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Support Amnesty International's campaign to Bring Mordechai Vanunu to London in June
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Did you know?



Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
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Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
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Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
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30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
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* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
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* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013
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Posts

Majority of Jews, Arabs, Muslims vote Obama

This posting has 4 items:
1) Mondoweiss: Bad night for the Jewish right;
2) JTA: Arguing about the Jewish vote and exit polls ;
3) Tunisia Live Arabs (Really) Love Obama;
4) CAIR: Data from Muslim voter survey;



Obama’s victory highlights a bad night for the Jewish right

By Philip Weiss, Alex Kane and Adam Horowitz, Mondoweiss
November 07, 2012

One thing seems clear from tonight’s election results: the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, which wanted a war against Iran, has been thumped with Romney’s defeat. Sheldon Adelson and Dan Senor had been successful in politicizing the question of striking Iran; Obama hedged that bet, and he won.

Take it from the Emergency Committee on Israel’s Executive Director, Noah Pollack:

Noah Pollak@NoahPollak
This is not as fun as the first debate
7 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

What’s more, the millions of dollars Sheldon Adelson poured into races around the country garnered nothing. Adelson was 0-6 on the night. All the candidates he funded — George Allen, Shmuley Boteach, Adam Hasner, Connie Mack, Allen West and of course Mitt Romney — went down. In addition, the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel’s preferred candidate in the Wisconsin senate race went down.

The Palestinians were losers too. Though the Democratic Party can claim victory tonight, and point to some big progressive wins, and a rainbow coalition for a president CNN describes as leftwing, Democratic candidates avoided the issue of human rights in Palestine like the plague.

So expect liberal Zionists to be crowing that this election means that Obama will throw himself into bringing about the two-state solution. But the campaign and election provided no evidence of such an outcome. Israeli colonies in the West Bank were never politicized in the campaign. Obama never mentioned the Palestinians in the third foreign policy debate; Democratic Party leaders positioned Obama to the right of Romney on settlements; and the Democratic Party platform included disgraceful language on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel. The National Jewish Democratic Council was the number one example of this tendency during the campaign.

Netanyahu is another big loser tonight. He made the mistake of casting his lot with Romney in not so subtle ways in September. Obama never accepted Netanyahu’s red lines on Iran; and Romney’s defeat exposes Netanyahu to his own electorate, which votes in January. Jewish Israelis, Netanyahu’s base, are sure to wonder why they should support a Prime Minister who seems to be on the outs with the American president.

And on the outs with American Jews, too. Despite a rightwing scare campaign about Obama’s policies on Israel– to which Obama was himself cravenly responsive– Jewish voters seem to have cast their ballots on other issues. That is apparent from Josh Mandel’s loss to Sherrod Brown in Ohio and the news from Florida, which Romney was hoping to snare with his neoconservative rhetoric. The state was leaning Obama late at night. CNN exit polling shows that Jews voted for Obama at a margin of 70-30. The Israeli settler movement feels abandoned:

David Ha’ivri@haivri
Apparently, loving #Israel is a basic American value that most American Jews do not share.



Fighting over every percentage point: Arguing about the Jewish vote and exit polls

By Ron Kampeas, JTA
November 7, 2012

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s Jewish numbers are down, but by how much and why?

Expect four more years of tussling between Jewish Republicans and Democrats about the meaning of Obama’s dip from 78 percent Jewish support cited in 2008 exit polls to 69 percent this year in the national exit polls run by a media consortium.

Is it a result of Obama’s fractious relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Or is it a natural fall-off in an election that was closer across the board than it was four years ago? Does it reflect a significant shift in Jewish voting patterns toward the Republicans?

A separate national exit poll released Wednesday by Jim Gerstein, a pollster affiliated with the dovish Israel policy group J Street, had similar numbers: 70 percent of respondents said they voted for Obama, while 30 percent — the same figure as in the media consortium’s Jewish sample — said they voted for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Matt Brooks, who directs the Republican Jewish Coalition, said the $6.5 million spent by his group and the $1.5 million doled out by an affiliated political action committee to woo Jewish voters was “well worth it.”

“We’ve increased our share of the Jewish vote by almost 50 percent,” he said, noting that Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, won 22 percent in exit polls to Romney’s 30 percent.

Brooks said his group’s hard-hitting ads, which attacked Obama on his handling of both Israel and the economy, helped move the needle. “There’s no question we got significant return on our investment,” he said.

Democrats insisted that the needle didn’t wiggle so much, saying the more reliable 2008 number for Obama’s share of the Jewish vote was 74 percent — a figure that was based on a subsequent review of data by The Solomon Project, a nonprofit group affiliated with the National Jewish Democratic Council.

“Right now, 69 or 70 is the best number we have for this cycle, and 74 percent is the best number we have for four years ago,” said Steve Rabinowitz, a consultant to Jewish and Democratic groups, including the NJDC. “You can intentionally use a number you know has been corrected just for the purposes of comparison, or you can use the data.”

The 2008 numbers, like this year’s, are based on the 2 percent of respondents identifying as Jewish in the major exit poll run by a consortium of news agencies — 400 to 500 Jews among more than 25,000 respondents. The Solomon Project review, by examining a range of exit polls taken in different states as well as the national consortium, used data garnered from nearly 1,000 Jewish voters, which reduces the margin of error from approximately 6 points to 3 points.

Whether the 2008 percentage was 74 or 78 — or some other number given the margins of errror — Republicans and Democrats agreed that Obama’s share of the Jewish vote had declined. Rabinowitz conceded that the Republican expenditure, which dwarfed spending on the Democratic side, may have had an impact.

“What yichus is there in the possibility of having picked up a handful of Jewish votes having spent so many millions of dollars?” Rabinowitz asked, using the Yiddish word connoting status.

Gerstein said his findings suggested that the Republican blitz of Jewish communities in swing states such as Ohio and Florida had little effect; separate polls he ran in those states showed virtually the same results as his national poll of Jewish voters. Gerstein’s national poll of 800 Jewish voters has a margin of error of 3.5 percent, while his separate polls canvassing 600 Jewish voters each in Ohio and Florida had a margin of error of 4 percent.

He also noted that there were similar drop-offs in Obama’s overall take — from 53 percent of the popular vote in 2008 to 49 percent this year — as well as among an array of subgroups, including whites, independents, Catholics, those with no religion and those under 30. The only uptick for the president in the media consortium’s exit polls was seen among Hispanic voters, who likely were turned off by Romney’s tough line on illegal immigration.

“You see a lot of things that are tracking between the Jewish constituency and other constituencies when you look at the shift in Obama’s vote between 2008 and now, “ he said.

The NJDC president, David Harris, attributed what shift there was to the economy.

“American Jews are first and foremost Americans, and like all Americans it’s a difficult time for them,” he said. “The Democratic vote performance has decreased somewhat.”

Gerstein said Republicans continued to err in presuming that Israel was an issue that could move the Jewish vote.

“They’ve got to do something very different if they’re going to appeal to Jews,” he said. “The hard-line hawkish appeal to Israel isn’t working.”

He cited an ad run in September in Florida by an anti-Obama group called Secure America Now that featured footage from a news conference in which Netanyahu excoriated those who he said had failed to set red lines for Iran, which was seen as a jab at Obama. Gerstein said that of the 45 percent of his Florida respondents who saw the ad, 56 percent said they were not moved by it, 27 percent said the ad made them more determined to vote for Obama and only 16 percent said it made them more determined to vote for Romney.

Israel did not feature high among priorities in Gerstein’s polling — a finding that conformed with polling done over the years by the American Jewish Committee. Asked their top issue in voting, 53 percent of Gerstein’s respondents in his national poll cited the economy and 32 percent said health care. Israel tied for third with abortion and terrorism at 10 percent.

His national poll showed Obama winning a strong overall approval rating of 67 percent and a similarly solid showing on domestic issues, such as entitlements, at 65 percent. The president gained majority approval of his handling of relations with Israel (53 percent) and the Iranian nuclear issue (58 percent.).

But the RJC’s Brooks said he was confident that Republicans would continue to accrue gains, saying that with the exception of Obama’s strong showing in 2008, his party has steadily increased its proportion of the Jewish vote since George H. W. Bush received 11 percent in 1992.

“Our investment is not in the outcome of a single election,” he said. “It’s ultimately about broadening the base of the Republican Party in the Jewish community.”

More detailed analysis from JTA



Arabs (Really) Love Obama
By Moez Hababou and Wafa Ben Hassine, Tunisia Live
November 06, 2012

According to the Arab-American Institute, there are now nearly 3.5 million Arab Americans in the United States – up from a total of 1.5 million in 2000, and around 1 per cent of the US population. A whopping 94 per cent reside in metropolitan areas of major cities, while 48 per cent reside in California, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. The Arab vote has largely gone unnoticed in US elections due to its heavy concentration in mostly Democratic cities and due to their tendency to lean Democrat. However, this has not always been the case. For example in 1996, exit polls reported 54 per cent of Arab-Americans voting for Bill Clinton, 38 per cent for Bob Dole and 7.7 per cent for independent candidate H. Ross Perot.

Since the 1996 elections though, Arab Americans have become more prominent and homogeneous of a voting block. In a close election such as this year’s, Arab Americans may just tip the balance – especially in contentious states like Virginia and Michigan, and of course Ohio. According to Zogby, there are 135,000 and 185,000 Arab Americans in Virginia and Ohio alone, respectively. Maximizing Arab-American turn-out becomes increasingly important, particularly for Democrats working on critical swing states.

The think-tank TUNESS conducted a survey between October 20 and October 26, examining the opinion of the Arab community in the U.S. towards the 2012 elections. The survey included 250 respondents from 26 states, and representing 15 Arab countries. The sample was evenly divided amongst U.S. citizens and those who are not eligible to vote (permanent residents or on visa). It should be noted that 75 per cent of respondents were of North African descent while 70 per cent of respondents resided in the Northeast. We have applied weights to map back to the distribution of Arab Americans by state as per the 2009 American Community Survey by the Census Bureau.

The survey revealed overwhelming support for Democratic candidate Barack Obama, with 84 per cent saying they would vote for him, and only 5 per cent voting for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The remaining 14 per cent is undecided or would vote for another party. Similar to other voting groups, the majority of women intend to vote for Obama (87 per cent women said they would vote for him, as opposed to 82 per cent of men).

We also observe demographic divides, which echo the views of the rest of the population. Respondents over the age of forty are less likely to vote for or choose Obama (82 per cent vs. 87 per cent). Responders, who are eligible to vote, show lower support for Obama (90 per cent vs 79 per cent), while we see a larger proportion of undecided voters amongst responders who do not follow the elections closely. We observe similar trends when we look at the favorability of the candidates.

Why Do Arabs Like Obama?

The key factors influencing Arab-American voters are, in descending order of importance, foreign policy (24 per cent), the economy (19 per cent), and political program (16 per cent). Surprisingly, only 6 per cent listed the candidate’s likability or affiliation with a political party as key factors in choosing a candidate.



CAIR releases detailed data from Muslim voter survey

Survey: 91 percent of Muslim voters will go to polls on November 6
By PR Newswire
November 02, 2012

WASHINGTON–The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today released the detailed data from a recent survey indicating that 91 percent of registered Muslim voters will go to the polls on November 6.

The CAIR poll of 500 registered Muslim voters, titled “American Muslim Voters and the 2012 Election: A Demographic Profile and Survey of Attitudes,” was conducted by Genesis Research Associates and has a margin of error of five percent.

The report containing the detailed CAIR survey data “presents a detailed picture of American Muslim voter demographics and explores their views on a multitude of communal concerns and public policy issues several weeks before the 2012 presidential election.”
SEE: American Muslim Voters and the 2012 Election

Sixty-eight percent of the survey respondents said they will vote to re-elect President Obama. Seven percent said they will vote for Mitt Romney. Some 25 percent of respondents said they were undecided about which presidential candidate to support.
Other survey findings include:

* The top five issues of importance to American Muslim voters are jobs and the economy, education, health care policy, Medicare and Social Security, and civil rights.

* 55 percent of Muslim voters consider themselves moderate and 26 percent liberal, while 16 percent consider themselves conservative.

* The percentage of those who said they are closer to the Democratic Party grew from 49 percent in a similar poll taken in 2008 to 66 percent today. Affiliation with the Republican Party remained nearly the same, with a 1 percent increase from 8 percent in 2008 to 9 percent today.

* 49 percent of respondents said that the Democratic Party was friendly towards Muslims, while 12 percent said that the Republican Party was friendly. Conversely, 51 percent of respondents said that the Republican Party was unfriendly towards Muslims, while 6 percent said that the Democratic Party was unfriendly.

* 35 percent of respondents say they have experienced religious or ethnic profiling or discrimination post-9/11. The same percentage say they experienced kind treatment by neighbors or co-workers in that period.

* Half of those polled attend a mosque at least once a month.

* 70 percent of Muslim respondents say they have a four-year or graduate degree, compared to 34 percent college attendance for the entire population.

* On international issues, 68 percent of respondents say the U.S. should provide support to those fighting for freedom in Syria and 76 percent say the U.S. and NATO made the right decision by intervening in the Libyan revolution.

* When asked to name an organization that best represents the interests of American Muslims, 65 percent of those who responded named CAIR.

As part of its non-partisan election activities, CAIR has distributed “MVP – Muslim Voter Power” get-out-the-vote posters and lawn signs to mosques and other Islamic institutions nationwide. CAIR has also acquired a national list of registered Muslims voters and its chapters around the nation are currently conducting non-partisan efforts to turn out those voters in November.

In addition, CAIR is providing the American Muslim community with tools designed to help maximize voter participation:
* CAIR partnered with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) as part of its efforts to empower minority voters. CAIR is encouraging supporters to join ADC’s voter protection unit.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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