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HR 2407 – A bill “To promote human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation and require that United States funds do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children, and for other purposes.”

May 22, 2019

Israel-Palestine 2019 - Palestinian Dispersion

1.

Last night (May 21, 2019) J-Street, the liberal spin off of the mainstream Jewish Community that supports a two-street solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, not shy about calling Israel’s presence in the West Bank and Gaza for what it is – an occupation – hosted a conversation with author Peter Beinart, contributing editor of the Atlantic Magazine. 

He spoke at Denver’s Jewish Community Center to an audience of about 100, from what I could tell, overwhelming Jewish, middle and upper middle class. Beinart is no lightweight. He is articulate, personable and relaxed, as comfortable discussing the Torah and the Old Testament as he is talking about the impact of the Israeli Occupation on Palestinian lives, the dangers of a war with Iran. Easily one of the most progressive speakers to be featured at an event at the Jewish Community Center, he connected to his audience.

He builds on and is a part of the tradition of liberal Zionists, Einstein, Israel Shahak, Uri Avnery, Menachem Klein that have tried to tone down Zionism’s harsher edge, speak of and try to practice universal human rights that includes the Palestinians, criticize the Occupation, but somehow still “love Israel.” In Israel they are a dying breed as the country lurches rightward to more ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, strangling Gaza. Still they are what is left – modest as it is – of what might be referred to as Israel’s conscience and I cannot and do not disregard them. To the contrary, I hold them in high respect. They all have shown some genuine courage…

As for the overall content of Beinart’s remarks, I’ll reserve  more in depth thoughts for later, excepting one point: several times – it was more than once – Beinart zeroed and openly criticized Israel’s harsh treatment of Palestinian children, 700 a year of whom have been arrested in late night raids, separated from their parents, thrown into Israeli prisons, mistreated, traumatized, in many documented cases tortured. He did not shy from either addressing these practices or openly criticizing them. Read more…

Washington and Tehran are Not in Favor of War Amidst Corporate Media Hysteria — The Rabbit Hole

May 21, 2019

Published by InfoRos on May 20th, 2019, written by Sarah Abed For far too long the United States has effectively used deception, false pretexts, and manufactured consent along with obfuscated justifications to wage costly wars against sovereign nations. Costly not only in the millions of human lives lost, but also the destruction of infrastructure, including […]

via Washington and Tehran are Not in Favor of War Amidst Corporate Media Hysteria — The Rabbit Hole

Fund Raiser for Summer Children’s Camp – Beit Ummar, West Bank, Palestine

May 15, 2019

Children of Beit Ummar

Dear Friends,

Once again, our small but active group in Colorado – Center for Freedom and Justice – Colorado has started a fund drive to raise funds for our sister organization – the Center for Freedom and Justice in Beit Ummar, West Bank, Palestine.

Last year, we were able to raise more than $4000 that went for buying book bags for elementary school students in Beit Ummar. The project was a success. I can’t tell you how appreciative the kids in Beit Ummar were to receive these useful items, and how thrilled we, of the Colorado committee were that our friends and relatives, many with little or no connection to the Palestinian situation came forth with their generosity.

Again, I thank you.

Our Colorado committee has approved another project – helping fund a summer camp for the children of Beit Ummar, call ed Summer Discovery Camp for 70 students (ages 9-14) to introduce them to technology, give them a fun experience and provide greatly needed relief from the Occupation.

At the camp the children will be divided into small groups and given kits consisting of a laptop computer and devices to teach programming (over 50% of the children in Palestinian schools have no access to computers). The groups will try to build robots. Field and swimming trips will be the reward the children get for their work.

At the end of the Camp the children will showcase their accomplishments by hosting an exhibition for their parents, principals and teachers.

  • Help from others gives the children hope that they are not alone
  • We rely on the generous contributions of supporters like you to fund the Summer Discovery Camp. This time we (in Colorado) are trying to raise $4000 for the following:

5 Laptop Computers                                        $1900

Snacks, Swimming and Field Trip                   $1700

Materials, Exhibition Day and other Costs    $ 400

TOTAL    $4000

The children of Beit Ummar live in an impoverished community where 60% of the adult population is unemployed. The town is surrounded by six Israeli settlements and has been under military occupation since 1967. Children face the horrors of night-time raids and a constant fear their houses will be demolished or that they or members of their family will be taken away. One-third of all Palestinian children incarcerated in Israeli prisons come from Beit Ummar. The traumas these children have experienced cannot be adequately described.

To contribute, please make checks payable to CFJ Colorado and mail to 1727 E. 25th Ave, Denver CO, 80205 or donate online at https:www.gofundme.com/a-summer-camp-for-children-in-beit-ummar.

To learn more about the situation in Beit Ummar, visit our Facebook page at Center for Freedom and Justice- Colorado (http://www.facebook.com/CFJColorado).

 

Billie Bramhall – A lifetime of social activism

May 14, 2019

Billie Bramhall

Received the news this morning that Billie Bramhall, whose extraordinary life of social activism, commitment to social justice and peace lasted a lifetime, died last Thursday (May 9). She had contracted pneumonia a few months ago and never completely recovered. Her son Fred Bramhall was with her when she died.

These last years – well into her 90s – she worked hard for the rights of the homeless, working closely with Denver Out Loud, effective mass-based movement of homeless people. Billie worked hard against Denver’s repressive “camping ban” denying homeless people the rights to rest on public property and was actively in support of Initiative 300 (which failed) that was put before Denver voters to rescind that law.

A more detailed biography of her life and that of her husband, retired University of Denver Economics prof, Dr. Dave Bramhall, will follow.

Omar Montgomery Running for Mayor in Aurora, Colorado

May 13, 2019

Omar Montgomery (left, gesturing with his hand) speaking to taxi cab drivers between shifts – overwhelmingly immigrants, from the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan) with a good number of Moroccans and Iraqis to boot. The election is on November 5, 2019.

I saw it with my own eyes – how comfortable, relaxed how he connected with taxi drivers, overwhelmingly immigrants from the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. And they reciprocated. There was real dialogue – not the contrived, controlled pablum that passes for politics as usual in Colorado and nationwide.

And it will be one of the most important political races in the country this coming November – the contest for mayor in Aurora, Colorado.

Omar Montgomery, University of Colorado – Denver professor and Afro-American Student Adviser, chair of the Aurora, Colorado NAACP Chapter is running for mayor in Aurora, Colorado, Colorado’s third largest city (after Denver, Colorado Springs) and the home of the state’s greatest ethnic, religious and racial diversity, a stronghold of Colorado immigrants priced out of Denver due to soaring rental and home purchase costs.

With a few others, I was a part of a group that accompanied Montgomery to a large parking area near a local taxi stand just prior to and after a shift change.  Although frankly, Montgomery doesn’t need introductions, we were there to introduce Montgomery to them., an Ethiopian member of his team, Amharic speaking, Ambay Tessema, another, Montgomery’s campaign manager, Michael Himawan and me (for no good reason). Read more…

The Denver Municipal Election results – Overall morning-after assessment: bad but could be worse.

May 8, 2019

Candi CdeBaca…still in there. Worth supporting

The Denver Municipal Election results – Overall morning- after assessment: bad but could be worse.

Initiative 300 – “Right to Survive” homeless initiative clobbered – no surprise, still expect and hope that Denver Out Loud will soldier on. What choice do they/we have? Vote a reflection of the deepening prejudice against homeless people, ugly, racist, fear mongering advertising – some $2 million – behind it. So, back to the drawing board …la lutta continua.

The Mayoral Race run-off – two sides of the same development coin. Still, Lisa Calderon (whom we supported) had a respectable showing… hope that she hangs in there and continues to build broaden her base.

Council races…biggest disappointment – results in our district, District one where Amanda Sandoval will face off with Mike Somma… Without going into details, both represent different but competing factions of the districts old guard, little more. Run-off will be about as boring as the mayoral one. Can’t say – for different reasons that the community will benefit that much from either of them. We need new faces, new ideas – about limiting the gentrification epidemic, the bleeding of our working class, Chicano residents, etc. Neither of these candidates will do squat to address these issues. They are both old wine in not so new bottles. Hope they both lose.

In other races, only worth commenting on District 9, 10..where Candi CdeBaca and Chris Hinds were able to get enough votes to force a run-off. Both ran strong, focused campaigns and have shown that they have a base of support that gives them a shot at winning. Will use our waning political influence to support both.

Mary Beth Sussman and Paul Lopez, would have done better to call it a day and step aside, but they couldn’t seem to do that, could they? Both spent political forces,

Bottom line – regardless of who wins, no substantial changes at the mayor’s office – the real power in the city, expect continued rampant development, displacement, a police force that is out of control and a city that cannot bring under control the many forces that, “for a few dollars more” will bring this city to its knees in time.

Possibly a slight shift in the city council – depends on how the run offs play out, but not much.

Cheers, still living the dream…

Westword Reporting on the election results.

Israeli Kills 25 Palestinians Gazans (and wounds several hundred) but Netanyahu is Forced to Seek a Truce after Three days.

May 7, 2019

Jihad al-Masharawi, a Palestinian employee of BBC Arabic, carries the body of his 11-month-old son Omar, killed by the recent (May 4, 5, 2019) Israeli air strike in Gaza City

For those who mercilessly slam Democracy Now! (it does deserve criticism for its Syria coverage)… and to use a Colorado expression – throw out the cannabis buds with the branches – here is Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! at its best – the coverage of the latest Israeli attack on Gaza which ended after three days with a cease fire. (See the end of this commentary)…

Still, there is one part of this episode that Amy Goodman glossed over (although she mentions it): Responding to the Israeli attack this time – described in vivid detail below) Hamas (and others) in Gaza launched several hundred missiles into Israel. As usual, they did little damage but then this is what is called “asymmetrical warfare” – where one side has an overwhelming military advantage against the other, but the other finds a way to fight back. It was this Palestinian missile response inside Israel – with the threat of an attack on Ben Gurion Airport which forced Netanyahu reign in Israel’s U.S. made jet fighters and seek a truce, not Palestinians “crying uncle.”

Read more…