February 11, 2017
Madison Resistance March


Madison Resistance March on Facebook

Channel3000.com

Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project will be participating as a “Palestine Solidarity contingent” at the upcoming Madison Resistance March.

We will be meeting at 11:45 am outside the Boat House in Brittingham Park with our banners.  Please wear a kuffiyeh if you have one.  Also, we need signs linking Palestine to the themes of the March, including Netanyahu’s visit with Trump next Wednesday. There are some ideas listed below, but feel free to improvise! One suggestion is to have signs with both English and Spanish.

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Open Doors for Refugees Response to Trump’s Ban

Today President Trump signed an executive order banning all refugees from entering the U.S. for the next four months, prohibiting all people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, barring all Syrian refugees indefinitely, and, when the refugee program resumes (presumably at half the current rate), giving preferential treatment to non-Muslims.
 
This blatantly anti-Muslim edict mocks the freedom of religion protection of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  It’s also bereft of human compassion or moral compass.  Finally, given the extreme vetting already in place, it’s also bereft of cause.
 
In a sad juxtaposition, today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, reminding us of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.  It’s distressing to realize and to acknowledge that a great many Jews perished because the world would not give them refuge – a state of affairs chillingly similar to today.
 
We urge you to contact your U.S. Senators and Representative to register your strong opposition to this order and to send a strong message to the White House.  This is an excellent site to help you do so: Refugee Council USA

Open Doors for Refugees continues to stand by its mission of helping refugees make a home in Madison. With that we also wish to integrate refugees into being thriving members of the community and thereby increase our city’s richness in culture and diversity. We want Madison to be a welcoming city where all feel safe and valued. We encourage our volunteers and supporters to remain informed of current events in this regard and to be engaged citizens and to embrace ideas of welcoming, inclusion and humanitarian aid to all.

Our goal remains to support those refugees who have already arrived to our community and to be ready for when more refugees are allowed to come. We are proud of America’s history of welcoming immigrants and refugees. The U.S. refugee resettlement program reflects the United States’ highest values and aspirations to compassion, generosity and leadership. Since 1975, Americans have welcomed over 3 million refugees from all over the world. Refugees have built new lives, homes and communities in towns and cities in all 50 states. We cannot let this tradition end.

Our work is not done. In fact, we have more work than ever as we begin to rebuild trust that the current refugee screening process is rigorous and that refugees in our community do not pose threat. We now have to speak out with even greater conviction that refugee resettlement in our country is the right thing to do.  Our engagement with community leaders to build greater trust, understanding and support of the refugee crisis and how our community can rise to the challenge are integral components of our next steps.  We at Open Doors are proud and grateful to have the strong support of so many in the Madison area.

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Open Doors for Refugees Donations

Donations of Furniture and Household Items:
Open Doors has stocked and set up apartments for three refugee families in the last three weeks. In the next ten days, four more refugee families will move to Madison, and Open Doors will provide almost all the furniture and household items for three of them, move it all into the new apartments, and set up the apartments in preparation for the new arrivals. To be able to do so, we need an influx of furniture and household items (without getting too much which would overwhelm our limited storage facilities – it’s a fine dance).

We especially need dressers, dining tables & chairs, armchairs and lights, while we already have plenty of couches, bedding and personal care items.

If you have things you’d like to donate, or want to organize a donation drive among your friends or colleagues, please email us at OpenDoorsForRefugees [at] gmail.com

Open Doors for Refugees — Madison

Here is the latest update from Open Doors for Refugees about the expected Syrian refugees coming to Madison. Open Doors is looking for furniture, household items, and gift certificates for the families.


Dear Friends,
 
There’s been a tremendous outpouring of support for Open Doors, especially since the election.  Thanks to all of you who’ve contacted us.  Keeping you informed and engaged, our third-Wednesday-of-the-month general meeting is next week, December 21st,at 7:00 PM.  This time it’ll be at Beth Israel Center, 1406 Mound St.  Everyone is invited. 
 
160 refugees are slated to come to Madison this fiscal year (October-September), 110 through Lutheran Social Services and 50 through Jewish Social Services.  LSS has already settled several families this year (and many in years past), while JSS is about to receive their first family.  While the future of the refugee program is very uncertain, it looks like it’ll be very busy for the next few months.
 
And with the influx of refugees, we need donations of furniture and household items.  The number of refugee families coming in the next few weeks will more than deplete the donations we have on hand (which we had to stop collecting because we had run out of storage room).  However, we’ve recently received additional storage space, we especially need furniture at this time, and we have room to put more of it.  If you’d like to donate either furniture or household items (sorry no clothes), please email us at OpenDoorsForRefugees@gmail.com for more information about what we need, pacing the donations, and scheduling a pickup of larger items.
 
Finally we’ve set up a gift certificate program, which is a great and more direct way to help refugees.  Donors get a choice of where to get gift cards, all gift cards will go directly to refugees, and refugees will get purchase choice, which they don’t otherwise often get. 

Interested in getting involved? We have our December meeting coming up and would love to see you there!

    Date: December 21st
    Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
    Location: Temple Beth Israel
    1406 Mound St.
    Madison, WI 53711

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A letter from Gaza to the Natives of Standing Rock

Israa Suliman, WE ARE NOT NUMBERS, November 15, 2016

Dear Native Americans,

Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.

My ancestors were not the only ones who lived in Palestine. Jews, Christians and Arabs all lived side by side in my country. But my ancestors—including my grandparents and great-grandparents—were the indigenous people, just like you. And they suffered the same fate as your people. America's policy of occupation and displacement through forced marches like the Trail of Tears, and the gradual transfer of so many of your people to massive, impoverished reservations, hurts me deeply because it is so similar to the ethnic cleansing of my ancestors by the Israeli military occupation in what we call “al-Nakba” (the catastrophe). We know what you know: that our land is sacred.

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Vote for our Gaza photo in Global Giving contest!

Our photo (above), taken by Mohammad Mansour, was selected as a finalist in Global Giving’s 2016 Photo Contest! This picture was taken while the first pallet of Luci Lights that we sent was being distributed at the Women’s Project Center in Rafah, Gaza. If we win the competition, we will put the prize money towards sending another pallet — our hope is that we can give a light to every child in Gaza, to help them and their families cope with the difficulties of daily power outages.

Voting is easy — just click this link to find our photo. Then, check your email to confirm your vote! We love to see photos of the children that are receiving the Luci Lights, it is a great reminder of how important this project is.

Thanks for your support, and don’t forget to vote this week!

Best,
Donna


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Gaza: Abandoned in the Middle of Nowhere

, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, June 28, 2016

During a brief pause to hostilities in July 2014, families returned to eastern Gaza, which saw some of the heaviest bombings. Photo Credit: Oxfam / Flickr

Palestinians in Gaza are largely forgotten. They are an invisible people inhabiting a world without rights and possibilities. Over Israel’s near 50-year occupation, Gaza and the West Bank were reduced from a lower middle-income economy to a dysfunctional economy disproportionately dependent on foreign assistance. Gaza is under immense pressure from a continued blockade, now in its tenth year. Egyptian restrictions on the movement of people through Rafah, “which has remained largely closed… since October 2014, including for humanitarian assistance”[1] increased internal discord and hindered intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

There are stunningly high levels of unemployment and poverty. According to the World Bank, unemployment currently stands at 43 percent and in excess of 60 percent for Gazan youth. Yet, while Gaza’s economic demise is well documented, the blockade’s societal impact is often neglected. The blockade created a series of long-term, chronic conditions in Palestinian society,[2] including the destruction of civilian space, changes to social structure and health status, widespread trauma, a dramatic change in popular attitudes, and finally, a widening generational divide.

As United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Spokesman Chris Gunness notes: “The juxtaposition of hopelessness and despair, contrasted with the transformational potential of Gazan society, has never been so palpable.”[3]According to the World Bank, the Israeli blockade alone—which has severed almost all of the territory’s ties to the outside world, virtually terminating Gaza’s critically needed export trade—decreased Gaza’s GDP by at least 50 percent since 2007.[4] Egypt’s near total termination of Gaza’s tunnel trade—a vital, albeit underground economic lifeline—dealt an additional and extremely damaging blow. On top of this, the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, or Operation Protective Edge (OPE), worsened an already bleak situation by reducing Gaza’s economy by an additional $460 million.

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