Yaba Yaba

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Posts Tagged ‘Israel

Israel’s Ministry of Education adopts Abraham Fund’s ‘Language as Cultural Bridge’ Programme

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From http://groups.google.com/group/tafi-uk/browse_thread/thread/fd26291b8695cc0d:

From: Laurence Kaye <laurence.kaye@abrahamfund.org.uk>
Date: 16 September 2010 19:36
Subject: [tafi-uk] Major coup for TAFI – Israel’s Ministry of Justice adopts TAF’s ‘Language as Cultural Bridge’ Programme
To: tafi <tafi-uk@googlegroups.com>
Cc: Simon Arenson <simon.arenson@abrahamfund.org.uk>

You may have seen the BBC’s report – see link here – about the Israeli Ministry of Education’s recent decision to make Arabic-language classes compulsory in state schools. But what the story doesn’t tell you is that Government is doing this by adopting TAFI’s flagship ‘Language as Cultural Bridge’ Initiative as government policy. What this means ‘on the ground’ is that in Israel’s Northern District the programme will expanded from 96 schools to 250 in the current school year. What’s even better is that the Government is now proudly promoting this its own project.
TAFI’s goal is to bring about a shared society in Israel between its Arab and Jewish citizens by working with the Government to bring about the policy changes needed to turn this dream into reality. TAFI’s Initiatives are the means by which TAFI works to bring about these policy changes. The Government’s adoption of TAFI’s ‘Language as a Cultural Bridge’ programme is a perfect example of how this strategy can work.
Our new Executive Director Simon Arenson will be writing to you soon with an update about our plans but, in the meanwhile, I wanted to share this news with you. It shows that your continuing investment in UK-TAFI is an investment that will pay real dividends in bringing about the kind of Israeli society of which we can all be proud.
If you want any further information about our work, please make contact with Simon, whose email address is above.
Kind regards
Laurie Kaye
Chair, UK Friends of the Abraham Fund Initiatives

For more news from the UK Friends of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, you can subscribe to the mailing list here: http://groups.google.com/group/tafi-uk

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Written by yishaym

September 17, 2010 at 11:12 am

Political Prosecution of Yesh Gvul

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Yesh Gvul is “an Israeli peace group campaigning against the occupation by backing soldiers who refuse duties of a repressive or aggressive nature”. Yesh Gvul grew out of the first Lebanon war protest. They are one of the longest standing organisations supporting refuseniks, and they supported me before and during my term in prison.

The new Israeli government has decided to crack down on refusenik organisations. As part of this campaign, the leaders of Yesh Gvul are being investigated for “incitement” charges. Here’s the latest update from Peretz Kidron:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Peretz Kidron

UPDATE ON THE POLICE INVESTIGATION
As the investigation proceeds, it becomes increasingly evident that it is politically driven.  The interrogators insist on posing repetitive questions about YG’s alleged attempts to “incite to evasion of military service” and the supposed “monetary benefits” offered to that end.
The absurd nature of the charges is striking:
1. all active YG members without exception have themselves completed full military service (+annual reserve duty);
2. YG has never entertained any reservations as to military service as such;
3. No YG publication of any kind – print or electronic – has ever supported evasion of service;
4. and of course, in view of the above, YG has never had any motive or reason to offer financial incentives towards a purpose it has never supported.
As all these points become evident within five minutes of questioning, the fact that the police persist in chasing these trumped up charges indicates clearly that they are operating on orders from above, from the political echelons, with the intention of intimidating us and forcing us  to curtail our campaign.
We shall see how long  the charade can go on.
But in the meantime, we continue with our work as usual.
Best wishes,

Peretz

Written by yishaym

July 5, 2009 at 5:38 pm

“You will die with us or we will survive together”

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Fausto Biloslavo reports from Gaza for the Italian Panorama. There’s a cover story in English on his site.

A far from theoretical danger: since the end of December, 181 Palestinians have been summarily executed, kneecapped or tortured because they opposed Hamas.

The Andalous building in the Al-Karama neighborhood of Gaza City is reduced to a skeleton of concrete. The Israelis have hit hard, and this middle-age Palestinian couple has nothing left but to pick up the rubble of an apartment not yet paid for. They escort us on what remains of the indoor stairs, on the condition that Panorama uses only their family nicknames. “We knew that it was going to end up like this. Since the early days of the attack the muqawemeen (the guerrilla fighters of the Palestinian “resistance”, AN)
had positioned themselves in the twelfth and thirteenth floors, with the snipers. Every now and then they tried, to no avail, to shoot down one of those UAVs that the Israelis use”, says Abu Mohammed, shaking his head. In the building, not yet finished, lived 22 families: more than 120 civilians, including women
and children. The Israelis had begun calling the tenants’ cell phones ordering them to vacate the premises. Then, the militiamen got a more explicit message: a fighter dropped a bomb on the empty courtyard on the other side of road without causing victims, but opening a huge crater. “A delegation of householders beseeched the militiamen to leave” resumed the tenant. The answer was: “You will die with us or we will survive together”.
On January 13 the Israeli F16’s hit the building at 9:30 P.M. “At night we would go to sleep at our relatives’ homes: we were saved, but no longer had a home and we still have to repay 9 years of the loan” says Om Mohammed in despair, a veil on her head. The Islamic Bank does not grant exceptions.

Please, let’s all stop calling Hamas a resistance movement. The people of Gaza have two oppressors:  the Israeli goverment, and the Hamas.

Written by yishaym

February 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Zaytoun Za’atar: smells like home

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The goodenough college is celebrating Arab Cultural week. Last night there was, among other things, a sale of Zaytoun products, as a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people. I’m a big fan of fair trade, and my sentiments on the Palestinian issue are known. So I bought a jar of Za’atar. This morning I opened it and was stunned by a strong wave of sensetions. Just cracking open the lid filled the kitchen with scents of my childhood. As if in a time warp, I saw myself walking in the Judea hills, smelling the wild theme rubbing against my shows. Feeling the dry thisle scratching my knees. I remembered saturday walks in the old city, dad buying us “Beigale” with Za’atar rolled up in little newspaper cones. My Jerusalem in exile

The Jerusalem of my childhood may have never existed: the thisle grows on ruins,  my Beigale is really Ka’ak, and that says it all. But there’s no denying the smell of Za’atar. It has its right of self-determination. It catches me unawares and takes me where it will.

Anyway, I had a look at the label. It says “produced by Palestinian farmers from the Gallilie”. Oh well, I thought, I gusess I just pays a little bit VAT to finance Netanhayu’s goverment.

Written by yishaym

February 19, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Me on PressTV: “Palestine, the ethics of resistance”

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Last week I was invited to participate in Tariq Ramadan’s “Islam & Life” show on PressTV. The title of the show was “Palestine: the ethics of Resistance”, but in fact the main topic of discussion was the boycott campaign in the UK. I shared a panel with Faizal Dawjee, who was introduced as a former journalist from South Africa, and Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, secretary of BRICUP (pronounced like hicup).

There was no pretence of balance – PressTV identifies itself as the first Iranian international news network, Tariq Ramadan has his clear views on the subject, and the panel had two pro-boycotters on one side and myself on the other. Nevertheless, there was an honest, respectfull and open debate. I was given the oportunity to resopnd to every argument by my peers, and ample time to present my positions. Whether I did a good job of that is for you to judge.

Written by yishaym

February 16, 2009 at 3:37 am

Free Philip Rizk!

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I heard about Philip Rizk from 3arabawy‘s twitter feed. According to various sources, Rizk was arrested by the Egyptian secret police after organising a rally in support of Gazans. You can follow updates on

Hossam’s del.icio.us and Ben White‘s blog and join the facebook group. (Maybe he should have organised the rally in Tel-Aviv instead)

Written by yishaym

February 9, 2009 at 1:38 am

Karma Nabulsi, Gerald Kaufman MP, David Rosenberg and me (feb. 11th)

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The Jewish Socialist Group has invited me to take part in a conversation on “After the war on Gaza: What next for the Palestinians? And how can Jews here and in Israel help bring about a just peace?”

I wouldn’t consider myself eligible to make any suggestions regarding the first question. The fate and strategic choices of the Palestinians are a matter for the Palestinians to decide. I may have my private opinions, but I have no business making them public. As for the second bit, well, again, I’m in a bit of an uneasy situation. I don’t feel comfortable sitting here, in London, and telling my friends in Israel what they should do. On the other hand, I never quite felt part of the British Jewish community.

So what exactly am I doing there?

I’ll try to post some notes closer to the event, but here’s a spoiler. I’d like to start by challenging the title. First, I argue that we need to reject the Israeli-Palestinian dichotomy. Yes, we are two peoples. But we have one land, one past, and only one future. Any discussion that positions Israelis and Palestinians as two sides is part of the problem, not the solution. Second, I urge anyone sincerely concerned with the human tragedy of the land to suspend the call for justice. I know that sounds cruel. But it is a necessary sacrifice, for one man’s justice is another man’s death. I have life, happiness and dignity on the top of my list of priorities. Justice is a bit further down the line.

Still, if I can’t speak for the Palestinians, the Israelis or the British Jews, who am I speaking for? Myself, for what its worth. I can tell you what I believe I would be doing if I was there, and what I think I should be doing here. I am a true believer in democracy, empowerment and hope. By this I mean that I truly believe that change will only come from the people affected taking actions of hope. If I was there, I would be working with such people. From here, the most I can do is support them in any way I can. I hope you will do the same.


Wednesday 11th February, 7.30pm

Tudor Room, Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, London WC1B 5BB

Public meeting – all welcome

After the war on Gaza

What next for the Palestinians?

And how can Jews here and in Israel help

bring about a just peace?

Speakers:  Karma Nabulsi,  Gerald Kaufman MP,

Yishay Mor, David Rosenberg

Karma Nabulsi is an Oxford-based academic who formerly worked as a PLO diplomat at the UN and in Beirut, Tunis and Britain.

Gerald Kaufman has been a Labour MP since 1970 and has been an outspoken supporter of a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

Yishay Mor is an Israeli peace and social empowerment activist

David Rosenberg is on the editorial committee of Jewish Socialist magazine

Organised by the Jewish Socialists’ Group www.jewishsocialist.org.uk