On Thursday, March 23, 2023 I had one of the most wonderful evenings I’ve ever had.
Parsons Dance at the Joyce was magic. The six pieces were choreographed by David Parsons. Taking the audience with them, nine dancers flew across the stage. How do they make you feel you’re with them? How do they suspend you in that moment when you’re completely in the present.
Guess who: “At 17, after graduating early from high school, he made it to New York on a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey School, an opportunity he further supported by cleaning the Ailey studios, accepting $100 a month from his grandmother and $40 a month from his brother, while also pumping gas on New York City’s Upper East Side. “
Saint Patrick died on March 17 in the fifth century. Born in Britain, at sixteen he was captured by pirates and taken as a slave to Ireland. After six years he escaped and returned to Britain. When he became a cleric he went back to Ireland and eventually became a bishop.
He combined native Irish rituals in his Christian teaching. Bonfires were used to celebrate Easter since the Irish honored their gods with fire. He also added a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, to create a Celtic cross.
Rashida Tlaib, the one Palestinian member in our Congress, will be in New York City on March 18. She emailed me this recent letter. I admire her courage and commitment.
Under Israel’s apartheid government, Palestinians are banned from flying the Palestinian flag. But I’m proudly flying the flag outside my office in Congress.
As violence keeps escalating under Israel’s extremist far-right government, I want the Palestinian people to know that no one can erase our existence.
For months, Israeli soldiers have invaded Palestinian villages nearly every day, critically injuring hundreds while shooting at ambulances to block people from receiving medical care. And in the last week, violent mobs of Israeli settlers (who live in Palestinian territories illegally) have attacked a number of Palestinian towns, even burning down homes with families inside.
Responding to recent attacks, a senior Israeli government official incited genocide against Palestinians, calling for the state of Israel to “wipe out” the Palestinian villages.
Yet the bipartisan effort to shield Israel from accountability continues. State governments and Congress have tried to punish boycotts of Israel and other tactics calling for Palestinian rights, in violation of our First Amendment rights to free speech and dissent. Yet the far-right Supreme Court recently refused to take up a case to overturn one of these unconstitutional laws.
Despite these efforts to silence us, I will not back down. As the only Palestinian-American serving in the U.S. Congress, I won’t stand by silently as our country is complicit in Israel’s apartheid. We must end unconditional U.S. military support for Israel’s military now. We need to keep the pressure on until Palestinians’ humanity and equal rights are finally recognized.
I will not back down in the face of attempts to silence me and others in the movement for Palestinian rights. Thank you for being by my side.
Twenty years ago on March 16th, human rights activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer. Rachel was protesting the demolition of the home of a Palestinian family in Gaza. She was 23 years old.
According to the reports of multiple eyewitnesses and photographic documentation, she was intentionally killed.
In the years since, Palestinian home demolitions by Israel have increased severalfold. Unfortunately, Rachel’s message remains as relevant as it was then, if not more.
For 2022, B’tselem reported that Israel demolished a total of 801 Palestinian homes, surpassing 2021 and amounting to one of the highest annual figures on record. An overwhelming number of Palestinian construction permit applications are rejected by Israel, with more than 98% turned down between 2016 and 2018.
We urge you to help keep Rachel’s message alive by sharing her story with your community.
Cards, a booklet of Rachel’s letters she wrote while in Gaza, and posters are all available on our website to order or download. (For orders, click on the links above and then use the buttons – you can use your credit card or a PayPal account.)
We would also suggest that you to write a letter about Rachel to the editor of your local newspaper. See here for an example.
As always, thank you for your efforts on behalf of peace and justice for Palestine.