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‘Sometimes the only way to have a voice is by literally speaking out’: Arab activists head to court for disrupting Israel ambassador hearing

Nadya Raja Tannous on

Taher Herzallah and Kareem El-Hosseiny will come before Superior Court judge Marisa Demeo on Thursday, April 20th to hear potential motions regarding their disruption of David Friedman’s nomination hearing to become US ambassador to Israel. Nadya Raja Tannous interviews them on the eve of the hearing about their case, why they didn’t take a plea deal, and whether they would do it again. “While we are allowed traditional ways to state our views we still were not heard. Sometimes the only way to have a voice is by literally speaking out,” Herzallah explains.

I am not a jew

Tema Okun on

Tema Okun shares a poem reflecting on her taxi ride leaving the Jewish Voice for Peace conference in Chicago where her Jewish Israeli taxi driver shouted at her that she is not a Jew.

‘We need revolutionary visions and radical imaginations’ — a report from JVP

Donna Nevel on

Donna Nevel provides an overview of speakers and panels at the Jewish Voice for Peace National Membership Meeting in Chicago last weekend, “Presenters spoke movingly and, at times, quite painfully, about the brutal realities and challenges Palestinians and many other communities are facing at this moment and also located the current moment in the context of a long history of injustice and struggle.”

The real free speech threat

Radhika Sainath on

Radhika Sainath of Palestine Legal: “There’s a lot of writing these days about the Left being oversensitive crybabies that can’t handle free speech. Students shutting down racists like Milo Yiannopoulos and Charles Murray at the University of California Berkeley and Middlebury in Vermont made headlines in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, and Fox News.” But Sainath argues the real forces with the most successes in shutting down free speech do not come from the Left, but far-right Zionist organizations that have pressured universities into firing employees and changing curriculums.

It happened! Cork conference overcomes academic censorship!

DeeDee Halleck on

After three years of cancellation after cancellation the “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism” conference finally takes place in Cork Ireland. DeeDee Halleck writes, “For many of the attendees, the timing this spring couldn’t have been better. The ascendancy of the right wing in Europe and the United States and the recent vociferous reactions to the UN report by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley made the discussions all the more timely and necessary. The warm Irish welcome was such that the first two days were actually held in the atrium auditorium of Cork’s City Hall. The sessions were packed at both City Hall and the Sunday session at the University of Cork. Although there was security hired by conference organizers, there were no violent incidents, nor even any sustained complaints from the audience. The only sustained reactions were the enthusiastic applause outbursts whenever the courage and persistence of the conference organizers was mentioned.”

Among those arrested for disrupting Friedman confirmation hearing, only the Arab protesters face federal charges

Allison Deger on

Of the six protesters who disrupted the Senate foreign relations committee confirmation hearing of Ambassador David Friedman on Feb. 16, 2017, only the Arab demonstrators, Taher Herzallah and Kareem El-Hosseiny, both employees of the group American Muslims for Palestine, were criminally charged. They face a maximum sentence of six months and a $500 fine. “I’m hoping the judge will look at the discrepancy of how were treated [compared to the other protesters who were not prosecuted] and dismiss the charges immediately,” Hezallah told Mondoweiss, “I am worried that there is some sort of discrimination going on.”

In gratitude and hope: A message from Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti on

BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti writes a letter to supporters after being arrested by Israeli authorities on charges of tax evasion. Barghouti says the arrest is part of a government-led attack on the BDS movement: “Many of you have asked how best you can support me to face this latest persecution. My answer is, without hesitation … more BDS! We need to expand, mainstream and build on our many inspiring BDS campaigns, academic, cultural and economic, as the most effective way to respond to the new McCarthyism designed by Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid and exported to states where its lobby groups enjoy massive influence. Further growing our movement for freedom, justice and equality is the answer.”

Towards Better Ally-ship for Palestine: A letter to the US activist community

Eman Ghanayem on

Eman Ghanayem writes, “In light of the rapid growth in the Palestine activism community that is led, administered and predominated by non-Palestinians, the following is a letter of affirmations and requests made to address that community. This letter represents a Palestinian plea and critique that can henceforth improve the language used to address Palestine and Palestinian liberation movements and create better relationships between Palestinians and their allies.”

Sports and the Palestinian BDS Struggle (Part 3): Looking Ahead

Aubrey Bloomfield on

A “game-changer,” that is how the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), a national coalition of groups that advocates for Palestinian rights, described the decision by six National Football League (NFL) players to boycott an Israeli government-sponsored propaganda trip. Only time will tell if this is truly a game-changer, but it certainly represents a significant boost both for the profile of sports boycotts within BDS and for the Palestinian struggle within the sports world, particularly in the United States.

No room for Zionism in any movement for justice

Nada Elia on

A necessary and productive debate has been going on in US feminist circles following the International Women’s Strike on March 8, with its openly anti-colonial, pro-Palestine platform. In an Op-Ed, writer Emily Shire questioned whether there was room for Zionists in the feminist movement. This exchange is the latest chapter in a long conversation in activist circles around Palestine as a feminist issue. The question Shire should have asked is “Is there room for Zionists in any justice movement?” The answer is No.

UN agency labels Israel ‘apartheid regime’– and Israel likens organization to Nazis

Allison Deger on

A United Nations agency today labeled Israel an “apartheid regime,” in a report where the country was said to be guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the “grave charge” of operating systematic discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) who published the document, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian, People and the Question of Apartheid,”[PDF] is mandated to review Israeli aggressions.

No space for Zionism

Devyn Springer on

There is no space for Zionism in any movement which seeks to alleviate even an iota of oppression from marginalized people. There is no space, no room should be made, no platform to be held, for Zionism, which is diametrically opposed to intersectional feminism, both in theory and praxis.

Hate crimes in America: either a trap or an opportunity for Palestine advocates

Yoav Litvin on

Since the U.S. elections there have been a series of anti-Semitic bomb threats and desecrations of Jewish cemeteries have joined a growing number of racist expressions against immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQI and other members of minority communities. In response to these incidents, Trump regressed to anti-Semitic rhetoric, claiming that the desecrations and attacks could be false flags perpetrated by Jews themselves. Yoav Litvin says Trump’s particular claim underlines a nexus where anti-Zionists and anti-Semites sometimes converge and is a dangerous trap for Palestine advocates.

Legal organizations condemn anti-BDS bills fast-tracked in New York Senate

Palestine Legal on

On March 8, three anti-BDS bills were fast-tracked out of committee and passed without debate by the New York State Senate. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights oppose the move saying: “These bills are blatantly unconstitutional attacks on First Amendment rights to protest and dissent. They resurrect widely-condemned tactics used to undermine democracy: creating McCarthyite blacklists, punishing dissent, attacking academic freedom, and cracking down on student organizing.”