A brave school principal; A brave woman

Sunset in Hebron, Palestine. (photo: Wikimedia / Aseel zm)
A simple, quiet act of gathering the children speaks volumes.

By Christian Peacemakers Teams Palestine | Apr 19, 2019

…she had to bring her kids back to school and back to safety.

We were monitoring the Salaymeh checkpoint on a cold morning. Two soldiers, fully armed and wearing masks, walked past the checkpoint and went up on the roof of an adjoining building. As children started making their way to school, the two soldiers came down and started moving towards the school area. Ofer, a settler who shows up daily at the checkpoint to harass children and human rights monitors, made his daily appearance. Suddenly 3 sound grenades were thrown close to a small group of boys that had gathered outside the school. Within seconds children started throwing stones and throwing back the sound grenade canisters at the soldiers. Things quickly escalated. School teachers and school principals were out on the streets. Then, to everyone’s surprise, live ammunition was fired, 5 shots were fired in the air. I could hear teachers and community members shouting in disbelief saying “ They have never fired live ammunition before”. One teacher had videotaped the scene and was replaying the video as proof that live ammunition was fired.

Continue reading “A brave school principal; A brave woman”

There’s something rotten in Virginia: Israel is a malignant force in local politics

There’s Something Rotten in Virginia: Israel Is a Malignant Force in Local Politics
The Virginia-Israel Advisory Board partnered with Israeli company EPC to enable the building of a wastewater treatment plant in Virginia. L to R: Governor Terry McAuliffe, EPC Chief Jeremy Weissman, VIAB’s Ralph Robbins. (photo:  Virginia-Israel Advisory Board)
Virginia taxpayers providing state funding for Israeli companies, politicized textbooks and fighting BDS.

By Philip Giraldi | reposted from American Herald Tribune | Apr 9, 2019

This coziness often borders on corruption and inevitably leads to abuses that do not serve the public interest, particularly as American citizens are quite openly promoting the interests of a foreign nation.

One of the more interesting aspects of the relentless march of the Israel Lobby in the United States is the extent to which it has expanded its reach down into the state and even local level. Previously, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the hundreds of other Jewish and Christian Zionist organizations dedicated to promoting Israeli interests had concentrated on the federal government level and the media, believing correctly that those were the key players in benefiting Israel while also making sure that its public image was highly favorable. The media was the easy part as American Jews were already well placed in the industry and inclined to be helpful. It also turned out that many Congressmen and the political parties themselves had their hands out and were just waiting to be bought, so “Mission Accomplished” turned out to be a lot easier than had been anticipated. Continue reading “There’s something rotten in Virginia: Israel is a malignant force in local politics”

Standing with Omar Shakir

(photo: AFSC / Mike Merryman-Lotze)
Israel’s decision to deport the Human Rights Watch staffer is part of a broader effort to silence people speaking out for Palestinian rights.

By Mike Merryman-Lotze  | American Friends Service Committee |  Apr 19, 2019

This decision could impact many international organizations like Oxfam, Amnesty International, the Carter Center, and Norwegian People’s Aid that advocate against Israel’s illegal settlement policy but do not formally endorse or engage in BDS.

Earlier this week, an Israeli judge upheld a May 2017 Israeli government decision to deport Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director. Last year, the Israeli government revoked Omar’s visa after producing a dossier on him going back 10 years to his time as an undergraduate student and before he worked for HRW. The dossier alleged that Omar was biased and that he had supported boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) actions as a student.

It’s important to note that HRW does not support BDS. When Omar was first targeted by the Israeli government, HRW made a point of saying that the decision was not a sweeping targeting of the organization itself. But Israel’s legal response in defending its revocation of Omar’s visa pointed to HRW reports on illegal Israeli settlements and possible violations of international law by corporations doing business in settlements. Israel argued that HRW reports on violations by companies like AirBnB that operate in illegal settlements effectively equate to support for BDS.

Continue reading “Standing with Omar Shakir”

USAID to lay off 85% of local employees on Palestinian projects

A Palestinian man walks near a USAID billboard in the West Bank village of Badhan, north of Nablus, last August. Since January, U.S. financing for humanitarian programs serving Palestinians has been suspended. (photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP / Getty Images)
Withdrawal of aid may be a sign of things to come.

By Yumna Patel | Mondoweiss | Apr 19, 2019

…the majority of the staff to be laid off are Palestinians from the occupied territories and Palestinian citizens of Israel, while a smaller number are Jewish Israelis.

In the latest blow dealt by the American government to the Palestinians, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which was responsible for millions of dollars of aid projects in the occupied Palestinian territory, will be laying off some 85% of its local staff in the coming weeks.

A Thursday report from NPR citing U.S. government communications speculated that the Trump administration ordered the job cuts as part of the lead up to unveiling its peace plan, which is set to be released in the coming months.

USAID is expected to reduce its number of local staff from 100 employees to 14, NPR said, quoting an anonymous USAID worker who said they had “begun to take steps to reduce our staffing footprint.”
Continue reading “USAID to lay off 85% of local employees on Palestinian projects”

Respond to the call — pray, study, act

A Banksy grafitti in Bethlehem. (photo: anon.)
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship calls its members to Pray, Study and Act.

By Episcopal Peace Fellowship | Apr 18, 2019

Easter Blessings! Thank you for accompanying us in this journey to the cross. The purpose of the annual Kairos alert is to shed light on the reality on the ground and provide a Christian commentary and analysis to this reality.

Friends and Colleagues,

On this Maundy Thursday we share Kairos Palestine’s Easter Alert 2019.

From the introduction: Easter Blessings! Thank you for accompanying us in this journey to the cross. The purpose of the annual Kairos alert is to shed light on the reality on the ground and provide a Christian commentary and analysis to this reality.

Munther Isaac, Pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, and H.B. Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of the Latin Patriarchate, offer an introduction to this resource and an Easter message. Omar Haramy of Sabeel begins the journey with the reflection for Maundy Thursday.

EPF PIN invites you to journey with us through these days with the Palestinian Christian community.

Continue reading “Respond to the call — pray, study, act”

France insurance firm AXA divests from Israel arms manufacturer

Petition poster to tell French insurance giant Axa to stop investing in Israeli weapons maker Elbit that finances Israel’s illegal settlement expansion on stolen Palestinian land [Twitter]
Petition poster to tell French insurance giant Axa to stop investing in Israeli weapons maker Elbit that finances Israel’s illegal settlement expansion on stolen Palestinian land. (photo: BDS Twitter)
International petition campaign sees success, but continues work to stop funding arms manufacturing.

Middle East Monitor | Apr 18, 2019

We welcome this decision from the AXA Group [but] we see it as an insufficient first step towards ending AXA’s complicity, both direct and indirect, in serious violations of international law and human rights.
— Leyla Llarbi, campaigner for SumOfUs

A French insurance firm has divested from Elbit Systems and several Israeli banks following pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and a number of international NGOs.

AXA – a French multinational firm specializing in insurance and financial services – has agreed to partially divest from Elbit Systems, an arms manufacturer which has supplied the Israeli army with weapons to be used against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.

AXA has also agreed to divest from five major Israeli banks – Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, First International Bank of Israel and Israel Discount Bank – which often provide loans to the Israeli arms industry and operate in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements.

The move came after a several-year-long campaign by two NGOs, “SumOfUs” and “Stop Assistance to Israeli Apartheid”, which called on the insurance giant to reassess its investments and complicity in the Israeli occupation.

Continue reading “France insurance firm AXA divests from Israel arms manufacturer”

Event: Save Uyghur Muslims (Friday)

Uigar Muslims

Please join our brothers and sisters at American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN) for this compelling event with their special guest, international activist Aydin Anwar.
Date: Friday, Apr 19, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: Muslim Association of Puget Sound
17550 NE 67th Ct
Redmond, WA 98052
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, but registration encouraged
Event Details

Do you know what is happening to our Muslim sisters and brothers in occupied East Turkestan? Join us to learn about the gross human rights violations by Chinese officials against the country’s Uyghur (Turkic Muslim) population, including the mass internment of over one million persons. You will also learn ways you can help.

We are honored to host Special Guest Aydin Anwar, a Uyghur-American activist and leading international voice on this issue, along with other impacted Uyghur community members. Continue reading “Event: Save Uyghur Muslims (Friday)”

Israel-Palestine: We don’t own it

Site of Carmel caves holding earliest known human remains from Israel-Palestine. (photo: Albatross Aerial Photography)
 The land has a story to tell of it’s own.

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | Apr 8, 2019

 …even if we or our country controls the land, we don’t own it; at least not in the long-term. We are custodians.

Here’s a thought you will never hear uttered from a synagogue bima or any other Jewish institution.  And it will even come across as heresy to some supporters of Palestinian rights. How many tribes, clans, nations, religions, etc. do you think lived in the land presently called Israel-Palestine since the beginning of the human race?  We know just in the Biblical period there were Philistines, Moabites, Jebusites, Amalekites, Edomites, Canaanites, and probably a few more who’ve slipped my memory. Not to mention all the nations and powers which conquered the land of Israel including the Babylonians, Romans, Greeks, etc.  Of course we know of this history because of the Bible and similar contemporary sources.

Continue reading “Israel-Palestine: We don’t own it”

A dictionary of media terms for the Palestine/Israel ‘conflict’

A Palestinian woman is taking part of the Great March of Return in Gaza on the 70th anniversary of Nakba. (photo: Abdallah Aljamal / Palestine Chronicle)
Read carefully to see how these terms are currently being used or misused by media reporting.

By Roger Sheety | The Palestine Chronicle | Apr 2, 2019

Palestine/Israel ‘Conflict’: A corporate media abstraction used to cover up and obfuscate the continuing destruction of Palestine by creating a false balance and ethical equivalency between the colonizers and the colonized where no such balance and equivalency exists to begin with.

What is the point of journalism if not to question, doubt, and challenge state or elite power? If a journalist merely reports the standard talking points of that power (as most corporate media journalists do), isn’t he or she simply perpetuating the basic premise of those talking points, that all is fundamentally well with the status quo? How, then, can such a stance be thought of as fair, objective, or impartial?

The following piece is partially indebted to John Ralston Saul’s “The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense”, which itself was partly inspired by earlier dictionaries such as those by Samuel Johnson and Ambrose Bierce.

The aim of these anti-dictionary dictionaries was to challenge and mock conventional wisdom and use language to clarify and communicate rather than the opposite.

Continue reading “A dictionary of media terms for the Palestine/Israel ‘conflict’”

Part 2 of Documentary: How are the children?

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 2.41.12 PM
Please join our brothers and sisters at University Presbyterian Church Holy Land Task Force and University Congregational United Church of Christ for Part 2 of the documentary on Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.
Date: Tues, Apr 9, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: Univ Congregational Church,
4515 16th Ave NE

Seattle WA 98105
In Turner Lounge,
Free parking on 16th across from church
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

In 2017, the UCC General Synod passed a Resolution of Witness calling for an end to the ill-treatment of Palestinian children incarcerated in Israeli military prisons. Discover why the UCC and other faith communities are calling urgently for an end to this systematic abuse of children. Features UCC national executive leaders John Dorhauer, Traci Blackmon and James Moos.

People of all faiths are welcome!

Event information here →