Thursday, September 30, 2010

For all my Nerds out there: "When Settlers Attack" Israeli Authorities do Nothing

This is an amazing statistical analysis of the patterns of settler attacks. If you ever wanted to understand when and where these attacks are taking place, this is the article to read. Those of my readers who aren't statistically minded may find this boring as all get out, but I was fascinated. But if you can't get through the article, here's what I think you should take away from it: "Fifty percent of these attacks are perpetuated by settlers in only seven settlements. So again, we know where a majority of this is coming from and if you could crack down on those seven areas then you’d immediate illuminated 50 percent of these attacks or at least a significant portion. So despite the fact that it’s a simple fix, it is nonetheless not happening."

Yousef Munayyer of the Palestine Center explains more:

What this means is that it is really a failure of Israeli policing and Israeli security that these settler attacks are taking place. We can’t do much about the ideology of these settlers, in fact they shouldn’t be in the West Bank to begin with and if we had a way to change that we probably would do that but that doesn’t seem to be changing right away. The reality is that it is the Israelis, both police and IDF [Israel Defense Force], that have a responsibility for policing these territories and that is clearly not happening. And you would think that with a majority of these cases really being in only seven places, from a policing point of view, this is not a difficult thing to crack down on. You know where it is located, you know where it is concentrated, and you know the vulnerable areas there is no shortage of information about this why aren’t more security resources being dedicated to protecting Palestinians in this area? If you not allowing the Palestinians security forces to do it, as they are not in areas B and C, then you can’t simply leave them vulnerable to Israeli settler violence. And often what we are seeing is as – and this has been caught on video and in pictures in the past – as settlers are attacking Palestinians there is a visible IDF presence not doing anything and in a number of these cases where we see injuries inflicted are injuries inflicted by IDF personnel who arrive on the scene to break up clashes between settlers and Palestinians that have been initiated by settlers on Palestinian territory. So not only is the IDF and Israeli police playing a role to protect settlers which are attacking Palestinians, they are, in a way, actively encouraging it by providing a security for these settlers as they continue to perpetuate attacks against Palestinian civilians.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Great Al Jazeera Article on the FBI Raids: "FBI Targets US Palestine Activists"

"If you write articles, is that material support [for terrorists]? If you contribute resources for computers or healthcare clinics in occupied territories, or territories resisting government control, is that material support?"

More here
Material Support to Terrorists! Muslim Vampires!

Let's be honest about what these FBI raids are about. It's a witch hunt. Apparently we're all terrorists now. And not just any type of terrorist - Muslim terrorists. Wait, you forgot there were other kinds? That it was Catholics who invented the car bomb? That secular terrorists in Shri Lanka invented the suicide vest? Wait, I'm off-topic.

In this climate of fear, there is only one person to which we can turn. I bring you Stephen Colbert.
ABC 7 Plays Fast and Loose with the Facts: Take Action to Support Accurate Reporting and Hatem Abudayyeh

We are calling on folks to take a few minutes to respond to ABC 7 reporter Chuck Goudie's mistaken and irresponsible reportage on our friend Hatem Abudayyeh and the Arab American Action Network, which provides vital community services in Chicago. The link to Goudie's report:

Here's the letter I wrote:

Dear Mr. Goudie,

I was deeply disappointed to read your report entitled "Group run by FBI raid target received gov't funds" In this report you made two factual errors:

1. You said that the federal government is seeking funding links between Hatem Abudayyeh and Hamas. Nowhere in any federal affidavit is Hamas named.

2. "... in 2001, Abudayyeh and several others filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking the freedom to wear traditional Arab headwear during Michigan Avenue protests. The case was settled. Terms unknown." In fact, the City of Chicago was allegedly criminalized anything covering a person's head, a winter hat, hooded sweatshirt, halloween mask, headscarf or an host of similar clothing items.

By playing fast and loose with the facts, you do your readers a grave disservice and contribute to a climate of fear and prejudice. Your report reflects an anti-Muslim bias that has dangerous repercussions for our community. Unfortunately, this is not the only time that your reporting such as a prejudice. reflected an anti-Muslim bias. As a a columnist for the Daily Herald your writing has shown deep hostility to Islam and to the peoples of the Middle East. If you are unable to report accurately because of your personal feelings, I think it is time to ask yourself if you should be covering different topics.

The real story regarding the FBI raids wasn't represented in your report -- that people peacefully dissenting US foreign policy are being raided and subpoenaed, and that the FBI's treatment of the targeted individuals has far-reaching implications for the rights of us all. I urge you to formally correct this story and, in the future, to either manage your bias more effectively or recuse yourself from reporting on these issues .

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

350 Rally in Opposition to FBI raids on Peace Activists

Yesterday afternoon 350 people rallied outside the FBI's Chicago office in support of activists in Minneapolis and Chicago who were raided by the FBI on Friday. It was a powerful - and well covered - statements against the criminalization of international solidarity and a great moment for drawing connections between justice struggles. My favorite sign from the event read "First they came for the Muslims, then they came for the gays, then they came for the peace activists."

Here's a great video from Labor Beat. Watch it, share it, and raise your voice.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MONDAY, SEPT. 27: Rally at FBI headquarters to protest raids!

The Committee Against Political Repression is calling for an emergency rally to be held at 4:30pm Monday, Sept. 27 at FBI headquarters in Chicago, 2111 W. Roosevelt (NOT at Federal Plaza as some earlier announcements indicated).

By now, news is spreading widely about last Friday's FBI raids -- and the larger federal assault -- on anti-war activists, solidarity workers and people committed to peace with justice in the U.S. and abroad.

We will assemble to send a strong message to say that these raids will not keep us silent. Similar rallies are to be held throughout the US in the next few days. An injury to one is an injury to all, and solidarity to protect our most basic rights to dissent is more important than ever.

Checks to support the legal defense for the Chicago victims of the raids can be made out to Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ (WAUCC) with Committee Against Political Repression identified in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington Ave., 60657
FBI Raids will not Silence our Movement

I remember this feeling, I thought as I read that on Friday the FBI raided the homes of peace and justice activists in Minneapolis and here in Chicago. It's the same way I feel whenever the Israeli government decides it's time to round up Palestinians nonviolent activists. In these situations I always find that I feel a little bit confused, a little bit scared, and very, very powerless.

The thing is - that's exactly what a government trying to squash political opposition wants its citizens to feel. When the FBI raided the home of Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner, they didn't make any arrests. They just took 30 boxes of papers and personal items. Some of those papers showed the labor activism and peace activist that Joe and Stephanie have been involved in for so long. The rest of it? Strictly personal items, like baby pictures and letters. That's a tactic designed to scare Joe and Stephanie and their friends. And why does our government want to intimidate us? "All we ever did was work against U.S. military aid to the governments of Colombia and Israel and to support the peoples of Colombia and Israel in their struggle for justice," said Joe.

We have a choice now. We can become scared and and stop talking about about how the United States and Israel are systematically violating human rights in the name of empire-building, or we keep moving forward with renewed energy. Yesterday, activists held a press conference calling this so-called terrorist investigation what it is: political intimidation. Tomorrow, we'll be rallying again and I'm asking you to join us. Because speaking out is what it takes to maintain a democracy.

For myself, I keep thinking about the hundreds and hundreds of Palestinians who've been arrested for their nonviolent resistance: who was tortured for grazing his sheep on his land, Nasser who spent a month in jail for building a house, Hafez who was beaten and arrested for protesting the wall, the guys from Tuba who keep being arrested for doing farm work, the three boys who were taken by Israel soldiers and handed over to settlers who beat them. I'm thinking about all of the political prisoners, including Amer Makhoul, who are in Israeli jails right now. They are why I'm will not be intimated and silenced. I learned from Palestinians the meaning of "samoud," steadfastness. We're not going to give up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You totally want to support the 2010 Women's Cooperative Tour! (What's this? A Blog Post?)

Oh, blog. You're wonderful and all, but sometimes my life is too exciting for you. It's just beyond your scope. See, I've been working away on my graphic novel about Tuwani. Yeah, it's kind of like turning this blog into a giant comic book. In other words, it's fantastic. But I'll be back to you soon. I promise. Until then, here's something totally cool that I know you'll totally want to support. Wait, you're a blog and you don't have money. Wait, let me stop talking to you and start talking to your readers. This is getting a little weird...

Hey, I'm certain you incredibly generous, wonderful people will be excited to read the letter below. It's about an exciting project to spent Keifah (one of the regular heroes of this blog) to Italy on a speaking tour. Read it and give as much as you call. At least spend us some love - nice, free love.

We may not currently have the might of the Israeli army nor the power of traditions confining us in certain roles, however, we know that one woman standing behind another in a line of solidarity is a force more powerful than both.

- Keifah Addera, At-Tuwani Women's Coperative

Dear friends and supporters of At-Tuwani village,

We would like to invite you to support a force more powerful than violence: the voices of Palestinian women. In late November 2010 , Humanity Together will host Keifah Addera and her husband Nasser on a speaking tour in Italy. Keifah will be speaking about the experiences of women in At-Tuwani as they nonviolently resist both the Israeli occupation and sexism. We hope that you will consider financially supporting this exciting project.

The people of At-Tuwani have often told their allies that the most important way we can support their struggle is to share their stories in our own communities. Keifah Addera, the organizer of the At-Tuwani Women's Cooperative, is a powerful voice uniquely able to speak about the resistance of Palestinian women. While in Italy, Keifah will speak about the effect of the Israeli occupation and settler violence on women and children in Tuwani as well as the women's cooperative's work for justice and gender equality. Keifah's husbandwill speak about his experiences as a prisoner in Israeli jail after being arrested for his participation in nonviolent demonstrations. Keifah and Nasser will present at the annual Italian Pax Christi peace conference as well as other public meetings in Rome, Trento, Ravenna, and several other locations.

Few Tuwani residents are as experienced in speaking with visitors as Keifah. She often hosts groups in Tuwani and has a rare talent for creating relationships with the people she meets. For this reason we are excited by the opportunities for building international support and women's solidarity that this trip will provide. We are trying to raise 2,500 euros to cover the cost of flights, visa procedures, lodging, transportation in Italy, and food expenses. To donate, follow this link to our Pay Pal. Thank you so much for your support

In solidarity,

Humanity Together