Trump administration considers labeling top humanitarian groups ‘anti-Semitic’

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch,
and Oxfam are included

John Hudson, Washington Post, Oct. 21, 2020

The Trump administration is considering labeling some of the most prominent humanitarian organizations in the world, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam, as “anti-Semitic,” according to two people familiar with the discussions.

A declaration by the State Department could come as early as this week, the individuals said, adding that it might encourage other governments not to support the groups’ work.

The proposal has prompted sharp opposition from career officials in the department, who say it would be a gift to authoritarian governments that have long sought to delegitimize human rights groups for their work exposing mass atrocities and crimes against humanity, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss future policy decisions.

The organizations deploy scores of workers in dangerous hot spots, where they often face resistance from local governments.

The State Department declined to comment on a pending declaration, which was first reported by Politico.

Pro-Israel advocates have long complained of bias by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, saying they focus too heavily on the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government.

The groups, however, have a lengthy track record of spotlighting the mistreatment of individuals at the hands of governments elsewhere, including authoritarian regimes and Western democracies.

“It’s preposterous,” Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski (N.J.), who previously worked as Washington director of Human Rights Watch, said in a phone call. “They also document the treatment of the Palestinians by the Palestinian Authority. They are critical of every government in the world, including the United States. Yet the State Department under every previous secretary of state has relied on these organizations as credible sources of information and treated them as partners.”

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam each strenuously denied any accusation of anti-Semitism.

“Any insinuation that Oxfam supports anti-Semitism is false, baseless, and offensive,” Noah Gottschalk of Oxfam America said. “Oxfam and our Israeli and Palestinian partners have worked on the ground for decades to promote human rights and provide lifesaving support for Israeli and Palestinian communities. We stand by our long history of work protecting the lives, human rights, and futures of all Israelis and Palestinians.”

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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.

Sincerely,

Palestinian American Delegates
Huwaida Arraf, MI Delegate (CD-10)
Zeina Ashrawi Hutchison, VA Delegate (CD-10)
Samia Assed, NM At-Large Alternate (CD-1)
Summer Awad, TN Delegate (CD-2)
Sam Hindi, CA Delegate (CD-14)
Hatem Natsheh, TX Delegate (SD-25)
Emad Salem, TX Delegate (SD-10)
Murad Sarama, CA Delegate (CD-6)
Ibraheem Samirah, VA At-Large Delegate (CD-11)
Endorsed by the following delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention:
Abdul-Khabir, Kareema – CA Delegate, CD-8
Ahmad, Nadia – FL Delegate, CD-7
Alexander, Cory – ID Delegate, CD-1
Ali, Faiza – NY Delegate, CD-10
Alvarez, Roberto – CA Delegate, CD-38
Aszterbaum, Joey – CA Delegate, At-Large
Bagheri, Aaron – CA Delegate, CD-24
Baker, Dana – CA Delegate, CD-4
Beall, Elise – CO At-Large Delegate
Beichler, Amber – VA Delegate, At Large
Bellanca, Jay – NY At-Large Delegate
Bernal, Karen – CA PLEO Delegate, CD-6
Beyer, Timothy – CA Delegate, CD-43
Bignell, Mark – MI Delegate, CD-4
Bishop, Heather – OR Delegate, CD-4
Blochowiak, Patricia – OH Delegate, CD-11
Bonge, Sam – AZ Delegate, CD-8
Britto, Lisa – FL Delegate, CD-10
Brown, Michele – FL Delegate, CD-18
Caballero, Josie – CA Delegate, CD-53
Cea, Sergio – PA PLEO Delegate
Choudhury, Leila – VA Delegate, CD-5
Chrisliquori@gmail.com
Chu de León, Chris – TX Delegate, SD-13
Corley, Troy – CA Delegate, CD-26
Cramer, Gina – TX Delegate, SD-26
Culver, Jon – WA Delegate, CD-1
Davis, Mina – TX Delegate, SD 5
De Delva, Namcy – NY Delegate, CD-5
Dean, Amy – VA Delegate, CD-7
Derton, Robin – TX Delegate, PLEO Delegate, SD-5
Dinkin, Leah – CO Delegate, CD-2
Dlugosz, Anne – Delegate, Democrats Abroad
Dominguez, Silvia – MA Delegate, CD-05
Dunbar, Melissa – WA Delegate, CD-6
Dupont, Aimee – MA Delegate, CD-2
East, Shana – IL Delegate,
Enriquez, Ivan – CA Delegate, At-Large CD-46
Espinosa, Giancarlo – FL Delegate, At Large
Ester, Lesley – CA Delegate, CD-2
Evans, Stevevonna – CA Delegate, CD-33
Farokhia, Sudi – CA Delegate, CD-45
Farokhnia, Sudi – CA Delegate, CD-45
Fleming, Joanne – WA Delegate, CD-5
Foley, Linda – TX Delegate, SD-12
Garcia Centeno, Krystal – IL Delegate, CD-11
Garcia, Brandon – TX PLEO Delegate, SD-19
Giardinelli, Bryan – CA Delegate, CD-42
Gibson, Emily – OR Delegate, CD-2
Gloria, Ernesto – TX Delegate, SD-9
Gonzalez, Ana – CA Delegate, CD-35
Gonzalez, Elizabeth – CA Delegate, CD-46
Gordon, Patrick – IL Delegate, CD-8
Hassan, Syed – TX Delegate, SD-22
Hastings, Erika – TN Delegate, CD-8
Hernandez, Thomas – WA Delegate, CD-3
Hicks, Jared – MA Delegate, CD-7
Hill, Lauren – NC At-Large Delegate
Hoyt, Margie – CA Delegate, CD-43
Huntley, Paul – CA Delegate, CD-19
Huynh, Katherine – CA Delegate, CD-43
Ibarra, Antonio – IL Delegate, CD-11
Isak, Barbara “Babs” – UT Delegate, CD-3
Jiang, Zhenzhen – CA Delegate, CD-14
Johnson, Cavla – FL Delegate, CD-15
Johnson, Heather – CA Delegate, CD-31
Johnson, Valerie – TX Delegate, SD-9
Hanieh Jodat Barnes – CA Delegate, CD-45
Joyce, Rommy – CA Delegate, CD-19
Jun Nawabi, Aleena – CA Delegate, SD-52
Kain, Matthew – MI Delegate, CD-14
Kang, Mani – CA Delegate, CD-46
Kaur, Gurdeep – CA Delegate, CD-40
Kessel, Michelle – TX Delegate, SD-25
Khan, Varisha – WA Delegate, CD-1
Khoury, Kari – CA Delegate, CD-9
Klemmer, Isabel – WI Delegate, CD-6
Knight, Mary Ann – TX Delegate, SD-10
Langford, James – FL Delegate, CD-7
Larranaga, Chris – NM Delegate, CD-1
Lee, Briana – MN Delegate, CD-5
Lefebvre, Lyndsey – CA Delegate, CD-39
Lim, Cheng-Sim – CA Delegate, CD-28
Liu, Melanie – CA Delegate, CD-18
Ly, Ricky – FL Delegate, At Large
Lynch, Nita – CO Delegate, CD-1
MacLeod, Duncan – MI Delegate, CD-3
Manos, Michelle – CA Delegate, CD-29
Mansoor, Nabila – TX Delegate, SD-18
Maro, Anthony – CO Delegate, CO-5
Martin, Beth – WA Delegate, CD-9
Martin, Grayson – CA Delegate, CD-52
Martinez, Eduardo – CA Delegate, CD-11
McClain, Christopher – CA Delegate, CD-31
McCord, Kathleen – NM Delegate, CD-1
McGrath, Bob – CO Delegate, CD-7
McLain, Brian – IA Delegate, CD-3
Merritt, Madeline – CA At-Large Delegate
Meyer, Katie – CA Delegate, CD-53
Moffa, Jamie – MO Delegate, CD-1
Mohammed, Sabina – TX At Large Delegate, SD-22
Moran, Kate – WA Delegate, CD-46
Moreno, Gabriel – MD Active Alternate Delegate, CD-2
Moxley, Kyle – MI Delegate, CD-8
Nasrullah, Mohammed – TX Delegate, SD-11
Nguyen, Lisa – OH Delegate, At Large
Nygard, Dorothy – CA Delegate, CD-10
O’Hea, Justin – NJ Delegate, CD-12
Ocampo, Christina – CA Delegate, CD-8
Okuzumi, Margaret – CA Delegate, CD-17
Omeish, Abrar – VA PLEO Delegate, CD-11
Orgel-Olson, Shawn – CA Delegate, CD-20
Palma, Dayja – TX Delegate, SD-22
Parr, Andrew – VA Delegate, CD-8
Patterson, Kevin – TX Delegate, SD-30
Perkel, Leah – WA Delegate, CD-3
Pfeiffer, Mindy – CA Delegate, CD-27
Phillips, Gregory – FL At-Large Delegate
Pierce, Eric – CA Delegate, CD-28
Ramos Rios, Virginia – NY Delegate, CD-7
Ramos, Stacey – CA Delegate, CD-35
Rawson, Katherine – UT Alternate Delegate
Recendez, Denis P. – CA Delegate, CD-32
Rehmani, Tasneem – CA Delegate,
Reynolds, Samantha – CO Delegate, CD-2
Rizvi, Maha – CA Delegate, CD-42
Rodriguez, Maya – CA Delegate, CD-41
Rodriguez, Tisa – CA Delegate, CD-41
Roemer, Katy – CA Delegate, CD-13
Saines, Koran T. – VA PLEO Delegate, CD-10
Scoville, Carrie – CA PLEO Delegate, CD-44
Shaughnessy, Christian – CA Delegate, At-Large
Shepherd, Jeri – CO Delegate,
Shergill, Amar – CA Delegate, CD-7
Shimizu, Christine – CA Delegate, CD-30
Siddiqui, Aftab – TX Delegate, CD-6
Siddiqui, Zahid – CA Delegate,
Smith, Benjamin – TN Delegate, CD-02
Smith, Megan – ME Delegate, CD-2
Solomon, Norman – CA Delegate, CD2
Sondahl, Birrion – CO Delegate, CD-2
Stevens, Karen – CA Delegate, CD-26
Sukaton, Samuel – CA Delegate, At-Large
Sullivan, Maureen – IL Delegate, CD-3
Summervillle, William Moses – CA Delegate, CD-48
Talevski, Susie – IN Delegate, CD-1
Tatlock, Nina – FL PLEO Delegate,
Taylor, Tarah – TX Delegate, SD-15
Terpening, Stephanie – MI Delegate, CD-4
Terrazas, Stephanie – CA Delegate, CD-39
Thompson, Victoria – CA Delegate, CD-7
Torres, Nelly – PA Delegate, CD-11
Touati, Khalid – TX Delegate, SD-16
Toy, Shirley – CA Delegate, CD-6
Ty, Yaddi – WA Delegate, CD-2
Uddin, Nazim – NC Delegate, At-Large
Usman, Sameena – CA Delegate, CD-17
Valladares, Victor – CA Delegate, CD-48
Vazquez, Juan – CA Delegate, CD-10
Verhey, Molly – WA Delegate, CD-08
Wang, Anlin – PA Delegate, CD-3
Ward, Kenneth – ID Delegate, CD-2
Weekley, Dakin – FL Delegate, CD-26
Wells, Marley – FL Delegate, CD-1
Williams, Susana – CA Delegate, CD-9
Winograd, Marcy – CA Delegate, CD-24
Wong, Audrey – CA Delegate, CD-33
Woodhall, Adam- FL Delegate, At Large
Wright, Lissette – Delegate, Democrats Abroad
Wunderly, Maggie – IL Delegate, At Large
Youngblood, Brandon – CA Delegate, CD-9
Zaman, Rubina – TX Delegate, SD-11
Zeisel, Jodi – OR Delegate, CD-3

Breaking! Fordham University is still trying to silence Students for Justice in Palestine


July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020, New York –  Students asked New York’s Appellate Court on Friday to reject an effort by Fordham University to overturn a decision ordering the school to recognize the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club. The students are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Legal, and cooperating counsel Alan Levine. 

“It’s ridiculous to us that our university is still trying to censor us now,” said Veer Shetty, vice president of SJP at Fordham. “We’ve already been active for a year, and appealing the court’s ruling feels especially cruel.”

The original case stems from a fall 2015 effort by Fordham University students to start a Students for Justice in Palestine club on campus. Administrators dragged out the application process for a year – including multiple meetings, questioning students on their political views, and amendments to SJP’s constitution.

In November 2016, Fordham’s undergraduate student government approved SJP as a student club. One month later, Fordham University Dean of Students Keith Eldredge took the unprecedented step of vetoing the student government’s approval based on SJP’s “political goals” and the possibility it would lead to “polarization.” 

The Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Legal, and Alan Levine sued Fordham on behalf of four students in April 2017, winning the case in August 2019 when a New York court annulled Fordham’s decision, mandating that the university recognize SJP as an official club. 

Fordham appealed the ruling in January 2020. Oral argument is expected in the Court’s September term.  

While all of the original students who wanted to form SJP have since graduated, petitioner Veer Shetty was successfully added to the suit in 2019 as a sophomore who wanted to join SJP.   Shetty has served as SJP’s vice president during the 2019-2020 school year following the legal victory. Fordham is also challenging the ruling accepting Shetty as a petitioner. 

“Last August, the court found that Fordham acted irrationally in banning SJP and ordered Fordham to recognize the club,” said Maria LaHood, deputy legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Now, even after SJP has been active on campus for a year, Fordham is still shamelessly trying to stop them – for what?”

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If Not Now Rallies Against Annexation


American Jews playing klezmer in front of House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi’s home in San Francisco to demand she take action against annexation.

Over the past few weeks, IfNotNow has organized a series of coordinated, powerful actions to tell our elected officials at both the local and national levels that words alone cannot stop annexation. We are tired of the blank check that the US gives to the Israeli government every year and we are ready to ramp up the fight.

IfNotNow members gathered together and held rallies in front of the homes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Congressman Brad Sherman. We showed the Jewish community’s support for bold action on annexation, like the letter put forward on June 30th by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal and nearly a dozen others that advocates for conditioning military funding should the Israeli government move forward with annexation. We did so with shofars, homemade instruments; with stirring, emotional speeches, and with, of course, lots of singing and chutzpah.

See below for some of our favorite photos from these actions!


Young Jews rallying in front of Jared Kushner’s home in Washington, DC to hold him accountable for giving a green light to Netanyahu to move forward with annexation without regard for Palestinian rights.


Jewish IfNotNow leaders marching towards Rep. Brad Sherman’s home in Los Angeles to demand that he support conditioning US military funding to the Israeli government.


American Jews in Detroit making their way to their local Jewish Federation to demand that it stop upholding the occupation and support real action against annexation.

This is just the beginning. We know that getting our government to take real political action to end the occupation will require a movement of American Jews raising our voices for the freedom of both Palestinians and Israelis. In order to do that, we need your help so that we can give more support to the volunteers who made these protests happen and pay for all the materials we use at these rallies.

I am so proud of these actions. I am so proud of our community. I’m so hopeful about what we can do together. Please consider joining me in sustaining our push for justice.

L’chaim,
Naftali
IfNotNow

Letter to Biden (and Trump) Campaigns Regarding Israel and Palestinian Rights

This letter, signed by more than 100 progressive, anti-war, and faith-based U.S. organizations, urges presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden (and Donald Trump) to adopt a principled foreign policy towards Israel and the Palestinian people based on justice, freedom, equality, and human dignity. 

Endorsers of the letter include American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, CODEPINK, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Demand Progress, If Not Now, Jewish Voice for Peace, Just Foreign Policy, Kairos USA, PAX Christi USA, Peace Action, and Win Without War.

The letter comes in the context of the 2020 Democratic primaries having experienced a monumental shift in leadership positions towards the state of Israel and the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Despite this, on May 19, the Biden campaign released a revolting statement of support for Israel and Jewish Americans. The letter began by conflating American Jewry with support for Israel. It promised to continue attacking the nonviolent boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, bragged about having increased military assistance to Israel at the end Obama’s term, and referred to Palestinian “choices” to commit violence. 

Within days of the May 19 Biden campaign statement being released, so much backlash had accumulated that the degrading language of Palestinian “choices” had been removed. This signals an opportunity for us as progressives to influence and shift policy positions regarding Palestinians and Israel. We hope that this letter representing millions of Americans helps do that. See the letter to Trump here

Add your organization here! 


Update: June 27 – 30, 2020
Upcoming Online Events


Saturday, June 27
Local Letter Campaign to End Violence Against Black People
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Damita Brown, Restorative Justice Director for the Dane County Time Bank’s Restorative Justice Program, will lead this action opportunity via Zoom.

Sponsored by Building Unity, Dane County Time Bank, Freedom Inc. and Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice, Sustainability (WNPJS). For more information see the Facebook page or register here.

NOTE: The sponsors are looking for people or groups to host similar sessions. You can get a Co-conspirator Toolkit that shows you step by step how to host your own letter writing party for friends, neighbors, colleagues, family, co-workers and others. For more information, write to Damita Brown: damita at danecountytimebank.org



Sunday, June 28
Counter CUFI with FOSNA
6 PM CDT

Christian Israeli lobbies like Christians United For Israel (CUFI) leverage their political power to ensure the US gives moral and political cover to Israeli colonization, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.

This Sunday, June 28th, Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) is launching a nationwide effort to counter this deadly lobby and challenge its undue influence on American politics. Join us for a powerful day of action as we raise our voices in opposition to CUFI’s annual summit!

Registration and event details



Sunday, June 28
Livestream: Singing Out for Refugees with Peter Mulvey
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT

Peter Mulvey returns to the Threshold stage, this time virtually, to share his music, his insights, and his generosity with Open Doors for Refugees, an all volunteer not-for-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees coming to the greater Madison area.

For details see the Facebook page.




American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Monday, June 29, 2020
1:00 PM CDT
The webinar will be held via Zoom. Register for the webinar here.



Tuesday, June 30
Christian Peacemaker Team Webinar on Annexation
12 noon CDT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is planning to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. What does this proposed annexation plan mean for Palestinians living in the West Bank? And how are Palestinians expressing their steadfastness or “sumud” in the face of these new policies and the Israeli occupation? Hear from CPT’s Palestinian partner and a member of the CPT Palestine team, as they discuss these latest developments, as well as an update on the effect of COVID-19 in al-Khalil (Hebron).

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MAY 17, 2020
CENSORED! Al Jazeera’s Documentary on the Israel Lobby-USA

Massachusetts Peace Action, 5/11/20

Screening of a one-hour summary of the 4-part Al Jazeera investigative report that was never allowed to air, followed by Q&A. 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Eastern

The film was made by Al Jazeera during 2016, but was censored because Qatar, the gas-rich Gulf emirate that funds Al Jazeera, came under intense Israel lobby pressure not to air the film.

The film exposes the efforts of Israel and its lobbyists to spy on, smear and intimidate US citizens who support Palestinian human rights, especially BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. It shows that Israel’s semi-covert black-ops government agency, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is operating this effort in collusion with an extensive network of US-based organizations.

We will stream the video on Zoom, but for better video clarity we recommend that you watch it on Youtube. We will join the Zoom meeting for opening remarks and we will give you the Youtube link and tell you when to press “Play”. We’ll then return to the Zoom meeting for the Q&A.

Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkduCqrzIjGNAS464q1DBeEFc_hjYH5Z4B; you will receive video and phone codes to join the meeting by email.

Second in a series of online meetings sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action’s Palestine/Israel Working Group