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A report from Palestine solidarity march / action

by ibm /sf-imc
A report from today's solidarity march and nonviolent direct action

note from 2:50pm phone report
-police are beginning to tell demonstrators inside that they will be arrested if they don't leave
-reports of arrest
-people locking arms inside, getting arrested afterwards
-no cameras allowed inside for documentation, though some may already be inside
-200 or so people on steps, hundreds more moving past, stopping, congregating
-demonstration is still going strong...(((webcam)))

Around noon today, upwards of 500 people gathered in Sproul Plaza on UC Berkeley's in solidarity with the intifada in Palestine. The demonstration, spearheaded by Students for Justice in Palestine, is aimed at pressuring the UC Board of Regents to divest itself of Israel in the face of constant military aggression on the part of the IDF.

Speakers denounced the violence perpetrated by the IDF on an hourly basis, and called upon people to remember that it was Sharon's provocation with his visit to the Temple Mount in September of 2000. Pro-Israel demonstrators, perhaps 30-40 in a group, booed at the speakers at the start, but the cheers for the speakers' words drowned the Zionists out.

Students for Justice in Palestine is accustomed to being accused of support for terrorism, though none are grounded in reality. Reports in KRON and the Chronicle have said as much. For this reason, SJP made very clear that today's march and action were to be nonviolent. People got together in rows of 10 and marched through Sather Gate through the center of campus, ending up at Wheeler Hall. Once there, those that chose to march inside did so, while others stayed outside and listened to speakers, chanted and helped maintain the energy level at inspiring levels.

The Israeli Action Committee, a UCB student organization, stood outside as well, holding a large banner that said "Israel wants peace." When asked about SJP's tactics of nonviolent civil disobedience, one of the women carrying the banner, though not speaking as a representative of the IAC, said that SJP's "methods are idiotic." She also said that she "disgusted the the Palestinian support groups planned a demonstration on the anniversary of the Holocaust" and that they should be out there with IAC commemorating the loss of millions of lives during that horrible time. The day's significance was of course chosen very consciously by the organizers. The day was selected as a national day of action for divestment to coincide also swith the annual commemoration of the massacre of Deir Yassin.

:::more news as it arrives:::

by Mark
called upon people to remember that it was Sharon's provocation with his visit to the Temple Mount in September of 2000.

Oh yeah, don't want any non Muslims getting near a Muslim holy site.

You don't understand, it may be your holiest site, but it's our third holiest and we must have it!

by bob wallace
I was there today -- a great turnout

Linking Israeli occupation with Apartheid seems to be a good strategy in getting people motivated!

go protestors!
by protestor
this day of action happened to coincide with holocaust rememberance day, but this should not be seen as any offense to the jewish people. of course we are in solidarity with jewish people who are oppressed or have faced oppression in their lives. we had a moment of silence to remember all of those that have died in the genocides of history, including the deir yassin massacre and the nazi holocaust. a jewish speaker recited the jewish prayer of mourning for all those who have died, and the only people who were not listening and booing were the zionists. this was done in solidariy with all of those who are oppressed, jews, arabs, muslims, palestinians, and others in this world. there was no inherent conflict with holding it on holocaust rememberance day, except that the zionists wished to make it a conflict.

(and, just as a side note, deir yassin is commemorated every year on april 9, holocaust rememberance day does not always fall on the same day in the christian calendar, so this year it was a coincidence.)
by free israel from terror
Deir Yassin was not mourned last year here at UC Berkeley. The only year SJP decides to hold a rally for it is the one year in which the 2 events coincide. Other schools postponed their rallys to tomorrow in order to show respect for the Jewish students on campus. But what can you expect from the Nazi SJP members at Berkeley. They even said the Mourners Kaddish for the suicde bombers today. Talk about disrespect for Jews. Free Israel From Terror
by Holocaust Family Member
The plural of rally is rallies. How did you ever get past third grade?

No one has a monopoly on suffering. The stinking, filthy rich Zionist swine had better learn some humility. Their arrogance is offensive to the entire Jewish community, including this writer.

Today is also Paul Robeson's birthday. What is most memorable about Paul Robeson is that he stood up to American imperialism just as the Palestinians stand up to American imperialism today. Israel does not exist for one second without our tax dollars. It is Paul Robeson who is revered around the world, and will be remembered forever. Sniveling rich snots at UC Berkeley, who are 2-3 generations removed from the Holocaust and many generations removed from poverty, if ever any poverty existed in their family, will never be remembered.

To negate anyone else's suffering and to deny their right to hold that memorial is to be a Nazi. As I understand it, on the Jewish calendar, the Holocaust Day is not always April 9, but of course, Deir Yassin is, as they are following the same calendar we follow, the Gregorian calendar.

The Zionists of course have a long history of Nazi collaboration. See Ralph Schoenman's "Hidden History of Zionism" at and Lenni Brenner's book, "Zionism in the Age of Dictators" (1983: Lawrence Hill, Connecticut).

The arrogance of the Zionists that we are seeing expressed in writing in this public forum is appalling. We are all also outraged at your foul language and your use of racist terms. Your refusal to take the high road and engage in serious political discourse proves that you have nothing worthwhile to say and your position is untenable.
by sw
Better to hear from the Jews at Berkeley about their cause than the rich liberal white suburban kids who come to Berkeley to protest for the Palestinean cause because they think its cool to be with the underdog.
by chris
i guess what you are saying is that you think we're cool. thanks!
by DD
As a Jewish student and a history major studying the Holocaust, I personally found it offensive for pro Palestinian protesters to use, abuse and appropriate lock, stock and barrel the imagery of the Holocaust. The systematic genocide attempted against the Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators was unprovoked, based on pure hatred and was on a colossal scale -- 6 million killed. By contrast. Palestinians have resorted regularly to suicide bombings and violence against innocent civilians and many have refused to renounce their denial of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. They have rejected Israel's generous offers during the two Clinton-Barak-Arafat conferences by insisting on an expansive right of return which would submit Israel to demographic suicide and expose Jews to the whims of those known to be hostile to them. Many Jews believe that Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Arab East Jerusalem should have their own country-- but ONLY when they can be civil and peaceful and accept Israel as a permanent neighbor. That has yet to happen.

The genocide that was attempted against the Jews during the Holocaust and the pogroms in France and other parts of Europe and harassment in Berkeley today demonstrates the need for a single Jewish state that offers refuge to persecuted Jews around the world.

And as for the demonstration by the pro-Palestinian protestors being non-violent, can someone explain to me why a protester bit a cop and why they insisted on disrupting midterms and classes where the students made it quite clear they didn't want to be bothered? Also why did the protestors commit to not taking over buildings only to resort to that yet again?

For a movement that prides itself on being anti-bigotry, the amount of anti-Jewish prejudice manifested here is intollerable and unacceptable.

In the last two years fasting Jewish students were egged at High Holiday Services, a window was smashed and anti-Semitic vandalism occured at Berkeley Hillel. and four assaults were perpetrated against Jews in the immediate area of campus. Women have been harassed for wearing stars of David-- a Jewish and not necessarily pro-Israel symbol. This violence and harassment has got to stop and the insistence on appropriating a solemn day of commemoration for victims of the Holocaust has got to stop. Though some have yet to realize it, tolerance and acceptance is and must be a two-way street.
I never claimed the Holocaust was a Jewish monopoly. For the record Hitler murdered the disabled, Poles, communists, gypsies, gays and others. But to deny that Jews were one of Hitler's primary targets for extermination and that he and the Nazis were fanatical and methodical about trying to kill every Jew in Europe if not the world is to deny history.

What was the catalyst for Herzl to devise the concept of Zionism? Anti-Semitism -- that's right, read your history. The Dreyfuss Affair, where the French Right insidiously framed a Jewish officer of treachery with forgeries and a deliberate Anti-Semitic smear campaign. Herzl became convinced that only when Jews had a place they could call their own and resort to in case things went awry in the diaspora could they truly be safe. Does that make him a racist? NO! Does it make him a realist? Yes.

From the Crusades to the Russian & Polish & Romanian pogroms of the 19th and early 20th Centuries to the Holocaust, Jews have particularly been persecuted and murdered for their distinctive religion and culture as well as for a million stereotypes or percieved slights. They've been persecuted for too communist and too capitalist in their economic and political philosophy. They've been persecuted for being too distinctive and refusing to assimilate and they've been persecuted for assimilating. They've been persecuted for being successful and persecuted for being failures. They've been persecuted because they didn't have a country and now they are being persecuted because they do.

The madness needs to stop and the only way to do that is to give Jews a place that is theirs.

It is intellectually dishonest to claim that Jews have not been persecuted to the point that we need a place to call our own. This is not due to our racism -- this is due to the racism of others who ostracized and persecuted Jews to the point that Jews decided they needed a safe haven!

I don't see Gypsies displacing others for their "historically necessary/historically mandated" homeland. I don't see gays doing that. If the Jews so badly wanted to be safe, why didn't they emigrate to the US or other Western countries? They have white privilege here.
by DD
Is that the best you can come up with? We need to stop our "whinging?"

We have a right to "Never Forget" and I will not be told that by expressing historical memory of my forebearers who were unjustly and systematically hunted down and murdered that I am being a spoiled bourgeois brat. The lives of six million slain for their religion and culture deserves better than your curt "go away" and "quit complaining." Shame on you for being so callous to the human suffering of some. It seems some around here only have sympathy for the "underdog" du jour.

Well-established democracies that should have been safe havens either collapsed and joined the Nazis or were largely indifferent to the needs of Jewish refugees. The United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Latin America, the British Commonwealth all rejected rescue for the majority of those who could have been saved. Explain that away if you will.

The only assurance that Jews will be safe is a Jewish state, no matter how much that goes against your insensitive grain.
by Please stop and think.
“Palestinians doubt Blair can deliver,” announces the BBC. “Four Palestinians die in West Bank,” reports CNN. “IDF demolishes building used by Palestinian gunmen,” announces Israel’s government run Channel 1 News. The modern media is filled with stories about the Palestinians, their plight, their dilemmas and their struggles. All aspects of their lives seem to have been put under the microscope. Only one question never seems to be addressed: Who are the Palestinians? Who are these people who claim the Holy Land as their own? What is their history? Where did they come from? How did they arrive in the country they call Palestine? Now that both US President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (in direct opposition to the platform he was elected on) have come out in favor of a Palestinian state, it would be prudent to seek answers to these questions. For all we know, Palestine could be as real as Disneyland.

The general impression given in the media is that Palestinians have lived in the Holy Land for hundreds, if not thousands of years. No wonder, then, that a recent poll of French citizens shows that the majority believe (falsely) that prior to the establishment of the State of Israel an independent Arab Palestinian state existed in its place. Yet curiously, when it comes to giving the history of this “ancient” people most news outlets find it harder to go back more than the early nineteen hundreds. CNN, an agency which has devoted countless hours of airtime to the “plight” of the Palestinians, has a website which features a special section on the Middle East conflict called “Struggle For Peace”. It includes a promising sounding section entitled “Lands Through The Ages” which assures us it will detail the history of the region using maps. Strangely, it turns out, the maps displayed start no earlier than the ancient date of 1917. The CBS News website has a background section called “A Struggle For Middle East Peace.’’ Its history timeline starts no earlier than 1897. The NBC News background section called ‘’Searching for Peace’’ has a timeline which starts in 1916. BBC’s timeline starts in 1948.

Yet, the clincher must certainly be the Palestinian National Authority’s own website. While it is top heavy on such phrases as “Israeli occupation” and “Israeli human rights violations” the site offers practically nothing on the history of the so-called Palestinian people. The only article on the site with any historical content is called “Palestinian History - 20th Century Milestones” which seems only to confirm that prior to 1900 there was no such concept as the Palestinian People.

While the modern media maybe short on information about the history of the “Palestinian people” the historical record is not. Books, such as Battleground by Samuel Katz and From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters long ago detailed the history of the region. Far from being settled by Palestinians for hundreds, if not thousands of years, the Land of Israel, according to dozens of visitors to the land, was, until the beginning of the last century, practically empty. Alphonse de Lamartine visited the land in 1835. In his book, Recollections of the East, he writes "Outside the gates of Jerusalem we saw no living object, heard no living sound…." None other than the famous American author Mark Twain, who visited the Land of Israel in 1867, confirms this. In his book Innocents Abroad he writes, “A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We reached Tabor safely…. We never saw a human being on the whole journey.” Even the British Consul in Palestine reported, in 1857, “The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population…”

In fact, according to official Ottoman Turk census figures of 1882, in the entire Land of Israel, there were only 141,000 Muslims, both Arab and non-Arab. This number was to skyrocket to 650,000 Arabs by 1922, a 450% increase in only 40 years. By 1938 that number would become over 1 million or an 800% increase in only 56 years. Population growth was especially high in areas where Jews lived. Where did all these Arabs come from? According to the Arabs the huge increase in their numbers was due to natural childbirth. In 1944, for example, they alleged that the natural increase (births minus deaths) of Arabs in the Land of Israel was the astounding figure of 334 per 1000. That would make it roughly three times the corresponding rate for the same year of Lebanon and Syria and almost four times that of Egypt, considered amongst the highest in the world. Unlikely, to say the least. If the massive increase was not due to natural births, then were did all these Arabs come from?

All the evidence points to the neighboring Arab states of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. In 1922 the British Governor of the Sinai noted that “illegal immigration was not only going on from the Sinai, but also from Transjordan and Syria.” In 1930, the British Mandate -sponsored Hope-Simpson Report noted that “unemployment lists are being swollen by immigrants from Trans-Jordania” and “illicit immigration through Syria and across the northern frontier of Palestine is material.” The Arabs themselves bare witness to this trend. For example, the governor of the Syrian district of Hauran, Tewfik Bey el Hurani, admitted in 1934 that in a single period of only a few months over 30,000 Syrians from Hauran had moved to the Land of Israel. Even British Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted the Arab influx. Churchill, a veteran of the early years of the British mandate in the Land of Israel, noted in 1939 that “far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied.”

Far from displacing the Arabs, as they claimed, the Jews were the very reason the Arabs chose to settle in the Land of Israel. Jobs provided by newly established Zionist industry and agriculture lured them there, just as Israeli construction and industry provides most Arabs in the Land of Israel with their main source of income today. Malcolm MacDonald, one of the principal authors of the British White Paper of 1939, which restricted Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel, admitted (conservatively) that were it not for a Jewish presence the Arab population would have been little more than half of what it actually was. Today, when due to the latest “intifada” Arabs from the territories under 35 are no longer allowed into pre-1967 Israel to work, unemployment has skyrocketed to over 40% and most rely on European aid packages to survive.

Not only pre-state Arabs lied about being indigenous. Even today, many prominent so-called Palestinians, it turns out, are foreign born. Edward Said, an Ivy League Professor of Literature and a major Palestinian propagandist, long claimed to have been raised in Jerusalem. However, in an article in the September 1999 issue of Commentary Magazine Justus Reid Weiner revealed that Said actually grew up in Cairo, Egypt, a fact which Said himself was later forced to admit. But why bother with Said? PLO chief Yasir Arafat himself, self declared “leader of the Palestinian people”, has always claimed to have been born and raised in “Palestine”. In fact, according to his official biographer Richard Hart, as well as the BBC, Arafat was born in Cairo on August 24, 1929 and that’s where he grew up.

To maintain the charade of being an indigenous population, Arab propagandists have had to do more than a little rewriting of history. A major part of this rewriting involves the renaming of geography. For two thousand years the central mountainous region of Israel was known as Judea and Samaria, as any medieval map of the area testifies. However, the state of Jordan occupied the area in 1948 and renamed it the West Bank. This is a funny name for a region that actually lies in the eastern portion of the land and can only be called “West” in reference to Jordan. This does not seem to bother the majority of news outlets covering the region, which universally refer to the region by its recent Jordanian name.

The term “Palestinian" is itself a masterful twisting of history. To portray themselves as indigenous, Arab settlers adopted the name of an ancient Canaanite tribe, the Phillistines, that died out almost 3000 years ago. The connection between this tribe and modern day Arabs is nil. Who is to know the difference? Given the absence of any historical record, one can understand why Yasser Arafat claims that Jesus Christ, a Jewish carpenter from the Galilee, was a Palestinian. Every year, at Christmas time, Arafat goes to Bethlehem and tells worshippers that Jesus was in fact “the first Palestinian”.

If the Palestinians are indeed a myth, then the real question becomes “Why?” Why invent a fictitious people? The answer is that the myth of the Palestinian People serves as the justification for Arab occupation of the Land of Israel. While the Arabs already possess 21 sovereign countries of their own (more than any other single people on earth) and control a land mass 800 times the size of the Land of Israel, this is apparently not enough for them. They therefore feel the need to rob the Jews of their one and only country, one of the smallest on the planet. Unfortunately, many people ignorant of the history of the region, including much of the world media, are only too willing to help.

It is interesting to note that the Bible makes reference to a fictitious nation confronting Israel. “They have provoked me to jealously by worshipping a non-god, angered me with their vanities. I will provoke them with a non-nation; anger them with a foolish nation (Deuteronomy 32:21).”

On second thought, it may be unfair to compare Palestine to Disneyland. After all, Disneyland really exists.
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