Friday, November 18, 2011

How The City of Kingston Lost $25,000

Protesters who got booted from Kingston park get $25,000 settlement from city (video)

Freeman staff
Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

KINGSTON — A group that claimed its constitutional rights were violated when it was kicked out of a Kingston park during a 2008 demonstration has received a $25,000 settlement from the city.

The group, Middle East Crisis Response, sued the city after police evicted members from T.R. Gallo Park during a May 4, 2008, celebration in the park to mark the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

The protesters, totaling about eight people, held up signs protesting policies of the United States and Israel but did not cause an audible disturbance.

The YouTube video below, posted by Middle East Crisis Response on May 5, 2008, shows part of the clash between demonstrators and Kingston police the day before.

Chester-based Attorney Stephen Bergstein, representing Middle East Crisis Response, said the settlement was negotiated just before the case was to go to trial last month in federal court in Albany.

As part of the deal, the group also will get a meeting with newly appointed Kingston Police Chief Egidio Tinti to discuss ways “to prevent this from happening again,” Bergstein said.

Bergstein said the settlement did not include the city admitting any wrongdoing but that his client still views the settlement as a victory for free speech.

“The bedrock principle of American constitutional law is that public parks and sidewalks are free-speech zones,” Bergstein said in a prepared statement when the suit was filed. “The government cannot pick and choose which advocacy groups may use the areas and which cannot.”

Kingston Mayor James Sottile could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. In 2008, he said he supported the police department’s decision to separate the Middle East Crisis Response protesters from people participating in the Israel celebration. The mayor said police acted in the interest of public safety.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We settle our lawsuit with the city of Kingston

Here are some members of MECR who sued the city of Kingston over free speech issues. We were denied our rights in Gallo Park in 2008 and the case was resolved this Tuesday in the US District Court of Albany right before the jury was selected.

The city of Kingston agreed to pay $25,000 in damages, as well as provide a meeting with the new chief of the police. The new chief will also watch DeeDee's video of the Gallo Park police action.

Thanks to all who helped us, and especially to our lawyer, Steven Bergstein.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Voices From the Inside - Israelis Speak

Voices From the Inside - Israelis Speak: Free film Screening

Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 pm
Saugerties Library Community Room
91 Washington Avenue, Saugerties, NY 12477

This documentary is based upon interviews with 16 Jewish Israeli voices of conscience, each representing a different facet within the peace movement. Explore the evolution of consciousness within each mind, moving from a perspective of nationalist myths to personal revelations regarding moral choices for their society. Best Documentary winner at the Renderyard International Film Festival. The producer, Margery Wright, will answer questions at the end of the film.

Sponsored by:
Contact: or 518 678-2076

Over 30 people attended our last film showing at the Saugerties Library. Margery Wright, the producer (also worked on editing and planning the interviews) gave a good insight into Israeli peace groups, what they face, and why they are active. Thanks to Jane for setting up this movie series.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hudson Valley to Gaza: Report Back from the Freedom Flotilla II

Hudson Valley to Gaza: Report Back from the Freedom Flotilla II

Sunday, September 18 from 2-4:00 pm
Woodstock Town Hall
76 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498

A number of local human rights activists participated in the recent Freedom Flotilla II, the attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. They will tell their story of the government harassment and sabotage that prevented this flotilla from reaching Gaza's shores. They will also describe the solidarity they found with the Greek people and with the international movement to overcome Israeli apartheid.

Presented by Middle East Crisis Response (

We had a good turnout for what was a fascinating look at this important attempt to break the siege of Gaza. The end of the presentation elicited many good ideas for future campaigns, including a way to show the occupation inspired art done by American and Palestinian children.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Welcome Home!

Here is MECR's party for the returning members of the Freedom Flotilla 2. We discussed many aspects of their recent attempt to break the blockade of Gaza, including what had been achieved and where the movement is headed now.

Thanks to Eli and Tammy for hosting this event in their beautiful back porch.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jerusalem: The East Side Story

Jerusalem: The East Side Story
Free film Screening
Tuesday, August 16 at 7:30 pm 
Saugerties Library Community Room 
91 Washington Avenue, Saugerties, NY 12477
This documentary brings the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence to a Western audience. The film captures nearly 100 years of history of East Jerusalem, mainly concentrating on the period from 1967 on, showing how the city and its people have been affected by the Israeli occupation. Best Documentary at the Boston Palestinian Film Festival. 57 minutes.
Presented by Middle East Crisis Response ( Free educational films about Palestine will be shown on the third Tuesday of the month from July through September. 

About 30 attended this film, a moving and informative look at Israel's ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. 

Audience questions were interesting as always. One German woman described a book she was writing on human rights abuses in Palestine. Several in the audience signed up to receive her book as a PDF file. Several audience members stressed the progress local communities can make in fighting Israeli apartheid.

This from Jane, who organized the film series:

"The name of the German woman is Inge Etzbach and the title of her book is Ishmael and Isaac in the Promised Land.  She spoke with the group, sharing the experience she had as a child in Germany after the war when she saw the inmates of a concentration camp.  She has carried that terrible suffering within her to this day.  That experience forms the background to her wanting to understand the suffering in Israel /Palestine.  She has worked on a kibbutz and traveled in the West Bank.

What I find so meaningful in showing these films and in the discussions following the film-showings is the varied voices that emerge.  Each person sees and interprets the film in a unique way.  When I introduced the film last night, I couldn't say 'Enjoy it' because of the heaviness of the material.  Instead, I said 'I hope you will find this meaningful.'  The film forum provides a way to air and to listen to the different meanings each of us gets from the viewing. I believe this exchange enables growth and change."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Voices of Palestinian Youth

About 30 people attended our second film showing:

Voices of Palestinian Youth
Free film Screening
Tuesday, July 19 at 7:30 pm 
Saugerties Library Community Room 
91 Washington Avenue, Saugerties, NY 12477
This collection of short and medium length films explores the views and experiences of West Bank Palestinian youth. "Hudad and Warda" (short animation movies made by 8 - 17 year olds); "Here, in Palestine" (interviews with young Palestinians); "Beyond the Wall" (voices of university students).

Presented by Middle East Crisis Response ( Free educational films about Palestine will be shown on the third Tuesday of the month from July through September.

The first three questions from the audience seemed almost orchestrated. A young man asked why the wall was built, and that question was answered by a white haired man: "to stop the suicide bombers." A third member of the audience took us into the never-never land of "lets get these people to understand and respect each other." So it was a slow start after a emotional (and somewhat flawed) feature film.

But the rest of the crowd would have nothing of these obfuscations. An African American teacher from the Bronx said the first man's question was like asking black men why the chain gangs were created after the Civil War. Things got fairly heated for a time, and the discussions were more partisan than questioning. Donna was great, as were many others. Most people ended up having something interesting to say including the women whose husband, a Christian Palestinian, lived in Israel. "It is a racist and oppressive state for Palestinians," she declared. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

No limitation on the subject matter of discussion


Thanks so much for calling me so quickly about this matter involving MECR.  We understand now, based on what you told me, that Mr. Goswami’s letter from yesterday was meant to permit MECR access to the Community Room without the conditions we criticized in out letter of earlier today  – i.e., that MECR is permitted to promote their sponsorship of the events and that there is no limitation on the subject matter of discussion surrounding the films that will be shown.   We very much appreciate you setting us straight on that and are glad that this turned out to be a misunderstanding.

We are also glad to hear that the Library is going to be taking a look at their use policy’s prohibition on “political” meetings and appreciate your offer to let us know what comes of that review. We are eager to work with you and the Library on this, so if there is any assistance you think we can provide, please let me know.


Corey Stoughton
Senior Staff Attorney
New York Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad St., 19th Floor
New York, NY 10004

Community Meeting Room Use Policy and MECR

Sukrit Goswami, Director Ted Conathan, President, Board of Trustees Saugerties Public Library
91 Washington Avenue
Saugerties, NY 12477

July 11, 2011

Dear Mr. Conathan and Mr. Goswami:
We write on behalf of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) regarding limitations on political speech imposed upon a series of events sponsored by Middle East Crisis Response (MECR)—a group of Hudson Valley residents and patrons of the Saugerties Public Library—to be held in your library’s Community Meeting Room. We strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to prohibit MECR from mentioning its sponsorship of these events and to limit permissible topics of discussion at these events as a condition to reserving meeting space at the Library.

It is our understanding that, after initially allowing Jane Toby, a member of MECR, unconditionally to reserve the Meeting Room on June 21, July 19, August 16, and September 20, 2011, in order to show a series of documentary films about the Palestinian people, Mr. Goswami indicated on June 21 that MECR would not be allowed to host any events in the library because it is, in his words, a “political group.” This reversal occurred on the eve of MECR’s first event and, while Mr. Goswami allowed that evening’s film to be shown, he insisted that MECR’s name could not be mentioned, and the group could not be associated with the screening.

Following that evening, we understand that Mr. Goswami told Ms. Toby that subsequent events would have to be cancelled. Mr. Goswami also told Ms. Toby that he had received three calls about the event, and that he made his decision based on the fact that MECR’s website included the following mission statement: “[MECR] is a group of Hudson Valley residents who are joined in support of human rights for Palestinians and an end to the US's aggressive policies in the Middle East.” We now understand that, as of yesterday, Mr. Goswami is allowing the events to take place, but only on the condition that discussion be limited to matters that are not “political” and that MECR not mention its sponsorship of the events.

This course of action raises a number of concerns, both practical and legal, about Mr. Goswami’s interpretation of the library’s Community Meeting Room Use Policy:
The First Amendment. The First Amendment clearly prohibits a library from denying access to a forum like the Community Meeting Room, or imposing conditions on such access, on the basis of a group’s ideological beliefs. Such a decision is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. The Supreme Court has unequivocally stated that “[t]he government must abstain from regulating speech when the specific motivating ideology or the opinion or perspective of the speaker is the rationale for the restriction.”1 The decision to prohibit MECR from using the Community Room for any purpose other than showing the film (i.e., prohibiting “political” discussion) and to bar MECR from advertising its sponsorship of the film thus appears to violate this group’s First Amendment rights.

We understand that the Library’s Use Policy states that the Community Room is “available for use by non-profit organizations for educational, cultural, recreational or civic purposes,” but that groups may not use it for “private, for-profit, political, entrepreneurial or commercial purposes.” A straightforward reading of the rule would indicate that it prohibits partisan political meetings (e.g. events in support of political candidates), since a broader reading of the word “political” would be exceedingly difficult to define, and thus open to the very viewpoint discrimination the First Amendment prohibits. There is no clear dividing line between “educational” or “civic” discussion about the films to be shown and “political” discussion of the same and of MECR’s political viewpoint more generally. The Library’s decision to permit screening of the film, presumably as an “educational” or “cultural” event, but to prohibit broader discussion of MECR and the issues raised by the film as “political,” raises concerns about viewpoint discrimination and illustrates how such vagueness can be exploited for discriminatory purposes.

This is not merely a hypothetical consideration, as it would appear that the ban on meetings with “political” purposes has not been uniformly applied by the Library. This lack of consistency supports the inference that the Library’s decision in this case impermissibly rests upon the views of MECR. The Saugerties League of Women Voters, for example, has hosted several events in the library, including a forum with local school board candidates. The League of Women Voters, of which the Saugerties branch is a local member, explicitly describes itself in its mission statement as a “political organization,” and goes on to state that “the League is wholeheartedly political and works to influence policy through advocacy.”2 In addition to the League, the group FrackAction, which is “engaged in a long-term campaign . . . seek[ing] to expose the false claims of the gas industry and mobilize a citizen movement to protect our health and our future,”3 hosted a screening of the film Gasland in the Community Meeting Room in March of this year, followed by a discussion that included “information, announcements of actions being planned, time and place of meetings and other ways for [citizens] to get involved.”4 In none of these cases did the Library threaten to deny access, limit the topics for discussion, or prohibit the sponsoring groups from promoting their involvement.
1 Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the Univ. of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819, 829 (1995) (“When the government targets not subject matter, but particular views taken by speakers on a subject, the violation of the First Amendment is all the more blatant. . . .”) (citations omitted); see also Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384, 394 (1993) (finding unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination in the context of censorship of a religiously-oriented film series). 2 (last visited July 7, 2011). 3 (last visited on July 6, 2011). 4 (last visited on July 6, 2011).

The harms of censorship. In addition to the serious legal concerns raised by Mr. Goswami’s actions, we would urge you to consider the harmful effect that such censorship can have on communities. Libraries are centers of information, news, and open discourse, and they betray their commitment to diversity of expression when they seek to censor unpopular views. Indeed, the American Library Association has included this very scenario in its Library Bill of Rights: "VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use."5 The ALA’s own interpretation of that Bill of Rights goes on to state unequivocally that "the library may not exclude any group based on the subject matter to be discussed or based on the ideas that the group advocates. For example, if a library allows charities and sports clubs to discuss their activities in library meeting rooms, then the library should not exclude partisan political or religious groups from discussing their activities in the same facilities.”6

For all of these reasons, we ask that you reinstate the original Community Meeting Room reservations that MECR applied for without conditions on the speech or expression of MECR or the events’ participants. We also ask that you clarify your Meeting Room Use Policy to avoid the constitutional issues regarding the meaning of “political” meetings raised above. Please let us know as soon as you have done this. If we do not hear from you by Friday, July 15, 2011, we will contact you to follow up on our request. Please respond to this letter by calling Corey Stoughton, NYCLU Senior Staff Attorney, at (212) 607-3300 (or by email at We are also happy to discuss this matter further if you have any additional questions.

Corey Stoughton
Senior Staff Attorney New York Civil Liberties Union
Linda Berns
Director, Lower Hudson Valley Chapter New York Civil Liberties Union

Sunday, July 10, 2011

WIB Vigil for the Freedom Flotilla

We held signs about Gaza and Palestine to oppose the treatment of the Freedom Flotilla by the Greek Government.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fragments of a Lost Palestine

Fragments of a Lost Palestine
Free film Screening:
Tuesday, June 21 at 7:30 pm 
Saugerties Library Community Room 
91 Washington Avenue, Saugerties, NY 12477
A subjective journey, shot as fragmented memories of the director's country of birth, Palestine, as remembered throughout years in exile. The film is above all an encounter with people: intellectuals, peasants, workers, and the director's niece as she grows up. Winner Dubai International Film Festival. 75 minutes
Presented by Middle East Crisis Response ( Free educational films about Palestine will be shown on the third Tuesday of the month from June through September.
We had about 45 people at this showing, and almost everyone remained at the end for a good discussion of the plight of the Palestinian people. 

Letter to the Director of the Saugerties Public Library

Dear Mr. Goswami,

I am writing to you on behalf of the National Coalition Against Censorship, a national coalition of over 50 organizations dedicated to promoting the First Amendment right to free speech. It just came to our attention that you are considering canceling a scheduled screening of Fragments of a Lost Palestine because of some complaints.

A decision to cancel the film because of some people's disagreement with the political viewpoints expressed in it as well as with the political viewpoint of the presenting organization raises serious First Amendment concerns. We strongly urge you to proceed with the screening as planned and offer a forum where opposing viewpoints can be voiced.

Conversations about the Middle East may be fraught with emotion, but that is no reason to suppress them: in fact, most of the issues that touch us socially, culturally and politically are fraught with emotion. If we cannot discuss such issues in a public library, out commitment to free speech is weak indeed.

The film itself is certainly worth showing - it has screened at various venues around the country and has been reviewed in the national press. For a public library to cancel a scheduled screening of the film is similar to a decision to remove a book from its collection because its viewpoint is disagreeable to some. Besides its First Amendment implications, such a decision can open the library to a flood of complaints and undermine its public credibility.

I hope you decide to proceed with the scheduled screening and avoid making the library a target for bad publicity and accusations of censorship.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Svetlana Mintcheva

Svetlana Mintcheva, Ph.D. Director of Programs National Coalition Against Censorship 19 Fulton Street Ste 407 New York, NY 10038 phone 212-807-6222 ext. 103 fax 212-807-6245

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), founded in 1974, is an alliance of 50 national non-profit organizations, including literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor, and civil liberties groups. United by a conviction that freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression must be defended, we work to educate our own members and the public at large about the dangers of censorship and how to oppose them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Civil Liberties and the FBI

Civil Liberties and the FBI:
How Local Activists and Groups Can Respond
Monday, March 21
7:00 to 9:00 pm
Time and Space Limited
434 Columbia St, Hudson, NY 12534
Last September, the FBI raided homes and antiwar offices in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and North Carolina.  Fourteen activists were handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury.  Among those targeted were members of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, and the Colombia Action Network. Who is the next target?
A panel of four attorneys (Steve Downs, Valeria Gheorghiu, Kathy Manley and Michael Sussman) will speak about our rights as individuals and discuss ways that local peace and justice groups engaged in non-violent activism can prepare for and respond to federal interference, raids and subpoenas.  A question and answer session will follow the panel discussion.
Sponsored by:
-Middle East Crisis Response
-Dutchess Peace Coalition
-Palestinian Rights Committee

Friday, March 4, 2011

Two Peoples– One Future

Two Peoples– One Future; If not now, when?
The Captain and Two Passengers
from the Jewish Boat to Gaza

7 pm, Thursday, March 3
Woodstock Community Center
56 Rock City Rd.
Woodstock, NY 12498

Fundraiser for the upcoming U.S. Boat to Gaza featuring: Glyn Secker (Captain of the Jewish Boat), Lillian Rosengarten (refugee from Nazi Germany) and Reuwan Moskovitz (Romanian-born survivor of the Nazi occupation).

Sponsored by:
-Middle East Crisis Response
-US Boat to Gaza

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Israeli Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall

A number of MECR members attended this BDS rally in NYC.

Photos by Andrew Courtney

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jewish and Muslim Human Rights Activists at Vassar

Jewish and Muslim Human Rights Activists speak on the professional and personal dynamics of pro-Palestine advocacy.

By Gail Goldsmith on February 2, 2011

“The occupation of Palestine follows me wherever I go,” said Noor Elashi, a writer and activist speaking at Vassar College.

Speaking on Jewish and Muslim activism for human rights in Palestine, Elashi and Rebecca Vilkomerson offered professional and personal perspectives on opposition to the Israeli occupation in a panel discussion, Jewish and Muslim Experiences in America: Working Together to Promote Human Rights, on January 26th at Vassar College.

Rebecca Vilkomerson and Noor Elashi (l-r) speak on their personal and professional activism for peace in Palestine to an audience at Vassar College
Vilkomerson, the National Director of Jewish Voices for Peace, described how Jewish Voices for Peace supports Boycott, Divestment, and Settlement campaigns including recent partnerships with University of California at Berkeley and a grassroots call for financial services company TIAA-CREF to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of the East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

The 27 nationwide chapters of Jewish Voices for Peace refute the idea that all Jewish persons support the state of Israel.

“The American Jewish Committee supports Israel right or wrong and AIPAC doesn’t have a monopoly on Jewish opinion,” Vilkomerson said. “We’re continuing to carve out a place for activism in public Jewish life by being active on these issues while staying within the Jewish community.”

The event was sponsored by Vassar Islamic  Society,, and and  was co-sponsored by many local activist groups, including the Marist Praxis Project.

“The Public Praxis Project was more an endorsement than a partner.  I consulted a bit with the planners in an exchange of e-mails, but otherwise was not able to attend as I had a class at the time of the panel,” Dr. Mar Peter-Raoul, director of the Praxis Project, said. Although there were 9 co-sponsoring groups, attendance was approximately 45 persons-but the audience was engaged during the speech and inquisitive during the following question and answer session, particularly on the topic of civil liberties.

Both Vilkomerson and Elashi addressed the political challenges of religion.

“Hillel and its many campus groups excludes Jewish Voices for Peace  through its anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions stance. Jewish life shouldn’t be subjected to a political litmus test,’ Vilkomerson.

For Elashi, the intersection of politics with Islam has been an emotionally fraught one.

Elashi’s father, Ghassan Elashi, co-founded the Holy Land Foundation, a large Muslim charity that supported Palestinian charities, called zakat committees, through humanitarian aid.

Ghassan Elashi was arrested under the Material Support Law, a law expanded under the Patriot Act. The Material Support Law makes it illegal to donate to charities on the U.S. Treasury list of designated terrorist organizations. Neither he nor the holy Land Foundation was ever found guilty of donating to any group on the last, but rather for donating to zakat committees that were, according to an anonymous witness for the prosecution, fronts for Hamas.

In 2007, the trial deadlocked in defense of the Holy Land Foundation, citing evidence that many international NGOs including Red Cross, USAID, CARE , and the UN sent money to the same zakat committees. In a 2008 retrial, he was convicted, after similar arguments, and is now imprisoned in a Communications Management Unit in Marion, Illinois.  Referred to as “Little Guantanamo”, 60% of inmates in the Communications Management Unit are of Middle Eastern descent.

“The trial, the conviction, the proceedings were McCarthy-esque,” Elashi said, of her father’s trial.

All contact with the outside world is live-monitored and regulated. He  is allowed one  phone call a week. On visitation day, his family arrives for non-contact visits.

“It deprives me of that paternal scent-chamomile and cedar,” Elashi said.

An appeal is in process.

“I recognize that that global change and support for this will not start with the United States, it will end with the United States,” Elashi said, citing Islamophobia and lack of empathy as political barriers to U.S. support of Arab-Israeli peace. She is re-tooling to serve as a resource for her father’s supporters and the interested public.

“I think this was a great event, because not enough people voice their opinions on this issue and how media influences public opinion about Israel and Palestine,” R., a Vassar student and member of the Vassar Islamic Society,said. “We think of this harsh, totalitarian treatment as the sort of thing that happens in the past. We don’t think of the American public as being this harsh and unfair to a citizen.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jewish and Muslim Experiences in America: Working Together to Promote Human Rights

Wednesday, January 26
6:30 to 8:00 PM
Sanders Hall Auditorium (Room 212)
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY  12504
Panel discussion with Noor Elashi and Rebecca Vilkomerson. Noor Elashi is a nationally known writer and speaker on Muslim rights. Rebecca Vilkomerson is Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. 
Both Jews and Muslims in the United States are affected by passions surrounding the wars in the Middle East. The panel will explore how each group is dealing with issues such as human rights and ethnic identity. 
Sponsored by:
-Vassar Islamic Society
-Dutchess Peace
-Middle East Crisis Response
Contact: (845) 876-7906

Alternatives to Violence Project
Fellowship of Reconciliation
I Will Not Kill - Veterans For Peace
Marist Praxis Project for Public Citizenship
New Paltz Neighbors for Peace
New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death     Penalty - Mid Hudson Branch
Peace Action New York State
Peace and Social Progress Now
Peace Justice & Environment Project
Real Majority Project
The Mid-Hudson 9/11 Truth Commission
UUFP Poughkeepsie, Social Justice Committee
Veterans Fellowship of Reconciliation
VFP Al Warren Tappan Zee Brigade
VFP Maury Colow Chapter 058, Catskill region
WESPAC Foundation

Jeff Halper at the Muddy Cup Bookstore in Saugerties

Can I add my voice to the chorus saying thanks (kol hakavod, as we say in Hebrew) for the hospitality and events in Woodstock and Saugurties? Ellen and Tarak, of course, but also bagels at Nick and Helaine's, nights at Pia's and the event itself. (Thanks, Fred, for the technical support.) It is a testimony to the communication abilities of the left that when we have an event in a bookstore we have to bring our own books (mine are published but never in bookstores....).

Both the funds raised and the deepening of our relationships are very meaningful both for me and for ICAHD as we struggle on. 

I look forward to seeing you all again -- and, of course if you come our way (Jerusalem is close to Bilin), you're invited to our version of bagels and lox: humous and falafel.

Thanks again,