October 12, 2021
No Way to Treat a Child Webinar

On Tuesday, October 12, at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific, please join the No Way to Treat a Child campaign for a webinar to unpack U.S. military funding to Israel. We’ll discuss the different kinds of military funding that the U.S. sends to Israel, share updates from Capitol Hill that affect Palestinians and our advocacy efforts, and hear from grassroots activists working to advance Palestinian human rights.

Sign up for the webinar

Between the Iron Dome supplemental funding vote and the new Two-State Solution Act, it was a busy September with lots to track for Palestinian human rights activists. We’ll go into depth explaining how the recent events in Congress relate back to H.R. 2590 and how you can continue organizing in support of this bill and rights-based policy supporting Palestinian rights.

Everyone who registers will be sent information for how to join via Zoom. If you aren’t able to attend live, please register and I’ll send you the recording a few days after the webinar.

In solidarity,

Miranda Cleland
Digital Communications Manager
Defense for Children International – Palestine

#GazaIsPalestine

U.S. tax dollars continue funding the horror that Palestinians in Gaza face daily.

We have a moral obligation to act to end that horror.

That’s why we’re doing something about it — and we need you with us.

The Gaza Is Palestine campaign, led by us and Adalah Justice Project, is a new Palestinian-led effort committed to building upon the historic global movement to end Israeli occupation that ignited with new life in spring 2021 — and we want you to take part.

The Peoples’ Inquiry is an opportunity for the U.S. public to hear the accounts of Palestinians from Gaza on the massacres carried out by Israel in May 2021.

RSVP *now* to join us and thousands globally this Thursday, October 7th at 12PM ET for our public hearing on the May assault and ongoing siege of Gaza.

We will be bringing together lawmakers like Rep. Rashida Tlaib, activists from Gaza, and survivors of U.S.-backed bombings to demand an end to the flow of weapons to Israel’s apartheid regime.

You can sign up here right now.

We will be giving our platform during this hearing to representatives of the families who were devastated, and in some cases nearly entirely destroyed, by Israel’s U.S.-backed bombings.

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Update: October 3, 2021
Turath Baladna (Our Country’s Heritage)



Sunday, October 3, Noon – 3 pm
James Madison Park shelter

614 E Gorham St, Madison, WI

Wishing you could visit Palestine? Don’t miss this free outdoor celebration of Palestinian dance and culture.

Dance performance by Milwaukee’s Traditional Palestinian Dabka group Al-Ghurba. Free Palestinian snacks and sweets. Taste and celebrate this year’s Olive Harvest! Purchase Palestinian Olive Oil, soap and spices from Playgrounds for Palestine and learn about the playground funded by donations from Madison in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Shop early for the holidays from a selection of Palestinian Kuffiyas and handmade earrings, jewelry and embroidered shawls, scarves, household items, bags, purses and more, made in Palestine by Women in Hebron Craft Cooperative and available in the US from Palestine Partners.

Enjoy a free demonstration of the traditional Palestinian art of Henna painting and have an artist decorate your hands.

Door Prizes, including Olive Oil, a traditional Kuffiya made in Palestine’s last Kuffiya factory, and a hand embroidered coin purse made in Hebron.

This event is free and open to the public. Although the event is in an open park shelter we ask that you wear a mask, to keep yourself and other guests safe. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available free.

Presented by Students for Justice in Palestine, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Playgrounds for Palestine Madison Chapter, Palestine Partners, grassroots group Madison for Palestine, and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network.

ISRAELI DIPLOMAT PRESSURED UNC TO REMOVE TEACHER WHO CRITICIZED ISRAEL

An Israeli consul general baselessly accused a graduate student of antisemitism and said she shouldn’t teach a course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


The University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill, N.C., on April 21, 2013. Photo: Lance King/Getty Images

Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, September 28 2021

This August, Israeli consular officials in the southeast U.S. arranged meetings with a dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to discuss a graduate student teaching a course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to two UNC professors with knowledge of the meetings, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, the Israeli official accused the Ph.D. student of antisemitism and said she was unfit to teach the course.

The intervention by an Israeli government official, Consul General to the Southeastern United States Anat Sultan-Dadon, followed a pressure campaign by right-wing pro-Israel websites and an advocacy group to remove the graduate student, Kylie Broderick, from teaching the history department course called “The Conflict over Israel/Palestine.” The websites and pro-Israel advocacy group pointed to postings Broderick had made on Twitter that criticized Israel and Zionism and, without evidence, cited the postings as evidence of antisemitism.


UNC Ph.D. student Kylie Broderick.
Photo: Courtesy of Kylie Broderick

In addition to the intervention by the Israeli government, the school faced pressure from a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the two UNC professors told The Intercept. The professors said Rep. Kathy Manning, D-N.C., also met with the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to exert pressure over Broderick’s course.

“It is not a new phenomenon where outside parties have tried to stifle academic freedom on this subject,” Broderick said. “But these people have never seen me teach, never seen my past evaluations which have said that I treat students fairly, and thus have no right to dictate what I say inside the classroom.”

Israel-Palestine has become one of the most politicized areas of academia, with periodic firings of professors, prosecutions of students, and even the maintenance of public blacklists helping impose an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship over the topic. Even by that standard, the intervention of Israeli government officials directly with an American university over the teaching of a course represents a troubling new threat to academic freedom.

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House overwhelmingly approves Iron Dome funding in 420-9 vote

Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), all of whom have been critical of Israel, voted ‘Yes’


RASHIDA TLAIB CALLS ISRAEL AN APARTHEID STATE DURING DELIBERATIONS ON SPENDING $1 BILLION FOR ISRAELI MILITARY PROGRAM, IRON DOME. SEPT. 23, 2021. SCREENSHOT

MICHAEL ARRIA AND PHILIP WEISS, Mondoweiss, SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

This week House progressives were able to temporarily hold up an additional $1 billion to Israel that had been tacked onto the short-term government spending bill to replenish the country’s Iron Dome system.

The victory ended up being short-lived, as Iron Dome spending was split into a separate vote by pro-Israel Dems and passed easily in the House. The final vote was 420-9 with 2 present.

The funding’s removal had sparked widespread congressional backlash on both sides of the aisle. The vote seemed to catch progressive House members in disarray, as some of lawmakers associated with the funding’s initial removal ended up voting for the legislation.

The No votes belonged to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Andre Carson (D-IN), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) , Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO).

Not among the No votes: NY Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted present; while Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), all of whom have been critical of Israel, voted Yes.

The Israeli Prime Minister thanked the House shortly after the vote:

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Don’t fund Iron Dome

Giving Israel $1 billion in fungible money for a weapon system will only encourage further war crimes.


ISRAEL’S IRON DOME SYSTEM INTERCEPT ROCKETS LAUNCHED FROM THE GAZA STRIP TOWARDS ISRAEL, AS SEEN FROM GAZA STRIP, ON MAY 19, 2021. (PHOTO: BASHAR TALEB/APA IMAGES)

STEPHEN R. SHALOM, Mondoweiss, SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Like Nora Berman (“I’m a leftist. Progressives’ move to strip Iron Dome from spending bill smacks of ignorance,” Forward, Sept. 22, 2021), I am a leftist. But unlike her, I think the attempt to remove Iron Dome from the spending bill was the moral thing to do.

Let me stipulate at once that I consider intentional or reckless attacks on civilians to be war crimes, violations of international humanitarian law, and of just war principles.

How can I oppose attacks on civilians and still support cutting funding from a program designed to protect civilians?

The first point to note here is that money provided to the Israeli government is fungible. That is, Washington is not sending technology to Israel, but dollars, and by reducing the amount of money that Israel needs to spend on Iron Dome, we are correspondingly increasing the amount of money that Israel gets to spend on the rest of its military budget, on its attack planes, tanks, rockets, and artillery that have slain so many Palestinian civilians. (Keep in mind, that according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, in its various assaults on Gaza since 2008, Israel has killed 2,685 Palestinian civilians, while Palestinian rockets and mortars have killed 29 civilians in Israel – almost a 100:1 ratio.)

Many point out that any government has to prioritize the protection of its citizens. But consider what the Israeli government would do if the United States did not provide $1 billion in funds for Iron Dome. It could reduce its other military spending – spending on those attack planes, etc. – by $1 billion and transfer that money to Iron Dome spending. If it did that it would provide its population with a higher level of protection while reducing its own capacity to endanger Palestinian civilians. A win-win. If it did not transfer the money, well, that suggests that protecting its own citizens might not be its top priority.

How can we refuse to provide funding to protect civilians? Ms. Berman asks. But does this concern apply to all civilians, or only to Israeli civilians? For a lot less than $1 billion, we could protect the lives of many civilians by sending bomb shelter construction materials to Gaza, not to mention shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

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Rep. Mark Pocan: Iron Dome should avert need for Israeli retaliatory strikes

Pocan, a leading figure among Israel critics in the House, organized a series of floor speeches criticizing Israel


Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)

Marc Rod, Jewish Insider, May 20, 2021

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), a left-wing Democrat who has frequently been vocally critical of Israel, argued on Wednesday that Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system should remove the need for it to launch its own strikes in response to terrorist rocket attacks, as it largely prevents rockets from striking Israel.

“I’ve always supported the Iron Dome. Because the idea is when a missile comes in, if you take it out, no one’s been killed on either side, and there’s de-escalation,” Pocan, who organized an hour of speeches on the House floor criticizing Israel last week, told reporters. “If you use it for that purpose, then you still send 20 times the number of missiles back, that’s not the intention.”

The Israeli Defense Forces have said that more than 4,000 rockets have been fired at Israel since this conflict began, most of which have been intercepted by the Iron Dome. Israel has carried out hundreds of retaliatory strikes on Hamas targets. 

When pressed on the fact that the Iron Dome does not deal with the sources of the rocket attacks, Pocan did not address the issue directly, responding that “they should be de-escalating by doing a cease-fire.”

“You can’t justify taking out media buildings, roads to hospitals, scores of children. This is not what this is about,” Pocan claimed. The Israeli military has accused Hamas of using “human shields” — hiding military equipment, facilities and personnel in civilian locations, including an office building which housed The Associated Press and other international media organizations.

As part of the 2016 memorandum of understanding between the U.S. and Israel regarding military aid, the U.S. provides $500 million per year to support missile defense efforts in Israel, including Iron Dome. Pocan and some fellow House Democrats have pushed to place additional conditions on this aid.

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October 9, 2021
Webinar with Filmmaker Fida Qishta

Join the US Boats to Gaza webinar with documentary filmmaker Fida Qishta, who has just returned from several months in Gaza. Fida will speak about the current conditions in Gaza and show clips from footage she filmed after the latest Israeli attack on Gaza. She will also talk about her upcoming new documentary, We Are Here: Our Dreams Are Not Rubble.

Fida’s earlier documentary Where Should the Birds Fly? about the brutal 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza won international acclaim.

Whether or not you can participate in the webinar, we encourage everyone to donate to Fida’s new documentary to help with editing and production costs.

Fida Qishta is an award-winning filmmaker. Her full-length documentary, Where Should the Birds Fly?, has won film festival prizes and been translated into Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic and Portuguese. It is the story of Israel’s years-long siege of Gaza and its 2008-2009 attack, told through the eyes of Mona Samouni, 10 years old, and the filmmaker.

Fida was born and raised in Rafah in Gaza, where she founded The Life Makers Centre/Rafah, an educational center for children. The Centre provides a safe place for children, all of whom have been affected by war, to play, learn, and get needed counseling.

Fida has worked with international human rights observers, documenting daily life under military occupation. Her commentary has been published in The International Herald Tribune/New York Times; video reports have been published in The Guardian and The Observer.

US Boats to Gaza

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