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Center Column Archives
On June 17th, about 75 LGBT activists protested outside the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, which accepted Israeli government sponsorship and financing for the second year in a row. The Brass Liberation Orchestra was on hand to provide a spirited soundtrack. QUIT! launched the campaign to get Frameline to divorce the Israeli Consulate in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, the festival did not accept Israeli sponsorship, after having done so for years. But last year, under pressure from the consulate, the new festival director and executive director renewed their partnership with the Israeli government.
May 15th marked 63 years since the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe). In 1948, more than 750,000 Palestinians were permanently displaced, with more than 500 Palestinian villages depopulated and destroyed. In San Francisco, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, and across the globe, Palestinians and solidarity activists commemorated the Nakba. In the West Bank and Gaza, thousands took to the streets to demand an end the occupation. Israeli forces responded with live gunfire killing at least 16 protesters and injuring hundreds.
During the past month, Palestinian youth protested to call for internal unity. On April 27th, Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation draft agreement with hope to end a four-year internal unrest in the Palestinian Territories. Both parties agreed, under Egyptian supervision, to form a transitional government soon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the draft agreement and the U.S. has threatened to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Residents of the West Bank village of Ni'lin, along with a number of internationals and Israeli peace activists, held their weekly Friday demonstration on March 18th and commemorated the second anniversary of the shooting of San Francisco Bay Area activist Tristan Anderson. Protesters also commemorated the eighth anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie in Gaza while she was trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer from demolishing Palestinian houses.
In commemoration of international Holocaust Remembrance Day, from January 24th to February 19th Auschwitz survivor Dr. Hajo Meyer went on a speaking tour throughout the U.S. and Canada called "Never Again for Anyone". During his appearance in Oakland, Dr. Meyer was joined by UC Berkeley professor Dr. Hatem Bazian and Sarah Kershnar. Two days later, Dr. Meyer sat down with Bay Area filmmaker David Zlutnick for a video interview in Los Angeles.
Responding to an international call to action, on March 9th activists in Berkeley unfurled a large banner over the highway reading, “Justice for Mehdi Aby Ayyash,” a Palestinian youth killed two years ago by the Israeli military. On March 10th, Palestinian solidarity activists in Chicago replaced street signs that read “Honorary Ben Gurion Way” with “Honorary Mehdi Abu Ayyash Way.” More actions are expected to take place in the coming weeks in different locations around the world.
Fifty members of the Bay Area human rights community protested the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on February 27th, using chants, songs and street theater to highlight the IPO’s role in whitewashing Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. The orchestra’s performances are being met with protests in six of the seven cities on its US tour, including a protest at Carnegie Hall in New York and at Seattle’s Benaroya Opera House.