Good Start, Ben & Jerry’s: Now Finish the Job! — Take Action

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace NH

UPDATE: The international Work Group of the Central CT Democratic Socialists of America is holding a “Eat an Ice Cream for Palestine” on Sat. Oct 9 at 1 p.m. starting at the Ben and Jerrys store in New Haven. The store is at 159 Temple St., New Haven. It’s near the New Haven Green. We’ll take photos of ourselves eating or holding B&J ice creams followed by a walk to the New Haven Green and an informal discussion about Palestine. – Stanley Heller, DSA Int Work Group member.

On July 19, 2021, Ben & Jerry’s (B&J) announced that it is inconsistent with their values to sell their ice cream in the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). They will not renew their license agreement with their Israeli licensee when it expires at the end of 2022.

We at Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven and the New Haven Mending Minyan Havurah join with so many Vermonters in lauding this long-overdue decision by B&J’s, in particular because it was taken as part of B&J’s long-time advocacy for human rights and economic and social justice. But it does not go far enough. The very principles that drove B&J’s decision demand that the company withdraw from selling their products in both the OPT settlements as well as in the state of Israel itself. Furthermore, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, must commit itself to ending ties with Israel for any action to be meaningful.

Here’s why:

  • Earlier this year, both the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued detailed reports which document Israel’s control over all the territory it administers as an apartheid regime. B’Tselem notes that “one organizing principle lies at the base of a wide array of Israeli policies: advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.” HRW notes that “deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” Both reports document apartheid conditions in both the OPT and in the state of Israel itself.
  • B&J ice cream is manufactured in Israel in Be’er Tuvia (adjacent to the town of Kiryat Malachi). Kiryat Malachi is one of four Israeli localities located on the lands of the former Palestinian village of Qastina, destroyed and emptied by Israeli troops in 1948. Be’er Tuvia is in southern Naqab about 20 miles from the Erez crossing into Gaza. B&J products are transported to the illegal OPT settlements on Jewish-only roads. The factory draws water from the Jordan River system and the Mountain Aquifer in the occupied West Bank, the two highest-quality water sources in the region. At the same time, Israel severely controls and restricts West Bank Palestinian residents’ access to water from those same sources, reducing it to a level which neither meets their domestic and agricultural needs nor constitutes a fair distribution of shared water resources. The apartheid regime practiced by Israel in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River requires that to be consistent with its social justice values, B&J terminate sales in all of that land. Israel considers its illegal settlements to be part of its state. We celebrate this first step, but it is not enough. Unilever must work to finish the job that the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s started and cut the flow of money to this apartheid state.

News Flash: Our Third District Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, has just introduced a standalone bill whose sole purpose is to gift Israel with yet another $1 billion so that it can continue to “defend” itself while it mercilessly besieges Gaza and conducts one devastating bombing after the next. This is on top of the $3.8 billion per year of our tax dollars that are already going for the same purpose.

This bill is being fast-tracked by the “Democratic” leadership and will almost certainly pass with “bipartisan” support, but we need to let Rosa know how outraged we are at this. Express it as soon as possible at (202) 225-3661.

It’s No Coincidence that Power Plants Are in Poor Neighborhoods

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

A climate rally in Hartford on Sept. 18 blasted the usual practice of putting power plants and waste processing facilities in minority and poor areas, calling it environmental racism. Speakers, almost all of whom were people of color, spoke from the park’s bandshell, in front of signs that read “Fossil fuels make us sick,” and “End environmental racism.”

They called on Gov. Ned Lamont, who talks “green” but makes no objection to pipelines and fossil fuel power plants, to change his tune.  In particular, speakers mentioned Killingly in the poorer eastern part of the state that will be saddled with another methane-burning power plant if industry and Lamont have their way. It will also pump out massive amounts of global warming gases. About 100 watched from grassy areas not in the surprisingly blistering September sun.

A number of groups had tables or booths at the rally. Promoting Enduring Peace had a booth draped with banners about our bold ideas on climate. Rather than appeal to the fossil fuel companies like Exxon and Shell to go “green,” PEP called for the popular takeover of the whole fossil fuel industry and its gradual abolition. We called for carbon capture by preserving mature trees (like the ones in Remington Woods in Bridgeport) and re-wilding land. We also asked for rationing the use of burned fuels (not only fossil fuels, but so-called “bioenergy”) as long as it’s absolutely necessary to use them.

Earlier in September, a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection report revealed that Connecticut is not even on track to meet targets set by the CT Legislature for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The latest figures were from 2018 and showed that emissions actually rose from 2017 to 2018. The elite may think environmental racism keeps them safe, but we are losing the battle for a livable climate and that will be disastrous for all.

To see the video of the rally go to PEPeace.org.

New Haven Sunday Vigil continues, Oct. 19, 2021

Twenty years have passed since the U.S. kicked off its Global War on Terror.

An entire generation has grown up in an America where an endless war is being waged against an ill-defined enemy, and the whole world has become our military playground.

The House of Representatives only recently voted to end the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), first passed in 2001, by which the Congress abdicated its duty to evaluate evidence that might constitute a cause for war as well as its responsibility and accountability for making the momentous decision to kill, maim and destroy in foreign lands. The AUMF delegated war-making power to the President alone, and war has become a mere political talking point. Waging war is now a casual bureaucratic exercise instead of a painful decision. Formerly reviled practices such as “preventive” war, indefinite detention, and torture are accepted as normal. Our leaders have felt free to tell us lies to trick citizens into supporting wars, and when those lies were discovered, most people were OK with that.

The US left Afghanistan because it LOST THE WAR. Its national reputation has suffered because of its reckless disregard for others and because it abandoned its allies – notably women and girls, minority groups, and the social progressives – to their enemies. It abandoned the Afghans who relied upon the US and believed it had their backs. Notably, the US also lightly abandoned the Kurds not long ago, just as it abandoned the South Vietnamese almost half a century ago.

After a half-baked military misadventure in Lebanon during the Reagan administration and with the country still struggling with memories of the Vietnam War, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger formulated the following doctrine:

  • The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
  • US troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
  • US combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
  • The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
  • US troops should not be committed to battle without a reasonable assurance of the support of US public opinion and Congress.
  • The commitment of US troops should be considered only as a last resort.

The Weinberger Doctrine is not perfect, but if it had been applied to our decision-making over the past 20 years, it would have gone a long way toward preventing our latest iteration of endless war.
America needs to change. We have to make the care and development of our own country a priority. We need to ensure every person’s rights are respected. We need to end racism. We need to be better educated. We need to continue to develop new, clean technology. We need to set national financial priorities to support the general welfare instead of coddling the ultra-rich. We need to rein in our desire to use our military to roam the world punishing others for being “bad guys.”
We need to support the Afghan refugees.

We need to support the members of our military who were so misused over the last 20 years. Since 9/11, military suicides are four times higher than deaths in war operations.

Finally, we need to end this country’s addiction to war.

The New Haven Sunday Vigil is every Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway, Park, and Elm since 1999.  newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

CT Green Energy News from the Sept. 10 issue

One day after CT announces failure to meet emissions targets, Energy Efficiency Board approves plan to continue fossil fuel subsidies. From the Sierra Club CT:

The Energy Efficiency Board’s approval of plans to use ratepayer money to subsidize using more gas will only fuel more pollution and make it even harder for Connecticut to meet its climate pollution targets…  Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Commissioner Dykes should reject any plan from the EEB that subsidizes dirty fossil fuels; and tell them to try again and produce a plan that promotes energy efficiency savings, while ending subsidies for climate-destroying fossil fuels…  Continuing to subsidize polluting fossil fuels defies logic.

CT Green Energy online newsletter is a great resource for environmental activists and clean energy advocates. To subscribe, send an e-mail to pace4ct@gmail.com.

What is Yale For?

Ian Skoggard, New Haven Rising

On Oct. 2, Yale University is publicly launching a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $6 billion. An email to alumni announcing the campaign asks, “What are you for?” and says, “Together we can have a positive impact on the world!” The Yale Fair Share Coalition is asking the question, “What is Yale for?”

While Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital received a $157 million tax break from our city this past year, Yale University, one year past its deadline, still has not honored its hiring commitment to our city’s low-income neighborhoods.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, the New Haven community will gather at Grove and Prospect streets to call on Yale to do more and increase its voluntary payment to the city and honor its commitments. Please join us! It is time for Yale to understand that its mission to improve the world must begin in its own backyard!

News from Friends of Kensington Playground

Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Our fight to save Dwight’s only public playground continues. We have two updates to share:

  1. Failure to inform the Dwight community of a project change: The Community Builders (TCB) has asked City for permission to separate the Kensington Square Phase II project into two separate projects, so that TCB can proceed with renovating existing units while the lawsuit holds up the new construction on Kensington Playground. We, and others, have been asked to submit comments on the proposed project split. Once again, the City has not created a public process so citizens can understand the implications and express an opinion. If the project is split, will TCB have to start over to get all approvals for the new construction? It is hard to finance a low-income housing project of just 15 units. Will the city require proof of financing before it commits to giving Kensington Playground to TCB? FOKP has asked the City to provide answers to these and other questions in a public manner, so that all residents have a chance to weigh in on this proposed change that affects our lives and community. You can read the City’s letter, as well as our response, on our website. We support affordable housing–just not on our park.
  2. Fall/Halloween Event in KP: We will be hosting a Fall/ Halloween festival in Kensington Playground on Saturday, October 30, 1-4 p.m. Details are still being planned, but it is sure to be fun–and ghoulish. Please check out the events section of our website for more information.

‘Thank you’ to those of you who have donated to our campaign. The lawyers continue to file procedural motions. Our lawsuit continues. The next court date has not been set. As the legal activity continues, so do our legal bills. We would be grateful for contributions in any amount. To get involved, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org

Don’t let the City take this playground for $1 with an illegal process. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law.

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) Stands with Afghan Families

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) is currently welcoming evacuated Afghan families and are ready on 24-hour notice to receive as many as needed.

Please help us:

Donate to defray costs of essentials upon arrival emergent costs.  Irisct.org/donate.

Join a local community group in towns around the state and work with IRIS to welcome families in your community. irisct.org/communitycosponsorship.

Collect backpacks, school supplies, winter coats and waterproof winter boots. Our storage is limited at this moment. Please email info@irisct.org.

The Pathway Towards Peace and Providence and the Demand for Parity (50%M/50%FM) in Governance

Frank Rohrig, PAR subscriber

Join with the mutually departed spirits of two feisty, caring and compassionate women, Caroline Bridgman-Rees and Elaine M. Rohrig, who spent their lives caring for the well-being and betterment of others. It shall be with the collaborative caring spirit of both aforementioned “patriots” and today’s like-minded men and women, that we can move to expedite that Egalitarian Society we (the people) were promised in the attainment of world peace, and our very salvation via the essential DEMAND for PARITY in the decision-making process of governing our citizenry.

Seeing as how we’ve recognized the realities of life’s “evolutional changes” via modernization’s awareness of reasoning, truth, facts inclusive scientific substantiation, the very threat to our Secular Republic Democracy on Jan. 6, 2021, with the seditious insurrection requires a reaffirmation of historical facts in lieu of the propaganda and lies that have been initiated, instigated and propagated bringing us to the potential state of pernicious outcomes. It appears that the prerequisite in today’s (2021) political realm seems to be continually facilitated by our ever-growing body of lying, gutless, propagandizing hypocrites that moneyed interests have bought to continue their pillaging of our nation, shall not be abated until a revolutionary movement that negates the multitude of injustices that divide us are first exposed as was done during our 1700s/1800s Era of Enlightenment, and then defied and negated permanently.

We as a nation are more divided now (2021) and more subject to the detrimental outcomes of our present status than after the insidious seditious insurrection, our comparative era prior to our nation’s Civil War via “Sectional Strife” for roughly a decade of hateful racist violence that occurred during our mid-1850s to 1866. The distinction and difference is, of course, that historic period of blight on our humanity and civilization itself was fought with the weaponry of antiquated origins such as “muskets, swords, and cannons.” Henceforth a century and a half of man’s/male’s more aggressive character traits imbued at birth has been his impetus in the creation of enough powerful weaponry of assorted capacities to exact human annihilation throughout the world.

This is the present state of our nation/world (2021) and we are inundated on a daily basis via a variety of communicative sources of the awareness and substantiation that our nation/world has become more violent than at any other time throughout history; and its provocation more easily and ignorantly justified by those amongst us who seek to bring some form of harm to our Democracy and our humanity for all “fellow beings.” Jan. 6, 2021, must be our nation’s clarion call for our nation to unify in a collaborative way to deal with our societal injustices that have been with us since our founding as a Secular-Republic-Democracy; and pursue that promise of the Egalitarian Society “we the people” were promised in order to negate this claim of superiority and supplant our dominant male governance with the right and righteous equally “weighted voices and votes” of PARITY (50% Males/50% Females) throughout our entire nation within a 4-year time frame. Doing so shall be our pathway towards providence, and societal betterment for all. 

The Egalitarian Quest

Frank Rohrig, 541 Naugatuck Avenue, Milford, CT 06460, (203) 877-2492

Oct. 5, 7 and 10: National Nurses United: National Medicare for All Postcard Parties
RSVP: act.medicare4all.org/signup/mfa-postcards

Friday/Saturday, Oct. 22/23 – 2021 Annual Meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program, now fully virtual. RSVP: pnhp.org/2021-annual-meeting

Saturday, Oct. 30, 4 p.m.: National Nurses United: priority districts Medicare for All phone bank. RSVP: zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEuceCgpj0tGdWgH_Q4Awb5kd9OAXuGuPa8

Monday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.: National Nurses United: priority districts Medicare for All phone bank. RSVP: zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAqdeuoqT8pHdZsk1PM04WAP0JS7I1erYy2

The next Medicare for All CT virtual monthly meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 12, at 7 p.m. Onwards, to guaranteed healthcare for all!

Medicare for All CT: info@medicare4allct.org.

“No country has suffered the way the United States has. Americans make up less than 5% of the global population, but account for nearly one in five of the world’s 2.3 million deaths. […] If the nation is serious about learning the lessons from this pandemic, it should reconsider implementing a universal health care plan like Medicare for All.”

— from the Medicare for All CT Facebook page

FREE Hamden Fall Drive-In Movie Series

Every Friday in October, all movies start at 7:30 p.m. at Town Center Park, 2761 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, 06518.

The Hamden Recreation Department, in partnership with the Hamden Town Center Park Commission and Hamden Police Department, announces a special Drive-In Movie Series inside Town Center Park this October!

The Drive-In Movie Series will take place Friday nights, Oct. 8 thru Oct. 29 on the 40 ft. “Big Screen” and is geared towards families, teens and couples of all ages! Limited concession vendors will be on-site, though families are encouraged to bring a meal to share in their vehicles. At this time, no picnic-style seating is available at the venue – only vehicles will have access to movie sound.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to secure a parking spot. Please be sure to follow directions from volunteers as they assist with your parking. As Town Center Park is relatively flat, parking rows will be staggered to provide the best possible viewing angles. Attendees should enter through the Hamden Middle School and continue into Town Center Park via the access road.

The Drive-In Movie Series will run every Friday night with the following schedule:

  • Oct. 8 Jurassic Park (Original)
  • Oct. 15 Hocus Pocus
  • Oct. 22 Tyler Perry’s BOO!
  • Oct. 29 The Sixth Sense

All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Grab a free “goody bag” from the Hamden police department on October 29.

Texas and the Women’s March October 2

In September, the state of Texas passed a law that is close to a full ban on abortions. In response to this, a Women’s March will be held in every state on Oct 2. As we go to press, PAR received the following information for a march in Middletown: https://www.facebook.com/womensmarchct for more info.

CONNECTICUT WOMEN’S MARCH. We are in solidarity with those marching all over the country on Saturday, Oct. 2, as a refusal to allow the government to make choices for female reproductive rights.

At 10 a.m., the march will start at South Green, Main St., Middletown, CT 06457. Bring signs and posters. We will march to reinforce that women’s bodies are not up for political decision-making. Masks required when not able to keep a distance of 6 feet.

Tap into the New Haven Cultural Fund

A partnership between the City of New Haven’s Department of Arts, Culture, and Tourism and the Arts Council of GNHV with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. Eligible individuals and organizations will be able to request up to $2,500 for community-based arts and cultural initiatives taking place within the City of New Haven now through September 2022.

Go to www.newhavenarts.org/grants for information and online application forms. Applications are available in English and Spanish.

Want more information? Contact Megan Manton at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven: Megan@NewHavenArts.org, (203) 772-2788.

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