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Occupation End Notes | August 23, 2007
Volume 5 Number 4

Occupation End Notes, August 23, 2007
Volume 5 Number 4

In this issue...

1. US Campaign Update:Join us for our 6th Annual National Organizer’s Conference in Arlington, VA September 7-10, 2007; National BDS Conference Call Teach-in report back

2 Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions:Why Israel?;Pushing in Ann Arbor for boycott of Israel; Boycott movement targets Israel; US Lutherans Consider Israel Boycott

3 Member Group Update: New Member Groups; Institute for Palestine Studies Policy Note No. 19: Courting and Countering the Christian Zionists; Palestine-Israel Action Group of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting New Divestment Resource; Join ADC’s Delegation to Lebanon: 25th Commemoration of the Sabra & Shatila Massacre

4. Resources & Events: Foreign Policy In Focus is excited to announce the launch of US Policy World;BUSTAN U.S. speaking tour in October 2007

5. Opportunities to Visit Israel and Palestine: Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegations; Global Exchange Delegations; MECA Delegations in August 2007


1. US CAMPAIGN UPDATE

* Join us for our 6thAnnual National Organizers’ Conference in Washington, DC September 7-10, 2007!

Two weeks from this Friday, on September 7, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation will hold its 6th Annual National Organizers’ Conference at GeorgeMasonUniversity in Arlington, VA.  Register today by clicking here.

This year’s conference will be an extremely important one.  We’ll be deciding upon next steps forward in our anti-apartheid framework and boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns, as well as laying plans to commemorate next year?s 60th anniversary of al-Nakba.  For a complete draft agenda, click here.

Time Is Running Out to Pre-Register for the Conference

Please help us save resources and money by registering and paying for the conference now.  Because we need to give our caterers and printers an accurate head count for food and conference materials, we need you to register and pay for the conference by Friday, August 31 at noon eastern.  To register and pay for the conference, please click here.

You can still register for the conference after the August 31 pre-registration deadline; however, if you do register after that date we cannot guarantee that we will have food or conference materials for you.  So register today by clicking here.

Deadline for Submission of Proposals is Aug. 27

The US Campaign is currently accepting proposals for the conference from member organizations in good standing.  Please note that the deadline for submitting proposals in approaching quickly.  Proposals will not be accepted after midnight Eastern on Monday night, August 27.  In addition, proposals will not be accepted from the floor of the conference.  Now is the time for your organization to submit a proposal by clicking here.

Lobbying Day Info Ready

On Monday, September 10, US Campaign conference attendees will take to Capitol Hill for a grassroots lobbying day.  Lobbying day information is now available by clicking here.

Please note that conference attendees who plan to participate in the lobbying day must schedule their own meetings with their Members of Congress. The US Campaign does not have the capacity to set up meetings on your behalf.

Don’t worry if you’ve never set up a meeting before with your Members of Congress.  Anyone can do it.  Learn how to do it by clicking here.

Member Groups Must Be in Good Standing to Vote at the Conference

Member organizations of the US Campaign must be in good standing in order to vote, submit proposals, and nominate candidates for the Steering Committee at the conference.  “In good standing” means that your organization must have paid its annual dues in 2007.  Dues are assessed at between $100-$1,000 (or more) per year based on the size and budget of the organization.

To pay your dues, click here or send a check to US Campaign, PO Box 21539, Washington, DC20009.  You can also pay by credit card over the phone. Please contact Omar Masri, Office Manager/Membership Outreach Coordinator at 202-332-0994 or office@endtheoccupation.org.

If your organization is not on the list of organizations in good standing, you will not be able to vote on behalf of your organization at the conference unless your group pays its membership dues. 

Please make membership payments arrangements today.  These payments are an important component of the US Campaign’s revenues and help us organize these annual conferences.

More Conference Information On-Line

For additional logistical details, FAQ’s about the conference, information on how to reserve a table and/or a room for a workshop, to read the annual report, and much more, click here.

Don’t forget to register for the conference today by clicking here.

* National Conference Call on Boycott, Divestment, Sanction movement within the U.S. and Canada

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation conducted a successful conference call teach-in to its member groups on August 20th, 2007 that provided some background on Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaigns and the current state of the BDS movement within the U.S. and Canada.

We had three presenters on the call with a Q&A and discussion. Nancy Murray of the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights (BCPR) gave an overview of the BDS movement the U.S. along with BCPR’s experiences. Susanne Hoder of the Interfaith Peace Initiative (IPI) gave an overview of her role in the passing of a divestment resolution at the New England Methodist Conference. Nadia Daar of the Canada Union of Public Employees (CUPE) gave an overview of the BDS within Canada in the context of the Canadian labor movement.


2. BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS:

* Why Israel?

Jason Kunin, ZNet, August 19, 2007

In January 2007, a group of us who are active in District 12 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) tried to pass a motion supporting the international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.  Since I was the mover of the motion, many people afterwards became angry with me.  Others were merely confused.  Everyone, however, wanted to know the same thing: Why Israel?   After all, they would correctly point out, there are so many terrible countries, so many other human rights abuses in the world – some of them here in Canada.  Why does Israel alone deserve sanctions and not the myriad of other countries committing gross human rights violations?   Why not Sudan, for example?  Or Saudia Arabia?  Or China?   For that matter, if colonialism is the issue, why not shed a light on the Canadian government’s on-going abuse of our own aboriginal peoples?   There’s certainly plenty of work to do here. 

Click here to read more!

* Pushing in Ann Arbor for boycott of Israel

Blaine Coleman, The Arab American News, August 18, 2007

The People’s Food Co-op is no longer just a grocery store. It is now where a historic vote will take place to boycott all Israeli products.

Horrified by the Israeli army’s destruction of Palestine and Lebanon, nearly 1,000 Ann Arbor residents petitioned the local grocery store to boycott Israel.

The voting will take place inside the store, starting September 1. The boycott ballot box will close on September 30.

Click here to read more!

* Boycott movement targets Israel

George Bisharat, Can Francisco Chronicle, August 15, 2007

When does a citizen-led boycott of a state become morally justified?

That question is raised by an expanding academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel. The movement joins churches, unions, professional societies and other groups based in the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa. It has elicited dramatic reactions from Israel's supporters. U.S. labor leaders have condemned British unions, representing millions of workers, for supporting the Israel boycott. American academics have been frantically gathering signatures against the boycott, and have mounted a prominent advertising campaign in American newspapers - unwittingly elevating the controversy further in the public eye.

Click here to read more!

* US Lutherans consider Israel Boycott

Haviv Rettig, The Jerusalem Post, August 15, 2007

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which has almost five million members in the US, took a step toward a partial boycott of Israeli goods at its 2007 Churchwide Assembly in Chicago last week.

On Saturday, the assembly, the church's top legislative authority, passed a resolution calling to work toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and urging investment in the Palestinian Authority.

Click here to read more!


3. MEMBER GROUP UPDATE:

* The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation would like to welcome the following groups to its membership:

·Peace Action Wisconsin

Peace Action-Wisconsin is a peace and justice organization which works for a world where human needs are met, the environment is preserved, and the threats of war and nuclear weapons have been abolished. They are committed to non-violence as a way of life and offer their members opportunities for education, lobbying and public witness.

Click here to learn more about Peace Action Wisconsin!

·FairPlay Media

FairPlay Media, the creative arm of Strategic Assessments, connects the personal to the political by developing and delivering sophisticated entertainment content to a variety of US based media platforms. With the primary mission of transforming U.S. popular conception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while asserting the cultural identity and fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, FairPlay Media leverages the most effective forms of communication in the marketplace.

            Click here to learn more about FairPlay Media!

* Institute for Palestine Studies Policy Note No. 19: Courting and Countering the Christian Zionists

By Nadia Hijab

Notwithstanding its apocalyptic agenda, Christians United For Israel, the newest pro-Israel group on the Washington block, is courted by serious presidential candidates like Senator John McCain. Pro-peace evangelical Christians and Jews are seeking to counter its fundamentalist agenda. How close is it to Israel and AIPAC? And what are the consequences for the Middle East?

Click here to read more!

* Palestine-Israel Action Group’s Survey of Diverse Approaches to Ethical Economic Engagement Adopted by Groups and Individuals Worldwide (August 2007)

The Palestine-Israel Action Group (PIAG) of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting has produced an ongoing review on different sectors of society that have adopted divestment resolutions throughout the world.

Click here to download the survey!

Click here to read more about Palestine-Israel Action Group, a subcommittee of the Peace and Social Concerns of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting.

* September 6-14, 2007: Delegation to Lebanon: 25th Commemoration of the Sabra & Shatila Massacre sponsored by American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I would like to invite you to join me in a delegation to Lebanon to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. The delegation will include American citizens who will travel to Lebanon on September 6 through Sept. 14 to participate in the 25th Anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila Massacre. Lebanese and Palestinian NGOs in Lebanon plan to host delegations from many countries including France, Italy, Norway, Denmark, England, Germany, Sweden, Canada and the United States to commemorate the anniversary. The one-week long visit and tour will provide the opportunity for deeper understanding of Lebanon, Palestinian refugee camps, meeting survivors of the massacre, and meeting with local Palestinian and Lebanese leaders and activists. 

Itinerary Highlights will include:

·Attending a presentation by the Arab NGO Network for Development

·Meeting with representatives from Lebanese and Palestinian NGOs

·Visiting Palestinian Refugee camps, including Sabra and Shatila

·Meetings with Mayors of major Lebanese cities and towns

·Participating in a cultural evening at the UNESCOPalace in Beirut. The event will include Palestinian and Lebanese singers, Folk dances and dabke performed by Palestinian children

·Meeting with Lebanese government officials

·Meeting with Palestinian popular committees and activists

·Joining the commemoration ceremony at the mass Graveyard in Shatila Camp. Followed by meetings with survivors of the massacre

·Visiting women’s cooperative centers in the camps

Each participant will be responsible for all expenses including round trip ticket to Beirut, room and board, and transportation in Lebanon.  The total cost would be under $2000. If you are interested in joining the delegation, please fill up the enclosed form and e-mail back to <nmohamad@adc.org> along with brief introduction of yourself and why you would be interested in joining the delegation.  If you have any question regarding logistics, costs, and travel arrangements, please e-mail me at <nmohamad@adc.org>.


4. RESOURCES AND EVENT
* Foreign Policy In Focus is excited to announce the launch of US Policy World

USPW is a web-based project designed to develop progressive policy papers with broad expert and public participation.

FPIF invites you to participate in US Policy World. There are many ways to get involved – from writing an article to updating basic information. The richness of USPW depends on the contribution of informed and concerned individuals.

USPW will be a collaborative space for the progressive community to:
1.    Develop common positions, language, and messaging around the key foreign policy issues; and,
2.    monitor the positions of the 2008 Presidential Candidates

Need help or would like more information? Email Erik Leaver at IPS: erik@ips-dc.org

*BUSTAN U.S. speaking Tour in October 2007: Rooting and Uprooting: Cultural and Political Landscapes

When: October 1st-15th, 2007
Who: Outgoing BUSTAN Director, Devorah Brous and New BUSTAN Director, Ra'ed Al-Mickawi

Devorah and Ra'ed will discuss the political ecology of the Negev, and help us recognize what is 'unrecognized' this marginalized part of Israel - an area populated by Jews and Bedouin. How are "environmentally-conscious" development projects to remap the blueprint of the Israel's "Last Frontier" irreversibly impacting landscape and ancient desert cultures? What can we do to catalyze and steward a healthy and sustainable connection with the Land, and its entire people? Come and learn about BUSTAN, engaged as a vanguard of small-scale, local efforts to root social change.  

If you can offer any help---in reaching out to possible venues, raising funds to cover the costs of the trip, can help publicize the tour, or any other ideas about how to make it a success, please see the info flier below, and contact BUSTAN at info@bustan.org or www.bustan.org.

BUSTAN is an organization that confronts social and environmental issues in the Negev with an innovative, solution-oriented edge. We are a partnership of Jewish and Arab eco-builders, architects, academics, and farmers promoting social and environmental justice in Israel, promoting sustainable resource use by cultivating models that combine advocacy and in-depth political analysis with strategic action. We utilize the principles of permaculture and non-violent direct action across ethnic divides in all of our work.


5. OPPORTUNITIES TO VISIT ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

*Spring - Fall 2007 Schedule: October 27th – November 10th: Interfaith Peace-BuildersDelegations to Israel/Palestine

Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) sends delegations to Israel and Palestine so that US 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, contact the IFPB office directly by phone (202-244-0821) or email office@ifpbdel.org.

* Summer – Fall 2007 Schedule: August 12th – 22nd, December 2nd – 12th: Global Exchange’s Delegations to Palestine & Israel

Global Exchange’s delegations to Palestine & Israel provide first-hand exposure to the daily struggles and realities of Palestinians living under Occupation.  The delegations strive to further the US public's understanding of the conflict by listening to the aspirations and frustrations of Palestinians, by examining the dimensions of the human rights crisis under Israeli rule, as well as learning from Palestinians and Israelis who are working for a just peace and an end to the Occupation.

For more information you can contact Global Exchange (800-497-1994 x. 251) or email palestine@globalexchange.org.

August 12 – 22, 2007

December 2 – 12, 2007

* MECA Delegation August 2007: Come with MECA to Palestine/Israel!

For seventeen years, MECA has taken small groups to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.MECA staff and local guides introduce you to activists, journalists, aid workers, teachers, social workers and others living under occupation. We’ll stay with our “Ibdaa family” in Dheisheh refugee camp, and visit other MECA partners and friends throughout Palestine/ Israel.

For information, please contact:
Deborah Agre or Josie Shields-Stromsness deborah@mecaforpeace.org, josie@mecaforpeace.org
510-548-0542


Occupation End Notes is the US Campaign bi-monthly newsletter, designed as a tool for activists. For this newsletter to be successful, we need your participation. Use us to promote events, give feedback on recent actions, recommend resources, or just learn from other activists in the movement. If you or your organization are planning an event aimed at ending the occupation, or you have information for the Newsletter, please contact the US Campaign at office@endtheoccupation.org.

The US Campaign aims to change U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 40-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.