Feb 5, 2012

Youth Conference and more

Items in today's email: Video of the event today at Al-Walaja (three arrested but subsequently released), Comments on the just concluded Herzliya conference, action item to do for Brussels Air, Youth Conference in Palestine in July, and more.

1) Video: On Sunday 5 Feb 2012, villagers from Al-Walaja and international supporters went to the area where the Israeli apartheid authorities were still destroying lands to build a wall that will isolate the villagers from their remaining lands and allow for further expansion of the illegal colonies of Gilo and Har Gilo.  Already over 90% of the village lands were taken for colonial settler activities in the past 6 decades. The area this short video was taken is just around the oldest tree in Bethlehem district (an olive tree > 3,000 year old).
2) The "Herzliya Conference" just concluded.  This is the annual conference that brings the elites of the Israeli military industrial complex together to plot "strategy" in a coastal town named after the founder of Political Zionism Theodor Herzl. This location is on ethnically-cleansed Palestinian land (see for history of the location: http://www.palestineremembered.com/Jaffa/Abu-Kishk/index.html).  Shimon Peres, a war criminal and architect of Israel's arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction appropriately opened as a key note speaker.  There were several sessions that touched on Iran including "Iran: Will Sanctions Work?" and "The Ticking Clock: Dissuading and containing Iran's strategic ambitions" where war criminals like Danny Ayalon debated whether it is enough to continue to use clandestine terrorist operations in Iran or whether we need to push the US to start another war like they did on Iraq (one million civilians killed so far) on behalf of Israel.  There was a session on "Galilee: Setting Priorities for Regional Development" where a number of Jewish Zionists discuss how to transform the Galilee into a Jewish area (without consulting the native inhabitants of the Galilee). The Galilee and Negev were left with a good number of Palestinians after the ethnic cleansing during the foundation of "Israel". There were sessions titled things like "Advancing Israel Normalization in the International Community" where efforts to whitewash apartheid are celebrated and plans for new propaganda and lobbying campaigns debated. There were also sessions celebrating the anniversary of the Jewish National Fund or KKL (Keren Keyemeth L'Israel), a group that participated for decades in ethnic cleansing and continues to do so (e.g. in the Negev where Bedouins are being displaced to Judaicize the Negev). Participants were also taken to military bases and training facilities of the apartheid army so that they could visit with the most moral army that caused the largest post-World War II refugee crisis and that has murdered over 25,000 children. There was even some talk about how to get Mahmoud Abbas (whose term has expired long ago) to return to fruitless and endless negotiations. After all, the "Peace process industry" needs to be revived so that more time is allowed for continued rape of Palestine (expanding colonial settlement etc)!  In over 20 sessions, not one dealt with what the natives of Palestine (Christians and Muslims) go through or how we feel.  To cap the "conference" the Israeli government made announcements of more land confiscation (e.g. 430 dunums in Nahhalin) and more home demolitions (e.g. in Al-Aqaba).

Shamelessly, the head of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon addressed this gathering of apartheid leaders. Also Mr. John Baird, foreign minister of Canada (with MP Irwin Cotler) came to claim that Canada supports Apartheid Israel.  Mr. Riad Al-Khoury from Jordan came and thus also lent his blessings to apartheid. There was also the Zionist Zoelnick (head of the World Bank) and a few other American Jewish Zionists "discussing" how best to get Israel even more money and arms from our taxes. 

I guess I should look on the positive side: that this year, there were less of those "Internationals" willing to show their faces at this circus.  But it is a distraction to blame these rich elites but ultimately it is our responsibility to make sure that we end their games of domination, war, and destruction.  People are taking on the responsibility of change and each of us can do more to advance peace with justice.  The horrific events in Egypt (where 80 people were killed when fans of two football teams collided) also remind us of the worst element of human weaknesses.  It then matters a lot what those who disapprove DO.  

Unfortunately, many of our closest supporters and even Palestinians themselves do not understand basic issues relating to Palestine and the Israeli apartheid system.  Because of these misunderstandings, they make devastating choices including for example supporting the mythical "two state solution".  I will not discuss here why it is mythical and why it is what led us to 20 years suspension of the Palestinian liberation Struggle in return for an industry of negotiations (yes an industry that is profiting some Palestinians who became invested in the status quo (i.e. in the occupation) and addicted to the "security aid" and "humanitarian aid" that comes primarily from the US and Europe (respectively).  I already discussed this in detail in my 2004 book "Sharing the Land of Canaan".  But I am also willing to debate anyone in pubic on these issues.
3) Example of action: I wrote to these email addresses the letters below about Brussels Air promoting Israeli apartheid.  Please read and if interested to write or take action based on your conscience, then please do.  That is how change happens in society: when enough people say enough is enough!

To Brussels Air and Ink Global

You did not respond to my earlier email (copy below) sent three weeks ago about your January 2012 Brussels Air magazine's shameless promotion of Israeli apartheid.  But then when I returned home from Belgium, I noted that this was not the first time you are promoting Apartheid Israel as a destination.  In fact, your web-page which I just checked http://www.btheremag.com starts out with the August 2011 issue promoting Tel Aviv and stolen Palestinian food (Falafel) as if it is an Israeli food "Tasting Tel Aviv: Where Fashion meets Falafel".  So I am now personally boycotting your airline and will be promoting a boycott of your airlines.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Dear Colleagues in Brussels Air and Ink Global

It was my first trip on Brussels Air and it will likely be the last.  Your B.There! Airline magazine soured my trip since it promoted apartheid.  Imagine if at the height of Apartheid in South Africa, your magazine chose to highlight the white part of the segregated country and promoted it in three distinct locations in one issue, something you do not do for any other of the nearly 200 destinations to normal cities/countries.  This is precisely what you did by promoting Apartheid Israel in three locations in your January 2012 issue: On page 14 you promoted “Tel Aviv Art weekend”, on page 50 you promoted a Tel-Aviv “food blog”, and in page 55 you had feature article advertising (free) an Israeli company (Uploads).  Brussels Air according to your magazine and website flies to nearly 200 destinations around the world.  Yet, I saw most of those not mentioned in this magazine let alone deserving of three free promotional items.

This alone is favoritism but is scandalous when we add the fact that Israel is recognized by people around the world as an apartheid state and there is a worldwide movement for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) called for by Palestinian Civil Society. 

I realize Brussels Air contracts with a British company to do their magazine and the mistaken bias likely originated with Ink Global.  Perhaps in your next magazine you can promote Palestine alternative tourism (www.atg.ps and http://sirajcenter.org/ ) or highlight the way Belgians are traveling to help their fellow human beings like in the upcoming welcome to Palestine Campaign (http://bienvenuepalestine.com/). I would be happy to help.

I have an email list of more than 50,000 activists and depending on your answer to this email, I will write to them to encourage a boycott of this airline.  After all, there are other ways to travel without being pelted with free advertisements for apartheid Israel.


Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Palestinian – American Professor and author currently on speaking tour in Belgium
4) Sabeel 7th Young Adult Conference. Challenging Oppression, on a Donkey:  Christ, Resistance, and Creative Discipleship.
5) With Jack Lew's appointment, Jewish community again has a White House address By Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraph Agency
6) Mark Dubowitz, Jewish head of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, commends Obama for "shot across the bow"
(The "Foundation for Defense of Democracies" agenda is to fight for change only in countries deemed unfriendly to Israeli apartheid or US imperial tendencies but countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and Jordan are not to be touched by these hypocritical groups)
7) And there is also the so called "National Endowment For Democracy"

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