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. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Freedom of Speech and the Israel Lobby

Great turnout and such an interesting discussion on free speech.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Woodstock Free Speech Resolution (history from 2016)

State-sanctioned backlash against the movement for Palestinian human rights has reached a new low: Gov. Cuomo just signed a McCarthyite executive order requiring state agencies to divest from organizations that support the Palestinian call to boycott companies profiting from, or cultural institutions complicit in, Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, the order requires the creation of a publicly available blacklist of all companies and institutions that support the movement.

A local effort in Woodstock, NY includes a petition to the town board on First Amendment rights and the freedom to express support for BDS. Please read the proposed resolution and sign the petition. You don't have to be a resident of Woodstock to sign.

The Freedom to Boycott in NY campaign created an online petition calling Cuomo to rescind his order. The folks at the US Campaign to End the Occupation and Jewish Voice for Peace anchored this effort and the petition is live through the JVP website.

SJP at Vassar (History from 2016)

We had a great weekend with Existence is Resistance and M1! Huge thank you to all the student organizations and the VSA for helping to pull this off!!! Vassar College Students for Justice in Palestine

Sadly, most of this group has graduated, and the SJP disappeared from campus. Did the college administration and the David Project get rid of them? Let's say the right wing forces of the Zionist movement still wield considerable power.

Women in Black supporting Palestine (history from 2015)

Dear WIB and Friends,

We will once again stand this Saturday in solidarity with the Palestinian women of occupied East
Jerusalem and for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The Middle East Crisis Response will also be joining us. It is from 12:45 to 1:30 on the vigil corner on Main and N Front Streets in New Paltz.

From our flyer, "The guerrilla state style tactics used in occupied East Jerusalem, be it the attacks on Palestinians in the streets, the beating of the young and old, the attacks on children going to and from school, the invasion of violent settlers into our homes, the control of our life, water, cell phones, internet, mobility, health, economy, and access to other resources, have situated us in human cages--segregated, restrained by Israeli laws and security theology, unable to know what will come next."

We will photograph our vigil to send to the Jerusalemite Women's Coalition so they know the world has not forgotten them and that many are working for peace and justice in that part of the world.

In Solidarity,

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Miko Peled in Saugerties

-Friday, February 9, 7-8:30 PM: Miko Peled Speaking and Book Signing Event at the Inquiring Mind Bookstore, 200 Main St, Saugerties. Peled is an Israeli American writer whose new book explores the miscarriage of justice that has devastated the lives of five innocent men and their families. “Injustice,” published by Just World Books, traces the labyrinthine course of this case, presenting a terrifying picture of governmental over-reach in post-9/11 America. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response, Hudson Valley BDS, Veterans for Peace, and Jewish Voice for Peace - HV Contact: or 845 876-7906

We had a full house for this event, one of the best book signings we have had in our twelve year run. I counted 40 people, including a few late comers. Tarak did a fine job introducing Miko, and the questions were informed and interesting. 

Our judicial system is just as distorted for Palestinians as it is for Black people. Justice is the last thing on the government's mind. Putting a few "terrorists" in jail satisfies some short term political goal. No matter that they are innocent, and some won't be with their families for the next sixty years. The shame of such a system, of such a country.