SPOOF ON BLAIR’S ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Related post FROM

Tony Blair Steps Down as Mideast Mediator

Reuters

Former British prime minister Tony Blair will step down as representative of the Quartet of Middle East powerbrokers at the end of June, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

Blair wrote to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday that he would step down from the role he has held since 2007. “(His) decision …will come into effect at the end of next month,” a source close to the Quartet said.

No comment was immediately available from Blair’s office in London.

NAKED FACTS OF NETANYAHU’S ‘PEACE PROCESS’

The killing by Israel of the peace process and whatever hopes for peace that process may have entailed is a damning proof that Israel doesn’t want peace.
Peace or pieces?

Peace or pieces?

The futility of counting on Netanyahu for peace

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine
It is really hard to give renewed European efforts to revive the moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians the benefit of the doubt.

But, even if we did, these efforts would hardly be proven more than just a mere regurgitation of past failed efforts.

The naked facts on the ground in Occupied Palestine underscore a completely grim outlook. Israel has more or less killed any remaining chances for a viable Palestinian state, the centerpiece of the proposed two-state solution.

Israel is relentlessly continuing to make facts on the ground, ensuring the irreversibility of present realities. But the irreversibility of present realities also means that Israel, whether we like it or not, is becoming a bi-national state de fact, at least, with as many as 50% of the population between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean (an area ruled or controlled by Israel) being non-Jews.

This non-Jewish population is expected to grow even further in proportion to the number of Jews in years and decades to come. This is a matter of science, not rhetoric or propaganda.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to make little “victories” on the international arena. But we all know these symbolic achievements won’t make any difference in the final analysis.

This is because the two-state strategy has effectively expired thanks to the ubiquitous Jewish settlement expansion.

Which means it is now too late for the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel, with a combination of pressure and inducements,  is likely to try to bully or cajole the weak PA to content itself with a diminutive “state” encompassing truncated Bantustans, cut off from each other by Jewish settlements, and isolated from the rest of the world.

However, such an imposed “solution” wouldn’t be utterly rejected by the bulk of Palestinians, and its advocates would probably be shot like stray dogs in the streets of the West Bank for their perceived treason and perfidy.

Moreover, the exclusion of the paramount right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland in 1948, along with the religiously sensitive subject Jerusalem, from such a settlement would likely make it doomed from day one.

Furthermore, the phenomenon of Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to repeat itself on the Palestinian arena for many years to come.

Fascist government

Israel today has probably the most extremist right-wing government ever since the creation of the Jewish state in Palestine in 1948.

This government is made up of the gurus of Jewish fascism, who reject the principle of peace with utter contempt. Indeed, for these fanatics, peace is a sign of weakness and tantamount to the destruction the Jewish people.

Just listen to the shockingly recalcitrant remarks made by Israeli cabinet ministers these days and compare these remarks with the Nazi discourse prior and during the Second World War.

This is more than nationalist extremism. This is odious fascism, pure and simple.

This should sound alarm bells everywhere. The collective mindset permeating in Israel today more or less resembles the collective mindset which prevailed in Nazi Germany in the few years preceding the Second World War.

Don’t tell me Jews are not capable of doing the unthinkable. You bet they are.

In the final analysis, when Jews, or anyone else, think, behave and act like the Nazi thought, behaved and acted, they become Nazi, pure and simple.

Similarly, we have to remind ourselves and others that the holocaust actually started long before Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen and Dachau.

It started much earlier with Mein Kamph, the anti-Jewish laws, and then Kristalnacht, the sort of stuff we hear morning and evening these days from the mouths of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust.

No peace strategy

The truth of the matter is that Israel has no peace strategy.  Israel only has a strategy for aborting peace not making it.

The killing by Israel of the peace process and whatever hopes for peace that process may have entailed is a damning proof that Israel doesn’t want peace.

I know and the world knows that the international community knows this fact too well, but this international community is either too cowardly or too dishonest to call the spade a spade, especially when the matter concerns Israel, the world’s most spoilt child.

Yes, Israeli officials and spokesmen, along with the shipyard dogs of Israeli hasbara, would fill the ether with all sorts of arguments justifying Israeli policies, including the Lebensraum policy in the West Bank.

But any person with a modicum or honesty and rectitude knows deep in the bottom of his or heart that these arguments are dishonest, malicious and mendacious.

More to the point, Israel has been given a thousand chances and a thousand opportunities to walk in the path of peace but to no avail.

In fact, the PA reduced  itself into a Palestinian judenrat in the service of Israeli whims as Palestinian security agencies did everything imaginable to persecute, suppress, repress and torment Palestinian voices raised against the enduring Israeli occupation, all in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from Israel.

But Israel wouldn’t reciprocate and instead continued to relate to the PA with utter disregard and utter contempt.

When the number-2 figure in the new Israeli government, Naftali Bennett was asked a few weeks ago what he would tell PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas if he met him, Bennett, with characteristic Jewish arrogance, said: “I would ask him to make me a cup of coffee.”

Bennett’s remark is by no means an unrepresentative anecdote. It actually encapsulates mainstream thinking within the Israeli political-military establishment, which makes the realization of peace virtually impossible.

THE ‘OTHER’ DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Israel shares its ‘special status’ with Egypt

El-Sisi's Scales of Justice by Latuff

El-Sisi’s Scales of Justice by Latuff

 

Related ….

US ‘deeply concerned’ by Morsi death sentence in Egypt

The United States expressed “deep concern” Sunday after an Egyptian court sentenced deposed president Muhammad Morsi and more than 100 others to death for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising.

“We have consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences, which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt’s international obligations and the rule of law,” a State Department official said.

Noting that they were preliminary sentences, the official added: “We continue to stress the need for due process and individualized judicial processes for all Egyptians in the interests of justice.

“Many of those sentenced on Saturday were tried in absentia. The court will pronounce its final decision on June 2, since under Egyptian law, death sentences are referred to the mufti, the government’s interpreter of Islamic law, who plays an advisory role.

Defendants can still appeal even after the mufti’s recommendation.

Morsi, elected president in 2012, ruled for only a year before mass protests spurred the military to overthrow him in July 2013.

He was among dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders detained amid a crackdown that left hundreds of Morsi supporters dead.

Morsi, sitting in a caged dock in the blue uniform of convicts having already been sentenced to 20 years for inciting violence, raised his fists defiantly when the verdict was read.

Hours after the ruling, gunmen shot dead two judges, a prosecutor and their driver in the strife-torn Sinai Peninsula, in the first such attack on the judiciary in the region.

The US State Department official said they had been “senselessly murdered.”

“We reiterate our steadfast commitment to Egypt’s security,” the official added.

 

From

More from Latuff

Collective death sentence

Collective death sentence

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Sisi's Way: on Egypt's prisons

Sisi’s Way: on Egypt’s prisons

A TRAGIC TALE OF LIFE AND DEATH UNDER THE OCCUPATION

Three decades ago the Israeli military government canceled my sister-in-law’s Palestinian residency because she studied abroad for ‘too long.’ Now, Israel is denying her one last visit with her dying father. But my family will not allow her case, like thousands before it, to be buried in silence.

An Israeli soldier locks a border fence. (Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com)

An Israeli soldier locks a border fence. (Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com)

A tragically unexceptional story of life and death under occupation

By Sam Bahour

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
~Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

My father-in-law, Mughira Barghouty, is dying. At age 91, his health has severely deteriorated over the last six months. He has three daughters: Sawsan, Serene and my wife, Abeer. Serene and Abeer  live in Ramallah and have become full-time caregivers to their now bedridden father. Sawsan lives in Amman, Jordan. Of late, Mughira has repeated a single request: to touch his daughter Sawsan’s hand one last time. It was about to happen on the last day of April. Sawsan got all the way to the Israel border crossing, Israeli tourist visa in hand, but she was denied entry and told to go back to Amman. The family is crushed, but not surprised.

Mughira Barghouty

Mughira Barghouty

We live one floor above my in-laws, thus the bulk of calls for assistance come to my wife first. The calls are sometimes frantic, from my mother-in-law who notifies us that Mughira has fallen while trying to get out of bed. We rush downstairs, many times in the middle of the night, to deal with the situation. At other times, the calls range from mundane daily needs to assistance using the bathroom. The end of life is difficult to watch. Its ending is similar to its beginning — messy, chaotic, and fully dependent.

In such situations, the family’s main goal is to comfort their loved one. In our culture, if there is any possibility whatsoever to care for the dying person in their own home, this is the preferred option. The home truly does have a much more comprehensive meaning than in the West — and we are all engaged in a collective comforting exercise. Several months back, understanding that his health was failing, Mughira made a simple request: he wants to touch the hand of his third daughter, who lives in Amman, to bid her farewell. We immediately passed on the message to Sawsan.

Sawsan acted without delay. As a Jordanian citizen, she applied for an Israeli tourist visa — the only way a Palestinian citizen of Jordan can reach Palestine. This is done through certified travel agent. The process goes like this: you apply, pay a 50 JD (U.S. $70) application fee, then you wait, and wait, and wait some more. Eventually you get a call from the travel agent when the answer comes back: you either have approval, meaning an Israeli Interior Ministry tourist visa, or you are denied and have to start all over again. If you are one of the lucky ones and get approval, you must pay an additional 70 JD (US $100) fee and place a 20,000-30,000 JD (about US $28,000-42,000) bond (to guarantee you will not overstay the visa period) and you must travel the following day. Throughout the entire waiting period, you must be ready to travel on 24 hours’ notice.

Sawsan’s first application was submitted on September 23, 2014. She was notified it was denied in December 2014. So she started all over again, submitting a second application on March 2, 2015, paying the 50 JD (US $70) application fee again. She was notified on April 29, 2015 that her Israeli tourist visa was issued. She packed her bags in a hurry and headed out the following morning to the Jordan Border Crossing (near the city of Bisan, which Israel calls Beit She’an) to Israel (90 km from Amman) with a group in the travel agent’s bus.

At the Israeli border, which she has crossed numerous times before, she approached the border control window and submitted her passport and Israeli Interior Ministry-issued tourist visa.

“What’s your father’s name?” the border control official asked.

“Mughira,” Sawsan replied.

“Where have you visited outside of Jordan?”

“UK,” Sawsan answered. Sawsan’s son, Laith, graduated with a Masters in water engineering in December 2013 from Birmingham University and both parents traveled to attend the graduation ceremony of their only child.

“And Israel?” the official smirkingly added.

Sawsan (right), her son Laith (center) and husband Khaled (left) in the UK for Laith’s Master’s degree graduation ceremony, 2013.

Sawsan (right), her son Laith (center) and husband Khaled (left) in the UK for Laith’s Master’s degree graduation ceremony, 2013.

Sawsan shook her head in agreement, but found the question odd since she is a Palestinian, born in Ramallah, and has travelled many times over this same crossing.

The official instructed her to sit and wait. Meanwhile, the busload of people with whom she was travelling sat waiting her exit so they could continue on. Sawsan become anxious. Group after group, all of which arrived after her, one from Thailand and two from India, breezed through border control. Eventually an Israeli official came and advised Sawsan that she was being denied entry into Israel. Her bus was told to continue on to Israel without her.

The Israeli official brought her two copies of a form written in Hebrew and English; she is fluent in neither. The states two reasons for the denial of entry: 1) “Prevention of illegal immigration considerations”; and, 2) “Public security or public safety or public order considerations.” Despite her protests that she could not read the documents, she signed. Five hours after arriving at the crossing, she was escorted to a bus and sent back to Jordan.

Sawsan called home to Ramallah to inform her mother and sisters. The shock, anger and sadness that ensued is the same that can be found in nearly every Palestinian home at one time or another. After all, dispossession, occupation, and systemic discriminating is the hallmark of the pain Israel has applied to Palestinian society for 70 years, ripping it apart, family member by family member.

One may ask, why is Sawsan applying for a tourist visa at all? She was born in Ramallah and was issued an Israeli residency ID number at birth. When she turned 16 Israel issued her an ID card. But Sawsan’s case, like that of so many others, has a not-so-exceptional twist. Sawsan exited the West Bank in September 1977 to go and study in Latin America. At the time, Palestinians had to surrender their IDs upon exiting the West Bank and were given an Israeli “exit permit.” To renew the “exit permit” one had to physically return every 12 months.

Sawsan’s mother was able to get her three separate renewals, the maximum allowed without physically returning; the last was valid through September 1983. She didn’t make it back in time, and ultimately ended up getting married in Amman. That a Palestinian could lose their residency status in their birthplace is routine practice of the Israeli occupation.

She didn’t reenter the West Bank again until 1987, when Israel issued her a permit to visit based on the Jordanian citizenship she had since acquired. Most recently she visited Palestine with her husband, on a tourist visa, in 2011.

Under the 1994 Israel-Jordanian peace treaty Israeli citizens do not need to request a visa in advance in order to visit Jordan. They just show up at the border crossing, similar to the one where Sawsan was denied entry, buy a visa on the spot and enter Jordan. I have yet to hear of an Israeli citizen denied entry by Jordan.

After the Oslo Accords in 1993, Sawsan hoped she could get her Israeli-issued Palestinian ID reinstated, which would allow her to visit Palestine as she wished, without having to applying a visa every time. She applied for ID reinstatement through the Palestinian Authority, which liaises with Israeli officials, in 1999. Sixteen years later, she has yet to receive any response.

Sawsan wants to know why Israel is still holding her ID hostage after all these years. She wants her residency status back so that she can visit her birthplace and family. She is aware that she may not have the chance to bid her father farewell, but she wants to ensure she can spend more time with her aging mother.

Politicians and diplomats clearly are at a loss on how to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, how to address the right of return of five million Palestinian refugees. But is it so hard to get the Israelis to return the ID of a retired West Bank Palestinian mother who was born in Ramallah? We are committed to not let this be just another case, like the thousands before it, that is buried in silence. We have hired an Israeli lawyer to take up her case.

Mughira is an uncommon name in our society. It comes from Mughira ibn Shu’ba who was one of the more prominent companions of Prophet Muhammad. He belonged to the tribe of Thaqif of Ta’if. Mughira ibn Shu’ba was one of the last companions to see the Prophet before his death. It’s ironic that our Mughira will not be able to see his daughter, who lives two hours away, before his death, because an Israeli border control official has decided so.

What a way to live, and die.

*** EDITOR’S NOTE ***

The Israeli Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority responded to +972: “Mrs. Barghouti filed a request to enter Israel a number of months ago, which was rejected by the Israeli mission in Jordan. Despite the refusal, she later requested to enter Israel as part of a tourist group. A tourist group approval is a group visa and not individual, and when it was discovered that she was actually trying to get around the embassy’s decision — she was denied entry. If she wants to bypass the mission’s decision she should appear there again and file a new application. Or an appeal.”

The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Israel’s military government that controls the Palestinian population registry, wrote about the application to restore her identity card: “Our inquiry found that the Palestinian Authority did not file a request on Ms. Barghouti’s behalf. If and when a request is filed via the Palestinian Authority, it will be examined in accordance with the regulations.”

Written FOR

Hebrew Version 

 

WHAT DO ISRAELIS REALLY KNOW ABOUT THE NAKBA?

What do Israelis really know about the Nakba? What do they think about the right of return of the Palestinian refugees?
De-Colonizer went out to meet and asked them…

Mazin Qumsiyah, PhD adds the following ….

On the eve of the 67th year anniversary of the Nakba (the catastrophic
ethnic cleansing of Palestine), Benjamin Netanyahu finally formed a
“coalition government” a group of ministers who are honest about their
racist and genocidal tendencies (see article by Gideon Levy below). It
includes a “Justice” who called for murdering Palestinian mothers so that
they do not bring out more “snakes”. It includes the head of “civil
administration” who openly supports ethnic cleansing and genocide. A
government more right wing in its composition than Germany was in 1933-1939
or South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s but an honest one indeed without
double talk or hypocrisy. What is disappointing is not the make-up of the
government but the hypocritical response to it. Words from the “Palestinian
Authority” wining about the new government were accompanied by continuing
security coordination with Israel and the PA arrest of dozens of
Palestinians simply for having different political affiliation (e.g.
students who against all odds were voted to student councils at Palestinian
Universities). Geopolitically, there are now two choices: US/Israel that
attempt to dominate the Arab World and Western Asia through a class of
puppet dictators (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Egypt) and the axis of Russia,
China, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon (led by Hizbollah) and large segments of
Iraqi society. It would be nice to have a third axis (like the non-aligned
movement led by Egypt and India in the 1960s) but it does not currently
seem possible.

Yasser Arafat managed to steer the PLO leadership to semi-neutrality or at
least flexibility in building alliances as need arose. But even acting as a
good honest broker to solve some regional disputes many times by asking
people to put the interests of their people ahead of their superpower
sponsors (then it was Soviet Union and the USA/NATO). In the time of Abu
Mazen, we see more a definitive side-taking (e.g. with Saudi Arabia against
Yemen) in a fashion that actually weakened the Palestinian cause
dramatically. The black and white attitude was applied in a way that is
like George Bush “you are either with us (USA right wing government) or
with the terrorists. In this case you are either with us (Fatah) or with
the terrorist Hamas.  There seems no room left for nuances or indeed for
diplomacy. From the agreement with Hamas, there is only the part about
holding elections for the PA that Abbas wants to implement. Other parts of
the agreement (holding elections for the PLO, economic issues etc) were
supposed to happen synchronously but they are now off the table. Meanwhile
Gaza was devastated and is still under siege (civil society is responding
and a flotilla of ships is moving to break the siege). Last time this
happened, there were martyrs and some high level PA officials ridiculed the
Free Gaza movement. Instead, it would have been nice to see PA officials
join Haneen Zoabi and Raed Salah on the boats. Alas wishful thinking for
change.

The old definition of madness still apply: repeating the same (failed)
tasks and expecting different results. And we live in a mad, very mad
world. US/Israel still fund terrorists, support dictators, and support
ethnic cleansing. Those who bet on them to help them achieve “independence”
still do not understand and still hope somehow magically, things will
change. They would be wise to listen to Russian President Putin. He was
speaking at the 70th anniversary of the win over Nazi Germany (26 million
Russian lives were lost) and was flanked by other world leaders including
China (though noticeably absent where key NATO leaders). He said, the
attempt at creating a unipolar world is failing and that we should look
towards a new system. Iran, China, most of Latin America and other
countries which long suffered from Western Colonialism agreed. President
Abbas was there but had no comment. I was reminded of Naji Al-Ali 1964. I
was reminded of Orwell 1984. I was reminded of the book Majanin Beit Lahmem
(the crazy people of Bethlehem) published 2014.

Life goes on in occupied Palestine. A Palestinian community (Susya) is
about to be uprooted. Colonial settlers and soldiers still attack native
Palestinians with impunity. Corruption and heroism happen, poverty and
greed happen, cooperation and collaboration happen, resistance and
normalization happen. Poor people struggle and rich get richer. It is hard
to cope sometimes but we keep going against all odds.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall….*

Stop whining. Long live Israel’s new and honest government

Israel’s new government won’t spout hollow slogans about peace, human rights, and justice. The truth will be thrust in the faces of Israelis – and the world.

*
The 34th government will deserve Israel; Israel will deserve the 34th government. This is an authentic and representative government, the true manifestation of the spirit of the times and the deepest feelings of most Israelis. It will be a true government, without pretense, without makeup and without self-justification. What we’ll see is what we’ll get. Welcome to the fourth Benjamin Netanyahu government.

They won’t talk haughtily and they won’t spout hollow slogans. Not about peace and not about human rights; not about two states and not about negotiations; not about international law, justice or equality. The truth will be thrust in the faces of Israelis and the world. And the truth is this: The two-state solution is dead (it was never born), the Palestinian state will not arise, international law does not apply to Israel, the occupation will continue to crawl quickly toward annexation, annexation will continue to crawl quickly toward an apartheid state; “Jewish” supersedes “democratic,” nationalism and racism will get the government stamp of approval, but they’re already here and have been for a long time.

Neither Netanyahu, nor Habayit Hayehudi’s chairman MK Naftali Bennett nor that party’s faction members MK Ayelet Shaked and MK Eli Ben-Dahan, started this whole thing. They only expedited things. And there should be no shock or outrage, no bewailing the bitterness of fate. This government is a government of continuation, not a government of change.

True, some of its members are more extreme than their predecessors, but that is mainly about rhetorical differences. Even the most inflammatory appointment, of Shaked as justice minister, which reverberated throughout the world over the weekend, is less revolutionary than it seems. Shaked is blunt and violent, whereas Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, her predecessor, was delicate and proper. But Justice Minister Shaked will not have to work hard to break open cracks in our democracy; they opened a long time ago.

The best test of the nature of the regime in Israel is the test of the occupation and the war crimes: the foundations of apartheid are already deep and the war crimes remain uninvestigated. From her office in the heart of occupied Jerusalem, Livni has not made Israel more just in that respect. True, Shaked’s ideas are more nationalistic and her understanding of the essence of democracy is nil. True, many in the world were shocked that a person who identified with one of the most violent articles ever written here against the Palestinian people (by Uri Elitzur), was appointed minister of Israeli justice. But there’s no place for such sanctimoniousness. Elitzur expressed what many people are thinking.

The appointment of another racist, Eli Ben-Dahan, as deputy defense minister, responsible for the Civil Administration, should not be earth-shattering either. True, Ben-Dahan said that “the Palestinians are animals, they are not human, they are not entitled to live” – but don’t these statements reflect the true attitude of many Israelis? Ben-Dahan will speak for them. That is how Israel has been treating the Palestinians for almost 50 years; Ben-Dahan is only saying things overtly. Now he will be responsible for the Civil Administration and the whole system of “humanitarian gestures” will be torn up. Ben-Dahan is the right man in the right place at the right time. An excellent appointment.

A person who proudly says “I killed masses of Arabs” and calls them “shrapnel in the buttocks” will be education minister – and who in Israel doesn’t think that? The general of Operation Cast Lead, with its crimes, the man who contravened building restrictions, Yoav Galant, will be construction minister. Is that not a fine appointment? MK Uri Maklev of United Torah Judaism is to head the Knesset Science Committee? Does that not correctly reflect the attitude of some Israelis to science?

Stop whining. Maybe Israel’s shadow government should be more enlightened, but not its real government. It is what the Israelis chose, it reflects their true stands. And so, long live the new government.

IN PHOTOS ~~ 10 YEARS OF BDS ~~ A JOINT CELEBRATION

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer Commentary by Chippy Dee

On the evening of May 6th in NYC at Alwan for the Arts the space was filled to capacity with people gathered to hear Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS campaign against Israel, and Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, discuss the BDS campaign as it reaches its’ 10th anniversary.  The meeting was organized by Haymarket Books.

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Barghouti began by explaining the philosophy behind boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).  It is about building awareness of the ethicality of resistance.  How does an oppressed people resist oppression without unduly harming the oppressor.  Both communities have to be humanized and the trap of collective responsibility is to be avoided.  An Us vs. Them mindset is not productive – Israelis should be encouraged to join the movement.

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The minds of Palestinians have to be decolonized.  Realizing there would be enormous resistance Zionists knew very early on that they would have to colonize the minds of Palestinians, building an iron wall there by removing all hope.  If hope is taken away the Palestinians would be defeated.  This was recognized as early as 1923 when the Zionist Vladimir Jabotinski wrote his political allies about destroying the will of the Palestinian people, “A living people make such enormous concessions…only when there is no hope left.  Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups… lose their sway….”

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Last, people have to be mobilized for goal oriented action, one with a considerable chance of success.

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Only 38% of the Palestinian people live on the West Bank and in Gaza.  12% are Israeli citizens and 50% are in the diaspora.  It is not enough to say end the occupation.  Israel has divided the Palestinians, leaving them scattered all over the world.  The 3 goals of BDS: end the occupation, full and equal rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return will reunite the people of Palestine.  Our goal is freedom, justice and equality.  We must have consistent pressure to achieve these goals.  That means resisting/opposing the regime that stands against this.

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Israel is feeling very threatened because the economic and cultural boycott is growing and Jewish support for BDS is also growing.  People are coming to realize that either they support a colonial venture or they don’t.  The “Brand Israel” campaign has failed.  Now the Israeli fight-back is based on propaganda and ‘lawfare’, legal challenges to BDS.  They seem not to know how to deal with this non-violent principled resistance which is demanding basic rights for the Palestinian people under international law.

Vilkomerson said that JVP fully endorses all elements of the Palestinian call for BDS and believes that it provides the best tactics to bring justice to Palestine.  JVP also wants to bring pressure on the US government not to be complicit in this struggle. There have been many victories here in this country – 60 members of congress did not go to hear Netanyahu’s speech.  JVP stands with the divestment of the Presbyterian church and with SodaStream closing their West Bank factory.  JVP also supports the many Students for Justice in Palestine chapters that have been fighting for divestment, often winning, on their campuses.

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But the closer we come to winning this fight, the stronger the push-back will be.  Big money is going into this fight against the BDS campaign from the Jewish community, including on campuses.  There are constant accusations of anti-Semitism which, unfortunately, dilutes real anti-Semitism.

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Blacks, Latinos, and young people are most likely to support Palestine and over the past year there has been an enormous growth of solidarity between the Palestinian struggle and the fight against the oppression of Black people in this country.  JVP fully supports, with feet in the streets, the Black Lives Matter fight.  JVP is an anti-racist organization that sees the Palestinian and the Black struggle as the same fight for justice and will be there in solidarity because it is a joint struggle.  BDS is a tool of anti-racist ideology.

JVP is now 3 times the size it was before the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer.  They now have 200,000 on line supporters because people are coming to recognize that the Palestinian struggle is the world’s great moral issue of our time.

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I remember when people used the phrase ‘PEPs’, Progressive Except Palestine, to describe those who were generally progressive on most issues but would not or could not support Palestinians.  It is becoming increasingly clear to me that there is no such thing.  If you don’t understand and support the Palestinian struggle for human rights you  cannot call yourself progressive.

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ISRAEL’S NEW COALYNCHIA*

*UNITED TO LYNCH PALESTINE

The government will include explicitly murderous elements, including Ayelet Shaked, who openly called for murdering innocent civilians, including children.

The Emperor's New Clothes by Latuff

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Latuff … Preparing to feed Palestine to the lions

*

Israel’s new government: Fascist par excellence

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

The new Israeli coalition government is likely to be the most extremist since Israel’s creation in Palestine 67 years ago. The composition of the government leaves no doubt as to the direction it will take and policies it will adopt at the domestic front, toward the Palestinians and internationally.

The Israeli opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, has labeled the new government “the weakest, the most extortionist, and narrowest government in Israel’s history.” Writing on his Facebook page, Herzog described the new coalition as one “of no responsibility, no governance and no stability.” These epithets and descriptions can be viewed as controversial, coming from the leadership of a political party that lost the recent elections.

However, from a third-party perspective, e.g. a Palestinian view point, and in light of the composition of the new coalition, we can assume that the next Israeli government will be the most fascist, most extremist, most pugnacious and most anti-peace government in the Jewish state’s history.

The government will include explicitly murderous elements, including Ayelet Shaked, who openly called for murdering innocent civilians, including children.

The new government will be a government of settlers, for the settlers and by the settlers. Indeed, with a fanatical settler leader the aforementioned Shaked becoming “Justice Minister,” it is expected that the entire justice system in Israel will be manipulated in the service of the fascist-minded settlers and their crazy ambitions, namely the seizure of more Palestinian land and property as well as the possible expulsion of many Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.

Needless to say, the settlers’ strategy is to establish a racist Jewish state, “unspoiled and uncontaminated by goyem.”

The new government is also expected to complete the process of killing and burying the already moribund peace process.

Given the clear-cut fascist mindset of the bulk of its coalition partners, the new government will strongly resist any potential international pressure coming from the West, including Israel’s guardian-ally the United States.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and right-wing allies already view U.S. President Barak Obama with utter contempt. Netanyahu’s obvious disrespect of the man in the White House was brazenly illustrated shortly before the Israeli elections, when the Israeli premier flew in the face of the White House by delivering a speech in Congress, against the wishes of Obama.

One Israeli commentator intimated that Netanyahu’s unspoken words then sounded like this:  ‘I, not Obama, call the shots, in Washington.”

Now, with the Republican Party sheepishly groveling at Netanyahu’s feet, the self-absorbed Israeli premier is likely to display more arrogance and recalcitrance, not only vis-à-vis the helpless Palestinians but also in his approach to the rest of the world.

Open war on the Palestinians

The new Israeli government is likely to seek to further narrow Palestinian horizons as never before. This might include a number of draconian repressive measures against Palestinians including a marked escalation in land seizure, a marked escalation in house-demolition and a marked escalation in the especially cruel policy of detaining Palestinian activists for prolonged periods without charge or trial.

In the Gaza Strip, Israel under the new government would probably perfect the already hermetic blockade of the coastal enclave. Moreover, Israel may be allured to carry out another war of aggression on Gaza, if only to appease the sadistic urges of various coalition partners.

This week, Israeli “defense” minister Moshe Yaalon, who will retain the post in the new government, on Tuesday said Israel would attack entire civilian neighborhoods during any future assault on Gaza or Lebanon.

“We are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future,” Yaalon was quoted as saying at a conference in Jerusalem this week.

The next government is also likely to give the manifestly fascist settlers a free rein to harass, torment, dispossess and even murder innocent Palestinians. The unbridled settler violence could eventually lead to a bloody showdown between Israel and the Palestinian people as the weak Palestinian Authority (PA) would find itself in an unviable situation, being utterly unable to protect its own citizens from the unrestrained ghoul, while having to rely on Israel for its very survival.

More provocations at al-Masjidul Aqsa

In addition to settler violence, it is widely expected that the new Israeli government will give Messianic Jewish extremists a carte blanch to carry out more provocations against Muslims at the Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam.

This could trigger a huge conflagration in the region as no other issue has the potential of galvanizing Arabs and Muslims against Israel. This in turn would create real problems for neighboring states, such as Jordan and Egypt, which have peace treaties with Israel.

All in all, a brazen Israeli insolence, met with official Arab impotence, would probably make extremist groups, such as al-Qaeda and IS, ever more appealing to the disillusioned masses. Even relatively moderate political groups like Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic liberation movement, could lose some of its luster in favor of the more radical groups. Moreover, in countries such as Jordan, popular indignation and rage would reach unprecedented levels.

This situation might induce certain regional powers to “fish in troubled water” by creating, financing and even arming “Houthis-like cells” for the purpose of destabilizing certain Arab countries. This would be more than just “creative anarchy and chaos.” It would be a nightmare coming true.

Coupled with the inevitable collapse of the  peace process, or whatever has remained of it, a heightened tension over al-Masjidul Aqsa, accompanied with various levels of violence and bloodshed, would make this summer distinctively “hot,” as the region might witness  paradoxical forces moving in opposition directions, including millions of people boiling with anger, regimes struggling  rather desperately to survive in the face of simmering discontent in the Main Street, and, of course, a recalcitrant Israel hell-bent on fulfilling its Messianic aspirations

From my vantage point here in the West Bank, will continue to hope and pray for peace. However, the looming portents don’t seem auspicious at all. They look rather very very gloomy.

THE ISRAELI ROAD TO THE ABYSS

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom and I don’t see into the future. However, from the intensive experience of 50 years of closely observing Israeli behavior, I honestly believe that such scenarios are not outside the realm of possibility. They could happen. History does repeat itself, if only because most men don’t learn from their blunders. And Israeli leaders are not driven by wisdom or morality, but rather by arrogance and evil millenarianism, very much like Hitler was. We know the rest of the story.

Israel heading to the abyss

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

Group photo of the 'Elders' from May, 2010

Group photo of the ‘Elders’ from May, 2010

 

As a member of the independent Elders Group of global leaders, former US president Jimmy Carter made some interesting remarks during a brief visit to the West Bank this week.

The group, founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2007 and  includes former presidents from several countries, was barred by Israel from visiting the Gaza Strip, thoroughly devastated by a sustained Israeli bombing campaign last summer, which lasted for 53 days.

Much of what Carter said was actually regurgitation of past platitudes repeated ad nauseam by the former American president.

He urged Palestinians to hold elections in order to end the de facto division between the West Bank and Gaza, as if holding elections in occupied Palestine or even ending the rift between Fatah and Hamas were the mother of all problems.

Likewise, Carter didn’t comment on the likelihood that Israel (and probably the PA as well) wouldn’t accept the outcome of any elections in case Hamas, the Islamic liberation group, emerged as the main winner.

Not malicious, but naïve

I am not accusing the man from Georgia of ill-will or harboring any malicious intentions. But I do think that the former president is being overly naïve, too trusting and probably a little misinformed.

I believe it is imperative that Carter and his colleagues ought to have an accurate prognosis of the situation on the ground. They ought to understand that Israel has effectively killed any remaining chances for the two-state solution. The ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish settlements in every part of the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem, has irreversibly eradicated any remaining possibility for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

It is really mind-boggling that this outstanding fact is being ignored or belittled by people who are supposed to be intelligent and wise.

Is this a conscious or subconscious effort to retain a semblance of hope for peace lest people suddenly find themselves face to face with a reality they never wanted to see?

No Room left for Palestinian state

Well, the world at large, including Muslims and Jews, ought to be courageous enough to come to terms with reality, namely that there is no room left for a Palestinian state and that alternative solutions need to be sought.

But, unfortunately, there are not many alternatives to be sought for resolving the seemingly perpetual conflict.

Indeed, with the two-state solution practically eliminated, there are only two alternatives left.

First, the establishment of a unitary state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean in which Jews and Arabs live together in peace and equality. But such an idea is anathema for Zionism as it constitutes its ultimate antithesis.

A unitary state, irrespective of the name, would effectively put an end to Israel as it has been since its creation in Palestine 67 years ago. Moreover, the clear Arab demographic advantage over Jews in mandatory Palestine (Israel and the occupied territories) would eventually lead to a state with a clear if not overwhelming Arab Muslim majority in a matter of few decades.

Zionist strategists are aware of these prospects, but they seriously lack the means (or ideas) to defer or circumvent these prospects.

They propose perpetual apartheid, application of more repression against the Palestinians, narrowing their horizons, economic pressure, even forced emigration, as “suggestions” to save the Zionist enterprise.

But these suggestions, which express frustration on the part of the Zionist movement, could cause Israel to face even more existential perils endangering Israel’s very survival. Apartheid is not easy to sustain, and ethnic cleansing on a wide scale would be tantamount to genocide. Would the Jews, the victims of Nazi Germany, seek to emulate their former tormentors and grave-diggers in order to achieve goals that differ little from those of the Third Reich, namely maintaining an ethnically and religiously pure state?

I have no doubt that Zionist leaders will miss no opportunity to trigger wars, hunt for “opportunities,” create alibis, spread chaos and turbulence in the region and beyond in order to seize the chance to expel the Palestinians, or most of them, using a combination of  mass murder and  mass terror.

But that would be the ultimate Holocaust. It would also be an act of suicide as well for Israel and Jews alike.  Indeed, Israel, already a pariah state, would become the object of intense hatred and vilification by the rest of the world and Jews everywhere in the world would suffer the consequences of their state’s folly.

Similarly, millions of Muslims around the world would become suicide bombers targeting Jews and their supporters. IS would grow and expand a thousand fold, with governments and security agencies utterly unable to stem the tide of millions of youths joining its ranks.

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom and I don’t see into the future. However, from the intensive experience of 50 years of closely observing Israeli behavior, I honestly believe that such scenarios are not outside the realm of possibility. They could happen. History does repeat itself, if only because most men don’t learn from their blunders. And Israeli leaders are not driven by wisdom or morality, but rather by arrogance and evil millenarianism, very much like Hitler was. We know the rest of the story.

Open-ended conflict

The alternative to establishing a unitary state in Palestine/Israel is open-ended conflict. I think this is what will eventually be the case. This is sad, but inevitable. But it does mean that Israel will have to live by the sword for eternity. Israel is not a small isolated state living by itself in a remote region. Israel is in the heart of the Arab world, and within a few decades, will be surrounded by 600 million hostile Muslims, seething with hatred and indignation for everything Zionist.

In short, all future scenarios facing Israel are negative if not nightmarish, which means that Netanyahu, Bennet, et al, are taking Israel to the abyss. 

FROM BALTIMORE TO JERUSALEM ~~ #BlackLivesMatter

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Related report from Mondoweiss

Baltimore Is Here': Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality in Jerusalem

Ben Norton*

Police clamp down on an Ethiopian Israeli protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi

Police clamp down on an Ethiopian Israeli protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi

Ethiopian Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on the evening of April 30 to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Haaretz reports that approximately 1,000 protesters gathered, principally from the Ethiopian Jewish community.

The citizens condemned racism and police brutality toward the Ethiopian Jewish community, calling for the end of impunity for cops who harass them.

A video released of a white Israeli police officer attacking a black Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv on April 26 angered many in the Ethiopian Israeli community, which is disproportionately targeted by Israeli police. The video shows officers pushing Demas Fekadeh, an Ethiopian Israeli soldier, to the ground and beating him.

Zionist Union Member of Knesset Shelly Yachimovich remarked in a Facebook post “It wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect that if [Demas Fekadeh], the soldier who was hit, was a light-skin soldier, preferably with an Ashkenazi appearance, he would not have sustained harsh blows without consideration from police.”

Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Haaretz)

Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Haaretz)

This is by no means an isolated incident. In March 2014, an Ethiopian Israeli by the name of Yosef Salamseh was in a public park with his friends when police approached him. They accused him of breaking into a house, a claim he adamantly denied. The cops then attacked him with a Taser gun, kicked him, handcuffed him, shackled his legs, threw him in a police car, and detained him in a nearby police station. His family later found him unconscious and tied-up. A few months later, he died. Police claimed it was a suicide.

In the wake of the incident, Salamseh came to be known by many as “Israel’s Michael Brown,” referring to an 18-year-old black American man who was walking down the street with a friend in Ferguson, Missouri when white police officer Darren Wilson shot him nine times, three times in the head.

An Ethiopian Israeli blocking a police vehicle in a protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi)

An Ethiopian Israeli blocking a police vehicle in a protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi)

Numerous journalists reported that the Ethiopian Jewish protesters in Jerusalem were chanting “Baltimore is here!”, connecting their struggle against racist brutality in Israel to the struggle of black Americans against racist brutality in the US.

Civil unrest emerged in Baltimore on April 25, in response to the police killing of Freddie Gray, an innocent, unarmed black man who was arrested for looking at a police officer in the face and then running away. While in police custody, Gray’s voice box was crushed and his spine was 80% severed. Baltimore police later accused him of injuring himself, although video footage was released of cops pummeling Gray. In the video, Gray can be heard asking for his inhaler, as he had trouble breathing, and appears to be incapable of walking, because of the brutal beating he suffered. (Police also harassed and later arrested the man who captured the attack on camera.) A medical expert revealed that it is virtually impossible that Gray injured himself.

Black Israelis have tied their own struggle to that of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US—a civil and human rights movement that emerged in response to the constant police murders of unarmed, innocent black Americans at the hands of white police—not just by drawing connections between Baltimore and Jerusalem, but furthermore by launching an Israeli offshoot of the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” campaign.

Ethiopian Israelis protesting police brutality outside of Netanyahu’s house, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Keren Simons)

Ethiopian Israelis protesting police brutality outside of Netanyahu’s house, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Keren Simons)

Thousands of Ethiopian Jews reportedly also gathered outside of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s house, in protest of racist police violence.

Israeli police sprayed protesters with “skunk water” to break up the protests. Israeli forces do the same to peaceful Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank. There are also numerous recorded instances of occupation forces spraying skunk water into Palestinian homes.

According to police, some Ethiopian Israeli protesters in the largely peaceful demonstrations were also throwing stones—a protest tactic in which Palestinians living under military occupation in the occupied territories also engage.

The intense racism people of African descent face in Israel is well-documented. Many journalists have written of “Israel’s Disgustingly Racist Behavior Towards Ethiopian Jews.” The self-proclaimed Jewish state has forcibly sterilized Ethiopian Jews,refused to take blood donations from Ethiopian Members of Knesset (referring to it as “the special kind of Jewish-Ethiopian blood” they avoid), and even refused to wed Ethiopian Jews, expressing doubts that they are “truly” Jewish.

An Israeli police officer uses his baton to attack a protester lying on the ground at a demonstration against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30, 2015. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli police officer uses his baton to attack a protester lying on the ground at a demonstration against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30, 2015. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

2/3rds of Ethiopian Jewish children in Israel live in poverty. Many Ethiopian Jews are forced to live either in ghettos or illegal settlements. These gaping disparities and this structural racism have led to critics calling Israel an Ashkenazi-supremacist state and Zionism a white-supremacist movement, one that is itself anti-Semitic in its oppression of non-Ashkenazi Jews.

Scholar Hanan Chehata describes Israel as the “promised land for Jews… as long as they’re not black.”

Jews of African descent are not the only ones to suffer from the Ashkenazi supremacy of Zionism. Since its earliest days, Mizrahi Jews (those of Middle Eastern descent) have faced systematic discrimination in Israeli society. In the 1950s, Israel forced Mizrahi Jews to live in poverty in tents in shantytown-like transit camps while Ashkenazim were given hotels.

In the decades since, Mizrahim have continued to endure systemic racism. This intense oppression led to the creation of the Israeli Black Panthers, in parallel to the revolutionary socialist Black Panther Party in the US. Former Israeli Black Panthers still protest Israeli racism against Mizrahi Jews today.

* About Ben Norton Ben is a freelance writer and journalist. His work has been published in CounterPunch, Electronic Intifada, Common Dreams, ThinkProgress, and ZNet, among other publications.

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Photos from solidarity demo in New York

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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MAY DAY IN PHOTOS

The Worker’s Song

Union Square, New York City

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ SIT-IN AND ARRESTS FOR NUCLEAR SANITY

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Ready and waiting to 'serve and protect'

Ready and waiting to ‘serve and protect’

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IN PHOTOS ~~ MARCHING FOR NUCLEAR SANITY

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A huge anti-nuclear march  took place on the streets of Manhattan  Sunday April 26th .  It stretched twelve long city blocks along one car lane from Union sq. 14th St. to 47th St. at the U.N where nuclear disarmament talks are now under way. The estimated number of marches was 5,000+.  

Marchers came from various areas of the U.S.  There was International participation also. The Japanese contingent was by far the largest ( more Japanese participants than US participants), with some people also from Belgium, France and Korea, who joined  the march. At the U.N. a massive rally was held. There were speakers,  dancers and singers. Petitions signed by over 6 million people was delivered to the U.N. demanding an end to nuclear weapons.

There were no mainstream media T.V. mobile units to record this march for  the public.  Once again  Americans  are made to remain ignorant of peace movement events going on around them.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer Commentary by Chippy Dee

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IN PHOTOS ~~ BRINGING THE OCCUPATION TO NEW YORK

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer Commentary by Chippy Dee

Last Friday evening, April 24th, Haneen Zoabi, Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Knesset, spoke to a packed crowd of about 300+ in an auditorium at New York University in NYC.  The room was filled beyond capacity with people standing on the sides and sitting on the ground in the aisles.  She was invited there by the NYU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.  Before she arrived an unsigned leaflet was circulated accusing her of being a friend of Hamas and a supporter of terror.  A very small group of Israel’s supporters stood in the rear of the auditorium waving 2 Israeli flags.

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MK Zoabi entered from the rear, walking briskly, surrounded by 3 bodyguards.  The crowd stood up applauding enthusiastically for many minutes.  She appeared moved and a little surprised by the welcome saying that she does not receive such a greeting very often.  The bodyguards, ever vigilant, remained close to her. 

She then addressed the leaflet attacking her that had been handed out – she was holding a copy in her hand.  She said she was elected  to the Knesset in 2009, the 1st woman to win election as part of an Arab party.  Since then there have been repeated attempts to silence her.  She stated that Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East but compared to what, Arab dictatorships?  There is certainly no comparison to the U.S. and other western democracies – it is very different in Israel.  The democracy in Israel is only for the Jews.  She added that she stands against all injustice, not only the injustices against Palestinians.  She is a feminist, standing for full equality between men and women and will never agree to give others advantages over Palestinians in our homeland.

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She is fighting against racist Zionism, not against Jews.  85% of the Palestinians have been expelled during the ongoing Nakba and have been made refugees.  574 cities, towns, and villages have been destroyed.  The names of everything has been changed robbing Palestinians of geographic familiarity and now Palestinians are being driven out of the Negev. She then looked to the back of the room where Israeli flags were still being waved and asked, “What are  you so proud of?” 

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Zoabi said that Israel is threatened by a real democracy because there is a conflict between being a Jewish state and a democracy.  Palestinians are the indigenous people of their land and, as here in the U.S., indigenous people have to demand their rights in a democracy.  Usually when immigrants arrive in a new land they have to fight for their rights but in Israel it is the other way around.  Israel is demanding that she be loyal to the group that is oppressing her.  There is a tyranny of the majority there.  Over 50 laws discriminate against Palestinian citizens within Israel.  Family unification is not allowed, Palestinians cannot bring a spouse into the country.  The income of Jews is 3 times higher than that of Palestinians who are marginalized and not allowed to develop an economy.  An oppressive legal system is directed against Palestinians.

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Then Zoabi noted that she had been talking mostly about Israel and not Palestine.  What do Palestinians want?  “WE DON’T WANT TO THROW ANYONE INTO THE SEA.”  We want to live in full equality with the right of return in 1 state or 2 and we want the occupation ended now.  There was no talk about the occupation in the past 3 Israeli elections.  Israelis believe nothing is wrong while 50 rabbis recently published a demand that housing should not be rented to Palestinians, 33% of Israeli Jews agreed to imprison Palestinians in concentration camps if a war broke out, and 53% say that Palestinians  should not be represented equally with Jews when budgets are created even though they pay taxes.  She believes that Palestinians should go to the international court, demand that Oslo be reconsidered, and reject negotiations that have proved pointless.  Her conclusion was that, most of all, Palestinians must challenge Israeli racism and be very clear about respecting the rights of Israeli Jews.

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Then there was a Q & A period where the audience was able to respectfully ask questions about subjects she did not address in her speech.  One of the more interesting questions was, to paraphrase, Do you support BDS even if it means that Palestinians are hurt by it?  Her response was an unequivocal, YES, even if it hurts us.

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When she finished her presentation she received another standing ovation.  People rushed forward to talk to her, pose for photos with her, and shake her hand.  When she moved to leave a group of about 30 young men who had come to hear her joined her bodyguards to see that she exited safely.  And she left through the front door.

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A RESOLUTION GERMANY OWES HISTORY

If the Bundestag chooses to refuse Palestinian statehood when called to act on it, this would be totally out of synchronization with the long-standing German position for two-states as a model to resolve the conflict. Germany’s political integrity is at stake.

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A Resolution Germany Owes History

By Sam Bahour

One way or another, Germany’s Bundestag is about to make history with the upcoming vote on the issue of recognizing Palestinian statehood. A positive vote for Palestine would finally strengthen the European Union’s weakest link in contributing to Middle East Peace. A negative vote for Palestinian statehood would leave the Palestinians with no political horizon, which can only lead to more violence and/or a strategic shift where Palestinians drop their bid for statehood and convert their struggle to a total civil rights struggle: in essence, forcing a one state reality politically to match the military one state reality that Israel has had the luxury to construct, with nearly 50 years of its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem.

Palestine did not fall into a historic crisis due to a natural disaster. Dispossession, discrimination and prolonged military occupation was the result, to a great extent, of the colossal tragedy that befell Jews in Europe. We Palestinians are still paying the price for those acts today. It is long overdue that this manmade nightmare should end.

If the Bundestag chooses to refuse Palestinian statehood when called to act on it, this would be totally out of synchronization with the long-standing German position for two-states as a model to resolve the conflict. Germany’s political integrity is at stake.

Fear-mongers have unleashed their venom against Palestinian statehood in the discourse in Germany. By now, their mode of operation is well-known, and has failed over and over again. It failed with all 138 countries that voted overwhelmingly in favor of the 2012 Palestinian bid for observer state status in the UN (Germany abstained) and it is failing in country after country, where bilateral recognition (over 130 countries to date) of Palestine is growing by the day. With the newly re-elected Israeli prime minister winning on a campaign rally of no two-states, the burden of action now squarely sits on the lap of the international community.

Allow me to take a brief issue with the arguments made by those who urge Germany to not join the global momentum toward recognizing Palestine.

THEY SAY Palestinians never missed an opportunity for peace. The fact of the matter is that the boot of Israeli occupation was never, ever removed from the neck of Palestinians to give them a fighting chance to create a new reality—not in Oslo, not in the West Bank, not in East Jerusalem, and surely not in the Gaza Strip. The unrelenting extent of Israel’s effective control over all the occupied territory is no longer an issue for debate; historical record is clear.

THEY SAY the Palestinian political body promotes extremism and violence. The fact of the matter is that it is a miracle that the Palestinians have been able to maintain any sense of a political system at all, given Israel’s systematic, forced fragmentation of the Palestinians’ geographic reality, campaign of targeted assassinations and continued policy of imprisoning Palestinian political leadership, including over a dozen democratically elected members of the legislative council. In light of this reality on the ground, the Palestinians still beg the international community to uphold international law and UN resolutions, themselves bringing the two-state solution to the podium of the UN General Assembly for approval. What is clear is, now that the majority of the world accepts Palestinian statehood, that if key international players, Germany being on the top of the list, drop the ball of bringing Palestine into existence on the ground, no one should complain if the younger generation of Palestinians drop statehood once and for all and we are back in a cycle of never-ending violence.

THEY SAY the Palestinians’ struggle for freedom and independence is linked to the horrific events unfolding in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The fact of the matter is that even the Israeli security establishment has acknowledged that regional events are very different and detached from what Palestinians are requesting. Actually, it is the Palestinian movement, not to mention the Palestinian refugees stuck for 60 years in the region due to Israel refusing to allow them to return home, who have the most to lose with the region engulfed in domestic and regional chaos.

THEY SAY Palestinians must be put through a test to prove our worthiness of freedom. The fact of the matter is that in the world of global governance there are no teachers and classrooms, only international law which applies to all. No excuse under the sun can justify one more day of military occupation, especially one that does not view itself as an occupation and continues to facilitate its citizens’ squatting on Palestinian lands.

In the Oslo Peace Accords, over twenty year ago, Palestinians recognized the state of Israel, in writing. In reply, Israel merely recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the representative of the Palestinian people. This lopsided starting point may have contributed to the failure of the entire Oslo exercise. Today’s Germany has the opportunity to correct that historic mismatch and save the region from future violence, let alone saving Israel from itself.

The previous UK Consul General in Jerusalem, Sir Vincent Fean, addressed his country’s upcoming debate on Palestinian statehood in The Sunday Herald(Scotland) on 19 April 2015 in an article titled, “We can restore hope in a just peace for Palestine and Israel.” He wrote, “Palestinians have the right to statehood, peace with justice and hope. Israelis have the same right to live in safety, with good neighbours and shared hope. We can do what is right for both peoples. Our next Government should recognise the State of Palestine alongside Israel, to preserve the two-state solution. Failure to resolve this conflict fairly remains the best recruiting sergeant for violent extremism. We regain our balance by upholding the international law we helped to write.”

The Bundestag has a choice to make. It can continue looking backwards in history on this issue and ignore its leading role in securing peace in the Middle East, or it can courageously look forward, maybe even recognizing something it owes history, and assume leadership in this debate. The choice is yours. We hope you will make the choice for peace. 

 

German Version

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS DEMAND MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE

No commentary necessary …. the 2,000 Plus demonstrators say it all on their placards … 

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Related Article from CounterPunch

Wage Gains Won’t Last, Unless Fight for 15 Builds Worker Power

by ARUN GUPTA

When fast-food workers first took the streets in New York City in November 2012 to protest for higher wages and a union no one could have imagined how successful the campaign would be. Since then the low-wage workers movement, known as Fight for 15, has helped spureleven states and numerous cities to raise the minimum hourly wage. It’s enabled campaigns in Seattle and the Bay Area to pass citywide measures for $15-an-hour minimum wage. Fight for 15 and a separate campaign called Organization United for Respect at Walmart has also pushed companies like McDonald’s, Target, and Walmart to announce in early 2015 that they would raise the minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of employees.

The success of the organizing is due to everything from the abysmal recovery from the 2008 economic crisis to Occupy Wall Street’s role in shifting the national dialogue from austerity to economic inequality. But Fight for 15 is due primarily to the Service Employees International Union, which initiated the campaign in 2011 and has poured tens of millions of dollars into growing waves of protest that are battering the image of the fast-food giants.

As the protests have grown, the campaign has become both broad and narrow. SEIU has linked the plight of fast-food workers to that of retail and convenience-store workers, home healthcare aides, childcare workers, and adjunct professors. At the same time Fight for 15 is focusing its fire on McDonald’s. One SEIU insider says the strategy is, “Pummel them until they come to the table.” Another organizer outlined the thinking back in 2013: Fight for 15 was trying to cause enough problems for McDonald’s image and stock price that SEIU could say to the company, “We can make this all go away” if it agreed to a deal on wages and unionization.

Using the National Labor Relations Board, SEIU has filed charges of unfair labor practices and wage theft against McDonald’s franchises. The strategy paid off after the NLRB general counsel ruled in July 2014 that McDonald’s has joint employer responsibility, opening space for SEIU to pressure the corporate parent, rather than dealing with 3,100 U.S. franchisees. SEIU is also raising the heat overseas. The European Union is investigating McDonald’s for allegedly dodging more than $1 billion in taxes and labor federations in Brazil are suing McDonald’s largest franchisee in Latin America for wage and workplace violations. A participant in a recent strategy session held with Scott Courtney, said to be SEIU’s mastermind for Fight for 15, says the next step under consideration is to create trouble for McDonald’s on the property front, which is as much a titan of real estate as it is of hamburgers.

McDonald’s claims the campaign has had no effect on its operations and that it could not afford to raise wages. Over the last year its internationalsales have been flat and its profits have fallen sharply. So its announcement on April 1 that it would raise pay for workers at corporate-owned U.S. stores was widely viewed as a concession to Fight for 15. That move backfired, however, as the raise is only 89 cents an hour on average and affects just 10 percent of its U.S. workforce. Plus, sources say McDonald’s has quietly approached SEIU and is looking for a deal. For nearly two years there have been rumors that SEIU was considering some alternative to a union for the fast-food sector, such as a workers association.

A workers association, however, would mean fewer rights and protections for workers than a traditional union. This points to the question that’s been hanging over Fight for 15 since it caught fire. What is SEIU’s end game? I asked one organizer if the campaign is building working power, and the response was blunt: “The goal is not worker power. It’s a contract.”

Since a traditional union contract with McDonald’s or any other fast-food company remains unlikely, the campaign goals need to be better aligned with reality. Fight for 15 has been remarkably successful on wages, but unless it is trying to increase worker’s power on the job, any wage and benefit improvements won through public pressure, negative publicity, and community-based protest activity will be hard to sustain in the absence of ongoing workplace organization or networks of some sort.

Now, many Fight for 15 organizers point out SEIU is the only big union gambling on trying to organize an industry with millions of unorganized workers, and it’s putting thousands of workers in motion. Organizing low-wage workers is a long overdue response to the neoliberal turn that dealt a historic defeat to organized labor during the 1980s. Millions of new jobs are projected to be in occupations like food prep, retail, and healthcare aides that pay $9 to $12 an hour. The jobs have few benefits, schedules and hours are erratic and there tends to be high turnover. This is the base for Fight for 15, OUR Walmart and a broader campaign known as 15 Now, initiated by the Seattle-based Socialist Alternative.

A fundamental goal of labor organizing is to take labor out of competition with itself. But that is nearly impossible when low-skilled, low-wage workers have few rights and number in the tens of millions. Fight for 15’s approach is unorthodox, but it is constrained by organized labor’s history. Class-struggle unionism has been abandoned by labor leaders who act as junior partners to corporations, like SEIU and Kaiser Permanente, the UAW and auto companies, the machinists union and Boeing, and the building trades and real-estate developers. Many union leaders are also in the pocket of the Democratic Party despite it being in the pocket of Wall Street.

Fight for 15 trying to make trouble for global corporations, but it’s not pursuing a working-class struggle. (Few unions are interested in that; that’s the job of the organized left.) Fight for 15 is more of a legal and public relations campaign, as I explain, than an organizing campaign. It is bearing fruit, but mainly as a spillover than in the fast-food sector. This includes adjunct professor organizing, which with the assistance of unions, especially SEIU, have notched many victories since 2013. Thousands of healthcare workers, who make up about half of SEIU’s membership, are agitating for $15 an hour, which is also in response to the 2014 Supreme Court ruling that imposed limits on union membership for home-care aides. There are also linkages with the Black Lives Matter movement, which is significant given Fight for 15 is the biggest mobilization of African-American workers since the 1960s. While these are inchoate forms of solidarity and social-justice unionism, they remain underdeveloped because of the top-down nature of Fight for 15.

The most intriguing outcomes of Fight for 15 are citywide campaigns for a raise in the minimum wage, which has opened up organizing space for the left. Fifteen dollars an hour is now reality in Seattle, albeit it with loopholes, with most low-wage workers expected to earn that by 2017. San Francisco’s ballot measure for $15 an hour was spearheaded by SEIU Local 1021, which one observer calls a model for a worker-run union. Fight for $15 campaign helped legitimize the idea in Seattle. The local SEIU affiliate’s biggest contribution was a $15-an-hour ballot measure that won in the SeaTac suburb. But the heavy lifting was done by Socialist Alternative and its inside and outside political approach, aggressive reporting and support from The Stranger, a well-regarded newsweekly, and incoming Mayor Ed Murray’s decision to back the measure and establish a committee to shape, for good and bad, the final bill. 15 Now is currently pushing $15 an hour statewide in Oregon and according to sources is encountering resistance from some unions that are reluctant to challenge Democratic politicians.

In terms of Fight for 15, its efforts have been more effective in the digital realm than in the real world when it comes to fast-food workers. One Fight for 15 organizer says, “SEIU would like the public to perceive this as a large and growing movement creating a crisis. They are creating the perception of a wave.”

But the campaign is also hamstrung, and SEIU’s media-centric strategy inhibits it from making hay from it. The organizer explains, “Workers are afraid to stand up. The number one problem is fear. I would say less than 4 percent of the workers we contact stay on board. They jump on and jump off [Fight for 15] all the time.” Workers have every reason to be afraid. One study from 2005 estimated 23,000 workers a year are penalized or fired for legitimate union activity, making a mockery of laws meant to protect workplace organizing.

A rich account of the difficulty and potential of worker-run, shop-based organizing in the fast-food industry is provided by Erik Forman in New Forms of Worker Organization. He recounts an IWW campaign in Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in Minneapolis, which narrowly lost a union vote but gained many concessions, wage increases and most important, worker consciousness, solidarity and power. Provocations and illegal acts by the bosses were used to build organization and militancy, not shunted over to law firms and P.R. agencies as in Fight for 15. But the campaign was dealt a serious blow by the mass firing of six organizers. (Forman’s scathing critique of a complacent union bureaucracy as an outcome of labor law and how labor law proved to be a dead end is also important to consider.)

SEIU has far more resources to confront employer threats of firing and retaliation, but creating a shop-by-shop base of power would still be a monumental task. Fight for 15 could nurture worker power other ways, but it has forgone a bottom-up struggle. Its worker leaders serve to energize other workers, relate a compelling personal story and act as a media spokesperson. In other words, they provide the image of a leader rather than the substance of a leader who can organize the workplace, engage in shop-floor warfare against the boss, develop worker solidarity, and force concessions while building a militant rank and file.

The site of worker power in Fight for 15 is supposed to be the organizing committees, but within the staff-driven campaign participants say workers have little power. Strike votes are usually not held unless the staff leadership is confident it will win. Meetings are for pumping up workers and feeding them information, not democratic debate and decision-making. The annual Fight for 15 conferences, with the next one reportedly set for this summer in Detroit, are described as heavily scripted. I asked one organizer if it was true that worker leaders made decisions during weekly national conference calls. The response was, “That’s bullshit, and I know because I participate in those calls.” Plus, a one person says during a strategy session Scott Courtney was introduced to workers as “the reason you are all here.” Compare this SEIU’s claim in 2013 that it is following the lead of fast-food workers and “We don’t yet understand the scale of it” when in fact it gave birth to the fast-food workers campaign.

Where there is organizing in Fight for 15, it is more in the streets than in the workplace. The big days of action are vital for the sense of momentum. Allies from community groups, students and union staff swell numbers, add to the festivity, make a more favorable media impression, sway public opinion, and make it look as if the campaign is growing.

One can make the case that SEIU made a sound decision in forgoing a worker-centric campaign for a P.R. and legal strategy. But then it can no longer said to be a worker-driven movement. If SEIU admitted workers’ fear of being fired or disciplined by employers leads to high turnover in Fight for 15, it would undermine the perception that more and more fast-food workers are joining and staying with the campaign. A lack of power also means workers follow the dictates of paid organizers, who in turn say they get their marching orders from SEIU leaders.

A few organizers have mentioned SEIU’s P.R. firm, BerlinRosen Public Affairs, is involved in the strategy. In fact, a 25-page document entitled “Strike in a Box,” which bears BerlinRosen’s logo, is presented as a how-to-guide for building a successful strike. This and other documents provide more evidence for the top-down management of Fight for 15, which is logical given the enormous effort devoted to organizing just one protest in one city. The fact that Fight for 15 staged more than 200 protests in U.S. cities on April 15 indicates how many resources SEIU has committed.

For example, one fast-food protest in 2013 was run like a military campaign. The staffing plan included the local organizing leadership, four different media workers, half-a-dozen “defusers” to soothe any trouble, a photographer, videographer, police liaison, chant leader and energizer, a supply team, drivers, onsite legal, a criminal lawyer on standby, breakfast and lunch coordinators, and people designated to hand out signs, flags, t-shirts, and water. A spreadsheet mapped out protests by the minute, noting times and location for loading vans, picking up workers, talking points for press conferences, skits, prayers, dancing in the streets, and “walk backs” of workers the next day to minimize retaliation. Insiders say to maximize turnout, Fight for 15 will sometimes rent hotel rooms for workers the night before a protest, rent vans to drive them to the start point, and provide meals.

Strike in a Box appears to be from an earlier stage of Fight for 15, but it is insightful. It starts with a “Legal FAQ” that describes different types of strikes under labor law. It cautions against any conduct that can be classified as picketing as “picketing is considered coercive and incurs more liability for the union,” such as forcing a union election. Instead it says to focus on unfair labor practices as “ULP strikes are the legal crown jewel of strikes.”

The document gives tips for discovering, recording and tracking unfair labor practices. Workers in various Fight for 15 chapters say uncovering ULPs became a priority nearly two years ago, with organizers regularly asking for incidences of employer retaliation or discrimination.

The link between the legal and media strategy is in the section on “Site Assessments,” which begins by asking how many active and strong ULP’s there are at a particular establishment. The section also asks if it’s a good site to focus on, the existence of strong leaders, and then shifts to questions about messaging:

“Is it an iconic brand? Does the brand help tell a story, locally and/or nationally?

“Do we have spokespeople?

Trained? Reliable? Experienced?

“Do we have stories?

Compelling worker stories

Horror stories about site practices (wage theft, sexual harassment, etc)

Connection to broader themes (cutting hours because of Obamacare, etc)”

Much of the remainder of Strike in a Box is devoted to recruiting workers with strong stories, organizing the strike vote, how to build a “pull plan” to maximize strike-day turnout, shoring up workers confidence, carrying out the actual strike, and the need for compelling visuals, stories and a narrative. Little is said about workplace organizing. This matches the experiences of many workers in the campaign who say they are not provided with any training on how to build shop-floor organization.

None of this is meant to dismiss Fight for 15. It is having a more profound effect than anyone could have hoped for when it began. But politics don’t just happen. By denying a central role SEIU leaders can deflect questions about controversial strategies and on-the-ground organizing. Likewise, analyzing strategy and tactics years from now is little use in books few people will read. There are many more questions that can and should be asked about Fight for 15.

For example, the campaign is focused primarily on wages and then on scheduling. But once they clock out, fast-food workers confront the dilemmas of childcare, healthcare, transportation, and rent. Fight for 15 talks about the difficulty of living on a poverty wage, but does so in moralistic terms: “fairness.” It avoids a deeper critique because “the goal is a contract.” As much as workers need a pay raise, $15 an hour is of little help in many cities where the average rent on a one-bedroom apartment would eat up the entire income of a full-time worker on this wage. In Seattle, Socialist Alternative has pivoted to organizing around runaway rents, but it’s rare for big unions to seriously organize around rent control or tenants’ rights despite the fact that escalating housing costs are one of the biggest burdens that workers shoulder.

Beyond issues of daily life is workers’ role in the labor process. Building worker power would stop promotional campaigns like McDonald’s embarrassing “Pay with Love” or Starbucks clumsy “Race Together” before they happen. This is not all the responsibility of one organizing campaign but without a serious debate about the strategy Fight for 15 is pursuing and shifting to worker-oriented strategies, it’s hard to see how wage gains will translate into a gain of power for workers.

The campaign has raised hopes on the left of a revival of class consciousness and a working-class movement, but will it come to fruition under SEIU? If history and current events are any guide, the missing ingredient is the organized left. It’s anarchists who made Occupy Wall Street happen, socialists who have revitalized many teachers unions, and socialists and the left that have turned $15 an hour into reality. Without a similar effort, Fight for 15 may give fast-food workers more change in their pockets, but not the power to change their lives.

Arun Gupta contributes to outlets including Al Jazeera America, Vice, The Progressive, The Guardian, and In These Times.

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORK SOLIDARITY WITH YARMOUK REFUGEE CAMP

March from Bryant Park to United Nations Headquarters

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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See THIS recent post  (Click on link)

WORLD TURNS A BLIND EYE TO ISIS’ MASSACRE OF PALESTINIANS

IN PHOTOS ~~ PALESTINE IS A ‘SELL OUT’ IN BROOKLYN

We are happy to report that yesterday was a very positive day in front of the Park Slope Food Coop, as we spent a second day offering members a taste of Palestinian olive oil and za’atar on both matzoh and pita bread. By the end of the day the Coop sold out of the Palestinian olive oil and more will have to be ordered. We will continue to put Palestinian olive oil on the table and invite people to join us in an appreciation of Palestine and it’s right to liberation.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary From We Will Not Be Silent

In the days leading up to Passover, Park Slope Food Coop members  gather outside the coop to offer free samples of the Palestinian olive oil sold inside, on matzoh and pita bread. We have handed out
Four Questions” to add to the traditional Seder questions, and encouraged shoppers to liberate the Passover story of liberation and talk about the Occupation. 

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    Click here to view more photos from this action. 

Click on link below to see our Holiday Post

DON’T PASSOVER PALESTINE THIS HOLIDAY

IN PHOTOS ~~ 5K GAZA RUN

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On Saturday morning, March 28th, the sky over Prospect Park in Brooklyn was leaden, the temperature was more appropriate to January than March, and it seemed to get worse as the hours passed.  However, that did not stop a spirited group of about 600 participants which included every race, ethnicity, and age from gathering to run, or walk, a 5K loop in the park. The event was organized by UNRWA USA in order to raise money to provide mental health services for the traumatized children of Gaza.  Buoyed only by the comradery and love for the children of Gaza, the runners took off at about 9:30 AM with the swifter among them crossing the finish line fairly shortly thereafter.  The walkers returned much later. 

The original goal was for the Brooklyn runners to raise about $50,000 but the amount collected far exceeded that.  $103,000 was raised and money is still coming in showing great support for this cause.  Races like this one have been organized by UNRWA USA in cities throughout the country.  

There was much elation among the participants because the event was so successful and because everyone felt good about being able to do something to help.  But at the same time it is very disturbing to recognize that with all the wealth in the world a UN agency has to create the equivalent of a school ‘bake sale’ to raise money to attempt to heal some of the scars that Israel inflicted on the children of Gaza last summer, destroying their bodies and their homes and murdering their families.  Also, nothing is getting better.  According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2014 more civilians were murdered on the West Bank and in Gaza then at any time since 1967. 

So, while the UNRWA  USA events are very important and should continue because they raise money and help galvanize the many people in the Palestine justice community we all have to do more.  For now, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) remains our most potent tool.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

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Some of the 'older' folks called this event the 5K 'Schlep'

Some of the ‘older’ folks called this event the 5K ‘Shlep’ :)

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104 YEARS LATER ~~ REMEMBERING THE TRIANGLE FIRE AT THE SCENE — PHOTO ESSAY

Never were they forgotten!

The workers died because of the sickening greed of their bosses and the malfeasance of local officials who looked the other way. The bosses never paid for the murder of these workers but in the months and years that followed, American unionism took off and laws protecting workers and improving their conditions were established.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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NYC Fire Dept. displays the ladder they have today which they didn't have 104 years ago ... it was raised to the floor where the fire occurred.

NYC Fire Dept. displays the ladder they have today which they didn’t have 104 years ago … it was raised to the floor where the fire occurred.

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The victims were remembered by name

The victims were remembered by name

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Trade Union members and their children came out to remember the tragedy

Trade Union members and their children came out to remember the tragedy

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White carnations were left at the foot of the building .. each with the name of a victim attached to it

White carnations were left at the foot of the building .. each with the name of a victim attached to it

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And red carnations for the more recent victims in Pakistan ... see the poem that follows

And red carnations for the more recent victims in Pakistan … see the poem that follows

TriangleShirtwaist-Baldia 1911, 2012

 © By Tom Karlson

doors chained

exits blocked

!fire!

the elevator buckles,

fire-escape collapses

women roast or leap

their bodies,

smashed, shattered

sculpted by fire or the fall

charred pick-up sticks

counted, named, mourned

by lovers and family

146 six workers

laid out

on that sidewalk morgue

an unwanted mausoleum

lined with

tear and blood and a desolate dream

this mass death births law, unions,

strikes, reduced profits

the factories abandon the city

the law of maximum profit rules

riding the air-slip of gluttony, and greed

pigs after truffles

suits hunting surplus value

vampires, of the eighty-hour work week

medicated by NAFTA

union maids, law, labels, and lady liberty

are renditioned, shackled

flying Air America to points

south then east

and finally Baldia town, Pakistan

one hundred and one years from Triangle

the traveling factory, this profit making monster

with windows, doors

yes locked, barred

!fire!

314

dead, executed

bones broken

blackened lungs never to sing

crushed skulls never to read

broken feet never to dance

three hundred fourteen dreamless bodies

Chilling Factory Fire In Pakistan Kills Over 300…Similar To The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire In The US Which Killed 146

Chilling Factory Fire In Pakistan Kills Over 300…Similar To The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire In The US Which Killed 146

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THE NAKBA AND THE WAR IN IRAQ

Remembering the Nakba

"Facing the Ongoing Nakba” tour schedule

“Facing the Ongoing Nakba” tour schedule

 

LogoBut

zion wants us to forget about it …

On the eve of an important event to discuss the Nakba* scheduled to take place this evening, the Executive Director of a tony uptown synagogue in New York City where the event was contracted to take place has attempted to cancel the event with no explanation in what can only be perceived as an effort to shut down discussion of the “ongoing Nakba” within the Jewish community.

The event was to feature the Palestinian human rights organization, Badil (whose timely recently released Corporate Complicity in Violations of International Law in Palestine [pdf] is a must read), and Israeli human rights organization Zochrot. It is part of multi-city speaking tour, and was sponsored in New York by four organizations: Jewish Voice for Peace-New York; Nakba Education Project; Jews Say No!; and the National Lawyers Guild Palestine Subcommittee.

*Nakba, means “catastrophe” in Arabic and refers to the forced displacement of Palestinians that began with Israel’s establishment in 1948, and continues to this day.

Read the full report at Mondoweiss

The cancellation results …

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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On the other side of town, the 12th anniversary of Bush’s catastrophe was remembered

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