Jeff Halper to Speak on Israeli-Palestinian Relations June 26

by Julia Berger, Middle East Crisis Committee

The Middle East Crisis Committee is hosting a talk by Jeff Halper, the co-founder and director of  The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), on Thursday, June 26, at 7 p.m. at the Bethesda Lutheran Church, 450 Whitney Ave., New Haven (plenty of free parking available). Light refreshments will be served after the program.

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Download a poster for the event here.

The ICAHD was established in 1997 and is a non-violent, direct action peace and human rights organization dedicated to ending the Israeli Occupation and achieving a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Dr. Halper is an anthropologist, author, lecturer and political activist who has lived in Israel since 1973.

Born in the US, Jeff Halper emigrated to Israel in 1973. For more than a decade, he worked for the municipality of Jerusalem as a community worker in the city’s poor Mizrahi Jewish neighborhoods.

In 1997, he co-founded ICAHD, an organization which protests Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes (25,000 in the Occupied Territories since 1967).

Jeff has taught at universities both in Israel and abroad. He is the author of Between Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv in Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century (1991) and Obstacles to Peace, a resource manual of articles and maps on the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict, published by ICAHD. His latest book, An Israeli in Palestine, is published by Pluto Press in London.

In 2006, Jeff was nominated by the American Friends Service Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Palestinian intellectual and activist Ghassan Andoni.

In August, 2008, Jeff was the only Israeli to join the initial sailing of the Free Gaza Movement boats into Gaza to break the Israeli and international siege.

In connection to housing demolitions, many will recall the 2003 death of Rachel Corrie, a young American in the International Solidarity Movement, who was killed in Gaza while trying to prevent Palestinian houses from being demolished. She was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer (made by Caterpillar). Israeli courts exonerated the driver although Rachel Corrie’s parents are appealing the verdict.

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PEP Hosts the Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan to Cuba, July 10

by Augusta Girard, Program Director, Promoting Enduring Peace

Promoting Enduring Peace will host July 10 the 25thPeace Friendship Caravan arriving in New Haven on route to Cuba via Mexico. We will be asking for material aid and/or donations in the next month. We have not yet received an aid information packet but as soon as we do we will get the word out so we can begin to collect donations for Cuban youth. We plan to have a dinner to welcome the caravan as well as a film or speaker.

This year, through an exciting educational and cultural program, Pastors for Peace will celebrate and honor the achievements of Cuba’s youth and the challenges they face in today’s revolutionary Cuba. The caravan will learn about daily life in Cuba as they visit health centers, schools, organic gardens, neighborhood projects and more. Traveling in brightly colored vehicles, they will travel along ten different routes, stopping in more than 100 US and Canadian cities collecting humanitarian aid, caravan participants and holding events aimed at educating communities about Cuban reality. While in Cuba they will meet and learn from Cubans at every level about the problems caused by the blockade and the ways they have creatively responded to those challenges.

Pastors for Peace reject the unconstitutional and immoral efforts to require a license for acts of common humanity. Their faith and international law do not permit them to behave in an immoral, unjust and inhumane way. The Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment of the Constitution were written by men and women who refused to submit their conscience to licensing. They must remain true to the spirit, in spite of the law. By so doing, they will challenge the unjust law and eventually change it. On behalf of Pastors for Peace we hope we can count on you to join us!

As more details become available, they will be on the PEPeace.org website.

CIA Rejects the Keystone XL Pipeline

Stanley Heller, The Struggle TV News

cowboy-indian-keystoneCIA? The Cowboy and Indian Alliance, of course. For a week in April they occupied a portion of the National Mall in DC with tipis and tents and horses. They allied to demonstrate against the Keystone XL (Climate Killing) Pipeline. By Saturday, April 26, they and their supporters amounted to several thousand people. During the week they hand painted a tipi which they wanted to present to President Barack Obama. He was “away” so several thousand marched down the street and took it to the Smithsonian’s American Indian Museum.

Not only will the pipeline make it profitable for the Canadian tar stands to be mined and the most carbon rich fuel on the planet to be burned, but the pipeline will ruin the land of the First Nations (Indians) where the fuel is mined and risk contamination of the rich farm land in the U.S.

The action was thought to be the last demonstration before the President made his decision on whether to allow the pipeline into the U.S., but Obama again decided to postpone the decision, probably until after the fall election

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2014 Legislative Session: Big Wins for the Environment!

by Judi Friedman, People’s Action for Clean Energy

Major environmental initiatives were brought to the Connecticut State Legislature this year. The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) worked with advocates, legislators, and the Governor’s office on these important bills, and the results are astonishing.

Despite many obstacles this session, especially the shortfall in state revenues, the Legislature addressed some long-standing needs, including statewide water planning and protection of state-owned lands.

Legislators also responded to new concepts and situations such as passing the strongest law in the nation to prevent toxic fracking waste from coming into Connecticut.

On the tally of wins, there were also two important air pollution initiatives, one to regulate pollution from outdoor woodburning furnaces, and another to address the problem of leaking methane gas from our energy infrastructure-arguably the worst greenhouse gas emission problem in our state. Progress on sustainable energy in Connecticut also came earlier in the session with the lifting of a ban on developing wind power regulations.

The biggest disappointment was, once again, the impasse on measures to protect children and the environment from toxic chemicals. No progress was made on extending restrictions on pesticides on school grounds. Legislation to ban GMO grass seed, which necessitates heavy pesticide use, failed. These will be top environmental priorities for CTLCV in the next legislative session.

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GNH Peace Council Invites Activists for Idea Session June 4 on Nuclear Weapons and Drones

by Mary Compton, Greater New Haven Peace Council

This year is the 69th Anniversary of the atomic bombings on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Greater New Haven Peace Council invites local activists to an idea session on Wednesday, June 4 at 2 p.m., to think of ideas and plans for event(s) to increase public awareness of nuclear weapons and their connection to drones. Our task is to come up with ideas and collaborate on a plan for event(s). We will meet at the Mitchell Branch Library, 37 Harrison Street, New Haven.

The atomic bomb was a turning point in war strategies aimed at the annihilation of cities; the use of drones against civilians presents another turning point in the use of weapons against civilians.

Let’s see what ideas and innovations we can come up with together. Contact Mary at (203) 230-1312.

Every year a silent vigil is held by the local peace community for Hiroshima and Nagasaki civilians. The silent vigil for Hiroshima begins at 8:15 a.m. on Wed., August 6, and for Nagasaki begins at 11 a.m. on Sat., August 9.

Job Opening at New Haven Democracy Fund

Pat Kane, Chair, Democracy Fund

The New Haven Democracy Fund is looking for a part-time Administrator to oversee distribution of funds to candidates, do outreach to community groups to educate them as to the purpose of the DF, as well as to prepare press releases and any directives the Board may request.

We need someone with good language and people skills. The work is more intense in election years (we only fund the Mayoral race at this time) and less in alternate years. The maximum salary is $35,000.00 based on an hourly rate set by contract.

We are also recruiting new Board members because of the turnover in our Board periodically. A potential Board member should review the information on our website

http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Government/DemocracyFund.asp and be supportive of the mission of the DF. We have political diversity on the Board, but our activities are strictly non-partisan.

Applicants for either position may contact me directly. Thank you. Patricia Kane, Chair (203) 559-1974,

law_office_kane@yahoo.com

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People Against Injustice screens ‘The House I Live In’ at High School in the Community

by Julia Berger, People Against Injustice

On May 16, People Against Injustice (PAI) partnered with the High School in the Community on Water St. to screen the film “The House I Live In.” About 60 students attended the screening which exposes the terrible human toll of the U.S. Government’s “War on Drugs.”

High School in the Community’s Prison Project Production Company—a student group—has been polling students all year about student/police officer relationships and about the effect the prison system has on their community. Student representatives from this group reported their findings and recommendations for improved student-police relations as part of the program.

A panel consisting of PAI’s Jane Mills, State Senator Gary Holder-Winfield, Lt. Anthony Campbell, Officer Jackie Hoyt and two student representatives from HSC’s Prison Project led an interesting and informative hour-long discussion of the film and the HSC Prison Project’s findings. Senator Holder-Winfield reminded students that it’s important to work to change the harsh laws and minimum sentences (especially for drug offenses) through pressure on local, state and federal legislators.

If you have a suggestion for a venue for this hard-hitting film, please contact Allan Brison at (203) 782-6808 or Julia Berger at (203) 503-0161.

People Against Injustice is a community organization committed to the reform of the criminal justice system. It meets every second Monday of the month at the Main Public Library, 133 Elm St., at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Mary at (203) 387-7858.

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Prison Project Survey – Spring 2014, High School in the Community

HSC’s Prison Project students

Do you know people who have been or who are currently in prison?

383 total respondents

  • 306 yes (80%)
  • 77 no (20%)

Black students ONLY:

  • 127 yes (81.5%)
  • 29 no (18.5%)

Latino students ONLY:

  • 81 yes (75%)
  • 27 no (25%)

What are your feelings toward the police in general?

  • 48 mostly positive (13%)
  • 158 somewhat positive (42%)
  • 91 somewhat negative (24%)
  • 79 mostly negative (21%)

Black students ONLY:

  • 15 mostly positive (9%)
  • 71 somewhat positive (43%)
  • 37 somewhat negative (22%)
  • 44 mostly negative (26%)

Latino students ONLY

  • 18 mostly positive (21%)
  • 26 somewhat positive (30%)
  • 15 mostly negative (17%)
  • 28 somewhat negative (32%)

Have you ever seen (in person) the police be disrespectful?

  • 226 yes (59.5%)
  • 154 no (40.5%)

Black students ONLY:

  • 110 yes (64%)
  • 62 no (36%)

Latino students ONLY

  • 59 yes (55%)
  • 48 no (45%)

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