Archive | June 16th, 2010

INDIA:OPERATION GREEN HUNT’S

NOVANEWS

 Operation Green Hunt’s Urban Avatar

Rajeesh | June 15, 2010 : Uncategorized http://wp.me/pglpM-1NY

By Arundhati Roy

14 June, 2010
The Dawn

While the Indian Government considers deploying the army and air force to quell the rebellion in the countryside, strange things are happening in the cities.

On the 2nd of June the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR) held a public meeting in Mumbai. The main speakers were Gautam Navlakha, editorial consultant of the Economic and Political Weekly and myself. The press was there in strength. The meeting lasted for more than three hours. It was widely covered by the print media and TV.

On June 3rd, several newspapers, TV channels and online news portals like Rediff.com, covered the event quite accurately. The Times of India (Mumbai edition), had an article headlined “We need an idea that is neither Left nor Right”, and the Hindu’s article was headlined “Can we leave the bauxite in the mountain?” The recording of the meeting is up on YouTube.

The day after the meeting, the Press Trust of India (PTI) put out a brazenly concocted account of what I had said.

The PTI report was first posted by the Indian Express online on June 3rd 2010 at 13.35 pm. The headline said: “Arundhati backs Maoists, dares authorities to arrest her.” Here are some excerpts:

“Author Arundhati Roy has justified the armed resistance by Maoists and dared the authorities to arrest her for supporting their cause.”

“The Naxal movement could be nothing but an armed struggle. I am not supporting violence. But I am also completely against contemptuous atrocities-based political analysis.” (?)

“It ought to be an armed movement. Gandhian way of opposition needs an audience, which is absent here. People have debated long before choosing this form of struggle,” Roy, who had saluted the “people of Dantewada” after 76 CRPF and police personnel were mowed down by Maoists in the deadliest attack targeting security forces. “‘I am on this side of line. I do not care…pick me up put me in jail,’ she asserted.”

Let me begin with the end of the report. The suggestion that I saluted “the people of Dantewada” after the Maoists killed 76 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is a piece of criminal defamation. I have made it quite clear in an interview on CNN-IBN that I viewed the death of the CRPF men as tragic, and that I thought they were pawns in a war of the rich against the poor.

What I said at the meeting in Mumbai was that I was contemptuous of the hollow condemnation industry the media has created and that as the war went on and the violence spiraled, it was becoming impossible to extract any kind of morality from the atrocities committed by both sides, so an atrocity-based analysis was a meaningless exercise.

I said that I was not there to defend the killing of ordinary people by anybody, neither the Maoists nor the government, and that it was important to ask what the CRPF was doing with 27 AK-47s, 38 INSAS, 7 SLRs, 6 light machine guns, one stengun and a two-inch mortar in tribal villages.

 If they were there to wage war, then being railroaded into condemning the killing of the CRPF men by the Maoists meant being railroaded into coming down on the side of the Government in a war that many of us disagreed with.

The rest of the PTI report was a malicious, moronic mish-mash of what transpired at the meeting. My views on the Maoists are clear. I have written at length about them. At the meeting I said that the people’s resistance against the corporate land grab consisted of a bandwidth of movements with different ideologies, of which the Maoists were the most militant end. I said the government was labeling every resistance movement, every activist, ‘Maoist’ in order to justify dealing with them in repressive, military fashion.

 I said the government had expanded the meaning of the word ‘Maoist’ to include everybody who disagreed with it, anybody who dared to talk about justice. I drew attention to the people of Kalinganagar and Jagatsinghpur who were waging peaceful protests but were living under siege, surrounded by hundreds of armed police, were being lathi-charged and fired at.

I said that local people thought long and hard before deciding what strategy of resistance to adopt. I spoke of how people who lived deep inside forest villages could not resort to Gandhian forms of protest because peaceful satyagraha was a form of political theatre that in order to be effective, needed a sympathetic audience, which they did not have.

I asked how people who were already starving could go on hunger strikes. I certainly never said anything like “it ought to be an armed movement.” (I’m not sure what on earth that means.)

I went on to say that all the various resistance movements today, regardless of their differences, understood that they were fighting a common enemy, so they were all on one side of the line, and that I stood with them. But from this side of the line, instead of only asking the government questions, we should ask ourselves some questions. Here are my exact words:

“I think it is much more interesting to interrogate the resistance to which we belong, I am on this side of the line. I am very clear about that. I don’t care, pick me up, put me in jail. I am on this side of the line. But on this side of the line, we must turn around and ask our comrades questions.”

I then said that while Gandhian methods of resistance were not proving to be effective, Gandhian movements like the Narmada Bachao Andolan had a radical and revolutionary vision of “development” and while the Maoists methods of resistance were effective, I wondered whether they had thought through the kind of “development” they wanted.

Apart from the fact that they were against the Government selling out to private corporations, was their mining policy very different from state policy? Would they leave the bauxite in the mountain – which is what the people who make up their cadre want, or would they mine it when they came to power?

I read out Pablo Neruda’s “Standard Oil Company” that tells us what an old battle this one is.

The PTI reporter who had made it a point to take permission from the organizers to record cannot claim his or her version to be a matter of ‘interpretation’. It is blatant falsification. Surprisingly the one-day-old report was published by several newspapers in several languages and broadcast by TV channels on June 4th, many of whose own reporters had covered the event accurately the previous day and obviously knew the report to be false.

The Economic Times said: “Publicity seeking Arundhati Roy wants to be Aung San Su Kyi”. I’m curious – why would newspapers and TV channels want to publish the same news twice, once truthfully and then falsely?

That same evening (June 4th), at about seven O’clock, two men on a motorcycle drove up to my home in Delhi and began hurling stones at the window. One stone nearly hit a small child playing on the street. Angry people gathered and the men fled. Within minutes, a Tata Indica arrived with a man who claimed to be a reporter from Zee TV, asking if this was “Arundhati Roy’s house” and whether there had been trouble.

Clearly this was a set up, a staged display of ‘popular anger’ to be fed to our barracuda-like TV channels. Fortunately for me, that evening their script went wrong. But there was more to come. On June 5th the Dainik Bhaskar in Raipur carried a news item “Himmat ho to AC kamra chhod kar jungle aaye Arundhati” (If she has the guts Arundhati should leave her airconditioned room and come to the jungle) in which Vishwaranjan, the Director General of Police of Chhattisgarh challenged me to face the police by joining the Maoists in the forest. Imagine that- the police DGP and me, Man to Man.

 Not to be outdone, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Chhattisgarh, Ms Poonam Chaturvedi announced to the press that I should be shot down at a public crossroad, and that other traitors like me should be given the death sentence. (Perhaps someone should tell her that this sort of direct incitement to violence is an offense under the Indian Penal Code.) Mahendra Karma, Chief of the murderous ‘peoples’ militia the Salwa Judum which is guilty of innumerable acts of rape and murder, asked for legal action to be taken against me.

On Tuesday June 8th the Hindi daily Nayi Duniya reported that complaints have been filed against me in two separate police stations in Chhattisgarh, Bhata Pada and Teli Bandha, by private individuals objecting to my “open support for the Maoists.

Is this what Military Intelligence calls psyops (psychological operations)? Or is it the urban avatar of Operation Green Hunt? In which a government news agency helps the home-ministry to build up a file on those it wants to put away, inventing evidence when it can’t find any? Or is PTI trying to deliver the more well-known among us to the lynch mob so that the government does not have to risk its international reputation by arresting or eliminating us?

Or is it just a way of forcing a crude polarization, a ridiculous dumbing down of the debate-if you’re not with “us” you are a Maoist? Not just a Maoist, but a stupid, arrogant, loudmouthed Maoist. Whatever it is, it’s dangerous, and shameless, but it isn’t new. Ask any Kashmiri, or any young Muslim being held as a “terrorist” without any evidence except baseless media reports. Ask Mohammed Afzal, sentenced to death to “satisfy the collective conscience of society.”

Now that Operation Green Hunt has begun to knock on the doors of people like myself, imagine what’s happening to activists and political workers who are not well known. To the hundreds that are being jailed, tortured and eliminated. June 26th is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Emergency.

Perhaps the Indian people should declare (because the government certainly won’t) that this country is in a state of Emergency. (On second thoughts, did it ever go away?) This time censorship is not the only problem. The manufacture of news is an even more serious one.

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SAVAGERY OF BRITISH RULE IN IRELAND

NOVANEWS

 

 Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

modernityblog | June 15, 2010 | Tags: 1972, Bloody Sunday., Derry, Northern Ireland, Parachute Regiment, Saville Report, Six counties, State murder, Sunday, Widgery Report | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p4XPG-22Q

If you follow the reporting of the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday, 1972 then you will notice a strange form of debate taking place in Britain.

The debate in the British media is primarily not over the culpability of the soldiers from the Parachute Regiment.

No, it is not that, instead they drone on about the cost of the new inquiry.

Even the liberal media, in the form of a Guardian editorial, is apologetic but seemingly constrained by the prevailing mood in Britain.

So it is reduced to arguing that whilst it was costly it was a price worth paying, which is a rather insipid argument.

No, even the supposed radicals at the Guardian can’t bring themselves to ignore the irrelevance of the cost and concentrate on British culpability and the past cover up, in the form of the Widgery report.

Had Irish nationalists not push for this inquiry then we would still be left with the Widgery whitewash and the British media wringing their hands.

But this poor state of affairs does highlight the nature of British hypocrisy and particularly amongst those in the media.

Only last week we heard them screaming blue murder about events in the Middle East, yet when it comes closer to home their savage invective leaves them and they often dance around the topics, avoiding the key issues.

It would be nice if the British media could make an effort, for once, to apply their critical faculties to the activities of British soldiers in the Six counties, and address the savagery of British rule in Ireland.

You might almost say it is strangely inconsistent that the British media can’t be objective about civilians murdered by British troops in one of the last remnants of Britain’s one-time empire. Hmm.

Anyway, this is the Saville report and the conclusions, sadly they do not provide easy and compact PDFs of the report, although much of the evidence and material is available as PDFs.

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DIVEST FROM ZIO=NAZI OCCUPATION

NOVANEWS

Jewish Voice for Peace

TIAA-CREF: DIVEST
FROM OCCUPATION


SIGN THE PETITION

 

Dear,

It took the courage of over 700 humanitarian aid activists and the needless deaths of nine of them to put the siege of Gaza and the broader issue of the Israeli occupation on the front pages of  the world’s newspapers, day after day, for a week.  There were demonstrations across the globe and diplomatic condemnations

But my own government was largely silent.

While other countries condemned the illegal attack, here in the US, President Obama played games with words and ensured that no resolution would pass the UN Security Council. And instead of demanding an impartial international investigation, he gave his blessing to a widely criticized  Israeli plan to investigate itself.

The catastrophe on the high seas off the Gaza Strip has only underscored the urgent need to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine and to bring a just peace.

In the last year, divestment campaigns at U.S. universities including Hampshire, Berkeley, and Evergreen have galvanized discussion and action about Israel’s treatment of the occupied Palestinian territories. Building on that momentum, I am proud to tell you that Jewish Voice for Peace is announcing today a new divestment campaign that you, your family, your friends, and your community can all help build.

Our goal is to get TIAA-CREF, one of the largest pension funds in the United States, to divest from companies that are profiting from the occupation.

Why TIAA-CREF?

TIAA-CREF’s tagline is “finance for the greater good.”  It takes pride not just in its financial acumen, but also in its ethical standards.

But TIAA-CREF, invests its money–my retirement money– in companies that help maintain the Gaza blockade, build West Bank settlements, embed spy equipment in the illegal Separation Wall, and sell Israel navy ships and other war equipment used to attack Gaza and, most recently, the Flotilla. Even TIAA-CREF’s “socially responsible” funds are invested in some of the companies JVP is targeting, including Caterpillar and Motorola.

Yet TIAA-CREF was the first major fund to divest from those doing business in the Sudan, and then other companies followed suit. If we can just convince TIAA-CREF to follow its own guidelines, as it has in the Sudan, we will have a major impact.

TIAA CREF participants are public school teachers, college and university professors, hospital doctors and staff, researchers, artists and non-profit workers. We are launching this campaign with the endorsements of over 250 prominent  professors, doctors  authors, artists, and many others who are standing up for what is right. You can see who has signed on here.
 
This is just the beginning.  Will you join us?
 
You’ll be standing with scholars such as Professor Richard Falk and Professor Noam Chomsky, authors and activists such as Naomi Klein, Juan Cole, Bill Fletcher Jr., and Nadia Hijab, a dozen rabbis from around the country, and many others fighting for justice.

We ask you to sign the petition – regardless of your religion, ethnicity or profession, or whether you participate in a TIAA-CREF retirement plan.

This campaign demands accountability from the ground up, starting with you and me. An old bumper sticker sums it up:  “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.” 

Only if we lead, will D.C. follow.

We think that with your help, this campaign will make a huge difference.

Economic pressure campaigns using boycott, divestment and sanction tactics have a long and noble history. They helped end apartheid in South Africa.  They worked in the American South, in the civil rights movement.  They worked to persuade California grape producers to recognize their workers’ union.   Most recently, many people are boycotting Arizona in response to its treatment of immigrants. But none of these campaigns were overnight successes.  This is the beginning of a long, hard battle, but we’re determined to win it.  If you join, we will win.

Sign the petition, and find out more about the campaign and how to get involved in your community.

We can make it happen again.


Henri Picciotto
Former Chair, JVP Board of Directors
TIAA-CREF Participant

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ZIONIST KILLED CHRIST

NOVANEWS

by Shabana Syed

Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon

According to the famous Israeli-born Jazz musician, Gilad Atzmon, “The ideology that carried out execution-style killings on the Gaza aid flotilla the ‘Mavi Marmara’ is the same ideology that carried out the massacres at Deir Yassin, Qibya, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana, Gaza, Jenin and the murder of Rachel Corrie — more than that it is the same ideology that killed Christ.”

Click to read more …

The Colbert Report: Formidable Opponent (a video)

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/the-colbert-report-formidable-opponent.html  

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FLOTILLA SURVIVORS’ RIGHT TO SPEAK!

NOVANEWS

Subject: Sign to Defend Gaza Freedom Flotilla Survivors’ Right to Speak!

About the IAC | Donate | IAC Books & Resources | Contact Us
Defend Gaza Freedom Flotilla Survivors’ Right to Speak!

Sign to Show Your Support.
Sign Now: http://www.iacenter.org/palestine/mavimarmara

A group of politicians and Zionist organizations are trying to ban speakers to a major NYC meeting scheduled for this Thursday, June 17, 7 pm at House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn and a speaking tour by a Turkish Member of Parliament, a U.S. filmmaker and other survivors of the horrific Israeli attack on the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara.

The Mavi Marmara survivors have a right to be heard.

Sign here to support these courageous activists’ right to travel and speak and the right of people in the United States to hear what they have to say:

http://www.iacenter.org/palestine/mavimarmara

Sponsors of the July 17  MEETING FOR TRUTH include: Al Awda NY – The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Muslim American Society, International Action Center, National Lawyers Guild-NYC, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement,  American Muslims For Palestine, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, NYC Labor Against the War,  Arab Muslim American Federation, Labor For Palestine,FIST-Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, Action for a Progressive Pakistan, ANSWER Coalition, Anakbayan, Bayan USA, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, Creative Nonviolent Resistance against Injustice, Gabriela USA, International League of Peoples Struggle–NY/LOC, Middle East Crisis Response, El Beireh Society, The Indypendent, Socialist Action, International Socialist Organization, Westchester Peoples Action Coalition, Bailout the People Movement, American-Iranian Friendship Committee

Attend this NYC Meeting and/or add your name in support of this MEETING FOR TRUTH

Sign Now: http://www.iacenter.org/palestine/mavimarmara

For full details of this effort to block the survivors from speaking at a public meeting is described below by Al Awda NY, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition.

AL-AWDA NY , THE PALESTINE RIGHT TO RETURN COALITION

info@al-awdany.org                                                  718-228-8636

Don’t Let Enemies of Freedom Suppress the Truth About

Israel’s Attack on a Humanitarian Aid Ship!
All Out to the House of the Lord Church 415 Atlantic Ave. Thursday June 17, 7 pm
MAVI MARMARA SURVIVORS HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HEARD!

Two weeks ago Israeli naval commandos stormed a Turkish ship loaded with humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. They murdered 9 unarmed passengers. The oldest, Ibrahim Bilgen, was 61. the youngest, Furkan Dogan, a U.S. citizen born in Troy , N.Y., was just 19. 

On Thursday, June 17, two eyewitnesses to this horror, U.S. filmmaker Iara Lee and British political organizer Kevin Ovenden, and Ahmet Unsal, a former Member of Turkey’s Parliament, have been invited to tell their views and stories at a public forum at Brooklyn’s historic House of the Lord Church. The meeting is cosponsored by dozens of organizations. 

They come with nothing but words. But words of truth strike fear into the hearts of certain hate-filled New York politicians who have voted time and again to turn U.S. taxpayers’ dollars into missiles and bombs for Israel’s war machine. 

On June 14, City Council speaker Christine Quinn, Reps. Jerry Nadler, Anthony Weiner, Carolyn Mahoney, Charles Rangel and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer gathered in Times Square at the behest of the so-called “Jewish Community Relations Council.” They shamelessly demanded that the State Department investigate the invited speakers for “ties to terrorism.” They want to prevent or delay their entry the United States. This is a clear attempt to not only deny the passengers’ right to speak but to deny the people of the United States the right to hear their words.

The group of politicians who issued this call have supported every act of terror by the Israeli state against the native people of Palestine and its neighbors. They cheered the 2008-9 terror bombing and invasion of Gaza that slaughtered 1,400 people, including hundreds of children. They applauded Israel’s 2006 mass murder of 900 Lebanese civilians. They hail the cruel blockade that denies food, medicine, electricity and sanitation to the people of Gaza and they dare to support the killing and kidnapping of Turkish, U.S., British and Irish citizens who tried to break that blockade. 

These political hacks now attack our very right to learn and discuss the issues involved. They seek to pin the label of “terrorist” on any who oppose the vicious and immoral blockade of Gaza and the endless stream of U.S. guns and dollars to Israel’s brutal war machine. And they want to hide the truth about what happened that bloody night on the Mavi Marmara.

We call upon all people who believe in justice and freedom to resist this attack on our rights. Let your elected representative  know that you have the right to hear what the courageous survivors of the Mavi Marmara have to say. And let’s pack the House of the Lord Church Thursday night. Let’s answer this vile attempt at intimidation with a powerful mass meeting.

LET THE TRUTH BE HEARD!                      Please Forward Widely

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ALL-INCLUSIVE BOYCOTT

NOVANEWS

 

 Yediot report on escalating boycott actions by Turkey (and Italy)

Didi Remez | June 16, 2010

A couple of points to note:

  1. The headline is a pun — Turkey is known to Israelis a popular destination for “all-inclusive” holiday packages.
  2. Someone on the editorial desk inserted a stab at Deputy FM Danny Ayalon by illustrating the report with the infamous humiliation photo of the Turkish Ambassador and labeling it “How it all started.”

All-inclusive boycott

Itamar Eichner, Yediot, June 16 2010 [page 7; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]

Up until now they made do with making vocal protests. Now the time for sanctions has arrived: Turkey is planning on taking severe steps to protest Israel’s failure to apologize for its behavior in the flotilla affair and to pay compensation to the people who were injured and killed on board the Mavi Marmara.

The relationship between Israel and its long-standing friend in the region, which have deteriorated consistently in the past number of months, have now reached a new low point. The Turkish ambassador, who was recalled to Ankara after the flotilla takeover, has not been returned to Israel.

According to the current reports, he is not expected to return to Israel any time soon. The Turks are planning on lowering the level of relations so that they only have a “representative” in Israel.

According to reports in Turkey yesterday, the USD 180 million unmanned aerial vehicle deal that was signed with Israel has been cancelled. In keeping with the contract, Israeli teams had been in Turkey to train local teams to use the UAVs. Following flotilla affair, the Israeli teams were called back to Israel, and the Turks claimed that by so doing Israel had violated the contract, rendering it null and void.

Other reports indicate that the Turks are considering prohibiting Israeli ships from docking in Turkish ports, impeding Israeli businesspeople and not to encourage Israeli tourism. Turkish officials are also contemplating filing suits against Israel with the International Court of Justice at The Hague and voting against Israel in various international forums.

“It is clear today that Erdogan only wants to worsen relations with Israel,” said yesterday top Foreign Ministry officials. “Stage by stage he is going to deteriorate them — all the way to severing relations.”

Israeli officials are afraid that Erdogan will search for an excuse to prompt a further deterioration in relations. They said that the Turkish prime minister has been coming under mounting domestic criticism for his actions.

In the meantime, that criticism has been quite soft, but Israeli officials have been encouraged by the fact that many Turkish officials have said that they do not understand why Erdogan has downgraded relations, and that criticism might just stem the tide. Opposition figures in Turkey have charged that Erdogan has responded disproportionately and is joining forces with Iran.

Other reports indicated that the Americans have sent the Turks very stern messages about their closer relations with the Iranians.

Yesterday, two weeks after having been escorted secretly out of the country, the family members of Israeli diplomats who serve in Istanbul and Ankara were permitted by the Foreign Ministry to return to Turkey. The decision was made following a new situation assessment that was made by the Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Ministry officials said  that it was very difficult to separate the families and in light of the diminishment of the protests and the angry mood against Israel — a decision was made to restore things to routine.

Italian boycott of Israel

Meanwhile, the boycott against Israel has expanded further and has begun to affect countries that are considered to be its friends.

Italian government officials capitulated to Arab pressure and decided not to invite Israel to the conference of Mediterranean countries that is to be held in Milan in July, despite the fact that Israel is a member country of the forum. This decision has deeply angered the Israelis, who are pressuring the Italians to reverse the decision.

Israel’s banishment from the conference, which is to be attended by representatives of 26 countries, including Arab countries, was sponsored by Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Stefania Gabriella Anastasia Craxi.

The Arabs said that they would make their participation contingent upon a refusal to invite Israel, and Craxi succumbed to the pressure. When Israeli officials tried to ask her to explain, she became evasive.

Political officials said that this was a particularly odd decision, given the fact that Italy was one of the prime fighters against boycotting Israel.

See: www.coteret.com

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ACTIVE NONVIOLENCE IN PALESTINE

NOVANEWS

ACTIVE NONVIOLENCE IN PALESTINE AND ISRAEL

By David Hartsough 3/12/10 

When people think of Palestine and Israel, they often picture Palestinians as suicide bombers and terrorists while the Israeli military are seen as bombing whole neighborhoods in Palestine.  The violence and counter-violence and endless war has created a hopelessness about any peaceful future for the Holy Land.

However, during a month-long stay in Palestine and Israel recently, I found something else.  I found something very positive and hopeful and perhaps the key to a peaceful resolution of this tragic conflict — and a possible path toward a peaceful future for both peoples.

I found that violence is not the whole story.  Endless checkpoints, 26-foot high walls, and the great fear and mistrust between many Israelis and Palestinians are grimly persistent features of life there.  But there is also an alternative to this cycle of destruction being forged on both sides. There is a larger story beyond the script of retaliatory violence – a story of a growing nonviolent movement that both Palestinians and Israelis are building.  It is this larger story that I would like to share.  

Active Nonviolence is alive and well in Palestine and Israel! The interfaith delegation I co-led to this region witnessed, first hand, many Palestinians who are engaged in active nonviolent resistance to the occupation of their lands in the West Bank.  Weekly nonviolent demonstrations have been held in many villages, including Bil’in, Nil’in, Al Ma’sara, Walaja, as well as in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East. Jerusalem, some for more than five years. 

 Israelis (including Combatants for Peace and Anarchists Against the Wall), and Internationals, (including Christian Peacemaker Teams, Ecumenical Accompaniment Program and Michigan Peace Teams,  [and the International Solidarity Movement, and International Womens Peace Service.  Dorothy] ) actively participate in these weekly actions.  There is a deeply inspiring commitment by Palestinians throughout the region to keep struggling nonviolently even when Israeli soldiers shoot powerful tear-gas canisters and grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, concussion bombs and even live ammunition at the unarmed villagers..

On December 17, 2009 our interfaith delegation visited one of these sites, Bil’in, an agricultural village of approximately 1,800 residents west of Ramallah about 2 miles from the “Green Line” marking Israel’s boundary before 1967 and near the settlement, Modi’in that straddles the former border. 

We joined other internationals, Israelis  and about 200 people from the area, and marched from the center of Bil’in to the electric separation fence.  Palestinian activists say that some 56% of the villagers’ farmland is unreachable because of that barrier, about one kilometer down a dirt road. 

The Israeli Supreme Court actually ruled in favor of the Palestinians, saying that the wall must be moved to be closer to the original green line, enabling the farmers to get to their fields. For two and a half years the Israeli military did not comply with that ruling, saying they could not afford to move what is actually just an electrified chainlink fence topped with concertina wire!.

As we approached the barricade, the Israeli soldiers launched dozens of tear gas canisters; our eyes burned and our exposed skin seared with this gas that was much more powerful and potent than anything I have ever experienced before.  They also exploded concussion bombs, and the sound of the loud explosions were very frightening. 

Our delegation abruptly turned around and stumbled over the rocks and back down the hill to get away from the blinding teargas which scorched our lungs and made us totally nauseated. 

The locals, exposed to this toxic gas every week, continued the nonviolent protest quite close to the barrier.  Some of them had face masks or plastic bags to help keep out the noxious fumes.  One, in a wheelchair, stayed the longest, able to leave, but unwilling to surrender his place on the line.

The leaders of the weekly demonstrations are building a model of a powerful nonviolent movement which is already being replicated in other communities across the West Bank.  Mohammad Khatib, secretary of the village council, says this “experimental” tactic of “nonviolent demonstrations by the grass roots is changing history,” and indeed it is!  In February, 2010, after five years of nonviolent actions in Bil-in, Israeli bulldozers have finally begun to move the barrier!back toward the green line.  It gives the Palestinian people great hope for the possibilities in the future if they persist, nonviolently.

     Nil’in

Four miles west of Bil’in is the village of Nil’in where residents, joined by  Israeli and international activists, have been staging weekly demonstrations against a nearby expansion of the Israeli West Bank barrier there. This barrier has appropriated  approximately ⅓ of Ni’lin’s land, similar to the percentage in Bil’in.  On July 28, 2008, 10-year-old Ahmed Moussa was fatally shot by Israeli soldiers during one of these  anti-barrier protest demonstrations

Then, on March 13, 2009, U.S. Citizen Tristan Anderson, of Oakland, California was critically injured when he was struck in the head by a gas canister.  It was fired by Israeli soldiers after the weekly protest had already ended!  One year later he remains in an Israeli hospital near Tel Aviv, and is beginning to talk and walk with the help of a walker..  Tristan’s only “weapon” was the camera he was using to take photographs of the demonstration. 

Other peaceful activists have been killed in these protests, and more than 11,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned for nonviolent resistance.  However, the commitment of the Palestinian people to continue the struggle nonviolently is unwavering. They use an Arabic word “Al-Samoud (الصمود)” which means perseverance or steadfastness. 

Palestinians practice Al-Samoud daily by refusing to leave even in the face of  heavy intimidation by armed Israeli military and settlers who are trying to confiscate their lands and remove them from their homes.

Al-Samoud motivates them to replant their olive trees when they are uprooted, to rebuild their homes when they are bulldozed, to refuse blank checks from Israeli settlers trying to “buy” their homes or land, and for Palestinian children to keep walking to school even when settlers taunt and throw stones at them.

The Palestinians are steadfast even when they can’t reach their fields, when their homes are raided in the middle of the night and members of their families are arrested, and in so many other ways.  Their perseverance is an amazing model of nonviolent resistance and relentless persistence…

al-Ma’sara

On another Friday, we joined the demonstration in al-Ma’sara south of Bethlehem where approximately 200 villagers, with Israeli and international supporters, marched peacefully to the edge of town. Although there is already a large wall which separates the Palestinians from their fields,the Israeli soldiers erected a large barbed wire bulwark even closer to al-Ma’sara, as part of their ongoing acts of intimidation.. In addition, behind the barbed wire fence were more than seventy-five well armed Israeli soldiers, supported by six military vehicles—all for a peaceful, nonviolent demonstration.

 Mahmoud Zwahre, Mayor of al-Ma’sara,

Head of the al-Ma’sara Popular Committee, and

a leader of the nonviolent resistance..

When we reached the barbed wire barricade, we stopped; leaders of the march, villagers, and a former Israeli bomber pilot spoke passionately about the apartheid wall.  One local woman, accompanied by her  two young children,, held up a photograph of her older son.  He and her husband were arrested by the military and are being held indefinitely in an Israeli prison. This woman’s home has also been bulldozed by Israeli soldiers in their ongoing aggression towards the villagers.

She shared her anguish over the loss of her family members and her home, and her determination to continue the nonviolent struggle to end the Israeli occupation of their fields and their country. She spoke of her hope that the apartheid wall be torn down.  Her commitment to nonviolence was truly remarkable in the face of such deep grief and on-going violence towards her family.

After the rally was officially ended, people slowly began walking back down the road into al-Ma’sara . The soldiers crossed the barbed wire, and began aggressively pushing the crowd back toward their village. A couple of young boys threw small stones at the military; the soldiers immediately rushed toward them, and shot off sound grenades which exploded like a bomb. The blast was both deafening and frightening,

The soldiers continued to force the crowd back into the village, and attempted to arrest the young boys. They were backed up by six military vehicles roaring their engines, jerking forward and threatening to run down any nonviolent demonstrators who did not retreat quickly.  It was very scary, especially when the soldiers and the army vehicles invaded the village.

Finally, Sami Awad, Executive Director of Holy Land Trust (HLT), spoke with the commander of the troops regarding this provocative action.  Sami told him that the army’s invasion of the village could end up with a major confrontation, and their aggression certainly had nothing to do with security for the people of Israel!  Once they concluded this show of force, the troops and vehicles finally retreated back out of the village, and people returned to their homes.

Some of the internationals were asked to stay in al Ma’sara  to  protect  the leaders of the Popular Committee in case the soldiers returned during the night..  None came, but several nights later, armed military did come and arrested one of the leaders of the nonviolent movement.  He still sits in an Israeli prison.

The villagers are well versed in the practices of nonviolence.  HLT works with their community at both the grassroots and leadership levels in developing nonviolent approaches to resolve this conflict.  They aim to end the Israeli occupation and build a future founded on the principles of nonviolence, equality, justice, and peaceful coexistence.  www.holylandtrust.org

Tent of Nations

In another community, the Tent of Nations, outside Bethlehem, I met Daoud Nasser and his family.  His father bought their land back in 1924 when the area was under Turkish rule. Now, the farm is surrounded on all the hilltops with new settlements (part of the 500,000 Jewish settlers who have moved into the West Bank).

Fully armed Israeli soldiers broke into his home several months ago and told him that he and his family had to leave, but Daoud refused to go.  He has the deed to his home and believes he has a right to stay on the land which his ancestors bought more than 80 years ago. They are still on the land, but could be forcibly evicted at any time.

Recently, settlers raided his farm and uprooted 400 olive trees which gave his family much of their income! However, committed to a nonviolent response, Daoud and his family have planted 500 more trees, which will take many years to mature.

 Daoud’s family was refused building permits from the Israeli authorities for his house, for the greenhouse where they start new seedlings, and for the cistern where they collect rain water since they are not allowed to dig a well.  So, at any time the soldiers could come and bulldoze his house, force him and his family to leave, and destroy their greenhouse or cistern.. Daoud and his family are a remarkable example of Al-Samoud (الصمود)” – steadfastness and perseverance, or relentless persistence, in their nonviolent struggle to survive.

Daoud questions, “Why can’t all the religions, all the children of Abraham, understand that the basis of all our religions and religious teachings are the same….That we love one another, that we treat others as we would like them to treat us, and that we are all children of God?” 

He does not seem to have an ounce of hatred toward the settlers or the Israeli soldiers who continually threaten his family with eviction from their ancestral land.  Their faith that justice will prevail, and that nonviolence is a more powerful weapon than the gun, sustains them. 

Daoud and his family organize camps for young people of all religions, and from many countries around the world to come and live on their land.  It provides a wonderful opportunity for these young civilian diplomats to learn how much we all have in common – and that we need to treat one another as we would have others treat us. 

When they return to their home countries, they take the message that building friendships and understanding one another are important parts of nonviolent social change. They have learned that there are other ways to challenge injustice, oppression and violence than responding with more violence. The website for this valuable project is: (www.tentofnations.org)

al-Walaja (Arabic: الولجة‎) – West Bank

al-Walaja, four kilometers northwest of the city of Bethlehem, is another example of a community which is nonviolently resisting being evicted from their land. During the Israeli-Palestinian war in 1948, they were forced to leave their ancestral lands across the valley where they had lived for centuries.  Those fields were fertile and had natural springs.

While many villagers fled to refugee camps in Bethlehem and Jordan, others continued to live on the land.  While their lands had been seized within Israel, they continued to live on and farm an area across the valley from their former comnunity,on the Palestinian side of the “Green Line  After the 1967 war, they tried to get permits from the Israeli authorities to build homes for their families, and a school, at this new location. 

 They spent decades, and tens of thousands of dollars, unsuccessfully submitting permit applications.  Finally, in deep frustration, they went ahead and built their homes without permits. The Israeli authorities have bulldozed many of these “illegal” homes, but each time the houses have been leveled, the families have rebuilt them, sometimes many times.

The families in al-Walaja also wanted a school for their children,  and  they sought the assistance of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)  The UN said they could not help build a school if Israeli authorities had not granted a building permit.   After several years of unsuccessfully trying to get the permit, they gathered money from the members of the al-Walaja community to build a school on their own.

Several more years later, the UN finally agreed to help in providing funds for books and supplies for the school, but the Israeli authorities could still come any day with their bulldozers and completely destroy the school..  Such is the state of “justice” in the West Bank.

We were there on a Friday morning, and several hundred villagers, Israeli Combatants for Peace, and Internationals, had a peaceful march.  The demands of the people of al-Walaja were echoes of those in so many Palestinian villages who are being encroached upon by Settlers:  (1) the right to continue to live on their land, (2) to live in their homes without threat of demolition, (3) for their children be able to get an education without fear of their school being leveled..

In addition, the community opposes plans for the building of a 26 foot high apartheid cement wall which could totally surround their community!  A tunnel under the wall  would be the only way in or out of Al Walaja ,  However, this tunnel would be controlled by the Israeli soldiers, and could be opened or closed by them at will, without explanation.  Although the people in al Walaja feel threatened from all sides, their commitment to al Samoud keeps them struggling for a peaceful future for their community.

Sheikh Jarrah (Arabic: الشيخ جراح‎)

Sheikh Jarrah is a beautiful old Palestinian neighborhood in Occupied East Jerusalem. In 2001, Israeli settlers broke into a sealed section of  a Palestinian family’s house and refused to leave, claiming the property was owned by Jews.  Many contested evictions have occurred since that time, including one on August 2, 2009. 

 Following an Israeli court decision, two Palestinian families (al-Hanoun and al-Ghawi), consisting of 53 persons, were evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.  Jewish settlers moved into the houses immediately.  These brutal house seizures by the Settlers were supported by armed Israeli soldiers and police.  The Palestinian’s belongings and furniture were destroyed, and tossed out on the street, and now a community of these evicted families are living in tents on the street in front of their own homes. 

Some have been there for months, and are often harassed or even forcibly removed from the street. The United Nations coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert H. Serry, said the evictions were “totally unacceptable actions.contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions related to occupied territory.”  

One Friday afternoon when we joined their regular vigil, perhaps 30 Hasidic Jewish settlers arrived in their long black coats and broad-rimmed black hats, and curls (payos) down the sides of their faces. They were honoring Shabat, the seventh day of the Jewish week, and a day of rest in Judaism, by celebrating their brutal take-over of Palestinian  homes.  They were dancing the Horah, and enthusiastically singing in the street in front of the homes they had seized!

There was a frenzied spirit as a large group streamed into one yard where 4/5ths of the house is now occupied by Jewish settlers, with the Palestinian family living in the other 1/5.  A lone, elderly Palestinian woman held silent vigil in a tent in the side of the yard, while Shabbat prayers were interrupted by shouts of “Death to the Arabs,” by the Hasidic settlers  Later, they graffitied this slogan on the walls of the houses, and invaded another home, beating up two young Palestinian children who had to be taken away in ambulances..  This was the tragic way they honored the Sabbath..

Amazingly, despite this continual harassment and violence, we did not observe the Palestinians using any violence – in word or deed – against those who have forcibly taken their homes . For months they have lived in the street in their small tents with hope and quiet determination, or Al-Samoud (الصمود), and continue the struggle to get their homes back.  Other Palestinians on the block are fearful that they will be the next victims of this violence by the settlers who are supported by the Israeli Supreme Court which has ruled that the Jews own the land.  

 I was shocked by the settler’s determination to inflict violence on “the other” – even throwing them out into the street.  Horrified, I could not even begin to fathom what this kind of hatred has to do with religion.  I do know that I am deeply touched and impressed with the willingness of the Palestinians to keep struggling nonviolently for justice, and a peaceful resolution to this tragic conflict over land and homes.

MEND Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy

Another important part of the Palestinian Nonviolent movement is MEND (Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy) which is offering nonviolent training to hundreds of young Palestinians throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  Their goal is to help educate and nurture a new generation of Palestinians with a deeper understanding of nonviolence and nonviolent action. (www.mendonline.org)

Wi’am, the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center

The Wi’am Center is working to support active nonviolence among Palestinians.  They aim to improve the quality of relationships by addressing injustices rather than avenging them; dignifying persons on both sides of the conflict; promoting human rights and advocating for peace among all people.  (www.alaslah.org)

Israeli Peace Movement 

There are many hundreds of Israelis who are refusing to serve in the Israeli armed forces in the occupied territories and/or are total conscientious objectors.  Many of them have served time, or are currently in prison, for taking this position.

We were deeply moved by the Israelis and Palestinians who have formed Bereaved Families for Peace (http://www.cjre.net/bereavedfamilies.htm) and Combatants for Peace (http://www.combatantsforpeace.org/)..  Recognizing that their shared pain unites them, they are speaking together in schools and community groups. “We refuse to let our grief harden into hatred and actions of retaliation.  Instead, we are turning, in compassion and reconciliation, to each other – Palestinians and Israelis – with the hearts of parents who want to join our voices and hands so that there will be no more bloodshed and no more lives of children wasted..”.    

We had not known how many Israelis are also working for the peaceful, and nonviolent resolution of the Occupation.  These include:

4,000 Refusers– Israeli military who are refusing orders to serve in the illegally Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza, and hundreds of high school students who are being jailed for defying Israel’s compulsory military service.  (Israeli law says that once you leave high school you are technically required to serve in the army. For men that can be up for three years, for women it’s 18  months.)

73 Israeli pilots are known to have refused to fly military missions over the Occupied Territories.

Other courageous groups of Israelis working for peace and justice include New Profile (www.newprofile.org/english/), Rabbis for Human Rights (www.rhr.org ),  The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (http://www.icahd.org) and Women in Black (http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english)  who have been demonstrating every week for twenty-two years.

Conclusion/What Can We Do?

Throughout our time in Palestine, and later in Gaza it became very clear that the security of the Palestinians and the Israelis is inextricably linked.  There is such significant interdependence between these two peoples, in an ancient and Holy Land, that they must work together to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.  Peace in the region can only be achieved through nonviolence, not more rockets and bombing and killing one another..

Unfortunately, in the short time since we were in Palestine and Israel, the harassment at these nonviolent demonstrations, and especially of the leaders of the Popular Committees in the villages, has significantly increased. The Israeli soldiers are using live ammunition more frequently, and are coming into the villages in the middle of the night, raiding the homes of the leaders and taking them off to jail for indefinite detention. Some have even been killed.

As former President John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.” We in the peace and justice movement need to strengthen our support of this powerful nonviolent movement in Palestine, and help make peaceful change possible.

We can:

1.       Keep the courageous Palestinians and Israelis resisting the Israeli occupation and Apartheid state in our thoughts and prayers.

2.       Help get the word out, to our friends and the broader public, about these weekly nonviolent demonstrations and this amazing nonviolent movement in Palestine

http://www.internationalpopularstruggle.org/

3.  Join an Interfaith Peace Builders,or a Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation. going to Israel and Palestine to meet peace and human rights workers working for a peaceful and just resolution to this tragic conflict. (www.ifpb.org) and , www.cpt.org   I encourage you to join Scott Kennedy, of the Resource Center for Nonviolence, who co-led the delegation with me in December of 2009.  He will be co-leading a IFPB delegation October 31-November 13, 2010 during the Palestinian Olive Harvest.

4. Send people to accompany the Palestinians in these nonviolent demonstrations and when requested, stay in their villages to help offer nonviolent protection. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) (www.palsolidarity.org), Christian Peacemaker Teams (www.cpt.org), and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program (www.eappi.org) have long-term delegates in the region.

Get moral, practical and financial support to this nonviolent movement –for legal support of those arrested, and for minimal support of some of the leaders of this movement who can no longer get to their fields to grow their crops and tend their animals. (Financial support for this movement can be sent to Peaceworkers at 721 Shrader St., San Francisco, CA 94117 and 100% of your contributions will be forwarded to the nonviolent movement in Palestine.) 

Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (www.popularstruggle.org).

6. Promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli occupation of Palestine, and companies that profit from the occupation and apartheid policies, being called for by over 200 Palestinian and Israeli organizations.  The goal of this campaign is to boycott companies that profit from the occupation and apartheid policies; this action will help bring economic and political pressure on the Israeli government to end the occupation of the West Bank, end the Siege of Gaza and end the Apartheid system in Palestine and Israel.  (www.bdsmovement.net)

7.  Work to help end the American blank check to the Israeli government of over $3 billion a year in military aid to the Israeli government,  It condones the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine, subsidizes the building of the Apartheid wall between Israel and the West Bank , perpetuates the Siege of Gaza,  and  supports the violence being used against nonviolent demonstrators in the West Bank.  Please contact your Congressional representatives and the President to voice your concern..

For more information on the nonviolent movement in Palestine and Israel, check the following links:

          Popular Struggle Coordination Committee   www.popularstruggle.org.

International network for the Palestinian Popular Nonviolent Resistance http://www.internationalpopularstruggle.org

American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights  (http://www.aaper.org)

International Middle East Media Center http://imemc.org

          Friends of Freedom and Justice, Bil’in  www.bilin-ffj.org

          Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions  www.icahd.org/eng

Highly recommended work:

Refusing To Be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeali Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation, by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta. , (Ithaca Press, UK -2010, ISBN13: 9780863723421,

David Hartsough is a Member of San Francisco Friends Meeting.  He is married, is a  father and grandfather, Director of PEACEWORKERS, ,Co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, and recently spent a month in Palestine and Israel co-leading an interfaith peace-building delegation.

I am grateful to Sherri Maurin, Jan Hartsough, Ken Butigan and Scott Kennedy for their invaluable assistance in writing/editing this article.

 

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AN EYE FOR AN EYE?

NOVANEWS

The Blinding of Emily Henochowicz

An Eye for an Eye

 http://www.counterpunch.org/barber06082010.html

By JOHNNY BARBER

One week ago a young American woman, Emily Henochowicz, lost an eye while bearing witness to a clash between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint on the border of Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank. She was attending a demonstration with the International Solidarity Movement in response to the murder of activists in international waters off the coast of Gaza by Israeli commandos.

The Israeli military did not comment on the incident. The United States government registered no formal protest. The major media outlets in the United States made no mention of the attack. Reporters walking the Gulf Coast beaches pointing out tar balls in the sand along with the IDF supplied video and talking points of their commando attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla dominated the 24-hour news cycle.

If the media thought the story was worth reporting, they undoubtedly would have talked about a tragic accident. But it wasn’t.

It was another deliberate attack on an unarmed peace activist by the Israeli military. In and of itself this incident, an American student maimed by our main Middle East ally seems newsworthy. (Imagine for a minute that Hamas, Hizbullah, or Iran had maimed an American- the threats and condemnations would have been fierce and immediate.) Coming within 24 hours of the Freedom Flotilla attack it certainly should have been considered newsworthy. But it wasn’t.

If the Israeli military commented, they most certainly would have expressed regret, but surely, soldiers are allowed to protect themselves from terrorists throwing stones. Put yourself in their place- a mob with weapons (certainly any sensible person would agree that a teenager with a stone is a deadly threat) descending upon the checkpoint need to be subdued. Unfortunately for Emily she found herself amidst the mob. But she wasn’t.

When it was revealed that Emily was standing on the opposite side of the street 20 meters or more away from the stone throwers, certainly the military would amend their statement. An un-named soldier would comment that Emily had stones in her hand or maybe it was a metal pole or maybe it was a knife. But she didn’t.

An IDF spokesperson would step forward and with innuendo and slander imply there were connections to Al-Qaeda or Hamas or maybe just some shadowy “terrorists”. But there isn’t.

ISM witnesses’ state about 100 Palestinian and International activists had gathered at the checkpoint to demonstrate when Palestinian youth clashed with the security forces. As the clash began, the international activists retreated and were on the opposite side of the road from the youth.

Emily was hit in the face with a teargas canister fired directly at her by a soldier at the checkpoint. He was no further than 15 meters from Emily. A Swedish international standing alongside Emily claims the soldier fired 3 teargas canisters in rapid succession directly at them. The third one hit Emily in the face.

If the truth were revealed, the American media would certainly decry the unfortunate accident. Certainly a member of the Israeli security forces would never shoot an unarmed, non-violent demonstrator, apologizing for the soldier’s poor aim. After all, everyone knows the Israeli military is the most moral army in the world. But this is a lie.

This has always been a lie.

The Israeli military systematically targets non-violent, peaceful demonstrators in the West Bank with impunity. The army always investigates its self and never finds any wrongdoing. America, Israel’s main benefactor, arms supplier, and collaborator, turns a blind eye- even failing to protect it’s own citizens from deliberate, malicious harm.

Emily joins a long list of peace activists who confront the Israeli military and pay dearly for it. In May, Hasen Brejieyah from the West Bank village of Al Ma’asara suffered a serious head injury when he was shot with a teargas canister. In Bi’lin the month before, an Israeli protester, Emad Rezqa was hit in the forehead by an aluminum teargas canister shot directly at him by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-Wall demonstration in Bi’lin.

He suffered a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage. One year earlier Basem Abu Rahma a Palestinian from Bi’lin was killed when he was targeted and hit in the chest with a teargas canister. Tristan Anderson, another American national, was critically injured in March 2009 when he was shot with a high velocity teargas projectile during a non-violent demonstration against the Wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. He is still hospitalized, recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

If the American media got wind of these facts they would certainly ask how so many peaceful demonstrators manage to jump in front of high velocity teargas canisters. They would go on to debate the morality of killing and maiming with teargas canisters as opposed to live bullets. There will be no mention of the indecency, the depravity, the cowardice of the soldiers who target non-violent demonstrators with lethal force.

Emily is a talented visual artist. Her last Facebook entry was dated May 31st and says, “Gaza on my mind”. You can access her blog and see her beautiful drawings. I scrolled through the comments- there was an outpouring of love and gratitude expressed by many who appreciated her work, not only on the page but also in the West Bank. In addition, I was not surprised to see the derisive comments spewed at her by the ignorant and the hateful. This is common ground for those who speak out against apartheid in Palestine.

Many people understand the concepts of the Israeli matrix of control and the establishment of facts on the ground that destroys any possibilities of a free Palestinian state. Emily, along with other dedicated, loving, and fearless activists, expresses a different kind of facts on the ground. These facts will be ignored, derided or denied by our media for as long as possible.

Those who blindly support Israel will blather on about anti-Semitism and self-hating Jews, terrorists and existential threats. Our government, complicit in the crimes, will remain mute.

But these facts remain:

That loving people are willing to bear witness to injustice and will risk injury and death to right it.

That people realize that what happened to Emily is but a reflection of the collective punishment meted out to Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government and their US sponsors on a daily basis and are willing to take a non-violent stand to oppose it.

This act of resistance is both noble and beautiful. Though Emily would deny it, her act and the acts of innumerable Palestinians who non-violently confront the occupation each and every day give us a glimpse of the heroic. The artist lives her art, and in doing so opens our eyes and our hearts.

The fact of the matter is the only moral army in the world is the army of non-violent activists who give themselves for the freedom of others.

The fact of the matter is Emily lost an eye, but she has not lost sight of the truth.

Johnny Barber has traveled to Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to bear witness and document the suffering of people who are affected by war and occupation. He can be contacted through his blog at www.oneBrightpearl-jb.blogspot.com

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INNOCENT***INNOCENT***INNOCENT***INNOCENT

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Innocent – Statement by Bloody Sunday Relatives

Tuesday, 15 June, 2010 20:42 From: This sender is DomainKeys verified “Troops Out Movement” <troopsoutmovement@btinternet.com>Add sender to Contacts To: office@btuc.org.uk

See below the statement from the Bloody Sunday Relatives following the release of the Saville Report.

Various reports are on our website at: http://www.troopsoutmovement.com/latestnews.htm

Innocent

The 38 year family campaign to prove the innocence of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday was vindicated today with the publication of the report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Lord Saville announced that all those killed and wounded were innocent and that all the shootings by British soldiers were unjustifiable.

The crowd of thousands gathered in the Guildhall Square got their first indication of the positive outcome of the report with thumbs up from family members from the windows of the Guildhall moments before British Prime Minister David Cameron made his statement to parliament. What follows is the family statement read out today from the steps of the Guildhall, after a minute’s silence held on behalf of all of the victims of the conflict in the North.

“The victims of Bloody Sunday have been vindicated. The Parachute Regiment has been disgraced. Widgery’s great lie has been laid bare. The truth has been brought home at last.

“It can now be proclaimed to the world that the dead and the wounded of Bloody Sunday, civil rights marchers, were innocent one and all, gunned down in their own streets by soldiers who had been given to believe they could kill with perfect impunity.

“The Parachute Regiment are the front-line assassins for Britain’s political and military elite. The report of the Saville Tribunal confirms this. It was the paras mission in Derry to massacre people they thought of as enemies of the state. They will have known that murder is what was expected of them when they erupted onto our streets.

“Bloody Sunday wounded Derry. We may hope that from today we can begin to bind up those wounds. But we recognise, too, that the issues arising from the Report go wider and deeper than Derry’s concerns.

“When the state kills its citizens it is the interests of all that those responsible be held to account. It is not just Derry, or one section of the people of Derry, it is democracy itself which needs to know what happened here on January 30th 1972. The British people need to know. The world needs to know.

“Our campaign in the first instance was for justice for our loved ones. But we didn’t fight only for ourselves. We have tried to stand in the place of others who have suffered the same grief and grievous wrong at the hands of unaccountable power and who may never win any official inquiry, who may never have their truth told. We are mindful of the victims of the Ballymurphy massacre by men of the Parachute Regiment in August 1971, of the families of the two men murdered by the paras on the Shankill Road in September 1972. And of all families bereaved by the paratroopers and other state forces over the course of the conflict. And of all who have died here, from whatever background, at whomever’s hand.

“Bloody Sunday was the price the Bogside paid for Free Derry. So it is, always and everywhere. Just as the civil rights movement of 40 years ago was part of something huge happening all over the world, so the repression that came upon us was the same as is suffered by ordinary people everywhere who dare stand up against injustice. Sharpville. Grozny. Tiananmen Square. Dafur. Fallujah. Gaza. Let our truth stand as their truth too.

“Bloody Sunday was a great injustice. But the fight for truth and justice has been an inspiration, too. It has deepened our sense of who we are. And made us more aware that we are also citizens of the world. Nobody who struggles for justice will be a stranger here. Nobody who dies in the struggle for justice will be forgotten here.”

END

For further information or to arrange interviews with relatives, contact:

Press Officer Julieann Campbell on: 078. 8972. 0080 or email: julieann@setthetruthfree.org

Family Liaison Mickey McKinney on: 078. 8972. 0082 or email: mickey@setthetruthfree.org

Troops Out Movement

Campaigning for British Withdrawal from Ireland

PO Box 1032 Birmingham B12 8BZ  Tel: 0121 773 8683 Mob: 0797 017 4167
troopsoutmovement@btinternet.com    www.troopsoutmovement.com

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JEWISH CHALLENGEES TO ZIONISM

NOVANEWS

“Jewish challenges to Zionism on the rise in the US”

I looked for an aphoristic or stunning, incisive sentence to quote from the accompanying Electronic Intifada article, “Jewish challenges to Zionism on the rise in the US,” but ended up quoting four full paragraphs almost at random. Read the whole piece.

As Ella Shohat among others  has made clear, Zionism has stolen our identities. Gabriel Ash comments that one must take positive steps to remedy the situation when your identity is stolen. My feeling is that we should push things a touch further, and steal our identities back from Zionism. But when Zionism has relentlessly and so utterly stolen them, this reclamation process is not only cultural in the sense of highlighting or recovering “lost” Mizrahi or Eastern European identities.

 It is also political. While there is Zionism, anti-Zionism will be a politic, as they write, but a politic is part of an identity. Zionism stipulated that without Israel, Jews could not be free from anti-Semitism. Not quite. Amidst understandably rising anti-Semitic sentiment in parts of the world that for centuries were uncontaminated by the vicious plague of European anti-Semitism, we know, we see, that Zionism was wrong. While there is Zionism, Jews can not be free.

Overcoming Zionist ideas and practice is crucial, first and foremost, because of the impact of its institutionalized racism and colonialism on the people of Palestine and the broader region. This impact manifests in the demand for political, legal and economic power for Jews and European people and cultures over indigenous people and cultures.

This racism is also the cause of the extensive displacement and alienation of Mizrahi Jews (Jews of African and Asian descent) from their diverse histories, languages, traditions and cultures and in the marginalization and economic exploitation of its Mizrahi population and migrant workers within Israeli society.

Zionism is also anti-Semitic in its rejection of Jewish cultures and histories — including both Jews who are “other” than European and the European Jewish “victim” which it attempted to distance itself from in the creation of the “new Jew.” While rejecting the feminized Jewish victims of Christian Europe, it then uses their memory to justify and perpetuate European racism and colonialism and a militarized Jewish state. Likewise, Zionism promotes Islamophobia in Palestine, the broader region, the US and around the world. And the resentment and anger toward Jews living in Israel and elsewhere, aroused by Israeli violence and military domination, is used to justify further Zionist violence.

Zionism perpetuates Jewish exceptionalism and tells a version of Jewish history that is disconnected from the history and experiences of other people. By exceptionalizing the Nazi genocide, Jews are set apart from the victims and survivors of that and other genocides instead of being united with them. As such, Zionism implicates us in the oppression of the Palestinian people and in the debasement of our own heritages, struggles for justice and alliances with our fellow human beings.

Jews have an independent case against Zionism, and we are also part of a solidarity movement. When Jews aren’t clear — either about their own confrontation of Zionism, or about the precedence of the demands of the Palestinian grassroots struggle — Jewish participation threatens to muddle rather than clarify and strengthen the Palestine solidarity movement. We must be cautious to not presume that our commitment and investment in overcoming Zionism suggest “equality” in the struggle; overstepping our actual role in the movement undermines Palestinian leadership in their own struggle, thus reinforcing the centralization of Jewish voices that Zionism promotes and racism suggests.

Likewise, equating the need for Palestinian liberation and safety with safety of most Jews in contemporary Western countries is inaccurate.

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