Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Vanessa Beeley: Spinning "Palestine"

 A March 4 email sent by Vanessa Beeley spreads insight into the mind-set of the anti-Israel activist. Vanessa writes:

My name is Vanessa Beeley and I currently volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine, a global NGO based in Lebanon that is an umbrella organization for civil society associations that support the Palestinian Cause, both in the Arab countries and the world, and has representatives and partners in over 45 countries around the world to set up events and movements to advocate the Palestinian cause and in particular the right of return.

We are looking for volunteers that could help promote our English Facebook page by posting on a regular basis.

This role requires a daily contribution of around 5 pertinent articles or posts and will therefore not take up too much of your time especially if you are already involved in the Palestinian cause and an avid reader of news on Palestine or a regular on Facebook.

If this is of interest to you and you would like to get involved please check out the page itself (link above) and then decide if you would have the time to devote to this project which has also just started a French page and will shortly be considering a Turkish and Spanish page, so you will be an important part of a global pro Palestinian movement, with particular emphasis on the right to return.

Please find below, the Global Return's page policy which will give you a very clear indication as to what they require regarding posts.

I hope this will be of interest to you and please dont hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions. 

In solidarity

Vanessa Beeley

Vanessa is committed to keeping the posting on this facebook page formulaic and predictable, using the same tired tropes  that emphasize the eternal victim-hood of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis.

Palestinians and their activists have narrative- and any correlation with truth with highly coincidental. Vanessa's guidelines do not, as she claims "advocate for the Palestinian cause".   These guidelines are simply anti-Israel. In Vaneesa's world, the extremists of Hamas and Palestinian jihadist groups can be ignored in support of her "righteous" cause.

Vanessa continues with  The Global Campaign to Return to Palestine Face book page Policy statement, writing

The Page’s editors should take into consideration that it is not a news platform but rather a page for an NGO. It covers many aspects of the Palestinian cause alongside the news about the Campaign’s activities, and maintains a unifying tone away from dealing with any religious, sectarian, regional, and Political divisions, with focus on civil work and movements. It aims at bringing all people together, from different backgrounds and intellect, in support of our central and righteous Palestinian Cause....

 Most important Palestinian events which are not classified as daily or routine occurrences and clashes between the Palestinians and the Israeli Soldiers for example:      
*  Child and students’ Detentions such as the most recent case of Malak Al Khatib (14 Years- Youngest prisoner in Israeli Jails and have spent almost two months in detention).
*  Settlers taking over Palestinian houses in Jerusalem or West Bank, and their assaults against Palestinian lives and other properties. 

*  Palestinians Killed by the Israelis during protests or sit-ins that end up with Clashes.
*   Bulldozing Palestinian Houses in Jerusalem and other places all over Palestine.

Humanitarian stories from Gaza (and the rest of Palestine), like:
*  Children dying out of cold during winter storms and the miserable conditions of the homeless families after the Israeli aggression.
*   The consequences of the Israeli Blockade, like most recently a group of students threw their diplomas in the sea of Gaza because they are unable to leave the strip and resume their degrees in the universities outside.

 *  Stories of wounded recovering from their injuries and other news about the situation post-war.

Civil Society organizations and NGOs’ movements and activities that are held in solidarity with Palestine, and those are classified according to three domains:

*  Activities and events held by the members of the Campaign each in their own country.
*  Activities and movements of NGOs around the world that are not members of Campaign.
*  Civil movements against the Israeli occupation that take place inside Palestine (whether by Palestinians or by foreign activists)

 Special and outstanding writings about Palestine, its people, and major events, by authors, activists, or blogs.

Photos and videos from Palestine that covers the following points:
*  Highlighting the beauty of the cities, towns, and villages in occupied Palestine.
*  Shedding light on certain aspects of the Palestinian cause like
*  The miserable conditions in Gaza caused by the blockade and the latest Israeli aggression.
*  Israeli Soldiers assaulting Journalists.
*  Child detentions. 

Vanessa Beeley ' s guidelines for spinning this conflict remove all responsibility from the Palestinians, and promotes a one sided biased narrative that does nothing to bring about peace.


Sacramento Rally against Anti-Semitism

 In our community, we are seeing a frightening resurgency and mainstreaming of anti-Semitism.

The Board of Rabbis, the Sacramento Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Community Relations Council will hold a rally to address this concern. Please join our community's rally against the growing anti-Semitism in the Central valley and around the world on Monday, March 9, from 5:30-6:30pm on the West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento

Please come, and forward widely

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Full transcript of Benjamin Netanyahu's Address to Congress March 3 2015

Complete transcript of  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint meeting of Congress.


Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Minority -- Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Harry, it's good to see you back on your feet.


I guess it's true what they say, you can't keep a good man down.


My friends, I'm deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.


I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.

I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.


I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.


The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.


Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American -- of America's people and of America's presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.


We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.

Now, some of that is widely known.


Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.

Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.

In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment.

Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.


In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.

And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.

But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.


And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.


Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.


Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you've done for Israel.

My friends, I've come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.

We're an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we'll read the Book of Esther. We'll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.


Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated -- he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn't exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.

For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran's chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran's regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They're heirs to one of the world's great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots -- religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran's borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to "export the revolution throughout the world."

I'm standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America's founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran's founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Iran's goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world's oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That's just last week, while they're having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran's attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran's aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.


We must all stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror.


Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani's government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I'd like to see someone ask him a question about that.

Iran's regime is as radical as ever, its cries of "Death to America," that same America that it calls the "Great Satan," as loud as ever.

Now, this shouldn't be surprising, because the ideology of Iran's revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that's why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don't be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn't turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.


The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember -- I'll say it one more time -- the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can't let that happen.


But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don't need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.

Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.

The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.

Because Iran's nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran's break-out time would be very short -- about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel's.

And if -- if Iran's work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran's nuclear program and Iran's adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here's the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don't stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn't stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.

Now, we're warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It's done that on at least three separate occasions -- 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock -- as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught -- caught twice, not once, twice -- operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn't even know existed.

Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don't know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, "If there's no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn't have one." Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that's why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it's the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It's a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran's nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.

Iran's Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount -- 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.

Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.

And by the way, if Iran's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That's why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb; it paves Iran's path to the bomb.

So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don't believe that Iran's radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite -- would only wet Iran's appetite for more.

Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it's under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

Why should Iran's radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world's: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel's neighbors -- Iran's neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it's been given a clear path to the bomb.

And many of these neighbors say they'll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won't change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that's supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

This deal won't be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks -- if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we'll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I've come here today to tell you we don't have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don't have to gamble with our future and with our children's future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran's nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.


Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second...


Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.


And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.


Thank you.

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.


If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn't change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted.


If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.


My friends, what about the argument that there's no alternative to this deal, that Iran's nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn't get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can't drive. A pilot without a plan can't fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can't make nuclear weapons.


Iran's nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.


Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table -- and this often happens in a Persian bazaar -- call their bluff. They'll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.


And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

My friends, for over a year, we've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal. We're better off without it.


Now we're being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That's just not true.

The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.


A better deal that doesn't leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in place until Iran's aggression ends.


A better deal that won't give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country...


... no country has a greater stake -- no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don't have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.


My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.


Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, "never again."


And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.


Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.


We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.


This is why -- this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.


But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.


I know that you stand with Israel.


You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history's horrors.


Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.

And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), "Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them."

My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.

May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.


Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.

You're wonderful.

Thank you, America. Thank you.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cosmetic Surgery on the Rise in Gaza

More dispatches from Concentration Camp Gaza, via  Al-Monitor

Pregnancies significantly changed Safa Ahmad's physical appearance, which began to affect her marriage and cause her psychological problems. About five months ago, Safa, a 28-year-old living in Gaza City, had breast implants in the hope they would help her feel better psychologically and improve things at home. 

“My husband wanted to marry someone else because of the changes in my looks after I gave birth to three sons," she told Al-Monitor. "But by coincidence, I heard about cosmetic surgeries in Gaza, and I suggested to my husband that I have one. He immediately agreed, so I got silicon breast implants, and they drastically changed my looks as well as my marital and family life. My husband then let go of the idea of marrying someone else.”

The mainstream media continually carries stories of the "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza- of critical shortages of food and medicine. We are not getting the full story.

Al-Monitor continues

The difficult economic and social situation in Gaza does not appear to be preventing Gazans from undergoing cosmetic surgery in search of happiness, which is difficult to find given the siege of Israeli occupation and recurring wars.

Dr. Salah Zaanin, a cosmetic and laser surgery consultant, started working in the field three years ago in a private hospital in Gaza City. The high demand for cosmetic surgeries, by men and women, led him to open his own clinic.

Zaanin told Al-Monitor that three years after returning from Greece and working in the Gaza Strip, he found that rapid progress had been made in this area and that the demand for surgery, despite the economic and other problems Gaza residents were experiencing, had increased. “We are a people who love life and beauty like all other people," he said. "Because of the psychological pressures, a lot of women began looking after their emotional and physical well-being, especially after learning of the advances in cosmetic surgery and the presence of modern equipment in Gaza.”

Zaanin said he has conducted hundreds of cosmetic operations in Gaza, all of which were successful. Some clients even began entrusting him with operations that used to be referred to the outside.
He said that the most common procedures in Gaza are liposuction, breast augmentation and “tummy tucks” for women. Tightening eyelids and removing bags under the eyes are popular as well. “In the past month, using Botox to fill and remove wrinkles in men and women rose by 600% in my clinic, indicating that despite the blockade and the stress, we are trying to be happy by looking better," Zaanin said. "In addition, there has been a 300% increase in lip augmentation and beautification.”

The economy, of course, still plays a role in the demand for certain types of operations even with the prices in Gaza being low compared to other countries. Zaanin said that the fees for cosmetic surgeries in the Gaza Strip are the lowest in the world and that they depend on the materials used in a procedure. “Cosmetic surgeries range in price from $1,000 to $2,000, while nonsurgical [silicon injections] cost up to $300," Zaanin said. "Therefore, all social classes are resorting to cosmetic surgery. For example, the poor opt for low-priced operations. Everyone should have the right to enjoy and live life, and I feel happy when I can make that happen for someone.”

Zaanin also said that the changes in Eastern societies, such as women entering the workforce, their financial independence and the importance of looking good, have all played a role in the growing popularity of cosmetic surgery among women and men. He said that all operations are conducted within Gaza's religious and social frameworks and medical standards. “Women come accompanied by their guardian, either the father or the husband, and we do not conduct operations without them," Zaanin said. "In fact, many men choose to have such operations because of these visits...”

h/t Elder of Ziyon

Friday, February 27, 2015

Col. Richard Kemp on Safeguarding Civilians in Gaza

Colonel Richard Kemp has spent 29 years countering terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Macedonia. He was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and fought in the 1990-91 Gulf War and commanded British troops in Bosnia with the UN Protection Force and in Cyprus with the UN Force.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in 1994 for counter terrorist intelligence services and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 also for counter terrorist intelligence services.

He was in Israel during much of last years' Gaza conflict, in direct contact with  soldiers in the IDF as well as Israeli political leaders.

The following are excerpts from his submission to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict, based on  his “observations on the ground during the conflict, 29 years’ military experience of conflicts of this type, intelligence work relating to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, knowledge of the IDF and Israeli intelligence services, study of the Israel-Palestine conflict and observations on the ground during the 2012 Gaza conflict.”.

In my opinion the actions taken by the IDF were necessary to defend the people of Israel from the ongoing, intensive and lethal attacks by Hamas and other groups in Gaza. It is the inalienable duty of every government to use its armed forces to protect its citizens and its terrain from external attack.

In this case there was a sustained assault on the Israeli population from rockets and mortar bombs; attacks on Israeli military posts using tunnels; apparent plans to launch further attacks on Israeli military posts and on civilian settlements also using tunnels; and attempted attacks from the sea.

As the Gaza Strip is effectively a separate state, outside of Israeli control, these actions amounted to an attack by a foreign country against Israeli territory. In these circumstances I know of no other realistic and effective means of suppressing an aggressor’s missile fire than the methods used by the IDF, namely precision air and artillery strikes against the command and control structures, the fighters and the munitions of Hamas and the other groups in Gaza. Nor have I heard any other military expert from any country propose a viable alternative means of defence against such aggression.

Colonel Kemp detailed the specific ways Israel minimized civilian casualties, writing about the
procedures that were routinely implemented prior to launching an attack in Gaza, concluding that “the IDF took exceptional measures to adhere to the Laws of Armed Conflict and to minimise civilian casualties in Gaza.”

Before a target could be attacked at least two separate and independent intelligence sources had to verify that it was a legitimate military target. Intelligence includes human sources, aerial surveillance, ground surveillance and communications intercept.

Each separate aerial attack mission had to be personally authorised by the Commander of the Israeli Air Force or one of his deputies, at least one of whom had to be present in the operations centre throughout the conflict.  Authorisation was also subject to legal advice.

To confirm whether or not civilians were in the target area surveillance had to be conducted by both manned combat aircraft and unmanned air vehicle (drone), the latter enabling greater visual recognition.

If surveillance or other intelligence sources confirmed the presence of civilians, or the presence of civilians was suspected, one or more of a series of measures was taken to warn the civilians before the attack could go ahead. These measures were:

Leaflet drop.

Broadcast radio message.

Phone call.

Text message.

Warning via UN.

An additional measure was the use of a specially designed harmless air-dropped munition known as ‘knock on the roof’ which was dropped on buildings to make a loud percussion and to warn those inside of an impending attack. 

Further surveillance was then conducted to confirm the civilians had left the target area. If they had not the attack would not be carried out until they had. 

Once a pilot was authorised to attack he had authority – and it was his duty – to abort the attack if he had reason to believe civilians were present when he made his attack run. 

Pilots utilising lazer-guided munitions were required to identify a safe open area in advance so that if civilians were identified in the target zone even after the missile was launched, it could be diverted in flight to the safe area.

Read Col. Kemps entire  submission to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict here

Thursday, February 26, 2015

UC Berkeley Passes Bill Condemning Anti-Semitism

In light of recent attacks on Jewish institutions both at home and in Europe, UC Berkeley's Academic Senate has passed, with a unanimous vote of 20- 0 SB 14/15-055 A Bill Condemning Anti-Semitism

 The sponsors included a unified group of Jewish  and non Jewish students and organizations, including Jewish Student Union (AEPi, Bears for Israel, Chabad Student Group, Chabearim, Jewish Business Association, Jews in Science and Engineering , JMED, Maccabeasts, JFem: Miriam IV, Mishelanu, Q-Jew, Tamid, Tikvah),  Pavan Upadhyayula (ASUC President), Eric Gabrielli (ASUC Senator), Vinay Ramesh (ASUC Senator), Paul Lee (ASUC Senator), Hannah Frankl (ASUC Senator), Bo Nguyen (ASUC Senator), Michaela Fried (Tikvah President), Grant Fineman (Alpha Epsilon Pi President), Glen Lipschitz (Alpha Epsilon Pi Vice President), Benjamin Feiner (Tikvah Vice President), Joshua Cahn (Co-Chief of Staff, ASUC Senator Herschmann), Sinead Brenner (Co-Chief of Staff, ASUC Senator Herschmann), Becca Berman (Bears for Israel President), Mila Shklyar (External Philanthropy Chair of Alpha Chi Omega), Alana Corre (JMED Co-President), Liza Leykina (JMED Co-President), Amiel Azizollahi (Chabad Student Group President), Avi Levine (Former Tikvah President), David Jacobowitz (Zeta Beta Tau External Affairs Vice President), Dree Kavoussi (ASUC Senator)
The text of the resolution follow. May this be a model for all universities to follow.

WHEREAS, the US State Department as of February 23, 2015 defines Anti-Semitism as:

"Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities," and;

WHEREAS, the United States State Department outlines the following contemporary examples:

  • “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations,” and;

WHEREAS, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that, the United Nations emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust.  And a human rights agenda that fails to address anti-Semitism denies its own history,” and;

WHEREAS, Jewish communities in both France and Denmark have been rocked by attacks on their holy places, members, and stores twice in two months, and;

WHEREAS, the swastika symbol was used during the Holocaust to symbolize the Nazi regime and their collaborators, and;
WHEREAS, Neo-Nazis use the swastika to this day to instill fear in Jews all around the world and trigger memories of the horrific atrocities and events of the Holocaust, and;
WHEREAS, early Saturday morning on January 31st, 2015, between the hours of 3 and 9 a.m., the fraternity house of the Alpha Epsilon Pi at UC Davis was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti, notably two large swastikas, and;

WHEREAS, in 2013, a Swastika was discovered scratched into a door in Clark Kerr Campus, and;
WHEREAS, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the
basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance which extended to protect Jewish students in 2004 on the basis that Judaism is both a religion and an ethnicity, and;

WHEREAS, On February 10th, 2014, at a meeting of the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association Council, a Jewish candidate for Judicial Board Justice was asked, “Given that you’re a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community […] how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view in your position?” by a council member, followed by a debate not about the candidates qualifications, but about whether or not her identity and affiliation with the Jewish community created a unique conflict of interest, to which this debate was later denounced by the Daily Bruin Editorial Board as “discriminatory,” and;

WHEREAS, Incidents like ones at UC Davis have happened multiple times at other campuses around the UC System and the country and have been brushed off as harmless tagging of property, including in a residence hall at UC Berkeley in 2006, and;

WHEREAS, Many incidents of anti-Semitism occur both inside and outside of the classroom on UC campuses, and;

WHEREAS, the past response to anti-Semitism has not opened important conversations that need to happen, and;

WHEREAS, the ASUC has historically taken a stance against instances of prejudice, including Islamophobia, and as Jews are a minority, and;

WHEREAS, Anti-Semitism is the bigoted targeting of a historically oppressed minority and thus should be treated with the utmost care in relation to the hate crime incidents that happen on campus.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED,  That the ASUC adopt the definition of anti-Semitism as stated above, recognizing the rights and protections of Jewish students and the Jewish community, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC unequivocally condemns the hateful incidents at UC Davis, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC will actively fight against anti-Semitism according to the U.S. State Department’s definition as defined above, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC acts in accordance to their mission to represent and protect their students through the following:

  1. Commitment to taking action should happen with immediate urgency
  2. Awareness of any prejudice happening to any minority community should be a major concern and on the forefront of the ASUC’s agenda, and;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Associated Students of the University of California charter the Ad-Hoc Committee on Anti-Semitism so that it reads:
Section 1: Composition
Voting Members: ASUC President, two ASUC Senators, the Jewish Student Union President, one Faculty Member (nominated by the rest of the committee and approved by Senate) and one student-at-large (nominated by the rest of the committee and approved by Senate).

Section 2: Charge  

  1. The charge of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Anti-Semitism shall be discussing, deliberating, and further educating about Anti-Semitism on campus; and,
  2. Request an amount of funding from the Senate Finance Committee for students or student groups to use for Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) programming each academic year.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That President Upadhyayula sends a letter signed by every senator expressing our concern for the safety of the Jewish community on the UC Davis campus, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC calls on the executives (President Upadhyayula, EVP Kong, Student Advocate Ahuja, EAVP Quinn, and AAVP Chou) to ask Chancellor Dirks and the Dean of Students to meet regarding anti-Semitism and invite leaders of the Jewish community (to the discretion of the ASUC elected officials) to the meeting, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC encourages the student body to be conscious of unintended effects that their words and actions may have on others, and to become active allies of marginalized students, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC does not endorse the behaviors of students, staff, faculty, or administration that infringe upon the safety of another person and/or develop a hostile and unsafe environment, and;

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the ASUC should respect the right of the Jewish students at UC Berkeley to define, within the guidelines of the nationally recognized definition put forth by the United States State Department, what is and is not anti-Semitism, in the same manner in which other communities are granted that right.

Use for your next Gaza vacation

The Electronic Intifada's having a bit of a tantrum because offers accommodations over the green line.

Interestingly enough, also includes listings in that vacationers paradise, terror controlled Gaza.  Electronic Intifada doesn't seem to care about that.

This beach chalet, listed on  is just meters from the Gaza beach and offers both a swimming pool and a jacuzzi, and manicured landscaping (just like the Warsaw ghetto)

If you are interesting in seeing more photos of this lovely Gaza home, visit

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Israel Apartheid Week Comes to Berkeley


Its Israel apartheid Week” at UC Berkeley, and Students for Just Us in Palestine (SJP)  just can’t seem to think beyond the box, resorting to the same tired techniques to spread their demonization of Israel.

Yep. Mock-check points and mock-eviction notices.

In direct violation of campus policy SJP members distributed several hundred fake eviction notices under the doors in Unit 2, except for one floor, where a resident advisor barred their entry. (SJP described the incident as " the interruption of a Resident Advisor prevented us from exercising our right to free expression.")
Via the Daily Cal
“We do not allow any solicitations out of respect for the students residing there,” said Adam Ratliff, spokesperson for the campus’ Division of Student Affairs, in an email. He said he is not aware of any planned response to SJP for breaching dormitory policy.

The club also left an eviction notice in Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ mailbox.

The group also staged a checkpoint at a mock security barrier at Sather Gate, that was largely ignored by the students hurrying to classes.  A bomb was painted on  the barrier, along with the word "resistance"

The barrier  also features a tribute to unrepentant Jew-murderer Rasmea Odeh.  Both visual images provided a  horrifyingly disturbing glorification of violence from the privileged students at Cal.

SJP's exercise in demonization was supported financially by a variety of equally extremist groups, including JVP, IJAN and the AROC

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dam Lies.

It was all over the news. Even reputable sites printed the press release verbatim, without any fact checking. The agitprop sites of as usual were the worse.  Versions of the story appeared on media from Iran, Qatar, Russia, China, the UK, France and the Palestinian Authority

A typical version from Ma'an News

Hundreds of Palestinians were evacuated from their homes Sunday morning after Israeli authorities opened a number of dams near the border, flooding the Gaza Valley in the wake of a recent severe winter storm.

The Gaza Ministry of Interior said in a statement that civil defense services and teams from the Ministry of Public Works had evacuated more than 80 families from both sides of the Gaza Valley (Wadi Gaza) after their homes flooded as water levels reached more than three meters.

There was not a word of truth to it.

Via Media Watchdog, CAMERA

Regarding the claim that Israel opened dams, thereby flooding Gaza, a spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told CAMERA:

The claim is entirely false, and southern Israel does not have any dams. Due to the recent rain, streams were flooded throughout the region with no connection to actions taken by the State of Israel.

 Prior to the storm, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories allowed the transfer of four water pumps belonging to the Palestinian Water Authority from Israel into Gaza to supplement the 13 pumps already in the Gaza Strip in dealing with any potential flooding throughout the area.

In addition, Nechemia Shahaf, the head of the Drainage Authority for the Shakma-Besor Region, confirmed to CAMERA that there are no dams which can be opened and closed in southern Israel. Shahaf said, "There is a diverting dam one meter high which directs water to reservoirs. This is a low dam which cannot be opened or closed." He also noted that the singular dam, which cannot be opened, is next to Kibbutz Gvulot, and approximately 20 kilometers away from Gaza.

For more (accurate) information

The Bullsh*t Dam Has Burst  

Watchdog Rips AFP for False Report Claiming Israel Flooded Gaza Areas by Opening Dams

AFP Lies, Dam Lies and Floods 

Gazans (and the PA) again blame Israel for the weather (update x2)

AFP Lies, Claims Israel 'Flooded Gaza' with Nonexistent Dam


Monday, February 23, 2015

San Francisco Billboard Wars. Take 6

For the sixth time, SWU Is countering anti-Israel messages in San Francisco with pro-Israel ads beginning March 2, 2015.

StandWithUs (SWU) is placing two posters on San Francisco buses that will begin March 2 for one month.  They are on eight buses (four on four.)

This is the sixth time that the Israel education organization has responded to anti-Israel messages in San Francisco. 

One StandWithUs ad  states, "Not With Our Tax Dollars. Stop U.S. Aid for Palestinian Terrorism," and directs viewers to learn more and sign a petition at: 

The second ad juxtaposes ancient and modern coins that feature the Menorah, reminding commuters that "Israel has been the homeland of the Jewish people for 3,000 years."

The SWU ads counter anti-Israel ones also on buses initiated by Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC), partnering with the local No Tax Dollars For Israel, that feature a woman sitting in rubble stating, "Israel's War Crimes. Your Tax Dollars At Work." 

"The anti-Israel ads mislead the public and try to undermine American support for Israel with factual distortions and exaggerations. They leave out the real reason Israel needs to defend itself, which is Hamas in Gaza and terrorist cells in the West Bank. They leave out the numerous times Israel has given up land for peace - such as in Gaza in 2005 when, in exchange, Hamas and other terror groups fired thousands of rockets at Israel's southern communities. Operation Protective Edge was launched this summer to protect Israeli citizens. These ads do not explain that Hamas misappropriated donor funds that should have been used to build infrastructure and instead used the money for weapons to build  terror tunnels in order to unleash cross-border terror attacks at unsuspecting Israeli citizens," states Dr.  Michael Harris, StandWithUs/SFVoicefor Israel.

StandWithUs has countered anti-Israel messages on public transit and highways wherever they appeared throughout the United States and Canada since 2007. 

"Groups that publicize misinformation about Israel should be on the alert that we will continue to challenge their lies and to inform the public," affirmed Roz Rothstein, CEO StandWithUs.

Is Paul Larudee funneling donations to terrorist organizations?

In January, Paul’s  Free Palestine Movement solicited donations “to help Palestinians in Gaza” by donating to the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund. He included a photo of a baby who had alleged frozen to death just to tug at the heart strings.

The Free Palestine Movement and the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund are both sock puppet accounts organized under the rubric of Paul Larudee's 501 c 3, the Association for Investment for Popular action Committees (yes, that be would "AIPAC") EIN 20-5516191.

The Vista Heights address is Paul's own  home.

Paul’s priorities are interesting. If he were really interested in  buying warm blankets for babies, why did he just spend $8,000 on 15 anti-Israel advertisements on San Francisco MUNI buses?

Paul whose ties to Hamas leaders have been well documented now finds himself in a quandary. Banks have refused to release the funds which had been earmarked to the “ Charitable Association for Palestinian Relief in Lebanon,"  quite a bit of a hike from Gaza.

From a series of  emails sent out by Paul Larudee, exhorting his followers to harass bank compliance officials (I've removed the phone numbers and emails) into releasing funds:

From: FPM Newsletter
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 1:01 PM

Subject: US Banks are refusing to release the funds you sent for freezing Palestinians in Gaza
US Banks are refusing to release the funds you sent for freezing Palestinians in Gaza
It's true. You sent us nearly $5000 and now the banks are refusing to release the funds. We tried to send the first $3720 of that amount from our account at Bank of the West to the Charitable Association for Palestinian Relief in Lebanon. For this transaction, Bank of the West used the international banking services of Mellon Bank in New York. 

Mellon stopped the transaction and requested further information. By that time we were in the process of changing banks, so we cancelled the transaction and asked them to return the money to our account so that we could send the money from the new bank (and add additional funds received). In addition, the information requested made no sense (for example, the personal details of Syrian ex-president Hafez al-Assad, who died fifteen years ago). Now they are threatening to confiscate the funds permanently at 4:00 p.m. TODAY Pacific time (7:00 p.m. Eastern).

We do not believe they have the legal right to do this, but we also do not want to spend a lot of money on legal services. PLEASE CALL and tell them to release the funds. They have no right to keep our money if we have canceled the transaction. We do not know what will happen after 4:00 today, but we suggest continuing to call daily for as long as is takes to release the money. We will update you whenever we have more information. 

PLEASE CALL and tell them to release the funds for freezing Palestinians. And don't bank at Bank of the West or use the services of Mellon Bank.
Tanya Kazak, Vice President, Compliance Manager, Bank of the West 
Karen Nelson, Customer Service Manager, El Cerrito Branch, Bank of the West

From: FPM Newsletter
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2015 7:47 AM
Subject: Keep calling the Banksters. Your actions are helping
Keep calling the Banksters. Your actions are helping. 

Yesterday we received a call from Tanya Kazak, the Vice President and Compliance Manager for Bank of the West within 15 minutes of posting our appeal for your action. She had already received five calls and by the time we finished talking, she had received twelve. Karen Nelson at the local branch was routing her calls to the 800 number, but here is a new number for her: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Here also is the text of a message that we sent after hours to Ms. Kazak after consulting with our attorney. It explains further actions that we intend to take. Your suggestions are welcome, and if you learn anything that might be of use, please send it to us. 

Tanya Kazak 
Vice President, Compliance Manager 
Bank of the West 

Ms. Kazak, 
Our legal counsel advises us that Bank of the West is illegally withholding our funds and that you have provided no justification to demand the information that you are asking. He advises not to provide that information until and unless you demonstrate the legal necessity to do so, and he invites you to call him to discuss the matter further. His name is Tom Nelson and he can be reached at xxx-xxx-xxxx or xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Until now, Bank of the West has steadfastly refused to state that Bank of New York Mellon requires the requested information as a condition of releasing the funds to be returned to the Association. In addition, Bank of the West refuses to state in writing what the consequences will be if the Association refuses to provide the requested information by your deadline of 4:00 p.m. PST, Feb. 18, 2015, which has now passed. 

In the absence of such statements, we conclude that the demand is frivolous, malicious and insincere, and made in violation of the law but under the assumption that law enforcement will not act to protect our rights for a sum of money that would be within the jurisdiction of small claims court if we were an individual and not a corporation. Clearly, BNY Mellon and/or Bank of the West consider themselves to be too powerful to abide by the law and the amount too small for theft statutes to be enforced. 

However, we have other means of defending our rights, and we intend to pursue them. These include state and federal banking authorities and public officials. We also have the power of our supporters and human rights advocates everywhere, whom we can ask to demand from you directly and through public demonstrations and the press to honor our rights. We can bring attention to your immoral and arrogant practices, and we can encourage the public to boycott your bank. Please do not think that we are without recourse merely because our accounts do not represent a major part of your business. 

Let me remind you that Bank of the West chose to use BNY Mellon for the subject transaction. You may have business with them, but our business is with you and we hold you responsible for the return of our funds, regardless of your interaction with BNY Mellon. Please do the right thing and return our funds without delay. 

What you can do: 
. Keep calling Tanya Kazak at xxx-xxx-xxxx and tell her to return our funds immediately. If Bank of the West wants to use their own funds to reimburse us, we have no objection, and we will then allow them to keep any funds returned to them by Bank of New York Mellon. Call Karen Nelson at xxx-xxx-xxxx and xxx-xxx-xxxx with the same message. Perhaps sequential numbers above and below those two numbers will also work.

. Send the same message by email to (email removed)
. You may wish to call Bank of New York Mellon at xxx-xxx-xxxx We have had no direct dealings with them, but you can perhaps ask the operator to direct you to the compliance section of the international wire transfer division. You can tell them that it is in reference to a cancelled wire transfer in the amount of $3720 from the account of the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, sent from the Bank of the West, El Cerrito, California branch to the Charitable Association for Palestinian Relief in Lebanon on January 26, 2015. They are not authorized to give you any information, but your purpose is to deliver the message to release the funds that they are illegally holding even after the transaction was cancelled. Let us know about your experience.
. If you bank at Bank of the West, find a new bank, and let us and them know. This kind of pressure makes a big difference.
Thank you for all your help. The essence of the Palestinian struggle is that we won't be bullied.

From: FPM Newsletter
Subject: [] The latest on bank confiscation of funds for Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in Gaza

The latest on bank confiscation of funds for Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in Gaza
Your calls and emails have caused Bank of NY Mellon and Bank of the West to twice postpone their deadlines for threatened actions. 

As you know, the Free Palestine Movement is a human rights advocacy organization and its sister, the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund is a humanitarian aid organization. Is it likely that we will surrender our own human rights at the same time that we fight for those of Palestinians? We don't think so. 

The latest communication from Quinn Osborne, Vice President and Lead Counsel for Bank of the West says that we must answer a list of questions or "the Funds will be blocked in accordance with the U.S. sanctions laws." We would very much like to see the laws that authorize banks to block the return of funds to depositors in the case of cancelled transactions. We do not believe that such laws exist and neither does our legal counsel, Tom Nelson. We also do not believe that they have the right to ask any questions in the case of a cancelled transaction, only if they are being asked to complete the transaction.

We have already filed a complaint with the State of California and we are preparing a press release. The reference number for the wire transfer is 20150126-00006615, sent on 26 January, 2015. If you call BNY Mellon at xxx-xxx-xxxx, you can ask for the compliance section of the international wire transfer department and demand the funds of that cancelled transaction to be returned to the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund immediately. We will also try to find more numbers and email addresses for you to call and write. 

Please let us know your experience and any ideas that you may have to bring further pressure on lawless banks that take upon themselves authority that they do not have. Let us know especially if you withdraw your account from Bank of the West. We know of one very big account that was already moved to another bank. Thank you!