RN to the State of MN: Divest from Death!
by Sarah Martin

DIVEST MINNESOTA FROM APARTHEID ISRAEL!Protest demands Minnesota divest from apartheid Israel.
(Fight Back! News/staff)

Testimony of Sarah Martin, a retired registered nurse, at the Minnesota Board of Investment Hearing November 29, 2023.

My name is Sarah Martin and I am a registered nurse who had worked at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. I was able to retire several years ago with a Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) pension. It has benefited me well. But my pension has been catastrophic for the people ofPalestine.  Almost one billion dollars of the pension plan is invested in bonds, weapons manufacturers, and companies complicit in the killing and displacement of the Palestinian people.

I join the demand that you, the State Board of Investment (SBI), divest these bonds and all other investments involved in the denial of the rights of the people of Palestine, including the most basic right, the right to live a long and full life.

To me, as a nurse, this latest bombing campaign unprecedented in this century by every measure of death and destruction, was unimaginable. Hospitals were at the center of Israel’s attacks. My pension, which I receive because I took care of sick and injured people in a state-of-the-art hospital, was used to destroy the hospitals of Gaza. More than 15,000 people, most of them children and women, have been murdered and wounded and many more injured.

Heroic health care workers labored in impossible conditions. The sheer number of people and severity of their injuries have been unrelenting and overwhelming, compounded by the shortages and finally altogether lack of fuel, clean water, electricity, food, medicines, and gauze due to Israel’s total siege of Gaza. Even the dead can’t be properly buried, and hospitals are turned into graveyards. Despite these horrendous conditions, the hospitals closed only when the staff were forced by the Israeli army to evacuate, completing the total destruction of the north of Gaza, making it uninhabitable.

Bombing hospitals is against international law and that means that we in the U.S. and the state of Minnesota have participated in war crimes. We have aided and abetted Israel with political, military, and financial aid in this massive crime against humanity of genocide and of ethnic cleansing.

The majority of the people of the world want justice for the people of Palestine and have shown solidarity by the millions on a daily basis, including here in Minnesota.  Now it’s time for the SBI to do the right thing – to be on the right side of history as you were in 1985 when you divested from South Africa.

Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s war crimes!

Sarah Martin is a long-time antiwar activist and chair of the WAMM Middle East Committee.

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When the Messages Stopped by Alice Rothchild, M.D.

Alice Rothchild is a physician and mentor liaison for We Are Not Numbers, a board member of the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, and a steering committee member of Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council. This article is excerpted from a longer article that appeared on Substack: https://alicerothchild.substack.com/p/when-the-messages-stopped-reflections

From October 7th to 27th, my phone apps, emails, and texts constantly called for my attention, mostly fragmented messages and videos from the Gaza Strip, cries from survivors and the feared-soon-to-be dead. Medical colleagues and friends stayed to work in their hospitals in the north despite the impossible Israeli directive to move south (to what?) when the roads were reduced to rubble and there was almost no fuel for vehicles. Others did manage to flee from the north to the south, only to be bombed in southern Khan Yunis, Rafah, Deir Al Balah, and nearby refugee camps.

Some colleagues separated from their families (either internally in Gaza or because they now reside in the diaspora) are sick with anxiety. What will happen to the elderly relative who does not have access to her diabetes and high blood pressure medications, or the young pregnant daughter with no access to prenatal care? Are they even alive? There is no clean water and even bread is hard to find. Starvation is imminent…

Messages to me from Gaza abruptly stopped October 28th, except for the occasional gruesome Instagram video. Intense airstrikes obliterated all methods of communication, which meant no landlines, cell phones, or internet. Now messages are intermittently coming again at a trickle, a reflection of Israel’s total control and the damaged infrastructure.  The communications are sad beyond belief. “Unfortunately, I am still breathing,” one young Gazan wrote to a colleague. “I will try to write something.” “…[A] terrible couple of days,” wrote a doctor.

What this constriction of communications represents in terms of civilian lives is frightening: No one can call an ambulance, check on a relative, rescue workers can’t communicate with each other or victims, hospitals cannot call in emergency support, humanitarian agencies were quickly brought to a standstill, local reporters could not document atrocities and if they were experiencing one themselves, they were unlikely be able to communicate their realities to the international community.

I cannot know if the health workers or young writers I have worked with, agonized over, hoped for, are still alive, searching for water, bread, shelter, loved ones, or buried in rubble-tossed graves. The hospitals have run out of morphine leaving patients writhing in pain, and there is almost no fuel to generate electricity. Patients are being treated on corridor floors because there are no available beds. Israel is bombing hospitals and ambulances, directing patients and staff to leave although there is nowhere safe to go and no medical facilities to receive them and no fuel or ambulances to transport them. This is all under the ruse that hospitals harbor “Hamas terrorists and tunnels,” despite the hospital staff’s assertions that this accusation is false.  And even if there were tunnels under hospitals, it is a violation of international law to bomb them…

In her reflection on November 8, Rothchild goes on to remark on the resistance among U.S. citizens to the terrible assault on Gaza:

Despite the moral stupor of our U.S. Congress, our city streets and college campuses are filled with protestors. Thousands filled Grand Central Station in New York, and a host of cities from the East Coast to the West, an estimated 300,000 gathered for a protest at the nation’s capital on November 4th. Acts of civil disobedience are happening all over the country.  On November 3, a group of us from Jewish Voice for Peace and faith-based allies shut down the Federal Building in Seattle for two hours. Several polls show that the majority of U.S. citizens support a ceasefire. Phone calls and emails are pouring into Congress with the message, “Ceasefire Now!” Perhaps we as a country have learned something from our morally and politically disastrous response to 9/11. Perhaps our elected leaders have not.

As an author, filmmaker, and activist, Alice Rothchild, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist, focuses on human rights and social justice. She most recently visited Israel, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza in July and August 2023. Her book, Condition Critical, Life and Death in Israel/Palestine (2017) is available from Just World Books. See more about her and her work at alicerothchild.com

Palestinian Bibliography by Noha Ismail

Everything you want to know about Palestine and more. Thank you to Lucia Smith, WAMM Middle East Committee member, for providing this bibliography to Rise Up Times to share.

This exceptionally inclusive bibliography was compiled by Noha Ismail, a now-retired Hennepin County reference librarian for many years, when she lived in Eden Prairie. I first met Noha when we traveled together in 1988 as part of a World Council of Churches delegation in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. A life-changing journey for me. I’ve even met a few of the authors named in Noha’s excellent list. Pass it along to anyone looking for information. It’s a long list, and that may seem intimidating. But, it’s feasible to just pick out one or two of the selections and plunge in. Some films listed also!

Here is the link.

Palestinian Bibliography final

Raised fist and pen power


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