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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Calls for a UK Apology to the Palestinian People . Motion to the Scottish Parliament Aug 24, 2015

The following motion has been presented to the Scottish Parliament by Jean Urquhart MSP.
Ms Urquhart is Co-Convener of the Cross-Party Group on Palestine at the Scottish Parliament.
For several months, Scottish Friends of Israel (SFI) has been been warning the Israel Embassy and advocating that serious notice be taken by pro-Israel groups, and anyone else who would listen, of the activities of an anti-Israel campaign, the Balfour Project, planned, led and promoted by, among others, the Rev Stephen Sizer who was recently censured by the Church of England Bishop of Guilford for disseminating “openly racist” and  “anti-Semitic” material.
The main thrust of the Balfour Project is a call to the Westminster Parliament to make an apology (as framed in this motion) and to engage willing MPs, MSPs and others in promotion of its aims, leading up to the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in 2017. This motion to the Scottish Parliament is the first salvo.
There has also been a concerted effort by this campaign to have this narrative inserted into the curriculum of Scottish schools. Their activists, promoted the contents of the after-mentioned motion at a recent meeting of the Cross-party Group on Palestine at the Scottish Parliament, where it was suggested by an education Quality Improvement Officer from West Dunbartonshire Council that such a narrative was“Needed to balance the Holocaust one”.
I think that quote alone sums up the mind-set of those willing to promote this narrative.
SFI is currently in communications with the Scottish Government and local authority education officials to alert them accordingly.   
Calls for a UK Apology to the Palestinian People 

That the Parliament regrets the decision of the UK to disengage from Palestine on 14 May 1948; believes that this contributed to the subsequent Arab-Israeli conflict and the displacement or expulsion of around 700,000 Palestinians in an event known as al-Nakba or "the Catastrophe"; considers that it constituted a failure by the UK in its duty to protect the Palestinian people during partition; offers an apology on behalf of the people of Scotland, and calls on the UK Government to offer a similar apology. 

Supported by: John Finnie, Bill Kidd

Monday, 24 August 2015

Hamas Forced to Apologize for Anti-Semitic 'Rape' Cartoon

Hamas Forced to Apologize for Anti-Semitic 'Rape' Cartoon

Both Hamas and notorious Arab cartoonist apologize for graphic anti-Semitic cartoon - for insulting Palestinians in 'West Bank.'

Hamas has been forced to apologize for a graphic cartoon depicting a Jew "raping" the "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria) - because it offended Arabs in the area.

The cartoon, which was highlighted and translated by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) incitement watchdog, once again underlined the ongoing culture of incitement within the Palestinian media, as well as the prevalence of anti-Semitism among Palestinian Arabs.

But it also highlights the ongoing tension between the rival Islamist Hamas and Arab-nationalist Fatah, who have been at loggerheads since Fatah's ouster from Gaza by Hamas in 2007.

The image, seen above, depicts a long-nosed Jew wearing black clothing raping an Arab woman wearing a yellow dress - the color of Fatah, which rules Judea-Samaria via the Palestinian Authority - while simultaneously shooting her young children. The woman is labeled "West Bank".

Next to the scene are two men; one, a member of the PA security forces, stands next to a sign saying "West Bank [Palestinian] Authority," smoking a cigar and ignoring the rape and murder. The other man - whose face is masked by a keffiyeh, stands behind a barbed wire fence next to a sign reading "Gaza", and is standing on a blood-drenched Israel army helmet. The man in Gaza is shouting to the woman "West Bank, get up and defend your honor and your children!" who responds "Yes, I would like to, but I have no permit."

The vulgar anti-Semitic cartoon was posted onto Hamas's Twitter account, and triggered an almost immediate outrage - not for its anti-Semitism, but for being perceived as an insult to Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria. 

It was drawn by Palestinian cartoonist Baha Yassin, who regularly glorifies terrorism and other forms of violence against Jews in his graphic, often bloody caricatures.

Both Hamas and Yassin apologized for the cartoon and removed it from their social media pages. 

Yassin also replaced the cartoon on his Facebook page with a second cartoon, which appears to be the next "scene" to the previous one.

In it, the "Jew" lies dead with stab wound in his back, while his killer, a woman labeled "West Bank" - but dressed in Hamas's color, green - towers over him, brandishing a knife dripping with blood. The knife-wielding woman is seen rebuking another woman, dressed in Fatah's colors, who is renamed "[Palestinian] Authority," telling her: "I will attain what my children deserve and what you deserve, [Palestinian] Authority of shame."

The police post is labeled "Security Cooperation Position," and a line of text accompanying the cartoon says "This is the West Bank that I know."

According to the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, widespread anger on social media "caused the Ministry of Interior in Gaza - run by the Hamas movement - to announce that it intends to 'take legal action against this caricaturist, who harms our people, its culture, its resistance, and its struggle.'"

Hamas's official Al-Risala website disassociated itself from cartoonist Yassin, while pan-Arab Al-Hayat Al-Jadida said the "Palestinian journalists' union expressed dismay" over the caricature, which it said "very severely harmed the holy sites of our people, its unity, and its symbols."

Unsurprisingly, both cartoon's blatant anti-Semitism went totally unremarked upon.

Such anti-Semitic caricatures and stereotypes are a staple feature of Palestinian Arab media, as PMW has regularly highlighted.

source: israelnationalnews

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Isis in Syria: Islamic State and other rebels now control most of the country



Islamic State (Isis) militants and other rebel groups now control five-sixths of Syria, with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad left controlling an area the size of Belgium, according to a military intelligence report. The area Syria under the control of government forces has shrunk by a further 18% to 11,500 square miles (29,800 sq km) since January of this year.

In July, Assad said that the Syrian Army had to relinquish control of some areas of the country because of a lack of soldiers.

Analysts from IHS Jane’s Information Group say the regime is focusing on shoring up its defence of the capital city Damascus and a strip of territory along the Mediterranean coast. The strategy is to defend the ancestral home of Assad’s family and of the Alawite sect of Shi’ite Islam from which his support base is drawn, the Times reported.

“The key areas which Assad cannot afford to lose include Damascus, the Alawite coastal provinces of Latakia and Tartous, and the city of Homs,” senior Middle East analyst of IHS Jane’s Information Group Columb Strack told the Times. “These cities are likely to be defended, even at the expense of other cities like Aleppo or Daraa.”

Assad facing defeat

Rebel fighters – which include IS militants – have made significant gains in recent times. The Jaish al-Fatah rebel group, which is backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, having gained ground in the northern province of Idlib. Meanwhile, in the last two weeks, other rebel fighters reached the al-Jibal Sahiliyah Mountains, a range of peaks that run from north to south that offers a natural defence to the coastal plain, the Times reported.

Assad’s forces appear to be weak and depleted despite financial assistance from Russia and Iran, Voice of America reported. The regime’s defensive weakness is at the hinge around the border with Lebanon, and IS has forces on both the east and west sides of the vital link road, according to analysts from Jane’s.

“The bigger picture is that Assad is not going to last much longer,” Strack said.

The four year-old civil war has killed around 250,000 people, mostly civilians. In addition, around 8 million people have been displaced, more than half becoming refugees attempting to enter Europe.

- See more at:

Monday, 17 August 2015

Labour to investigate after MP called ‘Zionist scumbag’ for opposing Jeremy Corbyn

By Marcus Dysch, August 17, 2015
Labour MP and leading campaigner against antisemitism John Mann
Labour MP and leading campaigner against antisemitism John Mann
Labour will investigate after dozens of antisemitic messages were sent to non-Jewish MPs who have criticised party leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn.
John Mann, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said he had received more than 40 abusive emails and tweets in the past six weeks.
They referred to him as “utter filth” and a “Zionist stooge”.
Mr Mann has been vocal in his opposition to Mr Corbyn’s campaign to lead the party. He claimed the abuse was coming from supporters of the favourite to be leader.
On Sunday Mr Mann re-tweeted a number of the messages, including some suggesting he was under the influence of Israel.
He said other Labour supporters had sent him tweets to report similar abuse, including from Jewish party members who had been accused of dual loyalty.
“I have very serious concerns about Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters,” Mr Mann told the Sunday Express. “I’ve received some vicious antisemitic abuse and I’m expecting the Labour Party to take action against this.
“This began six weeks ago when I challenged the membership system. I said it was crazy. This was something I’ve done several times, including in Parliament on May 10, before Corbyn was a leadership candidate.
“I warned the system would lead to all sort of groups joining in. It is a mad system open to abuse by everyone, from the far-right to the far-left.
“It seems I was right. I have been described as a servant of the Israeli Prime Minister, a Nazi Zionist, a Zionist scumbag. This is all because I chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism.”
Mr Mann said many of those sending abuse had openly expressed their support for Mr Corbyn.
He said other non-Jewish MPs, including leadership candidate Liz Kendall and new Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan were among those targeted for antisemitic abuse.
Mr Corbyn said last week that there “should not be any antisemitic, Islamophobic or racist slogans or banners at any demonstration, ever”.
In a major speech in London on Sunday, former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a veiled reference to Mr Corbyn's positions.
Although not mentioning the MP by name, Mr Brown said: "I have to say that if our global alliances are going to be alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas and Hugo Chavez's Venezuela and Vladimir Putin's Russia, there is absolutely no chance of building a world-wide alliance that can deal with poverty and inequality and climate change and financial instability, and we've got to face up to that fact."
Mr Corbyn has previously described Hezbollah and Hamas as "friends".

Amnesty defends senior official’s anti-Israel tweets

By Naomi Firsht, August 17, 2015
Amnesty International has defended their campaigns manager after the Israeli embassy complained about alleged anti-Israel tweets, saying the posts highlighted “the need for justice and accountability”.
Kristyan Benedict posted messages about the arson attack on a Palestinian home in the village of Douma in July, which resulted in two deaths.
One of the tweets read: “Palestinian baby burned to death in settler attack. They see their government getting away with murder every day.”
Mr Benedict also retweeted a post by Hamas relating to “Israel’s war crimes”.
Eitan Na’eh, charge d’affaires at the Israeli embassy, complained about the tweets to Amnesty UK director Kate Allen.
In response Fionna Smyth, Amnesty’s head of priority campaigns, said Mr Benedict’s tweet on the arson attack highlighted a “lack of accountability” over “settler violence” on the West Bank.
In a statement, she wrote: “Our work is focused on exposing human rights violations by all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in working toward justice and accountability.
“Kristyan Benedict’s tweet concerning an Amnesty report on Rafah clearly conveyed a message about the need for justice and accountability, including through the International Criminal Court.
“Kristyan’s tweet on the dreadful killing of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha referred to a past history of a lack of accountability over so-called “Price Tag” attacks and settler violence in the West Bank.
“We condemn human rights abuses committed by all parties, whether Hamas, by other armed Palestinian groups, or indeed Israeli forces.
“This year we’ve published a major report condemning Palestinian armed groups’ indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks on civilian areas in Israel during the conflict last July and August, a report on how Hamas tortured and killed Palestinian ‘collaborators' during the conflict, and also a report on Israel’s attack on Rafah in July 2014.
“We have responded in writing to the Israeli embassy, making some of these points.”
● A report in Monday's The Times claimed Senior Amnesty official Yasmin Hussein had undeclared private links to Islamists.
Ms Hussein, the charity’s faith and human rights director, was claimed to have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.
She denied the claim, and was reported as telling the charity that the alleged connections were purely circumstantial.

Mahmoud Abbas to visit Iran as PA - Iran strengthen bilateral ties

Itamar Marcus 

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will be visiting Teheran in the near future in order to strengthen bilateral ties. Senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki, who is traveling to Iran to arrange Abbas’ visit, said the ties are “an inevitable step if we [the palestinians] want to confront the Israeli occupation.” In the past Iran was a significant supplier of weapons used in terror against Israel and was behind the shipping of 50 tons of weapons to the Palestinian Authority on the ship "Karine A" that Israel intercepted in 2002. 

Earlier this month Abbas already sent a senior official to Teheran to deliver a personal letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about the “Israeli offensives against ‘our people and its holy places.’” PLO Executive Committee Member Ahmed Majdalani was sent “to repair its relations with Iran... and it was agreed to determine actual steps to bring the occupation to an end, in addition to Palestinian participation in resolving the Syrian crisis. This is due to the fact that President Abbas’ initiative and the Iranian initiative to end the war taking place there intersect.”

Significantly, the PA has been reluctant up until now to publicly take sides in the Syrian civil war, in which Iran has been the main supporter of the forces of Syrian President Assad. It may be that in the interest of receiving Iranian aid the PA is willing to side with the Assad regime.

At that first meeting it was decided to schedule the Abbas visit to Iran and that Abbas Zaki will lead a Fatah delegation to Iran to plan the details of the visit.
The following are the articles about the Abbas visit and Iran- PA ties in greater detail:

“Palestinian officials stated yesterday [Aug. 15, 2015] that the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah movement are working for the development of ties with Iran, after an agreement was reached last month with the powers regarding its nuclear program.
A senior PLO official said to AFP that ‘there is an agreement in principle from Iran’s side to receive President Mahmoud Abbas,’ without the date being set. On the same topic, Fatah officials said that a high level delegation from the movement will visit Iran ‘soon,’ in order to organize President Abbas’ visit.
Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki stated to a local radio station that he will head a delegation to Iran,’ as part of the efforts to strengthen ties with it [Iran], and in order to organize President Abbas’ visit. He said that ‘the development of our ties with Iran is an inevitable step if we want to confront the Israeli occupation.’"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2015]

“PLO Executive Committee Member Ahmed Majdalani, delivered a letter from President Mahmoud Abbas to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani yesterday [Aug. 9, 2015], Sunday.
This took place during a meeting Majdalani held with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Majdalani said that the letter refers to the current state of affairs and Israeli offensives against ‘our people and its holy places, and the bilateral relations between the State of Palestine and the Iranian Republic.’”
[Wattan News Agency, Aug. 10, 2015]

"The [Palestinian] Authority hastened to repair its relations with Iran and the President hastened to send a messenger to Tehran, and it was agreed to determine actual steps to bring the occupation to an end, in addition to Palestinian participation in resolving the Syrian crisis. This is due to the fact that President Abbas’ initiative and the Iranian initiative to end the war taking place there intersect. Interestingly, President Abbas’ messenger to Tehran, [PLO Executive Committee Member] Dr. Ahmed Majdalani said to the Ma’an news agency that ‘the visit was planned in advance, and not meant to coincide with the signing of the nuclear agreement, but rather occurred at the same time by chance ... The Iranian agreement will open the way for the Palestinian cause.’
Majdalani and the Iranian Foreign Minister, who met in Tehran on Sunday [Aug. 9, 2015], agreed on the development of mutual relations. Likewise, the president’s messenger revealed that there will be significant developments in the bilateral relations in the near future, through the establishment of a high-level joint committee to discuss politics, trade, culture and students. The [Palestinian] Authority clarified to the Iranian leadership its position regarding a reconciliation with the Hamas movement through the establishment of a national unity government, and Majdalani added that ‘the Iranian effort to support our efforts to bring about the success of the internal reconciliation process with Hamas is important.’
Likewise, Majdalani discussed with the Iranian minister the results of the nuclear agreement with the US, especially in light of the fact that it will open the way for an international committee to clean the region of Israeli nuclear weapons since Israel no longer has the excuse that there is a nuclear Iran that threatens its existence.”
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 9, 2015 
(updated Aug. 10, 2015)]


Matisyahu is victim of BDS antisemitism, say Spanish Jews

By Jessica Weinstein, August 17, 2015
Spanish Reggae festival Rototom has droppedJewish musician Matisyahu from its line-up after he refused a request to publicly back a Palestinian state.
The ex-Chasid was given an ultimatum by the festival organisers, who told him the if he “sign[ed] such a declaration [publicly affirming his support for the Palestinians, he] can perform,” according to Spanish daily El Pais.
The request came as a result of pressure from the BDS movement and other artists scheduled to perform at the festival , who said that Matisyahu was “seen to represent Israel”, even though he is not Israeli.
The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain said that the cancellation was "cowardly, unfair and discriminatory".
It added: “As Spaniards, we are ashamed of the organisers. In this case, the BDS Movement employed all its antisemitic arsenal against the participation of Matthew Paul Miller [Matisyahu’s offstage name].”
In a statement on Rototom’s official Facebook page, festival organisers said that the event had a “sensitivity to Palestine, its people and the occupation of its land by Israel”.
Five other artists due to appear at the festival have backed out because of the BDS campaign, according to El Pais.

Seattle Jews weigh becoming Spanish citizen, more than 500 years after expulsion

SEATTLE - On a recent morning, in a roomful of people dedicated to keeping the centuries-old Jewish language of Ladino alive, Doreen Alhadeff explained why she plans to become a Spanish citizen.
"It's symbolic," said Alhadeff. "For me, it's something that was taken from my ancestors and I want it back."
Spain expelled its once-numerous Jews in 1492 during the Inquisition, sending the so-called Sephardic population into the Ottoman empire and beyond. Following a resurgence of interest in this part of its past, Spain passed a law in June that conveys citizenship rights on descendants of the diaspora.
There are, however, conditions. That - plus resentment toward a country that produced a defining and tragic moment in Sephardic history - is causing Seattle's unusually large and vibrant Sephardic population to view the offer with mixed emotions.
"They kicked us out and now they're making us go through hoops?" said Victor Amira, a member of the "Ladineros" - a group that meets weekly at The Summit at First Hill, a Jewish retirement community, to study letters and texts in the onetime language of the Sephardim.
Addressing Alhadeff, who had come to brief the group as part of an ongoing effort to spread the word, Amira was referring to requirements that include passing Spanish language and cultural- knowledge tests, getting certification of one's Sephardic heritage and traveling to Spain to finalize the paperwork for dual citizenship.
Amira was also reacting to an article passed around among the Ladineros that put the cost of applying at $5,600 - an erroneous figure Alhadeff labels "ridiculous." (The application fee is currently pegged at 100 euros, slightly more in U.S. dollars.)
Still, Amira is incensed. "They should pay us!" he said.
"I've heard that many times: 'They kicked us out,'" responded Alhadeff. Yet Spain, she said, is spending a lot of time and energy making amends.
"It's not for everybody," she, nevertheless, acknowledged. "I think it's got to ring to you on another level."
It rings for Alhadeff, who cofounded an online site for the local Sephardic community and belongs to a prominent family within it. Her grandmother Dora Levy is believed to be the first Sephardic woman to come to Seattle, arriving in 1906. The first Sephardic men, two friends named Jacob Policar and Solomon Calvo, had arrived in 1902. Policar is the grandfather of Alhadeff's husband, Joseph S. Alhadeff, who develops real estate for the Benaroya family.
These and other Sephardic pioneers, hailing largely from Turkey and Greece, built a community with a culture and language distinct from the Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.
The Sephardic population around the Puget Sound, which represents 8 percent of the region's overall Jewish population, numbers about 5,000, according to a 2014 Jewish Federation survey. That makes the community the third largest in the country, after New York and Los Angeles.
Alhadeff, a 64-year-old real-estate agent with cropped hair and a penchant for dangling earrings, grew up in Seward Park - still the heart of Seattle's Sephardic community - hearing her grandparents speak Ladino. Her grandmother, a onetime interpreter who spoke Ladino, Yiddish, Turkish and English, was an especially important figure in her life.
She used to call Alhadeff "mi alma," an endearment the younger woman didn't think much about until she went to Spain as a college student and heard someone in a cafe use the term.
"I almost fell out of my chair," recounted Alhadeff, who just then realized that the endearment stemmed from the Spanish words for "my soul." It was one of the things that made her feel a deep affinity for Spain.
This spring, living in Spain for three months to help organize an international conference of Sephardic Jews, she reaffirmed her connection. Although only about 40,000 Jews live in Spain today, the government has made a commitment to righting its past abuses, as Alhadeff sees it. She pointed out that she worked on the conference out of a government-funded Sephardic center and that a Spanish brochure and website map historic Jewish settlements around the country.
She visited the town of Avila, where the government preserved an ancient Jewish cemetery, one of a number of remnants of Jewish life still to be seen. She went to another town, until recently called Castrillo Matajudios (Spanish for Camp Kill Jews), where the populace voted to change its name to Castrillo Mota de Judios (Jews' Hill Camp).
"The Spain of today is clearly not the Spain of 1492," Alhadeff said.
But those who view Spain with a jaundiced eye wonder whether the country's new embrace of the Sephardim stems from "a pragmatic move by Spain to attract Jewish business, investment and tourism," as Rabbi Marc Angel, director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals in New York, put it in a blog post last year.
Then there's the fact that not all Sephardic Jews see Spain as the focal point of their identity.
"My parents were born in Turkey," said Ladinero member Marlene Souriano-Vinikoor. "We don't eat paella," she continued, referring to the classic Spanish dish. "We adopted a Turkish cuisine." She cited as an example stuffed grape leaves, which she and her relatives refer to by the Turkish name, Yaprakes.
"I feel very strongly that I am Turkish," agreed Ladinero leader Isaac Azose, an 85-year-old retired cantor who traces his roots to the Turkish island of Marmara. Reiterating that Spain kicked the Jews out, he said he prefers to honor Turkey as "the country that took us in."
Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation, in Seward Park, emphasizes its "unique Turkish customs" on its website. Nearby Congregation Ezra Bessaroth says on its website that the Sephardic synagogue "fastidiously" upholds the traditions of its homeland - not Spain, but the Greek island of Rhodes.
Devin Naar, chairman of the Sephardic studies program at the University of Washington, says that more than in any other city in the U.S., Seattle's Sephardic community has hung onto the customs and practices of the former Ottoman empire. Seattle's Sephardim say prayers that incorporate Ladino - a language that some scholars believe originated after the expulsion from Spain - and religious music with a Middle Eastern flair.
This complicated identity may help explain why Ezra Bessaroth Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers says he is not yet seeing wide-scale enthusiasm for Spanish citizenship.
Luis Fernando Esteban, Spain's honorary consul in Washington and Oregon, said Jews who reject their Spanish heritage may be missing an opportunity - specifically, the opportunity to immerse themselves in "15 centuries" of Jewish history, beginning with the Jews' arrival in Spain as administrators for the Roman empire. Esteban said Spain's libraries contain a wealth of Jewish texts, including those of the revered 12th century Jewish philosopher Maimonides.
Spanish citizenship has other benefits, too, Alhadeff pointed out. People without adequate health insurance could take advantage of Spain's free medical care. And those in less prosperous or safe countries than the U.S. might see Spain as a sanctuary.
A Spanish passport could facilitate travel throughout Europe and in countries that have tense relations with the U.S., said Alhadeff's son, 36-year-old Loren Alhadeff. That's one reason he said he's very excited about the law. He also hopes it will reignite Sephardic pride among his generation.
Still, he noted that he has two young children, 1 and 3, and a demanding job as a senior vice president of sales at a tech company. So he said part of his decision whether to seek Spanish citizenship will depend on the details of the process, which are not yet fully known. For instance, how hard is the language test?
"I don't know if I can carve out more time to take Spanish classes right now," he said.
Read more here:

Read more here:

Death of Carolyn Goodman, not just a Jewish mother

August 17, 2007
“[Carolyn Goodman] deserves even more to be remembered for her own part as a role model, not just as a Jewish mother, but as an activist and as a force for justice.” So wrote her Queens College colleague Jeremy Burton after her death on this date in 2007.
Thrust into the national spotlight when her son Andrew disappeared with two other young men working on the Freedom Summer project in 1964, Carolyn Goodman first appeared as the mother of a missing son, later found shot and buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi.  During those days, she was a force agitating for a wrong to be made right.  “I'm not looking for revenge, but I am looking for justice," she said at the time.  She looked for and created justice for the rest of her life.
Born in Woodmere, N.Y., on Oct. 6, 1915, Carolyn Elizabeth Drucker earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Cornell University in 1936, a master’s in clinical psychology from the City University of New York in 1953 and a doctorate in education from Columbia University Teachers College in 1968.  In 1966, Dr. Goodman and her husband, Robert Goodman, started the Andrew Goodman Foundation, which uses community organizing tools to create “a new hero citizenry: ordinary individuals engaged and committed to creative and effective action for social impact.”  Goodman lectured to student and religious groups, took an active role in antiwar demonstrations, and marched in civil rights rallies.
Professionally, Goodman was a healer, known for her patient generosity of spirit with those she met.  As a psychologist, Dr. Goodman specialized in creating early intervention programs for families at risk of psychiatric problems.  She developed and ran the PACE Family Treatment Center, a program for emotionally disturbed mothers of young children, at the Bronx Psychiatric Center.
Ruth Messinger, President of the American Jewish World Service, recalled, “Often and painfully she said in interviews that she believed that even if she had known the outcome she would have let Andy go to Mississippi.  Messinger remembered her words: “I still feel that I would let Andy go to Mississippi again.  Even after this terrible thing happened to Andy, I couldn’t make a turnabout of everything I believe in.”
Watch an interview with Carolyn Goodman from 2004, recorded shortly before her testimony in the murder trial of former Klansman Edgar Ray Killen.  Hear an interview with Brad Herzog, the editor of her memoir My Mantelpiece

Saturday, 15 August 2015


Sunni vs Shiite sectarian violence has long been a defining factor of Middle Eastern conflict; as ISIS has taken hold thorough the region that conflict has waxed rather than waned. But warnings of violence between the groups have now been issued in the UK, as immigrants from the region bring their ideological baggage with them.

Back in the Middle East, July saw IS fighters in Yemen bombing two Shiite mosques, killing hundreds in an attempt to drive out Shiite groups and take over the country. And in Tikrit, Iraq, 1,700 Shiite army cadets were slaughtered by IS in a gross act of sectarian violence. Jihadists filmed the massacre, turning to the camera to say: “This is a message I address to the whole world and especially to the Rafidha dogs, I tell them we are coming.”
That message has hit home in London, where Sunni / Shiite violence has long been brewing. Sayed Ammar Nakshwani, a leading Shiite cleric has already left the UK for the United States following a protracted campaign of threats against his family by Sunni militants, The Times has reported.
It began in 2009 with his car being smashed up and the word “rafidi” daubed on it – a common Sunni insult against Shiite Muslims which refers to their rejection of Mohammed’s companions.
“They would sometimes target my house and call me and say, ‘Hey rafidi, watch your back’,” Mr Nakshwani said. “One time there was a call at midnight where they said your dad has gone out and we can see him at the supermarket. They had followed him and were watching him.”
At a Sunni-Shia “unity event” in north London, Mr Nakshwani was threatened by a group of men with long beards. One pulled a knife. “I made the decision to move to the US alone as I needed to get out and at least provide a safety net for my parents. The police didn’t really do anything — each time it was a case of ‘we will look into it’.
“Most Sunnis are ­disgusted by Isis and their actions but we have to ask serious questions of where this group has come from and which ideas have fed them.”
However, Shiites back in London have called for more than just an investigation.
A Shiite imam has now called for 24 hour police protection for Shiite mosques amid fears of attacks inspired by Islamic State. Citing the Jewish community’s protection measures as an example to be followed, Sheikh Ahmed Haneef of the Islamic Centre of England – a Shia mosque in north London – said that police needed to guard against the threat of “blowback” from Islamist State sympathisers who may be inspired to carry out attacks in the UK.
There is “a really major security issue” developing, he said. “The ­venomous preaching combined with the jihadists coming back into the country and looking to carry out ­opportunist attacks — that puts us in a very dangerous situation,” he said.
In June a Shiite Islamic centre in Bradford was daubed with the words “Shia Kafir”, which means Shiite unbelievers. The community news site ShiiteNews called the sectarian nature of the graffiti “worrying,” and said that the fact that the graffiti had occurred in Bradford was “even more worrying, given that the city is one that generally is cohesive and where such incidents do not take place.”
Mr Haneef’s centre has already been the scene of two other sectarian attacks: one in which attempts were made to break down the front door, and another during Ramadan in which two Salafist Sunni men tried to attack people outside the front door.
“We’re a soft target for opportunist terrorism,” Mr Haneef said. “We have been ramping up security but I don’t think it’s enough — we should have round-the-clock police protection. The community needs to be more aware of the threat. We need to be more like the Jewish community, who are extremely sensitive to the security issues.”
Of the 3 million Muslims currently living in Britain, just 300,000 are Shiite Muslim, hailing mainly from parts of Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. Another 300,000 follow other denominations, but the vast majority, some 2,200,000 Muslims are Sunni, which gave rise to the hard line Salafist Islam practiced by jihadist groups such as Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Jonathan Russell, of the anti-extremist think tank Quilliam, said that given this mix of racial backgrounds, sectarian violence was inevitable. “Given the international focus of Islamic State ­recruitment, with members from over 90 countries, we fully expect this sectarian dimension of their ideology to be brought home and to impact on community cohesion in the UK,” he said.


'Britain knows very well what my trip is about. I am not going there to claim asylum or beg in the streets. I am going there to educate the British people and pose some questions.' - Hamdi Abu Rahma

The row has erupted as Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to roll out the red carpet for Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. The timing is particularly sensitive, as an online petition calling for Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes when he arrives in London next month has already attracted more than half of the 100,000 needed to trigger a parliamentary debate.
Now that the decision to reject the young Palestinian's visa application has been challenged by members of the Scottish Government, as well as festival organisers and pro-Palestinian activists, there are hopes that the UK Visa and Immigration agency will think again.

Already widely travelled to show his work at exhibitions around the globe, this is the first time that Abu Rahma has had a visa application rejected without warning. Some observers are particularly surprised since the focus of his photography is about the power of non-violent resistance in Palestine, which he has captured through his camera lens.
"The UK government refused to give me a visa today and the reason for refusal was that I didn't show any bank statements or documentation to demonstrate my ability to support myself during my visit," he said in a prepared statement. "Despite sending complete evidence of the sponsorship provided to fund my trip and all contact details of my sponsors, proving that all my travel and accommodation costs have been met, they still refused my application."
Abu Rahma pointed out that he has travelled extensively in order to tell the Palestinian story through his photographs but Britain is the first country that has refused him entry. "We all know the real reason for this refusal," he said. "Britain knows very well what my trip is about. I am not going there to claim asylum or beg in the streets. I am going there to educate the British people and pose some questions." Such questions as: "Have you ever asked Israel why they kill and murder innocent men, women and children in Palestine? Do you know why Israel occupies Palestinian land illegally and destroys our homes, and why it allows colonial settlers to move into our homes illegally against international law?"
Expressing his "deep disappointment" at being unable to travel to Britain on this occasion, the young photographer thanked his friends across the country for their support and for being willing to host him in their homes.
Phil Chetwynd, one of the festival organisers who invited Abu Rahma said: "The Network of Photographers for Palestine raised the money through crowdfunding to finance Hamdi's visit earlier this year." All of his travel and subsistence expenses are covered by this, he explained. "I pledged to provide accommodation throughout the visit. Last month I tried to contact the visa office in Amman to back-up Hamdi's application, but the process is so obscure that they didn't seem to have a mechanism to add information to that already submitted by the applicant. It seems that the FCO has tendered out the whole process to another organisation."
Despite the visa ban organisers have said that they will still exhibit Hamdi's photographs and will ask a performer from another show to read out the speech that he has prepared. As news spread of the visa ban, an additional exhibition of his work may now also be shown at "Welcome to the Fringe: Palestine day at Out Of The Blue (OOTB)". Other events organised for Hamdi to speak in Inverness, Dundee and Glasgow may still go ahead via a live link-up to his home in Gaza.
According to Sofiah MacLeod, the chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the visa rejection came as "no surprise". She pointed out that the Cameron government is preparing to welcome the "war criminal" Benjamin Netanyahu to London in September. "As the petition calling on Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes nears 55,000 signatories, the government's visa denial to Abu Rahma will only strengthen our resolve to oppose its complicity in Israel's ethnic cleansing project against the Palestinians." MacLeod is adamant that Palestinian voices, including Abu Rahma's, will be heard at this year's Edinburgh Festival in "unprecedented" numbers. "We already know that the Israeli government has received our message loud and clear that it is not welcome during the festival, or at any other time."
Scottish Parliamentarian Joan McAlpine of the SNP raised the issue with Sarah Rapson, the Director General of UK Visas and Immigration within hours of hearing about Abu Rahma's visa being rejected. In a letter seen by MEMO, she told Rapson: "While I understand that immigration is a reserved matter, culture is not. I am the co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Culture. I certainly feel that this decision is damaging to culture and the world's greatest art festival in Edinburgh."
McAlpine called for a rethink on what appeared to be "an overly bureaucratic and insensitive decision" adding: "I am particularly concerned that the decision means festival goers will miss the opportunity to hear this artist discuss his award-winning work, which of course has implications for freedom of expression."
This is not the first time that Palestinian artistes have encountered difficulties at the hands of the UK Border Agency. Ali Abukhattab and Samah Al-Sheikh, a married couple also based in Gaza, were due to appear at the Institute for Contemporary Art in June 2013 as part of the Shubbak festival. They were to read from their own works and discuss how Palestinian writers in Gaza have responded to the ongoing Israeli siege and internal political situation.
Al-Sheikh, a short story writer and novelist, and Abukhattab, a poet and critic, are both established writers whose works have appeared in collections and anthologies. Both are also active in promoting the arts in Gaza, but that was not enough for the British government. In an increasingly familiar scenario for artists and writers seeking to visit this country, their visa applications were also rejected.
In April 2012, a tour by Palestinian Oud player Ahmad Al-Khatib and other musicians was delayed because of visa issues raised by the UK Border Agency. Discrimination by immigration officials has also hampered other Arab artists visiting the UK, including Iraqi poet Sabreen Kadhim, and even those only in transit through Britain's airports, such as Syrian painter Tammam Azzam.
In an age when racial and religious discrimination is increasingly — and thankfully — more unacceptable, the fact that Arab artistes can still face what looks like systematic institutionalised discrimination is a huge concern. Instead of welcoming an alleged war criminal to London, perhaps David Cameron could look into this situation and start to treat all would-be visitors to Britain with fairness and justice.