Tent of Nations Update

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From Beth Moore and Bill Plitt / FOTONNA
November 9, 2016


Following a recent refusal by the Military Court in the West Bank to grant permits to the Nassars for building two structures on their farm, one for a cave for volunteers and one for a machine shop, a demolition order was received by Daoud from the Military Court. It could mean that the two buildings would be demolished at any time by the military. Daoud feels he cannot be away from the farm at such a tenuous time.


Dear Friends,

We heard from Daoud Nassar early this morning, that due to urgent developments on the farm, he has decided, with great regret, that he will not be able to be present for the tour in Colorado this next week.

One of the constraints under which Palestinian’s operate is the requirement to obtain permits to build structures on their land. They follow the law and try to obtain the necessary permits, but they are never forthcoming. Daoud and his family have chosen a path of non-violent resistance, and move ahead to build structures on their land — many of them in underground caves. When this is discovered either by the Israeli military, or the occupation government (COGAT) demolition orders for the structures are ordered. There are some 30 demolition orders on structures on the Nassar’s land. Continue reading “Tent of Nations Update”

APN Statement at UN Security Council

Americans for Peace Now Statement Delivered at the United Nations Security Council

By Lara Friedman / Americans for Peace Now
October 14, 2016


The full statement can be viewed as a pdf here.
Watch the full testimony here.
View the post-meeting press conference here.


Distinguished members of the Security Council,

As a representative of Americans for Peace Now — an organization that is committed to Israel’s existence and its future — it is not easy for me to speak before this body today.

It is not easy because while this forum will focus in large part on human rights violations by Israel, there are states represented here whose own human rights records are abysmal. There are even states in this forum that still do not recognize the existence of Israel, 70 years after that nation’s birth and despite its membership in the UN’s General Assembly.

It is also not easy for me to speak here today because of the deteriorating political climate in Israel as far as democracy is concerned. For some time now we have been witnessing an ugly campaign against courageous Israeli human rights and civil society NGOs — carried out by reactionary groups in Israel and by the Israeli government itself. Campaigns that target the legitimacy of NGOs like our Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav — Peace Now.

These groups are being targeted because their work reveals facts that some prefer to hide — facts that challenge the official Israeli government narrative.

Yet, I am here today because this institution is too important to boycott or ignore. The Security Council is the most important international body in existence today.

It would be irresponsible to miss an opportunity to argue our cause in front of it. It would be unpardonable to allow ourselves to be silenced by the cynicism of some of this body’s member states, whose hatred of Israel may blind them to Israel’s legitimate needs and fears. And it would be inexcusable to allow ourselves to be silenced by the disapproval of some who today equate speaking unpleasant truths about Israeli policies with national betrayal.

I am here today because the cause that we work for every day is too important to allow anyone to silence us.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

Horowitz Threatens to Sue UCLA Student

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David Horowitz threatens to sue student for op-ed condemning ‘hate’ posters

By Annie Robbins / Mondoweiss
November 4, 2016


“For Palestinian students and allies like myself, the experience has been all too surreal. Because of my activism for Palestinian human rights, I have been placed on an online blacklist — an anonymous website ran by students and “concerned citizens” — that is trying to prevent me from being employed, and that blacklist provides the Freedom Center with the information needed to launch its hateful campaign of intimidation. Ever since my name was listed on the posters, I have been followed, bullied and harassed on social media. Like other students, this has caused me to worry for my safety. This experience has also caused me a great deal of psychological trauma, and I worry about my well-being.”


The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled David Horowitz the “godfather of the modern anti-Muslim movement” two years ago and last month called him the “premier financier of radical anti-Muslim extremism” in its Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. So did David Horowitz threaten to sue the SPLC? Nope. But he’s threatening to sue Robert Gardner, a UCLA senior and member of Students for Justice in Palestine over an op-ed he wrote in The Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper.

Gardner said Horowitz was leading a “hate organization” because of posters his Freedom Center had put out targeting Palestinian solidarity activists. Gardner wrote his op-ed as a response to Horowitz’s latest campaign, plastering posters on university campuses targeting Palestinian activists by name. Gardner was featured in an L.A.Times exclusive last August describing Sheldon Adelson’s multi million dollar efforts to combat the “exploding pro-Palestinian movement on campuses” — those who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

[Continue reading here . . . ]

 

Jerusalem Bans Muslim Call to Prayer

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Photo courtesy of Shadi Hatem / ApaImages

Israel bans Muslim call for dawn prayer from 3 mosques in Jerusalem

Middle East Monitor
November 5, 2016


The events in Abu Dis came a day after a number of Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev protested in front of the house of Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat over the “noise pollution” caused by the Muslim call to prayer.


Israeli authorities reportedly banned the Muslim call to dawn prayer from being made from three mosques in the Jerusalem district town of Abu Dis today, according to local sources.

Lawyer Bassam Bahr, head of a local committee in Abu Dis, told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the town just before the dawn prayer this morning.

According to Bahr, Israeli forces raided the Al-Rahman, Al-Taybeh and Al-Jamia mosques in the town, and informed the muezzins, the men responsible for the call to prayer — also known as the athan, which is broadcast five times a day from mosques — that the call for dawn prayer through the loudspeakers was banned.

Bahr added that the forces did not provide any reason for the ban, and also prevented locals living in the eastern part of the town from reaching the Salah Al-Din mosque for dawn prayers.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

Website Targets Student Activists

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Illustration by Daniel Greenfeld / The Village Voice

A Shadowy Website Targets Student Protesters With “Classic McCarthyism”

By Aviva Stahl / The Village Voice
October 28, 2016


“The major way that McCarthyism worked was not because the government went in and punished people for the speech that they engaged in,” explains Corey Robin, a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center whose name and photo are also featured on the site. “The bulk of it was precisely through these contacts amongst private employers and universities and non-state institutions that would sanction individuals for their speech.”


This past July, Thomas DeAngelis discovered that a bizarre website had placed his name and photo next to claims that he was “whitewashing terrorist violence and calling for more.” The site lists where he goes to school and what he’s studied, includes a lengthy description of his political activity, and even links to his Facebook page and Twitter handle.

DeAngelis, 23, is a first year doctoral student in the Earth and Environmental Sciences program at the CUNY Graduate Center and a longtime activist with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The profile on his political activities was posted to CanaryMission.org, a website that publishes the names, photographs, and biographical information of students engaged in Palestine activism across the United States.

The website, which was launched in May 2015, now contains profiles of over 600 individuals, most of them people of color. The site targets students and professors at universities across the U.S., in addition to a small number of people employed by Jewish Voice for Peace and other Palestine advocacy groups. [As of this writing, more than 1,000 US university faculty have signed a letter opposing CanaryMission.org here, AgainstCanaryMission.org.]

[Continue reading here . . . ]

[See related article here about harassment of SJP on campuses.]

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Image courtesy of http://www.brooklynpaper.com

Islam in the Public Square

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On Saturday, October 29, 2016, local area leaders and concerned citizens gathered at Town Hall Seattle for an event, Islam in the Public Square, to examine the dynamics that have led to the gap in understanding about Islam in America. We discussed the many issues clouding the image of Islam and Muslims in America, sought to build understanding and tolerance across ethnic and faith lines, and looked into ways all of us can confront and overcome the misunderstandings and fears that divide us. Together, as one Seattle community, we explored ways to work together for peace and justice.

Our humble thanks to the many people and organizations whose contributions of time, effort, and resources made this event such a success.

Below are the events, with links to transcripts, video, and photos.


Introduction & Welcome

Opening Prayer
“Amsa ul husna”
[See video here]

Introduction
Randolph Urmston, Attorney (moderator)
[See video here]

Welcome
Rt. Rev. Gregory Rickel, VIII Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia
[See video and text here]


Keynote Presentations
“Understanding Islam and Our Muslim Neighbor”

From a Clash of Ignorance to a Dialogue of Civilizations!
Mohamed Jawad Khaki, Founder, Ithna-asheri Muslim Association of the Northwest (IMAN)
[See video and text here]

Video: The Clash of Ignorance
Shafique Virani / TEDxUTSC
[See video here]

Trust in One Another, a Key to a Peaceful Society
Mahmood Khadeer, Founder, Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS)
[See video and text here]

How to Change a Million Minds in 15 Minutes
Varisha Khan, Senior, University of Washington, major in Political Science and Journalism
[See video and text here]

How the “Private Good” of Religion Becomes a “Public Good” for Society
Mark Markuly, PhD, Dean and Professor of Theology and Ministry, Seattle University School of Theology
[See video and text here]


Breakout Session & Call to Prayer

[See video here]


Panel Discussion

[See video here]

Video: American Muslims, Fact or Fiction
Unity Productions Foundation
[See video here]


Table Responses

[See video here]


 Photographs

[See photographs here]


 Event Sponsors

Holy Sepulchre Guarded by Muslim Families

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Image courtesy of Gali Tibbon / AFP / Getty Images

Why Christianity’s holiest shrine is guarded by two Muslim families

By Ishaan Tharoor / The Washington Post
November 1, 2016


“For me, the source of coexistence for Islamic and Christian religions is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”
— Adeeb Joudeh, the current keeper of the key


The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City is Christianity’s most hallowed shrine. It’s believed that the rock-cut tomb at the heart of the church was where the body of Jesus Christ was once laid.

Over the past week, for the first time in centuries, a team of conservationists and researchers removed a marble slab that lay in a rotunda, known as the Edicule, at the center of the complex. It’s the spot, as my colleague William Booth put it earlier this year, when the renovation project first began, “where millions of pilgrims have knelt and prayed, where the salt of tears and the wet of sweat have smoothed and worried the hardest stone.”

“I’m absolutely amazed. My knees are shaking a little bit because I wasn’t expecting this,” Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic’s archaeologist-in-residence, is quoted by the publication’s website. “We can’t say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades.”

[Continue reading here . . . ]

[See related National Geographic article with photos here . . . ]

Why Israel Refuses to Choose

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Photo courtesy of Rina Castelnuovo / The New York Times

By Roger Cohen / The New York Times
October 28, 2016


“Two states are not achievable in the foreseeable future,” the former Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, told me. “It has become a process about a process, and not real.”


There is agreement on very little in the fractious Holy Land, but on one issue there is near unanimity these days: A two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more distant than ever, so unimaginable that it appears little more than an illusion sustained by lazy thinking, interest in the status quo or plain exhaustion.

From Tel Aviv to Ramallah in the West Bank, from the largely Arab city of Nazareth to Jerusalem, I found virtually nobody on either side prepared to offer anything but a negative assessment of the two-state idea. Diagnoses ranged from moribund to clinically dead. Next year it will be a half-century since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank began. More than 370,000 settlers now live there, excluding in East Jerusalem, up from about 249,000 in 2005. The incorporation of all the biblical Land of Israel has advanced too far, for too long, to be reversed now.

Greater Israel is what Israelis know; the smaller Israel west of the Green Line that emerged from the 1947-49 war of independence is a fading memory. The right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with its contempt for Palestinians and dissenting voices in general, prefers things that way, as the steady expansion of settlements demonstrates. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, has lost the legitimacy, the cohesion and the will to do much about it. The cancellation of municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza that had been set for this month was another sign of paralyzing Palestinian infighting. . . .

Within Israel, where Netanyahu has now amassed more than a decade in power, the political and cultural drift is toward ever more assertive and intolerant nationalism. Criticism is increasingly equated with treason. Groups like B’Tselem, which focuses on allegations of human rights violations against Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories, are under withering attack. The Messianic religious Zionism that holds all the West Bank to be Israel’s by biblical decree is ascendant. The left is in feeble disarray.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

A Shepherd’s Story

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Photo courtesy of V. Steen / EAPPI

“Life has become as small as a ring”

By the South Hebron Hills Team / EAPPI
October 26, 2016


“And the army sees everything but does nothing,” Jibrin says. “A settler can ride a quad bike through a grazing flock and no one cares.” Jibrin still challenges intruders, though. “Why are you here?” he asked one settler who was walking on his land. “I am here for the Israeli Government,” the settler replied. “But you are poor people. You are here for nobody.”


Jibrin sits with quiet dignity and explains the effects of the occupation, “Life has become as small as a ring,” he says.

ibrin was born in Qawawis, a community of shepherds in the South Hebron Hills. His family had fields of wheat and barley, sheep and olive trees. Then, in the mid-1980s, the Susya settlement, illegal under international law, was established by the Israeli government on Palestinian land just across the road. Things started to change. The settlers let their animals into the Palestinian fields and damaged the crops. They threw stones at the shepherds. Jibrin’s family moved nearer to the village for protection.

But the harassment didn’t stop: it got worse. The settlers carried guns. The last twenty years have seen fatalities and serious injuries among the shepherds. Two died after stepping on an improvised explosive device placed on a shepherding path. Jibrin’s neighbour has a plastic stomach as a result of being shot by a settler. Another has a damaged voice box after being shot in the neck and speaks with difficulty.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

Privatizing the Occupation

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Photo courtesy of Mohamad Torokman / Reuters

 How Israel is privatizing its occupation of Palestine — enriching the security industry and allowing the country to evade accountability for human-rights violations

By Antony Loewenstein and Matt Kennard / The Nation
October 27, 2016


 “Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report, ‘Occupation Inc.,’ that detailed how ‘Israeli and international businesses have helped to build, finance, service, and market settlement communities.’ It added, ‘In many cases, businesses are “settlers” themselves.’”


It is 4:30 a.m. with the moon still high in the sky, but Palestinians from across the West Bank are already disembarking from buses outside the Qalandia checkpoint near Jerusalem. They’re about to begin a day’s work on the other side of the separation wall, in Israel.

Qalandia is one of the busiest checkpoints through which Palestinians with the required work documents can travel from the occupied Palestinian territories to Israel. With unemployment around 26 percent in the West Bank (in Gaza, it’s far worse — among the highest in the world, according to the United Nations), it’s always extremely busy at this early hour, because Palestinians need work, which is more readily available in Israel, especially in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. . . .

The warehouse-like checkpoint looks like a cattle pen on the inside: Metal bars on either side and above form a narrow chute, enclosing and herding the workers—many of whom have traveled from villages more than an hour away—toward the point where their documents will be checked by Israeli officials. They then wait on the Israeli side for transport from their employers.

For years, these checkpoints were manned by personnel from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Border Police. But starting in January 2006, gun-toting private security guards joined the soldiers and police. Today, there are 12 checkpoints in the West Bank and two on the Gaza border that use such guards. Israel is slowly privatizing its occupation.

[Continue reading here . . . ]