FOSNA Statement on Israel’s Labeling of Top Palestinian Human Rights Agencies as “Terrorist Organizations”

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FOSNA Executive Director and Al-Haq Cofounder responds to Israel’s accusations.

By Jonathan Kuttab | Friends of Sabeel-North America | Oct 23, 2021

This is a far cry from the polemical, false accusations thrown at us occasionally by Israeli propagandists like the NGO Monitor. It carries practical consequences, such as the seizure of assets, arrest of personnel, and the criminalization of anyone who donates to or cooperates with us in any way.

About 40 years ago, Raja Shehadeh, Charles Shammas, and I created Al-Haq, the first Palestinian human rights organization. After our first publication, “The West Bank and the Rule of Law,” an Israeli ambassador contemptuously dismissed us as “a mouthpiece for the PLO” and for “making a mountain out of a molehill.” We argued back through the International Commission of Jurists, which was our sponsor, that we are totally independent and meticulous about our facts and documentation. We challenged him to prove his claims or to show that ANY of our publications contained any materially incorrect facts. He never replied.

In fact, we were viewed with some suspicion within the Palestinian community because we were strictly independent and spoke the language of human rights and international law, rather than political polemics. This was new for most Palestinians. We persisted, however, and other organizations followed in our footsteps. We managed to have a positive impact on Palestinian society as a serious human rights organization. Al-Haq is now one of several world-renowned and respected human rights organizations. I am proud to say that over the years Al-Haq has meticulously maintained its high standards and, after the Oslo process, was courageous enough to apply the same standards of objectivity, independence, and defense of human rights not just to the Israeli occupation, but also to the behaviour of the Palestinian Authority, and also of Hamas.

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Israel moves to ban six Palestinian rights groups it accuses of terrorism, prompting international outrage

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Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz signed off on the terrorism designations. (credit: Ariel Schalit / AP)
Human rights work and dissent in Israel facing continued intimidation.

By Amy Cheng | The Washington Post | Oct 22, 2021

The terrorism designation effectively bans the groups by allowing authorities to freeze their funds, raid their offices and prohibit fundraising and public expressions of support for the organizations, according to international monitors.

Israel designated six leading Palestinian rights organizations as terrorist groups on Friday, in the latest blow to activists who say space for dissent in the occupied territories has steadily shrunk amid intimidation by Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike.

The announcement was swiftly condemned by watchdogs in Israel and internationally, who say the designations are unsubstantiated and are attempts to muzzle prominent critics of the Israeli government.

The terrorism designation effectively bans the groups by allowing authorities to freeze their funds, raid their offices and prohibit fundraising and public expressions of support for the organizations, according to international monitors.

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DOING JUSTICE: Israel/Palestine

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Please join our brothers and sisters at The Bishop’s Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, Diocese of Olympia for an upcoming seminar.  Grounded in the belief that peace in Israel/Palestine cannot exist without justice for all – Israelis and Palestinians: Jews, Muslims, and Christians – this seminar will examine why and how we, as American citizens, must seek effective ways to end U.S. complicity in the dispossession and human rights violations of a people living under Israeli military and civil control.
Date: Saturday, November 13, 2021
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm PST
Location: Both in person and on-line options:

St. Mark’s Cathedral – Bloedel Hall
1245 10th Ave E. Seattle, WA 98102

Information: Event information here →
Tickets: In-person: $20.00 (includes lunch)
Students:  $10.00
On-line: $10.00
Event Registration
Event Details

We will look at present living conditions for Palestinians in the occupied territories, as well as the legalization of an apartheid system of discriminatory laws that deny basic political rights, including peaceful protest. The current “facts on the ground,” costs of maintaining the status quo, its harm to immediate and long-term US, Palestinian and Israeli interests, and how each of us can make a difference will be addressed by:

• Brian Baird, Ph.D., former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, will explore the role of Congress, the influence of special interests, faith-based organizations and the media, and examine the moral imperative for Palestinian advocacy.
Mark Braverman, Ph.D., Jewish American psychologist and author, co-founder of Friends of Tent of Nations North America and Executive Director of Kairos USA, will focus on antisemitism and the role of theology in the current discourse.
• Cindy Corrie, President of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, will offer practical information on how to advocate both locally and nationally and how to overcome common myths and misperceptions that stand in the way.
• John McKay, J.D., former US attorney for Western WA, coordinator for a State Department rule of law project in the West Bank and professor of constitutional and national security law, will examine Palestinian life under occupation through the lens of Israeli, U.S. and international law.
Alice Rothchild, MD, author, filmmaker and retired professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School, will discuss the current critical medical crisis and obstacles to access of radiation treatment, cancer drugs  and Covid vaccines in Gaza and the West Bank.
• Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Palestinian American whose life and work crosses cultural, geographic and political borders, essayist, and author of Water and Salt, winner of the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Poetry, will share snapshots of the daily lives of Palestinian families.

NOTE:  Attendees will be required to follow current King County and Diocese of Olympia guidelines for indoor gatherings; at this time those guidelines require attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test and to wear a mask.

More information here →

Award-winning Palestinian films coming to Netflix: five titles not to miss

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Oscar-nominated short ‘Ave Maria’ by Basil Khalil is among the films released on Netflix this month. (credit: MAD Solutions and Quat Media)
Oscar-nominated short ‘Ave Maria’ and documentaries by filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel are among titles that will begin streaming this week

By Samia Badih | The National | Oct 11, 2021

The collection, curated by Front Row Filmed Entertainment, will have a total of 32 films, including some titles that are already on the streaming platform.

Works by award-winning Palestinian filmmakers including Elia Suleiman, Annemarie Jacir and Basil Khalil are scheduled for release on Netflix this October under a new collection called Palestinian Stories.

Starting Thursday, Khalil’s 2015 Oscar-nominated short Ave Maria, Jacir’s Salt of this Sea and Suleiman’s Divine Intervention will be available on the streaming platform, among other titles.

Five titles by Palestinian documentary filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel will be available: A Man Returned (2016), A Drowning Man (2017), 3 Logical Exits (2020), Xenos (2014) and A World Not Ours (2012). Fleifel, who won the Black Pearl Award for A World Not Ours at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in 2012, focuses his work on the refugee experience.

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Israeli diplomat pressured UNC to remove teacher who criticized Israel

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An aerial view of the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill, N.C., on April 21, 2013. (Photo credit: Lance King / Getty Images)
An Israeli consul general baselessly accused a graduate student of antisemitism and said she shouldn’t teach a course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By Murtaza Hussain | The Intercept| Sept 28,2021

“It is not a new phenomenon where outside parties have tried to stifle academic freedom on this subject…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.”
— Kylie Broderick, UNC Ph.D. student

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.

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What the Iron Dome means to us Palestinians

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A missile from the Israeli Iron Dome, launched during the Operation Pillar of Defense to intercept a missile coming from the Gaza strip. (credit: Israel Defense Forces and Nehemiya Gershuni-Aylho נחמיה גרשוני-איילהו, licensed under Creative Commons)
A writer from Gaza reflects on Israel’s “defensive weapon,” Iron Dome.

By Muhammad Shehada | Newsweek | Sept 24, 2021

… the progressive push to defund the Iron Dome was quite simply a recognition of our pain.

Progressive House Democrats sparked a charged debate after they got their party to remove $1 billion of additional funding to Israel to replenish its Iron Dome from a congressional bill earlier this week. The Iron Dome is a defense missile technology that shoots down rockets, which Israel uses to defend itself from attack.

Some praised the progressives for an act of resistance to the near unquestioned support Israel receives from Congress. Others criticized the push to remove funding for the Iron Dome as wrong, given that it is meant to save Israeli lives. Still others pointed out that Israel, with a GDP of nearly $400 billion, doesn’t need and shouldn’t be receiving such generous amounts of U.S. aid that other countries need more desperately—an argument made last year by Yossi Beilin, former Israeli Minister of Justice, and Daniel Kurtzer, former Ambassador to Israel under President Bush.

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House overwhelmingly approves Iron Dome funding in 420-9 vote

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Rashida Tlaib calls Israel an apartheid state during deliberations on spending $1 billion for Israeli Military Program, Iron Dome, Sept 23, 2021. (credit: screenshot)
Eight Democrats and one Republican voted against spending $1 billion on Israel’s Iron Dome missile system.

By Michael Arria and Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss  | Sept 23, 2021

“We cannot only be talking about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system and our dying from what Human Rights Watch have said are war crimes,”
— US Rep. Rashida Tlaib

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.

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When Palestinian political speech Is “Incitement”

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The raised hand of a demonstrator at a protest in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, on July 30th, 2021. (credit: Eddie Gerald / Alamy Stock Photo)
In Israel, incitement has become an increasingly common charge since 2016.

By Sophia Goodfriend | Jewish Currents | Sept 15, 2021

Israeli police have wielded the law against users who retweet or like posts that security forces define as incendiary…

ON JUNE 11th, Mohammad Kana’neh joined a few hundred protesters at a weekly demonstration against settlement expansion in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem that has become a flashpoint for protests against Palestinian displacement. Kana’neh, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and prominent leader of the secular Arab nationalist Abnaa el-Balad movement, stood under the hot sun and addressed the crowd in Hebrew, calling for an end to Israel’s occupation “from Silwan to Sheikh Jarrah, from Acco to Gaza.” He then turned to the line of border police that faced the crowd, shouting at them to “get out of the army.” Shortly after the protest dispersed, Kana’neh shared a video of his speech that another attendee had uploaded to Facebook; within hours, his post had been reshared by hundreds of users.

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When Biden Met Bennett—and gave his blessing to impunity

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President Joe Biden shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, August 27, 2021. (credit: Evan Vucci / AP Photo)
No country has been in a better position to impose pressure on Israel than the United States, but most presidents never tried—including the current one.

By Henry Siegman | The Nation | Sept 20, 2021

No one in the international community was in a better position to impose such pressure on Israel without harming its security than the United States, but, with the exception of Dwight Eisenhower, no American president ever tried.

Before leaving Israel for his meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington in late August, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel repeated his firm opposition to Palestinian statehood, thus confirming the permanence of the de facto apartheid that he and his government—like the preceding ones headed by Benjamin Netanyahu—intend to maintain in the Jewish State. Like Netanyahu and most Israelis, he considers the apartheid charge anti-Semitic slander—not because the alleged facts are untrue, but because if Israel does it, you cannot call it apartheid. Why? Because anything done in Israel in the name of its self-interest and for its Jewish citizens is permissible, no matter how clearly deemed illegal by international law.

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Palestinian-Americans are turning the tide of US policy

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Palestinian-led contingent in the New York Pride Parade, June 27, 2021. (credit: Gili Getz)
Overcoming distance and fragmentation, a new generation of diaspora Palestinians is dismantling Israel’s monopoly over the U.S. conversation.

By Tariq Kenney-Shawa | +972 Magazine | Sept 16, 2021

…the widespread mobilization of Palestinians and our supporters this past summer has reminded the diaspora of our integral function in the increasingly diverse, global movement for Palestinian liberation.

The omnipresent restlessness and dread that consumed Palestinian-Americans in May, as we watched Israel’s onslaught on Gaza from afar, could not come close to the pain felt by family and friends with nowhere to hide from the carnage. Still, watching an endless stream of live reports of casualties, videos of children being pulled from mounds of rubble, and fell towers that once housed dozens of families — all interspersed between bouts of radio silence due to Gaza’s daily power outages — was maddening.

For many in the Palestinian diaspora, this enraging feeling is always compounded by a sense of paralyzing helplessness that stems from our physical distance, as we are forced to sit by and watch as Israeli forces pummel what could and should be “home.” The sense that we play only a peripheral role in the Palestinian struggle for liberation perpetually hovers over our heads, mingling with the fierce loyalty we have to a place we cannot return to. And like others, I have often internalized the fragmentation forced upon our people — a divide and conquer tactic that Israel has perfected over the course of decades. Or so we thought.

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