A Palestinian activist fights the IDF and the Palestinian Authority

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Issa Amro walks through the market of Hebron’s Old City on June 27, 2021. (photo: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)
Disenchanted with corrupt Palestinian self-governance and Israeli apathy, Issa Amro looks to American Jews for change.

By Elhanan Miller | Tablet | July 20, 2021

“I knew that participating in a public meeting with Blinken would have a political cost for me, because there are Palestinians who don’t like the U.S., and they’re right.”
— Issa Amro, Palestinian political activist

When Issa Amro was invited to an intimate meeting with Antony Blinken in Ramallah in May, he decided to aim straight for the heart. “As a Jew, is this your dream?” Amro rhetorically asked him. “Did you dream of seeing an apartheid state?”

A native of Hebron, Amro warned the American secretary of state of the “Hebronization” of East Jerusalem and the entire West Bank. By “Hebronization” he means the extension of a dual legal system for Israelis and Palestinians, the closing of main roads to Palestinian pedestrians and shop owners, and social segregation.
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Israeli spyware maker is in spotlight amid reports of wide abuses

An NSO Group display at the European Police Congress in Berlin last February. (photo: Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters)
Data leaked to a consortium of news organizations suggests that several countries use Pegasus, a powerful cyberespionage tool, to spy on rights activists, dissidents and journalists.

By Ronen Bergman and Patrick Kingsley | The New York Times | July 20, 2021

The allegations may escalate concerns that the Israeli government has abetted government abuses by granting NSO an export license to sell software to countries that use it to suppress dissent.

TEL AVIV — A major Israeli cyber-surveillance company, NSO Group, came under heightened scrutiny Sunday after an international alliance of news outlets reported that governments used its software to target journalists, dissidents and opposition politicians.

The Israeli government also faced renewed international pressure for allowing the company to do business with authoritarian regimes that use the spyware for purposes that go far afield of the company’s stated aim: targeting terrorists and criminals.

NSO strongly denied the claims.

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“This BDS win is because of our people power”: Ben & Jerry’s vows to stop sales in Israeli West Bank settlements

On Monday Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements. Israel has promised to fight the move “with all our might,” while activists say it is yet another sign of how BDS is entering the mainstream.

By Michael Arria  | Mondoweiss  | July 19, 2021

“We hope Ben & Jerry’s has understood that, in harmony with its social justice commitments, there can be no business as usual with apartheid Israel.”
— The Palestinian BDS National Committee

On Monday Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The move comes after years of pressure from activists in the company’s home state of Vermont.

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” reads a statement on the company’s website. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”

Continue reading ““This BDS win is because of our people power”: Ben & Jerry’s vows to stop sales in Israeli West Bank settlements”

The America that Israel and Palestine need

(photo: The Kansas City Star file photo)
Joe Biden promised to make democracy and human rights central to US foreign policy. But that means not insisting on Israel’s right to defend itself without mentioning its expansion of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, its policy of discrimination, and its denial of the Palestinians’ right to an independent state.

By Mohamed Elbaradei | Project Syndicate | July 16, 2021

Over five decades, I have seen how the US approach to upholding Palestinians’ rights has become almost apologetic.

Vienna – For many generations of Arab youth, mine included, studying and working in the United States was a coveted opportunity to experience freedoms, possibilities, and the sense of egalitarianism that the American way of life embodied. It was a doubly enriching experience for those of us raised in authoritarian or conservative societies. It was thrilling to be able to think and act independently, without societal pressure. I was excited to take home some of the lessons I learned from a functioning democracy, not least the vital role of freedom of expression, the importance of civil society, and the exceptional benefits of empowering people.

Of course, I was also aware of the US system’s failings, and in particular the perpetuation of racism and inequality. I remember the Jim Crow laws enforcing racial segregation in the former Confederate states, and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., who articulated African-Americans’ dreams of equality and human decency. But I was hopeful that America’s democratic system had the tools it needs for self-correction. I remain so, based on the major transformations in values, laws, and mindsets that I witnessed.

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A Deep Dive with Jewish Voice for Peace

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Please join our brothers and sisters with the United Methodists Kairos Response (UMKR) who are leading the struggle for Palestinian rights in the United Methodist Church.  JVP’s Organizing Director, Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, and Dr. Alice Rothchild,  leader of the JVP Health Advisory Council will be speaking.
Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Time: 10:00 am Pacific time, 1:00 pm Eastern time
Location: Zoom On-line
Information: Registration information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

Alice Rothchild is a physician, professor, author, and filmmaker who has focused her interest in human rights and social justice on the Israel/Palestine conflict since 1997. A practicing Ob-Gyn for almost 40 years, she served as Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, until her retirement. Rothchild writes and lectures widely, has contributed to a number of anthologies, and is the author of several books related to Israel/Palestine, including “Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine.”
She directed the documentary film, Voices Across the Divide, and is currently working on a middle grade children’s book, a young adult novel, and a memoir in verse. She serves on the board and as a mentor for the We Are Not Numbers program in Gaza, on the board of the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, and on the steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council.

Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, MAL, is a 30+ year veteran of the LGBTQ and labor movements, with extensive experience organizing and training at the intersections of sexual orientation, gender identity, racial/ethnic identity, and culture related explicitly to communities of color in the United States. She has crisscrossed the country, training workers and community leaders in organizing, leadership development, and community building strategies from a grassroots perspective. Most recently, Lisbeth was the Director of Faith Outreach & Training at the Human Rights Campaign. She is a graduate of the United Theological Seminary with a master’s in Theology and Social Transformation.

More information here →

More big investors dump Israeli settlement profiteers

Investing in firms involved in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements presents an “unacceptable risk” of contributing to violations of Palestinian rights, says Norway’s KLP. (photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz / ActiveStills)
Norways largest pension company KLP takes action that highlights the negative impact of the settlements on Palestinians.

By Adri Nieuwhof | The Electronic Intifada | July 8, 2021

“Investors should not be profiting from human rights violations like the illegal confiscation and settlement of Palestinian land,”
— Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union

Norway’s largest pension fund KLP excluded 16 companies from its holdings over their links to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The pension fund dumped the settlement profiteers because there is “an unacceptable risk” that they will contribute to human rights violations.

The divestment is particularly significant not just because of its scale but also because KLP drew on the UN’s database of companies involved with Israel’s settlements.

KLP said it sold assets worth more than $31 million in the excluded companies.

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Palestinian American Christians appeal to Biden: Reconsider US policy on Hamas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 25, 2021. (photo: Thaer Ganaim / APA Images)
Assigning the label “terrorist organization,” they say, hides a more complicated truth.

By Jeff Wright | Mondoweiss | July 9, 2021

“We believe that assigning the label of ‘terrorist organization’ to Hamas hides the more complicated truth that Hamas is a reflection and result of the untenable and unjust status quo in the land,”
— Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) letter

In a recent letter addressed to President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken, the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) builds on remarks made by Blinken in Ramallah on May 25. During his press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Blinken acknowledged Palestinians’ aspirations “to live in freedom; to have their basic rights respected, including the right to choose their own leaders; to live in security; to have equal access to opportunity for themselves, for their children; to be treated with dignity.”

The letter, written by the board of PCAP, acknowledges “that more positive cooperation has been taking place between the United States and the Palestinians.” While citing the reopening of the American consulate in East Jerusalem, the resumption of financial assistance to UNRWA, and the U.S. commitment to provide aid to the Gaza Strip, the letter states, “…we believe that much more than these limited actions and words must transpire for democracy, justice and peace to prevail.”

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The draconian law used by Israel to steal Palestinian land

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Israeli soldiers stand guard as Palestinian demonstrators gather during a protest against Israeli settlements in Beita town near Nablus. (photo; Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
Analysts say all outposts are a backdoor to keep claiming Palestinian land after Israel committed to freezing settlements in the Oslo Accords in 1993.

By Anchal Vohra  | Al Jazeera | July 8, 2021

“Israel’s settler-colonial project that started a century ago has a clear goal: maximum land with minimum Palestinian people,”
— Ines Abdel Razak, a member of the Palestinian think-tank Al-Shabaka

In early May, more than 50 Jewish families packed their bags and moved to a hilltop in the West Bank in the occupied Palestinian territory.

They quickly erected modular homes, a synagogue, a nursery, and even dug a playground to claim a piece of land they neither purchased nor inherited.

These settlers called it the Evyatar outpost, after Evyatar Borosky – a Jewish man killed in 2013 allegedly by a Palestinian.

Continue reading “The draconian law used by Israel to steal Palestinian land”

We cannot use victimhood to justify victimizing others

Jewish American author, physician, and human rights activist, Alice Rothchild. (credit: photo provided by the author)
An interview that tackles how Jewish victims of the Holocaust have turned into victimizers of the Palestinians and the way out of this dilemma.

By Nihan Duran | Politics Today | July 5, 2021

The idea that as a victim, I can do anything to survive, even if that means victimizing others, is morally and politically problematic. Until the Jewish community overcomes this particular way of dealing with the traumas of the Holocaust, we will never get out of this cultural psychopathology.
— Alice Rothchild

As the echoes of the global reaction to the recent human rights violations in Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza continue worldwide, Nihan Duran of Politics Today interviewed the renowned Jewish American author, physician, and human rights activist, Alice Rothchild, on how to interpret the transition from the oppressed to the oppressor and the challenges of defining, discussing and reporting the settler-colonialism in Palestine as well as the ways forward for meaningful peace advocacy and solidarity.

Q. As a Jewish American author, a human rights activist, and a physician, you have numerous works in which you critically reflect on physical realities in Israel and Palestine. Can we hear the story of who you are and how your engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian predicament has started in your own words?

My grandparents were Orthodox Jews and immigrants to the U.S. I grew up in a very traditional Jewish family, which was fairly secular. I went to a Hebrew school, I had a bat mitzvah,¹ and went to Israel when I was 14. I still have my 14-year-old diary, so I know how I felt about my trip to this magical place.

Continue reading “We cannot use victimhood to justify victimizing others”

Reconciliation Ministry and Update from Jerusalem

Dr. Salim Munayer
Please join our brothers and sisters at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle in this zoom class with Dr. Salim Munayer.  Dr. Munayer will give a quick presentation of Musalaha, and answer questions about working in the Holy Land in these challenging times.
Date: Sunday, July 11, 2021
Time: 10:00 am (PST)
Location: Zoom On-line
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

Dr. Salim Munayer is the founder and Executive Director of Musalaha, an organization with a Christ-centered vision of reconciliation, based in Jerusalem. Musalaha is a long-term mission partner of UPC and many other churches across the world.

Musalaha, which means “Reconciliation” in Arabic, was founded in 1990, with the mission to teach, train, and facilitate reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, based on biblical principles of reconciliation. Over the past 30 years, the mission has grown to include international groups.

More information here →