From the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel
Omar Barghouti’s U.S. Tour
“November 1: ‘Palestine: Thirsting for Justice. Israel’s Control of Water as a Tool of Apartheid and a Means of Ethnic Cleansing’, 4 pm, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
Further info: Robin Ellis, rkellis19[at]earthlink.net
November 2: ‘Justice, Freedom and the Ethical Role of Intellectuals: The Question of Palestine’, 7 pm, 101 Taper Hall of the Humanities, University of Southern California; introduced by Ruth W. Gilmore, respondent Arieh Saposnik, Gilbert Chair in Israel Studies, UCLA.
Further info: David Lloyd, colles2012[at]sbcglobal.net
–From The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Also, for recent news, see the Latest Headlines from Democracy Now!:
Goldstone Challenges Obama to Explain Gaza Inquiry Objections
As the US challenges Sri Lanka, the head of a UN inquiry into the US-backed assault on Gaza is challenging the Obama administration to explain why it’s worked to minimize the inquiry’s findings that Israel committed multiple war crimes. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Judge Richard Goldstone said the White House had raised ‘concerns’ about the report but hasn’t explained them.
Judge Richard Goldstone: ‘It seems to be still developing. It’s been ambivalent, I think. The Obama administration joined our recommendation calling for full, good-faith investigations, both in Israel and in Gaza, but said that the report was flawed. But I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they’ve identified are. I mean, I’d be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are.’
Last week the US voted against a UN Human Rights Council resolution endorsing the report’s recommendations that both sides of the Gaza conflict probe war crimes allegations or face international prosecution. The resolution has been forwarded to the Security Council, where it’s expected to face a US veto.
US, Israel Stage Joint Air Drill
The US, meanwhile, has launched a joint air force drill with the Israeli military. The drill has been described in Israel as a preparation for an attack on Iran. US Navy Rear Admiral John Richardson said the exercises would aid the Obama administration’s revamped missile defense program.
US Navy Rear Admiral John Richardson: ‘This exercise is not directly related to recent announcements about ballistic missile defense in Europe, but the lessons and the insights that we gain from this exercise will certainly relate to developing that capability.’
–Democracy Now, 23 October, 2009
Also from Democracy Now!:
International Women’s Media Foundation Honors Israeli Journalist Amira Hass with 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award
“Amira Hass is a regular columnist with Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper and the only Israeli journalist to have spent several years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank. On Tuesday, Hass was awarded the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour described Hass as ‘one of the greatest truth-seekers of them all.’ Hass joins us to talk about covering the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Goldstone report on the Israeli assault on Gaza, and the need to understand the issue in the context of military occupation…”
–Democracy Now!, 21 October, 2009
And some important updates from Sydney Levy of Jewish Voice for Peace
“…The day before yesterday, a judge extended the detention of Mohammad Othman for yet another 11 days. He was detained on September 22 by Israeli authorities when returning to the West Bank after a trip to Norway, where he advocated for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Since his detention, he has endured long interrogations and solitary confinement.
Over 8,000 people have written US President Obama, asking him to press Israel for his release.
Please keep fighting for his release, and get the latest on his case here: http://freemohammadothman.wordpress.com
Yesterday, Israeli activist Ezra Nawi was sentenced to one month in jail. Why? On July 22, 2007, he tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region. The whole incident was documented on video, except for a few seconds when Ezra was inside the shack being demolished. Israeli Border Policemen claimed to have been hit by Ezra in these few seconds, and the judge, of course, took their word over Ezra’s.
This should come as no surprise. The very same day of Ezra’s sentencing, Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office decided not to press charges against Border Guard policemen documented in a video hitting Palestinians, ‘as they did not cause real damage.’ (1)
While these Border Guards go free, Ezra Nawi goes to jail.
After over 20,000 of you wrote letters in Ezra’s defense, the judge had tried to avert more bad publicity by encouraging Ezra to admit his guilt and take community service instead of prison time. Ezra could not admit a crime he did not commit, so rather than avoiding jail as a guilty person, he is going to prison as an innocent man.
Ezra was further ordered to pay a fine of NIS 750 and NIS 500 to each of the officers he was wrongfully convicted of assaulting. In addition, Ezra was given a conditional sentence of six months in prison, should he ‘participate in similar activities’ during the next three years.
In reaction to the sentence, settlers complained about ‘the selectivity of law enforcement officials,’ implying that the judge went too light on Nawi, but ignoring the glaring irony that it is the settlers themselves who enjoy the privileges of the discriminatory system imposed by the Israeli occupation. (2)
Today, the first two young Israeli conscientious objectors of the class of 2010 faced the consequences of their refusal to serve in the Israeli army. Efi Brenner was sent to his first ten days of jail, and at press time was being held in solitary confinement. Or Ben-David is under arrest, awaiting her sentence.
The 2010 Shministim letter of refusal states in part:
Out of sense of responsibility and concern for the two nations that live in this country, we cannot stand idle. We were born into a reality of occupation, and many of our generation see this as a “natural” state. In Israeli society it is a matter of fact that at 18, every young man and woman partakes in military service. However, we cannot ignore the truth – the occupation is an extreme situation, violent, racist, inhuman, illegal, non democratic, and immoral, that is life threatening for both nations. We that have been brought up on values of liberty, justice, righteousness and peace cannot accept it.” (3)
These are just some of the faces of the people imprisoned because of their resistance to the Israeli occupation. There are, of course, countless more. Last summer, the prisoners’ support and human rights organization Addameer published a report documenting the arrests of demonstrators and human rights defenders. (4)
This has been a difficult week, but make no mistake — the struggle is not over. We take comfort on Nelson Mandela’s words, “In my country we go to prison first and then become President…”
–Sydney Levy, Jewish Voice for Peace email, 22 October, 2009