Jewish mobs attack Palestinians during Jerusalem rampage


Israeli Jewish extremists marching through the Old City of Jerusalem to celebrate its occupation and colonization, on 29 May 2022. (Mustafa Bader, ZUMA Press Wire)

Tamara Nassar, The Electronic Intifada, 30 May 2022

Tens of thousands of Israeli Jewish ultranationalists marched through Jerusalem on Sunday to demonstrate their hatred towards Palestinians and assert dominance over the militarily occupied city.

Many attacked Palestinians and chanted for genocide.

This was part of the annual “March of the Flags” on Jerusalem Day, a holiday invented by Israel to celebrate its occupation and colonization of the city in 1967.

Over 2,600 extremists entered the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday, an unprecedented number, according to Israeli media.

A large crowd also gathered at the iconic Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City, waving the flags of Israel and the anti-Palestinian Jewish nationalist group Lehava:

Israeli Jews began their provocations early in the day. Reporters noted that they were more violent and confrontational on Sunday than in previous years.

Footage shared by Haaretz journalist Nir Hasson shows Israelis throwing a chair and other objects at Palestinians, who throw objects back:

A Word from Jeff Halper on “Jerusalem Day”

Jeff Halper, ICAHD, May 29, 2022

Today, Sunday, May 29, the Jewish state of Israel will carry out a government-sponsored pogrom on the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. “Jerusalem Day,” the annual Israeli celebration of the conquest and illegal annexation of the Old City and “East” Jerusalem, has been called the “national holiday of the settlers.” If Independence Day on May 15 marks the UN vote in 1948 that approved (with no authority) the establishment of the state of Israel on the majority of historic Palestine, then Jerusalem Day, by contrast, marks the displacement of the Palestinians from Palestine — the Judaization of Palestine whose flip-side is de-Arabization, the erasure of the very Palestinian Arab presence in the country. Just two weeks ago the Israeli police attacked the funeral of the murdered Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and tore the Palestinian flag off her casket; it is illegal to display a Palestinian flag in an Arab city in a historically Arab country that still has an Arab majority despite Israel’s massive expulsions and displacement.

It is not enough to displace Palestinians from their lands, homes and communities (more than 530 entire Palestinian villages, towns and urban areas were systematically demolished inside what became Israel in 1948, and 85% of the Palestinian population driven from the country; since 1967, Israel has demolished 60,000 Palestinian homes, schools, mosques, agricultural facilities and community structures). It is not enough to replace the Palestinian population with Israeli settlers. It is not enough to eliminate by force and by law every expression of Palestinian resistance to their own national erasure. Israel must send “the Arabs” – Israelis do not say “Palestinians” – a clear message: You have three choices: submit and accept the fact your country is now a Jewish state and you will never have civil rights, get out, or die.

Jerusalem Day is when Israel annually reaffirms this message, and it uses the religious settlers as its eager messenger. The Russian government and the others of Eastern and Central Europe sponsored hundreds of pogroms against their Jewish communities with exactly the same message, albeit with the emphasis on “get out or die.” Jews were ideally controlled, contained and intimidated into submission by the population rather than by the military or police, populations inculcated with virulent anti-Semitism. Israel uses its religious settler population, including pupils from virtually every Jewish religious school in the country, for the same purpose, supported by governments elected by an Israeli Jewish population inculcated by a virulent hatred of “Arabs,” seen as “terrorists” whose elimination is therefore justified.

Pogroms against Palestinians are daily occurrences, of course. Even the United States has protested against “settler violence,” the euphemism used for progroms. But government-sanctioned pogroms – military attacks on densely-crowded refugee camps or the Gazan concentration camp of 2 million people; the displacement of entire populations such as that of Masafer Yatta, approved by the Supreme Court; massive demolitions of Palestinian homes and confiscation of land; nightly raids on sIeeping families to “demonstrate a presence”; detention of thousands of Palestinian children and teens; a virtual hunting season on Palestinian men; the storming of al-Aqsa mosque – are carried out by official arms of Israeli state terrorism, whether the legal system and the courts, the military or police, or their settler agents.

Tomorrow’s pogrom will see thousands of religious Israelis (primarily kids, the ones still in need of indoctrination) carrying Israeli flags through the Damascus Gate and down the main street of the Muslim Quarter shouting “Death to Arabs!”, damaging stores, businesses and homes, and attacking any Palestinian they find in their way. True, there will not be mass murders tomorrow as there were in European pogroms, but there will be mass murders, simply spread out over the mini-pogroms carried out daily. Diluted rather than concentrated killings. Israel killed 319 Palestinians in the Occupied Territory in 2021, 71 of them children, according to the Israeli human rights organization, B’tselem.

Your media may or may not cover the “March of Flags” on tomorrow’s Jerusalem Day. But a state-sponsored pogrom is about to happen.

Thank you for your continuing support.

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AIPAC is buying primary elections

Here we go again! Super PACs are trying to buy Democratic elections and taint the process with misinformation.

In particular, AIPAC and its affiliates are spending millions of dollars to defeat progressives in blue districts. They are trying to buy primaries, targeting the candidates voters are most excited about — primarily women of color — and attempting to undermine and discredit them with blatant lies.

All because these candidates don’t waiver on human rights for all, including ensuring that Palestinians live with human dignity.

For example, Summer Lee, who we endorsed for Congress, had a 25-point lead just weeks before Election Day, before AIPAC’s dark money campaign spent millions of dollars on attack ads, spreading misinformation, to confuse voters. By Election Day, the race was close, but Summer did end up winning thanks to incredible grassroots people-centered organizing. However, it was still painful to see the attacks on Summer.

The aggressive attacks by AIPAC and its affiliates are just increasing. They have already spent an unprecedented $18+ million in Democratic primaries.

In response to this flood of dark money in at least 7 Democratic primaries across the country, Senator Bernie Sanders called on the DNC to make it clear that super PAC money is not welcome in Democratic primaries.

As he said: “This is a war for the future of the Democratic Party.” It’s also a fight for our very democracy itself.

Please sign the petition to Speaker Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders: Take a stand on corporate dark-money misinformation ads, including from AIPAC and its affiliated PACs. Denounce this onslaught of spending that’s targeting progressive women of color.

AIPAC claims to care about the safety of the Jewish people—but they endorsed over 100 Republicans who voted to undermine our democracy and overturn 2020’s election results.

These same anti-democratic right-wingers spew antisemitic and white supremacist hate. They support the January 6th insurrectionists, many of whom wore and flew Nazi symbols. These ideologies endanger all of us, particularly marginalized people such as Jewish Americans.

AIPAC’s support for right-wing extremists is out of step with the majority of Jewish Americans, most of whom are concerned about antisemitism from the right-wing.

As Summer Lee’s campaign said, voters deserve leaders “who know that our struggles and our safety are interwoven.” We are safest in solidarity with one another.

Because of AIPAC’s anti-democratic stances, the Young Democrats of Michigan have called on Democratic candidates to stop taking money or endorsements from AIPAC.

We’ve got to defend our democracy, including the multiracial pluralism upon which our democracy rests. And we’ve got to support bold progressives who are connected to their communities and willing to fight.

The Democratic Party is going to lose in 2022 and beyond if corporate interests keep throttling popular, progressive young leaders by dumping millions into Democratic races—while propping up candidates who oppose our popular agenda.

Please sign the petition now to call on House Democratic leadership to denounce AIPAC’s dark money misinformation campaigns.

American Bar Association questions Israel’s designation of six Palestinian organizations

The ABA schools Israel on international law regarding the military’s decision to silence widely respected Palestinian voices by calling them ‘terrorist’


Sahar Francis, director of Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners rights group designated “terrorist” by the Israeli government. Francis is pictured in her office in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. December 2021. (Photo: Yumna Patel)

JEFF WRIGHT, Mondoweiss, MAY 5, 2022

In what must have come as a surprise to Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the American Bar Association (ABA) has now weighed in on Israel’s designation last year of six Palestinian civil society organizations as “terrorist.” On behalf of the ABA, its president, Reginald M. Turner, wrote in a letter to the prime minister dated April 22, “We request that you review the concerns some in the international community have expressed questioning whether the procedures utilized [in making this designation] inappropriately deprive persons or organizations of their rights.”

The American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary association of attorneys
and legal professionals, “committed to… advancing the rule of law throughout the United States and around the world,” according to its website.

In the ABA’s letter to Bennett, Turner wrote, “Advancing the rule of law is one of the ABA’s four goals, the objectives of which include working for just laws, including human rights and a fair legal process; assuring meaningful access to justice for all persons; preserving the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary; and holding governments accountable under law.”

The six targeted organizations are Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees. As Turner wrote, “A number of organizations and officials have expressed concerns that these designations have been made on the basis of vague or uncorroborated allegations and target legitimate human rights activities.”

The ABA letter didn’t address the discovery that mobile phones of some of the Palestinian organization’ staff members had been previously hacked by sophisticated spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group, but a post on the European Union’s website cites a report by Front Line Defenders and charges that Israel’s designation was “premised on ‘secret evidence’ and information obtained using unlawful means… part of an ongoing institutionalised Israeli campaign of persecution and attacks to criminalise the organisations and cut off their sources of funding and support from the international community.”

Israel has provided no public evidence of its charges against the organizations, but has insisted that it has provided such evidence to the White House. When asked about the U.S. response to this attempt on Israel’s part to silence Palestinian human rights organizations, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly equivocated, saying that the State Department is looking into the charges.

The letter calls attention to Israel’s biased court system. The American Bar Association has thus added another respected voice to the growing criticism of Israel’s apartheid laws, policies and practices and, by extension, to the silence of the U.S. State Department on this matter. 


Reginald M. Turner Jr.,
ABA President

While the ABA “takes no position on the ultimate culpability of the designated organizations,” Turner wrote, “procedural rights guaranteed under international law would suggest that authorities should disclose to those organizations or their counsel the evidence on which the allegations are based to permit them to prepare a proper legal defense.”

“Organizations should not forfeit their rights simply because they are accused of engaging in terrorist activity. Those charged are still entitled to the presumption of innocence,” the ABA letter asserts. “International law accepts that the requirements of a fair trial may be modified in counterterrorism matters and that states may have recourse to special courts, particularly military courts. It is fundamental, however, that court procedures adhere to the principle of ‘equality of arms,’ a jurisprudential principle that obliges a court to ensure that neither party is put at a disadvantage in presenting its case by being denied access to evidence at the core of the case against it.”

In what can be taken as a reference to the secrecy afforded Israel’s military courts, the letter charges, “While a final appeal can be brought before the Israeli Supreme Court, this could be an inadequate protection since the organizations likely will not have had access to the evidence on which the military order was based, and there may well be no written decision or record for the Court to review.”

In response to attempts to reach Mr. Turner—in the hope that it might be learned how the issue came to the ABA’s attention, what moved the ABA to pen the correspondence, and what response the ABA has received to date—a member of the ABA’s media office responded, “The letter speaks for itself.”

Copied on the letter are: Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, IDF Military Commanding Officer
in Charge of the West Bank; Michael Herzog, Ambassador of Israel to the United States; Gilad Erdan, Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations; Thomas R. Nides, United States Ambassador to Israel; Antony J. Blinken, United States Secretary of State; Ms. Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

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May 20, 2022
Shireen Abu Akleh on WORT

Esty Dinur discusses Shireen Abu Akleh and related issues with Osama Eliwat of Combatants for Peace in Jericho.

Combatants for Peace is a non-profit organization of ex-combatant Israelis and Palestinians who have laid down their weapons and rejected violence. We are working together to end the occupation of Palestine, bring just peace to the land, and demonstrate that Israelis and Palestinians can work and live together.

Update: Madison-Rafah Annual Fundraising Drive

Al Samud Playground Dedication

Al Samud Playground Installation

Fundraising for the playground is not complete, but Playgrounds for Palestine has installed equipment to hold the space in the face of settler encroachment. We will be reimbursing them as soon as possible.


This year we are collaborating again with Playgrounds for Palestine to install the Al Samud Playground at a kindergarten on Shuhada Street in Hebron, in the West Bank area of Palestine.

This new playground will be adjacent to the one we helped install at the Qortuba Elementary School in 2016 (Select “Qortuba” at Playgrounds for Palestine).

The Al Samud playground will serve 32 students ages 3 to 5 who live nearby. The area is constantly threatened by militant Israeli settlers who, under the protection of the Israeli army, seek to drive Palestinian families out of the Old City and seize their land and properties. The playground is a rare outdoor play space for the children, but currently lacks equipment. In recent months both children and playground have come under physical attacks.

 Help change this . . .. . . into THIS!

Our friends in Hebron are asking us to help them hold and improve this critical play space by installing playground equipment. The total cost will be around $7,000. Materials and labor will be sourced as locally as possible to support the Palestinian community.

You can donate to the playground project
Online via Playgrounds for Palestine. Write “Al Samud Hebron Playground” in the notes. Playgrounds for Palestine will send you a receipt.
Mail a check payable to MRSCP and marked “Hebron Playground” to:
MRSCP
P.O. Box 5214
Madison WI 53705
MRSCP will send you a receipt.
Online via the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. Square charges a fee of about 6%, so please consider adding that to your contribution. MRSCP will send you a receipt.

Wright Middle School Outdoor Space

Here in Madison, we are encouraging you to contribute to the Wright Middle School Outdoor Space Project. Those of us who have visited the playground area in Hebron have been struck by how similar the current outdoor space at Wright Middle School looks to the area in Hebron.

In particular, we were moved by this statement from a Wright MS student who was asked why middle schools need playgrounds:

“Right now, when children and families look at our playground, it looks like a prison yard.”

Wright Middle School Outdoor Space

Contribute to the Wright MS playground via the Madison Foundation for Public Schools, and strike a modest blow for playground equity here at home. You can donate online or mail a check.

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Why Did Israel Execute Shireen Abu-Akleh?

They attacked the mourners because they weren’t in the casket

Steve Salaita, May 13, 2022

Immediately after Israeli soldiers executed Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu-Akleh and fired at a group of her colleagues, observers began asking how such a horrible thing could happen. Why would Israel murder a journalist well-known throughout the Arab World? A noncombatant wearing appropriate press gear? A high-profile Palestinian with U.S. citizenship? At best, it seemed like a terrible PR move. It didn’t make any sense.

Except it did make sense. In fact, from a certain point of view killing Abu-Akleh was painfully sensible.

It’s natural to seek rational explanations for what appear to be mindless acts of violence. Explanation is contingent on material conditions, though, and so we have to understand the situation in context of Zionist settler colonization. Using the humanistic logic prevalent in most civil societies, Israel’s conduct was baffling. Its soldiers murdered a civilian in full view of people whose job is to report news. Those soldiers had to know that they couldn’t keep their act a secret, that targeting journalists would result in worldwide outrage. And yet they did it anyway.

Why?

To arrive at an answer, we have to discern the colonizer’s psyche. We’re not dealing with normal civil society standards, first of all. The relevant context is military occupation. In such a context, gratuitous state violence is normal. Obviously, killing Abu-Akleh has the immediate benefit of silencing a prominent voice of Palestinian resistance, one that had long exposed Israeli crimes of aggression.

There is more to the story, however.

We also have to explore the assumptions underlying a desire for simple explanations. By asking for reasons over and over again, observers seek answers to incongruous questions. In so doing they’re apt to tacitly implicate the victims in their own suffering. The journalists must have done something. There had to be a provocation. Israeli soldiers don’t just shoot innocent people for the hell of it.

But that’s exactly what Israeli soldiers do. Israel has murdered around fifty journalists over the past two decades. One or two might be an aberration. Fifty is a policy.

We needn’t turn to the victim’s behavior for answers to the colonizer’s violence. He is violent because of colonization.

So there’s no need to seek legible reasons for Abu-Akleh’s murder according the rationale of civic decency. The settler doesn’t need a “reason” to kill the native. The settler kills because deracinating the native is a precondition of his social identity. It is a function of his legal status and class position. Israeli forces viciously attacked a crowd carrying Abu-Akleh’s coffin—abusing our beloved martyr even in death—which only affirms the fact that the settler kills precisely when confronted by the native’s vulnerability. There is a higher purpose to his violence. The settler doesn’t kill simply to produce death; he kills to negate the native’s existence.

Israeli forces attacked Abu-Akleh’s corpse because killing her wasn’t enough. They needed to expunge her from a land they claim by divine mandate. Her body impedes a mythological birthright underlying the settler’s entire sense of self. She has to be rendered nonexistent in order for the settler to survive. Such is the logic of desecrating ancient Muslim cemeteries and planting flora over the ruins of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages.

The same forces attacked hundreds of mourners not because they were unruly, but because they weren’t also in the casket.

The settler’s violence, in short, is endless. It is the only way he knows how to be a good citizen. And it is the only way, in the end, he can imagine a meaningful existence.

Steve Salaita is a scholar, author and public speaker born in Bluefield, West Virginia.