Roger Waters sends a ‘thank you’ message to Lorde

29 Dec

Video: Composer, performer and co-founder of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, speaks in Vancouver about why Canada should Boycott, Divest and Sanction the State of Israel until human right of Palestinians are fully implemented. October 26, 2017 – Vancouver, Canada 49 minute conversation.

 

Israeli students refuse to serve army of ‘racist government’

29 Dec

The students wrote they, “decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, which separates people into two hostile camps. Because as long as people live under occupation that denies them human rights and national rights we will not be able to achieve peace.” File photo: IDF refuseniks protest in Haifa in 2014 [rami shlosh]

Palestine Chronicle report, 28 December 2017

Sixty-three Israeli students signed a letter stating they would defy mandatory military service despite the risk of jail. Citing their country’s military occupation of Palestine, the letter criticizes the policies of Israel’s “racist government.”

The letter, signed on Thursday by sixty-three high school students from across Israel, is addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Israel Military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

Pointing to Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip and illegal West Bank settlements, the letter states that “the army implements the policy of a racist government that violates basic human rights, which applies one law to Israelis and another to the Palestinians in the same area.”

Blaming the Israeli government and Israeli Army for decades of violent conflict, the students wrote they,

“decided not to take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, which separates people into two hostile camps. Because as long as people live under occupation that denies them human rights and national rights we will not be able to achieve peace.”

The signatories also said that Israelis are exposed to a culture of “militarism” from a young age, and that they want to “change the entire system.”

The Israeli Army has not formally responded to the letter, but Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, a retired major general, called the letter “sad” but “marginal.”

“I think our youth is committed enough to handle these marginal types. It’s minuscule compared to the hundreds of thousands who enlist, and isn’t more than (the number of draft dodgers) in the past,” Stern said.

All Jewish, Druze and Circassian Israeli citizens over 18 are expected to serve in the Israeli Army. However, Israel’s Arab minority is exempt from mandatory service. Men serve for two years and eight months, and women for two years.

The United Nations has repeatedly called on Israel to withdraw from occupied Palestinian territory.

In March, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report accusing Israel “beyond a reasonable doubt” of being guilty of “policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid” against the Palestinian people.

Israeli police clash with protesters at a recent ultra-Orthodox military draft protest. Ruptly TV video.

‘Don’t use our suffering to erase the crimes of Israel’

29 Dec

“You do NOT get to use our suffering at the hands of our colonizers to erase the crimes of Israel against Palestine” – writes Tina Ngata in response to a recent post in the New York-based ‘Tablet’ by Zionist writer Liel Leibovitz, who boasts ‘a PhD in video games from Columbia University, and plays the fat conservative on Tablet’s podcast.’

Tina Ngata debunks Leibovitz’s post, which is a typical example of many sneering ‘whataboutism’ comments currently appearing in social media.

By Tina Ngata, Te Wharepora Hou 28 December 2017

If Liel Leibovitz is Serious About His Māori Politics He Shouldn’t Be Undermining Indigenous Sovereignty in Palestine, Turtle Island and Hawai’i

Nā Tina Ngata

I would like to start this post off by acknowledging the Indigenous Peoples of the lands involved here:

Nā tēnei mokopuna a ngā whānau whānui o Ngāti Porou, i te Tai Rāwhiti o Te Ika a Maui, tēnei te mihi atu kia koutou te iwi mōrehu, te iwi māia i Parihitini – e Kōkā ma, e Koro ma, e Tama ma – tēnā koutou.

Kia koutou hoki aku tuakana i Motu Honu Nui/Abya Yala me Hawai’i – tēnā koutou.

And to you, Lieb Leibovitz, I will say: E Noho (take a seat).

Just like broader society – there are Māori who support Israel.

I mean not many, but they’re there.

There are many more who support, and empathise, with Palestine. Māori support of Palestine is well documented, and voiced, through communities such as Kia Ora Gaza – and proudly represented by Māori MP Marama Davidson who recently travelled to Gaza on board the Women’s Peace Flotilla as an Indigenous woman to stand in solidarity with Palestinian women and in opposition to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Like them, I support Palestine, and as an Indigenous Woman and a Wāhine Māori I’m saying to Leil Leibovitz:

You do NOT get to use our suffering at the hands of our colonizers to erase the crimes of Israel against Palestine.

The thought that this guy – as a past employee of the Spokesperson Unit of the Israeli Defence Forces; as a member of a settler-colonial state; who is LIVING on Turtle Island; who actually wrote a book that uses religious entitlement to legitimise not only the occupation of Palestine and Turtle Island, but also going to war on their Indigenous inhabitants – THIS GUY would all of a sudden become the bastion for Māori Rights?

Yeah, nah.

Let’s get a few things straight:

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Lorde: another accidental Kiwi hero?

29 Dec

By David Small, Public Exposure, 28 December 2017

Lorde: Another Accidental Kiwi Hero?

Lorde may become the David Lange of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestine. When she wandered unwittingly into the conflict over the occupation of Palestine, she knew little about the issues. In an age of celebrity culture, she soon found herself bombarded with information, threats and invitations with each side in search of her endorsement. To her credit, she sided with Palestine and became an accidental hero of the BDS movement.

Like Lorde, Lange never choose to be the champion of the anti-nuclear movement. He nevertheless came to symbolize peaceful little New Zealand; refusing nuclear ship visits and standing up to the belligerence and bullying of US nuclear militarism. Lange became Prime Minister of New Zealand by winning a snap election in 1984 at the height of Reagan-era Cold War politics.

The outgoing conservative Prime Minister, Rob Muldoon, had long overstayed his welcome having just managed to cling to power in 1981 by allowing the Springbok rugby team from Apartheid South Africa to tour the country. Muldoon cynically but correctly bet that conservative, small-town New Zealand would embrace the “keep politics out of sport” line and relish the sight of the Police batoning anti-tour protestors, none of whom would have voted for the National Party anyway. So the year that saw New Zealanders make international news by putting our bodies on the line to support the international boycott of Apartheid, ended with New Zealand’s last Apartheid-supporting government winning the election by a single seat. 

Accommodation Plan Came Unstuck

Labour come to power with the support of a strong anti-nuclear movement. However, Lange was determined to accommodate the US military and maintain the tradition of visits to New Zealand by the US Navy. Although the US policy was to neither confirm nor deny the existence of nuclear weapons on any vessel, its fleet included ships that were widely accepted as not being nuclear capable. Recently declassified CIA documents confirm that Lange had been in discussions with the US over a plan for one of these ships to visit New Zealand. Lange would then give the country his personal assurance that the visit did not breach New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy.

However, when the US did request the visit of such a vessel, the USS Buchanan, Lange was out of the country. At the behest of the anti-nuclear grouping within Labour, Acting Prime Minister, Geoffrey Palmer, refused the visit. By the time Lange returned, the decision was made, the public was loving it, and so Lange owned it. Soon after, the Oxford Union debate gave David Lange a world stage and turned him into a global champion of the anti-nuclear cause.

It is pretty clear that when Lorde received the invitation to perform in Israel, she and her management team had no idea of its political significance. Had they quietly declined, we may never have heard that the invitation had even been issued. But Lorde agreed to perform and (unwittingly, it now appears) became a pro-Israeli partisan on the issue, provoking an instant response from her pro-Palestinian fans.

No Neutral Ground

Neutrality was no longer an option but Lorde now had to make a choice. Would she maintain her support for Israel, presumably with the usual claims about her not being political and just wanting to perform for her fans? Or would she recognise that just as playing rugby with white South Africa was inherently political in the 1980s, global superstars cannot perform apolitical concerts today in Tel Aviv?

To her credit, Lorde cancelled the concert. And at the point of making that decision, she must have known that she had to take sides. Although she had never set out to take a political stand on this issue, there was simply nowhere neutral for her to go. She must have known that any decision would incur the wrath of one side. By siding against Zionism, Lorde made enemies of a force that is immensely wealthy, powerful and influential, especially in the US.

Israel: the White South Africa of the 21st Century

Over the last decade or so, the BDS movement has succeeded in making Israel the white South Africa of the 21st century. Anyone believing that cultural engagement with Israel can still be apolitical need only look at the response to Lorde’s decision to cancel. The nature, scale and origin of the attacks on her, including a boycott call from Roseanne Barr, demonstrate that Lorde’s concert meant a lot more to Israelis than simply a chance to hear her music. It was seen as an opportunity to be seen as less of a pariah state, and more of a normal and acceptable society. The responses Lorde has been receiving are all part of what must be a steep learning curve for her.

Lorde is an exceptional young woman. She may be an accidental hero in this story. But for the sake of the long-suffering Palestinian people, I hope she continues New Zealand’s proud tradition of actively supporting international boycotts for justice, and commits to the Palestinian cause with Lange-like enthusiasm.

 

About the writer, David Small:

I am a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Canterbury and a lawyer specializing in Employment, Criminal and Education Law. I have a long history of social activism within my community, nationally and globally. A big football fan, I still play competitively. Occasional tramper. Musical preference – drum n bass.

 

Thank you, Lorde, for standing up for Palestinian Human Rights

27 Dec

By Yousef Munayyer, Opinion, Forward, 26 December 2017

Thank you, Lorde, for standing up for Palestinian Human Rights

When I heard that the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde was reconsidering a decision to play in Israel I had a gut feeling that she would cancel the show. This weekend, she did just that. “[I]’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said in a statement.

I believe history will look back at her decision as an important step on the path to freedom, justice and equality in Palestine/Israel.

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Lorde cancels Tel Aviv show, calls it “the right decision”

25 Dec


Lorde has canceled her Tel Aviv gig. (Photo: Krists Luhaers/Flickr)

By Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada, 25 December 2017

Lorde cancels Tel Aviv show, calls it “the right decision”

Chart-topping singer Lorde has called off her Tel Aviv show, just days after fans urged her to respect the international picket line.

According to Israeli news reports, concert organizers confirmed on Sunday that the show was canceled and tickets would be refunded.

“I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” Lorde said in a statement provided via Israeli promoters and posted on Twitter by a Jerusalem Post journalist.

The New Zealander added that she prides herself “on being an informed young citizen, and I had done a lot of reading and sought a lot of opinions before deciding to book a show in Tel Aviv, but I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one.”

Lorde had yet to say anything on her own Twitter or Facebook accounts about the cancellation, though by Sunday afternoon, her Tel Aviv show had already been deleted from the tour schedule on her official website.

But just days before she canceled her Tel Aviv gig, Lorde acknowledged that she had read an open letter to her, posted in New Zealand’s The Spinoff, which urged her to cancel her show and respect the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign due to Israel’s rampant violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.

Thanking the authors of the letter on Wednesday, Lorde tweeted that said she was “considering all options,” noting “I am learning all the time too.”

Israel’s culture minister Miri Regev belittled Lorde’s motivations and the boycott campaign, imploring the pop star to be a “pure heroine” – referring to Lorde’s first album – “free from any foreign – and ridiculous – political considerations.”
Several years ago, Regev notoriously called African migrants in Israel “a cancer” and later apologized for likening them to human beings.

Principled stance”

While Israeli politicians bristled at the news of Lorde’s cancellation, fans and activists celebrated the news on Sunday.

PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, thanked Lorde for listening to her fans.

“Your unwavering commitment to progressive values inspires us and gives us hope,” the campaign group tweeted.

Israeli author and artist Yuval Ben-Ami told Newsweek that Lorde’s decision to pull out of the Tel Aviv show “is paramount to the BDS movement’s influence on a new generation of performers.”

“Several other great artists have canceled, [but Lorde] appears to be the first of her generation, and that’s meaningful,” he added.
Ben-Ami suggested that in other countries where human rights violations are a concern, “similar movements to BDS” should spring forth. He called Lorde’s move “the right choice” so long as “people here live without rights.”

A spurned Israeli concert producer, however, dismissed Lorde’s decision while slandering activists with the BDS movement. The producer, Eran Arieli, claimed the 21-year-old pop star canceled her show due to pressure by an “army of globalist anti-Semites weighing down on her head.”

Conceding the strength of the cultural boycott campaign, Arieli said in a Facebook post that Lorde’s decision “is not the first cancellation we’ve experienced and it won’t be the last.”

Lorde joins a growing number of high-profile artists and performers who have respected the international picket line and called off or declined shows in Israel.

They include Elvis Costello, the late Gil Scott-Heron, Lauryn Hill, Faithless, Marianah, U2, Bjork, Zakir Hussain, Jean-Luc Godard, Snoop Dogg, Cat Power and Vanessa Paradis.

Lorde honours boycott call: cancels Israel show

25 Dec


New Zealand singer, Lorde at a fashion show in Paris, March 06, 2015. PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP

By Itay Stern, DPA, Haaretz (Israeli daily newspaper) today

New Zealand pop singer Lorde canceled her upcoming concert in Israel on Sunday after facing criticism from the BDS movement. The show was slated to take place at the Tel Aviv Convention Center on June 5.

The production company responsible for her show released a statement, saying: “Unfortunately, Lorde’s concert planned for July has been cancelled. Refunds for concert tickets will be provided within 14 business days.”

The Palestine Info Center, a news website associated with Hamas, tweeted that Lorde’s “refusal to whitewash Israeli occupation and its crimes and human rights violation is called humanity and sanity,” and added that she did the right thing.

Others condemend the decision, noting that Lorde had performed twice in Moscow, and saying that Russia is the country primarily responsible for the massacre and civil war taking place in Syria. Other tweets said that Lorde’s decision was based on anti-Semitic sentiment.
On Friday, the “Royals” singer replied to an open letter, published on New Zealand website The Spinoff on Thursday, asking her to “join the artistic boycott of Israel” by pulling out of her upcoming performance in Tel Aviv. 

“Noted! Been speaking w many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me i am learning all the time too,” the 21-year-old wrote on Twitter.

Jewish New Zealander Justine Sachs and Palestinian New Zealander Nadia Abu-Shanab argued in their letter that “playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation.”

“Such an effect cannot be undone by even the best intention and the best music,” they added.

Lorde has faced criticism from fans since announcing on Tuesday that her “Melodrama” world tour on would conclude with a show in Tel Aviv on June 5.

On Thursday, New Zealand was among 128 nations at the UN to denounce US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  

Artists who have participated in the cultural boycott of Israel through the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement include Brian Eno and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, writers Arundhati Roy and Eduardo Galeano and film-maker Ken Loach.

BDS proponents criticized Radiohead ahead of its concert in Tel Aviv in July. The British band proceeded with the show, playing its longest set in 10 years to almost 50,000 people.  
       

‘Creativity is Love – It dies in the service of hate.’

22 Dec

An Open Letter to Lorde: Creativity is Love – It dies in the service of hate.

Dr Todd Smith, theredgreenpen, 21 December 2017

Dear Lorde,

My name is Todd and I’m a 30 year old New Zealand Maori doctor in mental health, normally based in Wellington. I’m also a fellow musician and a supporter of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israeli Apartheid.

Listening and playing music is a kind of sacrament. I’m sure you will agree with me on its beautiful potency. My Dad is a singer and as a kid would drag me to country music contests and his Roy Orbison gigs. I developed a deep love for music and its transcendent capacity.

But our mutual love for music and its creative expression cannot be blind to that which is destructive and opposed to creation.

I am writing to politely ask you not to play your wonderful music in Tel Aviv.

If you are willing to heed the urgent plea from Palestinian civil society – a collection of  unions, women’s groups, NGOs, humanitarian agencies and charities – and support the BDS movement, you would send a powerful message of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Israel explicitly relies upon culture to normalise and validate it’s image – it is an explicit part of its ‘hasbara’, or cultural public relations. This is reflected in the fact that Israeli artists are often only given grants on the understanding they support the occupation, or refrain from criticism.

The freedom of Palestinian artists is obviously creatively and physically restricted, but you can see that many artists in Israel are themselves not free – they must implicitly support the political situation, one ever more dominated by extremist and racist right-wing ideology.

As New Zealanders we can be an important part of this conversation. Israel is a colonial-settler society, just like us. We have much to do to address ethnic disparities in our own backyard, but we have travelled this painful road too. Our advice and solidarity needn’t be a provocation, indeed it should be delivered in the spirit of friendship.

If you were to stand with the oppressed it would be a powerful recognition of not just Palestinian rights, but the rights of the victims of colonial-settler societies everywhere, including New Zealand.

I can understand how it may feel inappropriate or a hindrance to be pulled from the artistic world into the maelstrom of politics. Personally, my belief is that an artist’s final and ultimate loyalty is to creation itself and not always to society. I suspect this is also part of the reasoning of those who ignored the plea and played in Tel Aviv. On one level they don’t believe matters related to human rights and injustice sit above the need to create and express their art. They also fall victim to the idea that their creative act can bridge the political divide – that there will be some ‘kumbaya’ moment.

Sadly, they forget that creation is a loving act and a process of construction. Art does have its splintering qualities of course – rearrangement, dissection, apposition – but in the end what is produced is a new relationship – a binding of things together. If you allow your art to be hijacked in the service of an agenda based upon destruction and erasure (both metaphorical and literal) then you betray creation. In that role you stop being an artist, and what you express stops being art.

I fear that playing in Tel Aviv risks diminishing the integrity and quality of your art. It makes it into the means to the hateful ends of another. It ceases to be about expression, individual revelation and love. Love is at the core of any meaningful aesthetic experience. I don’t have the slightest doubt that love is what you will seek to impart in Tel Aviv. But it is a sad perversity that ultimately you will be doing so in the service of hate.

I’d be the first to own up that the problems of this world can easily overwhelm our optimistic energies towards their correction. This can cause us to turn from them. One person can only do so much. That is why solidarity is the well-spring of change.  Amnesty International articulates this beautifully – we must not “scream at the darkness”, we must “light a candle”. The Palestinian people and the BDS movement is not asking you to take too much of this issue on your shoulders, nor to do anything more than the average person can do.

We are just asking you to light your candle. It is a testament to your creativity and personality that it would burn very bright indeed – taking us one step closer to illuminating the darkness.

Best wishes and in solidarity

Dr. Todd Smith

 

 

Lorde needs to reconsider her decision to perform in Israel

21 Dec

Lorde needs to reconsider urgently her decision to perform in Israel and instead, decline the invitation and support the rights of the Palestinians

Lorde, has announced she plans to perform in Israel in 2018. Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa-NZ spokesperson, Janfrie Wakim, believes she has been ill-advised and needs to reconsider urgently her decision and support the rights of the Palestinians.

In 2005 Palestinian civil society called for a campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it ends its 50 year occupation of Palestinian lands and the 11 year blockade of Gaza, complies with international law and respects Palestinian human rights.

Israel follows policies towards Palestinians which are remarkably similar to the apartheid policies of the white South African regime. As far back as 1989 South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu said “if you change the names, the description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be a description of what is happening in South Africa.”

Just as there developed an international consensus to pressure South Africa through a comprehensive boycott so the same international consensus has developed in relation to Israel. BDS includes calls for boycotts not only in culture but also in trade, investment, commerce, diplomacy, sport and academic contacts.

“Lorde, must not side with the oppressor but stand with ordinary New Zealanders and support Palestinian solidarity groups worldwide including even within Israel itself says Janfrie Wakim. “Just as we did in the case of South Africa we must boycott Israel and Lorde needs to educate herself quick smart about what effects complicity with Israel means”.

 

Dear Lorde, here’s why we’re urging you not to play Israel

21 Dec

Lorde performs at the iHeartRadio Beach Ball on September 3, 2017 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo: Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

Opinion: Lorde has announced a concert in Tel Aviv for June. Jewish New Zealander Justine Sachs and Palestinian New Zealander Nadia Abu-Shanab make the case for her to reconsider.

Dear Lorde,

We’re writing to you about your planned performance in Israel. We’re two young women based in Aotearoa, one Jewish, one Palestinian. We write this with the knowledge we might be imposing on some Vogels-fuelled downtime here, but we feel strongly about this and we’d really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to hear us out.

Our names are Justine and Nadia. Justine is part of Dayenu. Dayenu is a group of young New Zealand Jews against the occupation of Palestine. ‘Dayenu’ is a popular holiday song, sung during Passover. It translates roughly to “it would have been enough for us”. The driving principle of Dayenu is saying “enough” to Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.

Nadia is a Palestinian New Zealander. Her family live under occupation in the West Bank. Today her dad is a teacher in a well known New Zealand school, but was born in a cave (yes a cave, this shit be biblical) on family land north of Hebron. This land was the lifeblood of her family, until with the help of the Israeli state, Israeli settlers moved in. They stole the land and razed olive groves to the ground. Her family experience daily humiliation, violence and brutality at the hands of Israel.

The two of us work together (with others) for peace and justice in the Middle East and an end to Israeli apartheid. People often will say that the Israel-Palestine debacle is melodrama that dates back millennia. Thing is, like with a lot of situations of oppression, it’s actually quite straightforward once you start hearing about what’s really happening.

Since 1967, Israel has militarily occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza strip. The occupation is considered an affront to international law and Israeli settlements in the area explicitly violate the Geneva Convention. The military occupation of Palestinian territories has resulted in an apartheid state. Palestinians living in the occupied territories do not enjoy the same rights Israeli citizens enjoy, they are denied freedom of movement and often basic services and necessities.

Today, millions of people stand opposed to the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, ethnic cleansing, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid. As part of this struggle, we believe that an economic, intellectual and artistic boycott is an effective way of speaking out against these crimes. This worked very effectively against apartheid in South Africa, and we hope it can work again.

Israel’s violations are so brutal, Nelson Mandela’s own grandson, Mandla Mandela, said: “The settlements I saw here [in the West Bank] reminded me of what we had suffered in South Africa because we also were surrounded by many settlements and were not allowed to move from one place to another freely. Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid.” He added, “Israel is the worst apartheid regime” and called for the continued support of the boycott movement.

The weeks prior to your tour announcement have been a difficult time for Palestinians. Particularly after the Trump administration’s decision to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since the 6th of December Israel has killed 11 Palestinians, injured 3000 and detained 350. The dead include Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a 29-year-old wheelchair-bound Palestinian activist. Ibrahim was killed during a protest. Ibrahim, a double amputee, lost his legs in 2008 during an Israeli airstrike. Now, the Israeli military has also taken his life. The detained includes, numerous women and children, such as 16-year old girl and activist Ahed Tamimi. Ahed is now in jail, she was arrested during an Israeli military dawn raid on her home.

In this context, a performance in Israel sends the wrong message. Playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation. Such an effect cannot be undone by even the best intention and the best music. As Elvis Costello put it when he canceled his show in Israel, “there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.” We know this isn’t you.

As fans of yours, we know that you’re an empathetic artist who is committed to the empowerment of women, the LGBTIQ community and people of colour. We’ve watched as you’ve used your platform to draw attention to institutional racism, sexism and white privilege. You’ve talked about the need to “stay informed and stay outraged” about the intolerant and discriminatory policies of the Trump administration. We only ask you do the same with the Israeli government.

Israel might seem like a world away from New Zealand but that shouldn’t stop us from speaking out and being on the right side of history. In 1981 New Zealanders took to the streets to protest the Springbok tour and South African apartheid. It’s remembered proudly now, so it’s easy to forget that at the time this stuff was seriously fraught. Many argued the politics of apartheid shouldn’t be brought into sport. People will say the same about music.

We’re not just writing to appeal to the past. We’re writing this because we know you agree that our part in movements for justice and equality shouldn’t just be a memory that gathers dust. We can play an important role in challenging injustice today. We urge you to act in the spirit of progressive New Zealanders who came before you and continue their legacy. In 2017, Lorde, reignite the spirit of 1981 and show the world that New Zealanders are the progressive forward-thinking people we say we are. Please join the artistic boycott of Israel, cancel your Israeli tour dates and make a stand. Your voice will join many others and together we can and will make a difference.

Sincerely,

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab

Nadia Abu-Shanab is a teacher, unionist, Palestine activist based in Wellington. Justine Sachs is a Jewish freelance writer, activist and grad student living in Auckland. She co-founded Dayenu: New Zealand Jews Against Occupation in 2015.

Ibrahim Abu Thurayya: an icon of dignity and defiance

19 Dec

Ibrahim Abu Thurayya challenged both his disability and his occupier. Photo: Ezz Al-Zanoon

By Shahd Abusalama The Electronic Intifada, 18 December 2017

How should I mourn the death of somebody who – like so many others – has been killed simply for being Palestinian?

Ibrahim Abu Thurayya was shot dead by Israel along Gaza’s boundary with Israel last Friday.

My thoughts and feelings on his killing are complex and cannot fully be expressed in words.

Abu Thurayya was actually one of four people killed by Israel on the same day. These killings took place amid protests against Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Yet because both of his legs had previously been amputated, the local and international media paid more attention to Abu Thurayya’s story than they do to the experiences of most Palestinian victims.

Many articles on his killing highlighted how Abu Thurraya posed no threat to the Israeli military.

Palestinians killed by Israel usually don’t pose any real threat to that state’s heavily armed forces. Yet the question about whether he posed a threat shouldn’t even arise.

The very question ignores the power dynamics between a soldier serving an occupying power and civilians who have spent their entire lives under occupation. Asking a question about whether a Palestinian poses a threat is a subtle way of putting the blame on the victims.

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US vetoes resolution on Trump’s Jerusalem decision

19 Dec

United Nations Security Council in New York. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)

The Palestine Chronicle, 18 December 2017.

The United States has vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution rejecting the recent recognition by US President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and his plans to move the American embassy to the city.

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Children in Gaza live in hell

19 Dec

File photo: Ahmad from Beit Hanoun in Gaza

By Gerd von der Lippe, 17 December 2017 – https://sgf.freedomflotilla.org/uncategorized/gaza-children-live-in-hell

This article by Gerd von der Lippe, board member of Ship to Gaza Norway, was initially published as a main debate article in the national, liberal newspaper, Dagbladet, in Norway, On 22 Nov, 2017

Is there any hope for the kids in Gaza? The answer is “no”, according to an Israeli, Arab psychologist, who regularly and voluntarily travels to Gaza to provide trauma therapy. The last 10 years have been dominated by blockade, occupation, drones being continually flown overhead, along with very little rebuilding of residences and infrastructure that has been destroyed. Most people in Gaza live in refugee camps – especially in Jabalya – and are most are traumatised, with children the ones who are suffering most. They are often extremely lean, maybe eating only once a day.

According to a doctor I have recently heard from, most of the children are only eating meat approximately once a month, chicken once a week and rarely fish.

Gaza beach front huts

When I visited Gaza a few years ago, we were able to stroll along the seashore and enjoy the sight of the Mediterranean. Now, rubbish is strewn everywhere and there is a pervasive stench. Seldom is an adult home when kids return to the refugee camps after their school day. Families are extremely poor with lots of children. Physically weak boys are continually beaten by aggressive friends, if they are not able to defend themselves. What is happening to girls, we can only imagine. As social conventions break down and despair permeates. Anything is likely to happen, because everything is permitted and everything is forbidden, according to the psychologist, Mohammed Mansour, in the interview he gave Ayelett Shani from Haaretz (see link above). There used to be solidarity in Gaza, with good, strong interpersonal ties, like exists in the Syrian refugee camps in Greece. Now, it is everyone for him/herself as community breakdowns accelerate. In the wake of the Israeli bombardment of 2014, the hope of a better life became for many out of reach. If improvement does not happen quickly, the next stage is perhaps civil war, which the aggressive Israeli neighbour could just watch calmly at a short distance, thinking that it is ‘not our problem… they only have themselves to blame, if they are fighting each other’.

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Gideon Levy: ‘First they took his legs, then they took his life’

18 Dec

VIDEO: On Friday, an Israeli Army sharpshooter shot and killed Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a Gaza double amputee, as he protested from his wheelchair near the Israeli border. Haaretz video with veteran, award-winning  journalist Gideon Levy, 17 December 2018. [Also see previous post for earlier reports].

By Gideon Levy, Opinion, Haaretz (Israeli daily newspaper), 17 December 2017 |  https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.829384

The Israeli Army sharpshooter couldn’t target the lower part of his victim’s body — Ibrahim Abu Thuraya didn’t have one. The 29-year-old, who worked washing cars and who lived in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, lost both legs from the hips down in an Israeli air strike during Operation Cast Lead in 2008. He used a wheelchair to get around. On Friday the army finished the job: A sharpshooter aimed at his head and shot him dead.

The images are horrific: Abu Thuraya in his wheelchair, pushed by friends, calling for protests against the US declaration recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; Abu Thuraya on the ground, crawling toward the fence behind which the Gaza Strip is imprisoned; Abu Thuraya waving a Palestinian flag; Abu Thuraya holding up both arms in the victory sign; Abu Thuraya carried by his friends, bleeding to death; Abu Thuraya’s corpse laid out on a stretcher: The End.

The army sharpshooter couldn’t aim at the lower part of his victim’s body on Friday so he shot him in the head and killed him. It can be assumed that the soldier realised that he was shooting at a person in a wheelchair, unless he was shooting indiscriminately into the crowd of protesters. Abu Thuraya posed no danger to anyone: How much of a danger could a double amputee in a wheelchair, imprisoned behind a fence, constitute? How much evil and insensitivity does it take in order to shoot a handicapped person in a wheelchair? Abu Thuraya was not the first, nor will he be the last, Palestinian with disabilities to be killed by soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces — the most moral soldiers in the world, or not.

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Double-amputee protester shot dead by Israeli troops

18 Dec

RT Live report 16 December 2017

Alan Fisher reports for AlJazeera from Gaza. 16 December 2017

How can you support the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network?

14 Dec

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network combines organisations throughout the country wanting to unite and strengthen support for growing international solidarity for the Palestinian struggle for justice and freedom.

The key groups in Auckland include the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC), Kia Ora Gaza and Global Peace and Justice. We work alongside many other local groups including Dayenu, Quaker Peace & Service, UMMA Trust, Palestinian Community NZ, Students for Justice in Palestine, Pax Christi, Auckland Peace Action, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, and unions.

How you can get involved:

  • Join our monthly rallies for Free Palestine at Aotea Square, 2pm on the first Saturday of each month (except January). Bring your friends.
  • Join in pickets, demonstrations, meetings & other actions when called.
  • Support boycotts and divestment activities targeting Apartheid Israel.
  • Tell your MP your opinions on divestment and sanctions of Israel.
  • Write letters to newspapers – call talkback radio.
  • Keep updated on our Facebook pages and websites (listed below). Share posts widely.
  • Offer to help with leafletting and posters etc.
  • Fundraising – serious campaigns cost money. Please support our efforts generously. We intend to bring out more high-profile guest speakers next year, and Kia Ora Gaza will take part in another international flotilla to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza in 2018. Kia Ora Gaza’s Westpac bank account: 03-0211-0447718-000. PSN account: 38-9015-0849542-00

ALSO: We encourage you to do your own research – there are plenty of good books available, through Auckland Libraries or Kobo ebooks or amazon.com or bookdepository.com and many documentaries are available on Youtube.

Recommended New Zealand websites include:

Global Peace & Justice Auckland:  gpja.org.nz

Kia Ora Gaza:  kiaoragaza.net

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network:  palestinesolidaritynz.net

NZ Palestine Human Rights Campaign:  palestine.org.nz

Some other useful websites:

Electronic Intifada:  electronicintifada.net

Jewish Voice for Peace: jewishvoiceforpeace.org

Jews for Justice for Palestine:  jfjfp.com

The Israeli Campaign Against House Demolitions: icahd.org

The Palestine Chronicle:  palestinechronicle.com

Note: Most of these websites also have links to Facebook pages.

Get in touch – our contact emails:

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network: admin@palestinesolidaritynz.net

Kia Ora Gaza: office@kiaoragaza.net

PHRC ‘In Occupied Palestine’ newsletter: sumud1@outlook.com

Palestinian voices need to be heard around the world

14 Dec

A statement from The Palestine Chronicle: A Special Appeal for Funds, 13 December 2017

URGENT: Jerusalem Is Calling, Yet Palestinian Voices in the Media Are Being Silenced. Take Action

  • The decision by US President Donald Trump to challenge the international status of Jerusalem makes this one of the most critical periods of the history of the Palestinian people.
  • To understand the situation in Palestine beyond media bias, soundbites and clichés, we need authentic Palestinian voices to speak to the world.
  • The Palestine Chronicle has been at the forefront of the struggle for Palestinian freedom for 18 years.
  • But we are almost completely out of money. We have enough to last us for a month.

– Without your IMMEDIATE HELP and support we can no longer sustain our work. Please TAKE ACTION NOW and donate before it is too late.

The Palestine Chronicle’s budget is nearing its last dollar. It is such a terrible feeling that this platform, which benefited millions of readers throughout the years, serving as the uncompromising, independent and non-factional voice of Palestine COULD SHUT DOWN ANY DAY.

To make a contribution using your paypal account or credit card, please click HERE

Or kindly send your contribution to:

PO Box 196
Mountlake Terrace
WA, 98043
USA

Not only we are making a difference, but we are in constant improvement as well. We just re-launched the Palestine Chronicle and the new version of PC is stunning. The latest edition is built around a mobile responsive design and it can be accessed through your desktop and all mobile devises.

But we are in dire financial need.

If civil society can possibly have its own media, the Palestine Chronicle is that media. We are entirely, and we mean ENTIRELY funded by our readers. Thus, only accountable to common sense, intellectual integrity and the principles that unite all of our readers, regardless of their religious affiliation, political leanings or geographic boundaries.

Please stand with Palestine by supporting independent Palestinian media.

You have carried us through years of honest and accurate coverage and we are confident that you will carry us through the next stage, which promises to be more critical than ever.

The Palestine Chronicle is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible. Website: http://www.palestinechronicle.com

NOTE: Kia Ora Gaza looks to the Palestine Chronicle as a consistent and reliable source of factual, verifiable reports and trustworthy views. Please respond generously to their call for support.

VIDEO: For Palestine: United We Stand. United We Dream

It’s not just Jerusalem, it’s all of Palestine

13 Dec

By Rima Najjar, Opinion, The Palestine Chronicle, 12 December 2017

What’s going on in Jerusalem is what has always been going on in Palestine since 1948 – the forced dispossession of Palestinian Arabs of their identity, land and heritage.

Because of Donald Trump’s declaration to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and the resultant global outrage regarding this decision, many people have become interested in understanding what is going on in Palestine and what the global ramifications might be.

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Wellington: Palestinian Picnic

13 Dec

Tis the holiday season! What better way to kick off the holidays than good food and good company. Wellington supporters are invited to an end of year get together to share Palestinian food (and food more generally) with friends and family! Bring your friends, bring a plate, sunscreen (there’s an outdoor area) and see you there!

This Saturday 16 December from 1:30pm to 4pm, Charles Plimmer Hall, Lawson Place, Mt Victoria, Wellington.

 

How many soldiers does it take to arrest a Palestinian boy?

12 Dec

AlJazeera video, 11 December 2017

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