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

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

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

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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ANOTHER ACT OF SOLIDARITY ON THE SPORT’S FIELD

It is inspiring to see an athlete who cares more about the world than their own ambitions. And it is stunning that so many people are saying that an NFL player this thoughtful and selfless is somehow a “bad” role model, in a league so rife with scandal from the owner’s box to the locker room.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference on Friday, August 26, 2016. (AP Photo / Ben Margot)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference on Friday, August 26, 2016. (AP Photo / Ben Margot)

America Needs to Listen to What Colin Kaepernick Is Actually Trying to Say

Too many people are talking about patriotism and etiquette instead of reckoning with the substance of his critique.

IN MEMORY OF A GREAT DREAM

 

Rosa sat so Martin could walk …
Martin walked so Barack could run …
Barack ran so all our children could fly …
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There is no doubt in my mind that Martin Luther King would have rejoiced the day Obama was elected President of the United States. His dream was finally realised ….
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Or was it??
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The dream did not include the continuation of illegal wars …
Nor the racial profiling and hate crimes in the streets …
Nor the use of drones against innocent civilians …
Nor the erosion of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
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The dream spoken about above was supposed to set us free, but we still have a long way to go.
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Don’t Give Up The Fight!
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This could be the end result …
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IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS CONTINUE TO PROTEST THE NEW ROUND OF POLICE BRUTALITY

For the second day in a row thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Union Square to protest the new round of police brutality ….

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Below is a list of events taking place in New York City over the next few days.

Black Lives Occupy Time Square
Organizer: Tahirah Sharif
When: Sunday 7/10, 11 a.m – 4 p.m.
Where: Times Square
Demonstration to show solidarity in the wake of the tragedies that occured this week. Stand with the families of the brothers #altonsterlingand #philandocastile! Please wear all black, you are welcomed to bring signs, this is a demonstration (not a protest) to show what it looks like when we come together as a unit and take over! It is tourist season let’s give them something to remember NY by!!!! We will not be chanting, we will be standing on the steps in the middle of time square fists raised high!!!!

Justice for Sandra Bland and All Black Women Killed by Police
Organizer: Peoples Power Assemblies
When: Wednesday, 7/13, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Church avenue train station B/Q trains
Please join us in honoring the life of Sandra Bland and letting the community know we are still in the streets, fighting for Sandra Bland and other Black women who were killed by police or who died in police custody.

Back To The Streets For EricGarner #2YearsLater
Organizer: Justice for Eric Garner the fight still continues
When: Sunday 7/15, 5 p.m.
Where: Staten Island Ferry, 1 Bay St., Staten Island
On July 17 2016 We will gather on the Staten island side of the Staten Island Ferry to take it back to the streets for Eric Garner and demand justice.

MISSISSIPPI CONTINUES TO BURN AS CASE IS CLOSED

After 52 Years, the “Mississippi Burning” Case Closes

The Department of Justice and State of Mississippi close the investigation of three civil rights workers killed by KKK members in 1964

Never to be forgotten

Never to be forgotten

Fifty-two years after three civil rights workers were killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan, authorities have officially closed the “Mississippi Burning” case.

“There’s nothing else that can be done,” Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said in a press conference covered by Jerry Mitchell at The Clarion-Ledger on Monday. “I am convinced that during the last 52 years, investigators have done everything possible under the law to find those responsible and hold them accountable; however, we have determined that there is no likelihood of any additional convictions. Absent any new information presented to the FBI or my office, this case will be closed.”

The case started in the summer of 1964, when James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were working to register African-American voters as part of the Freedom Summer campaign. On June 21, the three men traveled to investigate the burning of a church in Neshoba County, as History.com reports.

The Neshoba County deputy sheriff, Cecil Price, also a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, pulled their car over on a speeding charge and made the trio spend hours in jail in the town of Philadelphia.

Investigators later learned that when the men were released from jail, Price tipped off his fellow Klansmen, and then drove to apprehend the activists’ car, himself. Price would eventually catch up to the three men and pull them over. Klansmen then took the activists to an unmarked road where they were beaten and then shot at close range.

The FBI called the investigation, MIBURN (for “Mississippi Burning”) after discovering the men’s charred car two days after they went missing, according to a release by the agency. The FBI would find the men’s bodies several weeks after that. Though an informant identified the 19 assailants, they were not charged by the State of Mississippi. The U.S. Justice Department, however, found a way to charge the assailants for violating the activists’ civil rights. But in 1967, an all-white jury and segregationist judge acquitted nine of the defendants, deadlocked on three, and found seven guilty, including Price. The men were sentenced to terms between three and nine years in jail.

In June, 2005, on the 41 anniversary of the three murders, Edgar Ray Killen, the Klan leader who orchestrated the attack, was found guilty of three counts of manslaughter. In 2010, Hood reopened the case. While two other men involved in the murders are still alive, Hood does not believe there is enough evidence to indict them.

“Tragically for the people of Mississippi, and for our nation, many murders took place over so many years, in which people of color were targeted, and those who attempted to support them became the victims of brutality as well, all deprived of basic civil rights of citizens,” Schwerner’s widow, Rita Bender tells Mitchell. She urges Mississippi officials “to face up to the past and for the people of Mississippi and all of our country to find the resolve to move forward.”

Not everyone thinks its time to move forward. “This case is about Americans murdering Americans because they want to be Americans. This case will never be closed until it heals the wounds that have divided our country,” Goodman’s older brother David tells Juleyka Lantigua-Williams at The Atlantic. “You can’t move past a wound while it’s open, even if you cover it up with a bandage.”

In 2008, Congress passed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Crimes Act, giving the FBI $10 million per year for 10 years to investigate civil-rights-era cold cases, like the Mississippi case. But Janis McDonald, Syracuse law professor and co-director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative accuses the Justice Department of sitting on hundreds of cases of activists being killed police, the KKK and racist individuals. “This doesn’t have anybody’s priority,” she tells Lantigua-Williams. “They’re just not doing the kind of full investigations that the act promised these families they would.”

In 2014, President Obama posthumously awarded Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

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A POEM FOR THE GREATEST

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

 THE GREATEST

© By Tom Karlson

born Cassias Clay1942, became Mohammed Ali 1965

yes he held the Olympic gold

laid out Sunny the bear Liston two times

for the world heavyweight belt

joined the Nation of Islam before the 2nd Liston fight

a warm up for what was coming

 

these epic battles were not against

the brothers’ Frazier and Foreman

when Ali refused induction

brought on a waterfall of hate

this enemy could not be defeated with fist and rhyme,

with bouts of fifteen 3 minute rounds

inside the squared circle

 

this foe, a shape changer

from war, to racism, to religious hatred

this main event reverberated

for three and one-half years

of banishment from boxing

the enemy was defeated with brain and talk

with picket line and printed word and the highest court

 

Ali’s fight and victory resonated

from Alabama to Rubens Island

from Billie Jean King to the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee

and the hundreds of campuses that cheered the champ

 

defeated for a time was the pentagon,

the ugly race hating half of America,

the war-profiteers, and their embedded sports writers

 

winner was tolerance and understanding

and how we were taught by the champ

to fight for our beliefs

 

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

MUHAMMAD ALI WAS A POWERFUL, DANGEROUS POLITICAL FORCE

His life was one of polarization and reconciliation, anger and love, and a ferocious, uncompromising commitment to nonviolence, all delivered through the scandalously dirty vessel of corruption known as boxing. Few have ever walked so confidently and casually from man to myth, and that journey was well earned.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

Don’t remember Muhammad Ali as a sanctified sports hero. He was a powerful, dangerous political force

by Dave Zirin


Muhammad Ali
‘s saga is without parallel: the champion boxer who was the most famous draft resister in history; a man whose phone was bugged by the Johnson and Nixon administrations yet who later was invited to the White House of Gerald Ford; a prodigal son whom his hometown city council in Louisville, Ky., condemned, but who a few years later had a main street renamed in his honor and today has a museum that bears his name.

His life was one of polarization and reconciliation, anger and love, and a ferocious, uncompromising commitment to nonviolence, all delivered through the scandalously dirty vessel of corruption known as boxing. Few have ever walked so confidently and casually from man to myth, and that journey was well earned.

As football great Jim Brown said to me last year: “It was unbelievable, the courage he had. He wasn’t just a championship athlete. He was a champion who fought for his people…. The man used his athletic ability as a platform to project himself right up there with world leaders … going after things that very few people have the courage to go after. From the standpoint of his ability to perform and his ability to be involved with the world, Ali was the most important sports figure in history.”

To this day it is awe-inspiring that he once bellowed ‘God damn the white man’s money’ at a time when such words were more than shocking — they were sacrilege.

Or, as Bill Russell said in 1967 in supporting Ali’s decision to risk five years in prison for resisting the draft: “I envy Muhammad Ali…. He has something I have never been able to attain and something very few people possess: He has absolute and sincere faith. I’m not worried about Muhammad Ali. He is better equipped than anyone I know to withstand the trials in store for him. What I’m worried about is the rest of us.”

Ali’s death, however, should be an opportunity to remember what made him so dangerous in the first place. The best place to start would be to recall the part of him that died decades ago: his voice. No athlete, no politician, no preacher ever had a voice quite like his or used it as effectively as he did. Ali’s voice was playful, lilting, with a rhythm that matched his otherworldly footwork in the boxing ring. It’s a voice that forced you to listen lest you miss a joke, a gibe or a flash of joy.

Retired New York Times sportswriter Robert Lipsyte said to me, “Before everything else, what I’ll remember about the young Ali was that he was so much fun.” And that his voice had a physical beauty that “beat you to death with his attractiveness.”

With that voice, face and body, the man Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. could have been Michael Jordan before Jordan: an icon of ungodly wealth and conspicuous consumption.

But Cassius Clay chose to be Muhammad Ali and do something different with that voice. He used it to speak out from a hyper-exalted sports platform to change the world. He joined the Nation of Islam in frustration with the pace and demands of the civil rights movement. He was willing to go to jail in opposition to the war in Vietnam. But one has to hear the voice, and read the words, to understand what exactly made it so dangerous and, by extension, made it all matter.

Imagine not only an athlete but a public figure telling these kinds of unvarnished truths. To this day it is awe-inspiring that he once bellowed “God damn the white man’s money” at a time when such words were more than shocking — they were sacrilege.

It is awe-inspiring that, when facing five years in prison, Ali said: “I strongly object to the fact that so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in this stand — either I go to jail or go to the Army. There is another alternative, and that alternative is justice. If justice prevails, if my constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end, I am confident that justice will come my way, for the truth must eventually prevail.”

He was equally moving when he said on another occasion: “Boxing is nothing, just satisfying to some bloodthirsty people. I’m no longer a Cassius Clay, a Negro from Kentucky. I belong to the world, the black world. This is more than money.”

In 1967, long before it was obvious to most, Ali connected the black freedom struggle to the injustices of the war in Vietnam, saying: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again: The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people, they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

We haven’t heard Ali speak for himself in more than a generation, and it says something damning about this country that he was only truly embraced after he lost his power of speech, stripped of that beautiful voice. Ali may have seemed like he was from another world, but his greatest gift was that he gave us quite a simple road map to walk his path. It is not about being a world-class athlete or an impossibly beautiful and charismatic person. It is simply to stand up for what you believe in.

Political courage might seem to be in short supply, but it was inside a young boxer from Louisville who dreamed about being King of the World. Goodbye, Champ. Rest in power and peace.

 

Be sure to see YESTERDAY’S POST

REMEMBERING MUHAMMAD ALI’S ‘FIGHTS’ OUTSIDE THE RING

REMEMBERING MUHAMMAD ALI’S ‘FIGHTS’ OUTSIDE THE RING

Ali’s official time of death was 9.10pm MST on Friday, and the cause of death was septic shock due to unspecified natural causes. He did not suffer.

Bella Ciao dear Brother

How we remember the Champ

How we remember the Champ

 

‘I Just Wanted to Be Free’: The Radical Reverberations of Muhammad Ali

by Dave Zirin

The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people’s minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war. But it’s the reverberations that we have to understand in order to see Muhammad Ali as what he remains: the most important athlete to ever live. It’s the reverberations that are our best defense against real-time efforts to pull out his political teeth and turn him into a harmless icon suitable for mass consumption.

When Dr. Martin Luther King came out against the war in Vietnam in 1967, he was criticized by the mainstream press and his own advisors who told him to not focus on “foreign” policy. But Dr. King forged ahead and to justify his new stand, said publicly, “Like Muhammad Ali puts it, we are all—black and brown and poor—victims of the same system of oppression.”

When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, he said that Muhammad Ali gave him hope that the walls would some day come tumbling down.

When John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists on the medal stand in Mexico City, one of their demands was to “Restore Muhammad Ali’s title.” They called Ali “the warrior-saint of the Black Athlete’s Revolt.”

When Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) volunteers in Lowndes County, Alabama launched an independent political party in 1965, their new group was the first to use the symbol of a black panther. Beneath the jungle cat’s black silhouette was a slogan straight from the champ: “WE Are the Greatest.”

When Billie Jean King was aiming to win equal rights for women in sports, Muhammad Ali would say to her, “Billie Jean King! YOU ARE THE QUEEN!” She said that this made her feel brave in her own skin.

The question is why? Why was he able to create this kind of radical ripple throughout the culture and across the world?

What Muhammad Ali did—in a culture that worships sports and violence as well as a culture that idolizes black athletes while criminalizing black skin—was redefine what it meant to be tough and collectivize the very idea of courage. Through the Champ’s words on the streets and deeds in the ring, bravery was not only standing up to Sonny Liston. It was speaking truth to power, no matter the cost. He was a boxer whose very presence taught a simple and dangerous lesson fifty years ago: “real men” fight for peace and “real women” raise their voices and join the fray. Or as Bryant Gumbel said years ago,  “Muhammad Ali refused to be afraid. And being that way, he gave other people courage.”

My favorite Ali line is not him saying, “I hospitalized a rock. I beat up a brick. I’m so bad I make medicine sick” or anything of the sort. It was when he was suspended from boxing for refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War. He was attending a rally for fair housing in Louisville when he said, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d jointomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

Damn. This is not only an assertion of black power, but a statement. It’s a statement of international solidarity: of oppressed people coming together in an act of collective resistance. It was a statement that connected wars abroad with attacks on the black, brown and poor at home, and it was said from the most hyper exalted platform our society offered at the time: the platform of being the Champ.

Please know that these views did not only earn him the hatred of the mainstream press and the right wing of this country. It also made him a target of liberals in the media as well as the mainstream civil rights movement, who did not like Ali for his membership in the Nation of Islam and opposition to what was Lyndon Johnson’s war.

But for an emerging movement that was demanding an end to racism by any means necessary and a very young, emerging anti-war struggle, he was a transformative figure. In the mid-1960s, the anti-war and anti-racist movements were on parallel tracks. Then you had the heavyweight champ. Or as poet Sonia Sanchez put it with aching beauty, “It’s hard now to relay the emotion of that time. This was still a time when hardly any well-known people were resisting the draft. It was a war that was disproportionately killing young Black brothers and here was this beautiful, funny poetical young man standing up and saying no! Imagine it for a moment! The heavyweight champion, a magical man, taking his fight out of the ring and into the arena of politics and standing firm. The message was sent.” We are still attempting to hear the full message that Muhammad Ali was attempting to relay: a message about the need to fight for peace.

Full articles can and should be written about his complexities: his fallout with Malcolm X, his depoliticization in the 1970s, the ways that warmongers attempted to use him like a prop as he suffered in failing health. But the most important part of his legacy is that time in the 1960s when he refused to be afraid. As he said years later, “Some people thought I was a hero. Some people said that what I did was wrong. But everything I did was according to my conscience. I wasn’t trying to be a leader. I just wanted to be free.” Not the fight, the reverberations. They are still being felt by a new generation of people. They ensure that the Champ’s name will outlive us all.

Bill Russell said it best in 1967. “I’m not worried about Muhammad Ali. I’m worried about the rest of us.” That is more true than ever.

A Real Champ!

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

Also see THIS post from the archives

MESSAGE TO OBAMA: YOU CAN’T HAVE MUHAMMAD ALI

RACIST MATH TEST

When I was a student math was never my favourite subject ….. now I can see why.

Alabama teacher gave middle school students a math test so racist you have to it see to believe it

A middle school starts the year with 3 math teachers and one gets fired for being a racist. How many remain?

A middle school starts the year with 3 math teachers and one gets fired for being a racist. How many remain?

By Jen Hayden

An as-of-yet unnamed language arts teacher at Burns Middle School in Mobile, Alabama, is on administrative leave after giving 8th grade students a shockingly racist math test. Erica Hall’s son was so shocked that he snuck a photo of the test and sent it to his mom.

From Fox 10:

“They took it as a joke, and she told them that it wasn’t it a joke, and they had to complete it, and turn it in,” Hall said.

Erica Hall and her husband headed to the school Tuesday for some answers.

A sample of the questions on the test:

“Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in the gang. There are 20 girls in his gang. What is the exact percentage of girls Tyrone knocked up?”

Fox10 reporter Renee Dials researched the origins of the test:

FOX10 News did some research to try to find out where the test may have originated. What we discovered is that it apparently has a long history. Similar versions of the 10-question quiz have been turning up in classrooms across the country since the 1990s.

And, a lot of teachers have ended up in hot water over the test in several states including Texas, California, and New Mexico.

The teacher no doubt found the test from her racist uncle who hit forward on a hilariously racist email that has been circulating for 20 years. Parents and students told Fox10 the teacher was retiring at the end of the school year. This sounds like it may have been an attempt to go out in one big blazing ball of racist glory. You can see interviews with parents and students in this report from Fox10.

The racist math test given to Burns Middle School students

The racist math test given to Burns Middle School students

This teacher’s career probably should’ve ended a little sooner.

SILENCING THE LAMBS …. YET AGAIN

 First there was THIS …..
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Famous entertainer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson loses his court appeal to try to force the Department of State to grant him a passport. The continued government persecution of Robeson illustrated several interesting points about Cold War America.
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Robeson was seen as a danger because he often interspersed his performances with comments about race relations in the United States. Before and after his performances, he gave numerous interviews condemning segregation and discrimination in America. For some U.S. policymakers, who viewed America’s poor record of race relations as the nation’s “Achilles’ heel” in terms of the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, having a well known African-American denounce segregation and praise the Russians was unacceptable.
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Full report HERE
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Now THIS …..

Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under international law.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

 

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti 

Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under international law.

Barghouti, who lives with his family in Acre, has Israeli permanent residency and requires an Israeli travel document to be able to travel in and out of Palestine/Israel. His immediate reaction was: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace”.

Israel’s decision not to grant a renewal of the travel document on baseless bureaucratic pretenses is being viewed by human rights experts as the first step towards revoking Barghouti’s permanent residency.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had threatened as much at a recent anti-BDS conference held in Jerusalem when he disclosed that he was “inclined to fulfill” a request he had received from a far-right Israeli member of parliament to revoke Barghouti’s permanent residency.

The travel ban follows thinly-veiled incitement to physical violence against Barghouti and BDS activists by Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz and Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan. Katz called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders, while Erdan described BDS activists and leaders as threats and called for them to “pay the price” for their work, following this with a clarification that he does not mean “physical harm”. Defending “campaigns to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations”, Amnesty International has expressed its concern for “the safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti” following these threats, “including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights”.

As a leading volunteer with the BDS movement, Barghouti regularly travels internationally to raise awareness about Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and to advocate for BDS as an effective strategy to end Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid. Rooted in a long heritage of Palestinian popular resistance, BDS is also inspired by the global boycott movement that helped to end South Africa’s apartheid regime and by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council has recently affirmed “the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions”, calling on states and businesses to “uphold their related legal responsibilities”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement, said:

“Having failed to stop the growth of BDS in the mainstream, Israel is now launching a desperate and dangerous global war of repression on the movement. After losing many battles for the hearts and minds at the grassroots level, Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups are pressuring western states to implement patently anti-democratic measures that threaten civil liberties at large”.

“By banning our colleague Omar Barghouti from travelling and threatening him with physical violence, Israel is showing the lengths it will go to in order to stop the spread of the non-violent BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality”.

The international BDS movement aims to pressure Israel, as South African apartheid was pressured, to comply with international law. It has attracted the support of mainstream unions, churches and political parties across the world and compelled large corporations, including Veolia and Orange, to end their involvement in Israel’s human rights violations.

Prominent artists including Ms. Lauryn Hill and Roger Waters have refused to perform in Tel Aviv; several academic associations in the U.S. and thousands of academics in Europe, South Africa, North America and Latin America have endorsed a comprehensive boycott of Israeli universities. The authors of a recent UN report said that a 46% drop in foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014 was partly due to the impact of BDS.

At Israel’s request, governments in the UK, France, Canada and state legislatures in the U.S. are introducing anti-BDS legislation and taking other anti-democratic measures to repress BDS activism. In France, one activist was arrested simply for wearing a BDS t-shirt.

Israel is also using its security services to spy on BDS activists across the world, as repeatedly reported in the Israeli media and by the Associated Press. This espionage is likely to involve monitoring of citizens’ communications in violation of domestic laws.

Journalist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, known for breaking the NSA surveillance story, has described this well-orchestrated series of draconian measures against the BDS movement as the “greatest threat to free speech in the West”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa added:

“The western governments that are repressing BDS activism at home are giving Israel a green light to continue its violations of international law with impunity. We urge governments, parliaments and human rights organisations to follow Amnesty International’s lead and uphold his rights as a human rights defender under threat”.

Find out more about Israel’s attacks on the BDS movement here.

Source Palestinian BDS National Committee  VIA

#InIsrael ~~ APARTHEID SANCTIONED BY THE COURT

Dozens of Arab families who were planning to build homes in the Jewish city of Afula have lost their leases to the land after an Israeli judge said that they illegally coordinated their bids.

“It’s so unjust,”  “If this is not racism, so what is?”

telavivap

Israeli Judge Says No to Arabs Building in Jewish Town — Cites Bidding Woes

Dozens of Arab families who were planning to build homes in the Jewish city of Afula have lost their leases to the land after an Israeli judge said that they illegally coordinated their bids.

Last November, hundreds of Jewish residents of Afula protested the prospect of Arab neighbors after Arab families won tenders to build 47 houses in the northern Israeli city. Demonstrators demanded Afula mayor Yitzhak Meron revoke the tenders, calling him a “traitor” and a “terrorist.”

A group of Jewish families who bid and lost tenders for the land first complained to the Israel Land Authority, contending that the Arab bidders had been in coordination with one another. The ILA rejected the complaint saying that it was natural for bidders with personal connections to exchange information, said Haaretz.

The Jewish families then took their petition to a Nazareth court.

On Sunday April 24, a Nazareth judge ruled in favor of the Jewish families. He said that the Arab families had organized their bids so they weren’t competing against each other and coordinated prices in a manner that “upset the market’s natural balance,” according to Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper.

Their coordination “seriously harmed the principle of equality, a principle that is at the foundation of tender law,” the judge said.

Itai Cohen, a representative of the Jewish families told Maariv: “This is a day of celebration for Afula, and particularly for those who were concerned about the the fate of the city’s Jewish makeup.”

According to Abdullah Zoabi, a lawyer representing four Arab families, the judge did not rule that the Arab families were disqualified from trying to bid on the land again. Abdullah said he was waiting to learn whether the state would intervene and limit the bidding to Afula’s Jewish residents.

Arab lawmakers are calling foul on the Nazareth court, saying the decision was driven by racism. Knesset Member Basel Ghattas told Maariv that the court’s decision reflected the “spirit of racism that has been sweeping the country. These state institutions have always used planning and construction laws to deprive Arabs of their lands and rights, and the Nazareth District Court’s decision gave a seal of approval to a petition that was lodged exclusively out of racist motives.”

The Nazareth judge invalidated the entire group of tenders, saying that the entire bidding process was “defective” and there was no way to exempt those who did not coordinate. Zoabi’s four clients were found not to have coordinated, but they lost their right to build anyway. He said he that the four families will appeal the decision to the Israeli High Court.

Iman Sharary told the Forward she was extremely disappointed to learn that the Nazareth judge disqualified her family building in Afula. She wanted to lease the land in Afula for her sons and their families, since land is at a premium in Yafia, the village where they grew up. She believes that the judge’s decision was racially motivated.

“It’s so unjust,” she said. “If this is not racism, so what is?”

She said that she and her husband, Riad Sharary, did not coordinate their bid and that she had no idea who the other Arab bidders were. Now, she is looking for a new place for her sons to settle down.

“I’ll find other places. It’s not Afula or nothing,” she said. “There are other places that are much less aggressive and much less humiliating and much less threatening.”

POTUS MARCHES ON WASHINGTON

POTUS relives the March on Washington FROM Mike Flugennock's Twitter Page

POTUS relives the March on Washington
FROM Mike Flugennock’s Twitter Page

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I HAVE A DRONE

 

Malcolm X added the following

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BRILLIANT VIDEO ~~ KIDS WHO DIE … A TRIBUTE TO THE MOVEMENT

IN PHOTOS ~~ #RiseUpOctober

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There was a meeting in a church in Harlem organized by people who are opposing police murders and the whole system of mass incarceration (a/k/a the New Jim Crow) which has Black men and women spending decades in prison for non-violent drug offenses (brought about by the Rockefeller drug laws and mandatory sentencing).  And with the prisons privately run and them making contracts with many industries where prison labor is a source of slave labor, they find ways of keeping people in prison.  A very sick outrageous situation.  Of course a disproportionate people in the prisons are black because the police are concentrated in their communities and because they don’t have $ for big name lawyers. 

Anyway, many ministers spoke and people from the communities that are fighting against all this.  And then the families of young people who were murdered by the police came on stage – a lot of them – and one by one told their stories.  An act of heroism which reminded me of the stories we heard from Palestinian parents.  They told their stories in grief and in rage.  One grandmother tried but just couldn’t speak, she couldn’t stop crying.  Her 7 year old grandaughter was lying on the couch next to her when the police busted in looking for someone, threw in a stun grenade into the apartment hitting the child in the head and  blowing her brains all over her grandmother.  It was a mistake, they were in the wrong place, but never issued an apology.  And this keeps happening even though these murders are getting more attention.  These murderers don’t even feel like they better lay low for awhile because they are now in the public eye.  They don’t care and maybe they think that the public doesn’t care.  Perhaps they are right.  So far this year 700 people, mostly unarmed, have been killed by the police.  What makes them think they have been hired to be executioners?  The comparison to what is happening to Palestinian families is inescapeable – the same killings with impunity, the same non-caring attitude from the populace, the same torment for the families. 

The last speaker, Cornel West, noted the tie between what is happening in Palestine and in this country.  He delivered a monologue while walking quickly around the stage and as he noted all the problems, the racism, the militarism, the failure of capitalism, the U.S. being a dying empire, he spoke as if he was reciting a brilliant poem full of rhyme and rhythm.  It was a dazzling, magnificent jazz piece that left us both informed and mesmerized.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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FIFTY TWO YEARS LATER … THE TRUTH THAT DIDN’T SET US FREE

 
Rosa sat so Martin could walk …
Martin walked so Barack could run …
Barack ran so all our children could fly …
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There is no doubt in my mind that Martin Luther King would have rejoiced the day Obama was elected President of the United States. His dream was finally realised ….
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Or was it??
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The dream did not include the continuation of illegal wars …
Nor the racial profiling and hate crimes in the streets …
Nor the use of drones against innocent civilians …
Nor the erosion of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
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The dream spoken about above was supposed to set us free, but we still have a long way to go.
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Don’t Give Up The Fight!
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This could be the end result …
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BELLA CIAO JULIAN BOND

Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Credit Associated Press

Mr. Bond in 1966, before making a speech in New York. Credit Associated Press

This weekend the world lost one of the greatest heroes of our time, Julian Bond. In an obituary that appeared in the New York Times yesterday it was reported that  ‘Julian Bond’s great-grandmother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer.’ Twitter was overloaded  with comments yesterday that he wasn’t a farmer but a slave master, and there is no such thing as a slave mistress.  Being a mistress is voluntary, she was a raped slave.  Interesting that a writer at the Times didn’t use language properly, and great that so many people spotted it. Also interesting that there was no correction for this at the Times.

The following short video will introduce you to the man himself …. with what you should know about his legacy …

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Here he interviews a fellow activist, Angela Davis …

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He will be sorely missed by all who struggle for true Justice throughout the world.

Bella Ciao dear Julian

 

SEPARATE ~~ BUT NOT EQUAL

Statistics released this week by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel paint a devastating picture of neglect, urban blight and underdevelopment in East Jerusalem, the historic heart of Palestinian life, all a result of nearly five decades of Israeli policies, with over 75 percent of Palestinians living below the poverty line compared to the national Israeli average of 21.8 percent.

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Decades of neglect leave East Jerusalem mired in poverty, violence

By: Charlie Hoyle FOR

Decades of chronic under-funding, discriminatory planning rights, and unequal access to services have left the Palestinian community in Jerusalem mired in poverty, according to statistics published by a civil rights group, with youths subject to increased police brutality and arrests since last summer’s demonstrations in the city.

Statistics released this week by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel paint a devastating picture of neglect, urban blight and underdevelopment in East Jerusalem, the historic heart of Palestinian life, all a result of nearly five decades of Israeli policies, with over 75 percent of Palestinians living below the poverty line compared to the national Israeli average of 21.8 percent.

The group released the statistics —taken from the Jerusalem Municipality, Israeli Police, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and other official agencies — to coincide with Jerusalem Day, a largely right-wing Israeli national holiday to celebrate the “liberation” and “reunification” of the city following what is internationally recognized as the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

For Palestinians, the day is a painful reminder of their historic loss, displacement, and on going marginalization.

Despite having lived under Israeli rule for 48 years, Palestinians are classified as permanent residents, not citizens, and lack political representation at a national level. The community largely chooses to boycott local municipal elections — in 2013 around 1 percent of Palestinians voted — and are essentially political orphans, with no Israeli or Palestinian political body representing their interests.

The result is recurring neglect of the 300,200 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, who form 36.8 percent of the city’s total population.

“These (Palestinian neighborhoods) are places where roads haven’t been repaired for years, where schools haven’t been built, where there is crime and garbage. In that sense you do wonder what the municipality thinks is the future (for East Jerusalem),”Ronit Sela,Director of ACRI’s Human Rights in East Jerusalem Project, told Ma’an.

In terms of public services, 36 percent of Palestinian households are not connected to the water network,43 percent of the classrooms in the municipal system are defined as inadequate, and there is a shortage of 30 kilometers of sewage pipes in Palestinian neighborhoods.

There are only eight post offices in East Jerusalem, compared to 40 in West Jerusalem. Furthermore, Palestinians can access only 9 infant healthcare centers in the city compared to 26 for Israelis, and poverty rates for children are 53 percent higher for Palestinian children, with 8,501 defined as “at risk.”

The dropout rate for Palestinian students in East Jerusalem in 12th grade — where students are 18 years old — is 33 percent, nearly 24 times higher than the dropout rate in the Hebrew education system, which stands at 1.4 percent, and despite forming 36.8 percent of the population — and paying residential and commercial taxes — only 10-13 percent of the overall municipal budget is invested in East Jerusalem,according to rights group Ir Amim.

“Palestinians in Jerusalem suffer first and foremost from the fact there is an on going conflict and Israeli authorities control every aspect of their lives,” Sela says.

Social workers in East Jerusalem say that the myriad of social and political problems can often affect individual Palestinian families directly, with many suffering from having one son in prison and another dropping out of school without qualifications, amid a backdrop of economic marginalization.

“East Jerusalem is not a tiny piece of land or territory, but Israeli policies have been to limit the space where Palestinians can reside, to limit the space where Palestinians can have commercial life or industry and, with the separation barrier, fragment the areas where Palestinians are living and where the center of the community is,” Sela says.

Police brutality, arbitrary law enforcement
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Alongside chronic poverty and economic marginalization, one of the major changes since ACRI’s 2014 report on East Jerusalem are the increasingly draconian police and municipal measures introduced against Palestinians following months of clashes following the murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir last July by Israeli extremists.
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In the second half of 2014, ACRI reported that over 1,184 Palestinians were detained in East Jerusalem, including 406 children, with indictments submitted against 338 of those arrested.
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“Police violence is harsher and the state prosecution is asking for minors to be put under arrest for longer periods of time even before indictments. They keep them in prison custody for longer,” Sela says.
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Around 314 of the 338 Palestinians served with indictments — including 122 children — have been imprisoned since their detention as the charges for “disruption of public order” and riot-related offenses are processed, which adds up to months in jail before a sentence has even been passed.
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Israeli police forces have also provided the Jerusalem municipality with the names of hundreds of suspects wanted for alleged involvement in the demonstrations in order to increase enforcement measures against them, ACRI says, essentially a way of blacklisting Palestinian residents in civilian life.
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Some of the enforcement measures are childishly arbitrary, with ACRI reporting one example of municipal inspectors issuing a fine for the negligible offense of littering the streets with sunflower seeds.
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Other measures, however, are much more serious, with municipal officers issuing demolition orders and fines to Palestinian businesses and homes.
The Hagihon water company, theTax Authority and the National Insurance Institute are also all involved in enforcing arbitrary measures against Palestinian suspects, which were described by ACRI as “collective punishment” and the “abuse of the municipality’s enforcement powers.”
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In addition to the mass arrests — the largest number in East Jerusalem since the Second Intifada — police tactics have become notably more aggressive since last summer’s demonstrations, with the increased use of black sponge-tipped bullets since the summer, a harder, heavier, and more dangerous variant of the blue sponge-tipped bullet, which had been used almost exclusively before last year’s unrest.
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Use of the black variety of the bullets has been responsible for the loss of vision in at least one eye of five Palestinian children during the end of 2014, the youngest of whom was six-years-old.
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One youth, 16-year-old Muhammad Abd Al-Majid Sunuqrut, was killed in September after being struck with the riot control measure in East Jerusalem, which is used almost exclusively against Palestinians.
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ACRI also reported that at least three journalists clearly identified as media workers were hit in the head, face and shoulder by sponge bullets during demonstrations, in contravention against orders prohibiting aiming at the upper body, or children.
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The police tactic has also caused arm fractures, jaw fractures and internal injuries such as spleen tears, with one 30-year-old Palestinian born blind since childhood in one eye left completely blind after being shot with a sponge-tipped bullet.
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Directives for use of the more dangerous black bullet were only drafted in January 2015 after a request from ACRI, a full six months after their regular use against Palestinians.
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Israeli police also regularly used “Skunk” water in Palestinian neighborhoods, spraying the putrid-smelling liquid into houses, restaurants, and cars, with many residents having to temporarily evacuate their homes until the smell subsides.
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In October and November, Israeli forces blocked the main entrances to three major Palestinian neighborhoods — almost unthinkable in the West Jerusalem neighborhoods of Rehavia or the German Colony — restricting the movement of 50,000 Palestinians.
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In April, Israeli police then used cement blocks to seal the neighborhood of al-Tur following clashes, preventing the movement of residents and hindering crucial services such as ambulances and school buses.
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Struggling to stay in the city
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Alongside chronic poverty and punitive police and municipality tactics looms the constant threat of displacement, with Palestinians struggling to remain in the city amid legislation which prohibits planning and building, and punishes violations with eviction and demolitions.
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In 2014, 98 structures were demolished and 208 Palestinians were forcibly displaced, ACRI says.Since 2004, over 2,115 Palestinians have been left homeless by demolitions in East Jerusalem.
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Around 20,000 houses — accounting for 39 percent of East Jerusalem homes — lack a building permit and therefore could be issued a demolition order by the municipality at any point, leaving Palestinian families vulnerable and unable to plan for the future.
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The residency status of 107 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem was also revoked in 2014, adding to the 14,309 since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the city, meaning Palestinians whose families date back centuries in the city are no longer allowed to return.
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Despite five decades of Israeli polices designed to slowly displace Palestinians in Jerusalem, the community forms nearly 40 percent of the city’s population,leaving it unclear as to what the municipality, and indeed the government, has planned, considering that it will unlikely ever concede political control of the Old City.
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In 2014, Israel’s government approved for the first time in history a five year plan for East Jerusalem with a budget of 300 million shekels ($78 million).
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However, a third of the budget was to be allocated to “security,” with the remaining 200 million not nearly enough to reverse decades of deliberate neglect.
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“In order for real and meaningful changes to transpire, a fundamental change of attitude must take place among Israeli authorities,” ACRI said in the report.
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“They need to see the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem as human beings whose dignity must be maintained, whose lives must be protected and whose human rights must be promoted, even as the conflict continues to bleed on the streets of Jerusalem.”

ETHIOPIAN DIARY ~~ PART THREE ~~ WHY WE WILL CONTINUE TO PROTEST

“We will demonstrate against police brutality and in solidarity with all the members of the community who are not treated fairly by the authorities.”

“We’ve been silent for 30 years and now we’re making our cry heard. I call on everyone to join and not to remain apathetic.”

See Part One HERE

See Part Two HERE

Ethiopian protest in Jerusalem

Ethiopian protest in Jerusalem

Ethiopians Plan New Israel Racism Protests

Ethiopian-Israelis have set new protests against police brutality with the theme “No to violence, yes to dialogue.”

One rally is scheduled for Thursday in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Haaretz reported, and simultaneous demonstrations are planned for Saturday night throughout the country.

A demonstration by Ethiopian-Israelis and their supporters on Sunday in Tel Aviv turned violent, with dozens injured and four indicted for assaulting police officers. Rioting also broke out at a rally in Jerusalem several days earlier. The protests were spurred by the beating of an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier in uniform by Israeli police.

“We will demonstrate against police brutality and in solidarity with all the members of the community who are not treated fairly by the authorities,” Gavriel Tigabo, a protest organizer, told Haaretz. “We’ve been silent for 30 years and now we’re making our cry heard. I call on everyone to join and not to remain apathetic.”

A Facebook announcement of the Saturday protests said that “the entire Ethiopian community will demonstrate against its local authority to demand that the social injustices be remedied. You decide what the protest will look like, you lead it. No singers, no speeches.”

From JTA

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Ethiopian Protests Sign of Stubborn Racism in Israeli Society

Images of Israeli police firing stun grenades are usually set in the West Bank and involve Palestinian protesters. But on Sunday the situation was quite different – riot police battling thousands of Ethiopian Jews in the center of Tel Aviv.

The spark was a week old video showing two Israeli policemen punching, beating and trying to arrest an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack.

The two-minute video is the latest in a string of incidents that have raised uncomfortable questions about Israel’s treatment of ethnic minorities and its struggle to integrate newcomers into broader society, whether Jews or non-Jews.

Some commentators have highlighted latent racism in a country that has absorbed millions of migrants over the past 60 years but still agonizes over differences between East European and Middle Eastern Jews, relations with its large Arab minority, and how to handle more recent arrivals from Africa.

“There is a problem, there are discrimination issues, there is racism in Israel,” said Fentahun Assefa-Dawit, the director of Tebeka, an advocacy group for Ethiopian Israelis, who number around 130,000, many of them born in Israel.

“We want the prime minister to take this matter into his hands,” he said moments before he was due to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss police behavior and the demonstrations that have ensued. “We urge him, we demand of him, to bring these issues to an end.”

DEEP SEATED PROBLEMS

In the run up to Israel’s election in March and in the weeks since there have been a series of violent incidents, comments by politicians and policy proposals that have fueled concerns the country has a race problem – not just when it comes to the 20 percent Arab population but to minority Jewish groups too.

Last week, an Ethiopian Jew said he was beaten by inspectors from Israel’s population and immigration authority because they thought he was a migrant from Sudan or Eritrea. The immigration authority said the man attacked the inspectors first.

On the day of the election on March 17, fearing he could lose, Netanyahu said “Arab voters are coming out in droves,” comments that offended the Arab-Israeli population and drew accusations of racism. The prime minister later apologized.

For months, Israel has been threatening to imprison thousands of illegal African migrants if they do not agree to be deported to third countries in Africa, despite the Supreme Court expressing deep reservations about the policy.

And rights groups have raised alarm about childcare for asylum seekers and migrant laborers after the death of half a dozen babies at a “warehouse” in Tel Aviv where the children were left while their parents went to find work.

Racism in Israeli society is “far more commonplace and far more toxic than we dare tell ourselves,” leading political commentator Nahum Barnea wrote in Yediot Ahronoth on Monday.

“It doesn’t begin with the Ethiopian Israelis and it doesn’t end with them,” he said. “Hatred of the other, or of anyone perceived as being the other, is not only deeply rooted here, but it also receives encouragement from politicians on the eve of elections.”

Ben Caspit, a columnist with Maariv newspaper, said it was not up to Netanyahu to resolve how the Ethiopian community is treated but for Israelis to wake up and address it.

“The people who are to blame for the terrible things that the members of this lovely community have been forced to undergo on a daily basis is us,” he said.

“Those among us who turn up their noses when an Ethiopian family enters the neighborhood, those among us who are not happy to see Ethiopian children in their children’s classroom.”

Around 20,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel on secret flights in the mid 1980s and early 199os, with the evacuations dubbed Operation Moses and Operation Solomon.

The offspring of those early arrivals have worked hard to integrate, many serving in elite units of the army with distinction. An Ethiopian woman won a recent Miss Israel beauty contest. But after mandatory military service, acceptance in the workplace has proved much more of a struggle.

“When an Ethiopian applies for a job, as qualified and impressive as he might be, he is not going to be invited for an interview because he has an Ethiopian name on his CV,” said Assefa-Dawit of Tebeka, the advocacy group.

“Israel is our country, there’s no ‘us and them’. This is our home. The community is crying out for the government to resolve this.”

 

From Reuters

ETHIOPIAN DIARY ~~ PART TWO ~~ WHY WE PROTEST

See Part One HERE

I was in the army four years ago, and when I was released, my wife and I went to rent an apartment — and we were told they don’t want Ethiopians.” 

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Are You Really Stunned That Ethiopian Anger Has Reached Tel Aviv?

I was in the army four years ago, and when I was released, my wife and I went to rent an apartment — and we were told they don’t want Ethiopians,” said one young protester to a newscast on Sunday night. He was standing in a crowd of mostly Ethiopian Jewish protesters in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, the site of many protests over the years.

Scenes like that, of the press talking with activists, were mixed with those that looked ripped from the West Bank, with the Israeli army confronting Palestinian demonstrators. Legions of policemen with truncheons waded into crowds of black men and women; police hurled stun grenades by the dozens; mounted officers charged down the streets lined with posh cafés. Lumbering white armored vehicles sprayed the protesters with water cannons.

Was this Tel Aviv? The high-tech metropolis where everything is relaxed and people sit on the beach for hours on end? How, some wondered, could such violence reach all the way into this bubble?

But the real question is: How could it not?

What happened on Sunday night was the culmination of a week of anger over a video that surfaced showing two policemen assaulting an Ethiopian IDF soldier named Damas Pakada in Holon. This followed a year of incidents that had Ethiopian Jews feeling they had become targets of police brutality. On March 1, 2014, Yosef Salamseh was approached by police in a park in Binyamina. According to reports, police accused him of breaking into a house, tasered him, beat and handcuffed him and then took him to a station where family members found him left unconscious in a parking lot. Never charged with a crime, he filed a complaint about the assault, but instead of it being addressed his family was harassed and he was found dead in July, allegedly a suicide.

Racism against Ethiopians pervades Israeli society in more subtle ways, too. My wife, who is Ethiopian, was asked last week if she wants a job cleaning, when she has an MA and works as a senior civil servant. Israeli historian Anita Shapira claimed in her recent book that Ethiopians had to “transition…to an industrialized achievement-oriented society.” Such hidden prejudices — the assumption that Ethiopians don’t understand “achievement” — lead to long-term marginalization.

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

“We are tired of being nice,” was the response heard over and over last week. Young activists in their twenties and early thirties organized a protest in Jerusalem last Thursday outside the national police headquarters to demand the police prosecute the policemen filmed beating the soldier. For several hours they blocked Route 1, Israel’s main boulevard leading to northern suburbs, as well as the Jerusalem Light Rail. Police showed restraint and did not disperse the crowds. But the young people, many of them referencing their army service, seemed to feel their voice was not being heard. When they marched to the Prime Minister’s house, police fired tear gas at them. The momentary violence brought out Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat, who spent two hours trying to listen to their complaints over the din of chants.

The irony of the current protests is that they appeared to come amidst a lot of support for the Ethiopian community. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the beaten soldier on Monday. President Reuven Rivlin expressed shock at the video last week, as did Natan Sharansky of the Jewish Agency. Still, there was anger that no Members of Knesset came out in Jerusalem. Pnina Tamano-Shata, an Ethiopian MK who lost her seat in the last elections, asked crowds in Jerusalem: “Why are 40% of Ethiopian men in the army sent to military prison during their service? Where are the MKs?”

By the time Joint List leader Ayman Odeh, Naftali Bennet and a few other MKs met with protesters in Tel Aviv, it was too late: the anger of years of discrimination had built up. When 30% of people in one juvenile detention center are Ethiopian, while Ethiopians make up only 2% of the general population, you’ve got a problem. When 40% of Ethiopian men in the army are sent to prison, often for economic reasons, you’ve got a problem.

During Thursday and Sunday’s mass protests, many other minorities, including Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, national-religious Jews and Mizrachi Jews expressed sympathy. “They did it to us Moroccans too,” said an elderly bearded man named Avraham on French Hill Thursday.

Ethiopians join a long list of groups seen as an “other” in Israeli society. These are the people who have for years presented their “integration” as a success story. The protesters time and again stressed that they are “the most Israeli.” But the press and politicians still call them “immigrants,” even though most are born in Israel.

The problem, of course, is that the protesters don’t want to be a permanent underclass, or remain in a situation where so many are being incarcerated. The community feels totally abandoned by a state to which they have given everything. When the state drafts a person from a poor Ethiopian community for three years and pays them $100 a month, and then that person cannot find a job, cannot rent an apartment, cannot afford a car or go to university, they want answers. Their immigrant parents’ generation accepted the poverty they found in Israel. But this generation has said enough.

POETIC BALTIMORE ~~ ‘TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME’

Two poems that say it all …..

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The Yards

© By Tom Karlson 

it was the first retro ball park

built on the public dime in 1992

in downtown Baltimore

by that crab and fish paradise

 

today 45,971 seats have been emptied

for public safety

baseball loving gulls are here

and when the organ plays

“Take Me Out To the Ball Game”

all join in

 

gulls fly while fifty players stand stiff

at the Star’s Spangled Banner

later God Bless America is ignored

by all

 

Eddie Murray and Carl Rifkin smile

outside young women and men

march

chanting Black lives matter

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FIELD BOX 54

© by Alejandro Escudé

Its come down to this: empty
major league baseball stands
while the game goes on below,

except for the one skeleton
sitting in Field Box 54, wolfing
down a hot dog whole, tossing peanuts
into its open jaw.

The hot dog bun perfectly preserved
and the pristine peanut shells
scattering past the skeleton’s severed
spinal chord.

The lonely announcer
can’t believe his eyes. “It appears
to be enjoying the game!” he says.

And why not? The whole stadium
to itself, Orioles against
the White Sox, nothing to worry about,

though it still remembers
the gelid badge pressed to its ear

and the godforsaken fear.

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Related Blog Post

An empty baseball stadium and social inequality: Reflections and lessons on Baltimore

Read it HERE

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