November 8, 2017
Wisconsin Union Presents Bassem Youssef

Wisconsin Union Theater
800 Langdon Street
UW-Madison
8:00 pm (doors open at 7:30)

Dubbed the “Jon Stewart of Egypt” by The New Yorker, heart-surgeon-turned-satirist Bassem Youssef is now making waves in America for his controversial brand of comedy.

This event is co-presented with Wisconsin Union Directorate’s Performing Arts Committee and Distinguished Lecture Series. Sponsored by the UW-Madison Middle East Studies Program.

Note: this event is free for students; others require paid tickets. For more info see Bassem Yousef in Madison.

Madison’s Sister Cities

A PUBLIC AFFAIR, WORT 89.9FM, OCTOBER 24, 2017
Today we’re talking about Madison’s Sister Cities. Host Bert Zipperer speaks with Madison businessman, activist, and former City Council member Ricardo Gonzalez. You might know him as the owner of the much-beloved The Cardinal Bar, or from his work with the Madison-Camaguey Sister City Association. Later in the hour [at 33:50], we also speak with Barb Olson of the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.

Thousands Of Israelis Take To The Streets Calling For Palestinian Genocide

A reporter at the scene remarked that it seemed “more like a celebration of murder than anything.”

Whitney Webb, MintPress News, October 6, 2016

The Tel Aviv rally—organized to support an Israeli soldier who murdered a wounded Palestinian by shooting him in the head as the victim lay on his back—was marked by chants and banners calling for mass murder.The Tel Aviv rally — organized to support an Israeli soldier who murdered a wounded Palestinian by shooting him in the head as the victim lay on his back — was marked by chants and banners calling for mass murder.

Massive rallies and Facebook campaigns calling for Palestinian genocide are ignored by Western mainstream media and Facebook despite concerns and collaborations aimed at stopping “calls to violence”.

Since last October, the Israeli government has accused Palestinians and their allies of “inciting violence” against Israelis, despite the fact that only 34 Israelis have died in that time frame compared to 230 Palestinians. The uptick in violence has been attributed to an internationally condemned Israeli encroachment of Palestinian lands in the contested West Bank.

Israeli government concern over recent violence has led them to arrest Palestinians for social media content that could potentially lead to crimes. So far, 145 Palestinians have been arrested this year for “pre-crime” via social media “incitement.” This practice eventually led to a collaboration between Facebook and the Israeli government, whose joint effort to curb social media “incitement” has led to the banning of several Facebook accounts of Palestinian journalists and news agencies.

However, social media, as well as mainstream Western media, have failed to condemn Israeli “incitement” against Palestinians, a practice that is surprisingly common considering the little to no attention it receives. Often these anti-Palestinian posts, pictures, and rallies are rife with calls for genocide, with cries of “Death to the whole Arab nation” and “Kill them all” surprisingly common.

Even the Times of Israel ran an op-ed article about “When Genocide is Permissible” in reference to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Though the post was eventually taken down, it points to an all-too-common and dangerous mentality that social media, the Israeli government, and Western media “conveniently” ignore.

An Israeli news agency even put the then-suspected preferential treatment to the test and found that Facebook and the Israeli authorities treated calls for revenge from Palestinians and Israelis very differently.

Even massive rallies calling for Palestinian genocide have been ignored entirely by social media and the corporate press. Earlier this year in April, a massive anti-Palestinian rally took place in Tel Aviv where thousands called for the death of all Arabs. The rally was organized to support an Israeli soldier who killed an already-wounded Palestinian by shooting him execution-style in the head.

The soldier, Elor Azaria, was charged with manslaughter for the killing, which occurred deep within Palestinian sovereign territory in the city of Hebron. Hebron contains an illegal Jewish settlement, but despite its illegality is protected by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) all the same. This has led to frequent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the area.

The Tel-Aviv rally was attended by an estimated 2,000 people and several Israeli pop icons entertained attendees including singer Maor Edri, Moshik Afia, and Amos Elgali, along with rapper Subliminal. Chants of “Elor [the soldier] is a hero” and calls to release the soldier were common. One woman was photographed holding a sign reading “Kill them all.”

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October 17, 2017
Farhana Khera Lecture at UW

University of Wisconsin Law School
Room 2260, 4:00 pm [Map]
Reception to follow

The 2017 Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture will be “Upholding America’s Promise for All” by Farhana Khera, President and Executive Director, Muslim Advocates.

Farhana Khera is the first executive director of Muslim Advocates. Prior to joining Muslim Advocates in 2005, Ms. Khera was Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights. In the Senate, she worked for six years directly for Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee. Ms. Khera focused substantially on the Patriot Act, racial and religious profiling, and other civil liberties issues raised by the government’s anti-terrorism policies after September 11, 2001. She was also the Senator’s lead staff member developing anti-racial profiling legislation and organizing subcommittee hearings on racial profiling, Ms. Khera wrote the first drafts of the End Racial Profiling Act and organized the first ever Congressional hearing on racial profiling.

This lecture is named after Mildred Fish-Harnack, a Milwaukee native who was a UW–Madison student in the 1920’s. While living in Germany, Fish-Harnack assisted in the escape of German Jews and political dissidents. She is the only American civilian executed by the personal direction of Adolf Hitler for her resistance to the Nazi regime. This lectureship is designed to promote greater understanding of human rights and democracy, and to enrich international studies at UW-Madison. The lecture brings to campus a person who contributes to the cause of human rights through academic scholarship and/or active leadership. Sponsored by the Human Rights Program of the Global Legal Studies Center, a joint program of the University of Wisconsin Law School and the International Division of UW-Madison.

The Sumud Freedom Tour

This is our moment of unity, of coalition building

Holy Land Trust

Mission

Holy Land Trust and Nonviolence International have partnered to develop a multilayered tour of peace and justice work in Israel and Palestine.

This tour unpacks the broad range of nonviolent resistance methods employed by Palestinians and their co-resisters throughout the region and internationally. From December 21, 2017 to January 3, 2018, you will meet with leaders of grassroots organizations, NGO’s, and agents of change in the community who are actively engaged in challenging the systems underpinning Israel’s prolonged military occupation.

This tour is designed for social activists who are committed to deepening their analysis of global oppression. Whether you are engaged in the movement for black liberation, entrenched in the battle for immigrant rights, or fighting for women’s equality, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can serve as an important theoretical and practical framework for nonviolent resistance.

This program is designed to promote an exchange of ideas between movements. Those who have little or no background in the history of the Palestinian struggle are encouraged to join, as the intersections between our movements will allow us to relate to and better understand one another. And as a result, this tour will help us lay the foundation for necessary relationships that lead to broad, diverse coalitions of change.

Who we are

Holy Land Trust is a Palestinian Non-Profit Organization (NGO), located in the heart of Bethlehem on Star Street. Our work is centered on strengthening communities to empower them to find nonlinear solutions to problems; solutions which are rooted in social justice, compassion, and love.

Nonviolence International (NI) is a decentralized network of resource centers that promote the use of nonviolent action. Founded by Palestinian activist Mubarak Awad in 1989, NI is a 501(c)(3) organization registered in Washington, DC, USA. NI is also a non-governmental organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

More Information on the Sumud Freedom Tour
Register here
Contact us!

Israel covers up role in Myanmar crimes against Rohingya

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 27 September 2017


Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other Myanmar officials visit arms maker Israel Aerospace Industries in September 2015. (via Facebook)

Israel is attempting to bury information about its arms sales to the military regime in Myanmar, which the UN accuses of a “brutal” campaign against the country’s Muslim Rohingya population, amounting to a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas have fled their homes as the military and Buddhist mobs burn their villages.

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say that the military in Myanmar, also known as Burma, is committing crimes against humanity.

“The military has committed forced deportation, murder, rape and persecution against Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State, resulting in countless deaths and mass displacement,” Human Rights Watch said.

Myanmar’s leader, Nobel Prize winner and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, has been the subject of growing global criticism over her evasions and justifications of the atrocities.

“Dictatorial regime”

Israeli attorney and human rights activist Eitay Mack has long campaigned to force Israel to reveal and halt its arms sales to various violent regimes.

This week, Israel’s state attorney asked the high court to retroactively classify all the records and proceedings related to Mack’s latest suit, which attempts to compel the government to end its arms sales to Myanmar.

In an emailed statement, Mack likened the request to the methods of a “dictatorial regime.”

The judges rejected the sweeping censorship request, but agreed to place a gag order on a ruling in the matter that they were due to deliver on Wednesday.

Mack said that the judges decided to classify their ruling without giving him and other parties a chance to respond to the state’s request.

At a hearing on Monday, the judges heard closed-door testimony about Israel’s relations with Myanmar. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that in the open part of the session, a government representative “refused to comment on the issue or state whether Israel would stop arming Myanmar’s military.”

“The attempt by the ministries of defense and foreign affairs and the state attorney to silence the public and conceal Israeli involvement in crimes against humanity shall not succeed,” Mack vowed.

As he points out, evidence of the growing ties between Tel Aviv and the Myanmar military cannot easily be concealed.

Shopping spree

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Remembering the Sabra and Shatila massacre 35 years on

Its time to end the Israeli culture of impunity that permitted the Sabra and Shatila massacre to happen 35 years ago.

, Al Jazeera, 16 Sep 2017

Massacre survivors Yousef Hamzeh and Abu Jamal walk together at the site of the Sabra and Shatila massacre on the outskirts of Beirut [Caren Firouz/Reuters]Massacre survivors Yousef Hamzeh and Abu Jamal walk together at the site of the Sabra and Shatila massacre on the outskirts of Beirut [Caren Firouz/Reuters]

On September 16, 1982, following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the right-wing Christian Phalange militia stormed the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut and began a massacre which ended in the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands, of mostly Palestinian civilians. I was 19 years old at the time. By chance and by luck I managed to survive. My mother and five younger sisters and brothers; and my uncle, his wife and eight kids did not.

Israel’s invasion began June 6, 1982. After much destruction, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which had defended the camps since its inception, agreed to leave Lebanon in August. They were given American assurances that civilians left behind would be protected. The president-elect of Lebanon, and the leader of the Phalange, was assassinated on September 14th. The Israeli army proceeded to invade and occupy West Beirut.

Israeli troops surrounded the camps to prevent the refugees from leaving and allowed entry of the Phalange, a known enemy of the Palestinians. The Israelis fired flares throughout the night to light up the killing field – thus allowing the militiamen to see their way through the narrow alleys of the camps. The massacre went on for two days. As the bloodbath concluded, Israel supplied the bulldozers to dig mass graves. In 1983, Israel’s investigative Kahan Commission found that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Defense Minister, bore “personal responsibility for the slaughter.

The massacre at Sabra and Shatila was a direct consequence of Israel’s violation of the American-brokered ceasefire and the impunity bestowed on Israel by the US and the international community. This tragic anniversary is a reminder that the international community continues to fail to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and to defend the basic human rights of the Palestinian people.

If the international community is obliged to remedy its moral responsibility to the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, by working to end Israel’s occupation and other abuses of Palestinian rights, then the lives of my family members and the others we remember on this 35th year will not have been lost in vain.

Thirty-five years after the massacre, Israel continues to abuse Palestinian rights without consequence and to enable the violence of its proxies, whether it is the Phalange as in the past or today, illegal Israeli settlers living on occupied Palestinian land. Settler attacks on Palestinian property, lands, and persons have terrorised thousands and killed almost entire families, such as last year’s arson attack on a Palestinian home that killed a mother, father, and their 18-month baby. Palestinian complaints filed against settlers go unindicted by Israel. In fact, as documented by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, “the [Israeli] military serves the settlers by allowing the attackers to simply walk away”. When they do take action, Israeli soldiers are more likely to support the settlers, often allowing them to continue attacking Palestinians rather than shielding innocent civilians.

And the Israeli military itself continues to commit war crimes with impunity, as evidenced by Israel’s repeated attacks on the tiny besieged Gaza Strip over the past decade, which have killed thousands of innocent Palestinians with disproportionate and indiscriminate force.

The dehumanisation of Palestinians by Israel also continues. It was this same dehumanisation that led Israel to allow vengeful militiamen to enter the Sabra and Shatila camps and that permits Israelis to occupy another people for fifty years and inflict humiliation and injury. That indifference to the fate of the Palestinians does not belong solely to Israel. Israel’s 69 years of dispossession and half-century of military rule is supported by unconditional American military aid and diplomatic backing. International bodies like the UN Security Council have repeatedly made note of Israel’s human rights violations, but done nothing more.

Ilan Pappe: No, Israel Is Not a Democracy — And Never Was

Ilan Pappe, Jacobin: No, Israel Is Not a Democracy – And Never Was

Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East.
In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

Ilan Pappe, Jacobin, May 5, 2017
Excerpted from Ten Myths About Israel, Verso Books

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that if anything went wrong in this democracy then it was due to the 1967 war. In this view, the war corrupted an honest and hardworking society by offering easy money in the occupied territories, allowing messianic groups to enter Israeli politics, and above all else turning Israel into an occupying and oppressive entity in the new territories.

The myth that a democratic Israel ran into trouble in 1967 but still remained a democracy is propagated even by some notable Palestinian and pro-Palestinian scholars — but it has no historical foundation.

Israel Before 1967 Was Not a Democracy

Before 1967, Israel definitely could not have been depicted as a democracy. As we have seen in previous chapters, the state subjected one-fifth of its citizenship to military rule based on draconian British Mandatory emergency regulations that denied the Palestinians any basic human or civil rights.

Local military governors were the absolute rulers of the lives of these citizens: they could devise special laws for them, destroy their houses and livelihoods, and send them to jail whenever they felt like it. Only in the late 1950s did a strong Jewish opposition to these abuses emerge, which eventually eased the pressure on the Palestinian citizens.

For the Palestinians who lived in prewar Israel and those who lived in the post-1967 West Bank and the Gaza Strip, this regime allowed even the lowest-ranking soldier in the IDF to rule, and ruin, their lives. They were helpless if such a solider, or his unit or commander, decided to demolish their homes, or hold them for hours at a checkpoint, or incarcerate them without trial. There was nothing they could do.

At every moment from 1948 until today, there had been some group of Palestinians undergoing such an experience.

The first group to suffer under such a yoke was the Palestinian minority inside Israel. It began in the first two years of statehood when they were pushed into ghettos, such as the Haifa Palestinian community living on the Carmel mountain, or expelled from the towns they had inhabited for decades, such as Safad. In the case of Isdud, the whole population was expelled to the Gaza Strip.

In the countryside, the situation was even worse. The various Kibbutz movements coveted Palestinian villages on fertile land. This included the socialist Kibbutzim, Hashomer Ha-Zair, which was allegedly committed to binational solidarity.

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