA

native people

hands off women’s bodies

black folks-Black Lives Matter

people with disabilities

mother earth matters

 

they came in glorious diversity

by the 10’s the 100’s, the 1000’s

on six continents 600 towns millions strong

they came and they came and they came

by Mike Keefe / Colorado Independent

by Mike Keefe / Colorado Independent

 

#NotMyPresident ~~ WOMEN UNITED FOR JUSTICE (PHOTO ESSAY)

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Demos in New York and Washington D.C.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Lots of women are wearing pink hats they are calling "pussy hats" because Trump has referred to women as pussies - kind of an 'in your face' gesture.

Lots of women are wearing pink hats they are calling “pussy hats” because Trump has referred to women as pussies – kind of an ‘in your face’ gesture.

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The statue of Eleanore Roosevelt on Riverside Drive was given a 'pussy hat' - a recognition that she would be marching with us if she could.

The statue of Eleanor Roosevelt on Riverside Drive was given a ‘pussy hat’ – a recognition that she would be marching with us if she could.

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Washington - love having Harriet Tubman in there (she is going on the $20 bill)

Washington – love having Harriet Tubman in there (she is going on the $20 bill)

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More Photos © by Matt Weinstein HERE

AMERICA WELCOMES TRUMP (NOT) ~~ IN TOONS AND PHOTOS

Surely NOT my President!

Images by Carlos Latuff

The Inaugural Speech

The Inaugural Speech

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Changing of the guard

Changing of the guard

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Fair thee well!

Fair thee well!

SOME PICTURES FROM THE FT. WORTH WOMEN’S MARCH

Photos © by Jim Rivers

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And in the Big Apple ….

On January 19th Inauguration Day Eve, 25,000 NYC citizens gathered at an anti-Trump rally near his International Hotel at Columbus Circle. The mass of people stretched for blocks along Central Park West. There were many speakers from the entertainment industry (Robert DeNiro,Michael Moore, Cher, Alec Baldwin, Sally Field, Cynthia Nixon, Mark Ruffalo,and many others).  Mayor DeBlasio of NYC declared NY an Immigrants Sanctuary City. All the speeches were very militant stressing that working together there would be total resistance to Trump’s hate filled policies against so many groups in society.  All present took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution. The evening ended with 25,000 people singing This Land Is Your Land.

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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Photos of the Big March in Washington to follow soon ….

ECO PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

EcoPeace Middle East is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. Our primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage. In so doing, we seek to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region. EcoPeace has offices in Amman, Bethlehem, and Tel-Aviv.

Big jump in the River Jordan

Big jump in the River Jordan

Eco Peace Middle East – environmentalists for peace in the region

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi

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How was Eco Peace Middle East founded and with which aims?
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“EcoPeace” was  founded on December 7, 1994 at an historic meeting held in Taba, Egypt.  We came about as environmental non-governmental organizations from the Middle East met with the common goal of furthering sustainable development and peace in their region. For the first time ever, Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian environmentalists agreed to join forces in an effort to promote the integration of environmental considerations into the regional development agenda.
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How do you advocate environmental issues at a political level?
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EcoPeace’s “top-down” (advocacy) programs are based on research, on the publication of policy briefs, and on the holding of events that highlight the national self-interest of each side in advancing our policy recommendations.  Mutual gain is the focus and goal of our advocacy work vis-a-vis decision makers at the regional and international levels.
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What  bottom-up strategies do you undertake?
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Our bottom-up approach is about educating local constituencies to call for, and lead, necessary cross-border solutions to regional water issues. Despite the ongoing conflict, bottom-up programing facilitates the advancement of community interests in cross-border environmental solutions

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How has civil society been responsive so far to your initiatives?
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Yes, very much so, and that is due to our “bottom up” approach, where we work with community members in our “Good Water Neighbors” (GWN) project.  This is what an external evaluator said about this project: “The GWN’s strategy of long-term deep work in the communities, sustaining a cross-border communication network, and insisting on addressing practical tangible results and interests, rather than just peace or cooperation in general, bears fruits.  It changes the discourse of those involved with the project and many have adopted the narrative of environmental peacebuilding / cross-border cooperation that the GWN project advances into their professional and personal lives.”

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Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
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Yes.  Again, local authorities and institutions are all part of our community project “Good Water Neighbors”.  We convene meetings with mayors and municipal representatives from both sides of the border, Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian, to discuss shared environmental challenges and work with them to develop and propose solutions that would benefit them both (all).  Sometimes these meetings are small, if it’s about a more local (but still cross border) problem, but we also have annual regional meetings, much larger, that focus on the larger issue of water in the region.

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Written FOR

EXPOSING THE TRUTH IS LIFE THREATENING IN ISRAEL

So true in Israel today

So true in Israel today

The greatest threat to the extreme right in Israel is not terrorism, it is TRUTH.

After the conviction of the soldier terrorist Elor Azaria, the right launched a campaign to free him. The mouthpiece of the right, our local Psycho Gal has been the most vocal, which came as no surprise to anyone.

As stated above, the TRUTH is their greatest threat.

Not necessarily so in Israel

Not necessarily so in Israel

Here is the result of the anti-Truth campaign ….. FROM

Harassment and attacks against activist who filmed Hebron shooting continue

Israeli settlers attempted to break into the Hebron home of activist Imad Abu Shamsiyya and threw stones at the house Saturday evening, as he has continued to be the target of death threats and harassment after he filmed an Israeli soldier shoot a Palestinian to death last year.

In a rare move move, the soldier was convicted of manslaughter earlier this week, in large part due to the damning footage captured by Abu Shamsiyya, amid a backdrop of what critics have called a culture of impunity for Israeli soldiers who are not held accountable for similar cases of apparent “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians.

On Wednesday, the day of conviction, Abu Shamsiyya said he “feared for his life.”

Since his footage went viral the day of the shooting back in March 2015, Abu Shamsiyya has been the target of violent settler incursions on his home and has received hundreds of death threats online.

Leading up to the announcement of the verdict, Abu Shamsiyya said that members of Elor Azarya’s family — the soldier who was ultimately convicted for the shooting — broke into his home and “asked me to go to court and change my testimony.” He said he had video footage proving the incursion took place.

Israel settlers returned to his home Saturday evening, he told Ma’an, and attempted to break into his home.

Abu Shamsiya told Ma’an that settlers gathered around his house, and when they failed to break in, they hurled stones, causing minor damages.

He highlighted that large numbers of Israeli forces were present when the settlers attacked the house and soldiers intervened and drove away the attackers.

Abu Shamsiyya added that in March he had asked the Israeli army to provide him protection from settlers, as death threats began pouring in on Facebook while others attempted to bribe him to change his witness testimony.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports of Saturday nights attack.

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner last month condemned the “daily violations” of human rights and international law faced by activists and human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory.

A “worrying number of complaints” have been filed by human rights activists to the UN in recent months, which have highlighted in particular the Israeli government practice of arbitrarily detaining Palestinian activists “as a direct result of their important work in their communities.”

“The right of all those who are seeking hope and participation in concrete, nonviolent action must be protected, particularly as we are seeing the deepening entrenchment of the Israeli occupation and the accompanying human rights violations,” the report said.

Amnesty International released a statement Wednesday saying that the conviction of Elor Azarya “must pave the way for justice for unlawful killings.”

“Today’s conviction of a member of the Israeli forces is a rare occurrence in a country with a long record of using excessive and unwarranted force, and where soldiers who may have committed crimes under international law very seldom face prosecution. The verdict is a small step in the right direction and offers a glimmer of hope that soldiers who commit unlawful killings may no longer go unpunished,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Sadly, this case is just the tip of the iceberg. Time and again we have witnessed cases where Israeli forces appear to have carried out unlawful killings, displaying an appalling disregard for human life. The authorities’ repeated failure to hold anyone accountable for flagrant violations has fostered a culture in which unlawful killings have become acceptable,” said Philip Luther.

Amnesty international said that they sent a memorandum to Israeli authorities in Sep. 2016, citing at least 20 cases of apparently unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces, of which at least 15 of those killed were deliberately shot dead, despite posing no imminent threat to life.

The video that helped get the conviction ….

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And the man behind the camera ….

 Imad Abu Shamsiyya

Imad Abu Shamsiyya

WORSE THAN A KAPO?

In my many years of pro Palestinian activism I have personally been called an anti Semite and a self hating Jew. Considering the anti zionist implications of these labels, they are both worn proudly.

BUT

When a new label, ‘kapo‘ is added, that is truly a hit below the belt. Not being a fan of J Street, I still find this term offensive and stand with them as they are smeared in such a way.

“They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” 

Image by Carlos Latuff

David Friedman, a fierce Zionist, is Trump's choice for US ambassador to Israel

David Friedman, a fierce Zionist, is Trump’s choice for US ambassador to Israel

Trump pick for ambassador to Israel supports Israeli annexation of West Bank and calls liberal Jews ‘kapos

Donald Trump has nominated 57-year-old Long Island native David Friedman to serve as U.S ambassador to Israel. Friedman served as Trump’s Israel adviser during the election campaign and has worked as Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer. He is a vociferous pro-settler advocate who openly advocates for the annexation of the West Bank, and serves as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, a settlement advocacy group. Friedman will join an administration that has continually promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has made clear its opposition to the two-state solution. In announcing the pick Trump called Friedman “a longtime friend and trusted adviser.”

Friedman is a writer for the Israeli settler news service Arutz Sheva, and his columns demonstrate strong right wing views concerning the occupation, U.S. politicians, and the Middle East. Friedman has called for ending “the two-state narrative”, describing it as “an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs.” Friedman has also referred to the recognition of Jerusalem as “the indisputable capital of the Jewish people” as a holy battle, one that will be won by those who acknowledge Jerusalem as being “the holy capital of the Jewish people—and only the Jewish people”.

In 2015, Friedman wrote an article praising the pre-war sentiment expressed by Mike Huckabee, evangelical Trump-supporter and former Governor of Arkansas, who “referred to war as “killing people and breaking things” until the loser gives up or is destroyed.” Friedman writes that the Obama administration, which is waging countless military operations around the world, has been too docile and light-headed when it comes to “terrorists”.

“The United States has the largest and most powerful military in the world. Under the Obama Doctrine, however, it is no longer in the business of fighting to win,” he argues.

In another stunning column for Arutz Sheva, Friedman accuses Obama of being an anti-Semite, and characterized the centrist Zionist organization J Street as being “worse than kapos”.

“They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps,” he wrote.

Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, tells Mondoweiss that the appointment of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel “is but the latest suggestion of what a Trump administration’s policy toward Palestine/Israel will be and that is a full, unapologetic embrace of Israeli Apartheid. Trump has railed against political correctness throughout his campaign and in many ways he seems to be doing the same thing with shaping his policy on this issue.”

Munayyer explains that “for decades the US has done a sort of “politically correct” dance where they have consistently supported Israel as it colonizes what is left of Palestinian territory while saying they support a Palestinian state.” The nomination of Friedman signals that the U.S. will do away with this farce, and  “just own what they have done for years which is support the apartheid reality on the ground.” Munayyer contends that a Trump administration will treat Israel with light-headedness, which means that “the civil society effort to impose costs on Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions tactics [BDS] has never been more important.”

Mouin Rabbani, co-editor of Jadaliyya, was straightforward in his reaction to Friedman’s nomination, telling Mondoweiss that he “hopes the appointment of such an avowed extremist to the position of US Ambassador to Israel, selected precisely because of his extremist positions, will disabuse Palestinians of any remaining illusions the the United States has anything positive to contribute to their struggle for self-determination.”

Jewish Voice For Peace released a statement from executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson condemning Friedman’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, arguing that it “indicates that the Trump Administration has aligned itself with the farthest right elements of the Israeli government”, and warning that this signals that the incoming administration will give the Israeli government a free pass to further its abusive control of Palestinian land, and to continue infringing upon Palestinian rights.

Writing on Twitter, London Review of Books writer Adam Shatz put it succinctly: “Let’s call the Friedman appointment by its name: a declaration of war on the Palestinian people.”

Both Trump and Friedman share the intention of rejecting the two-state solution and abiding by the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for recognizing Jerusalem and Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The bill was passed in 1995 but left unsigned under Bill Clinton and subsequently suspended on 22 occasions—thanks to the presidential waiver authority—mostly due to alleged national security concerns. Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett was euphoric after Donald Trump’s electoral win, calling his election an “opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country”. He said, “The era of a Palestinian state is over.”

For this reason, advocates of the two-state solution are troubled by Friedman’s nomination. A press release from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) president Rabbi Rick Jacobs notes that while URJ supports Friedman’s goal of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and its designation as Israel’s capital, the organization is “greatly concerned” that Friedman is against a two-state solution. The Reform group maintains “that only a two-state solution will allow Israel to remain both Jewish and democratic while also addressing the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians.”

Americans for Peace Now also announced its opposition to Friedman saying, “Friedman opposes the very essence of APN’s values and mission.” The organization added, “Trump repeatedly declared that he would like to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, but coupled with the President-elect’s statements about his intention to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Friedman’s nomination is a destabilizing move, which only adds fuel to the Israeli-Palestinian fire.”

Chemi Shalev, U.S. editor and correspondent for Haaretz, recently published an article arguing that due to Friedman’s right-wing inclinations, “[h]e makes Benjamin Netanyahu seem like a left-wing defeatist”. Shalev contends that Friedman will satisfy Evangelicals, Jewish settlers “and bring pleasure to Land of Israel zealots far and wide”. While the Obama administration may have offered Palestinians some semblance of even-handedness, Shalev writes, Friedman and the Trump administration will likely offer them no such thing.

SOLIDARITY FOR STANDING ROCK CONTINUES TO GROW

As the crisis in Standing Rock continues, so does the support  both internationally and nationally.

Solidarity has always been a thing of beauty in our hands.

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Cuba-Trained Doctors Head to Standing Rock

A delegation of doctors trained at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba announced they will head to Standing Rock to “serve in solidarity.”

In a late Thursday Facebook post, a group of U.S.-based medical professionals trained at Cuba’s famous Latin American School of Medicine, or ELAM, announced they will head to Standing Rock “to humbly serve in solidarity with the Sacred Water Protectors on the front lines of the current human rights and ecological crisis occurring right now in North Dakota.”

Dr. Revery P. Barnes, a graduate of ELAM, said in a post on Facebook, “We answer the call to serve in alignment with the mission and core principles of our alma mater and dedication to our commitment to serve underserved communities in our HOME country.” The delegation will work in collaboration with the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council.

“While Cuba instilled in us an unwavering commitment to internationalism, with the acceptance of a full scholarship to medical school at ELAM, we made the moral commitment to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable communities here at home in the U.S.,” the statement continued.

On Wednesday, the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council – which has been providing emergency and chronic health care services to the thousands of water protectors gathered at Standing Rock – issued a warning about the grave health and safety threats posed by escalating use of violence by Morton County Sheriff’s Department and Dakota Access Pipeline security personnel, whom they described as creating “war-like conditions.”

While the Facebook statement did not give details about the size of the delegation or when it is expected to arrive, the announcement comes as thousands of U.S. Army veterans are expected to arrive at the Oceti Sakowin camp this weekend in anticipation of the Dec. 5 eviction notice given to the camp by the Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Governor, Jack Dalrymple.

Health and safety concerns for the thousands of Water Protectors, who are asserting their Indigenous sovereignty in attempts to block the multi-billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline project, are also on the rise as harsh winter conditions have been exacerbated by state law enforcement threats to cut off supplies and access to emergency services.

The Latin American School of Medicine was created in 1999 by the Cuban government and is one of the largest medical schools in the world, with approximately 19,550 students from 110 countries. All students receive a full scholarship, including room and board, and preferential treatment is given to applicants from marginalized groups who intend to return and practice in their own communities. The school plays a key part in Cuba’s widely-hailed medical internationalism, which has seen the socialist country send over 80,000 health care workers to over 94 countries to provide treatment and assistance to impoverished or underprivileged populations.

And from within ….

Family & Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Jim Williams is taking our flags to Standing Rock! He left Friday morning with a busload of veterans who plan to join 2,000 or more other veterans in protecting the indigenous peoples rights to their lands. He is the son-in-law of Lincoln vet Matti Mattson. Jim remembered helping Matti carry the VALB flag as well as the FFALB banner, and he wanted to take ours to Standing Rock.  As we waited for the bus in Manhattan early Friday morning, we had a chance to explain the significance of the Brigade and the flags. There were tons of supplies and food — and excitement. I felt as if I were sending them off to Spain!

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And the best news of the day …..

(Click on link)

Alternate Route for Dakota Pipeline to Be Explored

  • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a major victory in a battle that has become a global flash point for environmental and indigenous activism.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers said that it would not approve permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline at a site that the tribe said would threaten a water source and sacred sites.

VETERANS STAND FOR STANDING ROCK

As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said.

Veterans join Standing Rock water protectors

Veterans join Standing Rock water protectors

Veterans Serve as Human Shields for Dakota Pipeline  

Christopher Mele

As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said.

The effort, called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, is planned as a nonviolent intervention to defend the demonstrators from what the group calls “assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force.”

The veterans’ plan coincides with an announcement on Tuesday by law enforcement officials that they may begin imposing fines to block supplies from entering the main protest camp after a mandatory evacuation order from the governor. Officials had warned earlier of a physical blockade, but the governor’s office later backed away from that, Reuters said.

Protesters have vowed to stay put. Opponents of the 1,170-mile Dakota Access Pipeline have gathered for months at the Oceti Sakowin camp, about 40 miles south of Bismarck. The Standing Rock Sioux and other Native American tribes fear the pipeline could pollute the Missouri River and harm sacred cultural lands and tribal burial grounds.

The evacuation order issued on Monday by Gov. Jack Dalrymple cited “anticipated harsh weather conditions.” It came before a winter storm dumped about six inches of snow and brought strong winds to the area on Monday, making roads “roads nearly impassable at the camp sites,” according to Doualy Xaykaothao of Minnesota Public Radio, who was cited by NPR.

The governor’s statement said, “Any person who chooses to enter, re-enter or stay in the evacuation does so at their own risk.” The order was effective immediately and was to remain in place indefinitely.

The veterans’ effort will also run up against a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to close off access to the protesters’ campsite and create a “free speech zone.” Federal officials said anyone found on the land after Dec. 5 could be charged with trespassing.

“Yeah, good luck with that,” Michael A. Wood Jr., a founder of the veterans’ event, said in an interview.

Mr. Wood, who served in the Marine Corps, organized the event with Wesley Clark Jr., a screenwriter, activist and son of Wesley K. Clark, the retired Army general and onetime supreme allied commander in Europe for NATO.

Mr. Wood said he had initially hoped to attract about 500 veterans; he had to stop sign-ups when they reached 2,000. He said volunteers are from diverse backgrounds: “We have every age, we have every war.”

An online fund-raiser has drawn over $570,000 in pledges as of Tuesday afternoon to pay for food, transportation and supplies for the veterans’ “muster,” which was planned for Dec. 4-7.

One veteran, Loreal Black Shawl, said the mission to support the protesters was intensely personal.

Ms. Black Shawl, 39, of Rio Rancho, N.M., is a descendant of two Native American tribes, the Oglala Lakota and Northern Arapaho. She served in the Army for nearly eight years, finishing her career as a sergeant.

“O.K., are you going to treat us veterans who have served our country in the same way as you have those water protectors?” Ms. Black Shawl said, referring to the protesters. “We’re not there to create chaos. We are there because we are tired of seeing the water protectors being treated as non-humans.”

The authorities have used rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannons against demonstrators, hundreds of whom have been injured, according to protest organizers. The clashes have been highly contentious, with the police and demonstrators leveling accusations of violence at each other.

Some protesters filed a class-action lawsuit on Monday against the Morton County police and others, alleging excessive use of force and seeking a court injunction to prevent the authorities from using rubber bullets, explosive grenades and water cannons, according to The Atlantic. One woman was injured and in danger of losing her arm after an explosion at the protest site this month.

By spotlighting issues such as the use of force by the police, national energy policies and the treatment of Native Americans, the protests have garnered national headlines and widespread attention on social media.

Ms. Black Shawl acknowledged that the operation could prove problematic because the veterans and the police both have military or tactical training. She said she had a “huge, huge nervousness and anxiety” about possibly being injured and what could happen to other veterans.

An “operations order” for participants outlined the logistics with military precision and language, referring to opposing forces, friendly forces and supporting units. Organizers encouraged attendees to wear their old uniforms.

Mr. Wood said they were discouraging active-duty service members from attending. “There’s no reason for them to get into hot water,” he said.

In a break from military custom, the gathering will have a “chain of responsibility” instead of a chain of command, he said. There are no ranks, and participants will refer to one another by their given names.

Mr. Wood said the early stages of the event will be logistical: setting up tents and organizing food supplies. The first arrivals are expected on Wednesday.

The premise is for the veterans to be fully self-sufficient, he said. “There will be civilian and tribe members watching us from behind but nobody supporting us,” the operations order said. “We are the cavalry.”

A spokesman for the North Dakota State Highway Patrol, Lt. Thomas O. Iverson, said in an email on Monday, “Law enforcement is aware of the upcoming event planned for December 4-7.” He added, “If the group remains lawful and refrains from blocking the roadway, there will be no issues.”

Some officials expressed the hope that the demonstrators would move on.

“The well-being and property of ranchers, farmers and everyone else living in the region should not be threatened by protesters who are willing to commit acts of violence,” Senator John Hoeven, a Republican, said in a statement on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault II, said in an email that he had no concerns that tensions could escalate.

“Everyone that comes knows our intent — to remain in peace and prayer,” he said.

BLACK FRIDAY PROTEST AT HP

Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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NYC Black Friday protest draws dozens to protest HP involvement in oppression of Palestinians

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On the busiest shopping day of the year, protesters in New York City – hailing from Manhattan to Gaza – joined in the Black Friday kick-off of the International Week of Action against HP’s complicity with Israeli attacks on Palestinian rights, protesting outside Best Buy in Union Square.

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized the protest, which highlighted HP’s role in providing servers and management systems to the Israel Prison Service that imprisons over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners. Hewlett Packard is also involved in providing imaging equipment for Israeli checkpoints and ID cards, enabling the siege of Gaza, providing services to Israeli settlements, and supporting other occupation infrastructure. The New York City event is one of over 99 protests around the world between 25 November and 3 December demanding a boycott of HP and an end to HP’s involvement in deportations, incarceration and oppression in Palestine, the United States and around the world. These protests were organized in response to a call from the International Boycott HP Coalition and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

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Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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Several Zionist counter-protesters, including one person dressed in an Israeli military uniform, repeatedly heckled the protesters and attempted, yet failed, to provoke confrontations. Throughout the protest, demonstrators chanted loudly against HP and its complicity in the occupation of Palestine, urging shoppers to boycott Hewlett Packard technology products. A wide range of activists, groups and writers concerned with Palestine participated in the demonstration, while a group of youth from a video training class organized by Picture the Struggle interviewed participants. Picture the Struggle works to document justice movements, including the Black movement, in New York City, through video, photography and audio recording.

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Samidoun is planning to join and encourages all to attend the protest on Monday, 28 November in New York City in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh, former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor facing persecution in the United States. A major hearing in her case to determine the entry of evidence relating to her PTSD after torture will take place on 29 November in Detroit, which is also the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Rasmea Defense Committee is organizing protests and buses to Detroit to support Odeh, while protests are taking place in Tampa, Tucson, Fort Lauderdale, Salt Lake City and elsewhere to demand justice for Rasmea. In New York City, protesters will gather at Zuccotti Park at Liberty Street and Broadway at 3:30 pm on Monday.

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Photos 1, 3 by Bud Korotzer/Desertpeace

Photos 2, 4, 6 by Joe Catron

Photo 5 by Anne Pruden

 

WRITTEN FOR

TRUMP ~~ UNIFIER EXTRAORDINAIRE

What you are about to witness is historic; it is the will of the people to act collectively and in the service of the public good.

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Thank you Mr. Trump, the unifier

ZION REDEFINES ANTI SEMITISM ~~ AND A PHOTO ESSAY TOO

I don’t think anybody should be called or accused of being anti-Semitic unless the evidence is overwhelming.

An anti-Semite is acceptable if he supports the Zionist State of Israel.

Image by Carlos Latuff

According to AlanDershowitz antisemitic racists are friends but people demanding equal rights are nazis

According to AlanDershowitz antisemitic racists are friends but people demanding equal rights are nazis

After years of careless accusation, Dershowitz says anti-Semitism charges must be ‘very careful’

It must have been tough, but Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and investigative reporter tracked Alan Dershowitz down in Tel Aviv for comment on the Steve Bannon controversy. And longtime Dershowitz followers may be surprised to learn that he is defending the man who could become the most highly-placed American official accused of anti-Semitism in many decades, in this interview with Aaron Klein:

I think we have to be very careful before we accuse any particular individual of being an anti-Semite . . .  And I think one has to be very careful about using the term anti-Semitic.

But “care” about using the words anti-Semite has never been the hallmark of Dershowitz’s long career as a polemicist.

Was he being “careful” when he said that Black Lives Matter was guilty of an anti-Semitic “blood libel” in charging Israel with genocide against Palestinians?

Was he “careful” when he likened Judge Richard Goldstone to Nazi Dr. Mengele after Goldstone put out a report highly critical of Israel in 2009, which Dershowitz termed a “blood libel”?

Was he practicing “care” when he flatly described the late Harvard President Nathan Pusey as an anti-Semite in his book Chutzpah, and accused the entire American legal profession of anti-Semitism?

“Upon learning of the way law was practiced in American firms, I resolved never to become part of that system.”

More from the Breitbart interview:

I don’t think anybody should be called or accused of being anti-Semitic unless the evidence is overwhelming.

Was the evidence “overwhelming” with Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu — when Dershowitz accused them of mainstreaming anti-Semitism because they were critical of Israel? And said that Carter had the “blood of thousands” on his hands?

Dershowitz says that Bannon is a friend of Jews:

The evidence certainly suggests that Mr. Bannon has very good relationships with individual Jews. My former researcher, Joel Pollak, is an Orthodox Jew who takes off the Jewish holidays, who is a committed Jew and a committed Zionist, and he has worked closely with him. He has been supportive of Israel.

Is that the one and only criterion of whether someone is an anti-Semite or not? Being supportive of Israel?  I think it might be.

So, I haven’t seen any evidence of personal anti-Semitism on the part of Bannon. I think the [Breitbart] headline about a Conservative Republican being a renegade Jew was ill-advised. But it doesn’t suggest to me anti-Semitism. It suggests to me a degree of carelessness.

“Ill-advised.” So who “advised” Stephen Bannon to make that nasty crack about Bill Kristol? Why weren’t Walt and Mearsheimer only “ill-advised” and “careless,” instead of, as Dershowitz said, guilty of writing a “hate-filled screed against Jewish participation in American politics.”

Dershowitz goes on to apologize for Trump.

I think the larger problem – and it’s a very complicated one today – is how you assess a person who himself might not have negative characteristics, but who has widespread appeal to people who do. And I think that problem exists on the right and the left. I think there are left-wing candidates who appeal to some of the worst bigots on the hard left. Anti-Semites on the hard left. Anti-Israel people on the hard left. And I think the same thing is probably true of some very right-wing conservatives who appeal advertently or inadvertently to people whose values they probably themselves don’t agree with.

He is obviously worried that Trump may not be pro-Israel, and so he is sucking up to him.

But it is not legitimate to call somebody an anti-Semite because you might disagree with their policies.  Or because in one instance, like in the Bannon case, an aggrieved wife in a divorce may have said something which he himself has denied having said. I think you always have to have a presumption of innocence and of good faith.

“Innocence” and “good faith?” Doesn’t that describe Students for Justice in Palestine, who Dershowitz has not hesitated to call anti-Semites? And what about anyone who supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel — Dershowitz has accused them too of anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, on the streets of New York ….

On Sunday night, 11/20/16, many hundreds of people gathered in  front of NYC’s main library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd St. to protest the Zionist Organization Of America (ZOA) invitation to Steve Bannon, an anti-Semitic white nationalist and a current member of Trump’s incoming administration,  to speak at their annual awards dinner.

The principle of the ZOA appears to be  that an anti-Semite is acceptable if he supports the Zionist State of Israel.

The hundreds of protesters came from a  wide variety of Jewish  organizations as well  as individual participants. There were secular Jews, religious Jews, civil rights activists, youth and older citizens.

After the speeches at the library the protesters began a march to the  Grand Hyatt Hotel where the dinner was taking place. As they walked they shouted for the firing of Bannon chanted against Trump.  At the hotel the streets were jammed by the protesters with their chanting:   “When Muslim communities are under attack

                               What do we do? Stand up, Fight back.”

                               “2 4 6 8: No to Trump, No to Hate.”

                               “GOP (Trump) you can’t hide, we can see                                   Your racist side!”

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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Related report (Click on link)

Bannon a no-show at ZOA gala as protesters gather outside

IN PHOTOS ~~ IMMIGRANT SOLIDARITY DAY

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On IMMIGRANT SOLIDARITY DAY, 11/13, thousands of New York City’s citizens poured into the  street in front of Trump’s International Hotel singing and chanting with an anger and a militancy that resounded off the walls of the hotel.

“ No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here”

“Muslim rights are human rights”

“F**k white supremacy”

“This is what democracy looks like”

“Black lives matter”

“Queer and proud”

“Women’s rights are human rights”

 

 They marched through the streets on route to Trump Towers on 5th Avenue.   Thousands of people filled the street from curb to curb. All traffic was stopped. The demonstrators turned on 5th Avenue to  pass Trump Towers where they would inform Trump of their resistance to his bigotry.   Police barricades were set up to prevent the thousands from reaching Trump Towers.  The demonstration was organized by immigrant rights groups. Nonimmigrant allies joined them in solidarity. This demonstration was one of many, involving thousands of people throughout the United States on a daily basis .

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ TRUMP SUCCEEDS IN UNITING THE COUNTRY — AGAINST HIMSELF

‘Not Our President’: Protests Spread After Donald Trump’s Election

Thousands of people across the country marched, shut down highways, burned effigies and shouted angry slogans on Wednesday night to protest the election of Donald J. Trump as president. (Full article HERE)

Here are photos from the protest in New York

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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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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