Home   »  Our Coalition  »  Member Groups  »  Occupation End Notes

Occupation End Notes | July 24, 2009 Volume 7 Number 12

We always hope that Occupation End Notes brings you to the pulse of the movement for equality and international law in Palestine/Israel, but this week - and next week - we will be opening a window directly into the work of our allies in Israel/Palestine.  The US Campaign's second delegation with Interfaith Peace Builders arrives in Palestine/Israel next week.  This delegation - and the public education work undertaken by delegates when they return to the U.S. - is a crucial part of our work to change U.S. public opinion and policy.

This delegation will take special care to examine the effects of U.S. policy on the ground in Israel/Palestine.  Delegates will spend time with Palestinians and Israelis living in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Israel proper.  We will meet with students, families, municipal councils and other civil society representatives actively seeking solutions to the tragedy of occupation and apartheid.  Because the focus of this delegation is the effects of U.S. policy, it will end with a visit to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

While it's far too late to join this delegation, you can still support the work of these delegates or sign up to visit Palestine/Israel in the future.  Follow us on Twitter to get regular updates directly from our National Organizer, Katherine Fuchs, as she travels with the delegation.  We will also be posting updates from the delegation on the US Campaign blog. Please check it regularly to find out about who we're meeting with and what we're learning from those whose daily existence is itself an act of resistance. You can also click here to email Interfaith Peace Builders about supporting delegates as they embark upon their public education and advocacy work after the delegation returns. Of course, you can learn more about joining a future Interfaith Peace Builders delegation to Israel/Palestine by clicking here. Videos from past delegations are available here.

In addition to our upcoming delegation, there's a lot of other exciting news from the US Campaign. Check out the rest of Occupation End Notes for news about Gaza, a call for interns for the US Campaign, updates on the Congressional budget process for U.S. military aid to Israel, developments in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, and updates on the activities of US Campaign member groups.


US Campaign: Less than Two Months until National Conference; New Material on US Campaign Blog; How You Can Sustain the US Campaign

Gaza:
Israeli Soldiers Testify; UK Cuts Israel Weapons Contracts; Take Action; and More!

Challenging U.S. Policy:
Meet With Your Member of Congress; Congressional Budget Update; Israelis Contemplate End of U.S. Military Aid; and More!

Standing Against Apartheid: Exchanges over the Apartheid Wall--Real and Imagined

Boycott & Divestment: Motorola Boycott Update; Ha'aretz Covers Moto Boycott; BDS News; 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:


* 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 less than 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 coalition's 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.


* UK Cuts Israel Weapons Contracts, Gaza Soldiers' Testimonies, Apartheid Wall Commercials, and More 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 United Kingdom cutting military contracts to Israel; the latest on the opaque Congressional budget process and U.S. military aid to Israel; testimonies of Israeli soldiers about what they saw in the Gaza Strip; and the use of Israel's Apartheid Wall to sell phones. Click here to view exclusive content on the US Campaign blog.


* 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:

* Israeli Soldiers Testify About Human Rights Abuses in Gaza

Breaking the Silence, an organization which collects testimony on human rights abuses conducted by the IDF, has released testimony of soldiers admitting that the Israeli military used Palestinians as human shields during its latest offensive in the Gaza Strip. This news is significant in that it is further proof of the validity of the claims made by human rights groups such as Amnesty International that Israel engaged in the horrific practice. Read more at the US Campaign blog by clicking here.


* UK Cuts Israel Weapons Contracts Due to Use of Weapons in Gaza War

Good news from the United Kingdom: pressure from human rights groups seeking to cut off weapons shipments to Israel given the role they played in fueling Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip is starting to pay off. The BBC reports that the "UK has revoked five export licences for equipment to the Israeli navy because of actions during Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza this year." Click here to read more at the US Campaign blog.


* US Campaign Advisory Board Member Huwaida Arraf in The Nation: "Free Gaza--and Palestine"

US Campaign Advisory Board Member Huwaida Arraf writes in The Nation about her experience onboard the Free Gaza Movement boat The Spirit of Humanity, which was attacked and boarded by the Israeli military outside of Israeli waters while attempting to sail to the Gaza Strip. "My colleagues and I," writes Arraf, "invested time and energy in this difficult journey and put our lives at risk because for too long the international community has been complicit in Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people." Click here to read the full article.


* Israeli Officer Involved in Gaza Assault Promotes War Crimes at Harvard

On 9 July Harvard University's Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) invited Colonel Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, former Israeli military legal adviser, to their online Humanitarian Law and Policy Forum.
Although billed as a lecturer in the Law Faculty at Tel Aviv University -- and therefore as a detached humanitarian law analyst -- Colonel Sharvit-Baruch was in fact deeply involved in Israel's three-week onslaught in Gaza in December and January. What troubled many of the 200 or so participants who "attended" the talk via a virtual chatroom was that Sharvit-Baruch was cut off from public or legal scrutiny as she relayed her PowerPoint presentation. Questions were posed by the moderators, sanitized of any critical content. Yet the indisputable fact is that the army for which Sharvit-Baruch worked has been accused by all major human rights organizations of committing war crimes in Gaza. Click here to read the full article.


* Take the Case

July 23 - John Dugard argues that the International Criminal Court should take on the case of whether war crimes were committed during Israel's December-January assault on the Gaza Strip. "A decision by the I.C.C. to investigate whether crimes were committed in Gaza," writes Dugard, "would...give the I.C.C. an opportunity to show that it is not infected by a double standard and that it is willing to take action against international crimes committed outside Africa." Click here to read the full article.


* 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.



3. CHALLENGING U.S. POLICY:

* Meet with Your Member of Congress in August

Recent testimonies from Israeli soldiers who witnessed war crimes in the Gaza Strip highlight once 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 join more than 200 people from 37 states and 125 Congressional districts by scheduling a meeting and to get all of the resources you need to lobby your Members of Congress.


* Congress is Blazing through the Budget Process this Year

Unfortunately, we have more bad news about the willingness of Congress to approve suggested FY2010 military aid levels to Israel without debate. On July 9, the House moved with alacrity and passed H.R.3081, the FY2010 appropriations bill for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, which includes the President's budget request for $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel. Also, on the same day, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction for foreign aid programs apparently neglected to do its job and sent the appropriations bill directly to the full appropriations committee for it to "mark-up." In a previously unannounced session, the committee approved the budget by a vote of 29-1. The budget now goes to the always-opaque Senate calendar for the full Senate to vote on at some future date. Click here to read more about the Congressional budget process and what this means for our advocacy efforts.


* Israeli Military, Civilians Contemplate the End of U.S. Military Aid--Why Don't We?

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the Israeli military establishment has been considering what its options would be if the U.S. decides to cut off military aid due to Israeli settlement policy. It's long past time that we bring a conversation that is happening in Israeli Defense Ministry meetings into the halls of Congress. Click here to read more and take action.To sign up for a local organizing packet to end U.S. military aid to Israel, click here.


* Is Congress Catching Up w/ Obama? Find Out in Our 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:

* Exchanges Over the Apartheid Wall--Real and Imagined

The Israeli cell phone company Cellcom recently released an ad showing Israeli soldiers playing a light-hearted game of soccer with invisible Palestinians over the Apartheid Wall. The ad, which takes a step beyond normalizing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land to actually portraying it as fun, has been the target of criticism from many groups and individuals who understand the destructive effects that the Wall and the entire infrastructure of the occupation have on Palestinian lives and livelihoods and on chances for a just peace in the region. Click here to read about the response of the village of Bil'in to the ad, and how this relates to the ongoing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) work of the US Campaign.



5. BOYCOTT & DIVESTMENT UPDATE:


* Motorola Still Complicit in Israeli Occupation Despite Upcoming Sale of Israeli Subsidiary

Recently, there's been a lot of noise in the business press about Motorola selling its MIRS subsidiary and the US Campaign has spent many hours analyzing how this sale will affect our calls for boycott and divestment.  What we have determined is that Motorola will still be complicit in Israel's illegal military occupation and apartheid practices. While the sale of MIRS will mean that Motorola will no longer be selling consumer products to settlers, it will continue to fulfill contracts for communications equipment for the Israeli military and provide surveillance equipment for use around Jewish-only settlements on confiscated Palestinian land.

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 (BDS) 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.


* Israeli Newspaper Ha'aretz Covers Motorola Boycott Action

July 23 - Protesters in the New York borough of Queens held a rally last week to call for a boycott of Motorola over the firm's business dealings with the Israel Defense Forces. At the demonstration, which was organized by the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, protestors waved Palestinian flags and signs saying: "Goodbye Moto, Goodbye Apartheid," and "Boycott Motorola, Free Palestine." Click here to read more.


* 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).


* In Queens, Singing Protesters Urge Motorola Boycott

July 12 - Twenty New York human rights advocates captivated Astoria, Queens shoppers with songs and street theater calling for a boycott of communications giant Motorola until it stops selling products that aid Israel's army and settlement movement. The protest was organized by US Campaign allies the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel and US Campaign member group Adalah-NY. Click here to read more.


* HeidelbergCement tries to sell West Bank mines as legal, boycott pressures grow 

July 13 - HeidelbergCement, one of the world's largest manufacturers of building materials, has become the target of legal action in Israel because of its activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The company's subsidiary, Hanson Israel, manufactures ready-made cement, aggregates and asphalt for Israel's construction industry and operates a quarry in the occupied West Bank. Read the full article by clicking here.


* The Boycott Century

July 20 - Writing in Adbusters, Sousan Hammad examines the links between the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement and efforts to create a self-sustaining Palestinian economy. Hammad wonders how "an effective boycott [can] promote economic independence so that Palestinian milk will no longer end up in stores' dustbins?" Click here to read more.


* If Only the Yes Men Could Fix the World

July 23 - Erica Marcus covers the controversy surrounding the showing of a film about Rachel Corrie at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and applauds the inclusion by the festival of the new film by the Yes Men, the corporate hoax team that recently decided to participate in the call for cultural boycott by turning down an invitation from the Jerusalem Film Festival. Click here to read more.


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 290 coalition members represented by state:




* Help Us Reach 300!

Help us reach our goal of 300 member organizations! We currently have 293 member groups in our national coalition-just 7 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:

Holy Cross Melkite Greek Catholic Church - California

Another Jewish Voice of Albuquerque - New Mexico

CODEPINK NYC - New York

Tiffin Area Pax Christi - Ohio

Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area - California

Upper Hudson Peace Action - New York


* Update Your Member Group Contact Information

Is your member group contact information up to date on our website? Click here to check it, and if there are corrections or changes to be made, email us by clicking here.


* Oregon Member Groups Win Court Victory Against AIPAC

US Campaign member groups Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights and Veterans For Peace Eugene Squadron13 have won a court victory against AIPAC by supporting Navy veteran Joe Walsh from Portland, Oregon. Also known as "The Lone Vet", Joe Walsh was arrested at a protest of an AIPAC "Friends of the IDF" fundraiser. Joe had his day in court and was found NOT GUILTY in a stunning peace movement victory over a foreign political influence. Joe was supported by a dozen or more activist friends and colleagues in Judge Larson's court yesterday and represented by both Jason and Gregory Kafoury. Click here to learn more.


* US Campaign Member Groups Respond to State Attorneys General Letter in Support of Gaza War

Activists affiliated with US Campaign member groups Palestine Solidarity Committee - Seattle and the Rachel Corrie Foundation recently met with Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna to discuss a letter signed by ten State Attorneys General in support of Israel's war crimes in Gaza. For more information on the letter and the meeting with Attorney General McKenna, click here.


* My Word: Obama team should pressure Israel on settlements

Cecilie Surasky of US Campaign member group Jewish Voice for Peace writes on the need for the Obama Administration to pressure the Israeli government on settlements.
"Few Americans have had the opportunity to see firsthand, as I did in early July, the devastating impact of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem," writes Surasky, "and why it's critical that we support President Barack Obama's call for a settlement freeze." Click here to read the full article.


* San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Under Fire for Showing Film About Rachel Corrie, Inviting Cindy Corrie to Speak

Saturday, July 25th, 1:30 PM, at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, the film Rachel--a documentary about the killing of American peace activist Rachel Corrie by an Israeli army officer driving a Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer--will screen in the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the largest Jewish film festival in the country. The film was created by a well-known French-Israeli documentary filmmaker, Simone Bitton. Rachel's mother Cindy Corrie has invited to attend the festival and to engage in a thirty-minute post-screening Q&A session. 

During the past weeks, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has come under pressure from Consul General Akiva Tor of the Israeli Consulate and some segments of the Bay Area Jewish community to cancel the film and/or Cindy Corrie's appearance.

Check out MuzzleWatch, the blog of US Campaign member group Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as the website of US Campaign member group the Rachel Corrie Foundation, to see responses to criticism of the festival and of the Corries. Click here for more information about the festival and the film.


* 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.


* 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: 


* Stand Up for Jerusalem

The Hannoun family is one of 27 families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem facing eviction from their homes as part of a plan to implant a new Jewish settlement in the area. The family members are refugees from 1948, after being displaced from their home in Haifa during the Nakba, and currently consist of 18 people, 6 of whom are children. They have lived in Sheikh Jarrah since 1956 when the Jordanian Government and UNRWA gave them their houses as part of a project to house Palestinians forced to flee their homes. Now that all legal avenues have been exhausted, the family's last hope is that international pressure can help them stay in their homes. The international community must act now to force the Israeli government to stop its continued policy of ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem and save the Hannouns, and other Palestinian families, from forceful eviction from their houses. To learn more and take action, click here.


* 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 


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



Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegations to Israel/Palestine



October 26th - November 8th, 2009

May 22nd - June 4th, 2010

July 24th - August 6th, 2010

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 Witness Trips.



Back to top

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.