Saturday, March 1, 2014

My letter to the NYTimes RE A Counterstrike Against Israel Boycotts, With a Glamorous Face

An ad campaign by the Israel Project celebrating the actress Scarlett Johansson, who appeared in a Super Bowl spot for an Israeli company that has a factory in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.  
New York Times Photo Credit The Israel Project
RE A Counterstrike Against Israel Boycotts, With a Glamorous Face

Dear Editor,

What Israel has been doing to the Palestinians is shockingly immoral and unjust- and wrong. Manipulative propagandists, persuasive lobbyists, religious pawns and pretty actresses can not obscure the facts forever. 

Scarlett Johansson is indeed deeply glamorous, but she is not a repudiation of the movement to boycott Israel: One pretty face selling fizzy drinks VS more than sixty well documented years of Palestinian men, women and children being oppressed, persecuted, impoverished and pushed off their land by a Jews-preferred Israel that wants the land, but not the native non-Jewish people of that land.

One sultry sexy voice in an immensely expensive TV commercial aimed at seducing beer drinking American football fans into cluttering their kitchen counters with a bubbly soda gizmo while thousands of Palestinian refugees, long refused their inalienable legal, moral, ethical and natural right to return to original homes and lands, are trapped in a refugee camp in Syria and slowly dying of starvation

Meanwhile, in the illegally occupied territories: Israeli Settlers destroy 700 olive tree saplings near Ramallah... Israel's army is often present during attacks and rarely intervenes to protect Palestinians from settler violence.

Israel wants investors, but Israel refuses to invest in fair and just laws and policies. As things are today, with Israel in long term violation of international law  and the Palestinians basic human rights, the Boycott Israel trend can not help but grow.

Anne Selden Annab

Palestinian Refugees (1948-NOW) refused their right to return... and their right to live in peace free from religious bigotry and injustice.

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.

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." 

Thousands of Palestinians trapped in Syria camp 'slowly dying'

United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor: 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

Luxembourg pension fund boycotts major Israeli banks

Amnesty International accuses Israeli armed forces of possible war crimes... Human rights group says soldiers have killed dozens of Palestinians with virtual impunity in West Bank

AIPAC Threatens to Sue CODEPINK Over Controversial Video Clip "AIPAC Policy Conference 2014"

"There is no meaning to prolonging the negotiation, even for one more additional hour, if Israel, represented by its current government, continues to disregard international law," PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP. "If there was a committed partner, we wouldn't even have needed nine hours..."

New identity law raises fears of Israeli effort to divide Christians

What message do we send?

U.N. rights envoy points to apartheid in Palestinian areas & calls for ban on imports of Israeli settlement produce

A World Not Ours: Filmed over more than 20 years by multiple generations of the same family, A World Not Ours is more than just a family portrait; it is an attempt to record what is being forgotten, and mark what should not be erased from collective memory.

A day at the Aida Camp Normal life can never be normal when it is lived under brutal military occupation, writes Kholoud Al-Ajarma from the Aida Refugee Camp in the Occupied West Bank

History writing that aims at damage control
Ralph M Coury: "...The fact is that the “heresy” of which Shavit speaks was a main current in Zionist speculations from the outset. The new settlers, Theodor Herzl (the founder of the Zionist movement) writes in his diary in 1895, should “gently” expropriate the natives’ property and “try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. The property-owners will come over to our side. But the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.” (The Complete Diaries, NY, 1960, vol 1, P88.) "

This Week in Palestine: Human Rights in Palestine

Palestinians will not sway on principles, Abbas tells Kerry

Israeli Settlers destroy 700 olive tree saplings near Ramallah... Israel's army is often present during attacks and rarely intervenes to protect Palestinians from settler violence.

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. "

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.

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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