U.S. army officers were taught ‘America is at war with Islam:’ Pentagon probe

U.S. military officers were enrolled in an elective class on Islamic radicalism which was first offered in 2004. (File photo)

U.S. military officers were enrolled in an elective class on Islamic radicalism which was first offered in 2004.
The Pentagon announced on Wednesday it was investigating how a claim that the United States was at war with Islam had been used in training course materials for mid-ranking army officers.

The course included lessons which suggested “the United States is at war with Islam and we ought to just recognize that,” said Navy Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, on Wednesday, according to the Army Times.

Kirby said the material did not reflect the view of the U.S. military.

 “That is not at all what we believe to be the case. We are at war against terrorism, specifically al-Qaeda, which has a warped view of the Islamic faith. We don’t consider ourselves at war with Islam,” he told reporters.
The course, “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” taught at Joint Forces Staff College to lieutenant colonels, has been suspended, Kirby added.

“Our concern is that there are some unprofessional things being taught to students in a professional military education curriculum.”

In addition to the inquiry at the staff college in Norfolk, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has ordered a force-wide review of all training materials to “scrub” and remove any anti-Islamic elements.

Hundreds of military officers have enrolled in the elective class on Islamic radicalism since it was first offered in 2004. The curriculum was reviewed and approved in 2011, but it is unclear when the information about a broad war between the U.S. and the Islamic religion was added.

“What we do not know is when this inflammatory language got inserted into the actual course material. That is what the inquiry is going to find out — how long have some of these notions been taught?” Kirby said.

(english.alarabiya.net / 25.04.2012)

Palestinian Flag to Fly in London Olympics, Says Official

RAMALLAH, April 18, 2012 (WAFA) – British Consul General Vincent Finn Wednesday said that the Palestinian flag will fly alongside the flags of every other participating nation in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games that will kick off in 100 days.

Finn said in a press conference in Ramallah marking 100 days to go until the London 2012 Olympics that “the Palestinian Olympic and Paralympics athletes have overcome unique obstacles to participate in the London games, and have demonstrated an inspiring unity of purpose, overcoming the difficulty of division that we all hope ends soon.”
He stressed that the Palestinian cause is one that resonates in the United Kingdom, especially at a time when people around the world focus on the principles of the Olympic Truce and the concept of non-violence.
“We strongly hope that a negotiated solution between Palestine and Israel will enable Palestine to one day compete in the Olympics as a full member of the community of nations – enabling Palestinian athletes to compete as their competitors do under the name of their state,” said Finn.
He added that the UK welcomes the work of President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the Palestinian Authority to develop the capacity to run a democratic and peaceful state, founded on the rule of law and living in peace and security with Israel.
Finn also said that the UK is funding sports clothing for the Palestinian Olympic team and will be working with Palestinian sporting charities over the coming year to ensure that the legacy of London 2012 will be alive in Palestine.
(english.wafa.ps / 25.04.2012)


Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Organisation | April 18, 2012

Addameer Calls for Continued Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners on Mass Hunger Strike

Ramallah, 18 April 2012 – Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons launched a mass hunger strike yesterday, 17 April, on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. The call for hunger strike came amidst a wave of individual hunger strikes initiated in the past few months, and prisoners on hunger strike continue to face punishments by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS).

An estimated 1,200 Palestinian prisoners (Note: number on April 18, 2012. On April 24 est.3000 participating the strike)  announced the beginning of an open hunger strike yesterday, along with approximately 2,300 who refused meals and are currently preparing for a wider campaign of disobedience. The hunger striking prisoners’ demands include: an end to the IPS’ abusive use of isolation for “security” reasons, which currently affects ­­­­19 prisoners, some of whom have spent 10 years in isolation; an end to Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial in administrative detention, under which 322 Palestinians are currently detained; a repeal of a series of punitive measures taken against Palestinian prisoners following the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, including the denial of family visits for all Gaza prisoners since 2007 and denial of access to university education since June 2011.
This collective hunger strike follows the 22-day day campaign of disobedience, including a mass hunger strike, launched at the end of September 2011 in protest of the escalating series of punitive measures taken against Palestinian prisoners in prior months. On 18 October, prisoners put their hunger strike on hold in light of the prisoner exchange dealconcluded by Israel and Hamas. As most of the punitive measures taken by the IPS against prisoners were part of a policy aimed at collectively punishing them for the continued incarceration of Gilad Shalit, it was expected that these would be reversed with his release. At the time of the first phase of prisoner releases, the spokespersons for the prisoner’s movement made a deal with the IPS that the policy of isolation and other punitive measures would be stopped within three months if the prisoners ceased their hunger strike. Today marks six months since this agreement was made, and no policy changes have yet occurred. Prisoners have therefore re-launched their hunger strike to demand their most basic rights.

Notably, at least ten Palestinian prisoners remain on extended hunger strikes launched during and following the inspiring individual hunger strikes of Khader Adnan, who was on hunger strike for 66 days and released from administrative detention at around 11:00 pm yesterday, and Hana Shalabi, who ended her hunger strike after 43 days. Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh are currently on their 50th day of hunger strike in protest of their administrative detention. They are both being held in Ramleh Prison medical center, where their health is rapidly deteriorating. Three other administrative detainees have also been moved to Ramleh Prison medical center, including Hassan Safadi, Omar Abu Shalal and Jaafar Azzedine, on their 45th, 43rd and 28th days of hunger strike respectively. Ahmad Saqer, the currently longest-held administrative detainee, is on his 32nd day of hunger strike.

Mohammed Suleiman, Thalassemia patient, is also refusing medical treatment in protest of his administrative detention. Four additional prisoners remain on hunger strike for other reasons, including: Mohammad Taj, on his 32nd day of hunger strike demanding to be treated as a prisoner of war; Mahmoud Sarsak, moved to Ramleh Prison medical center on 16 April and on his 27th day of hunger strike in protest of being held under Israel’s Unlawful Combatants Law; Azzam Diab, on his 23rd day of hunger strike in solidarity with his brother Bilal; and Abdullah Barghouti, on his 7th day of hunger strike in protest of his ongoing isolation.

These prisoners have all been punished for their hunger strikes by being placed in solitary confinement and denied family visits. The prisoners involved in the mass hunger strike have also already begun to face punishments by the IPS. In an attempt to isolate them from the rest of the prisoners, prisoners on hunger strike in Rimon prison have been transferred to the isolation section of the prison and prisoners on hunger strike in Eshel prison have been transferred to Ohalei Keidar, where no other Palestinian political prisoners are held. Even more troubling, the IPS has made it exceedingly difficult for independent doctors to visit the hunger striking prisoners and has prevented hunger strikers from meeting with their lawyers.

Addameer particularly condemns the IPS’ efforts to ban Addameer lawyer Samer Sam’an from all prison visits following the increasing number of Palestinian prisoners engaging in hunger strike. After being frequently denied visits upon request, the deputy director of Ofer prison informed Mr. Sam’an on 10 April that he would receive an official ban on access to all prisoners. According to IPS regulations, the director of a prison can decide to ban a lawyer visit to an individual prisoner for two days, after informing that prisoner, which can then be extended by the head of the IPS for up to one year. Mr. Sam’an’s ban therefore violates even the IPS’ own regulations, as he is now effectively being banned from access to all prisoners. Addameer anticipates that the IPS will continue to use tactics employed in last fall’s hunger strike in order to systematically prevent lawyers from having access to the hunger strikers, such as moving prisoners to other prisons without informing their lawyers, in an attempt to further isolate the hunger strikers and undermine their campaign.

Addameer calls on the diplomatic community to pressure Israel to immediately allow for hunger striking prisoners to have access to necessary healthcare and legal advisement. Addameer further urges all political parties, institutions, organizations and solidarity groups working in the field of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory and abroad to support the prisoners in their hunger strike and demand that their legitimate demands be granted. Addameer will continue to closely follow the prisoner’s campaign of civil disobedience and provide regular updates on the situation as it develops.

EMOHR urges Europeans to support prisoners’ hunger striking

Al-Qassam Website: The Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Human Rights (EMOHR) started contacting some European and international officials, within the framework of the European Campaign for the Defense of Palestinian prisoners, which was launched a few days ago, and which aims at supporting the prisoners.

EMOHR said in a statement on Sunday (22-4), that it contacted Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Nils Muižnieks, urging him to support the striking  Palestinian prisoners’ demands, guaranteed in the international humanitarian law and to exercise pressure on the Israeli government, to stop its punitive policies as well as to use the Council’s influence to push the bodies concerned with the issue to support the prisoners’ demands. Read more at the website of Al Qassam Brigades

Israel violating more rights: Suppressing Hunger Strikers

April 23, 2012 | Day 7 of hungerstrike

Israel is now attacking prisoners on hungerstrike (Source) in several ways which all display the disrespect of human lives and rights. Varying from raiding cells, looting belongings (Source), putting strikers or supporters in solitary confinement, taking radios and even take away the salt which they need to not get dehydrated. Water and electricity reportedly also cut of in a bid to force hungerstrikers to end their effort (Source)

Also supporters are attacked to put pressure on the hungerstrikers to end their strike (Source) and lawyers are banned from visiting their clients. (Source) Some can not even contact their clients because IPS moved them to unknown locations (Source)

April 24, 2012 | Day 8 of hungerstrike

  • In the meanwhile Israel re-arrested released prisoner Iyad Abu Funoon who had been released last october in the Shalit exchange deal. Reminder: all the released prisoners received a presidential pardon of president Peres. A presidential pardon equals an amnesty, yet many prisoners released in the exchange deal have been rearrested by now.
  • Prisons administration isolated the prisoner Lina Al-Jarboni to force her to stop her hunger strike. (Source)
  • 57th day of hunger strike the occupation invade the tent of support with  Bilal Thayb  in Kur Raai.  (Source arabic)
  • New: The Battle of Empty Stomachs: Khader Adnan highlights the consolation of solidarity | ISM Palestine | Apr 24, 2012
  • Israeli higher court rejects appeal for release of hunger striker Hasan Safadi | PIC | Apr 24, 2012
  • Khuffash: solidarity activities do not live up to captives’ suffering | PIC | Apr 24, 2012
  • IPS isolates sick prisoners for joining hunger strike | PIC | Apr 24, 2012

Human rights defender Bassem Tamimi was just released from over a year in prison.

After release from Israeli jail, Nabi Saleh protest leader Bassem Tamimi visits his hospitalized mom: flickr.com/photos/actives… ht@huwaidaarraf

Photo by Anne Paq – ActiveStills

April 25, 2012 | Day 9 of hungerstrike

 is on day 39 of hunger strike. He was transferred to Ramleh Prison medical center yesterday and his health is deteriorating.

‘s petition to the Israeli High Court for his release from AD was refused yesterday. He’s now on day 52 of hunger strike

Remember that Bilal Thyab and Thaer Halahela are on hunger strike since 58 days ..  .. Sharing is Caring

The prisoner Hazem Maslamni has been isolated by the administration of prisons . 

  • Palestinian history in the making: Mass hunger strike grows despite Israel’s best efforts to repress it | Electronic Intifada | Apr 25, 2012
  • BBC challenged for ignoring plight of Palestinian prisoners | Electronic Intifada | Apr 25, 2012
  • Khader Adnan to Hunger Strikers: Go Forth and Be Victorious | Al Akhbar English| Apr 25, 2012
  • 3000 Hungerstrikers and now Palestinian female prisoners to go on hunger strike twice weekly | PIC| Apr 25, 2012
  • Family of hunger striker Omar Abu Shilal fears for his life (50 days on hungerstrike & denied visits) – PIC – Apr 25, 2012
  • The full letter of Ahmad Saa’dat – via @PalHunger
  • Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike update – AIC News– April 25, 2012
  • 207 Palestinian kids are jailed by Israel. Qais Omran, seized from his bed & abused by Israeli army, is one of them – Electronic Intifada – Apr 25, 2012
  • Une grève de la faim massive des prisonniers palestiniens pour les droits les plus élémentaires – Pour La Palestine – Apr 25, 2012
  • Information bulletin “Victory or Death” – Day 9, Apr 25, 2012 (Arabic)

Follow for updates on Prisoners & Hunger Strikers


Follow for updates on Child Prisoners


Palestinian Political Prisoners: Breaking the Chains of Oppression, Marching towards Freedom

A Must read ~  by A Voice From Palestine

As Palestinian political prisoners held captive in Israeli dungeons start a general open hunger strike, stand in solidarity with them, support their just struggle and demand their freedom.
The indigenous people of occupied Palestine have been held hostage by a brutal military occupation, and confined to ghettos build in their own land. The Palestinians are held captives in their own homes, towns and villages, with military checkpoints locking them up, controlling and limiting their movement, and surrounded by Zionist colonies built on the ruins of Palestinian villages and on the bones of the Palestinians.

They are held captives in their in their own homeland, in their homes and in Israeli dungeons. Every week, tens of Palestinians are kidnapped from their homes, workplace, schools and at checkpoints. Sometimes the detained are released after a few days, after a few weeks or remain in captivity indefinitely. Currently, over 4700 Palestinians are locked up behind Israeli bars, and the Zionist entity violates their rights on a daily basis. In addition to torture, physical and verbal abuse, repeated attacks and humiliation, Palestinian political prisoners suffer from medical negligence and are denied proper nourishment.  Continue to read the story here

What can You do to help?

12 April 2012 | International Solidarity Movement

This week International Solidarity Movement is calling for international solidarity in the run up to Palestinian Prisoners Day on the 17th April. The Palestinian prisoners struggle needs immediate international attention as Israel’s treatment of prisoners under a military judicial system starkly violates international law and fundamental human rights. According to Addammer there are currently 4,637 Palestinian political prisoners are kept in Israeli military jails and detention centers, including 320 administrative detainees.

Some of the primary objectives of the prisoners struggle are:

  • To stop the system known as administrative detention, which allows the imprisonment of individuals without charge or trail
  • To halt the practice of solitary confinement.
  • To stop the use of torture and ill treatment. Palestinians are exposed to systematic ill and degrading treatment from the moment of arrest – both physiological and physical terrors are used as means of breaking the prisoners and getting details and information.
  • To stop the illegal transference of prisoners from the occupied territories into Israeli borders. Every time Israel brings a prisoner from the West bank jails inside their borders – they are in clear violation with the 4th Geneva Convention.
  • To stop the use of military courts for civilians.
  • To stop arrest and imprisonment of vulnerable groups such as children, elder and disabled.

Besides the suffering of individual prisoners, Israel systematically uses collective punishment towards the relatives of prisoners. The journeys to visit your husband, wife, son, or daughter may take up to 15 hours as the prisoners are systematically placed as far from their home as possible. Furthermore, visitors will face degrading processes of strip search at the borders to Israel and at the entrance to the prisons. Sometimes they even get turned away.

“All people and governments of conscience in the world have an immediate responsibility to put pressure on Israel forcing them to respect International law and human rights!” says Faris Sabbah, from Addammer, the Prisoners support and Human Rights Association.


You can:

  • Organize a protest in front of the Israeli Embassy or consulate in our town
  • Write letters to protest the violations of rights of Palestinian political prisoners and to call for an intervention to the International Committee of the Red Cross, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and your governoment or parliamentarians.
  • Write letters to Palestinian prisoners expressing your support. Read more about thise here:

Submit your photos:

What ever action you choose to take – please submit photos from your action to ISM atpalreports@gmail.com.

You can get inspired from similar ISM campaign carried out in accordance to “Open Shuhada Street Campaign.”

Please follow these guidelines:

  1. In the subject line please write “ Campaign for international solidarity with Palestininan prisoners”
  2. Photos should not be a maximum of 1 MB
  3. A poster, sign, clothing or any other visual statement that expresses your solidarity with Palestinian prisoners should be visible.
  4. Include a location of the photo (example: Hollywood sign, Hollywood, California) in the email
  5. Include the date when the photograph was taken in the email
  6. If the visual is written in a language other than English, please write the statement in the body of the email in order to be translated.
  7. Photos should be original and not edited or borrowed from another entity
  8. Photos must be submitted by April 19th and will be published on April 20th.

Stay Updated!

Click to read the Palestine #PalHunger Paper. Updated twice a day. Subscribe to receive email notification of new editions.

Protests & Solidarity Marches

Scotland – Edinburgh

Saturday, 28 April 2012  12:00 until 14:00
Assemble at Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
*Please invite friends and share*ASSEMBLE 12 Noon at Charlotte Square to March to the Scottish Parliament.

Solidarity with the Palestinian Hunger Strikers! Free Palestine! Boycott Israel!

Last week on Palestinian prisoners day, over 1350 Palestinians prisoners embarked on a mass indefinite hunger strike to protest the horrific conditions they face in Israeli jails. They have followed the lead of 10 other Palestinians detainees who are currently on indefinite hunger strike against their internment without charge. Two of them, Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer Halahla, 34, have now been refusing food for over 55 days, and are in imminent danger of death with prisoner rights group Adameer describing their condition as “rapidly deteriorating” – Read the whole appeal

UK – London

4pm-5.30pm, Saturday 28th April 2012
Outside No10 Downing Street

We will be gathering to show our support for Palestinian prisoners and to make our politicians aware the inaction by the UK Government can not go on!

More info at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 25.04.2012)

Support Palestinian hunger strikers – end Administrative Detention!

    • zaterdag 28th of April
    • 16:00 tot 17:30
  • Support Palestinian hunger strikers – end Administrative Detention!

    Opposite 10 Downing Street, London (nearest tube Westminster)

    4pm to 5.30pm

    Support the Hunger Strikers!

    Join us outside Downing Street on Saturday to protest against administrative detention!

    Around 1200 Palestinian prisoners started a mass hunger strike last week in protest against a range of issues including administrative detention. This has risen to an estimated 2,000 prisoners, according to Addameer.

    The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has escalated its punishments of hunger striking prisoners including confiscation of personal belongings prison transfers and the use of solitary confinement and denial of family and lawyer visits. Addameer lawyers have been denied access to all hunger striking prisoners, who are also being denied salt for their water in Ashkelon and Nafha prisons, raising serious health concerns.

    Female prisoner Lina Jarbouni also declared an open hunger strike on 19 April and was taken to solitary confinement on the same day.

    The number of Palestinians held in administrative detention has risen steadily over the last eighteen months; the Palestinian prisoners group Addameer states that there are an estimated 322 prisoners held without charge.

The U.S. Supreme Court Honors Muhammad, Prophet of Islam, Source of Law and Justice

By FaithinAllah.org

The United States Supreme Court honors Muhammad, peace be upon him, as a source of law and justice alongside Moses, Solomon, and Confucius. He is depicted in the Courtroom Frieze among the great law-givers of mankind.

Muslims understand that depictions of the Prophet are religiously unlawful. However, in this case, the depiction was created by a non-Muslim and was done with the intention of honoring Islam and making the statement that Islam is an important part of American life and history. In fact, the Supreme Court recognizes the influence that Islam has had on modern legal traditions. From the Supreme Court’s website:

The Prophet of Islam. He is depicted holding the Qur’an. The Qur’an provides the primary source of Islamic Law. Prophet Muhammad’s teachings explain and implement Qur’anic principles. The figure above is a well-intentioned attempt by the sculptor, Adolph Weinman, to honor Muhammad and it bears no resemblance to Muhammad. Muslims generally have a strong aversion to sculptured or pictured representations of their Prophet.

At this critical time in America’s relationship with the Muslim world, it is important to recognize this work of art as a symbol of the friendship America’s founding fathers had with Islam, as reflected in the Treaty of Friendship, one of the earliest treaties between the United States and a Muslim country, Morocco:

This is a Treaty of Peace and Friendship established between us and the United States of America, which is confirmed, and which we have ordered to be written in this Book and sealed with our Royal Seal at our Court of Morocco on the twenty fifth day of the blessed Month of Shaban, in the Year One thousand two hundred, trusting in God it will remain permanent…

This sentiment is repeated again in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and Tripoli:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen (Muslims), and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In the same tradition, the 96th United States Congress passed a resolution in 1976 honoring Islam on its 14th centennial:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring):

Sec. 1. That Islam is hereby recognized for the rich religious, scientific, cultural, and artistic contribution it has made to mankind since its founding.

Sec. 2. The Congress takes note of the contribution of Islam and wishes success to the fourteenth centennial commemoration.

Sec. 3. On the occasion of this anniversary, the Congress pledges its efforts to achieve better understanding, reductions of tensions, and the pursuit of improved relations with all nations of the world.

Sec. 4. The Congress requests that the President forward a copy of this resolution to the Chief of State of each country where Islam has a significant following and where celebrations will mark this important international event.


At this time, it is imperative for Muslims and Americans to challenge the false narratives ofIslamophobes and violent Muslim extremists. We must present the facts of history and religion that lay the foundation for relations based upon peace, mutual interests and mutual respect. While Muslims might disagree with the artist’s method, they certainly can agree on the artist’s respect for Islam and its fundamental tenet, Justice.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

[Surah An-Nahl 16:90]

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(www.faithinallah.org / 25.04.2012)

Welcome to Israel: Where Protesting Racism is Dangerous


By Mya Guarnieri

On Sunday, as Israeli security forces were rounding up activists who were trying to enter Palestine, a racist conference was held in Ramle and a middle-aged woman was beaten for protesting racism. Welcome to a frightening Israel, where being non-racist is dangerous.

Even though almost all of the “Welcome to Palestine” participants were prevented from reaching the West Bank, the campaign was a success. As the international and local media watched, 79 internationals were refused entry to Israel. But they weren’t trying to enter Israel. They were trying to get to Bethlehem, in Palestinian Authority-controlled Area A. And they brought the world’s attention to the fact that Israel seems to consider even Area A its own, that Palestinians have zero power over their own territory, that the occupation shuts Palestinians off from the world and makes any sort of normal life impossible.

The campaign also shed light on how intolerant the only democracy in the Middle East is of the mere words “Palestine” and “Palestinian.”

On the airplane from Geneva to Tel Aviv, I had the chance to meet some of the activists. One showed me the letter she would present to Israeli authorities. It didn’t say anything about the occupation or the nakba—the type of things that are sure to send security forces into a panic. No, all it said was that she had been invited to help build a Palestinian school and would be hosted in Bethlehem.

Israeli authorities said that the activists were provocateurs who sought to delegitimize Israel. If building a Palestinian school is provocative, if the mere act of meeting Palestinians is “delegitimizing,” what does that say about Israel?

After we got off the plane, I hung back and stayed behind a group of activists as they went through passport control. They silently handed their “provocative” letter to authorities who promptly whisked them away.

As for me, I was allowed to photograph only the Ministry of Tourism officials who were handing out flowers and water to the passengers arriving at Terminal 1. Security guards threatened to arrest me when I tried to film anything else. They threatened to arrest me for moving too slowly through passport control, too. Eventually, I was forced to present my passport and then two men escorted me to a bus that took me, the other Israelis, and a few internationals to Terminal 3, the main building.

There, I was reminded that Israel’s intolerance doesn’t stop with Palestinians. When I got to the arrivals hall, I noticed that right-wingers were allowed to protest the fly-in. When Israeli leftists quietly unfolded small sheets of paper that read “Welcome to Palestine”—and when one held a drawing by a Palestinian child—security swarmed them. As they were hustled off to detention, the right-wingers followed, screaming that the leftists should “go to Syria” and that “Israel is the most democratic country in the Middle East”—which was ironic given that the activists were being detained for holding up a small piece of paper that included the word Palestine.

Israel’s true colors were also on display at Sunday’s Ramle Conference, a short ride away from Ben Gurion International Airport. There, Israeli politicians and right-wingers—including Knesset Members and rabbis who are paid by the government—gathered to discuss the “problem “of foreigners (read: non-Jews) in Israel, or as Interior Minister Eli Yishai put it, how to “protect the Zionist enterprise.”

David Sheen attended the conference and, via Twitter, reported on the politicians and rabbis’ incitement. (Sheen’s tweets were storified by Issa Edward Boursheh. Click here to read.) One MK said he started an organization to “save” the Jews of Tel Aviv from foreigners, another claimed that there are no African refugees—they’re all just infiltrators. (Considering the horrors that many Sudanese escaped, is that not reminiscent of Holocaust denial?)

Yishai reduced migrant workers, including those who come here with Israeli-issued work visas, to machines with the remark that they oughtn’t to get maternity leave, saying “they’re only here to work for us.”

There was open discussion of maintaining Israel’s “ethnic majority,” and one MK remarked, “Non-Jewish migration to the State of Israel is no less dangerous than the military threat from Iran.”

Anyone in the audience who presented facts to counter the politicians’ and rabbis’ bigoted arguments—or who questioned them—were shouted and hissed into silence, including representatives of the United Nations.

This is how Israel and Israelis deal with dissent—by bullying people into silence.

As though that point wasn’t made well enough in Ramle or at the airport, some Beitar soccer fans drove it home on Sunday evening by beating a middle-aged woman who protested their use of the racist slogan “Death to the Arabs.”

Taken together, Sunday’s events prove that Israeli intolerance and racism extends beyond the Palestinians. It’s about non-Jews, in general, and anyone who supports them. If you dare to use the word “Palestinian” or “Palestine,” and if you speak out against racism, you will be put in your proverbial place, sometimes violently. Welcome to Israel: a frightening place where not being racist is dangerous.

(english.pnn.ps / 25.04.2012)

Israeli police is surounding #Zochrot office in #Jaffa, holding activists inside

Young men on a hike, Haifa 1945 // Dr. Johnny Mansour
Nakba is an Arabic word that means “catastrophe.” The Nakba was the destruction, expulsion, looting, massacres and incidents of rape of the Palestinian inhabitants of this country. It was keeping refugees out by force at the end of the war, in order to establish the Jewish state. And it is the ongoing destruction of Palestinian localities, the disregard for the rights of refugees and displaced people, and the prohibition against teaching and commemorating the Nakba in schools and civic groups.

Zochrot (“Remembering”) seeks to raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba, especially among Jews in Israel, who bear a special responsibility to remember and amend the legacy of 1948. The principal victims of the Nakba were the Palestinians, especially the refugees, who lost their entire world. But Jews in Israel also pay a price for their conquest of the land in 1948, living in constant fear and without hope.

The Nakba destroyed the fabric of relations that existed between Jews and Palestinians before 1948. In recognizing and materializing the right of return lies the possibility for Jews and Palestinians to live in this country together.

Zochrot carries out different projects to advance understanding of Nakba and its legacy. This website is one of those projects. The site presents information about the Palestinian localities that Israel destroyed in 1948 and about the Nakba’s place in our lives today. The Nakba is spoken in different voices on this site — in photographs, testimonies, maps, prose, and more. Zochrot’s is one of these voices, a voice that seeks recognition for injustice and new paths toward change and repair.

(www.zochrot.org / 25.04.2012)