MAY 2019 NEWSLETTER
Throughout the month of May we hosted the second annual Palestine Lives Conference with Existence Is Resistance, rallied in Bay Ridge alongside the Palestinian community for Nakba Day, returned to the Whitney Museum with Decolonize This Place for the 9th week of action demanding the removal of weapons manufacturer Warren Kanders from the board of trustees - and more.
May 10-12: Second Annual Palestine Lives Conference, organized with Existence Is Resistance
Following the overwhelming success of the first annual Palestine Lives Conference last year, we extended the conference from 1 day to 3 days this year. Teaming up with Existence Is Resistance for the second year in a row, we held the conference at The People’s Forum May 10 - 12. The conference kicked off Friday May 10 with an opening plenary featuring Noura Erakat in conversation with Marc Lamont Hill, followed by a community iftar and music performances by some amazing rappers including Tef Poe.
Panels and workshops over the next two days covered topics including,
Liberation Theology, Prisons in Palestine, A history of the alliances Israel has built to destabilize the Middle East, Nakba Survivor Stories, The Oslo Agreements and the two state illusion, Dabke: Uplifting Cultural and Political Resistance, Resistance Behind Bars, The Role of Palestinian Art in Resistance, The Great March of Return, Bengali Fedayeeen in Palestine, The New McCarthyism and repression of Palestine activism at CUNY, The history of Palestinian Mobilization in the US and more, with the conference closing out with Dequi Kioni-Sadiki, Abby Martin and Ahmad Abuznaid on Sunday.
You can check out the full schedule for the conference here:
And for folks who weren’t able to attend the conference in person, stay tuned for more information on some of the recordings we made of the weekend!
We also want to shout out the amazing vendors who came through to The People’s Forum and set up shop for the weekend during the conference including: PurePali, FreLivin, Women in Hebron, Maya Ajchura Chipana, Arabella Mansour, Tarin Andrea Designs
Nancy Mansour of Existence Is Resistance alongside Within Our Lifetime’s Nerdeen Kiswani on the opening night of the conference, Friday May 10.
Noura Erakat in conversation with Marc Lamont Hill during the opening plenary of the conference on Friday, May 10.
WOL member and outgoing John Jay SJP President Sammy Nijem speaking on “The New McCarthyism and repression of Palestine activism at CUNY”
Dequi Kioni-Sadiki, Abby Martin, Ahmad Abuznaid and Nancy Mansour during the closing panel on Sunday May 12.
Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza and 1948 Palestine come together on stage for a group photo on the last day of the conference on Sunday May 12.
May 14: “Palestinian Expulsion and Resistance” -- Democratic Socialists of America Nakba Event in Queens Postponed Due to Zionist Threats
As reported in the Astoria Post, “The event, which was to be a panel discussion taking place at Redeemer Episcopal Church at, was going to focus on the plight of Palestinians and include the well-known BDS leaders Raja Abdulhaq, the executive director of Majlis Ash-Shura Islamic Leadership Council of New York, and Nerdeen Kiswani, founder and chair of Within our Lifetime United for Palestine. Members of the board of the Redeemer Episcopal Church said they began receiving threats via email and on the phone.”
Further reporting exposed the source of the threats against the Redeemer Espicopal Church: the Jewish Defense League - the far-right vigilante zionist group that the FBI designated as a right-wing terrorist organization in 2001.
While the initial event was canceled, the DSA are not backing down, and have rescheduled the panel:
Monday June 10 at 7 pm.
Location: 37-62 89th St, Jackson Heights, NY 11372, United States
Facebook event page here.
May 15: Nakba 71: The Great Return March Continues + Community Iftar
On Wednesday May 15 -- Nakba Day -- Within Our Lifetime rallied alongside the Palestinian community of Bay Ridge to commemorate 71 years of Palestinian resistance since the Nakba, honor the martyrs of the Great Return March and Israel’s latest attack on Gaza and protest President Trump's "Deal of the Century.
Speakers included representatives from Students for Justice in Palestine, Brooklyn For Peace, International Jewish Antizionist Network, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Anakbayan NY, Struggle La Lucha, Neturei Karta, International Action Center and members of the Bay Ridge community.
May 15, 2019 marks the 71st anniversary of the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), where nearly 1 million Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homelands in 1948 by Zionist settlers. While this event started 71 years ago, the displacement and genocide of the Palestinian people continues to this day. In Gaza, over 300 Palestinians have been murdered by Israeli occupation forces while participating in the Great Return March in the last year, and more recently, on May 3, Israel launched a new bombing offensive on the coastal strip, killing over 30 Palestinians in the span of three days.
As Israel was dropping bombs on residential apartment buildings in Gaza, killing two pregnant women and their infant children on the first day of Ramadan on May 5, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went on Twitter to defend Israel and vilify Palestinians in Gaza trapped inside of the world’s largest open air prison. This year we boycotted the Mayor’s annual iftar once again because we refuse to let him co-opt Ramadan to whitewash his support for Israeli war crimes.
Following the rally, we held our own community iftar at Widdi Hall, bringing together members of the Bay Ridge community and supporters of ours from across the city around a delicious iftar meal featuring food donated from local restaurants.
Thank you to everyone who came through to the rally and iftar!
Statement: “Nakba 71: Colonialism and its Consequences”
The following is an excerpt from our Nakba Day 2019 statement “Colonialism and its Consequences.” You can read the full statement here.
“The ‘Deal of the Century’ is not a deal at all, nor is it exceptional relative to the rest of U.S. policy since the Nakba. It is an attempt to reach the logical conclusion of a settler-colonial project, to emulate the decimation of indigenous resistance on occupied land like here in the U.S., like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is an attempt to destroy the Palestinians, and turn them into nationless ‘Arabs’, to turn the Palestinians into an inconvenient demographic quirk rather than a national movement struggling to retake the land.
Today, the illegal state of israel may seem impenetrable, and the liberation of Palestine may sometimes feel like a idealistic pipe dream that is confined to rhetoric and wishful thinking. The reality however paints a different picture. If we take the history of the Palestinian revolution and worldwide anti-colonial struggles as a starting point, we know that the clock is ticking on zionism. The Nakba is not an immutable point in history that forever defines the history of Palestine. We cannot know the exact timeline until liberation, but we must do all that is in our capabilities to do to defeat the ‘Deal of the Century’ and ensure that liberation comes within our lifetime. We urge Palestinian and solidarity organizations worldwide to escalate our efforts and coordination in commemoration of the Nakba and in defense of Gaza.”
May 17: Crisis of the Whitney: 9 Weeks of Art and Action // Week 9 // Kanders Must Go! Citywide Mobilization at the Whitney (With Decolonize This Place)
On Friday May 17 we returned to the Whitney Museum with Decolonize This Place for Week 9 of their 9 Weeks of Art and Action demanding the removal of weapons manufacturer Warren Kanders from the board of trustees of the museum. Every Friday for the past 9 weeks DTP and 30+ grassroots community organizations have been holding protests at the Whitney mapping out how Kanders directly profits off of violence being carried out against black and brown and indigenous people from Ferguson to Standing Rock to Puerto Rico, Palestine, Kashmir and beyond.
On April 19 we took over the lobby of the Whitney with DTP for Week 5 to uplift the martyrs of the Great Return March and shine a light on the fact that Kanders owns and is invested in multiple companies that manufacture and supply tear gas and ammunition to the israeli military. In particular, Kanders has over $40 million in stock in Clarus Corporation, which owns Sierra Bullets, a Missouri-based company that supplies ammunition to the Israeli occupation that is being used to shoot and murder and maim Palestinians in Gaza participating in the Great Return March. In the past 14 months over 300 Palestinians have been martyred by Israeli snipers.
During the Week 9 action on May 17, after rallying in the lobby of the museum, we marched from the Whitney through the west village, ending outside Kanders’s townhouse on W. 12th St. Outside Kanders’s house, WOL Chair Nerdeen Kiswani addressed the crowd, uplifting the martyrs in Gaza that have been killed while participating in the Great Return March:
“Warren Kanders is invested in the bullets that killed them. He’s invested in the bullets that maimed them. If we stand against the murder of people all over the world, from Palestine to Mexico to right here all over the US, we must understand that Warren Kanders is an enemy of the people.” She ended her speech by declaring, “We will make sure that if you take peace away from the people, we will take peace away from you” and then led the crowd in the chant, “Warren Kanders you can’t hide - we charge you with genocide!”
May 19: “We Have Not Come Here Alone”: Iftar for the People
On Sunday May 19 we came together with multiple social justice organizations to celebrate Malcolm X’s birthday and discuss our visions of what safety and justice look like.
It was a powerful evening featuring art, music, poetry and conversation. During the event members of WOL spoke about our Boycott Israeli Dates campaign and facilitated discussions with attendees.
May 23: “The Right to Boycott: BDS and Your Civil Liberties” featuring Nerdeen Kiswani (Organized by Brooklyn For Peace)
On Thursday May 23, WOL Chair Nerdeen Kiswani spoke at an event organized by Brooklyn For Peace on “The Right to Boycott: BDS and Your Civil Liberties” alongside poet Remi Kanazi, writer and organizer Sumaya Awad and ACLU staff attorney Brian Hauss.
As summarized by Brooklyn For Peace:
Remi Kanazi, performance poet, writer and organizer performed poems about the Nakba, Palestinian refuees, and anti-BDS policies on college campuses.
Sumaya Awad, Palestinian writer and organizer, and co-founder of Against Canary Mission spoke about why we should all care about BDS, and how it's connected to our struggles here for better healthcare, climate justice, and education. She also spoke of the rise and success of the BDS movement on college campuses.
Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of Within Our Lifetime United For Palestine spoke about a campaign to boycott Israeli dates, which they have been organizing in Brooklyn for the past four years. She stated that BDS is the floor, not the ceiling of the Palestine resistance movement. In addition to supporting BDS, as U.S. citizens we need to act to stop the U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic support for Israeli policies which deny basic human rights to Palestinians.
Brian Hauss, staff attorney with the ACLU spoke about the vast history of boycotts within the United States, dating back to the very foundation of this country. He then detailed four cases that the ACLU has been working on in various states to protect and defend the right to boycott.
Here are some excerpts from Nerdeen’s remarks at the event.
The recent history of repression against CUNY SJP chapters:
“In the spring of 2016, NY Governor threatened to cut $500 million of funding to CUNY campuses accusing Students for Justice in Palestine of being anti-semitic because of things we promoted like BDS and a one state solution. This was an attempt by the Governor to sideline the issue of Palestine from other issues that were happening at the time. We were one of the leaders of the student movement in CUNY, not only calling for the end to zionist curriculum or birthright trips or a demand for BDS but also calling for pay parity between adjuncts and professors, for $15 minimum wage for campus workers. And they saw the power in that and they wanted to sideline us from that. After I graduated, CUNY had to produce a public legal document, that said not only were we not implicated in anti-semitism, but we were also victims of anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia.”
The role of BDS in grassroots community organizing and WOL’s Boycott Israeli Dates campaign:
“We’ve been leading a boycott Israeli dates campaign in the community for four years, even while we were students we were doing this, and continuing it now, and you can see this flyer that we’ll hand out with all of the brands and companies of Israeli dates that you should avoid, especially now that we’re in the month of Ramadan and dates are a really popular item ... We do this before of every Ramadan, even throughout, we go to different business owners and talk to them about what they're selling. We go through their stock, check the labels, research everything, keep a record of it in order for us to follow up. And because of this we’ve witnessed the de-shelving of Israeli products immediately following notification of what they have because a lot of people don’t want to support Israeli dates and a lot of them only sell it due to lack of information and knowledge … We started this in undergrad and now we’re just a bunch of young twenty year olds who actually were able to have this impact in our community. So this is something that I would encourage everyone to do. Not only does it bring the issue of Israeli dates and make a material impact, but it also reintroduces the idea of BDS in the community, to familiarize people and to build that.”
Holding local politicians accountable in our communities:
“We must expand our scope and understanding of BDS locally in the communities. Yes to divestment on campuses, but how do we expand this to hold local politicians accountable for their racism and anti-Palestinian actions and statements? We’ve seen this recently with City Council members Kalman Yeger tweeting that “Palestinians don’t exist” and even in Bay Ridge Justin Brennan issuing a statement against BDS. We can use BDS because now that it has become part of the larger political conversation and we’ve seen the effects of Ilhan Omar making this a national dialogue, we can use BDS as a litmus test to know where local politicians stand on the issue of Palestine and how they will relate to their local Palestinian community and their susceptibility to zionist lobbying so that we can educate them about this or educate our communities who voted them in or didn’t vote them in or can vote them out. And I think that’s a very effective way to use BDS and to expand the scope of BDS, not just through divestment but because politicians are talking about it, they have their statements on it, we can hold them accountable to it.”
The danger of only uplifting nonviolence:
“We can’t only uplift nonviolent tactics in the movement because by doing that we may marginalize the right for Palestinians to defend themselves by any means that they see necessary. BDS is one of those means, but so is the Great Return March. We’ve been able to include both in our work, and that needs to be the standard. So when we promote BDS it’s not only BDS, you have to understand that while BDS is a form of resistance, we have to support all forms of Palestinian resistance if we say we support Palestine and Palestinians.”
May 31: International Day of Al-Quds — Rally in Times Square
Every year on the last Friday of Ramadan, demonstrations are held around the world in support of Palestine on Al-Quds Day. This year Within Our Lifetime participated in the NYC Al-Quds Day demonstration once again.
As reported by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network: “New Yorkers took to the streets on Friday, 31 May as part of the international Al-Quds Day events calling for justice in Palestine. Over 100 people joined the Times Square protest on the last Friday of Ramadan, including activists from Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Within Our Lifetime, International Action Center, Decolonize This Place, Struggle/La Lucha, Al-Awda: Palestine Right to Return Coalition, People’s Power Assembly, International League of Peoples’ Struggle and others.”
Above, a member of WOL speaking at the Al-Quds Day rally in front of our new banner that reads “This Land Is Ours. We Will Return” in English and Arabic.
BOOK RELEASE: “MY LOVER IS A FREEDOM FIGHTER” BY RANA SHUBAIR
Rana Shubair is a Palestinian author and activist who has been participating in and documenting the #GreatReturnMarch since it was launched in #Gaza on March 30, 2018. A regular contributor to the blog We Are Not Numbers, Rana is also the author of the books “In Gaza I Dare To Dream,” published in the summer of 2016, and “My Lover Is a Freedom Fighter” — just out on May 4. She has joined us live from Gaza via Skype twice in recent months, including our event in March marking the 1 year anniversary of the Great Return March and again in May at the second annual Palestine Lives Conference that we put on with Existence Is Resistance.
“My Lover Is A Freedom Fighter” -- “When love, suffering and the will to overcome occupation intermingle, when the call to duty and the desire to live and love are in a constant tug of war, the decisions become only harder to make. After witnessing horrific events of war and destruction, Fatina struggles to find her inner peace. Her most tormenting challenge is: Can she accept Abdullah’s life in the Resistance? Will Abdullah and Fatina survive the madness of loving under occupation? Is Abdullah destined to fight forever to free Palestine? And Is resistance his only life?”
You can purchase a copy of the novel at https://www.ranashubair.com/books/
Happy Eid to all those celebrating and inshallah next year in a liberated Palestine.
“Our Eid (holiday) is our Return"
Art by Suhair Kiswani
APRIL 2019 NEWSLETTER
On the heels of commemorating the one year anniversary of the Great Return March at the end of March, we hit the ground running in April. Here’s what we were up to.
Brooklyn City Councilman Kalman Yeger kicked off immigration committee over "Palestine does not exist” tweet
On April 1, following widespread condemnation and protest from the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim community in Brooklyn and throughout NYC, Councilmember Kalman Yeger was removed from the New York City Council immigration committee after he refused to apologize for tweeting “Palestine does not exist” days earlier.
His removal from the committee came just three days after WOL Chair Nerdeen Kiswani and other Palestinian, Arab and Muslim leaders gathered in front of the Islamic society of Bay Ridge on March 29 to call on Yeger to apologize and step down. In an interview with Pix11 News Nerdeen explained, “I’m apparently a figment of his imagination.Even though I’m Palestinian, how can I be standing here if you say I don’t exist. He should resign from city council. These sentiments are rooted deep. You just don’t go on don’t go on Twitter and accidentally say that. The councilmember represents Borough Park, Kensington and Bensonhurst and they have large Palestinian populations.”
While his removal from this committee was a step in the right direction, it is not enough! If the New York City Council wants to send a message to the Palestinian community that they are serious about condemning Kalman Yeger’s anti-Palestinian racism, they should pass a resolution calling on him to resign.
TAKE ACTION: Demand racist NYC Councilmember Kalman Yeger resign! Call Speaker Corey Johnson (212-788-7210) to let him know that there is no place for anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia in NYC and that the New York City Council should pass a resolution demanding Kalman Yeger’s resignation!
April 5-8: 5th Annual Palestine Advocacy Day (Organized by American Muslims For Palestine)
In April, 10 members of Within Our Lifetime made the trip to Washington D.C. to participate in American Muslims for Palestine's annual Palestine Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. While our primary concern as a grassroots community organization is building people power in our communities in NYC, we recognize the imperative of defending the right of elected officials like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to speak out in support of Palestinian liberation and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. In the aftermath of Representative Ilhan Omar endorsing BDS and publicly criticizing AIPAC and the pro-israel lobby, Democrats and Republicans alike rushed to condemn her and demand that she apologize, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The backlash against Ilhan Omar showed us once again that the real divisions in Washington are not between Democrats and Republicans, but between those who stand for justice in Palestine and those who stand for Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid.
While we were in D.C., we heard from many speakers from across the movement on the different campaigns going on across the US and then spent a day on Capitol Hill engaging elected officials on several bills supporting Palestinian rights. Among our visits was a trip to freshman Congressman Max Rose's office. While Rose, a Democrat who unseated Republican Dan Donovan last November, represents the historic Palestinian and Arab community of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, he was the first to lead the charge against Ilhan Omar, calling for her swift censure for exposing the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on Congress. We communicated and will continue to communicate that we will not tolerate elected officials - regardless of what party they’re in - vilifying Ilhan Omar for political gain as a means of undermining the growing movement for Palestine in the US.
Our members learned valuable skills about how to participate in this arena of struggle, building a pressure campaign on elected officials, while always keeping in mind that the true power of any movement comes from the masses in the streets, not politicians in the halls of Congress. We were also able to make valuable connections with Palestinian activists across the country, which will serve our movement as it mobilizes national opposition to the so called Deal of the Century imposed by the US.
April 10: “What It Means to Be a Palestinian Woman” with Nerdeen Kiswani (Organized by John Jay Students for Justice in Palestine)
On Wednesday April 10 Within Our Lifetime’s Chair Nerdeen Kiswani was invited to speak at an event at John Jay hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine entitled “What It Means to Be a Palestinian Woman.” During the talk, which featured Nerdeen in conversation with Sammy Nijem, WOL member and outgoing president of John Jay SJP, Nerdeen uplifted the likes of Razan al-Najjar, Rasmea Odeh and Ahed Tamimi, highlighting the central role that Palestinian women have played in the movement for liberation and return for generations.
L: Razan al-Najjar: 21-year old Palestinian medic martyred during the Great Return March.
R: Ahed Tamimi: 18-year old Palestinian revolutionary and former political prisoner.
Razan al-Najjar was a 21-year old Palestinian volunteer medic who was martyred in Gaza on June 1, 2018 when she was shot in cold blood by an israeli sniper while providing emergency care to wounded protesters taking part in the Great Return March. Razan, Nerdeen explained, “was wearing a white lab coat that doctors and medics wear. The snipers could see it, they know exactly what they’re doing. They do this on purpose to let us know that no one is safe. They knew that no one would stand for the death of Razan al-Najjar but they don’t care. They want to do it anyway to make an example out of her. To say, even if you’re a young girl and you’re thinking of going to the Great Return March, this is what could happen to you. And we saw that with Ahed Tamimi, too, when they gave her an 8 month sentence for simply slapping a soldier, she was 16 going on 17 at the time. It embarrassed Israel worldwide and it also showed other women and people across Palestine that they should be resisting too, that they can have an impact, but they wanted to make an example out of her to say that if you’re going to be like Ahed Tamimi, we’re going to put you in jail for 8 months. She suffered through it, she struggled through it, and now she’s out but we know that Israelis are especially brutal to Palestinian women political prisoners.”
April 17: Palestinian Prisoners Day
On Palestinian Prisoners Day, former political prisoner Ahed Tamimi called for the release of her 15 year old brother Mohammed in an op-ed in The Independent, after he was jailed the previous week. In Ahed’s own words, “I will not truly be free until we all are.” On Palestinian Prisoners Day we join Ahed in demanding freedom for Mohammed Tamimi and ALL Palestinian political prisoners!
“There are currently more than 200 Palestinian children, including my brother, in Israeli jails. Each year, Israel arrests and prosecutes around 700 children, some as young as 12. They are usually accused of throwing stones. After being separated from their families, exposed to physical, psychological, and emotional abuse, a number of children are coerced into signing confessions put in front of them by Israeli interrogators – often in a language they do not understand. Very few children are granted access to a lawyer or allowed a family member present during interrogation... My case garnered international attention, and I’m thankful for the many messages of support I received from people during my nightmarish ordeal in prison. But I will not truly be free until we all are.”
April 19: Crisis of the Whitney: 9 Weeks of Art and Action // Week 5 // Palestine: The Great Return March Continues (With Decolonize This Place)
On Friday April 19 we took over the Whitney Museum of American Art with Decolonize This Place to protest WARREN KANDERS, vice chairman of the board of trustees of the Whitney, who owns and is invested in multiple companies that supply weapons to the Israeli military and is directly profiting from the mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza and oppressed people all over the world. It was a powerful evening of direct action, popular education and internationalist solidarity with Palestine.
Kanders made his $700 million fortune through a vast portfolio of arms manufacturers as CEO and owner of Safariland Group and chairman of the board of Clarus Corporation. Both Safariland and Clarus supply the tear gas, sponge bullets and ammunition to the Israeli military that have been used to murder, wound and maim Palestinian protesters fighting for their liberation and return. Beyond Israel, both companies provide weapons to US law enforcement agencies and the US military through multiple subsidiaries.
As reported in Hyper Allergic, “Members of Within Our Lifetime, a youth organization for Palestine, broke the tension in the air with a Dabke (Palestinian folk dance) flash-mob. ‘Warren Kanders is invested in multiple companies that supply weapons to the Israeli military and is directly profiting from the mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza,’ said Nerdeen Kiswani from Within Our Lifetime. Kiswani went on to say that 270 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli snipers since March 30, 2018, while taking part of the Great March of Return. Some of the slain unarmed women, children, disabled people, medics, and journalists she named were featured in the posters behind her. Another 25,000 people have been wounded by tear gas and ‘non-lethal ammo.” You can read the full article here.
In November 2018, a group of Central American asylum seekers made up mostly of women and children were fired upon with tear gas by US border patrol agents on the Mexico/US border. Shortly afterward, news reports revealed that the tear gas that was used to attack the migrant caravan on the border was manufactured by Safariland. In response, nearly 100 staff members at the Whitney published an open letter in which they criticized the museum's complicity in white supremacy and state violence and laid out a series of demands, including Kanders's removal from the board.
Last month, Decolonize This Place launched 9 Weeks of Art and Action alongside 30+ other grassroots groups to uplift the demands laid out by the Whitney staff and put pressure on the museum to remove Kanders. Every week, DTP and its collaborators have been taking over the Whitney and mapping out the reach of Safariland's weapons around the world and the people’s struggles resisting them.
For us, artistic expression is a field of struggle that cannot be divorced from the political. We reject the normalization of Zionism in cultural institutions, just as we uplift anti-colonial art and expression. It is in this spirit that Palestinian dabke (folk dance), tatreez (traditional embroidery), music and oral history are all part of our cultural resistance to zionist settler colonialism. Through reclaiming and practicing our culture, we are revitalizing the revolutionary spirit of the Palestinian diaspora to complement the resistance in Palestine in pursuit of a free homeland. Grounding ourselves in Palestinian culture teaches us to emphasize solidarity and collective life and cast a wide net into Palestinian society to develop youth and students into political leaders in our community. As we continue to build the movement for Palestinian liberation and return in Brooklyn and throughout NYC, Warren Kanders continues to make millions off of the murder of our people and the destruction of our homeland. But his days of finding refuge at the Whitney to artwash his money soaked in the blood of Palestinian martyrs are over! Now is the time for the Whitney to act and remove Kanders from the board.
From Standing Rock to Ferguson to Palestine, there is blood on Kanders's hands. As a Palestinian-led community organization in NYC, Within Our Lifetime is centering Palestine during Week 5 of DTP’s 9 Weeks of Art and Action because we recognize the unity of our struggles and the power in our numbers. This is why we fight together. And this is why we are taking over the Whitney today to demand the removal of Warren Kanders from the board!
THERE IS NO SAFE SPACE FOR PROFITEERS OF STATE VIOLENCE!
THERE IS NO SAFE SPACE FOR PROFITEERS OF ISRAELI TERRORISM!
WARREN KANDERS MUST GO!
TAKE ACTION / GET INVOLVED
BOYCOTT ISRAELI DATES!
Many of the mainstream date companies out there such as Jordan River are actually Israeli owned companies profiting from Ramadan in the worst way possible. Jericho in the West Bank has some of the most fertile land in the world, but under Israeli occupation, zionist settlers have stolen our date trees and factories for decades. In fact, there is only one date factory left in Jericho that remains owned by Palestinians.
For the past four years since Within Our Lifetime was founded during the summer of 2015, we have been going out into the community in Bay Ridge to educate small business owners that sell dates and people on the street shopping for dates about what brands to boycott. Over the years we have seen multiple stores de-shelve Israeli dates leading up to and during the holy month of Ramadan.
This Ramadan - don’t break your fast with Zionism! Avoid the brands listed in the flyer above and avoid all dates labeled Israel, West Bank, Jordan Valley or Red Sea. All dates produced under these labels were grown on stolen land in occupied Palestine!
For questions about our Boycott Israeli Dates campaign, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, text us at 917-740-6225 or message us on Instagram @wolpalsetine.
Register for the second annual Palestine Lives Conference!
NEXT MONTH WE ARE BEYOND EXCITED TO BRING YOU THE SECOND ANNUAL PALESTINE LIVES CONFERENCE WHICH WILL BE TAKING PLACE MAY 10 - 12 AT THE PEOPLE’S FORUM IN MANHATTAN.
3 days of amazing speakers, panels, workshops, live music, art, food and more. And free child care! You really don’t want to miss this. The conference will be kicking off Friday May 10 with Noura Erakat and Marc Lamont Hill.
Get your tickets here before it’s too late:
And check out the full conference schedule at www.palestinelives.org/schedule
Save the date and spread the word for Nakba Day 2019!
On May 15 we will raise the Palestinian flag all over Bay Ridge, covering Brooklyn in a sea of Palestinian flags to mark 71 years of resistance since the Nakba in 1948. Within Our Lifetime calls on all of our supporters to join us as we rally alongside the Palestinian community of Bay Ridge to commemorate the Nakba, honor the martyrs of the Great Return March and protest Trump's "Deal of the Century." Help us spread the word by inviting your friends to the event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/312204576112985/
MARCH 2019 NEWSLETTER
52 Fridays of Resistance: Marking the one year anniversary of the Great Return March in Gaza.
On March 30, 2018, Land Day in Palestine, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza marched on the eastern border, demanding an end to the israeli siege and blockade and the right to return to occupied 1948 Palestine. The mass protest, dubbed the Great Return March, was initially planned to last from Land Day until the 70th anniversary of the Nakba on May 15. One year later, our heroic people in Gaza are still resisting and marching on the border by the thousands every single Friday. Since March 30 of last year, over 270 Palestinians have been martyred by occupation forces while participating in the Great Return March, including women, children, disabled people, medics and journalists alike who have been shot dead in cold blood by israeli snipers. More than 25,000 have been injured. Despite this reign of terror by the occupation, our people in Gaza have remained steadfast in carrying on their struggle, and have reignited the flames of Palestinian national liberation.
As Palestinians in Gaza have escalated their resistance on the ground in the months and weeks leading up to the one year anniversary of the Great Return March, we too have sought to escalate our efforts in NYC to mobilize in support of Gaza and amplify the struggle for Palestinian liberation and return. Here’s what we were up to throughout the month of March.
March 15: Ya Tayr al Tayir: An Evening of Palestinian Dabke and Culture
This past summer Within Our Lifetime launched our Palestinian Cultural Resistance program in the heart of the largest Palestinian and Arab community in NYC in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Through dabke lessons (Palestinian folk dance), educational workshops, rallies and more, we have been building a new collective space for youth and students from the community to become immersed in the revolutionary history of Palestine as we build the movement for Palestinian liberation and return. After our Palestinian Cultural Resistance dabke group performed at The People's Forum this past November, we returned Friday, March 15, for an evening of live music, poetry and dabke workshops and performances.
You can watch the recording of the event here: https://youtu.be/YdqoZiZ2QOw?t=1
Featured in our pop up art exhibit were four pieces by Kyle Goen (@kyledidthis), a NYC-based artist and organizer with the collective Decolonize This Place. Shown in the four unique prints are Palestinian freedom fighters martyred during the Second Intifada. The photographs, taken in Gaza in 2001, are re-imagined in Kyle’s work through the materials used: gold leaf, acrylic and screen print paper. In Palestine there is a much stronger culture of honoring our martyrs, as they are the vanguard of our struggle. We must do the same here, because their sacrifices are what keep our struggle moving forward, and make us proud to be Palestinian.
Above: Leila Khaled. Gold leaf, acrylic, screen print paper. Donated by Kyle and raffled off during our event.
“Everyone wanted one of these prints of Palestinian freedom fighter. Leila Khaled. She fearlessly hijacked planes multiple times. She wanted the airplane to fly over her home, Haifa, which as a Palestinian she could not even visit. Many of the people who were on the plane that day were interviewed later on and said that they did not feel fear. Leila and those with her had strict instructions not to harm anyone, and only defend themselves. She explains the reasoning behind the hijacking perfectly in one quote, “When we hijacked the planes the whole world wondered who we were. Regardless of what they thought about it, they wondered. But when we were tortured in israeli prisons, who heard our screams? We had to do what we did in order to get your attention.”
-Within Our Lifetime Chair Nerdeen Kiswani
Ana Raji3 translation
انا راجع مش رح ابقى لاجئ.
I will return, I won’t remain a refugee
مش راح ضل عايش بالملاجئ.
I will not continue to live in the shelters
و يسمعها العدو و كل متواطئ.
And the enemy and all accomplices must hear
النا الدار و رح ترجع لصحابها.
The home is ours, and will return to its owners
النا الدار و رح ترجع لصحابها.
The home is ours and will return to its owners
و غصباً عنك راجع ع بلادي،
I will return no matter if you’re against it
انا و ستي و سيدي و أولادي.
Me, my grandmother, grandfather, and children
و ما يرجع حقي إلى زناادي،
And nothing will return my rights except for resistance
و نقلع هالمحتل من شروشو بايدينا!
And removing the occupier from the root with our bare hands!
March 27: The Palestinians Who Built Israel: Andrew Ross in conversation with Lamis Deek, moderated by Within Our Lifetime Chair Nerdeen Kiswani
Within Our Lifetime was excited to co-sponsor an event at The People’s Forum on March 27 with Verso Books for the launch of Andrew Ross’s new book “Stone Men: The Palestinians Who Built Israel.” The event featured Ross in conversation with Palestinian attorney and organizer Lamis Deek, moderated by WOL Chair Nerdeen Kiswani. His book takes on the history of the physical construction of the settler state of israel by Palestinian “stone men” and the ways in which the colonization and theft of Palestine resulted in Palestinian laborers becoming dependent on israeli markets for work. In talking through these entangled histories of Palestinian dispossession and displacement and israeli “development,” Lamis Deek argued that the only framework that can address the ongoing legacy of the Nakba is reparations, restitution and compensation: a roadmap for Palestinian liberation and return.
March 28 - PALESTINE EXISTS! NYC SAYS NO TO COUNCILMAN KALMAN YEGER’S RACIST ATTACKS ON THE PALESTINIAN COMMUNITY!
On Wednesday March 27, New York City Councilmember Kalman Yeger tweeted a string of racist, anti-Palestinian attacks, writing, “Palestine does not exist. There, I said it again. Also, Congresswoman Omar is an antisemite.” Yeger represents the 44th District in Brooklyn, which spans multiple neighborhoods with large Palestinian communities including Bensonhurst, Kensington, and Borough Park, among others. Following his comments, Yeger was swiftly criticized by Mayor de Blasio and his colleagues in City Council, including Speaker Corey Johnson. But this is not the first time that he has spewed such filth. In the past year alone he has rejected Palestine’s existence in multiple tweets and referred to Palestinians as “so-called ‘Palestinians.’” His remarks came just days before the one-year anniversary of the Great Return March in Palestine, in which over 270 Palestinians have been killed and tens of thousands have been injured by live ammunition and tear gas and only days after the latest israeli bombing offensive in Gaza where numerous buildings were destroyed and hundreds of Palestinians were left homeless.
We are not blind to the fact that while Yeger is particularly explicit in his racist Zionism, he shares this position with bigots such as the New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a former member of the terrorist organization the Jewish Defense League and many others in the political establishment throughout this country. Moreover, while the New York City Council pays lip service to the Palestinian community in denouncing Yeger, their condemnation is clearly hypocritical and self-serving. When City Council goes on paid hasbara junkets to occupied Palestine, condemns BDS, and constantly attacks Palestinian students for advocating for their homeland, they are engaging in the same sort of anti-Palestinian rhetoric as the Councilman they are condemning.
On Friday, March 29 WOL Chair Nerdeen Kiswani and other Palestinian, Arab and Muslim leaders gathered in front of the Islamic society of Bay Ridge to call on council members Kalman Yeger to apologize and step down. As reported in Pix11 News: “Nerdeen Kiswani, 24, was born in Jordan but has spent most of her life, 22 years, in the thriving Palestinian community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “I’m apparently a figment of his imagination,” Kiswani told PIX11 News, referring to New York Councilmember Kalman Yeger’s anti-Palestinian tweet. “Even though I’m Palestinian, how can I be standing here if you say I don’t exist,” Kiswani said. “He should resign from city council. These sentiments are rooted deep. You just don’t go on don’t go on Twitter and accidentally say that. The councilmember represents Borough Park, Kensington and Bensonhurst and they have large Palestinian populations,” she added.
While Yeger was removed from the City Council Immigration Committee on April 1, this is not enough! If the New York City Council wants to send a message to the Palestinian community that they are genuine in their condemnation of Kalman Yeger’s racism, they should pass a resolution calling on him to resign.
TAKE ACTION: DEMAND RACIST NYC COUNCILMEMBER KALMAN YEGER RESIGN!
CALL SPEAKER COREY JOHNSON (212-788-7210) TO LET HIM KNOW THAT THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SHOULD PASS A RESOLUTION DEMANDING KALMAN YEGER'S RESIGNATION!
THERE IS NO PLACE FOR ANTI-PALESTINIAN RACISM AND ISLAMOPHOBIA IN NYC!
March 29: 52 Fridays: Great Return March 1 Year Anniversary
In commemoration of the one year anniversary of the Great Return March, Within Our Lifetime mobilized alongside the NY4Palestine Coalition, our allies and supporters of Palestine in the heart of NYC in Times Square on Friday March 29 to uplift the resistance in Gaza and honor the martyrs of the Great Return March. In the spirit of international solidarity for the Palestinian struggle for liberation and return, the rally was attended by over three hundred people and representatives from the following organizations spoke: Students for Justice in Palestine, American Muslims for Palestine, Palestinian Youth Movement, Black for Palestine, Anakbayan-NY, NY Boricua Resistance, International League of People’s Struggle, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, and more.
The demands that we put forward at the rally were:
1. We call on all people of conscience to support and uplift the courageous Great March of Return in Gaza, in which over 270 Palestinians have been martyred and tens of thousands have been injured by snipers, tear gas, and live ammunition.
2. We strongly condemn and demand an immediate end to the recent Israeli military aggression and escalation in Gaza in the past week.
3. The Golan Heights is Syrian Arab land; Trump and the United States do not have the authority or legitimacy to recognize its’ illegal annexation by Israel.
4. In light of NYC Councilmember Kalman Yeger’s recent racist, anti-Palestinian attacks, we demand that he publicly apologize to the Palestinian community of New York City, be removed from the New York City Council Immigration Committee immediately and RESIGN.
5. We demand an immediate end to the $3.8 billion a year in U.S. military aid to the state of Israel.
Great Return March Teach-in and Discussion
After we rallied in Times Square, we marched to the The People's Forum for a teach-in led by members of Within Our Lifetime followed by presentations on the Great Return March by Raja Abdulhaq, a longtime Palestinian community organizer and activist and the executive director of Majlis Ash-Shura, the Islamic Leadership Council of New York and Rana Shubair, a Palestinian writer, activist and blogger who has been participating in and documenting the Great Return March since it was launched on March 30, 2018. A regular contributor to the blog “We Are Not Numbers,” Rana is also the author of the book “In Gaza I Dare To Dream,” published in the summer of 2016. She joined us live from Gaza via Skype.
Through her writing Rana has illuminated the role of Palestinian women, youth and political prisoners in the struggle for national liberation and uplifted the martyrs of the past year. In her first blog post covering the launch of the Great Return March, which she participated in with her three 12-year old children, she wrote, "As long as Palestine is not free, and as long as we are locked up in the big cage that is Gaza and denied the right to live like other ordinary humans around the world, there will always be young people willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the sacred soil of Palestine."
March 30 Within Our Lifetime featured in Viewpiont Magazine: “From the Heartland of Empire: a Roundtable on Palestinian Solidarity and Struggle in America”
As part of a special issue published on Land Day, March 30, 2019, on the international movement for Palestinian liberation, Viewpoint Magazine asked seven different organizations to tell them about their history, their priorities, their political orientations, and the broader state of the internationalist Palestine solidarity movement in the United States as part of a “Roundtable on Palestinian Solidarity and Struggle in America.”
You can read Within Our Lifetime’s responses and responses from AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center, Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network, Palestinian Youth Movement, Palestine Solidarity Committee - Austin, Texas, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and US Palestinian Community Network here.
“Our unity comes from the daily struggle for the collective life of the organization. We aim to create spaces for popular education, avenues for cultural resistance and a general mobilization of students, youth, elders, mothers, fathers, workers and all sections of Palestinian society in the United States to reclaim their historic place in the resistance. This has led to fostering organic ties with community, not simply spaces dominated by political jargon and powerpoint presentations. The space we create is one where Palestinian and Arab youth feel grounded and can take ownership. We strive to foster a collective imagination of a liberated Palestine. We aim to create a self-sufficient community grounded in oral history and family relics, practicing Dabke and other forms of culture as a tool to assert our Palestinian identities and the Palestinian character of our neighborhood.”
RESISTANCE UNTIL RETURN
Now more than ever before, we must continue to build the movement for Palestine in Brooklyn and throughout NYC. From mobilizing in support of the Great Return March to gearing up for Nakba Day to organizing to put pressure on Kalman Yeger to resign - now is the time to get involved organizing for Palestine.
Sign up for WOL’s Palestinian Cultural Resistance program here!
We are deeply rooted in the Brooklyn community of Bay Ridge, the largest Palestinian and Arab neighborhood in New York, and we believe that by offering community programs we can better achieve our mission of uniting Palestinians and their allies in New York City to defend our communities and work towards liberation. We meet every Thursday and Saturday in Bay Ridge where we hold dabke classes, educational discussions, workshops, rallies and more. Interested in learning dabke? Been wondering how you can get involved in the movement for Palestine in NYC? Then our Palestinian Cultural Resistance program is for you!