The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian people

Amnesty USA volunteers help stop anti-Palestinian amendment

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Bad news to good news!

Last Friday, Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) proposed an amendment to the budget bill prohibiting use of any of its funds for assistance to refugees who resettle in the USA—if they happen to be from Gaza.  When I heard of it, I thought, “What on earth?  Why would he …?” And then, “Ohhh, no.”

Yesterday, it became clear that the amendment was heading for a vote.  Amnesty USA emailed its network, of which I am proud to be a part.  Here’s what we learned:

clipped from blog.amnestyusa.org

A Palestinian boy pours water into a dish for a woman as she sits on the rubble of her home, March 6, 2009. (c) MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

A Palestinian boy pours water into a dish for a woman as she sits on the rubble of her home in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip , March 6, 2009. (c) MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

Palestinians: Keep out?

Middle East, Refugees, United States | Posted by: Christoph Koettl, March 9, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Should Palestinians from Gaza be treated differently under US refugee law? According to Senator Jon Kyl (R – AZ), the answer is yes.

Last Friday, Senator Kyl introduced an amendment to the Omnibus Appropriations bill, which adds the following line:

“None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available to resettle Palestinians from Gaza into the United States.” [...]

Contrary to a policy of 30 years, which extends protection to refugees on the basis of need, this amendment seeks to discriminate against an entire group based on nationality alone

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Now the good stuff. Today, I (along with many others) received this email message:

Hi,

We wanted to send you a quick update on last night’s Gaza refugee vote. Thanks to your quick mobilization in which over 16,000 of you faxed letters in a span of just two hours, Senator Kyl withdrew his discriminatory amendment.

A bipartisan group of several Senators including Leahy (VT), Kerry (MA) and Gregg (NH) stood on the floor of the Senate and spoke out against the amendment. Your faxes together with our champions on this issue applied enough political pressure for Senator Kyl to just withdraw the amendment completely.

Again, this was one of those moments when together we really made the difference. Thanks again.

– Sarnata, Steve, Zahir, Edie and the rest of the team here at AIUSA

Ya – hoo!

Yes! We can make a difference!

Check out AmnestyUSA if you’d like to add your voice.  Let’s make a nation that treats its neighbors the way we’d want them to treat us, were we in their shoes.


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Written by Monte

March 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Clinton speaks out as Israel hardens

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Good news and bad news from the Middle East.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has criticized Israel for planning to demolish 88 Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem, saying,

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and S...
Image by connect2canada via Flickr

“Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road-map’… It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the government at the municipal level in Jerusalem.”

What a relief it is to hear an American diplomat admit, for once, that Israel is out of line.  Perhaps this is a signal of some movement toward fair play in U.S. foreign policy.  That could help the region a great deal.

Prof. Juan Cole points out that she’ll be besieged by Zionist critics in the USA for daring to say it, and urges “Please consider sending her a supportive message for daring [to] speak out on the issue. In fact, urge her to use a stronger word than “unhelpful” the next time.”

Now the bad news:  Israel’s new hard-line government will probably press ahead on a plan to build 73,000 new settler homes in the Occupied West Bank, doubling the number of Zionists living on Palestinian land to 600,000.  One can only imagine the despair and outrage this theft of the homes of Palestinians will cause throughout the region.

If they do so, Cole believes the two-state solution will be utterly dead: Read the rest of this entry »

Alfred Lilienthal, 1949: Israel’s Flag is Not Mine

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How very intriguing it is to read the early Jewish anti-Zionists! Lilienthal, an American, articulately decried the way his lifelong faith became a tool of Israeli nationalism, and used as a competitor intended to weaken his American identity.  [H/T Servant Savant!]

ISRAEL’S FLAG IS NOT MINE
By Alfred M. Lilienthal

Dear Mother:

I brought you my hurts and troubles when both they and I were little: in that same spirit I bring them to you today.

JO05   ISRAEL from JORDAN
Image by templar1307 via Flickr

Only last year, a new white flag with single blue six-pointed star was hoisted to a mast many thousands of miles away on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This flag of Israel is the symbol of a new nationalist state, with its own government, army, foreign policy, language, national anthem and oath of allegiance.

And this new flag has brought every one of us five million American citizens of the ancient faith of Judah to a parting in the road.

Judaism, I have felt, was a religious faith which knew no national boundaries, to which a loyal citizen of any country could adhere.

By contrast, Zionism was and is a nationalist movement organized to reconstitute Jews as a nation with a separate homeland. Now that such a state exists, what am I? Am I still only an American who believes in Judaism? Or am I-as extreme Zionists and anti-Semites alike argue-a backsliding member of an Oriental tribe whose loyalty belongs to that group? Read the rest of this entry »

Why I’m more vocal about Israel’s actions than Hamas’s

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Simply put, Israel has given much more suffering than it’s received.

Robert Fisk writes it in TruthDig (originally published in The Independent) like so:

clipped from www.truthdig.com
< Tonight Israeli troops are poised on the Gaz...
Image by cactusbones via Flickr

It all depends where you live. That was the geography of Israel’s propaganda, designed to demonstrate that we softies …don’t realise the horror of 12 (now 20) Israeli deaths in 10 years and thousands of rockets [...]

[M]y favourite journalistic justification for this bloodbath [is] “The death toll from Gaza is, of course, shocking, dreadful, unspeakable … Though it does not compare with the death toll amongst Israelis if Hamas had its way.”

Get it? The massacre in Gaza is justified because Hamas would have done the same if they could, even though they didn’t [...]

I’m waiting for the same writers to ask how we’d feel if we … came under sustained attack from supersonic aircraft and Merkava tanks and thousands of troops whose shells and bombs tore 40 women and children to pieces outside a school, shredded whole families in their beds and who, after nearly a week, had killed almost 200 civilians out of 600 fatalities. [since the original article, the numbers have risen to almost 500 civilian deaths out of 1000 Palestinian fatalities - M.] [...]

I pointed out that journalists should be on the side of those who suffer [...]

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The death toll today since this conflict began?  Israelis, 13.  Gazans, 1,000.

Murder is murder,” some will say.  Yet the two are not the same.

The slaughter of hundreds of defenseless, malnourished people is a crime of a different order.


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Written by Monte

January 14, 2009 at 11:39 am

“They are bombing 1.5 million people in a cage”

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A Norwegian doctor in Gaza describes serving 2500 wounded, 50% of them women and children (naturally:  half the Palestinian population is under 15 ).  He has seen only one military casualty. Surgery goes on around the clock.
clipped from www.juancole.com

“It’s Hell in Here”
“They are Bombing 1.5 million People in a Cage”

He says he has seen one military casualty come into the hospital. Of 2500 wounded, 50% are women and children. Doing surgery around the clock. There are injuries you do not want to see– children coming in with open abdomens, with injured legs, we had to amputate both of them. This is a war on the civilian population of Gaza. It is a very young population. They cannot flee. They are fenced in. They are bombing one and a half million people in a cage.

Also please write your representative and senator, send this link, and demand that the US intervene diplomatically to stop this atrocity.
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(NO SALE, NO ARCHIV...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

FAR FROM IT: Rather than working on a plan for intervention, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is planning a resolution of support for Israel.


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Young heroes of peace in Israel – in prison

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They’re called Shministim – Israeli teenagers who refuse conscription into the Israeli army because of its apartheid treatment of innocent Palestinians.  Listen to their voices in this quiet and moving two-minute video:

I have signed the letter they mention; I invite you to, as well, by going to Tell Israel – Free the Shministim!

Let’s change the world.


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