No More Weapons for Israel

Defense for Children Palestine, July 21, 2021

In May 2021, Israeli forces launched an 11-day military offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls. The Israeli military used U.S.-manufactured weapons in a massive assault that resulted in the deaths of at least 256 Palestinians, including 67 children. More than 91,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced at the height of the bombardment, all while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dangerously spread in the Gaza Strip. 

In the midst of Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Biden administration approved a $735 million weapons sale to Israel, which included the same kinds of weapons used against Palestinians in Gaza. The State Department approved the sale before Congress could debate and vote on it, despite joint resolutions of disapproval being introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Additionally, Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz is reportedly asking the United States for $1 billion in emergency military assistance to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome aerial missile system. 

The United States already sends Israel $3.8 billion in unconditional military assistance annually, and approving even more military assistance and weapons sales in light of the recent assault on Gaza is unconscionable. 

International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. While Israel relies on the principle of self-defense to justify military offensives on Gaza, Israeli forces are bound to customary international law rules of proportionality and necessity. As the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, Israel is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence.

For more information, read Defense for Children International – Palestine’s reporting on the Gaza Strip.

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Gaza Is Still Under Attack — but You Wouldn’t Know It From the Media

A young medical student speaks out about life in the besieged Strip, the persistence of Israeli attacks, and the need for real solidarity.


Flames are seen after an Israeli air strike strikes in Gaza City, Gaza, on June 15, 2021. (Photo by Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Amal Haddad, The Nation, JULY 6, 2021

In mid-May, as the Israeli military pummeled the Gaza Strip with shattering force, a medical student in the southern city of Rafah sent a plea to a friend, who shared it with another friend, who shared it with The Nation. The students name was Noor Alshaer, and she was desperate to to speak up—“for our voices to be heard, for our story to be out,” as she wrote.

“I have lived through three heinous wars only to live up to the fourth that already feels worse than all the previous three piled up together,” she continued. “Safety is not option in the strip, and it hurts me so much reading the news on the Western media, seeing how the stories are all one-sided.”

In June, I finally had the chance to speak with Alshaer from her home in Gaza. Though she has lived in the coastal Strip since birth, her family is originally from Bir al-Saba, an ethnically cleansed Palestinian town conquered by Israel in 1948 through aerial bombardment. (Over 70 percent of Palestinians living in Gaza are refugees from other parts of Palestine.)

For two brief years, Alshaer studied neuroscience at Washington and Lee University in Virginia but she had to return home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Israel did not allow Alshaer to leave the Strip to return to school—Palestinians must apply for a permit to leave Gaza, and are rejected more often than not—so she enrolled in medical school in Gaza.

It was as a medical student as well as a civilian that Alshaer experienced the 11 days of Israel’s latest bombing siege. During that time, Israeli precision-guided airstrikes killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, while over 72,000 Gazans were made homeless; 13 Israelis, including two children were killed. While Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, the violence faced by Palestinians has not ceased—in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Israel, or of course in Gaza. There, in the besieged Strip, people are not only struggling with the aftermath of the onslaught, but also with ongoing bombing. Continue reading

Boycotting the Boycotters

In Oil-Friendly States, New Bills Aim to Block Divestment from Fossil Fuels

The proposed law in North Dakota is based on a 2017 bill that banned Texas from investing in funds that boycott, divest from or sanction Israel.

Wisconsin Act 248 (2018) prohibits contractors with public entities from participating in a boycott of Israel. See Palestine Legal — Wisconsin


Oil pumpjacks near Dickinson, North Dakota. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

ERIKA BOLSTAD, IN THESE TIMES, MARCH 19, 2021

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published by Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Climate and shareholder activists are leading a growing movement for investors to put their money only in companies with sustainable business practices, a standard that considers how a company is run, the working conditions in its supply chain and its effect on climate change.

But lawmakers in some energy-producing states are not only pushing back — they’re proposing the exact opposite.

In Alaska, North Dakota, Texas and other energy-producing states where fossil fuel taxes support state budgets, some lawmakers are introducing legislation that would force states to stop investing in companies that use sustainable strategies to make financial decisions and to cut ties with asset managers, banks and insurers that are doing the same. 

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SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN RETRACTED PRO-PALESTINE ARTICLE WITHOUT ANY FACTUAL ERRORS


A Palestinian child, wounded by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, receives treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital on May 19, 2021 in Gaza City, Gaza. Fatima Shbair/Getty Images

Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, July 1 2021

After right-wing outrage, the esteemed journal removed an opinion piece expressing solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli bombardment.

Sabreen Akhter felt an urge to help in whatever way she could. Like many people around the world this May, Akhter was following news of war in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli bombardment was exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in the territory. Scanning her social media feed, Akhter, a doctor from Chicago, made contact with a few other health care professionals across the United States who had also been posting news online about the crisis.

Akhter set up a call to discuss what they could do, on behalf of their profession, for Palestinians. They settled on the idea of writing an article together as a group of medical workers concerned about the medical situation in Gaza and pitching it to Scientific American, where Akhter had published in the opinion section in the past.

“We didn’t know each other previously but had all been watching all of this violence and devastation happening in Palestine and were feeling helpless about it,” said Akhter. “I remembered that there had been an article published in The Lancet in 2014 about health care workers speaking up for Palestine. I thought it was really powerful at the time and remembered that a lot of people in the health care field had responded to it when it was published.”

On June 2, following an extensive editing and fact-checking process with the publication, the article ran in Scientific American under the headline “As Health Care Workers, We Stand in Solidarity with Palestine.”

Less than two weeks later, on June 11, the article was removed from Scientific American’s website without warning. A short editor’s note appeared in its place. “This article fell outside the scope of Scientific American and has been removed,” the note said. That same day, an editor from the publication emailed Akhter and the others, informing them of the retraction and apologizing for any “confusion” caused by the initial decision to publish the article.

“We were shocked, completely shocked. We all got on a call together and talked about it,” Akhter said. “We sent an email back to the editor later stating that we were disappointed and asking to clarify what they meant that the article had fallen ‘outside the scope,’ but we never got a response.”

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End U.S. Tax Dollars for Israel’s Genocide of Palestinians

Leah Muskin-Pierret, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), June 15, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — 🔥 Statement & Call to Action:

The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights condemns the state-sanctioned, racist, anti-Palestinian flag march on June 15, 2021 in Jerusalem and continuing bombing of Palestinians in Gaza and calls for the U.S. to immediately stop funding Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. USCPR also asks people’s movements and organizations to express their support for Palestinian liberation, in order to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who, united, defy these Israeli settlers’ attempts to intimidate them.

The flag march is a blatant display of anti-Palestinian racism, in which Israeli settlers chant “Death to Arabs,” a clear call for genocidal violence against the Palestinian people. The United Nations Genocide Convention recognizes that genocide includes the act of killing members of a group “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

The Israeli government backs this violence: the reality of state-sanctioned violence was made extremely clear again today when Israeli soldiers beat a Palestinian young man and a Palestinian woman for raising a Palestinian flag in a sea of Israeli flags, while protecting Israeli Jewish demonstrators calling for burning Palestinian homes. According to latest reports, Israeli forces have assaulted and arrested Palestinian people in Jerusalem today, injuring 33 people, while clearing out shops and closing Damascus Gate for the flag march. This brutal violence cannot be separated from the continuous assaults on the Gaza Strip that have massacred generations of Palestinian families, horrific assaults that Israel is resuming as of 6pm ET today.

Especially at this moment, USCPR calls on members of Congress, leaders, and organizations to condemn this anti-Palestinian racism and violence and to hold Israel accountable for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people have been loudly and clearly demanding nothing short of an end to all to all U.S. complicity, but many members of Congress have not even taken the most basic action to support Palestinian rights.

At a bare minimum, members of Congress must cosponsor H.R. 2590, The Palestinian Children and Families Act, which insists on the rights to safety, dignity, and freedom for the Palestinian people: the freedom to thrive, free from child detention, home demolitions, continual Israeli annexation and land theft.

The new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has himself bragged about killing Arabs. The root of violence in Israeli policy is Zionism, Israel’s settler colonial project of displacing Palestinians to create an exclusive Jewish homeland in Palestine. Every Israeli government has advanced Israel’s colonialism and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

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June 14, 2021
Palestine/Israel: The Bombing is Over, The Occupation Continues

9 pm Central

Presented by The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and Economics for Everyone

Speakers:
• Alia Taqieddin (Palestinian Feminist Collective) – “Palestine as a Feminist Issue”
• Steve Niva (Faculty, Evergreen State College) – “The Nature, Extent, and Ultimate Reasons Behind the U.S.-Israeli Relationship and How to Challenge It”

Moderated by Peter Bohmer (Faculty, Evergreen State College and Economics for Everyone)

FREE TO THE PUBLIC — REGISTER HERE

Two former Israeli ambassadors join ‘apartheid’ accusations

“It is time for the world to recognize that what we saw in South Africa decades ago is happening in Palestine… time for the world to take decisive diplomatic action… towards building a future of equality.”


Alon Liel (l), Omar Shakir (c), and Ilan Baruch in July 2019. The two former ambassadors were seeking to prevent Shakir’s deportation from Israel. Foto from Liel’s twitter feed.

Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, June 8, 2021

The news today is that two former Israeli ambassadors to South Africa have accused their country of practicing apartheid by creating bantustans for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. “It’s apartheid, say Israeli ambassadors to South Africa,” Ilan Baruch and Alon Liel write at Groundup.

This is yet another apartheid charge leveled by serious people in what Al Haq has said is the “mounting recognition” and “mainstreaming of the legal analysis of apartheid over the Palestinian people as a whole.”

There is of course stiff resistance in the American discourse. Before getting to Baruch and Liel’s argument, I’d note that in recent days Bernie Sanders has flicked away the apartheid charge saying progressives should “tone down the rhetoric,” and David Makovsky has said critics call Israel “all sorts of bad names.” And NPR has given a platform to a scholar calling the charge “offensive” to Jews.

Well here are two more Jews making the charge.

Baruch and Liel say that they “learned firsthand about the reality of apartheid and the horrors it inflicted.” And they relate South Africa to current conditions in the West Bank, where Palestinians are forced on to smaller and smaller tracts of land.

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How a West Bank Trip Turned This Congressman Into One of Israel’s Strongest Critics

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan tells Haaretz why he welcomes a new Israeli government, even one led by a right-winger like Naftali Bennett who has renounced the two-state solution


Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan. Andy Manis / AP

Ben Samuels, Haaretz, Jun. 7, 2021

WASHINGTON – How does a lawmaker go from surface-level familiarity with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to being one of the most vocal proponents of Palestinian rights in the history of Congress?

It starts with Humpty Dumpty.