USACBI is a signatory of the following statement in solidarity with BDS activists in France facing repression and criminal charges for their organizing for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.
June 26 2013 – As more than 150 Palestine solidarity and social justice organizations from across the world, we stand in solidarity with all of the French campaigners for Palestinian rights facing legal action and repression for participating in demonstrations calling for a boycott of Israel.
French campaigners have faced criminal charges for their solidarity activity since 2009. Despite a previous ruling that advocating boycott is not illegal and should be permitted as part of the right to freedom of speech, three activists were brought to trial earlier this month in Perpignan, seven more will attend court on June 27 in Alencon and further trials will take place later this year.
In all of these cases, campaigners have been charged with “incitement, provocation to discrimination, hatred or violence against a person or group of persons, due to their ethnicity, race, religion or nation” following their participation in actions at supermarkets calling for a boycott of Israeli goods.
>This misuse of anti-discrimination law is part of a wider attack on solidarity with the Palestinian people. French pro-Israel organizations are plaintiffs in many of the cases against boycott activists and have successfully pressured the French government to support repression of solidarity activity. In 2010, then justice minister Michèle Alliot Marie ordered prosecutors to press charges against boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists. Police regularly demand the names and addresses of those present at protests calling for a boycott of Israel and Israeli intelligence agency Mossad was deployed to stop protests at a basketball match involving an Israeli team that took place in France.
Alarmed by the growth of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the BDS movement in particular, Israel and leading Israeli think tanks have made clear their desire to sabotage and disrupt solidarity activism. Senior Israeli foreign ministry official Amir Sagie recently admitted that the Israeli government has been “investing heavily” in legal warfare against BDS in France and other European countries.
To Bernard, Jeanne, Yamina, Alain, Chantal, Christine Francis, Jo, Nicole and Pierre, to all those facing criminal charges and the whole of the Frenchmovement: we stand with you.
While we cannot be with you as you demonstrate outside the court at the start of the next trial on June 27, we express our full support for your efforts to build solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of state repression. We cannot allow Israel to export its attacks on basic freedoms to Europe or anywhere else.
Inspired by the steadfastness of the Palestinian struggle and the resolve of the French BDS movement, we pledge to continue to work with the BDSmovement in France to support their efforts to resist oppression and to continue to build the international movement for a boycott of Israel.
Australians for Palestine, Australia
Association Belgo-Palestinienne, Belgium
Palestina Solidariteit, Belgium
Palestina Solidariteit vzw, Belgium
Vrede vzw, Belgium
Anel – Assembleia Nacional dos Estudantes – Livre!, Brazil
Ciranda Internacional de Comunicação Compartilhada, Brazil
CSP-Conlutas – Central Sindical e Popular, Brazil
CUT – Central Única dos Trabalhadores, Brazil
Frente em Defesa do Povo Palestino-SP, Brazil
Front of solidarity with the Palestinian people – Sao Paulo, Brazil
MML – Movimento Mulheres em Luta, Brazil
PSTU – Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado, Brazil
Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos de São José dos Campos, Brazil
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver, Canada
Canada Palestine Association, Canada
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Canada
Seriously Free Speech Committee – Vancouver, Canada
ICAHD Finland, Finland
BDS Berlin, Germany
InCACBI (Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel), India
Palestine Solidarity Committee in India, India
Irish Friends of Palestine, Derry, Ireland
Derry Stop the Wall Coalition, Ireland
Derry to Gaza, Ireland
Gaza Action Ireland, Ireland
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Ireland
Peace & Neutrality Alliance, Ireland
Trade Union Friends of Palestine (ICTU), Ireland
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, Israel
100 idee per la pace, Siena, Italy
BDS Italia, Italy
BDS Milano, Italy
BDS Milano, Italy
BDS Trieste, Trieste, Italy
Castelli per la Palestina, Rocca Priora, Italy
Comitato BDS Campania, Napoli, Italia
Coordinamento Campagna BDS Bologna, Italy
Forum Palestina, Italy
Gruppo BDS Roma, Italy
ISM, – Milano, Italy
Parallelo Palestina, Italy
Rete di Solidarietà con la Palestina – Milano, Italy
Rete Romana di Solidarietà al Popolo Palestinese, Italy
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice – Rome, Italy
Un Ponte per, Italy
Artists Against Occupation, Japan
Palestine Forum Japan, Japan
Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Netherlands Palestine Committee (NPK), Netherlands
Service and Research Centre for Palestine (docP), Netherlands
The Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine, Norway
Alternative Information Center (AIC), Palestine
Lajee Center, Aida Refugee Camp, Palestine
Polish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Poland
Edinburgh Students For Justice in Palestine, Scotland
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Scotland
We are all Hana Shalabi, Scotland
Students for Palestinian Rights – Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland
BDS South Africa, South Africa
Palestine Peace & Solidarity in South Korea, South Korea
Al-Quds Málaga, Málaga, Spain
Asociacion Al Quds, Spain
Asociación de Amistad Palestina-Granada Turab, Spain
Comité de Solidaridad con la Causa Árabe, Spain
Junts Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins,, Spain
La Comuna Presxs del franquismo/ Fed.Castilla y Leon, Burgos, España
Plataforma solidaria con Palestina en Valladolid, Spain
Red Solidaria contra la ocupación de Palestina (RESCOP), Spain
Taula per Palestina, Palma, Spain
BDS Schweiz, Switzerland
BDS Zürich Switzerland, Switzerland
Gerechtigkeit und Frieden in Palästina Bern, Switzerland
BDS Thailand, Thailand
All African Women’s Group, London, UK
Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP), UK
Global Women’s Strike, London, UK
ICAHD UK, UK
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK, UK
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, UK
Legal Action for Women, London, UK
Liverpool Friends of Palestine, UK
Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
Payday Men’s Network, UK
Portsmouth & South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
Queer Strike, UK
War on Want, UK
Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike, UK
14 Friends of Palestine, Marin, US
Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, US
Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Oregon, US
American Iranian Friendship Comte (AIFC), New York, US
Bay Area Women in Black, US
Bard Students for Justice in the Middle East, Annandale-on-Hudson, US
BDS Los Angeles, US
Boulder Palestine Film Festival, US
Boulder WILPF, US
Chicago Faith Coalition for Middle East Policy, US
Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, US
Chico Palestine Action Group, US
CODEPINK Women for Peace, US
Colorado BDS Campaign, Colorado, US
Cornell SJP, US
Corvallis-Albany Friends of Middle East Peace, Corvallis, Oregan, US
CU-Divest!, Colorado, US
Culture and Conflict Forum, US
Free Palestine Movement, California, US
Friends of Palestine Wisconsin, US
Friends of Sabeel-North America, US
Guilford College Students for Justice in Palestine, US
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace, US
Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights, Texas, US
International Solidarity Movement – Northern California, US
Israel Palestine Task Force CA/NV Conference United Methodist Church, US
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, US
Justice for Palestinians, California, US
Labor for Palestine, US
Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Oredan, US
National Lawyers Guild – Free Palestine Subcommittee, US
National Lawyers Guild – International Committee, US
NorCal Friends of Sabeel, US
North Coast Coalition for Palestine, US
North Texas BDS, US
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Wisconsin, US
Minnesota Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Minneapolis, US
Middle East Peace Now, Minneapolis, US
Minnesota Anti-War Cpmmittee, Minneapolis, US
Palestine Israel Action Group (PIAG), US
Palestine Solidarity Group – Chicago, US
Palestine Study Group Peace and Social Justice Center, US
Palestine-Israel Working Group of Nevada County, US
Payday Men’s Network US, US
Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas, US
Peace Panel Project, US
Salaam Shalom, North Carolina, US
St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, US
Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College, US
Students for Justice in Palestine at Hunter College, US
Students for Justice in Palestine at John Jay College, US
Tiffin Area Pax Christi, US
Tucson Women In Black, US
Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility United Church of Christ, Tennessee, USA
University of Denver Students for Justice in Palestine, US
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, US
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, US
Vancouver for Peace, US
Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, Vermont, US
WESPAC Foundation, New York, US
WI Middle East Lobby Group, US
Playgrounds for Palestine Annual Benefit Dinner
Nile Restaurant [Map]
5:30 pm-8:00 pm
The Madison chapter of Playgrounds for Palestine is pleased to invite you to attend a talk given by Susan Abulhawa, a Palestinian-American writer and political commentator. She is the author of the 2010 international bestselling novel Mornings in Jenin and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine.
Today and twenty years after the Oslo Peace Accord (in 1993) when the US led a peace process between Israel and the Palestinian, Israel is still unhindered accelerating the settlement construction by creating a new form of apartheid system in the Middle East. The recent “Arab only buses” is an example of the apartheid activity the government of Israel is imposing on Palestinians.
Susan Abulhawa’s talk will highlight the ongoing practices that the Israeli government and military are perpetrating to exceedingly diminish the Palestinians’ struggle for self-determination. The dinner’s funds raised will go toward the completion of our 22nd playground (3rd Madison chapter funded), which will be built in the West Bank.
A vegetarian menu will be served and includes hummus, falafel, spinach pie, cheese pie, foul (fava beans), lentil soup with spinach, bread, and dessert. Ticket prices are $25 per person at the door, or $22 if paid in advance by Monday, April 22. We are doing our best to keep the dinner cost as affordable as we can; we hope that those who can afford more will consider donating more.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Samir El-Omari at pfpmadison (at) gmail.com or (608) 395-7047 with the number in your party. Space is limited, so we urge you to get your reservation as soon as you can.
Join us on Facebook: search “causes” for “Playgrounds for Palestine – Madison, WI Chapter”
Playgrounds for Palestine – Madison Chapter
3902 Birch Ave
Madison, WI 53711
“A Public Affair”
WORT 89.9 FM
“A Public Affair” will be previewing the performance this Thursday, April 4th, of a one man play — We Belong to the Land — based on the life of world-renowned Palestinian peacemaker Elias Chacour. The Archbishop of Galilee of the Malkite Greek Catholic Church, Chacour is also a founder of the nonprofit “Pilgrims of Ibillin,” which works to advance understandings about persons of all faiths living in Israel. Its projects include the Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Ibillin, where Christians, Jews, Muslims and Druze are educated without regard to religion or ethnic background. Much of the work of the program is made possible by support from American churches and other institutions and individuals, several of them in greater Madison.
John Quinlan’s guests on “A Public Affair” will include the Rev. Joan Deming, the Madison-based executive director of Pilgrims of Ibillin, and George Shalabi of Sauk City, a retired business person, native of Haifa, Ibillin board member, and lifelong friend of Father Chacour. Also joining us will be actor Bruce Bradley, who will be portraying Chacour, and answering questions about the man whose life he’s bringing to the stage. The show streams live at www.wortfm.org, where it is also podcast.
We Belong to the the Land tells a remarkable story of peace and reconciliation in the face of a life that began shortly before the traumatic disruption of Palestinian lives during the birth of Israel. Born in the village of Kafr Bir’im in Upper Galilee to a Palestinian Christian family, Elias Chacour’s family was forced to leave their home and take refuge in the neighboring village of Jish after Bir’im was taken over by occupying forces for Israeli independence. Chacour and his family became Israeli citizens in 1948, shortly after the establishment of the Israeli state.
Chacour came to the village of Ibillin in Galilee as a young priest in 1965. This village was the birthplace of the most recent saint of the Melkite Catholic Church. Chacour, seeing the lack of educational opportunities for Arab youth beyond the 8th grade, set about creating a school open to all local children, regardless of religious affiliation.
An advocate of non-violence, Chacour travels often between the Middle East and other countries around the world. In addition, many visitors, fact-finding missions, and pilgrims have come to Ibillin. In recognition of his humanitarian efforts he has received honors including the World Methodist Peace Award, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, and the Niwano Peace Prize (Japan), as well as honorary doctorates from five universities including Duke and Emory. In 2001 Chacour was named “Man of the Year” in Israel.
Chacour is the author of two best selling books, Blood Brothers and We Belong to the Land. Blood Brothers covers his childhood growing up in the town of Biram, his development into a young man, and his early years as a priest in Ibillin. This book has been translated into more than twenty languages. His second book, We Belong to the Land, recounts his work in the development of Mar Elias Educational Institutions, from humble beginnings to major schools for educating Palestinian young people and for helping to bring about reconciliation in a land of strife. This book has been translated into 11 languages.
With stunning accuracy, the actor “becomes” Archbishop Chacour as he tells about working for peace in Israel/Palestine over the past 45 years. Audiences hear how Abuna (“Father” in Arabic) Elias Chacour, against all odds, established the multi-cultural Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Ibillin.
We Belong to the Land will be performed from 7-8:30 pm on Thursday, April 4th at The Crossing, 1127 University Ave. (University at Charter Street) on the UW-Madison campus. Some limited parking is available onsite, with other spaces available beneath the UW School of Business two blocks east. The play will be followed by a question and answer session with actor Bruce Bradley. The event is free; a free-will offering will be taken.
For more information, go to Pilgrims of Ibillin. This event is co-sponsored by The Crossing and Pilgrims of Ibillin.
Other local organizations will be present with tables and information about their programs:
John L Quinlan
QuinlanJohnL at aol.com
Ramzy Baroud, CounterPunch, March 21, 2013
“Hi Papa .. Don’t worry about me too much, right now I am most concerned that we are not being effective. I still don’t feel particularly at risk. Rafah has seemed calmer lately,” Rachel Corrie wrote to her father, Craig, from Rafah, a town located at the southern end of the Gaza Strip.
‘Rachel’s last email’ was not dated on the Rachel Corrie Foundation website. It must have been written soon after her last email to her mother, Cindy, on Feb 28. She was killed by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003.
Immediately after her painful death, crushed beneath an Israeli army bulldozer, Rafah embraced her legacy as another ‘martyr’ for Palestine. It was a befitting tribute to Rachel, who was born to a progressive family in the town of Olympia, itself a hub for anti-war and social justice activism. But Olympia is also the capital of Washington State. Politicians here can be as callous, morally flexible and pro-Israel as any other seats of government in the US, where sharply dressed men and women jockey for power and influence. Ten years after Rachel’s death, the US government is yet to hold Israel to account. Neither is justice expected anytime soon.
Bordering Egyptian and Israeli fences, and ringed by some of the poorest refugee camps anywhere, Rafah has never ceased being a news topic in years. The town’s gallantry of the First Palestinian Uprising (Intifada) in 1987 was the stuff of legends among other resisting towns, villages and refugee camps in Gaza and the rest of Palestine. The Israeli army used Rafah as a testing ground for a lesson to be taught to the rest of Palestinians. Thus, its list of ‘martyrs’ is one of the longest, and it is unlikely to stop growing anytime soon. Many of Rafah’s finest perished digging tunnels into Egypt to break the Israeli economic blockade that followed Palestine’s democratic elections in 2006. Buried under heaps of mud, drowning in Egyptian sewage water, or pulverized by Israeli missiles, some of Rafah’s men are yet to be located for proper burial.
Rafah agonized for many years, not least because it was partially encircled by a cluster of illegal Jewish settlements – Slav, Atzmona, Pe’at Sadeh, Gan Or and others. The residents of Rafah were deprived of security, freedom, and even for extended periods of time, access to the adjacent sea, so that the illegal colonies could enjoy security, freedom and private beaches. Even when the settlements were dismantled in 2005, Rafah became largely entrapped between the Israeli military border, incursions, Egyptian restrictions and an unforgiving siege. True to form, Rafah continues to resist.
Rachel and her International Solidarity Movement (ISM) friends must have appreciated the challenge at hand and the brutality by which the Israeli army conducted its business. Reporting for the British Independent newspaper from Rafah, Justin Huggler wrote on Dec. 23, 2003: “Stories of civilians being killed pour out of Rafah, turning up on the news wires in Jerusalem almost every week. The latest, an 11-year-old girl shot as she walked home from school on Saturday.” His article was entitled: “In Rafah, the children have grown so used to the sound of gunfire they can’t sleep without it.” He too “fell asleep to the sound of the guns.”
Rafah was affiliated with other ominous realities, one being house demolitions. In its report, Razing Rafah, published Oct 18, 2004, Human Rights Watch mentioned some very disturbing numbers. Of the 2,500 houses demolished by Israel in Gaza between 2000-04, “nearly two-thirds of these homes were in Rafah… Sixteen thousand people, more than ten percent of Rafah’s population, have lost their homes, most of them refugees, many of whom were dispossessed for a second or third time.” Much of the destructions occurred so that alleyways could be widened to secure Israeli army operations. Israel’s weapon of choice was the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer, which often arrived late at night.
Rachel Corrie was also crushed by the same type of US manufactured and supplied bulldozer that terrorized Rafah for years. It is no wonder that Rachel’s photos and various graffiti paintings adorn many walls of Rafah streets. Commemorating Rachel’s death anniversary for the tenth time, activists in Rafah gathered on March 16. They spoke passionately of the American girl who challenged an Israeli bulldozer so that a Rafah home could remain standing. A 12-year-old girl thanked Rachel for her courage and asked the US government to stop supplying Israel with weapons that are often used against civilians.
While Rafah carried much of the occupation brunt and the vengeance of the Israeli army, its story and that of Rachel’s was merely symbolic of the greater tragedy which has been unfolding in Palestine for many years. Here is a quick summary of the house demolition practice of recent years, according to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, also published in Al Jazeera August 2012:
The Israeli government destroyed 22 homes in East Jerusalem and 222 homes in West Bank in 2011, leaving nearly 1,200 people homeless. During the war on Gaza (Dec 2008 – Jan 2009), it destroyed 4,455 homes, leaving 20,000 Palestinians displaced and unable to rebuild due to the restrictions imposed by the siege. (Other reports give much higher estimates.) Since 1967, the Israeli government destroyed 25,000 homes in the occupied territories, rendered 160,000 Palestinians homeless. Numbers can be even grimmer if one is to take into account those who were killed and wounded during clashes linked to the destructions of these homes.
So, when Rachel Corrie stood with a megaphone and an orange high-visibility jacket trying to dissuade an Israeli bulldozer driver from demolishing yet another Palestinian home, the stakes were already high. And despite the inhumane caricaturing of her act by pro-Israeli US and other western media, and the expected Israeli court ruling last August, Rachel’s brave act and her subsequent murder stand at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It highlighted the ruthlessness of the Israeli army, put to shame Tel Aviv’s judicial system, confronted the international community with its utter failure to provide protection for Palestinian civilians and raised the bar even higher for the international solidarity movement.
The Israel court verdict last August was particularly sobering and should bring to an end any wishful thinking that Israel’s self-tailored judicial system is capable of achieving justice, neither for a Palestinian, nor an American. “I reached the conclusion that there was no negligence on the part of the bulldozer driver,” Judge Oded Gershon said as he read out his verdict in a Haifa District Court in northern Israel. Rachel’s parents had filed a law suit, requesting a symbolic $1 in damages and legal expenses. Gershon rejected the suit, delineated that Rachel was not a ‘reasonable person’ and, once more blamed the victim, as has been the case with thousands of Palestinians for many years. “Her death is the result of an accident she brought upon herself,” he said. It all sounded that demolishing homes as a form of collective punishment was just another ‘reasonable’ act, deserving of legal protection. In fact, per Israeli occupation rules, it is.
Rachel’s legacy will survive even Gershon’s charade court proceeding and much more. Her sacrifice is now etched into a much larger landscape of Palestinian heroism and pain.
“I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world,” she wrote to her mother nearly two weeks before her death. “I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports.”
Trailer "5 Broken Cameras" from Guy Davidi on Vimeo.
Hummus and a Movie: Screening of 5 Broken Cameras
Our Saviors Lutheran Church
550 Lincoln Drive, Sun Prairie
6:30 pm [Map
Academy award-nominated movie by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, Palestinian refreshments served, fair trade Palestinian gifts for sale. Free admission. Contact person: Susan Berggren ph: 608.444.2745
An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, Five Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bilin, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Five Broken Cameras was shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who initially purchased a camera to record his youngest son. Structured around the violent destruction of that and four subsequent cameras, Burnats collaboration with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi follows one familys evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are
bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. I feel like the camera protects me, he says, but its an illusion.
Film Trailer: 5 Broken Cameras Official Trailer [HD] YouTube
Note: You can now get 5 Broken Cameras on Netflix, and it has been purchased by the South Central Library system, although there is a waiting list.
Emad Burnat, co-producer, and his family were recently detained at Los Angeles International Airport as they arrived prior to the Oscars. Intervention by Michael Moore helped secure their release.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue an immediate apology to Emad Burnat. Also, ADC formally requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General to initiate an immediate investigation to determine to what extent CBP officials engaged in racial profiling based on a recent agreement between the US and Israel.