Tag Archives: Israel

Regarding a US Senators’ Letter to the UN about Israel and Palestine

Share

A letter dated April 27, 2017, prepared by Senator Mario Rubio and Senator Christopher A. Coons and signed by 100 U.S. Senators, was addressed to Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General. Two of the concerns stated were ‘the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias’ and ‘the anti-Israel boycott, sanctions, and divestment (BDS) movement’ (reference: ‘Washington Post’ – 100 Senators’ letter to United Nations Secretary General).  Below is copy of letter May 15, 2017, from Barbara Walker, addressed to the Senators and copied others:

Dear Sirs:

Respectfully, I write concerning the letter of April 27, 2017, by Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Christopher A. Coons signed by 100 members of the United States Senate, addressed to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, asking that he address perception of entrenched bias against Israel in the world body, particular reference made to, inter alia, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.  Whether I support the BDS movement or not is not relevant here.  A former United Nations staff member, now retired, I certainly am supportive of the work of UN bodies for improvement of world conditions.

Were it not for continuing violations of Palestinian human rights by the Government of Israel (an example, the taking of Palestinian land over time, for the building of homes for people from Israel), there would be no reason for the call for BDS.  Organized opposition to the Government of Israel’s violations of the Palestinians’ human rights in their own homeland is not an expression of bias against Israel.  Should the taking of Palestinian land, though against international law, be ignored by the world body?  Is recognition of and expression of opposition to long-standing unaddressed human rights violations to be considered discrimination or in this case an effort to have international law effected?

Would that the U.S. Senate, in addition to providing support for generous financial/military assistance to the Government of Israel, required that Israel observe international law with respect to the Palestinians’ homeland [West Bank, East Jerusalem, an Gaza] and human rights.  We (the U.S.) have a not observed but profound responsibility to the Palestinians, our having supported United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (November 1947), which included the plan for partition of British Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state (now Israel) and an Arab state (since June 1967 the occupied territories — West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza).  As is known and understandable, affected Palestinians were not happy about the loss of a major part of their ancestral homeland and they revolted.  [We Americans know about revolution (our own) to claim ‘a land of our own’;  the Palestinians — Christians, Jews, Moslems — were for centuries living in that land of their own; true, under the Ottoman and then League of Nations British Mandate rule; nevertheless, it was their homeland.]

That ’cause and effect’ operates is obvious. One observes that the Government of Israel, in effect, treats the whole of former British Mandate Palestine as if it were Israel, although it is not.  Palestinians’ human rights are violated in their homeland and they react.  The weight of past U.S.  positions vis a vis the Israeli and Palestinian parties is known.  There is ongoing worldwide support for efforts to end the ongoing violations of Palestinians’ human rights.  This support for application of international law — for ‘rule of law’ — is neither bias nor discrimination against Israel.

By what authority could the Government of Israel claim for the State of Israel part or all of any Palestinian homeland territory?  By what authority could any government, including the U.S. Government, allow the Government of Israel to claim for the State of Israel part or all of any Palestinian homeland territory [particular reference here to East Jerusalem]?

Relevant to the matter of U.S. foreign policy and humanitarian concerns as related to the Israel-Palestine conflict is Senator John McCain’s  ‘New York Times.’ Op-Ed, article of May 8, 2017, ‘We Must Support Human Rights’ — in it he refers to and discourages application of a certain counter-view to the strong statement of his title — article quoted in part as follows:

“In the real world as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression and corruption and cruelty is reality.  By denying this experience, we deny the aspirations of billions of people, and invite their enduring resentment.”

“… We have long believed moral concerns must be an essential part of our foreign policy, not a departure from it. …”

“To view foreign policy as simply transactional is more dangerous than its proponents realize. …”

Respectfully, this letters is submitted in consideration of perception of responses to Israel-Palestine conflict matters.  Attached concerning this subject are a copy of our letter dated April 21, 2017, addressed to Ambassador Haley and Ambassador Rosselli, and ‘Palestine — Some Considerations,’ prepared by the Granny Peace Brigade for the Hunter College Justice Fair, March 16, 2017.

Sincerely yours,
Barbara Walker
United Nations – Retired
[United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO)
Chief Civilian Personnel Officer – Jerusalem — 1990-1991]

Letter to President Donald J. Trump re Palestine/Israel

Share

The U.S. approving, almost 70 years ago – 29 November 1947 – the United Nations General Assembly adopted the plan for partition of British Mandatory Palestine, which recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States.  Almost 50 years ago, a result of the Six Day War was that the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem became Occupied Territories.  The Israel-Palestine conflict continues.

For information, ‘Granny Peace Brigade letter to President Donald J. Trump, dated February 7, 2017, on matters related to the Israel-Palestine conflict’ acknowledges the generosity of U.S. assistance to Israel, but draws attention to the need for recognition of Palestinian legitimate rights in a viable homeland, as well as for action for the securing of these.

Deeply concerned with this conflict over decades, after describing possible dire end results, Noam Chomsky wrote — the last sentence of ‘Fateful Triangle-The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians’ (1999) — “Such consequences need not come to pass, but they might, and if they do, privileged sectors of American, Israeli, and Palestinian society have a lot to answer for, in my opinion.”

Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade

U.S. Must Act to Resolve Israel/Palestine Conflict

Share

The June 6, 2016, Granny Peace Brigade ‘Letter to Senator Schumer re U.S. Involvement In Israel/Palestine,’ mailed to the Senator,  was posted as a blog, June l7th, 2016.  We sent a copy of the letter to U.S. government offices and to presidential candidates shown in the transmittal note, July 25, 2016 (below).

July 25, 2016 –To:  The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States; The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State; The Honorable Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; The Honorable Senator Charles E. Schumer; Secretary Hillary Clinton; The Honorable Senator Bernie Sanders, The Honorable Senator James Rich, Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism; The Honorable Congresswoman Ileana Ros-lehtinen, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; The Honorable Congressman Danny K. Davis; The Honorable Congressman Keith Ellison; The Honorable Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party Presidential Candidate.

The Granny Peace Brigade submits to you, a copy of our letter dated June 6, 2016, addressed to Senator Charles E. Schumer, which expressed to him our concern about lack of United States effective action for resolution of the ongoing conflict between the Government of Israel and the Palestinians.  In brief, given the United States support for the 1947 United Nations partition plan for British Mandatory Palestine, which called for decrease in the area of the Palestinian ancestral land available for Palestinian settlement and which was followed by armed conflict and subsequent occupation of Palestinian land and massive violation of Palestinian human rights, including the taking over of Palestinian land, it has a responsibility to the Palestinians.  Our government  has shown responsibility for support of the Government of Israel.  However,  as is known and is mentioned in our letter, Martin Indyk, former U.S.  Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, has recently stated that the U.S. has not been neutral in these negotiations. The human rights violations which apply are certainly dealt with in international law.  Why are protracted negotiations necessary?  The Granny Peace Brigade views it as vital that our government assume forthrightly its responsibility to the Palestinians for the recognition and the effecting of their human rights – including the integrity of all Palestinian territory. This is respectfully submitted for your review and  consideration for appropriate action.

– Marty Rajandran, Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade–Israel-Palestine Conflict Committee

Letter to Schumer re U.S. Involvement In Israel/Palestine

Share

June 6, 2016

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

On May 26, 2016, we, Marty Rajandran and Barbara Walker, Granny Peace Brigade–Israel-Palestine Conflict Committee, were pleased to meet with Alex Katz, Special Assistant, and (by telephone) Lane Bodian, Legislative Correspondent, of your office, for discussion on involvement and role of the U.S. Government in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people and we again requested arrangements for a brief meeting with you.  It was agreed meanwhile that we would direct to you in writing some of our concerns.

A principal concern is the continuing dichotomy in U.S. policy and practice with respect to the ongoing conflict.  It is evident that our government, which voted for the 1947 UN partition plan that provided for an Arab state and a Jewish state, is strongly supportive of Israeli requirements and requests but is lacking in responsible reaction and in support to Palestinians with regard to the major problem of human rights violation in their occupied homeland — rights which are covered by international law.

1.  Senator Schumer, we understand that you are in agreement that cases of accusation of violation of Palestinian human rights by the military legitimately should be reviewed with respect to the Leahy Law/Amendment.  In this regard we note that Senator Leahy and ten Congressional Representatives have submitted to the Secretary of State a letter (February 17, 2016) concerning application of the Leahy Law in Israel and indicating that “there have been a disturbing number of reports of possible gross violations of human rights by security forces in Israel and incidents that may have involved recipients, or potential recipients, of U.S. military assistance.”  They have asked to be informed of the findings.  We would very much appreciate having this information.  We know it is extremely necessary legislation.  Palestinians have suffered greatly under the military occupation.  Recently the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem indicated it finds that because of lack of results, ‘there is no longer any point’ in filing complaints against soldiers.

2.  Increase in aid to Israel is currently under U.S. Government consideration and, of course, one is very much aware of its use in the Palestinian homeland occupied areas — military control and protection of illegal settlements, including the much publicized action in Hebron, excessive use in Gaza (where there is major Palestinian dissatisfaction exacerbated by blockade and other stringent controls on their lives).  Certainly also of great concern to us and to many Americans is the continued multi-year/billion dollars in military aid to Israel, a country which is wealthy, ranked 19th in the Human Development Index Report and improving while U.S. ranking is declining!  Further, Israel is already a major global exporter of arms, ranked 6th in the world; ranked 11th strongest military power; has over 1,000 arms manufacturers; exports 75% of arms produced; with an estimated 190 countries as recipients of Israeli arms sales, including countries that the U.S. does not sell to, e.g. China.  Some of the recipients of U.S. aid, e.g. Raphael, a privately held for profit Israeli company, received $1.8 billion in U.S. tax-payer funds. (Source:  War Against the People, Jeff Halper, Pluto Press, 2015. Pages referred:  52, 90.)  It appears that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing a global trade in arms via Israel, in addition to the use of these arms against Palestinians as part of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.  As it seems that Israel can actually take care of its own military needs, since the vast majority is exported, Senator Schumer, we request your proposal for reduction in U.S. military assistance to Israel as well as for continued pressure on Israel to halt new construction of more illegal settlements and infrastructure in the West Bank and that measures be taken to link any further assistance to a dismantling of this illegal occupation.

3.  In connection with the above, we ask, would not the ending of home demolition and the appropriate fixing of borders between rightful Palestinian territories and Israel (reference Fourth Geneva Convention, UN Resolutions 282 and 338) respond to legitimate Palestinian demands, and along with Israeli and Palestinian cooperation to normalize relations lead to decrease in military operations and costs?  Regarding land settlement, the 1999 Clinton/Barak recommendation, the proposal to let Palestinians have only non-contiguous areas of the West Bank was clearly unacceptable to the Palestinian leadership.  Aware of your support of a 2 state solution, we ask your proposals.

4.  U.S. Government lack of adequate level of concern for Palestinian rights is reflected in the information notes (a) and (b) and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative is summarized in note below:

(a)  Letter from President Gerald Ford to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, September 1, 1975 — “Should the U.S. desire in the future to put forward proposals of its own, it will make every effort to coordinate with Israel its proposals with a view to refraining from putting forth proposals that Israel would consider unsatisfactory.”  [Brokers of Deceit, Rashid Khalidi, Beacon Press, 2013. Page 8.]

Question:  Does this still apply?

(b)  In a statement Martin Indyk, former U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations said, inter alia, the U.S. is not neutral and doesn’t claim to be neutral in negotiations with Palestinians, that it sometimes acted at times as Israel’s lawyer, that Israel ‘screwed up’ the latest round of talks by building settlements but there were no consequences, that he advocates U.S. abstention in upcoming UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements. [Mondoweiss, March 14, 2016.]

Question:  Is the U.S. an ‘honest broker’ in efforts for conflict resolution; does it intend to reassess its responsibilities to Palestinians whose homeland partition it supported; does it intend to require just resolution and if so, what is envisioned as just resolution?

(c)  The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (is brought up periodically — Google-Alert-Kerry and Arab Peace Initiative, May 21, 2016) calls for significant concessions on Israel’s part, among them a full withdrawal from the West Bank, the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, and an agreed-upon solution for the Palestinian refugee problem.  In return, numerous Arab states would officially recognize the Jewish state as well as establish normalized ties with it.  [Times of Israel, May 22, 2016.]

Question:  Is this a reasonable solution?

5.  It is our understanding that you do not equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.  On B.D.S., we are, however, disappointed that you are on record linking a global movement to pressure Israel to respect the UN resolutions as “anti-Semitic.”  Individual as well as collective action is among freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution/Bill of Rights.  As constituents we seek your support in opposing any legislation which would restrict these rights.  If we wish individually or collectively to boycott products, services, etc. of any country, in this case Israel, this is our right.  We note that the media coordinator for Jewish Voice for Peace (Brooklyn), has reported that she works daily ‘with a growing number of Jewish students who see the boycott, divestment and sanctions (B.D.S.) movement as the most effective way to shift the conversation from a debate over whether or not Israel’s nearly 50-year military occupation is a moral problem to one that centers on Palestinian rights to freedom and equality.’  [New York Times, April 1, 2016.]

Because we are aware of your knowledge about, deep concern with, and considered views on this conflict, which seriously affects so many lives, we are respectfully submitting our concerns on this to you.

Sincerely yours,

– Marty Rajandran and Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade

The Irony of Human Rights Day for Palestinian Children

Share

On this warm, balmy 10 December evening, the Granny Peace Brigade joined together with the Union Square Women in Black Against the Occupation among other groups to commemorate this year’s International Human Rights Day. December 10 is the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights……. ironically, the same year that the state of Israel was created resulting in the continued  denial of basic human rights for Palestinians which we see still happening today, over 60 years later.

We, a group of around 25 women and men, stood for GAZA. We stood for the rights of Palestinians, and in particular Palestinian children, this generation the fourth generation denied basic rights.

The right to life: since the year 2000, around 2000 Palestinian children in Gaza and the occupied territories were killed either through Israeli military action or the actions of the illegal, Zionist settlers.

The right to a home/shelter: Over 20,000 homes of Palestinians have been crushed, demolished by Israeli bulldozers (usually from the US firm Caterpillar) to get rid of unwanted Palestinian households or to punish an entire household for what may be  perceived by Israeli authorities as unlawful acts. Thousands of Palestinian homes were demolished to make room for the illegal settlements in the West Bank and to make room for the abhorrent separation wall. And this policy continues, with homes demolished virtually every day.

The right of education: On the positive side, enrollments and completion rates for Palestinian children are high, demonstrating their desire for a better life, a future. Yet thousands of children suffer from the trauma of war, bombings, loss of family and friends. They suffer from the loss of childhood. We remember those young boys playing on a beach in GAZA, killed by Israeli soldiers.

Globally, this year’s Human Rights Day was devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.

The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings. And ironically, these basic rights have been denied to three to four generations of Palestinian children (depends if we count from 1948 or 1966).

We say, it’s about time the US stops its military and other aid to Israel, a country which continues to violate the human rights of Palestinians. We support the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement putting economic pressures on Israel to change its policies. We support the Palestinian people in their continued struggle for their homeland.

– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

To Mayor De Blasio On His Visit to Israel

Share

Mayor De Blasio

Having followed events of your Israel visit, I write to say I believe it unfortunate that ‘short shrift’ was made of the plight of Palestinians and that the role of long term ongoing ‘cause and effect’ factors were ignored when you focused on Palestinian action.

Obviously the human rights violations which have been and are being committed against Palestinians are major factors in the current action.

Palestine is the ancestral home of the Palestinians. Prior to partition, Arabs and Jews lived in British Mandatory Palestine. Yes, there were conflicts, but they did live together. After the partition (and contrary to the earlier Balfour Declaration provision “…it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine….”) that provided for a Jewish State and an Arab State, began the Nakba — early, e.g., Deir Yassin; later, e.g., land grabs for the building of settlements, such as in Hebron where settlers have rights denied Palestinians there in their own city. But this, as you know, is the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ It is ironic — the Palestinians had no involvement in the Holocaust — it was European;  the Palestinians did not turn back a ship (the St. Louis) of Europeans seeking asylum — that was the U.S.

The Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are in East Jerusalem (Palestine) — that should be evident.

Questions for consideration — why is the U.S. wary of pressing the Government of Israel to comply with international law with respect to Palestinians before providing it the approximately 3 billion dollars a year (approximately 10 million dollars a day) military aid?  That Israel is considered a U.S. ally is fair enough, but the U.S. does have also a responsibility to the Palestinians (though our government as a matter of course has vetoed Security Council resolutions drafted on Palestinian behalf), the U.S. having supported the partition.  Could not lessening of aid to Israel be considered and additional funds be directed to a “Marshall Plan” for the Palestinians?

– Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade

One Year Since Israel’s Massacre in Gaza

Share

Jenny and I got off the train at 40th Street, armed with posters a, children and a little black box to lay them down. What a shock as we rounded the corner and saw that the plaza we and Jonothan had meticulously choreographed around, was gone! Three days ago, the Golda Meir Square was intact and ready to be occupied, and now piles of rubble amid heavy machinery remained, a minuscule version of what Gazans experience on a daily basis as their homes, schools, hospitals , shopping areas are destroyed around them. The noise of the machinery, the dust and dirt, along with a beginning sprinkle of rain, led to a quick decision to cancel/postpone. But Carol Husten had journeyed all the way from the Berkshires, and a goodly number of wonderful stalwarts arrived, not having received the message.

And so we  decided, as it is the anniversary of the massacre, to go ahead in a small way, despite the exploded plaza. We assembled along the curb with a string of signage, and during a lull in the deafening drilling, we placed the small black casket on the ground and read some names of little ones murdered last summer during the deafening destruction of their homes and lives by the IDF. It seemed somehow appropriate. And the disappearance of Golda was not a disappointment. If only the Occupation could  vanish as quickly.

As the destruction in Gaza lasted for 50 days,we will reschedule another day of mourning. We are looking for another suitable  setting. If you have any ideas, let us know!

– Ann Shiriazi
for the Granny Peace Brigade
——
In spite of the weather, rainy/humid, those who did not get the message in time of cancellation of the action planned at Golda Meir Plaza on Wednesday decided to go ahead with a modified action.

What was really surprising on arrival: There was no statue of Golda Meir, the entire Plaza was undergoing demolition! We, together with other Friends, held a silent vigil and a symbolic funeral with the representations of the children who died in Gaza, due to the murderous attacks of Israel last year. Ironic the background sounds were the demolitions underway.

There were several journalists at the event, Nydia and Alice gave interviews in Spanish and Ann was also interviewed.

Another action is being planned….the attacks by Israel on Gaza lasted for 50 days. So we will be back. And a big thanks to Ann and Jenny for the handouts and posters…appropriate for the day and setting.

– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Breaking News: Grannies meet with Chuck Schumer’s NYC staff on Palestine

Share

Why is this breaking news: As we told Alex Katz, an aide to the Senator on Monday, June 10, 2015, the Granny Peace Brigade has tried, unsuccessfully for over 5 years to get an appointment with the Senator, OUR Senator!

What did we learn that was new/news:

What did we hear:
Alex Katz, an aide to Senator Schumer for many years, often accompanying him on his travels in the USA, was very courteous to our group comprising Carol Husten, Barbara Walker, Jenny Heinz, Marty Rajandran. He listened to each of our comments on Palestine/Israel and made a few comments which are summarized as:
-On the illegal occupation of Israel of Palestinian land and the construction of settlements: He noted that the Senator is not in favor of any new settlements. However, he seemed to waffle a bit on the status of the existing ones and the Senator’s taking a stand on any restrictions on our relationship with Israel because of these illegal settlements.
-On Chuck Schumer’s views on the current Israeli Government: He felt that the current Israeli government does not represent the will of Israelis and that it is delaying efforts towards a two-state solution. He however continues to be considered “a hawk” for Israel.
-On Chuck Schumers role vis a vis US policy: Alex indicated that Chuck Schumer does have a positive working relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu and is able to facilitate communication between him and President Obama.
-On a deal with Iran, he noted that the Senator supports a deal that will keep “our allies” safe.

We asked him to:
–arrange a meeting between us and the Senator this summer. He agreed.
–request the Senator to make a public statement that said “Speaking out on Israel does not make one an anti-semite.” He agreed.
–propose to the Senator to reduce our funding for Israel, esp as Israel is one of the most developed countries in the world, 19th as per the Human Development Report and to increase funding for Palestinians. No specific comment on this. (Actually, we also mentioned that we would like to stop all US military assistance to Israel, as well as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.)
–urge the Senator to consider proposing that the International Court of Justice be involved in the peace process, as a non-violent, legal approach towards a just solution to the rights of the Palestinian people. (no comment on this)
–encourage the Senator to use his good auspices to pressure Israel to abide by International Law, UN 242, among others. (no comment)
–discourage the Senator from making statements that he speaks for New Yorkers. He does not speak for Palestinians, many Jews, and others throughout the state on his position of virtual unconditional support for the illegal actions of Israel.
–encourage the Senator to take a lead in recognizing Hamas as the elected government of the Palestinians in Gaza. There are other governments we consider close allies that do NOT recognize Israel, e.g. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, 19 others.
–refrain from making further statements such as one made on Gaza: “…to squeeze them (Gaza) until they do what Israel wants”. The Israel blockade is harmful to the people of Gaza. And we would expect the Senator not to like the growing success of the BDS movement against Israel. This movement is gaining more support as people and countries are fed up with Israel’s denial of the rights of the Palestinian people.
–understand that in view of the human rights abuses done by the Israeli military as viewed globally through social media, at some point, there may be pressure to apply the Leahy Amendment which prohibits US funding through the State Dept or Defense to countries charged with human rights abuses. (He commented that he was unaware of this law)

Short summary of specific points made by Grannies in the discussion:
Carol was stunned by the sights and her experiences during a visit to the West Bank several years ago. She stated, among other views, the advisability of the U.S. decreasing its financial contributions to Israel — Israel being economically advantaged — and increasing its aid to Palestine. Mentioned was the annual military assistance financial aid grant of $3 billion. Noted also was that a RAND Corporation report which put American aid to Israel at $118 billion since World War II — not including classified programs, and that a RAND Corporation economist put American aid to Palestinians at less that $10 billion

Barbara said she visited East Jerusalem and the West Bank in January 1967, prior to the Six Day War, and that she was posted in Jerusalem with the UN for one year, 1990-1991. She noted that in 1948 Israeli authorities-to-be acceded to the UN resolution authorizing partition of Palestine but that the Government of Israel has not acceded to UN resolutions calling for withdrawal from Occupied Territories. She asked how could the Government of Israel claim continuing control of the west side of the Jordan River Valley — West Bank land/West Bank shore? How can the U.S. accept this? We do have a responsibility to the Palestinians. In this connection, how is Eretz Israel/Land of Israel being defined — is it being defined as the whole of British Mandate Palestine? If so, are the Palestinians invisible as a people? This is their ancestral home — what was authorized by the UN was partition. She expressed the hope that Senator Schumer would encourage our Government to view positively the French initiative (resolution) which is currently under refinement. The resolution, according to a draft published in ‘Le Figaro,’ will set out an 18 month time-table for ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza [see: ‘Le Figaro Premium,’ “Paris fait une nouvelle offre aux Israeliens et Palestiniens,” by Cyrille Louis, May 19, 2015].

Marty noted her activism against the Occupation began 50 years ago as a university student. She mentioned several visits to Israel and neighboring countries on work duty and personal visits. She asked the question of Israel’s needing so much of our tax dollars when it ranks 19th among developed countries – hardly a struggling nation. And in response to Katz’s comments about Hamas not recognizing Israel, she asked about Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that don’t recognize Israel either and yet are U.S. allies. She mentioned the violation of the Leahy amendment re banning aid to countries with human/child rights violations but regrettably, Ban Ki-Moon, U.N. Secretary General, just took Israel off the list.

Jenny spoke very forcefully, expressing personal outrage as a Jew that Schumer claims to speak on behalf of Jews and New Yorkers. She touched on the glaring issues facing Palestinans: seizure of land and destruction of homes, murder of children and civilians, torture and harsh imprisonment of dissent, however she felt that a back and forth on these points was not useful in today’s meeting. She emphasised that Mr Schumer’s hawkish position on Israel encourages their continued violation of international law. She requested Alex to request the Senator to make a public statement: “Speaking out against Israel does not make one an anti-Semite.”

– Barbara Walker, Carol Husten, Jenny Heinz, Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

City Council members are leaving on an all expenses paid junket to Israel on February 15

Share

Hello Sisters and Friends,

We have one last chance to persuade 15 City Council members* to cancel their funded-by-the-zionists junket to Israel, or at least to make them feel damn guilty about going. These 15 City Council members* need to think again about the message they give to New Yorkers, particularly our Palestinian neighbors. This trip is despicable.

We will meet at the Broadway entrance to City Hall with our representations of dead Palestinian children, leaflets with our (abridged) letter to those 15 City Council members* who are being bought by zionists, and, of course, banners.

What: A meet and greet as City Council members trek back and forth across Broadway for their bi-weekly Stated Meeting.
When: Thursday, February 12 (that would be Lincoln’s birthday, wouldn’t it?)
Time: 12:15 PM
Where: Broadway at Murray St. entrance to City Hall Park

See you in the streets–on Broadway to be precise
– Joan Pleune
for the Granny Peace Brigade

* Council Speaker:
Melissa Mark-Viverito, mviverito@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7210, Fax; 212-442-1564

* Council Members:
Mark Treyger, elustig@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7045
Brad Lander, lander@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6969
Antonio Reynoso, areynoso@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7095
David Greenfield, dgreenfield@council.nyc.gov, 718-853-2704
Rafael Espiñal, respinal@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7284
Darlene Mealy, dmealy@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7387
Corey Johnson, District3@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6979
Ritchie Torres, rsaksena@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6966
Andrew Cohen, District11@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7080
Donovan Richards, drichards@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7216
Eric Ulrich, eulrich@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7069
Jimmy Van Bramer, jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7370
Mark Levine, District7@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7007
Helen Rosenthal, Helen@helenrosenthal.com, 212-788-6975

Dear City Council Members, Don’t Accept an Expenses Paid Trip to Apartheid Israel

Share

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Members Mark Treyger, Brad Lander, Antonio Reynoso, David Greenfield, Rafael Espinal, Darlene Mealy, Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Corey Johnson, Ritchie Torres, Andrew Cohen, Donovan Richards, Eric Ulrich, and James Van Bramer:

Dear City Council Members on the all expenses paid trip to Israel,

I write to express my shock and deepest sadness on learning of your proposed February trip to Israel.  I urge you to reconsider and cancel it on very legitimate grounds.  New York is not just any U.S. city – and Israel is not just any country.  A visit by you to a nation that has betrayed its role as an occupier – treating Palestine like an 18th century colony to be abused, exploited and punished – is without merit.

As headquarters for the United Nations, New York City enjoys the international prestige and financial rewards that the U.N. brings.  With its presence, however, come distinct responsibilities.  Besides the shocking pretense by Israel that it doesn’t have nuclear weapons – when THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS IT DOES – and its flaunting of repeated U.N. votes that have condemned its settlement policies, Israel has become a rogue nation.  What are you in the City Council doing in preparation for the thousands of overseas visitors coming to New York to attend the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty meetings?  Will you bring back word that Israel is coming out of its nuclear closet?

Israel practices Apartheid against Palestinians and any tour you undertake will be a tragic pretense. Will you be given an excuse for Israel’s use of white phosphorus weapons in their 2014 massacre in Gaza that killed over 2,300 people (over 500 children)?  What about the wholesale destruction of 1000s of olive trees on Palestinian lands – at a time when our planet is overheating and trees are the vital lungs for our earth?  Israel’s scorched earth policy to destroy Palestine’s people and infrastructure must cease.  Why pay court to their crimes?

As a New Yorker who has supported many of you in our struggle for justice against racism, I feel betrayed by your planned junket.  It does not bode well for the policies you will pursue in seeking racial harmony in this city.  The practice by the U.S. government of torture (rechristened “enhanced interrogation techniques”) in violation of Geneva Conventions does not authorize you to support Israel in violating the 4th Geneva Convention with settlements in occupied land.  I say SHAME   SHAME   SHAME !

On this, the day we observe the birthday of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr it is fitting to quote him for he was our nation’s Conscience : “When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

Bow out of the trip – use your energies for the good citizens of this city that elected you to focus on healing.

Sincerely,
– Nydia Leaf
for the Granny Peace Brigade

P.S. To send a “Don’t Tour Apartheid Israel!”message to the 15 members of the NY City Council scheduled to take an all-expenses paid trip to Israel in February: click here.