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The Beginning of the End


The Beginning of the End

June 18, 2010

Thirty-four years ago this week, students in Soweto, South Africa took to the streets to nonviolently protest against the apartheid education system. What resulted was the death of 23 school children who were met with police gunfire, and days of struggle as 1,500 police officers armed with automatic rifles and stun guns were deployed to Soweto to quell the uprising, killing hundreds more and injuring thousands.

Many consider the Soweto Uprising the beginning of the end of South African Apartheid. People across the world watched in horror and outrage as pictures began flooding in of innocent children and unarmed civilians being brutally attacked by heavily armed police.  The result was worldwide condemnation and a call for an international boycott of the South African Apartheid regime, which helped to cripple the South African economy and bring down the government.

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the struggle to end the Israeli apartheid regime continues. Fourty-three years have now passed since the start of the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians continue to live through daily human rights violations, discrimination, and the confiscation of their land and livelihoods.

The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel began only five years ago, but we have already seen unparalleled growth in the past year.  This month alone, numerous musical artists have cancelled their concerts in Israel to protest the brutal treatment of Palestinians. Media networks are providing more open and honest coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Thousands of outraged citizens took to the streets after the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, leading countries around the world to condemn the attack.

The movement is only going to continue to grow from here, and we can't do it without your help. Sign up to become a local organizer and work to end military aid to Israel,Caterpillar's destruction of civilian homes and land, Motorola's complicity in the occupation, or Ahava's violation of international law and theft of Palestinian natural resources.  Join us at our 9th Annual National Organizer's Conference to help shape the future of the US Campaign and to meet other activists across the country. Or simply support the US Campaign through a donation, or by purchasing an End the Occupation shirt, cap, bumper sticker, or Palestinian made olive oil, soap, and food products.


If you have a resource or an update you'd like to see included in Occupation End Notes, 
click here to email us. To support the important work of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the largest and most diverse coalition of organizations and organizers working to challenge U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine click here.  Your support makes this important work possible!

Want more news and updates about the work of the US Campaign and its member groups? Read unique content on our blog, keep up with the latest media coverage and press releases, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out our YouTube and Podcast channels to get your occupation-ending fix between editions of Occupation End Notes.

In solidarity,

US Campaign National Office Staff

Occupation End Notes

US Campaign Conference

43 Years of Occupation

New Products on Our Online Store 

US Social Forum

Meet With Members of Congress

United Methodists Vote to Divest

Justice For All?

Around the World, Surge of BDS

AJJP Sponsor Jewish Boat to Gaza

Fall 2010 Speaking Tour

Events Around the World

Israeli Apartheid Video Contest

Member Groups

Donate





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♦ Register, submit program proposals, or run for Steering Committee at this year's 9th Annual National Organizers' Conference

The US Campaign is excited to announce that registration is now open for our 9th Annual National Organizers' Conference, which will take place at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, on July 23-25, 2010. Many thanks to US Campaign member group Citizens for Justice in the Middle East and to the Muslim Student Association at UMKC for securing this venue!

Member groups that have paid dues
can now submit proposals to be considered and voted on at the National Conference.  The US Campaign is accepting proposals concerning for strengthening current programmatic areas.  Member groups can also submit proposals for new campaigns, activism, or project ideas to be led by their own organizations.  Click here to learn more or to submit a proposal. Only proposals submitted by member groups in good standing will be considered.

Steering Committee elections
are also now open.  The Steering Committee is the highest decision-making body of the US Campaign between annual conferences.  It is responsible for policy decisions, strategic planning, fundraising, and personnel decisions. The Steering Committee is currently comprised of twelve volunteers who are elected by our membership annually to serve a three-year term.  At this year's Organizers' Conference, five positions will be filled.  Click here to learn more or to run for Steering Committee.

US Campaign conferences give representatives of 
member groups that have paid their dues to the US Campaign the opportunity to set overall political direction and priorities for the coming year, review and evaluate the work of the US Campaign, and elect representatives to the Steering Committee. They also provide a forum for local and national groups and individuals to network and exchange resources with one another. To learn more about this year's National Conference, read our draft agenda, check out our FAQs, or find overnight accommodations click here.  To review previous US Campaign conferences and read past reports, click here.

Has your organization paid membership dues to the US Campaign this year? Find out by
clicking here.


♦ 43 Years of Occupation ♦

This past month marks 43 years since Israel began its military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.  It marks 43 years of human rights abuses against Palestinians, illegal colonization of Palestinian land, violations of international law and UN resolutions, denial of Palestinian self-determination, and prevent of a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.

After his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier this month, President Obama stated what we all know to be true: "the status quo with respect to the Middle East is unsustainable."  

Yes, the status quo is unsustainable- and that includes U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine.  That is why the work of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is more important today than ever.  And we do it on a budget less than 1/2 of 1% of AIPAC's.  Help us work to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality by making a tax-deductible contribution of $43!

To learn more and see our Top Ten list of accomplishments and victories just since Memorial Day, click here.


♦ Check Out New Products on our Online Store! 

The US Campaign is excited to present our new End the Occupation Merchandise! From t-shirts, to coffee mugs, to trucker caps you can now wear your support for the US Campaign and for human rights and equal justice.

Also make sure to check out our other great products, such as books and Palestinian made olive oil, soap, couscous and more!


US Social Form

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is proud to partner with the US Palestinian Community Network in the Palestine Track of the US Social Forum, taking place in Detroit from June 22-26.

At the Palestine Track, US Campaign staff and Steering Committee members will be participating in panels and giving workshops.  Also, be sure to check out the US Campaign's table inside the Palestine Tent.

For additional details, please 
click here.


Meet with Your Members of Congress during the August Recess ♦

Can you believe that there are actual resolutions in Congress justifying Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla? 

It's up to us as concerned constituents to meet with our Members of Congress to let them know that we oppose them supporting resolutions such as these.

Congress will be on recess in August, and we've created a new web section with everything that you need to set up and run an effective meeting.

Check out our interactive map of who is organizing a meeting in your Congressional district, sign up to set up a meeting, and download resources to educate your Members of Congress by 
clicking here
.



♦ United Methodists Vote to Divest from Companies that Benefit from Occupation of Palestine ♦

At its annual conference, the Northern Illinois Conference (NIC) of the United Methodist Church (UMC) voted to divest all holdings in three international corporations that profit from the occupation of Palestine. This action is in response to a plea by Palestinian Christians for action, not just words.

Divestment is a nonviolent form of economic protest long-used by churches and other shareholders to encourage companies to end unjust practices.  By selling its investments in Caterpillar (CAT), General Electric (GE) and Terex (TEX), the NIC expresses its commitment to do no harm with its investments and affirms the call of the UMC Book of Discipline to "avoid investments that appear likely, directly or indirectly, to support violation of human rights" (Paragraph 716). 

These three companies are among 20 targeted by many UMC conferences across the country because they (1) have a presence on occupied land, (2) are involved with the physical settlements, checkpoints and the separation wall, or (3) support activities of the Israeli military in the occupied territories.

Connie Baker from the End the Occupation Task Force of the Board of Church and Society which brought forth the resolution stated: "We are resolute in our support of peace for both Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land and the rights of each to co-exist according to the principles set forth in the Geneva Conventions. It is a small step, but an important one."

The conference will also send a list of the 20 identified companies to the nearly 400 local churches in Northern Illinois and encourage them to consider divestment from any corporations on the list.

For the list of targeted corporations, which was compiled by the New England Conference (UMC) Divestment Task Force,click here.


Justice for All?  A Tale of Two Victims:  Leon Klinghoffer and Furkan Dogan 

US Campaign National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner, writing at Huffington Post:

"In October 1985, four Palestinian gunmen from the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) stormed an Italian cruise ship on the Mediterranean, holding its approximately 700 vacationers hostage while demanding the release of their comrades-in-arms from Israeli prison.

The hijacking of the Achille Lauro, during which the hijackers killed an elderly, wheelchair-bound Jewish-American man--Leon Klinghoffer--and then threw his body into the sea, ranked as one of the most ignominious acts ever committed by Palestinians."

President Ronald Reagan vowed swift action against the PLF hijackers, who were eventually prosecuted and imprisoned in Italy.  To determine whether the Pledge of Allegiance's promise of "justice for all" holds true in all circumstances, Ruebner compares the U.S. reaction Leon Klinghoffer's death to U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan's death onboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla:

"In the Obama Administration's most comprehensive statement to date on the injuring and killing of these U.S. citizens, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated on June 3:

'Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government and one that we take very seriously. We are in constant contact with the Israeli Government, attempting to obtain more information about our citizens. We have made no decisions at this point on any additional specific actions that our government should take with respect to our own citizens.'

It doesn't sound as if the Obama Administration will be scrambling fighter jets anytime soon to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak for ordering these attacks against U.S. civilians. "  Click here to read the entire article.

Also, be sure to check out all the other great articles and interviews from US Campaign staff, Steering Committee, and Advisory Board members:

"Obama Must Do More to Hold Israel Accountable for Gaza Blockade," National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner

National Media Coordinator David Hosey speaks with RT America about the attack on the Freedom Flotilla.

"From Istanbul: Outrage Over a Massacre on the High Seas," Steering Committee member Phyllis Bennis, in Huffington Post

"The Boycott Divestment Sanctions Movement," Steering Committee member Adam Horowitz & Pilip Weiss, in The Nation

"BDS in the USA, 2001-2010," former National Organizer Noura Erakat, in The Middle East Report

"Understanding Israel's Dilemma," Advisory Board member Nadia Hijab, in The Agence Free Press

Advisory Board member Huwaida Arraf, who was onboard one of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla ships, speaks with Laura Flanders of GRITtv about the Israeli attack on her ship.


Around the World, Surge of BDS in Response to Gaza Flotilla Massacre ♦

Just a few weeks back, we reported on a renewed wave of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) activity against Israeli apartheid and occupation.

That was before the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre.

Now, as calls for governments around the globe to hold the Israeli military accountable for the killing of 8 Turkish citizens and one U.S.-Turkish citizen continue, and as Turkey, Nicaragua, and others have withdrawn ambassadors or suspended diplomatic ties, civil society groups are sending a clear message that accountability is the job of global citizens, not just states.

The recent BDS victories include Evergreen College's vote to divest from "Israel's illegal occupation," and to create a Caterpillar Free campus. Italy's largest supermarkets COOP and Nordiconad announced a boycott of Carmel Agrexco, an Israeli produce company.  Germany's largest bank Deutsche Bank and Sweden's largest national pension funds both announced their divestment from Elbit Systems, an Israeli company that supplies technology for Israel's military, settlements, and construction of the Wall.  Swedish Port Workers Union has refused to handle ISraeli cargo.  Britains largest union, Unite, passed a unanimous motion to promote a poicly of divestment from Israeli companies and to boycott Israeli goods and services.  The Pixies also joined the likes of Elvis Costello, Snoop Dogg, Santana, and others by joining the cultural boycott and cancelling their upcoming concert in Israel.

The BDS movement does stop there, however.  Click here to read more about the growing BDS movement, and ways you can get involved.


Americans Jews for a Just Peace to Co-Sponsor Jewish Boat to Gaza ♦

American Jews for a Just Peace (AJJP) has agreed to serve as the U.S. coordinator for the Jewish Boat to Gaza, its organizers have announced.  The boat, sponsored by a coalition of international Jewish organizations dedicated to peace with ustice in Israel/Palestine, is scheduled to sail from an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean this July.  It will head toward Gaza in an effort to break the siege imposed by Israel in 2006.  The passengers will include Jews from Germany the U.K. and the United States, including at least one survivor of the Nazi Holocaust.

To learn more and to support the Jewish Boat to Gaza, click here.


♦ Photographer Skip Schiel, Fall 2010 Speaking Tour ♦

Now booking engagements for photographer Skip Schiel's Fall 2010 speaking tour, featuring multimedia slideshows on Gaza, Bethlehem,  the Jordan River, Hydropolitics of Palestine/Israel,  Quakers in Israel/Palestine and more.  Print photo exhibits also available.  Looking for speaking engagements between Washington DC and New Orleans (Southern leg), New Orleans and Chicago (Mississippi leg), Chicago and Boston (Midwest-NE leg). CONTACT David 803-215-3263, skipschieltour@gmail.com


Click here for more info.


♦ Events Around the World

Register your event on the US Campaign's online event calendar!  Use the calendar to find out what's happening in your community and to promote human rights and international law in U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine.

June 19-22, Detroit, MI: 2010 U.S. Assembly of Jews Confronting Racism and Israeli Aparthied

June 22-26, Detroit, MI: U.S. Social Forum

June 24, 2010, San Francisco, CA: "Mornings in Jenin" with Susan Abulhawa

July 27, Bizreit, Palestine: Right to Education International Student Conference

October 1, Everywhere: Theatrical Call to Action- There is a Field


Israeli Apartheid Video Contest 

US Campaign member group Itisapartheid.org, in partnership with Stop the Wall, announces the first international Israeli Apartheid Video Contest. Film submissions need to be less than 5 minutes and must depict the nature, realities, and/or consequences of Israel's apartheid policies. Films, which may be in any format, must be submitted by July 20, 2010.

For more information, visit the Israeli Apartheid Video Contest website by clicking here.


♦ Member Groups, Member Groups Everywhere! 

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 325 coalition members represented by state. Don't see your group listed? Click here to join the US Campaign. Member groups, now that we're well into 2010, it's time to renew membership dues!

Click here to check if your group is in good standing with the US Campaign and find out how to pay dues.

The US Campaign would like to welcome the following new group into the coalition:  Vermonters for a Just Peace in the Palestine/Israel


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

Has this edition of Occupation End Notes been useful to you? Would you like to continue to benefit from action alerts, online event posting, national organizing tours, resources for local organizers, national days of action, and grassroots advocacy trainings? Providing all of these resources for organizers isn't free. It takes staff time, printing costs, phone bills, and more.

If you, like thousands of other committed activists, find these resources vital for your organizing, make a tax-deductible donation to our ongoing work by donating onlinedonating office supplies and services, or commit to monthly giving by joining the Olive Branch Club.

Click here for more information, and join our Facebook Cause by clicking here



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Occupation End Notes is the US Campaign bi-weekly 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 is planning an event 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 43-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.


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