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Rally reveals progressives primed for ending Israel military aid



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  Volume 8; Number 16                                                                    Occupation End Notes                                                     October 08, 2010

In this Issue

  • Chicago ads speak out against military aid
  • Rachel: A Film by Simone Bitton
  • JVP petitions for Abu Rahmah's release
  • Divestment in Georgia
  • Virginians place highway banners
  • Obama's Misplaced Missive
  • 2010 Edward Said Memorial Lecture
  • Abbas' dilemma
  • Free Palestine T-shirt
  • Member Groups, Member Groups Everywhere!
  • Donate Today

Events Around the Nation

NATIONWIDE
  • October 9
    Walk for a Free Palestine

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

  • Washington
    October 24- December 12
    The Sound of Peace: Palestinian, Israeli & US Artists Painting Hope
  • Washington
    October 29
    2010 Palestine Center Annual Conference- Palestine: In a Moment of Change or Continuity

MINNESOTA

NEW YORK

  • New York City
    October 8-14
    Rachel- A Film by Simone Bitton

PENNSYLVANIA

  • Philadelphia
    October 11
    The Hidden Truth: The Ongoing Cruelty in Palestine

VIRGINIA

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Rally reveals progressives primed for ending Israel military aid


Above: Harry Belafonte speaking at "One Nation Working Together" rally

The principles were spot-on; the objectives had merit; the values were no different from those driving the international movement to end the Israeli occupation.

At last Saturday's "One Nation Working Together" march on Washington, multitudes of progressive causes arrayed across the National Mall. Whether or not rally-goers noticed the connection, their resounding themes ofjustice, jobs, peace and education made up an essential wish-list for Palestinians too.

While the U.S. Campaign leafletted a stream of marchers in one shady corner of the Mall, tens of thousands stood in the sun before the Lincoln Memorial, where musician-activist Harry Belafonte, Jr., passionately denounced militarism (watch video here).

"This is America's wake-up call," Belafonte said. "All Americans will soon come to the realization that the wars that we wage today in faraway lands are immoral, unconscionable, and unwinnable."

The crowd replied in affirmative thunder. Talking with hundreds of other activists and visitors throughout the day, U.S. Campaign staff and volunteers were heartened by a positive reception too – at our calls for help ending military aid to Israel.

Belafonte voiced dismay about the U.S. having "the largest prison population in the world." We called demonstrators' attention to Gaza, in which Israel controls the world's largest open-air prison.

The crowd applauded when he said "the giant called democracy is at last stirring again." We encouraged marchers to ask why democracy for Palestinian citizens of Israel is being dismantled, as seen in the recent censure of Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian Member of the Israeli Knesset.

Belafonte championed "jobs, jobs, jobs." We found some people already aware of the lines of unemployed workers in the West Bank, their mobility restricted by checkpoints, and their farms fenced off and guarded by Israeli troops.

In principle, a civil society disgusted with militarism and wasteful policy should be able to mobilize against the flow of $30 billion from U.S. taxpayers into Israeli military projects, which President Obama has affirmed for the fiscal decade 2009-2018.

That remains OUR daily focus, not only for the US Campaign and many of its member groups, but other initiatives around the nation:

This week in Chicago, the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (a U.S. Campaign member) succeeded in placing bright, persuasive ads throughout the transit system, calling explicitly for stopping that military aid. Passengers on Chicago's "El" trains will see the ads for a full month. In Georgia, legislators received an eloquent petition for divestment from Israel by the state's Green Party. Tonight, documentarian Simone Bitton's film "Rachel" will open in New York City, telling the story of Rachel Corrie.

If these calls reached President Obama with enough intensity, he would have to do as our National Advocacy Director recently wrote in the Huffington Post, and "cut off military aid to Israel ... until a time that Israel was prepared to negotiate in good faith with Palestinians on the basis of human rights, international law, and UN resolutions."

In the meantime, our campaign keeps growing, joined by more Americans who know that this can be done!


♦ Group brings campaign to Chicago transit riders

Mondoweiss, October 5, 2010

Learn how to bring these campaign ads to your city.

The Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine has posted signs like the one to the right in Chicago Transit Authority "el" trains for the next month. The campaign website explains:

"The 'Be on Our Side' media and education project promotes a positive, productive U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The goals of the campaign are:

  • to encourage U.S. policies that promote peace, equality, and security for Israelis and Palestinians
  • to inform Americans about the scale and consequences of U.S. military aid to Israel
  • to promote awareness of the importance of ending U.S. military aid to Israel"

The website has more information, as well as ways to bring the ads to your town.

Learn more

Bring the campaign to your city

Rachel: A film by Simone Bitton

RACHEL is a startlingly rigorous, fascinating and deeply moving investigatory documentary that examines the death of peace activist and International Solidarity Movement (ISM) member Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003.

Simone Bitton, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who is a citizen of both France and Israel, has crafted a dispassionate but devastating essay investigating the circumstances of Rachel Corrie’s death--including astounding eyewitness testimony from activists, soldiers, Israeli Defense Force army spokespersons and physicians, as well as insights from Corrie’s parents, mentors and diaries.

Rachel will screen at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City, October 8-14.

Watch Simone Bitton's recent GRITtv interview with Laura Flanders.

Learn more

♦ "Peaceful protest is not a crime!" - JVP

Jewish Voice for Peace, US Campaign Member Group


Abdallah Abu Rahmah

Click here to sign a letter requesting Hillary Clinton to press Israel for Abdallah's release.

We have very little time to take action before Abdallah Abu Rahmah is sentenced by an Israeli Military Judge. We are calling on U.S. Secretary of State Clinton to use the United States’ influence to secure the immediate release of nonviolent Palestinian organizer Abdallah Abu Rahmah.

The E.U., the Spanish Parliament, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu have all called for Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s release. How can the US government remain silent over such an obvious miscarriage of justice by a close ally?

Please click here to read and sign this letter to U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, which we will hand-deliver to her office. (Not in the U.S.? Click here.)

You can also give us an organizational endorsement by emailing "antonia [at] jewishvoiceforpeace.org".

Learn More

♦ Georgia appropriations chairs urged by Greens: "Divest from Israel"

Georgia Green Party, October 6, 2010

Ian October 6 letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, the officers of the Georgia Green Party urged that "the state of Georgia sever its economic ties with the Apartheid state of Israel," and specifically "that language be included in the Appropriations Act instructing that state purchasing boycott products and services from Israel in general."

Learn More

♦ Virginia group places highway banners

US Campaign member group "Virginians for Middle East Peace" recently unfurled banners on highway overpasses in Arlington and Falls Church. VAMEP plans to continue placing the banners in highly visible spots around the state, and hopes to connect with other community groups that want to do the same. The banners read: "Want peace in the Middle East? End the Israeli Occupation." Click the image to enlarge it.

Obama's Misplaced Missive

The Huffington Post, October 1, 2010

Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director, US Campaign to end the Israeli Occupation

As the clock ticks closer toward an ignominious end to the Obama Administration's ill-conceived gambit to reconvene direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, President Obama appears desperate to keep the talks alive, as revealed on Wednesday [September 29] in accounts of a letter he purportedly sent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

To date, Netanyahu has refused to extend Israel's self-declared "moratorium" on settlement building, which expired on September 26. For his part, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has grown increasingly assertive that he will walk away from the table with the endorsement of the Arab League if the "moratorium" is not extended by October 6.

To keep the talks going, Obama's letter to Netanyahu reportedly offers him "far-reaching" incentives if Israel agrees to a one-time 60-day extension of the settlement "moratorium," according to two remarkably similar and credible accounts published by the Israeli daily newspaper Ma'ariv and David Makovsky, of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Read More

♦ Rashid Khalidi delivers 2010 Edward Said Memorial Lecture

"The Palestine Question and the U.S. Public Sphere" was the title of yesterday's lecture by Rashid Khalidi, who is Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, and a member of the US Campaign's Advisory Board. The event is held annually by the Palestine Center in Washington. Watch the complete lecture or read the transcript on the center's web site. Here's an excerpt:

"There is reason for deep short-term pessimism about the situation in Palestine and the situation in Israel. Both are endlessly depressing. But there are signs, I think, of encouraging longer-term trends in the public sphere in this country ... It took generations and a lot of hard work to establish the myths Israel was built on, and it will take years, a lot of hard work, to deconstruct them, and for the generations that are not going to change their minds in many cases, to lose their influence."

Watch Now

Mahmoud Abbas' dilemma

Inside Story, Al-Jazeera, September 29, 2010

Phyllis BennisSteering Committee Member, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Settlement-building in the West Bank returned to full-speed after the Israeli government allowed the 10-month "moratorium" on settlement expansion to expire. With the peace process under serious threat, what will Abbas do next? And can diplomacy find a way out of this dilemma?

Phyllis Bennis appeared on Al-Jazeera's Inside Story, along with Yousef Munayyer of the Palestine Center.

Watch Now

♦ Sport the Colors!

...at the gym, or under a see-through raincoat, or however you want -- with this sporty T-shirt, exclusively from our store. We offer a variety of sizes and colors. While you're there, check out our other great products, such as books and Palestinian-made olive oil, soap,couscous and more!

Order Now

Member Groups, Member Groups Everywhere! 

To our growing coalition, we welcome the Palestine Freedom Projectand Students for Justice in Palestine at Tufts University!

To better aid our members' networking efforts, and to better gauge the coalition's regional diversity, we've mapped our 325-plus members, state-by-state! Don't see your group listed? Click here to join the US Campaign. And you 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.

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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.

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