|From:||Amin Husain <email@example.com>|
|Sent time:||Wednesday, October 12, 2011 5:35:29 AM|
|Subject:||Re: [september17discuss] Zionist speaker at OWS outreach training|
Andy and Layan - What do you think is needed to make things better?
On Oct 12, 2011, at 7:32 AM, shaista husain <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Can we have a teach in in front of UN? The NYU speak out was
> successful. Perhaps a UN speak out will also be just as successful to
> bring attention to the failed policies.
> On Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 7:06 AM, Amin Husain <email@example.com> wrote:
>> I am happy to help with a teach-in.
>> On Oct 12, 2011, at 3:49 AM, Layan Fuleihan <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> I agree wholeheartedly. As an arab-american with Palestinian roots, I've
>> been encouraged by the amount of support and inclusion so far in the square.
>> This is definitely not something I'm used to seeing, and it is really
>> heartwarming and encouraging. There are of course differences of opinion,
>> and while I personally do not see any reason at all to support a zionist
>> political agenda, I will respect the right of anyone involved with OWS to
>> have their own opinions regarding this issue.
>> However, there is a difference between having personal opinions and being
>> afraid to hear all sides. What it sounds like happened (and I wasn't there,
>> so I apologize if this is inaccurate) is, with the downward finger signs and
>> general disapproval, and unwillingness to face an uncomfortable truth. If
>> this isn't then time, then when?
>> OWS is not about being comfortable. Isn't this supposed to be a place where
>> voices that are usually oppressed to finally be heard? If anyone has any
>> critique about anything that goes on in the square, it must be fairly
>> considered. The specific context of the J-14 protests is specifically
>> concerning: yes, the J-14 protests might have been similar to ours in form
>> and style and subject, but the real housing crisis in Israel happened half a
>> century ago with the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and
>> continues today with settlement expansion and an institutionalized policy of
>> racism and apartheid. These are facts that are, at this point, impossible
>> to ignore and undeniable, there is more than enough human and material
>> evidence so that this becomes larger than politics, it is an issue of basic
>> human rights. To speak of the J14 protests without at least acknowledging
>> this reality goes against what I understand is one of the main central
>> productive abilities of OWS that gives it such credibility: a drive to
>> unmask the forms of oppression the national and global system currently
>> creates. Further, it is our responsibility to face these facts: the
>> disproportionately large U.S. financial and political support of Israel
>> makes this issue urgently relevant to our protests.
>> I second Andy's suggestion for a teach in and discussion between different
>> groups to start coming to an understanding on this topic. I truly believe
>> that OWS is the space for this sort of productive discussion to happen, I've
>> seen it happen, and I'm very optimistic that it can occur again.
>> On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 9:41 PM, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> Tonight (Tuesday) was the first Occupy Wall Street outreach training. I
>>> was shocked to hear that the first speaker after the introduction would be
>>> an activist from the Israeli "tent protests," the racist movement which was
>>> fighting for cheaper rents and mortgages for stolen homes on stolen land.
>>> OWS has responded to criticisms of
>>> inadequate leadership and participation and addressing of issues by and
>>> regarding people of color by fostering discussion and restructuring. The
>>> racist "tent protest" movement responded to equivalent challenges from
>>> Palestinians by telling them, "shut
>>> up, leave us alone, don't divide the movement."
>>> I waited to hear what the speaker (Ezra something) had to say, and it was
>>> as bad as I feared. It was all about the technical issues of outreach and
>>> democracy, and not one word about outreach to Palestinians or inclusion of
>>> their issues.
>>> When he finished I got the floor (even though there hadn't been discussion
>>> time planned for that agenda point) and made some of the above points.
>>> Almost as soon as I began speaking murmurs of disagreement and calls of
>>> "this isn't the time" and downward "twinkling" hand motions began. One of
>>> the facilitators asked the
>>> speaker to respond, and he said "it's a question of outreach. I did
>>> outreach to Palestinians in Israel who were leery of joining the movement.
>>> You'll have to do the same in the Bronx. The issue of Palestinians in the
>>> movement won't be settled here."
>>> Well, yes, Mr. Zionist, it will be settled here. There is a huge
>>> Palestinian exile community in the US, with that in NY being one of the
>>> biggest components. They want their land back, they want their homes back,
>>> and they want the right to return. They have no
>>> interest in a movement which haggles over the rent paid by Jews to Jews
>>> for stolen property. They can't even return to visit because of exclusionary
>>> laws passed by your racist state.
>>> I have been having a hell of a great time building OWS, especially its
>>> labor component, and encouraging Palestinians and other Arabs to join in.
>>> That will cease until there is some clarification of exactly where OWS
>>> stands on these issues.
>>> I can't continue to encourage Palestinians to come to OWS events for fear
>>> that they might be surprised, as I was tonight, by the promotion of a racist
>>> Zionist speaker. When 30,000 Bedouins are being driven out of their homes,
>>> when settlers are escalating murderous attacks and destroying thousands of
>>> olive trees, how can I recruit people to a movement which promotes a speaker
>>> who thinks this is all irrelevant?
>>> I don't presume to know what the opinions of the rest of the leadership of
>>> OWS is on this question, and I would be happy to help organize a discussion
>>> -- preferably with Palestinian activists, the OWS People of Color committee,
>>> and a representative group from
>>> the OWS leadership -- to resolve this.
>>> How can OWS promote the great revolutionary speech by Mohammed Ezzeldin on
>>> Saturday and then promote this racist tonight?
>>> The REAL movement OWS can learn from in the region is that of the refugees
>>> in May and June who tried to reoccupy their homes in historic Palestine by
>>> crossing the borders, some of whom were mercilessly gunned down.
>>> Photos have begun to surface in stories about the current Palestinian
>>> hunger strike in which at solidarity demonstrations for the prisoners,
>>> Palestinians are holding up signs reading "Occupy Wall Street, Not
>>> Palestine!" How can we let them down?
>>> Until such time I will be devoting my organizing efforts to where they
>>> were overwhelmingly before OWS erupted: the Palestine solidarity movement.
>>> In solidarity (I hope),
>>> Andy Pollack
>>> Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
>>> For background and context:
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