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[photo by Jo Freeman]

Israel-Palestine Committee

Rasmea Odeh’s Statement to Court at Sentencing Aug 17, 2017

Rasmea Odeh’s statement to the court at sentencing Aug 17, 2017
NOTE: She was allowed to read the full statement.
Check out this link for description of the sentencing hearing:

On this court’s platform, I’m standing today to raise my voice on behalf of myself as a Palestinian woman and on behalf of all Palestinian people, whether under occupation, in refugee camps, or scattered in exile across the world.

Honorable Judge Drain: First, I would like to clarify that my following message is not directed at you personally.

I am a Palestinian woman who was born into a family that had simple dreams and desires to live in peace and tranquility, far away from bombs, explosions, murder, and displacement.

But those dreams turned into a nightmare at the hands of the Zionist Haganah gangs whose crimes are hard to imagine. The Zionists committed massacres, killing children and the elderly without any consideration of human values. They displaced hundreds of thousands of my people, and killed thousands more, in 1947 and 1948, upon the establishment of the state of Israel. They turned us into strangers in our own country, and pushed us into the inhumane conditions of refugee camps inside Palestine and other Arab countries.

The Israeli goals were not satisfied in 1948, so they pursued the ambitions of Zionism and launched another war in 1967, illegally occupying the rest of Palestine and parts of surrounding Arab countries.

International law prohibits the following practices, and considers them punishable offences:

The Israeli occupation of Palestine is a crime; its use of biological and chemical weapons is a terrorist crime; demolishing schools, homes, hospitals, clinics, and places of worship is a crime; imprisoning hundreds of political organizers and resisters (including dozens of children) without charge is a crime; putting up the Apartheid Wall is a crime; killing people is a crime; and collective punishment is a crime!

Many countries in this world have struggled to win their independence.  International law and all the United Nations conventions state that people have the right to fight for their independence, and to expel the colonizer and the occupier.

People in the U.S. struggled against British colonialism for their independence, and that is the reason the 4th of July is celebrated.  Why are the Palestinians prohibited from struggling for our independence?

When Palestinians have fought for our rights over the years, all U.S. administrations have responded by supporting Israeli crimes and brutal aggression, falsely describing Israel’s acts as “self-defense.” At the same time, the U.S. government calls us terrorists by placing all of our legitimate resistance organizations on its terrorist list!

I wonder how the U.S. or any other country would respond if they were invaded by a foreign force?  If people in the U.S. were to defend themselves, would they be considered terrorists, and would their resistance organizations be placed on a terrorist list?

I am sure that they would have the full right to protect their country, just as my people should have the right to protect our country.

The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 prohibits the U.S. from exporting arms in situations where such arms would “…aid in the development of weapons of mass destruction… [or] increase the possibility of outbreak or escalation of conflict…,” and also prohibits use of such arms against civilians and innocents.

Thus, the U.S. government or any U.S. company violates the law if it exports weapons to a state or group that uses them in this way.  The reality is that the U.S., as Israel’s patron, violates its own laws by supporting Zionist aggression. That means the U.S. is also guilty of crimes against the Palestinians.

This country’s military, political, economic, and diplomatic support allows Israel to continue its colonization and military occupation of Palestine, and to commit crimes prohibited by international law and U.S. law.  That is why we organize for Palestinian rights in the U.S., because it is this government that must also be held responsible for Israel’s state terrorism against my people.

We, the Palestinians, have been struggling against oppression for one hundred years, ever since the British Balfour Declaration promised the world that it would support the colonization of our country. And for almost 70 years, the manufactured state of Israel has been doing the bidding of the powerful British and U.S. empires. This Israel has no right to exist as a racist state of white settler colonialists, just like South Africa had no right to exist as the racist, Apartheid state it was.

This Israel represents nothing but violence and ethnic cleansing against my people. Many years of negotiations for a political settlement have been a huge failure, because Israel continuously demands recognition as a Jewish state, which goes against all notions of equality and democracy; and because it wants to liquidate all the rights of the Palestinians, including our rights to return, self-determination, equality, and political independence.

Each Israeli government moves more and more to the extreme right, and Netanyahu’s is the worst of them, launching three horrible wars on Gaza. He destroyed homes, schools, health clinics, and our infrastructure as a whole, killing thousands, and finally imposing a siege on the entire Gaza Strip.

Recently, Israel installed metal detectors and security cameras at the entrance to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, prompting weeks of massive protests. Three Palestinians were killed, and a thousand injured, before Israel was forced by our mass movement to remove the barriers.

At the same time, Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinians in Jerusalem, as well as settler violence against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, are official policies meant to force more and more Palestinians out of our country, and to consolidate Israeli control over Greater Jerusalem. It is quite clear that many, if not most, Israelis do not want Palestinians around at all.

I personally experienced a harsh, unstable, and terror-filled life in Palestine, like all my people under occupation. I was pushed off my land two separate times, my family home was destroyed twice, and my young sister was killed by the trauma of war. I was a political prisoner who was brutally tortured and raped by Israeli soldiers and prison authorities, and was almost killed more than once.

I continue to be terrified of the future for myself and my people. I can still almost feel the accelerated pounding of the people’s hearts while they are running to find shelter, the horrific screaming of the children, the moans of the people under the rubble of their homes, and the sounds of them dying from bombs, missiles, and bullets.

My people have the right to struggle to rid ourselves of the Israeli occupation of our country.   The U.S. government must stop disavowing our rights, and stop working with the Israelis to prosecute activists and organizers here. Most of the people and governments in the rest of the world are with us. Millions of people are supporting the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Black-Palestinian unity and solidarity is at its absolute height in the U.S., because both peoples recognize that the racist nature of the U.S. government and the racist nature of Israel are the same. When I saw those white racists marching in Virginia, all I could think of was the white settlers in Israel burning Palestinian children to death or marching to attack my people in Jerusalem.

Many of the social justice forces—from the Women’s March, the Movement for Black Lives, and anti-occupation and anti-Zionist American Jews, to immigrant rights, anti-torture, and civil liberties organizations—that supported my defense campaign did it not only because they support me as a survivor of torture and injustice, but also because they support the much more important cause of the liberation of all of Palestine—a democratic, secular Palestine for all.

Rasmea Odeh
August 17 2017

 

Statement at Rally to Support Rasmea Odeh
Thomas Cox, Brooklyn For Peace

Statement at Rally to Support Rasmea Odeh

14 August 2017, Union Square, NYC 

My name is Thomas Cox, representing Brooklyn For Peace.

Brooklyn For Peace is committed to eliminating war and promoting human rights.

Our message today is: We stand with justice, we stand with compassion, and we stand with Rasmea Odeh!

Our founding in 1984 resulted from our disagreement with the US invasion of Grenada. Since then we have objected to many US “regime changes,” interventions and alliances.

We are mistrustful of the reasons behind the 2010 federal subpoena issued to 23 antiwar and Palestinian community organizers in Chicago and Minneapolis, including Rasmea Odeh, just as we are mistrustful of the current efforts to criminalize BDS.

Particularly troublesome to us, has been the uncritical, unquestioning, US alliance with Israel. We object to the billions of dollars going to Israel each year, money used to make and buy weapons to attack the Palestinian people in Gaza and the refugee camps.

We condemn the horrors of the Israeli torture chambers used to force Rasmea to sign a false “confession,” just as we condemn the American judicial system that prevented a jury from being informed of such torture.

If we accept into our legal system, documents supplied by the illegal military occupiers of Palestine, we make a mockery of justice.

If we believe our own government’s claims of who belongs on a list of “terrorists,” without investigating for ourselves, we set ourselves up for believing propaganda.

Israel’s establishment has given preference to Europeans and those claiming Jewish identify, over the indigenous people of Palestine – Muslims, Christians and Jews. We cannot take Israel’s word over the claims of the Palestinians. If we do, we demonstrate our indifference to the plight of the downtrodden, the less powerful.

It makes us both sad and angry to think of our loss in deporting Rasmea Odeh: her skills as a community organizer, a leader for positive change in the community, a role model for girls and women, a person of great personal integrity and compassion.

We support you, Rasmea! We love you! Long live Rasmea! Long live Palestine!

Thomas Cox
Brooklyn For Peace: Israel-Palestince Committee

 

Mon Aug 14, 2017: Rally to Support Rasmea Odeh

Brooklyn For Peace joined the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and other groups on  Monday, August 14, 2017, in a rally to support Rasmea Odeh before her court appearance (in Detroit) and sentencing on August 17. The Rally took place at Union Square, Manhattan.

The purpose of the rally was to show love and support for Rasmea Odeh before her sentencing in federal court three days later in Detroit. The will be her last court appearance and Rasmea is planning to make a statement.

The plea agreement that has already been reached states that Rasmea will not get additional jail time – but she will have to leave the U.S. This rally will express our support for a legendary former political prisoner and beloved community leader.

Rally organized by
: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Endorsed by Brooklyn For Peace and others
Thomas Cox represented Brooklyn For Peace and made this statement.

If you’re not familiar with her case, see this article in the Nation (Nov 4, 2014). Below is a summary of the details, the background, and the legal saga.

Case of Rasmea Odeh: Summary Updated August 11, 2017

Rasmea Odeh (born 1947/1948) is a leading member of Chicago’s Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities, and her decade of service in Chicago has changed the lives of thousands of people, particularly disenfranchised Arab women and their families. She has been with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) since 2004, and is responsible for the management of day-to-day operations and the coordination of its Arab Women’s Committee, which has a membership of nearly 600 and leads the organization’s work in the areas of defending civil liberties and immigrants’ rights.

In 2013, Rasmea received the Outstanding Community Leader Award from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, which described her as a woman who has “dedicated over 40 years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women, first in her homes of Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon, where she was an activist and practicing attorney, and then the past 10 years in Chicago.”
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Action Alert:
Stop unconstitutional attack on freedom to boycott!

Take action to stop unconstitutional attack on freedom to boycott

2 Aug 2017: NOTE: Breaking News: Sen Gillibrand has removed her name as a co-sponsor! Please call to thank her: 202-224-4451

20 July 2017

One of the most recent, and most pernicious, pieces of anti-boycott legislation at the federal level is getting renewed attention right now. On July 18, the American Civil Liberties Union released a letter to the Senate and a letter to the House, urging them not to co-sponsor the bill because it unconstitutionally discriminates against people “for no reason other than their political beliefs.” The Intercept published an article highlighting how “the criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west.” Brooklyn For Peace opposes the legislation and is making available a backgrounder from Jewish Voice for Peace for engagement with Congress.

What does the bill actually do?

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BFP Statement on Escalating Violence in Israel and Palestine (October 2015)

BFP Statement on Escalating Violence in Israel and Palestine, Oct. 2015:

Willful killings of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians have been rising in the Jerusalem, the Occupied West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and Israel. Brooklyn For Peace condemns all violence regardless of who perpetrates it and we mourn all victims.

As Americans, we pledge to redouble our efforts to bring the Israeli occupation of Palestine to an end, by campaigning to end the US government’s military, diplomatic, and economic support of Israel until it complies with international law and respects the lives and human rights of all peoples.

We must also speak the truth. Actions taken by the Israeli government have exacerbated an already dangerous situation. Activities condoned or ignored by Israeli authorities continue to fan the flames of hatred.  For example:

  • The 48-year-long Occupation of the West Bank, dispossession of Palestinians, destruction of their lands and homes, use of collective punishment, and continued expansion of Jews-only settlements, with no end in sight, have created a tinder-box of resentment;
  • The Israeli government incites Jews to shoot to kill Palestinians, rather than arresting alleged wrong-doers, leading to open season on Palestinians in public spaces—many of these victims are children or teenagers;
  • Israeli forces have escalated the use of excessive lethal force against peaceful protests in occupied Palestinian territory;
  • Israeli forces conduct nightly incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, arresting civilians, children, and journalists, who are then held indefinitely and without charge;
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons, establishing checkpoints, and arresting Palestinian citizens, including children;
  • Arbitrary restrictions on the movement of Palestinian citizens make work, school, and family life even more difficult;
  • Israeli settlers have attacked, wounded, and killed Palestinian civilians, sometimes while Israeli police watch;
  • Restrictions placed on access to Al Aqsa (East Jerusalem) interfere with who may pray and when. At times Muslim clergy have been barred from the mosque;
  • Israeli police invaded Al Aqsa (East Jerusalem) early in the morning of September 13, 2015. They destroyed property, arrested people, and trampled on Muslim holy space with boots and weapons;
  • Israeli officials have called for Jews to arm themselves, encouraging vigilantism as Israeli civilians, particularly settlers, shoot Palestinians while claiming self-defense.
  • The Israeli government has continued to show little regard for Palestinian life. The pronouncements of Cabinet ministers, military officials, and Prime Minister Netanyahu make it clear that eradication of Palestinian society, not justice, is the main objective.

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Did you miss these recent programs on Israel-Palestine?
Check them out on YouTube

Did you miss these recent programs?
Check them out on YouTube:

Rashid Khalidi speaking on Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Hs Undermined Peace in the Middle East? Nov 6, 2013

Max Blumenthal speaking at Alwan for the Arts: Book Launch of “Goliath”, Jan 29, 2014

Gareth Porter speaking on Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, Feb 20, 2014

Ali Abunimah speaking at Brooklyn College: The Battle for Justice In Palestine, March 6, 2014

Max Blumenthal speaking at Brooklyn Friends Meeting House on his book “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” on May 8, 2014
**Part One: Presentation
**Part Two: Q & A

Roots/Judur/Shorashim: Conversation about Palestinian Non-Violent Resistance and the Changing of Minds:Ali Abu Awwad and Hanan Schlesinger with Rabbi Ellen Lippman, Sept 7, 2014

Click here for Video Library including many other recent events on Israel-Palestine, filmed by I-P Committee member Edward Briody

Max Blumenthal spooke about his book:
“Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.”
Did you miss it? See it now on YouTube

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the NY Times, the LA Times, the Daily Beast, the Nation, the Guardian, Huffington Post, Salon, Al Jazeera English, and elsewhere. He spoke on Thursday May 8 at the Brooklyn Friends Meeting House in downtown Brooklyn, addressing the questions: Why has this book become the focus of so much controversy? Why has Israel fallen under the sway of the ultra-right?  How can we respond to make a difference?

See it now on YouTube:
Part One: Presentation
Part Two: Q & A

Event was sponsored by:

  • Peace and Social Action Committee of the Brooklyn Monthly Meeting (Quakers)
  • Brooklyn For Peace
  • NYACT: New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership

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How the US Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East?
Prof. Rashid Khalidi spoke on “Brokers of Deceit”

On Nov. 6, 2013, Brooklyn For Peace presented

Rashid Khalidi
Brokers of Deceit: How the US Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East

See it on YouTube.

Professor Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and Adviser to the Palestinian delegation at the 1991 pre-Oslo negotiations in Washington, D.C. On November 6, 2013, he spoke at the Brooklyn Friends Meeting House about his new book, Brokers of Deceit–How the US Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

*Why has Middle East peace been so elusive?

*Has the US acted as an unbiased mediator?

*How do the Kerry peace talks fit into this pattern, and what can we expect

*What’s the way forward to peace with justice in Israel and Palestine?

This event was co-sposnored by:
Jews Say No! Peace Action of Bay Ridge; Jewish Voice for Peace-NY; Peace Action of Staten Island; Women in Black (Union Square); Veterans for Peace, NYC Chapgter 34; St. Michael’s Task force on Israel & Palestine; The Riverfside Church Israel Palestine Task Force; Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine; Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture Action Acommittee; Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; Park Slope United Methodist Church Social Action Committee; Brooklyn Friends Meeting Political and Social Action Committee; Park Slope Food Co-op Members for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

“Brokers of Deceit” is available for purchase at bookstores everywhere.
If your local bookstore doesn’t have it, ask them to order it for you!

Brooklyn For Peace Opposes the Cornell Technion Partnership

Brooklyn For Peace Opposes the Cornell Technion Partnership.

Here’s Why: (Cornell Technion Partnership BFP statement, PDF):

Brooklyn For Peace supports the campaign against the partnership between Cornell and The Technion for a new applied science and engineering facility on Roosevelt Island. This campus will be a major part of the military-industrial complex in the US and Israel. The Technion is complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and attacks and siege on Gaza. This includes numerous violations of international law and human rights, including the deliberate targeting of civilians and supporting an apartheid system within Israel. The $100 million in taxpayer money that Bloomberg is turning over to this enterprise should be spent on urgent social needs like low-income housing, smaller class size, day care spaces, senior centers, and jobs.

Brooklyn For Peace would be happy to see a first-rank engineering and applied science school in New York (without ties to the military). But given the Technion’s past history of engaging in research concerning drones, and given the Obama Administration’s determination to expand worldwide the nature and scope of drone warfare, it seems highly likely that this institution will be involved with further research into drone use. This will increase the already substantial likelihood that drones will soon be produced in New York City, and very possibly used here as well. This school’s drone research will likely not just make the rest of the world less safe, but will endanger the personal security of all New Yorkers.
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We Will Not Be Silent Shirts For Purchase!
Share your message with the world.

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT! Wear your message on your chest!

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT is an artist/activist collective that has worked together since 2006. Through the creative use of language embodied on shirts and at times emboldened on signs held up in public spaces, WE WILL NOT BE SILENT responds to current social justice issues, encouraging creative direct public actions, where many people can participate.

Check out the text you want to wear! Choose from these and other collections: Reclaim; Greed Kills; Peace with Iran; Palestine; Tibet; Toward Liberation; and more.

Purchase your T-shirt on line at this link: wewillnotbesilent.net. You’ll be spreading the word while supporting the work of this energetic and important group.

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