Tarek Abuata: Human Rights in Palestine During the Pandemic

Recorded on WORT 89.9 FM A Public Affair with host Esty Dinur: WORT websiteSoundCloudFacebookTwitter

Tarek Abuata grew up in Bethlehem and moved with his family to Texas during the first Intifada when he was 12. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, he worked in Ramallah researching legal and policy issues. From 2004 to 2007, he trained Palestinian youth in grassroots organizing and activism, and from 2007 to 2016 he was the coordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron. He has been the Executive Director of FOSNA since 2016. In his work in the U.S., Tarek is most interested in connecting struggles at home and abroad for peace, justice and freedom.

March 28, 2020
Webinar: Film Gaza Fights For Freedom by Abby Martin

Social Justice Event Collective, March 5, 2020

Please join us for a film webinar on March 28th, 2020 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time for the screening of Gaza Fights for Freedom, a film by US journalist Abby Martin.

This screening is presented by Social Justice Event Collective and co-hosted by Canadian Boat to Gaza, Independent Jewish Voices-London, Ontario and People for Peace-London, Ontario.

The original event was to be held during Israeli Apartheid Week on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

We have postponed the event to be held through a Zoom online webinar. You may register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Film-maker Abby Martin will join us after the screening to discuss the making of her documentary, including a questions and answers period. Filmed during the height of the Great March Of Return protests, it features riveting exclusive footage of demonstrations. The documentary tells the story of Gaza past and present, showing rare archival footage that explains the history never acknowledged by mass media. You hear from victims of the ongoing massacre, including journalists, medics and the family of internationally acclaimed paramedic, Razan al-Najjar. At its core, ‘Gaza Fights For Freedom’ is a thorough indictment of the Israeli military for war crimes, and a stunning cinematic portrayal of Palestinians’ heroic resistance.

We will also be joined by a Gaza participant from We Are Not Numbers for a questions and answers period.

The Canadian Boat To Gaza will be accepting donations to help raise funds for the Freedom Flotilla’s sailing in 2020. The donation link is here.

Groundbreaking Call to Prevent US Aid for Palestinian Demolition

US FUNDS AND EQUIPMENT USED TO DISPLACE COMMUNITIES IN THE OCCUPIED WEST BANK

J Street, March 16, 2020

J Street welcomes a groundbreaking congressional letter that calls on the Trump administration to strongly oppose the Israeli government’s demolition and displacement of Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, and to determine whether materiel purchased from or funded by the United States is being used to carry out these demolitions. The letter is particularly important in light of the White House’s signals of support for Israeli government efforts to illegally annex large portions of occupied Palestinian territory.

The letter to Secretary of State Pompeo is signed by 64 members of Congress and was led by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN). Expressing concern over ongoing demolitions in the West Bank, it notes that the United States “should work to prevent unlawful home demolitions and the forcible transfer of civilians everywhere in the world and prevent the use of U.S.-origin equipment in this destructive practice,” and requests an examination of Israeli compliance with the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act.

We believe this letter sends an important message that the full amount of US security aid and equipment provided to and purchased by Israel should be used for legitimate self-defense against the very real security threats it faces — and not to carry out disastrous policies that undermine US and Israeli interests, trample on Palestinian human rights and potentially violate US law.

Cancelled March 29, 2020 Tribute to Rachel Corrie: Freedom is the Future

This event with Tarek Abuata has been cancelled by coronavirus precautions.

You can still listen to an interview with Tarek from Gaza on WORT 89.9 FM’s A Public Affair with host Esty Dinur on Friday, March 27 from noon to 1 pm. Call in at 256-2001 or listen live on line.

Tarek Abuata grew up in Bethlehem and moved with his family to Texas during the first Intifada when he was 12. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, he worked in Ramallah researching legal and policy issues. From 2004 to 2007, he trained Palestinian youth in grassroots organizing and activism, and from 2007 to 2016 he was the coordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron. He has been the Executive Director of FOSNA since 2016. In his work in the U.S., Tarek is most interested in connecting struggles at home and abroad for peace, justice and freedom.

Co-Sponsors: Madison-Rafah Sister City Project; FOSNA; First United Methodist; Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison; Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison; UW Madison Students for Justice in Palestine; The Crossing; Bright Stars of Bethlehem-Madison Chapter; WI United Church of Christ Bethlehem Partnership; Interfaith Peace Working Group; Pax Christi Madison; First Unitarian Society Social Justice Ministry; Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ Mission Team; American Friends Service Committee of Madison Friends Meeting; and James Reeb UUC Justice Leadership Team. Welcomed by WORT Radio.

Palestinian Rights Organization Challenges Meritless Lawsuit


06 Mar 2020

Case is Part of Broader Assault on Human Rights Defenders

March 6, 2020, Washington, DC – Last night, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) moved to dismiss a meritless lawsuit filed against it by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and several individuals. Human rights attorneys say the lawsuit targets USCPR’s support of Palestinian rights and is intended to chill them from engaging in constitutionally protected advocacy. 

“The fact that we’re under attack is no surprise: human rights defenders around the world are under attack from repressive regimes and their allies. This lawsuit is part of this global, right-wing assault on civil society and movements seeking to build a better future for all,” said Ramah Kudaimi, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Deputy Director. “We will not be intimidated, and our work dedicated to the rights of the Palestinian people—work that is grounded in the principles of equal rights, justice, and freedom for all—will continue.”

Attorneys say the lawsuit makes outlandish claims, casting collective activism and expressions of solidarity as unlawful. Plaintiffs base their far-fetched accusations of conspiracy and material support for terrorism on USCPR’s support for Palestinian rights, including for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law. Their claims also rely on USCPR’s criticism of Israel’s unlawful use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza who are demanding their internationally recognized right of return to their homes, as well as its participation in the Stop the JNF Campaign aimed at exposing and challenging the JNF’s role in dispossessing Palestinians of their land. 

In arguing for dismissal of JNF’s lawsuit against USCPR, attorneys emphasized the threat to free speech and association if a group of activists can be sued on such tenuous theories of liability.

“Anyone who cares about civil liberties and human rights should be deeply concerned by the frivolous and malicious lobbing of accusations of conspiracy and terrorism at a human rights organization,” said Diala Shamas, a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “This case is part of a broader and well-resourced effort to attack advocates for Palestinian rights—whether through anti-boycott legislation, university administrations silencing student activists, or meritless lawsuits filed against supporters of Palestinian human rights. We will continue to support movements as they advocate for rights and dignity.” 

The JNF, or Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, is a quasi-state institution in Israel that acquires and administers land for the sole benefit of Jewish people. The JNF has been instrumental in the Israeli state’s dispossession of the Palestinian people. While the JNF has been the target of lawsuits for its discriminatory policies, this is the first time it has tried to use US courts to silence critics.

Lawyers say the lawsuit is part of a broad and growing pattern of suppressing activism in support of Palestinian rights, a phenomenon that the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal have documented and called the “Palestine Exception” to free speech. The organizations report the widespread use of administrative disciplinary actions, harassment, firings, legislative attacks, false accusations of terrorism and antisemitism, and baseless legal complaints. Palestine Legal has responded to 1,494 incidents of suppression targeting speech supportive of Palestinian rights between 2014 and 2019. See 2019 Year in Review

The Center for Constitutional Rights is counsel in JNF v. US Campaign for Palestinian Rights with cooperating counsel Judith Chomsky, Beth Stephens, and Michael Deutsch.

For more information, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights’ case page.

 The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.

Follow the Center for Constitutional Rights on social media: Center for Constitutional Rights on Facebook, @theCCR on Twitter, and ccrjustice.org on Instagram.

Oppose the Israeli Annexation of Palestinian Land

This is a new group in the LaCrosse area that is becoming more active on Palestinian issues. Please consider signing and circulating this petition.

COULEE REGION COALITION FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS, 3/6/20

To: Our elected officials
From: [Your Name]

We urgently oppose the threatened annexation by Israel of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank since 1967, and has since built an extensive network of illegal Jewish settlements and connecting roads. There are now over 600,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Netanyahu and Gantz, leaders of the two largest Israeli political parties, have been emboldened to ​break international law through annexation ​of this territory by the release of the Trump administration’s ‘Deal of the Century’ on January 20, 2020.

The annexation envisioned in that plan includes the fertile Jordan Valley in addition to those settlements and roads. Palestinian land is already fragmented into enclaves of villages, farms and a handful of densely populated cities – comparable to the Bantustans of Apartheid South Africa.

Annexation would extend, legalize and attempt to make permanent this theft of Palestinian land by making it part of Israel.

The US provides $3.8 billion of military aid to Israel each year. These are our tax dollars being used to prop up an Israeli state that violently suppresses Palestinian human rights and now plans to steal their land.

We call on you, as our elected official, to announce publicly that you will support legislation withdrawing all military funding to Israel if it proceeds with this illegal annexation of Palestinian land.

March 6-7, 2020
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: REFUGEES IN/FROM THE MIDDLE EAST

Policy Implications, Education, and Artistic Representations

 

Pyle Center
720 Langdon St
UW-Madison

 

This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars from the social sciences and humanities who examine forced migration within the context of the Middle East.

Conference Program

Friday, March 6, 4 to 6 pm
Mohamad Hafez Keynote Lecture “HOMELAND inSECURITY”
Nancy Nicholas Hall (co-sponsored with the School of Human Ecology, 1300 Linden Drive)

Syrian artist and architect Mohamad Hafez will offer a very personal view of what it’s like for an upper-middle class Damascene family to become forced migrants – their lives before and after, decision points, forced hands, and adjustment to new realities.  This will be an opportunity to better understand what the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II looks like to an individual and family who have been through it. Mr. Hafez creates mixed and multi-media sculptures representing Middle Eastern streetscapes and buildings besieged by civil war, deliberately contrasted with hopeful verses from the Quran, audio recordings from his homeland, and other elements of his Islamic heritage.

Saturday, March 7 (313 Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St, Madison, 53706)
9:00 to 10:45: Panel 1. National, Regional, and Global Policy toward Refugees:

  • Marcia Inhorn (Yale University) “America’s Wars and Iraqis’ Lives: Refugee Vulnerabilities and Reproductive Exile in “Arab Detroit”
  • Yasemin Ipek (George Mason University) “Humanitarian Refugees in Turkey: Syrian Support for Syrians”
  • Sarah Alghamdi (York University) “Examining the Prospects for Refugee Rights in Tunisia”.

11:00 to 12:45: Panel 2. Refugees, Education, and Identity:

  • Alyssa Bivins (George Washington University) “The Myth of Apolitical Education Development: The Politics of UNESCO’s Education Policies for Palestinian Refugees, 1950s-1980s”
  • Sara Farsiu (University of Wisconsin-Madison) “Understanding Ethnically-Framed Conflicts: An Analysis of the Portrayals of Arabs in Iranians’ Speech”
  • Eileen Kennedy and Elaine Chase (University College London) “How Can Digital Technology Support Transformative Education?”

1:00 to 2:30: lunch and break

2:30 to 4:15:  Panel 3. Refugees and Artistic Representations: 

  • Seref Kavak (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, France) “Cultural Security and Publicness: Syrian Musicians on the Streets of Istanbul”
  • Dina A. Ramadan (Bard College) “Refugees in the Art Museum”
  • Hakim Abderrezak (University of Minnesota) “Illiterature and the Seametery”.

4:30 to 5:30:  Round table: Refugees in the 21st century: Building Alternatives to Walls, Dehumanization, and Discrimination. Drawing on the experiences of refugees in/from the Middle East, panelists will reflect on practices and forms of solidarity that counter attempts to paint refugees primarily as a security or cultural threat and to deny them equal human rights.

While its geographical focus is the Middle East, the conference seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges related to forced migration in the 21st century and to weigh in on attempts to find constructive solutions to these challenges. It aims to open up new ways of thinking about refugees and telling the many important and yet untold stories of migration.

For more information, please contact Prof. Nevine El Nossery at: elnossery@wisc.edu