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Occupation End Notes | July 9, 2009 Volume 7 Number 11

Occupation End Notes

July 9, 2009

Volume 7 Number 11



Today is a very important anniversary for our movement.  Five years ago today, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion ruling Israel's apartheid wall illegal.  Four years ago today, myriad Palestinian civil society groups issued the Palestinian Unified Call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.  Join us, as we celebrate these important anniversaries: click here to learn more about how you can get invol
ved.

The Palestinian Unified Call was a direct response to the ICJ's ruling.  After years of cooperation with South African anti-apartheid activists, Palestinian civil society decided that the most relevant solidarity action that it could call for was to isolate Israel economically, culturally and academically until it ended its military occupation and apartheid practices targeting Palestinians. For four years, the US Campaign has focused on the economic isolation component by focusing on two U.S. corporations directly profiting from Israel's violations of international law, Caterpillar and Motorola.

The popularity of boycott and divestment campaigns has grown tremendously in the past four years, and especially since "Operation Cast Lead." Consumer boycott is growing with campaigns like Stolen Beauty, and Don't Buy Into Apartheid. Other aspects of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement have also developed since the 2005 Palestinian Unified Call.  Cultural boycotts, from the Yes Men withdrawing from Israeli film festivals to protests at Israeli performances in the United States, are becoming increasingly popular.  Even the hotly debated idea of academic boycott is advancing with the growth of the new group US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

In light of the explosion of new boycott and divestmentwork happening around us, we will be devoting a major part of our upcoming organizers' conference to revisiting the scope of our boycott and divestment work.  Read on for more information about other exciting developments from the US Campaign including August in-district lobby meetings across the country, our search for an Executive Director, and the release of the Spirit of Humanity's crew and passengers who were trying to deliver humanitarian aid and toys to the people of the Gaza Strip.

US Campaign: Now Hiring for Executive Director; National Organizers' Conference, and more!

Gaza:
Israel Kidnapps and Deports Free Gaza Activists, Humanitarian Delegations, and More!

Challenging U.S. Policy:
Sign Up to Organize August Recess Appointments, and more!

Standing Against Apartheid: 5th Anniversary of Ruling Against Apartheid Wall, and More!

Boycott & Divestment: 4th Anniversary of Palestinian Unified Call for BDS, "The Yes Men" Boycott Israel, and More!

Membership: New Member Groups, Member Group Events, and more!

Resources & Events:
Events and Educational Materials

Opportunities to Visit Israel and Palestine





Top of Page



1. US CAMPAIGN UPDATE:


* Staff Transitions at the US Campaign--Apply to Be Our Executive Director

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation will be making some major staff transitions this summer.  We are excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for a full-time Executive Director.  To read the job description and apply for the position (deadline to apply is July 17), click here.

In September the US Campaign will wish a very fond farewell to National Membership and Outreach Coordinator Omar Masri. After three years of exceptional work, Omar will be transitioning off of our staff to pursue full-time graduate studies.  David Hosey, our current Media and Faith Communities Coordinator who comes to the US Campaign via the United Methodist Church's Mission Intern program, will then transition into becoming the National Media and National Membership and Outreach Coordinator. Josh Ruebner, the current National Advocacy Director, will shed his fundraising and management responsibilities to the new Executive Director, and will transition into a part-time job focused exclusively on policy and legislation while pursuing outside writing, speaking, and consulting interests. Last, but certainly not least, Katherine Fuchs, National Organizer, will retain her full-time position leading our BDS campaigns and anti-apartheid framework.   

These are exciting times for the US Campaign and for our mission as we are seeing political space open up as never before.  As we reconfigure our staff this summer to grow and to take advantage of all the opportunities that are out there, we hope that you can help us find the ideal Executive Director who can help guide our work.  Check out the job description for Executive Director by clicking here and spread the word!  


* National Organizers' Conference in Chicago to Feature Rashid Khalidi, Omar Barghouti, and Much More--Register Now!

Our 8th Annual National Organizers' Conference will be held during the weekend of September 12th - 13th, 2009. That's only two months away! It's very important for our member groups that want to engage in boycott and divestment to attend, as we will spend a lot of time discussing the growth of our coalitions BDS work.  Register today by clicking here.

To find out more details about the conference and make sure that your organization is in good standing with the US Campaign, click here.


* BDS, Free Gaza, International Law, and Tootsie Roll Pops on the US Campaign Blog

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation now has a blog! View exclusive content, news, updates, analysis, video, and more by clicking here. Read about the growing global movement for boycott and divestment; the Israeli army boarding the Free Gaza Movement boat Spirit of Humanity and arresting all the crew and passengers; and how U.S. military aid facilitates Israeli violations of international law and universal principles of human rights. Click here to view exclusive content on the US Campaign blog.


* Join the US Campaign to Mark the 4th Anniversary of the Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS
July 9-10

Join us for a lecture and book signing by Prof. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi on Thursday, July 9, and for a benefit concert for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation with entertainment by Ramzy Suleiman and Fuad Foty on Friday, July 10.

Click here to learn more.


* How You Can Sustain the US Campaign--Donate Today!

Support our ongoing work by donating online, donating office supplies and services, or joining the Olive Branch Club.

Click here for more information.


2. GAZA UPDATE:

* Our Tax Dollars Hard At Work Kidnapping U.S Citizens on the High Seas

Remember that old TV commercial where the cartoon kid asks the wise owl how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Just like the curious kid in the commercial, we here at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation want to know how many steps it takes to link Israel's latest foray into international piracy to your hard-earned tax dollars. As the owl says, "Let's find out!" Click here to read more.


* Take Action

For action ideas on what you can do end the siege on Gaza and hold Israel accountable, visit our web section "Take Action to End Israel's War and Siege on Gaza."
The destruction of the Gaza Strip at the hands of the Israeli military would have been impossible without weapons provided by U.S. military aid, Motorola communications and weapons equipment, and weaponized Caterpillar bulldozers. Make sure to keep up with the ongoing work of the US Campaign to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law and human rights in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.


* Free Gaza Boat Spirit of Humanity Attacked, Passengers and Crew Abducted by Israeli Military

On June 30, the Israeli navy attacked and abducted the passengers and crew of the Free Gaza boat, The Spirit of Humanity, including US Campaign Advisory Board member Huwaida Arraf, former U.S. Congressperson and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, and Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. The boat was boarded while in international waters, en route to the Gaza Strip with no intention of entering Israeli waters. The Free Gaza human rights activists were held in an Israeli prison for nearly a week and charged, ironically, with illegally entering Israel--a country they had never planned to enter at all. The passengers have now been released. For more information, click here. Click here to learn more about the Free Gaza Movement. We've also been posting updates about the Free Gaza Movement at the US Campaign blog and on our Twitter page. To read about how your tax dollars enabled Israel to attack the Spirit of Humanity and commit other violations of international law, click here.


* New Red Cross Report Describes Palestinians in Gaza as "Trapped in Despair"

A new report issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross describes deplorable humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip six months after the massive Israeli assault dubbed "Operation Cast Lead." The Red Cross report calls for an end to the Israeli policy of siege and closure and concludes that the alternative to this is "a further descent into misery with every passing day." Click here to read the report. 


* New Amnesty International Report Describes "22 Days of Death and Destruction" in Gaza

Amnesty International has released a comprehensive report highlighting violations of international humanitarian law in the 22 day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip in December-January. According to the Amnesty Report, Israeli attacks "violated fundamental provisions of international humanitarian law, notably the prohibition on civilians and civilian objects (the principle of distinction), the prohibition on indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks, and the prohibition on collective punishment." The full report can be read by clicking here. Amnesty has also issued a call for Israel to cooperate fully with the fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council.


* Human Rights Groups, Humanitarian NGOs Step Up Pressure to End the Siege of Gaza

Increasing numbers of human rights groups, humanitarian organizations, and civil society actors are taking action to end the siege of Gaza. The Free Gaza Movement plans to continue sending boats to the Gaza Strip despite the recent Israeli attack on the Spirit of Humanity. Four Irish students are bicycling to the Gaza Strip to raise money for much-needed medical aid for Palestinians. Norman Finkelstein has announced plans for an international march to end the blockade of Gaza on January 1, 2010. The Viva Palestina U.S. convoy is attempting to enter Gaza through the Rafah border. And more than 40 UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs have called for an end to the crippling Israeli blockade of Gaza, characterizing the siege as collective punishment.


* UN Gaza Inquiry Wraps Up Hearings

July 8 - A UN war crimes investigator has said testimonies about the recent conflict in Gaza have been "difficult to hear" as four days of public hearings ended. Richard Goldstone said his four member team had been shaken by the extent of the destruction in Gaza. Witnesses from Gaza, Israel and the West Bank gave testimony in public hearings in Gaza and Geneva. Israel has refused to co-operate, accusing the UN Human Rights Council of bias against it. The investigation is looking into whether Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during Israel's three-week operation in Gaza in December and January. Click here to read the full article.



3. CHALLENGING U.S. POLICY:

* Meet with Your Member of Congress in August

Last week, the Israeli navy committed an act of piracy by kidnapping 21 human rights activists and journalists in international waters who were sailing for the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian goods to the besieged people who live there under Israeli military occupation. On board the Free Gaza Movement's boat Spirit of Humanity were two recipients of awards from the US Campaign and one current Advisory Board member.

This incident demonstrates yet again why we need to press our Members of Congress to cut off or, at the minimum, condition military aid to Israel to achieve U.S. policy goals. And you have an opportunity to do so in August when Members of Congress are in their home districts to meet with their constituents during their summer recess.
Click here to find out how to schedule a meeting and to get all of the resources you need to lobby your Members of Congress.


* Is Congress Catching Up w/ Obama? Find Out in Our New Congressional Report Card

It seems that almost every day there is a new sign of hope coming from the Obama Administration that U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine is changing for the better. Are Members of Congress getting close to adopting some of President Obama's viewpoints and initiatives? Find out in our new, interactive 111th Congressional Report Card, which grades Members of Congress on major pieces of legislation and Congressional "Dear Colleague" letters on Palestine/Israel in the current Congress.

Click here to read more.



4. STANDING AGAINST APARTHEID UPDATE:

* Oxfam Releases Report on Five Year Anniversary of ICJ Ruling Against Apartheid Wall

Five years after the International Court of Justice issued a ruling against Israel's Apartheid Wall, Oxfam International has released a report calling for the Wall to be dismantled. In this report, Five years of illegality, Oxfam International presents testimonies of fifteen Palestinian men and women who recount their daily problems, arising from the construction of the Wall and its associated regime of land confiscation and permits, and the construction and expansion of settlements. To read more and download the full report, click here.



5. BOYCOTT & DIVESTMENT UPDATE:


* Take Action on July 9 Anniversaries!

July 9th marks two important anniversaries for our movement. In 2004, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory ruling declaring Israel's apartheid wall illegal. Then, in 2005, over 100 Palestinian civil society organizations issued their international call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns against Israel until it complies with human rights standards and international law. Read more about these important anniversaries and how you can take action to commemorate them by clicking here. Use our web tools to send a message to those with the power to end corporate support for Israel's illegal military occupation and apartheid practices by clicking here. Learn how to get the word out in the media, including using new media tools like blogs and Twitter, by clicking here.


* Hang Up On Motorola Resources

Want to end Motorola's complicity with Israeli apartheid and occupation? Sign up to be a local organizer for our Motorola boycott. Get organizing tools such as postcards for the Hang Up On Motorola pledge, fact sheets about Motorola's support for Israeli apartheid policies, and tips on how to involve retailers in the campaign.
Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support the ongoing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions work of the US Campaign. Just $10 will pay for a campaign kit to be sent to a new Hang Up On Motorola organizer. $500 will sponsor a stop on our fall organizing tour. All donations are appreciated.


* Great BDS website

The Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace exposes corporations profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territory and people.

Check out their online database WhoProfits.org, which you can search by company, country of company origin, or country of company operation, by clicking here.


* Keep Up with the Global BDS Movement

Here at the US Campaign we are proud to be part of a global movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israeli occupation and apartheid policies directed at the Palestinians.

Keep up with this global movement of solidarity with Palestinian civil society by clicking here. And click here to learn more about the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS).


* US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Releases FAQs

Calls for BDS campaigns against Israeli apartheid and occupation policies have been nothing if not controversial.

To help clarify the reasoning behind boycotts, the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has released a new set of Frequently Asked Questions. Check them out by clicking here.


* The Yes Men Say No to the Jerusalem Film Festival

July 1 - The Yes Men are a group of "culture jamming activists" who impersonate heads of corporations to embarrass them in the media. They are increasingly well known and put out a movie in 2003 about their work called, The Yes Men Movie. They are now about to release their second movie, The Yes Men Fix the World (trailer below), and it was supposed to show at the upcoming Jerusalem Film Festival. No longer. The Yes Men have decided to pull out of the festival to honor the BDS call. Click here to read more.


* 5 years after the ICJ Ruling against the Wall Palestinians Still Waiting for the World to Act

July 9 - Mondoweiss reports on the July 9th anniversaries, including a statement from the Badil Center on the continuing need for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. Click here to read more.


* Palestinian Titanic

US Campaign Advisory Board member Nadia Hijab on the importance of Palestinian unity and the increasing role that the BDS movement has to play in international solidarity. "Palestinians are not powerless," writes Hijab. "The international movement of solidarity is not only growing, it is growing increasingly powerful with the effective use of the non-violent tools of boycott and divestment." Click here to read the full article.


6. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE:

In an effort to better help our coalition members network and for us to better gauge the coalition's regional diversity, we have put together a map with our more than 280 coalition members represented by state:




* Help Us Reach 300!

Help us reach our goal of 300 member organizations! We currently have 287 member groups in our national coalition-just 13 groups short of our summer goal. Click here to see if your organization is a member group of the US Campaign, and if not, click here to join
. If you feel that there are organizations that are not part of the coalition, but should be, please put us in touch with them by emailing us here. If your organization is already part of our coalition, click here to make sure that you are in good standing!

Please welcome the following organizations to our coalition:

Progressive Democrats of America - National

Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane - Washington


* Has Your Organization Paid its 2009 Membership Dues?

We are counting down the days until the 8th Annual National Organizers' Conference and wanted to make sure that your organization has paid its annual membership dues for 2009. We accept dues on a sliding scale of $100 - $1,000 or more.You can click here to see if your organization has paid its 2009 annual membership dues. If your organization has not, the delegate(s) will still be able to attend the National Assembly but will not be able to participate in the voting and election processes.


* Art Exhibit - Gaza Conversations
June 5-September 4 - Washington, DC

The tragedy of Gaza has left the headlines but forever remains in the hearts of these three artists. Their work for this exhibition enables the Gaza conversation to continue. Join the Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center for this exhibition. A percentage of the artists' proceeds will be donated to a Gaza charity of their choice. Registration is not required to attend.

Gallery hours: M - F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., or by appointment.



* Voices of Palestine: Summer 2009 Film Series
Wednesdays, 1 July - 5 August - Washington, DC


The Jerusalem Fund and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University are pleased to present their annual summer film series highlighting recent documentary and feature films from and about Palestine that explore the social, cultural and political complexities of Palestinian life and identity.

All films begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. All films are screened at The Jerusalem Fund
, 2425 Virginia Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, and are in English or have English subtitles. Attendance is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. However, space is limited. For directions and parking information, click here. For all other inquiries, call The Jerusalem Fund at (202) 338-1958, or email by clicking here.


* Goodbye Moto, Goodbye Apartheid!
July 11 - New York, NY

Join the global campaign to boycott Israeli apartheid with US Campaign member group Adalah-NY and supporters for the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel's Summer Street Actions around New York to Boycott Motorola. On the 5th anniversary of International Court of Justice's ruling that Israel's Apartheid Wall and settlements violate international law, ask New Yorkers to boycott Motorola until it ends its support for Israeli settlements and for Israel's military assault on the Palestinian people. Join NYCBI on Saturday, July 11, from 1-3pm at the Sprint store at 3030 Steinway Street (between 30th and 31st Ave.), Astoria, Queens. Enjoy street theatre, join in festive singalongs, and more for an Apartheid-Free Summer! Click here to learn more.


* The Bedouins vs. the State of Israel: From Freedom to Fear
July 12 - Columbia, MD

Join US Campaign member groups Howard County Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace for a talk by Bette Hoover, who recently returned from a trip to the Negev Desert, where she stayed with a Bedouin family. She is a U.S. contact for the work of BUSTAN, an organization that works to bring environmental justice to the Negev and human rights to Bedouins. Come see Bette's photos, hear about her experiences, and find out how you can add your voice to those speaking up for justice and peace in the region. The event, cosponsored by the Howard County Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Howard County Coalition for Peace and Justice, and Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, will take place at the Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD, on July 12, at 1 pm. For more information email Joanne Heisel.  


* Friends of Sabeel North America Conference: Seek Peace, Pursue Justice
October 1-3 - Washington, DC

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is sponsoring a conference on October 1-3 at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1500 9th St., NW, Washington, DC. Check out the FOSNA website for more information.



7. RESOURCES AND EVENTS: 


* Want to Stop Israeli Settlements? Follow the Dollars

June 25 - Last month, both at Cairo University and from the Oval Office, President Obama called on the Israeli government to stop the expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. He should send the same message to the Americans who are funding and fueling them. Click here to read the full article by Ronit Avni in The Washington Post.


* A Benefit Concert and Dessert Reception for Gaza
July 11 - Lynnwood, WA

Join the internationally acclaimed Al-Andalus Ensemble in "Arches," a concert furthering international understanding, peace, and goodwill with a diverse program of traditional and contemporary music and songs from the Middle East to benefit relief efforts in the Gaza Strip.

The concert will take place on July 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, 6215 196th Street SW, Lynnwood, WA. A dessert reception will follow. This is a free event, but a collection will be taken to aid relief organizations serving in Gaza. For more information contact Suzy Baroud by
emailing or calling (425) 486-2023.


* Second U.S. Social Forum Coming to Detroit in June 2010

The US Social Forum II will take place June 22-26, 2010 at Cobo Hall and Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. Other workshops and community art and culture programs will take place across the city. The USSF will convene social movements from across the United States and globally. Organizers are reaching out to young people, people of color, unionists, laid off and unorganized workers, welfare recipients, veterans, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, freedom fighters, collectives, and many others. Click here to learn more.



8. DELEGATIONS TO ISRAEL/PALESTINE:


* ICAHD Summer Rebuilding Experience

August 1-16, 2009

Annually since 2003,
ICAHD has made it possible for internationals and Israelis to join together with Palestinians in Anata, East Jerusalem, to resist the occupation and rebuild the demolished home of a Palestinian family. In the summer of 2009, ICAHD will once again rebuild a Palestinian home during our two-week summer rebuilding experience. We invite you to participate in the incredible opportunity to learn first-hand about life under occupation. "Creating Alternative Facts on the Ground," ICAHD's 2009 Summer Rebuilding Experience, takes place from August 1-16, 2009. In addition to construction, there is a full program including field trips, cultural events, films and much more. For more information and an application form, please click here. 


* Global Exchange's Delegations to Palestine & Israel 


July 25th-August 4th, 2009 (Prospects for Peace with Justice)
October 30-November 9, 2009 (Olive Harvest)
December 5th-15th, 2009 (Prospects for Peace with Justice)



Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegations to Israel/Palestine


July 25th-August 7th, 2009 (Delegation cosponsored by US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
)


October 24th - November 6th, 2009


Click here for video testimonies from past participants in Interfaith Peace-Builders delegations.


* Indigenous Youth Delegation to Palestine

August 2-17, 2009

The Indigenous Youth Delegation to Palestine is a project of a collective of grassroots youth groups in the U.S. and Palestine. We have been committed to connecting Native and immigrant youth in the U.S with youth in Palestine by creating remote forums for us to reflect together and bridge our struggles. This first-ever cross-continental exchange is an opportunity for youth to learn first hand from each other by sharing tools of empowerment and education. Our journey to Palestine is part of an on-going process of connecting the shared experiences of Indigenous peoples across the world for the ultimate goal of land rights, justice and peace. Our trip is planned for August 2-17, 2009. Click here for more information.


* Joint Advocacy Initiative Olive Harvest Delegation

October 17-26, 2009

The Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine (JAI) and the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG) are organizing the sixth Olive Picking Program 2009 in Palestine from October 17-26. This agricultural event is of special significance to the Palestinian economy when all energies and efforts are mobilized. Click here for more information.



* Sabeel/Friends of Sabeel North America Delegations



Friends of Sabeel North America maintains a list of alternative travel opportunities to Israel/Palestine. To view the list, click here. Click here for more information on Sabeel's summer Young Adult Conference and Fall Witness Trip.



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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 by emailing us here.

The US Campaign aims to change U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 42-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.