Showing posts with label Rachel Corrie Foundation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rachel Corrie Foundation. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On the 9th Anniversary of Rachel's Stand in Gaza

The following is a letter written by Cindy and Craig Corrie. 

Dear Friends,

It has been nine years today since our daughter Rachel was crushed to death under an Israeli driven, U.S. funded and built, Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in Gaza. In March 2003, the news was full of talk of war with Iraq - a preemptive war to protect the west, particularly the U.S. and Israel, from the weapons of mass destruction then alleged to have been amassed by Saddam Hussein. When Rachel traveled to Gaza that year, the world was not watching. According to Human Rights Watch, from September 2000 until September 2004, 1,600 Palestinian homes in the city of Rafah were destroyed by the Israeli military as it occupied the Gaza Strip. One-tenth of the population lost their homes. Rachel chose to be in Gaza when the ground attack against Iraq broke out. She feared an escalation of the violence and a tightening of the isolation against people there, as the world looked to the northeast and watched the carnage in Iraq. It did not happen as immediately as some expected, but with the Israeli military attack on Gaza of November 2008 through January 2009, the violence became overwhelming, and the tightening of the seige initiated in 2006 by Israel to remove Hamas, made the isolation nearly complete.

In 2003, Rachel wrote: "I went to a rally a few days ago in Khan Younis in solidarity with the people of Iraq. Many analogies were made about the continuing suffering of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and the upcoming occupation of Iraq by the United States - not the war itself - but the certain aftermath of the war. If people aren't already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope they will start."



Now, in 2012, we listen to similar news - calls for bombing Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. The preemptive war has already begun with the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. Our government tells us sanctions against Iran will pressure their government to abandon any program to develop these weapons, but experience tells us sanctions only increase the defensiveness of repressive regimes and tighten their control over their populations.

The news from our politicians is discouraging and even frightening, but in the meeting places and streets in our communities, we are making the kind of change that Rachel envisioned. It is happening in Olympia with continuing support for the Olympia Food Co-op's boycott of Israeli products until the rights of Palestinians are addressed. Throughout Puget Sound this week, we have successfully challenged efforts by the Israeli government to use members of the Israeli gay community to distract from the continuing oppression of Palestinian people. Churches in our region are conversing about divestment from corporations like Caterpillar Inc. for their refusal to address their continuing participation in human rights abuses and the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

In 2002, Rachel wrote, "I think it's important for people who oppose war and repression to speak about who we are as a community in addition to speaking about war and racism and injustice. We are not outside. I think it's important that human rights and resistance to oppression be included in the way we define ourselves as a community..."  As the threat of war with Iran, the disintegration of the situation in Afghanistan, and the bombing of Gaza continue, the work we are all doing in our hometowns at the grassroots level is powerful and critical. Today, as we remember Rachel's stand nine years ago, we encourage our friends across the country and world to strengthen your own communities, educate, educate, educate, support each other in taking action, and walk with peace, love, and forgiveness in your hearts as you work for change.


Cindy and Craig Corrie
March 16, 2012

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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Non-Violent Way to Justice

Cindy & Craig Corrie
Cindy Corrie is president of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, which is a member of the US Campaign's nationwide coalition of more than 380 groups.

Emel, a monthly print publication with 100,000 subscribers in more than 60 countries, describes itself as: "The Muslim lifestyle magazine. Emel is for the reader who wishes to combine an ethical outlook to life with evolving ideas and modern lifestyle."

The mother of a U.S. citizen crushed by an Israeli bulldozer recollects her daughter’s passion for justice. 

By Cindy Corrie
Emel Magazine, December 2011 issue

My daughter Rachel Corrie brought me to the Palestinian/Israeli issue. Ours was a family and community that generally thought about the world and its inhabitants in a loving, curious way. We connected, as comfortable Americans do, through following and discussing the news, attending events, and making donations to support those in third world countries—but there was never any intention of sacrifice. In 2003, Rachel travelled to Gaza to join the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a group of Palestinian and international activists who use non-violent, direct-action methods to confront the Israeli occupation. Why did she go? Rachel was motivated by her family and community experiences, by her questions about US foreign policy that arose after 9/11 shattering our nation’s sense of security and self-satisfaction, and simply by whom she was as a human being.

Once in Gaza, Rachel documented when the Israeli military destroyed Palestinian olive orchards, gardens, and greenhouses and harassed Palestinians at checkpoints. She worked with women and children and planned for a sister-city project to connect people in Rafah with those in Olympia, her hometown. Through phone calls and e-mails, she introduced family and friends to life in Occupied Palestine: “I don’t know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank shell holes in their walls, and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I’m not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me —Ali—or point at the posters of him on the walls.”

Rachel stayed with civilian Gazan families whose homes were threatened by widespread military clearing demolitions. On 16th March 2003, while working with seven international activists, she was crushed by a military Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer as she stood to protect a threatened Palestinian home.  The family who owned it watched from inside their garden wall, as the bulldozer approached.

The horror of learning what happened that day is etched in my memory—a searing pain like nothing I had experienced before, and hope never to experience again. The loss is encompassing and forever—and from a parent’s perspective, the price too dear. But there is another cost too much to bear—that of discouraging a child from being all they can be. We are sometimes asked why we did not stop Rachel from going to Gaza. Her father’s response is, “Why weren’t we all there?”

I have connected with families of others lost to the non-violent struggle in Palestine, and to those injured—Palestinians, Israelis and others. Despite the pain, I am struck by their continued conviction about the rightness of the cause, and the methods of resisting. In 2005, Gene Sharp, an expert on non-violent resistance, stated at a Bethlehem conference, “None of this is safe. None of this is easy. But these are the tools for those struggling for liberation and for those of us who work with them.”

With her writings from Gaza, Rachel charted our path: “This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benetar, and have boyfriends and make comics for my co-workers. But I also want this to stop.” In the eight years since Rachel was killed, I have witnessed the injustice in the West Bank and Gaza but, also, the imagination and determination of Palestinian activists—and the resilience of all Palestinians who, despite occupation, act with dignity, and with determination not to be silenced. They continue to ask us to visit, and to stand in solidarity with them in Palestine and back home. Israeli Jewish and Palestinian activists challenge their country’s policies and actions, but tell me they cannot succeed alone. They need the rest of us.

International solidarity can take many forms. We can make the journey to Israel/Palestine in person, through the internet, or by connecting to efforts in our own communities. Whatever the path, we must follow the news, share the stories, be visible, and strategically challenge policies that allow the injustice to continue. Rachel was compelled to live meaningfully. She made the journey to Palestine because (as an American) she felt implicated in Israel’s actions and felt a responsibility to challenge them.

Books of Mahatma Gandhi were on Rachel’s shelves. She knew that suffering and sacrifice in some form is one element of non-violent resistance. She also knew from Gandhi that “a small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” Our actions are cumulative; our numbers are increasing; and our struggle is for our own universal human rights. To achieve and maintain those for everyone, we must continue to stand with the Palestinians.


Cindy Corrie, guest comment writer, is the President of the Rachel Corrie Foundation.

SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Protest Video and Petitions Delivered! Thousands tell National Building Museum: No Award to Caterpillar Inc.!

US Campaign member group, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, along with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace, CODEPINK, and the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, celebrated a victory earlier this month when the National Building Museum announced its cancellation of the ceremony to award Caterpillar, Inc. with an award for "innovation in building technology" and "exceptional leadership," following a campaign which gathered more than 7,000 signatures. However, the National Building Museum did not rescind the award itself, prompting protesters to demonstrate outside the museum when Cindy and Craig Corrie delivered the petition, as described below in an account from the Rachel Corrie Foundation... Make sure to check out the video!


Earlier this month we convinced the National Building Museum (NBM) in Washington DC to cancel its September 14th public ceremony to award its prestigious Henry C. Turner Prize to Caterpillar Inc. Then last week, acting on behalf of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, we and representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (a coalition of more than 350 organizations) held a protest outside the F Street museum entrance. We sang, chanted, flyered, and chatted with the public. We then entered the Museum's lofty Great Hall to deliver the call from 150 regional, national, and international organizations and more than 7000 individuals to rescind the prize to Caterpillar Inc. completely. 
Petition Delivery and Action at the National Building Museum
Petition Delivery and Action at the National Building Museum
Video courtesy of Bill Simonds, JVP - DC Metro Chapter  
We met with Museum Development Events Manager Jessie Cochran. She promised to deliver our petitions to the Museum's Executive Director, Chase Rynd, along with our requests to consider the human rights records of future award candidates and to use the museum's public forums to discuss the built environment during conflict and occupation.

...This small but public victory is just one indicator of how together we are bringing Palestinian human rights front and center and making a difference. Once again, we have exposed the complicity of Caterpillar Inc. in the ongoing violations of these rights by the Israeli military and government in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. 



Continue reading here...

Click here to find out more about the BDS Campaign against Caterpillar.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Guardian publishes Cindy Corrie on U.S. complicity in collective punishment


The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice is a coalition member of the US Campaign. The US Boat to Gaza--The Audacity of Hope--is also.

US collusion in the Gaza blockade is an affront to human rights 


My daughter's death shows the cruelty of an America that won't protect its own and is complicit in harming Palestinian civilians

By Cindy Corrie, in The Guardian
July 8, 2011

When Greek authorities prevented the US ship the Audacity of Hope leaving its port in Athens this week, they dealt a blow to a group of brave and principled Americans who were trying to carry thousands of letters from US citizens to those who wait on Gaza's shores.

I know many of the people who were on this boat, and my family's letter was part of their cargo. In 2003 my daughter Rachel Corrie made her journey to Gaza and was run down and killed by a US-made Israeli military Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer. She was trying to protect a Gazan family and their home, one of thousands illegally destroyed in Israeli military clearing operations.
Now my family is on a parallel journey with those activists as we return this week to Israeli court to confront Colonel Pinhas Zuaretz, the commanding officer of the Gaza Division's Southern Brigade in 2003. His testimony should shed light not only on actions of troops responsible for Rachel's killing but also on the Israeli military's broad failures as an occupying power to protect civilian life and property.

ARTICLE CONTINUES...

Friday, May 27, 2011

In court, IDF's latest "expert" witness vilifies nonviolent accompaniers

By Cindy & Craig Corrie, of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice, a US Campaign member organization
May 25, 2011

The lengthy civil trial in Israel in the case of Rachel Corrie continued Sunday, May 22, with former IDF spokeswoman Ruth Yaron attacking the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Cindy Corrie commented:
"In this so-called 'expert' testimony that drew largely on highly questionable hearsay and secondary sources, it was again deeply troubling to see the length to which the state of Israel is willing to go in its attempts to justify killing a nonviolent, unarmed civilian acting to defend Palestinian human rights."
Based on information that has surfaced during the trial, the Corrie family has asked the Obama Administration to address the Israeli government's failure to comply with its 2003 promise to the Bush Administration to conduct a "thorough, credible, and transparent" investigation.

GET TRIAL UPDATES...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Show Caterpillar it can run, but it can't hide

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
May 19, 2011

For the past seven years, the US Campaign and many of our coalition member groups, including Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, have dominated Caterpillar's annual Chicago-area shareholder meetings by organizing creative protests inside and outside the meetings, like these actions in 2009 and in 2010 (click to learn more).




Above: Activists protest outside a Caterpillar shareholder meeting. (click image to enlarge).


Together, we've challenged the corporation for supplying Israel with D9 bulldozers -- which Israel misuses to demolish Palestinian homes, uproot olive trees, construct Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall, and kill and maim unarmed civilians -- at Caterpillar's most important annual gathering.

Apparently CAT has had enough of us all dominating their annual shareholder meeting. Recently, it announced that it is moving its meeting on June 8th to Little Rock, Arkansas. CAT can run 700 miles away for its meeting this year, but we're still watching.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained in a recent interview in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that:

"BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions]... will start coming at us like a glacier, from all corners."

Our joint corporate accountability campaign to challenge CAT's role continues from all corners: from shareholder activism, to targeting the U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales Program D9 deliveries, to student divestment campaigns and CAT-free campuses. Only with your help in targeting CAT from "all corners" will this campaign continue to grow!

Here are some updates and ways for you to advance our collective "Stop Caterpillar" campaign:

Last October, media reports stated that CAT would not deliver bulldozers to the Israeli military during the civil trial brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie against Israel for the 2003 killing of their daughter Rachel by its military with a weaponized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer as she nonviolently tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Click here for trial updates from the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a US Campaign member group.

We need to maintain pressure on the Obama Administration and on CAT to make sure no D9 bulldozers -- destined to destroy Palestinian homes and lives -- are delivered ever! In the lead-up to CAT's shareholder meeting...

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Join nearly 15,000 people in signing our petition to the Obama Administration demanding the end of D9 Caterpillar bulldozer deliveries to the Israeli military, and an investigation into Israel's violations of U.S. laws committed with Caterpillar equipment.

2.



Above: Video by Earlham College students (click to watch).


This spring has brought a surge of campus divestment campaigns targeting Caterpillar and other corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid. Students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, which declared itself CAT-free last year, have joined with campuses like the University of Arizona (UA) in a "Mock Wall" movement coinciding with the launch of a resolution to divest from Caterpillar and Motorola. Likewise, students in a new US Campaign member group, BDS Earlham, are calling for divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard.

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Click here to show your support for the Earlham College resolution to divest from Caterpillar.

3. Dozens of groups around the country, including member groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Grassroots International, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee at UT-Austin, are building campaigns to get TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services providers in the United States, to divest more than $250 million from Caterpillar (along with holdings in other occupation-profiteers).

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Click here to call for TIAA-CREF's divestment and to find out how you can become a local organizer on this fast-spreading campaign.

Let's prove Ehud Barak right by using all possible avenues to end Caterpillar's complicity in Israel's occupation and apartheid policies!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

State Again Reschedules Testimony of Col. Pinky Zuaretz

The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice is a member of our coalition. The Corries are presently in Israel for the latest phase of their court case for Israeli military accountability for the death of Rachel in 2003.

Court Canceled April 27 - Witness Now Slated to Testify on Original May 22 Date

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Haifa, Israel) - In another round of last minute maneuvering, attorneys for the State in Corrie vs. State of Israel requested that testimony from their highest-ranking witness be postponed. Former Brigade Commander Colonel Pinhas (Pinky) Zuaretz, who was scheduled to testify on April 27, will not testify until May 22.
The witness was originally scheduled to testify on May 22, but on April 17, just before the court recessed for Israel's Passover holiday, the State filed an emergency request to move Zuaretz's testimony forward by nearly a month. Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon granted the government motion, without hearing from the Corrie family's lawyers, citing availability of the witness as the main factor in his ruling.
Only after the court granted this request did the State provide Corrie family lawyers with Zuaretz's five-page witness affidavit, though the document was signed nearly three weeks earlier.
Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, who represents the Corrie family, opposed the State's April 17 request and filed motion for reconsideration, citing due process violations. He indicated there was inadequate time to prepare for the witness given the expanded scope of the newly acquired affidavit and the delay in receiving it. The court denied his motion and granted the State's request for the hearing to occur Wednesday, April 27.
However, the day before he was to appear, the State again requested a change from the court, citing the witness' lack of availability due to a new scheduling conflict; an appointment with hired home movers. Judge Gershon rescheduled Zuaretz's appearance for the original May 22 date. Such last-minute maneuvering is not unusual in the case.
In 2003, Colonel Zuaretz was the commanding officer of the Gaza Division's Southern Brigade. Troops under his command were responsible for military actions on March 16, 2003, that resulted in the killing of American peace activist Rachel Corrie in Rafah. Zuaretz is the highest ranking officer called as a government witness and is, possibly, the highest ranking Israeli military officer to face cross examination in a civil suit regarding Israeli military actions against civilians in Gaza during the second intifada. His testimony is expected to shed light on the Israeli military's failures as an occupying power to protect civilian life and property in the region.
Please visit the Trial Update page of the Rachel Corrie Foundation website for updates, changes to the court schedule, and related information.