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Monday, May 11

Ottawa considering hate charges against those who boycott Israel
by The Blogger - 2

The Harper government is signalling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel.  

CBC- News 
Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions.
If carried out, it would be a remarkably aggressive tactic, and another measure of the Conservative government's lockstep support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
While the federal government certainly has the authority to assign priorities, such as pursuing certain types of hate speech, to the RCMP, any resulting prosecution would require an assent from a provincial attorney general.
And it would almost certainly be challenged under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, civil liberties groups say.
The government's intention was made clear in a response to inquiries from CBC News about statements by federal ministers of a "zero tolerance" approach to groups participating in a loose coalition called Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS), which was begun in 2006 at the request of Palestinian non-governmental organizations.
Asked to explain what zero tolerance means, and what is being done to enforce it, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney replied, four days later, with a detailed list of Canada's updated hate laws, noting that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of such laws "anywhere in the world."

Successful tactic

The BDS tactic has been far more successful for the Palestinians than armed struggle. And it has caught on internationally, angering Israel, which reckons boycotts could cost its economy hundreds of millions of dollars.
Just last month, 16 European foreign ministers denounced the "expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories," demanding that any imported goods originating in the settlements be distinctly labeled.

But Canada, a country where the federal Liberal and NDP leaders also oppose BDS, appears to have lined up more strongly behind Israel than any other nation.
In January, Canada's then foreign affairs minister, John Baird, signed a "memorandum of understanding" with Israeli authorities in Jerusalem, pledging to combat BDS.
It described the movement as "the new face of anti-Semitism."
A few days later, at the UN, Canadian Public Security Minister Steven Blaney went much further.
He conflated boycotts of Israel with anti-Semitic hate speech and violence, including the deadly attacks that had just taken place in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket.
Blaney then said the government is taking a "zero tolerance" approach to BDS.
Coming as it did from the minister responsible for federal law enforcement, the speech alarmed groups that have, to varying degrees, supported boycotts, believing them an effective tool to bring about an end to Israel's occupation and colonization of the West Bank, and its tight grip on Gaza.
Some of these groups had noted that the government changed the Criminal Code definition of hate speech last year, adding the criterion of "national origin" to race and religion.
This change could, they feared, effectively lump people who speak against Israel in with those who speak against Jews.
Micheal Vonn, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, says the expanded definition is clearly "a tool to go after critics of Israel."

Constitutionally protected

Canadian civil liberties groups maintain that boycotts are a long-recognized form of political expression, and therefore constitutionally protected.
In March, the Canadian Quakers wrote a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson, expressing concern about Blaney's speech and protesting the label of anti-Semitism.
Nicholson's response merely repeated the talking points first used by Blaney at the UN, and the government's vow not to tolerate boycotts.
But in response to specific questions about what "zero tolerance" of BDS means, and how it will be enforced, Blaney aide Josee Sirois gave CBC News a much clearer picture of the government's intent.
"I can tell you that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of laws against hate crime anywhere in the world," wrote Sirois.
She highlighted what she termed "hate propaganda" provisions in the Criminal Code criminalizing the promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, and further noted that "identifiable group" now includes any section of the public distinguished by "among other characteristics, religion or national or ethnic origin."
She also referred to Criminal Code provisions requiring that a judge consider hate, bias or prejudice when sentencing an offender.
"We will not allow hate crimes to undermine our way of life, which is based on diversity and inclusion," she concluded.

'Trying to scare people'

Tyler Levitan, a spokesman for Independent Jewish Voices, the principal organizing vehicle for BDS in Canada, said he believes he and his fellow organizers are already under surveillance: "This is about trying to scare people."
He said BDS is an "entirely passive movement. It is a decision not to take part in something. Not to be implicated, not to be complicit. It's entirely non-violent."
That's not always been the case elsewhere in the world, particularly France, where BDS rallies have resulted in confrontations with police.
But it is the non-violence of the boycott approach that attracted groups like the United Church of Canada.
Like the Canadian Quakers, the UCC restricts its boycott advocacy to products from Israel's settlements.

The Ontario chapter of CUPE, on the other hand, supports BDS fully, shunning any contact or commerce with Israel. So do a range of other Canadian groups, and student organizations at various universities.
"It is the right and duty of citizens in any free state to engage in constructive non-violent peaceful criticism of state actions and behaviours," says Patti Talbot, a senior staff member at the UCC.
The church sees itself as anti-racist and progressive, which is why it was horrified by the government's description of its advocacy as anti-Semitism, and worried by the declaration of zero tolerance.
"How is [zero tolerance] going to manifest itself?" asks Talbot. "It could be directed against the United Church, it could be directed at a gamut of individuals in Canadian civil society. People of goodwill."
Talbot said it is all the more troubling given the recent passage of Bill C-51, the government's new anti-terrorism measures, which would further empower the police and intelligence agencies that report to Blaney.
"It's not unrelated," she says, "to the clamping down on dissent."

'Political terror'

Long before signing the joint pledge with Canada, Israel passed a law making it an offence to participate in or encourage BDS.
And the Israeli high court recently upheld most of it, with one of the justices writing that boycotts can be considered "political terror."
At the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Vonn says she is certain a prosecution of boycott advocates for hate speech would not survive a charter challenge.
But, she says, the government is certainly sowing "dread and chill," and that that appears to be its main intention in pronouncing zero tolerance.
"We've asked our lawyers. What does that mean?" says CUPE president Paul Moist. "Is it now a criminal offence to walk around with a sign saying close all the settlements, Israel out of occupied territories?"

In France, the law has for years criminalized hate speech based on national origin, and authorities there have in recent years been using it to prosecute BDS advocates. To date, more than 20 have been convicted.
According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, pro-Israel activists in Belgium are pushing for a similar law there.
The Obama administration officially opposes boycotts of Israel, and a measure now before Congress would direct American trade negotiators to discourage boycotts of Israeli goods.
But America has no hate speech laws. The U.S. constitution guarantees free speech. So a zero tolerance policy, or the type of prosecutions Canada is considering, would be impossible.

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Wednesday, May 6

19 YEARS OF BLOGGING FOR PALESTINE
by The Blogger - 0

It is the beginning of May and a lot of work 

still needs to be done on Window into 


Palestine. We have been going through the 


blog and fixing up each post, there is a lot you can do to help 


us out.
Invite your friends to like this face book page, give us your 

feed back, what would you like to see on the blog, share this 


post with your friends we need all the help we can get.

It was the summer of 1996 When Window into Palestine 


Started, Our 19 th year of blogging for Palestine is coming 


up, next year will be our 20 th year! We have always done 


our best to get the message out especially here in Canada.
We thank last months supporters, it was not much but it was 

greatly appreciated given the hard times all over the globe.

We need new computers to make this task easier, we are 


still saving to work on and to publish a book for Palestine 


with Canadian Perspective as well as continue what we do 


throughout the internet.

Any thing you can help with will be much appreciated.

In Peace, Solidarity, Justice For Palestine!

 Click on the donate button and give what you 

can.





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Falling in love in Gaza
by The Blogger - 0

Feature: Syrian refugee Wareef Hamido and Gaza journalist Maha Abdulkaas met for an interview, fell in love, and haven't looked back.

Wareef Hamido is a Syrian refugee and Maha Abulkaas is a young Palestinian journalist.

The two met when Abulkaas was looking into a story about a number of Syrians who had fled the war and found refuge in Gaza.

When she interviewed Hamido, who was living in Gaza, she knew that she had found her soulmate.

In recent years, Gaza and Syria have both experienced devastating wars that have made many homeless.

In Gaza, there are 28 Syrian refugee families, and very few have found work. There are about 200 other Palestinian-Syrian families, who live in slightly better conditions.

Hamido fled the war in Syria for Turkey in December 2012.

His trip from Aleppo was especially risky, and Hamido made the last 6km on foot, under heavy shelling. What should have taken 45 minutes took two days.

Once safely inside Turkey, he stayed for 20 days before moving to Egypt, where he lived without any income for eight months.

"I met my cousin in Egypt, and he offered me a job in a restaurant back in Gaza. I was hesitant at first, as I had already fled the war in Syria and I didn't want to move to another war zone," Hamido said.

"I had two choices - either board a boat to Europe and perhaps die in the middle of the Mediterranean, or go to Gaza. I chose Gaza."

He arrived in April 2013, and the place seemed almost like home.

"It felt very familiar, almost similar to my homeland. I decided to stay and started work as a chef in a restaurant. I worked almost 16 hours a day for about a year and a half," he added.
    I had two choices - either board a boat to Europe and perhaps die in the middle of the Mediterranean, or  go to Gaza. I chose Gaza.

Although Hamido studied mechanical engineering, he has worked for a chef for almost 15 years.

"Many journalists interviewed me during my stay in Gaza as a Syrian refugee, until a young beautiful one came to my restaurant for a report," he said.

"I then remembered the famous saying - love at first sight."

Abulkaas has worked as a reporter for Palestine TV and France 24 for the past six years.

Her reporting is sometimes controversial, and she has had life threatened more than once while reporting.

Happy union

Abdulkaas' other talent is drawing, and some of her paintings decorate her husband's restaurant.

"I was asked to make a report about the Syrian refugees in Gaza, and I had heard about Wareef. So, I visited him in the restaurant.

"He was very confident, proud, and honest. He does not accept any kind of pity and I simply liked his personality," said Abdulkaas.

When he proposed, rather than sticking to Syrian tradition, he did the Gazan way.

"The thing I liked the most was when he called my mother 'mum'. He used to call me 'mum' as well; he was eager to start a family, and to settle down," she said.

She said she is proud to be married to a Syrian man, and likes being known in their town as the wife of the Syrian refugee.

"He helps me in my work, he chooses my articles, my clothes, and every detail of my work. His criticism helps me improve."

War broke out in Gaza a month into their marriage.

Abdulkaas was asked to leave her flat, and stay at Adam Hotel where other journalists had gathered to report on the Israeli assault on Gaza.

Hamido accompanied his wife throughout the 51 days of the war.

He opened his own restaurant in Gaza in January, and named it Soriana, or 'Our Syria'.

He also started an association with other Syrians in Gaza to provide them with support.

"Palestinian-Syrian refugees have more rights and privileges than the Syrians. My Syrian passport has expired, and I cannot issue another one since there is no Syrian embassy in Gaza."

Despite Hamido's love for Palestine, he says he will return to Syria with his wife when the war ends.
- See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/5/6/falling-in-love-in-gaza#sthash.gqN5lbDl.JbxGR3wB.dpuf
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Saturday, May 2

Don't Travel to Israel Ever for Any Reason!
by The Blogger - 1

Doing so could be nightmarish - especially for anyone wishing to visit Occupied Palestine.
What French music students Philomene Constant and Bastien Anthoine experienced could happen to anyone.
Mondoweiss published their horrifying account. Israeli hospitality reflects police state viciousness.
Stay far away from its borders. Warn others against traveling there. Jewishness is no protection.
Beginning in September 2013, Philomene and Bastien spent a year in Occupied Palestine.
"We gave and attended music classes (violin and flute) at the Edward Said National Conservatory in Ramallah and helped to create a music school in Jericho," they said.
The late distinguished Palestinian/American scholar, intellectual and Israeli critic was an accomplished classical pianist.
"This year we had decided to go back during our recent Easter break to see our friends again and to return to the places where we had spent time the previous year," the students said.
On April 19, they arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport. When the customs officer heard they planned to visit Ramallah they "were sent straight to a small room where other people were waiting for us," they explained.
They were harshly interrogated separately. Philomene was asked "the reason for her visit, whether or not she had previously been to Israel, and why."
Her explanation didn't satisfy the customs officer. He called her a liar - "because it seemed to him impossible that a 20-year-old would come to Palestine for a year for the sole purpose of playing and studying music."
Saying she had no Palestinian cell phone "because she was afraid of placing her contacts in a bad position," the customs officer raged again.
He "stood up and pounded the desk with his fists, saying: 'You're a liar. I don't believe you.' "
Bastien experienced the same type grilling. He was warned not to lie like his friend. He "told…the truth but the officer didn't believe him, and a dialogue of the deaf ensued."
They were both accused of participating in demonstrations despite their insisting otherwise.
Harsh interrogation continued for hours. "(T)here (were) five of us in the small room. We are trembling. We want to throw up."
"We can't eat the dry sandwich Israeli security had brought us. Next to us a Russian woman passed out."
A visitor from Chad was handcuffed and taken away. "A fifty-year-old man, exhausted, was crying in a corner."
"The wait was growing unbearable, inhuman. We need to walk to feel better."
"The officer insists that Bastien, being pro-Palestinian, can’t have spent a year in Palestine without having gone to Bil’in, a village known for its resistance."
"Having never demonstrated, Bastien continued to insist that he hadn’t been there."
"When Philomene’s turn came, he asked her exactly the same questions. She gave the same answers."
An immigration officer denied them visa entry calling them too dangerous. They were brought to a detention center awaiting late afternoon deportation.
They were treated like terrorists. They were brought to a search room - treated like "objects."
Contents of their luggage were thoroughly searched. They were strip-searched. They called it "(t)otal humiliation."
In detention, their "jailers" put their belongings in a room. They put them in a cell awaiting deportation.
"Here (they were) locked up, with no notion of time in a dirty place, covered with fleas…Three and a half hours later" they were taken to the airport - for a flight to Brussels, not Paris, their destination.
Seventeen hours after arriving they landed in Brussels - "where the Belgian border police" awaited them.
They returned to France the next day. "Every year at Ben Gurion airport, numerous visitors from a variety of origins are treated similarly," they said.
"Their most elementary human rights are flouted: violation of intimacy, psychological torture, dehumanization, racism, theft, trauma."
"Few of them present a real danger to Israel (maybe none). In this way, Israel interferes with the smooth development of a great number of humanitarian, cultural, and other projects."
World leaders able to stop this outrage do nothing - letting Israel humiliate and abuse their nationals unaccountably.
It systematically flouts their fundamental human and civil rights. They're treated like criminals - not legitimate nonthreatening visitors.
No one should visit Israel as a tourist or for any other reason - EVER! Doing so risks being treated as abusively as Philomene and Bastien or worse.
Rogue states operate this way. Israel and America are the world's worst. They give ruthlessness new meaning.
Philomene and Bastien's article first appeared on the AURDIP web site - Association of Universities for the Respect of International Law in Palestine.
-###-
Stephen Lendman who wrote the above  lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III".

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
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Friday, May 1

Israel Aids Nepalese Victims, Blocks Gaza Reconstruction
by The Blogger - 0




Israel and America give double standard hypocrisy new meaning. Washington wages endless direct and proxy wars of aggression claiming humanitarian intervention.
Israeli occupation harshness is nearly seven decades old. Besieged Gazans suffer most - preemptively attacked by land, sea and air at Israel's discretion, isolated in the world's largest open-air prison.
Last summer's genocidal war left large parts of Gaza in ruins - besides committing mass murder, including willfully massacring mostly noncombatant men, women, children, infants and the elderly.
According to UNRWA, "(n)ot a single home has been rebuilt" - eight months after Israel's genocidal war ended.
UNWRA spokesman Chris Gunness reports "(t)o date, 9,161 Palestinian refugee houses have been considered totally destroyed and 5,066 have suffered severe (damage), 4,085 major (damage), an 124,792 minor damages."
To date, UNWRA received "funding to reconstruct (only) 200 of the 9,161 houses totally destroyed."
According to Metal and Engineering Industries Union vice president Muhammad Hamad, Israel blocks 85% of needed construction equipment and metal materials from entering Gaza.
In early March, Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement executive director Eitan Diamond said:
"Six months after the fighting, not a single house destroyed during the last round of hostilities has been rebuilt."
"Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and living in tents. Entire neighborhoods were destroyed."
Gaza's economy is in ruins. Its 1.8 million people are suffering hugely - ruthless Israeli collective punishment according to unenforced international law.
Gisha spokesperson Shai Grunberg said "Gaza's population needs an economic future." Israel's illegal siege must end.
"Merchants and business people must be allowed to exit Gaza in order to revive business connections and make new ones, sign deals, reconnect with the markets, and rebuild factories."
"Young people must be allowed to get an education and reunite with family. The restrictions on the passage of goods must be lifted" straightaway.
Israel systematically refuses - even after pledging during last year's Cairo peace talks to do so.
Following Nepal's devastating April 25 earthquake, the region's worst in 80 years, Israel sent 260 IDF medical and military personnel to Kathmandu - double standard hypocrisy and then some.
Its team set up a field hospital with 60 beds. On Wednesday, it began operations in coordination with Kathmandu's army hospital.
Around 2,000 Israelis were in Nepal when disaster struck. Dozens of backpackers were stranded. Israel's Foreign Ministry said only one of its nationals remains unaccounted for. Four planes and helicopters airlifted Israelis out.
No Israeli relief money was sent. Washington sent a paltry $10 million. Israel sent a large rescue team over 3,000 miles allegedly to help its nationals and Nepalese victims in need.
Israeli media touted its mission irresponsibly. A Hebrew University study "rank(ed) (Israel) near the bottom among leading free-market economies in providing foreign aid to developing nations."
Washington fares no better. It's so-called foreign aid is largely military-related benefitting its own agenda.
Israel's so-called disaster relief combines self-promotion propaganda with exploiting local populations.
Its aid mission to Haiti following its January 2010 devastating earthquake was accused of organ trafficking.
In November 2009, Alison Weir reported on Israeli organ trafficking and theft from Moldova to Palestine.
She cited an earlier Donald Bostrom's article in Sweden's Ftonbladet suggesting Israel's military illicitly removes removes body parts - including from Palestinians. According to Weir:
"…Israeli organ harvesting - sometimes with Israeli governmental funding and the participation of high Israeli officials, prominent Israeli physicians, and Israeli ministries - has been documented for many years. Among the victims have been Palestinians."
Medical anthropology/Organ Watch founder Nancy Scheper-Hughes says "Israel is at the top" among nations engaging in organ trafficking.
"It has tentacles reaching out worldwide," she said. It has a pyramid system at work that's awesome."
"They have brokers everywhere, bank accounts everywhere. They've got recruiters. They've got translators. They've got travel agents who set up the visas."
They pay "the poor and the hungry to slowly dismantle their bodies" or simply take what they want from fresh corpses."
Body parts are commodities, to be harvested and sold to the rich, even though organ sales are prohibited in most countries, but not under international law.
Is Israel's Nepal mission more about "rescuing" organs and body parts than helping stranded Israelis and Nepalese victims? It has nothing to do with providing humanitarian aid.
At the same time, it continues ruthlessly persecuting Palestinians - besieged Gazans most of all.
Nepalese victims make daily headlines. Long-suffering Gazans are totally ignored - including Israel's willful reconstruction blockade.
It's just a matter of time before its forces smash up more of Gaza - along with murdering and maiming thousands more Palestinians defenseless against its onslaught.

by Stephen Lendman

-###-
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III".

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
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Wednesday, April 29

Canaan: A Common Country
by The Blogger - 0

The last seven days is a typical week here at the new Palestine Museum
of Natural History: visits by delegations of internationals (a German
group, an Italian group, a group of mixed academics, mother and
grand-daughter from the US, etc), good talks by Karl Sabbagh and Miko
Peled, visits by representatives of three local NGOs for cooperation,
volunteer work at the garden, a field trip that brought several new
species to our attention (including the 50th species of butterflies),
clinical and research laboratory work, working with students (two
girls at Al-Quds and one at Bethlehem did their senior thesis
successfully with my supervision), writing articles, and four media
interviews (two political and two on nature). The lecture by Miko
Peled was particularly insightful as he explained how peace is
impossible with Zionists as they hold racist genocidal ideas integral
the make-up of Zionism. He explained how it is not true that Oslo
process failed; on the contrary it was a brilliant success that
accomplished exactly what it intended to accomplish: normalize theft
and ethnic cleansing and create a quisling Palestinian Authority
(subcontractor to the occupation).

We are saddened to see the unfolding events in Baltimore, USA and the
devastating earthquake in Nepal. It was disgusting to see the Israeli
apartheid regime claim doing humanitarian aid in Nepal (also securing
“Israeli” babies born to surrogate mothers). The media stunt is sick
especially considering the devastating destruction Israel inflicted on
the people of Gaza and still preventing humanitarian relief from 1.7
million imprisoned people in Gaza (most of them refugees ethnically
cleansed by the fascist Israeli regime).

One of my books is now available in German language: "Kanaan: Ein
Gemeinsames Land - Menschenrechte und der Israelisch-Palastinensische
Kampf". This is the correct book title. Here is the book prolog in
German: http://qumsiyeh.org/eingemeinsamesland/
Unfortunately some advertising carried a wrong title found also on the
cover (though not inside) of some printed books. But the book
distributed now should have the correct title as noted above.
Hopefully advertising will also be fixed soon. I will be in Germany in
June for those of you interested, send me an email so that I can send
you a tentative schedule.

A synopsis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/

Very significant report to forward to policymakers and journalists:
Charting a new course for Gaza: overcoming the stalemate
https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-charting-new-course-stalemate-gaza-130415-en.pdf

Why St George is a Palestinian hero http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27048219

Take Action: Tell US Senate Finance Committee You Support BDS
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/641/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1321096

Of course we welcome you in Palestine anytime: join us in the struggle
or to visit and learn.

Stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History (www.palestinenature.org)
Also on facebook
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Thursday, April 23

Terrorist JDL to picket Sabeel Conference on Christian Zionism in Vancouver
by The Blogger - 0

The terrorist organization "Jewish Defense League" is ramping up their outrageous  rhetoric and calling on their members to fly from Toronto to picket the Sabeel Conference on Christian Zionism in Vancouver April 23-25, 2015.
On March 27, 2015, the JDL issued a statement talking about the "evil anti-Semitic event in Vancouver that attempts to unify Christian groups with pro-Hamas groups."
Then, on April 7, 2015, they issued another intimidating statement where they called on their supporters to "join and support the JDL Protest at the Pro PFLP Sabeel Terror Recruiting Conference in Vancouver."
Obviously the JDL does NOT know the difference between Hamas and the PFLP, let alone the difference between true Christianity and Christian Zionism.
In the name of the Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver, we call on everyone to support this conference that is debunking Christian Zionism and accordingly Zionism as a settler colonialist ideology.
It is worth noting that the Canadian government treats the terrorist JDL as a legitimate organization (one of their leaders was part of Harper's delegation to Israel last year), while at the same time our government lists all the Palestinian resistance organizations, with no exception, as terrorist groups.
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Trapped Under The Rubble in Gaza
by The Blogger - 0

With heavy and anguished hearts, we are writing to let you know we have canceled Dr. Mona El-Farra's US tour – for now.  

Middle East Children's Alliance

Since the end of February, neither Israel nor Egypt has allowed her to leave Gaza, though Mona has been trying every day. 
 
But along with 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, she has been denied her right to freedom of movement. Israel rejected her request for a permit to leave citing security reasons and Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing closed with only a few days exception. Of course, the US has been complicit in terms of unconditionally backing Israeli policies, and continues to fund Egypt as well.

Some cities are going forward with events without Dr. Mona, and we will have an updated schedule posted in the coming days. We look forward to bringing Dr. Mona -- with her stories from "Life under the Rubble" -- to the US at another time, hopefully soon. Mona is of course still trying very hard to get out of Gaza, the sooner the better, in order to be with her family in the UK who needs her right now.

What can you do?  We are figuring out next steps and will let you know very soon! Thanks so much for all your support of MECA and the people of Palestine.
 
For justice and liberation,
Ziad, Barbara, Penny, Josie, Danny, Nawal, Deborah, Nancy and Sue
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MORE money to Israel?! Give Democratic sponsor your opinion!
by The Blogger - 1

Dear Friends,
Democrat Derek Kilmer has introduced a bill in Congress to give Israel $286 million ABOVE the already over $8 million per day it gets from American taxpayers.
People may wish to contact Mr. Kilmer about this, particularly since (1) Israel already receives far more U.S. tax money than any other country, and (2) Israel has a record of violent human rights abuses, including its massacre in Gaza last summer.
Mr. Kilmer's Washington DC office can be reached at 202-225-5916.

The legislation is being considered by the House of RepresentativesAppropriations Committee, which is supposed to represent ALL Americans, not just those in Mr. Kilmer's Washington State district.
While this money is allegedly to fund a "joint" project with the U.S., such projects in reality only benefit Israel. When all such disbursements disguised as "joint" projects are added to the direct aid to Israel, the amount of money U.S. taxpayers give to Israel is actually about $10 million per day.

For more information on money to Israel, see our report, "The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans."
Please let us know when you've phoned!
(If you wish to also phone his district offices, these can be seen here.)
We feel it is extremely important for Congressional representatives to hear from voters!


Best wishes, Alison-Signature.png 
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Tuesday, April 21

Leaked emails reveal Hollywood execs at work for Israel
by The Blogger - 0

MEMO - Top Hollywood bosses enjoy a strong relationship with the Israeli government and various pro-Israel lobbying groups across the United States, according to a cache of Sony internal emails leaked to Wikileaks and published for the first time last week.
The emails reveal a dinner between Sony executives and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the presenter of American X-Factor chiding actress Natalie Portman aggressively for her views on Israel; meetings between top entertainment chiefs and the Israeli consulate-general; close ties between Sony's Co-Chairperson and various pro-Israel lobbying groups; and film chiefs planning, in detail, a new documentary about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, about which the emails also reflect rising concern.
Amy Pascal, Co-Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment from 2006 until 2015, was signed up to regular email updates on the security situation in Israel, from a right-wing pressure group called The Israel Project. The group was described by Jewish Daily Forwardin 2010 as a Zionist group which, "Stokes Fear of Islam for Political Profit." The Israel Project has been admonished by the more liberal pro-Israel lobby group J-Street for taking a pro-settler stance. The daily emails sent to Pascal by The Israel Project had subject lines like "Protect Israel from a Nuclear Iran", "Fighting Anti-Israel Hate" and "Hamas Agrees to Ceasefire then Breaks It, Again". Most of the emails, which were being sent as often as once a day, contained requests for financial donations.
Pascal also received an email from the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-Semitism watchdog with close links to the Israeli government, thanking her personally for being amongst eighteen entertainment executives whose names were displayed prominently in an ADL advert in VarietyThe Jewish Journal, and The Hollywood Reporter. The advert quoted Golda Meir from 1957: "We can forgive them [the Palestinians] for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with them when they love their children more than they hate us." The quote was prefaced with additional commentary from ADL: "As talk turns to the future of Gaza, these haunting words of Golda Meir are as current as today's headlines. She could have been talking about Hamas."
Another leaked email exchange shows Pascal, who has since left Sony, being invited to "an intimate salon style discussion" at a J-Street supporter's home, in August 2014. The email emphasised that a special guest would be in attendance, J-Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. Pascal declined the invitation as she was on holiday in Vietnam, but responded, "I'm in for next steps and want to know how to get myself educated [sic]." J-Street bills itself as a "Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace" organisation and is regarded as the liberal element of the US pro-Israel lobby.
Another email that Pascal received and responded to shows an organisation called Creative Community for Peace, "a group of influential music execs... which battles the BDS movement... which tries to stop artists performing in Israel" reminding Pascal that they had taken her and her husband on a trip to Israel back in 2007.
"At that time," wrote David Lonner, a top Hollywood executive and Advisory Board Member for CCP, "the war with Hezbollah had just ended and our community had exhibited a great deal of apathy and some ignorance on what Israel was up against." Lonner added: "My hope in the end, was that if there was another crisis, we would not be silent. 7 years have passed since our trip and tragically we are in another crisis with Hamas."
Lonner than claimed that CCP worked with Rihanna, Paul McCartney and Alicia Keys when international pressure nearly prevented them from playing concerts in Israel. The email asked for Pascal's and her husband's signatures on another appeal, this time to "support Israel" during the Toronto Film Festival. Pascal replied to the email, "Count on both us." [sic]
Pascal and her husband Bernard Weintraub also received a personal invitation to attend a private event in September last year with the Israeli Consul-General, according to another email in the leaked archive. Held at the home of media lawyer and marketing tycoon Michael Kassan, the event was billed as "A Special Briefing on the Situation in Israel by David Siegel, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, and Jay Sanderson, President and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles." The evening included "cocktails and hors d'oeuvres," and guests were advised to wear "Business Casual Attire."
Another top Sony executive, Michael Lynton, was also emailed by Israeli intelligence operative and veteran film producer Arnon Milchan, arranging for him to have an "intimate dinner" with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The dinner was later held at Milchan's private home in Malibu.
One of the most extraordinary exchanges in the leaked emails came as Hollywood executives discussed Ken Loach's call for "a complete cultural boycott of Israel". "Enough with this pathetic limousine liberals ignorant bs," responded Ben Silverman, Executive Producer of hit shows like The Office, Ugly Betty and The Tudors.
Silverman then claimed that Gazans watching Loach's films will "be lined up and shot in the street for doing so." He asserted that anyone
"with a wife, daughter, mother or sister knows the evil anti woman rhetoric of the sharia Islamists and it is time to draw attention to the fact that you can have a voice and a choice in our democracies and you can have nothing but hate in their monarchies and dictatorships who thrive on censorship that would never allow their works to be shown. Let's go gents. We can't lie down. We must stand up."
Hollywood star Natalie Portman is copied on the email. She complained that she doesn't want her personal email address shared with a group of people she doesn't know. Ryan Kavanaugh, a well-known producer, reported billionaire and Variety magazine's 2011 "Showman of the Year," then reproached her sarcastically.
"Sorry. You are right jews being slaughtered for their beliefs and cannes members calling for the boycott of anything Israel or Jewish is much much less important than your email address being shared with 20 of our peers who are trying to make a difference. my deepest apologies.
I know that you don't care so I'll leave it alone, but I had lunch yesterday with Israel consulate general who brought J street up to me. He was so perplexed confused and concerned when he heard you supported them that he begged me to connect you two. I told him how you felt, you didn't want to hear from or speak to anyone who disagrees with your position. Three times he said "buts she's Jewish and smart."
Just thought you should know"
In another round-robin email, Hollywood executives discussed making a documentary about the recent resurgence in anti-Semitism. The well-respected independent film producer and agent Cassian Elwes suggested,
"How about we all club together and make a documentary about the rise of new anti-Semitism in Europe I would be willing to contribute and put time into it if others here would do the same. Between all of us I'm sure we could figure out a way to distribute it and get it into places like Cannes so we could have a response to guys like Loach. Perhaps we try to use it to rally support from film communities in Europe to help us distribute it there."
Copied in on the email are dozens of Hollywood names, including Natalie Portman and fellow actress Scarlett Johansson, executives at Lionsgate ProductionsMGM and Fox, X-Factor presenter and producer of "Keeping up with the Kardashians" Ryan Seacrest, and several high profile actors' agents. One unidentified executive called the proposed documentary "A brilliant idea." Also copied is Amy Pascal of Sony, who writes "Me too," in response.
Jason Binn, the owner of luxury shopping website Gilt, then offered to promote the film to its nine million members and the three million readers of his luxury magazine DuJour.
Glenn Feig, owner of the entertainment law firm Reder and Feig, offered pro bono legal services for the planned documentary, before copying in his client Ram Bergman, producer of the upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII and Star Wars Episode IX, and the thriller Looper, which starred A-Listers Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Also copied in on the email discussion about the upcoming film is Elliot Brandt, who was named in September 2014 as National Managing Director for the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying and political financing organisation. The emails reveal anxiety amongst the predominantly Jewish film executives regarding the rise of anti-Semitism.
One round-robin email, sent out by Bart Rosenblatt of Code Entertainment, is entitled "Too close to home." It details a hate crime at Emory University in October 2014 in which swastikas were scrawled onto a Jewish fraternity house. Executives also emailed each otherarticles from The Guardian newspaper saying that anti-Semitism "was at its worse since the Nazis", and an article claiming that Germany is now a no-go area for Jews.
"We can continue to be silent and pretend this isn't happening because it is not in our country yet. We can ignore the anti-Semitism akin to pre ww2 Germany... now lining the streets of London, France, Germany and around the world. We all may think we're protected here in the free US. We are not. It had now hit our doorstep and yet we remain silent?"
Another producer, Ron Rotholz, argued that
"many lines are being crossed ... it's a new reality for us. The tacit and subtle recognition of Hamas as a legitimate government with legitimate policies and a legitimate charter, by Western governments is a hate crime on a global scale"
Rotholz also called out the UK's National Union of Students:
"In the UK as you well know there has been a shocking rise in anti-Israel and anti-Semitism on university campuses here, both in terms of faculty and students and student orgs such as the potent and powerful NUS ( Natl Union of Students which holds great weight within the natl. Labour Party ).
The NUS has a long history of anti-Israel leadership and policy and their rhetoric and policies have become much more aggressive in the last year or so ... The intimidation of Jewish students, and those who support Israel in UK universities both by administrators, faculty and students is widespread, commonplace and alarming ... it's a dire situation and quite shocking in a nation which prides itself on tolerance and civility."
Those working on the anti-Semitism documentary also discussed who should present the film. One producer said that the project would need "a really good director who on the face of it doesn't seem completely biased, so that we can show something that gets the message across without making it seem like propaganda."
Organisers also planned to lean heavily on European institutions to make the film, anticipating good support. One executive wrote,
"I think we will get full cooperation from the impt media in europe, the eu, the current conservative govt. in the uk, the current govt in france, angela merkel in germany, many academics ( def at Oxford, Cambridge, LSE ) and of course, major jewish orgs in the uk france germany and in most eu countries ... This documentary is an essential tool for spreading our message."
Please follow on Twitter @AlastairSloan for more updates.
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