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.

Courageous Women of Resistance Tour in CT — Oct. 21-29

by Tree of Life Education Foundation, tolef.org

In the history of popular struggles, a most important chapter will be the role of women who with courage and unflagging determination work for justice and human rights in their communities. Women helped to bring clean water to Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, and women were at the forefront of the encampment at Standing Rock, by the contagion of their spirit helping to build an international community of resistance.

Likewise in Israel and Palestine, in the refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, in organizations such as “Bedouin Women for Themselves” and “Grassroots Jerusalem,” women are helping to build a non-violent resist-ance movement. By refusing to be silenced or compromised by the militarism of settler colonialism, these women are speaking truth to power and in doing so, they are helping to bring enlightenment and engagement in the struggle to build a better and more peaceful future for their children.

This program will be taking place at the following locations: Saturday, October 21, Yale, New Haven – details to come. Sunday, Oct. 29, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Street, Old Lyme – details to come.

The Courageous Women speakers: Madonna Thunder Hawk, a member of the Oohenumpa band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, has a long history of grassroots activism prior to her formative work for Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP) as a Tribal Liaison. She is co-founder of Women of All Red Nations (WARN), as well as the Black Hills Alli-ance—which prevented corporate uranium mining in the Black Hills and proved the high level of radiation in Pine Ridge reservation’s water supply.

Fayrouz Sharqawi works as the Advocacy Coordinator at Grassroots Jerusalem, a platform for Palestinian community-based mobilization, leadership and advocacy in Occupied Jerusalem. They believe that the challenges and responses of Palestinian communities must be articulated and led by them.

Barghouti and Nader Accept Gandhi Peace Award

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Hundreds gathered at Yale’s SSS building on April 23 to celebrate the Gandhi Peace Award being jointly given to Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader. The award has been presented since 1960 by Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP).

Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti was introduced by Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. She decried his Israeli arrest on March 19 as “politically motivated.” She called him a “charismatic speaker, a brilliant writer, savvy campaign strategist, and a principled thinker.”

Barghouti began his talk by noting Palestine “lingers on in colonial chains.” He dedicated his award to Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israel. He asked that his $2,500 prize money be given in equal shares to Black Lives Matter, Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Friends of Sabeel North America. He talked about the “striking similarities” between Israeli treatment of Palestinians and that of blacks in the days of apartheid South Africa. He noted the recent decision of Barcelona, Spain, which ended its complicity with Israeli settlements and explicitly defended boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). He also listed many other BDS victories.

Ralph Nader was introduced by activist and mediator Charles Pillsbury, who said he was inspired to be a lawyer by Nader and wanted to be one of the activists dubbed “Nader’s Raiders.”

Ralph Nader said he was a student of Gandhi’s thinking that “open non-violent disobedience be active and not passive.” He said, “Peace is desirable not just on philosophical, religious or argumentative grounds, but a survival mechanism which transcends cultures.”

He talked about terrorism, and said the worst terrorism was “state terrorism” which “is always legitimized as in the ser-vice of national defense.”

At the end of his talk, he mentioned Palestinians and Israelis.

He denounced settlements as “illegal colonies.” He talked about breaking the grip of the lobby AIPAC on Congress and categorized some of the resolutions it advances as “bloody beyond belief.” He asked “Who has killed more than 400 times the number of innocent men, women, and children than the other side? The answer is the Israeli government.”

The talks were warmly received with standing ovations.

For more on this year’s awards, visit http://www.pepeace.org/gpa-2017-video-and-photos.

Palestinian Dance and Hip Hop at SCSU

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

On Thursday, March 30, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven will be partnering with SCSU Women’s Studies Department and Tree of Life to present the touring Shoruq Debka and Hip Hop. Shoruq, an initiative of Palestinian refugees, has two debka dance troupes (traditional Palestinian dance), one for adolescents and one for younger children. Participants are trained in dance techniques that allow them to express their thoughts, opinions and national identity. The troupe of dancers in the tour are age 13-16.
Shoruq envisions Palestinian refugees striving individually and collectively to attain and exercise their rights, especially the right of return to their original lands, and realizing dignified lives for themselves in the meanwhile until their return. It provides free legal aid and psychosocial support to refugee children in conflict with the law; owns and operates a media center that offers trainings and access to equipment to help children, youth and professionals generate media forms including music, online radio, video; uses art as a tool for advocacy; and creates many projects geared towards the social development of the refugee community.

Shoruq’s hip hop group is specialized for girls, currently 9 girls. The girls write about their feelings and experiences as refugees and as girls to share them with the world. They re-cord their original songs at Shoruq’s media center. Hip hop is a means for advocating and reinforcing children rights and refugee rights. They meet regularly to share new ideas and get training from Shoruq’s volunteers who have a good background in hip hop.

An excerpt from one of the Shoruq songs:
All I need in this life, is to be free
Free, from this cage, but I need a key
The key for a life waiting for me
If only you’ve seen what my eyes still see`
Problems after problems, yet in poverty
IDENTIFIED, without identity
I will fight for my country till eternity under the name of justice, humanity I want to live, I want to learn, and I want to be successful
Even if it’s stressful
Just for staying alive, for life I am grateful
I’m right here, and that’s what I rap for
All my life I’ve been paying them up prices
I’m depending on luck, so I’m just throwing dices

Details: March 30, 7:30 p.m. Engleman Hall, C112, SCSU, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. $15 general, $5 students, available at www.eventbrite.com/e/palestinian-debka-hip-hop-in-new-haven-tickets-31114730998 or email newhaven@jvp.org Web: www.jvpnh.org Facebook: jvpnewhaven Twitter: @jvpnewhaven.

No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine

by Nina Stein, Jewish Voice for Peace

On Feb. 1, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven will be partnering with Tree of Life to present a program “No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine.”  The presentation will feature Ahed Tamimi*, a charismatic and articulate 15 year old from the West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, who will discuss the brutal injustices to which she and others her age are subjected on a continuing daily basis.

Ahed will be joined by Amanda Weatherspoon, a Unitarian Universalist minister and Black liberation activist from the San Francisco Bay Area, whose ministry is centered on collective liberation and cross-movement solidarity between oppressed people. Nadya Tannous, a writer and organizer who has researched the detention of Palestinian minors since 2013, will join the two to provide additional insight into the realities Palestinian minors face within the Israeli detention system.

In addition to discussing the life of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation, the presentation will show how the struggle for human rights in Palestine is inextricably linked with the struggle for civil and human rights here in the US.

The event will take place on February 1 in New Haven at 7 p.m. at Sudler Hall, William L. Harkness Hall, Yale University on Cross Campus.

This presentation is part of a three week, 18 city U.S. tour organized by Friends of Sabeel (FOSNA). FOSNA is part of Sabeel, a movement initiated by Palestinian Christians, which promotes theological, moral and legal principles for peace in the Holy Land.

Email: newhaven@jvp.org; Web: www.jvpnh.org; Facebook: jvpnewhaven; Twitter: @jvpnewhaven

* Ahed, who was originally to appear in person, has been denied a travel visa by the U.S. State Department, so arrangements are being made to have her speak about the situation on the ground and share her story by live-stream video.

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