USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Alternet: Obama Is Right: Christian Violence Is Just as Bad as Muslim Violence—Or Worse

Posted by uscsjp on February 6, 2015

This week, President Obama met with Muslim leaders in a private political meeting for the first time in his six-year presidency. The meeting set off predictable angry reactions from the political right, with Fox News’s Sean Hannity even saying [3] that he wished Obama had demanded that the leaders assembled publicly denounce radical Islam. Obama further raised the hackles of the Christian right when he said at the National Prayer Breakfast that no religion has a monopoly on violence, saying [4]:

Posted in Analysis, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

#weather_the_storm

Posted by uscsjp on January 27, 2015

#WEATHER_THE_STORM

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Robert Barsocchini: Facts All US Citizens Need to Know About Israel and Palestine

Posted by uscsjp on January 19, 2015

This blog post from several months ago during the height of the Israeli bombardment continues to resonate urgently in 2015. We re-print it in its entirety. –USC SJP Blog Editor

Facts All US Citizens Need to Know About Israel and Palestine

  • Gaza (along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem) is occupied Palestinian territory underinternational law, determined by the vast majority of the world, as well as the highest court in the world, the UN’s International Court of Justice. Gaza cannot commit aggression against Israel, since Israel is in constant and continual commission of illegal aggression against Palestine by occupying it (illegally and sadistically blockading it and frequently committing terrorism against its civilians, including by targeting them with chemical weapons provided by US taxpayers – see “Rain of Fire” by Human Rights Watch). As documented by Amnesty Int’l, Human Rights Watch, and many others,Israel intentionally targets and murders civilians, including children, en masse.
  • But, even ignoring international law and that Gaza is under illegal Israeli occupation, Gaza did not initiate this current round of violence; Israel did:
    • Western/US/Israeli propaganda says the violence started with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths on June 12th. That is a lie:
    • On May 20th, the Israeli government murdered 2 unarmed Palestinian teens, one on video, and wounded a third.
    • The firing of pathetic scrap metal rockets from impoverished Gaza, which have killed no one, were in fact launched in response to earlier Israeli bombings, killings, assassinations, and arrests of Palestinians, including children.
  • Since the year 2000, Israel has killed 1,500 Palestinian children, while Palestinians have killed 132 Israeli children. That means Israel has killed over 1,000% percent more Palestinian children than vice versa.
  • According to a landmark, comprehensive study of all of Israel’s wars, by Zeev Maoz, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis, former head of the Graduate School of Government and Policy and of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and former academic director of the M.A. Program at the Israeli Defense Forces’ National Defense College:
    • “. most of the wars in which Israel was involved were the result of deliberate Israeli aggressive design . None of these wars – with the possible exception of the 1948 War of independence – was what Israel refers to as Milhemet Ein Berah (war of necessity). They were all wars of choice . ” – Defending the Holy Land, pg. 35, (bold added)
    • “I review a number of peace-related opportunities ranging from the Zionist-Hashemite collusion in 1947 through the collapse of the Oslo Process in 2000. In all those cases I find that Israeli decision makers – who had been willing to embark upon bold and daring military adventures – were extremely reluctant to make even the smallest concessions for peace . I also find in many cases Israel was engaged in systematic violations of agreements and tacit understandings between itself and its neighbors.” – Defending the Holy Land, pg. 40
  • Israel has violated more UN resolutions than any other country. That includes Iraq under Hussein.
  • Hamas is the government elected by Gaza in elections that Jimmy Carter (and many others) observed and said were completely fair and free. Israel constantly says Hamas uses human shields. But in Israel’s biggest massacre of Gaza, the one in 2009, all the human rights organizations, including Amnesty, HRW, and the jurist Richard Goldstone, found that Hamas DID NOT use human shields. On the contrary, Israel used human shields, which is a regular practice for Israel. Israel uses civilians as human shields.
    • Israel forced Palestinian civilians to dig and lay naked in trenches around Israeli tanks. See hereat 6:45.
      • XIV. THE USE OF PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS AS HUMAN SHIELDS
      • “The Mission received allegations that in two areas in north Gaza Israeli troops used Palestinian men as human shields… The Mission found the foregoing witnesses to be credible and reliable. It has no reason to doubt the veracity of their accounts and found that the different stories serve to support the allegation that Palestinians were used as human shields.”
  • Noam Chomsky: “Hamas is regularly described as ‘Iranian-backed Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.’ One will be hard put to find something like ‘democratically elected Hamas, which has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus’—blocked for over 30 years by the US and Israel. All true, but not a useful contribution to the Party Line, hence dispensable.”
  • In the history of all rocket and mortar fire into Israel, 26 people, total, have been killed. And remember, Palestine breaks ceasefires far less often than Israel, as documented above.
    • This number of 26 is in contrast to the minimum number of 1,400 people who were murdered by Israel in a single one of its terrorist atrocities, the 2009 Gaza Massacre.
    • Noting that in the current massacre, zero Israelis and over 100 Palestinians have thus far been killed, and noting that Gaza is a concentration camp – Israel allows no one to enter or leave – Dan Sanchez gives a perfect description of the disparity in arms between the US/Israeli war machine and Palestinian scrap metal projectiles: “They [the Gazans] are like fish in a barrel, being blasted by a shotgun from above. It’s like some of the fish in the barrel pathetically spitting water at the gunman, and [US media calls] that a “shooting battle.”
  • The rhetoric and tactics of Hamas and other groups resisting Israeli occupation and colonization can be brutal (though far less so than Israel). Propagandists try to attribute this to anti-Semitism, to distract from the fact that these groups are resisting having their country stolen and their people dispossessed and annihilated. Native American resistance to European colonizers was sometimes extremely brutal, as was their rhetoric, but everyone universally recognizes that this was not because of “anti-White-ism”, or “anti-European-ism”, but because they were having their land stolen and their people massacred, the same thing that Israel is doing to the Palestinians.
    • Palestinians have the right under international law to resist occupation, ethnic cleansing, colonization, aggression, and annexation. Miko Peled, son of an Israeli general, recently statedthat if Israel doesn’t Like rockets, they should decolonize Palestine. Dr. Norman Finkelstein notesthat “The Palestinians have the right to use arms to resist an occupation . However, the fact that morally and legally they have that right doesn’t mean that it’s the most prudent strategy. In my opinion, a national Palestinian leadership committed to mobilizing nonviolent resistance can defeat the Israeli occupation if those of us living abroad lend support to it.”
  • In 1948, the people who wanted to form a Jewish state carried out a massive terror and ethnic cleansing campaign against the occupants of Palestine, expelling about half of them (750,000) from their land and into concentrated areas (Gaza and West Bank). Israel has slowly continued colonizing even those areas, which were specifically reserved by the UN for Palestinians. Israel takes all the best land and resources, such as water. Here is a visualization of what has happened, and is currently happening with massive support from Obama:

  • Israeli settlement building in Palestine is a war crime under international law. Under Obama, Israeli settlement building is up over 130%.
  • For about 40 years, there has been an international consensus that Israel must stop colonizing territory outside its 1967 borders. The consensus has been blocked by the United States, in isolation from the international community (much like the USA’s isolated, strong support for South African Apartheid). Every year there is a UN vote on the issue, and every year it goes about 165 to 2, the world against the US and Israel. This continues under Obama. All human rights groups support the consensus, as does Hamas, the Arab League, Iran, the Organization of the Islamic Conference… Virtually everyone, except the US and Israel. (More details on this page.)
  • Palestinians are brutalized, repressed and impoverished by Israel. To get a quick visual understanding of the difference between Gaza and Israel, take a look at the images of people and cities being wantonly pummeled by Israeli terrorism when you search the word “Gaza“, and the images of opulence, wealth and luxury that come up when you search “Tel Aviv“.
  • Israel, whose government intentionally targets, tortures, and murders civilians, including children, including with chemical weapons, and whose government uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and whose government is the last entity on Earth carrying out old-style ethnic cleansing and colonization of foreign countries, is the single biggest recipient of US aid, at over three billion dollars a year and huge amounts of lethal weaponry such as attack helicopters and white phosphorous chemical explosives.
  • To reiterate, Obama requested more military aid for Israel than any president ever. This is not because Obama and the USA love Jewish people. Obama was recently an accomplice in a literal neo-Nazi-led coup d’etat in Ukraine, and is currently fully supporting the junta-integrated Ukrainian government, which is staffed with several neo-Nazis in high ministries, and which uses neo-Nazi paramilitaries to carry out massacres (and possibly genocide) against people resistant to the junta. The actual reason the US supports Israel is discussed below.
  • As Amnesty International has noted, all aid to Israel is illegal under international (and US) law, because Israel is a consistent violator of human rights.

Amnesty International also noted that Israel’s 2009 massacre of Gaza would not have been possible without the illegal funding (money and weapons) and support Israel gets from the USA.

This is also true of the current massacre Israel is committing in Gaza.

However, in a way, that is good news.

That means US citizens can STOP the massacres.

If we stop our money and weapons-flow to Israel, which is illegal anyway, we stop Israeli terrorism! All we have to do is stop committing a crime, and we will stop more crimes! That’s great news.

Here is a previous example of how this has worked: When the USA cut its funding for Indonesia’s genocide against East Timor, which the USA was funding almost exclusively, Indonesia was forced to stop and withdraw. All it took was cutting off our illegal flow of money and weapons to the criminals.

The same thing would happen if we cut our illegal funding for Israel’s genocides and acts of terrorism, ethnic cleansing, colonization, and annexation against Palestine.

But since the USA is an anti-democratic country, the only way to stop US plutocrats from using our money to fund Israeli terrorism is to force it through massive, non-violent pressure.

One way it happens is when it becomes too politically costly for the plutocracy to keep funding genocide and terror, meaning the costs of their illegal support outweigh the benefits, as in Indonesia. In that case, massive publicity and indigenous resistance accomplished the goal.

But Israel is the USA’s main imperial – and nuclear – base for controlling the Middle East, which US planners, in 1945, called the greatest material prize in world history, due to the oil and gas. Thus, it might require more, as in non-violently making our country into a democracy so that people control their own institutions and money, and thus the way we operate as a society and interact with the world.

Last note: To be clear, Israel is a legal state, but only within the borders allotted to it by the United Nations – the Pre-1967 borders, which existed before Israel started eating away, through terror, ethnic cleansing, colonization, and annexation, at the areas reserved by the United Nations for Palestinians, as well as areas of other countries, such as Syria (the Golan Heights).

Per international law, US domestic law, and common sense, Israel doesn’t deserve any support until it abandons isolationism and accepts that it can’t steal other people’s countries, and stops blockading and withdraws its soldiers and settlers, all there illegally, from those countries.

Israel is, militarily, the most powerful country in the Middle East, by far. Removing our support for the Israeli government (which we are legally required to do) will not put Israelis in danger. It will pressure the Israeli government to stop doing what endangers Israelis, which is committing aggressive acts against Israel’s neighbors.

If Israel ends its status as a consistent violator of human rights, decolonizes Palestine, and respects its neighbors, it could be a pleasure – and legal – to work with and support Israel.

Germany, Japan, and South Africa went from being the most reviled countries on Earth to being some of the most admired. Maybe Israel could undergo the same transformation, but not unless we, US citizens, help by ceasing to enable Israeli terrorism and war crimes by illegally supporting them.

 

— Robert Barsocchini, July 12, 2014.

 

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/07/facts-us-citizens-need-know-israel-palestine.html

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George Monbiot: “Why stop at Isis when we could bomb the whole Muslim world?”

Posted by uscsjp on January 12, 2015

Humanitarian arguments, if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East


By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 1st October 2014

Let’s bomb the Muslim world – all of it – to save the lives of its people. Surely this is the only consistent moral course? Why stop at blowing up Islamic State, when the Syrian government has murdered and tortured so many? This, after all, was last year’s moral imperative. What’s changed?

How about blasting the Shia militias in Iraq? One of them selected 40 people from the streets of Baghdad in June and murdered them for being Sunnis(1). Another massacred 68 people at a mosque in August(2). They now talk openly of “cleansing” and “erasure”(3), once Islamic State has been defeated. As a senior Shia politician warns, “we are in the process of creating Shia al-Qaida radical groups equal in their radicalisation to the Sunni Qaida.”(4)

What humanitarian principle instructs you to stop there? In Gaza this year, 2,100 Palestinians were massacred: including people taking shelter in schools and hospitals. Surely these atrocities demand an air war against Israel? And what’s the moral basis for refusing to liquidate Iran? Mohsen Amir-Aslani was hanged there last week for making “innovations in the religion” (suggesting that the story of Jonah in the Qu’ran was symbolic rather than literal)(5). Surely that should inspire humanitarian action from above? Pakistan is crying out for friendly bombs: an elderly British man, Mohammed Asghar, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, is, like other blasphemers, awaiting execution there after claiming to be a holy prophet(6). One of his prison guards has already shot him in the back.

Is there not an urgent duty to blow up Saudi Arabia? It has beheaded 59 people so far this year, for offences that include adultery, sorcery and witchcraft(7). It has long presented a far greater threat to the west than Isis now poses. In 2009 Hillary Clinton warned in a secret memo that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban … and other terrorist groups.”(8) In July, the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, revealed that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, until recently the head of Saudi intelligence, told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”(9) Saudi support for extreme Sunni militias in Syria during Bandar’s tenure is widely blamed for the rapid rise of Isis(10,11). Why take out the subsidiary and spare the headquarters?

The humanitarian arguments aired in parliament last week(12), if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East and West Asia. By this means you could end all human suffering, liberating the people of these regions from the vale of tears in which they live.

Perhaps this is the plan: Barack Obama has now bombed seven largely-Muslim countries(13), in each case citing a moral imperative. The result, as you can see in Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan,Yemen, Somalia and Syria, has been the eradication of jihadi groups, of conflict, chaos, murder, oppression and torture. Evil has been driven from the face of the earth by the destroying angels of the west.

Now we have a new target, and a new reason to dispense mercy from the sky, with similar prospects of success. Yes, the agenda and practices of Isis are disgusting. It murders and tortures, terrorises and threatens. As Obama says, it is a “network of death”(14). But it’s one of many networks of death. Worse still, a western crusade appears to be exactly what it wants(15).

Already Obama’s bombings have brought Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra, a rival militia affiliated to Al Qaeda, together(16). More than 6,000 fighters have joined Isis since the bombardment began(17). They dangled the heads of their victims in front of the cameras as bait for war planes. And our governments were stupid enough to take it.

And if the bombing succeeds? If – and it’s a big if – it manages to tilt the balance against Isis, what then? Then we’ll start hearing once more about Shia death squads and the moral imperative to destroy them too – and any civilians who happen to get in the way. The targets change; the policy doesn’t. Never mind the question, the answer is bombs. In the name of peace and the preservation of life, our governments wage perpetual war.

While the bombs fall, our states befriend and defend other networks of death. The US government still refuses – despite Obama’s promise – to release the 28 redacted pages from the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, which document Saudi Arabian complicity in the attack on America(18). In the UK, in 2004 the Serious Fraud Office began investigating allegations of massive bribes paid by the British weapons company BAE to Saudi ministers and middlemen. Just as the crucial evidence was about to be released, Tony Blair intervened to stop the investigation(19). The biggest alleged beneficiary was Prince Bandar, mentioned above. The Serious Fraud Office was investigating a claim that, with the approval of the British government, he received £1bn in secret payments from BAE(20).

And still it goes on. Last week’s Private Eye, drawing on a dossier of recordings and emails, alleges that a British company has paid £300m in bribes to facilitate weapons sales to the Saudi National Guard(21). When a whistleblower in the company reported these payments to the British ministry of defence, instead of taking action it alerted his bosses. He had to flee the country to avoid being thrown into a Saudi jail. Smirking, lying, two-faced bastards – this scarcely begins to touch it.

There are no good solutions that military intervention by the UK or the US can engineer. There are political solutions in which our governments could play a minor role: supporting the development of effective states that don’t rely on murder and militias, building civic institutions that don’t depend on terror, helping to create safe passage and aid for people at risk. Oh, and ceasing to protect and sponsor and arm selected networks of death. Whenever our armed forces have bombed or invaded Muslims nations, they have made life worse for those who live there. The regions in which our governments have intervened most are those which suffer most from terrorism and war. That is neither coincidental nor surprising.

Yet our politicians affect to learn nothing. Insisting that more killing will magically resolve deep-rooted conflicts, they scatter bombs like fairy dust.

http://www.monbiot.com

References:

1. http://www.theguardian.com/guardianweekly/story/0,,1818778,00.html

2. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/22/shia-attack-sunni-mosque-iraq

3. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/24/iraq-frontline-shia-fighters-war-isis

4. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/24/iraq-frontline-shia-fighters-war-isis

5. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/29/iran-executes-man-heresy-mohsen-amir-aslani

6. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/stand-up-for-blasphemers-like-mohammed-asghar-frankie-boyle

7. http://www.amnesty.se/upload/apps/webactions/urgentaction/2014/09/23/52302414.pdf

8. http://www.theguardian.com/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/242073

9. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html

10. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/06/isis-saudi-arabia-iraq-syria-bandar/373181/

11. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/islamic-state-us-failure-to-look-into-saudi-role-in-911-has-helped-isis-9731563.html

12. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140926/debtext/140926-0001.htm#1409266000001

13. https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/23/nobel-peace-prize-fact-day-syria-7th-country-bombed-obama/

14. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140926/debtext/140926-0001.htm#1409266000001

15. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/26/west-isis-crusade-britain-iraq-syria

16. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/28/isis-al-qaida-air-strikes-syria

17. http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.616730

18. http://nypost.com/2013/12/15/inside-the-saudi-911-coverup/

19. http://www.theguardian.com/world/bae

20. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/05/bae-saudi-yamamah-deal-background

21. Richard Brooks and Andrew Bousfield, 19th September 2014. Shady Arabia and the Desert Fix. Private Eye.

–George Monbiot, September 30th, 2014

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The Economist: Will joining the International Criminal Court further Palestine’s cause?

Posted by uscsjp on January 10, 2015

THE “nuclear option” was how American and Palestinian officials described the application by Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine’s president, to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. His move follows a vote against a Palestinian attempt to have the UN Security Council set a deadline for Israel to end its occupation of territories it captured in 1967. It might open Israel—or Palestine—to charges of committing war crimes. Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the UN, said Palestine would join the court on April 1st.

Before Mahmoud Abbas applied on January 1st to join the ICC, Israeli officials promised it would result in an appropriate “Zionist response”: the expansion of settlements that would in effect bisect the West Bank near Jerusalem. Moreover, said officials, an application would also effectively spell the end of talks to establish an independent Palestinian state: never again, they said, would Israel negotiate with Palestinians over the future of Jerusalem, an issue that would have to be the cornerstone of any agreement since both sides claim it as their capital.

Given such hyperbole, the response of Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, looks fairly mild. For now he has acted as in past rows, by withholding customs revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the PA on Palestinian imports, a sum of $127 million that comprises two-thirds of Mr Abbas’s monthly budget. Even that act earned Mr Netanyahu copious reprimands. A spokesman for the Obama administration ticked him off. So did Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, the veteran if maverick hardliner from Mr Netanyahu’s own party, Likud, who has turned into Israel’s leading advocate of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. Threatening Mr Abbas with bankruptcy and the Palestinian Authority (PA) with collapse, Mr Rivlin said, was bad not just for Palestinians, but for Israel too.

He has a point. Israel’s retention of tax revenues has left Mr Abbas unable to cover this month’s salaries for 160,000 state employees. The president’s men insist that Mr Abbas’ critics, who always thought the old man was bluffing about joining the ICC, will now cheer rather than stir up the street. But unions representing PA employees are smarting from previous pay cuts. Banks might have the reserves to cover their salaries for only a couple of months.

A Palestinian businessman asks: once the money dries up, for how long will PA security forces remain quiet before they start selling their guns to make ends meet? On a previous occasion when that happened in 2006, Hamas’s military wing was a willing buyer of weapons. Shortly thereafter it took over Gaza. Israel’s freeze on tax receipts, therefore, seems likely to be thawed just as previous ones were.

Israel is appealing to a sympathetic Congress to withhold the $400m it gives the PA each year when Palestine brings its first petition to the ICC. But Palestinians hope that will not happen. “Will the Americans really topple one of the last secular rulers,” asks a Palestinian official, “while IS is itching to take over next door?” In any case, Saudi Arabia, which has chipped in cash before, sounds more sympathetic than normal.

Now that Mr Abbas has followed through, the question is whether the ICC will do much. Israeli officials fret that soldiers travelling abroad may be subject to arrest. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are already said to be paying lawyers in western capitals to prepare the writs. Palestinians and their supporters abroad, meanwhile, hope to seek the prosecution for war crimes of any Israeli accused of occupying Palestinian territories. Among those that could be targeted is Uri Ariel, the settler housing minister who is driving the expansion of settlements on the West Bank.

Yet both sides seem to invest the ICC with powers that it has never hitherto shown itself to have. And it could take many years for an investigation to reach conclusion. “Look at Africa,” says a sober Israeli official, in reference to investigations that have stalled in Kenya and Sudan.

Just a few days after the Palestinian application, Israel’s Supreme Court (which prides itself on keeping on the right side of international law) prevented the government from building its separation barrier through Battir, a delightful West Bank village set on a gorge through which the old Ottoman railway line to Jerusalem passes.

The monks of Cremisan, whose monastery is also threatened by the barrier, wonder whether Israel’s judges will similarly spare their property. If not, they could turn out to be among the first applicants to head for the international court.

–The Economist, 10 Jan, 2015

 

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21638151-will-joining-international-criminal-court-further-palestines-cause-see-you

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i100 from The Independent: “Welcome to Bethlehem, where Palestinian Santas are tear-gassed”

Posted by uscsjp on December 26, 2014

Welcome to Bethlehem, where Palestinian Santas are tear-gassed

 by 

This was the scene in Bethlehem earlier today as Palestinian protesters, some of whom were dressed as Father Christmas, clashed with Israeli security forces.

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Demonstrators were demanding greater freedom of movement in the West Bank city, which according to the New Testament was the birthplace of Jesus.

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Watch a video of the incident below:


(Pictures: Reuters, AP and Getty)

–originally posted December 24th, 2014

http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/welcome-to-bethlehem-where-palestinian-santas-are-teargassed–gJdCJXXhtg

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Update from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Posted by uscsjp on December 10, 2014

Demand Stores Boycott SodaStream for Human Rights Day

by Ramah Kudaimi, Membership & Outreach Coordinator December 10th, 2014

Take Part in National Call-In Day!  

The “Apartheid Made Exciting? SodaStream Month of Action” is underway! Protests have already taken place in Seattle, Portland, Omaha, NE, Duluth, MN, and Washington, DC and others are planned for Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia, and beyond! Now it’s your turn to take action! Today is Human Rights Day, and we are asking for people to make a quick call to the corporate headquarters of two stores, Sur La Table and Target, to ask them to stop selling SodaStream. 

 

Sample script: “Hello. My name is ______, and I am calling on Human Rights Day to ask that your store stop selling SodaStream. The company has a factory in an illegal Israeli settlement built on stolen Palestinian land and exploits Palestinian labor and resources. I urge your store to follow the example of Macy’s and deshelve all SodaStream products for the sake of Palestinian human rights.” Sur La Table: Call 206-613-6000. If no one picks up, dial extension 6070 and leave a message for CEO Jack Schwefel. Open 8am-5pm PST.  Target: Call 612-304-6073 and then dial 6. Open 8am-5pm CST.  While SodaStream has announced that it will be shutting down its settlement factory, until it actually does, the company continues to profit from Israel’s military occupation. Once you make the calls, please click here to let us know how it went. If you are on Twitter, click here to tweet a message to Sur La Table and here to tweet one to Target.

 

Last year activists delivered an interfaith petition to Target headquarters in Minneapolis with almost 10,000 signatures asking them to boycott SodaStream. You can learn more about the campaign in Seattle targeting Sur La Table on this great Burst the Bubble website. Make your phone calls today to strengthen all the local campaigns happening nationwide demanding an end to SodaStream’s complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian human rights! PS- The Ferguson Action Team is calling on people to unite against state violence and racism today. Post up a picture or graphic to show the world what is happening in your country or city with the hashtag #WorldisWatching and #Ferguson2[your country/city].

 

–Rameh Kudaimi, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, December 10th, 2014

http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4240

Posted in Activism/Divestment | Leave a Comment »

This #givingtuesday, help Palestinians in Gaza!

Posted by uscsjp on December 2, 2014

Heavy rain battered Gaza last week and we were forced to declared an emergency in Gaza City. As you may expect, the whole of Gaza is still reeling from the widespread destruction of the summer’s hostilities. The blockade persists and is making life incredibly difficult for the almost 90,000 who remain homeless.

 

Among the 90,000 is 26-year-old Felesteen Isdudi, whose home was severely damaged. She’s still living in an UNRWA school serving as a shelter with her seven children, aged 2 months to 9 years old, and her husband Bassan.

 

Felesteen and her seven children at  the UNRWA’s Collective Centre at Zaitoun Elementary Boys School B.

While Felesteen and Bassan are grateful for adequate shelter, life is difficult, particularly for the children. “Each day, the children have to walk for over 80 minutes on the way to and from school, as we are unable to pay for transportation for them… and in winter this becomes harder – for them and also for me as I am unable to help them,” Bassan said.

 

UNRWA will provide the Isdudis with a temporary shelter cash allowance so they can rent an apartment until their home is rebuilt. But we need your help. For now, along with nearly 3,000 other displaced persons in the shelter, the family is making the best of a very hard situation. Felesteen explains the winter hardships, “When the children go to sleep, I put them all beside each other to feel some warmth.”

 

This winter, our goal is to ensure the nearly 90,000 people in Gaza made homeless by the recent conflict can secure alternative shelter. Second, that they, and other  Palestine refugees in need in the West Bank and Syria, receive the help they need to weather the winter storms.

Donate today to give Felesteen’s family warmth and an alternative home. Give:

 

US$ 24 to reinforce a makeshift home with tarpaulin to protect a family like the Isdudi’s from the wind, rain and snow

US$ 50 to supply the family with a heater

US$ 350 to equip five families, just like Felesteen’s, with blankets

US$ 1350 to provide the a family with alternative shelter for the next six months

Last year’s winter storm Alexa brought torrential rains and widespread flooding that displaced thousands, exacerbating an already precarious humanitarian situation.

 

Last week’s rains are a hint of what can we expect this winter. Following the destruction in Gaza this summer, and predictions for a harsh winter, we expect this winter to be much harder than the last.

 

Help Palestine refugees in Gaza #weatherthestorm. Celebrate the spirit of charity this#givingtuesday and give today.

 

 

Wishing you a safe and warm winter,

Lionello Boscardi
Chief, Partnerships Division
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)

Posted in Activism/Divestment, News | Leave a Comment »

This #GivingTuesday Donate to Help Syrian Refugees Facing a Food Crisis

Posted by uscsjp on December 2, 2014

UN World Food Program (WFP) Forced To Suspend Syrian Refugee Food Assistance, Warns Of Terrible Impact As Winter Nears

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The Guardian: 1.7m Syrian refugees face food crisis as UN funds dry up

“More than 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt are facing a disastrous and hungry winter after a funding crisis forced the UN’s World Food Programme to suspend food vouchers to hundreds of thousands forced into exile by the conflict.

Since the war began in March 2011, the WFP has brought food to millions of Syrians inside the country, and has used the voucher programme – which allows refugees to buy food in local shops – to inject about $800m (£500m) into the economies of those countries hosting them.

But after finding itself unable to secure the $64m it needs to support Syrian refugees in December, the WFP announced on Monday that it was halting the scheme. Severe funding shortfalls have already led the UN body to reduce rations within Syria, where it is trying to help 4.25 million people.

Its executive director, Ertharin Cousin, issued a blunt and urgent appeal to donors, asking them to honour their commitments and warning that the suspension would have a devastating effect on the lives of more than 1.7 million people.

She said: “[It] will endanger the health and safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions, instability and insecurity in the neighbouring host countries. The suspension of WFP food assistance will be disastrous for many already suffering families.”

She added that Syrian refugees in camps and informal settlements throughout the region were ill-prepared for another difficult winter, especially in Lebanon and Jordan where tents are drenched in mud, hygiene conditions are poor and many children lack shoes and warm clothes…”

 

–The Guardian, 1 December, 2014

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/01/syrian-refugees-food-crisis-un-world-programme

Posted in Activism/Divestment, News | Leave a Comment »

RT: ‘2nd class citizen’: Israeli Arabs stamp Facebook pics to protest ‘Jewish state law’

Posted by uscsjp on November 30, 2014

Images from Facebook.com

Hundreds of Arab Israelis this week have chosen to stamp their Facebook profile pictures with a “second-class citizen” sign. The online campaign mocks and protests the controversial Jewish nation state law the Israeli parliament is set to vote on.

The official-looking stamp has “second class citizen” written in Hebrew and “State of Israel” in English. It was designed by two artists, Haitham Charles and Sana Jamaileh, who wanted to make a statement about the plans to anchor in law the status of Israel as “the national homeland of the Jewish people.”

READ MORE: Netanyahu govt approves disputed bill making Israel nation-state of Jewish people

“A friend suggested we design a sticker in response to the terrible situation,” Charles told Arab Israeli news website Al-Hayat, The Times of Israel reports. “We laughed and said: ‘All we need right now is for the new state seal to be stamped on our foreheads.’ That’s when we decided to invent this stamp.”

Image from Facebook.com

Image from Facebook.com

After they fixed the stamp to their Facebook photos, the authors received an avalanche of requests from other Israeli Arabs wanting to add the sticker to their pictures too. Jamalieh told The Haaretz that in just one day, she “sent pictures to over 200 people.”

Many [people] asked me if we expect some response from the state, but we are really just laughing about it,” she said. “What’s new here? We were never first–class citizens.”

Among those who joined the campaign is Hanin Majadli, a 25-year-old Arabic literature student at Tel Aviv University, who created a Facebook page that teaches Israeli Jews colloquial Arabic.

It’s a brilliant campaign,” she said, according to The Times of Israel. “It’s dramatic, it’s in your face, it’s provocative in a good sense. I also agree with the statement carried in it.”

Image from Facebook.com

Image from Facebook.com

A draft version of the controversial law, which would define Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, was approved by the Israeli government on November 23.

A ‘tougher’ version of the bill could strip Arabic of official second language status. If it’s passed, the language native to 20 percent of the country’s population could be downgraded to a “special status”.

A lot of Israelis have spoken out again the legislation, labeling it as racist. The critics say the bill will discriminate against Israeli Arabs and put religion and ethnicity above democracy.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin criticized the bill earlier this week. “The formulators of the (Israeli) Declaration of Independence, with much wisdom, insisted the Arab communities in Israel, as well as other groups, should not feel as the Jews had felt in exile,” Rivlin stressed.

Image from Facebook.com

Image from Facebook.com

—RT News, November 30th, 2014

http://rt.com/news/209631-israeli-arabs-facebook-stamps/

Posted in Activism/Divestment, News | Leave a Comment »

 
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