Tag Archives: Israel

Illinois Lawmakers Vote To Divest from Companies that Support Palestinian Human Rights

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By Bill Chambers

Activists in Illinois and nationally are part of a growing movement to divest from companies that support human rights violations by Israel. Meanwhile Illinois lawmakers are busy voting to force state pension fund administrators to blacklist companies that boycott Israel or businesses that operate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The target of these bills is the international Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) movement directed at the Israeli government for its repeated violations of Palestinian human rights and international law. Two virtually identical bills, HB 4011 and SB 1761, are making their way through the House and Senate. These bills are burdening the beleaguered pension system with politically motivated investigations. This is being done at a time when Illinois has the lowest credit rating and worst-funded pension system among the 50 states. Servicing of pension debt is a major financial crisis. SB 1761 passed unanimously out of the Senate last week and HB 4011 is still being considered by the House.

Palestine Advocacy Group Billboards Remind Americans Taxes Fund Occupation

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By Bill Chambers

Three weeks before the April 15 deadline to file federal tax returns, the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national education and advocacy organization based in Palos Hills, IL, has placed electronic billboards asking the question: “Have you declared Israel a dependent on your tax returns?” The ad, which ran last year in Washington DC, says Americans are “sweating April 15 so Israelis don’t have to,” and calls for an end to U.S. aid to the Israeli occupation. In Chicago, the ads can be seen on digital billboards at I-294 and 95th Street and I-294 and Southwest Highway through April 19.

Chicago Inter-Faith Group Campaigns Against Detention of Palestinian Children

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By Newland Smith

The Chicago Faith Coalition launched the “Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child” campaign on October 16, 2014 at Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park. Gerard Horton of Military Court Watch, an organization that monitors treatment of children in Israeli military detention, described the harsh treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli military authorities including middle of the night arrests, long interrogations, and harsh sentences in prisons far from their families. Salwa Duaibis of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling spoke of the negative psychological impact of night raids and detention of children on those arrested and their families. Both indicated that 8,000 Palestinian children have been victims of these policies since 2000.

“Severe Eruption of Hostilities” Between Israelis and Hezbollah: What Really Happened?

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By Bayan Takrouri

About a week ago two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded by Hezbollah missile attacks near the Lebanese border in what the New York Times called “the most severe eruption of hostilities in the area since the fierce enemies’ devastating month long war in 2006 and threatened to incite a significant escalation.” But what really happened?

OP-ED: Rasmea Odeh Fundraiser Successful Despite Opposition Threats

Photo by SJP Chicago

By Adeeba M.

On Tuesday, February 3rd, Students for Justice in Palestine’s (SJP) Chicago network successfully hosted a fundraising dinner for Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh at DePaul University. The event had an overwhelming turnout despite the snow, security issues, and threats from opposition groups. More than 200 guests packed the Student Center’s largest venue to support Rasmea in her current legal case.

The Language of Twitter: Netanyahu Speaks to His Own Citizens

Photo by the BBC - "Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu seeks early general election"

By Emily Anagnostos

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Twitter account is in Hebrew.

For those of you who have never paid any particular interest to his account or have never been on Twitter at all, that statement should be rather uninteresting and unsurprising.

Of course it’s in Hebrew, you would say. He’s Israeli and in Israel they speak Hebrew.

Except it is surprising. Completely shocking actually because for the past six years, since the Twitter account was created in October of 2008, the account has been managed completely in English.

So what changed?

Charlie Hebdo: Manipulating “Extremism,” “Victimhood,” and “Freedom of Expression”

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By Emily Anagnostos

For the past week, the television has blared fierce conversations full of provocative labels that have been circling like sharks for the past year – “Extremists,” “Islamists,” “Jihadis,” “terrorists”, “anti-Semites,” ”ISIS supporters,” “murderers,” and “victims.” It was really not until last Wednesday, January 7th, when all of these words suddenly landed together, crashing into a multi-media debate on the spread of militant Islam and the virtues of freedom of speech and the extremists who seek to demolish it.

USA vs. Rasmea Odeh: Verdict Devalues Lives of Arab and Muslim Women

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

“Odeh doesn’t have ties to the Chicago community. She has apparently done good work at the Arab American Action Network, but that work is not a substantial tie to the community. She could do this in another country.” With those words, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain wiped away Rasmea Odeh’s 20 years of work in Chicago being an advocate for Arab and Muslim women’s rights. The twenty Arab and Muslim women sitting in the front rows who had come to court as representatives of Odeh’s 600 member women’s group were erased as if they did not exist. This statement was only one of many that demonstrated Judge Drain’s disdain for Odeh’s position as a well-loved Palestinian community leader and organizer in Chicago.

USA vs.Rasmea Odeh: Erasing the Palestinian Immigrant Story

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

A 67 year-old award-winning leader of the Arab and Palestinian immigrant community who came here 20 years ago; developed programs supporting women’s rights; has never been arrested or charged with a crime in the U.S.; is indicted for allegedly “lying” on her citizenship application about being convicted by a military court using a confession obtained through torture and sexual assault. Now try to imagine this scenario happening if this remarkable woman was from Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Russia, China, or any other country with whom the U.S. has less than friendly relations. But in this case, she is Palestinian and the country where her rights to a fair trial, as a prisoner, and as a woman to be free from abuse were violated – was Israel.

NSA Spying on Palestinian-Americans for Israel and for the U.S.

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By Bill Chambers

Recent articles have described NSA documents released by Edward Snowden showing that in 2009 the U.S. reached an agreement to routinely share information with Israel including the content and metadata of phone calls and emails from Palestinian-Americans. The information was shared with a secret Israeli spy organization called Unit 8200.  As the Guardian points out, the agreement calls for the material to be “raw” or unredacted, meaning names and personal information have not been taken out. Much of the U.S. coverage of this story has focused on putting the relatives of the Palestinian-Americans living in Israel or the Occupied Territories in danger from the Israeli security services, but no one seems to be concerned about Palestinians living in the U.S. whose personal information is being captured and shared with U.S. security services.