Showing posts with label Call to Action. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Call to Action. Show all posts

Monday, August 13, 2012

Call to Action: Rachel Corrie Verdict

US Campaign member group The Rachel Corrie Foundation has requested worldwide action against Israeli occupation and home demolitions to mark the August 28th verdict in the Corrie family's civil suit against the Israel Ministry of Defense. The case, over 7 years in the making, seeks some measure of justice for the 2003 death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie at the hands of the Israeli military in Gaza.  Please support this call, which is rooted in the Foundation's mission: "Inspired by Rachel's work and her belief that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace with dignity and equality."




CALL TO ACTION

Mark the Verdict in the Corrie Civil Case in Israel - August 28th!

August 10, 2012

Dear Friends,

The Corries are on their way to Haifa for the verdict in their civil lawsuit later this month. We call on you to act in support. For ten years, you have remembered Rachel Corrie and followed the work of her family and many others to pursue accountability and justice in her case. You stood with the Corries when the Israeli Government failed to take responsibility for Rachel's killing by the Israeli military in 2003. You stood with the Corries when the U.S. Government was largely ineffective, despite their finding that the Israeli military police investigation of Rachel's killing did not meet standards of being "thorough, credible, and transparent." Seeking every possible avenue to push for transparency and accountability, and on advice of the U.S. Government, the Corrie family brought a civil lawsuit against the Israel Ministry of Defense and State.

Now, nearly 7 1/2 years since the case was filed and nearly 2 1/2 years since the trial in Haifa District Court began, we ask you to continue to stand with the Corries as a verdict is announced the morning of August 28th in the courtroom of Judge Oded Gershon.
All of us at the Rachel Corrie Foundation hope the outcome will provide some measure of justice for Rachel's killing; but regardless, the larger struggle for justice and equal rights continues. Inspired by Rachel's work and her belief that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace with dignity and equality, we continue our efforts:
  • To seek a just peace in the Middle East and an end to the 45-year Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. 
  • To bring visibility to the oppression but also to the spirit and endurance of the people of Gaza and all Palestinians. 
  • To bring attention to the responsibility we all have for the continuing injustices and human rights abuses in Palestine, and for the particular culpability of corporate America and U.S. taxpayers. 
  • To end Israel's impunity regarding human rights violations, including home demolitions. 

The Israeli policy of home demolitions, sometimes extending to entire villages, remains as urgent an issue now as it did when Rachel defended homes in Rafah, Gaza.  Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and Hebron Hills live daily with the threat (or reality) of their homes being confiscated or turned into rubble. More than 1,000 houses were demolished in the Naqab alone in 2011, and the Prawer Plan, approved by the Israeli Government in September 2011, will lead to further displacement of 70,000 people. We call on you individually and as organizations to mark the week of the trial verdict with actions to end the housing demolitions that deny Palestinians the basic human right to be secure in their homes.


For those in Palestine/Israel:

We are inspired by the incredible work Israeli and Palestinian activists do to challenge home demolitions and confiscations. We encourage any actions organized the week of the verdict to include Rachel's memory and spirit. You can include Rachel's image by printing this poster of her in Rafah, Gaza Strip. Register your planned action here and we will post it to our website. Send photos or videos of your action to info@rachelcorriefoundation.org.

For information about further actions planned, contact Jen atdonkeysaddle@gmail.com.

For those in the U.S.:

We can impact home demolitions by removing support from companies that profit from Israel's occupation and home demolition policies. The We Divestcampaign to pressure investment firm TIAA-CREF to divest from such companies is a promising effort to end U.S. complicity in the occupation. Caterpillar Inc. is one of these companies. It profits from destruction wreaked upon Palestinian families, their farms, and their economy using CAT equipment. Rachel was killed beneath a Caterpillar D9 weaponized bulldozer as she tried to protect the home of a Palestinian family. While TIAA-CREF recently removed CAT in its Social Choice accounts, it still holds over a billion dollars of CAT stock. 

Please take the following actions:

  1. From Sunday, August 26th until Sunday, September 2nd, deliver letters to TIAA-CREF offices, and remember Rachel as you do. Combine this with a larger event, or designate a few people to do the delivery. Register your planned action here so we can post it to our website, and we will e-mail you a poster to use of a Palestinian family impacted by demolitions using CAT equipment. Can you help us exceed our goal of delivering letters to half of the 60 TIAA-CREF offices? Download a copy of our sample TIAA-CREF letter. Send us photos and videos from your actions, and we will launch a nationwide social media campaign with images that show the level of support for TIAA-CREF divestment. 
  2. Print this image of Rachel. Photograph yourself with it, and post it on our new Tumblr blog. Deliver the photo to the nearest Israeli Consulate demanding accountability and an end to home demolitions. We will gather images worldwide and also send them to the U.S. Department of State. 
  3. Take part in a live conference call with the Corrie family, Wednesday, August 29th, 6:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time/ 9:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. To participate in the call, RSVP to rochelle@rachelcorriefoundation.org. Host a house party or community gathering for those who want to join the call. 
  4. Sign this petition in support of the campaign to pressure TIAA-CREF to divest. 

For those in other parts of the world:

We encourage you, too, to use your creativity to take a stand against home demolitions now. Register your planned action here so we can post it on our website. Please send photos and videos of your action toinfo@rachelcorriefoundation.org.


We invite all our friends and allies to share reflections on Rachel's stand on twitter with the hashtag #RememberRachel.

Together, we can seize the moment. We can tell Rachel's story. Most of all, we can cry out with her message of equality and human rights and for her call to end home demolitions and the Israeli occupation!

Thank you for your support as together we build the global movement for Palestinian human rights!

The Staff and Board of Directors 
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
Olympia, Washington


For info about Rachel Corrie...

For info about the trial in Israel...

For info about home demolitions...

For info about divestment...



Monday, June 11, 2012

Palestinian Soccer Star Mahmoud Sarsak at Risk of Death, 85 Days Into Hunger Strike

According to a report released yesterday by Samidoun, The Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Mahmoud Sarsak is at grave risk of death on his 85th day of a hunger strike against his three year detention by Israel. The 25 year old Palestinian soccer star was abducted by Israeli forces in 2009 while traveling from his home in Gaza to the West Bank in order to train with the Palestinian national soccer team.  Since, he has been held without charge or trial under Israel's "unlawful combatants law."

Sarsak began his hunger strike on March 19th, 2012 after the strikes of  Khader Adnan and Hana’ Shalabi, who were similarly held by Israel without charge or trial.  84 days in, according to Physicians for Human Rights and Addameer, "He has lost 33 percent of his body weight, from an original weight of 76 kilos down to his present weight of 51 kilos. He also suffers from frequent incidents of fainting and loss of consciousness, in addition to lapses in memory. The doctor further reported that Mahmoud is in danger of pulse disruptions (arrhythmias) that are endangering his life." Despite his dire state, Israel refuses to transfer him to a civilian hospital for treatment.  

Palestinian human rights organizations have called for international action and solidarity with Sarsak and his fellow hunger strikers, including Akram Al-Rikhawi (57 days), and Samer al-Barq (22 days).  In a letter from Sarsak and Al-Riljhawi to the public, the strikers asserted "we will remain on our strike until all our demands are met and we will not submit to the demands of the Prison Service regardless of what we suffer...," but appealed for international support, stating "there is still enough time and the support that comes late is better than that which does not come at all. It is better that you receive us alive and victorious rather than as lifeless bodies in black bags."  

Sarsak's family has also released a video calling for his freedom.




Please take this opportunity to stand up for justice for Mahmoud Sarsak and all Palestinian political prisoners!

Take Action!

1. Sign a letter demanding the Israeli state transfer Mahmoud Sarsak, Akram Rikhawi and Samer al-Barq immediately to hospitals and release them. Tell the Israeli Prison Services that the world is watching! Click here to sign.

2. Call the office of Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs at the US State Department (202-647-7209) and demand the US intervene on Mahmoud Sarsak's behalf by asking Israel to release him immediately.

3. Tweet this to the State Department and Barack Obama letting them know that it is time they stand up for Palestinian human rights.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Celebrate Stolen Beauty Campaign!

Our member group CODEPINK is celebrating the three-year anniversary of its Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott campaign

Although Ahva labels it beauty products as "Made in Israel," the
ugly truth is that the products actually come from stolen Palestinian natural resources in the occupied West Bank and are produced in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem.

This 
mislabeling has been in the news recently as both South Africa and Denmark recently decided to clearly label settlement goods. 

Here's how you can support the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott campaign and help grow the global BDS movement:


  • Tell Nordstrom to stop selling Ahava products
  • Read the new report on Ahava by the the Israeli group Who Profits
  • Tweet this and like Stolen Beauty on Facebook
  • Find action ideas, fact sheets and more resources to help you organize

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Palestinian Academics Condemn Cornell University's Collaboration with Technion

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott (PACBI) of Israel has issued a statement condemning Cornell University's collaboration with Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Cornell and Technion are building a multi-billion dollar science and technology campus together on Roosevelt Island in New York. Technion, like other Israeli academic institutions, is complicit in Israel's continuing occupation and violations of Palestinian human rights and international law. Joining US Campaign member groups US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) and Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), PACBI is urging residents of New York, US civil society, and people of conscience to mobilize against the Cornell-Technion partnership. Sign and share Cornell SJP's petition opposing Cornell's shameful collaboration with Technion and check out USACBI's resources page on the Cornell-Technion partnership! 


PACBI | March 4, 2012
An Appeal for Action: End Cornell University Collaboration with Technion

The Palestinian academic community was deeply disturbed by the recently revealed plan of collaboration between Cornell University and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.  The two institutions have won a multi-billion-dollar competition held by the City of New York to establish “a 2 million square foot engineering and applied sciences university campus” on Roosevelt Island, NY [1].  Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Cornell University have petitioned the City of New York and Cornell University to end this collaboration with an Israeli institution that is "directly implicated in war crimes [2]."  Similarly, the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) has launched an appeal calling on students and faculty to put pressure on their university to withdraw from this troubling partnership [3].
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) would like to join these groups in deploring the collaboration between US higher institutions of learning and Israeli Academic institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and the rights of Palestinians.  In view of our focus this year on academic boycott, we call on US civil society to bring the injustices of this venture to light.  In the first instance, all New York City residents should, rightfully, be outraged that their tax dollars are being apportioned in the service of such an endeavor, and we appeal to them to pressure the City of New York administration to end this collaboration.  Moreover, we ask students, staff, and faculty at institutions around the country, including student groups such as SJP, as well as workers, labor unions, and other civil society organizations in New York City, to mobilize against the administration of Cornell University to end its partnership with Technion.  More importantly, we call on people of conscience to mobilize on the issue of the Cornell-Technion partnership, and academic boycott more broadly, through street protests, educational venues, media presence and other such mobilizations.
Technion Complicity
Technion's record of complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights is too long to reproduce here, but here are some highlights:
-    It has a partnership with Elbit Systems, which is one of Israel’s largest private weapons manufacturers.  Elbit manufactured the drones that Israel used in its crimes against civilians in Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2008-09. This partnership has played a leading role not only in the construction and surveillance of the apartheid wall in Palestine, but also along the U.S.-Mexico border through its subsidiary, Kollsman.

-    Technion trains its engineering students to work with companies dealing “directly in the development of complex weapons in the process of researching their academic theses” [4].  In one example with Elbit Systems, the reward has been the funding of research grants in upwards of half a million dollars to Technion’s students conducting research [5].

-    One of the institute’s most notorious projects resulted in the development of a remote-control function on the Caterpillar’s 'D9’ bulldozer “used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian houses and farms and the development of a method for detecting underground tunnels, specifically developed in order to assist the Israeli army in its continued siege on the Gaza Strip” [6]

-    Technion has deep relations with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, one of Israel’s largest government-sponsored weapons manufacturers famous for its “advanced hybrid armor protection system” used in Israel’s Merkava tanks [7]. The institute has developed an “MBA program tailored specifically for Rafael managers” which further solidifies its relationship between academia and Israel’s military-industrial complex [8].

-    Technion rewards its students who perform their compulsory military service.  It also granted Israeli army reservists who participated in the Israeli massacre of Gaza in 2008-2009 “academic benefits in addition to the usual benefits for reservists” [9].
Why Academic Boycott?
In 2004, Palestinian civil society called for an academic boycott in the spirit of the South African anti-apartheid movement.  In our statement, we have maintained that a boycott of Israeli academic institutions is necessary due to the complicity of these institutions in the system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law.


In our 2004 call we stated that the academic boycott
is in line with the authoritative call by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education (CHE) for "non-cooperation in the scientific and technical fields between Palestinian and Israeli universities." Academic institutions in particular are part of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of the Zionist settler-colonial project in Palestine, and as such are deeply implicated in maintaining the structures of domination and oppression over the Palestinian people. Since its founding, the Israeli academy has cast its lot with the hegemonic political-military establishment in Israel, and notwithstanding the efforts of a handful of principled academics, is deeply implicated in supporting and perpetuating the status quo. [10]
While it is common to think of universities as ivory towers separate from society, this view ignores the deep roots of the academy in society, and in shaping our knowledge of the world.  Universities influence political power, shape future generations, and structure the moral and ideological underpinnings of our societies.  In the case of Israel, the academy gives the state a veneer of being liberal, tolerant, and just.  This is an image that serves to combat and whitewash the state’s ongoing occupation, colonialism and apartheid.
Why Israeli Institutions?
In response to a call for academic boycott of Israel, one might respond that US academic institutions collaborate with other academic institutions around the world, as well as with their own government that is involved in human rights abuses, war and occupation.  This argument is often used as a red herring to distract activists, and as an attempt to delegitimize the movement.  However, it is critical for us to recognize this as a legitimate concern when it comes from truly conscientious activists and observers, and from people who are invested in advancing ethical forms of resistance against all kinds of oppression.
The above argument can be broken into three parts.  First, we must recognize the voice of Palestinians who suffer under Israel’s intricate multi-tiered system of oppression.  In this sense, an important element is the call by an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society for an international boycott of Israel that is embodied in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  In the 70s and 80s, no ethically minded person would have screamed that the anti-apartheid movement was hypocritical for asking for the boycott of South Africa and not, say, Israel, the U.S. or the Soviet Union.  Thus, it rings hollow and suspicious when people question Palestinians and international solidarity activists for applying the boycott to Israel but not other places.  The BDS movement is explicit in its solidarity with oppressed people around the world fighting against all forms of oppression.  It similarly calls on others to stand with Palestinians in their time of resistance.
Second, we are keenly aware that US academic institutions partner with other foreign academic institutions.  To the extent that these foreign institutions are complicit in their governments’ abuses of international law and human rights, in ways similar to the complicity of Israeli academic institutions, then we also condemn such partnerships.  We doubt, however, that there are, as of yet, any joint ventures within US borders between Saudi Arabian academic institutions, for example, and a US institution.  It is no coincidence that Israeli institutions enjoy greater access to US academic networks, including the funding that these networks enable.  This is what makes the tactic of boycott crucial, effective, and urgent when applied to Israel.  We also stress again that Israel’s atrocious violations of international law remain violations even if there are other countries that commit the same.
This leads to our third argument, where it should not be denied that academic institutions in the US collaborate with their own government, arguably the world's leading and most violent violator of human rights, if we take Iraq and Afghanistan as case studies.  We believe these partnerships should end, and a campaign against Cornell-Technion should strive to raise awareness on US academic complicity, inviting various sectors of local communities to share their experiences and build mutual solidarities.  However, this should not prevent a serious and legitimate call to boycott collaborations with Israeli institutions.  The herculean task of disengaging US academia from the US military industrial complex should not deter or demobilize activists from a call to boycott Israel and its complicit institutions.  Did any morally conscientious person call on US academia to boycott its government before boycotting the apartheid South African regime?  Could American university administrations, morally speaking, argue against the boycott of apartheid South Africa, simply because their own institutions were developing technology for the US government?  We hardly think so.  We cannot defer the rights of people around the world as we wait for the US superpower to clean its house.  However, we must also not hold back from our collective struggles against the abuses of the US government.
In this way, we, at PACBI, along with our coalition partners in Palestinian civil society wish to express our solidarity with oppressed segments of US civil society, and ask that you hear our call and put pressure on your academic institutions and city councils to boycott apartheid Israel.  This is what we ask for in our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Notes:
[1] http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/new-york-host-israels-top-drone-lab
[2] http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/in-opposition-to-cornell-universitys/
[3] http://www.usacbi.org/2011/12/open-letter-to-cornell-university-dont-collaborate-with-apartheid/
[4] Uri Yacobi Keller, The Economy of the Occupation: A Socioeconomic Bulletin. (Jerusalem: Alternative Information Center, 2009), 10. http://usacbi.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/economy_of_the_occupation_23-24.pdf.
[5] ibid, 10-11
[6] ibid, 9
[7] “Structures of Oppression: Why McGill and Concordia Universities Must Sever their Links with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology,” 4. http://www.tadamon.ca/wp-content/uploads/Technion-English.pdf
[8] Ibid., 3-4
[9] Keller, 12-13 (see link above)
[10] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1108

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rally Tomorrow to Support Olympia Food Co-op!


Responding to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, the Olympia Food Co-op voted in July 2010 to boycott Israeli products until Israel ends the occupation, respects Palestinian human rights, and complies with international law. Pro-Israel forces responded by filing a lawsuit against the Co-op in September of last year. The lawsuit alleges the Co-op's board acted beyond the scope of its authority and committed procedural violations in enacting the boycott.


In November, working with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Co-op fought back by filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that is a form of legal and financial intimidation designed explicitly to silence free speech and penalize political participation. In legal terms, this kind of lawsuit is referred to as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) and Washington state has an anti-SLAPP statute to deter such lawsuits.


A hearing on the Co-op's motion to dismiss the SLAPP suit will take place this Thursday, February 23 at 9:00am at Thurston County Superior Court in Washington State. US Campaign member group the Rachel Corrie Foundation, along with Olympia Food Co-op members, Olympia BDS and others are rallying people to the hearing and will be gathering outside the courthouse before and after to demonstrate support. If you are in the area, please join them in defending for your constitutionally guaranteed right to political participation and fight against those who wish to silence and intimidate the voices of justice.

For those of you unable to join the rally tomorrow, you can sign the statement of solidarity to show your support for the Olympia Food Co-opCCR will be doing live updates and media coverage via its Twitter feed, @theCCR, and will be using the hashtag #RighttoBoycott. Follow them on Twitter and help spread the word!

For more information about the lawsuit, please visit the CCR case page. The CCR has also prepared a very informative fact sheet about the lawsuit and the right to boycott that can be downloaded here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Urgent Call to Action for Khader Adnan, in "Immediate Danger of Death"

Al Dameer Association for Human Right, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Issued the following Urgent Call to Action several hours ago for Khader Adnan, who is now on his 65th day of hunger strike.

We call upon you to exert all possible influence and pressure on the Israeli Authorities to immediately release detainee Khader Adnan, whose life is in immediate danger as he has been on a hunger strike for the past 64 days.

The arbitrary detention of Adnan commenced on 17 December 2011, when he was kidnapped from his home in the northern West Bank village of Arrabe, during a nightly raid carried out by Israeli soldiers. His two young daughters and pregnant wife were witness to this.

Adnan initiated his current hunger strike on 18 December, protesting being detained without charges or being notified of the reason for his detention. He is being detained without charge or trial under a four-month administrative detention order, which could be indefinitely renewed for the duration of six months.

For the past decades Israel has applied the procedure of administrative detention on a large scale, systematically imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, as a tool of political oppression. This is a grave violation of the fourth Geneva Convention as well as the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture.

Khader Adnan has the law on his side. His life should be saved and the law should be respected. We urge you to make direct contact with the responsible Israeli officials and authorities, demanding the immediate release of Khader Adnan, in a critical attempt to save his life.

Finally, please adopt this call and spread the appeal from your respective capacity and/or organization.

It is time to act. Tomorrow might be too late.

Whom to contact:

Minister of Justice
Yaakov Neeman
29 Tsalch Adin Street
Jerusalem 91490
Telephone:  +972 2 646-6666
Fax:  +972 2 670-6357
Click here to email.

Military Judge Advocate General
Brigadier General Danny Efroni
6 David Elazar Street
Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel
Fax: +972 3 569 4526
Click here to email.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 69 16940 / 62757

Commander of the IDF in the West Bank
Major-General Avi Mizrahi
GOC Central Command
Military Post 01149
Battalion 877, Israel Defense Forces, Israel
Fax: +972 2 530 5724

This call to action can be found online here.

Background information and the latest news can be found here. Below are some exerpts:

Ramallah, 19 February 2012—Israel’s High Court of Justice has today scheduled a petitions hearing regarding the case of Khader Adnan to take place Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 11:30am. The petition was filed by Khader Adnan’s lawyers on 15 February. The High Court of Justice was provided with a detailed medical report prepared on 14 February by an Israeli-accredited doctor on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel). Despite the elaborate medical report, which confirmed that Khader Adnan “is in immediate danger of death,” and that “a fast in excess of 70 days does not permit survival,” the Israeli High Court appointed the petition session for 23 February with no guarantees that a decision will be made on the same day. By then, Khader Adnan—if alive—will have reached the 69th day of his ongoing hunger strike.

...

Khader Adnan’s original appeal hearing took place on 9 February in a room at Zif Medical Center in Safad where Khader was hospitalized due to his medical condition as resulting from his ongoing hunger strike. In disregard to his medical condition the Court of Appeals delayed its decision until 13 February 2012, which marked Khader’s 58th day of his ongoing hunger strike. The decision statement rejecting the appeal issued by Judge Moshe Tirosh stated that Judge Tirosh found that the administrative order decision based on the “secret evidence” was balanced, and that Khader had only himself to blame for his medical condition owing to his choice to continue his hunger strike.

...

Addameer and PHR-Israel call on the local and international communities to: 
  • Apply pressure on the Military Commander, Yair Koles, to immediately cancel Khader Adnan’s administrative detention order;
  • Apply pressure on Israel’s High Court of Justice to reschedule the date of the petition to a closer date;
  • Apply pressure on the government of Israel to immediately release Khader Adnan;
  • Send representatives to attend the  Israeli High Court of Justice’s open petition hearing regarding Khader Adnan;
  • Apply pressure on the government of Israel to conform to international law and end its unlawful practices of arbitrary imprisonment, and release all Palestinians held in administrative detention.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Two US Delegations Endorse BDS and Call for Action in the US

The Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel has been endorsed by two US delegations recently returned from fact finding missions to occupied Palestine and Israel.

US Campaign member group US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) organized a delegation of five distinguished scholars for a trip to Palestine and Israel in January. The delegation, composed of professors working at US universities, witnessed firsthand how Israel routinely denies the academic freedom of Palestinian scholars and students. According to a press release issued by USACBI, the delegation noted:

… Israel has consistently closed Palestinian universities under security pretexts and restrictions on freedom of movement mean that it is often very difficult for students to attend universities; international and Palestinian scholars living abroad are denied visas for faculty appointments in the occupied territories.  Furthermore, some 80 students from Birzeit University are held in Israeli prisons and detention centers, 10 of whom are currently being held without charge or trial. The delegation also reported that Israel thwarts Palestinian research capacities by restricting imports of equipment necessary for teaching basic science and engineering. It is all but impossible for Gaza students to attend West Bank universities, or for scholars from Ramallah, Gaza City, and East Jerusalem to meet in the same room.

While the primary focus of the trip was on educational discrimination, the delegation also had the opportunity to visit the 5,000 person Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, as well as hear testimony from Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah who were forcibly evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem by the Israeli military. After witnessing how the "subordination, humiliation, and suspicion" of the occupation regulates the daily lives of Palestinians, as well as numerous violations of Palestinian civil and legal rights, the delegates urged their academic colleagues to support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. In a brief statement included in USACBI's press release, the delegates stated:

We believe that the perpetuation of the international travesty of colonial occupation in a post-colonial world must be brought to an end.  For it ultimately threatens the rights, dignity and security of everyone who believes in self-determination, equal justice and human rights.
Read USACBI's full press release here. 

LGBTIQ Activists Call for an End to US Aid to Israel and Endorse BDS

A diverse group of academics, artists, and cultural workers from the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, interest, and queer) community also traveled to Palestine/Israel in January. Upon their return to the US, the delegation released an open letter and petition emphatically endorsing BDS and calling on the queer community and its allies to "stand in solidarity with queer and other Palestinians and progressive Israelis who are working to end the occupation; oppose the state of Israel's practice of pinkwashing; and support efforts on the part of Palestinians to achieve full self-determination including building an international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement."

In their open letter, the delegates strongly reject Israel's practice of pinkwashing -- using the issue of gay rights to deflect attention away from the daily violations of Palestinian human rights:

Key to Israel's pinkwashing campaign is the manipulative and false labeling of Israeli culture as gay-friendly and Palestinian culture as homophobic. It is our view that comparisons of this sort are both inaccurate - homophobia and transphobia are to be found throughout Palestinian and Israeli society - and that this is beside the point: Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine cannot be somehow justified or excused by its purportedly tolerant treatment of some sectors of its own population. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian queer organizations like Al Qaws and Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (PQBDS) whose work continues to impact queer Palestinians and all Palestinians.

… We urge LGBTIQ individuals and communities to resist replicating the practice of pinkwashing that insists on elevating the sexual freedom of Palestinian people over their economic, environmental, social, and psychological freedom. Like the Palestinian activists we met, we view heterosexism and sexism as colonial projects and, therefore, see both as interrelated and interconnected regimes that must end.

As queer activists in the US, they condemn US complicity in maintaining the occupation and call for an end to US aid to Israel and support for the BDS movement in the US:

We name the complicity of the United States in this human rights catastrophe and call on our government to end its participation in an unjust regime that places it and us on the wrong side of peace and justice.

We support efforts on the part of Palestinians to achieve full self-determination, such as building an international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls for the fulfillment of three fundamental demands:

The end of the Occupation and the dismantling of the Wall
  (jidar).
The right of return for displaced Palestinians.
The recognition and restoration of the equal rights of citizenship for Israeli     citizens of Palestinian descent.

We call upon all of our academic and activist colleagues in the US and elsewhere to join us by supporting all Palestinian efforts that center these three demands and by working to end US financial support, at $8.2 million daily, for the Israeli state and its occupation.
Read the open letter in full and sign the petition here 


 Testimonials from the Delegates Published on The Feminist Wire


Darnell L. Moore, who traveled to Palestine as part of the LGBTIQ delegation and is an editorial collective member of The Feminist Wire (TFW), solicited reflections and commentaries from US-based scholars, activists and cultural workers about their experiences in Palestine. Those writings have been collected and published online at TFW Forum on Palestine. Several participants from the USACBI and LGBTIQ delegations contributed moving and thoughtful pieces to the forum, including powerful commentaries from Neferti X.M. Tadiar and Jasbir K. Puar. Tadiar calls upon us to "forge new relations beyond the province of interests and inherited forms of social belonging to which we might have become tethered and, for those of us not already called, to feel the suffering and aspirations of Palestinians as also our own," in  "Why the Question of Palestine is a Feminist Concern." Puar's piece, "The Golden Handcuffs of Gay Rights: How Pinkwashing Distorts Both LGBTIQ and Anti-Occupation Activism," offers insightful analysis of Israel's pinkwashing agenda, homonationalism and the radical impact of Palestinian Queers for BDS (PQBDS) on Palestinian society. She argues that by "foregrounding the Occupation as its primary site of struggle, PQBDS is slowly, strategically and carefully insisting upon and creating systemic and thorough changes in the terms of Palestinian society itself. "










Monday, January 30, 2012

Call for World Social Forum Free Palestine, Nov. 2012 in Brazil

Last week, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) issued an international call for the World Social Forum Free Palestine, scheduled to take place in November 2012 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In an email message to solidarity groups publicizing the call, the BNC wrote:


This is a unique opportunity, challenge and responsibility for all of us. This potentially game changing forum will bring together the entirety of the international solidarity movement and allow us to show our strength, celebrate our successes and plan for more. We're very excited about the opportunities it presents for the solidarity movement in general and for the BDS movement in particular.

The BNC's call can be read in full below. Please share widely!!!



Call for the World Social Forum Free Palestine, Nov. 2012 in Brazil

Posted on January 19, 2012 by StopTheWall Campaign

Occupied Palestine is part of every free heartbeat in this world and her cause continues to inspire solidarity across the globe.  The World Social Forum Free Palestine is an expression of the human instinct to unite for justice and freedom and an echo of the World Social Forum’s opposition to neo-liberal hegemony, colonialism, and racism through struggles for social, political and economic alternatives to promote justice, equality, and the sovereignty of peoples.
The WSF Free Palestine will be a global encounter of broad-based popular and civil society mobilizations from around the world. It aims to:
1. Show the strength of solidarity with the calls of the Palestinian people and the diversity of initiatives and actions aimed at promoting justice and peace in the region.
2. Create effective actions to ensure Palestinian self-determination, the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the fulfillment of human rights and international law, by:
a)      Ending Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
b)     Ensuring the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
c)      Implementing, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
3. Be a space for discussion, exchange of ideas, strategizing, and planning in order to improve the structure of solidarity.
Exactly sixty-five years after Brazil presided over the UN General Assembly session that agreed upon the partition of Palestine, Brazil will host a different type of global forum: an historic opportunity for people from all over the world to stand up where governments have failed. The world’s people will come together to discuss new visions and effective actions to contribute to justice and peace in the region.
We call on all organizations, movements, networks, and unions across the globe to join the WSF Free Palestine in November 2012 in Porto Alegre. We ask you to join the International Committee for the WSF Free Palestine, we will establish as soon as possible. Participation in this forum will structurally strengthen solidarity with Palestine, promote action to implement Palestinian’s legitimate rights, and hold Israel and its allies accountable to international law.
Together we can raise global solidarity with Palestine to a new level.
Palestinian Preparatory Committee for the WSF Free Palestine 2012
Secretariat members:
· PNGO - Palestinian NGO Network
· Stop the Wall - Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign,
· OPGAI - Occupied Palestinian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative
· Alternatives represented by:
     Alternative Information Center,
     Teacher Creativity Center
· Ittijah
· General Union of Palestinian women
Coordination office:
PNGO - Palestinian NGO Network
Tel: +970 2 2975320/1
Fax: +970 2 2950704
E mail: samahd@pngo.net

SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE... 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Activists Call on Fashion Icon to Sever Ties with Lev Leviev

In November, US Campaign coalition member groups Adalah-NY, CODEPINK, and Jewish Voice for Peace, along with human rights organizations in the UK, called on fashion icon Daphne Guinness and Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to sever ties with Israeli settlement builder and conflict diamond purveyor Lev Leviev. Leviev is a principal sponsor of Ms. Guinness’s current fashion exhibition at FIT.

In an open letter to Guinness and FIT, the groups detailed Leviev’s sordid complicity in a multitude of human rights abuses that have led a number organizations and governments to distance themselves from Leviev’s companies. Citing Guinness’s own humanitarian work, the groups implored Guinness to sever all ties with Leviev:

We recognize your strong commitment to supporting women’s rights around the world, to countering AIDS in Africa and to helping the needy in places like Haiti. Therefore, like the organizations, governments and individuals who have sought distance from Leviev, we feel confident that you do not wish to tarnish your name and good works by associating yourself with Leviev’s companies’ human rights violations and questionable business practices. Leviev’s companies undermine the very rights and humanitarian causes that you support. Therefore, we call on you to act swiftly to sever all ties between the exhibit at FIT that bears your name, and Lev Leviev.
Representatives of Guinness and FIT have responded by saying they are taking the groups’ concerns into account, but have thus far failed to elaborate a further course of action. The petition calling on Guinness and FIT to sever ties with Leviev has generated a fair amount of negative publicity for all involved. Online stories detailing Leviev’s sponsorship of the exhibition have been featured on prominent sites like New York magazine, Vogue UK, and Jezebel, the influential feminist blog. The exhibition runs through January 17th, 2012.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Urgent: Stop Home Demolitions in Al Hadidiye

Stop the Wall has issued an urgent call to action to stop nine fresh demolition orders issued by the Israeli authorities in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Al Hadidiye. The destruction of Palestinian homes and the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land is being carried out under the cover of US acquiescence and with the assistance of US companies like Caterpillar and Motorola. Stand in solidarity with the Palestinian families facing demolition and heed Stop the Wall's call to action!

Al Hadidiye to be demolished once again: Halt this new wave of ethnic cleansing!

Week against the Apartheid Wall (Nov. 9 - 16) - “Take Apartheid off the Menu” Action Day (Nov. 26)

Immediately contact your consulate and embassy through our email action!

While the international community discusses Palestinian statehood, on the ground Israel is continuing the ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestine with a further displacement push in the Jordan Valley.

Al Hadidiye is a Bedouin community of some 112 permanent inhabitants and some 130 further inhabitants that during the two cold winter months return back to villages near Tobas as Israeli forces have destroyed their homes already and they have not found the necessary means to build shelters that can protect them from the winter cold. On Thursday November 10, the Israeli authorities served the community nine new demolition orders that target 17 structures and will affect 72 people , including women and children.

Since 1998, the Israeli occupation authorities have implemented a systematic and continuous drive to permanently expel the Palestinians residents of the Jordan Valley from their lands. Most of the people in al Hadidiye have had already their homes destroyed more than five times. Animal shelters and other property is regularly destroyed.

As the Palestinian residents are not allowed access the water from the pipes the Israeli water company Mekorot manages for the use of the settlements, and the digging of wells is prohibited, water has to be brought from a natural spring in the area. Especially in the summer months, Israeli authorities confiscate the water tanks in which the water is transported and stored.

The people in al Hadidiye are entirely dependent on rearing animals as they do not have sufficient water for agriculture. In the nearby Jewish-only settlements of Ro'i and Beqa'ot, agricultural produce is farmed using hi-tech methods and with an abundance of water. Much of this agricultural produce is exported to European supermarkets by Israeli agricultural export companies including Bickel, Mehadrin and Arava.

The Occupation authorities justify their demolition and expulsion order with the fact that the area has been designated a military zone since the 1970s. The 600 people of the communities of Mak’oul, Samra, Hadidiye and Humsa that have been living and grazing their cattle in the 300 000 dunums of the northern Jordan Valley for generations state that the area is not even used as a military zone.

In light of this renewed announcement of home demolitions and forced displacement we ask you to:

Immediately contact your consulate and embassy and urge them to pay the community a solidarity visit BEFORE November 18, the day the demolition order becomes executive, and to send a complaint to the Israeli authorities through the appropriate diplomatic channels.

Raise the issue in your actions during the Week against the Apartheid Wall and during November 26 “Take Apartheid off the Menu” European day of action against Israeli agricultural produce exporters