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.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The War Grinds On

The War Grinds On

Each morning begins the same way:
nonsensical verbal rants from Ubu Roi-
retorts in red ink from the “opposition” –
Neanderthal defenses from his paralytic crew
of brainwashed zombies, leavened by cynical talespinners.

Another morning in the America of lies…
so like the Italy, Germany, Spain of lies
we grew up hearing about, witnessing,
dealing with PTSD from, the full catastrophe.

Even were some bloody angel in human form
to rid us of this troublesome clown,
too late!  He’s already cloned himself
into a million dwarves, a scintilla of light
like ECT dousing their darkened brains.

So let us recall the Polish wisdom 
of 100 years ago:
“The taking of the earth from those
with darker skins or slightly flatter noses
than we is an ugly business
if one looks too closely at it…[but]
it is redeemed by an idea only…”
And Conrad’s imperial irony has morphed

into our guileless and stolid gaze:
Stand well back of these chaotic scenes
and you will notice the grand design:
They’ve brought the war to us, left
us no place to flee or to retreat, given
the gift that keeps on giving:
the struggle, which continues, endlessly.

Port Angeles, Washington USA 21 February 2018
Barry Fruchter

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Dutchess County Legislature should follow example

Act locally to put an end to human rights abuses across the globe

I am a strong advocate of the phrase, “think global act local”. However, history is full of examples where countries take collective action. In the 1990s when global leaders focused on eliminating apartheid in South Africa, humanity won. Yet the world failed to act in Rwanda. Our leaders were aware of the extreme cruelty occurring during this time. They decided that apologizing is more convenient than clear, decisive action.

This brings me to the present-day case of Ms. Ahed Tamimi, otherwise affectionately known as “Shirley Temper” by her neighbors. She was born in what former British Prime Minister David Cameron called “the world’s biggest open-air prison,” and yet she has a disarming smile. With nothing more than her bare hands and a strong sense of duty to her community, she keeps an eye on the foreign military personnel who often terrorize her young friends. Now 16, she has practiced nonviolence since her first demonstration. I met Ahed’s father, Bassem, at an event years ago. Hearing him speak about the conditions in which they are forced to live was heart-wrenching. Snipers shoot youth in the legs during marches; their elite training ensures that they will render this child permanently disabled.

And still, Palestinians organize. Peacefully, after 70 years, they drag their wheelchair- ridden families right back to the same spot along the West Bank barrier, a physical wall that spans 440 miles. A modern Berlin wall separates them from the land on which they grew generations old olive trees. It divides families.

Back to Shirley Temper. I have been following this curly haired freedom fighter for years. The brutality of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 incited a deep urge for me to act. I took to social media and kept a close watch on the activities in the Occupied Territories long after the world put this siege to bed. That’s when I found Ahed. In her, I witnessed the growth of an unrelenting humanitarian. Her public addresses to the world through underground media connects our shared freedom. She echoes the sentiments of the ever-relevant Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he declared “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny”.

My child hero is facing a decade in military captivity for hitting the soldier who shot her unarmed brother at point blank range… in the face.

It serves as a duty to those who fought for America’s freedoms that I take pen to paper. This narrative should be the shot heard ‘round the world. As a patriot, I see the spirit of the Founding Fathers in Palestine’s youth. As a Dutchess County resident, I recognize that we are facing increasing threats to our own liberties. As a human, I urge us to learn from history by making Ahed’s story end differently than that of our beloved Anne Frank. The truth is simple yet heartbreaking. We could have saved Anne. Her diary, although one of the greatest gifts to our collective consciousness, is a testament to our inaction.

There is no debate. Detaining minors in military detention facilities is wrong. Holding people captive in an outdoor prison is wrong. As much as Americans hate to face it during this time of sensationalism, some things are fundamentally unacceptable. Ms. Tamimi’s ability to fight for basic human rights in Palestine will determine the ability of your grandchildren to do the same here, in America. Our connected economies make human oppression a global issue.

Please join me in asking our Dutchess County Legislature to follow the example of the New Orleans City Council by passing a resolution pledging to avoid contracting with or investing in businesses that practice human rights abuses.  Ever since World War II we have said “Never Again”. Ask your legislature to mean it.

Dutchess County resident Jasmin Vazquez is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz, where she received a bachelor's of arts degree in political science with a concentration in international politics.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Miko Peled will be speaking

After watching Stephen Colbert's presentation on the State of the
Union Speech, (I couldn't bear to watch it directly from the 'horse's
mouth,' ) it becomes even more critical to do everything possible to
replace the power that puts forth 'ending the war on beautiful clean
coal' for America! That person's type of thinking goes across the

Friday night at 7 at the Inquiring Mind bookstore in
Saugerties, author-activist Miko Peled will be speaking in our
community.  Peled is touring the country from California to present
his new book, INJUSTICE.  How is our government overstepping (or
squashing)  justice?  What dangerous laws that harm innocent people
are enacted by our government?  As a final note, it is a challenge and
hard work to do something about it.  Much more fun to lay back and
laugh with Stephen Colbert.

Jane Toby
Catskill, NY

Monday, January 22, 2018

Boycott human rights abusers

Good afternoon all,

Dutchess County is an incredibly historic place to live. It is full of rich history that is founded on the principles we hold sacred within Constitution of the United States. Did you know that Fishkill's own John Bailey forged the sword sheathed at George Washington's hip in the famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware, now owned by the Smithsonian Institution? Years later, on July 26th 1788, delegates to a state convention approved the Constitution right here in the Dutchess County Courthouse in City of Poughkeepsie. 

That's right across the street.

Republican Gov. George Clinton, one of the Founding Fathers and among America's first veterans, did not want to ratify the Constitution without a bill of rights. He only supported it because Alexander Hamilton convinced him amendments would be made to protect states rights and the rights of the individual.

This brings me to the reason I am emailing you, my elected officials. I am a major force behind a resolution being proposed to the Board today. I truly believe that our county needs to protect its long and sacred history of protecting human rights. The resolution being brought forth has no teeth, but is designed to honor the sacrifice our veterans have made since the Revolutionary War. To honor who we are as a county and our place in not only American history, but also world history, as our very own Eleanor Roosevelt was the powerhouse humanitarian that brought the world The International Declaration of Human Rights. 

In no uncertain terms, Dutchess County MUST declare that it will not do business with corporations that trample on the very foundation of our principles as Americans, no matter the party. 

I leave you with a quote by others who have passed similar resolutions in their cities and counties:

“What we’re doing on the local level does have an impact on what happens on the national and international levels.”

Let's Make Dutchess County Great Again!
See you tonight

Jasmin Vazquez
8 Park Place
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Poisonous and sly commands

re: Rowan Dordick’s statements defending Israel, Jerusalem and Netanyahoo, I believe he is another revisionist of history, based on Biblical readings that are, at best, sickening. 
This current episode starts with the horror of Passover. When god told Moses to warn Pharaoh that all first-born Egyptians were gonna’ be done-for, unless the Hebrews were set free, god played a lousy trick. He hardened Pharoaoh’s heart, so that when Moses got in to see Pharaoh, the setup was complete, and all the first born were slaughtered needlessly, obviously to satisfy a maniacal god. Also, as the Hebrews left that country, they managed to take Egyptian Gold and treasure with them, which was used to make that famous, infamous ?, golden calf. 
But back to the “history”, as is found in a heavy book celebrating humanity, so-called. As the various tribes continued through the desert, god’s voice told them, flat out, that when they get to the land he was leading them to, they were to smash the temples of the previous inhabitants, forbears of the Palestinians ?, destroy their homes, chop down their olive trees and everything else. And the Israelis today are still following all these poisonous and sly commands, and using the Bible as if it were acknowleged History. 
By the by, did you believers and apologists know that recently, Troops under orders from that Netanyahoo, entered a Palestinian village, where, after years of trying to obtain electricity, a European country paid for a solar generating system, and those freedom loving troops, and their bosses, destroyed that rooftop generating system, and retreated to their cities of god.
I’ve been an Atheist all my life, since I was twelve. I’m a Jew by heritage, which I’m happy with. I helped to free the prisoners in Buchenwald, Dachau, and Flossenberg, when I was eighteen, and I’m appalled at what the descendants of those people who went to what became Israel have, and are doing. All their defenses of Israel and its action are underpinned by that book, and the words of a psychotic old thing with a long, white beard.

Jay Wenk,  Woodstock