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#Nakba72: Online rally
May 14, 2020 at 10:08 PM
#NAKBA72
Saturday May 16, 2:00pm - 4:00pm ET (11am - 1pm Pacific Time)

Register now at bit.ly/nakbaday2020

Hear from: 
  • Zahia El-Masri, Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Quebec
  • Yafa Jarrar, Human Rights Lawyer
  • Badee’ Dwaik, Human Rights Defenders - Hebron
  • Leila Al Ali, Najdeh - Palestine Aid Society, Lebanon
  • Haneen Zaqout, We Are Not Numbers, Gaza
Hosted by:
  • Palestinian Canadian Community Centre - Palestine House
  • Independent Jewish Voices Canada
  • Socialist Action
  • Courage
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Freedom Flotilla online events: Saturday 9 May through May 31
May 08, 2020 at 03:47 PM

Dear supporters & friends,

Please join us for a Webinar on Saturday, May 9 on the Free Gaza Movement: Breaking the Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza--Organizing the first Boats to Gaza

In May 2020 the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Coalition is sponsoring a series of webinars to commemorate those killed on the 2010 Gaza Freedom flotilla and the thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel that have been killed by the Israeli military and the inhumane policies of the Israeli government. 

May 31, 2020 is the 10th anniversary of the deadly Israel military attack on six civilian boats that were sailing to bring international attention to the plight of Palestinians living under a brutal Israeli land, sea and air blockade of Gaza. Israeli commandos murdered ten and wounded fifty unarmed civilians on the Mavi Marmara ship and beat up passengers on the other five boats. 

 

Don't miss this exciting opportunity to hear from those who started this movement! Please register by clicking here.   

Watch for more Gaza Freedom Flotilla webinars in May, including:

May 23: Award-winning film The Truth: Lost at Sea, followed by a discussion with film-maker and Mavi Marmara survivor Rifat Audeh. Hosted by Canadian Boat to Gaza.  

May 28:  Legal actions against Israel originating from the Gaza Flotillas hosted by South Africa's Palestine Solidarity committee 

May 30: Filmmaker Iara Lee & her film “Attack on the Mavi Marmara” hosted by US Boats to Gaza 

May 30:  Event hosted by allies in 48 Palestine.

May 31:  Events in Istanbul, Turkey to commemorate the 10 deaths by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara ship hosted by IHH, Humanitarian Aid.

May 31: Evening Concert in Norway hosted by Ship to Gaza Norway.
Watch for updates: 
freedomflotilla.org/news/coalition-statements/online-flotilla-events-during-may-2020/

 

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How top Labour officials plotted to bring down Jeremy Corbyn
Apr 16, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Leaked report shows that staff worked relentlessly to damage the party's leader, including by exploiting antisemitism

The findings of a leaked, 860-page report compiled by the British Labour Party on its handling of antisemitism complaints is both deeply shocking and entirely predictable all at once.

For the first time, extensive internal correspondence between senior party officials has been revealed, proving a years-long plot to destroy Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader who recently stepped down.

The report confirms long-held suspicions that suspected cases of antisemitism were exploited by head office staff to try to undermine Corbyn. Anyone who was paying close attention to events in the party over the past five years already had a sense of that.

But the depth of hostility from party managers towards Corbyn – to the extent that they actively sought to engineer his defeat in the 2017 general election – comes as a bombshell even to most veteran Labour watchers.

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In Palestine, COVID-19 Meets the Israeli Occupation
Apr 14, 2020 at 12:00 AM

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The West Bank and Gaza Strip are confronting COVID-19 from a reality of Israeli military occupation, which weakens the ability of the Palestinian authorities and the Palestinian people to respond effectively to the deadly virus. While many health care systems around the world are struggling to deal with the pandemic, the 53-year occupation has seriously depleted medical capabilities in the West Bank and Gaza. The donor-dependent system has shortages in equipment, medication, and staff due to such issues as military raids and restrictions on imports. In the Gaza Strip in particular – deemed unliveable by the UN as a result of over 13 years of blockade and multiple wars – the health care system already struggled to deal with medical cases before the pandemic. Indeed, Gaza currently has only 78 ICU beds and 63 ventilators for a population of two million.

Meanwhile, daily manifestations of the occupation persist, such as the continued demolition of Palestinian homes and military raids on Palestinian villages and towns. There have also been direct Israeli attacks on Palestinian attempts to confront the virus, such as the destruction of a COVID 19 clinic in the Jordan Valley and the arrest of Palestinian volunteers attempting to distribute supplies to impoverished communities in East Jerusalem. The Israeli occupation authorities are also failing to take any preventative measures to protect Palestinian political prisoners, who are being illegally incarcerated within a military prison system that fails to meet even basic health and sanitation standards.

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Does Israel Have the Right to Cage Two Million People in a Coronavirus-Ravaged Prison Camp?
Apr 15, 2020 at 03:36 PM

For thirteen years, Israel has kept two million Palestinians in Gaza chained inside the world’s largest open-air prison camp. Now the global COVID-19 pandemic is bearing down on the occupied enclave. What will happen if thousands of desperate civilians try to escape?

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the capacities of even the wealthiest countries. For the two million inhabitants of Gaza — most of whom are children under the age of eighteen — an outbreak would spell catastrophe.

The narrow coastal strip is among the most densely populated areas on the planet, making “effective self-isolation” there “nearly impossible.” Thirteen years of Israeli blockade compounded by three large-scale military assaults have driven its infrastructure and health care system to “the brink of collapse.”

There are only eighty-seven ICU beds with ventilators in all of Gaza, many of which are already in use. A significant proportion of essential drugs are at less than a month’s supply and testing capacity is extremely limited. As of April 12, thirteen cases had been confirmed. Should containment efforts fail, humanitarian officials predict “a disaster of gigantic proportions,” a “tipping point,” a “nightmare scenario” bringing “untold human suffering.”

For Israel, the prospect of contagion in Gaza conjures a “nightmare scenario” of its own: “masses of Palestinians rushing the border fence to save themselves from the raging disease in the besieged enclave.” Faced with “a flood of people at the border fence,” Israel would try to “halt attempted infiltrations.” But in a column for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth, veteran military correspondent Alex Fishman outlined the political dilemma this would pose:

These will not be violent demonstrators but frightened and helpless civilians, many of whom might be infected and the military response will have to be a non-violent one because Israel cannot claim it has any legitimacy to open fire on sick civilians.

Unfortunately, precedent gives reason to doubt this judgment.

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The Smearing of Ken Loach & Jeremy Corbyn
Apr 14, 2020 at 12:00 AM

The vilification campaigns against the two men — both passionate defenders of Palestinian rights and champions of unabashed class struggle — is the face of our new toxic politics.

Ken Loach, one of Britain’s most acclaimed film directors, has spent more than a half a century dramatizing the plight of the poor and the vulnerable. His films have often depicted the casual indifference or active hostility of the state as it exercises unaccountable power over ordinary people.

Last month Loach found himself plunged into the heart of a pitiless drama that could have come straight from one of his own films. This veteran chronicler of society’s ills was forced to stand down as a judge in a school anti-racism competition, falsely accused of racism himself and with no means of redress.

Voice of the Powerless

There should be little doubt about Loach’s credentials both as an anti-racist and a trenchant supporter of the powerless and the maligned.

In his films he has turned his unflinching gaze on some of the ugliest episodes of British state repression and brutality in Ireland, as well as historical struggles against fascism in other parts of the globe, from Spain to Nicaragua.

But his critical attention has concentrated chiefly on Britain’s shameful treatment of its own poor, its minorities and its refugees. In his recent film “I, Daniel Blake” he examined the callousness of state bureaucracies in implementing austerity policies, while this year’s release “Sorry We Missed You” focused on the precarious lives of a zero-hours workforce compelled to choose between the need to work and responsibility to family.

Inevitably, these scathing studies of British social and political dysfunction – exposed even more starkly by the current coronavirus pandemic – mean Loach is much less feted at home than he is in the rest of the world, where his films are regularly honored with awards.

Which may explain why the extraordinary accusations against him of racism – or more specifically anti-Semitism – have not been more widely denounced as malicious.

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Anti-Corbyn Labour officials worked to lose general election to oust leader, leaked dossier finds
Apr 13, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Call for investigation into ‘possible misuse of funds’ by senior officials on party’s right wing

Labour party officials opposed to Jeremy Corbyn worked to lose the 2017 general election in the hope that a bad result would trigger a leadership contest to oust him, a dossier drawn up by the party suggests.

A huge cache of leaked WhatsApp messages and emails show senior officials from the party’s right wing, who worked at its HQ, became despondent as Labour climbed in the polls during the election campaign despite their efforts.

The unreleased report, which The Independent has seen in full, was drawn up in the last days of Mr Corbyn’s leadership and concerns the conduct of certain officials, including some who were investigating cases of antisemitism in the party. Labour has confirmed the document is a genuine draft, though it is not clear who it was commissioned or written by.

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Israeli government uses Corona crisis to further its political agenda
Mar 25, 2020 at 12:00 AM

In many Israeli hospitals, Jewish and Palestinian doctors work side by side. Right-wing politicians who oppose the participation of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset (parliament) are more than willing to have Palestinians risk their lives fighting this deadly virus. But the practices of the Israeli government in providing health services to its citizens are highly discriminatory. As guest columnist Suha Salman-Mousa explains, they appear to be guided by a desire to protect Jewish citizens of Israel while mostly ignoring its non-Jewish citizens.

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The campaign about doctors and torture in Israel five years on
Feb 22, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Rapid Response:

Israeli doctors continue to enable Israeli intelligence agency's torture industry

Dear Editor,

As a follow-up to previous BMJ correspondence on this subject, I wish to add that the active complicity of Israeli doctors with torture in Israel continues. (1) This is not only doctors attached to the intelligence agency Shin Bet or working in the Israel Prison Service, but also doctors in emergency rooms across Israel who write false medical reports. I write as a doctor and as founder of Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), whose detailed case studies “Ticking Bombs” (2007) and “Doctoring the evidence, abandoning the victim” (2011), assembled irrefutable evidence for these practices. (2) (3)

These abuses go back many years. In June 1993 I organized an international conference in Tel Aviv on behalf of PHRI regarding torture in Israel. At the conference, I highlighted a Shin Bet medical eligibility form discovered by chance by an Israeli journalist. The Shin Bet doctor was asked to certify whether the prisoner could be kept in isolation, whether they could be tied up, could be hooded, and whether he could be made to stand for prolonged periods of time. This was in effect a “fitness for torture” form to be signed by the doctor. Four years later, a second form, suspiciously similar to the first, came to light, yet Shin Bet always denied that it had ever existed. At the time PHRI asked the Israel Medical Association (IMA) to take action, as they are mandated to do as a member of the World Medical Association (WMA)- the WMA’s Declaration of Tokyo forbids any doctor to collaborate with torture, and directs them to speak out and protect the patient when torture is suspected. The IMA would not act.

Our findings were published in the book “Torture: Human Rights, Medical Ethics and the case of Israel” (1995) whose sale in Israel appears to be banned.

https://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g4386/rr-2

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Israel planned for Lebanon war months in advance, PM says
  • Olmert's leaked testimony contradicts earlier remarks 
  • Criticism from inquiry may force resignation

Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Friday March 9, 2007
The Guardian

Preparations for Israel's war in Lebanon last summer were drawn up at least four months before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah in July, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has admitted.

His submission to a commission of inquiry, leaked yesterday, contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared. Mr Olmert told the Winograd commission, a panel of judges charged with investigating Israel's perceived defeat in the 34-day war, that he first discussed the possibility of war in January and asked to see military plans in March.

According to the Ha'aretz daily, which obtained details of Mr Olmert's testimony, the prime minister chose a plan featuring air attacks on Lebanon and a limited ground operation that would be implemented following a Hizbullah abduction. Hizbullah had made several attempts to capture Israeli soldiers on the border since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Israeli commentators believed that Mr Olmert and Amir Peretz, the defence minister, took the opportunity of the kidnapping to show they could manage a war in spite of their limited military experience. But the outcome of the war seemed to highlight their lack of experience and also deficiencies in Israel's military planning.

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