I like the humanity that this story portrays. And the story does a good job of describing the real experience of what many people refer to as the Apartheid conditions that now exist in the State of Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. The fact that these concitions exist, as told in this story, provides good reason to support boycott of the State of Israel, in my opinion.Palestinian women smuggled into Tel Aviv for day of fun Israeli women bring 12 Palestinian women, 4 children out to eat in Jaffa restaurant, swimming in the Mediterranean, and home via Jerusalem. By Jonathan Lis
A group of Israeli women smuggled 12 Palestinian woman and four children, among them a year-old baby, into Tel Aviv for a day of fun about two weeks ago. The women, among them writers Ilana Hammerman and Klil Zisapel, picked up the women from their villages, following two earlier meetings with them.
Avoiding the security forces at West Bank checkpoints, they took the women out to eat in a restaurant in Jaffa, swimming in the Mediterranean, and took them home via Jerusalem where they could see the Old City walls from afar.
Hammerman undertook a similar trip in which she brought three teenage Palestinian girls to Tel Aviv for the day, which she described in an article in Haaretz Magazine in May. Following publication of the article, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel demanded that the attorney general investigate Hammerman for smuggling illegal residents into Israel.
Thoughts about the Conflict
Saturday 14 August 2010
Lately, I have been quite consumed with the issue of the conflict between the state of Israel and Palestinians.
The issue has long been a hot topic in Olympia Washington, and the most recent event to bring it to the fore of the consideration of many people is a decision by the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors to boycott products from Israel.
The co-op previously stocked four different items that are produced in Israel. Gluten-free ice cream cones, gluten-free crackers, skin cream, and an olive oil called Peace Oil. Peace Oil is still distributed at the co-op because it is made in joint effort between Israelis and Palestinians.
I have been digging to figure out what is at the roots of the conflict over the past 60+ years.
Here are some of my thoughts that reflect that.
Is it possible that the problem with Zionism in Israel is its nationalism,
Is it possible that at the root of problem is the fact that since 1948 the state of Israel has adopted and participated in a pattern, inherited from Western Europe (including Britain and the USA,) of colonialism, which at its core involves systematic violence—oppression and injustice—the subjugation of land and of the indigenous population, the Palestinian people.
Olympia Food Co-op Boycotts Israel
I think that recent actions by the government of Israel have increased the urgency of the need to respond to the Palestinian people's need for human rights and dignity.
Here's a slideshow of photos from a January 2009 demonstration in Seattle.
The offensive by the state of Israel against Gaza, which started late December of 2008, continued for 10 more days after this demonstration, until the 13th of January, a week prior to the handover of the White House from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration.
Here's more description from the event:
Protestors who oppose Israel's treatment of Palestinians and/or consider Israel's attacks against the Palestinian Terrority of Gaza to be Aggression, advocates of a Free Gaza, gathered at Westlake Plaza in downtown Seattle for an afternoon of rallying and marching. I estimate (roughly) that about 800 to 1,000 people participated. I have heard estimates ranging up toward 2,000 people.
I felt really grateful to have been able to sit in on the discussion about the boycott. As everything i know about the situation over there is hear say and word of mouth. What i know is very limited, and the only way I'll have the opportunity to know more is to listen to wonderful people like that.
I feel grateful that we can non-violently say we beleive things need to change rather than forcing our ideas upon people.
i feel sad that this could be, or is already being used as a platform for people to be rude to one another, calling people anti-semites or calling people names around judism. Bullying is exactly what the boycott aims to abolish. It makes me sad to hear stories about people being treated badly in this situation when there are so many great opportunities for dialogue.
I identify with many religions, i love all of them as much as I worry about them. In my religion as a collective lover of thought I believe if you choose to have enemies it`s because you`ve still not chosen to love yourself. Everyone is a lover of some kind.
The scariest part about the boycott to me is the divisions that people choose to make when passion and fear override our abilities to meet at common ground. I love to see people together, this the endagered reality of information technology. So I look forward to more discussions, and maybe potlucks? To invite people who want to investigate what is going on, and what we can really do to help without hurting while making it clear that perpetuating abusive cycles is not ok.
"The world is beautiful and you are a part of it, you beautiful world you!"
Friday 6 August 2010
Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation weekly Peace Vigil at Percival Landing
This photograph doesn't really capture the spirit of the vigil, because it was a very festive affair today. Dancing and singing in the street to the music of the Artesian Rumble Arkestra—the music was a lot of fun!
The Friday evening vigil has been ongoing since November 1998. It happens every week.
It's a great opportunity to express your desire for a peaceful, just, and nonviolent world. Whether you're angry, sad, frustrated, in despair, confused, confident, hopeful, joyous, just plain happy, or any mixture of the above—or other (minus homicidal!)—you are welcome at the vigil. So please don't hesitate to stop by. Signs are provided or please feel welcome to bring your own!
p.s. We who vigil for peace love it when people wave and say hello and give us the peace sign (and sometimes I even like it when people object!), but what we would really like would be for passer by to stop and join us. Consider it. Consider joining us sometime. Line the streets. For peace.
Now my thoughts turn to the situation with the co-op.
Wednesday 4 August 2010
Olympia BDS presentation at Traditions about their work advocating for the Olympia Food Co-op to boycott products from Israel. It was a full house at Traditions last night. The above photo is from about 9:30, near the end of the night, after when people began to trickle out around 9 or so. I estimate that there were 80 or more people in attendance. Members of the organizing group presented for about an hour and a half or so, and then the floor was opened up for Q & A.
For more information, please see: www.olympiabds.org/
Israeli parliament shows fear of boycott:
As some folks know, I am one of the many people who worked on the campaign to get the Olympia Food Co-op to honor the boycott of Israeli products.
Yesterday, the Olympian published a letter by Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg against the boycott. Unfortuantely, Rabbi Kinberg’s letter contained significant misinformation about the boycott. There is already a lot of misinformation out there, but the fact that this was published in the Olympian by a respected clergy member was disconcerting, exacerbated by the fact that she knew what she was writing was false.
This problem was compounded when the Olympian issued an editorial today repeating Rabbi Kinberg’s falsehoods.
Rabbi Kinberg’s letter, as printed, was only 162 words. Here is the most egregious portion of the letter, followed by an examination of the falsehoods:
Friday 30 July 2010
I went to the protest at the co-op. I was really impressed by the community. It was obvious to me how much people, on both sides of the boycott issue, care about each other, and care about the co-op.
There were some great conversations. And while tensions certainly run high, I am hopeful that differences amongst the co-op community can be reconciled and that a mutually beneficial solution can be found.
I witnessed people listening to each other, really listening to each other. And I think a lot of people gained some ground in understanding each other—which is amazing, because it was a protest.
People who are opposed to the boycott decision expressed some concerns that make a lot of sense to me. For example, the fact that the statement indicates a need to return "all occupied Arab lands." That's a very vague statement. And it could be interpreted as the destruction of the state of Israel.
Fortunately, that is not what is intended. Given the persecution that Jews have faced (and continue to face,) I, personally, support the right of Israel to exist. And I think most people who support the boycott are not trying to deny the fact that there is Anti-Jewish oppression in the world. And I also think that most people who are working in solidarity with Palestinians do not deny the right of Israel to exist.
So, perhaps the statement could be amended to acknowledge the right of the state of Israel to exist. I think there is a middle ground that everyone can agree to.