US pulls out of UNESCO over “anti-Israel bias”

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UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Oct 17, 2016. (photo: Francois Mori / AP)

The US is pulling out of UNESCO for the second time, leaving $550 million in unpaid dues.

By Thomas Adamson & Matthew Lee / The Associated Press via The Seattle Times / Oct 12, 2017


“Universality is critical to Unesco’s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity.”
— Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General


The United States announced Thursday it is pulling out of the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural agency because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias and a need for “fundamental reform” in the agency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel plans to follow suit.

While the Trump administration had been preparing for a likely withdrawal from UNESCO for months, the timing of the State Department’s statement was unexpected. The Paris-based agency’s executive board is in the midst of choosing a new chief — with Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari leading the heated election heading into Friday’s final vote.

Outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova expressed “profound regret” at the U.S. decision and tried to defend UNESCO’s reputation. The organization is best known for its World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions, but also works to improve education for girls, promote understanding of the Holocaust’s horrors, and to defend media freedom.

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Saturday — PeaceWorks 2017: From marches to movements

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Please join our brothers and sisters at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for the 11th Annual Peace Works conference, a day of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities.

Date: Saturday, Oct 14, 2017
Time: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for Performing Arts
South Puget Sound Community College
2011 Mottman Rd SW
Olympia, WA  98512
Information: Event website

Event Details

The last year has seen an alarming rise in armed conflict, social bigotry, and political authoritarianism. At the same time, unprecedented numbers of people around the globe have rallied to resist the politics of hate. Many of us have felt fear and motivation, isolation and empowerment, disillusion and hope. PeaceWorks 2017 asks how we might harness these passionate feelings into effective social movements.

The event will be filled with workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and networking opportunities. People and organizations from Washington and beyond will come together with a goal of developing concrete strategies for justice, peace, and progressive social change.

[More information here . . . ]

Thursday — Reception for liberation theologist Naim Ateek

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Naim Ateek is a Palestinian priest in the Anglican Church and founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem.

Date: Thursday, Oct 12, 2017
Time: 2:30 – 4:00 pm
Location: Episcopal Diocesan House
1551 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102
Information: Email questions here
Tickets: Free

Event Details

We are pleased to welcome the Reverend Naim Ateek, founder of Sabeel, and Tarek Abuta, Executive Director of Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), to Seattle. Rev. Ateek and Mr. Abuta will be in town to mark the launch of the Bishop Edmund Lee Browning Memorial Fund, honoring the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Browning was instrumental in the founding of FOSNA and one of the strongest supporters of Sabeel.

The Fund is being created to support seminarians and seminary faculty who wish to go on witness trips to Palestine.

Bishop Rickel will host a public reception at the Diocesan House, a block north of St. Mark’s Cathedral. All are welcome!

Omaha schools cancel Palestinian speaker

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Palestinian activist Nora Carmi speaking at a BDS conference in South Africa, Aug 20, 2015. (photo: YouTube screenshot)

Parents and Anti-Defamation League complained in advance of a visit by a Palestinian Christian activist.

By The Times of Israel / Oct 6, 2017

Officials in a Nebraska school district have canceled scheduled talks at two high schools by a Palestinian Christian speaker due to concerns that Jewish students at one of the schools were being harassed ahead of her visit.

Nora Carmi is a Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist from Jerusalem who’s holding talks around the US this year, including a stop last week at Creighton University in Omaha.

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Event — PeaceWorks 2017: From marches to movements

welcome_logo_rcf-logo

Please join our brothers and sisters at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for the 11th Annual PeaceWorks conference, a day of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities.

Date: Saturday, Oct 14, 2017
Time: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for Performing Arts
South Puget Sound Community College
2011 Mottman Rd SW
Olympia, WA  98512
Information: Event website

Event Details

The last year has seen an alarming rise in armed conflict, social bigotry, and political authoritarianism. At the same time, unprecedented numbers of people around the globe have rallied to resist the politics of hate. Many of us have felt fear and motivation, isolation and empowerment, disillusion and hope. PeaceWorks 2017 asks how we might harness these passionate feelings into effective social movements.

The event will be filled with workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and networking opportunities. People and organizations from Washington and beyond will come together with a goal of developing concrete strategies for justice, peace, and progressive social change.

[More information here . . . ]

University of Chicago faculty and students smeared as “terrorist supporters”

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A poster recently displayed at the University of Chicago (redacted). (photo: W.J.T. Mitchell)

The David Horowitz Freedom Center targets supporters of Palestine and brands them as “terrorists” or “terrorist supporters.”

By Alex Ward / The Chicago Maroon / Oct 1, 2017


“I was scarcely aware of the existence of the Horowitz Center [before seeing my picture on the poster]. But a few minutes researching their activities reveal it to be a front organization for a hate group that seeks to defame and intimidate anyone who dares to criticize the state of Israel by calling them a terrorist, linking them to Hamas, and (of course) denouncing them as an anti-Semite. This is a thoroughly despicable group that perpetrates lies and slander directed at American universities and their students and faculty. I recommend that you look at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s account of David Horowitz’s career.”
— University of Chicago professor W. J. T. Mitchell


Over the past week, posters targeting members of the University of Chicago community as “terrorist supporters” appeared around campus and have since been removed by the University. The posters included the names of 26 members of the University community, including the names and drawings of the faces of two members of the faculty.

The students named on the posters are affiliated with the Muslim Students Association (MSA), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and U of C Divest. The David Horowitz Freedom Center placed similar posters on campus in October of 2016 and May of this year, after College Council (CC) approved a resolution calling for the University to divest from companies connected to the Israeli occupation in May 2016.

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