Monday, June 17, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
January 9, 2013
Thursday, September 6, 2012
We have many achievements to celebrate since last year. This increasing success of BDS campaigns and of efforts to educate the public about the moral and economic costs of U.S. military aid has Israel's supporters fighting hard to stifle any discussion around U.S. complicity in Israel's occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians.
The Louis D. Brandeis Center, which supposedly works to "promote justice for all," issued a press release recently calling our conference "controversial" because of a "likelihood that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate will be expressed." The president of St. Louis University, who went on a propaganda trip to Israel this summer sponsored by the "educational institute" of the American Jewish Committee, is being asked to speak out against our conference and make it clear that the "hateful, anti-Israel message of the boycott movement" is not consistent with the Jesuit mission of St. Louis University.
Another group, Scholars for Middle East Peace, which purports to promote honest and fact-based discourse on Middle East issues, claimed that the Israeli occupation is a "relic of the past" as a recent Israeli government-appointed commission of jurists likewise concluded. They argued that it is time for Palestinians and their allies, including the US Campaign, to stop spreading "lies" about the existence of Israeli occupation.
Why are these pro-Israel groups making ridiculous claims about the US Campaign and our work, and pressuring the university president to speak out against our conference? Because they know we’re succeeding and our conference is an important venue to move our work forward even more. Join us!
Initiatives to curtail efforts to expose Israel's crimes against Palestinians are also being taken up by state governments. The California State Assembly last week passed a resolution calling upon public universities to condemn “student- and faculty-sponsored boycott, divestment, and sanction campaigns against Israel that are a means of demonizing Israel and seek to harm the Jewish state.”
Several of our member groups, including American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, signed a letter to lawmakers organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations- California. The letter condemned the resolution, which "encourages university administrators to infringe upon students’ free speech rights. By equating legitimate political debates about geopolitics with anti-Semitism, the resolution emboldens administrators to take action to chill and prevent such speech."
Join us and our member groups at our conference to stand up to these attempts to censor efforts to end U.S. support for Israel's brutal policies toward Palestinians. Register today and help us change U.S. policy to support human rights, international law, and equality.
Town Councilwoman Penny Rich is really banging the drums to kill these ads. She told Indyweek that the ads are a "manipulative way to essentially call for the destruction of Israel." Check them out below and judge for yourself.
Please read on for an appeal by Rev. Mark Davidson, of the Church of Reconciliation, to help mobilize political support for next week's key Town Council meeting, whose outcome might determine whether the ads are allowed to continue running, or if they will be censored.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the controversy that was generated by our Chapel Hill bus ad campaign to end U.S. military aid to Israel. In case you missed it, here’s a sampling of local media coverage.
The congregation I serve, the Church of Reconciliation, with endorsements from the Coalition for Peace with Justice, Jews for a Just Peace NC, and North Carolina Veterans for Peace, put these ads in the entire 98-bus fleet in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. They read: “Build Peace with Justice and Equality. End U.S. Aid to Israel.”
After a few weeks, the ads were temporarily taken down by the transit authority because its officials wanted us to add more contact information to the ads. We did so and we’re happy to report that the ads are back on the buses as of last weekend.
However, we’re concerned that the Chapel Hill Town Council might take action next Wednesday, September 12, 7PM at its next meeting to change the advertising guidelines to prohibit non-commercial ads. If this happens, then our ads might get taken down again!
|We can't let that happen. I need you to sign this petition to the Town Council calling on it to maintain non-commercial ads on Chapel Hill's buses and to continue running our ads for the one-year duration of the contraction we signed.|
After you sign the petition, you’ll be given the chance to forward it via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Please share this petition far and wide so that we can show the Town Council how much community support exists for these ads.
These ads to end U.S. aid to Israel have sparked an important community conversation around this issue. It’s an important conversation that we need to have. Please keep this conversation going by signing the petition to the Town Council to keep the ads running.
I hope to see you at next Wednesday’s Town Council meeting.
Rev. Mark Davidson
Church of Reconciliation, Chapel Hill
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I met Professor Marc Ellis nearly ten years ago when he invited me to speak at a conference he organized at Baylor. As one of the foremost and inspiring contemporary Jewish theologians who is critical of Israel's actions toward the Palestinian people, it is unfortunately not surprising to see that Baylor is now taking steps to force him out.
Having learned of a secret investigation against him that resulted in the cancellation of his courses, Marc writes, "I believe this is a pretext to silence an independent voice at the place for which I have had deep appreciation."
Join Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Cornel West, Rosemary Radford Ruether, me, and thousands of others in signing this petition to Baylor University President Kenneth Starr asking him "to honor Dr. Ellis' academic freedom and stop all hostility toward him and any attempt of dismissal."
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Two roads to justice meet in Palestine
I grew up with two stories, two histories and, in many ways, twocountries. From the age of 5 until 21, I roamed, lived in and lovedTennessee’s hills. But, in those same formative years, I lived from newspiece to news piece, following with bated breath the events of my homeland,Occupied Palestine.
I was blessed with historians who raised me with stories of justice. Ourneighbor, Mr. Miller, would tell me stories of a South I never saw: the JimCrow South. He told me of African-Americans attacked by mobs, of segregatedschools and towns, of redlining and, most importantly, of the brave men andwomen who stood in defiance of the gross discrimination of Jim Crow.
I would go home and listen to my father’s lessons on the IsraeliOccupation of Palestine. Lessons filled with settler attacks on Palestinianvillagers, with checkpoints forbidding movement, with roads and land forJews only, and again, most importantly, lessons about the brave men andwomen who continue to stand in defiance of the gross injustice of anillegal and unjust system of discrimination.
It wasn’t long before it became difficult to tell the narratives apart.This week, my histories merged in a new way.
Tuesday, Palestinian Freedom Riders re-enacted the U.S. Civil RightsMovement’s Freedom Rides in the American South by boarding segregatedIsraeli public transportation in the West Bank to travel to Occupied EastJerusalem. By nonviolently challenging the system of segregation andapartheid that governs their lives, Palestinians took a page from thehistory of another rights movement that stood for justice and freedom.
Some in the Israeli Peace Camp or in Washington, advocates of theso-called peace process, will say this is not the way. They will echo thosewho stood on the wrong side of history.
President Barack Obama honored and thanked the Freedom Riders this pastweek for their courage and dedication 50 years ago. In a Cairo speech in2009, he appeared to encourage similar initiatives of Palestiniannonviolence. Obama has an opportunity now to send a powerful message to theworld by voicing strong support for the efforts of Palestinian FreedomRiders.
CONTINUE READING HERE...
Monday, November 7, 2011
In October it was revealed that the JFNA had disqualified Jewish Voice for Peace activist Cecilie Surasky from their "Jewish Community Heroes" contest because of her active support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Speaking to Haaretz last week about Surasky's ban from the contest, JFNA CEO Jerry Silverman defended the decision saying that JFNA "draws a line in the sand for organizations that support boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Israel" as well as those that "disrespect Israeli leaders," referring to JVP's involvement in disrupting Netanyahu's speech last year.