Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My letter to the NYTimes RE "Is a Boycott of Israel Just?"

RE: Is a Boycott of Israel Just?

Dear Editor,

I really appreciated the many letters you published regarding "Is a Boycott of Israel Just?". So much food for thought and so many passionate and concerned people willing to step up to weigh in! Times have really changed.

Keeping things in perspective, a bit of research proves quickly that the Boycott/BDS Boycott movement is very much indebted to various Israeli NGOs, Israeli activists, and Israeli academics who have been instrumental in documenting, organizing, preserving, and distributing information concerning the very real plight of the Palestinians. 

Meanwhile America has been instrumental in funding and sustaining UNWRA which was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees... " In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2014."

Bad news, negative stereotypes and extremist rhetoric tend to make news headlines and shape opinion columns regarding the Middle East, but fact is people are people every where- many are good and decent and some are not. Many want to make a just and lasting peace and some do not. Among those who do desire a just and lasting peace not all agree on the best way forward, or even the right way to phrase anything. Worldwide religious extremism, bigotry, sectarian strife and terrorism are being fueled by the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Full respect for international law and universal human rights should be shaping negotiations and conversations aimed at ending the Israel-Palestine conflict as soon as possible- for everyone's sake. 

Anne Selden Annab

It’s important for people to know how far the Palestinians have come to put an end to the conflict with Israel.

Palestinians seek UN heritage status for ancient village

"Since the beginning of our struggle for Cremisan, we have been determined to tell the world about the story of a small Palestinian community that, like many others, is threatened once again with dispossession and colonization..."

Israel confiscates Palestinian land near Nablus

BADIL: Six decades after their initial forced displacement from their homeland, Palestinian refugees and IDPs still lack access to voluntary durable solutions and reparations (which include return, restitution, compensation) based on international law, UN resolutions and best practice.

The Palestinian Refugee's Right of Return: No issue is more emblematic of the 20th century Palestinian experience than the plight of the approximately seven million Palestinian refugees.

The number of Palestinian structures (including many Palestinian homes) demolished by the Israeli authorities in the Jordan Valley in 2013 more than doubled, from 192 in 2012 to 393 in 2013

The Palestinian Authority has decided to remove the section detailing religious affiliation on Palestinian identity cards... ensures the equality of all Palestinians, regardless of their religion.

Excellent letter published in the Baltimore Sun: Academic freedom and Israel by Carole C. Burnett

Reflections By An ARAB JEW by Ella Habiba Shohat "When my grandmother first encountered Israeli society in the '50s, she was convinced that the people who looked, spoke and ate so differently--the European Jews--were actually European Christians. Jewishness for her generation was inextricably associated with Middle Easterness. My grandmother, who still lives in Israel and still communicates largely in Arabic, had to be taught to speak of "us" as Jews and "them" as Arabs. For Middle Easterners, the operating distinction had always been "Muslim," "Jew," and "Christian," not Arab versus Jew. The assumption was that "Arabness" referred to a common shared culture and language, albeit with religious differences."

UNITED NATIONS: Give Peace a Chance... The year 2014 has been proclaimed the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People... “The objective of the  International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is to promote solidarity with the Palestinian people as a central theme, contributing to international awareness of (a) core themes regarding the question of Palestine, as prioritized by the Committee, (b) obstacles to the ongoing peace process, particularly those requiring urgent action such as settlements, Jerusalem, the blockade of Gaza and the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and; (c) mobilization of global action towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine in accordance with international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”

History of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, was the result of the experience of the Second World War. With the end of that war, and the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed never again to allow atrocities like those of that conflict happen again. World leaders decided to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere. The document they considered, and which would later become the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was taken up at the first session of the General Assembly in 1946. "

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

More than sixty years ago, back in 1949, the Application of Israel for admission to membership in the United Nations (A/818) clearly pointed out that Israel was directly contravening "the previous recommendations of the United Nations in at least three important respects: in its attitude on the problem of Arab refugees, on the delimitation of its territorial boundaries, and on the question of Jerusalem."  

Dr. Zogby: This Time Must Be Different

Jordan's King urges Arab, Islamic organisations to serve nation’s causes in US... peace efforts should lead to the two-state solution based on international resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which, he said, was a historical turning point.

Ziad Asali : The Road to the Arab Civil State

Children of the occupation: growing up in Palestine


Free to Fund Palestine ... a Growing Gardens for Palestine poem by Anne Selden Annab

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
( )

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.

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

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.

EU warns Israel, Palestinians of the cost of peace failure

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


"The only way to honor our tragic histories is to create a future for our children free of man-made tragedy. This means making peace fully, completely and without reservation, between Israel and Palestine." ATFP's Ziad Asali: To honor a tragic history, we must work for peace ....

American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) supports Palestinian institution-building, good governance, anti-corruption measures, economic development, and improved living standards. ATFP categorically and unequivocally condemns all violence against civilians, no matter the cause and who the victims or perpetrators may be.

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