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Center Column Archives
On September 8th, 2011, an art exhibit of children's drawings was banned by the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland (MOCHA). Much of the artwork was drawn by children participating in a "Let the Children Play And Heal" project. It was developed to address the needs of traumatized children after the 2008/2009 Israeli assault on Gaza. Zionist organizations are suspected of having intimidated MOCHA into canceling the show, despite the fact that MECA had been working with the museum for months planning the local exhibit. On September 23rd, a demonstration was held in front of MOCHA to protest the censorship. On September 24th, supporters first gathered in the courtyard outside of the MOCHA building, displaying reproductions of the Gazan children's artwork, until an announcement was made about a new venue for the exhibit around the corner. The exhibit is set to show through November 30th.
A "Welcome to Palestine" campaign scheduled for July 8th through July 16th has begun at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. It is intended to draw attention to the Israeli blockade on the West Bank. As part of the campaign, hundreds plan to arrive in Tel Aviv and openly declare their intentions to travel to the West Bank to support peaceful Palestinian efforts for human rights. Already, dozens of activists and journalists have been denied entry to Israel after having been blacklisted or have been deported once they truthfully state their intentions.
UPDATE July 19th:
The MV Juliano was detained in Crete by Greek authorities who refuse to let the boat sail. The last remaining Flotilla II boat, the French boat Dignite/Al Karama, was stopped by the Israeli navy
about 40 miles off of the coast of Gaza.
The 2011 Stay Human Freedom Flotilla has faced repeated threats and admonishments from the U.S. and Israeli governments, the pullout of the Turkish contingent, meddling from Zionist law firms, sabotage to the propellers of the Greek and Irish boats by underwater divers, and an order from the Greek government banning the flotilla from embarking on the journey to Gaza from Greece. At this point, it remains uncertain how many boats will be able to set sail for Gaza.
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.