Showing posts with label IFPB. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IFPB. Show all posts

Monday, January 14, 2013

Apply for $1000 Scholarship to Palestine/Israel

Our member group Interfaith Peace-Builders is offering two $1,000 Scholarships for students and young adults who travel on a Summer 2013 Delegation. Deadline to apply is January 18!


WHY SHOULD YOU PARTICIPATE?

Be an Eye Witness: Move beyond research and gain first-hand experience on the ground.

Network: Meet and build relationships with key players working towards peace and justice.

Build Personal Connections: Hear from people directly affected by the conflict, from various viewpoints.

Test your Knowledge: See how the realities on the ground compare to what you have already learned.

Interfaith Peace-Builders has led 45 delegations and taken more than 750 people to Israel/Palestine. 

SUMMER 2013 DELEGATION DATES

May 25-June 7: An Honest Broker? The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

August 10-23  

WHO CAN APPLY?

IFPB welcomes any current student or young adult (age 18-30) to apply for consideration for these two scholarships.

To apply, fill out and submit the application form by January 18, 2013.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our Greatest Strength is When We Come Together

The African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel, organized by our member group Interfaith Peace-Builders, arrived in Jerusalem last week. Below are some early impressions from participants. 

Initial Welcome, Lasting Impressions
By Dr. Gilo Kwesi Cornell Logan

My initial welcome to Israel was being detained and interrogated for nearly 3 hours at the airport; the psychological and spiritual harassment was interspersed with questioning and waiting, waiting and questioning; condescending tones non-rhythmically thrown at me that I was expected to dance to, private questions piercing the peace of my heart, as intimidation attempted to suppress something from deep within.  But it is from this very same place within that this experience thus far has validated an essential part of my being as an African American; it has since shown me that it does not define the totality of the experience participating on this African Heritage Delegation to Israel.

I have come to see that my experience as an African American living in America has prepared me to - not only cope with the interrogation in a way that has turned what may be perceived as a negative experience into a strong positive - but to learn of things once unimagined... like meeting Black Ethiopians of the ancient Christian tradition, speaking with Black Sudanese and experiencing their plight, meeting Black Eritreans refugees who have recreated dignity in a foreign land, sitting with Arab Palestinians whose struggle for human rights, autonomy, and liberation mirrors, in many ways, our own as African Americans; and walking with Jews from North Africa who migrated to Israel decades ago and have modeled essential elements of their struggle for equality and dignity after the Black Panther movement in America - all in Israel!

To learn about this is powerful.  To experience this reality is transformative.  To live at one with these people - even if only for this moment - is liberating.  It puts into perspective the reality that oppressed people the world over hold African Americans in a higher esteem and a brighter light than many of us hold for ourselves.  It is only through this type of travel and experience on the other side of the world, and the knowledge gained from it, that we as an African heritage delegation have come to better know and understand ourselves, our situation, and our authentic beauty and boundless power as African Americans in living in America.

Excerpt from “The Way of the Black Panthers”
By Reverend Joi Orr

Today we visited a neighborhood in western Jerusalem made up of Jews of North African descent, living in the homes of Palestinians who were kicked out by Israeli forces in 1948. In 1971 this community formed a branch of the Black Panther party to gain equal rights and political representation in Israel which considered them second class citizens because of their African heritage.  The parallels between their struggle and the American black struggle of the 60 and 70’s are obvious; discrimination, segregation, second class citizenry, etc. 

However, knowing and discussing the parallels isn’t what brought me to tears.  What made me feel like I had golf balls in throat was the commemorative street sign erected by the “Muslala” activist-artist community collective.  The street sign read “The Way of the Black Panthers” and was the bookend to a series of alleyways that coursed throughout the North African community.

The Struggle Continues for the Sacred Homelands of Palestine
by Aaron Dixon

Visiting the holy site of Gethsemane Church helped me to understand the importance of Palestine in the eyes of the world, and how connected Palestinians and Jews are throughout history. I also recognized how the Palestine-Israeli conflict is at the center of world politics.

Meeting the founders of the Israeli Black Panthers underscored the inter-conflict of the darker Jews and the European Jews, and Israel as a racist security state.  The meeting also brought forward the complex issue of land rights and the true owners of East Jerusalem communities, since the Israeli Black Panthers were progressive movement builders who were and still occupy Palestine to this day.

Our delegation had an opportunity to meet with a Palestinian family and observe firsthand the struggle between them and racist Zionist Jewish settlers.  Most striking was the Palestinian family’s determination and strength, which was embodied in their 90-year-old grandmother who had been beaten and hospitalized on five different occasions by Jewish settlers who currently occupy a section of their home and the violent Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Click here to watch a video of the meeting.

The family’s desire, courage, and commitment is an inspiration to all oppressed people throughout the world, who are fighting to hold on to their sacred lands.

Read More

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Join IFPB African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel


In 2011 Interfaith Peace-Builders, a US Campaign member group, sent their first ever African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine. Based on its success and the feedback from the 14 participants, they will send another African Heritage Delegation from October 21-November 3, 2012

Your on the ground experience will enrich your understanding of the conflict as you meet courageous Israelis and Palestinians working for peace and justice, and witness the current realities of life in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Participants on IFPB delegations return to North America energized and transformed. 


Apply today to learn directly from Israelis and Palestinians, be an eyewitness to the reality of the occupation, support those working for peace, and enrich your education and advocacy efforts in your home community. 


IFPB combines experienced leaders from the US with professional multilingual guides from Israel/Palestine who bring a range of knowledge, perspectives, and expertise. 

The delegation leaders are: 


Darryl Jordan has been an organizer for more than 30 years, working on issues of hunger and food security, neighborhood security, voter education, peace, justice, apartheid, immigration, union/labor, health and political empowerment. He is immediate past director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Third World Coalition. During his organizing life, Darryl has had the benefit of learning from many activists, community leaders and organizers, and tries to incorporate all that he has learned in his work. He currently sits on the Interfaith Peace-Builders Board of Directors. Prior to joining the Board, Darryl co-led the people of color delegation IFPB co-sponsored with the Third World Coalition in 2008 and served on the ad-hoc organizing committee for the African Heritage Delegation in 2011. 


Huwaida Arraf is a Palestinian with American and Israeli citizenship. She holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of Michigan, and a Juris Doctor from the American University Washington College of Law, where she focused her studies on international human rights and humanitarian law. In 2001 Huwaida co- founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She previously taught at the Human Rights Law Clinic at Al- Quds University in Jerusalem (the first legal clinic in the Arab World) and was one of the organizers of a delegation of American lawyers to Gaza in February 2009. Huwaida has led 5 successful sea voyages to the Gaza Strip and was one of the primary organizers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was lethally attacked by Israeli forces in May 2010.  She was also a member of the Palestinian Freedom Riders, challenging segregated bus lines in the West Bank during a November 2011 action. 


Cost and Logistics


The cost of this delegation is $2100 + round-trip international airfare. Interfaith Peace-Builders and our partners and allies are doing fundraising in the hope that we can offer some participants financial help to make the delegation possible. 


Space is limited, apply today at
www.ifpb.org/africanheritage/applications.html. Applications due August 15.

Contact IFPB at 202-244-0821 and/or office@ifpb.org for more information.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Join African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel

Our member group Interfaith Peace-Builders is accepting applications for their second African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel taking place October 21-November 3, 2012

Delegates will t
ravel with experienced delegation leaders and professional local guides and see how the continuing Israeli occupation and current cycle of violence affect Palestinian and Israeli communities. They will also have the opportunity to learn from Palestinians about their nonviolent resistance, meet Israeli peace activists working for an end to the occupation and share experiences with representatives of African-Palestinian communities and Israeli communities of color. 

The delegation leaders are: 


Darryl Jordan has been an organizer for more than 30 years, working on issues of hunger and food security, neighborhood security, voter education, peace, justice, apartheid, immigration, union/labor, health and political empowerment. He is immediate past director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Third World Coalition. During his organizing life, Darryl has had the benefit of learning from many activists, community leaders and organizers, and tries to incorporate all that he has learned in his work. He currently sits on the Interfaith Peace-Builders Board of Directors. Prior to joining the Board, Darryl co-led the people of color delegation IFPB co-sponsored with the Third World Coalition in 2008 and served on the ad-hoc organizing committee for the African Heritage Delegation in 2011. 


Huwaida Arraf is a Palestinian with American and Israeli citizenship. She holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of Michigan, and a Juris Doctor from the American University Washington College of Law, where she focused her studies on international human rights and humanitarian law. In 2001 Huwaida co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She previously taught at the Human Rights Law Clinic at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem (the first legal clinic in the Arab World) and was one of the organizers of a delegation of American lawyers to Gaza in February 2009. Huwaida has led 5 successful sea voyages to the Gaza Strip and was one of the primary organizers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was lethally attacked by Israeli forces in May 2010. She was also a member of the Palestinian Freedom Riders, challenging segregated bus lines in the West Bank during a November 2011 action. 


Find more information and download an application from
IFPB's website. Applications due August 1.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Steadfast Resistance

Below is an excerpt from the fifth trip report of the Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) delegation to Palestine/Israel. It was written by Lissie Perkal.

I came on this trip really, to see the bad stuff. I came because I couldn’t comprehend what a 25ft cement separation wall would look like. I wanted to see the petty apartheid and hear about the effects of the grand apartheid. Essentially, I came to Palestine to see the evil.

The first three days (roughly nine meetings) I cried in almost every meeting. There was something in every meeting that hit a nerve and made me cry. I was so overwhelmed by the stories of pain and suffering or I found the speaker’s resistance to be so inspiring that it moved me to tears.


After the first few waves of tears I started to get annoyed with myself. Here I am in this privileged position, visiting the Occupation that prevents so many people from even leaving the West Bank (let alone the country)—weeping? Inside I was asking myself “Who do you think you are? What good are your tears?”


About a week into the trip an older Palestinian woman who was currently fighting to keep her home from the Israeli government and Israeli settlers responded to my questions perfectly. “We don’t want your sympathy, we have enough of that. We want you to act and to talk to your government!” (Referring of course to the military aid we give to Israel).


Now though, after almost two weeks here, I don’t have the need to cry. Not to say that I don’t find the stories and the facts incredibly moving, but now I know about sumood, tears are no longer my first response.


Sumood is an Arabic word that means “steadfastness.”  It is so easy to see this “I will not budge” attitude in every Palestinian activist we’ve talked to. I find it so inspiring and their steadfastness empowers me to be strong and proactive in my solidarity with them. I came to see the ugly but what I’m coming away with is the strength and the beauty of the Palestinian resistance movement.



Read more on IFPB's website.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Home Evictions in Sheikh Jarah

Below is an excerpt from the third trip report of the Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) delegation to Palestine/Israel. It was written by Marianne Torres.

"They came for us at 5:00 in the morning when everybody was asleep. It was August 2, 2009 when the soldiers came after 10 families with 38 family members. They came, more than 100 soldiers and Special Forces, police on horses and water cannons filled with sewage water.”


This is the beginning of a story we heard today from Mariam Alrawi in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.  She continued:



“I heard the heavy steps of soldiers outside. I awoke and moved to the door. Before I got there the door was blasted open. Children had come out of their beds to see what the noise was and the soldiers grabbed them and threw them into the street in their pajamas. The women were still in bedclothes, and they were forced or thrown out into the street, too. A police was sitting on top of one of my children.”

“I ran out to [the neighbor] Nabil’s house and cried ‘the army is in our house and I want to put the kids in your house.’ Soldiers were in front of all the other houses on the street and didn't allow anybody out.”


“By half an hour, all of us were in the street. In one hour, settlers were at our home and moving into it. We had 12 kids altogether, outside, crying, screaming, asking ‘what is going on? Why are they doing that? Why are we in the street?"’


“They put all of our furniture on a truck and we don't know where it went. Soldiers were playing in the street with some of my children's toys. Our youngest family member was born on the day we were evicted. We put up a tent outside on the sidewalk and stayed in that tent for 6 months. We got mattresses and chairs, and we ate there, lived there. It rained, it was cold, the children had nowhere to study and the settlers harassed us. But we refused to leave. This is OUR home. But the army came and destroyed our tent and all that we had 17 times.”


“I have two young children who are always scared to go to sleep now, want to sleep in her bed and be with her all the time. They wake in the night crying. It has been 2 years and 7 months, but we will remain steadfast. We will not give up."


Mariam is a refugee from the Nakba in 1948. The Israeli government has been evicting Palestinian families who settled in Sheikh Jarah for years, as they are in the process of building a Jewish-only corridor from West Jerusalem to Hebrew University, right through the middle of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that are not in the state of Israel.


We also heard from members of the Hanoun family, and several others whose names went by too fast for me to capture, and I apologize for any names I did not get correctly. Mr Hanoun told us how they had acquired the home in 1956 when they bought the land from the government of Jordan and UNRWA helped them build the house. After living there for decades, the Israeli soldiers came for his family at 4:00 a.m. and he also explained that they slept under the trees for 6 months "to show what happened". He said "they have transferred our family again and again, and it is not fair." 


He said "we need support from all the volunteers who come to us, to help us stop more evictions." He said we must pressure the Israeli government and the American government. He said we had to "stop giving money to Israel for building settlements on top of our houses."


We heard from others that these families celebrated Ramadan (a serious challenge) and Eid while living under the trees through the winter. All the time they were there, Israeli settlers attacked the children. When they called the police about it, the police arrested the Palestinians and did nothing at all to the settlers. (We hear this constantly, everywhere we go). They arrested women as easily as men, and every arrest resulted in a heavy fine.


One time the harassment and bullying was so bad that Mr. Nabil called the police, who told him to go to the Police Station to make a complaint. He did that, and was arrested and held for 3 days. Nothing was done about the settlers' behavior.


Another young woman, a college student, spoke passionately about the experience. She told the same story Miriam had told, but with her own pain, her own passion. One of our group filmed it and I am eager to share it.


Part of Myrta's response was "who on earth sat to think about all the ways these people are tormented? How did they come up with the plans that make every Palestinian's life miserable?" As we spoke about it later, we both realized that we cannot find ways to describe this Master Plan for Ethnic Cleansing - the closest we got was Myrta's description of "evil genius", but that really doesn't touch it.


I'm so very sorry that we did not have that whole visit with the family on film. The power of hearing from the people themselves what they experienced, to hear their anguish and their anger was nearly overwhelming. Several of us (including me) spoke later of the deep sense of shame we felt, listening to them. I really have no vocabulary, or perhaps not the emotional bottle right now to speak more of this day.


Read more on IFPB's website.
 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I am a Palestinian and I Refuse to be Silent

Below is an excerpt from the second trip report of the Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) delegation to Palestine/Israel. 

My participation in the May 2012 delegation was blocked by Israeli officials at the airport who deemed me "a security risk." After an eight-hour wait with several interrogations, I couldn't help but laugh at the idea that a Quaker mother of two had the ability to be a risk to one of the most powerful countries in the world. 

The questions started at passport control. What is your father's name? What is your grandfather's name? I was immediately escorted to a dirty waiting room to await further interrogation. I was questioned no fewer than seven times and was asked directly, "Are you a terrorist?"

All this because I am a Palestinian and I refuse to be silent.

The Israelis demanded access to my gmail account. When I refused to provide my password, they said that I must be hiding something sinister. They obviously knew about my activism for Palestinian rights. They asked about my political activities at home and what organizations I worked with. 

I was taken to security to claim my suitcase. They went through my belongings thoroughly and searched me (but thankfully did not make me strip my clothes).

When they discovered that I had taken detailed notes about my interrogations, the lead interrogator was furious. He accused me of sound recording or photographing the questioning. He was especially interested in my notes about my phone conversation with a staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. IFPB alerted the Embassy to my detention and the staffer had called me earlier at the airport.  I told them that the Embassy advised me to keep a record of my treatment. They seemed to be a little nervous at that point.

I was able to inform the delegation co-leader, my dear friend Anna, that I was being deported. She had been at my side throughout the entire ordeal prior to my search in security. I knew she was imagining the worst during my hour-long absence.

I was taken to a prison cell where I stayed for several hours and then driven onto a runway to board a commercial flight to Europe and then onto the States. How grateful I was to find Mike Daly of IFPB waiting for me at Dulles.  I was unable to reach my husband Steve from the airport in Frankfurt and no one was sure of my whereabouts for 12 hours. I feel especially sick about all the worry this caused to my family and friends. I am also so sorry to miss being on this trip with my amazing friend Nancy. We had been looking forward to sharing this time for months.

As I was sitting in prison waiting for my deportation, I could not help but think of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention with no idea of when or if they will ever be released. I thought of the millions of Palestinians denied the right to return to their homeland by Israel. Israel has created and maintains through violence a Jewish majority at their expense.  My experiences of detention and deportation were scary. I am disappointed to be missing the delegation trip and my cousin's wedding in the West Bank on June 9, but my ordeal is only a small part of Israel's systematic oppression of Palestinians.  In fact, I am among the very lucky and privileged. I am at home now unharmed with my beautiful family.

My privilege demands that I speak fearlessly against the injustices of Israel against the Palestinian people. Count on hearing from me.

Read more on IFPB's website.

Friday, May 25, 2012

IFPB Delegation Trip Reports

Our coalition member group Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) is currently leading their 40th delegation to Palestine/Israel. Below are excerpts from their first trip report. 

UN-OCHA

By Marianne Torres

Those of you who received reports from my last trip know they contain joy, fun, and heartbreak, with more hard stuff than light, filled with information vital to the struggle. Just sayin'.....


Myrta and I are getting quite excited about the possibilities when we return! This trip has an environmental theme and we are going to learn a lot more about land use, water, and pollution here than we ever expected! We'll be able to speak to new audiences with this info (click here for photos from our first day).


We left the hotel early, without Anna, one of the trip leaders, who only arrived at the hotel about 2 am, having spent 10 hours in the little holding room with our fellow delegate who was not allowed in with us. This one ended badly, with the first Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) delegate to be turned away in 10 years. It was hard on everyone as we are already forming bonds, but particularly on her traveling partner who is a good friend of many years. Anna joined us later in the day today.



Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions: One Perspective

By Jim McLoughlin

Jeff Halper, of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, gave us a brilliant and passionate presentation. To him, the “American-Israeli” occupation has long been the major conflict pitting the West, especially the US, against the Muslim world. He is pessimistic and he feels that Netanyahu’s total intimidation of Obama (and AIPAC's of Congress) has made the Israeli government confident that it can now get away with outright annexation of roughly 60% of the remaining Palestinian land (“Area C”).


The group was impressed with his response to the oft-heard charge that Palestinians are to blame for their lack of effective leadership. By contrast, he notes the systemic and unrelenting effort by Israelis to quell any and all political opposition by intimidation, assassination, torture, forced separation from family and imprisonment. By his estimate, more than 4,000 Palestinians are currently in jail for politically related charges.



Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions: A Fourth Perspective

By Marianne Torres
We met with Jeff Halper, of ICAHD.  Jeff made an analogy to a fishbone caught in your throat. It's just a tiny, tiny thing, just as this area is tiny, but when it's stuck, everything stops until you un-stick it!

Jeff's presentation received mixed reviews. Some felt he was too tepid about BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), others felt he was only saying that it was not going to change anything by itself but that it is an excellent tool for Americans to use. At one point, he said "it's all over" about a Two-State solution (no surprise) and that it's also all over for a One-State solution - that WAS a surprise. He says 'one-state" is "not even on the table" as most world leaders do not yet support it, as he believes world leaders are not ready to support "the end of the Jewish State" and, he says "there is no readily apparent solution that I can point to" but later said he supports "regional organization" rather than One State. My disagreement here, of course, is that the end of a sate which runs on a system of apartheid and legal racism, would surely be the best place to start!


Read more and find photos at IFPB's website
.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

IFPB Delegation Arrives in Palestine/Israel

Our coalition member Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) are proud to announce that their 30 member delegation to Israel/Palestine arrived at Ben-Gurion airport this past Monday morning and is in Jerusalem. The delegation includes our National Organizer Anna Baltzer. 

The purpose of this delegation, the 40th to make the trip since 2001, is to educate North Americans about the region and deepen their understanding of its conflicts.


Participants on this delegation will have the unique opportunity to hear directly from Palestinians and Israelis regarding the environmental effects of military occupation.  


May also marks the annual commemoration of Israel’s independence and the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and the birth of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In commemoration of these events, Palestinians and Israelis engaged in numerous nonviolent demonstrations, including symbolic marches of to depopulated villages in Israel.


Participants will speak with Palestinians and Israelis about these developments and learn from peace activists, civil society leaders, human rights workers, and others in Palestinian and Israeli areas.


Read more about the delegation

Thursday, December 15, 2011

IFPB's Offering Scholarships for Summer 2012 Delegations to Israel/Palestine

Interfaith Peace-Buliders, a US Campaign coalition member group, is offering scholarships for students and young adults interested in joining a summer 2012 delegation to Israel/Palestine.



We are offering two $1,000 Scholarships for students and young adults who travel on Interfaith Peace-Builders Summer 2012 Delegations*
   
*Plus...in addition to the two $1000 scholarships, anyone who applies will also be considered for smaller financial aid packages from IFPB, ranging from $250 - $500.
   
APPLICATION DEADLINE: January 20, 2012
Download Application Here

WHY SHOULD YOU PARTICIPATE?
Be an Eye Witness:  Move beyond research and gain first-hand experience on the ground.
Network:  Meet and build relationships with key players working towards peace and justice.
Build Personal Connections:  Hear from people directly affected by the conflict, from various viewpoints.
Test your Knowledge:  See how the realities on the ground compare to what you have already learned.
Interfaith Peace-Builders has led 35 delegations and taken more than 550 people to Israel/Palestine.

SUMMER 2012 DELEGATION DATES
We're offering 2 different delegations this summer. Click to learn more...
May 19- June 1
July 14 - July 27

WHO CAN APPLY?
IFPB welcomes any current student or young adult (age 18-30) to apply for consideration for these two scholarships.
To apply, fill out and submit the application form by January 20, 2012.
Download Application Here
We expect to notify scholarship recipients in early February, 2012.
As mentioned, applying for this opportunity will also add you to our pool of other candidates who may be considered for smaller scholarship help, generally in the $250 - $500 range.
For more information or if you have questions, contact IFPB at office@ifpb.org.
Want to advertise to others? Click and print this Announcement!
WHAT DOES THE DELEGATION COST?
IFPB delegations regularly cost $2100 for ground fees (including: accommodations, local transportation, breakfasts and dinners, guides, and meetings. This $2100 does not include international airfare.
Scholarships will be applied towards the delegation cost of $2,100.

LEARN MORE ABOUT IFPB DELEGATIONS
Click here to learn much more about IFPB delegations.
Click here for multimedia information about Interfaith Peace-Builders.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Scott Kennedy, Presente!

It was with great sadness that the US Campaign family learned this weekend, during our semi-annual Steering Committee meeting, of the loss of our good friend Scott Kennedy.  Having seen Scott just recently at our 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference, it is such a shock and terrible loss to us all to suddenly realize that we will no longer benefit from his passion, wisdom, and commitment.

Scott was an amazing, tireless, and dedicated activist for a just peace in Palestine/Israel.  His loss is inestimable.  My fondest memory of Scott is of him driving me around his beloved and beautiful Santa Cruz during an organizing tour he arranged and listening to him describe how as mayor he commemorated the killing of Rachel Corrie by declaring an official Rachel Corrie Day in her memory.

Below, we reprint a beautiful note on Scott's passing from member group Interfaith Peace-Builders, whose Board of Directors was chaired by Scott.  In the note, please find information on how you can extend your condolences to Scott's family through IFPB.

With heartfelt condolences to Scott's family and boundless admiration for his life's work,

Josh Ruebner
National Advocacy Director
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation        




Scott Kennedy, Presente!

Dear Friends,

We write today with sad news.  Scott Kennedy, chair of the IFPB board of directors, trip leader for many, and friend to us all, has passed away.  Scott died Saturday in his sleep in Santa Cruz, CA, just one week after co-leading the latest Interfaith Peace-Builders Olive Harvest Delegation.

With the shock and hurt of the news still fresh, we all mourn and wish peace for his family.  To say that Scott had an enormous impact on Interfaith Peace-Builders would be an understatement.  Our work of sending delegations (39 since 2001) was rooted in delegation work that he pioneered, starting with a trip that Scott and Allan Solomonow led in 1975.  Since that time, Scott’s work with the Resource Center for Nonviolence, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and Middle East Witness all contributed significantly to the program that we know as Interfaith Peace-Builders today.  
Scott has been a tireless advocate, a dedicated trip leader, an active and engaged board member, and a joy to learn from and work with.

His work with IFPB was but one of his many projects which spread from Santa Cruz, the city he loved unconditionally, to Israel/Palestine, whose nonviolent leaders he supported at all costs.  He dedicated his life to helping others, to seeking justice, and to spreading the power of active nonviolence.

When Scott received the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize in 2008, IFPB Senior Fellow Joe Groves wrote a tribute to Scott.  We include it here:

I have worked with Scott Kennedy on Middle East peace education for twenty years in many varied venues. What fun! Even though we live on opposite coasts, our collaboration has been consistent, from forming Middle East Witness to take delegations to Israel/Palestine, to working together on FOR’s Middle East Task Force, to collaborating on FOR’s Interfaith Peace-Builders Program, to creating an independent Interfaith Peace-Builders organization. That’s one of Scott’s defining features—creating anew by building on strong and deep relationships.  Programs can come and go—it’s the people who are crucial. A second defining feature is that Scott makes the work fun, in a deep, complex way that far exceeds laughter (although there is plenty of that). It’s fun stemming from creativity, imagination, stimulating conversation, immense energy, and profound commitment to the work of Middle East peace. We need all of those qualities to sustain work on Israel/Palestine in the midst of consistently grim and discouraging realities. Someone who brings fun to Middle East work—what more can you ask! And what better way to lead in peace education.  

If you'd like, you may also watch this online video where Scott describes some of his work with IFPB.

We invite you to send any condolence letters (letters only, please) to IFPB  (1326 9th St., NW, Washington DC 20001) and we’ll bundle them together with other notes from others who he touched through his work with IFPB.

More information on Scott is provided in these online obituaries:

http://forusa.org/blogs/mark-johnson/scott-kennedy-tribute/9912
http://santacruz.patch.com/articles/scott-kennedy-former-mayor-and-nonviolence-center-founder-died-saturday
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_19373837

Scott will be very sorely missed.  And we feel the utmost gratitude to have known, worked, and laughed with him.

In Peace, 


Joe, Mike, Jake, and Emily, IFPB Staff


Ilise, Mark, Doug, Mary Ann, Mara, Gerald, Sandra, Richard, Rami, Allie, Shakeel, Barbara, Hanan, Darryl, and Cathy, 
IFPB Board

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Announcing Fall Olive Harvest Delegation with IFPB!

The US Campaign's National Organizer, Anna Baltzer, contributed the announcement below.  In Spring 2010 and 2011, Anna co-led international delegations to Israel/Palestine with the Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB), which is a coalition member of the US Campaign.

Having co-led two delegations with Interfaith Peace-Builders, I cannot recommend highly enough these powerful, transformative delegations. And there's no better way to experience both the beauty and tragedy of Palestine than picking olives with farmers and families defying unjust military rules and threats of settler attacks. The olive harvest is Palestinian popular resistance in action.
                          - Anna Baltzer


Apply Now for the Fall Olive Harvest Delegation!

October 29 - November 11, 2011


This delegation will provide an opportunity to participate in the Palestinian olive harvest season -- generally a time of great community activism, where people of all ages from Palestine, Israeli peace and justice groups, and international groups join farmers as they reap their harvest. It is international support that makes the harvest possible in many cases. You will hear from Palestinian farmers and learn of the importance of agriculture to the Palestinian economy and culture. As with other delegations, you will also meet additional Israelis and Palestinians working for peace and justice.

To learn more about the standard components of all delegations, click here.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until early September, 2011 or until the delegation fills. Our last several delegations have filled up several months before departure, so please apply as soon as possible to reserve your space.

Logistics:

The cost of the Olive Harvest delegation will be around $2200.  This includes 13 days of the delegation, hotel and home stay accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, local transportation, guides, speaker/event fees, basic tips and gratuities. Partial scholarships may be available for those with demonstrable need (click here for more information).

... The cost does not include domestic and international airfare. Interfaith Peace-Builders works with a local travel agent in Jerusalem to secure the best group rates for the delegation to travel together on the same flight from Washington, DC to Israel/Palestine. Therefore, delegates do not need to book their own international airfare.

Click here to:
  • Learn much more about delegation specifics (including who we meet, cost, application information)
  • View photos from past delegations
  • Join the delegation email list
Apply today!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Interfaith Peace-Builders: Statement of the African Heritage Delegation

Interfaith Peace-Builders is a coalition member of the US Campaign.

Click here to download the statement as a PDF

Click here for video of delegation participants presenting statement and observations at Washington DC Press Briefing

August 2, 2011

We, the members of the Interfaith Peace Builders’ first African Heritage Delegation, participated in a study tour to Palestine/Israel, July 16-29, 2011.

The delegation consisted of seven men and seven women from 25 to 73 years of age who came from different parts of the U.S. — the West Coast, the East Coast, New England, the Midwest and the South.  The group included teachers, professors, college administrators, human rights activists, and ministers and lay leaders from both Christian and Islamic faith traditions.  Our primary mission was to listen and to learn about the impact of the Israeli Occupation upon the lives and livelihood of Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel as well as those who have been dispersed throughout the world.

Many of us have worked in support of civil and human rights in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the anti-apartheid movement, the Haiti solidarity movement, and anti-war movements against U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. For 11 of us, the tour was our first trip to Palestine/Israel.

Because of our experience of fighting racism and exploitation in the United States, we are united in our support for civil and human rights of all peoples of the world.  Before going on the delegation, we had an intellectual understanding of the impact of the Israeli Occupation on Palestinian people but we wanted to get a first-hand account from members of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, faith-based groups, civil society and grassroots organizations.

Based on our observations and discussions with Palestinians and Israelis, we have come to the following conclusions:
  1. The Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza Strip are in direct violation of international laws and several United Nations Resolutions;
  2. The Occupation has led to the physical, psychological and spiritual oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel, as well as the forced expulsion of millions of Palestinians from their homes, farms, businesses and their homeland;
  3. In addition to the illegal occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government, many Israeli businesses and wide swaths of Israeli society discriminate against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and against Mizrahi Jews (Jews of Arab descent) who are citizens of Israel;
  4. The Israeli Occupation and the suppression of Palestinian rights conform to the United Nations definition of Apartheid.
As a result of our findings and conclusions, we adopted the following resolutions:
  1. We call on African Americans and all people of good will to support an end to the Occupation, including the removal of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the dismantling of the apartheid wall; the end to the military and economic blockade of the Gaza Strip; the granting of full equality to all Palestinian citizens and Mizrahi Jewish citizens of Israel; and the recognition and realization of the right of return for Palestinian refugees and internally displaced Palestinians.
  2. We call for the humane treatment of Palestinian children and adults in the custody of the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli Police; the release of all political prisoners; and an end to indefinite detentions without trial.
  3. We call for the United States government to cease its military aid of $3 billion of our tax dollars annually to Israel, which, in the name of security, is used to further oppress, harass, maim and kill Palestinians.
  4. We endorse the international campaign calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in support of Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.
  5. We call on U.S. citizens to join an Interfaith Peace Builders delegation and travel to Palestine/Israel to learn about the impact of the Occupation firsthand.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  We believe in the indivisibility of our human rights and those of Palestinians and all oppressed peoples.  We will not rest until all of humanity is free.

African Heritage Delegation Members:
Queen Adams - Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia
Avery Blakeney - Washington, DC
Carolyn L. Boyd - Alexandria, Virginia
Gloria Brown - Streetsboro, Ohio
Jesse Hagopian - Seattle, Washington
Oscar Harrell - Sudbury, Massachusetts
Keith Harvey - Wareham, Massachusetts
Trina Jackson - Decatur, Georgia
Gerald Lenoir - Berkeley, California
Michael Nettles - College Park, Maryland
Sterling Pack - Marriottsville, Maryland
Mark Pollard - Atlanta, Georgia
Raheemah Raheem - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Paula Watts - Fort Washington, Maryland

Media Contact:
Jacob Pace, Interfaith Peace-Builders staff
415-240-4607
media [a] ifpb [dot] org

SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Justice for Palestine: A Call to Action from Indigenous and Women of Color Feminists

Barbara Ransby is a member of the US Campaign's Advisory Board and one of the signatories of this letter.
Barbara Ransby

Between June 14 and June 23, 2011, a delegation of 11 scholars, activists, and artists visited occupied Palestine. As indigenous and women of color feminists involved in multiple social justice struggles, we sought to affirm our association with the growing international movement for a free Palestine. We wanted to see for ourselves the conditions under which Palestinian people live and struggle against what we can now confidently name as the Israeli project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Each and every one of us—including those members of our delegation who grew up in the Jim Crow South, in apartheid South Africa, and on Indian reservations in the U.S.—was shocked by what we saw. In this statement we describe some of our experiences and issue an urgent call to others who share our commitment to racial justice, equality, and freedom.

During our short stay in Palestine, we met with academics, students, youth, leaders of civic organizations, elected officials, trade unionists, political leaders, artists, and civil society activists, as well as residents of refugee camps and villages that have been recently attacked by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Everyone we encountered—in Nablus, Awarta, Balata, Jerusalem, Hebron, Dheisheh, Bethlehem, Birzeit, Ramallah, Um el-Fahem, and Haifa—asked us to tell the truth about life under occupation and about their unwavering commitment to a free Palestine. We were deeply impressed by people’s insistence on the linkages between the movement for a free Palestine and struggles for justice throughout the world; as Martin Luther King, Jr. insisted throughout his life, “Justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Traveling by bus throughout the country, we saw vast numbers of Israeli settlements ominously perched in the hills, bearing witness to the systematic confiscation of Palestinian land in flagrant violation of international law and United Nations resolutions. We met with refugees across the country whose families had been evicted from their homes by Zionist forces, their land confiscated, their villages and olive groves razed. As a consequence of this ongoing displacement, Palestinians comprise the largest refugee population in the world (over five million), the majority living within 100 kilometers of their natal homes, villages, and farmlands. In defiance of United Nations Resolution 194, Israel has an active policy of opposing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes and lands on the grounds that they are not entitled to exercise the Israeli Law of Return, which is reserved for Jews.


LETTER CONTINUES...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

IFPB "Voices of the Peace-Builders" delegation arrives in Israel/Palestine


Our National Organizer, Anna Baltzer, this week traveled to Palestine-Israel, where she is leading a delegation for Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB), which is a member of our coalition.

May 23, 2011

Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) is pleased to announce that our 31-member delegation to Israel/Palestine arrived at Ben-Gurion airport Monday morning and is now safely in Jerusalem.

The purpose of this delegation, the 36th to make the trip since 2001, is to educate North Americans about the region and deepen their understanding of its conflicts.

The delegation will explore Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace and a resolution to their conflict based on justice and feature meetings with Palestinian and Israeli peace-builders — leaders of civil society groups, grassroots organizers, religious leaders and more.  Given the current situation in the West Bank, the delegation will focus on learning about the challenges facing nonviolent activists resisting occupation.

Delegates meet in Washington, DC, for preparations.
The political situation in the region opened up recently when Palestinian factions signed a unity deal that could end years of political stalemate. President Obama also issued a strong statement last week entreating Israel to make concessions necessary for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These developments have set the onus on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is currently in Washington to address a joint session of the US Congress.

May also marks the annual commemoration of Israel’s independence and the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and the birth of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In commemoration of these events, on May 15 Palestinian refugees led massive nonviolent demonstrations on Israel's borders. Israeli soldiers responded with deadly force killing scores of demonstrators and wounding hundreds more.

Participants on this delegation have the unique opportunity to hear directly from Palestinians and Israelis regarding these developments and sharing their hopes for peace and the role of the US government in promoting a resolution to the conflict.

The delegation includes:
Haneen Abuqalbeen - Tampa, Florida
Michael Argaman - Rochester, New York
Anna Baltzer - St. Louis, Missouri
Lisa Barksdale - Allston, Massachusetts
Steve Bell - Mt. Berry, Georgia
Ben Bell - Mt. Berry, Georgia
Harvie Branscomb - Basalt, Colorado
Amanda Cruz-Mujica - Tampa, Florida
Amy Damashek - Kalamazoo, Michigan
Peter Dziedzic - Addison, Illinois
Ronna Grimes - Rochester, New York
Arlene Halfon - Washington DC
Alex Hartmann - Bellevue, Nebraska
Adam Horowitz - New York, New York
Elaine Johnson - Pittsford, New York
Sara Traub - Toronto, Ontario
Colleen Kelly - St. Louis, Missouri
Lucas Koerner - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Robert Kuhlmann - Flushing, New York
Tammy McLane - New Port Richey, Florida
Tiffany McLane - New Port Richey, Florida
Kim Nesta - Ithaca, New York
Rusty Olson - Rochester, New York
Jeanette Olson - Rochester, New York
Lydia  Ray - Annandale, Virginia
Dick Rudloff - Alameda, California
Linc Spaulding - Rochester, New York
Sue Spaulding - Rochester, New York
Vince Stravino - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Will Thomas - Auburn, New Hampshire
Beth Woolever - Rochester, New York

LEARN MORE at IFPB...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

US Campaign/IFPB Delegation participants advocate for Palestinian rights

US Campaign member group Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) has put together a great summary of what delegates on the IFPB summer delegation to Israel/Palestine, co-sponsored by the US Campaign, have been up to since returning in August:

Delegates in Action:

[US Campaign National Organizer] Katherine Fuchs has traveled around the nation in the months since the delegation, organizing and presenting on issues featured on the trip. She organized and presented at the National Conference of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and has played a leading role in student divestment conferences on several campuses.

Katherine's media work has also stretched across the country. Her interview "Katherine Fuchs - Ending Israeli Occupation" was published by WireTap Magazine and she was featured on KWMR Radio in Marin County, California.

In Lee's Summit, Missouri, Cindy Howard wasted little time in reaching out to her local media and her church community. In addition to this appearance on Bill Tammeus' Faith Matters blog, Cindy was interviewed for a feature article in the Lee's Summit Journal entitled "A Life Changing Experience - Local Priest Travels to Israel, Palestine".

More important than the articles, are the relationships Cindy has begun to craft with the Editors of the Lee's Summit Journal and the Kansas City Star Tribune. Her work with the editors positions her as a resource on the Middle East and faith issues.

Cindy has also presented seven different times in the Kansas City area since August and has taken on an important role as Missioner with the American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem (Episcopal).

Out in Portland, Oregon, Jeff Kipelman went straight to the airwaves and recorded an interview on KBOO Radio's "Positively Revolting Radio" with Ani Haines. Jeff is also working on a news feature to run on KBOO. Jeff also printed a hard-hitting Letter to the Editor, "End Apartheid in Israel", at Oregon Live, the online outlet of The Oregonian newspaper.

Jen Lauda has done impressive outreach in Washington DC and Northern Virginia, where the Alexandria Times published an article on her delegation entitled "A Towering Conflict Seen from the Ground". Jen was also featured in this article in the online newsletter of the American University School of International Service as well as this article in the alumni magazine of her alma-mater, the University of Central Florida. In addition, Jen was interviewed on WPFW Radio News on August 20, 2009.

Kristen Loken, has found an audience with her local West Virginia media. The Martinsburg Journal profiled her trip in an article entitled "Local woman tours Israel and Palestine" which was also republished on the website of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Kris has also begun to make a series of public presentations, her first of which was in Potomac, Maryland where she was hosted by the Democratic Women's Club.

In Cincinnati, Nancy Paraskevopoulos has made a big splash through a weekly column she writes for the University of Cincinnati News Record. Her columns: "Expansion Abroad Similar to 3CDC3"; "Israeli settlements disrupt Hebron"; and "Action warrants Nobel Peace Prize"; have stimulated a local debate on the issue which has resonated outside of the local community and which Nancy has followed closely on her blog.

Nancy has also used her experience to strengthen her campus organizing through the Campus Action Network and other groups. Check the News Record website for more of her weekly columns.

In Washington, DC, Emily and Laurie Siegel's trip was featured in The Voice of the Hill newspaper. Emily was also profiled for this article on the website of the American University School of International Service. Emily and fellow delegate Jenn Lauda were interviewed for a second article also posted online at the American University School of International Service website. Emily is currently working as an organizer for the Gaza Freedom March, which is endorsed by the US Campaign.

Jerry Stinson, has presented several times on panels and in his Sunday sermons in Long Beach, California. His talks have reached hundreds in his community.

Many other delegates have invested similar efforts in media, speaking and organizing initiatives in their communities. Interfaith Peace-Builders is proud of the incredible efforts of our delegation participants and is honored to have played a role in their activism.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

US Campaign National Organizer Katherine Fuchs interviewed in WireTap Magazine

Check out this interview with US Campaign National Organizer Katherine Fuchs in WireTap Magazine, "an independent news and culture web magazine that generates and amplifies daily content by young people from diverse backgrounds." Here's Fuchs discussing her motivations for working for justice and equality for Palestinians:
"The most impactful event happened just a few weeks ago, when I went on an Interfaith Peace-builders delegation to Israel/Palestine. Actually meeting Palestinians and Israelis struggling for civil existence in the midst of a human-induced humanitarian disaster renewed my dedication to this work and blew all of my intellectual understanding out of the water."
Read the full article by clicking here, and join us in our work by clicking here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Final reflections from delegation

A final set of reports and reflections from the delegation co-sponsored by Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is available here, including poetic reflections from delegation co-leader Shakeel Syed. Check out the report here, and stay tuned for a reflection written by delegation co-leader and US Campaign National Organizer Katherine Fuchs. (Delegation participants walk through a Palestinian village destroyed in 1948. For more photos from the delegation click here.) Have you enjoyed all of the updates and reports from the delegation? Have you found our posts on evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, links between U.S. military aid and Israeli settlement construction, the changing discourse on Israeli apartheid, and the growing BDS movement useful in your activism? Maintaining a blog takes staff time, and that means it costs us! Click here to find out more about how you can sustain and support the work of the US Campaign.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

US Campaign/IFPB delegation participants share impressions of Jerusalem

Although the delegation to Israel/Palestine cosponsored by Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has returned home, we continue to post reflections and reports written by delegates in order to share their important experiences. You can click here to read the delegations report on their visits to Jerusalem. Here's US Campaign Steering Committee member David Matos on settlements in East Jerusalem and the Obama Administration:
"To make a peace where Israel and Palestine share Jerusalem will require the world community to confront these policies, specifically the settlements which seem to have become "facts on the ground" to divide and fragment an Arab East Jerusalem. The Obama administration has taken a strong stand against settlements, including those in East Jerusalem. Despite the US call to enforce a settlement freeze, the Netanyahu regime in Israel has thumbed its nose at Obama's challenge. They have declared several new settlement projects in East Jerusalem, most recently 20 units in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Increasingly, pro-Israeli media have become more shrill on the issue. Just last Monday a settler group held a protest at the Israeli Knesset and settler youth have taken the offensive creating some twenty new illegal outposts. Obama is right on this issue and it is critical that we support him and not buckle to pressure from the pro-Israeli right."
Help the U.S. stop Israeli settlements by signing up as a local organizer. Join the struggle against U.S. support of Israeli violations of international law today! (A photo of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem taken by a member of the delegation. Click here for more photos).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Encountering Bil'in

We're happy to tell you that participants in the co-sponsored US Campaign/Interfaith Peace-builders delegation to Israel/Palestine have returned safely. We'll have more updates soon, but in the meantime, check out the delegation's report about their visit to the Palestinian village of Bil'in, which has been nonviolently resisting the Apartheid Wall every Friday for several years. The Wall cuts the villagers off from much of their farmland. Here's what one delegation participant had to say about their interactions with the farmers of Bili'n:
"As with the folks at the Deheisheh Refugee Camp, the villagers of Bil'in retain a tremendous joy even as they live under Israel's occupation. Israel may beat them, steal their land and treat them like animals - but the people of Bil'in continue to affirm life as they know that someday, when the U.S. closes its checkbook, they tyranny and oppression of the occupation will end."
Read the full report here, and help us close our U.S. checkbook by clicking here.