Our shared duty to Eric Garner and Mike Brown

This post was initially published on our Facebook page on November 26, 2014. We have updated and published it here.

We were recently asked why Sixteen Minutes to Palestine — a Palestine-centric blog — reports outside of its scope on the shooting of Mike Brown, the choking death of Eric Garner, and the nationwide protests these and similar tragedies have sparked. We figured that the best response would be a public one, where we would be able to reiterate our mission statement and our values and show how important it is to connect with allied struggles for justice.

SMP specifically explores the richness and authenticity of the Palestinian identity. We present news, first-person accounts, and visual content related to Palestine as a way of highlighting our vibrant culture and history and maintaining our own narrative.

The Palestinian struggle is unique in many ways, and many have characterized it as the human rights struggle of our time. But it shares many values with other critical social justice struggles around the world. Government corruption in Mexico has turned the police against the citizens and further marginalized those of a lower socioeconomic status. Governments that collaborate with Israel, in Palestine and in neighboring countries, have similarly turned Palestinians into second-class citizens, denying them of their basic rights. Gentrification in urban neighborhoods throughout the United States has forced many minority groups into poverty, limiting their access to schools, hospitals, and fresh produce. Similarly, the Israeli government sponsors settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories, effectively displacing Palestinians, restricting their access to their own land, and imposing virtually total control of their movement. These are just two of the seemingly infinite connections that exist between struggles. As unique as the Palestinian struggle is, there are things we can learn, teach, and share in order to make each struggle that much more effective. [Read more…]

Highlights from the 2014 National SJP Conference

Last month, more than 500 student organizers representing nearly 120 colleges and universities from all over the country convened at Tufts University in Boston for the fourth ever National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the U.S. to Palestine,” a strikingly fitting theme building on the previous year’s commitment to connecting the Palestinian struggle with other social justice causes, especially those in our backyards here in America.

T-shirts bearing the logo design for the 2014 National SJP Conference are prepared for distribution on the opening day of the gathering. Photo credit: S. Damra

Boston-based hip hop group Foundation Movement performs at Saturday’s cultural Night of Freedom at Tuft University’s Cohen Auditorium. Opti Browne, far right, drapes a Palestinian flag around his neck. Photo credit: Christopher Hazou

A conference attendee looks at the weekend’s program after checking into registration. Photo credit: S. Damra [Read more…]

Footage: Racially-charged exchange on Israeli bus further contextualizes hanging of Palestinian bus driver

On Sunday night, Yusuf Hassan Al-Ramouni’s body was found hanging inside of a transit bus in Jerusalem. The 32-year-old Palestinian father of two worked for Egged, an Israeli transit bus company, and his shift was set to begin at 9:20 pm. But his bus never left the depot, and in the middle of it hung his body by a thin cord.

Despite initial reports that Yusuf had been attacked and lynched, the Israeli police ruled the death a suicide. The police later issued another statement saying that an autopsy report revealed no evidence of foul play.

However, a medical expert speaking anonymously told Ma’an News that the autopsy suggested Yusuf was the victim of “an organized murder”. Aside from his intact first verebtra, which would have likely been dislocated in the case of a sucide by hanging, Yusuf’s body also showed that livor mortis was found in the buttocks of the body, indicating that he was sitting rather than hanging when he died.

Additionally, photographs circulating the internet purport to show extensive bruising on Yusuf’s body.

Several of Yusuf’s colleagues have spoken up about the abuse faced by Palestinian bus drivers on Israeli transit services. But Palestinian drivers are not the only individuals at the receiving end of racially-charged abuse.

Footage published online just days before Yusuf’s death shows a group of Israeli passengers ganging up against a Palestinian citizen of Israel. The Israeli passengers demand that the Palestinian give up her bag to be checked. There appears to be no reason why she is being targeted except for the fact that she is Arab. It is not clear which city the bus is driving through.

Toward the end of the exchange, one of the two armed Israeli soldiers on the bus attempts to be a voice of reason and says that because he has studied “a lot about Islam and Qur’an,” he can “identify” with Arab culture and, presumably, with the Palestinian passenger. He goes on to say that “Israelis are in a very tense situation now,” as if to reassure her that there is justification behind the intimidation. [Read more…]

Photo of the Day: Racism wears the face of death

Note: Due to the sheer amount of evocative and telling photography coming out of Palestine, we have transitioned our weekly photograph features into daily photograph features and will continue uploading images on a daily basis until further notice.

Photo credit: Khalil Hamra
Date taken: August 5, 2014
Location: Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestine

The Abu Louli family returned to their home in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah where they were greeted by a drawing of a menacing skull left by Israeli soldiers who had used their home as a base for many nights. Israel pulled its soldiers out of many areas in Gaza earlier in the week but has resumed its aerial bombardment of the coastal enclave. [Read more…]

When those who justify state-sponsored terrorism complain about a Palestine map on a team jersey

A Chilean team’s newest kits have put the squad under pressure following accusations that the shirts, which feature a map of historic Palestine, “foment terrorist intent”.

Yes, you read that correctly. A club football team is being accused of promoting violence and terrorism because of a map on the back of its jerseys.

Club Deportivo Palestino is one of Chile’s oldest club teams. Founded in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants, the club has had a steady presence in Chile’s top tier league. The team is based in Santiago, Chile’s capital, where it draws much of its support from the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian immigrants who fled to Chile to escape violence and colonialism as far back as the mid- to late-1800s and especially during the Nakba of the late 1940s. Today, Santiago is widely regarded as home to the largest Palestinian community in the West.

Proud of the team’s history, the team’s front office does what it can to preserve the vision and the culture of the organization’s founding members. The crest and the team’s strip boldly feature the colors of the Palestinian flag. The Bank of Palestine was at one point the team’s main shirt sponsor.

CD Palestino players, past and present, have embraced the very same vision and culture. Team captain Filipe Nuñez recently spent time visiting families and children in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem to strengthen ties between Chilean and Palestinian football fans. The team has been known to hold moments of silence and reflection during major Israeli military offensives in the occupied Gaza Strip. CD Palestino also regularly starts players of Palestinian descent. [Read more…]

How to make a StandWithUs video in 10 easy steps

Guest contribution by Ilias S.

Things not going your way? StandWithUs knows how you feel. Lucky for you, they’ve given us a model for how to cope. So if you ever find yourself coming up short like all the time, follow these ten simple steps!

Step 1: Accept the fact that you are losing

… and come up with the fully thought-out idea of announcing it on YouTube.

Step 2: Visit thesaurus.com

… and come up with as many dramatic ways of saying the same thing as possible. [Read more…]

Here’s a comment that is so ridiculous you just want to keep a physical copy of it as a souvenir

It’s the internet. We’ve all faced our share of offensive, racist, or outright genocidal comments and we know better than to give an ounce of thought. But every once in a while, we’ll come across a comment so absurd that you feel the need to print it out in big, bold block letters on resume paper and archive it as evidence of a time when someone’s IQ dipped far below zero.

This is one of those comments.

To mark the beginning of Eid Al-Adha, BuzzFeed published a listicle containing 38 photographs of Muslims celebrating the festival from all over the world.

One photograph in particular appears to have drawn the ire of a frequent BuzzFeed contributor who goes by the name of ‘Spam Of God’.

[Read more…]

Perspectives on the media that covered the slaying of Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman, charged in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, was found not guilty on Sunday in a case that gripped the nation. Zimmerman, who claims to have felt threatened by Martin, shot and killed the teenager after concluding that he was acting suspicious. Martin was unarmed and had actually been returning home after purchasing Skittles and an Arizona brand drink from a local 7-Eleven.

The verdict cleared Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges and immediately sparked protest in cities throughout the United States, including in Chicago’s Daley Plaza and New York’s Union Square. On the other end of the spectrum, supporters of Zimmerman lit fireworks in celebration.

It was a polarizing case from the very start. It was also a media circus, as many people are so keen to mention.

The media frenzy surrounding the case certainly contributed to the polarity. Early coverage from NBC included edited recordings of Zimmerman’s 911 call, making it appear that Zimmerman voluntarily revealed to the 911 dispatchers that Martin was black as if to justify his suspicion.

Attention to Martin’s race only grew as media coverage shifted away from Martin’s actual slaying to the impending trial and the way it would pan out if race-conscious liberals could have their way. Fox News commentators were among the several vocal critics who wished for media attention on Martin’s race to be separated from the trial itself. [Read more…]

NY Jets ‘disgraceful’ for signing Palestinian-American: MLB media coordinator

Less than three months after the New York Jets drafted Palestinian-American Oday Aboushi and before the football season has even kicked off, Aboushi has begun to face anti-Palestinian sentiment.

The racist assault, exposed first by The Electronic Intifada, is tied to Jonathan Mael, a new media coordinator for Major League Baseball’s official website. In a tweet Mael posted on July 10, he writes “The @nyjets are a disgrace of an organization. The Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, the Jets have Oday Aboushi”. Hernandez, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, is a current suspect in a murder case.

Also uncovered by The Electronic Intifada is Mael’s history with AIPAC, for which he served as a “Community Relations Intern”. [Read more…]

Why Palestinians won’t lend their voices to OneVoice and liberal Zionism

Guest contribution by Sami J.

The organization OneVoice claims to be a grassroots movement aimed at empowering Israelis and Palestinians to push their leaders toward a two-state solution. In practice, this has translated into a strategy overwhelmingly focused on what’s good for Israel — and specifically Israel’s Jews — while Palestinian suffering and rights are sacrificed on the altar of compromise. This problem was pointed out by PACBI back in 2010. And last week, it was thrown into stark relief when it was discovered that OneVoice had put out a shockingly racist Hebrew-only graphic, warning of the increase in the Palestinian population and what counteractions must be taken to preserve a Jewish majority in historic Palestine (a full translation can be found here).

In what can only be described as naked cynicism, while OneVoice was warning Israeli Jews of the “high” number of Palestinians, it was also seeking to collaborate with Palestinians in exile, specifically the Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights (CMPR), a youth-led Palestine solidarity organization. CMPR understandably refused, issuing an open letter outlining their valid reasons. This did not sit well with liberal Zionist professor Mira Sucharov, who wrote a very patronizing piece on the need to refrain from (what she thinks are) frivolous accusations of racism and to work together to achieve peace (on Zionist terms, of course) instead.

When I challenged her on this, she responded that while she understands OneVoice’s message “stings”, Jewish yearning for national sovereignty is also important; and that the disagreement with OneVoice is “about feelings and narrative” where “collective emotions and historical memory are key”. [Read more…]

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