VOICES OF CONSCIENCE AND HOPE : Palestinians speak @ St Asaph's today @ 7:30
Presentation on Israel and Palestine
Thursday, November 11, 2010 7:30 pm
St. Asaph’s Episcopal Church
27 Conshohocken State Road
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-2400
(1 block north of City Avenue; 65 and 44 SEPTA buses stop at City Ave and Conshohocken State Rd)
This year has seen threats to Middle East peace intensify greatly. It has seen the world stand up and take notice of the United States’ involvement in the region. Around the globe, news headlines speak of deadly tensions arising from ideological conflicts, territorial disputes, and competition for scarce natural resources — often fueled by the intervention of international powers promoting their own interests. Our own country’s role as an honest broker of peace is hotly debated here and abroad. So while the focus of this sixth annual Tree of Life Conference, as in preceding conferences, will be on Israel and Palestine, the issues we’ll explore have immediate relevance to us all as people of conscience, as U.S. citizens, and as citizens of the world.
VOICES OF CONSCIENCE AND HOPE
First-hand accounts of life in an occupied Palestinian community will be offered by Najwa and George Saadeh and their daughter, Marian, residents of Beit Sahour, where Mr. Saadeh is the Principal of the Shepherd’s Field Greek Orthodox School. When their daughter Christine, age 9, was fatally shot at an Israeli checkpoint in Bethlehem, this family became members of the Parents’ Circle, an organization of bereaved Jewish, Christian and Muslim parents of children killed in the conflict. Also joining us from Beit Sahour, Jane Hilal is water and environment unit director of the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem. Jane will describe the work of her organization, which documents the impact of the Separation Wall and water restrictions.
Martin John Nicholls who is an extraordinary British singer, songwriter and peace campaigner will give musical interludes. Martin has traveled extensively with humanitarian organizations in Africa and the Middle East and has composed wonderfully prophetic songs based on what he has seen and heard. In his compositions, he gives voice to the hopes and fears of all those who yearn for “peace on earth, good will to all.” As he says in one of his songs, “I don’t want a faith that takes me deeper into myself…I want a faith that makes a difference!”
THE TREE OF LIFE BRANCHES OUT . . .
The Tree of Life Conference is a major activity of the Tree of Life Educational Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to amplify the voices of Conference speakers by organizing events at a variety of venues. The year’s speakers and performers will also make presentations in Hartford, Cape Cod, and New York City. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to these efforts. Help the Tree of Life to grow! Please give generously to the free-will donation basket. Thank you!
To learn more about the conference, see the full list of speakers and venues, and to register, visit http://www.tolef.org/
Build Bridges Not Walls…
Bubbies & Zaydes(Grandparents)for Peace in the Middle East
PO BOX 56293 PHILA. PA. 19130 firstname.lastname@example.org
Our message is still important! Our voices MUST be heard! Plan to join us on Friday at noon at 19th & JFK! Keep the vigil going until there is justice and security for Palestinians and Israelis!
JUSTICE צדק JUSTICE צדק JUSTICE צדק
This book came out when George Bush was president
and it was completely ignored by the mainstream press.
Only in a America could someone go on a public
eight year crime spree and walk away scott-free
because he's no longer and office.
There's a reason for that.
The hidden history of the Bush family revealed...
One Week Away from Final "Have You Heard from Johannesburg" Event - "FREE AT LAST"
A Special Closing Night – note special day and location:
FREE AT LAST: TUESDAY, NOV 16, 7pm at INTERNATIONAL HOUSE, 3701
Chestnut St. An uprising in South Africa becomes the final blow in
the cumulative world effort to topple apartheid. Nelson Mandela
becomes a household name as the campaign to free him ignites a
worldwide crusade. Featuring an appearance and Q&A with filmmaker
CONNIE FIELD, presented as part of THE SCRIBE VIDEO CENTER’S
PRODUCERS’ FORUM SERIES - $10 admission – buy one get one free if you mention this flyer!
What: Phone Bank for the New START Treaty
When: Wednesday 11/17, 5:30-8:30 pm
Where: Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street, 3rd floor, MLK Room
* Pizza and beverages will be provided for all volunteers.
Nov. Social Science Forum
On Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 7:00 p.m., The Philadelphia Social
Science Forum presents *ELECTIONS 2010 - the struggle continues*. This
will take place at 4515 Baltimore Avenue (45th Street and Baltimore Avenue), Philadelphia, PA.
This panel discussion will examine the results of the 2010 elections in
the struggle for people’s needs and where do we go from here?
We are asking a minimal fee for admission, $5.00 and $2.00 for
unemployed and students. However, no one will be turned away due to lack
of funds. As this will be the second of six forums (3 dealing with the
Unemployment Crisis and the Elections), the cost for the three forums of
this series will be $10.00 and you can become a sponsor of the 2010-2011
series (for all six forums) for $25.00.
This and all forums are sponsored by the *Communist Party of Eastern
Pennsylvania and Delaware* and the ****Friends of the People's World**.
For more information, you can e-mail us at email@example.com
<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> <mailto:email@example.com> or call us at (215) 222-8895
Support our neighbors experiencing homelessness!
Will feature a number of kosher and vegetarian soups- hope you can join us!
Empty B wl Benefit Dinner for
Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network
@ Chestnut Hill College, Sorgenti Arena
9601 Germantown Ave. Phila. PA 19118
Thursday, November 18, 2010- 4:30 PM through 8:30 PM (open seating-come anytime)
Adults $15 Children/Students $5 (minimum donation at the door)
Special Dinner Host: Mike McGrath, of WHYY's "You Bet Your Garden."
Organic Gardening advice for all special donors
Please park at Our Mother of Consolation Church, 9 East Chestnut Hill Ave. and at
Mt St. Joseph’s Academy, 120 W. Wissahickon Ave in Flourtown
Shuttle service will start at 4:30 P.M.
For more information contact: 215-247-HOME (4663)
Chestnut Hill College proudly sponsors this annual fundraising dinner for the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (NPIHN), a program involving 1000 volunteers from area congregations in serving homeless families of our neighborhood. Local potters donate handmade bowls. Restaurants donate soups, breads and desserts. For a modest contribution, guests select a bowl, fill it with delicious soup, eat and enjoy. At the end of the dinner, each attendee leaves with an empty bowl as a reminder that many in our country have empty bowls, not by choice, but because of unfortunate circumstances.
Tonight I was at the Brooklyn Law School with Ann Wright, Kathy Kelly, Pam Spiess and WILPF member, Charlotte Dennett, discussing before a very lively and interested audience, how to hold the Bush regime accountable for war crimes. A reporter had asked me if the event was timed for Book's memoir being released today. It wasn't, but the book has given us a chance to go back on the offensive about the crimes of the Bush Regime. WBAI Evening News November 8.
Listen (5 mins)
The Family Jewels A Veteran's Story by Greg Palast Wednesday, November 10, 2010
In 1930, when my father was an 8-year-old kid in Chicago, he asked his older brother why people were outside in the cold snow in a long line.
His brother Harold said, "It's a bread line. They don't have anything to eat. They're hoping for bread." My father ran to his mother's bedroom and grabbed her diamond brooch, ran downstairs, and gave it to a man in the line. Later in the Depression my grandfather lost all his money. The important thing is, that after my father gave away the jewels, no one in his family chastised him.
Here's what you need to know about my father and maybe about me: My father worked in a furniture store in the barrio in Los Angeles, where he sold pure crap on lay-away to Mexicans. Then, later on, he sold fancier crap to fancier people in Beverly Hills and he hated furniture, and he hated the undeserving pricks and their trophy wives who bought it.
Dad figured it this way: The bankers, the union-busters, the Bushes — whoever ran the show — were all a pack of vultures and the rest of us were just food.
And when I turned 8 myself, my dad gave me some important jewelry: His medals from World War II. He wanted me to lose them, to throw them away, anything. It was March 8, 1965. I know the exact date because the US Marines had landed at Da Nang, Vietnam.
Cuba and the Common Position of the European Union
Israel is being targeted for its violations of international law and failure to meet standards of equality, non-discrimination and human rights in the occupied territories as well as within Israel. There are many countries that violate the same or similar norms, and should the oppressed populations in those countries call for the international community to impose BDS on the governments controlling them, then much of the same Israeli and international community that has decided to heed the Palestinian call for BDS against Israel would follow their lead as well.
Unfortunately, however, there are a lot of misconceptions about the Palestinian BDS call. The aim of the call is to target the Israeli government and entities that operate on its behalf or with its support. So, for instance, if enough people around the world spread the truth about the beauty products corporation Ahava’s unlawful practices, then perhaps Ahava will be forced to end its operations in a settlement in occupied territory and stop plundering natural resources from that territory — all of which are done in contravention of international law and with the financial, legal and logistical support of the Israeli government. If enough major investors divest from corporations like Caterpillar for its provision of D9 bulldozers that raze homes and injure civilians, or Motorola for its provision of security and surveillance equipment and services that are key in maintaining the oppressive occupation, or the dozens of banks that provide loans for settlement construction, then perhaps these corporations will call on the Israeli government to change its practices in order to preserve their profits. If enough academics are called out for their affiliation with Israeli universities that are major players in research and development for the security industry and military activities in the West Bank, Gaza and beyond, then perhaps they will call on their universities to “divest” their time and energy from the occupation and “invest” more in healthy debate about how to promote peace, justice and human rights both within Israel and under occupation. The potential damage to profits, to images, and to feelings is real, but it is intended to be short-term — and moreover, it is incomparable to the damage that has been done and continues to be done to those who suffer from Israel’s policies and practices. In other words, “a small price to pay.” And much to gain. For everyone involved.
And in fact, it’s already happening. More and more corporations (including Veolia, Caterpillar and Africa-Israel) have withdrawn businesses involved in violating international law in the occupied territories, and artists and authors (including the Pixies, Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox, Sarah Shulman, Gil Scott-Heron, and Naomi Klein) have expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian BDS call by not performing in Israel for profit until Israel upholds international law.
In the meantime, these grassroots campaigns are an excellent means of raising awareness about the reality on the ground for Arab, Palestinian and Bedouin communities within Israel (against whom Israeli law discriminates in over 30 laws and numerous policies, nevermind the overt cultural exclusion they experience) and in the occupied territories, where rights to land, movement, family unification, education and protection from violence and property destruction (to name but a few) are regularly violated. No one wants to see the Pixies, Elvis Costello and the Alvin Ailey dance company perform in her home city more than I do. But when they cancel their performances — or are simply asked to — questions about why (and even anger and resentment toward the artists and the BDS call) spur essential discussions about Israel’s unjust actions.
But unfortunately, even BDS supporters often confuse the issues, boycotting anything and anyone associated with Israel. These kinds of sweeping boycotts are often counterproductive and spoil the very simple, strong message of the BDS movement, which calls for Israel to observe international law. For instance, the Israeli baker in downtown NYC should not be boycotted just because his country of origin is Israel (unless the bakery is somehow Israeli government supported, which seems quite unlikely). The Jewish klezmer band in Toronto should not be boycotted simply because its members may (or may not) be Zionists, unless the performance is sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Culture. The Israeli filmmaker whose film is featured in a Portland Israeli-Palestinian film festival should not be asked to withdraw from the festival if his film was funded by non-Israeli official sources.
Just because Israel and the Zionist movement have long encouraged every Jew and Israeli across the globe to stand with Israel no matter what it does, and to want a state that unapologetically grants preference and privilege to Jews at the expense of others, does not mean that every Jew and Israeli worldwide follows suit. And boycotting people based on their origin is a form of the same kind of unjust discrimination that the BDS movement seeks to end.
At the same time, just because a person supports BDS and aspires for major change in Israel does not mean that said person cannot love a million and a half aspects about the life, culture, landscape and even politics of Israel today and historically. Nor does it mean that Israelis need to boycott themselves (something that is neither possible nor part of the Palestinian call). The only thing that is black and white in the BDS movement is that the call will remain in effect until Israel — with a lot of help from its friends — ceases to violate international humanitarian and human rights law.
This confusion must be straightened out in order for the simple and strong message of BDS to be heard and for its goals to be reached sooner than later. In that same spirit, just as debate and critique surrounding Israel are healthy and important (and do not equate anti-Semitism), I would encourage anyone who wants to see positive change in the region but is critical or skeptical or dubious regarding the BDS movement not to shun it or feel alienated by it — but to engage in the debate around it.There’s more than one way to advocate for justice and equality in Israel/Palestine, and BDS is only one strategy. But of the many possibilities, wouldn’t we all prefer those, like BDS, that are non-violent, bottom-up, of the people and for the people, and that have a simple and just goal? After all, aren’t critics of the Palestinian cause constantly asking where the non-violent movement is? Well, here is just one example of where you can find it (among others, such as the Popular Struggle Coordinating Committee whose work is often mentioned on this blog). And so I would just ask those who oppose BDS, but truly believe in justice and equality over profits and oppression: what are they afraid of — or what they are defending?