Today we share an interview with Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU’s International Human Rights Program and civil rights attorney focused on Palestinian rights. We also use an ABQ Journal Op-Ed to outline how the Governor has put into statute a definition of antisemitism that makes anyone who criticizes Israel an antisemite, a position also espoused by Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber. We also provide info on the State public bank Zoominar on Oct 26, which promises to be an eye-opening and motivating discussion. And on how ABQ Public Schools’ bold in investment in solar is already paying off. Lots to cover; Let’s go!
On Aug. 16, 2022, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Executive Order 2022-118: Adopting Working Definition of Antisemitism
Local activist and friend, Jeffrey Haas, introduced me to Jamil Dakwar On Thursday and I quickly scheduled him for what turned out to be a very informative radio interview, link below. We spent a fair amount of time discussing what is shared below from an ABQ Journal Op-Ed penned by Dina Afek entitled, “Governor’s Definition is Deeply Flawed and Dangerous.” But we also delved into the almost 100 years of Zionist colonization of Palestine and how U.S. policy has supported that colonization. The full Op-Ed follows:
Governor’s Definition is Deeply Flawed & Dangerous
While rising antisemitism is deeply concerning, the definition of antisemitism that the governor signed into law is deeply flawed and dangerous, in particular for those of us who are speaking out about human rights issues all over the world, including Palestine.
The definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) specifically includes, for example, that “claiming that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavor” is antisemitic. As a Jewish American and Israeli citizen, I am very critical of Israel and question the Zionist ideology of preferential treatment of Jews over others. I believe a Jewish state cannot be democratic, just as a Christian or Muslim state cannot be democratic. Am I an anti-Semite? Should I be prosecuted for antisemitism? Many Palestinians whose families are suffering under the brutal Israeli occupation and the discrimination of non-Jews in Israel believe the idea of Israel as a Jewish state is inherently racist. Are they all anti-Semites? Absolutely not!
Antisemitism is real, but it is coming mostly from white supremacists who shout “Jews will not replace us” and from right-wing extremists who shoot and kill in synagogues and deface places of Jewish worship and cemeteries. There is antisemitism from the left, but criticism of Israel itself is not antisemitic.
The IHRA working definition on antisemitism is pushed into state legislation and municipalities by pro-Israel, Zionist groups that intend to silence anybody who is critical of Israel and supports Palestinian human rights. The constitutional right to free speech should not have an exception for Israel and Palestine. Critical speech about any other country in the world, including the U.S., is protected.
Dinner & Wine with Jamil Dakwar
On Friday, Oct 28, 6-8:30pm Mariel Nanasi and her husband Jeffrey Haas are hosting a wine and dinner reception, followed by a discussion led by Jamil Dakwar. As an appetizer, we provide below our full 45 minute interview with Dakwar. If after watching the video, you decide you’d like to be part of the dinner-discussion with Jamil, please write to Jeffrey Haas at JeffreyHaas42@gmail.com and he will give you the location and a link to get tickets. The event is FREE, but the hosts need to know how many are coming and slots are limited. Only 17 left as of Thursday. Hope to see you there.
Jamil Dakwar. Jamil is the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program (HRP) which is dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to its international human rights obligations and commitments Jamil is also the chair of Adalah Justice Project’s advisory board. Born and raised in Haifa, he was one of the founding lawyers of Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. Since the mid-2000s he has led the ACLU’s international advocacy including at the United Nations. He is an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Hunter College and Bard College.
Retake does not focus much on international affairs, but when we do, the discussion tends to focus on Palestine, as the colonization of Palestine is driven by a similar hubristic ideology that has driven U.S. colonization of the indigenous Americans. Whether it is Christian-driven or Zionist driven, fundamentalist beliefs in inherent truths and unquestioned rights rarely lead to anything but colonization and genocide. And when studying either Israel’s colonization of Palestine or U.S. colonization of America, we are studying the same kind of divininely inspired hubris and certainty.
How Would a NM State Public Bank Help Diversify Our State Economy & Advance Economic Justice? October 26, 6-7:30pm
We have been supporting the effort to create a public bank in NM since Richard Wolff came to Santa Fe with Helen Brown, to introduce NM to the inspired possibilities that could result from establishing a public bank. It has been an especially challenging struggle to get NM Legislators to grasp how a public bank differs from other investment instruments and the almost magical power a public bank has to generate investment capital and amplify the power of local, community bank and state investments With a huge surplus coming, this is the time to make an investment in diversifying our economy, strengthening our rural economies, and repairing the damage resulting from this summer’s fire storms.–all goals which a state public bank could make far easier to achieve.
Join Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (AFLEP) Executive Director Angela Merkert and AFLEP’s Public Bank Campaign Director and retired banker, Harold Dixon, who will outline precisely how a state public bank would collaborate, not compete, with community banks. Joining them will be Helga Garcia, Chair of the NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council and. two rural business people who will describe how lack of access to capital impedes their business development and how a state public bank could change that and how targeted investment could increase food security throughout NM . Also joining the panel will be Rep. Christine Trujillo and Sen. Carrie Hamblin who will lay out what the legislative challenges will be and how you can help overcome them and get this done. Wall Street bankers have already begun their disinformation campaign, sowing seeds of fear and doubt among legislators and the public. Retake peeps must get fully informed and ready to counter their disinformation. Join us to find out more about how a public bank would benefit New Mexicans and what you can do to support the effort.
Click here to register, you must register to attend.
ABQ Public Schools Demonstrates What Local Choice Energy Could Do for NM
For seven months, a group of energy advocates have been meeting weekly to design legislation and a campaign strategy to create Local Choice Energy in NM. In the process, we have been researching projects that illustrate the potential for facilitating the capacity of school districts, cities, counties, tribes to manage their own energy. Today, we profile one such success story:
Albuquerque Public Schools opened up a new solar array designed to save the district money at Atrisco Heritage Academy High School on Thursday. The new array comes after Atrisco Heritage has the highest electric bill in the entire district.
In 2019, the school cost the district $354,662 to keep the lights on. The goal of saving the district money became a reality Thursday. They broke ground last year, and the district flipped the switch on its $3.2 million solar project.
There are 2,208 solar panels collecting energy. The whole setup has a lifetime of 25 years and is expected to save the district $3.5 million in that time frame. This project also makes it possible for the school to help out the community in emergencies.
“Preliminary design includes the capability to future disconnect from the power grid. this will make this school a power shelter and resiliency hub.”
There are dozens of examples of how passage of Local Choice Energy has catalyzed investment in renewable energy, accelerated a just transition, reduced rates and increased reliability of energy delivery. We will begin presenting such examples going forward, to help you and our legislators see how Local Choice Energy could benefit all of NM
In solidarity & hope,
Paul & Roxanne