Tag Archives: Palestinians

EMERGENCY APPEAL: Palestinian refugees from Syria in desperate need of emergency care

More than 7,500 Palestinian refugees have been displaced by ongoing fighting in Syria. Of the displaced, an estimated 5,500 are from the refugee camp in Latakia, which came under attack by Syrian forces on Aug.14. Dozens were killed, and UN officials have voiced grave concern about the deteriorating situation. These refugees, particularly women and children, are too frightened to return home, and their numbers are steadily growing, making it difficult for UNRWA to provide emergency services to those displaced from Latakia, as well as Homs, Yarmouk, and Aleppo.

With the cooperation of local authorities, UNRWA staff has set up a temporary emergency office outside of Latakia in order to continue providing critically needed services. UNRWA is currently providing cash grants for food, medicine, and temporary accommodation to more than 6,000 refugees who are sick, hungry, scared and in serious need of help.

Since protests began in mid-March, more than 2,200 people have been killed in Syria. But despite this ongoing violence, UNRWA remains committed to serving the half a million Palestinian refugees in Syria. If you would like to contribute to the Syria emergency appeal to provide grants for desperately needed food, medicine, and temporary accommodation, please click here.

American Friends of UNRWA (AFU) is an independent nonprofit organization that provides support for the humanitarian work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) through advocacy, fundraising and education.


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UPDATE: CUNY reconsiders and awards Kushner honorary degree

Many – including AMP – still calling for trustee’s resignation

From the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP):

(CHICAGO 05/11/2011) – The City University of New York Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld will not resign his position in wake of the controversy caused by racist comments he made about Palestinians last week. Wiesenfeld disparaged Palestinians, other Arabs of the Middle East and Muslims in his argument against awarding an honorary degree to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner — whom the trustee said held anti-Semitic views on Israel — during a Board of Trustees meeting on May 2. The board tabled the issue because of Wiesenfeld’s remarks, but reversed its decision and approved the award on Monday after a national outcry.

The American Muslims for Palestine logged an official complaint with the university and called for Wiesenfeld’s resignation on May 9. AMP’s letter was published in its entirety at 1 p.m. on the “Kushner Crisis” blog, on the CUNY Graduate Center Advocate website. At 6:19 p.m., the CUNY Faculty Union officially called for the trustee’s resignation as well, according to the blog.

Wiesenfeld has since been quoted in several sources saying he will not resign his post. Wiesenfeld was quoted in The Atlantic accusing Kushner of “blood-libel” for saying Israel engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The trustee also said his mother – a Holocaust survivor – would label Kushner a “Kapo,” a derogatory term used for Jews who worked for Nazis in the death camps.

Kushner has said that he will accept the award and also will speak at CUNY’s commencement, according to the Advocate. Kushner also said Wiesenfeld’s behavior was “inappropriate.”

“My feeling is that his [Wiesenfeld’s] behavior both during that meeting and in the many interviews he has given since represents a misuse of his position as a trustee of the City University of New York… I don’t believe his behavior is in any way appropriate and actually I think it had very little to do with any legitimate business of CUNY and had only to do with his own personal and political agenda. I don’t think that’s what a trustee should be about.”

Accord¬ing to the May 2 board tran¬scripts pub¬lished by the New York Times, Mr. Wiesen¬feld said the Middle East’s Arab states “…are misog¬y¬nist, anti-gay, anti-Christian and soci¬eties that are doing today to the Chris¬tians what they did to the 500,000 Jews who lived in the Arab world in 1948 at the time of the cre¬ation of the State of Israel, dis¬pos¬sess¬ing them, mur¬der¬ing them, deport¬ing them.”

Referring to Palestinians, Wiesenfeld told also a New York Times reporter, “Peo¬ple who wor¬ship death for their chil¬dren are not human …They have devel¬oped a cul¬ture which is unprece¬dented in human history.”

CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein told the New York Times on Tuesday that he does not agree with the “strenousness” of Wiesenfeld’s comments, but added the trustee has “done some very good work on the board.”

Nevertheless several sources, including the New York Times and the Atlantic, report that pressure for Wiesenfeld’s resignation is mounting.

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CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld should resign after he says Palestinians are not humans

The American Muslims for Palestine is calling for the immediate resignation of CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld for his racist and bigotted comments about Palestinian last week. In explaining his reasons for withholding an honorary degree from pre-eminent American playwright Tony Kushner, Mr. Wiesenfeld told a New York Times reporter that Palestinians are not human and that they have developed a culture of worshiping death, unprecedented in history. In a letter to CUNY Chairman Benno Schmidt, AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian expresses AMP’s deep concern that an educational institution would tolerate such comments.

Board of Trustees
The City University of New York
Benno Schmidt, Chairman

May 6, 2011

Dear Chairman Benno Schmidt:

I am writing to express our deep concern about the comments made recently by Trustee Jeffery Wiesenfeld concerning the honorary degree for playwright Tony Kushner.

As you know, Mr. Kushner was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in drama for his seminal work, “Angels in America,” which positively contributed to the national dialogue on AIDS, bringing a new level of understanding about the disease and those stricken with it.

Reports indicate that CUNY may reverse its decision and bestow the award anyway. That is good. However, my reason for writing goes beyond the honorary degree.

We find it deeply troubling that the prestigious Board of Trustees would include a member whose views on Palestinians are deeply bigoted and racist.

According to a May 5, 2011, New York Times article by Jim Dwyer, Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld said there is no “moral equivalency” between Palestinians and Israelis. He went on to say terribly racist, egregious things about Palestinians which, were they said about any other ethnic groups, never be tolerated. We are calling for Mr. Wiesesnfeld’s immediate resignation.

Referring to Palestinians, Mr. Wiesenfeld told the reporter, “People who worship death for their children are not human …They have developed a culture which is unprecedented in human history.”

Furthermore, in the transcripts from the Board of Trustees meeting, Mr. Wiesenfeld shows either a total lack of knowledge and understanding about the Middle East or a propensity to obfuscate facts on the ground to promote a biased and untrue viewpoint.

According to the transcripts published on May 6, 2011, by the New York Times, Mr. Wiesenfeld said, “… State of Israel, which is our sole democratic ally in the area sits in the neighborhood which is almost universally dominated by administrations which are misogynist, anti-gay, anti-Christian and societies that are doing today to the Christians what they did to the 500,000 Jews who lived in the Arab world in 1948 at the time of the creation of the State of Israel, dispossessing them, murdering them, deporting them.”

These characterizations are patently untrue as a review of any number of historians on the Middle East – including Israeli academics such as Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe – will show, and the board’s silence on the matter is also deeply concerning.

As the Board of Trustees is charged with setting policy and procedures for the City University, we are frankly concerned about Mr. Wiesenfeld’s comments in that they could potentially help create a hostile environment under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act on your campuses for the many Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students. Mr. Wiesenfeld’s comments also call into question his ability to act fairly on issues that may pertain to Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students, and such a perception sullies the reputation of the entire board and the university system itself. A university should be a place that welcomes diversity not one that makes decisions based upon the fallacious and bigoted opinion of one board member.


Dr. Hatem Bazian, Chairman
American Muslims for Palestine
Professor of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies
University of California, Berkeley

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Caterpillar delaying delivery of D9 bulldozers to Israeli military

The Rachel Corrie Foundation, created after an Israeli soldier murdered American activist Rachel Corrie in 2003 by running over her with a bulldozer supplied by the Caterpillar Corporation, has issued an emergency action alert in attempts to collect 10,000 signatures to deliver to President Barack Obama next week.

Israeli Channel 2 has reported that Caterpillar has delayed delivery of several D9 bulldozers – the type that are outfitted with machine guns and other military equipment – while Rachel;s parents lawsuit against the state of Israel for their daughter’s death continues.

Read the action alert below. To read my article published in Electronic Intifada about the Chicago protest at Cat’s annual meeting last summer, click here.

Rachel Corrie
Foundation for Peace & Justice

October 29, 2010


We have a small window of opportunity to cut off Israel’s supply of Caterpillar bulldozers before the Obama Administration allows the deliveries to resume.

Earlier this week, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that Caterpillar is withholding delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers-valued at $50 million-to the Israeli military.

The report speculated that this”sounds like an American military sanction.” For a Jerusalem Post report about this, click here.

This comes in the midst of a civil trial in Israel brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie, of theRachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a US Campaign member group. The Corries’ daughter Rachel was killed by the Israeli military with a weaponized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in 2003, as she nonviolently tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home.

News reports have stated that Caterpillar will not deliver bulldozers to the Israeli military during the Corrie trial (click here for updates on the trial).

At yesterday’s State Department briefing, Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley did not deny the U.S. government has delayed the delivery, going only so far as to say that he is “not aware of any contacts between the United States Government and Caterpillar, but perhaps it’s a question to ask Caterpillar.”

We already tried that. In written communications with the US Campaign, Caterpillar refused to comment on the reports, but did not deny them.

Whatever is happening behind the scenes, one thing is clear:

This represents a major, positive step in our ongoing campaign to hold Israel accountable for its misuse of Caterpillar bulldozers, which are provided at U.S. taxpayer expense as military aid (learn more by clicking here).

We have a small window of opportunity to act before pressure is brought to bear on the Obama Administration to allow the delivery of bulldozers to proceed.

Here’s what you can do to make sure this happens, and to advance our boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Caterpillar:

Sign our petition to the Obama Administration asking it to stop the delivery of Caterpillar D9 bulldozers to the Israeli military, and to investigate Israel’s violations of U.S. laws committed with Caterpillar equipment.  Together, the US Campaign, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.), and Jewish Voice for Peace, all intend to collect 10,000 petition signatures by next week to deliver to the Obama Administration. Sign now by clicking here.

If you belong to an organization, then please have it endorse our organizational letterto the Obama Administration. We will be accepting organizational endorsements of the letter until 6 pm (EST) Wednesday, November 3. Read and endorse the letter (organizations only) by clicking here.

Sign to organize a local BDS campaign against Caterpillar by clicking here. We’ll send you a free organizing packet.

Get TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar. TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services in the United States, invests heavily in Caterpillar (over $250 million as of their last financial report). Sign a petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.

Meanhwhile, the Rachel Corrie Foundation has submitted a paper to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review, which will review the human rights record of the United States on November 5. To read its submission, which documents how the United States has failed to uphold its human rights laws in Rachel’s case, please click here.

Rachel Corrie Foundation | 203 East Fourth Ave., Suite 307 | Olympia | WA | 98501


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Compelling video: Israel bars Palestinians from praying at Al Aqsa

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