Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Classified U.S. Military Video Leaked- Iraqis used as sport.

Classified video leaked to of U.S. military murdering a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding two children.

I don't even know if I can coherently write right now after viewing this. How can people be trained to dehumanize themselves and to dehumanize others so greatly as to kill with laughter, disregard and indifference? How, after wounding two children, can one justify wrongdoing by stating "well it's their [Iraqi civilians] fault for bringing their kids into battle"? Is not a battle an active fight between two or more aggressors? This was not a battle. It was an attack. It was murder for sport.

And this was not an accident. Read more!

Monday, December 7, 2009

On a Day that Strength Overshadows Hate

What I Will
Suheir Hammad

I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
hunted stolen
stretched. I will
not dance to your drummed
up war. I will not pop
spin break for you. I
will not hate for you or
even hate you. I will
not kill for you. Especially
I will not die
for you. I will not mourn
the dead with murder nor
suicide. I will not side
with you nor dance to bombs
because everyone else is
dancing. Everyone can be
wrong. Life is a right not
collateral or casual. I
will not forget where
I come from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting
will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will not be played. I
will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your
beat. I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than
death. Your war drum ain't
louder than this breath.
Read more!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Top Ten Brands to Boycott this Christmas

While there are many Israeli and multinational companies that benefit from apartheid, we put together this list to highlight ten specific companies to target.

Many of these produce goods in such a way that directly harms Palestinians — exploiting labor, developing technology for military operations, or supplying equipment for illegal settlements. Many are also the targets of boycotts for other reasons, like harming the environment and labor violations.

Remember, it’s also important to let these companies — and the stores that sell them — know that we will not support them as long as they support Israeli apartheid!


This brand’s cosmetics are produced using salt, minerals, and mud from the Dead Sea — natural resources that are excavated from the occupied West Bank. The products themselves are manufactured in the illegal Israeli settlement Mitzpe Shalem. AHAVA is the target of CODEPINK’s “Stolen Beauty” campaign.

2. Delta Galil Industries

Israel’s largest textiles manufacturer provides clothing and underwear for such popular brands as Gap, J-Crew, J.C. Penny, Calvin Klein, Playtex, Victoria’s Secret (see #10) and many others. Its founder and chairman Dov Lautman is a close associate of former Israeli President Ehud Barak. It has also been condemned by Sweatshop Watch for its exploitation of labor in other countries such as Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.

3. Motorola

While many of us know this brand for its stylish cellphones, did you know that it also develops and manufactures bomb fuses and missile guidance systems? Motorola components are also used in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”) and in communications and surveillance systems used in settlements, checkpoints, and along the 490 mile apartheid wall. The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has launched the “Hang Up on Motorola” campaign.

4. L’Oreal / The Body Shop

This cosmetics and perfume company is known for its investments and manufacturing activities in Israel, including production in Migdal Haemek, the “Silicon Valley” of Israel built on the land of Palestinian village Al-Mujaydil, which was ethnically cleansed in 1948. In 1998, a representative of L’Oreal was given the Jubilee Award by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for strengthening the Israeli economy.

5. Dorot Garlic and Herbs

These frozen herbs that are sold at Trader Joe’s are shipped halfway around the world when they could easily be purchased locally. Trader Joe’s also sells Israeli Cous Cous and Pastures of Eden feta cheese that are made in Israel. QUIT, South Bay Mobilization, and other groups have targeted Trader Joe’s with a “Don’t Buy into Apartheid” campaign.

6. Estee Lauder

This company’s chairman Ronald Lauder is also the chairman of the Jewish National Fund, a quasi-governmental organization that was established in 1901 to acquire Palestinian land and is connected to the continued building of illegal settlements. Estee Lauder’s popular brands include Clinique, MAC, Origins, Bumble & Bumble, Aveda, fragrance lines for top designers, and many others. They have been the target of QUIT’s “Estee Slaughter Killer Products” campaign.

7. Intel

This technology company that manufactures computer processors and other hardware components employs thousands of Israelis and has exports from Israel totaling over $1 billion per year. They are one of Israel’s oldest foreign supporters, having established their first development center outside of the US in 1974 in Haifa. Al-Awda (the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) has urged action against Intel for building a facility on the land of former village Iraq Al Manshiya, which was cleansed in 1949.

8. Sabra

This brand of hummus, baba ghanoush and other foods is co-owned by Israel’s second-largest food company The Strauss Group and Pepsico. On the “Corporate Responsibility” section of its website, The Strauss Group boasts of its relationship to the Israeli Army, offering food products and political support.

9. Sara Lee

Sara Lee holds a 30% stake in Delta Galil (see #2) and is the world’s largest clothing manufacturer, which owns or is affiliated with such brands as Hanes, Playtex, Champion, Leggs, Sara Lee Bakery, Ball Park hotdogs, Wonderbra, and many others. Similar to L’Oreal (see #4), a representative of Sara Lee received the Jubilee Award from Netanyahu for its commitment to business with Israel.

10. Victoria’s Secret

Most of Victoria’s Secret’s bras are produced by Delta Galil (see #2), and much of the cotton is also grown in Israel on confiscated Palestinian land. Victoria’s Secret has also been the target of labor rights’ groups for sourcing products from companies with labor violations, and by environmental groups for their unsustainable use of paper in producing their catalogues. That’s not sexy!

Posted by Right Of Return Coalition on Thu, 12/03/2009 - 13:05
USCBI (U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel)
Read more!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Part 1: Problems with the Two-state Solution of Palestine and Israel

Political rhetoric is constantly used by politicians, diplomats and those that maintain neutrality in regards to Israel's occupation of Palestine. People opposed to the occupation give the two-state solution, a separate Palestinian state and a separate Jewish state, as the only plausible answer to this +60 year problem. However, when you break down this solution, it is really not plausible at all when looking at it through the lenses of justice and equality. Omar Barghouti, educator, activist and scholar, has made it even clearer to me that a two-state solution may be a solution of ease and practicality but is also one that perpetuates the injustice and inequality that Palestinians face today. A two-state solutions proposes two states, one for Palestinians and one for the Jewish population. I say Jewish and not Israeli because according to Israel, there is no Israeli nationality, the only nationality that exists is the Jewish nationality. The borders of Palestine would be the borders that were placed upon Palestinians in 1949 before Israel violated international law in 1967 and thereafter- Palestine would consist of West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem (future capital). There are a few key problems with this "solution":

1. The size of land relative to the population of Palestinians is disproportionate even using the international-consensus borders of 1949.
-- West Bank: 2,178 square miles; 1,102 people per square mile
-- Gaza: 139 square miles; 10,791 people per square mile
-- Israel: 8,019 square miles; 885 people per square mile

As the numbers show, land distribution relative to the size of the population is grossly disproportional.

2. Palestinians right to return, which refers to the Palestinians in the diaspora right to return back to their homeland, within the confines of the 1949 will only exacerbate the land and population issues mentioned in #1. Presently, there are over 6 million Palestinians in exile that cannot return to their homeland.

3. Adhering to the 1949 borders poses another problem in regards to geography because of the Jewish settlements in Gaza and East Jerusalem (again, using the word Jewish due to Israel's idea of its national identity being Jewish, not due to Antisemitism). The Jewish settlements that have been built and are still being built (note: violation of international law) have been built strategically, so that they divide Palestinian villages and towns from one another. Another reason they have been built in such a way is to make it so that when it comes time during a "peace process" to figure out the exact borders of Palestine and Israel, it will be impossible to make a concrete Palestinian state. If the settlements maintain their presence in a two-state solution, Palestinians would have to go through Israel in order to reach another Palestinian town/village. This is just a twist to the checkpoints that Palestinians have to go through today.

Obviously, it is much easier to spew critiques, rather than pose a solution. The next blog piece will discuss the one-state solution and the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) which Omar Barghouti founded in order to achieve the one-state goal.
Read more!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gay Marriage Spreading to Maine and New Hampshire (fingers crossed)

Two states, Maine and New Hampshire, are in the process of legalizing gay marriage. The state Senate in Maine has already voted for its legalization and now it's going to the House where the bill is likely to pass. New Hampshire's Senate has also passed a bill to legalize gay marriage and now it's off to the House, where a similar bill had previously been approved. Both states' governors, John Baldacci (Maine-D) and John Lynch (New Hampshire-D), do not support gay marriage; however, both have not stated that they will veto the bill. Read more!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Condi Rice Impersonating Nixon?

Ms. Condi Rice was at Stanford University when a student asked her about waterboarding and whether or not it's torture. Her answer sounds awfully similar to Nixon's.

"The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture."

So, in essence, just because the President says it's ok, we must believe it? As an intelligent human being, aren't we suppose to hold opinions and question statements regardless of what authority said it?

"The United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture, and so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture."

Here are a few reasons to why Condi Rice said that:

A.) She doesn't understand the role of the President.
B.) She mistook our Democracy for a dictatorship.
C.) She thought it would be a good time to impersonate Mr. Nixon ("When the President does it, that means it is not illegal").

Let's hope it's C and she just has a really poor sense of comedic timing.

Read more!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Afghan Women Rise in Protest to Recent Taliban-like Law

(Source: The New York Times, April 16, 2009, Front Page and A13 for information and image)

Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, April 15, 2009:

While Americans rushed to hand in their tax returns, several hundred Afghan women walked two miles to Parliament to submit a petition to repeal a law that oppresses Shi'ite women's rights.

The law, signed by both houses of Parliament and President Hamid Karzai, is under attack for three specific provisions:

1. Married Shi'ite women cannot refuse her husband's sexual advances;
2. A husband's permission is required before a woman is allowed to work or go to school;
3. A woman cannot refuse to "dress up" or "make herself up" if her husband desires it.

President Karzai has been attacked by many Western groups for his part in the passage of the law, though he attempted to mitigate the impact of the bill by giving it to the justice minister to "look over" and declared that since the law has not technically been published in the government's official register, all women's rights (which are supposedly protected in the Afghan Consitution) will be upheld.

The law is reminiscent of the Taliban and was drafted by Ayatollah Asif Mohseni, the country's most powerful Shi'ite cleric, among other scholars (all of whom are men). Some speculate that President Karzai signed the law because he is up for re-election this year and is trying to garner the support of the Shi'ite clerics.

The women's protest started at the madrasa, School of the Last Prophet, run by Ayatollah Asif Mohseni where they declared that they wished to protect their rights. The women were immediately met by a slew of angry (mostly male) students from the madrasa, who yelled obscenities and attempted to drive the women away. The women had police escorts as they delivered their petition to Parliament.

Meanwhile, some women in Kabul chanted in support of the law.

This event is a good reminder to me to be vigilant of global human rights issues and seek to support those who are not favored by their governments, despite apparent constitutional safeguards.

Read more!