Ali Abunimah on the 9th International Al-Awda Convention

The Ninth International Al-Awda Convention is to be held at:

The Embassy Suite Hotel, Anaheim South
11767 Harbor Boulevard
Garden Grove, California 92840
April 29, 30, 2011

We call on all Palestinians regardless of organizational affiliation to join Al-Awda’s members and supporters at this year’s convention. We will address and collectively take steps toward changing our destiny as a people while we reaffirm our determination to return to our homes and lands. We can no longer stay silent while an un-elected, illegitimate leadership beholden to its U.S. and occupation masters is cravenly giving up on our rights.

To address these critical issues that our cause is facing, planning discussions that will merge brain storming ideas, strategy, tactics with action items will include:

* The Palestine Papers and the Arab people’s uprising; Impact on the Palestinian struggle and future organizing. Round-table and panel discussion with key speakers
* Boycotts & Divestment
* Refugee Support
* Cultural Resistance Through Various Forms of Art
* Palestinian Children’s Rights Campaign

Several young activists from the refugee camps will be taking part this year in hands-on workshops.

Among the Speakers at the Ninth Al-Awda convention are:

* Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, General Coordinator Palestinian Right of Return Congress, Founding President of the Palestine Land Society
* Abbas Al-Nouri, Syrian Arab actor of “bab el-h7ara” fame, political activist
*Diana Buttu, Palestinian lawyer, former legal advisor to Palestinian negotiating team
* Lubna Masarwa, Palestinian activist, survivor of Mavi Marmara massacre
* Laila Al-Arian, Palestinian Author, writer and producer with Al-Jazeera English, one of the lead producers of the Palestine Papers
* Dr. Jamal Nassar, Specialist in Middle East politics and Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at CSUSB
* Rim Banna, Palestinian singer & activist
* Najat El-Khairy, Palestinian porcelain painting artist
* Remi Kanazi, Palestinian spoken word artist, activist
* Youth from Refugee Camps

Palestine / Israel Links

Former Dutch PM tells Haaretz: European leaders can’t trust Netanyahu
ei: How Palestine’s uprising inspired Egypt’s
Israel Lobbyist Abraham Feinberg’s FBI File Released – Israeli mole raised money for Dems and for the secret Israeli nuclear weapons campaign.
Israeli Jets Level University Buildings in Gaza – What excuse does apartheid belligerent Israel have this time for destroying the University in Gaza? Knowledge is dangerous and Israel must defend against it?
Troops Arrest Eight Civilians and Distribute Demolition Orders to Villagers in the West Bank
Israel may ask U.S. for $20 billion more in security aid, Barak says
Netanyahu: If enemy rockets get to Jordan Valley, all of Israel will be a target
Knesset to outlaw consumer protests against the occupation
Details from Peace Now on massive new land grab by Israel in the West Bank – Israeli evil never fails to disappoint
Traditional cuisine ingredients are disallowed to indigenous Palestinians by the introduced human Occupiers.
Israeli PM: Military must remain in West Bank
The message warns foreigners that “meddling” by the US and EU is “putting your stay at risk”
Get this: On Thursday’s “day of rage”, Israel settlers distributed threatening flyers to several diplomats in the West Bank. #
MPs seek Green help to save upper house

Two of Labor’s leading left-wing MPs – the Deputy Premier, Carmel Tebbutt (Marrickville) and the Education Minister, Verity Firth (Balmain) – have written to their Greens opponents, Fiona Byrne and Jamie Parker, proposing a preference swap.

The Labor candidate for Sydney, Sacha Blumen, has also written to his Greens rival, De Brierley Newton.

”While I note that media reports have indicated that the Greens will not be preferencing Labor in the upper house statewide, I believe we can show leadership in the community of Marrickville,” Ms Tebbutt wrote to Ms Byrne. ”I suggest that both our parties should indicate to voters that we will recommend an exchange of preferences locally and in the upper house in the electorate of Marrickville.”

The three inner-city seats accounted for more than 10 per cent of the Greens’ upper house vote at the 2007 election. Labor believes if it can persuade the Greens to swap preferences in these seats it could alter the balance of power in the upper house.

However, the Greens campaign spokesman, Chris Holley, said: ”The Greens are encouraging voters to make up their own minds about whether to give a preference or not. The best way to avoid a conservative dominated upper house is to vote for the Greens.

Danby calls on O’Farrell to block Greens in Marrickville
ALP launches dirty tricks campaign

“There is absolutely no plan or intention to boycott China”, she [Byrne] said that day.

It was clearly a set-up by the ALP machine to try and smear the Green mayor.

The real story here is that the Labor party has been under pressure from supporters of Israel to reverse the council’s decision on the BDS.

Yet, all five Green councillors, all four Labor councillors and one independent councilor supported the motion.

Carmel Tebbutt, deputy Premier and Labor MP for Marrickville, made a point of stating at the candidates’ meeting that she did not agree with the council’s support for BDS.

She also tried to stop the chairperson — Eva Cox — from asking an anti-BDS speaker to finish up and ask a question. Tebbutt defended the person arguing that her “question” (it was a speech) had been “placed on notice”.

It is understood that some of the Labor councillors and rank-and-file members are furious with the Labor machine for its attacks over BDS.

As the countdown to March 26 begins, we can expect a lot more dirty tricks from Labor as the party faces an electoral wipeout, including possibly in a seat it has held since 1910.

Give Israel the South African treatment

As a Palestinian and a Jew, we salute Marrickville council for understanding that words about “two-state solution” and “peace process” are soothing to elite media and political ears, but desperate facts on the ground in Palestine require direct action in a consultative and non-violent way.

When governments fail to arrest the illegal march of colonisation on Palestinian land, it is not enough to wait for futile peace negotiations that only lead to a more deeply entrenched occupation.

Marrickville council is at least trying to advance the debate about occupation while our leaders visit Israel and dine with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Burqas under your bed
Wacky petition: Reprimand Terrorist-Sympathisers at Marrickville Council, Australia Q Society of Australia Inc

Ten local councillors from the suburb of Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia, in their official role as elected representatives of approximately 75,000 residents, have put forward an official resolution in December 2010 to:

“…boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, institutional, academic, government or institutional cultural exchanges…”.

By this action, the ten councillors have formally aligned their municipality with terrorist organisations seeking to overthrow the State of Israel, the one free and democratic nation in the Middle East, fellow UN member, and notably the only multi-ethnic state in the region where freedom of expression, equality, non-discrimination, free union movements, freedom of press and the rule of law are established and guaranteed. In short, they have espoused totalitarian values over Australian democratic values. They are playing into the hands of the Islamist Global BDS Movement and supporting the Hamas and Hizbollah terror groups and other international racist and anti-Semitic organisations..

This irrational act is not only alarmingly naïve, but by supporting the worldview of totalitarian Islam, represents an appalling abuse of our democratic process.

A council’s brief is to act in the interests of their residents, by organizing such things as rubbish collection, social services, catching stray dogs and regulating fence heights. They are not elected to engage in partisan foreign politics or involve themselves in the domestic affairs of other states. In particular, they must never be seen to side with totalitarian, anti-democratic religious fanatics who use terrorism and murder in seeking to destroy the democratic nation of Israel, with which Australia has strong and friendly relations.
We ask the Hon Minister for Local Government in the State of New South Wales (Australia) to reprimand the council of Marrickville for engaging in conduct unbecoming of a local municipality in Australia.

We consider that the conduct of this council is divisive, irrational and ill-informed, and that it deals with matters which do not and should not be included in the jurisdiction of a local municipality.

Muslim prayer group targeted
Fear, intolerance and a Muslim prayer group

Media Statement : Slander in Reporting on the Alma Road Community House Petition

The aim of Q Society of Australia is to tell the truth about Islam and Sharia law as we see it: That Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology, of which Sharia law is an integral part, and that the further spread of Islam and Sharia law threaten our free, egalitarian and democratic society. Many national and international political leaders have voiced exactly the same concern. …

In consequence, our objection to the expanding use of this small Community House in Melbourne’s Jewish heartland as instant part-time mosque for up to 100 faithful, is not racist by any measure.
The nationality, race or ethnicity of the people involved is immaterial and was never raised by us. Q Society is very much in favour of a multi-ethnic Australia. We are not petitioning against Muslims praying, neither do we have any concern with members of Australia’s Islamic community peacefully gathering to worship in private, or in a designated place of worship. Peaceful assembly for worship
is the right of all Australians and there are now many mosques in Melbourne for this purpose. …

sermons are often used to incite violence against non-believers. So it is hardly alarmist to acknowledge local residents’ concern about this. It is evident that Friday prayers in the heart of Jewish Melbourne will inevitably create unease in a community already forced to employ security guards outside its schools and synagogues. It is a fact that foundational Islam contains many words fostering hatred of Jews and Christians, with the result that anti-Semitism and violence against Christian minorities is rife in the Islamic world.

While it is true the prayer group has received support from some Jewish groups, these are not representative of the whole of the Jewish community, but mostly progressive elements, who also support Palestinian causes either out of self-interest or a misplaced concern for “the Other”. Deborah Stone of the ‘Anti-Defamation Committee’ (ADC), proclaims “We at the ADC understand that by defending everyone’s freedom we ensure a freer society for ourselves.” But she fails to acknowledge that defending the freedom of intolerant Islam and Sharia ultimately threatens to destroy both her and our freedoms.

Civil rights organisation slams anti-Islam group

Egypt Links

Let’s buy democracy
Still Fighting in Cairo
Egypt activists call for Million Woman March
Feminism, Fear of Women, and Britain’s Student Protests

Libya Links

U.S. Prepares to Make Its Lunge at Libya’s Oil Fields
Video: Gaddafi insists al Qaeda is to blame for chaos and killings : is Israel orchestrating Gaddafi’s PR campaign?
Gaddafi sends negotiators to Benghazi

‘Asharq Al-Awsat- Informed Libyan sources in the city of Benghazi, where the headquarters of the Interim National Council are located, which has recently put forth its candidates to administer the country in the coming period, have revealed that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi yesterday sent a negotiator on his behalf to visit the Council. [Via the negotiator], the Libyan leader declared his readiness to abandon power and leave Libya, in return for ensuring the safety of himself and his family.’

International Women’s Day 2011

Outside our comfort zone, the raped and repressed face a long road to change
Abortion law reform is still unfinished business :

The law’s lack of clarity, its paternalism, the profound disconnect between it and community standards about privacy, gender equity and the entitlement of patients to ethical and professional medical care unequivocally demonstrates that it is indeed broke.

The charging of Cairns couple Tegan Leach, 19, and Sergie Brennan, 21, in 2009 with abortion-related crimes was a game changer. Here, at last, was incontrovertible proof that not only did the law of abortion denigrate, patronise and discriminate against Australian women, it also put them and their partners at very real risk of being charged, tried, convicted and sent to jail for undertaking what the World Health Organisation says is “one of the safest medical procedures.”

The Cairns case also exposed how confused Australians of reproductive age such as Leach and Brennan are about the laws of abortion that reign in their state or territory. How many Australians, perhaps even most, mistake the relative availability of safe abortion services as evidence that abortion is no longer a crime?

Wikileaks Links

Cyber fighters: The force with no name
Bradley Manning Now “Catatonic”; Obama ENOUGH!
‘There will be consequences’ for Manning’s mistreatment, Kucinich warns Sec. Gates

Indigenous Links

Traditional Education

Other Links

Sri Lanka: US Senate Calls for Justice
Protesters say Maliki is using special security forces to shut down demonstrations in Iraq

“Maliki is starting to act like Saddam Hussein, to use the same fear, to plant it inside Iraqis who criticize him,” said Salam Mohammed al-Segar, a human rights activist who was among those beaten during a sit-in. “The U.S. must feel embarrassed right now – it is they who promised a modern state, a democratic state. But in reality?”

Failing in Afghanistan successfully :

Despite hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of troops, the US is unable to conclude its longest war. All of which explains the rather blunt comments made in a speech at the end of February, by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates when he said “… any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.”

Securing the Evolution – pidder