Link to PDF Demilitarize Statement 4-16-18
DEMILITARIZE FROM DURHAM 2 PALESTINE STATEMENT
April 16, 2018
On April 5, 2018, Mayor Steve Schewel introduced a statement to Durham City Council regarding police exchanges with Israeli police or military forces.i The statement “affirms as policy that the Durham Police Department will not engage in such exchanges” and that the Council “opposes international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training.” Furthermore, the statement recognizes the need for demilitarization of police in our city. During this meeting each Council member voiced their support for this statement and the accompanying policy barring any future police exchanges with Israel or other foreign countries. The Demilitarize from Durham 2 Palestine Coalition supports Durham City Council’s adoption of this policy.
The need for this new policy was prompted by a number of factors: the mistreatment of Palestinians and Black Israelis by Israeli forces; the mistreatment of people of color in the United States by police forces here; and the widespread participation in these exchanges by police departments around the country, including in Durham.
Police departments across the United States have taken the opportunity to receive “intensive counter-terrorism training” by “experts” from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Israeli intelligence and security services, and Israeli Police. For instance, Durham was listed last September as a participant in a one-week “National Counter-Terrorism Seminar” held by the Anti–Defamation League (ADL).ii Trainings in Israel are advertised proudly on the résumés of both the formeriii and currentiv Chiefs of Police. The clear purpose of these trainings, as evidenced by descriptions in materials from the ADL and other organizations facilitating such exchanges, is the study of “counter-terrorism tactics.”v,vi,vii Despite recent assurances that Chief Davis’ specific visits “had nothing to do with terrorism tactics,”viii her previous department in Atlanta has boasted that their program was one in which “officers learn tactics on preventing acts of terror.”ix
We must ask, then, what “tactics” Israeli forces employ in order to “prevent terror.” Human Rights Watch has noted that the outcome of policing by Israel in occupied Palestinian territories has not been to improve the well-being of, or to promote the public safety of, the policed community, but to maintain a racially segregated society in which one group is made inferior via the denial of rights and dignity.x Groups including the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Israel’s B’Tselem, and former Israeli soldiers providing testimony have cited the Israeli police and military forces for a long list of abusive tactics. One tactic is over-surveillance of the public, often based on racial profiling and regardless of innocence.xi Another tactic is the disproportionate response to non-violent or non-threatening protests.xii Yet another is the use of arbitrary and sustained detentions without due process.xiii,xiv There is, of course, the violence and other ill-treatment used against both African Israelis and Palestinians, including children, detained inside Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories.xv,xvi And finally, there is the de-facto shoot-to-kill policy when dealing with Palestinians suspected of terrorism, regardless of whether or not they pose an immediate threat.xvii,xviii
This is not to say that policing in America has somehow been less abusive than in Israel. On the contrary, the legacy of violent and racist policing meant to benefit the well-off stretches back much further in our country. This legacy is both historic and ongoing. We do not wish for anyone in America to suffer at the hands of Israeli-style policing— just as we do not wish for the Palestinians or anyone in Israel to become victim to the “tactics” provided by U.S. police. American police departments that have participated in Israeli police and military trainings share the negative qualities seen in Israeli policing. The infamous “Demographics Unit” of the New York Police Departmentxix mirrored the discriminatory over-surveillance of Muslimsxx seen in Israel. The tactics used by the St. Louis city and county police forcesxxi in Ferguson, MO, prompted Palestinians to offer advice on minimizing the harmful effects of tear gas to protesters there.xxii The variety of abusesxxiii seen from the Baltimore Police Departmentxxiv have made them synonymous, in the Israeli press,xxv with police brutality. And under former Chief Lopez the Durham Police Department, like police in Israel, used tear gas as a method of controlling local protesters.xxvi Despite recent overall declines in traffic stops due in part to recommendations made by Durham FADE (Fostering Alternative Drug Enforcement), 2016 data nonetheless revealed that once a motorist was stopped by the Durham police, searches were more likely to occur in vehicles with Black or Hispanic drivers. In fact, Blacks were victim to over 80% of traffic searches yielding no contraband while comprising only 40% of the population.xxvii The Council confirmed in last week’s statement that “black motorists are still more likely to be stopped than white motorists.”
The City Council’s new policy addresses two connected injustices: the militarization of police in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the militarization of police in the United States. Our coalition’s support is founded on the recognition that those injustices are linked—both methodically, in their tactics, and materially, in the monetary support militarizing both states’ forces. The statement sets as a goal “a time when we are beyond policing” and when safety and security are provided in other forms. Members of our coalition intend to hold the Council to this goal. We are here to support an encompassing vision for public safety that abandons violence and militarization. We will promote other markers of wellness, such as providing our people with affordable healthcare, equitable housing, meaningful education, a living wage, and other resources. We will resist unjust sentencing and bail policies and jail conditions. We will oppose the historical and ongoing marginalization of Black, poor, undocumented, Muslim, LGBTQ, and other communities. We will demand equitable and dignified treatment for every resident in our city. And we will demand it for all people, from Durham to Palestine.
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4432460-Durham-City-Council-Statement-on-Militarization.html#document/p1 (“Statement from the Durham City Council”)
ii https://jvptrianglenc.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/adl-ncts-participants.pdf (Anti-Defamation League solicitation for candidates to attend a “National Counter-Terroism Seminar” (NCTS) in Israel held on Sept. 9-17, 2017, and listing the Durham Police Department as one of the police departments whose “[e]xecutives trained in NCTS.”)
iii https://www.dolanconsultinggroup.com/instructor/jose-lopez/ (“Chief Lopez has also attended the National Counter-Terrorism Training through the Anti-Defamation League in Israel.”)
iv https://durhamnc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/9799 (“Established the APLI International Exchange program coordinating all aspects of Israeli exchange and curriculum for annual Atlanta Police visit, and coordinates annual APD Command delegations to Israel.”)
v https://jvptrianglenc.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/adl-ncts-participants.pdf (Anti-Defamation League solicitation for candidates to attend a “National Counter-Terroism Seminar” (NCTS) in Israel)
vi http://www.jinsa.org/jinsa-programs-all (Jewish Institute for National Security of America / JINSA, “The program takes delegations of senior law enforcement executives to Israel to study methods and observe techniques used in preventing and reacting to acts of terrorism and sponsors conferences within the United States, bringing Israeli experts before much larger groups of law enforcement leaders.”
viii https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4432456-Memo-from-DPD-Chief-Davis-to-City-Manager-Bonfield.html#document/p1 (“…my training experience in Israel had nothing to do with terrorism tactics, military tactics, or the use of or exposure to, military equipment.”)
ix https://www.atlantaga.gov/home/components/news/news/2912 (“The APLI program includes training on international law enforcement issues where officers learn tactics on preventing acts of terror, responding to suspicious objects and organizing volunteers for emergency response.”)
x https://www.hrw.org/report/2010/12/19/separate-and-unequal/israels-discriminatory-treatment-palestinians-occupied (Massive report by Human Rights Watch documenting the systemantic and comprehensive discrimination against Palestinians and privileging of Jewish settlers and their rights in the Occuppied Territories.)
xi https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-unit-testimonies (“As a soldier in Unit 8200, I collected information… All Palestinians are exposed to non-stop monitoring without any legal protection. Junior soldiers can decide when someone is a target for the collection of information. There is no procedure in place to determine whether the violation of the individual’s rights is necessarily justifiable. The notion of rights for Palestinians does not exist at all.”)
xii https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/MDE15/002/2014/en/ (Amnesty International 85-page report in 2014 on excessive force in the West Bank, concluding: “Israeli forces have repeatedly violated their obligations under international human rights law by using excessive force to stifle dissent and freedom of expression, resulting in a pattern of unlawful killings and injuries to civilians. They do so with virtual impunity due to the authorities’ failure to conduct thorough investigations.”)
xiii https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/gapal1185.doc.htm (Report to the UN on the arbitrary detention of Palestinians, particularly children, in Israeli prisons and detention centers without due process, “describing a practice of ‘regular, continuous and comprehensive’ torture, suffered by 90 per cent of prisoners.”)
xiv http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21624&LangID=E (May, 2017 – UN Special Rapporteur on the status of human rights in the Palestinian territories, challenged “Israel’s use of administrative detention, which involves imprisonment without charge, trial, conviction or meaningful due process, as well as the possibility of unrestricted renewal of their detention,” noting that “Israel’s use of administrative detention is not in compliance with the extremely limited circumstances in which it is allowed under international humanitarian law, and deprives detainees of basic legal safeguards guaranteed by international human rights law.”)
xv https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/ (Amnesty International Report for 2016/17: “Israeli soldiers, police and Israel Security Agency (ISA) officers subjected Palestinian detainees, including children, to torture and other ill-treatment with impunity, particularly on arrest and during interrogation… Complaints that the Israeli police used torture or other ill-treatment against asylum-seekers and members of the Ethiopian community in Israel were also common.”)
xvi https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/04/11/palestine-israeli-police-abusing-detained-children (Human Rights Watch Report, April 2016, concluding: “Israeli security forces are abusing Palestinian children detained in the West Bank. The number of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces has more than doubled since October 2015. . .. Israeli security forces are using unnecessary force in arresting and detaining children, in some cases beating them, and holding them in unsafe and abusive conditions.”
xvii http://gisha.org/press/4650 (B’Tselem and 8 other Israeli human rights organizations sign a statement in 2015 noting: “[T]here has been a worrying trend to use firearms to kill Palestinians who have attacked Israelis or are suspected of such attacks. Several incidents have been documented and reported, raising concern that the chosen response to such persons is the harshest possible, with lethal or – at the very least – unnecessary consequences. In instances when Jews have been suspected of attacks, none of the suspects has been shot. Politicians and senior police officers have not only failed to act to calm the public climate of incitement, but on the contrary have openly called for the extrajudicial killing of suspects. They have also urged civilians to carry weapons.”)
xviii https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/02/israel/palestine-some-officials-backing-shoot-kill (2017 Human Rights Watch report documenting “numerous statements since October 2015, by senior Israeli politicians, including the police minister and defense minister, calling on police and soldiers to shoot to kill suspected attackers, irrespective of whether lethal force is actually strictly necessary to protect life.” … “Statements by senior Israeli officials, including those at the top of the chain of command, encourage violation of both the international standards regarding the use of force as well as the rules of engagement that Israel issues to its soldiers and police officers. In some cases, officials directly responsible for the conduct of law enforcement officers have publicly encouraged them to kill rather than to arrest suspected attackers when feasible. In other cases, senior political and religious officials who are employed and paid by the government have encouraged the killing of suspected Palestinian attackers, and other senior officials have failed to repudiate those statements.”)
xix https://www.wnyc.org/story/nypd-allows-top-cops-wide-range-financial-interests-little-oversight/ (November 16, 2016, WNYC – “Current Commissioner James O’Neill… did report that the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs paid between $5,000 and $48,000 for his trip to Israel with other law enforcement officers from around the country.”)
xx https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/nyregion/police-unit-that-spied-on-muslims-is-disbanded.html (April 15, 2014, New York Times (NYT) – “The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said.” … “After years of collecting information, however, the police acknowledged that it never generated a lead.”)
xxi http://www.ebony.com/news-views/the-fergusonpalestine-connection-403#axzz54LnIg83p (Ebony Article entitled “The Ferguson/Palestine Connection: “The St. Louis County Police Department that killed Michael Brown and initially placed Ferguson on siege has trained with the Israeli military.” … “Over 9,000 American officials have trained with Israeli police and military units on responding to civilian protests and terrorism. These operations reflect failure to distinguish between the apparent duty of police to protect civilians and military responses to war. This fusion has had life-costing implications for Americans, specifically black, Muslim and Arab people.”)
xxii https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/15/world/middleeast/advice-for-fergusons-protesters-from-the-middle-east.html (NYT Aug. 14, 2014: “In addition to echoing the messages of solidarity sent through Twitter to the protesters in [Ferguson] Missouri, Egyptians and Palestinians also offered something more useful: practical advice about how to deal with tear gas.”)
xxiii https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/the-brutality-of-police-culture-in-baltimore/391158/ (The Atlantic, April 22, 2015, “The Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore,” concluding: “Years of abuses are every bit as egregious as what the Department of Justice documented in Ferguson, Missouri, and as deserving of a national response.”)
xxiv https://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/with-whom-are-many-u-s-police-departments-training-with-a-chronic-human-rights-violator-israel/ (Amnesty International report August, 2016: “When the U.S. Department of Justice published a report Aug. 10 that documented ‘widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation’ within the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), there was rightly a general reaction of outrage. But what hasn’t received as much attention is where Baltimore police received training on crowd control, use of force and surveillance: Israel’s national police, military and intelligence services.”)
xxv https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-israeli-police-militarization-is-no-surprise-1.5359033 (full text available at https://jvptrianglenc.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/haaretz-article.pdf) (Haaretz, the longest running Israeli newspaper, May 6, 2015, “Israels Police Force Is Becoming Alarmingly Militarized – and Its No Surprise Why: “The images out of Israel this Sunday looked like they could have been filmed in downtown Baltimore. Young Israelis of Ethiopian descent were being chased down the streets of central Tel Aviv by horse-mounted police officers, dodging stun grenades, fending off tear gas canisters and trying to evade the water cannons headed their way. The center of Tel Aviv, Israels most vibrant, economically powerful city, looked like an urban battlefield. The images, while infuriating, were of course disturbingly familiar. They paralleled in certain ways the riots that took place in Baltimore… In both cases, black men and women, members of a marginalized ethnic minority that has been systematically neglected and discriminated against, have been facing off against an alarmingly militarized police force. In both cases, demonstrations against police brutality were met with more brutality. But while there are indeed similarities between the protests in Tel Aviv and those in Baltimore, the scene was also not-so-vaguely reminisceDemilitarize Statement 4-16-18nt of another battlefield, one more familiar to Israeli citizens: the West Bank.”
xxvi http://www.wral.com/durham-police-to-closely-monitor-vigil-planned-for-teen/13234635/ (WRAL.com Dec. 19, 2013, Arrests, Tear Gas End Durham Vigil: “Although the assembly was billed as a peaceful event, Durham police massed in riot gear, with tear gas masks on their hips and billy clubs in hand, even before Huerta supporters arrived.”)
xxviihttp://www.heraldsun.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article149576884.html (May 10, 2017 – N&O article on Durham Police Department data from 2010-16 showing persistant disparities between black and white drivers in terms of police traffic stops and searches incident to such stops.)
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
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.”
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.
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.
The presentation on Palestine, pinkwashing, and NC Pride prepared for our September membership meeting (by Beth and Sandra) is available for download!
You can download the PDF here: pride-and-pinkwashing-presentation — and please contact us at email@example.com if you want to use with your own organization or chapter; we can share you on the Google Slides presentation.
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
- This was also considered a major victory for Palestine, as Abughaush also hails from Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem
- In the days following his win, however, Israeli media outlets began claiming him as Israeli rather than Palestinian http://www.jta.org/2016/08/19/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/palestinian-with-israeli-roots-wins-jordans-first-olympic-medal
- The Forward went as far as to call him a “Palestinian with Israeli Roots” http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/348129/palestinian-with-israeli-roots-wins-jordan-s-first-olympic-medal/
- There has also been an insincere reframing of Abu Ghosh as a city wherein “Jews and Arabs,” defined separately, live in harmony and set an example for how Israel and Palestine can coexist
- 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”
Below, please find the Palestine update prepared by Howie and presented at our August, 2016 chapter meeting:
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.
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.html . Haaretz 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/.
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.”
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:
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.
My 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.
Jewish Voice for Peace-Triangle NC expresses our deep concern about the recent attacks on Masjid Al Madina in Raeford, NC. This past Thursday, bacon was left outside the back entrance to the mosque; a white man with three loaded handguns and additional ammunition in his vehicle threatened to kill members of the mosque, including children gathered there. He then moved to run over people going to evening prayer services.
We know that these attacks are not isolated incidents — this fall, the new Mosque in Burlington received online threats from a local white supremacist group. We also know that this attack did not come out of nowhere — it was precipitated by an anti-Muslim speaker hosted in Pinehurst just a few weeks ago, and occurs in the context of both ongoing racist and Islamophobic rhetoric in the presidential and local elections and a U.S. foreign policy that devalues Muslim lives. We must speak out to challenge hateful rhetoric, because it is clear that it incites physical violence against Muslim people across the state, nation, and globe.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Muslim communities in Raeford and Fayetteville, as you celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. We are in solidarity with you, and will show up to support you however we can — and we call on our communities to do the same.
As we finalize this statement, we are learning of the horrific shooting in Orlando, FL and are distressed both by this attack on LGBTQ communities of color, and by subsequent news coverage demonizing Muslims. We are grateful to those eloquently offering analysis in this time of grief — including the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) and JVP’s National Network Against Islamophobia. We join in MASGD’s call to “resist the forces of division and hatred.”
We are grateful to be fighting Islamophobia as a member of the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI), and we hope that our collective efforts, together, will lead to real safety and freedom here in NC and around the globe — for Muslims, Black people, immigrants, people of Color, indigenous people, Jews, LGBTQ people, and all people.