Friday, 12 March 2010

Israeli Military Raids Home of Palestinian Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh in Early Hours of Morning

‘The Only Democracy in the Middle East’ Attacks Another Human Rights Activist
Despite its pretended opposition to terrorism (apart from its own of course), what Israel most fears is a mass non-violent peaceful protest by Palestinians. Palestinian ‘terrorism’ is easy to deal with since Israel is far more powerful than its adversaries and terrorism has always been the last resort of the weak. What it finds more difficult to deal with are those who don’t use violence. Hence why Israel has followed a concerted strategy of trying to conflate peaceful protest with ‘terrorism’.

The International Solidarity Movement, which takes as an article of faith, the need for all protest to be non-violent, has been demonised by Israel because it has met with people who are classified as ‘terrorists.’ Rachel Corrie, who tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home by standing in front of a bulldozer was deliberately run over and killed. Tom Hurndell and many other peaceful protesters have also been killed, thus giving the lie to the argument that Israel is interested in a peaceful settlement.

Israel was born in violence and it knows no other response than to baton, torture and imprison its opponents. It is a state based on the deepest racism, an inversion of the values of Nazi Germany. Whereas Jews were the victims 70 years ago today it is non-Jews who are the untermenschen.

As you can read below, Professor Qumsiyeh’s home was raided by the Israeli military at 1.30 a.m. in the morning. Like the German they favour raiding homes when children and families are asleep. Unfortunately for the barbarians on this particular mission, their quarry had escaped them – he was abroad. But the soldiers of the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ left their calling card.

Below is Professor Qumsiyeh's description of what happened and other articles of interest. It is essential that as big a protest as possible is raised to prevent the imprisonment and torture of Professor Qumsiyeh when he returns to Israel.

Tony Greenstein

What Happened When the Israeli Army Came Calling

The Israeli army invaded our neighborhood at 1:30 AM Tuesday morning waking up my mother, wife and sister. Heavily-armed soldiers blocked roads during "the operation". When my family opened the door, they demanded to see me. They were told I have already left to the US.

After many more questions, they left a paper that states I am to appear at the military liaison office next Monday. My sister and wife told them I will not be back by then. Clearly the warning from that military officer at Ush Ghrab that I mentioned in my last email, was based on knowledge of this. I guess I am a wanted man now for engaging in nonviolent protest! Those who were at that event and have video, please contact me.

What disturbs me is not the risk to me; any action against oppression is taken knowing there are personal risks. What disturbs me is that this has an effect on my family and thousands of friends around the world who care (and some of it unpredictable). My 76 year old mother asks on the phone that I not go back and that I work in the US for a while, a very painful suggestion for a mother to make about her only remaining son near her! I try to assure her that I have done nothing wrong and will not leave her…but she brings up many examples of people who also did not do any violence and were arrested, imprisoned, and their families had to go through a lot.

friend who heard about this stated I have nothing to worry about, that this was to hassle me to get us to stop being active. Another lost sleep trying to figure out what we can do. I assure her that I will carry on with my speaking tour as planned and that this will blow over one day. (the song “we shall overcome someday” comes to mind).
But I am not different from hundreds of others. Israel is cracking down on all popular/civil resistance activities in Palestine because: 1) there is no armed resistance now, and 2) Civil resistance is escalating and portending a new powerful uprising. Israel’s repression of dissent reinforces in our minds the importance of civil resistance and that there is a price to pay for it. Over 30 activists were arrested in Bilin over the past year, many others in Ni’lin, Al-Ma’sara and elsewhere.

The repression reveals the bankruptcy of the Zionist regime and its excessive paranoia that will IMHO eventually lead to its demise. It is paranoia inherent in the philosophical underpinnings of the ideology. That ideology embraced by a subset of Jews (Zionism) simply teaches that “we are God’s chosen people, He gave us this land, we cannot go wrong when behaving against the Goyim especially those who happen to be here when we arrived to reclaim and cleanse our lands, and International law and human rights laws do not apply to us.”

It is self-destructive delusions that are inculcated during early education and perpetuate the myths of uniqueness. It leads to the kind of behaviors that are now difficult to hide (the ethnic cleansing of 1948 was only a beginning). But even some Israelis are shedding these mythologies and joining the struggle. In the end, we will live together despite all this repression.
I have to consider various options in terms of responding to this particular event. If you have any advice, I would appreciate it. My initial thought is that we should intensify our work for peace and human rights in this critical and historic period: write to the media, the politicians, neighbors and anyone who would listen. Below is an action call for March 30th (Land Day) which I urge you to heed. We can’t be neutral on a moving train and there are times whether in the US in the 1950s and 1960s or in South Africa under apartheid, when silence was indeed complicity in crime.
We can’t be neutral on a moving train and there are times whether in the US in the 1950s and 1960s or in South Africa under apartheid, when silence was indeed complicity in crime.
We hear most of Professor Qumsiyeh's talk given last week at St. John's Methodist Church in Watertown, MA. As he explains, an IDF soldier warned him, two days before, to cancel his entire trip to the US and stay home in the West Bank. After he departed on the trip, his house was surrounded by a garrison of IDF soldiers, and his fate upon return is uncertain.

Qumsiyeh's subject: Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance. He also lays out some of the sordid history of the Zionist movement, which was born back in the 1880s.
Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches genetics and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He previously served on the faculties of Yale and Duke Universities and the University of Tennessee. He is currently the president of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People and the coordinator of the Popular Committee to Defend Ush Ghrab (PCDUG). He is an author, blogger, tireless Palestinian human rights activist, and a co-founder of Wheels of Justice Bus Tour.

He authored the acclaimed "Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle"; has published over 200 letters to the editor and 100 op-ed pieces and has been interviewed extensively on local, national and international TV and radio. Appearances in national media included the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He regularly lectures on issues of human rights and international law and is currently finishing a book on the history of Palestinian civil resistance.

The event was sponsored by Tri-Town Alliance of Watertown, Newton and Waltham; United for Justice with Peace; Sabeel; and Living Stones Ministry, Church of the Good Shepherd, Watertown.
Links: Links

In the Birth Pangs of a New Uprising

Below is an update including action calls, interviews by several languages, and more videos of civil resistance actions being persecuted by occupation authorities.
Many people have been injured and killed in the past few weeks as both the local population and the occupation authorities realize we are in the birth pangs of a new uprising against the occupation focused on civil resistance in villages and towns impacted by the colonization policies. A 14-year-old Ehab Afdal Barghouthi was critically injured after Israeli occupation soldiers shot him in the head earlier this week during one of these demonstrations.

The concern that hundreds of you showed to my situation with a potential arrest upon return home moved me. Of course, I am more protected and privileged than most Palestinians who engage in civil resistance and we must not forget about them. But in discussion with many hundreds of friends via my appearances in the US in the last few days and via the internet, we come to the conclusion that it might be good to use my story as a way to draw attention to these other cases.

If the Israeli army is allowed to persecute a Palestinian American academic and professor who always advocated civil and nonviolent resistance, then obviously they would have more freedom to do far more against others. And not being able to intimidate me might give more courage to other Palestinians from exile to return and struggle in our homeland.
So with those ideas in mind, I contracted with the law offices of Jonathan Kuttab (famous Palestinian civil resister himself) to represent me upon my return. We will also wage a media and other campaigns as the need arise. I thus spoke strongly against repression in several venues in the past few days including Bradeiss, Brown, UMAss, and Northeastern Universities. I will also be speaking March 10th at Noon at Graduate Student Lounge (just behind Au Bon Pain), Rutgers Student Center, 126 College Avenue, New Brunswick Directions:

Sponsored by the Emeriti Assembly of the Rutgers Council of AAUP-AFT.

Supporters of freedom have also took initiatives to act on their own. Some started a petition to describes the situation surrounding the threats by the Israeli Army: And some American professors and representatives have already expressed support: Others have continued to put videos on Youtube showing indeed who the aggressors are.

A Call to Action

Other peace and justice groups have asked for action. For example Palestine Action Group wrote to their supporters: This is a call for action on behalf of our friend, Dr Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, whom we know as a tireless advocate for human rights and justice.

Mazin is a Palestinian American citizen who lived in the US for 29 years before returning to Palestine nearly two years ago. He received his higher education in the US and served as a faculty member in schools of medicine at the Universities of Tennessee, Duke and Yale. He has also written several books, the most recent of which is Hope and Empowerment: A History of Popular Resistance in Palestine. Israel receives billions of our tax money, and carries out its targeting of nonviolent peace activists, like Mazin, with the tacit complicity of the US government. Please join us in writing to Israelis officials (that we are aware of Mazin's situation and concerned for his safety) and US officials (asking that they use their influence on Mazin's behalf).

Below are the addresses, and thanks for any attention you can bring to his case.

Israeli Embassy in US: Ambassador Michael Oren, Embassy of Israel, 3514 International Drive, NW, Washington DC 20008 Telephone: (202) 364-5500 Fax: (202) 364-5423 E-mail:

Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, 456 Montgomery St, Suite 2100, San Francisco, CA 94104 Telephone: 415-844-7500 Fax: 415-844-7555 E-mail:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520, Main Switchboard: 202-647-4000 / Comment Line: 202-647-6575 or 202-647-5291

US Embassy in Israel: U.S. Embassy, Israel 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv

Israeli minister of justice: Min. of Justice Yaakov NEEMAN, Salah -a - Din 29 P.O.Box 49029 Jerusalem 91490 ISRAEL *

Interview of Mazin Qumsiyeh by Silvia Cattori*

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