IN PHOTOS ~~ #UNBLOCK CUBA

Demo in New York on 1/11 ….. Day of UN Vote

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

 

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Related report (Click on link)

U.N. calls again for end of U.S. embargo on Cuba

 

THANK YOU KEN LOACH

Proceeds from screenings of Ken Loach’s latest film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ are donated by the pro-boycott director to BDS’s UK branch, turning Israelis into unwitting supporters of a boycott against their own country.

Ken Loach (L) and Roger Waters
Photo: EPA

Ken Loach donates Israel screening profits to BDS

By Yaniv Halily

British director Ken Loach donated the proceeds from the screenings of his latest film in Israel to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The film, “I, Daniel Blake,” was widely acclaimed and screened in front of audiences at packed theaters in Israel last spring. At the end of the week, the British branch of the boycott group published a statement revealing it had been the recipient of all proceeds from the film’s screening in Israel donated by Loach.

“Ken Loach, thank you for the support and generosity, it gives us strength,” the organization’s members told the British director.

They did not specify the amount they received from him.

“I, Daniel Blake,” came out last year and won the Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Best British Film award at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), as well as being nominated and named best film in many other prestigious festivals.

The film tells the story of Daniel Blake, a working-class man who was crushed under the weight of bureaucracy after suffering a heart attack and being denied benefits despite his inability to work, forming a unique friendship with a single mother in the process.

The film’s director, Ken Loach, is considered to be one of the best directors working in Britain today. Alongside Roger Waters, Loach is also the most prominent supporter of BDS in Britain.

Loach has signed numerous letters calling for a boycott of Israel and has even approached artists such as Radiohead demanding that they cancel their planned performances in Israel in the past. His efforts however, were to know avail with the show going ahead at full volume.

 

“Do not appear in a country where there is an apartheid regime,” he repeatedly told various artists.

Loach was heavily criticized last summer after reports revealed that, although he called for a boycott on Israel, he himself was profiting from screening his films there.

Loach replied, through his producer Rebecca O’Brien, that the distribution company of “I, Daniel Blake,” signed a distribution agreement with Israel “accidentally” and without his knowledge.

“We asked not to sell the film to Israel, but during the Cannes Festival, junior representatives from the production company quickly sold the film to Israel, forgetting that Ken had asked not to sell the film for screenings there,” O’Brien told The Guardian.

As a result of the claimed error, the film was screened in Israel despite the fact that many viewers who watched it did not know that their money would now help BDS and its efforts to continue to defame Israel’s name abroad.

Shani Films, which distributed the film in Israel, has yet to respond to the reports.

IN PHOTOS ~~ ONLY IN AMERIKA ARE TERRORISTS PROTECTED BY THE POLICE

The OUTLAWED JDL freely demonstrates in NY with police protection

On Monday, 8/14, there was a massive demonstration at Trump Towers – thousands participated. It was in protest of his policy on N. Korea as well as his statement which equated the anti-fascists in Charlottesville with the Nazi, white supremist, Klu Klux Klan and anti-Semitic marchers.  At the same time a demonstration was taking place at Union Sq. organized by Samidoun in solidarity with Rosmea Udeh.   When Samidoun arrived they were met by an equal number of JDL who came to counter-protest the Samidoun demonstration.

The two opposing lines moved closer and closer yelling and shouting at each other until they were virtually nose-to-nose. The NYC police acted quickly and moved in separating the two lines and kept a constant presence there. Samidoun  then began marching in a circle shouting, “From Charlottesville to Palestine, racist murder is a crime.”

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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CHALLENGING THE BLACKLIST ~~ BDS FIGHTBACK

Human rights activists are challenging Israeli blacklists of supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, or BDS.

How is Israel compiling its BDS blacklists?

Human rights activists are challenging Israeli blacklists of supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, or BDS.

Lawyer Eitay Mack and several other Israeli activists last week filed a freedom of information petition with the Jerusalem district court demanding that two government departments disclose how they create the blacklists.

The lists are used to prevent overseas BDS activists from entering territories controlled by Israel, including the occupied West Bank.

The court action comes after a freedom of information request, filed by Mack last month, was rebuffed by the ministries.

Astonishingly, they justified the refusal based on the “privacy” of the BDS activists. In an email sent to The Electronic Intifada, Mack called this “a new world record in cynicism and hypocrisy.”

He explained that unless Israeli authorities admit to “illegally compiling personal non-public data on international activists and groups, while using, for example, invasive monitoring and spying software” then disclosure would lead to no privacy violation.

The freedom of information request was sent to the interior ministry and the Population and Immigration Authority last month, after press reports that five members of a US interfaith delegation had been banned from entering Israel because of their support for BDS.

Rabbi Alissa Wise told The Electronic Intifada that Lufthansa airline staff had read out a blacklist of people on their delegation who would not be allowed to fly to Tel Aviv.

Hacking emails

An airline employee told Wise and four others that the Israeli government had insisted they not be allowed onboard.

Israel has previously banned individuals it accuses of supporting BDS from entering.

But in March, it formalized the policy with a new law, which it soon began to implement.

Wise, deputy director of pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace, also told The Electronic Intifada that the blacklist Lufthansa read to them included two individuals who had canceled their participation in the delegation months prior, and who had never bought tickets for the flight.

Wise thinks the only way Israel could have got hold of those two names was through illicit means, such as hacking or intercepting the group’s emails.

In an email sent to The Electronic Intifada, Mack said his freedom of information request asks the Israeli ministries to disclose “the criteria and procedures” they use to add people to these blacklists, as well as how they transfer these lists to authorities outside Israel.

You can read the full request in Hebrew here, and the full court petition here.

Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported the day after the ban on Wise and her colleagues that the interior ministry and the strategic affairs ministry issued a statement confirming they had been behind the ban.

“These were prominent activists who continuously advocate for a boycott,” the ministries said.

Strategic affairs is the ministry charged with leading Israel’s “war” against BDS.

“Battlefront”

In September 2016, Mack and his colleagues filed a similar freedom of information request asking the strategic affairs ministry and the foreign ministry to reveal which overseas groups and individuals they were supporting in the effort to thwart the BDS movement.

But in June they replied claiming that they had no working relations with such foreign entities – an assertion Mack considers not to be credible and which appears to be contradicted by other statements.

In July, the Israeli parliament passed the first reading of a new law drafted by the strategic affairs ministry, which will exempt it from freedom of information laws, on the basis that BDS is a “battlefront like any other.”

The banning of Wise and her colleagues marks the first known occasion an Israeli blacklist has been passed onto another country based on the new anti-BDS law. It also marks the first known occasion a Jewish person has been banned from entering under the new law.

The delegation had been planning to fly to Tel Aviv, after a layover in Germany. But the Lufthansa staff at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC, had been given the blacklist by Israel in advance.

According to Mack, although this case involved US citizens and a German company, “there is a risk that the state of Israel has also delivered ‘blacklists’ to non-democratic states that persecute human rights and opposition activists.”

Mack cites Israel’s past support for oppressive regimes in Latin America and Africa as precedents.

Rivalries

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs was founded in 2006, and was initially focused on Iran, leading Israel’s sometimes-covert campaign against that country’s nuclear energy program.

In October 2015, now led by Gilad Erdan, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, the ministry’s focus was shifted to fighting BDS.

This reallocation of authority and funds has led to tensions with other government departments, who are reportedly jealous of being sidelined by Netanyahu. Erdan is a long-standing ally of Netanyahu, having served him as an advisor in the prime minister’s office in the 1990s.

According to Haaretz investigative journalist Uri Blau, Israel’s “security cabinet” gave the strategic affairs ministry responsibility to “guide, coordinate and integrate” activities of ministers, government and “civil entities in Israel and abroad” as part of “the struggle against attempts to delegitimize Israel and the boycott movement.”

In May 2016, an Israeli governmental report criticized Netanyahu’s transfer of anti-BDS powers and funding away from the foreign ministry.

Strategic affairs “lacks the foreign ministry’s inherent advantages, including … [its] unmediated access to the battlefield and to collaboration with sympathetic groups and organizations abroad,” the report said.

Exposure could “harm the battle”

In September 2016, a leak to Haaretz exposed the depths of the feud between the two ministries.

A cable from the Israeli embassy in London to the foreign ministry reportedly complained about Erdan’s ministry.

It accused them of “operating” British Jewish organizations behind the embassy’s back in a way that could put them in violation of UK law.

Justifying the new law exempting his ministry from freedom of information, Erdan last month made reference to “bodies around the world” fighting BDS who “do not want to expose their connection with the state.”

He explained that “most of the ministry’s actions are not of the ministry” directly, but via such front groups. “We must protect the information whose exposure could harm the battle,” he insisted.

Israel is known to operate around the world via front organizations which claim to be grassroots “civil rights” or political groups.

Examples include the Mossad-linked “lawfare” organization Shurat HaDin, which attacks Palestine solidarity groups with egregious litigation. In the UK, the Israeli embassy maintains close ties to Labour Friends of Israeland the Jewish Labour Movement. The Union of Jewish Students has also received funding from the embassy, according to Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation of the Israel lobby earlier this year.

According to Blau, “the ministry spends tens of millions of shekels on cooperative efforts with the Histadrut labor federation, the Jewish Agency and various nongovernmental organizations in training representatives of the ‘true pluralistic face’ of Israel in various forums.”

This strategy of using apparently liberal or progressive organizations as a way to improve Israel’s image is in line with a secret report which was obtained by The Electronic Intifada in April.

Front groups

The report, by leading Israeli think tank the Reut Institute and the Israel lobby group the Anti-Defamation League, called for a “broad tent” approach in which “liberal and progressive pro-Israel groups” are deployed to engage with “soft critics of Israel.”

It argued that “the pro-Israel community must be united in this fight” and “benefits from its diversity.”

The report carried an endorsement from the director general of Erdan’s anti-BDS ministry.

In August 2015 Israel’s military intelligence agency Aman revealed to Haaretz that it had established a “delegitimization department” to spy on BDS activists overseas.

Was it this agency which furnished the information leading to Rabbi Wise and her friends being barred from Palestine by Israeli occupation authorities?

According to Mack, compilation of the blacklists of international activists could “be used for the covert compilation of ‘blacklists’ of Israeli human rights activists who are in touch” with them.

When Aman revealed to Haaretz it was “monitoring” BDS activists around the world, it emphasized “that it does not collect information on Israeli citizens. That is the job of the Shin Bet” – Israel’s secret police.

In March, it was revealed that Erdan wanted to start compiling a “database” of Israeli citizens who support BDS. But the attorney general and other Israeli officials accused his ministry of overstepping its legal authority.

If Erdan’s ministry is using these blacklists to covertly “monitor” Israeli activists too, it seems he may be in violation even of Israeli law.

ROGER WATERS EXPLAINS WHY BDS MOVEMENT IS VITAL

Roger Waters calls on fellow musicians to boycott Israel & explains why the BDS movement is vital

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI 72 YEARS LATER

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

 

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IN PHOTOS ~~ SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIANS ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT

With the increasing intensity of conflict at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Zionist state and the deaths of three Palestinians the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) of New Jersey  called for a protest street demonstration at the cross roads of the world: New York City’s Times Square.

Here where hundreds and hundreds  of people pass  every hour about five hundred people took to the street to shout their anger and demand a free Palestine. Older people and younger ones, mothers with their children in strollers carried the Palestinian colors.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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BDS MOM OF THE YEAR

The pro-Palestinian provocateur is under attack after a newspaper alleged that she ‘tricked’ her way into Israel last month. She says she will be ‘heartbroken’ if the authorities ban her from ever returning

Ariel Gold, center, protesting against Airbnb.Madrone Jack of Oakland, CA.

Jewish Mother and BDS Activist: Code Pink’s Ariel Gold vs. Israel’s Travel Ban
Allison Kaplan Sommer
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Ariel Gold is a one-woman example of the contradictions of the Israeli government’s travel ban law, which forbids foreign nationals who call for boycotts of Israel from entering the country.

Outspoken, provocative, pro-Palestinian and an advocate of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, Gold is a professional campaign director for Code Pink, the far-left peace and social justice NGO that works to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations.

She has demonstrated against Israeli policies, disrupted public events and been arrested – in both Israel and the United States – for her protests. She was banned from visiting the Western Wall last year after authorities found her carrying political signs and pamphlets while entering the plaza.

She is currently in Hebron, monitoring the military trial of Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro and publicizing his cause online. At the same time, the 42-year-old mother of two is an active member of her Ithaca, NY Reform synagogue, sends her kids to Jewish summer camp, and her teenage son is on a summer-long Israel program with the Reform movement.

She has Israeli cousins and proudly boasts that her family can trace its lineage back to 16th-century Rabbi Yosef Caro, author of the “Shulchan Aruch” (the codification of Jewish religious law), who is buried in Safed.

In a telephone interview from the West Bank city, Gold says she has been “under attack” since last Thursday when Israel Hayom – a widely circulated, pro-Netanyahu newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson – ran an article charging that her admission into Israel was a “failure,” and that she had “tricked” Israeli authorities by deleting every post from her Facebook page since 2012, “all of which call for a boycott.”

The article was critical of the Israeli government for allowing Gold to slip through the net, and quotes a Public Security Ministry official as promising that Gold will be barred from entering the country in the future.

Gold vehemently denies the newspaper’s charges of deception, saying she “didn’t take down a single post” from her Facebook page, noting that she had merely changed the status of posts from “Public” to “Friends” only.
She says it was “absurd” to believe she had done anything to deliberately deceive the Israeli authorities.

“It’s not hard to see things I’ve done and written about online. You just Google my name. I mean, I publicly disrupted Ashton Kutcher last fall, asking him to use his position on Airbnb to stop it from operating in the settlements – it wasn’t just in Haaretz and the Times of Israel, but it was in People Magazine!”

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Videos of the Kutcher incident are easily found on YouTube, as is the video of a campaign appearance by Chelsea Clinton that Gold disrupted last year, and articles she has written on the Mondoweiss website harshly criticizing Israel and its policies.

“If I was to try to erase my political opinions on Israel and Palestine on the internet, it would take me years,” she joked.

When she was questioned at Ben-Gurion airport in late June, Gold says she was open about what she did and where she worked, noting that the email she gave officials had a Code Pink address.

The security personnel questioning her “didn’t ask me about BDS at all,” she says. “They asked if I supported violent resistance against Israel. And I said I absolutely did not. They asked me where my feelings were, and I told them that I believe in justice and I believe in peace and I believe in nonviolence.”

Had they asked her about boycotting Israel, she says she would have told them she believes “that BDS is a nonviolent approach to bring Israel into accordance with international law and international standards for human rights.”

What she teaches her kids

She has worked at Code Pink for two years, previously volunteering with them as an activist.  Her political activism on the Palestinian issue began during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in late 2008, when she joined Jewish Voice For Peace and became its chapter coordinator, she says.

Gold was raised secular and says she felt she had missed out when she attended her cousins’ Bar and Bat Mitzvot. She connected with her Judaism as a young adult, joining a synagogue and becoming part of a Jewish community, and made a point of sending her own children to Hebrew school and Jewish camp.

“But I also taught my children to think critically, and [to] think critically about the actions of the State of Israel, and that Palestinians [are] deserving of equality and freedom and justice – and I have taken them to protests alongside me since they are toddlers,” she adds, including a 2015 action against AIPAC where she was arrested.

“I felt a lot of love for Israel when I began to explore Judaism. But from the time I heard about the occupation, it was horrible and wrong,” she says, calling her emotions in coming to terms with Israel’s actions toward Palestinians “a grief process.”

Gold says she doesn’t know why Israel Hayom singled her out but speculates she could be under scrutiny because of her work over the past year spearheading Amro’s cause, and advocating for him with the U.S. government.

Amro was indicted by the Israeli army last September for a range of offences, including spitting at a settler, obstructing soldiers and insulting them, and entering closed military zones. His lawyers have argued that his prosecution constitutes political persecution and is intended to stop his activism.

Gold says proudly she was “instrumental” in the lobbying efforts by a coalition of advocacy groups that resulted in a June 28 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, signed by 32 members of Congress, asking him to use his influence with Israel to encourage its government to “reconsider the charges against Mr. Amro, internationally recognized as a principled, nonviolent human rights advocate.”

Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about Issa Amro.

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The number of signatures is the highest-ever on a document advocating for a Palestinian cause, Gold adds. She believes it is this political work (which Code Pink has done in coordination with other groups) that is why the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has sent two representatives to monitor Amro’s trial.
But Gold’s social media activity and provocative actions could just as equally have been the reason – she has been posting numerous photographs and videos criticizing Israeli policies during her stay, including an interview with Amro, and the photograph published in the newspaper where she stands in front of a checkpoint holding a sign declaring “This is Apartheid #codepink”

During her time in Hebron, Gold says she has instigated several “lively Jewish debates” with Israel Defense Forces soldiers standing guard. At various points, she notes, she has been told she was restricted to either the areas exclusively for Jews or confined to the areas for Palestinians, depending on whether she was perceived as a Jew or a pro-Palestinian activist.

She says she isn’t angry or hostile with the soldiers. “These are all very young soldiers and I think they are in difficult situations, and I think they are overwhelmed by what they are doing.” She has harsher words for Hebron’s settlers, whom she alleges have followed and harassed her, insulted her and said “I came here to have sex with Arabs.”

The Israel Hayom article reported ominously that the Public Security Ministry was “investigating what should be done about Gold,” adding that she will be prevented from entering the country in the future, in accordance with the travel ban.

Gold says the prospect of being barred from Israel and the territories – and the entire concept of the travel ban – “appalls” her, and she has considered approaching the authorities and asking them not to stop her from entering the country despite her politics.

“It is incredible here,” she says. “I love my friends here and I love the land here. I will be heartbroken if I can’t return.”

Just in case, she adds, she is going to make a point of visiting her relatives and the grave of Rabbi Caro in Safad, since “it may be the last time I see it.”
Approached by Haaretz, a spokesman for Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says Gold’s case is “being investigated.” He said no decision has been made as to whether she can remain or return to Israel.

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Source and more photos and videos HERE

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY FROM ECUADOR ~~ ON VIDEO

As Israel begins to build its first new settlement in the West Bank for years, Latin Americans express their rejection of the treatment of Palestinians.

Ecuadoreans March in Solidarity with Palestine

 

Mother Palestine also resists the new settlements

Image by Carlos Latuff

IN PHOTOS ~~ PRIDE WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Gay Pride Parade in New York City

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Latuff added his 2 cents ….

IN PHOTOS ~~ INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY IN NEW YORK

March to Trump Towers ….

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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FREEDOM AND DIGNITY HUNGER STRIKE ENDS WITH PARTIAL VICTORIES

All salutes to the courageous, struggling Palestinian prisoners, on the front lines of the Palestinian struggle for liberation! Their victories and their struggles are those of the Palestinian people and of all people seeking justice and liberation.

And salutes to all of those around the world who have been part of the prisoners’ struggle and Palestinian victory for the past 40 days.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinian prisoners suspend hunger strike after 40 days of struggle

After 40 days, Palestinians suspend mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons

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Hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons suspended a 40-day mass hunger strike during dawn hours on Saturday, after reaching an agreement with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) that reinstated the prisoners’ family visitation sessions to two times per month, according to initial information from Palestinian leadership and IPS, with details yet to emerge regarding any additional achievements.

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The agreements came on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, for which some hunger strikers had vowed to fast and forgo the salt and water mixture being consumed by the prisoners from dawn until sunset — the only source of nutrients the hunger strikers were consuming.
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Palestinian leaders applauded the prisoners’ “victory” on Saturday, saying that the agreement represented an “important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners.”
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However, increasing family visits was but one of a number of demands hunger-striking prisoners were calling for — including the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial.
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The national committee formed to support the hunger strike has meanwhile said that more details regarding the outcome of the hunger strike would be revealed later.
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While further information about the agreement has not yet been released, reports indicated that further achievements of the strike also centered on the issue of family visits, including access to more relatives including grandparents and grandchildren; improved communication, especially between imprisoned children and women and their families, and the installation of public telephones; easing security prohibitions and the frequent bans on family visit imposed by the Israeli prison administration, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Samidoun.
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An IPS spokesperson told Ma’an that an agreement was forged between the Israeli state, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Palestinian Authority (PA), granting prisoners the second monthly family visit, to be funded by the PA.
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The move effectively reinstated the number of family visits that were formerly provided to Palestinian prisoners, before the ICRC reduced the number of visits it facilitated last year from two to one visit a month, a decision that sparked protests across the Palestinian territory.
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However, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said back in August 2016 that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had already approved a decision to cover all financial expenses for the second visitation session. A spokesperson for neither the PA nor PPS could immediately be reached for comment.
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“It is appalling that it should take a 40-day mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners to restore family visits taken away by an international agency that should be motivated by the rights and well-being of the prisoners. Far from a neutral bystander, the ICRC was in fact a party to this strike and a participant in the confiscation of the rights of Palestinian prisoners,” Samidoun wrote.
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The group’s report argued that, “This raises once again sharp questions about what really provoked the cut in family visits for Palestinian prisoners and the level of Israeli involvement in what was claimed at the time to be a mere financial decision, despite Palestinian pledges to cover costs.”
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Talks at stand-still until Barghouthi brought in at 11th hour
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Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe and head of PPS Qaddura Fares said in a joint statement that the prisoners suspended the “Freedom and Dignity,” following more than 20 hours of negotiations between IPS officials and prison leaders in Ashkelon prison, including Marwan Barghouthi — the imprisoned Fatah official who has been the primary leader of the strike.
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The statement added that IPS officials announced the end of the strike after negotiating with Barghouthi, who IPS had consistently refused to speak with throughout the strike’s duration, as hunger strikers had meanwhile refused to enter negotiations without the presence of Barghouthi.
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The joint statement did not mention which of the hunger strikers’ demands were actually met by Israeli prison authorities.
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A Palestinian source knowledgeable about negotiations elaborated to Ma’an later Saturday afternoon that the talks started Friday at 9 a.m. at Ashkelon prison, initially in the absence of Marwan Barghouthi.At the beginning, representatives of hunger-striking prisoners were Ahmad Barghouthi, Nasser Uweis, Ammar Mardi, and Nasser Abu Hmeid.
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However, the sources said that negotiations did not make progress until IPS agreed to bring in Marwan Barghouthi.The sources said that after Barghouthi’s arrival, IPS then “immediately agreed to some of the prisoners’ demands” and promised to respond positively to them.
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At 4:20 a.m. Saturday, a phone call was made between the imprisoned leaders of the hunger strike and officials from the PA and the Fatah movement outside of Israeli prisons, and after discussions, Marwan Barghouthi agreed to end hunger strike, the sources said.
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The IPS spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that Barghouthi was involved in the agreements that ended the hunger strike, but said that IPS was not considering the talks “negotiations,” as they only reinstated a previous policy and did not provide any new concessions to the prisoners.
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The IPS spokesperson told Ma’an that some 834 prisoners remained on strike to the 40th day, and that 18 prisoners who remained hospitalized would be returned to Israeli prison following the improvement of their health conditions.
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The spokesperson declined to comment on whether any of the other demands were met.
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The final round of talks came after Palestinian security officials and officials of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, had reportedly been engaged in negotiations in recent weeks.
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A meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump during Trump’s two day visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank also reportedly played a role in reaching an agreement.
Abbas also reportedly raised the issue with Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, during a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday.
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Palestinians, UN, celebrate hunger strike’s ‘victory’
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United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said he welcomed reports that the hunger strike had been suspended. “I call on all sides to abide by the terms of the agreement and avoid similar heightened tensions in the future,” he said in a written statement.
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A spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Xavier Abu Eid released a statement Saturday by the “Free Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners’ international campaign,” saying that the hunger strike had “prevailed.”
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“This is an important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners under international law. It is also an indication of the reality of the Israeli occupation which has left no option to Palestinian prisoners but to starve themselves to achieve basic rights they are entitled to under international law,” the statement read.
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As the statement pointed out, the hunger strike was one of the longest strikes in Palestinian history and included a wide participation of Palestinian prisoners from across political factions.“The epic resilience and determination of the hunger strikers and their refusal to end their hunger strike despite the repression and very harsh conditions they endured allowed for their will to prevail over the will of the jailer.”

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Israeli forces had attempted to break the hunger strike through various punitive measures — with the measures being repeatedly condemned by human rights organizations — including putting hunger strikers in solitary confinement, “inciting” against the hunger strikers and their leaders — most notably Barghouthi, and threatening to force feed the hunger strikers, the statement highlighted.
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Scores of Palestinian prisoners were also transferred to Israeli hospitals during the hunger strike, with reports emerging that prisoners were vomiting blood and fainting. Palestinian leaders had feared possible deaths among the hunger strikers if their demands were not met.
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The statement went on to thank all those who stood in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, particularly former political prisoners in South Africa, Ireland, and Argentina.“The Palestinian people are a nation held captive, and the Palestinian prisoners are the reflection of this painful reality,” the statement read.
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Spokesperson for the PA Youssef al-Mahmoud also congratulated the hunger strikers on “achieving their demands.”
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“Our heroic prisoners achieved a new victory in their legendary resistance,” he said, adding that the government would continue its efforts to “guarantee that all Palestinian prisoners are freed without exceptions or conditions.”
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He also called for an end to political divisions in Palestine and to work on regaining national unity to support Palestinians.
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Meanwhile, member of Fatah’s central committee Jamal Muheisin and head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe held a press conference at Yasser Arafat square in Ramallah to announce the “victory” of the hunger strike.
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The national committee formed to support the hunger strike also released a statement saying that the hunger strikers had achieved a “legendary triumph forcing the occupation government to negotiate with the leaders of the hunger strike and Marwan Barghouthi after having refused to negotiate for 40 days.”
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The statement highlighted that the “epic hunger strike” brought back unity between Palestinians in Israeli prisons and revived the spirit of national solidarity, which has succeeded in “thwarting the occupation’s plots.”
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The statement added that more information regarding the details of the agreement between IPS officials and the hunger strikers would be released later.
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The Hamas movement said a statement that it “hails the incredible steadfastness of the Palestinian prisoners inside the Israeli prisons,” in which “Israeli prison authorities had no choice but to succumb to the prisoners’ just demands.””This victory serves as an evidence that by unity, will, and steadfastness Palestinians can achieve even the impossible missions in their struggle against the unjust occupation,” the statement continued, going onto thank families of prisoners, the Palestinian people, and “the free world” for showing devoting their time to solidarity actions throughout the hunger strike “to keep this humanitarian issue alive.””Their efforts and support rallies drew the world’s attention to the prisoners’ ongoing plight, and revealed the ugly face of the Israeli Occupation of being a blatant violator of the Palestinians’ human rights,” Hamas affirmed, adding that “the prisoners’ issue will remain a core one, and the ultimate goal of setting them free will never be forgotten.”
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Palestinians imprisoned by Israel have underwent numerous hunger strikes since the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza in 1967, with several hunger strikers being killed during strikes owing to Israeli policies of force-feeding the prisoners.
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Their demands have ranged from insisting on better quality prison food to ending torture in Israeli prisons.
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According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of April, most of whom are being held inside the Israeli territory in contravention to international law which forbids holding Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza outside the occupied territory.
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While Israeli authorities label Palestinians as “security prisoners,” activists and rights groups have long considered Palestinians held in Israeli custody as political prisoners, and have routinely condemned Israel’s use of prison as a means of dismembering Palestinian political and social life in the occupied territory.
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Addameer has reported that 40 percent of the male Palestinian population has been detained by Israeli authorities at some point in their lives.
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THE STRUGGLE IS FAR FROM OVER ….
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In Photos … NYC rally brings Palestinian prisoner solidarity to the heart of Times Square

Photo: Joe Catron

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Photo: Zachariah Barghouti

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Photo: Joe Catron

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Photo: Joe Catron

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Photo: Joe Catron

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Photo: Joe Catron

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New York City activists and supporters of justice in Palestine came together in Times Square on Wednesday, 24 May for an event in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike.
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The event, Portraits4Palestine, was organized by Existence is Resistance and thePalestinian Youth Movement, with the participation of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, BAYAN USA, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the International Action Center, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine and the US Palestinian Community Network, as well as Al-Awda New Yorkand the Syrian American Forum. Participants took photos holding signs in support of the prisoners and distributed information, engaging with passers-by.
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The rally went on for over two hours as each group spoke about the prisoners and chanted in support of the Palestinian struggle and the prisoners’ hunger strike. Adnan of Samidoun led chants in Arabic and English as participants waved signs and banners in support of the strike, which began on 17 April 2017. 1500 out of a total of nearly 6500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launched the strike for basic human demands, including an end to the denial of family visits, proper health care and medical treatment, the right to access education, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.
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Joe Catron of Samidoun spoke at the rally, saying that “the Palestinian prisoners’ struggle is a century old, like the broader Palestinian national movement against Zionist settler colonialism. It will not end today or with the Strike of Freedom and Dignity.” He encouraged people to continue to organize and invited all to attend the upcoming protest on Friday, 26 May to support the prisoners outside the Best Buy in Union Square.
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BAYAN USA also shared information about the campaign to stop the declaration of martial law in Mindanao in the Philippines. They denounced martial law as leading only to further militarization, destabilization and neoliberalism, a threat to the people and their rights. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its solidarity with the Filipino people and the demand to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao and confront potential US involvement and the “war on terror” framework.
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The rally was of great interest to many passers-by, with various people coming to join the rally after seeing the protest and finding out more about the Palestinian prisoners’ strike. One mime performing in Times Square joined the protest and sang Palestinian songs in support of the prisoners.
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Many more actions are being planned to support the prisoners’ strike in New York City. On Friday, 26 May, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network will gather outside the Best Buy in Union Square at 5:30 pm for a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike.
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The protest will also urge the boycott of HP products, as Hewlett-Packard is engaged in extensive contracts with the Israeli occupation military and prison system; it is part of a global day of action for the 40th day of the strike, called by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee. All are encouraged to attend and join the demonstration.
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Rally report FROM

IN PHOTOS ~~ WEEKLY SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE IN NEW YORK

A WEEKLY EVENT WE HOLD AT UNION SQ. IT’S CALLED SAMIDOUN[FREENALL POLITICAL PRISONERS]. THIS WEEK IT WAS GEARED TO THE HUNGER STRIKERS.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Our very own Carlos Latuff was there in spirit

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IN PHOTOS ~~ THE ROAD TO FREEDOM COMES TO COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

We must not co-exist but rather co-resist 

On the evening of April 24th an auditorium at Barnard College/Columbia University was packed to capacity with students waiting to hear Omar Barghouti, one of the originators of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, speak.  Earlier in the day he was given the Gandhi Peace Prize at Yale University and all were aware that the Israeli government had tried to interfere with him taking this trip.  There was also interference from the university which was not pleased to have Barghouti at Columbia that evening.

When he entered the room he was given a loud, long and enthusiastic standing ovation.  Two other speakers were on the program, Professor Premilla Nadasen, of the Barnard History Department and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace.  Both spoke well, Nadasen described her experiences growing up in an apartheid South Africa which she  said was not as bad as the apartheid in Palestine.  Vilkomerson discussed the new tactics that Israel was using, “lawfare”, in an attempt to defeat the growing BDS movement.  When Barghouti stepped up to the podium there was another lengthy standing ovation.  He began by giving the history of the non-violent BDS movement and explained their 3 demands – ending the occupation and the wall, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel (there are currently 61 laws in Israel that favor Jewish citizens over Palestinian citizens), and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees in the diaspora as guaranteed by the UN.  He said that the Nakba had never ended and that there was a continual effort to colonize the minds of the Palestinian people by destroying all hope.  But hope was not destroyed.  There is still strong resistance and the success of the BDS movement has raised hope even higher.  He added that we must not co-exist but rather co-resist.  To boycott or not to boycott is a moral choice that we must all make.  And when, not if, freedom, justice, and equality exist there the BDS campaign will come to an end.  And then there was another lengthy standing ovation for Barghouti and, by extension, for the Palestinian people.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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ON SUNDAY OMAR BARGHOUTI WAS PRESENTED WITH THE GANDHI PEACE AWARD AT A CEREMONY IN NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT

SWOONING OVER WAR IN SYRIA

Image by Carlos Latuff

More HERE

Not everyone is swooning ……

HANDS OFF SYRIA DEMONSTRATION @ UNION SQ. NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Mazin Qumsiyeh PhD, adds the following from Palestine …..

The attack on Syria by the United States while illegal per international
law (not sanctioned by the UN Security Council and opposed by Russia and
China) comes to remind as all of four basic facts of geopolitics:

1-US Presidents no matter how “unconventional” must always obey the rules
set for them. Trump came to office opposing intervention in Syria and is
now directly siding with the “rebels” and has accepted the 1990s neocon
strategy of regime changes across Western Asia that are supposed to benefit
"Israel".

2-As Henry Kissinger said: “all foreign policy is domestic policy”. With a
strong Zionist lobby in the US and absence of any counter lobby that
watches over US (let alone world) interests, we have a push for wars
supposed to help apartheid Israel whether in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, or Syria.

3-Modern warfare kills far more civilians than military (the ratio now is
>10 to 1). War is immoral, illogical, and criminal and has no “good side”
or “bad side”. The only positive thing now is that countries that use wars
as their main tools (Israel, US being the key ones) will lose because wars
have now become also illogical in terms of achievement of policy. Just take
as examples in the past 20 years: the US attack on Iraq and Israel’s attack
on Gaza and Lebanon. It is now almost a given like the Newtonian laws of
physics.

4-People still have the power to change things. Governments regularly lie
to their own people (all governments). But their biggest tools are to a)
create fear, b) create apathy (powerlessness). Getting people to be good
consumers (of propaganda and products) is key to government “success”
(short term as it may be and to enrich politicians and their backers). Key
to human rights advocate success is getting people to be good involved and
informed citizens. The conflict between the two (governments and people) is
the real consequential conflict we face. It is between short term greed and
long term planetary interests. It is an existential conflict for humanity.

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ERIN GO BRAGH! ~~ TOGETHER WITH PALESTINE!!

Israel has strongly condemned the decision by a Dublin City Council subcommittee on ceremonies to raise the Palestinian flag over city hall in solidarity with the Palestinian people “who have lived under brutal Israeli occupation.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Dublin City Hall to raise Palestinian flag in solidarity against ‘brutal’ Israeli occupation
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The provocative gesture is being initiated by a known pro-Palestinian councilman who claims that Israel is ‘an apartheid regime.’ Council: Event is expected to take place on May 15 to mark 50 years of ‘Israeli occupation.’

Israel has strongly condemned the decision by a Dublin City Council subcommittee on ceremonies to raise the Palestinian flag over city hall in solidarity with the Palestinian people “who have lived under brutal Israeli occupation.”According to the decision Tuesday, the flag will be raised on May 15th, marking 50 years since the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip came under Israeli control.

The proposal must pass another round of ratification set for May 8th before it can become an official decision. However, given the council’s composition, the chances are good that the proposal will be passed with a large majority, as it was unanimously approved in the subcommittee.

The Dublin City Council is controlled by Sinn Féin and other leftwing parties that are traditionally anti-Israel.

The initiator of the proposal, which is sure to cause international tension, is a pro-Palestinian local councilman named John Lyons.

Lyons, who has also organized pro-Palestinian protests in Ireland in the past, explained that he initiated the proposal as a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“The Irish people have held large demonstrations to support the Palestinians in recent years. Israel is an apartheid regime. If raising the flag was to cause a bit of a debate amongst some people who are unsure of it flying over City Hall, I think that’s a welcome development. I think that today more and more people think that the way Israel behaves drastically undermines the cause of its establishment.”

In response, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, “If the Dublin City Council approves the decision, it is actually raising a white flag of surrender to terrorist organizations, hate and extortion. This is a hostile decision that first and foremost hurts the decent citizens of Dublin and marks the city with the stain of shame.”

(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)

SOURCE

FRENCH STUDENTS ‘WELCOME’ THE ISRAELI AMBASSADOR

Video of student walkout on meeting with Israeli Ambassador to France- merveilleux!

You don’t have to be a French speaker to understand this!!

 

Je Suis Palestine!

IN PHOTOS ~~ RUNNING FOR GAZA IN BROOKLYN

On March 25th, for the 3rd year in a row, UNRWA held a 5K run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.  The sky was threatening, the temperature was moderate after a week of winter cold, and the rain never arrived.  At 8AM people started arriving to pick up their numbers, tee shirts, and have something to eat.  At 9AM about 1400 runners took off – they included babies and grandparents, some ran, some walked, some were pushed in carriages and some were in wheelchairs, one used a scooter and many were carried.  It was truly a joyful family event.  The Brooklyn event raised approximately $200,000 for mental health services for the children of Gaza.  The people of Gaza will see photos and videos of the event – they will see that good people are thinking of them and trying to help.  There will be 4 more 5K runs in other U.S. cities.  The people of Gaza will not be forgotten!

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN ANGEL, RACHEL CORRIE

March 16th marked the anniversary of the Israeli killing of Rachel Corrie in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, 14 years ago.

14 years ago today, Israeli bulldozers killed ISM activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza

On March 16, 2003, Rachel was killed by an Israel Occupation Force (IOF) armored bulldozer in Rafah during the second Palestinian intifada.

Rachel had come to Gaza to try and establish a sister city project between her hometown Olympia, Washington and Rafah, Gaza. She was a peace activist connected to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who tried to prevent the demolition of Palestinian houses which were being carried out by the Israeli army.

After a three hour long confrontation between ISM activists and the Israeli army’s demolition forces, she was killed, less than two months after arriving in Gaza.

Israel claims that the driver of the bulldozer could not see Rachel because of the limited field of view from within the bulldozer. Humans rights groups claim that the driver had seen her and deliberately continued driving, disregarding her fellow activists who were shouting and waving their arms, which resulted in Rachel’s death.

The Israeli army’s investigation of the incident concluded that the death was an accident because the driver of the bulldozer had limited visibility and therefore couldn’t see Rachel. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations criticized the military investigation, claiming that it was not transparent, credible or thorough enough.

In 2006 Bradley Burston, Haaretz columnist said “We should have saved Rachel Corrie’s life that day… Right now, somewhere in the West Bank, there’s an eight-year-old whose life could be saved next week, if we’ve managed to learn the lesson are resourceful enough to know how to apply it.”

In 2005 a one-woman drama called ”My Name Is Rachel Corrie” ran at London’s Royal Court Theater, and received a warm reception. In April 2015, the drama was staged Off Broadway in the East Village in New York.

Two years ago a symbolic gravestone with her name was installed in Tehran cemetary in Iran, alongside twelve other symbolic gravestones.

There is a street named after Rachel Corrie in Ramallah, West Bank.

 

Source

 

Italian activist Nicola Arboscelli stands in front of graffiti memorializing American peace activist Rachel Corrie who was killed 14 years ago today, on March 16, 2003, Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Abid Katib/ Getty Images)

 

ISRAEL’S BDS BAN IS PROOF THAT WE ARE WINNING

A new law denying entry to foreigners who call for a boycott of Israel or the settlements shows the BDS movement is gaining strength — and Israel is “panicking.”

Cornel West Says Israel’s BDS Ban Shows Boycott Push Is Winning

Cornel West says a new law denying entry to foreigners who call for a boycott of Israel or the settlements shows the BDS movement is gaining strength — and Israel is “panicking.”

“lt’s a sign of panic, a sign of hysteria, a very sad response to an intense situation,” the African-American philosopher said. “Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel would turn in his grave thinking about the spiritual blackout that is occurring in Israel.”

West has publicly supported BDS for years, and as such, is one of the prominent public figures who could be denied entry under the new law.

West, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primaries, says he’s worried about Israeli democracy.

The law “shows that BDS is getting stronger but it also shows that any critique of the settlements, any critique of the ugly occupation is grounds for excluding people from the country,” he says.

“What about the people inside the country?,” he asks. “People who live right there, in Tel Aviv, are you going to say they don’t have the right to be inside their own country? That is what authoritarian regimes do. It’s just sad to see Israel move more and more in that authoritarian direction.”

 

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