WAR ON BDS INTENSIFIES

Palestinian society has condemned Israel’s arrest and interrogation of Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the next step in Israel’s fight against the BDS movement as a whole.

Image by Carlos Latuff

BDS co-founder: Israel’s arrest and interrogation of Omar Barghouti next step in ‘war against BDS movement’

Palestinian society has condemned Israel’s arrest and interrogation of Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the next step in Israel’s fight against the BDS movement as a whole.

Israel arrested Barghouti on Sunday, raided his family home in Acre, Israel, held him for 16 hours and released him — however the BDS co-founder has been subjected to daily interrogations with Israeli authorities since then, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

Israeli tax authorities are accusing Barghouti of tax evasion on the sum of $700,000 in alleged hidden income from National Computing Resources, a business he heads in Ramallah, which sells ATM machines and other equipment in the occupied West Bank, as well as income from his book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights and money he received as speaking fees for speeches.

The BNC on Wednesday released a statement challenging the charges.

“Omar Barghouti, has for years been subjected to intense threats, intimidation and repression by various arms of the far-right Israeli government, particularly after it considered the movement a ‘strategic threat’ to its entire system of injustice against Palestinians,” the movement said in a statement.

In March 2016, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Dery threatened to revoke Barghouti residency in Israel. Barghouti, born in Qatar, gained permanent residency through marriage to his wife, a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

“I received information that his life is in Ramallah and he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner,” Israeli Daily Haaretz quoted Dery as saying.

“He was given rights similar to those of a citizen and he took advantage of our enlightened state to portray us as the most horrible state in the world,” said Dery.

During the same conference, Israeli Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz who called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence, meaning to tarnish one’s reputation and character among civil society.

The Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Minister of Information, Gilad Erdan, also described BDS activists and leaders as threats and called for them to “pay the price” for their work, which he clarified did not mean “physical harm.”

A month later, Amnesty International released a statement, calling on Israel to “cease intimidation of human rights defenders and protect them from attacks.”

“Amnesty International is concerned for the safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti and other [BDS] activists, following calls alluding to threats, including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights, made by Israeli ministers,” the report read.

“Barghouti is a founding member and a prominent spokesperson of the BDS movement. He campaigns to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations and advocates for the use of non-violent means in doing so. He was personally attacked in comments and statements by conference participants including ministers, including by describing him as a threat who should be stopped,” the report continued.

Earlier this month, the Israeli Knesset passed a controversial law barring BDS activists from entering the country. The law banned people who call for BDS against Israel, as well as its settlements.

A fellow co-founder of the Palestinian BDS movement, Adnan Ramadan, told Mondoweiss that Barghouti’s arrest and interrogation was just another step in Israel’s strategy against the BDS movement.

“All of this tax evasion business is just an excuse to pressure the BDS movement as a whole, Ramadan said. “In general, it’s part of their war against the campaign, but it won’t work. They can arrest whoever they want, they can do more than that, but that won’t prevent people from continuing to use BDS as a tool in the struggle for Palestinian freedom.”

“This kind of targeting won’t work simply because the BDS campaign isn’t one person or two people or ten people, it’s an organized movement of hundreds of thousands of people, if not more than that, who feel strongly about their fight against the occupation and feel strongly about their motivations in resistance,” Adnan continued.

Adnan stressed that this move against Barghouti is not the first time Israel has targeted particular BDS activists for their work.

“They have been arresting people since the beginning, and it’s all to pressure the people, but the people won’t be silent,” he said. “Palestinians have been resisting for more than 60 years, Israel can kill people, they can assassinate and detain leaders, but it won’t and can’t stop the struggle. All they are doing is holding the body of someone inside a wall, but they can’t hold ideas, or souls of people who believe in the importance of their role of humanity against occupation and injustice.”

FEMINISM AND APARTHEID

Historically, some women, including the richest and most prominent, have identified themselves with a feminism that ignores race and class, and thus ignores most women, who are directly impacted by poverty, racism, war and occupation, and environmental devastation in the industrial and non-industrial world. Such feminists celebrate the women who have broken the glass ceiling and moved into the 1%. For them, feminism means the right of women to be equal to men in managing capitalism with its exploitation, occupation, racism and underlying it all, sexism.

Drawing by Rana Bishara, 2015: ‘RIP Martyrs, Nour and Baby Rahaf- Gaza’

Confronting apartheid has everything to do with feminism

Rabab Abdulhadi, Suzanne Adely, Angela Davis & Selma James

Attacking the International Women’s Strike on March 8, supporters of Israel argued that the decolonization of Palestine has no place in feminism and further asked if there is a place for Zionists in the feminist movement. We turn the question around and ask if the occupation of Palestine, the bombings of Gaza, the apartheid that applies two separate and unequal systems to Israel’s relationship to Palestinians–can be compatible with feminism? While Israel’s apologists were posing such questions, the Israeli army, as reported by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, was busy shutting down two events in Jerusalem marking International Women’s Day.

Had Zionists who call themselves feminists understood the International Women’s Strike (IWS) as reflective of an indivisible sense of justice, they would have readily realized that the IWS call cannot tolerate racism. An inclusive feminism has rightfully rejected the Zionist justification of Israel’s violation of the rights of millions of Palestinian women and girls, both refugees and those living under barbaric occupation and siege.

Historically, some women, including the richest and most prominent, have identified themselves with a feminism that ignores race and class, and thus ignores most women, who are directly impacted by poverty, racism, war and occupation, and environmental devastation in the industrial and non-industrial world. Such feminists celebrate the women who have broken the glass ceiling and moved into the 1%. For them, feminism means the right of women to be equal to men in managing capitalism with its exploitation, occupation, racism and underlying it all, sexism.

At its root, feminism is a movement demanding liberation for women. The struggle for women’s rights under the banner of feminism cannot meaningfully exist without addressing and working to eliminate oppression rooted in racism, colonialism and capitalism. This is the case for women in many countries who support the feminism of the 99%. In other words, grassroots women are not merely the backdrop but the central concern of their movement. Accordingly, the platform of the International Women’s Strike lifted up many of the most crucial issues undermining women’s survival around the world: an end to gender violence, reproductive justice for all, labor rights, social programs, and an end to environmental degradation—in short, an anti-racist and anti-imperialist agenda.

In this new climate, what is happening to Palestinian women is not a detail but a vital question. As a result, Rasmea Odeh was one of the women invited to be part of the leadership of the U.S. strike.

Rasmea Odeh is a Chicago-based Palestinian community leader who has diligently and persistently fought for the empowerment of Arab immigrant women by providing leadership development and English language services, as well as alleviating the isolation experienced by newly arrived immigrant families.

Ms. Odeh was subjected to torture and sexual assault for resisting colonization and occupation. Her life story embodies the experience of all women who have survived racist state violence. The false accusations against Ms. Odeh, repeated by self-identified Zionists are malicious and intended to criminalize Ms. Odeh and her supporters. This has the effect of legitimizing the use of torture against political prisoners as a means to coerce information to justify their imprisonment.

What has happened to Ms. Odeh at the hands of Israel is replicated all over the globe by repressive and imperialist governments. The feminism of the 99% which is now emerging rejects this persecution and torture, wherever it takes place.

Zionist feminism is an oxymoron. It may have had a shared legacy with white-women-only feminism but it does not reflect the conviction of today’s activists who refuse to stand by the notion of justice for some of us while denying justice to others. We reject Zionism and Zionist feminism. A growing number of women are recognizing that the feminism that does not confront capitalism, racism, and colonialism will not lead to liberation, just as there is no liberation possible without confronting sexism. Any way forward must overcome the voices of selective feminism that defend systems of oppression and try to silence our voices.

Rabab Abdulhadi is an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies and the Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative, at the College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University. She is the co-editor of the award-winning anthology, Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging and her work has appeared in dozens of journals on gender and justice (Syracuse University Press) and co-founder and editorial board member of the Islamophobia Studies Journal. Abdulhadi is co-chair of Feminists for Justice in Palestine, the interest group that initiated and organized that NWSA campaign for BDS in 2015.

Suzanne Adely is a global labor human rights lawyer and activist. She is a member of the International Women’s Strike (IWS) U.S. Planning Committee, co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild International Committee, bureau member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an organizer with the US Palestine Community Network and the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. 

Angela Davis emerged as a prominent activist in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party. She co-founded Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex and was a professor (now retired) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in its History of Consciousness Department and a former director of the university’s Feminist Studies department.

Selma James is an activist, political thinker, and writer. She is the founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign and helped launch the Global Women’s Strike. She is the author of numerous publications, including, most recently, Sex, Race and Class — The Perspective of Winning: A Selection of Writings 1952-2011. While married to and involved in political work with the late C.L.R. James, Selma wrote her seminal 1952 essay, “A Woman’s Place.” 

FROM

ISRAEL’S PROJECT OF COLONIALISM

In the following my interview with Jeremy R. Hammond of Foreign Policy Journal. I talked to him about Palestine, journalism, US foreign politics, and about Zionism as a colonialist project.

Jeremy R. Hammond – Israel was a colonialist project from the outset, and so remains today

By Milena Rampoldi

Do you believe the two-state solution is definitively buried?

Israel and the US certainly have been working hard for decades to bury it, but, no, I do not believe they have succeeded. On the contrary, I think right now there is a unique opportunity for the Palestinians to move forward and accomplishing an end to the Israeli occupation, which is essentially equivalent to implementing the two-state solution. The leadership should pursue legal remedy for the Occupying Power’s crimes against the Palestinian people through the international mechanisms that have been available to Palestine since the UN recognized it as a state in 2012; most specifically, through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What do you believe the next moves of the Trump administration will be in Palestine/Israel and Middle East?

He’ll likely try to pick up the baton from the previous administration and make a feeble and vain effort to restore credibility to the US-led so-called “peace process”. He might, for example, try to persuade the Netanyahu government to implement some kind of limited scaling back of Israel’s illegal settlement activity in the West Bank. The good news is that with Trump in the Oval Office, it seems unlikely the “peace process” could regain any traction even among other governments of the world (it has long since ceased to have any credibility among the publics of the world).

This presents the Palestinian leadership with an opportunity. They must take advantage of the political leverage they gain so long as the “peace process” is dead on account of Israel’s refusal to even limit its illegal activities. If the Palestinian Authority (PA) won’t do what is necessary, the Palestinian people should rise up and dissolve that body – which the PLO has the authority to do – and find new leadership who will.

For me personally, Israel is a neo-colonialist project. What do you think about it?

It is certainly a neo-colonialist project. Going back to the Mandate era, the League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate was literally drafted by the organized Zionists, the aim being to implement an occupation regime that would accommodate their goal of displacing and dispossessing the Arab inhabitants with mass waves of Jewish immigration. The idea was that the right to self-determination of Palestine’s inhabitants wouldnot be respected until the Jews became a majority. This was in keeping with the British and Zionists’ concept of “the democratic ideal” (as discussed between Lord Arthur Balfour and Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann). It was a colonialist project from the outset, and so remains today.

Tell us about your books!

In late 2008, when Israel began its 22-day full-scale military assault on Gaza dubbed “Operation Cast Lead”, I watched with disgust how the US mainstream media waged a propaganda war against the public, a systematic campaign of deception that served the purpose of manufacturing consent for the US government’s support for Israel’s war crimes against the civilian population of Gaza. I became determined to write a book about it to set the record straight. (My coverage of the US’s support for Israel’s war crimes during that conflict resulted in me receiving a Project Censored Award.)

But I didn’t just want to write about that operation. I wanted to explain the whole conflict in context, to help others understand why this conflict has persisted for so long. Only by fully understanding what the greatest obstacles are can we determine how to move forward. What is required is a paradigm shift, a change in the way the public perceives this issue. We need to fight the propaganda and get the truth out. That is why I set out writing Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2016)

But before I could explain contemporary events, I would need to provide the necessary historical background and explain what the root causes of this conflict are. That would require examining the period from the rise of the Zionist movement in the late 1800s through to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 via the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. So I ended up splintering my book idea and writing a short book titled The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict (2009).

Obstacle to Peace presents historical context as necessary in order to understand more recent events (it focuses primarily on the last decade), but readers will even get more out of it if they first read The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination as a primer to understanding how the conflict originated.Obstacle to Peace will then help readers understand why the conflict persists, how the mainstream media serve to help perpetuate it, and what needs to happen for peace and justice to finally be realized.

How to engage for Palestine today as human rights activists, writer and journalists?

Everyone has their own strengths in terms of knowledge and skills, and it’s up to the individual to determine how best to apply those skills toward achieving peace and justice. My own strengths include research, analysis, and writing, so that is where I’ve focused my energy. I can’t advise others how to focus their energy without knowing their individual strengths. Generally, however, we must continually educate ourselves and then share that knowledge with others until a tipping point is reached and the necessary paradigm shift occurs at which point it will become politically infeasible for the status quo to persist any longer.

Which are the main objectives of Foreign Policy Journal?

I established FPJ to serve as an antidote to the propagandistic reporting of the mainstream media, which serve the role of manufacturing consent for government policy. I’m borrowing this phrase from Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, from their book Manufacturing Consent; they were in turn borrowing the phrase from Walter Lipmann, who had written in the early 20th century about the need for the ruling elites to manufacture the consent of the ruled for the policies they wished to implement to pursue their own self-interests (as opposed to the interests of the public).

It’s my goal with FPJ to help others become better informed about the true nature of US foreign policy and international affairs, as this is a task at which the mainstream media have utterly failed us.

 

Originally written FOR

THE VEIL OF APARTHEID

Apartheid has been considered in the annals of the United Nations and world public opinion to be second only to genocide in the hierarchy of criminality”,

And

Genocide and apartheid are the only two international crimes, the commission of which States have a duty to prevent.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Apartheid wears a veil

A report commissioned by the UN agency ESCWA (Economic and Social Comission for Western Asia), released Wednesday, concluded unequivocally that Israel practices Apartheid policy. It saw official daylight for two days.

The spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted “#UN #ESCWA has issued today a ‘Der Stürmer’ like report, NOT endorsed by @UNSG. Friendly advice- dont read it without anti nausea pills….” He was referring to the Nazi propaganda outlet, Der Stürmer.

The report, authored by Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton and former UN Special Rapporteur, as well as Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University, was taken down, under harsh pressure from Israel and USA, by order of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Under-Secretary General Rima Khalaf, who also heads the Beirut-based ESCWA, refused to remove the report and resigned in protest. “I resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report,” said Khalaf. Fortunately, the report is available by many outlets who have saved it and reproduced it, including here.

Let me first address the ‘Nazi’ comparison.

Now, I admit I have not read Der Stürmer, and have no special intention of doing so. What I can say, nonetheless, is that I have read every word and footnote of the 74-page report. If ‘anti-nausea’ pills were necessary, as Emmanuel Nahshon suggests, it would only have been to quell the nausea arising from the reality which this report describes – in a remarkably lucid manner.

It would appear, that the typical ‘Nazi’ and ‘anti-Semitic’ accusations are a smoke-screen to avoid discussion about the actual issues brought forth in the report. The synthesis of the report is not merely an innovative intellectual exercise. As Nelson Mandela noted, the issue of Palestine is “the greatest moral issue of our time”. Had the report regarded a long-past historical event (as for example Apartheid in South Africa), the hyperbole accusations would no doubt be put aside, in light of the grave issues addressed. Yet it is precisely because the crime is current and ongoing, that every effort is made to shoot it down by those involved. As the report notes in its Conclusions (p. 50):

[T]he situation addressed in the report is ongoing. Many investigations of crimes against humanity have concerned past behaviour or events, such as civil wars involving genocides, which have formally concluded. In such cases, the international community faces no particular pressure to act in a timely way to terminate an ongoing crime prior to investigating the legal facts of culpability. In the case of Israel-Palestine, any delay compounds the crime by prolonging the subjugation of Palestinians to the active practice of apartheid by Israel. Prompt action is accordingly imperative to avert further human suffering and end a crime against humanity that is being committed now.”

That urgency means, that even if one is unconvinced that the crime of Apartheid applies in full to Israel, it is important to give this report time, rather than dismiss it as ‘propaganda’. If indeed the hat fits, then the implications are grave. As further noted in the same page (footnote 90):

[A]partheid has been considered in the annals of the United Nations and world public opinion to be second only to genocide in the hierarchy of criminality”,

And

Genocide and apartheid are the only two international crimes, the commission of which States have a duty to prevent.

Those who take such matters seriously, would thus do well to read the report in its entirety. I would nonetheless like to offer my appraisal as to why this report is so crucial.

The report is arguably a ground-breaking one, in that it cuts across all the formations which serve not only the fragmentation of Palestinians (in four domains – citizens, East Jerusalemites, occupied and refugees), but also the obfuscation of the discussion about Israel’s overall policy – of Apartheid. As noted in page 30:

By developing discrete bodies of law, termed “domains” in this report, for each territory and their Palestinian populations, Israel has both effected and veiled a comprehensive policy of apartheid directed at the whole Palestinian people. [my emphasis].

The notion of Israel applying Apartheid policy has already been brought forth by Virginia Tilley in a study from 2009 for the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC), at the request of the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The study was coordinated, co-authored and edited by Tilley under the title Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A Reassessment of Israel’s Practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories under International Law. But this sort of comprehensive appraisal has not featured yet in any comprehensive UN report.

The methodical comparison to the 1973 Apartheid convention provides a ‘checklist’ that is satisfied almost completely on all points. Nonetheless, as noted in p. 17:

[A] check-list method alone — such as looking for the “inhuman acts” mentioned in the Apartheid Convention — would be a misreading of the [Apartheid] Convention’s intention. In article II, it explicitly establishes that such acts are illustrative, not mandatory, and are crimes of apartheid only if they serve the overarching purpose of racial domination. Hence, such acts can be considered crimes of apartheid only after the existence of an “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination” has been conclusively established.

Thus, the report seeks to establish two main issues concerning Israeli Apartheid policy: overarching purpose and intention.

The notion of ‘purpose’ comes from the Apartheid convention, as cited in p. 17:

For the purpose of the present Convention, the term “the crime of apartheid”, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhuman acts committed for the purpose of (emphasis added) establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them  (article II).

The notion of ‘intent’ comes from the Rome Statute, (article 7 (2) (h), cited same page):

“The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1 [i.e., “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack”], committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention [my emphasis] of maintaining that regime.

Purpose and Intention are obviously two very crucial words. In customary criminal law, it is intention that can mark the difference between murder and unintentional manslaughter; It is purpose that can mark the difference between a rogue massacre and genocide.

The report also qualifies (footnote 20, p. 17) that

“former special rapporteurs John Dugard and Richard Falk highlighted the problem of determining when “features of apartheid” signify that an apartheid regime is operating, which would constitute a matter that might be referred to the ICJ. For both rapporteurs, the question arose with regard to the legality of the Israeli occupation. Mr. Dugard described “road apartheid” in the occupied Palestinian territory and noted that the Israeli occupation has “features” or “elements” of apartheid. However, whether Israel is constituted as an apartheid regime remained for Mr. Dugard a question still to be legally determined (A/62/275). Mr. Falk adopted a similar position (A/HRC/25/67, p. 21).”

The report was thus set to determine whether there is a systematic, overarching, purposeful and intentional Israeli policy of Apartheid – one which goes beyond partial appraisals of it in this or that territory.

While acknowledging the different domains of Israeli policy vis-á-vis Palestinians (again: citizens, East-Jerusalem ‘residents’, occupied and refugees), the report regards them as part of a whole. While Palestinians in domain 1 (citizens) are no doubt under the least oppressive circumstances of the four, still, systematic discrimination against them exists – on an established racial basis. Besides the myriad of racist laws applying to them, there is the basic notion, that they are those who did not flee the Nakba of 1948. In the section titled ‘Demographic engineering’ (p. 31), the report notes that

“the first general policy of Israel has been one of demographic engineering, in order to establish and maintain an overwhelming Jewish majority in Israel. As in any racial democracy, such a majority allows the trappings of democracy — democratic elections, a strong legislature — without threatening any loss of hegemony by the dominant racial group.”

Theoretically, one could attempt to argue that Palestinians citizens of Israel could have enjoyed completely equal rights (as Israeli apologists misleadingly do, regularly), and still the Apartheid policy could hold – in that Israel could be using them as an ‘alibi’ or ‘aberration’ to the overwhelming majority of Palestinians upon which it practices more overt and tangible Apartheid. But Israel goes way beyond that, and the report provides examples of how Apartheid applies also for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The report also goes to a considerable extent to exclude partial, euphemistic or generalist appraisals of ‘Apartheid’, such as (p. 13):

  1. Defining only regimes consistent with the apartheid regime in South Africa as being apartheid, so that, by definition, digressions from South African practices preclude any charge of apartheid.

  2. Treating discrete practices considered to have qualities of apartheid, such as the so-called “apartheid wall” (“separation fence” or “separation barrier” in official Israeli discourse), as signifying that a State has established a comprehensive apartheid regime.

  3. Defining apartheid as the outcome of anonymous structural global forces, such as global corporate influences or neoliberalism, as enforced by Bretton Woods institutions.

  4. Defining apartheid as the aggregate body of private racist practices by the dominant society as a whole, whereby State involvement is a contingent tool for enforcing a draconian social system based on racial hierarchy, discrimination and segregation.

  5. Treating apartheid as pertaining only to Palestinian citizens of Israel, or only to Palestinians in the occupied territory, or excluding Palestinian refugees and involuntary exiles living outside territory under Israeli control.

Hence the question applied, is whether ‘Grand Apartheid’, that is, an overarching Apartheid, is applicable to Israel, in a singular and absolute sense.

One could summate and analyze much more, but the report is available for all to read. The report concludes (final page),

“on the basis of overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid”.

This is no light notion. Apartheid is a crime against humanity – as mentioned, second only to Genocide.

If the scholarly integrity of this conclusion is to be criticized, it should follow a serious, detailed and scholarly review. The tarnish campaign by Israel and USA has so far not even addressed the critical issues brought forth by the report. It would appear that the intent is to bury it altogether, and avoid the discussion.

While the report reads cogently like a book, it was not meant as a book. It was meant as a tool for political action. Although its official path through the UN appears to have been blocked, it should serve as an important tool for study, appraisal and activism.

The discussion is now in the open, whether Israel and its patrons like it or not.

DANCING THROUGH THE OCCUPATION

Let’s talk about Palestine, giving the podium to an artist who lives in occupied Palestine. He’s Maher Shawamreh, a dance teacher and director of the school of art in Ramallah. In the interview with us he explains how dance communicates peace by extending the soul, and in this way reaching beyond the walls built by intolerance and war.

Maher Shawamreh: Through dance we communicate all cultures of the world

by Antonietta Chiodo,  English Translation by John Catalinotto

He speaks of his love for the arts he teaches daily with the support of his colleagues the Orient & Dance Theatre. His students are children and teenagers. Communication takes place through the vibrations of the body and music. Maher, a man who grew up in a state of siege, managed to create in this modern era the ability to dissolve words and bring peace to life on the stage with the ability to unite different cultures and languages.

As a teacher and highly developed artist he has been allowed in recent years to get a foothold in the West through his shows, and can boast of collaborations with artists from various countries. His ability to draw comparisons and to make use of the arts has enabled him to continually outdo himself regarding technique, using bodily communication to convey freedom to the audiences.

When did you start your engagement with dance and what made you realize that was your life’s path?

As a young man I studied electrical engineering. My career in contemporary dance officially started in 1996. In 1999 I started to do some shows in various regions of Palestine and other countries. I supported myself by working in the workshops. A few years later I started doing more ambitious interpretations, supported by works by works of artists at the high level of Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani. Then I became definitely aware that I could no longer escape or be distracted from dance. It had taken hold of my life and filled my thoughts. To make it clearer, let me explain that dancing is not life itself, but it is my journey in search of my identity. Through dance I became part of the universe and came into contact with God (Allah). Nowadays I realized that dance is a cure, a miracle drug.

Why in human history have artists proven the most valuable ambassadors of peace?

Humans communicate with each other in different languages, in French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish … it is our job to understand each other to the end and apply outselves to the search for different semantic content. Art is a universal language and does not need a specific grammar to be understood. Dance is body language. Awakening sensations and vibrations, dance merges nature and soul. In this way it establishes a communication with the spirit, moved by Allah. At that point you realize that God loves you and through that message you find your inner peace. At the moment in which a body dances, Allah puts the universe in motion. Creating transforms itself into a movement, giving life to a permanent dance. The dance and music give rise to immortality for those who interpret it as well as for those who observe them.

How would you imagine a dance show with Western artists and Palestinians? What music would you choose?

As I mentioned before, dance is the extension of the word of Allah through the body and produces our sensations. We can share this in all the languages ​​of the world. By listening passively, we can touch our souls. We can reflect on ourselves dancing without feeling any fear. Also, dance allows us to simultaneously share different cultures and languages. That’s what I try to convey through my art. I love to dance with live music, moving not only my body but also my soul. The audience that watches my dance convinces me that dance has no boundaries. In fact, it includes the land, the olive trees, the eagle, the rocks, the sea … an elderly woman. It would be necessary to express ourselves freely in the central square of a market to overcome our own personal inner deficiencies through artistic expression. That’s my art expressed in words.

With what secret did you help your students overcome their fear of failing?

My students should be content with themselves and erase everything from their concious thoughts when they dance. Only in this way will they eliminate tensions. I learned to separate from my stress, fleeing far away. When I enter the room and see the first student, all my feelings become positive. And I exist only in that single moment. Through dance, the rage that is intrisic to human beings tends to lose itself in the movements, finally managing to completely dissolve. Dance is capable of creating tolerance. Dancing is like escape for the soul from life and from the world around us.

Have you ever been afraid that one of your students could be taken away by Israeli soldiers?

No, we are not afraid, we were born under occupation.

 

Originally posted AT

HAMMERING NAILS IN THE COFFIN OF FREEDOM

The latest Zionist nail to be hammered into the coffin for freedom of expression occurred last week when the disingenuous U.S. ambassador to the UN — the Indian American Sikh Nikki Haley —  hypocritically expressed superpower outrage and condemnation while calling for the withdrawal of a UN report that quite justifiably accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime.”

The Powerful Pro-Israel Lobby’s Denial Of The Inalienable Right To Freedom Of Expression Must Be Met With Obdurate Resistance For The Sake Of All Humanity

by William Hanna
“. . . recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world . . . ” and “ . . . the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people . . . ”
Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
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The latest Zionist nail to be hammered into the coffin for freedom of expression occurred last week when the disingenuous U.S. ambassador to the UN — the Indian American Sikh Nikki Haley —  hypocritically expressed superpower outrage and condemnation while calling for the withdrawal of a UN report that quite justifiably accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime.” This abysmal denial of an irrefutable reality was followed by the resignation of Rima Khalaf — the head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) — who had refused the subservient secretary-general’s demand that she withdraw the report. Needless to say, Israel’s resolve to censor the unpalatable truth of its criminal violations prevailed and the following report was disgracefully removed from the UN website:
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In January of last year Makarim Wibisono, the UN investigator for human rights violations in the Palestinian territories resigned because Israel had reneged on its pledge to grant him permission to enter the West Bank and Gaza with all his repeated oral and written requests for access over a period of 18 months being completely ignored. In a statement announcing his resignation, Wibisono, who reported to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), voiced “deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.” Israel had long rejected the post of the independent investigator for the territories, accusing the 47-member state forum of bias against the Jewish state, a position supported by its pro-Israel politically shackled and totally unprincipled so-called government of the United States of America.
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In June 2013, after Richard Falk — Special rapporteur for Palestinian territories whose annual report on Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights was due to be presented to the HRC — said the NGO UN Watch should be investigated to ensure it was not not controlled by Israel, the ever obliging U.S representative to the Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, called for his resignation. In his annual report, Falk condemned what he called Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinians: “Israel continues to annex Palestinian territory; Israel persists in demolishing Palestinians’ homes and populating Palestine with Israeli citizens; Israel maintains a policy of collectively punishing 1.75 million Palestinians through its imposition of a blockade on the Gaza Strip; and Israel prosecutes its occupation with impunity, refusing to accept the world’s calls to respect international law.” Falk also repeated his previous calls for a boycott of companies conducting business with Israel or Israelis in the West Bank.
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The global extent and and well financed power of insidious Pro-Israel lobby networks, mainstream media watchdog organisations, and paid for social media activism to combat the so-called “New anti-Semitism” and the “delegitimisation of Israel” — otherwise known as stating the true facts with regards to Israeli violations — represents a zealously relentless effort to stifle any criticism of the crimes committed by an Apartheid Jewish state with blatant and unashamed impunity.
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Such unrelenting vigilance ensures that the mainstream media self-censors reports which are consequently written from the Israeli perspective; that even some of the supposed “independent” media organisations are inhibited by the fear of causing offence to Jewish sensibilities; that most Western political leaders and politicians routinely proclaim Israel’s “right to defend itself” as the “most moral” and “only democracy” in the Middle East; that pro-Palestinian events — especially on college and university campuses — are viciously besmirched or forced to cancel; that teaching professors critical of Israeli polices are either intimidated into silence or fired; and that the public’s right to freedom of expression does not extend to criticism of Israel which would be tantamount to that historic hatred for Jews on which the unprincipled ideology of Zionism is so dependent and exploits with ruthless precision.
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Apart from U.S. Congressional and White House subservience to every Israeli wish and whim, other Western governments are equally obliging in ceaselessly promoting the false premise that any pro-Palestinian activism by human rights organisations or individuals constitutes anti-Semitism. So while Apartheid Israelis continue to stand knee-deep in the blood of ethnically cleansed Palestinians, spineless bought and paid for Western leaders such Britain’s Theresa May who — despite the secretly filmed claim by an Israeli embassy official that he had persuaded the British government to adopt procurement guidelines that prevent local authorities and the NHS from boycotting Israeli goods — has continued to hypocritically regard Israel as “remarkable” and “tolerant”; Germany’s Angela Merkel whose Christian Democratic Union decried the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as “coarse anti-Semitism”; and Canada’s Justin Trudeau who in March 2015 — in an effort to muster Jewish support — attacked student organisers and questioned their right to free speech by expressing the view that “the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses.” The suppression of free speech on Canadian campuses is no different to that being rigorously  implemented on U.S. colleges and universities.
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Israel’s global propaganda — otherwise known as hasbara, or “explanation” — combined with the tenacious lobbying of pro-Israel groups has been so successful that Israeli government ministers no longer feel the need to feign interest in meaningless peace negotiations for a two-state solution as a means of playing for more time to facilitate illegal Jewish settlement expansion. Many of them have now publicly proclaimed that “there will never be a Palestinian state,” with their defiance stemming from the knowledge that irrespective of what they say or do, the rest of the world will neither care nor dare to do anything about it.
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By firmly implanting and exploiting the fear of being labelled an “anti-Semite” or “Holocaust denier” within the minds of most citizens in the Western world so as to preclude any criticism of Israel, pro-Israel activism has successfully maintained an unprecedented assault against freedom of expression on three fronts — official censorship, unofficial censorship, and self-censorship — which if not opposed are all undeniable forms of contemptible complicity in Israel’s barbaric crimes against humanity in general, and the Palestinian people in particular.
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“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
                                               Albert Einstein
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Originally published AT

IS THE MOON THE ONLY SAFE PLACE FROM THE ISRAEL LOBBY

How long can the “special” relationship to the “Jewish State” be allowed to lead to the discrimination and marginalisation of Israel’s critics and pro-Palestinian activists in Germany? 

Or must we go to the moon to be safe from the Israel lobby?

You can be safe from the Israel Lobby, but only on the moon!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Translated by Dr. Milena Rampoldi

The Holocaust, the clash of civilisations, can no longer be exploited to make us blindly accept today’s crimes by a people who were victims in the past. In replacing anti-Semitism, Philo-Semitism has assumed alarming dimensions and must not become a new, forward-pressing power.

In fact, the community of hypocritical states, and particularly Germany, will be again guilty of the dehumanization of another people.

With its Zionist state ideology, consequently practised since 1948 including dispossession, land grabbing, and ethnic cleansing of Palestine — all protected and financially supported by the U.S., Europe, and Germany in particular — the “Jewish State” has definitively abandoned all moral values so that for a long time now the term “values” has become a phrase for the values of hypocrites.

If the “Jewish State” calls itself the “only democracy in the Middle East,” then we have to strongly oppose it. How can the Israeli state, which is neither Judaic nor democratic, call itself “democratic”? Readers will certainly ask themselves why I always write “Jewish State” instead of “Israel”: Since this Zionist land grabbing state would like to be recognised as “Jewish State” instead of a state for all citizens, including Palestinians. And this is a completely anti-democratic intention!

In addition, all criticism of its crimes against international law and human rights are denigrated as anti-Semitism and hatred towards Jews, and the activists of the BDS campaign for a Free Palestine must be silenced. And exactly for this reason, the BDS movement is a thorn in the side of the “Jewish Occupiers‘state“ and the Israel lobby. However, Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, defends the BDS movement. In October 2016 she condemned attacks against human rights advocates and affirmed the right of European citizens to freedom of speech and assembly. Unfortunately, many EU states do not comply with this principle. (1)

In the meantime, in the “Jewish State” not only NGOs and government-critical media are restricted with undemocratic laws. Also the Palestinian citizens and Jewish activists engaging for the BDS are pursued.

Travel bans do not stop in front of prominent Jewish intellectuals like Chomsky and Finkelstein. And we are waiting for criticism in vain! People would surely scream if it was about Turkey or Russia. However, in this case it is just about the “Jewish State” . . .

How is it possible that Germany and other EU states prohibit this right and drag it into the dirt under pressure of the “Jewish State” and Israel lobby?

In the end, the BDS movement has only one goal; Israel has to comply with its obligation to recognise the inalienable right of Palestinians to self-determination; has to stop the illegal occupation and colonisation of Palestine; has to remove the Apartheid wall running through the land stolen from the Palestinians; has to recognize the basic right of Palestinian-Israeli citizens for complete equality and to guarantee, respect, protect and request the legal rights of return of the dispossessed Palestinian refugees to their homeland Palestine and to their property, as agreed in the UN Resolution 194. When will the “Jewish State” recognize and apply Resolution 194? Finally, this was the condition for the acceptance of Israel in the United Nations! (2)

All these requests and objectives were confirmed in an endless number of UN resolutions. However, the ruling of the International Court of Justice, declaring that the construction of the Apartheid Wall in the occupied Palestinian territory was illegal, was ignored by the “Jewish State” like numerous other UN resolutions against the illegal settlements, and the violations against international law and human rights. Only one resolution was recognised by the “Jewish State”: the UN resolution 181, known as UN Partition Plan of 29 November 1947.

How can it be that every Jewish citizen has to right to go back to his/her alleged “homeland,” with all civil rights, while the dispossessed Palestinians are deprived of those rights? Is that democratic? No, it is not. It is deeply ethnocratic and racist!

All talk is just about “Muslim terrorism,” forgetting Jewish terrorists and political state terrorists who promote this kind of terrorism. Where in the world is there a state calling for the “murder of Arabs,” where children throwing stones are given more severe sentences than Jewish “Defence Soldiers” murdering Palestinians and subsequently being hailed as heroes and given “Man of the year” awards? Where is there a state where the majority of the Jewish population defends these murderers?

And why does this “Jewish State” recognised by the international community which up to now refuses to determine its borders continue to insist on the recognition of its own “right to exist”? And what is worse, how is it possible that a German federal government makes of this ominous “existence right” a reason of state and in addition forces refugees to accept this “existence right” as condition for an integration which “needs values”, decreeing it an “identity-forming lead culture”?

Is it not a travesty when the Central Council of Jews in Germany asks from the Muslim refugees to recognize the existence right of a state which has been refusing for decades to recognize the existence right of an independent Palestinian state and does not distance itself from the crimes against international law and human rights and the illegal Jewish occupation? Being afraid of the refugees bringing their denial of Israel and anti-Semitism to Germany, they exactly achieve the opposite, promoting a collective prejudice against refugees. Is this part of the tasks of the Central Council of Jews in Germany?

While at the moment there is such a hot debate about Turkish ministers talking at election meetings in Germany, there has never been such a discussion for Israeli politicians calling German and French citizens of Jewish faith to “come home to their homeland Israel.” Just a second: these “returnees” are preferably housed in illegal settlements. Why does nobody among politicians or intellectuals opposed to this in Germany? Why is there a double standard when it is about Jews or Israel?

Why today are we again witnessing Israeli lobby pressure that closes BDS bank accounts, restricts activists, and denies Jewish peace activists, scientists, and teachers agreed spaces controversial events and discussions being cancelled and universities withdrawing teaching assignments and the freedom to teach. Nip things in the bud!

Again in Germany “good” and “bad” Jews are selected. However, this time this results from the cooperation of the world of politics and the Israel lobby, some media and Christian Zionists. The “Christian-Jewish community of values” is giving up all moral values, and has found its mission in the war against “Islamic terrorism” as the new bogeyman.

The insidious “Israelization” of Germany is in full swing. How can you take an occupier state as a model and forget the 50 years long illegal occupation of Palestine?

Instead of celebrating government consultations with a Jewish regime of occupiers, Germany should put pressure on the “Jewish State” and threaten it with sanctions. When it was about Russia, Merkel was in the frontline!

Does all this correspond to “our” values and to the values of our constitution? How can Mum Merkel prescribe the German reason of state for the security of the “Jewish State,” a state committing genocide during the last attack against Gaza about which there will not be any Parliamentary Session. Merkel even called the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and expressed her solidarity with him and the “security” of his country. A questionable security the Western nations, led by the USA and Germany, will finance

with massive military expenditures and tax gifts permitting the illegal occupation and the attacks.

Israel is a highly-armed nuclear power and is a danger for world peace. It is only waiting to attack Lebanon or Iran. Günter Grass, one of the few serious intellectuals, said this, and was damned and defamed. I can personally confirm how deeply the Nobel laureate for literature and the sincere SPD politicians were struck by this defamation campaign.

Up to now I have been missing the partisanship of the elite, the intellectuals, the officeholders, and the  “sincere ones of the socialist party,” when it is about the freedom for Palestine. They all remain cowardly silent when it is about the decades-long and well-documented crimes against the international law and human rights committed in the “Jewish State.” They simply fear to be labelled as anti-Semites.

This hypocrisy affects me a lot. If we look at the numerous wars and interventions we have been involved in up to now, including the Nobel prize for peace winner, the EU, and former US president Obama, we see how our “democratic values” have become a ridiculous parody. And the newly-elected US president Trump supports do the “Jewish State” in its rapacious settlement policies.

Because of its alleged “special” relationship, Germany and its government is obliged to convince its friends of the Jewish state to recognize international law and UN resolutions, and to guarantee to the Palestinians their inalienable right for self-determination, which should be a democratic self-evident fact for a German State, which in Article 1 of its constitution says that human dignity applies to all (Palestinians included) and is indivisible. This should apply also to a “Jewish State” being the alleged only democracy in the Middle East. However, until now, this has not occurred for decades.

The freedom of speech and teaching must apply also to the critics of the Israeli policies and must be defenced. This is what I expect from the German elite, who cowardly retreat  in silence when it is about Israel. Where is the solidarity with the universities where the Israel lobby deeply interferes with the freedom of teaching?

Do we also want that here in Germany teachers engaging for a free Palestine have to emigrate, as many Israeli intellectuals do? Let us think about Ilan Pappe, teaching in exile in Exeter today. Also he should not have a ban on speaking in Germany as a descendant of Holocaust survivors only because of the pressure by the Israel lobby.

We should oppose together to the title of my book “Das elfte Gebot:Israel darf alles” (English translation of the title: The 11th Commandment: Israel is allowed to do all).

And to the question of FAZ on the occasion of a controversy at the court with the Jewish Spiegel-Welt journalist and islamophobe porno writer H.M. Broder “What is a Jewish woman in Germany allowed to say against Israel?” I would like to answer: “All, of course, and in particular the truth!” More or less polemically, but straight from the heart! And I do not want to avoid doing that!

Or must we go to the moon to be safe from the Israel lobby?

 

Originally posted AT

ANTI APARTHEID VIDEO GONE VIRAL

Israeli TV Host Implores Israelis Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid in Palestine

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‘Apartheid has been here for ages. It doesn’t really bother us’ — Israeli comedian says in closing act

The Israeli comedian Assaf Harel and the host of the show “Good Night With Asaf Harel,” used the monologue of his series finale on Monday to dive into a speech where he said Israel had reached a state of “apartheid” long ago.

“Ever since the right-wing took power, more and more voices are warning of apartheid. Are you kidding? Apartheid has been here for ages. Ages,” Harel said.

More HERE

RICHARD GERE BREAKS HIS SILENCE ON THE OCCUPATION

Richard Gere calls for an end to ‘the occupation’

Arriving in Israel to promote his new movie Norman, directed by Joseph Cedar and starring Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi, Gere is uncertain as to how he will be received by the public given his recent comments on the political situation.

Richard Gere (center) visits Temple Mount

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Hollywood star Richard Gere is in Israel promoting his new movie Norman, by Israeli director Joseph Cedar. However, the question of how he will be received by the Israeli public is a matter of uncertainty.”In my past visits to Israel, I always heard all the viewpoints. Now it has become almost impossible. I know many people will not like what I have to say, but these are things that need to be said,” said Gere.

“The occupation must end. The occupation is ruining everyone on both sides. A bi-national state won’t solve anything, and it will only turn Israel into an apartheid state. There needs to be two states for two peoples, with Jerusalem as the capital of both nations.

In his comments, Gere also referred to the issue of settlements, saying, “Why do you need all these provocations? How is it that the settlers are running the government? And how could it be that Israel, of all nations, controls another nation? Many Israelis that I know say the state has lost its way and I think that every Israeli knows that.”

During his visit to Israel, Gere is also planning on meeting members of Breaking the Silence. He knows that this will be poorly received, but he remains undeterred. “I recently spoke to someone from the organization who served in the army, a wonderful young woman with a big heart, and they’re labeling her an enemy of the state. It breaks your heart.”

Full report HERE

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

SUNDAY’S TOON ~~ JUSTIN TRUDEAU DISAPOINTS BOTH CANADA AND PALESTINE

Recent opinion polling shows that Canadians support sanctions against Israel for its violations of international law; but the Liberal Party government of Justin Trudeau is nonetheless supporting Conservative resolutions aimed at condemning supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Image by Carlos Latuff

Justin Trudeau, caught between his people and the Israeli government

Justin Trudeau, caught between his people and the Israeli government

 

BANKSY WELCOMES YOU TO THE WALL IN BETHLEHEM

‘The Walled Off Hotel’ in Bethlehem, with a view of the separation barrier, will officially open March 11th and comes complete with dozens of pieces of art work by British artist Banksy; artist is known for politically-charged work and has visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in the past.

FROM

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Welcome To The ‘Wall,’ Banksy Style

Under an army watchtower and across the street from the concrete wall Israel has built in parts of the occupied West Bank, street artist Banksy has opened a guesthouse in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

In the revered birth town of Jesus, the Walled Off hotel stands three storeys high. Its bedroom walls and hallways are decorated with the mysterious artist’s stencil graffiti work — one shows an Israeli soldier and masked Palestinian youth having a pillow fight, and a statue of a chimpanzee bell-boy stands at the entrance, clothes falling out of the suitcase he holds.

The hotel, converted from a pottery workshop, has been styled to resemble “an English gentlemen’s club from colonial times,” a statement from the artist said, in acknowledgement of the historical role Britain played in the Middle East.

But the decor has been spiced up with statues choking on tear gas, cherubs hanging from the ceiling, their faces covered by oxygen masks and oil paintings of refugee life jackets washed ashore.

The hotel was set up in secrecy over the last 14 months — Israeli military authorities in the West Bank did not immediately respond when asked if they had been aware in advance.

Banksy, whose real name is not known, described his guesthouse as having the worst view of any hotel in the world: Every room overlooks the barrier which is a symbol of oppression for the Palestinians.

Israel began building it in 2002 at the height of a Palestinian uprising in which Israeli cities were rocked by frequent Palestinian suicide bombings.

Palestinians dub it an “apartheid wall” and an Israeli attempt to grab land in the West Bank, which they want along with Gaza and East Jerusalem, for a future state.

The Banksy statement said the hotel “offers a warm welcome to people from all sides of the conflict and across the world” and was financed by the artist.

Gentle music from a self-playing pianola fills the candle-lit dining room where a framed painting of Jesus looks up at three warplanes, stenciled on the wallpaper above.

The hotel also has its own art gallery and an exhibition dedicated solely to the wall, which features contributions from Palestinians and Israelis.

The Walled Off is Banksy’s biggest project since the 2015 “Dismaland” theme park at the English seaside, where staff carried balloons proclaiming “I’m an imbecile” and model boats full of refugees floated in a pond.

—Reuters

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Dominic Evans)

TRUMP FINDS COMMON GROUND WITH ZION

The unique in the world State which calls itself the “only democracy in the Middle East” and which since 1967 has been imposing military occupation on Palestinians with a system of illegal settlement policies and colonisation has continuously sought to emulate other  dictatorships such as North Korea. However, at least, North Korea does not claim to be the “only democracy” in Asia!

super-zionist-trump-640x360

What Zionists and Trump have in common: they cannot stand the truth!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, English Translation by Milena Rampoldi
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And as “involved“ people we have long known how the “Jewish State” uses violence against human rights activists and organisations who are critical and tell the truth about its human rights and international law violations. The way the “Jewish State” treats Jewish and foreign human rights organisations should prompt us to ask ourselves: How long should we accept our tax money being used to support the maintenance of this Zionist occupation and oppression? And how long should the double standard apply for the “Jewish State“? The “particular” relationship must finally be normalised!
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How should we react to the fact that German banks, under the threat of pressure from outside, cancel accounts of Jewish groups only because  they support the legal and non-violent BDS campaign? Jewish activists are denigrated by the representatives of the “Jewish State” as traitors and Capos! It is simply outrageous and unbearable that today again and again Jewish activists are denunciated by the Israel lobbyists and their political and “Christian-Jewish“ helpers as “bad Jews“. They are prohibited from speaking because the Israeli campaign journalists make sure that German politicians and bankers are opposed to BDS supporters and Israel critics. On the other hand, all politicians and supporters of the “Jewish State” are guilty because they defend an illegal occupation policy violating international law!
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In the meantime, Trump again and again goes away from the democratic rules of the game in the USA. After his lost court decision, he tried to impose an even harder entry ban against Muslims (let us hope that his jurists will not succeed!). In his dangerous national-socialist world order Muslims are divided into not convenient and convenient Muslims according to the principle: “We determine who is a Muslim, and who is not!” And the “Jewish State” and the Israel lobby follow the same patterns; to critics entry stops and deportation are imposed. And also Jews, if they criticise Israel or support the BDS campaign, are divided into “good” and “bad” Jews.
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The collision course started by the Netanyahu Regime also against U.S. organisations and U.S. citizens, and actually against Human Rights Watch (HRW), proves only how safe this regime feels, reinforced by the support of the Trump Administration. A particularly blatant case is the one of the regional director of Human Rights Watch, U.S. citizen and Muslim Omar Shakir being refused entry permission toIsrael. This case is a new dimension of the internationalisation of the Jewish occupation regime in its struggle against the U.S. human rights organisation.
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In the letter published by the Israeli Immigration Office about HRW, HRW is accused of being in the service of Palestinian propaganda while mendaciously working under the flag of human rights. (1)
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A speaker of the Israeli Foreign Ministry called HRW an “anti-Israeli organisation,” while HRW referred to the fact that it had just written critical reports about the Israeli human rights violations, but also about Hamas and the Palestinian Authority of Abbas.
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From this point of view, the “Jewish State” is seamlessly integrated in the list of countries, from North Korea to Sudan and Uzbekistan, also refusing working permits and visas to international human rights organisations. Also the “Jewish State“ violates all the democratic rules it never complied with. HRW works in more than 90 countries all over the world. This shows that Zionists are afraid of the truth proving their human rights and international rights violations.
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Also creative artists in the “Jewish State” have for a long time been persecuted by the Netanyahu regime and the Ministry of Culture’s Miri Regev. They face the threat of not getting subsidies if they do not parry, or if they refuse to perform in illegal settlements to entertain settlers.
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While Regev started a cultural war against artists and famous Israeli artists like Davi Tartakov who call the “Jewish State” a fascist country, the Netanyahu regime and its right-wing minister go on with their fascist laws and methods. The Ministry of Education’s Naftali Bennett even put the recommendable book Borderlife by Dorit Rabynian on the index and prohibited for discussions in class because  it talks about the love of a Jewish woman towards a Palestinian. Of course, Bennett considers this reprehensible because it promotes the assimilation, and so it is not acceptable! (2) (3)
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If the outrageous, right-wing, Zionist, extra-parliamentarian  movement “Im Tirtzu” (“if you will it”) wants to strengthen Zionism by offering a free interpretation of Herzl, by denigrating artists, authors, and intellectuals, this is more than alarming. Since “Im Tirtzu” finances fifteen colleges and is represented at universities in the “Jewish State.” The organisation is structured like a fascist organisation and has woven its Zionist spider web. One of the main objectives of „”m Tirtzu” is to present the Nakba — the catastrophe of the Palestinians — as a lie – and for that they should classified as holocaust deniers! As my friend Steve Amsel says: Zionists do not fear anything more than they fear the truth.
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Also the Israeli veteran organisation “Breaking the Silence” is persecuted by Regev. What happened recently in a small art gallery in the artists‘ quarter Nachlaot in Jerusalem, reminds me the procedure of the Israel lobby in Germany! There a representative of “Breaking the Silence” should make a conference about the anonymous statements of former comrades of the “Jewish Defence Forces.” It was about IDF soldiers who were not able to deal with their conscience and the crimes they had committed in the illegally occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. Immediately Regev requested from the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, to prohibit this event in the Barbur Gallery because the speaker was the member of an “anti-Israeli” propaganda organisation spreading lies about the State of Israel and the IDF. Since the Likud member Nir Barkat could not find any reason, he invented that the municipality needed these gallery rooms for another purpose and therefore the gallery should be shut down. (4)
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However, what may be expected from a colonialist Apartheid State, whose leading politicians, from Netanyahu, Bennet, Shaked to Lieberman, defended the murderous “Jewish defence soldier“ who assassinated in cold blood a defenceless Palestinian lying on the ground with a headshot at close range. For this crime, he has been sentenced by the Israeli Military Tribunal ONLY for manslaughter for only 18 months, while Palestinian children throwing stones as an act of desperate resistance are punished more harshly than Jewish murderers! 
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Netanyahu, Bennett, and Lieberman asked for the murderer’s pardon, and it may be feared that Azaria will be pardoned after a short time in prison. More than 80% of the Jewish-Israeli population supports the IDF soldiers and call on these to immediately kill Palestinians because a “dead” Palestinian/terrorist cannot kill Jews any more, according to the Mossad principle “Kill as first!” Settlers from the illegally occupied West Bank came in droves  to free the “brave” soldier and per Internet a crowd-funding was organised for the defence of the hero, so that the parents could afford the most famous lawyers in Israel, Yoram Shettel who had already worked for the defence of the Ukrainian Demjanjuk, for the concentration camp supervisor suspect “Ivan the Terrible,” and the most spectacular case of the “rapist-President” Moshe Katzav. Azaria was even acclaimed as man of 2016. All this only shows the deep abasement of morality of this Jewish occupiers‘ regime.
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This was just the prelude, since when the Belgian Prime Minister Michel was visiting Israel, he “dared” to meet representatives of civil society, of B`Tslem and Breaking the Silence. For Netanyahu the red line was crossed, and he summoned the Belgian Ambassador on the grounds that Belgium had to decide if it would like to maintain the “anti-Israeli line.” Such a meeting organised by Merkel with the NGOs in the “Jewish State” would never be possible or desired! (5) (6)
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Since the Netanyahu regime is working on a law tightening, that obliges Israeli organisations which receive donations from abroad, to publish this in their budget every three months. This concerns in particular the left-liberal human rights organisations, in contrast with the right, subsidised organisations. Also the European government leaders like the British Theresa May and the Belgian Charles Michel, were called to do anything within their power to dry out these NGOs.
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How would it be if Jewish organisations in Germany and Europe would be obliged to publish their budget every three months and to make public their national and international donors?
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In the last edition of “Spiegel” I was alarmed by the interview with Amos Oz, who from the German point of view is the second so called peace activist after David Grossmann, and this gives me serious doubts about a normal “Jewish thinking.” Oz and Grossmann cannot imagine living as a “minority”in Palestine/Israel, and this deeply shocks me. And the frank commitment by Oz that after Trump’s election he wrote a letter to Chancellor Merkel to tell her that she is the “leader” of the free world, makes simply stuns me. This Israeli intellectual payed homage to a chancellor who made of the security of the “Jewish State” a state policy which showed solidarity with Netanyahu when he committed genocide in Gaza and whose party wants to criminalise the BDS movement and is overwhelmed with awards and honorary doctorates by the Israel lobby.
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Oz is right when he says that the Hitler-Stalin Pact has brought 60 years refusal of armament and violence. However, exactly in the “Jewish State” we have been experiencing 69 years of armament, violence, racism, and militarism. Oz is right only in one thing: the Israelis did not come as liberators, but as occupiers. If he still believes in the mantra of the Two-State-Solution because he cannot imagine a cohabitation in a State as Jewish minority, then we can imagine how beautiful the new future of Palestine will be under the guideline of Zionism over the head  of the Palestinian, local population. It will be the evil and it will be careless of the suffering of the others! (7)
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Trump and Netanyahu both use the vocabulary of totalitarian regimes, they both use compliant media for themselves, and silence “enemies” of their politics, they introduce legal entry bans, build walls, and promote racism. So it is time to be alert. Yes, the “leading media“ are right. Trump is a dangerous splitter and warmonger. Trump plans the “historical increase” of the recent military budget of 51 billion Euros, so that America will not just be great, but also the strongest nuclear power. This should make all his left and right supporters fear. It is planned to reduce international cooperation, the budget of the Foreign Ministry and the budget of the Environmental Authority EPA. The same applies to social support programs! Trump will also frustrate all those who would like to see him through the Putin glasses, since nothing will change with Russia. Also for Palestine no hope was born. On the contrary, thanks to Trump, Netanyahu feels winged to finally feel free to judaise Palestine and to engage for “Eretz Israel.”
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Also Chancellor Merkel has reacted with understanding to the request by the Trump Government to increase the German defence expenses. Germany has to meet its obligations.
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Which obligations does Merkel mean? To “lead” the provocations of the NATO in the frontline or to conduct military campaigns all over the world in order to bomb “our hypocritical values” into the world, 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz?
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I am always critical towards media, if they write tendentious reports, or even worse, if they do not talk about something at all. For what concerns omissions, the German media are masters. In fact, US media, from New York Times to Washington Post, are definitively ahead of us in research and  clarification. Fake news media and fake politicians should be unmasked, since they are the enemies of the people. So what do Trump and Netanyahu have in common? They are dangerous racists and militarists, who cannot stand the truth.
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Originally posted AT

TIME FOR AN APOLOGY

Image by Carlos Latuff

Sign & share

Sign & share

PALESTINE HOPED TO BE GREAT AGAIN UNDER TRUMP ~~ IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN

While the US continues to turn a blind eye to settlement expansion, the international community and the EU in particular are left with the responsibility of ensuring that everyday life in the Palestinian enclaves does not collapse. Time for a rethink, argue policy analysts Sam Bahour and Mousa Jiryis

Resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict

Resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict

Expect nothing from Trump

By Sam Bahour and Mousa Jiryis

If Donald Trump′s statements about abandoning the two-state solution are actually true, then a sovereign Palestinian state is no longer consistent with US foreign policy. Indeed, most commentators would be inclined to agree that this era will witness an unprecedented acceleration in settlement building and retroactive licensing of outposts built on private Palestinian land. Donald Trump, it appears, will do nothing to stop or rebuke such a policy, having watered down the tired old US rhetoric of ″settlements are an obstacle to peace″ to settlements ″may not be helpful″ to peace. So their construction can continue, indefinitely.

In light of this reality, Europe must recognise that ″the US leads″ approach to resolving the conflict is doomed to failure. There appears little possibility of the elusive peace happening anytime during Trump′s presidency. Historically, the US-leads approach has typically served to give Israel′s settlement enterprise time and space to further entrench itself, thereby making the realisation of a two-state solution increasingly impossible. It is blindingly clear – in light of two decades of failed negotiations under US auspices – that US leadership of conflict resolution efforts is pointless and counter-productive.

Independent European approach long overdue

If Europe′s policy is to achieve two states for two peoples, it will have to pursue an independent policy position that circumvents the Americans. Europe′s political influence in this arena has long been negligible, given US primacy in conflict resolution.

In short, Europe has relied on the wrong leadership for too long. This tragic, historic mistake has not only cost European taxpayers billions, but has also led to a reality that is the diametric opposite of what European policy-makers intended. After 24 years, reliance on American ″leadership″ has led to the creation of numerous Palestinian Bantustans, surrounded by an occupying military power that continues to occupy with impunity, bankrolled by European taxpayers: the EU and its member states are by far the largest donors to the Palestinians.

Israel – delighted that another party is willing to subsidise its military occupation – continues to expand and consolidate its settlement enterprise, with the support of large sections of the American public and government.

Historically, the US and EU have shared a common objective of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the framework of a two-state solution. With the assumption of Trump to the presidency, the Republicans now control all three branches of US government, with majorities in both the House and Senate. This has coincided with a significant shift to the right in the GOP′s policy to Israel-Palestine. By contrast, Europeans have moved towards recognition of the State of Palestine. Sweden′s recognition is now official while parliaments in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, France, Luxembourg, not to mention the European Parliament, have all approved recognition.

America is part of the problem

America supports occupation. Europe inadvertently subsidises occupation. This regrettable logic is an accurate description of current reality. The Trump administration will do little to antagonise its own party or risk the wrath of Israel′s influential pro-settlement lobby in the US. Trump will continue to advocate a hands-off, ″it′s up to the two parties to decide″ approach. As a result, Israel, which has all the power, has little incentive to concede, while the Palestinians, who have no power, and are supposedly ″protected″ under international law, are left to their despair.

The continuing domination of mediation efforts by the US has created a perverse reality which dictates that there is no peace; and no traction towards peace at any time in the near future. While commentators have busied themselves picking at the rotting carcass of the so-called peace process and apportioning blame for its failure, few have dared to state the obvious: America is part of the problem, not the solution.

Protected by its patron

Israeli intransigence and blatant violation of international law is fuelled by its belief that, no matter what it does, the US will always insulate it from meaningful rebuke. Palestinian desperation is driven by a conviction that America′s overwhelming support to Israel makes negotiations pointless, as Israel has little incentive to concede when it receives so much money, weapons and political support for its settlement project.

In summary, under Trump′s leadership, the US will undoubtedly turn a blind eye to settlement expansion, while the international community and the EU in particular will be left with the responsibility of ensuring that everyday life in the Palestinian enclaves does not collapse, through massive injections of aid monies – a state of affairs inspired by Israeli excesses ad infinitum made possible by US support or indifference.

So what can Europe do? Europe can ′roll up its sleeves′, play power politics and take on the occupier, without waiting for American leadership to produce results. If the experiences of Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and South Africa are anything to go by, an occupier or an apartheid regime will only change its ways with a nuanced combination of sanctions, international isolation and, as a last resort, military force.

The EU must rise to the occasion and demonstrate to its constituents that European money and credibility are more important than indulging in American charades of impartiality. It is clear that America has no moral or political qualms with Israel remaining an occupying force.

Once Europe finally acknowledges this reality and moves on, it will find the strength and legitimacy to propose policies of its own, in line with its European neighbourhood objectives and its own moral standards.

 

Written FOR

ISRAELI JUDICIAL SYSTEM ~~ JOKE OR JUSTICE?

An Israeli court on Tuesday sentenced Elor Azaria to 18 months in prison, one-year probation and a demotion of his military rank, a month after the Israeli soldier was found guilty of manslaughter.

Azaria shot and killed Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif in March after al-Sharif had already been shot and injured following an alleged attempted stabbing attack in Hebron.

Image by Latuff

Elor Azaria verdict, or, how Israel court system whitewash war crimes

Elor Azaria verdict, or, how Israel court system whitewash war crimes

Palestinian who filmed shooting says Azaria sentence ‘is a joke, not justice’

An Israeli court on Tuesday sentenced Elor Azaria to 18 months in prison, one-year probation and a demotion of his military rank, a month after the Israeli soldier was found guilty of manslaughter.

Azaria shot and killed Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif in March after al-Sharif had already been shot and injured following an alleged attempted stabbing attack in Hebron.

Following the court’s sentencing, Azaria’s defense vowed to appeal the ruling, while several high-ranking Israeli politicians called for a pardon in his case.

The main evidence in the case was footage caught on camera by Imad Abu Shamsiya, a Palestinian resident of Hebron who had been provided a camera by Human Rights Defenders specifically to document instances such as the shooting and other human rights violations in Hebron.

Abu Shamsiya told Mondoweiss he is grateful he was around to film the incident, because without the camera footage he feels certain Azaria would never have been taken to court, let alone serve time in prison.

“If there was no one filming that day then this crime, just like other crimes like it that happen against Palestinians on a daily basis, would go unnoticed,” Abu Shamsiya said. “I am so grateful for the camera, and so grateful I was in the right place at the right time.”

While Shamsiya is happy the world got to see what happened on that day in March, he does not feel like justice was served.

“There is no justice for the family,” Abu Shamsiya said. “They lost a member of their family in a very brutal way, this 18-month sentence is not justice for the family, for the Palestinian people or our nation — no one got justice from this.”

Sahar Francis, the director of Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights NGO, criticized the sentencing, telling Mondoweiss that an 18-month sentence for an “extrajudicial execution” of a Palestinian “brings to light the policy of impunity and lack of accountability in a system of protracted Israeli military occupation.”

“The period of sentencing is similar to sentencing routinely given to Palestinians for ‘membership in an illegal organization’ – with all Palestinian political parties deemed illegal through various military orders,” Francis said. “The message this sends to other soldiers and police officers who extrajudicially execute Palestinians is that their actions will not be seriously accounted for and that impunity will persist.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli right has lauded Azaria as a hero who killed a Palestinian terrorist, attacking the Israeli military and the Israeli justice system for allowing the case to go forward, while calling for Azaria’s pardon.According to Israeli daily Haaretz, judges said Azaria acted with the intent to kill, outside of Israeli military protocol, which requires a threat to life before live fire can be used. The judge also said the severity of the shooting and backlash it caused to the Israeli military was mitigated since the shooting happened during an active combat situation.

After Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter January, Ido Zelkovitz, head of the Middle East studies department at Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel and senior researcher at the University of Haifa told Mondoweiss that both sides of the Israeli political spectrum agreed on one thing — Azaria shot a terrorists in their eyes — which in the end, he said would indeed lead to a pardon after Azaria serves a small part of his sentence.

“Even if he was unarmed and he couldn’t put anyone in danger, the common idea among all the Israeli camps is that Azaria shot a terrorist and there is no debate about that question — it is a mutual understanding. That is why in the future the pardon will be accepted,” Zelkovitz said.

Abu Shamsiya agreed, telling Mondoweiss that he would be shocked if Azaria was actually made to serve his full sentence.

“Of course he won’t be made to serve his full sentence — the sentence is a joke, not justice, it’s 18 months in prison for murder,” Abu Shamsiya said. “Not only do I doubt he will even serve a full prison sentence, I doubt he will be put on any kind of probation or be demoted in the military.”

“This case shows us the injustice of the Israeli government,” he added. “This was just a show for the world to see because this execution was filmed, so the government felt it had to do something.”

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.

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ THE BILLBOARD THAT WENT ASTRAY

“On Feb. 6, 2017 this ‘America First’ highway billboard was erected in Ann Arbor, Michigan by the group Deir Yassin Remembered.  A week later Adams Outdoor Advertising told the group that their billboard had to come down.  It has since been removed.”

The billboard that went astray

The billboard that went astray

Read HERE the story of  DEIR YASSIN, and why zion does not want you to remember it

zion’s new mantra is ” If you can’t re wright history, simply erase it”

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION AS A TOOL OF REPRESSION

Administrative Detention is widely used by the Israeli occupation regime to suppress political activity and social organizations in the West Bank. It is less known that the same (or a similar) anti-democratic law holds also inside those territories that Israel occupied and ethnically cleaned in 1948 and is used against Palestinian there, which are formally citizens of “democratic” Israel.

In a new post in Free Haifa I bring in detail the case of Muhammad Ibrahim, a 20 year old computer technician from Kabul in the Galilee, whose administrative detention was prolonged on December 2016 for a second 6 months period. The original post was published in Hebrew in January.

Israeli occupation keeps 540 Palestinians under administrative detention

Israeli occupation keeps 540 Palestinians under administrative detention

Free Muhammad Ibrahim – Administrative Detainee from Kabul in the Galilee!

Posted @ Free Haifa

When the news about the administrative detention of Muhammad Ibrahim were first published in December 2016, after he was already more than half a year in prison, it was written in some papers that this is the first case of such detention against Palestinians inside the 1948 occupied territories, who are formally citizens of Israel. But it was less than a year since Asmaa Hamdan, a woman from Nazareth, spent 3 months in administrative detention which started at the turmoil of “the third intifada” of October 2015. At the heights of the first intifada, in 1988, some ten leading members of Abna Al-Balad and related Palestinian movements were held in the same way. Several Palestinian activists inside ’48 spent times in administrative detention before and after these days…muhammad-ibrahim-with-al-aqsa

In the 1967 occupied West Bank (and previously also in Gaza) Israel is using administrative detention en-mass as a tool for political oppression. The use of administrative detention also against Palestinian in ’48 is another proof that it is basically the same occupation and the same oppressive system that is used all over occupied Palestine.

The Administrative Detention of Muhammad Ibrahim

[The following article was published in Hebrew on 23/01/2017 in “Local Call” and Haifa Hahofshit]

They say that if the police would look hard enough at the past of any person they would find a legal reason to arrest and put him or her on trial. It turns out that this rule has exceptions. One of them is the case of Muhammad Ibrahim, a 20-year-old computer technician from the Western Galilee town of Kabul. Not only the police, the Shin Bet (Israel’s notoriously harsh “internal security services”) also made every effort to bring him to trial, but they didn’t find any legal reason for this. So he was subjected to administrative detention, without indictment and without trial.

Muhammad gets into troubles

Muhammad’s troubles probably stems from his love to the Al-Aqsa mosque… He was not a political activist but used to travel frequently to Jerusalem to pray at this mosque. This mosque is the third holiest site for Islam, but some of Israel’s leaders seek to destroy it in order to build “The Third Temple” in its place.

Muhammad’s first encounter with the law was when Israeli police wanted to arrest a woman in the mosque’s yard and he threw himself before her and was arrested instead. He spent the night in custody in the “Moskubiya” (a Russian Church’s compound in the middle of Jerusalem used as a detention center). On the following day he was released by the judge in the absence of any offense.

After the first detention cops already knew Muhammad and when they saw him in the mosque’s yard they used to arrest him. He was arrested five times, and was released five times, without being accused of any offence. Occasionally he was required to sign a pledge to stay away from Jerusalem for a while as a condition for his release.

On May 11, 2016, at 3 o’clock in the morning, a police force from Nazareth, including riot squad, accompanied by a Shin Bet operative, surrounded Muhammad’s house and awakened his family. The Sin Bet agent in charge of the region did not even know the young Muhammad whom he came to arrest. He turned to Muhammad’s father and asked him “who is Muhammad?”… This is just another piece of evidence proving that the reason for the arrest belongs to a different place – to Jerusalem.

Harsh Interrogation

After searching Muhammad’s room and some other rooms in the house, the police took with them Muhammad himself and also all the computers that they found, including computers of customers who brought them for repair.muhammad-ibrahim-sitting

The terrified family spent the next day running around between police stations and detention centers to find their son. Finally, they were informed that he was detained by the Shin Bet in a special interrogation center in Petah Tikva.

During the interrogation Muhammad was not allowed to see a lawyer. He was questioned in difficult conditions and was subjected to the harsh “special interrogation methods” of the Shin Bet, including sleep prevention. Later he told how he was interrogated for 22 hours non-stop while tethered to a chair.

25 days of intensive interrogation did not produce anything; the mountain did not give birth even to a mouse. Finally came the court session in which Muhammad was supposed to be released. But then the Shin Bet people informed the judge that they are going to put Muhammad under administrative detention. The judge delayed his release for a day until the defence minister will sign the decree, which was signed by Avigdor Lieberman on June 5, 2016, for a period of six months.

The other likely reason for issuing the administrative detention order is revenge of the Shin Bet’s failure to extort a confession from Muhammad and prosecute him. It constitutes a threatening message to all detainees: if you do not confess you can be arrested anyway, so you should better confess even if you never violated any law.

Significantly, although the investigation was concluded long time ago, and although no indictment was filed, the confiscated computers, including those of Muhammad’s customers, were not returned until this day.

Administrative Detention as a tool of the Military Regime

“Judicial supervision” on the procedure of administrative detention against Muhammad Ibrahim is being held at the Haifa District Court. At the first hearings in this procedure he was represented by the “Adalah” legal center. In fact this is not a proper judicial proceeding that allows any viable legal defence but a meaningless formal procedure. The contents of the “charges” or “suspicions” were not disclosed to Muhammad until this day, neither to his lawyer. All the Shin Bet’s claims are “secret material” submitted to the judge without the presence of the suspect or his representative. Once, when Aram Mahameed, Adalah’s lawyer, was order to leave the courtroom when confidential materials were submitted, he left behind his briefcase. State officials rushed to distance the briefcase also.

Not only that Muhammad’s lawyers are not present when secret materials are submitted, family members are not allowed at all to be in the courtroom, not even to hear the arguments of the defence. At the same time a blanket GAG order was issued to prevent the press from covering the case. Only on January 2017, following an appeal by journalist Jacky Khoury (from Radio Al-Shams and Haaretz), the military censorship confirmed that there is no reason to prevent reporting. In any case, there is nothing to report except the fact that there is nothing as there was nothing, and that this nothingness is a state secret.

On December 5, Muhammad’s six months detention was due to expire, but then the family was informed that the detention order was renewed for another six months period. This time he was represented by lawyer Omar Khamaisi from “Mizan”. The judge himself found it difficult to understand the justification for the continued detention without indictment and asked the Shin Bet representative whether, in their view, administrative detention is life imprisonment… But eventually the usual ritual was repeated: The detainee and his lawyer were ordered to leave the courtroom and the Shin Bet operatives stayed alone with the judge who finally reaffirmed the detention. The next hearing of this judicial farce, which takes place every three months, of “legally supervising” this unlawful detention, is set for March 15.

I sat with lawyer Khamaisi who explained to me the legal basis for administrative detention. The practice of detention without trial was inherited from the colonialist laws used by the British Mandate (see Wikipedia: Defence Emergency Regulations 1945). When Zionist leaders were subject to these laws they severely criticized them as draconian, but later Israel continued to use the same draconian British laws against its Palestinian Arab citizens.

Now Israel has a wholly “Blue and White” Made in Israel detention without trial, under the “state of emergency laws” from 1979, in full accordance to the Jewish and “democratic” character of the state. (The law is so new, only 38 years, that it still doesn’t have an entry in Wikipedia). The authority to issue administrative detention order is given by the Minister of Defence, stressing the fact that this is basically a military act against the “enemies of the state”. It should remind us that beneath the thin camouflage of democracy we are all subject to a regime of military occupation.

Abusive Conditions at the Families’ Visits

Although not indicted for anything, Muhammad is held in harsh conditions with “security prisoners” in the desert Ketziot prison in Nizzana sands, near the Egyptian border.

Khaled Ibrahim, Muhammad’s father, told me in detail about his harsh experiences while visiting his son in this remote prison.

khaled-ibrahim-abu-muhammad

Khaled Ibrahim, Abu Muhammad

The Israeli prisons’ authority requires that the family will register in advance for visiting, but Ketziot prison guards are not answering the telephone number designed for coordination. He only learns about the dates of the visits from families of prisoners from the West Bank which are coming in pre-arranged transportation.

Travelling from Kabul to Ketziot, almost 300 kilometers, can take three and a half hours in each direction when the road is free, so it is by itself a torture for the body and the soul. When he arrived at Ketziot he was imprisoned with his car in the parking lot of the prison and had to wait about an hour and a half to the arrival of the buses from the West Bank. The guards forbade him to extricate himself by walking in the parking lot and ordered him to stay in the car. When the buses arrived all visitors were guided to an internal courtyard and had to wait there another two hours until visits actually began. At the time of the visit, which lasted three-quarter of an hour, they were separated from their beloved ones by a glass wall and could talk only through a phone.  Later they had to wait closed in the yard until the second round of visits finished and they were allowed to return to the parking lot… Why should the guards make an extra effort and open the door twice?

The three-quarters of an hour visit lasted in total over fourteen and a half hours, from six in the morning until eight thirty at night. This systematic abuse against the families of prisoners and detainees causes many of them to reduce their visits.

Popular Struggle

The family expected that the six-month administrative detention will pass just as the 25 days of the interrogations and that Muhammad will be released… After all, he was not accused of anything. The secrecy of the hearings and prevention of media reports created an atmosphere of fear and they did not know what to do or who to contact. This secrecy has allowed the authorities to keep the entire subject far from the public awareness. The oppressive apparatus like to abuse their victims in the darkness under the cover of media blackout. However, one of the most difficult problems with administrative detention is that it has no time limit.

The extension of Muhammad’s detention for another six months resulted in breaking the isolation and silence. Over the last several years, a “popular committee” was formed and is operating in Kabul, as part of the policy of “the follow-up committee” of the Arab population inside the 48 occupied territories for the construction of the organs of popular struggle in every community. The popular committee undertook to publicize the case of Muhammad’s administrative detention and to coordinate the struggle for his release.

The activists of the “popular committee” organized protest, invited the Follow-Up Committee and Arab Knesset Members from “The Joint List” and turned to the media. They opened a special Facebook page called “Free the administrative detainee Mohammed Ibrahim from Kabul” (in Arabic). At the last hearing in the Haifa District Court there were already about 30 people who were not allowed in… My visit to Muhammad’s family in Kabul and this article are my modest contribution to this campaign.

Now the family’s sole hope is that the public struggle will expose the severe unjustified abuse caused to Muhammad by the administrative detention and will embarrass the authorities and bring about his release. At the end of our conversation the representative of the Popular Committee expressed his hope that until the next hearing, on March 15, the protest will expands, and maybe there will be a demonstration in front of the court. I expressed my wish that, even before, due to the exposure of the case, the public pressure will bring to Muhammad’s release and we’ll come to congratulate him for that. We never lose hope, but in the current public atmosphere to speak of “a danger to democracy” rings like a hollow mockery while we face a regime which prides itself for abusing democratic rights.

 

IF THE CANCER DOESN’T KILL YOU ZIONISM WILL

A Palestinian man was on his way to a chemotherapy session when he was shot by Israeli soldiers last November, his family told an Israeli journalist this week.

Muhammad Amer Jallad (via Quds)

Muhammad Amer Jallad (via Quds)

Palestinian was on way to chemotherapy when shot by soldiers

Muhammad Amar Jallad was being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his family told Haaretz reporter Gideon Levy. Jallad was reported to have died in an Israeli hospital where he was being treated for his injuries last week.

The Israeli army claimed that Jallad was attempting to attack soldiers with a screwdriver when he was shot in the northern West Bank village of Huwwara on 9 November.

A witness told the Ma’an News Agency that he saw Jallad “attempting to cross the road in Huwwara before being shot at by an Israeli soldier who then took out a knife and threw it next to the youth.”

Shot while running across road

Jallad’s father told Haaretz that his son had set out from their home in Tulkarem that morning for the nearby city of Nablus, where he was being treated at the An-Najah National University Hospital.

When Jallad realized he had mistakenly boarded a shared taxi heading to Ramallah, rather than Nablus, Levy reported, “The driver suggested that he get off at Huwwara junction, next to the checkpoint of that name, where he would be able to pick up the taxi to Nablus.”

Jallad exited the vehicle and began to cross the road.

“He did so on the run,” according to Levy. “On the other side was an [Israeli army] jeep and a few soldiers, who were guarding the busy junction. The soldiers apparently thought that he was out to attack them.”

Jallad was shot with one bullet to the stomach as he reached the middle of the road, Haaretz recounted. A Palestinian ambulance crew happened to drive by and attempted to evacuate Jallad, but Israeli forces prevented them from doing so.

He was eventually evacuated in an Israeli ambulance and taken to a hospital.

During the months of hospitalization before his death, Jallad was put under the custody of an Israeli military court. His family were kept in the dark about his condition and were prevented from seeing him.

Jallad’s father was denied a permit to enter Israel and though his mother was issued a permit on four occasions, only once was she allowed to enter her son’s hospital room.

The family looked up one of his doctors online and called him last Friday. It was only then that Jallad’s family learned that he had died, they told Haaretz. They still have not been informed of the date and cause of his death.

Israel transferred Jallad’s body to his family on 17 February. The Ma’an News Agency reported that his body will be examined in the presence of Palestinian legal officials before being buried on Saturday.

Israel has withheld the remains of dozens of Palestinians slain during alleged and actual attacks since late 2015.

Earlier this month, Israel transferred the body of Muhammad Zeidan, a 16-year-old who was shot and killed by a private security guard at a Jerusalem-area checkpoint in late November.

Medical neglect of child prisoner

The health of a Palestinian child with leukemia who is being held in an Israeli military detention center has “seriously deteriorated,” a lawyer with the Palestinian Authority committee on prisoners’ affairs stated this week.

Ahmad al-Khadour, 15, has “suffered from a stroke, feet problems, intense dizziness, and muscle contractions in his fingers,” Luay Ukka told media.

The boy has been detained since 2 January, when he was assaulted by Israeli forces who beat him with the butts of their rifles, Ukka said.

The Jerusalem Committee for the Families of Prisoners also reported that the Israel Prison Service had transferred Azmi al-Daqaq, 28, to a hospital after his health deteriorated.

Al-Daqaq is being held without charge or trial under military detention order after he was detained on 20 January “over an alleged stabbing attempt,” the Ma’an News Agency reported.

Palestinians have frequently accused Israel of medical neglect of prisoners. Last September, a prisoner died from a heart condition after reportedly receiving inadequate treatment in prison.

In December, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies released a report claiming that 32 Palestinian prisoners are not receiving adequate medical care for their different conditions.

Some 6,500 Palestinians were imprisoned by Israel as of January.

Teen posed no danger when killed

The Israeli rights group B’Tselem stated this month that a Palestinian teenager who was shot by Israeli forces last December posed no danger to soldiers when he was killed.

Ahmad al-Kharroubi, 19, was slain in the Jerusalem-area town of Kufr Aqab when soldiers raided in the middle of the night to seal the home of a Palestinian killed during a shooting attack.

Ahmad al-Kharroubi (via B’Tselem)

Ahmad al-Kharroubi (via B’Tselem)

Al-Kharroubi was hiding behind a low wall and “apparently attempted to throw stones at Border Police officers and soldiers” at a roadblock some 80 to 100 meters away from him when he was hit with a live bullet, according to B’Tselem.

Al-Kharroubi, who was shot in the neck, was evacuated to a hospital but was declared dead upon arrival.

B’Tselem stated that “no incendiary device” was thrown at soldiers from the area where al-Kharroubi was positioned. Given the distance the unarmed youths were from the soldiers, “they could not pose any danger,” the group added.

B’Tselem also stated that the punitive sealing of the home was an illegal act of collective punishment that “that led to the pointless death of this young man.”

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