Please join us October 24th (6 pm CT) on the UNC Campus for a night of discussion with Dr. Noura Erakat, Dr. Khury Petersen-Smith and others!
If you are not able to attend in person, please join us on zoom. The password to join is: pal1948
We appreciate your interest in our work. Voices for Justice in Palestine posts a newsletter twice a month on alternating Tuesdays. We will take a pause in October. Amber is traveling to Palestine!
Look for a resumption of our twice-monthly scheduled VJP newsletter in November. The November newsletters on Nov 8th and 22nd will feature in-depth interviews with members of Voices for Justice in Palestine who have recently traveled to Palestine-Israel – Amber Smith, Paul McAllister, Ron Shive, and Burhan Ghanayem.
Rev. J. Mark Davidson, Exec. Dir., VJP
Ms. Amber Smith, VJP Intern
(Final version, emphasis added)
Dear colleagues and comrades,
Thanks again and onward,
Center for Constitutional Rights | Justice takes a fight.
666 Broadway, 7th Floor New York, NY 10012 (Lenapehoking)
President Biden: Stop Israeli Government’s Attacks on Palestinian Civil Society
The YWCA Madison’s Racial Justice Summit will take place Sept. 28-30. Organizers are inviting the community to practice “Weaving Our Pasts, Present and Emergent Futures for Racial Justice and Co-Liberation.”
For this 21st annual Summit, YWCA Madison is collaborating with local and national practitioners, educators, artists, authors, and advocates to curate a combination of virtual and in-person experiences. The motivation is to disrupt the (mis)understanding of the different dimensions of justice as separate issues, and support an understanding of their interconnected nature.
The hope is for the Summit to support communities in deeply understanding how racial justice, restorative justice, gender justice, immigration justice, disability justice, climate justice, and so on, are truly different transgenerational dimensions of our ongoing building of practice, community, interconnectedness and power within movements for justice and co-liberation.
Some of the Summit keynotes this year are sisters Angela Davis and Fania Davis, Ericka Huggins, Linda Sarsour, Rudy Bankston, Jenifer Garcia, and sisters adrienne maree brown and Autumn Brown.
For any other questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To purchase tickets, click here.
Linda Sarsour has advocated for Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories and expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. (Wikipedia)
Angela Davis supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. In 2019 the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) rescinded Davis’s Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award for Davis’s vocal support for Palestinian rights and the movement to boycott Israel. Davis said her loss of the award was “not primarily an attack against me but rather against the very spirit of the indivisibility of justice.” The BCRI reversed its decision and issued a public apology, stating that there should have been more public consultation. (Wikipedia)
A “Teeter-Totter Wall” conceived in 2009 to protest the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall has become reality in New Mexico.
MRSCP is passing along an unusual opportunity to help build a playground for migrant children in the Mexico-US border town of Sásabe. We have installed similar playgrounds in Rafah and Hebron in Palestine, and we know firsthand how much these simple facilities mean to the children who use them.
Infrastructure For the Youth, For the Future. No More Walls.
Sásabe is a small rural border town in Sonora, Mexico only a short distance from the border. Since the implementation of Title 42 in March 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has been dropping hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers at the doorsteps of the citizens of Sásabe every week. Even though the town had nothing in place to help support these vulnerable people, they helped as much as they could with very limited resources. The town reached out to Dora Rodriguez (Salvavision) and Gail Kocourek (Tucson Samaritans) and asked for their help. Dora was already involved with providing aid to Nogales, Sonora.
In response to the request, in 2021 Dora and Gail opened a Resource Center (Casa de la Esperanza) in Sásabe. Only walking distance from the port of entry, it is a space for migrants who need aid and refuge. “Our mission is to restore some of their dignity with a hot meal and a little hope” says Dora.
Dora and the Mayor of Sásabe asked Mike Tork, a Veterans For Peace (VFP) national board member, who also works with the School of Americas Watch (SOAW), if it would be possible to build a playground for the children, those living in Sásabe and those dropped off by CBP.
Mike has assembled a team to build the playground. “This is about reclaiming space and filling it with kindness and compassion. It’s a way to resist hatred, racism and to be in solidarity with vulnerable people and communities” he said.
We will follow the guidance of Dora, Gail and the community. Construction is planned to begin in the fall (Sept/Oct) once the weather is cooler.
Please donate generously. Funds will go towards the playground and to help support Casa de la Esperanza.
To make a tax-deductible donation via check or money order, please include “Playground” in the memo line, make payable to “SOA Watch,” and mail to our address:
225 E 26th St, Suite 7
Tucson, AZ 85713
Rep. Francesca Hong addresses concerns for the arrival of F-35 jets in Truax Field, surrounded by Eken Park Resistance members. CAMERON CIESZKI/CAP TIMES
One goal of this letter is to bring organizations on the national and international level together with local organizations who have been working against F-35 training in their communities for years. Another is to use the F-35, the most expensive weapons program in history, to address the larger issue of unchecked military spending. The F-35 is causing harm at home and abroad in primarily working class and BIPOC neighborhoods. We hope to begin a substantial and sustained campaign to cancel the F-35 program.
President Biden & Members of Congress,
We, the undersigned organizations from around the world, are calling for a cancellation of the F-35 program, an end to F-35 training in residential areas like South Burlington, Vermont and Madison, Wisconsin, and a reinvestment of the project’s funds to life affirming programs. We are making these demands based on the harm caused abroad, cost of the program to the taxpayer, inefficiencies and failures, the environmental impact of F-35s, and the effects training has on local communities.
HARM CAUSED THROUGH MILITARISM
We primarily stand firmly against the F-35 as a weapon of war. Although not ready for full-scale production, the U.S. intends on producing countless F-35s to sell around the world that will without a doubt be used to harm people living in the Global South. F-35s have the capacity to carry nuclear weapons, and the deployment of these jets only aids nuclear proliferation. The U.S. already makes up 40% of the global arms trade, aiding and abetting war crimes all over the world. Israel is procuring F-35’s from the United States which will undeniably be used against Palestinians to further Israel’s goals of ethnic cleansing and displacement in Palestine. Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in F-35s as well as the UAE while both countries wage a brutal war on Yemen. The F-35 is a disaster of a project, but also a potential disaster for humanity.
INEFFICIENCIES AND FAILURES
The F-35 spending is becoming impossible for important members of Congress to justify. The Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith called the F-35 a “rathole.” Another member of HASC, Rep. John Garamendi had some scathing comments about the F-35 in a HASC subcommittee hearing in May:
“For the contractors out there, what are you doing? Why can’t you give us a piece of equipment that actually works? You should never have a contract. And for Lockheed, you want a five-year maintenance contract? You can’t do what you’re doing today. Come on. What are we thinking? If I have not adequately expressed my frustration, I would assume that my frustration is less than the frustration of the pilots and the maintainers out there. … The primary maintenance responsibility on this is Lockheed and you gentlemen.”
The Government Accountability Office said the F-35 “continues to fall short of prescribed mission-capable rates and is consistently missing reliability targets”. According to the GAO, the F-35A in 2021 was fully mission capable 50% of the time, while the F-35B was fully mission capable less than 20 percent of the time. The F-35c was only capable 9.5% of the time.
The signatories call attention to the failures of the program to address harmful projects seeing never ending investment while programs that protect people such as universal healthcare never see the light of day.
COST TO THE TAXPAYER
The failures of the program make the spending impossible to justify, even from a militaristic standpoint. The F-35 program is the Department of Defense’s most expensive weapon system program. As of now, the F-35’s projected total cost is $1.7 trillion, which includes $1.3 trillion in estimated operations and sustainment over 66 years. The F-35 is horribly behind schedule, experiencing massive cost overruns with maintenance costs doubling. The F-35 is not ready for full scale production. According to the GAO, “if DOD moves forward as planned, it will have bought a third of all F-35s before determining that the aircraft is ready to move into full-rate production.” Spending billions to trillions of dollars on a plane that is not yet up to speed with what the government has requested is poor fiscal policy.
Webinar: July 14 at 2 PM CT via ZOOM
On the eve of Roger Waters Montreal’s Bell Centre performance, the rock legend will be supporting McGill students who’ve faced a litany of attacks for advancing the Palestinian Liberation movement. The event will discuss attacks against Palestine solidarity on campuses across Canada and the importance of supporting the Palestinian struggle.
Waters will be joined by a McGill student representative to talk about the success and roadblocks to Palestine solidarity at McGill.
Host: Canadian Foreign Policy Institute
Co-sponsors: Just Peace Advocates, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill and Palestinian and Jewish Unity Montreal
Media Sponsor: Rabble.ca
Read: Rock legend Roger Waters will rally with McGill students for Palestine by Bianca Mugyenyi, July 11, 2022, Rabble.ca
See media release and list of several dozen endorsing organizations.
A new Super PAC aligned with AIPAC looks to undercut the only Palestinian Democrat ever elected to Congress, and diminish the growing support between Palestinians and African-Americans.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (PHOTO: TLAIB.HOUSE.GOV)
A new Super PAC has reared its head and it’s made no secret of its first target: Rashida Tlaib.
It comes as no surprise that Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American woman and the only Palestinian Democrat ever in Congress, is coming under severe attack ahead of her primary two months from now. But the nature of that attack is a particularly dangerous and pernicious one, and its nature is one that constitutes a unique and serious threat to not only advocates of Palestinian rights and freedom, but to progressives across the board.
The Urban Empowerment Action PAC (UEA) says its “supporters include a broad coalition of African American business, political and civic leaders, working alongside peers in the Jewish community.” Its stated mission is to “narrow the wealth gap between Black and white Americans.”
They explicitly stated that ousting Tlaib was their focus, and they planned to spend over $1 million to support Janice Winfrey, a centrist African-American and the Detroit City Clerk since 2005, against Tlaib.
UEA squares its thin anti-racist rhetoric with targeting one of the most progressive members of Congress by implicitly accusing Tlaib of ignoring the needs of the Black community. To carry that case, UEA is employing activist and CNN commentator Bakari Sellers, who has long been one of the leading spokespeople for AIPAC in the Black community.
In 2016, Sellers was a key figure in the fight between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps over how to address Israel and the Palestinians in the Democratic Party platform. Sanders’ camp led an effort to draft wording that called for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements,” which clearly aligned with stated U.S. policy in 2016.
Sellers wrote a letter opposing the mention of occupation or settlements and got dozens of other African-American leaders to sign on. A compromise was eventually reached where the Democratic platform expressed some sympathy for the Palestinians for the first time, but there was no mention of occupation or settlements. There is little doubt that Sellers’ efforts were an important factor in staving off what was a popular proposal during the 2016 race.
Sellers was hardly subtle in his attacks on Tlaib. “Congresswoman Tlaib, I’m sure, serves admirably,” he told POLITICO. “However, we were hoping that we can have a candidate that doesn’t have varying distractions…we want someone, particularly in these Black communities, that does not get distracted by shiny things or media opportunities but is focused on the uplift of our communities and does right by them.
“I don’t have a beef with her directly,” Sellers continued. “I just think that there are individuals who will have the interest of their district, first and foremost, and not their brand. And will do things in the interest of uplift of that community. It’s not as much of a knock on her as it is that somebody else can do the job better because they’re focused on these particular issues.”
Sellers characterizes Tlaib as being self-centered, an odd charge considering that her politics are not well-suited to upward mobility and she has remained closely connected to the grassroots in her district. He makes no secret of what he means by “distractions,” noting that her criticisms of Israel are “high on the list” of his concerns about Tlaib.
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project supports these efforts by Indigenous Women to end fossil fuel projects and protect water.
USA, April 27, 2022 — Today, Indigenous women leaders, joined by over 200 organizations, representing millions nationwide, submitted a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers urging the department to deny necessary permits for the expansion of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, and to conduct a federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the entire pipeline within the Army Corps of Engineers’ jurisdiction.
Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline was originally built in 1953, and continues to operate nearly 20 years past its engineered lifespan, transporting 22 million gallons of crude oil each day through northern Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and under the Straits of Mackinac. Currently, Enbridge is proposing to expand the Line 5 pipeline, despite the strong opposition of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and other Tribes.
Enbridge proposes to route Line 5 through hundreds of waterways that flow into the Bad River Reservation, their extensive fisheries, and the navigable waters of Lake Superior. The letter sent today delivers key information detailing the impacts the Line 5 tar sands pipeline expansion project would have in the region, and clarifies how it directly undermines Indigenous rights and perpetuates the climate crisis:
“We call on you to reject permits for the expansion of Line 5. This plan places massive risk squarely upon the Bad River Tribe and the Red Cliff Tribe against their will. Furthermore, we consider the pipeline construction an act of cultural genocide. Damage to the land and water destroys food and cultural lifeways that are core to our identity and survival. The pipeline would cut through more than 900 waterways upstream of the Bad River Reservation. The U.S. EPA determined that the plan ‘may result in substantial and unacceptable adverse impacts’ to the Kakagon and Bad River slough complex. This is unacceptable.”
The letter also brings attention to the ongoing investigations and environmental issues with Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, and details Enbridge’s pattern of misrepresenting risks, violating permits, and covering up environmental damage. While constructing the Line 3 pipeline, Enbridge caused at least 28 frac-outs, polluting surface water and releasing undisclosed amounts of drilling fluid into groundwater, amongst other permit violations.
The letter concludes by bringing attention to the global repercussions of the Line 5 pipeline, noting that increased fossil fuel production will not support President Biden’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, nor align with the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which calls for urgent emissions reductions as quickly as possible.
The letter comes from Indigenous women who are advocating to stop Line 5, and is endorsed by local and national groups representing Indigenous groups, environmental organizations, health professionals, faith groups, and more. Please see quotes from the original signatories of the letter below:
Jannan J. Cornstalk, Citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and Director of the Water is Life Festival: “There needs to be a shift, to ensure that Tribes and Indigenous communities are part of the process not after the fact but from the very beginning. That’s consultation. Our very lifeways and cultures hang in the balance as pipelines like Line 5 get rammed through our territories and water. These are our lifeways– when that water is healthy enough that rice is growing– that not only benefits our communities, but that benefits everybody up and down stream. The Army Corps and Biden Administration must put people over profits. Allowing Line 5 to proceed is cultural genocide. The disturbances go deeper than you are hearing. That water is our relative, and we will do whatever it takes to protect our water, our sacred relative.”