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PEN Actions-Published Letters

"Thanks, Robert Azzi"

Thanks, Robert Azzi for your usual hard truthtelling in your "My Turn" ( Monitor, May 23) concerning the real situation that led to the slaughter in Gaza these last weeks. All the deaths in Palestine/Israel are to be mourned but as has always been the case for decades, the death toll is far greater among the Arab peoples for the simple fact that, thanks to the US, Israel has high tech weaponry and Hamas has unsophisticated rockets. Who started it?

Look back at the decades of dispossession, humiliation and outright murder of the Palestinians by the Israelis and you will know. “We must expel Arabs and take their places,” said David Ben-Gurion in 1937. Yitzhak Shamir, in 1988 said, “The Palestinians would be crushed like grasshoppers.” Golda Meir, in 1969 said, “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people. They didn’t exist.” And this, “How can we return the occupied territories?

There is nobody to return them to.” Israel’s “right to exist” and “right to defend itself” are the favorite answers of US politicians, Biden included. They are empty, insulting phrases to a people who do indeed exist in spite of Israel’s efforts to erase them.


On July 23, 2020, N.H. Governor Sununu signed into law HB 1135.  This was an omnibus measure that contained a number of bills including SB 727.  This Senate bill mandates that the Holocaust and “other genocides” be taught as a graduation requirement.

HB 1135 also establishes a 16-member commission to study “best practices for teaching students how intolerance, bigotry, antisemitism . . . has evolved in the past, and can evolve into mass violence and genocide, such as the Holocaust.”

This commission includes a person appointed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), New England region.  However, several members of the N.H. Palestine Education Network object to this ADL representative. Based on multiple sources we have read, we discovered the ADL apparently has a history of being anti-Muslim, anti-Black Americans, and anti-Palestinians.   These media sources include In These Times, The Boston Review, Politico, ALTERNET and “CAIR” (The Council on American-Islamic Relations).

Here are several examples: ALTERNET says: “Another tendency of the ADL is to smear Black Lives Matter activists who couple their struggle with those of the Palestinians.”  ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt called the “Movement for Black Lives” as “anti-Semitic.”  ALTERNET also commented that the ADL “is notorious for its anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian streak. For decades, the ADL has faced reports of conspiring with police to spy on and intimidate Arab American political groups.”

CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, this month, August, 2020, condemned the ADL’s “history and ongoing pattern of attacking social justice movements,” especially those led by “immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, and other marginalized groups, while aligning itself with police, right-wing leaders, and perpetrators of state violence.”  According to CAIR, the “ADL has also publicly attacked various American Muslim politicians and organizations for speaking out in support of Palestinian human rights, conflating legitimate condemnation of the Israeli occupation with anti-Semitism.”

From Politico, the Washington branch of Black Lives Matter (BLM) commented that the ADL was “ultra-pro-cop” and quoted ADL Director Greenblatt saying that the “ADL has not endorsed the BLM movement because a small minority of its leaders supported anti-Israel – and at times anti-Semitic positions.”

In These Times (July 21, 2019) has a piece “Beware the Anti-Defamation League’s Efforts to Partner with Progressive Organizations.”  “Despite its public portrayal of itself, the ADL isn’t a civil rights group in any meaningful sense, but rather, a veiled pro-Israel lobbying organization that uses superficial language of inclusiveness and anti-racism to defend Israel from criticism from the left.”

Finally, a lengthy article by Emmaia Gelman can be found in the May 23, 2019 Boston Review, entitled “The Anti-Defamation League is Not What It Seems.”

NH PEN members realize that it is probably too late to remove the ADL representative from the education commission, but we believe that the public and the other members of the commission should be made aware of the ADL’s apparent biases against Muslims, Black Lives Matter advocates, and Palestinians.   We also would encourage those who are appointing members of this commission to include a Native American and a Black American as representatives of populations that suffered horrific genocides during America’s history.

If this commission knew, if most Americans, especially white folks, became aware of what the World Future Fund calls the “African Holocaust,” where possibly some 60 million human beings died due to “White Christian Imperialism,” then perhaps the study of this horrific genocide might be mandated in public schools as has the study of the European Holocaust per HB 1135.

Another horrendous genocide that might be required before high school graduation would focus on the “conquest” of the Native Peoples of the Americas. Professor David Stannard’s extensive research on Native Americans led him to write that what they endured in history amounted to “the worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed.”

Is it not time to require our young people to study both of these two gigantic genocides of African-Americans and Native-Americans so as to inform them of the true nature of this country’s history?

Will Thomas, member
NH Palestine Education Network

Why the recent round of violence between Palestinians and Israelis?

Initially, it was the forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.  The Israeli Supreme Court has agreed to render a verdict on the claims of Jewish “settlers” versus the Palestinian families who have lived there for decades.   Israeli leaders admit that they seek to change the demographics of East Jerusalem.  What Israel is doing is a violation of International Law whereby Israel is obligated to protect the lives and property of an occupied population.

During the holy month of Ramadan, many Palestinians go to Al Aqsa mosque to pray.  Before going to the mosque, many would gather at the Damascus Gate for conversation and to greet relatives and friends.  However, for several nights, the Israeli police and Occupation Forces attacked the Palestinians. 

Those Palestinians who did manage to go to the mosque and pray, were suddenly and viciously attacked by the Israeli police and military with tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades. 

Hamas issued a warning to Israel to stop the violent attacks on Palestinians or they would retaliate.  They did and now the conflict has escalated wherein innocent Palestinians and Israelis have died. 

It is estimated that about 200 homes housing more than 3,000 Palestinians in areas near the Old City are under threat of eviction, while 2,000 Palestinian homes across the city are under threat of demolition.”  A Jewish settler said “This land belonged to the Jewish people. I want Jerusalem to be Jewish.” 

Will Thomas, PEN Member
New Hampshire Peace Action