Cornel West: Biden WORRIED ICC Will Seek His Arrest, Vows to Be on Ballot in Over 40 States

Status Coup News • May 22, 2024 • HARLEM Jordan Chariton interviewed Independent Presidential Candidate Dr. Cornel West on the campaign trail in Harlem, New York. During the interview, West expressed he believed President Biden is worried that the International Criminal Court would be seeking arrest warrants against him over his role in funding Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. He’s a “genocide denier,” West said about President Biden. West also vowed that he would be on the presidential ballot in 40 state ballots by the time of the November general election. SUPPORT Status Coup’s ON-THE-GROUND reporting on the stories the corporate media COVERS UP. BECOME a member for $5 bucks a month: https://www.StatusCoup.com/Join DONATE: https://statuscoup.com/donate/ JOIN our Substack: https://statuscoup.substack.com @JordanCHariton on ‘X’

Support for public power in SF is growing, even—finally—in the news media

ABC News segment focuses on the Raker Act Scandal; will the mayoral candidates all support the next step? And what’s up with Matt Haney?

By TIM REDMOND

M AY 21, 2024 (48hours.org)

I have been writing about PG&E and the Raker Act Scandal since I started working at the Bay Guardian in 1982. For more than four decades, the mainstream news media has ignored us, dismissed us, or taken the side of the illegal power monopoly. (The Bay Guardian first broke the story in 1969, long before I got there; I just kept it going.)

And now, after all the disasters that PG&E has wrought on the state and the city, we are starting to see a change.

Even the Chron, long a staunch supporter of PG&E, is catching on; in an editorial today, the paper chastised the state Legislature, including Assemblymember Matt Haney, for failing to control future rate hikes. Haney didn’t cast a vote on a bill that would have capped the monthly “fixed charge” that PG&E wants to stick us all with. That meant he voted to kill it. In other words, to side with PG&E.

ABC’s Lyanne Melendez interviews former Sup. Tom Ammiano about PG&E’s one-time power at City Hall.

Last week, the local ABC news affiliate did what is for TV a very detailed story about how PG&E has for more than a century blocked the federal mandate that San Francisco operate a public-power system. You can see the story by Lyanne Melendez here.

She points out the clear facts: San Francisco in 1913 won the right to build a dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to provide a stable water source for a growing city—but only on the condition that the dam also be used to generate hydroelectric power that would be used as a beach head for public power in Northern California.

That is: to undermine PG&E.

At the time, the conservationists who opposed the idea of a dam in a public park and the public-power advocates who argued that electricity, like water, should never be controlled by private companies, were willing to cut a compromise. It was an historic moment; destroy a pristine valley that broke John Muir’s heart, but keep an emerging  private monopoly from controlling the local power grid.

It’s been a massive failure: For more than 100 years, PG&E has bought off politicians and sometimes community organizations, paid a fortune to run political campaigns and control local media, and do everything possible to protect its most lucrative market, San Francisco.

The company is also protecting a system that prevents the city—and the state—from taking real action on climate change. PG&E is making it more difficult for people to install rooftop solar, because that hurts the company’s profits. The reality is, one of the few effective ways to reach renewable energy goals in California is widespread, distributed generation—like rooftop solar.

A public-power system has no profit motive, so San Francisco could, and would, encourage more solar installations.

And under any scenario I can imagine, and I have run these numbers many times over the years, the city would wind up making money—hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue over costs by running a full-scale public-power system.

There is, and we will hear about this, the issue of what happens to the other parts of Northern California, where PG&E would still be the only power source, and would try to raise rates to make up for losing its most lucrative territory.

But there’s a ready-made solution to that, too: The state already has a framework in place to replace PG&E entirely. Alternately, the state could break up the giant company and parcel its grid out to existing agencies; the Sacramento Municipal Utility District could take much of the north, East Bay Mud could take the rest of the Bay Area … it’s not that difficult to imagine public power for all of Northern California.

So here’s what has to happen: PG&E has made it clear that the company won’t sell voluntarily, so the city has to take the grid by eminent domain. That means setting a price on everything the company owns in SF (except the headquarters building on Beale St., which the city doesn’t need or want).

The California Public Utilities Commission is working on putting a value to the lines, poles, meters, etc.—and as soon as that figure is ready, the SF Public Utilities Commission would have to go into court and file the papers to take over the system.

There’s no need to go to the ballot to approve a bond act; the PUC has the authority, thanks to a measure years ago by Sup. Aaron Peskin, to issue revenue bonds, backed not by the city’s tax base but by the future income from the system.

At some point along the way, either the controller or the budget analyst would need to run the numbers, to show the public (and Wall Street) that this makes financial sense. It’s never too early to get that started.

Breed supports the idea. Peskin, of course, does too. Sup. Ahsha Safai has supported it in the past.
I have asked the other two major candidates for mayor, Mark Farrell and Daniel Lurie, for their response, and will let you know what they say.

I’ve given Haney two days to explain his pro-PG&E stance. I’ve call his director of communications, Nate Allbee, twice and left a text message.

No response.

Tim Redmond

Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

“We Hope to Be a Model”: Students & Faculty at The New School Secure Divestment Vote

MAY 22, 2024 (Democracynow.org)

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  • Alexandra Chasin professor at The New School and member of the faculty encampment negotiating team.

Image Credit: National Students for Justice in Palestine

Students and faculty at The New School, home to the first faculty Gaza solidarity encampment, have announced they reached a deal with the university to hold a vote on divesting from Israel by June 14. The agreement comes after months of campus protests, encampments and the occupation of a university building to demand The New School divest its endowment from companies arming and supporting Israeli forces in Gaza and the West Bank. The school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter has said the university currently has ties to several companies that are “actively involved in, and benefiting from, the genocide in Palestine,” including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Google and Caterpillar. “What this is not is an end to war or famine or occupation, and so we’re keeping our eyes on the bigger picture, which is Palestine,” says Alexandra Chasin, a professor at The New School and member of the faculty encampment negotiating team. “We hope to be a model, or at least to help organizers at other universities, as well.”


Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We turn now to New York, where The New School Gaza solidarity encampment has announced it’s reached a deal with the university’s Board of Trustees to hold a vote on divesting from Israel by June 14th. The agreement comes after months of campus protests by students and faculty demanding The New School divest its endowment from companies arming and supporting Israeli forces in Gaza and the West Bank. The agreement also granted amnesty to those involved in the peaceful protests. The New School’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter has said the university currently has ties to several companies that are, quote, “actively involved in, and benefiting from, the genocide in Palestine,” unquote, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Google and Caterpillar. The New School has been home to the country’s first faculty encampment.

For more, we’re joined by two guests. Alexandra Chasin is professor of literary [studies] at Lang College at The New School. Professor Chasin was part of the faculty encampment and the negotiating team that led the Board of Trustees to agree on divestment. And Natasha Lennard joins us, a columnist for The Intercept. Her most recent piece is “University Professors Are Losing Their Jobs Over ‘New McCarthyism’ on Gaza.” She’s also associate director of The New School’s creative publishing and critical journalism master’s program.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s begin with Professor Chasin. You were part of the negotiating team. What happened? What did you agree to? It’s fascinating to go down 5th Avenue. On one side, you have the faculty encampment inside The New School. Diagonally across is Parsons. And straight across is the student encampment that was reestablished inside the school there.

ALEXANDRA CHASIN: So, I’d like to begin by just establishing that this was a faculty-student collaborative effort. There were undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni, part-time faculty and full-time faculty in both encampments and negotiating teams. That’s very important to us, because faculty really wanted to stand in solidarity with students, so that collaboration is meaningful to us.

I want to also say, of course, what this is not is an end to war or famine or occupation, and so we’re keeping our eyes on the bigger picture, which is Palestine. We still have a lot of work to do. This isn’t even divestment. It’s a commitment by the investment committee to vote on divestment two-zero — and that’s an important point — on some language that I hope I’ll be able to read to you in a moment. It’s significant also because this represents movement on the part of the investment committee, movement in response to campus activism and to the expressed will of the representative bodies at the university, faculty and student Senates, divisional bodies, unions, and the local AAUP chapter. And the language, again, which I hope you’ll let me read to you, we hope to be a model, or at least to help organizers at other universities, as well.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Professor, how does what’s occurred at The New School differ, for instance, from the conciliation efforts at some other universities, like Brown and Northwestern, the few — the handful of university administrators that have actually attempted to negotiate with their faculty and students over divestment?

ALEXANDRA CHASIN: Yeah, well, we have achieved an actual commitment to vote, as Amy said, by or on June 14th, which is unusual. And this is what the investment committee will be voting on specifically. It’s a “call for complete divestment from industries implicated in military and police violence in Gaza and the West Bank, and all global militarized conflict such as companies or subsidiaries involved in weapons manufacturing, military supplies and equipment, military communication, and public surveillance technology.” And we believe that’s really a step forward and, again, hope that it helps folks organize at other universities.

And moreover, in exchange for this commitment to vote, in fact, for a public statement of the commitment to vote, we got, as was also mentioned, legal, professional and academic amnesty for all participants. And we agreed to disband peacefully, which we think is important. And moreover, if the committee votes negatively, we get a written statement of their rationale, which we also think will be a useful organizing tool.

AMY GOODMAN: And just the significance of the president of The New School, is Donna Shalala — 

ALEXANDRA CHASIN: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: — a well-known name. She was the head of HHS, Health and Human Services, under President Clinton, a Cabinet member. She was the president of Hunter. She was the president of University of Wisconsin, the chancellor, president of the University of Miami. Her role in this?

ALEXANDRA CHASIN: Well, it’s been a journey, as they say. What she did on Sunday that was significant was that she turned over, she deputized a dean at NSSR to negotiate on her behalf, and put that dean in direct contact with members of the investment committee. And that was a significant move.

The Real Meaning of Trump’s ‘Unified Reich’ Post

David A. Graham/The Atlantic

The Real Meaning of Trump’s ‘Unified Reich’ PostDonald Trump. (photo: Erin Schaff/NYT/Redux)

22 may 24 (RSN.org)

The video the former president reposted on Truth Social yesterday isn’t what people are making it out to be.

At this point, Americans will believe almost any story about Donald Trump. That is both a strength and a weakness for him. On the one hand, it means that nearly nothing he says, including for example that he wants to be a dictator, penetrates too deeply. On the other hand, it means people rarely extend him the benefit of the doubt, even when it’s warranted.

That’s what happened yesterday, when Trump’s Truth Social account posted a video featuring fake newspapers with celebratory imagined headlines about Trump (it’s a landslide! trump wins!!). Below, a sub-headline referred to “the creation of a unified Reich.” Naturally, the combination of Trump and a “unified Reich” was combustible. “This man is a stain, a Nazi, a pure a [sic] simple garbage of a human being,” fulminated Adam Kinzinger, the former Republican congressman. “Flush Trump down the toilet.” The controversy is illuminating about Trump and the presidential campaign, but perhaps not in the ways that it first appeared.

Trump’s account has removed the video, and his campaign said it did not create the video but reposted it from another user. It also said the post was done not by Trump but by a staffer who hadn’t noticed the “Reich” reference. Although Trump has a long history of blaming staffers for foolish posts, the excuse here is plausible. The video appears to have been made using a stock video template available online. And the text that appears in the video—about the “unified Reich”—comes, as the Associated Press notes, from a Wikipedia entry about World War I (“German industrial strength and production had significantly increased after 1871, driven by the creation of a unified Reich”) rather than anything about Nazis. It’s a safe bet that the gospel singer Candi Staton wasn’t aiming to boost Hitler when she used the same template for a video of a song about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

This election cycle has seen a slew of stories about how the Trump campaign is far more professionally run and regimented than in 2016 and 2020. That appears to be true, but only in a limited sense. Any competent campaign would have vetted such a video before it reposted it in order to avoid just this kind of mess. But Trump and his team can’t or won’t bother to look carefully at what he (or his staff) reposts on social media, and never have. In 2016, he posted an anti-Semitic meme with a Star of David and then tried to convince people it was a “sheriff’s star.” In 2017, he posted a GIF that showed him body-slamming CNN, created by a Reddit user who, whaddya know, also posted lots of anti-Semitic material. Earlier this year, a brief controversy broke out when Trump posted a video of a convoy of trucks decked out in pro-Trump swag, including an image of a bound and tied Joe Biden on one truck’s tailgate.

Despite having served as president for four years, and despite being a gifted political messenger, Trump has never grasped—or perhaps never cared—that sloppy words from someone in his position can be hugely consequential, and he resists guardrails that would protect him.

Trump’s problem here is that even though his excuse makes sense, he is also an authoritarian who has used anti-Semitic language. Believing that he might have posted subtle Nazi messaging doesn’t require much of a leap. Not only did he attempt to steal the last election and promise to be a dictator, but he has also consistently disregarded checks and balances and suggested “termination” of the Constitution. He called neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 “very fine people,” hobnobbed with white nationalists, and delivered menacing remarks about American Jews who do not support him—on Rosh Hashanah, no less. His former chief of staff says Trump once told him that “Hitler did some good things.” It’s no coincidence that so many of those past sloppy reposts came from supporters of his who hold hateful views. (It also doesn’t help that a staffer on the campaign of Ron DeSantis, a rival and would-be successor in the GOP presidential primary, was caught surreptitiously inserting Nazi imagery into social-media posts.)

The Biden campaign quickly pounced on the situation. “Trump posts a new ad foreshadowing a second Trump term that says he will create a ‘UNIFIED REICH,’ echoing Nazi Germany,” its official account posted on X. The Biden campaign is not stupid, which means both that it should have figured out the real origin of the post (and may well have) and also that it was not going to let an opportunity to savage its opponent pass by.

Biden’s team has been taking a more aggressive approach to Trump as the election nears. After years of elliptically referring to his “predecessor,” the president has begun naming Trump in attacks. The rest of his apparatus is also attacking Trump, trying to remind voters of the reasons they rejected him in 2020. In this case, the Biden campaign seems to have succeeded in manufacturing a controversy. Every major outlet has a headline this morning about the video (a representative example from The Washington Post: “Trump’s Truth Social Account Shares Video Referencing ‘Unified Reich’). These stories are not untruthful—he did share the video—but they are also a little misleading, though perhaps unintentionally so.

Whether the backlash to the video helps Biden beat Trump in November is anybody’s guess. Trump’s critics debate whether it is more effective to attack Trump as a threat to democracy, criticize his unpopular policy ideas, paint him as corrupt, or focus on Biden’s positive accomplishments. The incident shows exactly why Trump was so bad at being president. It probably doesn’t tell us anything new about Trump’s feelings regarding Hitler that we didn’t already know. The bizarre thing is that many voters may hear about the controversy and assume that it reveals Trump’s sympathy for the Third Reich, and then vote for him anyway.

Neighbors seek to transform section of Treat Ave. abandoned by city

Xueer Lu's headshot by XUEER LU MAY 22, 2024 (MissioinLocal.org)

Aerial view of a planned urban park with numbered sections, green spaces, pathways, benches, and shaded areas. Buildings surround the park labeled Rescue Row and Harrison St.
The most popular option among the four renderings of the makeover of Treat Street. Provided by Jorge Romero-Lozano from Greening Projects.

The poorly-paved 250-foot stretch of Treat Avenue between 15th and 16th streets has long been deserted, filled with litter and cars parked on both sides of the street. 

This part of Treat Avenue is one of some 2,000 “unaccepted streets,” roadways that the city has left to nearby property owners to maintain and keep clean. The city has no responsibility over streets like this stretch of Treat, which has posed a particular problem for neighbors here: For more than 150 years, besides dealing with detritus and regular wear-and-tear, the residents and business owners on the block have been fighting against perennial flooding in the area.

But if neighbors get their way, this block of Treat Avenue is likely to get a makeover soon. 

A row of parked cars lines one side of a street on a sunny day. Buildings and a tall fence are visible on the left side of the road.
Treat Avenue between 15th and 16th streets. Photo by Xueer Lu. May 21, 2024.

Last Saturday, some 50 neighbors who live nearby gathered in front of Dandelion Chocolate’s factory on 16th Street to look at four conceptual renderings of how the block might be transformed into an inviting, sustainably designed public space. 

The four alternatives were inspired by residents themselves and put together by Greening Projects, a nonprofit that specializes in creating urban green spaces, and Terrain Studio, a landscape architecture firm.

The first plan, called “The Surface,” would create a social hub with game tables, a community farm, garden planters, a kids’ playground, a dog park with synthetic lawn, outdoor fitness area and lounging chairs. Food trucks and a local market would be set up on the north end of the street, with an artificial grass wall separating the space from a parking lot to the east. On the west side, facing Harrison Street, there would be parking spaces and a sidewalk, and a protected bike lane in between. 

Jorge Romero-Lozano, founder of Greening Projects, said this plan is the most popular among residents, and is also the most viable. Once approved by Public Works, the plan would take two to three years to complete, and cost $2.5 million to $3 million — a sum that neighbors hope to raise, in part, with community help. 

“I think plan one is what people are pushing for,” said Romero-Lozano.

Another popular option, he said, would be adding a rain garden on top of the first plan. 

The rain garden, which looks like a green landscape with bushes on the surface, has a two- to three-feet deep hole in the gravel ground with a fan-shaped cover. When it rains heavily, runoff water would flow through the hole and into a pit. The pit would then collect and retain the stormwater, keeping it from overflowing and flooding the street. 

This option, however, would cost $5.5 million to $6 million, about $3 million more than the first plan. And it would take three to four years — one year longer than the first option. 

Another plan, called “Artstreet,” is similar to the first choice, but adds art walls to both Harrison Street and Alabama Street. It also paints the lounging chairs and the asphalt overlay on the ground. The plan would take about two to three and a half years, and costs $4 million to $4.5 million — $1.5 million more than the first option. 

The last plan is rather ambitious, which will cost $125 million to $168 million and take 10 to 15 years to build. It aims to resurface part of the buried Mission Creek along Treat Avenue from 18th Street to 14th Street, and along Alameda Street from Rescue Row to 7th Street. While the costly plan won’t happen any time soon, the firm still included it, hoping to show the residents what it would be like to co-exist with Mission Creek in its original pathway. 

A grayscale city map showing proposed public transit routes. Green lines depict the new track paths and red lines indicate related infrastructure improvements. Major streets and landmarks are labeled.
Map showing the resurfacing of part of the Mission Creek. Provided by Jorge Romero-Lozano from Greening Projects.

This would not be the first time Romero-Lozano and his nonprofit joined hands with Terrain Studio to carry out a makeover like this. They have an ongoing project on another “unaccepted street” in Bernal Heights on Ogden Avenue between Gates and Folsom streets, called “Ogden Avenue Gardens.” 

Already approved by Public Works, that project aims to improve flooding in the area using rain gardens. So far, Romero-Lozano said, the project has been able to gather nearly $300,000 from grants: $148,750 from the city’s Community Challenge Grant and $150,000 from the Watershed Stewardship Grant. 

Both grants can only happen if the group raises certain amounts of public matching funds: The Community Challenge Grant requires a 35 percent match, about $52,000; and the Watershed Stewardship Grant requires a 25 percent match, or another $37,500. 

Romero-Lozano said they are “more than a third of the way there” for public fundraising for the Bernal Heights project, having secured more than $30,000 out of some $89,500 needed from neighbors’ donations and gifts. Plus, the firms have received commitments from volunteers to help with the fundraising.

For Romero-Lozano, the public fundraising and volunteering is more meaningful than the grant money. “It’s not just getting funds, but also getting people,” he said. “Because the hardest part is maintaining them and keeping them going afterwards.” If not maintained well enough, he added, the grants will be taken away, and the street condition will likely go back to the way it is now. 

“That’s why the matching part is important,” he said. “If you donated [or] you volunteered, you feel it belongs to you.”

Steve Hamill, a dog trainer at the San Francisco SPCA Veterinary Hospital on Alabama Street half a block away from Treat Avenue, said the area “is a little rough sometimes.” Hamill has been working there for about a year, and said that the change would be a boon for dog walkers like himself.

Upon learning about a potential dog park in the space, Hamill smiled. “That would be convenient,” he said. “That’ll be great for the area.” 

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xueer@missionlocal.com

Xueer is a California Local News Fellow, working on data and covering housing. Xueer is a bilingual multimedia journalist fluent in Chinese and English and is passionate about data, graphics, and innovative ways of storytelling. Xueer graduated from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism with a Master’s Degree in May 2023. She also loves cooking, photography, and scuba diving.More by Xueer Lu

Fire torches home of Black dog walker targeted by racist threats

A smiling person with glasses standing in front of a red background. by ELENI BALAKRISHNAN MAY 21, 2024 (MissionLocal.org)

Firefighters respond to a house fire with flames and heavy smoke coming from the windows of a two-story building. A fire truck and hose are in use, and Fire Chief Williams is on scene, meticulously assessing the situation.
The home of Terry Williams on fire on May 21, 2024. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Fire Department.

Just weeks after he began receiving racist threats delivered to his doorstep, both of dog walker Terry Williams’ parents had to be rescued from their home after a sudden fire this morning engulfed the building in flames.

Williams’ mother, who is nearly 80, had to be carried out of the building, and his father was rescued as he was trying to escape the blaze, witnesses said. The fire department received a call about the fire at 11:31 a.m. and arrived shortly thereafter.

“I tried to run through the fire to try to get my mom. They stopped me at the front door like, ‘You can’t get in, you can’t get in, we’re trying to get her out,’” said Williams, who was at City Hall when he began getting calls and rushed home. Williams’ nephew, who also lives in the building, was not home either.

Both his parents were admitted to the hospital, according to San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Lt. Jonathan Baxter, one with serious injuries. Williams’ father was scheduled to be released the same day, Baxter later said, while his mother would be held for a day for observation.

Dog walker Terry Williams near his home.
Terry Williams speaks with neighbors and friends as firefighters put out a blaze at his family home nearby on May 21, 2024. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.

Nearly an hour after the fire broke out, Williams was still standing outside with his three rottweilers, staring up at his childhood home as the dozen fire vehicles and 40 firefighters worked to control the blaze. He occasionally threw up his hands to his head in despair. At one point, a firefighter shook Williams’ hand and said, “We tried our best, man.”

Passersby and neighbors who had gathered at the scene came by to reassure and console the popular dog walker, offering him a place to stay or a meal — many already knew him. Williams, for his part, could be heard saying he felt like he let his family down.

Baxter said the fire department has opened an investigation into the fire, as it does with any fire that has no obvious cause, or involves rescues or injuries.

The house next door, which had a “No to racism” sign in the window, was slightly damaged but will be inhabitable later today, Baxter said, though three additional residents have been temporarily displaced. Williams’ home, however, was charred on the inside, and the four family members and three dogs who live there will be displaced for the foreseeable future.

Firefighters and police at dog walker Terry Williams' home, with significant damage to a multi-story building. A fire truck ladder extends to the roof as firefighters assess and manage the situation.
The home of Terry Williams near Alamo Square after it was gutted by a fire on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.

The conflagration came just three weeks after Williams, who is Black, first received mail at his home featuring racist slurs: Two packages were sent to Williams containing a caricatured Golliwog-like doll with a noose around its neck. The first doll, received in late April, was scribbled with racist epithets — the n-word, “Sambo,” and other, archaic terms — and threatened the dog walker directly: There is a “target on your back,” a message on the doll read.

Williams then received a second, very similar doll in early May featuring Ku Klux Klan imagery and more threats: “We will continute [sic] to exterminate you n— slaves!” the doll read.

The police have not made any arrests in the investigation, which they originally classified as a hate crime. Williams also filed a report with the FBI after he received additional threats in the mail. Supervisor Dean Preston, who was also at the scene of the fire, has a resolution condemning the racist acts up for a vote at the Board of Supervisors this afternoon.

“How dare they, whoever they are, come and attack my elderly parents?” said Letisha Humphrey, Williams’ older sister, who rushed over to her family home from where she lives in Bayview. “I have a few other choice things I would love to say, but it might not be appropriate.”

“I thought I smelled somebody smoking, and then the next thing I know, the fire trucks were showing up,” said Daniel Sieberling, who is an old friend and neighbor of Williams. They live close enough that he can wave to the dog walker from his window. He wiped away tears as he described the scene: “It came up quick, the truck showed up quick, and they put it out pretty quick.”

Before he knew it, Seiberling saw the flames coming out of the windows, then Williams’ mother being carried out of the building. Another neighbor said she saw Williams’ father get slightly burned on his head as he attempted to leave the building.

More than two hours after the fire was reported, firefighters were still pulling charred debris out of the home.

Firefighters and residents stand outside a row of houses, with one house visibly damaged by fire. Debris is scattered on the sidewalk as firefighters assess the situation.
Firefighters remove charred furniture and debris from Terry Williams’ home on May 21, 2024. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.

Anti-Black crimes make up the lion’s share of hate crimes reported in California, according to the state attorney general’s report on hate crimes for 2022, the latest year for which data was available. Anti-Black incidents made up some 31 percent of all hate crimes reported in the state, and half of those were driven by racial animus. The number of anti-Black incidents grew some 27 percent from the previous year.

In the aftermath of both earlier incidents, Williams, 49, said he and his family were scared for their lives. His family has been in the neighborhood for decades and Williams was born and raised there; he runs a dog-walking business and is a regular at the park where he is known as the “Mayor of Alamo Square” by locals.

His elderly parents lived in the unit above him. But after Williams received the racist packages, he asked both of them to leave the city for their safety and said he has been keeping track of his nephew’s whereabouts, too.

More than 100 neighbors rallied around Williams in mid-May, saying they were appalled by the racist threats. The Rev. Amos Brown, the president of the local NAACP chapter, condemned the “bigotry, nooses, Black dolls and all the paraphernalia” that were still targeting Black people; Preston, who represents the area, donated $1,000 to a fundraiser in Williams’ name.

Lee Stafford, a nearby longtime resident, said “it’s hard to see it as a coincidence” that a fire would break out so soon after the neighborhood rallied to support Williams. Instead, he said, it seemed like an escalation.

The Alamo Square area, despite its proximity to the historically Black Fillmore, is now a majority white neighborhood: The census tracts immediately surrounding the park are about 54 percent white and just 10 percent Black. Citywide, Black residents comprise just under 6 percent of the population.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. The initial fundraiser to support the Williams family is here, and a new fundraiser to support them to rebuild after the fire is here.

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ELENI BALAKRISHNAN

eleni@missionlocal.com

REPORTER. Eleni reports on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim more than 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.More by Eleni Balakrishnan

Experts Say Israeli Apartheid—Not Palestinian Statehood—Is the Real ‘Gift to Hamas’

Israeli troops control a large group of Palestinian woman at gunpoint

A member of the Israeli security forces directs Palestinians queueing at an Israeli checkpoint in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on April 14, 2023.

 (Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images)

“What has actually bolstered Hamas is Israel’s genocidal slaughter which has allowed Hamas to recruit thousands of new members,” said one commentator.

BRETT WILKINS

May 22, 2024 (CommonDreams.org)

As Israel and its international supporters seethe over Wednesday’s announcement that three European countries will recognize Palestinian statehood, Palestine advocates refuted claims that such recognition is a “gift to Hamas” by arguing Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, settler-colonization of the West Bank, and apartheid and other oppression in the illegally occupied territories are a recruitment boon for the militant resistance group.

In a joint statement, Ireland, Norway, and Spain said they will formally recognize the state of Palestine on May 28, which will bring the total number of nations that have done so to 145. Almost all of the Global South recognizes Palestine, while just a relative handful of so-called developed nations do—including Sweden, Iceland, and most of Eastern Europe. The United States has actively discouraged countries from recognizing Palestinian statehood and United Nations membership.

“Hamas feeds off of Palestinian hopelessness. Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights has functioned as a Hamas recruitment program.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded to Wednesday’s announcement by threatening “severe consequences” for the three countries. Katz—a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party—called recognition of Palestine “an injustice to the memory of the victims of October 7, a blow to efforts to return the 128 hostages, and a boost to Hamas and Iran’s jihadists.”

The claim that recognition is a “reward” or “gift” to Hamas—whose fighters led the attack on Israel that left more than 1,100 people dead and over 240 others in captivity—reverberated from social media to the halls of the U.S. Congress in the wake of the three countries’ announcement. However, some experts weighed in on the policies and practices that they believe are driving young Palestinians to embrace violent resistance.

“Those claiming this ‘rewards Hamas’ have it exactly backward,” said Matt Duss, executive vice president of the Center for International Policy and former chief foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ (I-Vt.). “Hamas feeds off of Palestinian hopelessness. Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights has functioned as a Hamas recruitment program. Diplomatic recognition offers a credible alternative nonviolent path to liberation.”

U.S. political commentator Krystal Ball said on social media that “those saying Palestinian statehood is a ‘gift to Hamas,’ please take note that what has actually bolstered Hamas is Israel’s genocidal slaughter which has allowed Hamas to recruit thousands of new members.”

Israel also actively propped up Hamas for years, viewing it as a means of countering and weakening the largely toothless Palestinian National Authority and its leader, President Mahmoud Abbas. The New York Timesreported in December that Israeli security forces helped Qatari officials deliver suitcases stuffed full of millions of dollars in cash to Hamas,which has governed Gaza for nearly two decades and is considered a terrorist group by Israel and the U.S.

According to the Times, Israel allowed billions of dollars to flow from the Qatari government into Hamas’ coffers, to be spent on government salaries, infrastructure, and humanitarian endeavors. This allowed Hamas to divert funds previously budgeted for those purposes into armed resistance. The payments continued as late as 2021.

Israeli leaders and their U.S. backers similarly claimed that any cease-fire in Gaza would be a “gift to Hamas” that would allow it to regroup and rearm. As the human toll of Israel’s assault—more than 126,000 Palestinians killed, maimed, or missing; nearly 2 million forcibly displaced Gazans; widespread starvation; and lifelong trauma—mount, so too do motivations for Palestinians to join Hamas and other militant groups.

“Killing terrorists too often breeds more terrorism. This is an inescapable lesson of both America’s decadeslong ‘War on Terror’ and Israel’s ceaseless struggle against Hamas, Hezbollah, and other violent insurgencies,” Matthew Levinger, a professor of international relations at George Washington University, wrote earlier this year for Just Security.

So does killing civilians. As U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has acknowledged: “In this kind of a fight, the center of gravity is the civilian population. And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

BRETT WILKINS

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

Full Bio >

Israel Threatens ‘Severe Consequences’ for Nations Who Recognize Palestine

Spain's Prime Minister Sanchez

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announces in parliament that Spain will formally recognize Palestinian statehood on May 28, in Madrid, Spain on May 22, 2024. The announcement came around the same time that the Irish and Norwegian leaders announced they will do the same on the same date.

 (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Warning comes after key European allies—Norway, Ireland, and Spain—announced their “landmark” decision to formally recognize a Palestinian state.

JON QUEALLY

May 22, 2024 (CommonDreams.org)

Israel’s foreign minister issued a blunt threat of “severe consequences” for the countries of Norway, Ireland, and Spain—and presumably other nations that may follow—after the trio announced their decision Wednesday to formally recognize a Palestinian state.

In their joint move, inspired in large measure by the ongoing Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, the governments of Norway, Ireland, and Spain said they would make the formal recognition next week on May 28. In response, Israel recalled its ambassadors from Oslo and Dublin as an initial sign of displeasure and protest.

Israel’s foreign minister Israel Katz said in a public statement that the move to recognize Palestine was a “distorted step” by the countries which he claimed was “an injustice to the memory of the victims of 7/10, a blow to efforts to return the 128 hostages, and a boost to Hamas and Iran’s jihadists, which undermines the chance for peace and questions Israel’s right to self-defense.”

Katz warned that “Israel will not remain silent” in the face of what it perceives as a betrayal by its European allies and that “further severe consequences” would follow for those making such a decision. Israel recalled its ambassador to Spain last year after comments made about violations of humanitarian law in Gaza.

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir also condemned the move Wednesday and said the response from Israel would be to intensify its operations in Gaza—where the ICC chief prosecutor this week alleged war crimes by Israeli forces have taken place—even further. In his remarks, Ben-Gvir called for a “root treatment” for the city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled but many still remain with nowhere go.

Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, meanwhile, called for immediate punishment for the Palestinian Authority and expanded settlement construction in the Occupied West Bank as a response.

In their remarks, leaders from Norway and Ireland defended recognition of a Palestinian state as the appropriate response to the violent conflict that has endured for decades but has escalated dramatically—and brutally—over the last seven months, both in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank.

“In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands killed and injured, we must keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, as he led the three nations in their announcement.

In place of a “long and gruesome conflict,” Støre said a new reality must be realized: “Two states, living side by side, in peace and security.”

Taoiseach Simon Harris, head of the Irish Parliament—who made the announcement on behalf of Ireland alongside Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan—called the decision the “right thing to do” as he condemned Hamas, which he said has “nothing to offer,” while also reiterating unwavering commitment for “Israel’s right to exist securely and in peace with its neighbors.”

The decision by Ireland, Harris said, was made in the context of its own fight for independence and freedom from colonial rule. Citing Ireland’s own declaration for independence in 1919, Harris said recognition for a Palestinian state is vital “because we ‘believe in freedom and justice as the fundamental principles of international law,’ and because we believe that ‘permanent peace’ can only be secured ‘upon the basis of the free will of a free people.'”

In response to Ireland’s announcement, Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns applauded the government’s decision.

“The Social Democrats have long called for the government to match its strong words, on the carnage in Gaza, with action—and this is a powerful action which sends a strong message,” Cairns said. “That message is one of hope, peace, justice and freedom— for an imprisoned Palestinian people being massacred by a barbaric occupier.”

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez spoke before members of Congress in Madrid on Wednesday where he denounced “the massacre in Gaza and the rest of the Palestinian territories,” and defended the move to recognize a Palestinian state as necessary under the circumstances and in the face of Israel intransigence.

“Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu is still turning a blind eye and bombing hospitals, schools, andhomes,” Sánchez declared. “He is still using hunger, cold and terror to punish more than a million innocent boys and girls—and things have gone so far that prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have this week sought his arrest for war crimes.”

Reacting to Wednesday’s announcements by Ireland, Norway, and Spain, officials with Oxfam International—which has long lobbied for a Palestinian state and urgently demanded a cease-fire in Gaza to end the current bloodshed—welcomed the news.

“This recognition is a landmark decision and other countries must follow suit,” said Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “It is a crucial step in affirming the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination, but it must transcend beyond symbolism into concrete steps towards ending the Israeli occupation and achieving full sovereignty for the Palestinian State.”

While the ongoing assault on the southern city of Rafah has triggered a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of people with no safe place to go in Gaza, Khalil said, “We urgently need an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to the blockade to end the death and destruction, to allow unfettered aid into Gaza and to ensure the release of the hostages and illegally detained Palestinian prisoners.”

Jim Clarken, Oxfam’s chief executive, also championed the decision by the three European nations for showing “real and brave leadership on the world stage.”

“We know right now that the people of Gaza are starving and that UN agencies have regrettably had to halt aid operations in Rafah,” Clarken said, “Ireland stood by UNRWA in its hour of need. We need now to leverage today’s move to press for urgent life-saving aid to get to the people of Gaza.”

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

JON QUEALLY

Jon Queally is managing editor of Common Dreams.

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Israeli Historian Ilan Pappé on Interrogation at U.S. Airport and “Collapse of the Zionist Project”

STORY MAY 21, 2024 (DemocracyNow.org)

TOPICS

GUESTS
  • Ilan PappéIsraeli historian and director of the European Center for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

LINKS

We speak with renowned Israeli historian Ilan Pappé about his recent trip to the United States, when he was interrogated for two hours by federal agents upon arrival at Detroit airport about his political views on Gaza, Hamas and Israel, as well as demanding to know whom he knew in U.S. Muslim, Arab and Palestinian communities. Pappé was only allowed to enter the country after agents copied the contents of his phone. “They refused to tell me why they stopped me,” he says. Pappé, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, also discusses the Nakba, growing support for Palestinian rights, and why he believes “the collapse of the Zionist project” is imminent.


Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, as we continue our conversation with the renowned Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, professor of history and director of the European Center for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter. He’s joining us now from Doha, Qatar. And there’s a long delay when he answers a question.

I want to ask you, Professor Pappé, about this trip you took to the United States recently. When you arrived at the Detroit airport, you were questioned for two hours by federal agents about Gaza, Hamas and other issues, U.S. agents only allowing you to enter the country after they copied the contents of your phone. Can you take us through what happened?

ILAN PAPPÉ: Yes, I will do that, Amy, but if I may, and I think it connects to our previous conversation, I just want to say that there’s something bigger here than just the question of the ICC and Israel abiding or not abiding by it. I think that’s a moment of truth for the international tribunals, such as the ICC and the ICJ, because they would face governments that would not probably implement the rulings, because Israel still has very strong allies. And I think the rest of the world, especially the Global South, would watch to see whether the terms “universal” and “international” really mean something. So, I think Palestine is just one case of many in which we have now a real struggle to define, again, what is universal, what are universal values, and what is international justice. And I think that’s why it’s such an important historical moment.

Now, to come back to my ordeal, which was not that big, but I think is part of a bigger picture, I arrived in Detroit after eight hours’ flight from London and was taken immediately to a side room by two federal agents. And they had two sets of questions for me. One was about my views, my views about the Hamas, my views about what’s happening in Gaza. Do I frame what happened in Gaza as genocide? They wanted to know my reaction to the slogan, “Palestine should be free from the river to the sea.” They refused to tell me why they stopped me, why did I have to answer these questions. And then another set of questions had to do with whom do I know among the American Muslim community, the American Arab community and the Palestinian community in the United States. And that was followed by taking my phone for a long period, copying everything in it, and making me wait another time for phone conversations before letting me in, into the country.

AMY GOODMAN: Can I ask you exactly, Professor Pappé, what you answered them when they said, “What do you take to be ‘Palestine will be free from the river to the sea?’ when they asked you about whether genocide is being committed in Gaza, etc.?

ILAN PAPPÉ: Yes. Well, to the questions of “Do I define Hamas as a terrorist organization?” to that, I refused to answer that question. And I suggested to them that they should go and listen to my talks in the Michigan area, where I will discuss this issue. As for the question of genocide, I laconically said that, yes, I do frame the Israeli actions in Gaza as genocide. But again, I suggested that if they want a more detailed analysis of why do I frame it like this, they are most welcome both to read my articles and to come to the lectures in the Michigan area.

As for the question, “How do I respond to the slogan, ‘Palestine should be free from the river to the sea’?” I said that everywhere where there is a river and there is a sea and people living between them, they should be free, which was a moment a bit ironical or comical, when one of them tried to show me his geographical knowledge, and he said, “So, what about Saudi Arabia?” So I corrected my phrase, and I said, “Well, anywhere where there are countries between two sources of water, people should be free,” which seemed to satisfy them at that particular moment.

I have to say, they were polite. I don’t want to describe it as an ordeal. They were polite. But what really bothers me is: Why at all do they have the right to ask me, and what was the real subtext for this whole affair? And I have my own understanding of that, although I don’t have the whole facts before me.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Professor, you’ve been speaking to huge crowds of young people all around the world and many of the protests, students protesting U.S. support for the war against Gaza. One of your books, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, has been much read in recent months. Could you talk about this? The Nakba or the cleansing of Palestine didn’t happen just in 1948, but there’s been a process of the ethnic cleansing, even going back to the British Mandate period as the British repressed the 1936 Arab revolt against British rule.

ILAN PAPPÉ: Yes. Yes, indeed. The Nakba is a bit of a misleading term, because it means, in Arabic, a “catastrophe.” But really what the Palestinians suffered was not an actual catastrophe, but rather ethnic cleansing, which is a clear policy motivated by clear ideology. And that policy was part, an integral part, of the Zionist program for Palestine from the very inception of the movement in the late 19th century. Of course, very early on, they didn’t have the capacity to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland. But already in the mid-1920s, when the Zionist community in Palestine was still very small, it was able, through purchase of land, on which there were many Palestinian villages, to convince the British mandatory power to evict 13 Palestinian villages, and that was in between 1925 and 1926. And then, slowly, this process of buying land and evicting the people who lived on this for hundreds of years brought the Zionist movement into a moment where it purchased at least 6% of the land of Palestine, which was, of course, not enough. And then they went to the big ethnic cleansing of 1948.

But as we know, it didn’t stop in 1948. Israel continued to expel Palestinian villages between ’48 and ’67 from among the Palestinian minority in Israel, which allegedly were citizens of Israel. Israel expelled 300,000 Palestinians during the Six-Day War in June 1967. And since June 1967 until today, about 600,000 Palestinians, in one way or another, were dislocated and uprooted by Israel. And, of course, now we have a magnitude of ethnic — or, a case of ethnic cleansing that even overtakes the magnitude of the ethnic cleansing during 1948. So, there is not one moment in the history of the Palestinians in Palestine, since the arrival of Zionism in Palestine, in which Palestinians are potentially under danger of losing their home, their fields, their businesses and their homeland.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Ilan Pappé, as you had expressed, more Palestinians have been killed in the last months than at any point in the last 76 years. More Palestinians have been forced to move, have been displaced, than what happened at the Nakba at the time of the founding of Israel. What gives you hope? You’re an Israeli historian, esteemed throughout the world. You have less than a minute.

ILAN PAPPÉ: Yes. I would say that what gives me hope is that I do think that the Zionist project in Israel and Palestine, as we see today, doesn’t have long to live, to exist. I think we are seeing processes, important processes, that are leading to the collapse of the Zionist project. Hopefully, the Palestinian national movement and anyone else involved in Israel and Palestine would be able to replace this apartheid state, this oppressive regime, with a democratic one for everyone who lives between the river and the sea and for all the Palestinians who were expelled from there since 1948 until today. I believe that this historical process has begun. Unfortunately, it will take time, and the next year or two are very precarious and are very dangerous. But in the long run, I am really hopeful that there will be a different kind of life for both Jews and Arabs between the river and the sea under a democratic, free Palestine.

AMY GOODMAN: Ilan Pappé, professor of history and director of the European Center for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

(Contributed by Janet Kobren)

From the Rivers to the Seas

The Palestinian cause is uniting the world

DAVID SPERO RN

MAY 21, 2024 (davidsperorn.substack.com)

Image: islamtimes.org

We often see defenders of Israel and the US mock young pro-Palestinian protesters. “They chant ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,’ but they don’t even know what river and what sea they are talking about. They just want to feel good about themselves.”

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The genocide supporters might have a point; Americans are notoriously ignorant of geography. But you know what? It doesn’t make any difference which river or which sea, because Palestine is now everywhere. It’s from all the rivers to all the seas, wherever people are oppressed by the empire centered in the US and spearheaded by Israel. That is why the world is rising in support of Palestine.

Another chant heard at pro-Palestine protests goes, “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians.” Palestine’s resistance is inspiring people to fight for a better world, which is why the Empire is so desperate to demonize pro-Palestinians, including Jewish protestors, as terrorists, Jew-haters and dupes of Iran, RussiaChina or Hamas.

The Palestinian flag has become the standard of people struggling for liberation in Latin America, in AfricaHaiti, and increasingly in Europe and North America. We see that flag on campuses, in city streets, and on t-shirts. Palestinian colors now symbolize revolutionary change. For the first time since the collapse of the USSR, Empire is threatened.

The rulers’ insecurity drives them to shut down speech on campuses, at workplaces, in the streets and on the Internet. It’s why they shadow ban pro-Palestine posts on Facebook and Instagram, demonetize pro-Palestine content on YouTube, and want to ban TikTok completely.

Ruling class fear explains why protestors are arrested, beaten, and sometimes slammed with long sentences for nonviolent demonstrations. Not only pro-Palestinians, but indigenous defenders of water, land, and animals are attacked by an increasingly repressive state. We are all becoming Palestinians, and we’re starting to see ourselves that way.

As the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967, the United States needs a “radical revolution of values” to overcome “the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism.” That revolution has not happened, and those triplets are dragging people into endless wars and poverty all over the world. They’re killing our planet.

The genocide in Gaza, the proxy war in Ukraine, the mass suffering in Africa, Haiti, and in the streets of America are shaking people out of our dazed acceptance of the system’s horror. How much cruelty, depravity, and hypocrisy, like that displayed by Israel and the US, can people take before we snap? We are moving away from this nightmare world. Palestine is leading us.

Where will we go? I don’t think the Palestinian movement will lead to worldwide Islam or to communism. I think different societies will go in different ways, but we will help each other, not war against each other. (By the way, this is China’s plan, different systems cooperating.)

In that same 1967 speech, Dr. King said US society was “thing-oriented” and needed to become “people-oriented.” I would add that we also need to be Nature-orientednot profit-oriented. Perhaps each society will do this in its own way.

The military-industrial complex (MIC) — of which Israel is a central part — will not like this change one bit, and they will try to stop it with propaganda and with deadly force. This is what we’re seeing from Gaza to militarized police crackdowns on protest, to the lie-filled pages and screens of the New York Times, Fox News, NPR, and CNN.

Silence will not protect us

One year to the day after King’s speech opposing war, he was assassinated in Memphis by the FBI or its hired guns. We have seen in Palestine the depths to which Empire will sink, the atrocities it commits, and the lies it tells to promote their narrative and hold on to their power.

This is a dangerous time, calling for great courage, as the Palestinians and revolutionaries before them have shown. As the African-American feminist Audre Lorde wrote, “Your silence will not protect you.” She said we must “transform silence into language and action,” not only to change the world but to be true to ourselves.

I’m quoting African-American thinkers because they show us that this is one struggle, from all the rivers to all the seas. Palestine is leading at the moment, and we must give them all the support we can, give them all we’ve got, but we can’t stop there. We have to see that Palestine is everywhere, and that we all need to be free.

The war in Palestine isn’t about Jews vs. Muslims. It’s about indigenous people who love their land vs. colonizers who only want to profit from it. At a rally for Gaza, I heard a Palestinian speaker say that when they say ‘Free Palestine,’ they don’t just mean their people. They mean the animals and plants, the land and water. That strikes me as a militant indigenous way of approaching the world, a way that might enable us to heal some of the terrible damage colonialism/capitalism has done to us and to our sacred Earth.

The Jordan River, the one in the chants. Image: Immanuel Tours

The Palestinian cause can unite us, and it is already bringing the world together. On the comment thread of any pro-Palestine video, one can read messages from all continents, all religions and races, in many languages, all supporting and giving love to each other. We used to call that attitude ‘solidarity,’ and I think it’s the right way to live.

Solidarity feels great, and Palestine is bringing it back. Why not join in? Let’s make Gaza the turning point our grandchildren learn about and say, “This is where it all changed. Palestine is where we were saved.”

(Contributed by Janet Kobren)