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Occupation End Notes | April 28, 2005 Volume 2 Number 14

In this issue...

1. US Campaign Day of Action: June 5, 2005 – 38th Anniversary of the Occupation of the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

2. US Campaign Update: Weapons Watch Action Alert; Caterpillar Report-back; New Voices Fellowship; Re-Launch of 109th Congressional Report Card; May 1st Mobilization – NYC; Texas Speaking Tour, May 2-5; Concert for a Free Palestine; Upper Mid-West Regional Conference – Madison, WI; SAVE THE DATE! 4th Annual National Organizers’ Conference – Atlanta, GA

3. Member of the Month: Imagine-Life http://www.imagine-life.org

4. New Members

5. Resources & Education: Sabeel Call for Divestment; Israeli University Boycott; Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals Divestment Resolution; Palestine Media Watch Op/Ed Contest; Search for Common Ground Journalism Competition 

6. Events: Conference: Wheels of Justice Tour; Stop the Wall Tour; Chicago Palestine Film Festival; Know Justice, Know Peace Conference; Washington, DC Palestine Film Festival; Walk for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine; Philadelphia Palestine Film Festival; ADC National Convention

7. Opportunities to Visit Israel and Palestine: South West United Church of Christ Association; F.O.R. Interfaith Peacebuilders; Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace; Middle East Children’s Alliance Delegation; Bethlehem University Educators’ Conference; Holy Land Trust Summer Activist Camp; Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Summer Work Camp

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1.  UPCOMING DAYS OF ACTION

* Mark your calendars now!  June 5, 2005, the 38th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, is the next national day of action for which the US Campaign will be mobilizing.  On this anniversary of the occupation we are calling for nation-wide teach-ins, and placing a special educational emphasis on the Wall.  If you would like a US Campaign steering committee member or staff person to conduct a teach-in for your community on June 5th, email outreach@endtheoccupation.org.  More information on action for this day will be forthcoming.  It’s not too early for your group to begin planning an event!

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2. US CAMPAIGN UPDATE

* On Monday, April 26, 2005 the US Campaign issued a new Weapons Watch Alert concerning three Palestinian teenagers who were killed on April 9, 2005 in Rafah.  The Weapons Watch project is an ongoing petition drive calling on Members of Congress and the President to investigate Israel’s violations of the Arms Export Control Act and to halt arms transfers to Israel until it complies with human rights standards and international law.  You can view the action alert and sign the petition by visiting http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=150

* The April 13th International Day of Action Against Caterpillar was a huge success!  At final count there were approximately 30 actions in cities around the United States plus several more in cities around the world.  The following are excerpts of a letter that Jewish Voice for Peace sent to their supporters, which encapsulates the many victories of the day.

“We're simply ecstatic about the work of diverse groups that came together to call on CAT to end the sale of weaponized bulldozers to the Israeli military, including Stop Caterpillar-Chicago, US Campaign to End the Occupation, the Sisters of Loretto, Mercy Investment Group, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

“The issue of home demolitions of Palestinian homes dominated the entire [Caterpillar stockholder] meeting, ensuring that the staff and board of directors of CAT will be dealing with this issue for a long time to come. CAT CEO Jim Owens spent the majority of the meeting asking, ‘Does anyone have anything else to talk about, anything related to business?’ Of course the only business that most people attending wanted to talk about was home demolitions and sales to the Israeli military.

“Three people from the American Jewish Congress and Stand With Us also attended the meeting. JVP Co-Director Liat Weingart spoke to Rosz Rothstein, the representative from Stand With Us, who shockingly told Weingart that Palestinians do not own their land. "What do they expect will happen if they build a house in Yosemite? If you build on land that isn't yours, how can you expect that it won't be demolished?" We took heart in the knowledge that AJCongress and Stand With Us are out of touch with both the US administration's understanding of the conflict and with mainstream American Jewish opinion, which is much more peace-minded and respectful of human rights.

”Our resolution got 3% of the vote, meaning we won the support of investors holding lose to 3/4 billion dollars of CAT stock, including CalPERS, the largest pension fund in the world. Finally, we achieved feature coverage in dozens of media outlets throughout the world including the LA Times, the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, the Associated Press, and Reuters. One of America's most respected business programs, NPR's Marketplace, also featured the campaign as the second story on their evening program on April 13. As the Chicago Tribune reported, CAT suffered a ‘punishing public relations campaign’ this past year.

“The campaign is starting to have a clear financial impact on the company.  Whereas in 2001, only 3 stories ran in major media connecting CAT bulldozers with human rights abuses, already in the first quarter of 2005, 275 similar stories have run in major English language publications. One commentator documented that CAT stock went down by 8.5% on the week of the shareholder vote, as compared to a 6% decrease for competitor John Deere. On the week of an annual meeting, it's very unusual that a company's stock decrease, rather than increase, given that the focus of an annual meeting is to highlight the strengths and accomplishments of the company.

“Now, with partners all over the world taking action to stop CAT sales to the Israeli military and to divest from corporations that irresponsibility profit from the occupation, the tide is starting to turn.”

* The US Campaign is proud to announce that we have been chosen as recipients of a New Voices Fellowship, “a national leadership development program that helps nonprofit organizations recruit or retain innovative, new talent.”  The New Voices Fellowship will allow us to hire Noura Erakat, a Bay-area activist and law student (graduating in May 2005), for a much-needed position as National Grassroots Mobilizer and Legal Advocate.  We’re looking forward to welcoming Noura to our team in summer 2005. 

* The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is excited to re-launch its new and improved 109th Congressional Report Card.  The newly updated Congressional Report Card so far includes four pieces of legislation in the House and two in the Senate, including a newly-introduced resolution (S.J.Res.14) by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) calling on the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and move its embassy there.  Also, the Congressional Report Card now has statements by many Members of Congress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In the months ahead, we’ll be posting more statements as we continue our research.  To access the report card, please visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=89

*In conjunction with the May 1, 2005 mobilization in New York City for the abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide, the US Campaign has produced a new resource entitled "Time for a Nuclear-free Middle East" that provides information on Israel's nuclear arsenal and the US government's reluctance to pressure Israel to abolish nuclear weapons production.  View and download this resource at http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1092

*Josh Ruebner, US Campaign Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator, will be conducting a speaking and organizing tour of Texas, May 2-5.  If you or your organization is interested in having Josh come to your community to speak about the US policy toward Palestine and Israel, please contact him at congress@endtheoccupation.org or 202-543-1778. Likely stops include Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Waco, and Dallas.  If you’re interested, please contact the US Campaign quickly since Josh’s schedule is filling fast.

*On May 15, 2005 the US Campaign will present a Concert for a Free Palestine in Washington, DC.  The concert will feature the Foty Family Ensemble with Melodies of Resistance and Love, Dave Lippman performing Star of Goliath, and George Shrub the Singing CIA Agent.  Proceeds from this concert will benefit the US Campaign.  For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1082.  If you, your business, or your organization would like to advertise at this concert, please contact the US Campaign at 202-543-1778 for rates.

* The US Campaign, in cooperation with the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, will be conducting an Upper Midwest Regional Organizers’ Conference in Madison, WI from June 24-26.  A draft agenda and online registration are soon to come, so save the date! 

* SAVE THE DATE!  The US Campaign’s 4th National Organizers’ Conference will take place on the weekend of July 29-31, 2005 in Atlanta, GA.  The National Organizers’ Conference is an opportunity for activists from around the United States to network, strategize, and share skills.  It is also the time when our membership elects a new steering committee and votes to set the agenda for the upcoming year.  Further details will be forthcoming. 

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3.  MEMBER ORGANIZATION OF THE MONTH
Imagine-Life  http://www.imagine-life.org

Imagine-Life is a human rights campaign whose goal is to educate the American public about human rights violations in hopes of creating environments where peace can prosper.  Their strategy for public education is to produce and air public service announcements to be shown on television.  You can view their current public service announcements at http://www.imagine-life.org/media.html.  Additionally, Imagine-Life will work with you to bring their public service announcements to your local television stations.  For more information email nationals@imagine-life.org

Recently Imagine-Life’s public service announcements, which have been airing on Boston’s Comcast station, have come under attack by the local Jewish Community Relations Council.  As a result, Comcast is considering pulling these commercials off the air.  Imagine-Life requests that people call and write to the leadership of Comcast using the following talking points (contact information follows):

-    Imagine-Life is an educational human rights campaign
-    Demand to know why they are being pulled
-    If Comcast disagrees with a commercial or statement, ask what statement and why?  
-    The ads are pro-human rights and truthful
-    Imagine-Life has received peacemaker awards for their human rights campaign
-    The ads airing on Comcast spotlight include Israeli and Palestinian suffering
-    Other ads airing only Israeli suffering are permitted to air in other Comcast markets   
-    Jewish Voice for Peace and many other Jewish organizations support the ads
-    Pulling Imagine-Life ads because they include Palestinians is unfair, discriminatory and is an attack on the right to Free Speech
-    We are paying customers & have been airing in over 80 cities without interruption or censorship
-    Over a dozen groups in Massachusetts and many more countrywide support this campaign

Charles Thurston, President of Comcast Spotlight (Advertising Division)
917-934-1930
Charlie_thurston@cable.comcast.com

Brian Roberts, President
Comcast Corporate Office
1500 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-981-8497
Brian_roberts@comcast.com

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4.  NEW MEMBERS

* The US Campaign is growing! We now have almost 200 member organizations in our coalition. The following organizations recently became members of the US Campaign’s national coalition of organizations working to end US support for Israel’s occupation:

- MidEast: Just Peace – Cedar, MI http://www.mideastjustpeace.org
A Traverse City-based education and activist group that supports the self-determination of the Palestinian people and opposes the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the ongoing construction of colonial settlements in the West Bank and Gaza in violation of UN resolutions and the Geneva Convention.

- Palestinians for Peace and Democracy – San Antonio, TX     http://www.p4pd.org
Palestinians for Peace and Democracy is a grassroots movement dedicated to creating a serious dialogue with the Israeli people; one that can lead the way for lasting peace based on justice, security, mutual respect and human dignity for all.

Palestinians for Peace and Democracy works to promote peace and justice for the Palestinian people. Its guiding principle is the denunciation of violence against civilians and the promotion of peaceful resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestine – its land and its people.

We seek to empower the Palestinian people, at home and abroad, to create their own democracy based on the rule of law and the respect of human rights.

* To become a member of the US Campaign please visit
http://www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=2 to sign our Call to Action and pay membership dues.  Join today!

* To view a complete list of organizational members of the US Campaign visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/groups.php

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5. RESOURCES & EDUCATION

* In March 2005 Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian peace advocacy organization based in Jerusalem, put out the call for economic sanctions against Israel similar to those imposed against South Africa during the apartheid regime.  You can view Sabeel’s complete statement at http://www.fosna.org/doc/Sabeel's%20Call%20for%20Morally%20Responsible%20Investment.doc

* Members of the Association of University Teachers (UK) voted to boycott two Israeli universities—Haifa and Bar-Ilan--because of their involvement in illegal activity in the occupied territories.  Haifa University was accused of mistreating politics lecturer Ilan Pappe for defending a graduate student's research into controversial areas of Israeli history and Bar Ilan was accused of helping with degree programs at a college in a settlement in the West Bank.  Read BBC’s coverage of this development at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4472169.stm.  Shortly after the call for the boycott, Ilan Pappe wrote an appeal in the Guardian that you can read at http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,1464206,00.html

* The University of Wisconsin’s Divest from Israel Campaign gained more momentum as the Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals (TAUWP) adopted a resolution that calls on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to divest from companies that provide the Israeli Army with weapons, equipment, and supporting systems.  This is the newest of several University bodies to pass similar resolutions.  Visit http://alawda.rso.wisc.edu/ to learn more about the University of Wisconsin’s Divestment from Israel Campaign. 

* Palestine Media Watch, a member group of the US Campaign, announces their 2nd Annual PMWatch Op/Ed Contest.  All students currently enrolled in either undergraduate and graduate programs who have written and published articles in their school papers are eligible.  The article must be published in the Fall 2004 or Spring 2005.  Deadline for submissions is May 16, 2005.  Please submit op/eds at http://www.pmwatch.org/pmw/contest/application.asp

* Search for Common Ground (www.sfcg.org) requests submissions for its annual competition to recognize and encourage journalism that contributes to a better understanding among people and to maintaining political dialogue in the Middle East. Awards will be offered for articles published between April 1, 2004 and April 30, 2005 in Arab, Israeli or Western publications.  All submissions are due by April 30, 2005.  For more information visit http://www.sfcg.org/sfcg/sfcg_cgawards_me.html

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6.  EVENTS

*Ongoing: Wheels of Justice Tour
Members of Voices in the Wilderness, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the Middle East Children's Alliance, and affiliates of the International Solidarity Movement take to the road in a colorfully decorated full-size school bus for nonviolent education and action against war and occupation in Iraq and Palestine and for justice and universal human rights.  For more information and to view the Wheels of Justice itinerary visit http://www.justicewheels.org

*Ongoing: Stop the Wall Tour
The Stop the Wall Campaign and Tour traveled to 45 cities last summer and fall.  The Wall trailer and full scale models, together with films, Power Point presentations and lots of handouts and maps had a remarkable impact on those who saw them.  View the new spring tour schedule at http://www.localendar.com/public/stopthewall?style=M0

*April 15-May 3: Chicago, IL
4th Annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival.  For schedules, films, and tickets visit http://www.palestinefilmfest.com/

*April 29-May 1: Houston, TX
Know Justice, Know Peace conference is sponsored by Al-Awda, ADC, Houston Peace and Justice Center and more!  The speakers list includes Israeli Knesset member Dr. Azmi Bishara, Legal Advisor to the PLO Diana Buttu, and the US Campaign’s own Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator Josh Ruebner.  For more information and to register visit http://www.knowjusticeknowpeace.net

*April 30-May 7: Washington, DC
DC Cinema Palestine Film Festival. For schedules, films, and tickets visit http://www.cinemapalestine.com/

*May 15: Oak Park, IL
For the fourth year running, Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and secular communities of Oak Park and the larger metropolitan Chicago area will gather for the Walk for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine.  The messages of the walk are to end the [Israeli] occupation, stop all violence from both sides, and support the nonviolent peace-makers in Israel and Palestine.  For more information visit http://www.geocities.com/cjpipwebsite/walk2005.html

*May 15-22: Philadelphia, PA
From May 15-22, the PPFF invites regional audiences to explore and celebrate through cinema the richness of Palestinian life, culture, society, and politics. This free, groundbreaking event aims to provide Philadelphians with an in-depth political and cultural context for issues that are often oversimplified in the media, and to promote films that open a space for dialogue and exchange about equality and justice.  For more information visit  http://www.philadelphiapalestinefilmfestival.org/

*May 27-29: Washington, DC
ADC Silver Anniversary Convention, celebrating 25 years of dedicated service to civil and human rights.  Featured speakers include actor Tony Shalhoub and Casey Kasem.  For more information and to register, visit http://www.adc.org/schedule.htm

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7. OPPORTUNITIES TO VISIT ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

*April 29-May 8: Southwest United Church of Christ Association
The Southwest Association of the United Church of Christ is developing a partnership with Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and the International Center of Bethlehem.  As part of this partnership, two trips to Bethlehem are being planned for 2005.  The spring trip will focus on the work of the Health and Wellness Center/and Dar al Kalima School, two of the ministries of Christmas Lutheran Church.  Cost for each trip will be approximately $2000 depending on cost of airfare.  The group will be staying in the International Center Guest House in Bethlehem –except for optional side trips.  For further information or to register people for this gathering, please contact either Bonnie Van Overbeke, pastor of Memorial UCC at pastorbonnie@sbcglobal.net or by phone at 608-273-1008, or Bob Mutton at swwaucc@globaldailog.com or by phone 608-244-3350.

*May 21-June 5, 2004 *and* July 30-August 13: Fellowship of Reconciliation Interfaith Peace Builders
Interfaith Peace-Builder sends delegations to Israel and Palestine so that U.S. citizens can see the conflict with their own eyes. Participants have the opportunity to learn directly from Israeli and Palestinian nonviolent peace/human-rights activists, to spend time in Palestinian and Israeli homes, and to experience the situation of Palestinians living under military occupation.  For more information visit http://forusa.org/programs/ipb/default.html

*June 6, 2005: Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Delegation
Faculty For Israeli-Palestinian Peace, FFIPP, is a network of faculty endeavoring to achieve just peace and end the occupation in Israel/Palestine and the region.  FFIPP conducts trips every 6 months which are organized by Israeli leftists who teach in the US and have close ties to many people in the Palestinian communities of the West Bank as well as Gaza and the Israeli left, middle and right.  For more information about the June 2005 trip visit http://www.ffipp.org/wiki/ffipp%20usa/delegations.htm

*July 1-14: Middle East Children’s Alliance Delegation
For 17 years, MECA has taken small groups of North Americans to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel to witness life under occupation and meet people who are working for justice.  Long time friends and project partners of MECA are our local guides and our hosts are a cross section of the people living through the occupation and within the specter of Israel's policies.  For more information and to register call 510-548-0542.

*July 4-15: Bethlehem University, Bethlehem
This summer at Bethlehem University, international educators and community activists will join their Palestinian counterparts to explore how all forms of education affect socialization processes within a society and between societies: before, during, and after conflict.  The organizers of this conference encourage a diversity of perspectives, disciplines, and experiences. The terms education, educator, and community activists are by no means distinct categories. The list of participants already includes Middle East specialists, a geographer, adult educators, a legal educator, an environmentalist, and teachers. We will discuss the multiple meanings of peace, conflict, imperialism, multiculturalism, globalism, dissent, and democratic governance.  For more information contact Howard S. Davidson at hdavid@ms.umanitoba.ca

*July 14-24, 2005: Holy Land Trust Summer Activists’ Camp
Holy Land Trust and Quaker International Affairs Representatives are very pleased to invite you to the first activists' summer camp that will take place during the month of July.  Objectives of the camp include: delivery of nonviolence training and training for community organizers, community building among the youth, and sparking new nonviolence groups.  For more information and to register visit http://www.holylandtrust.org/pnr_sc1.htm

*July 17-30, 2005: Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Summer Work Camp
For the third year in a row, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) is offering a summer work camp intended to foster learning, discussion, and friendship between Palestinians, Israelis and internationals. Our cooperation will send a clear message to the world: We refuse to be enemies; together we resist the Occupation.  For more information and to register contact lucia@icahd.org