We Feel You, America

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Photo courtesy of Noam Revkin Fenton / Flash90

It’s lonely at the bottom

By Mairav Zonszein / +972 Magazine
November 9, 2016


With the election of Donald Trump as president, a lot of progressive Americans must be feeling what we here in the Israeli Left have felt for a long time: outnumbered, unwanted, frustrated, and alone.


For a while now, I’ve been writing about how lonely it is to be a leftist in Israel, to be part of the minority that opposes the occupation and 50 years of discrimination and human rights violations, a minority that insists on challenging fundamental aspects of this government’s policies and this society’s values. About how it has become increasingly dangerous and radical simply to speak one’s mind, as the notions of equal rights and human rights have become derogatory terms, and as open criticism and dissent is explicitly silenced. How scary and frustrating it is to see the values and issues I believe in consistently voted down and publicly delegitimized.

What the success of Netanyahu — who was elected first in 1996 on the back of the Rabin murder and a campaign of incitement against the Left, and to his fourth term in 2015 again on the back of incitement against Palestinians citizens — and the success of Trump — who incites against or insults just about everyone — prove is that democracy is not a bulwark against inequality, racism, violence, oppression, and sexism. On the contrary, it is all too easy for people to democratically elect to do horrible things.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

American Muslims After the Election

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Please join our brothers and sisters at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) for this important event.

Date: Friday, November 18, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
(refreshments and social at 6:30 p.m.)
Location: Muslim Association of Puget Sounds (MAPS)
17550 NE 67th Ct
Redmond, WA 98052
Cost: Free (register here)
Information: Event website
Questions: 425-861-9555
manager@mapsredmond.org

Agenda

  1. The Political Maqasid and Its Application Today
    Prof Jasser Auda, Founding Director of Al-Maqasid Research Centre in the Philosophy of Islamic Law & Al Shatibi Chair of Maqasidi Studies, International Peace College of South Africa
  2. Countering Extremism Online — Immunizing the Youth!
    Dr Houda Abadi, Carter Center, Associate Director, MENA Region Projects – Conflict Resolution Program
  3. Being American and Being Muslim — Lessons from South Africa
    Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, Founder Director of the World for All Foundation & Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Al Waleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University

[More information here . . . ]

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

You Can’t Say We Didn’t Know

Some Perspectives on Israel, Palestine, and the Conflict

Episcopal Bishop’s Committee for Israel/Palestine
Diocese of Olympia
October 2016


In preparation for the 2016 Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, the Bishop’s Committee for Israel/Palestine prepared a book of essays, You Can’t Say We Didn’t Know: Some Perspectives on Israel, Palestine, and the Conflict.

These essays are presented here for the general reader. Each author takes full responsibility for what has been written. The material has been thoughtfully researched, and is offered in the spirit of seeking peace through understanding.

We humbly thank you for your interest in learning more about Israel and Palestine, and pray for our guidance toward a peaceful resolution. Continue reading “You Can’t Say We Didn’t Know”

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 . . . ]