Tag Archives: Palestine
By Liqa Affaneh
Many media outlets portray Palestinians as terrorists. However, the story of many Palestinians living through each day of the occupation of their land the best way they can is rarely told. I am fortunate to be living in a city like Chicago that has a very active Arab-American community plus many organizations that promote human rights, justice, and self-determination for the Palestinian people. Unbiased news outlets constantly remind us of Palestinian suffering as well their unreported suffering.
After Israel recently electing a government that has been described by Al Jazeera News as “the most extremist in the country’s history,” the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer, killing 2,139 Palestinians, reached its first year anniversary on July 8th. The current elected government of Israel includes members that want “a full- scale invasion and reoccupation of Gaza to wipe out the Palestinian factions”.
On Friday in Chicago, a diverse crowd of 250 people commemorated Al-Quds Day that takes place annually in multiple cities around the world. This year’s event was held on the one-year anniversary of the Israeli attack on Gaza. Speakers focused on the continuing siege of Gaza, the campaign to end the mistreatment of Palestinian children, and called for the U.S. to end military aid to Israel.
The full-page ad that I saw in The New York Times the other day was just one more reminder that we need to keep hammering away at the differences and intersections between the state of Israel; the ideology of Zionism; and the religion of Judaism. In reporting on recent votes by Lutheran synods on U.S. financial aid to the state of Israel, I said: Members of Protestant denominations are deeply concerned about what our Jewish brothers and sisters think. We are learning that “Jewish” is not equivalent to “pro-Israel.”
On Saturday, May 30, 2015, the Metro Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), meeting in assembly, voted to approve a resolution entitled, “Resolution on U.S. Government Aid to State of Israel.”
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.
In a trial that Judge Drain declared was “not political,” Rasmea Odeh was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison, a $1,000 fine, immediate revocation of her citizenship, and deportation to Jordan after serving jail time. Odeh was released on bond pending appeal. As Odeh said in her statement at the hearing, “every time I try to build my life up, something comes along that puts me back to zero.”
On Thursday, four days after International Women’s Day, Rasmea Odeh will be sentenced in a Detroit court. This will be one of the final stages of a year and a half government vendetta against an award winning and loved leader of the Arab, Palestinian, and immigrant community in Chicago. Like Dr. Sami Al-Arian, the Palestinian professor and activist recently deported to Turkey, Odeh’s effectiveness in organizing for Palestinian civil rights brought her to the attention of a vindictive Justice Department.
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.
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.