November 2020
Virtual Fair Trade Holiday Festival

Dear Members and Friends of MRSCP,

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Madison Fair Trade Holiday Festival, which has gone virtual this year due to the pandemic.

The sale will be during the month of November. Make this your one stop shop for all your holiday gift giving. Spend your money on products that support your values; give gifts that give twice, once to the producer and once to the recipient.

You will be able to browse all the participating vendors and order directly from their websites by visiting Madison Fair Trade Holiday Festival.

You can also follow the Festival on Facebook.

MRSCP will be participating in the virtual sale via our online store, Madison-Rafah Marketplace. We will carry most of our usual items.

(The store is currently up and running for olive oil sales; our complete product listings will be available when the Festival opens.)

Note: MRSCP CANNOT ship or deliver any purchases; they need to be picked up. You will receive instructions and a pickup window following your purchase. In hardship cases, we may be able to provide delivery.

We hope you will be able to participate in this annual event, and as always, thanks for your support.

Barb O.
MRSCP

Artists condemn Israeli raids on Palestinian cultural centres

Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (Ahdaf Soueif for PalFest)

Massive Attack, Steve Coogan, Peter Gabriel, Maxine Peake, Philip Pullman and Benjamin Zephaniah are among 60+ cultural figures to put their names to an open letter condemning attacks on key Palestinian cultural centres.

The letter says the attacks are ‘part of a well-documented campaign of harassment and intimidation, arrests, home demolitions and forced evictions’ by the Israeli government.

Brian Eno says: ‘These raids … seem designed to break the morale of the Palestinian people, to deny them the last thing that they actually own: their culture’

The artists call for ‘targeted and lawful sanctions’ against Israel.

Signatories to the letter include:

  • Musicians Massive Attack, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Matthew Herbert, Jonathan Ofir, Jocelyn Pook, Benjamin Zephaniah
  • Filmmakers, actors David Calder, Julie Christie, Steve Coogan, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Maxine Peake, Leila Sansour, Harriet Walter
  • Writers Carmen Callil, William Dalrymple, Inua Ellams, A.L. Kennedy, Sabrina Mahfouz, Ruth Padel, Philip Pullman, Jacqueline Rose, Thomas Sleigh, Gillian Slovo, Ahdaf Soueif
  • 2019 Turner Prize winning artists Lawrence Abu Hamdam and Tai Shani

In an open letter published today (copied below) more than sixty musicians, artists, writers and filmmakers say that the ransacking of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM), the Yabous Cultural Centre and the Shafaq Cultural Network in occupied East Jerusalem, and the arrest of their respective directors, ‘threaten to extinguish cultural life for thousands of artists, students and people in wider society’. (1)

The British Consulate in Jerusalem expressed its concern over the raids, via Twitter. (2) However, the artists say that expressions of concern are not enough. 

The letter says that the raids are linked to Israel’s ongoing annexation of Palestinian land. It calls on the British government to take action to halt Israel’s latest round of aggression towards Palestinians . The signatories say: ‘Palestinian civil society organisations are calling for ‘targeted and lawful sanctions’, that relate to trade, arms sales and security co-operation. Britain should support them.’ 

Composer Jocelyn Pook, best known for scores for films such as Eyes Wide Shut, The Merchant of Venice and The Wife, said: ‘These raids strike a blow against music and a blow against education. No government which cared about culture would inflict them. No person who cares about culture should tolerate them.’

Continue reading

Israel Raids Cultural Centre and Conservatory of Music


Date: 23 July 2020
Time: 09 30 GMT

On Wednesday, 22 July 2020, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided Yabous Cultural Centre and Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM) in the center of occupied East Jerusalem and confiscated thousands of documents, files, PCs, tablets, and surveillance cameras. At the same time, IOF raided a house owned by the couple: Rania Elias and Suhail Khouri, Directors of the abovementioned centers, in Beit Hanina village, north of occupied East Jerusalem. IOF searched the house and confiscated several devices and private files and arrested both Khouri and Elias.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns IOF’s illegal and systematic violations targeting the presence of Palestinian associations in occupied East Jerusalem and aiming at altering the city’s features. PCHR calls on the international community to pressure IOF to stop their attacks and attempts to change the city’s features and create Jewish majority in addition to threatening Palestinian presence, last of which was the arrest of Jerusalem’s Mayor a week ago pending investigation, and activating relevant security Council resolutions, including the resolutions that cancel changing the status of the holy city.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, at approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 22 July 2020, an Israeli force of the police and Intelligence Service raided Yabous Cultural Centre and ESNCM on al-Zahra’a street in occupied East Jerusalem, and confiscated documents, files, PCs, tablets, and surveillance cameras. Mohammed Maraghah, Director of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, said that an Israeli force of police and Intelligence Service stationed adjacent to ESNCM waiting for the staff to arrive before raiding it, alleging that they have a search warrant from the Israeli police and approved by the court, that allow them to search ESNCM and confiscate the devices and files alleging connection to funding terrorism. An Israeli force also arrested Dawoud al-Ghoul, Director of Jerusalem Arts Network – Shafaq after raiding his house in Silwan village, and confiscated documents and files.

Maraghah added that IOF confiscated large numbers of files and PCs, financial files of the years from 2014 – 2020, and 7 PCs and all papers from the center. Mraghah also said that about 15 Israeli police and intelligence officers were inside ESNCM, in addition to other forces deployed in its vicinity. They also confiscated about 21 medium-sized boxes of files and devices from both centers and the surveillance cameras. It should be noted that IOF confiscated devices Khuori and Elias’ house, Directors of both centers. Maraghah emphasized that IOF raided both centers under the pretext of counter-terrorism and alleged having a search warrant by the Israeli court that allowed them to confiscate any content in the center without explanation. Maraghah pointed out that IOF raided ESNCM auditor’s office in Jerusalem.

For his part, Nasser Oudah, the couple’s lawyer, said that Khouri and Elias were detained at Abu Ghnaim police station, south of occupied East Jerusalem on charges of financing terrorist organizations. They were interrogated for 12 consecutive hours and then released with conditions. As for Dawoud al-Ghoul, Director of Jerusalem Arts Network, his detention was extended until appearing before court the next day.

Israeli authorities claimed during a joint statement by the Israeli spokesperson for the Israeli police in Jerusalem, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, and a spokesperson for the Tax Authority, that the detention was based on confidential investigation of suspicious violations and serious economic crimes related to income tax evasion, money laundering, and other crimes.

It should be noted that Suhail Khouri (57), contributed in establishing multiple artistic and cultural institutions in Palestine in addition to developing ESNCM with its branches spread across Palestinian cities. As for his wife, Rania Elias, who runs Yabous Cultural Centre, a Palestinian civil society organization founded in 1995 and based in East Jerusalem that aims at reviving the cultural life in the occupied city, and shedding a light on the city’s importance, its Arab identity, history, and its religious, political and cultural influences.

PCHR believes that IOF’s practices are illegal and falls under a systematic policy adopted by the Israeli occupation authorities against occupied East Jerusalem and its associations since its occupation in June 1967, which aims at uprooting Palestinians from the city, deleting their heritage and fighting any proof of their existence and history in the city; changing its features in favor of settlement expansion and to create a Jewish majority and identity to the City to impose facts on the ground that nullify the Palestinian right to it.

PCHR also emphasizes that East Jerusalem is an occupied city and that all measures taken by the Israeli occupation authorities following the occupation of the city in 1967 do not change its legal status as an occupied territory.

Continue reading

Palestinians say Israel stole ancient baptismal font from Bethlehem town


THE ANCIENT BAPTISMAL FONT ALLEGEDLY STOLEN FROM TUQU BY ISRAELI FORCES. (PHOTO: MA’AN NEWS AGENCY)

YUMNA PATEL, Mondoweiss, JULY 20, 2020

Palestinians from a Bethlehem-area town are accusing Israeli forces of illegally seizing an ancient artifact from their town in the predawn hours of Monday morning. 

The incident took place in the southern occupied West Bank town of Tuqu, which is said to be the birthplace of the biblical prophet Amos, and is home to a number of Byzantine-era archaeological sites. 

Video footage, purportedly taken by residents of Tuqu, shows Israeli military forces escorting a large flatbed truck out of the village in the middle of the night. 

    ما زالت عصابات الاحتلال والعدو الصهيوني تقوم بسرقة الاثار وقرصنة لطمس الهوية الفلسطينية بعد ان نهبت الارض وهجرت سكانها بارتكاب الجرائم. لقد قامو الليله بمصادرة وسرقة حوض العماد القطعة الاثرية التي يزيد عمرها عن ١٦٠٠ عام حيث كان موجود بالخربة الاثرية خربة تقوع وتم الاحتفاظ به منذ عام ٢٠٠٠ عند منزلي لحتى وضعه بمتحف في البلده . الا انهم وبدون سابق انذار قامو بمداهمة المنزل وسرقة . يعتقدون بسرقتهم انهم قادرين على ان يطمسو هويتنا . نناشد وزارة الاثار برفع شكوى ضد هذه السرقة واسترداده .
    Posted by Tayseer Abu Mfreh on Sunday, July 19, 2020

On the bed of the truck is a massive stone, alleged to be a baptismal font that dates back to the sixth century A.D., that was once part of an ancient church in the village. 

The unique octagonal shape of the stone, which has been widely studied by Palestinian cultural organizations, is easily identifiable in the video. 

The baptismal font is reported to be one of three rare basins of its kind. The other two were found in the Church of Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, and the Church of Beit Jibrin, an ancient Palestinian village near Hebron that was forcibly depopulated in 1948. 

According to Wafa news agency, the same baptismal font was stolen by “unauthorized dealers” back in 2000, before being returned by Palestinian authorities to Tuqu in 2002. 

Continue reading

Now – Nov 17: Gaza in Color: Stories from Behind the Wall Online Art Auction

Original artwork and signed prints that were hand-carried out of Gaza. This auction offers over 100 pieces by seven artists who are struggling to share their vision and their stories with the outside world.

Despite the ongoing eleven year-long blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the Gaza Strip and the violence and human rights tragedies that surround them, artists in Gaza are using creativity to translate their hope and a stark reality into art.

The Gaza artists directly benefit from the sale of their work, which include originals and signed, limited edition prints. Funds will also support the work of Rebuilding Alliance. We hand-carried many of these pieces out of Gaza, and we’re so proud to be working with the artists to bring this to you!

View and bid at this Rebuilding Alliance site.

Since registering as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2003, Rebuilding Alliance has been working with coalitions around the world who are dedicated to helping war-torn neighborhoods rebuild and promoting citizen and diplomatic engagement, worldwide, to make them safe.

April 23 – 25, 2019
War Over Peace: Israel in the eyes of a Critical Sociologist

Uri Ben-Eliezer, Sociology, University of Haifa

The Havens Center, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    “The Nation and War, Some Reflections from Israel’s History”
    Tuesday, April 23, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White

    “The Making, Unmaking, Remaking of Israeli Militarism”
    Wednesday, April 24, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White

    Open seminar for public, students, and faculty
    Thursday, April 25, 12:20pm, 8108 Social Science

    FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Continue reading