Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Educate & Mobilize Your Community During Apartheid Week 2012!

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer

Are you looking for opportunities to educate your community and advance a campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel? Or are you gearing up to launch such a campaign? Israeli Apartheid Week 2012 is a fantastic opportunity to do so, and it's just three weeks away!

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events held in cities and on campuses across the globe. The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid state and to build BDS campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement. Last year's IAW was incredibly successful with participants in 97 U.S. cities! The eighth annual IAW is February 26 - March 3, 2012.  

Click here to email the U.S. IAW coordinators now if you plan to participate in IAW 2012!

Local initiatives during Israeli Apartheid Week span a wide variety. You need not organize an entire week of events, and you can decide what kind of event best advances your work within your means. Here are some ideas for activities:

1.Organize a teach-in to educate the community about the definition and the reailty of Israeli apartheid, how U.S. aid to Israel scaffolds Israeli apartheid, and the importance of BDS as a strategy to end Israeli apartheid. The IAW and US Campaign websites have dozens of fact sheets illustrating Israel's apartheid policies in the occupied territories and Israel itself. One of the best resources illustrating the former is a booklet by US Campaign member group Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - USA, entitled "Is Israel an Apartheid State?", based on a legal study coordinated by the government of South Africa. There are also films about Israeli apartheid that you can screen.

2.Pass a resolution to endorse BDS and the BDS National Committee's statement "Occupy Wall Street, Not Palestine!" at your nearest #Occupy General Assembly, as #Occupy Oakland did last week! Organizers compiled data from AidToIsrael.org to show how many local tax-dollars are being spent on military aid to Israel, and how that money could otherwise be spent in the local community. You can also pass a resolution to call for an end to U.S. aid that supports Israeli apartheid. The apartheid framework is a great tool to coalition-build with allies at #Occupy who are working on other anti-racism struggles.

3.Be creative! Draw attention to Israeli apartheid and BDS with a Mock Apartheid Wall, a BDS flash mob, a concert or poetry reading, street theater, and anything else that energizes and builds your efforts. 2012.

Organizing for IAW comes on the heels of an exhilarating National BDS Conference at the University of Pennsylvania this past weekend. Kicking off with a video of support from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, hundreds of activists and academics gathered for two days of workshops, analysis, and entertainment, undeterred by a barrage of attacks by BDS opponents who attempted to smear organizers and speakers alike. Click here to hear a press briefing with keynote speaker Ali Abunimah and me, refuting the bogus charges. You know the old saying by Mahatma Gandhi:

"First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win."

Let us continue to challenge U.S. aid to Israel and Israeli apartheid as part of this movement that can no longer be ignored. Part of what makes IAW so powerful is that it is internationally coordinated around the same goal to build the global BDS movement. Please click here to contact the U.S. IAW organizers as soon as possible if you plan to participate, so they can get your events up on the international website for this exciting week of action! 
Click here to contact the U.S. IAW organizers now if you plan to participate, so they can get your events up on the international website for this exciting week of action!