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Zoom events this week: Israeli mass protests / Traums in Gaza
Today (Monday July 31): Adam Keller speaks by zoom about the Israeli situation / Wed. Aug. 2: Webinar on Blockade, Bombings, Continuing Trauma - Assessing Mental Health in Gaza
Israeli peace activist Adam Keller to speak at today`s (Monday) Democratic luncheon
The speaker at Today`s (Monday) Democratic luncheon will be Adam Keller, spokesperson for Gush Shalom Hebrew for Peace Bloc, an extra-parliamentary organization independent of any political party. The group is opposed to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Israel`s policies of blockade and non-recognition of the Gaza Strip. They support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, with the Green Line as the border, except for minor exchanges of territories, and with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.
The weekly Democratic luncheons are organized by activists of the US Democratic Party at Carson City, Nevada. Adam Keller`s luncheon is scheduled for 1:00 PM in Carson City today, Monday, July 31st, 11:00 PM Israel time. It can be attended either in person at Black Bear Diner, inside Max Casino, or online via Zoom from everywhere. His presentation, from Tel Aviv via Zoom, will begin after all the lunch orders have been taken, around 1:30 (11.30 Israeli time). Those wishing to be on distribution for luncheon Zoom links should contact Rich Dunn at email@example.com.
Adam Keller will speak of the series of large protests which Israel has experienced in recent months, in response to the government`s proposed judicial reforms, which would limit the Supreme Court`s oversight powers. Many Israelis see this as a threat to democracy.
The protests began in January after the government introduced a bill to change the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee. That bill gives the Knesset, Israel`s parliament, more control over the committee, which is responsible for appointing judges to the Supreme Court.
Protesters argue that the bill would politicize the judiciary and make it far more difficult to hold the government accountable. They have also expressed concern that the bill would be used to fire the country`s independent attorney general, Gali Baharav Miara (the first woman to hold this position). The protests have continued, growing in size and intensity.
In April thousands of Israelis gathered outside the home of former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, in support of his opposition to the government`s plan to weaken the judiciary. These protests have had a significant impact on Israeli politics. They considerably clipped the wings of Justice Minister Yariv Levin, an outspoken opponent of the Supreme Court, and forced the government to delay its plans to change the judicial system. They are a sign of the deep divisions in Israeli society and highlight the importance of the judiciary in protecting democracy.
Israel does not have a formal written constitution. Instead, it has a system of Basic Laws that deal with government operations and human rights. These laws have been given constitutional status by the country`s Supreme Court, but will be subject to reinterpretation under Netanyahu`s judicial reforms, thereby eliminating all checks on his ruling coalition`s power.
In addition to the judicial reforms, there are other reasons why there have been so many demonstrations in Israel lately. These include the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, the rising cost of living, and the government`s lackluster pandemic response.
Gush Shalom activists have regularly confronted Israeli security forces at settlement construction sites in the West Bank and along the Separation Barrier. Amnesty International has lauded Gush Shalom for promoting peace and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, and the American Friends Service Committee awarded the organization`s founder, Uri Avnery, its Profiles of Peace award. The Haaretz newspaper publishes a weekly column by Gush Shalom in its weekend edition.
Adam Keller was born in Tel Aviv in 1955 and attended Tel Aviv University. He is a long-standing supporter of Yesh Gvul (`There is a border`), an organization of reservists who refuse to serve in the occupied territories. Adam himself has served several prison terms for refusing to report for military duty in the territories under occupation since 1967.
In 1988, Reserve Corporal Adam Keller was charged with insubordination and the spreading of propaganda harmful to military discipline, in that while on active duty he had written on 117 tanks and other military vehicles graffiti with the text: `Soldiers of the IDF, refuse to be occupiers and oppressors. Refuse to serve in the occupied territories!` At his army base he placed stickers reading `Down with the occupation!` on electrical pylons and inside of officer bathroom stalls.
Keller was convicted and sentenced to three months imprisonment. He was an active member of Yesh Gvul, but declared that he had acted on his own without consulting with anyone else. For its part, the movement did not take responsibility for his actions, but did provide his wife with the financial support given to the families of refusers.
In April 2004 Keller was a member of a Gush Shalom delegation which visited Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat at his headquarters in Ramallah to protest what they claimed had been a death threat against Arafat by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Keller is the author of Terrible Days: Social Divisions and Political Paradoxes in Israel. Since 1983 he has been editor of The Other Israel, a bi-monthly newsletter of the campaign for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
As noted, Adam Keller`s luncheon is scheduled for 1:00 PM on Monday, July 31st, and can be attended either in person at Black Bear Diner, inside Max Casino, or online via Zoom. His presentation, from Tel Aviv via Zoom, will begin after all the lunch orders have been taken, around 1:30. Those wishing to be on distribution for luncheon Zoom links should contact Rich Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Blockade, Bombings, and Continuing Trauma:
Assessing Mental Health in Gaza Date & Time Wed. Aug 2, 2023 08:00 AM in Description Featuring Dr. Yasser Abu-Jamei (Gaza Community Mental Health Programme), Ghada Majadli (Physicians for Human Rights Israel), Razzan Quran (George Washington University) in conversation with Dr. Yara Asi (FMEP Non-resident Fellow). More than 15 years into Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, and after rounds of devastating Israeli bombing campaigns, life in Gaza continues to become more difficult and traumatic for the two million Palestinians who live there. What is it like to live under such conditions, with no end or reprieve in sight? Join FMEP for a conversation among experts about the current state of mental health in the Gaza Strip, and what it might mean for the future of Gaza’s residents. We will look at the findings from a recent study conducted over two years by Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) and the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP).
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