Dec. 10 Rally for Peace in New Haven: UN Human Rights Day

by Mary Compton, Greater New Haven Peace Council

The International Coordinating Committee of the Peace and Planet Conference, held in New York recently, called for public expressions on Dec. 10, United Nations Human Rights Day.

Many U.S. Peace organizations nationally have agreed to organize public expressions on Dec. 10, heralding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights to create a peaceful world.

The Greater New Haven Peace Council and the City of New Haven Peace Commission have initiated a call for peace and will sponsor a public meeting on Thursday, Dec. 10 at noon, at the Amistad Statue in front of the New Haven City Hall. Speakers from a broad range of community organizations have been invited.

We call on all our friends who cherish peace to join us, to engage in creative peaceful, militant actions in our communities calling for ceasefires, an end to these wars, and peaceful inclusive negotiations including Syrian government. No U.S. troops to Syria. The human right to peace must be honored. Families, villagers and citizens have the right not to be violated by war. The enormous and irreplaceable resources spent on war are far better spent to address desperate human needs.

The surging dangers to world peace, including sending U.S. troops to engage in Syria, have created a crisis that with the slightest misstep can lead to World War 3. The bombings in France by terrorists are a blowback to the policies of accelerated aggression in the Middle East. The continued relations with the funders and sponsors of the various terrorist groups by the CIA and U.S. so-called allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have created a situation where U.S. weapons are fueling the terrorists and millions are fleeing for safety from the bombs for which the U.S. has a responsibility.

We must raise our voices for peace, against war! Insist on diplomacy and negotiations to end the wars in Syria, including the governments of Iran, Russia and Syria. Let us demand the Human Right to Peace.

Come to a Free Viewing of Roadmap to Apartheid

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

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The New Haven Peace Council and Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven are presenting the film Roadmap to Apartheid. In this award-winning documentary, the directors take a detailed look at the apartheid analogy commonly used to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Narrated by Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple), and directed by white South African Ana Nogueira and Jewish Israeli Eron Davidson, Roadmap to Apartheid is as much a historical document of the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa as it is a film about why many Palestinians feel they are living in an apartheid system today, and why an increasing number of people around the world agree with them.

The film will next be presented Saturday, Dec. 5, 2 p.m., at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St. Help us bring the issue of Israeli apartheid to public attention. We are ready to bring this documentary and a speaker to community groups that want to learn more about this issue. You can see a trailer of the film at http://roadmaptoapartheid.org.

Reach JVP New Haven at:
web: http://www.jvpnh.org,
email: newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org,
facebook: jvpnewhaven, twitter: @jvpnewhaven.

A Call to All Peace Activists! Oct. 12

by Alfred L. Marder, President, US Peace Council, amistad.nai@rcn.com

On Monday, Oct. 12, the coordinating committee of Peace and Planet held an International Conference in New York which coincided with the United Nations’ meeting to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Among other matters, we discussed our concerns about the present conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. There are 15 countries already involved in the fighting. Two nuclear weapon powers are facing each other. THE DANGER OF WORLD WAR 3 IS NOT UNREALISTIC!

We agreed that we would call for the following of the global peace movement:

  1. Aim for Dec. 10, United Nations Human Rights Day with the slogan PEACE IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
  2. Global actions on the local, regional and national level, leading up to Dec. 10.
    The US Peace Council convened several peace organizations immediately after the meeting to call for actions. We agreed that Nov. 11, the day World War 1 ended, should be a Day of Global Actions.

We are united on these demands:

  1. Immediate diplomatic negotiations to end the conflict in Syria involving all interested parties, especially the Syrian government.
  2. Removal of all NATO forces from the states bordering Russia. Dismantle NATO!
  3. Remove ALL foreign troops from Afghanistan.

There will be a vigil at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 on the New Haven Green, at the corner of Chapel and College streets. Nov. 11 is the day World War I ended. The overarching slogan will be STOP WORLD WAR 3.

Amistad Awards to take place Dec. 6

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s Amistad Awards will be presented by the People’s World at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at an anniversary rally in New Haven at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, 177 College Street, on the theme “Justice for All. In Solidarity with Black and Latino Youth. Stop the Right-wing Attacks.”
Jill Marks, Ciro Gutierrez and Cindy Harrity, three grass roots leaders and organizers, will receive the awards.

Special recognition will also be given to Edie Fishman marking her 80th year as a grass roots leader for justice since joining the YCL at age 14.

A cultural program in solidarity with Black and Latino youth struggling for survival, jobs and education will highlight the event.

Amistad Memorial Sculpture by Ed Hamilton

Amistad Memorial by sculptor Ed Hamilton

The annual awards are presented to allies by the People’s World on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the Communist Party USA.

Jill Marks stepped up this year as an organizer with New Haven Rising. She was elected in the September primaries to represent Ward 28 on the New Haven Board of Alders, as part of the labor-community alliance majority. She is mother of six, choir director of her church and has worked alongside her husband Rev. Scott Marks for many years.

Ciro Gutierrez is a member leader of SEIU 32 BJ in Hartford. He is now on the negotiating committee in a key labor battle covering 2,000 building service workers, part of national contract negotiations. He has fought for justice for immigrant workers and janitors for many years. He immigrated from Peru, became a citizen and raised three children here.

Cindy Harrity organized for Communication Workers of America 1298 for ten years until her recent retirement due to health. She got involved in the fight for workplace fairness over health insurance as a part-time worker. She has since organized around the country and supports husband John Harrity’s work as president of the CT State Council of Machinists.

Tickets are $10. Ticket and adbook information is available at http://ctpeoplebeforeprofits.blogspot.com or call (203) 624-4254 or e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com.

Christian Community Action, Inc. Advocacy & Education Presents: People Empowering People (PEP) Training

Are you interested in empowering yourself and others? Do you enjoy working on community group projects? Are you interested in learning more about ways in which you can improve your community?

If your answer is yes! CCA’s Advocacy & Education Project will be offering a 10 session certified training class Mondays and Wednesdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 26-Dec. 2. Lunch will be provided. Location: 660 Winchester Ave.

Lower Level Community Room. Program participants will earn a UCONN PEP Certificate. For more information, contact Merryl Eaton, (203) 780-8335 or email: merryleaton@ccahelping.org.

Sing-Along Concert to Celebrate a New Songbook by the Authors of Rise Up Singing Oct. 16

by Kim Stoner, Promoting Enduring Peace

Annie Patterson and Peter Blood, the authors of the popular songbook Rise Up Singing, will be performing a sing-along concert to celebrate their new songbook Rise Again, and will be joined by Charlie King, The Nields, and Sally Rogers, singer-songwriters who have songs in the new book. The concert will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 16, at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden.

Since 1988, Rise Up Singing has sold nearly one million copies around the world. This popular songbook contains the words and chords to 1200 songs from Beatles to ballads, from Bob Dylan to Broadway, from campfire favorites to gospel & Hebrew folksongs. Rise Again, the long-awaited sequel, includes the words and chords to 1200 entirely different songs – including new songs written since 1988 and new genres only lightly covered in Rise Up Singing, such as Motown, blues, jazz & swing, and country.

This historic event is co-sponsored by CT Folk and is a benefit for Promoting Enduring Peace (PEPeace.org), whose motto is “Peace On Earth — Peace With Earth.”

Advance tickets may be purchased online starting at $20 ($10 for under 18), $25 after Oct. 9, and $30 at the door. Group ticket rates are also available. Copies of Rise Again can be purchased in advance at www.riseupandsing.org/events/rise-again-new-haven or at the event.

Please Attend an Important and Unique Forum with Aida Touma-Sliman, Oct. 17.

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Aida Touma-Sliman became an Arab member of the Knesset in the Israeli election last January. She is a lifelong political activist, Director-General of Women Against Violence, the largest Arab women’s NGO in Israel, editor-in-chief of Al-Ittihad, an Arab-language daily newspaper in Israel, and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Israel.

Because of a new Israeli law intended to reduce the number of small parrties in the Knesset, the several Arab parties, with widely diverse ideologies and programs, created a Joint List, a coalition, to be voted on as a block. The election result was that the Joint List became the third largest block in the parliament.
Touma-Sliman was voted the Chair of the Knesset’s Permanent Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, the first Arab chair of a Knesset committee.

In an interview in the Jewish Journal (www.youtube.com/ watch?v=hUslyGicqfs) Touma-Sliman describes herself: “I am not accepted because of my opinions, because I stood up against many of the things the patriarchal laws in our society… To be now in the mainstream of our society … gives us the power as a movement, to address new groups of people, to raise the voice of rights of women from the highest platform to the parliament and in our society.”

Of discrimination against Arabs in Israel proper, Touma-Sliman says that “In our villages and towns since 1948, not one industrial zone was built, no proper public transportation. Even in minimal civil rights we are not getting what we are supposed to get.”

She refers to the Israeli occupation: “We don’t want [Israel] to continue to be occupiers, because occupation is ruining not only those who are occupied, it is ruining also the occupiers themselves.” “Settlements are an international crime… You cannot use your crimes” to bargain.
With the recent peace agreement with Iran over Iran’s nuclear program, there is now increased attention on Israel’s existing nuclear arsenal, attention that the Israeli government constantly tries to deflect. In 2013, Touma-Sliman spoke at a peace conference to create a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear weapons: “If peace groups don’t make the connection that the Israeli government is the source of hostile policy against neighboring countries, and if we don’t speak about nuclear policy and to ask Israel to join international agreements and be under the control and inspection on that matter we are missing the point.”

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear Aida Touma-Sliman, Bethesda Lutheran Church, 450 Whitney Ave., 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

Two Renowned Peace Leaders for this Year’s Gandhi Peace Award Oct. 30

by Mary Compton, Promoting Enduring Peace

The 38th presentation of the Gandhi Peace Award by the national organization Promoting Enduring Peace, located in New Haven, will honor two world renowned peace leaders, Kathy Kelly and Tom B.K. Goldtooth. The ceremony will be held at the United Church on the Green in New Haven, on Friday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m.

The Gandhi Peace Award recognizes the outstanding contributions to world peace by its recipients.
Tom B. K. Goldtooth is Dine’ and Mdewakanton Dakota. He is the first Native American recipient to receive the Gandhi Peace Award. He is the national director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (www.ienearth.org) at Bemidji, Minnesota, and has been a leader in Native social, economic, and environmental justice issues for over 35 years. He works with Indigenous Peoples and organizations around the world advocating for environmental and climate justice. He is co-producer of the award winning documentary film, “Drumbeat For Mother Earth,” which has received critical acclaim for its exposure of the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on Indigenous communities. In 2010 he was honored by the Sierra Club and by the NAACP as a “Green Hero of Color.”

Kathy Kelly is nationally known for her outspoken activism protesting the use of drones by the U.S. military. She co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a national campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare. She has led protests in Gaza and is an international leader against the war in Iraq. She has served several prison sentences for her non-violent, militant activism against nuclear weapons and war. On April 21st Kelly was released from federal prison after serving a three month sentence for non-violently protesting drone warfare at Whiteman AFB which operates weaponized drones in Afghanistan.

Tickets available at the door: $10; Students-Free

Advance tickets available online at www.pepeace.org

Contact: Mary Compton (203) 230-1312

gandhipeaceaward.org

Nonviolent Direct Action Training for Climate Justice (Willimantic)

by Dan Fischer, Capitalism vs. Climate

Nonviolent direct action training will be held at the Covenant Soup Kitchen at 220 Valley Street in Willimantic, one Saturday in October (date not yet confirmed) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. This is a training for people in Connecticut interested in taking direct action for climate justice this fall as part of Rising Tide North America’s Flood the System mobilization. #FloodtheSystem is a callout this fall to flood, blockade, occupy and shut down the systems that jeopardize our future! Read more about it here: floodthesystem.net.

The training is being organized by Capitalism vs. the Climate, a Rising Tide chapter.
Please register at goo.gl/forms/S4qHjDu36B. Share this event by emailing friends. The following agenda is subject to change based on feedback you provide us directly through the registration form. For specific questions about the training, please email dfischer@riseup.net.

Flood the System Training – What is Flood the System? What would an intersectional movement look like? Critique and strategic analysis. Offer the opportunity for participants to join in an existing Action Council or encourage them to start their own.

Introduction to Nonviolent Direct Action & Affinity Group Building – An introduction to the history of NVDA and implementation as well as examples of intersectionality within our community, affinity groups and their formation, consensus decision making, self-care and community care, action roles, and introduction to blockading.

Traditional Media and Social Media in Action – Training on how traditional media and social media intertwine with one another going into an action. How to create a media time line, write a press advisory and release, media action roles; how to use social media to amplify your action and create a narrative; online editing tools and social media logistics.

Continued Strategy & Research – This is an opportunity for participants to continue the conversation from the morning FTS Training and to transition into a workshop on strategy and research. Participants can talk about what they hope to see during Flood the System, how to build an intersectional movement leading into a discussion on choosing shared targets, research, and scouting.

ACT to Get Congress to Support the Iran Agreement

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Prompt action is needed to move Senator Blumenthal to support the Iran agreement and to counter the opposition he is hearing from constituents. At least $20 million is being spent by AIPAC to oppose the agreement. Specific actions are proposed below. A Senate vote will take place in early September.
In a meeting Aug. 10, Blumenthal said he will vote for or against the Iran agreement based only on facts. He’s still gathering them. Blumenthal states he will take a course to avoid war. He says he is listening to his constituents – and to his credit he spent an hour with our delegation.

We don’t have to be disarmament experts to readily see that the President is right: either we accept this agreement or we will see Israeli and US war hawks pushing for an attack on Iran. They have been calling for a war on Iran for decades. The war hawks disliked the agreement before it was signed, before they saw it, before it was negotiated. In Congress. This bellicosity comes largely, but not exclusively, from Republicans, who also want to sink anything progressive coming from the Obama White House. They are bombarding our representatives with calls to stop the Iran Agreement.

Whatever we think of the Iranian government and its policies, Iran consistently every year since 1974 has called for a nuclear-weapons free Middle East. The US, Israel and a very few allies have opposed such a zone. Currently only Israel and the US have nuclear arsenals in the region.

The intelligence and disarmament agencies state that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Iran’s clerical leaders have continually stated that possessing nuclear weapons is a sin. For over 200 years Iran has attacked no other country. The same cannot be said for the US or Israel.

The peace agreement, a diplomatic success, is the surest way to prevent another escalation of war in the Middle East. The war hawks want diplomacy to fail. If a policy of diplomacy rather than war is to be given a chance, then we must support this agreement. 29 nuclear physicists, including 4 Nobel laureates, wrote Obama supporting the agreement. Ambassadors, world leaders and the UN support it. HELP this peace agreement. Call Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office to support the agreement: (860) 258-6940. Urge friends to do so. We must not miss this chance to prove diplomacy works.

International Day of Peace — Sunday, Sept. 20

by Frank Panzarella, board member, WRNSC

The West River neighborhood has been home to the United Nations dedicated peace garden for many years. The community has taken to heart its role and every year has sponsored an International Day of Peace Festival.

Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015 will see the 10th anniversary celebration and it will be a great day. All New Haven peace groups are urged to participate with tables or just come by and help make the day a success for all of New Haven. Contact Frank Panzarella for more information and to set up a table at (203) 562-2798 or by emailing frankpanzarella@hotmail.com.

A full day of activities will start at noon and run until 5 p.m. with music by Boogie Chillun, I.N.I.T.Y., free food, meditation, health screenings, activities for young people and much more.

The Nation Drill & Drum team will perform as well as Kode Red, poet Baub Bidon and singer Samantha Boisvert and statements will be read by clergy and community leaders.

The day is sponsored by the West River Neighborhood Services Corporation with help from Yale New Haven Health, Yale University, Continuum of Care and others.

In case of rain, the event will be held Sept. 27.

Jewish Voice for Peace hosts filmmaker Dr. Alice Rothchild

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) recently hosted a visit by filmmaker Dr. Alice Rothchild with screenings of her film Voices Across the Divide. The film explores the Palestinian narrative of the Nakba, featuring interviews with three generations of North American Palestinians whose families were forced into refugee status during the war of 1948-49.

In a retrospective on her visit, Rothchild states “I discussed the complexities of the Zionist movement, the fact that Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together pretty well until Zionists arrived, that the goal was clearly to create a Jewish-only state and that required getting rid of indigenous Arabs.[…] I urged people to understand that Netanyahu is not an aberration, that if you found a state based on Jewish privilege and dominance and you support militant settlers and the profound racism that has been present since the birth of the Zionist movement, then you get the government we have now. This is clearly highly problematic for liberal American Jews and we need to face these contradictions.”
Questioned by an audience member at the Whitney Center about her recent visit to Gaza, Rothchild spoke of the devastating effects of the collective punishment of Gaza by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). She referenced on her blog a meeting with Dr. Mona el-Farra of Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA). Rothchild quotes Dr. el-Farra:

“400,000 children are traumatized after the attack due to eyewitness experiences according to the UN and UNICEF. I see that those kids, age five to 16, who are suffering this trauma, were eyewitnesses of the attack, are the future youth, those kids will be the future negotiators. When Israel hits Gaza, it hits the psychological well-being of those kids.”

See her blog at alicerothchild.com/blog-2015 for a remarkable daily recounting of her March journey.
That is the present reality in Gaza. For a conversation about growing up and attending school in the West Bank, come June 17 at 6:30 p.m. to the Spring Glen Congregational Church, 1825 Whitney Ave., Hamden, to hear Shurouq Isam Alatrash and Heba Elias Bannoura, 2015 Nursing and Mid-wifery graduates respectively from Bethlehem University. For more details, see http://www.jvpnh.org/event/discussion-palestinian-nursing-and-midwifery-students.

You can reach JVP New Haven on the web: www.jvpnh.org, by email:  newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org, or facebook: jvpnewhaven, or twitter: @jvpnewhaven.

Court Sessions Continue Against the ‘Westport 2’

Stanley Heller, Exec. Director, Middle East Crisis Committee

On May 12 two young men went into a Westport, CT, synagogue to read a three-paragraph statement opposing the meeting there to raise funds for the “Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.” They were stopped before they could get into the meeting room and someone FALSELY claimed the two were armed. Many police cars came to the synagogue. Police brandished automatic weapons. Schools in the area were sent into lockdown. The two men, Dan Fischer and Gregory Williams, were arrested on a charge that if punished to the maximum could get them one year in prison.

In court on May 22 in Stamford Dan Fischer applied for “Accelerated Rehabilitation.” Gregory Williams opted for a jury trial. The next court session is July 21.

The two had attempted to enter the talk and to read testimony by Nabilah Abu Halima, a Palestinian woman whose son was killed in Gaza during 2009’s Operation Cast Lead and who had to flee her home with the rest of her family during 2014’s Gaza Massacre.

Fischer and Williams were particularly concerned that the event, a women’s luncheon sponsored by Friends of the IDF, claimed that the occupying army is “a world leader in integrating women in the armed forces.” The activists intended their demonstration to call attention to the experiences of women living under the apartheid regime in Palestine.

Palestinian women and families suffer the brunt of the violence of the IDF’s periodic assaults on Gaza. The family of Nabilah Abu Halima, whose testimony Fischer and Williams were attempting to read at the talk, is just one example: “Our son Matar was 17 when he was killed in the 2009 war [Operation Cast Lead]. He was killed together with his cousin Muhammad, who was 12, while they were trying to escape the bombardments. Other members of the family who were with them were injured. One of them, Ghada Abu Halima, died of her wounds three months later….My son Matar was killed right before my eyes.” Ghada Abu Halima died from burns she suffered from a white phosphorus bomb.

A defense fund has been created to help pay for lawyers.  To see how to contribute and for latest developments see: www.TheStruggle.org.

West River Neighborhood 10th Annual International Day of Peace, Sept. 20

Frank Panzarella, WRNSC Board Member

The West River Neighborhood Services Corporation is making plans for our 10th Annual International Day of Peace celebration. As in past years, we invite area peace groups to set up information tables and displays. We hope that the various groups affiliated with PAR consider joining us that day. The entire event is free for the public — free music and entertainment, free food, giveaways, etc. Groups may distribute literature and have displays but the sale of goods is prohibited. This is a great networking opportunity with our community. Please share your work, dedication and aspirations with the neighborhood!

The International Day of Peace will be held Sunday, September 20, from 1-5 p.m. at the U.N. Peace Garden bounded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Legion Avenue and Ella Grasso Boulevard (Route 34 Connector). Please contact me if your group is interested in joining us. We supply a limited number of tables and chairs for free. Thank you. frankpanzarella@hotmail.com, (203) 562-2798.

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