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Why I Support the Somerville Divestment Initiative: An Israeli's View
As an Israeli immigrant living in Somerville, I strongly support the Somerville Responsible Investment Resolution, which urges all investors in the city to divest from companies involved with Israel's human rights violations and from Israel Bonds. I am sad to see my country of origin hurling itself down a path of self-destruction and I feel a responsibility to stop it. The Israeli people are good people, you just have to shake them up and awaken them to the fact that they are heading in the wrong direction. And this is what this divestment initiative will do.

[Update: The Somerville Divestment Initiative failed to pass a vote by the city's Board of Alderman.]
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02 Dec 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : International : Politics
Bostonians Rally on the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine
PalestineFlag.gifOn November 29, 2004, the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine, about forty people gathered from 6:00 to 7:00 pm for a rally in Harvard Square organized by the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights (BCPR). They joined people around the world, expressing their solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle to end their occupation by Israel, an occupation that sees Palestinians murdered and humiliated on a daily basis, their homes and villages destroyed, and their best agricultural land and aquifers confiscated. As people at the protest argued, it is particularly important for Americans to oppose the Israeli occupation, because the United States government is not the even-handed broker in the conflict that it depicts itself as, but in fact Israel’s chief supporter worldwide.
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01 Dec 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International
Indian labor leaders to visit Boston
BOSTON -- A delegation of Indian labor leaders will address "outsourcing" and other international labor issues at a public event in Cambridge on December 2. Members of the tour are seeking a dialogue with U.S. workers about mutual interests in the fight to defend good jobs and ensure fair labor standards.
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30 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Globalization : International : Labor
Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
In Jabella Iraq yesterday, American and British soldiers fought street-to-street, raiding homes, taking prisoners, and killing Iraqis in a new military offensive dubbed Operation Plymouth Rock.

In Plymouth, at the rock itself, a crowd of close to four hundred Americans gathered beneath gray skies and a light sprinkling rain to commemorate the 35th National Day of Mourning, a tradition that aims to explode the myths that surround Thanksgiving. This year Iraq was held up as the latest example of European American’s continuing manifest destiny.
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27 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Race
City plays catch-up with Boston's bicycle activists
Back in September city councilors appeared surprised by the number of attendees at a hearing for crosswalk safety and the amount of anger they brought to the meeting. After last nights hearing, called to consider both bike safety in general and the appointment of a “bike czar” for the city, they should now realize that they have awoken a sleeping monster. Activists and citizens packed the Ianella chamber and instead of a line of individuals sounding off the hearing began with a well-organized power point presentation to the councilors by an informal organization of bicyclists and pedestrians. A comprehensive bike safety plan was requested and drawn out in detail for the councilors.
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24 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Education : Environment : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare : Technology
Fixing Broken Promises; City calls hearing on Bike Safety
The flowery, warm prose of the Bicycle Friendly Communities 2003 awards report would make a Boston bike commuter’s heart skip a beat.

“The [bike path] network grew to over 240 miles… More than one-quarter of the city’s arterial streets have striped bike lanes or shoulders… bicycle access is fully integrated into the city’s light rail and bus system... Bicycle parking is provided [everywhere]… Motorists and bicyclists are educated to share the road…” What kind of utopian village is this? Well it’s not in Scandinavia, but it is in Boston’s U.S. polar opposite attitude-wise, Portland Oregon, land of the smiley happy people.

It may be hard to view the streets of Boston through the golden lenses of Portland’s bicycle La-La land, but there are still a few folks who can catch a wink of it if they squint and throw off their eye focus on a bright sunny day. These are Boston’s bike visionaries. They see Boston in terms of how it could be. Some have 10, 20, 30 years of advocacy under their belts, and precious little city-built biking infrastructure to show for it. “Getting a few ribbon racks takes ten years.” Says Carl Kurz, Organizer of Bikes-not-Bombs, “In the twenty years that I’ve been here there’s been a little over two or three blocks of bike lanes put in on the actual streets.”

Back in 1999, Boston was rated the least bike friendly city in the country by Bicycling magazine. The city council reacted. Mayor Menino jumped. The mayor vowed to fix the problems by instating a “Bike Czar” to address pedaler’s grievances. But the title wasn’t official. And other responsibilities were folded into the job description. Paul Shimeck, the man with the job, felt like his hands were tied. Then he was laid-off. Now Maura Hennigan, Boston City Councilor at-large and Menino-critic number one, wants the mayor to fulfill his original promises.

Tonight, [Monday Nov. 22nd 5:30pm-see below] Councilor Hennigan and the rest of the Council will hear the communities problems, misgivings and suggestions on the topic of Bike safety and whether t reinstate the Bike Czar.
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23 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Environment : Politics : Social Welfare : Technology
Springfield Protest Denounces Police Brutality
The vicious beating of an African American school principal by four white cops is bringing to the surface long-held feelings of anger in this city’s oppressed communities and is compounded by the city’s serious economic crisis.
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22 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Race
A Failed Policy? Boston Debates the War on Drugs
Boston, Massachusetts, USA - "We have a public policy crisis: we are spending billions of dollars to fight a war on drugs and we don't seem to be able to stop the flow of drugs into this country. We are spending more and more public dollars on housing men and women who are involved with the drug trade, drug addiction seems to be increasing, and yet we don't seem to have the money to help those who want to turn their lives around and recover from addiction." With these words, Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner started the public hearing to investigate the war on drugs. He called the hearing "just the beginning of a long dialogue in Boston to see how we can move forward".
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19 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Politics : Social Welfare
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