Friday, August 22, 2008

Detroit Demonstration against Israel

Community News

"Demonstrators protest apartheid at State fairgrounds

ARAB AMERICAN NEWS (Dearborn, Michigan)
Friday, August 22, 2008

On the Web at:

DETROIT — Dozens of pro-Palestinian, anti-occupation activists demonstrated outside the Michigan State fairgrounds on Thursday.

They protested a celebration of the 60th year since the creation of the state of Israel, put on by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (JFMD). Invitees of the JFMD had access to all the rides and other features of the State Fair one day before it opens to the public.

Activist Michelle J. Kinnucan organized the protest, enraged at the idea of holding a celebration of what she calls the "violent ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestine in 1948," in a poor neighborhood in Detroit.

She said attendees seemed surprised by the demonstration, and hopes their presence will help to get people thinking about the plight of Palestinians.

"They weren't expecting it," she said. "You never know what's going to be effective. You have to do what you can. One of the things that we can do is stand out here and let them know that a celebration of the Naqba is not going to go unchallenged."

Protester Emilio Louchino, 16, an Ann Arbor high school student, said he became conscious of the conflict through reading about it online and hearing anecdotes about West Bank checkpoints from friends who serve in Jordan as members of the Peace Corps.

"I'm just here to speak my mind," he said. "It will maybe make people think about this."

He said the group got some hostile responses from passersby, but that they didn't let it discourage them from trying to raise consciousness of the issue.

"People don't realize that the biggest money in the entire world budget for foreign aid goes to Israel," said Thomas Olechowski, of Detroit. "And most of it goes to arms. It's being done in our name... The exploitation of the Palestinians is the same as the exploitation of the people in the community I live in in Detroit."

Demonstrator Elaine Rumman, 78, a Palestinian American from Ann Arbor who has family living in Bethlehem, said watching hundreds of people enter the State fairgrounds for the event made her intensely sad, but that her pain was eased by the presence of as many as 70 mostly non-Arab protesters outside the event.

"It makes me proud of them. These are the people who have conscience," she said. "Always, justice will rise up, whatever will happen."


Detroit Demonstration against "Israel" Celebration at Michigan State Fairgrounds

Detroit, August 21, 2008:

Scores of anti-Israel protesters made themselves very visible, along Woodward Avenue.

15,000 Zionist celebrators had to pass by this Palestine vigil.

(Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Bloomfield Hills school buses, and thousands of other vehicles, brought the celebrators into their armed camp at the Michigan State Fairgrounds, on Woodward, in Detroit, Michigan.

This protest flyer remained near the Detroit entrance to the fairgrounds, for weeks, because Zionists fear to set foot in Detroit without masses of heavily armed police to surround them.

For the comfort of the Zionists, Michigan State Police swarmed the area, including special mounted police on horses.


Friday, August 15, 2008

"Boycott the Companies that Support Israeli Apartheid"

Click on the flyer to enlarge it.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amnesty International says:

Growing number of Palestinians, in Gaza, have been pushed into "extreme poverty and suffer from malnutrition."

"Trapped – collective punishment in Gaza"

12 August 2008

A Palestinian boy dumps garbage in a residential street in Gaza City, 17 April 2008

A Palestinian boy dumps garbage in a residential street in Gaza City, 17 April 2008

© AP/PA Photos/Copyright Kevin Frayer

A Palestinian pharmacist serves a customer during a routine power outage in Gaza City, 26 October 2007

A Palestinian pharmacist serves a customer during a routine power outage in Gaza City, 26 October 2007

© AP/PA Photo/Hatem Moussa

12 August 2008

"The Israeli siege has turned Gaza into a big prison. We cannot leave, not even for medical care or to study abroad, and most of what we need is not available in Gaza. We are not living really; we are barely surviving and the outlook for the future is bleak." – Fathi, a Gaza resident

The blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip over a year ago has left the entire population of 1.5 million Palestinians trapped with dwindling resources and an economy in ruins. Some 80 per cent of the population now depend on the trickle of international aid that the Israeli army allows in. This humanitarian crisis is man-made and entirely avoidable.

Even patients in dire need of medical treatment not available in Gaza are often prevented from leaving and scores of them have died. Students who have scholarships in universities abroad are likewise trapped in Gaza, denied the opportunity to build a future.

The Israeli authorities argue that the blockade on Gaza is in response to Palestinian attacks, especially the indiscriminate rockets fired from Gaza at the nearby Israeli town of Sderot. These and other Palestinian attacks killed 25 Israelis in the first half of this year; in the same period Israeli forces killed 400 Palestinians.

However, the Israeli blockade does not target the Palestinian armed groups responsible for attacks – it collectively punishes the entire population of Gaza.

In April 2008, Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the UN Secretary General, called on Israel to restore fuel supplies to Gaza and allow the passage of humanitarian assistance and commercial supplies.

"The collective punishment of the population of Gaza, which has been instituted for months now, has failed," he said.

Though a ceasefire between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups has held in Gaza since 19 June 2008, the Israeli blockade remains in place.

Economic collapse and poverty

Israel has banned exports from Gaza altogether and has reduced entry of fuel and goods to a trickle – mostly humanitarian aid, foodstuff and medical supplies. Basic necessities are in short supply or not available at all in Gaza. The shortages have pushed up food prices at a time when people can least afford to pay more. A growing number of Gazans have been pushed into extreme poverty and suffer from malnutrition.

Some 80 per cent of the population now depends on international aid, compared to 10 per cent a decade ago. The restrictions imposed by Israel have resulted in higher operational costs for UN aid agencies and humanitarian organizations. Food assistance costs the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) US$20 per person per day compared to less than US$8 in 2004.

Gaza’s fragile economy, already battered by years of restrictions and destruction, has collapsed. Unable to import raw materials and to export produce and without fuel to operate machinery and electricity generators, some 90 per cent of industry has shut down.

Essential services jeopardized

The fuel shortage has affected every aspect of life in Gaza. Patients’ hospital attendance has dropped because of lack of transport and universities were forced to shut down before the end of the school year as students and teachers could not continue to travel to them. Fuel-powered pumps for wells and water distribution networks are often not working.

Medical facilities in Gaza lack the specialized staff and equipment to treat a range of conditions, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. In addition, hospitals are now under ever greater pressure, as they face shortages of equipment, spare parts and other necessary supplies as a result of the blockade.

With the ceasefire holding, the suffering in Gaza has fallen off the international news agenda. However, Amnesty International members continue to campaign, calling:

  • on the Israeli authorities to immediately lift the blockade, allow unhindered passage into Gaza of sufficient quantities of fuel, electricity and other necessities; and allow those who want to leave Gaza to do so, notably patients in need of medical treatment not available in Gaza and students enrolled in universities abroad, and also to allow them later to return.

  • on Palestinian armed groups not to resume rockets and other attacks on Israeli civilians.

Read More

Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Gaza blockade - collective punishment (Briefing, 4 July 2008)


Boycott of Israel now pushed by unions from Ireland, Britain, Canada, and South Africa:

The PSC 'has been publicly calling for banning settlements' products entering the UK.'

The Campaign against Settlements' Trade

By Ruth Tenne – London


August 11, 2008

On the Web at:

Through a great part of my life the only food I have eaten came from an Israeli source for the simple the reason that I was born in Israel and it was the only choice available. Little was I aware that a significant part of the produce I consumed was grown on fields confiscated by the State of Israel from Palestinian villages which were razed to the ground in the aftermath of the 1948 Israel's "war of independence". No one in my kibbutz ever gave much thought to this fact. Indeed, as children we were taught to believe that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish nation by law, and is part of our biblical and traditional heritage.

As an adult, who does not live in Israel any longer, I no more purchase, or consume, Israeli produce and goods. In fact, I am a member of a Jewish group, which is Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-Big) and is being an active section of the global BIG campaign. Our group is an outcome of the deep frustration felt by Jewish peace activists towards the inaction displayed by the Jewish community with regard to Israel's repressive occupation of Palestinian land. J-BIG's founding statement (2007) proclaims that Israel's policies "constitute a betrayal of the best trends in Jewish ethical tradition" and operate a form of racism, which is reminiscent of South African Apartheid - inflaming hatreds that render impossible the achievement of a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. Along with the wider BIG campaign, members of our group are taking part in direct actions aiming to prevent the marketing and selling of goods and produce originating from the illegal settlements in the West Bank. The global BIG campaign has been gaining momentum. In recent years trade unions from Britain, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and South Africa declared their public support for the boycott of Israeli goods.

Government's opposition to the ongoing expansionism of the illegal settlements in the West Bank was re-affirmed by David Miliband (25th July) who publically stated - "I was dismayed to learn of plans for a new settlement construction in the Jordan Valley. These are clearly outside Israel's Roadmap and Annapolis commitment ". Settlements are also illegal under international law. UN Security Council resolutions 446 and 465 deplore the building of settlements on Palestinian land and instruct member states not to assist the building of settlements. Likewise, the Geneva Convention states that the transfer of a civilian population into occupied territory is a war crime. Being ancillary to this crime is also regarded as a crime in English law and the UK government's policy is quite clear on that. The government's website states: "Settlements are illegal under international law" and settlement construction is viewed as an obstacle to peace. It follows from this statement, that the import of settlement produce into the UK could not, and should not, be considered as legal.

The UK forms a large part of the market for settlement produce, which is marketed by an Israeli 50% state-owned company - Carmel-Agrexco. The company clearly profits from Israel's illegal occupation and from the entrenched system of racial apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. In the Jordan Valley of the West Bank, Carmel-Agrexco sets its farms on confiscated Palestinian land offering Palestinian farmers less than a living wage. Carmel-Agrexco can deliver fruits and vegetables to Europe in 24 hours while the produce of Palestinian farmers cannot get through the Israeli military checkpoints and has to be left to rot in the field.

In its recent press release (30 June) the Palestinian General Delegation to the UK has stated "whilst encouraging, protecting and providing economic incentives for illegal settlers in the occupied territory to steal and farm Palestinian land, Israeli authorities have been applying unjust policies aiming at strangulating Palestinian economic activities particularly the agricultural sector. Among other policies, the confiscation of land, the building of the Wall, creeping annexation and expansion of settlements, construction of hundreds of bypass roads for Israeli settlers only, denying access to natural resources particularly water, movement restrictions and siege, all meant that Palestinian economy is near collapse and the Palestinian people are being imprisoned in an ever shrinking Bantustans.

We commend our many British friends who are standing firm in defending the laws of the UK that safeguard the right of British consumers for accurate information and in upholding international law."

Taking Action

The call of the Palestinian delegation, which was repeated by the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, ought to appeal to any member of society who cares about safeguarding British and international law. In allowing import from illegal settlements the British Government knowingly contravenes international and human rights laws, thus, colluding with Israel's colonial expansionism in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign has been publicly calling for banning settlements' products entering the UK .The British people have the choice of:

A. Acting as responsible consumers by joining the BIG campaign for banning Israel produce - especially that which is sourced from the West Bank settlements. This could include fruits and vegetable such as oranges, lemons, Gallia melons, grapefruits, avocados, peppers, strawberries and Medjoul dates which are grown in the Jordan valley. In many cases the source of such produce is not clearly labelled, or purposely mislabelled as West Bank - thus, leading consumer to believe that they support the Palestinian economy while, in fact, they encourage trade from the illegal settlements. Recent reports by ITN and The Observer's (6 July) revealed that illegal Israeli settlement produce from the Palestinian Occupied Territories has found its way to British supermarkets and continues to do so by being misleadingly labelled as produce of Israel. Moreover, it appears that settlement produce unlawfully benefits from preferential rates of customs duty granted to the State of Israel under its trade agreement with the EU (2000). This could cost British taxpayers millions of pounds in unpaid customs duties as well as constituting an unlawful breach of the Agreement.

According to the regulations of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA, 2003) the source of produce should be made clear to consumers, and retailer labelling has to state the exact local source of the sold product. In practice, consumers' request, for clear labelling could be channelled through the Manager of their local supermarket, or by complaining to the Head Office of the company. Conscientious consumers may also join store picketing and campaign events organised regularly by BIG, (details could be found on the website -

B. Concerned citizens may wish to write to their constituency MP complaining about the entering of produce from the illegal West Bank settlements into the UK market. Such a letter may ask the MP to raise this issue with the Foreign Minister - David Miliband - requesting that produce and goods from the illegal settlements should be banned altogether (a model letter could be found on the website of the BIG campaign-as above). Equally, conscientious citizens may wish to meet with their MP (individually, or in groups) and raise their concern face to face, or hand the MP a signed petition/letter stating their demand.

By acting as ethical consumers and conscientious citizens British people of all faiths have the choice of taking a stance against the unjustifiable (if not unlawful) Government's practices which stand in contradiction to international law and to publicly declared policies regarding the illegality of the West Bank settlements.

Personally, I travelled a long journey from being brought up on the unshakable belief that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people by a divine right, to the painful realization that Zionist expansionism, in form of brutal occupation and colonialist settlements, constitutes a brazen violation of international and human rights laws. My hope is that the members of civil society will take the same road, which I, along with thousands of peace campaigners, have been taking in order to achieve justice for the Palestinians.

- Ruth Tenne contributed this article to

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Detroit Protest, against Celebration of the Racist State of Israel

Click on flyer to enlarge it.


Friday, August 8, 2008

The Boycott-Israeli-Goods movement has gathered over 700 Rainbow shoppers' signatures, to boycott Israeli goods.

On the Web site of "Rainbow Boycott Israeli Goods", at:

Open Letter to Rainbow Workers:

RBIG is a group of workers and shoppers organized to
encourage Rainbow to boycott Israeli goods. After
Israel invaded Lebanon in July 2006, RBIG requested a
meeting with Rainbow about initiating such a policy.
We are renewing our request for a meeting for the
following reasons:

** The month of May is the 60th anniversary of the Nakba-
the zionist expulsion and ethnic cleansing of
Palestinians from their homeland.

** On April 24th the United Nations declared that Israel¹s
embargo of fuel has made it impossible to continue
its food aid program in Gaza, leaving 1-1/2 million
Palestinians without drinking water and food.

** RBIG now has over 700 Rainbow shoppers¹ signatures,
gathered at our weekly tabling, which petition the store
to boycott Israeli goods.

Enclosed is a letter, signed by workers and shoppers who are
people of color, expressing their strong objections to Israel¹s
racist policies and adding their voices to this request for a

Also enclosed are the five letters we sent Rainbow over the last
20 months stating our reasons for urging the store to consider
initiating such a boycott.


Nell Myhand (510)-485-6065
Jean Kuchinsky Pauline
Tom Brown


Photo: Rainbow Grocery Cooperative store, Folsom Street, San Francisco.

People of Color Support Rainbow Grocery to Boycott Israeli Goods

On the Web at:


Dear Rainbow Grocery

We are writing as shoppers at Rainbow Grocery who are people
of color. Some of us are in RBIG (Rainbow Boycott Israeli
Goods) which as you know has been asking for a meeting with
the collective since mid 2006. We have taken up the boycott of
Israeli goods because the issue of Zionism is first and foremost
a racial justice issue.

Some of us are fairly new to the Bay Area and some of us have
been Rainbow shoppers since the 1980’s. We shop at Rainbow
because we are fighting for our lives in a racist (and sexist)
system that relentlessly assaults our health and wellbeing.
Rainbow is a very important resource for both knowledge of and
access to healthy living food and other natural supports for
disease prevention and cure. We also believe in and support
the concept of collectives.

We also shop at Rainbow because we expect progressive
organizations like Rainbow be responsive to community and
to take a position and strong action for justice. As you know,
the Palestinians are being subjected by Israel to an apartheid
system where people with darker skins are humiliated and
brutalized every day and treated in a savagely racist way. This
is the 60th anniversary of the Nakba, when Israeli soldiers went
from village to village massacring Palestinians young and old.
Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing and seizure of lands from the
indigenous people are eerily reminiscent of the way Native
Americans were treated in this country.

In the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair, the role of the Bush
administration in deepening the suffering of Palestinian people,
who are people of color, is presented in great and gory detail.
“Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since
corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay
bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National
Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil
war.” This article exposes how at the behest of the US
government, Israel has unleashed an unimaginable level of
violence aimed at expelling those Palestinians who can/will go,
and killing/maiming as many people as they dare of those who

As individuals and organizations (including small businesses)
we must confront the question of what it means if we refuse to
stand with people of color around the world and to protest our
racist enemies’ closest friends abroad. As people of color we
daily, must confront the question, what does it mean for our
struggle against racism that Bush's closest ally is empowered
to do as they like with complete impunity by those of us who
consider ourselves to be anti-racist.

We are adding our voices to those calling immediately for a
meeting with Rainbow to discuss Rainbow’s boycotting Israeli


Nell Myhand
Synthia Green
Shirley Yee
Faris Barhoum
Pablo Jim
Samia Shoman
Jahahara Alkebulan Maat
Sharon Lungo
Chris Lymbertos
Lily Haskell
Adnan Hamwi
Sannah Rahim
Phil Hutchings
Jess Ghannam
Happy Hyder
Joyce Umamoto
Ayesha Gill
Chris Mazaleh
Nissor Ahmed
Ali Abong
Patricia Hemphill
Grace Shalhoub

Friday, August 1, 2008

Boycotting Apartheid Israel-- from Dearborn to Ann Arbor:


"Local activists urge boycott of Israel"

By Khalil AlHajal

Dearborn, Michigan

Friday, August 1, 2008

On the Internet at:

ANN ARBOR — A small group of tenacious Ann Arbor activists have been staging weekly local demonstrations against what they call apartheid in Israel, imploring institutions like the People's Food Co-op to boycott the Jewish state.

Two protestors even made appearances at recent Dearborn School Board meetings, in an effort to encourage Arab Americans to more actively and openly assert themselves on both domestic and international human rights issues.

Activist Blaine Coleman said the group was inspired to appear at the meetings when hundreds of Arab Americans organized and appeared at a May meeting in defense of a high school principal who was facing accusations — which were later withdrawn — of assaulting a student.

"It's been proven that hundreds of Dearborn students and parents will mobilize themselves to defend their rights," Coleman said.

Coleman and fellow activist Mozhgan Savabi appeared at that meeting and two others, carrying large signs that read "Boycott Israel." They intended to speak at the meetings, but were prevented from doing so because, officials said, they did not submit requests to comment at the proper time during the meetings.

Coleman and Savabi feel they were purposely prevented from speaking because of their message.

The group has protested in front of the People's Food Co-op in Ann Arbor on many weekends, because the grocery store sells some products made in Israel.

"I'm Jewish incidentally. I'm horrified at Israel," said protestor Marcia Federbush, 74, during one demonstration in front of the store.

Federbush said she became outraged at Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories after reading several books on the subject including Jimmy Carter's "Peace Not Apartheid."

"I was extremely upset about the way we were behaving in Iraq in 2003. And I started hearing talk about how Israel treated the Palestinians," she said about first becoming involved in the boycott movement.

Some passersby during the weekly protests said the group can sometimes seem overzealous and counterproductive.

"You can't create dialogue with people if the only way is to be adversarial," said local college instructor Sam Rosewig.

He said some signs the group has carried in the past have been overly inflammatory, associating the Star of David with a swastika.

"The only time I see people move toward accepting other people is when they are listened to first," he said.

"If holding a cardboard sign that says boycott Israel is too much," said Coleman in response. "Than what are you supposed to do? Palestinian rights demand that we yell for boycotting the racist state of Israel… You cannot tune your voice to please Palestine haters."

Operations Manager of the Co-op Derek Kiesgen said the issue of boycotting Israeli products was brought to members for a vote, and that it was voted down. He believes the group made their point and should move on.

"We only sell three Israeli products," he said.

Kiesgen said the group should protest at a federal building of some sort, "not a three-aisle grocery store."

"I think everyone's now more against them if they were for them in the beginning."

He said in the past they held signs that read "F___ Israel," but that they have since "toned it down."

He also said he's had to call police on several occasions because of complaints protesters were cornering and yelling at people.

"We would be in prison right now if we cornered anyone," Coleman said. "If you value Palestinian life at such a low level, than you will come up with these excuses."

He did not deny carrying ‘F___ Israel" signs, saying a U.S. Supreme Court decision protects his right to do so.

"If you hide your outrage," said Savabi, "people will think Palestine isn’t very important."

She said for as long as people have been trying to be subtle about protesting U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, things have gotten worse in the region.

"It used to be just Palestine and Lebanon. Now it's Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran… We're dignified people. How long before we say enough is enough?" she said.

"We're getting old and we're dying so if we don't get help from young people, we're in trouble," said Savabi, 49.

Coleman said one main goal of their efforts is to generate news coverage "that will embolden them to fight for a boycott of the racist state of Israel."


Protest the "Israelization" of Michigan Fairgrounds, August 21, 2008--

(Click on the poster, to enlarge it)

On August 21, 2008, Zionist organizations "will have exclusive use of the State Fairgrounds" to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary.

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is calling it "A Fair to Remember" (see announcement below). It's a fair to be ashamed of. Following the lead of Palestinian civil society organizations and in view of the multi-faceted oppression that is the reality of Israel, we regard participation in "celebrations" of the Nakba/Israel's establishment as collusion in the perpetuation of the dispossession and uprooting of refugees, the prolongation of occupation, and the deepening of Israeli apartheid.

All supporters of justice and peace can nonviolently protest the "Israelization," as the Jewish Federation puts it, of the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

When: Thursday, August 21, 2008
Time: 5 PM to 7 PM
Where: Michigan State Fair & Exposition Center, 1120 W. State Fair Ave. (at Woodward) in Detroit. Meet in the grassy area just north of the SmartBus State Fair Transit Center off Woodward Ave.

To co-sponsor or get more info, send an e-mail to


This is the Zionist announcement of their shameless celebration of the State of Israel:

(Click to enlarge it)

It can only be seen as a celebration of the destruction of Palestinian society.

Protest it, August 21, 2008.