Scroll down for a moving holiday message from a Palestinian in Nablus who lost his mother and speaks of love this holiday season. But first, from today's news that you will not see on Fox or CNN (Wolf Blitzer used to work for the Israel lobby, now works for CNN):
+ Six people (including my friend Iyad Burnat) were injured yesterday in the weekly non-violent demonstration in Bil'in as Apartheid Israel's soldiers opened fire with rubber-coated steel bullets and canisters of toxic gases. http://www.imemc.org/article/52064
+ ("O little town of Bethlehem...") Bethlehem Checkpoint movie, a product of Images for Life photo and video training project of Al-Rowwad Children Theater in Aida Refugee Camp
English Subtitles: http://youtube.com/watch?v=d1FaWE1SIZk
with French subtitles: http://youtube.com/watch?v=V3b0NVBsPDQ&feature=related
+ Gaza residents observe Eid AlAdha (feast of the sacrifice) without access to food let along fulfilling religious obligations of sacrificing animals to commemorate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. More stressful is that patients are dying (>50 already died) thanks to the Israeli siege of Gaza.
+ Celebrating a snowy Christmas... in Tehran, Iran http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/weden2.html
+ (Must read) So what have we done to them By Nehemia Shtrasler http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/936024.htm
Message from a Palestinian in Nablus (Saad Abuhijleh, his mother was murdered by Israeli soldier while at the balcony in her home):
Beloved sisters, brothers, family, friends, and colleagues,
May you have a blessed Eid Al Adha, merry Christmas, and a happy New Year...
Be true to the voice that comes from within...
Be Love for Love is the only way
That leads to that place where you do not have to say… a word... to be understood…
That leads to that bed in which you can sleep and dream like a baby… :-)
Be gentle with nature and nature will be gentle with you…
Slow down and feel yourself… do not overwhelm yourself with too many unnecessary inputs… first things first… do not sell the long-term for the short-term… walk with grace…you are the steward of Allah on Earth… join hands and energies with other Lovers that have understood the Way… allow for the synergies of Love to carry us all to the higher consciousness that will allow us to heal the bleeding wounds and the broken hearts…. And smile… let your whole Being smile… and do not understand the power of those sweet words you tell to your friends… the Arabs say “The good word comes out and the bad word comes out”…. So make it the good one :-) But if you hear a bad word that hurts you, learn how to forgive…
I pray to Allah almighty to protect you all and to gather us all on the right path… to unite us in the cause of peace…to forsake selfishness and be good to each other…
Our great prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Sahîh al-Bukhârî)
Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) also said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say something good or remain silent.”
Allah almighty says in the Quran: “By time! Surely the human being is at loss. Except for those who have faith and do righteous deeds and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to patience.” (Sûrah al-`Asr)
Salaam from a city that lies between two mountains, Ebal and Jerzim…
Salaam from those who are waiting patiently for the dawn…
All the Love,
Saed J. Abu-Hijleh
'Recall the face of the poorest and most helpless person whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him, will he be able to gain anything by it? Will it restore him to control over his life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj, self-rule for the hungry and also spiritually starved millions of our countrymen? Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away.' Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
18 December 2007
Tomorrow is the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha. And in one week, we will celebrate the Western Christmas tradition (December 25th). Jewish friends also celebrate Hanukkah around this time. On January 7, we celebrate the Eastern/Orthodox Christmas. And there is Kwanzaa.. For all, may you have a peaceful holiday and may the coming year bring love, peace, freedom, and prosperity to all especially those under occupation/colonization.
And here is a video card with the same theme: "They canceled Christmas in Bethlehem: the wall must fall" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMyjywN-8Ac
Now for the back of our virtual card, perhaps quotes:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Jesus' (Issa's) Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:2-10)
"To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives, the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections, that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let us not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God." Henri Nouwen, The Work of Christmas
And to all oppressed people, this message from a visitor to an exhibit of photos taken by Palestinian refugee children is appropriate this season:
"Keep your dreams, try to succeed, and try to manage your nightmares. Please tell the world about your experiences! We will tell the world about you, in order not to ever forget!"
maybe short assays
Memories of Bethlehem contrasted with the present reality by Mazin Qumsiyeh
and notes by Leila Sansour
and you might want to read this revealing article with lots of things you may not have known about holidays you thought you knew: Hanukkah, Christmas, and `Idu-l-Adha: A Homily for the Season, by Joachim Martillo
But for those who waded through this and believe as MLK and Ghandi believed that "silence is complicity" (Jesus asked that we be the salt of the earth, that we do not hide since no one lights a lantern and puts it in a closet), ACTION might be the best gift to give to others this Christmas and in the new year. And such gifts are always as Khalil Gibran noted a blessing to the receiver and a blessing to the giver.
Here are ten suggestions for actions:
1) Contact local churches, mosques, synagogues and insist that they speak out for basic human rights. A simple request would be to pray and work to help repatriate the 4 million Iraqi and 6 million Palestinian refugees/displaced people (Christian and Muslim). Offer to meet with them and to bring speakers. Let us know and we can suggest other speakers besides what is posted at http://www.palestinefreedom.org/?q=node/9 (list at left).
2) Take time to learn more about palestinian history (http://www.PalestineRemembered.com), about lies and myths (http://www.qumsiyeh.org/liesandtruths/), about current happenings (http://www.imemc.org/, http://www.maannews.net/en/ ), about statements from churches and Christian leadership (http://www.qumsiyeh.org/christianlinks/ ), about suffering of Iraqis (see http://www.electroniciraq.net/) etc.
3) Do not let any candidate for office off the hook. 2008 is an election year in the US and they must see you and hear from you. Go flyer on justice issues at their events, email them, write letter to the editor asking why many candidates (name them) do not speak out about ongoing slow genocide in Gaza or for the implementation of basic human rights like the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands or the rights of individual kidnapped and held in Guanatanamou for years without due process etc. Bring up the Israel lobby etc.
4) Ask churches, community groups and organizations to support the Palestinian Civil Society call to action; for boycotts, divestment and sanctions from Israel until it complies with human rights and International law (see http://stopthewall.org/news/boycot.shtml). Ask them to join the network of groups and organizations working on this (email me firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more).
5) Write letters to the editor (150-200 words) and/or op-eds (700-800 words) to your local or national newspapers about the issues. Some media contacts can be found here:
Write and call your TV and radio stations and ask that they interview native people from these areas on issues of religious freedom and the plight of Muslims and Christians in Iraq and Palestine and beyond (write to us if you would like suggested speakers near you).
6) Write and call your elected officials. Contacts available at
7) Take time to teach children about what is going on in Palestine. Give them copies of this book titled "A little piece of ground" by award winning author Elizabeth Laird (published by Haymarket Books) and then discuss it with them. http://tinyurl.com/y7lej6 and http://www.haymarketbooks.org
8) Hold a teach-in, a vigil, a forum or other community gatherings to bring attention to the plight of people in need and connect this to the year of Nakba actions and events in 2008 (the 60th year of colonization and ethnic cleansing in Palestine). In the US, invite the Wheels of Justice bus tour to your community (arrange talks at high schools, churches etc).
9) Donate to good charities (let us know if you want lists for any area of your interest, e.g. media, lobby, direct aid, etc).
10) Send this message other listserves, to your relatives, friends, co-workers and acquaintances and ask them to act. We launch a year of action because 2008 is the 60th year of Nakba: Catastrophe of Palestinians ethnic cleansing that heralded 60 years of wars and blood shed that still spills over into attacks on Lebanon, Iraq, and soon Iran to serve narrow political Zionist and other elite interests.
For more ways to help, see the Activism Manual at http://www.qumsiyeh.org/activistmanual/
My last message dissecting Israel's violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was tuncated and missed articles 25-30 and the concluding paragraph. The whole material is now posted at
Now for this weekend's message. First a relevant quote from Martin Luther King Jr that I received on the internet:
"I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
M L King, Jr letter from a Birmingham jail
ACTION 1: Buy a Palestine Nakba calendar (available worldwide) and/or go to the website to check significant dates to do action on.
The calendar is available online, at PalestineOnlineStore.com, for worldwide delivery, as well as at various retail points in Palestine
ACTION 2: Join events or make your own event. Here are two events for examples of good work:
a) South Bay (California) Mobilization for Peace: Stop AIPAC demonstration on December 16
b) Adalah-NY protests at the new jewelry store LEVIEV New York. The protests focus on Lev Leviev's construction of the settlements of Mattityahu East on Bil'in's land, Tzufim on Jayous' land, Har Homa, Maale Adumim and other settlements. Join the next protest and create similar actions. See this video that features debkah and an unexpected visitor Alan Dershowitz. http://www.mideastjustice.org/
ACTION 3: In the year of Nakba action and commemorations, the Spring tour of the Wheels of Justice (eyewitness accounts to occupation and colonization from Iraq to Palestine http://www.justicewheels.org) is shaping up and you can be part of it. Please look over the itinerary and if you can help host in these cities or nearby then contact Abbie Coburn at email@example.com To quote Abbie "We have some wonderful speakers lined up for this spring including journalist Dahr Jamail whose book "Beyond the Green Zone" has been getting rave reviews, as well as filmmaker and journalist Mark Turner, founder of Research Journalism Initiative, who has produced various documentaries from Occupied Palestine. In addition, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Nora Barrows-Friedman, and Michael Birmingham are among those who will be joining us throughout. We are very excited about the breadth of speakers on board this spring!"
Itinerary so far (states and cities starting Feb 25, 2008): Washington: Olympia; Oregon: Portland, Salem, Eugene, Ontario; Idaho: Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls; Utah: Salt Lake City; WY: Rock Springs, Cheyenne, Sidney; Nebraska: North Platte, Lincoln, Omaha, Kansas: Kansas City, Lawrence, Wichita; Iowa: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids; Illinois: Chicago)
ACTION 4: Donate to good causes for the holidays. Let me know what particular areas you would like to donate to (e.g. media work, lobbying efforts, direct aid to needy etc) and I could suggest charities.
In other news
Red Cross: Israel worsening Palestinian humanitarian crisis
Israeli restrictions have caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank that is growing worse, leaving hospitals unable to treat the sick and keeping farmers off their land, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/934353.html
Postal workers pass anti-Israel resolution By Paul Lungen, Staff Reporter
Toronto – A regional conference of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has passed a resolution supporting the boycott of Israel and pledging an educational campaign about “the apartheid nature of the Israel sic state.” The Canadian Jewish News
Civil rights group: Israel has reached new heights of racism (including 26% increase in incidnce of racist attacks against Arab Israelis).
The guy walking to Washington for impeachment got thrown out of his old high school in Old Lyme, CT
(MQ comment: we may indeed be living in a paranoid police state. Th FBI called us because a visiting relative was videotaping the changing Fall leaf colors in CT from my car driving during thanksgiving holiday!)
New poll reveals how unrepresentative neocon Jewish groups are
Interview of Dr. Afif Safieh together with the Israeli Ambassador
Zionist right wing extremist loses legal case
Israel's Palestinians Speak Out by NADIM ROUHANA http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071224/rouhana
Having private thoughts is not enough
Complaints and writing statements is not enough
MAKE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THIS WORLD!
BE THE LEADER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!
ORGANIZE AND ACT!
Quote of the week:
"Under a 1975 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the USA guaranteed all Israelâ€™s oil needs in the event of a crisis. This Memorandum of Understanding is quietly renewed every five years. It commits U.S. taxpayers to maintain a strategic U.S. reserve for Israel, equivalent to $3 billion in 2002 dollars. Special legislation was enacted to exempt Israel from restrictions on oil exports from the USA. Moreover, the U.S. government agreed to divert oil from the USA, even if this causes domestic shortages. The U.S. government also guaranteed delivery of oil in U.S. tankers if commercial shippers become unable or unwilling to carry oil from the USA to Israel..."
Sandy Tolan (http://www.sandytolan.com/the-lemon-tree) Kitchen Sisters produced the "The Olive Oil Season: A West Bank Kitchen Story," that aired as part of "Hidden Kitchens" series for National Public Radio Thanksgiving day (AKA Native American Genocide memorial day). If you missed the story, you can find great pictures and text and also replay at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16506897
Demands of a thief By Gideon Levy writing in Ha'aretz
â€œlike the whites in South Africa who whipped up a frenzy of fear about the "great slaughter" that would ensue if blacks were granted their rights. But these are not legitimate questions: The incarceration must be ended and the myriad of political prisoners should be released unconditionally. Just as a thief cannot present demands,â€¦â€?
Zionism must be Dissolved for Peace
By Khalid Amayreh (Al-Khalil, occupied Palestine)
An Unlikely Visitor Gives Musharraf Support. The Zionist "Council of World Jewry" founder visits Pakistan.
New York City Activists escalate protests at Leviev Jewlery
For Leviev's response see:
Rutgers University Divestment Program
Lajee Center takes photography exhibit of Palestinian refugee youth around the world
Pentagon Cover Up: 15,000 or more US casualties in Iraq War By Mike Whitney
Finally here is a forward from Anna Baltzer
Two pieces of news:
I. The major shipment of the new revised edition of "Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories" (originally released by Paradigm Publishers in September) has finally arrived! I have someone helping to send them out (individually, or by the box) so please let me know if you'd like to place an order.
400+ pages full-color (including more than 500 original photos & maps!), "Witness in Palestine" costs $26.95 at Barnes & Noble or $20 on my website, www.AnnaInTheMiddleEast.com. They are even cheaper in person (see tour details below) or if you write me for a bulk discount.
Here are some notable reviews of the book:
"Even those who are familiar with the grim reality of the occupied territories will quickly be drawn into a world they had barely imagined by these vivid, searingly honest, intensely acute portrayals of unflagging courage, wanton cruelty, and enduring faith that through non-violent resistance fundamental decency will somehow prevail -- an outcome that lies very much in our hands. I cannot find words to express my admiration for the solidarity workers and peacemakers, international and Israeli, and the people of Palestine whom they are
supporting in their struggles to survive and to overcome." -NOAM CHOMSKY
"Baltzer's moving and vivid memoir tells the story of the daily struggle along the Wall in the West Bank, with stories and pictures that capture not just the hardships, but also the resilience of the Palestinian people. It also tells the story of courageous internationals like Baltzer, dedicating their time and energy to the
struggle of the suffering, who give many of us hope that, with the people of the world working together, justice and peaceful coexistence in Israel/Palestine are possible."
-TANYA REINHART, Israeli activist and author of "Israel/Palestine andb Roadmap to Nowhere"
"By combining a lucid and captivating text with artistic photography, this book draws you into the life of an average Palestinian living under exceptional circumstances of occupation, oppression, and colonization. This vivid account is also a deeply personal story that will inspire you not only to have hope but to actively seek and work for peace and justice."
-MAZIN QUMSIYEH, Palestinian-American author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan"
CALL TO ACTION:
A. If your local bookstores don't carry "Witness in Palestine," ask
them to! You can fill out a request form and they'll likely order it.
Same with libraries...
B. Teachers & professors: "Witness in Palestine" is already being used in several classrooms. It's a cheap and comprehensive textbook on the conflict... Let me know if you'd like a sample copy.
C. Recommend that local media do a book review. I'm happy to send a copy for review.
II. This next month I'll be touring with Hannah Mermelstein, an amazing speaker and activist I worked with at the International Women's Peace Service. Hannah went on to co-found Birthright Unplugged (www.BirthrightUnplugged.org). Our itinerary is below. Please forward it on to anyone who you think might be interested...
Yours in peace,
LIFE IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE: EYEWITNESS STORIES & PHOTOS
Two Jewish American human rights volunteers with the International Women's Peace Serviceâ€”Anna Baltzer, Columbia graduate, Fulbright scholar, the grand-daughter of Holocaust refugees, and Hannah Mermelstein, co-founder of Birthright Unpluggedâ€”will present photos, videos, and stories from their work with Palestinian refugees, Israeli activists, and others working nonviolently for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine. All events include both Baltzer & Mermelstein unless otherwise indicated.
Note: for times, addresses, and other details, visit www.AnnaInTheMiddleEast.com/presentations/schedule
Nov 27 Peoria, IL Bradley University (Baltzer solo)
Nov 28 Rockford, IL WNTA Talk Radio (Baltzer solo, remotely)
Nov 28 Peoria, IL Cable Access TV (Baltzer solo)
Nov 29 Bozeman, MT KMMS 1450 AM (Baltzer solo, remotely)
Nov 29 Chicago, IL Open University of the Left (Baltzer solo)
Dec 3 Rockford, IL Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford
Dec 4 Janesville, WI Janesville Academy for International Studies
Dec 4 Janesville, WI Janesville Academy for International Studies
Dec 4 Rock County, WI University of Wisconsin
Dec 5 Platteville, WI University of Wisconsin
Dec 6 La Crosse, WI Viterbo University (solo)
Dec 8 Des Moines, IA TBA
Dec 9 Marshalltown, IA Hope United Methodist Church
Dec 9 Ames, IA Ames Public Library
Dec 10 Cedar Falls, IA Cedar Falls Mennonite Church
Dec 11 or 12 Wayland, IA WACO High School (pending confirmation)
Dec 11 Mt Pleasant, IA First United Methodist Church
Dec 12 Cedar Rapids, IA Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist
Dec 13 Grinnell, IA Grinnell College (pending confirmation)
Dec 14 Newton, IA Newton Correctional Facility
Dec 14 Lawrence, KS Lawrence High School
Dec 14 Lawrence, KS Ecumenical Christian Ministries building
Dec 15 Lee's Summit, KS Holy Spirit Catholic Church (Baltzer solo)
Dec 15 Lawrence, KS Solidarity Center (Mermelstein solo)
Dec 16 Olathe, KS Saint Andrew Christian Church (Baltzer solo)
Dec 16 Salina, KS Unitarian Universality Church (Mermelstein solo)
Dec 17 Denver, CO Community Access Television (also with Mark
Turner of Research Journalism Initiative)
Dec 19 Boulder, CO First Congregational Church (Baltzer solo)
More Colorado Talks TBA...
Mermelstein will be selling copies of the CD she produced, Needle in the Groove, composed of women singing for social change to benefit Flowers Against the Occupation, a Palestinian groups working to support and empower young girls in the North West Bank (www.NeedleInTheGroove.org).
Baltzer will be signing copies of her new revised & updated book,"Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories." For more information about Baltzer & Mermelstein's work and tour, visit www.AnnaInTheMiddleEast.com & www.BirthrightUnplugged.org
November 19, 2007
"Let us work first for justice. Reconciliation and peace will follow close behind"
Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu
ACTIONS from Middle East Children Alliance:
1) Legacies of 1948: 60 Years of Searching for Justice
May 24 - June 7, 2008
2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel and Al Nakba - the Palestinian "Catastrophe" of 1948 when 750,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes in what is now Israel. This delegation, co-sponsored with the American Friends Service Committee, will focus on this dual narrative and the pivotal role of 1948 in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The trip will feature meetings with Palestinians and Israelis who lived through the events of 1948 and witnessed its impact on history and identity. The group will tour Palestinian refugee camps, where the descendants of the original 750,000 have grown to more than 5 million, and the ruins of Palestinian villages within Israel which testify to the displacement. Meetings will also be held with Palestinian and Israeli activists, historians, and public figures who will share perspectives on the past 60 years and consider prospects for historical justice.
2) Middle East Children's Alliance Delegation to Palestine/Israel
July 1-12, 2008
For nineteen years, MECA has taken small groups to visit Palestine/Israel. On MECA's twelve-day delegation you will be taken on a geographic, political, historical and cultural tour of Palestine/Israel by two MECA staff people, and Yacoub Odeh, refugee, former political prisoner, and human rights worker. We will travel by van to witness the impact of the Israeli occupation and visit organizations working for justice and equality. You will learn about refugees, land confiscation, political prisoners, women's initiatives, mental and physical health issues, civil rights in Israel, and the lives of children. The group of eight to twelve people will stay at the guesthouse of MECA's long-time partner Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, near Bethlehem. Ibdaa is a lively place in the heart of the community with great food and comfortable accommodations. Trip Cost: $1,800. For much more information go to http://www.mecaforpeace.org/article.php?list=type&type=52
ACTIONS from Palestinian America Congress 8th Annual Convention
Friday November 30 to Sunday December 2, 2007
Sheraton Hotel at Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, CT
For Hotel Reservation: Phone: 860-627-5311 or 800-325-3535 (Ask for Palestinian American Congress Rate)
For PAC Convention Registration contact Haidar AbuShaqra , c/o Family Auto, 373 Main Street Manchester, CT 06040 or via e-mail Haidarpac@yahoo.com Banquet December 1 (Guest speaker: Dr. Ghada Talhami)
Music, food and more!
Please make registration and hotel reservation before the deadline of November 20th to guarantee the early bird deal
BANQUET December 1 (attend separately from convention), with keynote speech by Prof. Ghada Talhami
Another important article by Gideon Levy on the realities of the Israeli occupation: "Twilight Zone / 'We saw death a thousand times'"
A History of Nonviolence: Palestinian leader Naim Ateek has long advocated nonviolence as the only way to secure peace between Israel and Palestine. So why is he so despised by hard-line Israel supporters? By Matthew Duss, American Prospect
Camera's attack on Sabeel
Speech of Khalid Mashaal to Arab intellectuals meeting in Damascus
Zionist Organization of America says: "U.S. Presidential Hopefuls Running after Jewish Voters" by Sarah Morrison
My god, what did we do? By Dalia Karpel (read for the reality that many Jewish Zionist supporters hate to face)
Cut Israel Off, By Charley Reese
ï¿½Islamofascismï¿½: The Failure of a Concept
by Gary Leupp / November 1st, 2007
Christians in Jerusalem ask Jews: Stop spitting on us
http://www.imemc.org/ International Middle East Media Center (updated information)
http://www.flashpoints.net/ (good radio station and also with lots of links)
November 7, 2007
(The Sabeel Conference in Boston focusing on Israeli Apartheid over the weekend was a huge success with nearly 1000 attending. This quote from Bishop Desmond Tutu is relevant "From my experience in South Africa I know that truth-telling is hard. It has grave consequences for one's life and reputation. It stretches one's faith, tests one's capacity to love, and pushes hope to the limit.... No one takes up this work on a do-gooder's whim. It is not a choice. One feels compelled into it. Neither is it work for a little while, but rather for a lifetime - and for more than a lifetime. It is a project bigger than any one life. This long view is a source of encouragement and perseverance. The knowledge that the work preceded us and will go on after us is a fountain of deep gladness that no circumstance can alter." Bono adds a relevant point "History will be our judge, but what is written is up to us: Who we are, who we've been, what we want to be remembered for. We can't say our generation didn't know how to do it. We can't say our generation couldn't afford to do it. And we can't say our generation didn't have reason to do it. It's up to us. We can choose to shift the responsibility, or we can choose to shift the paradigm." Peace rallies over the weekend were successful and it was great to see such good turnout. Whether you were there or not, it is time to escalate our involvement/activism and there is no more relevant issue than this item below to bring peace - not only in Western Asia.)
Global Nakba Plans and Actions
A number of groups and coalitions have designated 2008 (beginning with November 29, 2007) as a year of Commemoration for Al-Nakba (the catastrophe of Palestinian ethnic cleansing and dispossession) AND a year of action for justice (the only route to a durable peace). From November 29, 2007 to November 29, 2008, we ask you to join groups and individuals (or create your own group) to engage in meaningful actions that creatively relate the history and the consequences of the Nakba and ensure refugees are returned for peace with justice. This includes educational actions, demonstrations on key dates, solidarity trips to Palestine, media work, lobby actions, and others. Several local groups began planning a central mass mobilization in NYC in May 2008 US national event and other events are being planned around the world. The gravity of the moment demands real collective action from many different organizations concerned with justice. Your participation and your ideas and leadership are needed now more than ever. To facilitate your involvement, this message lays out the background, statements and actions on this critical year. This is just a beginning but it can only work to bring peace (and we know it can) if EVERYONE participates and creates local actions and/or joins other actions to say "60 years of colonial oppression and ethnic cleansing are enough: Time for justice/time for peace".
In this message:
I) Links and background on Al-Nakba
II) Call to action from Badil, Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.
III) American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Resolution on the issue of Nakba (adopted June 2007)
IV) International Coordinating Network on the Question of Palestine adopts significant resolutions that include among other things a year of Nakba commemorations and actions (Aug 2007)
V) Proposal adopted by the US Campaign to End the Occupation for a year of Nakba Commemorations (adopted September 2007).
VI) Palestinians in the US preparing for a conference (Palestinians are called to join in the preparatory meeting Nov 9-11, 2007 and the main meeting in August 2008)
VII) Wheels of Justice planned actions and call for participation in coordination in Nakba year. You and your group can join this growing network.
I) Links to background on Al-Nakba:
Whereas ADC has adopted the Palestinian Civil Society call to action that included calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (ï¿½BDSï¿½) analogous to those adopted against apartheid South Africa; and whereas ADC emphasizes the importance of the struggle for Palestinian freedom, return and self-determination; and whereas U.S. policy, influenced by a strong Israeli lobby, has deviated from principles of human rights and international law; and whereas the issue of Palestine/Israel is central to U.S. policies in Western Asia which have had disastrous consequences (e.g., Iraq); and whereas recent discussions were opened in many ways as a result of events such as the publication of President Jimmy Carterï¿½s book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, the publication by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer of their research paper entitled ï¿½The Israel Lobby,ï¿½ and the growing BDS movements in England, South Africa and North America, among others; be it resolved that ADC calls on its members and supporters to:
a. Plan events for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (November 29, 2007, the thirtieth such day since the UN General Assembly declared this day of solidarity in 1977) and for the 60th anniversary of the nakba, highlighting the inalienable rights of Palestinian refugees in these events.
b. Support the Wheels of Justice bus tour, which brings eyewitness accounts of the wars and occupations currently taking place in the Arab world to hundreds of colleges and universities, over 200 middle and high schools, and hundreds of churches and other venues in 48 states.
c. Take practical initiatives to heed the Palestinian Civil Society call to action, by taking concrete proposals for BDS to governmental and other institutions, following the recent examples set in England and South Africa.
IV) UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN SUPPORT OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE; INTERNATIONAL COORDINATING NETWORK ON PALESTINE, European Parliament, Brussels August 30-31 2007
Realizing the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People: 60 years is enough! End the dispossession; bring the refugees home!
PLAN OF ACTION ADOPTED
Relevant section: "We commit ourselves, and call on global civil society, to join Palestinian communities inside Israel, in exile and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in mobilizing for a year of educational and campaigning work beginning on November 29, 2007. That year will include May 15, 2008, as a day of global mobilization to commemorate the Nakba, and the continuing dispossession and denial of Palestinian rights."
PDF File of all resolutions:
V) Proposed by Middle East Crisis Committee, Al-Awda-CT, and Wheels of Justice Network and amended and adopted at the annual convention of the US Campaign to End the Occupation (PDF file at http://endtheoccupation.org/downloads/2007proposal3.pdf )
Name of the proposal: A year of commemoration and action for Al-Nakba
VI) U.S. Popular Palestinian National Conference
Palestinians in the US: Reclaiming Our Voice, Asserting Our Narrative
Organized by The U.S. Palestine Conference Network (USPCN)
November 9-11, 2007
We call upon Palestinians in the United States to join us on November 9-11, 2007, in Washington, DC to participate in the third Preparatory Meeting for the Popular Palestinian National Conference, Palestinians in the US: Reclaiming Our Voice, Asserting Our Narrative. The Conference will take place in 2008 to coincide with the 60 Year Anniversary of Al Nakba.
The U.S. Palestine Conference Network (USPCN) is not an organization. It is an open arena and network where Palestinian- American organizations, associations, village and town-based clubs and Palestinian individuals residing in the U.S. can come together. The purpose of the Conference is to empower us to assume a key role in realizing Palestinian national and human rights. We have an obligation to become full participants in the national struggle by developing a principled, inclusive and nonpartisan voice.
We pledge to ensure an inclusive meeting where all views are respected. We are aware of the diverse outlooks and opinions amongst Palestinians in the U.S. and we invite the participation of all Palestinian- Americans and Palestinians living in the U.S. who are willing to commit to making the Popular National Conference a reality. All participants must accept and support our three points of unity which are adopted from the Fundamental Palestinian National Principles:
* Self-determination and equality for the Palestinian people
* The Right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes, lands, properties and villages (a natural right supported by international law and UN Resolution 194)
* End of Zionist occupation and colonization of Palestine
Please confirm your interest in attending the Washington, DC Preparatory Meeting by filling out the application form located on our website at http://www.palestineconference.org under the ï¿½Register for the DC Organizing Meetingï¿½ tab or by e-mailing the attached application form to PalestineConferenceUSA@yahoo.com. Please note that preregistration is required and all applications must be received no later than November 2, 2007.
You will receive a confirmation letter with your registration status within one week of submission. The confirmation notice will contain detailed logistical information, including meeting location, hotel rates, transportation, etc. A registration fee of $50 will be collected onsite in order to cover meals and material costs. Please do not hesitate to contact us at PalestineConferenceUSA@yahoo.com if you have any questions.
VII) The Wheels of Justice Network is working to share innovative ideas for commemorations and actions in the year of Nakba. In our last conference call, we agreed to publicize these things during the October 27, 2007 anti-war events and to then work on a number of events starting with local events on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Projects that are underway include
- creating a fund to help activists with limited income travel to Palestine on solidarity missions (or in the case of Palestinian youth, increasing connectedness)
- support for projects that strengthen steadfastness by Palestinians in their lands and of education and a dignified living of Palestinians in Refugee Camps outside of Palestine.
- sharing tools and resources for activism
To join the network, please read the following:
The Wheels of Justice Network (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The idea behind this network came about as the bus tour (http://www.justicewheels.org) traveled in 48 states in the US and was hosted by hundreds of organizations working for peace and justice. Through this activity and other activities by key members (talks, conferences, conventions etc.), we have collected hundreds of key organizational contacts and tens of thousands of individual contacts. An important asset we developed is the credibility we built for doing actions to reach beyond the choir (to middle schools, high schools, colleges, churches, mosques, community centers, etc and in the media world with hundreds of stories in mainstream publications). Bookers, speakers, managers, and drivers (all volunteers) made these contacts and served by spreading the message. We found that a great side benefit is learning from host groupsï¿½ new skills and new ideas that we did not think of before. We transmitted those to our own local groups. The reverse was also true (many local host groups learned new ideas transmitted verbally by those on the bus). But there are limits of this: interactions limited to people actually on the bus interacting with host groups or individuals attending events; the informal and verbal communications that is not available to others, etc. There was no systematic way for communications between groups working for peace and justice. Such a communication forum is important in order to:
a) Share lessons learned from mistakes and challenges in other places (so that different groups do not have to reinvent the wheels so to speak)
b) Share successes and innovative ideas from each other. For examples the successes of the Somerville Divestment Project, the University of Wisconsin Divestment Project, the Olympia-Rafah sister City Project, the AFSC Olive Oil sale campaign, the Ibdaa cultural tour, the Wheels of Justice, the IMEU media project, the Palestine Freedom Project etc.
c) Share resources (expertise, networking ability etc). For example, some groups have access to excellent and almost free web hosting or web design capabilities, some to vast email lists, some to graphic designers, some to printing presses, etc.
d) Solicit support from other groups for nation-wide or international campaigns (e.g. response to articles in a national or international publications, response to attacks on academic freedom, coordinating global campaigns). The network is now planning a series of evens for the 60th anniversary of the Nakba to launch at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (29 November).
Towards these goals we are setting up a listserve that will include representatives from organizations. This listserve will be strictly limited to the goals listed above (e.g. NO posting of news articles, chats or discussions unless action oriented along the lines above). To join the list, an organization must agree to the following conditions:
- Agree to the principles of human rights as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Agree that the US army must withdraw from all countries in Western Asia and respect the rights of self-determination for people in that part of the world
- Agree to select/elect two members of the group (one and a backup if available) to join the list serve and participate by communicating information in both directions (from WOJN to his/her group and vice versa) to achieve the goals set forth above.
If your group would like to join, please contact email@example.com with information on the group, its agreement to the principles outlined and the name and contact information of the liaison person/persons.
Wheels of Justice
Danbury Peace Coalition
If Americans Knew, Washington DC
International Solidarity Movement, Italy
Middle East Childrenï¿½s Alliance
Middle East Crisis Committee, New Haven
Middle East Peace and Justice Alliance, Albuquerque
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Palestine
Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Auckland, New Zealand
Canada Palestine Association
Siraj Center, Palestine
Somerville Divestment Project, Massachusetts
Boycott Israel Association, Gaza
Palestinian American Congress
Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity
Friends of Sabeel, North America
Madison Rafah Sister City Project
Boycott Israel Association, Gaza
Students for Justice in Palestine, Penn State
My visit to England reminded me of the role of English royalty and elites in pushing for a conflict starting with the leadership of the first Crusade and on to the Sykes-Picot agreement (1916, dividing Western Asia into British and French interests) the Balfour Declaration (1917 promising a homeland for Jews to get support for the war effort) to the first British occupation of Iraq and Palestine (1919-1920 and beyond) and to the latest British occupation (with the US) of Iraq and its support of the continued occupation and colonization of Palestine (so far 7 of the 10 million Palestinians were made refugees or displaced people). But on the other hand, now as then many individual citizens and groups were doing such fantastic job for human rights and justice. Believing indeed that silence is complicity these groups are making a huge difference (e.g. at the University of London and this excellent group that does twinning with Palestine: http://www.twinningwithpalestine.net/ )
The intensified media and educational campaign to vilify Muslims and Islam reached a new low with the David Horowitz blitzkrieg on campuses to promote Islamophobia and titled "Islamofascist awareness week." Imagine the outrage if we had a Christofascist or Judeofascist awareness weeks on campuses!!. A good summary of this campaign is found on the Black Agenda Report http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=404&Itemid=36 (My own guess is that this will help further awaken the sleeping giant, which is the Arab and Islamic world)
The intensified efforts and plans to attack Iran (thinking of it as a supposed preempting of a potential/supposed liberator of the Holy Land). On this front, the attack on Iran is playing a significant factor in choice of president: de jure by the US public but de facto by the Israel lobby. In fact, Israel has the Chutzpa to even rate them on their allegiance: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerPage.jhtml
Giuliani and Clinton are top in subsuming US interests to serve Israeli interests. And here is the Israel positions of these presidential candidates taken from the Zionist think tank "Council of foreign Relations: which claims the conflict goes thousands of years: http://www.cfr.org/publication/13579/
There is now a malicious campaign of vilification and attacks on any one who dares discuss Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. It was interesting to note the hysterical reactions of Zionist establishment to publications of books like Paul Findley's "They Dare to Speak Out", Jimmy Carter's "Palestine: Peace not apartheid" and Profs. Mearsheimer and Walt "The Israel Lobby: influence on US Foreign Policy." It is interesting to note that at every talk I give, the requisite quorum of at least three Zionists show up (a bad cop, good cop, and a supposed psychological commentator). This weekend, they are going full force against the Sabeel Conference (Sabeel is a Palestinian Christian liberation theology group with friends around the world). See Friends of Sabeel Website at http://fosna.org and the article promoting the racist demonstration at http://www.thejewishadvocate.com/this_weeks_issue/news/?content_id=3885
In all cases and failing to really address the substance, the attackers resort/ed to name calling the most common of which that was used over the years to silence people are calling them "anti-semite" and/or "self-hating Jews". For apologists of an apartheid regime to claim victimization is not unusual (white rulers in Apartheid South Africa and their elite supporters in the West for decades claimed victimhood of ANC Terrorism and being trapped on the tip of a black and backward continent. The white rulers literally looked at themselves as a beacon of democracy in the barbarity of those who burn people alive (called neck lacing). Today it seems unusual to speak about blacks in Africa in denigrating terms (although it is still done in the elite think tanks of Washington and behind the scenes in academic and other elite circles). The attack on Arabs and Muslims is now full fledged and is out in the open. The list is long from the PATRIOT act to warrantless surveillance, to profiling, to verbal abuse, to denial of the right to speak, to denial of employment and promotion, to Guantanamou and Abu Ghrieb, to "rendering" and secret CIA prisons, and on and on. One looks to history to understand the period we are in. The closest I could come-up with is the eleventh century when the Crusades were the norm. For the first 100 years of the crusader onslaught, the Arab and Muslim masses were divided and leaderless. The Crusaders were pragmatic and even established treaties and trades. Then they got greedy and expanded and broke treaties (see Karen Armstrong's book "Holy War") and aroused anger and aroused the sleeping giant of Islam. We see the signs of a similar thing today (as posted above). Here is one more: "Extremist Jews Burn a Church in a Jerusalem" http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/916567.html
(Of course hundreds of religious sites were destroyed by Israel when they depopulated 530 Palestinian Towns and Villages between 1947-1950 and later in 1967 and beyond)
On good news, in a win for freedom of expression (and against Zionist attempted censorship) the University of Michigan Press will continue the distribution agreement with Pluto Press (the publisher of my book Sharing the Land of Canaan). And in a vuisually impressive action: Condoleeza Rice was confronted by Code Pink activist Desiree Firoos calling her war criminal (in the opening of the hearings in Congress presided over by AIPAC stooge Tom Lantos, Lantos was visibly shaken).: see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9GytISiHzw
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Abolitionist Wendell Phillips
The compilation of links and resources on the issue of Islam and Christianity in last week's email was not intended so that you go to and read every link in that message or even to read the brief descriptions in front of all these links. They were intended as resources so that when we have things like the "Islamofascism Awareness Week", people could distribute facts to counteract the propaganda. Generally, there is no need to read all the information sent in any of our emails but skim it for useful bits. You do not even have to keep those for future reference as most material is at qumsiyeh.org under the blog or under the section for answers to lies and distortions.
In follow-up to that issue of those pushing for "clash of civiization", this article from Israeli icon of the left Uri Avnery explains consisely why Zionist leaders had to push the concept of Islam vs the "Judeo-Christian tradition" to justify continued oppression of Palestinians. In the "The Mother of all Pretexts" Avnery says that "our leaders are exploiting this slogan as a pretext for sabotaging any possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. It is just one more in a long line of pretexts." and he goes on to list some of those pretexes (http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1192288533/ )
(must read) A NEW ISRAELI STUDY CONFIRMS OUR WORST FEARS : On the academic research of Psychologist Nofer Ishai-Karen and Psychology Prof. Joel Elitzur, Dalia Karpel shortened translation of article in Haaretz `Hamedovevet` Translation published in Israeli Occupation Magazine (this was in the Hebrew not English edition of Haaretz) http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=22525 (English partial translation) http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/905287.htm (Hebrew in Haaretz)
As I was reading this I was reflecting on our confrontation with Alan Dershowitz who said Israel human rights record is "generally superb" and that no country faced with what Israel is faced did any better. (More on the event and Dershowitz's lies in next week's email)
Daniel Pipes and I have opposite views on many issues especially teh core issue: his support of ethnocentric chauvenistic racism (Zionism). He even listed me (with five others including Noam Chomsky as "Professors who hate America"). So it is a bit surprising when I send you his article titled "Zionism's Bleak Present" where I agree with his pessimistic appraisal of the Zionism of the present (not withstanding Zionist success in pushing us for a war on Iraq, even that backfired on them). Unfortunately the lesson that Pipes drew is not to join other Zionists and ex-Zionists by begining to rethink a racist and anachronistic ideology and develop anti-Zionist or at least a post-Zionist discourse. No, the lesson is to keep digging the hole which gets bigger and bigger (now taking on 1.5 billion Muslims after pissing off most decent Christians and Jews). Anyway, read what Pipes says in this Jerusalem Post article. It is a shame that some Palestinians are giving-up on our inalienable rights when most people (even Zionists) are coming to realize that the racism that denies us these rights is anachronistic and doomed to failure (Time was never on the side of Zionism no more than it was on the side of Nazism or South African Apartheid). http://www.danielpipes.org/article/4997
(on how a visit to the occupied areas is essential for anyone wanting to give opinions on Israel/Palestine) "Go And See the Truth For Yourself, I Did," British Medical Journal, http://uruknet.info/?p=m37031&hd=&size=1&l=e
In memory of Shaden Abu Hijleh, mother and feminist Muslim activist who was murdered five years ago October 11, 2002 (see http://www.remembershaden.org/ ) Today we protest the appearance of Alan Dershowitz at Yale, a man who called Israel's human rights record "generally superb", and a man who supported assassinations, torture, and other war crimes.
In the past week and as we approach the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayers in the Islamic tradition, I received a few emails asking me as a Palestinian Christian about Muslim-Christian relations, about the killing of the one Christian evangelist in Gaza and other questions along the same lines. I wanted to take this opportunity to address some of these issues and took the time to compile links and resources for background facts on these important issues.
First, in good news, we commend the president of St. Thomas University in reversing his decision and inviting Bishop Desmond Tutu to speak (Israel apologists lost this round). Bishop Tutu is a Nobel Peace Laureate who suffered for his work against South African apartheid now speaks eloquently, with humility and passion, on Israeli apartheid. Thanks to many people (including members of Jewish Voice for Peace) for mobilizing in writing letters.
Second, I think every Christian and Muslim who is faithful to their religion should read this well-thought-out letter from Muslim scholars/leaders to heads of Christian Churches on the commonality of the two faiths including the two key commandments: loving God and loving your neighbor (wanting for your neighbor what you want for yourself). PDF File:
Third, it is important to recognize who are the people behind the propaganda campaign to create a Muslim-Christian division. Any cursory investigation would note that in 99% of the cases these are extremist racist Zionist Jews. Take for example the "Islamofascism Awareness Week" being peddled on University Campuses by arch racist David Horowitz. Even mainstream Zionists do not want to have anything to do with this character or people like him. Many Jewish Zionist editors of mainstream papers are even unwilling to publish op-eds by such people as Horowitz, Pipes, Podhorz, and their coterie. The tiny non-Jewish Zionist minority of those who are promoting the Muslim-Christian divide, are those on the payroll of the extreme Zionists (e.g. the nutty "Bridgitte Gabriel" who claims to be a Christian or the fake "ex-terrorist" "Walid Shoebat"). These few individuals are willing to say and do anything for money. So always look at the source of the information you are being told and who pays the salaries and who sponsors the events. While the stories and names of over 850 Palestinian Children (Christian and Muslim) killed by Israel are buried (and imagine if someone would take just one of these cases and claim it as evidence of "JewishFascism"), we are told that the regrettable killing of one Palestinian who happen to be Christian by unknown people is evidence of "IslamoFascism". Whose interests does that serve? Like all self-deluded war ,mongers of the past, the idea that they can divide and conquer for ever is very tempting. Problem is, we know that now power remains (watch the fate of the Roman, Ottoman, or Spanish Empires.
Fourth, we should take individual Christian claims of persecution by Muslims seriously but never at face value. To do our homework would require going and seeing things for ourselves and investigating those cases very carefully. There are human rights groups out there investigating human rights abuses on all fronts and we should read their reports (which document meticulously the Israeli occupation and colonization for atrocities against all Palestinians, Christians and Muslims). More important we should listen to the vast majority of Palestinian Christians and their representatives. By educating ourselves, we can start to distinguish lies from the truth. I thus decided to compile relevant information from Christian sources (Palestinian and non-Palestinian) for your use.
FOUR concise and factual descriptions of history and overview of the current situation of Palestinian Christian communities from non-Palestinians (includes analysis of emigration, challenges etc etc.)
A more detailed analysis is found in the highly recommended book "Dying in the Land of Promise: Palestine and Palestinian Christianity from Pentecost to 2000" by Donald E. Wagner
A short clip from the award-winning film 'Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority" This clip is about the Christian presence in Palestine under Israeli military rule. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RKCQ-wfpiE (For more info on this excellent documentary please visit http://www.occupation101.com )
Statements from leadership of Palestinian Christians (these are illustrative of what really concerns us Palestinian Christians):
- Statement of Christian Church Leaders in the Holy Land
- A communiquï¿½ by the Christian National institutions
- Statement Regarding the Separation Wall from The Patriarchs and Head of Churches in Jerusalem http://www.khsnsw.org/updates/2003/200308/statement_regarding_the_separati.htm
- 2002 call from heads of Christian Churches in the Holy Land http://www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/international/9-3-02jerus-call.html
- The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism
Palestinian Christian groups
Al-Bushra (the good tidings) Center of Bethlehem http://www.al-bushra.org
Center for Rapprochement Between People http://www.rapprochement.org
Annadwa (International Center of Bethlehem) http://www.annadwa.org
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme http://www.eappi.org/
Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem http://Jerusalem.anglican.org
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land (ELCJHL) http://www.holyland-lutherans.org
Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation http://www.hcef.org
Living Stones of the HLT http://www.livingstonesonline.org.uk/
Middle East Christians http://mideastchristians.virtualactivism.org
Network for Alternative Travel http://www.HolyLandAlternatives.net
Open Bethlehem http://www.openbethlehem.org
Sabeel, Palestinian Ecumenical Liberation Theology Group http://www.sabeel.org
Via Dolorosa http://www.via-dolorosa.net
YMCA East Jerusalem http://www.ej-ymca.org
YWCA in Palestine http://www.ywca-palestine.org/
A selection of nonPalestinian Christian Communities that are actively speaking out on behalf against the systematic Israeli violations of human rights (violations that effect both Palestinian Christians and Muslims)
American Friends Service Committee http://www.afsc.org/
Anglican Communion News Service http://anglicancommunion.org/acns
Baptist Peace Fellowship http://bpfna.org/
Christian Peacemaker Teams http://www.cpt.org
Churches for Middle East Peace http://www.cmep.org
Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace http://www.ccmep.org
Every Church a Peace Church http://www.ecapc.org/mainframe.asp
Fellowship of Reconciliation ï¿½ Israel/Palestine Program http://www.forusa.org/programs/ipb/default.html
Friends of Sabeel, North America http://www.fosna.org
Global Ministries http://www.globalministries.org
Humanity Check http://home.earthlink.net/~humanitycheck/
Methodist Federation for Social Action http://www.mfsaweb.org
Middle East Council of Churches http://www.mec-churches.org
National Conference of Catholic Bishops http://www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp/middleast.htm
Pax Christi USA http://www.paxchristiusa.org/pc_israel_palestine.asp
Presbyterian Church USA http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/2007/07028.htm
Stephen Sizer, Christ Church http://www.christ-church.info/articles/articles.html
Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace http://www.sojo.net/
World Council of Churches http://wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/international/palestine
St Valentine Orthodox Christian Seminary, article on Palestine http://www.svots.edu/Faculty/Paul-Nadim-Tarazi/Articles/Covenant-Land-and-City.html
Unitarian Universalists http://www.uua.org/actions/immediate/06peace.html
World Alliance of YMCA ï¿½ Israel/Palestine http://www.ymca.int/index.php?id=49
- Debunking the oxymoronic "Christian Zionism" http://www.christianzionism.org
- Ann Hafften's Lutheran blog http://voicesforpeace.blogspot.com/
- Mainline Churches vs. Israel? Will new church moves toward stopping investment in companies that do business in Israel endanger Christian-Jewish relations? By Daniel Treiman http://www.beliefnet.com/story/155/story_15507_1.html
- http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/other-ecumenical-bodies/23-03-06-church-leaders-in-jerusalem-urge-world-churches-and-all-christians-to-advocate-for-peace.html>World Council of Churches and Christian Churches call for Action 2006
- World Churches call to action for June 2007 http://www2.wcc-coe.org/pressreleasesen.nsf/index/pr-07-37.html
- Historic Christian towns losing ground in Holy Land http://www.suntimes.com/output/novak/cst-edt-novak16.html
- Palestinian Christians make action against construction of Israel's separation barrier on Palestinian Christian lands in Wadi Nis village, in Ma'asarat (South of Bethlehem area,) marking Good Friday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZsMcWrNzZ4
(Two actioln alerts are posted at bottom. If any of the information provided makes a difference, then action is the logical step.)
Scott Ritter, US Marine and previously a US/UN arms inspector in Iraq, in his book "Target Iran" writes: "Let there be no doubt: If there is an American war with Iran, it is a war that was made in Israel and nowhere else." More issues on the upcoming conflict with Iran are below nbut first a few other issues obfuscated by the gatekeepers of the main US media outlets.
Christopher Columbus Legacy of Genocide
(Today some people in the US celebrate Columbus day while many mourn. 83 activists were arrested in Denver for protesting the parade. This and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine is a reminder that these issues are still alive today.)
(Must read) Mohammed al-Dura lives on, By Gideon Levy
The concern Israel demonstrates for the fate of one Palestinian boy touches the heart: Again, note what a fuss is being made about the case of the killing of Mohammed al-Dura. Our heart is impervious to the fate of other children who have been killed. Just little Mohammed continues to haunt us. But the question of who killed al-Dura is not important. And maybe he is even alive, as some eccentrics claim. Perhaps he committed suicide, as the strange investigations are liable to suggest. All of these are tasteless questions designed to divert attention from the truly important issues: According to data collected by human rights group B'Tselem, Israel is responsible for killing more than 850 Palestinian children and teenagers since al-Dura was killed, including 92 in the past year alone.
Exam failure: the price Gaza's children are paying for international blockade. It will be an uphill struggle, especially while the isolation imposed on Gaza by the international community and Israel continues. It's hard to over-estimate the impact on a generation of Gaza schoolchildren whom UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness says are being "bred in despair". He adds: "We risk radicalising people who show every sign of wanting only a measure of prosperity and dignity".
Inside France's secret war. For 40 years, the French government has been fighting a secret war in Africa, hidden not only from its people, but from the world. It has led the French to slaughter democrats, install dictator after dictator ï¿½ and to fund and fuel the most vicious genocide since the Nazis. Today, this war is so violent that thousands are fleeing across the border from the Central African Republic into Darfur ï¿½ seeking sanctuary in the world's most notorious killing fields
More on the Lobby from a US Presidential Candidate:
MIKE GRAVEL: I love my country, and I love the human race. And I want to see a change made in the leadership of our country so we can do more to protect the human race....With respect to my country going to war when there's no reason to go to war, killing human beings, I'm ashamed of this. I'm ashamed of the leadership we have, whether it's Democratic leadership or Republican leadership. That's the reason why I'm in. Look what we're trying to do with Iran right now. Last week, the Lieberman resolution -- he's the guy that wrote the resolution with Iraq and killed over 3,000 Americans and a million Iraqis. And now he comes forward with another resolution, and the leadership of the Democratic Party in the Senate doesn't even have the brains or the judgment to recognize what he's doing. Sanctions on the Republican Guard? They already have sanctions. The U.N. passed them in March, Resolution 1747. What is the game they're playing right now to have sanctions? I mean, this was AIPAC that put Lieberman up to do this. This is disaster...
RAY SUAREZ (incredulous): You're saying that the national legislature of this country, rather than doing the will of the citizens of the United States, passed that Iran resolution, sanctioning the Republican Guard, because of the American-Israeli Political Action Committee?
MIKE GRAVEL: Wait a second. They'll be some information coming out about how this thing was drafted. So the answer is yes, the short answer.
ACTION ALERT 1: Write letter to University of Michigan to ask them to continue and strengthen their relationship with Pluto Press (inspite of racist Zionist pressures). Here is a letter and details from Howard Zinn on this subject.
ACTION ALERT 2: NY Sun style guide betrays their racist Zionist agenda (this is published by the new and refreshing NY Observer which we should all support/subscribe to). I go back to the notion that stores owned by Muslims and Arabs especially in the NY/NJ areas should be contacted to stop carrying the racist NY Sun.
"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right." Martin Luther King, Jr.
The power of the Israel lobby is waning in the public and in mass communications (media, books, etc) thanks to those who listen to their conscience. This will not impact the next elections since leading candidates in both major parties are still pledging allegiance to AIPAC. But whoever gets elected will soon realize that AIPAC's push for a war on Iran was the final treachery that will destroy what remains of the US's reputation (so far support for Israeli expansionism costs us over $2 TRILLION for wars and occupation of Iraq and Palestine and thousands of American lives). Evidence for this waning influence is everywhere where good people stand up for what is right. We can cite the failure of the lobby to silence or put a dent in the sales of books like Carter's "Palestine: Peace not apartheid" and Mearsheimer and Walt's "The Israel Lobby". Mearsheimer was even on the Colbert Report: http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_colbert_report/index.jhtml
More evidence coming to light of results from people who follow their conscience rather than their fears:
Chicago Tribune Special report. New revelations in attack on American spy ship: Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn't tell full story of deadly '67 incident By John Crewdson
"Jewish money" and the presidential candidates rush to support conflict with Iran: An excerpt from an Amy Goodman interview with Seymour Hersh (both have been labeled "self-hating Jews"):
AMY GOODMAN: Sy Hersh, I wanted to switch gears for the last question, and this has to do with it not just being Republicans who are sounding a drumbeat for war. The three leading Democratic presidential candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards -- have all declared no options off the table. This is a clip from last week's Democratic debate. It was the day the Senate approved a controversial resolution calling on the State Department to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. At the debate, Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Gravel bitterly criticized Hillary Clinton for voting in favor.
MIKE GRAVEL: This is fantasyland. We're talking about ending the war. My god, we're just starting a war right today. There was a vote in the Senate today. Joe Lieberman, who authored the Iraq resolution, has authored another resolution, and it is essentially a fig leaf to let George Bush go to war with Iran. And I want to congratulate Biden for voting against it, Dodd for voting against it, and I'm ashamed of you, Hillary, for voting for it. You're not going to get another shot at this, because what's happened, if this war ensues, we invade, and they're looking for an excuse to do it. And Obama was not even there to vote.
TIM RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, I want to give you a chance to respond.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Hillary Clinton laughing. Fifteen seconds, Seymour Hersh. Your response?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Money. A lot of the Jewish money from New York. Come on, let's not kid about it. A significant percentage of Jewish money, and many leading American Jews support the Israeli position that Iran is an existential threat. And I think it's as simple as that. When you're from New York and from New York City, you take the view of -- right now, when you're running a campaign, you follow that line. And there's no other explanation for it, because she's smart enough to know the downside.
AMY GOODMAN: And Obama and Edwards?
SEYMOUR HERSH: I -- you know, it's shocking. It's really surprising and shocking, but there we are. That's American politics circa 2007.
AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, thank you very much for being with us, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist. His piece in the New Yorker is called "Shifting Targets: The Administration' s Plan for Iran."
The lobby is partially successful where it bunches up on people who are not knowledgeable enough of the issues and when good people get silent (usually out of fear of being smeared with labels like "anti-Semitic" or "Self-hating Jews"). An example is the misinformed canceling of an event by Desmond Tutu (background at http://articles.citypages.com/2007-10-03/news/banning-desmond-tutu/ )
Take Action: Join Jewish Voice for peace in protesting the silencing of Bishop Desmond Tutu
(My own letter read: As a Palestinian Christian, I am appalled by your actions to bar Archbishop Desmond Tutu from speaking at your campus. Your succumbing to the minority (and they are a minority even within the Jewish community) Zionist position is shameful. Here is a link to over 100 Jewish led organizations who would disagree with the Zionist pressure to silence voices of peace: http://www.qumsiyeh.org/predominantlyjewishlinks/
Archbishop Tutu is a Nobel Peace Laureate with whose voice for justice will win against Israeli apartheid just as it did against South African Apartheid. I strongly urge you to reverse this decision, let Tutu appear and reinstate Prof. Toffolo.)
And lest we are disconnected from reality of what is going on in Palestine, please read this account by Gideon Levy "The war for the house"
AND IN AMERICA....."Israel's Toy Soldiers" By Chris Hedges
"If you are a young Muslim American and head off to the Middle East for a spell in a fundamentalist "madrassa," or religious school, Homeland Security will probably greet you at the airport when you return. But if you are an American Jew and you join hundreds of teenagers from Europe and Mexico for an eight-week training course run by the Israel Defense Forces, you can post your picture wearing an Israeli army uniform and holding an automatic weapon on MySpace."
Jews for Ahmadinejad
"Just the facts Ma am, as Dragnet's Jack Webb used to say. When it comes
to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad however, facts can be hard to find. We hope to
present a few facts here that may have escaped your attention."
So ""Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right." Martin Luther King, Jr."
ACTION 1: Donate a Back to school gift for Palestinian Children (thru Middle East Children's Alliance) https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=1171
ACTION 2: The Wheels of Justice bus tour (http://justicewheels.org) seeks volunteer local and state coordinators in the United States. We need volunteers in all states but most urgently we need volunteers in the following states: NV, WY, UT, CO, KS, PK, AR. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Recipe for Tabouli salad (other Arabic food recipes also there): http://www.e-rcps.com/m_e/tabouli.shtml
(Amazingly candid) Israel discussed by Scheuer (ex CIA head of Bin Laden unit) and Actress Jeanine Garofalo interviewed by Bill Maher 9/21/07 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAehMPVFFE0
Three articles, a video, and three action alerts. The three articles are about the how more Jews are dissenting, about how Abbas should stop the charade of diplomacy, about Bush's Zionist nominee to Attorney General. The brief but excellent video is at one of The wheels of Justice bus stops. The two action items are to support a meeting of Palestinian Americans and to act to stop the brutal siege and starvation of Gaza (a crime against humanity).
About Ahmedinijad's appearance at Columbia University, all I have to ask is: can you imagine if Bush, Guiliani, Clinton, Barak, Olmert and other war mongers/war criminals/war pundits would be questioned openly like that? Alas, we have to rely on the internet to get the facts out.
1) (must read) For American Jews, Dissent Against Israel Has Become Mainstream By Tony Karon
(I would say against Zionism not "against Israel" or Israelis - Mazin)
2) Puppet Leader by Gideon Levy
"Mahmoud Abbas has to stay home. As things stand right now, he must not go to Washington. Even his meetings with Ehud Olmert are gradually turning into a disgrace and have become a humiliation for his people. Nothing good will come of them. It has become impossible to bear the spectacle of the Palestinian leader's jolly visits in Jerusalem, bussing the cheek of the wife of the very prime minister who is meanwhile threatening to blockade a million and a half of his people, condemning them to darkness and hunger."
3) The Jewish Week weighs in on the New Jewish Attorney General Nominee: http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=14552
(could it be that because this guy is a Zionist, he is not "controversial" for Congressional confirmation just like Chertoff for homeland security, who ended up stiffing US Companies for no bid contracts given to Israeli companies to build the barrier between the US and Mexico - Mazin)
Albuquerque Tribune video about the wheels of justice bus tour
(you can still host the bus or help in other ways, see http://justicewheels.org)
ACTION ITEM 1: Defend Haq Al-ï¿½wdah (Right of Return).
Support the upcoming Palestinian Popular Conference in Chicago.
Donate and help organize an inclusive and unifying assembly for the Palestinian people in the US. The U.S. Palestinian Conference Network (USPCN) is organizing the first popular conference of Palestinians in the United States in Chicago August 8, 2008.
The main objective of the assembly or conference is to offer an
open arena where Palestinians and their supporters in the U.S. can
come together to refine strategies, interlink efforts, and plan joint
actions to support the achievement of Palestinian rights.
However, we need your generous support in order to achieve this much needed goal. Please donate to help us make the first Palestinian popular conference in the U.S. a resounding success.
Make your check payable to USPCN and mail it to: USPCN, P.O. Box 22518, San Francisco, CA 94122
Or, make a secure online donation by going to:
To participate in the conferenceï¿½s organizing efforts, send us a message at email@example.com
We thank you for your support.
USPCN, P.O. Box 22518, San Francisco, CA 94122
(402) 551-0674, (408) 849-7977
*The US Palestinian Conference Network (USPCN) is registered with the State of Illinois.
ACTION ITEM 2: From the Palestinian American Congress
According to news sources, Israel's cabinet took a decision to begin to apply large scale collective punishment on the people of the Gaza strip. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon warned that any cutoff of vital services like fuel and electricity would violate international law and punish the already suffering civilian population. The Palestinian American Congress is deeply concerned over these reports of intended Israeli state terrorism. We are distressed at the silence of many in the International Community to the ongoing 40 year occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza as well as the 60 year program of ethic cleansing and disposession. We ask our members, supporters, and people of conscience in the US to contact:
- the White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
- the State Department: http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php
- elected representatives: http://capwiz.com/fconl/dbq/officials/
- the media: use http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=111 and http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/ .
- The framework invoked by Israel to carry out this illegal and immoral act by declaring Gaza a "hostile entity" within a "conflict short of war" has absolutely no standing in international law.
- Israel is still the occupying power in Gaza until such time that it allows Palestinians self-determination, lifts the siege, and allows free movement of goods and services into and out of Gaza including letting Palestinians freely operate the airport, the Rafah terminal and a seaport in Gaza.
- Obligations of occupying powers under the fourth Geneva convention are very clear and involve a number of responsibilities towards the protected person who live in occupied territories.
- It is prohibited according to International law to deny essential services or to impede economic development in occupied areas.
- Also see"The war on Gaza's children: Israel 's sanctions are leaving a generation of Palestinian children poorly educated and hungry" by Dr. Saree Makdisi
Palestinian American Congress http://pac-national.org
Hasbara and Hafrada
(Israeli Hebrew words for propaganda and separation)
Up until now and while leading Democratic and Republican elites debate ï¿½managingï¿½ Iraqi lives (orientalist racism at its worst), some 4% of Iraqis were killed and 17% made refugees/internally displaced in the past four years. This would be equivalent to killing 12 million and displacing over 50 million US citizens. I discussed elsewhere the role of the Israel lobby in pushing for the war on Iraq (1).
This lobby represented by the Israel Hasbara (propaganda) Committee is now fretting about Jewish intermarriage and lack of identification with Zionism or the state of Israel (2). As someone who is "intermarried", I ask what is wrong with assimilation and intermarriage? This reminded me that Yaakov Herzog, close advisor to four Israeli Prime Ministers, wrote: ï¿½We are not a normal people, we are not free from the Galut (exile) burden and we are not accepted by the world ... Political Zionism maintained that the concept of ï¿½people who dwell aloneï¿½ is, in fact, an abnormal condition. In reality, the concept of ï¿½people who dwell aloneï¿½ is the natural condition of the Jewish people.ï¿½ (3). He was wrong in characterizing political Zionism because most political Zionists believed in segregation and that was the whole idea of a "Jewish State". He is also wrong to blame the whole world for the Zionist tribalistic mentality which exists out of its own desires to be separate and treat any non-Jew with contempt. It is the same idea that lets Zionists express that the world is always "against us" and privately claim to each other that any support they get is because of their might and muscle. Howard Friedman, President of AIPAC, titled his letter of July 30, 2006 to friends and supporters of AIPAC "Look what you've done". He explained: "Israel is fighting a pivotal war for its life...the expected chorus of international condemnation of Israel's actions... only ONE nation in the world came out and flatly declared: Let Israel finish the job.. That nation is the United States of America--and the reason it had such a clear, unambiguous view of the situation is YOU and the rest of America Jewry....How do we do it? ... decades of long hard work which never ends."
Wether Jewish or not, if you are human and is concerned with human rights, you would reject ideas of segregation/separation (Hafrada in Hebrew) and adopt ideas of coexistence, assimilation, and justice. To do that you would recognize things being shielded by censorship (from Zionists in many media outlets). Here are just some more recent and relevant news and writings on the subject of the lobby and censorship.
1) A chair of a history department writes on the attempts to use the card of anti-semitism to silence debate on Campus. He titles his article: "On Being Called An Anti-Semite in Montana: Is booking a critic of the Israel lobby to speak on your campus anti-Semitic?". Prof. Richard Drake concludes: "In a democratic society, all government policies must stand for public inspection. This is true whether liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans are in charge. With both of our political parties and the media sharing the same basic ideas about foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, we need a place where the assumptions of the status quo encounter a stern testing, not a happy-faced tribute. The university should be that place" (4)
2) Mrs Clinton wants to get Jewish votes and money and to do that, she thinks she has to court the right-wing fascist elements of the Zionist movement. So she emphasizes her strong support of apartheid Israel: ï¿½Hillary Clinton believes that Israel's right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned.ï¿½ I urge everyone to write to remind her that Jerusalem is illegally occupied and that no state has a right to be Jewish (or Muslim or Christian). Human rights demand that states be states of the citizens who live in them regardless of their religion.
3) George Bisharat explain that there is "A double standard on academic freedom in the Middle East" and how the lobby tries to silence debate in Academia (5)
4) Dick Cheney, who was and may still be a board member of the "Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs", is pushing for a war on Iran just like he and Wolfowitz and Perle and Faith and Ledeen and other neocon Zionists pushed for a war on Iraq (See 6).
Ledeen just published a book vilifying Iran.
5) A gentlemen was asking questions of Senator Kerry and was tackled, attacked and tasered by police. The media did not tell you that he spoke only for 1 minute 20 seconds of his allotted 2 minute time. They also did not tell you that only when he asked if Kerry was a member of the secret Skull and Bones Society that he was tackled. The video is posted here: http://www.attytood.com/ (continued segment where he asks police not to taser him is here http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=5692). They were worried where he might be going with a line of questioning that started by the fact that Kerry let Bush steal the 2004 elections. Here is what Bush said at AIPAC convention just before the election Bush vs Kerry (talks made while Israel was committing war crimes and crimes against humanity):
"The United States is strongly committed, and I am strongly committed, to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish state...Israel is a democracy and a friend and has every right to defend itself from terror." Kerry said exactly the same at AIPAC and here is what Joe Lieberman said of Kerry: "John Kerry has always stood with our crucial ally, Israel. During his 20-year Senate career, John has compiled a perfect record of pro-Israel votes, through his votes on economic aid, military security or the location of the U.S. Embassy. And John Kerry has had the courage to face down leaders who promote anti-Semitism. He has flown with the Israeli Air Force and seen from the cockpit how vulnerable Israel is. Simply put, Israel can rely on John Kerry."
6) "The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations" is pushing for Iran confrontation just like they did with the Iraq confrontation before 2003 (7).
7) Congressman Moran is being targeted by the lobby for speaking the truth. The Washington Post titles their article "Moran Upsets Jewish Groups Again: U.S. House Democrat Said Pro-Israel Lobby Promoted War". He was attacked by the lobby but defended by Rabbi Lener of Tikkun. Moran stood his grounds stating "I think Mr. Halber is being disingenuous in suggesting that the AIPAC board has not been strongly supportive of military involvement in Iraq and now in Iran" (8).
The 19th century notions of oppression, separation, and the use of propaganda to hide the facts led to atrocities of WWI, WWII, and many others. It has no place in the 21st century.
3) Yaakov Herzog, "Am Levadad Yishkon-A People Who Dwells Alone-" Tel-Aviv: Sifriat Maariv, 1975, pp. 58-59, Cited in MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL M Volume61, No. 1, WINTER 2007
I have to be very selective in this week's digest since there are lots of things going on and I myself was very occupied this weekend (gave talks and participated in workshops for meetings of New Hampshire Peace Action and Palestine Education Network and a talk at Cape Cod hosted by the nascent and excellent group beautifully named "Wake Up Cape Cod", http://www.wakeupcapecod.org/ ). First many people emailed to ask me about the Israel Supreme Court ruling on Bil'in (where weekly non-violent protests were held for three years against the Apartheid wall, weekly videos at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=emadbornat ). Basically the court asked the army to "modify" the route of the wall and this was hoped to mollify the growing protests in Bil'in and the ruling received lots of favorable media coverage and as usual any apparent success has many parents (lots of people who had nothing or very little to do with it claimed credit). If any credit is due it is 99.9% due to the people of Bil'in. Unfortunately there was hardly any publicity of the decision by the same court 24 hours later which basically "legalized" the illegal colony of Mattityahu East that is built on Bil'in Lands. All colonies in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are illegal under International law and this particular colony is one of those also built without Israeli government approval (only a small fraction of colonies do not get Israeli approval and this was one of them). It was built illegally on Bilin native lands. The court ruled to accept the status quo (i.e. accept the construction built illegally on private Palestinian lands). That latter ruling issued less than 24 hours after the former received no media publicity.
Let us see, what else is happening this week. Everyone is talking about the "report back" coming Monday by General Petraeus (or at least by the White House via Petraeus). As usual the allowed language of discussion is whether the surge is working great or partially working or not working "to curb the violence" and "give space to Iraqi government for reconciliation." I find it far worse than Orwellian quixotic assumption/logic (by Democrats and Republicans in Congress, or is it one party with two wings that are occupied by the Israel lobby?) that takes for granted that the US government and its stooges in the Iraqi government want to "curb violence" or "contain sectarian strife." Any reader could easily do the required research to show the idiocy of such a scenario. Even without studying histories of "divide and conquer" colonial and occupation policies in Western Asia, all we have to do is look at the timing of employment of key administration officials who were recycled from promoting death squads and creating puppet armies in South America in the 1980s to sending them to Iraq in 2004 (which was followed by the magical emergence of death squads and Sectarian violence 1.5 years after the US invasion of March 2003. Meanwhile Democrats and Republican officials (except for principled stances by presidential candidates Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Dennis Kucinich) play the game of whether to fund another 50 billion or maybe 150 billion for the war on Iraqis effort (and it is a war on Iraqis not a war "in Iraq").
On the positive side, Mearsheimer and Walt's courageous book on the Israel lobby and its role in pushing for the war on Iraq and now the upcoming war on Iran climbed up to the 10 top sellers list on Amazon in the US. This shows that we in the US public are not buying our government lines/lies. Both the Democratic Led Congress and the Republican Led Executive branch receive dismal approval ratings.
In other good news, tomorrow are the first official events of the fall tour of the Wheels of Justice bus (eyewitness accounts to occupation in Iraq and Palestine). Below I include something about that and two other relevant items (action oriented):
- A comment on and excerpts from the book by Grant F. Smith "Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from The 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal." Amazing information on subversion of US democratic institutions with the Israel lobby.
- ACTION needed for CNN Special "God's Warriors": According to the Jewish Forward magazine: "A CNN documentary about religious extremists has prompted an unprecedented outcry from the organized Jewish community, including a call to advertisers to pressure the network." See below for details including on how to write to CNN.
1) WHEELS OF JUSTICE BUS TOUR
The Wheels of Justice Tour has already covered 48 states and we spoke and mobilized at hundreds of events but we must intensify our efforts at this crucial stage. We are really excited as we begin our new fall season September 10 with great speakers, bus managers, and drivers. On the bus this fall at various time: David Johnson, Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, Anna Baltzer, Jack Terpestra, Hannah Mermelstein, Ed Kinane, Henry Norr, Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Wendy Ake, Omar Baddar, Ceylon Mooney, Abbie Coburn, Bill Hill, Cecilia Lucas, and more. With your help will continue to offer the very best in compelling witness, testimony and expertise on our roles and responsibilities as taxpayers and world citizens. With your much-needed help (need volunteer hosts, organizers, speakers, money etc), we will continue to speak and mobilize at more high schools, more colleges, more churches, and more community centers and to a wider audience.
We need your support. If you live in the areas along the route or know people there consider hosting the Wheels Tour and participating fully. The tour schedule starting Sept 10th: Tuscon, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver, Boulder, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California. Call and email people you know along the present route or people you think might be interested in being added to the route. Also hold fundraising events and raise needed funds. It takes money to operate this educational platform. It takes money for speaker travel costs, biodiesel, food, literature, mailing, logistics etc. To donate send checks to Wheels of Justice, 740 Roundlake Rd., Luck, WI 54853. On line donations via paypal can be made at http://www.justicewheels.org/donation-and-endorsements (BTW, tax deductible donations can be made to the Progressive Foundation-For Wheels of Justice and mailed to the address noted at the link above).
Contact Abigail Coburn firstname.lastname@example.org 510-384-9246 and visit http://justicewheels.org for more details.
Donations and support to this all-volunteer project are appreciated.
2) Comment on and excerpts from the book by Grant F. Smith "Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from The 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal." (Available from http://www.irmep.org/).
In 1963, Senator Fulbright (famed for Fulbright fellowships, see his background at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/fulbright/fulbbio.htm ) in his capacity as chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held hearings on several foreign lobbies in the US including that of the Israel lobby. At the time, the Jewish Agency did the major Zionist lobbying activities and its activities fell under scrutiny based on Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The Jewish agency had a 22 member executive committee of which 6 came from the US. Other members were high ranking Israeli officials including those who were responsible for the 1954 clandestine false-flag operation (Operation Suzannah) that bombed American interests in Egypt (to blame it on Arab nationalists and sour Egyptian/US relations). Fulbright succeeded in shutting down some operations but other flourished. Many of the flourishing operations did not register under FARA. Excerpts from one exchange:
Senator Fulbright: Are any members of the executive living in Israel members of the Government?
Mr. Hamlin (Jewish Agency): Members of our executive are members of the Government of Israel? Yes, Sir.
Senator Fulbright: Who are they?
Mr. Hamlin: One member of our Executive is a member of the Israeli Government
Senator Fulbright: What is his position in the Israeli government?
Mr. Hamlin: He is minister of finance. But if I may add, in the area of the executive he has competence in one area of work, and that is the area of colonization.
Mr. Boukstein (A Council to the Jewish Agency, US branch): If I may add, a member of the Executive, Mr. Shazar, was the day before yesterday elected the President of Israel, as you probably noticed in the newspapers.
Senator Fulbright: Could you supply us with copies of the minutes of their (Jewish agency) meetings since 1960?
Mr. Boukstein: Mr. Chairman, I am not sure that would be a pertinent document. The minutes are in Jerusalem. They relate to all kinds of matters. If you mean excerpts of minutes relating to activities in the United States, we will be glad to furnish them. But I don't think that you have any interest in minutes relating to matters of completely ungermane subjects.
Senator Fulbright: No; we wouldn't request anything ungermane. It was my understanding from testimony this morning that a very large percentage of the funds of the Executive derive from this country, is that correct?
Mr. Boukstein: That is correct.
Senator Fulbright: I will agree that not all of it would be. I was interested in how this Agency operates. I don't know of any precedent of anything like it in any other instance, and it would be interesting to the committee to understand how foreign agents in this particular field operate and what kind of principals they represent.
The lengthy testimony went on to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Jewish Agency for Israel funded the establishment of both the American Zionist Council (now defunct) and AIPAC (now the Mecca to which politicians pay homage to before they get the green light to run for office). Fulbright was also the first to investigate how think tanks in Washington (like the Council for Middle East Affairs) were agents of this foreign lobby.
Smith goes on to document how the lobby violates US laws and not just simply on refusing to register as agents of foreign government. He shows that AIPAC possessed critical and classified documents of strategy from the USs International Trade Commission just prior to negotiations between the US and Israel on a Free Trade Agreement. This was the first-ever free trade agreement between the US and any foreign country. Its terms were highly disadvantageous to US businesses (the evidence for that is the skyrocketing growth of trade imbalance). Another example is how the Zionist institutions register under a 501c4 charitable status but lobby to defeat specific candidates contrary to US laws. It is a lobby that refuses to identify itself as a lobby and gets away with it.
In this book you also find gems like this quote from Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC (this quote alone should be enough evidence for indictment or at least new congressional investigations):
"There are a lot of guys at the working level up here (on Capitol Hill)..who happen to be Jewish, who are willing..to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness..These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators..You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level." (Mitchell Bard "Israel Lobby Power" Midstream, Vol 33, no 1, January 1, 1987)
According to the Jewish Forward magazine: "A CNN documentary about religious extremists has prompted an unprecedented outcry from the organized Jewish community, including a call to advertisers to pressure the network." http://www.forward.com/articles/11551/
Show website: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/gods.warriors/
also see http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57370
ACTION: Contact CNN and ask them to rerun the show and to do even better. CNN was actually far too moderate and accommodating by putting material on religious fundamentalism in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The examples chosen avoided touchy subjects like the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Use this form to write to CNN presents:
My letter to CNN:
Dear "CNN Presents" producers:
I noted on several Zionist websites (e.g. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57370) and in the Forward Magazine (http://www.forward.com/articles/11551/) that you are being attacked for Christiana Amanpour's special about religious extremism (a show I watched and found riveting). These attackers claim that her show was not harsh enough on Islamic fundamentalists and that it was overtly critical of Israel. In fact, if anything, the reverse is true. Christiane Amanpour for example never once mentioned the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that began in 1948 and continues today. That ethnic cleansing done in the name of Judaism created the largest remaining refugee population since WWII (over 6 million refugees). Ironically, the second largest refugee population today is from Iraq (here one can potentially link it to religion since Bush claimed that God told him to invade Iraq). I am a Palestinian Christian whose ancestors were slaughtered by the crusaders (for being of the wrong sect of Christianity). Christian Amanpour can expand on Christian fundamentalism beyond the areas she covered. Overall, Amanpour began a thread of discussion of fundamentalism and bigotry. She was trying to be careful and avoid discussion of taboo subjects like Zionism. That is a shame, and a follow-up show should expand to cover the real connections to religions of the two festering wounds in Western Asia that were created by Europeans (and perhaps more importantly their impact on the native Palestinians and Iraqis).
It is ironic that these attacks come from the organized Zionist lobby at a time when the lobby is denying it does lobby or that it has influence in the media and the halls of congress (see for example the controversy over the book by Profs. Mearsheimer and Walt).
On this Labor Day weekend (in the US) we celebrate the achievements of organized labor (like a 40-hour workweek, work safety etc). On this weekend, Zionists chose to send an anonymous threatening letter to the director on one of the medical laboratories I consult for and quoting, of all things, the racist attacks on us by the discredited Zionist group "CAMERA". Such attacks from racist Zionists are not new to us; examples of other hate mail and diatribes are posted at http://www.qumsiyeh.org/hatemailanddiatribes/ . Other Zionists do have the courage to identify themselves and some even engaged us in public dialogues/debates (I debated in public key Israeli apologists including Morton Klein of the ZOA, David Harris of the AJC, Charles Small, Charles Hill, Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, Richard Himmelfarb, and UN Israel mission spokesperson Ben Harris, among others). Those who hide behind anonymity lack the moral fortitude/courage to engage in public dialogue to defend their eroding positions. However, their cowardly attacks do help us increase our determination and expand our activism (e.g. they validate that our work is making a difference, or the chnology "first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they attack you, then.."). For that we are thankful.
Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza was denied by Israel the right to travel to the latest UN Conference in Geneva. He wrote stating: "I am one of nearly 1.6 million human beings residing in the Gaza Strip. We are caged in a large, open-air prison. The border crossings are at the mercy of an occupying power; and these terminals, the Strip's veins of life, are hermetically sealed. Over the past year and half, our movement in and out of the Strip has been impossible. Irrelevant of illness, education, employment, or any other humanitarian necessity, the prison gates are closed. My wife and 2 kids have been in Egypt for 1.5 years. The situation is beyond economic and political siege; it is social and humanitarian strangulation, where people cannot move to attend to their basic needs. As a result, Gaza lives in an unprecedented catastrophic situation. The international community and Israel are parties to the crime."
Yet we are hopeful because the UN Conference in solidarity with the Palestinian people was held despite Zionist-Racist efforts to shut it down completely (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3444096,00.html ). The UN conference supported BDS. We are hopeful because Israeli apartheid cannot be any more successful than South African apartheid. Our tasks is to speed up the day of the dismantling of apartheid to begin creating a society of equality for people of all religions in Western Asia. This is because when this natural process is accelerated it reduces the ongoing destruction, lost lives, and lost potential. Every week in Palestine, innocents are being murdered and land is being confiscated and more people are plunged into poverty (UN report documents skyrocketing poverty caused by the Israeli occupation, http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39100 ). Even according to Israeli journalists, Israeli occupation forces do not care if they kill children (five Palestinian children this past week, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/899694.html ). And the wall that Israeli authorities call wall of "segregation/separation" (in Hebrew "hafrada") and others call "wall of hate" continues to be built (see documentary at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5110030555620432782&q=wall+of+hate& )
We must remember that none of this would be possible without the Israeli Lobby's influence that makes the US government provide unprecedented diplomatic, military and economic support to a colonization and apartheid system. Nor would this be possible without the weakness of leadership among many (including among Palestinians). Meanwhile Zionist racism goes on; for example in its continuing drive to shape Palestine into a Jewish state. Even the few remaining Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship continue being stripped of their basic human rights (see "Dark side of Jewish dream" by Ed O'Loughlin, The Sydney Morning Herald and my earlier article "Is Israel Unique?" http://www.qumsiyeh.org/isisraelunique/ ).
Indirect complicity in the form of Apathy and direct complicity remain our main obstacle to speeding up the inevitable demise of racist systems. Yet, we are hopeful that there are millions of good people getting off the sidelines and working for human rights and justice (and thus exponentially increasing the torches of hope). We are hopeful because Scott Ritter, US Veteran and UN arms inspector now routinely speaks about the Israel lobby's push for the war on Iraq and now the upcoming war on Iran. And there are many, many others who were not intimidated and who decided to speak out, see just a few examples at http://qumsiyeh.org/honorlist/ (and send me candidates). For today's message, let us highlight the hopeful work of Birthright Unplugged (Dunya, Hannah, et al.). Here is their latest newsletter:
September 3, 2007
Dear Birthright Unplugged friends,
In the past month we have shared with you some of our media successes of the summer, and we are writing now to tell you about our work on the ground in Palestine this busy season.
The summer began for us in Jenin refugee camp. Our pre-trip visits made it clear that this would be one of our most daunting Re-Plugged trips. The entire Jenin district is under a virtual lockdown by the Israeli military, with between 5-8 checkpoints between the refugee camp and Jerusalem. Often as we traveled we encountered soldiers with machine guns drawn and trained on the grid-lock of cars that are corralled throughout the day.
This summer, we worked with 20 girls and boys from the Freedom Theatre and took them to Jerusalem, the sea, and the villages their grandparents were expelled from in 1948. We usually work with children from 2 or 3 different villages; this time they were from 11 villages. While this was logistically ambitious for us, we chose to work this way because the children were part of a creative community and wanted to work together after the trip on a number of projects related to it. With help from many volunteers, including Palestinians from ï¿½48 (Israel), Sweden, and the United States, we split into groups and managed to take each child to her/his own village.
There continue to be Israeli-imposed barriers to Palestinians with Israeli citizenship connecting with Palestinians with West Bank IDs, as Israel forbids its citizens from entering the most populated areas where Palestinians live under occupation. In an effort to connect Palestinians across these divides, we work with a cooperating Palestinian organization. This time, Baladna of Haifa hosted us in their homes and youth center and joined us for the village visits. We were fortunate to have with us Palestinian guides spanning three generations and all with a wealth of knowledge about the places we visited.
For all of the children this was a unique journey and filled with meaningful experiences, some of which they describe in the exhibition we prepared with them after the trip. Here are a few stories that stand out for us:
ï¿½ As we left Haifa in 3 buses for the villages, Bilal, whose grandparents are from Zirï¿½in, got on the bus headed to Um Il Fahm instead. When we asked him why he switched groups he refused to tell us, and we assumed it was for social reasons. When the group arrived in Um Il Fahm, a thriving Palestinian city, his reason became clear. A woman ran toward the bus crying and holding children by the hand. It was his sister, whom he hadnï¿½t seen in 5 years because she is married and living in Um Il Fahm. Bilalï¿½s sister is also subject to Israeli travel restrictions which make it illegal for her travel between the city where she lives and Jenin refugee camp, a short distance away, where her family lives.
ï¿½ Naqaï¿½s family is from Ayn Hawd, a village that was occupied in 1948 but not destroyed. The expelled villagers fled to neighboring countries, to Jenin, and to a forested hilltop just a couple kilometers away. Naqaï¿½sï¿½ distant relatives camped on the hilltop and for decades have struggled to establish a new village, also called Ayn Hawd, To this day, the new Ayn Hawd is only partially recognized by the Israeli government. The original village is now inhabited by Israeli artists and called a Hebraized version of Ayn Hawd. Naqaï¿½ had directions from her grandparents about how to find their house. As she approached the mosque, now a restaurant/bar, she took an abrupt turn that led her down a narrow passageway through overgrown fruit trees. Our group followed until we arrived in what is now the back yard. We were heard by the Dutch man and Israeli woman now living inside and when they learned why we had come, they invited the group in. Naqaï¿½ stood aside and began to cry, her hands full of pomegranates, pine cones and rocks sheï¿½d found on the property. The Dutch man, in an attempt to soothe her, said, ï¿½Itï¿½s okay, you can come back another time, itï¿½s no problem.ï¿½ A boy from the group replied, ï¿½Actually, it is a problem. When she turns 16 next year, the Israeli army will not let her come.ï¿½
ï¿½ Ahmed and Mohammed are brothers from what was in 1948 the small village of Burayka. After the 336 residents were expelled by Zionist militias, their 63 homes were destroyed by Israeli orders and the village was turned into an Israeli military base. Later, the base was closed and the former village became a trash dump. Our guide led us near the area where the houses had been and the boys called their grandfather in Jenin refugee camp. Ahmed, holding the phone to his ear, looked out at the hills that surround the destroyed village and described what he saw. Their grandfather, who was about their age when he and his family fled, guided the boys through barbed wire, brambles and trash to a series of mounds adjacent to a tree. The mounds, piles of stones covered in rusting blowing garbage, is where their grandfathers house once stood. In 1948, as the boysï¿½ grandfather fled with his family, he carved his name in the tree by his house. Almost 60 years later, this tree bearing his name is the only evidence of their presence on the land.
The children involved in this yearï¿½s Re-Plugged trip worked on an exhibit which was on view in the camp and is now hanging at the Arab American University in Jenin, and an additional copy is available for exhibition outside of Palestine.
As the 60th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba approaches - May 15, 2008 - we are thinking about the most effective ways to include the widest variety of refugee experiences in our Re-Plugged work. On the horizon may be some work with children in Gaza, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, and we hope that our trips and exhibits get more exposure throughout the US in 2008.
Re-Plugged continues to be deeply moving for the children and their communities, and we are honored to facilitate it. We are also supporting others to do similar work. In the summer of 2006, we wrote a manual about how to lead trips like Re-Plugged, and have been sharing it. We recently read a report that Tel Rumeida, a neighborhood in Khalil (Hebron) that we worked from last year, took over 100 Palestinian children to Jerusalem and the sea this summer.
After Re-Plugged ended, we began to prepare for Unplugged, which brought two groups of mostly Jewish North American people on 6 day trips to Palestinian cities, villages, refugee camps, and destroyed/occupied villages. Although we have done this trip ten times now, we continue to learn each time, as the discourse changes slightly with each trip. This summer in particular we noticed that more of our Palestinian friends and colleagues, and our Israeli friends and colleagues living in the West Bank, said that they feel that the prospects for a viable two state solution may be over and that one state with equal rights for all may be the only solution to advocate for. Though we heard overwhelming apprehension about the near future, and despite a trajectory that has seen very few positive changes on the ground in their communities for decades, all these people continue to work nonviolently for justice.
We also add new elements into our Unplugged itinerary each time. This summer we were able to arrange video conferences with staff from the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP). Both the circumstances and the content of the conversations created a mood which moved our Unplugged participants. Gaza is just over two hoursï¿½ drive from Ramallah, where we sat in a studio as the fuzzy bleached images of our guests was piped into a monitor suspended from the ceiling. Throughout the call, a lightning bolt flashed on the screen signaling the spotty electricity that all residents of Gaza endure. Our guests spoke of the difficulties of doing therapy with children as they sustain ongoing trauma from persistent Israeli military attacks. They spoke of the isolation Gazans feel, and encouraged us all to work to open the borders of Gaza to Egypt and to Israel so that a million and a half people do not continue to live in a prison.
This talk and other experiences have propelled our Unplugged participants to deeper thought and action already. Two of our participants who were planning to study at Israeli universities changed their plans during the trip in accordance with the indigenous Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli goods, services, and institutions. One is now studying at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah and the other is looking into a masterï¿½s program at the American University of Cairo. Several of our participants have remained in Palestine to study Arabic and work with solidarity organizations, and others have returned to their communities to begin working on the ideas they developed while on the trip.
Our past participants have been active as well. Since we last wrote, many of our participants have been involved in organizing alternative Passover seders and actions, one has worked to develop a day-long tour program with the Palestine Solidarity Project in Beit Ummar village, two have been living in Ramallah and working on water issues and health issues with Palestinian organizations, one has been organizing the upcoming fall tour for Wheels of Justice, a few have been working to develop an anti-Zionist Jewish network, and several were involved in Nakba Day events and other ongoing actions and public art campaigns bringing awareness to Palestine.
We hope that both our Re-Plugged and Unplugged programs contribute to bringing about a more just and humane situation than now exists in Palestine. It is an uphill battle, and we thank you for your support of our work.
Espanol abajo (favor de pasar la voz)
Stop the Raidsï¿½Alto a las Redadas!
(please forward) Today, Unidad Latina en Accion and other groups (60-70 people) participated in a demonstration in downtown Hartford including a march to Senator Joe Liebermanï¿½s office to demand the release of abducted brother, husband and father Said Zaim-Sassi and http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=7011245). The joint action again illustrate the important joint struggle of all people facing to oppressive and fear mongering policies of elites in the US, Israel and beyond targeting all immigrants and diverting needed resources from helping people to waging wars of occupation and colonization. I wrote a new introduction to the upcoming Spanish translation of my book with details about Israelï¿½s involvement in Latin America (I share with you so you can see further connections). I would appreciate any contacts in Spanish speaking countries and areas who might possibly arrange speaking/book signing engagements.
(favor de pasar la voz) El dï¿½a de hoy, Unidad Latina en Acciï¿½n y otros grupos (de 60 a 70 personas)participaron en una manifestaciï¿½n en el centro de Hartford, incluyendo tambiï¿½n una marcha hasta el edificio donde se encuentran las oficinas del Senador Liberman, para demandar la libertad de Said Zaim-Sassi, el hombre que es hermano, esposo y padre y que fue raptado por ICE y http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=7011245). Esta acciï¿½n de nuevo ilustra la importancia del accionar conjunto de todas las personas que encaran la opresiï¿½n y el miedo atizado por las leyes de las elites en los Estados Unidos e Israel y que se ensaï¿½an en los inmigrantes; desviando recursos para mantener guerras de ocupaciï¿½n y colonizaciï¿½n. He escrito una nueva introducciï¿½n a la traducciï¿½n al espaï¿½ol de mi libro, donde menciono detalles sobre el envolvimiento de Israel en Latinoamï¿½rica (lo comparto con ustedes, para que de esa forma puedan ver conexiones adicionales). Agradeceria cualquier contacto en paises de habla hispana y lugares donde se puedan hacer arreglos para eventos de presentacion y firma del libro.
Compartir la tierra de Canaï¿½n: Derechos Humanos y el Conflicto Israelï¿½-Palestino. (Mazin Qumsiyeh, Sept. 2007)
Introducciï¿½n a la ediciï¿½n en castellano..... (abajo)
Two quick requests before going to the main issue of the Israel lobby and an action item at the bottom: 1) Anyone who was exposed to tear gas and later developed skin sensitization/irritation (cutaneous or subcutaneous), or know someone who did, please email me. 2) We need a speaker on the Wheels of Justice bus tour (http://justicewheels.org) for two weeks starting September 10th, please email me if you can do it or know anyone who can on such short notice. Also I wanted to clarify about my last week's message, which included a sentence about Israeli institutions that did not protest environmental damage in Artas. Indeed there are many non-governmental institutions in Israel and beyond that do protest such actions. I meant to say Universities and other OFFICIAL Israeli institutions. A partial listing of nearly 100 Israeli and Jewish led non-governmental groups that speak out on human rights to varying degrees is posted at my website: http://qumsiyeh.org/predominantlyjewishlinks/
But now for my main topic this week: on the power of the Israel lobby. On Monday, we had Cynthia McKinney visiting in New Haven. Cynthia was first elected to the US Congress in 1992 and because she spoke modestly and moderately on the Palestine question, the AIPAC network targeted her and eventually succeeded in driving her out of congress for two years. She managed to return despite the lobby but then again was pushed out. Before she decides what to do (hopefully she will run again), she needs to retire campaign debts (if you can help, please see http://www.cynthiaforcongress.com/ )
Her story is emblematic of the failure (some intentional, some misguided) of many to grasp the powers that shape US foreign policy in Western Asia. This despite an accumulation of well documented books and resources on the topic. I list a few of those books (this is by no means an exhaustive list) that I have read, make a brief comment on each, and then make a few general comments.
1) John W. Mulhall, America and the founding of Israel: An investigation of the morality of America's role. Deshon Press, 1995.
This book in 270 pages details America's role in the founding of Israel in Palestine and the role of the US government in pushing for these things at the behest of Zionists and despite the warnings from intellectuals, foreign policy experts, and veteran state department diplomats. It speaks of the roles of presidents Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Roosevelt and Truman. There is ample evidence of the lobby gaining critical support from Wilson and Truman and from both Republican and Democrats in Congress. Mulhall also details the lobby's influence in curtailing Jewish immigration to the US after WWII (to basically leave only one door open: to Palestine). But Mulhall, being a Catholic priest believes that America, being a democracy, can and must repair the damage to native Palestinians that this support for Zionist colonization engendered no matter who pushed our government to commit these acts. He argues, "A strong case can be made that America owes the Palestinians a great deal ((due to that history of support for Zionism))."
2) Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby. Lawrence Hill Books, originally published in the 1980s, revised and republished in 2003.
Case studies going back to the 50s, 60s, and 70s of the lobby's attacks on activists, on anyone who dares to speak in the media or in public about Palestinian human rights. Findley himself was a target of the lobby, which managed to get him out of Congress (he served 1961-1983). The case studies explain the sacrifices some had to make to live with their conscience. It would be great if Findley or others would write an update for the 1990s and 2000s since the number of people who ï¿½dare to speak outï¿½ climbed significantly in the last 20 years. It is also clear that silencing is becoming more difficult for the Zionist movement as more people are waking up. A chapter from Findleyï¿½s book that deals with the silencing of the investigation of the deliberate Israeli attack on the USS liberty is posted at the Libertyï¿½s website: http://www.ussliberty.com/findleybook.htm
3) John K. Cooley, An Alliance Against Babylon: The US, Israel and Iraq, Pluto Press, 2005
Cooley was a staff correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and ABC News and has written widely on the issues (including six other books on the Middle East). Drawing on published and much unpublished works (including his own personal interaction with people like Ben Gurion), he focuses on Iraq as how it was/is impacted by Israel and the US. It is a concise description of the tragic history of ancient Babylon and modern Iraq in the context of meddling and/or occupation by outside powers (from the Ottomans to Britain to Israel and the US). It describes for example, the Zionist manipulation of Iraqi Jews to force them to flee their country. It describes how the CIA "gave Saddam a leg up" (Chapter 6). The detailed discussion of the history goes through the periods of the Iran-Iraq war when the US continued to back Saddam but also made dealings with Iran to keep them killing each other), o the period of the Kuwait episode (some call it gulf war I), Sanctions, and then the latest war on Ira that is still ongoing. The last chapter its titled "Endgame: Iraq democratized or dismembered?" and it deals with a range of issues from the neoconservative (Zionist) cabal in action to dismember Iraq with the help of Israeli intelligence and military support, the sharing of weapons and training, Abu Ghreib nightmare, Israel relationship with Turkey and Kurdish areas, and the alliances that are being built at the expense of native people in Iraq and Palestine.
4) James Petras, The Power of Israel in the United States, Clarity Press. 2006.
Petras is the author of many books. While this one is not as well documented and resources as others listed here (or other books authored by Petras himself), the book does make some interesting points for example about the Israeli role in pushing for the war on Iraq. It is also highly readable and very smooth (few technical terms, lucid conversational sentence structure etc). It persuasively argues that American oil companies are harmed by US policies (including the unilateral policy of forbidding US companies from investing in Iran and in pushing for endless wars to benefit Israel).
5) Greg Felton, The Host and the Parasite - How Israel's Fifth Column Consumed America, Dandelion Books, March 2007.
This book has a rather provocative (too strong) a title ï¿½consumed Americaï¿½; I personally believe there is much hope (exemplified by these books listed here, many others, and the overextension of the Israel lobby) that the US can (indeed must) be saved from being "consumed" by the Lobby. But the book of 518 pages contains treasure trophies of material and resources on the machinations of the lobby. How Israeli large-scale terrorism (e.g. massacres of Qana and Sabra and Shatila) went unpunished due to machinations of the lobby's domination of US policies, which in turn dominates the UN and other international bodies. The book details the many manifestations of the lobby and there is especially a useful discussion of groups like JINSA (Jewish institute for National Security Affairs) WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), PNAC (project for New American Century), and AEI (American Enterprise Institute)_ As I stated elsewhere "The Host and the Parasite is a lucid and timely compilation of information and questions that should be fodder for discussions in America and beyond. Those who trusted the US government and servile media would find this book quite revealing and certainly thought provoking. Those who believe in humanity, justice and peace will find his book a great resource of quotes and information not available elsewhere. Readers will find this book a worthwhile acquisition even when they may not agree with everything stated." Of course I would say the same about the other books mentioned here.
6) John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Farrar, Straus, Giroux publishers, August 2007.
In 484 well-documented pages including hundreds of citations, this book is a must for activists and for anyone interested in US policy. It is the most recent book on the subject and lays to rest many of the dogmas about US support for Israel being primarily driven by oil or military interests. John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago. He has published several books, including The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. Stephen M. Walt is the Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and was academic dean of the Kennedy School from 2002 to 2006. He is the author of Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy, among other books. Coming from such highly respected academic quarters, it was difficult to ignore the research done by these two intellectuals. So the Zionist movement decided to attack them full force (ironically in doing so and just like with their attack on Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine: Peace not apartheid") they proved that the thesis that lobby is important. It is hard to summarize such a book in a short paragraph. It is full of data that debunks usual myths such as Israel's importance to the US was catapulted for cold war issue post 1967; in fact the data show that there was much evidence that US diplomatic and military support for Israel did the opposite in the 1970s and 1980s and that this support continued and in fact increased dramatically after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Zionist lobby attack on this book also claims that it brings nothing new beyond the original Mearsheimer and Walt paper published in March 2006. This desperate attempt is bound to fail for anyone even doing a cursory overview of the contents will see that in the one and a half year since, the data that was collected and assembled in this book is equivalent to presentation of teh full body of evidence at a trial as compared with the original few pages of prosecutor indictment. The Jury cannot judge based on the indictment alone but must hear all the evidence. I believe this book lays out the evidence in a very logical, organized way with hundreds of citations. As a bonus the book also details events and lobbying done since March 2006 including the now rising chorus of Zionists pushing for confrontation with Iran.
GENERAL COMMENT: No single book is sufficient to cover the history or the depth and complexity of the Israel-first lobby in the United States. For example, Mearsheimer and Walt briefly mention President Wilson 1917 endorsement of the Balfour declaration in light of pressure exerted on him by Justice Brandeis and Rabbi Wise. By contrast Mulhall devotes two chapters of his 11 chapters to discuss Wilson's relationship with the Israel lobby and thus evolution of his policies in support of Britain's Zionist goals. The latter book also focuses on the morality of America's role by making the case that US citizens by paying taxes and by their general acquiescence to the power of the lobby, are morally obligated to change course and support peace with justice. The former by contrast explains more the harmful impact the lobby's negative influence on US standing around the world including on US strategic interests. Hence I believe people should read these books collectively and make their own judgments. But reading these books and developing an opinion is only a first step. We must start with our own communities. It is a shame that there are Zionists who infiltrated peace and justice movements both on the left and the rights to ensure that this subject becomes taboo. It is a shame that peopel like Noam Chomsky claim there is no power for the lobby except in so far as it supports "US imperial" interests (withour defining those interests)--on the other hand Chomsky also was against the international boycotts, divestments and sanction both during apartheid South Africa and today against Apartheid Israel and is also against equality in one state and against repatriation of Palestinian refugees). It is a shame that many others succumb to Zionist pressure (whether to avoid being called "anti-semite", "self-hating Jew" or out of maintaining a certain comfort zone or whatever other bogus reasons). But this elephant in the room is not going away. The six books cited above are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In the past ten years, people have spoken out much more forcefully on these subjects and refuse to be silenced. The Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions movement is growing (my updated summary of this movement is at http://www.qumsiyeh.org/boycottsanddivestment/ ). The Zionist forces are getting mean (e.g. on Jimmy Carter, on Mearsheimer and Walt, and on the largest British union of teachers) because they are getting desperate. The Zionist lobby's power is immense (financial, political etc) but it takes far more power to defend lies and myths than the power of telling the truth. Hence we need not match their political or financial power to push for truth, peace, and justice. We merely have to have the courage of our convictions (and pay sometimes a moderate price but it is certainly not as much as what Palestinians or Iraqis on the ground are paying).
Bishop Desmond Tutu wrote in describing the book: "Speaking the Truth About Zionism and Israel" (edited by Rev. Michael Prior, Melisende, 2004): "In our struggle for justice and peace in South Africa we had to learn to speak - and listen to - hard truths. Our experience should encourage all who strive for justice and peace in the Holy Land. My visits to the Holy Land remind me so much of South Africa: apartheid is back, complete with the "Separation Wall" and bantustans. History, it seems, repeats itself. Yet, if peace could come to South Africa, surely it can come also to the Holy Land. I welcome this book that exposes some of the hardest truths about Israel-Palestine. The distinguished contributors - from Israel, Palestine, the US, the UK and Ireland, women and men, Jews, Christians and Muslims - speak their Truth. Reconciliation will follow later."
ACTION: Buy these and similar books and read them and publicize them. Let us build the newtork of those speaking truth to power and begin by challenging our own movements to at least begin a debate on the lobby, to invite speakers on this issue and then to challenge this lobby. Also write letters to editors and others. This challenge to the lobby is beneficial in the long run to all involved: US Citizens, Israelis, Palestinians, Iraqis, Iranians and others.
Video: A brief 9 minute montage of clips from the July visit by a delegation from CT to Palestine. It includes video at the borders, and in Israeli occupied Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jenin.
"Israel's ethnic cleansing and apartheid in Palestine"
Palestinians and many Israelis are encouraged that civil society in Europe and North America has now engaged in other forms of struggle for peace with justice, including the growing movement of boycotts. By Mazin B. Qumsiyeh http://www.palestinechronicle.com/story-08140765601.htm
Fascinating letter by Shelby Tucker, Jr published September 25, 1978 in The Memphis Commercial Appeal after the author threatened a law suit after he was defamed as an "anti-Semite" for criticizing Israeli policies. Still worth reading and pondering some thirty years later. Tucker became even more an advocate of human rights since then. Sadly some Zionists have not changed and still try to use the same tactics of killing, stealing lands, and crying "anti-Semitism" every time they are criticized. Since that article, over 40,000 Palestinian civilians and tens of thousands of Lebanese were murdered by Israel not to mention the accelerated ethnic cleansing of the 1980s and 1990s. Anyway read Tucker's amazing response of 1978"
+ New videos have been posted by the Palestinian Summer Celebration participants at:
http://www.sirajcenter.org and http://www.sirajcenter.org/videos.htm
New Blogs for the Palestinian Summer Celebration participants at:
+ Rï¿½gis Debray: Deliberate Blindness in Palestine. Le Monde Diplomatique
Last year President Jacques Chirac asked Rï¿½gis Debray to study the situation in the Middle East. On 15 January 2007 Debray sent the French authorities the following document on Palestine. It is an important key to understanding a long policy drift whose results are now obvious.
- Why they hate us: several pages of pictures of the devastation in Lebanon carried out by Israel, financed and equipped by the US
+ More videos of the colonization and resistance in Bilin
+ (A remarkable piece considering its source was head of the American Jewish Congress and fellow at the neocon dominated CFR) The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam, by Henry Siegman, London Review of Books
+ NEW BOOK: John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy" is a must read for all activists concerned about the US policy in Western Asia. Shatters lots of myths that are prevalent among both left and right that the Lobby serves US interests. You can preorder from AMazon
The first Mearsheimer and Walt article in the London Review of Books has been read widely and is posted here:
An unedited version of that article with lengthy footntes/documents is available at
+ NEW BOOK: "A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent
Resistance." Mary Elizabeth King. Nation Books, $16.95 paper (480p). "A scholar of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, King contends that the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993) was explicitly peaceful from its inception. Stating that ï¿½history is often the narrative of wars, and military historians enjoy prestige, whereas the chronicling of how societies have achieved major accomplishments through nonviolent resistance is scant by comparison,ï¿½ she draws on a wealth of documentary and statistical evidence to demonstrate that the Palestinians exercised remarkable restraint during the first years of the intifada. Tying together the threads of civil society, political mobilization and social change, she delivers a fascinating account of a nation in transition. In the occupied ï¿½territories,ï¿½ she argues, the Israeli military brutally repressed the ï¿½wedging open of nongovernmental political space and development of institutions not under official purviewï¿½ and deepened the Palestiniansï¿½ desire for change. The closure of the educational institutions in the West Bank in 1988, for example, caused teachers and professors to return to their home villages, where they were quickly able to politicize uneducated people. . . . Her book is essential reading for anyone interested in Mideastern peace."Publishers Weekly, 4 June 2007.
ï¿½We can discern from these pages that it is not too late to strengthen the nonviolent peacemakers who are working to find solutions for all contenders, without the burdens of bankrupt violence.ï¿½ From the Introduction by President Jimmy Carter
ï¿½Mary King, the legendary activist scholar, has written a profound, easily accessible, carefully documented book about the first Intifada. She has gone beyond the headlines to the history, people, struggles, agony and possibilities that make the Palestinian-Israeli conflict the centerpiece of our human tragedy. This is a must read.ï¿½ Professor Marcus Raskin, George Washington University, Washington, DC
* Mary Elizabeth King worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. (no relation) as a student. Now professor of peace and conflict studies at the UN-affiliated University for Peace, and distinguished scholar of the American University Center for Global Peace in Washington, D.C., King is author of Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, which won her a 1988 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award, and Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action. She lives in Washington, D.C., and Oxford, UK.
Back safely after over three weeks of bittersweet experiences in Palestine, it is only proper to start by telling you about how I felt on touchdown at JFK Airport in New York. My mind was swimming in a set of emotions ranging from positive anticipation of being back to our house in CT (harvesting our tomatoes, checking on our cat etc) to thinking about accumulated work that has to be cleared (both professionally for my job to all the needed stack of work for human rights issues that went unanswered as we were away). My thoughts were interrupted as the Royal Jordanian airline captain announced that passengers must prepare passports for inspection at the airplane door's exit. We recalled the unforgettable experience of three years ago when I was unfairly detained after precisely such an announcement (details of that incident are posted at http://www.qumsiyeh.org/caseclosed/). My wife and I quickly consulted on how to respond if I was the target in this case. We decided that I was to again (and even more forcefully) insist on my rights as a US citizen and she was to try to document (including photograph if possible) the event. My wife was questioned on why she had a video camera on but then let go to proceed with detention of the wanted man. At first I felt a relief that it was not me they wanted but then I felt bad for that Palestinian man who they might try to intimidate like they did me three years ago and who may not pursue his rights as vigorously as I did then. It would be good for ADC, CAIR, ACLU and other groups to gather stats on this kind of questioning. It is also important for all US citizens to get involved and informed about the increasing attempts at what can only be described as the Zionization of the USA (slowly turning it into a police state while draining its resources; see action alert below).
On the drive back to CT from NY, there was lots of time to think of all the brave and honest people we met along the way. Here is just a sampling of those:
* The great folks at Romana Charitable Association (in a village in the northern tip of the West Bank) who gave us a tour of villages impacted by the wall and who delivered services that focused on education to their community.
* The Tayba village folks who get "visited" (i.e. harassed) after we left by the Israeli army for letting us tour their land which comes close to the apartheid wall. (An Israeli army jeep stopped and asked us forcefully to leave at the time of our visit).
* The doctors at Jenin hospital who work tirelessly under unimaginable conditions.
* The few remaining shopkeepers in Hebron who try against all odds to resist the Israeli ethnic cleansing of their neighborhoods. A recent story on this appeared in LA Times
* Marwa AlSharif's wonderful family in Dura, Hebron area who were so hospitable to us. Marwa was a girl who came to CT in 2001 to remove a bullet from her head (see http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_38_37/ai_78728672 )
* George Nimr Rishmawi of the Rapprochement Center and George Saliba Rishmawi and Michel Awad of Siraj Center for their selfless dedication to giving internationals a good program on Palestine
* A 9 or 10-year-old girl at the bridge from hell (Allenby Bridge which is the only border crossing open to Palestinians from the Southern part of the West Bank). She wore a map of Palestine as a necklace and patiently helped and consoled her younger siblings through the ordeal that lasted several hours.
* David, a US citizen who painted murals for a school, designed a logo for Siraj center and did countless other tasks of kindness to local Palestinians in the Bethlehem district. And to countless other internationals like him who selflessly bore witness (even occasionally taking risks at certain cites) and volunteered their efforts in countless ways (especially working with young people).
* Hanna and Dunya and the team of Birthright unplugged who bring Jews to visit the occupied areas and the ethically cleansed villages and learn first hand what Zionism is all about and also take young Palestinians (in the re-plugged programs) to visit their ancestral depopulated villages
* Dr. Walid Albasha in Jenin and Dr. Bashar Karmi in Ramallah who managed despite all odds and restrictions by the occupation authorities to set up excellent private scientific laboratories.
* Hundreds of individuals (relatives, friends, and new acquaintances) who kindly hosted us, fed us, and/or attended one of the 12 lectures I gave.
I could go on and on about all the positive and energetic people we met (literally hundreds over a very short period of time). Naturally, there are those fewer individuals (Israelis, Palestinians, Internationals) who are despondent or have even given up. But even among those, we find so many who continue to do their work for peace or at least "do no harm" (and that must always be the golden rule for all of us). And naturally, there are yet smaller numbers who indeed do harm: they include not only the Israeli Zionist elites but also their Palestinian collaborators who profit from the system and from endless conflicts. All of that still confirms what should be obvious by now: the struggles are not between Israelis and Palestinians or Shi'a and Sunni etc. but has always been between those with greed for power and control (a mean "do-harm" minority) and the rest of humanity (the have-nots, the oppressed majority etc). It is the latter who pay the price.
It was nice to have a chance on our way back to spend a day in Jordan visiting the ancient city of Rekem/Petra, carved of solid rock by our ancestors the Nabatean canaanites (see "Who made the Desert Bloom" http://www.mediamonitors.net/mazin16.html ). It was almost a magical time riding a donkey in the valley that used to be a busy marketplace in a thriving city dotted on the side by what were homes, tombs, courts, palaces, an amphitheater, water canals, and triumphal arches. All carved in sandstone with brilliant colors. No wonder this cite was voted recently as one of the Seven Wonders of the World (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra
and http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/Forgotten/petra.html ).
In a few days and as I manage to find time, I will post some pictures of all the above on my website. In the meantime, please also read Stanley Heller's report from the Land of Apartheid published in Counterpunch
But more importantly, please let us together redouble our efforts for justice which is the only route to peace.
+ Joint Call by Israeli, Palestinian and European Human Rights Organizations: The Rafah Border Crossing Must be Opened. Gaza Residents Are Not Pawns in the Struggle for Control of the Strip
+ Methodists concerned with Israeli occupation: N.E. Conference pushes to divest. "Ratcheting up the simmering debate over how Protestant denominations should express their concern about Israel, the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church is advising congregations and individuals to divest their holdings from a wide variety of American corporations that the United Methodists believe support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land." Story here
+ Dry twigs by Smadar Lavie
A speech delivered at a rally against the demolition of 30 families' homes in Kfar Shalem, Israel, 7 July 2007
"We must demand a true partnership and equality in one state for all of us, Mizrahim and Palestinian alike, a state that will be our permanent home. "
+ ACTION ALERT: Oppose $30 Billion in Military Aid Package to Israel
The United States plans to increase military aid to Israel by 25 percentï¿½from $2.4 billion to $3 billion per year, guaranteed for the next 10 years. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told reporters in Jerusalem on July 29 that President George W. Bush agreed to this new $30 billion military aid package when they met at the White House on June 19. This agreement is appalling for many reasons:
U.S. taxpayers are being asked to donate $30 billion to help Israel buy weapons at a time when our own nationï¿½s financial resources are stretched thin. According to a June 28, 2007 Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. has spent $611 billion on the ï¿½war on terrorï¿½ since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, including $567 billion in Iraq alone. Our own economy, schools, and health care are in shambles thanks to this war that many, including President Bush, believe is being fought to protect Israel.
Israel routinely violates the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act by using U.S. weapons to commit human rights violations against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. Israel uses U.S. military aid to continue its illegal 40-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Israel illegally used U.S. weapons, including cluster bombs, when it carried out attacks on civilians in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon last summer.
To add insult to injury, Israeli and U.S. mainstream media are trying to confuse Americans by describing a proposed $20 billion U.S. military sales package to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries as ï¿½aid.ï¿½ The distinction between possible arms deals with the Gulf and military aid to Israel has been deliberately blurred.
The United States is financially rewarding Israel at a time when the Jewish state is ignoring Arab peace overtures and intentionally starving Gazans. Israel is preventing humanitarian aid, salaries, food, water and electricity from reaching Palestinians imprisoned behind Gazaï¿½s Israeli-controlled borders.
Write or telephone those working for you in Washington, DC demanding that the U.S. withhold all military aid to Israel until that country agrees to makes peace with its neighbors.
For more information on U.S. policy in the Middle East, subscribe to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs www.wrmea.com/subscribe.
Write or Telephone Those Working for you in Washington.
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
White House Comment Line: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
State Department Public Information Line:
Washington, DC 20510
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
E-Mail Congress and the White House
E-mail Congress: visit the Web site for contact information.
E-mail President Bush:
E-mail Vice President Cheney:
Nablus, Ramallah, Bilin, Abu Dis, Bethlehem, Beit Sahour
Wednesday July 18
Talked to author Susan Nathan. Unfortunately we cannot meet as Israeli authorities prevent Palestinians from Bethlehem and most places in the West Bank from traveling to inside the Green Line and also to areas of the West Bank that are now off limits to us (like Occupied Arab East Jerusalem). Israeli authorities also prevent Israelis from visiting us in our increasingly shrinking ghettos. But other visitors in our team (US Citizens without Palestinian backgrround) were able to travel to the areas occupied in 1948 and visit and interact with Israelis and Palestinians inside the Green line. Our slimmed team traveled to Nablus, the largest current Palestinian city, a distance of some 45 miles but a world away. To get to Nablus is an amazing, depressing tour through the lands of the west bank devastated by colonies, bypass roads, economic destruction of one community to benefit colonial rulerï¿½s vision of a new functioning apartheid.
I read text of George Bushï¿½s a ï¿½speechï¿½ that supposedly follows-up on his 5 year old ï¿½visionï¿½ (visions are dreams of prophets and Bush is todays false prophet) of a Palestinian state if Palestinians become quislings. Here good Palestinians are those who accept apartheid and fully obey the master race command while those resist are the bad Palestinians. The Zionist controlled mainstream media would not dare challenge the mythology. It is up to us ordinary citizens who are not brainwashed to point out that this emperor has no cloths. Afterall it is a simple thing to flood the media and ask the obvious questions: how come the ï¿½road map to peaceï¿½ (2218 words) and Bushï¿½s latest speech (2173 words) both lack the four key words: human rights and international law.
Anyway, I go to Abu Dis to check out AlQuds University which sits now at the apartheid wall (literally the wall sits on university land and cus its soccer/football field). Met with the Vice President (the president was out of the country) and the Dean of the Medical school and a couple of faculty members. We discussed medical genetics and what it would take to establish modern laboratories under the current Israeli apartheid system. For example, students at the medical school used to go to Al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem for practical training. Now that East Jerusalem is split by the wall, the area where the university is and most of its students (except those lucky enough to have a blue Jerusalem ID card) are prevented from crossing over into the areas of Jerusalem now illegally annexed by Israel (contrary to International law). This has a devastating impact on Palestinians on both sides of the wall. In this case Al-Makased loses patients and doctors and AlQuds university loses its training hospital.
In the afternoon I gave a talk to 30 teachers in the Bethlehem areas, listened to their travails, and exchanged views on what is happening. The conversation lasted two hours and could have gone on for many more if we had the room booked. Just a glimpse of things discussed:
- the plight of freedom of movement preventing kids from getting to their schools
- the economic devastation that reduced motivation to go to school and decreased the graduation rates
- home demolitions and even school building demolitions carried out by the Israeli occupation authorities (e.g. in the area of AlKHader).
- Western media (with Zionist impact) distortions about educational systems, curricula, about Palestinian lives etc.
Accurate analysis based on documents like this one from Ali Abunimah titled ï¿½Overcoming the conspiracy against Palestineï¿½ remain in the realm of alternative media:
Read ï¿½Meet the New Goliath: Israel is Bad for Jewish Ethics,ï¿½ By SAUL LANDAU
and ï¿½Israeli Apartheidï¿½ by Bruce Dixon
Thursday, July 19,
Most land stolen from Palestinians in ï¿½Israelï¿½ are the land of the 530 villages and towns ethnically cleansed between 1947-1949. Most of this land was turned over to the Jewish agency to develop for Jews only. The JNF decided to profit by selling some lands to pay its ever growing bloated budget. In 2005, a surprise ruling by Israelï¿½s court said that sale of this land can not be retricted to Jews as this would be discriminatory (racist). A bill in the Israeli Knewsset (parliament) just passed first reading that would overrule the court and add to the body of racist Israeli laws. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/883536.html
The Israeli company for computer security Check Points has been appointed as the official supplier to the American Ministry of Defense. In particular, the company will supply American Federal agencies with a protection system for data stored on laptop computers. (Guysen.International.News)
We travel to Nablus after reading this morning news and comments both positive and negative such as the above.
The road to Nablus from Bethlehem is a winding road that goes through all the turns and pains of the occupation. In the golden olden days before Zionism, Nablus was the commercial center of Palestine just like Jerusalem was its political and spiritual center. The trip to this largest Palestinian city was also a relatively smooth and straigt road north through Jerusalem. But now Palestinians have to ,maneuver their travels on the allowed roads around Jerusalem and between the illegal Israeli settlements dotting the landscape of the occupied West Bank. At the village of Huwwara near Nablus, sits the large Israeli checkpoint (mahsom) called by the village name. Nablus bore perhaps the second largest burden after Gaza in the most recent uprising. We visited with Saad, Alaa, Nabil and others at Al-Najah university (see http://www.najah.eddu ) who work with International Visitors. We visited with the amazing President of the University and the dean of Medical School. We visited the new campus, the laboratories, the classrooms etc. I gave a talk to about 50 students and faculty on media and mass communication issues in the US and the struggle for freedom in Palestine. A long discussion followed that covered positive/direct actions ranging from loading videos on Youtube to writing letters and op-eds. I was truly impressed by the progress of the university, its leadership, and especially the enthusiasm and interest of the students we met.
Upon return from Nablus, I gave a talk in Beit Sahour to about 30 people (mixed visitors from abroad and locals) on what can be done around the world for Palestinian freedom. I used many examples of successes with limited resources ranging from Sommerville Divestment Project to the picket of the misnamed ï¿½New England Celebrates Israelï¿½ to the Wheels of Justice bus tour etc.
Friday July 20th
We drove to Ramallah where I gave a talk to the medical doctors in Ramallah on Medical Genetics while others in our team went to witness the celebrations of the release of 250 prisoners (out of 11,000 political prisoners held by Israel, >100 arrested every week). The Physician Union that invited me are developing continuing education programs, housing programs, and many other services for their members besides the usual union activities.
We then all drove to Bilin for the weekly demonstration against the apartheid wall (see http://www.bilin-village.org/ ). We first gathered in and around a building near the mosque. Worshippers leaving Friday services mixed with anarchists, leftists, and people of vartious faiths and national backgrounds. Italians, French, Americans, Spanish, and Israelis mingled with Palestinians. All in all over 300 people (about half local) began the short march towards the apartheid wall built on village lands. One of those marching with us was Rani Burnat in his wheel chair (he had been shot by the Israelis and bullet lodged in his spine making him partalyzed). His cousin Iyad Burnat was the informal head It is a team effort) of the local committee for non-violent resistance. As we approached 200 yards away from the wall, the amassed occupation soldiers from at least three positions began their volleys of ï¿½teargasï¿½. For clarification, Bilin village lands sit on both sides of the wall and soldiers were on both sides of the wall and the occupation soldiers declared a closed military zone on both sides of the wall. The tear gas they started with is nothing like the tear gas I inhgaled in demonstrations anywqhere else around the world and even in my younger age growing up in Palestine. This gas had extremely potent chemicals that really caused not only the usual tearing eyes, lung irritation, sinus effects, etc It also caused dizziness, muscle fatique, buzzing headaches, and overall dreadful feelings that lasted for many hours (in my case I was not feeling well for over 36 hours afterwords).l At any rate, the soldiers started shooting first this thing and then rubber coated bullets. Rani Murrar (the guy in the wheel chair) was hit by a gas canister in his foot and was also overcome by the gas. As he was being trended to, his brother Ibrahim was hit in the head with a rubber coated steal bullet. Iyad (his cousine) and two other young men carried the injured Ibrahim and ran back up the hill towards the village. The volleys of tear gas canisters and occasional ï¿½zingï¿½ of the bullets continued. Some tear gas canisters ignited fires in the dy summer brush under the olive trees. I was called by a 10 or 11 year old to help him put out one of the fires. But then soldiers started aiming at us and other teams putting out the fires. Soldiers also started to move from both directions and that kid and I, exhausted and gasping for air walked up the hill. We stopped at a house that offered us water, coffee, and onions (the theory is that smelling onions help with tear gas inhalation). Soldiers closed in and the mother asked her young daughter to close the windows and retreat into the house. We thanked them and walked towards the mosque. Later we stoped with Iyad at his house and he explained to his wife what happened and that the blood all over his T-shirt was not his but his cousinï¿½s. The amount of blood that spilled from Ibrahim and his head injury made us all fear the worst but a few phone calls assured us that he was not critical and in fact we could visit him in the hospital. We gave out some bandanas made by friends in the US that had ï¿½We will not forget youï¿½ written on them and then we were off to the public hospital and by the time we arrived we found out that that he has regained consiesnous. His mother, other relatives and friends were also there as were a few internationals. The doctors said he will stay in the hospital for some time but should be OK. For video of Bilin demo, see http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=emadbornat
We went to a Ramallah restaurant for dinner and to give a talk to a group of mostly young Jewish Americans participating in the program ï¿½birthright unpluggedï¿½ (see website at http://www.birthrightunplugged.org/ ). The evening went well despite the throbbing headaches from the tear gas. We decided it was too late and we were too tired to leave for Bethlehem and we spent the night in Ramallah at a friendï¿½s house.
Saturday July 21, 2007
In the morning we talked a bit with Sam Bahour and Anees Barghouthi on the issues especially dealing with the right to enter campaign. Then it was off to Beit Sahour. For the rest of the day, I decide to lighten up my schedule by concentrating on family issues. My extended family like all families in Palestine suffers tremendous stresses that are brought about by the colonization and occupation authorities. Besieged and impoverished Palestinian families face significant physical and emotional hardships. We feel their pain and can offer them so little. But perhaps we need at our meetings abroad to think collectively what we can do to enhance the quality of life for people who are here. I asked that question of audiences where I talked and people we met everywhere and several ideas came from them. If you can help, let us know and we will hook you up with the right people. Examples of ideas discussed:
- Twinning of schools (e.g. a US Middle School with a Palestinian Middle School)
- Teacher to teacher and student to student contact
- Having a summer camp for 30 Palestinian American children with 30 children of Palestinians under occupation
- Establishing a fund for home renovations/painting and recruiting activists to do so in the summer along the same lines as Habitat for Humanity. Thousands of families would love to help in the manual labor to fix their own home with simple training and some supplies provided.
- Providing training for healthcare providers in the US.
- Marketing of products (embroidered stuff etc) made by people at the elderly center and some cooperatives
- Bringing more tours coordinated
- More coordinated BDS actions (Boycotts, Divestments, Sanction)
16 July 2007
Report on the last few days in Palestine
Friday July 13: Most of the day was spent at Siraj Center where we met a lot of active volunteers as well as visitors and participants in the Palestinian Summer Celebration (see http://www.sirajcenter.org/). We also started to plan the projects and schedules for the next three weeks. We did take time to visit Bethlehem University (http://www.bethlehem.edu/) established by the Catholics in Palestine but open to people of all faiths. A majority of its students are Muslim and it has over 50% female students. We stopped by to visit research and teaching centers. As a medical geneticist, I was impressed that it was able to accomplish much in the fields of molecular biology, biotechnology, and genetics all despite the occupation, the limitations on movements etc.
Saturday July 14: Jet lag made us wake up early at 4 AM and we watched a documentary broadcast on Palestine TV on the life and struggles of famed Palestinian writer and artist Ghassan Kanafani (see http://www.qumsiyeh.org/ghassankanafani/ ). We then toured my hometown of Beit Sahour meeting many old friends and family members, eating some great Palestinian food at my sisterï¿½s home. We stopped by Maan News agency (http://www.maannews.net/) and we will be developing some collaborative media projects. They have a huge collections of photographs and video of life and of events in Palestine. In the evening we attended a program at the Palestine Heritage Center (see http://www.palestinianheritagecenter.com/ ). The center was established in 1991 by Maha Saca who is doing a great work in promoting awareness of the rich Palestinian heritage that goes back thousands of years. Visitors experience traditional embroidery that is unique to many localities to music to food to folkloric dances to Zajal (Palestinian Arab melodic poems) and on and on. In attendance at this event were many members of the Bethlehem Association (http://www.bethlehemassoc.org/) from the US. Palestinian Children from Dheisheh Refugee Camp danced the dabka. Village women cooked classic Arabic Shrak Saj (thin bread on metal over fired coals), Arabic Coffee, thyme, olive oil and on and on. Poets and artists played classical instruments, improvised musical poetry (Zajal, in one poem about the need for those in exile and diaspora to return). It was a beautiful evening and we made lots of new friends as well as renewing acquaintances with older friends. Later at night we went to a wedding party which had over 200 people packed in a hall with good food, drinks, music, and dancing.
Sunday July 15: Still got up early at 4 AM (Jet lag) but managed to go back to sleep a couple of hours. Then on to visit the abandoned Israeli military camp in Beit Sahour that is now being developed into a community area for the town that when finished will house a playground (already partially built), a nature center, a restaurant, an outdoor theater, a public garden, and much more. (We need to raise funds for this). Then we visited the Palestine Wildlife Society for conversation about their previous great projects that involved education and conservation. Visit their website to see http://www.wildlife-pal.org I was particularly impressed with their impact on the Palestinian curriculum. The ï¿½Health and Environmentï¿½ track is taught in all public schools and it includes things almost like classic social science classes in the US but a lot more practical things that helps people survive, know more about themselves and their environment (and here I use this term in the widest possible sense). In terms of future projects, we talked about expanding programs of bringing Palestinian children awareness of their heritage and their environment. We talked about bringing US students to Palestine and we talked about networking with the Wheels of Justice (see http://justicewheels.org). Late afternoon was spent in conversations with locals (political and other issues) and night at a social gathering in the ï¿½Tent Restaurantï¿½ (yes it is under a very large tent). Then a formal wedding ceremony in Bethlehem.
Monday July 16: We went back to Bethlehem University and discussed more details with the Dean of Science possible project development. My wife also talked with the Business school about getting a job there although we are still unsure how we can get her to stay here as the Israeli occupation forces are making life very difficult for souses of Palestinians to live here (they gave her a three month ï¿½tourist visaï¿½ last time and a one month visa this time). We then went to visit Hebron old city. Along the way from Bethlehem to Hebron we witnessed the extent of the growth of the illegal colonies of the Gush Etzion block (Gilo, Har Gilo, Efrata etc), which now slice up and destroy the ancient landscape. The ugly concrete buildings, modernized highways and bypass roads (not open to Palestinians) create a surreal situation where native Palestinians and Israeli settlers live in two different worlds yet share the same tiny landscape. A settler can literally live in subsidized western style house built on stolen Palestinian land less than a mile from the poor native neighborhoods and villages of places like AlKhader and Beit Ummar (and that settler can do so and drive to Western Jerusalem without ever seeing the victims or noticing their plight). This is the season of fruits and vegetables in Palestine. Many of the villagers still try to sell the products from their dwindling lands on the side of the roads or in shops. But this brings much less money than in the old days when they were free to move and sell their products in large cities like Jerusalem or Jaffa or Nablus (or even to other countries). Life is slowly being squeezed out of these areas while the cancer of the settlements built on Palestinian lands grows ever more destructively. The old city of Hebron near the Ibrahim Mosque (the mosque of Abraham) is just as abandoned as it was last year. Most shops are closed. Tens of thousands of local Palestinians (and thousands of foreigners) used flock to this busy commercial district until the few extremist Israeli settlers (with Israeli government support and protection) literally just moved in uninvited. They took over whole buildings or in some cases upper floors. They go on rampages making life impossible for the native Palestinians. From the upper story rooms they squat in, they through trash at shops and pedestrians below. They routinely shot and destroyed shops. Thus some 400-500 colonial racists (under the protective eye of over 5000 Israeli occupation soldiers, many of them from the settlements) control the lives and destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands of native Palestinians. It is as if 400-500 KKK members where put in the middle of Harlem and were given permission and protection (with 5000 White soldiers) to do what they want with the black population. Anyway, we were successful to cross one checkpoint (with two metal turnstiles and metal detectors) but not allowed into the Ibrahimi mosque at the second checkpoint by a squad of Israeli soldiers. We went back to the old alleys of Hebron (the ones with mostly closed shops) did some shopping at the few open shops to encourage their trades and witnessed an aggressive squad of soldiers file through the narrow ally pointing their guns at people (including us) as they moved briskly towards the mosque.
Later, I gave a talk to some Palestinians in Hebron on the situation in the US, on BDS (Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions) and we exchanged views on what can and should be done to bring peace with justice. 80% of the males and 30% of the females in this audience did time in Israeli jails (political prisoners, many without ever being charged with any crime). Statistics show that > 1 million Palestinians have served time in Israeli jails (in Gaza and the West Bank half the people between ages 25-55 served jail time). As I sit and write this, the sounds of the call to evening prayers and other people hustle in the streets to go home for family and dinners reminding us that despite all, life goes on.
To be continued later this week.
1) Report from this trip into Palestine: Right to enter Palestine
2) A New call (please email back if you support this)
1) Report from this trip into Palestine: Right to enter Palestine
After much touch and go (trying to keep my wife out mostly) and three days, my wife and I are finally in occupied Palestine. Experiences so far are bitter sweet and range from meeting Kathy Kelly (of Voices for Creative Non-Violence) in Amman to being tormented by Israeli border officers. I will take time to only describe the experiences crossing from Jordan into the occupied West Bank. My wife and I both have US passports but I also hold residency "rights" in the occupied areas. 5 million Palestinians live outside Palestine and are denied entry. Roughly five million (of which nearly 2 million are refugees or internally displaced people) live inside Palestine: 1.5 million Palestinians live inside the Green line and are given (10th class) Israeli citizenship while 3.5 million live in the occupied areas of the West Bank (incl. East Jerusalem) and Gaza. I happen to belong to the latter historically created category. My wife has no residency Papers and it has been now fairly common for Israeli's to deny "tourist" visitor visa to spouses of Palestinians if they do not carry the residency papers. This applies even if those spouses are born and raised in Palestine (mine is not). This is a method to thin the population as any marriage like this means that both the resident and their spouse are excluded because the only way they can live together is live somewhere else. Of course such restrictions do not exist to Israelis or even to Jewish non-Israelis. Any Jew in the world can become an automatic citizen and bring his or her spouse whatever their nationality happens to be.
To go back to my story. Some of you may wonder why I come through Jordan. West Bank residents cannot fly to Palestine (which became Israel) nor can we cross into our homeland except through one entry point only. In the case of Bethlehem area that is the King Hussein Bridge (Jordanian Name), AKA Allenby Bridge (Israeli Name), AKA Al-Karameh Bridge (Palestinian Name). Hence, we must fly to Jordan and the next day travel to that thing which may better be called hell.
On the morning of July 12, 2007, we said goodbye to our kind host in Amman and embarked to the Bridge border crossing. The taxi driver has six children; four of them graduated from college and one is in the army. He said the economy is poor but people are surviving. He earns about $450 a month driving the taxi. This leg is about one hour, but we had to switch to a second taxi for the last three-minute ride because the first taxi does not have the special permit to operate in the area nearby the border crossing. The terrain along the taxi ride is hilly, brownish dry landscape without much vegetation. In a distant hill, we can see the site of one of the many ruling family palaces. A herd of goats in a seemingly no-man's land facing the Jordan river and in the distance the Israeli colonies dotting the landscape that is only 3 miles away and yet hours away (if we were lucky to get in). Bags and luggage go through security checks (to protect Israel even before the border crossing). My wife had to stop and get her exit visa in a different building of the Jordanian terminal and get a special slip to say she can ride on the ï¿½Arab busï¿½ (i.e. Those like us who go through the more rigorous examinations). I had to wait in long lines to get my papers finalized and then onto the ï¿½Arab busï¿½ which had one mile drive to the Bridge but that mile took about one hour including two or three stops to wait for instructions (I assume from the Israelis who like to pace the arrival of us Arab hordes). At the immediate line of the border right after the bridge the bus stops and everyone disembarks for initial Israeli checks of luggage, people (including documents) and to make sure the bus has no one unaccounted for. Back on the bus and onto the border terminal where there are areas for ï¿½foreignersï¿½ and for Palestinian residents. So my wife and I go to two different areas. The lines are long and yet almost half the people (in all lines) do not get approval at the window counter (their passports taken and they are told to wait). My wait was relatively short (about one hour). My wifeï¿½s on the other hand got rigorous questioning for 10 minutes at the counter and then told to wait. Some four hours later, they come and call her and ask more questions (many of the same questions they had asked her earlier). Then she is told to wait again (more hours). Here are some of the questions:
- What is you relationship with Mazin?
- Is this the first time you visit here?
- What was the purpose of your last visit?
- What is the purpose of this visit?
- Where are you staying (A: Beit Sahour)
- Where is Beit Sahour? (!)
- When will you leave?
- Show me your return flight ticket?
- Give me phone numbers and names of people you will stay with (your in-laws)?
- Will you be traveling to other cities/other areas?
- Who will you be meeting?
The total time to traverse the 3-mile border area (Jordan/Occupied territories) for us was about 9 hours. Getting out would also mean going either to Jericho in the north then taking roundabout ways to get to Bethlehem area or taking a taxi (expensive) with a change in Al-Aizariya (named for Lazarusï¿½ Tomb) and still going through the Wadi Narr area. Got home around 9:30 PM. But we were the lucky ones. Some visitors were denied entry including a Palestinian family. The father, the mother and their son who were going into the West Bank for the Sonï¿½s wedding. Both mother and father were born in the West Bank but were outside when Israel occupied it and thus had no ability to get back. All three carried American passports and have done a tremendous amount of work and preparation just for this problem (they had spoken with lawyers, US State Department, Israeli and American Consulates and Embassies etc). Ultimately it is not what Israeli or International law says or even what the State Department informs you, it is essentially up to these low level Israelis who are at the border crossings. The idea is to make Palestinian natives strangers and unwanted in their own lands (lands coveted and stoilen by these colonial settlers). The one who was supervisor of the team that denied entry to that family and delayed us was a middle-aged woman with European features (not Semitic) and a strong Russian accent who felt in full control. Her employees were mostly young Israeli recruits (serving their compulsory military service). Those young ones ranged from those who seemed to like to boss around Palestinian old women and children (one wanted all children picked up to show her so that she does not have to get up from her chair and look down at them) to what looked like teenagers trying to bide their time doing unpleasant work while sneaking time to hook-up with others for love relationships.
The hours and days of travel are fortunately filled with meeting very interesting and thoughtful people and by reading all sorts of interesting material. I met young Doctors in training, great drivers of many vans, buses, and taxis, old folks who tell us they have seen it all. I read a book by Abdullah AlTal, the Jordanian commander of the Arab Army in the Jerusalem area in 1948. The latter book was very fascinating. It corroborated the material presented in Avi Shlaimsï¿½s book ï¿½Collusion across the Jordanï¿½ about collaboration with Zionists before and during the establishment of Israel on Palestinian land. The documents that AlTal show are rather devastating to the role of King Abdullah and his Armyï¿½s commander (a British by the name of General Club) in
1) strictly forbidding units from fighting Zionist forces (AlTal disobeyed orders in the Jerusalem area) and eventually went into exile in 1949.
2) After the hostilities ended, the Jordanian Army was ordered to vacate and give the nascent state of Israel some areas in Jerusalem (June 1948, Mt Scopus, parts of Sur Baher and Beit Safafa), Lod and Ramla areas (July 10-12, 1948), the Galilee, areas near Hebron, and areas of South AnNaqab/Negev (in March 1949). Palestinian inhabitants of Lydda (ï¿½Loddï¿½) and Ramla were then driven out (after all hostilities have ended). The Galilee, which was designated to be part of the Arab state continues to be Judaisized to this day. Those Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from the Galilee and those in Gaza and the West Bank who came from Lydda, Ramla and villages south were then denied their basic human rights to return to their homes and lands.
Anway I digressw but it did seem history repeats itself and those in power never learn that it is far better to have peace than continuing injustice.
We need to push our government, embassies and foreign officials on this issue of right to enter. Please take a few minutes to jot a note to those people to complain about this. For more information on right to enter issues, please visit http://www.RightToEnter.ps
Todayï¿½s Israeli paper Haaretz had an opinion piece by Dr. Ghada Karmi on the use of academic boycotts (posted at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/881390.html ). The fact is that not a single Israeli educational institution has complained about the right to enter or move around (which obviously also is intended to cripple Palestinian educational institutions). This alone justified the boycott of Israeli institutions (see also http://www.pacbi.org).
I will continue to update you from our trip as in previous trips as time and access to internet permits.
2) NEW CALL: (This is also being translated to Arabic and distributed in Palestine and beyond. Please read and if you agree, email us your name, city, and state.)
We are Palestinians and others who believe in freedom, rights of refugees to return, and self-determination. We write to express our steadfastness, our unity, and to relay our vision for a just peace in Western Asia. We assert the following points:
* The Palestinian people endured incredible adversity and tragic historical confluence of events from colonization, ethnic cleansing, occupation, land confiscation, economic dedevelopment (and indeed also mistakes and collaboration). But there was also inspiring heroism, steadfastness, resilience, resistance, International solidarity, and more over the past 100 years.
* Some Palestinian leaders engaged in good faith negotiations with Israel hoping to end the occupation and achieve freedom and self-determination in the context of some division of land into two sovereign states. This led to signing of agreements including Oslo, Wye River, and Sharm El-Sheikh accords. Those hopes were dashed on the wall of Israeli intransigence supported by the US. Many agreements were violated and/or have expired without implementation (e.g. Oslo called for negotiations to be concluded in a five year interval and that expired in 1998). Israelï¿½s intention to consolidate its grip on the West Bank has become increasingly clearer. It is therefore incumbent on all Palestinians (whether in positions of leadership or not and whether they supported previous strategies or not) to contribute to a national rethinking of strategies to achieve our human and national rights. Each Palestinian (and our supporters) has rights and responsibilities in this regard.
* We condemn the US illegal invasion and continued occupation of Iraq that has caused the second largest refugee population in the world (second only to Palestinians) and resulted in the deaths of nearly a million Iraqis (and thousands of US troops). We believe that architects for that invasion are the same neoconservative Zionists in the Bush Administration who helped extend last summer's war on Lebanon and are now pushing for conflict with Iran. The lobby representing political Zionism is active in both major parties in the US and in mainstream media in such a way as to suppress open dialogue about US real interests and the suppression of constitutional rights for an endless "war on terrorism" that serves special interests (Zionists and the military-industrial complex). But we also believe that this debacle is now more and more recognized thanks to collective efforts. We believe we can effect real change in America and are inspired by the many new organizations formed and by the formation of coalitions bringing together many groups to coordinate and plan joint actions for peace with justice . We are also encouraged by the mobilization of Palestinians in exile and diaspora to work together regardless of their political leanings (e.g. see palestineconference.org).
* Despite the challenges, we believe that there are many options and opportunities open to us in the coming stages of the struggle. There is now a greater international understanding of the Apartheid nature of Israel. The apartheid wall is the last stage of a reality becoming harder to ignore (including to people like President Carter who wrote a book titled "Palestine: Pace not Apartheid"). Apartheid also exists within the Green line. Apartheid in South Africa ended because of the local resistance and also because of the way the African National Congress rallied international support for a campaign of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions. We were thus inspired when Palestinian civil society called for similar actions until Israel complies with the basic Palestinian rights (which also are called Palestinian Constants "Al-thawabet Al Falastinya"): rights of return, freedom from occupation and colonization, equality, etc. See
* Among options being increasingly discussed for political change are: working for equal citizenship in one state for all its people (Jews, Christian, Muslim, others), confederation, binationalism, and even using the two state scenario as an intermediate step towards achieving the border-less society that is being developed (e.g. in Europe). Many are now articulated in books and developed into associations and societies and even beginnings of political parties. We believe that discussions of these options are healthy and urge all to not limit their horizons of potential political solutions. It is the best measure of real democracy when people are empowered to think for themselves and develop the political structures needed. Yet, in all cases, the litmus test must be respect for basic and fundamental human rights as there can be no peace without basic rights.
* The Internet and other forms of communications gave us new tools to network, to educate others, and to work together to achieve our collective goals. In the coming and challenging stage of our struggle, older activists must redouble their efforts while making way for youth, women, and people with unique skills to step forward to take more leadership roles.
The Arabic saying is: "God does not change what is in a people (i.e. their destiny) unless they change what is within themselves." We are optimistic that we have within ourselves the tools and the resources to achieve freedom, justice, and peace which will be good for all people in Western Asia (what is referred to in Europe and America as "the Middle East") and people around the world. Thus we call for renewed and enhanced dialogue among all Palestinians (and our supporters) wherever we are to shape our future as a people.
(list of signers in formation and will be initially sent by July 20, 2007)
- ï¿½The situation between us,ï¿½ (Moshe) Dayan creepily informed the Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan, ï¿½is like the complex relationship between a Bedouin man and the young girl he has taken against her wishes. But when their children are born, they will see the man as their father and the woman as their mother. The initial act will mean nothing to them. You, the Palestinians, as a nation, do not want us today, but we will change your attitude by imposing our presence upon you.ï¿½ !!! --from The Seventh Day, by David Rennick
+ Excerpt from the secret CIA assessment submitted to President Truman November 28, 1947 on the eve of the UN "vote" and titled "The Consequences of the Partition of Palestine" (Now Declassified document): "Armed hostilities between Jews and Arabs will break out if the UN General Assembly accepts the plan to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states....The Jews are expected to be able to mobilize some 200,000 fighters in Palestine.. The Jewish armed groups in Palestine are well equipped and well trained in commando tactics. Initially they will achieve marked success over the Arabs because of superior organization and equipment....The US by supporting partition has already lost much of its prestige in the Near East In the event that partition is imposed on Palestine, the resulting conflict will seriously disturb the social, economic, and political stability of the Arab world, and US commercial and strategic interests will be dangerously jeopardized. ..The poverty, unrest, and hopelessness upon which Communist propaganda thrives will increase throughout the Arab world. (and later in the document, p. 6) US prestige on the other hand has steadily decreased with each new indication that the US supports the Zionists. The good will enjoyed by the US at the time of the Roosevelt-Ibn Saud Conference and following backing of Lebanese and Syrian claims for independence was short lived as a result of President Truman's support of Jewish immigration to Palestine and of the Anglo-American Committee report. Because of the long standing cultural ties between the US and the Arab world, the friendly role that the US played in the achievement of Syrian and Lebanese independence, the partial dependence of certain Arab states on oil royalties from US companies, and the promise of increased royalties in the future, the Arab states would like to maintain friendly relations with the US. ... Little of this (positive) development will be possible, if the US supports a Jewish state in Palestine." http://tinyurl.com/2c4kh3
Truman helped establish Israel (actually was the critical element in arm-twisting countries to vote for partition which was contrary to the UN Charter of self determination for native people). Zionist propaganda claimed that this support was because of deeply held beliefs in that cause (Jews were persecuted so need a country of their own). But facts are otherwise. Truman himself admitted in a private cabinet meeting that he is doing it for money and votes. And here is a relevant quote from a senior member of the State Department during the Truman era:
"when the election was coming up in 1946 in New York, the group of New York Jews called upon Mr. Truman. Alan Taylor, op. cit. p.93 Emmanuel Cellar was the head of this committee. Rabbi Steven Wise and several others were in it. They called upon Mr. Truman and said, "We have just been talking with Mr. Thomas Dewey. He is willing to come out and declare for a Jewish state, and we are going to turn our money and urge the Jews to vote for him unless you beat him to it." Then Emmanuel Cellar pounded upon Mr. Truman's desk and said, "And if you don't come out for a Jewish state we'll run you out of town." This, I'm sure, is the threat that Mr. Truman refers to in his book, saying, "The extreme Zionists threatened me." They were Emmanuel Cellar, Rabbi Steven Wise, etc. These are not the extreme Zionists, these are just the run of the mill Zionists. What Mr. Truman did was to cave in to these threats that they would support Mr. Dewey. In that way he got the Jewish money and the Jewish vote. His decision was not made from the point of view of what was going to result in the Middle East, but what was going on in the United States."
Edwin M. Wright at the time of the State Department (source http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/wright.htm )
See also http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/26309.html
and Truman diaries which show how he really thought (and thus show he really was not acting on principle but out of fear of the lobby): http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A40678-2003Jul10
+Evil plotters? More like sad and crackpot: The tide is turning against Islamic terrorism "But the mission to polarise the world, unconsciously shared between politicians in war rooms in Washington and people in caves in northern Pakistan, is failing. And the less our armies thrash pointlessly around in Iraq, and the less we glamorise prats in Glasgow who try to set fire to concrete, the faster it will fail." http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article2039719.ece
+++MUST READ: "Answer to Rosenfeld: Jewish History, Anti-Semitism, and the Challenge of Zionism" by Mark Braverman, Ph.D. http://www.jewishconscience.org/7.html
July 4, 2007
"Assay the power you have; our doubts make traitors of us all." Shakespeare
Two declarations, updates on (Political) Zionist lies, and Boycotts updates
1) A Declaration of Independence from Israel by Chris Hedges
umsmsmm"Middle Eastern policy is shaped in the United States by those with very close ties to the Israel lobby....The future is ominous. Not only do Israelï¿½s foreign policy objectives not coincide with American interests, they actively hurt them. The growing belligerence in the Middle East, the calls for an attack against Iran, the collapse of the imperial project in Iraq have all given an opening, where there was none before, to Americaï¿½s rivals. It is not in Israelï¿½s interests to ignite a regional conflict. It is not in ours. But those who have their hands on the wheel seem determined, in the name of freedom and democracy, to keep the American ship of state headed at breakneck speed into the cliffs before us." http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/30/2231/
Israel did not deliberately attack a UN Compound in Qana, Lebanon
Israel complies with international law
Innocent Jews wanting to "return home" were rejected from the start by local Arabs for no good reason
Israel attacks infrastructure only if it is linked to terrorists
Israel did not deliberately attack a UN Compound in Qana, Lebanon.
Israel targeted killing is not contrary to International law
==(thanks to those who sent me inputs and links to add, please send more. For lies, I would like any documentation of who said it and also docmentation/facts to rebut it with appropriate links)
3) More Boycotts/Divestment successes: New England Conference of the United Methodist Church issues recommendations for divestment http://www.neumc.org/divest
For a draft compilation of other initiatives and successes, visit http://www.qumsiyeh.org/boycottsanddivestment/
4) More than 50 Palestinians from across the United States gathered in Chicago June 15-17, 2007, for an organizing meeting to prepare for the U.S. Popular Palestinian National Conference, a conference that includes the broadest sectors of the Palestinian community in the U.S., scheduled to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of Al Nakba. The organizing focused on realizing the objectives of establishing a network that will act as an open arena where Palestinians residing in the U.S., regardless of their organizational or political affiliation, will come together to:
ï¿½ discuss the state of our communities
ï¿½ collaborate in creating cultural works
ï¿½ create and nurture relationships with other Palestinian communities globally
ï¿½ compare and refine strategies
ï¿½ interlink efforts
ï¿½ plan joint actions
ï¿½ inform one another and the community about work on behalf of Palestinian national and human rights
Previous meetings were held in Detroit and Cleveland, however, the increased energy behind this initiative was signaled by the high number of new attendees. The meeting participants represented a wide array of political, organizational, geographic and generational constituencies and in the face of new tactics to annihilate the Palestinian national cause and its people in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, the attendees reaffirmed the points of unity upon which this initiative is based.
During these challenging times in the history of the Palestinian struggle, the attendees reminded each other and the world of the sanctity of Palestinian life and reiterated the commitment made in Detroit to "revitalizing grassroots activism, speak confidently for ourselves, and to unleash our potential as the agents of change in our collective struggle for justice, return and liberation."
The decision was made to hold the conference in Chicago the weekend of 8/8/08. The weekend of 11/2/07 was designated as a national weekend of mobilization, education and outreach to our local Palestinian communities regarding this initiative. Practical steps were undertaken to build the network and the committees reported on progress and plans for the upcoming year. Specific goals were developed by consensus and volunteers stepped forward to take on the tasks. The Outreach Committee agreed to expand the database of contact information for mixed and Palestinian organizations and created focused subcommittees for students, religious community, and media. Work by the students subcommittee began and the media subcommittee decided to immediately develop a promotional video, brochures and advertisements.
The Logistics and Finance Committees developed a detailed cost and needs analysis. The Logistics committee decided to recruit hundreds of volunteers to accommodate the thousands of Palestinians from across the U.S. The Finance Committee opened a bank account, created a budget, set budgetary target dates and began raising funds at the meeting and via phone. The Program Committee began to develop the framework for an entertaining, educational, and captivating weekend for the gathering in 2008, by developing a rich series of workshops and events aimed at empowering the Palestinian people. The program will cover culture, advocacy, education, youth identity and numerous other areas of interest.
The attendees pledged to stand unified in honor of our ancestors who sacrificed much in their struggle for the liberation of Palestine, its land and its people. As Palestinians living in the U.S., with all of its associated privileges, we must take the opportunity to envision our communities in five years, one decade, two decades and beyond. By doing so we will be able to consider what will be best for us as a national body dedicated to the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes, lands, properties, and villages, ending Zionist occupation and colonization of Palestine and to the self-determination and equality of our people.
Please visit http://www.palestineconference.org for background on this initiative, additional details and information on how to join this effort.
June 25, 2007
Last Wednesday (June 20) was International Refugee day and the Hartford public library had a day of events. We had a Palestine table there and networked with many of the nearly 100 attendees. What most people did not know is that the largest two refugee populations in the world today are Palestinians (about 6 million) and Iraqis (about 3 million), both created and perpetuated thanks to US government foreign policy that is tailored to serve special interests. A book by the previous UN high Commissioner For Refugees based on her 10 years at the UN (1990-2000) mentions Palestine only on page 345 and only to say that political considerations made it difficult to deal with other refugees including Palestinians. Today, Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) was on PBS radio and I called in to ask: "considering that Israel is in violation of over 65 UN Security Council Resolutions, rulings of the International Court of Justice, and of countless human rights conventions. Considering that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and every credible human rights organization showed that Israel routinely violates Palestinian human rights. Considering all of this can you explain why we send Israel billion of our taxes for military aid? Bush is proposing increasing this aid; will you vote for this military that is needed here for domestic programs? And how is this relate to our war on Iraq and upcoming attack on Iran?" Her answer was very brief and dismissive basically boiling down to "I will vote for the legislation". She and others in Congress and in the executive branch can do this because they do not get enough pressure from their employers: the American people to resist the special interest lobbies in DC. Yesterday, I had a radio interview on Free Range Radio that expanded on some of the issues of special interest lobbies (1). The aid package Bush will push for Israel will be very large and over 10-year period. Israel (0.1% of the world population) already gets more foreign aid than all of the rest of Asia (nearly 50% of the world population). USA Today reports that the US government records loss last year $1.3 trillion! (In part thanks to endless wars pushed by the Israel first fifth column in America) (2)
Considering that US supported Israeli apartheid is at the core of the crisis in Western Asia (3), it is remarkable to what level the US mainstream media chooses to focus on side issues and avoid the elephant in the room. That leaves it up to us citizens to shoulder our responsibility in this historic junction in world affairs. It would seem to me that we have to make a lot more noise so that politicians and the gatekeepers in large corporate media cannot ignore the interests of the US public. I urge all to make sure these elected officials and gatekeepers know where you stand. Letters faxed to their offices and phone calls do make a difference. It even perks their ears when their names are mentioned in op-eds and letters to the editor and in chat rooms, list serves and other mass communications.
Many activists are doing just that and I always try to share examples. A new initiative is to break the siege on Gaza by ordinary citizen action (4). On my website, I listed many individuals who do (or if deceased did) great actions that made a difference (5).
In responding to situations, it is important of course to first understand what is going on. Hence I shared with you last week an analysis of the Gaza situation. Based on questions received and discussions held, I wanted to add a few more comments here. The PLO was instituted to be the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people 6. However, the Oslo process demolished that prospect because at the time, Arafat (thanks to then advisors like Mahmoud Abbas) engaged in secret negotiations with Israel in Oslo that resulted in an agreement that violated the tenets of the charter by recognizing Israel (but without specifying what is Israel or insisting first on recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees to return; hence some thought it is a recognition of the legitimacy of the theft of Palestinian lands). Before that, the 1988 declaration (accepting UN partition resolution 181) also violated the charter without proper amendment of the charter. The subsequent meeting in Gaza of a part of the Palestinian National Council to approve charter modifications is at best debatable in legitimacy. But while these points maybe debated, it is clear that today there is a whole new scenario/situation. No one argues that the existing PLO structure frozen for two decades represent the will of the Palestinian people. Hamas also does not. Various factions including Fatah and Hamas agreed to reconstitute the PLO in the Cairo and Mecca accords. Hamas is also calling for dialogue with the West and with other factions on a range of issues (7). Instead, the US and Israel are moving ahead as if they can create a quisling government. But the US failed to get the UN Security Council to support its moves.
Reconstituting the PLO is an admirable goal but if faces tremendous (some would argue insurmountable) challenges. Just to cite one example, it would be virtually impossible today for the nearly 3 million Palestinians in Jordan to have representation in a Palestinian body (Jordan authorities who are under US tutelage would not allow it). The same for the 1.5 million Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship. Israel simply would not allow them to have representation in the PLO or any other similar body. So how do we move forward? The Late Prof. Edward Said articles on these issues remain relevant 8. It would be nice to hear new ideas and not just from Palestinians. I wrote a book in 2004 proposing we all shift gears to work on a one state solution collectively as human beings (9). After that book was published, there was the call from Palestinian civil society that urged boycotts, divestments, and sanctions to use to implement human rights including the right of return, self determination and freedom from occupation and colonization 10. Perhaps one way to respond to the shifting political landscape is to insist on refugees being allowed to return FOLLOWED by self-determination. This would avoid the problem of who represents Palestinians at this stage of the struggle.
As I predicted last week, Israel took advantage of the media distractions to begin to demolish native villages in the Negev (11). It is important to point out that Israel's program of ethnic cleansing continued unabated not only in the West Bank but in the Negev and Galilee (the remaining Palestinians there are supposedly "equal citizens" in an "Israeli democracy"). In the past week, there have been countless commentaries on the violence that happened in Gaza. As Dr. Mona Al-Farra from Gaza wrote recently "out of this ugly period, we must promote a new vision of equality for all people living on this land, regardless of race or religion" (12). It is incumbent on all of us who still believe in a future of hope to intensify our efforts at this time of increased budget deficits in the US, endless wars for special interests, declining stature of the US around the world, and general disregard for International law and basic principles of human rights. This means we must speak more truth (and not only to power but to all) and that we all put aside all other consideration to WORK collectively for justice (the only route to peace).
June 9-11, 2007 saw an inspiring array of events around the world. Our local group from CT included a bus and several car pools. We enjoyed the companionship and sharing of the trip. Thanks to all who traveled and all who donated. In difficult times in the history of the world we have seen people tested and their metal showing. While some feel weak at the knees, buckle under pressure, or even collaborate with empires, there are so, so many who rise up to the challenge and prove indeed that as Arundhati Roy said "Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Or as Dale Carnegie noted "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." (the two quotes were from a friend and a reader of these emails).
Videos from DC June 10
http://youtube.com/carolmoore (Montage of the rally)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQY60tN9yL8 (interview with Rabbi Weiss)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U53_ihqL7Kg (Andy Shallal)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=audZ4wv-yRg (Ed Beck)
A report from the Huffington Post
Democracy Now Interview
The time is now: Just as I campaigned for boycotts against apartheid in South Africa many years ago, now I shall do so against Israeli apartheid, says (Professor) Colin Green
High UN diplomat candid assessment: UN has become subserviant to Israel/US
Why Israeli Anti-Zionists do NOT ï¿½recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish state" by Henry Lowi
From the Jerusalem Post, Israel's right wing newspaper showing how candidates for president in the US have to first pledge allegiance to Israel
By contrast, we find that Avraham Burg, former Knesset speaker and former head of the Jewish Agency finally coming out to say that "to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end. A Jewish state is explosive. It's dynamite." In an interview in Haaretz Weekend Magazine, he said that he is in favor of abrogating the Law of Return and calls on everyone who can to obtain a foreign passport. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/868215.html
And the racist Knesset want his head "MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said Thursday that former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg, after his comments about Israel and Zionism must be prevented through legislation if necessary from being buried in the section in the Jerusalem cemetery on Mount Herzl for national leaders." http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/868369.html
Green Party Media Committee announces launch of speakers' bureau. Green Party speakers will be available for appearances on TV and radio on a wide range of issues, and will provide analysis and solutions from a Green Party
perspective. To book a speaker, contact: Ann Link email@example.com 347-226-1195, Starlene Rankin firstname.lastname@example.org 916-995-3805, Drew Johnson JamBoi@Greens.org
Donate to Nahr Elbared Relief campaign (you can go thru Middle East Children Alliance or through the American Univversity of Beirut, both very respectable/trustworthy:
1967: Our rights have to be recognised
Israel must recognise our basic entitlements if it is serious about peace, writes Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh (of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas)
Insightful speech from Jewish South African Ronni Kassrill given to the South African parliament on this anniversary:
Today's message contains two actions you can do arm-chair (with a computer and/or a phone) and two events that most can/should attend. BTW, the video I posted in the last message on the stealth event in Foxboro, MA was viewed 450 times so there is obvious interests in events.
+ ACTION (from Marlene): According to the Israeli press, Oprah is going to Israel for a "solidarity" visit (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3403333,00.html ). Coming from someone like Oprah, she should be sympathizing with the oppressed and above all, not showing solidarity with a racist state. Most surprising is that the word "apartheid" has no meaning for her or "ethnic cleansing." Please write to her and send whatever information you can including reports from human rights organizations and/or articles. Even recommendations for books that might educate her. This is a page where you can write your thoughts. http://www2.oprah.com/email/reach/email_reach_fromu.jhtml
Also, you can send your ideas in for a future show, which might be about the suffering of the Palestinians, and their Nakba.
This is a page where there are a few email addresses http://www2.oprah.com/email/email_landing.jhtml
Confirmed Speakers in alphabetical order
Huwaida Arraf, Co-Founder, International Solidarity Movement
Imam Mahdi Bray, Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice
Cindy and Craig Corrie, The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
Dr. Mona El-Farra, From Gaza, With Love
Husam El-Nounou, Co-Founder, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
George Friday, National Co-Chair, United for Peace and Justice
Ronnie Kasrils, Member, African National Congress, National Executive Committee; Founder, Not in My Name, South Africa
Jennifer Loewenstein, Board Member, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA
George Martin, National Co-Chair, United for Peace and Justice
Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom, Clergy for Peace
Mitchell Plitnick, Director of Education and Policy, Jewish Voice for Peace
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Executive Committee, Palestinian American Congress
Afif Safieh, Head of the PLO Mission to the United States
Andy Shallal, Iraqi Voices for Peace
Kyung Za Yim, President, Women's Division, United Methodist Church
Emceed by (in alphabetical order):
Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
Rev. Diane Ford Jones, Every Church a Peace Church
Noura Erakat, Former National Organizer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Judith LeBlanc, National Co-Chair, United for Peace and Justice
+ Zochrot Statement on the Nakba and on peace http://www.zochrot.org/index.php?id=582
May 21, 2007
1) Israeli ï¿½Independenceï¿½ = Palestinian Dispossession
2) Palestinian Refugees
1948 - 800,000
2007 - 6 Million +
Right of Return for all Refugees
These are the two banners we (Jews, Christians, Muslims, others) snuck by the intensive security and unfurled Sunday at an event dubbed by the organizers "New England Celebrates Israel" (ofcourse it was only a small and shrinking fraction of racist and misinformed Jews in the area who joined the "celebration"). This direct action at the racist festival generated lots of publicity and raised many eyebrows. A few activists were not let in (security had their car license plate numbers apparently ahead of time, see report below from Tarak, one of those who did not manage to get in). But enough of us got through (>40 plus legal observres) to make this a very successful event. The demonstration was visually so impressive that racist Zionists tried to block us with their bodies and umbrellas so that their fellow attendees do not see the messages about Palestinian dispossession.
My video of the event is posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9lsB4HVhDQ
Still Pictures and press releases posted at http://questionisrael.blogspot.com/
We will be showing a video on refugees and I will be speaking on the subject Tuesday May 22nd at 7pm at 44 Danforth St, in Jamaica Plain, Massachussetts.
Please consider writing to the media including letters to the editor.
Below are other reports and notes:
Boston Does not celebrate Israel
Press release: For immediate release
From: New England Commemorates the Nakba
Report on todayï¿½s Protest and NAKBA commemoration at Gillette Stadium
On Sunday May 20th several carloads of non-violent protestors headed to Foxboro to voice their support for Palestinians at the Israeli day celebration taking place at Gillette Stadium.
At 2:30 PM, 40 to 50 protestors in the Field House unraveled two banners. One declared:
1948 - 800,000
2007 - 6 Million +
Right of Return for all Refugees
The protestors, wearing black tee-shirts, peacefully and silently commemorated the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) and voiced support for those Palestinians who were driven from their homes in 1948 by Zionist forces in order to create the Jewish state. Seventy-eight out of the 531 Palestinian villages that were eliminated were remembered through stickers on the black tee-shirts.
ï¿½New England Celebrates Israelï¿½ celebrants were not as peaceful and silent. They tried to block the banners with their bodies so that no other celebrants could see the messages. One celebrant attempted to tear a banner. Police prevented the tearing of the banner and escorted the protestors out of the Dana Farber Field Field House for their safety.
Previously dubbed ï¿½Boston Celebrates Israelï¿½, the celebration of Israel Independence Day has been taking place in Boston for years. For the past five years, however, Palestinians and their supporters have organized protests to bring attention to the fact that Israelï¿½s celebration is the Palestinianï¿½s Nakba (or catastrophe). These protests have forced the event organizers to downscale the celebration, move it to Foxboro, and rename it ï¿½New England Celebrates Israelï¿½. In addition, the organizers forced participants to show ID and register prior to entering.
Three quarters of the Palestinian population was expelled in 1948 and 531 of their villages destroyed. Today, these Palestinian refugees and their descendents number more than six million and are displaced throughout the world while Israel ignores UN resolutions which call for their right of return.
Our message to celebrators and to the wider New England community:
As US taxpayers we say, ï¿½NOT WITH OUR MONEY!ï¿½
Those of us who are Jewish say, ï¿½NOT IN OUR NAME!ï¿½
As people who care about equality and justice we say, "NOT ON OUR WATCH!"
FULL STATEMENT FROM ORGANIZING COMMITTEE:
We are here today to commemorate the expulsion and dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland and to protest this celebration of Israelï¿½s Independence Day. We stand here to remind those inside and those in our larger New England community that Israeli ï¿½independenceï¿½ equals Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe.
We are a diverse group of people who support the application of human rights for all people. We are painfully aware that the establishment of a Jewish state in 1948 led to the largest and most persistent refugee problem in the world. In 1948, 800,000 Palestinian people were driven from their homes in a process of ethnic cleansing that continues to this day.
Today, almost 60 years later, more than 6 million Palestinians still wait to return home. Three quarters of the Palestinian population are displaced. One out of every 3 refugees in the world is Palestinian. Many live in refugee camps. All are denied the right to return to their land simply because they are not Jewish.
The right of return for refugees is an international law that applies to all refugee populations in the world. The United Nations has reaffirmed this right specifically for Palestinian people every year since 1948, yet the Israeli government has consistently refused to implement this right. Billions of dollars of US aid give Israel little incentive to conform to international standards of law and justice.
Those of us who are Jewish say, ï¿½Not in our name!ï¿½ The organized Jewish community that has planned this event does not speak for us.
As US taxpayers we say, ï¿½Not with our money!ï¿½ The 15 million dollars PER DAY that the US government gives to Israel does not reflect our desires or our priorities.
As people who care about equality, justice, and human rights, we say, "Not on our watch!" Israel must respect international law, including the right of return for refugees.
We are here today to declare that Palestinian experience cannot be forgotten, that Palestinian history cannot be erased, that Palestinian voices cannot be silenced! Never again should this kind of catastrophe happen to any people in the world.
And we are here to let the organizers of this event know that they will never be able to celebrate the establishment of the state of Israel without protest until the Nakba is acknowledged and reparations are made.
From Rich Wiles
Behind the Wall ï¿½ ï¿½Memory, and Strengthï¿½
For Palestinian Refugees there is one day every year, above all others, whose date is deeply etched into the mind. May 15th is commemorated as Nakba Day, the day that marks the forced expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages as the Zionist state was created in 1948. Around this date every year many activities and demonstrations are held across Palestine. The Nakba will never be forgotten, but these events are not just to remember the event, they also call for justice and enforcement of international law and the full ï¿½Right of Returnï¿½ for all Palestinian Refugees to their land. Every refugee will talk proudly about their original village from the elderly survivors of ï¿½Al Nakbaï¿½ right through to ten year old children. The history and the knowledge is passed on, keys to the original houses are still kept today by many families and handed down through generations. Most of the houses in whose doors these keys used to fit are no longer standing, they too are now just a distant memory, but the keys are kept and treasured as a symbol of ï¿½Awdaï¿½ ï¿½ ï¿½Returnï¿½.
Last yearï¿½s national Nakba Day demonstration in Ramallah was marked by the IOF closing all checkpoints north of the city and preventing dozens and dozens of coaches from northern cities such as Nablus, Jenin and Tulkarem from reaching the event. Literally thousands of people were prevented from getting to Ramallah.
Lajee Center always runs coaches from Aida Camp to Ramallah for Nakba Day and this year was no different. The two coaches could have been filled several times over such was the demand for places. As the coaches pulled up to ï¿½Containerï¿½ Checkpoint the audible excitement, singing and laughter, petered out, everybody knows the routine well by now. The only time on our trips that the bus doesnï¿½t echo to the beating of drums and singing is at, or near, a checkpoint, save giving the IOF soldiers manning the checkpoint any ï¿½excuseï¿½ to dampen our party. When the young IOF soldiers got on the bus demanding everyoneï¿½s ID cards the silence, as always, dropped another level, except that is for one brown eyed little girlï¿½
Gangoon is two and a half years old. She is the daughter of one of my closest friends and subsequently I am fortunate to be able to spend quite a lot of time with her. She is a lot of fun and many days she has brought a much needed smile to my face with her boundless energy and playfulness. She is also incredibly strong. Gangoon loves to talk and she has many stories to tell for one so young. Sometimes she will talk about make-up or tell me about the dove that nested on her bathroom window, other times she will talk about when her twelve year old cousin was shot, or when her teenage uncle was arrested. Like all children in the Camp one of the first noises she made was ï¿½toc, toc, tocï¿½ (imitating shooting), and one of her first words was ï¿½jayshï¿½ (ï¿½soldiersï¿½).
As one soldier entered the bus at the checkpoint and began collecting IDs another stood in front of Gangoon and her parents just inside the bus door. Gangoon looked at the soldier, then up to her mother sitting alongside her:
ï¿½Mama, here is the one who shot Miras (Gangoonï¿½s cousin)!ï¿½
Trying to prevent any problems with the soldiers and to relax her daughter, Gangoonï¿½s mother attempted to change the subject:
ï¿½OK, we can talk about this laterï¿½ï¿½
But Gangoon was not satisfied with this answer, she knew she was right. She looked across to the other front seat of the bus where Nidal, Mirasï¿½ father, was sat. With her big brown eyes wide but strong she spoke to Nidal:
ï¿½Uncle Nidal, here is the one who shot Miras!ï¿½
Nidal also tried to relax Gangoon, suggesting that maybe it wasnï¿½t this same soldier who had shot her cousin:
ï¿½ï¿½maybe it was his friend.ï¿½
The little girlï¿½s eyes widened, as if thinking, before she looked up to her father, and then to Nidal again. She pointed at the heavy M-16 that the young soldier was carrying:
ï¿½Look, he has a gun!ï¿½
Her father explained that all the soldiers were carrying guns. Gangoon wanted to know why. She showed no fear as she looked up into the eyes of the soldier and strongly asked him a perfectly reasonable question:
ï¿½Why do you have a gun?ï¿½
She didnï¿½t receive a reply although the soldier did seem to understand what was going on. Then a tiny smile seemed to break onto the soldierï¿½s lips and he spoke to Gangoon, in Arabic, asking her what her name was. Gangoon looked up at her mother and father, then across at Nidal, then across to the other IOF soldier collecting the IDï¿½s, before looking back into the soldiersï¿½ eyes. She wasnï¿½t smiling, but told the soldier:
ï¿½Give us your IDï¿½s! Give us your IDï¿½s!ï¿½
She was telling the soldier that she knew who he was, that whether he spoke to her or not she knew what he did and what he represented. She was also showing him that she was strong.
The soldier didnï¿½t respond, his smile had gone. She repeated her request several times before her father managed to divert her mind with talk of a future trip to the swimming pool.
The two IOF soldiers left the bus carrying everyoneï¿½s ID cards. When they returned they refused permission for seventeen of the passengers from the two buses to pass the checkpoint, the Occupiers as always deciding who can move and who canï¿½t. When they were asked why these people couldnï¿½t pass they simply replied:
ï¿½Because the computers are broken so we canï¿½t check the IDï¿½s!ï¿½
This was clearly untrue as the other IDï¿½s had been checked, and other passengers were allowed to pass through, but there is little use in remonstrating with the IOF once they have made a decision.
Those refused permission trudged frustrated and angrily back onto the second bus which it was decided would be forced to return back to Aida Camp. There is simply no other possible route to get from Bethlehem to Ramallah for Palestinians with West Bank ID, such is the Israeli control of Palestinian movement, so if the IOF at ï¿½Containerï¿½ Checkpoint say ï¿½Noï¿½, then ï¿½Noï¿½ it is! One of those turned back, Rami, asked the children still on the bus to make a big sign carrying the name of his home village, Al Malha, and to hold it up in front of the international media cameras. If he could not travel to Ramallah, Rami wanted to make sure that his message was still heard, and Al Malha was not forgotten. He then added:
ï¿½I will go back to Bethlehem and I will demonstrate next to Rachelï¿½s Tomb!ï¿½
Rami was not to be silenced on Nakba Day.
The remaining bus traveled on to Ramallah, passengers dejected and angry at leaving others behind but determined now more than ever to mark the day and join the call for ï¿½Awdaï¿½ (ï¿½Returnï¿½).
The event in Ramallah went well. A march was held from Minara Square through to the grave of the late Abu Amar (Yasser Arafat) in the Mukarta. Lajee children held banners high as they walked including one, as they had promised Rami, which simply read ï¿½Al Malhaï¿½. Participants sent their message to Palestinian leaders, Israel, Arab states, and the international community, that there can be no peace without the implementation of U.N. Resolution 194 (which calls for the ï¿½Right of Returnï¿½ for Palestinian Refugees to their land). Nakba survivors stood alongside second, third, even fourth generation refugees, united in their message.
The significance of Al Nakba is just as apparent in the minds of young Refugees as it is in the painful memories of the survivors of the event itself. The children and youth also had a message they wanted to send out loud and clear by demonstrating in Ramallah. One of the girls from Lajeeï¿½s Dabka group, Ayah, at just thirteen years old, was clear how she felt about Nakba:
ï¿½They wanted the Nakba to be our death, but every year we say we are alive...and we will return!ï¿½
Basil, one of our ï¿½New Generationï¿½ (teenage) group, was also in Ramallah joining the call for ï¿½Awdaï¿½:
ï¿½I want to tell everybody that itï¿½s the time! We must be allowed to return.ï¿½
Whilst all young Palestinian Refugees have heard many stories about life pre-1948 for Nakba survivors it is real memories of their villages and land that are ingrained in their minds. One Nakba survivor from the village of Beit Jibreen once explained to me how he would feel if he was offered compensation for his land instead of ï¿½Returnï¿½:
ï¿½They could build me a house made out of solid gold and I would not accept it! I will never give up on return!ï¿½
Gangoonï¿½s Great-Grandmother, who was forced from the village of Ajur when it was invaded by Zionist Militias in 1948, has told me of her memories of her familyï¿½s land in the village. When she talks about the fresh fruit they grew, their animals, and sitting to watch the sunset, there is a glint in her eye that I have seen in all Nakba survivors. These memories are sacred, as is the ï¿½Right of Returnï¿½. The Nakba itself is a very dark and painful memory.
Fifty-nine years after the Nakba, a two and a half year old girl, a fourth generation Palestinian Refugee called Gangoon, already has memories deeply etched into her mind. Memories of her cousins and friends being shot, of her uncle being arrested, of her parents shutting the windows in their house to keep out tear-gas, of violent early morning house raids. She is a beautiful, funny, and strong bright-eyed two and a half year old child, but she already knows what it means to be Palestinian.
Somebody once said ï¿½Memories are Goldenï¿½. The memories of the villages, land, and life before ï¿½Al Nakbaï¿½ are certainly ï¿½goldenï¿½ to the dwindling numbers of Refugees who can still remember life pre-1948, but for fifty-nine years since then most memories for Palestinian Refugees would never be discussed in such terms. In the hearts and minds of even the youngest children we continue to see dark memories of Occupation proliferate as they are forced to grow up in exile and under Occupation much as their parents did. We also continue to see another familiar Palestinian trait in new generations, strengthï¿½
Message from Tarak
Drove up to Walpole, MA today - home of the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium where a 'New England Celebrates Israel' day was taking place on stadium premises indoors at the very huge Dana Farber Field house. Of course I didn't go to really do the Celebrate Israel thing but rather to be part of a very well organized counter demonstration to remember the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe). The plan was for people to wear black t-shirts under their shirts - we were each given 81/2 by
11 stick on sheets printed with the name in Arabic and English of a Palestinian village destroyed in 1948 and the number of people who lived in that village. You all know that 531 villages were destroyed and/or occupied then. There were about 50 of us and the planning for this, which was in the works for 4 months, was very impressive.
All details had been covered, press, security, contingency plans, back up, etc. We had a location to meet at before the event to go over details and get the stick ons. Two women carried large banners in under their skirts. At a command, once everyone that could get in was inside, the
two women would take out the banners, 14 others would help hold them up
and the rest of us would take off our outer shits to reveal the stick
ons. Of course we were all aware of the potential for confrontation
with the thousands of pro Zionists who would be attending he event but
we hoped to avoid anything like that. There was heavy security at the
stadium. State Police and a private security group in black overcoats
looking very ominous. You would have to show picture ID to get in.
After our initial meeting I decided to drive to the stadium with 3 of
the organizers and leave my truck which has all my radical bumper
stickers and would have been a dead give away that I was not really a
We four in the car I was in, got busted anyway. Somehow they
knew who we were or at least that we weren't there to "celebrate"
Israel. As we were in the long line of cars waiting to get in one of
those private security guys along with some state police pulled us out
of the line off to the side and started questioning us. They took our
IDs and after about 15 minutes of us sitting in the car with a number
of cops around us, they gave us printed sheets with our names on it
saying we were not welcome and if we come back to Gillette Stadium we
will be arrested for trespassing. The private security guy, who was
nastier than the cops (the cops were relatively polite - but firm)
before we left tried to take our pictures but we got a better shot of
him than he did of us. Anyway, a few other people didn't make it in but
some 40 did and the event went off well. Actually the police inside
protected the demonstrators until they were told to leave - about 5
solid minutes with banners and t-shirts unfurled. Tarak
Tuesday May 22nd at 7pm at 44 Danforth St (Spontaneous Celebrations right near the Stony Brook T Stop) in Jamaica Plain, the Jamaica Plain Residents for Human Rights (JPRHR) will be having a talk and video presentation by
Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh
about The Right of Return of Palestinian Refugees.
The event is organized by Jamaica Plain Residents for Human Rights (contact P.O. Box 302055, JP MA 02130 or email@example.com for more info).
At our last SDP meeting we voted to support this event. It is a local effort to organize with politics that seem similar to our own politics of opposing Israel's ethic cleansing program, and supporting the right of return of Palestinian refugees. In fact, one JP member of SDP is involved with this effort.... so maybe we helped encourage this new effort !
Mazin has given two presentations in Somerville and always has new information about Palestine and is able to coherently connect this to the history of ethnic cleansing.
He is also part of the Wheels for Justice Network of people doing local grassroots organizing around the U.S. which SDP is also a part of.
Hope you can make it and support this new JP grouping. (more info about Mazin below)
Ron Francis 617 230-2835
Mazin Qumsiyeh is Palestinian American and former Professor of Genetics at Yale University School of Medicine. He is author of the widely acclaimed book Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle. Dr. Qumsiyeh is a cofounder of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, AcademicsForJustice.org and BoycottIsraelGoods.org campaigns. He won the Jallow activism award from the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998.
Dr. Qumsiyehï¿½s specialty is media activism. He published over 120 letters to the editor and 50 op-ed pieces and interviewed in TV and radio extensively.
May 20, 2007
Every day, a few more acres of Palestinian lands are confiscated, a few more apartheid laws introduced to make life more unbearable for non-Jews, a few more "checkpoints" and walls are added or strengthened to keep Palestinians from their jobs, from hospitals, from schools, from their fields, and more people push for what is surely lose-lose scenarios etc. Israel itself continues to descend into fascism (e.g. latest law would make it illegal for members of the Israeli Knesset to advocate for a secular democracy, a country of its citizens rather than a state by and for Zionist Jews). Add to that the infighting now between Hamas and Fatah (stoked by the CIA and Israel) and the ever persistent efforts by Elliot Abrams and the leading Zionist neo-cons to prevent any peace agreement. It is thus not surprising that many who lived through the Nakba of 1947-1949 (the initial large scale ethnic cleansing and theft of 78% of Palestine) are calling this era "the second Nakba" (others call it the third, after Oslo).
Many are analyzing the situation and identifying the problems we face not just as people from Palestine but all the human family. We could talk about how arch-Zionist Wolfowitz was forced from the World Bank for cronyism rather than for his war crimes and crimes against humanity (in Iraq). We could talk about neocon sinister mission to create in Palestine the kind of strife they created in Iraq. We could talk about how $12 billion of our taxes sent to Iraq as cash and vanished (weighed 363 tons of cash!). We could talk about the imperialist liar Tony Blair and his role as Bush's poodle from hell. We could talk about our political fractionation. But instead we should focus on people taking on individual responsibilities to effect change in their lives and the lives of fellow human beings. In Muslim traditions it is stated that 'Wala yughair Allah ma biQawmen 7atta yughaiyuru ma biAnfusihim" (God doe not change a people's condition until they change that within themselves). We are inspired by those who did make such a change; people of all faiths, of all creeds, of all persuasions, of all backgrounds. Inspiring people are everywhere and no less so for people dealing with the Palestine situation; I am compiling a listing that now has hundreds (very few names are posted at http://www.qumsiyeh.org/honorlist/ , please send me other names to add).
But we also need fresh ideas for how we might make more people see the essential meaning of real democracy (origin of word literally means "people power" not mere voting) and the power within ourselves. (I saw a bumper sticker recently "When the people lead, the 'leaders' follow".) There are so many action alerts that are passed around and there are lots of ideas for what can be done (see for example http://www.qumsiyeh.org/whatyoucando/). How many think to themselves "I could do that" but end up not doing it (and feeling powerless or depressed)? How many become active later and then regret not being active earlier (i.e. not making this positive change in life earlier)? Our biggest challenges are not those who chose to call us enemies nor is it the politicians but is mostly changing ourselves and creating people power. From history we know it is doable (e.g. labor rights, civil rights, ending the war on Vietnam, struggle against Apartheid South Africa etc).
Finally, click for an article published in the Teaneck Suburbanite, Northern New Jersey, May 18, 2007 that reflects my thoughts. This is the area that had a ï¿½Real-estate fairï¿½ to sell homes in Israeli colonies built on Palestinian land. There was much back and forth on this in the newspaper. If you live or work in Northern New Jersey (I work there), then you may want to send in some letters to counter the deluge of myths being written (email your letter to Cannici@northjersey.com, Suburbanite@northjersey.com )
=====================ACTION: Take action today to veto the war on Iraq http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=3583
From the undemocratic "country"* that introduced nuclear weapons to Western Asia: A court in Israel has convicted former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu of violating a military order banning him from speaking to foreign journalists. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6607199.stm
(*I use quotes because Israel is not a country in the normal settings, it has extranational entities that supercede it and it is the only country that is not for its own citizens, see http://www.qumsiyeh.org/isisraelunique/ )
2) "Scenes from a Cop Riot: Don't Come to Ann Arbor" By CATHERINE WILKERSON, M.D.
"The event was a presentation by Raymond Tanter, founder of the Iran Policy Committee and former member of the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan. Michigan's chapter of the Zionist organization, the American Movement for Israel (AMI), brought him to town on November 30, 2006 to whip up support for regime change in Iran. The "Islamo-fascist regime" must be overthrown, according to Tanter..." http://www.counterpunch.org/wilkerson03132007.html
B) THE LIVNI-RICE PLAN: TOWARDS A JUST PEACE OR APARTHEID? by Jeff Halper
"the Palestinians get their state, albeit with 'provisional borders,' Israel expands onto 82-85% of the country while still conforming to the Road Map and apartheid ï¿½ in the guise of a 'two-state solution' ï¿½ becomes political reality. And thatï¿½s where we stay forever." http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu=5&submenu=1&item=433
Film about the devastation caused on native Americans by European colonization (1492) http://thecanaryeffect.com/
The Wheels of Justice bus tour (http://justicewheels.org) in El Paso, Texas was highly successful. In two days we spoke at a University class (60 students), a public event, a church, and a mosque. We are now in Tuscon, Arizona where we have appearances at a number of high schools and other venues. The most powerful aspect has been the tremendous networking and mobilization of citizens around the US. Those who attended are mobilized to expand (and in many cases start) great actions for peace with justice. As we always emphasize all positive social changes occur from people at the grassroot level finally saying "enough is enough". Silence is complicity.
++Action 3: Remember these children booklets now available: detailed descriptions of Palestinian and Israeli Children killed in the past 7 years (good educational tool to spread around) http://rememberthesechildren.org/order.html
(Written from an internet cafe in El Paso, TX)
For the past 8 days I have been on the Wheels of Justice bus tour (justicewheels.org, on this leg I was in Amarillo, then Albuquerque, now El Paso and then onto Arizona). The bus tour had a successfull season this Spring (our seventh year). For example in a span of 4 days in Albuquerque we had 12 events ranging from talks at three high schools to classes at universities and colleges, to a Church gathering, to activist dinner conversations about BDS (boycotts, divestments, and sanctions), to radio/TV interviews, and to meeting with a senator's office.. It is an honor to be with this fun and energetic bus crew that includes now Abbie Coburn (bus manager), Bill Hill (bus driver), Tammara Rosenleaf (Iraq speaker), and Mike Miles (doing bookings from Wisconsin). Staff are all volunteers and thus rotate. The reception has been inspiring; and especially energizing to us when it is from young people. Students at high schools who instinctively know that the government is leading us into perpetual war for special interests and must be stopped. It was inspiring to see people we meet accidentally walk up to the bus and offer us donations, offer to host events, etc. It was inspiring to see the level of hospitality wherever we go (the kindness of people taking care of us). It was insiring to see hundreds signing on to our ever growing email list. We collectively reflected on the fact that social change always comes from ordinary people by collective grass root action (e.g. Women's suffrage, civil rights, ending the war on Vietnam, ending support for Apartheid South Africa, consumer protection laws, labor laws, etc.). The energy and amazing vitality of our communities is in every city and town in the US and around the world and is clearly growing. People are networking together locally at an unprecedented rate (partly thanks to the internet). We at the WOJ are also starting now to build the WOJ network to help communities network with other communities within states and beyond (hopefully one day at a global level). Let us know if you want to help. For those interested to read more of our experiences on the bus tour, check out Tammara's notes (e.g. http://www.teambio.org/2007/04/do-something-for-peace-today-even-if-it-is-small/#more-9604 ). Now for our weekly news and two action alerts:
+Freedom Rider: Black America and Palestine by Black Agenda Report Editor and Senior Columnist Margaret Kimberley http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=180&Itemid=33
(MQ adds: IMHO, we must all realize that all human rights struggles are intimately connected. I am now reading a comoparative literature critique by Steven Salaita titled "The Holy Land in Transit" that reviews the literature of Native American and Native Palestinian writers vis a vis their confrontation with ideas of manifest destiny/ "specialness". "ambitious and thought provoking work that compares the dynamics of settler colonialism in the United States related to Native Americans with the circumstances in Israel related to the Palestinians")
AIPAC and the Anti-War Movement: Missing in Action? by Gabriel Ash
(how and why some on the left are reluctant to deal with the Zionist lobby that pushed for war on Iraq and now pushing for confrontation with Iran) http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Apr07/Ash21.htm
June 2007 marks the 40-year anniversary of Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights.
The ICNP (International Coordination Network on Palestine) has launched during last yearï¿½s annual UN civil society conference on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people a global Call for Action Days on June 9-10, 2007, under the banner, "The World Says No to Israeli Occupation."
The call demands an end to occupation and the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, the right to return and the right to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem.
(For the full call in English, Spanish and Portuguese, please go to http://stopthewall.org/worldwideactivism/1393.shtml )
Please, join the hundreds organizations, networks and groups worldwide that are mobilizing for June 9/10 and let us know about your actions. (See below.)
In the US, look at the work being done for a massive rally in Washington DC with the US Campaign to End the Occupation (http://endtheoccupation.org)
We are building nonviolent global campaigns of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions, and we will work on a wide range of educational and cultural campaigns, all culminating in the Global Days of Action.
We will insist that governments all over the globe stop providing military, economic, diplomatic and corporate support for Israel's illegal occupation, and instead create new foreign policies that will support an end to occupation, equal rights for all, and a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.ï¿½
In order to ensure that the local, regional and national actions will have the necessary global impact, we need your contribution and feedback:
If you plan actions, please send the following details to ICNPcall@gmail.com:
City and Location:
Type of initiative:
Contact details (to be published):
If you have prepared any activist and info material (posters, stickers, leaflets etc.) that want to share with others so that they can adjust them to their local circumstances, please send them to ICNPcall@gmail.com. We will prepare a selection of material that we will publish and disseminate.
Please circulate this mail as widely as possible.
Thank you for your support to Justice in Palestine!
(Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign - outreach)
In the US, there is a saying that two things are only certain: Death and Taxes. Tax deadline in the US is this Monday so here are relevant facts and figures for US taxpayers:
Percentage of US discretionary budget spent on education and other social services: 8%
Percentage of US discretionary budget spent for military: 57% (but the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are funded in supplementary budget requests so must be add to that!)
US Military Budget as a percent of World total military expenditures: 49%
Number of Americans classified as ï¿½food insecureï¿½ in 2004: 38 million
Number of Americans without health insurance: 45 million
Total direct aid to Israel 1948-2006: $255 billion
Total Cost of US Support for Israel: $1.688 trillion
(not counting money and lives lost in Israel propelled wars like Iraq, not counting loss of $trillions in business with the rest of the world because of US support for Israel etc)
Federal aid for each resident in Louisiana in 2002 (from their taxes): $1,500
Direct U.S. aid for each Israeli citizen in 2003 (per capita income in Israel-$16,710; they do not pay taxes to the US): $581
Direct U.S. aid for each Ethiopian citizen in 2004 (per capita income in Ethiopia - $110): $2.50
Percentage of U.S. foreign aid that goes to Israel: 27%
Population of Israel as percentage of total world population: 0.1%
Number of Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces (2000-2007): 814
Total number of Palestinians injured or killed (September 2000-April 2007): 31,296
Number of bullets fired by Israeli security forces in the first week of the second Intifada: 1,300,000
Number of unexploded Israeli bombs strewn across South Lebanon after the 2006 war: 1,000,000 or 1.4 per resident
Slightly modified from the 1040 ez tax form available at
It is not just Imus. "Media Matters for America has extensively documented, (that) bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity continue to permeate the airwaves through personalities such as Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, and John Gibson. http://mediamatters.org/items/200704120010
++ACTION 1: USS Liberty survivors need your help. Please call the Office of the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General at (202) 685-5493 to request they provide a speaker to address the crew of the USS Liberty during their June 2007 reunion. Call the members of your Congressional Delegation and ask that they contact the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General and request that they provide the speaker the USS Liberty survivors are requesting. Invite your Congressional Delegation and their staff members to attend that presentation. Then e-mail Joe Meadors at firstname.lastname@example.org so he can coordinate a follow-up. For more information, or to read the War Crimes Report, visit the USS Liberty Web site: www.ussliberty.org
Please donï¿½t let the U.S. government abandon the USS Liberty again.
++ACTION 2: Sign Petition: Sack Neoconservative Zionist Paul Wolfowitz from the world bank http://www.avaaz.org/en/sack_wolfowitz/
New York Times article on Paul Wolfowitz controversy
and Maureen Dowdï¿½s very insightful column "More con than neo":
++ACTION 3: Stop AIPAC contributer Zell dfrom skirting FCC rules. The Forward (New York Jewish Weekly http://www.forward.com/) had an article "Billionaire Boychiks Battle for Media Empire 'Committed Zionist' To Buy Papers With Troubled Ties to Community"
Write to the FCC: http://action.freepress.net/campaign/tribune_network/explanation
Stop big media campaign: http://www.stopbigmedia.com/comment.php
"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." Dante
"God is not merciful to him who is not so to humankind. He who is not kind to God's creation and to his own children, God will not be kind to him." Islamic Hadith
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:2-10)
I am reminded of that Sermon on the Mount uttered in the Spring 2000 years ago. Spring is a time of reflection, renewal, and hope. Ity is a time were we recognize our unity with nature and with all living things on this planet. It is a time of reflection on what we value most in life. A time of rededication to ideals, shedding the dark clouds of winter, embracing the sunshine of hope. Here is an article I wrote after Easter Sunday in 2004 that is still relevant today: titled Spring is Here http://www.qumsiyeh.org/springishere/
I can only add that I saw this hope in two events I attended today and especially in being approached by a high school senior in CT (a third generation Palestinian American) and a Jewish student at Yale. Both had enthusiams and interest in doing work for Palestine. These are the new flowers of Spring to which we pin our hopes for a bight future for all People.
For those in or near New York State: Wednesday, April 11th, Light, Middle Eastern supper served at 6:30, with forum at 7:30 p.m. St Georgeï¿½s Episcopal Church, 2nd & Grand Sts, City of Newburgh, NY
PALESTINE: Through the Lens of Peace. Panelists are: Dorothy Naor, of Israelï¿½s New Profile movement; Mazin Qumsiyeh, Palestinian peace activist and scholar; and Hudson Valley activist Paula Silbey, who will narrate a presentation of photos taken while on a human rights watch in the occupied territories.
Researcher Says Israel Responsible for at least 97.8 Percent of Serious Human Rights Abuses in Conflict. Apartheid ï¿½ Ancient, Past, and Present: Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, Vienna: Gesellschaft fï¿½r Phï¿½nomenologie und kritische Anthropologie, 2007, 3 rd edition. Take time to read this long (nearly 200 pages) but worthwhile document to judge for yourself if what Bush said is true: "America and Israel are brothers and sisters in the family of democracy, natural allies ï¿½ natural allies in the cause of peace." George Bush, American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference, Washington, D.C., May 22, 2000
Full report (PDF file) on Israel apartheid policies: http://www.dada.at/gems/gesellschaft/Apartheid.pdf
New Project 1: PalestineRemembered.com is pleased to announce our new project: Tracing All That Remains Since Nakba, a project which aims to document the destroyed villages in video format.
In cooperation with few energetic Israelis (Arabs and Jews) who are deeply involved in Nakba awareness world wide, we have visited several towns and filmed the following movies.. http://www.palestineremembered.com/Articles/General/Story2041.html
Blessed are the peacemakers
The Wheels of Justice bus tour is shaping up really nice for the Spring but we could use your support to even make it more successful. The bus is now in Texas with a good schedule going forward (see schedule at bottom) but we can always squeeze more events in each day and fill in gaps). YOU can also publicize events, send us your contacts in those areas, help with hosting, donate, do media work etc.. visit http://justicewheels.org for details, and email me email@example.com and/or Mike Miles at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help. (BTW I will be personally on the tour April 19 to May 1st).
The "Anti-Defamation League" has a brand new three pages "backgrounder" on me including my shady affiliations with groups like the Wheels of Justice, US Campaign to End the occupation etc: http://www.adl.org/israel/qumsiyeh
Wheels of Justice schedule:
Crawford, Texas-- April 8 (confirmed- am-Misty Turbeville. Church under the Bridge. pm-Kay Lucas-Peace House anniversary)
Crawford/Austin--April 9 (confirmed-during school. Misty Turbeville, Crawford High School; Susan Van Heitsma, 7:30 p.m. FOR Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, Booher Library 606 Rathervue Place)
Austin--April 10 ( Spencer Crowl. still working on parking bus on campus.7:00 pm. Bill Holloway. McCombs School of Business, room and abbreviation, CBA 4.328)
Fort Worth, Dallas--April 11 ( confirmed. 11:30 a.m. in Room L104 and 1:30 p.m. in Room L372.-Trish Major, Brookhaven College)
Fort Worth, Dallas--April 12 (confirmed. 9:30am and 11:00am-Trish Major Richland Community College)(could use something here)
Fort Worth, Dallas--April 13 (not confirmed 8:45 to 11 a.m. and 1:50 to 2:45 at a high school ) (could use something here) (possibly join a demonstration at a senator's office 4pm)
Fort Worth, Dallas--April 14 (the day is still open please keep looking for something). (possibly an environmental fair. noon-4:00pm )(confirmed-changing of speakers Iraq at the airport around 6:00pm)
Fort Worth, Dallas--April 15 ( confirmed-Trish Major, Greenland Hills United Methodist Church, Sunday morning special all church Sunday school)(travel to OK)
Oklahoma City--April 16(confirmed 8:30-2:30 Steve Morrow, St Mary's High School)
Oklahoma City--April 17 (confirmed--Steve Morrow, Oklahoma Community College)
Oklahoma City--April 18
Amarillo--April 19 (confirmed--Mavis Belisle, UU church 7:00pm) (confirmed-changing of Palestine speakers at the airport 3:00-4:00 pm)
Amarillo--April 20 (is being organized)
travel day-- April 21
for all events contact is Katherine Huges-Faitelch 505 480 9008 co sponsor is Middle East Peace and Justice Alliance
Albuquerque--April 22 (confirmed-7:00-9:00 pm presentation Smith Brasher Hall, CNM Albuquerque)
Albuquerque--April 23 (confirmed-U of New Mexico Al Salaam students organization)
Albuquerque--April 24 (confirmed-U of New Mexico UNM Progressive students association)
Santa Fe-- April 25 (is being organized}
Deming--April 26(is being organized)
El Paso--April 27(hopefully at a university now)
El Paso--April 28 (confirmed-parked in downtown El Paso, 6:00 pm potluck and presentation with the UU's)
El Paso--April 29 (confirmed-forum after services at the UU church a.m.)
travel day--April 30
Tucson--May 1 (is being organized}
Tucson--May 2(is being organized}
Tucson--May 3 (is being organized}
Phoenix -- May 4 (confirmed-10:00 am-2:00 pm on ASU campus. 7:00pm-9:00pm Memorial Union (it's #212, called Cochise) Arianne Peterson,)
Phoenix--May 5 (nothing going on)
Flagstaff--May 6(is being organized)
Flagstaff--May 7(is being organized)
Silence is complicity
Half an hour from each of us every day to do something does make a difference (and our numbers are growing so collecively it is significant; you can make a difference). Here are four actions (at the bottom, I also added three responses to reader inquiries):
++ACTION 1: Dershowitz and other racists embarked on a program to press DePaul University to deny tenure to our friend Dr. Norman Finkelstein. See http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=960
(if you are not familiar with Finkelstein's excellent work, take a look around that website). Anybody who read Beyond Chutzpah knows how meticulous is the research of Prof. Finkelstein. Dershowitz's plagiariazing and garbage would not be tolerated if he was not part of an elite that were used to having their way in America. But above all, Dean Suchar should not accept the attack on free speech by these desperate, mean, and increasingly (if that is possible) fanatical elite. McCarthyism and witch hunts should not be tolerated in America! I hope you will take time to write letters especially if you are in academia (I am sure they are receiving letters from racists who do not like the facts articulated in Finkelstein's books or his other scholarly work):
Dean Prof. Charles Suchar email@example.com
President The Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, CM firstname.lastname@example.org
++ACTION 3: National Effort to End the War and Impeach Bush and Cheney
The National Committee to Impeach for Peace announces a coordinated effort to organize a US corporate shopping boycott April 15 (Tax day) to April 22 (Earth Day) to end the Iraq war and Impeach Bush and Cheney. http://www.wearenotbuyingit.org/
And on April 28, spell it out: IMPEACH http://www.a28.org/
++ACTION 4: House speaker Pelosi is under attack from the far right for speaking with Assad. This desite the fact that she had Henry Waxman and Tom Lantos with her who are ardent Zionists and she still pledges allegiance to AIPAC. It is time to nudge her from the other angles (ask tah she challenge the far right AND AIPAC). Contact Pelosi at Office of the Speaker, H-232, US Capitol, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-0100 http://speaker.house.gov/contact/
+US Empire and the Middle East: Zionism, Puppet Regimes and Political Allies By James Petras. "For the first time in the history of world empires, a tiny ethnic-religious minority, representing less than 2% of the population is able to shape US policy in the Middle East to serve the colonial interests of a foreign country (Israel), which represents less than 1% of the population of the Middle East. The Zionist power configuration in the US with several hundred thousand fanatical activists, throughout the country, can mobilize close to 98% of the US Congress on any legislation favoring Israel, even when their approval prejudices major US oil multinationals." http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17482.htm
RESPONSES TO READER INQUIRIES:
a) About Deir Yassin and other massacres: the 33 massacres mentioned are for the periods indicated (and even then that is a conservative estimates, some historians put it at >100 for that period). Ofcourse there are literally hundreds of massacres committed both before 1948 and after. A good recent book on the subject is Ilan Pappe's "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine". As far as actions by Palestinians, I would remind people that in the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, there werre varius methods used including things like putting rubber tires around people and burning them alive ("necklacing"). This is a symptom of the violence of apartheid (the underlying etiology). Also, a fact of interest is that Yad Vashem (the Israeli museum to commemorate the Jewish holocaust) sits atop a hill directly overlooking the village of Deir Yassin which was emptied of its population and the buildings are now used by an Israeli mental institution!
b) Some readers asked if the recipients of these messages include editors, journalists, and politicians: Yes although in a different format: more compact, more focused on issues they should report on, and without the action alerts. For the past six years this has included >600 such "decision makers" (editors, journalists, politicians).
c) With regards to the fundraiser for the Israeli army, it is indeed despicable that this is tax deductible. People asked what they can do about this. Suggestions: write to the IRS about violations of US Tax law since this "charitable" foundation is discriminatory by dedicating itself to funding the military of a foreign country (website of IRS is http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=106778,00.html and of the "charitable"/501c3 friends of the IDF is http://www.israelsoldiers.org/). Also consider donating tax deductible to charities that educate US Citizens about these issues (e.g. IfAmericansKnew.org and EndTheOccupation.org).
(Action items at end)
Deir Yassin Remembered April 9th. This massacre is one of 33 massacres (not the largest but one of those publicized by the Zionists to scare the remaining population) that helped the systematic cleansing of Palestine.
Here is a video on the subject worth viewing (32 minutes) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14676.htm
(write letters to editor about these atrocities that are ongoing to this day)
- Torture: Read it in the Israeli press by Miko Peled
- And yet, a New York dinner raises $18 millions for the Israeli army (Imagine a dinner raising money for the army of Apartheid South Africa in NYC!) http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1173879238837
+Israel's deputy Prime Minister cancels his visit to Ankara (after Ankara invited Hamas leader). From Turkish news agency
"Congressman Tom Lantos on Thursday night called Foreign Minister Abdullah G?l and reacted to the invitation of Hamas. Lantos reportedly threatened the Turkish government with cutting its support to block an Armenian genocide resolution in the U.S House of Representatives."(and some people still think the US has an independent foreign poilicy not dictated by AIPAC /Lantos et al)
+ACTION: Work to get such human interest stories in YOUR local newspaper and other media outlets (and go ahead and see the great Palestinian food recipes included and pass them around to your friends): Two Easters in one A tale of two Easters: East Bay family's meal draws on ancient tradition San Francisco Chronicle (includes Palestinian Food recipes)
++ACTION (from FPSN): My Name is Rachel Corrie Canceled in South Florida. Write Letters or make phone calls expressing your dissatisfaction with the Mosaic Board of Directors decision to stifle free speech by dropping My Name is Rachel Corrie . The Website mentioned in the article is a propaganda website. The offical Website of Rachel Corrie is http://www.mynameisrachelcorrie.com/
Letters can be sent to HeraldEd@MiamiHerald.com
Keep letters to 200 words or less. Include your full name, mailing address, phone numbers and e-mail address for verification purposes only. Keep a polite, professional and factual tone.
OPED SUBMISSIONS (opportunity knocks)
To submit a column to the Op-Ed page of The Miami Herald, please:
Send it by e-mail to oped@MiamiHerald.com
Keep the column under 650 words.
Include a photo (head shot) of the author.
Provide an e-mail address or website to run with the column.
Mosaic Theatre contact info: Mosaic Theatre, 12200 West Broward Blvd.
Plantation, FL 33325, Phone:(954) 57-STAGE, (954) 577-8243, Fax: (954) 473-4713
General Information: email@example.com
Richard Jay Simon, Executive, Artistic Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomi Littman, Assistant to the Executive/Artistic Director: email@example.com
Ruth Resnikoff, Play Readings Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
The link to the Miami Herald article is: http://www.miamiherald.com/213/story/61685.html
3 April 2007
This newsletter/action alert is read by 25,000 people so I get lots of feedback, occasional disagreements, and even a few hate mails. I try my best to respond to emails individually but this is a task that has grown and now takes some 3 hours daily just to respond to the most relevant emails. I will need to cut that down to focus on other projects so I will try in the next few months to take the most common points that more than one person makes and include a brief response in each newsletter/action alerts. We will see how it goes.
+(excellent reading especialy on Passover) "The Jewish People are not my People. My People are Hashem and his Family from Bil`in" by Beni Tziper, Ha`aretz (only the Hebrew Edition, not in their English Edition): "There is nothing festive in this posting. Passover, shmassover, I hate the holidays because while we celebrate, while us Jews babble slogans about freedom, and fantasize that we are a miserable enslaved nation, we are in fact busy enslaving the Palestinian people. It`s become banal and boring to repeat this a thousand times, but in my eyes, the hypocrisy cries out to the heavens. The Passover prayer `Oh bread of poverty` is no longer the bread of poverty of Jews but of numerous Palestinian families in the Occupied Territories, who live off thirty or forty shekels the head of the household manages to scrounge together doing temporary jobs once every few days......"
English Translation by Rann Bar-Onv posted at http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=19170
Hebrew original: http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/845020.html
+Whose boycott is it, anyway: With Jewish intellectuals attacked as anti-Semitic by supporters of Israel, Israeli filmmaker and academic Haim Bresheeth* makes the case for a cultural boycott of his home country http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/835/op3.htm
-In 2005, over 7 million US citizens were under some form of correctional supervision (probation, prisons/jails, parole). The US spent a record >185 billion annually for the so called justice system (police, law enforcement etc), twice what it spends on education. The bloated system is growing faster than other systems and employes 2% of the workforce in America. Per capita, the US incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country and yet the crime rate is still higher than most countries. http://www.prisonlegalnews.org/ListServFiles/ListServRead/displayMessage.cfm?listID=1696
"The people of the world do not need to choose between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs" Arundhati Roy (The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire)
++ACTION: The annual Salute to Israel Day Parade will be held on Sunday May 6 in New York City. Organizers from Jews Against the Occupation, the International Socialist Organization, the International Solidarity Movement, Adalah-NY and other groups are calling an open, city-wide meeting for Wednesday April 4 at 7:00 PM at CUNY Grad Center in order to mobilize a broad network of groups and individuals to protest the Salute to Israel Day Parade.
On May 6th, we plan to bring out hundreds of people to say loudly and visibly to the public and to
the media that there's no reason to celebrate Israeli apartheid and aggression.
7:00 PM, Wednesday April 4
CUNY Grad Center
5th Avenue between 34th and 35th Street
(bring photo ID for admission)
Ramallah April 1, 2007.-- "The newly appointed Palestinian leader Sasi Nasoos announced that he secured the agreement of all Palestinian factions on a new unity platform to replace the Palestinian Thawabet (constants) and previous unity agreements and supplant International law. The new unity platform to revive the peace process calls for world normalization with Israel on all fronts (especially economic) and accepts Israel's long-standing demand that Palestinians give up the right of return to their homes and lands, accept Israel as a Jewish state (accept the laws that discriminate against their remnants inside Israel), and accept the concept of the statelet that is to be named Palustan on parts of the West Bank. Palestinians will also accept Israel's annexation and sovereignty on the Western and Eastern Water aquifers (where the settlements lie in the Jordan Valley and the Western parts of the West Bank) and areas around Jerusalem (all the Jewish colonies there). Palestinians have also accepted Israel's sovereignty on the subterranean earth of Arab areas of East Jerusalem (especially under the Mosques of Al-Aksa, Omar etc), control over the air space of the West Bank, the electromagnetic spectrum, the natural resources, and the borders of the newly liberated Palustan. All resistance is to cease, all Palestinians to have no weapons, and all mention of Israel's military arsenal (especially its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons) is to cease as that would be considered incitement. More detail at
So far this spoof would sound outlandish but the agreement part of it is what was actually on offer at Camp David!. Still far more people need to get involved to ensure this scenario does not happen. Far more people need to get educated about the racism that is inherent in the political Zionist ideality and that now is so pervasive in Israeli society and in its supporters in America. Here is just a brief exchange of emails with one such American Jewish Zionist (and no, this exchange is not an April Fool's joke!):
FW: MDA enters Ramallah to save Palestinian baby
For the first time since the intifada, an Israeli ambulance enters
Palestinian territories in order to evacuate critically injured baby.
Can you imagine your barbarian friends doing anything to help an Israeli
Can you imagine a more racist comment than yours (which I will include in my upcoming book)?
Perhaps you can imagine it only if I do this: Here are two stories of situations:
Palestinian drowns trying to save Israeli teenagers http://traubman.igc.org/messages/489.htm
Palestinian donor saves Israeli lives http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1371651.stm
Nothing unusual here. It would bne unusual if I sent you one of those links and wrote what you wrote: "Can you imagine your barbarian friends doing anything to help a Palestinian"
RACISM and Bigotry! We should say never again and mean it.
Obviously living in the influence of Israel, or what you call occupied east Jerusalem, he learned new values. Those are the kind of people that should live and govern.
Ronnie Kasrils, minister for intelligence in the South African government (and who is Jewish) once wrote "The Palestinian minority in Israel has for decades been denied basic equality in health, education, housing and land possession, solely because it is not Jewish. The fact that this minority is allowed to vote hardly redresses the rampant injustice in all other basic human rights. They are excluded from the very definition of the 'Jewish state', and have virtually no influence on the laws, or political, social and economic policies. Hence, their similarity to the black South Africans under apartheid." (The Guardian, 25 May 2005)
And these are the lucky ones. The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza basically live in a new kind of large concentration camps.
Barbara Tuchman wrote in The March of Folly:
ï¿½Wooden-headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts. It is epitomized in a historian's statement about Phillip II of Spain, the surpassing wooden-head of all sovereigns: No experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence"
Can there be any better description of the actions of Sheldon, Bush, Olmert, and virtually the entire political establishment in Israel and America who support Israeli apartheid?
But that again is the diagnosis which we shoudl spend less time on. Preventive medicine and when afflicted, prognosis and therapy is what we need. That requires rethinking our own actions and responsibilities. How much are we willing to get uncomfortable/change our routine in life? Or will most of us remain passive consumers (of products and of propaganda).
Perhaps this (I do not know who is the author might help):
The most destructive habit..........................Worry
The greatest Joy....................................Giving
The greatest loss...................................Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work............................Helping others
The ugliest personality trait.......................Selfishness
The most endangered species.........................Dedicated leaders
Our greatest natural resource.......................Our youth
The greatest "shot in the arm"......................Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome....................Fear
The most effective sleeping pill....................Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease..................Excuses
The most powerful force in life.....................Love
The most dangerous pariah...........................A gossiper
The world's most incredible computer................The brain
The worst thing to be without.......................Hope
The deadliest weapon................................The tongue
The two most power-filled words....................."I Can"
The greatest asset..................................Faith
The most worthless emotion..........................Self-pity
The most beautiful attire...........................SMILE!
The most prized possession..........................Integrity
The most powerful channel of communication..........Prayer/contemplation
The most contagious spirit..........................Enthusiasm
Today we commemorate Land Day March 30th to protest the continued Israeli process of land confiscation and other tools of ethnic cleansing (background and resources at http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/1424.shtml ). More people are waking up to the reality of the historical and ongoing injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people. Even more people are beginning to realize the centrality of this issue in the instability and mayhem that extended from Lebanon to Iraq, Iran and beyond. Elites and oppressors like Condi Rice are trying to keep the so called "peace process" alive (which is status quo) while they continue to murder any possibility of real peace. They sweep under the rug their own complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity. But humanity refuses to surrender and I am always amazed first at the resilience, adaptability, and amazing spirit of our people. I am also amazed at the refusal of so many people to play their assigned roles of passive consumers (consumers of products and consumers of propaganda). The Republican neocons and their Democratic allies in Congress (the leadership of the Democratic party that is beholden to AIPAC) continue to delude themselves that they can shape Western Asia to their (i.e. Israel's) liking. This despite their massive failure in Lebanon, in Iraq, and in Palestine. This despite the accelerating disintegration of Israeli society that stretched from the Defense minister who sold his stock holdings just before ordering the attack on Lebanon to sex scandals and financial corruption involving its key elite leaders. This despite the failure of a Zionist manipulated shrieking media (CNN, Fox etc) in convincing enough Americans (let alone the rest of the world) that the Bush "war on terror" is anything but a scam to profit special interests. This despite the fact that US failing policies profited those they tried to target (look at how Iran profited from the rising oil prices and the mayhem created by the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan). Under the radar, countries from Venezuela to China to Dubai to Iran are dumping the US dollar whose value will continue to decline against the Euro and the Yen. Even the king of Saudi Arabia (Abdullah Al-Saud whose regime would not last without US support) for the first time spoke publicly that "the US occupation of Iraq" (his words) causes violence and must be ended. This despite the fact that as the Zionists target Muslims, hundreds of new mosques are being established in America and Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world (and of course many people are bridging religions and cultures, intermarriage is at an all time high and accelerating). This despite the fact that hundreds of new organizations for solidarity with Palestinian rights are also being established around the world and more people of all faiths are becoming aware of the injustices and demanding human rights (a win-win outcome for ALL people). The most optimistic thing is that activism is flourishing and apathy is receding around the world.
(on the Arab peace initiative)
Initiative versus principle By Dr. Azmi Bishara
"Unless the occupying power recognises the right of the occupied people to self-determination and declares its intent to withdraw, what you have is not negotiations but another form of bullying, and calling the people sitting around the negotiating table "the two sides" doesn't alter that fact. This is why liberation movements resolve to sustain the resistance and not to negotiate with the occupying power and somehow manage to reconcile the demands of resistance with the demands of day-to-day life until the occupying power declares its readiness to lift the occupation. Only then is there really something to negotiate over. What is more natural than a person returning to their home?" Full article at
or use this shorter link http://tinyurl.com/32dhhg
+A sacred right by Dr. Salman AbuSitta
"Facts have a way of surfacing. The facts, documented on maps and records, show that in 1948 Israelis depopulated the Palestinian inhabitants of 675 towns and villages, that their land represents 93% of Israel's area; that half of all the refugees have been expelled in the last six weeks of the British Mandate, before the state of Israel was declared and before any Arab regular soldier set foot on Palestine to save its people from the invasion of Jewish European immigrants who had just waded into their shores to build Israel on the ruins of Palestine." http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/salman_abusitta/2007/03/salman_abu_sitta.html
-Israeli racism: "Marriage to an Arab is national treason"
"Recent poll reveals steep rise in racist views against Arabs in Israel; many participants feel hatred, fear when overhearing Arabic, 75 percent donï¿½t approve of shared apartment buildings" http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3381978,00.html
+A holocaust survivor speaks out: check this new video posted at http://www.ajpme.org/
+(MUST READ) UN Committee Urges Israel to Revoke the Citizenship Law, Dismantle the Wall, Bind
the Jewish National Fund to Anti-Discrimination Principles, and
Recognize the Unrecognized Villages http://www.adalah.org/newsletter/eng/mar07/6.php
(Disclosure: you can skim through news and take actions that make a difference in less than half an hour. Silence is complicity)
+Joint letter of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Submitted to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Occasion of his Visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory http://www.alhaq.org/etemplate.php?id=227
-Wheels of justice tour "featured" at a web site that defames Rachel Corrie and the ISM
++ACTION: Help the wheels of Justice tour, we need contacts especially in high schools and colleges and community centers in Texas and other areas in the South for our Spring tour: see http://justicewheels.org
- AIPAC and leadership of so called "mainstream" Jewish organizations (AJC< JF, ADL, and all the other of alphabet soup) are pushing for sanctions and confrontation with Iran and since Congress and the white house are Israeli occupied territories, US foreign policy is moving in that direction
+'My son lived a worthwhile life': In April 2003, 21-year old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head in Gaza by an Israeli soldier as he tried to save the lives of three small children. Nine months later, he died, having never recovered consciousness. Emine Saner talks to his mother Jocelyn about her grief, her fight to make the Israeli army accountable for his death and the book she has written in his memory. http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2042968,00.html
+The Mayor, the Martyr, and the Pomegranate Trees by Nir Rosen (excellent story of the Lebanese and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who we do not hear about in America)
+Taming Leviathan: "These are both the best of times and the worst of times for the American-Jewish lobby"
+Captured prisoners: the whole story (IfAmericansKnew Video)
++Action: On the 40th anniversary of Israel's illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, United for Peace and Justice, and 150 organizations in Washington, DC, June 10-11, 2007 for a protest, teach-in, and lobby day.
Quote of the week
"In the rest of the so-called "Land of Israel," the ethnic discrimination is much worse, from segregated roads to separate legal systems. I know what Israel will say: this is only self-defense. On some level this is correct: if Israel desires control the territory that it has for more than two-thirds of its history, and to remain the state exclusively of the Jewish people, and to be democratic as well, it must find a way to create a Jewish majority on a strip of land in which the majority of inhabitants are not Jewish. There are only so many possible solutions: there's mass transfer (as was tried successfully in 1948, and is currently advocated by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman), there's mass imprisonment (10,000+ Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails as I write), there's genocide... or there is apartheid. The more humane alternatives of Israel withdrawing to the 1967 borders or becoming a state of its citizens are not even on the bargaining table. Apartheid and segregation failed in South Africa and the United States and they will fail in Israel and Palestine. Ethnocentric nationalism failed in Nazi Germany and it will fail in Zionist Israel. But until they do, the Ibrahims and baby Khalids of Palestine are counting on you and me to do something, to say something, since they themselves cannot. Silence is complicity. We cannot wait for things to get worse. The ethnic cleansing and apartheid have gone on long enough." http://www.AnnaInTheMiddleEast.com
Today is Spring Equinox. In much of the world this is mothers' day. It is also Norouz (Kurdish and Persian New Year). As we note the beginnings of budding trees and early spring shoots coming out in our yards, we are filled with the love, gratefulness and hope for renewal. Physical renewal is also accompanied by spiritual and intellectual renewal (Many of us pledge here to keep a questioning mind and a hopeful spirit).
I am taking this opportunity to make a slight format change in my emails (sent about twice a week most of the time). Approximately half of what I post in these compilations are what I consider exposing the warmongers and their plans, the myths and the attacks on people. The other half were examples of positive actions people do, call to actions, and articles written by people of conscience (hopefully as examples for others to emulate) etc. In the coming months (and in honor of this important day), I am changing slightly the format to include even more emphasis on these positive areas (including action alerts). A minus and a plus sign in front of the item will let readers know my thoughts. A double plus sign is for action items. Let us spring forward with hope, growth and opportunities.....
+Good article: Israel's right to be racist. The matter-of-factness with which the state of Israel claims the right to treat non-Jews as lesser animals is shocking and annuls any move towards peace, writes Joseph Massad http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/836/op1.htm
++Action: (from Amira)
The Doha Debates hosted by BBC's Tim Sebastian will be discussing the Palestinian right of Return under this provocative title:
This house believes the Palestinians should give up their full right of return on 28 March.
The show's producers contacted ROR expert Salman Abu Sitta and were happy with his knowledge on the issue and ability to express himself adequately in English. After the producers returned to Sebastian the invitation was withdrawn. We dont know who will defend ROR but we know that Yossi Belin -who is against it obviously - will be a guest.
I wrote to Sebastian (see copy of message below) and urge you to do the same. ROR is probably the most important issue in the Palestinian question and a show like this will influence public opinion. This population of 5 million refugees constitutes the very core of Palestinian existence. They are living proof of their right and their tragedy. Arab leaders are currently doing their best to scrap this right which is what the coming Riyadh Summit is all about.
Please express your opposition to the premise of the coming Doha debate and the show's decision not to host Abu Sitta to defend ROR.
His emails are: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr.Tim Sebastian
I'm a journalist with the Cairo-based English Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper. I'm writing to inquire about your coming Doha debate ''This House believes the Palestinians should give up their full right of return " on 28 March.
I've learned that your producers contacted one of the -if not the- most informed Palestinian figures on the Right of Return, Dr.Salman Abu Sitta, to argue against the motion and then this invitation was withdrawn or not confirmed. On the other hand you will be hosting Yossi Belin who is for the motion to voice the Israeli point of view.
I'm currently working on a story on the renewed debate on the Palestinian Right of Return (ROR) and I want to refer to this incident. ROR is an inalienable right enshrined by international law and a number of UN resolutions (see 194). There are now approximately 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered across the world and are denied that right. In fact the Palestinian refugee problem is the most enduring refugee problem in the world.
This leads to the following question: what is the moral message of your coming debate which demands that the Palestinians give up this "right" and why the Palestinian side is not represented by the most knowledgeable source on the topic (who can also express himself in perfect English) Dr.Abu Sitta? Who will defend the Palestinian right in the debate?
Is your show taking sides on this very sensitive and highly important issue for the Palestinians and Arab public opinion?
I hope your time allows you to answer my questions. If you prefer that I call you can you please provide me with a good number?
- Sign petition to save Dibbin forest in Jordan* http://www.foe.org.jo/dibbin/
(*I did some research in Dibbin forest earier in my career discovering new records/species of bats and other mammals and highlighted its importance in my book "Mammals of the Holy Land"- Mazin)
- Israeli continues to use Palestinian civilians as human shields
- Anna Balzar is a Jewish American young women who was in Nablus during the recent Israeli pogrom of the city. Here is an interview with her in Nablus
- Event in Newburgh, NY
Wednesday, April 11th, 6:30 p.m.
Palestine: Through the Lens of Peace
St. Georgeï¿½s Episcopal Church, Grand & 2nd Streets in City of Newburgh
Join us first for a light supper with the forum beginning promptly at 7:30.
Panelists are: Dorothy Naor, of Israelï¿½s New Profile movement; Mazin Qumsiyeh, Palestinian peace activist and scholar; and Paula Silbey, who will make a PowerPoint presentation of photos taken while on a human rights watch in the occupied territories. A social forum presented by St. Georgeï¿½s Outreach and Social Justice Program
- Letter submitted to email@example.com in reference to the article
Thanks for publishing the rather chilling article by Scott Wilson on the views of Israeli historian Benny Morris that the problems in Israel/Palestine arise because of the "incompleteness" of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to create a Jewish state. But historically there are only three scenarios for resolving a colonial/settler situation like that in Palestine: 1) The annihilation/destruction of most of the natives (e.g. European colonizations in the Americas and Australia), 2) the expulsion of the settlers/colonialists (e.g. 1 million French settlers vacated Algeria), 3) the evolution and integration scenario as transpired in the transformation of Apartheid South Africa. Apartheid is not a viable option. The third option is the most optimistic scenario and there is no other options left in Palestine. There are 9 million Palestinians in the world (70% are refugees/displaced people) who will not forget their country. There are half a million Israeli colonial settlers living in the 22% of Palestine that some still advocate for a Palestinian state and 4.5 million in other parts of Palestine. Just like with South Africa, we can get to peace (a win-win situation for Palestinians and Israelis) but only if we, the tax-payers, demand that our government stops funding and supporting this colossal injustice and respect International law.
Telling Americans About Rachel Corrie
Flyers, Posters, & Booklets
IN CT, we had a memorial for Rachel Corrie Yesterday (Sunday). Her website is . Here is an action item from IfAmericansKnew on Rachel Corrie
Many people have never heard of Rachel Corrie ï¿½ of her heroism, or of her murder by Israeli forces on March 16th, 2003. It is up to us to tell them.
FLYERS. On March 16, the anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death, many of us will be handing out cards about Rachel ï¿½ Alison Weir's personal goal will be to distribute at least 500 cards. (In previous years she has done this at SMU in Texas and at UCLA.) We would be glad to send these Rachel Corrie cards at cost to anyone who will distribute them to the public. You can see and order the cards at http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/rc-cards.html
We also hope to have posters for people to plaster all over the country.
To order posters: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/rachelposter.html
To download posters: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/download/corrieposter.pdf
(We are about to get more posters printed, so tell us quickly how many you want! This new batch will be on card stock, so that they can easily be stapled onto sticks to carry as signs in vigils and antiwar marches.)
BOOKLETS. We also have Rachel's letters in booklet form:
To download booklets: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/download/rachels_letters.pdf
To order or read online: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/rachelsletters.html
If you have trouble with the forms for ordering these materials, you can email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please tell us how many of each that you want and give us your mailing address.
IfAmericansKnew.org is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Our work is made possible by your contributions. Please help: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/donate.html
- CQ Reports: AIPAC Pushes to Eliminate Anti-Iran-War Language from Pelosi Iraq Bill By M.J. Rosenberg, TPM Cafe
As everyone knows, House and Senate Democrats are trying to put together an Iraq war spending bill that will pressure the President to bring the troops home sooner rather than later. There is a general consensus on most issues relating to Iraq. However, the authoritative Congressional Quarterly daily report reveals today that some Democrats are fighting Speaker Pelosi's language which would prevent the President from going to war in Iran without the approval of Congress. Simply put, Pelosi wants to avoid a repeat of the Iraq experience in Iran. For Dems, this is a no-brainer, or so one would think. But, according to CQ some of the same Democrats most vehement about ending the Iraq debacle are resisting denying the President unilateral authority to go to war in Iran. The hypocrisy is astounding. It is worth noting that the AIPAC conference begins in Washington this weekend with thousands of citizen lobbyists being deployed to Capitol Hill to deliver the message that Iran must be dealt with, one way or another. This battle over the Pelosi language is part of the overall Iran effort. And you thought it couldn't happen again! SOURCE: http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/coffeehouse/2007/mar/09/pro_israel_lobbyists_push_to_eliminate_anti_iran_war_language_from_pelosi_iraq_bill
- Join us June 10th-11th, 2007: The World Says NO to Israeli Occupation!
Mobilization in Washington, DC. The US Campaign and United for Peace and Justice are sponsoring a two-day mobilization in Washington , DC to protest the 40th anniversary of Israel's illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Under the banner, "The World Says No to Israeli Occupation", the US Campaign and UFPJ will hold a massive rally, teach-in, and grassroots lobbying day. To get involved and help go to http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=162
The US campaign stands for human rights including the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands
March 8, 2007
The action alert on refugees generated lots of responses
The webmaster of PalestineRemembered.com sent me two links to share with you:
And here is a sampling of other comments received:
Hanna: "The Arab Jews, like the Ethiopian Jews after them, having been enticed to come to Israel, were sprayed with DDT upon arrival; the Moroccan Jews had large groups of their children taken for what officially was termed vaccination but in reality were dangerous experiments which affected their health and well-being. The USA were interested in these experiments. Many Moroccan Jews now want compensation"
Brian: "Marion Woolfson, in Prophets in Babylon gives a good account of the terror tactics used by Mossad (including blowing up synagogues) to scare Jews into leaving Arab countries despite the host countries pleas to them to stay. "Prophets in Babylon: Jews in the Arab World", published by Faber and Faber (London and Boston) in 1980, proved strangely hard to track down on Google. I have a copy if you can't find one, but Amazon offers five copies at $33.00 each (Unknown Binding) from a third party. My copy's binding unashamedly is Faber. While searching for this book I found, on Google as an online text, Naeim Giladi: 'Ben Gurionï¿½s Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews', a book long banned in Israel and the U.S. Naeim Giladi is (was?) a loyal Iraqi Jew outraged by Israel's terrorist tactics against Jews in Arab lands. It might be worth checking out. There's a lot more out there. Mazin adds: see http://www.bintjbeil.com/E/occupation/ameu_iraqjews.html for interview with Giladi and details
Sherif: "In Egypt, the Jews that were expelled were expelled after 1956, and had either British or French dual citizenship. They were expelled as Brits of French becasue those two countries (along with Israel) attacked Egypt over the Suez Canal. Egyptian Jews with Italian dual-citizenship were never expelled (they ended up leaving anyways). A detailed record of this situation is in Andre Aciman's book "Out of Egypt"."
Christine: "Yes, this is true - my uncle's sister-in-law married an Egyptian Jew and they remained in Egypt until the mid-60s before moving to Montreal."
Another reader asked why I say that the lobby for Israeli apartheid is not in US National interest. I should have ofcourse added that I mean by that US public national interest (not interests of elites). But even elite interests are many times harmed by the lobby. For that see my article on connecting the dots of Iraq and Palestine and the lobby at connecting the dots iraq palestine
and this more recent article from ex-CIA analysts Kathleen and Bill Christison "Does the Israeli Tail Wag the American Dog?": "If the United States is unable to distinguish the worldï¿½s or its own real needs from those of another state and that stateï¿½s lobby, then it simply cannot say that it always acts in its own best interests." http://www.palestinechronicle.com/story-03010753137.htm
SILENCE IS COMPLICITY
The powerful lobby representing Israeli apartheid continues to draft resolutions that are contrary to US National interest and that sabotage peace efforts based on human rights and justice. The latest AIPAC's resolution is on ï¿½Jewish Refugees from Arab Countriesï¿½:
"House and Senate lawmakers introduced resolutions last week affirming the need for any future Arab-Israeli peace agreement to address the rights of the 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries in the wake of the Israel's 1948 War of Independence. The resolutions call upon President Bush to instruct United States representatives participating in international forums on Middle East and Palestinian refugees to include a similarly "explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of Jewish, Christian, and other refugees" from Arab and Muslim countries. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) sponsored the House version of the resolution, while Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Trent Lott (R-MS), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Norm Coleman (R-MN) sponsored the Senate version." (from http://www.aipac.org/Legislation_and_Policy/default.asp )
This cynical resolution ignores the fact that Jews also came to Palestine (and to the US) from Russia, Poland and other places and that their issues are not at all equivalet to Palestinian refugees. It is a racist resolution that assumes Arabs are interchangeable.
Use this opportunity to educate your member of Congress on this most fundamental of human rights for Palestinians, their right to return to their homes and lands. For the real issues on refugees, please visit:
Ask that Congress affirm rights of all refugees to return to their homes and lands based on International law.
For a specific response to the Zionist argument claiming an exchange of population and "Jewish refugees" being exchanged for "Arab refugees", here is an excerpt from the appendix to the article referenced above:
"While some Jews were expelled from Arab countries, the majority left voluntarily, invited, enticed and even intimidated into going to Israel to swell the Jewish population as part and parcel of the Zionist program. Most of this happened not between 1947-1948 (the years of active violence that resulted in the Palestinian refugees being ethnically cleansed; see http:/ ? palestineremembered.com) but in the 20 years after. This was always part of the Zionist plan to gather the Jews regardless of where they lived (not only from Arab countries but all countries) and settle them on land that belongs to native Palestinians (Christians and Muslims). Israel has never fought for Jews to stay where they are or to return to their homelands.
Zionists always claim that Palestinian refugees were intentionally not absorbed or integrated into Arab lands to which they fled. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, states that everyone ï¿½has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.ï¿½ The Geneva Conventions stipulate the right of refugees to return to their homes. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (adopted in 1948), which specifically applies to Palestinian refugees, states in Paragraph 11, ï¿½the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.ï¿½ Israel was admitted to the U.N. (Resolution 273) as a member-state only on condition that it abide by Resolution 194. Israel has consistently refused to do so. It is the will of the Palestinian people that they be repatriated to their homeland. Criticizing neighboring countries because they could not absorb more refugees than they have already is an Israeli attempt to sidestep the real issue of the Palestinian right of return.
In his book The Gun & the Olive Branch, David Hirst describes in detail covert Israeli operations to scare Iraqi and Egyptian Jews into fleeing their homes for the ï¿½sanctuaryï¿½ of Israel. Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former CIA operative, wrote about the Zionist crimes against Arab Jews in Iraq (Feuerlicht, The Fate of the Jews, 231). Zionists of European origin, like David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and Abba Eban, often made derogatory statements regarding Arab Jews, whom they considered to be inferior. The program to bring them in was more motivated more by ideology than by real interest in their welfare. Israeli historian Tom Segev devoted almost a fourth of his book to documenting the miserable treatment these immigrants received (Tom Segev, 1949: the First Israelis, translated by Arlen Neal Weinstein, Free Press, New York, 1986).
In any case, the Palestinian refugees did not expel Jews from their homes in Arab countries. In fact, some actions by Mossad and Zionist agents were needed to increase Jewish flight, according to documents analyzed by Tom Segev. Palestinian human rights should not be contingent on the actions of states (Israel or the Arab States) over which they had no control. There are Israeli Jews of Arab origin who do demand restitution for their property and Palestinians fully support their claims and internationally recognized right of return. The Israeli government, however, has never been willing to fight for their rights, because it knows that by doing so it would implicitly recognize that expulsion and dispossession are wrong, whether the victims are Jews or Palestinians. The governments of Morocco, Egypt, Iraq and Yemen (unlike Israel) always stated that those who left are welcome to return.
On December 11, 1975, the Iraqi government even took full-page advertisements in newspapers around the world (New York Times, the Toronto Star, Le Monde) asking the 140,000 Iraq-born Jews who were in Israel and around the world to return. Egyptian President Sadat extended an invitation for Egyptian Jews to return to Egypt in September 1977, just weeks before his peace trip to Israel (See Chicago Daily News, September 10-11; also see the Oregonian, Portland, July 18, 1977). Israel has never extended an invitation to Palestinians to return to their homeland. In either case, Israeli Jews with claims in Arab countries should take them up with those countries, and Jews should be treated with respect, dignity and equality wherever they live. Israel, however, was not interested in discussing this issue when a peace agreement with Egypt was signed (Egypt had a sizable Jewish presence).
In summary, there is no validity to the attempt to negate Palestinian human rights based on the migration of Jews brought into Palestine, whether from Arab countries or the Soviet Union, under the Zionist program to colonize Palestine. One has to also remember that Jews from Arab countries as well as Eastern Europe also settled in the US and Canada. Their issues and their questions are legitimate areas of exploration (e.g. Jews have a right to be treated equally in their own countries, like any other religious group, and this must be defended and fought for). Their rights also follow international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (including their right to chose to return to their countries) but certainly nullify no other similar rights for other people, whether Russians or Palestinians. Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed have inalienable right to repatriation. This must be their choice and is enshrined in common logic as well as international law and is not subject to dictates of apartheid and separation envisioned by a colonial settler movement."
The "surge" in US troops in Iraq was calculated to send a message but not to the insurgency, rather to the Iraqi cabinet and the Iran government (which is the next target). The follow-up approval by the Iraqi quisling cabinet of the new US drafted "Iraqi" oil law will take Iraq oil out of reach of its people (and outside of the OPEC arrangements) and put it in the hands of a quisling government ministers who are obligated to appoint foreign (read US and British) company executives to an "Iraq Federal Oil and Gas Council" which will dictate policy and award contracts. Iraqi national oil company will thus be reduced to just another company competing for contracts. The law is posted in Arabic and English at
see also "US's Iraq oil grab is a done deal" By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times - http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IB28Ak01.html
The upcoming attack on Iran is (mis)calculated by the same war mongers (perhaps we should start calling it Zionist/military/industrial complex who hijacked the US government and both major parties in the US). They do not know what they will be unleashing but think foolishly that it would save Israeli colonial ventures and their ventures to pillage the natural resources of other countries. For this to succeed, they think military might and the collusion of the mainstream media (were debate is only allowed between establishment elite democrats and establishment elite republicans) are sufficient. They again underestimate people (although obviously far more people need to wake up and realize what is going on; silence is complicity). Thus they created and perpetuated the myth of Muslim support for terror (see http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0223/p09s01-coop.html ) and in so doing began to awaken the Muslim masses. It is not a coincidence then that puppets like Husni Mubarak and other "Arab rulers" are cracking down on democratic opposition. It is also not a coincidence that Israel is putting the largest remaining Palestinian city (Nablus) under curfew and engaging in pogroms outside of any media scrutiny. But we also see Russia saying it is time to lift the siege on the Palestinian people and support the Palestinian Unity Government. But the European Union which has traditionally succumbed to US (read Israeli drafted) policy is equivocating.
ACTION: If you live in the EU, then write to them: http://www.writetothem.com/
In the US, you can write to the media about issues they are not covering li8ke the ones mentioned above and that you now can read all over the Internet. For example, while most media outlets vilified the Holy Land Foundation, there has been almost no coverage of the trial and the fabricated evidence presented (rare story in LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-holyland25feb25,1,4876426.story?ctrack=1&cset=true ). It does suggest that high levels of our government, influenced by a clique of racists, are themselves anti-Semitic (anti-Arab and anti-Muslim) liars. They lied about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, about WMD, about retail terrorism, about Islam, about their intentions and so many other areas while they engaged in state terrorism that is resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands (and it seems more to come). Meanwhile our politicians of various stripes duck questions and duck responsibility. Look at these videos and transcripts from http://www.WashingtonStakeout.com of Senator Edwards and Condi Rice duck questions on Israel nuclear weapons and Governor Schwartznegger ducks questions on universal Healthcare:
Edwards Won't Acknowledge Israeli Nukes
Video at: http://www.washingtonstakeout.com/index.php/2007/02/25/edwards-middle-east-policy-doesnt-acknowledge-israeli-nukes/#more-24
Sam Husseini: Follow-up on Iran: You've said that they should be negotiating, but you've also said at the Herzliya Security Conference in Israel that all options should be on the table. Isn't that an implied threat that violates international law? That's part one.
John Edwards: Oh no, far from it. I think that this is a situation with Iran where the use of diplomacy and the smart use of diplomacy has a significant chance of success. There is no way to know, ultimately, whether it will be successful without doing it. But we need to do it in a very thoughtful and smart way. We need to engage our European allies and the European banking institutions so that we can put maximum economic pressure on the Iranians. And we need to do everything in our power to get the Russians and the Chinese to participate. That will be more difficult than the Europeans.
SH: You also said at that same conference: "once Iran goes nuclear other nations in the Middle East will go nuclear, making Israel's neighborhood much more volatile." Senator, doesn't Israel have nuclear weapons? And doesn't that create volatility and doesn't it cause resentment, that's part one. Doesn't Israel's possession cause volatility? And part two: doesn't the U.S. cause resentment by not acknowledging it? The U.S. government has never acknowledged that Israel has a massive nuclear arsenal ï¿½ which it does?
JE: What I believe, and what I believe most thoughtful people believe, is that Iran having a nuclear weapon and having a proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the Middle East, because the odds are high that if Iran goes nuclear that the Saudis, will go nuclear, the Egyptians will go nuclear, the Jordanians may go nuclear, is not a good thing in the most volatile region of the world which is way we need to use a thoughtful diplomatic process to deal with this issue in Iran.
SH: But you are not acknowledging that Israel has nuclear weapons! Senator, you're not acknowledging that Israel has nuclear weapons!
JE: Excuse me, I can't hear him. I'm sorry. ï¿½
SH: Senator, in your answer You didn't acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons, doesn't that cause more resentment? Senator, its an empirical question, Senator.
Questioning Rice About Pre-9/11 Statement That Iraq Was Not a Threat
Video at: http://www.washingtonstakeout.com/index.php/2007/02/25/condi-rice-slides-by-on-a-slippery-morning/
Sam Husseini: Madame Secretary, please. Please just a few short questions.
Condoleeza Rice: Sorry. Gotta Run.
SH: You can make time for the press.
CR: I just did.
SH: Well that was some other press. Madame Secretary in 2001 both you and Colin Powell said Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction. You said his military forces have not been rebuilt. How do you reconcile that with your previous ï¿½ with your statements ï¿½ during the buildup of the war?
Secretary Rice, please? This is an important question. I don't think you have been asked this question. How do you reconcile? ï¿½ Does Israel have nuclear weapons? Can you answer that? It's a very simple question. Secretary Gates said they did ï¿½ implied it ï¿½ during his confirmation hearings. Please. Please. They're two very simple questions.
Schwarzenegger Dismisses Single-Payer Health Care
Video at: http://www.washingtonstakeout.com/index.php/2007/02/25/schwarzenegger-dismisses-single-payer-health-system/
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Any questions you have?
Sam Husseini: How about single-payer? Have you considered single-payer health care in California to really get the insurance companies out of the business to get a Canadian-style model?
AS: We have considered everything. When you get into the subject of fixing a broken health care system you think about everything. And its something that people have proposed, but we have put a good proposal together we believe very strongly that we want to do it through he private sector and not have government run bureaucracy in creating another big bureaucracy. I think the important thing in health care is that everyone is insured, number one. That everyone participates and is responsible. And that the insurance companies cover everyone and don't pick and choose. ï¿½
SH: Is their such a thing as a business bureaucracy, governor?
Later in the day and back in CT I attended the Orthodox Christian services for the small Arab Christian community here (it is the end of the first week of Lent fasting leading up to Easter). Orthodox by definition means following rituals and structures that go back hundreds of years (Both Rabbinical Judaism and Orthodox Christianity developed structurally between the first and third Century AD). Similar strands within Islam also exists. Orthodoxy means rather rigid interpretations of theology. Yet, on earthly matters, there are significant differences between the many Orthodox brands. Even within Judaism itself we find for example the Ultra Orthodox Naturei Karta Jews to be vehemently anti-Zionist and consider it an idolatry (and a sin/affront to God). How a large segment of Orthodox Jewry came to believe in stealing native people's lands and in Jewish supremacy is a story for others to tell (see for example Marc Ellis's book "Out of the Ashes"). How the actual events unfold in my home town of Beit Sahour and hundreds of other Palestinian towns and villages is being told daily by the victims despite their voices being silenced and their lives cut short. Most of it not by Orthodox but by self described "secular" (even atheist) Jews who believe in another kind of orthodoxy, the orthodoxy of racist Zionist imperialism/colonialism.
The Greek Orthodox Christian Churches are not monolothic either and their understanding of our role on Earth also varies. It can be said that various beliefs make for an interesting diversity on earth BUT as long as no harm is being done to others. In the Quran we find a verse that says that if God had wished it, all people would be of the same faith but instead God made us different peoples in his wisdom "so that you know each other" (another verse. That is I think a beautiful sentiment. To know each other, and as Jesus said to love one another (even those who chose to be our enemies). It is a shame that some interpret their commandments to mean to hate others, oppress them, and steal their land. Ultimately hate harms the hater and the blowback is always unpledasant to say the least. As John F Kennedy said "those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable". As the song says "in the end only kindness matters". At one point in our demonstration, an Orthodox man and his son offered us hot chocolate. At another point, a young Orthodox Jew (perhaps 16-18 years old) was curiously listening and watching us. We were behind a police barricade so I called to him and offered him copies of two of the flyers we were distributing. I said a few words to him about the need to do justice (per Hillel). An older man (likely his father) came rushing out of the synagogue and took him back in while rebuking him for speaking with us. That is a real shame. I do not know how many people were duped into sinking their hard earned money in buying houses built illegally on Palestinian land. I also do not know how many may start to reflect on their orthodoxy to see if it promotes justice and peace or violence and oppression. I do know that little will change unless each and every one of us becomes involved and puts themselves in positions of discomfort by having to deal with the reality of our diversity AND our sharing of this small planet.
Report: over 5,000 Palestinians killed by the Israeli army since 2000
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Since the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 2000, until late January 2007, the Israeli army has killed 5,050 Palestinian men, women and children, wounded 49,760 others and detained 10,4000 others, a report by the Palestinian Authority-run 'Palestinian State Information Service' has revealed. http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=19746
"The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel"
"We are the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, the indigenous peoples, the residents of the States of Israel, and an integral part of the Palestinian People and the Arab and Muslim and human Nation. The war of 1948 resulted in the establishment of the Israeli state on a 78 percent of historical Palestine. We found ourselves, those who have remained in their homeland (approximately 160,000) within the borders of the Jewish state. Such reality has isolated us from the rest of the Palestinian People and the Arab world and we were forced to become citizens of Israel. This has transformed us into a minority living in our historic homeland. Since the Al-Nakba of 1948 (the Palestinian tragedy), we have been suffering from extreme structural discrimination policies, national oppression, military rule that lasted till 1966, land confiscation policy, unequal budget and resources allocation, rights discrimination and threats of transfer. The State has also abused and killed its own Arab citizens, as in the Kufr Qassem massacre, the land day in 1976 and Al-Aqsa Intifada back in 2000. Since Al-Nakba and despite all, we maintained our identity, culture, and national affiliation; we struggled and are still struggling to obtain just, comprehensive and permanent peace in the Middle East region, through achieving fair and lasting resolution concerning the Palestinian refugees' resolutions status according to UN and for reaching peace through the declaration of an independent Palestinian State. Defining the Israeli State as a Jewish State and exploiting democracy in the service of its Jewishness excludes us, and creates tension between us and the nature and essence of the State. Therefore, we call for a Consensual Democratic system that enables us to be fully active in the decision-making process and guarantee our individual and collective civil, historic, and national rights.... More at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6381.shtml
Convincing data that the Bush administration could have captured Bin Laden less than two weeks after 9/11/01 and chose not to. It is either derelection of duty or high treason http://www.counterpunch.org/osseiran08212006.html http://www.muckrakerreport.com/id339.html http://www.lonestaricon.com/absolutenm/anmviewer.asp?a=1043&z=103
Someday America will be free from the delusions of both orientalist schools of thought that I witnessed in an argument today between a Yale professor who supports containment (I guess killing by embargoes/sanctions) and two Yale professors who support preemption (more directl genocide). The Ian Shapiro, Paul Kennedy, and John Gaddis "debate" was surreal and the only challenging question was dismissed curtly. It was like witnessing two pretend doctors arguing over whether it is good "strategy" to chop off the arm of the cancer patient or numb the arm for the pain of the metastatic brain lesion that now spread to the arm. Or perhaps a more crude analogy would be an argument between two white generals on whether it is best for our safety to kill all native Americans or only part of them and walk the rest to Oklahoma. I kept thinking of the rape of Sabrine by Iraqi puppet forces (of neocon power) as these learned men debated whether another kind of rape would be preferable with an international possy or unilaterally/preemptive rape
(scroll to bottom of http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ for the story on The Rape of Sabrine and today a tearful US Soldier recountds the rape of a 14 year old Iraqi girl after killing her family, see http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070221/ts_nm/usa_iraq_murder_dc_7 )
It seems there is a dire need for doctors who recognize the etiology of the disease and who can apply the needed chemo and radiation therapy.
In the meantime and talking about therapies....
The Wheels of Justice brings eyewitness accounts to occupations in Iraq and Palestine and envisions peace based on Juistice. Donations and support greatly appreciated (and if you know people in the states where we are driving to, please forward to them).
Here are more detaiuls on the Spring tour from Mike Miles
Dear Friends of Peace,
Vets for Peace asked if they could use the bus in a peace convoy they are doing and the Wheels of Justice working group said yes. That means the WofJ Spring 2007 campus tour will be starting in New Orleans instead of Phoenix. It will be going the reverse of what we already sent out ending in Tucson AZ. The dates are the same April 2 -roughly May 7. Please read on.
If you received this mailing it is because a friend or colleague of yours suggested you may be interested in helping with this project. If after reading this you want to be removed from this list please type remove in the subject line. I am not using a Bcc so you can see who each other are. If you choose to help, you will want to know the other people who have been suggested to join this process and perhaps refer us to others who you think would want to be involved. So much for the introduction.
The Wheels of Justice is a mobile classroom that has been touring the United States since 2000. It was initiated by Voices in the Wilderness and the Middle East Childrens' Alliance. The first two years of our work centered on ending the sanctions against Iraq. After 9/11 we broadened the scope of our mission to include non violent solutions to the expanding conflicts in the Middle East. For the last three years our focus has been bringing eyewitnesses to war and occupation in Iraq and Palestine to communities all over the United States. We have been in 48 states and have given literally thousands of presentations. Most of our work has been in universities and colleges but we have also spoken to elementary and high schools students, faith communities, and peace groups.
The best thing about WofJ is that we spend most of our time not preaching to the choir. When we get invited to a campus most of the people we encounter know next to nothing about the Middle East. A typical visit involves parking our bus ( a converted school bus, a mobile mural for peace) in a prominent space on campus where we set up a tabling area and spend most of the day talking to passersby and passing out printed information. Our speakers will venture out into classes where they are invited while students and the bus staff continue tabling and conversation. Evening presentations in campus auditoriums or class rooms complete the day and it's on to the next location.
A very important component of the tour is working with local peace groups. WofJ is supported completely by donations and volunteers. While we receive an occasional stipend from a university most of our work with students, especially high schools, remains uncompensated. That is why it is important to do events for local peace groups and faith communities where we can "pass the hat" to keep us going down the road. A third component to a WofJ visit is the amount of media attention we attract. When we come to town in our brightly colored mobile classroom with volunteers who have been to some of the most dangerous locations on the planet you can bet that we are noticed. Most of our coverage is positive. Even the few situations where we are portrayed as being controversial have had great benefit as the public weighs in on the conversation that takes place mostly on the editorial pages of whatever the local newspaper is.
So, we are starting the spring 2007 tour in New Orleans, LA after the VFP convoy. We will be heading west from New Orleans toward TX, OK, NM, and AZ. The dates are April 2 in New Orleans and roughly May 12 in Tucson. Over the seven years we have been doing this we have become pretty good at routing through the numerous locations that invite us. The sooner we hear back from you, the better chance we can route through your neighborhood. The increasing cost of fuel is beginning to limit our venturing off into distant corners away from the main route and for that we apologize.
What we need from all of you who are reading this is to know if you want us to come to where you live. If you are not on the spring 2007 route we need contacts from everyone you all know who may live along the route who would be willing to invite us. The last thing we need is donations to keep the bus rolling. If you invite us to your area we will tell you everything you need to know to facilitate a successful visit. Please forward this letter as widely as you can.
Please get back to me as soon as possible so we can begin scheduling. The dates we are looking at are April 2 until mid May or whenever schools are closing for the summer depending on where we are. Thanks for reading this far. Inviting the bus will be an experience you will not soon forget. Oh, and one more thing. We have discovered over the years that working with the bus has been a great way for peace people to network with each other. So many times we have heard the same story-- "We thought we were the only people who felt this way. We didn't know (so and so) was doing what we are doing over in ( whatever town)". So the network builds, the circle widens, and before you know it, we have a movement. Looking forward to hearing from you.
a VERY tentative schedule:
New Orleans--April 2-3
Baton Rouge-- April 4-5
San Antonio-- April 8-9
Austin-- April 10-11
Fort Worth, Dallas--April 12-15
Oklahoma City--April 16-18 (or Lubbock depending on who we hear from)
travel day-- April 21
Santa Fe-- April 25
El Paso--April 28-29
travel day--April 30
Phoenix -- May 4-6
2007 Spring Tour Coordinator
740 Round Lake Road
Luck, WI 54853
715 472 8721
The Sabeel Conference in Cleveland, Ohio was a great success. Kudos to the organizers and the speakers. Excellent speakers on issues of Palestine, Islam, Christianity, peace making, liberation theology, and the heresy of Christian Zionism. Next Conference being planned for Boston in October (for more info, visit http://www.fosna.org ).
Citizens for fair legistlation alert:
ASK YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO SUPPORT PEACE FOR PALESTINE BY NOT BOYCOTTING THE UNITY GOVERNMENT
The real significance of the AJC attack on "progressive" Jews
When MK Dr. Jamal Zahalka spoke at the Israeli Apartheid Week event at Concordia Univeristy in Montreal last week, he pointed out that the core of the illegal Zionist ethnic cleansing project and so-called Israeli "Democracy" is maximum land with minimum Arabs. This reminded me of the lyrics from the following excellent anti-Israeli Apartheid music video produced by the group Dam from the slums of Lod in Israel. The video is in Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles. Please watch, post and ciculate the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIo6lyP9tTE
For more info about Dam plus some tracks from their latest album, visit:
Mazin adds: There are many Palestinian hip-hop artist in the US. My favorite is Arabesque: see http://www.myspace.com/besque
The Palestinian Summer Celebration 2007 update and news from Siraj Center
The preparation for the Palestinian Summer Celebration 2007 have just been finalized. Siraj Center and Bethlehem University are ready for you now, participants now are able to register online through Siraj Center Website http://www.sirajcenter.org/courses.htm
The Palestinian summer celebration 2007
June 20 - August 18th 2007
Come and celebrate Palestine, learn Arabic, study history, know the people and their culture, share some time with local families and volunteer with a local community organization
The Palestinian summer celebration is a unique annual program that gives people from all over the world the chance to encounter the life and culture in Palestine in addition to donating some of their time to a local community organization through voluntary work and internships. The Palestinian summer celebration 2007 will take place in the Bethlehem area in Palestine, between Wednesday June 20th and August 18th 2007. the annual celebration is organized by Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies www.sirajcenter.org in partnership with Bethlehem University www.bethlehem.edu and the US based Society for Biblical Studies, www.sbsedu.org.
Participants will also have the opportunity to listen and question high level speakers of various positions and expertise.
An Arabic language Course and a Modern Palestine Course are offered by Bethlehem U as apart of the program. Three credits hours will be given for each course, upon the participantï¿½s request.
Courses out line
For further information please visit: http://www.sirajcenter.org/courses.htm
The Palestinian Cyclists Club
As the news about initiating the Palestinian Cyclists Club PCC Siraj Center has been receiving with Joy messages from many young Palestinians both males and females requesting to join the PCC from all over Palestine. Many international friends of Palestine have been also expressing willingness to participate in delivering the PCC to the state or readiness by participating with their expertise in their training Palestinian Cyclists and by providing the material needs for the Club. Some have been designing logos other have been busy thinking about the suitable name for the newly emerging youth organization. The dream is becoming a reality. More members are welcomed and further support is needed.
For further information about the PCC please visit: http://www.sirajcenter.org/cycle.htm
I will be giving talks at the following venues in the next few weeks (email me for details)
11-12 February Sabeel Conference, Cleveland
21 Feb SUNY, New Paltz, NY
4 March North Levittown NY
11 March (on Palestinian Christians), Church in Branford, CT
Please do something to commemorate the fourth anniversary (weekend of March 16-18) of the murder of Rachel Corrie (see http://www.rachelcorrie.org/ ). Even a small teach-in or vigil with a press release. We will never forget Rachel. Also please write letters to editor about Rachel, about Palestine and Iraq (e.g. attempts to continue strangulation of the occupied people while rewarding the lying occupiers and cajoling with quislings like Dahlan and Al-Malki).
Tair's Palestinian peers: What is the difference between the murder of Tair and the killing of Abir, also at the entrance to her school? The difference between Tair and Abir consists of the fact that Abir was Palestinian and Tair was Israeli. By Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/824137.html
A Greater Israel by ROBERT PARRY
A big part of the crisis confronting the United States in the Middle East can be traced back to what is now more than a quarter-century-old competition among American politicians over who can best pander to Israeli hardliners.....
Please read this international definition of crimes of genocide and think if this is applicable in Iraq or Palestine:
"Dump the Dollar to Break American Power" Reagan's Former Assistant Treasury Secretary
Afif Safieh in the Jewish Daily Forward "We Palestinians Will Honor Our Word"
Support Moe (Mohammad) Razvi's Brooklyn City Council campaign
Calling for human rights: a new cell phone service that profits human rights not corporations
Click to sign petition calling for full Middle East peace talks -- your message will be delivered to summit leaders and published in leading Israeli and Palestinian newspapers on Monday: http://www.avaaz.org/en/real_middle_east_talks/av.php
Settler violence in hebron
Letter to Editor "Brandeis Professor Shulamit Reinharz recently wrote "Fighting Jewish anti-Semitism" as part of an effort to brand critics of Israel as "anti-Semites." On February 6 Reinharz went on NPR's Point/Counterpoint to argue that view, concluding her remarks by saying, "I want to debate everybody..." Yet she won't debate
US CITIZENS SACRIFICE FOR IRAQI WAR by Dr. Chris Martenson
Who watches the watchers in surveilance society
Women have played major role in history -- from the start, authors assert
Take Action: Congress hold biased "hearings" under AIPACV appointed Congressman Ackerman.
Zionist neocon Wolfowitz Emerges as Key Figure in Intel Manipulation By Jason Leopold
The American Council on Middle East Policy keeps an eye on the pro-Israel Lobby and acts to counter its influence in Congress. If you would like to receive mail from its low-volume mailing list, please go to http://mideastcouncil.org/ and write your e-mail address in the "subscribe" window (upper right hand corner).
Come and celebrate Palestine, learn Arabic, study history, know the people and their culture, share some time with local families and volunteer with a local community organization http://www.sirajcenter.org/courses.htm
Images from Iran (short video of what the US might be bombing soon) http://www.lucasgray.com/video/peacetrain.html
Did Ahmedinujad state he wanted to wipe Israel off the map? his misquote has been a smokescreen to get you and all other Americans to support the murder of more American soldiers by Washington's cabal, and to put your seal of approval on war and genocide, this time of Persian peoples. America's mainstream media is profoundly racist against Persians and Arabs, and the powers that control the media are absolutely corrupt. You have been lied to--understand how, and then at the end of the article click on the websites to contact your representatives to tell them to stop yet another mass murder by the United States government:
Iran's President Did Not Say "Israel must be wiped off the map"
by Arash Norouzi Global Research, January 20, 2007
A new release from Copper Canyon Press
The Butterflyï¿½s Burden
Three recent books of poetry from the most acclaimed poet in the arab world presented in their entirety in one bilingual volume translated and with an introduction by fady joudah praise for The Butterflyï¿½s Burden
"Darwish insists on a metaphorical, self-questioning complexity." ï¿½Los Angeles Times Book Review
"An admirable translation of Darwishï¿½s evocative, highly metaphorical lyricism.
Everywhere in Darwishï¿½s verse one finds the elegiacs of dispossession and exile, the
unappeasable longing for the lost homeland and a continual mediation on the nature of the bifurcated self and the Other." ï¿½San Diego Union Tribune
Mahmoud Darwish is the most acclaimed poet in the Arab world. The Butterflyï¿½s Burden presents three recent books in a single volume, each translated into English for the first time: The Strangerï¿½s Bed (1998), Darwishï¿½s first collection of love poems; State of Siege (2002), a terse, politically charged sequence written in Ramallah; Donï¿½t Apologize For What Youï¿½ve Done (2003), a song "green like the phoenix" after the daily horrors in Ramallah. These poems provide continual contrasts, balancing old literary traditions with new, highlighting lyrical, loving reflections alongside a bitter longing for the Palestine that he lost. While each work stands alone as a dialogue within and among its poems, the larger conversation Darwish conducts with language, and with self, from one book to another, is evident.The breadth and inventive variety of The Butterflyï¿½s Burden confirms Mahmoud Darwish as one of todayï¿½s premier artists, an artist who distinctly speaks to and from our timeï¿½a poet who seeks conversation across national borders while also continuing to expand the borders of poetry.
About the author: Mahmoud Darwish was born in Birwe, a village in upper Galilee, in 1942. In 1948, he fled with his family to Lebanon when the Israeli Army destroyed his village. He has published more than thirty books of poetry and prose, which have been translated into 35 languages. A former member of the PLOï¿½s Executive Council, and the Poet Laureate of Palestine, he wrote the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence. In 2001, he was awarded the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize. He now splits his residence between Ramallah, where he continues to edit the internationally acclaimed literary review, Al-karmel, and Amman, Jordan. More information can be found at: www.mahmouddarwish.com.
About the translator: Fady Joudah was born in Austin, Texas, in a Palestinian refugee home. He is a physician of internal medicine and a field member of Doctors Without Borders.
Philip Weiss is a Jewish American who has blogged about Jewish attitudes and most importantly about the Jewish American "leadership" (in quotes because they are "leaders" by their self-definition but some dispute this as they think they represent only leadership for political Zionism). His blogs (http://mondoweiss.observer.com) provide interesting angles not revealed in mainstream media. For example, the claim that American Jews were more concerned about Iran in 2002 and early 2003 and were thus less inclined to support the war on Iraq is interesting but simply false on many grounds (http://mondoweiss.observer.com/2006/05/my-jewish-problem-cted-my-tribe-is-no-longer-a-progressive-p.html ). American Jewish opinions on the Iraq war before it happened was solidly supportive of war (as was the wider American and Israeli publics who were shielded from facts by a political Zionist manipulated media and government) and there was no mention of Iran until after finishing off Iraq succeeded. In fact, some of these surveys were carried out by the American Jewish Establishment itself; here is one example from the American Jewish Committee:
What Weiss and most logical people agree to is that attitudes do not shape policy, actions do and in this case the self-declared Jewish leaders and politically driven Zionist pundits were very influential and pushed methodically to convince Jews and others to support war on Iraq (using lies and deception in the process) as they are now doing with Iran. I need not here rehash the neocon Zionist work for regime change in Iraq before September 11, 2001. People by now are familiar with their memo to Netanyahu in 1996 and with the "Project for New American Century" the neocon project that said preemptive war would be difficult to sell to the US public "save for a Pearl Harbor like event" (which they conveniently got a few years later). But let us focus in this article on the period between September 11, 2001 and March 2003 because understanding that period helps understand the period now leading up to the conflict with Iran.
The "Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs" (Dick Cheney was on its board before he became VP) issued a statement September 13, 2001 even before the dead were burried from the attacks of 9/11: ï¿½In response to the attack on September 11, 2001 JINSA calls on the United States to: Halt all US purchases of Iraqi oil under the UN Oil for Food Program and to provide all necessary support to the Iraq National Congress, including direct American military support, to effect a regime change in Iraq.ï¿½
In an April 2003 issue of the Jewish Forward magazine, we read ï¿½As President Bush attempted to sell the . . . war in Iraq, Americaï¿½s most important Jewish organizations rallied as one to his defense. In statement after statement community leaders stressed the need to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.ï¿½
In the 1 October 2001 issue of the Weekly Standard, Israeli apologists Robert Kagan and William Kristol called for regime change in Iraq after changing the regime in Afghanistan. They and the cadre of Israeli apologists (both leaning to the Democratic Party and leaning to the neocon wing of the Republican party) repeated these calls often in countless interviews and articles. One could fill a whole book on these quotes but it is the actions of Israeli advocates within Congress and within the administration carried more weight. Ofcourse those within government are functionaries who pay heed to where their money and support comes from when elections come around. You can bet that those inside the government watched carefully and got the messages when the the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations had Iraq on top of its agenda on July 26, 2002 (http://spme.net/cgi-bin/facultyforum.cgi?ID=231 ).
The history of this period leading up to the war will be written by historians when all the documents are declassified and/or leaked from the hundreds of Israel-first think tanks and other lobby organizations become available. But enough material exists to draw a rather somber reminder for those who now bought the non-sense that Iran is a threat to the US. I think it is critical for people who want to understand and hopefully prevent the upcoming war on Iran to first understand the lobby's role in pushing the war on Iraq. While I wrote about this issue before (see for example, http://www.qumsiyeh.org/connectingthedotsiraqpalestine/ ), the most thorough research on this issue was done by Professors Mearsheimer and Walt. So below is the section of the work of these two distinguished professors that is worth reading or rereading. This will help start the process of rethinking the slippery slope that the endless and misnamed "war on terrorism" has been taking people and why. Only such an understanding disseminated to people around the world who then act could help humanity avoid the international catastrophe that would be an attack on Iran (which would make the mayhem in Iraq look like a walk in the park by comparison).
(Molly Ivins, noted Texan columnist and an icon of free speech, just passed away. In all the accolades and quotes from her work, few noted what she had to say on the Israel lobby. Here is one of her articles from last year. MQ)
Let's call the Israel lobby the Israel lobby by Molly Ivins Creators Syndicate
One of the consistent deformities in American policy debate has been challenged by a couple of professors, and the reaction proves their point so neatly it's almost funny..... more here http://www.workingforchange.com/printitem.cfm?itemid=20708
(The following article succinctly summarizes the idea behind demands on native people to recognize their colonization) What 'Israel's right to exist' means to Palestinians: Recognition would imply acceptance that they deserve to be treated as subhumans. By John V. Whitbeck, Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0202/p09s02-coop.html
(A bit strong) READ AT YOUR OWN RISK: Open Letter to America from a Canadian, by W.R. McDougall
Never mind that earth-friendly technology already exists to once and for all end dependence on oil, coal and nuclear energy from huge, out-of-control utilities and corporations. You would rather pay through the nose for your insecure comforts, wouldn't you America, and make others pay with their blood..... http://baltimorechronicle.com/ol_aug02.shtml
(This article by Ali Abunimah explains how America is starving Gaza but sending weapons to Dahlan and company to stoke a civil war) THE AMERICAN PROXY WAR IN GAZA by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 3 February 2007 http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6494.shtml