Tag Archives: Palestine
On Friday, a diverse crowd of 400 people commemorated al-Quds Day that takes place annually in multiple cities around the world. This year Chicago’s event and others across the world were focused on the assault on Gaza and the deaths of over 1,000 Palestinians – the majority civilians.
On Sunday, July 20th, thousands of Chicagoans gathered downtown to protest recent events related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. While there is no exact figure on the number of attendees, estimates run as conservatively as 2,000 to as enormous as 10,000 and is arguably the largest Palestinian protest in Chicago to date. Marchers convened along Upper Wacker Drive for the start of the protest. After weaving through downtown, they concluded their march at the intersection of Madison and Canal near Chicago’s Israeli consulate. Throughout the march, chants and songs could be heard resonating within the vicinity of downtown. While there were numerous organizations, individuals, and voices, they all marched for the same cause—an end to the violence in Palestine.
By Tarek Khalil
Israel was founded on the ruins of Palestinian society. Along the way in that Zionist quest, many massacres occurred, many lives were lost, dispossessed, and many villages were destroyed. Some 90 percent of the Palestinians living in historic Palestine were driven out, many by psychological warfare and/or military pressure. Well-known and widely documented examples of outright expulsion include the Palestinian towns of Lydda and Ramle, located roughly halfway between Jaffa and Jerusalem.
Over 1000 people from a coalition of Chicagoland Palestinians, along with members of student, faith-based, human rights and social justice groups, turned out for a rally and march last Saturday to demand an end to collective punishment of Palestinians and demand justice for all Palestinians killed in the Israeli Army’s “Operation Brother’s Keeper”. Chicago was joined by similar protests in more than 40 cities world-wide including Washington DC, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, Dearborn, Brooklyn, Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Denver, New Orleans, Philadelphia, London, Galway, Paris, Brussels, Melbourne, and Madrid. Now with the launch a few hours ago of “Operation Protective Edge” against Gaza, global protests may soon be returning to the streets.
Last Friday, federal prosecutors dropped all charges against Dr. Sami Al-Arian, University of South Florida professor, Palestinian activist and community leader, who has been in house arrest limbo for five years. Dr. Al-Arian is one in a long list of Palestinian activists who have been purposefully tied up in the legal system with their lives and activism disrupted, while federal prosecutors continued to look for actual evidence of criminal activity. In Dr. Al-Arian’s case, the repressive prosecutors finally gave up. As in the movie “USA vs. Al-Arian” – it often seems like it should be “USA vs. Palestinian Activists”.
As Ramadan approaches next week, remember those who fast for dignity and human rights. More than 250 Palestinian prisoners have been on hunger strike for two months and over 80 have been hospitalized. More than 125 are administrative detainees – held without charge or trial.
On May 24th, Pope Francis embarked on a three day trip to Israel and the State of Palestine. While in the West Bank, he made an unexpected stop at the separation wall, or “Apartheid wall”, which separates Palestine and Israel. While at the wall, the Pope touched his head and hand on the wall. Although the act was simple in nature, many argued that it implied his solidarity with the Palestinians.
The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group at DePaul University in Chicago has initiated the latest in a series of SJP divestment campaigns at universities across the U.S. Like all the other campaigns, SJP-DePaul’s has been met with well organized opposition by both on and off campus groups.
On June 10 in Detroit, Rasmea Odeh, a 66 year old Chicago Palestinian and Arab community organizer, will start her trial for allegedly “lying” on her twenty year old citizenship application about an over forty year old conviction in an Israeli military court. If found guilty, she could face up to ten years in federal prison, an immediate revocation of her citizenship, and deportation from the United States. Given Odeh’s stature in the Palestinian and Arab community in Chicago as a tireless organizer for women and immigrant rights, these years old charges only indicate the extremes the government is willing to go to suppress Palestinian activists.
In December 2013, the American Studies Association (ASA) , the largest association of academics devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, passed a resolution to endorse the 2004 call from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel endorsed by the great majority of Palestinian civil society organizations. Since that vote, there has been a backlash of bills and resolutions introduced at the national and state level that condemn academic boycotts for “singling out Israel” for human rights abuses; suggest that boycott supporters are anti-Semitic; and in some cases threaten public universities with the loss of funds when their faculty support boycott activity of any kind. A broad coalition of human rights, civil rights, academics, and graduate student groups mobilized and stopped the bill and the resolution in Illinois.