My Catbird Seat » Boycott Divestments and Sanctions Sat, 23 Jul 2011 05:39:39 +0000 en hourly 1 Israel Lobby Group Outlines Dirty Tricks Against Campus Palestine Activists Thu, 23 Jun 2011 08:07:01 +0000 Debbie The David Project’s dirty tricks

While name-and-shame tactics can be put to positive effect, they can also easily backfire and do more harm than good. We need to learn the art of being disagreeable in the most agreeable possible fashion.

by Ali Abunimah


What is the best way to smear Palestinians and Palestine solidarity activists and get away with it?

That is the question David Bernstein, Executive Director of the pro-Israel propaganda group, The David Project, asks in a surprisingly frank article titled “How to ‘Name-And-Shame’ Without Looking Like a Jerk” posted on Israel Campus Beat, a website sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.


Bernstein writes:

One of the more controversial tactics in a growing effort to counter the delegitimization of Israel is to “name-and-shame” – to go after those who actively delegitimize Israel and seek to delegitimize them.

There are even those, such as British journalist Melanie Phillips, who argue that our entire strategy should be to relentlessly attack the other side and to cease “defending” Israel.

While name-and-shame tactics can be put to positive effect, they can also easily backfire and do more harm than good. We need to learn the art of being disagreeable in the most agreeable possible fashion.

Hiding vilification behind a veneer of “civility”

Bernstein offers advice on how to be as insincere as possible in order to undermine Palestine solidarity work, especially on college campuses:

  • Start every critique with supportive words for peace or free discourse or both.
  • Don’t accuse anti-Israel forces of anti-Semitism unless they openly vilify Jews; accuse them of being anti-peace for opposing Israel’s right to exist.
  • On campuses and other places where anti-Israel groups act in a disruptive manner, write and promulgate civility petitions calling on all parties to engage in a respectful discussion. If the anti-Israel groups sign it, then they constrain their future actions; if they don’t, they can be accused of being uncivil.
  • In taking on an anti-Israel professor on campus, don’t focus on the substantive arguments they make. That will make you look like you’re trying to stifle discourse. Instead, accuse them, in the words of Professor Gil Troy, of “academic malpractice” for propagandizing the classroom.
  • When someone on campus justifies Hamas or Hezbollah, call them out by asking a question: Do you really support the Hamas charter’s call for killing Jews? Can that ever be justified?
  • Avoid indictments against all Muslims or Islam; preface any criticism of a Muslim radical group with an acknowledgement of peaceful Muslims.

No one should be fooled by the mask of civility – Bernstein makes clear that the goal is to “delegitimize” and marginalize, not to actually engage in “civil” debate.

The David Project’s dirty tricks

The David Project has a long history of dirty tricks. Indeed, the group was a key actor in the slander and fabrication campaign against Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad, part of the unsuccessful effort to deny him tenure (Massad explains the background in a statement on his website after his list of publications).

More broadly, the effort to “name and shame” Palestine solidarity activists is part of the broad “anti-delegitimization” efforts underway by American Zionist organizations at the suggestion of The Reut Institute, an Israeli think-tank which in 2010 called for a campaign of “sabotage and attack” on activists and organizations.

In October 2010, the Jewish Federations of North America – an umbrella for 157 major pro-Israel organisations – and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs launched a $6 million initiative called the “Israel Action Network” to fight “delegitimization” – a strategy that will undoubtedly include “name and shame.”

As I wrote for last December in “Defending Palestinian solidarity”:

I got a foretaste of what the Israel Action Network’s tactics will likely be when Sam Sokolove, the head of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, launched a failed effort to get academic departments at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque to withdraw their support for a lecture I gave in November. Sokolove’s campaign involved publicly vilifying me in the media, likening me to a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It is probably because of the publicity the Jewish Federation gave me that hundreds of people attended my talk.

We can thank Bernstein for his honesty in explaining to us what Israel lobby tactics amount to: personal vilification hiding behind a thin veneer of calls for “civility.” It’s a further sign of the bankruptcy of so much “pro-Israel activism.” It is not so much “pro-Israel” as anti-Palestinian. It has no positive message to offer whatsoever, certainly not one of peace.

Melanie Phillips named and shamed

One final note of irony. In his piece, Bernstein cites Melanie Phillips, a very prominent pro-Israel advocate in the UK who has routinely attacked and vilified many people who have spoken up for Palestinian rights.

Last week, Phillips left her position at The Spectator under a cloud: the publication was forced to make several high profile apologies for Phillips’ totally false attacks against several people and organizations for alleged anti-Semitism or criticism of Israel. Phillips has been particularly virulent in her Islamophobic attacks on British Muslims, as Mehdi Hasan of The New Statesman reports.

See the original article at: Electronic Intifada

Ali Abunimah is Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, and author of One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

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American Flash Mobs Embarrass Retailers Who Take Dirty Blood Money Mon, 13 Jun 2011 09:08:53 +0000 Debbie

Flash mob goes to town at Portland's 'New Seasons' market --

Apartheid Supporter ‘New Seasons’

I think people are eventually going to learn, the way we all learned about South Africa…

by Tim King / My catbird Seat

(PORTLAND, Ore.) – With all of the stories about terrible things taking place in the world, it is good to know that flash mobs are out there to embarrass the holy living sh*t out of retailers that want to grease their palms with blood money from Israel. It’s no secret Israel isn’t just slightly over the line in terms of human rights violations and highly documented war crimes, the Zionist government of Netanyahu is almost primeval in its treatment of human beings. The folks at New Seasons in Portland know what is going on, and their stance in support of oppressive Israeli occupation is baffling.

We learned yesterday that Israel’s government may reserve their most vicious public assaults for American Jews who dare to voice support for human rights. (see: Israel’s Crap Treatment of an American Jew)

Many of us actually understand that the goal of peace can never be reached under the current system. George W. Bush turned the U.S. into a nation guilty of committing Genocide.

After all, Iraq is an unjustified conflict against a civilian population that has a lot of oil. One point five million human lives eradicated by the U.S. led forces? Just imagine how greed transcends right down to the thought that fewer people mean more resources for the nation committing the acts. Fewer human beings to disagree? I saw two types of people up close in Iraq; they were either highly compliant, or bound, hooded and subdued.

The Portland BDS Coalition Mobs New Seasons Grocery demanding a total Boycott of Israeli Products.

I can go on forever about this, instead I will let you enjoy this super cool video featuring a unique concept known as ‘humanity’ that is often the missing guest. The people in this Portland, Oregon flash mob carry the virtues of what is right in this world, they are drawing attention to what is wrong. That is what we are supposed to do as human beings.

YouTube – Veterans Today -

The U.S. right wing nearly proclaims the country’s ‘Christianity’ while at the same espousing a system of religions freedom, which is supposed to exist. However President Bush compared the war on Iraq to the Crusades (two wholly unjustified extended periods of bloodshed). Then, just as now, Genocide always happens for the simple reason; because of religious hegemony and oppression.

Israel, like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, admits that religious freedom is denied – it is written as such. By national doctrine they exist to serve the needs of only one faith, i.e. the ‘Jewish State of Israel’. The same goes for the ‘Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’. I wouldn’t call the Afghan government Genocidal; in fact it was the scene of a Genocidal invasion and war from the former Soviet Union, which the Afghan Mujaheddin banded together and won.

Unfortunately, the Afghan struggle for freedom led to destroyed ancient Buddhist statues and a near eradication of Jews. On that note, I had never looked into whether there are any Jewish people living in Afghanistan at all. Here is what Wikipedia says:

“Jews have lived in Afghanistan for at least 2,000 years, but the community has been reduced greatly because of emigration. Afghan Jewish communities now exist mostly in Israel, Pakistan and the United States. Today, it is believed that there is only one Jew, Zablon Simintov, residing in Afghanistan. He cares for a dilapidated synagogue in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, and receives aid from sympathetic Muslims and Jews around the world.” (see: History of the Jews in Afghanistan – rom Wikipedia). One guy! This is Afghanistan; America’s big Middle east ‘project’, hearts and minds, all of that. I now wish I had gone to see that dilapidated synagogue when I was in Kabul, what a story that would have been. My question is this; if Israel had reduced the Muslim population of Palestine to a single sad broken down mosque, would it be cared for with the proceeds of sympathetic Jews? Would the Muslim running it survive a single day?

In Palestine, the backers of the Genocide are Jews, in Iraq they are Christians, in Afghanistan they are Muslims, and in Sri Lanka they are Buddhists, and good luck to you if you happen to live in one of the latter three places listed, and fail to fit in. But never assume that these terrible behaviors represent the actual religions or their people at large. Not in any case, including Northern Ireland.

Since the people of opposing religions tend to represent different cultures, at least perceptually, it is racism, and as soon as the killings begin en mass, then it is Genocide. The first defense of the Genocidal groups as I have learned in my years of writing, is to accuse the writer of being against the religion of the majority.

Israel came to power in 1948 and then attacked neighboring Arab countries in 1967 in the Six Day War and used their victory to justify a major land grab. Since then Israel has progressively encroached on the remaining Palestinian areas, forcing them to drive on separate roads, and be subjected to a different set of laws than those that govern Jews. This is what U.S. taxpayers are funding.

Israel is obviously very guilty of years of violent and deadly ethnic cleansing.
Background: Murdering Babies is ‘Permissible’ When They’re Palestinian – Alison Weir

Background on Israeli Occupation: The activists understand that: all of Palestine has been militarily absorbed by Israel, which didn’t exist as a government until 1948. Gaza is an isolated coastal strip bordered by Israel on the east and Egypt to the south. The West Bank and Golan Heights are also Palestine, and everything else is Israel. So, you have Palestinians who live in occupied Palestine; Palestinians who live in Israel that are Israeli citizens, and Palestinians in Gaza who have been locked in an open air concentration camp for years.

Israeli bulldozers demolishing Palestinian homes in Lod, ner Tel Aviv, Image: Al Jazeera

Every time a person buys a Nestle product, they are funding the diesel fuel of a bulldozer that will mow down a Palestinian family home, sometimes with people inside, almost always illegally. And when they use Caterpillar construction equipment, they directly fund the destruction of Palestine’s homes. All Israeli settlement products are directly funding colonies that exist atop ancient Palestinian villages. The settlers regularly harass the native Palestinians and school kids aren’t safe, families aren’t safe. The settlers train with deadly weapons and fire homemade rockets into Palestinian neighborhoods. And before people start ranting about Hamas rocket attacks, remember that these rogue attacks from Gaza have killed exactly 28 Israeli people. That is terrible, nobody should have died and the deaths of the Israelis are no less significant than any others, but they are far, far fewer in comparison to Palestinian deaths at the hands of the Israelis, like more than a 100 to 1, far more.

WEST BANK: 37% Increase in Colonies Population in 6 Years

Israel built division walls across Palestinian farmland and they shoot farmers with sniper rifles when they try to work their land, even in the legal zones. The Israeli navy regularly attacks and harasses, detain, confiscate, arrest, etc., the poor fishermen of Gaza who try to earn a meager living in restricted waters. A great writer and peace activist who was killed recently in Gaza, Vittorio Arrigoni, regularly protested the treatment of the fishermen.

And that is all just one tiny glance at the problems people have living under Israel’s highly aggressive illegal ‘army’ called the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

In a Google search just now, I saw that anti-BDS sites that have high ranking. The first thing I read was, “BDS leaders want to destroy Israel and vilify Jews in the process”. They’re so completely full of it. has an overt reputation for reporting the truth and everything else be damned.

BDS, (Boycott, Divestments & Sanctions) campaign take part.

New Seasons, you guys need to drop your products that violate BDS and if you do it, we will bring the television cameras to Portland and give you substantial coverage, all it is, to show people that anything and everything is possible once the right amount of education has been applied.

Please do the right thing. I predict that if you drop just a few of your products, that you will earn many customers for life, and those are who you need.

Related video:

Tim King is Editor and Writer. We are proud to have Tim king as part of My Catbird Seat Contributors Team. He is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as’s Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer’s Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Read more from Tim King,, Oregon. Launched in 2004, continues to cover a wide ranging news base that includes Palestine and Israel, Africa, Mexico, Iran, Lebanon, government corruption, war crimes and many more subjects.



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Israelis Say to Obama “Yes We Ken” Wed, 08 Jun 2011 05:18:55 +0000 Debbie

“The amazing moments in the march came when protesters chanted: “Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples”; “Yes we ‘ken’ (the Hebrew word for “yes”); and “Bibi and Barak, peace isn’t a game”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat / My Catbird Seat

In his recent and memorable speech at Capitol Hill and while mesmerizing America’s Congressmen with his reiterated talk of Israel being the only democratic friend of the United States in the Middle East, and as he was reaching a state of absolute euphoria due to the unbelievable non-stop applause and standing ovations he received from his most distinguished and hypocritical audience, Mr. Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, somehow forgot that the democracy he was boasting about incorporated a counter view to the one he was enthusiastically presenting to the American Congress about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bibi’s Impossible Peace

“No preconditions whatsoever, no concessions on Jerusalem as a unified capital for the Jewish state of Israel, no consideration of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, no restrictions on Israeli military deployments outside its territory, no negotiations with any Palestinian delegates which include Hamas, and no clear indications of what territory might ultimately be sacrificed- painfully- to the Palestinians, even then, except that would not be based on any reference to 1967 border lines. In short, if the Palestinians want peace, they will have to accept whatever and whenever Israel is willing, unilaterally and unconditionally, to concede” …That was Mr. Netanyahu’s vision for any possible Mid-East peace or rather the impossible one.

In most political circles, this restrictive and shamefully biased and detached from reality vision for a so called peace will probably be viewed like Mr. Netanyahu is unequivocally blocking any hope for restarting the Mid-East talks, but the esteemed American Senators and Congressmen attending his speech didn’t think so.

The Israeli Wall and the Wind of Change

Israelis marching on the evening of Naksa Day calling for a sovereign Palestinian state

Mr. Netanyahu, despite the brash and unapologetic chauvinism and his outright refusal of any political advice or moral leadership from Obama, proved that he is not an exception from those Middle Eastern dictators who are currently being toppled by their angry people in the region.

And as Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, pointed out, Netanyahu is acting the same as Mubarak of Egypt who had the leverage and the time of 30 long years to empower his country and people but instead he wasted all the time and opportunities and when he was finally forced to concede and implement some democratic changes it was a matter of doing too little too late.

This is exactly where Mr. Netanyahu is headed, he has been following the Arab awakening, but as a politician he failed to see through the core of those uprisings.

Hiding behind his high West Bank wall he somehow couldn’t feel the wind of change sweeping through the whole Middle East. If Netanyahu had the kind of political and historical insight that allowed him to decipher what is being currently written down as history in the Middle East he should have realized that now is the time to change the Zionist rhetoric, let go of the old prejudices and make some concessions that would bring about peace to the Palestinians, the Israelis and the whole Middle East.

If only Netanyahu invested some critical and professional political thinking before he slammed the white house late initiative and if he had not been hypnotized by the support of the most fanatic Israeli right wingers and the most stubborn and unrealistic American Zionist lobbies he would have had the courtesy to contemplate the wisdom in Obama’s Middle East speech.

But not all the Israelis are grudging right wingers and not all the pro-Israeli American lobbies are as blinded and detached from reality like AIPAC. The newly liberal pro-Israel group, j-street has made it clear from the start that they endorsed Obama’s call for establishing a sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 border lines and so did the liberals and the leftists in Israel.

Middle Eastern Rocks

Netanyahu left the United States feeling victorious after getting the American Congress on its knees and after having lectured Obama about the political perils of a two-state solution based on 1967 borders but it didn’t take so long before that phony triumph crashed upon the rocks of Middle Eastern reality, as Netanyahu himself put it.


Once he got back to Tel Aviv, Netanyahu called for a state of high alert as it was a matter of days before the anniversary of the six-day war, or what the Arabs refer to as the shameful setback or Naksa, that was launched on June 5, 1967 and after which Israel had premeditatedly occupied big chunks of Arab lands on 3 fronts, the Egyptian, Palestinian and Syrian.

Last week the Israeli defense forces –IDF- braced for possible Palestinian marches on the Israeli borders commemorating the 1967 Israeli aggressive war but this year’s Naksa day came a little different than what Mr. Netanyahu expected, not that hundreds of Palestinians didn’t march on the borders with Israel but because thousands of Israelis unexpectedly and on the evening of Naksa day marched in Tel Aviv itself and loudly called for the realization of the two-state solution now and before it is too late and exactly as president Obama has called for in his Middle East speech last month.

Yes We Ken

Some 5,000 people, with protesters affiliated with the Hadash party, Meretz, Peace Now, the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement and the Geneva Initiative marched through the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday evening in a demonstration calling for the creation of a Palestinian state contiguous to the Israeli state.

Those rallies shouldn’t be viewed as Obama striking back at Bibi in the heart of the Israeli capital but rather as a sincere bid for rejuvenating the call “give peace a chance” embraced by liberal politicians and peace activists in the United States, in Israel and even in the occupied Arab territories in East Jerusalem and the west Bank who are pleading for letting not, what might be the last chance to reach a fair and durable settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, simply slip away over some futile dueling speeches between Bibi and Obama in Washington DC.

“it’s difficult for us to be excited by the applause Netanyahu received in Congress. Applause there cannot protect us here.” said Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On as she addressed the Israeli protesters

Speakers in the rally included Knesset members from the Meretz, Hadash, Labor and Kadima parties who in turn showed their endorsement and solidarity to the recent call by President Obama for a two-state solution based on 1967 border lines.

The rally sends an important message about Israeli support for President Obama’s vision at this critical moment — especially as his opponents are on the attack, distorting facts and apt to question his political loyalty to the concept of greater Israel, a concept most of his predecessors of the United States presidents had subscribed to.

The amazing moments in the march came when protesters chanted: “Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples”; “Yes we ‘ken’” (the Hebrew word for “yes”); and “Bibi and Barak, peace isn’t a game,”

Indeed… peace is not a game and neither is war.

… Those Israeli rallies which have been hardly reported by the main stream media clearly show that Obama’s Middle East speech should not be regarded as some kind of a political blunder that somehow offended the American Zionist lobbies and jeopardized his odds for a second term in office but rather as a road map that ought to be followed if Israel want to escape the otherwise inevitable doom of turning into an apartheid regime where a Jewish minority would rule over an Arabic majority. And we all know how appallingly apartheid regimes crumbled down throughout history.

Dr Ashraf Ezzat is a medical doctor by profession. In his spare time he writes about ancient Egyptian history, Ancient Near Eastern history, comparative religion and politics especially the Arab- Israeli conflict. He is founder and board member of the bibliotheca Alexandrina friends society. For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website

Read more

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu : Calls on Jews and Israelis to oppose the Occupation of Palestine Wed, 08 Jun 2011 04:19:46 +0000 Debbie Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is working, despite the enormous pressure brought to bear by reactionary vested interests, because decent people and honourable institutions and organizations are doing what is right.


by Bob Birch / My Catbird Seat


The archbishop knows, better than anyone, the similarities between the old South Africa and present-day Israel in terms of human rights abuses inflicted upon the respective indigenous populations.

Israel, under Netanyahu’s extreme right-wing government, is moving towards fascism, with all its attendant racism. Read the Israeli press for confirmation of this. No amount of falsehoods, whitewashing and disimulation by Netanyahu government can disguise the dreadful abuses suffered by Palestinians who have suffered 44 years of military occupation.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is working, despite the enormous pressure brought to bear by reactionary vested interests, because decent people and honourable institutions and organizations are doing what is right.

Bob Birch
New South Wales
My most recent blog from Occupied Palestine can be found by clicking on the link:
I hope you find it of interest.

Read more:

Bob Birch reports from the Occupied territories in Palestine

Also see:

BRISBANE: Australia’s first Flash Mob 3Jun11

Brisbane BDS Campaign activists surprise shoppers by performing “we will boycott Israel” to the tune of a popular music anthem in the Myer centre food court below the Seacret Dead Sea Cosmetics stall. Activists have been calling on shoppers and Myer Centre management to respect the call to boycott products made in Israel until it respects human rights and complies with International Law.
The action was part of the global BDS movement to Boycott Israeli goods.

The Boycott Divestment Sanctions Campaign initiated by Palestinian trade unions and civil society in 2005 has the aim of * Ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall * Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and * Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194

Boycott Divestment Sanctions Campaign Flash Mob Brisbane Australia June 3 2011


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Rae Abileah Disrupting Netanyahu’s Congress Speech Sat, 28 May 2011 16:19:55 +0000 Debbie “Netanyahu proved that he’s the Primary Obstacle to Peace and Justice for Israelis and Palestinians”


Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American activist disrupted Netanyahu’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress. Standing in the congressional gallery, she was yelling, “No more occupation! Stop Israel war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians! Occupation is indefensible!”

As she was screaming, members in the audience tackled her to the ground. Undercover  security forces dragged her outside. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. At the hospital, police arrested Abileah and charged her with disorderly conduct for disrupting Congress.

Rae Abileah explains her Protest to Amy Goodman of DEMOCRACY NOW! from Washington, D.C.

Thanks, Amy, for having me on. Yesterday I stood up and unfurled a banner and spoke the truth about what’s going on in Israel. The war crimes and occupation, oppression and inequality that Palestinians are suffering from must end. And it was absolutely despicable to see our Congress pandering to Netanyahu as if he was the president of the United States. And I think after seeing the speech, every American should be outraged, and the progressive community needs to rise up and take courage and take action for justice, democracy, freedom and equality, in the Middle East as well as here at home.

I think that the act I took of courageously standing up in front of Congress doesn’t come along—the opportunity to do that doesn’t come along very often. But every day, as Americans, we have an opportunity to stand up. And whether it’s putting our money where our hearts are, by participating in economic pressure against Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or calling our Congress people or taking other actions, it’s time for us to say no to this terrible policy that, just as Dr. Barghouti has illustrated, will not bring about peace. Netanyahu proved yesterday that he is the primary obstacle to peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians. And to see our Congress giving away three billion of our tax dollars every year to Israeli war crimes, while our economy suffers, while our kids can’t go to college, while our needs aren’t being met here at home, is absolutely an outrage.

As I stood up and spoke out, members of the audience tackled me, covered my mouth and violently threw me to the ground. Several of them were wearing badges from the powerful pro-Israeli government lobby group AIPAC.  Amidst the assault, the police came and dragged me out of the gallery.  They took me to an ambulance for urgent care, and later placed me under arrest at the hospital

AMY GOODMAN: What were you just saying? You were tackled by members of AIPAC?

RAE ABILEAH: I just wanted to say that the people that were sitting around me in the gallery of Congress yesterday were mostly wearing badges from the AIPAC Israel lobby conference. And I did not expect that people holding such power and representing such a huge lobby group would respond so violently to my peaceful disruption. And after I spoke out, Netanyahu said, you know, “This is what’s possible in a democracy. And you wouldn’t be able to get away with this in other countries like Tunisia.” And I think that is ridiculous and absurd. If this is what democracy looks like, that when you speak out for freedom and justice, you get tackled to the ground, you get physically violated and assaulted, and then you get hauled off to jail, that’s not the kind of democracy that I think I want to live in.

We have a very skewed policy that ignores the rights of the Palestinians, sanctions the Israeli violations of international law, sullies the U.S. reputation internationally and gives $3 billion a year of our tax dollars to the Israel military when we need this money here at home. Before we go preaching democracy abroad, we should make our own democracy more responsive to the public good, not the wishes of wealthy lobbyists.

I have been charged with disorderly conduct and have a court date next month. I also plan to press charges against the person who assaulted me. Unfortunately, we have discovered that in our democratic system, the police are quick to go after those who disrupt the powerful, but rarely go after the powerful who attack the “little guy.”

AMY : Many people will feel you are a crazy person to disrupt a world leader as he speaks before the U.S. Congress. Might there be other ways to make your point?

Yes, I try to make my point many ways—lobbying, writing articles, speaking to community groups. But I am reminded of the song by Malvina Reynolds that says, “It isn’t nice to block the doorways, it isn’t nice to go to jail, there are nicer ways to do it, but the nice ways always fail.”

I am as committed as ever to continuing to exert pressure on our US government using all the traditional channels, but I also recognize that it has been direct action and nonviolent resistance that has ultimately worked to create powerful change like the 8-hour work day, women’s right to vote, liberation in India, and the overturning of apartheid in South Africa.

One of the most important ways that we can bring about a change in policy in Israel is to exert economic pressure by participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

I’ve been to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza several times. And after witnessing the destruction, the Jewish-only roads, the wall, the bombing of Gaza and the inequality there, I feel like, when I returned to the U.S., I had no option but to speak out for justice. And I feel this tremendous responsibility as a Jewish American to speak out for justice and against these war crimes that are being committed in my name as a Jew, and as a U.S. taxpayer.


Rae Abileah on Disrupting Netanyahu’s Congress Speech

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Largest student union in Europe joins boycott of Israel Thu, 19 May 2011 05:08:49 +0000 Debbie The motion also called on other students’ unions to join in the campaign for Palestinian human rights. ULU is the largest students’ union in Europe with over 120,000 members from colleges across London.

by James Haywood and Ashok Kumar

The University of London Union (ULU)  has voted 10-1 to institute and campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in support of Palestine. The motion called for “thorough research into ULU investments and contracts” with companies guilty of “violating Palestinian human rights” as set out by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC). Ashok Kumar, Senate member for LSE (London School of Economics), speaking in favour of the motion, argued, “We have precedents for boycotting campaigns at ULU, especially with South Africa and the boycott campaign over  Barclays bank, that supported the Apartheid regime. We are now responding to the Palestinian call for civil action in support of their fight against racism.”


The motion also called on other students’ unions to join in the campaign for Palestinian human rights. ULU is the largest students’ union in Europe with over 120,000 members from colleges across London. ULU senate consists of the presidents of the 20 students unions reprsenting every University of London University.  James Haywood, President-elect at Goldsmiths Students’ Union, stated, “We are delighted that this motion has passed, and with such a clear vote as well. We have seen throughout history that boycotts are a crucial nonviolent tactic in achieving freedom, and target institutions, not individuals.”

Sean Rillo Raczka, incoming ULU Vice President, “I’m delighted that ULU has passed this BDS policy on Israel.  We stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people, and as Vice President next year I will ensure that the University of London Union does not give profit to those denying the human rights of the Palestinians”

The text of the motion passed is as follows:

Union notes:

1) to boycott is to target products, companies and institutions that profit from or are implicated in, the violation of Palestinian rights

2) to divest is to target corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights, as enshrined in the Geneva Convention, and ensure that investments or pension funds are not used to finance such companies

3) to call for sanctions is to ask the global community to recognise Israel’s violations of international law and to act accordingly as they do to other member states of the United Nations

4) that in 2009 the The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa released a report stating that Israel was practising a form of apartheid in the occupied West Bank, (

5) that Israel continues to build a 8 metre high “annexation” wall on Palestinian land inside the post-1967 occupied West Bank, contravening the July 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice (the highest legal body in the world, whose statutes all UN members are party to) and causing the forcible separation of Palestinian communities from one another and the annexation of additional Palestinian land.

6) that within the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel continues a policy of settlement expansion in direct violation of Article 49, paragraph 6 of the 4th Geneva Convention which declares “an occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies.” 6) that the Gaza Strip continues to face a suffocating siege from land, sea and air by Israel, and continues to suffer military incursions into the territory by the Israeli army

7) that Palestinians living in Israel continue to suffer third-class citizenship and are heavily discriminated against from healthcare, education, landownership and in many cases having ‘unrecognised’ villages completely demolished

8) that there continues to be millions of Palestinian refugees throughout the world who are racially discriminated against by not being allowed to return to their homes in Israel and the Occupied Territories, which is legally recognised under international law, including United Nations resolution 194.

9) that ULU and the NUS nationally adopted the call for BDS in the 1980s when it was called for by South Africans fighting racism and apartheid

10) that Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish South African Minister of Intelligence said “The boycotts and sanctions ultimately helped liberate both blacks and whites in South Africa. Palestinians and Israelis will similarly benefit from this non-violent campaign that Palestinians are calling for.”

11) that the call for BDS has come from over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations, including student organisations, as well as organisations within Israel and across the global; and that the campaign is founded on the basis of anti-racism and human rights for all

Union Believes:

1) that unions should work to support the Palestinian people’s human rights and uphold international law

2) that BDS is an effective tactic, which educates society about these issues, economically pressures companies/institutions to change their practices and politically pressures the global community

3) that unions have a moral responsibility to heed the call of oppressed peoples, like we did so proudly during the BDS campaign to end South African apartheid

4) that the BDS movement has united human rights campaigners from different nationalities, races, religions and creeds across the world

Passed 10-1 in ULU – largest union in Europe, 20 universities and 130,000 students.

Union Resolves

(1) Institute thorough research into ULU contacts with investments and companies,including subcontractors, that may be implicated in violating Palestinian human rights as stated by the BDS movement

(2) Pressure University of London universities and affiliate students’ unions to divest from Israel and from companies directly or indirectly supporting the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies;

(3) Promote students’ union resolutions condemning Israeli violations of international law and human rights and endorsing BDS in any form;

(4) Actively support and work with Palestine solidarity organisations such as the BDS Movement, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, British Committee for Palestinian Universities , Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

(5) Affiliate ULU to the Palestine BDS National Committee and engage in education campaigns to publicize the injustice of Israel’s discriminatory policies against the Palestinians and its illegal occupation

James Haywood, President-Elect, Goldsmiths University Students’ Union.


Ashok Kumar, Senate member for LSE (London School of Economics)


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NAKBA SUNDAY : Majesty and massacre at Maroun al Ras Mon, 16 May 2011 20:24:15 +0000 Debbie To the Edge of Their Lands

All the Palestinian organizations and factions were united for this project.

by Franklin Lamb at the Lebanon-Palestine border

My Catbird Seat

Maroun al Ras is a beautiful hillside Lebanese village on the border with  Palestine. 63 years ago today its villagers lifted their lights to welcome  ethnically cleansed Palestinians, who were part of the approximately 129,000  from 531 Zionist pillaged and destroyed villages who sought temporary refuge in Lebanon. A similar number of  Palestinian expellees entered Syria a few miles to the West and another half million were forced into Jordan and Gaza.

On Sunday May 15, 2011, in observance of Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, Maroun al Ras welcomed approximately 27% of all the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, this time coming from the opposite direction heading back toward their homes in  Palestine. Palestinians in Lebanon now number approximately  248,000, approximately half of whom live in 12 squalid camps (and as many so-called, unofficial “gatherings”), although 423,000 remain registered with UNWRA.

The discrepancy in numbers is explained by the fact that Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees, without any of the most elementary civil rights, in gross  violation of international Law, Lebanon’s Constitution, and bi-lateral and multilateral agreements, tend to leave Lebanon to seek work, decent housing,  and a better life whenever they are able to secure a visa to Europe or  elsewhere.

For a majority of the more than 72,000 (some estimates this morning exceed 100,000 because many refugees and supporters traveled south independently and did not register or use provided transportation) arriving from all the  camps and corners of Lebanon, in more than 1200 buses & vans, and many on foot, it was their first sighting of their country.  Lebanon law has long prevented Palestinians from coming anywhere near the blue line to even look  towards their stolen homes and lands or to cross the Litani River north of  Tyre. This year, for one day only, the Lebanese authorities reluctantly  decided not to interfere with this human rights project.

For the teen-agers on the crowded bus I rode on from Shatila Camp, the stories and descriptions of Palestine told by their parents and grandparents was what they talked about.

As we approached Maroun al Ras, some of them were anxious, others silent and reflective, and some, like many teenagers from my generation about to see the Beatles or Elvis were giddy and squealing as the bus rounded a bend in the road south of Aitayoun and we looked to the approaching hills.

“Is that my country Palestine over there?,” Ahmad, a graduate in Engineering  who was born in Shatila camp asked. “Nam Habibi!” (“Yes Dear!”) came the  reply from the  microphone of our “bus mother” gripping her clip board and  checking the names to keep track of her flock. This bus seemed to inflate  with delirium as we all smiled and shouted. Some of the passengers had  prepared signs that read: “People want to return to Palestine,” inspired perhaps by the slogan made famous in Egypt and Tunisia, “People want the fall of the regime.”

The espirit was reminiscent of a Mississippi freedom ride James Farmer of  CORE used to tell us about and I thought of Ben Gurion’s boast from 1948  that the old will die and the young will forget Palestine.  The Zionist leader could not have been more mistaken. The old, many still vital, continue to teach and inspire the young from their still-remembered stories, guaranteeing that the dream of every Palestinian shall never die.

The organizers from the camps did a tremendous job, but no one could have  anticipated the huge numbers who would participate in this truly historic and likely region-changing event that was also fueled by Facebook, Tweets and text messages.

All the Palestinian organizations and factions were united for this project.

Hezbollah kept a low profile so as to keep the focus on the Nakba. However, when the organizers discovered a shortage of buses last week Hezbollah arranged for more, even bringing some from Syria, where more than 800 buses were used yesterday to take Palestinians from Syria’s 10 Palestinians camps, including Yarmouk, to the Syrian Golan border with occupied Palestine.

At certain points along the narrow and winding village roads in South Lebanon the convoy would pause and Hezbollah members would appear and  distribute bottles of water, fresh croissants and large chocolate-filled cookies.  They also did traffic control work and provided civil defense and  medical services as needed.  One imagines it was their guys who erected the  nifty new road signs throughout the South that showed the distance to Palestine with an arrow pointing toward Jerusalem.  Whenever the buses  would pass one of the signs that read in Arabic and English, for example, “Palestine: 23 km”, our bus would erupt in cheers.

The Mabarat Charity, founded by the late scholar Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, who was from the village of Bint Jbeil near Maron al Ras, operates  several gas stations, the proceeds of which are used to support orphans,  discounted gas on Nakba Day for the hundreds of buses & vans.

It is difficult to exaggerate the camaraderie, emotion and sheer power of the event. They came to renew their commitment and send the world a message that they are determined to return to their land no matter the sacrifices required. For some coming to see Palestine, including some of those who have been forced out of their homes and off their lands, 63 years ago, it appeared to be almost a sacred and religious act.

One man, who appeared to be in his 80’s stood not far from me and gazed toward his stolen land near Akka, seen in the distance.  Suddenly he slumped to the ground. Two of us elevated his legs and tried to make him comfortable on the rocky ground until first aid arrived.

My best friend in Shatila camp, Zeinab Hajj, whose father walked from his village of Amouka near Safad as a child, stared toward Safad also visible in the distance.  Tears ran down Zeinabs cheeks as she gazed at her village. It was a common site among the old and the young.  Even toddlers whose parents wanted them to witness and be part of this historic day appeared to grasp its solemnity and importance.

For the large American contingent and other international guests observing  Nakba Day 2011 at Maroun al Ras , it was a majestic and cherished experience.

However as the World soon learned, 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli  snipers and more than 120 wounded, some critically. None of the demonstrators had weapons. Those murdered were all civilians from the camps and were shot in cold blood as they nonviolently placed Palestinian flags at the fence and gave the peace and victory sign. After Israeli troops fired on them, some threw rocks at the soldiers. Fortunately some lives were saved by a field hospital affiliated with the group, the Martyr Salah Ghandour Hospital, from nearby Bint Jbeil.  Zionist occupation forces, some peering out from behind trees or barriers, could be clearly seen by those gathered near the blue line at Maroun Al Ras.

One knowledgeable source informed this observer that unseen Hezbollah resistance fighters at one time yesterday afternoon had as many as 32 Israelis in the cross-hairs as they silently watched what was happening but did not fire which would only have accommodated Israel’s deadly intent.

Meanwhile, Lebanon has filed a complaint against Israel with the UN Security Council calling on it to pressure Israel to stop its hostile and provocative policies against Lebanon and hold it accountable for killing civilians. Today is a day of general strikes in the camps in mourning for the victims who were killed with funerals being held in the refugee camps of al-Bass, Burj al-Shemali, Mieh Mieh and Ain al-Hilweh. All UNWRA schools are closed.Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah commended Lebanon’s Palestinians this morning as he explained his interpretation of Nakba Day 2011:

“You do not accept a homeland other than Palestine, and so let no one fear naturalization in Lebanon because your firm decision is to return. Your loud and clear message to the enemy is that you are determined to liberate the land no matter what the sacrifices are; and the fate of this entity (enemy) is demise and that no initiatives, treaties or borders will protect it. Your return to Palestine is [an] inalienable right, and its realization has become closer than any other time.“

Hassan Nasrallah’s words require that Lebanon’s next Parliament, with the full, active, direct, and unequivocal support of Hezbollah, immediately  repeal the racist and discriminatory  2001 law that outlaws home ownership for Palestinians in Lebanon and that Lebanon’s Palestinians be immediately granted the right to work just as all refugees do globally and all foreigners in Lebanon enjoy.

There must be no more resistance to Palestinians being granted the elementary right to work and to own a home.  Yesterday at Maroun al Ras Lebanon’s Palestinians once again earned the right to live in dignity and care for their families until The Return. As the Palestinians continue their struggle for elementary civil rights here in the inhumane camps of Lebanon, they and their advocates are heartened by Nasrallah’s words of a few
hours ago:

“We are with you, and by your side. We are happy for your happiness  and sad for your sadness, we carry with you the same hopes and  pains, and move on together in the path of resistance so that we  continue our victories and liberate all our land and sanctities.”

Hopefully Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees will after 63 years in Lebanon be  granted internationally mandated civil rights.


For those who do not speak Arabic, these are some of the dramatic cries translated:
4 minutes into the film: “May God Protect you”
5 minutes into the film: “The people will liberate Palestine”
6:18 minutes into the film: “God salutes you”
7 minutes into the film: “Long Live Palestine”

VIDEO SOURCE: Electronic Intifada & Al

Franklin Lamb , a former Assistant Counsel of the US House Judiciary Committee at the US Congress and Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law in Oregon, earned his Law Degree at Boston University and his LLM, M.Phil, and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics. Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon. He can be reached at:

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MAZIN : WESTERN MEDIA FRENZY ABOUT OSAMA BIN LADEN Tue, 03 May 2011 12:36:38 +0000 Debbie Bin Laden’s assassination and the continued state terrorism practiced by the US government and its allies, especially Israel, attempt to entrench the idea of violence as an answer.

By Mazin Qumsiyeh / My Catbird Seat

There is a western media frenzy about the reported “taking-out” of Osama Bin Laden (the previous ally turned enemy). Israeli papers reported a high level US security official as saying his instruction was not to capture Bin Laden alive but to liquidate him.  But everyone already knew this would be the case,  since it would be a messy business if the US soldiers captured such a person alive (he may even spill the beans on his US and Pakistani  intelligence links).  Most people went about their daily lives of apathy.  Even the stock market did not go up as pundits predicted.  Soon the dollar will resume its downward spiral.

The US military may feel vindicated and Pakistanis will feel their country’s sovereignty challenged. Some may choose to retaliate with violence giving the Neocons and Neoliberals their excuse to pursue their policies.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military-industrial complex needed a new enemy to sustain its massive structure and conveniently the “Islamic terrorism” materialized. Of course there are fanatical Muslims (and Jews and Christians and Hindus) who are willing to kill. Yet, the US did not have to invade Iraq and Afghanistan and create more such fanatics.  But a more sober analysis shows that things will change. Bin Laden was killed a while ago not physically perhaps but as an idea! The idea suffered significant blows by the Arab Spring revolutions which showed that it does not take violence to change our societies and remove US/Israeli backed dictators.

Bin Laden’s assassination and the continued state terrorism practiced by the US government and its allies, especially Israel, attempt to entrench the idea of violence as an answer.

The brutal assault on Syrian, Yemeni, Saudi and Bahraini demonstrators and the US continued military attacks in countries around the world are part of this human foolishness.  They represent that wing of our global society that believes violence is the answer: the win-lose scenario. The hopeful ideas of popular resistance, freedom, democracy and end to exploitation successfully challenged the notions of “clash of civilization” and “might makes right”.

We thus remain hopeful despite all the false news planted around us and all the false-flag operations, and despite the 1 million Iraqis and 50,000 Afghans killed by these wars.

Here in Palestine, most people went about their lives focusing on how to find the next loaf of bread under Israeli colonial occupation.  Hardly a mention was made of Bin Laden.  If we take just one village called Izbet Al-Tabib, a tiny village of 247 residents (60% of them children), we see one example of what was on people’s minds.  The Israeli decision to take their land was met with building a protest tent on the threatened land and trying to make their story known.

Sandra Quintano, A 60 year-old American Activist

The Israeli military came and attacked the villagers and the international volunteers severely, injuring an elderly American woman and arresting three other internationals (see ). At night more than 200 soldiers invaded the village terrorizing its population to try and stem the growing popular resistance. Please join the villagers this Thursday for solidarity starting at 1 PM.

Last night, the Israeli army arrested several Palestinians in major cities including Bethlehem (this happens regularly in defiance of the Oslo accords and with knowledge of “Palestinian security” forces).

In a few days, there will be events and commemorations surrounding the Nakba day.  The Nakba is the Palestinian catastrophe etched into every living Palestinian mind.  It is the fact that from January 1948 to the end of 1949, more than 2/3rd of our people who lived in the land that became the (Jewish) state of Israel were ethnically cleansed.  63 years later, nearly 7 million Palestinians are refugees or internally displaced people. This is the largest and most tragic and persistent post world war II atrocity.

For information, visit

Israeli Apartheid and The Nakba

By Anthony Lawson

It is important that we all join in activities to challenge colonialism on this anniversary of the Nakba.

In the US, you can also get some printed material (a Nakba Pak) from here

Below are some events but do look for events in your area or organize your own events:

From Lebanon and Jordan, see details here

Hellerup, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Israëlische ambassade, Sterrewachtlaan 40 1180 Ukkel – Avenue del’Observatoire 40 1180 Brussel


Madrid. C/ Velázquez 150, 7º

Ambassade d’Israel – Paris

Bern (Bern, Switzerland)

Houston, TX

Consulate General of Israel, 6380 Wilshire blvd. Suite 1700, Los Angeles CA, 90048 & Consulate General of Israel, 456 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, 94104

Israeli Embassy 122 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge Dublin, Ireland

Ambasciata d’Israele, via Michele Mercati 12, Roma

Israelische Botschaft Auguste-Viktoria-Str. 74-76 14193 Berlin

Boston Israeli Consulate
20 Park Plaza
Boston, MA

Israeli Embassy, 2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB

Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke and Yale Universities. He served on the board/steering/executive committees of a number of groups including Peace Action Education Fund, the US Campaign to End the Occupation, the Palestinian American Congress, Association for One Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, and He is now president of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. He advised many other groups including Sommerville Divestment Project, Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project, Palestine Freedom Project, Sabeel North America, and National Council of Churches of Christ USA. He is an active member of a number of human rights groups (Amnesty, Peace action, Human Rights Watch, ACLU etc.). He published several books of which the most acclaimed “Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” which was also translated to spanish. For more about his work go to:

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AIC: Palestinian state in September? Prospects and roles of local, international activists Thu, 28 Apr 2011 14:32:55 +0000 Debbie Professor Qumsiyeh ended the conference by arguing that he is sure that in the next six to ten months, there will be a new uprising in Palestine. “I studied the history of the past uprisings and I can claim that this will be a crucial year for Palestine”

Alternative Information Centre

Alternative Information Center

Palestinian activists Lubna Massarwa, Murad Jadallah and Muhammed Mustafa, with Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh serving as moderator, discussed the roles of local activists, youth movements and the international community in such a scenario. During the discussion, the activists focused onthe weak role of the Palestinian Authority and the possible consequences of recognition of Palestinian independence including for Israelis and the international community.

“The PA is thinking that the UN declaration of a Palestinian state could be the basic solution, the end of the occupation. But it’s not true. How can Palestine be an independent state if Israel doesn’t recognize it? Israel doesn’t have official borders. So how is it possible to build a new state without borders?” said Murad Jadallah, legal research from Addameer: Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Organisation and activist in the Independent Youth Movement of Herac.

“After September, the UN could decide to leave all the problems in Palestinian hands and not intervene anymore, without solving the vital problem of the refugees,” Jadallah stated.

All the speakers agreed that with recognition of the Palestinian state, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would turn into a border conflict, like numerous other conflicts around the world.

“For a long time the PA hasn’t dealt with the right of return. Almost 1,200,000 Palestinians are refugees inside the Green Line, said Lubna Massarwa, activist of the Free Gaza Movement and community organizer. “The potential recognition of our independence is tightly connected to the refugees of the Nakba. The PA has to tell us how it wants to solve this vital problem.”

Muhammed Mustafa, activist in the Independent Youth Movement and a researcher at Paris IV University (La Sorbonne), explained that the UN declaration could be a catastrophe for the Palestinian people: “This kind of decision is a comfortable way for the international community to abandon the Palestinian cause. Even if Palestine becomes an official member of the United Nations, there is no chance to end the occupation.”

The three speakers agreed that the PA is too weak to protect the Palestinian people.

“We are frustrated by the corruption inside the Palestinian Authority. The PA is protecting the Israeli occupation,” Lubna Massarwa said. “Salam Fayyad was imposed on the Palestinian people and he is destroying our popular resistance. I think that a possible solution would be the creation of a Palestinian Council instead of the PA, which is able to release the political prisoners in Israeli jails, to end the occupation and to materialize the right of return.”

Murad Jadallah added, “After the Oslo agreement, the PA wasn’t able to protect Palestinian lands: the settlements are still increasing, the construction of the Wall is eating village lands beside the Green Line and tens of thousands of Palestinian residents are now refugees.”

Muhammed Mustafa later focused on the important issue of an independent and strong Palestinian economy in order to build a sovereign state. “Salam Fayyad is just talking about security and infrastructures, but Palestine doesn’t have its own national manufacturing industry. Import and export are controlled by Israel. We don’t have an economy based on concrete and independent production.”

Several participants in the event asked what kind of solution is proposed by the youth movement in order to strengthen a potential Palestinian state. “The re-foundation of the PLO in order to represent Palestinians all over the world: in Palestine, in Israel and abroad,” said moderator Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh.

The importance of activism and youth movements in pressuring political authorities was particularly highlighted.  Since the demonstrations of 15 March, the Palestinian youth movement has grown. Students and young Palestinian people have been involved in this movement which works through two main channels: internet and grassroot actions.

As far as the web is concerned, blogs and Facebook pages have been created, such as the blog Palestine for us, or the groups 15th of March Palestinian Youth Movement and Sawt al-Manara on Facebook.  They aim at establishing a network among the youth in the main West Bank cities to achieve unity. The blog Palestine for us contains the statement of principles which constitute the base of the 15th of March movement: the national unity, the reconciliation, the end of the division between Hamas and Fatah, the illegitimacy of imprisoning people based on their political beliefs and the establishment of new electoral procedures that guarantee equal representation of Palestinians all around the world.

On the other hand, Palestinian youth have decided to take local and grassroot actions to inform the Palestinians about their plans and their requests. The most visible example was the establishment of a sit-in tent, called the tent of unity in the main squares of Ramallah and Bethlehem.  Tarek Zboun, a 22 year Palestinian, is one of the most active people in this movement: he is the administrator of the principle Facebook pages in Bethlehem area and he has always slept in the tent. Tarek told the AIC that “the main problem we are facing deals with the fact that Palestinian people in Bethlehem don’t believe in our project and the fragmentation between Palestinian political parties is stronger than our project of unity. Moreover it’s surprising that the number of foreigners visiting our tent is much higher than the number of Palestinians”. At the same time some problems occurred between the youth of the Unity Tent and the Palestinian Authority because the PA tried to prevent them from gaining the support of the Palestinian people and from spreading their message.  One week ago they decided to stop the project of the tent in Bethlehem because it was too tiring and the number of people involved was decreasing daily.

What’s the future? Why don’t the Palestinians listen to the message of this new youth movement?

The same question was asked yesterday evening by a young Palestinian girl during the discussion at the AIC Cafè.

“This is a new movement and so far all the new ideas have taken some time before being supported” Massarwa responded. “We have to be patient and to continue. I am sure that something new will happen in the near future and I think that a lot of Palestinians will adhere to our message. We will keep going on, this is the start of a new important movement for Palestine”.

And Professor Qumsiyeh replied, and ended the conference by arguing that he is sure that in the next six to ten months, there will be a new uprising in Palestine. “I studied the history of the past uprisings and I can claim that this will be a crucial year for Palestine”.

Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke and Yale Universities. He served on the board/steering/executive committees of a number of groups including Peace Action Education Fund, the US Campaign to End the Occupation, the Palestinian American Congress, Association for One Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, and He is now president of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. He advised many other groups including Sommerville Divestment Project, Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project, Palestine Freedom Project, Sabeel North America, and National Council of Churches of Christ USA. He is an active member of a number of human rights groups (Amnesty, Peace action, Human Rights Watch, ACLU etc.). He published several books of which the most acclaimed “Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” which was also translated to spanish.

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How American News Media Works In Favor Of Israel — Alison Weir Mon, 25 Apr 2011 09:17:34 +0000 Debbie Alison Weir, President, If Americans Knew


In a democracy, the ultimate responsibility for a nation’s actions rests with its citizens. The top rung of government – the entity with the ultimate power of governance – is the asserted will of the people. Therefore, in any democracy, it is essential that its citizens be fully and accurately informed.

In the United States, currently the most powerful nation on earth, it is even more essential that its citizens receive complete and undistorted information on topics of importance, so that they may wield their extraordinary power with wisdom and intelligence.

Unfortunately, such information is not always forthcoming.

The mission of If Americans Knew is to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.

It is our belief that when Americans know the facts on a subject, they will, in the final analysis, act in accordance with morality, justice, and the best interests of their nation, and of the world. With insufficient information, or distorted information, they may do the precise opposite.

It is the mission of If Americans Knew to ensure that this does not happen – that the information on which Americans base their actions is complete, accurate, and undistorted by conscious or unconscious bias, by lies of either commission or omission, or by pressures exerted by powerful special interest groups. It is our goal to supply the information essential to those responsible for the actions of the strongest nation on earth – the American people.

Alison Speaks to the American People




Please visit

Ground breaking Articles by Alison Weir. She can be reached at

ED NOTE:  We are often asked by readers, “how can we help?”  It is very simple, you can help us by simply forwarding the links to this post and If Americans Knew website via email to your friends and relatives, post it on blogs, facebook walls, twitter, digg, reddit, whatever, just disseminate. You could also help by making a small contribution to If Americans Knew website.  Every bit helps.

Thank you.

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