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WESPAC Holiday Appeal!

Thank you to all who have already responded to our holiday appeal.  You are helping us keep the lights on at WESPAC.  

Please let us know if you appreciate the role that WESPAC continues to play in our area and beyond.  Now more than ever, we need to keep WESPAC strong as we promote peace and justice for generations to come.  

Secure online contributions can be made here: https://wespac.org/donate/

Checks made payable to WESPAC can be mailed to: WESPAC, 77 Tarrytown Rd, Ste 2W, White Plains, NY 10607

Thank you!

Forward and onward we march.

Holiday Shopping with a Conscience!

WESPAC has exquisite hand embroidered items from the Sulafa Women’s Embroidery Cooperative in the Gaza Strip, including cushion covers, bag, shawl, ornaments. Please consider supporting these women who are the breadwinners of their families. We also have some Fair trade black and green tea, hand painted ceramic bowls and social justice calendars. I’m happy to ship items to you – please see attached:

Margaret Eberle Fair Trade Festival

All are welcome!

Passing of WESPAC member Mitch Berkowitz

Mitch Berkowitz, a devoted member of WESPAC for many years, died of cancer in September 2017. Born in 1927, he was proud to have reached the age of 90.
 
The son of immigrants from Romania, Mitch grew up in the Bronx. During World War II, he enlisted in the Navy. Inducted on VE day, May 8, 1945, he was among the many men being trained to support the anticipated invasion of mainland Japan. Instead, he was posted to the naval hospital in Brooklyn, where he attended to ill and dying dependents of service members.
 
As he looked for a suitable job as a civilian, a friend suggested offset printing. Mitch was eager to learn the trade, but he also wanted to bring the printing plant into the union–Lithographers Local 1. After several false starts, he achieved both goals but was promptly fired for his union activities. Eventually he was hired at a shop that was already unionized, where he worked for several decades.
 
He retired at age 61 and found this last chapter of his life the best occupation of all. He loved to read, classics and contemporary novels, nonfiction, and political journals that enhanced his understanding of such issues as the inequities between the wealthy and the poor, the determination of capitalism to thwart socialism, the conflict between the drive for war and the desire for peace. He participated in antiwar marches in New York City and Washington, throughout the administrations of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I and II. It was with great pride, and plenty of hope, that we watched Barack Obama’s first and second inaugurations (by this time. neither of us had the stamina to make the trip to DC). 
 
Mitch much enjoyed doing volunteer work for Wespac, and taking part in the annual picnics on the Lamont estate. One of the memories I have of assisting with Mitch at the Wespac office was talking to Phyllis, whose son had lost his life in one of the World Trade towers. 
 
Mitch will be remembered for his humor, idealism, generosity, devotion to causes he believed in, and all-around decency.
 
Submitted by Susan C. Joseph

Made in Palestine – Evening of Comedy, Dance and Music

Online Tickets Available Here for Purchase: https://tickets.tarrytownmusichall.org/eventperformances.asp?evt=2028

Palestinian – what images come to your mind…

A hilarious comic who has been the headliner at shows at both New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and has performed around the country and internationally to sold-out audiences?

Do you think of  young boys and girls, dressed in elaborate costumes, swirling in precision as they perform the classic Palestinian folk dance of Dabke?

Or maybe, the beautifully intricate and delicate traditional embroidery that has long graced the clothes of Palestinians and has recently become the inspiration for couture and hip fashion alike?

No, this isn’t what immediately pops into your thoughts. We understand. Unfortunately, the long and rich cultural history of Palestine has long been overshadowed by other images portrayed in the media.

We aim to change that and we need your help!

MADE IN PALESTINE, a one- night event planned for Sunday, Nov. 19th at the Tarrytown Music Hall, will showcase the beautiful and light-hearted side of Palestine.

WESPAC Foundation, a leading force for progressive social change in Westchester since 1974, has long advocated for a just and lasting peace to the Israel/Palestine conflict. We are aware that many Americans know little of the multi-faceted cultural heritage of Palestine – the music, the food, the art and the struggle to have their narrative understood. We will highlight aspects of this rich culture and, we hope, leave you hungry to learn more.

We are so excited that comedian and author Amer Zahr will headline MADE IN PALESTINE. Palestinian American Performance Poet Remi Kenazi and a NJ Palestinian folkloric dabke dance troupe will open the show.  Authentic food will be served and fair-trade artisan gifts and products from Palestine will be available for purchase.

We are seeking financial support from the Social Justice and the Arab-Palestinian community and others to underwrite this exciting opportunity.  We hope that you will support this event by choosing one of the sponsorship options listed below. I will call you in a few days to discuss this invitation and share more details about the show and how you might like to become involved.

We hope you will join us in what will surely be a fun and  entertaining evening with important, long-lasting effects.

MADE IN PALESTINE

Sponsorship Opportunities

Benefactor                       $1000

6 VIP tickets and listing in program

Sponsor                            $  500

4 VIP tickets and listing in program

Friend                             $  250

2 VIP tickets and listing in program

Supporter                         $ 100

Listing in Program

PROGRAM Ads

Front inside cover            $ 750

Back outside cover          $ 750

Back inside cover             $ 300

Full-page                            $ 150

Half-page                           $ 100

Quarter-page                   $   75

Business card                   $   50

Name as you would like it to appear in listing:

Please send Black and White Graphic for Ad by November 3rd, 2017

TO:   WESPAC Foundation

     77 Tarrytown Road, 2W

     White Plains, NY 10607

For more information, call the WESPAC office at 914.449.6515 or email [email protected]

Report Back from Annual NACOLE Conference

Nada will be presenting a report on Thursday, September 28th at 7pm at WESPAC regarding her participation at the Annual NACOLE Conference on behalf of WCPR.  

On September 10th, hundreds of members of law enforcement, community leaders, elected officials, journalists, academics, students and oversight professionals will gather in Spokane, Washington, for the annual four day NACOLE conference (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement): http://www.nacole.org/2017_annual_conference .

Conference attendees will be able to choose from 31 different concurrent and plenary sessions on a wide range of topics including Building Community Trust, Trauma Informed Policing, Auditing for Accountability, Evaluating Police Use of Force and much more.  Attendees will be part of a learning and networking event that will provide inspiration, ideas and practical knowledge as we work for a vision of implementing best practices and enhanced police legitimacy in our local communities and around the nation.  

WESPAC Community Yoga

Social Justice Tour of Buenos Aires

“Buenos Aires: Its People and History 
from a Social Justice Lens“ 
Spring 2018
9 Day Justice Tour with Delia Marx

Participate in this delegation to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the Spring of 2018 that will:

  • Tour recovered factories cooperatively owned and managed by their workers. Talk with the protagonists of the struggle.
  • Learn about the Abuelas Del Plaza de Mayo, women who continue to search for their grandchildren who were kidnapped during the military dictatorship.
  • Meet with representatives of La Vaca, a cooperative of journalists.
  • Meet with an economist to discuss the impact of the several financial crises in the country and with other experts to explore how progressive alternatives could help meet the actual needs of the people.
  • Meet with leaders of progressive human-rights and environmental organizations.
  • Explore the beautiful and rich culture of Buenos Aires with the music and dance of tango.
  • Extend your stay in Argentina and visit magnificent tourist destinations, like the world famous Iguazu Water Falls on the Argentine/Brazil border. 

Price includes: Accommodations, two meals per day, translation, transportation to and from all programmed activities, and program fees.
 
Price does NOT include: International airfare, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, travel insurance and personal expenditures. 
 

Cost:  $2,500 (double occupancy) from Buenos Aires (add $360 if you would like to book single occupancy rooms).

Please email Delia Marx if you are interested in attending an October information session about this trip at [email protected]

Charlottesville Through a Glass Darkly

Charlottesville Through a Glass Darkly
 
 
Richard Falk
Global Justice in the 21st Century (blog)
August 18, 2017
 

I suggest that Zionists fond of smearing critics of Israel as ‘anti-Semites’ take a sobering look at the VICE news clip of the white nationalist torch march through the campus of the University of Virginia the night before the lethal riot in Charlottesville. In this central regard, anti-Semitism, and its links to Naziism and Fascism, and now to Trumpism, are genuinely menacing, and should encourage rational minds to reconsider any willingness to being manipulated for polemic purposes by ultra Zionists. We can also only wonder about the moral, legal, and political compass of ardent Zionists who so irresponsibly label Israel’s critics and activist opponents as anti-Semites, and thus confuse and bewilder the public as to the true nature of anti-Semitism as racial hatred directed at Jews.

There must be less incendiary ways of fashioning responses to the mounting tide of criticism of Israel’s policies and practices than by deliberately distorting and confusing the nature of anti-Semitism. To charge supporters of BDS, however militant, with anti-Semitism dangerously muddies the waters, trivializing hatred of Jews by deploying ‘anti-Semitism’ as an Israeli tactic and propaganda tool of choice in a context of non-violent expressions of free speech and political advocacy, and thus challenging the rights so elemental that they have long been taken for granted by citizens in every funcitioning constitutional democracy. It is worth recalling that despite the criticisms of BDS during the South African anti-apartheid campaign, militant participants were never, ever smeared, despite being regarded as employing a controversial approach often derided as counterproductive in politically conservative circles.

And of course it is not only Zionists who have eaten of this poisonous fruit. As a result of Israel’s own willingness to encourage such tactics, as in organizing initiatives seeking to discredit, and even criminalize, the nonviolent BDS campaign, several leaders of important Western countries who should know better have swallowed this particular cool aid. A recent statement by  President of France, Emmanuel Macron: “Anti-Zionism…is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism,” and implicitly such a statement suggests that to be anti-Zionist is tantamount to criticism of Israel as a Jewish state.

After grasping this tortured reasoning, have a look at the compelling Open Letter to Macron,* written in response by the famed Israeli historian, Shlomo Sand, author of an essential book, The Invention of the Jewish People. In his letter Sand explains why he cannot himself be a Zionist given the demographic realities, historical abuse of the majority population of historic Palestine, and the racist and colonialist overtones of proclaiming a Jewish state in a Palestine that a hundred years ago was a national space containing only 60,000 Jews half of whom were actually opposed to the Zionist project. This meant that the Jewish presence in Palestine represented only about 7% of the total population, the other 700,000 being mostly Muslims and Christian Arabs. The alternative to Zionism for an Israel that abandons apartheid is not collapse but a transformed reality based on the real equality of Jews and Palestinians. Shlomo Sand gives the following substance to this non-Zionist political future for Israel: “..an Israeli republic and not a Jewish communalist state.” This is not the only morally, politically, and legally acceptable solution. A variety of humane and just alternatives to the status quo exist that are capable of embodying the overlapping rights of self-determination of these two long embattled peoples.

To avoid the (mis)impression that Charlottesville was most disturbing because of its manifestations of hatred of Jews it is helpful to take a step backward. Charlottesville was assuredly an ugly display of anti-Semitism, but it only secondarily slammed Jews. Its primary hateful resonance was its exhibition of white supremacy, American nativism, and a virtual declaration of war against Black Lives Matter and the African American and immigrant struggle against racial injustice. Jews are doing better than all right in America by almost every indicator of economic, political, and social success. African Americans, Hispanics, and Muslims are not. Many of their lives are daily jeopardized by various forms of state terror, as well as by this surge of violent populism given sly, yet unmistakable, blessings by an enraged and unrepentant White House in the agonized aftermath of Charlottesville. Jews thankfully have no bereaved victims of excess uses of force by American police as have lethally victimized such African Americans as Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. Jews in America do not fear or face pre-dawn home searches, cruel family disrupting deportations, and the mental anguish of devastating forms of uncertainty that now is the everyday reality for millions of Hispanic citizens and residents.

What Charlottesville now becomes is up to the American people, and to some lesser extent to the reactions and responses throughout the world. The Charlottesville saga has already auditioned Trump and Spence as high profile apprentices of white nationalism. Whether an array of Republican tweets of disgust and disapproval gain any political traction remains to be seen, or as in the past they dissolve as bubbles in the air and soon seem best regarded as empty tropes of political correctness. What counsels skepticism about this current cascade of self-righteous pronouncements is the awareness that many of these same individuals in the past quickly renewed their conniving habits behind closed doors, working overtime to deprive the racially vulnerable in America of affordable health insurance, neighborhood security, and residence rights. As is so often the case in the political domain these days disreputable actions speak far more loudly than pious words.

If the majority of Americans can watch the torch parade and urban riot of white nationalists shouting racist slogans, dressed for combat, and legally carrying assault weapons, in silence we are done for as a nation of decency and promise. If the mainstream does not scream ‘enough’ at the top of its lung it is time to admit ‘game over.’ This undoubtedly means that the political future of this country belongs to the likes of Trump/Spence, and it also means that a national stumble into some kind of fascist reality becomes more and more unavoidable. The prospect of a fascist America can no longer be dismissed as nothing more than a shrill and desperate ploy by the moribund left to gain a bit of attention on the national stage before giving up the ghost of revolutionary progressivism once and for all.

So we must each ask ourselves and each other is this the start of the Second Civil War or just one more bloody walk in the woods?

 
 
  
Richard Falk is a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University where he taught for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He initiated this blog partly in celebration of his 80th birthday. 
 
Falk is the author or co-author of 20 books and the editor or co-editor of another 20 volumes. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” He has been variously criticized by U.S. ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon for his positions on Israel and the September 11 attacks. [Wikipedia]

WESPAC Open House!

All are welcome!

WESPAC Open House!

All are welcome to the WESPAC Open House! Come and see our new space in White Plains/Greenburgh, meet old and new friends and hear about plans for this coming year. Wednesday, September 6th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at 77 Tarrytown Road, Suite 2W in White Plains/Greenburgh, NY 10607. Plenty of free parking on site; drive all the way up to the top parking level behind the building. We look forward to welcoming you then! Light refreshments will be served. Call 914.449.6514 for more information.

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