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Center Column Archives
Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in Fresno, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of August 17, approximately 1939 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8. A total of 9886 Palestinians, including 2878 children, 1854 women, and 374 elderly, have been injured. 47 Israeli soldiers, most of whom were invading Gaza at the time of their death, have been killed by Palestinian resistance, and two Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian shells.
On June 10, activists rallied in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José to protest the unjust prosecution of 66-year-old Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh. Last October, Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh after the Department of Justice charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” The Obama administration’s filing of these charges could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported.
At approximately 2:45am on May 28, the University of California, Santa Cruz Student Union Assembly (SUA) passed a resolution calling for divestment from companies that profit from Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians with a majority vote of 22-14. While official discussion of the Divestment Bill was scheduled at 11pm, a SUA member motioned at approximately 8:15 to indefinitely table the bill. The motion failed, and the Divestment testimonials were initiated at 11:30pm.
The San Francisco Commonwealth Club hosted an event entitled "LGBT Rights in Israel: 25 Years of Progress and Challenges" on April 25 featuring Arthur Slepian, Executive Director and Founder of A Wider Bridge. Slepian's role is to go around promoting the idea that Israel is a progressive, democratic society because it has LGBT rights for Jewish citizens of Israel. Queer activists and Palestinian queers called it "pinkwashing".
Community members gathered in downtown Santa Cruz on Tax Day, April 15, to protest the U.S. government's military aid to Israel. According to If Americans Knew
, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since 1976, and in the last 20 years economic aid to that country has been slowly phased out in favor of military aid. Israel receives about $3 billion ($8 million a day) directly from the United States in military financing each year, which is about one-fifth of what is allocated for the entire foreign aid budget.
On March 19, a group of more than 60 protesters demonstrated at the Hewlett-Packard shareholders' meeting because of its business dealings with the Israeli military. They said HP is complicit in oppressing Palestine because it makes the technology for the biometric cards that contain large amounts of data on the card carrier. Those cards are used by Israel to segregate and discriminate against Palestinians.
Mazin Qumsiyeh writes:
Christmas 2013 in Bethlehem is still a very special and meaningful time even under the brutal Israeli apartheid occupation. Nowhere is there an exhibit of “Occupation Art” shown in a “Peace Center” in front of a large Christmas tree in front of one of the holiest places in Christianity.... It is also a time to reflect on the real message of Jesus.... It is still a message of hope, peace, joy, justice, love, and harmony.... [Yet] on Christmas eve, Israeli forces also bombed Gaza killing at least two including a 3-year old girl and injuring others in her family.