Help Palestinians in Gaza survive Coronavirus

If Not Now, March 20,2020

We have an opportunity to save thousands of lives — if we act now.

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps our country and the world, I am watching everyday people do what is necessary — in the vacuum left by our government’s failure — to help their communities. My friends are joining mutual aid networks and others are fundraising so the most vulnerable are financially stable.

But our obligation to one another does not stop at the border.

If we do not act now, Palestinians living under blockade in Gaza will suffer incredible losses from COVID-19. For 15 years, the Israeli government has blockaded 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, restricting their access to crucial resources, including medical supplies. And Israel’s regular military assaults have decimated much of Gaza’s public infrastructure.

That is why I’m asking you to demand that the Israeli government live up to its legal and moral obligation as the occupying party and protect Palestinians in Gaza by lifting the blockade on Gaza and immediately delivering medical supplies — such as Coronavirus test kits, ventilation equipment, and medical masks — to Gaza.

Currently, 1.8 million Palestinians live in the 141 square miles that comprise the Gaza Strip (roughly the size of Detroit). Though Hamas governs Gaza internally, Israel is still the effective occupying power because Israel’s military controls the land, sea, and air of Gaza. The blockade on Gaza has been inhumane for over a decade, but to refuse to lift it during a global health pandemic is immoral, outrageous, and unforgettable.

And, with one of the highest population densities in the world and few medical resources, Gaza is one step away from a public health disaster. Those 1.8 million people only have access to enough COVID-19 test kits for 190 people, meaning only 1 in every 9473 Palestinians there can be tested. Additionally, there are just 20 available ventilation devices in all of Gaza — just 1 ventilation device for every 90,000 Palestinians there.

Palestinians in Gaza must now weather the coronavirus in addition to the punishing, 15-year-long Israeli blockade of the coastal enclave. The international community has ignored the humanitarian crisis facing Palestinians in Gaza for too long. Rather than waiting to react to the coronavirus hitting Gaza, we must be proactive.


Sign the petition!

Failing to do so will result in thousands of deaths, and the blame will lay squarely with the Israeli government.

Stay safe and stay in solidarity,
Naftali
IfNotNow

Oppose the Israeli Annexation of Palestinian Land

This is a new group in the LaCrosse area that is becoming more active on Palestinian issues. Please consider signing and circulating this petition.

COULEE REGION COALITION FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS, 3/6/20

To: Our elected officials
From: [Your Name]

We urgently oppose the threatened annexation by Israel of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank since 1967, and has since built an extensive network of illegal Jewish settlements and connecting roads. There are now over 600,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Netanyahu and Gantz, leaders of the two largest Israeli political parties, have been emboldened to ​break international law through annexation ​of this territory by the release of the Trump administration’s ‘Deal of the Century’ on January 20, 2020.

The annexation envisioned in that plan includes the fertile Jordan Valley in addition to those settlements and roads. Palestinian land is already fragmented into enclaves of villages, farms and a handful of densely populated cities – comparable to the Bantustans of Apartheid South Africa.

Annexation would extend, legalize and attempt to make permanent this theft of Palestinian land by making it part of Israel.

The US provides $3.8 billion of military aid to Israel each year. These are our tax dollars being used to prop up an Israeli state that violently suppresses Palestinian human rights and now plans to steal their land.

We call on you, as our elected official, to announce publicly that you will support legislation withdrawing all military funding to Israel if it proceeds with this illegal annexation of Palestinian land.

Rep. Mark Pocan on Trump’s Peace Plan

Progressives must take a stand against the Trump administration’s endorsement of Israeli apartheid and, instead, support the Palestinian demands for freedom, self-determination, and the right of refugees to return to their homeland.

Endorse “Freedom Is the Future,” a joint project of US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Adalah Justice Project.


THE ANSWER IS PALESTINE

THE_CORRECT_ANSWER_IS.png

CODEPINK, 1/13/20

On Friday, January 11, 2020, on the Beloved game show Jeopardy, Katie Needle of Brooklyn, N.Y. correctly answered the clue “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity” by responding What is Palestine?” But host Alex Trebek responded “nope” and told Jack McGuire, who answered, “What is Israel?” that he was correct — he was not!.

Take action now: tell Alex Trebek and Jeopardy that the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, is in Palestine, not Israel! 


Dear Alex Trebek and Jeopardy,

On Friday, January 11, 2020, answering the clue “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity,” Katie Needle replied CORRECTLYwhat is Palestine?.” But you falsely told McGuire, who followed up with the INCORRECT answer “what is Israel?” that he was right — he was not!

The Church of the Nativity, located in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, is not located in Israel, but in Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt). Palestine is a member of the United Nations. The United Nations and the US State Department list the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as being located in Palestine. International law and world consensus are clear that Bethlehem and the rest of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem are Palestine, not Israel. Israel’s occupation and annexations of these lands are entirely illegal.

Please immediately apologize for the politically dangerous inaccuracy that took place on your show.

Sign the Petition!

Stop Palestinian Home Demolitions!

The morning of Monday, July 22, 2019, Palestinian families in the village of Sur Baher woke up to the sound of bulldozers accompanied by hundreds of Israeli troops that had been ordered to oversee the destruction of their homes. Israeli demolition crews are now in the process of destroying 16 Palestinian apartment buildings, totaling 100 home units in East Jerusalem, under the justification that the homes were too close to the Separation wall. Israel says the homes are a “security” risk. 

The demolitions are part of an ongoing policy where Israel is bent on controlling the demographics of East Jerusalem in order to maintain a Jewish majority. When Israel built its Separation wall, they built it to place the Palestinian Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood of Sur Baher inside Israel, even though legally it’s part of the West Bank. Israel denied the community building permits and then when the Palestinian Authority gave permits to the families, Israel declared they had the right to demolish the homes — most of the homes were built by hand, stone by stone. 

The displacement of people (via home demolitions) is a war crime and 2020 candidates should speak out against it.

Send a message to the 2020 candidates: speak out against Israel’s demolishing of Sur Baher. 

This campaign is hosted by CODEPINK. We will protect your privacy, and keep you informed about this campaign and others.

US dollars for abuse of children: THIS. MUST. STOP.

In 2018, Americans were horrified to learn that migrant children were being cruelly separated from their families at the U.S. border and imprisoned in intolerable conditions.

Many U.S. lawmakers – on both sides of the aisle – joined the national outcry to say this is an UNACCEPTABLE practice for the United States.

Yet – under Israel’s military occupation that is generously subsidized by Congress with U.S. tax dollars abusing and imprisoning Palestinian children has been ACCEPTABLE and standard practice for many years. These children are subjected to abuse that has never even been considered in the United States.

 It is time for U.S. legislators to oppose the abuse of Palestinian children by the Israeli military.

These kids’ stories of abuse are terrifying and heartbreaking – often taken from their families in the middle of the night, put in choke holds, blindfolded and handcuffed, thrown into jeeps, traumatized and coerced into confessions during interrogations where no parent or advocate is present, strip searched, beaten, and tortured. They are tried in military courts that lack the basic standards for a fair trial and the conviction rate is over 99%.

Roughly 10,000 Palestinian children have suffered such abuse since the year 2000.

EVERY lawmaker should be appalled at this treatment of children by the Israeli military, which the U.S. gives $3.8 billion each year. The U.S. MUST STOP FUNDING these egregious violations of children’s essential human rights.

The historic bill H.R. 2407 seeks to ensure just that. The Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act can put a stop to U.S. tax dollars funding such abuse.

Also called the "McCollum Bill," it was recently brought to Congress by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN). Now H.R. 2407 needs co-sponsors!

TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO STOP U.S. FUNDING FOR MILITARY ABUSE OF CHILDREN!

Mark Harrison [far left], Director of Peace with Justice at the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), with Rep. Betty McCollum [center front row] and other supporters of H.R. 2407. Both GBCS and UMKR are ENDORSING ORGANIZATIONS of this bill.

We are witnessing a new thing emerging in the United States. A few years ago, no one in Congress would have stood up for Palestinians’ human rights. Last year, the first version of the McCollum Bill had 30 co-sponsors in Congress!

There is a growing conviction among the American public, and even starting in Congress, that U.S. policy on Israel/Palestine can and should hold Israel accountable for human rights violations.

THAT’S WHAT H.R. 2407 WILL DO:
The "Leahy Law" is part of the Foreign Assistance Act; it is supposed to ensure U.S. aid does not go to military units that violate human rights. It has not been applied to Israel. A good way to start is focusing now on the treatment of children.

So this new bill will amend the Leahy Law to prohibit U.S. military aid from funding the military detention or abuse of children in violation of international humanitarian law.

This bill would apply to children globally, wherever U.S. military aid is received; any person of conscience should be able to support it!

 Send your Representative a message: US funding for abuse of Palestinian children must stop.  Click below and you will review the message before sending it:

ASK YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO SUPPORT H.R. 2407!

Rise against Racism! #CounterCUFI

Friends of Sabeel – North America (FOSNA)

For too long, Palestinians have been calling for freedom, justice, and equality. As organizations that share these values, we urge you to join us in confronting Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

CUFI has quietly become the largest organization in the United States driving support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. With over five million members, CUFI uses its political leverage to ensure ongoing U.S. support for Israel’s colonization and military occupation of Palestine, including imprisoning Palestinian children; bombing homes, schools, and hospitals in Gaza; massacring peaceful protestors; and confiscating Palestinian land.

By its own admission, CUFI “led the charge to have the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” and it continues to push for unconstitutional anti-BDS legislation and illegal settlement expansion.

CUFI is a Christian Zionist organization: Its ideology and politics are deeply entrenched in white nationalism, anti-Muslim racism, anti-Semitism, and other systems of oppression. In spite of its strong political influence on the Hill, CUFI has operated largely under the radar and received little attention in comparison with groups like AIPAC.

Until now. This is the moment to act: This July, many of your Congressional representatives will be attending CUFI’s annual summit as invited guests. We cannot allow CUFI’s influence to go unchallenged. Come to Washington, D.C. on July 7 and 8 to tell the world to #CounterCUFI!

It will take each and every one of us to rise against racism, to reclaim and protect our communities, and to uphold the liberation of all people in the vision of justice, equality, and freedom.

Signed,
Friends of Sabeel North America
Jewish Voice for Peace
American Muslims for Palestine
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

We will be congregating in Washington, D.C. on July 7 and 8 to challenge Christian Zionism and express our solidarity for the Palestinian people. Join us in person in D.C. by registering here and help make the action possible by donating here.

Call NOW to stop resolution targeting Rep. Omar Ilhan

#StandWithllhan

Please consider calling or emailing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and your own Representative:

    Speaker Pelosi: 202-225-0100, press “1” to leave a message, or email form
    Rep. Mark Pocan: 202-225-2906 in DC, or email form

The vote is now scheduled for Thursday, 3/7/19.

The Democratic Party Attacks on Ilhan Omar Are a Travesty

I’m Jewish and have worked against anti-Semitism for decades. I was sitting a few feet from Omar at Busboys & Poets and I heard nothing—nothing—that smacked of anti-Semitism, overt or coded or otherwise.

Phyllis Bennis, The Nation, March 5, 2019

Ilhan OmarRepresentative Ilhan Omar at a news conference in the Capitol on January 10, 2019. (Tom Williams/AP Images)

Attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar are rising. One of the first Muslim women elected, Omar is also black, an African immigrant, a former refugee from Somalia, and wears her hijab in the halls of Congress. She is under attack from the leaders of her own party for anti-Semitic statements she never made, for anti-Jewish prejudice she never expressed, for hatred of Jews she doesn’t hold. And the Democratic Party leadership is considering a resolution whose early text, at least, while not mentioning Omar by name, is clearly aimed at accusing her of precisely those things, despite the fact—ignored by the Speaker of the House and other top officials—that she never said or believed any of those words.

The most recent attacks on Representative Omar are based on her answer to a broad question about anti-Semitism during a recent town hall meeting at Busboys & Poets in Washington, DC. I was there, sitting just a few feet from Omar, asking a question during the Q&A. She never said that Jews have dual loyalty. She never expressed “prejudicial attitudes” or supported “discriminatory acts” against Jews or anyone else. And yet that is the language being proposed for a Democratic Party–sponsored resolution aimed at undermining Omar’s credibility, and likely that of Rashida Tlaib, the other Muslim woman just elected to Congress. Like Omar, Tlaib, who is Palestinian, stands forthrightly in support of Palestinian rights, against the power of the pro-Israel lobby and other lobbies that use money to influence Congress to support guns, environmental destruction, and Israeli violations of human rights—and she stands against racism and anti-Semitism.

These members of Congress understand that real anti-Semitism in the United States has been rooted in white supremacy since the Ku Klux Klan reemerged in 1915 and added Jews to the African Americans who had long been their primary target. That’s the real anti-Semitism we’re seeing—the violence of the Charlottesville march by Nazis and the Klan, the Pittsburgh synagogue murders, all of it rooted in white supremacy. Criticism of Israel, and of its human-rights and international-law violations and its lobbies, is simply not anti-Semitism.

I’m Jewish. I’ve worked against anti-Semitism, in the context of working against white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and beyond, for decades. And I heard nothing—nothing—that smacked of anti-Semitism, overt or coded or otherwise. Ilhan Omar simply didn’t say it.

Here’s some of what she did say.

I know what intolerance looks like and I’m sensitive when someone says, “the words you use Ilhan, are resemblance of intolerance.” And I am cautious of that and I feel pained by that. But it’s almost as if every single time we say something, regardless of what it is we say, that it’s supposed to be about foreign policy or engagement, our advocacy about ending oppression, or the freeing of every human life and wanting dignity, we get to be labeled in something, and that ends the discussion, because we end up defending that, and nobody ever gets to have the broader debate of “what is happening with Palestine?” So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask, why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil-fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy.

I mean, most of us are new, but many members of Congress have been there forever. Some of them have been there before we were born. So I know many of them, many of them, were fighting for people to be free, for people to live in dignity in South Africa. I know many of them fight for people around the world to have dignity, to have self-determination. So I know, I know that they care about these things. But now that you have two Muslims who are saying, “here is a group of people that we want to make sure they have the dignity that you want everyone else to have!”…we get to be called names, we get to be labeled as hateful.

No, we know what hate looks like. We experience it every single day. We have to deal with death threats. I have colleagues who talk about death threats. And sometimes…there are cities in my state where the gas stations have written on their bathrooms “assassinate Ilhan Omar.” I have people driving around my district looking for my home, for my office, causing me harm. I have people every single day on Fox News and everywhere, posting that I am a threat to this country. So I know what fear looks like. The masjid I pray in in Minnesota got bombed by two domestic white terrorists. So I know what it feels to be someone who is of faith that is vilified. I know what it means to be someone whose ethnicity is vilified. I know what it feels to be of a race—like I am an immigrant, so I don’t have the historical drama that some of my black sisters and brothers have in this country, but I know what it means for people to just see me as a black person, and to treat me as less than a human. And so, when people say, “you are bringing hate,” I know what their intention is. Their intention is to make sure that our lights are dimmed. That we walk around with our heads bowed. That we lower our face and our voice.

But we have news for people.… what people are afraid of is not that there are two Muslims in Congress. What people are afraid of is that there are two Muslims in Congress that have their eyes wide open, that have their feet to the ground, that know what they’re talking about, that are fearless, and that understand that they have the same election certificate as everyone else in Congress.

For the Democratic Party leadership to launch these false claims of anti-Semitism is a travesty. Ilhan Omar’s words were powerful, passionate, principled, and based on a deep truth. No lights were dimmed that night. Fearless voices, and hundreds of their supporters, from every community, every race, everyone, were all that we heard. And all we needed to hear.

Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and serves on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace. Her most recent book is the seventh updated edition of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer.