January 29, 2017
Citywide Forum to Bring Marginalized Communities Together

“United We Stand: A Community Gathering in Support of Our Neighbors Subject to Deportation or Discrimination”

Monona Terrace Conference Center
1 John Nolen Dr., Madison
2:00 – 5:00 pm
City of Madison Facebook Event

David Dahmer, Madison365, January 19, 2017

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office on Friday, it has left many people asking questions about their futures in this country. What will happen if a Muslim registry is created? What will happen if massive amounts of Latinos are deported and families are broken up? What does a Trump presidency mean for the black, gay, and Hmong communities? What is needed to protect the most vulnerable? How can we help each other?

If and when Donald Trump’s administration follows up on some of its election promises, there has to be a plan for those people who will be affected. And there must be unity. “We’re getting ready for unknown policies after Jan. 20,” says Masood Akhtar, a prominent and outspoken member of Madison’s Muslim community. “Nobody really knows what those policies will be and how we need to respond to those policies. So we need to be well-prepared. All of the people that will be affected by this have to work together to send a message that we are going to keep America united, rather than divided.”

Akhtar knows that for marginalized groups, there is great power in numbers. On Sunday, Jan. 29, at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, he will be part of a committee that will host “United We Stand,” a city-wide gathering to support Madison’s immigrant residents in the face of potential attacks by the next administration.

“A lot of policies are going to be created both here in Wisconsin and also nationally that are going to affect all of us,” Akhtar tells Madison365 in an interview at Swagat Indian Restaurant on Madison’s west side. “One of the ideas that we will be exploring as part of this exercise is to create a bi-partisan Wisconsin ‘anti-hate caucus’ with representatives from both parties. It has to be a bi-partisan effort. That is key. You have to have leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties. Then, we will engage on a more regular basis.

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Palestinians protest moving US embassy to Jerusalem

Israeli forces suppress weekly marches in Bilin, Kafr Qaddum

Ma’an News Agency, January 21, 2017

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Israeli forces Friday suppressed weekly marches held in the villages of Billin and Kafr Qaddum in the occupied West Bank districts of Ramallah and Qalqiliya.

In Bilin, the weekly march, which occur every Friday to protest the Israeli separation wall and illegal settlements, was launched in solidarity with the Bedouin village of Umm Hiran on Wednesday which was violently raided by Israeli forces on Wednesday, leaving a local teacher and an Israeli police officer killed, before Israeli forces carried out home demolitions in the village.

The demonstration was also centered on protesting President Donald Trump’s support of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Palestinian and international solidarity activists held up Palestinian flags and signs condemning the potential embassy move and threatening an escalation of the resistance if such a decision is made. Continue reading

Violence: the language of a Jewish state

Jonathan Cook Blog, January 19, 2017

(copyright: Keren Manor)

Here is another image that conveys the situation of Palestinians – these ones Palestinian citizens of Israel – more completely than any words. The man on the ground is Ayman Odeh, a member of the Israeli parliament, the head of the Joint List, the third largest party in the parliament, and the highest-ranking Palestinian politician in Israel.

Israeli police have just shot him with rubber-tipped bullets, not once but twice – including to the face. Odeh is one of the least confrontational politicians among Israel’s large Palestinian minority, a fifth of the population. His message is consistently one of peace and amity between all Israeli citizens, whether Jews or Palestinians. That does not seem to have protected him from the shoot-first, ask-questions-later approach of Israel’s security forces towards Palestinians.

This image should be as shocking as seeing a bloodied Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn crawling in the dirt, watched impassively by US or UK police.

Context is important too. Odeh had joined the 1,000 inhabitants of Umm al-Hiran – all Palestinian citizens of Israel – early this morning in a demonstration to stop demolition crews destroying the 150 homes of their village in the Negev. Israel allowed these families to move to the area of Umm al-Hiran in the 1950s after it had driven them from their original, and much more substantial, lands during the Nakba. The pretext then for expelling them was that Israel needed their ancestral lands for an exclusively Jewish kibbutz.

That all occurred during a military government that ruled over Israel’s Palestinians for nearly two decades. More than 60 years later, exactly the same thing is happening again, but this time in front of the cameras. Umm al-Hiran is being destroyed so that an exclusively Jewish community, with the same name of Hiran, can be built over these families’ homes. Israel never issued Umm al-Hiran with a master plan, so now it can be declared illegal and its inhabitants called “squatters” and “trespassers”. The families are being ethnically cleansed a second time – not during hostilities or in a time of war, but by their own state in a time of peace.

They are far from alone. Thousands of other families, and their villages, face the same fate.

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Israel as the Lights Go Out

In America there is always a domestic political reason for not doing the right thing on Israel-Palestine. It’s ugly, but then ugliness is having its day.

ROGER COHEN, The New York Times, January 17, 2017

Elon Moreh, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, seen from the Palestinian village of Azmout, last week. (Credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The bizarre burst of diplomatic activity on IsraelPalestine in the waning days of the Obama administration has been tantamount to an admission that, on this subject, things only get said too late and when they no longer mean anything. The rest of the time political cowardice in the form of silence prevails.

In a matter of weeks we have had a United Nations Security Council resolution calling on Israel to “immediately cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory;” a long speech by Secretary of State John Kerry setting out the Obama administration’s parameters for a two-state peace agreement and defending the American abstention that allowed the U.N. resolution to pass; and a Paris peace conference that urged Israelis and Palestinians, neither of them present, to take concrete steps to get the two-state idea off life support.

None of this piety will change anything on the ground, where settlements continue to grow, the daily humiliations that constitute Palestinian life continue to accumulate, and the occupation that will mark its 50th anniversary this year continues to entrench itself. The only possible change will come with President-elect Donald Trump, whose dalliance with moving the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amounts to pyromania, and whose choice of ambassador, his sometime lawyer David Friedman, suggests hard-line American support for Israeli settlements.

Trump’s thirst for the “ultimate deal” in the Holy Land could not be more far-fetched, however much his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, hones his skills with Henry Kissinger. There’s nobody and nothing to work with after a half-century of moral corrosion and progressive estrangement.

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Update January 30, 2017
No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance Tour

Monday, January 30
Evjue Room, Urban League of Greater Madison
2222 South Park Street, Madison [Map]
7 – 9 pm

The No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the U.S. to Palestine tour will be in Madison on Monday, January 30 for a free public community event in the evening.

The live speakers will be Amanda Weatherspoon, Nadya Tannous, Alix Shabazz, and Matthew Braunginn.

The main sponsor of the tour nationally is Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA). FOSNA is one of several international chapters supporting the work of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, a Palestinian Christian organization.

Other national sponsors

Local sponsors

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Open Doors for Refugees Donations

Donations of Furniture and Household Items:
Open Doors has stocked and set up apartments for three refugee families in the last three weeks. In the next ten days, four more refugee families will move to Madison, and Open Doors will provide almost all the furniture and household items for three of them, move it all into the new apartments, and set up the apartments in preparation for the new arrivals. To be able to do so, we need an influx of furniture and household items (without getting too much which would overwhelm our limited storage facilities – it’s a fine dance).

We especially need dressers, dining tables & chairs, armchairs and lights, while we already have plenty of couches, bedding and personal care items.

If you have things you’d like to donate, or want to organize a donation drive among your friends or colleagues, please email us at OpenDoorsForRefugees [at] gmail.com