April 13, 2022
Webinar on Israel’s Apartheid

Join a Zoom panel discussion of the recent Amnesty International report, “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity.” We’ll start with Amnesty’s short video that recaps the legal definition of apartheid and the basis of their findings.

Selene Bonczok Sotelo of Amnesty International will join the panel. Selene, a Country Specialist at Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Cogroup, will provide a deeper understanding of the report and the significance of Amnesty’s decision to release it at this moment in time. Amnesty International is respected throughout the world for its commitment to human rights and willingness to investigate and expose the facts, whenever and wherever abuses happen.

La Crosse-area activists will add real world stories of apartheid – what Palestinian families experience in the West Bank, and what each has witnessed firsthand in their travel to Palestine/Israel and southern Africa.

This discussion will be facilitated by Mahruq Khan, Associate Professor of Race, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Free and open to the public.

Register here, on Facebook, or scan the QR code.

Sponsored by the Coulee Region Coalition for Palestinian Rights.

We call hypocrisy on PUMA

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), April 6, 2022

PUMA enacted swift measures to hold Russia accountable for its illegal weeks-long military invasion of Ukraine. Yet PUMA has been hiding behind the flimsy excuse of not getting involved in politics for years now to justify its ongoing support for Israel’s decades-long apartheid regime. Take action now to call out PUMA’s hypocrisy. 

Hypocrisy.

That’s the only way to describe PUMA’s actions.

PUMA enacted swift measures to hold Russia accountable for its illegal weeks-long military invasion of Ukraine. PUMA first ended a sponsorship contract with the Russian Basketball Federation and subsequently suspended its operations in Russia.

Yet PUMA has been hiding behind the flimsy excuse of not getting involved in politics for years now to justify its ongoing support for Israel’s decades-long apartheid regime.

Never has PUMA’s “we don’t do politics” excuse fallen flatter. Never has its hypocrisy been more exposed.

Tell PUMA: No more hypocrisy. End support for Israeli apartheid now. 
    

Puma continues to maintain its sponsorship contract with the Israel Football Association, which governs and advocates on behalf of teams in illegal settlements forcing Indigenous Palestinians off their land in the occupied Palestinian territory.

More than 200 Palestinian sports teams have called on PUMA to end its support for Israel’s military occupation. According to a leaked PUMA memo, an increasing number of PUMA’s own business partners and ambassadors are raising ethical concerns.

Take action now to call out PUMA’s hypocrisy.

Hey PUMA, now that you “do politics,” stop supporting illegal Israeli settlements
  

PUMA should take action now to end its complicity in oppression and suffering everywhere. Selective action is just another stain on its tarnished image.

In solidarity,
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

ps: We’re planning actions ahead of the PUMA shareholders meeting in early May. Mark your calendars and please get in touch if your group would like to join.

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March is a month of resilience and bravery for the Palestinian people

As Americans Muslims for Palestine commemorates Land Day on March 30th, we concurrently remember the brave and resilient people of Gaza’s Great March of Return, and their defiance amidst the infamous Israeli Operation Defensive Shield.  

This Land Day, AMP joined several groups in a global coalition for Palestine, signing a joint statement calling for sanctions on apartheid Israel. Read the statement here.

Land Day

On March 30th, 1976, the National Committee for the Defense of Arab Lands declared ‘Land Day’ in response to the Israeli government’s decision to confiscate 5,000 acres of Palestinian land. This confiscation of land was required for the expansion of Israel’s illegal settlement project, and more specifically, an effort to Judaize the Galilee. On that day in 1976, 6 unarmed Palestinians were killed, close to 100 were wounded, and hundreds of others were arrested. Almost every year on Land Day commemorations, Palestinians are subject to murder, harassment, and imprisonment.

Great March of Return

In March of 2018, the Great March of Return began, a series of Palestinian protests in the Gaza Strip demanding the right of refugees expelled during the Nakba to return to their homes. The protesters also demanded an end to the Israeli blockade, described by the United Nations as collective punishment. The Israeli regime cracked down on the demonstrations, killing almost 300 Palestinian men, women, and children, and injuring almost 30,000 others in one year, according to Gaza’s health ministry. The Great March of Return would come to an end in December of 2019.

Operation Defensive Shield

On March 29, 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada, Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield, a devastating military assault that killed nearly 500 Palestinians, wounded over 1400, and left over 17,000 Palestinians homeless.

Though these events all happened years apart, they serve as a great representation of the realities of ongoing Israeli settler-colonialism, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and apartheid today. Whether it be 46, 20, or 4 years ago – it has all been and continues to be, the same colonialism, the same occupation, and the same apartheid.

Want to continue resisting settler colonialism and Israeli apartheid? Join this webinar led by Stop The Wall and organized by a global Palestinian coalition on April 1, 2022, at 12 PM Eastern Time. Continue reading

April 9, 2022
The Power of Hope: Standing Together in Israel/Palestine


Alon-Lee Green with Hadash MKs Dov Khenin and Ayman Odeh on October 9, 2015 “Jews and Arabs stand together against the escalation, together for peace.”

Zuzu Cafe
1336 Drake St, Madison
7:00 PM

Standing Together is a grassroots movement mobilizing Jews and Palestinians from all over Israel in pursuit of peace, equality, social and climate justice. While the minority who benefit from the current status quo of occupation and inequality seek to keep us divided, we know that we — the majority — have far more in common than that which sets us apart. When we stand together, we are strong enough to fundamentally alter the existing socio-political reality. The future that we want to see — with peace and independence for Israelis and Palestinians, full equality for all citizens, and true social, economic and environmental justice — is possible. Because where there is struggle, there is hope.

BIOS:

Sally Abed is a staff member and an elected national leader at Standing Together. In recent years, she has become a prominent progressive Palestinian voice in Israel. Sally is a recurring guest on the Promised Podcast and the Co-host of the new podcast Groundwork – a mini series about Palestinians and Jews refusing to accept the status quo and working together for change.  Here is a recent post from The Nation.

Alon-Lee Green is the National Director and a founder of Omdim Beyachad (Standing Together), the Jewish-Arab grassroots movement that mobilizes people around issues of peace, equality and social justice. He got his start organizing Israel’s first trade union of waiters in a chain of coffee-shops and went on to found Israel’s first National Waiters Union. Alon-Lee emerged as a prominent leader of Israel’s social protest movement in the summer of 2011, and subsequently served as a political adviser  to Dov Khenin  in the Knesset.  Here is more from an interview with the American Jewish Peace Archive

media release: Congregation Shaarei Shamayim is sponsoring this talk.

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Navigating our Humanity: Ilan Pappé on the Four Lessons from Ukraine


Israeli warplanes attacked hundreds of towers and civilian ‘targets’ in the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

Ilan Pappe, The Palestine Chronicle, March 4, 2022

The USA Today reported that a photo that went viral about a high-rise in the Ukraine being hit by Russian bombing turned out to be a high-rise from the Gaza Strip, demolished by the Israeli Air Force in May 2021. A few days before that, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister complained to the Israeli ambassador in Kiev that “you’re treating us like Gaza”; he was furious that Israel did not condemn the Russian invasion and was only interested in evicting Israeli citizens from the state (Haaretz, February 17, 2022). It was a mixture of reference to the Ukrainian evacuation of Ukrainian spouses of Palestinian men from the Gaza Strip in May 2021, as well as a reminder to Israel of the Ukrainian president’s full support for Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in that month (I will return to that support towards the end of this piece).

Israel’s assaults on Gaza should, indeed, be mentioned and considered when evaluating the present crisis in the Ukraine. It is not a coincidence that photos are being confused – there are not many high-rises that were toppled in the Ukraine, but there is an abundance of ruined high-rises in the Gaza Strip. However, it is not only the hypocrisy about Palestine that emerges when we consider the Ukraine crisis in a wider context; it is the overall Western double standards that should be scrutinized, without, for one moment, being indifferent to news and images coming to us from the war zone in the Ukraine: traumatized children, streams of refugees, sights of buildings ruined by bombing and the looming danger that this is only the beginning of a human catastrophe at the heart of Europe.

At the same time, those of us experiencing, reporting and digesting the human catastrophes in Palestine cannot escape the hypocrisy of the West and we can point to it without belittling, for a moment, our human solidarity and empathy with victims of any war. We need to do this, since the moral dishonesty underwriting the deceitful agenda set by the Western political elites and media will once more allow them to hide their own racism and impunity as it will continue to provide immunity for Israel and its oppression of the Palestinians. I detected four false assumptions which are at the heart of the Western elite’s engagement with the Ukraine crisis, so far, and have framed them as four lessons.

Lesson One: White Refugees are Welcome; Others Less So

The unprecedented collective EU decision to open up its borders to the Ukrainian refugees, followed by a more guarded policy by Britain, cannot go unnoticed in comparison to the closure of most of the European gates to the refugees coming from the Arab world and Africa since 2015.  The clear racist prioritization, distinguishing between life seekers on the basis of color, religion and ethnicity is abhorrent, but unlikely to change very soon. Some European leaders are not even ashamed to broadcast their racism publicly as does the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov:

“These [the Ukrainian refugees] are not the refugees we are used to … these people are Europeans. These people are intelligent, they are educated people. … This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear pasts, who could have been even terrorists…”

He is not alone. The Western media talks about “our kind of refugees” all the time, and this racism is manifested clearly on the border crossings between the Ukraine and its European neighbours. This racist attitude, with strong Islamophobic undertones, is not going to change, since the European leadership is still denying the multi-ethnic and multicultural fabric of societies all over the continent. A human reality created by years of European colonialism and imperialism that the current European governments deny and ignore and, at the same time, these governments pursue immigration policies that are based on the very same racism that permeated the colonialism and imperialism of the past. 

Lesson Two: You Can Invade Iraq but not the Ukraine

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Global Rally Against Israeli Apartheid!

Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) Webinar
March 26th at 9AM CDT / 5PM Palestine Daylight Time

Join us for the 2022 Global Rally Against Israeli Apartheid!

On this day, we will be joined by artists from around the world centering art and culture as critical arenas of our collective resistance to Israeli apartheid and all forms of racism and oppression. From dance, to music, to poetry, the rally will highlight the critical role that culture and art play in decolonizing our minds.

Some of these artists, speakers and creatives include: Sanaa Moussa, El Funoun Dabke Troupe, Rana Nazzal, Radiodervish, Kayda Aziz, Badiaa Bouhrizi, Estefania Vega, and more!

This rally comes as part of the Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which over the last 18 years has propelled discussion of Israeli apartheid and organizing for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns into the popular narrative in order to help bring an end to this crime against humanity.

This year, from March to April, communities around the globe will come together to organize inspiring IAW actions and events to show that now, more than ever, we are #UnitedAgainstRacism.

Register Here!

Overview

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is a tool for mobilizing grassroots support on the global level for the Palestinian struggle for justice. It is a grassroots mechanism to raise awareness about Israeli apartheid and to mobilize support for strategic BDS campaigns to help bring an end to this system of oppression.

IAW provides an opportunity to network and strengthen the links between the Palestinian liberation struggle and other struggles against racism, oppression, and discrimination. In 2022, as in every year since 2005, we will once again join our voices to denounce apartheid and celebrate our diversity. This year, we plan to shed light on the role of culture, and art in particular, in decolonizing our minds in our collective struggles against cultural appropriation and oppression. From March to April, communities around the globe will come together to organize inspiring actions and events to show that now, more than ever, we are #UnitedAgainstRacism.

All Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) activities must conform to the BDS movement’s anti-racist principles and respect its affiliation guidelines.

Register Here!

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WORT 89.9 FM: Holding Israel Accountable

Madison Rafah Sister City Project, WORT 89.9 FM, March 16, 2022

“Holding Israel Accountable” is the theme of the Rachel Corrie Commemoration sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. The commemoration honors the 19th anniversary of the death of the U.S. peace activist crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to peacefully prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home.

This program discusses reports by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that describe Israel as an apartheid state, and the recent deaths of Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad and Al Haj Suleiman al-Hathaleen at the hand of Israelis.

CRIME OF APARTHEID

THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL’S SYSTEM OF OPPRESSION AGAINST PALESTINIANS


Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images

Amnesty International’s new research report, Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity, shows that Israeli authorities impose a system of domination and oppression against the Palestinian people in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), and against Palestinian refugees. Laws, policies, and institutional practices all work to expel, fragment, and dispossess Palestinians of their land and property, and deprive Palestinians of their human rights. We conclude this treatment amounts to an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination defined as apartheid under international law. 

Amnesty’s research, campaigns, advocacy, and statements pertaining to Israel are focused on the actions of the Israeli government — they are not, and never will be, a condemnation of Judaism or the Jewish people. Antisemitism is antithetical to everything Amnesty represents as a human rights organization.

FULL REPORTEXECUTIVE SUMMARYWhat is ApartheidHuman Rights Education CourseLife under ApartheidMediaRecommendationsAntisemitism StatementResourcesTAKE ACTION

Cultural Apartheid: Israel’s Erasure of Palestinian Heritage in Gaza

Al-Haq, 22 Feb 2022

On 23 February 2022, Al-Haq launched its report titled “Cultural Apartheid, Israel’s Erasure of Palestinian Heritage in Gaza”. The report builds from an investigation by the London-based research agency Forensic Architecture using advanced technologies and ‘open-source’ techniques to reconstruct one of the most significant archaeological sites in the occupied Gaza Strip. The report draws on Israel’s strategic bombing of the Gaza coastline to exemplify the erasure of Palestinian cultural heritage and the denial of the relevant human rights. Israel’s bombardments not only breach the principle of military necessity in violation of the laws of armed conflict, but also aim at gradually erasing Palestinian cultural heritage to deny the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination over their cultural resources, and by extension threatens their existence as a people. Such bombings are a gross violation of the Rome Statute, constituting war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

In the report, Al-Haq outlines that the bombing of the site may amount to a war crime and contributes to the crime against humanity of apartheid.[1] The targeting of Palestinian cultural heritage, fundamentally affects the core of their identity and existence as a people. For example, the International Criminal Court underlines the nexus between destruction of cultural heritage and crimes against humanity, especially when the former occurs within the context of an attack against the civilian population, forms part of a state policy and is carried out in a widespread or systematic manner.[2] Additionally, under the Rome Statute, the crime of apartheid when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population, with knowledge of the attack, amounts to a crime against humanity.[3]

During Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip between 8 July and 26 August 2014, Al-Haq reported the complete and partial destruction of 61 and 120 mosques, in addition to the partial destruction of one church.[4] Similarly, during the May 2021 military offensive, antiquities and cultural heritage sites were both directly targeted and indirectly damaged due to their close proximity to affected areas. In the latest military assault on the Gaza Strip between 10 and 21 May 2021, Palestinian human rights organizations reported damage to public and private properties including 124 places of worship, of which 7 were completely and 117 partially destroyed, one market which was partially destroyed, and damage to 37 tourism facilities – 6 completely and 31 partially destroyed.[5] Al-Haq has warned of the ongoing deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip as a result of 14 years of prolonged closure, and four major military offensives carried out against the civilian population by Israel, the Occupying Power. The attacks on the Gaza Strip have resulted in serious humanitarian crises rendering the territory uninhabitable,[6] and amounts to unlawful collective punishment.[7]

Israel’s criminal enterprise in dealing with Palestinian cultural heritage is once again reflective of its overall apartheid regime perpetrated against the Palestinian people as a whole: under the veil of international legal instruments that it ratified without implementing them, Israel sets up two distinct standards tailored upon their added value to the entrenchment of the Zionist narrative over Palestinian lands. On one hand, cultural heritage sites that serve this narrative and are directly controllable by the Israeli Occupying Forces are appropriated and exploited to reinforce this narrative. On the other hand, cultural heritage sites that conflict with this narrative are, straightforwardly or not, targeted, damaged and destroyed, in an attempt to erase them from memory of people.

In light of the report and the investigation by (FA), Al-Haq call on:

• The UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, Alexandra Xanthaki, to use her good offices to preserve and protect the Palestinian people’s ability to preserve, protect and develop their cultural heritage, and more specifically to request a country visit to Palestine and report on Israel’s violation of Palestinian cultural rights;

• For the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the UN Commission of Inquiry to take into particular account Israel’s practices of indiscriminate and systematic attacks on Palestinian cultural heritage artefacts, properties and sites;

• The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the UN Commission of Inquiry to consider attacks on cultural property as amounting to war crimes, and evaluate their crucial contribution to inhumane acts of apartheid under the Rome Statute and where relevant, the Apartheid Convention and international human rights law;

• For the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the UN Commission of Inquiry to include Israel’s targeting of cultural heritage into the ongoing investigations, establishing links with other alleged violations under scrutiny, and to request a fact-finding mission to gather evidence of targeting of cultural heritage;

• The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to use their good offices to organize the protection of Palestinian cultural property, as per Article 33(1) of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;

• Third States to recognize Israel’s unlawful destruction of Palestinian cultural heritage, primarily in Gaza, as a fundamental element that enables Israel to further its colonial project in Palestine, and to entrench its apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole and their lands by erasing their cultural identity as a people;

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Israeli top court annuls Sheikh Jarrah eviction orders

I am writing with breaking news from this week in Sheikh Jarrah.

On Tuesday, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled to annul the current expulsion orders against four Palestinian families in the neighborhood — the El-Kurd, Jaouni, Al-Qasim, and Iskafi families.

Overturning years of previous decisions, the new ruling protects the families from forced eviction for months and possibly years to come. This decision comes after a decades-long organizing campaign led by the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah to save their community.

While we celebrate this significant step, the struggle in Sheikh Jarrah is far from over. The families are protected from immediate expulsion, but the court left it up to the Ministry of Justice to review property rights over the land, meaning the threat of dispossession continues to loom large. Other families in the neighborhood and throughout Jerusalem still face the imminent displacement, though some believe this ruling could set a precedent for dozens of other cases in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and beyond. And the brutality of the occupation remains in full force — on Wednesday police closed off Sheikh Jarrah with metal barriers, preventing some journalists from entering, while protecting an ultra-nationalist settler rally protesting the court’s ruling.

Nevertheless, this is an inspiring reminder of what can be achieved through the powerful combination of grassroots mobilization and international pressure. The four families affected by the ruling made clear in their joint statement [below] that they do not expect justice to come from Israeli courts, writing: “We count on the popular and global movements that have accomplished the unprecedented feat of forcing the court to cancel the imminent expulsion.”

Keeping our eyes on Sheikh Jarrah and the rest of Jerusalem is crucial. As we have seen this week, the power of our attention can make a difference.

With resolve,
Emma Alpert
Deputy Director, Just Vision


A statement by Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood Units
in response to the Occupation’s Supreme Court ruling.

On March 1, 2022, the Occupation’s Supreme Court ruled to annul the expulsion orders
issued against four families in Sheikh Jarrah (laouni, Al-Qasim, El-Kurd, and Iskafi) and
defer the review of property rights over the land (Karm Al-laouni) to “title settlement and
registration” procedures.

The battle to solidify our rights in our lands and our homes is far from over-rather, it has
started anew. The Occupation authorities weaponize “land settlement and registration” as a tool to control land in occupied Jerusalem. We reaffirm: our cause is righteous and we will continue in our fight.

We know we will not receive justice from Israeli Occupation courts. Rather, we count on the popular and global movements that have accomplished the unprecedented feat of forcing the court to cancel the imminent expulsion.

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