April 8, 2018: Radiance of Resistance,
a Tribute to Rachel Corrie

Featuring Rachel’s parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie

Sunday, April 8
St. James Catholic Church
1128 St. James Court, Madison, WI
2:00 – 5:00 pm

Joe Catron and Islam Maraqa from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) will also be presenting. Rachel was volunteering with this group on March 16, 2003 when she was killed by an Israeli soldier driving a Caterpillar bulldozer as she protested the demolition of a Palestinian family home in Rafah.

A clip from from the new film, Radiance of Resistance, about Palestinian youth activists Ahed Tamimi and Janna Ayyad will also be shown.


 

PLUS hummus and tabbouleh; desserts including baklawa; and the ever-popular DOOR PRIZES. Palestinian olive oil, olive oil soap, zaatar & maftool, embroidery and other crafts will be available for purchase.

The event is free and open to the public, with a $5 suggested donation to cover cost of food. Donations will be gratefully accepted to help support the Samira Remedial Education Project for disadvantaged and traumatized children in Rafah, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, and the ISM tour.

Co-sponsored by Madison-Rafah Sister City Project; Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison; Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison; Good Shepherd Parish Social Justice Committee; Amnesty International Group 139; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Madison Branch; Colombia Support Network; Students for Justice in Palestine-UW Madison; and Bright Stars of Bethlehem. Welcomed by WORT Radio.

If possible, please RSVP to rafahsistercity at yahoo.com so that we are sure to have enough food.

Thursday, April 5, 12-1 pm, WORT 89.9 FM: A Public Affair host Allen Ruff will interview Craig and Cindy Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, about their daughter’s legacy and their work on behalf of peace and justice in Palestine during the 15 years since Rachel’s death in 2003. Call in at 256-2001 with your questions and comments, or listen live online.

Joe Catron and Islam Maraqa from the ISM will be speaking and showing the Radiance of Resistance film clip on the UW-Madison campus on Monday, April 9 from 7-9 pm, at the Multicultural Students Center in the Red Gym, 716 Langdon Street, Madison. See UW-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine for more details.

CODEPINK | Tell Israel: Stop Shooting Peaceful Protesters!

Gaza_March.jpg

Right now the Israeli military is firing at peaceful protesters in Gaza.

Right now Israeli tanks and snipers are firing at unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza. Fifteen have been killed already, and over 350 injured by live fire, rubber-coated steel pellets or tear gas. Organized by civil society and committed to nonviolence, Palestinians began gathering this morning for 45 days of peaceful protest. Right away, the Israeli military opened fire.

Eleven Democratic members of Congress just returned from a trip to Israel this week. Led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and including progressives Jan Schakowsky and Jamie Raskin, the Congressional delegation smiled for a photo shoot with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu while the state’s army was preparing its plan to attack the protesters. Tell these members of Congress they now have an obligation to speak out against Israel’s deadly attack on peaceful protesters in Gaza.

Democrats meet with Netanyahu

 
The Israeli army planned in advance to attack the protesters. It even gave pre-authorization for soldiers to open fire, even though the protesters disseminated the plan for their nonviolent protest in advance: Peacefully, without any weapons, they would gather alongside the border fence that imprisons them. For six weeks they would erect tents, hold cultural events, and march for an end to the siege and the right to return to their homes and lands inside Israel in accordance with UN resolution 194.

Tell the eleven members of Congress they must immediately speak out: Condemn the attacks and demand that Israel stop shooting peaceful protesters!

The people of Gaza are living under unimaginable conditions. They have little to no water, only 2 hours of electricity a day, 80% of the population relies on food assistance. For organizing a peaceful protest, they should be commended, not murdered.

In support of justice for the Palestinian people,

Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Rita, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe

Tell the eleven Democratic members of Congress who were just in Israel to publicly condemn Israel’s deadly attacks taking place right now against peaceful protesters in Gaza. You can also call their offices.

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) 202-225-4965
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) 202-225-4176
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) 202-225-5541
Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) 202-225-3661
Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) 202-225-2111
Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) 202-225-1640
Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) 202-225-5931
Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) 202-225-2836
Reps. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) 202-225-6365
Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) 202-225-6534
Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) 202-225-5341

Israeli Forces Target Peaceful Demonstrations in Gaza

Killing 9 and Wounding 709 Others, including
121 Children and 26 Women

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), March 30, 2018

On Friday afternoon, 30 March 2018, Israeli forces killed 9 Palestinian civilians and wounded 709 others, including 121 children and 26 women in the Gaza Strip, in excessive use of forces and upon a political decision at the highest political level in Israel to suppress hundred thousands of civilians participating in fully peaceful protests within hundreds meters away from the border fence with Israel. Israeli forces directly targeted these protesters without any justification and without the latter posing threat or danger to life of the Israeli soldiers.

According to field observations by fieldworkers of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), dozens of Israeli snipers stationed behind sand barriers along the border fence, east of the Gaza Strip, sporadically and deliberately opened fire at the participants in the peaceful assemblies that included hundred thousands of civilians and concentrated in 5 areas in the eastern Gaza Strip. As a result, civilians were directly killed and wounded.

The observations of PCHR’s fieldworkers revealed that the Israeli forces focused on targeting the participants in the back rows of the demonstration as they were falling one by one around 300 meters away from the border fence in addition to others who attempted in a few numbers to approach the fence. This proves that there is an official decision to kill and cause bodily harm to the demonstrators, in conformity with the policy of intimidation adopted by the Israeli forces, spokespersons, and officials during the past few days to reduce the public participation.

According to PCHR’s investigations, on Friday early morning, 30 March 2018, ten thousands of civilians, including women and children, within entire families started swarming to 5 camps established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege in eastern Rafah City; Khuza’ah in Khan Younis; al-Bureij in Central Gaza Strip; Shuja’iyah neighborhood in Gaza City; and Eastern Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.

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Israeli forces early started to target the assemblies, which were fully peaceful, inflicting dozens of casualties.

Following the Friday Prayer, the number of participants in the five assemblies increased, reaching to hundred thousands of men, elderlies, women and children. They were standing dozens to hundreds meters away from the border fence and raising the Palestinian flags, while only a few numbers of them attempted to approach the border fence in order to throw stones and raise flags.

The Israeli forces fired live bullets at the protesters. As a result, -until 17:00 on today according to PCHR’s fieldworkers’ documentation- 8 protesters were killed, including 2 in eastern Jabalia, 4 in eastern Gaza City and 2 in eastern Rafah. All of them were hit in the upper part of the body; head, chest and abdomen.

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Moreover, 708 civilians were wounded, including 121 children, 26 women and a journalist, in addition to hundreds suffering tear gas inhalation after tear gas canisters were heavily fired by the soldiers stationed along the border fence and by drones hovering over the protesters.

It should be noted that the Israeli forces are still targeting the protesters, portending the increase of victims’ number.

Those killed were identified as:

  • Mohammed Kamal al-Najjar (25) from the northern Gaza Strip was hit with a bullet to the abdomen, east of Jabalia.
  • ‘Abdel Fattah Bahjat ‘Abdel Nabi (19) from the northern Gaza Strip was hit with a bullet to the head, east of Jabalia.
  • Mahmoud Sa’di Younis Rohmi (34) from Gaza City was hit with a bullet to the chest, east of Gaza.
  • Jihad Ahmed Freinah (35) from Gaza was hit with a bullet to the head, east of Gaza.
  • Ahmed Ibrahim ‘Ashour ‘Odah (19) from al-Shati’ Refugee Camp was hit with a bullet to the head, east of Gaza.
  • Mohammed Na’im Mohammed Abu ‘Omer (25) from al-Shija’iyah was hit with a bullet to the abdomen, east of Gaza.
  • Amin Mahmoud Mansour Mo’amar (25) from Rafah was hit with a bullet to the head, east of Gaza.
  • Ibrahim Salah Abu Sha’er (20) from Rafah was hit with a bullet to the head, east of Rafah.

At approximately 04:30 today, Israeli forces fired 2 artillery shells at 2 civilians who were collecting parcel from an agricultural land around 1000 meters away from the border fence with Israel, east of al-Qararah. As a result, one of them, namely ‘Omer Wahid Nasrallah Abu Sammour (27), was killed arrived pieces at the Gaza European Hospital while the other sustained moderate wounds. Both civilians had to wait half an hour in the scene until the medical crews could have access and take them to the hospital.

This huge number of victims proves that the Israeli forces continue to commit further crimes and use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives upon an official political decision. PCHR emphasizes that before occurrence of demonstrations –previously declared by the organizers as peaceful demonstrations only calling for implementation of United Nation (UN) Resolution 194 and raising only Palestinian and UN flags-, the Israeli forces sent threatening letters to intimidate the organizers and Gaza Strip residents in addition to deploying snipers and dog sniffer unit along the borders with Gaza as declared by Spokesperson of the Israeli Army on his Facebook page. The spokesperson also threatened that “ if needed, we will respond in the center of the Gaza Strip against those behind these violent protests,” Hinting about committing crimes of extra-judicial killings (assassinations).

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A Bogus ‘Compromise’ Senate Bill Would Prolong Atrocities in Yemen

The Nation

The Young/Shaheen measure would allow continued US participation in Saudi war crimes. Support the Sanders/Lee/Murphy bill instead.

Mark Weisbrot, The Nation, March 13, 2018

Yemen airstrikePeople carry water tanks at the site of a Saudi-led air strike, north of Yemen’s capital Sanaa, March 8, 2018. (Reuters / Mohamed al-Sayaghi)

Sometimes the most important stories about what our government is doing don’t get a lot of media attention. That’s the case now, when the Senate is about to hold a historic vote that could decide whether millions of people live or die in the near future. The US military is directly participating in a war that has pushed those millions to the brink of starvation and caused the worst cholera outbreak in modern history.

The war is in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia is leading the bombing and blockade that is denying people medicine and food as well as the fuel and infrastructure they need to pump clean water. The deprivation and destruction led to the cholera epidemic, which has sickened a million people and killed thousands. American military planes are not only providing midair refueling to the Saudi bombers but helping them with intelligence and targeting.

This constitutes military involvement under the 1973 War Powers Resolution, as well as Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, neither of which allows the executive branch to engage in such hostilities without the authorization of Congress. Any doubts about the constitutionality of US participation in the Saudi attempt to “starve Yemen into submission,” as a November New York Times editorial-board headline described it, were put to rest by a vote in the House of Representatives in November. The House voted 366 to 30 for a resolution that declared US military involvement to be unauthorized.

It is therefore illegal under US law. On February 28, Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders and Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Mike Lee introduced a bill to put an end to this illegal war. Under the War Powers Resolution, the Senate majority leaders cannot block a debate and vote on this legislation. And a number of experts believe it could pass; for one thing, the last vote in the Senate on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, in June, passed by a margin of only 53-47.

But the Saudis have a powerful lobby: They spent $16 million last year on lobbying and public relations that was recorded under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. This does not include other spending, such as contributions to think tanks (and that of their allies such as the United Arab Emirates). And along with the Saudis are the big military contractors that profit from these weapons sales.

On the other side, members of Congress, as well as antiwar and other public-interest groups have mounted an offensive of their own to publicize the horrors, illegality, and targeting of civilians in this war. (People can call their senators at 1-833-786-7927, with helpful talking points supplied here; and thousands have done so.)

On March 8, Republican Senator Todd Young and Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced a new bill that poses a grave threat to this historic effort to stop the war. The bill would require the secretary of state to submit certification to determine “whether the Government of Saudi Arabia is undertaking: (1) an urgent and good faith effort to conduct diplomatic negotiations to end the civil war in Yemen; and (2) appropriate measures to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”

Of course, the secretary of state could simply make this certification. We have seen this trick many times. In the 1980s in El Salvador, where the US-funded government sponsored death squads that were murdering civilians by the thousands, Congress passed a law saying that the president had to certify every six months that the Salvadoran government was improving its human-rights record. President Reagan did this, and the murders and other horrific atrocities, aided by US tax dollars, continued.

We can expect the same result going forward if the Young-Shaheen bill is passed. Most recently, the Trump administration has followed that same pattern in Central America: Just two days after the Honduran government was widely seen as stealing the presidential election, and despite worsening human-rights abuses, the administration certified that the government was combating corruption and supporting human rights.

Antiwar and humanitarian groups are trying to get Senators Young and Shaheen to withdraw their “compromise” bill. This is very important, because even if the Sanders-Lee bill is voted on separately—or even first—the presence of the “compromise” bill will tempt those who want the US military to continue its participation in the Saudi war to use that bill for political cover. Senator Young had been previously lauded by aid groups for his efforts to persuade the Saudis to ease their blockade on food and medicine. But these groups, as well as many other observers, will see this latest move as having the opposite effect, by helping to prolong the war.

Anthony Lake, the executive director of UNICEF, said there was one clear way to end the man-made disaster: “Stop the war.”

The world’s “worst humanitarian crisis”—as described by UN agencies—has gotten relatively little media attention, and the US role even less. But if it turns into the genocide that many experts fear is imminent, with deaths on the scale of Rwanda in the 1990s, the senators who share responsibility for it may pay a political price.

That is why it is so important for both the media and voters to confront US senators, especially Young and Shaheen. They can have cover only if the public does not know what they are doing. “Democracy dies in darkness,” as the Washington Post motto says. So, too, do the victims of our government’s military interventions abroad.

Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, and president of Just Foreign Policy. His latest book is Failed: What the “Experts” Got Wrong About the Global Economy (2015, Oxford University Press).

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WA Court Dismisses Seven-Year Lawsuit Over Boycott of Israeli Goods


 
Center for Constitutional Rights, March 9, 2018

Olympia, WA – Today, a Washington State court ended a seven-year litigation battle against former volunteer board members of the Olympia Food Co-op over their decision to boycott Israeli goods. The lawsuit was first filed in 2011 by five co-op members seeking to block the co-op’s boycott and to collect monetary damages against the board members. Two of the five members pulled out of the case, and none of the defendants originally named in the case remains a board member of the co-op. The court granted the motion for summary judgment from the former board members, who were represented by Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel, finding the plaintiffs had no standing to bring a case because they failed to show the co-op was injured.

“We are pleased that the court has dismissed this meritless lawsuit. It is a relief and a vindication for our clients, and a victory for everyone who supports the right to boycott,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Deputy Legal Director Maria LaHood, who argued today.

Earlier this week, CCR filed with the court a recently produced document (Exhibit B) in which plaintiffs celebrated the lawsuit’s success in discouraging other co-ops from boycotting Israeli goods.

“We’re delighted that the judge has decided to dismiss this retaliatory lawsuit and protect our clients’ First Amendment freedoms,” said Bruce E.H. Johnson of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

In 2017, the co-op board of directors passed a resolution affirming that the litigation—which was purportedly brought on behalf of the co-op—was not approved by the co-op, is not in the co-op’s interest, and should be dismissed.

Lawyers say the lawsuit is part of a broad and growing pattern of suppressing activism in support of Palestinian rights, a phenomenon that CCR and Palestine Legal have documented and called the “Palestine Exception” to free speech. CCR and Palestine Legal report the widespread use of administrative disciplinary actions, harassment, firings, legislative attacks, false accusations of terrorism and antisemitism, and baseless legal complaints. Between 2014 and 2016, Palestine Legal responded to 650 such incidents of suppression targeting speech supportive of Palestinian rights.

“We are thrilled to be found in favor of for a second time on this frivolous lawsuit. We are proud of our attorney team, and proud of our community for supporting us, and we are grateful for the outpouring of solidarity we’ve received from around the world,” said defendant Grace Cox. “Taking a stand for economic and social justice is at the heart of the co-op’s mission. Given Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights, we would have failed in this mission had we not approved a boycott.”

The case was initially dismissed, in 2011, under a Washington State statute that protected against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). The Washington Supreme Court later struck down the SLAPP law in 2015, sending the case back to the lower courts. After engaging in discovery, plaintiffs essentially abandoned the litigation until reviving it recently.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is counsel in Davis, et al., v. Cox, et al. with CCR cooperating counsel Barbara Harvey from Detroit, Michigan, along with Seattle attorneys Bruce E.H. Johnson and Brooke E. Howlett of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

For more information, visit CCR’s case page. For more information about Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, visit http://www.dwt.com.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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