What happened to Ezra Nawi?

His name is Ezra Nawi

Click here to send a message to the Israeli Consulate

Join Naomi Klein, Neve Gordon, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others and tell Israel not to jail Ezra Nawi, one of Israel’s most courageous human rights activists.

His crime? He tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region.

Nawi, a Jewish Israeli of Iraqi descent, is a threat to the settlers and the Israeli government because he has brought international attention to efforts to illegally remove Palestinians from the Hebron region. He will be sentenced August 16th.

The New York Times has taken notice and written this profile of Nawi and his activism.

(Watch the remarkable video of Nawi trying to stop the home demolition and his subsequent arrest.)

Is the Western Left afraid of revolution? By William Bowles

4 August 2009

Heretical no doubt but the history of the Left in the allegedly developed world is not exactly littered with success stories, worse still is our relationship with the developing world as the confusion surrounding who to support (or not to) in Iran most clearly reveals. And this is not a new phenomenon as the ideological battles, for example over Cuba, reveal, or more recently Venezuela. It seems that in spite of our failure to bring about an end to capitalism in no way impedes our desire to tell everyone else what should be done to bring about social change.

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Israel targets human rights groups

3 August, 2009 — Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent

NAZARETH // In a bid to staunch the flow of damaging evidence of war crimes committed during Israel’s winter assault on Gaza, the Israeli government has launched a campaign to clamp down on human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad.

It has begun by targeting one of the world’s leading rights organisations, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as a local group of dissident army veterans, Breaking the Silence, which last month published the testimonies of 26 combat soldiers who served in Gaza.

Additionally, according to the Israeli media, the government is planning a “much more aggressive stance” towards human rights groups working to help the Palestinians.

Officials have questioned the sources of funding received by the organisations and threatened legislation to ban support from foreign governments, particularly in Europe.

Breaking the Silence and other Israeli activists have responded by accusing the government of a “witch hunt” designed to intimidate them and starve them of the funds needed to pursue their investigations.

“This is a very dangerous step,” said Mikhael Mannekin, one of the directors of Breaking the Silence. “Israel is moving in a very anti-democratic direction.”

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Iran: Reply to the Campaign for Peace and Democracy By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

3 August, 2009 — MRZine – Monthly Review

The Campaign for Peace and Democracy1 has chosen to interpret our “Riding the ‘Green Wave'”2 article as a “vitriolic and dishonest attack” on its authors, and an “offensive impugning of [their] integrity.”  In fact, it is nothing of the sort.  Instead, it is concerned with issues of central importance to the left in the United States and beyond.  Not only did we make no derogatory personal remarks, we find nothing objectionable in four people expressing “solidarity with the Iranian protestors.”  But the CPD’s “Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis” has a grander purpose, which is didactic, educational — to instruct the left and American progressives about how we should understand and respond to events inside Iran (reinforced by the arrogant notion that anyone who doesn’t get it might be guilty of suffering “leftist confusion”3).  For this reason, its Q&A operates on a categorically different level.  Hence, our sole reason for taking it up.

One principle that we stress is that the Iranian election was Iranian business, not the business of the Western left, especially the left in a country like the United States, which has been intervening continuously and destructively in Iran for years and which is still, in alliance with Israel, threatening Iran militarily.  Furthermore, we believe that in the interest of peace as well as democracy in Iran, the focus of the Western left should be on stopping the U.S. and Israel from threatening and intervening in Iran, including their manipulation of the IAEA and UN Security Council into sanctioning Iran from 2006 on for its nuclear program, while ignoring Israel’s and the United States’ nuclear arms and threats.  Instead, the CPD spends its scarce resources urging the left’s “need for solidarity with the anti-Ahmadinejad movement.”

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Femicides of Juárez: Violence Against Women in Mexico

3 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Juárez is nicknamed ‘the capital of murdered women.’ The border city of 1.5 million inhabitants draws tens of thousands of young women from small, poor towns with $55-a-week jobs in maquiladoras operated by such wealthy major corporations as General Electric, Alcoa, and DuPont. According to Amnesty International, more than 800 bodies had been found as of February 2005, and over 3,000 women are still missing. These mass murders of women have been dubbed a ‘femicide’ by the popular media, which is defined as the systematic killing of women due to their gender. Though the disappearance, kidnapping, and murder of women in Juárez has been chronicled by the media and grudgingly acknowledged by the Mexican government authorities have pretty much dropped its investigation of the femicides as of August 2006, remaining all but indifferent to calls for action.

Setting the Stage
Juárez has become a prosperous, industrial city as a result of new economic policies that have encouraged the maquiladoras, factories that import materials for assembly and then re-export the assembled product, to become a fixed aspect of the local and national economy. Lured by the booming economy and job availability, many women and their families have left their homes to live in Ciudad Juárez. In order to make sense of the femicides occurring in Juárez, it is important to understand the underlying economic policies that have encouraged women to migrate to Juárez, despite the danger of the high female murder rate.

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Colombian Trade Unions: A Target for Intimidation and Assassination

3 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Luis Adolfo Cardona worked as a forklift operator at an American-owned bottling company that packages 50,000 cases of Coca-Cola’s famous fizzy beverages a month. On an unassuming morning, Cardona narrowly escaped death when right-wing paramilitary troops attempted to kill him. Unfortunately, not all labor union activists are so lucky. Isídro Segundo Gil, the gatekeeper and the union’s chief negotiator at another Coca-Cola bottling plant in the small, rural town of Carepa, Colombia, was gunned down by a band of paramilitary insurgents on December 5, 1996. After shooting Gil ten times, the armed men sped away from the premises on motorcycles. Not even a few hours had passed before the militants were back. They attempted to kidnap another union leader, who just barely got away, and then set fire to the union’s offices later that night. The armed group returned a week later. The workers were then gathered in the cafeteria and given an ultimatum—either quit or be killed.

For most of its modern existence, Colombia has struggled with internal violence, most recently in the form of human rights abuses and brutality against organized trade union groups carried out by paramilitary and insurgent armies. This group in particular has been subjected to a disproportionate amount of violence. In the past twenty years, over 2,000 activists have been gunned down, making labor activists and trade union members likely the most targeted group of civilians in the country.

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