Wednesday, November 21, 2018

America's best friends in the Middle East

America's best friends in the Middle East are all radical theocracies with a penchant for murder. Saudi Arabia, a Sunni country, has killed tens of thousands of Shia in Yemen and made hundreds of thousands homeless. The Saudi bombing has put five million Shia children in danger of starvation. 

Israel's decades long mistreatment of Palestinians has been equally barbaric. Two million live in Gaza, the largest open air prison in the world, subject to periodic mass slaughters of civilians by Israel's high tech weaponry. The Jim Crow life of Palestinians in the West Bank under a brutal Israeli occupation is hardly better. Like Saudi Arabia, Israel directs its hatred and violence towards those of the wrong faith. The Zionist regime is simply built on a foundation of Jewish supremacy. 

We are now witnessing America's rise of white, Christian nationalism. The radical right is highly armed and prone to attacks on Jews, Muslims, gays, immigrants, Latinos and women. Anyone who doesn't fit their theocratic ideals of purity. We can't just blame it on Trump, racist though he is. We can't just blame the Saudi and Israeli money pouring into the coffers of our corrupted politicians. Saudi Arabia gave the Clinton Foundation 10 million before Hillary's campaign, and billionaire Sheldon Adelson, an Israeli/American Zionist, donated 82 million to Trump in 2016. 

No, America's white nationalism reflects the racism of our expanding empire abroad, as well as the extremist views of our closest allies in conquering and occupying the Middle East.

Fred Nagel

Friday, October 12, 2018

How else to shore up support for apartheid?

The charge of antisemitism is becoming the slander of choice in our corrupt and corporate controlled political system. Cynthia Nixon was not alone in being undermined by such baseless charges. There was Mal Hyman, Democratic candidate for Congress in South Carolina; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic candidate in NY; Ilhan Omar, Democratic candidate in Minnesota; Scott Wallace, Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania; and Keith Ellison in his run for head of the Democratic National Committee. 

Bernie Sanders had the charge leveled against him during his progressive campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. In England, the reformist Labour Party leader Corbyn is fighting the same lies. Even locally the one true progressive on the Dutchess County Legislature, Joel Tyner, faced this despicable charge before his reelection. 

The common thread for all these politicians is that they are reformers who oppose the corruption and war mongering of the corporate state. They favor the rights of working people over the rich elite, and oppose the racism used to win elections. But why is the charge of antisemitism used so often to damage progressives?

The marriage of Trump to the Israeli state explains part of it. Sheldon Adelson, an Israeli/American billionaire, is Trump's largest contributor. But the corporate wing of the Democratic Party has its own Zionist billionaires. In fact, Israel has bet heavily on the repressive and often racist status quo in our country. How else to shore up support for its militaristic and apartheid state than to destroy any hope of reform in America?

Fred Nagel

Monday, July 30, 2018

State supported racism, the new American Dream

Zionism has taken some big steps recently, and it is only fair to acknowledge the progress it has made. The movement to ethnically cleanse the Holy Land of everyone but Jews has wedded itself to Trump and his alt-right racist base. No surprise here, as the same racial hatreds and violence are at work in both groups.

Religious extremism in the US has certainly helped in creating this unholy union. Much of the right wing Christian Church, as well as large segments of establishment Judaism have always considered a purified Israel as the will of God, and have preached such heavenly guidance in their religious services.

Billionaire Israeli/US citizens have done their part as well. Sheldon Adelson, gambling and casino mogul, was Trump's largest donor in the last election. He has also spent hundreds of millions on Congressional races, insuring that no candidate even whispers the word Palestine. The Zionists are so tightly in control that almost every member of Congress applauded Israel's most recent slaughter in Gaza, even after it was established that 550 Palestinian children had been killed.

The US Embassy is moving to Jerusalem. The Israeli Parliament has just passed a kosher version of Jim Crow, stripping many rights from non Jewish citizens. And 38 billion from US taxpayers will be making its way to Israel over the next several years.

There is even a law in Congress that would criminalize any boycott of Israeli apartheid. Hats off to state supported racism, the new American Dream.

Fred Nagel

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Gaza, Yet Again

It is with outrage and great sorrow that I write yet another letter to the editor about a massacre in Gaza. 2008, 2010, 2014, and, now 2018, are only the more recent reoccurrences of the Nakba (disaster or catastrophe in Arabic) that started the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants of Palestine. 
In the original Nakba of 70 years ago, more than 750,000 Palestinians became refugees when they were expelled from their homes and when more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed. Gaza, home to more than two million Palestinians, and the most densely populated place on earth, has long been recognized as the world’s largest outdoor prison. Surrounded on three sides by Israel and the other side by Egypt, Gazan’s have been held captive since 2006, with no way to leave. And now, yet again, to be massacred, while the world watches without intervening, is beyond my imagination. In the last six weeks, of the tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters, more than 100 unarmed civilians were slaughtered, and more than 13,000 were wounded, while protesting for their basic human rights. Only one Israeli soldier was slightly wounded. 
Unarmed Palestinians were shot at with live ammunition like fish in a barrel. Once again, Israel uses disproportionate force. Once again, with self-righteousness, Israel claims self-defense. Once again, our government cheers and celebrates and blocks votes of condemnation in the UN Security Council. How can we sit idly by? Where is our sense of outrage? Where is our responsibility for what our tax dollars and policies make possible? When do we say this is not who we are? When do we say, not in our name...and mean it?
Nic Abramson

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Taste of Truth about Israel/Palestine

A Taste of Truth about Israel/Palestine
Gaza is experiencing yet another assault by the Israeli military against unarmed protesters. Israeli spin doctors are out in force, trying to characterize the latest massacre as a case of legitimate defense of Israel’s borders against violent terrorists, but more and more, people in this country have access to the truth.

Although I have been prevented from visiting Gaza by the illegal Israeli blockade, I have traveled five times to the Occupied West Bank and seen for myself the real source of violence, most recently last year, with a delegation of U.S. military veterans organized by Tarak Kauff of Veterans For Peace. We participated in nonviolent demonstrations with Palestinians, and were met with violence from the Israeli military and Jewish residents of illegal settlements in the West Bank. Israeli soldiers shot tear gas cannisters directly at us in Hebron, and we were attacked by armed settlers in the village of Nabi Saleh.

Woodstock residents can get a taste of our experiences on Saturday, April 14, when we will show the latest installment of Veterans For Palestine, a documentary series about our trip. Afterwards, Tarak and I will lead a discussion and show some dramatic still photography from the delegation. Please join us at 7 pm at Mountain View Studio, 20 Mountain View Ave. Woodstock, NY

Ellen Davidson, 28 Arnold Drive, Woodstock, NY 12498

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Open their hearts and minds

A recognition of commonality where there exists a clash of beliefs: this year's Passover Seder with my family.  We read the story of the liberation of the Jewish people from Pharaoh’s Egypt and we honor the freeing of all peoples from oppression.  The Zionists in our family see the present Palestinian Land Day commemoration as a violent demonstration led by Hamas to overtake Israel.  The Jewish Voice for Peace activists in our family see the Land Day commemoration as a peoples’ struggle to free themselves from oppression by Israel.  There are explosions of words.  We are truly eating the ‘bitter herbs.’  We participate together in the Seder, we read together the Haggadah as our parents and grandparents did before us,  We partake of the festive meal.  We go on like this, generation upon generation.  The evening ends in song. We are gathered together even though we are not in harmony.  

An upcoming film brings two distinct groups together: Afro-Americans and Palestinians.  ”Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine" will be shown to the public this Friday April 6, 7 pm at Holy Cross Santa Cruz Episcopal Church, Kingston. The film documents these two groups working together on a Palestinian play about racism, Both know oppression and have a dream (Al Helm) of something better. Both know non-violent resistance.  By recognizing their common struggle, they are renewed. At the film's end, members of the New Progressive Baptist Church Choir will lend their voices to the evening. 

My Jewish family have always supported the Afro-American struggle for freedom. My father led our Jewish community to Washington D.C. when Martin Luther King Jr, gave his inspirational speech:“I Have a Dream.” I believe that those in my family rooted in Zionism will move from ‘the narrow place’ as they open their hearts and minds to the Palestinian non-violent struggle for justice.

Jane Toby
Catskill NY
(518) 291 6808

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Human Rights Resolution in Dutchess County

Dutchess legislators contemplate criminal justice, human rights

Vasquez: "There is a lot of public support ..."

POUGHKEEPSIE – After the Dutchess County Legislature zipped through an agenda of routine business during their brief monthly session Monday night, the real action began, on possible future topics related to human rights.

Democrat Legislator Joel Tyner, who usually addresses several topics during the ‘other business’ segment at the end of the agenda, said legislators can look forward to a “Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018.” 

The intent is to follow the lead of recent directives from Governor Andrew Cuomo and he lead of other area counties, on not jailing and requiring bail for non-violent offenders, in most cases. 
Tyner is doing it as a local law because, he said, he can’t get anything through the committee process.

“Because you guys don’t allow Democratic resolutions to be on the agenda for committee meetings,” he said.

Tyner said this spills into the broader issue of human rights.

“We are going to make sure that our tax dollars are being spent on companies and non-profits that respect consumers, respect workers, respect the environment and respect human rights.”

During the final public comment period, Jasmin Vasquez of Poughkeepsie picked up that theme, citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt.
“There’s a lot of public support in Dutchess County by a lot of activists of all different grassroots organizations and across party lines to promote human rights,” Vasquez said.  “We feel that those liberties that we fought so hard for, generations fought so hard for are going to be threatened and are threatened right now.”
Vasquez said she is focusing on the Dutchess County Legislature and is looking for bipartisan support.