Israel must provide COVID vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza

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Palestinian doctors receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Ministry of Health, in Gaza City on February 22, 2021. (photo: ASHRAF AMRA / APA IMAGES)
The JVP Health Advisory Council calls on Israel to assume its responsibility to distribute vaccines to Palestinians in the occupied territory: “As health workers, it would be a violation of our professional ethics to stand by in silence as this form of discrimination occurs.”

By Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council  | Mondoweiss | Feb 22, 2021

As health workers and American taxpayers, we are extremely distressed that our nation fails to hold Israel to any level of accountability for a health system that systemically discriminates against Palestinians.
— Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council

The Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council (JVP HAC) issues this statement of urgent concern for the health of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza during the COVID-19 pandemic. Israel holds a legal and moral obligation to assure full and equitable COVID vaccine distribution to the Palestinian health authorities in the West Bank and Gaza to enable vaccine administration to begin immediately.

As health workers we understand that there must be equitable vaccine distribution to all nations and people of the world in order to stop this lethal pandemic, which recognizes no borders. However, as Israel has rolled out a robust vaccination campaign for citizens of Israel, so far they have only made about 5000 doses of vaccine available in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. There is no justification for politics to create obstacles to vaccine availability.

Continue reading “Israel must provide COVID vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza”

Palestinian evangelicals in confrontation with Christian Zionism

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Evangelist Christian volunteers harvest Merlot wine grapes on September 23, 2020, for the Israeli family-run Tura Winery, in the estate’s vineyards located at the occupied West Bank Har Bracha settlement. (photo: Menahem Kahana / AFP)
Palestinian evangelicals call on all evangelicals to reexamine the claims of Christian Zionism.

By Rev. Alex Awad | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs |  Mar/Apr 2021

Arabs and the Palestinians have not only lost the balance of power militarily, but they have lost the hearts of evangelical Christians…

A FEW MILESTONES in my personal life have led to my confrontation with Zionist Christianity. I was born in Jerusalem and grew up in the embrace of conservative evangelical missionary churches. I’ve always been active in my evangelical church, where I learned about God’s love and salvation for me and the whole world, and the principles of love for neighbor and enemy as well as the command to seek peace, justice and goodness for all.

When I graduated from high school, I decided to attend a Bible College in Switzerland to prepare for service in the church in Palestine. During my theological studies in Europe, I noticed that my fellow students and teachers believed that the land of Palestine was promised by God to the Jewish people. I also learned that my colleagues and their teachers were convinced that believers in Christ should contribute to the realization of these biblical prophecies, which relate to the second coming of Christ, by supporting the State of Israel.

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Beyond the Two State Solution: Book Talk and Discussion

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Book “Beyond the Two-State Solution” by Jonathan Kuttab
Please join our brothers and sisters at Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) for a discussion with with author, Jonathan Kuttab, PCAP Board Member, international human rights lawyer, and co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and Miko Peled, author and leading advocate for Palestinian rights and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS.). Jonathan will be interviewed by Miko Peled about his vision.
Saturday, February 27, 2021
11:00 am Pacific Time Zone/ 2:00 pm Eastern Time Zone
Zoom Registration
Flyer with more information
Free with registration
Event Details

Jonathan Kuttab’s new book is a short introduction to the crisis in Palestine-Israel, which has been characterized by the competing visions of Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. While many thought the two-state solution would offer a resolution, Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, which he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a one-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.

More information here →

Biden shields Israel as JNF plans more colonial settlements

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A view of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the occupied West Bank, which the Jewish National Fund aims to expand even further.  (photo: Mosab Shawer / APA images)
The Biden administration appears no less determined than Trump to shield Israel from the consequences of its actions.

By Tamara Nassar |  The Electronic Intifada | Feb 15, 2021

The JNF purports to own roughly 15 percent of land in present-day Israel. This land is reserved for exclusive use by Jews, even though much of it was stolen from Palestinians.

Israel’s Jewish National Fund is reportedly planning to purchase privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank to expand Jewish-only settlements.

The organization’s leadership approved the proposal on Sunday, which was reported in Israeli media days earlier.

The board of directors is expected to make a final decision after Israel’s general election in March.

Continue reading “Biden shields Israel as JNF plans more colonial settlements”

Arkansas’ anti-BDS law violates the First Amendment, says court

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Activists call for boycotting Israel. (Photo via BDSMovement.net) 
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found a law that prohibits Arkansas from doing business with companies that boycott Israel unconstitutional in a 2-1 decision.

By Michael Arria |  Mondoweiss |  Feb 15, 2021

“We’re thrilled by the court’s ruling, which upholds the fundamental right to participate in political boycotts,”
—  Brian Hauss, ACLU attorney

The Arkansas Times has successfully challenged a law that prohibits the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.

The Little Rock-based weekly filed the lawsuit in 2018 and was represented by the ACLU. The paper takes no official position on BDS, but it launched the legal challenge after the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College refused to sign an advertising contract with The Arkansas Times, unless it signed the pledge. A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case in 2019, but last week the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found the law unconstitutional in a 2-1 decision.

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How the media cracks down on critics of Israel

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A 2015 chart of military aid. (photo: howmuch.net)
A newspaper columnist is fired after joking about U.S. military aid to Israel on social media.

By Nathan J. Robinson | Current Affairs | Feb 10, 2021

Personally, I had never thought about the question of whether I could suffer consequences for criticizing the government of Israel (and U.S. support for it).

It is widely recognized that critics of Israel, no matter how well-founded the criticism, are routinely punished by both public and private institutions for their speech. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has documented a pattern by which “those who seek to protest, boycott, or otherwise criticize the Israeli government are being silenced,” a trend that “manifests on college campuses, in state contracts, and even in bills to change federal criminal law” and “suppress[es] the speech of people on only one side of the Israel-Palestine debate.” The Center for Constitutional Rights has shown that “Israel advocacy organizations, universities, government actors, and other institutions” have targeted pro-Palestinian activists with a number of tactics “including event cancellations, baseless legal complaints, administrative disciplinary actions, firings, and false and inflammatory accusations of terrorism and antisemitism” and concludes that there is a “Palestine exception to free speech.”

he effort to keep critics of Israel quiet sometimes takes the form of explicit government action—there is an open campaign to criminalize speech critical of Israel and some states even require oaths from government employees promising not to boycott Israel. But as Israeli journalist Gideon Levy notes in the Middle East Eye, it often comes in the form of baseless (and offensive) accusations that criticisms of Israel are definitionally anti-Semitic. In the United States, academic critics of Israel have had job offers rescinded or been otherwise kept from teaching, and CNN fired academic Marc Lamont Hill over his call for a free Palestine. In Britain, there has been a years-long absurd campaign to tar former Labour leader (and critic of Israeli government policy) Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-Semite. Human Rights Watch notes that the United States government has wielded unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism against it and against other human rights groups like Amnesty and Oxfam that have exposed Israel’s shoddy human rights record. Within Israel itself, the free speech rights of Palestinians are brutally suppressed, and even Jews supportive of Palestinian rights are regularly harassed by the state. Abeer Alnajjar of OpenDemocracy wrote last year about how “major, mainstream news media outlets are sensitized against any reference to Palestinian rights or international law, and any criticism of Israel or its policies.”

Read the full article here →

Politics, not law, will decide whether Israel faces war crimes charges

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A Palestinian girl walks on the rubble around her family’s home in Gaza in 2014. (photo: AFP)
An ICC ruling has panicked Israeli officials who can now be investigated, but they will likely respond with intensified threats.

By Jonathan Cook  |  Middle East Eye  |  Feb 11, 2021

Whatever Netanyahu’s current protestations, the truth is that Israel’s own legal teams have long advised that its military commanders, government ministers and senior administrators are vulnerable to prosecution.

Israel has been sent into a tailspin by a ruling last week from the war crimes court in The Hague. Senior Israeli officials, including possibly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, can now be held accountable for violations of the laws of war in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The decision by judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not ensure Israelis will be put on trial for war crimes – not yet, at least. But after years of delay, it does settle the question of whether the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza fall under the court’s jurisdiction. They do, say the judges.

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What the 70 new members of Congress reveal about pro-Israel politics in the United States

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Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) leads a protest against police brutality, on June 12, 2020 in University City, MO. A long-time activist, Rep. Bush is the only newly-elected member of Congress to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. (photo:  MICHAEL B. THOMAS / GETTY IMAGES)
Useful information for groups meeting with their newly elected congressional representatives.

By Dale Sprusansky  | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  |  March/April 2021

Many of the new members support legislation to criminalize BDS, with a few having worked to pass such laws during their time in state government

The politics of Israel on Capitol Hill are simultaneously contentious and unifying. Politicians from both parties—many of whom have received campaign contributions from pro-Israel groups—rarely challenge the U.S.-Israel “special relationship.” When they do, they are summarily attacked and often hit with spurious charges of anti-Semitism.

Recent years have seen notable changes in how Israel is discussed in Washington, DC. A new generation of progressive legislators, such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), have fearlessly challenged the assumptions underpinning long-standing U.S. support for Israel. Polls show their approach has a large base of support with their constituents.

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Palestinian Farmer Daoud Nassar speaks: Hope Still Rises

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Daoud Nassar (photo: Gied ten Berge, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)
Palestinian Christian Daoud Nassar spoke to the Kairos Puget Sound Coalition meeting in Dec 2020 and described the struggle for justice in Israel-Palestine.

By Kairos Puget Sound Coalition |  February 6, 2021

The struggle for justice will continue with faith, love and hope.

In December 2020 the Kairos Puget Sound Coalition held a zoom presentation featuring Daoud Nassar, a Palestinian Christian farmer who is Director of the Tent of Nations Project (TON) in Palestine.   TON is an educational and environmentally conscious farm that seeks to build bridges among people, and between people and the land. Daoud’s family has legally owned the farm since 1916, when Palestine was under Ottoman rule. The one-hundred-acre farm, located 6 kilometers from Bethlehem, is surrounded on three sides by Israeli settlements, and below by the Palestinian village of Nahalin. The family has been in Israeli courts since 1991, seeking formal recognition of their legal claim to this land.

Note: Daoud starts speaking after the text about the event.

Daoud has traveled to the United States twice each year, since 2007, and spoken at nearly 350 venues in the U.S., under the sponsorship of Friends of Tent of Nations North America (FOTONNA.org). Daoud shares the story of his family’s commitment to living a life of non-violent resistance. At the entrance to Daoud’s farm, one is met with a large sign painted on a huge rock, stating “We Refuse to be Enemies”. The continuous – and numerous – obstacles they face in their daily life, mirror the experience of most Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

In June 2013, Daoud was invited to preach at the well-known Riverside Baptist Church in New York City, which is where other more famous human rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Bishop Tutu, have also preached. In July 2018, Daoud was invited to the Carter Center in Atlanta to be a participant in the Human Rights Defenders Forum. In October 2018, Tent of Nations and the Nassar Family received a Peace Award from the World Methodist Council. That same year Daoud was among 15 individuals to receive the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

Daoud has a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from the Bethlehem Bible College, a bachelor’s degree in Business from Bethlehem University, and a degree in Tourism Management from Bielefeld University in Germany. He is married to Jihan Nassar, and they have three children. Daoud speaks and understands Arabic, Hebrew, German and English.

On the high cost of solidarity: Joe Biden, Palestine and The Left

President Joseph Biden.  (photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

With a Biden victory a mixed reality emerges between those who experience colonialism first hand and the broader social justice movement.

By Benay Blend | Palestine Chronicle  |  Jan 26, 2021

…a Biden presidency will “attempt to be even more hawkish than the Barack Obama administration in every warmongering, drone-dropping, coup-backing, militarized-policing way.”
— Erica Caines, writer and organizer

“As Palestinians,” writes Zarefah Baroud, “we are taught to comply with our oppression for the sake of a peace we won’t be included in. Unlearn this,” she suggests, and moreover, “when a Zionist is elected, you don’t have to cheer. We are entitled to aspirations and agendas for our people’s best interests, just like everybody else.”

From Raphael Warnock, who backtracked his criticism of the Occupation for the sake of a few Zionist votes, to activists who overlooked Biden’s foreign policy in return for a (neo)liberal agenda at home, Baroud exposes the cracks within the solidarity movement. When anti-imperialism got swept away by the overriding goal of defeating Trump, colonized people at home and around the world lost importance.

Continue reading “On the high cost of solidarity: Joe Biden, Palestine and The Left”