Update October 23, 2016
Israeli and Palestinian Parents Grieve, Work Together for Justice

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A Parents Circle Family Forum Presentation
Sunday, October 23

Two families – one Jewish Israeli, one Palestinian Christian – have lost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict between their two nations. As part of this organization of over 600 families, George and Najwa Saadeh and Rami Elhanan, are committed to reconciliation and working together for peace.

George and Najwa Saadeh and Rami Elhanan will share their stories and their hopes for the future at two events in Madison. One presentation will be geared for the general public and one for University students.

  • At 2:00 pm they will be speaking at First Unitarian Society Landmark Auditorium, 900 University Bay Drive [Map]. All are welcome!
  • At 5:00 pm they will speak with students at an ecumenical worship service sponsored by The Crossing Campus Ministry, 1127 University Avenue [Map]. Visitors are always welcome to worship with the students. Following worship, students are invited to a light dinner along with a presentation and conversation about the work of The Parents Circle Family Forum from 7:00 – 8:00.

Free and open to the public. Donations accepted for Parents Circle.

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GoFundMe Request by Rafah Filmmaker Fida Qishta

Fida Qishta, who visited us in Madison in 2014 and 2015 to show her powerful first film Where Should the Birds Fly, has been in film school in California. She is looking for donations to help fund her thesis film Equally Damaged. Please consider a donation via the gofundme link or check. As of today, she is still in need of $2,000.

We still have copies of Where Should the Birds Fly for sale, and one that we can loan for showings. If anyone is interested, let me know.

Thanks,
Barb O.

Dear friends,

I hope you are all doing well. I’m almost done with my Master program in Film and Media Production and will be graduating in September.

I’ll start filming my final thesis film Equally Damaged on July 22nd. Please check my go fund me campaign and give it a kick. Share it, and send it to your friends and mailing list.

https://www.gofundme.com/247ak64

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Breaking Ground at Cinema Hebron

Rabbi Brant Rosen, Shalom Rav, July 17, 2016

This past Friday, I had the honor to participate in an incredible, unprecedented mass action of civil disobedience in the H2 section of Hebron – in the heart of Israel's unjust and illegal occupation.

I'll start with a little bit of history:

In 1968, a year after Israel conquered the West Bank, a group of radical religious settlers led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger, led a group of followers to a hotel in Hebron – with the government’s support – to observe a Passover seder. When it was over, they refused to leave; and following a negotiation with the government, they were allowed to create a settlement to the east of Hebron that they named Kiryat Arba Since that time, Jewish settlers gradually moved into Hebron proper. Over the years tension gradually increased in Hebron. Things changed drastically in 1995 after Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Muslim worshippers in the Ibrahimi mosque. Fearful of reprisals, the IDF imposed increasing curfews and restriction of movement on the Palestinian population.

In 1996, as part of the Oslo agreement, Hebron was divided into two sections: H1 and H2. H1 is locally governed by the Palestinian Authority and is home to approximately 120,000 Palestinians. Tens of thousands of Palestinians live in H2 along with 600 Jewish settlers. Since the Second Intifada, Israel increased their security crackdown on this part of the city, blocking off major streets to Palestinians – most notably the main commercial road, Shuhadah Street. (The army refers to them as “sterile roads”).

Virtually every Palestinian shop in H2 has been closed and their doors welded shut by the army. Because the Palestinian residents of Shuhadah St. are not allowed to walk on the road, they must enter and exit through the rear of homes because they cannot leave their own front doors. Because of these measures – and the ongoing harassment and violence at the hands of Jewish settlers – what was once the busting commercial center of Hebron has become a ghost town. 42% of its Palestinian homes are empty and 70% of its Palestinian business have been shut down.

We visited Hebron earlier this week and it was a truly chilling experience. Our group went on a tour led by Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli army veterans who are speaking out about the abuses the IDF are committing in Hebron. I did a BTF tour in 2008 during my first real foray into the reality of contemporary Hebron. Today, the situation there is even more dire if such a thing is possible.

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Women’s Boat to Gaza

Women’s Boat to Gaza, July 20, 2016

Gaza has been under Israeli blockade for the past decade during which Israel has also launched countless attacks against the besieged population, turning their life into a nightmare and a continuous struggle. Through Freedom Flotillas and other naval missions we have brought international attention to their suffering and their resistance. The Women’s Boat to Gaza is an initiative of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) and is composed of civil society organizations and campaigns from many countries. We have been challenging the illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade of Gaza for years and are committed to continue the struggle until the blockade is unconditionally lifted and the Palestinian people everywhere regain their full rights.

The Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) seeks not only to challenge the Israeli blockade but to also show solidarity and bring a message of hope to the Palestinian people. With the support of women, men, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and from women’s collectives and events around the world, we will make this happen.

womens_boat_log.png Help Us Sail to Gaza to Break the Israeli Blockade!

GOALS

The Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) seeks not only to challenge the Israeli blockade but to also show solidarity and bring a message of hope to the Palestinian people. With the support of women, men, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and from women’s collectives and events around the world, we will make this happen.

Funds will be used to purchase a boat and have an all-woman crew and women passengers from around the world. We intend to sail in summer or fall of 2016 the date depending on fundraising to purchase the boat. Our U.S. goal is $30,000.

Our fiscal sponsor is Nonviolence International, 501(c)(3), tax ID 52-164578. Donations by check can be mailed to:

Women’s Boat to Gaza

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Ben Ehrenreich Writes a Love Letter to Palestine

Next we meet Hani Amer, whose farm lay on the route of the infamous wall. After a long struggle, Amer won the right to have his house and some of his land preserved . . . The Israeli Army built a gate that they opened for 15 minutes every 24 hours. . . Most disturbing is “planet Hebron,” where the list of abuses considered normal includes soldiers firing tear gas at schoolchildren to mark the beginning and end of each day of school.

BEN RAWLENCE, The New York Times, July 14, 2016

Children playing in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City in 2007 (Ruth Fremson/The New Yorkr Times)

An intimate, vivid look at daily life in Palestine

THE WAY TO THE SPRING
Life and Death in Palestine
By Ben Ehrenreich
Illustrated. 428 pp. Penguin Press. $28.

“It is perhaps unavoidable and surely unfortunate that any book about the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea requires introduction, and some small degree of defensiveness on the part of the author.” So writes Ben Ehrenreich, a journalist and novelist, in the (avoidable) introduction to his love letter to Palestine, “The Way to the Spring.”

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Eleven signs that BDS continues to grow despite Israel’s war of repression

Palestinian BDS National Committee, July 7, 2016

33333Palestinian campaigners have launched popular boycott campaigns across the West Bank in recent months

The Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was launched eleven years ago as a nonviolent and effective means for progressive people and organisations across the world to support the struggle of the Palestinian people for our rights under international law.

Inspired by the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the US Civil Rights movement, BDS today is widely recognized as having a strategic impact in challenging international support for Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people.

Having failed to stop the inspiring spread of mainstream support for the BDS movement across the world, Israel has launched a desperate and dangerous war of repression and demonization against the movement that reminds us of the darkest moments of McCarthyism in the US.

Nevertheless, support for BDS has not only continued to grow – it has accelerated. Western governments, leading political parties and the world’s largest human rights organizations have recently recognized BDS as a legitimate means of nonviolently advocating and campaigning for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.

What follows is a snapshot of developments in the BDS movement so far during 2016. We’ve also published round-ups of major BDS successes during 2014 and during 2015.

1. Our campaign for the #RightToBoycott is winning mainstream and government support

At Israel’s request, governments in the US, UK, France, Canada and elsewhere are seeking to repress BDS. Israel has banned BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti from travelling and says it may revoke his residency status.

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