NEW BARK BUT OLD BITE FOR ISRAEL’S SHARON

GEORGE ARIDA, Madison.com, Dec 9, 2005

Despite appearances to the contrary, Ariel Sharon is one of the true constants of Israeli politics.

Although he remains uncompromising in his ideology and consistent in his methods, he periodically redefines his political identity to serve his underlying agenda.

This week the mainstream Western media carried characteristically misleading headlines of his latest bold initiative: “Sharon Bolts Likud to Form Centrist Party” and “Israel’s Sharon unleashes political earthquake.”

As absurd as it seems at first to see the word “centrist” to describe Sharon or his new party, on reflection it may be an accurate term after all, given the spectrum of Israeli mainstream politics.

The sad truth is that “mainstream” Israeli politics occupies a narrow space, and Sharon’s new identity as a “centrist” is a reflection of the disturbing state of the Israeli body politic rather than any sign of change in Sharon’s stripes.

The left-to-right spectrum in Israel ranges from a kinder and gentler vision of “separate and unequal” (Labor, Meretz and the mainstream “left”) to a “banish-or-kill-em-all” vision of ethnic and religious superiority disturbingly reminiscent of some of Europe’s and America’s darker moments (elements of Likud, National Union, the National Religious Party, Kach, etc.)

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Re Isthmus article on Camp Shalom

Kathy Walsh, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, December 5, 2005

Regarding Robert Ablove’s letter about the Isthmus article on Camp Shalom (“Ain’t Gonna Study War No More,” 9/2/05):
 
My daughter and I visited Israel/Palestine last winter. While we were there, there were no suicide/homicide bombings by Palestinians. But while we were there a 10 year old girl was shot and killed, and a 7 year old girl was injured. They were Palestinian schoolchildren in the yard of their UN school. The shots came from an Israeli sniper tower and were presumably fired by an Israeli soldier.  These are hardly isolated incidents.
 
I will refer to statistics posted by Remember These Children. Since September of 2000, 123 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians. During this time 704 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis, most by Israeli soldiers.  For 2005 the numbers are 7 Israeli children versus 57 Palestinian children killed. Since the publication of the article on Camp Shalom one Israeli child and 11 Palestinian children have been killed. I ask Robert Ablove who are the more succesful terrorists? Whose parents should be more afraid?

University of Wisconsin Regents Urged To Divest From Israel

Aaron Nathans,The Capital Times, November 11, 2005

Protesters packed a hearing Thursday on the University of Wisconsin’s investment portfolio, encouraging the Board of Regents to divest from Israel.

Many held Palestinian flags, as speaker after speaker called for the university to divest from companies that do business with the Israeli military. They argued, for example, that Caterpillar makes bulldozers that are used to knock down houses of families of suspected Palestinian terrorists. And Lockheed Martin supplies the Israeli Air Force.

“As a mother, my heart goes out to the mothers of Palestine,” said Rae Vogeler, the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate. She brought along her 8-year-old son. “Do we want to be investing in machines that kill?”

But local supporters of Israel said the effort had nothing to do with changing its military, and was instead part of a sustained campaign on American campuses to delegitimize the Jewish state.

The UW Board of Regents’ Business and Finance Committee held its annual forum on trust funds at Grainger Hall, with committee members, as usual, sitting quietly at a table in front while members of the public said their piece. The event, usually a tepid and sparsely attended affair, is designed to allow people to comment on the university’s investment choices. About 70 attended on Thursday.

Occasionally, the Board of Regents has taken action, such as two years ago, when it briefly divested in Tyson Foods bonds to show solidarity with striking workers at the plant in Jefferson.

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Re: Regents urged to divest from Israel

Kathy Walsh, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, November 11, 2005

In the Capital Times article on the divestment debate at UW you quote Professor Ken Goldstein:

    “When a Palestinian woman loves her child, and does not encourage 14-, 15-, and 16-year olds to strap bombs onto their body and blow up Israeli 3-, 4- and 5-, year olds at a pizzeria, then we’ll have a two-state solution.”

I was in Rafah (a city in the Gaza strip) when a 10-year-old girl was killed by Israeli sniper fire while standing in line outside her school. I saw the mother. She was beyond herself in grief. Her child may be considered a martyr, but her mother was NOT celebrating her martyrdom, but grieving it, as I know Jewish mothers and Christian mothers and even atheist mothers like myself would do. And I don’t think it was because her daughter was killed before she had a chance to be a bomb. The child’s name was Norhan, from “no’or” which means light in Arabic. She was a light extinguished for no reason.

I believe this mother loved her child as much as I love my daughter who was traveling with me, as much as Rae Vogeler loves her son, and presumably as much as Professor Goldstein loves his daughter. I know I would give my life to protect either of my daughters.

I want to ask who encouraged the soldier to pull the trigger and open fire on a schoolyard. I also must comment that many Israeli soldiers refuse to participate in such carnage and many Jews are horrified by such acts.

I want to encourage everyone to look up the statistics on who is killing whom. They can be found at Remember These Children, B’Tselem, or even the Israeli Defense Force websites. As of November 9, 2005 the totals for Israeli children killed by Palestinians since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000 is 123. In this same time period, Israelis have killed 704 Palestinian children.

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November 3, 2005
Ibdaa Dance Troupe in Madison

IBDAA!

We are excited to announce that on Thursday November 3 the world-renowned Ibdaa Children’s Dance Troupe will perform for the first time in Madison at 7:30 pm in the UW Union Theater.

This group of 10 boys and 10 girls between the ages of 10 and 13 is touring major cities in the U.S. under the sponsorship of the San Francisco-based Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA). The dancers combine traditional “debke” dance and brilliant costumes with a modern narrative about their experiences as Palestinian refugees growing up and living in the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem. The Ibdaa children’s troupes have performed all over the world to great acclaim.

The Madison performance will be free and open to the public. It is sponsored by MRSCP, the Arab Student Association, and Al-Awda Wisconsin. For more information e-mail rafahsistercity@yahoo.com or asomadison@yahoo.com.

NATIONAL TOUR:
Albuquerque, NM, Amherst, MA, Austin, TX, Boston, MA, Chicago, IL, Dallas, TX, Detroit, MI, Houston, TX, Keene, NH, Los Angeles, CA, Minneapolis, MN, Sacramento, CA, , Santa Fe, NM, Seattle, WA

For venues, and information: events@mecaforpeace.org

Tawfiq Nasser: Palestinian Doctor Tells Of Life Under Occupation

Samara Kalk Derby, The Capital Times, October 10, 2005

To get to work each day, Tawfiq Nasser needs a green card, known as a “dirty ID.” He also needs what is called a magnetic card to show that he is not a terrorist or security threat.

On top of that, he must carry two permits, both of which have to be renewed every few months.

Nasser is one of the lucky ones. As director and CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, the Palestinian doctor moves about the city and the rest of Israel with some aggravation and complication.

“This is a privilege, a real privilege,” he told an audience of about 40 Sunday afternoon at Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg.

Nasser, who has studied and worked in the U.S., was in Madison to give a presentation, “A View From Jerusalem: Challenges for Palestinian Health Care.” He also spoke at St. Stephens Lutheran Church in Monona. His appearances were co-sponsored by the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.

“I am not angry,” said Nasser, 40, noting that he makes a good living and has a driver to help navigate the checkpoints.

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October 9, 2005
Dr. Tawfiq Nasser in Madison


A View From Jerusalem – Challenges for Palestinian Health Care

Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem

St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church
5700 Pheasant Hill Rd., Monona
Dr. Nasser will preach at 8:00 & 10:00 Worship
and make a presentation beginning at 9:10

Memorial United Church of Christ
5705 Lacey Rd., Fitchburg
Dr. Nasser will speak from 4:30 – 5:30

Evening Reception of Hospitality and Conversation
At the home of Rev. Bruce Burnside
1109 Gilbert Rd., Madison
RSVP Requested to Rev. Burnside (see below)

The public is invited to any and all events of the day. For Information or directions please contact Rev Bruce Burnside, 608-222-1241 or revbhb@tds.net.

AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL stands atop the Mt. Of Olives in East Jerusalem where for over 50 years it has, as a project of Lutheran World Federation, provided exceptional health care to Palestinian people, primarily from East Jerusalem, many refugee camps and villages in the West Bank. Numerous challenges have threatened the work of the hospital, its staff and patients over the years, but none, perhaps, as great as those now being faced because of the Israeli “Security Wall” and an Israeli tax decision. A great deal of the hospital’s care is provided on a charitable basis.

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September 22 – December 1, 2005
Film Series: “Finding Hope in Unexpected Places”



A Community Film Series
September 22 – Uncovered: The War on Iraq
October 20 – Rana’s Wedding
November 10 – Hidden in Plain Sight
December 1 – Until When . . .

Edgewood College, Predolin Humanities Center, Anderson Auditorium
7:00 pm for all showings

“The Arts Go to War”, an Edgewood human issues class; the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and the School of the Americas Watch — Madison join forces to bring you four thought-provoking, disturbing, and enlightening films. An audience discussion will follow each film. All films are free and open to the public.

September 22 – Uncovered: The War on Iraq
Documentary; Director: Robert Greenwald; 2004; 87 minutes
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald chronicles the Bush Administration’s case to invade Iraq following Sept. 11, 2001. The film examines the administration’s argument for war through interviews with U.S intelligence and defense officials, foreign service experts and U.N. weapons inspectors — including a former CIA director, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and President Bush’s Secretary of the Army.

“When the Bush Administration’s case for war in Iraq shifted from the existence of weapons of mass destruction to the existence of ‘weapons of mass destruction-related activities’, director Robert Greenwald got angry. Uncovered: The War On Iraq is his response; a powerful, well-constructed and sober documentary that – via a dense collection of interviews with intelligence experts, diplomats, weapons inspectors, and politicians – painstakingly and ruthlessly takes apart the American government’s changing arguments for invasion.” – Jonathan Trout, BBC

October 20 – Rana’s Wedding
Feature; Director: Hany Abu-Assad; 2002; 90 minutes
Shot on location in East Jerusalem, Ramallah, and checkpoints in between, Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad sees the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the eyes of a young woman who, with only ten hours to marry, must negotiate her way around roadblocks, soldiers, stonethrowers, overworked officials and into the heart of an elusive lover.

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