Telling the Palestinian Story – Palestinian Women Global Art Exhibit opening on Sunday, March 8

The exhibit features over 200 works of art from about 50 Palestinian women artists who have made significant contributions to the art scene in their immediate communities and around the world. Artworks that will be on display include paintings, sculptures, photographs, and embroidery pieces.

The exhibit will be unveiled during a ceremony on the afternoon of Sunday, March 8, and will be open on Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. through May 30, 2020.

“The exhibit will give dozens of Palestinian women artists an opportunity to exhibit their artwork in the United States for the first time,” said Museum founder, Faisal Saleh. “Our mission is to celebrate and showcase Palestinian artistic excellence – this event goes a long way in fulfilling that promise.”
Partial list of artists participating in the exhibit are:

  • From the US & Canada: Samia Halaby, Manal Deeb, Samar Hussaini, Rawan Anani
  • From Europe: Laila Shawa, Jacqueline Bejani, Halima Aziz
  • From Jordan: Raida Shahin, Dalia Ali, Reem Khader, Nadia Al Khateeb, Aya Abu Ghazaleh
  • From Palestine: Nameer Qassim, Sana’ Tahboub, Hya Kaabneh, Reen Natsheh
  • From Africa: Kholoud Subhi (Kenya)
  • From South America: Ruby L. Yunis (Chile), María Eugenia Akel (Chile)

Palestine Museum, 1764 Litchfield Tpke, Woodbridge, CT 06525 Museum Hours: Every Sunday 1 – 5 p.m. Admission fees: Adults: $8; Students and seniors (age 65+): $5; Children 12 or under: Free. Maximum $20 per family.

Why We’re Still Standing Out Here in 2019 (and Will Be Again in 2020)

Sunday Vigil flyer, Dec. 22, 2019

This vigil for peace and justice has been observed every Sunday from noon until 1 p.m. since May of 1999. Twenty years and four U.S. presidential administrations later, we are still here.

Often people ask us what we mean when we say, “RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR.” What we mean is that the serial wars fought by the U.S. and its allies are one war being waged on many fronts. Men, women, and children are being slaughtered, maimed, traumatized and driven from their homes all over the world so that immense wealth and power can be concentrated in the hands of a very few people.
The weapons of this war are many. Here are just some examples: continued development and production of an ever more deadly nuclear arsenal; drone attacks against human beings many thousands of miles away (targets whose bodies the bombardiers, operating their weapons by remote control, will never have to see); mass incarcerations and deportations of immigrants and refugees (condemning them, in many cases, to a future of torture or death); the systematic dismantling of infrastructure and social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that most of us not only depend upon but have funded with our hard-earned tax dollars all our lives; the destruction of our environment; and the undermining of workers’ rights and the refusal to pass a national minimum wage that is a living wage.

In 2016, we had a presidential election in which the issues of war, peace and economic justice were never seriously addressed. The state of endless war was accepted as the norm. Now we are dealing with an administration that, during its nearly three years in power, has exponentially escalated on all fronts this war that we have been describing and resisting for two decades and more. The 2018 “mid-term” elections largely ignored these issues.

With its bloated military budget, its blatantly racist and xenophobic rhetoric and policies, its utter disregard for the U.S. Constitution and international law, its attempt to roll back even the modest attempts at addressing the climate crisis that are embraced by the Paris Agreement, its utter disregard for human rights at the borders, and its unapologetic war against poor, working-class and non-white people on behalf of the billionaire class it represents, the Trump ad-ministration has made transparent the existential threat of the 1% to all our lives and to the future of our planet.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR

As this year draws to a close and a new one begins, and as we enter another election cycle, we ask you to think about the issues this vigil has been trying to address in a very modest way over the past 20 years. The war we now face on all fronts transcends partisan politics, and we didn’t get here merely as the result of one terrible election. Simply voting, while important, will not resolve this existential crisis or lead us to a just, peaceful and healthy world. Only a truly engaged citizenry, able and willing to think critically and to use every nonviolent tactic we can muster, will be able to make the serious, deep, systemic changes that are so very long overdue, changes upon which our very survival depends.
We invite you to join the conversation any Sunday, here at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets in New Haven, noon to 1 p.m. http://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com.

Mazin Qumsiyeh to Give Shafer Lecture Jan. 18

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

On Saturday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m., Mazin Qumsiyeh will speak at the Palestine Museum US, 1764 Litchfield Turnpike, Woodbridge. The Shafer Lecture is a continuing project of Promoting Enduring Peace (which gave its Gandhi Peace Award to Omar Barghouti in 2017). Qumsiyeh is the Director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History at Bethlehem U. See this National Geographic page about him: www.nationalgeographic.org/find-explorers/mazin-b-qumsiyeh. He was the Director of Cytogenetics at the Yale Medical School for a number of years and has written “Sharing the Land of Canaan” among other works. He lives in Palestine near Bethlehem.

Nov. 2 Book Launch, Zionist Betrayal of Jews, New Haven

News release

On Saturday, Nov. 2, Stanley Heller will talk about his new book “Zionist Betrayal of Jews: From Herzl to Netanyahu.” It’s a history of the many, many times Zionist groups and Israel put their state-building project ahead of the vital interests of Jews. The event will take place in the Community Room in the lower level of the New Haven Public Library, 133 Elm St., at 2 p.m. Free and open to the public, there will be light refreshments. Sponsored by the Middle East Crisis Committee and co-sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace (New Haven), part of the meeting will be about their projects.

Most people know something about the disastrous effects of the Zionist movement on Palestinians and other Middle Eastern peoples, but the story of the cost of Zionism to Jews is less well known. The account ranges from Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, making a deal with the notorious anti-Semitic Imperial Russian minister von Plehve to Israel’s current Prime Minister Netanyahu declaring friendship with authoritarians who use dog whistles of anti-Semitism to appeal to their bases. The book describes the Zionist destruction of the powerful anti-Nazi boycott of the ’30s, Israel’s friendly relations to Argentina under the rule of Jew-hating generals and Israel’s sale of weapons to modern Ukraine whose army includes a neo-Nazi Azov Brigade.

One of the reasons for writing the book was to expose the Zionists who constantly accuse critics of Israel for being anti-Semitic. Again and again a sentence is taken out of context or a political cartoon is taken to task for resembling something anti-Semitic from the ’30s. Heller’s book exposes the hypocrisy of the Zionist movement which made deals with anti-Semites and in some cases killers of Jews, deals that put Jews in peril.

This is Heller’s second book. His first was titled “The Uprising We Need” (2017), which was a collection of his articles that appeared in newspapers and media. The book is available for a donation of $10 or more to the Middle East Crisis Committee.  See ordering information about both books at stanleyheller.com.

From Turtle Island to Palestine: Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) and Southern Connecticut State University Women’s and Gender Studies (SCSU-WGS) invite you to join us in October at the Palestine Museum US and at SCSU, on the land of the Quinnipiac people, to honor and celebrate indigenous peoples.

Jennifer Kreisberg — Tuscarora, North Carolina — is mother, singer, composer, producer, teacher, and activist, and comes from four generations of Seven Singing Sisters through the maternal line. She is known for fierce vocals, soaring range, and lilting, breath-taking harmonies.

Ali El-Issa — Palestinian American — is the President of the Flying Eagle Woman Fund, named in honor of his wife, Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa. Ali works on guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples across the globe. He is on the Board of the Rigoberta Menchu Túm Foundation and is a principal representative of Ms. Menchu Túm to the United Nations.

Through song and word, Jennifer and Ali will celebrate indigenous peoples on Sunday, Oct. 13, noon-1:30 p.m. at the Palestine Museum US, 1764 Litchfield Turnpike, Wood-bridge and on Monday, Oct. 14, 6-7:30 p.m. at SCSU, Engleman Hall A107, 501 Crescent St.

Indigenous peoples, Palestinian and Native American, have endured parallel attempts to destroy their cultures. Stereo-typed by European settler-colonists as savage, not worthy of occupying the land they occupy, easily relocated, dislocated, eliminated. Walls were built that divide their communities and lands, and surveillance technology has been tested against one people and then applied to the other.
One need only look at the surveillance towers built by the U.S. division of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company, tested on the Apartheid Wall in Palestine and now used to surveil the border lands of Sonora and Arizona, home to the Tohono O’odham Nation. Elbit, in November 2016, offered a system of wide-area persistent surveillance sensors to police monitoring Dakota Access pipeline opponents.

Through all of this pain, but with resilience, sumud (Arabic – steadfastness), and celebration, these indigenous peoples come together to share their culture, their art, and their stories. Join us for this special occasion.

Contact: Susan Bramhall, newhaven@jvp.org, jvpnh.org, www.southernct.edu/academics/womens-studies-program/ programs

Interfaith Peace Waged in New Haven

Volunteers from multiple interfaith organizations painted a new billboard Thursday that will tower over I-95 right northbound before Exit 45 .

The 50-foot billboard was one of numerous projects completed by over 100 volunteers from across the world who gathered for New Haven Interfaith Service Day.

The effort was led by Rev. Nicholas Porter from Jerusalem Peacebuilders and Bruce Barrett from IWagePeace.org with local clergy members Rabbi Brian Immerman (Congregation Mishkan Israel), Imam Omer Bajwa (Yale Chaplin), Father Stephen Holton (Christ Episcopal Church), and Rev. Bonita Grubbs (Christian Community Action).

Source: Interfaith Peace Waged | New Haven Independent

Is Your PAR Subscription About to Run Out?

by PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter publishes from September through June. Subscriptions from many of our readers will expire with the June issue.

We hope you enjoy your subscription and value the PAR newsletter as a community resource. To see if your subscription is due for renewal, please look at your address label. If “201906” is printed on the label to the right of your name, your subscription ends next month. Please send in $13 for 10 issues (Sept. 2019-June 2020) so that you can continue to read about what local organizations are doing and you can submit articles about your own organization.

The Progressive Action Roundtable was started in January 1993. After several months, this community Newsletter became the main activity of PAR, giving New Haven area organizations an opportunity for networking and for advertising their activities.

We hope to hear from you.

Needed: A Congressional Investigation of Saudi Arabia

by Stanley Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

In view of the collaboration of the Trump Administration with every crime of the Saudi regime there needs to be a formal Congressional investigation launched by a House Committee. This article is written a day after the news broke that the regime has executed 37 people in one day, mostly Shia. Amnesty International said, “The majority of those executed were Shi’a men who were convicted after sham trials that violated international fair trial standards which relied on confessions extracted through torture.” More about the Saudi killing spree at www.saudius.org.

Some topics for the House committee to investigate:

a) Spying on Saudi students in U.S. universities as reported by NPR (National Public Radio);
b) What U.S. institutions are helping the criminal monarchy; c) possible bribery of U.S. foundations by Saudi gifts;
d) Uncovering those helping the Saudis in their war of aggression against Yemen;
e) Unanswered questions raised by the official U.S. report on the 9/11 massacres about possible collaboration by government-connected Saudis;
f) What U.S. companies are preparing to sell shares in the Saudi corporation Aramco, which has been an immense contributor to world fossil fuel emissions.

Democracy Died in December

Yann van Heurck, Guilford Peace Alliance, JVP

In December the Israeli Knesset voted against equality for all its people in violation of Israel’s own Declaration of Independence. Christians, Druze and Muslims officially don’t have equal rights to Jews. Plans are underway to expel 36,000 Palestinians from the Negev and formally annex the West Bank.

In September the Israeli government, in an official letter to the Supreme Court, said that Israel could ignore international law anywhere in the world, violate the sovereignty of foreign countries, and disregard international law in any field it desires. Israel forcibly seized nearly 80% of Palestine in 1948 after being given 55% in the 1947 UN partition, and in 1967 took the whole country and started settling colonists there in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The myth of Israeli democracy is dead.

Many PAR readers attended last October’s Tree of Life program at Shoreline Unitarian church in Madison highlighting HR 4391, the US bill to stop US funding for Israel’s illegal detention and torture of Palestinian children (over 500 of whom died in last summer’s Israeli attacks on Gaza). Tree of Life and Jewish Voice for Peace ask people to sign ToL’s petition to support this bill in the new Congress at tolef.org. The bill does not affect US military aid to Israel.

Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) and Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF) are reaching out to organizations to endorse our resolution in support of the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. If you are affiliated with an organization, please see the resolution at www.tolef.org/pal-children, and get your organization to sign on. This can be done online.

JVPNH and TOLEF have been leading an effort to get our five CT congresspeople to co-sponsor the bill, which was introduced in the previous congressional session as bill HR.4391 by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN). It has 30 co-sponsors, including six from New England. We had in-person meetings with each of our congresspeople. Each expressed interest, but none signed on as co-sponsors.
Rep. McCollum is very likely to re-introduce the bill in the new Congress, and we are renewing our effort to get our CT delegation to sign on. At this point, we are reaching out to organizations to show support by endorsing the resolution, which calls on our CT delegation to sign on to the bill.

Please see the resolution at http://www.tolef.org/pal-children, and get your organization to join with the many others which have already signed on.

Khashoggi Family Still Not Getting Justice

by Stanley Heller, Exec. Director, Middle East Crisis Committee

On the one hand it’s staggering. The U.S. Senate unani-mously voted to declare the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia the person responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Just this spring the Crown Prince was on a victory tour of the U.S. being wined and dined from every-body from Bloomberg to Oprah to “The Rock.” On the other hand, we don’t know if anyone involved in the murder has been punished. The Saudi Arabian prosecutor claims to have arrested 20 people, but he has not released the names, nor has the prosecutor said a word about what happened to Khashoggi’s remains. You would think with 20 people in custody, with some supposedly pleading guilty, the Saudi police would know where the remains are located. But the prosecutor has said nothing. It may be part of Khashoggi’s punishment! Over 30 Saudi families who have lost a son to an execution or police killing have been told the body is being withheld. MECC has a petition on our site thestruggle.org calling for the bodies of all the executed to be returned to their families.

The Middle East Crisis Committee and Promoting Enduring Peace are also trying to get the West Haven City Council to speak out and call for the University of New Haven (housed in West Haven) to break its ties to the Saudi police/military college. As far as we can tell it’s the only college that directly helps the Saudi “security.” We’ve sent a model resolution to the Council and are working to get them to pass it. To help out with this contact mail@thestruggle.org or call (203) 934-2761.

We’re also working on the crisis in Al Rukban. It’s a remote part of Syria near Jordan and Iraq where tens of thousands of refugees are living in a desert. They’ve run from Assad and ISIS. Neither Jordan nor Iraq will let them in. So Al Rukban is under siege and the people are really in a bad way. The pathetic thing is they’re just a couple of miles away from a U.S. base in Syria and the U.S. won’t help them.  #US-Help2Rukban, contact office@pepeace.org to spread the word.

‘Rachel’s Children’ speakers program in Madison to highlight Palestinian children Oct. 19

by Yann van Heurck, Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society

Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society of Madison, and Guilford Peace Alliance, together with Tree of Life, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven, Middle East Crisis Committee, and other groups, are cosponsoring a speakers program in Madison to highlight the situation of Palestinian children. Rep. Betty McCollum, who is cosponsoring House Resolution 4391 “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children,” says the following about this situation:

“Children as young as 12 years old are taken from their beds at night by Israeli soldiers and police. They are bound, blindfolded, and taken to detention centers. Under Israeli military law they are denied access to lawyers during interrogation, and even the youngest children are regularly denied access to their parents during interrogations …. With 40 percent of the Palestinian population under age 14, peace between Israel and the Palestinians starts with promoting the dignity and the inherent human rights of Palestinian children.”

Defense for Children International/Palestine says that “Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military (not civilian) courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights.”

Tree of Life and its cosponsors are asking us all to respond to the sound of Rachel “weeping for her children” that can be heard in all Palestinian and Israeli mothers and fathers who yearn for a better future for their children. Speakers are Israeli Jew and former soldier Eran Efrati, an expert on US-Israeli military collaboration; Ruba Awadallah, a Palestinian-American researcher for Defense of Children International/Palestine; and Lara Kiswani, a Palestinian-American lecturer from San Francisco State who specializes in anti-racist campaigns.

We invite everyone to attend the program at Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society, 297 Boston Post Rd., Madison 06443, on Friday, Oct. 19, 6-9 p.m. There will be a Museum of Zionism exhibit, speakers program, buffet and Tree of Life products for sale. Admission is free, donations welcomed.
Info from tolef.org and from Yann at janinawoelfin@gmail.com.

Download the program flier here.

Celebrate 35 Years with the Middle East Crisis Committee March 3

by Stanley Heller, chairperson, MECC

The Middle East Crisis Committee (MECC) is in its 35th year. MECC invites you to “Struggle, Resistance and Resili-ence in Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” a fund-raising party on Saturday, March 3 at 6 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven, 608 Whitney Ave. Learn about Mazin Qumsiyeh’s efforts in building the Palestinian Natural History Museum in Bethlehem. There will be food, music, and video; auctions and door prizes are planned. $25 suggested donation.

For the past dozen years or so our biggest efforts have involved media. We have a weekly TV show on over 30 cable stations stretching from Maine to New York City. One focus of late on TheStruggle.org is Saudi Arabia (KSA) and its war against Yemen. Another focus is of efforts around the world to remember Syria. It’s called “2nd Day of Rage for Syria.” MECC stands for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and in support of Syrian civil society demands for ceasefire and honest elections.

By Our Presence, We Grieve Those Who Have Been Killed

By Allie Perry, Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice

If you happened to walk by New Haven’s 1905 Civil War memorial at the Broadway triangle New Year’s Day 2018 at 6 p.m., you might have wondered why, in freezing cold temperatures, a group of eleven was gathered around a cairn of field stones. They were there giving witness and calling attention to the on-going violence of the U.S. wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, by adding yet another stone to the cairn. Each stone is a memorial, inscribed with the number of U.S. service people who died in the previous month in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the approximate number of Iraqi and Afghan civilians killed. Each month the cairn gets higher and heavier, as the cumulative death tolls go up.

This monthly observance began in December 2007. Stephen Kobasa proposed the memorial and secured the New Haven Board of Park Commissioners’ permission to construct it. Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice provided the leadership, inviting local faith communities to lead the monthly rituals. Over the decade since, members of many New Haven area congregations have participated, including: St. Thomas More, First Presbyterian, Amistad Catholic Worker, Center Church, the University Church, Unitarian Society of New Haven, the Zen Center, Shalom UCC, Church of the Redeemer, Congregation Mishkan Israel, United Church on the Green, First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven, St. Paul and St. James, Ascension Catholic Church in Hamden, St. Thomas Episcopal.

At that first gathering, stones were placed, retroactively, documenting every month since the March 2003 start of the U.S. war against Iraq. Initially the inscribed numbers included deaths only in Iraq. As the hostilities in Afghanistan escalated, we started inscribing the stones with data for Afghanistan as well.

The permission granted in 2007 was for a temporary installation, to be dismantled when the wars end. Ten years later the violence continues, the wars persist, and, on every first Monday of the month, a group still gathers. By our presence, we grieve those who have been killed, we denounce the violence, and we renew our commitment to work fervently for the end of war and for justice and peace. Join us.

A Fund-Raising Party for MECC March 3

by Stanley Heller, chairperson, MECC

The Middle East Crisis Committee (MECC) invites you to “Struggle, Resistance and Resilience in Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” a fund-raising party on Saturday, March 3 at 6 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven,  608 Whitney Ave., New Haven.

Learn about Mazin Qumsiyeh’s efforts in building the Palestinian Natural History Museum in Bethlehem. There will be food, music, and video; auctions and door prizes are planned. $25 suggested donation.

MECC is in its 35th year. For the past dozen years or so our biggest efforts have involved media. We have a weekly TV show on over 30 cable stations stretching from Maine to New York City. One focus of late is Saudi Arabia (KSA) and its war against Yemen, which has been completely supported by the Obama and Trump administrations. This past year saw an attempt to use the War Powers Act to completely cut off U.S. participation in the war via House Concurrent Resolution 81. However, it was sidestepped by leaders in Congress including powerful Democratic Party Whip Steny Hoyer. We did an interview with Malachy Kilbride who with six others were arrested inside Hoyer’s office demanding in vain a meeting with Hoyer or his staff. You can see the interview by going to TheStruggle.org and clicking on the black button for our YouTube channel “struggle-videomedia.” (Incidentally, while CT Sen. Chris Murphy is admirable on the Yemen issue, Sen. Richard Blumenthal has never spoken out against the atrocious war.) “Atrocious” is no exaggeration. Reuters had a video clip of destitute people in a Yemen garbage dump, eating and drinking in the garbage amid swarming insects.

Another video of note on TheStruggle.org is of efforts around the world to remember Syria. It’s called “2nd Day of Rage for Syria.” People mistakenly think the war is over. Hundreds of thousands are under Assad siege in Idlib and Eastern Ghouta. After its brutal obliteration of Raqaa, the U.S. is using a Kurdish force to establish a permanent presence in the northeast and Turkey has a chunk of the country in the north. MECC stands for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and in support of Syrian civil society demands for a ceasefire and honest elections.

Join us for this fund-raising event on March 3!

Scores Rally in Bridgeport for Jerusalem

Stanley Heller, MECC

Despite near-freezing weather, 50 to 100 people rallied in McLevy Square in downtown Bridgeport Dec. 17, 2017, to stand with Palestinians who have denounced Trump’s public announcement that he’ll move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The rally was organized by CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and the Bridgeport Islamic Community Center. Jerusalem was seized by Israeli forces in 1967, but no country in the world has its embassy there. One reason is that almost 40 percent of the city’s inhabitants do not have Israeli citizenship since they are Palestinians who have only been given residency status. Israeli soldiers have killed a number of people in the protests including a legless man named Ibrahim Abu Thuraya who was in his wheelchair behind the wall between Gaza and the rest of Palestine.

Sign Petition: New York Times: Suspend Thomas Friedman

Yale may have had New York Times columnist impart his “wisdom” to students in December, but the Coalition to End the U.S.-Saudi Alliance wants the NYT to suspend him.  Friedman wrote a long piece of flattery about the Crown Prince (and effective ruler) of Saudi Arabia, claiming he was bringing an “Arab Spring” to the country his family owns.  Abandoning journalistic and moral criteria, Friedman ignored the Saudi war on Yemen that has been so horrific. To sign the petition go online at http://www.SaudiUS.org.

MECC to Hold Fundraising Party

In February, the Middle East Crisis Committee (35 years old in 2017) will hold a fundraising party to keep its projects going in the new year. MECC produces “The Struggle” which is shown weekly on over 30 TV stations in the northeast and in South Bend, IN.

There will be food and music and auctions of items like autographed books by Wendy Pearlman and Timothy Snyder, and the graphic novel Palestine by Joe Sacco.  Date and location of the event has not been determined, probably in the afternoon in New Haven.

Details will be in the next PAR newsletter and posted on the website http://www.thestruggle.org, or call (203) 934-2761.

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