Mar 29, 2011

Land Day, attacks, and more

Tomorrow, we commemorate Land Day throughout Palestine and around the world. Below is a small section from my book “Popular Resistance in Palestine” about the history of Land Day.  In Palestine, the uprising is building momentum despite efforts by Israeli officials and some Palestinian officials to suppress it and/or distort its message (which is about a reconstitution of a Palestinian National Council to represent all 12 million Palestinians).

For us, missing these events at home while on the speaking tour is hard.  Just in the last two weeks, the Israeli regime passed two more apartheid laws (banning Nakba commemorations and punishing activists who speak about BDS), the occupation forces murdered over 20 Palestinains, confiscated tractors of four farmers in Jiftlick, arrested scores of Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals engaged in nonviolent resistance, others were beaten, and we missed several peaceful events including the one tomorrow a march for Rachel Corrie (Wednesday at 1 PM in Babzqaq, Bethlehem).

But this tour is important: three countries, 16 USA states, over 80 events in 5 weeks (for the remaining schedule, see .  To show you just a sample of how it is making a difference, please see these two stories one before my appearance and one after it and also on  the comments posted below the articles. It is instructive:

Article before: Litchfield Chabad rabbi leads protest against library's hosting of Arab speaker

Article after: Human rights author presents book talk at Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield (with video)

We are still looking for more organizations and individuals in different countries to help with the summer project to bring Internationals to Palestine (email me and see for details)

Pages from Qumsiyeh’s book about Land Day March 30:

“Away from politics, grassroots efforts were functioning. The increased mobilization among Palestinians inside the Green Line took a dramatic and bold step forward with a large meeting in August 1975 in Nazareth attended by 110 individuals to defend the land. At this meeting, a committee was selected, headed by Anees Kardoush, to prepare for an even larger meeting. This meeting, held in October 1975, included about 5,000 activists from many factions and created the Committee for Defense of the Land (Lajnat Al-Difa’ ’An Al-Aradi) with 100 members and an eleven-member secretariat. It began by protesting against the confiscation of 22,000 dunums in the Galilee and the declaration of an even larger parcel of land belonging to three villages (in the Al-Mil area) as closed military zones, with the intention of building nine Jewish settlements in this closed zone. A meeting was held in Nazareth on March 6, 1976. This included 48 heads of municipalities and local village councils and called for a day of protests and strikes on March 30, 1976 should Israel go ahead with its land confiscation policies. When it appeared the strike would take place, many areas outside of the Galilee joined it, including in the West Bank.11 This became known as ‘Land Day’ throughout Palestine. The events actually started on March 29, when a demonstration against the Israeli army’s provocative mobilizations in the village of Deir Hanna. Later that evening, the village of Araba Al-Batoof demonstrated in solidarity and a young man, Khair Muhammad Yassin, was killed by Israeli soldiers. He was the first martyr of the 1976 Land Day. More martyrs fell over the next 24 hours. The events were well organized and participation was high. The Israeli authorities reacted violently. Many were injured, six nonviolent protesters killed and hundreds arrested. The events coincided with the secret Koening Memorandum which laid out plans for further discrimination and ethnic cleansing to ‘make the Galilee more Jewish’. The Israeli government condemned the leaking of the memorandum, but no government official repudiated its racist content.12 After this successful popular event, differences arose that weakened the organizing committee and yet, the movement continues strongly to this day.13”

ACTION in Britain through PSC: ask supermarkets not to aid companies profiting from colonial occupation

Breaking the Silence: One of hundreds of testimonies; this one about shooting at anyone on roofs

Liberated Libya Rejects US Intervention

Mar 19, 2011

"I shall not hate" and more

Israel apartheid week with events in over 100 cities around the world is going great (see  I participated already in some of the events and will join others (see my schedule at Events are packed and the opposition is not able to mobilize even among Zionist Jews in America.  The few Zionists holdouts are getting smaller in number though they still try to do some damage by attacking and insulting people.   Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun had his house attacked by extremist Zionists for the third time.  The reason this time is the award Tikkun made to Richard Goldstone of South Africa. But the geopolitical shift is happening and is unstoppable. People around the world decried the shameful behavior of Hilary Clinton and the Obama administration support of the Saudi invasion of Bahrain (intended to save a murderous dictatorial regime)

The many workshops on Palestine at the Left Forum are filled with Jewish and other voices speaking for human rights and against the apartheid system (nearly 3000 are attending here in New York, see

In other good news, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated (inspired by Arab uprisings elsewhere) demanding elections to the Palestinian national council and real unity for Palestinian rights.  Both Hamas and Fatah tried unsuccessfully to co-opt the message of the demonstrators (most not affiliated with ANY Palestinian faction) who promised to up the pressure. (see

On the road, we met so many new people who are becoming involved in activism for human rights and justice. But travel also gives us time to read and reflect while on the many planes, trains etc. I finished reading the book ”I shall not hate” by Dr. Izzeldine Abueleish on the trip from Cleveland to Philadelphia.  It is a remarkable book about his life and about the murder of his three daughtersand his niece, one of the few cases when such tragedy appeared on Israeli television. See this video about the tragedy of this family  In one part of his book, Izzeldine writes ”We have to find the light that guides us to our goal. I’m not talking about the light of religious faith here but light as a symbol of truth.  The light that allows you to see, to clear away the fog- to find wisdom.  To find the light of truth, you have to talk to, listen to, and respect each other. Instead of wasting energy on hatred, use it to open your eyes and see what is really going on.” When I finished the book and arrived in Philadelphia, our hosts Mary and Roger Allen had a book laying out titled “Peace Prayers: Meditations, Affirmations, invocations, poems, and prayers for Peace”.  The first was remarkably this relevant poem by W. H. Auden:

Defenseless under the night

Our world in stupor lies
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame

Examples of other good actions by affirming flames from around the world
Monday is the beginning of Israel apartheid week in Connecticut (USA)

Join Birthright unplugged travel July 10-16 in Palestine

Join the events July 8-16 in Palestine

In Brussels a checkpoint was set up in the middle of town. The actors are very convincing!

Belgian activists made a blockade to protest import of Israeli produce by Agrexco!!

Roger Waters about his decision to respect the call for cultural boycott of Israel :

Statement by Jewish Activists and Organizations active in BDS against Israel
A Jewish response to the February 2011 Statement of Jewish Zionist Organizations on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
Qatif, Sihat, Safwa and other towns in Saudi Arabia held demonstration to denounce the US-supported Saudi intervention in Bahrain and concomitant massacre of Bahraini citizens.  These demonstrations are not reported on in the controlled western media

My last question is why did Obama choose to begin bombing Libya on 19 March when his predecessor George Bush began bombing Iraq 19 March 2003 (three days after Rachel Corrie was murdered)?  The US and western-supported massacre of civilians continue in Bahrain, Yemen, and other Arab countries.  We are seeing the struggle intensify.  From Sykes-Picot agreements between France and Britain in 1916 and the Balfour and Cambon declarations of  1917 to the hypocricy of the Obama administration, there is a very long record of Western powers working against democracy in the Arab world (and prop-up a racist apartheid regime implanted in the midst of this world).

La luta continua… keep the hope alive….
Silence is complicity.

Mar 10, 2011

Israel Apartheid Week/Month

The Israel apartheid events* are already being attacked ahead of the events.  We are now writing from Colorado where we had our first US stop and where the local groups arranged a number of appearances for us to launch the apartheid Month. In three days we have  public lectures at a church, two universities, a bookstore, interview with two radio stations, informal meetings with community leaders, and a meeting with a congressman.  Some anti-Semitic Ashkenazi Zionists have been writing to organizers telling them that we are “anti-Semitic” and sending them the link to the ferociously right-wing and settler supporting and misnamed “Anti-Defamation League” (ADL should be called Arab Defamation League). The link they send is this that includes a serious of quotes from me (I have no problem with the quotes, only that some of them are truncated and out of context).

*For more on the Israeli Apartheid Week events held in over 50 cities worldwide, see and this interesting and rather balanced article in Haaretz about this activity

March 15 is Palestine’s moment to join the other struggles in Arab countries gfor freedom and people power.  All Palestinians and their supporters are encouraged to get down to the streets in all cities and towns wherever they occur.  We also demand an end to the West Bank Gaza Split but I personally do not use terms like reconciliation. There are many Palestinian factions on the ground similar to the number of factions that existed in South Africa when it was struggling to end apartheid.  The problem lies in the confusion and damage done by the Oslo process which created a "Palestinian authority" (now 2) without any real authority.  It relieved the pressure on the occupiers by administering people and controlling their anger while really making the occupation cost-free to the occupiers.  I am not big on "reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah" as that implies that they have drifted apart and need to be brought back together.  I think it is just fine that they always had differing political ideologies (like in Europe there are parties with differing political ideologies). Our problems as Palestinian people stem from drifting away from the original charter and goal of our movement (return of refugees, liberation, self-determination) to notions like a state on (part of) the West Bank and Gaza (less tahn 22% of Palestine) or discussing the form of government without reference to letting people decide AFTER liberation and return.  In this, there are trends now to reconstitute the Palestinian National Council to represent all 11 million Palestinians around the world. There is also a growth in popular resistance towards a new uprising (which I discuss in detail in my new book) which like in 1928 has to contend with both Palestinian security forces and colonizer/occupier forces.  But it has succeeded in the past and will succeed again. Our movement is alive, vibrant, and diversified. It is also being helped now internationally with hundreds of thousands of activists engaged in media work and in boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS).  Like in South Africa, apartheid will not succeed.

TV Interview: Nonviolent resistance in Palestine: including interview with Eyad Burnat and Mazin Qumsiyeh

Action: Diamonds are Israel’s single most important export commodity, accounting for over 30% of Israel’s exports in 2008. In evidence to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Israeli economist Shir Hever stated - “Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries ... every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military so the financial connection is quite clear" The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been promoting the idea of a boycott of Israeli diamonds for some time.
 A new, closed Facebook working group, GPS (Global Palestine Solidarity),  has just launched a petition calling for a review of the Kimberley Process definition of a conflict or blood diamond so all diamonds that fund human rights violations are included. Cut & polished diamonds, the sector of the industry which Israel dominates, are excluded from the existing definition of a conflict diamond.

Videos of Sheikh Jarrah demo and arrests:

McClatchy, the Sacramento Bee, Darrell Steinberg and Islamaphobia: Denying Nazi-Zionist Collusion By ALISON WEIR

Join us in Palestine July 8-16