Photo from San Francisco rally and march in support of Palestine Saturday, May 15, 2021
Stand with Palestine!
Say NO to apartheid!
Join the global movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
A Tribute to the Life, Activism, and Legacy of Ernie Tate
About this Event
We warmly welcome you to join us for a tribute to the life, activism and legacy of Ernie Tate (1934-2021).
Ernie Tate believed capitalism is a cruel and unjust system that has to be changed. Ernie was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1934 and emigrated to Canada in 1955. As a Marxist, union activist and revolutionary, Ernie spent his life working to achieve that in organizing against the war in Vietnam, in union struggles at Toronto Hydro, for protecting universal healthcare and living wages, and much else. Ernie, along with Tariq Ali, was a leading organizer of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in Britain, worked for Bertrand Russell’s International War Crimes Tribunal and was a founding member of the International Marxist Group in Britain. In 2014, Ernie published a memoir of his life on the far left in Canada and Great Britain called Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 1960s. This two-volume memoir is an important resource for anyone interested in a gritty account of mid-20th century revolutionary movements. It has been a source of information for the 2020-2021 Undercover Policing Inquiry hearings, taking place in England, in which the illegal and immoral activities of police agents in infiltrating the left have been laid bare.
Ernie died on February 5th this year. Please join us to reflect upon and celebrate Ernie’s life, activism and legacy with many of his comrades and friends from around the world, including: Tariq Ali and Phil Hearse (England), Riche Venton (Scotland), Barry Sheppard and Suzanne Weiss (USA), Pam Frache, Judy Rebick, Caroline Egan, Sam Gindin, Bryan Palmer, Rob Fairley, and John Riddell (Canada), and Patrick Bond (South Africa).
The event will be online, on ZOOM. Please register for your free ticket on Eventbrite. A link to the ZOOM room will be sent to you.
Hosted by Socialist Project, Centre for Social Justice, Spring, Resistance, Green Left Weekly, Socialist Viewpoint
Update: Mumia Abu-Jamal is Recovering from Heart Surgery!
Mumia's wife, Wadiya, has spoken to Mumia and reports that he sounded strong. He still needs to be free to get the medical care he needs for his weakened physical condition and, because he's innocent!
Questions and comments may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Bezos has at least $180 Billion!
The Washington State Supreme Court just ruled to allow the right-wing Recall Campaign against Councilmember Kshama Sawant to move forward.
In response, Councilmember Sawant said “This ruling is completely unjust, but we are not surprised. Working people and oppressed communities cannot rely on the capitalist courts for justice anymore than they can on the police.”
“Last summer, all across the country, ordinary people who peacefully protested in multi-racial solidarity against racism and police brutality themselves faced brutal police violence. The police and the political establishment have yet to be held accountable, while in stark contrast, more than 14,000 protestors were arrested.”
“In October, the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously threw out the grassroots recall campaign launched in response to Amazon-backed Mayor Jenny Durkan’s overseeing a violent police crackdown against Seattle protests. Now, this same Supreme Court has unanimously approved the recall against an elected socialist, working-class representative who has unambiguously stood with the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“The recall law in Washington State is inherently undemocratic and well-suited for politicized use against working people’s representatives, because there is no requirement that the charges even be proven true. In effect, the courts have enormous leeway to use recall elections as a mechanism to defend the ruling class and capitalist system. It is no accident that Seattle’s last elected socialist, Anna Louise Strong, was driven out of office by a recall campaign for her links to the labor movement and opposition to World War I.”
The recall effort against Councilmember Sawant explicitly cited her role in Black Lives Matter protests and the Amazon Tax campaign in their articles of recall. In 2019, Kshama was elected for the third time despite a record-breaking influx of corporate money in Seattle elections, including $1.5 million in corporate PAC spending from Amazon, as well as donations from top Amazon executives and numerous wealthy Republican donors directly to Kshama’s opponent.
The Recall Campaign is backed by a host of corporate executives and developers, including billionaire landlord and Trump donor Martin Selig; Jeannie Nordstrom of the billionaire union-busting, retail giant Nordstrom dynasty; Airbnb Chief Financial Officer and former Amazon Vice President Dave Stephenson; Merrill Lynch Senior Vice President Matt Westphal; wealthy Trump donors like Dennis Weibling, Vidur Luthra and Greg Eneil; and plethora of major real-estate players, such as John Stephanus, whose asset management company, Epic, has ranked amongst Seattle’s top 10 landlords for evictions.
Now, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Recall Campaign is able to begin collecting signatures to get a recall election on an upcoming ballot. With the financial backing of the corporate elite, we know the Recall Campaign will have unlimited resources to collect their signatures.
That’s why we need your support to massively expand our Decline-to-Sign campaign and defeat this attack on all working people. The Recall Campaign has already raised $300,000. Can you make a contribution to the Kshama Solidarity Campaign today so that we have the necessary resources to fight back?
Kshama Solidarity Campaign
Copyright © 2021 Kshama Solidarity Campaign, All rights reserved
PLEDGE: Stand with Kshama Sawant Against the Right-Wing Recall!
The right wing and big business are going after Councilmember Sawant because she’s been such a powerful voice for working people – for leading the way on the Amazon Tax, on the $15 minimum wage, and for her role in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Amazon spent millions trying to unseat Kshama last year and failed. Now the Recall Campaign is raising money from corporate executives and rich Republicans to try to overturn that election and all our victories. Their campaign is saying Kshama’s support for Black Lives Matter was promoting “lawlessness” – this is a racist attack on the movement. The right wing will be collecting signatures to get the recall on the ballot; we’re building a Decline-to-Sign movement to keep our voice on the City Council and win COVID relief for working people.
Sign the pledge at:
Paid for by Kshama Solidarity Campaign
PO Box 20611, Seattle, WA 98102
9 minutes 29 seconds
Pass COVID Protection and Debt Relief
Stop the Eviction Cliff!
Forgive Rent and Mortgage Debt!
Millions of Californians have been prevented from working and will not have the income to pay back rent or mortgage debts owed from this pandemic. For renters, on Feb 1st, landlords will be able to start evicting and a month later, they will be able to sue for unpaid rent. Urge your legislator and Gov Newsom to stop all evictions and forgive COVID debts!
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock our state, with over 500 people dying from this terrible disease every day. The pandemic is not only ravaging the health of poor, black and brown communities the hardest - it is also disrupting our ability to make ends meet and stay in our homes. Shockingly, homelessness is set to double in California by 2023 due the economic crisis unleashed by COVID-19. 
Housing is healthcare: Without shelter, our very lives are on the line. Until enough of us have been vaccinated, our best weapon against this virus will remain our ability to stay at home.
Will you join me by urging your state senator, assembly member and Governor Gavin Newsom to pass both prevent evictions AND forgive rent debt?
This click-to-call tool makes it simple and easy.
Renters and small landlords know that much more needs to be done to prevent this pandemic from becoming a catastrophic eviction crisis. So far, our elected officials at the state and local level have put together a patchwork of protections that have stopped a bad crisis from getting much worse. But many of these protections expire soon, putting millions of people in danger. We face a tidal wave of evictions unless we act before the end of January.
We can take action to keep families in their homes while guaranteeing relief for small landlords by supporting an extension of eviction protections (AB 15) and providing rent debt relief paired with assistance for struggling landlords (AB 16). Assembly Member David Chiu of San Francisco is leading the charge with these bills as vehicles to get the job done. Again, the needed elements are:
Improve and extend existing protections so that tenants who can’t pay the rent due to COVID-19 do not face eviction
Provide rent forgiveness to lay the groundwork for a just recovery
Help struggling small and non-profit landlords with financial support
Ten months since the country was plunged into its first lockdown, tenants still can’t pay their rent and debt is piling up. This is hurting tenants and small landlords alike. We need a holistic approach that protects Californians in the short-run while forgiving unsustainable debts over the long term. That’s why we’re joining the Housing Now! coalition and Tenants Together on a statewide phone zap to tell our elected leaders to act now.
Will you join me by urging your state senator, assembly member and Governor Gavin Newsom to pass both prevent evictions AND forgive rent debt?
Time is running out. California’s statewide protections will start expiring by the end of this month. Millions face eviction. We have to pass AB 15 before the end of January. And we will not solve the long-term repercussions on the economic health of our communities without passing AB 16.
ASK YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO SAY YES ON AN EVICTION MORATORIUM AND RENT DEBT FORGIVENESS -- AB 15 AND AB16!!!
Let’s do our part in turning the corner on this pandemic. Our fight now will help protect millions of people in California. And when we fight, we win!
Tell the New U.S. Administration - End
Economic Sanctions in the Face of the Global
Take action and sign the petition - click here!
To: President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and all Members of the U.S. Congress:
We write to you because we are deeply concerned about the impact of U.S. sanctions on many countries that are suffering the dire consequences of COVID-19.
The global COVID-19 pandemic and global economic crash challenge all humanity. Scientific and technological cooperation and global solidarity are desperate needs. Instead, the Trump Administration escalated economic warfare (“sanctions”) against many countries around the globe.
We ask you to begin a new era in U.S. relations with the world by lifting all U.S. economic sanctions.
U.S. economic sanctions impact one-third of the world’s population in 39 countries.
These sanctions block shipments and purchases of essential medicines, testing equipment, PPE, vaccines and even basic food. Sanctions also cause chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease, and poverty, leading to tens of thousands of deaths. It is always the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – who suffer the worst impact of sanctions.
Sanctions are illegal. They are a violation of international law and the United Nations Charter. They are a crime against humanity used, like military intervention, to topple popular governments and movements.
The United States uses its military and economic dominance to pressure governments, institutions and corporations to end all normal trade relations with targeted nations, lest they risk asset seizures and even military action.
The first step toward change must be an end to the U.S.’ policies of economic war. We urge you to end these illegal sanctions on all countries immediately and to reset the U.S.’ relations with the world.
Add your name - Click here to sign the petition:
Resources for Resisting Federal Repression
Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests.
The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page.
If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities.
State and Local Hotlines
If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for:
- Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312
- San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or email@example.com
- Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963
If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:
Know Your Rights Materials
The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides.
- Know Your Rights During Covid-19
- You Have The Right To Remain Silent: A Know Your Rights Guide for Encounters with Law Enforcement
- Operation Backfire: For Environmental and Animal Rights Activists
WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office
We also recommend the following resources:
- Grand Juries: Slideshow
Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources
A new generation is confronting the region’s longstanding conflict in a very different context, with very different pressures, from their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
By Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham, Published May 19, 2021, Updated May 20, 2021
Protesters rallying outside the Israeli consulate in New York on Tuesday. Credit...Dave Sanders for The New York Times
A protest in support of the Palestinians on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday. Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times
Dan Kleinman does not know quite how to feel.
As a child in Brooklyn he was taught to revere Israel as the protector of Jews everywhere, the “Jewish superman who would come out of the sky to save us” when things got bad, he said.
It was a refuge in his mind when white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., chanted “Jews will not replace us,” or kids in college grabbed his shirt, mimicking a “South Park” episode to steal his “Jew gold.”
But his feelings have grown muddier as he has gotten older, especially now as he watches violence unfold in Israel and Gaza. His moral compass tells him to help the Palestinians, but he cannot shake an ingrained paranoia every time he hears someone make anti-Israel statements.
“It is an identity crisis,” Mr. Kleinman, 33, said. “Very small in comparison to what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank, but it is still something very strange and weird.”
As the violence escalates in the Middle East, turmoil of a different kind is growing across the Atlantic. Many young American Jews are confronting the region’s longstanding strife in a very different context, with very different pressures, from their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
The Israel of their lifetime has been powerful, no longer appearing to some to be under constant existential threat. The violence comes after a year when mass protests across the United States have changed how many Americans see issues of racial and social justice. The pro-Palestinian position has become more common, with prominent progressive members of Congress offering impassioned speeches in defense of the Palestinians on the House floor. At the same time, reports of anti-Semitism are rising across the country.
Divides between some American Jews and Israel’s right-wing government have been growing for more than a decade, but under the Trump administration those fractures that many hoped would heal became a crevasse. Politics in Israel have also remained fraught, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-tenured government forged allegiances with Washington. For young people who came of age during the Trump years, political polarization over the issue only deepened.
Many Jews in America remain unreservedly supportive of Israel and its government. Still, the events of recent weeks have left some families struggling to navigate both the crisis abroad and the wide-ranging response from American Jews at home. What is at stake is not just geopolitical, but deeply personal. Fractures are intensifying along lines of age, observance and partisan affiliation.
In suburban Livingston, N.J., Meara Ashtivker, 38, has been afraid for her father-in-law in Israel, who has a disability and is not able to rush to the stairwell to shelter when he hears the air-raid sirens. She is also scared as she sees people in her progressive circles suddenly seem anti-Israel and anti-Jewish, she said.
Ms. Ashtivker, whose husband is Israeli, said she loved and supported Israel, even when she did not always agree with the government and its actions.
“It’s really hard being an American Jew right now,” she said. “It is exhausting and scary.”
Some young, liberal Jewish activists have found common cause with Black Lives Matter, which explicitly advocates for Palestinian liberation, concerning others who see that allegiance as anti-Semitic.
The recent turmoil is the first major outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza for which Aviva Davis, who graduated this spring from Brandeis University, has been “socially conscious.”
“I’m on a search for the truth, but what’s the truth when everyone has a different way of looking at things?” Ms. Davis said.
Alyssa Rubin, 26, who volunteers in Boston with IfNotNow, a network of Jewish activists who want to end Jewish American support for Israeli occupation, has found protesting for the Palestinian cause to be its own form of religious observance.
She said she and her 89-year-old grandfather ultimately both want the same thing, Jewish safety. But “he is really entrenched in this narrative that the only way we can be safe is by having a country,” she said, while her generation has seen that “the inequality has become more exacerbated.”
In the protest movements last summer, “a whole new wave of people were really primed to see the connection and understand racism more explicitly,” she said, “understanding the ways racism plays out here, and then looking at Israel/Palestine and realizing it is the exact same system.”
But that comparison is exactly what worries many other American Jews, who say the history of white American slaveholders is not the correct frame for viewing the Israeli government or the global Jewish experience of oppression.
At Temple Concord, a Reform synagogue in Syracuse, N.Y., teenager after teenager started calling Rabbi Daniel Fellman last week, wondering how to process seeing Black Lives Matter activists they marched with last summer attack Israel as “an apartheid state.”
“The reaction today is different because of what has occurred with the past year, year and a half, here,” Rabbi Fellman said. “As a Jewish community, we are looking at it through slightly different eyes.”
Nearby at Sha’arei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, teenagers were reflecting on their visits to Israel and on their family in the region.
“They see it as Hamas being a terrorist organization that is shooting missiles onto civilian areas,” Rabbi Evan Shore said. “They can’t understand why the world seems to be supporting terrorism over Israel.”
In Colorado, a high school senior at Denver Jewish Day School said he was frustrated at the lack of nuance in the public conversation. When his social media apps filled with pro-Palestinian memes last week, slogans like “From the river to the sea” and “Zionism is a call for an apartheid state,” he deactivated his accounts.
“The conversation is so unproductive, and so aggressive, that it really stresses you out,” Jonas Rosenthal, 18, said. “I don’t think that using that message is helpful for convincing the Israelis to stop bombing Gaza.”
Compared with their elders, younger American Jews are overrepresented on the ends of the religious affiliation spectrum: a higher share are secular, and a higher share are Orthodox.
Ari Hart, 39, an Orthodox rabbi in Skokie, Ill., has accepted the fact that his Zionism makes him unwelcome in some activist spaces where he would otherwise be comfortable. College students in his congregation are awakening to that same tension, he said. “You go to a college campus and want to get involved in antiracism or social justice work, but if you support the state of Israel, you’re the problem,” he said.
Rabbi Hart sees increasing skepticism in liberal Jewish circles over Israel’s right to exist. “This is a generation who are very moved and inspired by social justice causes and want to be on the right side of justice,” Rabbi Hart said. “But they’re falling into overly simplistic narratives, and narratives driven by true enemies of the Jewish people.”
Overall, younger American Jews are less attached to Israel than older generations: About half of Jewish adults under 30 describe themselves as emotionally connected to Israel, compared with about two-thirds of Jews over age 64, according to a major survey published last week by the Pew Research Center.
And though the U.S. Jewish population is 92 percent white, with all other races combined accounting for 8 percent, among Jews ages 18 to 29 that rises to 15 percent.
In Los Angeles, Rachel Sumekh, 29, a first-generation Iranian-American Jew, sees complicated layers in the story of her own Persian family. Her mother escaped Iran on the back of a camel, traveling by night until she got to Pakistan where she was taken in as a refugee. She then found asylum in Israel. She believes Israel has a right to self-determination, but she also found it “horrifying” to hear an Israeli ambassador suggest other Arab countries should take in Palestinians.
“That is what happened to my people and created this intergenerational trauma of losing our homeland because of hatred,” she said.
The entire situation feels too volatile and dangerous for many people to even want to discuss, especially publicly.
Violence against Jews is increasingly close to home. Last year the third-highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States were recorded since the Anti-Defamation League began cataloging them in 1979, according to a report released by the civil rights group last month. The A.D.L. recorded more than 1,200 incidents of anti-Semitic harassment in 2020, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. In Los Angeles, the police are investigating a sprawling attack on sidewalk diners at a sushi restaurant on Tuesday as an anti-Semitic hate crime.
Outside Cleveland, Jennifer Kaplan, 39, who grew up in a modern Orthodox family and who considers herself a centrist Democrat and a Zionist, remembered studying abroad at Hebrew University in 2002, and being in the cafeteria minutes before it was bombed. Now she wondered how the Trump era had affected her inclination to see the humanity in others, and she wished her young children were a bit older so she could talk with them about what is happening.
“I want them to understand that this is a really complicated situation, and they should question things,” she said. “I want them to understand that this isn’t just a, I don’t know, I guess, utopia of Jewish religion.”
Esther Katz, the performing arts director at the Jewish Community Center in Omaha, has spent significant time in Israel. She also attended Black Lives Matter protests in Omaha last summer and has signs supporting the movement in the windows of her home.
She has watched with a sense of betrayal as some of her allies in that movement have posted online about their apparently unequivocal support for the Palestinians, and compared Israel to Nazi Germany. “I’ve had some really tough conversations,” said Ms. Katz, a Conservative Jew. “They’re not seeing the facts, they’re just reading the propaganda.”
Her three children, who range in age from 7 to 13, are now wary of a country that is for Ms. Katz one of the most important places in the world. “They’re like, ‘I don’t understand why anyone would want to live in Israel, or even visit,’” she said. “That breaks my heart.”
Campbell Robertson, Liam Stack and Livia Albeck-Ripka contributed reporting.
The three known survivors, who were all children in 1921, offered their firsthand accounts of the race massacre at a hearing in Washington.
By Daniel Victor, May 20, 2021https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/20/us/tulsa-massacre-survivors.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage§ion=US%20Politics
The three known survivors of the 1921 race massacre in Tulsa, Okla., in which white mobs gunned down Black people in the streets and Black-owned businesses were burned to the ground, appeared before a congressional committee on Wednesday, arguing that justice was far overdue.
Adding a personal touch to a House Judiciary subcommittee considering reparations for survivors and descendants of the massacre, the three centenarians recalled how the violence, among the worst attacks of racial violence in U.S. history, changed the trajectory of their lives. They described feeling safe, even prosperous, before the attack, surrounded by friends and family in a neighborhood of mostly Black-owned businesses.
Then, on June 1, a day that is rarely mentioned in history textbooks, the neighborhood of Greenwood, home to a business district known as Black Wall Street, was destroyed by a white mob. The mob looted and set fire to the businesses, and historians estimate up to 300 people were killed, 8,000 left homeless, 23 churches burned and more than 1,200 homes destroyed.
Viola Ford Fletcher, 107, said she still remembered seeing the Black men being shot and bodies in the street, could smell the smoke and hear the screams. She was 7 at the time.
“I have lived through the massacre every day,” she said. “Our country may forget this history, but I cannot.”
Hughes Van Ellis, Ms. Fletcher’s 100-year-old younger brother, said the survivors had been made to feel that they were “unworthy of justice, that we were less valued than whites.”
“We aren’t just black-and-white pictures on a screen,” he said. “We are flesh and blood. I was there when it happened. I’m still here.”
All of the committee members — Democrats and Republicans — rose for standing ovations after the survivors spoke.
The survivors are among the plaintiffs who have sued the city of Tulsa, claiming the city and the Chamber of Commerce tried to cover up the attacks and distort the narrative of what had happened, deflecting blame onto the Black victims and depicting them as instigators. They seek punitive damages, tax relief and scholarships for survivors and their descendants, along with priority for Black Tulsans in awarding city contracts.
The attacks were sparked when a Black man, Dick Rowland, was accused of sexually assaulting a white woman, Sarah Page, on May 30, 1921. Hundreds of armed white men gathered outside the courthouse where Mr. Rowland was being held, and a group of armed Black men arrived to prevent a lynching. After a shot was fired, the white mob chased the Black men to Greenwood.
A grand jury blamed the Black men for the riots. No one was ever charged with a crime for the riots.
Mr. Rowland was later exonerated and charges against him were dropped, as the authorities concluded he most likely tripped and stepped on the woman’s foot.
For the better part of a century, Tulsa did little to remember the victims of the massacre. There was no memorial, no yearly commemoration, and even many Tulsa residents knew little about it. Residents began marking the day with modest ceremonies in 1996.
In recent years, awareness of the massacre has been growing. A Centennial Commission was formed in 2015 to commemorate and educate residents. Last week, its members removed the state’s governor from the commission, days after he signed legislation that commission members said would undermine their goal of teaching the state’s painful history of racial discrimination.
In 2019, a fictionalized depiction of the attacks was used as a key plot point in HBO’s “Watchmen,” introducing a new generation to the massacre if they hadn’t heard about it in history classes.
But the survivors are seeking more than awareness. They have accused the city of turning what remains of Greenwood, now just half a block, into a tourist destination, and using their stories to enrich others but not the victims themselves.
In 2005, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by massacre survivors. They appealed the decision to two federal court judges, who said they had waited too long to file the lawsuit.
Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, said while testifying remotely by video at Wednesday’s hearing that as a 6-year-old girl she didn’t think she would make it out of the attacks alive. Now her name is being used to fund-raise for others, and she waited too long for justice, she said.
“People in positions of power, many just like you, have told us to wait,” she said. “Others have told us it’s too late. It seems that justice in America is always so slow, or not possible for Black people. And we are made to feel crazy just for asking for things to be made right.”
For one reporter, witnessing the rounds of violence had become a familiar experience. Not this time.
By Iyad Abuheweila, May 21, 2021https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/21/insider/gaza-airstrike-reporter.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage
GAZA CITY — I’ve lived through some long and frightening nights during rounds of violence between Gaza and Israel.
Up until this point, the wait until dawn was all too familiar to me, as a lifelong Gaza resident who has reported from here for The Times since 2017 during perhaps a dozen exchanges.
Israel and Hamas reached a cease-fire agreement on Thursday, but whatever happens next, this war will always be different from the past battles for me because of what happened last week. I’ve never endured a longer or more horrific hour than I did beginning at about 6 a.m. on May 12.
After ordering in a quick meal of shawarma the previous night to break my Ramadan fast, I watched the back-and-forth between Palestinian militants and the Israeli military. Rockets brought airstrikes. Airstrikes brought rockets. Wait and repeat.
I’m 27 and single, so I am responsible only for myself. I’d like that to change, so I’m building a home atop my parents’ house. As yet, only one room is finished, but it gives me a vantage point and some privacy from my six younger siblings who live downstairs.
A friend who lives nearby called and asked to come over. He was scared. We spent a few hours together — he stared at the television; I watched the sky light up again and again from rocket launches.
My home is in a residential area, not near anything I can imagine the Israelis would consider a high-value target. And my parents were relieved a while back when the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees opened a school in our neighborhood. They imagined it might be opened up as a shelter in case of war. But it gave me no sense of security.
When Gaza militants launched a barrage of heavy rockets at central Israel, the sound was so thunderous, and from every direction, that I thought Israeli jets were bombarding Gaza City. But then I heard whistling and people chanting, “God is great.” The sound of that salvo was something new for me.
Before midnight, my friend felt tired enough to go home and get some sleep. I needed sleep, too — I had gotten maybe three hours in the past 24 — but every time I nodded off, rocket launches or airstrikes nearby woke me up. And then there were the drones, noisily hovering overhead.
Things were relatively quiet until 3 a.m., when a tower housing a currency-exchange shop operated by a friend was destroyed. He had recently gotten engaged and went into debt to pay for his wedding. He had just lost everything.
I braced for a Palestinian response, and it came quickly, with more rockets aimed at Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion airport, and a direct hit on an Israeli oil tank in Ashkelon.
This meant a new escalation, for sure. But strangely, it didn’t come. At 5:30, I tried to sleep. Not 20 minutes later, my phone rang. It was a friend calling from Turkey, a Palestinian who had emigrated from Gaza, eager to check in.
He realized I had been sleeping and apologized, but we kept talking. Through the phone, he could hear the drones hovering. We were both wondering why Israel hadn’t struck back. I said, “Maybe there’s a truce.”
He said, “Maybe this is the quiet before the storm.”
I wish he hadn’t said that. Moments later, Gaza erupted with the most violent and powerful explosions of my life. It felt like blast waves were hitting my face and body. It felt like our neighborhood was under attack. I staggered to my window to look outside. I got scared — Israel was lashing out, striking randomly and everywhere. But the neighborhood was still standing.
I ran downstairs to my parents’ apartment. I told them I wanted to be with them, because it was much safer on the first floor. My sisters, Ayda, 16, and Maysaa, 21, were crying.
My 14-year-old brother, Ayman, was very scared; his face turned yellow. My mother and sisters put on headscarves in case they had to flee.
I tried to control myself, to show that I could manage my fear, but I didn’t succeed. We moved from one room to another, debating whether this or that room was safer, whether the courtyard was too close to the street. There was no basement, no bomb shelter.
“We have no option but to die,” said my brother Asaad, 23.
This whole time, I was shaking. My heart was beating like a drum, and I was thinking of death. I was imagining myself in a grave. My brother Hatem, 18, said what we were all thinking: that he wanted both sides to stop shooting.
Ayman, the youngest, said he wanted to run away to a safer place. But my mother said no. “Where are you going to go?” she said. “There are no safer places. There is no safer place. Die with me.”
Breathe’ United a Generation
in a Gasp for Justice
A Series on George Floyd and America
By William Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, May 21, 2021https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/21/opinion/george-floyd-death-william-barber.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
In Elizabeth City, N.C., the morning after a jury in Minneapolis found the former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd, a unit from the county’s Sheriff’s Department dressed in tactical gear arrived at the home of Andrew Brown Jr. They were there to serve drug-related arrest and search warrants.
Within minutes, 42-year-old Mr. Brown was dead, shot at the wheel of his car. He was hit by five bullets, including one shot to the back of his head. The North Carolina prosecutor in the case has called the shooting “justified.”
If George Floyd forced America to face the question of whether an officer who abuses power can be held accountable, Andrew Brown Jr.’s blood cries out from the ground of eastern North Carolina for deeper change. Justice demands systemic and enduring transformation — something that younger generations will see and trust as authentic. We call it the Third Reconstruction.
Consider our recent history, starting with Mr. Chauvin’s trial. For us, it brought back memories of the summer of 2013, when a jury in Florida found George Zimmerman not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman had shot and killed the 17-year-old boy who was guilty of nothing more than walking while Black in a gated community. Our legal system’s failure to hold Mr. Zimmerman accountable for killing Mr. Martin sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. It rallied a generation of young people who refused to accept white police officers regularly killing unarmed Black people, not unlike how white Americans regularly lynched Black Americans in the early 20th century.
And that moment — the rise of Black Lives Matter — in turn recalled the movement galvanized by the death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago, who was murdered with impunity in Jim Crow Mississippi. The horror of his lynching inspired a generation of children who looked like Till to confront a system that denigrated their Black lives and undermined democracy. Over the next decade and a half, they grew up to be the college students and young adults who led sit-ins at lunch counters, organized Freedom Summer in Mississippi, petitioned their fellow Americans to see voting rights as a moral issue at Selma and built a Rainbow Coalition in Chicago to advocate the dignity of all poor people.
The reckoning that Emmett Till’s generation demanded took time — and it was subverted and sabotaged at every turn. But the young people who saw themselves in Till eventually contributed to a Second Reconstruction of America in the mid-20th century, expanding democracy and pushing the nation toward the promise of a government that would represent all of its citizens.
Now the Trayvon Martin generation has come of age and is pushing the nation toward a Third Reconstruction. The death of Mr. Floyd, along with those of Breonna Taylor and so many more who’ve joined the litany of lives taken, marked a turning point in the movement: His cries of “I can’t breathe” united this generation in a collective gasp for justice.
But what does that justice look like? Accountability for Mr. Floyd’s murder is not justice. If we cannot stop the killings of unarmed Black people before they happen, any collective affirmation of Black life rings hollow.
As hard as it may be to achieve, the Third Reconstruction is about more than Black people surviving encounters with law enforcement. It’s about America taking steps to protect and value its Black citizens as it has never done before. A Third Reconstruction is about ensuring Black Americans are no longer twice as likely as white Americans to die in a pandemic. It’s about remaking a system that saddles them with student debt and then offers them poverty wages.
A Third Reconstruction will ensure that all Americans can access decent housing for their families and quality education for their children, as outlined in a resolution introduced Thursday by Representatives Barbara Lee and Pramila Jayapal, and supported by our organization, the Poor People’s Campaign. Their resolution seeks to ensure all Americans access to clean and unleaded water and, in the face of widespread voter suppression efforts, a guarantee that their participation in American democracy is expanded and protected.
The Third Reconstruction is about confronting policies and practices that produce death, whether from police killings, poverty, lack of health care, ecological devastation or unnecessary war. It is, in short, a declaration that unnecessary death is intolerable and that democracy is still possible.
In 2020, following a summer of Black Lives Matter protests, we witnessed the most votes cast in a federal election in U.S. history, with a higher percentage of eligible voters participating than we’d seen in decades, and maybe even more than a century. From the Fight for $15 to the Sunrise Movement to the Poor People’s Campaign, this generation has linked up with movements to connect systemic racism in policing with systemic racism in economic inequality, ecological degradation, health disparities and voter suppression. In our work with the Poor People’s Campaign, we saw thousands of Black, white and brown Americans reach out to millions of poor and low-income neighbors like them, encouraging them to join a movement that votes for a transformative agenda in our public life.
And then, 11 months after Mr. Floyd’s murder — thanks to the courage of Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed Derek Chauvin with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck — the nation witnessed a police chief testify against one of his own and a jury vote to hold Mr. Chauvin accountable for murder. It was a measure of accountability that Trayvon Martin and so many others were never deemed worthy of, and the crowds in Minneapolis celebrated with chants of “I am somebody.”
But even as Mr. Chauvin’s trial was approaching and underway, the police continued to kill Black and brown people. We added names including Donovan Lynch, Adam Toledo and Ma’Khia Bryant to the list of souls we mourn.
As with the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of the Second Reconstruction, any fundamental change in American policing will require federal legislative action that we do not currently have the political power to achieve. Even the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which does not fundamentally reimagine law enforcement but does introduce protections against the abuse of power, is languishing in a Senate where Republicans are using the threat of filibuster to silence any real debate.
The Third Reconstruction is about more than any single bill or the agenda of a political party. It is about building power to fundamentally reimagine what is possible in our society. Both the First and Second Reconstructions in American history happened because moral movements reclaimed the promises of democracy and a new, expanded electorate insisted on new priorities. If the Trayvon Martin generation has pricked the nation’s conscience and sparked a moral movement, we believe a coalition of poor and low-income people who have historically been “low-propensity” voters has the potential to shift the political landscape. We must organize around an agenda that lifts from the bottom so that everyone can rise.
No single verdict or election can bring about the racial reckoning America needs after 400 years of building systems that have rested upon white supremacy. But the generation of young people who saw themselves in Trayvon Martin knows that whatever the color of their skin, their lives will not matter in this society until Black lives matter in our public policy.
Dr. Barber is the president of Repairers of the Breach and a co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. Mr. Wilson-Hartgrove is the author of “Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good.”
Our politics are stalled. Our democracy is in tatters. Blame the occupation.
By Dahlia Scheindlin, May 20, 2021
Ms. Scheindlin is a political strategist and a public opinion expert who has advised eight national campaigns in Israel and worked in 15 other countries.
Smoke rising after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Tuesday. Credit...Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock
TEL AVIV — For a few days in early May, Israel appeared close to establishing a new government. After four elections in two years that failed to produce a decisive result, the country was poised for a surprising partnership of ideologically diverse parties including, for the first time, an independent Arab party — Raam. Such a government would have been fraught, even shaky, but it would have ended the two years of political chaos and replaced Israel’s right-wing prime minister, a man currently standing trial for corruption.
What happened instead followed a grim pattern: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict flared yet again. Within days of the start of the military escalation between Hamas and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu that was sparked in Jerusalem and compounded by Jewish and Palestinian violence in Israeli cities, the crisis had put political change on hold.
Although many Israelis scoff at the left-wing tendency to blame the occupation for the country’s problems, and Mr. Netanyahu has insisted for years that the conflict doesn’t control our lives, reality says otherwise. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dominates Israeli politics, muscling out sound policymaking in other critical areas of life. The conflict is suffocating liberal values, eroding Israel’s democratic institutions. Israeli leadership at large is collapsing under its weight.
It is time to accept that it’s not just that Israel controls Palestinians in the conflict. Palestine also controls Israel. The occupation and the festering political conflict since 1948 have permeated every part of our society, political and social institutions, and well-being. If Israel and its supporters can view the situation in this light, they might reach different conclusions about what’s best for the country.
The political system is a key starting point. In Israel, left, center or right-wing ideology is grounded in attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: support for or opposition to a two-state solution; support for expanding or dismantling settlements and/or land concessions. These attitudes and levels of (Jewish) religious observance strongly predict which ideological camp a voter will choose.
In Israeli elections, it is nearly impossible to woo a significant number of voters across the main ideological political camps with shared problems such as economic concerns, investment in education, L.G.B.T.Q. rights or even the highly emotional question of disentangling religion and state. While the elections in March demonstrated that some centrists voted for the right-wing parties, right-wing voters in particular almost never move to the left.
There is nothing wrong with voting for parties that reflect one’s ideology. But right-wing parties, especially under Mr. Netanyahu, have a longstanding pact with religious parties that share their ideology regarding the conflict. The religious parties block other urgently needed changes in Israeli society, such as laws proposing an end to the longstanding exemption of ultra-Orthodox Jews from conscription, which is required for all other citizens; civil marriage, which is not available in Israel (sending many Israelis abroad to tie the knot); and widespread access to public transportation on the Sabbath. Ordinary Israelis have been angry for decades about inequality of army service, about Sabbath privileges for those who own cars and about religious authority over family law, which is a bitter source of gender inequality.
At times, Israel has appeared to lay the groundwork for a more liberal democratic society, which would advance broader progressive values. In the early 1990s, Israel passed two new Basic Laws, guaranteeing a series of basic individual rights and protections. These became a stand-in for a Bill of Rights since Israel has no formal one. An increasingly activist Supreme Court advanced some human rights protections and individual freedoms.
For example, in 1993 Israel repealed its restriction on gay men serving openly in certain defense forces positions, and the next year the Supreme Court issued its first ruling against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In 1998, Israel passed its first dedicated law against sexual harassment.
Yitzhak Rabin’s government sought to redress discrimination against Palestinian citizens and signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. When Mr. Rabin was assassinated in 1995 for his nascent efforts to end the conflict, progressive change on certain social issues continued, but liberal interpretations of the law and the Supreme Court itself would eventually come under intense attacks from the Israeli right wing.
The failure of another peace process in 2000 gave way to a violent second intifada, pushing Israeli society farther to the right and paving the road for Mr. Netanyahu’s return to power in 2009. Mr. Netanyahu has worked assiduously to undermine a two-state solution. And he and other right-wing nationalists and populist leaders set about undermining the institutions of Israeli democracy itself.
Since 2009, Mr. Netanyahu’s governments have passed discriminatory legislation against Palestinian citizens, laws targeting left-wing political activities and laws constraining civil society. These laws have roots in the conflict over national identity or occupation. They elevate the status of Jews over Palestinians, or they are tailored to constrain criticism of the occupation.
The motive for this effort is no mystery: It is aimed at ensuring that Israel remains a Jewish-dominated state, with minimal political opposition. Both would be essential if Israel were to advance West Bank annexation, which would alter the state’s demographic makeup and spark challenges to the character of the state and its undemocratic governance of Palestinians.
The Israeli right’s most ambitious campaign for about a decade has been a sustained attack on the judiciary. Right-wing leaders speak of correcting the balance of power among the branches of government and restoring sovereignty to “the people,” rather than the elites, referring to judges — especially Supreme Court justices. The chief proponents of this cause are overwhelmingly committed to settlements and annexation. Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Yamina party and a former defense and education minister, once served as head of the Yesha settlers’ council. Ayelet Shaked, justice minister from 2015 to 2019, is outspoken in favor of both aims. Simcha Rothman, a firebrand anti-Supreme Court crusader and a settler from deep inside the West Bank, entered the Knesset in 2021 with the Jewish-ultranationalist Religious Zionist party.
Undermining the judiciary has nothing to do with repairing institutions; it will assist what right-wing leaders call “governability” — a word that also appears in the name of the organization Mr. Rothman founded. The term is a euphemism, and a mantra, for government power unrestrained by courts, which enables both continuing rule over the Palestinian territories and an increasingly undemocratic Israel.
Last, the conflict is directly tied to Israel’s chaos of leadership. Mr. Netanyahu retains stable support from nearly one-quarter of voters, largely because of his image as the man who won’t make concessions to “Arabs” (many right-wing Israelis avoid the word “Palestinian”). He used the most recent escalation with Hamas to burnish his image as the master of security. The crisis also persuaded Mr. Bennett of the Yamina party to withdraw from negotiations to join the would-be alternative government and revive the option of yet another Netanyahu coalition.
Once again, with help from the conflict, Israel has normalized a leader standing trial for corruption charges in three cases, who refuses to resign. (He has pleaded not guilty). Since a sufficient number of parties over the past two years have refused to join a government led by Mr. Netanyahu, his recalcitrance is the reason Israel has had no permanent government despite four elections. He has also opportunistically joined the attacks on Israel’s judiciary in an effort to undermine the court cases against him.
Decades of Palestinian suffering should have brought Israel’s occupation to an end by now. But the folly of territorial conquest and international realpolitik has been stronger.
Perhaps a cleareyed view of how the conflict is suffocating Israel can add urgency. There is certainly no easy or ideal solution. But the “stand back” approach, or any “not now” complacency, is definitely the wrong one.
By Laila Al-Arian, May 20, 2021
Ms. Al-Arian is an award-winning Palestinian-American journalist.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/20/opinion/gaza-airstrike-apartment-building.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Illustration by Jim Datz/The New York Times; photographs via Hatem Moussa/Associated Press and the Al-Arian family
On May 15, an Israeli airstrike destroyed Burj Al-Jalaa, a 12-story apartment tower in Gaza that housed the bureaus of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press. Watching the footage of the falling building left me in shock. It collapsed like one of the many towers that my children make out of magnetic tiles or Jenga blocks. It was gone in seconds.
I have worked for Al Jazeera for the past 13 years. Along with the families living in the 60 apartments in the tower, my colleagues had to make difficult choices about what to grab and what to leave as they rushed out to beat the bomb.
An hour later, my brother texted me, and the story actually hit home: Our grandfather had an apartment in the building, which he had bought with his life savings and left for his children to inherit. It was now reduced to rubble and ash. This is a lesson that Palestinians across generations have never been allowed to forget: Home is fleeting and can be taken away at any moment.
My grandfather, Abdul Kareem, knew this all too well. The story of his life can be told through all of the homes that he has lost.
He was born in Gaza City in 1933 and became an orphan by his fifth birthday after both of his parents died of cancer. He was among the Nakba generation, the Palestinians who experienced the terror, loss and displacement that came with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. He was in high school. He would speak of the bullets from Israeli warplanes over Gaza, which shredded the dust between his feet.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their homes, and there were massacres in cities and villages across the country. Refugees streamed into Gaza’s tiny coastal strip. My grandmother, Inaam, who was 12 years old, was one of them. She was among the 50,000 to 70,000 people who walked from Lydda, Ramle and neighboring villages, east of Jaffa, in what came to be known as the Lydda Death March. She learned that her father, a police officer in Jaffa, was executed by Israeli forces and buried in a mass grave.
Many of the refugees left with the clothes on their backs and hung the keys to their houses from their necks. My grandmother’s mother grabbed her children and started to walk, walk until her toenails had fallen off, my grandmother would tell us. Their homes were taken over by Jewish settlers who arrived from Europe. When my grandmother and her family arrived in Gaza, it had become crowded with refugees from across Palestine, thousands of whom slept in tents provided by the United Nations.
By the time my grandparents met in 1956, my grandmother had been working as a seamstress to help support her family. Never able to return to school, she had completed only a sixth-grade education. Petite with curly brown hair, she had bright almond-shaped eyes and a shy smile, and dressed in clothes she sewed in 1950s fashion.
When my grandparents got married, jobs were hard to come by. They became part of the Shatat al-Falasteeni, or the Palestinian diaspora, moving to Arab countries that needed their labor and education but saw them as outsiders on the verge of overstaying their welcome.
Central to the Palestinian diaspora experience is a paradox of existing in a past that despite its pain seems more secure than the precariousness of your present home. Life is a struggle to build a new home while preserving the memory of the one that was taken from you and desperately searching for a way to return to it.
In 1958, my grandfather moved to Saudi Arabia with his wife and 1-year-old son to work as an Arabic teacher. He saved whatever he could of his meager salary to take his children to visit Gaza during the summers. My mother remembers those trips home, playing in the mulberry orchards, the Mediterranean Sea within sight and the sand beneath her feet.
After years of living modestly, my grandfather bought a small plot of land on Gaza’s coast, where he planned to build a house. Then, in 1967, while sitting in a cafe with friends in the Saudi city of Jeddah, my grandfather heard the news: Israel had occupied the Gaza Strip. His face went pale and he fainted from the shock. Israel decreed that any Palestinian who was not in Gaza before the war would no longer be recognized as a resident of the strip.
My grandfather was not allowed to return. A few years later, when he reported his school’s headmaster for sexually assaulting a Palestinian student, the Saudis fired him and forced him to leave the kingdom. The family moved to Cairo and rebuilt their lives once again.
My grandfather bought an apartment from an Egyptian family, but he wasn’t permitted to register it in his name because he was Palestinian. When he and his family left Cairo for a short trip, the Egyptian family moved into the apartment and took it over.
He was once again homeless. He had worked and lived in four Arab countries without being allowed to acquire citizenship. For decades he longed for Gaza. As a stateless Palestinian, he needed a passport to return home.
My mother, who had settled in the United States when she was 18, brought him over. He lived with us in Florida for long stretches in the 1990s and applied for U.S. citizenship. I cherished the afternoons when he and I would sit on our porch drinking sage tea and watching the rain. He would puff on his cigarettes, we would share jokes, and I would quiz him on the basics of American history and governance in preparation for his citizenship test.
I did not realize that these moments together were not bringing him closer to us but enabling his return to Gaza, where I would no longer be able to see him.
Once he became a U.S. citizen, he was determined to return to Gaza. My grandmother, his wife of nearly 50 years, refused to return as long as the land was under occupation. He refused to remain in exile. In 2004, he moved to Gaza; she stayed in the United Arab Emirates alone.
In Gaza, my grandfather quit smoking and spent much of his time outdoors planting olives, grapes, loquats and berries in his family orchard and relaxing in a studio apartment on the Mediterranean. He reconnected with family members he had been separated from for years and ate the figs that he had dreamed about in exile.
In 2007, in a bid to destabilize the Hamas-led government, Israel imposed a crushing blockade that persists today, turning Gaza into an open-air prison and, along with Egypt, controlling every aspect of the lives of its residents. Getting medication for my grandfather’s diabetes became nearly impossible; frequent power outages forced him to use kerosene burners for cooking.
Several wars on Gaza followed, my grandfather describing each one as more brutal and terrifying than the one before. He would tell us how the bombs would rattle the walls as he tried to sleep.
During the 2008-09 bombardment of Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, Israeli bombing and shelling destroyed farmland and compromised the food supply. A section of our family orchard was hit with white phosphorus shells and its charred soil could no longer grow crops. Six years later, during the devastating war in 2014, my grandfather’s studio on the beach in Gaza was also bombed.
None of my grandfather’s seven children were able to visit him in Gaza. For most of their adult lives, every one of them was living in a different country, reflecting the intractable reality of Palestinian displacement.
My grandfather died in 2019. A part of me is relieved that he is not alive to witness what many in Gaza today describe as the worst assault yet.
He had poured all his savings into buying an apartment in Burj Al-Jalaa tower, one of Gaza’s tallest buildings. When all you’ve ever known is dispossession, occupation and exile, there are no retirement funds or government checks. He had survived on the rent from his apartment.
Unlike Al-Jalaa tower, which was evacuated before the bombs were dropped, many other homes in Gaza that were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes crushed their inhabitants to death.
There is almost a sense of shame in grieving over the loss of property when entire families have been killed in Gaza. But this too is a critical function of the occupation, which compounds Palestinian dispossession by not only the loss of one home after another but also the right to mourn them.
That apartment was the home my grandfather built after a lifetime of exile, everything he had worked toward until the last years of his life. The feeling of longing that pulled him back to Gaza and every moment of joy, pain and loss in his life were built into the walls of that apartment. It was a place he hoped his grandchildren might one day be able to visit.
But I realize now that it wasn’t that simple. When I consider all of the homes that he lost, I know my grandfather could not have expected any physical structure to be his lasting legacy. Instead he left us with something that cannot be taken away. His struggle to return home embodied the hope, resilience and audacity that all dispossessed Palestinians pass on from one generation to the next. We build, they destroy, and we build again.
The state Superior Court ruled Thursday that it lacked jurisdiction to hear Abu-Jamal’s latest challenge of his conviction and life sentence for the 1981 traffic stop death of Officer Daniel Faulkner.
By The Associated Press, The Associated Press, Published May 20, 2021https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia/mumia-abu-jamal-pennsylvania-supreme-court-20210520.html
PHILADELPHIA — The latest appeal filed by Mumia Abu-Jamal and a related suit brought by the widow of the Philadelphia police officer he’s convicted of killing will now go before Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court.
The state Superior Court ruled Thursday that it lacked jurisdiction to hear Abu-Jamal’s latest challenge of his conviction and life sentence for the 1981 traffic stop death of Officer Daniel Faulkner. The panel also found the state's top court is the better venue for addressing a plea by Maureen Faulkner to intervene in the case in opposition to Jamal’s bid for freedom.
Neither side opposed the transfer to the Supreme Court, the panel noted.
The ruling comes less than six months after the state Supreme Court rejected Maureen Faulkner's bid to disqualify the city district attorney’s office from continuing to work on the matter. She sought to have the attorney general’s office appointed to take over the prosecution.
Maureen Faulkner has argued that District Attorney Larry Krasner and his aides have links to Abu-Jamal’s case that should have disqualified them and that the office has not handled the case with due vigor. Krasner, a Democrat, has denied any substantial conflict exists.
The 67-year-old Abu-Jamal is arguing that his convictions must be reconsidered, especially in light of the discovery by a DA’s office of previously undisclosed boxes of material in its files on his case. He is serving a life sentence and, in the intervening decades, his claims of being unfairly convicted have drawn fervent supporters, both in the United States and internationally.