Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Lecturers back boycott of Israel"

"Lecturers back boycott of Israel"

by James Meikle, Education correspondent

Wednesday May 30, 2007
The Guardian (U.K.)

On the Web at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2091499,00.html


University lecturers today threatened to provoke international condemnation over academic freedom by forcing their union into a year-long debate over boycotting work with Israeli universities.

Delegates at the first conference of the new University and College Union in Bournemouth voted by more than three to two to recommend boycotts in protest at Israel's "40-year occupation" of Palestinian land and to condemn the "complicity" of Israeli academics.

The conference motion said there should be "a comprehensive and consistent boycott" of all Israeli academic institutions, as called for by Palestinian trade unions.

Delegates voted by 158 to 99 in favour of the motion. The union's leadership must now circulate calls from Palestinians for a boycott of Israeli universities to all branches throughout the country. Tom Hickey, a Brighton University academic and union national executive member, who led the call for stronger moves towards a boycott, said: "There will be adverse effects on individuals, but this is not targeting individuals or trying to break contacts with them."

He said the vote in favour of a boycott call to all branches reflected "the deep concern" people have about the issue. A boycott could involve lecturers refusing to collaborate on research contracts with Israeli academics and refusing to work with journals published by Israeli companies.

However, Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the union, said: "I do not believe a boycott is supported by a majority of (the 120,000) UCU members; nor do I believe that members see it as a priority for the union."

Ofir Frankel, a spokesman for the Advisory Board for Academic Freedom, said: "This was a disappointment. We see it as discriminatory and counterproductive. It will make British academia look a little less serious." He added that it would also damage existing links between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs.

The decision was greeted with outrage among Jewish groups and activists. Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: "The UCU boycott motion is an assault on academic freedom. While the vast majority of academics do not support a boycott, this decision damages the credibility of British academia as a whole."

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "Now is the time to strengthen the kinds of relationships that will bring all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict together and, in this country, create a better understanding of the complex issues through that engagement. We call upon the Union's leadership and all members who are rightly outraged by the decision to work towards a reversal of this policy."

Mitch Simmons, campaigns director for the Union of Jewish Students, said: "Academic freedom is part of the fabric of modern society. The exchange of information and the advancement of human knowledge should have no borders. Disappointingly, it seems that no value can be left unviolated by the proposers of this motion."

During the debate, which lasted well over an hour, Michael Cushman, from the London School of Economics, said: "Universities are to Israel what the springboks were to South Africa: the symbol of their national identity."

Israel wanted to claim it was a normal democratic state and universities were integral to that, Mr Cushman said. "[But] it is not a normal state. They are not normal universities.

"Senior academics move from universities into ministries and back again," he said.

"Regularly, lecturers take up their commissions in the Israeli Defence Force as reserve officers to go into the West Bank to dominate, control and shoot the population."

But Mary Davis, from London Metropolitan University, said there were "many, many academics ... who oppose Israeli government policy tooth and nail ... This notion that Israeli academia is the Springbok of Israel is just plain wrong and foolish."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

March on Washington- June 10, 2007.

End 59 Years of Israeli Occupation:

Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights and June 10th March & Rally
Jewish Voice for Peace Says "No to Israeli Occupation!"

Join Palestine Office Michigan & the Arab American Community of Metro Detroit in
The World Says NO To Israeli Occupation
June 10, 2007
End Israeli Apartheid

Join the march in Washington, DC
To end 40 years of Israeli Occupation

Buses leave Saturday June 9 at 9:00pm from ACCESS - 6451 Schaefer Rd. ,Dearborn

Buses leave DC Sunday June 10 at 6:00 pm, Arriving in Dearborn approx. 5:00am Monday

Bus tickets are $75
- Please Reserve by May 23, 2007
Hopefully ticket price will be less and no one will be turned away
Donations to cover students and low income are much appreciated

Checks payable to “Palestine office”, 13530 Michigan ave. suite 307 Dearborn, mi 48126

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL (313) 945-9660 OR EMAIL PALESTINE1948@SBCGLOBAL.NET

Saturday, May 26, 2007

1948:
1 Million Palestinians driven out of Palestine, at gunpoint

Click on image, once or twice, to enlarge.

This mass expulsion is called the "Nakba" (meaning "disaster", or "catastrophe")

Occupation is a Crime


Click on image to enlarge.
See article, below, dated May 25, 2007

" 'Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid' comes to UCLA"


May 25, 2007

Poster outside Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid forum at UCLA advocating for Palestinian rights.

Article and photo by Merissa Nathan Gerson

See full article in THE JEWISH JOURNAL OF GREATER LOS ANGELES,

on the Web at:
http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=17702


As part of UCLA's Palestine Solidarity Week, on Sunday, May 20, the Southern California Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid (CEIA) staged a forum titled, "Israel, Zionism and Apartheid: The Case for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions."

Part of a movement developing nationally on behalf of Palestinians, this is one of many events leading up to a scheduled June 10-11 protest in Washington, D.C., dubbed, "The World Says NO to Israeli Occupation!" In what was a one-sided day of criticism of Israel's treatment of Palestinians and advocacy for divestment, including Arab, Jewish and Christian speakers, the event drew a small crowd of roughly 100 guests to a humanities lecture hall on the UCLA campus. The group ranged in age, though most appeared to be middle-aged, and they came from within and beyond the UCLA community.

Greeting attendees was extensive literature on the topics of occupation, Marxism, socialism, feminism and more set out on tables run by the American Friends Service Committee, the student leg of the Socialist Party, a national group called Radical Women and others.

With a guard at the door at all times, the event kicked off with a speech by Zahi Damuni, co-founder of Al-Awda: The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, an association of activists and students. Damuni's speech, titled, "The Consequences of Zionism: The Inherent Inequalities of the Jewish State," raised the question of a Palestinian homeland, asking, "Why must we advocate for a fundamental right to return home?"

Damuni spent much time outlining a history of the Jewish people, with many inaccuracies. He described sympathy for "Jewish oppression," which he used, unconvincingly, as a tool to imply sensitivity and an ability to see both sides.
He outlined the oppression of Jews in Europe beginning in the mid-19th century and ending, with pogroms, with no mention of the Holocaust.

"Zionism," Damuni said, "developed because of a huge amount of discrimination that restricted their movements. The Palestinian cause is a direct consequence of Zionism."

Appearing increasingly angry and red in the face, Damuni referred to the "exclusive Zionist state of Israel" as a "colonial project," rooted in racism, that could have been established in three ways: 1) expel the people, 2) kill them or 3) slow transfer. Slow transfer, as he described what he believes has occurred in Israel, consists of the squeezing of a people. It has resulted, in his words, in "ethnic cleansing."

"Although personally," he said, "I don't see what's so clean about it."

"We must be aware of our own power to make change," Damuni said. "Boycotts, divestment and sanctions led to the dismemberment of apartheid in South Africa."

Damuni advocated for these in America, although precisely "how" was yet to be determined.

Damuni is an Arab Israeli citizen from Haifa who identifies as Palestinian. His wife is from the village of Petunya. They cannot live together in their home, he said, because of the geographic division of their roots.

"But," he said with clear derision, "I am a citizen. A happy-go-lucky citizen of Israel."

Paul Hershfield of the CEIA followed Damuni with a short speech on "The Misuse of Anti-Semitism."

A tall, thin man, Hershfield wore a black T-shirt and black pants, had a tattoo peeking out from under his sleeve, and addressed a question from the audience, "What is the difference between a Zionist, an Israeli and a Jew?"

He described how he was raised in a middle-class Jewish household. Born a Jew, he said he hopes to die "a human being." He said he is more interested in humanity than racial/ethnic identity. For this choice, Hershfield described how Jews and Zionists often label him a "self-hating Jew" and discredit his voice on the topic of Israel. Because he criticizes Israel, he is often, he said, deemed an anti-Semite.

"Anti-Semitism," Hershfield said, "is the hatred of Jews for no reason."

He argued that in his opposition to Israel, "we know what our motivations are.

If it's for justice -- it is not racist to oppose a racist ideology."

Introducing the next speaker was Barry Weiss of the CEIA, a descendant of Holocaust survivors. Weiss explained his Holocaust roots as "all the more reason why I oppose Israel's policy of oppression on another people." Appearing solid and peaceful in his belief that Israel should not echo the oppressive past inflicted upon his ancestors, Weiss was the most convincing in his arguments.

Weiss introduced Samuel A. Paul, an ordained Pentecostal minister who holds a doctorate in religious and public policy from Fuller Theological Seminary and was active in the 1980s student movement in South Africa.

In his speech, "Lessons From South Africa," Paul described the demise of apartheid in South Africa in 1994. It was the first time in the history of his nation, he said, "that white and black joined to find solutions."

"Out of the struggle for revolution," Paul explained, "came liberation for all."

A South African Christian of Indian descent, Paul is not a citizen of India, he explained, but also not white, so he was not allowed to be considered South African under the apartheid rules. Despite the fact that he is Christian, he said, his color negated his inclusion in that group, as well. This changed in 1994 under the new regime, when he was finally deemed a South African citizen.

Paul's presentation reached near-gospel outbursts that came at unexpected and often flat moments. His optimism about South Africa today preserved the idealism of the "rainbow nation" while negating the large gap between upper and lower classes, neglected and impoverished townships, and unemployment that continues in his country. To bolster his argument, he painted things prettier and more equal than what has been depicted of today's South Africa in news and other accounts. Paul created a simplistic recipe for change, attributing negotiations and compromise as having been the solo means of reform in South Africa.

"Dialogability," he explained, "only survives under positive intellectual pluralism." Apartheid government was anti-dialogue, he said.

"Speechlessness," he posited, "is part of power and obedience."

"Israel," he then argued, "is not thinking of a state, but of segregation, to keep the Jewish state Jewish."

Harshly adopting the language of Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa he spoke of "the Jewish purity of Israel."

Abstractly advocating boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel, he concluded with a quote by Chaim Weissman, first president of Israel: "I am certain the world will judge the Jewish state by how it will treat the Arabs."

Cardboard boxes were passed around the room for donations during lunch. The American Friends Service Committee sold Palestinian olive oil.

Afterward, Dr. Leila Al-Marayati, spokesperson and past president of the Muslim Women's League, Kinder USA chair and Muslim Public Affairs Committee board member, followed, speaking on "The Nature of Israel as an Apartheid State."

With the assistance of photos and a PowerPoint presentation, Al-Marayati, an OB-GYN in the Los Angeles area, illustrated her vision of Palestinian life today.

Referring to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization advocating for the inhabitants of the disputed territories, Al-Marayati described what she saw as policies of discrimination.

"This is first and foremost about people like you and me who are discriminated against in violation of basic human rights because of where they are and who they are not," Al-Marayati said.

From the need for passes and papers, the poor infant mortality rate, and toxicity in the water all the way to extensive road blocking, Al-Marayati described what she sees as a principle of separation through discrimination.

"Violence is the idiom of the region," she said.

"Violence begets violence," said Al-Marayati, frowning on the statement: "There are so many Arabs you can live anywhere."

"This," she explained, "is the racist supposition that all Arabs are the same, and further, that the Palestinian people have no identity nor identification with where they are from."

She concluded, "We should be able to talk about this without being threatened. We need open debate of these issues in the media. In the future, peace and prosperity will come only when we cherish the lives of all children equally."

Further, she argued, "the existence of one should not have to mean the extinction of another."

The forum concluded with a student speaker, Khalid Hussein, co-president of the UCLA branch of Students for Justice in Palestine. He spoke about the University Divestment Campaign. Appearing the most confident of the day's presenters, the least afraid of his own words, there was assuredness in his voice, no anger or apparent manipulation.

"Start with education," he said, "spreading the truth of the situation."

Boycott Israel, as Apartheid South Africa was Boycotted:


"The only weapon available:

"An academic and cultural boycott of Israel is the only way of protecting the Palestinians, says Hilary Rose
"

Saturday May 26, 2007
EducationGuardian.co.uk

On the Web at:

http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/comment/story/0,,2088441,00.html


I am typing this just a few hundred yards from the hall in Holborn where in 1959 the ANC, with most of its leadership in prison or exile, called for an international boycott of apartheid South Africa. Both the ANC - committed to armed struggle - and pacifists like Desmond Tutu saw boycott as their remaining weapon. As we know, this call was initially only answered by civil society - including the British university teachers' union. It took many years before governments, and the UN itself, intervened and Freedom Day finally arrived.

Today it is hard to see what weapons, other than the counterproductive, though legitimate, armed intifada (though legitimacy does not extend to suicide bombers killing civilians) the even harder pressed Palestinians have. Their land is occupied, they suffer from illegal house demolitions, illegal settlements in the occupied territories, so-called targeted assassinations which kill civilians, torture and indefinite detention without charge.

Taxes are gathered by Israel, but not, as international law requires, returned. As a consequence, both education and healthcare services - the infrastructure of civil society - are utterly impoverished. On top of these abuses of human rights is the wall, declared illegal by the international court. The obligation of every state signed up to international law is to help enforce it. European governments sit on their hands, while the US vetoes action through the UN security council.

The wall claims to give security to Israelis, but it also separates Palestinian from Palestinian, farmers from their land, children from their schools, students and teachers from their universities. Students who once travelled from Gaza to Birzeit University on the West Bank were prevented from completing their studies by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Today Gazans are no longer permitted to study at Birzeit; instead they remain in Gaza, which has become a vast concentration camp. The president of Birzeit was kidnapped by Israeli forces, dumped in Jordan and not permitted to return for many years. The university was shut by the IDF for three years, and even now access is frequently denied for hours or days with sudden roadblocks.

Faced with these brutal abuses Israeli academics, excepting a handful of brave dissenters, have remained silent - less surprising if we understand that Israeli academics serve in the military. One distinguished natural scientist explained to me that he served until he was 55. This is not discussed by Israeli academics, yet for many non-Israelis the image of the small boy terrified in his father's arms deliberately shot by the IDF is printed in our memories. Even within Israel itself, the universities, sitting on occupied Palestinian land, share institutionally in the general discrimination against Arab-Israelis (20% of the population).

In these desperate circumstances it is not surprising that South African leaders, from Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish ex-head of the armed wing of the ANC to Bishop Desmond Tutu, declare that the sufferings of the Palestinians are worse than those of black South Africans under Apartheid. Those who know apartheid at first hand are well able to recognise a racist state. And all the blustering by the Israel lobby cannot wash this away.

The call from Palestinians for an academic and cultural boycott did not come from any political party but from Palestinian civil society itself. They saw that any claim to academic freedom and even the right to education was being destroyed. As members of civil society we have to consider such a moral and political call. Some, like the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine and the solidarity movement, have accepted the challenge. But it doesn't matter that every part of civil society responds in the same way.

What matters is that pressure is put on Israel until it complies with international law and works for a just peace. Thus British doctors are questioning the legitimacy of Israel's medical association, which condones torture; artists and filmmakers have called for a boycott, and a galaxy of international architects, including several Israelis and Palestinians, published a challenge on Thursday to Israeli architects concerning their human rights record and their professional ethics. Boycotts and such professional pressures are not fast in their effects, but like water dripping on a stone, eventually the stone wears away.


· Hilary Rose is the co-convenor of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (Bricup). www.bricup.co.uk


____________________________________

Friday, May 25, 2007

1948: The Nakba ("The Disaster") in Palestine

Click on image to enlarge it.

The Nakba ("The Disaster") happened in 1948, when Zionist gangs forced Palestinians to run from their homes, at gunpoint, in Palestine.
__________________________________

Nakba Day at Stanford University.

Palestine Freedom movement is still alive:

Click on image to enlarge it.

"Stanford Daily"
May 25, 2007

http://daily.stanford.edu/

____________________________________

"South Africa: Cosatu Calls for Boycott of Israel"

"South Africa: Cosatu Calls for Boycott of Israel"

by John Kaninda
Johannesburg

On the Web at:
http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/national.aspx?ID=BD4A473288

CONGRESS of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Willy Madisha yesterday called for the government to cease all diplomatic relations with Israel after its attacks on the Palestinian leadership.

Madisha said the best way to have Israel comply with United Nations resolutions on Palestine was to step up pressure by a global diplomatic boycott such as the one imposed on apartheid SA.

The Cosatu leader was speaking at a media briefing of the coalition End The Occupation Campaign.

The organisation was recently formed to co-ordinate a week of action that coincides with activities around the world to condemn the occupation by Israel of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Ali Halimeh, the Palestinian ambassador to SA, said that more that 100 civilians had lost their lives during the attacks.

He said Palestinian Higher Education Minister Nasser Al Din Al Shaer had been abducted from his house by Israeli soldiers, apparently in a bid to prevent him joining the week of activism in SA.

Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, whose organisation Not In My Name is part of the coalition, said it was "disgraceful for a government that projects itself as democratic to behave this way".

Asked whether the government would publicly condemn Al Shaer's abduction, he said Pretoria would remain "very vocal" on Israel's abuse in the occupied territories.

Kasrils said preparations for the week of campaigning were going according to plan and that there were already indications that participation by various supporters of the Palestinian cause would reach "unseen" proportions.

The campaign, he said, would include ecumenical communication in SA's mosques and churches.

There would also be photographic exhibitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and a candlelight commemoration at the Israeli mission in Killarney.

The campaign would also include handing out leaflets, picketing and an encouragement to boycott Israeli products sold in retail outlets, he said.

________________________________________

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Palestine rally, against 59 years of Israeli Occupation:
March on Washington, D.C.

Click on image, once or twice, to enlarge.

1948: Ethnic cleansing against Palestine

Upwards of 1 million Palestinians were violently driven from their homes by Zionist gangs.
Since 1948, those Zionist gangs have called themselves "Israel."

Palestine solidarity at UCLA:

Click on image to enlarge it.

"Members of the Palestine Coalition set up a wall in Bruin Plaza on Tuesday that represented the security fence that currently borders Israeli and Palestinian territories.

"Photo by Jessica Lum, Assistant Photo Editor"

-----------------------------------------------

"Palestinian-Israeli wall divides campus:

"Model in Bruin Plaza sparks discussion of actual barrier between neighboring territories"


UCLA "Daily Bruin"
University of California at Los Angeles
On the Web at:

http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/2007/may/23/palestinianisraeli_wall_divides_campus/


Students from the Palestine Coalition set up a wall made of large, painted wooden panels on Tuesday in Bruin Plaza as a representation of the security fence that borders Israeli and Palestinian territories.

This wall holds different meanings for those on different sides of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Though Palestinian supporters often refer to the structure as an “apartheid wall,” Israeli supporters reject this label, instead calling it a security fence that protects the country from terrorist threats.

Organizers of Live Free: Palestinian Awareness Week said the purpose of the Bruin Plaza model was to help students understand what the wall means for Palestinians.

To present their view on the event, students from Bruins for Israel set up a display table on Bruin Walk with informational materials about Israel and the security fence and a poster advocating a two-state solution.

The mock wall was painted with a gray background and included images and writing, most of it in the green, black, red and white of the Palestinian flag.

Written on the wall were statements such as “Free Palestine” in large letters and “Freedom – We need a country not a prison.”

“No wall will protect you from the truth,” read another message.

Tawni Wharton, a UCLA alumna from the class of 2005, said the mock wall is an important representation of the conflict in the region and the problems she believes Palestinians there face.

“I think it’s a very powerful metaphor for what’s happening over there,” she said.

Like many of the Palestinian supporters who were at the event, Randa Wahbe, the copresident of Students for Justice in Palestine, said the wall is like a prison for the Palestinian people because it restricts their access to other areas.

“The reason we have the wall (in Bruin Plaza) is because there’s a wall 25 feet high being built on Palestinian territories. It cuts off water and electricity supplies. ... Villages are enclosed,” said Wahbe.

Shirley Eshag-hay, a member of the Bruins for Israel general board, said she believes the event did not present a balanced view of the fence and its security purposes.

“They called it an apartheid wall, implying that Israel is a racist apartheid state, but really the whole point of the fence is security measures to protect Israeli citizens and borders,” said Eshag-hay.

With the Bruins for Israel display near the wall exhibit, the two sides engaged each other repeatedly throughout the day, with vocal students entering into debates with one another and sharing their personal experiences.

Shady Joulani, a third-year Middle Eastern and North African studies student who said he has visited Palestinian territories six times, said he used to be able to travel from his house in the territories to his aunt’s house in the outskirts of Jerusalem by a 10-minute taxi ride, but now, with the fence and numerous security checkpoints along the way, the trip can take hours.

“The wall has severed ties within families,” he said.

He also added that at these security checkpoints, he has been taken aside by Israeli soldiers, interrogated extensively, strip-searched and sometimes not allowed through.

But Leeron Morad, president of Bruins for Israel who used to live in Israel and still visits frequently, said though the security fence and numerous checkpoints are inconveniences, they are necessary for the protection of the people.

“The constant security is an unfortunate fact of life of living in regions of conflict,” he said.

Morad said when he is in Israel he has to go through security almost every time he enters a public place, including grocery stores and restaurants.

“When you live under the constant threat of suicide bombings, of course you need to take whatever precautions that can save civilian lives,” he said of the security measures.

He added that he believes security should not make life more difficult for people, but that the state of Israel balances the need for security to protect its people against threats with respect for the rights of its citizens.

Navdeep Tumber, a fourth-year biology student, said that no matter what one’s political views are, building a fence or wall will not help address the problems she said she believes exist in the Palestinian territories or Israel.

“When has a wall solved any problems?” she asked.

“It’s just going to further isolate and divide people."

____________________________________________


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Palestine solidarity in South Africa:

Click on image to enlarge it.

Palestine solidarity in South Africa:

Click on image to enlarge it.

Palestine solidarity in South Africa:





"Cape of Good Hope:
"One Apartheid Regime Down; One More to Go"


by Ramzy Baroud
May 22, 2007

I stand at the southernmost corner of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope. The grand mountains underneath and behind infuse a moment of spiritual reflection unmatched in its depth and meaning. Before me is an awe-inspiring view: here the Atlantic’s frigid waters gently meet the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. They meet but don’t collide. The harmony is seamless; the greatness of this view is humbling.

I was invited to South Africa to deliver a keynote speech at the ‘Al-Nakba’ conference, held in Cape Town. The journey led me to other cities. Many speeches, presentations, media interviews later, I sat with a borrowed computer and scattered thoughts: how can one reflect without the least sense of certainty, assuredness? I ought to try.


“Where are the Black Africans?” was the first question to come to mind as a friend’s car escorted me a distance from the Cape Town International Airport. I saw very few indications affirming that I was indeed in Africa as I gazed at the exaggeratedly beautiful surroundings of the airport. My friend needed not respond however, as the car soon hurriedly zoomed by a “squatters’ camp”; no slum can be compared to this, no refugee camp. Innumerable people are crammed in the tiniest and crudest looking ‘houses’ made of whatever those poor people could find laying around. It was not ‘temporary accommodations’, but permanent dwellings: here they live, marry, raise children and die.


It takes no brilliant mind to realize that Apartheid South Africa is still, in some ways, Apartheid South Africa. A lot has been done on the road to equal rights since the Africa National Congress (ANC) along with freedom fighters and civil society activists combined forces to defeat a legacy of 350 years of oppression, colonialism and – in 1948 – an officially sanctioned system of Apartheid, a system instilled by the white minority government to ethnically cleanse, confine and subdue the overwhelmingly black majority. True, the hundreds of Bantustans or ‘homelands’ in which the Blacks were locked, only to be allowed to leave or enter White areas – as servants – with a special pass, are no longer an officially recognized apparatus. The ‘presidents’ of those Bantustans – puppet rulers hand picked by White authorities – are long discredited. Now, South Africans, of all colors, ethnicities and religions select their own leaders, in democratic elections that are, more or less, reflective of the overall desires of the populace. But it takes much more than 13 years, and uncountable promises to reconcile the calculated inequality of centuries.


Despite a hectic schedule of two weeks, I made it a goal to visit as many squatters’ camps as I could. I followed the path of ethnic cleansing that took place in District Six in Cape Town; it was a Trail of Tears of sorts, a Palestinian Catastrophe. My grandparents, mother and father where dragged from their homes under similar circumstances in 1948 in Palestine. They too were not suitable to live within the same ‘geographic radius’ with those who had deemed themselves superior. Those who were forcibly removed from District Six have finally won their land back. Palestinians are still refugees. My grandparents are long dead, so is my mother. My father, a very ill and old man, is waiting in our old home in the refugee camp in Gaza. He refuses to yield, to capitulate.


I spoke at a technical college that was erected for Whites only on the exact same spot where thousands of Colored and Blacks were uprooted and thrown somewhere else, somewhere more discreet, more acceptable to the taste of Apartheid administrators. I paid a tribute to those resilient people who refused to embrace their inferior status, fought and died to regain their freedom and dignity. I saluted my people, who stood in solidarity with the fighters of South Africa. In our Gaza camps, we mourned for South Africa and we celebrated when Nelson Mandela was set free. My father handed out candy to the neighborhood kids. When Bishop Desmond Tutu visited Palestine, Israeli settlers greeted him with racist graffiti and chants across the West Bank. For Palestinians, this was a personal insult. Tutu is ours, just as Che Guevara, Martin Luther, Malcolm X, Mahatma Gandhi, Ahmad Yassin and Yasser Arafat were and still are.


On Robin Island, where Mandela and hundreds of his comrades were held for many years, I touched the decaying walls of the prison. Food in the prison was rationed on the basis of skin color. Blacks always received the least. But prisoners defied the prison system nonetheless; they created a collective in which all the food received would be shared equally amongst them. I tore a piece of my Palestinian scarf and left it in Mandela’s cell; its chipped, albeit fortified walls, its thin floor mattress still stand witness to the injustice perpetrated by some and the undying faith in one’s principles embraced by others. I visited every cell in Section A and B, touched every wall, read every name of every inmate: Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Bantus were all kept here, fought, died and finally won their freedom together. They referred to each other as comrades. Injustice is colorblind. So is true camaraderie.


I have never felt the sense of solidarity and acceptance that I felt in South Africa. There is an unparalleled lesson to be learned in this amazing place. There is a lot to be sorted out: a true equality to be realized, but a lot has also been done. A veteran ANC fighter thanked me for the arms and money supplied to his unit, and many other units, by the PLO in the 1970’s and 80’s; he said he still has his PLO uniform, tucked in somewhere in his little decrepit ‘house’ in one of the squatters’ camps dotting the city. It was a poignant reminder that the fight is not yet over.


Amongst the many names scribbled at the fenced wall at the helm of Cape of Good Hope, someone took the time to write “Palestine”. In the Apartheid Wall erected by Israel on Palestinian land in the West Bank, the South African parallel is expressed in more ways than one. The relationship cannot be any more obvious. The fight for justice is one, and shall always be.



-Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian author and journalist. His latest volume: The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press: London) is available at Amazon.com. He is the editor of PalestineChronicle.com and can be contacted at editor@palestinechronicle.com


"Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights and June 10th March & Rally"


On the Web at:

http://www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=105&printsafe=1

Click on image to enlarge it.

To Black America:

It is time for our people to once again demand that the silence be broken on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people resulting from the Israeli occupation.

On June 10th, the national coalition known as the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (endtheoccupation.org) will be spearheading a march and rally to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.


We, the signatories of this appeal, ask that Black America again take a leading role in this effort as well as the broader work to bring attention to this 40 year travesty of justice.

United Nations resolutions have called for the Israeli withdrawal, yet the Israeli government, with the backing of the USA, has ignored them. The Israeli government has appropriated Palestinian land in open defiance of international law and overwhelming international condemnation.

Within the USA anyone who speaks in favor of Palestinian rights and justice is immediately condemned as being allegedly anti-Israel (and frequently allegedly anti-Semitic), shutting down legitimate discussion. A case in point can be seen in the current furor surrounding former President Jimmy Carter who was criticized for his assertion in his best-selling book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, that Israeli obstructionism lies at the root of the failure to achieve a just Palestinian/Israeli settlement.

As Nobel prizewinner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written, "People are scared in the US, to say 'wrong is wrong,' because the pro-Israeli lobby is powerful--very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God's world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists."

Many of those who most outspokenly agree with President Carter and Archbishop Tutu are American Jews. And many American Jews, including the national organization Jewish Voice for Peace, will be among those rallying for Palestinian rights on June 10th – as will many other Americans, including member groups of the leading anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice.

Leaders from Black America have repeatedly and historically been among the most outspoken proponents of justice for the Palestinian people. Our leaders have defended the Palestinian people’s right to full self-determination and an end to the Occupation as central to peace in the region. Our leaders have not criticized the Jewish people but they have expressed outrage at the Israeli government that collaborated with the apartheid South African government (including in the development of weapons of mass destruction) and emulated South Africa’s treatment of its Black majority in its own treatment of the Palestinian people.

As we struggle to build our country's support for Palestinian human rights, we widen the door for both Arab and Black Americans to deal with the issues that join them together, as well as those that separate them. We will help to energize - and to heal - both communities.

June tenth and Juneteenth: will our struggles lead the way to a new emancipation of others? Our own integrity as a people, let alone our own experience with massive injustice and oppression, demand that we step forward, speak out, and insist on a change in US policy towards the Palestinian people. Since when have an illegally occupied people been wrong in demanding and fighting for their human rights and land? Since when have such people and their cause not been worthy of our support?

Please join us on June 10th!

Signed by (affiliation for identification purposes only)

Salih Booker, former Executive Director of Africa Action

Khephra Burns, author, editor, playwright

Horace G. Campbell, Professor of African American Studies and Political Science

Dr. Ron Daniels, President, Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Bill Fletcher, labor and international activist, and writer

George Friday, United for Peace and Justice Co-Chair, National Coordinator, Independent Progressive Politics Network

Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; National President, Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice of the United Church of Christ

Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Departments of Anthropology, Political Science and Public and International Affairs

Manning Marable, Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, History and African-American Studies

George Paz Martin, National Co-Chair of United for Peace and Justice and Green Party U.S. Activist

E. Ethelbert Miller, literary activist; board chair, Institute for Policy Studies

Prexy Nesbitt, speaker and educator on Africa, foreign policy, and racism

Barbara Ransby, Associate Professor of History and African-American Studies

Cedric Robinson, Professor, Department of Black Studies

The Rev. Canon Edward W. Rodman MDiv.LCH,DD. Professor of Pastoral Theology and Urban Ministry at the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Ma.

Jamala Rogers, Black Radical Congress

Don Rojas, former director of communications for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Zoharah Simmons, human rights activist

Chuck Turner. Boston City Councilor

Hollis Watkins, Former Freedom Singer and staff member of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; human rights activist (1961 – present)

Dr. Cornel West

Emira Woods, co-director, Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Studies

______________________________________________________


Endorsed by:

  1. Rana Abdelqader, Creator, Palestine—The Voices of the Next Generation
  2. Hodari Abdul Ali, Executive Director, Give Peace a Chance Coalition
  3. Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, Deputy Amir, Muslim Alliance in North America, and Imam, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, Inc.
  4. Kali Akuno, National Organizer, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
  5. Nadim Ali, Amir/Chairman, Community Masjid of Atlanta
  6. Siraj Ali
  7. Don Anderson
  8. Siamak Azadi, Coordinator, Committee in Solidarity with the People of Iran (CISPI)
  9. Magdi Badawy, Manager, Quincy Builders LLC
  10. Lettie Barge, Social Justice Advocate
  11. Bertiz Benhamid
  12. Judith Beris
  13. Diane Brelsford, Revered, Episcopal Church
  14. Bianca Burzer, Agent, Allstate Insurance Company
  15. T. Bruce Carpenter, Chair, Church and Society Committee, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
  16. Damon Coleman, Manager, Friends, Inc.
  17. Brian Corr, National Co-Chair, Peace Action
  18. James Crockett, US Navy (Retired)
  19. Ibrahim Diawara, Student, Rutgers University
  20. Elaine Donovan, Co-Founder, Concerned Citizens for Peace
  21. Paul Ferrell, Jr., Retired Burlington County Prosecutor
  22. Aisha Finch, Graduate Student, New York University
  23. Craig Foster, CEO, Friends, Inc.
  24. Monika Foster, Paralegal, Law Offices of Ronald B. Thompson
  25. Yasmin Gado
  26. John Gebhardt, Member, County Committee, Democratic Party
  27. John Wheat Gibson, Lawyer, No Child Left Behind Bars
  28. Peter Gunther, Founder, Progressive Archivists
  29. Joanna Hamil, Psychiatric Social Worker, NASW
  30. Robert Harris, Jr., Attorney at Law
  31. Nyree Herbert, Esthetician, An Army of Me
  32. George Hutchinson, Co-Chair, Pacific Green Party (Oregon)
  33. Dr. F. Javier Iribarren, Academic Researcher/Human Rights Activist, No-Child-left-Behind-Bars
  34. Michael and Dolores Jackson
  35. Mohamed Jagani, President, Aims Environmental
  36. William Jastromb
  37. Michael Jefferson, Founder, Kiyama
  38. David Jones, First Vice President, Staten Island African American Political Association
  39. Ronald Abdelmoutaleb Judy, Professor of Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Pittsburgh/Editorial Collective, Boundary 2
  40. Laveen Kanal, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland
  41. Sister Elaine Kelley, Administrative Officer, Friends of Sabeel-North America
  42. Nancy Kelly, Member, Fresno Center for Nonviolence
  43. G. Kortes
  44. Leila Larkin, Retired Home Maker
  45. Sylvia Leach, Teacher, Wellesley Community Children’s Center
  46. Carol Lems-Dworking, President, World Music Center, Inc.
  47. VeLora Lilly, Psychologist
  48. Eve Lopez
  49. Dan Mahoney, President, JD Mahoney Construction, Inc.
  50. Sheldon A. Maskin
  51. Richard Mosley, Jr., Associate Pastor, First United Methodist Church
  52. Luci Murphy, Network Convenor, Grey Panthers of Metropolitan Washington
  53. Robert Nolan
  54. Efia Nwangaza, Esq., Founder/Director, Malcom X Center for Self-Determination
  55. Valerie Ozsu, Owner, Healing the Healer
  56. Kevin Padden
  57. Burnis Parker, Sergeant At Arms, Afrikan World Study Group
  58. Martha Perez, General Political Activist
  59. Mary Price
  60. Joyce Pritchard, Member, Holy Family Church
  61. Hassan Rahmouni, Lead Engineer
  62. Brian Ramsey, Convenor, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  63. Andrea Roberts, Church Council, Calvary United Methodist Church
  64. Lawrence Saltzman
  65. Mark Sannino
  66. Maryam Shabazz
  67. Suhail Shafi, Member, Western New York Peace Center
  68. Dorothy Shaw, District 4 County Chairperson, Gwinnett, GA Democratic Party
  69. Baxter Thomas, CEO, Divine Consultant
  70. Sharon Thomas
  71. Sanna Towns, Twin Cities Coalition for Palestinian Rights
  72. Robert Trabold
  73. Michael Wolff, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  74. Lih Young, Life Member, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  75. Peter Yuslum, Member, Pax Christi
  76. Latifa Ziyad, Talk Show Host, 106.1 FM
  77. Wieslaw Zdaniewski, Partner, Patria

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Palestine solidarity at Johannesburg:
University of the Witwatersrand ("Wits"):

Click on image, once or twice, to enlarge.

At the University of Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa:

Nakbah (Catastrophe) Commemoration - Painting of Matrix Graffiti Wall

On the Web at:
http://psc.za.org/WitsPSC_images_graffiti07.htm

"Come this week (14th-20th May, 2007) to check out the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee's artwork on the Matrix Graffiti Wall at the Main Campus of the University of the Witwatersrand."

"Indeed, it is entirely appropriate for South Africa to lead an anti-Israel sanctions and boycott campaign..."

"Siege of Palestine not on, Says South Africa"

by Iqbal Jassat
[Mr. Iqbal Jassat is chairperson of MRN and gets featured on Media Monitors Network (MMN) with the courtesy of the Media Review Network (MRN), which is an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa.]



"In the Palestinian nakba [catastrophe] of 1948, 730,000 Palestinians were driven from their villages. But rather than waiting for the history books to tell the story of the second Palestinian nakba, the Palestinians along the wall are struggling to stop the narrowing of their prisons. Armed only with the extraordinary spirit of people who have clung on to their land for generation after generation, they stand in the path of one of the most brutal military machines in the world."

-- Tanya Reinhart (1943 - 2007)



Since this year marks the 60th anniversary commemorating the Palestinian Nakba, it is no secret that a global wide campaign to mobilise masses in solidarity with the victims of the last remaining colonial outpost, Israel, is gaining momentum.

In these circumstances it is entirely understandable that Israel would seek to intensify its efforts to deflect world-wide anger against its brutal policies of repression. This will explain too why propagandists allied to Israel will be expected to double their myth-making exercises in order to dilute and distort basic facts related to the expulsion and dispossession of Palestinians.

In this context, groups such as the SA Zionist Federation and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies will do their damnest to defend Israel's sullied image as a pariah state. Their difficulty of course, is compounded by the fact that leading international organs which include Amnesty International and the Red Cross, together with multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the UN's special rapporteur John Dugard, have determined that Israel continues to suffocate Palestinians!

This suffocation has had an enormous negative impact on the lives of Palestinians for it consists of a lengthy catalogue of denial of fundamental human rights. Freedom of movement which is severely restricted through hundreds of check-points and ensures their collective imprisonment in cantons and Bantustans, is one such example of the humiliation and suffering experienced under Israeli Occupation.

Very clearly, most civilised people would have great difficulty in defending any of the acts of state terrorism perpetrated by the Zionist regime. Apart from the gross immorality associated with deeds worse than apartheid, violations of international humanitarian laws and defiance of UN Security Council Resolutions, have led to calls of divestment and boycott of Israel.

The experience of sanctions against apartheid South Africa has to be mobilised against the apartheid applied by Israel. Since this year also marks the 40th year of Occupation, masses of people across the world are committed to end it.

It is this positive course of action by South Africa, endorsed and supported by the labour movement, political formations, student movements and religious leaders, which the Board finds unpalatable. It thus resorts to vilifying the ANC government as "lacking objectivity", being "too partisan", lacking credentials as "an honest broker" and being "biased"!

Remember the prolonged oppression endured under apartheid precisely because of such faulty arguments advanced by defenders of the National Party in Western capitals?

Any student of contemporary history comparing the racist policies of Israel to those of apartheid South Africa will undoubtedly conclude that the systematic erosion of human rights alongside the genocidal practise of collective punishment is similar in some respects and infinitely worse in other respects. This means that pariah states in league with each other as the intimate relations between SA/Israel during the heydays of apartheid confirm, provide a perfect example of "mirror images".

Thus to suggest that Hamas is a "negative mirror image of South Africa", is a clumsy and futile attempt by the Board to keep the SA government hostage to a foreign policy informed exclusively by a Zionist narrative.

Indeed, it is entirely appropriate for South Africa to lead an anti-Israel sanctions and boycott campaign rather than apply the narrow interpretations of pro-Israeli lobbyists who as a rule, ignore Israeli atrocities despite the outrage it causes to Jewish sensibilities.

Apologists and defenders of policies described by a noted Jewish academic and late columnist, Prof. Tanya Reinhart (1943 - 2007), as designed to maintain Gaza as a closed prison and to transform the West Bank into a system of sealed enclaves and to annex Palestinian land under cover of the construction of the "separation wall" will be even less impressed with these words from her:


"In the Palestinian nakba [catastrophe] of 1948, 730,000 Palestinians were driven from their villages. But rather than waiting for the history books to tell the story of the second Palestinian nakba, the Palestinians along the wall are struggling to stop the narrowing of their prisons. Armed only with the extraordinary spirit of people who have clung on to their land for generation after generation, they stand in the path of one of the most brutal military machines in the world."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Israel & U.S. supported Apartheid South Africa

Click on image, once or twice, to enlarge it.

___________________________________

Front-page banner headline:
Wayne State University student council votes to divest from Israel:

Click on image, once or twice, to enlarge.

______________________________

Wayne State University Student Council
Votes to Divest Totally from Israel:

Text of Wayne State University's Student Council Divestment Resolution:

Approved on April 17, 2003, Detroit, Michigan.

This Resolution is on the Web at:
http://www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-news-0376.html


"WHEREAS, the Student Council of Wayne State University has grave misgivings about financing violent ethnic cleansing, racially directed against millions of occupied Palestinian civilians, who are both innocent and helpless,

"WHEREAS, those millions of Palestinians suffer long-term malnutrition, are surrounded by Israeli army bulldozers, tanks, soldiers, and by jet bombers, all of which have killed thousands of occupied Palestinians,

"WHEREAS, on Sunday, March 16, 2003, an American college student, Rachel Corrie, was killed in plain sight, while dressed in bright orange, while waving, and while shouting at an Israeli Army bulldozer through a megaphone, by that same Israeli Army bulldozer, in the Occupied Gaza Strip,

"WHEREAS, that Israeli Army bulldozer ran her over twice,

"WHEREAS, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has urged us all to divest from Israel due to its violent and humiliating apartheid policies,

"WHEREAS, Israel was a long-time, close ally of White Apartheid South Africa,

"WHEREAS, the Wayne State University Board of Governors ("the Board") has knowledge of University investments, including what governments our University is paying taxes to by means of investment, and has the authority to seek such information from its fund managers,

"THEREFORE IT IS RESOLVED, that we ask the Board to immediately divest (dis-invest) our university from Israel,

"THEREFORE IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that we ask the Board for a report this semester, on its progress in divesting the University from its investments in Israel, including divestment from all companies doing business in Israel, and divestment from all stocks and pension funds which include those companies."

____________________________________

Israeli soldier kidnapping Palestinian boy:

Click on image to enlarge it.

Israeli occupation soldiers,
breaking Palestinians' bones:

Click on image to enlarge.

To watch the film "People and the Land", click on:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3740797934091220239

(56-minute film)

The intimate Israeli alliance with Apartheid South Africa

Click on image to enlarge.

It shows South Africa's prime minister John Vorster (second from right) meeting with Israel's prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (right) and Menachem Begin (left) and Moshe Dayan during his 1976 visit to Occupied Jerusalem (al-Quds).

About the close Israeli alliance with Apartheid South Africa:

* "The alliance between Israel and South Africa is more intimate and more extensive than anything similar in Israel’s history...."

—Quote from Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi’s book “The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why” (1987)


Also:


"...in 1975, U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger asked Israel to help with the failing South African invasion of Angola. Israel responded by sending military advisers and electronic equipment to the front.” [referencing the 'Economist', article entitled 'The Israeli Connection', November 5, 1977].

—Quote, again, from Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi’s book “The Israeli Connection: Who Israel Arms and Why” (1987)

___________________________________________

Israeli soldiers attack Palestinian woman with their dog:

Click on image to enlarge it.

Israeli soldiers attack Palestinian woman with their dog:

Click on image to enlarge.

Israeli soldiers attack Palestinian woman with their dog:

Click on image to enlarge.

"I卐RAEL" Massacres Palestinians

Click on image to enlarge.

This is what "I卐RAEL" is all about:
Murdering Palestinians; stealing Palestinian land.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian woman;
Israeli soldiers let it happen:

Click on image to enlarge it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Israeli occupation troops, invading Palestine again,
holding Birzeit University students at gunpoint:

Click on image, once or twice, to enlarge.

Never Mind Israeli Army Massacres

Click on image, once or twice, to enlarge it.

Palestine.
Panic after another Israeli Air Strike on the Gaza Strip:

Click on picture to enlarge.

Panic in the Gaza Strip, after another Israel strike.

May 17, 2007
________________________________________________



Israeli massacres in Gaza kill 95 Palestinians, early November 2006.
________________________________________________


Israeli massacre at peaceful demonstration in Gaza, May 19, 2004.
________________________________________________

Israeli massacre at peaceful demonstration in Gaza, May 19, 2004.
________________________________________________