Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Boycotts Yitzhak Rabin Event

Yesterday progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) was headlined in the Palestine news-sphere as word came out about her speaking at a Peace Now event memorializing former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

For Palestinians, this news was triggering. For us, Rabin is not known as the “peacemaker” as U.S. history memorializes him, but as a colonial military general who oversaw ethnic cleansing campaigns and violent tactics to suppress Palestinian protests.

Today AOC’s office let us know that she has officially pulled out of the event memorializing Yitzhak Rabin after learning about his true legacy. Rabin’s legacy is much more than his handshake with Yasser Arafat at the White House and his assassination by a right-wing Israeli extremist. In assessing Rabin’s legacy, it’s important to center on the people most gravely harmed by his actions, the Palestinian people.

Not all Nobel Laureates are heroes, not all peace deals are just. We need look no further than the arms-trade deals President Trump is trying to pass off as peace accords between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain to know this to be true.

Young people around the world are demanding we rethink the legacy of historical figures valorized and celebrated uncritically. Israeli leaders are no exception.

Thank you for listening to the lived experience of Palestinians, Congresswoman.

Adalah Justice Project is a Palestinian advocacy organization based in the U.S. that aims to shift public discourse and policy on Palestine. We work towards collective liberation. Adalah Justice Project is a fiscally sponsored project of the Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

DNC Delegates Demand Apology from the Biden Campaign

Attacks on Palestinian-American Delegate Linda Sarsour

After DNC delegate and Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour spoke at an official DNC event of the Muslim Delegates and Allies Assembly on August 18th, 2020, Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the Joe Biden campaign, issued a statement saying,

“Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform. She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever.”

As Palestinian-American delegates and allies, we stand by our fellow Palestinian-American delegate Linda Sarsour and condemn any effort to exclude elected national DNC delegates from official DNC events. We reject efforts to marginalize and demonize the Palestinian narrative. We also call upon the Democratic National Committee to renew its commitment to its own core principles of equality and justice for all.

The DNC seeks to represent an inclusive and diverse population and should not discriminate against any segment on the basis of ethnicity, religion or political dissent. The vast majority of Democratic voters are calling for accountability, including BDS as a nonviolent form of curbing Israeli violations and challenging Israel’s impunity. The statement by the Biden campaign has willfully dropped the reference to freedom of speech from its platform language quote in the rush to malign, condemn and exclude Sarsour. Such an attack goes against the principles of the Democratic Party and the 2020 Democratic Party Platform to end systemic racism and to build a coalition.

While we recognize the prevalence of anti-Semitism, criticism of Israel must not be conflated with anti-Semitism. Israel has repeatedly violated international humanitarian law and human rights as well as American international aid conditionality. Moreover, Jake Tapper of CNN has a history of singling out Palestinian-Americans, Muslim-Americans and anyone who stands behind Palestinian human rights or criticizes the Israeli occupation.

This disavowal of Linda Sarsour reeks of misogyny, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian bigotry. It provides a false shield for Israel’s human rights abuses. The Biden campaign must not follow the lead of the Trump administration and should rise above these attacks and make a concerted effort to be inclusive and represent the collective vision for a truly democratic Party.

Palestinian-American delegates and allies demand an immediate retraction and apology from the Biden campaign that smeared a prominent Palestinian-American activist, undermined her constitutional right to free speech, and weaponized anti-Semitism to silence the just critique of Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

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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)

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Faith Leaders Oppose F-35 Fighter Jets

Find inspiration and hope reading this full-page ad from the July 29 Wisconsin State Journal.

In an expression of moral solidarity, 39 leaders of local faith organizations clearly state why they oppose bringing F-35 Striker Force jets to our county and our country. Calling on our Senators to stop supporting these deadly war machines, these leaders call on us to demand state and federal officials oppose their deployment and find a new mission for the Wisconsin National Guard at Truax “more in keeping with the humane values of peace, equity, sustainability and concern for the health and security of our community.”

What you can do:

  • “Tell Leader Pelosi: NO COVID-19 relief money for weapons of war!” on Win Without War’s Action page.
  • Contact your House and Senate members and tell them to reject the Pentagon giveaways in COVID-19 relief.

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Release Palestinian bodies for burial

Even in death, we are not free – we are held hostage in a frozen medical lab in Israel.

The Israeli military murdered Ahmed Erekat, a deeply loved 27-year-old son, brother, and fiancé, on June 23rd. He was shot and killed as he was running errands for his sister on her wedding day. His body is currently being held hostage at the Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine, which is part of Tel Aviv University. His mother and father simply want to say goodbye to their child and lay their son to rest, but the Israeli government is refusing to return him to his family unless they promise not to bring a legal case against the Israeli soldier who murdered their boy.

The L. Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine is part of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine, which has a New York State/American program that is registered and accredited as a New York State medical school.

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Time’s Up Israel: Get Your Knee Off Palestine’s Neck

SAM BAHOUR, CounterPunch, July 16, 2020

The timer is now ticking on Israel. While Israel historically put Palestinians on the slow burner, gnawing at their lands and livelihoods, time was in Israel’s favor as the world turned a blind eye. Those days are over.

Israel must now choose, allow the state of Palestine to emerge, or have it imposed upon them. The traditional options of two-states vs. one state of Israel without equality for all its citizens have passed long ago. Israel can accept Palestine in all the occupied territory of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, or ultimately be forced to accept Palestine from the river to the sea.

For us Palestinians, like any normal human beings on this earth, it is natural for us to expect to be viewed as a people worthy of our rights, freedom, and independence. The days when this can be ignored are over too.

Today, all have been exposed to the naked eye. Thanks to decades of denial by Jewish Israeli citizens and the Jewish diaspora, US President Trump and his messianic entourage of Jared Kushner and David M. Friedman, Israel’s state-sanctioned settlement enterprise, financier Sheldon Adelson’s fanaticism, Christian Evangelicals bent on personally witnessing the Armageddon, and none other than Israel’s own extremist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation frenzy, a frenzy on steroids attempting to divert his path to jail on three corruption charges.

To force the timer to tick even faster, outgoing Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, in an interview with Stephen Sackur of the BBC Hardtalk program, proudly proclaimed, “I represent not only the people of Israel, I represented [sic] the Jewish people in the U.N.”. He went on, “We [Jews] do have biblical rights to the land. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or Jew — you read the Bible, you read the stories of the Bible — it’s all there.” It got worse. He went on to say, “This is our deed to the land. That’s biblical.” This from Israel’s top international diplomat! Regardless of how one views the Bible, it’s a religious text, not a document that can be submitted in a case of international law.

The further back Israel goes in time, the faster today’s timer is ticking. Below I will touch on three momentous developments lubricating the timer.

Peter Beinart, Zionism, and the ‘Jewish State’

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August 6, 2020
Lanterns for Peace

Join Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin virtually on August 6 at 7:30 PM for activism, sing-along, and live lantern launch. This will be live streamed on PSR Wisconsin’s Facebook page or you can register to watch through Zoom.

Due to COVID-19 risks, the commemoration event for the lives lost 75 years ago in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be live streamed virtually. There will NOT be a public gathering this year.

BUT we want you and your family and friends to participate from home by creating paper decorations for the lanterns in a few easy steps! Our goal is to float 75 lanterns for the 75th anniversary so we need your help in decorating paper for the lanterns by August 1! Find out more info on how at Lanterns for Peace 2020.

July 27, 2020
Pandemic and the Creative Response

JULY 27
Pandemic and the Creative Response: How can art pave the way for justice?

In recent weeks, we’ve witnessed a global cry for justice in face of systemic racism. How can art be a catalyst for social change? We’ll hear from students and faculty of Dar al-Kalima as they share how art provides a social justice lens in which to critically reflect on reality while imagining new futures. Learn how the students are navigating the unique challenges and opportunities of a pandemic learning environment.

Join our Bright Stars team and friends in Palestine for a Virtual Summer Series: Palestine During Double Lockdown.

The series title, taken from Rev. Dr. Raheb’s latest book, speaks to the additional layer of oppression that the pandemic has inflicted on Palestinians. Hear from Bright Stars co-founder and Dar al-Kalima University President, Mitri Raheb alongside students, faculty, and scholars from the university.

We’ll be highlighting how our friends in Palestine are unlocking hope amidst this “double lockdown.”

Limited space available. Registration required. Free. For more information and to register, visit Bright Stars of Bethlehem.

Systemic Racism in the US and Israel

Institute for Palestine Studies, July 14, 2020

Recent police violence in the US has sparked anti-racism protests around the world and ignited a discussion of systemic racism within many societies and political systems. Despite major differences in the regimes of oppression and discrimination in the US and Israel, certain parallels exist and serve to shed light on both systems. In the case of the US and Israel, the connections go beyond analogies and extend to material links between the respective security states and policing practices, including what has been called the “Israelization” of policing.

The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University and the Institute for Palestine Studies have invited a panel of scholars who specialize in these topics for an online discussion of these issues.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
Nadia Abu El-Haj is the Ann Olin Whitney Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Chair of the BoD, SOF/Heyman Center for the Humanities, and Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of two books and several journal articles published on topics ranging from the history of archaeology in Palestine to the question of race and genomics today.

Johanna Fernández teaches at the Department of History at Baruch College (CUNY). She is the writer, producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Her Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) lawsuit against the NYPD, led to the recovery of the largest repository of police surveillance records in the country.

Maha Nassar is an Associate Professor in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona and the author of Brothers Apart: Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World (Stanford University Press, 2017).

Nahla Abdo-Zu’bi is a Palestinian-Canadian political activist and Professor of Sociology at Carleton University. She is the author of several publications, most recently Captive Revolution: Palestinian women’s Anti-Colonial Struggle Within the Israeli Prison System.