Hundreds sign petition for Sanders to go to Gaza

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BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Solidarity has collected more than 700 signatures as part of the #BernieGoToGaza campaign, which coincides with the 70th year of Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were forced to flee from their homes, today reaching close to 8 million refugees worldwide.

Among those who signed the petition was State Rep. Valerie Stuart, D-Windham 2-1, who stated: "I have been concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people for many years. Both the Jews and the Palestinians deserve a homeland and to live in peace. These two goals are not mutually exclusive. Where there is a will, there is a way."

A number of organizations have also signed the letter, including Jewish Voice for Peace Western Mass, Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, The Root Social Justice Center, Vermont National Lawyers Guild, Lost River Racial Justice, Western Massachusetts Coalition for Palestine, and Will Lambek of Migrant Justice.

While the majority of the letter signers are Vermonters, Brattleboro Solidarity says there has been national and international support in just a week's time. Here are some of their comments from the change.org petition: "Israeli citizens, in support of the #GreatReturnMarch." "Gaza, by all accounts, is a prison camp. To me, a holocaust survivor, this is intolerable." "Because like you, I am a Jew of conscience." "We in the United States are complicit in this situation and it the responsibility of each of us to at least speak out against it." "Please bring attention to the problem. This atrocity has to stop. Enough with the silence while so many people are held in this prison. Having suffered as a people gives no one the right to behave like this."

Brattleboro Solidarity says the first week of May was a powerful week of thought and action in town. The Brattleboro Union High School community celebrated Diversity Day on May 4. Part of that day included raising the Black Lives Matter flag, both at the high school and middle school. In addition, a rally was held in Pliny Park to ask U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to go to Gaza. All these activities are connected.

"Our vision and action is to stop violent actions against Palestinians, black people, indigenous peoples, and poor people. Land and resources must not divide human community," Brattleboro Solidarity said in a press release.

On Friday, May 18, the group will host a film and discussion of "The Wanted 18" at the Brattleboro Food Co-op Community Room, from 6 to 8 p.m. The film is about Palestinians in Beit Sahour who start a local dairy farm in order to boycott the Israeli dairy industry. They manage to hide a herd of 18 cows from Israeli security forces when the dairy collective is deemed a threat to Israeli national security.

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