Palestine: Unlimited

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[TOP] A visitor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco views photographs from the first annual Karimeh Abboud Award Competition. [BOTTOM] Luay Sababa’s photograph “Checkpoint 300” captures Palestinian workers at the main checkpoint in Bethlehem. (STAFF PHOTOS PHIL PASQUINI)

 
Elaine Pasquini, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 2017 March-April

Throughout the month of December, photographs from the first annual Karimeh Abboud Award Competition were on display in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco. The exhibition, “Palestine: Unlimited,” was presented by the charitable organization Bright Stars of Bethlehem. Bright Stars is dedicated to the support of the Bethlehem-based Diyar Consortium, which includes, among other Bethlehem institutions, Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture, which initiated the showing.

Hailing from across all of historical Palestine, the 10 finalists were Mohammed al-Kurd, Mohammad Shaloudi, Luay Sababa, May Hirbawi, Saleh Zghari, Waseem Ali, Majd Sanuri, Reem Awad, Alaa abu Salem and first prize winner Nihaya al-Haj Mahmoud. The exhibition was curated by filmmaker Mahasen Nasser-Eldin, who teaches film studies and production at Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture.

In presenting their wide range of subjects, the artists utilized various styles of photography, including experimental, abstract, conceptual and documentary.

Luay Sababa’s wrenching photo “Checkpoint 300” captures Palestinian workers traversing the checkpoint in Bethlehem—where unemployment is high—to work in Israel.

“Our Mother is Palestinian” by Mohammad Shaloudi offers an oft-seen vignette in the Old City of Jerusalem of a mother selling her vegetables in the street.

May Hirbawi’s photo “Demolition Order” reveals a Bedouin learning his home will soon be confiscated and demolished.

“There’s been a lot of talk recently about the need for empathy and to take someone else’s point of view,” Randy Schieber, chair of St. Mark’s endowment fund, which helped sponsor the exhibition, told visitors at the Dec. 4 opening reception. “This exhibit really puts us in the eyes of these young adults in Palestine and offers us a glimpse into their lives.”

The award is named for photographer Karimeh Abboud (1893-1940), who shattered stereotypes by becoming the first professional female photographer in Palestine, where she had studios in Bethlehem, Nazareth, Haifa and Jerusalem.

—Elaine Pasquini

Community Cocktail

Through June 30 at Gib’s Bar, 1380 Williamson St, Madison

The Madison Rafah Sister City Project was chosen for the June Community Cocktail at Gib’s! Our custom cocktail is called “Soul Sister” to represent Sistering with MRSCP — it is a refreshing mix of vodka, arak, lemon and mint.

Simply ask for the “Soul Sister” cocktail or the community cocktail.

Gib’s will offer “Soul Sister” until June 30th and all funds that we receive will go towards our next humanitarian project – The Maia Water Project (Maia is “water” in Arabic). The funds are for a Maia Filtration Unit for the Rafah Boys Preparatory School and an adjacent co-ed elementary school.

A total of 3250 students and their families will be able to access the clean drinking water from this filter. The estimated cost is $16,000 with a goal to raise these funds by the end of 2018.

Thanks for helping us improve lives!

MRSCP will be tabling from on Thursday, June 21 from 5-7 pm at Gib’s Bar for a Happy Hour supporting our “Soul Sister” Community Cocktail fundraiser. Get your friends together and join us to support MRSCP; we’ll have some of our Palestinian crafts and products there as well as some information on this latest fundraiser.

If you can’t make it but would like to contribute to the Maia Project filter project, you can send a check payable to MRSCP marked “water” to:

    MRSCP
    P.O. Box 5214
    Madison, WI 53705

 

Cities for Palestine


Image via Sacramento to Bethlehem

Cities for Palestine, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Others, June 6, 2018

This week, Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip are marking the 51st year of the brutal Israeli military occupation. As the resistance to Israel’s oppression continues across Palestine, we have a responsibility to keep pushing to end the US policies that have allowed Israel to act with such impunity for so long.

Today we are launching a new website, Cities for Palestine, to encourage people to focus on opportunities to organize for Palestinian rights in our cities, towns, counties, and states that will build our collective power upwards to impact policy.

Municipal campaigns focus on engaging directly with local policy makers, building capacity and activating the power of everyday people. This work will reverberate to help move decision-makers at local, state, and federal levels. Ultimately, we move closer and closer to changing the US policies that enable Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.

Why the municipal campaigns approach? Because we know it works. From the South African anti-apartheid movement to environmental justice campaigns that focus on divestment from fossil fuels to prison abolition, municipal campaigns are a tried-and-true strategy that prove the effectiveness of organizing locally to impact national and global causes.

citiesforpalestine.org lays out eight ideas to help you start thinking about what campaign would work for your community. These ideas are intended to be implemented as part of an overall commitment by communities to invest in freedom while divesting from injustice. That means understanding the connections between local demands related to the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality and the demands of Black, brown, and Indigenous communities.

You will also find on the website a toolkit to help you with implementing a municipal campaign in your community. It has all the nuts and bolts of planning and carrying out a municipal campaign, like tips about research, coalition building, and engaging with elected officials.

Finally, we hope you will be inspired by this list of past successful municipal campaigns across the country. These wins have been vital to strengthening the global struggle for Palestinian rights. We’re proud to continue working with partners across the country to invest even more time and resources into empowering you to do this type of local work.


WHAT’S THE CAMPAIGN ABOUT?

Invest in justice by building genuine connections between US and Palestinian cities, towns, villages, or refugee camps through a sister city relationship. Sister Cities promote ties between community members in both places to learn about each other’s lives and work together on projects to support one another.

Sister Cities have transformed US city officials’ and other residents’ understanding of what is happening in Palestine through personal and official connections with Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid. Sister Cities also open the door to delegations to Palestine, including by city officials.

Current official and unofficial sister cities between the US and Palestine include:

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

Establish a sister city relationship between your city and a city, town, village, or refugee camp in Palestine. Maintain and grow that relationship in the years to come.

Success Stories

MUSCATINE-RAMALLAH

In Muscatine, IA, residents with relationships in Ramallah, including Palestinians, led a sister city campaign. Despite being met with tremendous opposition, the campaign succeeded in 2011 thanks to long-term relationship building with city council members and the mayor. The sister city project has focused on projects connecting Muscatine and Ramallah middle school students through art and social media, and has allowed Muscatine residents to gain awareness of what life is like for Palestinians in occupied Ramallah. There have been multiple Muscatine to Ramallah delegations, and there is an delegation being planned for city officials.

BOULDER-NABLUS

The Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project began as a campaign led by Boulder residents  inspired by personal relationships with Nablus residents. Their first attempt in 2013 was so controversial that Palestine dominated local news headlines for weeks, capturing the attention of the entire city – the city’s livestream of the hearing was so widely watched that it crashed! The campaign was massively effective at reaching folks who don’t consider themselves political but care about people-to-people connections and cultural exchange. An official sister city relationship was passed in 2016.

BRING THIS CAMPAIGN TO YOUR CITY

Israel ambassador to U.S. speaks at Milwaukee Rotary Club

Bill Glauber and Amed Elbenni, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 6, 2018

Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said America’s recent move to relocate its embassy to Israel will help advance the cause of Middle East peace.

During an address Tuesday at the Milwaukee Rotary Club, Dermer called President Donald Trump’s decision to open the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem “historic” and “one of the greatest decisions in the history of Zionism.”

“I know some people are concerned that this decision will set back the cause of peace. I disagree,” he said.

“This is our historic home and peace can come to the region and the Palestinians can cross a psychological Rubicon and say, ‘You have a right to be here, too,’ ” he added.

The event was co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. The Rotary has invited the Islamic Society of Milwaukee to a future presentation.

There were protests outside the War Memorial Center organized by Jewish Voice for Peace-Milwaukee, an organization that advocates for full Palestinian citizenship that has labeled Dermer “Israel’s apartheid ambassador.” Peace Action Wisconsin also was an organizer of the protest, which attracted about 60 people from various backgrounds — Jewish, Palestinian, Lebanese, black.

The groups criticized Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, where more than 115 people have been killed since March. Hamas has organized what it called the Great March of Return.

The protests come on the heel of a recent explosion of violence in Gaza and at the Israeli border that left more than 100 people killed and thousands more injured. The Friday killing of Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old Palestinian medic who was shot by an Israel Defense Forces soldier, has inspired a fresh wave of outrage.

“It’s an atrocity,” said Tony Peressini, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Jodi Melamed, co-founder of the Milwaukee chapter of JVP, attended the address but was not impressed. “As a Jew of conscience,” she said, she was “disgusted that he was joking about ‘Laverne & Shirley’ and baseball” without ever acknowledging the recent violence in Gaza.

Near the end of the protest, the names of recent Palestinian victims were read out. After each name, the protesters said, “We remember you.”

Inside, Dermer said: “The relationship between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever.”

Dermer noted that he was the first Israel ambassador to visit Milwaukee but emphasized the historic links between Israel and Wisconsin.

“The place where Golda Meir was forged, where her Zionism was forged,” Dermer said of Milwaukee, where Israel’s fourth prime minister once lived.

Dermer said Trump had a “faithful decision” to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

“Iran is a regime that openly calls for the eradication of Israel,” Dermer said. “They don’t hide it, they tweet it.”

“For Israel, any deal that would permanently prevent Iran from getting any nuclear weapons is one that we would support,” he said, adding that Israel opposed the deal with Iran because the restrictions against Iran’s nuclear program were temporary.

“All they had to do was wait for the calendar to change,” he said.

He said Iran is dominating the region and becoming a threat in the Middle East and hoped for more countries to put more pressure on Iran.

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What is Israel doing in Alaska?!

The Peace Report, June 5, 2018

Israel will be testing their Arrow 3 weapons system, among other things, on Kodiak Island, Alaska in the summer of 2018. The Arrow 3 weapons system was funded and developed by both Israel and the United States. All amenities and resources will be provided for the Israeli military free of charge, paid for by American taxpayers. Kodiak has a long history of pollution from the Pentagon that they are still trying to clean up from WW2.


The Global Network recently made the decision to hire Afghan and Iraq war veteran Will Griffin of The Peace Report to serve as our social media coordinator on a part-time basis. One of his jobs will be to produce a space-related video for us each month. This new video, revealing Israeli plans to test the Arrow ‘missile defense’ system from Kodiak Island, is his first for the GN.

We’ve long been supporting the local citizens campaign on Kodiak Island to build opposition to the launching of military rockets from their pristine public lands. But the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency feels that Kodiak is ‘out of site, out of mind’. We are determined to make sure that Israel’s testing of these weapons systems does not go un-noticed and without international opposition.

Please help us spread the word about this issue by sharing this important video via email and on Facebook using the links above. Help us break through the corporate media silence surrounding this provocative and destabilizing effort by Israel (with full Pentagon support) to control the Middle East and its resources.

Will Griffin has made many videos which you can find at his site called The Peace Report.

Help us Keep Space for Peace!

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (blog)

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. – Henry David Thoreau