Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My letter to the NYTimes RE Room for Debate: Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?

RE Room for Debate: Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?

Dear Editor,

Kudos to Omar Zahzah for having the wisdom, the courage, and the patience to participate in the NYTimes Room for Debate "Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?." His hyperlink to Adalah points out "50 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel and render them second-class citizens.

Kudos too to all the many various Jewish individuals and groups who have the wisdom, courage and patience to argue with and about Israel.  Seems to me the Zionist quest to bully, oppress, and displace those who understand and object to Israel's institutionalized bigotry and injustice is now up against a modern world with modern communication.  One can easily search out or simply stumble across highly pertinent facts and heart wrenching stories and statistics- and enlightening artwork.  The BDS boycott movement is not the only campaign seeking to create a greater global awareness of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the very real plight of the Palestinians.

Holy Land Principles
, a corporate code of conduct for American companies doing business in Palestine-Israel was launched only a few years ago. "The Holy Land Principles seek to ensure that American companies practice fair employment in Palestine-Israel or Israel-Palestine."  According a recent article regarding General Electric being asked to sign the Holy Land Principles:  "The Principles do not take any position on solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The Principles do not try to tell the Palestinians or the Israelis what to do. The Holy Land Principles only call for fair employment by American companies in Palestine-Israel."

So on one hand we have a BDS movement on college campuses getting attention by demanding boycott, and on the other hand we have a corporate code of conduct quite reasonably asking American businesses already doing business in Israel/Palestine to respect American ideals. 

Anne Selden Annab

Palestinian artist Ahmed Yaseen paints depictions of the Palestinian narrative on a cactus [Photo by Abdul Qusiney]

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Palestinian Artist ...Ahmad Yaseen

Palestinian Artist .... poignant photo found on social media, but I could not find a name or photo credit or title in English beyond "Palestinian Artist" and this:  القدس - alquds

from my friend
For Palestinian artist, spiny cactus makes perfect canvas...
Ahmad Yaseen makes stunning drawings on cactus pads. His colleagues from the art faculty at An-Najah University in the Palestinian city of Nablus relate that people are impressed not only by his great skills as a painter but also by his original way of expressing Palestinian suffering: using a raw material that no one had ever before contemplated.

“I do not paint martyrs, nor do I paint scenes occurring in the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. I draw elements that provide also a glimmer of hope and not just despair....

His favorite set of drawings is of two newborns. One is resting in his mother’s arms while the other is breastfeeding. From above, the arms of the mother of the second baby look like a keyless lock. Generally speaking, keys are a recurring motif in Yaseen’s drawings. “This is the key of return,” he explained, adding that it also represents hope.

“I have mumbled the words 'sumud' [perseverance] and 'sabr' [patience], and sabr sounds like 'sabra' [cactus],” he said. “Sabra is a plant symbolizing the land of Palestine, expressing the rugged nature of the people. It grows everywhere, under all weather conditions. Tenacious and strong, it is hard to stamp out. What better way than to use this plant through which to relate the Palestinian narrative?”