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While AIPAC Was in Town

While AIPAC Was in Town

Occupation End Notes; Vol. 8 No. 6; March 25 , 2010

Dear Friends,

While the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was in Washington, DC earlier this week for its 2010 Policy Conference, pushing its agenda of endless Israeli colonization of Palestinian land, endless U.S. military aid to Israel for more human rights abuses against Palestinians, and endless U.S./Israeli warfare in the broader region, the US Campaign took to the airwaves to counter that AIPAC's agenda is at odds with the Obama Administration's policy goals.  

We were interviewed by Al Jazeera English and Russia Today, and National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner participated in a live internet broadcast of ABC Nightline, debating whether the United States should get tougher on Israel (we'll be sure to send along the link to the video when we get it).

We also took part in a press conference and protest, organized by US Campaign member group Code Pink, outside of AIPAC's gala dinner, which featured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Check out Code Pink's exciting actions at the AIPAC conference by clicking here.

As he was leaving the AIPAC protest, Josh buttonholed none other than Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a leading Congressional supporter of AIPAC's policies.  Josh told Sen. Lieberman that "we can't afford an additional $30 billion in weapons for Israel."  The Senator sarcastically replied, "Really?"  Josh then said, "Yes, really.  It will only lead to more Israeli colonization of Palestinian land and human rights abuses against Palestinians, and won't lead to peace."  Lieberman responded bemusedly, "Is that so?"  Before Josh was pushed away from the Senator by an AIPAC goon, he asked Lieberman to investigate Israel's violations of the Arms Export Control Act.  No response to that one.     

Now that the AIPAC conference is over, we'll round out our our March Month of Action by marking Land Day on March 30th.  For the second year in a row, the Palestinian BDS National Committee has called for Land Day to be an international day of action for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). Click here to find out more and get involved!

Of course, our work doesn't end in March, so check out the rest of this week's edition of Occupation End Notes for information on the US Campaign's Annual National Organizers' Conference, action on military aid to Israel, member group activities, new blog posts, news, and more!

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

In This Edition

Save the Date: 9th Annual National Organizers' Conference, July 23-25

Organize to Challenge Military Aid on Tax Day

March 30 is Land Day: International Day of BDS Action

Major Campus Divestment Victories

US Campaign Blog

Member Group Update

Events Near You

Remembering Rachel Corrie

No "Business as Usual" with Apartheid Israel

New MECA Clean Water Petition

New Profile Speaking Tour

Mamilla Cemetary Petition

New Website Focuses on Palestinian Right to Protest

MPAC Calls on Congress to End Israeli Encroachment on Al Aqsa Mosque

Delegations to Israel/Palestine

Sustain the Work of the US Campaign

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* Save the Date: 9th Annual National Organizers' Conference in Kansas City, July 23-25

The US Campaign is excited to announce that our 9th Annual National Organizers' Conference will take place in Kansas City on July 23-25, 2010. 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 US Campaign conferences and read reports from past conferences, click here.

* Organize to Challenge Military Aid to Israel on Tax Day

Earlier this month, Vice President Biden promised that the Obama Administration would hold Israel "accountable for any statements or actions that inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of talks." We couldn't agree more. That's why we've been busy hitting the media with this one consistent message: the Obama Administration needs to translate its promise into action by ending military aid to Israel as a consequence for its ongoing violations of U.S. and international law and its defiance of U.S. policy goals.

Now it's your turn. Take action on or around Tax Day--April 15--to educate fellow taxpayers how their taxes are being used by Israel to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians.  Set up a spring recess meeting with your Members of Congress to talk to them about conditioning military aid to Israel, organize an event at your local post office, or host a Tax Day house party and invite your friends and neighbors over for a movie.  Sign up to get a Tax Day organizing kit and get more resources and ideas for action by clicking here.

* Take Action: On Land Day, Support Nonviolent Global Resistance to Occupation & Apartheid

March 30th has been known as Palestinian Land Day since 1976, when the Israeli military shot and killed six young Palestinian citizens of Israel as they were protesting the confiscation of their land. In the wake of last year's devastating assault on the Gaza Strip, the World Social Forum declared March 30th to be an international day of action for the BDS movement. Today, Land Day symbolizes Palestinian resistance to Israel's ongoing land expropriation, colonization, occupation, and apartheid. This year, the Palestinian BDS National Committee called for Land Day once again to be an international day of action for BDS. Learn more, find a Land Day event near you, and order an organizing kit by clicking here.

Looking for a Land Day event idea? US Campaign member group Palestine Online Store encourages solidarity groups to screen the documentary film "The Land Speaks Arabic," which documents the events of 1948 and how the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was pre-meditated.  The screening fee for this film is $200, but for the occasion of Land Day, Palestine Online Store is offering a 40% discount to US Campaign member organizations that purchase it by March 30 for screening on or around Land Day.  For film details click here, and take advantage of this exclusive offer by emailing Haithem.

Nationally, the US Campaign will be launching a new cultural boycott campaign using social media tools.  Following us on Twitter or becoming a fan of the US Campaign on Facebook is an easy way to do something for Land Day and resist the normalization of occupation and apartheid in Israel/Palestine.

* Major Campus BDS Victories

We've made some great strides in the campus BDS movement over the past two weeks. Student governments at both the University of Michigan - Dearborn and the University of California Berkeley have voted to support divestment. Both bills encouraged the states boards of regents to divest from corporations profiting from Israel's human rights abuses and violations of international law. Unfortunately, the president of the the Berkeley Association Students of the University of California President vetoed the divestment resolution, even though student senators voted to pass it in a 16-4 landslide.  

The campus BDS movement has been blossoming since Hampshire College announced divestment one year ago. Show your support for these steadfast student activists: click here to send an email in support of the UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine and here to send a similar email to the UM Dearborn Arab Student Union. Click here to access our campus BDS resources, which will help you start your own campaign.

* Changing Discourse, the Corrie Trial, and U.S. Military Aid Hard at Work on US Campaign Blog

Have you seen the latest voices, videos, and viewpoints on the US Campaign blog? Evidence of changing discourse abounds with US Campaign National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner featured on radio shows across the United States, UC Berkeley's divestment announcement, and recent online opinion articles from the New York Times and CNN. The Corrie family's lawsuit against the Israeli government continues, Norman Finkelstein gets 'disinvited' from yet another venue, and divestment at UC Berkeley has been vetoed. And U.S. tax dollars continue to be used to kill civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories while a new short video exposes the reality of structural racism faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel. All this and more at the US Campaign blog.

* 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.

Please welcome the following group to the coalition:

Buena Vista United Methodist Church - California

* Gaza Report Backs, Land Day Actions, Film Screenings, Poetry Readings, Tax Day Protests, and More Events near You!

Find out about Land Day events, Gaza Freedom March report-backs, film screenings, poetry readings, Tax Day protests, and more exciting events coming to a community near you on the US Campaign's online event calendar. Use the calendar to find out what's happening in your community to promote human rights and international law in U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine. If you are planning an event--a vigil, a march, a teach-in, a film screening, an action, or anything else--you can publicize your event on our website by clicking here.

* US Campaign Member Groups Commemorate Rachel Corrie's Life and Work

Seven years ago, on March 16th, an Israeli soldier driving a Caterpillar D-9R bulldozer ran over and crushed to death Rachel Corrie.  Rachel was a 23 year old student and human right's defender from Olympia, WA.  Rachel was nonviolently trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip with the International Solidarity Movement.  This year, over 15 US Campaign member groups organized events to commemorate Rachel Corrie's life and legacy.  These events ranged from teach-ins to poetry performances to vigils.  Nationally, Rachel's parents called for a call-in day to the White House and seven of our member groups coordinated to support that call.

While we were working to share Rachel's story with our communities and media outlets here in the U.S., Rachel's family was in Haifa, Israel prosecuting a civil suit against the state of Israel for Rachel's unlawful killing.  Read trial updates and media coverage of the Corrie family's struggle for justice by clicking here.

* US Campaign Member Groups Say: "No 'Business as Usual' with Israeli Apartheid"

US Campaign member groups New Orleans Palestine Solidarity and Pax Christi along with allies from local chapters of Amnesty International and the General Union of Palestinian Students organized a March 16 protest at the Louisiana Department of Commerce and the New Orleans World Trade Center in response to a seminar called "Doing Business in Israel and the Middle East." The seminar was hosted by an Israeli consulting company called EDI. On a cold, early morning, about twenty protesters marched from the World Trade Center to the Westin Hotel in Canal Place, the site of the seminar. With chants like "Just Like Jim Crow/Israeli Apartheid Has Got to Go" and "Don't Invest in Occupation/Invest in Haiti Reparations" the protesters linked issues of international investment with global and local social justice causes. Similar protests, organized by US Campaign member group Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights greeted a "Doing Business in Israel" seminar in Portland, Oregon. Read more by clicking here.

* MECA Launches New Website and Clean Water for Palestine Petition

US Campaign member group Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) has launched a new and improved website with slideshows, project photo galleries, and more information on how you can get involved. The new site also includes MECA's "Clean Water for Children in Palestine" petition.

Check out the site by clicking here, and sign the petition by clicking here.

* New Profile Speaking Tour

US Campaign member group Resource Center for Nonviolence, in cooperation with New Profile and the Refuser Solidarity Network, is sponsoring a California speaking tour entitled "On the Impact of Continued War on Israeli Society." The tour features Ofra Lyth, an Israeli Jew, and Ismail Kharoub, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, speaking about the ongoing impact on Israel and its citizens of the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Learn more and see scheduled events by clicking here.

* Petition to End Desecration of Jerusalem's Mamilla Cemetary

The Israeli government and the Simon Wiesenthal Center (a US tax-exempt organization) are building a cynically named Museum of Tolerance on the ancient Jerusalem Mamilla Cemetery site.  Despite being offered alternative locations, the sponsors insist on desecrating the Cemetery to pursue their  assault on common sense and decency.  A global petition vampaign has been launched in conjunction with the filing of a legal petition to stop this egregious action to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.  Learn more and sign the petition by clicking here.

* New Website Dedicated to Palestinian Right of Protest

US Campaign allies Stop the Wall and Addameer have launched a new website dedicated to the rights of Palestinians human rights defenders (HRD). The website corresponds to a new campaign aimed at securing the immediate release of all Palestinian HRD; an end to the Israeli practice of arbitrary detention; full adherence to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as applied to the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and full respect for the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Find out more and check out the new site by clicking here.

* MPAC Calls on Congress to Stop Israeli Encroachment on Al-Aqsa Mosque

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is asking supporters to call on Congress to demand an end to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites. The restrictions on Palestinian movement have been "extended indefinitely" and apparently have been enacted in response to increased international pressure against Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem. Find out more and take action by clicking here.

* ICAHD Summer Rebuilding Experience and Other Opportunities to Visit Israel/Palestine for Education and Solidarity

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) has announced its 2010 Summer Rebuilding Experience, which will take place from July 19-August 1, 2010. 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 2010, ICAHD will once again rebuild Palestinian homes during our two-week camp. 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 2010 Summer Rebuilding Experience, takes place from July 19-August 1, 2010. In addition to construction, there is a full program including field trips and tours, cultural events, such as films and dance, meetings with activists, artists, intellectuals, and leaders, and so much more. For more information and an application form, click here or contact Richard Wark.

Check out this and many more opportunities to visit Israel/Palestine, such as the Sabeel Young Adult Conference, Global Exchange Reality Tours, Interfaith Peace-Builders delegations, and more by clicking here.

* 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 online, donating 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 42-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.