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.

 

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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.”

 

ELTON JOHN SUPPORTS BDS BY PLAYING PALESTINE

The honorary guest at the opening ceremony of British graffiti artist Banksy’s new hotel in Bethlehem was none other than Elton John. The famous singer recorded a special message that was played for the guests who attended the opening ceremony. “I would’ve loved to have been with you all tonight but you know, there wasn’t any room at the inn,” John said. The popular British singer also made a political statement: “It’s my great pleasure to be playing in Palestine this evening. Please know that you are not alone. You are not forgotten.”

See THIS related post

ACTION ALERTS FOR ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK

Happening Monday 2/27Friday 3/3

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Israeli Apartheid Week 2017

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events meant to shed a light on the settler colonial project and apartheid policies of Israel and build the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

This year will mark 100 years of Palestinian resistance against settler colonialism, since the inception of the Balfour Declaration. IAW will be an opportunity to reflect on this resistance and further advance BDS campaigns for the continued growth and impact of the movement. Despite all the legislative attacks on BDS internationally, IAW and the BDS movement continue to build linkages and solidarity with other struggles to achieve freedom, justice, and equality.

For IAW at Columbia, we’ve organized a week of programming meant to educate about Palestine, its history and struggles, as well as how it intersects with other indigenous struggles around the world.

As per tradition, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine will be installing our mock apartheid wall for display on Low Plaza Mon-Fri, Feb 27-March 3rd from 11am to 4pm. Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace will be tabling at the Sun Dial. Drop by for fact sheets, information on events, and for answers to any other questions you have.

#IAW2017 SCHEDULE:

Mock Apartheid Wall
11am-4pm
Mon-Fri
Low Plaza
Check facebook for more information on the event and accessibility

Zionists are Racists
Monday, February 27th
8-10 pm
Math 203

In November, 1975 the United Nations passed the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, a resolution that declared “Zionism is Racism.” With the support of newly liberated African nations, the bill recognized the supremacist ideology of the Israeli nation-state that had predicated its settler colony upon racial apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

Come learn about Israel’s racist and imperialist policies and hear Barney Pityana, leading figure in the Black Consciousness Movement and the South African Students’ Organisation, as well as a close comrade of Steve Biko, will discuss what the BDS struggle looks from the perspective of South Africa.

Check facebook for more information on the event and accessibility

No Peace on Stolen Land: From Standing Rock to Palestine 
Tuesday, Febuary 28th
7-9 pm
James Room, Barnard Hall

Say no to the DAPL, no to the occupation of indigenous lands from the U.S. to Palestine, no to the plunder of native resources by imperialist corporations with no regard for our sovereignty, what we hold sacred, and our planet.

Hear from Maile Hampton, a genderfluid afro-native organizer from the Bay Area who has spent years in the student movement and anti-racist movement, about what it means to fight for the self-determination of all oppressed people. This skype conversation will cover organizing strategies, experiences from the struggle against the DAPL at Oceti Sakowin and across the U.S., police repression, cultural resistance, and people’s power. Learn from a water protector how we can best support front line communities in the struggle against environmental destruction and settler colonialism here in the U.S. and how to build international indigenous solidarity with Palestine. From Standing Rock to Palestine, Settler violence is a crime! Resistance is justified! Mni Wiconi!  #NoDAPL  #FreeAllWaterProtectors #FreeAllPoliticalPrisioners  #FreeRedFawn  #FreeLeonardPeltier

“When so many people and the system are going after you, you know that the things you’re saying are powerful and true. And you know that they know the things you’re saying are powerful and true.” Maile Hampton

Check facebook for more information on the event and accessibility

50 Years of Occupation: The 1967 Naksa with Prof. Rashid Khalidi
Wednesday, March 1st
7:30-9:30pm
Roone Arledge Cinema, Lerner Hall
NON CUID MUST RSVP TO THIS EVENT

On June 5th, 1967, Israel launched a massive unilateral airstrike on Egyptian territory, destroying the Egyptian Air Force and initiating the Six-Day War between Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. By the end of the war, the Israeli military had occupied the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, as well as the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights. Immediately after occupation, Israel initiated the “second wave” of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – the Naksa, or “setback” – beginning with mass village demolitions and resulting in the displacement of 300,000 Palestinians and 100,000 Syrians from their homes, adding to the 750,000 Palestinians who had been displaced from their homes in the 1948 Nakba, or “catastrophe.”

To this day, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights remain subjugated under a brutal Israeli military occupation, denied basic human needs like water, electricity, and medical care, and subject to regular civilian massacres by the occupation forces. Most recently, the 2014 assault on Gaza left 2,235 Palestinian civilians dead, including more than 500 children, over the course of 51 days.

As part of Israeli Apartheid Week, join Columbia University Apartheid Divest in remembering the victims of the Naksa, recognizing the 50th year of subsequent military occupation, and discussing its lasting impact on the 69 year Palestinian freedom struggle. Learn how the UN Security Council’s 1967 Resolution 242, condemning Israel’s actions and calling for the right of return for all displaced Palestinian refugees, laid the groundwork for the Palestinian civil society call for Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel – a call we hope to honor by pressuring Columbia’s administration to divest its $10 billion endowment from companies that profit from the occupation.

Check facebook for more information on the event and accessibility

Palestine in U.S. Politics: Israel, AIPAC, and American Foreign Policy
Thursday, March 2nd
6-9 pm
Broadway Room, Lerner Hall
NON CUID MUST RSVP TO THIS EVENT

Israel commands a very strategic role in American foreign interests, representing an integral ally to the US in the Middle East. Israel is the largest recipient of American foreign aid and, just recently, President Obama signed a $38 billion military aid package, solidifying the close relationship between the two nations. President Trump has continuously cited Israel as an inspiration for his racist immigration policies and Prime Minister Netanyahu reciprocally voiced his support for Trump’s plan to build a wall.

Join Columbia University Apartheid Divest as we discuss the place of Palestine in the American political discourse. We are proud to host Professor Joseph Massad from the Middle Eastern, South Asian and African studies department who will share his views on the discourse about Palestine in US Politics, the unique role that Israel plays in US national interests, and the significance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in determining the US’ foreign policy towards Palestine and the Middle East region more generally.

Check facebook for more information on the event and accessibility

Teaching Palestine: Scholarship and Resistance 
Friday, March 3rd
3-5 pm
Hamilton 717
Join us for a panel discussion between MESAAS PhD candidates Rana Baker, Nasser Abourahme and Matan Cohen who will share their experience in bringing together their academic research and Palestine activism. Their talks will focus on how their scholarship has changed, inspired or hindered their solidarity work on Palestine as well as ideas and strategies for the future.

Check facebook for more information on the event and accessibility

These events are all free and open to the public. Individuals without Columbia U IDs MUST RSVP for Wednesday andThursday’s event by 2/26. RSVP here.

IN PHOTOS ~~ NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

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On the NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION, February 15th, at Grand Central Station NYC, 300 people met to protest the meeting of Trump And Netanyahu and what it portends. Participants held posters and gave out leaflets to commuters. Many stopped to take photos.There was chanting & singing. Then the protesters marched out of GCS going through NYC’s over crowded streets to Trump Towers. When they got there the police had cordoned off several blocks to keep the demonstrators from protesting in front of the building. The marchers were not deterred and continued around the police fences till they met up with the Palestinian protesters who were waiting for the main group to appear. Between them there was a mass vocal outburst and, with a flurry of many Palestinian flags, the marchers moved on to Columbus Circle in front of Trump’s International Hotel where they continued the protest.  

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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PALESTINIANS THANK INDONESIA

There is no doubt that Indonesia’s adamant refusal to establish diplomatic relations with apartheid Israel will be a a significant morale booster for the Palestinians who are struggling around the clock to survive a decades-long Israeli onslaught aimed at uprooting them from their ancestral homeland.

Indonesians pray for the Palestinians who were killed in the airstrikes launched by Israel.

Indonesians pray for the Palestinians who were killed in the airstrikes launched by Israel.

Thank you, Indonesia

By Khalid Amayreh

Occupied Palestine

 

Palestinians must send a message of thanks and appreciation to the big sister, Indonesia, for her principled refusal to normalize relations with Israel. the shameless apartheid state that occupies our country and torments our people on a daily basis.

Israel has been seeking to woo Indonesia to embark on this dishonorable diplomatic feat for the purpose of further weakening the just Palestinian cause in the conscience and consciousness of Muslims world-wide.

Some utterly undemocratic Arab regimes, notorious for ignoring the feelings of their own masses, hastened to embrace the poisoned Israeli solicitations. They didn’t hesitate to swallow the Israeli bait: hook, line and sinker.

These well-known tyrannical regimes effectively committed moral adultery with their own national honor and dignity by embracing Israel and betraying Palestine.

Furthermore,   some of these entities even sought to outmatch the apartheid state by perfecting their own draconian measures against the Gaza Strip that many Palestinians began to wonder if these Arab regimes were siding with Israel or with Palestine.

But, al Handullila (thanks to God), Indonesia has demonstrated she has guarded her chastity by refusing Israel’s solicitations and venomous courting.

This feat on the largest Muslim country’s part deserves admiration and gratitude.

It shows that Indonesia is still espousing some moral principles in its foreign policy. It also shows that Indonesia is still not willing to trade her genuine concerns for Palestine and al-Masjidul Aqsa for expediency or some quick benefits that come with normalizing relations with Israel.

In fact, the government of Indonesia has  demonstrated its faithfulness to its own predominantly Muslim people who wouldn’t be comfortable with normalizing relations with the very state that practices murder, ethnic cleansing and discrimination in the ugliest form against Palestinians. Needless to say, this virulent modus operandi is pursued on no account other than that the Palestinians are not members of the “The Holy tribe,” clinging to their homeland and refusing to leave.

There is no doubt that Indonesia’s adamant refusal to establish diplomatic relations with apartheid Israel will be a a significant morale booster for the Palestinians who are struggling around the clock to survive a decades-long Israeli onslaught aimed at uprooting them from their ancestral homeland.

This means that the Indonesian decision will definitively serve the cause of Palestinian resistance, resilience and steadfastness, all considered vital prerequisites for Palestinian freedom and liberation.

Finally, the Indonesian step also shows that the vast majority of Muslims around the world still have their hearts where they properly belong, namely on the side of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.

Once again, thanks, Indonesia.

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

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

Photos by Tomer Neuberg & Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

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CHILDREN OF PEACE ~~ A DIALOGUE

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

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

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi

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

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

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That’s why we established the Coalition of Peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Original source and more photos HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ FREEDOM DENIED TO STUDENTS AT FORDHAM UNIVERSITY

Fordham flunks a free speech test

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Fordham flunks a free speech test 

BY AHMAD AWAD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awad is a recent Fordham graduate.

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