Israeli Apartheid Week will take place on March 1-8 on college campuses in 27 cities internationally, in what has become a growing phenomenon since the annual event was started in 2005.
Although the schedule for this year's version has not yet been released, a message on its Web site makes clear what the focus will be: "This year, IAW occurs in the wake of Israel's barbaric assault against the people of Gaza. Lectures, films and actions will make the point that these latest massacres further confirm the true nature of Israeli Apartheid."
The event aims "to continue to build and strengthen the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at a global level," according to the site.
An archive of past Israeli Apartheid Weeks on apartheidweek.org confirms the event's growing popularity. In 2005, the event took place only in Toronto. The next year, it grew to include Montreal and Oxford. Five locations, including New York, were added in 2007, bringing it to the United States for the first time.
From 2007 to 2008, there was a huge jump as 19 locations were added for a total of 24 (certain others were discontinued). This year, with the addition of three new locations, Israeli Apartheid Week will be held in 27 cities.
In addition to existing programs in Canada, England and the US, the event will now reach South Africa, the West Bank, Mexico, Scotland and Norway. Locations include Abu Dis, Berkeley, Bir Zeit, Edinburgh, Edmonton, Johannesburg, Oxford, Kalkilya, San Francisco, Soweto, Tulkarm and Washington, DC.
In certain cities, the events will take place on more than one campus. In Toronto and Montreal, pro-Israel groups have confirmed that events for the week will be taking place on three campuses per city, as they have in the past.
The Web site, which is usually down for most of the year (except for a welcome message), was relaunched on Wednesday with new material for Israeli Apartheid Week 2009. Web surfers are invited to learn about the history of the week, the proposed academic boycott, and BDS calls.
Speakers have included Balad MK Jamal Zahalka in 2007 and former MK Azmi Bishara, also of Balad, who began Israeli Apartheid Week 2008 with a live broadcast from Soweto.
In his February 2007 Israeli Apartheid Week speech at the University of Toronto, Zahalka spoke of the "myth of Israeli democracy."
"Democracy is Israel's most important export," he said. "This product [democracy] is so important that it gives Israel moral legitimacy, political legitimacy, influence and acceptance."
Pro-Israel campus groups have been gearing up to respond to Israel Apartheid Week 2009.
The event's organizers "are capitalizing on the fact that people are horrified by the experience of the black people in South Africa and by the experiences of Jews in the Holocaust. The anti-Israel movement hopes to inspire opposition to the State of Israel by applying the labels of Apartheid and Holocaust to the treatment of Palestinians by Israel," Orna Hollander, head of the Canadian Center for Israel Activism, said this week.
An employee at the Israeli Embassy in Washington seemed put off by the mention of the week and said he had never heard of such a thing. The embassy in Ottawa declined to comment, but said it was well aware of the scheduled events.
Asked about the feelings of Jewish students at Oxford University, second-year student Jacob Turner explained Wednesday that "Jewish students on Oxford campus are mostly apolitical. The Oxford Israeli Cultural Society will keep making our points to the press, in order to ensure that there is a two-sided debate, but beyond that, there is nothing we can do."
Josh Xiong, president of the pro-Israel group at the University of Toronto, Zionists @ U of T (ZUT), said his most pressing concern for the week was that "it crushes any true form of discussion. In blaming Israel for all the failures of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli Apartheid Week alienates anybody else who holds opposing viewpoints and misleads many others who simply want to learn more about the issue."
In recognition of a newfound cooperation between Hillel and ZUT, Xiong said a possible response to the week would be "a collaboration between Hillel and ZUT on a 'Just Facts' event to educate students on campus in an impartial way and to debunk some of the one-sided rhetoric Israeli Apartheid Week produces."
Dan Hadad, director of advocacy for Hillel Montreal, has been present for past Israeli Apartheid Weeks and said there would be a focus again this year, on Canadian campuses, on the "Canadian apartheid of aboriginals."
In a YouTube video called "Israeli Apartheid Week 2008 Trailer," Salim Valley of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign provided reasoning for this link between Canadian aboriginals and Palestinians.
"At the world conference against racism, what did they do when they saw overwhelmingly Dalits [South Asian untouchables], indigenous people from South Africa, African peasants, and people from Asia marching together under the banner 'Zionism is racism'?" Valley asked. "When Palestinians took up the course of the Dalits, when some Palestinians stood with indigenous people in South America, when together in South Africa - the home once of Apartheid - they stood together, the ruling class, carriers of misery, racists throughout the world started trembling."
In the same video, Rafeeh Ziadah of Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, dismissed the option of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
"Nobody would have asked a black South African to dialogue with a white South African. Nobody would have asked a black from the southern United States to dialogue with members of the KKK. Now, by that same logic, we Palestinians have nothing to dialogue about with Zionists," she said.
The focus in past years' weeks has included "Apartheid and the Current Context in Palestine," "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israeli Apartheid: Lessons from South Africa," "Nakba and the Right of Return," and "Voices for Palestine: Resistance to Racism and Apartheid."
Israeli leftists have begun drawing up a "blacklist" of army officers involved in the recent operation in Gaza, in response to the military censor's decision to ban the publication of their names, pictures or other identifying details.
Until 10 days ago, the censor had permitted officers' names to be published. However, on orders from Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, it then changed its policy for all officers below the rank of brigade commander, due to fears that any officer publicly identified as being involved in the operation could be vulnerable to prosecution overseas in any of several European countries that claim universal jurisdiction.
By then, however, many names and pictures of lower-ranking officers had already been published, and these reports are still available on the Internet. Hence by searching the Web, leftist activists can easily compile a database of such officers.
So far, the local blacklist contains the names of nine battalion commanders from the Golani and Paratroops brigades and the armored corps. However, defense officials fear that overseas leftist organizations will use the same technique to compile far more comprehensive lists, including junior officers and pilots.
As far as is known, there has been no cooperation in this effort between local and international activists.
Seven Israeli human rights groups submitted a letter on Wednesday to the IDF's judge advocate-general, Maj.-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit, and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz in which they complained that during Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian prisoners were held in conditions so poor that their lives were endangered.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, B'Tselem, Yesh Din, and Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual all signed the complaint, in which they protested what they described as "cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions" in which Gazan prisoners were held in the first few days of their detentions.
The groups said they had testimony indicating that detainees - both minors and adults - were held in hastily-dug pits for hours and days "exposed to the extreme cold, handcuffed and blindfolded" and "without basic sanitary conditions."
Detainees complained that they had suffered from hunger and that "some were held near tanks and in clear combat areas, constituting a clear violation of the international humanitarian laws against holding prisoners and detainees in areas exposed to danger."
The letter also cited testimony of "serious and degrading violence" carried out against detainees by "soldiers and investigators" - adding that a separate complaint regarding allegations of physical violence will be submitted in the future.
The seven organizations called on Mazuz and Mandelblit to establish an independent investigation of the detainees' treatment, to improve the conditions of prisoners both now and in the future.
"Israel's disregard of ethical and legal obligations regarding detainees is especially severe in light of the fact that officials made statements that the IDF planned the operation in Gaza far in advance," said attorney Bana Shagri-Bedarna, the director of the Public Committee against Torture's legal division. "It seems that in the course of this long period of planning, the basic rights of detainees and captives were completely forgotten, the basic rights that must be assured regardless of the legal status or legal justification of the detentions."
Also on Wednesday, Gisha-The Legal Center for Freedom of Movement blasted the government for its "policy of deliberate obstruction" in "preventing repair of the electrical, water and sewage systems in Gaza."
"As a result of the restrictions on the supply of industrial diesel and the mass devastation caused by the military operation, a quarter of a million people have been entirely without electricity for more than a month, and more than 200,000 people are denied access to running water. Those who receive electricity suffer power outages of 16-18 hours per day, on average," Gisha said.
"We don't buy any food that requires refrigeration; it's like living in the Middle Ages," Ihab Abu Zaiter, a 32-year-old father of three, told Gisha representatives. "We light a fire inside the house to keep the children warm. This is a very cold month, and we can't sleep without the fire, but I'm afraid that the rest of the house will catch fire or that the children will burn themselves."
B'Tselem and all other Hamas fan clubs, here is the musical answer to you:
Conservative Italian priest compares Holocaust to other genocides like 'that committed in Gaza.'
Conservative Catholic priest Floriano Abrahamowicz said Thursday that "the only thing certain" about the gas chambers "was that they were used for disinfection."
Another priest who denied the Holocaust altogether was rehabilitated by the pope.
Abrahamowicz, of Treviso in northern Italy, was quoted by the Tribuna di Treviso on Thursday in a report that received worldwide coverage due to the pope's recent rehabilitation of a bishop who denied the Holocaust, sparking a battle between the Vatican and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
Abrahamowicz is a traditionalist like British-born Richard Williamson, whose excommunication was lifted by Pope Benedict on Saturday along with three other bishops after 20 years of exile.
The Treviso priest said he could not say for sure that people were murdered in the gas chambers because he had not investigated the claim.
He said he did not doubt six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, but compared the Nazi murder of the Jews to "other genocides" that did not receive similar publicity, including Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip and the allies' bombing of German cities during WWII.
"The Israelis cannot say that the genocide they suffered at the hands of the Nazis was graver than that occurring in Gaza just because they killed several thousand people while the Nazis killed six million," Abrahamowicz was quoted as saying.
He denied that he and other conservatives were anti-Semites, and stressed that his father was a Jew. However he described the Jewish people as slayers of God, and called on the Jews to "adopt our lord Jesus".
Gaza residents returning to their homes in Zeitun neighborhood find their houses covered with slogans such as 'Death to Arabs,' and 'One down, 999,999 to go.' IDF: Those responsible will be reprimanded.
A painful reminder for Operation Cast Lead remained evident in Gaza in the form of blatant, racist graffiti left on houses' walls by IDF soldiers.
Residents of the Zeitun neighborhood who returned to their homes once the fighting in the region was over discovered that their walls had been marked with slogans such as "Die you all," Make war not peace," "Death to Arabs," "Arabs must die," and "One down, 999,999 to go."
Some of the graffiti was written on the ruins of the homes of the al-Samuni family, who lost dozens of its members during the war.
An IDF spokesman said in response to the report: "This is not how IDF soldiers are educated. This goes against the IDF's ethical code. The matter is being investigated and those responsible for it will be severely reprimanded."
Does anyone else think it is odd that this horrific grafitti was scribbled in English (for the better understanding of European and UK news crews) and not in Hebrew?
SANA'A, Jan. 28 (Saba) – Four Jewish families have arrived in Sana'a coming from Amran province launching the relocation of Jews to the city, a spokesman for head of the Parliament Committee on Freedoms and Rights.
As they arrived they were handed over four houses at the Sa'awan Tourist City, the spokesman said.
Among the arriving Jewish families was the family of the Jew who was murdered in September in the district of Raidah in Amran by an ex-pilot, a Jewish source said.
However, the four Jewish families have not yet settled in their new houses in Sana'a as they are being equipped.
Meanwhile, Jews are trying to convince authorities that houses allocated for them in the Sa'awan Tourist City are not suitable as they will not be sufficient to accommodate all Jews families.
A Jewish household consists of at least 16 members.
Moreover, many Jewish families in Amran refuse to move to new houses in Sana'a claiming there are not a warship place and a school to teach children.
In this regard, the spokesman said that all issues relating to the relocation were discussed with Jewish representatives last week.
The Jewish large families will have more than a house and some houses would be allocated as worship places and schools, the spokesman said.
Jews in Amran have recently appealed to authorities to transfer them from Amran as they started to experience intimidations by locals.
In September Jew Masha Yaish, 28, was killed by an ex-pilot for religions reasons.
Responding to the complaints of Jews in the province, President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered authorities to transfer all Jews in Amran to Sana'a.
President Saleh ordered the allocation of a house in Sana'a for every Jewish family as well as YR 2 million.
The transfer was scheduled for early this month and has been delayed as all arrangements were not completed.
Israel - Hundreds of files — with social security numbers, bank account numbers and other sensitive U.S. government information — were found in a filing cabinet purchased from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem through a local auction.
"We couldn't believe what we found," said Paula, who purchased the cabinets and asked that her last name not be published. "We thought of calling the American consulate right away, and then we thought, you know they'll just hide it and say, 'Oh, we made a mistake.'"
The consulate was unaware of the missing files until FOX News contacted U.S. officials. Initially they said that no filing cabinets were sold in the auction, but later they acknowledged the sale. The State Department has now launched an investigation
The files contained social security numbers of U.S. Marines and State Department employees stationed in Israel, and documentation of how U.S. government money is allocated to fund sensitive programs in the region. Among the papers was also a report labeled "secret" that documented an encounter a U.S. Marine had with an Israeli woman at a bar in Jerusalem.
Tastes like chicken! And unicorn powder dumplings taste mysteriously like...matzah balls!
I'm sure that by now all of you have received the magic Unicorn that you all were promised by "The One." In case you were wondering what to do with your Unicorn, we present this recipe for a delicious soup:
Put all ingredients into 10-12 qt. stock pot. Parsley & dill can be wrapped in cheesecloth for easy removal. Bring to a boil (about 30 minutes). While boiling, scrap off “scum” with a large spoon. Turn to “low.” Simmer for 6-12 hours.
Strain soup by pouring into another pot, through a cheesecloth. Keep whatever vegetables that you want to serve with the soup and throw out the rest. Keep the unicorn meat (throw out the skin) for other recipes, if anyone wants to eat “boiled unicorn.” It makes very good knishes.
For those of you who received your Unicorn in powdered form, here is a recipe for "Unicorn Balls"
2/3 c. powdered Unicorn 2 Tbsp. olive oil 2 Tbsp. water 2 large eggs
Mix eggs, water and oil. Add Unicorn powder and make a paste. Form into balls and drop into boiling soup.
JEBALIYA, Gaza Strip – Surrounded by mountains of rubble that were once their homes, two dozen children sat on a rainbow-colored blanket and drew with crayons.
They quickly filled the pages passed around by trauma counselors with pictures of Israeli tanks, dead bodies and Palestinians firing assault rifles — scenes they saw when Israel's war on Hamas came into their neighborhood.
"We felt we will die soon," 11-year-old Sharif Abed Rabbo told the group, describing his family's escape. "And I am sad I lost my house."
Psychologists say Israel's three-week offensive inflicted more severe trauma than previous conflicts in Gaza because civilians in the crowded sliver of territory had no safe place to run. A wartime study among hundreds of Gaza children showed a rise in nightmares, bedwetting and other signs of trauma, said psychologist Fadel Abu Hein.
Counselors and aid workers fear that Gaza's children, who make up 56 percent of the 1.4 million people here, will grow up hating Israel and become easier prey for extremists.
"We are losing the next generation," said John Ging, the top U.N. aid official in Gaza. As a buffer against militancy, U.N. schools are launching human rights classes for their 200,000 students this week.
Children and teens were particularly vulnerable in Israel's military offensive, launched Dec. 27 to try to halt eight years of Hamas rocket fire on towns in southern Israel. The rocket attacks have frightened children there and frequently sent them running for cover.
In Gaza, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights counted 280 children among 1,285 dead and said one in four of the more than 4,000 wounded was a minor.
Facing the Israeli invasion, Hamas gunmen often operated from densely populated Gaza neighborhoods, drawing massive Israeli fire that killed and wounded large numbers of civilians, along with fighters. Tens of thousands fled their homes, seeking shelter in U.N. schools.
Among the refugees was Ansam Rahel, 10, who fled shelling of her home in the town of Beit Lahiya and sought cover, along with her family, in the town's U.N. school. On Jan. 17, when an Israeli shell struck the shelter, Ansam was hit by shrapnel that sliced across the top of her head. A thick welt of stitches runs diagonally across her partially shaved scalp, and she covers it with a ski cap.
The little girl, who carries herself with quiet grace and sadness, is back home, but her life has changed. Her father is in Egypt, where her 5-year-old sister Dima is undergoing treatment for a serious war injury. Ansam said she takes painkillers and doesn't sleep well.
On Saturday, she briefly returned to her school to say goodbye to friends. She is not well enough to attend and was told by school officials she might be taken to France for further medical treatment. "I didn't let them cry or feel pity for me," she said of her classmates.
Abu Hein, a psychologist who runs a community health center in Gaza City, said his teams interviewed 950 families, among them 2,180 children, in U.N. shelters across Gaza during and after the war.
A majority of parents told the team their children had become more clingy, and about one-third said their children insisted on sleeping in the same room with them.
Since a cease-fire took hold a week ago, Abu Hein's center and other aid groups have sent teams to the most devastated areas, seeking out children for emergency counseling.
On Sunday, three of his counselors drove to the Abed Rabbo neighborhood of the town of Jebaliya, a few hundred yards from the Israeli border. The neighborhood came under heavy fire during Israel's ground offensive, which began Jan. 3. House after house in a radius of hundreds of yards were destroyed, with nothing left except mountains of rubble.
The counselors spread a large blanket on a small patch of grass, and children soon came running. About two dozen, from toddlers to young teens, sat in a circle and played games, raising their hands or clapping, to break the ice. A counselor then asked the older kids to tell what happened to them during the war.
Asra Aref, 8, said her father raised a white flag when soldiers came closer and spoke Hebrew to them. "The soldiers told him he has just five minutes to evacuate the house," she said.
Counselor Farraj al-Hau tried to assure the children, especially the boys, that it's OK to be scared, that he was also frightened during the war.
Then he asked the children to draw. The youngest ones just managed a few squiggles, but almost all the drawings of the older ones included tanks, helicopters or bodies sprawled on the ground. One boy drew a Palestinian gunman firing an assault rifle at a tank. In another picture, two blue dots meant to be land mines were planted under tanks.
At one point, 5-year-old Saja Abed Rabbo, in pigtails and pajamas, started crying. Counselor Mustafa Haj-Ahmed led her away and sat with her on a nearby chunk of cement, gently asking her what happened. She barely spoke.
Haj-Ahmed walked with her and a relative to her wrecked home. Her grandfather, Mohammed, explained that the family, Saja among them, came under heavy fire in the house for three days before fleeing. He said Saja saw the bodies of two cousins, ages 13 and 14, who were killed in the fighting.
The counselors said they'd return to the neighborhood for more intensive counseling.
Gaza's 221 U.N. schools are also trying to help the children cope. On Saturday, the first day of school, teachers asked students to share their stories.
The weekly human rights classes will include lessons about nonviolent ways of solving conflicts. Ging said the new program had been planned for awhile, but now has greater urgency.
"We have to stand with the mothers and fathers who want their children to grow up to be doctors, lawyers and civilized in their behavior and their thinking," Ging said. "But for sure, the circumstances here, day by day, are working against all of us who have that agenda."
For 14-year-old Zakariya Baroud, the trauma is still too real. He lost three classmates in an Israeli mortar attack that killed 42 people, most of them civilians, near a U.N. school in the Jebaliya refugee camp. Israel said at the time that troops were firing at a Palestinian rocket squad in the area.
Zakariya said he saw bodies strewn across the main road, including that of his best friend, Bashar Deeb, with a deep gash in his throat.
His father, Baker, spent eight years in Israeli prisons for activities in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a violent group. He said he'd like Zakariya to attend university, but wouldn't talk him out of taking up arms.
"He is seeing suffering right now," he said of his son. "For 22 days, we were not able to sleep. He has witnessed the events by himself, so he, by himself, hates Israel."
The number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world during Israel's three-week military operation against Hamas in Gaza was up more than 300 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching a two-decade high, according to figures by an official Israeli forum against anti-Semitism released Sunday.
More than 250 anti-Semitic incidents were reported around the world during the 22-day attack against the Islamic regime in Gaza, which began on December 27, compared to 80 during the same period last year, according to the annual report of the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism.
The bulk of the anti-Semitic incidents took place in Western Europe and were led by local Muslim officials, including 100 in France and Britain each, the report found.
The violent assaults included attacks against both synagogues and Jewish communities, as well as vandalism against privately-owned Jewish property, the report said.
The annual report, which is released ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, also cited the "conspicuous" comparisons being made between Israel's actions against Hamas in Gaza and those of Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.
The number of anti-Semitic incidents during the Gaza assault as well as their intensity was "unprecedented" in the last two decades, said Jewish Agency official Amos Hermon at a press conference at the Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem where the report was released.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jimmy Carter published a new book on how to bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace.
"We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work," by the former president responsible for brokering the 1978 Israeli-Egyptian peace accords, was published this month by Simon and Schuster.
According to reviews, the book is less confrontational than his 2006 book, "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid," and instead outlines how the sides might bring about a two-state solution more or less along the lines of the June 4, 1967 borders. The earlier book earned opprobrium from Jewish groups for likening Israel's settlement practices to apartheid and for alleging that backers of Israel silenced criticism of the Jewish state in the United States.
In his new book, Carter advocates involving Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, although he is sharply critical of its tactics. He also recounts handing the group's leaders material on non-violent resistance in a meeting last year.
Carter had delayed publishing the book in part because he did not want it to get in the way of the recent presidential campaign. He backed fellow Democrat Barack Obama, who won.