Saturday, 9 May 2009

Jewish founder of Code Pink speaks out against hate-fuelled AIPAC

Democracy Now report on Code Pink disruption of Shimon Peres's speech

Report on Huffington Post headed 'Who Will Stop AIPAC Before It Is Too Late?' from the co-founder of Code Pink, Medea Benjamin, which was able to disrupt the recent meeting of AIPAC, the leading pro-Israel lobby group in the US. It is people like Medea who are keeping alive the Jewish tradition of siding with the oppressed. No doubt the Zionists would describe her as a 'self-hater'. But in truth the hate was to be found on display in all its hysteria at the AIPAC policy conference, as the report shows.
I found it fascinating that AIPAC's executive director Howard Kohr opened the conference admitting that there was now a huge, international campaign against the policies of Israel. He painted a picture of 30,000 people marching in Spain, Italian trade unionists calling for a boycott of Israeli products, the UN Human Rights Council passing 26 resolutions condemning Israel, an Israeli Apartheid Week that is building a global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.

This global movement, he warned, emanates from the Middle East, echoes in the halls of the United Nations and the capitals of Europe, is voiced in meetings of international peace organizations, and is spreading throughout the United States -- from the media to town hall meetings, from campuses to city squares.

"No longer is this campaign confined to the ravings of the political far left or far right," Kohr lamented, "but increasingly it is entering the American mainstream."

But Kohr failed to explain why there has been such an explosion in this movement, even among the American Jewish community. He didn't tell the attendees that the world was shocked and outraged by Israel's devastating 22-day attack on Gaza that left over 1,300 people dead -- mostly women and children. He didn't mention the killing of civilians fleeing their homes, the use of white phosphorous, the bombing of homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, UN buildings, factories. He didn't talk about the continuing, cruel blockade of the Gaza Strip that is keeping desperately needed humanitarian aid from reaching 1.5 million people and making rebuilding impossible...

...I couldn't ask my questions at AIPAC. My mouth was muzzled by the sweaty hands of hate-filled staffers demanding that I "shut the f--- up." But despite AIPAC's massive funds and influence, I feel certain that more and more members of the Jewish community will step forward and refuse to be silent. I just pray it is not too late. more

Medea Benjamin (medea@globalexchange.org) is the co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK (www.codepinkalert.org ) and the human rights group Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org). For information on upcoming delegations to Gaza, see http://www.womensaynotowar.org/article.php?id=4817.

Code Pink outside the AIPAC conference

Israel bars Norwegian parliamentarians entry to Gaza in attempt to hide war crimes

Israel is stopping two Norwegian delegations from entering Gaza. The Israelis have refused to provide an explanation but it is probably related to the fact that the Norwegian chief prosecutor is considering opening war crimes investigations on Israel's leaders during the Gaza war.
Israel's ambassador to Norway was Friday summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs, where he received a protest from Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere against Israel's refusing to allow two Norwegian delegations entry to the Gaza Strip.

A delegation of parlamentarians from the Socialist Left Party was to have left for Gaza via Israel on Sunday, but have been denied a visa. No reason was given, but the head of the delegation, Oystein Djupedal, says he believes Israel is not willing to allow outsiders to see the major destructions in Gaza.

The delegation was to have visited Norwegian aid workers and aid projects on the Gaza Strip, partly financed by money granted by the Norwegian Parliament (Storting).

A delegation from the Norwegian city of Tromsoe, twin town to Gaza City, was also denied visa to Gaza. more

Disabled Palestinians stage sit-in at Rafah crossing


RAFAH, (PIC)-- The government committee against siege has called for the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and to allow entry of electric wheelchairs and other medical equipment to aid those who became disabled in the latest Israeli war on Gaza Strip.

Tens of disabled Palestinians young and old took part in the sit-in on Wednesday and hoisted Palestinian flags and placards demanding the opening of the crossing and denouncing the Arab and international silence toward the siege.

Hamdy Shaat, the chairman of the committee, said that the sit-in was a protest against the "oppressive siege" and to "voice our pain in face of the cruelest oppression in history of mankind".

It is no longer a secret that the criminal siege was political in nature and aimed at achieving political goals through starving an entire people, breaking its steadfastness and depriving it of its right to self-determination, he elaborated.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Egypt allowed the entry of two members of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, into Egypt for treatment through the Rafah crossing.

It quoted sources at the crossing as saying that the terminal was exceptionally opened for the two brothers Sharif and Ashraf Mohamemd Farwana.

Both were injured in the Israeli war on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 but no word was out on the nature of their injuries.

In another development, the armed wing announced the death of one of its cadres while on a "special Jihad mission", the nature of which was not disclosed.

It said in a statement on Thursday that Talat Afifi, 32, from Beit Hanun in northern Gaza had died Wednesday night.

Christian leader calls for mobilization to save Jerusalem from ethnic cleansing


AMMAN, (PIC)-- The prominent Palestinian Christian figure archimandrite Atallah Hanna has called on the Arab countries to immediately mobilize to save the occupied city of Jerusalem from the persistent Israeli activities to judaize it, stressing that there will be no peace in the region until Jerusalem is returned to the Palestinians.

The archimandrite's call was made during a speech to the anti-racism and anti-Zionism society in Jordan Wednesday where he also underlined that the Palestinian Christians would hand the Pope a clear message during his visit to occupied Palestine that Palestinian people were and would remain attached to Jerusalem and that they are against any Israeli settlement measures in it.

He also expressed hope that the Pope would be able to see for himself the suffering of the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation, underlining that returning the occupied city to the Arabs would ensure freedom of religion in the holy city.

"There will be no [Palestinian] state without Jerusalem, and Jerusalem wouldn’t be free without the return of the Palestinian refugees to their home land, and this right we should adopt and defend", Hanna pointed out.

He added that although Palestine witnessed many Nakbas (catastrophes), he added that the human tragedy in Gaza was beyond all catastrophes, underscoring that Zionism was racism and is "because racism was embodied in the Zionist ideology".

Moreover, Hanna criticized the position of the Arab countries, describing it as "unhealthy", stressing that the big challenges before the Arab Ummah calls on it to unite in order to confront the dangers that engulf it.

Finally, Hanna called on the people not to be disappointed or surrender, asserting that the Palestinian issue is a just issue and it would prevail. He also called on them not to be deceived by Israeli statements calling for peace, underscoring that the Israelis want the Arabs to surrender, and that they weren’t interested in making peace with the Palestinians at all.