Friday, August 27, 2010

Palestine Solidarity Project's Sister City Protest in the News

So here's an update on the demonstration I mentioned a few days ago. The protester who was arrested was released by five pm that day. I'll update you all with more information after we get some legal advice about what is good to put out to the public and what is not.

In the meantime, here are a couple of great articles about the campaign to get Chicago to drop Petach Tivak, it's Israeli sister city.

First, from IMEMC: Protester Arrested in Chicago While Challenging Israeli Segregation

Second, from Electronic Intifada: Global Boycott Movement Claims Victories, Arrests

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this demonstration and the larger campaign. I've been wondering how to best pressure the Sister City office to drop Petach Tivak, and more importantly, how to make sure that everyday folks are hearing about our campaign. I really do believe that the strength if the boycott movement lays in its ability to engage people and show us how we can act for justice and peace, wherever we are. So, how can we get that message out to a larger audience?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

After Nine years of Struggle, Tuwani is Connected to the Electric Grid

This photo brought tears to my eyes. Finally, after nine years of struggle, At-Tuwani is connected to the electric grid and enjoying electricity 24 hours a day. I hope all of my favorite women are celebrating with dance parties that can finally continue past 9:30 pm.

For more information about the the village's victory, check out Electronic Intifada

Monday, August 23, 2010

Breaking News: Chicagoan arrested calling for boycott of Israel's Guantanamo

So, this press release will show you how I spent my lunch hour. I'll keep you updated as we get more information from the activist who was arrested. I just called several media outlets here in the city and I'm not sure that this story will be picked up by any of them. As usual, it will be up to us to spread this story around.

Chicagoan arrested calling for boycott of Israel's Guantanamo
Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago media advisory

Chicago police at downtown Millennium Park today arrested an activist who was exercising his free speech rights during a protest organized by the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago. At the Chicago Sister Cities' annual International Festival, more than 30 activists protested Israel's inclusion in the program and called for the cutting of Chicago ties with Israeli apartheid.
The activist was arrested while the protest was concluding outside of the International Festival tent. The protesters were on their way out when the police began shoving the activists and grabbed the young Arab male protester and placed him under arrest (he remains in detention at the time of this release).
Minutes earlier, after picketing and chanting outside of the tent, activists brought the message into the venue. Protesters chanted in the tent for a few minutes to make the message clear: "Drop Petach Tikva!", Chicago's sister city in Israel. The pianist who was performing in the hall at the time stood at attention out of respect once he heard the protesters' message.
The PSG and allies were compelled to bring the message directly into the festival because for the last year and a half, the Chicago Sister Cities International has refused to meet with PSG and members of the community to hear about Petach Tikva's special role in Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people.
Petach Tikva -- an officially segregated city, the first Jewish-only settlement in historic Palestine and the site of the primary detention center where Israeli forces abuse and torture Palestinian political prisoners -- has been dubbed by rights group Amnesty International as "Israel's Guantanamo."
Upholding the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions measures on apartheid Israel, PSG and its allies object to business-as-usual with Israel. Under the false premise of promoting culture and education, Petach Tikva's inclusion in Chicago Sister Cities promotes Israel-US business ties while it whitewashes Israel's occupation and human rights abuses.
Anel Montes, a manager with the Chicago Sister Cities, reiterated the program's refusal to take a principled stance or meet with activists, using the false language of "neutrality." However, Chicago Sister Cities has made its stance clear by maintaining its relationship with Petach Tikva, whose committee members belong to organizations that have played a role in the dispossession of the Palestinian people and are committed to promoting US aid to apartheid Israel.
PSG and allies can claim a victory. Petach Tikva was not visible at today's festival as war-profiteering corporations Motorola and Boeing -- the main sponsors of the Chicago Sister Cities International -- don't want protesters raining on their public relations parade. PSG and its allies will keep up the pressure until Chicago Sister Cities drops Israel's Guantanamo

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

At-Tuwani to be Connected to the Water and Electrical Grid? Maybe.

I wouldn't hold your breath just yet, but it seems like At-Tuwani may have electricity and running water soon(ish). That's what the Israeli authorities are saying now. They've been under pressure from Israeli groups to do something about the situation in Tuwani and seem to have caved. I hope to be able to be provide more details soon, once I find a new article I like better than the ones I've seen so far.

Like folks in the village, I'll believe it when I see it. But here's hoping.