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Friday, September 21
Arab Uprisings and US Policy Toward Israel/Palestine
St. Louis Room of the Busch Student Center
20 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103
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It has been almost two years since protests in Tunisia lead to the ousting of Zine El Abidine Ben-Ali and set off a series of uprisings across the region against decades of authoritarian rule. As these movements for change continue, the panelists will discuss how the “Arab Spring” and changes in the region impact organizing to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality.
- Hatem Bazian
Hatem is Chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, is co-founder and Academic Affairs Chair at Zaytuna College, the first Muslim Liberal Arts College in America. He is also a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Phyllis Bennis
Phyllis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years.
- Nadia Hijab (Moderator)
Nadia is the director of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, and a frequent public speaker and media commentator. She also serves as senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies.
Saturday, September 22
Welcome and Member Group Report Backs
Coalition Building Best Practices
This session will focus on coalition building strategies and skills that will help expand the movement for Palestinian rights in the United States. Attendees will have the opportunity to share best practices from their own experiences and discuss effective means of involving new groups in their local campaigns and projects.
- Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour)
Linda is a Palestinian-American nonprofit leader, civil rights activist, and community organizer. She is the National Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) and was honored by the White House in 2011 as a “Champion of Change.”
Member Group Workshops
- WeDivest: Campaigning for BDS at the Local Community Level
This year a large indexing firm delisted CAT in part because of "controversy regarding the use of its bulldozers" in the West Bank. As a result, retirement giant TIAA-CREF social choice accounts divested 73 million dollars from CAT. How can we translate these campaigns to a campus or a local community?
- Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Presenter: Remi Kanazi
The lives of rock stars and actors dominate major U.S. media, making cultural boycott a pertinent focal point for the BDS Movement in the United States. By targeting well-known artists, activists can build accessible, engaging and fun campaigns to challenge Israeli apartheid. This workshop will include a presentation on relevant campaigns, an outline, and analysis of tactics and an open discussion to brainstorm future efforts.
- YES YOU CAN! Use Billboards and Transit Ads to Educate About U.S. Military Aid to Israel
Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine and Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
Presenters: Caren Levy-Van Slyke and Susan Schuurman
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are seeing advertising opposing the $30 billion in U.S. military aid promised to Israel over 10 years. Two grassroots activists- from Chicago and Albuquerque- will present their experiences in starting up a movement that has spread to other cities. Expertise and “do-it-yourself” resources will be shared.
- Train the Trainer: The Art of Delivering Activist Skills Workshops
The Palestine Freedom Project
Presenter: Abe Greenhouse (@grinhoyz)
Many excellent workshops are regularly presented at Palestine solidarity events...but what *makes*a good skills training? Knowledge and preparation are important, but much of it really boils down to technique. Join novice and seasoned workshop presenters alike as we explore the best ways to spread vital skills throughout our communities.
- Palestinian Rights and the United Nations
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA
Presenter: Salena Tramel
This discussion will explore advocacy within the United Nations system. ICAHD has been working closely with both the Economic and Social Council and Human Rights Council to expose the Occupation and call for its end. Please come prepared to brainstorm new ideas for what we can do together to maximize advocacy at the international level.
US Campaign Annual Report
Steering Committee Nominations Introductions
US Campaign Long Range Strategic Planning Session
Evening Session Featuring Performances by Remi Kanazi (@Remroum), Dina Omar (@dinnaomar), Dave Lippman (@davelippman), Bird (@birdSTL) and Sharif the Truth (@SharifTheTruth)
- Remi is a Palestinian-American poet, writer, and activist based in New York City. He is the author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance. He is a recurring writer in residence and advisory board member for the Palestine Writing Workshop and is on the organizing committee of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).
- Dina is a writer and a graduate student studying Anthropology at Columbia University in New York. She is a founding member of Students for Justice in Palestine National and serves on the National Executive Board of the Palestine Youth Movement.
- Dave is a satirist/troubadour and a fixture on the Palestine solidarity scene, writing and performing music for Adalah-New York street actions and appearing around the country. His comedic evil twin, Abe Foxhole of the "Arab Defamation League," offers balance by providing the pro-apartheid, anti-international law point of view. Together they provide laughs, singalongs, and a dash of hearty flavor that's always welcome in human rights struggles.
- Bird (b. Shadi Abdelaziz) and Sharif the Truth (b. Sharif Ead) are first generation Palestinian-American Hip-Hop artists. Born and raised in the United States, they lived in the West Bank from 1995-1998 and 1993-1998, respectively, where they witnessed and experienced constant injustices under Israeli occupation. This theme is heard throughout their music and with it, they hope to inspire and educate people about the Palestinian struggle.
Sunday, September 23
Engaging Faith Communities
This session will focus both on opportunities and challenges of working with and organizing within
communities of faith to end U.S. institutional support for Israeli occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. Panelists will share ideas on how attendees can support campaigns within their own communities and next steps they can take to reach out to faith groups.
The Occupation on Trial: How BDS Works
How to make your local BDS campaign more successful? What would be a success? Many of the latest BDS successes are in between protest and resistance, between effecting symbolic and effective pressure. We will analyze how it works when it does, and discuss ways of taking BDS campaigns to the next level.
- Dalit Baum
Dalit is coordinator of the Middle East program of American Friends Service Committee- West Region. She is a co-founder of Who Profits from the Occupation, a vital resource for dozens of campaigns around the world, providing information about corporate complicity in the occupation of Palestine.
- Anna Baltzer (Moderator)
Anna works as National Organizer at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Member Group Workshops
- The Case for Joint Struggle- Palestine and Grassroots Movements in the United States
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Presenter: Flo Rosawsky
We will explore the relationship between confronting the US-Israel relationship and grassroots movements against war, political repression, mass incarceration and racism and for immigrant rights, economic justice, ecological preservation and indigenous sovereignty in the US. We will explore the role Israel plays in the international arms trade and its collaborative relationships with repressive regimes, racist States and their police and militaries around the globe. We will then look at examples and collectively brainstorm opportunities for joint struggle.
- Putting the Occupation on Trial: Lessons Learned From a Local BDS Campaign
North Coast Coalition for Palestine
Presenter: Nicholas Walrath
This workshop will focus on how a local group built an effective campaign against a large BDS target. You will hear about the mistakes and the successes of the North Coast Coalition for Palestine and learn some simple techniques that can be used for a local BDS campaign anywhere.
- Expanding the U.S. SodaStream Campaign
Sacramento Area Peace Action and Jewish Voice for Peace- DC Metro
Presenters: Maggie Coulter and Shelley Fudge
Focus on growing the boycott movement against SodaStream, which has been successful in Europe. The time is ripe for SodaStream due to the recently passed settlement boycott resolutions by the United Methodist and Presbyterian churches. We will strategize on how to coordinate existing efforts and broaden the campaign in the U.S.
- Strategies and Resources for Campus Organizing
American Friends Service Committee
Presenters: Dalit Baum, Jennifer Bing, Shirien Damra, and Mike Merryman-Lotze
AFSC staff have years of experience working on college campuses developing programs, speakers and exhibits, building campaigns, and mentoring organizers. Come share ideas, learn about successful efforts underway on college campuses, and join the movement for a just peace!
- Countering the Israel Lobby
If Americans Knew
Presenters: Jeff Blankfort, Pamela Olson, and Alison Weir
An AIPAC insider once said, "A lobby thrives in the dark." This workshop will help people turn on the light. It will give participants thorough information on the Israel Lobby and how it works, and will describe strategies for countering it in their home areas. Workshop participants will be invited to share the techniques they've used and discuss which were most effective and why.
Member Group Workshops
- BDS Campaigns: Powermapping and Lobbying
Jewish Voice for Peace
Presenter: Sydney Levy
With every BDS campaign we get closer to winning the vote. Most notably, at the Presbyterian Church (USA) we were only two votes short of divestment. What have we learned from these experiences. What kind of strategies do we need to use to win the vote, not just the public debate?
- Social Media for Palestine Activists: When Retweet is Not an Option
The Palestine Freedom Project
Presenter: Abe Greenhouse (@grinhoyz)
Many individuals and organizations already use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other applications for activism. But how can we take our efforts to the next level? Participants will learn to integrate campaigns, build their audiences, measure their impact, address security issues, and avoid carpal tunnel.
- The D in BDS: Divesting a US State from Israel
Minnesota Break the Bonds
Presenters: Elisabeth Geschiere, Bri Crowley, and Phil Benson
Supporting BDS, Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign (MN BBC) works to divest $23.5 million of state union employees' pension funds from Israel Bonds. Our tactics: building grassroots power, educating community members and elected officials, drafting and promoting Israel Bond divestment legislation, and a lawsuit against the State Board of Investment for aiding and abetting Israel's crimes.
- Legal Rights of BDS Activists
National Lawyers Guild
Presenters: Dima Khalidi, Barbara Harvey, and Andrew Dalack
What every BDS activist needs to know about free speech rights on campus and in public places, how to avoid pitfalls without compromising the BDS message, how to anticipate and demolish the opposition’s arguments that boycott and divestment are illegal, and how to use legal weapons that will make BDS campaigns more effective and powerful.
Closing and Steering Committee Members Announcement