From Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Australian Friends of Palestine

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Dear Friends of Palestine in Australia

The people of the world have been shocked and horrified at the recent brutal and disproportionate assault on the people of Gaza. Over 2000 people have died, hundreds of them children. The infrastructure of Gaza, already greatly damaged in previous similar attacks, is now completely degraded, with basics such as water and electricity denied to the vast majority of the population. Thousands are without shelter and medicines and 80% of the population are dependent on UN assistance.

The world waits while representatives of Israel and the Palestinians negotiate a ceasefire and we hope that there will be peace. But peace will not come until the illegal occupation of the Palestinians ends. It will not come to Gaza until Israel and Egypt lift the 8 year siege that has crippled the Gazan economy and squeezed the population, creating enormous hardships for the people there.

Decades of reliance on diplomacy to deliver a just outcome in Palestine have come to nothing. But a new hope lies in the ordinary citizens of the world. This is the worldwide non-violent movement known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or “BDS”. This movement carries the hope of millions of ordinary people who are turning the tide through economic pressure to force Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinians and participate in a just resolution to the conflict between these two peoples who deserve peace.

Many of you in Australia are part of the BDS movement. You are seen every week in different cities and towns talking to other Australians about BDS and informing them about the injustices suffered by the Palestinians. Many others of you participate individually by choosing not to buy Israeli products or the products of companies that support Israel in its illegal occupation of Palestine. Others of you refuse to buy tickets to the Israeli Film Festival, or boycott Israeli academics who come from Israeli Universities that support Israel’s policies of occupation.

Protest outside the Israeli Film Festival, Brisbane
Protest outside the Israeli Film Festival, at the Palace Centro Cinema Brisbane, August 22, 2014. Riot police stood 1 metre in front of demonstrators.

This is the power of BDS.

We in South Africa, who know about oppression and occupation and who know about the power of BDS, salute the Australian BDS movement and we join with you in calling for Israel to end the Occupation; to end the siege of Gaza. We join with you in calling on the Australian Government to demand that the occupation of the West Bank ends; for Israel to stop the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank; for the siege of Gaza to be permanently lifted.

We in South Africa join with you and we shout “Free Free Palestine!”

God bless you.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (Cape Town – South Africa)”

Sonia Montez – Climbing Fences : The Occupation Song

New York-based singer, songwriter and guitarist, Sonia Montez, expressed her support last year for boycott, divestment and sanctions of apartheid Israel.

Her new song “Climbing Fences : The Occupation Song” is written in solidarity with the Palestinian people and all folks living under occupation, including in Ferguson, Missouri.

Sonia says:

“As a musician/activist, the worlds in which I live are often separated from each other. We are trained in entertainment to not mix in politics because it may alienate a potential audience.

I abhor this idea and always have. From pop culture icons like Roger Waters to John and Yoko, to the great jazz artists of the 40’s and 50’s, politics has been crucial to the evolution of art and culture. It is in this spirit that I release this free demo, rough, faltered, honest, and filled with all of the emotional rage I and many others have felt over the brutalization of our human brothers and sisters.

Download it, share it, cover it, use it, remix it, tweet it, boast it from every speaker in every city. Make these words of solidarity count, we will not close our eyes, we will not be silent, we will witness and the world will know. Let the message ring loud, FROM #FERGUSON TO #PALESTINE: #OCCUPATION IS A CRIME!”

Lyrics:

Sonia MontezClimbing Fences : The Occupation Song

Dead night
Fire in the sky
Stars are running shy
Ground bleeds in streams for you

Early little love child
Bore the burden of the hate squad
Someone watched as innocence left your eye
Climbing fences that tear you apart

How golden is our silence now?

When they come in the middle of dead night
When there’s nothing but fire in the darkened sky
Stars run shy from the bullet fight
How the ground bleeds in streams of pain for you

“Listen pretty sister
I got boys with toys to paint you red
I got silence now”

When they come in the middle of dead night
When there’s nothing but fire in the darkened sky
Stars run shy from the bullet fight
How the ground bleeds in streams of pain for you

You bleed as the world closes blinds
You scream as the pressure holds you tight
In this cage, you can’t breathe
When all you need to be is free

When they come in the middle of dead night
When there’s nothing but fire in the darkened sky
Stars run shy from the bullet fight
How the ground bleeds in streams of pain for you

Video: British Jews Against Genocide Protest

Further to the previous written report of the protest held outside the offices of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the video above captures the testimonies of people from British Jews Against Genocide who participated.

Here’s selections from some of the powerful speeches at the event:

Selma James: I have to remind people of the stories that Jews told when they came to England to ask for English help because they were being taken to the death camps. And the Foreign Office said that the Jews were hysterical, that it wasn’t really true, that it wasn’t really happening, and when they finally convinced Churchill to bomb the tracks to Auschwitz, the Foreign Office refused to do it and I am reminded of that because today what’s happening to Palestinians is being dismissed by the media, is being demeaned by the media. It’s the same history repeating itself because the people who are being slaughtered are not being listened to, are not being taken seriously.

Yael Kahn: Intentionally Israel sees the women and the mothers and children as their main targets. Israel’s fight is not against Hamas, Israel is fighting against the people of Gaza.

Barnaby Raine: We’re here to present the other tradition in Jewish history, the tradition of solidarity of standing with the oppressed. Not just standing with Jews but standing with whoever they are when they are oppressed. So that’s why we stand with the Palestinian people and we as Jews and human beings support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the state of Israel.

 

Related Links

Over 100 Jewish Survivors and Descendents of Survivors of Nazi Genocide Condemn the Massacre of Palestinians

British Jews Against Genocide Protest Outside the Offices of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is condoning genocide in Gaza. They don’t represent us.

British Jews Against Genocide Protest
British Jews Against Genocide Protest (Copyright)

Today, 4 August 2014, outside of the offices of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, on the 27th day of Israel’s military attack on the Gazan people, Jews in Britain Against Genocide staged a die-in to commemorate the hundreds of Palestinian children deliberately targeted and killed by Israel. We displayed toys, clothes and replicas of mutilated children and babies smeared red to symbolise the blood of Palestinian children murdered by Israeli forces.

We are Jews in Britain outraged at the Board of Deputies’ uncritical support for Israel as it commits genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The Board of Deputies claims to speak in our name when it lobbies in defence of Israeli violence. It organises with the Zionist Federation rallies in support of Israel’s slaughter. It demands that John Prescott be punished for comparing Gaza to a concentration camp (Daily Mirror, 26 July 2014). It attempts to intimidate local councils for flying the Palestinian flag as an expression of solidarity with Gaza, and has written to the prime minister thanking him for his support for Israel’s massacre in Gaza. It cynically uses the Nazi genocide of Jews to silence critics of the Israeli genocide of Palestinians.

We Jews know, from our history, about persecution, concentration camps, starvation and murder. Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp by imposing a seven-year military siege, by restricting access to food, water, fuel and medical supplies, by imprisoning 1.8 million people and squeezing them even further by imposing no-go areas within the Gaza Strip.

In the current assault on Gaza, entire families are killed and neighbourhoods obliterated. UNICEF has condemned Israel for deliberately targeting women and children. Nearly 400 children have been murdered in less than four weeks, and more than 2000 have been injured and maimed. Gaza’s dead children are dead simply because they are Palestinians – this is genocide.

At least a quarter of a million Gazans are homeless because of Israeli bombing. There is nowhere safe to escape to — Israel has bombed UN-protected schools, hospitals and other UN buildings, killing civilians seeking refuge. Ten thousand people have been killed or injured. The bombardment of Gaza from the sea, land and air increasingly turns Gaza from a concentration camp into a death camp.

We support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and in particular we demand that the British government end its complicity in genocide by first of all ending its arms trade with Israel.

The Board of Deputies claims it wants Israel to be treated fairly and impartially within British society, but in fact it demands exceptionalism. It wants Israel to be exempted from any sanctions in spite of its apartheid and now its genocidal campaign against Gaza.

We accuse the Board of Deputies of condoning the atrocities the State of Israel commits in Gaza by attempting to silence Israel’s critics. This massive blood stain will not go away.

We accuse the Board of Deputies of joining with the anti-Semites in equating Zionism with Judaism and telling the world that all British Jews support Israel. That is a lie.

Jews in Britain Against Genocide

________________________________________

NOTES

Genocide is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as any act committed with the intention of destroying in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. http://www.un.org/pubs/cyberschoolbus/treaties/genocide.asp

Concentration camp is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a place in which large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labour or to await mass execution’

Children As Grass

golden sheaves
spread in school yard
salt coast grown,
resistant stems
of native centuries
warned from homes
to wretched refuge
without respite
no shafts to freedom
where none are safe

threat of grass
and budding seed
shields real estate
coveted by
lawnmower men
with tunnel vision
of western pretexts,
colonial deterrents
to permanence,
not never again,
but again and again

unseen drone buzz
no fertilising bee
searing scythe
explodes from thirsty sky
row on row ripped
before flower blown
monstrous harvest
in Gaza charnel house
beneath earth strewn
with blood and bone
olive tree kernels awaken

August 2014

Names of Palestinians Killed in the War on Gaza since 8 July

AUGUST 1 UPDATE: Child death toll in Gaza approaches 200 and rising

Related Links

The IDF prepares to attempt to cover its tracks, but thousands of photos of disproportionate death and destruction don’t lie. Israel has been engaged in a deliberate, planned act of genocide, with accompanying war crimes. Its attack on the Occupied people of Gaza breaches the Geneva Conventions in the first place. Israel to the Hague!

Another vile story calls for genocide of Gazans in the Israeli media, this time in JPost and phrased as ‘humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population’

The author of this scurrilous piece of incitement, Dr. Martin Sherman of the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies, has the gall to quote Einstein in support of his solution for the Palestinian question “No, periodically mowing the lawn is not a policy that can endure for long – it simply will not cut it. The grass needs to be uprooted – once and for all.”

How do these drooling fascists live with themselves?

More zionist genocidalists – Prof. Efraim Inbar is director and Dr.Eitan Shamir a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Against an implacable, well-entrenched, non-state enemy like the Hamas, Israel simply needs to “mow the grass” once in a while to degrade the enemy’s capabilities.

Another genocidal Israeli lawnmower man: David M. Weinberg is Director of Public Affairs at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

Racism is the Foundation of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge Joel Beinin:

The viciousness of Mordechai Kedar, lecturer in Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University, was even more creative than Shaked and Elitzur’s merely genocidal proposal. “The only thing that can deter terrorists like those who kidnapped the children and killed them,” he said, “is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped.” As a university-based “expert,” Kedar’s heinous suggestion is based on his “understanding” of Arab culture. “It sounds very bad, but that’s the Middle East,” he explained, hastening to add, “I’m not talking about what we should or shouldn’t do. I’m talking about the facts.”

Racism has become a legitimate, indeed an integral, component of Israeli public culture, making assertions like these seem “normal.”

Israeli security officials sardonically call these operations “mowing the lawn” because well-informed observers know that Hamas cannot be uprooted and is capable of rebuilding its military capacity. There is no long-term strategy, except, as Gideon Levy put it, to kill Palestinians. Major General (res.) Oren Shachor elaborated, “If we kill their families, that will frighten them.” And what might deter Israel?

Times of Israel publishes a zionist’s defence of genocide – the article was withdrawn but is archived.

Behind the Lying Eyes of Mark Regev

Behind the lying eyes of Mark Regev from One Democratic State Group on Vimeo.

Discrimination against Arab families:

‘In an attempt to lure the small ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism into his new government, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has agreed to pay extra child allowance to religious Jewish families with many children in a way that guarantees the extra payments do not also go to large Arab families.

This is the latest in a long line of manoeuvres by successive Israeli governments to ensure that Jewish and Arab citizens receive differential child allowances so that higher birth rates among Jewish families can be encouraged without also encouraging increased fertility among Arab families.

Such schemes are widely seen as being part of government initiatives to counter the perceived “demographic threat” posed by high Arab birth rates and maintaining Israel’s Jewish majority. Child allowance was only equalised for Jews and Arabs in the mid-1990s.’

Olmert and the ‘demographic threat’:

‘The time is fast approaching when Arabs will constitute a majority in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Then, Olmert said, Palestinians will abandon their calls for an independent state and instead will demand a one-man-one-vote system in a binational state that they will control.

“The day we come to that, we will lose everything” Olmert said. “Even when they carry out terror, it’s hard for us to convince the world of the justice of our cause.”

“How much the more so,” he continued, “when all they ask for is one man, one vote? I shudder to think that the same liberal Jews who led the struggle against apartheid in South Africa will be at the forefront of the struggle against us.”’

More Olmert:

‘Mr Olmert said it was not the first time he had articulated his fears about the demographic threat to Israel as a Jewish state from a faster growing Palestinian population.

He made similar comments in 2003 when justifying the failed strategy of unilateral withdrawals from Israeli-occupied land which holds large Palestinian populations.

“If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished,”

Rape of Palestinian women:

‘If the Or Yehuda banner only hinted at rape and the WhatsApp image played coyly with it, a leading Israeli academic blatantly floated the idea of using rape against the Palestinians at the very start of the current round of hostilities.

On July 1, just after the bodies of three Israeli teens who had gone missing in the West Bank were found, Bar Ilan University lecturer Dr. Mordechai Kedar spoke on Israeli radio about raping Palestinian women in order to deter “terrorism,” saying that only the knowledge that Israel could dispatch agents to rape a Palestinian militant’s mother or sister, as retribution for his crimes, could deter him from carrying out those actions.’

Here’s Netayahoo in 2003 bemoaning the ‘demographic threat’ of Palestinian wombs in Israel:

Israel’s growing demographic problem is not because of Palestinians, but of Israeli Arabs, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference on security, Netanyahu said Israel had already freed itself from control of almost all Palestinian Arabs. He said he could not foresee a future in which “any sane Israeli” could try to make Palestinians either Israeli citizens or “enslaved subjects.” The Palestinians would under all circumstances rule themselves and administer their own affairs, he said.

“If there is a demographic problem, and there is, it is with the Israeli Arabs who will remain Israeli citizens,” he said. The Declaration of Independence said Israel should be a Jewish and democratic state, but to ensure the Jewish character was not engulfed by demography, it was necessary to ensure a Jewish majority, he said.

Joseph Massad – “Are Palestinian Children Less Worthy”

Who could forget these IDF T-shirts?

Deliberately killing children:

“Monica Awad, the spokeswoman of the UNICEF, condemned Israel’s targeting of women and children in its ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip.”

In an interview with Al-Jazeera on 31 July, Awad said “Israeli forces had deliberately killed 264 children in Gaza, which is equal to 11 children per day, and injured more than 2,000.”

“Where’s the international community’s reactions to the slaughtering of children in Gaza? Where are the international human rights covenants?”

IDF Sniper Admits On Instagram To Murdering 13 Gaza Children