MEDIA ADVISORY: Rally in Raleigh 10AM Saturday against Islamophobia

MEDIA ADVISORY:

RALLY IN RALEIGH AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA AND RACISM

Muslim community and allies will gather in defiance of hate group “ACT for America”

RALEIGH, NC — Hundreds of North Carolinians plan to gather 10AM Saturday at Halifax Mall in Raleigh at the United Against Islamophobia and Racism rally; uniting Muslim organizations and community allies against Islamophobia, racism, and white nationalism emboldened by Trump’s administration.

 

The counter-rally is organized by local activist groups, Muslims for Social Justice, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, and North Carolina Asian Americans Together. It takes place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a time of spirituality, contemplation, and celebration for Muslims.

 

The United Against Islamophobia and Racism rally will take place at the same time as an anti-Muslim gathering at the State Capitol in Raleigh, part of a national action organized by “ACT for America” in 27 cities across the country. Considered an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACT for America targets Muslim communities and demonizes Islam as a fear mongering tactic. Its founding member, Brigitte Gabriel, was quoted as saying that Islam is “a natural threat to the civilized people of the world.”

 

While bigotry and discrimination are employed to breed fear and hatred in the community, we have a choice to build a movement that advances social justice and human rights for all,” said Manzoor Cheema of Muslims for Social Justice. “We need organized community safety responses led by Muslims, Black youth, immigrants, and people of color.”

 

“North Carolina is my home,” said George Friday of Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia. “I know that the people who care about this state and care about their neighbors are not going to be manipulated by people who are using racism as a trick to maintain power.”

 

When: 10AM Saturday, June 10th

Where: Halifax Mall, Raleigh, NC

Who: Muslims for Social Justice, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, North Carolina Asian Americans Together, and other community members

What: A rally with speakers, homemade banners and signs

Social Media: #CounterACTHate

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NC House Prepares to Target Human Rights Boycotts of Israel

 

Contact: trianglenc@jvp.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NC House Prepares to Target Human Rights Boycotts of Israel

Interfaith coalition condemns HB161 as an unconstitutional anti-protest bill

Raleigh, NC—The North Carolina House of Representatives will vote today on House Bill 161, “Divestment from Companies that Boycott Israel.” This bill would require that the state pension investment board create a blacklist of companies that boycott Israel because of its human rights violations, and mandate that it withdraw their investments from these companies, as well as restrict any contracts with them.

HB161 passed the Pensions and Retirement committee on March 22, 2017, with dissenting votes from Rep. Mickey Michaux and Rep. Philip Lehman, both of Durham.

20 organizations and faith institutions signed a petition calling on state legislators to reject the bill, calling it a “repressive tactic of silencing free speech and prohibiting protest.” These include Quaker House of Fayetteville NC, Muslim American Public Affairs Council, NC Council of Churches, NC Public Workers Union – UE Local 150, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories has been deemed illegal under international law, and the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) seeks to end discriminatory treatment of Palestinians. Faith organizations including Presbyterian Church-USA and United Church of Christ have chosen to divest due to the Israeli occupation, and Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia have called for boycotts to pressure Israel to end its occupation.

“HB161 is part of a broader program to attack people’s resistance, coming from both the state and federal governments,” said Noah Rubin-Blose, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace from Hillsborough. “It is important that we not allow real concerns about rising antisemitism to trick us into supporting this repressive bill.”

“I am Palestinian-American. I was born in Gaza, and I’ve lived in Raleigh for 27 years,” said Jihad Shawwa. “I’ve felt the suffering of these people, who live in a big prison. Our representatives are nothing but rubber stamps. This bill is nothing but a peace killer, and it will create hatred and anxiety.”

A case study by the Harvard Law Review on similar South Carolina anti-boycott legislation concluded, “the anti-BDS statute passed by South Carolina and those being considered by several other states are likely unconstitutional in nearly all of their applications… Supreme Court precedents make clear that attempts to disqualify contractors for support of BDS are foreclosed by the First Amendment.”

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Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org) is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine.

JVP – Triangle Condemns FBI Intimidation of Muslim Voters

Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle Chapter condemns the FBI’s recent actions, just before election day, apparently aimed at intimidating Muslim voters. According to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Washington Post, the FBI questioned American Muslim leaders of Pakistani and Afghani origins last weekend. These reports came from at least eight states, several of which are swing states, days before our presidential election. We know of at least one North Carolina leader who was targeted.

The FBI questioned these community leaders regarding potential relationships with people killed abroad in U.S. drone strikes, interrogating people solely based on their ethnicity without any material evidence. This type of harassment flies in the face of our nation’s purported values. We know that intimidation of Muslim people is not new; it has been government policy for years to profile, target, harass, intimidate, and even frame and murder Muslim people — this only promises to increase under a Trump administration.  Islamophobia is unacceptable coming from anyone–especially from our federal government.

Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle Chapter demands that the FBI cease and desist from harassing Muslims. For those who have been targeted or fear that they may be in the future,  information about your rights is available here. Our thoughts and prayers are with the targeted families.

September-October 2016 Palestine Update

Prepared by Gabe Baldasare and Rachel Russell:

  • On the morning of August 16, Israel conducted demolitions near Hebron and rendered approximately 70 Palestinians homeless http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772699
    • Israeli troops stormed the eastern Hebron district of Jurat al-Kheil and forcibly removed Palestinian families from their homes
    • Ziad Shalada, one of the homeowners, described how difficult it has been to obtain licences that prevent their land from being overtaken by the IDF
      • The Israeli Civil Administration administers these licenses, but authorities often reject appeals with no explanation
      • According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA), Israel only approved 33 permits out of 2,020 applications between 2010 and 2014
      • 168 homes were demolished in the first half of 2016, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless, and 125 homes were demolished in 2015, leaving 496 homeless
      • Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) gave no comment
  • On August 18, Jordan Olympian Ahmad Abughaush took the gold for taekwondo
  • On September 9, Netanyahu asserted that a pre-condition for a Palestinian state according to Palestinian leaders amounted to an “ethnic cleansing” of Jews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8CUFSHB114
    • Claimed that Israel is open to peace because of its “diversity” and frames Israeli resistance to Palestinian liberation as resistance to allegedly anti-Semitic policy
    • State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau condemned the statement, as did other White House officials
    • Meanwhile, Trump adviser David Friedman made an exclusive statement to Haaretz on September 11 detailing his support for it http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.741515
      • Friedman denied that Palestinians had any indigenous claim to the land and that they are “refugees” that Israel would be forced to absorb
      • Further aligning himself with Netanyahu’s statement, he claimed that Israel would ultimately become “Judenrein,” a Nazi term for “devoid of Jews”

Palestine Update: August

Below, please find the Palestine update prepared by Howie and presented at our August, 2016 chapter meeting:

Palestine:

Over 400 Palestinians have been arrested in the past year alone for posting on social media, and other artists and cultural workers have been targeted too. A clown who teaches children with learning disabilities has been imprisoned without charge for over 6 months.  In October of last year, Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet, was arrested, imprisoned, and then placed under house arrest. Why? For posting a poem called “Resist, my people, resist them” on YouTube. She’s facing trial, and potentially a long prison term — for writing and sharing a poem  Over 7,000 Jews and allies signed the JVP petition, calling for Dareen to be released. Among those 7,000 people are Dave Eggers, Naomi Klein, Claudia Rankine, and Alice Walker.  Not long after JVP released the letter, Dareen won the right to return to her village of Reineh. But Dareen remains under extremely strict house arrest — imprisoned and on trial — for her poetry.

3,000 families in Gaza are still displaced two years after Israel’s 2014 assault.   See http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-gaza-reconstruction-adv-snap-story.html.

Palestinians in Area C — part of the West Bank that is fully controlled by the Israeli government–are more vulnerable now than ever before.

Israel’s army has demolished more Palestinian structures in Area C in the first half of 2016 than in any single year in the last decade, with the exception of 2013.

A total of 168 buildings were demolished in the first six months of this year, making 740 people homeless. Several structures, including some donated by the EU, were demolished by Israel on August 9 in the village of Umm al Kheir in the South Hebron hills. A local settler leader told Haaretz: “I hope this is the beginning of a new trend.” This month France condemned Israel’s demolition of buildings in Nabi Samuel village funded by French humanitarian aid. Israel has destroyed or confiscated French-funded structures, including a school, three times in the village so far this year.  In the past, these large stickers bearing the EU logo offered a modicum of protection from demolitions. But this year, Israeli bulldozers demolished at least 150 European-funded structures in the West Bank in the first three months of 2016.  See also http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/08/oslo-accords-area-c-annexation-economic-development-settlers.html.

Susiya is in Area C.  Susiya leaders submitted a professionally developed master plan to the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) but it was rejected with a response that captures Israel’s approach to all Palestinians: the villagers would be better off living somewhere else.”

Israeli officials have admitted that pressure from settlers sped up the demolition orders, in order to get around Susiya’s upcoming day in court, scheduled for August 3rd. Now Israeli officials are saying they plan to demolish the village soon after Ramadan ends tonight.

Israel’s high court placed the fate of the Palestinian village Susiya and its 340 residents in the hands of defense minister Avigdor Lieberman on, leaving it to him to decide whether the army will demolish nearly half its structures, mostly ramshackle dwellings.

On August 12, the court punted a petition the village had submitted with Rabbis for Human Rights requesting that it compel Israel’s occupation administration to recognize the legality of structures that Palestinians had built without permits from the army.

US consulate officials visited the village of Susiya this week. Elizabeth Trudeau, the State Department deputy spokeswoman told reporters during a August 10 press briefing: “If the Israeli government proceeds with demolitions in Susiya, it would be very troubling and have a very damaging impact on lives of the Palestinians living there, who have already been displaced on other occasions.”  See https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/susiya-village-brink-destruction-israel and http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Jewish-activists-lead-global-protest-in-Palestinian-village-of-Sussiya-464056.

New financial regulations will make it more difficult for Palestinians who work in Israel to sue Israeli employers for labor violations. The regulations will require anyone who is not an Israeli citizen or who does not have assets in Israel to submit a financial guarantee to the court, which will be forfeited if the court rules against the complaint.  See http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.732153.

 

Israel:

The Knesset passed a highly controversial law on July 20 that would allow it to suspend or oust sitting members of parliament who have been of accused of racial incitement or of supporting armed struggle against Israel. A member of the Joint List called the law “apartheid legislation” and other members of the party said they would appeal it before the Supreme Court. The law is widely perceived to be targeting Arab lawmakers, and Hanin Zoabi in particular. The spokesperson for the Joint List said that, “Inside Knesset sometimes people call it the ‘Hanin law.’”  See http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/world/middleeast/israel-knesset-zoabi-ngos-parliament-ouster-arab-palestinian.html?_r=0.

The hidden history of the Israeli state disappearing & relocating hundreds of children of Yemenite families is now in the news.  See http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/shocking-story-israel-disappeared-babies-160803081117881.htmlHaaretz published an exclusive about dozens of Ashkenazi children of Holocaust survivors who were similarly disappeared.  See http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.736574 .

Defense minister Lieberman was forced to retract the comparison he made August 5 between U.S. President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938, because it threatened the military aid negotiations.  See http://forward.com/opinion/347134/avigdor-lieberman-is-sorry-not-sorry-for-comparing-iran-deal-to-hitler-deal/.

 

BDS & ‘Anti-Semitism’

Canada’s Green Party has adopted BDS into its platform, despite objections from the party’s leader and only parliament member.

US Green Party nominee has already endorsed BDS.  See http://mondoweiss.net/2016/06/candidate-president-endorses/ and http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/stein-defends-hall/ .

The Movement for Black Lives Matter (MBLM) position paper supports BDS.  See http://imemc.org/article/black-lives-matter-endorses-bds-israel-is-an-apartheid-state/ . MBLM condemns Israel as an apartheid state that subjects Palestinians to an ongoing act of genocide.

Rachel Gilmer, a 28-year-old African American who was raised Jewish (born to an African-American father and a white Jewish mother), participated as a teen in Young Judaea, the Zionist youth group.), has long been involved in black-Palestinian solidarity work. Gilmer is associated with the activist group Dream Defenders.  See http://forward.com/news/347142/how-did-genocide-charge-against-israel-end-up-in-black-lives-matter-groups/?utm_content=daily_Newsletter_MainList_Title_Position-1&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Daily%202016-08-11&utm_term=The%20Forward%20Today%20Monday-Friday.

The JVP-affiliated Jews of Color Caucus wrote, “We are appalled at the actions of the white US institutional Jewish community in detracting and distracting from such a vital platform at a time when Black lives are on the line.” The caucus then listed a series of demands directed at the American Jewish community, such as cutting off support to police exchange programs between Israel and the U.S. and for a broad retraction of statements by Jewish groups that have come out against the M4BL.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America approved a resolution calling on the U.S. government to end all aid to Israel if Israel does not stop building settlements and “enable an independent Palestinian state.” Voting at its triennial assembly in New Orleans that ended Saturday, August 13; the church also adopted a human rights-based investment screen for its social responsibility funds to ensure the church is not profiting from human rights abuses, and mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by name. It also called for the church to “increase positive investment in Palestine.” and called on the president of the United States to recognize the State of Palestine.  See http://www.jta.org/2016/08/14/news-opinion/united-states/evangelical-lutheran-church-in-america-stop-us-aid-to-israel-if-settlements-allowed-to-stay.

World Jewish Congress condemns BDS as anti-Semitism.  See http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/news/world-jewish-congress-assembly-condemns-bds-movement-as-a-manifestation-of-anti-semitism-3-3-2016.

False claim that NYU SJP targeted Jewish students with “eviction” notices (Forward story by Laura Adkins) ;(also Connecticut College); collecting data on where Jews live.  http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/forward-anti-semitism-hoax/.

 

US Elections:

From Stephen Zunes (www.commondreams.org/views/2016/07/28/most-progressive-dem-platform-history-disturbingly-hawkish-foreign-policy):

Clinton and her representatives in the Democratic platform committee defeated a measure calling for an end of Israel’s occupation and illegal settlements. Indeed, the platform pegs challenges to the occupation and settlements by the United Nations and others as efforts to “delegitimize Israel.” This is particularly problematic language since, under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department formally listed efforts to “delegitimize” Israel as part of its definition of anti-Semitism.  And rather than saying Israel should have a strong enough military to defend itself from potential adversaries, it instead insists that Israel be provided a “qualitatively military edge.”

And even though the Obama administration—like all previous administrations—refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, the platform states that Jerusalem “should remain the capital of Israel.” It says nothing about Palestinian aspirations that it serve as the capital of their country as well.

In addition, stating that Jerusalem remain “accessible to people of all faiths” ignores the fact that Israeli occupation authorities have made it is extremely difficult for Muslim and Christian Palestinians in the West Bank to have access to the holy sites in the Old City and impossible for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The platform praises Israel’s supposed “democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism”—which would be news for the country’s Palestinian minority and those Palestinians living under direct military occupation or in forced exile. It calls on the Palestinians to negotiate an agreement that “guarantees Israel’s future” as a “Jewish state,” making it the world’s first peace treaty in which one party is obliged to recognize another country’s ethnic or religious identity over that of others.

Whatever the problems with the Democrat’s foreign policy planks, the Republican platform is far worse. To give but a few examples: the Republicans call for dramatic increases in the already-bloated military budget; insist on abrogating the Iran nuclear deal; make no mention of Palestinian rights; and declare “We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier.”

Welcome, summer fellows!

JVP Triangle-NC is so proud to host two amazing student fellows this summer. Meet Noah Byck Mlyn and Davia Young, who will be working on projects for our chapter and BDS coalition throughout the summer:

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My name is Noah Byck Mlyn and I just finished my first year at Vassar College and will be transferring to Brown University in the Spring after a semester off. I was fortunate to be a part of a vibrant Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Vassar as well as a new, quickly growing JVP chapter. We successfully passed a BDS resolution in our student association which was unfortunately overturned by referendum. Vassar is generally a very progressive campus, and getting the chance to work with members of student government who were excited to learn about opportunities for solidarity and resistance was inspiring. A challenge we encountered, and what eventually led to the resolution’s failure in a school-wide referendum, was the emphasis by students and administrators on “dialogue” in place of real political action..

I am excited to be working together with Davia Young in Durham, NC this summer where we will be working on a BDS resolution to be presented to the city council as well as various smaller projects focusing on chapter membership retention and publicity. We are also helping to organize the monthly chapter meetings centered around a specific topic relevant to our movement. Aside from my activism, I am also a college debater and an actor.

 

 

1918192_10205554402763051_2527695920152996863_nMy name is Davia Young, I live in Durham, North Carolina and go to school at Guilford College. I major in Community and Justice Studies and minor in Environmental Studies and Women, Gender, Sexualities Studies. I just spent a semester in Morocco studying Arabic and human rights/multiculturalism, and am going to spend this summer working with the North Carolina Triangle Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace with Noah Byck Mlyn. Our main project with the Triangle JVP is to draft a BDS resolution to be presented at the Durham City Council, as well as smaller projects like promotional material and membership retention.

I was really involved in my Jewish youth group and community in high school but never really felt like I connected with people on Israel/Palestine politics, and my sophomore year of college I got to spend a month in Israel/Palestine where I had a radical awakening when I realized there was an entire discourse that I was not exposed to as an American or as a Jew, and that being Jewish did not have to mean being Zionist. After a long personal journey I felt it important to continue the fight for Palestinian freedom and against the Israeli occupation within the Jewish community, which led me to JVP.

My school is quite small but we have an active SJP and after a long process for Open Hillel now have a Jewish group called Chavurah, but no JVP chapter yet. Along with my other work, I am the president of the Ultimate Frisbee team, DJ at my college radio station, and am the president of Guilford Peace Society, a club that organizes around local and national social justice issues.