Saturday, February 1, 2014

My letter to the Economist RE Scarlett Johansson and SodaStream ...& the very real plight of the Palestinians.

"Occupation is Not Green: Boycott SodaStream!"
RE: Scarlett Johansson and SodaStream

Dear Editor,

The BDS/Boycott Israel movement is just one of many nonviolent ways international empathy and compassion for the people of Palestine is being made manifest.  Palestine centered artwork, poetry readings, books, films, websites, blogs and other forums abound in every language. Endorsing or scorning the pro-Palestine BDS movement is in many ways totally irrelevant. Endorsing or scorning Israel's institutionalized bigotry and ongoing violations of international law and universal human rights is what really counts.

Oxfam acted with honor, dignity, intellectual acuity and crystal clear clarity in voicing concern in their official statement regarding Scarlett Johansson's choice: “Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law,” because companies profiting from Israel's occupation “further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.”

Obviously, other than a flurry of negative publicity for a person working in an industry where there is no such thing as bad publicity, Scarlett Johansson won't be, and should not be punished for her choice.  Scarlett Johansson's choice was to honor a business contract with a financial award, and presumably a financial punishment if she broke her contract with Sodastream.  Johansson choice was not a "Sophie's Choice" moment. In fact it might have a huge upside. Scarlett Johansson's beauty and star power helped Oxfam raise awareness and funds for their good works and now, thanks to an online avalanche of clever photoshopped memes and subsequent news articles, her beauty and star power PLUS her naive cluelessness are rapidly advancing awareness of the very real plight of the Palestinians.  

Anne Selden Annab

UNITED NATIONS: Give Peace a Chance... The year 2014 has been proclaimed the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

ATFP's Ziad Asali: Israel Needs Peace with Palestine to Avoid Looming Boycotts

Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:

Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries
The Office of International Religious Freedom
( )

Palestinian Refugees (1948-NOW) refused their right to return... and their right to live in peace free from religious bigotry and injustice.
Refugees, Borders & Jerusalem
"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."Eleanor Roosevelt

UN Resolution 194 from 1948 : The refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible

Refugees and the Right of Return
We call for a just solution to our refugee issue in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Our position on refugees is also included and supported in the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which calls for “a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.” A just solution to the refugee issue must address two aspects: the right of return and reparations.

The Arab Peace Initiative

Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:
1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.
2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:
I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.
II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

John Kerry defends US foreign policy “The reason we’re so devoted to finding a solution is simple: Because the benefits of success and the dangers of failure are enormous for the United States, for the world, for the region and, most importantly of all, for the Israeli and Palestinian people,” US secretary of state John Kerry at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“You have to understand that the progressive forces in the Arab world, those that support having a visible relationship with Israel, cannot reach out to it until the Palestinian problem is resolved,” said one Jordanian official. “Moreover, this should also be Israel’s interest, because the only way to stop the Islamic movements from seizing control in the West Bank is through an agreement with the Palestinians.”

Hanan Ashrawi tells The Times of Israel: Jews and members of all religions would have the right to apply for Palestinian citizenship. But “Palestine” could not accept “ex-territorial Jewish enclaves” where residents maintained their Israeli citizenship status

EU warns Israel, Palestinians of the cost of peace failure

MIFTAH: Anti- corruption youth strategy; young Palestinians put a corruption-free society as their priority "...This is their future, they say, because in the end, it is the youth that seeks a society free of corruption that will offer them the opportunity to obtain the right job and the right social status based on their own merits, not on grounds of nepotism and favoritism."   

Analysis: Why Palestinian leadership is right to engage in peace talks

Ziad Asali of ATFP: Why Palestinians are puzzled by the 'Jewish state' demand... Netanyahu's demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state bizarrely inserts Palestinians into the 'Who is a Jew' debate

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

 Live by the Golden Rule

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