New Haven Alders Cop Out on Ceasefire Resolution

Five months after a proposed ceasefire resolution was presented to the Board of Alders, and five days after hearing testimony via Zoom that lasted five hours, the Board of Alders voted to “read and file,” and not act on the resolution. Would your alder have supported a ceasefire? We’ll never know, according to the meeting.

Only East Rock Alder Caroline Smith was opposed to dismissing the resolution in this way.

[The New Haven Independent coverage can be read here:]

Interior Dept Staffer Becomes First Jewish Biden Appointee to Publicly Resign Over War in Gaza

by Ellen Knickmeyer, AP, May 15, 2024

An Interior Department staffer on Wednesday became the first Jewish political appointee to publicly resign in protest of U.S. support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

Lily Greenberg Call, a special assistant to the chief of staff in the Interior Department, accused President Joe Biden of using Jews to justify U.S. policy in the conflict. …She is at least the fifth mid- or senior-level administration staffer to make public their resignation in protest of the Biden administration’s military and diplomatic support of the now seven-month Israeli war against Hamas. She is the second political appointee to do so, after an Education Department official of Palestinian heritage resigned in January. … “I can no longer in good conscience continue to represent this administration,” she wrote. “He [Pres. Biden] is making Jews the face of the American war machine. And that is so deeply wrong.”… “I think the president has to know that there are people in his administration who think this is disastrous,” Call said of the war overall and U.S. support for it. “Not just for Palestinians, for Israelis, for Jews, for Americans, for his election prospects.”

[Entire article available here:]

Both Hayes and DeLauro Go Back on Pocan Letter And Vote Billions for Israeli Military

by Stanley Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

[U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Jahana Hayes were among 56 members of Congress who signed Rep. Mark Pocan’s letter, calling on Pres. Biden to withhold offensive arms transfers to Israel. On April 20, when the bill went to the House of Representatives, they voted in favor of giving Israel $26 billion, of which $4 billion is for Israel’s missile defense system and additional weapon purchases.]

The bill H.R. 8034 throws the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) under the bus. In Sec. 308, none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs may be made available for a contribution, grant, or other payment to UNRWA, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

“Gaza” is mentioned 11 times, demanding reports to see if any money was diverted to Hamas or “other terrorists.”

$9 billion is appropriated to the President for “vulnerable populations and communities.” It could be for Ukraine or Gaza or Israel or whatever. By my reading he doesn’t have to give a nickel to Gaza. It’s all up to President Biden.

Over 3,000 Race in IRIS ‘Run for Refugees and All Immigrants’

by Emily Khym, Yale Daily News, Feb. 13, 2024

In the annual Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services’ Run for Refugees on Sunday, Feb. 11, 3,152 people joined in the 5K race. Ahead of the race, pro-Palestine protesters calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza interrupted Rep. Rosa DeLauro, cutting her speech short.

IRIS, a non-profit organization based in New Haven, has hosted the event annually to raise funds for its mission of supporting refugee resettlement and to raise awareness around the issue of refugee resettlement. IRIS raised $168,547, nearly 130 percent more than their fundraising goal. Starting this year, IRIS changed the name of the event from the “Run for Refugees” to include “All Immigrants.” On average, IRIS serves around 1,200 refugees and immigrants in New Haven.

“It doesn’t matter what [government] papers you come with, we welcome you and we are going to try to help you as best as we can,” Executive Director of IRIS Maggie Salem said.

Khuan-Yu Hall photo

Before the race, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker spoke about the vital role immigrants and refugees play in building New Haven’s community. A speech from U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro followed Elicker’s speech.

At the start of DeLauro’s speech, she was interrupted by a group of pro-Palestine protesters standing alongside the finish line. Several of the protesters were holding Palestinian flags and calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, in which — as of Feb. 11 — Israel has killed over 28,100 Palestinians since Hamas’ surprise attack against Israel on Oct. 7, in which Hamas killed about 1,200 people in Israel.

“There was a group of people who pulled out loud speakerphones and started protesting about how DeLauro had not acted on the Israel-Hamas War,” Steven Zhang ’25, who was running in the race, told the News. “It lasted for around six to seven minutes … eventually DeLauro ended up not finishing the speech, and the race coordinator signaled the start of the race.”

(Read the article in full here:

Senator Murphy Suckered into Defunding UNRWA

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has provided food, education, and more for Palestinian refugees since 1948.

Israeli government leaders have tried to weaken or destroy it as a way of pressuring Palestinians into giving up their rights. At the end of January, the Israeli government had an anti-UNRWA propaganda campaign ready for what they knew would be a devastating decision against their actions in Gaza by the International Court of Justice. The Israelis alleged 12 members of UNRWA had taken part in the Oct. 7 attack from Gaza. It sent the charges and names of the 12 to Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s commissioner general. He tried to appease the Israelis by acting before any evidence behind the charges was given.

Instead of cooling things down, this caused the charges to seem more credible, leading to Biden’s suspension of aid. This seems quite boneheaded on the part of Lazzarini, but he was between a rock and a hard place. According to an interview in The Guardian: “He said an Israeli bank account belonging to UNRWA had been frozen and the agency had been warned that its tax benefits would be canceled. Lazzarini added that a consignment of food aid from Turkey, including flour, chickpeas, rice, sugar and cooking oil, that would sustain 1.1 million people for a month, had been blocked at the Israeli port of Ashdod. He claimed the contractor said the Israeli authorities had instructed the company not to move it or accept any payment from a Palestinian bank.” So his heart was in the right place, but his actions helped produce the disaster.

Republicans and Democrats created H.R. 815 (formerly known as the “Revive Act”) which included a section forbidding any money going to UNRWA from the US government (its biggest contributor). The lead negotiator for the Democrats was U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut. On Feb. 2 he had called UNRWA “indispensable.” Yet days later he made the deal to cripple it. On PBS he said he did it to appease Republicans so they wouldn’t block humanitarian aid to Gaza. He also made the far-fetched claim that other agencies could do UNRWA’s work.

The bill passed the Senate and went to the House, where the Republicans hope to take out all the economic and humanitarian aid. Will they also take out the language on UNRWA? Not a chance.

Rally in Hamden for Ceasefire Resolution

by Paula Panzarella, rally participant

photo: Paula Panzarella

On Feb. 20, from 6-7 p.m., over a hundred people were in front of Hamden Town Hall, rallying in favor of a draft resolution for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza fighting. “Permanent Ceasefire Now,” “Another Jew for a Free Palestine,” “Stop the Killing,” and “Let Gaza Live” were some of the banners held by the crowd.

Shortly after 7 p.m., many people attended the meeting to give testimony about the need for local municipalities to take a stand against the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza. The hearing lasted well past midnight, with more than four hours of public commentary. The Town Council did not vote that night and may take up the resolution at a following Town Council meeting.

What Can We Do to Create Peace In the Midst of Conflict? Feb. 14, 2024

Two respected professors have agreed to participate in our third Conversation: Dr. Anat Belitzki, Quinnipiac University and Tel-Aviv University, Israel, and Dr. Jimmy Jones, Islamic Seminary of America. As before, we will have an emphasis on listening, learning, and face-to-face conversations at small tables.

To protect the “safety” of participants and encourage honest conversations, we are once again not sending out press releases.

That means that it depends on each of us to spread word about the event. Feel free to copy the attached flyer, post it, email it to friends, share on social media.

The more participants we have, the richer the conversation.

Petition to the New Haven Board of Alders: Support a Ceasefire in Gaza

At least 30,000 Palestinians have been murdered by Israel in the last 3 months, including more than 10,000 children.

This ongoing genocide is supported by US military and with your tax money. $69,076,862 of Connecticut residents’ federal tax dollars are given annually to Israel. New Haven alone supplies $1,838,975 per year.

We call on our alders to pass an emergency resolution calling for:

  • an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank
  • unrestricted entry of immediate humanitarian aid into Gaza
  • an end to US funding of the violence done by the Israeli military & illegal settlements
  • release of all hostages including Palestinians arbitrarily detained by Israel
  • immediate restoration of electricity, water, food and medical supplies to Gaza
  • an end to the siege and blockade of Gaza
  • reaffirming our Board of Alders’ commitment to combat anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia in all forms, and to ensure the dignity and safety of all its residents



After Weeks of Telling Israel Not to Widen Gaza War, US Widens It to Iraq and Yemen

by Dave Lindorff, a 2019 “Izzy” winner who has written for Rolling Stone, NY Times, Nation, FAIR, Salon, London Review of Books.

Americans are finally getting sick of US warmongering. For weeks we’ve been reading articles and hearing broadcast reports about how the Biden administration, including President Biden himself and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as US Ambassador to Israel Jacob Lew and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, have been warning Israel not to cause or allow the war on Gaza to spread across the borders of Israel and its occupied territories into other parts of the Middle East.

Suddenly, the US Navy ships based in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, along with some British ships and planes (added no doubt to be able to call it a “coalition” effort), have hit suspected Houthi militia targets in Yemen, making it the US itself, not Israel, that is “expanding the war.”

This act of war, ordered by President Biden without so much as a consultation with Congress, where progressive Democrats and Republicans are expressing outrage, is doubly dangerous because the Houthi militia being pummeled by the US and Britain are allies or/and are supplied by Iran.

The US also rolled out another provocation — a rocket attack that killed the leader of a Hezbollah militia unit right in central Baghdad. As the headline over that story in the Washington Post put it: “US Strike in Baghdad Raises Specter of a Wider War.”

“Raises the specter,” indeed, and not just outside Israel’s and Palestine’s borders but potentially all the way across Europe and the Atlantic to the US.

Now, admittedly, the US has long dismissed the laws of war, at least when it comes to applying them to its own actions. But however cavalier Washington is about those laws, they are universal and they do say that when a country does violate them, using certain banned weapons for example, or invading a country that doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the attacker, the country that is the target of such violation has the right to respond in kind. So Americans ought to know that attacking a Hezbollah target who is under the protection of the Iraqi government in central Baghdad is actually inviting Iraq, the host country, or Hezbollah, the victim, to attack leaders in the US, either where its troops are based abroad (for example in Iraq) or in DC. Same goes for the US attacks on Houthi militia sites in Yemen. After enduring attacks against their forces and the Yemeni people by Saudi Arabia for years (with US-supplied weapons and direct assistance), the Houthis, at this point, are warning that “US interests” will now be retaliated against.

It’s easy to see how this kind of tit-for-tat, started by a hubristic USA leadership, could quickly spiral out of control. Suppose the Houthis were to launch an anti-ship missile and sink or heavily damage a US Navy vessel in the Persian Gulf…

For the rest of this article, please go to: For this and other articles:

Resisting the War on Gaza: An Appeal from the New Haven Sunday Vigil

Joan Cavanagh, vigil participant

We are witnessing, in real-time, ongoing genocide against the people of Gaza. It could not occur without US military aid and financial support. We urgently appeal to you to join the New Haven Sunday Vigil for Peace and Justice as part of your other efforts to end this atrocity.

The vigil began in May of 1999 as a project of the Connecticut Peace Coalition/ New Haven in response to the US bombing of Kosovo. Similar to the postal service before privatization, defunding, and DeJoy, we’ve vigiled most Sundays since, in sun, rain, snow and sleet, in temperatures ranging from several degrees below zero to 95 degrees above. Our message is simple: Resist this Endless War. By this we mean, resist our permanent state of war and preparations for it, overseas and at home.

Participant numbers have fluctuated from a “high” of 15 to 20 during the initial post-911 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 war on Iraq to a “low” of three to four in recent years. Occasionally, we’ve been told by a dismissive passerby that the US is “at peace.” Not exactly. Consider our ongoing nuclear weapons buildup; our drone bombings against many countries of the world; our “covert” operations and global regime change maneuvers; and our funding of wars conducted by client states. Consider our government’s war on poor and vulnerable populations to benefit a smaller and smaller number of global ultra-rich. Remember that these are ongoing, bipartisan issues.

When our regular vigil participants dwindled to a new low at the end of last summer, we figured we’d had a good run and considered ending it. Then came the terrible October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, followed immediately by an orgy of collective punishment supported by US funds and materiel against civilians in Gaza. It has, as of this writing, taken the lives of over 25,000 people, an estimated two-thirds of whom are children.

We continue with more urgency than ever. We need your help. For more information about the content of the vigil and how to join, please call 203-668-9082 or contact [email protected] or  [email protected].

Jews Call on CT Labor Unions to Support Ceasefire and Free Speech

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven

Thursday, Nov. 13, 2023: Today the New Haven chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVPNH) released an open letter criticizing the retaliation against former SEIU CT State Council Executive Director Kooper Caraway and urging SEIU to support a ceasefire in Israel-Palestine and to defend workers from retaliation and firings based on support for Palestinian freedom.

“As Jews, we know that conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism only makes Jews less safe. Instead of retaliating against its members for speaking out for Palestine, the CT labor movement should be joining us in calling for an immediate ceasefire,” said Shelly Altman of JVPNH.

“We are living in a time of McCarthyite repression and as a rabbi, I affirm that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Speaking critically of the Israeli government and its actions, demanding a ceasefire, and supporting Palestinian rights are not anti-Semitic,” said Rabbi May Ye of Mending Minyan, a Jewish congregation based in New Haven.

“In Connecticut, we have free speech rights vis-a-vis our private employers. It is illegal for a private employer to fire, discipline, or threaten any employee for speech protected by the First Amendment,” said James Bhandary-Alexander, an experienced civil rights and labor attorney who teaches at Yale Law School.

The statement, released on Instagram, describes Kooper Caraway’s resignation as “a great loss” for movements for justice in Connecticut and affirms that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism. It urges the Connecticut and national labor movement to “stand up for all workers who are facing retaliation and firings for speaking out and organizing for freedom and ceasefire” as well as “demand a ceasefire, halt the provision of weapons to Israel, and end the occupation and Israeli apartheid.”

To find out more about Jewish Voice for Peace, visit our website for campaigns, news, local organizing chapters, and ways to take action.

Israel-Gaza War’s Grief Spills onto Church St.

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct. 9, 2023

Half an hour into a tense and loud and flag-filled standoff between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protesters on the front steps of City Hall, city police brought in barricades to physically separate the two sides….

That was the scene outside of City Hall at 165 Church St. Monday afternoon during an at-times combustible, but never violent, set of dueling rallies sparked by the horrific bloodshed of the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza.

photo: Thomas Breen

Several hundred people from across the city and the state turned out for the parallel protests … The two sides took turns, and shouted over one another, about the Israeli occupation, Hamas terrorism, open-air prisons and blockades, the kidnapping and murder of civilians, the righteous uprising of a dispossessed people, the righteous defense of democracy….

“Free, free Palestine!” one side cheered over and over again at Monday’s rally. “From Hamas!” cheered the other side in response.

The pro-Palestine protest was organized by a number of student and local lefty political groups, including the Connecticut Democratic Socialists of America, Yalies for Palestine, the Party for Socialism and Liberation-Connecticut, and Wesleyan Students for Justice in Palestine….

The pro-Israel contingent, meanwhile, saw a mix of New Haveners and Connecticut residents, many of whom are members of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic community, and nearly all of whom have close ties to and family and friends currently living in Israel….

Joshua Pernick, the rabbi in residence and director of Jewish life and community relations at the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, told the Independent about his brother, who after a weeklong vacation in the United States returned to his home in Holon, Israel, this weekend just hours after Hamas began its attack. He and his wife and six-month-old child have been shuttling between shelters ever since, Pernick said. … ​“The problem of terrorism is it doesn’t discriminate….”

Faisal Saleh, the founder and director of Woodbridge’s Palestine Museum, showed up to the other side of City Hall’s steps Monday to support those rallying for Palestine.

Saleh was born and raised in the West Bank. He moved to the U.S. when he was 17, in 1969. He said he’s been communicating with Palestinian artists in Gaza who he knows through his museum work every few hours, just to make sure they are still alive amid the Israeli army’s strikes.
“Everybody is waiting to see what will happen,” he said….

[The article can be read in its entirety at]

News from Palestine from Dr. Qumsiyeh

by Stanley Heller, Director, Middle East Crisis Committee

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Director of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, spoke twice in Connecticut in August, once at the Palestine Museum US in Woodbridge and the next day in Hartford at the Unitarian Society. He brought us up to date on the impressive activities of his institute and the Palestine Museum of Natural History, which is one of its projects.

Qumsiyeh lived in Connecticut at the start of the 2000s as he headed the Cytogenetics Department at the Yale Medical School. He was very active in Palestinian human rights work and co-founded the Palestine Right to Return Campaign. He returned to Palestine a decade ago. In his talks, he maintained that despite what is usually said, Palestine was a peaceful area for most of its thousands of years history. He dated recent problems to the Zionist movement and its settler colonial project.

As a bit of activism at the events we passed out copies of a picture of a two-year-old boy named Mohammed Tamimi, who was shot to death by an Israeli sniper on June 1. The ultra-right Israeli government almost immediately excused the sniper from all responsibility and expressed “regret.” We briefly chanted “Justice for Mohammed Tamimi.”

The one bit of good news discussed was the open letter called the “Elephant in the Room,” which was signed at the time of the meetings by over 700 academics and public figures decrying Israeli apartheid and telling Jewish leaders in the U.S. that democracy in Israel could only be maintained if it included equal treatment for Palestinians. The number of signers, overwhelmingly Jewish, has since swelled to more than 1,800. The wall of Jewish support for the Israeli government has a deep fissure.

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