AIPAC’s new tactic to unseat Rashida Tlaib

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)

MITCHELL PLITNICK, Mondoweiss, MAY 31, 2022

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. 

A photo posted to Twitter by Bakaki Sellers of him meeting Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

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.

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Stop the Line 5 Pipeline Expansion

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.”

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April 22, 2022: Earth Day!

In-person activities from 350 Madison

    Friday 5 pm on Library Mall
    Saturday 10 am at the Capitol Square Farmer’s Market

and

Online: Frontline Demands for Climate Justice

Speakers from Palestine, the Philippines and other Indigenous Communities

This Earth Day, speakers from Palestine, the Philippines, and other indigenous and frontline communities will discuss the conditions of climate disaster in the midst of intensifying militarization. Under the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the U.S.-backed Duterte regime in the Philippines, trees and forests are uprooted for settlements and extractive industries while land defenders are harassed and killed. Meanwhile, indigenous people here demand an end to criminalization and the return of their land. Clearly environmental justice means defunding the militarization that destroys both land and life.

Learn about existing legislation that focuses on ending U.S. complicity in human rights abuses supported by our foreign military funding programs, including H.R. 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, and H.R. 3884, the Philippine Human Rights Act, as well as other vehicles that advance international climate justice by centering those most impacted by the combination of climate change and U.S. backed administrations.

Hosted jointly by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and the Malaya Movement USA, co-sponsored by Adalah Justice Project, Friends of Wadi Foquin, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, NDN Collective, and MADRE.

Yemen: ¡Presente!

While the world is focused on the war in Ukraine, another vicious and devastating war grinds on with no end in sight in Yemen, creating what is likely the largest humanitarian crisis in the world today.

Some months ago Tuesday, March 1 was designated as another national day of protest to call for an end to U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen and express solidarity with the people of Yemen.

The specific demands are that Congress:

  • Call on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to Lift the Blockade, Opening Airports and Seaports. Speak to President Biden by March 1st to insist he use his leverage with Saudi Arabia to press for the unconditional and immediate lifting of the devastating blockade.
  • Pass a War Powers Resolution. Co-sponsor – or introduce if it has not yet happened – a Yemen War Powers Resolution before International Women’s Day on March 8th, if the blockade of the country has not yet been lifted, to stop war support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Stop Weapons Sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Oppose further arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE while the blockade starves the people of Yemen.
  • Support the People of Yemen. Call for the restoration and expansion of humanitarian aid.

The full text of the call and a list of endorsers can be found here.

MRSCP has endorsed this call. Please send a message to your congressional representatives.

Tutu’s courage on Israeli apartheid is played down in U.S. media

Archbishop Desmond Tutu used his moral stature to call out and oppose Israeli apartheid, but the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR are leaving it out.


ARCHBISHOP TUTU AND JIMMY CARTER VISIT PALESTINE WITH “THE ELDERS,” A GROUP OF EMINENT GLOBAL LEADERS. THEY STAND IN FRONT OF THE ISRAELI BARRIER DURING A VISIT TO THE WEST BANK VILLAGE OF BILIN NEAR RAMALLAH, AUGUST 27, 2009. (ISSAM RIMAWI, (C) APA IMAGES)

JAMES NORTH AND PHILIP WEISS, MONDOWEISS, DECEMBER 30, 2021

The Guardian has published an important eulogy to the late Desmond Tutu by Chris McGreal, saying what so many in the Palestinian solidarity community are saying: After fighting apartheid in South Africa, Tutu used his stature to call out apartheid in Israel and Palestine, and he paid a large price for doing so.

Indeed, opposing apartheid in Palestine was one of Tutu’s salient achievements. And yet the American media are — no surprise — playing that angle down in memorializing Tutu as a great moral leader. They seem embarrassed by this aspect of Tutu’s legacy.

The PBS News Hour gave the Anglican archbishop’s work on Palestine one line in a lengthy obit, between his visiting Rwanda after the genocide and his opposition to the Iraq war. “He weighed in on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, at times likening Israeli actions to apartheid era South Africa,” the News Hour said simply.

National Public Radio repeatedly failed to mention Tutu’s stand on Palestine in coverage here, here and here — even as its correspondents discussed the ways that Tutu “used his reputation” since the fall of apartheid by speaking “truth to power.”

The New York Times also scanted Tutu’s courage on Palestine in its obit, titled, “Desmond Tutu, whose voice helped slay apartheid, dies at 90.” This paragraph came near the very end, and it slights Tutu’s direct accusation of apartheid against Israel.

He remained equally outspoken even in later years. . .

In 2010 he unsuccessfully urged a touring Cape Town opera company not to perform in Israel, invoking South Africa’s struggle against apartheid in criticizing Israel’s policy toward Palestinians. He said that the company’s production of “Porgy and Bess” should be postponed “until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers of the region have equal opportunity and unfettered access to attend performances.”

The Washington Post adopted the same approach. Its main obit left Tutu’s pro-Palestinian views to the fourth paragraph from the end, and gave them half a sentence.

He also called for President Barack Obama to apologize for the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and repeatedly compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to South Africa during the apartheid regime.

The Post partly made up for that with an Op-Ed by the South African journalist Redi Tlhabi about Tutu’s activism for justice globally, including opposition to the Iraq war and statements on climate change. Tlhabi’s op-ed had Palestine in the headline — “Desmond Tutu stood for Palestinians and many others” — and this good summary in the text:

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Liberal Zionism is joining the Palestinian solidarity movement

Everywhere but Washington


FADI QURAN, PETER BEINART, AND LARA FRIEDMAN ON FMEP WEBINAR ABOUT POLITICAL DISCOURSE OF ISRAEL PALESTINE AT YEAR’S END.

PHILIP WEISS, MONDOWEISS, DECEMBER 26, 2021

The Foundation for Middle East Peace had a webinar about the state of U.S. politics on Israel/Palestine as the year ends, and here are some of the takeaways.

Peter Beinart — the former liberal Zionist who came out a year ago for one democratic state — said that liberal Zionism is becoming discredited among progressives due to the failure of the two-state solution, so liberal Zionists are joining the broader movement for equal rights. Beinart said there used to be two parallel tracks on the American left, the BDS call from Palestinians of 2005 and the two-state agenda pushed by J Street and other liberal Zionists, but the second discourse is collapsing.

I think what’s happening is that the boundaries between these two movements are starting to collapse. Or another even more provocative way you can say it, is the Palestinian solidarity movement is in some ways becoming broader and taking in. It’s not necessarily an equal marriage. I would say because the movement on the ground has made the two state solution and the idea of liberal Zionism harder and harder and harder to maintain, then I think ultimately what’s happening and ultimately what we have to move towards and I think is happening is a broader Palestinian solidarity movement in which people who used to be liberal Zionist or support two states, and more people inside the Jewish community, and others, find their way into it.

Now it’s not an easy set of relationships always, and I think it involves lots and lots of different kinds of conversations and things that are difficult to figure out in a lot of ways… You don’t see it necessarily manifested in Washington, where a group like J Street is still much, much more influential than the Palestinian solidarity groups, but if you think of where the momentum is coming– I think especially because the Black Lives Matter movement forced a new kind of reckoning in the American public square with the lack of representation from Palestinians, which I don’t think is going to end. So Palestinians are going to become more prominent in these conversations…. We will see a broader Palestinian solidarity movement, in which Jews including Jews who once considered themselves liberal Zionists and maybe even some who still do consider themselves liberal Zionist will find a place. I think that will ultimately be a more powerful opposition to the status quo than what we’ve had before.

Fadi Quran, a leading Palestinian human rights worker formerly of Al-Haq, now with the activist network Avaaz, said he was hopeful about the ways the Palestinian narrative is gaining a global audience.

From a more Palestinian perspective what has dawned more and more, for my generation, is that our narrative, just what’s going on with us– the fact we’re surrounded with cameras that literally flash red, yellow or green based on facial recognition, that there’s a whole system of surveillance, that we’ve had a woman who fought and almost went on hunger strike just for the right not to have to give birth in a prison. The narratives of people in Sheikh Jarrah [occupied Jerusalem] surrounded by one of the most powerful armies in the world, staying strong and standing for their homes and two basically early 20-year-olds [Mohammed and Muna El-Kurd] just kind of carrying the movement on the back… There are people literally who have been buried– mothers were holding on to the graves of their kids who were killed so the graves wouldn’t be razed by the Israeli military.

All the stories– and then the epicness of having 200 kids in prison by Israel right now, and still kids going out in the face of tanks to throw stones. The power of this narrative if we speak to it just factually but also in depth really carries a whole new generation of people. That’s what we saw in May [during Gaza onslaught]… More than at any other time, despite all the strategic efforts… to silence the Palestinian voice, our voice and that narrative at least for a glimmer managed to break through. And then it was silent.

Lara Friedman of Foundation for Middle East Peace said some had hoped that the Biden administration would lead “a breakthrough” on Israel-Palestine, but it has proved to be a great disappointment.

Their performance thus far would suggests that there is really no energy there. The energy there is going to be spent on, Well we managed to delay temporarily one settlement, but by the way we’ve given in on the consulate, we’ve given in on the PLO mission, and we’ve given in on all the other settlements and by the way we’re not going to say a word publicly to defend the NGO sector [the six leading Palestinian groups smeared by Israel as terrorist] even though defending human rights organizations is supposed to be the core identity of this administration. It’s hard to believe that people are still holding out hope…. Pressure is going to matter.

Beinart said that the political reality of Israel Palestine can be characterized by the fact that not even Bernie Sanders can support one democratic state– yet. And by the way that the Israel lobby crushed Omari Hardy, an appealing young Florida state legislator who dared to support BDS and run in the Democratic primary for Congress in Fort Lauderdale.

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January 21, 2022
Just World podcast “The World From Palestine”!

Dear Friends–

Happy Martin Luther King Day! I hope it finds you well.

This week, on Friday, Just World Ed will be launching our new podcast series, “The World From Palestine”. In each episode of this ten-week series the Palestinian scholar Yousef Aljamal and I will explore different aspects of the intersection between Palestine’s liberation struggle and other anti-imperialist struggles — throughout history, and until today.

The new podcast series will be available globally on Just World Podcasts and will also be available for streaming or download on Apple, Spotify, and all other major audio-streaming platforms.

I am particularly excited to work on this podcast with Yousef, given his wide experience of settler colonialisms in many parts of the world including Hawai’i, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Ireland, Algeria, in Palestine (of course!)… and here on Turtle Island.

In 2014 and 2019, he undertook speaking tours of the United States, speaking to super audiences and connecting with Palestinian-rights leaders and activists nationwide. In 2019, he also held good meetings with key members of the U.S. Congress and numerous congressional staffers.

Learn a little more about our new podcast project below…

In the meantime, I also want to tell you about another cutting-edge project that Code Pink is organizing and that Just World Ed is co-sponsoring. This is a webinar, “A Closer Look at China in Africa”, that will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1pm ET.

It will feature two intriguing speakers:

  • Mikaela “Mika” Nhondo Erskog,an educator and researcher working at the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, a member of the organizing committee at No Cold War, and a member of the media and research collective Dongsheng News.
  • Kambale Musavuli, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is a human rights advocate, the Student Coordinator and National Spokesperson for the Friends of the Congo, and an analyst with the Center for Research on the Congo/Kinshasa.

Register for this webinar that we’re co-sponsoring here.

Give to Just World Ed now!

So now, back to our podcast series… I want to tell you that I’ve really found that my decades-long, in-depth study of the Palestine Question has given me powerful tools for the exploration I’ve been engaged in over the past year, into how it was that a handful of tiny countries perched on the Atlantic coast of Europe came, over the centuries, to exercise a dominant role over the entirety of humankind.

In a sense, the Western settler-colonial project in Palestine– which is ongoing, as we speak– can serve as a microcosm for that whole earlier period of Western empire building.

By having our public conversations on “The World From Palestine” podcast, Yousef and I hope to cast useful new light both on the Palestinian struggle and on the history of settler colonialism itself… And of course, we hope to strengthen the ties of solidarity between Palestinians and anti-imperialist strugglers all around the world!

I’ll let you know the moment the first episode gets released, this Friday!

You might also be interested to see what I’ve been writing thus far this month? In my ongoing “Project 500 Years”, I’ve been exploring the role that successive generations of Quakers played in initiating and pushing forward the English settler-colonial project here in Turtle Island. (The top four articles there all deal with that topic. You can also read them here.)

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Join the #WetsuwetenResistance Pipeline Fight

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project supports the efforts of the Wet’suwet’en nation to exercise their rights as a sovereign nation to manage and protect their lands and waters. In particular, they have the right to disallow construction of the proposed TC Energy Coastal GasLink pipeline.

As advocates for human rights in Palestine, we see the struggle of the Wet’suwet’en nation as another face of the same colonial theft of land that has caused the Palestinian people to be deprived of basic human rights in their own country. We are especially appalled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s repeated use of force against the Wer’suwet’en people, including the forced removal of Indigenous people from their land at gunpoint and the cruel and violent treatment of prisoners.

We call on the government of Canada to stop this violence against the Wet’suwet’en nation and to respect their sovereignty.


JOIN THE WET’SUWET’EN RESISTANCE 🔥
For the third time in three years, the Wet’suwet’en have faced militarized raids on our ancestral territory. One month ago today, the RCMP violently raided unceded Gidimt’en territory (Nov 18-19, 2021), removing Indigenous people from their land at gunpoint on behalf of TC Energy’s proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline.​​ The Wet’suwet’en enforced our standing eviction of CGL by closing roads into the territory November 14-17. Following the raids, arrestees received cruel and violent treatment in prison. The conditions set forth by the court are human rights violations to Indigenous peoples.

We call on all nations, allies, accomplices, and supporters everywhere to RISE UP in solidarity. We must employ all the collective strength in our hearts and minds to stop the machine of global empire that is destroying us. The time on the world clock is NOW to unify around our common goal as beings on this planet, to honor Indigenous sovereignty and put an end to end of history! We are in this fight for the long haul and we will not back down. This pipeline will never be built. Join the WET’SUWET’EN RESISTANCE!

Take Action:
🔥 Come to Camp yintahaccess.com/come-to-camp
🔥 DEC 20 WEEK OF ACTION TOOLKIT: https://bit.ly/3IYHKBR
🔥 Issue a solidarity statement from your organization or group. Email to: yintahaccess@gmail.com
🔥 Pressure the government, banks, and investors yintahaccess.com/take-action-1
🔥 Donate. https://www.yintahaccess.com/donate
🔥 Spread the word.

More information and developing stories:
Website: yintahaccess.com
Instagram: @yintah_access
Twitter: @Gidimten
Facebook: Gidimt’en Checkpoint
Youtube: Gidimten Access Point
TikTok: GidimtenCheckpoint

#WetsuwetenResistance #DivestCGL
#ShutDownCanada #WetsuwetenStrong #AllOutForWedzinKwa #ExpectUs
#indigenous #landback #decolonize #mmiw #mmiwg #waterprotectors #landdefenders #defundcgl #climateaction #wetsuweten #wetsuwetensolidarity #sovereignty #tierra #terre #resistance