Sunday, April 1, 2012

FORUM: Trees as a Weapon of War?

How Israel Green-Washes Apartheid in Palestine

Tuesday , April 10
4-5:15pm UWS Swenson 1057

Wednesday, April 11
4pm  CSS Intercultural Center

Wednesday, April 11
7pm  UMD Kirby Commons

Thursday, April 12
LSC, Rm. E2046     
Thursday, April 12
Duluth Downtown Public Library
Who could be unhappy about "making the desert bloom"?  People whose land has been taken because of their ethnic identity would certainly be unhappy.  People who have been ethnically cleansed and whose homes have been bulldozed and then planted over with trees or made into parks would certainly be unhappy.             

This is precisely what has happened to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians since 1948 on land that was once Palestine and is now owned and occupied by the state of Israel.  And it is happening today still.  This is how "facts on the ground" are created.  This is how a people's identity is being erased. 

One of the earliest examples of such ethnic cleansing took place on April, 9, 1948, when over 100 Arab residents of the village of Deir Yassin were murdered by armed Israeli militia as their fellow villagers were driven from their homes.   A Jerusalem neighborhood now stands where Deir Yassin once stood, and in 1951 an Israeli mental health center began to be constructed using some of the village's original buildings.  The area also contains the remains of the village cemetery and the stumps of olive trees , once a source of the villagers' livelihood.         

In the decades since the ethnic cleansing of Deir Yassin, the process of colonization has been both institutionalized and refined by the Jewish National Fund.  The JNF not only effectively removes the past but consciously replaces it with a new reality, the "exclusively Jewish" state of Israel.

The creation of a different reality, a place where Palestinians and Jews can live together, cannot happen without a recognition of what has gone before and an honest reckoning  of the present that can be the basis for a just future.
SPEAKER: Karen Redleaf

Karen was raised in a progressive Jewish household, supportive of the state of Israel.  She spent her childhood raising money to plant trees in Israel to "make the dessert bloom."  She studied economics in college and graduate school and spent her professional years as a securities analyst for a hedge fund.  She retired from that work in 2000 and now focuses her energy on social and economic justice issues.  She is the national spokesperson for the Campaign to Stop the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and recently returned from a Stop the JNF fact-finding delegation to Palestine.

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