Saturday, June 2, 2018

Break the Blockade of Gaza, an Evening of Music and Discussion with Yonatan Shapira

Thanks to Gail, Tarak, and Ellen for a wonderful night of political discussion and songs. Yonatan is a gifted singer and songwriter, and it was a pure pleasure to listen and join in the chorus. And Elis Elhanan had his own moving story to tell.

I will be playing one of Yonatan's songs next Thursday on Activist Radio. The song, "We Will Return" is about Palestinian refugees. The following Thursday, I will play some of Yonatan's stories from the night along with another haunting song in Hebrew.

Activist Radio is on Thursdays from 5-6 pm (91.3 FM or streamed live from Once broadcast, Yonatan's songs will be on the website for the next ten weeks. You can also hear Activist Radio on the Progressive Radio Network each Sunday from 5-6 pm (


Fri, Jun 1 at 7:30 pm. Break the Blockade of Gaza, an Evening of Music and Discussion with Yonatan Shapira (former IDF Air Force pilot) and Elis Elhanan (co-founder of the Israeli-Palestinian NGO Combatants for Peace) to Benefit the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla. At the Mountain View Studio, 20 Mountainview Ave., Woodstock. Suggested donation $10. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response, Hudson Valley BDS, Jewish Voice for Peace - HV, and Veterans for Peace. Contact: or 845 876-7906

Monday, May 7, 2018

Bethlehem to Brooklyn: Breaking the Surface

Friday, May 4, 7-8:30 PM. Film “Bethlehem to Brooklyn: Breaking the Surface” at the Holy Cross Santa Cruz Episcopal Church, 30 Pine Grove Ave, Kingston. Documentary spotlights the world of Latino, African American, and Palestinian teenagers struggling with the circumstances in their daily lives. They don’t join a jihad or a gang, but find a way to resist through writing and activism. SPECIAL GUEST: A member of Black Lives Matter - Hudson Valley will talk about the campaign to bring racial justice to our local communities. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response, Hudson Valley BDS, Jewish Voice for Peace - HV, and Veterans for Peace. Contact: or 845 876-7906

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Joel Kovel, a founding member of MECR, died this week

Joel Kovel (from Democracy Now!)
Joel Kovel: “And I feel that the notion of Zionism, as that there is this kind of destiny of the Jewish people to have their own state, is just a wrong idea. And it’s an idea that requires signing on to imperialism. It means signing on to ethnic cleansing. It means—despite everything that has been said about it, it means basically becoming a racist situation, where you’re oppressing an indigenous population and depriving them of their right to existence, and then thinking that somehow you can go ahead and have a decent life on that basis. And you can’t, in my view. And I join hands with those people who feel that the time has come to basically think of Israel in the same category as South Africa, as a state that just has gone wrong and needs replacement.”

That’s author, scholar and activist Joel Kovel, speaking on Democracy Now! He died Monday in New York City at the age of 81.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Vets for Peace go to the West Bank

-Saturday, April 14, 7 p.m.
Mountain View Studio, 20 Mountain View Ave., Woodstock, NY

Documentary Film and Talk: "U.S. Veterans Witness Brutal Reality in Nabi Salah"

In 2017 six U.S. veterans along with a photographer and a filmmaker traveled to the West Bank. The latest episode in Chris Smiley’s documentary series Veterans For Palestine shows what they experienced in the village of Nabi Saleh, where they were attacked by armed settlers and teargassed by soldiers from the Israeli Occupation Force. The 40-minute film will be followed by discussion with delegation participants Ellen Davidson, photographer, and Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace national board of directors. Suggested donation: $7

Sponsored by Veterans For Peace and Middle East Crisis Response

MECR joins JVP in Kingston

Saturday, April 14, 2018

KINGSTON – A mock shooting staged by local activists on Broadway in Midtown Kingston Friday afternoon, underscored ongoing human rights violations in Gaza Strip against Palestinians, protesters said. The staged event took place across the street from Congressman John Faso's office, which has been the scene of several rallies since he took office in January 2017.

The protestors said this episode spotlighted Israel's mistreatment of refugees living inside occupied Gaza. They cited the 1997 U.S. "Leahy Law," which limits foreign military aid to abusive regimes.

The United States provides $3.8 billion per year in military aid to Israel.

Bob Gelbach of Jewish Voice for Peace recited a litany of documented violations over a loudspeaker. "International law allows for legal ways of fighting wars, and illegal ways,” Gelbach said. “It's kind of a dicey distinction a lot of people would say it's all bad. But it's a step in the right direction to say that certain things should not be tolerated. "Even when we have made that decision by an Act of Congress, our government still tends to ignore it.”

Judith Simon, another organizer, agreed.

"What is happening between Israel and Palestine is not a war, and it is not a conflict. It is a massacre," she said. "There's no food allowed in, no medical supplies allowed, no clean water, no schools.”

Recent liberation marches along the barrier between Israel and the 365-square-kilometer Gaza Strip territory, have sparked deadly clashes leaving 33 Palestinians dead this week, at last count.

Simon said her organization also condemns Democrats for turning a blind eye to atrocities against Palestinians. Senator Charles Schumer of New York is among the other officials targeted for criticism, she said.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Street theater for Gaza in Kingston (at Fasco Friday)

Thanks to all that helped to pull off this demo today!

Special thanks to Jo Salas who helped us implement the idea, to Bob for narrating and to all the actors and sign holders - a great team effort. And extra thanks to Tobe Carey for capturing the demo on film.
We also delivered 40 signatures on a a petition urging Gaso to sign HR 4391:
Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Uplifting film and gospel choir at the end

Thanks to The New Progressive Baptist Church Choir for singing at the end of this moving documentary. We had over 20 people, but that is still a disappointing showing for such a good event. Is our extensive support group, about 1,200 people, sick of movies about Palestinian suffering? Or sick of movies altogether?

I was a bad night for traveling, with snow showers for a good part of the day. Certainly that didn't help. But our last two events, a panel discussion of freedom of speech and BDS, and a book signing for Mico Peled did significantly better, with over 40 in attendance for each. It seems like the movie nights need rethinking. 

One idea (thanks, Bob) is to show movies in more venues, reaching out to other groups. We have already propose this film and choir combination to Vassar College SJP, and they are going to show the movie next fall. Another venue in the works is the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston, and possibly the New Progressive Baptist Church itself.