In October 2000, Thom Yorke of Radiohead was moved to dedicate his song Karma Police to the memory of Muhammad al-Durra, killed in Gaza. That performance changed the life of Jack Gain, who now appeals to the band to cancel a gig in Tel Aviv in July out of solidarity with the Palestinian boycott campaign.
Category Archives: Activism
Moriah Ella Mason participated in the Sumud Freedom Camp last month rebuilding a Palestinian Bedouin village in the South Hebron Hills with more than 100 Jewish activists. Mason traveled with her father, and the two were separated during an army raid on the village, “In one of the scariest moments, I watched the live stream as the soldiers began to cut down our large tent while a group of our activists sat inside, chanting and singing in Hebrew and English. Later my dad would tell me he was standing in a separate blockade outside the tent as the soldiers cut the fabric and tore it down around the people inside, punching several through the fabric in the process. That was the hardest part for him. Witnessing this violence. And as horrible as this violence was, the fact that it was limited to punching, pushing, and choking was a result of the privilege we held as international Jews. When Palestinians protest alone, the IDF typically uses tear gas, rubber bullets, mass arrests, and even live fire.”
Shimrit Baer writes, “The territories occupied in 1967 have become the focus of international activism because every aspect of life is controlled by the occupier, there are walls and checkpoints, shootings and tear gassing of civilians, detentions without charge, child arrests, bulldozed houses and fields, military raids, unfit drinking water, humanitarian crises–“etc.” The strategic focus on West Bank colonial “settlements” is something that few question. Meanwhile, the placebos of power within the state are serving to inhibit significant internal/external pressures for historical redress. In the scheme of things, importance has to go to Zionist Space as an arena of change. Any civil rights activism without the conscious disruption of Zionist Space is only make-belief.”
Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi explores the roots of Puerto Rican-Palestinian solidarity, beginning with movements in the 1970s, “Palestinian Puerto Rican solidarity is extensive and includes various organizations and individuals in multiple locations and during different time periods. In Chicago for example, the solidarity expressed by the embrace of the two freed political prisoners, Rasmea Odeh and Oscar López Rivera goes back to the 1970s. The late Palestinian community leader Samir Odeh was instrumental in forging those ties of solidarity. In fact, leaders who accompanied Oscar López to the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York remembered Samir as one of their comrades from “back in the days.” In New York, even before Palestinian and Arab students began to organize themselves within the Organization of Arab Students (OAS), the Young Lords Party had already declared support for the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle. During the 2011 delegation to Palestine in which Angela Davis participated, former Young Lords Party and Puerto Rican Student Union member and long-time anti-war and trade union organizer Jaime Veve, recalled how, as a young student involved in the Oceanhill-Brownsville struggle for community control, he had two posters on his wall, Angela Davis and Leila Khaled.”
“Israel is in gravest danger from within, from its own actions… The proposed legislation before you has its origins in the right-wing Israeli government … and comes out of a well-funded campaign” — Howard Horowitz urges Westchester County Board of Legislators to turn down a resolution against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
How is it possible for Hadassah to mount a panel on Feminism and Zionism, with absolutely no Palestinian perspective, when Palestinians are always pressured to include a Zionist perspective–for “balance”– when they organize panels at US institutions? Nada Elia mulls the damage from a June 9 event in New York.
On Monday June 12, 2017, Palestinian Christians of the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine issued an open letter to the World Council of Churches ahead of their upcoming gathering in occupied Bethlehem, “We need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians…Things are beyond urgent.”
Palestinians living inside Israel have dealt with a “one-state solution” for 69 years. The next step in the Palestinian demand for freedom should be to expand their civil struggle for equal rights on behalf of Palestinians everywhere, writes Rida Abu Rass.
Westchester County legislative committee passes a resolution describing BDS as a campaign to “malign the Jewish people,” by a 12-1 vote despite efforts of human rights activists. Sole holdout is Alfreda Williams. “It’s a lost cause, perhaps, but in my experience, most good causes begin as lost,” writes Priscilla Read.
On Thursday, June 8, Hadassah hosted a discussion panel called “Feminism and Zionism: Exploring Recent Tensions,” which, in typical Zionist fashion, did not feature an anti-Zionist (Jew or non-Jew), and certainly no Palestinian speaker. Nada Elia says one takeaway of the event is that “even as the situation on the ground in Palestine remains dire Palestine rights activists can celebrate one significant accomplishment: the discursive change that has slowly but surely eroded the credibility of the Zionist narrative over the past few years.”
Hadassah panel on tension between Zionism and feminism shows that Zionism is now a dirty word on the left, and with good reason, as an all-Zionist panel led by a NYT editor indulges orientalist critiques of occupied Palestinian culture.
Stephen Shenfield writes Palestinian refugee from Syria and filmmaker Hala Gabriel is nearly finished with her documentary “On the Road to Tantura.” But she needs one last fundraising push: “The basic work on the documentary has now been done. Hala Gabriel and her producer Talal Jabari have a solid 70-minute “rough cut” of the film. However, there remains significant work to be done in order to complete the project in the near future at the same high standard of professionalism as they have maintained since the start of the project. They aim to release the film by the 70th anniversary of the Nakba and in time for the 2018 film festival circuit.
Badia Dwaik, the Palestinian coordinator of Human Rights Defenders Group along with several others from the Hebron-based Palestinian organization Dismantle the Ghetto, were invited to the home of Mufeed Sharabati for the first meal after sundown during the Ramadan month. In typical iftar fashion, a full spread was packed up by Dwaik and company including a large maqloube, a Palestinian meal of rice, vegetables, and chicken that is flipped upside down from a cooking pot when it’s ready to serve—maqloube literally means “upside down” in Arabic.
Yet the iftar dinner among friends grew complicated when Dwaik and the others were denied entry through the Hebron checkpoint that divides the city in two—the maqloube was also not allowed through the checkpoint.
Palestinian leaders announced the end of the prisoner hunger strike as a major success last week, but Israel has denied it ever negotiated and stated no demands were met. Reports have since emerged alleging a secret meeting took place between Israeli and Palestinian officials where the two sides set terms to end the strike but neither has disclosed the deal. Sheren Khalel talks with one hunger striker who says if the reports are true the strike can easily start again. “In two or three months if we see the demands haven’t been met, we will go back on strike, and the next time won’t be the same as the last, a second hunger strike would be much stronger,” Ali Brijieh says. “If the Israelis think that we are not able to do another hunger strike, I can promise you they’re wrong.”
Sometimes a newsworthy event takes place when nothing unusual occurs. Despite months of an opposition campaign to disinvite civil rights activist and co-organizer of the Women’s March, Linda Sarsour, from giving a graduation speech at the City University of New York (CUNY), Sarsour’s keynote went off without a hitch Thursday. A Facebook page for a demonstration against Sarsour’s speech accused her of being “pro-terror” and an “a vicious, pro-sharia, Jew hater.” Oh, and pro-ISIS to boot!
After it was shut out of Boston-area transit ads, Palestine Advocacy Project (PalAd), a Cambridge-based non-profit supporting Palestinian human rights, has unveiled a high-profile, over-sized mobile billboard trailer to protest the 50th anniversary of Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Jeff Warner traveled to the West Bank with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence’s nine-day summer work camp where 133 Diaspora Jews participated in projects across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, “The very existence of the CJNV delegation, perhaps the largest group of Diaspora Jews ever to come together in Palestine to fight the occupation, makes a powerful statement to American and Israeli political leaders. It is another illustration that Jewish American and other Diaspora Jews do not support Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and are ready to stand up and fight for that principle.”
Saturday, after 41 days, the Palestinian prisoner hunger strike came to what seemed to be an end. Issa Qaraqe, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission, declared “80 percent of the demands” of the prisoners were achieved, calling it “an important achievement to build on in the future on the basis of the protection of the prisoners’ rights and dignity.” Israeli Public Security and Hasbara (propaganda) Minister Gilad Erdan countered claims that certain demands were met, saying that “there is absolutely no pledge to grant” any of the other prisoner demands, and said it “appears that this strike failed”. Jonathan Ofir says, “This should be a major source of concern, since it is the Israelis who are the jailer. If they are claiming this essentially did not happen, then there could be a real chance that they would ignore the reported agreements.”
Nada Elia writes, “Throughout history, change for the better has not come from those in official power, but from the grassroots, the oppressed, those at the receiving end of injustice, those whose starving, ailing bodies are on the line. As people around the world show their support for the imprisoned Palestinians, we are sending one clear message: no power can break us.”
Tamara Nassar writes: “The hunger strike is then the reclamation of the body which has been stolen by Israel and confined to a cell-block; the re-assumption of a subjectivity temporarily abducted by military might; a revival of humanity. The hunger strike may be a peaceful reclamation, but it is not non-violent. The violence is simply subdued, transformed into a perpetual struggle between the prisoner and the prisoner’s body. It is a battle: a form of torture that the prisoner inflicts on themselves in a symbolic, but also literal, redemption of agency. It is indeed the body where the Palestinian prisoner finds freedom within the confines of the cell in the larger context of occupation, retrieving the one thing the occupier may never access: Palestinian dignity.”
There has been much talk about 2017 as the 50th anniversary since Israel occupied the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem. But the 50th anniversary can only be understood within a broader context of other key anniversaries this year. 2017 marks: 100 years since the Nov. 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration; 70 years since the UN’s Nov. 29, 1947 partition allotting 54% of historic Palestine for a Jewish state; 50 years since Israel occupied all remaining Palestinian lands June 5-10, 1967; and 10 years since Israel made permanent a crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip on June 15, 2007, creating an open-air prison subject to monstrous bombing to further Israel’s containment and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
“The solidarity between Black and Palestinian people internationally is rooted in a profound historical framework, one of shared struggles and collective identities that push us to challenge notions of international solidarity,” writes activist and writer Devyn Springer.
Shimrit Baer writes that Zionism should be resisted by non-Zionists: “The non-Zionist class/caste can and should be an agent for change. In this the non-Zionist class/caste must draw lessons from discourses elsewhere, for example from pan-African movements in South Africa and elsewhere, where spatial reform is seen as a prerequisite to equal rights, power, and self-determination.”
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee commemorates the 69th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba: “No iron wall of theirs can suppress or overshadow the rising sun of our emancipation.”
Today, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, representing close to one million workers, endorsed a full boycott of Israel to achieve Palestinian rights under international law. The federation is the largest and most influential umbrella organization of labor unions in Norway.