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 MUST WATCH ~~ RABBINICAL ACCOLADE FOR THE CHAMP

This is absolutely brilliant!

This is going viral on the Net …. please share with your friends

MUHAMMAD ALI’S FINAL FAREWELL THIS FRIDAY

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan reportedly had been scheduled to speak at the ceremony and then were removed from the program due to the number of speakers.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

Rabbi Michael Lerner Will Speak at Muhammad Ali Funeral

Liberal American Rabbi Michael Lerner has been invited to speak at boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s funeral.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be invited to speak at Muhammad Ali’s funeral,” Lerner, the editor of Tikkun Magazine, wrote on Facebook. “It has been several decades since I worked with Muhammad Ali in the peace movement challenging the Vietnam War. The US government indicted both of us for our nonviolent actions against that war. But that was many decades ago. So imagine my surprise to receive a call on Sunday morning from Muhammad Ali’s family who invited him to be a speaker at the funeral/memorial ceremony.”

The funeral is scheduled for Friday in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali died last Friday at the age of 74. He had Parkinson’s disease for more than 30 years.

Jewish actor Billy Crystal, who is know for his imitation of Ali, will also speak at the funeral, along with representatives of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Mormonism and Catholicism. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will deliver a eulogy. Other speakers include Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali; his daughter Maryum Ali, and sportscaster Bryant Gumbel.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan reportedly had been scheduled to speak at the ceremony and then were removed from the program due to the number of speakers.

The ceremony will be led by California imam and scholar Zaid Shakir. Jenazah, a traditional Muslim funeral service, will be held Thursday.

Lerner’s Tikkun reported that the Ali family member who called the rabbi to ask him to participate in the memorial ceremony told him that Muhammad Ali and his wife “had been fans of his for many, many years.” Lerner said he had not heard from Ali since 1995, when the boxer sent him a note to commend him on the book he wrote with Cornel West titled “Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin.”

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

NEW YORK TIMES WHITEWASHES HEDY EPSTEIN’S LIFE OF ACTIVISM

The fact that Hedy Epstein was outspoken for Palestinian rights doesn’t come till the very end of the story, after Vietnam, Cambodia, Black Lives Matter, fair housing, Kristallnacht, the kindertransport, and other causes and events. 

Hedy Epstein: "In the background you see the courtroom in which the doctors were tried & see some of the defendants sitting in the dock. Above that is a photo of the freezing experiment. A person is lying in a large vat of freezing cold ice water. Two doctors, one of them Dr. Rascher, are observing. Many people died as a result of this experiment." --Nuremberg Palace of Justice (Photo: Newsweek)

Hedy Epstein: “In the background you see the courtroom in which the doctors were tried & see some of the defendants sitting in the dock. Above that is a photo of the freezing experiment. A person is lying in a large vat of freezing cold ice water. Two doctors, one of them Dr. Rascher, are observing. Many people died as a result of this experiment.” –Nuremberg Palace of Justice (Photo: Newsweek)

In long obit for Hedy Epstein, ‘NYT’ buries Palestinian solidarity

James North and Philip Weiss FOR

The great Hedy Epstein has died and the New York Times has all but covered up her most significant moral achievement.

The Times has a 24-paragraph obituary for Hedy Epstein, the activist who was an inspiration to many on our site, who died in St. Louis at 91 on May 26. This is how they characterize her:

Ms. Epstein, a Holocaust survivor who spoke widely about the persecution of the Jews in Germany, and who spent most of her adult life working for a broad range of social justice movements.

The fact that Hedy Epstein was outspoken for Palestinian rights doesn’t come till the very end of the story, after Vietnam, Cambodia, Black Lives Matter, fair housing, Kristallnacht, the kindertransport, and other causes and events.

After the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, Ms. Epstein channeled her energies into the Palestinian cause. She helped found the St. Louis chapters of the Palestine Solidarity Committee and Jewish Voice for Peace.

We venture to say that were it not for her channeling her energies into Palestine, Hedy Epstein would not warrant 24 paragraphs in death in the New York Times. Obituaries often describe exemplary lives, and the reason Hedy Epstein’s was so exemplary is that she experienced the tremendous historical trauma that was the basis for Israel’s creation by world powers in 1948 and yet turned against the idea of a Jewish state. That’s what makes Hedy Epstein so special.

The obit notes that in 2011 at age 86 Hedy Epstein was on the boat the Audacity of Hope trying to break the Gaza blockade. That should have been the first sentence in the Timesarticle. The fact that it is not and her Palestinian work is buried in the story is yet another example of bias (conscious or not, it doesn’t matter) aimed at preserving Israel’s positive image in the minds of New York Times readers.

BELLA CIAO HEDY EPSTEIN

 Holocaust survivor and activist for justice Hedy Epstein dies at 91

Hedy Epstein (Photo: Humans of St. Louis/Lindy Drew)

Hedy Epstein (Photo: Humans of St. Louis/Lindy Drew)

Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 91, died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on May 26, 2016. An internationally renowned, respected and admired advocate for human and civil rights, Hedy was encircled by friends who lovingly cared for her at home.

Born August 15, 1924, in the Bavarian region of Germany, her lifelong commitment to human rights was formed by the horrific experiences she and her family endured under the repressive Nazi regime.

Unable to secure travel documents for themselves, Hedy’s parents, Hugo and Ella (Eichel) Wachenheimer, arranged for 14-year-old Hedy to leave Germany on a Kindertransport. Hedy credited her parents with giving her life a second time when they sent her to England to live with kind-hearted strangers. Hedy’s parents, grandparents, and most of her aunts, uncles and cousins did not survive the Holocaust. Hedy remained in England until 1945 when she returned to Germany to work for the United States Civil Service. She joined the Nuremberg Doctors Trial prosecution in 1946 as a research analyst.

Hedy immigrated to the United States in 1948. She and her husband moved to St. Louis in the early 1960s, and shortly thereafter Hedy began working as a volunteer with the Freedom of Residence, Greater St. Louis Committee, a nonprofit organization dedicated to housing integration and advocacy for fair housing laws. Hedy worked for many years as a volunteer and board member, and ultimately served as the organization’s executive director during the mid-1970s.

During the 1980s, Hedy worked as a paralegal for Chackes and Hoare, a law firm that represented individuals in employment discrimination cases. As an advocate for equality and human rights, Hedy spoke out against the war in Vietnam, the bombing of Cambodia, and overly restrictive U.S. immigration policies. She spoke and acted in support of the Haitian boat people and women’s reproductive rights, and, following the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila, Hedy began her courageous and visionary work for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.

During her later years, Hedy continued to advocate for a more peaceful world, and in 2002 was a founding member of the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition. Much of her later activism centered on efforts to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. She founded the St. Louis chapter of Women in Black and co-founded the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and the St. Louis chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. She traveled to the West Bank several times, first as a volunteer with the nonviolent International Solidarity Movement and repeatedly as a witness to advocate for Palestinian human rights. She attempted several times to go to Gaza as a passenger with the Freedom Flotilla, including as a passenger on the Audacity of Hope, and once with the Gaza Freedom March. Hedy addressed numerous groups and organizations throughout Europe and returned to Germany and her native village of Kippenheim many times.

Three days after her 90th birthday, Hedy was arrested for “failure to disperse.” She was attempting to enter Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s St. Louis office to ask for deescalation of police and National Guard tactics which had turned violent in response to protests following the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Hedy was a member of the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center’s speakers’ bureau and gave countless talks at schools and community events. She shared her Holocaust experiences with thousands of Missouri youth as a featured speaker at the Missouri Scholars Academy for more than twenty years. She ended every talk with three requests: remember the past, don’t hate, and don’t be a bystander. Through the years, Hedy received numerous awards and honors for her compassionate service and relentless pursuit of justice.

Hedy is survived by son Howard (Terry) Epstein, and granddaughters Courtney and Kelly. She was beloved and will be truly missed by countless friends in St. Louis and around the world.

Hedy often shared her philosophy of service with these words: “If we don’t try to make a difference, if we don’t speak up, if we don’t try to right the wrong that we see, we become complicit. I don’t want to be guilty of not trying my best to make a difference.”

Hedy always did her best, and the difference she made is evident in the commitment and passion of those called to continue her work. Her friends and admirers honor and salute her deep and lifelong dedication to tikkun olam, the just re-ordering of the world and promise to remember, to stay human, and to never be bystanders.

A memorial service will be held in Forest Park at a date and time to be determined. Donations in Hedy’s name may be made to Forest Park Forever to establish a permanent tribute, 5595 Grand Drive in Forest Park, St. Louis, MO 63112; American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102; American Civil Liberties Union, 125 Broad St. 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004; and/or American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Foundation, 454 Whittier St., St. Louis, MO 63108.

The above appeared on the FaceBook page of the St. Louis Jewish Voice For Peace 

Image by Gianluca Costantini

Image by Gianluca Costantini

The following appeared today in HaAretz

Hedy Epstein, Holocaust Survivor and pro-Palestinian Activist, Dies at 91

Holocaust survivor and pro-Palestinian activist grabbed international headlines when she was arrested during a civil rights protest in Ferguson, Missouri.

85-year-old Hedy Epstein at a 'Gaza Freedom Marchers' protest in Cairo, 2009. Credit AP

85-year-old Hedy Epstein at a ‘Gaza Freedom Marchers’ protest in Cairo, 2009. Credit AP

Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust refugee whose sharp criticism of Israel — including comparing the state to the Nazis — drew controversy, has died at 91.

Epstein died at her home in St. Louis Thursday, according to Jewish Voice for Peace, a group in which she was active. The group supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

In February, the Austrian Parliament invited Epstein to speak at an event honoring women Holocaust survivors, but then cancelled the event amid criticism from Jewish groups angered that Epstein was the sole Jewish speaker.

Born Aug. 15, 1924 in Germany, Epstein fled to England at age 14 on a Kindertransport — the name for efforts to rescue European children of the era to the relative safety of Britain. Her parents, grandparents and most of her extended family were killed by the Nazis.
Epstein immigrated to the United States in 1948, moving to St. Louis in the early 1960s, where she volunteered with a nonprofit dedicated to housing integration and fair-housing laws.
She also worked as a paralegal for a law firm representing individuals in employment discrimination cases.

In 1982, following the Sabra and Shatila massacre in a Palestinian refugee camp by Israel’s allies in Lebanon, became outspoken on behalf of Palestinian rights.
According to Jewish Voice for Peace, Epstein founded the St. Louis chapter of Women in Black, a group that opposes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and cofounded the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and the St. Louis chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Epstein visited the West Bank several times, volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and other pro-Palestinian groups. She participated in the Freedom Flotilla, an effort to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. In a 2004 lecture at Stanford University, Epstein compared the Nazi treatment of Jews to the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
In 2014, Epstein grabbed international headlines when she was arrested during a civil rights protest in in the aftermath of the police killing of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Soon after, some commentators criticized her for describing herself as a Holocaust survivor, saying it was misleading since she had not been in hiding or in a concentration camp and spent the bulk of World War II in the relative safety of England.
Epstein was a member of the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center’s speakers’ bureau, speaking frequently at schools and community events. According to Jewish Voice for Peace, Epstein “ended every talk with three requests: remember the past, don’t hate and don’t be a bystander.”
Epstein is survived by her son and two granddaughters.

 

#InIsrael ~~ A DAY OF SELECTIVE MOURNING

At 8 P.M. tomorrow evening sirens will sound throughout Israel. Traffic will come to a complete halt as Israelis stand in silence for one minute to honour and remember their fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. This will be followed by ceremonies at military cemeteries and government institutions all evening and all of the next day until sundown.

Animated_Candle

Who will stand with me to honour and remember the hundreds of Palestinian children and women killed by Israeli soldiers and zioterrorists?

Who will stand with me to honour the memory of Democracy itself in Israel??

Hopefully I will not be standing alone.

Here I present a recent post from the archives dealing with some recent killings …

A TIME FOR ALL JEWS TO MOURN

According to both Jewish and Muslim rituals, a dead person must be buried as soon as possible. Notifications are usually posted in Jewish neighbourhoods in Israel to announce the time of the funeral. Announcements are made via loudspeakers from local mosques announcing the same.

BUT ….

This week was different as death notices for a murdered Palestinian child appeared in Jewish areas …

As well as one for a young girl stabbed to death at Jerusalem’s Pride Parade

Death notices, in the style of the public mourning notices that are commonplace across Israel, have appeared — posted in public areas and online, in Hebrew and English — mourning the two lost children and noting the climate of hatred that spurred on these Jewish extremist attacks. Controversial for their inventive remixing of a “classic” Israeli cultural phenomenon, the mourning notices easily attract attention. They were created by Ilana Sichel and Romy Achituv, writers and artist-activists who sought to commemorate what they called the victims of “our society’s ills: our intolerance, our hatred, our prejudice.”
(More HERE)

Image: Facebook

 

Rabbis visit Palestinian family targeted in firebomb attack Tzohar

Rabbis visit Palestinian family targeted in firebomb attack Tzohar

Whatever the reasons are for this show of solidarity, they are positive moves. Perhaps it is in preparation for the demise of the Jewish State itself, if these senseless murders continue.

The following is a MUST READ

All Israelis Are Guilty of Setting a Palestinian Family on Fire
It’s simply not possible to cheer for the brigade commander who shoots a Palestinian teenager, and then be shocked by settlers who throw a firebomb at an inhabited house.

Gideon Levy

Israelis stab gay people and burn children. There isn’t a shred of slander, the slightest degree of exaggeration, in this dry description. True, these are the actions of a few. True, too, that their numbers are increasing. It’s true that all of them – all the murderers, everyone who torches, who stabs, who uproots trees – are from the same political camp. But the opposing camp also shares the blame.

All those who thought that it would possible to sustain islands of liberalism in the sea of Israeli fascism were shown up this weekend, once and for all. It’s simply not possible to cheer for the brigade commander who shoots a teenager, and then be shocked by the settlers who set a family on fire; to support gay rights, and hold a founding conference in Ariel; to be enlightened, and then pander to the right and seek to partner with it. Evil knows no bounds; it begins in one place and quickly spreads in every direction.

The first breeding ground of those who torched the Dawabsheh family was the Israel Defense Forces, even if the offenders didn’t serve in it. When the killing of 500 children in the Gaza Strip is legitimate, and doesn’t even compel a debate, a moral reckoning, then what’s so terrible about setting a house on fire, together with its inhabitants? After all, what’s the difference between lobbing a fire bomb and dropping a bomb? In terms of the intention, or the intent, there is no difference.

When the shooting of Palestinians becomes an almost daily occurrence – two more have already been killed since the family was burned: one in the West Bank, another on the border of the Gaza Strip – who are we to complain about the fire throwers in Duma? When the lives of Palestinians are officially the army’s for the taking, their blood cheap in the eyes of Israeli society, then settler militias are also permitted to kill them. When the IDF’s ethic in the Gaza Strip is that it is permitted to do anything in order to save one soldier, who are we to complain about right-wingers like Baruch Marzel, who told me this weekend it was permissible to kill thousands of Palestinians in order to protect a single hair from the head of a Jew. Such is the atmosphere, such is the result. Original responsibility for it goes to the IDF.

No less to blame, of course, are the governments and politicians who vie with each other over who can suck up the most to the settlers. Whoever gives them 300 new homes in exchange for their violence at the flagship settlement of Beit El is telling them not only that violence is permissible, but also that it pays. It is already hard to draw the line between throwing bags of urine at police officers and fire bombs into people’s homes.

Also to blame, of course, are the law enforcement authorities, starting with the Judea and Samaria District Police – the most ridiculous and scandalous of all police districts, and not by chance. Nine Palestinian homes were torched in the past three years, according to B’Tselem. How many people have been prosecuted? None. So what happened in Duma on Friday? The fire was simply better, in the eyes of the arsonists and their minions.

Their minions also include the silent, the forgiving and all those who think the evil will remain forever within the confines of the West Bank. Their minions also include the Israelis who are convinced that the People of Israel is the chosen people, and as a result is permitted to do anything – including torching the homes of non-Jews, with their inhabitants inside.

So, too, many of those who were shocked by the act, including figures who have visited the victims in Sheba Medical Center, outside Tel Aviv – the president, the prime minister, the opposition leader and their aides – imbibed the racist, infuriating “You have chosen us from all the peoples” with their mothers’ milk.

At the end of a terrible day, it is this that leads to the burning of families whom God did not choose. No principle in Israeli society is more destructive, or more dangerous, than this principle. Nor, unfortunately, more common. If you were to examine closely what is concealed beneath the skin of most Israelis, you would find: the chosen people. When that is a fundamental principle, the next torching is only a matter of time.

Their minions are everywhere, and most of them are now tsk-tsking and expressing dismay at what happened. But what occurred couldn’t have not happened; what happened was dictated by the needs of reality, the reality of Israel and its value system. What happened will happen again, and no one will be spared. We all torched the Dawabsheh family.

SOURCE

REMEMBERING JULIANO MER-KHAMIS ~~ A MURDER MOST FOUL

Juliano Mer-Khamis

Juliano Mer-Khamis

Juliano Mer-Khamis, the 54-year old founder of The Freedom Theater in Jenin, was murdered five years ago today by unknown assailants.

The murder remains unsolved to this day but his memory lives on as does his dream for a Free Palestine.

Presented here is a post I wrote at the time of his assassination …

A PART OF ALL OF US WAS MURDERED IN JENIN

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The mourning period for Juliano Mer-Khamis will end soon, but what he dedicated his life to and symbolised will never end. It matters not to me who actually pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Juliano. In reality, he was killed by the occupation that he so despised. An occupation that is responsible for the creation of monsters on both sides of the wall, monsters so full of hatred and venom that any one of them could be the guilty party. A part of all of us was murdered that afternoon in Jenin by that monster.
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Juliano was the embodiment of the anti occupation. He could not hate Jews because he was one. He could not hate Palestinians because he was one. He was genetically designed to love. But, obviously he was hated by some for being one or the other. It is sad that a man such as this did not live to see his dreams become a reality. Two nations sitting side by each in PEACE. It will happen dear Comrade…. this we promise you.
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Juliano and I shared a special bond, his parents were Communists as were mine, as are my son’s, as were his. This unique background establishes a very special relationship. This is a concept that can only be felt  by those who grew up in similar circumstances. I am not implying that we were a part of an exclusive fraternal order, but am saying that unless one actually wore the proverbial ‘red diaper’, one could not share the sentiments that I am speaking of. His death affected me personally as if a close member of my family died. In the terms I spoke of, in fact, Juliano was my brother.
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Juliano Mer-Khamis was mourned on both sides of the wall, in the two nations that he so proudly belonged to.  If you haven’t watched the following video, you must. You will get a good idea what a special man Juliano was, what a special woman his mother Arna was, and the love that both had for their people. You will see how evil the occupation is and how good those that oppose it are. It’s truly a special video about a special situation.
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Bella Ciao Dear Juliano ….. Shalom Chaver
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Also see THIS post from the archives

DESERTPEACE STANDS IN SILENCE TODAY FOR THE PASSING OF A TRUE WOMAN OF VALOR

 

Anne Yellin / Photo by Matt Weinstein

Anne Yellin / Photo by Matt Weinstein

This morning I received an email from Sue, the daughter of the woman pictured above, informing me of the passing of her mother Anne Yellin yesterday, just a month short of her 99th birthday. She lived a full life and changed the lives of many who knew and loved her, including my own.

Anne played a special role in my life and I credit her more than anyone else for making me what I am today. It was she that handed me the leaflet in front of Woolworth’s in 1960 …. the leaflet that changed my life as can be seen in THIS post from the archives.

Anne was a pillar of the community I grew up in, known to all and loved by all. She was predeceased by her loving husband Jack, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, in his own right, a true hero. She is survived by two loving daughters and Sue and Nancy and their children. May they all be comforted in the knowledge that the memory of their mother and grandmother will live on for years to come.

Bella Ciao dear Comrade and Friend!

My dear friend Matt Weinstein adds the following …

A good friend and one of the great “old-timer” activists and champions of peace and justice passed away today: Ann Yellin. She was a friend of my parents and a doting mom to her two daughters, Sue and Nancy as well as a very loving grandma. Ann, an RN by trade who worked for many years at Coney Island Hospital, was married to Jack Yellin, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade—those courageous premature anti-fascists who fought in Spain before WW II, standing up to Franco and his backer, Hitler. And she was very proud of him. He died a long time ago but Ann carried his memory with her as the years passed and that memory helped bolster her to carry on. Ann was active throughout her life—she was a member of the Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach chapter of Women Strike For Peace, fighting for a world free of the nuclear threat and then later in the Shorefront Peace Committee—its successor. Strongly opinionated but never wavering in her commitment, Ann Yellin was a strong partisan of socialism and with that as her goal she was one of those rare women who translate their beliefs and world outlook into concrete action on behalf of humanity. She was a beautiful woman—inside and out. We won’t soon forget her and the larger than life contributions she made for a better world.Ann died a month before her 99th birthday.

In honour of Anne’s 90th birthday, Matt wrote the following … (Click on link)

THE GREATEST GENERATION~~ A GUEST POST

Matt and Anne in happier times ...

Matt and Anne in happier times …

And finally, a Biblical tribute to our wonderful Woman of Valor …

Eshet Chayil אשת חיל (Psalm 31 Hebrew and English text translation)

IN MEMORY ~~ 3 YEARS SINCE AARON SWARTZ WAS DRIVEN TO DEATH BY THE US GOVERNMENT

3 years since Aaron Swartz was driven to death by US govt on 11/01/2013 at age 26

3 years since Aaron Swartz was driven to death by US govt on 11/01/2013 at age 26

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See the memorial page on Twitter HERE

See the memorial page on Twitter HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ ONE YEAR ON // REMEMBERING THE DEAD IN GAZA

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August 26th 2015, one year after the brutal Israeli massacre in Gaza, Jewish Voice For Peace  organized a memorial march through New York City from  West 77th St. to Columbus Circle. 200+ people participated in the memorial. As the they marched with signs and banners they  boldly called out  “Free Gaza”, “End the occupation” and “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes”. The group entered Columbus Circle in silence to honor the thousands murdered and injured in the attack which included children.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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THE LIFE AND DEATH OF VITTORIO ARRIGONI

Documentary about Vittorio Arrigoni

May his memory be a Blessing for all who strive for Peace, Freedom and Justice throughout the world

62 YEARS LATER ~~ THE ROSENBERGS ARE REMEMBERED

June 19, 1953

For Robert and Michael ….

Then …

Robert and Michael Rosenberg sons of Julius and Ethel

Now …

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Sketches of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg presented to their sons by the artist Pablo Picasso

Looking back at the day ..
By Steve Amsel
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It was a Friday evening, 62 years ago today, that I sat in my bedroom waiting for the lights to dim. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were about to be electrocuted in Sing Sing Prison and I imagined the powerful surge of power causing a brown out in our own home. When that didn’t happen, I thought to myself that perhaps there was a stay of execution …. but I was wrong. Despite the protests, despite the appeals from world leaders, the couple was put to death just one minute before the Sabbath entered, as not to violate the sanctity of the day. It was a reminder of Christ’s execution, also rushed as not to violate the Sabbath.
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Many of us were told that they were innocent of the charges of espionage. We were told that they were the ‘first victims of American fascism’. We were told decades later that this might not have been the case.
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They left behind two young sons, Michael and Robert. Michael was a year older than me and Robert was three years younger. I could not imagine what these two were going through and could not comprehend how the government rendered them orphans with the flick of a switch.
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A small part of me died with the flick of that switch, but worse yet, a big part of America’s integrity died as well.
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The last four days of Ethel and Julius …
Published on June 15, 2015
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First of four videos depicting the last four days of the lives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as told through the letters they wrote to their two young sons on those dates. Featuring Angela Davis, Cotter Smith (as Julius), Eve Ensler (as Ethel), and Rosenberg sons Michael and Robert Meeropol.
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Second of four videos depicting the last four days of the lives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as told through the letters they wrote to their two young sons on those dates. Featuring Angela Davis, Cotter Smith (as Julius), Eve Ensler (as Ethel), and Rosenberg sons Michael and Robert Meeropol.
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Third of four videos depicting the last four days of the lives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as told through the letters they wrote to their two young sons on those dates. Featuring Angela Davis, Cotter Smith (as Julius), Eve Ensler (as Ethel), and Rosenberg sons Michael and Robert Meeropol.
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Last of four videos depicting the last four days of the lives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as told through the letters they wrote to their two young sons on those dates. Featuring Angela Davis, Cotter Smith (as Julius), Eve Ensler (as Ethel), and Rosenberg sons Michael and Robert Meeropol.

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The above videos were created and sent to me by the Rosenberg Fund for Children

The Rosenberg Fund for Children was started by Robert Meeropol, who was orphaned at age six when his parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed at the height of the McCarthy Era.

In 1990 Robert figured out how he could repay the progressive community that helped him survive.  He founded the RFC to help children of targeted activists in the U.S. today- children who are experiencing the same nightmare he and his brother endured as youngsters.  In September 2013, Robert’s daughter, Jennifer Meeropol, took over for him as the RFC’s executive director.

Since its start, the RFC has awarded more than $5.6 million to benefit close to a thousand children in the U.S. whose parents have been targeted because of their involvement in progressive movements including the struggles to preserve civil liberties, wage peace, safeguard the environment, combat racism and homophobia, and organize on behalf of workers, prisoners, immigrants and others whose human rights are under threat.

To assist them in their work, contributions can be made by clicking HERE

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Photos from a Memorial Meeting held last night in New York 

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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BELLA CIAO COUNT DRACULA

 Christoper Lee (1922-2015)

RIP to the most badass of actors. You’ll be missed.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

When Christopher Lee Hunted Nazis

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Over the course of his half-century career, he played Count Dracula nine times. He starred as a villain in a Bond film (“The Man With the Golden Gun”). Younger audiences may remember him as Saruman from “Lord of the Rings.” (Or, Count Dooku from “Star Wars Episode II: The Clone Wars,” but we don’t talk about that.)

But beyond his acting prowess, it turns out Christopher Lee was a pretty amazing human, period. According to family lore , he was a descendent of Charlemagne on his father’s side, and of the infamous Borgias on his mother’s side. He sang on multiple heavy metal albums in his 80s and 90s. He served in the Special Operations Executive during World War II (also called Winston Churchill’s “Secret Army”).

Oh, and he also hunted Nazis.

According to The Telegraph , Lee spent time after the war working for the Central Registry of War Crimes, tasked with finding and prosecuting Nazis. This work took him concentrations camps all over Europe, including Dachau. “We were given dossiers of what they’d done and told to find them, interrogate them as much as we could and hand them over to the appropriate authority,” he told The Times in 2009. “We saw these concentration camps. Some had been cleaned up. Some had not.”

This experience reportedly helped him to craft his role as the treacherous Saruman the White in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

In a behind-the-scenes interview on the “Lord of the Rings” set, Jackson revealed how he learned about Lee’s past during a particularly bloody scene.

“When Wormtongue rises up and comes up behind Saruman to stab him, of course it was my job as director to talk to Christopher Lee and to explain to him what I wanted, so I started to go into this long explanation about what sort of sound he should make when he got stabbed,” he explained.

Lee: “I seem to recall that I did say to Peter, ‘Have you any idea what kind of noise happens when somebody’s stabbed in the back? Because I do.”

Jackson: “He proceeded to talk about some sort of very clandestine part of World War II. He seemed to have expert knowledge of exactly the sort of noise that they make and so I just sort of didn’t push the subject any further.”

RIP to the most badass of actors. You’ll be missed.

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MEMORIES OF MEMORIAL DAY

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Memorial Days

© By Tom Karlson

they sang and prayed,

naming that day in May,

257 Union men captured, starved

mass-graved, bodies twisted,

joined at hip arm and head, this

Charleston South Carolina

Babi Yar Confederate style burial

re-interred with honor and memory

by 10,000 Freedmen

in 1865 that first day of mourning

the first Memorial Day

today we are at Jones beach

it is Memorial Day

we are fifty souls

remembering our dead, the dead

hundreds of Long Islanders

thousands of North Americans

a million Iraqis and Afghanis

families stroll past

some look, others visionless

all have come to eat, drink,

and salute that insatiable war-beast

they watch the Blue Angles

spin, flip, dive, and swoop,

aging chicken hawks

beg boys and girls to sign up for

the navy, the marines, the air force

2010,

the Turkish flotilla

bringing aid to Gaza

the Israeli attack,

nine dead on Memorial day

1937,

steelworkers are strike Little Steel,

families march

police-guards-scabs open fire

ten dead

thirty shot

one hundred clubbed

on Memorial day

let us remember all our Memorial Days

VICTIM OF ZIOTERROR TO BE HONOURED ON ISRAEL’S MEMORIAL DAY ~~ UPDATED

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Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s Name Removed From Mt. Herzl Memorial

Following a request from Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s family, the murdered teenager’s name has been removed from the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial at Mount Herzl.

The Abu Khdeir family say that they do not consider themselves Israelis, and that they only found out about Mohammad’s inclusion from the media.

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At sundown tonight Israel will honour its fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. For the first time a Palestinian victim of zioterror will be added to the list …. but not the thousands of victims in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank that were also victims.

Palestinian teen, who was burned alive by Jewish settlers, was added to the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial at Mount Herzl; ‘This is a great initiative to honor my son, but I’m more interested in justice,’ says father.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir  Image by Carlos Latuff

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, mourned by Mother Palestine
Image by Carlos Latuff

Mohammed Abu Khdeir recognized as terror victim at Mount Herzl

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem who was kidnapped and murdered by Jewish settlers last summer, has been added to the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial at Mount Herzl, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday morning.

His name was also added to the list of terror victims in the government-run website.

The Defense Ministry recognized Abu Khdeir as a victim of “hostile action” in July, some two weeks after he was murdered.

Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s father, told Ynet that “this is a great initiative meant to honor my son, but I’m more interested with something else entirely: For the court to do justice with those who burned my son alive, and sentence them to the appropriate punishment.”

Hussein was referring to the fact defense lawyers for some of the accused plan to claim their clients are mentally unfit to stand trial.

“My son is gone, my son was burned and we were burned with him. I want justice and not honor. What good is it going to do me if they carve his name in stone?” Hussein said.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was murdered shortly after the bodies of three Israeli teens – Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach – were discovered after they were kidnapped and murdered near Hebron.

Abu Khdeir commemorated on state website for victims of terror acts

Abu Khdeir commemorated on state website for victims of terror acts

The accused, 30-year-old Yosef Ben-David and two minors, kidnapped Abu Khdeir from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat and burned him alive at the Jerusalem Forest.

Hussein said that since the murder early on the morning of July 2, 2014, members of the family have been in a bad state.

“Mohammed’s mother, his brothers and sisters, and I, can’t stop experiencing hardships. Our entire life is gone. We have mental problems in the family since it happened,” he said.

“I don’t forget for a moment that at court, my son’s murderers look at me and laugh and enjoy themselves. How would you feel if someone burned your son alive and smiled at court? It made me and his mother sick. We can’t leave the house. Every night I think about how he was burned,” he added.

 

Source

Not Without a Backlash from the right ….

Activists want murdered Arab teen’s name dropped from list of terror victims

Mohammed Abu Khdeir was beaten and burned to death last summer in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens in the West Bank.

By Nir Hasson and Jack Khoury IN
Mohammed Abu Khdeir, selfie, date unknown, published July 7, 2014.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, selfie, date unknown, published July 7, 2014.

An activist group wants the name of an East Jerusalem teenager who was killed by Jews to be removed from a plaque commemorating terror victims.

The plaque is located at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, home to the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial and Israel’s main military cemetery. Also buried there are luminaries such as Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin.

Last July, Mohammed Abu Khdeir was beaten and burned in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens by Palestinians in the West Bank.

“Abu Khdeir wasn’t murdered as a political statement concerning Israel’s existence — he was killed in a crazed act committed by criminals,” an official of the Almagor Terror Victims Association told the Kikar Hashabat website. “You can’t compare a random murder by people whose sanity is in question to institutionalized actions by states and enemy organizations.”

“Abu Khdeir wasn’t murdered as a political statement concerning Israel’s existence — he was killed in a crazed act committed by criminals,” an official of the Almagor Terror Victims Association told the Kikar Hashabat website. “You can’t compare a random murder by people whose sanity is in question to institutionalized actions by states and enemy organizations.”

Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s father, said Tuesday he didn’t know that his son’s name had been added to the list of terror victims. “We will request that his name be removed from that list,” he told the Nazareth-based Ashams radio station.

“We don’t need the recognition … we’re not Israeli citizens. Instead of this list we want justice and the prosecution of the criminals. We’re very concerned that they won’t receive the appropriate punishment.”

The suspects in the Abu Khdeir case are currently on trial at the Jerusalem District Court. In November the main suspect, a 29-year-old man, declined to respond to the charges due to what his lawyer said was an inability to communicate.

The other two suspects, teenagers, played down their role and denied the charge of premeditated murder.

21 YEARS LATER ~~ #JeSuisHebroni

Twenty one years ago this week terror struck out in Hebron. Thirty Palestinians at prayer were slaughtered by one Judeo nazi. There were no solidarity marches, there were no massive outcries in the Western Press, after all, the dead were only Palestinians. Instead there were graveside ceremonies glorifying the terrorist and his acts. Twenty one years later a compatriot of the terrorist is a candidate for the Knesset

ISRAEL MUST HANG ITS COLLECTIVE HEAD IN SHAME!

The following is by far the best account of the massacre itself. It was originally posted seven years ago…..

21 Years of Lessons after Al-Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre – A Memorial History for the 30 Palestinian Martyrs

The story:

The dawn of Friday 15 Ramadan 1414 a.h. / 25 February 1994 marked the first of three massacres perpetrated by Israeli settlers accompanied by the Israeli Army. There were more than 30 martyrs and 270 injured. The main massacre took place while the victims were performing al- Fajr (Dawn) Prayer at Al Ibrahimi mosque.


(Al-Ibrahimi Mosque – Al-Khalil, Occupied Palestine)

At 05:00 on February 25, around eight hundred Palestinian Muslims passed through the east gate of Al-Ibrahimi mosque to participate in al-Fajr prayer, the first of the five daily Islamic prayers. At that time of the holy month of Ramadan, there were many people who flocked the Ibrahimi Mosque to perform their prayers. The mosque was under Israeli Army guard.


That same day, a Jewish American Zionist physician decided to materialize the dream of the typical Zionist movement of annihilating the Arab existence in Palestine. Dr. Baruch Goldstein prepared for the move. It was during Ramadan when Dr. Goldstein decided to execute his old plan of vengeance.

Goldstein passed two army checkpoints at the dawn of February 25, 1994 from the northeastern gate of the mosque near privy. That privy could be the reason why Goldstein decided on that gate because he, probably, received his contemplation about Arabs from the Rabbis of Kach in Kiryat Arab where the Arabs were described as the demons of the privy. The privy of the mosque is important not only because it has two Israeli army checkpoints on its nearby mosque’s gate, but also because it is surrounded by Israeli army posts from the east and army patrols in the west. So Goldstein was acting from the deepest parts of the Zionistic ideology in liquidating the demons.

Goldstein was carrying his IMI Galil assault rifle, four magazines of ammunition, which held 35 bullets each and hand grenades. He thought about the best moment to execute the plan, maximize the number of casualties and secure the escape or rescue. The best moment, of course, was when the Muslim worshipers knelt on the floor with their backs towards Goldstein.

It was first a hand grenade that he threw among the worshipers causing casualties, confusion, and possibly an invitation to the Israeli soldiers in the halls and outside of the mosque to intervene for rescue. And in no time, the automatic massacre took place with the same kind of mercy that other Zionists like Goldstein shows all the time toward Arabs.

Standing in front of the only exit from the mosque and positioned to the rear of the Muslim worshipers, he opened fire with the weapon, killing 29 people and injuring more than 125. He was eventually overwhelmed by survivors, who beat him to death.

An eyewitness said that when Goldstein was executing the massacre and people attacked him, there was a soldier who attempted to come closer to the scene. But instead of “rescuing” Dr. Goldstein, the Israeli soldier shot his bullets in the air and then escaped from the inside eastern door of the northern hall to the previously known “women praying area.” In the opinion of the eyewitness, the soldier could have rescued Goldstein by killing 5 or 10 more Palestinians, but it appeared that his personal safety was above any blood value.

Al Ibrahimi massacre (a.k.a Hebron massacre) is not the last one. Muslims and Jews are and will remain candidates for victimization. But the cause will always be the same: “The Nazi style laws of the Zionists occupation in Palestine.”

Reports after the massacre were inevitably highly confused. In particular, there was uncertainty about whether Goldstein had acted alone; it was reported that eyewitnesses had seen “another man, dressed as a soldier, handing him ammunition.” The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said that the attack was the work of up to 12 men, including Israeli troops. However, Israeli Army denied that and confirmed that Goldstein had acted alone without the assistance or connivance of the Israeli guards posted at the mosque.

News of the massacre immediately led to riots in Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic) and the rest of the occupied territories. Additional Palestinian Muslims were crushed to death in the panic to flee the mosque and in rioting that followed.

Now that was history, a bloody history that marked Feb 25 of every year with memorials of the Palestinian Martyrs massacred that day for nothing but being Palestinians. So, what are the lessons learned from this?

First we will look at the ideology behind this massacre (and all the Zionist massacres), then how it is treated among Zionists. And last but not least, how does the media look at Zionist (terrorists) and how do they handle such massacres compared to other terrorist acts and massacres.

Prof. Israel Shahak wrote – The Ideology Behind Hebron Massacre:

The sympathy which Baruch Goldstein enjoys among the Gush Emunim, whose influence is more pervasive than that of the Kahanists, can only be explained by a shared ideology. However, Gush Emunim leaders enjoy Rabin’s friendship and strong influence in wide circles of the Israeli and diaspora Jewish communities. Therefore it is their version of this ideology which is more important. Gush Emunim’s thinking assumes the imminence of the coming of the Messiah, when the Jews, aided by God, will triumph over the Gentiles. Consequently, all current political developments call be interpreted by those in the know as destined either to bring this end nearer or postpone it. Jewish sins, the worst of them being lack of faith in Gush Emunim ideology, can postpone but not alter the predestined course of Redemption. The two world wars, the Holocaust and other calamitous events of modern history serve as stock examples of such a curative punishment for Jewish sins. Such explanations can go into a lot of specific detail. The rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Dov Lior (who attended Goldstein’s funeral and praised him), blamed Israel’s relative failure in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon on the lack of faith manifested through signing a peace treaty with Egypt and “returning the inheritance of our ancestors [i.e Sinai] to strangers”.[…]

The fundamental tenet of Gush Emunim’s thinking is the assumption that the Jewish people are “peculiar”. Lustick discusses this tenet in terms of their denial of the classical Zionist claim that only by undergoing “a process of normalisation”, by emigrating to Palestine and forming a Jewish state there, can the Jews become like any other nation. But for them this “is the original delusion of the secular Zionists”, because they measured that “normality” by applying non-Jewish standards. According to Gush Emunim, “Jews are not and cannot be a normal people”, because “their eternal uniqueness” is “the result of the covenant God made with them at Mount Sinai”. Therefore, according to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of their leaders, “while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of ‘justice and righteousness’, such laws do not apply to Jews”.

Harkabi quotes Rabbi Israel Ariel, who says that “a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgement, and has not violated the prohibition of murder”. The Gush Emunim rabbis have indeed reiterated that Jews who kill Arabs should be free from all punishment. Harkabi also quotes Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook and Rabbi Ariel, all three of whom say Arabs living in Palestine are thieves because since the land was once Jewish, all property to be found on that land “really” belongs to the Jews. In the original Hebrew version of his book Harkabi expresses his shock at finding this out. “I never imagined that Israelis would so interpret the concept of the historical right.”

Gush Emunim’s plans for governing non-Jews in Israel are also based on “theological” principles. According to Rabbi Aviner; “Is there a difference between punishing an Arab child and an Arab adult for disturbance of our peace? Punishments can be inflicted on Jewish boys below the age of 13 and Jewish girls below the age of 12…But this rule applies to Jews alone, not to Gentiles. Thus any Gentile, no matter how little, should be punished for any crime he commits.” From this dictum, it is only a short step to slaughtering Arab children.

Even Israel’s Supreme Court compared Kahane to the German Nazis. The prominent Orthodox dissident, Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz, said that the mass murder in Hebron was a consequence of “Judeo-Nazism”. But Gush Emunim’s ideology is no less like that of the Nazis than Kahane’s.

Celebrating the Hebron massacre:

Why do we hate them?

When you see the Israelis and Zionists from different parties and sections of the Israeli society, including their army, as well from around the world, gathering annually at the grave of Baruch Goldstein to celebrate the anniversary of his massacre of Muslim worshipers in Al-Khalil (Hebron), how can you but “LOVE” them?

Here is a sample of the news stories from BBC –Graveside party celebrates Hebron massacre (21 March, 2000):

Militant Jews have gathered at the grave of Baruch Goldstein to celebrate the sixth anniversary of his massacre of Muslim worshippers in Hebron.

The celebrants dressed up as the gunman, wearing army uniforms, doctor’s coats and fake beards.

Goldstein, an immigrant from New York City, had been a physician in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Waving semi-automatic weapons in the air, the celebrants danced, sang and read prayers around his grave.

“We decided to make a big party on the day he was murdered by Arabs,” said Baruch Marzel, one of about 40 celebrants.

The tribute was a macabre twist on the Jewish festival of Purim, when it is a custom to dress in costume and celebrate.

Massacre in mosque

In 1994 on Purim, Goldstein stormed a mosque and fired on praying Muslims in the West Bank city’s Tomb of the Patriarchs – a shrine sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Twenty-nine people died in the attack, and the angry crowd lynched Goldstein in retaliation.

Israeli extremists continue to pay homage at his grave in the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, where a marble plaque reads: “To the holy Baruch Goldstein, who gave his life for the Jewish people, the Torah and the nation of Israel.”

About 10,000 people had visited the grave since the massacre, Mr Marzel said.

Note: the above news story is ten years old.

Not only that. The Israeli government allocated a special site for the grave, in the Tourist Park in Kiryat Arba settlement. Over the years, the grave has become a site of pilgrimage. Tens of thousand people from all over the world go to pray and honor this terrorist memory. The local religious council of Kiryat Arba settlement declared the grave site a cemetery. During the Feast of Purim, Goldstein friends celebrate the feast near his grave to honor him, in appreciation of what he did!

Last but not least, on the biased media side, Leon T. Hadar wrote:

Following the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the arrest of several Muslims who were charged with the crime, the American media were flooded with news stories, analyses and commentaries that warned of the coming “Islamic threat.” “Investigative reporters” and “terrorism experts” alleged on television talk shows and op-ed pages that the accused perpetrators of the bombing were part of an “Islamic terrorism network” coordinated by Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, or other Middle Eastern bogeymen.
[…]
Contrast those reactions with the media’s response to the massacre in Hebron. No analyst suggested that the event reflected the emergence of a global “Jewish threat. ” No terrorism expert was invited to discuss on “Nightline” or the “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” the rise of a “global Zionist terrorism” organization manipulated, say, by the Israeli Mossad. No scholar alleged that the massacre by a Jewish settler suggested that Western and Jewish values were somehow incompatible.

If one really had wanted to apply the journalistic methods that were used in the case of the World Trade Center bombing, it would not have been so difficult, after reviewing the biography of Rabbi Meir Kahane by Robert I. Friedman, to point to the strong ties between Baruch Goldstein and the other “fanatics” in the Jewish settlements and members of the Israeli political establishment, especially in the Likud party. One could even have reminded American readers that Kiryat Arba, where Goldstein resided, was actually the brainchild of a pre-1977 Labor government.

Any analysis of public statements and writings by some of the major political and spiritual leaders of the Jewish settlers, including the rabbis who head the movement, would reveal a fanatical hatred and racist attitudes toward non-Jews in general, and Arabs and Palestinians in particular.

Instead, most journalists and analysts adopted the official Israeli line and described the massacre as an “isolated” case of Jewish “extremism,” an act of a “lone gunman,” a “lunatic,” a “madman” who does not represent Israeli society or, for that matter, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories. Journalists, like the Israeli government, stressed that killing of innocent civilians violates the moral tenets of Judaism.

The above was originally posted by Haitam Sabbah seven years ago.

LANGSTON HUGHES HONOURED BY GOOGLE

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Click on Google today and you will see a short tribute to Langston Hughes’ on his 113th Birthday …

A brief biography and links to the poetry of Langston Hughes can be seen HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THE STOLEN DREAMS ON MLK DAY

There were several marches – the one we went on had about 2,000 people.  Then we went to Grand Central Station where about 200 of us held up the names of unarmed Black citizens, mostly young men, who were killed by the police.  People read about them, who they were, how they died.  After each story people said their name, all together, and raised their fist in the air.  People passing through stopped to listen.  Some family members of those killed were there.  After 3 hours someone read King’s last speech and we repeated it, one line at a time (Occupy style) and then everyone sang We Shall Overcome and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold On.  Actually, we did the same thing for 24 hours last week.  It is a very powerful experience.

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We’ve come a long way, but we’re not there yet …

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

Marching through the streets …

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At Grand Central …

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