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Past Activities and Events

Israel / Palestine

January 14, 2009. 4:30–5:30
Brooklyn For Peace Candlelight Vigil and Protest for a Cease-Fire in Gaza
Brooklyn Borough Hall, Joralemon and Court Street, Downtown Brooklyn.
Several hundred Brooklyn residents turned out on a bitterly cold night to stand in protest on the steps of Borough hall. They were there to demand an immediate cease-fire to the Israeli bombing campaign and invasion of Gaza. On the platform David Tykulsker for Brooklyn For Peace was joined by Rev. Tom Martinez (All Souls Bethlehem Church), Rev. Wesley Daniels (Bethany United Methodist Church), and Donna Nevel ("Not in Our Name"). While strenuously opposing Hamas' rockets aimed at Israeli civilians, speakers also decried Israel's totally disproportionate response which had resulted in a thousand deaths and many thousands of wounded. They noted that the F16 jets, Apache helicopter gunships and bunker-buster missile that are being used in attacks which have killed innocent civilians seeking shelter in homes, schools, mosques and hospitals are all made in the U.S.A. Joining the speakers on stage was entertainment by Ben Silver on guitar and Spiritchild. Finally, the group expressed their anger at recent bills passed by Congress which continue a one-sided approach to the Middle East, uncritically supporting Israel despite its military actions viewed by most of the world as illegal violations of international law. A letter to Congressmember Ed Towns, protesting his sponsorship of the pro-war House resolution on Gaza, was signed by many at the rally and delivered to his office by a delegation as the crowd dispersed. Participants were urged to call their respective members of Congress with their protests.

December 2008–January 2009. Gaza Protests.

In addition to organizing for our January 14th Vigil, above, members of the Israel-Palestine Committee have participated in the following emergency events around the bombing and war in Gaza organized by other groups.

Photograph by Bud Korotzer

Monday, January 12, 5:30 PM
BFP members join with Jews in a silent vigil to say "Not In Our Name" to the Israeli Government, in front of the Israeli Consulate, 800 Second Ave. between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

Sunday, January 11, 1:00 PM
Many members of Brooklyn for Peace joined over 15,000 people in a Rally in Times Square, followed by a March up 7th Avenue past the New York Times building to the CNN office on 58th St.

Wednesday, January 7, 4:30–6:30
Stand with Gaza: Shoes to Bloomberg. Protest against Bloomberg's unconditional support to Israel during the invasion of Gaza.
NYC City Hall.

Saturday, January 3, 2009, 1:00 PM
Rally in Times Square (7th Aves and 42nd St. Manhattan) and March to Israeli mission (Second Avenue at 42nd St.) see article in The New York Times

Friday, January 2, 2009, 5:00–7:00 PM
Handing out Flyers and a Vigil for Gaza
Greeley Square (Triangle below Herald Square), 6th Ave & 32nd St. Manhattan

Sunday, December 28, 2008, 2:00 PM
Emergency Protest to Stop the Massacres in Gaza
Rockefeller Center Rally, and March to Israeli Consulate, 42nd St. and 2nd Ave.
Rockefeller Center, 50th St. and 5th Ave. Manhattan

November 11, 2008
"Separate Is Never Equal — Stories of Apartheid from South Africa to Palestine"
Brooklyn For Peace sponsored the local stop of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's national speaking tour, featuring Eddie Makue (PDF), General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, and Canadian-Palestinian attorney Diana Buttu (PDF). They spoke on how Israel 's policies toward Palestinians resemble South African-style apartheid, and what Americans can do to challenge it. On Tuesday, November 11, the speakers addressed members of the congregation of the Bethany United Methodist Church (Rev. Wesley Daniel) in the morning, then moved on to a full house at Brooklyn College, where they were hosted by the Brooklyn College Anti-war Coalition and the Students for Global Justice. That was followed by a presentation at the Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge. In the evening, they appeared before an audience of 80–100 people at the Park Slope United Methodist Church, where we were pleased to include as co-sponsors the Social Action Committee of the Park Slope United Methodist Church, Adalah-NY, the Peace and Social Action Committee of the Brooklyn Friends' Meeting (Quakers), and Marcia Kannry, Founder of the Dialogue Project. The following day the speakers appeared live on WBAI's "Wake-Up Call" (hosted by Mimi Rosenberg) and " Democracy Now!" (hosted by Amy Goodman), before addressing a gathering of clergy at the Riverside Church and then speaking before a crowd at the Columbia University Law School.

Highlights of the event at Park Slope United Methodist Church were cablecast on Brooklyn Comminity Access Television on December 10, 2008. DVD of the program is available.

Background readings:

September 21–23, 2008. Rebuilding Hope: A Speaking Tour to Save a Palestinian Village from Demolition

First-hand accounts from Aqaba a small village located in one of the most fertile areas of the West Bank, between Jenin and the Jordan Valley. Speakers were:

  • Mayor Haj Sami Sadiq Sbaih
  • Mr. Shmuel Groag (Israeli architect and town planner and co-founder of the Israeli BIMKOM Planners for Planning Rights)
  • Ms. Rawhieh Sbaih (Director of the Al Haq Kindergarten in Aqaba)
  • Ms. Donna Baranski-Walker (engineer and founder of the Rebuilding Alliance)

Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, Aqaba has been a closed military zone surrounded by military bases. Villagers have been denied access to healthcare and education facilities within their village. Aqaba's shepherds and farmers have been prevented from reaching their land, many houses have been demolished, and Israel is carrying out a highly restrictive policy that prevents the village from obtaining any legal permits to build houses or any public infrastructure.

June 24, 2008
Screening of the documentary Beyond Blue and Gray featuring Palestinian artists, and discussion with the filmmaker Jessica Habie, of Eyes Infinite Films. Co-sponsored with the Fort Greene Film Society.

May 21, 2008:
"May 1948 &— A New State for Israelis, a Nakba (Catastrophe) for Palestinians"
Second in our "Visions for Peace" series, this panel discussion on the anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel addressed the issues and emotions associated with the events of 1948 — and why they still matter. Chaired by Carolyn Eisenberg. the event started with a short video reminiscence from an ex-resident of Lydda, forced from his village as a child at gunpoint. The main speakers were:

  • Adam Horowitz, founding member of Jews Against the Occupation; currently in the American Friends Service committee Peace-Building Program
  • Nadia Hijab, Senior Fellow, Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Professor Zachary Lockman, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University

About 130 people attended. The speakers were followed by a lively question and answer session. DVD is available on request.

April 26, 2008
The Israel-Palestine Committee's workshop at the 2008 Brooklyn Peace Fair showed the documentary film Mandatory Service followed by discussion with Jessica Habie (director) and Jill Ariela of Eyes Infinite Films. Mandatory Service is a powerful depiction of the education and evolution of young Israeli artists from soldier to peacemaker with the formation of Combatants For Peace. The film won Best Documentary Short Award at the Tribeca Film Festival 2008, where the jury panel called it "a perspective of war and conflict from participants themselves. The Israeli's empathy for the Palestinians is not a perspective we glimpse too often in Western media."

November 2007 "Media, History and late-Breaking News in the Israel-Palestine Conflict."
The first of our Public Forums on Visions for Peace in Israel-Palestine featured Daoud Kuttab, Larry Cohler-Esses and Joshua Friedman, moderator. Palestinian and American journalists discussed the prospects for Middle East peace, expectations for the U.S.-initiated Annapolis conference, and the ways old and new media frame the issues.

June 2007
Brooklyn For Peace joined a national demonstration in Washington on the 40th anniversary of the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, to call for:

  • An end to US military, economic, diplomatic, and corporate support for Israel's illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; and
  • A change in US policy to one that supports a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on equality, human rights and international law, and the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions.

United for Peace and Justice, and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation were the co-sponsors of the event, which was endorsed by more than 300 organizations.

See additional photos, and a report from one BFP member.

May 2007
Alice Rothchild, M.D., a Jewish Ob-Gyn Physician, shared her view of Palestine and Israel through the lens of health care and human rights, and read from her book Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience. DVD of this program is available on request.

April 2007
Dorothy Naor , Israeli Peace Activist, spoke about the effect of the Occupation on both Israeli's and Palestinians. DVD of this event is available on request.

March 2007:
Jeff Halper,
Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, spoke about the current situation in the Middle East, in a talk entitled "On the Brink of 'Apartheid'?".

March 2007
Norma Musih, Assistant Director and one of the founders of Zochrot ("remembering" in Hebrew), an Israeli organization which has as its mission to open a dialogue about the Nakba — what Palestinians refer to as the "Catastrophe" or "Cataclysm" of 1948 — with both Palestinians and Jews, from her personal experience as a Jewish Israeli about the meaning of the Nakba, reconciliation, justice, and the work of Zochrot.

November 2006
Theatre party to see "My Name Is Rachel Corrie", play based on the diary of a young Jewish-American woman whose protest against the Israeli occupation of Gaza led to her death.

October 2006
Peace Fair workshops featuring Michael Massing "The Storm Over the Israeli Lobby", eyewitness reports from Israel and Palestine by the "Wheels of Justice", the Tel Rumeida Project, and Jews Against the Occupation; and "Socially Responsible Investing: A Tool for Change: by the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility".

August 2006
Rally Calling for Cease-Fire in Lebanon and Gaza
In response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, BFP organized a march through Fulton Mall followed by a rally at Borough Hall, calling for an immediate cease-fire. See a complete report

Read statements by Carolyn Eisenberg and by David Tykulsker

July 2006
Open meeting

An opportunity for Brooklyn residents to air concerns and plan outreach and action projects in response to the widening hostilities in Israel, Gaza and Lebanon.

March 2006
Eye-witness reports from the Occupied Territories

Brooklyn's Vox Pop coffee shop was the setting for appearances by two recent visitors to Israel/Palestine: Anna Baltzer, author of the recently released Witness in Palestine: Journal of a Jewish Woman in Occupied Palestine and Seth Tobocman, an artist who contributed to Three Cities Against the Wall. Mr. Tobocman presented his drawings of his experience in Israel-Palestine.
A DVD of Ms. Baltzer's presentation is available for loan upon request.

February 2006

Phyllis Bennis, a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, and a founder and co-chair of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, addressed the question of how the American peace movement can respond to the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Israel-Palestine conflict. She fielded questions from a large and energetic audience at Park Slope United Methodist Church.
A DVD of this forum is available for loan
upon request.

February 2006
Report from the "Frontlines"

Hekmat Bassisso Naji, born in Gaza, and now living in Ramallah on the West Bank and working with the American Friends Service Committee shared her perspective on conditions in Israel/Palestine.

October 2005
Brooklyn Peace Fair Workshops

The Israel-Palestine Committee sponsored two activities: "Stepping into Their Shoes", a workshop involving Israel-Palestine role play facilitated by Nancy Goldner, a licensed therapist; "Perspectives on Israel and Palestine", a presentation jointly offered by BFP, the Palestine-Israel Education Project, and Al-Awda Youth.