tv Discussion on Israels Influence in the U.S. CSPAN March 18, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
a revenge operation of israel nothing to do with fighting terror or the security of israel and then i would love to introduce the congressmen and women to the victims of the recent months. those that were executed, part of them or most of them without any sufficient reason. i've introduced to them in american citizen, 16-years-old. maybe they would care more about an american. the army claims he came to a checkpoint weeks ago and had a
knife. 60-years-old with a background that makes the belief that he wanted to stab a soldier almost impossible. he came to the village and was born here in tampa, florida. he had plans and dreams to go back to study medicine. did he go really to stab a soldier, did he in danger the soldier, was there only one choice to shoot him dead and with three or four bullets, wasn't there any other choice? is there any definition but
execution and in this example we have on a daily basis in the recent months american congressmen should know that austin and in israel right now is the cheapest ever with everything we went through that wasn't so cheap was easy to kill palestinians can never wasn't so little discussed or hardly covered by the media for the biggest collaborator. never wasn't so natural that any palestinian must be held as a suspect in any suspect must be executed. american legislators should know this.
i would take them a few places just to show them and trust their consciousness. it's enough to go for a few hours to the city, say no more. just take them there. i never met an honest human being who had been there and didn't come back after a few hours in shock. it's one thing to hear about those things but another to hear it and experience it with your own eyes. anyone that argues still in the occupied territories the regime is not an apartheid regime. just stay there for a few hours and i want to meet one person who would tommy after visiting this is not apartheid. it looks like apartheid and
behaves like apartheid. but the regime there in the occupied territory cannot be defined but by apartheid and there i would ask the congress litigation are you accepting the system in the 21st century, do you understand that you are financing the system in the 21st century, do you know that your president compared once the palestinians to the black slavery, that the peace you are supporting it automatically and blindly. ave been to tel aviv.
one hour from gaza, one hour from have bron, listen to what people are talking about in cafés, look at the clubs, look at this vivid society, look at the beach as , or gaza. look and listen to what young people are talking about, ask them what they know about occupation. there is a survey showing number 11 in the world in the happiness
index, israelis are happier than you americans, happier than the germans, the french, 11th in the world, 86% of israelis claim life is wonderful. american legislators should know it because this happiness is partly financed by the united states. the first on the list to be supported with so much money, the poorest country, the most unprotected country, the weakest one? what is the answer to all those questions? watching the life of tel aviv it is hard to understand the total
loss of connection with israeli society, this total moral blindness, total interest in any kind of solution, why would tel aviv go for a solution, this bubble that lives a wonderful life, one hour from the place those two brothers were killed only five days ago. you see 1% of israelis who heard of the idea. can you imagine what would have happened if palestinian terrorists had killed two babies in the street, what we would have heard about palestinian cruelty and brutality and their behavior, but it was very
precise bombs and missiles, that is fine. i will take those congressman to some refugee camps, i would have taken them to gaza. remember what promised gaza a few years ago, remember how many obligations to reconstruct, to open up gaza and gaza is forgotten again and the only way for gaza to remind its existence by brokers, this is the message, the only way to remind its existence and the israeli right-wingers will tell me what do you want?
go to syria, it is so much worse and i will tell them killing in syria is not financed by the united states. it is not supported by the united states. the killers in syria do not have carte blanche to go wild and kill and conquer and depress and confiscate. the killers in syria are not the biggest out my of the united states. back to this question from the beginning is the foreign policy in the middle east by interest or values. it contradicts both, dear friends. it is not for me to judge america's policy. it is an enigma.
what interest does it serve exactly and what values do they share. the american congressman who would come to israel, for israeli politicians. we have our donald trumps and hillary clintons, unfortunately so. the level would be more of the same, most of them common language, cynicism would be quite equal in both sides, but still, americans should ask themselves why do we go on with the same policy for so many years? why don't you realize it doesn't lead anywhere? don't we see where it goes?
don't we see the enormous sums of money the united states is investing in this occupation project, the minimum would have been to use this for some constructive purpose, some kind of pressure on israel, some kind of effort to put an end to the occupation, to change the values, the interests, the policy, the behavior, the conception that the palestinians are not equal beings like anyone else, the conception that the palestinians were born to kill which is shared between the united states and israel?
i would expect congress to ask itself did this policy of supplying carrots and only carrots to israel prove this? what came out of it? next year we are celebrating 50 years of occupation. when you enjoy your self, time is passing so quickly. it is only the first 50 years of the occupation i must raise. any american who'd comes to israel should ask himself, where is it heading to? when the chances for the two state solution are either totally gone or really in the last moments and we miss the chance, i believe america and israel never meant to go for the
two state solution. i believe the two state solution was a trap, i fall into it as well. you can say don't put everything on us americans, take responsibility. america cannot not be taken responsible when everything israelis are doing today is a total approval of the united states and total financing of the united states. when you hear it you really don't believe what you hear. of the united states, the leader of thefree world, negotiating with israel, about the
deleterious distance, we wait until the next president, this president is not good enough, they had second thoughts because donald trump might be unexpected. maybe they will do the favor, maybe they are ready to discuss the obama regime, america is begging israel to accept a deal. america is offering $4 billion a year for twee 10 years, israel wants 5, israel is ready to compromise on 4.3 a year, but if
you look at mechanisms, if you look at the way it goes you come again and again to the same question, for god's steak who is the superpower between the two? who is in the pocket of who here? [applause] m >> it is not for me to answer. i would go to me asking you because i have so many questions. how can it be possible, how can it be possible to be such blind automatic support, carte blanche to israel, how can it be america, who claims to care
about israel, claimed existence of israel is important, claims israel is democracy in the middle east, how can it be administration after administration with very little difference always competing who are more prone israeli and at the same time corrupting israel. even from the point of view of an israeli patriarch, it is far from a friendly organization to israel. it is one of his relapse biggest enemies because -- [applause] >> when you are a drug addict and people -- i mentioned it last time so it is the second but only true sentence in the
whole speech. it is so clear i can't help but mentioning it again, a drug addict in your familyis your friend, supply his own money, he will be so grateful to you. but are you really caring about him? do you really love him? send him to rehabilitation center, he will be so mad at you. but isn't this real care? anyone here have the slightest doubt israel is occupation addicted? do you have any doubt this addiction is dangerous first of all 4 israel's future? the real victims are the palestinians and in many ways the entire middle east. at the end of the day the
occupational end one way or the other but the occupier, look what happens to the occupier, i would have taken this congressional mission and introduce them to some colleagues in the israeli parliament. look at the last legislation in the israeli parliament. does this meet american values? a book which was being banned because it was describing intermarriage between races, can you see yourself in the united states a book being banned because it describes intermarriage between two races? in is really temple, the common values, can you see an american president calling voters the day
of the election to run to the ballots because native american or hispanic community is running to the ballots? can you see it happening? it happened last in israel. can you see an american president after a terror attack by an afro-american, calling the whole afro-american community as responsible, speaking about their lawlessness of the afro-american community because of one terrorist like the israeli prime minister did a few weeks ago?
can you see it happening? we are talking about the only democracy in the middle east and the only democracy in the middle east has the right to do whatever it wants and to end up virtual tour of the congressman who would never come to listen to me and never let me take them around, i would end this tour like israeli propaganda machinery would start it, in the holocaust memorial museum. i would have taken because it all started, israel would never have been and establishment of the holocaust and it should be remembered but then i would ask my guests who will never come what is the lesson of it? never again which means never
again in any price to the jewish people, which gives the jewish people the right to do whatever they want, anything? or should the lesson be never again to any other people? [applause] >> i believe the american legislators or a big part of them know the truth. they know what is being done with their money. they know the idea which is based on american money, training and equipment above all, they know very well the use of this army and that the main role of this army, the most
moral in the world is being an occupying force chasing the children, detaining children, shooting children on a daily basis. they know very well with all the sophisticated bombs and submarines and jets israel has may be the most sophisticated army in the world. at the end of the day it is about maintaining this occupation which no country in the world recognizes, even his relapse best friend after the united states. they know very well what is being done and they support it and they compete, one against the other, who will be more pro-israeli than the other, and
american society accepts it. wait for the coming days as wait to hear, i saw it already, the biggest threat of israel. wait for hillary clinton's answer that she is the best friend of israel. i can tell you, dear friends, none of them is israel's friend, none of them cares about israel. [applause] >> if this policy will continue, automatic blind support which enable israel to go wide like never before, i remember years in which every terrorist in the settlement was immediately -- what do the americans say? rather than the opposite way.
so the red light is already here and shining solo, the relationship between the united states in israel. there will be an american president who would like sincerely to put an end to it, would really like to put an end to this set of crimes, this criminal occupation, the occupation within months, israel will never be able to say no to a decisive american president. i would conclude my lecture by saying please vote for him, but who is he? thank you very much. [applause]
>> thanks again for a fabulous speech. as i look at these questions, these are questions you should be asking us and we shouldn't be asking you. i give it a stab. for the first question, the high number of extreme right-wing israelis and the notion that a lot of congressman, especially democratic ones anytime they see a gun toting american are quick to push for greater gun reform, but they are pretty lenient in supporting gun toting american settlers thousands of miles away
in israel. the question is what do you make of that kind of hypocrisy? >> the existence of right-wing israelis, the right-wing and the us is often slandered. >> a personal sentence. when i was in the podium came a very dear friend of mine, maybe the biggest musician who lives today, the great great friend of justice in the middle east, i am so grateful to be here. [applause] >> now i understand why i was not concentrating on the
question. this is for me, has a very deep meaning. i do believe israelis are not the right-wingers or extremists. the problem is the mainstream, the mainstream who can choose to close their eyes, who want to feel so good about himself, the mainstream who wants to show the beautiful face of israel, how gay friendly we are, we invented cherry tomatoes, contributed so much to the high tech industry, look how beautiful we are. we have the most moral army in the world. don't you dare think you can be the second moral army in the world, it is the most moral army in the world. we are forced by those arabs to do those things.
we are the victims, we live in fear, we live in the trauma of 48, the missiles, the knife holders and terror. we are the happiest people in the world, number 11. after all those things, number 11 in the world in happiness standards. very strange. in any case, the mainstream decides to close its eyes to ignore what is happening in its backyard. this is the problem. the right-wingers can do whatever they want. they find common language and you have your right-wingers and we have our right-wingers. i don't know which one is worse than whom. by the end of the day, you can
take it to your elections, by the end of the day i will always prefer an honest right-winger on someone who wears a mask and claims he is so liberal and so wonderful and at the end of the day he does the same. in the case of israel, when you look at what labor did and what right-wingers do, so much responsibility for the occupation project. shimon peres did much more for the settlement project, putting any possible obstacle to reach any justice in the middle east, than many right-wingers. [applause] >> a couple questions about the west bank. one person wants to know why you
don't extend that to israel given the violence in jerusalem and other places, the second, after all these years of apartheid, where is the hope? >> i didn't say there is hope. did i say that? .. last time i was hopeful, but in many cases or what seemed to be lost cases, like apartheid in south africa, communist regime in soviet russia, the wall in east berlin, all happened within months and nobody had foreseen it. i'm sure if i would have come here in the late 80s and tell you all this is going to fall
within months you would never invite me again, and it happened. so first of all, there is room because many times the unexpected does happen and many times it happens when you don't expect it to happen. like those huge trees, we are now in the cherry blossom season, but still you see from time to time a tree on the ground, looks so healthy, so strong. what happened? and then you look inside and it you see it was totally rotten. and what is more rotten than the israeli occupation. [applause] but answering the first part of the question about apartheid. i think we should be very precise and not exaggerate because things are bad enough also without any exaggeration. contains regimes. there is a kind of democracy for
its jewish citizens. there are cracks in this democratic but still it is a democracy. i may be the best proof. until then i don't -- totally unlimited. there is the second regime which is aimed at the israeli-palestinian citizens, which live in a democracy but are discriminated on any possible basis. but still gain formal civil rights, and then comes the regime in the occupied territories which can be defined but as an apartheid regime, when two people share one piece of land, one has all the rights in the world, the other no rights whatsoever, this is apartheid and israel is not an apartheid state. israel has three regimes. but it goes toward becoming an apartheid state because it will
not stay there and doesn't state in the occupied territories but right now i would define israel according to its three regimes and not one regime. >> we're running out of time but i'm going to squeeze in one last -- >> i'm ready to spare five minutes of my book-signing. >> there we go. there's a question here about do you think that congress people genuinely are ignorant on what is happening there or willfully ignorant? >> that's a question for you. i much more concerned how israeli congressmen are ignorant, how israeli legislators know nothing, how israeli young people know nothing, but my guess is that -- my guess -- i didn't check it, but my guess is that most of the american legislators know nothing and what they know is usually a product of a system, full with lies and prejudice and
stereotypes. we know how muslims in general are treated today in the world and how they are perceived in the world, and palestinians, i'm not sure there are many americans -- i know by far there are very few israelis who perceive the palestinians as equal human beings. very, very few. even those left if you scratch under the skin you will always find the belief that they're not exactly human beings like us. i think that i once wrote -- palestinians like animals and i got so many complaints and threat letters from animal rights organizations that i have to be very careful that i'm in great favor obviously of human rights, but i think that most of these israelis do not perceive the palestinians as equal human beings, and maybe this is the core of the issue, and i believe
that this is true also in this country. you know it better than me. and above all, so many lies spread, you know when you read the media, the israeli media and many times part of the american media, you read and it you can't believe about how many lies can be spread so easily, and how can you fight when you confront such a huge machinery, when basic facts are not only not known but are totally twisted, and then you can't blame by the way public opinion because if they get this information, maybe they are right in their conclusions. maybe with those animals you can never get to peace. maybe the palestinians deserve its. maybe palestinians' fault. if we are in a situation which when i write about this two brother and sister who were killed last saturday in gaza,
two babies, and if i read them the talk books in israel, at least, for the basic journalistic mission just to tell the readers whats happened there, and you get so much hate, only because you chose to portray two palestinian innocent poor children as human beings. this is a crime in our country, and i believe that in this way, america and israel are really sharing the same values. >> just one final question here, combining two questions. do you believe that jewish nationalism can continue to safeguard the jewish people peacefully while accepting human rights and dignity for palestinians, and also, just a question on the role of palestinians within israel and how they're views are with this. >> in other words you give me
another two hours because those of two new lectures. no problem. my flight is leaving only tomorrow evening. right? it's really two very, very basic and complicated questions. usually i say when people say it's so complicate i say, listen, the situation is much more simple than you think. it is black and white. and those who are portrayed -- >> for those of you who are still print orient our next issue will have the complete transcripts of today's conference and video's the panels and keynote speakers are available on youtube and at the conference web site, www.israel'sinfluence.org. no -- i'd like to open by
introducing a palestinian american organizer based near washington, dc. tarikad waited with a bs in finance from george mason university where he was founding member of gmu's students against israeli apartheid. he is currently the public affairs coordinator at georgetown university's center for contemporary arab studies. under the umbrella of the inconstitute hi is leading an initiative to fine historical and contemporary documents related to the palestinian solidarity movement in the united states though wolk will cull main it in in databases ailed at studying the u.s. based movement and offering researchers and advocates a critical resource. he intends to pursue graduate school with hopes of developing and conducting research on resistance economies. please join me in welcoming tarik radi. [applause]
>> i'd like to thank the washington report and the institute for research for hosting today's event. thank you to the grant for the invitation and all that you all have been doing for the staff. that made today possible, and i would special lie like to thank the workers of the national press club that have been working so tirelessly to make this venue such a nice venue we're sitting in today. [applause] >> so as you walk through the main atrium of george mason university --
two parallel roads of banners splitting the cafeteria in two, but the banners you'll see are things you'll kind of expect to see at a university, slowing ganz of patriot pride, advocating for the different university services, things like that. but there's one pan banner that seems to catch the attention of passers-by. because of our banners' presence one might assume that athlete historically george mason university has embraced a politically radical climate but you only need to go back three years to see it's quite the contrary, actually. and what i'd like to talk about today is -- going back in three years and observing the shift in discourse in palestine, and also the emergence of student groups that are committed to radical
politics. gmu students against israeli apartheid first formed as an ad hoc committee during the israeli operation pillar of cloud. while they were antibds and thought protests to be too radical. this is a symptom of being within the beltway, something i call beltway syndrome and can be attributed to a number of other factors. george mason university is one of the fifth most militarized campuses in the u.s. so there's a lot of things that will contribute to this. to discuss the effects of beltway syndrome would take an entirely different talk. so, we set out to establish an organization that would address the issue of palestine without making appeals to authorities. come january of 2013, we have completed the requirements to become a registered student organization and all that was left was to wait for our application to be approved. from its inception, saia faced tremendous discrimination from
gmu's administration. every, a we took on campus was met with immediate response from the administration. now, before we ever granted our club status we were thenned with termination. now, there are threatened with termination. the administration's tactics to silence critique odd of zionism can be divided into phases. the first is in, denial of rouths with justification, and the second phase employed a series of policy reforms that were aimed -- that same to circumscribe the agency and research of our group on campus. these repressive tactics exercised during the second phase would reveal a set of double standards applied to palestinian sol garrett group -- solidarity groups we see on different campuses. for this reason, believe it's important to examine these policies and challenge these reforms because they aim to centralize power within the administration.
and by doing that, administrators are able to prohibit movement building of any kind, whether it's palestinian related or other groups. now, ultimately this would pave -- sorry -- so basically this would end up backfiring on the university, they started to restrict all policies aimed to restrict s aye ia. but it created a political consciousness among the student body. and before i end my talk i'll come back to this a little bit and discuss some of the larger challenges of social movements on campuses today. while i believe that the double standard for palestine exists and i think it's very real that threat, i don't want to exceptionallize our cause. the issue of palestine is representative of a change that threatens the status quo and encompasses values that could destroy the foundations upon which repressive institutions are built. so with that let me start. one of the first steps we took to change the political climate at gmu was initiating an educational program.
we believe that education was a necessary component to engaging in politicizing the student body and that without it they would not participate in our political action. now, despite not being a student organization, with access to space, we hosted weekly meetings in a small study room in the library. at students began to feel empowered through the readings, word spread, and eventually we could no longer cram into these small study rooms. now, because the university had froze our application were we are forced to meet outside. while this was an inconvenience it actually turned out to be a subversive act that would fuel the university's overall discomfort by our existence. our outdoor meetings were a public display of a growing movement to replame clays. even if we didn't realize it at the time. this is not exclusive to palestine. we felt this subversive act in ferguson, in baltimore in response to national guard's curfew, and watched this up fold
in the process of the arab uprice examination were inspired by the students also mizzou who made their voices heard in front of the administration, and there are countless examples of the changing tide that is occurring, not just on campuses but globally. through there is educational program the students became empowered to challenge their professors and peers who either supported zionism or claimed neutrality. because we were a few groups on campus in any way, we were accused of being dogmatic and divisive. now, institutions, whether they be academic, nonprofit, they try thighed behind the idea of objectivity. which actually entrenches a culture of mediocrity and supports oppression. and seeks to protect the status quo. as -- the colonized subject, subjectivity is always used against him. but we need not be colonized to have objectivity serve as a tool of repression towards us and i
say this so we always question ourselves when we attempt to be objective in these circumstances. keeping this in mind, allows us to be aware of where we stand in terms of power. through this analysis we are able to cultivate a culture on campus that non ejected zionist normalization but challenged the effects of residual objective, one o. them being victim blaming and other intersections we can address in the case of gmu the commitments to antinormallization served to isolate zionist groups on campus. during my thyme to the then item those group's emerge was in response to advertise palestinian organizing and because we refused to engage with them, much of the campus community rejected false parity of israelis and palestines being on equal sides and the myth of the zionism and the origin of the project. now, i attribute must of our
success to our dismantling of this false aparty, but education for the sake of education is not enough. if you're not putting people and galvanizing people into political action you're just pontificating and sitting in at the rooms and it's fun to talk but we want to see material change. we want to see way we can actually support or allies, where people can feel empowered and have agency. so, the first thing that we started was our campaign to keep subra on campuses cafeteria. as we collected hundreds of signatures, the university continued to crack don -- crack down on us but we were unwavering. one tactic the administration deployed was to restrict the campus -- the areas on campus considered free speech zones. the only area on campus that was considered a free speech zone was in the mid of campus, which if you can imagine trying to organize in the winter, how difficult that would be in d.c.
and again, this is talking about this idea of reclaiming space itch want us to think about that throughout this talk. who is here, who do you listen to, think of this idea of reclaiming space. and then eventually, despite the administration's disapproval, we weren't able to deshelf subra completely but were able to offer an alternative that severe live affected the sales on campus and it's something worth mentioning, especially was able -- a way for students to support us, like buy on tuesdays and stuff like that. certain students took noise of the administration's respeakssive policies aimed at -- and as a result students who may note have been initially interested in the question of palestine joined saiaa as they saw it a vest toll address larger issues in america today. at this point realizes needed to have more intersectional
understanding and analogies of the effects of zionism and it's role in global capitalism in oppression, and also we know, again there are way too many intersections to talk about so i'd like to focus on how we begin to better understand zionisms proximity to power and capital as we begin to call into question the neoliberallization of the university. so the next major action would be a walkout of graduation, this would actually be my graduation. now, the university announces that israeli businesswoman would receive an honorary doctorate of -- and would deliver our commencement speech. i know. i feel like rubio up here with the water. while gmu's president attributed the honoring to the example she set as morally responsible investor it's more likely it cass due to her $3 million endowment of a professorship named after her business model.
now, while she claims to be a social live responsible investor, committed to values based business and -- and investigation of the operations of her company reveals she invests in firms directly involved in the oil legal occupation and colonialization of palestine. her family's wealth was built for the direct dispossession and oppression of palestinians. as we outlined in an open letter to the gmu community the honoring and speech given made it clear that the university was not concerned with the experience of palestinian students and families who have been affected by this woman's -- family's presence. now, more important than worrying about this question of how do palestinians feet, because does anybody ever care about that? the administration has stated that the professorship would -- i'm sorry. let me slow down. more important in this, as we
brought up the idea of donor aid and influence on curriculum and this started to galvanize people on campus who didn't care about palestine. the administration stated that the perform of the endowed chair will be dedicated to research and education as ex-embe played by her vision. it's deeply troubling to think an apartheid profiteer can gain a direct line of communication to do these values to the student body. and without going into that story we were able to do the walkout on graduation and the university actually facilitated it and i walked out of the commencement speech with 30 friends and 100 or more so in the crowd, and then we walked back in and received our diplomas. so wasn't that we were punished. that wasn't the university being nice. they were more afraid of what we do if that didn't happen. so something to be said about having rad politics on campus and not making appeals to authorities and constantly trying to apiece the administration in negotiations. now, the question of donor aid
would ignite a discussion surrounding faculty governance, centralization of power and the role of the administration on campus. the question of palestine was no longer sewly a critique of zionism, rather a lens in which the campus community to under powered dynamics on campus. for this reason now understand, after witnessing student -- throughout the u.s. that the administration's backlash against palestine advocacy is not unique. rather, the typical response of power to those who seek to disrupted the status quo. i would like to shift our conversation and take the opportunity of such a large and engaged audience to offer suggestions but more importantly raise a few questions that hopefully we can all work through as we leave this conference. i'll continue to use gmu was a case study because that's where the kerr yeps is. in terms of organizing one of the way wes responded to oppression, we faced it, was through mirroring the tactics trade unions. we made sure to make every
single instance of repression or any violation against our rights the biggest deal. this mite seem like we're picking benign little issues but the sum of all issues is much greater than their individual -- then if you added them, and i think there's something to be said about that. now, in thinking through how students organize and our interwake the faculty after the walkout i began to understand the relationship that should exist and had flourishedded in the past between students and the faculty. for instance at gmu, much line other universities the faculty in regard to self-governance hases a much power as students and have no power to enact change within the university roz policies. so, i'd like to quickly rewind to one of our past victories when the american studies association passed a resolution to endorse the academy boycott of israel. this i right before the university facilitated our walkout and acknowledged that
her presence my be offensive. the administration's response to boycott resolution embodies the discomfort that institutions and power feel as they watch marginalizes communities reclaim spates and advocate for self-determination. after the resolution passed the gmu president made the following offensive statement: universities exist to build billions of understanding, not blow them up. his line, saying this, insinuates that being in solidarity with palestinians is now on par with terrorism. his use of the damaging language was a blatant response to the support saiaa receives from faculty who endorsed our walkout. i want -- a cabrera's most recent action is a deliberate attempt to stifle any form of faculty organizing on the gmu campus.
today we're fighting for the faceless palestinian academic but tomorrow we may be demanding better working conditions and pay for you and your colleagues. for this reason, president cabrera opposed the asa resolution because the former will lead to the latter and the latter this a inned mr.or's worst fear. itself would only take a year. two prom meant figures on our campus who actually had very close ties to saiaa -- we have no way of proving these forms of discrimination because the university is not transparent in any way so we're not able to prove it but it's clear. when you see somebody speaking at our first israeli apartheid week, when you seal the director supporting us and seeing that, because we are movement that is inclusive of everyone but they should support us and not isolate us, like the university has trade to do in the beginning, we can start to see that -- you can see the change it has on campus. we can observe all it took was
one small group of students. we started as eight people, cautioning constant noise, whatever we could we were just reclaiming as much space, and even the voice and in the noise that is part of reclaiming space. that is putting out your assets, right? and today's -- today at mason, very different campus. saiaa no longer hosts or meetings in the study rooms. the african and african-american studies program allows students to use the paul robison room for their weekly meetings, beautiful room, a beautiful sight to see students talking about these things in a room named of paul robe bestson. the student senate before saiaa's emergence they passed a resolution condemning workers and university staff for going on strike because it was an inconvenience to students. these show you how conservative this university was. that even the senate was passing these types of resolutions. just like semester they passed a resolution to abolish columbus
day and replace it with indigenous peoples day and that's a really big deal. [applause] >> and the these are just few of the very small instances of how we were able to change campus climate through palestine work and wasn't always about palestine. i think it's important to note that. now, thinking about this i'd like us to envision all of us as part of a larger effort to reclaim space from majorammized communities and those who have been pushed to fringe. if we come at these challenges 0 that we're phasing with this attitude it will help us fully understand the attempts of growing grassroots activisms, whether a bill repressing students on campus or the disgusting attack, all of these things are one in the same, they challenge power. it's important we fight tooth and nail get the backlash facing palestinian activism 9/11 saying
this because i'm palestinian but because what happens next will a address those who -- by challenging the notions of power we illuminate larger questions of knowledge containment, governance, we begin to ask who defines boundaries. i'm not supposed to go into this but issues of civility. and the social movement we should constantly be asking ourselves about issues of access and inclusivity. to be honest, part of me wonders why i'm here today. i feel really upset aim breaking up a panel of all female panel. the only one here today. at the same time i'm palestinian, right? a palestinian man. there is a dehumanization of palestinian man, and a -- categorizing women and collapsing them with children. these are things we need to and what time of voices are allowed to speak and start address these type of questions and the organizationer are doing great. i'm just saying we need to think about these things. always be constantly pushing the envelope. [applause]
>> thank you. and i'm almost done. i know i have 15 seconds. so if our work isn't grounded in antiimperialist, antiracist, fem is in, qur ethics, we must ask what this appoints of what we're doing and we're working hard to create a new world. let's break free from free paradigms we have been put in. we can do it outside of what we have been told the ways we're supposed to do we need to ask who are the people we're making appeals to? is it important to have everyone in the room? these are just questions i'm trying to build for the movement. in closing, i just implore to us always challenge who is in the room, who are we giving voices to, how do those voices address power, and i think 2005 this we'll undoubtedly dismantle the institutions built upon our oppression and that seek to protect the status quo. so thank you. [applause]
>> thank you very much, tareq, and please don't feel get. there will no women on this morning's panel so you're welcome here. our next panel is maria la hood, deputy legal director at the center for constitutional rights. with expertise in constitutional and international human rights. she works to defend the constitutional rights of palestinian human rights advocates in the united states. the cases she worked on include davis versus cox, defending the olympia food co-op board members for boycotting israeli goods. salita versus kennedy in which she represented the plaintiff white house offer of a tenured position at the university of illinois at urbana urbana shamsud-din page was withdrawn
because of tweets. maria works closely with palestine legal to support students and others whose speech is being suppressed for the palestine advocacy around the country ands won the right to heal initiative and iraq veterans seeking accountability for the lasting health effects of the iraq war. her past work at ccr includes case against united states officials such as araa versus ash carrot. al-awlaki versus obama and versus panetta, the last two concerning the targeting of an american citizen, against foreign government officials, and against corporations, which sold israel the bulldoze used to
kill rachel quarry. prior to joining the center for constitutional rights, maria advocated on behalf of affordable housing and civil rights in the san francisco bay area. a graduate of the university of michigan law school, she was named a finalist for the 2010 publicities trial lawyer of the year -- publicjustice trial lawyer of the year. >> thank you for put ago on this terrific conference today and thank you to you for being here if want to especially think tareq for his work. people ask where is the hope for change in this country? and i present to you tareq and all the students advocating for palestinian rights. that's where the hope for change is for me.
as the movement for palestine' rights in the u.s. has green, so too or any criticism of israel. steins were stymied investigates and disciplined. fast ballty burn u-and activists have been sued and arrested. i'll talk about focus on a couple of those of cases. the first one being that of professor stevens salida. he is an steamed palestinian american professor and prolific scholar including on zionism. professor was a tenured professor at virginia tech university and was offered a tenured position at the university of illinois urbana champaign in its native american studies program. the accepted the offer, and was set to start at the u of i in the summer of 2014. his wife cut her job. they put money down on a condo, they pulled their son out of --
hays classes were listed and his textbooks were ordered. that summer, the summer of 2014, professor, like many, watched with anger and horror as israel devastated gaza. he tweeted about it. just two weeks before he was set to start at u of i he another began e-mail from the chancellor saying not to show up. he says his appointment was not approved. revving to a provision in this contract that his appoint wouldn't be subject to approval by the board. professor and his family were left without jobs, income, health insurance, and a home. how did this happen? a self-described zionist had been monitoring his tweets. the right wing blog published some of them and groups like the simon wiesenthal center, the anti-definition league got involved. and wealthy donors to the
university threatened to withhold their donations. before deciding to fire the professor, the chancellor went out of her way to meet with those wealthy donors yet she didn't bother to consult the professor, the hiring commitee that vetted him or the department he was joining. chancellor and the trustees later admitted their decision was based on his speech, claiming they viewed his speeches uncivil and couple of the trustees called it anti-semitic. as we know, the subjective label of incivility has historically been used to demonize groups and suppress dissent and labeling criticism of israel as antisemitic is a common tactic used to attempt to silence it. board approval happens in september after enough faculty have started teaching and always been a line item vote where everybody is approved at opposite. not with the professor. led by the chair of the board, christopher kennedy, the trustees voted to reject his appointment.
the simon wiesenthal center awarded kennedy a spirit of courage award for leading the board in firing the professor. so, cco and our cocounsel in chicago sued the university. the trustees and top administrators, seeking the professor's re-enstatement and damages. they site late hit first amendment right by retaliating against him for his speech. they violated his due process rights by failing to give him notice and opportunity to be heard and they violated his employment contract. the university argued primarily that he didn't have a contract because of this clause. the court, however reeker fused to dismiss the case, find there was clearly contract. if there weren't, the judge said, the entire american academic hiring process would cease to exist. no one would quit their jobs and move to a new place on a meaningless offer. the court also found that professor's tweets implicate every central concern of the first amendment. it was was speech in a public
form forum and the university's actions were based on its content which could not be separated from the tone, which i what the university argued. it's not his views, it's the way he said them. and 140 character tweet. the chancellor resigned a few hours after the decision was issued. the next day -- [applause] -- the next day it came out that she and other university officials were using personal e-mails for university business that they didn't turn over in response to freedom of information act requests. and in fact an e-mail from the chancellor revealed they were using their approval. e-mail because of the threat of litigation and that she was even deleting her e-mails. the provost resigned a few weeks later. last last, the professor became the edward saeed chair at the university of beirut and was ready to move on and ultimately settle hissed case for $875,000 against the university. [applause] >> it was, i think, victory not
only for academic freedom sponsor the palestinian rights movement. one of the most inspiring aspects of himself case was the incredible grass riots -- grassroots supports for him. thousands signed petition, some boycotted the university and 16 vote node confidence in the administration if termination was condemnedded by academic organization ands the american association of university professors censored the university of illinois. the police officer present on tour to speak on more than 50 cam puts, finding a large platform for his critical analysis of zion rhythm and settler colonialammism than he previously had. the movement for parissan rights cannot be silenced. [applause] but efforts to do so unfortunately are only increasing. another case i want to talk about is the olympia food co-op. which is a local food co-op in olympic washington, home to rachel and her family, and evergreen state college where she went to school.
the co-op is a nonprofit organization that has a long history of doing social work and promoting political self-determination. it's accommodated various boycotts over the years nut 2010 the board voted by consensus to boycott israeli goods. more than a year later, five of the 22,000 members sued 16 volunteer board members, those who pathed the boycott and those sitting on the board when the suit was brought. they claimed they breached their fiduciary duties and acted beyond their authority. the case seeks to end the boycott others well as personal damages against the 16 individuals. six months before the lawsuit was filed, the israeli council general to the pacific northwest based in san francisco, traveled to olympic washington to meet with the co-chair of the stand with us northwest. an attorney representing the plaintiff and some olympia activists. stand with us us a nonprofit whose mission is to support israel around the world. it's one of many groups trying to suppress speech critical of the israeli government in the u.s.
and it maintains dossiers on people who, a advocate for palestinian rights, including some of us here. not long after the meeting nearly a year after the board passed the boycott, the five members sents a letter opposing the boycott and threatening to sue the 16 board members unless they rescinded the boycott immediately. and threatened they would be held personal explain that the process would become considerably more complicated, burdensome, and expensive. the boycott again was passed in 2010. this was six years ago. the board responded by asking them to specify how they had violateed the governing documents and by invite them to initiate a ballot process to put proposals to a membership vote as provided by the bylaws. they refutessed to do so and instead filed a lawsuit. right after the lawsuit was filed, stand with us northwest lested as an agenda item for the executive committee meeting natural the category of project status.
i posted online that stand with us filed the lawsuit again the olympia food co-op and it was byproduct of the partnership between stand with us and the israeli ministry of foreign affairs, spearheaded by israeli deputy foreign minister. when the minister was asked if the israeli minister of foreign affairs was involved he respond, quote, it's very important to make use of every means also our disposal. mainly legal means and using this organization to amplify our power. ccr and our cocounsel in seattle represent the board anybodies who were sued. and several years ago we filed what is called an antislap motion. slap is a strategic lawsuit against public participation and about half the states in the country have laws to deter the abuse of courts to chill free speech. the law permits early dismissal of the suit when it challenges public statements on an issue of public concern and provide couths and attorney fees and in washington state provided $10,000 damage award for each defendant.
the trial court dismissed the case as a slap, finding it was meritless. it held the board had the authority to pass the boycott and awarded $10,000 to each of the 16 defendants. plaintiffs appealed. the appeals court affirmed and then they petition it to the washington supreme court. the washington supreme court struck down the antislap statute last year as un institutional, finding it vive lated the rye together jury trial and rand made the case back to the trial court. so, this year, we are back in the trial court again. nearly five years after the suit was first brought, we moved to dismiss the case again, arguing that the boycott was permitted under the governing documents of the coon, which a trial court preparely and the appellate court decided was right, and the notion dismiss unfortunately was denied. so, the case goes on. meanwhile the board members only one of whom is actually stale
board member, have been subject to the burden of discovery and the intimidation and harassment of this meritless lawsuit continues. but the olympia food co-op's boycott of israel still goes on. these are not isolated cases. but just two of numerous incidents in which people who dare to speak out for palestinian rights are attacked. and in september, ccr and our partner, palestine legal issue issued this report called the palestine exception to free speech, movement under attack in the u.s. and documents widespread and growing efforts in the u.s. to punish and silence protected advocaciy on behalf of palestinian rights and speech critical of israel. including bds, of course. it deal tails the tactics as well as many case studies available on our web sites, ccr justice.org and palestine legal.org and i'll have easterly tuesday later on the table inside the other room. last year, palestine legal responded to two 240 incidentses of suppression, and including baseless legal complaints,
administrative disciplinary actions bookscratic barriers, anti-semitism, false accusation another terrorrity. 80% of the incidents targeted students and professors on 75 different campuses and this is just the tip of the iceberg of the suppression going on. at schools reasons the country, students are investigated for protests. when they do mock eviction flyering to raise awareness about home demolitions, charges inevitably follow they were targeting jewish dorm rooms. charges. the substantiated but lead to school and sometimes even criminal investigations. the irvine 11 were criminally convicted for disrupting a meeting for walk us out of a speech by the anyone israeli ambassador to the u.s. several schools have faced title 6 complaints by the zionist thet of america, claiming as slow cassie on campus for palestine yapans cretes a hostile environment, even though the -- can't support a title 6
violation. complaints are still being filed and the universities responsibility by conducting investigations and cracking down on speech. these attacks often follow pressure complaints from groups not only the doa, the bran brandeis center, stan with us, the wiesenthal center, the antidee definition clearing it's. benjamin netanyahu launched a fuel attack on bss and israel declares it's the biggest threat it faced. millions of dollars being spent to combat criticism of israel and bds in particular. the resolutions have failed opposition not on merits but because of claims they santa semitic. when the american studies association passed a resolution to endose the call for boycott of sailory academic institution takes received death threats. they we then told be side if they didn't end the. lawsuit. they admit they take direction on which cases to pursue and receives evidence from massad
and israel's national security council. and legislationures around the country propose bills to take away state funding from colleges that use any state aid to fund any academic organization that advocated a boycott of israel. mobilization prevented those bills from being passed but now there's a new slate of antiboycott legislation that has been introduced in 15 states. some states have passed nonbinding resolutions condemning bds but those have no legal effect. last year illinois passed a laugh establishing a black lift of foreign companies that boycott israel and compels them to divest from to the choices. florida passed a similar bill this year which is awaiting signature by the governor. it also prevents state contracts with any such companies over -- if the contract is over a million dollars. new york has similar legislation pending even worse than those. congress has introduced legislation to try to protect these kind of state laws from
federal preemption challenges but of course, they can't prevent first amendment challenge. antiboycott provisions made their way into the federal trade promotions authority law, making it's principle trade objective of the united states to discourage bds from israel and israel controlled territories. the obama administration subsequently reiterated the position it does not support settlementments for what that's worth. you find out more about legislative antiboycott legislation at right to boycott.org. antibds legislation isn't only in the u.s. israel itself has an antiboycott damages law, and france has even criminalized bds. someone was arrested last week for a bds -- wearing a bds t-shirt. the attacks are an extension of israel's oppression of palestinians living under occupation, under siege, under apartheid and under attack. when there's no defense the tactic is to stop the debate by
game dating and day tacking your oopinion -- and attacking your opponents so israel and its apologize are day acting to the standing up for palestinian rights. at universities open debate on issues of public concern tends to lead our nation's consciousness. campus activism helped turn the tide of the vietnam war and south african apartheid and will eventually do the same here the mounting resuppression against those who speak out against israel residents occupation and other violations of international law illustrates the power the movement for palestinian rights has to expose those abuses and eventually bring them to an end. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much maria. i've been asked to sit down and speak from this microphone so the new mic gets corrected.
i think it will be okay. it's up to you, though. but let me introduce you first. as we heard this morning, one manifestation ofisrael residents influence of the countries is failure to of government agencies to guard the interests of american citizens but teen enforce the law. our next speaker, susan, is one of the plaintiffs -- okay -- in a lawsuit against the u.s. treasury department for allowing tax deductible contributions to go to illegal israeli settlements. the attorney who filed that and another lawsuit against sheldon idleson, friends of the idf and others who actually make the contributions, is here with us today. and i'd like to ask martin mcmahon no recommendation to me as far as i know to stand up so people know who he is if they want to talk to him more about the details of the cases. [applause] hoe'll be available for the rest
of the afternoon if you want to speak to him. thank you. [inaudible conversations] [applause] >> i'd like to add to that, that susan is a wonderful novelist,pot and essayest. her debut novel became an instant internal national best sir expel translated into 27 languages. he most recent novel, the blue between sky and water, has likewise been translated into 26 languages thus far ask she'll be signing copies of her book in the exhibition hall following the panel. susan's first poetry collection, my voice sought the wind, was pushed in 2013 and she has contributed to several anthologies. he is says and political commentary have paid in print,
radio, and digital media internationally. in 2001 before she left a career in neuroscience research to become a full-time writer susan founds playground for palestine, a children's organization dedicated toed to holding the right to play for palestinian children. last july, at the allen b. bridge in jordan, israel denied her entry into palestine where she had planned to build two new playgrounds and visit possible new sites. somehow i suspect she will not be deterred. it's a great pleasure to introduce susan. [applause] >> so, thank you to the washington report and to all of you for being here. and especially to you, martin mcmahan. it's an honor to share the stage with my comrades and listening
to tare x and maria makes me feel like we are winning. as you heard, i'm here because i'm a plaintiff in martin's lawsuit. but i'm not a lawyer. i'm a writer. and i'm all about narrative. so i'm going to talk about why i joined this lawsuit. i think bringing it back to palestine no matter how much we know about it, is always still important. so, first to the question at hand, whether israel's influence is good or not for the united states. i think the answer to that largely depends on which united states we're talking about. there's the u.s. of the civil rights movement and dr. king, and then there's the u.s. of the klan and the grand wizard. there's the u.s. of revolution areas and warriors like malcolm, hairout tubman, crazy horse,
black hawk, geronimo, you mute ton, angela davis, and then there are the architects of the financial crisis who made off with billions of dollars and people lost homes and lost savings. there's the u.s. of intellectual giants like w. e. be due boys, edward saeed, champ city and then the lights of fox news. the united states, i'm briefly going to touch on belongs to he latter grouping. it is of some of the wealthiest, most privileged americans like the falic family, imassume it's not pronounce lining phallic. the schottenstein family, owns over american eagle outfitters, the book family, owners of jet support system's who funnel
billion's tax exempt money to finance the persistent incremental fast of palestine. other peoples -- our homes, history and heritage. the best of our culture, food, memories, cemeteries, churches, mosques, orchards, olive groves, all so those who have so much can also have an extra country so every jew wish are person in the world may be accorded an entitlement to dual citizenship, number one their own ancestral homeland and one in mine. this colonial enterprise -- is that coming up -- of population change can be visualized through maps showing the ex-appropriation and the dramatic transfer of land ownership. the native sons and daughters of palestine are now relegated to
what amounts to less than 11% of our historic homeland. arranged as an apartheid, waterwaterless archipelago of ghettos. but as grant showed us this morning, such images of the settler colonial reality has not permeated u.s. popular imagination. presumably because u.s. media gives disproportionates platform to zionist voices whos who retired mantras about terrorism to manufacture fear and its resultant alignment of loyalty. tired mantras about negotiations and peace overtures living side-by-side, lofty and emotional verbiage carefully orchestrate, precisely for american ears. in order to create the false narrative of parity. one that paints a highly militarized colonial enterprise as a victim of the presumably unarmed defenseless and bee
sieged native population they occupy. it is an extraordinary and breathtaking inversion of the historic and forensic record. so, while in mythical narrative of biblical proportions dominates u.s. air with a waves, up ins, film, and literature, i'd like to give you a glimpse of what they're actually doing. and these actions are predicated on an ideology explicitly arctic lated by zionists in the highest offices, particularly to each other, and often when they think no one is listening. it is a language of supremacy, of the wholesale negation of another people's humanity. it is replete with various per me mutations of the words like transfer. from the very beginning, ther to hertzle said spirit the pennyless that the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely.
a founding member of zionism did not mince words. he said zionism is a colonizings a adventure. raphael itan who we heard about earlier today said, when we have settled the land, all the arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drug cockroaches in a bottle. and the current israeli prime minister, in a moment when he thought no one was listening, said, israel should have exploded the repression of demonstrations in china when world attention focused on that country in order to carry out mass expulsions among the arabs of a the territory. and ranin, the know be laureate and father of break palestinian bones doctrine said israel will create in the course the next 1020 years conditions which would attract the voluntary
migrations of palestinians. iterred the words in the 18980s and israel has created those conditions. here is a glimpse of what he was talking about, and grant if you can play that, please. is a with all colonial -- . >> -- wait. what is that? that's my own voice. just played back to me. as with all colonial projects -- this always happens. it's murphy's law, isn't it? a foundational aim is to create a docile, subject gaited native population without right order recourse. a broken humanity that is good for cheap labor. they start terrorizing us at a young age anyway. given time israel typically holds un's of palestinian christian in its administrative detention where they are interrogated and tortured without charge, without trial, without their parents, without a lawyer, without an advocate.
they're often kidnapped on the ware too and from school, flying streets, throwing rocks as tanks as they have a right to do or pulled from their beds and dragged away in the middle of the night, shot and murdered or maimed wherever they stand. israel's systematically targets palestinian education. they bomb schools directly, close them down regularly. raid them, fire on students. often inside their classrooms. they impeeled the ability of students and teachers to physically reach classrooms. ...
>> israel is, perhaps, the only nation in the world that creates homelessness as a national policy. at the same time that native families are pushed out, jewish foreigners are imported from all over the world to take their place. since 1967 25,000 palestinian homes have been destroyed, internally displacing over 200,000 palestinians. 15,000 of those homes were demolished since the signing of of the oslo accords, and 53,000 new jewish homes have been built on lands confiscated from palestinians. they destroyed our precious, ancient olive trees that we have loved and nurtured for centuries and which have sustained and defined so much of our lives in return. nearly one million olive trees have been uprooted, cut, burned. a lone statistic, a holocaust in itself.
a life-giving earth transformed into a graveyard for broken and burned trees. they steal palestinian water, pump it out from aquifers beneath palestinian land, and then they allocate it on the basis of religious affiliation. water is sold to them at prices severalfold what jewish families in the area are charged. 550,000 illegal jewish settlers use five times more water than the 2.6 million palestinians in the same area. posing an access to water is further limited by israel's denial of water development. it is nearly impossible more us to get permission to dig new wells and, further, what wells and cisterns already exist are frequently damaged or destroyed by israel. the assault on gaza's drinking
water is so severe that 90% of the ground water in gaza now is unfit for human consumption. israel rules with color-colded id -- coded id cards, with surveillance of voice data. they have color-coded license plates and segregated roads and segregated buses. implementation of israeli appar tiled goes to the smallest details of life including even cell phone coverage. while israeli settlers in the '67 occupied territories enjoy 3g and 4g coverage, palestinians are limited to 2g, a limitation with massive economic implications designed to perpetuate an economic dependency on israel. and yet in the united states financial support of such policies are cataloged as charitable. so much of this system of ethnoreligious supremacy has been made possible by external
funding, both governmental and an estimated 30,000 nongovernment also-called charitable organizations. in the u.s. tax-exempt groups have poured billions of dollars into subsidizing population change. a 2002 study by dr. thomas -- [inaudible] estimated that $50-$60 billion had been transferred from the u.s. charities to israel over a 0-year period from 1980 to 2002. and similarly shocking numbers were revealed in a 2013 study by the ford that looked at 3600 u.s. tax-exempt groups funneling money to israel. another investigation reported in a four-year period between 2009 and 2013 that 50 u.s. tax exempt organizations alone funneled more than $220 million
to exclusively jewish settlements in palestine. the hebron fund is one example, providing approximately half of the community's funding. between 2009 and 2014, it transferred $5.7 million to the settler community of just a few hundred individuals who live in the midst of 220,000 palestinians. this small but heavily-armed and guarded settler outpost among nearly a quarter of a million palestinians has acted as a paramilitary force, terrorizing local inhabitants into leaving. this community, further, has well-documented connections to terrorism and human rights abuses. they have been accused of crimes including theft, harassment, murder, assault, destruction of
property. they've been involved in gunfire, attempts to run people over, poisoning of a water well, breaking into homes, spilling of hot liquid on the face of a palestinian and the killing of a young palestinian girl. another organization is this one, i'm not sure if i'm pronouncing that correctly. don't really care. [laughter] donations to this organization go primarily to legal aid and family support for accused, confessed or convicted jewish terrorists. among their beneficiaries was one who murdered seven palestinian laborers in 1990. he pulled them out, lined them up and shot them along a wall. they've provided support for members of a terrorist underground that attempted to detonate a bomb at a girls' school in east jerusalem in 2002.
other high-profile accused or convicted terrorists who have received funding from honenu include the settlers who kidnapped, beat, tortured and burned alive a 16-year-old in 2014. also the settlers who fire bombed the home of a family, killing an 18-month-old along with his, both of his parents and severely burning his older brother. another organization is the fund of israel. this is an umbrella charity that operates out of a textile company that's owned by the marcus brothers in the manhattan garment district. it has received money from the likes of ace greenberg, kirk douglas, michael milliken, the junk bond king. in 2014 alone they sent $25 million to israel. phillip weiss, who's with us
today, reported that cfi provides funding to a yashiva that's headed by two rabbis. these guys co-authored a book called "the king's torah," in which they make it clear that the commandment, thou shalt not kill, applies only to jews who kill jews. the bulk of this, of the text in this book is a rabbinical instruction manual explaining the ways of kosher murder for non-jews. non-jews, the book explains, are uncompassionate by nature and, therefore, attacking them may, quote: curb their evil inclinations. the book permits the killing of infants and children of nonp-jews since, quote: it is clear they will grow up to harm us. and these are things that are funded by u.s. tax-exempt dollars.
in the interest of time, i think i'm going to skip through some of these. these are only a few examples in a large body of evidence showing how financial transactions from tax-exempt organizations are used to fund ethno-religious supremacy and entitlement with its consequent displacement and destruction of native palestinian life. it does not include a whole other ecosystem of synagogue and church giving to israel. so i think the more appropriate question to ask today is whether specific actions, protocols, laws and political adventures bend our collective human experience toward justice, toward universal dignity and moral evolution. the forcible removal of an entire nation, a deeply-rooted people in order to replace them
with others from around the world, people who the new state deems a better form of human is itself a form of moral ree depression. regression. european zionists conquered palestine, a place that already had an ancient history that had produced an extensive society whose character formed organically over thousands of years of documented habitation, conquests, pilgrimages, births or religions, religious conversions, marriages, rapes, enslavement, settlements, wars, crusade, commerce, travel and natural migrations. of known tribes like the canaanites, the philistines, the hebrews, the romans. they all passed through our lands and became of us as we became of them. and we never left. we were always there. until the turn of the century
when european zionists arrived with guns and hatred and made of us a homeless, refugee people, an exiled and an occupied, terrorized people. we were and we remain the children of that patch of earth, of that history. we belong to that place where our buried, our parents, our grandparents and great grandparents and on down the line. we did not arrive there a few years ago from poland and belarus or russia or florida, france, england, germany or any other place from which the vast majorities of israelis hail. we do not have hundreds of years of european history, of documented life and achievement in europe, the americas and elsewhere. and the whole world knows it. but our humanity is nothing to them. it is as if we are vermin in the eyes of american zionists financing the destruction of palestine. the dismantling of our society
is happening today in 2006 -- 16. [laughter] missed a whole decade. that's why i joined martin mcmahon's initiative to sue the u.s. treasury so that they might investigate these organizations, so that my american compatriots might be moved to shut them down. i join this lawsuit because i see it as a way to confront power when we are mostly powerless, when we are so outgunned, outmoneyed, outmaneuvers, outconnected. i joined because i believe that con fronting -- confronting power with truth is the least one can do with the privilege we have. when so many who are a fraction of my age are risking their young lives to confront heavily-armed soldiers with rocks, when grown men and women with nothing but their bellies to protest waste away as hunger forces the body to eat itself. i join this lawsuit because i believe in the united states of
the civil war period, of its warriors and intellectuals. because the cause of palestine is squarely in the categories of this america. i will close with one last quote by a man, who despite his supremacist ideas, clearly understood something fundamental about palestinians. he said this about us: they look upon palestine with the same instinctive love and true favor the aztecs looked upon mexico or any sioux looked upon his prairie. palestine will remain for the palestinians not a borderland, but their birthplace; the center and basis of their own national existence. but unlike the destruction of the aztecs and the sioux, we are not yet outnumbered. our anguish is audible to global civil society, and the moment portending our existential peril is now.
so the question then for this audience is which united states do we want to presnail thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much, susan. and, again, she'll be signing her bookings after this panel in the exhibition hall. over the years countless lawsuits have been filed against iran for terrorist attacks it allegedly made possible. these lawsuits have not accused iran of directly killing americans, but rather of providing material support to hamas, hezbollah, you name it. just last month, in fact, 367 --
i counted -- family members and estates sued iran for providing material support for the killing or injuring of americans, including soldiers in iraq. as if iran, not the u.s., hadn't been the one to invade that country. israel, on the other hand, has directly killed and injured americans from the crew of the uss liberty in 1967, 37 americans killed, 171 wounded in international waters, to 23-year-old nonviolent activist rachel corey, killed 13 years ago this past wednesday. days before we invaded iraq. and 18-year-old passenger on a humanitarian vessel who was killed six years ago. the u.n. human rights council described his killing as a, quote, summary execution by israeli commandos who boarded the unarmed ship also in international waters.
our final speaker was a passenger on the challenger one, one of the other vessels in that 2010 gaza flotilla. she is one of four challenger passengers who are suing the state of israel and four of its ministries for torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. huwaida is a palestinian lawyer and civil rights advocate. she is also a citizen of israel. she received her bachelor's degree from the university of michigan and her jurisdoctor from the washington college of law where she focused on international human rights and humanitarian law. in 2001 she co-founded the ism for which rachel corey was volunteering when she was
crushed to death by an israeli bulldozer. she is co-editor of the book "peace under fire." an organization which has twice been nominated for the nobel peace prize. health care uwaida was one of the initiators and workest of a delegation of american lawyers to gaza in 2009 and co-authored the report on their findings, "onslaught: israel's attack on gaza and the rule of law." she is the former chairperson of the free gaza movement, and from august to december 2008, led five successful sea voyages to the gaza strip to confront and challenge israel's illegal blockade. she was one of the primary organizers of the gaza freedom flotilla which israeli enforcers lethally attacked in 2010. please join me in welcoming huwaida arraf. [applause]
>> thank you, janet. thanks to the washington report for inviting me, again, and thanks to all of you for being here. i must admit i am now a little intimidated to go after all these wonderful speakers, especially since i'm a little out of my element here. i usually speak kind of as a human rights activist about what's happening in palestine, what we're doing about it. sometimes i'm called to speak as a lawyer about some legal issues implicated, but today i'm not speaking as either one of those. because i am -- the topic here is pending litigation, it's rather sensitive, and i'm not the lawyer on the case but, rather, a plaintiff, and one of my lawyers told me don't speak about the legal issues. [laughter] what am i going to speak about then? [laughter] and last year when i spoke, see, i had my six-month-old daughter with me, and she captivated the audience, and nobody paid attention to what i said, and i could really use her right now. [laughter]
but she had, she had other plans this weekend, so she's not here. [laughter] no, i'll try not to bore you. it won't be that bad, but if you could just understand that there are probably some things that i won't be able to talk about. okay. so by way of brief background, as janet already said in my introduction and some of you already know, i was one of the organizers of the gaza freedom flotilla in 2010, and i was one of the passengers. the gaza freedom flotilla sought to challenge israel's illegal blockade or gaza -- on gaza. and to do that, we organized seven ships carrying over 700 people from over three dozen countries and over 10,000 tons of urgently-needed materials in gaza. i was on the challenger one
which was a small u.s. flag vessel. it was sailing very close to the bigger ship which was carrying a bulk of the passengers. on the night of may 30th into may 31st, i was in the wheelhouse of the challenger one. and around midnight the israeli navy contacted us. and they proceeded to ask us questions about who we were, what our vessel numbers were, where we came from, where we were heading. and the captains of the various ships answered these questions. so they knew very clearly who we were. then i kind of took over in speaking on behalf of the flotilla, and i repeatedly told the israeli navy that we are unarmed civilians, we are carrying only humanitarian aid for the people of gaza who are under an illegal blockade.
we are not going near israeli waters, we're going from international waters into gaza easter to have y'all waters. we constitute no net to the state of israel -- no threat to the state of israel or its armed forces. do not use force against us, and i repeated that we are unarmed civilians. do not use force against us. at about 1:30 in the morning, the communication from the israeli navy stopped. and about three hours later, we heard shooting. it was still the dead of night. there was shooting going on all around us. finish i went out onto the deck, and i could see helicopters overhead and israeli soaz yaks, gunships. the bigger vessel was the first vote to come under attack. our ship sped off. we were hoping to delay the
boarding of our ship at least until we could get word out on our satellite phones that we were under attack. but the israeli ships quickly overtook us, at least two zodiacs filled with armed, masked minnesota trying to board -- men trying to board our boats. and i remember myself holding up my arms saying, "stay away from us." this is an american ship, we're only civilians, do not come onboard. and i was screaming this is an american ship, stay away there us. and then chaos ensued. they threw sound bombs. i looked at one of my colleagues, she had blood all over her face. i don't know what had happened to her. i was thrown down to the ground. my face was smashed into a deck full of glass as a soldier stepped on my head. others were trying to get my hands cuffed behind my back. when i was finally cuffed, they
dragged me to one end of the ship, pinned me down and put a sack over my head. as they were searching my body and went into my pants looking for any media equipment they had on me. primarily, they were looking for our cameras and our phones and they, indeed, succeeded in taking those away from us. our boat was eventually taken to the israeli -- now-israeli port where violence continued. i was carried off the ship, as were a lot of my colleagues, by our hands and feet, thrown to the ground. i was later detained for hours, interrogated, and towards the end of the day, was physically abused to the point where i passed out and was taken to a hospital. but what happened to me, to us on that challenger was nothing in comparison to what happened
to our colleagues on the other vessel in which nine of our colleagues were shot dead, one was so -- was lethally injured and passed away four years later. and it pales in comparison to what's happening to the people of palestine every single day, to what's happening to the people of gaza, the very situation we were attempting to draw attention to with our action. nevertheless, it wasn't a minor thing, and we are thankful to be alive. when we first founded the international solidarity movement, we did it believing that, you know, israel kills palestinians, they have a free hand to do so, no one has ever held israel accountable for killing palestinians, but israel does not want to kill internationals. it doesn't look good for them. internationals have governments which will stand up for them, at least try to hold israel accountable.
but then, as janet mentioned, 13 years ago they killed our colleague, rachel corey, in gaza, in a brutal way; ran her over with a huge, armored bulldozer. and a few weeks later they killed another foreign national, thom herndahl, a u.k. citizen. he laid in a coma for nine months before he died from a bullet wound to the back of the home. and then a month after that they killed a british journalist, james miller. they got some bad pr, but they weren't held accountable. for tom herndahl's death, because his parents pursued, went after really -- not only his parents, because also rachel corey's parents were very active in this, but tom's parents had a bit of support from their government in the sense it pressured israel a little bit to
arrest the soldier that shot tom in a sense to hold him out as, you know, the sacrificial lamb. did nothing to address the total impunity with which the israel military operates and uses these -- it's a matter of national policy. so they put this soldier on trial. he spent a few years in jail, was released early. the american government promised rachel corey's parents that the israeli government would conduct an independent, impartial investigation into what happened. that never happened. so there was no one ever held accountable x the culture of impunity continues. in terms of the flotilla, i think something israel did not expect is that there was a backlash of sorts amongst the people of the world. tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people around the world marched in protest. artists that were supposed to perform in israel canceled their performances. there were different unions and
protests at ports because israel attacked our ship and was not letting ships into gaza that they tried to block israeli ships coming to various ports in oakland and in sweden. and so the people reacted, and i think that was, and remains, significant. in addition, we -- the people that planned the flotilla -- we did not in any way, i mean, it was traumatizing in a sense, what happened, but we made a decision that we were not going to let this violence deter us. and we went on to plan another flotilla. at the same time, we strategized and collected, gathered lawyers together from all over the world to try to decide how we were going to be pursue legal action. so this comes a little bit to the legal part of my talk. one of the things that we did is assemble a file for the international criminal court. the international criminal court
did not open an investigation as a result of files submitted from the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, but we also appealed to the island of the komoros. one ship was flagged in the komoros, and it's a signatory to the rome statute of the icc. and in 2013 the island did request that the prosecutor open an investigation into the attack on the vessel and the freedom flotilla, and the prosecutor did do so. and the prosecutor at the international criminal courts came back with a decision that there was evidence showing that war crimes was committed in that flotilla attack but, unfortunately, decided that the events did not meet the threshold, the gravity threshold. it wasn't grave enough to merit further icc involvement, and she
decided to close the case. and called on her to reopen the matter which she and her office tried to appeal. they tried to appeal that decision and the chamber last year came back and they did not accept her appeal and therefore the decision of the paper stands that she needs to take another look at this case. we don't know what she's going to do. we hope she doesn't she might find another way to close the case but before the international criminal court it is still open. some final cases in various countries. in spain we had a three spanish
citizens and they file file of the lawsuits in november of 2015 so just a few months ago the judge instructed the police to notify him if any of the seven officials named as guilty were accused of war crimes if any of them stepped foot into spain he should be noticed. could notified in order to be detained in connection with this lawsuit. unfortunately over the last few years, spain gutted its universal law. it used to have a vibrant flaw in fact it is the law that allowed for 1998 where ten of che was arrested and extradited
to stand trial. but in 2009, the spanish judge agreed to open an investigation or to actually pursue a case against the perpetrators of the attack on gaza and as a result of that, where you have the potential of the officials being investigated for war crimes, they promised that this would not be allowed to have been and the universal jurisdiction law was gutted so now in order to pursue the case not only must a spanish citizen be involved and be a victim, the whole series