Monday, February 28, 2011


All content of this post is courtesy of DesertPeace at

Seeger joins a growing roster of international performers who have declined to whitewash, greenwash, or in any way enable Israel’s colonial project, including Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies. 
Folk music legend Pete Seeger endorses boycott of Israel
Folk music legend Pete Seeger has come out in support of the growing Palestinian movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel as a program for justice for Palestinians and a route to peace in the Middle East.
Seeger, 92, participated in last November’s online virtual rally “With Earth and Each Other,” sponsored by the Arava Institute, an Israeli environmental organization, and by the Friends of the Arava Institute. The Arava Institute counts among its close partners and major funders the Jewish National Fund, responsible since 1901 for securing land in Palestine for the use of Jews only while dispossessing Palestinians. Although groups in the worldwide BDS movement had requested he quit the event, Seeger felt that he could make a strong statement for peace and justice during the event.
During a January meeting at his Beacon, NY home with representatives from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and Adalah-NY, Pete Seeger explained, “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.” 
Jeff Halper, the Coordinator of ICAHD, added, “Pete did extensive research on this. He read historical and current material and spoke to neighbors, friends, and three rabbis before making his decision to support the boycott movement against Israel.” Seeger has for some time given some of the royalties from his famous Bible-based song from the 1960s, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” to ICAHD for their work in rebuilding demolished homes and exposing Israel’s practice of pushing Palestinians in Israel off their land in favor of development of Jewish villages and cities.  
The November virtual rally “With Earth and Each Other” was billed as an apolitical effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to work for the environment. Dave Lippman from Adalah-NY noted, “Arava’s online event obfuscated basic facts about Israel’s occupation and systematic seizure of land and water from Palestinians. Arava’s partner and funder, the JNF, is notorious for planting forests to hide Palestinian villages demolished by Israel in order to seize their land. Arava was revealed as a sterling practitioner of Israeli government efforts to ‘Rebrand Israel’ through greenwashing and the arts.” 
Currently, the JNF is supporting an Israeli government effort to demolish the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in order to plant trees from the JNF that were paid for by the international evangelical group GOD-TV. The Friends of the Arava Institute’s new board chair has recently published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post that only cautiously questions some activities of the JNF, an organization whose very raison-d’etre is to take over land for Jews at the expense of the Palestinian Arab population. 
Pete Seeger’s long-time colleague Theodore Bikel, an Israeli-American known for his life-long involvement with Israeli culture, recently supported the Israeli artists who have refused to perform in a new concert hall in Ariel, a large illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
Seeger joins a growing roster of international performers who have declined to whitewash, greenwash, or in any way enable Israel’s colonial project, including Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies.
The above is from a Press release issued byAdalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel &
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anonymous Responds to Westboro Baptist Church!

Anonymous' Press Release:

Shiretoko 3.5

And here is that video confrontation by one of Anonymous' members with that lunatic Shirley Phelps-Roper.

Anonymous Hacks Westboro Baptist Church Website During Live Confrontation 

~ Sofia Smith

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Videos from the Libyan Revolution (warning, graphic content!)

Videos will be added to this post as they are forwarded to us! Please make sure to send us any videos that you would like to post either via Twitter to @SmithSofia or via e-mail at

~ Sofia Smith

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Mother's Loss - Operation Cast Lead Mass-murder (*warning to the viewers - graphic content in this video*)

Some things are such that you do not need to understand the language they are spoken in. They touch your heart and wound you. On behalf of someone else. Because you can feel their pain. Because you can never feel their pain. But you must watch. Witness. Listen. And try to stop it & prevent it from happening again. Please!

I cried my eyes out watching this. It is one of the most horrible things that can happen to a parent. It is unspeakable. How is it even conceivable and globally acceptable that Palestinian parents must suffer this? ALL THE TIME! Why?

~ Sofia Smith

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Witness Israeli/IDF Inhumanity Towards Palestinian Children - Again!

Originally posted by Joseph Dana (@ibnezra) under the title 
'Inside the Military Repression of Nabi Saleh: Arrest of Children' 

~ Sofia Smith

Monday, February 7, 2011

Together Against the Dictator (in video)

Christians protecting Muslims during their prayers
in Tahrir Square - Egypt

The Egyptian Protesters sing together at
the Tahrir Square (English Subtitles)

Egypt's Tahrir Square protesters vow to stay put

Millions rally to oust Mubarak

~ Sofia Smith

I Have Watched in Awe

I have watched in awe as the Egyptian popular uprising unfurled. As the people took to the streets. As families joined the marches, as they made their voices heard and as many took a stand in Tahrir Square. As they defended their neighbourhoods as well as the Egyptian museum. As people were selfless. As they spoke out for their people. For themselves. For a democratic Egypt. I have watched in awe.

I have watched in awe as more and more pictures and videos emerged from the uprising. These were pictures and videos about the will of the Eqyptian people on the streets, demanding democracy. About their strength. But also videos of the violence perpetuated by Mubarak’s government thugs. From Tahrir Square where much has happened. Where Mubarak’s thugs attempted to massacre the pro-democracy protestors. Where new connections were made, where religion no longer matters and one stands for the other and protects eachother during prayer. Where every life mattered and every lost life and injury was mourned. Where there were comrades. Where there were children! Where there was incredible strength. Where people survived and took a stand!

I have watched in horror as the dictator Mubarak’s thugs attacked the peaceful pro-democracy protestors after Mubarak ended his speech and during the days that followed. I have been horrified by the global blindness perpetuated by some of the Western media. How people simply did not know about the attacks by Mubarak’s thugs outside of Egypt, Twitter and Facebook. It is almost as if some think that if something is silenced to death it does not exist. This approach failed here. As the world now knows and as the strength of the Egyptian pro-democracy protestors persists.

I have watched in awe how the journalists that were present in Egypt fought hard to get the information out. How they were attacked, arrested, had their equipment seized. How they were threatened…and how they persisted. Especially Al-Jazeera reporters need to be commended on their incredible work, strength and bravery to continue on reporting no matter what!

I have watched in awe as the Egyptian bloggers fought hard online and on the ground in Tahrir Square and elsewhere to get every piece of information possible out to the world. How at great personal risk they took a stand to fight for a democratic Egypt.

I have watched in awe as make-shift clinics were created by volunteer doctors to help the wounded pro-democracy protestors. How medical supplies, food, blankets were provided by any and all who could get them to Tahrir Square.

I have watched in awe as the Egyptian women took their place as comrades in the struggle. As they always have and as they always will. I have a lot to learn from each of them.

And I have watched in awe as the Egyptian youth rose to the forefront of the struggle!

I have watched in awe….and I will continue to do so.

~ Sofia Smith

Who is afraid of BDS? (by Joseph Dana and Max Blumenthal)

This piece is co-written with Max Blumenthal

The day after the American pop star Macy Gray announced controversial plans to perform in Tel Aviv in March, we sat down for a drink at Pua, a bar nestled in the heart of one of Jaffa’s most gentrified neighborhoods. When the waitress, a sociable 20-something resident of the city’s burgeoning young Jewish community informed us of a new brand of beer the restaurant was carrying, we wondered based on rumors we had heard if it was brewed in a settlement in the Golan Heights. The waitress, who was clearly offended, vehemently denied that it was “a settlement beer.” She reassured us that the owner of the restaurant was “a real Tel Aviv type guy,” and as such, “would not carry such a product.”

We were confused. “What exactly is a Tel Aviv type guy?” we asked her. When she returned to our table with two European beers, we asked for more information about the owner and a conversation began. She informed us that the owner of the bar ‘just keeps to himself and his friends in Tel Aviv’. She told us that he was not interested in politics and just wanted to live his life. We asked about her ideas on politics and the occupation. “I am a photographer. I used to go to Bil’in but it is violent.” She continued, “Now I just spend time with my friends and try to be a good person. I can’t take trying to change anything anymore.”
When asked for her opinion on BDS, her response was short and quick: “You can’t fight evil with evil.” She insisted that every boycott in history was wrong. We pressed her gently on the issue of boycotts (what about MLK’s Montgomery Bus Boycott, or the boycott of apartheid South Africa?) but it was clear that she was unwilling to go deep into the issue. She knew about the Occupation, the settlements, the racism that was rising like a tidal wave all around her, but she had deliberately cloistered herself inside a quaint European-style bar and Tel Aviv’s cosmopolitan lifestyle. Perhaps she could have contributed to the fight for a real democracy in Israel and justice for Palestinians living under occupation, but she had surrendered to the culture of apathy sanctioned by an entitled elite.

We began to understand the power of the cultural boycott in disrupting the apathy that pervades middle class, urban Israeli society. Apathy allows Israelis to live in comfort behind iron walls while remaining immune to the occupation and innoculated from its horrors. The culture of apathy allows them to watch the news and let out a groan of concern without thinking seriously about political engagement. In the case of the waitress at Pua, her apathy enabled her to witness the brutal military repression of legitimate political protest in the West Bank, only to return home to Tel Aviv and ignore her culpability.

The cultural boycott forces Israelis to deal with Israel’s behavior towards Palestinians by targeting them where it counts most: in the heart of their affluent comfort zones. The extreme right of Lieberman and the settlement movement must be confronted and exposed, but they are only the most extreme representation of an official ideology of racism towards Palestinians and the Arab world. They have grown and metastisized through fervent political activity, charisma and demagogy, while the “Good Israel” of Tel Aviv sits by impassively, and even cynically, watching the waves roll in while their society goes over the brink. It is the culture of apathy that supplies oil to the Occupation Machine.

Many Ashkenazi citizens of Israel have a second passport, allowing them to travel to and receive benefits from Western countries. They have developed an easy escape valve from the oppressive and violent manifestations of Jewish nationalism. Meanwhile, Palestinians live under a matrix of control devised inside US and European-funded Israeli universities and high tech research centers. An elaborate network of walls, electrified fences, biometric scanning devices, predator drones and collaborator networks ensures that each aspect of their lives is dominated by the Occupation. Because Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are forbidden from living where they choose with West Bank spouses, even their love lives are occupied. How would our waitress at Pua react if her life was subject to such crushing limitations?

We have often heard the argument that Macy Gray and other artists thinking about boycotting should perform in Tel Aviv and Ramallah. This commonly held idea not only reinforces concepts of segregation between Jews and Palestinians, it misses the point of the Palestinian boycott call entirely. The cultural boycott is designed to undermine the normalization of Israeli society. Palestinians do not necessarily want to see rock shows in Ramallah, they want to bring an end to the occupation. The 170 Palestinian civil society organizations who crafted the BDS call concluded that the most realistic non-violent means for ending the occupation was to force Israelis to live with the full responsibility of their actions. This was one of the ideas behind the boycott of Apartheid South Africa and one of the reasons why organizations like the South African Artists Against Apartheid now work to achieve the same goals in Israel.

My colleague and peer, Noam Shiezaf, published a thoughtful piece on this site arguing that Macy Gray should request that a certain number of tickets be sold to Palestinians in the West Bank for her Tel Aviv performance. The Palestinians would buy the tickets and then Israel would refuse their entrance to Tel Aviv. This would then provide a suitable subtext for Macy Gray to cancel her show.

The idea is clever but raises an important question: why would Macy Gray need to create a subtext to cancel? Doesn’t the longest military occupation in history provide a suitable enough reason to boycott? Furthermore, Israel would be able to correctly point out that Palestinians from the West Bank, by and large, are not allowed to enter Tel Aviv due to the sovereign laws of entry and exit to the State of Israel. Thus, the stunt would accomplish little more than reinforcing the notion that a militarized and radicalized Israeli society is perfectly kosher. And by circumventing the substance of the Palestinian BDS call, it allows critics to paint the cultural boycott as a form of collective punishment.

Too much of the commentary about BDS addresses the movement in a vacuum. The fact is, BDS is an integral part of Palestinian non-violent tactics. Quite simply, BDS is the globalization of Palestinian non-violent action against Israel’s occupation. So why do certain Jewish organizations from the United States and Israeli liberal Zionists lend rhetorical support to the joint nonviolent struggle in Sheikh Jarrah and elsewhere, while demonizing the call for BDS as borderline anti-Semitic and beyond the pale of reasonable people? Would the leaders of these organizations sit with the Palestinian families forcibly evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and tell them that their tactics are illegitimate?

It is easy to wash your hands of moral responsibility by participating in noble but ultimately doomed battles against the Occupation Machine. Confronting your own personal responsibility in allowing the crisis to reach such a terrible juncture is much harder, if not impossible, for too many. Perhaps the hardest step for the left-wing of the Jewish Establishment is ceding control of the debate while Palestinians assume the lead in their own struggle for freedom.

If the international community and especially the American Jewish community is unwilling to allow Palestinians a global form of nonviolent resistance against Israel’s occupation, what is left for the Palestinians to do? If violence is out of the question – it is certainly a terrible option for everyone — should Palestinians simply allow the Occupation to sweep them away like dust?

This is the question posed by the Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish in his famous poem, “The Earth Presses Against Us.” “Where should we go after the last border? Where should birds fly after the last sky?” he asked. BDS may not be a panacea, but it at least ensures that for the Palestinians a horizon darkened by occupation can be extended until a just solution comes into view.

The Egyptians are giving us a lesson in democracy (+972blog)

Originally published Saturday, February 5 2011|+972blog 

In Israel we like to boast about being the only democracy in the Middle East, but while democracy in Israel slides down the slippery slope, the Egyptians are showing us what true democratic spirit is
By Mati Shemoelof

The media and Israel’s left wing has recently been dealing with the harassment of left-wing organizations and the chilling of free speech. It seems that with so much of their attention focused on the delusional fringes of the racist right wing, Israel’s leftist organizations have forgotten the social struggles. We have not heard a word about the struggle led by social activists Yitzchak Jacky Edri in Dimona, protesting the privatization of water. No organization has taken upon itself in any kind of meaningful way the struggle for public housing in Beit She’an. These are just two sample struggles over basic resources, which could expand to include all classes in Israel.

Protesters at Cairo's Tahrir Square (photo: Ramy Raoof/Flickr)

The budget also passed without any form of insistent resistance. Treasury Minister Yuval Steinitz is continuing the process of privatization, marking target after target and giving it freely to the wealthy. Perhaps the Treasury Minister is using Foreign Minister Lieberman – the fascist steps taken by the delusional right wing gained much more leftist attention than important social issues.

Greek philosopher Aristotle saw the ordinary form of democracy as a degenerate form of government. He thought that a life of equality would dull the citizens’ senses and be a situation where they would be too accustomed to good times and unwilling to fight for it. The perfect state that he described is a form of active democracy, where the citizens use their franchise rights on a daily basis. This is exactly what we see around us, in Tunisia and Egypt.

The Egyptians have learned from the Tunisians, and from the successful use of social networks by the Iranians. The current movement in the Arab world have brought about a renewed definition of relations between the people and their government. The government has discovered that it could not disconnect the people from technology – the attempt to cut off the Internet and cell phone networks in Egypt was the last straw. Mubarak’s tyrannical regime kept every fifth person on as an informer to security forces, but still could not put a halt to the social rage in the streets.

Slavery to liberty in Egypt – really?

Meanwhile, the Israeli government is sitting pretty, imagining that the lies about the extent of unemployment in Israel can continue, with two-digit unemployment being reported as lower than ten percent. Israel believes that a large portion of the future profits from natural gas can be handed over to tycoon Yitzchak Tshuva, because he is more important than most other people living in the country. Israel turns its back on the periphery, deepening the gap between rich and poor. Anything goes, as long as we’re all certain that we’re the only “democracy” in the Middle East.

It is those Arab nations, in Tunisia and Egypt, who come closer to the state Aristotle had described. We can only watch in awe those multitudes who join the demonstrations in Egypt, who take responsibility for the safety of neighborhoods, who bring together all various movement in Egypt under the umbrella of opposition leader Dr. Muhammad Al Baradei. At every demonstration the citizens of Egypt stress the universal demand for rights, justice, equality, and freedom of expression.

The giant demonstrations in Egypt remind us of the extent to which the Israeli regime is withering away in its passivity. At the very height of the leftist demonstrations we saw twenty-thousand demonstrators at the Tel Aviv Museum, where Kadima’s Minister Meir Sheetrit and Hadash MK Mohammed Barakeh stood together for the first time. But what was the demonstration about? The future of the left-wing organizations. Why was the demonstration not held in the periphery? Where are the people who have truly been sidelined out of Israeli society? When will we see the one million poor Jews and Arabs gathering in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and demanding replacement of the leadership which has abandoned, humiliated and abused them? The multitudes in Tahrir Square teach us an important lesson about how to use democratic action to redefine the relationship between a nation and its ruler.

Mati Shemoelof is an Israeli poet, editor, and social activists. This article was originally published on the website of Israel’s Channel 2 news. It was translated from Hebrew by Dena Shunra.

Dave Randall (Faithless) on 5fm: I support

~ Sofia Smith

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Solidarity with those fighting for their lives in Tahrir Square (Cairo, Egypt)!

This is to let all of you know that I will be posting a blog entry in the next couple of days. Due to the pressing events that have kept me and many other busy on Twitter in support of those protesting and defending themselves in Tahrir Square in Egypt, I am running a little behind in my blog postings. More will follow soon, I promise!

In the meantime, please contact your Members of Parliament, Representatives, Congresspeople, Prime Ministers, Presidents or any other government vehicle to make your voices heard in support of the anti-government/Mubarak protestors who are currently fighting for their lives against Mubarak's thugs in Tahrir square and the streets of Cairo.  Here is some information that you can use.

Egpytian Embassies and Consulates Worldwide:
US Embassies and Consulates Worldwide:

In addition, please contact Hilton International to complain about their Cairo staff's confiscation of journalist's camera equipment (during the week of February 1, 2011).  Hilton International can be contacted at

Please call and e-mail and make your voice heard! It's important! Lives depend on the global community making themselves heard on behalf of the Eqyptian pro-democracy demonstrators in Tahrir Square and the streets of Cairo! Help them! Please!

~ Sofia Smith