Showing posts with label collective punishment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label collective punishment. Show all posts

Monday, December 5, 2011

Activists Mic Check the "Ethical Standards" of the IDF

Sergeant Nadav Weinberg of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is once again touring college and university campuses in the US absurdly promoting “the ethical standards of the IDF.” Weinberg conducted a similar tour last year, and you may recall the response his propaganda received from US Campaign coalition group ASU-SJP. Last week solidarity activists in Boulder, Colorado picketed and interrupted Weinberg’s presentation at the University of Colorado’s (CU) Chabad Jewish Student Center. US Campaign coalition member CU Divest! released the following the statement regarding their protest of Weinberg’s talk.

For Immediate Release

December 1, 2011

CONTACT: Michael Rabb, CU-Divest, 2002 18th Street, Boulder CO 80302 720-837-9674, michael.rabb1@gmail.com, https://sites.google.com/site/cudivest/

Activists at University of Colorado Disrupt Israeli Military Presentation: White Phosphorous Is Not Ethical

On Wednesday evening, 6:30pm, November 30, about 15 activists gathered at CU Chabad Jewish Student Center, 909 14th Street, in Boulder, to picket and demonstrate against Israel’s pernicious and immoral crimes against humanity. CU Chabad was hosting a talk by Sgt. Nadav Weinberg, a representative of the Israeli Defense Forces. Sgt Weinberg’s presentation is part of a USA tour of several college campuses designed to inform students about the high ethical standards of the IDF.

Michael Rabb, local activist and one of the founders of a campaign to get the University of Colorado to divest from Israeli apartheid, says Weinberg’s presentation was perfectly timed: On the 3rd anniversary of “Cast Lead”, Israel’s slaughter of 1400 people in the Gaza Strip, including hundreds of children, it’s entirely appropriate that we, students, faculty and members of the CU community confront Israel’s crimes against humanity.

During the presentation, several of the protesters in attendance stood up and “mic checked” Sgt. Weinberg. Using call-and-response, occupy wall street human microphone technique the activists accused Israel’s military of murder, massacre and war crimes. Rabb was forcibly removed from the meeting hall. Other activists stayed for the presentation and a few were even allowed to ask questions, like, “Sgt. Weinberg, how does dropping 2000 lb. bunker buster bombs on schools and hospitals demonstrate IDF ethics?”

It’s sort of amazing, perhaps “chutzpa” is the right word, for the Israeli military to send someone to Boulder Colorado to try and explain or whitewash their war crimes. Cast Lead is where Israel bombed this little piece of land (about 20 miles long 5 miles wide): the most densely populated piece of land on earth (1.5 million people) - with white phosphorous, cluster bomb units, (these would be anti-personnel weapons), not to mention the bunker busters, 2000-pound bombs that crushed homes, schools and hospitals.

CU-Divest is a grassroots movement: We are students, faculty and staff of the University of Colorado, and members of the University community at large, who are deeply concerned that the University of Colorado invests in companies that profit from Israel's illegal and immoral occupation and apartheid of the Palestinian people. CU-Divest is part of part of a global movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel for its crimes of apartheid.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Video from Gaza Flotilla as Israeli Navy Prepares to Intercept Boats

U.S. To Gaza, which participated in the thwarted July 2011 flotilla and helped organize the current mission of the Canadian and Irish ships to Gaza, is a coalition member of the US Campaign.



Two Gaza-bound boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists are within 50 nautical miles of their destination, but reports are emerging that Israeli Navy ships have intercepted the "Freedom Waves to Gaza" flotilla. Communication with the boats has largely been cut off. Prior to losing contact, we received two exclusive video reports from aboard the "Tahrir," the Canadian ship. Speaking to Democracy Now! correspondent Jihan Hafiz last night, passenger Ehab Lotayef said, "We are approaching the 100-nautical-mile point away from Gaza, which is usually the point where Israel declares—starts the blockade ... Will they try to come and board us? All these questions are now at the moment of truth. The major preparation we did is to prepare that we don’t want anybody to act in any violent way or in any way that can even induce violence by the Israelis."

SEE ORIGINAL HERE...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

VIDEO: Aboard the "Freedom Waves to Gaza" flotilla


U.S. To Gaza, which participated in the thwarted July 2011 flotilla and helped organize the current mission of the Canadian and Irish ships to Gaza, is a coalition member of the US Campaign.




A Canadian boat and Irish boat quietly left a Turkish port Wednesday, bound for Gaza. Democracy Now! first broke the news on our live broadcast yesterday. This flotilla, named Freedom Waves to Gaza, marks the latest attempt by international activists to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The ships are hoping to reach Gaza by Friday, but Israel has threatened to stop the ships. "I anticipate that the Israeli army, probably, the navy, is probably considering boarding us at some point on our way to Gaza and the siege," said passenger Kit Kittredge of the group Code Pink. "I’m not feeling fearful. I’m feeling actually pretty peaceful. And that’s what we are: we are a peaceful boat and a peaceful flotilla going to end the siege." Democracy Now! correspondent Jihan Hafiz filed this video report from the Tahrir boat from international waters and joined us live on the telephone from the ship in international waters.

SEE ORIGINAL POST HERE...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

VIDEO: Voices from the Secret International Flotilla Now Sailing to Gaza


U.S. To Gaza, which participated in the thwarted July 2011 flotilla and helped organize the current mission of the Canadian and Irish ships to Gaza, is a coalition member of the US Campaign.



The Canadian ship Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse quietly left a Turkish port earlier today bound for the Gaza Strip. The mission of the "Freedom Waves to Gaza" flotilla was kept secret until they reached international waters just after 11:00 a.m. EDT. Democracy Now! first broke the news on our live broadcast this morning. Embedded on the Tahrir is Democracy Now! correspondent Jihan Hafiz. Prior to the ship setting sail, Hafiz spoke with three of the flotilla participants on board the Tahrir ship: David Heap of the University of Western Ontario; Kit Kittredge of Code Pink; and Michael Coleman, an Australian activist.

More information on the flotilla has been posted on Tahrir.ca

KIT KITTREDGE: I’ve been to Gaza five times in the last three years. The first time was right directly after Operation Cast Lead, when 1,400 Palestinians were brutally murdered. And going there just a few weeks following that onslaught impressed me in a way, in such an atrocious way, and the Palestinian people got to my heart, because they were basically saying, "Tell the world what’s going on. The world doesn’t know. We want peace." And truly, in my five returns there, that is what I’ve seen them working for.

We have to keep this pressure up, because our government is so complicit. And as an American who pays tax dollars, I don’t want my tax dollars going in support of this Israeli policy, this apartheid policy.

MICHAEL COLEMAN: Michael Coleman. I’m the Australian representative on the freedom flotilla. And yeah, there is a sense that this could possibly be déjà vu. I went home from the last flotilla feeling quite frustrated, as the ministerial edict that stopped us sailing to Gaza had no basis in law, and almost felt cheated out of doing the most meaningful thing I had ever set my mind to. And I’m hopeful that that won’t happen again, but if it does, it doesn’t deter my determination.

The aims of the flotilla are twofold. While we do have a small amount of aid on board—and that’s one of the goals, is to take aid to the besieged Strip—but the other is public awareness. And we’re well aware that the small amount of aid we have is tokenistic. It’s not going to prevent the suffering of 1.5 million people. Only governments and international institutions can do that. But we, as private citizens, can pressure governments and international institutions to do what is right.

DAVID HEAP: Coming out of the second freedom flotilla, we’re calling what—the current departure "Freedom Waves to Gaza," because rather than thinking of it as separate, countable waves that you can call one, two and three, we’re really thinking of it more as continuous waves of human solidarity, continuous waves of people intent on challenging the blockade in different ways, coming from different countries, from different ports, different groups of boats, whenever they’re ready to go, to challenge the blockade in a way which is less predictable than an annual flotilla, but also more creative.

SEE ORIGINAL POST...

Today's Gaza Flotilla: Spread the Word!!!


U.S. To Gaza, which participated in the thwarted July 2011 flotilla and helped organize the current mission of the Canadian and Irish ships to Gaza, is a coalition member of the US Campaign.

Israel and the U.S. outsourced the siege of Gaza to Athens last summer by preventing eight boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human from sailing from Greek ports to Gaza. Despite this we were able to bring worldwide attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Our efforts in Greece only fueled our determination to challenge the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. We said we would continue to sail and so we are!!!

At this moment, two boats are in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea heading to Gaza.  One boat, the Saoirse from Ireland, includes parliamentarians among its passengers.  The other, the Tahrir, carries representatives from Canada, the United States, Australia and Palestine.  The U.S. representative on the Tahrir, Kit Kittredge, was a passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, in Athens in July.  A journalist from Democracy Now is on the Tahrir also. Civil society organizations in Gaza await their arrival, and look forward to the delivery of letters collected from thousands of U.S. supporters in the To Gaza With Love campaign.

We need your help to make this mission a success. Please take these actions immediately.
  1. Check these websites for updates:  U.S. to Gaza, Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza, watch or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage from the Tahrir. Look for twitter hashtag #Freedomwaves.
  2. Spread the word far and wide - send this alert to your contacts.
  3. Call the State Department  and the White House -- demand that they take immediate action to ensure the safe passage of these boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza.
Call the State Department:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 202-647-5291
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro 011-972-3-519-7575
Office of Israel/Palestinian Affairs Paul Sutphin 202-647-3672
Office of Consular Affairs, Kim Richter 202-647-8308
and the White House: 202-456-1414
Email President Obama at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Here are some talking points or suggested messaging:
Gaza has been under siege since mid-2006, depriving 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights.  Although the siege has been condemned by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many national governments, nothing has been done to ease the plight of these civilians.  Civil society has had to act where governments would not.  Two ships with 27 passengers from five countries are sailing to Gaza to confront the Israeli naval blockade, and to bring medical supplies and letters of support.
As Americans we insist that our government (which sends Israel $3 billion in military aid every year), demands that Israel ensures the ships' safe passage and ends its illegal blockade of Gaza. There is absolutely no excuse to subject 1.6 million people to collective punishment. Ask your local media to cover this story.  Up-to-date information will be available at www.ustogaza.org, www.irishshiptogaza.org and www.tahrir.ca.

WHEN FORWARDING THIS ALERT TO YOUR CONTACTS, PLEASE INCLUDE THE PRESS RELEASE.

Thanks,
Felice Gelman, Jane Hirschmann and Ann Wright

Media Release: Two Boats With Passengers from Five Countries (Including U.S.) Are En Route to Gaza Strip


U.S. To Gaza, which participated in the thwarted July 2011 flotilla and helped organize the current mission of the Canadian and Irish ships to Gaza, is a coalition member of the US Campaign.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2011

Contact:

In New York: Felice Gelman, 917-912-2597 and 917-679-8343

At sea: phone numbers will be released when you call the above press contact.


Organizers say: "It is time to lift the siege of Gaza which deprives 1.6 million civilians of their rights to travel, work, study, develop their economy and be free."

The Canadian ship Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse have successfully reached international waters, initiating the "Freedom Wave to Gaza." The boats have embarked from Turkey and are on the Mediterranean Sea.  In all, the 2 boats carry 27 passengers from Canada, Ireland, United States, Palestine, and Australia.
                               
Kit Kittredge on board the Tahrir was previously a passenger on the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, which attempted passage to Gaza last July, organized by U.S. to Gaza, a coalition member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Kittredge said:
"The only obstacles in our way are Israel's military and the complicity of the Obama administration but in our sails is the wind of worldwide public opinion which has turned against the illegal blockade."

Ann Wright, retired U.S. army colonel and former U.S. diplomat said:
"We carry inspiration from the Arab Spring and the worldwide 'Occupy' movements that are demanding freedom and justice. Where governments fail, civil society must act. As Americans we are fed up with our government's unquestioning support of Israel no matter how violent, illegal and  oppressive its actions.  We will not stand by and watch $30 billion of our tax money committed to buying Israel weaponry used to carry out this illegal occupation of Palestine including the blockade of Gaza."

Jane Hirschmann, U.S. Boat organizer, added:
"Our sailing coincides with UN agency UNESCO's recognition of Palestine as a member state, defying US threats to cut off $80 million of US funding in retaliation. This shows the growing strength of opposition by the international community to U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine. We call on the international community to go further and take effective action to lift the siege of Gaza."

The U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, has been held in a Greek port since last July.

###

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What Opening Rafah Means & Doesn't Mean


By Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the Palestine Center (a US Campaign member organization)
May 28, 2011

The news was welcomed by many around the world this week when reports about a decision taken by Egypt's current military government to open the Rafah crossing with Gaza surfaced. But what does the opening of Rafah mean? There will undoubtedly be those trying to proclaim that life is on the up and up in Gaza now and that the siege is over. But Gaza and the siege that entraps it is immensely complicated. Ignoring the nuances of this policy and thinking that Gaza is equivalent to a solid black box that just had its lid opened is entirely misleading. It is important, especially as the anniversary of the attack on the Mavi Marmara approaches, to understand what the opening of Rafah means and does not mean, and to redouble our efforts to raise awareness about, and challenge, the continued Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.

What the Opening of Rafah Does Not Mean: The siege is over.

The siege of the Gaza Strip is a multi-layered closure with many dimensions. Several closure policies contribute to the siege effect, and the opening of Rafah is unlikely to have a major impact on the overall effect simply because the remaining closure policies, enforced by Israel, are not changing.

First, what exactly is the Rafah Crossing? Rafah is a Palestinian town in the Gaza Strip which straddles the border with Egypt. A terminal at the border exists to facilitate the travel of people across the border, but Rafah is not designed as a crossing for supplies. The opening of Rafah, while it may allow for people in Gaza to exit (with the permission of Egypt still required of course), has little effect on the actual quantity of goods coming in and out of Gaza.

ARTICLE CONTINUES...

Monday, April 4, 2011

U.S. Boat to Gaza Leaders Challenge Netanyahu Threat to Impending Flotilla

US To Gaza is one of 339 member organizations in our U.S. nationwide coalition. Hope for the boat's success depends partly upon your support.

By US To Gaza

April 3, 2011

Human rights activists who are preparing to sail a U.S. ship in a 22-nation flotilla to Gaza at the end of May sharply criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to stop the boats from sailing.

Israel media reported on Friday that Netanyahu argued to the UN Secretary-General that the flotilla is a conglomerate of "extreme Islamists that are interested only in provocation" whose aim is to destroy Israel.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," said Jane Hirschmann and Richard Levy in a joint statement, both of New York, who are building support for the U.S. boat, named "The Audacity of Hope."

"We are appalled by this flagrant misrepresentation. The organizers and passengers of the U.S. boat--a committed, nonviolent, human rights mission sailing as part of the International Flotilla--are people from all walks of life, among them lawyers, social workers, artists, firefighters, midwives, writers, doctors, filmmakers, retired U.S. army personnel, veterans, women's rights organizers, teachers and nurses."

The Netanyahu approach to the UN came 11 months after Israeli naval forces boarded the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, destined for Gaza on May 31 last year in an attempt to prevent it and several other ships from breaching the blockade. During that assault, 9 people were killed by Israeli forces.

The flotilla is not the problem, said Hirschmann and Levy in their statement. "Israel's conduct in Palestine is the problem. Israel's occupation of the West Bank, siege of Gaza, expansion of settlements, destruction of homes, usurpation of water and air rights, walls of confinement, brutal military presence, and daily sniper attacks on innocent civilians constitute the paramount violence and terrorism in the Mideast--conduct that we all abhor."

The U.S.-flagged "The Audacity of Hope" will be among many boats in the second International Freedom Flotilla, which its organizers said "will sail in peace and with a single nonviolent message, i.e., that the people of Gaza are entitled to the same life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that are the rights of every human being."

ORIGINAL POST...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Israeli Knesset adopts law criminalizing boycott, targeting Palestinian citizens

Who Is Annexing Whom?

By Uri Avnery
March 27, 2011

In a rare late-night session, the Knesset has finally adopted two obnoxious racist laws. Both are clearly directed against Israel’s Arab citizens, a fifth of the population.

The first makes it possible to annul the citizenship of persons found guilty of offences against the security of the state. Israel prides itself on having a great variety of such laws. Annulling citizenship on such grounds is contrary to international law and conventions.

The second is more sophisticated. It allows communities of less than 400 families to appoint "admission committees" which can prevent unsuitable persons from living there. Very shrewdly, it specifically forbids the rejection of candidates because of race, religion etc. - but that paragraph is tantamount to a wink. An Arab applicant will simply be rejected because of his many children or lack of military service.

...

But far worse is a third law that is certain to pass its final stages within a few weeks: the law to outlaw the boycott of the settlements.

...

As it stands now, the law will punish any person or association publicly calling for a boycott of Israel - economic, academic or cultural. "Israel", according to this law, means any Israeli enterprise or person, in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel. Simply put: it is all about the settlements. And not only about the boycott of the products of the settlements, which was initiated by Gush Shalom some 13 years ago, but also about the recent refusal of actors to perform in the settlement of Ariel and the call by academics not to support the so-called University Center there. It also applies, of course, to any call for the boycott of an Israeli university or an Israeli commercial enterprise.

This is a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation: it is anti-democratic, discriminatory, annexationist, and altogether unconstitutional.

ARTICLE CONTINUES...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another one for the Twilight Zone: Israel "eases embargo" to allow snack food (but not concrete, wheelchairs, musical instruments, fishing rope...)

Members of Congress apparently aren't the only ones living in a Twilight Zone. Reuters this morning reports (emphasis added):
"Israel is easing its Gaza embargo to allow snack food and drinks into the Palestinian enclave, Palestinian officials said Wednesday, following an international outcry over Israel's raid on an aid flotilla."
Here's the list of prohibited items from Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, which includes cement, plaster, tar, wood, glass containers, dried fruit, coriander, fishing rods, nets, rope, size A4 paper, sewing machines, toys, fresh meat, cattle, chicks, newspapers, musical instruments, writing implements.... The absurdity of this list of items would almost be funny, if it wasn't so sickening, so obviously intended to collectively punish an entire population, if the situation in Gaza wasn't so horrendous. Tell Congress and the White House that this monstrous blockade must end by clicking here. Gisha notes that "It is not possible to verify this list with the Israeli authorities because they refuse to disclose information regarding the restrictions on transferring goods into Gaza," and highlights the fact that the the "ban on the entry of raw materials into the Gaza Strip is part of the policy Israel calls "economic sanctions" or "economic warfare", and which human rights organizations call "collective punishment."