Israel demolished 58 Palestinian facilities, built 5,000 settlement units in Jerusalem so far this year

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A Palestinian shed is demolished near Jerusalem’s Old City in an area deemed a national park.  (photo: AFP)
Demolitions and evictions of Palestinians by Israeli authorities continue and human rights organization say this may amount to ethnic cleansing.

By Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor | May 3, 2021

During the preparation of this statement, 28 Palestinian families comprising of about 500 people from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem have been threatened with forced displacement.

During the past four months, Israel has escalated its policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and facilities and removing Palestinians from their neighborhoods, while building thousands of settlement units in East Jerusalem. Such a conduct aims to perpetuate racial discrimination and eliminate the Palestinian Arab presence in the city.

Euro-Med Monitor recorded that during the first four months of this year, 86 violations related to the demolition of Palestinian homes and consolidation of their settlement presence, were carried out by the Israeli forces in East Jerusalem. The month of March alone witnessed 31 violations.

Continue reading “Israel demolished 58 Palestinian facilities, built 5,000 settlement units in Jerusalem so far this year”

Why Biden must watch this Palestinian movie

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An image from “The Present,” the Oscar-nominated short film by the Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi. (photo credit…ShortsTV)
Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan but Palestinians have been left behind.  Can  the Biden administration make any progress?

By John Brennan  | The New York Times | Apr 27, 2021

Despite sharply reduced tensions between Israel and the Arab world, the Palestinian people themselves have seen no appreciable progress in their quest to live in their own sovereign state.

On a recent evening I watched “The Present,” a short film by Farah Nabulsi, a Palestinian filmmaker, which was nominated for an Academy Award for live-action short film. (The winner in the category was “Two Distant Strangers.”) Ms. Nabulsi’s 25-minute film is a powerful, heartbreaking account of the travails of Yusuf, a Palestinian man, and Yasmine, his young daughter, as they traverse an Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank twice in a single day.

“The Present” establishes its context quickly, opening with images of Palestinian men making their way through a narrow passageway at one of the numerous checkpoints that dot the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Palestinians going to work, visiting family or shopping on the opposite side of a security barrier have to bear this humiliating procedure every day.

Continue reading “Why Biden must watch this Palestinian movie”

Why we must boycott Pillsbury

General Mills, the parent company of Pillsbury, has its corporate headquarters in Golden Valley, Minn. (photo: Dreamstime / TNS)
We cannot support the products bearing our name when its parent company is benefiting from Israel’s war crimes.

By Charlie Pillsbury | Star Tribune |  Apr 28, 2021

We take pride in seeing our family name associated with products sold around the world. But in these times we no longer can in good conscience buy products bearing our name.
— Charlie Pillsbury

When our ancestor Charles A. Pillsbury founded the Pillsbury Company over 150 years ago, he could not have imagined that his products would one day reach every corner of the world. What started with the purchase of one flour mill on the west bank of the Mississippi River in 1869 became a household brand, which is now owned by General Mills.

We take pride in seeing our family name associated with products sold around the world. But in these times we no longer can in good conscience buy products bearing our name.

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Rep. McCollum introduces historic bill supporting Palestinian human rights

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13 Members of Congress signed on as original cosponsors of the McCollum bill, known as The Palestinian Children and Families Act. (photo: IMEU)
Now that the bill is introduced it’s time to think about how to engage your representative about H.R. 2590.

By Defense for Children International Palestine | Apr 16, 2021

“Palestinian youth have had their futures stifled and suppressed by systemic discrimination, constant settlement expansion, and an Israeli military occupation with no end in sight,”
— Brad Parker, Senior Adviser, Policy and Advocacy at DCIP

Ramallah, April 16, 2021—U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced historic legislation yesterday that seeks to promote justice, equality, and human rights for Palestinian children and families by prohibiting Israeli authorities from using U.S. taxpayer funds to commit human rights abuses in the occupied West Bank.

The Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, or H.R. 2590, provides that no U.S. funds to the Israeli government may be used to support the military detention or ill-treatment of Palestinian children; the seizure, appropriation, or destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the occupied West Bank; or to facilitate further unilateral annexation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government in violation of international humanitarian law.
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Omar Shakir In Conversation with Peter Beinart

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Omar Shakir (photo: Human Rights Watch)
Join Jewish Currents Editor at Large Peter Beinart in a conversation with Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine Director of Human Rights Watch.
Date: Friday, April 30, 2021
Time: 8:00 am (PDT) / 11:00 am (EST)
Location: On-line
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, must register
Event Details

Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch, investigates human rights abuses in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Prior to his current role, he was a Bertha Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he focused on US counterterrorism policies, including legal representation of Guantanamo detainees. As the 2013-14 Arthur R. and Barbara D. Finberg Fellow at Human Rights Watch, he investigated human rights violations in Egypt, including the Rab’a massacre, one of the largest killings of protesters in a single day. A former Fulbright Scholar in Syria, Omar holds a JD from Stanford Law School, where he co-authored a report on the civilian consequences of US drone strikes in Pakistan as a part of the International Human Rights & Conflict Resolution Clinic, an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Affairs, and a BA in International Relations from Stanford. He speaks English and Arabic.

You can find Omar on twitter @OmarSShakir.

More information here →

Israel called to account

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A group of youngsters sit on an abandoned building in Gaza.  (photo: UN / Shareef Sarhan)
A new report by Human Rights Watch slams Israel as an apartheid state. What now?

By Sam Bahour | Le Monde diplomatique | Apr 27, 2021

‘The finding is based on an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.’
— Human Rights Watch report

One of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW), today issued a 213-page report entitled ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution’. The report examines Israel’s treatment of all Palestinians, regardless of where they may reside between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and beyond.

For such a mainstream organization, it minces no words. The report starts by noting that ‘Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.’ In a press release announcing the report, HRW said, ‘The finding is based on an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.’

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Campaign to 0ppose Israeli military recruitment in Canada receives boost

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The Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv hosted a party with Canadian “lone soldiers” in the Israel Defense Forces on January 16, 2020. (photo: Embassy of Canada to Israel / Twitter)
A parliamentary petition calling for an investigation into IDF recruitment has quickly surpassed the number of signatures required to be presented in the House of Commons.

By Yves Engler  | Palestine Chronicle | Apr 23, 2021

“in my view no one who is a Canadian should be able to enlist in some other country’s military and keep his Canadian citizenship.”
—  Jack Granatstein, military historian

The campaign to oppose illegal Israeli military recruitment in Canada has received a significant boost. A parliamentary petition calling for an investigation into IDF recruitment has quickly surpassed the number of signatures required to be presented in the House of Commons.

Submitted by Rabbi David Mivasair and sponsored by NDP MP Matthew Green, the petition “calls upon the Minister of Justice to undertake a thorough investigation of those who have recruited or facilitated recruiting for the Israel Defense Forces, and if warranted lay charges against those involved in recruiting and encouraging recruiting for the IDF.”

In 48 hours over 1,000 individuals have signed the petition, which is twice what’s required for it to be read in Parliament. The government then has to respond.

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What ties the U.S. and Israel together? Our arrogant, doomed mythology of exceptionalism

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah in Jerusalem, Nov. 19, 2020. (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO)
Our two nations are headed for doom, driven by the power of the Zionist right and a conviction we can do no wrong.

By Doug Neiss | Salon |  Apr 17, 2021

American exceptionalism and Israeli exceptionalism go hand in hand. One hand washes the other.

As bad as Republican bloc voting is on domestic issues, what may be even worse are the near-unanimous bipartisan votes on military spending and unconditional support for Israel. It goes without saying that does not reflect the diversity of opinion among American Jews, Israeli Jews or the American public at large, although the pretense that unqualified support for Israel is the dominant view among Jewish Americans — and among Americans in general — is strictly maintained.

This cannot be justified by straightforward concern for Israel’s survival — Israel has long since assured its own survival with nuclear weapons, an open secret for decades — nor by the supposedly all-powerful Israel lobby. Invoking the “power of the Israel lobby” protects the myth of American innocence at the risk of perpetuating the myth of Jewish evil: Innocent, trusting America, no match for those crafty, scheming Jews!

Continue reading “What ties the U.S. and Israel together? Our arrogant, doomed mythology of exceptionalism”

Donors who agreed with me on every other issue cut me off when I called for investigation of Rachel Corrie’s killing — former Rep. Brian Baird

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Former Congressmen Brian Baird, center, and Keith Ellison, right, in Gaza in 2009.  (photo: screenshot from Israel Lobby Conference, April 17, 2021)
Former Congressman Baird said the Israel lobby is able to exert such control because of money, mythology and millenarian Christian beliefs.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Apr 19, 2021

“It is generally assumed that members of Congress must all support Israel without question and take what they are told at face value and accept that version of the facts and vote as we are told, or asked.”
— Brian Baird, former US Representative, Washington State

On Saturday former congressman Brian Baird described the ways that the Israel lobby exercises control over foreign policy in the Middle East, at the conference organized by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Baird’s main points:

–More Congresspeople go to the AIPAC conference than any other event besides the State of the Union address because they need money for their campaigns.

–When a congressperson dares to challenge Israeli claims, Israeli officials express condescension and disdain for the United States and say the U.S. did worse with its indigenous population so no one in the U.S. has a right to question Israeli actions even as Israel gets billions in aid.

Continue reading “Donors who agreed with me on every other issue cut me off when I called for investigation of Rachel Corrie’s killing — former Rep. Brian Baird”

Abbas to address J Street confab as group seeks to top DC’s Israel lobby scene

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wears a mask upon his arriving to head the Palestinian leadership meeting at his headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, May 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, Pool)
PA president expected to thank Biden for restoring aid while urging further steps, and to express continued support for two-state solution while castigating Israel over settlements.

By Jacob Magid | The Times of Israel | Apr 16, 2021

“We’re pleased to host President Abbas at our conference this year, as the Palestinians seek to move on from the nadir of the Trump era and repair the bilateral relationship with the United States under President Biden,”
— Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address J Street’s national conference on Sunday as the once marginal left-wing, pro-Israel group seeks to position itself as the leading lobby on Middle East policy in the post-Trump era.

Abbas’s remarks will be pre-recorded and played for the more than 4,000 registered attendees at the virtual confab’s first day.

Continue reading “Abbas to address J Street confab as group seeks to top DC’s Israel lobby scene”