Saturday, July 24, 2010

Phyllis Bennis Talks to Austin Activists on Strategies to End the Israeli Occupation

Phyllis Bennis Talks to Austin Activists on Strategies to End the Israeli Occupation:

"Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. She appears as commentator/analyst on PBS, NPR, BBC, and CBC. She's the author of 'Before & After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis' and 'Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN.' Her latest books are 'Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict' and 'Challenging Empire.'

Phyllis Bennis is not new to the political scene. Her knowledge of Arabic language and culture go hand in hand with her in depth understanding of Middle East politics.

On a humid, steamy, summer evening on July 10 in Austin, Bennis enjoyed a (mostly) vegetarian feast with local Austinites. She shared her analysis of how the deadly raid on the Mavi Maramara by the Israeli Navy has changed the public opinion so dramatically in our nation, and in Israel.

Bennis outlines how to organize a successful newspaper campaign through persistent credible and respectful relationship building. She explains how campaigns can strengthen often divided community organizations, uniting them under the umbrella of a group effort such as a “Campaign to stop Contracts with the Caterpillar Corporation (for a city or a university).” The Caterpillar Corp. sells the D9 earthmover to Israel exclusively. The D9 is no ordinary bulldozer: it is more than 13 feet tall and 26 feet wide, weighs more than 60 tons with its armored plating, and can raze houses in a matter of minutes, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. In addition to being retrofitted to hold heavy machine guns and in some cases grenade launchers, many D9 bulldozers are now driverless and can be operated by remote control, according to a March 2009 article in The Jerusalem Post. UT Austin and the city of Austin have not yet cancelled their contracts with the Caterpillar Corporation.

Bennis’ primary goal is to end the U.S. Occupation of Palestine. She says she thanks Pres. George W. Bush for the way he spoke about his 30 billion dollar commitment to Israel because an amount that phenomenal drives home the important point that the USA, although in dire need of economic revitalization, healthcare and jobs, is sending 30 billion dollars to Israel.

Bennis appears frequently as a commentator/analyst on U.S. and international television and radio programs, including 'The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,' the CBS 'Morning Show,' NPR's 'Diane Rehm Show,' CNN, and the BBC. Her work has appeared in the The New York Times, The Washington Post, Middle East Report (MERIP), The Philadelphia Enquirer, The Nation, Middle East International Baltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris),, New York Newsday, Soera (Amsterdam), Papeles (Madrid), die Tageszeitung (Berlin), Mother Jones, Third World Resurgence (Malaysia), and many other publications.

Jeff Zavala and Grace Alfar of ZGraphix have collaborated to produce this exclusive video of this engaging evening at the home of Dr. Jensen of UT Austin’s Journalism Department featuring Bennis.

Special thanks to Grace Alfar for filming Phyllis Bennis and to Gail Alfar for the media report. (Reported by Gail Alfar, FreeMedia, Austin, TX)

Produced by Jeff Zavala. This is a ZGraphix production.

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