Shuruq 4.5: A Digital Arab Festival

Please join our brothers and sisters at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice for a creative digital alternative to the fifth Olympia Arab Festival in conjunction with the Olympia Fall Arts Walk.  
  October 5 – 30, 2020  
  Various times during the month  
  Digital Festival  
  Event information here →  
Event Details

Since 2012, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice has provided a biennial Olympia Arab Festival coinciding with Olympia’s Fall Arts Walk. Plans were underway for our fifth festival this October when the realities of COVID-19 hit. We quickly determined that the pandemic would not stop us! We feel a great sense of responsibility for the health of our community, and the RCF office has been closed since March except for mail pick-up and essential tasks. But our small staff and dedicated volunteer committees are working as hard as ever remotely.

We’re thrilled to let you know that with the addition of youthful, creative and technical energy, and growing comfort with online platforms, we’ll be bringing Shuruq 4.5, a digital alternative to the fifth Olympia Arab Festival, to you and others.

Throughout the entire month of October viewers will be able to select, enjoy, and be inspired by an array of events featuring new work from Arab writers, Arab films, and pre-recorded and live presentations and performances exploring and celebrating Arab culture and the 22 Arab countries.

The schedule is firming up; logistics are being worked out; and excitement is building! You can expect a Moroccan cooking class, a Dabka dance tutorial, discussions on topics relevant in today’s Arab world, new poetry and prose from Arab contributors, and more. We’re thrilled to bring people together digitally from far and wide to learn and to grow in their appreciation of our Arab neighbors.

This festival will be remarkable, and we need your help now to pull off this new rendition of Shuruq!

We’ve added staff time for event management, and we have fees to cover for digital platforms and multiple film screenings throughout October, for stipends to presenters and performers who are lending their support during challenging times, for new graphic design work being completed, and more.

Please take a moment to review individual, business, and organization cosponsorship options here! You will also find important information about cosponsorship levels, available perks, and registering as a cosponsor.

Shukran (“Thank you”) in advance for your years of support and for any help you can provide now. Stay healthy and get ready for a lift in October with Shuruq 4.5 (“Sunrise”)!

More information here →

Israeli settlers’ Chelsea boss backer

A BBC News Arabic investigation follows the money.


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Link to the video here →

Produced by Rosie Garthwaite, Uri Blau and Simon Cox | BBC |  Sept 21, 2020

An investigation by BBC News Arabic has found that Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich, controls companies that have donated $100m to an Israeli settler organisation.

Elad operates in occupied East Jerusalem. By allowing settlement activity in the area Israel is considered to be in breach of international law. Israel disputes this view.

Analysis of bank documents has revealed that Chelsea football club’s owner, Abramovich, is the biggest single donor to the organisation. The bank documents – known the FinCEN Files – were leaked to BuzzFeed News, then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the BBC.

Continue reading “Israeli settlers’ Chelsea boss backer”

How Israel is waging war on Palestinians in Area C

Israeli forces remove a trailer they claim was placed illegally in Area C on 6 February. (photo: AFP)
With the world distracted by Covid-19 and ‘peace deals,’ Israel is seeking an irreversible displacement in the occupied West Bank

By Ben White | Middle East Eye  |  Sept 20, 2020

This is where the language of a “takeover” comes in – a world view that sees Palestinian territory under Israeli military occupation as belonging to Israel forever by “right”. From this perspective, the Palestinian farmer, not the settler, is the “invader”.

A new report in the Israeli publication Haaretz has shed fresh light on Israel’s intensifying demolition campaign in Palestinian communities, leading to a stark conclusion: Israel is conducting a war against the very existence of Palestinians in Area C, 60 percent of the occupied West Bank.

Meetings were held by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in late July and mid-August, and the subject was “the Palestinian takeover of Area C”.

Under the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into Areas A, B and C, with major Palestinian population centres in Areas A and B. Area C territory surrounds and fragments these enclaves, and includes smaller Palestinian communities and almost all Israeli settlements.

Continue reading “How Israel is waging war on Palestinians in Area C”

A Request: We Are Not Numbers

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A request for for support for a program Palestinian youth and giving them a voice to tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news.

By Issam Adwan  |  We are Not Numbers |  Sept 18, 2020

I want to share some information about an organization that I am very involved with, We Are Not Numbers. I am part of a group of mentors who work with young writers in Gaza, helping them to improve their craft and support their desire to tell their stories and to be heard. We are currently doing a fundraiser and things are desperate. I understand there is so much need and so many causes. The campaign goal is officially over on October 4 and we need to raise $35,000. So far, we have received $5,000. These funds are used primarily for staff salaries in Gaza, as well as rent, electricity, wifi, educational activities, and transportation. WANN has already been forced to stop producing videos due to cost. Any amount is appreciated but I am asking you to stretch and be generous. I just tripled my donation. Please join me in helping this important organization survive in incredibly challenging times and share your commitment and enthusiasm with friends and family.
— Alice Rothchild, physician, author, activist, filmmaker

A personal message from Gaza project manager Issam Adwan:

The worst of my nightmares for Gaza has unfortunately arrived. Coping with a life of electricity blackouts, water shortages and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world is bad enough, but now we have “community spread” of COVID-19.

Continue reading “A Request: We Are Not Numbers”

6th Annual Conference: Responding to the Kairos/Global Call

Rifat Kassis
Please join Kairos Puget Sound Coalition (KPSC) along with co-sponsors Jewish Voice for Peace/Portland and JVP/Tacoma for this 6th annual conference. The key note speaker will be Rifat Kassis, co-author of “A Moment of Truth, the Kairos Palestine Document”.  Mark Braverman, executive director of Kairos USA and manager of the Kairos Portal website will facilitate the Q&A and discussion following Rifat’s presentation. 
  Saturday, October 10, 2020  
  10:00 am – 12:00 pm (PDT)  
  Zoom Virtual Event  
  Event Flyer  
  Free, Zoom registration required  
Event Details

Rifat Odeh Kassis is a Palestinian Christian, who was born in Beit Sahour, in the West Bank. He is a human rights, political and community activist, as well as an author and lecturer. He co-authored “A Moment of Truth, the Kairos Palestine Document”, published in 2009. His total commitment to this effort led to his assignment as General Coordinator of the Kairos Palestine Group, in December of 2009.

Rifat has been arrested and imprisoned several times, by Israeli authorities. In 1991, he founded the Palestine arm of Defense of Children-International (DCI), and has served in various capacity with DCI since that time. Since 2015, together with other international consultants, Rifat started a consulting group, called GRIP Consulting (


  • “Palestine: A Bleeding Wound in the World’s Conscience” (2006)
  • “Kairos for Palestine” – Published in India, (2011)
  • “Kairos for Global Justice” – with a forward by Patriarch Michael
     Sabbah. Published by Kairos Palestine (2012)
  • “Generation Palestine – Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and
     Sanctions Movement” – edited by Rich Wiles, with a forward by Archbishop
     Desmond Tutu. Published by Pluto Press, London, 2013.

More information here →

This summer has revealed a sharp rise in suicides in Gaza

Suleiman al-Ajoury, 25. (photo: Facebook)

Mental health has become a serious challenge in Gaza over the last ten years and numbers of suicedes are increasing.

By Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh | Mondoweiss  | Sept 11, 2020

‘Youth in Gaza have all motives for suicide. There’s poverty, unemployment, and uncertainty about the future.’
— Muhammad Abu el-Sebah, psychiatrist in Gaza

Suleiman al-Ajoury, 23, was a handsome young man and a cherished friend. Over the last three years he found himself unemployed and had no idea how to resume his once modest, yet stable, profession as a carpenter. Like so many young people in Gaza, he was at a standstill personally, out of work with no job on the horizon, all the while our wider environment crumbling around us. Our youth unemployment rate is a staggering 65%. The age bracket that figure encompasses is up to 24.

Then, on July 4, 2020 al-Ajoury killed himself at his home, leaving a message on social media that has since been removed by the platform. He described humiliation and a sense of hopelessness.

Continue reading “This summer has revealed a sharp rise in suicides in Gaza”

Peace through weapons sales to the UAE

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the White House in Washington on May 15, 2017.  (photo: AP / Andrew Harnik, File)

Shortly after the UAE-Israel normalization deal was announced one of the U.S.’s primary motivations came into focus: tens of billions of dollars in UAE weapons sales.

By Ariel Gold | CodePink  |  Sept 9, 2020

‘Fake news,’ Netanyahu cried when Yedioth Ahronoth, the New York Times and other outlets reported that the U.S.-UAE arms sale deal had been the driving force behind the Israel-UAE normalization deal and that Netanyahu had been in the know from the start.

Next week, on September 15, Trump will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan for a ceremonial signing of the Israel-United Arab Emirates deal to normalize relations between the two countries. Termed the Abraham Accord, the deal has been condemned by many for failing to secure even a single concession for Palestinians. But shortly after the deal was announced, another downside — and perhaps the U.S.’s primary motivation for pursuing the deal — came sharply into focus: tens of billions of dollars in UAE weapons sales.

Less than a week after Trump announced the Abraham Accord on August 13, the story broke that Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Council senior director for the Middle East Miguel Correa had been secretly pushing for the U.S. to sell F-35 stealth fighters, weaponized drones, and other advanced military equipment to the Emiratis. Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, said that his country had placed their request for the F-35 jets six years prior. He denied that the normalization deal was connected to his country finally being granted their request, but Trump administration officials later admitted that the deal had paved the way. On August 18, leading Israeli newspaper YNet News reported that the Abraham Accord included a “secret clause” wherein the UAE would get to buy billions of dollars in advanced U.S. military hardware.

Continue reading “Peace through weapons sales to the UAE”

Kairos Palestine condemns US Bishop’s support for Israel-UAE normalization


The US Catholic Bishops come under fire for condoning the agreement that perpetuates the ongoing injustice for Palestinians.

By Kairos Palestine  |  IMEMC News  |   Sept 10, 2020

It would be a step towards peace if this accord were accompanied by the resolution of the core of the conflict: the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land.

A major Christian Palestinian group yesterday criticized a United States bishop for condoning the recent Israeli-UAE normalization agreement.

Kairos Palestine addressed an open letter to Bishop of Rockford and Illinois, David Malloy, who also serves as Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, criticizing him on showing satisfaction with the agreement and providing him with their observations on the issue.

“People who think that any mutual recognition between an Arab country and the state of Israel is a step forward towards peace are mistaken. It would be a step towards peace if this accord were accompanied by the resolution of the core of the conflict: the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land,” they said.

Continue reading “Kairos Palestine condemns US Bishop’s support for Israel-UAE normalization”

We are all made in God’s image

Rev. William J. Barber, II.  (photo: Repairers of the Breach)

Reverend William Barber II places the struggle for justice in Palestine in the broad framework of global struggles against racism, colonialism and white supremacy.

By Rev. William J. Barber II  |  | Sept 1, 2020

The same philosophy that claimed black bodies and called it Christian now justifies the displacement of Palestinian families and calls it ‘pro-Israel.’

The Palestinian experience resonates with my own background. I didn’t grow up anywhere near Israel/Palestine, but the slave masters did treat my ancestors as property. What is required if we are to be human, even against the backdrop of colonialism? The colonial masters who said America was their property saw my native ancestors as savages. The ways some people talked about “God’s people” excluded me. They said it was their manifest destiny to subdue the land that was promised to them, no matter who was already there. The same philosophy that claimed black bodies and called it Christian now justifies the displacement of Palestinian families and calls it “pro-Israel.” But based on ancient Hebrew scripture in Leviticus: “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns among you as the native and you are to love them as yourself. You shall have the same law for the sojourner and the native, for I am the Lord your God who honor and loves all of creation.”

Often when I was young, I heard fellow Christians talk about the nation state of Israel–especially the TV preachers, but I never heard much about the Palestinian people who were already living on that land. I did know about a large number of European Jews who were fleeing terrible oppression who had settled in Palestine. But just as I never heard much about my people in many tellings of American history, I never heard about Palestinian people and their desperate need for equality in that land

Continue reading “We are all made in God’s image”

Israel’s Friends at the RNC: ‘Christian Zionists’ dictate the agenda of the Republican Party


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem. (Photo: Video Grab)

Both Republicans and Democrats head to the November elections with strong pro-Israel sentiments and outright support, completely ignoring the plight of occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

By Ramzy Baroud   | The Palestine Chronicle  |   Sept 2, 2020

“This is apocalyptic foreign policy in a nutshell,‘ …“Israel is not as a real country but a fantasyland, backdrop for Christian myth.’
— Gershom Gorenberg, Israeli commentator

t is difficult – and futile – to argue which American president has historically been more pro-Israel. While former President Barack Obama, for example, has pledged more money to Israel than any other US administration in history, Donald Trump has provided Israel with a blank check of seemingly endless political concessions.

Certainly, the unconditional backing and love declared for Israel is common among all US administrations. What they may differ on, however, is their overall motive, primarily their target audience during election time.

Both Republicans and Democrats head to the November elections with strong pro-Israel sentiments and outright support, completely ignoring the plight of occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

Continue reading “Israel’s Friends at the RNC: ‘Christian Zionists’ dictate the agenda of the Republican Party”