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.
On the shopping "holiday" known as Black Friday, protesters positioned themselves in various locations at the Capitola Mall to raise awareness about SodaStream, a company with a factory built on illegal Israeli settlements located on occupied Indigenous Palestinian lands. Santa Cruz community members wore black and held large banners that read "Boycott SodaStream."
SodaStream, manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, is a popular home seltzer maker. The company markets its product as a green, clean alternative to buying soda in plastic bottles. But Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) and others counter that stealing Palestinian land is not green or clean. As costume shoppers flocked to Cliff's Variety in the Castro on the Saturday before Halloween, Frankenstein and a gaggle of witches were on hand to educate customers about the impact of settlement industries on Palestinian life and alternatives to SodaStream.
On July 27, the Canaan protest village was built for the fifth time on annexed Palestinian land in the middle of the illegal Gosh Ezion Colonial block next to the illegal settler colony of Migdal Oz. The nonviolent protesters stayed in the tent on their land for around an hour and a half before the Israeli occupation soldiers tore it down, violently repressing the demonstration. The tent village was built to remember the right of Palestinians to their land and to express solidarity with hunger strikers imprisoned for fighting for the Palestinian struggle.
On the morning of June 22, Palestinian, international and Israeli activists marched to the Israeli occupation military checkpoint blocking the West Bank from Jerusalem. There they were stopped by soldiers who violently prevented them from passing through. In reaction, the Palestinian activists prayed at the checkpoint, demonstrating their right to both freedom of movement within their own land and freedom to worship in Jerusalem.
Interrupting the normalization of anti-Islamic rhetoric and actions, Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power (BAAQUP) and Street Cred continue to alter the latest anti-Islamic ads posted by Pamela Geller's "American Freedom Defense Initiative" on San Francisco MUNI buses. In these remakes, Geller acknowledges that her struggle (jihad) is overcoming her virulent Islamophobia and racism. Geller's original ad was modified to read: "I'm Pamela Geller and I spread Islamophobia. I don't know why, but it's a struggle for me not to."
Four years ago, Tristan Anderson, an Oakland-based human rights activist, was shot in the head with a tear gas canister by Israeli military police. On March 13th, on the anniversary of Tristan's injury, dozens gathered in Oscar Grant Plaza to celebrate Global Resistance Day. Global Resistance Day honors Tristan and all who have transcended borders and risked their lives to resist tyranny. Friends and family of Tristan Anderson announced that they will soon go to Israel to press charges against the Israeli police on Tristan's behalf.