tv Discussion on Pro- Israel Lobby Influence on U.S. Policy - Part 3 CSPAN March 29, 2019 3:24pm-4:23pm EDT
if you come to israel and go light a candle and say how much you love israel, then the israeli prime minister is prepared to give you a certificate of good conduct. israel is a force today of anti-semitism, white supremacy and extremism that is destabilizing the world. thank you. >> thank you so much. [ applause ] >> now we're going to have our morning break and ideas fair. ali will sign his books in there. we thank him very much for being here again this year.
>> i'm going to start. hello, everyone. i hope you will find your seats. you are in for a real treat now. i'm going to introduce our keynote speaker. okay. i'm just going to start talking. i hope you listen. susan abulaza is a palestinian a author who has written best sellers. when we announced that she would give this keynote address, phillip farha said his wife's reading group agreed it's the best they ever read. [ applause ] he said, i really put her up there with charles dickens. her debut novel was translated into 28 languages. her second novel "the blue between sky and water" has been translated into 26 languages. her first poetry collection, "my
voice shot the wind" was published by just world books. those books are for sale. her third novel will be published soon in 2019. she's the daughter of refugees from the 1967 six-day war when her family's land was seized and israel captured what remains of palestinian, including jerusalem. she was born in kuwait. she completed high school, university and graduate school majoring in neuroscience. she enjoyed a career in biomedical science before becoming a writer. i first heard her poetry years ago at an adc convention. as a child who grew up here and there, always searching for my own homeland, i listened to her poetry and wept. she currently lives in pennsylvania with her daughter, their cats and dogs.
in 2001, she founded playgrounds for palestine, an organization upholding the right to play for palestinian children, to help raise funds to build more playgrounds, she has launched ida, a private labor olive oil from palestine. you will find her bottles and books in the ideas fair. she is invited to international poetry or literary festivals. audiences in every country in the world can listen to her voice, except in her homeland. in november, 2018, israeli authorities barred her entry into tel aviv and prevented her from participating in a panel discussion at a literature festival in are a jerusalem. she was detain for 32 hours, many sent in a jail cell, as she appealed her decision. an israeli court upheld her deportation. please welcome a powerful voice
for palestine. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you so much for that generous introduction. it's really great to be back at the washington report. this is an institution that was one of the main sources -- the first sources we had for independent media. and it's an honor to be the keynote. i'm too short to see. i hope my clicks will work. i want, in this talk, to try and examine the nature of israel in the world. to do that -- is it working? can we get this working?
you know, we just ran through th this. there we go. okay. i'm going to try and present a survey of israel from multiple angles. that are going to see unrelated. they include democracy, nature, global weapons, friendship and archaeology. most of us in this room understand the colonial and apartheid underpinnings of israel, which manifest in the unrelenting daily horrors and indignities for palestinians. on the other hand, some folks see israel as a benevolent place, trying to exist with palestinians. but i would like to look beyond this kind of contained, binary
framework relative only to palestinians. because israel is so much more. every country in the world, of course, has good and bad elements. but i do think it's possible to pinpoint a general imprint for societies, the way they exist in the world and also more importantly how they impact the rest of the world. to do this, i found that national spending data are useful. when we look at israeli spending, we find that it is second only to saudi arabia, that other bafti ibastion of hu rights, in spends arms spending per capita in the world, exce exceeding the united states as well as exceeding u.s. military spending as a percent of gdp. i'm going to talk about what all of this means in real life.
but first, i want to touch on the prevailing perception of israel, which has been cultivated through sustained, multi-tiered, multi-pronged public relations campaigns that present israel as an unfairly maligned modern democracy, one that is advanced, socially enlightened and endlessly innovative, from such absurd claims as having invented falafal to the equally absurd claim of being less than one year away from curing cancer. it's actually a real thing. what is promulgated through popular international media is typically not merely an exaggeration of reality or even just spin. but it's often precisely the opposite of reality. a case in point is this article
in "scientific american." a respected magazine that translates scientific information for laypersons. the article touted israel's plans as unprecedented in the region, using language that comports with the old proposition that israel is a miracle that made the desert bloom. the reality could not be further from that. two implicit lies in the title and subtitle alone. first, arab nations in the gulf have been using this technology for the past 50 years. more important is the little known fact that the annual rainfall exceeds london's. jerusalem's rainfall is nearly on par with london's. plus, it's way sunnier. the point is that palestine isn't and never was dry, desert or baron.
this is the cover of a detailed audit book of all the ways that israel has profoundly and detrimentally altered the natural bioms, landscape, hydraulic potential and economical balance of palestinian. it's a depressing read. i don't have time to go into the material details. keeping with the example at hand, i'm briefly going to touch on water. the article described israel as a, quote, galvanized civilization that created water from nothingness. where a few miles away, water disappears and civilizations crumbled. in fact, in its first years of establishment, israel began water diversion projects and overpumping from rivers and tributaries to serve zionist settlements which were utterly
in contact with the local terrain and which set the stage for a multitude of environmental disasters all across palestine. one example of israel's destruction of palestine's natural water systems is a river which israel renamed. it was a vigorous coastal river described in an 1891 travel guide as, quote, a roaring river that zigzags until falling into the sea. its power turns mills and small fish can be caught in it. in a mere decade of israeli management of palestine's water, this life giving river was reduced to a trickle of sewage. its water siphoned and replaced with a toxic sludge of industrial and domestic pollutants which in 1997 ate through the lungs and vitaling
or organs when a bridge fell and they fell into the river. syria and jordan followed suit to preserve their own share of regional waters. decades later, water levels are so low the jordan river can no longer replenish the dead sea. the declining water levels coupled with israel's evaporation ponds to extract minerals and other industrial activities have created an environmental disaster never before seen in palestine. it has become cliche to say that the dead sea is dieing. in the 1950s, israel drained palestine's wetlands. a regional biodiversity treasure in order to establish jewish
settlements. hundreds of such colonial projects have greatly d lly dend the diversity that once thrived in that terrain where three continents meet. some of the fish and birds that were destroyed by this project were found nowhere else in the world and have since gone extin extinct. this is to say nothing of the way that the land has been scarred and disfigured. hilltops decapitated for settlements. millions of imported, fast growing trees planted to conceal destroyed palestinian villages, only for these non-native trees to be rejected by the land in massive forest fires, leaving a scorched earth on hundreds of thousands of acres. it is to say nothing of the systematic ways in which israel uproots olive trees and other
fruit-bears trees that sustain palestinian families. there are countless such examples and systematic ways in which israel has devastated nature. sometimes in ways that cannot be undone. although israel's role as a destroyer of palestinian society overshadows their environmental record, israel should, nonetheless, be counted among the world's polluters, decimators of trees and spoilers of nature. i want to turn now to israeli innovations and exports. because israel leads the world in several niche technologies and tactics. it is well-known and admitted by israeli weapons manufacturers that they test their weapons on palestinians. gaza is their biggest laboratory.
according to dara lee of the university of chicago, gaza is a, quote, space where israel tests and refines various techniques of management, continuously experimenting in search of an optimal balance between maximum control over territory and minimum responsibility for its non-jewish population. i told you earlier that israel is right there with saudi arabia leading the world in military spending per capita. other countries like the united states, russia and china aren't far behind. but where an extraordinary difference ee mentimerges is wi military exports. studies and international databases will show that israel is anywhere from the fourth to the eighth largest exporter of arms. this depends on the year and the currency examined. i should point out that these
data are likely gross underestimations because israel doesn't actually report its arms deals. many of which occur through covert deals via independent arms hustlers, often retired israeli military generals. given that israel is listed among exporters of arms with far bigger populations and far bigger economies, i looked for data to show exports per capita. i came up mostly empty-handed to my surprise. i'm sure that data must be out there somewhere. but i couldn't find it. i put on my old scientist and st stati statatician hat.
then i matched data up with a world population database for car spo corresponding years. then using arithmetic functions, i calculated and graphed arms sales normalized to the size of the population. what i found is that israel leads the entire world in arms exports, often by a huge margin, every single year between 2010 and 2018. with the exception of 2011, in which sweden, strangely, was neck and neck with them. again, these data do not include the vast covert arms transfers, military training and surveillance technology.
one of israel's biggest military hardware niches is drones. over 60% of global drones exports come from israel. the united states is just in second place with just less than 24%. the attractiveness of israeli arms is that they boast of being combat tested. a case in point is israel's hermes 900, which was still in the testing phase when it was used against civilians in gaza in 2014. a mere three weeks after that onslaught in gaza that murdered 2,200 people and maimed tens of thousands more israel held a drone trade show called israel
unmanned systems 2014 in which that hermes 900 was all the rage for its so-called performance in gaza. in that assault in 2014, israel used drones to kill at least 840 people. in the current assault on gaza protesters, israel is using a series of new drones called the cyclone riot control drone system. it is being used to spray aerosol and gas substances from the sky. they appear to be used for the first time against the great march of return. the company that makes the cyclone claims on their website to be a leading supplier for police in the united states and they boast that their product claims are based on practical field experience. this is what it looks like.
so what happens after these death and suppression technologies are developed and tested on the bodies, psyches and spirits of palestinians? throughout its short history, israel has been one of the most dependable suppliers of weapons to pariah regimes. especially in situations where weapons embargoes were put in place due to severe human rights abuses. the ones i'm going to show you were revealed due to leaks, revolutions or specific investigations, especially those by two israeli human rights
activists. in south sudan's civil war, israel continued to supply the south sudanese regime with weapons despite an ongoing civil war that had left half a million people dead and 4 million displaced in the past five years. israel's arms sales to south sudan continued despite a u.n. report that documented extensive and grave human rights violations, including the drafting of child soldiers, burning of villages, systematic rape, pillaging of destroying of infrastructure. they continued to supply weapons to them despite a u.n. -- a u.s. armed embargo followed by a u.n. arms embargo against south sudan. in fact, just a few months ago, the former head of the israeli army's operations was sanctioned by the u.s. treasury department
as an agent who sold over $150 million worth of weapons under the cover of an agricultural company that was supposed to be building affordable housing in south sudan. in the bosnian massacres, israel sold weapons to serbian forces during the bosnian war in the early '90s long after the u.n. embargo was declared in '91. in '92, when slobodan milosevic was on trial, he was described as the new hitler of europe. most of us in this room are old enough to remember him. at that time, israel opened an embassy in serbia. simultaneously, serbian forces were creating concentration camps and committing massacres against bosnian muslims that led
to the murder of an estimated 250,000 people. itay mac gathered evidence that israelis in the highest offices werearming and training serbian faces. they petitioned the israeli supreme court with concrete evidence of this, including the diary of a man on trial on the icc for war crimes. they had his diary in which he cataloged all the training and weapons that were transferred to them. israel's high court rejected the petition, arguing that declassifying documents exposing israel's role in the bosnian genocide would harm israeli interests. adding insult to injury, israel is now engaged in revising the
history of this genocide. israel supplied weapons to serbia while it was known that they were committing genocide and while there was a u.n. embargo -- arms embargo in place. israel's high court covered it all up. in myanmar, we know that israel continued to transfer weapons to the burmese arm long after they were accused of war crimes. israel was selling arms to myanmar well after a european union and the united states imposed an arms embargo on the country. the ruling was kept classified
to stop the sales. we know israel continued to supply armored land and water vehicles and artillery to the burmese military. once again, israel supplied arms to myanmar while it was known they were committing ed inting cleansing and an embargo in place and israel's high court covered it up and enabled it. in rwanda, going back to the 1990s, to another horrific genocide, an estimated 1 million men, women and children were massacred in rwanda in a space of 100 days. it's said to be the fastest pace of genocide in human history. israel provided the rifles, ammunition and grenades that made it all possible. mac, in petitioning the israeli high court to declassify the arms transfers, quoted the
israeli arms dealer who in rwanda said, quote, i'm actually a doctor, unquote, expressing pride for supplying those weapons because he said he helped the victims die quickly. israel's high court ruled that the details of those arms deals will remain a secret. again, claiming that it would harm israeli interests to reveal the extent of those arms transfers. so again, israel supplied rwanda with weapons while it was known that a genocide was taking place and while u.n. arms embargo was in place and israel's high court helped to cover it up. adding insult to injury, again, israel later backed a move at the u.n. by rwanda to rewrite history of this particular genocide as a larger quid pro
quo with the president of rwanda to take in asylum seekers deported from israel. going even further back to apartheid of south africa, this is the cover of an explosive book when it was published in 2010 by sasha paula kosaranski, detailing the cooperation between israel and the apartheid government of south africa. israel was south africa's closest ally, it's most important arms supplier. and eventually its only friend in a world that could no longer look the other way from the crimes of apartheid. the coordination between the two countries was unprecedented. the respective intelligence chiefs held regular meetings sharing information and training and surveillance. they gave unfettered access to
each other's military tactics, missions and intelligence. their relationship was actually deeper than mere trade and coordination. israel had a spiritual and moral affinity for the apartheid government in south africa, which was articulated in the 1980s by israeli chief of staff rafael etan who said, referring to blacks in south africa that they, quote, want to gain control over the white minority, just like the arabs here want to gain control over us. and we too, like the white minority in south africa, must act to prevent them from taking us over. in 1976, just two months after israel rolled out the red carpet for the south african president, school children in soweto took to the streets to demonstrate against an imposed racist
curriculum. the white south african police mowed them down with weapons that had been supplied by israel. what shocked the world further from this book was to finally learn that israel had offered to provide the apartheid government with nuclear arms as far back as 1975. israel tried to prevent the declassification of the post apartheid government documents, but they were unsuccessful and it became clear that israel did indeed lead to the nuclear armament of the apartheid regime, which luckily disarmed voluntarily following the fall of apartheid. one more thing that's worth noting here. in 2007, former israeli prime minister ehud olmert warned that his country could one day, quote, face a south african style struggle for equal voting
rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of israel is finished. [ laughter ] [ applause ] there are so many more examples of such violent israeli subterfuge in the world. i'm going to quickly rattle through a few of these examples without going into detail for the sake of time. but just know that every one of these instances, and this is not a complete list, of sub rosa arms sales occurred to bolster repressive, brutal regimes at different times and as well as training of mercenaries to facilitate corporate plunder. israel continued supplying arms to the former repressive white colonial regime in rhodesia
after u.n. sanctions were imposed in 1967. israel armed and supported portugal against national liberation movements in the former colonies of mozambique and golar and guinea businessal. israel funded and trained anti colonial uprisings and/or dictatorships in the ivory coast, binnen, uganda, nigeria and somalia. they used this colonial tactic in other places to fuel and arm wars to divide and reconquer africa. israel armed and trained elite units in zaire, now the democratic republic of congo, bolstering the brutal rule of mow beauty u sessacho following patrice lumumba. they sold arms to sri lanka.
israel provided nearly all arms sold to the dictatorship in nicaragua that terrorized its people for over 12 years. following the democratic election of the san daniece at thats, israel fund arms to the brutal contras and was embroiled in what page knobecame known ase iran contra affair. they likewise sold arms to guatemalan death squads, as well as death squads in el salvador and honduras, to chile during the dictatorship to rafael trujillo of the dominican republic. to the terrorist arrange tinnian in the 1970s and many places israel also sold surveillance technology to monitor phones and track political activists. they did the same thing in the philippines during the ferdinand marcosera and indonesian. they're also now supplying weapons to the accused war
criminal of -- leader of philippines, rod rico duterte. and cameroon generals provide training and arms to protect dictator paul beea, who has been crushing political dissidents disappearing, assassinating and torturing activists. doing the same thing in the oil-rich he can torial guinea, colluding with gama and exxonmobil to suppress political dissent and facilitate the siphoning of that nation's resources to enrich its rulers and u.s. and israeli corporations, while the people languish in abject poverty. israel also provides countries and corporations with wares and training for domestic policing and suppression of dissent. in places like brazil, it plays a huge role in the domestic surveillance prisons,
militarized borders and internal policing and suppression. in the united states, there is widespread training of u.s. police departments. the export of israel's brutal tactics to the united states has been so alarming that jewish force, voice for peace, launched a dedicated campaign called deadly exchange to fight against it and bring awareness. over 200 police and security agencies across the united states have gone on training junkets to israel and i think these are just the ones that are funded by one zionist -- domestic zionist agency. where they are both brainwashed about israel and instructed in ruthless military tactics. the impact of this cooperation between u.s. domestic police departments and the israeli occupation military came to light after the ferguson uprising in which robo cop
police showed up in military gear to suppress unarmed peaceful protesters. it turned out that the ferguson police department had gone on one of these training junkets in israel. also of note is the incident of police shooting in 2016 in dallas, texas, in which police chief david brown sent in a robot packed with explosives to kill the suspect. it was a kind of robot suicide bomber, if you will. it was apparently the first known time that police dispatched a robot to kill a suspect on u.s. soil, rather than attempting apprehension or negotiating surrender. as it turned out, that police chief had been on a ten-day so-called anti-terrorism training in israel. lastly, on this point, and this is something that was touched on earlier, is the recent
revelation that israeli companies have been spying on u.s. citizens. not to mention the role that these israeli intelligence companies have had in tampering with the u.s. presidential election in 2016 as the mueller investigation has revealed. now i want to move on to friendships and alliances. despite claiming to be the guardians and protectors of jews israel -- of jews everywhere, sorry, israel actually has courted some of the world's most notorious anti-semites, as well as they support israel's occupation and buy their arms. john vorster, the apartheid south african prime minister that i mentioned earlier was a nazi sympathizer who was imprisoned by the british for his ties to the gray shirts
fascist militia. in 1976, he was heaped with praise and given the red carpet welcome when he visited israel. israel has cozied up and is supporting ultra nationalists, ultra right, anti minority, home phonists in brazil who said, quote, refugees are the scum of the earth. he told a female colleague she was too ugly to rape. he threatened to destroy or imprison his political opponents. he spoke favorably of torture. he lamented that the brazilian cavalry wasn't as efficient as americans who exterminated the indians. and he said that he would rather see his son die in a car crash than hear he was gay. israel has also developed ties and has been arming and training neo nazis in the ukraine. israel, likewise, opened its
doors to anti semitic prime minister bann who praised leadership that presided over the mass murder of jews, and he employed terrible age-old anti semitic tropes to demonize george soros. in december, netanyahu even met with him to negotiate the opening of a revisionist holocaust museum in budapest, which basically exonerates hungary's role in europe's holocaust. netanyahu signed a joint declaration with the right wing polish prime minister ma tush morovietski which wipes clean poland's record in europe's holocaust and rewrote history to state that the polls were actually helping jews escape nazis. of course, there's this card-carrying anti-semite that israel loves and embraces.
netanyahu went so far as to make excuses for hitler, claiming in 2015 that hitler wasn't the monster we all thought he was. rather, that it was a palestinian leader, co sanny who convinced him to kill european jews. luckily, netanyahu crossed a line with that one and european leaders and historians rose together to give them a foul card. the last bit i want to touch on briefly has to do with the way that israel's rewriting of history is robbing the world of archeological treasures and important history that belongs not only to palestinians, but to all of humanity. because palestine is an extraordinarily special place. while it already has an indigenous population that
formed there over millennia, palestine holds a history that belongs to all people of mono th theistic faiths. israel has worked tirelessly to erase footprints of many civilizations, religions and peoples who existed in that land before, during and after jewish presence in the land. the existence of so many churches and mosques are particular irritants to israel and it has worked in earnest to destroy, desecrate or control them from the beginning of their control over the land. immediately after the nukba, israel began a campaign of destroying the palestinian villages it had just depopulated. including tearing down mosques and churches, some of which were centuries old and of great religious and historic significance. like the mosque in jerusalem
built by one of salah huh dean's sons. in places where new jewish inhabitants took over towns, new jewish places of worship have been -- i'm sorry, nonjewish places of worship have been turned into nightclubs, animal pens, broth else, and the like. other mosques were made inaccessible, declared closed military zones, leaving them derelict. when the islamic movement once helped a group of internal refugees from the former village restore their mosque in 2000, it was bulldozed overnight in still unexplained circumstances. increasingly, jewish militias are vandalizing and burning churches and mosques without any consequence perpetrators. in 2010, a u.s. state department report stated that, quote, nonjewish holy sites in israel do not enjoy legal protection, because the government does not
recognize them as officially holy sites. after jewish settlers torched a mosque in 2012, former military chief of staff admitted in a radio interview that there was no interest in catching the culprits. he said, quote, if we wanted, we could catch them. and when we want to, we will. unquote. part and parcel of israel's era erase sure of history, they have targeted cemeteries. the cemetery which includes graveyards by prominent muslim scholars, generals and companions of the prophet muhammad, peace be upon him, was destroyed to build a museum by the california-based wisenthal center. in 2008, over 100 skeletons were unearthed and tossed aside during excavations for the construction work. throughout palestine in places
where israel has developed jewish cities, muslim and christian cemeteries were simply dug up and built over. for example, tel aviv university, which was built over the palestinian village desecrated a graveyard and built a dormitory over it. lastly, i want to briefly touch on the ways that israel has weaponized archaeology. on the pretense of digging for history, it has confiscated and abolished whole palestinian neighborhoods. silwan in east jerusalem is the best-known example where israel has confiscated land belonging to one family, the sian family, and evicted over 6,000 palestinians. the purpose of the dig was never about archaeology, because we know that they're planning to build a so-called jewish national park in the area. a kind of jewish disneyland, as it's being referred to.
we also know that the israel antiquities authority was destroyed several ancient archeological sites and antiquities as a result of this dig, including a cemetery dating back to the aba seed caliphate and relics dating back to the era of the second millennium bc. it is not for the love of archaeology or history. in fact, israel routinely destroys ancient cities unearthed by archaeologists, so as long as they have nothing to do with jewish history. the first thing they did when they conquered palestine, the rest of palestine, in 1967 was to demolish the entire moroccan neighborhood that was over 800 years old, displacing hundreds of palestinians. israel has engaged in such massive destruction of antiquities consistently and systematically. another example shown here is a recent find of a 1200-year-old
mixed village of well off muslims and christians who live together. archaeologists got a chance to take photos and record some of the relics, but the site is set to be bulldozed for development. again, these are all just surface surveys of hidden realities. the degradations of israel are much more vast, deeper and far-reaching. but my hope is that what i have presented here today will expand the view from israel as an apartheid nation of suppressing the indigenous palestinian population to a deeper understanding of israel as a global force of violence, plunder, paranoia, surveillance, greed, war, suppression, ecological destruction, eraseure of history, the transfer of wealth from the weak to the powerful and en tranchement of
is up presentlyist ideologies. no matter how many pride marches they hold or how many euro visions they host. no matter how good their national orchestra makes you feel when they tour the world, or how palestinian citizens are given a symbolic vote. no matter how much greenwashing, pinkwashing or whitewashing there is in mainstream media, the way that israel exists in the world is ultimately antithetical to life and to liberty. not just for palestinians. but for all people who struggle against tyranny, oppression, white supremacy and ecological destruction. the situation is dire and desperate for our families in palestine. the grim reality of our compatriots' daily lives and the dimming of our future and
homeland is portended by israel's push to ban jerusalem for the first time since the dawn of islam. and israel is moving forcefully against el oxa, perhaps the final frontier in palestine. but i do not want to end on such a hopeless note. because despite everything, there is so much to celebrate. so much to encourage our continued struggle. and much to inspire hope. in fact, i believe that israel's current escalation of their ongoing ethnic cleansing is in many ways a desperate, though counterproductive, response to the growing international repudiation of them. including by young jews whose moral compass is not guided by zionism. the conversation is changing. here and around the world. palestine is the single issue, splitting leftist movements and
parties globally. the democratic party here in the u.s., the women's march, the labor party in the uk. increasingly, we are not alone. points of intersection with liberation movements around the world are being filled with reciprocal solidarity. and more importantly, our people on the front lines have not given up, and they continue every day to fight and insist on life. and in the bigger picture afforded by historical examples, palestine actually follows time-tested trajectories of liberation. difficult and bloody as these paths always are, i believe that ultimately restoration to our homeland, to liberty and dignity is our only collective destiny. thank you. [ applause ]
[ cheers and applause ] >> we have a lot of questions. >> okay. what rule has israel played in the war in syria? >> so did you guys hear the question? it is, what role has israel played in the war in syria? actually, there are more than -- there's more than one u.n. report detailing israeli arms transfers to the so-called rebels who are a hodgepodge of a multitude of folks -- most of whom aren't even syrian.
and they do include militias from al qaeda. and we also know that these anti assad fighters have been getting medical treatment in israel, and -- in addition to the arms. so they've definitely been bolstering and supporting the civil war from day one, i think. >> what's the relationship between isis and israel in the destruction of antiquities. >> the question is, what is the relationship between isis and israel and the destruction of antiquities. well, they both destroy antiquities. that's -- i don't think they're colluding, necessarily, in the destruction of antiquities, but, you know, isis -- they're both anti culture.
isis blew up important buddhist ancient statues, and israel has been systematically erasing the presence of many civilizations, especially islamic presence in the land. >> and is an israeli company involved in building our wall and using israeli materials? >> i have read that, actually. i think a simple google search will show there are several israeli companies, and i'm not sure if -- i mean, donald trump has publicly praised israel's wall. and they -- i know they did put in bids. so i don't know if they actually are involved in actually building it. i also read that they are possibly involved in the surveillance and providing some of the surveillance equipment for the wall.
>> any idea what percentage of police in the usa shooting blacks were trained by israel here or there? >> that's a good question. and it's actually one that i've been trying to get information on, especially in our city in philadelphia. but i am not the expert on that. and i think the most reliable place at this point is to -- is jewish voice for peace deadly exchange program that i mentioned earlier. they have been sending or filing foia applications in many cities. and it actually -- it's a bit stunning how many people, how many police departments. and it's not just police departments. it's also places like university security. you know, all these major
universities have been sending their security departments to israel, which is really scary, because, you know, campuses is where a lot of activism takes place. >> so you can pronounce these villages better than i. >> okay. in '67, israelis up rooted about 10,000 and demolished villages. bet nova became a seller colony named mivo hiran and the other two canada park. do you have any info on these villages? i don't. i'm sorry. >> can you talk about israeli agri business and destruction of palestinian heritage? agricultural heritage. >> actually, this is very relevant to the first bit that i talked about regarding the
destruction of palestines' water system. israel in its early propaganda campaigns was sort of trying to create the, quote, unquote, new jew, who was going to be an agrarian person, sort of farming the land and very much built into the zionist ideology of tilling the land and so forth. and they siphoned an extraordinary amount of water to sort of have this appearance of agricultural success, even though agriculture was a very tiny portion of their gdp. so there was environmental destruction aspect of it. the other part is that the israeli agricultural sector employs its laborers from
palestinians who have -- palestinian farmers, whose land has been confiscated. so they're forced to become day laborers, very low wage day laborers, and they also employ children. there were reports last year of child labor and a lot of illnesses happening to children from the pesticides that are used. and then there's the issue -- the other end of that is the toxic waste from israel. not just from the agricultural sector, but from all sectors. industrial sectors and domestic usage. waste gets dumped into palestinian towns. they -- because israel's environmental standards don't apply to the 67 territories, they -- all these industries take their toxic waste and dump
it in palestinian towns. and they give, you know, desperate people who are living in poverty a few shickles and end up decimating the area and causes illnesses among local inhabitants. they also dump -- settlements dump their untreated sewage into palestinian towns. and this is a huge problem. it's destroying the water table, too. so there's -- you know, it's all tied together, and so much -- palestinians are trying -- israel is trying in so many ways to uproot palestinians and sort of creating -- making their towns into garbage dumps is just one of a multitude of ways.
in the agricultural business is part and parcel of that. >> does aipac place interns in offices and is there a way to get american interns into the offices? >> i don't have specific data on that. but common sense would tell me that, yeah. i think they probably do. and there are -- i'm sure there are arab-american interns. there has to be. there's interns from all walks of life and all districts. >> okay. can you tell us how you started your playgrounds for palestine and what made you do it? >> thank you for asking that, whoever asked that question. so about 19 years ago, my daughter was a toddler, and playgrounds were a huge part of our lives. and i went back to palestine after about an 18-year absence and the lack of playgrounds was
hub hugely visible to me, because, you know, it was such a big part of our lives, as i said. and when i came back, i decided that we needed to build playgrounds. as i often do with a lot of things in my life, i don't really think. i just -- try -- i'm not a planner and i just sort of jump into things headlong. and usually it results in disaster, but this time it was -- it turned out to be a wonderful project. we got our first playground donated, and with the help of aneera, we got the playground into palestine and we built it. and then a lot of my amazing, wonderful friends joined the board and we are an all-volunteer group of mostly women with the exception of one man.
and we're all volunteers. this is a labor of love for us. we raise money throughout the year and whatever we have, we use it to build playgrounds. we also support summer camps and educational programs. skate camps and other sort of recreational activities. and also, if you guys haven't seen the olive oil, i need to plug this. or our board is going to kill me. but we're selling olive oil. we finally have our own private label called ida, which is the feminine word for reform. it's organic, fair trade and allall the proceeds go to the playground's project. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. thanks for having me. >> you can go buy some during the next break.