Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Vigils in support of refugees and against Islamophobia

Racism has a long, ugly history in our country. Our politicians have long stirred the pot of racial hatred for short term electoral gains.

Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and Jim Crow are all in the same category. As an immigrant nation, those in power have always tried to pit one group against another. Closing the boarder to Middle East refugees after our bombs have devastated so many countries there would bringing such discrimination to a national level.

MECR held vigils in Woodstock and Rhinebeck, and more are being planned.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Islam is Not the Enemy

Islam is Not the Enemy. Vigil was Sunday, Dec 13 at the Woodstock Village Green.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Wanted 18

-Friday, Nov. 6, from 7 - 9 pm. FILM “The Wanted 18” at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, 320 Sawkill Road, Kingston. Great film, and lively discussion that followed. We only had 19 in the audience, perhaps because we didn't have quite enough time to get our publicity out. We probably should at least pick the films for this spring before the series starts. Maybe the whole group should work on this at a designated meeting. Or maybe the BDS film festival coming to the Hudson Valley will make our planning easier. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Noga Kadman at the Inquiring Mind Bookstore

Nice turnout for Noga. The book signing was a big success, 
and many stayed on to ask questions. Perhaps we should
do more of these book signings.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Iran is not our enemy

We had almost 30 people at our Iran event. The scheduled speaker was ill, so we asked Pam (longtime resident of Iran) to talk about her life there. We also watched a short video of the US and Iran agreement and what it means for peace in the Middle East.

-Friday, Oct. 2, from 7 - 9 pm. PRESENTATION "Inside Iran" at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, 320 Sawkill Road, Kingston. Ann and Ahmad Shirazi (friends of Ellen, Gail, Helaine, Nic, Tarak, and many more) recently toured regions of Iran as part of a gathering of Iranians living abroad, and they will tell their stories using slides and other media. The entire world supports the Iran deal, while the US Congress debates its virtues, and AIPAC convinces Washington to send yet more weapons to Israel. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response www.mideastcrisis.org and Hudson Valley Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions www.hudsonvalleybds.org. Contact: Jane.toby7@gmail.com or 518 291-6808

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bassem Tamimi

Bassem Tamimi is an internationally recognized Palestinian human rights activist from the West Bankfarming village of Nabi Selah, where weekly nonviolent demonstrations are heldin opposition to illegal Israeli settlement construction and militaryoccupation. 

Bassem has been detained by the Israeli authorities over a dozen times, at one point spending three years in administrative detention withouttrial. In 1993, as a result of interrogation by the Israeli Shin Bet, Bassem was left unconscious for eight days and partially paralyzed for months tofollow. 

Bassem has been described by the European Union as a “human rights defender” and Amnesty International has demanded his release as a “prisoner ofconscience.” At his talk Woodstock, Bassem spoke about his village’s work for freedom and justice and the struggles endured by his family and others who have been injured and/or imprisoned.

About 18 people attended the event that was organized by Tarak and Ellen.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Within the Eye of the Storm

This is a great movie. We only had 15 viewers, however.
Are people tired of watching the tragedy of the Palestinian People?
Perhaps we have to rethink the film series.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Code Pink on Iran and the threat of the Israel Lobby

Saturday, August 15, 7:00 - 9:00 pm. Medea Benjamin from Code Pink on "Winning Peace With Iran" at the Woodstock Town Hall, 76 Tinker St, Woodstock. Medea's talk will identify those trying to destroy the peace agreement and how we can make sure that Congress supports the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response, Hudson Valley BDS, Hudson Valley  Veterans for Peace - Catskill Mountain, Drone Alert Hudson Valley, Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, and Mid-Hudson WORD. Contact: mecr@mideastcrisis.org or 845 876-7906

We had a great turnout at this event in Woodstock, about 60 people. We collected $250 for Code Pink.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rhinebeck BDS vigil

Six of us held banners, passed out flyers and collected signatures urging a local store, Williams Lumber, to stop carrying SodaSteam. 

People were generally supportive, and seemed to know more than last year. A Bard professor (from Turkey) will link us up with an active group at the college, Students for Justice in Palestine. We collected about 15 more signatures, and several were actually happy for the chance to add their names.

Small gains, but really important in getting the message out. We are part of a much larger movement that is finally challenging our country's blind support of Israel.


On June 5, MECR presented On The Side of the Road by Israeli filmmaker,
Lia Tarachansky. She was a guest on Activist Radio before the film showing.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nakba commemorations

Here are reports on the Nakba commemorations that took place on May 15 in Beacon and May 16 in Yonkers.  The Beacon event was the far more elaborate and included a march to a community center that began at 5:30p.m., followed by music, food provided by a local Palestinian owner of a restaurant-bakery, and remarks by a number of speakers. Phillip Weiss of Mondoweiss urged participants to make Nakba Day a yearly remembrance in the region. Lillian Rosengarten, who was on the boat dubbed “the Jewish boat to Gaza” that attempted to break the blockade in late September 2010 and was intercepted by the Israeli navy and diverted to an Israeli port, read some of her poetry. The number of attendees reached some seventy-five, and the atmosphere was reportedly warm and family-oriented.
We would welcome observations from other participants in these events. Send your contributions to this email address. westchester@jewishvoiceforpeace.org
Charles Zigmund submitted the following account of the Beacon event.
On Friday, May 15, I participated in Beacon, NY, Nakba Day events representing JVP. There was a rally on Main St and highway 9D, with a surprising number of drivers honking in support of our signs. Then Bennett Weiss, organizer of the events and an outoing and enthusiastic man, led us on a parade through town to a hall made available to us by a local Italian association. In this auditorium we heard folk songs, and both Palestinians and Jews spoke about Nakba and the Palestinian tragedy. I gave a short talk about JVP and our activities and later received three requests from attendees for contact info for our group. 
Particularly moving were two speakers. The first was an elderly veteran of World War II who with his buddies helped liberate the concentration camps. He described his horror at what they found, and how it helped in a later groundswell for the creation of a Jewish state. But when he sees what has happened since, he now asks bitterly, "What did I fight for?"
The second was a man who has worked in social service agencies in Israel and the Occupied Territories for many years. He told a story he heard from a Palestinian who with his family was forced to leave his home in 1948 despite having been told they could stay. He described thousands of people walking on a broiling dusty road without knowing where they were going. After hours of walking, a single well appeared that was surrounded by hundreds of refugees and could not be gotten to. Those lucky enough to be near it were dipping shirts in and sucking the muddy water from them. Israeli soldiers ripped off his friend's wristwatch, causing a wound, and threatened to cut off his finger if he did not quickly give them his ring, with the man begging them to give him time to get it off. I myself have friends who are anti-Netanyahu and think this kind of behavior has only recently begun, when this testimony shows it was there at the very inception. 

This speaker stressed that these stories of Nabka need to be collected, spread,  and re-told and re-told, the way the Holocaust stories were years ago and have been ever since. The Nakba is still largely undiscovered territory for the world and even for activists like ourselves.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nakba Day in Beacon


We had over ten Hudson Valley groups supporting this Nakba Day
in Beacon. Over 50 people turned out for the vigil and later for the
panel discussion at St. Rocco's. Philip Weiss (http://mondoweiss.net)
and Lillian Rosengarten (Holocaust survivor and member of the
Jewish boat to Gaza) were our two keynote speakers. Thanks to
Bennett Weiss for organizing the event.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Voices From Gaza

Dear Jo, 
I'm so grateful for your presentation and glad to know that it went
The film is on our YouTube but not on Vimeo but I believe it is fine to
upload it on Vimeo too. 
How are you? I hope all is going well. Are coming over anytime soon?
Much love and appreciation, 
Iman Aoun
Artistic Director
ASHTAR Theatre
Ramallah Palestine
Facebook : Ashtar for Theatre Productions and Training

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Two events for early Spring 2015


We raised over $800 from a good crowd of 45 people.
Veterans for Peace did much of the organizing, and we
thank Tarak and Ellen for their excellent work.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dear Friends of Rachel Corrie: We Shall Never Forget

Dear Friends of Rachel Corrie,

In case you have not seen it, attached is this year's tribute to Rachel in The Poughkeepie Journal.

Thanks so much for your help - it would not be what it is without your help.

Greg DeSylva

Tom Shaker

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Screening of film "Newburgh Sting"

Friday, March 6 in Kingston: Films of Palestine Series presents the film "Newburgh Sting"
7:00 - 8:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, 320 Sawkill Road.
"The Newburgh Sting" is a documentary about the FBI’s entrapment of four Muslim men supposedly involved in a 2009 Bronx terrorism plot. It was later brought to light that the four men were coaxed and bribed into participating. The film reveals how the FBI targets Muslim communities in poor neighborhoods and lures believers into planning acts of terrorism.
SPECIAL GUEST: Liz Mc William, mother of David Williams, member of Newburgh Four

Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response http://www.mideastcrisis.org and Hudson Valley Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions http://www.hudsonvalleybds.org. Contact: Jane.toby7@gmail.com or 518 291-6808.


We had a very good turnout, and Liz Mc William's account of her son's trial and incarceration added a good deal to the experience. Thanks to Bennett Weiss from bringing the film to us.