June 4, 2013, the second Palestinian Cultural day was met with yawns in Alameda County. Some of us just couldn't help wondering- if the Palestinians claim a 2,000 year connection to the Holy land, and the Jews claim a 4,000 year heritage, can we finally take this as a formal admission that the Palestinians are interlopers and that the Jews are the natives?
The mention of handicrafts as a hallmark of Palestinian culture is also fascinating, in light of a recent email sent out by a trio of women, Sinead MacLochlainn, Mary Hughes Thompson and Greta Berlin. (The ethically challenged Greta Berlin may be best known for a series of bizarre and anti-Semitic tweets, followed by a series of even more bizarre excuses, documented at Storify by Avi Mayer. She has also gleefully admitted writing fraudulent press releases)
From an email sent by Greta Berlin.
Announcing the launch of the “Freedom Stitchers” project to help create self-sufficiency for marginalized and jobless women in Gaza.
The “Freedom Stitchers” project begins in Gaza, late summer/early autumn 2013
“Freedom Stitchers” will be a sustainable project to assist the women of Gaza in creating handcrafted items that can then be exported and sold to generate a small income for the women who participate. This micro-business is based on the idea that Palestinian women possess their own unique artistic and design skills, but they need a process to sell their finished products to the world, (with a little help from their friends at “Freedom Stitchers.”) We therefore intend to help set up this business for women in Gaza to market not only their exquisite embroidery, but to also enhance their artistic skills by teaching them how to knit, crochet, do silk ribbon embroidery, beadwork, felting, and other types of hand stitching for textile art which can then be sold.The three of us organizers, Sinead MacLochlainn, Mary Hughes Thompson and Greta Berlin are long-time activists for justice in Palestine. You can read more about us on our bio page and on the website at freedomstitchers.org then donate what you can to make this project work. Indiegogo accepts credit cards and PayPal or you can send a donation to the bank in Ireland. It's listed in the website above.You all stepped up and donated for the boats. No matter how big or small the donation, this project is also worthy of your support. Once Mary, Sinead and I set up the micro-business, we will step back and provide support as needed. Everyone says it is not possible to organize a micro business in Gaza. But they said the same thing about sending boats. The boats could not have happened without all of you. Make this project happen!
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder, the Free Gaza movementEditor, Freedom Sailors
If Palestinian textile arts are an established part of the local culture, why are American and European women arrogantly proposing the need to enhance the skills of local women by " teaching them how to knit, crochet, do silk ribbon embroidery, beadwork, felting, and other types of hand stitching for textile art? " If these women of privilege are so concerned about the marginalized women of Gaza, what are they doing to mitigate the adverse effects of polygamy? Under-aged marriages? What are they doing to encourage women to challenge the misogynist Hamas regime?
Inquiring minds are wondering, Greta.....